Zerubbabel to Sanballat and Tobiah: OR, The First Part of the DƲPLY TO M.S. alias Two Brethren.


Whereunto is added, The Iudgement of the Reformed Chur­ches of France, Switzerland, Geneva, &c.

Concerning INDEPENDANTS, who con­demne them with an unanimous consent.

Published by DAVID STEUART.

EZRA 4.1, 2, 3.

The Adversaries of Judah came to Zerubbabel, and to the chiefe of the fathers, and said unto them: Let us build with you, for we seek your God, as ye do, and we do sacrifice unto him since the dayes of Esar­haddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither.

But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Is­rael, said unto them, You have nothing to do with us, to build an house unto our God, but we our selves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel.



London: Printed for Iohn Field, and are to be sold at his house upon Addle-hill, neer Baynards-Castle. 1645.

To their EXCELLENCIES • The Lord William Boreel, Lord of Duynbeck, chiefe Syndicke, and Counceller of Amsterdam. , • The Lord John de Reede, Lord of Reinswond, Deputy in Ordinary in the Assembly of the States Generall of the united Provinces for the Province of Utrecht. , • The Lord Albert Joachimi, Lord of Oostende in Oedekenskercke, Secretary for the Republick of Ter-Goes. , and • Lords Ambassadours of the High and Mighty Lords, the States Generall of the united Provinces of the Netherlands. 

THe World, happily, will conceive, that Perso­nages so Noble and Eminent for Place and Em­ployment, are much too High to be solicited to undertake for, or be God-Fathers to a Childe of so mean a Birth and quality, as is this that now presents it self unto Your Excellencies for that purpose. Every one will be ready to say, that I, in ma­king choice of Your Honourable Names, for Protection of this Treatise, have erected too stately, and augustuous a Portall, for so low and mean a Building, as mine is: It may not be denied, but that such a construction may very justly be made of my enter­prise, if either the Authors inferior quality and condition, or the frame and structure of his work should be strictly eyed, and re­garded. But on the other side, if the matter and end of it, be well taken into consideration, scarce any man can think other, then that it is most worthy Your Patronage; as that, that hath no other aime, save only the glory of God, the Edification of the Church, the Vindication of the Truth, against the illusions of Sectaries and Novelists, and the reduction to the bosome of the Church, of such as are strayed from it. Now, what can there be more sutable, and fitting for Children, and Servants of the great God, such as as You are, then that which makes for the advancement of his Glory? What can there be more proper for such as are Members, yea Nursing-Fathers of the Church, then that which tends to the gathering and Uniting together of the Members of [Page]her Body? What can there be more worthy such Eminent Per­sonages, professing the true Religion, then that which is for the defence of the truth of such opinions as are Orthodox? What can there be more corresponding with the duty of Chistian Magistrates, then to that which is intended for the reduction of such as are strayed to the Sheepfold of the great Shepherd of our Souls, and that They should assist the Work by their Politicall Authority, whilst the Church contributes (which is all she can do) her best Reasons for their conviction. I have further Grounds and Motives for the Dedication of this Treatise to Your Excellen­cies: to wit, For that You represent here the Persons of the High and Mighty States of the United Provinces; some of whose Terri­tories and Estates are infected with this Venome: Howbeit, God be thanked, it gaines not ground so fast there as here, nor the Gan­green proves hitherto so dangerous: Concerns it not us therefore, being infested with the same Malady, and Disease, the one as the other, that we should testifie our mutuall sense and apprehension thereof; and that we should make it appear to all the World, that however we are divided in Body, we are yet notwithstanding strongly united in Heart; as also in an Harmony of Opinions: You labour likewise, how You may Establish here a Peace, both in Church and State; and this Treatise is a good Means, con­ducing to the former of these: You endevour to procure a Gene­rall Councell; and this Treatise maintaines the equity, and proves the necessity of it.

But yet there is one Reason more which more particularly obliges me to present this Treatise to Your Excellencies; and it is such as I may not at any hand passe over, without incurring the Crime of highest Ingratitude: Which is, Most Excellent Lords, That great Honour Your Famous University of Leyden, the very Athens of our Age, hath put upon me, in vouchsafing me so honorable a Call to be one of its Members; Truly to this Head give me leave to say, I cannot sufficiently admire Your great love to good Letters, and Your unparallel'd care for the advancing of them; so as it seems, that in Your Provinces, and in them alone they flourish and shew themselves in their perfect Lustre and Beauty. For this purpose [Page]You from time to time, make choice and Election of the most Famous men of all Europe) Notwithstanding, that You have ve­ry able men of your own) as though You meant to gather into one Place all the most radiant Stars in the Firmament; so as You de­spoil all other Kingdoms of the fairest flowers of their Crowns, and with a kinde of sweet violence do, as it were, draw their Eyes out of their Heads, and so quite darken and eclipse their Lustre and shine. I say not this, that I would be thought to rank my self in the number of those Great and Eminent Personages: I know well, that there are some Stars that shine by their own light; That there are others again that shew not themselves, but by a borrowed light: But I will not enlarge my discourse upon Your Praises, nor undertake to describe at large Your Heroick Vertues; for this is not the place for it; and it hath already been done by far bet­ter Pens then mine is; I should by such an untertaking fear to sully the brightnesse of their Lustre, and to draw a cloud o­ver their Orient and vivid Colours; And if I should go about it, I should at the same time resolve, to imitate that Excellent Pain­ter, who, when he had done all that his Art enabled him to do, for the drawing of an exquisite Pourtaicture, and had set out its beau­ty with the most lively colours he could devise, drew a curtain over it, mistrusting the goodnesse of his Workmanship, and inti­mating thereby, that there was much more to be conceived of the Peece, then he was able to expresse.

Notwithstanding, I cannot tell how to contain my self, but I must take notice of Your great Actions, and Your many Noble Atchievements by Arms: How You were They, that first op­pos'd Your selves to the Tyranny of the proud Spanyard; and that first of all others, stayed the violent course of his Conquests, that like an impetuous Torrent, was wont to bear down all be­fore him: So as from a very meane and low beginning, of a suddain He was become so excessively great by possessing himself of the most commodious and considerable Estates of the World, as that he was come to reckon his Crowns by Hundreds, and Thousands. Yet You, that were but the least part of His E­states, and that were accompted no better then Beggars & Gueux, [Page]in comparison of those vast Treasures that He drew from Peru; You I say, were They that first blunted the edge of His Conquests, and knapt in sunder the Bonds wherewith he would have enslav'd You, setting Free, and at Liberty together with Your selves multi­tudes, of others whom He out of an insatiable Appetite, not know­ing how to set limits or bounds to his over-swelling Ambition, had fully purposed to make his Vassalls. Moreover, You constrained him, though much against stomack, to acknowledge You for Sove­raigns, & such as depended not at all upon upon His Jurisdiction. And not contenting Your selves with all this, You went and found him out in his own Hereditary Estates, and pursued Him with fire and sword, even to his own doores. Yea, You Tra­versed God knows how many Seas, as wel towards the East, as the West, setting at liberty those poor Barbarians, over whose Bodies he exercised so many cruell and new devised Tyrannies; and all this under the pretext of a false Donation by the Bishop of Rome. And as if You had not an Adversary at home, that would cut You out businesse enough, nor an Object sufficient to entertain You, You set Your selves on work to discover severall Lands, that were altogether unknown to former Ages the which You subjected to Your own Dominions: But yet all these Politicall and Martial Vertues, are nothing in comparison of Your Christian Vertues, and Your Zeal to the Reformed Religion; For no sooner had You freed Your selves from the Yoak of the Span­yard; but You willingly submitted Your necks to the service of the Son of God, and made Your Country a Sanctuary, and Refuge to the poor Protestants, whether persecuted in France or elsewhere.

And those Barbarians, that You subjugated in Asia, and A­merica, You subdued no lesse to the Kingdom of the Son of God, then to Your own Signory; so joyning the glory of God to­gether with Your own Interests, and enlarging the Empire of his Son with Your own; and marrying (which is rarely seen, and therefore seems almost impossible) the Maxims of State, and the Principles of Religion together; Evidencing it to the whole world, that You are no lesse good Christians, then great Polititians.

These are the Reasons, Most Excellent Lords, that moved me to Dedicate this small Treatise to Your Excellencies: to wit, Your great Zeal for the glory of God, and the Edification of his Church; Your present worthy Employment and Embassy, Your Troubles in Religion alike with ours; and particularly, the Honor which one of Your Universities hath lately conferred upon me.

Now I beseech God to give You length of dayes, with all sort of Temporall Happinesse in this World; and to heap upon You Eternall Blessings in the World to come: To powre out the most benigne and pretious influence of his Grace upon Your flourish­ing Estates & Provinces; to blesse all Your worthy undertakings; to make You proceed as You have begun, and to give You ever­more Victory over all Your Enemies, both Spirituall and Tem­porall, to the end Your Signories may continue as firm and stable as the Heavens. So prayeth he, that is ever Obliged to remain,

Your EXCELLENCIES Most humble and obedient servant, ADAM STEUART.

To the READER.

Gentle Reader

THou hast here two Treatises; the first concerning the Iudgements and O­pinions of the Reformed Churches, touching the businesse of Independency, which may very well be equipollent, if not preferable to an Oeucumenick Coun­ [...]; For in a Councell, it is no such matter of wonder, that men that are conti­nually together, and evermore conferring one with another, should agree in their Opinions: But this seemes rather a thing altogether admirable, that These severall Churches, notwithstanding they are so separated, and divided in regard of the distances of their Places, should jumpe so harmoniously in the Ʋnity, and Consent of their Opinions. The second is the Duply of Doctor Steuart, to a Booke of M. S. alias, of two Brethren, who for very shame thought it their best and safest way, to conceale their Names, expressing only their fond, and erroni­ous Opinions, and conceits. Now, good Reader, I shall entreat this one favour at thy hands, that thou wilt conferre diligently Doctor Steuarts Observations, and the pretended Answer of M. S. and thou shalt finde, that they have answered nothing at all to the purpose; for that they omit wholly many of the most impor­tant Questions, as that Touching the Power of the Members of the Church, &c. and of those few they do cull out here, and there; they answer not all the Ar­guments brought by the Doctor for making of them good, but only those they finde to be the weakest; And those Arguments they do attaque him upon, they do [Page]but only scratch at them, and never give them any solid, or substantiall Answer; contenting themselves with their jerkes of Language, their ralleries, injuries, or with some Rhetoricall Digression from the businesse in hand, the which thou wilt easily perceive, if thou please to conferre Page with Page, Question with Question, and Argument with Argument, which I instantly desire thee thou wouldst doe. So as it was no way needfull, that Doctor Steuart should have writ­ten any Confutation at all, or vindicated his Observations. And in very deed, these last Pieces that he hath written, were not undertaken so much for the ma­king good of his owne Arguments, or the Refutation of M. S. as that he might treat more largely and fully some Questions, which he had only briefly toucht at in his Observations; As also that he might draw those Foxes out of their Holes, bringing light out of their darke Writings, and so give some satisfaction to weak Brethren, who ordinarily suffer themselves to be carried away with the streame of Language, rather then with force of Arguments.

Now I have entituled this Treatise, Zorobabel to Sanballat, not so much, to compare the Persons, as the Causes one with another, betwixt which there seemes to be very great Affinity, and resemblance; For

  • 1. The Jewes at that time were about the re-building of the materiall Tem­ple, and we at this present upon the re-building, or the Reforming of the spi­rituall Temple.
  • 2. That People served the true God, but were Schismaticks, that refused to sacrifice in the Temple at Hierusalem; These men in like manner serve the true God, whom we serve, and have the same Doctrine with us; but are Schis­matickes, that refuse to joyne themselves in Synods with us.
  • 3. They came from a farre Country to dwell at Hierusalem, so these are come too from farre, from America, &c.
  • 4. They made as though they would build the Temple together with the Jewes; but in effect they had not the least intention so to doe, as not acknow­ledging them at all: So, These here make faire semblamces, as though they meant to build with us; They are Members of the Synod, but yet are loath to acknowledge them.
  • 5. The Jewes were ready to have received them, had they found they had proceeded with sincerity; And so should we be ready to receive these, could we finde they proceeded sincerely.
  • 6. They discouraged the Worke-men, and retarded the Worke; so do these, as is but too apparent.
  • 7. They accused the Jews, that they purposed to rebell against the King; So these men in like manner charge us, that we give not power enough to the Magistrate.
  • 8. Maugre all the impediments, that they cast in the way of Gods people, to hinder the Building of the Temple, it came at last, though not till a long time after that, to be finished and compleated: So, we well hope, that in despite of These the spirituall Temple shall at last be built up to Gods glory.
Thine in the Lord Jesus, A. S.

Clarissimo, virtute & doctrina praestantissimo V. D. Davidi Buchanano, amico plurimum honorando.

SAl. pl. Vir clarissime & praestantissime, D. & amice honorande, venerandus. Ecclesiae nostrae pastor, D. Breitingerus, literis tuis acceptis, propter senii in­commoda, quibus laborat, mihi in mandatis dedit, ut suo nomine respondeam, illam Consistoriorum Independentiam, de qua scribis, Ecclesiis nostris non pro­bari. Venerand. Synodum Ecclesiarum nostrarum ordinem & politiam non ig­norare, Si tamen illarum sententia requireretur, suo officio non defuturas. Do­lendum maximopere, viros Ecclesiasticos faederis & juramenti religione post­habitâ, ab Ecclesiarum Scoticanarum ritibus recedere, quibus hac in parte transmarinae omnes congruunt. Apud nos Conventus minores maioribus non quidem serviliter subjici, sedita tamen subordinari, ut Ecclesia veluti acies or­dinata, suos in ordine & officio contineat simulque hostibus formidabilis existat. Vt libertatis Ecclesiae nostrae sunt studiosissimae, it a licentiam omnem Synodica cen­sura reprimere & prohibere. Ita Consistorium vel Collequium Antiochenum à judicio & censura Synodi Hierosolimetanae dependisse, spiritus prophetarum pro­phetis subjici debere. Haec vir optimus & reverendus senex cum plurima amoris ac benevolentia significatione tibi priuatim significari voluit. Deus Ecclesiae la­boranti benignus adsit, & Synodum spiritu pacis dirigat ut Ecclesiae formam op­timam, Iuramenti Religione sancitam [...] stabiliat. Vale vir praestan­tissime.

Tuus omni obsequio & cultu, Joh. Rodolphus Stuckius.

To my much honoured, vertuous, and learned friend, Master Buchanan.


THe reverend Pastour of our Church, Mr. Breittinger, after the receit of your letters, being himselfe much indisposed, by reason of his great Age, has charged me to return you Answer in his name, that that Independencie of Consistories, whereof you write, is not approved by our Churches, and that the Synode was not ignorant of the order and Discipline of our Chur­ches; yet neverthelesse, that these Churches would not be wanting to the dis­charge of their dutie, if it were required of them to declare their Opinion hereabouts; It is verie much to be lamented, that Church-men neglecting the religious reverence due unto a solemne Oath and Covenant, should de­part from the Rites of the Church of Scotland, with which in such things, the Transmarine Churches doe agree; That amongst us, the Inferiour Conventi­ons are not in any servile manner subject, but only subordinate unto the Su­periour, [Page 2]that so the Church of God, as a well disciplined Armie, might the better keep her owne people in order and dutie, and so be more formidable to her Adversaries; That howsoever our Churches are verie carefull to pre­serve their Christian libertie, they be no lesse to represse by their Synodicall Censures, all licentiousnesse and Libertinisme whatsoever: That just so the Consistorie, or Colloque held at Antioch, depended upon the judgement and Censure of the Synod held at Ierusalem; That the Spirits of the Prophets ought to be subject to the Prophets.

Sir, These are the things that the good Reverend old man enjoyned mee, together with his best love and affection to you, to acquaint you with apart. The mercifull God be present with, and assist his afflicted and distressed Church, and so direct your Synod by the spirit of peace, that they may una­nimously agree upon it, to establish the best modell and frame of a Church, such an one, as by Covenant they stand obliged to seeke after.

Farewell, Sir,
yours, Rodolphus Stuckius.

A Monsieur, Monsieur Buchanan Gentilhomme Escossois à Londres.


IAy faict voir à nostre Compagnie l'Escrit qu'il vous a pleu luy adreser par mon Entremise, ou nous ayant deduict les causes de vos troubler, & ies divers obstacles qui retardent la Tranquillité Publique, vous nous demandez nos advis, particulierement sur l'opinion de quelques uns des Membres du Synode, qui tien­nent. que toutes les Eglises peuvent estre suffisament gouvernées par leurs Con­sistoires, chascune à part, sans despendre des Assembleés plus grandes, & plus au­thoriseés, comme sont les Colloques & les Synodes Provinciaux & Nationaux; Sur quoy say eu charge de Vous escrize que comme nous avons tous jours deploré vos mal-heurs avo [...] des entrailles de Compassion, senti la froissure de Ioseph, & consideré le triste spectacle de vos Eglises, comme une calamité, qui nous touche de prés, encores que nous la regardions de fort loing; Aussi ne pourons nous que redoubler nos gemissements, lors que nous apprenons, que Satan some son yvroye durant les tenebres de vostre affliction, & qu'il s'esleve divers Esprits, qui par un zele sans Cognoissance desehirent la robbe, qui na point de cousture. Mais ce qui nous a le plus touche, c'est de voir, qu'en une Assemblee, quine doibt avoir aultre but, que celuy d'une Saincte Paix, il se glisse des differents, & des mal­entendus, qui ne debroyent jamais naistro parmi les serviteurs de Dieu, ou que la Prudence Christienne y deburoit au moins estouffer des leur naissance, suivant [Page 3]l'authorité de l'Escriture Saincte, l'usage de Eglise Primitive, l'Histoir de tous les fiecles, & l'experience de nos jours. Car, pour ne nous arrester point à ce nom d'Independants, qu'ils prennent, ou qu'on leur donne, bien qu'il merite d'estre à jamais banni du milieu des Orthodoxes, & d'estre laisse aux Conciles, ou à l'E­vesque de Rome; ne soavons nous pas, que le Regne Interieur du Seigneur Iesus, Sonverain Monarque de l'Eglise, qui va tout à l'unité, pour nous consommer tous [...]n un, comme Il est Vn avec son Pere, ne peut entre ternoi son Vnion sans Com­munion d'Esprit? Et ceste Communion n'est elle pas extic-mement affoiblie par la distraction des parties du Corps, & par l'obstruction des Vaisseaux, qui luy deburoyent servir de vehicule? Comment pourra passer cest Esprit d'une partie à l'aultre, pour l'entier assortiment du corps des Saincts par son influence, si la sin­gularité de la Discipline, comme une haye espaisse, luy serme le chemin? Ce Corps comment pourra-il croistre en homme parfaict à le mesure de la parfaicte statuere de Christ, par toutes les Ioinctures du fournissement, si le Pied n'a point besoin de l'Oeil, fi les moindres parties se destachent des Nobles, & si les Nobles mesprisent les basses, qui sont les plus necessaires? Comment l'Edifice du Tem­plespirituel peut il estre advancé, si les ouvriers font chascun leur fonction [...] part, & s'ils ne s'entendent les uns avec les aultres par une estro ite correspondence? Ou ceste Armèe Celeste comment pourra-elle vaincre ses Ennemis, quand on verra ses Esquadrons des files, & ses bandes mal arrangés? L'Escriture con­joint souvent la Force de l'Eglise avec sa beauté; mais ny l'une ny l'aultre de ces gracet ne peut conserver sa vigueur, si l'on vient à negliger ce grand appuy, & cest exquis ornement, qu'elle trie des Assemblées Generales. C'est la que ses for­ces se rallient, & qu'elle est redoutable commo un Camp qui marche à Enseignes desployées en une Saincte Pompe. C'est là que son visage paroist en une donlce gloire, ayant efface les tasches, & estendu les rides, dont les opinions, & les pas­sions particulieres auoyent terni son lustre. C'est là que su teste reluict, comme Couronnee d'Estoiles, & quelle porte en sa main les deux Verges de plaisances & de liaisons. Et pour n'alleguer point icy la police de l'Eglise Judaique, où neant­moins il est evident, que le grand Conseil de Sanhedrim avoit une direction au­thentique; Paul & Barnabas en leur dispute touchant les Ceremonies, eurent ils recours à quelque homme, ou à quelque Consistoire particulier, ou deciderent ils se point chascun comme il l'entendoit d'Authorité privee? Ils assemblerent un Concile, qui doibt servir de patron & de Miroüer à taicte la posterité des Fi­deles, jusq' à la fin du Monde. Quand la celebration de la Pasque fut mis en controverse, laissa-on la liberté à chascune des Eglises de la celebrer à sa poste: On assembla je ne scay combien de Synodes, où on ordonna, qu'on auroit à la ce­lebrer le Dimanche. Ainsi Constantin voyant les Evesques & les peuples ban­dés les uns contre les aultres, comme des Symplejados, pour user du terme d'Eu­sebe, assembla le Synode de Nicée, comme s'il eust levé une Armée à Dieu, pro­testant, mesmes au raport de Theodoret & de Socrate, qu'il n'avoit, point trouvé aultre moyen d'establir quelque chose de ferme & d'asseuré. Mais il faudroit [Page 4]faire un tissu de toutes les Epoches de l'Eglise, si nous voulions alleguer icy tout ce qui pourroit servir à nostre subject. Ce sont choses si claires & si cogneues, qu'il seroit inutile d'en parler, si cela ne justifioit la procedure tenuê aujourdhuy dans toutes les Eglises Orthodoxes: Car nous n'en cognoissons point, qui confor­mement à l'Eglise primitive ne s'estime heureuse, quand elle peut voir les servi­teurs de Dieu en Saincte Congregation, reiglants d'un cōmun accord ce qui regar­de ou la bien-seance du service, ou mesme les poincts de Doctrine, par la raison, & par l'Escriture, qui est au dessus de toute Raison. Et quand à nous puis quil vous a pleü nous demander nostre advis, nous protestons haut et clair, quelques Ennemis que nous soyons de la Tyrannie, que nous ne le sōmes pas moins de l'Anarchie: nous detestons avec l'usurpation du Pape les fureurs des Anabaptistes: nous prisons aussi bien, que nos Peres un Concile libre, convoquè au nom de Dieu, où son Esprit & sa Parole president; & ne doubtons point, que les moindres Compag­nies ne doibuent du respect et de la deference aux plus grandes, comme nostre pra­ctique le tesmoigne. L'exemple du Synode de Dordrecht, ou nous avions nos De­petès, est un illustre monument de la benediction, que Dieu verse sur ces Assem­bleés generales: Il est vray neantmoins, que les circonstances des temps, & les interests des Princes, chez qui l'Arche repose, n'en donnent pas tousjours la per­mission: Mais dans les Royaumes, qui jouissent de ceste precieuse libertè, cese­roit une ingrate felonie, de se priver volontairement, & sans necessité, d'un ad­vantage inestimable. Tandis que ceux, qui le possedent font scrupule de s'en servir, ceux à qui on le desend, le soubaitent avec une juste passion. Avec quelle joye pensez vous, que les Eglises de France souspirent apres ce bon-heur, de se voir assemblèes, en Synode National, suivant l'Octroy, qu'elles en ont eu ceste annèe? Il faut advouer neantmoins, qu'il s'est trouve de grandes Assemblèes, cù il y a eu moins de defenseurs de la Verite, que de Partisans du Mensonge. Mais aussi nous ne parlons, que de celles, où l'Esprit de Dieu & sa Parole tiennent le timon, & qui n'establissent rien de contraire aux lumieres & aux persuasions, que ce mesme Esprit, & ceste mesme Parole forment dans les coeurs de tous les Fideles. Quon attende done, que Dieu, laschant la bride à la persecution, en sa juste cholere nous oste le moyen d'assembler des Colloques & des Synodes. Mais tandis que sa bonne Providence nous accorde ce privilege, ne nous rendons point indignes d'un effect si raze de sa bonte. C'est ce que j'avoye à vous dire, Monsieur, de la part de Messieurs mes Collegues, & par un consentement unanime. Nous prions Dieu de tout nostre cocur, qu'il regarde Sion en sa pitie, qu'il resveill [...] sa i [...]lousie, & l'esmotion bruyante de ses entrailles sur vos Eglises, & qu' Il nous donne bien tost subject de glorifier son Sainct Nomen vostre delivrance. Amen. jesuis, Monsieur,

Vostre tres-humble serviteur, Morus.

To Monsieur Buchanan, a Scottish Gentleman at London.


I Have shewed our Consistory the writing which you were pleased to ad­dresse to them by my meanes; whereby, after you have deduced the Causes of your Troubles, and the divers obstacles, that keep back so long the publique peace, you demand of us our Advice, and particularly as to the Opinions of certain of the Members of your Synod, that maintaine, that all Churches may be sufficiently governed by their Consistories, every one a part, without any dependance at all upon the greater Assemblies, that have fuller Authority, such as are the Colloques, and the Provinciall, and Natio­nall Synods; To which Head I have direction from them to write unto you, that as our bowels have ever earned in compassion toward you, as concer­ning your misfortunes, having been very sensible of the Afflictions of Ioseph, and considered the sad face of your Churches, as a calamity, that touches us very neare, however we beheld it but at such a distance: so we can doe no other then redouble our sighes, to understand how the Devill sowes his Tares during the darke night of your Affliction, and stirrs up such diversity of Spirits, who through a zeale voyd of Knowledge teare in pieces that seamelesse Coate of our Lord and Saviour Iesus Christ. But that which touches us yet nigher, is, that into an Assembly, that should have no other levell, or ayme, save such a peace as may be Holy, such differences, and mis­understandings should glyde, and insinuate themselves, as ought not to spring up amongst the Servants of God, or that Christian Prudence ought, at least, to stifle in their very birth, and first Rise, following the Authority of the Holy Scripture, the Custome of the Primitive Church, the History of all Ages, and the Experience of our owne Times. For not to stay my selfe upon the name of Independents, which they take, or others call them by, though it deserve for ever to be banished from among those that are Orthodox, and to be left to the Councells, or to the Bishop of Rome, know we not that the internall Kingdome of our Lord Iesus, Soveraigne Mo­narch of the Church, which tends all to unity (to consummate all in One, as He is one with his Father) cannot possibly entertaine an Union without a Communion of the Spirit? And is not this Communion extreamly weake­ned by meanes of the distractions of the severall members of the Body, and by reason of the obstruction of the Vessells, which should serve her as so many Conduit-pipes? How should this Spirit freely passe up and downe from one part of the Body to the other, for the entire aggregation of the Body of the Saints, by its influence if a singularity of Discipline, as a thick Hedge, interpose, and choake up its way? How should ever this Body grow into a perfect man, according to the measure of that perfect stature of Christ in all [Page 6]its joynts, if so be that the Foot have no need of the Eye; if the inferiour mem­bers disjoynt, and loose themselves from the noble parts, and the noble despise the lesse honourable, which yet are the more necessary? How can the Buil­ding of the Spirituall Temple be advanced, if the worke-men will needs doe their worke every one a part, and will not maintaine a close correspon­dence, and understanding the one with the other? Or this Heavenly Ar­my how shall it ever be able to vanquish its Enemies, when we see its Squa­drons breake thus their Files, and that its Bounds are so badly ranged? The Scripture often tyes the Power of the Church, and her Beauty in one band together; But neither the one, nor the other of these Graces can ever pre­serve its strength, if men come once to set at naught that exquisite prop, and or­nament, that Generall Assemblies afford it. There it is, that the Church still re-inforces her selfe, and where she makes her selfe formidable, as an Army, that marches with Banners flying, in a kind of Holy Triumph. There it is, where her Countenance appeares glorious, after she hath gotten out the staines, and filled up the wrinckles, wherewith particular Mens Opinions, and passions had eclipsed her lustre. There it is, that her Head comes to shine as bright, as though she were Crowned with Starres, and that she beares in her Hands those two staves of Beauty, and Bands. And to save my selfe the labour of alleadging here the Policy of the Church of the Iewes, wherein notwithstanding it is evident, that the great Councell of the San­hedrim had an authentique direction; Paul and Barnabas in their Dispute touching Ceremonies, had they their recourse to any private man, or particu­lar Consistorys, or decided they the point in controversie every one by his private Authority, as he conceived of it? No, they assembled a Councell; w [...] should serve as a Glasse, and patterne to all the posterity of the Faithful, even to the end of the world. When as the Celebration of Easter Day was so much controverted, was every Church left to its liberty to celebrate it after its own guise and fashion? No, here were assembled I know not how many Synods, wherein it was ordered, that it should be celebrated constantly on the Lords Day. So when Constantine saw how the Bishops, & the People banded them­selves one against the other, like to Symplejades, to use Eusebius his terme, he convocated the Nicene Synod, as though he had leavyed an Army for God, protesting thereupon, (according to the report of Theodores & Socrates) that he had not found out any other meanes, to settle any thing that might be firm and holding. But we should be forced to interweave all the Epoches of the Church, if we should bring here all that might be brought to this pur­pose. These things are so cleare, and so well knowne, that it should be un­usefull to speak of them, did they not justifie the proceedings held at this day every where in the Orthodox Churches; For we know not of any one, that in a Conformity with the Primitive Church, accounts not her selfe happy, when she can see the Servants of God gathered into an Holy As­sembly, [Page 7]regulating with common consent that, which appertaines either to the Decorum of the service, or else the points of Doctrine, by reason, and by Scripture, which is farre above all Reason.

And for our selves, since you are pleased to demand our Advice, we pro­test to all the world, how great Enemies soever we are of Tyranny, that we are no whit lesse of Anarchy; We abominate and detest together with the usurpations of the Pope the madnesse of the Anabaptists: We prize as high, as ever did our Fathers, a free Councell, convocated in the name of God, wherein his Spirit, and Word may preside, and have the casting voyce; and we are clearely of Opinion, that the lesser societies owe respect, and depend upon the Greater, as our Practise witnesses with us. The Example of the Synod of Dordrecht, where we had our Deputies, is a famous monument of the Blessing God powers out upon Generall Assemblies. We may not deny notwithstanding, that the circumstances of Times, and Interests of the Prin­ces, with whom the Arke of God rests, admit not evermore such Meetings. But in those Kingdomes, that enjoy such a precious liberty, it should be a most unthankefull Felony against God, that men should voluntarily, when there is no necessity at all, deprive themselves of such an estimable Advan­tage. Whilst as those, that are in possession hereof, are scrupulous to serve themselves of the occasion; those that have a Restraint upon them desire this happinesse exceedingly. With what joy thinke you, doe the Churches of France long after the happinesse to see themselves once assembled in a Nationall Synod, according to the Grant they have obtained to this pur­pose this yeare? It must be confessed notwithstanding, that some Councels a man may meet with, where he shall find fewer Defenders of the Truth, then Champions for Errour. But we speak not but of those, where the Spi­rit of God, and his Word hold the rather; and of such, as use not to esta­blish any thing contrary to those lights, and perswasions, which the same Spirit, and the same Word doe frame within the hearts of all the Faithfull. Let us therefore stay the time, till God, letting out the raynes to a Persecu­tion, in his just indignation deprive us of the meanes of Assemblies, Col­loques, and Synods; But as long as his good Providence grants us this Pri­viledge, let us not make our selves unworthy of so rare an Effect of his Bounty.

Sir, This is that, which I had to say unto you from an unanimous consent of all my Collegues. We pray God with all our hearts, that he will looke upon Sion in much pitty, that he will rouze up his Iealousie, and those year­ning compassionate Bowells, wherewith he uses to be moved towards his Churches, and that he will be pleased speedily to give us occasion to glorifie his Holy Name in your deliverance. Amen.

Your thrice humble servant, Morus.

Extraict des Actes du Synode National des E­glises Reformeès de France assemblè par per­mission du Roy a Charanton l'an 1644, le 26 Decembre & iours suivans Envoye de Paris 17/27 Ianvier 1645/4. a D. B.

SVR ce qui a esté rapporté par quelques Deputèz des Provinces Maritimes que plusieurs venans de pays estrange & qui s'appellent Independans, parcequ'ils en­seignent que chaque Eglise Particuliere se doibt gouverner par ses Propres Loix sans aucune Dependance de personne es Matieres Ecclesiastiques, & sans obligation a recognoistre l'authorité des Col­loques & Synodes pour son regime & conduicte establissent leur demeure en ce Royaume, & y pour­royent cy apres causer de grands inconveniens, s'il n'y estoit de bonne heure pourveu. La Compagnie craignant que la contagion de ce venin gaignant Insensiblement ne iette la confusion & le desordre entre nous: & iugeant la dicte Secte des Indepen­dans non seulement prejudiciable a l'Eglise de Dieu, entant qu'elle tache d'y introduire la confusion, ou­vrant la porte a toutes sortes de singularitès & ex­travagances, & ostant tout moyens dy apporter re­mede, mais aussy tres dangereuse a l'estat, ou (si'elle [Page 9]avoit lieu) il se pourroit former autant de Reli­gions qu'il y a de Paroisses ou Assemblées Particu­lieres: enioint a toutes les Provinces & speciale­ment aux Maritimes de prendre garde que le mal ne prenne pied es Eglises de ce Royaume, afin que la paix & l'uniformité tant en la Religion qu'en la Discipline y soyen inviolablement entretenues & que rien ne s'introduise parmy nous qui puisse alterer en aucune maniere le service qui est deû a leur Majestez.

Garrissole Moderateur. Basnage Adjoynt. Blondel & Coq. Secretaires.

An Extract of the Acts of the Nationall Synod of the Reformed Churches of France, assembled by the Kings permission at Charantoun, Anno 1644. 26. Decemb. and daies following.

VPon what hath been reported by the Commissioners of the Matitime Provinces, that divers comming from forraign countries, and who goe under the name of Independents, because they teach that every particular Congregation ought to be governed by its owne particular Lawes, without any depending of any in Ecclesiasticall matters, and without any obligation to acknowledge the Authority of Colloques, or Classes and Synods, for its government and conduct, settling their abode in this Kingdome, and here­after they might cause here amongst us many great inconveniences, if in due time there were not order taken, the Assembly fearing least the contagion of this poyson gaining ground insensibly, should throw trouble and disorder amongst us; and judging the said Sect of Independents to be not only pre­judiciall to the Church of God, in so far, that it endeavours to bring in Con­fusion, opening a Gate to all kind of Singularities and Extravagancies, and taking away all meanes of any remedy to the evill, but also most dangerous to the State, where (if it had place) there might as many Religions set up, as there be Parishes or particular Congregations, doth enjoyn to all the Provinces, and particularly to the Maritimes, to take heed that the evill take no foot in the Churches of this Kingdom, to the end that peace and Unifor­mity aswell in Religion as in Discipline, may be inviolably preserved, and that nothing be brought in amongst us which may alter in any kind the ser­vice due unto their Majesties.

Garrissole Moderator. Basnage Adjoynt. Blondel and Coq. Secretaries.

Sentiment de l'Eglise de France, touchant l'Episcopat, & l'Independance, ex­traict d'une Letttre escrite a Mr. Buchanan, par quelques Pasteurs.

  • 1 NOs Eglises ont tousjours creu, & constanment enseignè; que l'Ordre des Evesques n'est nullement de droit divin.
  • 2. Si quelques Docteurs Protestants ont employè ce terme de Divin, c'est a­vec la mesme Improprieté, & le mesme abus de Language; que quelques An­ciens ont appellê Diuini Canones, les Canons, que leurs pres avoient faits, & qu'ils pouvoient changer, ou abroger.
  • 3. Solon l'Escriture Saincte, Prestre, & Evesque designent une mesme chargê, mais a divers esgards; l'un de ces noms, qui semble derivé de l'age, denote la gra­vitè convenable aux Ministres de Iesus Christ, & l'autre exprime leur of­fice, qui est de veiller, sur le troupeau, qui leur est commis.
  • 4. Il est clair comme le jour, que selon l'Eseriture, Prestre, & Evesque desig­nent une mesme charge; car il y avoit Plusieurs Evesques en une mesme ville Philippiens 1. Et de mesmes personnes sont qualifiee indifferement, & Prestres, & Evesques, Acts 20. & Tit. 1.
  • 5. Ainsi nous croyons, que le plus seur est, de se tenir a ceste simplicite Apo­stolique, que l'Eglise de Dieu soit conduite par les Pasteurs, Anciens, & Diacres.
  • 6. Mais nous apprenons de toutes parts, & les Escrits de ces Messieurs (c'est a­dire des Evesques) le justifient, qu'ils ont fait, jusques icy un corps a part, di­stinguê des autres Pasteurs; qu'ils s'attribuent sur les autres conducteurs de l'Eglise une autori [...]ê, & superioritê, qu'ils disent estre de droict Divin; qu'ilt se croient estre eux seuls l'Eglise representative de leur Nation; qu'ils se ven­diquent la connoissance, & la disposition absolüe des affaires importantes; qu'ils exercent Empire sur leurs freres, que la forme de leur Discipline leur a soubmis; & traitent les Pasteurs, non pas comme freres, & egaux de droit divin; Mais comme sujets, & serviteurs: Ce qui estant posé, ils ne peuvent estre ex­cuses, d'exercer une Espece de Tyrannie, en la maison de Dieu, & d'y maintenir les restes de l'Antichristianisme.
  • 7. Cest pour quoy Plusienrs des nostres, confiderants l'estat de l'Eglise d'Angle­terre, que Dieu avoit delivreê des erreurs, & de l'Idolatrie Romaine, & qui cep [...]n dant avoit, retenu la pompe de la Hierarchie, & les Ceremonies: Ont eu juste sub­jet de dire, que le corps de la grande paillarde en avoit estè estè: Mais qu'elle y avoit laisse sa robbe.
  • 8. Nous, nous sommes grandement resjoüis, lors que nous avons veu les choses disposeés en Angleterre, a une sainte Reformation, ne doutans point que la puissance des Evesques, telle qu'ils ont usurpeé, & quelle leur a esté attribuee, jusques a present ne doibre estre entierement supprimèe, & abolie.
  • 9. Mais nous sommes fort affliges d'apprendre, que d'entre ceux qui met­tent la main a un oeuvre si sainct & si necessaire, il y en ayt qui passent d'une extremité en l'autre: Voulaus que chaque Eglise soit tellement souveraine, quelle ne depende de qui que ce soit, pour sa conduite, & ne soit obligée de rendre au [...] autres Eglises, aucun conte de son Gouvernment.
  • [Page 11]11. Nous estimous que c'est mettre en pieces non pas soulement la robbe: Mais le corps mesme du Seigneur, & son Tabernacle Spirituel: Oster a l'­Eglife le tiltre de Communion des Saints: Divider ce que Dieu a conjoint, par son Esprit, qui estant l'Esprit de paix, inspire par tout ouil souffile la paix, & la concorde, & la communication fraternelle, & charitable, & nous porte a nous entredonner la main, a nous maintenir tous ensemble, par une Sympathie Spiri­tuelle, & un secours, & assistance reciproque.
  • 11. Ioint que soubs pretexte d'exclure la Tyrannie, c'est introduire l'Anarchie, & la confusion en la maison de Dieu, & ouvrir le porte a tonte sorte de malheurs, ils sont apparenment inevitables, si chaque Eglise particuliere seccüe toute sorte de joug, & refuse de rendre conte de sa conduite, a l'Assemblee de ses freres, sattribuant un pouvoir absolu de faîre tout ce quelle trouve bon, sans en respondre qu'a Dieu seul: Car si on ouvre la porte a une, telle Licence, les Sociniens, les Anabaptistes, & generalement toute sorte d'Herétiques de Fanatiques & de bro­üillons auront bien tost trouvê le moyen de seduire les peuples, d'occuper les chaires, & de perdre les Eglises de Dieu.
  • 12. De plus ceste pretendüe Independance, engage ceux qui la soustiennent, a une contradiction evidente, car puis qu'ils confessent, que l'Eglise Anglicane est un corps, il faut necessairement qu'ils advouent, que ces parties doibvent estre liees & joinctes ensemble, ce qui seroit absol [...]ement impossible; si chaque Eglise est obligee de faire bande a part, & de se tenir Independente des autres.
  • 13. Depuis la naissance de l'Eglise Christienne jusques a maintenant, il n'y a jamais eü de tel est ablissement que coluy, qui se propose aujourd huy, Aucontraire la Dependance mutuelle & reciproque des Eglises, & l'adstriction de toutes en­semble, a un certain ordre, & police Ecclesiastique, ayant esté concerteépar une deliberation commune, a esté volontairement accepteè de tous & a tous jours esté jugee absolument necessaire.
  • 14. Mais pour m'arrester a l'Escriture Sainte, il nous est formellement com­mandé, sans aucune exception de nous submettre les uns aux autres en la crainte de Dieu, Ephesians 4. & de nous prevenir les uns les autres par boneur, Rom. 12. Dieu veut que toutes choses se facent en sa maison honestement, & par ordre, & comme les Esprits des Prophettes sont sujets aux Prophetes, aussi ceux qui pro­phetisent se doivent assubjectir, les uns aux autres, se souvenants, que Dieu n'est point Dieu de confusion, maiis de paix, Cor. 14.
  • 15. L'Apostre St. Paul avoit estê appellé a l'Apostolat immediatement, par nostre Seigneur Iesus Christ, de sorte qu'il n'avoit receu n'y appris d'ae ucun hom­me, & ne differoit en rien, de ceux qui sembleient estre quelque chose, & ne recon­noissoit point que ceux qui estoient en estime luy eussent rien apportè, Gal. 1. & 2. Neantmoins il ne se croit point Independant, mais apres avoir durant l'espace de trois ans preschè l'Evangile, & faict divers miracles, il ne des daigne point d'aller a Ierusalem visiter Pierre & recevoir de luy, & de Iacques la main d'Association, & mesme par Revelation, il monte dix [Page 12]ans apres a Ierusalem pour conferer avec les Apostres tonchant l'Evangile afia dit il, qu'en quelque sorte que ce soit, je ne courusse ou n'cusse couru en vain, Ga­lates 2. Enfin apres avoir devorê un monde de travaux, sestre rendu celebr [...] par une infinité de signes, & de miracles & avoir fait abonder l'Evangile depu [...] Ierusalem, jusques en l'Illyrie, Romains 15. Il ne fait nulle difficultê de st sub. mettre au conscil que luy donna l'Eglise de Ierusalem, encare qu'il ne l'en eust point requis, Actes 21.
  • 17. St. Pierre qui estoit le premier en ordre an College des Apostres nese croit point Independant; lors qu'il apprend que l'on soffensoit de sa conduitte il se presente franchement a l'Assembleé des ses freres en Ierusalem, & leur rend la raison de ce qui s'estoit passé par son Ministere, en la vocation des Gentils, Act. 11. & lors qu'il ne cheminoit point d'un droict pied selon la veritè de l'Evangile, il souffrit d'estre repris publiquement, par l'Apostre St. Paul, Galates 2.
  • 18. L'Eglise d'Antioche avoit estè honorèe la premiere du Titre de Chresti­enne, & elle avoit de grands hommes Inspires immediatement du St. Esprit, en­tre autres St. Paul & Barnabas, & cependant lors qu'il y survint un debat d'­Importance elle n'entre prit point de le decider elle seu le: elle n'eust point la pre­sumption de se dire Independente, au contraíre elle envoia Paul & Barnabas, & quelques autres a Ierusalem, ou on assembla un Concile composè des Apostres, & des Anciens a Ierusalem, & la question qui avoit esté premierement meüe & debatuè a Antioche fut examinèe & decideè a Ierusalem a la gloire de Dieu & l'Edification de l'Eglise, Acts 15.
  • 19. 'Pour de tres grandes, tres importantes, & tres justes raisons, l'on à ar­restè d'abolirle grade Episcopal: Mais il y avoit moins de mal, & moins d'in­convenians a le souffrir, apres en avoir corrigé les exces & aboli la Tyrannie, qu'a introduire cette horrible confusion qui se couure du nom d'Independance.
  • 20. Dieu mercy, il n'est pas besoin d'en venir la, car si l'Eglise à'Angleterre veut observer l'ordre, qui est heureusement establies nostres, & en celles d'Escosse (comme je crois) elle en receur a beaucoup de fruict et d'Edification & verra plus que jamais regner, & fleurir au milieu de ses Enfants l'Evangile, de Iesus Christ & la uraye Pieté.
  • 21. En chaque Eglise Particuliere il y doit avoir un corps composè de Pa­steur, ou de Pastours, d'Anciens & de 'Diacres, qui s'assemblent en Consistoire a de certains jours reiglés, pour adviser d'un commun accord, aux, affaires, & a la condüitte de l'Eglise.
  • 22. En ces Consistoires, s'il n'y a qu'un Pasteur, il y preside tousjours, & s'il y en a l'lusieurs, ils y president tour a tour.
  • 23. Es grandes villes, comme a Londres, ou il y a Plusieurs Paroisses, chaque Paroisse peut avoir son Consistoire particulier, composé de ses Pasteurs, Anciens, & 'Diacres, & neantmoins pour entretenir l'union & la concorde Christi­enne & fraternelle, qui doit estre les fideles d'une mesme ville, nous estimons que chaque sepmaine, ou pour le moins chaque mois il sè do ibttonir un Con­sistoire [Page 13]General, ou les autres Consistoires se trouvent, ou en corps, ou par De­putes, sils sont en trop grand nombre, que la les Pasteurs des Paroisses president, ou tour a tour, ou selon qu'il sera avijê par un choix commun, et que les affaires qui y seront proposees y soient decidees a la pluralitê des voix.
  • 24. Outre cela il est necessaire d'establir l'ordre des Colloques, & des Synodes Provinciaux composès de Pastenrs, & d'Anciens deputes, par les Eglises Parti­culieres, & des Synodes Nationaux compose's de Pasteurs, et d'Anciens deputes par les Synodes Provinciaux, et que l'on puisse aller en ces Sainctes Assembleès de degrê en degrê, selon la qualitê, et le merite des affaires.
  • 25. Les Colloques se peuvent tenir, une ou deux fois l'anneê, ou plus souvent, sil y a des affaires, qui le requierent; les Synodes Provinciaux se doivent tenir au moins une fois l'an; quant aux Synodes Nationaux il nous semble qu'il suffit de les tenir de deux on de trois en trois ans.
  • 26. L'assembleê Ecclesiastique, qui est sur pied, peut-dresser des reiglements touchant les choses, dont les Consistoires & les Colloques jugeront definitivment, & celle's qui pourront estre portèes par apres, jusques aux Synodes Provinciax & des Provinciaux au National, comme lors qn'il est question de la doctrine & de l'Introduction ou Deposition des Pasteurs.
  • 27. En tous ces C'ollo ques et Synodes, tant Provinciaux, que Nationaux, apres l'invocation du nom de Dieu, le President l'Adjoint ou les Adjoints & les Secreta­ires se dovient estire, a la pluralité des voix, & apres la Closture de l'Assemblêe, se soubmettre aussi bien que tous les autres de la Compagnie, a la Ceusure de leur freres.
  • 28. Ceux qui se consacrent au St. Ministere, apres avoir fait paroistre de bons & suffisants tesmoignages de leur vie, & moeurs, doibvent estre examineés es Synodes Provinciaux, ou du moins es Colloques, qui les ayants iugés capables les envoient, avec des Lettres de recommandation aux Eglises, qui les demandent, ou apres, avoir par quelques actions (c'est adire Sermons) donnè des preuves de leur dons, & de leur dexteritè, a de tailler la parole Dieu, & recen l'approbation des peuples, Ils recoivent l'Imposition des mains par le Ministere des Pasteurs, qui sont deputez a cet effect.
  • 29. C'est un ordre fort utile, que tous les Pasteurs a'un Colloque, y preschent tour a tour, & que leurs Sermons soiext sujeets, a la Censure charitable de leurs freres.
  • 30. Veu qu'apres que les Assembleés sont termincés ceux qui y out presidé, n'ont non plus de pouvoir qu'avant qu'elles fussent convoqueês, afin qu'il y ait toujours, entre les Eglises quelque ordre subsistant, avant que l'Assemblee se se­pare, elle doit charger une certaine Eglise, de donner, & de recevoir les aduis des doutes les autres Eglises du Colloquee, ou de la Province, & le pouvoir, en cas de necessitè de convoquer extraordinairement le Colloque ou, le Synode Provincial, le Synode National doit aussi donner a un Synode Provincial, la charge de faire la convocation du Synode National suivant.
  • [Page 14]31. Il nous semble, que par le moien d'un tel establissement, on remediera a tout; car d'un costè, il n'y aura point de primautè n'y de domination des Eglises les unes sur les autres, & de l'autre ou bannira de la maison de Dieu le desordre, & la coufusion.
  • 32. Si pour nous estudier a la briefveté, nous nous sommes rendus obscurs en quelques endroits, de ce petit discours nous sommes tous prests a l'esclaircir, & a faire paroistre, combien nous sommes sensibles de vos interests, & le plaisir, que nous prenons en ceste communication fraternelle.
  • 33. Nous ne scavons pas, quelles peuvent estre les raisons de ces Messieurs, que vous appelles Independants; & nous ne doubtons point, que vous n'ayez en Angleterre, et en Escosse, assez d'excellents Esprits pour les refuter; neantmoins s'il vous plaist de nous en faire part pour tesmoigner l'Ʋniformitè de nos sen­timents, nous en receurons la communication avec respect, & tascherons dy re­spondre en Charitê: Or le Dieu de patience, & de consolation; vous donne de sentir tous une mesome chose entre vous selon Jesus Christ, a fin que tous d'un courage, & d'une bouche vous glorifiés, le Dieu & Pere de nostre Seigneur Iesus Christ, Rom. 15.


IL est uray que considerant, que la pretendue Indepeudance, que l'on veut introduire en Angle­terre est pour ouvrir la porte a une confusion espouvantable, & que par la, le Diable travaille a demolir tout ce que vous cdifiez. I'ay dit en l'Art. 26. que pour de tres grandes, tres importantes, & tres Justes raisons, L'on a arresté d'abolir en Angleterre le grade, Episcopal: Mais qu'il y avoit moins de mal & moins d'inconvenient a le souffrir, apres en avoir corrigé l'exces, & aboli la Ty­raunie qu'a introduare cette horrible confusion, qui se couure du uom d'Independance.

Je vous confesse, que jc suis encore dans le mesme sentiment, nonobstant vostre raisonnement je dis 1. Que quand il y auroit quelque chose a apprehender d'une telle Tolerance, les maux qui en pour royent arriver seroyent beaueoup moindres sans comparison, que ceux, que, pourroit Introduire ceste Effreues licence des Independants, or de deux maux il faut choisir le moindre. 2. Je ne pre­vois pas, qu'il y eust tant de danger a Tolerer des Evesques, pourveu qu'ils fussent ranges dans l'ordre dis autres Pasicurs, qu'ils u'eussent point de Domination sur eux, mais seulement quelque preseance, & quelquel Comission de veiller sur leurs freres, que ceste Commission leur fut donncê par le Col­loque ou le Synode de la Province, & que ces Assembleés la eussent le pou voir de les eu priver, & d'en metare d'autres en leur place. 3. Il y a Plujieurs choses establies dans le Regimes de l'Eglise, qui ne se touvent point formellement, & expressement en la parole de Dieu: 4. Il a pleu a Dieu de donner, cette Saincte Liberté, a ceux qu'il appelle a la conduite des ttoupeaux. Il veut que toutes choses se sacent en sa maison avce ordre, & a Edification. 5. Vous mesmes Mr. n'Essisez vous point d'entre les Pasteurs, des personnages qui President en vos Colloques, & en vos Synodes? Cela est il formellement, & expressement en la parole de Dieu, une presidence de quelque mois, ou de quelques annces, est elle de soy ylus crimtnelle, que celle de quclques jours, ou de quclques Septmaines. 6. Vous considereres, s il vous plaist, que Parkerus, & les autres Docteurs de vosire Nation; qui out Escrit contre la Hierarchie, declarent que si les Evesques d'Angleterre, nestoyent que comme les Pasteurs d'Alemagne, & de Suisse, que l'on appell Inspectcurs, & Sur-inten­dants: [Page 15]ils n'entreprendroient pas de les choquer: 7. Poser cet ordre la, entre les Pasteurs; N'est pas proprement establir une charge, qui ue soit point en la parole de Dieu; car au fonds ces Inspecteurs n'ont point en l'Eglise de Dieu une autre charge que les autres Pasteurs: Mais seule­ment, ils sont delegués par leurs freres, & compagnons en Charge; & ont par leur ordre une Com­mission a temps de veiller sur eux, & sur leurs deportements. Tout ainsi que si en une famille bien reiglee, des freres s'accordoyent, a donner, a quelques uns d'entreux la Commission de veiller, pour un temps, sur la conduite des autres: & cela sans domination, & sans Empire: 8. Enfin Mr. Il est bien aisê de nous accorder sur cet Article, "car vous croycz cstre obligez a abolir abjoluement les Evesques d'Angleterre, & a fermer la porte a la confusion des Independants; je su is dans le mesme sentiment, & approuve vostre dessein, tout ce qui se peut, en priant Dieu de bon, coeur qu'il benisse louevre de vos mains, & que nous puissions voir les jours bienhcureux, esquels les E­glises d'Angleterre: Durment Reformees jouissent du mesme ordre qui est sainctement establie en celles d'Escosse.

Il vous plaist d'adjouster a vostre lettre, quclque chose des Independants, mais puisque vous ne faictes qu'alleguer ce qu ils eroyent, sans deduire aucune des raisons, sur les quelles ils se fondent: je n'auray qu'a donner un traict de plume sur chacun de ces Sept Articles: Dont vous par les. Quant au premier, je vous remercie tres affect ueusement des exemplaires de vostre Covenant; Le quel j'a vois desia veu, & avois loüé Dicu, qui est l'Autheur de ceste paix Christienne, & de cette Saincte concorde, de la quelle j'espere de grands fruits, a la gloire de Dieu, & a l'Edification son Eglise.

2. Les Independants se moquent, lors qu'ils, difent qu'ils reconnoissent les Synodes, et les Col­loques estrc de Droit Divin, & cependant leur desuient toute Iurisdiction, sur les Eglises Particu­lieres: C'est rüiner d'une mesme main, ce qu'ils edifient de l'autre; car ie ne compren pas quel pcue estre l'usage des Colloques, & des Synodes, s'ils n'ont aucune Iurisdiction, sur les Eglises Parti­culieres; & moins encore, comment une Eglise particuliere, peut refuser de se submettre a une As­semblee generale, quelle reconnoit estre de droit divin.

3. Or quand ace quils ne veulent point admettre aucun, pour membre de leur congregation, qui n'ait quelques marques signaleês & notoires de la Regeneration, je ne prevois pas que ceste opinion doib ve avoir de grandes suittes, parce que les Membres de l'Eglise consistent, ou en Enfants des fideles, ou en personnes qui sont en age parfait?

Pour les Enfants des fideles il ny peut avoir de difficultê; car l'Apostre les appelle Saints, eu Esgird a l'alliance de Dieu qui les sanctifie, & quant aux autres, ou ils sont nes entre nous, ou ils s'y rengent par conversion: quant a ceux qui se convertisent; Il est uray qu'on ne les doibt point admettre legerement au corps de l'Eglise, & qu'il est bon d'avoir des preuves de lear connoissance cala Religion, & des tesmoignages de leur saintes conversations: afin que l'Eglise de Christ ne soit point souillée de leurs erdures: Mais en cet examen il y a faut proceder en charités & n'estre point par trop severes, de peur de rebuter & destriurre celuy qui est encore foible, & debile en la foy [...] Quant a ceux qui sont desja, dans nostre communion, les reigles de la parole de Dieu y sont ex­presses: Ceux dont les pehcz ne sont poine deeuulues, nous les devons reprendre & cen­surer en particulier, autrement ce seroit Espandre un scandale, & pecher coutre la Charité, qui couure une multitude de pecbez. Ceux qui pechent publiquement, & dont les fautes font connues de touts, ou de la plus grande partie du peuple, nous les debvons reprendre publiquement, & faire que les scandales publies soyent reparees par une repentance publique; en cax que cela, son requis, pour l'Edification de l'Eglise: Se les pechez sont enormes, ou fi les pecheùrs fout endurcis & obstines cumel: Il les faut retrancher par excommunication, & oster du milieu de nous le viel levain; de peur qu'il n'enaigrisse toute la paste, & que interdit, ne face tourner le dos a Israel: Mais le pecheur (pour quelque grand pecheur, & enorme qu'il soit) s'il se repent appes avoir esprouve sa repentance, pour un temps convenable, il luy faut tendre les bras, & l'admettre, a la paix de l'Eglise; depeur qu'il ne so it englouti, par la tristesse, & precipitê au desespoir: il faut eviter la trop grande rigeur, & severité des anciens, & la trop grande indulgence, qui a aujourd'huy la vogue.

[Page 16] 4. Quaut a ce qu'ils veulent, que chaque membre particulier, soit present a la deliberation de leur affaires, sans avoir droict de suftrage & authoritè; je trouve que cela merite une grande Difiniction: Car il y a de certaines occasions, ou je leur accorderois plus quils ue demandent, comme lors quil est question des assaires. Extraordinaires, qui regardent le general de: l'Eglise pour Exemple, lars quil sagit de la Vocation, on Admission d'un Pasteur en quelque Eglise: Jestime que touts le Chess de Famille de ce troupean, non soulement doibuent estre presents a la deliberation: mais quils dutbuent avoir leur voix & leur suffrage. Mais qu'ils soient presents a toutes sortes de Deilborations, il n'y a nulle apparence: Calaue se peut & n'est pas expedient: Il ne se peut; car ayant san [...] cesse des affaires Ecclesiastiques, sur les quelles il y a, a deliberer commant, est il possible [...]'assembler toute l'Eglase? Cela aussa n'est pas expedient; car il y a de certaines affaires, qui ne dothuent peint estre divulgees, & ou le prudence & le secret est necessaire; S'il faut censurer quelque particulier de quclque fante, qui est cognue de peu de persones, & qui estant divulguée texposc [...]ott a un danger tout visible, faudra il deliberer. sur sa censure devant tout un pcuple? Ne s'y rencontre il jamais d'affaires done le simple peuple n'est pas capable de comprendre les raisons, ne de garder le silence? Faut il abandonner les affires de l'Eglise a la diseretion d'un chacun? Si le peuple assiste a toutes les Deliberations; que de bruits, que de contestations, que de divisions, que de scandales? Car eneor qu'il ne die point son advis, il ne laissera: pas au sortis de l'Assemblee de syndiquer l [...] advis des autres, & de murmurer contre les choses arrestees, si clles ne sout selon son goust, ou si clles nc sout appuyeés sur des raisons qu'il iugé admis­sibles.

5 Quant a ce qu'ils permettent, que qui que ce soit, estant capable presche publiquement, dans l'assemblée, quoi qu il naye acune ordre, cest l'un des plus grands desordres, qui puisse arriver an monde, cest introduire toute sorte de Fanatiques & d'Enthusiastes, & exposer la Religion Chresiienne a la risée des adversaires de la verité & de la maison de Dieu, qui est une maison dordre, en faire une cobue de desordrt, & une confusion horrible. Et ne sert d'alleguer l'exemple de l'Eglise Chrestienne du temps des Apostres; car alors touts les fidelles avoient des graces extra [...]r­dinaires, & le don de Prophetie, & eneor falloit il que ces Saincts Prophetes attendissent qu'on les fit parler, & qu'on leur dat comme a Sainct Paul & a Barnabas hommes freres si vous [...] quelque parole d'exhortation dites; la ce qui estoit une espece de Vocation. Aujourdbuy que les hommos n'ent point de dons infus & qu'ils n'acquicrent les Sciences & la faculté de prescher, que par lestude, & le travail, Dieu y espendant sa Benediction, cest se moequer de Dieu & des hummes de vouloir que toutes personnes puissent prescher indifferemment, sans un examen prealaóle de leur dons, & de leur dexterite, a detailler la parole de Dieu a Edification.

6. Quant a ce que plusieurs maintienent, que chacun doibt avoir la Liberté de faire pro­fession de la Religion qui lny semble la meilleure (quelque mauvaise, quélle soit) pourveu quélle ne face rien contre lestat: Cést un libertinage insurportable eu [...]la maison de Dieu, & directement contraire a sa parole; Car en l'ancien Testament il n'estoit pas permis de faire profes­sion d'une autre Religion, que de celle que Dieu avoit instituée, & vous scaves que Dieu ordoune an 13 du Deut; contre les faux Prophetes, qui destournent le peuple de son pur service: Et qu'an Nouvean l'Apostre Sainct Paul veut que nous prennions garde a ceux qui font des partialites, & scandales contre la Doctrine que nous avons apprins, que nous nous destournions deux Rom. 16.1. & que si un Apostre, ou un Ange du Ciel nous Evangelisé outre ce qui nous a esté Evangelisé, il nous soit Anatheme, Gal. 1. Jusques La que Sainct Jehan la douceur, & la charitè mesme, ne veut point, que nous recevions en nos maisons, n'y que nous sal­uions seulement ceux qui ne nous apportent la Sancte Doctrine de l'Evangile.

7. Quant a ce qu'ils ne font aucun cas du Jugement n'y du Consentement des autres Eglises Reformées, ayns le rejettent comme un Argument Humain je trouvc qu'ils ont fort peu profite en l'Escbole de Sainct Paul, qui veut que nous nous submettions les uns aux aulrres, en la crainte de Dieu que nous nous prevenions les uns les aultres par honneur & que les esprits des Prophetes soient subjects aux Prophetes: A Dieu ne plaise que nous me­tions [Page 25]en un mesrus rang les Ordonances de Dieu et les constitutions Ecclesiastiques: [...] ce que Dieu nous dit nous est une Ley invialable, & [...] aux bommes. Nous esprouvons toutes choses & retenons ce qui est bon. Pour le fonds et l'Essence de la Religion, il n'y a que Dieu seul, qui en puisse Orda [...]ner: Mais quant a l'­ordre Exterieur, & a la police de l'Eglise, ce sage pere de famille se contrute de nous dere en general que tout se face en sa maison honnestement, & par ordre, il laisse le detail a la saincte Prudence de ceux quil appelle a conduire son peuple c'est a eux lors quils sont Assembles au nom du Seigneur de le supplier arden­ment de presider au milieu d'eux et de leur mettre un coeur les choses qui seront les plus expedientes pour s [...] gloire & l'edification de ses Enfants. la conduite des autres Eglises Reformees ne nous impose pas un jong necessaire & ne nous peut estre proposee comme une loy infallible, mais elle nous doibt servir d'Exemple que nous devons imiter si nous ny recognoissons, des repugnances manifestes a la parole de Dien, que s'il y a quel qu'un qui ponse estre contentieux nous a avens pas une telle constume ny aussi les Eglises de Dieu. 1 Cor. 11.16.

6. Nous tenons pour constant, qu'il n'y a, & n'y doibt avoir auoune charge pour paistre & conduire l'Eglise qui ne soit fondé en la parale de Dieu, ainsy les charges du Ministre Pasteur Evesque, Ancien & Diacre sont fondèe simmediate­ment for mellement & expressement dans la parole de Dien, bien que quelques nus venlent que la charge d'Ancien telle qu'elle anjour dhuy dans les Eglises reformées, n'est fondee dans l'Escriture que par analogie & tirèe par consequence necessaire comme ils parleut. qui au fond est un & de mesme: car ce qui est tiré par conse­quence necessaire de la St. Escriteure y est autand comme ce qui est en te [...]es ex­pres. Tout cecy est conforme aux articles 29 & 30. de confession de Foy, au il est dict, que nostre Seigneur a establic'este police & governement dans l'Eglise par Pasteurs, Sur veillants ou Anciens & diacres, & que les urays Pasteurs en quelque lieu qu'ils soient ont le [...]esme authoritè & esgale puissance s [...]ubs nostre Seigneur l'Archi-pasteur & grand Evesque des nos ames. Act. 6.4. Ephes. 4.11. 1 Tim. 3.1. Tit. 1.5. Math. 20.26, 18, 2. 2 Cor. 1.27. 1 Pet. 5.3.

The Iudgement of the Church of France concerning Episcapacy and Indepen­dency, extracted out of Letters written to Master Buchanan by some French Ministers.

  • 1. OUr Churches have ever believed, and constantly taught that the Order of Bishops it not at any hand of Divine Right.
  • 2. If some Protestant Doctors have used this terme, Divine, it is with the same impropriety, and abuse of Language, that some of the Ancients called those Canons, which their Fathers had made, and which themselves could at any time change and abrogate, Divine Canens.
  • 3. According to the Scripture, Priest, and Bishop point out but one and [Page 26]the same Christ, howsoever in divers respects; one of those names, which seemes to be derived from their age, or yeares, denotes such a gravity as befits Christs Ministers; and the other expresseth their Office, that is, to watch over the Flock which is common to them both.
  • 4 It is as cleare, as the day, that in Scripture Priest, and Bishop mark out one and the same Charge; for there were many Bishops in the same Town, Phil. 1. and the very same persons are qualified indifferently, both Priest and Bishop, Acts 20.1.
  • 5. So as we take it to be the surest way, to hold our selves close to that Apostolique simplicity, that the Church of God be governed by Pastors, Antients, and Deacons.
  • 6. But we understand on all hands, and the Writings of the Bishops themselves make it good, that they have hither-to made a Body a part, di­stinguished from other Postors, likewise that they take an Authority upon them, and a superiority over the other Pastors of the Church, which they will needs have to be of Divine Right. Likewise that they beleeve, that they alone are the Representative Church of the Nation; that they challenge to themselves the cognizance, and absolute disposall of all the Affaires of im­portance; that they exercise a dominion over their Brethren, whom the Forme of their Discipline hath put in a kind of subjection unto them, and treate the Pastors not as their Brethren and equalls by Divine Right, but as Subjects and servants; which being granted, it cannot be avoided but they must be accounted, as those that have exercised a kind of Tyranny in the House of God, and maintained the arts of Antichristianisme.
  • 7. Wherefore many of our men considering the state of the Church of England, which God had delivered from the Errours and the Idolatries of the Church of Rome, how notwithstanding she still retained the Pompe of Hierarchy, and Ceremonies, had just cause to say, that the Body of the great Whore was indeed taken away, but that her Vestments and Apparrell still remained with her.
  • 8. We were much joyed, when we understood, that things were so well fitted and disposed toward an holy Reformation in England; being well assured, that the power, which the Bishops had usurped, and which, till this present, was given them, ought to be entirely suppressed, and abolished.
  • 9. But we are much afflicted that among them that put their hand to so holy and necessary a work there, there are some that passe from one Extream to another, willing, that every particular Church be so absolute and sove­raign, that it depend not upon any other for its direction, nor be obliged to give an account to other Churches of its Government.
  • 10. We conceive, that this is not only to pull in pieces the garment, but e­ven the Body of our Lord, and his Spirituall Tabernacle; and to take away from the Church the title of the Communion of Saints; to divide that which [Page 27]God hath joyned together by his Holy Spirit, the which being the spirit of peace inspires; where ever it bloweth, peace, concord, and brotherly and charitable communication, and leades us to lend each other of us the hand to maintaine the whole together in a spirituall sympathy, and a reci­procall ayding and assisting one of another.
  • 11. Besides, that under the pretence of casting out Tyranny, it is to in­troduce and bring in an Anarchie and confusion into the House of God, and to open a wide gate to all sorts of disasters, which are apparently unavoy da­ble, if every particular Church shake off all manner of Yoake, and refuse to give an account of its behaviour unto the assembly of his Brethren, attributing unto itselfe an absolute power to doe whatsoever it selfe please, without an­swering unto any therefore, save to God only: For if we open a gare to such a licentiousnesse, the Socinians, the Anabaptists; and generally all sort of Hereticks, Fanaticks, and Enthusiastsshall quickly find the mean of seducing the people to possesse themselves of the Pulpits, and so to make havock of the Churches of God.
  • 12. Moreover, this pretended Independence ingageth them that main­taines it, in a manifest contradiction, for since they confesse, that the Church of England is a Body, they must necessarily avow that its parts ought to be united and tyed together, which should be absolutely impossible, should every Church be obliged to make a combination a part, and to stand Inde­pendent upon another Church.
  • 13. From the very birth of the Christian Church unto this present, there hath never been such a Government established, as these men at this time pro­pound: on the contrary, the mutual and reciprocall dependence of Churches, and the uniting of them all together to a certaine Ecclesiasticall Order and Politie, having been debated by a common deliberation, hath been accepted voluntarily by all, and hath ever been judged absolutely necessary.
  • 14. But to rest my selfe upon the Scripture alone; we have it formally enjoyned without any exception, to submit our selves one to another in the feare of God, Eph. the 4. and to goe one before another, Rom. 12. God would have every thing in his House decently and in order, and as the spi­rit of the Prophets are subject to the Prophets, so those that Prophesie ought to subject themselves one to the other, remembring, that God is not the God of confusion, but of peace, 1 Cor. 14.
  • 15. The Apostle, Saint Paul, had beene called by our Lord Iesus Christ unto the Apostleship immediatly, so as that he had neither received, nor learnt any thing of any man, and yeelded not in any thing to to those, that would seeme something, and acknowledged not that those that were in place had added any thing unto him; notwithstan­ding he tooke not himselfe for an Independent: but after that he had three yeares together Preached the Gospell, and wrought divers miracles, he [Page 28]disdaines not to goe to Ierusalem to visit Peter, and to receive the right hand of fellowship. And like wise he went up ten yeares after by Revelati­on to Ierusalem, to conserte with the Apostles touching the Gospell, to the end (saith he) least by any meanes I had not, or should have run in vaine, Gal. 2, In conclusion, after that he had undergone a world of trou­bles, and was become famous for many signes and miracles, and had made the Gospel of Christ to flourish from Ierusalem unto Illyricum, Rom. 1.17. he maketh no difficulty or scruple to submit himselfe unto the Counsell, that the Church of Ierusalem gave him, although he had never required any Counsell at their hands, Acts 21.
  • 16. Saint Peter, that was the first in order in the Colledge of the Apostles, beleeves not himselfe to be an Independent, when he perceiveth that they were offended with his manage of the affaires, he presents himselfe boldly to his Brethren, as they were assembled in Ierusalem, and gives them an account of what had passed by the meanes of his Ministery in the Calling of the Gentiles, Act, 11. And when he went not the right way to the truth of the Gospell: he endured himself to be reprehended publickly, by the Apo­stle Saint Paul, Gal. 2.
  • 17. The Church of Antioch was the first, that was honoured with the Title of Christian, and it had famous men immediatly inspired by the Holy Ghost; Amongst others, Saint Paul, and Barnabas: And yet notwithstand­ing, when there hapned amongst them a Controversie of importance, it presumed not to decide it of it selfe alone; it presumed not to shew it selfe Independent; but contrariwise, it sent Paul, and Barnabas with some others to Hierusalem, where a Councell was called, consisting of the Apo­stles, and Elders; And the Question that was first of all moved, and deba­ted at Antioch, was examined, and decided at Hierusalem, to the glory of God, and the edification of the Church, Acts 15.
  • 18. For very great, important, and just reasons, it is decreed to abolish the Episcopacy, but it were lesse mischiefe and inconvenience by farre to suffer it, after that the Excesses of it were corrected, and the Tyranny a­bolished, then to bring in such an horrible confusion, as is vailed under this name of Independency.
  • 19. God be thanked, there is no need to come to that; For if the Church of England will observe the order already happily established in ours, and the Churches of Scotland, if I mistake not, it shall receive much profit, and edification thereof, and shall see the Gospell of Iesus Christ, and of true Piety reigne, and flourish more then ever in the midst of her people.
  • 20. In every particular Church, there ought to be a Body, made up of Pastors, or of Pastors, Ancients, and Deacons, that may meet in Consisto­ry upon set, and appointed daies, to advise by common consent, of the Af­faires, and the Government of the Church.
  • [Page 29]21. If there be but one Pastor in these Consistories, He presides there e­vermore, But if there chance to be more, they preside by turnes.
  • 22. In great Cities, and Townes, as in London, where there are many Parishes, every Parish may have its particular Consistory, made up of Pa­stors, Ancients, and Deacons; And yet notwithstanding to entertaine an holy, Christain like, and Brotherly union, and concord, such as ought to be among the Faithfull, that are of the same Towne, we are of Opinion, that it would doe well, that every weeke, or Moneth at least, a Generall Consistory should be held, where the other Consistories should meete either in their Bodies, or by their Deputies, if their number be too great; The Pastors of the several Parishes may preside by turnes, or as it shall be agreed upon by a common choise; And the businesses, that shall be there propounded, shall be there decided by plurality of voyces.
  • 23. Over and above this, It will be needfull to establish the Order of Colloques, and of Provinciall Synods, consisting of Pastors, and Antients, deputed by the particular Churches; and of Nationall Synods, consisting of Pastors, and Ancients, deputed by the Provinciall Synods; And that there may be a proceding in these holy Assemblies from step to step according to the quality, and merit of Businesses.
  • 24. The Colloques may be held once, or twice a yeare, or oftner, if there be businesses, that require it. The Provinciall Synods ought to be held once at the least in a yeare; As for the Nationall Synods, we conceive it will be sufficient, that yee hold them from two to two, or from three yeares to three yeares.
  • 25. The Ecclesiastique Assembly now sitting may make Rules touching the matters, which the Consistorie [...], and Colloques shall judge definitively of, as also of those, which shall afterwards be carried to the Provinciall Sy­nods, and from the Provinciall to the National; As when there is a Question that touches, either the Interdiction, or Deposition of Pastors.
  • 26. In all these Colloques, and Synods, as well Provinciall, as Nationall, after the invocation of the Name of God, the President, the Assessor, or As­sessors, and the Secretaries should be Elected by plurality of voyces, and af­ter the end, and shutting up of the Assembly, they are to submit themselves, as well as all the rest of the Company to the Censure of their Brethren.
  • 27. Those that are consecrated to the Holy Ministery, after they have gi­ven good, and sufficient testimony of their lives, and manners, ought to be examined in the Provinciall Synods, or at least in the Colloques, who having judged them capable are to send them with letters of Recommendation, to those Churches, that demand them; where, after they have by some Exerci­ses or Sermons given a proofe of their gifts, and the dexterity they have individing a right the Word of God, and received the approbation of the people, they receive the Imposition of Hands by the Pastors, that are depu­ted for that purpose.
  • [Page 30]28. This is a very profitable order, that all the Pastors of a Colloque Preach there in their turnes, and that their Sermons be subject to the chari­table Censure of their Brethren.
  • 29. For that after the breaking up of the Assemblies, they that presided in them have no more power, then they had before the Calling of them, To the intent there may alwaies be some constant, and set order betweene the Churches; Before such time as the Assembly part, it ought to enjoyne some one certaine Church to give and receive the Advise of all the rest of the Churches of the Colloque, or of the Province, and to give it power in case of necessity, to convocate a Colloque, or Provinciall Assembly Extraordina­rily. The Nationall Synod ought also to give it in charge to the Provinciall Synod, commit the care to call the Nationall Synod that is next to be, to the Provinciall Synod.
  • 30. We are of Opinion, that by the meanes of such an order once setled, you will be able to remedy all that is amisse; For on the one side there will be no primacy, nor dominion of some particular Churches over others, and on the other side you shall by that meanes chase out of the House of God all disorder, and confusion.
  • 31. If whilst we studied to be briefe, we be found obscure any where in this Discourse, we are all ready to explaine our meanings, and to make it cleerely appeare, how exceeding sensible we are of your Interests, as also what great contentment we take in this Brotherly Communication of yours with us.
  • 32. We know not, what may be the Reasons of these Gentlemen you call Independents, and we doubt not but you have both in England and Scot­land gallant witts, that are able men enough to refute them; neverthelesse, if you please to acquaint us with them, we, to testifie in testimony of the uni­formity of our Opinions shall receive the communications, as a respect unto us, and will endeavour the Answer thereunto with charity.

Now the God of Patience, and Consolation grant you all to thinke one, and the same thing according to Iesus Christ, to the end that you may all with one tongue and mouth glorifie the God, the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ. Amen.

IT is true, that considering that the pretended Independency, that some would bring in in England, is the way to open a wide gate to a most fear­full confusion, and that by the means therof the Devil is so busie to pull down whatsoever yee build up: in my nineteenth Article I said, That for very great, very important, and most just reasons, it was resolved upon to abolish, and pull downe the Episcopacy, but that there was lesse mischiefe, and inconvenience to permit it, after a due correction of the Excesses of it, and an abolishment of its Tyranny, then to bring into the Church of God such [Page 31]an horrible confusion, as seem'd to be conched, and vayled under the name of INDEPENDENCY.

I freely confesse unto you, that I am yet of the very same Opinion, not­withstanding your reasoning to the contrary. I say then 1. that though such a Tolerance might give somewhat to many to apprehend, and suspect, yet the Evills, that could possibly thence arive, would be without comparison, farre lesse, then those that this unbridled Licensing of Indepen­dents might introduce among you; Now of two Evills, you would doe well to choose the lesser. 2. I conceived not, that there was so great dan­ger in tolerating the Bishops, provided that they were ranged within the order of other Pastours, so as that they might not have dominion over them, but only a certaine Presidency, and Commission to watch over their Bre­thren, and that this Commission were given them by the Colloque, or the Synod of the Province, and that those Assemblies had the power in them­selves to deprive them of it, and to substitute others in their Places. 3. There are many things established in the Government of the Church, which for­mally, and expresly are not to be found in the Word of God. 4. It hath pleased God, to give this in charge to those that he hath called to the guidance, and Government of his Flock. His Will is, that All things in his House be done in order, and to edification. 5. You your self, use yee not to choose from amongst your Pastors some persons to preside in your Col­loques, and in your Synods? Is this formally, and expresly in the Word of God? A Presidency for certain Moneths, or for certain Yeares is it of it selfe more faulty, or criminall, then that of yours for certaine daies, or certaine weekes? 6. Consider, if it please you, that Parker, and other learned men of your Nation that have written against the Hierarchy, de­clare, how that were the Bishops in England but as the Pastors in Germany, and Suitzer-land, which they usuall stiley Inspectors, and Super-intendents, they would never goe about to put them downe. 7. Put the case this or­der were established amongst the Pastors, it were not properly to esta­blish an office, that is not in the Word of God; for if it be well thought on, these Inspectors have not any other Office in the Church of God, then the other Pastors, they are but onely delegated by their Brethren, and Fellow Ministers, and have from them and by their order a Commission for a time, to watch over their Brethren, as their Brethren may have a like Com­mission, when their turne comes, to watch over them, and their behaviours. Iust so, as if in a well governed Family, Brethren should make an agree­ment to give some one amongst them a Commission to watch for a certaine time over the deportment of the rest; and this without any domination, or command. 8. To conclude, sir, you and we may easily agree upon this Article; For you beleeve you are bound absolutely to abolish the Bishops of England, and to shut quite out of doores the confusion of the Independents, [Page 32]my thoughts are the same, and I approve your designe wholly, beseech­ing God with all my heart, that he would blesse the worke of your hands, and that you may see those happy daies, wherein the Churches of England being purely Reformed, may enjoy the same Discipline, which is holily esta­blished in those of Scotland.

You are pleas'd in your letter to adde something concerning the Inde­pendents, but you doe but only alleadge that which they beleeve, and touch not upon any of the Reasons, upon which they ground themselves; where­fore I shall but only give a slight touch with my Pen upon every one of your sven Articles.

As to the first, I thanke you most affectionately for the Copies of your Covenant, the which I had seene before, and had praised God, who is the Author of this Christian peace, and of this holy agreement, of which I ex­pect great fruit to the glory of God, and the edification of his Church.

2. The Independents doe but make sport, when they say, they acknow­ledge that Synods, and Colloques are of Divine Right, and deny them not­withstanding any manner of jurisdiction over particular Churches. This is to pull downe with one hand what they build with the other. For I cannot comprehend, what use at all there can be of Colloques, and Synods, if they have no jurisdiction over particular Churches, and lesse yet, how one par­ticular Church can refuse to submit it selfe to a generall Assembly, the which it acknowledges to be of Divine Right.

3. Now to that, that they will not admit any one for a member of their Congregation, that hath not some notable, and conspicuous markes of Re­generation, I conceive not that this opinion can have many Followers; for that the members of the Church consist either of the Infants of Beleevers, or of persons of perfect Age. As for the children of Beleevers there is no diffi­culty at all, for the Apostle calls them Saints in regard of the Covenant of God, that sanctifies, and makes them holy; And as for the others, either they are borne amongst us, or they come to our party by Conversion. As for them that are converted, it is true, that they ought not hand overhead to be admitted into the body of the Church, and that it does well to have some prooses of their knowledge in Religion, as also some testimonies of their holy Conversation, to the end that the Church be not defiled with their unsoundnesse. But in this Examination we must proceed with charity, and not be over severe, for feare of casting backe, and destroying of him, who is yet weake and feeble in the Faith. For as much as concernes those that are already in the communion of the Church, the Rules of the Word of God are expresse concerning them; They, whose sins are not pub­lique, and notorious, we are to reprove, and censure them in private, other­wise it were to spread a scandall, and to offend against charity, which co­vers a multitude of sins. These that sin publickly, and whose sins are notoriously [Page 33]knowne to all, or the greater part of the people, are to be reproved pub­lickly, and the businesse is to be carried so, as that an amends be made by a publicke repentance for publick scandalls, in case that it be requisite for the edification of the Church. If the Offences be enormious, or if the Offenders chance to be hardned, and obstinate in their wickednesle, we are to cut them off by Excommunication, and so to take from among us the old leven, that it soure not the whole lump, and that the accursed thing cause not Israel to turne her backe. But the Offender (how great, or enormious so ever he be) if he repent, after a convenient time of triall of the truth of his repen­tance, we are bound to have compassion of him, and to readmit him to the peace of the Church, that he be not swallowed up with sorrow, and cast head-long into Despaire. It were good, we should avoid, as the too great severity, and rigidity of the Ancients, so likewise the over great levity, and indulgence, that is in vogue amongst us at this day.

4. As to that, that they will have every particular member present at the deliberation of all businesses whatsoever, without having any right of suf­frage, or Authority, I conceive this stands in need of some good distinction; for certaine occasions there are, upon which a man may grant them more then they demand, as at such times, when there is any debate touching busi­nesses, that are extraordinary, and that concern the whole Church in gene­rall; for example, then, when as the question is touching the vocation, or ad­mission of a Pastor into a Church. In such a case, I am of opinion, that all the Masters of Families, that belong to that Church, not onely ought to be pre­sent at the Consultation, but also that they are to have their voyce and suf­frage therein. But that they should be at all kinds of debates, there seemes to be no colour for it; this neither can be, nor indeed is it expedient. It can­not, I say, be; for the Church having continually businesses, whereon to deli­berate, how is it possible, the whole Church should so often be congregated? Againe, I say it is no waies expedient; for there are certain businesses, which ought not to be divulged, wherein Christian Prudence, and secrecie are very necessary. If some particular man were to be censured for some particular offence, that few know of, and which, if it were known, would in all likely­hood expose him to a visible, and apparent danger, were it fitting now to debate, and deliberate touching the censuring of this man, before the whole Congregation? Meet we at no time with businesses of such a nature, as wherein the simple people are neither capable of understanding the Reasons, nor yet able to hold their peace? Must we needs abandon all Affaires of the Church to the discretion of every particular man? If the people were to assist in all Consultations, what a noise, what contestations, what divisions, what scandalls should we have? For however some men perchance would forbeare to deliver an opinion, yet they would be sure at the rising of the Assembly to murmure at and condemne the Iudgements, that [Page 34]were passed, if either they were not to their good liking, or that they found them not to be grounded upon such Reasons, as themselves approved of.

5. As to that, that they permit any one whatsoever, if he have the ability, to Preach publickly in their Assemblies, notwithstanding that he have not Orders, This is one of the greatest Disorders, that can possibly happen in the world; This, what is it other, but to bring in all kinde of Fanatiques, and Enthusiasts, and to expose Christian Religion to be made a laughing-stock to the Enemies of Gods Truth; And to make of the House of God, which is an House of Order, a Babell of Disorder; and horrible Confusion? It will serve them to little purpose to alleadge for themselves the Example of the Ancient Church in the Times of the Apostles; for in those times all the faithfull had Extraordinary Graces, as also the guift of Prophecie, and yet, for all that, were those holy Prophets to stay till they were bidden to speake, and untill such time, as it was said to them, as to St. Paul, and Barnabas; Men, Brethren, If you have any word of Exhortation, speake on; which was a kind of Vocation. Now a daies, when men have not such Infusions of Guifts, but that they ac­quire the Sciences, and abilities for Preaching by study, and paines, God powring forth his blessing upon their industry, it were to mocke God, and men, to require that all men should Preach indifferently, without any praevi­ous Examen of their Guifts, or the dexterity they have to divide the Word of God to Edification.

6. As to that, That many maintaine, that every man ought to have liberty to make profession of whatsoever Religion himselfe thinkes best (how bad soever it be) provided, that he attempt nothing against the State, wherein he lives; this is a Libertinisme, not to be indured in the House of God, and it is flatly against his Word; For in the Old Testament, it was not permitted to any to make profession of any other Religion, save that which God him­selfe had instituted; And you know, what God ordained against false Pro­phets, that turne away the people from his service, Deut. 13. As also in the New Testament, how St. Paul wills us to take heed of such, as make Divisi­ons, and raise scandalls against that Doctrin, that we have learn't; and that we turne away from them, Rom. 16. And that if an Apostle, or an Angell from Heaven preach another Gospell unto us, then hath been preached, that he be accursed, Gal. 1. yea St. Iohn (very sweetnesse, and Charity it self) will not at any hand, that we receive into our houses, no not that we so much as bid God speed to those, that bring us not the Doctrin of the Gospell.

7. As to that, That they make no reckoning either of the Iudgement, or Consent of other Reformed Churches, but reject them, as an humane Argu­ment, I see they have profited little in Saint Pauls Schoole, whose Lesson is, that we submit our selves one to another in the feare of God; and that in gi­ving honour, we goe one before the other; and that the spirits of the Prophets be subject to the Prophets. God forbid, we should ever place Gods Ordinances, [Page 35]and the Ecclesiasticall Constitutions in the same ranke together. Whatso­ever God sayes, should be unto us a Law inviolable; But as for men, we are to prove all things, and to hold that which is good. For as much as con­cernes the Foundation, or Essence of Religion, there is none, but God alone, that can ordain any thing in it: But as to the Exteriour Order, and Policy of the Church, That wise Father of his Family is content to leave with us his Generall Word of direction, That in his House all things be done decently, and in order; He leaves the particulars to the pious prudence of such, as he hath called to the guidance, and Government of his people.

It is their duty, when they are met together in the name of the Lord, to be earnest Suiters, and Suppliants unto him, that he will please to preside in the midst of them, and put in their hearts to doe those things, that shall be most expedient for his Glory, and the Edification of his Children. The Go­vernment of other Reformed Churches layes no absolute yoake upon us, nor can it be propounded as any infallible Law; But true it is, it ought to be a Patterne and Example for our imitation, if so be we finde no manifest repugnancies in it to the Word of God. But if there be any, that is resolved to be contentious hereabouts, we have no such custome, nor yet have the Chur­ches of God, 1 Cor. 2.16.

We hold for certaine, that there neither is, nor ought to be any Office for teaching, and governing the Church, which should not have its foundation and ground in Gods Word; And so the Office of Minister, Pastor, Bishop, Ancient, and Deacon, are founded immediatly, Formally, and Expresly on the Word of God; howsoever some there be, that will needs have the Office of Ancients, as it is now practised in the Reformed Churches, to have no other ground at all in Scripture, save onely by Analogy, and as it is drawne thence by necessary Consequence, as they speake; which in con­clusion is one and the same thing; For that which is deduced by necessary Consequence from Scripture, is every jot as much in Scripture, as that, what ever it is, that is there in Expresse Termes. All this is agreeable, and con­forme with 29. and 30. Articles of the Confession of Faith, where it is said, That our Lord hath established this Policy, and Government in his Church, viz. by Pastors, Over-seers, or Ancients, and Deacons; And that those that are true Pastors, in what place soever they inhabit, have the very same Authority, and equall power under the Lord Iesus Christ the chiefe Pastor, and Bishop of our soules, Act. 6.4. Eph. 4.11. 1 Tim. 3.1. Tit. 1.5. Matth. 2 Cor. 1.27. 1 Pet. 5.3.

Sentiment d'u grand Theologien de France Touchant l'Independence declarè en une Lettre addresseè a Mr. Buchanan.

VN mien amy homme vertueux & craignant Dieu, m'a adverti que quel­ques personnes trouvent mauvais l'ordre establi en nos Eglises, par le quel les Consistoires sont subjects aux Colloques, & les Colloques aux Synodes Pro­vinciaux, & les Provinciaux aux Nationaux. Ils voudroient que chaque Con­sistoire eust une authoritè absolue, & qui ne dependist d'aucune assemblée supe­rieure: la dessus ce mien amy me demande quel est mou seutiment: la chose est de telle nature & de telle importance, que je nay peu luy refuser ce qu'il requiert de moy.

Je dis donc, que ceux qui font telles Propositions, ne doivent estre creus: si on suiuois leur advis il ne s'en pourroit ensuiure que le renversement de l'Eglise & une extreme confusion: souvent advient que deux pasteurs d'une mesme Eglise s'entrequerellent, & divisent le troupeau en deux factions contraires. En ce cas il faut par necessitè avoir recours a une compagnie & puissance superieure: que si l'­Eglise nà qu'un Pasteur, & que ce Pasteur soit vitieux, & vive à'une vie scan­daleuse, & soit supporté par le Consistoire entier, ou que le Consistoire soit divisé, il n'y a point de remede a ce mal que par les Colloques & Synodes ayants puissance de suspendre ou deposer un tel Pasteur: n'y ayant qu'un Pasteur en ceste Eglise, & iceluy meritant d'estre depose, qui est ce qui le deposera? Les Anciens du Consistoire seuls prononceront ils contre luy sentence de deposition? Que si quelcun du peuple est injustement suspendu de la Saincte Cene ou excommunié, a qui aura il recours pour estre restabli? & a qui formera il ses plainctes si le Consistoire qui l'a in­justement condamnè a une Authorité Independante & irrefragable.

Que si une nouvelle Heresie s'espand & que quelques Pasteurs & Eglises en soyent infectées quel moyen d'obvier a un si grand mal, que par un Synode qui puisse deposer les Pasteurs obstinés en leur erreur, & Insectants le troupeau sans le Synode de Dordrect, l'Arminianisme sespandroit par tout le pays, si chaque Consistoire eust esté absolu & Independant, il eust peu mespriser la deci­sion du Synode, en disant nous ne sommes subjects a aucun Synode, & avons une authorité absolue & Independante.

L'es Synodes sont principalement occupès a ouyr les plainctes des Eglises par­ticulieres, & a juger des appels si vous ostez cela aux Synodes, ils nont plus rien a faire, & leur Convocation sera inutile: Car aussi eu vain prononceroient ils des jugements dont l'Execution ne seroit en leur puissance. Chasque Consistoireise gouvernezoit a sa fautasie: comme si en un grand pays, de chaque village, on fai­soit une Souverainetè. Cela est vouloir introduire vn ordre qui depuis le temps des Apostres jusques a maintenant n'a jamais esté practiqué.

Il y a plusieurs petites Eglises Champestres, dont le Consistoire est composè d'un Pasteur qui na pas beaucoup de capacité & de quatre ou cinq paysans, qui sont Ancicus de l'Eglise: donner a on a une telle Eglise ou Consistoire, une autho­ritè [Page 37]Independante? & ce Pasteur venant a mourir, ees payisans auront ils le pouvoir d'èn choisir un autre? ou de luy imposer les mains, sont ls Juges suffisants de la capacitè d'un Ministre?

Que si a cause de l'affliction de l'Eglise il est besoin de celebrer un jeusue par toutes les Eglises du Royaume, qui ordonnerace jusne? qui assignera le jour. S'il faut representer au Prince Souverain les plaintes de toutes les Eglises, qui esce qui deputera? qui est ce qui presentera les requestes de tout le corps des E­glises du Royaume?

Si pour quelques occasions survenues il est besoiug de changer quelque chose en la Discipline Ecclesiastique, & faire des nouveaux reglements qui obligent toutes les Eglises, cela se pourra il faire par des Consistoires Independants, & nm subjects a aucun reglement general?

Bref faut tenir pour constant que la Dependance des Compagnies inferieures subjectes aux Superieures, est le lien qui entretient l'Ʋnion de l'Eglise, le quele­stant couppê il ny auroit plus de correspondance, & on verroit une horrible con­fusion. Nul ne peut estre Juge eu sa propre cause, s'il y a de la contention entre deux Eglises Particulieres (comme cela advient fort souvent) pas une de ces E­glises ne peut estre Iuge, & faut avoir recours a quelque authorité superieure.

Ie ne veux croire que ces Independants, ayent Intelligence avec les Adversaires, & que leur but soit soubs ombre de Reformation, de nous jecter en vne confusion qui nous expose en risee a ceux qui nous sont contraires: I'aime mieux croire qu'ils errent par faute d'experience, & de cognoissance, de ce qui est possible ou profitable a l'Eglise de Dieu.

P. D. M.

The Iudgement of a great Divine in France concerning Independency, decla­red in a Letter directed to Master Buchanan.

A Friend of mine, a vertuous man, and fearing God, has advertised me that certaine persons finde fault with the Order established in our Churches; by the which, the Consistories are subject unto Colloques, and the Colloques unto Provinciall Synods, and the Provinciall Synods, unto Nationall Synods: They would have every Consistory to have an absolute authority, and not to depend upon any superiour Assem­bly: My Friend askes me thereupon my judgement; The thing is of such a nature, and of such weight, that I could not deny him his request.

I say then, That those that make such Propositions, ought not to be be­lieved: if men followed their advice, there could nothing follow but a turn­ing of the Church upside down, and an utter confusion. It fals out often that two Pastors of one and the same Church fall out amongst themselves, and di­vide the flock into two contrary Factions; in this case of necessity we must have recourse unto a Company, and Power Superiour. But if the Church have [Page 38]but one Pastor, and he be a vicious man, and of a scandalous life, and be sup­ported by the whole Consistory, or that the Consistory be divided, there is no remedie for this evil, but by Colloques, and Synods, that have power to sus­pend and Depose such a Pastor. There being but one Pastor in this Church, and he deserving to be deposed, who is he that shall depose him? The Elders of the Consistorie alone, Shall they pronounce Sentence of Deposition against him? What if any one among the People be suspended from the holy Supper, or excommunicated, To whom shall he have his recourse to be received a­gain into the Church? And to whom shall he make his Complaint, if the Consistorie, which hath unjustly condemned him, have an Independant, and irrefragable Authority?

What if a new Heresic be sowen abroad, and that certaine Pastors and Churches be infected with it? what means is there to meet with such an evil, but by a Synode, that hath power to depose Pastors that are obstinate in their Error, and infect the Flocks? Had it not been for the Synod of Dordrecht, Arminianisme had spread it self over the whole country; If every Consistory had been Independant, it had contemned the Decision of the Sy­nod; saying, We are not subject to any Synode; We have an absolute and Independant Authority.

Synods are chiefly busied about hearing of the Complaints of particular Churches, and to judge of Appellations; If you deny that Power unto Sy­nods, they have no more to do; and their Convocation shall be to no use; for in vain should they pronounce Iudgements, which were not in their power to put in Execution: Every Consistory should governe it self after its own fan­cy; as if in a great Country one should make of every Village a Soveraign­ty; that were to introduce an Order, which since the dayes of the Apostles was never practised untill this time.

There are many little Country Churches, whereof the Consistory is com­posed of one Pastor, who is of no deep understanding, and of four or five Persons, that are Elders of the Church; shall we give to such a Church or Consistory an Independant Authority? And that Pastor hapning to die, these Persons shall they have power to choose another? or give him Impo­sition of Hands? Are they competent Judges of a Ministers sulficiency?

What if because of the Affliction of the Church, it be necessary to Cele­brate a Fast throughout all the Churches of the Kingdom, who shall or­daine this Fast? Who shall appoint the Day? If the Complaints of all the Churches must be represented to the Soveraigne Prince, who shall Depute? Who shall present the Requests of the whole Body of the Churches of the Kingdom?

If for certain Emergent Occasions, it be necessary to change something in the Discipline of the Church, and to make new Ordinances to binde all the Churches, can that be done by Independant Consistories, not subject to any generall Rule?

Briefly, we must hold constantly, that the Dependence of Inferiour Com­panies, being subject to Superious, is the Band, that entertains the Union of the Church; which being cut asunder, there should be no more Correspon­dence, and we should see a horrible confusion: No man can be Iudge in his own Cause: If there be a strife betwixt two particular Churches (as it fals out very often) not one of these Churches can be Iudge; They must addresse them­selves to some superiour Authority.

I will not believe, that these Independants have intelligence with the Ad­versaries, and that their Aime is, under colour of Reformation, to cast us into a Confusion, which might expose us to be laught at by those, who are our Op­posites: I would rather believe that they erre for want of Experience, and knowledge of that which is pessible, and profitable for the Church of God.

Sentiment d'un grand Theologien de Hollande tou­chant l'Independence, declarè en une Lettre ad­dressée a Mr. Buchanan.

VN voyage, que j'ay faict au nom de nostre Academie, est cause du retardement de ma Responce a celle, que vous m'aves faict la faveur de m'escrire. Ie vous suis obligè des tesmoignages de vostre affection, et vous prie de faire estat reciproquement de la mienne. Ie ne vous seaures asses representer, comme nous gemissons pour les confusions de vos Royaumes; Ie souhaite avec passion, que la Reformation de l'Eglise d'Escosse soit suivie de celle d'Angle­terre, et que vos Ordres aussi bien que vos Armées leur soient rendues salutaires, ie ne hesite nullement, ains crois, que ceux, qui veulent introduire l'Independ: des Eglises, introduiront, l'Anarchie, confusion, et toutes sortes de licence a remplir les Chaires de Fanatiques, & vos Eglises de Schismes. Ie ne doute point, que nombre de personnes ne soient portées a ce parti de bon Zele, & ne croient bien faire: Mais la consequence de ceste Indep: ne se pouroit jamais suffisamment descouvrir, qu'apres quelle auroit esté establie: autant presque que vous auriez d'Eglises, autant auriez vous dau­tel [Page 40]contre autels et l'un seroit pour Paul, et l'autre pour Cephas le 3 pour Apollos: Dieu vous garde de ces horribles confusions on veroit un beau mesnage si chaque Famille estoit Independ. sans police et sans dependence d'un ordre public et que seroit ce del Eglise Iaurois mis la main a la plume pour en faire une dissertation esten­due si je neusse estimé, quil seroit plus a propos, que ce jugement soit demandé a nostre faculte: il auroit par a moyen plus de pards que procedent dun particulier.

The Iudgement of a great Divine in Holland concerning Independency, de­clared in a Letter directed to Master Buchanan.


A Iourney that I was put upon by our University is the cause, why I had not answered sooner those Letters you were pleased to write unto me: I am much beholding to you, for the testimony of your Affection, and I pray you reciprocally to make account, you have mine. I cannot sufficiently repre­sent unto you, how much we take to heart the confusions of your Kingdom: Learnestly wish that the Reformation of Scotland may be imitated by the Church of England, and that your Church-Government, as well as your Bro­therly Assistance by Armes may be serviceable unto them. I doubt nothing, but firmely believe, that they that would introduce Independency of Churches, would bring in an Anarchie, a confusion, and all sorts of Licence to furnish all Pulpits with men of Fanatick Spirits, as also your Churches with Schismes; I make no question, but many of them are carried to these opini­ons with a good meaning, that they think therein they do wel; But the dange­rous consequence of such an Independence, should it be established, would dis­cover more then we believe can ever sufficiently be discovered, till it be esta­blished: As many Altars should you then have erected one against another as you have Churches; One Church would side it selfe with Paul, another with Cephas, a third with Apollos: God preserve you from these horrid con­fusions, you should see a sweet Oconomie if every particular family should, once come to be Independant without any Policy, or Dependance upon the publike; and what then would become of the poor Church of God; I should have been much larger in handling the point more accurately: had I not thought it had been more expedient for you to have had the Iudgement of the Divines of this University jointly, being that it would have carried more au­thority with it, then possibly any thing can do that proceeds from a private man onely. [...]

Quod foelix, faustumque sit;

THe first period of this Book is a manifest untruth; There is no such thing in all my Book, as that my heart with discontent is rent in two pieces to hear the innocent bleatings of that wronged Lamb, the Apologie, So as I may here use your admirative Interrogation; Is this the use men make of pressing Sermons? Your following Injuries non sunt dignae irâ Caesaris; I must be fain to beare with this Epidemicall Disease of you Independents, and shall shew hereafter, that ye are not Separatistae nominales, but reales: If the Church lie now gasping, as you complain, who (I pray) can be the cause of it, but your selves, that vex and torment her more, then Papists, Arminians, Anabaptists, Socinians, and all other Sects and Heresies besides ever yet did.

P. 2. sect. 4. Thou art a strange Divine, that consultest Astrologues, about the Horoscope of my Book. But to that I say no more, but what the Prophet saith, Stand up with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, if so be thou maiest prevaile; Let now the Astrologers, the Star-gazers, the moneth­ly Prognesticators stand up. Jer. 10.12. I am not dismayed at the signe of the heaven, for the Heathen are dismaid at them; I tell thee with all thy Chaldeans, and Sorcerers, I feare you not all. Christians feare not such Prophets; God hath raised us up a Prophet like to Moyses, whom we must heare, and Moyses tels thee, that they who doe these things, that thou doest, are an abomination to the Lord, Deut. 18.10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.

After this sect. 6. in the same pag. he giveth out his judgement upon the title of my Book, but without the least judgement or reason at all.

P. 3. Sect. 1. He accuseth me to be too peremptorious in determining the question, and so anticipating the judgement of the Assembly.

Answ. 1. If I anticipate, so, I must tell him, does he, with the rest of the Secta­ries of his Faction, in determining the question for his party. 2. particular mens Determinations cannot anticipate the judgement of the Assembly, or take it out of their hands, as most ignorantly hee pretends; for particular mens private Determinations are evermore subject to publike Determination. 3. Neither is it necessary, that when ever Sects or Heresies creepe into the Church, wee should presently all begin to suspend our judgements in things revealed in Gods word, and already determined by the Church, as this is, as we shall God willing hereafter make appeare, and so stand ever gaping after new Decisions. I should doe my selfe wrong to answer the 2 Sect. Which conteineth only his unreasonable judgement against me, who [Page 50]say nothing of Independents, but what I prove by evident Reasons; And the judgements of Protestant Churches abroad, here printed, will decide this Controversie. But what he saith from the rest of the third page, till page the 6. Sect, 3. it shall be an swered in a particular question.

P. 4. Sect. 2. A.S. his Observations are like a man with a Pole-ax, knocking, a man on the head to kill a fly lighting on his heard. Answ. What this man mean­eth by his Pole-axe, I know not: I strike at no mans head; If I strike at any fly, it must be some Wasp, and then either a Hornet that stingeth to death the Horse of whose dung it is bred, or a Wasp with which Tertullian not unfitly compareth Sectaries, faciunt favos vespae, faciunt & Ecclesias Marcionite; quid ni & Donatista?

P. 6. Sect. 3. He propounds himselfe for a pattern to me in writing; But hee must excuse me, if I tell him plainly, I hold him not worthy the imitating, nei­ther may I ever so much reverence any of his party, as to quit my Christian li­berty to refute their extravagancies, where ever I meet with them, especially when they appeare to be of so pernicious a consequence. As for the title of Most revenend, that I gave them, I learn't it in part, of themselves, that they are reverend; and since their reverence is independent, what else could I take it for, but most reverend that acknowledge no superiour Reverence.

Sect. 5. Howsoever of his liberality hee bestow the lie on me, I must pray him permit me to return it home again; for what I said before, by his good leave, I must say again; it is most true, that in your particular Opinions, ye differ from all true reformed Churches, at least so far forth as they are distinguished from Conventicles, and Schismaticall Assemblies: And as for your Reformed Churches in England viz. Independent, from which ye differ not, 1. they are in­visible, 2. they are Schismaticall, 3. and erected without the Civill Magistrates consent; and such Churches your selves hold unlawfull, turbulent, Schis­maticall, and punishable, in N.E. And if in N.E. wherefore, I pray, not in old England also?

Sect. 6. And as for that his conjecture, that I wil object some Manuscripts, and Master Parkers letter from N.E. and another from Zeland, it is his mi­stake; for it was not my intention to dispute in a liminary Epistle, only I say of Master Parker, (since he puts me upon this subject) that if he were at his liberty in O.E. as he is in servitude under that oppression of N.E. he might happily say more, then he will be allowed to say there.

P. 7. Sect. 1. It is also a great mistake in him, to think that their Discipline can be abused to ill: it cannot be abused but to good.

P. 8, Sect. 1. It is an abominable accusation and a black calumnie, that hee layeth upon the Reformed Churches of Zeland, viz. that there are in their letters many high passages, seeming so prejudiciall to our worthy Magistracy, that it justifieth that of the Apologie; 2. for that letter speaketh not at all of the Magistrate, or Magistracy of England. 2. It speaketh only of their own, wher­of [Page 51]this little Independent Minister is too bold to thinke himselfe a competent Judge; Neither will they depend of him, howbeit he should a spire to be as In­dependent, as Lucifer himself. 3. They speak not of all their Magistrates, but of some, and especially of those who joyned with the Arminian Sect; The Arminians crying up their authority in the Spirituall government of the Church; and these unworthy Magistrates crying down the Doctrine. 4. Be­cause the Government of Holland, and the Magistrates power there, is not like to that of England; the one being Monarchicall, or rather mixt of Monarchi­call, Aristocraticall, and Democraticall, as it is commonly holden here; and the other Aristocraticall, or mixt of Aristocracy, and Democracy: and there­fore the rules of the one Government cannot be well drawn in consequence for the other. 5. This M.S. cognomento Calumniator, in this matter, should have done well, and gone more honestly to work, if he had cited those high passages, so prejudiciall to our worthy Magistracy, but he shewes himselfe more cunning, then so to discover his calumny. 6. As for his sententious conclusion of this point with Ʋerbum sapienti sat est, a man very well affectioned to the Zelan­ders, in reading of it, added in the margin of the Book, sed non insipientis, ne­dum decipientis. It is as great pitty so good men should have harboured so ill and so unthankfull Guests.

P. 9. Sect. 3. He speaketh, as if he were a Prophet, sent to reforme all the Churches of the world; (so did Bur Jesu) and bringeth us in (I know not what) a Master Davenport (like another Salomon) in the way of N.E. cast­ing out his new proverbiall Sentences, viz. a. Classicall Presbyterie is 13. Bi­shops. O witty and weighty Sentence, if any man understood it, worthy only such an Ecclesiastes as himself to be Register of What praise merite ye not both? Vunlo tu dignus, & ille. In the the end of this sect. he giveth out his metaphorical judgement, to grinde the Idol of half Reformation to powder; and yet professeth, that he will not, (or which a man would rather beleeve,) cannot tell what it is. O how ridiculous a Judge is this without judgement. Only this I will say, that 1. if it be Episcopacy, as this new Master of Sentences, & C.C. say. 2. if an Idol that must be grinded into powder, as M.S. saith: and 3. if Episcopal Government must be extirpated, as the Covenant saith, and as we all in swearing the Covenant say, sure then the Scots are come in upon very worshipfull termes, to assist the In­dependents, viz. upon this Condition, that when they have fought for them, they shall extirpate them, and grinde them all into powder: Is not this a very quick Independent conception? and yet notwithstanding all this (which is worthy the noting) these good men in taking the Covenant have sworn the preservation of the reformed Religion, in the Church of Scotland, in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government, i.e. (according to their judgement) good Prelacy, or Episcopacy: jura, perjura. And here like a little Pope he telleth us, that all Churches generally, purtly by Tyranny, and partly by security are grown so corrupt, that to apologise for a through Reformation seems to reprove all, and so all [Page 50] [...] [Page 51] [...] [Page 52]will be offended. None (it seems) shall be reformed, unless they become In­dependent, so that they, and they alone may vaunt themselves.

Et nos ergo manum ferulae subduximus, & nos Consilium dedimus Syllae.

To his 4. Sect. I maintain, that Independents dissent from all Christian Churches, since no Christian Church holds it selfe Independent but yours: and whether they be any Churches, that are not Protestant, we shall see in a particular Question; howbeit it be an untruth, that ever I said, that Papists were Christian Churches: He and his fellows doe well to dissent from Papists; but not in dependency: His Observations are false, where he sayes, that we run to the Popish markes of visibility, succession, and universality: and I have refuted this calumny in my Answer to C.C. When I argue from visibility, and number, I doe as the Apostle doth in bringing many visible Saints, as a great number of witnesses of our Doctrine, Heb. 11. and not as Essentiall markes of our Church. P. 10.

Because I say that the Quinqu-Ecclesian Ministers are but men, as I am, and that they may erre; out of this hee inferreth, that I thinke I have more knowledge then they, since they are not yet con­demned by the Assembly. Answ. I deny the consequence; for by the same reason, every particular man, that condemneth Anabaptisme and other Schismes, and Heresies, before they be condemned by the Synod, should thinke themselves learneder, then they are. But is it such a crime to say that they are but men that may erre? I pray you sir, if ye be any other thing then men, what are ye? if ye be men, who pretend ye cannot erre, you must either be Sancta Mater Ecclesia Romana, or els lead by Anabaptisticall Enthusiasines, as with an ignis fatuus. And pretend ye that by reason of your great learning ye are pri­viledged from errour? I tell thee, man, that amongst the very Angels, Lucifer; and amongst men, Adam in the state of integrity, and since the Fall, Achitophel, and Salomon erred, and yet every one of them were learneder then ye all. I hope there is no man maketh the least question, but the meanest of them was learneder then any of you, yea then you all in cumulo. And therefore vaunt not so much of your learning; No learning, but visio beatifica (which ye want) can priviledge a man from errour, according to Schoole-men.

P. 11. Sect. 1. I have answer'd, it is no Popish Argument, when I oppose so great a number of Witnesses unto him; for then the Apostles Argument, Heb. 11. should be Popish: what is thy mopish argument I know not, for I never read mopish in the Index of my Bible, nor amongst the termes of Divinity or Philosophy: whether it be an injury or not, I know not, and care as little.

2. It is an untruth to say, that I would conjure him to yeeld any thing upon plurality of voyces; for I have learned of some of his own party, that they are [Page 53]no wayes minded, upon plurality of voyces, to submit themselves unto the venerable Assembly of Divines, neither can it well agree with the independent Spirits of their Divinity, that the spirits of Prophets be subject to Prophets: They will, that all be subject unto them. Sect. 4. Neither are his 4. silly Argu­ments, which are but one, drawn up ab Exemplo, of notorious Sinners, Ma­lignants, Papists, and Prelates, who argue from the multitude of those of their way, to the verity and equity of it, any thing to the purpose. First, we cite but a number of reformed Divines, and reformed Churches, which hee acknow­ledges with us to be such, so does not he of his Examples. 2. And if I have er­red in this, wherefore did the Apologists shew me the way, in citing the Ex­amples of those of N.E. &c? 3. My Argument concludeth ad Hominem, since they argue so. 4. I ground not my selfe on this Argument alone, but on a great number of others in my book, whereuuto hee answers not, nor can answer.

P. 17. Sect. 1. What he tells us of the number of their Churches, they are but Churches of Sectaries, and Schismaticall, since they have cut off them­selves, and are separated from all Protestant Churches union, and communion, as I have often-times declared, and I speak not of such Churches.

Sect. 3. He sayes, that W.R. condemns the Apologists for agreeing with the Churches of N.E. and A.S. condemneth them for dissenting from them; He should have done well to have coted the places of our Books; and to have told at the same time in what points we condemne them, in their consent and dissent; for W.R. may condemne them for their consent in one thing, and A.S. for their dissent in another: If I condemne them for any dissent, I may safely swear, that either I have read it in their Books, or heard it of Indepen­dents themselves: What I say p. 17. sect. 4. I say it again in my conscience, that I verily beleeve that Independency cannot but prove the root of all Schismes and Heresies; yea I adde, that by consequence, it is much worse then Popery. And all this I have sufficiently proved in my Book, whereunto he answers nothing. And whereas he sayes, I would do well to confer with some of them I write against, I had thought I had sufficiently declared my readiness in that kind formerly; and I again now declare unto you, Sir, in particular, that I desire to confer with you, if I may know who you are; you shall herein do me a singular pleasure, to teach me better; which if ye do not, or make me know, who ye are, I cannot think this counsell to be given in sinceritie.

Whereas I say, ye sue for a Toleration, and consequently for a Separation; it is most true, in the sense, that I take a Separation, viz. for a Separation from our Discipline, and Sacramentall Communion, as I have fully proved in this my Book, whereunto all the Independent Churches in the world cannot an­swer; for if ye be not separated from us, but entertain union and communion with us, what need ye more a Toleration, rather then the rest of the members of our Church?

P. 18. Sect. 3. What I say of your undervaluing the Parliaments favour, it [Page 54]is true: and howbeit ye have not been yet accused before the Parliament, or the Assembly, yet doth not that justifie you, but highly commend their great mer­cy, singular prudence, and charity, in not taking notice of your indiscretions (to say no more) in calumniating, nick-naming the Protestant Churches, and publishing unto the world such unworthy Books against them, yea against those, whom ye acknowledge for your Benefactors; Is not this I pray thee M.S. an undervaluing of so great favours? is not this an extraordinary in­gratitude to ward the Churches of the Netherlands, who so lovingly received you, and cherished you in the dayes of your affliction? Well, good men, if yee esteem it not so, they both may think their favours to have bin very ill bestowed upon so unthankfull men. But this M.S. and C.C. tell us, that they have done nothing, but by Ordinance of Parliament. What, wretched men, the very shame of this Kingdom, (I pray thee Reader pardon me, if I give them not the titles, that just anger would extort) dare ye in face of Parliament, and all the world so impudently father this indiscreet Book, farced with little else, save Calum­nies, upon the two most honourable Houses of Parliament? Have ye, I pray, any order from either of the Houses to publish it unto the world? Have ye any order from them, to calumniate on this manner, and to put nick-names upon the most orthodox Churches? to call the Presbyterian an Episcopall Government? Shall Protestants abroad read all this? If they read it, what I pray can they judge of this Parliament, and their affection towards them, un­lesse they judge you to be lyers? Well M.S. and C.C. yee speak both boldly and sawcily of the Parliament: And as if all this yet were not enough, thou M.S. to be sure to out-run C.C. tells us that the name of Stuart in foure men, has been fatall to England, and Scotland, viz. in King James, King Charles, Doctor Stuart, the Divine, and in Adam Stuart here. Pag. 22. Sect. 3. Hare-brained Fellow that thou art, what has King James, King Charles, or Doctor Stuart to do with this Dispute? canst thou not dispute calmly with me, unless thou be snarling, and biting, like a mad Dog, at every one that stands necre thee, at Kings, Parliament, and all the best reformed Orthodox Chur­ches of the Christian world? I will not cast Horoscopes, or consult Astrologues and Deviners, as thou dost, but if the Laws of the Kingdom be consulted, God knoweth what a sad account thou mayest ere long bee called unto for such wilde expressions.

P. 19. Sect. 1. I am sory, that yee vaunt your selfe, that the Parliament resol­ved with a generall acclamation, that your Apologie should be left unblamed, and that ye threaten so many sorrows, that should have befallen the Churches, if it had been condemned. If it be so, it is a pittie, but they should make great acclamations to so great and mighty Independent Ministers, that thinke none of them so much as worthy to communicate with their Churches, but will, that they depend upon them. But I beleeve, that this is like to the rest of your vain braggings. All that thou sayest P. 19. Sect. 3. they are but meere calumnies: [Page 55]It is not I, but the Independents themselves, who sow the seed of Division, be­twixt themselves on the one part, and the Parliament here, the Scots, and all Protestant Churches, on the other; only I declare what they are, and I am glad, if any of them have the grace to blush or be ashamed of it, Nam pudor est virtutis color, And so I answer thee in thine own words, nec oleum, nec operam perdo, Those 6. things, Proverbs 6.16. belong not to me, but to thy selfe; and as others say, they are the very Essentiall notes of your Independent Churches. Thou tellest also thereabout that thou divinest, I wish rather thou wert a sound Divine, then a Diviner.

To what thou sayest P. 20. Sect. 1. Because I have found thee, and those, who write against me, such notorious lyers, I must tell thee, I cannot beleeve thee, being my Adversary; and I beleeve, that no man will beleeve thee, till that they have it from a better hand.

Ibid. Your Minister, who preacheth us a tale, beginning with, In the name of God, and ending with a Goose, seemeth to have been some Independent Mini­ster, like your selfe, happily your worthy selfe, for that you take so great plea­sure to fill up your Book with so worshipfull authorities. Sect. 2. The Nick­names you take on you not to know, they are 1. Calvinians, Apolog. Nar. p. 20. 2. Bishops, which ye your selves pin upon our Ministers, p. 9. 3. An Idol, that must be grinded to powder, &c.

What ever ye say, pag. 20. sect. 4. I maintain that first in Conventickling your selves in Assemblies a part. 2. In taking particular resolution a part, 3. in taking of it against the resolution of the Assembly of Divines, and 4. final­ly, since in the thanks-giving to the Scots Commissioners, such proceedings have been most cleerly (howbeit indirectly) condemned by the Synod it selfe, no rationall man, to speaking truly, can call it other, then an Assembly in the As­sembly, and against the Assembly; And to say, that particular Members of the Assembly may print, what they please against the common opinion of the Assembly, who ever sayes it, he knoweth little or not at all how Ecclesiasticall Assemblies are to be governed.

What you say p. 21. sect. 1. I see, it is not reason, but anger, that maketh you to speak so; And this may excuse you à tanto, sed non a toto; if now at length you be sory for it.

To your 2. sect. where you give out your judgement, in comparing another mans discretion, and mine together; he may be a man, whose discretion I ho­nour more then yours and mine own both: but as for you, I cannot but tell you,

Judicium praeceps, insaeni judicis index.

Sect. 6. To shew his great skill in Phylosophy, he quarrelleth with me for saying, that the will is a blind Faculty; and will needs perswade me most impe­riously, that the will of it selfe understandeth; wherefore then I pray shall not the understanding likewise will? Prudence choose, and vertue direct? Charity [Page 56]beleeve, and Faith love? the Sense desire, and the Appetite feele? It is utterly false, that hereupon it followeth, that the will is an unreasonable Faculty; for howbeit, it be not a reasonable directive, yet it is a reasonable imperative Fa­culty. And this I pray you, most considerate Philosopher (as you call your selfe) to learn of me; for however you inconsiderately judge, that we take our Prin­ciples up upon trust, yet could I have helped you with a dozen of Arguments more probable, then that ridiculous one that ye have brought us.

P. 21. Sect. 8, He saith that I contradict my selfe in these following Propo­positions, viz.

  • 1. The five Ministers Discourse is most learned.
  • 2. The five Ministers Discourse commeth very short, weak, and slender, and no wayes satisfactory.
  • 3. The five Ministers discourse is errour.
  • 4. The five Ministers are most learned.
  • 5. The five Ministers are less learned then I am.

A Contradiction is between two propositions, consisting of the same termes, the one affirmative, the other negative, both singular, or the one universall, and the other particular. If any such Propositions be found in my Book, hee saith true, and I will confesse it; if not, he is bound to acknowledge himselfe a lyer.

Now in all these five Propositions, see, whether there be any such thing, yea or not. As for the first which he imagineth to be contradictory to the next two. 1. They are all affirmative. 2. Never an one of them has the same Attri­bute. 3. In the second he omitteth some words of mine, viz. these, to their Ar­guments. 4. The third Proposition is not mine: In the 4. and 5. Propositions, which he calleth contradictory. 1. They are both affirmative. 2. The fifth is not mine, but falsly attributed by him unto me: So see, courteous Reader, whether, he has more reason to say of me; The man maketh nothing of Con­tradictions, or I, to say of him; This man, with the power of piety, maketh nothing of falsifications and lying.

What he saith more to my Epistle, it meriteth not an answer, since it con­teineth nothing else, save only some stories of his Independent Gossips, more fit a great deale to be told to old wives, mislead by prejudices, then to be read by men of judgement. As concerning the 3. sect. pag. 22. I repent not my selfe at all, but thank my God that I have written against your Sect; And I pro­mise you, God willing, to continue all my life long so doing, if he call me not to some other employment, wherein I may glorifie him more.

Only here, I pray thee Reader, to observe this mans vanity and madnesse, who thinking it but a small thing to offend me all along hitherto with his in­jurious Pen, has run out of the links to pursue His Majestie, because of the name, which he hateth in my person; and therefore, that all the world may take notice of him, how couragious he is, he concludeth; All that I have to say to A.S. here is only to sigh over this name S. (in four men) as fatall to this [Page 57]poore England and Scotland, &c. Well, I will not say the rest, for feare, that if ever thou be exalted, thou say not that I have been the cause in accusing thee, Only I know not what Schooles of Magick thou hast frequented, or curious Arts thou hast learned, or what occult vertue thou conceivest to be in Names, none but Magicians, and they who are given to curious (but unlawfull Sci­ences) are of thy opinion; My name, I thank God, is no shame to me, I pray God thou be not a shame to thy Name, and thy Profession both.

And so much for the justification of my Epistle, consisting of halfe a sheet of paper, in a very faire letter; in the pretended refutation whereof, what with language, jeers, injuries, &c. this man hath employed no lesse then 22. pages in quarto, of a small Print, if the cyphers mark well. All which I have fully refuted with sundry Reasons, (howsoever I found none at all, or very few in his writing) in lesse then three leaves in 4o. as I beleeve. Now let us see what he will say to my Observations.

Consideration 1.


VVHether in any Ecclesiasticall, or Politicall Assembly of the Christian world, wherein things are carried by Plurality of voyces, it be or­dinary for any inconsiderable number of men to joyne in a particular combi­nation among themselves, and therin to take particular Resolutions, and to pub­lish them unto the world; and so to anticipate upon the Resolutions of the whole Assembly.

Answ. 1. M.S. We have heard of some Parliaments in Europe, that the House of Peers is so constitute, that if a Vote pass, where som's Consciences amongst them cannot yeeld to, they may modestly enter in the House their dissent from it.

Rep. A.S. But your five Ministers have not done so: there was no Vote at all passed, upon all the Articles, that are debated in their Apologeticall Narra­tion. 2. And therefore neither entred they, nor could they enter their Vote of dissent. 3. If the House of Peers be so constitute, it followeth not, that the As­sembly of Divines should be so constitute. 4. The Apologists have not con­tented themselves with these Priviledges of the Peers, or that are granted to any Parliament, or Synod men, viz. to enter modestly their dissent from it, but they have gone further; for before that ever things were Voted, they published them to all the world. 5. They did it not modestly, but with great insolence, in­sulting over all Protestant Churches, as if they alone had the power of piety, or as if they in their Churches had it in a higher degree, then all other Christian Churches. 6. When the Peers do so, they doe it not as your Quinqu-Ecclesian Ministers, viz. by Conventicling themselves in secret, and a part, not impart­ing [Page 58]their designe to their Brethren, and subscribing an Apologie together. 7. If it was not to crosse the proceeding and Disputes of the Assembly, wherefore, I pray could it be? 8. Neither could it be to tell the Kingdome de facto, what they held and practised: 1. For if it be so, wherefore are they Petitioners in the last page of their Apology for a latitude and Toleration in Religion? 2. Wher­fore travaile they in all their Book, to refute the Presbyterian Government, received in the best Reformed Churches? 3. If you, Sir, can procure of your five Ministers to sweare, that what you say of them here is true, you may be better beleeved, then yet you are. 4. And I pray you tell us, if they have told you, that they had no other draught in all their Apologie, then what you de­clare here. 5. If they affirme it in Conscience, certainly their mind has not been like to their Book. 6. If it be so, what is the reason, that they declared not themselves, before that they were Members of the Assembly, or before such time as these matters were debated there? 7. I ask you whether, in that Book, they declare not, what was their opinion, and what they were resolved to maintain. 8. And whether it was the duty of those that were to be judged, before that ever matters were propounded or debated in their Assembly, to propound them and debate them themselves before the people, before all the Water-men, Mid-wives, and children, yea, and the whole Kingdome? Was there ever any such way taken in any Synod, or Assembly in this world before this time?

M.S. But they declare themselves, to close neerer with the Assembly, were they all Presbytortans (as we know the contrary) then thousands ever thought they would.

A.S. This is but your fiction; for if I should tell you some mens judgement, & mine own concerning you before the beginning of this Assembly, I must say wee never thought, that your Opinions could have been so absurd, as we have fince found them in your Books: we beleeved, that ye were all to-gether con­form with the rest of the Protestant Churches; and that what ye did in separa­ting your selves from Episcopall Government, it was meerly out of necessity, because of their persecution: And I can assure you, that this was the charitable construction, that thousands of the Scots, and French Protestants made of your proceedings. 2. This your pretended Fact, is grounded upon a Supposition, con­trary to your knowledge, as you declare in your Parenthesis (as we know the contrary) and therefore is de ente possibili, non de actuali.

M.S. they do profess themselves so unwedded to their former prastises, that upon discovery of more light, they are most willing to let it in.

A.S. This is the common tone of all Sectaries; so did the Arminians say; would to God, that they and others of that Sect were so minded, and thought not it rather derogatorie to the honour of so Independent Spirits, to receive any light at all from others, whose Spirits are subject to the Spirits of the Prophets; [Page 59] But yee receive honour one from another, &c. But all this is not satisfactory to my Question, in this Observation.

M.S. Seeing all he has said to be little or nothing to purpose, and not an­swering to my Question, he bringeth here his pretended Achilles, his main an­swer. The Assembly is not, saith he, to conclude things by pluralitie of Votes, if you dare beleeve the Ordinance of parliament, whose words are, to confer, and treat touching Doctrine, Discipline, &c. and to deliver their Opinions and Advices, as shall be most agreeable to the word of God; And in case of difference of opinions among the said Divines, they shall present the same, together with the Reasons thereof, to the Houses of Parliament. This taketh away in his conceit pluralitie of voyces, and doth more then allow so much, as is done in the A­pologeticall Narration.

A.S. I deny, that the Assembly is not to conclude any thing by Plurality of Votes, for they conclude by Plurality of Votes, even those Opinions and Ad­vices, that they are to deliver to the Parliament; and if it were not so, they could not at all conclude their Opinions and Advices. 1. And as for the Ordi­nance, it commandeth one thing, viz. to conferre, &c. but it forbiddeth not the other, viz. to conclude things by Plurality of Votes. 2. Howbeit it should for­bid them, in some manner, to conclude some things by plurality of Votes, yet should it not follow, that it forbiddeth them absolutely, and altogether. 3. If any thing can be indirectly inferred of against concluding of things by pluraeli­ty of voyces, it is only this, viz. That the Assembly, in case of dissent amongst themselves, shall conclude nothing, before that they present it, together with their Reasons, to the Houses of Parliament; and the reason is, because howsoever the Church may conclude things by Ecclesiasticall authority, yet cannot her Autho­rity make it to be received in the Kingdome by Law; and it is the Magistrates duty, before that he establish it by Civill Authority, and make it to passe as a Law, that may oblige his Subjects in foro civili, that he first informe him­selfe throughly, and know well, upon what ground he passes it: and this may be cleerly proved by the practice of the Primitive Church; for howsoever there the Ministers of the Church concluded many things by their Canons without civill Authority, in foro Ecclesiastico; yet the Civill Magistrate afterwards, af­ter due information, concluded the same things, in foro civili, as wee see through all the first 14. Titles, of the first Book of the Code. But out of this it cannot be inferred, that after they have delivered their Advices to the Par­liament, they cannot conclude it, if they have the power of a Synod. 4. Yea I may say more, that the Ministers of the Primitive Church, in the first three hundred years after Christ, exercised this Authority against the Civill Magi­strates will, in foro Ecclesiastice. But, praised be God, our Ministers have no cause to doe so. 5. Neither is it credible, even according to the Independents their own Tenets, that those they hold to be Lay-men only should by their lay-Authority [Page 60]build us up a Confession of Faith, create, and depose Ministers, exer­cise the power of the Keyes in Censures, and Excommunications, &c. Neither read we of any Prince, or Civill Magistrate, that ever usurped that power. Neither remember I any, that ever maintained it, besides Sectaries. 6. Yee your selves will not admit them to be ruling Elders, how then admit ye them to bee Su­preame Ecclesiasticall Judges, in Ecclesiasticall and Spirituall matters, viz. in matters of Doctrine, &c.

Some will object, but what, if a Ministers Conscience cannot assent to that, which the Assemby passes by plurality Votes? in such a case may he not oppose himselfe to the rest?

Answ. He may oppose himselfe in reasoning the businesse all along till it come to be concluded by Plurality of Votes: but after that it is once concluded, he must in foro externo, according to Gods ordinary providence let it passe, yea sub­scribe unto their Iudgements, for in such a subscription, he subscribes not, that it is his particular judgement, or according to his private Conscience; but that it is the publick Iudgement of the Assembly. 2. And if ye will oppose the whole Assembly, because, that it is against your particular judgement, and Conscience; so shall they all oppose you, silly man, and so nothing at all shall be concluded. 3. Yea, were it not, as I say, no Senate, no Councell, no Par­liament, no Ecclesiasticall, or Politicall Assembly could ever conclude any thing; for very hardly will ye finde any, wherein some man doth not dissent from the rest. And finally, how ever one man in an Assembly, dissenting from the rest, might oppose the Iudgement, before it be given, or after the Iudge­ment, for some scruple of Conscience, which yet is not lawfull; yet might he not at any hand doe it, in writing of Apologies, against their Iudgement, much lesse, before that they give out their Iudgement, and for feare they judge other­wayes, then he would have them judge.

10. All this Answer is only against a Syncategorema of my Observation, viz. this, where things are carried by Plurality of voyces, which asserts nothing at all, as all Logicians know; but nothing to the whole Demand, 11, Put the case, that this Syncategorema were omitted, yet this Interrogation should stand in its full force; so as the Reader may see. 1. That this Pamphleters ayme is not so much to answer, as to elude this Demand. 2. That the Ordinance has nothing against Plurality of voyces. 3. That it justifies not your Apologists, being members of the Assembly, to publish Apologies, as they have done. 4 Much lesse doth it, more then allow, so much as they have done; or if it doe, it should consequently allow all such, as have the gift of writing, to fall upon you all, and pay you soundly.

A.S. 2. Obser. Whether, in taking such resolutions, they should not con­sequently resolve themselves, to quit the Assembly, and to appeare, as Parties.

M.S. 1. Denyeth the Antecedent, in the first consideration; But A.S. has abundantly proved it,

[Page 61] 2. M.S. telleth us, that he utterly disliketh my Consequent, viz. that the five Ministers quit the Assembly, and appeare, as parties: for then the worthy Commissioners of Scotland should likewise quit the Assembly, for, that they replyed to the Apologie.

A.S. 1. I know well, ye utterly mislike my motion. 2. Neither believe I, that this Argument proceedeth of any great good-will ye have, that the wor­thy Commissioners of Scotland should sit in the Assembly. It may be ye wish them a faire wind to carry them home safe to their Countrey. 3. I deny your Consequence, for it appeareth not, that they did reply to the Apologie: nei­ther name they the Apologists. 4. And howbeit they had written against them, yet should it not follow; for they writ in defence of a Discipline, alrea­dy received in Protestant Churches, whereunto the Parliament and Synod in­tends to conforme theirs. Item, of a Discipline, already approved by the Church of England. and no wayes condemned by any lawfull publick Autho­rity, either Civill or Ecclesiasticall. 6. And against a new Sect, never as yet received or approved in this Island. 7. If that should follow, it should like­wise follow, that all they, who did write against Antinomians, or in case any of the Divines of the Assembly should write against Anabaptists, and other Hereticks, who should be condemned by it, that they, in such a case, should quit the Assembly: but perchance you will deny the Consequence. E. you must deny the Antecedent. 8. Forraigne Churches have complained to the Assembly of your Apologie, but not of the Reformation cleared; and there­fore the Synod is bound in conscience, either to avow and make good the Apo­logie, or to censure and punish the Authors of it condignly, at least if it be minded to entertain Brotherly correspondence with them. It is not needfull to fill up my paper in observing of all this mans impertinencies, and absurdities; this may suffice. Only I am sorry that he should so indiscreetly defame his own Nation, under pretext of praising of our Commissioners: Sir, neither will the Commissioners, nor any Scots-man praise you for this: their honour consisteth not of other mens dishonour; and this is sufficient to make your Book to be condemned in quality of a Libell, if good men pitty you not: but whoever has to do with such Spirits as yours, had need of much patience.

A.S. His third Consideration, Whether such an inconsiderable number in so doing may not be refused by the parties, as in competent Judges.

M.S. will needs have this Consideration to vanish upon his answer to the first and second.

A.S. To that I reply, that since I have confirmed the two former, fol­loweth from them most necessarily.

A.S. 2. M.S. answers not this Consideration, for that, as he sayes, he had formerly answered it, the which is an handsome, but an ordinary evasion, when men are at a non-plus, and know not what to say. How should he [Page 62]have answered it, considering that the Question was not as yet so much as propounded, viz. in the two first Considerations? For they onely shew, that so small, and inconsiderable a number should not oppose themselves to so great, and grave an Assembly, and that in case they doe it, they must quit, and re­nounce the office of Judges. But now the third shewes, that if they faile in this, the Assembly ought to eject them from being any longer of her Body, and take them for parties. Wherein the difference of this from the two former Considerations, is cleere and evident; and consequently it is as cleete, that M.S. has answered nothing at all. But it seemes it is all one to him, pro­vided that he can escape. And I wish he had done so throughout, or ra­ther that he had held his peace, then to haue made semblances, as though hee had answered, and so hud-winked his Reader. It had been fairer dealing by far, not to have spoken at all, then to have spoken so little to the purpose.

A.S. his fourth Consideration. Whether this Apologeticall Narration was necessary, when you found the Calumnies, &c. begin by your presence to scat­ter, and vanish without speaking a word.

M.S. answers, that these serene Spirits (oh abominable flattery!) were the Beames to scatter these mysts. But they begun onely, as he sayes, to scatter them, and that therefore it was expedient, that they should have written that Apologetick Narration to scatter them altogether.

A.S. Experience hath sufficiently shewen the contrary; For their Writings were so farre from scattering those mists, that they have encreased them rather, and have evidenced it to all the world, that the conceit, that men had of their Opinions, was not Calumnies, Mistakes, or mis-apprchensions, (as they would faine have it beleeved) but an apprehension very well grounded; and moreover they plainly shew, that their opinions prove to be farre worse, then ever wee thought.

And admit, it should have been expedient, they should have written at the time those mists began to scatter, yet notwithstanding, it should have been more expedient, that they had written when the mists were at the thickest, when there was no figne at all of scattering. One would have thought it had been more seasonable, that they had written, whilest they were under the cloud, then when they were now gotten out of it, Whilst they were yet unjustified, then when they were already justified.

I spare him in his sublime Conceptions, and pass over his Proverb, which however it may a little poore Rhyme in it, has yet no reason, and serves as little for the purpose he brings it; as also in his Assinine Allusion, of brayed, or breathed.

A little after, not content to have set upon me, he accuses two learned Di­vines, one an English man, another Scottish, that they have written to stirre up the people against the Independents.

A.S. In the same Consideration saith; The honour the Parliament shewed you in calling you to be Members of the Assembly was sufficient enough to justifie your persons from all aspersions.

M.S. denies it, and pretends, that their private writings are more effectu­all, and sufficient, to perswade the world of their innocent, then the Declarati­on of the Parliament.

A.S. For me, I believe, and take it for certain, that the publike Declarati­on of Parliament is more authentique, then the particular writings of them, that are accused: yea, the very Election, and Admission to the Synod by the Parliament suffice to justifie the Members from any publike accusation what­soever in matter of Doctrine, and Discipline; For sure so Wise, and Religi­ous a Parliament would never admit into a Synod, called together for the Re­formation of Religion, any Heretique or Schismatique, stained, and deformed with Errour. Notwithstanding M.S. brings Reasons for himselfe.

  • 1. For that the Parliament being indulgent chose Episcopall men. To which I answer, That the Bishops at that time were Morally Orthodox, being not then accused, or condemned by any publike Authority. As to that he addes, that there are some Members of the Synod ejected out of the Assembly, and cast into prison; I answer, That this was for Delinquencies of theirs, that hap­pened after their Election; But for that the Independents were not so handled, they were held as Innocent men.
  • 2. M.S. sayes, that two worthy Parliament men of a County may not know at first all the Faults in every Towne, &c. A.S. To this I answer, that no more is there any necessity, that they should know every particular man in a County. But it suffices, that they know two Ministers, that are Religious, and of good report, and it should be very strange, if they should not know such a number. But besides this I shall answer more fully in a particular Que­stion.

5. Consideration, whether this your Apol. Narration, wherein ye blame all Protestant Churches, as not having the power of godlinesse, and the Profession thereof, with difference from all carnall and formall Christians advanced and held forth amongst them, as amongst you, be seasonable, when the Church of God in this Kingdome stands in need of their Brotherly Assistance; and parti­cularly of that of the Scots (against whom it is commonly thought to be par­ticularly intended) who at this very time so unseasonable, according to their duty, hazard their lives, and estates for Gods Church, all this Kingdome, and you also.

Here note, that M.S. answereth not to this principall Question, or interro­gative Preposition, viz. (if this Apologeticall Narration be seasonable, when the Church of God in this Kingdome stands in need of the Brotherly assistance of Protestant Churches) but only biteth at the Syncategorema, or adjacent terme [Page 56]thereof, viz. not having the power of godlinesse: so that his silence seemeth cleerly to grant the principall Question, which we willingly accept of. As for the Syncategorema, it cannot receive the sense, that hee puts upon it; for the Quinqu-Ecclesian Ministers speak here of themselves, as contra-distinguish­ed, or opposed to all other Reformed Churches, both abroad, and within this Island, as appeareth by the beginning of the 2. Sect. p. 4. where they say, Wee were not engaged by education, or otherwise, to any other of the Reformed Chur­ches; And afterwards, we could not but suppose, that they could not see into all things about Worship and Government, their intentions being most spent (as also of our Reformers in England) upon the Reformation in Doctrine. And after­ward; And we had with many others observed, that although the exercise of that Government had been accompanied with more peace, yet the practicall part, the power of godlinesse, and the profession thereof, with difference from carnall and formall Christians, had not been advanced, and held forth among them, as in this our own Island, as themselves have generally acknowledged. Here they oppose themselves, and those of their own profession, to all other Reformed Churches whatsoever, yea, to the first Reformers here in this Island, if England, whereof they speak, be in this Island. It is likewise false; The words of the Apologie are; 1. That they, and many others had but observed touching the non-advance of the power of godlinesse, &c. They are verbatim as I have set them down: Neither cited I those words, all, and among you, as the Quinqu-Ecclesian Ministers words, since I put them in a different Character from theirs: and yet the sense is most true, as I have proved: Neither said I that they say, that other Chur­ches had no power of godliness: Neither by this phrase, This our Island, un­derstand you, or can they understand any Reformed Churches, different in Government from themselves, as this M.S. will perswade us, unlesse he hold our Reformers of England, to be out of this Island, since they oppose them­selves to all other Reformers, and Reformed Churches, both within, and with­out this Island. So if this speech be intended against all other Reformed Churches, except their own, it must be intended against that of Scotland, un­less ye deny, good Sir, that of Scotland to be a Reformed Church: neither serveth it you a pin, that they call them deare Brethren, for that must either be by dissimulation; or they conceive that men may be their deare Brethren, with­out the force of Piety; or they contradict themselves; choose ye what please you, Sir. So this is not my ill eye, as you say, but your ill eye brought home to your own doore; fie upon thee, give glory to God, and render thy selfe to truth, for feare thou render thy selfe to worse.

It is likewise false, that I said, it is intended against Scotland; only I said, it is commonly thought to be particularly intended against the Scots, which appear­eth cleerly, because sundry Independent Ministers, and others travell to prove it, by the confession of some Scots Ministers. So judge, I pray Christian Reader, [Page 65]whether this man with this his power of piety, or I, whom he maketh so impi­ous a Machivilian, speak more like his Machiavilian? I am assured, what ever be thy power of Piety, thou hast no practise of Piety here. No truer is it, that their Proposition is but Indefinite in a Contingent matter, and therefore it may be construed of some Particulars only; for as the rest of the Independents save ordinarily their absurd speeches with meere Possibilities: so doth M.S. which here cannot hold, for, the Apologists say, that they were not engaged by Edu­cation, or any other wayes, to any other of the Reformed Churches. i.e. Nullo modo, and Nulli Ecclesiae Reformatae; so it is altogether Universall, both in regard of the Subject or Matter, and of the Manner; and of such Churches they speake, in all that Discourse, in that Paragraph, and it may appeare by this their proofe, viz. as they themselves generally acknowledge.

6. Consid. Whether (as it is observed by sundry men of learning, and as ye have noted your selves) ye should not have done better, to have set down your Opinions by way of Theses, and so manifested unto us, wherein ye agree, or disagree with us, or from us, the Brownists, Anabaptists, and those, whom ye pretend to hold the same Tenets with you, in Old and New England, and the Netherlands, then in a Rhetoricall, and Oratorious way, endeavour, in the most part of your Book, to publish your great Sufferings, and extraordinary Piety, and so to move us all to compassion, and ravish us all into admiration, as if ye meant rather to perswade, then to prove them?

Hee answereth, that he cannot answer, since here is no sence; And wherefore I pray? Because the Interrogatory point is put after these words, or from us? Truly, As the word, agree, or differ may by a certain Figure in Grammar, called Zeugma, be understood to be joyned with all those words, so is the point of Interrogation; But it should bee at the end, as it is in the Observations; And whereas it is in the beginning in stead of a Comma, it is either the Prin­ters over-sight, or mine. But to say, that this great learned Clerk could not perceive this, wherein the most ignorant findeth no difficulty, who can believe him? It is a pretty evasion to elude my Question. Whereas he saith that the Interrogation should have been after Anabaptists as if the Reformed Prote­stants, who refute Brownists and Anabaptists, should say, we Brownists and Anabaptists, it is but his foolery, which yet we could easily endure, if he answe­red the Question; Which since he cannot do, I take it for granted, that in this they have not proceeded well, or at least not so well as they might. If I should serve my selfe of such poore advantages, or shifts rather (as easily I might up and down in his, and C.C. Books) I should answer nothing at all, as this Gen­tleman does. But good men know, that when ever I doubt of sence in them, what ever I do, I deale ingenuously with them, and consult with sundry to find out their meaning; and when neither others, nor I my selfe can find any sense in their writings, I passe it over in silence, not reproving that which I [Page 66]understand not, or that cannot be understood: But if others understood it, it is a great shame for this great Divine, to have been so dull.

7. Consid. A.S. Whether the Apol. Narr. be published in the name of the Five Ministers, or of all those also, or a part of those, whom they pretend to hold their Tenets? If in the name of you Five only, whether ye Five can arro­gate a power unto your selves to maintain these Tenets, as the constant opini­on of all your Churches, having no generall confession of their Faith therea­bouts. If in the name of all the rest, we desire you would shew your Com­mission from all your Churches, &c. These Questions have much vexed M.S. and put him to his wits end: he would not answer, but turnes them over unto me, and will have mee to answer; To which therefore I doe answer. 1. Quaestio questionem non solvit. 2. I answer directly, 1. that this Answer I have made to the Apologie, I have done it of my selfe; and have done it by Authority, since I have a Licence granted by him, that by Authority Licenceth Books. 2. I write in defence of all the best Reformed Protestant Churches, and specially of that of Scotland, France, and the Netherlands, to whose Judge­ment, and Authoritative power in Synods, I acknowledge my Booke to be subject; so I arrogate nothing but with due Dependence and subjection: but the Five Ministers are as Independent, as I am Dependent; as imperious, as I am subject, and odedient to my Superiours. If they will answer, as I, we shall no more contest; They have gained me to them, if I have not gained them to the Church of Christ.

Besides this, These Questions cannot reasonably bee propounded to A.S. 1. for A.S. is no Sectary, neither Independent, Brownist, Anabaptist, Armi­nian, &c. condemned, or rejected by the Church of England, or any other well Reformed Church. 2. He is no minister, much lesse an Independent Minister. 3. He is not a Suitor for a Toleration of any not tolerated, or intolerable Reli­gion, as the Quinqu-Ecclesian Ministers. 4. He has not written against the common Faith of Reformed Dependent Churches, as they have. 5. If he had done so, he should judge himselfe bound to give Reason both of his Faith, and answer all those, who would ask for an account thereof. 6. However you turne and returne the Interrogation, yet are you bound to answer.

1. M.S. takes upon him to answer, but answereth not, as we shall, God willing, heare; His first answer is, It is no arrogating, for any Christian, upon just occasion, to make his Confession of faith.

But to what Question, I pray, answereth this? I grant you this, but an­swer you to my Question, In whose name, &c.

His second Answ. The Confession of Faith in Doctrine, that is in all the best Reformed Churches, is theirs.

A.S. As wide as before, the Question is not of the Confession of Faith, but about the Apologie, in whose name it is published? &c.

[Page 67] 2. M.S. For one touching pure Discipline, it was not found in Scotland, whiles the Tyrannie of Bishops prevailed.

A.S. 1. Here he seemeth to acknowledge, that being freed from Episcopall Tyrannie, we have pure Discipline, which I acknowledge to be true. 2. If by pure Discipline he understands Presbyteriall Government, wee had it, when Bishops prevailed, howbeit oppressed by Episcopacie.

3. There is no Confession of Faith (if it be taken strictly) but of some points of Discipline in the Apologie, but we cannot know of them, in whose name: I am not angry at their Confession of Faith, as M.S. saith; but sory for their Schismes and want of Charity: neither is it true, that I have opened other mens mouthes, but God Efficiently, and your Calumnies against the Church Occasionally have opened good mens mouthes against you, Turdue sibi malum cacat; and yee must be content to drink, as ye have brewed for your selves.

3. M.S. 3. The godly learned Fathers, Tertullian, Justin Martyr, &c. pro­duced no Authority from men, to Apologize for the truth; The Scripture, they Apologized for, bore them out.

A.S. 1. It seemeth by this Answer, that they Apologize only for Scripture, and can produce no Christian Church, that they Apologize for.

2. Tertull. Justin Martyr, and all the Fathers apologized in the name of all the true Christian Churches of their time, and acknowledged themselves, and their Apologies to be subject to the Judgement, and Authoritative spirituall power of Synods; and they were, as Dependent upon them, as ye are Inde­pendent.

3. Howbeit their Apologies had no Authoritie of men, yet were they able, sure, to tell from time to time, in whose Names they did Apologize.

M.S. 4. The Parliament allowes the five Ministers more, viz. to shew their Reasons; therefore the less, to shew their Opinion.

A.S. 1. This answereth not yet the Question. 2. But the Parliament al­loweth them not a particular clandestin Assemby, separated from the Generall Assembly. 3, It alloweth them not to print Apologies against all the best Re­formed Protestant Churches, when they are sitting, in qualitie of Members of the Assembly, and against the Opinion of the most part of the Members there­of. 4. The Parliament alloweth them not to shew their Reasons a part, without imparting them first to the Assembly, and that without their Consent. 5. Much lesse to be Suitors for a Toleration, or allowance of their Sect: or if it allow them any such thing, I would pray them to shew us an Ordinance for it. 6. What reason, that your extraordinary Sect should have more allowance, then the rest of the Synod? We pray you, in the name of God, to live as Brethren, more humane, as other mortall men, and if ye can or dare, to answer my Questions, as I doe yours.

M.S. 5. A thousand good Christians were glad to heare, how the Five Ministers dissented from the rigid Separation, and closed with the best Refor­med Churches.

A.S. Note here, that M.S. saith not that the five Ministers dissented from all the Separatists, but only from the rigid Separation. 2. They close not with the best reformed Churches, unless by the best Reformed Churches be meant the Independent Churches. For he calls all our Churches in Scotland, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, Episcopall Churches, our Presbyteries, Idols that must be grinded. 3. Hee and his Partie dissent not, in effect, from Separatists, in point of Separation in generall; for they separate themselves from our Discipline, and Sacramentall Communion, as well as they doe. 4. All this answereth not my Questions: I will not reply to his injuries a­gainst my Person, for they touch not the Cause. Neither envie I him in ill doing.

A.S. 8. Consid. Whether ye desire a Toleration for you Five alone, in your Religion; or for all the rest. Item, If a Toleration, in publick, in erecting of Churches apart? or to live quietly, without troubling of the State? As for the last, appearingly, yee may have it unsought: but for the rest, the Parliament is wise enough, and knoweth what is convenient for the Church of God, and the State. My Adversary finds these Questions so newhat too hot for his fin­gering, and therefore takes it for a point of Prudence, not to touch them, for feare to be burnt. Now then, that he may not seeme to have said nothing, he falls to quarrelling with me about the signification of the word Toleration, and the Parliaments wisedome, because I say, It is wise enough, &c. which he calleth a Contradiction to what I say afterward.

M.S. Toleration, saith learned Cappell, is of things unlawfull.

A.S. Toleration or Toleratio in Latine has many significations; 1. Some­times it is taken for Patience, and so it is an Act or integrant part of Fortitude, as Thomas, and the Schoole-men speak. 2. Sometimes it signifieth a permission of things, that we cannot mend; Toleranda sunt quae emendari non possunt, And so the Magistrate tolerateth sometimes many things against his Lawes, when he cannot make men obey. 3. Sometimes a permission of things indifferent, that are not forbidden by Law. 4. Tolerabilia Tributa, in the Roman lawes, are moderate Tributes. Tolerabilia saith Calvin, sunt, quae vetus consuetudo com­probat, Cal. in Lexico Juridico. And we have in Tacitus, tolerare vitam, which is not a thing unlawfull: So that Cappell, if he say so, appearingly, he speaketh not of Toleration, in the whole latitude of its signification; for things indiffe­rent may be tolerated.

Afterwards M.S. he sayes, that he will not yeeld the one, nor beg the other. i. e. if I understand him, yeeld, that their Religion is unlawfull, or beg a Toleration: what then will he have? an allowance and approbation? will [Page 69]nothing content him, unless we confesse, that Independency is lawfull; and consequently, that Dependency upon Councells and Synods is unlawfull? This is close home; and so to content you, the whole State, and all the Pro­testant Churches needs nothing els but that, without any further reason, they come hither and cry, peccavimus omnes.

The other quarrell is my pretended Contradiction in these two Propositions; 1. The Parliament is wise enough, and knoweth what is convenient for the Church.

2. The Civill Magistrate arrogates not to himselfe any directive power in mat­ters of Religion.

1. But tell me, my good Trifler, what Contradiction can there be here? Is not a Contradiction, an Opposition between two Propositions, the one Affirmative, the other Negative, both singular; or the one Universall, the other Particular, having both the same termes?

Now is there here the same termes, viz. the same Attribute in both these Propositions, are they both singular? or the one Universall, and the other Parti­cular? where are thy eyes? where is thy judgement? where is thy Logick?

2. Howbeit the Parliament be wise enough, and knoweth, what is convenient for the Church, will it follow, that the Parliament, and every Civill Magi­strate has a directive power, whereby Intrinsecally they may rule, and teach the Church, which is that, whereof I spake there? 3. By the same reason, any good Scholler, who liveth a private life, and knoweth what is convenient for the Church, should have the like power. 3. Learne they here, that it is not simply wisdome or knowledge, but Gods calling, that can give any such power to any mortall man. 4. What if the Civill Magistrate were a Papist, or a Pro­fessed Atheist, should his bare knowledge give him any directive power over the Church? I cannot believe thee to be so absurd, or wicked, as to say it.

The rest of his Discourse here, is his ordinary injuries, and words of contempt against my person, which I sleight and passe by as unworthy of an answer.

A.S. 9. Consid. And because the whole draught of this Book tends evermore to a Toleration, and consequently to some Separation. 1. I would willingly know of you, what Things are to be tolerated, or not tolerated in Religion. 2. Not in private persons, but in Consociacions. 3. And particularly, when the whole Kingdome is joyned in one Religion? 4. What sort of new Consocia­tions of divers Religions it may in good Conscience tolerate, and receive into it? 5. Item, upon what ground Churches may, in good Conscience, make separation from other Churches, that desire union and communion with them? 6. Whe­ther they, that aime at a Toleration and Separation, be not rather bound to to­lerate some small pretended Defects, not approved by those, from whom they desire to separate themselves; (and especially when they, that are so desirous of [Page 70]Separation, are not pressed to be Actors in any thing against their consciences) then to separate themselves from a Church, that testifieth a great desire to re­forme the defects pretended to be in it? 7. Whether it were not better for them, that aime at Toleration and Separation, to stay in the Church, and to joyn all their endeavours with their Brethren to reforme Abuses, then by their Separation, to let the Church of God perish in Abuses? 8. Whether they doe not better, that stay in the Church to reforme it, when it may be reformed, then who quit it, for feare to be deformed in it?

The Adversary, to Elude these 8. Questions, telleth us, that they answer themselves, and yet promiseth an Answer,

M.S. his first Answer is, that the Five Ministers ayme at no separation, but, as their Brethren the Scots did, from Prelaticall coaction.

A.S. If it be only from Prelaticall coaction, wherefore separate they them­selves from their Brethren the Scots their Sacramentall Communion, and the Scots from theirs? if they separate not themselves from us, wherefore are they suitors for a Toleration, or approbation of their Religion, since ours is alrea­dy tolerated, and approved, as appeareth in the French, Italian, and Spanish Churches in this Kingdome? Neither are you compelled to be Actors in any thing against your Consciences, as your Brethren were by Bishops.

M.S. He saith the Church, from which the five Ministers would separate, testifies a great desire to reforme Defects: yet saith he, those Defects are but pretended.

A.S. Our meaning is to reforme Defects, if any there be, such as we ac­knowledge to be in manners, as amongst you also: or in the administration of Discipline, as may be amongst us all; But as for any Defects in the princi­pall parts of our Ecclesiasticall Discipline, we see none as yet, that we travell not to reforme, but believe such, as hee objects us in them, to be rather pre­tended, then Reall: Neither can we, or shall we judge them to be any other thing but pretended, till he make it appeare, that they are Reall. Will He, that we beleeve them to be Reall, because, that he only sayes so? but it is not the first untruth has falne from his pen.

M.S. He would have the Five Ministers quit the Assembly.

A.S. This M.S. supposes, that this last Proposition crosseth my Supposition. But they may stay in the Church to reforme Abuses, if there be any really, (as it is pretended by the Independents) and live out of the Assembly, as many others, who are no wayes their Inferiours. Neither said I, that I wished them to be out of the Assembly, only I propounded a question; whether in conse­quence of the publishing of their Apologie, they should not resolve themselves to quit the Assembly?

Now, courtcous, and conscientious Reader, be thou judge, I pray thee, whe­ther [Page 71]this man hath answered any of my Questions, yea or not, which are all the main points here to be debated.

Quest. I. Whether it had not been honester, and fairer dealing, to have added the Au­thor and Licencer's Name to M.S. his Booke, then to have omitted them.

I Affirme it.

  • 1. because it testifieth a greater sincerity, especially in these Times.
  • 2. Because it makes it appear more probably to the world, that it is not a Libel.
  • 3. And that it conteineth nothing against the Law.
  • 4. Because the Name of the Author giveth authority to the Book, if he be either learned or honest; and the omission thereof may cut off the Authority of it, and bring discredit unto it, especially when the Law for this effect ordaineth it to be added.
  • 5. Because when it is suppressed, and the Book a Libell, it giveth too much adoe to the Magistrate to find out the Author, to censure and punish him con­dignly, according to his demerits.
  • 6. Because the Holy Writers did so; and if their Names be omitted in some Books, we know not, whether it was with their consent, or whether they did not put to their names, howbeit not in quality of Canonicall Scripture: or per­adventure it was, because they were not the Authors, but as it were Gods Secre­taries, or Scribes; for the Holy Ghost dictated them what they had to write.
  • 7. Because it hindreth men from being deceived in their moneys; for sundry times men because of specious Titles put before Books, buy them, and after­ward find nothing worth their money.
  • 8. The adding of the name of the Author, and of the Licencer, with the Licence, will hinder the common people to be deceived in reading of hereticall and unsound in stead of Orthodox and sound Books; So that this being confi­dered, this Author should have done better that he had added his name and the Licence to his Book.

Quest. II. Whether Mr. Cranford might not justly Licence A.S. his Consid, and Answer to the Libell, &c.

I Susteine the first part of the Question, and deny the second.

As for the first it is evident.

  • 1. Because it is conformed to Gods word, as we shall see hereafter.
  • [Page 72]2. Because, that Answer is nothing else, but an Apologie for the Discipline of the Reformed Churches.
  • 3. Because, it containeth nothing, contrary to the Doctrine of the Church of England, or any other true Reformed Churches, only it hath some new Se­ctaries for Enemies.
  • 4. Because, the Church of England evermore entertained Union with the Re­formed Churches, that were ruled by that Discipline; and they refused not one another to the Communion of the Sacraments.
  • 5. Because, that a Bishop, and the rest of the Commissioners from England, at the Synod of Dordrecht, approved that Discipline, in the name of the Church of England.
  • 6. Because in England it selfe, it hath been evermore approved by the King, and Parliament, who granted the Exercise thereof unto the French, Dutch, Ita­lian, and Spanish Churches, in this very City of London, and sundry other parts of this Kingdome.
  • 7. At this present, Episcopall Government being put down, it standeth by Law approved, both by State and Church, as conforme unto Gods word.
  • 8. The Kings Majesty likewise by consent of Parliament Licenced it in Scotland.

The second part of the Question may be proved by the contrary Arguments.

  • 1. Because, it maintaineth a Discipline, that is not conforme to Gods word, which hath not one word of particular Churches, Independent one from another; of particular Church-Covenants, distinct from that of Grace; of not Baptizing Christians Children; of not admission of Faithfull men, and women, who are without Scandall, unto the Lords Table, &c.
  • 2. Because, the Discipline it maintaineth, is repugnant to all other Disciplines of all other reformed, yea of all Christian Churches.
  • 3. It containeth many things contrary to the Doctrine of the Church of England, as they confesse themselves.
  • 4. Because the Church of England never entertained any Union or Commu­nion with any Church ruled by that Discipline.
  • 5. No Commissioners from England ever approved it.
  • 6. It hath never been received in England by King or Parliament.
  • 7. It hath never been put up here, nor standeth here Legally, as the other.

And therefore the first Legally might have been Licenced, and the other could not be Licenced.

QUEST. 3. Whether any man may not state and determine Questions agitated in Synods, before the Synods Determination.

M. S. BLames me mightily for stating some Questions now in agitation in the Synod.

To the contrary, I conceive, that herein I have done nothing amisse; But for the better stating and determining of this Question we must observe:

1. That there are two sorts of Questions, some that are already determined in Gods Word, and his Church also; Others that are not. 2. That there are some Determinations by publick Authority, as Lawes, Statutes, Ecclesiasti­call Canons, &c. and others particular, proceeding of private or particular mens Iudgements; The first binds and obliges them, who are subject unto them: the second cannot oblige any man to obedience; and so I say 1. That in Questions already determined in Gods Word by his Church, every man may determine, as God and the Church have determined.

  • 1. Because God obliges us to determine our judgements, according to the Determinations of his Word; especially in things that are necessary to Salvation, for the very publication of the Gospell obligeth us to assent.
  • 2. If every man determineth not, according to Gods Word, he sinneth.
  • 3. If particular men determine not their Iudgement according to Gods Word, and because the thing beleeved is conforme to Gods Word, it is not an Act of Divine Faith.

In these Determinations, according to the Word, I say that the Church Determination is publick, 1. Because God hath endowed her with publick Authority, to determine according to the Determination of his Word. 2. Be­cause she Iudges not by private authority, as private men. 3. Because Suspen­sion from the Lords Table, &c. are not Acts of private but of publick Iudge­ment and authority. This Authority of the Church is not Imperiall, or Magi­steriall, but Ministeriall, because the Ministers of the Church be nothing else but Gods Ministers, or Servants, and not Lords in the Church.

The Determinations, and Iudgements of particular Persons are only parti­cular, and a Iudgement of Discretion. 1. Because they proceed not from pub­lick, but from private and particular persons, even when they proceed from a Minister. 2. Because they have not publick authority to oblige Congregati­ons, but themselves alone. 3. Their principall and intrinsecall ayme is not to be directions for others, but for themselves, and they doe not helpe to direct others in particular.

This M. S. objecteth, that if A. S. determine it, he anticipates upon the Assemblies Iudgement; but that he must not doe so.

Answ. I deny the Consequence; 1. for the Assemblies Iudgement is publick and mine particular. 2. It is already Iudged by the Church of this Kingdom [Page 74]that Presbyterian Discipline is not contrary to Gods Word; for if it were, it had never permitted it, to be practised or approved in England; as I have already shewed.

2. To the Minor I answer, That either by anticipating upon the Synods Iudgement, he understandeth an anticipation by a publick Iudgement, and that is impossible to me, for my Iudgement is not publick, but particular; or by a particular Iudgement, and then it is not properly an Anticipation; or if he will needs have it to be so I answer; that if I or any other Christian have lear­ned any truth in Gods Word, we are all bound to determine our particular Iudgements according to it.

Neither can the long Examination of businesses in Synods, which proceedeth from Hereticks, Sectaries, and others their crafts, malice, or infirmities, hin­der us from determining the truths according to our particular Iudgements; for if it could, then whensoever any Heretick should start up, and dogmatize against the first Articles of our Faith, denying Gods Infinity, Simplicity, Perfe­ction, Eternity, Immutability, his Wisdome, Decrees, Power, or Pro­vidence, and his opinion were to be examined in a Synod, we must begin to doubt and suspend our Iudgements, as so many Pyrrhonians about all those points, which already we beleeved by Faith, and stand gaping for some new Determination of the Articles of our faith from Synods; And so Synods should be most pernicious in making us to lose our Faith, which before we had.

In a word, we have received already the Determination and Resolution of the Independents questions in Gods Word in other Protestant Churches, and the approbation of those Determinations here by the Church of England. And the Discussion of them in the Synod, is not to change Gods Ordinance, but to give contentment unto weake Consciences, if they can receive it.

Again, If this Argument be strong, I retort it against his Sect: If the Quinque Ecclesian Ministers, M. S. and C. C. determine these Questions, as they doe in their printed Bookes here, and Sermons also, as we are credibly infor­med, they also anticipate upon the Assemblies Iudgement: But the First is true, Ergo, so must the Second also be.

Again, Either this man with the rest of the Sectaries are minded to acqui­esce to the Determination of the Synod, or not: If the first, it is well, it is more then I expect of them, I pray God they deceive me: if not, what needeth he to sight so much for the Determination of the Synod, which he is determined not to stand unto? would not this seeme to be said in derifi­on of the Synod?

2. Obj. A. S. In determining the Question, taketh it out of the Assem­blies hands.

Answ. I deny the Consequence, for it is in their hands by way of publick Authority, publicke Iudgement, and publicke Determination; Now A. S. [Page 75]or any other particular Determination taketh not away the publick, and Au­thoritative Determination, Iudgement, or Authority.

As for the stating of the Question, this man will not permit me, and conse­quently no particular man, so much as to state it in particular, and that for the same reason: But if we may according to our particular Iudgement Determine it, how much more may we state it, since it can no waiess be Determined, unlesse first it be stated? Can the Synods stating and Deter­mining the question, free us of the obligation whereby we are bound to state it, and Determine it according to Gods Word.

QUEST. 4. Whether the Quinqu' Ecclesian Ministers publish this their Apologeticall Nar­ration seasonably, yea or not, against M. S. p. 24, 25. &c. that affirmes it.

I Maintaine the Negative part of the Question; his Reasons are; 1. Because, before the publication thereof, the Calumnies, mistakes, mis­apprehensions of their Opinions, and many of those mists that were gathered about them, or rather cast upon their Persons in their absence, began by their presence againe, and the blessing of God upon them, in a great measure to scatter and vanish, without speaking a word for themselves and cause, as the five Ministers say in their Apologeticall Narration.

M. S. p. 24. of his Booke Answereth 1. That that scattering of mists doth but relate to the people, and onely to some of them, viz. Those that pro­fesse or pretend the power of godlinesse, as appeareth by the precedent period.

A. S. Reply 1. The precedent period hath no relation to this, for it endeth with a full point. 2. It is not the precedent period, that should in­terpret the subsequent, but rather the subsequent that should serve for in­terpretation to the precedent, unlesse yee put the Explication before the Text. 3. Because it is said absolutely. 4. They themselves beleeve now at this present, that this relateth to others, as yee may see, p. 15. where they speak of those, who incited the State, not to allow them a peaceable practise of their Conscience; and of some others, who did write Bookes against them, whom they accuse also of mis-apprehensions, and mistakes of their opinions. 5. Put the case it were so, yet was it not so seasonable for them then to write, as before.

M. S. Answereth 1. That many of these mists and not all. 2, That they did but begin to scatter.

A. S. Iust, but it was not so seasonable to write, when any of them, as when none of them begun to scatter, or after, as before they begun to scat­ter: so to speake Morally, that Apology was not seasonable, since it was lesse seasonable, then it would have been formerly.

M. S. Their motions were like the lowrings of an unconstant [Page 76]morning, in which the mists ascend, and anon descend, and by and by ascend, and turne into a Scottish mist, that will wet an English man to the skin, as our usuall Proverb is.

A. S. 1. This is but a Simile, Quod nil probat. 2. It is to be noted here, how he noteth this Proverbiall jeer of a Scottish mist in a different sort of letter, as conteyning some particular mystery, and consequently worthy of the Readers particular observation. 3. Yet I may say, that the Independent mist is more able to drown all England, Scotland, and Ireland, then a Scot­tish mist the outward part of an English mans cloathes; and so will all true English, and Christian hearts judge.

If any thing have befallen you since the change of the time of your Exile (more imaginary then reall) it was your owne fault, in seducing the people, in a clanculary way, and in making of clandestine Assemblies and Conventi­cles, which good Ministers could not endure, seeing that nothing could con­tent you, unlesse that all should stoop under you.

Neither hath your Apology any waies diminished any ill, but rather ta­ken away the good opinion they had of you.

Afterwards M. S. accuseth not only the people, but also Mr. Rutherford, and Mr. Herle, and sundry other Ministers.

A. S. his second reason is, They who are called by the Parliament, and admitted by the Assembly of Divines into the Assembly (howsoever that cal­ling was to finde them good, and not to make them so) are supposed by them to be innocent, and not culpable (and especially after that they have sate long in the Assembly of Divines, with honour and good respect) and consequently they are sufficiently vindicated from all false Accusations, and have no need to Apologize for themselves, that being farre away more suffici­ent to justifie them before the world, then any Apology whatsoever, that they can write for themselves.

But the Apologists were so called, &c. Ergo.

This is the sense, and forme by me intended of my Argument in the fourth Observation, and not that that M. S. putteth upon it.

As for his instance of the Bishops against the first Proposition, that they were called by the Parliament to the Assembly, and yet they were not for all that supposed to be innocent, or vindicated, I Answer 1. That the Bi­shops were not admitted into the Assembly of Divines, as they were. 2. If they had been admitted, and continued as long as they, without reproach, how can any doubt but that their sitting there should have served them for a sufficient justification and vindification of their honour, in foro externo, be­fore men, since it is not morally to be presumed, that such a grave Senate will call, or such a holy Assembly of such Learned and Reverend Divines will admit and retaine so long together any scandalous persons in their As­sembly; So this being testimonium alienum, non proprium, and publicum non [Page 77]privatum, without all doubt it was sufficient to justifie them, and more then any thing they can say in their owne behalfe; since they cannot speake as Iudges, but as Parties, who are evermore justly suspected.

A. S. 3. Reason. He, or they, who are sent by authority of Parliament into Scotland, with the Parliaments Commissioners, to treat of an extraordinary great Reformation of Religion in England and Ireland, & for the preservation of the Religion in Scotland, in bringing them all to uniformity according to Gods Word, and the Example of the best Reformed. Churches, and have ended the businesse with them, are not morally to be presumed, to be culpa­ble, but sufficiently freed from all filthy aspersions, in matter of Religion, that can have been laid upon them, at least in foro externo, wherein only they can be justified by men in this life; for it is not Morally to be presumed, that the Parliament would have imployed any, but Orthodox men, and good men in a matter of so high a concernment, and consequently they needed not to Apologize for themselves, or if they doe so, it was unseasonably done. But the Apologizers are such men.

If it be said, only one of them was such a man:

Answ. It is all one; 1. For in matter of Religion, they lye all under one and the same notion. 2. At least that one needed not to Apologize as he did.

4. Because, being minded to make an Apology, they should either not have made it at all, being Members' of the Assembly; or have done it before their Admittance thereunto, or after the Dissolving of the Assembly. This had been a great deale more seasonable; for it is not fit for a man, to Apologize for him­self in a cause, wherein he sitteth as Iudge, or when he sitteth as Iudge.

5. We can finde no ordinary Example of such proceedings, either in Scripture or Ecclesiasticall History.

6. Because they did it in a season, when the Church & State stood in need of the Brotherly assistance of all the best reformed Churches; and in that very nick of time, they under-valued them all, as not having the power of Piety, as they themselves; censured their Ecclesiasticall Discipline, as not agreeable unto Gods Word, and called them Calvinians; whereof we have a sufficient proofe, in a Letter sent to the Assembly, from the Synod of Wa­lachria, wherein it complaineth much against this Booke, because of the of­fence, that the Reformed Churches received thereby.

7. Because it was published against the Scots Discipline in that very nick of time, most unseasonable, when they were invited to come into England, and when they came to hazard their lives for the Church and State of Eng­land, and for the lives and states of these very men, who in the meane while were writing against their Discipline.

QUEST. 5. Whether the Quixqu' Ecclesian Ministers should not have done better, to have published their Opinions by way of Thoses, or in some other Didactick way, ra­ther then by an Apologeticall Narration.

IMaintaine the Affirmative part; 1. Because that of all other, is the most accurate, and easiest way, to manifest cleerly their Opinions by, both to the learned and ignorant.

2. Because all other waies of teaching beget confusion; for in them we cannot discerne that which is Substantiall, from that which is Circumstantiall; as we may see in Comedies, Tragedies, all sort of Verses, long Speeches, Prayers, Dialogues, &c.

3. Because in this Apologeticall Narration it selfe many things are inser­ted, which touch not the Businesse at all.

4. Because in all other Synods in our Times, Divines proceeded ever­more in a Didactick way.

5. Because this their proceeding keepeth us in perpetuall perplexity, so as we can never come to know their Opinions; and what ever we can say, we can never bring them to any Declaration of their Opinions, but that they have ever-more some Evasions and complaints, of great mistakes in us, whereof, if any such be, they are the cause themselves; the which sort of dea­ling is not worthy of the man of God, but proper unto Hereticks and Schis­maticks, no waies desirous of the Truth, but of strife and contention.

6. Because in it there is much fraud in relating a part only of their story and Opinions, and not the whole, in hiding the black side of the Cloud; yea it contey­neth some manifest untruths in their Relation, and that even where God and man are called to witnesse; All which a very learned and Godly Divine ma­keth appeare in his Anrapologia, and offers to shew under the hands of the Independents, yea and of some of the Quinqu' Ecclesian Ministers themselves.

QUEST. 6. Whether the Independents or Quinqu' Ecclesian Ministers come neare to Ana­baptists, and Anabaptists to them.

C. C. and M. S. deny it.

By Anabaptists I understand not all sort of Anabaptists, as those, that be also Arminians and Socinians, but those who differ from them only in delaying and reiterating of Baptisme (as the word it selfe implyeth) who are very many in number, and make up the grea­test Sect amongst them here in London, and in other parts of England; for this Proposition is Indefinite and in a contingent matter, which is ta­ken [Page 79]by Philosophers to be equipollent to a particular one; and so I cut off the Objection of C.C. who bringeth me an instance from them, who are Ar­minians and Socinians, of whom I propound not the Question.

And the Question being stated, I maintain the Affirmative part; 1. because they differ only in this one point; neither can any of these two Divines, viz. M. S. or C. C. shew me any further difference.

2. Because these Anabaptists themselves of whom I speake deny it not, but avow it constantly.

3. If it were otherwise, the Independents would not so highly commend them, for Holy men, as they doe in their Sermons, as I shall make it appeare, by good and sufficient Witnesses, Auditors of their Sermons, to any man, that desireth to be further informed, or to whosoever will call it in question.

4. Because, however they were oftentimes desired to joyne with the Pres­byterians to condemne them, they would never doe it.

5. M. S. in answering my sixt Consideration, where I accuse them of that, seemeth by his silence to cry guilty; yea C. C. seemeth to acknowledge it, p. 10. § 3. of his Booke, when he saith, That some London Anabaptists hold Universall Redemption, and that with a doubting Adverb, if information may be beleeved; Ergo he supposeth, that some of them here about Lon­don beleeve it not.

He Objecteth, that some Anabaptists here doe question, and scruple the lawfull Warre of the Parliament, which the Independents doe not.

Answ. This is not Questio juris, but facti.

2. Not of any point of Doctrine in generall, but of this particular Warre, which some here, yea of the same Doctrine with you, and us also scruple at.

3. Because sundry Independents have scrupled at the Covenant; from whence may be inferred, that they scrupled at the lawfulnesse of this warre grounded upon the Covenant; and neverthelesse yee owne them for yours.

4. Because you say, that some only scrupled: But some neither scrupled at it, nor beleeved the Universality of Redemption, who are more in number and Authority; Ergo At least this great number of Anabap­tists, differ very little from you; since they differ from you in this only point; And so I have done you no wrong. Neither say I, as you untruely will make the world beleeve, that yee are Anabaptists, but that yee come very neare up to them. As for that Question, which he propounds, whether every one that scruples at the Baptizing of his Childe, be to be Excommuni­cated out of a Presbyterian Church, or to be accounted solely for that Opinion unregenerate, and in state of Damnation.

Answ. This Question is not to the purpose, and yet to give some content­ment to this Scruple, if he can receive it, I Answer 1. That here is Falla­ciae plurium Interrogationum, whereby he propounds many Questions as one, [Page 80]to the end that giving but one Answer, he may intangle me, by his sophisti­cations: and therefore I answer to every one a part, 1. To the first that the Anabaptists, whose cause he pleadeth, scruple not, but define it, as certaine. 2. If after sufficient conviction, and their scruple abundantly satisfied, they remain pertinacious, and will not be baptised amongst us, it is no more a reall but a pretended scruple, accompanied with a reall pertinacious breach of charity, and a Schisme, which meriteth the sentence of Excommunication. To the 2. it is not to us to judge absolutely that he is not regenerate or that he shall be damned: but well thus, that the way, wherein he is, qua talis, is not the way of Regeneration, or of Salvation: but of damnation, according to the ordinary course of the Gospell, so long as he continueth unpenitent, and so contemneth the Church of God, instructing him according to Gods Word: And that if he be a visible subject, or Citizen in Gods Church, which is his Kingdom, and City, he must be subject unto the Lawes and Govern­ment thereof, otherwise be gone to some other.

QUEST. 7. Whether the whole Church, and every member thereof hath the power of the Keyes, or full Ecclesiasticall Iurisdiction.

LEast as blind men, we should quarrell one with another, not knowing up­on what grounds, or wherefore; it will not be amisse that we expound the termes of the Question, then state it, and afterwards we shall easily per­ceive, what is the force of our Reasons, and those of our Brethren, and of the two which be the weightiest, and beare downe the scale.

As for the termes; As in all others, so in this Question there be two, 1. the Subject, and that is the whole Church, and every member thereof. 2. the Predicate, or Attribute, and that is power of the Keyes, or Ecclesiasti­call Iurisdiction.

As for the word Church, or Ecclesia, I take it, 1. generally for any As­sembly, or company of men, or Angels evocated or convocated together. 2. More strictly, for any Company of men any waies gathered together up­on whatsoever occasion, or for whatsoever end, Act, 19.39. 3. for a holy company of men, and Angels: so it is taken by Divines, and it may be defi­ned, a Company of Angels and men, called out of their naturall estate, by con­venient meanes, to supernaturall felicity.

The words, Men and Angels expresse the materiall part of the Church, viz. intellectuall Creatures, which are only capable of calling, and of supernatu­rall Glory, whereunto they are called.

The words following declare the forme of the Church.

By their naturall estate or condition, I understand either their estate of integrity, as that of the good Angels, who continued in their Originall puri­ty, and of the wicked, who afterwards apostatized, and of Adam & Eve before [Page 81]their fall; or of corruption, such as is that of all mankind after our first sin.

By the word, called, here, must be understood the act of vacation by Gods word, either internall, speaking unto Angels, or mens Consciences, by the light of nature, or supernaturall Inspirations, 1 Cor. 1.9. 1 Pet. 5.10. 1 Thes. 2.12. and 4.7. or externall, such as is the vocall, and written word of God, or any other externall signe, presented to our outward Senses by him; as 1 Jo. 1.3. 2 Thes. 2.4. Heb. 1.1. And therefore the Elect, before they be borne. and called, are not properly or actually, but meerly, potentially, and vertually members of the Church, 1. For how can he be a member of the Church who is not yet in Rerum natura? 2. By the same reason, the Church should have been actually before the Creation of the world, and before she was created, from all eternity; for God elected his Church, from all eternity: 3. Men of age should be actually members of Christs Church without Faith; for they have not actually Faith by Election, but by their efficacious Vocation. 4. And howsoever the Decree of Predestination, or Election, be requisite, and be the first cause of the Church, and of all the members thereof, and it being put, all the second Cau­ses must needs be: yet makes it not them to be, when it is its self, but in their own time and in due season, when it is put in execution by some externall act of Gods Almighties power, wch can not be eternal, as his Decree; but temporal. 5. Because Gods Church is an House, a Family, and a City, which can not be built of stones, that are not, or composed of Domesticks, and Citizens, that are not in this world. 6. A man cannot be the Brother of Christ and member of his church, before he be regenerate, or born againe, how much lesse, before he be generated, or born; unlesse ye will say, that he may have his second birth or generation before he have the first?

Out of this naturall estate, &c. here is expressed Terminus a quo, et ad quem, from whence, and whereunto the Church, or the members thereof are called; Terminus a quo, or from whence, is from the estate of Nature pure and in­corrupt, not incorruptible as was that of the Angels, and of man before his Fall: or of corrupt nature, such as hath been that of mankinde since their Fal. Terminus ad quem, or whereunto they are called, or which can intend, is Grace in this life, and supernaturall Glory in that to come.

By supernaturall Glory must be understood supernaturall Beatitude, or fe­licity, which is the last aym, their summum bonum, or greatest good and per­fection, whereunto they tend, or which they can intend: And this, in respect of entire and pure or immaculate Nature, is absolutely called Beatitude or Feli­city: but in regard of corrupt Nature, Salvation; for it is not a man without sin, as Christ, or Angels that never sinned, but Adam & his posterity, that are said to be saved from their sins, and misery whereunto by sin they are subject.

Means are called convenient, when they are fit to effect that which by them is intended; such in respect of Angels was the Law of Nature, printed in their Understanding, answerable to their spirituall Nature; [Page 82]some Supernatural Precepts also, for they were bound to beleeve the Trinitie: answerable in Adam before his Fall was the Law, and such respect to the spirituall and corporall nature, whereof he was compounded, as the Morall Law, and some supernaturall Precepts to beleeve the Trinity, &c. proportionate to the end and aym, viz. supernaturall glory, whereunto he should tend, and which he should intend; And in regard of all mankind since our Fall, is the Covenant of Grace, and the means to fulfill it, as Faith, Hope, and Charity.

The Church in this vast and large signification contains 1. in it self the com­pany of Angels, 1. because the Scripture sayes so, Heb. 12.22, 23. 1 Pet. 1.12. 2. because they are our Fellow-servants and our Brethren, Apoc. 19.10. and 22.9. & they belong to one society with us, 3. because the Angels are our Con-disciples in studying the Gospel with us. 1 Pet. 1.12. 4. Because they are Subjects with us of one Celestiall Republike, and Citizens of one Celesti­all City: 5. Because we aspire to the same Beatitude and Felicity with them, viz. to the vision of Gods face, and ardent Charity: 6. Because, in respect of our spirituall part, and the Faculties thereof, our Intellect and Will, we are capable of the same union with God. 7. Because Christ is head of the Angels; as well as of Men, Col. 2.19. Eph. 4.15.8. Because he is their Creator, Con­servator, Mediator. God gathered in one, all things in Christ, both which are in Heaven, and which are in Earth, and every thing in them, Eph. 1.10.9. Because the Angels adore Christ, Hebr. 1.6.10. Because all things, yea, the Angels are subject to Christ, Hebr. 1.7.

2. It contains men in Heaven and in Earth; for the Church in Earth and in Heaven differ onely, as a man travelling, and one arrived to his Port or home. All these that are, or shall be saved, those that are already born, and to be born; regenerate, or to be regenerate, howsoever they that are not yet born, or regenerate, be not actually members of the Church, till they be born and regenerated.

This Church in regard of its materiall parts, integrity, and quantity, may be distinguished, 1. into the Catholike or universall, and particular Church.

The Catholike Church is that, which before we defined, composed of all the Elect, Angels and Men.

2. Again it is to be observed in passing of this Word, Catholike Church, that it is not a term of Scripture; nor was any man called a Catholike in the Apostles time, if we beleeve Pacianus epist. 1. Ad Sempronianum; neither in their time was the Christian Faith spread Catholikely, or Universally through all the World: and hence many Protestants infer, that the Creed, I mean that of the Apostles, was not framed by them: Neverthelesse we have some terms in Scripture equivalent unto it, as that of [...], Heb 12.23. that signifies a generall Assembly; Item the City of the living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, ver. 22. the Church of the first-born, which are written in Heaven, &c. The Church then is called Ʋniversall, 1. in respect of her Intrinsecall, and Essen­tiall [Page 83]form, viz. internall vertues. viz. Faith, Hope, Charity, and the Spirit of Christ, which be all, and the same in all the members thereof; for howsoever the Church, in respect of some Gifts, otherwayes called [...], and by the Schoolmen, gratia gratis data, is distributed by Christ unto some of her members, not so much for their own, as for other mens use and salvation to be a corpus heterogeneum dissimilare, an Organicall Body composed of di­vers parts of different names and natures one from another, and from the whole Body having different functions, and operations, as of prophecy, go­vernment, of Miracles &c. as a man of his head, legs, and arms, whereof the one is not of like nature or like name with an other, or with the man; for the leg is not the head, nor a man as the Apostle declares: neverthelesse in regard of her spirituall and saving gifts, as Faith, Hope, Charity, &c. wherein consists her intrinsecall form, conferred upon the Elect, for their own use, otherwayes called by Schoolmen, gratia gratum faciens, Grace that makes us acceptable to God it is totum homogeneum, or similare, a similary Body, Composed of the like parts, whereof every one hath the same name, and nature one with another, and with the whole Body; for all the members of Christ have the like Faith, inclining to the like Acts of Beleef; the same Mysteries; and a like Charity, inclining to the like Acts of love to all men, and especially to the Houshold of Faith: So every particular Church is a Church, one as another, and as the universall Church, I speak here of the redeemed Church; for the Church of Angels, and of men, before their Fall, be not parts homogeneall, with the redeemed Church, because of their dissimulary Covenant, and intrin­secall formes and vertues.

Item, the Church may be denominated universall, in regard of her ex­trinsecall and accidentall forme, consisting 1. in the externall profession of her intrinsecall Christian vertues, by confession of her Faith, Hope, and exer­cise of Charity, and holinesse of life. 2. In her participation of the holy Sacra­ments, according to Gods Word. 3. In her extrinsecall sound Discipline, and Government, which should be in every Church. Againe, the Church may be universall, in respect of some Circumstances, viz. of time, place, per­sons, and Ages; 1. of time, because the Christian Church from her first insti­tution by Christ till the end of the world shall never decay; 2. of place, not positively, as if it were in all places, but negatively, because it is not excluded from any place, as that of the old Testament, limited within the confines of the Holy Land, but spread through all the world, Psal. 19.5. Mat. 26.13. Col. 1.6.3. of Persons of all Ages, Sects and Conditions, for no man is exclu­ded from the Gospell; neither Iew, nor Greeke; neither Servant, nor Free­man; neither Male, nor Female, Gal. 3.28.

2. And it may be distinguished according to her materiall, or integrant parts, into the Church of Angels, and of men: But the Scripture has very little of that of the Angels, so as we may let it passe.

[Page 84] 3. That of men may be distinguished according to the state, and conditi­on thereof into that, which is Militant here on earth, fighting against Sathan, and Triumphant and victorious in Heaven, reigning eternally with God.

4. The Militant, according to the state thereof and Covenant, is distin­guished into that, which was before the Fall, & that after the Fall: The Church before the Fall was composed of Adam and Eve alone, and governed by the Law of Nature, and some supernaturall Precepts: and called to supernaturall felicity, I say composed of Adam and Eve alone, viz. actually; for howso­ever before the creation of Eve, God or Christ was his head; yet could he not be his Head as of a Church, 1. For a Church is a company not of the Head and one member, but of the Head and many members, Rom. 12.5. Eph. 1.22, 23.2. Because before the Creation of the Woman, there was no symbolicall Law, nor Sacraments of the Covenant, ordained by God, as the Tree of Life. 3. Because the Church, is a Family, a City, a Kingdome, which cannot consist of one member, Col. 1.13. Rom. 14.17. 1 Tim. 3.15. Apo. 21.2. Matth. 13.11. Item a body composed of sundry members, 1 Cor. 12. a flocke, 1 Pet. 5.2. which is not composed of one sheep; yea, after the Creation of Eve, it was not a perfect or compleat Church: but in fieri, ten­ding to perfection, by the propagation of mankind, and perfected in its fieri when it was breeding; for to a perfect Church, is requisite a Ruler or Ru­lers; and some to be ruled, and not one alone. 2. Because the Church is a Society, like to that of a Kingdom, or a City, which can not consist of two persons only. 3. Because howsoever three may compound a Colledge, yet can they not make up an Ecclesiasticall, or politicall Society. 4. Because in a Church there must be power of Excommunication, which cannot subsist in two; for if the one should Excommunicate the other, the Church should perish, which is repugnant to the nature of Excommunication, which is not given to the destruction but to the conservation of the Church, 1 Cor. 5. 5. Be­cause it was imperfect in its ayme, in respect of man, for it brought no man to felicity or glory. 6. Because to every Reall Church correspond some Re­presentative Church, which is a sign of the Reall, and not altogether the same, but there could be no representative Church before the Fall, correspondent to it, different from it selfe, because these were but two persons not differing from themselves, notwithstanding it might have been represented by an Am­bassadour, but not by a Church.

The Militant Church after the fall is that, which is redeemed by Christ, cal­led in him, to the forgivenesse of their sins, and eternall Glory.

5. This in regard of time and state is either before Christ, as that of the Old Testament, wherein Christ was obscurely revealed, or of the New, since his comming, wherein he is more cleerly revealed, which for this cause is called the Christian Church; partly because it is since Christ, partly because Christ is more visibly revealed unto her; partly because he in Person revea­led [Page 85]himselfe and his Gospel, for the Law was given by Moses, but Grace was given by Iesus Christ, Iohn 1.

The particular Church is only a part of the Universall or totall Church; And as the universall is universall, 1. In regard of Time, which comprehends all the Churches of all times. 2. Of place, which comprehends the Churches of all places, or through all the world. 3. Or of Persons, which compre­hends all forts of persons: so the particular, is either 1. in regard of time, which only comprehends in its selfe, the Churches of a certaine time, as that of the Old Testament, which was before the comming of Christ in the flesh; and that of the New, which is since his comming: So we call the Church, Primitive, that which was before our times, immediatly after Christ his com­ming, and some time after. 2. Or in regard of places, as when we say, that a Church is Nationall, which is in one Kingdome or Republick; Provinciall, that is in one Province; and Parochiall, which is confined within the limits of one Parish. 3. Or in regard of Persons, which comprehends a certaine number of persons, of one or divers places.

Here it is to be observed; 1. That the Church may be denominated uni­versall, or particular, either absolutely, or respectively in relation to another bigger or lesse: so Absolutely the universall Church comprehends in its selfe all the Churches of all times; of all places; of all forts of Persons, Angels and men; of all Estates, or conditions and Covenants; As that in the Covenant of integrity; naturall, or supernaturall, as of Angels and men before their Fall, and that in the state of sin under the Covenant of Grace; and in the state of Glory. And according to this consideration, the Church of the An­gels, is one particular Church; That of Mankind, another; The Trium­phant, and Militant, two others; and in a word, all the parts thereof, may be called particular Churches.

Respectively the Church of Mankind, is an universall Church, in respect of its parts, as of that before and after the Fall; the Triumphant and Militant: so the Church after the Fall, is universall in respect of that of the Old and New Testament, which be its parts: and the Christian in respect of its parts in Heaven and on Earth; of the Primitive, and that of subsequent times: that which is in all the world in respect of its parts, in divers Kingdomes, Pro­vinces, &c. But that which is most to the purpose in this our Discourse, is the Catholick Christian Church here upon earth.

6. Againe, the Militant Church (whether she be considered, according to her universality and totality, or particularity in her severall parts, and Assemblies) in respect of her internall and externall forme, is either visible, or invisible. The invisible Church is that which cannot be seene, but only is beleeved by Faith. The visible is that which we see or behold; where it is to be observed: 1. That the word visible, is not to be taken here strictly, for the object of the sight alone, or the word, see, or behold; for the act [Page 86]thereof; but in a more full signification, for that which any waies is percep­tible by the eye, or any externall, or internall Sense, or by naturall Reason; such as are the confession and profession of Christian vertues, the exercise of their externall Acts; whereof some be apprehended by the sight and Eye, as the acts of Charity; some by the hearing and Eare, as the confession of Faith; some by feeling, as the assistance and attendance upon the Sicke; some by the internall Senses; some by Act of Reason only: and the reason of this is, be­cause the word visible must signifie all that, which, is denyed by invisible; now invisible signifies a negation of all, that can be apprehended by any Sense, or Act of Reason, Ergo the word visible must signifie that, which can be ap­prehended by any Sense or Act of Reason, so that it belong to the Externall Form of the Church, which represents the internall Forme thereof.

2. Besides that, it is here to be observed, that the visible Church of it self is e­vermore visible and conspicuous, but by Accident becomes sometimes invisible, latent, obscure, and unseene; and that 1. either because of the persecution Shee suffers by her enemies, when Shee hides her selfe in the Wildernesse; or 2. by reason of her slitting from one place to another, as when Shee went from Hie­rusalem to Pella; or 3. because of the weaknesse of the sight of the Seer, as in Eli, 1 King. 9. verse 4. for want of sight, as to those, to whom, as the Gospel, so the Church professing the Gospell, is hid and invisible, 2 Cor. 2, 3, 4.

3. Finally, It is not to be omitted, that this is not a Division of the Churchin­to two Species, or two integrant parts, or any waies into parts really, but Ac­cidentally distinguished; For a Church altogether one, in the same time, and place, and according to the same parts may be, howsoever according to divers consi­derations, and Formes, which be the grounds of divers considerations, it may be Visible and Invisible, as the Church of Geneva, which is visible in respect of her externall forme, viz. Confession of the true Christian Faith, the profession thereof and other christian vertues; Item in respect of her Discipline, &c. And the same Church in respect of her internall Forme, viz. Faith, Hope, Charity, the Spirit of Christ, &c: which be spirituall qualities altogether in­visible, in the sense before declared, is altogether invisible.

7. The Militant Church, both in her totality, and partiality, may be divi­ded into two integrant parts, viz. into the Over-seers, that preach, teach, rule, &c. and the Flock, which is over-seene: And they be the two princi­pall parts, concurring to its integrity, without the which it cannot be a totall or whole visible Church: and therefore a Church without Oversseers is not a whole visible Church: I say a whole or totall Church; for without Pastors it may be a totum essentiale, i.e. essentially a Church, for Pastors are not ab­solutely necessary for the essence, but for the integrity of a Church. Item, I say without Over-seers; 1. All Over-seers, for it may be, that a Church may subsist without Pastors alone, or Doctoss alone, or Rulers or Elders alone; or Deacons alone, but not without all.

[Page 87] 8. The Militant visible Church, whether it be conceived in its universality and totality, or in its particularity in severall Congregations, is either Reall, or Representative.

The Reall Militant Church is any visible Church here upon Earth, com­posed of all its reall Professors of the Gospel.

The Representative Church, is an Assembly of certaine Persons, or Church-Officers, in an Ecclesiasticall Iudicatory, chosen out of the whole Body of the Reall Church, to represent it, as it is; such be the Sessions, or Consisto­ries, the Synods, Provinciall, and Nationall.

As for the Reall visible Church, some thinke that it is very probable, that it is never altogether without Iustifying Faith: but it is probable, that where there be very small Congregations of seven or eight persons, they may be all without Faith, and especially, where the Church is corrupt, or where the Members are all vicious and dissolute: Their conjecture will hold more pro­bable, in great Congregations, in Provinciall, and Nationall Churches. But in a Representative Church, composed of very few Church-Officers, it is very probable, that sometimes, they may all be without Faith, howsoever they re­present a Church of Reall Beleevers; for to represent Reall Beleevers, it is not absolutely necessary, that they, that are to represent them, be Beleevers, or have the same essentiall and internall Forme with those, whom they repre­sent; but that they have the externall confession and profession of their Faith, whereby they represent them; nor represent they their Faith, but their pro­fession of faith: So the Image of Caesar represents really Caesar, without any humane nature, such as is in Caesar: and so may men without Faith re­present them, that have Faith.

By the word Church we must understand the Militant Christian, particu­lar, and reall Church, consisting of one Congregation; These being presup­posed, I put this Conclusion: All Persons in a Church, or the whole Colle­ctive Body thereof have not Ecclesiasticall Iurisdiction.

1. They have not the power to exercise it.

  • 1. Because, we read no such thing in Scripture, viz. that ever God com­mitted the Government of the Church to every idle Fellow, that is a mem­ber thereof.
  • 2. Because, it is contrary to the generall Ordinance of God, 1 Tim. 3. that all Church-Officers be examined and tryed before their Admission; And to the practise of the Old Testament, in the religion of the Levites, that served five yeares in their Apprenticeship.
  • 3. Because every particular member of the Church hath not the Ability to Iudge, or Rule, because of his ignorance, and want of learning, for every one in the Church cannot be learned; for some there be that needs are spi­rituall, some that be carnall; some Babes in Christ, some men: some have need of milke, some of meat, 1 Cor. 3.1, 2, 3.
  • [Page 88]4. Because of their imprudence, for some of the vulgar are somewhat pre­cipitate and rash in the examination of matters, others very slow in their judgement, some in their speech, and some in all: which is not convenient in so grave matters, in Iudging the Iudgements of the Lord.
  • 5. Because some are vicious, and culpable of the faults, or crimes, that are to be Iudged and condemned in others, and therefore are not fit Iudges, to Iudge them.
  • 6. Many in the Congregation may be friends, Kinsmen, or allyed with the party that is to be Iudged; and so partiall: wherefore some of the Congre­gation, at the least in that case, are to be excluded: and by Consequence, the simple Title of Christianity, and profession thereof, or to be a member of the Church, gives not all christians this right, but some other thing.
  • 7. If every one of the Church may Iudge, or exercise Ecclesiasticall Iu­risdiction, then women also, whom Saint Paul commands to hold their peace in the Church, 1 Cor. 14.34. and to be subject in obedience without Iurisdiction.
  • 8. All distracted men, and babes should have power to Iudge; and so those that are without Iudgment shold Iudge since they are members of the Church.

It may be answered, that they admit not babes, but those only that are in age, and apparently regenerated.

Inst. But then every member of the Church hath power to Iudge; but men distracted are in age, Ergo they have power to Iudge. It may be answered, that they understand that those only, that are in age, and have the use of reason should be admitted.

Inst. 1. But when hath a man the use of Reason? how shal they define that? It is commonly defined by Philosophers and others, the age of seven yeares, which will make no very able Ecelesiasticall Senator: here the Scripture is desicient, & they will admit nothing in Discipline, but that which is comman­ded by Christ. 2. What if a man in his old age, begin to dote, they may an­swer, that then he is excluded because reason failes him. Inst. Then he must be declared not sitting, which may breed division. Jnst. Item, a man may be in age, and yet little skilled in Divinity, for to Iudge in matter of Heresie, and be more vitious then when he was a childe. And if a man be Iudged by babes, children, fooles, and doting old men, it is to be feared, especially if the Iudged be rich, that the Iudgement be the cause rather of division, then con­cord, so this Discipline being established, all Schismes may break forth con­troversies and contentions. They may answer that they establish, these that are really, or apparently in judgement of charity Saints, as it may be collected from the Rom. c. 1.2. 1 Cor. 1. Eph. 1. Phil. in the beginning of the chapters.

Reply. But every particular man, in every particular Congregation of the Visible Church, whereof we only dispute, is not, nor can in spea­king morally as falleth out ordinarily be a Saint; 1. Because the [Page 89]Church is compared to a Ground, whereof one part is by the way side, the other stony, another thorny, another good; To a Ground, wherin growes Wheat, and Tares; To a Draw-Net, receiving good and bad fishes, Mat. 13. to a Society of wise, and foolish Virgins, Mat. 25. And to a House, wherein there are Vessels to honour and dishonour. There must be Offences, or slanders, saies Christ. Math. 18.7. 2. Howbeit they were all Saints, yet should it not follow thereupon, that they are, all learned, prudent, judicious, and endowed with other gifts to judge, either in matters of Doctrine in Creating of Ministers, and in Excommunicating of Hereticks; or of Discipline, which sometime requires some knowledge of the Civill law, as in Cases of Matrimonie, &c.

As for the Passages of St. Paul; 1. I deny, that he calls all the Members of the Church, Saints Formally; but the whole Body of the Church is so called or denominated, because of the holinesse, which is really or apparently inhe­rent in some Members or parts thereof, which denominates the whole Body, as when a man is said to see, because of the sight, which is not inherent in all the parts of his Body, but only in his Eye; or wise for his wisdome, which is inhe­rent in his Soule alone.

2. If it were otherwise, the Apostle should have written untruths in these Texts: for Rom. 16.17 18. he sayes; Now I beseech you, Brethren, marke them, which cause divisions and offences, &c. For they that are such, serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly: and 1 Cor. 5. It is known, that the Ince­stuous man was not excommunicated. Some of them were also Schismaticks, saying, that they were, of Christ, of Paul, of Apolloes: And what the Galathians were, the whole Epistle testifies; so that according to our Brethrens grounds, there was no visible Church here, and nothing could have been judged.

3. It is not sanctification, or holinesse of life, but Politicall, or Ecclesiasticall prudence, that furnisheth their Abilities: for 1. Sanctification is Gratia gratum faciens, one sort of Grace or gift of the Spirit, that renders us gracious, or makes us acceptable to God: But the facultie of Ruling, and exercising of Ju­risdiction in the Church, is Gratia gratis data, given gratiously only, but makes us not gracious or acceptable to God, as the Gift of Prophecie of Tongues, In­tepretation &c. 2. The first is given us, principally for our own benefit: the other principally for other mens benefit: and therfore 3. the first is for to save a man himself: the second to save others, when peradventure he may be damned himselfe, as we see in Judas, who had the grace of Prophecie, whereby he saved others, but damned himselfe, and did preach salvation to others be­leeving, but damnation to himselfe unbeleeving. 4. The first makes one a good Christian, the other a good Citizen in the exteriour Societie of the Church alone; yea, 5. I may boldly say, that a man may be a good Preacher, or Prophet, or Ruler in the Church, and an ill Christian, if hee preach the truth, and with edification, or rule well, and beleeve not, which may [Page 90]bee done by a very wicked man, Mat. 7.19, 20, 21, 22, 23. and an­other may be a good man, but an ill Preacher, Prophet, or Ruler, if he have sanctifying grace, and have not so great abilities to preach, or to rule, as an other, who perchance is an Atheist; or if he be somewhat negligent in the exer­cise of his charge; The Apostle sayes not that all, that were in their Churches were Saints either really or appearingly, but to all the Saints.

4. It is probable also, and some of them grant it, that all the Members of the Church in those texts of Scripture are called Saints, or holy. 1. because of the holi­ness of the Covenant. 2. Or holy, because of the holy Confession. 3. Or holy Pro­fession. 4. Or of the holy Sacraments of the holy Covenant, wherunto they were partakers; or finally, because of their externall Vocation to salvation: But all this makes them not learned, prudent, judicious, nor furnishes them with other abilities, which are needfull for the exercise of Ecclesiasticall Jurisdiction.

5. But put the case that we should grant them all this, yet can they not e­scape thus, saying that in so doing, they admit not all those that are actually received in the Church, as her Children, and members, to the exercise of Ecclesi­astical Discipline, but the lesser part, for there are more ignorant, then lear­ned, and ill men, then good in the Church; or at least, that have not the gifts re­quired therunto, and so in rejecting, they are forced to admit some Election, and establish some representative Church by the admission of some, and the exclusi­on of others; so that in this point they differ not from us, in not admitting a Representative Church, but in admitting a greater and more Vast Representa­tative Church, then we; and the members thereof of lesse Abilities.

6. Hence it follows, that men have not right to exercise Ecclesiasticall Juris­diction in qualitie of Christians professing Christ (since women and others have it not) but in some other consideration, which we desire to know, viz. whether it be not for their Abilitie; and so it is not to be found in all.

7. This rejection of some (yea of the greater part of the Church, as women, children, old men, ignorants, Vitious men, and others that have not the abili­tie to judge, as all unholy and prophane men) and admission of others, that are the lesser part as sanctified men, in whom only consists the Church, is capa­ble to breed Divisions in their Church, if the people have power to judge; For, accordingly, they will judge in favour of themselves to be admitted, and so procure a schisme and quarrell; for the taking away whereof, the Government accordingly is established, let them take it into consideration, how hard it is for any man, yea for the most part of the Church, to be declared ignorant, im­prudent, young, of an unripe judgement, and doting, &c. and to the Church, and see the lesse part, which pretends to be the only Church, declared apt and fit to their owne exclusion, and what thereupon may ensue, in a Democraticall Government, upon such filthy and infamous aspersions; in checking the greater part as prophane, it may peradventure stirre up a bellum servile, more dange­rous to the Church, then that amongst the Romans.

[Page 91] 8. The Doctrine that destroyes Gods holy Ordinance, viz. the Distinction, which he has put betwixt the Rulers of the Church, and them that are ruled, and are to obey, cannot be admitted, as our Brethren will confesse.

But the Doctrine that gives to every Member of the Church power and administration of Jurisdiction, in ruling and governing the Church, is such; For God hath ordained some to rule, and others to obey, Rom. 12.8. 1 Cor. 12. Eph. 4. 1 Thess. 5.12. 1 Tim. 5.17. Heb. 13.17. Obey them, that rule over you, and submit your selves unto them.

Now then, if some be Rulers, and others to obey, we cannot all be Rulers, as it appeares. 1. Cor. 12.28, 29. And God hath set some in the Church, Apostles, and Governments, &c. Are all Apostles, &c? Where he sayes that one gift is not given to every Member of the Church, Note that he speaks here of those gifts, or [...], that are called gratia gratis data, not for our own, but for other mens use. Ergo, this order cannot be admitted.

9. No confused Discipline or government of Gods Church can be or­dained by God; for God is not the God of Confusion. 1. Cor. 14.33.

But that wherein every one of the people hath Jurisdiction, or juridicall power, is a confused Discipline or government. Ergo, It cannot be ordained by God.

The Major will be granted, since it is Gods word:

The Minor is evident; For I put the case, that in a Church composed of some 20000 persons, there be some point of Doctrine to be decided, what disorder and confusion should it not breed, if every one of that huge multitude, yea, eve­ry illiterate, and idle fellow should come, and propound his idle thoughts? By what wisdome of man could this many-headed beast be reduced to order?

It may be answered, that they should be wise;

But we reply, they are not, nor can that be hoped, or expected in this life: nay, doe any beleeve it, either Donatists or Anabaptists; and howbeit they were all wise to salvation, yet followes it not, that they should all be wise for Government, and Examination of all Church Officers.

10. The exercise of the Discipline of the Church is morally possible; for God will not that his Church be governed by an order that is impossible.

But this Democraticall, and Plebeian exercise of Discipline, is not morally possible, for if there were 20. or 30. points to be judged by such a huge multi­tude certainly they could not easily discusse, and judge every point. For if every one of 20000 should give his advise, and peradventure be interrupted by some, and then begin his discourse againe, which ordinarily falls out amongst rude people, when should the Examen and discussion of the businesse be ended? Grant to every one of them but halfe an houre, whereas, I warrant you, some should take halfe a day, or halfe a yeare, and say little to the purpose, and yet make [...] of one businesse onely employing 12. hours a day [Page 88] [...] [Page 89] [...] [Page 90] [...] [Page 91] [...] [Page 92]counting the Lords day also, should amount to two yeares, and foure moneths or thereabouts; so that here, there is too much delay; for a businesse should scarce ever be judged or ended? what should become of all other businesse? What if in this one question there should fall out 20. or 30. Incidents, whereof every one should take up as much time as the principall Question, which quicke witted men may easily procure; when then should a Question be ended?

It may be answered, that there may be some order taken for deliberating and consulting, which may hinder this, as at Rome, where there were 1000. Se­nators; and in Paris, where at the Parliament there are 200. Senators. But they permit not every man to discourse, as was ordained by the old fashion of Rome, whereby every one of the Senators had power to tell out his opinion by word of mouth; Senatoribus quibus (que) in Senatu sententiā dicere, jus esto, Aulus Gellius, lib. 3. cap. 8. Neither to give their voice in writing, because of the weak­nesse of their memories, and to avoid all dispute, and contention, which falls out in discourse, which they call, deliberare ex libello, ex pugillaribus; but hol­ding their peace, and assenting to two, three, or foure of the wisest, who dis­cusse it in the beginning, which the Romans called per Discessionem; and there­fore they were called Agipedes by Lucilius, because they went on foot towards one of them, whose Judgement they followed; The French call it opiner en Bonnet, because in assenting they only take off their Bonnet; Sometimes they say nothing, but Idem, or; Et moy, or, de mesme; or, as the old Romans did, by little stones, writing on them, C.A. or N. to signifie Condemned, Ab­solved, or, Nonliquet, I know not: such almost as the French use in some Ca­ses, and in some places, Par Balotes, & Buletins en l'Election des Officiers & Beneficiers, by Bills or Tickets in the Election of Officers and Incum­bents or beneficed men: So did the Areopagites, and now the Venetians, or per [...], or the stretching out of their hand, as the Athenians did; and sometimes the Romans.

A. 1. I approve the Answer in not permitting all to speak; for many of them cānot speak to the purpose; nor by writing; for many of them cānot write at all.

If the third way be used, then you must choose a certain number to speak, whose voyces must be followed; and 1. that is no lesse to tie them to an implicite Faith, then a Consistorie does. 2. It is to diminish their power in speaking; for their tongues are their own. 3. It is to contemne them, and judge, that some have more authority, then others. 4. What, if some of the people be of an other judgement then any of the rest, how shall they discover it?

The Suffrages cannot be given by little stones, or Ballots; for Writing cannot be used, because many of the people cannot write; and yet all this would take up much time; and if there should fall in many incidents, there should never be an end.

No more that external Signe, in stretching out the hand, or touching the Bon­net; [Page 93]for so great a multitude should breed confusion; and besides that, howbeit it might be usefull in a Simple Affirmation, or Negation; yet in a great diversity of judgements it cannot hold.

11. Besides this, the Discipline of the Church may be exercised in all times, yea, in times of Persecution, as in the Primative Church.

But this Democraticall sort of Discipline cannot be exercised in all times, and specially in time of Persecution, which is most ordinary to the Militant Church; for if all the People should so meet together, it could not be without great danger, under an Antichristian Prince; and principally in consulting a­bout her own conservation, her Counsell might easily be discovered, and the Church of God betrayed by some mens wickednesse, and others folly and im­prudence, whereas 10. or 12. or 50. of the most wise and prudent may easily meet together without any eminent danger.

12. If a Congregation were great, as of 20000. or 30000. there could not be found a commodious Place to containe them; and this I say by experience, for being at one of their Conferences, there were so many, that we were like to be smothered. And, there happened such a confusion, such partiality and jang­ling by reason of the pretended equality, that we could reap no profit thereby.

13. Againe, I pray, Is it fit, that for all particular businesses, peradventure some of them very idle, and of small importance, that such a great Congregation should be gathered together, and taken away from their Callings; or that every particular fault should be made known to every particular man in the Con­gregation? Should all the particularities; or circumstances of most wicked and vile crimes, be examined, discussed, and voyced by so many of the people; what should that be, but to teach them most execrable sinnes, whereof they had never heard before; for it is certain, that many sins are learned in hearing them. God forbid, that in the Christian Church (wherein any Uncleannesse should not be once named; Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, Eph. 4.29. Let not uncleannesse be once named amongst you, Eph. 5.4. Neither filthinesse, ver. 4.) Children in their tender age, should heare of such odious Sinnes, from which their very nature abhorres: And that young people before they know well what is vertue, should heare all sort of vice; That were worse, then the Je­suits Auricular Confession, and abominable Cases of Conscience; In reading or hearing whereof the Conscience is either offended, or infected.

It may be answered, that it is not needfull to admit them in these Assemblies.

Reply. But the Assembly (say they) is open to all, to the end that all may learne, how to exercise the power of Ecclesiasticall government: If it be open to all, how shall they be kept out? If to the end all may learne, how shall they obtain this end if they be kept out?

It may yet be answered, that there is no lesse publication of odious Sinnes, in white sheets at the Pillar of Repentance in Scotland.

A. That paine is only inflicted on some sins, 2. Neither are the particulari­ties or circumstances of the sins, declared which should be scandalous. 3. On­ly the pain is published in generall, but the particularities, that may give of­fence are concealed.

14. In no Societie, neither in the Government of a Familie, nor of Schooles, or Academies, nor in Kingdoms, or Armies is it permitted to every man promiscu­ously, without distinction, to judge and vote, but only to the Overseers in their Societies: Wherefore then should that be permitted, yea ordained in the Church of God, which is Gods house, Christs Schoole; Shall there be no place for foolish, and impertinent fellowes to judge in, but only in Gods house, and Kingdome, the holy City, and his Kingdome? For what inconvenience and Absurdities presses the one, the same followes on the other.

This Argument so proposed ab Exemplo must hold, because of the paritie of Reason in both.

It may be proposed in Forme of Syllogisme thus:

There is no Societie ruled by Law, wherein every man exercises the power of Judge.

The Church of God is a Societie ruled by Law: E. In the Church of God every man cannot exercise the power of Judge.

The Minor will be granted: The Major may be proved by Induction; for so is it not in Academies, Armies, Republicks, Kingdomes, &c. E. It may be excepted that it is not so in the Church; But it is unreasonable after a perfect Induction, and Enumeration of all other Societies, that you should except on­ly against that which is in question: As if I should goe about to prove that Christ, according to his humane nature had a Body, his due dimensions, or qnantitie, because all men have so; But you should except Christ; for so no man can prove any thing; for evermore my Adversary shall except that which is in question.

15. If all the people promiscuously may judge, then they may judge with­out their Presbyters, and Church-Officers.

But the Consequent is false. E. The Antecedent, from whence it is inferred, is false also.

They will not deny the Assumption, and it may be proved thus; For with­out their Pastors, and Seniors, the Congregation cannot make a compleat Church, the People being but one halfe thereof, and their Rulers the other: Be­sides, that there may be some Cases, wherein the People cannot judge alone, as in point of Heresie, and touching the capacitie of Ministers, admitted to Preach.

The Consequence of the first Proposition may be proved thus; For if they be all Judges; and of foure hundred or five hundred, foure or five, or fifteen chance to be absent, the rest may judge, the number of those that are absent; being no [Page 95]wayes considerable, in respect of that which is present; But so is the Case in the first Proposition.

Item, Because, if of the people, two, three, or foure, yea 20.30. or 40. be absent, the Church-Officers, with the rest, will judge without them: Why shall not then the People have the same power also in absence of the Church-Officers, fince they have all alike power to judge, viz. every man one voyce? This Argument ariseth out of our Brethrens Supposition, viz. that every one has power to judge and rule.

16. I Would willingly aske our Brethren, whether or no they thinke that an Ecclesiasticall Judgement can hold without the Peoples presence and voy­ces? If it can hold, then the peoples voycing is not absolutely needfull, nor ex instituto divino; For it cannot hold, nor be just, without that which God re­quires to make it just.

If it cannot hold without the Peoples voyces, I ask againe, whether all the peoples voyces be requisite: or that the major part suffice.

If all; it is impossible Morally; neither see we ever almost, that in a great Congregation all can meet together: or if they meet together, that all consent together, yea, nor in lesser Assemblies,

If the major part suffice, as it must be said, then can it not hold; for if many be absent, and of those that are present, the major part surmount the lesser, by 4.5.6. or 7. voyces, then the lesser part may complaine, that all the people were not present, and so desire the businesse to be remitted to another meeting; so that in conclusion no businesse should ever end, unlesse all the people were present, which ordinarily never, or rarely falls out.

Item, they fall into that very inconvenience, which they presse so hard against their Brethren, viz. that they that are absent, shall be led by the nose, and con­sent by an implicite Faith to a Judgement of Doctrine, or of Discipline of great consequence, for other mens judgements sake, whereunto Formally they dissented; For if Judgements of Consistories, composed of Church-Offi­cers alone cannot hold, because then the People should be led by the nose, and assent thereunto by an implicite Faith: no more should the Judgement of the People in this present Case.

The same inconvenience, or worse, should fall out in voycing; for if there were in the Assembly of 20000. 10000. for one part, and the rest for the other; Here all the rest should be led by one implicite Faith to consent against their own explicite Faith; for here things are carried by pluralitie of voyces, which are not weighed, but accompted.

If only the Masters of Families, or all Servants have power to voyce, and if that may not procure partialities, when a Father may draw his sons and ser­vants to his opinion, to voyce with him, as he will.

19. Besides this, our Brethren must determine, how many they require to [Page 96]accomplish the Assembly, to the end that the Judgement may hold, and be va­leable. How many for the discussion and voycing of the businesse? and after it is voyced, and judged, how many to draw up the Sentence, or Judgement; for in this all Nations doe not agree, neither one Senate in the Kingdome with another, in another Kingdome; nor one Senate in the same Kingdome with another; nor one Senate with it selfe in divers times. And if they determine it, we pray them to draw their Determination thereof out of Gods word, since they will admit of nothing concluded by naturall Reason, or drawn from the Law of Nature.

20. We may bring many more Reasons to shew the impossibilitie, or at least the very great difficultic, that is in this sort of Judicatory, as the Case there should fall in many incidents; as about refusing of some of the Judges; some witnesses; the Protestation of the nullity of the Judgement for sundry Reasons; that all the Judges were not well informed of the matter, some of them having given their Judgement before-hand, some having promised to the party to judge so or so, some of them having solicited others to judge so or so; if all these Incidents should be discussed, and passe by the voyces of 20000. men, when should it be ended?

Wee might also bring other Reasons, to shew how that sundry things in this Government are altogether repugnant to Ecclesiasticall Government, as

21. That a man should be borne a Judge in Christs Church without any Election, or Vocation to such a place; But no man taketh this honour unto him­selfe, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron, Heb. 5.4. And truly there is no reason, that a man, yea that all men should rather be borne Judges in Gods Church, then in the State.

22. The Hang-man, and the most ignominious persons in the world should be Judges here.

23. Nothing could ever be decided: for in case there were 5. or 6. divers Opinions, you could decide according to none: for if you followed that, which had most voyces with it, all the rest would voyce against it, if that which had fewer, they that had more would not suffer it: so what ever should be said, or done, it should be controlled.

24. We only adde Christs Command, Math. 18.17. Tell it unto the Church. 1. Unto the Representative Church, and not to every one of the People; for that should be impossible. This passage our Brethren bring for them, but sure­ly it makes rather against them; for Christ here establishing an Ecclesiasticall Judicatorie, alludes to the order of the Jewes in their Synagogicall Judicato­ries, and Sanedrim, in Censuring of Vice, and redressing of the grievances, that Brethren received of Brethren in the Church; for he abolishes not such Ju­dicatories, Quoad substantiam, since they are grounded on the Law of Nature, but quoad Circumstantias, in so far as they are ordained by Moyses, Captaine, [Page 97]and the leader of the people of God, or did only bind the people of the Iewes, and had for Object the transgression of the Politicall Law of Moses, &c. yea it is probable, that they were not abrogated at all by Christ among the people of the Iewes, since they were Juris Naturalis, quoad substantiam & Politici, quoadmodum, for he came not to abrogate, but to fulfill the Law: And so hath all the Christian world hitherto understood this Passage, whose Iudgements we cannot easily reject, without some solid ground; and so much the rather, for that since Iesus Christ his time, till some forty, or fifty yeares agoe, or thereabouts, never any man of esteeme did ever dreame of such a Popular, and confused Government, if yee except Morellies; And so is the word, Ecclesia, taken, Deut, 31.28. [...], as the Septuagint translates it, gather unto me all the Elders of your Tribes, and Officers, and Deut. 23. v. 1, 2, 3. it is commanded, that he that is hurt by Bursting, or hath his pri­vie members cut off; that is, a Bastard, an Ammonite, or a Moabite, shall not enter into the Congregation, or Ecclesia, even to the Tenth Generation: Here Ecclesia, or Congregation cannot signifie the Reall, but the Representa­tive Congregation; For it had been unjust, to exclude any man from the reall Church, & consequently from Gods Covenant, that desired to be therein. If it had been so, they could not have received any Proselytes, wch is against Gods Law, Exod. 23.48. where it is commanded, to admit unto the Passeover all Strangers, that would be circumcised: so that which was said to the Elders of Israel, that were the Representative Congregation, Exod. 2.16. is said to have been said to the Sons of Israel, that were the Reall Congregation, Exod. 14. and the Text confirmes it; for Moses had not charge to say, that the Lord would bring up out of Affliction the Elders only, but also the People.

25. This Doctrine at once condemnes all the Martyrs, and Councells, and all their practise in Ecclesiasticall Government.

26. Our Brethren holde, that the absent part of the Church may give over, or remit their power of Iudging to them, that are present, and that the lesser part are bound to acquiesce with the major part in voycing; where­fore then may not all the People give over, or remit their power of Iudging to a certaine number of the wisest, such as the Representative Church is, or acquiesce unto their Iudgements?

27. To whom the Apostles, in the first Constitution of the Church, at their last Farewells committed the power of Iurisdiction, and Ordination, to those it is to be committed at this present.

But to Church-Officers, or to the Representative Body of the Church a­lone, did the Apostles, in the first Constitution of the Church, at their last Farewell committed the power of Iurisdiction, Ordination, &c. Acts 20. 1 Pet. 5. Ergo.

But our Brethren reply, that we cannot shew any Place in all the holy Scriptures, or prophane Authors, where the word, Church, is taken in this [Page 98]signification, viz. for the Representative Church, or Congregation.

A. Whereunto we answer, 1. That the stile of Scripture must not be sought in prophane Authors, but in Scripture it selfe.

2. Some give some Examples in prophane Authors.

3. In Scripture our Adversaries will never finde any place, wherein the word [...] is taken for all the Reall Parochiall Church, to the exclusion of children, women, all those that have not the use of Reason, and that are no­toriously vicious, as it is taken by themselves.

4. We on the other side, to confirme the signification, wherein it is taken by us, viz. for the Representative Congregation, present them with these places, 1 Exod. 3. v. 14. Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, i. e. un­to the representative Body of the children of Israel, viz. the Elders of Israel gathered together, as it is expounded, v. 16.2. Exod. 12. In the institution of the Passeover, v. 3. Speake yee unto all the Congregation of Israel, i. e. the Elders, which were the Representative Body of Israel, as it is ex­pounded, v. 21. and Reason confirmes it; for they could not in so short a time speake to all the Reall Congregation, composed of so many thousands; nei­ther could they easily be gathered together into one place, nor could it be done without apparent danger.

Item. Numb. 35.24. in speaking of Murther through ignorance, the Revenger of the blood, and the Cities of Refuge, It is said that the Congregation shall Iudge between the slaine, and the Revenger of Blood, according to those Iudgements; without doubt the Congregation here cannot signifie all the Reall, but the Representative Congregation; i. e. the Elders, 1. Because, so it is expounded, Deut. 19.2. and Iosua 20.4, 5, 6. 2. because it was not for every one of the people, or the Reall Congregation, but belonged to the El­ders, that were the Representative Body thereof, to Iudge of the Blood.

And Deut. 31.28. Gather unto me all the Elders of your Tribes, and your Officers, the 70. turne it [...]. Now if [...] signifie to con­gregate, By the Rules of Conjugata it followes, that [...] signifies a Con­gregation, that was congregated or gathered together from amongst the rest. But the Ecclesia, or Congregation, that was here gathered together, was not all the Reall, but the Representative Congregation, consisting of Elders, &c. as appeares by the Text; Ergo.

So it is said, that Solomon assembled the Elders of Israel, and all the Heads of the Tribes, &c. 1 Reg. 8.1.

And that David assembled all the Princes, &c. 1 Chro. 28.1. so the word Congregation, is taken for the Representative Body thereof, 1 Chro. 13.1, 2, 3, 4 for David could not speake to all the Congregation, but to the Cap­taines, and Chieftaines thereof, as it appeares v. 1. and 4. 5. neither could they all goe with him.

Deutrinomy, 23.1, 2, 3. It is commanded, that neither he who is bursten, or that hath his privie members cut off, or that is a Bastard, an Am­monite, [Page 99]or a Moabite, shall enter into the Congregation, or in Ecclesia, e­ven to the tenth Generation; here the word Ecclesia, or Congregation must not signifie the Reall, but the Representative Congregation; for it should have been unjust and cruell to have excluded from the Church, and conse­quently from the Covenant of God any of those, that desired to be admitted thereunto. 2. For then they could not have received any of those Nations for Proselytes, to the tenth generation. 3. Because this is repugnant to ano­ther Law of God, Exod. 23.48. where it is commanded to admit unto the Passeover all Strangers circumcised.

28. If every member of the Church should have power, to Governe, or a power of Iurisdiction in every Ecclesiasticall Cause, Ergo of teaching also, and of Deaconship; for there is a parity of reason in both; for there be some points of Controversie as hard to be Iudged, as it would be to master a Sermon: and it is much difficulter to rule, then to exercise the charge of a Deacon.

But the Consequence is false, as is granted by all; neither can every one of the People assist and give their voyce touching every Almes, that must be gi­ven to the Poore; yea it were very dangerous that every Poore man should Iudge; for then all the Poore should Iudge one for another, and hunt after the Deaconship, that they might keep the purse, or give their advise upon every point of Doctrine taught, or to be taught; nor should they then need to learne at the Sermons; And before the Pastor should teach the People, they must consult whether his Doctrine be sound, or not; As in governing, we consult whether this, or that is to be done, censured, or not censured.

29. If every man hath power to rule, we need no Ruling Elders; for eve­ry member of the Church is a Ruling Elder, since he may exercise Ecclesiasti­call Iurisdiction, as the Ruling Elders doe. But they hold the Consequent to be false. Ergo.

They may answer, that Elders are needfull to debate things before they be propounded to the People; But that is only the duty of a Committee, and lesse then to Iudge; and he who may have a deliberative and decisive voyce may debate the matter; yea the matter being debated by the Elders, may be debated again amongst the People; so that their Debate should besuperfluous.

30. Here to confirme this, we may bring in all those passages of Scriptur, which our Brethren bring against it as Christs Command, Mat. 18. &c.

1 Cor. 5. and 2 Cor. 2. They only have Iurisdiction and power of Ex­communication in Christs Church, whom St. Paul in those passages com­mands to cast out from amongst them, and to admit the Incestuous person; But not every one of the promiscuous multitude, but those only, that are of the Representative Body of the Church, those only whom St. Paul comman­ded to cast out from amongst them, and to admit the Incestious person, Er.

The first Proposition is granted by our Brethren; the second is certain; for that which is in the Text cannot appertaine to every one of the people; This is written to all the Church of Corinth, which was very great, and consequently could not meete together as it is commanded, verse 4. neither could every one of them deliver him to Sathan, as it is commanded. 5. neither can it be shewed from the Text, that this is only said to growen men, that have the use of Reason, that doate not, to the exclusion onely of Children, of those that doate, that want altogether, or in part the use of Reason; and of women. Neither could every one comfort him, forgive him, &c. as it is commanded, 2 Cor. 2.7. and 15. Chapter. For further proofe hereof we shall by and by bring the rest of the passages, that they alleadge, for evidence against them.

CAP. 2. Where the Independants Opinions are refuted.

THey object 1. some Passages of Scripture, to prove that the Exercise of Iurisdiction belongeth to all the People promiscuously, as Mat. 18.17. Tell the Chnrch all, i. e. the People.

Acts 1. where the People did choose Matthias to the Apostleship.

Acts 6. where Deacons are chosen by the people.

Acts 14.23. where Priests or Elders are said to be chosen of the People, i.e. by the Peoples suffrages, signified by the stretching out of their hands.

Acts 15. in the difference about the Observation of the Ceremoniall Law.

1 Cor. 5. and 2. Cor. 2. where the Incestuous person is excommunicated by the People, and admitted againe to the Communion by the same People.

To all these I answer in order, and 1. To that of Mat. 18.17. Tel the Church, Ergo, all the People; I deny this Consequence; for our Brethren them­selves, at least one great, or the greatest part of them denies, that we should delate every Offender to all the People, as 1, to women. 2. to children. 3. To distracted Persons, howsoever they be members of the Church. 2. Nei­ther can they produce any Passage of Scripture, where the word Church is taken in this signification, viz. for the collective Body of the Church, to the exclusion of the greatest part therof, viz. all women, children, distracted persons, and vicious men, or notorious sinners; But of this we have said enough before.

To the second Passage, Act. 1.15.1. Put the case that the word, Disci­ples, signifie the promiscuous multitude, yet 2. I answer, that it is not there said, that every one of them gave their voyce, but only that-Peter stood up in the midst of the Disciples, the number whereof was about 120.3. If every one of them voyced; Ergo the women, and Mary, who are named, v. 14. voyced also, which is contrary to St. Pauls command, that women are to keep silence in the Church. 4. Only therefore those did voyce, that had po­wer to voyce, viz. Church-Officers, and not every one of the promiscuous [Page 101]multitude, for the Reasons already alleadged.

And it may be confirmed, 5. because it was not in the Peoples power to choose, or not to choose an Apostle; for he shewes from Psal. 9. that ano­ther man must take his Bishopricke, v. 20. Item, he binds them in another point, that some must be chosen of those men, which had accompanied with the Apostles, all the time that the Lord Iesus went in, and out among them, beginning from the Baptisme of Iohn, unto the day he was taken up from a­mongst them.

Obj. But wherefore then sayes Peter, v. 22. One must be ordained?

Answ. To shew them, that necessitate Praecepti, of Gods command, or ra­ther to accomplish this Prophesie, Psal. 9. some man must be put in Iudas his place: but hence it followes not, that he was to be chosen by the People.

Obj. But wherefore then sayes the Text, that the People appointed two; viz. Barnabas, and Matthias?

Answ. The Text saies not, that the People, but that they, viz. the Apo­stles and other Church-Officers, peradventure they that accompanied with them at the time, that the Lord Iesus went in and out amongst them.

2. Besides this, it is not for us to answer all these Questions, or wherefore the Holy Ghost speakes so, or so; It suffices us to beleeve that which is spoken; These things are written, and said, to the end that we should be­leeve them: It is our Brethrens part to prove from the Text, that which they say; otherwise we neither can, nor will beleeve them.

6. To give them more satisfaction, and to answer sundry other Questi­ons, that may be proposed, we distinguish in the Creation of a Mini­ster two things. 1. His Vocation to the Charge; 2. His Admission un­to the actuall Exercise thereof: The 1. containes, 1. the examen of his Life, 2. the examen of his Doctrine. 3. the act of Ordination, or [...], As for the first of these three, it may be done by the Pastors and Ruling Elders, by power of Iurisdiction, and by the People by way of Accusation, in declaring to the Assembly of Pastors, and other Church-Officers, what impediments they finde, if so be that the Person, that is to be created Pastor, be of a vi­cious and scandalous life. The second belongs not to every one of the Peo­ple, but only to Church-Officers, who are presumed capable to judge of Doctrine, and of his ability for the Ministery. Now whether this belongs to Pastors alone, or to the Ruling Elders also I will not dispute: only they say, that they only can examine his Doctrine, that have the capacity to judge of it.

To these two may be referred the voycing of his probitie, and capacity for his Doctrine, which belongs to the Pastors and Elders, or to the Representa­tive Church; for howsoever the People may assist at the Action, to accuse the person, that is to be received, of ill life, or false doctrine, or of igno­rance: [Page 102]yet for the Reasons above proposed, they are not to be accepted in voycing either of his life, or Doctrine, but that belonging to the Pastors a­lone, 1 Tim. 3.15. and chap. 5. v. 11, 22.

The third, viz. the right of Ordination, or [...] seemes only to be­long to the Pastors; neither doe our Brethren deny it; and it may be proved from 1. Tim. 3.14. Tit. 1.5.

As for the Admission, or Acceptation of a Minister into a particular Church, it belongs to the people, or to the whole Congregation; for as a Husband is not to be urged upon a woman against her will, but it being not Concubitus, consensus, qui facit matrimonium: no more is a Pastor upon a par­ticular Church; and howsoever he may goe to the Pulpit, and preach among them, yet unlesse they consent, he is not their Minister.

Now to apply this to the present Passage, I say, that the examen of life and Doctrine, in this Election of Matthias, belonged to the Apostles, and other Church Officers, (whereunto might be admitted such of the People as had the capacity) so did the Deliberative and the Decisive voycing, as likewise the power of Ordination belonged to the Church-Officers alone; And yet the People were there. 1. to propound, if they knew any impediment against his Vocation. 2. to know that he was chosen. 3. to admit him as a Minister of the Universall Militant Church upon Earth; and in this they might voyce [...], i. e. by giving their consent in stretching out their hands. Neither can they, or any man living draw any more from this Text: But note here, that the Vocation of a Minister, Essentially, and Formally consists in the Decisive voycing, and in his Ordination: The examen of his life, and Doctrine, are only Antecedents, and the Admission of the people only Conse­quents of the Vocation; and so Accidentally it belongs to the People, but Essentially to Church-Officers only.

But, what if the Congregation will not admit the Minister, that is or­dained?

A. I answer 1. That the Representative Church should not ordaine a Minister, till they be assured of some Flock, or Congregation, that will ad­mit him for their Minister. 2. That if after they have promised to admit him, they admit him not; they doe wrong to the Church: He is their true Pastor, and they are to be commanded to admit him: even as a woman, that hath lawfully consented to marriage, by her contracting of her selfe to such a man. 3. If they will not obey, neverthelesse he is a Minister, yea, their Mi­nister, and hath power to teach, though he cannot exercise it for want of a Flock: But it concernes the Church to provide him of some Flock.

7. Others answer, that the People may have a hand in the Election of their Church-Officers in Ecclesia constituenda, such as this was, but not in constituta.

The Passage which our Brethren bring out of Acts 6.2, 3. and 5, 6. prove [Page 103]not, That every one of the people had power of Iurisdiction, and of the voycing in the Election of the seven Deacons, to the exclusion of children, yong men, men of weak Iudgement, notorious Sinners, and women; for the Text hath no such thing in it.

2. It may be doubted, whether the multitude of the Disciples, v. 2, 3. signifie the promiscuous multitude, or the multitude of the seventy Disciples, chosen by Christ.

3. But suppose it signifie generally Christs Disciples, and not precisely those seventy, yet it is not said, that they created, or ordained the Elders.

4. The contrary may be concluded from the v. 4, 5. Then the Twelve called the multitude of the Disciples unto them, and said, Looke yee among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost, and wisedome, whom we may appoint over this Businesse; where yee see, that the Apostles appointed their Deacons, and not the People; only the People sought out those seven men, as knowing better what kind of men were among them, then the A­postles; And they presented them to the Apostles to be examined in their lives, and Doctrine before the Church-Officers, and to be ordained by them; So that the Apostles 1. ordained the Office. 2. commanded the Peo­ple to seeke out honest Men. 3. examined them. 4. and appointed or ordained them, The people only had the power to inquire of their lives, and to ad­mit, or approve them by their consent and [...], v. 5. After that, They were ordained by the Church-Officers, that were present in the whole Action, and had seen all things passed without partiality, as I have above declared.

5. If the People had had any voyce here, which cannot be collected out of this Text, yet it should only follow, that they had this power in Eccle­siâ constituendâ, but not in constitutâ, i. e. in the first Institution of Churches, or Church-Officers: but not in a Church already established, and furnished with all her ordinary Church-Officers, say others.

The Place, Acts 14. verse 22. whereon they insist so much, hath [...], and when they had ordained them Elders in every Church, Here they conceive, that the word, signifies to create Ministers by Suffrages of the People, who had voyce in the creating of Elders.

A. To this some answer, and that very probably, that the word [...], hath three divers significations. 1. that it signifies the same, that the la­tin word suffragari, or porrectis manibus suffiagia ferre, to give their approbati­on by lifting up, or stretching out their Hands. 2. to choose in any fashion whatsomever, Acts 10. verse 41.3. for the imposition of Hands com­monly called, [...], and so it is taken in some of the Fathers Writings: so they say that the word [...], here, may be taken either in the second, or third signification, and that it cannot be pro­ved [Page 304]from the Text, that it is taken in the first: But they take that for granted, which they are not able to prove.

2. Put the case it signifie here to ordaine by the Consent of the Peopte; yet followes it not, that this Consent of the People was a Voyce, because it was not asked of every man a part; neither hath the Text that; nor can it be sought in great Congregations.

3. Put the case; they had Voyce; yet followes it not, that they had voyce in the Examen, and Iudging of the Pastors sufficiency, since they had not the Iudgement, or sufficiency themselves to Iudge there­of: but only, as I said before, in the Examen of his life, if they knew any thing, that might hinder his Reception; or in the acceptation in­to a particular Church, or rejection from it, which only belonged to the Congregation, wherein he was to exercise his Office; which they cal­led [...] and [...]. And therefore as Tilenus observes in his Dispute, De Vocatione Ministrorum, the Church of old times was wont to write in a Table, or Placard, in some publicke place, the name of him, who was destin'd to the Ministery: or in case that could not commodiously be done, they named him publickly in the Ecclesiastick Assembly, to the end that if any man knew any thing, which might hin­der his Reception, He might advertise the Church within such a time, as Shee prescribed for that purpose; And thus much we grant, and this Text proves no more.

Our Brethren triumph much also of the Place, Acts 15. where they pretend, that in that famous Controversie betwixt Paul, and Barnabas, on the one part; and some Pharisees on the other, about the observa­tion of the Ceremoniall Law, and of Circumcision, the People Iudged, and had voyce, as well as the Pastors, and Elders, both at Antioch, and at Hierusalem, which they prove; 1. because v. 2. the Brethren deter­mined to send Paul, and Barnabas to Hierusalem, unto the Apostles, and Elders about that Question.

I answer 1. That the Text sayes not, that the Brethren and People deter­mined to send them; but that they determined; which, probably, were those of the Representative Church.

2. Put the case, that all the Church, and every member thereof determined to send them: yet could they not determine that, but as they could, viz. the Representative Church, composed of Church-Officers, by power of Iurisdi­ction in voycing, and giving of Iudgement; And the People by consenting to their just Iudgement explicitely, or implicitely.

3. It may be, that the Church was divided into two Factions of equall force, which made a great Schisme; for the Text sayes, v. 2. that Paul and Barnabas had no small dissention with the Pharisees; and in such an extra­ordinary case the Consent of the people might well have been sought: How­soever [Page 305]the Text sayes it not. 4. But, howbeit it were so; Extraordinary Ca­ses are not to be drawn into consequence. 5. Howbeit, the People had deter­mined; yet did they it not in an Ecclesiasticall, but in a Politicall way, viz. in furnishing them their Charges, and in that they might have Voyce or Power to consent, or give suffrage in furnishing money, which was accidentall to this Ecclesiasticall and Spirituall Power. 6. To send Deputies, or the parties to Hierusalem, or to a Synod, to debate the question, is not a proper act of Ecclesiasticall Jurisdiction: but the Voycing, and Pronouncing of Sentence in Ecclesiasticall Causes.

2. They prove it from this Text; because, they were brought on their way by the Church. E. What follows? That every one of the People in the Church, except Women, Children, Distracted men, and Sinners had Voyce in this bu­sinesse?

A. 1. I deny the Consequence; for how know they, that there were no VVomen, nor Youths, that brought them on their way? 2. How know they, that all the Reall Church brought them on their way? 3. To bring them on their way, is not an Act of Ecclesiasticall Jurisdiction, but of Christian Cha­ritie, or of Civill Humanitie; Neither belongeth it to every one, that con­voyes a Commissioner a part of his way, to have a Decisive Voyce in that, which his Commission containes. Truly, This is so ridiculous, that I am ashamed to answer it, or that the world should believe, that so good and so learned men, should be moved to make a Schisme in the Church of God, for so frivolous Arguments.

3. They prove it from the fourth verse, because, they were received of the Church, and of the Apostles and Elders. E. Every one in the Church had power of Voycing, and of Jurisdiction, except Women, Children, and Sinners.

  • A. 1. I deny the Consequence; For he who receives a Commissioner, or a party hath not evermore Power, to heare his Commission, much lesse to judge thereof, as we see in State-Businesses.
  • 2. The Text sayes not, that they were received by all the Reall Church, excepting Women, Children, &c.
  • 3. Neither sayes the Text, that they that received them, received them im­mediatly in the Peoples name.
  • 4. Or, that they were received by them, in qualitie of Church-Commissioners from Antioch. But rather in qualitie of Apostles, by Apostles, by whom God had done great wonders in the Conversion of the Gentiles, as it may be concluded, from the 3. and 4. verses; For in declaring this, they rejoyced.
  • [Page 306]5. Neither was this Reception an Act of Ecclesiasticall Jurisdiction, and it seemes that those that were so received were not all the Commissio­ners: but those only, that had converted the Gentiles, viz. Paul and Bar­nabas.

Ans. I answer; the Antecedent may be denied, that the word, Congregation, or Church, here signifies, all the Members of the Reall Church, as above we have clearly proved, because our Brethren confess, that it signifies not Women, Children, &c. 2. Put the case, it signifie all the Church, or the whole Church, yet can it not signifie it wholly, Significat totam, sed non totalis, but every part according to the matter in hand; The Epistle then was written by the whole Church; but by their Representative Body, as having power of Jurisdi­ction; and by the rest, as consenting directly, or indirectly.

Ob. But in this Church is comprehended the Brethren, who are distinguish­ed from the Apostles, and Elders; E. they signifie the People.

  • A. 1. It may signifie the Evanglists, the Prophets, and those, that had the Gift of Tongues, &c.
  • 2. I grant it, according to my former declaration; only I deny, that they had Power of Jurisdiction, or a Decisive voyce in this Company.
  • 3. What if it be denyed, that the word Brethren here, signifieth every one of the promiscuous multitude, and I should say that it signifies the Deacons; or men of the better sort, that had a Deliberative voyce.
  • 4. Our Brethren themselves deny, that it signifies all Brethren, as Children, and Women, who are accounted under the word, Brethren.

2. Ans. I deny the Consequence of the Argument. 1. Because the Letters were also written to children, women, young men, and notorious Sinners, and yet even according to our Brethrens confession, they had not Pow­er of Voycing, or of Jurisdiction in this, or in any other Ecclesiasticall cause.

2. Because, that all the Scriptures are written to every Christian, yea that, which toucheth the day of Judgement, and yet never any one of them shall judge thereof, but be judged thereby.

3. Because, howbeit their Letters, or this Judgement was written to all; Yet was it not written to all in the same fashion, but to every one according to his Vocation, as the Kings Edicts, viz. To some, meerly to be obeyed by them; To others, that have Jurisdiction, as to inferiour Judicatories, to obey them; and to cause them to be obeyed by others.

Ob. They prove it from this Chapter, v. 3. because, S. Paul and Barnabas being come back from Jerusalem to Antioch, they gathered the multitude, and delivered the Epistle written from the Apostles, &c.

A. I answer, 1. That the text sayes not, that they delivered the Epistle to the Multitude, but when they had gathered the Multitude, they delivered the Epist.

Ob. But it is said, v. 31. when the Multitude had read the Epistle, they rejoyced.

A. I answer; it is not said, that the Multitude had read the Epistle; but that the Apostles delivered it; which when they had read: This they, may signi­fie some other, then the Multitude: 1. Because, it is not the custome in any Assembly, that all the Multitude read Epistles. 2. Neither is it possible with­out very great confusion.

Ob. But, how could the People then rejoyce for the consolation?

  • A. 1. Because, the Letter was read in their presence by the Church-Officers.
  • A. 2. But, put the case, that the Letter was read by the People, it could not be, till after it had been read in the Representative Church, or by the El­ders, and after that it had been published.
  • A. 3. Howbeit, it had been received, and read by the People, or to the Peo­ple, yet was not that an Act of Ecclesiasticall Jurisdiction, but of obedience of an inferiour Ecclesiasticall Judicatorie to a Superiour.
  • A. 4. It might have been read, to all the People; yea, to Children, and women, that were to obey; And yet it follows not presently, that they had Ecclesiasticall Jurisdiction.
  • A. 5. It might have been read to all, or, by all, Tan (que) subjecto Denomina­tionis, Et ut quod; But not, tanquam subjecto, ut quo; as when the whole King­dome is that, which is named rich or potent, howbeit their Riches and Pow­er be not in every man, but in a few: So a man is said to be judged by the Kingdome, who is only judged by the Kings Counsell, or by the Parliament, or Representative Kingdome; and neverthelesse, what the Parliament does is said to be done by the Reall Kingdome; or it may belong to the whole Body, but not wholly, but to every part, according to the exigence thereof.

Ob. They say, that 1 Cor. 5. and 2 Cor. 2. The Apostle commands all the Peo­ple to Excommunicate the incestuous man, when they were gathered together: and after his repentance, to receive him to the peace of the Church againe.

A. We deny, that the Apostle gives any such Power to the People, or pro­miscuous multitude by that passage, but only to Church-Officers, that repre­sents the Church.

Inst. But they prove it on this manner; They among whom the Fornicator was, that were puffed up, when they should have sorrowed, and from out of the midst of whom he was to be put, who had done that thing; Item. They who had to purge out the old leaven; that were not to company with Fornicators, Covetous men, Drunkards, &c. received Power to judge, and to Excommuni­cate that incestuous man.

But the Fornicator was not amongst the Elders alone; neither were they alone puffed up, &c. E. He was not to be judged by them alone, but by the Church with them, though governed by them.

  • A. 1. This Argument failes mightily in forme, 1. Because it containes two, or three Conclusions, viz. 1. He was not to be judged by them alone. 2. Hee was to be judged by the Church with them. 3. He was to be judged by the Church, governed by them.
  • 2. This Syllogisme is either Categoricall; and so failes, because of the As­sumption Negative in the first Figure; or, Conditionall because of the Major Relative; and so it failes, because it destroyes the Antecedent in the Assumption.

A. 2. It failes in Matter; For the first Proposition, being taken Universally, is false, because the Fornicator was among Women, and Youths, &c. who were puffed up, &c. and yet our Brethren grant, that they had not power to Voyce, or to Excommunicate. 2. Because, 2. Cor. 2. v. 6. This punishment is said to be inflicted by many; and not by all; for many are opposite to all, as ye may see in Arist. 1. Top. c. 1. sect. 7. 3. Because, in the Text, there is [...], and not [...], as Beza observes, which is more then [...]; for [...], as others observes; it is only the greater part in number, as in that passage of Arist. 1 Top. 1. sect. 7. but [...], as those that are greater in dignitie, which are but few, viz. the Church-Officers, that rule the Church, as Beza observes upon this place.

A. 3. That howbeit this be said, and written to them all; Yet is it not said to them all, alwayes, but according as they were capable to obey; Now some were capable to obey by Judiciall Power, as the Representative Church in Excommunicating him, and so binding themselves, and others by Authority to quit his company; Others only, as private Persons, or Christians, in obey­ing the Sentence of the Representative Church; And so this was said, and commanded to private Christians.

But they Reply; As it was not enjoyn'd the Levites, and Elders alone in Israel, to purge out of their Houses the materiall Leaven, but it belonged to the People also: so is it in the Spirituall Leaven.

A. This we grant: that it was the duty of every Israelite, by obedience, as he was a Private person, to put away the Materiall Leaven out of his own house: And so it is every private Christians duty, to put away the Spirituall Leaven: But neither among the Israelites, had every private, or particular man a pub­lick Authority, and Jurisdiction, to put it away out of his own, and all other Houses; nor among Christians, to put away Spirituall Leaven: Every parti­cular man in his own house may command; but not in another mans without publick Authority.

They bring another Text. 1. Tim. 5.20. Those, who sin, rebuke publikely, that others also may feare. But what inferre ye from hence? E. Every one of the People have Ecclesiasticall Jurisdiction, to rebuke publickly?

A. Wee deny the Consequence; 1. For, this is said to Timothy, who was a Pastor, and an Evangelist: and not to every one of the People. 2. Because, every one of the People hath not the gift, to robuke publikely, at least perti­nently: or, 3. If some of them meddle with this charge, I thinke they will de­serve more to be rebuked themselves, then he who is rebuked by them. 4. If this belong to every one of the People. E. That which is said, Cap. 4. v. 11. These things command and teach. v. 12. Let no man despise thy youth. v. 14. Neglect not the gift, that is in thee, which was given thee by Prophesie, with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery. Item, That which is said, c. 5. v. 21.22. About laying on of hands, and drinking of wine: But all this should be ridicu­lous, and superfluous.

The truth is, that here, as in other Epistles, many Duties are commanded; but not all, to all, but some to Publick persons, as to Pastours, to Church-Rulers: Some to particular Persons: And others are common to all; And this here is commanded to Timothy a Pastour, and in his name to all other Pa­stours, as the same common Dutie of them all.

After Scripture, they bring Reason, but against both Scripture, and Reason.

1. VVhat concerneth all, ought to be done by the consent of all: But the Government of the Church concernes all. E.

A. If by the word, Consent, bee here meant Formall, and Actuall ex­plicit Consent; it is false; 1. Because, our Brethren crave not the consent of VVomen, and young Men; and yet the Preaching of Gods word, the Admi­nistration of the Sacraments, and the Government of the Church, concernes them all.

2. Because, scarsly is it possible, or at least it falls rarely out, that every one, whom every Act of Ecclesiasticall Government concernes, consents thereun­to; for Voyces and suffrages sometimes are divided, yea among our Brethren in their voycing; So that this is against themselves.

3. In our Churches, it is done by the consent of all, either Formall, or Vir­tuall, since our Ecclesisticall Discipline, and Government is established by all; and our Church Rulers have the Power to rule according to Gods word, by consent of the People, so far forth as they actually consent thereunto, or contradict it not.

4. Either they understand here the generall Forme of Government, and the power of Jurisdiction; or the exercise thereof in actuall judging; or the exe­cution thereof after the matter is judged; which they will to be done with the [Page 310]consent of all; The first is established by God without our consent, as they avow; The second we deny it; for in the Politicall Government, the Judges doe Voyce, and judge without the consent of all, whom it concerneth; As for the third, if it concerne all particularly, as Excommunication; then it is published; and if none contradict the Judgement, they are thought to con­sent, at least interpretativè, since they contradict it not; or if any man dissent, his Reasons are to be heard; which if they be just, the proceeding is to be hin­dred; if not, he is to rest contented, according to Gods word; And if after sufficient satisfaction he acquiesces not, he is to be punished according to the quality of his Fault.

Ob. If your Ecclesiasticall Senate judge alone, as the Representative Church, as ye call it; then must it judge according to the Judgement of the People, or Reall Church; otherwise it shall no more represent the People, or the whole Congregation, then an Assent represents a Dissent; or Black represents White. But that can it not, unlesse it know the Judgement of the People, which cannot be known, but by their Voycing, and hearing of them. E.

  • R. I answer. 1. to the Major; it must be conforme to their actuall Judgement formall; I deny it for the reason here alleadged: to their vertuall Judgement, I grant it; for they professe actually, that they will follow Gods word, wherein vertually is conteined, and they may be deduce, if they will, that the Repre­sentative Church judges not according to their erronious, formall and actuall judgement; and so the Assumption is false.
  • R. 2. To their actuall Judgement, whatsoever it be; I deny it: To that whereby they will judge truly according to Gods word; I grant it; and then the Assumption is false.
  • R. 3. To all their Judgement; I deny the Major, for it is impossible to follow the Judgement contradictory of divers Persons; or those of one man, which actually and formally, or virtually may be contradictory to themselves.
  • R. 4. I answer, the Representative Church must judge according to the actuall Judgement of the Reall Church, or People; it is false; For what if the People be infected with Heresie? Shall the Ministers and Rulers of the Church in that case become Hereticks, or judge in favour of Hereticks, according to the Judgement; Such as it should be according to Gods word; it is true; for the Representative Church is not so called, as if it represented the Churches Judge­ment, such as it is; but such as it should be according to Gods word, that rules them both; yea, if that should represent this actuall Judgement, it should doe more, then 20. divers Judgements, which oftentimes are to be found amongst the People upon one subject; And so we deny the Assumption of the Syllo­gisme. To the confirmation thereof, I answer; that it should no more repre­sent their actuall Judgement; I grant it: but it should represent their Potentiall [Page 311]Judgement, such as they are bound to have, howsoever their actuall Judge­ments be contradictory.

Ob. But, what if the Judgement of your Ecclesiasticall Senate, or Repre­sentative Church be wrong, and that of the Reall Church sound?

A. That Case is extraordinary, in respect of the order established in Gods Church; for when it is said, Tell it unto the Church: and if hee heare not the Church, &c. It is supposed, that the Church will judge the judgements of the Lord, or according to his Law; neither hath Shee any other order from God, but in that extraordinarie Case supposed. I answer, that nei­ther the People, nor any particular man is bound to obey the Repre­sentative Church, but every one hath power of God, to contest lawful­ly the Judgement of the Representative Church, and Shee is bound to admit them in their contestations, and to heare them according to the Scrip­ture, and to amend their Judgement: And if all the Church, or the greater part of the Reall Church, or Congregation oppose it selfe to their Judgement, it cannot stand, nor be put in execution; yea, I dare say, that the Representa­tive Church, shewing her selfe pertinacious in her errour, after sufficient con­viction, or refusing to heare her conviction, is really Schismaticall, or Here­ticall (according to the matter contested) in Gods account; And howsoever particular men cannot right themselves, but are bound to suffer injustice, so long as they stay in such Churches (since they are not Ecclesiasticall Judges;) or to retire themselves out of the societie of such Oppressors, to the end they may more easily defend themselves: neverthelesse the Collective Body of the Reall Church, or the greater part thereof, if it have the Abilitie, is bound to refute them, to make them ashamed, yea, to contemne their Judgement, and by all lawfull meanes, oppresse such Oppressors: And this is the Doctrine of our first Reformers, oppressed by the Roman Antichristianisme, against Papists, which holds also in Reformed Churches; For it is all one to me, to find Anti­christian Tyranny at Rome, or at Edinburgh, London, Paris, or Amsterdam, It is not the place, but Antichristian Tyranny, or Doctrine, that makes an Antichrist.

And to be quit with them here, I aske againe, what if the Judgement of the Consistorie be right, and that of the People, which ordinarily falls out, wrong: or if the Judgement of the greater part of the People be wrong, and that of the lesser part right: what then is to be done or followed? Here they shall find themselves in no lesse straights, then they think to draw us unto.

Ob. They say, it is a thing never heard nor seene in any Kingdome of the world: or, in any Ecclesiasticall Judicatorie before Calvin, and Beza, that all the People should be secretly (as it were in a Chamber of Meditation) judged out of all mens presence by six or ten Ecclesiasticall Persons.

A. They, that say so, have not seen nor heard much of that which passes in the Christian world: it is a thing very ordinary, to see some civill Causes, in civill Judicatories Pleaded with the doors shut, by the consent of the Parties: yea sometimes, by the will of the Judges. 2. And I would pray them (to go no farther) to tell me, if every man hath libertie to enter in at the Parliament, here at home. They cannot deny, but that the door is kept close, and that ordinarily, only the Members of the House have entry.

3. And neverthelesse; if the Parties desire to plead their Causes in the presence of so many as may enter, I doubt not but the Reformed Church will grant it them; yea, there is an Act of the French Discipline to that purpose; command­ing that the Parties desiring their Causes to be discussed openly, the doores cast open, it should be granted.

Yea, wee maintain; that in such Cases, when parties complaine of such secret Ecclesiasticall oppression, the Church is bound by law and Con­science to proceed publickly, and to justifie to the world her Proceedings; o­therwise, shee is no wayes to be believed.

And this Argument I had willingly passed over, if it had not been urged against me; and that I had beene prayed to answer it by some of our Bre­thren that thought it so strong, that it could not be answered.

But to answer ad hominem; may not such faults fall out amongst them that object this Argument, as we have Examples of it? Our Question is not so much what is done, as what should be done; How to establish a Law against Abuses in the Churches, and not, How men abuse their owne Authoritie.


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