THE TRUE GROUNDS OF Ecclesiasticall Regiment SET FORTH In a breife Dissertation. Maintaining the Kings spirituall supre­macie against the Pretended Independencie of the PRELATES, &c. TOGETHER, VVith some passages touching the Eccle­siasticall Power of Parliaments, the use of Synods, and the Power of Excommunication.

LONDON, Printed for Robert Bostock. 1641.

The Divine Right of Episco­pacie refuted.

IN this Controversie about Episco­pacie by reason of many mistakes of either side much time hath beene spent to little purpose, and the right and truth is yet as farre imbosked, and buried in darknesse as ever it was. Me thinks, the case is, as if two well imbat­tail'd Armies had marched forth for a mutuall encounter, but both not taking the same way, there never was yet any meeting in any one certain place, where this great strife might bee decided. These mistakes and misadventures on both sides, as I con­ceive, have happened for want of an exact, and adequate definition of Episcopacie first set downe, and agreed upon by both, and then by both equal­ly pursued. It shall be therefore my care at this time to begin with a definition of Episcopacy, and that such a one, as I shall take out of Bishop Hall, one of the greatest asserters, and in that the noblest, of Episcopacy: and that which hee indevours to maintaine as being of Divine right, I according to my power shall indeavour to disprove.

The first definition given by the same Bishop is [Page 2] this; Episcopacy is an holy Order of Church-government, for the administration of the Church. This definition I hold to be too large, and unadequate for the deter­mining of this doubt, for Calvins discipline may ac­cording to this definition be called Episcopacy, and it may be affirmed that Episcopacie has bin in all a­ges; since God had never yet any Church, wherein was not some holy Order of Church discipline for better ruling of the same. And by the way, I must here professe to shake off, and neglect the mention­ing, or answering of any thing which the Patrons of Episcopacie have alledged, and stuft their volumes withall, in defence of Order, and disparity in the Church; for let our Adversaries be never so clamo­rous in this point, yet it is manifest, that no Church was ever yet so barbarous as to plead for anarchy, or a meere equalitie, neither did Calvin ever favour any such parity as was inconsistent with Order and government, neither do we see any such confusion introduced into Geneva it selfe, as our Hierarchists seem to gainsay. To let passe all impertinent vaga­ries, our dispute must be not whether Church poli­tie be necessary, or no; but whether that Church po­licy which is now exercised in England be necessary, & unalterable, or no. And not whether such parity as is the mother of Confusion be politique, or no; but whether such parity as now is at Geneva amongst presbyters be politique, or no: but my present scope is not to defend the Presbyteriall discipline in all things, it is only to maintain against the necessity of such an immutable Episcopacy, as is now constitu­ted in England, & so far to defend parity, as our Hie­rarchists [Page 3] take advantage against it, for the upholding of their own side. To this purpose I cānot chuse but say, that in nature that seems to be the best parity which admits of some disparity in Order, and that seems to be the best disparity which prevents con­fusion with the most parity. And therefore we see that our Saviour recommended as unlordly a dis­parity as might be, not unlike that of marriage, for there is a great and sweet parity in the tie of Wed­locke between man and wife, and that is not main­tained without some disparity, yet that disparity is as little as may be, and that only for parities sake, Non aliter fuerint foemina vir (que) pares. But of this no more; I come to Bishop Halls next more exact de­finitions: and they run thus; Episcopacy is an Emi­nent Order of sacred function appointed in the Evange­licall Church by the Holy Ghost, for the governing and overseeing thereof, and besides the Word and Sacraments, it is indued with power of Ordination and perpetuity of jurisdiction. Or thus: A Pastor ordained perpetuall moderator in Church affaires with a fixed imparity exer­cising spirituall jurisdiction out of his owne peculiarly de­mandated authority is a Bishop. Or thus: Adde majority above Presbyters, and power of jurisdiction by due Or­dination for constant continuance, and this makes a Bi­shop: take away these, and he remaines a meere Presbyter.

It is to bee observed now that foure things are here asserted.

First, Episcopall power is such as none are capable of, but only men within Sacred Orders. A Bishop must be a Pres­byter indued with power of Ordination, and spirituall ju­risdiction by due Ordination, and without these hee re­maines a meere Pastor.

[Page 4] Secondly, Episcopall power is such as is wholly inde­pendent upon temporall Rulers, Its institution was from the Holy Ghost in the Evangelicall Church, It must rule out of its owne peculiarly demandated authority.

Thirdly, Episcopal power consists in Ordination, and spiritual jurisdiction, and in majority above Presbyters.

Fourthly, Episcopal power is unalterable by any tempo­ral authority, it is perpetual by divine right, As it was fixed, and where it was settled by Christ, and his imme­diate successors, so and there it must continue unchanged til the worlds end.

In briefe, the summe of all these definitions is this: Episcopacy is a forme of Ecclesiasticall policy insti­tuted by Christ, whereby a Superiour Order of Presbyters is indued with a perpetual independent power of Ordinati­on, and spiritual jurisdiction, and with majority above Presbyters, and this power as it appertaines to all that Order, so it appertaines only to that Order.

And those things which we oppose herein are chiefly two; First, we see no ground in the word of God, why Bishops should arrogate to them­selves such a peculiar, independent, perpetual pow­er of Ordination, spirituall jurisdiction, and such a majority above Presbyters, as now they injoy, excluding from all such power and majoritie, not only all Laymen, and Princes, but also Presby­ters themselves. Secondly, if power of Ordinati­on, and spirituall jurisdiction, and preheminence a­bove all the Clergie bee due only to Bishops, yet we complaine that now in England that power and preheminence is abused, and too farre extended, and to such purposes perverted, as the Apostles ne­ver [Page 5] practised or intended. Of these two points in this Order: but for my part, I am no favourer of extreames, some defend Episcopacie as it is now constituted in England, as Apostolicall, others with­stand it as Antichristian: my opinion is that the go­vernment is not so faulty as the Governours have beene, and that it is better then no government at all, nay, and may be better then some other forms which some Sectaries have recommended to the World. And my opinion further is, that it is not alike in all respects, and that it ought to be se­verally examined and ventilated, and that so it will probably appeare in some things unprofitable, in some things inconvenient, in some things mischie­vous: in notihng necessary, or unalterable. And it ought to be observed, that evill formes of policie have been sometimes well ordered and rectified by good Commanders: and so the State of Boetia once flourished under Epaminondas and Pelopidas, and yet it owed this prosperitie not to the government of the Citie, for that was ill constituted, and compo­sed: but to the Governours, for they were wise and vertuous. The contrary also happened to Lacedae­mon, for that fared ill sometimes and suffered much distemper, because though its fundamentall Laws were good, yet its Kings and Ephorie were many times tyrannous, and unjust. And this should teach Bishops not alwayes to boast of the sanctitie of their Order: because such, & such, in ancient, and modern times were Martyrs, or were humble, and fortunate to the Church, nor always to blame all other formes of government, for the faults of such [Page 6] & such Governors. But in this my ensuing discourse I must undertake almost all Churchmen, at least some, if not all, of all Religions, & opinions. Papists allow somthing to secular Magistrates in the rule of the Church, but Supremacie of rule they do utterly in very terms deny. The Protestants though divided amongst themselvs, some placing supreme power in Episcopacie, others in presbytery, yet both in effect deny it to the King, though in words they pretend otherwise. The grounds of this mistake (as I con­ceive) are these; when our Saviour first gave com­mission to his Disciples to preach, and baptise, and to propagate the true faith in the World, Secular authority being then adverse thereunto, Hee was of necessity to commit, not only doctrine but all dis­cipline also to the charge of his Apostles, and their Substitutes only: Wherfore though Secular autho­rity be now come in, & become friendly to Religi­on, & willing to advance the spirituall prosperity of the Church, aswel as the temporall of the State, yet Clergiemen having obtained possession of power in the Church, and that by Christs own institution, they think they ought not to resigne the same a­gaine at the demand of Princes. And because the certain forme of discipline which our Saviour left, and to whom it was left is doubtfully and obscure­ly set forth in Scripture, and is yet controverted of all sides, therefore some contend for one thing, some for an other, but all agree in this, that what­soever forme was appointed for those times, is un­alterably necessary for these, and that to whomsoe­ever rule was designed, to Christian Princes it was [Page 7] not, my drift therefore must now be, to discover the erroneous conceits herein of all sides, and to doe as the Romans once did when they were chosen arbi­trators betweene two contesting Cities, I must nei­ther decree for the Plaintiff, nor Defendant, but for the King, who is in this case a third party. I am of opinion that some order and imparitie was necessa­ry in the Primitive Church, in the very House of God, and therefore was so countenanced by our Saviour: but for ought I see, that power which was then necessary was not so large as our Prelates, nor so narrow as our Presbyterians plead for, but what­soever it was, or wheresoever it rested, questionless, it is now unknown, and not manifest in Scripture: but if it were manifest, and that such as the Prela­cie, or such as the Presbytery mayntaines, it is so far from being now unchangeable since Princes are come in to doe their offices in the house of God, that I think it cannot remayne unchanged without great injury to Princes, and damage to the Church, and by consequence great dishonour to our Savi­our. And this is that now which I shall endevour to confirme, and demonstrate. In the first place then, I am to impugne those grounds whereby a sole, independent, perpetuall power of Church Government is appropriated to Ecclesiasticall persons only: and whereby Princes, &c. are excluded as incompetent for the same. That there is no such thing as Ordination, and spi­rituall Jurisdiction due, and necessary in the Church is not now to be questioned, the question is what persons are most capable of the same, whether such as are commonly called Ecclesiasticall, or no. It is agreed by all, that God hath not left Humane na­ture [Page 8] destitute of such remedies as are necessary to its conservation: and that rule and dominion being necessary to that conservation, where that rule and dominion is granted, there all things necessary for the support of that rule and dominion are granted too. It is further agreed also that Supream power ought to be intire and undivided, and cannot else be sufficient for the protection of all, if it doe not ex­tend overall: without any other equall power to controll, or diminish it: and that therefore the Su­preme Temporall Magistrate ought in some cases to command Ecclesiasticall persons, as well as Ci­vill: but here lies the difference, the Papists hold, that though spirituall persons as they are men, and Citizens of the Common-wealth in regard of their worldly habitation are subject to temporall Com­manders, yet this subjection is due ob pacem commu­nem, or quoad commune bonum, and that per accidens and indirectè, and that no further neither, but only secundum partem directivam, seu imperativam. Thus, whatsoever they pretend to the contrary, they doe erect regnum in regno, they give temporall Monar­chie an imperfect, broken right in some things, but controlable and defeasible by the spirituall Monar­chie in other things. And the World ha's had a long sad experience of this, whilst Kings had the Pope for their superiour in any thing, they remay­ned Supreame in nothing, whil'st their rule was by division diminished in some things, they found it insufficient in all things, so that they did not com­mand joyntly with the Pope, but were commanded wholly by the Pope. And in Popish Countries now Princes do suffer themselves in word to be ex­cluded [Page 9] from all spirituall Dominion, and execute not the same in shew but by subordinate Clerks un­der them, and that by privilege of the Popes grant, but we know in truth they hold it, and use it as their own, and the Pope is more officious to them, then they are to him. And whereas the Canon Law al­lows temporall Princes to punish the insolence and oppressions of Bishops within their respective Ter­ritories, modò sint verae oppressiones, wee know this comes to nothing, if Princes claime it not by som­thing higher then Canon Law. For how shall this be tryde? how shall it appeare, whether these op­pressions be true, and hainous, or no? if Bishops will not submit themselves in this tryall, and refuse to appeale, Kings are no competent Judges, nor can take no just cognizance hereof: and what redresse then is in the Kings power? Even Popish Princes now know well enough how ridiculous this favour of the Canonists is, & therfore as the Popes fed thē heretofore with the name and shadow only of pain­ted Sovereignty in temporalibus, so they feed him the like now in spiritualibus. Protestants dissent much from these Tenets, but because many of them, especially Clergimen do not wholly dissent from all the grounds of these Tenets, therefore they also doe partake in some errours, and absurdi­ties of the like nature: One Scotist says, That Moun­tague, and our learnedest Protestant Divines, nay, even Rainolds himselfe though otherwise a Puritan, yet they all hold, that there is due to the King, no spirituall but on­ly a temporall rule over persons and causes Ecclesiasticall, and that also by accident for the common peace sake. Hee [Page 10] sayes also that in his presence at a Cambridge Com­mencement, the chiefe Bishop was called Maximus Pater, and that it was maintained that the care of spirituall things did appertain to the chiefe Bishop, and of temporall to the King, and whereas it was at last concluded that all was to be governed by the King, yet he sayes questionless the intent was civilitèr, not spiritualitèr. And if wee look back to the primitives we shal find that in good times before Popery had any considerable growth Kings for penance were enjoyned to kneele to Priests, and were not admitted to have seats in the Chancell neere the Altar, no not amongst the Dea­cons: but were sometimes subjected to heavie and sharp censures of Bishops, and sometimes strucke with the thunderbolt of Excommunication it self. And we shall find that the Name Church was ap­plyed in common speech to Churchmen only, and the Name Spiritualitie was taken in the same sense, as if all other persons had beene strangers to the Church, and had beene of a meere Temporall and Secular condition: and by the name Clergie it was intimated to the World, that the Sacerdotall fun­ction was the only lot and patrimony of God: and these usages were ab antiquo. And wee shall finde that the holiest and learnedest Fathers of the Church did seeme to preferre the Mitre before the Diademe, and to dream of a Spirituall Empire be­longing to Priests more worthy and sacred then that of Emperours. And therefore Gregory of Nazianzen in a Sermon before the Emperour says thus to him: The Law of Christ hath committed you to my Charge, and to my Pulpit: for we rule also and ours is a [Page 11] more excellent and perfect regiment. And comparing further the rule of Priests with the rule of Prin­ces, Hee cals the one spirituall the other fleshly, and concludes that the spirit ought not to give place to the flesh, nor heavenly things to earthly. What hee meant here by giving place, whether hee meant it of externall submission, or internall awe I cannot tell: but he left it uncertain. To the same purpose that of Ambrose tends also: Thinke not, O Emperour, that thou hast any right over divine things: for the Palace is for the Emperour, but Churches for Priests. And that also of Athanasius, Its neither lawfull for us to hold a Kingdome upon earth: nor hast thou O Empe­rour power over sacred things. Wee see they speake of their Ministery and Ecclesiasticall vocation as of a sovereigntie, and rule, and that more sacred, then that of Princes, of which Princes were not worthy, or capable. And to passe by the blinde times of Popery wherein upon these grounds the Roman Bishops inthralled a great part of Christen­dome with temporall bondage, wee shall finde also that since the abjuration of Romish servitude, yet Protestant Ministers themselves have assumed a sanctitie more then is due. The Kings Supremacie or Headship over the Ecclesiasticall or Spirituall State, Hee being accounted but meerly temporall in comparison of Priests is as ill wished by many Calvinists, as by Papists, their word is of Secular Princes, Istis non competit iste Primatus. And as Sir Thomas More suffered death in testimony of his dis­like, so Calvin himselfe condemnes this Realme of Blasphemy for entitling Henry the Eighth Supreme Head of the Church here under Christ. And not [Page 12] only the Name, but the power it selfe which wee give to Civill Magistrates he protesteth against, as that which had wounded him deeply, Princes be­ing made thereby too spirituall, hee complaineth that this fault did raigne throughout Germany, and in some parts of France, to the taking away of Spirituall Regiment, whilst Princes were made chiefe Judges as well in matters of doctrine as dis­cipline.

Hence it is that all which follow Calvin, which is almost the generality of Protestants, besides Pa­pists, hold Princes incompetent for spirituall Re­gencie, accounting the intermedling of Princes therein as an abolition, or prophanation of the same.

And hence it is, that our contrary faction of Hierarchists also, deny the Kings Supremacie in Spiritualibus, though not in Ecclesiasticis, and our Prelats Style is providentia divina, not gratiâ Regis, and as they issue Writs in their own Names, so they use their owne armes in their Seales, and not the Kings. And wee know it was my Lord of Canter­buries industry of late to procure a Commission a­bout five yeeres since, that all Bishops Courts might proceed without any subordination or de­pendency to any other of the Kings Courts. So that though they complaine of the Presbyterian Disci­pline, and the doctrine of Calvin as injurious to Princes, yet they themselves seeme to be of the same confederacie.

But that I may not seem to misreport, or mis­interpret any, I will cite only two Divines of prime note, both defenders of Supremacie. Hooker speak­ing [Page 13] of that dutifull subjection which is due from all Chri­stians to the Pastors of their souls in respect of their sacred Order, affirmes that the same is as due from Kings and Princes, as from their meanest vassals. Reverence due to the Word, and Sacraments, and to Gods Ordi­nances is not here meant, for that is as due from Priests themselves also, as from any other, it is meant of reverence due to the persons of Priests, & this he cals subjection, and challenges as due in respect of their sacred Order. And so Bilson descanting upon the words of Nazianzen, after a comparative manner (as Hooker did) inferres thereupon, that Priests have a greater and perfecter regiment then Princes: For (sayes he) Priests governe the souls of men, and dispense the mysteries of God, whereas Princes are set to rule the bodies of men, and to dispose the things of this life, &c. Hee does not compare the offices but the Regiments of Priests and Princes, and hee averres as confidently that Priests governe the souls, and exercise domi­nion over the spirits of Christians, as that Princes have no power at all, but over the bodies and tem­poralities of their Subjects. And for these causes the Crosier is generally preferred in Honour, and Sanctitie, before the Scepter: to detect therefore the errour of Divines herein, I will now truly pro­duce, and throughly poize those arguments which they most rely upon. The first argument runs thus. Spirituall things are not to be managed, and treated, but only by spirituall persons: but Princes are not spirituall, Ergo. Wee must first understand here what is meant by spirituall things, and spirituall persons. If by spirituall things here, such things are meant as ap­pertain [Page 14] to God and to Religion, and as concerne Gods service in the Church, and the welfare of the souls and spirits of men; so all men have a spiritu­all charge in generall: for all men by their generall callings are servants to God, and are not only bound to provide for their owne souls, but to pro­mote also the worship of God, and the salvation of other men. And in this respect that man which is most pious, is most holy, and spirituall, and most acceptable to God, and though his condition be but private here in this World, yet his reward in Heaven may be more glorious, then theirs who have publike Offices and Dignities here, and whose particular callings are farre more sacred. But be­sides this internall holinesse of persons visible only to God, there is an externall, politicall holinesse also of persons which arises from our particular Functions in this World, and the measure of this holinesse, is the profit and consequence of our pro­fessions, and employments. The Regall and Sacer­dotall Offices have ever beene held comparatively of all other the most holy, and worshipfull, and the reason is because of all others they are the most advantagious, and of most extensive benefit to the people of God. And therefore the person is al­wayes valued according to the function, and the function according to its benefit, and not on the contrary: The man is Honourable because hee is a King, and the King is honourable because He is the Conservator of the people: and of this reason of Honour man is able to Judge. God accepts of such a man to serve him in such an honourable place; [Page 15] the place is not here honourable▪ because He serves in it, but he is Honourable because the place is pro­fitable: and though of Gods meere acceptance of the person no reason can be given, yet there is great reason that all men should bee Honourable with men, as they are acceptable with God. God ho­noured the Israelites before other Nations; they were a royall Priesthood in comparison of Hea­thens, because God by his peculiar choice of them to his service did give them that more then regall, or more then Sacerdotall priviledge. The Israelites in condition were more contemptible, and in dis­position more incorrible than other Nations, but because God separates them they are holy, and be­cause God separates them to serve him according to his pure will, they are holy as Princes, and Priests. Christians also may now be termed Prin­ces and Priests in comparison of the Iews in as much as God of his free pleasure is now more extensive and diffusive of his graces amongst us, that we may adore him more ingenuously, more intelligently, and more comfortably then the Jews did: and in the like manner amongst Christians, Princes and Priests are yet higher elevated above common lay­men, in as much as they have neerer accesse to God at the Throne and at the Altar, and by their more sublime employments are more highly dignified, & more honorably consecrated. With the Prince and the Priest no man will enter into any cōpetition, but the cōpetition now being between the Prince & the priest, we must search into the nature of this political sanctitie, that we may the better distinguish its de-grees. [Page 16] Calvin wee see complains, that the persons of Prin­ces are made too spirituall, by our appropriating to them spirituall authoritie: because hee holds that authority too spirituall for their persons. The same thing is here the reason of the same thing; spirituall offices and services belong not to Princes, because their persons are not spirituall: and why are their persons not spirituall? because their offices, and services are not spirituall. This is unjust and un­scholasticall: against the person no exception lies, but such as is drawn from the function; the person is coruscant only by the rayes of the function: they which wil prove Kings to be not spiritual, must first prove their offices to be meerly temporall, and not on the contrary. Such proofs as infirme the Kings power, and interest in spiritualibus are proper, such proofs let us heare. Ambrose, and Athanasius in­deed say directly, that Emperours have no right over divine things, nor power over sacred things: but they are very briefe, and give no reason for their allegations, nor doe they leave us satisfied in their true meanings. The persons and offices of Kings were ever held sacred, and if that which is sacred be not spirituall, it were good that the difference were set forth between them. Pala­ces are for Princes, and Temples for Priests: but palaces are not the sole interest of Princes, so as that they are excluded thereby from all power in Tem­ples: nor is this a good result, because priests may not move in the Civill Orbe, therefore Princes may not in the Ecclesiasticall. But Nazianzen is more full, and expressive of his reasons, and those rea­sons also are further pressed by Bishop Bilson, let us [Page 17] bend our forces thither. Nazianzen concludes the regiment of Priests to be more perfect, and excellent then that of Princes, and compares it to that of the soule over the body, because things committed to the priests charge are heavenly and spirituall, whereas Kings (he sayes) have in their power things earthly, and bodi [...]y. He takes three things here for granted, First, that the office of a Priest is as properly and truly a power, and rule, as that of Princes. Secondly, that the rule of Princes extends only to earthly things. Thirdly, what­soever may be spoken of the whole order of Priesthood, that he applyes to every particular Priest. And thus hee seems to attribute a greater sanctitie not only in­tensive, but extensive also, to any priest, then to any Prince. The glosse of Bilson also hereupon is: That Priests governe the souls of men, and dispense the mysteries of God, whereas Princes are set to rule the bodies of their Subjects, and to dispose the things of this life. And there­fore if the fruits and effects of their callings be compared, the Preachers (he sayes) passes that of Princes by many degrees of excellence and perfection: God giving earthly food, and peace by the Prince, but heavenly grace and life by the Word and Sacraments; which wee receive from the mouthes, and hands of his Messengers. As to externall power, and corporall compulsion: So Preachers are servants to their brethren, Princes are Lords over them. Preachers may reprove & threaten, but Princes must seize the goods, and chastise the bodies of offenders. Preaches may shut the gates of Heaven against non-repentants: Princes must root them from the face of the earth, and inflict the just vengeance of their sins in this world. And whereas the Princes and Preachers functions concurre in ghostly and [Page 18] heavenly things, that the Preacher declareth, and the Prince establisheth the word of truth: yet the Preachers service in these cases excelleth the Princes: for that the word in the Preachers mouth ingendreth faith and winneth the soule unto God to serve him with a willing minde, whereas the Sword in the Princes hand striketh only a terrour into men to refraine the outward act, but reformeth not the se­crets of the heart. This is Bilson's sense, and I thinke the sense of almost all our Divines: by this is Na­zianzen fully seconded and abetted, for first, the true and proper rule of priests is not only asserted, but also explained, for it gives grace and life by the Word and Sacraments, it reproves and threatens, it shuts the gate of Heaven against Non-repentants. Secondly, the rule of princes is lesned, and that by this instance: for that the preacher winneth soules to a willing service, but the prince by externall ter­rour restraineth only from the outward act of sin. And thirdly, his comparison is indefinite, betweene Prince, and preacher, that which is implyed of Priest in generall, hee seemeth to apply to every priest in particular. I must frame my answer to every particular. Power and Dominion of it selfe is divine, and adde but infinite, or absolute to it, it is Divinitie it selfe. Nothing is more desirable to man, or more adequate to the aymes of intelligent crea­tures then power▪ the Angels in Heaven are known to us by the Names of Thrones, and Principalities, Heaven it self is knowne to us by the name of a Kingdome: and our best devotion to God consists in ascribing to him, honour, worship, subjection, &c. and the first and greatest sin of men and Angels, was [Page 19] an aspiring to undue Power, and excellence. Abso­lute perfection and blessednesse is the Unitie of the Godhead, and that Unitie must needs subsist in absolute power, absolute wisdome, and absolute goodnesse. Absolute power also in order of Nature (according to mans understanding) as a Father gives being to absolute wisdome: as both give be­ing to absolute Goodnesse. Whatsoever is in God must needs be God, and of the same substance indi­visible, and so infinite wisdome, and infinite Good­nesse, must needs be coeternall, and consubstantiall with infinite power: yet this excludes not all order of distinction; and according to order of distin­ction it is more proportionable to our capacitie, that infinite Wisdome should derive its divine ge­neration from infinite power, then infinite power from infinite Wisdome. Unitie of perfect blessed­nesse cannot comprehend any thing more then this Trinity, neither can it comprehend any thing lesse: and therfore though this word Trinity cannot have any relation to the essence of God, or to his works ad extra, which flow from the essence, yet to his per­sons it may, and to his internall operations, wherein one person is more generative then another. And according to these internal operations of the Deitie we ought (to speak after the manner of men) to a­scribe prioritie of Order to infinite power, the first person of the Godhead, in as much as wee cannot conceive but that God is rather wise, as he is pow­erfull, and Good as hee is both powerfull, and wise: then that hee is powerfull, as hee is wise, or wise, and powerfull, as he is good. Having premi­sed these things in generall concerning power, and [Page 20] dominion, and the excellence thereof, I am come now to see what that power and Dominion is which Churchmen clayme to themselves. Our Hierar­chists use the words Power and regiment to describe all their actions, and employments: the Power of Order, the Power of Jurisdiction, the Power of the Word and Sacraments, and the Power of the Keys, all their spirituall Offices, and Faculties are expressed in commanding, and high terms, that they may seem to owe no subordination, or dependence to any a­bove themselves. And this art they further use, when they would prove the excellence of their spirituall rule, they derive it from preaching, and the subordinate Offices of the Ministery, but when they would exercise their rule, then they alleage that to rule over Preachers is more, & greater then to preach: because the spirits of men are properly subject to no rule; and because preaching▪ though it be one of Gods most effectuall Ordinances, yet is no proper rule but a service rather: therefore they lay hold of Ecclesiasticall juridiction for proofe of their holy spirituall rule. And yet because Ecclesiasticall jurisdiction is of it selfe no such divine sublime thing, as the ministration of the Word, and Sacraments, nor so incompetent for Princes, as to the use of it, therefore their proofs are chiefly grounded upon the ordinan­ces of the Word and Sacraments: but this slight imposture cannot so delude us: for either Eccle­siasticall jurisdiction is more sacred and spirituall then the ministration of the Word, and Sacraments, or not; if it be, then these arguments drawne from the Word and Sacraments are impertinent: The [Page 21] question is whether Princes be capable of such ju­risdiction or not, and this proves not the incapacity of Princes, this only proves the honour of such ca­pacitie: but on the other side, if it be not, yet there is the same impertinence, for if priests challenge to themselves power in things more excellent, and ho­ly, this excludes not Princes from things lesse ex­cellent, and holy: but wee shall not need to stick here.

The papists themselves doe acknowledge, that to preach, &c. is lesse then to rule, and to prescribe Laws to preachers, &c. and Bilson makes a plaine confession, that the Sacerdotall Office is rather Ministeriall, then Imperiall, and that such reverence and subjection as is due in spirituall affaires from Princes is not due to the persons of priests, but to the Ordinances of God, and to the graces of the Church: For (says hee) the word is to be submitted to in the mouths of Prophets, and the Ordinances are to be honoured in the administration of Priests, but the persons of Prophets, and Priests, must not be objects to terminate this submission, and honour. God is to be honoured in the service of his Ministers, not the Ministers in Gods stead: for in these services there is the same honour due to GOD from Ministers themselves, as from Lay-men. And therefore wee see if the greater Priest heare the word, &c. from the lesse, this does not sanctifie the lesse above the greater, as it would, if sanctitie did rest in the person, and not in the Ordinance, or if it did not passe from the actor, or instrument, to the Author and Ordainer himselfe. I thinke wee may therefore proceed now from this, that power, and [Page 22] Government is a thing in it selfe most awfull and honourable, to this: that the truest owners thereof next under God, whom the Church ever look't upon as Gods immediate Vicegerents, and Depu­ties thereof, are Princes. Saint Peter 1. 2. writing to the Church in the time of a Heathen, and im­pious Emperour, commands every soul to be sub­ject to the higher powers. He acknowledges power in a very Nero, and that to be the higher power, and to that higher power of that Nero he subjects every soule Christian and Heathen, Priest and Laymen. For the same cause also the primitives in Tertullians mouth make this humble profession: Colimus impe­ratorem, ut hominem à Deo secundum, & solo Deo mino­rem: & this profession was made under the Reign of wicked Emperours, to whom in Ecclesiasticall af­faires more might be denied, then to ours: for though Reges, in quantum Reges serviunt Deo, as Saint Augustine sayes, yet in quantum pii Reges, they serve God the more gloriously, and have a neerer accesse to God, and in that respect it may bee more truly said of them, that they are à Deo secundi, & solo Deo minores: and if so, how awfull and venerable must this render their persons, and with what submission must we prostrate our selves at their sacred feet? and that it may not seeme strange that meer power and rule in an unbelieving or wicked Prince should be so sacred and inviolable, wee must take notice that the wickednesse of Princes in ill commands though it discharge us as to those ill commands, yet it does not discharge their power or rule either in those, or in any other: For when Princes rule well, [Page 23] they are to be obeyed, when ill, they are to be en­dured, and this very indurance is an effect of obe­dience and subjection. Peter as a Citizen of the Common-wealth is a servant to Nero, and though in the meere consideration of a Christian, Hee has not dependance upon Nero further then is to be te­stified by suffering under him in ill commands, yet in all civill things, and things indifferent, his depen­dance remayns undissolved. If Nero forbid Peter to preach, contradicting God herein, whose power is still transcendent, this prohibition binds not Peter, but if Nero use the Sword hereupon against Peter, this sword is irresistible, because though in this it be injurious, in other things it is still sacred. This one violence of Nero is tyrannous, but the authority whereby this is done is not tyranny; For the same sword which offends one defends many still, and if one here be defended, many must be offended, and the good of many is to be preferred before the good of one. And yet if God had made Peter supreame Judge of such cases, and had given him a power in­dependent, it had been necessary that he had given him withall some remedie, and sufficient means to support the same Supremacy & independent right: for God gives no man an absolute right without some proper remedy appertaining to the same. The use of power is not to intreat, or perswade only, for these may bee done without power, but to command, and commands are vaine without compulsion, and they which may not compell, may not command, and they which cannot com­mand, may not meddle at all except to intreat, [Page 24] or perswade. Power then there must be, and that power must be somewhere supreame that it may command all good, and punish all evill, or else it is insufficient, and if all, then in religious as well as in civill cases, for Supremacie may be severally ex­ercised, but the right of it cannot be severally en­joyed: if Peter may doe more then perswade Nero, the Scepter is Peters not Neroes; if hee may doe no more, he is as meer a subject as any other Layman: but in whethersoever the power of commanding rests, it cannot rest in both, the Scepter cannot be shared, independence cannot be divided: the peo­ple cannot obey both as equall Judges whilst their judgments remain contrary, nor serve both as equal Lords whilst their commands are contrary. To per­swade and intreat in Ministers, are the offices of a blessed vocation, but they are not properly Ensigns of Royaltie, and power: and if the spirits of men are somtimes moved, & won by the perswasions of Mi­nisters, as they may by other means, yet captiva­ted, and commanded they cannot be: and there­fore if this be called power, it is but imaginary, and improper, and such as ought not to enter into any comparison, or rivalitie with that solid, sensible, coercive, binding power wherewith God has in­vested his true Lievtenants upon earth. That power which is proper, must include not only a right of commanding, but also an effectuall vertue of for­cing obedience to its commands, and of subjecting and reducing such, as shall not render themselves obedient. The supreame civill Magistrate has this power grounded upon the common consent of Mankinde, and as strong as is the politicall con­sent [Page 25] of humane nature in its supream Law of pub­like conservation, so vigorous, and invincible is this power. Had Priests any such power or sword, we should soon see it, and feele it, and voluntarily stoop under it: but since they can pretend to none such, the meere noyse of an imaginary spirituall power and sword must not deceive us. The sword must be of sympathy and proportion answerable to those commands for which it was ordained, if the commands be externall and politicall, the sword must not be invisible, and meerly spirituall. If the Pope can impose an oath upō us to stand to his laws, and to obey his awards, our obedience being here politicall, his power of imposing Oaths must be the like; for if he pretend a right, and have no remedy, that is no power; & if he have a remedy that is not of the same nature with his command, it will prove no remedy, it will be found vain and uneffectuall. Wee cannot thinke that God has given the Pope any power but for good, and wee cannot think that power good, whereby the Pope may destroy Mil­lions of souls, and yet cannot reclayme, or con­vince one. The Popes commands seeme to mee un­reasonable, unnaturall, impious, the Pope herein ha's no spirituall power to rectifie mee, or to disco­ver my errour to me, or to procure obedience from me, that power which he ha's over my soule is on­ly to exclude it from heaven, and to give it as a prey to Satan, for not attributing more to him then to my own conscience, and naturall light. Can wee think that God gave this new Power, never before knowne, to these latter days out of mercy, that all [Page 26] except one handfull of men should perish by it, and none at all receive benefit by it? It cannot be said that the same keys which shut heaven to so many, open heaven to any one: for those few which obey the Pope, obey him either voluntarily, or by con­straint: and they which are constrained, obey him as a Prince, not as a Priest, and bow under his tem­porall, not spirituall yoke: howsoever it be other­wise pretended. Voluntary obedience also is such as is rendred without any externall influence from the Pope; For the will is capable of no compulsi­on, and if it were, my will would be as lyable to the same as any other mans: and if the Pope may com­pell my will, and so open Heaven to me (as it were) by his spirituall keys, and will not, tis his crueltie, not my contumacie. Its no glory to the Pope, that some few by blinde voluntary obedience acknow­ledge the power of his keyes, in this hee has no ad­vantage of Mahomet, that sword which was so vi­ctorious in the hand of Mahomet, was as spirituall, and as universally prevalent as the Popes. So much of the imaginary rule and spiritual sword of Priests, as also of the reall effectuall dominion of Princes, I shall now prove further, that the sword of Kings if it be not so spirituall, as the Pope pretends, to cut off souls; yet it is more then temporall, and extends to things most spirituall. The Founders and Patriarchs of the World before the Law of Moses, did not only governe the Church, but also execute all pastorall, spirituall Offices as they were Princes, and Supream Potentates within their own limits: they did not governe men as they were the [Page 27] Priests of God, but they did sacrifice and officiate before God, as they were the Heads, and Gover­nours of men. In those times it was not held usur­pation, or intrusion upon priests, for Princes to sa­crifice with their own hands, or to teach the will of God with their own mouthes; it would have been held presumption if any else had attempted the like, and a dishonour to Gods service. Nature then taught that the most excellent person was most fit for Gods service in the Church, and that no person could be more excellent, then hee which served God in the Throne. The word priest now may have divers acceptions. In some sense whole Na­tions have been called priests, viz. comparatively, and in some sense all Fathers of Children, and Ma­sters of Servants are in the nature of priests, and in more usuall sense all Princes, so farre as they have charge and cure of souls, and are intrusted with Di­vine Service within their severall commands, are more supereminently taken for priests: but the most usuall sense is this. A Priest is hee which hath cure of Souls, and a trust of Gods worship by a more peculiar kinde of publike and politike consecration and dedication thereunto: of such consecration, or ordination, before Aaron, we read nothing, and for ought I see, we are bound to believe nothing. Mel­chisideck was a pious man, a devout Father, a religi­ous Master, nay, a zealous Prince and Commander, but in all these respects hee had no priviledge nor right to the denomination of priest more then A­dam, Sem, Noah, &c. had. You will say then how is that denomination given him so peculiarly? This [Page 28] denomination might be given not by reason of any externall, formall, ceremoniall Unction, or impo­sition of hands, or any other solemne Dedication or separation before men: but in this respect, that he did perhaps publikely officiate in the presence of all his Subjects, and perhaps in behalfe of all his subjects, and this is a higher and blesseder Sacerdo­tall Office, then any we read of in his predecessors or successors till Aarons dayes. It is probable that God was served in Families before Aaron, and perhaps there were solemne days and Feasts, which all Families by joynt consent did in severall places dedicate to Gods service by strict observance of the same, but that any publike places were appoin­ted for whole Congregations to joyne and meet publikely in under the charge and function of any one publike Priest, till Aaron is not specified. This only we may guesse by the speciall name of priest applied to Melchisedeck, that perhaps being a priest of Salem, he was the first that made the worship of God so publike: and did not only by the generall influence of his power take order for the service and knowledge of God in severall Families, but al­so gather severall assemblies of united Families, and there publikely sacrifise and officiate in behalf of great, and solemne Congregations: wherein he might far exceed Abraham. Howsoever its sufficient for my purpose, that this he might doe by vertue of his Regall power and dignity without any further consecration or Sacerdotal instalment whatsoever. And in this respect he was without predecessor, and perhaps successor, so that I think hee was the most [Page 29] lively and Honourable type of our Saviour: for Aarons Order was Substitute, and his consecration was performed by the hand of his Prince and Su­periour, and being so consecrated, He did sacrifise, not as a Prince but meerly as a Priest. Whereas Melchisedeck received his Order from none but him­selfe, and so remayned not only independent, but his service also being both Regall and Sacerdotall, as our Saviours also was, it was yet more Honora­ble in that it was Regall, then in that it was Sacer­dotall. And this certainly sutes best with our Sa­viours Order, for no Secular authority but his own did concurre in his inauguration, hee was his owne Ancestor in this, in that his owne Royall dignitie gave vertue to his Sacerdotall: and though hee would not assume to himselfe the externall Functi­on of Royalty in meer Secular things, yet in this he would follow holy Melchisedeck. But to passe from Melchisedeck, within some few ages after wee finde the Scepter and Censor severed; Wee finde no prints of great Empires before Moses, for in small Countries we finde divers petty independant prin­cipalities: and it may be imagin'd that neither true policie, nor wicked tyranny was then knowne in such perfection, as now it is. The Israelites at their departure from Egypt were a great and formidable Nation, as appeares by the combinations of many other Potentates against them, yet at that time the weightie charges both of prince and priest were supported by Moses alone. This was exceeding grievous till Jethro in civill affaires, and till God himselfe in matters of Religion, for his further ease, [Page 30] took much of his laborious part from off his shoul­ders; Subordinate Magistrates were now appointed in the State, and priests and Levits in the Church, the Nation being growne numerous, and Ceremo­nies in Religion very various: but wee must not think that Moses was hereby emptied, or lesned of any of his Civill, or Ecclesiasticall authoritie: as he retained still Supremacie of power to himselfe in all things, so that Supremacy became now the more awfull, and Majesticall. The poet says of wa­ters, ‘Maxima per multos tenuantur flumina rivos.’

And indeed did waters run backwards they would spend and diminish themselves by often di­visions in their courses: but we see that in their or­dinary naturall Tracts many litle petty streams of­ficiously hasten to discharge themselves into grea­ter, so that the more continued the course is, the greater the streams ever grow. It is so with power both in Church and State: Sovereigntie is as the mayne Ocean, of its vast abundance it feeds all, and is fed by all, as it is the fountain to enrich others, so it is the Cisterne to receive and require back againe all the riches of others. That which Moses parted with all and derived to others was for the better expedition both of pietie and justice, that GOD might be more duly served, that the people might be more quickly relieved, and that his own shoul­ders might be the freelier disburdened: for as a man hee could not intend universall businesse: yet a Prince he might well superintend it in others. And it is manifest that after the separation of the Priest­hood, [Page 31] he did still as superiour to Aaron in the most sacred things approach God in the Mountain to re­ceive the custodie of the Law from Gods hand, and to receive Orders from God for the Taberna­cle, and all religious services, and did performe the act of consecration to Priests, and did always con­sult with God by Priests, and command all men as well Priests, and Levits, as other men. Hooker and Bilson, and I thinke most of our Divines doe con­fesse not only this, that Moses retained all Ecclesia­sticall Supremacie to himselfe, but that hee left the same also to his Successours. Hooker sayes that by the same supreame power David, Asa, Jehosa­phat, Josias, &c. made those Lawes and Statutes (mentioned in sacred History) touching matters of meer Religion, the affairs of the Temple, and ser­vice of God. And by vertue of this power the piety and impietie of the King did alwayes change the publike face of Religion, which the Prophets by themselves never did, nor could hinder from being done. And yet if Priests alone had bin possest of all spirituall power, no alteration in Religion could have beene made without them, it had not beene in the King, but in Priests to change the face of Religion. And the making of Ecclesiasticall Lawes also with other like actions pertayning to the power of dominion had still been recorded for the acts of Priests, and not of Kings: whereas we now find the contrary. Hooker says this and more, and Bilson sayes not one jot lesse. Hee confesses the Jewish Kings were charged with matters of Re­ligion, [Page 32] and the custodie of both Tables, nay, publishing, preserving, executing points of Law concerning the first table hee assignes as the princi­pall charge committed to Kings, as Kings, Religi­on being the foundation of policy. Hee instances also in the good Kings of Iudah, who as they were bound, so they were commended for their dutie by God himselfe, in removing Idols, purging abomi­nations, reforming Priests, renewing the covenant, and compelling all Priests, Prophets, people, to serve God sincerely. Many of the learnedest pa­pists doe not gainsay this evident truth, and there­fore Stapleton being I suppose fully convinced of it, seekes to answer and avoid it another way.

But I proceed to the times of thraldome, where­in the Iews were governed by the Persians. How far the Iews were left in Babylon to the free exercise of their own Religion is uncertain, it may be conceived that their condition was not always alike under all Kings, but generally that they found more favour there, then Christians did afterwards under the Ro­man Emperours: before this time there is no proba­bility of Excommunication, or any spirituall Judi­cature, wee reade nothing of Maranathaes, or Anathemaes, but now perhaps some such govern­ment might take place: for where no peculiar con­secrated Ministery is, the Magistrate is fittest to of­ficiate before God, and where no Magistracie is per­mitted Ministers are fittest to preserve order. Some Papists that wil undertake to prove any thing out of any thing alleage Cain as an instance of Excom. as if [Page 33] Adam were so a Priest, as that hee were no Prince, and had power to excommunicate in case of so horrid a murder, but not to execute any other Law: or as if Moses would proceed against adultery by temporall punishment, when Adam had proceeded against murther by spiritual: but not to insist longer upon these conjecturall passages, I come to our Sa­viours days, & his government also being Regal, as wel as Sacerdotall, nay, being rather divine then ei­ther, I shal not stay there neither. Our mayn strife is how the Apostles & their successors governed after his Ascention during the times of persecution: but little need to be said hereof: For in Scripture wee finde the Apostles themselves very humble, and unlordly, and transacting all things (according to our Saviours command and example) rather by per­swasion, and evidence of the spirit, then by com­mand and constraint, and if any difference was be­tween a Bishop and a Priest, it was in outward emi­nence or majoritie very small: and the very termes themselves were promiscuously applyed. In the next ensuing times also wee finde by ancient Testi­mony, that Omnia communi Clericorum consilio age­bantur: and after that Episcopacy had gotten some footing, yet, as another ancient testimony informes us, except â Ordinatione, setting Ordination only a­side it challenged no priviledge above Presbyters: but as I have said before, whatsoever authority did reside in the Clergie whilst temporal rule was wan­ting to the Church, and whilst miraculous power of binding and loosing sinners, and of opening and shutting Heaven was supplyed by the Holy Ghost [Page 34] for the emergent necessity of those times, the rea­son thereof no longer remayning, it ought now to remayne no longer as it did, but to devolve a­gaine into the Tempor [...]ll Rulers hands; from whence it was not taken by Christ, but where it was then abused, and made unprofitable by the owners themselves. If wee doe imagine that Ti­mothy and Titus had Episcopall power, and by that Episcopall power did send out processes, and keep Courts, and holds pleas of all Testamentary, and Matrimoniall Causes, and Tithes, Fasts and all other which our Bishops now clayme; and did re­dresse all grievances for the preventing of confusi­on in the Church, during the malignity of Secular power; if wee take all this for granted, though it be some thing too large to be granted, yet still wee ought to conceive that this power was conferred upon them not in derogation of Secular authoritie, but for necessities sake, till Secular authority should againe come in, and undertake the same offices, which Timothy and Titus were now to performe: when confusion cannot otherwise bee prevented, Timothy and Titus shall governe, but when it may be prevented by that authoritie which is most competent, and when more perfect order shall bee more naturally and justly induced, what injury is this to Timothy or Titus? Why rather is it not an ease and comfort to them, that they have now lea­sure more seriously to attend their own proper fun­ction, and ministration? Hookers owne words are, if from the approbation of Heaven the Kings of GODS own chosen people had in the affaires of the Jewish Religion [Page 35] supreame power, why should not Christian Kings have the like in Christian Religion? And Bilson having mayn­tained the supremacie of the Jewish Kings, Hee a­scribes the like to the whole function. Hee sayes, it is the essentiall charge of Princes to see the Law of God fully executed, his Son rightly served, his Spouse safely nursed, his house timely filled, his enemies duly punished, and this he sayes, as it was by Moses prescribed, and by David required, so it was by Esay prophesied, by Christ comman­ded, by Paul witnessed, and by the Primitive Fathers consented too. Hee sayes further, that what the Jewish Kings had, Christian Kings ought to enjoy, and therefore Esay (says Hee) prophesying of the Evangelicall times, foretold that the Church should suck the breasts of Kings and Queens, and that milk which those breasts should af­ford, He interprets to be spirituall milk. Now what can be added to this, what more excellent and per­fect Regiment then this had Timothy and Titus com­mitted to them by vertue of their Episcopall Or­der? What more sacred, what more spirituall of­fices could they performe in the Church? What could Gods children suck from their brests other then milke, then sincere, spirituall milke? Saint Augustine agrees to this, when hee says that Kings, as Kings, serve God, so as none but Kings can doe, and when he confesses, that Christ came not to the detri­ment of sovereigntie. And the Church in Tertullians words, ascribing worship to their Heathen Emperours, as being second immediatly to God, and inferiour to none but God, says as much as words can expresse. In re­gard of internall sanctitie Peter may be more excel­lent [Page 36] then Caesar, and so may Lazarus perhaps then Peter: but in regard of that civill sanctitie which is visible to mans eye, Caesar is to be worshipped more then Peter. Caesar is to be looked upon as next in place here to God, betwixt whom and God no other can have any superiour place. Wisdome and goodnesse are blessed graces in the sight of GOD, but these are more private, and Power is an excel­lence more perfect, and publike, and visible to man then either: if Ministers do sometimes in wis­dome, and goodnesse excell Princes, yet in Power they doe not: and therefore though wisdome and goodnesse may make them more amiable somtimes to God, yet Power shall make Princes more Ho­nourable amongst men. There is in heaven no need of Power in the glorified creatures, and yet the glo­rified creatures are there differenced by Power: it is hard to say that one Angell, or Saint differs from another in wisdome, or in holinesse, yet that they differ in power and glory we all know. The twelve Patriarchs and the twelve Apostles sit in heaven upon higher Thrones, then many Saints which per­haps here in this life might be endued with a grea­ter portion of wisdome, and holinesse then they were: and by this it may seeme that there is a spe­cies of externall sanctitie of power dispensed ac­cording to the free power of God even in Heaven also, and that that sanctity is superiour to the other more private sanctity of other graces, and excel­lences. And if power in heavenly creatures where it is of no necessity has such a supereminent glory [Page 37] appertaining to it, with what veneration ought wee to entertain it on earth where our common felicitie and safetie does so much depend upon it? Good­nesse here wee see is a narrow excellence, without wisdome, and power: and wisdome in men that have neither power, nor goodnesse, scarce profits at all: but power in infants, in women, in Ideots hands is of publike use, in as much as the wisdome and goodnesse of other men are ready to be com­manded by it, and its more naturall that they should be obsequious and officious in serving power, then that the transcendent, incommunicable, indivisible Royalty of power, should condiscend to bee at their devotion. And for this reason when Princes are said to be solo Deo minores, and Deo secundi, this is spoken in regard of power, and this being spoken in regard of power, we must conceive it spoken of the most perfect excellence, and dignity, and sanctitie that can be imagined amongst men on earth. And for the same reason, when Princes are said to serve God as Princes, and so to serve him as none other can, we must conceive this spoken also with respect to their power, in as much as wisdome and good­nesse in other men cannot promote the glory of God, and the common good of man, so much as power may in them.

But Stapleton takes foure exceptions to those times, whereby if it bee granted that the Jewish Kings had supreame Ecclesiasticall authority, yet hee sayes, it does not follow that our Kings now ought to have the same. Hee sayes, first, That the Iewish Re­ligion [Page 38] was of farre lesse dignitie and perfection then ours is: ours being that truth of which theirs was but a sha­dowish prefigurative resemblance. Our answere here is, that the Religion of the Jews, as to the essence of it, was not different from ours, either in dignitie or perfection. The same God was then worshipped as a Creatour, Redee­mer, Sanctifier, and that worship did consist in the same kinde of love, feare, hope, and beliefe, and the same cha­ritie, and justice amongst men. The Law of Ceremonies, and externall Rites in the bodily worship of God, did dif­fer from our discipline, that being more pompous and la­borious: but the two great Commandements which were the effects, and contents of all heavenly, spirituall, indis­pensible worship, and service, whereby a love towards God above that of our selves, and a love towards man equall with that of our selves was enjoyned, these two great Com­mandements were then as forcible, and honourable, as they are now. Sacrifice was but as the garment of Religion, obedience was the life, the perfection, the dignity of Reli­gion, and the life, perfection, and dignitie of that obedience consisted then in those weighty matters of the Law, Piety, and mercie, as it now does; but if the Jewish Religion was lesse excellent, and more clogged with shadows, and ceremo­nies in its outward habit, what argument is this for the Supremacie of Regall, rather then Sacerdotall power? The more abstruse and dark the forme of that worship was, and the more rigorous sanctity God had stamped upon the pla­ces, and instruments, and formalities of his worship, and the more frequent, and intricate questions might arise thereabout, me thinks, the more use there was of Sacerdo­tall honour, and prerogative, and the lesse of Regall in [Page 39] matters of the Lord: I see not why this should make Prin­ces more spirituall then their Order would beare, but Priests rather. His second reason is. That all parts of the Jewish Religion, Laws, Sacrifices, Rites, Ceremo­nies, being fully set down in writing, needing nothing but execution, their Kings might well have highest authoritie, to see that done: Whereas with us there are numbers of mysteries even in beliefe which were not so generally for them as for us necessary to be with some expresse acknow­ledgment understood, many things belonging to externall government, and our service not being set down by particu­lar ordinances, or written, for which cause the State of the Church doth now require that the spirituall authoritie of Ecclesiasticall persons be large, absolute, and independent. This reason is every way faulty: for as to matters of Discipline and externall worship our Church is lesse incumbred with multiplicity of Rites, such as Saint Paul cals carnall and beggerly rudiments, and in this respect there is the lesse use of Ecclesiasticall authoritie amongst us: and if popish Bishops doe purposely increase Ceremonies, that they may in­large their own power, they ought not to take ad­vantage of their own fraud. And as for matters of faith and doctrinall mysteries, we say according to Gods ancient promise knowledg doth now abound by an extraordinary effusion of Gods Spirit upon these latter dayes; wee are so farre from being more perplexed with shadows, and mysticall for­malities, or with weighty disputes, that we are, and ought to be a great deal lesse, and we doe the rather suspect all popish traditions, and additions in Re­ligion, [Page 40] because wee see they make use of them for the augmenting of the power and regiment of Pre­lates. And yet if knowledge did not abound, if our Religion were more cloudie, and if the Scriptures, Councils, Fathers, and all learning were now more imperfect to us then they are, I cānot imagin how an uncōfined absolute dominion of Churchmen shold be more necessary thē of Princes. For if absolutenes of power be of necessary use in intricate perplexed mysteries & cōtroversies, yet why must that absolute power be more effectuall in Priests then Princes? is not the counsel of Prelats the same, and of the same vigor to solve doubts, and determine controversies, whether their power be subordinate, or not? doth meer power ad to the knowledg of Priests? or is the power of Priests more virtuous for the promoting of truth, then the power of Magistrates? how comes this vast irreconcilable difference betwixt the go­vernment of the Church and State? In matters of Law, in matters of policy, in matters of war, unlimited power in such as are most know­ing and expert does not conduce to the safety of the Common-wealth: subordinate Counsells are held as available for the discerning of truth, and far more available for the conserving of peace and or­der. And who can then assigne any particular suffi­cient reason, why matters of religion should not as well be determined in the consistory by dependent Prelates, as matters of Law are by the Judges and Justices in their tribunals, where they sit as meere servants to the King?

[Page 41] His third exception is: That God having armed the Jewish Religion with a temporall sword, and the Christian with that of spirituall punishment only, the one with power to imprison, scourge, put to death, the other with bare authoritie to censure, and excommunicate, there is no reason why our Church which hath no visible sword should in regiment be subject unto any other power then only to that which bindeth and looseth.

This reason taketh it for granted, that a­mongst the Jewes the Church and State was the same, had the same body, the same head, the same sword, and that head was tempo­rall, and that sword was materiall. This we freely accept of: but in the next place, with­out any reason at all given, it as freely as­sumes, that Christians now have only a spi­rituall sword in the Church, as that Jews had only a temporall one. A diametricall oppo­sition is here put betwizt Jews and Christians in Church Regiment, and yet no cause shewed, or account given of that opposi­tion.

We have very good colour to argue, that without some strong reason shewed of oppo­sition, Christians ought not to bee so contra­ry to that excellent discipline of the Jewes which God himself ordered, and to introduce I know not what spirituall rule in prejudice of temporall rule: but how will Stapleton prove, that amongst Christians the Church and [Page 42] State are two divided bodies, so as they may admit of two severall heads, and se­verall swords, the one temporall the other spi­rituall, the one yielding precedence as tem­porall, the other predominating as spirituall? This wee desire to see fortified with better proofs.

Hooker in his eighth booke not yet publisht has a learned cleere discourse to shew the fal­lacie, and injustice of this blind presumption. Hee allows that a Church is one way, and a Com­monwealth another way defined, and that they are both in nature distinguisht, but not in substance perpetually severed. Since there is no man (sayes hee) of the Church of England, but the same is a member of the Common-wealth, nor any of the Common-wealth, but the same is of the Church, therefore as in a figure triangle, the base differs from the sides, and yet one and the self-same line, is both a base and a side: a side simply, a base if it chance to be the bottome, and to underlie the rest. So though properties and actions of one doe cause the name of a Common-wealth, qualities and functions of another sort give the name of a Church to a multitude, yet one and the same mul­tiude may be both. Thus in England there's none of one Corporation, but hee is of the other also, and so it was amongst the Jews. Two things cause this er­rour.

First, because professours of the true Religion somtimes live in subjection under the false, so the [Page 43] Jews did in Babylon, so the Christians in Rome under Nero, in such cases true professors doe civilly only communicate with the State; but in matters of their Religion they have a communion amongst them­selves. This now is not our case, and therefore these instances are not proper amongst us.

Secondly, In all States there is a distinction be­tween spirituall and temporall affaires and persons, but this proveth no perpetuall necessity of personall se­paration: for the Heathens always had their spiri­tual Laws and persons and causes severed from their temporall, yet this did not make two independent States among them: much lesse doth God by re­vealing true Religion to any Nation distract it there­by into severall independent communities, his end is only to institute severall functions of one and the same community. Thus farre Hooker most judi­ciously, and profoundly.

Wee must not here expect any satisfaction from our Adversaries, why there should be lesse division betweene Church and State a­mongst the Jews, and lesse use of two seve­rall swords, then is amongst us: 'tis sufficient that they have said it. There's no crime so scandalous amongst our Church-men, or wherein they claime so much spirituall inte­rest of jurisdiction as adultery, yet amongst the Iews that crime was carnall, not spirituall; and its punishment was death inflicted by the Civill Judge, not damnation denounced by the Priest. Now if adultery in these days were [Page 44] better purged away, and lesse countenanced in our Christian Courts then it was amongst the Jews, there might something be alleaged to preferre our moderne inventions before Gods owne Statutes, but when Ecclesiastiall per­sons shall therefore incroach upon Civill, that by, I know not what, pecuniary corruptions and commutations, vice, and scandall may a­bound, we doe strangly dote to suffer it.

For his last reason he says: That albeit, whilst the Church was restrained into one people, it seemed not incommodious to grant their Kings generall chiefty of power, yet now the Church having spread it self over all Nations great inconvenience must there­by grow if every Christian King in his severall Ter­ritorie should have the like power.

By this reason its presumed, that all the U­niverse ought to have but one head on earth, and that Rome must be its Court, and that it must be indued with Oraculous infallibilitie, and so to remayne till the Worlds end: and this must bee admitted out of some obscure generall Metaphors in Scripture, or else God has not sufficiently provided for the wise go­vernment of his Catholike Church. Man can scarce imagine any thing more mischievous, or impossible, then that which these goodly Politicians have invented to be profitable, nay necessary for the universall government of Mankind: for what one man can receive Ap­peals either in temporall or spirituall affaires, [Page 45] or direct finall, unerring dispatches to all the remote climates of the earth at one time? or what a cursed vexation were it for all peo­ple of all languages and customes to be chai­ned to One City, thither to travell for all finall determinations, and there to attend confused sentences, and in the mean time to endure at home endlesse dissentions, and hopelesse divi­sions under the insufficient rule of subordinate limited Princes and Bishops? Surely had Ma­homet preached any such grosse doctrine a­mongst his ragged, barbarous Arabians, hee had never tamed and broken them so easily to his wretched usurpation: Tis wonderfull that our Ancestors could drink of such a cup of in­toxication in the worst of times, but that the nauseous dregs of its bottome should now be obtruded upon us in these golden, shining dayes, is almost past belief.

The Pope never yet had the rule of a third part of the World, but so far as hee ha's had it he ha's given sufficient testimony how insup­portable great Monarchies are, both to the Governour, and the governed. And where the yoke of Rome ha's prevailed, what ha's that infallible judgement, and unlimitable power, which the Pope pretends to for our good, what ha's it availed the Church of God? when the Easterne Churches were in Unitie, this gave them occasion to depart, and revolt, but when the rent was, what vertue [Page 46] had the Pope to reduce them to unite? The like may bee asked concerning all Protestant Countries now falne from Romish obedience, nay of al Turks & Heathens not yet subdued to the triple crown; if Christ intended the Popes infallibilitie for the discovery of all errors and heresies, and his supremacie for the subjuga­tion of al such as would maliciously persevere in discord errours and heresies, how comes this intention to be so defeated, and frustrated? if the Popes keyes be potent enough for both these purposes, why does he not force all men to come in within his sheepfold? and if not, why does he pretend so much? Would Christ put into one Bishops hand an universall Scep­ter, such as the World never before heard of, such as hee himselfe here on earth never exer­cised, and yet leave it contemptible to the greatest part of the World? if ignorance pre­vail and incredulity, let the key of knowledge assist us, and bring us into light; if stubbornes and perversnesse have hardned our hearts, let the key of power dissolve and bruize us: and if hee can doe neither of these, what vertue is there in the Roman Oracle, what benefit is there in that prophetick chaire? what priviledge ha's Peter more then Iohn? Shall the Citie of Rome it selfe be upheld and secured from ever erring and falling away, and shall not England, shall not Scotland, shall not all Nations be the like? The power of the Pope is the same in all [Page 47] Countries, if it faile in England, it may faile at Rome; if it faile not at Rome, it would not faile in England, but that the Pope is lesse propitious. O why should his mercy bee more narrow, then his vertue? O let him once againe gra­ciously ascend his reverent chaire, let him con­gregate generall Councils, and there poure out the treasures of his inspired breast let him there give judgements as cleere, pure, irrefraga­ble, and as obvious to humane apprehension as Scripture it self, nay, if something more suffi­cient then Scripture be necessary for the com­posing of all our strifes, let him give us Solu­tions in a phrase more powerful then the Apo­stles ever used, and prescribe rules more con­vincing then God himselfe, or Christ in his in­carnation ever prescribed, and if Kings and Emperours still make resistance, let him put on his robes of Majesty and terrour, let him passe over them as Serpents and Basilisks, whilst the stroke of his foot upon the earth fils all Coun­tries with battalions of armed men: nay if ter­restriall forces come not in fast enough, let him shake the Heavens with the thunder of his voice, and call downe Seraphims to his atten­dance, and let the highest orders of Heaven give testimony to his earthly Deity. I might frame the like expostulations after a sort a­gainst our own Prelats also, but I forbeare: for if God ha's given them sole knowledge [Page 48] to determine all controversies, and power to enact all Ecclesiasticall Canons, doubtlesse hee ha's given them some binding coercive force correspondent thereunto: and if so, why doe they not expel all dissention by it? if their ver­tue extend no further then to exhortation, why do they urge commands upon us? if they have a commanding power, why do they not second it with due compulsion?

And as this is sufficient to prove indepen­dent power due to Christian Princes in all cau­ses whatsoever, so Historie makes it as plaine that Christian Princes at their first entrance, till Popery beganne to intoxicate them, did clayme, and exercise the same as their due. Constantine had [...] given him for his Title, and wee know hee shewed him­selfe no lesse, and wee know his Successours for divers Ages did assume and verifie the same Title as their due. And therefore Bilson proves out of Socrates, and other Historians, That in the Primitive Christian Emperours times all Eccle­siasticall affairs did depend upon Emperours: and that the greatest Synods, and Councels were called at their appointment: and that Appeals from Councels were reserved to them, and sometimes over-ruled by them: and that all Ecclesiasticall Laws were by them ena­cted, confirmed, and repealed; and that the greatest Prelates were by them ordered, and commanded: and that whole Provinces and Kingdomes were by them visited, and reformed in all cases whatsoever.

[Page 49] And this truth, the learnedst of Papists will nor deny, and those wch do deny the same rely upon some particular excep­tion onely, and have very few instances before the Popes inthronization at Rome, and these of matters of fact, and not rights alledged neither. Valentinian the Elder is one maine Instance, and he when strife was betweene the Ari­ans and the Orthodox Christians would not take upon him to determine the same, his modest Answer was, non est meum judicare inter Episcopos, And Ambrose sayes of him; Inhabilem se ponderi tanti putabat esse Iudicii. Valentinian here was a pious Emperor and Orthodox, but his blame was (as Socrates justly taxes him) that though he honoured those that were of his true faith, and sound opinion, yet he in the meane time let the Arians doe what they list. And this cannot be excused, for if hee was doubtfull of his owne faith, this was ignorance: and if Hee was not, and yet tolerated Aria­nisme, this was neglect in him: and if he did shunne this de­cision as burthensome to him, this was impious: and if as intricate, this was inconsiderate. For what if hee could not judge as a Bishop, could not he therefore judge by Bishops; was not the learning and knowledge of all Bishops, at his command to be imployed, as if it were his owne? Bishops themselves might erre, and dissent, and in that point many of them did erre, and hold against the truth: and without his ayde this division was irreconcileable; but by his influence and superintendence; truth might obtaine a faire tryall, and Bishops themselves might be convinced by Bishops. This case in Divinity might be too intricate for his sole judgment, and too pondrous for his actuall determination: but what he could not doe single, and personally, Hee might well effect by the counsell and advice of his most moderate, and disinte­ressed Clergie: for in Divinity the Prince is as in juridicall, or Martiall affaires, As he is not alwayes the ablest Divine, so neither is he the ablest Lawyer, nor the ablest Souldier, and yet by the advice of Divines, Lawyers, and Souldiers, [Page 50] He may conclude that wisely which neither He without them nor they without him could ever have concluded. There­fore against this remisse, cold slacknesse, and haesitancy of Va­lentinian we may oppose the politike, and couragious resolu­tion of Constantine, Theodosius and diverse other pious Empe­rors, who all did compose debates, and end controversies, and vindicate Truth and Religion from many errors and abuses, wch otherwise had bin endlesse, and remedilesse. After the first 5. or 6. hundred yeares Episcopacy began to invade the rights of Royalty by the Sophistications, and impostures of the See of Rome, and till this last Age, Princes almost every where did blindly and superstitiously too farre abandon their owne right, but by the light of Nature, the wisest Kings in all Countryes were ever the most refractory, and most impati­ent of the Popes tyranny▪ and in the most ignorant times, some there were found, that made resistance to the same.

Much bloud was shed upon this Theme in diverse other Countries, and even in our own stories we find, that though England was prone otherwise to be the Popes Asse, yet in the quarrell of supremacy it was jealous, and had almost perpe­tuall conflicts. I will only cite one story. Henry the second was a very puissant Prince, and in all other things except on­ly Ecclesiasticall. He was fortunate and victorious: but his misery was, that He raigned in such an Age as the Pope was in his Zenith, and had to doe with Becket of all the Popes dependents the most seditious. Henry the first his Grandfa­ther out of the greatnesse of his Spirit and wit, had passed these Lawes; That no Appeal should stand, That no Bi­shops should go out of the Realme, That no Tenant in Capite should bee excommunicated; That no officiall of the Kings should be interdicted without the Kings leave, and consent, And that Clergimen should be subject to secular judgement, and that Lay-men under the King, should judge of Tythes, and other causes Ecclesiasticall.

At these just and necessary Lawes, the Clergie hitherto rested quiet, if not contented, but now a most rebellious [Page 51] Becket arises to spurne against them, and in his mouth they are dangerous incroachments, and breaches upon the Church. Rather than hee will subscribe to these so long e­stablisht Lawes; He departs the Kingdome in contempt of the King, and with all violence and bitternesse that may bee incenses the Pope, the King of France, and all the Italian and French Bishops against his naturall Lord. The King at first gallantly relyes upon the edge of his temporall sword, and whets it sharper in behalfe of his legall prerogative▪ and for some yeares together stands out against the danger of the Popes confounding blow; but at last when Becket the fierce Traytor was slaine, through the execrations and anathemas of the Pope, and by the threats and exclamations of the King of France, and diverse other Bishops and Potentates; He is beaten from his ground, swearing fealty to the Pope and his successors, and admitting of Appeales to Rome. Long it was before hee would submit himselfe in this contestation betwixt a subject, and himselfe to the Romish Tribunall, or yeeld to any condemnation being untryed, and unheard; and it appeares by the Popes forbearance of his last thūderbolt, that the Pope was diffident in his power, and durst not sentence him, if He had not yeelded before the sentence. But I leave Popery, & come now to our reformed times. The dead time of night being now over, Luther began to crow in Germany, and to give notice of light ready to dawn upon the Earth: and no sooner did that light appeare, but that diverse Princes began to awake, and to shake off that blind servitude of Rome which had so long layne upon them, and lock'd up their senses like a deepe sleepe: How be it the light was not alike welcome to all, some fully and wholly gave it entertainement, others opened some Curtaines onely, and so yeelded themselves to a little further slumber. Henry the eighth here in Eng­land was well pleased with that Doctrine which discovered his owne independence, and the weakenesse of the Popes Prerogative: but those further monstrous, deformed errors, and superstitions of Rome, which are founded upon its abso­lute [Page 52] Prerogative, and are as inconsistent with light, as the Prerogative it selfe; He tooke no delight to looke upon. So farre as his owne interest, and worldly advantage was repre­sented by the beames of the Gospell, so farre his eyes thought it amiable And so farre Bishop Gardiner though a Bishop was ready to assist him: but so farre as his spirituall interest, and the generall advantage of his Subjects was con­cerned, so farre, Hee and Gardiner both could remaine as blind as Sir Thomas More: Tis wonderfull that so sharp­sighted a man, as Sir Thomas More was, should lay downe his life in justification of the Popes supremacie; but tis more wonderfull that Gardiner should see the weakenesse of that supremacie, and yet still adhere to diverse other Popish superstitions as absurdly resulting from the same principles. The State of Venice also out of meere policy has long been at defiance with the Court of Rome, so farre as meere rules of Government guide, and direct it: but in all other spiri­tuall delusions, and impostures it is as dead, as heavie-eyed, as ever▪ Spaine, France, and Germany also, though they speake not the same, yet they now doe the same as Venice, they all shut up and impale the Popes Authority within Peters Patrimony, leaving him no command but within his owne Italian territories, and yet besides his authority they cast off nothing else: so much doe we generally esteeme Earth be­fore Heaven, and our temporall advantages before the sub­sistance of our soules. But let reason of State bee what it will, The Parliament here agrees to annex to the Crowne of Hen­ry the eighth and his successors whatsoever sole, indepen­dent power was before challenged in Ecclesiasticall and Spi­rituall things by the Pope, or any Church-Man whatso­ever: And Hooker seemes both to confesse and justifie the same, for sayes H, Our Kings of England when they are to take possession of the Crown, have it painted out before their eyes, even by the very solemnities, and rights of their inauguration, to what affaires by the same Law their supreme power and authority reaches. Crowned we see they are, and Inthronized, and An­noynted, [Page 53] the Crowne a signe of Military dominion, the Throne of sedentary or Iudiciall, The Oyle of Religious, and sacred power. Hee here Attributes as supreme a rule, and as in­dependent in Religious and sacred affaires, as Hee does either in Military, or Iudiciall, and hee accounts that vene­rable Ceremony of Vnction, as proper to the Kings of Eng­land as that of Crowning, or Inthroning.

Neverthelesse, it is now a great objection against this chiefly of Dominion, that it may descend to Infants under age, as it did to King Edward the sixth: Or to Women, as to Queene Mary, and Elizabeth, and whatsoever wee may allow to men, such as Henry the eighth, yet it seemes unrea­sonable, to allow it Women, and Children. The Papists thinke this objection of great moment, and therefore Bel­larmine in great disdaine casts it out, that in England they had a certaine Woman for their Bishop: meaning by that wo­man, Q. Elizabeth: And Q. Elizabeth her selfe knowing what an odium that word would draw upon her, both amongst Pa­pists, and many Protestants also, consults her Bishops about it, and by their advice sets forth a declaration, certifying the world thereby, that shee claymed no other Head-ship in the Church, but such as might exclude all dependency upon forreigne Head-ships, and secure her from all danger of being deposed.

How this paper could satisfie all, I cannot see: My thinkes the Bishops in this did as warily provide for their owne clayme, as the Queenes: for whatsoever power Shee had in the Church, it was either absolute, Coor­dinate, or Subordinate. If it was subordinate, Shee was in danger of deposition, and was to bee ordered, and limited, and commanded by her Superior. If her power was Co­ordinate; She had no more power over her equall, than her equall had over her: and it being as lawfull for her equall to countermand, as it was for her to command: her power would be as easily disabled and made frustrate by her equalls, as her equalls by hers. In the last place therefore if her power [Page 54] or headship were absolute, why did not her Bishops uphold and declare the same? Such dallying with indefinite expres­sions, and dazelling both our selves & others with meere am­biguities does often very great harme, for uncertainty in Law is the Mother of confusion, and injustice, and this is the mo­ther of uncertainty. According to this obscure declaration of supremacy in the Queenes paper many Papists at this day take the Oath penned in the Statute for that purpose: they will abjure the Popes supremacy, as to deposition of Prin­ces: but not in any thing else: and they will hold the King supreme, as to all deposers, but not as to all men else. Those which are not bloudy, and dangerous, but by the light of nature abhorre regicides, rest themselves upon these shallow distinctions: but such as are Iesuitically furious, and mur­drous, break through them as meere Cobwebs: and the more secure Princes are from the other, the lesse safe they are from these. These men will still insist upon absolute supremacy somewhere to rest; and that it cannot rest in Women, or Minors, they will still insist upon this argument, If the Queene be not competent for that lower Order to whom the Word and Sacraments are committed, then shee is not com­petent for that higher Order which has power over the low­er: but the Queene is not competent for the lower, there­fore not for the higher. They say, that to prescribe Lawes to Preachers is more than to preach: and to have power o­ver Ordination is something greater, than to enter into Or­ders, and therefore the Law cannot justly give that which is more, and greater, when God denyes that which is inferior, and lesse. Our Divines make a very short unsatisfying re­ply to this. Their reply is, that though our Bishops owe some kind of subjection to Kings, yet the authority of prea­ching, &c. is not from Kings, but from Christ Himselfe, Christ they say, giveth the Commission, Kings give but a permission only. All the power at last of our Kings, which is acknowledged equall with that of the Iewish, and has been so farre all this while magnified, and defended against Pa­pists, [Page 55] inables them now no further, than to a naked permissi­on in religious affaires, their most energeticall influence is permission.

Tis true, the Commission of the Apostle was from Christ, His Ite & docete, was their authority: And so it remaines still to all their successors; but is it therefore a reason, that there is now, no other Commission necessary? Where Christs Commission was particular, it was good without any other humane commmission, nay permission it selfe was not requi­site: the Contents of that Commission was not only Ito, Do­ceto: but Tu Petre, Tu Paule, &c. Ito, doceto: but now there remaines nothing of that Commission, but the generality, Ito, doceto: the particularity requires now particular Com­missions, and meere permissions will not serve the turne. And as for succession, we may suppose that our Saviours first Com­mission was vigorous, as to that purpose, but we must know, That the Apostles being both Governours and Preachers, all that commission which was given them as Governours, was not given them as Preachers. There must still be successors to the Apostles in Governing, and Preaching: but its not ne­cessary that the same men now should succeed in both offices, and that whatsoever was commanded or granted to the one office, the same should bee granted and commanded to the other The Civill Iudges and Councellors of State under the King are not without Generall Commissions from Hea­ven to doe justice, and preserve order in their severall subor­dinate stations, and yet they depend upon particular commis­sions too from Gods immediate Vice-Gerent. And it seemes to me a weake presumption, that Officers in Religion should have more particular Commissions from GOD, than Officers of State: or that Princes should bee more permis­sive, and lesse influent by way of power in the Church, than in the Common-Wealth. He that observes not a difference betwixt these times under Christian Princes, and those un­der unbeleeving Caesars, is very blind, and He is no lesse, that thinks particular Commissions now as necessary when Princes [Page 56] joyne to propagate the Gospell, as they were when supreme power was abused for its subversion: And so makes no dif­ference betwixt a Nero, and a Constantine. Did Constantine gaine the style of Head-Bishop, or Bishop of Bishops meere­ly by permitting the true worship of God? And let us lay aside the strangenes of the Name, and apply the thing, I meane the same Episcopall power to Queene Elizabeth, as was to Constantine and what absurdity will follow? What is intended by the word [...], which may not bee as pro­perly applyed to Queene Elizabeth, as to Constantine? If the Patriarchs, and Kings of Iudah and first Christian Emperors had jurisdiction, and a legislative power in the Church, nay had dominion over all those which did exercise judiciall power in the Church, and were so exalted in sanctity, and dignity above meere Priests, shall Queene Elizabeth bee bar­red and disabled for the same power and honour meerely by the prejudice of her Sex? The very Papists themselves do grant to some Abbatisses power of jurisdiction over some Ecclesiasticall persons, and this power they hold to be more honourable, than that of suborninate Monkes, and Priests which officiate under them; and yet to officiate they will not grant to Abbatisses, though they grant more than to officiate. Therefore wee see this rule doth not alwayes hold; that Hee which may not undertake the lesser charge, shall not undertake the greater; for the meere sanctity of the person is not alwayes that which gives Law in these cases. Though the person bee not voyd of sanctity, yet some o­ther unfitnesse, and defect may stop and barre in lesse imploy­ments, and yet bee no stop, nor bar at all in matters of a more excellent, and sublime nature. So it is with Infants and VVomen, though the possession of a Crowne be more sacred and honourable, than admission into Orders; yet they shall bee held more capable of a Crowne, than of Orders; because personall imbecillity, and naturall inferiority (as I may so say) is lesse prejudiciall in civill, than in religious af­faires, and in matters of function and service, than in matters [Page 57] of priviledge, and command. God had confined the right and honour of the Priest-hood amongst the Iewes, to one Tribe, and Family onely, and therefore Vzziab might not invade that right, and honour to the infringing of Gods spe­ciall command, and in this respect Vzziah was qualified for a Scepter, yet not qualified for a censer; He was qualified for that authority which was more sacred, yet not for that ser­vice which was lesse. So perhaps it is now under the Gospell, women are expresly barred from the Altar, that very Sex is precisely excluded, and excepted against by God▪ they may not Minister in the Church: yet this is no exception, but that they may Raigne in the Throne, and yet this seemes not to prove that that ministration is more holy, than this raigning, but rather that it is more difficult, and such as requires more personall ability, and naturall perfection. For let Vzziahs case over-rule us. That wch disabled Vzziah for the service of the Altar was not personall incompetence, or want of sanctity: for then the same had disabled him for all higher, and more excellent offices. But we know that Vzziah was not so dis­abled: for he was capable of the Scepter, and by vertue of his Scepter, the whole Temple, and all the sacred things ther­in, all the Order of the Priests and Levites, the whole Law of God, and the state of Religion, and Policy, and the ge­nerall welfare of all Gods holy beloved people were within his guard, and protection, And will any man conceive this to be lesse excellent, than to sacrifice? By vertue of the Scep­ter Moses did consecrate Priests to serve at the Altar, and go­verne their service at the Altar: by vertue of the Scepter Salomon did build, and dedicate the very Temple, and Altar it selfe, with his owne mouth, blesse both them, and those Priests which were to attend them: by vertue of the Scepter, Vzziah himselfe did inherit the same power, and holinesse, and dignity which Moses, or Salomon, or any of his Predeces­sors had, And shal all this seeme lesse worthy and excellent to us, than to serve with a censer? In this Hooker fully concurres with me. He distinguishes betweene an Ordinary and a su­preme [Page 58] Iudge, and He allowes it unfit for Princes to sit as Or­dinary Iudges in matters of Faith and Religion: and yet hee denies not their supreme right and influence of judging. For (sayes H.) an Ordinary Iudge must be of qualities, which in a supreme Iudge are not necessary, because the person of One is charged with that, which the others meere authority dischargeth, without imploying himselfe personally therein▪ It is an error to thinke that the Kings authority can have no force in doing that, which himselfe personally may not doe: for it is impossible, that at one and the same time, that the King should order so maine and different affaires, as by His power every where present are ordered in Peace and Warre; at home, and abroad.

And the King in regard of Nonage, &c. may be unable to performe that thing wherein yeares of discretion are re­quisite for personall action, and yet his authority is still of force: And therefore it is a maxime, that the Kings authori­tie never dyes, or ceases from working.

Sundry considerations then may be effectuall to hold the Kings person from being a doer of that, which notwith­standing his power must give force unto. In civill affaires nothing doth more concerne the duty, or better beseeme the Majesty of Kings, than personally to administer justice. Yet if it bee in case of Felony, and Treason; Lawyers affirme (Stanford l. 2. c. 3.) that well may the King commit his au­thority to an other, to judge betweene him, and the offender: but the King being himselfe there a party, cannot personally sit there to pronounce judgement. Here we see sometimes the King cannot be possibly present to act his part, sometimes defect of knowledge may hinder him, sometimes other ex­ceptions, as being a party, and the like, may barre him from doing those things, which notwithstanding by his substitute power must bee done: and yet this preferres not substitutes before him. So in Vzziahs case, the Priest-hood was for very sufficient reasons in policy, severed from the Kingly of­fice, and that by Gods owne approbation, and command, [Page 59] Vzziah shall not now conjoyne, and unite them again out of a fond pragmaticall humor to the dis-inheriting of the Tribe of Levi, to the disservice of the Crowne, to the hinderance of Religion, and to the violation of Gods command. If Vzziah will content himselfe to move in his owne superior Orbe, and leave the Priests of God to their owne regular subordinate motions, his influence shall give vigor to those actions in them, which are with more honour to him done by them under his superintendence than by himselfe in per­son. For as the Ordinary Iudge deputed by the King, in cases where the King Himselfe either cannot be present, or hath not skill to determine, or may not legally interesse him­selfe, does give judgment, not by vertue of his owne, but by vertue of the Kings authority, and does therefore acquire more honour to his Majesty, than to himselfe: So in the Church the Priest ministring in that imployment, which in all places the King cannot minister in, and which is too diffi­cult for some Kings to minister in, and prohibited to others, yet is not hereby greater or holyer than the King, but even in his very actuall administration it selfe, He is so dependent, and derives such vertue from the Kings supreme, spirituall autho­rity, that the King is supreme, and he but the secondary agent therein. But Bishop Bilson will yet say, that the Priest in the worke of conversion winnes the soule to a willing obedi­ence, and that the Princes worke only by externall, politicall terror, which begets not virtutis amorem, but only formidinem panae, and therefore it seemes that the worke of the Minister and the Prince, differ not only in order, but also in kinde, the one being far more spirituall and divine than the other. I an­swer hereunto, that if power doth only induce a servile feare of punishment, and so cause of forcible forbearance of sin, and if preaching only make a voluntary conquest upon the soule, then by the same reason, the power of Bishops as well as the power of Civill Magistrates is of lesse value than preaching: but this none of our adversaries will agree to. My next answer therefore is, that Preachers in the wonderfull worke [Page 60] of regeneration are not in the nature of Physicall causes, they are rather in the nature of the meanest instrumentall causes under GOD: they are but as Vessels in the hand of Hus­band men, from whence the seed Corne is throwne into the ground. If the Corne fall into the furrow, and there fructi­fie, God opens and enlives the wombe of the Earth, God sends showres and influence from Heaven, God blesses the seeds with a generative, multiplying vertue, nay God casts it into the furrow, from the mouth of the Preacher, and as He uses the mou [...]h of the Preacher, for the effusion of his grain; so He uses the Princes power as his Plough, to breake and prepare the ground: and in this case, the use and service of the plough is as Noble, as that of the Bushell.

Neither is the office of Kings the lesse Glorious, because they can use force; nor Ministers the more Glorious, be­cause they may use none but ethicall Motives, and allure­ments: for power it selfe being a Glorious, Divine thing, it cannot bee ignoble to use it in Gods cause. And therefore wee see Iosiah, and other good Kings are commended for using compulsion: and diverse other Kings which used it not for the removing of Idolatry, and suppressing of the high places, did grievously offend God, and draw curses upon themselves, and their subjects. And whereas it is objected that force and compulsion restraineth only from the act of sin, but restraineth not the will from the liking thereof. We see common experience teaches us the contrary. For Scotland, Holland, Denmarke, Sweden, Bohemia, England, &c. Suffe­red great changes of Religion within a short space, and these changes were wrought by the force of civill Magistrates, and could never else without strange miracles from Heaven have been so soone compassed: but these changes are not the lesse Cordiall, and sincere, because civill authority wrought them. Authority it selfe hath not so rigorous a sway over the soules of men, as to obtrude disliked Religions universally: it must perswade as well as compell, and convince, as well as com­mand [...] or else g [...]eat alterations cannot easily, and suddainly [Page 61] bee perfected. And in this respect the Proclamations of Princes become of [...]entimes the most true, and powerfull preaching that can be: and tis beyond all doubt, that if prea­ching were as a Physicall cause in the act of regeneration of sinners, or reformation of Nations, yet the edicts and com­mands of Princes are sometimes more efficacious Sermons than any which wee heare from out our Pulpits. For let us suppose that a considerable number of our Ministers were sent into Mexico, or Perue, to preach the Gospell of Christ, a­mongst the poore blinde Savages, could wee hope for so great successe thereby without the concurrence of some Prin­ces there, as we might, if some of them would assist, and joyne to advance the same word and doctrine by their wis­dome, and power, which our Ministers should publish with their art, and eloquence? If we cast our eyes back upon for­mer times, also we shall see that before Constantine favoured Religion, the Gospell spread but slowly, and that not with­out a wonderfull confluence of heavenly signes and miracles, wrought by our Saviour, and his Disciples; all which we may suppose had never bin in such plentifull measure shew­ed to the world, had it not bin to countervaile the enemity and opposition of secular authority.

And it may be conceived, that had the Caesars joyned in the propagation of CHRISTS Doctrine, more might have beene effected for the advantage of Religion by their co operation, than all Christs Apostles, Bishops, Pro­phets, Evangelists, and other Elders did effect by their extra­ordinary gifts and supernaturall endowments. We see also that Constantines conversion was of more moment, and did more conduce to the prosperity, and dilatation of Christia­nity, than all the labours, and endeavours of thousands of Preachers, and Confessors, and Martyrs which before had attempted the same. And to descend to our late reformati­ons, wee see Edward the sixth, though very young, in a short time dispelled the mists of Popish error and superstiti­on: and when no men were more adverse to the Truth than [Page 62] the Clergy, yet He set up the banner thereof in all his Do­minions, and redeemed millions of soules from the thral­dome of Hell, and Rome. In the like manner Queene Eliza­beth also, though a woman, yet was as admirable an instru­ment of God in the same designe, and what she did in Eng­land diverse other Princes about the same time did the like in many other large dominions: whatsoever was effected by miracles in the hand of Ministers, after our Saviour, the same if not greater matters were sooner expedited by the ordinary power and wisdome of Princes, when Ministers were gene­rally opposite thereunto.

And as we see the spirituall power of Princes how strang­ly prevalent it is for the truth, so sometimes we see most wo­full effects of the same against the truth. Religion was not sooner reformed by Edward the sixth, than it was deformed againe by Queene Mary. And though many godly Mini­sters were here then setled, as appeares by their martyrdoms: yet all those Ministers could not uphold Religion with all their hands so strongly as Queene Mary could subvert it with one finger of her hand onely. One fierce King of Spaine bound himselfe in a cursed oath to maintaine the Romish Re­ligion, and to extirpate all contrary Doctrines out of his con­fines: if many pious Ministers could have defeated this oath, doubtlesse it had not so farre prevailed, as it doth: but now wee may with teares bewaile in behalfe of that wofull Mo­narchy that one Kings enmity in Religion, is more pernici­ous, than a thousand Ministers zeale is advantagious. And by the way let all Princes here take notice what a dreadfull account of soules, God is likely to call them to: Fort is not the Clergy that are so immediately and generally respon­sible when Religion is oppressed, or not cherished, and when soules are misled, and suffered to goe astray, the abuses of the very Clergy it selfe will be only set upon the Princes ac­count, for according to that vast spirituall power which He hath put into their hands, yea according to that vast spiritu­all power, so will God certainly require at their hands. Let [Page 63] Princes know that preaching is not the onely meanes of sal­vation, nor are Ministers the only Preachers, nor that the Sacraments are therefore efficacious because the Clergy only may administer them; Let them know that though Ministers call themselves only spirituall Persons, and the Lot of God, and the Church of Christ, and put them into the number of Temporall, and Lay-men, and limit them to secular things: yet God will not be so abused; they must make an answer to him for things most spirituall, and for the improvement of those graces and prerogatives which belong to Gods most beloved inheritance, and honoured servants, and neere Offi­cers in his Church. And let Ministers also on the other side learne to acknowledge that Character of Divinity which is so much more fairely stamped upon Princes, than it is upon them, and let them not rob Princes of that influence in sacred things: which they of themselves can never injoy. For as Princes shall answer for them if they imploy their power to the depression of Ministers; so shall Ministers also answer for Princes if they cosen Princes out of their supreme power, out of pretense that Gods message is so delivered to them. Let Ministers assist Princes in their religious and spirituall of­fices, as Aaron, and Hur did Moses. Let them not contend for supremacy in the highest offices of devotion, but like humble servants let them account it their most supreme ser­vice, to attend upon that supremacy. Let them in the most glorious services of Religion looke upon Princes, as Ioab did upon his Master in martiall exployts. Let them be jealous of themselves, that no part of honour due to the indepen­dent power of Princes, may rest upon the secondary instru­ments but returne to the first and highest movers. And thus shal more honour and sanctity passe from Ministers to Kings, and more efficacy and vertue from Kings to Ministers, and more grace and happinesse from both to the people.

Another occasion of mistake, and error in Nazianzen, and Bilson seemes to be, that in comparing the great fruits of Princes, and Priests, in their severall functions, they both [Page 64] speake of the whole order of Priest hood: as if every Prince were therefore lesse spirituall, or excellent than every Priest, because all Priests in some things excell some Princes. If we speak of a Prince and all the Clergy within his dominion, perhaps we may say he is universis minor, and yet he may be singulis major: perhaps he may not doe so much good in the Church as all his Clergy, yet he may doe more than a great number of them. And yet for my part, I am of opinion, that all the Clergie are so dependent, and borrow such ver­tue from the Kings supreme spirituality (as I may so say) that whatsoever good they doe, they ought not to let the honour thereof terminate in them, but returne to him upon whom they depend. And now I thinke, these things being made cleere, that Princes are sacred in respect of their su­preme rule, and spirituall in respect of their spirituall rule, and that Priests have no proper rule at al over mens spirits, or in any Ecclesiasticall cases, but derivative, and subordinate to Princes. I may conclude, that there can be no office, nor acti­on so sacred upon Earth, for which Princes are incompetent in respect of personall sanctity.

And therefore, as it is most erroneous to argue, that Prin­ces are not capable of spirituall rule, because their persons are not holy enough: So it is most undenyably true, and we may safely argue, on the contrary, that no mens per­sons can bee more holy than such as God hath honoured, and intrusted with such supremacy of spirituall rule, as He hath done Princes.

THe next argument which raises the Miter above the Diadem is drawne from the power of the Church in Excommunication: and it is framed thus. That su­premacy which makes Princes to be above the Church, and free from Ecclesiasticall censures, is absurd; but such is here [Page 65] maintained, Ergo: by the word Church may be meant the Catholike Church, or some Nationall Church: The Church Triumphant, or the Church Militant: th Church which was from the beginning, and shall be to the end, or the Church which now is. We apply the Title of Head ship to Princes over no Churches but such as are under their present Dominions, and that Head-ship we account subordinate to Christs, and we allow with Saint Ambrose in some sense, that the King is Intra, and not supra Ecclesiam: For he is not such an universall supreme Head as Christ is, but is a member under Christ the Head. Yet this impugnes not, but that the King may in an other sense be both intra, and supra, as to his owne dominions: for take the Church for Ecclesiasticall persons, and so the King may governe all under Christ, but take it for Ecclesiasticall graces, and so the King may be sub­ject; He may be superior to Priests, yet acknowledge in­feriority to Scripture, Sacraments, &c. And therefore with that of Ambrose, that of Nazianzen may well stand; Thou raignest King together with Christ: Thou rulest together with him; Thy sword is from him; Thou art the Image of God: And surely this is something more glorious than can be applyed in so proper and direct a sense to any Clergie-man whatsoever. But let us briefly see what this spirituall sword of Excommunication is, which the Church, that is, Church­men only clayme, and wherewith they thinke they may as freely strike Princes, as Princes may doe them with the tem­porall.

The grounds in Scripture for Excommunication, are se­verall, not all intending the same thing, yet all are blended and confounded by Clergie-men to the same purpose: wher­as we ought to put a great difference betweene Excommuni­cation, and Non-communication, and in Excommunicati­on, betweene that spirituall stroke, and punishment, which was ordinary in case of contempt, and that which was extra­ordinary in cases of most hainous nature. Non-communicati­on may be supposed to have beene from the beginning; and [Page 66] by common equity; for Gemmes were never to be cast to Swines, nor the priviledges and Treasures of the Church to bee imparted to such as were enemies and strangers to the Church. Heathens and Publicans hated the Religion of the Iewes, and therefore it was hatefull to the Iewes to communi­cate with them, either in matters of Religion, or in offices of friendship. The Iewes did not forbeare all civill conversing with them, but all familiarity they did forbeare, and yet the forbearance of familiarity was no proper punishment to them: Nor was it a thing spiritually inflicted by authority, but by generall, and naturall consent practised. So men of the same nature, as Publicans and Heathens now, viz. such as hold our Religion contemptible, or whose profession is scan­dalous to Religion, they ought to be to us as they were to the Iewes; to mingle familiarly with them cannot stand with our owne safety, or the honour of Religion, or the Law of common decency: but those whom we account as Publicans, we doe not make Publicans, whom we shun as infectious, we doe not punish as rebellious: their actions we doe generally detest, but their persons we doe not judicially condemne. Princes under the Law might not eate of the Shew bread, nor approach the Sanctuary being in a polluted condition, nor in case of Leprosie might they be admitted into the Con­gregation of the Lord, so nor bastards, &c. but these are all in­stances of Non-communion, not of Excommunication: and the reason of Non-communion is perpetuall, so that if Prin­ces in open contempt of the Sacraments should desire them at the Ministers hands, Ministers ought rather to dye than to administer them. But to deny the Sacrament is not any spiri­tuall obduration, or castigation; to this denyall, no speciall authority is necessary, neither to that authority is any coercive force internally working upon the soule granted. Cain ha­ving committed an unnaturall murther was generally abhor­red amongst his brethren and abandoned as unfit for humane society: but this was a crime proper for the temporall sword, and if this was a proper punishment it was temporall. And it [Page 67] is plainly cleered to us, that adultery it selfe by Gods Law was punished by the temporall, not spirituall sword, and that abscissio animae amongst the Iewes was ever spoken of corpo­rall punishment by death, the inffliction whereof was only left to the temporall Magistrate; and that there was no dif­ference observed betweene Crimes Spirituall, and Crimes Temporall. Non-Communion, then we grant to have bin of ancient use, and perpetuall, but we wish great caution and circumspection to be had therein amongst Christians, for as visibly prophane persons are to be rejected, so no former pro­fanenesse ought to be cause of rejection, where the party with outward professions of repentance, and gestures of re­verence craves the mysteries at the Ministers hands, as almost all Christians doe. For in such case if the Sacrament, then the word also may be denyed, and so no manner of salvation shall be left to such as have bin formerly vitious, whatsoever their present demeanour be.

To come now to Excommunication, or the Spirituall Sword, and sentence of the Church, as it was used in the Pri­mitive times, yet so wee finde differences of it amongst our Divines. That incestuous Corinthian which was said to be traditus Satanae, as Chrysostome conceives, was not ejected out of the Church by ordinary excommunication, but was mi­raculously left to Satan, ut percelleretur vulnere malo, aut morbo, and such was the punishment of Ananias, and his Wife, and of Elymas, &c. according to Ierom, Ambrose, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, &c. This excommunication, if it may be called so, was a corporall punishment, and there is no appearance of any internall obduration by the binding power of the Minister: and it was miraculous, and therefore though it was of use then, when the Keyes of Church-men could not erre, and when a Temporall Sword was wanting, yet now it is utterly uselesse, and abolisht. For any other excommunication of present and perpetuall necessity in Ec­clesiasticall regiment there is little proofe in Scripture, it is the spirituall Scepter of our Hierarchrists, without which their [Page 68] Empire would appeare meerely imaginary: and therefore their zeale is strong for it, though their grounds be weake. It seemes to me a very darke deduction, that the Keyes of Heaven in the Gospell must needs import reall power, and jurisdiction in Church-men, and onely in Church-men; and that that power and jurisdiction must needs intend such a spi­rituall sword, as our present form of excommunication is, and that that sword is as miraculous as it was, or as usefull, as if it were miraculous; and that the stroke of it is meerly spiritu­all, and not to be supplyed by the temporall sword: and that Princes are as well lyable to it as other Lay-men. Ierome sayes, that with God not the sentence of the Priest, but the life of the sentenced party is look'd upon, and regarded; and sayes he, Vt Leprosum mundum vel immundum Sacerdos facit, Sic alligat vel solvit Presbyter. It should seeme our Priests now have the same power to try and discerne scandalous persons amongst us, as the Iewish had Leapers in their times: and no man supposes that the Iewish Priests had any vertue, or force in their judgements to purge such as were un­cleane, or to infect those which were cleane, they were held the most fit and impartiall judges, but the matter to bee judged of was visible, easie, and sensible. So much as this, no man will deny to our Ministers, for if they binde, and shut Heaven to persons sensibly profan, not altering at all the con­dition of such as they binde, and shut out, this is no such strange Spirituall Sword, and Celestiall power, and super­eminent dominion, as they have hitherto pretended to, neither is it of any such great consequence in the Church of God.

But if Ministers can yet by vertue of their Keyes, either search into the reines and hearts of hypocrites, as the Apo­stles did, or alter the condition of such as are subject to them, either by absolving, or obdurating the guilty, or can effect any remedy in the Church for the taking away of scandall, by their spirituall power, which the temporall ru­ler doth not effect as the Apostles may be supposed to have [Page 69] done; This is more than the Iewish Priests ever professed, this is supernaturall, and wee ought to admire it. I doe not beleeve that our Ministers will lay clayme to any such miraculous vertue and infallibility, and if they did, I hope they would give us some signes and demonstrations ther­of by opening Heaven to thousands, and by confoun­ding all incorrigible opposers of Religion. If Nero had resorted to Peters ministery, desiring to bee made parta­ker of the Word and Sacraments, out of fraud and diffi­mulation, Peter doubtlesse would not have refused him, and cast him off, without a certaine insight into his hypocrisie: but if Peter did discerne his hypocrisie, and reject him, yet our Ministers cannot discerne the like, and therefore can­not reject in the like manner. With us take Excommunica­tion, as a spirituall punishment, as it hardens, and drives from Repentance (for so the shutting of Heaven inti­mates) and our Ministers should bee cruell to use it where they are ignorant of the heart: and take it as a wholesome remedy, and fit meanes to draw to repentance, as corporall punishments, sometimes are (though it bee strange to con­ceite the like of spirituall) yet their vertue being ignorantly applyed, is no proper vertue. For in case of utter impeni­tence, and open perversenesse, Heaven is shut without the Ministers power: and in case of fained penitence, the Mini­sters Key cannot open effectually, though he discerne not the fraud: and in case of true penitence, if the Minister be mista­ken, yet Heaven will not remaine shut. Howsoever if Priests may now Excommunicate as they pretend, yet this con­cludes not, that they may excommunicate Princes. We know the Primitives did use excommunication, very moderatly, and tenderly, and not without great policy, and respect had to the good of the Church, and therefore Saint Aug. openly avers, that excommunication is a proud, pernicious, and sa­crilegious attempt, when it is denounced against any conside­rable number of people, ubi periculum sit schismatis. We must know that it is of worse example when it is used against Princes [Page 70] than diverse other great bodies and societies: in as much, as one Prince is of more consequence and power than thou­sands of other Lay-men. We know also that in all judg­ments there is a necessity of legall tryall to precede convicti­on: and that great multitudes may be convented, examin'd, sentenced, and punished with lesse disturbance of peace, lesse violation of Majestie, and lesse obstruction to policy, than those which sway the Ball imperiall. And if the condem­nation of Princes might bee upon due tryalls without vio­lence, yet the execution of the sentence would produce more grievous and rigorous events in them, than in private men: for how shall the people honour, obey, and worship him in the State as Gods Lievtenan [...], whom they see accursed, cut off, and abhorred in the Church as the Devils Vassall? That which was obtruded upon private men at first as a wholsom Corrosive plaister for their spirits, declined after into corpo­rall penances, and after that into pecuniary mults: but what have beene the sufferings of private men in comparison of that which Princes have lost hereby to the Clergie? Vpon the Excommunication of Princes, whole Nations have bin interdicted, whole States ruined, the innocent with the obsti­nate, the Prince with the people all have bin sacrificed to bloud thirsty Priests, under pretence of Obedience to the holy Church.

It will be objected, that if Princes be not this way punisha­ble, they are no other way punishable, and that it is very mis­chievous in the Church, that there should be any scandall gi­ven, and no meanes left for its purgation, and expiation.

I answer, The Iewish Kings did sinne in the most offen­cive manner that can be imagined; yet God assigned no spi­rituall Rulers for their Castigation, and the Heathen Empe­rors were also free from any coercive restraint or punishment, and this God suffered, and we must suppose, that if it had bin so extremely and publikely mischievous, God would not have suffered it. Besides, in civill transgressions of the Law Priests doe not usually clayme jurisdiction (though Saint [Page 71] Ambrose vindicated murder upon Theodosius) for so their power would be as temporall, and as large as the Princes, and yet there is no reason why God should not have left a judicatory to punish civill violations in all men whatsoever, as well as Ecclesiasticall.

In the last place also, if scandal shal not remaine unpunishable in the supreme temporall Magistrate, yet it shall in the spiri­tuall, and that is a mischiefe of the same nature as the other. For if the King shall abide the judgement of this Bishop, or that Consistory, yet what judgment shal that Bishop or Con­sistory abide? If this spirituall supremacy rest in any one, that one must be unpunishable: for two supremes are things incompatible: and if this supremacy rest in more than one, this is not consistent with Monarchy: for either the one or the other must be predominant, and transcendent. We reade that lustinian did command the Clergy to be proceeded a­gainst by excommunication, suspension, and deprivation, and we cannot deny this to be his right, and all other Princes in the like manner, when misdemeanours are scandalous in the highest Cleargy-men, or Consistores; and we know that such command and constraint in Iustinian is more than to excom­municate, suspend, or deprive. We may justly therefore in­ferre, that Iustinian having a power above excommunication, ought not himselfe to be excommunicated, by those which were under his power: for so the excommunication of the inferior would disable the excommunication of the superi­or. And since excommunication cannot be promiscuously and oppositely used by two, one against the other, without variance, and confusion, but either the one, or the other must be above excommunication, it is more reasonable that the higher bee exempted, and priviledged than the lower. And so it is a stronge argument, that Princes are not liable to excommunication, because even in the power of excom­munication it selfe their function is more excellent, and their power more sublime, than theirs is, which excommunicate under them, and at their command, the Prince doing herein [Page 72] the nobler office—quantum qui navem temperat, anteit— Remigis officium— but when it is argued against Princes, that they may be excommunicated by Priests; because they beare offices lesse sacred, and serve God in places lesse glorious than Priests, the grounds are here utterly false, and repugnant to all right reason, and sound Divinity. Let us not then doubt to submit all things under one supreme on Earth, submitting him to his supreme in Heaven; For it is no small thing, as we imagine, in such case to be left to the searching judgment of God, for God is not negligent of his office therein, nor need we doubt, or hold our selves utterly remedilesse, whilst we can say truly, Omne sub regno graviore regnum est. And let us not mistake our supreme on earth, for if God had in­tended to have left us a spirituall sword and miraculous judi­catory under the Gospell, never before knowne, or usefull to the world, and that of perpetuall necessity, doubtlesse he would have left us some cleere command in Scripture, and not have involved his meaning in metaphors so intricate, and ambiguous.

THe next argument against the Soveraigne Dignity of Kings is this. If servants are to be measured by the degree of their Master whom they serve, they are the greatest servants, which serve Christ: But Ministers serve Christ: Ergo, This can decide nothing for Princes and Priests, serving both the same Master; The argument hath the same force for Princes, and for Priests, and if it be further said, that Christ as a Priest, is greater than Christ as a Prince, and that Princes therefore serving under him as a Prince, are not so great as Priests serving under him as a Priest, I shall deny that to bee so, for Christ as Mediator was inferior to his Father, and all workes of his regiment over the Church [Page 73] are not done by him as Mediator, but doe belong to his Kingly Office, and as to his Kingly power, He is equall with the Father.

THe next Argument therefore of truer force is this: There can be no office more sacred, or dignity more excellent, then such as is signified under these glori­ous Titles of Gods, Starres, Angels, Embassadors, Rulers, Fathers, Stewards, Pastors, Leaders, Teachers: but these glo­rious Titles are applyed to Ministers, Ergo. Wee will ac­knowledge all these Honourable badges given to Ministers, and duely given: and wee will acknowledge these no empty words without truth, and so make words and things contrary: and we will acknowledge the Function of Ministers to bee more venerable than any amongst men, besides that which beares the sword, the Embleme of Gods imperiall Majestie. But to such as are Gods sword-bearers upon Earth, we con­ceive Ministers ought to give place, and pay subjection, as humbly as any others. The preminence of Kings, we hold to be three ways manifest: in order, in measure, and in kind. In the very sanctity of the Priest-hood it selfe we conceive the ministration of Priests to be subordinate to Princes, in­asmuch as to superintend in the most religious affaires is due to Princes, and to officiate only to Priests, and to superintend is more than to officiate.

Secondly, In measure we conceive Princes excell also, in asmuch as in religious affaires such Priests have the charge of such flockes, and such Bishops of such Priests▪ but all both Bishops, Priests, and flockes are under the Kings charge. And not only in religious affaires, but in civill also the authority of Princes is both intensive, and extensive many wayes, where Priests may not at all intermeddle. And though to governe Christians as Christians, be the most transcendent honour of Kings; yet to governe men, as men: and not only to governe but to governe well, is a thing of divine impression.

[Page 74] Thirdly, in kinde the regiment of Princes is far excelling, for the regiment of Kings is a true proper regiment assisted with reall power, decored with externall honour, founded in the generall consent of men, and blessed by the gratious influence of God, but the rule of Priests is but ethicall, or metaphoricall only, its utmost vigor is but perswasive, and is not at all coercive, either inwardly, or outwardly: and that subjection which it challengeth is not to it selfe, but to the Word and Sacraments, whereto it selfe rendreth as much, as it requireth from others. This generall answer might suf­fice, but to each particular Title we will briefly reply fur­ther. Ministers they are GODS, viz. to such as are under their cure: but then as they are GODS to o­thers, so Princes are GODS to them. Thus Moses was a God to Aaron, though Aaron was a God to his inferiors. Ministers are Stars, but not in magnitude equall to the Sun; neither is their light and influence so independent as the Suns. Ministers are Angels, viz. upon earth, and their internall piety is like a shining rayment to them amongst men, but they serve under Gods on Earth, whose robes of Majesty are every way resplendent, as well externally as internally. Mini­sters are Embassadors, but all Embassadors persons are not of the like honour, nor all their Embassages of the like mo­ment, nor all their Commissions of the like extent: and in all these respects, Preachers are inferior to Princes, being joy­ned to them, as Aaron was to Moses for a spokesman, or an Interpreter only. Ministers are Rulers, viz. quoad vim dire­ctivam, but not quoad vim coactivam. Ministers are Fathers, viz. such as have been Gods instruments to regenerate us, and so as Saint Ierome sayes, they are the Fathers of our soules, and perhaps, as Chrysostome sayes, in this respect they are more to be honoured than our naturall parents. But Mi­nisters alwayes, and onely are not so our Parents, and they that are so our Parents, are not so physicall, and selfe effica­cious causes as our naturall Parents are: but if they may chal­lenge more honour than our fleshly Parents, yet this advances [Page 75] them not above Kings, who are both politicall, and Spirituall Fathers also. Fabius the Consull, though he was to pay Ho­nour and reverence to his naturall Father, yet he was to de­mand a greater measure of the same from him being his poli­ticall son: and it did not mis-beseeme him to prefer the ci­vill right before the physicall: Yet Fabius here was a meere Magistrate, and in that farre lesse glorious than our Christian Magistrates are; Ministers are Stewards, but not the highest in the house of God; for Princes are Stewards also and only ac­countable to God, but they are accountable to Princes them­selves. And as Stewards doe provide food for those, by whom themselves are fed, and manage only but one part of their Lords affaires: so it is with Ministers: under Princess Ministers are Pastors, Leaders, Teachers, their Doctrine is their food wherewith they comfort the people, their per­swasion is the light wherewith they secure them from fal­ling, they feede by their exhortations, and guide by their de­hortations, but all these are offices of a servant, rather than priviledges of a Master, and even in these offices they are sub­ordinate also. So the Pilot at Sea may have the safety of his Prince committed to his direction, charge, and rule: So the Commander in Warre gives order for all affaires of the bat­taile, assigning to the King Himselfe a fit station: So the Iudge in matters of Law by his just decree bindes the right of his owne Master: So the Physition limits and prescribes rules of diet, and sets downe Lawes of exercise to his Sove­raigne Lord.

In all these cases there is a kinde of Obedience due from Kings, and that obedience implyes some kind of inferiority: and yet this obedience of the King, doth not drowne the higher and greater obedience of the Subject, nor doth this inferiority contradict that which is of a farre other quality, and degree. In the selfe same manner also the Priest offici­ates in the Church, perhaps before the King, perhaps before his owne Metropolitan, at this time, in this place, and in this office, there is honour, reverence, and obedience due to him [Page 76] from the King, and Metropolitan: yet this doth not exempt him from that stronger and holyer tye of subjection, awe▪ and subordination, by which he is alwayes bound to those which governe him in other things; when Ambrose therefore sayes Honor & sublimitas Episcopalis nullis poterit comparatio­nibus adaequari: and againe, Nihil potest esse in hoc seculo ex­cellentius Sacerdotibus, nihil sublimius Episcopis reperiri: wee answer, if he here include Princes, as having Episcopall power, and a jurisdiction both over Priests and Bishops, we agree hereunto, but if he exclude Princes, we exclude this from our beliefe. And againe when he sayes: if you com­pare Episcopall sublimity to the brightnesse of Kings, or Dia­dems of Princes, that of Kings and Princes will be more in­ferior than leade, compared with gold: we answer, if he here intend the meere secular authority of Princes in things meer­ly temporall, we suppose some mild construction may bee al­lowed: but if he speake of the intire Soveraignty, and Pre­rogative of Princes, and put that as lead in comparison of the golden Miter, we reject him as erroneous. That which Chrysostome sayes, that more awe is due to Priests, than to Kings and Princes, we admit also in this sense, viz. to the Embassages of God in their mouthes, not to their persons: and those Embassages also and instructions we oppose to the meere civill Ordinances of Kings, not to religious injuncti­ons, wherein Princes are sent with larger Commission than they are. And whereas hee sayes further of the power of Priests, that God Himselfe would not impart it to Angels, or Arch-Angels wee may adde also nor to Princes: yet this concludes nothing to the derogation of Angels, or Arch-Angels or Princes. For the Angels, &c. though they have not the same Ministery in the same kinde, and order, yet they have a more glorious and heavenly, and consequently so may Princes. That which Saint Augustine sayes also that Princes beare the Image of God, Bishops of Christ, We willingly consent to, and yet by Bishops here we do not intend only such Church-Governours as our Bishops now in England are, [Page 77] but all other such as doe the same offices over Gods people, whatsoever their stiles, or externall additions be otherwise. And these things we conceive ought to receive such constru­ctions, because our Saviour Himselfe did alwayes decline all State and pompe, and recommend the same lowly president to his followers; with strict command not to exercise any Lordly Dominion, nor to assume the Name of Rabbi upon them, ever pressing this; That he came to serve, and not to be served. And yet in the meere Name of Lord, or Rabbi there could be no offence, if the power and grandour belong­ing to those names, had not bin displeasing to him: and if it was displeasing in those his immediate followers whom he had made governours as wel as Preachers, and for their better go­verning had indued with many miraculous gifts, to discerne spirits, and to open and shut Heaven: and inriched with many other weighty graces, we cannot imagine it should now be pleasing in our Ministers, where lesse power is necessary, and lesse vertue granted. However it is farre from our meaning to detract or derogate any thing from that internall reverence which is due to Christs Embassadors, and Stewards, &c. in the Church, we know that he that despises them, despises Christ Himselfe, according to Christs own words, our mea­ning is only to place them next and in the second seate of Ho­nour after Princes, and Rulers, and Iudges which have Scep­ters committed to them by God, either mediately, or imme­diately. Cyp. sayes well, that our Saviour being King and God did Honour the Priests and Bishops of the Iewes, though they were wicked, for our instruction: we grant that our Sa­viour ought in this to be imitated, and that all Priests whether they have such command or no, as the Iewish had, or whether they bee Religious or no: yet for Christs sake which is our High-Priest, and their Head, we ought to pay all reverence and awe to them.

[Page 78] THe last Argument urged is this. That Order which is of the greatest necessitie in Religion, without which no Church can at all subsist, is most Holy and excel­lent, but such is the sacerdotall order, for Religion had sub­sistence under the Apostles without Princes, and that it never had nor could have under Princes, without Priests: Ergo, This is no way true, for Religion can have no being without men, and men can have no being without government, and therefore as to this first, and most necessary being, wee may justly say, that the Gospell it selfe was as well prote­cted by Caesar, which hated it, as by Peter which preached it: For Peter did owe his civill being to Caesar, and without this civill being, his Ecclesiasticall being had perished. Besides Peter, &c. was not only a Preacher, but also a Governor, and those offices which he did as a Governour, might be as much conducing to the welfare of Religion, as those which hee did as a Preacher: and yet for want of the civill Magi­strates further assistance, both offices were some way defe­ctive, and perhaps, had bin wholly unprofitable, had not miraculous gifts and graces superabounded to supply that defect. Howsoever, it is more true, that after the Creati­on Religion did subsist under Princes onely without Priests, for untill the Priest-hood was severed in Aron, Adam, Mel­chisedeck, &c. were not so properly Priests, as Princes: for though they performed the offices of Priests, yet they had no other Consecration to inable them therefore, than their Regall Sanctity, and sublimity. If the meere officiating did make a Priest, then the Priest-Hood were open to all: and if some right and warrant be necessary, it must orginally flow from Princes, and they which may derive it to others, have it, till they derive it, in themselves. The essence of Priest-Hood doth no more consist in the rites and Ceremo­nies [Page 79] of Consecration, than Royalty doth in Coronation: and the due warrant of lawfull authority being that essence, before that warrant granted, we must looke upon authority as including that warrant within its vertue: and after that warrant granted, as not exhausted of its vertue. When the Priest-hood was separated from the greater, and confered up­on the inferior, some formall Ceremonious resignation ther­of was thought necessary: but before that resignation till Moses, wee may well conceive that Princes did officiate in their owne rights, without borrowing any thing therein from Ceremonies, or from any higher power than their own.

I have now done with Arguments of the first kinde, which are urged against the sanctity, and competence of Princes, in Ecclesiasticall and Spirituall things. I come now to answer such things as are further objected against other de­fects of qualification in them, especially in learning, know­ledge, and theologicall understanding.

THe maine argument here, is thus: Whosoever is fit­est to direct to Truth, is also fittest to command for Truth: but Ministers being most skilld in Divinity are most fit to direct, Ergo.

In answer hereunto, I must make appeare.

1. That Ministers are not alwayes most learned.

2. That the most learned are not alwayes the most judi­cious.

3. That learned and judicious men are not alwayes Or­thodox, and sound in faith.

4. That there is no necessitie in policy, that the most lear­ned, judicious, and sincere men should be promoted to high­est power in the Church.

And first, we deny not that the blessing of God doth u­sually accompany the due act of Ordination, to adde gifts and [Page 80] abilities to the party ordained: we only say, that Gods grace like the winde hath its free arbitrary approaches and recesses, and is not alwayes limited, or necessitated by the act done of consecration. And we say also, that as God usually sancti­fies Ministers for their function, so he doth also Kings: and when he did lay his command upon Kings to have a Copy of his Law alwayes by them, to reade and study it for their di­rection, we conceive it is intimated to us what kinde of know­ledge is most fit for Kings, and what kinde of grace God doth most usually supply them withall. King Edward the sixth, Queene Elizabeth, and King Iames of late, and hap­pie memory were so strangly learned and judicious in Divi­nity, that we may well thinke there was something in them above the ordinary perfection of nature: and had they per­haps relyed lesse upon the greatest of their Clergie in mat­ters concerning the interest and honour of the Clergie, the Church might have been more free from these controversies, and disturbances at this day.

Counsellors of State were by a wise King of Spaine com­pared to Spectacles, and so may Prelates also, but as the same King well observed, those eyes are very wretched which can see nothing at all without them. Tis as much wis­dome in Princes to look into the particular interests of Coun­sellors, and not to be too light of beliefe, as tis to do nothing without counsell and to suspect their owne imaginations. If we did attribute to our Iudges a freedome from all fallibility and corruption, and so intrust all Law into their hands, this would be as dangerous, as to allow Iudges no credit at all. The Anabaptists which rely only upon their own private Enthu­siasmes are not mislead into greater idolatry, and slavery than the Papists, which renounce their owne light, and reason, to cast themselves wholly upon the directions of their Ghostly Fathers. Our Prelates at this day have not so rigorous an Empire over our beliefe as the Papists grone under, yet they have given us a taste of late, what Canons should be held most religious and fit for us, if we would admit all to bee in­disputable: [Page 81] which they thinke fit to bee imposed upon us. And truely when Clergie men were confessed to be the on­ly Oracles and infallible Chaires of Divinity in the world, twas but a modest Law my thinkes, that all Lay-men being on Horse-backe, and meeting Clergy-men on foote, should perpetually dismount, and resigne their horses to Clergie-men: sure those times which thought this reasonable, and just were prety modest times, and Lay-men did not deserve so good. In the second place also admit Clergie-men to be on­ly and alwayes learned, yet the learnedst men are not alwayes the wisest, and fittest for action. Sometimes where great read­ing meets with shallow capacities, it fumes like strong Wine in their heads, and makes them reele, as it were, under the burthen of it: it causes sometimes greater disquiet both to themselves, and other men. In our Ancestors dayes when all learning was ingrossed by the Clergie, and thrust into Cloysters, and Colledges from the Laity, yet there were many grave and wise States-men that were as an allay to the inso­lent, and vaine excesses of the Clergie, or else this State had bin often ruined. But admit in the third place, that Clergie-men are alwayes more learned and wise than all Lay-men, yet we see they are not more free from errors, heresies, and jars amongst themselves, than other men, but rather lesse. When Schismes rise amongst Divines, as they doe almost perpetual­ly, Divines being thereby banded, and divided against Di­vines, what can the poore Laicke doe? both sides he cannot adhere to, and if he adhere to this, that side condemnes him, and if to that, this condemnes him: if hee make use of his judgment herein, than hee trusts himselfe more than the Priest, and if he use not his judgment at all; He commits him­selfe meerly to fortune, and is as likely to embrace the wrong, as the truth: if he apply himselfe to the Major party, that is hard somtimes to discern▪ and if it be discernable, yet it is ma­ny times, the erroneous party. The Papists are not the major part of Christians, Christians are not the major part of men, The orthodox amongst us are not the major part of Calvinists Calvinists are not the Major part of Protestants.

[Page 82] Before the Law the Minor part worshipped the true God, and amongst those which worshipped the true God, the Mi­nor part were heartily his servants, and made a Conscience of their wayes. After Moses also when the Iewes began to mingle with the Canaanites, and other bordering Heathens in the manner of their sacrifices and high places, a very small part sometimes kept it selfe pure from those pollutions, and innovations. And in that great rent under Ieroboam ten tribes of twelve estranged themselves from God, set up a new spu­rious false worship in Bethel. And we reade long before the Captivity, that Ephraim was divided against Manasseh, and Manasseh against Ephraim, and both against Iudah. Iudah also it selfe was never wholly untainted, for from the Captivity, sundry sects, and factions had distraited it, in so much that when our Saviour came into the world, there was scarce sin­cerity or truth to be found, and that that was, was not most eminently amongst the greatest Scribes, Pharisees, or Priests. In all those times if there was such an infallibility in the Chayre of Moses (as the Papists dreame of) it did but little availe the world, for he that then would have sought for the true way to walke in, disclaiming utterly his owne light and understanding He must not have sought it amongst the mul­titude: and if he had sought it amongst the Priests, he would have seene divisions there: and if amongst Prophets, Hee would have found the same there also. God did not deliver Oracles, nor inspire Prophets, at all times upon all occasions for the ceasing of differences, and contestations; He did ap­peare in love, but not without all Majesty; He did shew grace, but not according to obligation. After our Saviours As­cension a blessed Spirit of infallibity did rest upon the Church to direct in intricate debates, and to prevent schismes, till a perfect Gospell was establisht: but this Spirit in those very times had not residence in any one mans breast at all times, to give judgment in all things. The greatest of the Apostles might severally vary and dissent in points of great concern­ment, and therefore they had consultations sometimes, and [Page 83] when consultations would not satisfie, they did assemble in a greater body; and when those assemblies were, the wis­dome of the Spirit did not alwayes manifest it selfe in those which were of highest order, but sometimes the inferior did reprove and convince the superior, and the superior did sub­mit, and yeeld to his inferior. But after one age or two, when the Spirit of God had consummated, the maine establishment of Religion, though it preserved the Church from a totall deviation, it secured not all parts thereof from all grosse pre­vayling rents, and Apostasies, neither did it affixe it selfe, or chuse any certaine resting place in any one part of the world more than an other. Three ages being now runne out, here­sies of a foule nature beginning to spring up and increase with Religion, it pleased God to send Constantine to ayd the truth against error, and impiety: in his power now it was to congregate Bishops of the best abilities, for the discussing and discovering of truth, and for the upholding the same being discovered. When Bishops contended against Bishops, and Presbyters against Presbyters, and when Arianisme was de­fended by as great a number of Divines as it was opposed, so that from the wisdome of Divines, no decision could be ex­pected, then doth the power and policy of one Emperor, by Divines remedy, that, which a thousand Divines by them­selves could never have remedyed. From the Bishop of Rome the Orthodox party could obtaine no succour, till Constan­tines Scepter proved more vertuous than his Crosiers: and when the Councell was by Constantine called, and ordered, the Bishop of Rome was not the onely Oracle in that Coun­cell, neither had that great trouble of assembling been, if one Bishop had then bin more oraculous than all. The same of­fices also which Constantine did in his dayes, many other god­ly Emperors did in their raignes: and had not they done them, no one Bishop could; for the Catholike Bishops were many times inferior in number, and power to the Heretikes: and if the Pope had then had the power to utter Oracles, yet not having power to inforce, and authorise the same upon all [Page 84] opposites, hee could not have advantaged Religion amongst Heretikes, more than hee doth now amongst Protestants, Iewes, Turkes, or Pagans. If God gave infallibility to one Bishop, for the availe of all the world, why doth not that Bishop availe the whole world? Why is so great a light put under a Bushell? Why are not all men illuminated by it? And if God had no regard therein but to that remnant which worships the Pope, if his only ayme therein was at the sal­vation of Papists, why is this made a ground of universall authority to the Pope, or of generall priviledge to all Bi­shops? But I am to speake now to Protestants which hold no one Bishop infallible, but the whole order of Bishops freer from fallibility, than any other condition of men: ther­fore to such, I shall instance in Rome it selfe what multitudes of Divines; of learned, profound Divines; of politike, Sagacious Divines for many ages together have beene drunke and bewitched with the superstitions, Idolatries, blasphe­mies, and heresies of that inchanting City? Can it bee thought safe for Princes and Lay-men wholly to abjure their owne understandings, and yeeld themselves Captives to the dictates of Divines only, when so many Millions of them for so many ages, notwithstanding all their exquisite learning and rare abilities, devote themselves to such sottish impo­stures, and grosse impieties, nay to some such infernall, diabo­licall tenets? Can men still persist to give up their judge­ments wholly to other men for their callings sake, or for their learning and wisdome supposed, when we see this is the very same rock, whereupon Rome suffers Ship-wrack, and this blind opinion the very snare wherein so great a part of the world still lies intangled? But I will avoydeprolixity.

And now in the fourth place, I come to shew, that if we will take all these things for granted, and ascribe all learning, knowledge, and freedome from variance to all Clergie-men and to Clergie-men only, yet it doth not follow that they are necessarily to rule, and command in chiefe. Nay I shall make it appeare, that it is not only not necessary, but that it is ma­ny [Page 85] wayes mischievous, that the ablest Divine should alwayes be supreme in all causes, and over all persons Ecclesiasticall. Power and wisdome are things of a different nature, for pow­er cannot stand with inferiority, but wisdome may be as ef­ficacious in a man of meane condition as in a man of high quality; and power if its supremacy be divided, it is dimi­nished: but wisdome the more it is dispersed, the more the vertue of it is increased. Wisedome often is contented to serve, and to accept of a low dwelling, but power ceases to be power if it dwell not in sublimity, and have honour to at­tend it. To be wise, and to be contemned, dejected, suppres­sed are things compatible, they are things frequent: but to be potent, is the same thing as to be great, to be sacred, to bee a commander of other mens wisdome: Nay to be potent hath no terme convertible, but to be potent. Power in the State, is preserved as the Arke was in the Iewish Church, it is priviled­ged from common sight, and touch in all well constituted Common wealths, it is united in some one person only, and to him so lineally intayled, that it may never dye, never cease, never suffer any violent motion, or alteration. Power is as the soule of Policy, of so exquisite, and delicate sense, that nothing but the wings of Cherubims is fit to guard and inclose it, from all rude approaches: vacuity in nature is not a thing more ab­horred, or shunned with greater disturbance, and with grea­ter confusion of properties, than the least temeration, and eclipse of power in the State. How absurd then is this axi­ome, which makes power servile to wisdome, not wisdome to power, wch subjects power to so many translations, & compe­titions, and ceslations, as often as time shall discover such and such excellencies in such, and such men? If power shall al­ways be at the devotion of such men, as for the present appear most wise, if she shal be made so cheap, and vulgar, and prosti­tuted daily to so many uncertainties, what quiet can she pro­cure to the world? Nay what bloud wil she not procure? I need say no more: this axiome is neither consistent with Monarchicall, nor hereditary rule.

[Page 86] For first, if the most knowing Divine shall alwayes be supreme Commander in all Church affaires (for more than this the Pope never claymed) then by the same reason the most knowing States-man shall be supreme in the Palace, the most knowing Souldier in the Campe, the most knowing Lawyer in the Tribunall, &c. and so Monarchy shall be chan­ged not into the aristocracy, or democracy, which are formes not utterly corrupt, but into poly-coirany, than which no­thing can be more unpoliticke.

All Nations have ever rejected this broken confused rule of many severall independent Commanders, which cannot chuse but injoyne impossible things sometimes: for all these commanders may at the same time use the same mans service in severall places, and in this they never can be satisfied: wherefore we may well account this rule as bad as anarchy it selfe. Nay even Religion it selfe by this meanes may be distracted into severall supremacies, for He that is the ablest Divine in polemicall points and in deciding controver­sies, may not be ablest in positive points, or matters of Dis­cipline, and yet here the one hath as good title to absolute power in his sphere, as the other hath in his. And as Mo­narchy cannot, so secondly, neither can hereditary right stand with this alwayes uncertaine, variable title of ability, and ex­cellence in knowledge. Nay possession of supremacy is here no good plea: For he that was the greatest, and most know­ing man last yeare, is not so this yeare, neither perhaps will he be next yeare, that is so this yeare. A thousand incongru­ities and inconveniences attend upon this paradox: for the abilities of men are very hardly tryable, and discernable: and if they were not, yet the subjecting of power to the perpetual, giddy changes of new elections would soone confound us in­to our old Chaos againe, as the Poets word is.

The three principall acts of power are,

First, to make Lawes.

Secondly, to give judgement according to Lawes made.

Thirdly, to execute according to the right intent of judg­ments.

[Page 87] In the making of Lawes also according to Tully, there is three things necessary: 1. Invenire. 2. Disceptare. 3. Ferre. The invention of all necessary Lawes is almost perfect alrea­die to our hands; Those Lawes which God ordained for the Iewes, and those which our Ancestors found out for us, are daily before our eyes, and little can now be added of mo­ment, except only for illustration of what was ambiguous before. In the Church also is lesse want of perpetuall altera­tions, and additions of Canons, than in the State, our misery is, that we succeed Ancestors which were opprest with too vast a Church discipline. Our reformation hath rid us of some part of this burthen, but yet no sensible man can chuse but see, that our Ecclesiasticall Courts are yet of larger juris­diction, and fuller of trouble, than ever the Iewish were, or those of the Primitive Christians. The reason of this is, because wee still rely too much upon Divines herein, and they for their own profit, and power are still as willing to uphold their own Tribunals as ever they were. Did they thinke it a grea­ter honour to serve at the Altar than in the Consistory, and did they take more delight in Preaching, than attend­ing suites, they would not study New Canons, but discharge themselves of many old ones: and so ease themselves and us too, and restore backe againe to the Civill Magistrate that which Popery first usurped, and their ambition hath since continued. Howsoever if Ministers can adde any Articles to the Doctrine of our Church for the better preventing of Schismes, or frame any orders for the more decent perfor­mance of Gods worship in the Church, I would not exclude them from proposing it; I only desire that since they are men, and may have private interests and respects to the prejudice of other men, they may not ingrosse all power of proposing what they list, and to exclude all others from the like power.

And in the second place, if Clergie men only shall pro­pose all Ecclesiasticall Lawes; yet it is most unjust that Prin­ces, and Lay-men should be held utterly uncapable of venti­lating, and debating the same.

[Page 88] Id quod omnes tangit ab omnibus tractari debet. Nature hath printed this in us, if the Priest propose any thing tending to the disservice of God, that disservice will draw the same guilt upon me, and all others, as upon him, and it shall not excuse me or others, that he pretended his judgment to be unquestio­nable; and shal it then here be unlawfull for me and others to use any endeavour for the prevention of this guilt? If Angels from Heaven should seduce me, I were inexcusable: and when Ministers, whom I know to bee subject to the same naturall blindnesse, and partiality as I am, and to whom I see generall error may be a private advantage, in matters of this private advantage, shal I be allowed no liberty to search, and trye, and to use my best art of discussion? If this were so, God had made my condition desperate, and remedilesse, and I might safely attribute my error, and destruction to the hand of God alone: but this no man can imagine of God without great impiety. God hath declared himselfe contrary herein, for he hath ex­empted none from error though never so learned, nor leaves none excusable in error though never so unlearned▪ if we will blindly trust others, tis at our own perill, He will require it at our hands; but if we will seeke industriously, we shall finde, if wee will knock at his dore, He hath promised to open to us. And if private men stand accountable for their owne soules, whatsoever the Priests doctrine or commands be, how much more shall Princes, and Courts of Parliament answer for their wilfull blindnesse, if they will depart from their owne right and duty in sifting, and examining al such religious con­stitutions, as concerne them, and all others under their charge? Shall they sit to treate of Lether, and Wooll, and neglect doctrine and discipline? Shall they consult of the beauty and glory of the kingdom, and transfer Religion to others, which is the foundation of all happines? Shall they be sollicitous for transitory things, and yet trust their soules into other mens hands, who may make a profit of the same? Let us not so in­fatuate our selves, let us honour Divines, and reverence their counsels, but let us not superstitiously adore them, or dotingly in-slave our selves to their edicts.

[Page 89] THe 3d. thing in making of laws is that which we term ferre Legem: and till this act of carrying, passing or enacting give the binding force of Law to it, how good and wholsome soever it be after all debate, yet it is but as the counsell of a Lawyer, or the prescription of a Physi­tion. And here we maintaine, that if Divines are the most fit, to invent, and discusse Ecclesiasticall Constitutions, yet they have not in themselves that right and power which is to imprint the obliging vertue of Lawes upon them. The forme or essence of Law is that coercive, or penall vertue by which it bindes all to its obedience: and all cannot be bound to such obedience, but by common consent, or else some ex­ternall compulsion: take away this binding vertue, and it is no Law: it is, but a Counsell, wherein the inferior hath as much power towards his superior, as the superior hath to­wards his inferior. If then Divines will vindicate to them­selves a Legislative power in the Church, they must deduce the same either from the common consent of the Church, or from some other authority to which all the Church is sub­ject, and to which the whole Church can make no actuall op­position. If they clayme from common consent, they must produce some act of State, and formall record to abet their clayme, and common consent must also still strengthen the same, or else by the same that it was constituted, it may still be dissolved; and if they clayme from some higher externall authority, stronger than common consent, they must induce that authority to give vigor to their Lawes, and to use means of constraint against all such, as shall not voluntarily yeeld o­bedience to the same. And it is not sufficient for them to al­ledge God for their authority, without some speciall, ex­presse words from Gods owne mouth, for God gave no man [Page 90] a right, but he allowes him some remedy agreeable thereun­to, and God is so great a favourer also of common consent, that though hee hath an uncontroleable power above it, yet (as Hooker observes) He would not impose his owne pro­fitable Lawes upon his people, by the hands of Moses, with­out their free, and open consent. And if God, which cannot doe unjustice, nor will impose lawes, but such as are profitable to us, and yet hath an undisputable Empire over us, will so fa­vour common consent; shall man which may erre, and doe injurie▪ and is of lesse value then communities, and wants might to inforce and put in execution his owne commands, usurpe that which God relinquishes? Take it for granted that Priests cannot erre out of ignorance; or be perverted by pri­vate interest, and that they are superior to all Christians under their charge: yea grant them a right to make what Canons they please, and grant them no power to compell obedience to the same, and to punish disobedience to the same, and this would take away peace, and cause much mischiefe and di­sturbance every where, and this we cannot thinke God would be the Author of.

How ridiculous are the Popes anathemaes to those which renounce his allegiance, they seem to us but meere Epigrams sent abroad to provoke laughter? And yet why doe they not appeare as ridiculous in Italy, as in England? were it not for common consent, they were not in more force amongst Itali­ans, then Englishmen: and there is no more true naturall vigor in the Popes Bulls, to procure common consent in Italy, then in England: we may gather then from hence, that there is no Ecclesiasticall Supremacie, but founded upon the same basis of common consent, as temporall supremacie is, and being so founded, it cannot be Divine, or unalterable, or above com­mon consent so as to have any efficacie without, much lesse against it. That some Nations are gull'd, and cozen'd out of their consents, is no presedent for us, for as many Nations are addicted to Mahomits commandes, as are to the Popes: and in this the dominion of Mahomet is as spirituall as the Popes: [Page 91] and is as strong a case to over-rule us, as the Popes: for if consent were to be forced, the Pope might as well force Ma­hometans, as Christians: and if it be free, his Empire depends as much upon it, as Mahomets. They then that have erected a Spirituall supremacie, not depending upon common consent, have been in a great error, and they that slight common con­sent, as not capable of a spirituall supremacie, seem to have been as much mistaken. Many of our Divines say, that Par­liaments are temporall Courts; and so not of spirituall juris­diction, and others say, that they may as well frame acts to order the Hierarchie in heaven, as to dispose of Ecclesiasticall things on earth: both these seeme to me verry erroneous. The Argument methinks is equally strong: as God would not give a right to binde up other men by Statutes and Com­mandements, but he would give some power withall to drive men by constraint to observe, and yeeld obedience to the same: so He would not indue any Prince, or Court with such power, but He would give a right of binding equall, and con­geniall to that power. Princes of themselves are sacred, as I have proved, and spiritually sacred; how much more then are they accounted sitting in Parliament: and if Princes in Parliament, how much more Princes, and Parliaments; for to Princes on their awfull Tribunalls, is something more due then at other times, but to Princes in Parliament, there is most of all due, in regard that there they are invested with more then their owne naturall power, common consent having not derived all power into the King: at any other time, or in any other place: but reserved much thereof till a full union be in Parliament; besides, setting aside the sanctity of power in Parliaments: yet in regard that they are assisted with the best counsell of Divines, so they ought not to be accounted meere Temporall Courts: for what better advise can those Divines give out of Parliament: then in Parliaments: Some Parliaments in England have made some Ecclesiasticall acts, excluso clerò; nay that which was the the most holy act, which ever was established in England, viz. The Reformation of [Page 84] Religion, was passed invito clero: and when these things are not only legall, but honorable, shall we limit Parliaments in any thing wherein the votes of the Clergie are concomitant, and concurrent, with the Laytie? Hooker sayes, that the most naturall and religious course for the making of Lawes, is, that the matter of them be taken from the judgement of the wisest in those things whom they concerne, and in matters of God (he saies) it were unnaturall, not to thinke the Pastors of our soules a great deale more wise than men of secular cal­lings: but when all is done for devising of Lawes, it is the generall consent of all, that gives them the forme, and vigor of Lawes. This we allow of for the most part, but wee con­ceive this to be understood of such Divines, as in the judge­ment of Parliaments, are omni exceptione majores; for it was not unnaturall in the beginning of the Reignes of Edward the Sixth, and Queen Elizabeth, to thinke that the Lords and Commons were better Judges of Religion, than the Bishops and the Convocation house, as matters then stood in Eng­land. For the whole body can have no sinister end, or inte­rest to blinde them: but the whole Clergie, which is but a part of the whole body may, and therefore the whole body is to judge of this, and when they see a deviation in the Clergie, and observe the occasion of it, they must not blindly follow blinde guides, but doe according to that light which God hath given them. And certainly, it were contrary to that in­terest which every man hath in the Truth, that any should be obliged to receive it from other mens mouths, without any further inquiry, or judgement made upon the same. The meanest man is as much interessed and concerned in the truth of Religion, as the greatest Priest, and though his knowledge thereof be not in all respects equally easie: yet in some re­spects it may be easier, for want of learning doth not so much hinder the light of the Laymen, as worldly advantage, and faction sometimes doth the Priests. Examples of these are in­finite: corruption in the Church before our Saviour, and in our Saviours daies, and ever since hath oftner begun amongst [Page 58] the greatest Priests, Rabbers, and Bishops, than amongst the meaner Laitie. And for this cause, God requires at every mans hands an account what doctrine he admits, what Lawes he obeys, holding no man excused for putting blinde confi­dence in his ghostly Father, and not taking upon him to weigh and try how sure his grounds were. And if every private man stand so responsible for his particular interest in the Truth, being equally great in the Truth? shall not whole States and Nations, whose interest is farre greater than their Priests or Bishops is, give a sadder account to God, if they leave themselves to be seduced by such men, which are as li­able to error as themselves? If wee consider the meere matter of Lawes, they are either profitable for the Church, or not: if they are profitable, why should wee thinke that Princes and Parliaments want power to impose Lawes upon themselves, for the availe of their owne soules, they standing to God accountable for the same, according to the greatnesse of their owne interest? and if they are not profitable, there is no obedience due to them, whether Priests, or Princes make them, and that they be not profitable, is equally doubtfull whether Priests, or Princes make them. Take then Lawes to be questionable, as all humane are, and lyable to examina­tion: and being made without common consent, they binde not at all, and being made by common consent, they binde all either to obedience, or to sufferance. It is Gods owne Law, that such as shall except against the validity or obliging vertue of common consent, shall die the death: for no peace can ever be in that State where any inconsiderable partie shall not acquiesce in the common Statutes of the land. Those Lawes which Heathen Emperors made by common consent against Christianity, were not wise Lawes, But they were Lawes, there was no pietie, but there was vigor in them: and doubtlesse the very Apostles, which might not lawfully obey them, yet might not lawfully contemne them. Two things are objected against the Ecclesiasticall power of Parliaments. 1. That it is more due to Princes. 2. To Councells, or Synods. [Page 94] Tis true anciently Princes were the only Legislatives: the old rule was, Quicquid placuerit Principii Legis habet vigorem. But we must know, that Princes had this power by common consent, and doubtlesse till policy was now perfect, and ex­quisite twas safer for Nations to depend upon the arbitrary, unconfined power of Princes, then to have their Princes hands too far bound up, and restrained, but since Lawes have bin invented by common consent, as well to secure Subjects from the tyranny of their owne Lords, as from private in­juries amongst themselves: and those Common wealths which have left most scope to Princes in doing of good offi­ces, and the least in doing acts of oppression, are the wisest but ever this golden axiome is to bee of all received: That that is the most politicke prerogative which is the best, but not the most limited. But this objection makes for Parlia­ments, for whatsoever power was vested before in Princes and their Councells, the same now remaining in Princes and the best, and highest of all Counsells, viz. Parliaments Counsells, also and Synods, are as improperly urged against Parliaments, for Counsells and Synods did not at first clayme any right, or in dependent power, they were only called by the secular Magistrate, as Ecclesiasticall Courtes for the com­posing of cissention in the Church, and they were as meere assistants, called ad consilium, not ad consensum.

In 480 yeares after the establishment of Christians, Religion, from the first to the seventh Constantine there were but fixe generall Counsells called, and those in disputes of a high nature: all other Lawes were establisht without Oecu­meniall Counsells, by the private instruction of such Clergie­men as Emperors best liked. The truth is, no universall Counsell ever was at all, because there never yet was any universall Monarch, or Pope, whose power was large en­ough to call the whole world: but Princes to the utmost of their bounds, did in that space of time congregate Bishops out of all their dominions in those sixe cases▪ and yet we do not finde that those sixe Counsels, though they have more [Page 95] reverence, yet claymed more power than any other Natio­nall Synod. Without question no lesse power than the Em­perors could have bin sufficient to cite, and draw together so great a body, or to order them being met, or to continue their mee [...]ing, and no lesse power could animate their de­crees with universall binding vertue, then the same, that so convened them. But it is sufficient, that Counsels have er­red, and that appeales have been brought against them, and that redresse hath beene made by Emperors in other Coun­sels called for that purpose: for this takes away from them that they are either supreme, or sole, or infallible judges of Religion: and this being taken away they cannot be preten­ded to have any over-ruling superiority, or priviledge above Parliaments. The assistance of Counsels, and Synods scarce any opposes, so that they be not indeed with an obliging, Le­gislative force above Parliaments, or preferred in power a­bove common consent, which is the soule of all policy and power, and that which preserves all Churches and States from utter ruine, and confusion: and this no wise man can a­gree too. So much of the first act of power in passing, and promulgating of Law; I now come to the second: In giving judgment according to those Lawes. But little need here be said, for if we did yeeld Clergie-men to be the most skilfull and knowing Iudges in all matter of doctrine and discipline, this is no argument at all, for their supremacy, or indepen­dency, neither can any difference be shewed why subordinate power in Ecclesiasticall judgments should not be as effectual, and justifiable, as in temporall, and it is sufficiently cleered that poly coirany is not to bee received in any Church or Kingdome: and therefore I haste to the third act of power which consists in using compulsory meanes for procuring o­bedience. If Priests had any such spirituall sword, as they pretend, vertuous and efficacious enough to inflict ghostly paines upon such as disobey them, doubtlesse it would reform as well as confound, and procure obedience, as well as cha­stise disobedience: and then it would as much advance thei [...] [Page 88] Empire, as the temporall sword doth the Princes. Doubt­lesse it would have some sensible efficacy, and worke to good ends, and men would not nor could not chuse but bow, and submit themselves under it, but now a spirituall sword is pre­tended, whilst the gaining of a temporall sword is intended, and nothing is more plaine to be seene. Its not to be wonde­red at therefore if the people feare not any binding power, where they see no loosing, nor regard the shutting of those keyes, which cannot open: nor tremble at that thunder, and lightning which is accompanied with no perceiveable vertue of warmth and moysture, to open and refresh, as well as to breake, and burne. But I have touched upon this already, and so I now leave it.

THe next Argument is taken from the Iewish policy, for they suppose that the Iewish Priest-Hood was inde­pendent in Spiritualibus, and they suppose that the spirituall knowledge and ability of the Priests and Levites was the ground of this independency. Here we say first that there are diverse reasons why more power and preeminence was requisite amongst the Iewish Priests than is now. Bilson gives foure differences, and I shall add two more: for first the Priests, and Levites were then a great body, they were a twelfth part of Israel, and had many Cities and their territo­ries wherein they lived a part from other Tribes, and in those Cities and precincts a civill rule was as necessary as els where and that rule could not be administred without inequality, and power, and in this they much differed from our Ministers. Secondly, Priests, and Levites were then the onely studied Booke-men and Schollers of that Nation, learning was at a low ebbe, the judiciall as well as the Ceremoniall Lawes were scarce knowne, or reade by any but that tribe: and in this the State of our times is farre different. Thirdly, The [Page 97] Priests and Levites had then a naturall command and signio­ry in their owne families, over their owne descendents wher­as now no such superiority can have place amongst our Cler­gie-men. Fourthly, The Priests and Levites had then of­fices of a different nature, some of them were more easie, as to superintend, &c. others more toylesome, as to sacrifice, &c. some more holy, as to offer incense, &c. others more meane, as to slaughter beasts, &c. and so different orders were accordingly appointed, but no such difference of service is amongst our Priests in our Churches. I shall adde also fifth­ly, that there were then many Ceremonies, and Types, and rites of worship, about which many differences might arise hardly to be decided without some appointed Iudges, where­as now the abolition of those externall rudiments, and clogs hath discharged us of all such questions, and scruples in the Church. And sixthly the whole forme of Religious wor­ship was then externally more majesticall, and dreadfull, and it was convenient that some correspondence should bee in pomp, and splendor between the persons which did officiate, and the places wherein they did officiate. As there was a Sanctum more inaccessible than the outer Court, and a propi­tiatory more reverend than either, and as some Altars, and Sa­crifices were more solemne, and venerable than others: so it was fit that persons should bee qualified accordingly with extraordinary honor, and priviledge but this reason now cea­ses amongst us. There was no inherent holines in that Tem­ple more than is in ours, nor no more internall excellence in those Priests, than in ours: and yet we see an externall splen­dour was than thought fit for those times, which our Savi­our did not seeme to countenance in his Church. The same glittering garments are not now usefull for our Priests, nor the same sanctimonious forbearance, and distance due to our Chancels; and for ought we know all other grandour, and lustre of riches, power, and honour falls under the same rea­son, but in the next place our answer is, that notwithstan­ding all these differences which may much more plead for [Page 98] power and preeminence amongst the Iewes, than amongst us, yet we do allow to our Clergy more power, and preeminence than was knowne amongst the Iewes. There is no colour in Scripture that there were so many Ecclesiasticall Courts in Iudea, so thronged with sutors, so pestred with Officers, so choaked up with causes of all kinds, as matrimoniall, testi­mentary, and many the like: there is no colour, that in so many severall divisions of the Land, besides, ordinary tithes, and indowments, they had any Ecclesiasticall Lords to in­joy so many severall Castles, Palaces, Parkes, Manors, &c. They had one Miter, we have many. They had one Priest richly attired, but with Ornaments that were left for the use of successive generations, we have many, whose bravery is perpetually fresh, and various. Alexander might perhaps wonder at the sumptuous habit of one of Aarons Successors, but if Salomon himselfe should see the Majesticall equipage of diverse of our Arch-Bishops, or Cardinals, as they passe from one tribunall to an other; He would think his own Religion simple, and naked to ours. Besides though the Iewes had but one High-Priest, in whom was concerned all the State and glory of their Clergie, yet he also was so farre from claym­ing any independent power, that in the most awfull of Reli­gious affaires, as consulting with God, receiving the Law, building and dedicating the Temple, ordering, and reform­ing Priests, and their services, making Lawes, and superin­tending all holy persons, places, and things, in all these things hee was inferior to the Prince, not so much as executing the same by subordination. That Scotch Gentleman therefore, which undertakes to prove the independent, unalterable juris­diction of Bishops, as its now injoyd, and accounted divine in England, both from the Law and the Gospell, is as much to be applauded for his confidence, as for his wit.

One Argument more is brought by some Papists, to the same purpose, but it is scarce worth repetition. They say, Iere­my was but a meane Prophet, yet its written of him, that he was appointed over Nations and Kingdomes, to pull up, to [Page 99] beate downe, to despise, &c. and they inferre that what a Prophet might doe, a fortiori a Priest may doe. But this is not literally spoken as true of Ieremies own exployts; The Prophet was here Gods instrument to foretell, and proclaime them, but God had other instruments to execute them, and those instruments in probability were Princes, not Prophets, nor Priests. Princes, Prophets, and Priests, may all be instru­ments of God in the same service, yet not all serve alike ho­nourably: for wee must looke further sometimes than into the meere names of things, because some names of service import the nature of command, and some names of com­mand import the nature of service. The word, Nurse, expres­ses something of service, but more of power, and this is fit­ly applyed sometimes to Princes, for the office of Princes is to serve those who are subject to their power. On the other side, the word, Guide, expresses somthing of power, but more of service, and this may be fitly applyed to Priests and Pro­phets, for their skill may make them serviceable in somethings to those which in others are served by them. But I con­clude these two first points, that there is no priviledge either of Sanctity or Knowledge which can exalt Priests, above Princes, or intitle them to that spirituall regiment in the Church, which they would faine pretend to. Further at this time I have not leasure to proceed, I must now leave this al­ready spoken, and all that which naturally will result from it, to the Iudicious.


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