THE OPENING OF Master Prynnes new Book, called A VINDICATION: OR, Light breaking out from a Cloud of Diffe­rences, or late Controversies. WHEREIN Are Inferences upon the Vindication, and Antiqueres to the Queres; and by that, the way a little cleared to a further discovery of TRUTH in a CHURCH-ORDER, by a Conference or Discourse.

By JOHN SALTMARSH, Preacher at Brasteed in Kent.

Published according to Order.

London, Printed for G. Calvert, at the signe of the Black Spred-Eagle, at the West-End of S. Pauls. 1645.

To the Honourable Phillip Skippon Major General of the Army, raised for the King and Parliament, under the Command of Sir Thomas Fairfax, General.

Noble SIR,

S Ʋpposing you may take the Book called the Vindication by Master Prynne into your hand, I desire that this Dis­course may be in your other hand, as occasion serves. If the Lord hath revealed any thing in this Dis­course, to enlighten the darknesse of this pre­sent Controversie, it is onely from him who is the Father of Lights, who carries on his to a more excellent way, till we may with open face, behold the Glory of Jesus Christ, and be changed from glory to glory.

[Page] Sir, The thing I onely contend for, is, that which the Gospel and Spirit calls for; Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are of good report.

Sir, The ingagement of private respects which are upon me towards you; and being likewise a partaker of some labours of yours in the Lord, which are abroad, as that of Pro­mises, &c. The best treasure we have in this life, hath drawn this from me.

The Lord who hath wounded you, binde you up, and lead you on to the glorious Truths; for, if I mistake not, our Controversie is but this in these times; some would walk more close with Christ, some can be content like Peter to walk at more distance, and follow him afar off, and to stand warming themselves with the multitude in the Common-Hall: And let the Word judge betwixt us, which is of best report.

Sir, Yours in the things of Jesus Christ,
John Saltmarsh.

To the Reader.

SOme Scriptures in difference be­twixt the Brethren, I leave un­touched, I would not engrosse anothers Controversie to my self more then I needs must; and the present Truth or Light I go by, presseth me to do: I enter not into this Controversie to make one of either side amongst the learned Antagonists, but rather by opening their Difference to themselves, and others, to draw both them, and all of their way, whom the Lord will adde to a purer way, both of Church and Order. I have no Li­braries beside me to put into my Margin; [Page] neither dare I write in the authority of man, but of God, and not in the words too much which mans wisdom teacheth, though I still have more of my self in what I do, then I ought.

It is by way of Conference I have writ, and I rather did it, that I might the better personate divers to themselves that read it, that they may learn to be more peaceable to Brethren of dissenting judge­ments, while I hold them the Glasse.

If any of the Glory of Christ, break out by this; Let him have the glory, who hath chosen the weak things of the World.

A DISCOURSE Betwixt two Friends, P. C.

C Well met; I know you are for setling Church-Government and Sacraments.


I tell you, we shall never be at any Peace till then, till all be setled, and the Kingdom rid of these Independents, Anabaptists, and Brownists.


Be not so hot; will you call in your Neighbours to quench your house when it is on fire, and when all is done, give them a beating for their pains? the Tribes did not thus with one another: the Reubenites and the other would not rest in the Land which the Lord gave them, till the Lord had given their Brethren rest, as he had given them.


I tell you, they are called a company of Hereticks and Schismaticks, in every Book and Pamphlet that comes abroad; I am sure, men of understanding and learning, and many an an­cient Professor, hath no better a name for them:

C. Yea, I perceive so much; but the railings and evil-speak­ings, prevail not with me against any, but their own Authors: For the wisdom which is from above, is first pure, then peaceable; and the Angels which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation; but the Lord rebuke thee, even the Lord.

[Page 2] And for any Professors you speak on; Who were so bitter against the Christians, as your ancient and zealous Jews? You know the Prophecy, Your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions; and the first shall be last, and the last first.


What, Would you have me speak well of these that so many speak against?


I would not wish you to speak well of any thing, but what you are perswaded in from the Word; but I would onely desire you not to speak ill, though you speak not well: the A­postle rebukes those that speak evil of the things they know not.

But I have many Reasons I shall now acquaint you with, if you will but have patience, and not upon a notion or name of Heresie and Schism shut up your Windows, as against a new light, Meteor, or some Blazing-Star, as too many do: we are bidden try the spirits, and prove all things. (Friend) be not so discourteous to any notion that is a stranger, it is besides the Apostles rule: be not, sayes he, forgetfull to entertain strangers, for some have entertained Angels unawares.

And this is one Reason further, till more come; we are but coming out of Babylon, you, and we were but the other day with the vail of Prelacy upon our hearts, and we are but in healing, like the blinde-man; and because yet we see men like Trees, shall we therefore: judge them to be so, and not stay till our eyes be opened, that we see better?


Have you no better Reasons to convince me? These I confesse are something, and I will think on them.


Yea, look with a single eye upon their principles, and take them in their own single Positions, not as the world Prints them, or reports them, this is much a wanting on these times; you know what was said of the Christians to Paul, As for this sect, every where it is spoken against; And I see no reason, Why other opinions which have been held by some Author of one opinion, should be all charged upon that one for his sake, which neither in it self, nor any just consequence from it, can be proved of any right to belong unto it: And if there be any Tares with the Wheat, they are of the enemies sowing, as Christ [Page 3] said, to make us go by, and not reap there where the Wheat is so scant, and the Tares so many.


But, O methinks, if things were setled about the Church once!


Yea, but how will you settle?


How? As it is agreed on.


Agreed on? What, have you not heard of the new Book? Of the Vindication of the four Questions?


What of that?


Some of the learned, for the Presbyteriall way, are divided about setling, and know not how to settle the great Ordinance of the Lords Supper upon the Kingdom or Nation.


How? Any of our judgement divided? I will not beleeve that: Surely, they are not like your Independent Bre­thren, to crumble into divisions, and severall opinions.


Look you now, how you are mistaken! I tell you a­gain, The Vindication-Book, whose Author is as famous and able, as your way affords, hath writ a large Tractate for mixt Com­munions or Sacraments, against some of that way that are against them.


Beleeve me, if it be so, I shall be at a stand; I thought all of our side that had been for Presbytery, had been all of a minde, and none had broken out into Factions, but they of the other side.


I love not this word Faction on any side yet, till we see more; I would not misinterpret any willingly: You shall hear the reasons on both sides gathered up very narrowly with­out the passion; for I would neither have passion to object nor to confute any thing, but meerly Scripture and Reason.


I pray you, what are the differences?


A reverend Brother of the Presbyteriall way, answers certain Questions of anothers of that way, which he it seems had propounded to the State, to be considered on in the setling of things over the Kingdom: and some others too, in certain Printed Treatises, have gone about to confute them; so as his Questions, which as he professes openly, were writ onely for the advancement of Reformation, were interpreted by those [Page 4] of the same way with him, as an enemy of Reformation, as an adversary, Vindica­tion, fol. 1. and an obstruction to the work of Reformation, and settlement of Church-Discipline, as he saith.


O strange! one of them thus censured by their own, and by those, whose advancement he hath sought so much in opposing himself against the new wayes of Independency and Separation, as he calls them: But well, how differ they?


He holds in his Book of Vindication divers particulars concerning Church-Discipline, and censures, and the Admini­stration of the Lords Supper, wherein the other Brethren of the Presbyteriall-way differ from him:

As first,Vindica­tion, fol. 3. He holds there is no precept nor president in Scrip­ture, for the suspending of any Member of a Congregation from the Lords Supper, who is not at the same time excom­municated from the Church, and all other Ordinances as well: some of the other hold the contrary, or mistake, as he saith.

2.Fol. 3. That Matth. 18. 16, 17. If thy Brother trespasse, &c. is not meant of the Church, nor of excommunication, nor sus­pension from the Sacrament; which the other hold.

3.Fol. 6. That 1 Cor. 5. 5. to deliver such a one to Satan, is not meant of suspension or excommunication from the Sacra­ment; which the other hold.

4.Fol. 9. That 1 Cor. 5. 11. with such a one, no, not to eat, is not meant of spiritual eating; which the other hold.

5.Fol. 14. That Numb. 9. 1, 10, 11. is not meant of excluding any by way of Type from the Sacrament in acts of suspension, but of totall putting out from all Ordinances, for legall unclean­nesses, not spiritual.

6.Fol. 17. That Judas received the Supper, or Sacrament, as well as the other Apostles, and that the Sop that was given him before he went out, was after the Bread was distributed; which some of the other deny.

7.Fol. 28. That the Minister hath fully discharged himself, if he give warning to unworthy Communicants of the danger, and then give it; which the other hold not.

8.Fol. 35. That Ministers may as well refuse to Preach the Word to such unexcommunicated grosse impenitents, for fear of par­taking [Page 5] in their sin, as to administer the Sacrament to them; and they hear damnation in the one, as well as eat damnation in the other.

That the Sacrament of the Lords Supper,Fol. 40, 41, &c. is as well a con­verting Ordinance, as any other, being reckoned amongst the Means of Grace, and so to be administred to any unexcom­municated Member of a Congregation; which some of the other deny.

That they put groundlesse differences betwixt Preaching of the Word, and Administration of the Sacraments.

9.Fol. 48. That the putting out of the Synagogue in John 9. 21, 34, 35. is no good proof of excommunication or suspension from the Sacrament.

10.Fol. 49. That the Authors Scriptures quoted in his fourth Question, are not rightly applyed, as his opposites say.


And are these the differences fully?


Yea, excepting the Proofs on both sides, for which, I refer you to the Books themselves, which all together, are large.


But how conclude they?

C. Fol. 50. The Author of the Vindication doth fairly shew them, that they contend for what he doth grant them, with advantage; and yet they quarrel with him for denying it, as he saith.


Methinks these are strange mistakes one of another, and amongst these of our Presbyteriall side too.


Fol. 57. And he hopes the Parliament will consider, and take care, that the Ministers, like the Bishops formerly, may not now be taken up with Ruling and Governing.


But how will some of our Ministers take this?


I know not that; but I like him well in this; but he goes upon one ground more then all the rest.


What is that?


That the very ground, upon which divers of the more moderate and tender in the Presbyteriall way, go, is the the ground of all the growing, and spreading of Schism and Se­paration, Anabaptism, and other Errours tending to them, which yet they beleeve, Fol. 58. they so much preach against; a strange [Page 6] mistake with them, as he observes.


If it be so, how pitifully are those Ministers mistaken in their own grounds? and the best of them too, to be so mi­staken, is the more to be wondered: for I count the tenderest of them the best; but this is yet a secret to me.


Yea, and to them it may seem so too; but I shall un­fold the mystery of this Vindication-Book, if I mistake not the suspending scandalous persons from the Lords Supper, and some other thoughts of pertaking in their sins, is it seems deemed by this Book. Fol. 59. Some principles or positions of Separation, which if fomented, as the Author insinuates, may in time subvert the other principles of Presbytery, as indeed they may, being some­thing inconsistent, and of a better and more spirituall nature; and I am of his opinion, for I would have all of a colour and constitution, All light, or all darknesse; and beleeve it, your principles of a purer way, will not long incorporate with any other; the Ark and Dagon will not stand together, and the way to overthrow the inventions of men, is by taking in some principles of the Truth into traditions; what hath made the Popish Hierarchy go down? Not its own principles of Idola­try, Will-worship, and Tyranny: But when there were some takings in of Reformation-principles, as when they would go from Popery to Prelacy, Popery fell much in the power of it; and so when from Prelacy they went off to Presbytery, Prelacy fell, and so on: If you make any remove from the common principles of this Presbytery, into any of the way or parts of the Separation, your Presbytery will down too, because it takes in some purer principles then, as we may gather from the Vindi­cation Book, it will well bear.


But if these be then the common Principles of this Presbyteriall way, as he would have it to communicate in Or­dinances thus mixedly, and to suspect no uncleannesse in any spiritual Communion from persons so communicating, though of never so unreformed a life, excepting onely some pretended formall flashy apparences of Faith and Repentance put on and off by the Communicants, as occasion serves; I shall have I think no such good thoughts as I had of that way.

[Page 7]

Vind. l. fol. 59. But the grounds are yet further laid down in the Book, that unmixt Communions, and suspending from the Sacrament, are grounds of Schism; and that the teaching of these formerly, through ignorance or incogitancy, are now to be taught, and writ­ten, and preached against.


I perceive then in a word, That the main thing the Vindication-Book drives at, is, to place Presbytery upon such a mixed uniformity in the partaking of Ordinances, that there should be no act of suspension or separation practised in their Church, lest the ground of separation get in; and they that make conscience to separate or suspend in some particulars, it implies, they may go on to a further separation, till upon more degrees of purity in communicating, they go off from all kinde of mixt communicatings, in the constituting, as well Churches, as Ordinances and Administrations, and so at length become, either Congregationall, or of the other way.

But many of us took such of the Presbyteriall way, as writ and taught, for a pure Reformation in partaking of Ordinances, for the better, according to their light: And it seems they are but novices, as we may gather from the Vindication-Book, and are ignorant of his Presbyteriall secret, or mystery of uniformity, and unmixt communicating, according to the grounds there.

Well, I am yet of the purer side, I like not this mystery, if the way to keep out Schism be of such a kinde, as draws with it an unavoidable necessity of partaking with all sorts of sinners, except onely for some present affected passions of Faith and Re­pentance, and a Toleration of all sorts of that kinde, except by excommunication, where in some places whole Parishes, and almost in all Parishes many must stand, either excommunicated by the Classis, or Presbytery, or Reformed, which is impossible, or as frequent partakers of Ordinances, spiritual fellowship, as the best, and purest, which is intolerable.


Indeed, I am glad you come off so well already. I will not meddle with the present state of some of these first particulars in difference I named to you, but leave them to the Authors; but come to some of the more questionable.

[Page 6] [...] [Page 7] [...] [Page 8] For that Controversie betwixt the Brethren,Fol. 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28. which is, Whether Judas received or not? I know there are divers Leaves of Paper writ upon it in the Vindication, and many lear­ned men are quoted, and Scriptures brought in on both sides, and harmoniously compared; but since the Lord left it so dis­putable, as some imagine, we must not do in such doubtfull sayings, as those Disciples did, who because Christ said of John, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? and it was reported amongst the Disciples, that that Disciple should not die, though Christ said not he should not die: but onely, what if I will that he tarry. So if the Lord hath not clearly said, that Judas was there, why goeth it so amongst the Disciples, as if he were there without all contradiction? but if he were, and Christ gave it to Judas, as for my part, I make it not any such ground, though he and all others do, because it will not be clear then, that he gave it to Judas as a wicked man, or a for­mall Disciple; for I know Christ administred then as an out­ward Dispenser to the Church, or chief Pastour, and in his Body unglorified, whereby he kept close to the analogy of visible Administration of Ordinances, and in President and Precept, for the future to his Churches for all ages; and so all their puzling may be at an end.

I will now acquaint you further with some Arguments or Inferences from the Vindication, which I have to strengthen you.

Vindication, Fol. 36.

THat no Minister, not knowing the present change or incli­nation of the heart of any, or whether God by this very duty, may not really convert him, ought to administer the Sacrament.


Whence we may infer, That all sorts of sinners, never so prophane and abominable, yet upon any present, affected, counterfeited, formall pretence of Faith and Repentance, ought to partake in all things of the most spiritual nature and fellow­ship; and withall, of the most spiritual and sincere profession, contrary to these Scriptures, 1 Pet. 2. 9. 2 Cor. 6. 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. Isai. 52. 11. Gal. 5. 9.

Vindication, Fol. 37.

The Brethrens Reason, That in the Sacrament, there is a neerer application of the Word, and Promises in particular, of the right and interest in them, more then in the Word preached, which the Vindication saith, is just like the late Archbishops of Can­terburies doctrine for bowing at the Altar, as Gods great place of presence.


Whence we may infer, That the Vindication doth very un­charitably compare Doctrines and Principles, viz. his Bre­threns with those of Prelacy, and his Brethren with the grossest of Prelats; and their Principles, of spiritual Administration, and Communion with those of a most Idolatrous, and external nature, which is contrary to these Scriptures, Jam. 4. 12. Matth. 7. 1, 3, &c. 1 Pet. 3. 8.

Vindication, Fol. 37.

That the Minister administring the Sacrament to any known impenitent sinners, yet under the notion of penitent [Page 10] and repenting sinners, for that time discharges himself.


Whence we may infer, That a Minister ought to comply with the Hypocrisies, pretences, compliances, forms, of any noto­rious, scandalous, or impenitent sinner at that time, onely in the apparition or resemblance of a Saint, and a Woolf in Sheeps clothing, contrary to these Scriptures, 1 Tim. 5. 21, 22. Matth. 15. 26. 2 Tim. 3. 5. 1 Thes. 5. 22. 1 Cor. 6. 16.

Vindication, Fol. 37, 38.

That the words of Institution in the Sacrament, The Body of Christ which was broken, and the Blood of Christ shed for you, is not of any divine Institution, but humane onely, though warrantably practised.


Whence we may infer, That he, in affirming the Institu­tion to be onely humane, and yet Warrantable, is not onely an impeaching of their worship of God in the highest and most spiritual Admirations of Will-worship, and humane invention, and want of conformity to the Rule or Word, but even a flat contradiction in a Scripture sense, because he addes, Yet war­rantably practised; as if an unlawfull way of worship, as all will-worship is, might be lawfully practised; which is contrary to these Scriptures, Matth. 15. 3, 9. Isai. 29. 13, 14. Gal. 3. 15. John 10. 4▪ 5. Matth. 6. 24. Tit. 1. 14. Revel. 14. 9, 10.

Vindication, Fol. 38.

That the Sacrament of the Lords Supper belongs of right to all visible knowing Members of the visible Church, as well as the Sacrament of Baptism.


Whence we may infer, That in this his equalizing all Or­dinances under this notion of knowing Members, that either children are not capable of Baptism, because not knowing Members, and upon this ground of his wrongfully Baptized; or if right Members, yet deprived of the other Sacrament of the Supper, to which, as visible Members, they have right, as [Page 11] well as to the other, there being no distinction of knowing and unknowing Members in his sense; or else, that they may partake in that Ordinance of Baptism, and be signed or sealed, and yet no right Members of a visible Church.

Vindication, Fol. 38.

That that of not casting Pearls before Swine in Matth. 7. 6, 10, 14. is expresly determined in 2 Pet. 2. 1, 2, 21, 22. and Heb. 10 28▪ 29. and 6. 4. to 9. to open Apostates, not to scandalous sinners, who duly repair to publish Ordinances, and externally professe Reformation and Repentance; and to apply this Text to these, is a meer perverting of it.


Whence we may infer, That this cuts off the Brethren of the more purely-Presbyterial way fully from all their foundati­on-Texts of any more spiritual distribution of Holy Ordinances, or any distinction in the distribution, which they have so long while breathed after, and rejoyced in the expectation of; and their condition upon these principles are no better now in their so much desired-for-Reformation, then it was under the Prelates and Common-Prayer Book, which holds the door more close against sinners, then the Vindication or they ought to do, upon these his principles.

And secondly, The full and finall determining a Scripture of this kinde, or any other, to one particular sense, is not agree­able to that Spirit of wisdom, and of God, which is an infinite­ly abounding spirit; and like the Sun, is full of beams and con­tinuall springings of light; nor do the Interpretations of the Word, appear all at once: the same Scripture which many ages ago gave out one beam of light, gave more in the ages after, and more now, as the eyes of our understanding are enlightned; so as Scriptures are not to be bounded in our sense, nor the elevati­ons of spirit taken by the short rule of our spirits; which is contrary to these Scriptures, 2 Pet. 1. 20, 21. 2 Cor. 5. 16. Phil. 3. 12, 13, 15, 16. Ephes. 3. 18, 19. 1 Cor. 2. 14, 15.

Vindication, Fol. 41.

If the Sacrament be onely a sealing or confirming Ordi­nance of true Grace, when and where it is already begun, then it were altogether impertinent, and ineffectuall unto ci­vil carnal Christians; therefore doubtlesse it is, and was in­tended by Christ for a converting Ordinance to all such as those.


Whence we may infer, That the Sacrament being a con­verting Ordinance, may be given to all unregenerate persons, in or out of the Church; for if it be a converting Ordinance, the consequence lies clear; that no sinners, of any sort, kinde, qua­lity, condition, in or out of the Church, ought to be denied it; nay, to have it administred, as well without the Word, as with it, it being of equal power with the Word for converting, as the Vindication saith; and that who holds otherwise, are mis­taken. And though there be a distinction premised of con­verting to the Faith, or formall profession, and a converting to a spiritual sincere Faith in Jesus Christ; yet this distinction makes not any thing against the Sacrament, to be given before the Word, even for conversion to the first Faith, or faith from Paganism; which neither Scriptures, nor practise of Christ, or any Disciple of his, from Apostles to the seventy, and so down through any age, to our own, that ever I could read on, practised: and yet the principles laid down in Fol. 38. will infer such a consequence, naturally and truly; for the Vindica­tion saith in Fol. 38. That the Word, and all Ordinances, are alike for conversion; and if so, the Sacraments may be used as well to convert from Paganism, and administred singly by them­selves, as the Word by it self may be taught.

Secondly, The Vindication saith, That it is doublesse to be given to all, for else it had been an impertinent and ineffectu­all thing to administer to close Hypocrites that are carnall Christians.

Whence we may infer; That, because the Counsels of the Lord in all his Administrations, do not clearly appear, but [Page 33] through the Vindictions own suppositions and premises; therefore he concludes fully, That it were impertinent and in­effectual, when as there appears no such end at all in the insti­tution of it, but rather two other ends.

One, which himself layes down, as occasional or evidential, for the damnation, and hardning some; though I scarce allow him that, that Ordinances of mercy and grace, are properly active to condemnation.

The other, which he never thinks on in his Book, is this, That God having left no infallible rule for discerning, hath or­dered it yet by a pure Gospel rule, which if wicked men will come up to, they hazard greater condemnation.

Further we may infer, That things may be called impertinent and ineffectual, which are instituted of the Lord, when the rea­sons of the Lords institution appear not to us; and that we may put our own suppositions and ends upon any administration in the Word, when his ends are not clear to us; nay, and con­clude against any other end then that of our own conjecture, or supposed probable reason; which I am confident is too too grosse to be in the learned Author Intentionally, though not con­sequentially in his Vindication.

But the ends which I clearly gather from the Analogy of things in Gods dispensation, are these; Why the Sacrament, though according to the institution delivered to Hypocrites, yet is no converting Ordinance?

God having left no infallible Rule of discerning his, but one­ly a Rule for outward evidences, the Ordinances must either be administred to all, walking according to the Rule of outward evidences, or to none; and according to that Rule, Hypocrites may come in, and do; yet that is no sin to the Administrator nor Communicants, so long as Administrations be ordered according to that Rule, and Gods End of his revealed Will shewed.

Secondly, The work of sifting, and reaping, of dividing betwixt the Trees and the Wheat, the Sheep and the Goats, is the work of the great day of the Son of man; and therefore, though Ordinances be administred here to Hypocrites, yet at [Page 14] the time of the finall discerning the communicating of Hypo­crites shall be visited in judgement, and greater condemnation upon them. So as there is no need of framing it into any no­tion of a converting Ordinance, lest otherwise it prove im­pertinent or ineffectual; for if the close Hypocrites be finally impenitent ones, God reckons for a greater sin; if not, yet it is no more impertinent then the Word is to all the children of God, who yet never partake truly of it, till converted.

Thirdly, That the distinction of his into the first conversi­on from Paganism to Faith; and secondly, from a formall Faith to a true sincere Faith in Jesus Christ, which is the cor­ner Stone in his building, is a distinction and certain degrees, which we have not in any such notion in the Word; nor if it were, doth it appear that the Scriptures place administration upon the bottom of any such distinction, though he doth it? But suppose I grant it, yet a formal profession then, as he contends for, and many other, was not such as is now, since Kingdoms were Christianized; but a profession then, was according to the Rule of evidence, till the contrary appeared, as in all the first gathered Churches, as in Simon Magus, Ananias, &c. And formal profession then, was as much as a kinde of power­ful profession now; for then it was persecution to take up an Ordinance or name of Christ, and now it is faction on the Law of the Land, as well as the Law of the God, to professe Christ; neither were the whole Counsels of the Spirit of Christ brought forth then to make up the rule of evidences, as afterwards; but they were brought forth by degrees, till the whole Scriptures of the New Testament were finished. And we are now to take the whole Counsels of God concerning Administrations, as laid down in the whole New Testament, and not by parcels, though so much as they did professe in the first time of gathering, were rule enough then, to them, when no more was revealed, yet not to us now, who have a full Gospel for our learning: And this mistake or want of just consideration of times, and Scriptures, is the ground of all the mistakes.

Vindication, Fol. 41.

Why should not the Sacrament do the like, since Gods Spirit equally breathes, and works in all his Ordinances, and may, and doth regenerate, and beget Grace in mens souls?


Whence we may infer, That it is lawful, according to this Principle to beleeve, That if one Ordinance convert, any other may, whether God hath instituted so or no. We know the Lord hath appointed and ordered every Or­dinance to its nature, kinde, and use; and Gods institution is to be the rule of our believing and reasoning, and practising, not because such a thing works so, therefore any other thing works so as that thing works. The Author himself reasons against this in another place, and that there is no right inference, but in things of the like kinde, and under the like precept, as thus: The Word is able to convert, therefore all Preaching and Pro­phesying is able to convert; but not therefore the Sacraments can convert.

Vindication, Fol. 41.

The Sacraments are by all Divines whatsoever, and the very Directory, pag. 52. ever enumerated among the means of Grace and Salvation; Why then should they not be the means of converting?


Whence we may infer, That it is warrantable to expound Divines and the Directory contrary to their intent and mean­ing, and to infer conclusions from them, to prove things which are not onely very disputable, but unwarrantable, as far as any Scripture makes appear, either in any plain precept, or president, and especially to turn the Directory, being a Pub­like form made by the Assembly, so much against their sense and meaning, as appears by divers of their judgements of late, is an attempt, much like that of expounding a Law or Ordi­nance of Parliament in a private sense, not in their own; and this quotation of a Directory, in this kinde, is enough to make it all questionable, and to draw on a necessity of a publike inter­pretation upon it.

Vindication, Fol. 41, 42.

That receiving Sacraments is usually accompanied with effectual means, as serious examinations, solemn searching out of all open and secret sins, with confession, contrition, humi­liation, prayers of pardon, secret purposes and vows, sundry pious and soul-ravishing meditations of Gods Mercy, exhor­tations, admonitions, by the Ministers: And why is not the Sacrament a more fit and apt Ordinance to regenerate, convert ungodly and scandalous sinners, then the bare Word preached?


Whence we may infer, That there are certain preparations and qualifications in men meerly unregenerate, which are here lifted up into something more then natural or carnal workings, or filthinesse of the flesh; as prayers for pardon of sin, pious and soul-ravishing meditations, with humiliation, contrition, confessi­on, &c. Now I would fain know, what there is in man be­fore the glorious light of Jesus Christ hath opened his eyes, and brought him out of prison, out of darknesse into light? What kinde of prayers can such make? What pious meditations can such have of Gods mercy in Christ? What contrition is there in such? What humiliation? Without faith it is impossible to please God; and the carnal minde is enmity against God; nor is it subject to the Law of God, nor indeed can be; and they that are in the flesh, cannot please God. What is all this then of prayers? When as the prayers of the wicked are abominable; What are all those flourishes and noise of vows and purposes, and contrition, and meditations of an unregenerate man, when they all are but glorious sins? Do men gather Grapes of Thorns, or Figgs of Thistles? Why should nature be made proud with these ex­pressions? And any ground laid for boasting?

And whereas it is said, that the Sacrament is a more apt means to convert, then the bare Word preached, we may infer some derogating and diminution, or lessening implyed here of the Ordinance of the Word or Ministery, be­cause it is said, Then the bare Word, as if so be, that the Word [Page 17] were a bare word, when it comes in the power of salvation to regenerate, when the Spirit quickens it, and makes it a Word of truth, of grace, the power of God unto salvation; and we see the word or ministery it self is called The Preaching of faith, The ministery of reconciliation: The Sacrament is not called so any where, though no lesse glorious neither: And Christ and his Apostles and Disciples went every where preaching the Word; but not administring the Sacrament but onely there, where the ministery of the Word had first brought them under the power of the Gospel-Order, and Rule for Ordinances of a more spiri­tual institution.

Vindication, fol. 42.

That because we behold Christs death and passion more vi­sibly represented to our eyes and hearts in the Sacrament, and remission of sins more sensibly applied to us, then in any other Ordinances; therefore it is certainly the most powerful Or­dinance of all others to regenerate and convert; with many Scriptures to prove conversion by representation.


We may infer, That because the Lord hath instituted his signe of bread and wine in the Supper to his own end; therefore it will serve to any end: That we can prove of our own ima­gining, upon certain rational conclusions from Scripture or rea­son, without particular Scriptures authorizing or appointing it to such an end; and therefore all these grounds, consequen­ces, and notions which are formed upon a likelihood and proba­bility, are nothing to prove any direct use of the Sacrament to such an end, without, as I have said, a special Word, Precept, or Practice, or just Consequence from Scriptures, directed to such a proof; for else there is scarce any thing but we may reason in­to a notion of likelihood: but faith must have better grounds, and not of private interpretation; and the Scriptures that are alleadged, must not be to prove that things of lively represen­tation may most affect the soul, and have done so; but that these Scriptures are plainly or powerfully directed by the Spirit of God to prove the very Institution of the supper to that end; [Page 18] which none of those Scriptures prove that are alleadged in fol. 42.

Vindication, fol. 43.

That God doth as effectually teach, convert, and work grace by the eye as ear; and therefore were the Sacraments, Sacri­fices, Types, Miracles, &c. Why should not then the visible expressions of Christ in the Sacrament now, have the like effe­ctual converting power.


We may infer, as we have done before, That all these are but Why should nots? no words of Institution or Authority in the Scriptures for it. But further, the Legal Sacraments, &c. were carnal, and more to the sense, and more of representation; but these are more in the spirit under the Gospel; we worship now in spirit and in truth, not by representations, us under the Law: And therefore it is, that the Gospel. Ordinances are so few, so plain, and poor to the eye, that the soul may not be ta­ken up with the signe, but with things spiritual: And we may observe, that as little as can be of outward elements are made use on; as in Baptism, meer water; and in the Supper, Wine and Bread; and the first Ordinance is called, The Baptism of the Spirit, not of water; and the bread and wine, The Commu­nion of the Body and of the Blood of Christ, not bread and wine: And, saith the Apostle, If we have known Christ after the flesh, henceforth know we have no more.

And further, What is it that is said of grace coming in by the eye? This is the way the Papists let in Christ, having made the eye rather the organ for conversion then the ear: now Faith cometh by hearing, and therefore all their Idolatrous pi­ctures, their Imagery; and theabical representations, are all for the eye, and bringing in Christ by Optick or sense, and making conversion to be by perspective, and working onely an histori­cal faith.

And further, What is it that is said of working grace by the eye? As if the carnal part could advantage conversion by any power there, but such a power as is meerly carnal and natu­ral? [Page 19] What can all these signes of the Lord Jesus do upon a blinde soul, as all unregenerate men are? What are the glorious colours to him that hath no eyes to see? The signes of bread and wine are given for working symbolically, or by signe, upon a soul or understanding spiritually enlightned before, and having a discerning; and therefore it is that the Apostle saith, He that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lords Body; which, if the Supper had been a converting Ordinance, the Apostle would not have charged the unworthy from receiving, but rather have encouraged them in their receiving, that, of unworthy, they might have been made worthy: But you see he calls for a right discerning of the Lords Body first; which cannot be a calling of the unregene­rate or unconverted to a partaking, because they have no right discerning of the Body of Christ, but by the sense first con­verted.

Vindication, fol. 44.

1. That the most humbling, melting, soul-changing, sin­purging, mollifying meditations, of all others, are from Christs death and passion, &c. and therefore, &c.

2. Afflictions and corporal punishments are converting Or­dinances; therefore, &c.

3. That unworthy participating is a means of spiritual hardning, and so by the rule of contraries, a worthy receiving an instrument of conversion.

4. All the ends of it are, as appears, so spiritual (see his Scriptures) that how is it possible it should not be Gods in­tention, and Christs Ordination, to be a converting Ordi­nation?

5. Conversion is a turning of the whole man unto love, obedience of God in Christ, from the love of the world, &c. and what engine more powerful for the forecited respects or spiritual ends?

6. Experience in every Christians conscience, whose prepa­rations and approaches to this Sacrament were the first effe­ctual means of their conversion; yea, they had not been con­verted, if debarred from it.


We may infer, upon the first, that there are soul-melting me­ditations in a soul unconverted, or unmelted; and that there are soul-changing meditations in a soul unchanged, which the Scriptures never speak on; such ways of conversion are no ways in the Word that we read on, but hidden paths for the spirit, of mans devising.

Secondly, that because afflictions are, therefore Sacraments are: that is, because one thing is, therefore another thing is: This is but the Old Argument. But God may sanctifie any thing at his own pleasure, to make way for Conversion, and yet that no instituted Ordinance for conversion neither: Because some have been converted when afflicted, when sick, when poor; therefore will you first go afflict them, and make them sick, and poor, taking all they have from them, that you may con­vert them, and so make them standing Ordinances?

Thirdly, Is a rule of contraries a rule in the Scriptures, or in Logick? But it is said, Worthy receiving is an instrument of con­version, that is, Conversion is an means of conversion: who can receive worthily, till in Christ, till converted?

4. But all the ends of it are spiritual, and how is it possible but then it should convert? This How is it possible? is like that of Why should it not? both of one strength to prove it; for though the ends be never so spiritual, yet if there be no war­rant for any such institution as conversion, all the reasons and ex­trinsecal or strange consequences, as all such are, cannot insti­tute an Ordinance; none but God and Christ; and therefore the Popish Arguments built upon such forreign and external (though rational) consequences, are not immediate nor intrin­secal enough to warrant any thing of their will-worship.

5. But it is a powerful engine: Yea, but onely for what it is instituted and ordained; nor is it lesse excellent, because it con­verts not, because every thing is beautiful in its order, and place, and law of creation.

6. But the experiences of Christians witnesse, who had never been converted, if not at the Sacrament: But what Christians are these? What kinde of experiences are these? I question [Page 21] the truth of all such conversion who have onely such experience as this, because that such experience crosses the word and way of the Spirit; and those are no right experiences, which are not Scripture-experiences.

But, some had not been converted, if debarred from it. This is a strange assertion, against that of the Word, The spirit bloweth where and when it listeth; and some are called at one hour of the day, some at another; and how is it clear that the Sacra­ment converted such, or not some other act of the Word at that time, or about it? Shew me that Christian, among so many that can evidence his act of conversion meerly, barely, singly, immediately from the act of communicating, and then there is something proved to justifie an experience of conversion at such a time; but still not to justifie the Sacrament an Ordinance Conversion, and so to be used.

Vindication, fol. 46.

Is any Master or Parent so unnatural and sottish to deny his children or servant wholesom meat to feed their bodies? And shall any Minister be so irrational or inconsiderate, in denying the spiritual food?


Whence we may infer, That the Vindication takes all un­converted persons, by this comparison, to be alive, and spiritually quickned, or else it were, as he says, unnatural, sottish, irrati­onal to give them food: And if they be unconverted, as he pleads for, then who is so unnatural, sottish, irrational, or in­considerate, as to give them any? Men onely hold forth food to the living, and not to the dead.

Vindication, fol. 46.

Physitians had an errour, to deny drink to men in Feavers, which murdred Thousands; but now they see this deadly mistake, and correct it: So let not this errour creep into Di­vinity and Divines, in denying the cup to such Feaverish Chri­stians, burning in the slames of sin and lust.


Whence we may infer, That there is in the unconverted a spiritual Feaver ish thirst after Christ, as there is in the sick af­ter drink. But oh! Doth the same fountain send forth sweet and bitter waters? Are there any such spiritually-feaverish desires in souls meerly carnal and unregenerate? Can the burning in the flames of sin and lust breath any such heavenly longings? Can there be any desires but sinful desires after Christ? Can any but a soul like Davids pant after the water-brooks? Are the flames of sin and lust like that heavenly fire in the bosom which the Prophet speaks on? Do the hearts of any burn within them, but when Christ is in their company, and when spiritually enflamed by him? Are the kindlings of sin like the kindlings upon the Altar? Is the fire in the kitchin like the fire in the Temple? Are the burnings of hell like the burnings of heaven? If not, Why are we told of men burning in the flames of sin and lust after Christ? The Doctrine is not more unwarrantable then the expression is uncomely.

Vindication, fol. 47.

A Peradventure we may receive or do good, by such a par­ticular Ordinance or action, is a sufficient encouragement for us to adventure on it in other cases; let it be also warrantable in such cases where they have at least a probability, a possibi­lity, a peradventure, it may be, and a Who knoweth but it may convert?


Whence we may infer, That the sum of all the former Arguments now summed up, you see, will reach no higher then to a Peradventure, or to a may be. And whether these be such Scripture-grounds or assurances for administrations of the Ordinances of God, I appeal to all the world of believers, who knows, that May bees and Peradventures are not to be allow­ed any place in the practical obedience of Christians; but clear, demonstrative, solid and certain Maximes or Principles; for, Whatsoever is not of faith, is sin: and, He that doubteth is damn­ed▪ and,Rom. 14. Happie is he that condemneth not himself in what he doth. [Page 23] And who knnws not, that what is done upon May bees and Peradventures, cannot be done of faith nor perswasion?

Vindication, fol. 51.

That the Presbytery or Classis may order a Suspension from the Sacrament or any other Ordinances; provided that this power be claimed by no Divine Right, but by Parliamen­ry Authority, and Humane Institution.


Whereby we may infer, That what is not to be warranted in the Word, yet if Humane Authority will undertake it, it shall not be excepted against by the Vindication. But where is there that Authority that will adventure so far, to make up any thing in spiritual Administrations, that there is no Spiritual nor Scripture-warrant for? I am sorry to see the Vindication set the Parliamentary Authority so neer to Humane Invention, of whom we are perswaded better things then to take the Patro­nage of any such thing, which is not warrantable by the Word; but rather to suspend all, then to settle any thing so close to the highest Administrations in the Word, which is of meer Humane Invention. Nay, I will prove this to be the very Ma­xime and practice of that honourable Senate, who have there­fore rooted out Episcopacy, professed to the most high God in a Covenant against all Will-worship, and Traditions of men; and therefore let us not roll such a golden ball before Authority, to put them out of their way after Christ, who have followed him so close hitherto, both in their searchings in the Word, and in their tendernesse of persecution, lest they might scourge Christ out of his own Temple, and not know it.

Vindication, fol. 57.

The practical power of godlinesse is generally more evi­dently visible, and the lives of the generality of the people more strict, pious, lesse scandalous and licentious in our Eng­lish Congregations, where there hath been powerful preach­ing, without the practice of Excommunication or Suspension from the Sacrament, then in the Reformed Churches of [Page 22] [...] [Page 23] [...] [Page 24] France, Germany, or Scotland: Our English Ministers and Pro­stants generally excel all others, notwithstanding their strict Discipline.


Whence we may infer, That the Vindication, though it pre­tend, in the general or face of it, to be for Presbytery, yet it is very clear, that, in aspersing the Government of all those Re­formed Kingdoms where the practice and power of it hath been, it secretly wounds the glory of it, in the opinion of the world; and though it pull not down the Government quite, yet it wea­kens the Posts, or Judgements of men, on which it stands. I name not here the other Texts that the Vindication hath pull'd out of the building of the Presbyterial Government; See fol. 3, &c. for the taking out the Scriptures, are like the pulling out the nalls and pins from the house, and a loosning of the frame. This I ob­serve, because the Vindication professes so for that Government; though I suppose many such friends, in time, might do as much harm, if not more, then those of the Separation, whom he calls their enemies. Surely, I do believe, France, Germany, Scotland had rather such Books were not writ in their behalf, that opens the evil, corruption, and grievances of their Go­vernment so much.

But I shall argue further: What need such comparing of the mixt Congregations of several Kingdoms, ours and theirs? Surely they are all corrupt enough, and mixt enough; and a Law for all sorts of sinners to communicate, as the Vindication would have, would not much more reform, because it would then be a kinde of Church-priviledge to be a sinner, or a scan­dalous person; and to be something notoriously wicked, would be a way of enrighting them to Church-Ordinances, according to the Principles of Vindication, however some fair pretences and Colours are laid on, that we should believe the contrary.

But what of all this? I believe there is another reason why the Government hath brought forth no more power of godli­nesse upon the Kindoms then the Vindication observes; because neither the Parishes are constituted, nor yet the Government, [Page 25] according to Gospel-order: yet I honour them as Believers, and Brethren in the Lord, according to their light.

Yet I observe another secret, why the preaching of the Word thrives better, and reforms more then the Government in these Kingdoms, because that the Preaching of the Word is an Ordi­nance of the Lord; and when preached or held forth to un­godly, scandalous, and notorious sinners, is but according to its right order of Institution so preached; the end of the Lord is but fully and clearly served, because the Word, in the ministe­ry of it, is appointed for a converting Ordinance; but the Go­vernment and Discipline being not instituted as a converting Or­dinance primarily, but for a people already converted and brought in, it cannot be accompanied with such power from heaven, because it is not managed according to pure Gospel-or­der, nor upon a people rightly prepared and fitted: so as the fault is not, because there is a Government, as the Vindication observes; but, not the pure Government, nor the Government rightly placed.

And for his Charge against the purer Congregations, as I know not any such doings amongst them; so I will make no Apologie for them, because that would bring them within the compasse of something like a crime; and I know nothing but well by them.

The New Queres.
Folio 51, Of the Vindication propounded to the Honourable PARLIAMENT and ASSEMBLY.

Quere 1.

WHether a bare Excommunication or Suspension from the Sacrament, not backed with Authority of the Civil Magistrate, be not like to prove an im­potent, and invalid, and ineffectual means? Whe­ther it be not a far better way, in point of Conscience and Prudence, to admit scandalous persons to the Sacrament, not actually excommunicated, though they thereby eat and drink judgement to themselves, then to deprive any to whom it real­ly belongs?

Antiquere 1.

Whether is there any excommunication or no? For the Vindication questions it, in calling it an invalid thing; and if so, How can any such thing be setled at all as an Ordinance in the Church?

Whether ought Authority to joyn it self with any thing so questionable as the Vindication would have it? Since nothing hath proved more fatal.

Whether excommunication being granted, be any such bare thing, as the Vindication speaks on, so impotent, invalid, and in­effectual, without being Authorized from a power from men? [Page 27] And whether the Ministers are to strike with the Magistrates Sword?

Whether all the differences about Excommunication, be not from the want of true Church-constitution? And whether a National Church be not too wide for the Ordinances, and the Scabberd too big for the Sword? 1 Kings 6. 4. And whether Solomons Tem­ple and Christs be all of a largenesse, so that one golden Reed will measure both? Whether the old Temple that had Win­dows of narrow Lights, be any pattern for the new?

Whether any thing of Prudence, As admitting scandalous persons to eate their own damnation, as the Vindication saith, Rather then to deprive them, to whom it really belongs, be any Scripture-way of arguing; which forbids us not to do evil that good may come thereby?

Whether any sin or offence be committed in such cases of de­privation of scandalous persons, seeing, though it may really be­long to them, yet the Church nor Dispenser not knowing any such thing, nor judging, but onely by the Rule of visible walk­ing to the Word, and the Rule of evidences there, for Admini­stration of Ordinances, can faithfully administer but accord­ingly; for they that walk according to this Rule, peace be on them, and on the Israel of God.

Whether the Law of God in this, be not as equitable as the Law of Man, which judges not of secrets, nor takes cogni­zance of things unknown?

Whether it be not rather the scandalous persons onely sin, who if he have a real interest, will not live in the evidence of it, nor walk by the Rule of Administrations, that he may par­take?

Quere 2. Fol. 51.

Whether the suspending such persons from the Sacrament, being no Ordinance of Christ without a totall Suspension, will not be a means rather to harden? And whether their ad­mission be not rather a more probable way of reclaiming, be­ing accompanied with serious Admonitions, Exhortations, publike and serious Reprehensions.


1. Because that such persons are more hardned by it, totall exclusion onely working shame.

2. Because against their receiving like Italians in Lent, they will be holy for a day or two, and make vows, &c. and may be so converted.

3. Many then will read, &c. which would not do so be­fore, in an Hypocriticall conscience; and the Sacrament is a Covenant which binds all receivers to reform.

4. The Sacraments are so accompanied with Examinati­ons, Exhortations, &c. that ten to one would be converted by such admission rather then by suspension;Luke 7. 34, &c. therefore Christ when he came to save sinners, permitted them familiarly to him and his Ordinances.

Antiquere 2.

Whether Excommunication according to the Vindication grounds, being a questionable Ordinance, as well as suspension, one of them may not be as well made use on, as the other; Suspension as well as Excommunication upon his grounds?

Whether the Admonitions, Exhortations, Reprehensions, Ex­aminations, be such as Christ appointed to make the Sacrament an Ordinance for all scandalous sinners to come to, or rather to quicken and spiritualize the worthy receivers, who receive according to the visible Rule of Administrations, as the whole strain of Scripture precept, and practise speak?

Whether all the three first Reasons presuppose not such a Church-constitution for Ordinances and partakers, as the Scrip­tures never speak on? For where is there any such constituted Church of scandalous and Italianated persons, who were constituted according to the rule; and for Corinth, and the rest, that had such bad Members, they are not examples in that of gathering, or constituting, or administring, but reforming, as the Apostle who calls them to the rule of the Word:1 Cor. 11. This one mistake hath deceived many.

Whether Christ in permitting scandalous sinners to con­verse [Page 29] with him familiarly, when he was here in the flesh, be any rule of admitting all such sinners now to the mystery of his spiritual Ordinances? And whether there be not a spiri­tual difference betwixt Christ not offered, and offered, betwixt his conversing in the flesh, for making up the mystery of Redemp­tion; and the mystery of Redemption made up, and finished by the eternal Spirit, in which he offered himself; betwixt Christ in the flesh, and in the Spirit, or Ordinance?

Whether did Christ intend his ordinary or occasional conver­sing, to be any rule for his Church or Kingdom in its Admini­strations or Ordinances, which is a work of another form? And whether this intermingling of carnal and spiritual notions be a Scripture way? Whether ought we to force any conse­quences or inferences upon the Word for practise in administra­tions in things neither clearly, nor intentionally, for ought we see, nor mystically directed, appointed, or instituted by Christ? And whether such a ground once granted, will not let in one kinde of will-worship, as well as another?

And for that ten to one, being converted so as he sayes; Quere, Whether it is not ten to one any will be a converted, but rather hardned?

Quere 3. Fol. 53.

Whether did Christ ever intend, that none but true and reall believers, should receive his Supper, or did he not infal­libly know that many unregenerate and impenitent should and would receive it? And the Antagonists grant, that close Hypocrites have an external right; then if these, why not others? Christ having ordained the Sacrament of the Supper, as well as the Word, to be a savour of death to such; and God hath his end in both, the glory of his Justice in the one, as well as of his Grace and Mercy in the other.


Whether did not Christ intend, that all should receive or communicate in outward admistrations by an external right? [Page 30] And if so, then what ground is there for the visible, impenitent, or known scandalous?

Whether if true saving faith were the one part of the In­terest, and the external right the other part of it, there be any ground left for the other Communicants? And whether that the Scriptures rule, and purer practise of all Churches in the Gospel, excepting when faln, or beside the rule; and the Scrip­ture Cautions do not wholly exclude such scandalous impeni­tent persons pleaded for, against all other forrain, probable, possibl, rational, or Rethoricating consequences and conclusions to the contrary.

Whether the glory of Gods justice in the judgement upon unworthy receivers, be any ground to take in Communicants for condemnation, since it is full against other Scriptures, that Christ came not into the world to condemn the world; and to save mens lives, not to destroy them; and he would not the death of a sinner? And whether, though finally condemna­tion be ordered for all such, yet no such thing being formally, externally, dispensatively ordered, any persons ought to be called in for condemnation in such a way?

Whether this be not quite against the nature of the Gospel dispensation; Christ under the Gospel dispensing himself, and giving out himself as a Saviour, a Redeemer, and in all the Gospel declining judgement; I come not to judge the world, re­serving that work till he appear in his own day to condemnation of sinners, this being onely his day of reconciliation to them.

Whether the Apostle in Rom. 3. where he saith, But if our righteousnesse commend the righteousnesse of God, is God unrigh­teous, who taketh vengeance? And not rather as we be stande­rously reported; and some affirm that we say, Let us do evil, that good may come thereof, doth not parallel this; For the Apostle here, though Gods righteousnesse and justice was set forth by his justice upon sinners, yet he did not say as in the Quere is said, Let us then do evil, that God may be glorified, or good may come thereof.

Quere 4. Fol. 53.

Whether all Ordinances proving alike good or bad, saving or damning; and impenitent persons, as well encreasing their damnation by hearing, praying, fasting, &c. What reason can be rendered by any rational Christian, why such persons should not be admitted to the Sacrament, as to any other Or­dinance, or not suspended equally from all?


Whether any such consequence of admission or suspension from Ordinances, ought to be grounded upon damnation or judgement, but rather upon words of command and institu­tion, and Scripture practise? And if any such appeared, all these Consequences which the Vindication draws forth, wring­ing blood, and not milk from the Word, might be saved; and he need not go so far about, which when all is done, brings a soul, but at best, upon a probable, specious, or real coloured Ar­gument.

Whether,Fol. 3, 4, 6, 9. since the Vindication pulls down clear Scripture Texts and grounds in this controversie, to weaken the building of his adversary, he ought not in conscience first to have had a clear Word or Institution for the contrary practise, and not onely probable, and literally conclusive grounds, that souls can stand at surest upon;In Fol. 3, 4, 6, 9, but like men upon Ice, who are in as fair a possibility to fall, as stand? And whether having taken away the Scripture Texts for Presbytery it self, he can well hold up any upon his grounds? And whether is not this scep­tial or doubtful way of reasoning upon Scripture; neither pulling quite down, nor building up, a way rather to fill all the rooms with rubbish; and at length, neither to have new build­ing nor old. What man going to build a Tower, sitteth not down first, and seeth what it will cost him, lest having begun, and not able to finish all, men begin to laugh at him, saying, &c. But whether is not all this ado about Ordinances, rather for want of a right and purer constitution of Churches, which would [Page 32] save all this controversie about scandalous and impenitent sin­ners, when the Church were not troubled with such, where the Ordinances are.


Well, I am by this time well perswaded; and having heard all this, for my part, I cannot but see that in settling things suddenly upon the Kingdom, and things thus question­able, and unwarrantable in the way of Administration, and a Kingdom so full of impenitent and scandalous sinners, as Parochial Congregations general are, there is danger of great sin, and great trouble.


I will therefore adde two or three Arguments more, and so conclude.

AN Experimental-Argument FOR PURE Churches and Ordinances.

THere is a spritual Antipathy betwixt Grace and Nature, Flesh and Spirit; the Flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the Flesh: and the more spiritual, or more carnal, the more these two contrary Natures work, and the more powerfully against each other, as in Sarah and Hagar, Isaac and Ishmael, and the lesse or more they can bear with each other: As for example: While Judas carnal nature or disposition, uninflamed by Satan, boyled and heightned not into any such grosse act as selling and betraying of Christ, the disciples bore with him more, and Christ himself, as he was man, and in a state of Infirmity, could more endure him, then upon the breaking out of his sin: and so in Simon Magus, in Ananias and Sapphira, and others, whom the Apostles could no longer suffer, not by way of discipline, or inflicting Censure, but by way of a spiritual contrarinesse to such grosse hypocrisie and sin discovered: And so the experiences of all that are of a pure Gospel-temper, will witnesse to this very Age, in acts of spi­ritual fellowship and Community, in all acts of Worship, &c.

This is founded not onely spiritual antipathies and sympa­thies, but in natural and civil; natural things of a contrary nature bearing one another no lesse; and things of a civil na­ture, yet contrary, doing the like.

Hence arise separations meerly natural, and sensitive, and ra­tional: Hence arises a particular Schism and separation in all the things of the world, and a secret gathering and contracting of things from the contrary into the same kinde: the common [Page 34] purity being lost,Rom. 8. as the Apostle implies, by which Nature did at first more universally agree, as if one common spirit had been in it. And thus it was in the Churches of God at first, when three, four, or five thousand did agree in one way of spiritual fellowship, Doctrine, breaking of bread, and Prayers; but we see there is not now such pourings out of spirit upon multitudes and Nations, that a National-Church should be together in such a unity of spirit. And under the Law there was even a weaker example in the people of the jews, being taken out from the people of the world, and naturally hating all that were common and unclean, as the Gentiles: And before the Law, the people of God did gather into Families and particular socie­ties, as in Abraham, &c. And those Families, the children of the Bond-woman and of the free, never bearing but persecuting each other. So as all of pure spiritual constitution, cannot but experimentally finde a spiritual nature in themselves, wor­king them into a more glorious fellowship then that of the world.

The sum of the Argument.

If then there be two contrary natures of Spirit and Flesh; if these cannot, nor never could, in experience of all Ages, and according to the truth in Scriptures, and example of all there, bear each other into the same spiritual society or fellowship; if nature it self in the creatures run out into antipathies and sym­pathies, that is, into particular gatherings and separations, mutual opposings and resistings of each other when together: Then spi­ritual and unmixt Communion and Fellowship from the world, and men of the world, is warrantable. But all this is undeniably true, to the experience of all: Therefore spi­ritual unmixt Communion and Fellowship from the world, and men of the world, is warrantable.

Argument from the Power of Spiritual Ordinances and Dispensations.

THe Gospel-Ordinances brought into the World a power, and spiritual Law in them, though in degrees and mea­sures, and several givings out, as in Johns time, and his Disci­ples, in Christs own time, and his Disciples, and in the Spirits time; and according to these times of manifestation, believers were wrought upon: in Johns time they came out to the Bap­tism of Water; in Christs and his Disciples, to the preaching of the Word; in the Spirits time, to the Baptism of the Spirit, to a more mighty and glorious working; and all these times of Gospel-manifestation, had a prevailing losse, and more upon the believers of these several times, in drawing them out from the world in part, though weakly: in Johns time, it is said, Then come out unto him all Judea; yet though they were Baptised of him, they gathered not off into such particular societies, as after, The Kingdom of God then was but at hand in Christs time, though his preaching was powerful, yet he let out the glory of his spirit, but sometimes with the Word, reserving his more glorious manifestations for other times; and even here, though Christs preaching gathered in his Apostles and Disciples into some particular, and neerer way to himself, yet not many more; nay, he rather left many, partly in that mixed condition of society he found them; and so the Disciples Commission which was given, was to preach but little yet of Church-ga­thering, but by way of Prophecy, as in Matth. 16. and 18. The Kingdom of God was but yet at hand, not come: In the Spirits time, then the Kingdom of God was come, and then a mighty operation and measure of the Spirit was powred out, and then the believers through the powerful working, were brought more off from the World, and began to gather in closer to Christ, and one another. And now all power was given to Christ, which was not before his Resurrection, and now he sets [Page 36] up a Kingdom; Matth. 8. All power is given into my hands; and now the Kingdom begins to be set up in the hearts and practice of belie­vers,Ephes. 4. 8, 11. and the Spirit to mold and cast the believers into Brother hoods and societies, and the form of a Kingdom; and now the Laws and spiritual policy are given out for ordering this King­dom: And we see how the people of God in Rome, Corinth, E­phesus, Galatia, drew off from the world, in the things of the Lord.

We see then how the Word did begin to work Believers into a fellowship from the world; and the more the spirit was given, the more and more off from the world, in all these several times: And it is a rational truth, and a clear conclusion, even to meer reason, that the more Christ, and his Spirit, is in any, the more neer and close they will gather up to heaven and walkings with God; and the more Christward any one is, the more off still from the multitude of the world: And thus the Ordinances of Jesus Christ, in which the Spirit breathes so powerfully, work men off from the mixed world, into fellowship with the Lord, and that spiritual fellowship makes them rejoyce more in one another, then in any other that are more carnal: The more men live to Christ, the more they die to the world, and are formed into the fellowship of his death and Resurrection.

The sum of the Argument.

If then the Ordinances and Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ had ever a power, in some degree, of prevailing upon the souls of Believers, according to the manifestation of the Spirit: and if this Spirit, flowing from God and Christ, carry up the soul to God and Christ, according to the measure given to those Believers; and if the more they are carried towards Christ, the more they must come off from the world:

Then Congregational or Church-order wherein Believers are gathered into fellowship with God in Christ and one ano­ther from the world, in the things of the Gospel, and unmixt communion, is warrantable. But all this is undeniably true from the Word: Therefore Church-fellowship and unmixt Communion is warrantable.


IF mixed communion and society came in upon the Apostacie and falling away, Revel. cha. 2, 3. and Parochial Congregations were formed up afterward from such mixt Communion: If as Antichrist prevailed, so darknesse and corruption prevailed upon Believers: If Churches were called Golden Candlesticks before,Rev. 2. 1. and a Fel­lowship of Saints,1 Cor. 1. 9. and the Body of Christ, and Kingdom of God, till they grew mixed: If the mixt Congregations by Parishes came in first by Dionysius Bishop of Rome, Ephes. 2. 19, &c. in the yeer 267; and in England by Honorius Bishop of Canterbury; 2 Cor. 6. 15, 16, 17. and peo­ple were onely made Congregations by conveniency of situation, and the Law of civil Politie: If Parishes were first the seats of Popery, See the learned Mr. Sel­den, in his Book De deci­mis. and after the seats of Prelacy, and now fall under the Presbytery in the same kinde and notion of a mixed multi­tude:

Then mixt and Parochial Congregations are not that way and order of Christ for Ordinances which was the primitive way revealed and practised in the Gospel. But all this is unde­niably true from the best Historians: Therefore not mixt Communion and Fellowship, but pure and unmixt, is the onely Ordinance of Christ.

Now I shall leave you for the present, and commend parti­culars unto you and the Kingdom: the one, A rule of Eviden­ces for Spiritual Communion, drawn from the Scriptures; the other, A remarkable passage in the Book of Vindication.

The Rule of Evidences FOR Spiritual-Communion.

MAtth. 15. 26. Chap. 18. 19, 20. Joh. 10. 16. Acts 2. 44, 46. Chap. 19. 9. Rom. 1. 7. Chap. 16. 17, 18. 1 Cor. 1. 1, 10. Chap. 5. 4, 5, 11, 13. and 12. 12, 13, 14, 20, 25, 27. 2 Cor. 5. 6, 7. Chap. 6. 14, 15, 16, 17. Gal. 5. 9, 10, 12, 13. Chap. Chap. 6. 16. Ephes. 4. 3, 4, 25. Chap. 5. 1, 2, 11, 12, 21, 30. Phil. 3. 15, 16, 17. 1 Thess. 3. 6. 2 Thess. 3. 14. 1 Tim. 6. 3, 4, 5. 2 Tim. 3. 5. Tit. 3. 10. Hebr. 10. 25. 1 Pet. 2. 9. 1 Joh. 1. 7. 2 Joh. v. 10, 11. Revel. 2. 14, 15, 20. Chap. 18. 4. and 19. 20.

A remarkable Passage in the Vindication-Book.

ANd if our Assembly and Ministers will but diligent­ly preach against that Catalogue of scandalous sins and sinners they have presented to the Parliament, and the Parliament prescribe severe Temporal Laws and Punish­ments against them, and appoint good Civil Magistrates to see them duely executed, inflicted; I am confident, that this would work a greater Reformation in our Church and State in one half yeer, then all the Church-Discipline and Censures now so eagerly contested for, will do in an Age, and will be the onely true way and speediest course to re­form both Church and State at once; which I hope the Parliament will consider of, and take care, that our Mi­nisters (like the Bishops formerly) may not now be taken up with Ruling and Governing, but Preaching and Instruct­ing, which is work enough, wholly to engrosse their time and thoughts.


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