SATISFACTION CONCERNING Mixt Communions: In Answer to the Doubts of some, who abstain from the SACRAMENT OF The Lords Supper; BECAUSE Wicked persons are present.

I Approve this Book, intituled Satisfaction concerning mixt Communions, as sound in doctrine, and profitable in use for these times.

Iohn Downame.

LONDON Printed by John Raworth for Samuel Gellibrand, and are to be sold at his Shop in Pauls Church-yard, at the Brazen Serpent. 1643. July 8.

Satisfaction concerning Mixt COMMƲNIONS.

BEfore I proceed to answer your Doubts, I must premise a word or two, that I be not mistaken, and supposed to main­tain that which I oppose. 1. I say not that wicked persons ought to come. 2. Nor, that they ought not to be kept away: For in this I agree with you, that they ought not to come (unfit) though they might be admitted; neither ought they to be admitted (by those who have power to keep them away) though they would dare to come. 3. But I say, their undue coming, is no suf­ficient ground for me or you to keep away.

Again, I propose it to be well considered; That the Omission of an undoubted Dutie, is not excused by my mis­take concerning some circumstances. And therefore, the Celebration and Participation of the Lords Supper being undeniably my Dutie, which I may not de­cline (at least, constantly, or even for any long time) without a just impediment: It is not a sufficient [Page 2]excuse for Omission, that I think my self bound in Conscience to abstain, because of such an Impedi­ment, unlesse that Impediment be really sufficient. For it is not a Supposed Impediment, but a Reall Impe­diment, that will warrant my Omitting a Duty com­manded. Uzzah, no question, thought himself bound in Conscience to stay the Ark, rather then to let it fall: But yet his thinking himself bound in Conscience, did neither excuse the Action from be­ing a Sin, nor the Person from being Punished. The like must be said, in case a man should abstain from Prayer, from Hearing, from Confes [...]ing his Sins to God, from Humiliation for sins, from Sanctifying the Lords Day, or the like, because he thinks himself bound in conscience not to do it (as suppose, he think himself bound in Conscience not to hear such a Minister, whom he conceives to be a wicked man, and therefore rather then hear him, he will never come to Church at all; or that he think himself bound in Conscience not to Pray daily, but onely as the Spirit moves; that he ought not confesse his Sins, or be humbled for them, because he thinks there is no use of such Duties in the time of the Gospel; or the like:) I say, his thinking himself bound in Con­science not to perform such Duties, doth not make these cease to be Duties, nor excuse his Omission of them. For if my Conscience be in an Errour in so judging, it is a Sin in me to Omit the Duty, whether I think it so or no. Ignorantia juris non excusat; Igno­rance doth not absolve from Dutie. This I propose, because people are so apt to be satisfied presently in abstaining from the Sacrament, if they can say, They [Page 3]think themselves bound in Conscience not to come, (for such and such reasons) as if they were then out of all danger of sinning in staying away, and bound in Conscience so to do; And never consider in the mean time, that, if their Conscience be in an Errour, they sin notwithstanding. For it is not my Opinion, (or what I think my self in Conscience bound to) but the Truth of the thing, that makes an Action Law­full or Sinfull. And therefore, though I think my self bound in conscience to stay away, yet (if I think amisse) I sin in so doing. This being premised, I proceed to answer your Doubts.

We may not, you say, Communicate at the Lords Table, with profane persons. Your reasons. 1. They discern not the Lords Body. 2. Nor have right to it. 3. It's a Spirituall Banquet onely for the Saints. 4. Christ said, It is not meet to take the Childrens Bread and give it to Dogs. Answer. All this concludes well, that Pro­fane persons ought not to come; or if they do come, they ought not to be admitted, by them that have power to keep them away; But it doth not prove, that another private person, in such a case, ought not to receive. They discern not the Lords Body. What then? Therefore they ought not to come. True; But ought not I to come neither? Must not I par­take of the LORDS Table, because another discerns not the Lords Body? They have no right to it. True; And therefore ought not to intrude. We grant it. But because another hath no right, may not I challenge mine? It's a Spirituall Ban­quet onely for Saints. True; But what follows? Therefore the wicked should be kept away. I grant [Page 4]it; But in case I cannot keep Them away, must I stay away my self? It is not meet to give the Childrens Bread to Dogs. True; (though doubtlesse Christ, when he spake it, never intended to restrain that speech to the case of receiving the Sacrament) and therefore the Dogs ought to be kept away: But in case the Dogs be not shut out of the room, but catch a piece, must the Children therefore leave their Bread? If Dogs be suffered to snatch some of the Childrens Bread, yet the Children must not leave their parts and run from the Table; much lesse for­bear to come to their meat, because there be some Dogs in the room who will catch a part, or some will be given them. The Arguments conclude well, That profane persons, if known, ought to be kept from it, by those that have authority: Which if the people should have together (which I do not now dispute) yet certainly, not every private man (or woman much lesse) alone. The sin of their Admis­sion is theirs, and onely theirs, who have authority, if they know them such; or theirs who can prove them such, and do not: which is hard to do, though one be certain of it in his own minde: Even Autho­rity must not censure without just proof. This then is nothing to private persons; who are no otherwise guilty of the neglect of Ecclesiasticall Authority, omitting to Censure, then they may be guilty of the neglect of Civill authority omitting to Punish; and yet none hold themselves bound to depart out of Civill Society, meerly because some evil doers are not duly punished: No not a Justice of Peace to go off the Bench, because some of his fellow-Justices are cor­rupt.

Besides, the businesse is first to worship God and Christ, and to remember and shew forth his Death. How dare I forbear this, when his Children are met to do it, because some others thrust themselves in, who pretend to worship him too? and joyn rather with me (though unwarrantably, in regard of their sinfulnesse) then I with them. Mark this differ­ence, it is very materiall. You say, and say truly, That the Sacrament is a spirituall Banket only for Saints, that is, Christ will only bid them welcome. I say it also. And the Saints honouring of Christ so at the time appointed, I and you (as Saints) are called by Christ, and cannot answer it, if we come not, not ha­ving some outward hinderance, and that more then supposed too. It is our Businesse, our Homage, our Banquet; If now others, that have no right to it, thrust in (as Satan among the sons of God, Job 1. & 2 who did not therefore run away) they joyn with me, I joyn not with them. I desire not their company, (as such) I approve of none of their sins, nor joyn in any of them. If S. Paul, though it were against himself, rejoyced that Christ was preached; not that it was not sin in them to do it out of envie and strife, supposing to adde affliction to his Bonds: So, that God is worshipped, is a matter of joy, though their failings, which do it amisse, be sinfull. There is some Honour to Christ in the publike profession of his Death, by those who yet sin grievously in the man­ner of performance; yea what greater sin, then to malice the Apostle in Bonds for the Gospel? If then they outwardly professe Christ, though not to their own good, yet is it so much comfort at least, that [Page 6]they bear outward witnesse, that Christs servants must do as we do; and so pretending (though falsly, to their own hurt onely) themselves to be such, and come to do so too, these joyn with me then, not I with them; they professe to joyn in that true Ser­vice to God that I perform; I do not professe (but dis­claim) to joyn in that sinfulnesse which they bring. They should not do it, if I had authority: Now I can but be sorry for them, and pray.

But you offer to prove, that these persons do defile the Communion of Saints. 1. By the example of Achan. 2. That Ordinance is a joynt act, We being many are one Bread, 1 Cor. 10.17. 3. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, 1 Cor. 5.6, 11. 4. And all Scriptures are written for our learning, and example. This last is true, but we must look for right understanding.

1. Therefore I answer to the first. 1. Achans sin was secret. If you will have it parallelled; it makes Hypocrites to defile as well as profane, and then you can never be secure that we may come to the Sacra­ment, for there may be a secret Achan, to defile all. 2. It was a singular case of which God had fore­warned, Josh. 6. with threatning; Joshua and the go­vernours should have searched all places and tents, which they did not. 3. And every man we know is liable to Judgements for the offence of Governors, or their neglect to search out offenders. 4. Yet for all that, not every man guilty of sin. God may and doth punish temporally, upon the occasion of others Sins (as Israel for Davids numbring the peo­ple, of which they were not guiltie) because every one hath sin in himself, which is the rooted cause, [Page 7]though not the Occasion. 5. But God never punish­eth spiritually for anothers sin; therefore it is quite contrary to the Inference. A Civill Body may be politikely guilty by one (as in Warre, by one breaking a Truce) but in the conscience, thousands can­not defile one, no where, and least of all in the Or­dinances of God; which is my Sanctuary, and so every faithfull mans.

2. For the place, 1 Cor. 10.17. You both mistake the sense, and stretch it too far however. If my com­municating with a profane person make me spiritu­ally one body with him, then either he becomes a true member of Christs Body, or else I cease to be a true member, and become a member or limb of Sathan, as he is yet. The former, I am sure, you will not hold; nor yet the latter, because such an act, how sinfull soever you suppose it to be, nor any act indeed, nor acts, nor any thing else, cannot make a true member of Christ to become a limb of Sa­than.

Besides, if his guilt defile me, it is either in the nature of the sin, and then even secret guilt would defile, and so there would be (as I said be­fore) no security: or because I consent to it, which I do not; or at least, consent that he should come to the Sacrament, which I do not neither. I may not forbear, because God calls me as his servant, so to honour him and his Son, and to benefit my soul. If I be sorry any that thrusts in is not prepared, I can do no more, nor did God ever bid any leave his Ordinances for the presence or intrusion of a sinner.

But I have not yet told you the meaning of the place you appeal to. The phrase of being one bread is obscure, and I know not whether I can give a right reason why it is used, not finding it neither cleared by Expositors: But the sense is, That all true Christians partaking together of the Sacra­ment, are one Body with Christ, and so one with ano­ther, of which their partaking of one Bread is a pledge. Hypocrites may partake outwardly, and so profane.; but the sentence concerns not them, more then to tell them what they lose while they pretend to partake of it: But even the outward partaking bindes them, and all true partakers much more, not to partake of Sathans sacrifices, vers. 20. And this is all the Apostles drift in these words, and not to signifie any Spirituall Conjuction with all that partake of that Sacrament outwardly.

3. Your third place, 1 Cor. 5. seems most to your scope, yet comes not home to it. The words you mention verse 6. A little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump, is a proverbiall speech, and figurative, and so must not be strained beyond their scope; That was to shew the necessity of the incestuous (and such like persons) excommunication, because of the danger of infection by example (as one root of bitternesse springing up, endangers to defile many, Heb. 12.15.) even of the whole multitude, who are apt to fol­low the same, or the like wickednesse. (Grex totus in agro, Unius scabie pcrit, & porrigine porci; Uvaque conspectâ livorem ducit ab uvâ. Horat.) not that eve­ry one would be infected, much lesse that every one was already guilty by his sin, even before infection, [Page 9]but because there was danger of infection, in case he were not punished: As that, 1 Cor. 15. Evill communi­cation corrupts good manners, doth not shew what will certainly be, but what there is danger of; yet this sufficeth that it should be put away: So here. More then this it cannot signifie (unlesse you would also interpret it, of making the whole Church liable to some outward judgment; but that will scarce agree to the Metaphor, and however not reach to your supposall.)

You point also to verse 11. where the faithfull are forbidden so much as to eat with a scandalous bro­ther: whence you would infer (as some do) Much lesse at the Lords Table. I answer; There can be no such consequence drawn thence: For first, the Apostle forbids not all converse with all heathens, because then they must go out of the world: So I say; not all Sacramentall communion with every wic­ked brother, because then they must go out of the Church, and joyn with no Church in the world after a while, but make separation upon separation, and so no Communion of Saints, or participation of Sacraments at all; as experience hath shewed more then once, and more would, if the Separatists had publike liberty and room; or else they would re­nounce their own Principles in many cases of pra­ctice, as in the Low-Countries of late, and at this day. But secondly, As in the case of Naturall or Civill necessity they might eat with such. As if of the same Family, if together in a Ship, or in an Inne (where the diet is common, as in many other Countries) a faithful person was not bound to fast because of them. [Page 10]So for Spirituall necessity; You are not bound to sast from your Spirituall food because of them, and leave off all, or forbear the publike serving and honouring of God which he calls you to in the Sa­crament. They might fight together as Souldiers, work together as servants, lodge together, if hus­band and wife, be friendly, if brothers and sisters, or kindred: But not unnecessarily shew friendship, or entertain familiarity with those that they were no otherwise bound to, then by the bonds of Christi­anity, they behaving not themselves as Christians. So then, all that can be gathered hence toward the Sa­crament, is, That those who have Authority, should not admit such; so vers. 5. & 13. But this (I say everlast­ingly) it is impossible every private man should have alone. Christ bids such onely tell the Church; and if they that offend hear not the Church, repute them as heathens, withdraw as much as may be (and as the Church directs) from them: But he saith not, If the Church heareth not you, count it Paganish or pro­fane; much lesse, Forbear to worship me, or come to my Sacrament, as defiled or profaned by their presence: which certainly is a matter of so great importance, as that there need be a clear and pe­remptory command to secure a conscience refrain­ing, or else they will have but small thanks one day from Christ.

Arguments a­gainst this Opi­nion of the un­lawfulnesse of Mixt Commu­nions.On the contrary, see briefly what may further be said against this conceit:

First, It is certain Christ admitted Judas to the Passeover: And S. Luke, Chap. 22.21. telling us of Christs warning of Iudas his Treason, The hand [Page 11]of him that betrayes me, is with me on the Table, imme­diately after the Institution of the Sacrament, bids me believe he received the Lords Supper also. However, it is all one for the Passeover; Christ knowing him, and as man (for he designed him to Iohn, as he had also told of him generally before) yet he sends him not out before he had eaten and communicated with them in this Sacrament, and none of his disciples say, Master, Thou hast told us a Sathan is amongst us, a Traytor, send him out, else he will defile us. To know that there is such an one certainly, is all one in sense and effect, as to know who he is, for that matter. Say, Would you not startle (upon your grounds) if one should tell you, I know certainly that one of your company that is coming to the Sacrament with you is an adulterer, or a whore, and lives in such wic­kednesse, could you chuse but forbear? But so did not the disciples.

Secondly, It is no lesse certain there were great offenders at this time, in the Church of Corinth; some that made themselves drunk at their Love-Feasts, at the Sacrament, Chap. 11. some that even denied the Resurrection, Chap. 15. and sundry others grievous offenders, 2 Cor. 12.20, 21. Yet are they still a Church, though these uncast out, and he no where blames for coming to the Lords Table because of them, no not in that fifth Chapter which you mention.

Thirdly, No such word of forbearing for ano­thers sake, when he speaks of right receiving, ch. 11.

Fourthly, He bids examine themselves every one (not others) and so bids every one come.

Fifthly, He saith the unworthy Communicant eats and drinks damnation (or judgement) to himself, not to others. Weigh these things well in the fear of God (as I trust you will) and then I trust you will see that God never meant to debarre his servants from their comfort in his Ordinances, nor excuse them from his service, for others faults. Every one (in this sense) must bear his own burden, Gal. 6.5.

Sixthly, Adde hereunto, That whereas to the just debarring of any one from the Sacrament, there must go a great deal of examination often times a­bout the fact, and whether the party be indeed guil­ty; of some there is a great and strong suspition: It were a very torture to consciences, to think, That anothers wickednesse, which according to the news that is brought them, is certain, or neer it, should debar from Gods Ordinances, and yet there is not sufficient proof to convince such, or a neglect in o­thers to cast him out. So one, or some few, shall sin, and another shall be punished, and that spiritually, deprived of the Sacrament, and (if I may so say with reverence) God is punished by it, and Christ wants that honour his servants should give him in coming to his Table.

Seventhly, Divines use to give three Rules to judge of Doctrines;The Glory of God, The hum­bling of man, and The Comforting of poor souls: If these stand for good wayes of tryall, the judgement will be on my side. First, it is for Gods glory, that I come to worship him, and that others faults should not keep me from performing my homage. 2. It is also for the humbling of man, when his goodnesse [Page 13]or ilnesse makes the Ordinances of God no more, nor no lesse effectuall to others. We abhorre the Popish Doctrine, That the Ministers intention is necessary to the Sacrament for the Peoples right Receiving; and that if he wickedly have no intention to consecrate it, let him speak never so well in words of prayer, &c. it is no Sacrament. This Opinion of yours is but too neer it; That even a private wicked mans formerly shewed wicked minde, though he behave himself outwardly never so well at the Sacrament, now defiles it to other Receivers. 3. It is greatly to my comfort, that ano­thers sin cannot hinder me of that pledge of my Spirituall Union with Christ. I remember I have heard some malicious people threaten, To keep others from the Sacrament, because themselves would refuse recon­ciliation. But I have taught such, that their wicked­nesse did not reach so far; and that if the comers did seek reconciliation, and offer satisfaction when it is fit, they should be welcome. It were lamentable else, and I might be kept back from the Sacrament all my life when it were administred, and I called to it by the Church, to whom yet perhaps I cannot prove the others malice if they deny it; when yet as soon as they and I were alone, they will say the same to me again, and so both vent and conceal their malice. If their wickednesse thus known defile, wo is me to be Spiritually defiled, and deprived of the Sacrament without my fault. If a whole town were Traytors, a King that knows one to bear him a loyall heart, would accept him, notwithstanding the enmity of all the rest: And shall one Traytor, joning in an outward act of homage, make all a company of [Page 14]loyall subjects offenders even in doing their homage▪ It cannot be. Object. If now you say, Being known a Tray­tor, he should now be thrust out of loyall subjects company▪ Answ. He should; But by those that have authori­ty: If they neglect it, they indeed offend, but yet this disparageth not the service of those that can­not help it: Unlesse the King had expressely said, I will rather have none of you come at all, then that one Traytor come among you: Which (as I touched be­fore) Christ our King is so far from saying, that he admitted a Traytor to the like, to the same homage, when he first ordained it. In sum then, Christ ha­ving required the performance of such a service, not onely as a means for our own good and com­fort, but also as a duty of homage to him, to shew forth his death till he come, we may not dare omit this service, this homage, in such cases as wherein we have not a clear dispensation from God for not per­forming it; which dispensation can never be shewn by any private person, in case onely that those who have power shall neg­lect to keep back some unworthy COMMUNICANT.

FINIS.

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