AN ANTI-DIATRIBE: OR THE APOLOGIE OF Some Ministers and godly people, asserting the lawfulnesse of their admini­string the Lords Supper in a select company; Proving also the necessity of Examina­tion in our Congregations, in order to a more holy Church-Fellowship.

Wherein a Paper is answered, bearing this title, viz, A Diatribe concerning the admini­stration of the Eucharist and Examination thereunto precedent.

Together, with A VINDICATION Of the Lords Supper from its manifest abuse by a general admission; Being an Answer to Mr. Humphrey.

By Humphrey Saunders Minister of Holles-worthy in Devon.

LONDON, Printed for Thomas Brewster and are to be sold by Joseph Laughorne Bookseeler in Truro. 1655.


Christian Reader,

I Had the liberty of two days to review this small piece, before it fully pas­sed the Printers hands. In this time I gathered the Errata which thou seest at the end of this; and have taken liberty to Preface it a little, for thy better understand­ing. That which now comes to thy hands was written some yeares ago; one part is in answer to a paper sent me by an eminent Gentleman in the West; who disliking mine, and some other Ministers practice, as to the Ordi­nance of the Lords Supper, did hereby [Page]put us to vindicate the truth, and our selves, as to the way walked in. Af­ter I had written this, I kept it by me many moneths, not suffering any co­py to be taken, nor the papers to go farther then the sight of some deare friends about us. I will not burthen thee with recitall of the censures which attended and prevented its com­ming forth; such and so many, that had I consulted with flesh and blood, and been tender of mine own ease, this had been adjudged to silence. I was at length prevailed with to com­municate the manuscript, and so it came into the hands of some reverend Mini­sters of London, who thought it wor­thy of a more publick view: Upon a letter from one of these I consented to a publication, upon this ground (as the Lord knowes) that I apprehended and hoped some good might be done by it. Since this, these papers have layen in London, expecting the presse, and under it, more then a years space. These circumstances have on­ly [Page]this use, to excuse the delay of the whole, and the unseasonablenesse of a part, viz. that which relates to Mr. Humfrey, who hath since been answer'd by diverse, and hath himself replyed unto one; here is not roome for much more; onely this. There is not one Word added to what I wrote at first: I am likely to have occasion to do some­what more in this argument, which if the Lord call me unto, I hope to keep time better, and to amend the de­fects which shall be shewen me in this. This way of publick edifying is new to me, it's the lesse marvel if I faile somewhat in matter and manner; though I appeare for separation (in a sense,) yet am I so far in love with Uni­ty, that I hold it my duty to promote it among the godly, and (what I may) to bring all reformed Churches into it. I know no greater dishonour lying (this day) upon the Gospel, then our divisions. O let me beg of thee one sad and tender thought of this grievous evil. I must needs say, that [Page]not a few of the godly seeme much more inclined to peace, then they have been; blessed be his Name who hath wrought this. What, is it hard for men of the same spirit to walk in one way? Doth not the Lord speake this to all the godly in the Land, in the language of Providence? [when they cannot rule over one another, they will agree;] God hath done the one, let us do the other: Shall lesser diffe­rences alway divide those who are one in the great things of the Kingdome of Christ? I am deceived, if ever Church-Reformation and Constitution prove comfortable and successefull among us, unlesse holding communion with other Churches, come to be a matter of more weight with us. I have no more but to commend this poore labour to the blessing of God, and subscribe,

Thine, H. S.

To the Reader.

Good Reader,

ONe great Duty of Christians is to be established in the present truths, 2 Pet. 1.12. that is, to be well versed in the matters that are ventila­ted in their age and time, but usually the Orthodoxy of the generality of the world cometh an age too short, in all things already recovered from opposition, and sufficiently established, they hold ought, but in the truths which God bringeth upon the stage of the world in their time, they are to seek, being either blinded by interests, or discouraged by their own [Page]weaknesse, and so dare not determine any thing, till parties be more agreed, or, which is worse, kept back by their own lazinesse from using the helps of Prayer, diligent searching and conference, whereby (through the blessing of God) they might come to the knowledge of the truth: and yet herein is our sincerity tried, 'tis no thank to us, to own what is already received upon sufficient evidence with publick consent and esteem, but to finde out the secret of the Lord, whilest the strife is depending; and the dust being raised by contention, casts a mist and darknesse upon the truth, that argueth most sincerity, because it costs most labour and self-denial.

The great truths now a foot, are those which concern the constitution and re­formation of the Church, in these days of contention; other controversies are revived, but this was the first quarrel; and because of our darknesse, mistakes, and oppositions, herein, are other distra­ctions by a just judgement continued up­on us.

Reformation is a great blessing, but we are not worthy of it, assoone as doore of hope was opened, it was presently ob­structed and shut up again by the inter­position of many adversaries, yea, the differences among the friends of Refor­mation have been no small let and hin­drance to the progresse of it. A person li­eth desperately sick, and the Physicians are not agreed about the means and way of cure; some would have the corruption taken away by degrees, lest the cure prove as bad as the disease; others, all at once, and so would make hasty work of it to the endangering of the body its self: or rather let me lay it thus, an house, if on fire, some are for pulling it quite down, others for quenching the flame; and whilest the differences of judgement con­tinue, the body languisheth the flame in­creaseth; just thus, and worse is the present state of things amongst us; we have been disputing about a remedy, and the disor­ders by a long and sinful neglect of disci­pline are much increased.

Among all others none have deser­ved [Page]worse of the Church of God, in my judgement, then those that plead for a loose way of receiving of all sorts of persons to holy things, and by promis­cuous admissions prostitute the Ordinance of God to every comer; I will not say for handfuls of barley, and pieces of bread (though the opinion looketh as ex­actly calculated for a worldly interest) but at least out of a judgement much mi­staken in the matters which do concerne the glory of Gods house.

One great mischief of the collapsed e­state of the Church, was this prostituti­on of Church-Priviledges, and in the beginning of these contests not only com­plained of as a grievance by the godly, but confessed as a disorder by them through whose neglect it first crept in; and 'tis strange, that after the matter hath proceeded thus far, any professing godlinesse, should interpose for the conti­nuance of this dust and filth, which was in so fair a way to be swept out of Gods house; And holy communion is the glory of the Church, Holinesse becom­eth [Page]thine House for ever, Psal. 93.5. Christ would not be the head of an ulce­rous body; yea, a monstrous body, like that of Nebuchadnezzars image, where the head was pure gold, but the mem­bers were made up of brasse, iron, clay, &c. a thing the Lord cannot endure, and therefore by a just providence all down along he hath broken off the bran­ches of the Covenant, when they began to run wilde, and cast off his people, when by the intermission of a vigorous and strict discipline they have suffered the Church to runne into the world, and the world into the Church: when the doore hath been too wide, and kept too open, only mischief hath entred in; such a practice may fill the Church, but heaven will be never the fuller. Carnal men are but hardened in their sensles­nesse and security, whilest by mans cha­rity they are suffered to enjoy Priviledges beyond Gods allowance; and so (as Salvian complained long ago) it falleth out, thatMultipli­catis fidei populis fi­des immi­nuta est. whilest the Church is multi­plied, the faith is lessened; and though [Page] more professe it; yet with lesse vigour and power.

To prevent this abuse, it hath pleased God to stir up many of his worthy ser­vants to plead the necessity of a well-tem­pered Reformation; amongst others this eminent godly Minister in this book which is now presented to thee, a book which (if my love to the person and cause deceive me not) will contribute much light to the ending of this contro­versy. The Answer to Mr. Humphreys was penned long since, before any had as yet appeared against him. The other dis­course is in Answer to some Objections of a person of worth and quality in those parts where the Author liveth, concern­ing the same matter; both might have seen the light much sooner, had they not beene kept private, first by the Authors modesty, since by some neglect and mis­carriage here; but we hope they are not borne out of due time; the Controversie being returned every day, and men, ei­ther tired with opposition, or out of o­ther reasons, growing faint in the cause [Page]of God, generally now enclining to some remissenesse, and carelessenesse in this weighty matter: if these labours of the Author finde acceptance, he will be en­couraged (I hope) to go on with that which he hath been urged to, to wit, an Answer to Master Humphreys second Part. The Lord give us understanding in these and other truths.

I am thine in all Christian Bonds, Tho. Manton.



The Presse hath made much work for thy pen; this if done before thou read, will prevent thy stumbling: mistakes as to pointing, are infinite, and therefore not referred: these which marre the sense, crave this correction; the other, thy com­mon charity.

Page 3. line 13. for shewing read strewing p. 9 l. 8 f. intentions r. inventions p. 20. l. 28. f accept r. expect p 38. l. 19. f. her r this p. 44 l. 8. f. Scripture r. paper, p. 60, l. 5. f. Fryers r. Tryers, p. 67, l. 16. f. calling r. callings, p. 68 l, 27. f. th [...]mes r. times, p 70. l. 2 f. don r. do not, p. 76 l 2. for apologicall r. apogogicall, p. 85 l. 14. for in the margent for mour r. Mr, p. 93 l. 17 for ill r. all. p. 109 l. 2 for Puul r. Paul, p. 137 l. 7 for expressed, r. expresse, p. 140 l. 1 signate and sig­nificate are noted as adverbs, but amisse, p. 149. l. 17 for must r much p. 161. about l 12 in the marg. for Clem r Clerum. p. 162 l. 8 for pro­voke, r. promote p. 167 l. [...]0 for man r. men, p 109 l. 11 for k [...]d r. wicked p. 173 l. 24 for freely r. truly p. 174 l. 8 for and devotion r. but religion, p. 175 l. 4 for of r. in p. 182 l. 14 for commemorate r. commemorative p. 103 l. 22 for expect r. except p. 194 l. 22 for i [...] r. into p 19 [...] l. 24 for to r. in p. 200. l. 28 for creatures r. her men bers p 202 l. 13 for if r. his Baptisme p 203 l. 9 for he r is p. 204 l. 23 after will r. be, p. 205 l. 13. for Prosoproprias r. Prosopopeias, p. 205 l. 26 after they r. so, p. 207 l. 8 for selves r. self p. 209 l. 200 blot out not, p. 216 l. 11 for gous r. Gods p. 2 7 l. 29 for duties r. duty p. 218 l. 9. for Lily r. Lilly p. 222 l 20-for unworthy r. unworthily.


§. i. ALthough I am none of the super­stitious adorers of Antiquity, (for, Antiquitas saecli est juventus mundi,) neither will be any of the froward retainers of custome, which may be as turbulent a thing as innovation; and Christ having said that he was Truth, not custome; yet I have learn'd from Scripture to make a stand upon the old wayes, and then to look about, and disco­ver what is the straight and right way:

And sure novelty though it be not by [Page 2]and by rejected, yet is alwayes suspected; and what is settled by custome, though it be not of the best, yet at least may seem fit; and therefore I remember that not only the Spartans set a mulct on the Musi­cian that added one string more then or­dinary to his Harpe; but the Lycians suf­fered none to propose a new Law, but with an halter about his neck, that if the reason thereof were not approved, he might forthwith be hanged for offering novelties; and therefore I cannot but conclude with Ʋlpian. In rebus novis con­stituendis, evidens debet esse utilitas ut rece­datur ab eo jure quod diu aequum visum est.

If this new way (and I think I may without the hazard of a quarrel take the liberty to stile it so) of administring the Eucharist, and admitting and excluding Communicants, had ground and warrant from Gods Word, the practice of the Primitive Church, the demonstration of reason, or did manifestly conduce, and tend to the advance of godlinesse and pure Religion, I should not check with it for the novelty; but when many good, and moderate, and rational men are much un­satisfied, that it beares any such stamp, or character. And for mine own part, un­lesse [Page 3]I am blinde through infirmitie, (whose own heart witnesseth to me that I am not maliciously or wilfully so) I can see nothing to support this new frame, but popular, not Logical discourses and si­militudes, rather then reasons, adpopulum phaleras, (which is handsomely to paint a house that hath no solid foundations) I cannot therefore but excuse such, that at the sound of such Musick, cannot fall down and worship the Image that Nebu­chadnezzar hath set up.

The entrance and summe of the two first Sections.

The Authour (shewing his way with some flowers of Reading and Rhethori [...]k) Apologizeth for himself, as one that dotes not on Antiquity, nor is led by Envy. And after censures some men to be abet­tours of a new way, whereon this charact­er is set, (viz.) being unsatisfactory to many good, moderate, and rational men; not grounded on the practice of the primitive Church, not rationally condu­cing to the advancement of godlinesse, [Page 4]but supported, and vindicated by popnlar arguments; that is, (as we take it,) ha­ving the paint of perswasion without any life, or strength of reason: From these thoughts he concludes smartly, if not bit­terly; I cannot therefore but excuse such, that at the sound of such Musick cannot fall down and worship the Image that Ne­buchadnezzar hath set up.


Answering the Preface of this dis­course.

§. 1 The scope of the Preface is to advance Antiquity, being (as is supposed) favour­able unto the Author: putting a visard of novelty upon an aged face, to make a Scare-crow to fright weaker judgements from closing with the contrary opinion. We shall first weigh these Prolegomina, and answer the generalities of this Plea, not forgetting the particulars: wherein we shall take liberty to speak freely, that we may more fully convince, and yet careful­ly, [Page 5]that it may be said,Eccles. 12.10. That which was written was upright, even Words of truth.


What is due to Antiquity, and what is true Antiquity.

We heartily embrace that saying,§. 2. Quod an­tiquissimū est verissi­mum. That which is first is most true, because true: Antiquity is alwayes a friend to Truth; and though all that is old be not good, (sin and Satan are both very old) yet eve­ry good way is old, and therefore in every good old way we may safely walk. We are not moved to hear men count, and call good wayes new; who knowes not that the Adversaries of true Doctrine have alwayes loaded it with this title?Nostra omnia ut peregrina, & nova condemnāt. Juel. Apol. Eccl. Ang­lic p. 114, 115. All our doctrines are condemned to be new, and strange. It confirmes us to see the wayes of government to have the same lot. So that the principle of Antiquity yields but aSatis sci­unt nihil i­stis nomi­nibus po [...]u­larius esse aut in vul­gusgratius. Idem. pag. 116. vol. c8. popular and fallacious argument; yet it being the first-borne of the Paper, and the first weapon form'd a­gainst us; we might say much to it, but [Page 6]that we think of dispatch. Jerome is con­demned by one for desiring leave of Au­stine to erre with seven Fathers which he found of his opinion. We dare not take, nor are we willing to give the liberty, as the Scripture saith,Luk. 17.32. Josh. ch. 9. Remember Lots wife; so do we to the pretenders of antiquity, Remember the Gibeonites. Scripture-anti­quity is venerable; but if the antiquity which we call others to, signifie but cu­stome, (as may be guest by some passages, (viz.) what is settled by custome, line 5. of the Paper,) we may be bold to say of such antiquity, that in most things it is vetustas erroris, the age of errour.Prov. 16.31. Ch. 20.29. The gray haires of opinions and practices are (then) beauty, and a crowne, when found in the way of truth and righteousnesse. For matter of doctrine, it must be spoken with thankfulnesse, that long hath the light thereof filled our Horizon: But the light of Discipline was not so forward and successeful. Truths of this nature were a long while held by some men inRom. 1.18 un­righteousnesse; corruptions in worship continued, when corruptions in doctrine were generally decryed.

Now because the Sun shines not out till twelve,Si ordo in Dominicā coenâ ob­servandus Apostolorum praecepto definitus sit, illi adhaerescendum quem Apostolica Scripta docent, non quem sequiora secula intro­duxêre. Spanhem. dub. Evan. Part. 3. p. 237. shall we say it riseth but [Page 7]then, or not at foure? Was America a second, or new creation, because found out but of late? The present light of go­vernment contended for, is elder then the former customes of our predecessours. If any man can prove it younger then the Scriptures, we will soon cast it out as an untimely birth; we think it unreasonable and unsafe to look only on the customes and practices of the next ages before us, while we are sure that they for a long time worshipped God impurely, not doing as it was written.Josh 1.8. We may shut up this, onely minding the lovers of truth, that they be not frighted with a notion of no­velty from a more excellent way:Mat. 5 47 1 Cor. 12.31. this being certaine, that while we agree with the Word, we never check with true An­quity.


Unsatisfactory to many good, moderate, and rational men.

§. 3 That which satisfies one good man, may satisfie all; when inform'd, they having [Page 8]one and the same Spirit within, and rule without. Of all men, we would study to satisfie good men. It is possible some such may be unsatisfied with our way; the time is not yet come,Zach. 14.9 which will unite the mindes of Gods people, till then, diffe­rences in judgement will continue, but without breach of affections, if we do well. We do not condemne all that differ from us in these outward things, which may for a time be hid, where Jesus Christ is revealed in most saving truths. It is ac­knowledged that there are many learned and eminent men in parts and places, not closing with us, some of which we must think godly; there are many no lesse god­ly unsatisfied, but it is upon another ac­count.

As others censure us for going too far, those for not going far enough in our se­paration; but as these last are above us, so are they more against our opponents. To speak freely, who are foremost in op­position to us? they are the most carnal, and profane in the Countrey, the scumme of whose choler we often see and hear: these measurinp us by a fleshly line, finde our work defective, their own large principles not being able to bear the strict­nesse of the Word.


Not grounded on the practice of the Primitive Church.

§. 4 This is the great thing in question, and subject matter of this congresse, and therfore not to be begg'd in the entrance. We make the Word our Antiquity, (as before) and that which is so new, as to have footing only on mens intentions, and examples, we reject as not old enough to be called truth. We are contented,Ifa. 8.20. and desire it may be sealed on both sides, that what is said shall stand, or fall, as the Word judges.


Not rationally conducing to the advan­cing of godlinesse.

§. 5 This we more wonder at, then at any other passage; our hearts must deceive us much, and our understandings faile us quite, if this be so, conduce as a proper [Page 10]meanes it doth, and this we take to be ra­tionall conducing, otherwise the cause of our progress in that way must be fastened on the Grace and Spirit of God. That which shames and restraines sin, must needs conduce to godlinesse; But the way pleaded for, tends apparently to this. It advanceth godlinesse,

  • 1.
    By engaging such as walke in it to more watchfulnesse, they being by this profession exposed to more observation for their wayes.
  • 2.
    Col. 4.5.
    In regard of the mutual watchings they submit unto.
  • 3.
    Heb. 10.24, 25.
    Through the benefit of many private exhortations and duties, whose light and heat may both kindle and cherish gracious affections. God hath given sundry of our meeting so much experience of growth (as to knowledge and affection) this way, as plentifully confutes this Pa­radox.

We are sure the old impure way of pel­mell tends to so many evils, that it would fill a large Paper to set them down.

First,Jer. 23.14. It strenghens the hands of the wicked.

Secondly,Luk. 13.26 Blindes them in their wretch­ednesse. While wicked men enjoy the priviledges of the godly, it will be diffi­cult [Page 11]to convince them of their impeni­tency, and want of conversion. Let the Minister make them Saints in the Chan­cel they will give him leave to make them Devils in the Pulpit till he be weary.

No wonder if such profane ones as have usually received the seales of the Cove­nant of Grace, and joyned in the highest act of Church-communion,Jer. 7.8. live in a good opinion of their soules estate, and trust in lying words.


Supported, or vindicated by popular Arguments.

§. 6 It is not much that this weak way of arguing is fastened upon us, who pretend not much to Art. Some others (of the same judgement with us in the maine of this businesse) have published arguments e­nough, and such as were never answered to this day by such as drew them forth. It may be the arguments the Paper means, have been lamely and disadvantagiously represented.

We have not given out under our hands any arguments, but in our private meet­ings, [Page 12]and publick exercises, we have ar­gued the present controversie, of which some account shall be given hereafter; so that the censuring of our arguments un­seen, is shooting at rovers. God hath given us so much skill as to distinguish be­tween an illustration, and an argument: and we do plainly discerne some reason­ings in the Paper before us, to be just of that constitution. What we finde shall be duly weighed, and we hope in this as in other undertakings, we shall prove our selves to be builders, and not painters; the rivel'd skin of former customesneeds paint, where the beauty of holinesse wants.


I cannot therefore but excuse such that at the sound of such Musick cannot fall down, and worship the Image that Nebuchadnezzar hath set up.


§. 7 We were sensible of this lash of your rod, for it cuts very deep.

1. The way which we suppose holy, and Christian, is Nebuchadnezzars Image; we wish it as free of all defects, as it is of I­dolatry: [Page 13]Doublesse the old way pleaded for, hath much more of that Image.

2. The Ministers exhortations moving souls to our society, (as tending to refor­mation, and being the rise of some order,) this is Pagan Musick, and somewhat worse then Pauls tinkling Cymbal:1 Cor. 13.1. We hope our Musick hath been no unpleasant sound in Gods ear, while to our knowledge we sought submission to Jesus Christ,Col. 1.15. and to no other Image. Towards them that stand off, we have freed our souls, by ex­pressing our desires of their good, and tendring them the holy means of spirituall life: We shall not take upon us further to censure their refusing, though to speak freely, we dare not excuse them.

We must waite till God perswade men, then they will come in. In the mean time among the refusers, there may be diffe­rent principles; some may stand off out of doubtfulnesse, and dissatisfaction, but others (perchance) may be Adders,Psal. 58.5. that stop their own ears, or such as Christ condemnes in that reproofe of his:Mat. 11.17. We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned, and ye have not wept.

The third Section of the Paper.

THe liberty,The third Section of the Paper. and profitable use of pri­vate conference, in order to prepara­tory instruction; yea, or probation of faith and repentance, (which Chemnitius tells us to be in use in some Lutheran Churches) is not controverted. It is an apt, and elegant comparison of Quintili­an, that men are as bottels, which are sooner and better filled by taking them in hand one by one, and pouring water into them, then by setting them together, and sprinkling water upon them.

2. That whereas the Casuists speak, there is violenta suspicio quae moraliter facit rem certam; for if it be only probabilis suspicio, they will tell you, that melior est conditio possidentis bonam famam;] but in case of violent suspicion, that any persons are through ignorance unable to discerne the Lords body; that they may, and are meet to be examined, is not denied. In such a case the same may be spoken of ne­glect of probation, as in a lapse into a [Page 15]crime is said of the omission of reproofe, and admonition. A man may be called to an account for an idle silence, as well as for an idle word; for as evil talke leads men into evil, so an evil silence leaves them in it.

3. That notorious sinners, and the Ca­suists say, they can be notorious only upon this account, cùm crimen est mani­festum, aut per sententiam in judicio aut per publicam in eo confessionem, aut per eviden­tiam talem ut nullâ possit tergiver satione cae­lari;] that such may, and must be excom­municated is granted; not so much for pre­vention of any pollution that others may contract by communion with them, but to humble and to reclaime the offender, and to keep the example from having any con­tagious spreading influence by impurity, as also to remove the scandal that the discipline of the Church may contract by remission, and indulgence. And a power to act in such cases, the Ministery need not complaine to want, much lesse upon the pretence of such want suspend the ce­lebration, and administring of the Sacra­ment altogether; for this power is rooted, and inherent in the keyes, and they may assume as large, and free a power to ex­clude some such, as they now take to put [Page 16]by, and excommunicate all, which they do while they (at least the most of them) administer it to none, but intermit the use thereof altogether. And therefore as one being asked, where he found the interpre­tation of, and concerning Constantines Do­nation, (as another his glosse upon the Salick Law?) answer'd, If any looked on the backside of that Donation, (and so of that Law) there it was to be found; so it might be more truly said, that from whence they derived the power to excom­municate all by non-administration, they might fetch a right to exclude persons scan­dalous, and apparently ignorant. But our Rhodus, and Saltus, our present que­stion [...]s, Whether it be (not only profi­table▪ but) necessary, antecedently to the communion to examine (not only such, who may well be suspected to be of incom­petent knowledge▪ but) all indifferently, so as for want of will in any to submit to this probation, they may justly be debar­red the Sacrament; and for want of pow­er in the Minister to exercise this Disci­pline, he may lawfully intermit the admi­nistration, or administer it only to such as will subject themselves thereunto con­vened, (and not by their proper Pastor) out of distant places, and several congre­gations?


Of the liberty, and profitable use of private conference, &c.

§. 8 1. In this are

  • 1. Some Concessions.
  • 2. The state of the Quest­ion.

1. The Concessions are of private conference, examination of some persons, the excommunicating of others; these we accept of. And to say truth, in some of these is more granted then is desired; namely the investing the Minister with power of excommunication, or censuring alone, which many learned men make an act of jurisdiction, belonging, non uni, sed unitati, (as they expresse themselves) to the whole Church, or to the Officers of the Church, but not to the Minister alone. But he speaks in this the opinion of the Sclool­men, who seem (to us) to put Church­censures into the Ministers hands alone. Whil'st this opinion makes rather for us then against us, we shall not contend a­bout it, but take it for granted, and to [Page 18]be as is affirmed and yielded. That which is affirmed of suspicious, and scandalous persons, may also passe. But some note must be set upon that charge of absolute forbearance to administer the Lords Sup­per, and of excommunicating all; for we do neither the one, nor the other.

It was our fault (for a time,) and it may be some other mens fault at this day. We saw cause to be humbled for our omission of this duty among other offences, as to the Lords Supper: And we now conceive the institution to be so strict, as admits of no deniall, nor of long delay: For some years past, we have not been guilty of this forbearance; there hath been a frequent use of this as of all other Ordinances a­mong us, so that all desirous, and wor­thy with a little paines might partake thereof. If any defect be, it is but cir­cumstantial as to the place, and not as to time, or substance. So much for the Con­cessions. That which followes is the state of the Question.


Wherein of the state of the Que­stion.

§. 9 Herein we finde the Author unacquain­ted with our way, and putting too much together.

First, we do not examine all, as is sup­posed; such as are more knowing and willing, do only make profession of their faith and knowledge; some in the pub­lick, others more privately. Many have been admitted without having a question asked them, and we can truly averre that we examine none, but such as well may be suspected of incompetent knowledge; so that here is no need of dispute be­tween us.

Secondly, That of omitting altogether the use of the Sacrament, must have no place in the question neither; for our pra­ctice and judgements oppose it.

Thirdly, About convening from diverse Parishes, this will but confound the dis­course, if mixed with it: For,

1. Most of those admitted were taken in, [Page 20]not without their proper Paster.

2. Such as were admitted of other Con­gregations, are persons justly offended with the grossenesse of their administrations at home, where no separation at all is made, nor any cherishing of desires that way. The lawfulnesse of this we shall assert in a­nother place.

As the Question is stated, there are so many things laid together, as would make plaustraria argumenta, tedious Syllogismes, and so beget confusion in the dispute. The state of the present difference may be bet­ter expressed in this,The questi­on stated. or the like manner; that is, Whether in the reforming of a long corrupted Church, it be necessary that all the Members thereof do submit to some examination, or trial of their knowledge, before they be admitted unto the Lords Table?

This Question we fear not to maintain in the Affirmative. Here we suppose corrupti­on in our Churches, and therefore with men well satisfied with their present frame and temper, not looking on them as un­der any such disorder, as we suppose, with such we desire not much to dispute; We can accept little of reason, or truth from men of that minde.

Lastly, It seemes to us that this Para­graph [Page 21]agrees not with it selfe, for it op­poses examination as precedaneous to this ordinance, and yet yields it in some cases to be practised. Can the paper allow the keeping back of some, yea of igno­rant, as well as scandalous, and yet ab­solutely oppose examination (as previous) without which ignorance cannot be well known? Promiscuous administring, must either stand, or fall. If stand, then no reformation can be rationally hoped for. And if it fall, let us be taught how the admission of all sorts formerly practised can be redressed without examination, or some equivalent course. At present we shall bend our selves to maintaine the necessity of examination unto the right use of the Lords Supper in our Congre­gations, and that such as refuse to sub­mit thereunto are deservedly excluded.

When we say, examination should be previous (as the Author speaks) or a ne­cessary Antecedent, we understand not a Physical Antecedent, as if it were essen­tial to this duty, or Antecedent suâ natu­râ, for then we should examine as often as we admit, which is not done. Self-examination is a necessary Antecedent at all times, and Ministerial at some times; an Antecedent it is, non physicè, sed mo­raliter, [Page 22]& ex hypothesi, that is, upon a supposition of a general corruption in our Churches. It is morally required as ne­cessary to the exclusion of the unworthy, according to the minde of Christ. We shall make this as strong as we can, when we have once answered the Arguments by which it is opposed, which is our next task.

The fourth Section of the Paper.

IT is St. Basils conclusion extracted from the exordiums of Moses, The fourth Section of the Paper. and St. John (in the beginning) [...], to be­gin at the beginning. In quavis institutione quod primum est, & principium, & praecipium. Christ Jesus when he first instituted this Sa­crament, made no previous examination of his Disciples before he administred to them: He shewed them the nature, use, and end thereof, he washed their feet; An embleme of that preparative cleansing by faith and repentance, purifying of the affe­ctions; for, Cùm rebus humanis poste a vivi­tur ubique terr a calcatur ipsi igitur humani [Page 23]affectus, sine quibus in hac mortalitate non vivitur, quasi pedes sunt, ubi ex humanis rebus afficimur, as St Augustine moralizeth it; & quia pedes ultima pars hominis sunt, & debemus per poenitentiam non solùm summa quasi flere peccata, sed usque ad ultimas in­fimasque conscientiae nostrae partes descendere, intimas quasque animi nostri cogitationes excutere, & purgare, (as St. Cyprian ap­pliesit;) but to enable the discharge of this duty, a generall exhortation on the Ministers part is proportionable, without a particular examination; That Christ admitted Judas to the Communion, is not onely the consonancy of the Fathers, but the very pregnant result of the Text, Luke 22. v, 14, & 21. though he might look with a face of Religion towards the Apo­stles, yet Christ whose eye was upon his heart, beheld him under the notion of an hypocrite, and yet not excluding him from the Sacrament. I should gladly learne by what authority or president any that professeth Religion, and is innocent of notorious, and scandalous sins that check with his profession, can be rejected.


Wherein of the first Argument against examination, drawn from the first in­stitution in John 13th. Chap.

§. 10 Here begins the charge, the first Argu­ment is from Christs example, and may be thus laid down.

Object. Christs example in the first insti­tution of this ordinance ought to be our rule; But he made no previous examinati­on then: Ergo none is required.

Answ. So farre as Jesus Christ may be followed by us, we must stick to his ex­ample. In two things it is impossible, and unlawful for us to follow him, viz. in his miraculous works, and in the works of his mediation.

In his institutions we may, and must fol­low the rule and example of Christ, his example being part of our rule. In these institutions somewhat is essential, or sub­stantial, somewhat circumstantial.

In the last there is no absolute necessity to adhere: For if necessary to administer in all circumstances, as then the Sacrament [Page 25]must be given only at night, or to men only; but in those things we may do so, and we may do otherwise. Christs example must be strictly followed in all substantials;1 Cor. 11.23. and therefore the Apostle layes down nothing to the Church, but what he had received from the Lord. For our part, we wish men were in this and all Ordinances more devoted to the example of Christ, 'tis the right way to pure and true worship. Peter Martyr tells of a woman that was her self deformed,Pet. Mart. loc. com. pag. 32. Heb. 1.3. yet conceived very beautiful children, by daily eying some exact pictures in her Chamber. Christs example (who is the brightnesse of his Fa­thers glory) is our faire Image; which the more we look unto, the more perfect and comely will the Ideas and conceptions of our mindes be in divine things. Unto the Minor,

Object. But Christ did not examine his Disciples.

Answ. How know you that? the E­vangelist tells you,Joh. 20.30. all that Christ did was not written. For our own part, we know not where to finde it, unlesse on the back­side of Constantines Donation, or some such place, as you mention. So that this con­cludes not for you. Argumentum à Scri­ptura negativè non valet. But you adde:

He shewed the nature, use, and ends thereof; He washes their feet as a prepa­rative cleansing by faith; but to enable the discharge of this duty, a generall exhor­tation on the Ministers part is proportion­able without a particular examination.

This is said, not proved. It appears not to us, that any such thing was intend­ed by Christs action of washing, as is af­firmed. We are rather satisfied on the contrary, that no special type, or embleme of Sacramental preparation is intended, though it may be so applied by those Fa­thers allegorically and morally. He that builds arguments upon the Fathers allego­ries and morals on Scripture, will come off weakly in his conclusions.

Not to mention that some learned men suppose this set down, John 13th. to be done after the Sacrament. It is therefore too confidently affirmed, that Christ shewes the na­ture,See the late Annot. fol. 2. Vol. in loc. To teach love, and the cleansing by his blood, these are his ends. use and end of the Sa­crament. That which our Saviour especially com­mends to his Disciples, is humility, which disposeth to every ordinance, and to the whole life of a Believer, If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them, that is, these things of humility, as from the co­herence [Page 27]herence is evident: Hearken but to these words, I have given you an example; what of Sacramental preparation? No, But that ye should do as I have done, that is, wash one anothers feet, namely be humble, lo­ving, condescending; the mysterie of this action was to be revealed hereafter, as verse 7. Therefore not of obvious concernment to their preparation.It was an example of hu­mility, as the plaine words of Christ are; although by occasion of that example, o­ther Doctrine was inferred of our spiritual washing by Christ, once wholly unto re­generation, and daily of our feet for our daily transgressi­ons. Dr. Fulke on the Rhemish Glosse, on Joh. 13. p. 164. See more, John 13. v. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. Who will believe that these words, wash one anothers feet, sig­nifie, Examine your selves. Again, you say, Christs washing is answered by the Ministers exhortations, (and why not by their ex­amining as well?) whereas we thinke that a lesson to examine themselves, would have stood better, if they had been bid to wash their own feet. The deficiency of such general exhortations we shall touch upon anon.

Lastly, what if Christ did not examine his Disciples? doth it follow that we may not examine some, or all in our Assemblies? Rather in his administring only unto Di­sciples, he teacheth us to exclude the [Page 28]ignorant and wicked; these (admitted) were his choice Disciples, he had the se­venty, and several others besides; but these as more infirme were not called, as a Learned man observes. Besides, we ex­amine none that are taken to be Disciples; but if we should, reall Disciples will not refuse to satisfie the Church, and encou­rage weaker Brethren by a voluntary pro­fession of their saith, which is the most Disciples are put unto. In short, Christ had communicated before with those Di­sciples in the Passeover, which was the same in substance with this institution; therefore he needed not examine those that were admitted before.

The most zealous Assertors of Exami­nation presse not any to this after their first, or once admission in a due way.


Wherein of Judas his receiving the Sa­crament, which is the second Ar­gument.

§. 11 The second Argument in the Paper is from the supposed admission of Judas.

Object. Christ admitted Judas to the Communion, therefore what need of such prying?

Answ. When this is disputed out to the last, nothing is concluded against our judgements or practice. The conclusion is, that though Christ saw Judas to be an hypocrite, yet he admits him. Now what followes? therefore hypocrites may be admitted. Who thinks the contrary? we are of the same minde, we speak of ex­cluding profane and ignorant persons, and we are told that an hypocrite was ad­mitted. It is not in mens power to ex­clude hypocrites, or secret sinners, but open. This is truly to paint a house which hath no foundation. You must not expect from us such a president as you call for, while it is most remote from our thoughts to de­barre [Page 30]any from Gods Ordinances, who professing Religion are so innocent in their lives, as you speak.

Were we of your opinion, we should manage this Argument (about Iudas) in another sort, (viz.) Christ knew Iudas to be a wicked man, yea, a reprobate, and yet admitted him; therefore Ministers may not keep back such as they see, and know to be wicked ones: Thus Mr. Prinne, and the Erastians; and this is plain dealing, and the conclusion is directly against us. But here also the argument is weak, and will tremble in its arraignment at the barre of Reason.

As to the admission of Iudas, we do ingeuously confesse that it is somewhat doubtful to us,See Mr. Bolton of Heaven in his Book. Tit. 4. Last Things. p. 144. whether he did receive or not? but we incline strongly to the nega­tive. It is one of the things that we look to have our knowledge perfected in hea­ven; as whether Iephta slew his daughter, or consecrated her to Virginity? or whe­ther Naaman were a true Convert, or un­sound? So whether Iudas received the Sa­crament, or not? yet this example of Iudas being thought to go farre in this contro­versie, we have somewhat heedfully searched, and weighed, not only the texts [Page 31]of Scripture, but the au­thorities objected. And first we do not finde the consonancy spoken of to be among the Ancients, but see some of them denying, others doubting of Iudas his receiving. It must be granted that diverse of the Fathers vote with this Pa­per; but these are balanced by multitudes of the best Moderne Lights, who are of another minde; The Fathers might re­ceive this from one another, without due looking into the Text. They are concei­ved to erre in this point, by taking the sop to be the Sacrament, as these words of Austine discoverNum enim mala erat bu­cella quae tradita est Judae à Domino? absit, medicus non daret venenum: Sa­lutem medicus dedit, sed in­dignè accipiendo ad perni­ciem accepit, &c. Augustinus in 6. Tract. in Johan.. Was the Sop evil which was given to Iudas by our LORD? farre be it. A Physician doth not give poyson, &c. where he calls the Sacrament the Sop; now the Sop was undoubtedly given to Iudas.

The Ancients denying this consonancy,Aarons Rod blossoming, p. 451. &c. are fully and clearly set down by Master Gillespy, to whom we referre the Reader; but to satisfie them that may not come to see his Book, we have given a taste of what is more full in him.

Hilary one of the Fathers speaks thus in English:Hilarius, can. in Mat. Post (que) Ju­das prodi­tor judica­tur, sine quo &c. After which words Iudas the Traitour is discovered, without whom the feast of taking the Cup, and breaking the bread was performed, for he was not wor­thy of the fellowship of the eternal Sacra­ment; nor could he drink with him here, who was not to drink in Heaven.See Theo. in 26. Ch. of Mat. Fol. 33. In Marke 14. p. 53. qui­dam dicunt &c. Another of the Fathers is Theophilact: But some say, saith he, that Christ gave the Sacra­ment to his Disciples when Iudas was gone forth, we have found this in two places of him. That which lessens his testimony is, that it is only Quidam dicunt, some say; yet note,

  • 1. If some (then) said so, the conso­nancy then falls.
  • 2. Let it be noted, what he inferres in that place of Matthew: Therefore must we (saith he) do the like, and put off evil men from the Sacrament. Now this shews how much Theophilact valued this (Qui­dam dicunt) whosoever they were, he judges them worthy of credit, by making Christs practice, according to their inter­pretation, a rule unto Believers. Doubt­lesse therefore these (some men) were godly and eminent Divines in, or about Theophilacts time; we have considered this [Page 33]authority the more, because the Author is in our hands.

Others we have transcribed onely upon the forenamed Authors authority, and given his references; Clemens saith,Clemens, lib. 5. con­stit. Apost. cap. 13. Georg. Pa­chy in his Comment. upon Dio­nysius A­riopag. de Eccles. cap. 3. part. 3. Sect. 1. But when he had delivered to us the Anti­type, mysteries of his precious body and blood, Judas not being present. Christ (saith another) doth cast out, separate, or excommunicate most justly Iudas, who had not holily supped with him, (viz. in the common or Paschal supper) for having given to him of a mysticall bread or cup, that is, of the Passeover, he gave the my­steries to the Disciples alone, after he went forth.

It is manifest that Iudas went first out,Innocent the third, l. 4. de myst. missae, c. 13. before Christ administred the Sacrament (saith another). We have examined some of these by our own books, and finde them truly cited, the others must rest upon the forenamed Authours credit.

As to our latter, and moderne men, the most eminent Writers oppose the opinion of Iudas his receiving, at least leave it doubtful.

Their opinion seems to be certaine, who deny Iudas to be present at the holy Sup­per, saith renouned Beza in John 13. It is no doubt to me saith Musculus; We [Page 34]have set a full Jury in the Margent of lear­ned men,H. Za [...] ­chius. Musculus. Beza. Danaeus. Piscator. Diodati. Grotius. Dr. Kellet. Gomarus. These two have writ­ten profes­sedly. Rutherford. Gillespy. Scharpius. hardly to be matched, who would not erre with such as these are? And yet these are not all, we could name more, yea, double to this number, besides learn­ed Papists not a few. Now judge what the consonancy is worth, which is spoken of in the Paper: The Reader will see we are not behinde for humane autho­rities. But if the authorities of men faile to determine, yet the Text (he saith) is pregnant. What Text? Luk. 22.14. But is this the only Text to be eyed in this con­troversie? He that reads John 13.30. shall finde a Text more pregnantly proving the direct contrary. These Texts do not con­tradict one another, (thou that readest, beware of that inference.) It is our dark­nesse of minde, which doth hinder our resolution in these matters.

Although we cannot largely dispute these Texts, yet we will study the help of such as desire light in this point. That whith makes the point doubtful, we take to be the number of the Suppers, which were about one and the same time. Some makethese to be three, others but two, viz. the typical, and the eucharistical. It is probable that there was a third, (viz.) a common Supper. The order of these Sup­pers [Page 35]is also controverted. By the grant of all, Judas was present at one of these. For he sate down with the twelve, some say at the common Supper only,Aarons R. p. 461. as learn­ed Gillespy; others, at both the common Supper, and at the Passeover, but not at the holy Supper. Now Judas might be present at one, or both the former,Joh. Ran­dal. B. D. p. 219. and yet slinke away, (as the word of a learned Divine is) between the common Supper and the Passeover, or between the Passeover and the Sacrament.

As to that Text of Luke 22. Divines do note a transposition, that is, setting down that last, which was done first, or be­fore.

A thing not strange, being found in o­ther places of Scripture. As in Genesis the second Chapter.Innocent the third, lib. 4. de Miss. c. 13. See also Beza. Salmeron. Maldonate. in loc. You have set down af­ter the sixth day, what was done before. The reasons and authorities to be brought for this, are many; That Luke after the Cup, speaks of the Traitour, may be un­derstood by recapitulation (saith one.) The reasons are these.

1. Because Matthew and Mark put that before the institution, which Luke puts af­ter. See Luke 23. v. 21, 22, 23. compar­ed with Matth. 26 21, 22, 23, 24, 25.26. [Page 36] vers. and Mark 14.18. so that here are two to one.

2. Luke himself puts the taking of the Cup before the breaking of the bread, al­though doubtlesse it was after.

3. The note of the last Translaters of the Bible is also considerable, who at the 21. v. set a note of theirs (¶) shewing that there begins another matter, therefore not a continued History orderly set down.

4. Nor doth Luke say, that Christ spake the words after the Sacrament, but only sets them down.

Now as to that other Text, John 13. which we alledge; It proves Judas de­parted before the Sacrament was received. Sanè Johannes quiddam ejusmodi subindicare videtur, saith Victor Antiochenus, cited by Mr. Prinne.

Another more fully we may gather from hence,Diodat. in locum. that Iudas did not communicate of our Saviours Sacrament.

The force of this reason lies in the word (immediately;) what it signifies, every En­glish-man knowes, that is, instantly, forth­with.

Now this being granted, as it is, that the Sop was not given at the holy Supper, [Page 37]but before; how could so remarkable an action as receiving the Sacrament inter­vene, and yet Iudas be said to go forth immediately?

Truly, neither truth, nor good English will suffer this; to say that immediately sig­nifies a short time, is a miserable shift, and an abuse of the word. Therefore learned Gerrard upon second and better thoughts retracted that glosse,See Gor. Har. c. 171. p. 453. and he is a good president for others to follow.

He that desires more may consult learn­ed Scharpius and others,Scharpius, in curs. th. p. 1431. he by foure ar­guments proves that Iudas was not present, and also answers the Objection from Luke 22. One of his arguments is this:

With whom Christ drank in the Sacra­ment,Attersol, The New Covenant, p. 486. with them in the Kingdome of his Father: But not with Iudas there; There­fore not in the Supper.

It is also considerable to observe the dif­ferent manner of Christs speaking, some­time without exception, and sometime with it. When Iudas was present, with exception, Iohn 13. v. 10, 11, 18. af­terward without exception, most sweetly,See our English Divines in their large Annot. in 2. Vol up­on the place. and generally, Matth. 26.29. Luk. 22.28, 29, 30. See Iohn 13. After Judas go­ing out, how his speech varies; If Iudas were present, then these speeches must [Page 38]be applied to him, which may not be granted. Ambrose and Gerrard expound these words of Christ, (That which thou doest, do quickly) as a casting out of Iu­das. As if he had said, Get thee gone from the company of my Apostles, and out of my sight. Now these words were spoken before the Sacrament.

Lastly,Evangel. commun. by Ph. Good­win, p. 118. should it be granted that Iudas did receive, yet much were not gained. Iudas, as one sayes well, is but a bad port­er to let in men to the Sacrament. There was nothing in him discernable (by men,) contrary to his profession. There was no visible cause for his exclusion. The Apostles thought as well of him as of themselves, and did not so much as suspect him, though he were known to Christ as God. But Christ in hir Ordinance dealt as man (ministerially) as a Pattern to us, who are to admit visible Disciples, not be­ing able to descend into their hearts. When the woman taken in adultery was brought before Christ, he dealt as a man, called for her accusers, and when none came, dismissed her; and yet he knew her (as God) to be guilty, and therefore sayes, Go, and sin no more; Unlesse Christ as a Minister had known Iudas to be a Re­probate, what reason had he to exclude [Page 39]him? Now let the Reader judge, what life is left in this Argument about Iudas his receiving, which is found and proved to be so feeble in its consequence, and ante­cedent.

The fifth Section of the Paper.

THE Canon prescribing, and di­recting the due administration,The fifth Section of the Paper. and receiving of the Eucharist is, 1 Cor. 11. We cannot with Tertullian adore the fulnesse of Scripture, unlesse we yield it to be a perfect rule of faith and manners, which it cannot be if it be defici­entin any thing necessary to be done, or be­lieved, especially in such places, where it purposely hand leth things of that concern­ment; and therefore here (and only here) an argument ab authoritate negative hold­eth good. But in that Chapter I finde a precept, Let a man examine himself; none, that he should necessarily passe the exami­nation of his Pastor. Between the proper [Page 40]examination of himself, and eating, and drinking; no other thing intervenes, and therefore this very Commentary is made upon that Text by pathetical Chrysostome: He doth not bid one man to examine an­other, but every man himself, making the judgement private, and the tryal with­out witnesses. Pareus strikes in unisons with that ancient Father: The Apostle saith not, The Priest shal examine, or prove them, but every man himself. So doth Sarcerius, He commands not that one should be approved to another; but each one to himself, as long before Clemens A­lexandrinus accounted every mans consci­ence to be hisbest director in this case, l. 1. Stromat. By what authority then can he be rejected that hath examined himself? And to suspect that any have not examined themselves, that shall professe to have done so, without pregnant probability to the contrary, how can it be compatible with that charity that hopeth all things, and suspecteth not?


Wherein of a third Argument from 1 Cor. 11.28. Let a man examine himself.

§. 12 The third Argument lies in the fifth Pa­ragraph, and is another beaten Objection from 1 Cor. 11.28. This hath two sup­porters:

  • 1. That it is the very Canon for the Sacrament.
  • 2. The fulnesse of the Scripture.

Answ. We answer, There is a twofold fulness of the Scripture:

In its parts, and in the whole. There is a fulnesse in every part, in every phrase and sentence. The smallest filing of this wedge is pure gold. Mountaines of mat­ter hang upon the smallest syllable, as the Jewes use to speak; so in the whole. The whole is a full rule of faith. Now so far we agree, but that all of any matter is contained in any one place, (which is here supposed) will be hard to prove. We are not wanting to the due respect of Scri­pture, while we hold the whole to be a [Page 42]most compleat rule of faith and manners. That which is wanting in one place, is supplied in another. It hath been the ill hap (if I may so speak) of all the Argu­ments hitherto alleadged, to dash upon that Rock, (ab authoritate Scripturae ne­gativè,) which makes them all deficient in their authority, while the Scripture stands for a firme and full rule to all the godly. That the Apostle doth purposely handle the Doctrine of the Sacrament in that place, we freely grant; but that nothing can be necessary about the practice of it, which is not there exprest, we see no rea­son to yield. We are sure there is that elsewhere which is not there, and we hope all is necessary that is revealed. For redundancy is a blemish the word is as free of, as it is of defect. Besides, reasons may be given, why no mention there, and then, of any preparatory work by the tryall of others.

1. Because those spoken unto, namely the Corinthians were before, and newly admitted into Church-fellowship, by pro­fession of their faith, and therefore need­ed not to be called to this again. Where­as ours are borne in a Church, where hath been a long neglect of true Discipline, and where an unfitnesse in many is confessed [Page 43]by all that are ingenuous.

2. The Apostle in this Scripture eyes Christs performance with his Disciples, where was no need of this examination, they being all formerly joyned to Christ, and known of him. You may finde learn­ed Zanchy the Protestant Schoolman (as he is deservedly stiled) making, and in some part resellng your objection, so farre, as that this Precept doth not deny the inspection of others. If none of these were of weight, why may not the exami­nation of Pastors and Church-Officers well stand with that of a mans self? These being not contrary, but subordinate, the Precept is not exclusive. It is not, Let a man examine himself only: Small hopes of that mans self-examining, who cannot bear the friendly tryal of his Minister.

It is meant (as Zanchy well) of secret sins, (we may adde, and of sincerity of graces) which men cannot see in others.

But our examination is for the satisfa­ction, and honour of the Church, and is of that which may be known and judged by others: Mens own is for the reformati­on, and comfort of their own consciences. We believe that those Ministers that hold it necessary, (as the case now stands with our Congregations) to examine others, [Page 44]are yet little behinde their Opponents in earnest pressing upon mens consciences the examination of themselves, charging such as they deal with, not to rest on the trial and approbation of others, but to approve themselves to God in the search­ing, and judging of themselves.

Lastly, because the Scripture stands for such a fulnesse in that single Scripture, as to leave out no one necessary thing: Let us aske whether a godly Communicant be bound to no other duty, besides what is there particularly exprest? We hope pray­er at least, and sundry other duties, which are not mentioned, may yet be regarded and practised, and have their warrant else­where. Some Fathers and others do glosse these words, as is said in the Paper, but not in that sense.

Their minde was, and so is ours, that men should not busie themselves about o­thers, neglecting their own condition, nor rest upon other mens opinions of them, without discerning a difference from themselves formerly, and from o­thers at present. Chrysostome speaks well, when rightly taken for private examina­tion should be in a secret place, (where the soul may freely have communion with God;) but that which is for reformation, [Page 45]and satisfaction of the Church, should neverthelesse be with witnesses.

If Clemens Alexandrinue counted every mans conscience his best director, we hope he meant this of consciencious men, not of men void of true conscience, which is the condition of all such as we willingly keep off.Pareus in verba, id est, 1 Cor. 11.28. in parte alte­ra, p. 563. Pareus is one brought in to side with the Fathers, unto him we are contented to hearken; We have sought the words alledged, and finde him thus speaking: Non dicit Apostolus, Sacerdoter probent, &c. that is, The Apostle doth not say, Let the Priests examine, or try the Communicants; but, Let every one exa­mine himself; to shew the Reader, what an unison this is. We must freely point at a great mistake, and that in three points.

1. Pareus speaks this of Popish Priests.

2. Of Auricular confession.

3. In the following words he is ours, justifying what he is alledged against: Exa­mina publica, vel privata, that is,Examina publica, ve­privata mi­nimè im­probamus, sed requi­rimus. publick or private examinations of Communicants we by no means condemne, but require.

So that however he grants the exami­nation there commanded, to be especially of a mans self, which we freely assent unto. [Page 46]yet he is not against that which we con­tend for. It is here and elsewhere hinted, that our examination is risen out of the ashes of Auricular confession; but (alas!) the difference between these is easily shew­ed, and the harshnesse of the compari­son is as evident.

1. Examination defended is sometime before the whole society, and never so private, as is suggested: but always before two or three witnesses at the least.

2. Auricular confession is constantly, and continually renewed, so often as the Ordinance is made use of: this is never but once.

3. Ratione subjecti, they are as wide as a Minister of the Gospel, and a Frier or Jesuite. It is not for want of ignorance, & ill will to the truth, that examination by Church Officers, to finde out mens fitness for visible communion, is counted by ma­ny a point of Popery; but enough of this. Shortly, he that builds upon the alledged Text, that no others have to do with mens fitnesse to the Sacrament, because a private self-examination about the since­rity of their graces, to ground a judge­ment of faith upon, is commended; or that it is against charity, to suspend any man that professeth himself prepared; [Page 47]he that layes this upon the Text, layes more upon it then it will bear, and which the Ancients and Moderne approved Au­thors will not own, as we hope more fully to prove anon.

The sixth Section of the Paper.

IN the Primitive Church were excluded from the Communion, the Catechumeni, The sixth Section of the Paper. Energumeni, persons excommunicate, and penitents. and such as lapsed into Heresie, untill they repented, and I should be glad to be taught; for sure it is out of my learn­ing, where, or when any others were re­jected, but only under this notion and ca­pacity. In these ancient times I finde that mutual reconciliations, and in Affrican Churches vigils with prayers, and in Chrysostomes times fastings, and sometimes in some places the publick re­nouncing in some particular heresies, were antecedent to the Synaxis; but I finde no necessity of previous examination. When [Page 48]the Church saw the benefit of publick con­fessions for publick offences, as well for the subduing of the stubbornnesse of their hard hearts, and the improving of their deep humiliation; as for the raising up a­gain by those sensible comforts, which they received by the publick prayers of the Church, and use of the Keyes. Some men reflecting hereupon, and finding their con­sciences smarting for like fins, which be­ing secretly carried, were not obnoxious to the censures of the Church, to the end they might obtaine like consolation and quiet minde, did voluntarily submit them­selves to the Churches Discipline herein, and underwent the burthen of publick confession and pennance; and to the end this publication of secret offences might be performed in the best way, and discreetest manner, some prudent Minister was first acquainted therewith, by whose direction the Delinquent might understand what sins were first to be brought to the publick notice of the Church, and in what man­ner the pennance was to be performed by them.

At first it was left free to the penitent to choose his Ghostly Father; but at length by the general consent of the Bishops it was ordained, that in every Church one [Page 49]certaine discreet Minister should be ap­pointed to receive confessions, untill at length in the time of Nectarius Bishop of Constantinople, (who died, An. D. 401.Socrates, Hist. l. 5. c. 19.) upon occasion of the infamy drawn upon the Clergy by the confession of a Gentle­woman, defiled by a Deacon in that City, it was thought fit it should be abolished, and liberty should be given to every man upon the private examination of his own conscience, to resort to the holy Commu­nion, which doubtlesse occasioned Chry­sostome the successor of Nectarius to make those deliveries of himself, which are pre­mentioned The result of those premises is this, that the ancient Church sometime thought it requisite that confession of pe­nitents should precede the Communion, but not the examination of all, or any that communicated. I shall desire that it may be deliberately considered,

First, Whether repentance be not as necessary to worthy receiving, and as prin­cipall a part of that examination which every one ought to make of himself, as knowledge; and then as advisedly to per­pend.

Secondly Whether there be not as great a reason to revive Auricular confession, (in some qualified, and rectified manner) [Page 50]as to introduce a particular examination, especially since the Church of Rome asserts, and practiseth it upon this same principle,Greg. Va­lentia, tom. 3. disp. 6. quest. 8. punct. 3. pag. 43. which these men do their precedaneous examination, (viz.) because it is the du­ty of the Priest to repell unworthy, and to admit the worthy, which is best done up­on the knowledge of the penitents estate in confession.


Wherein of the practice of Antiquity in preparation for, and exclusion from the Lords Supper.

In the sixth Paragraph he passeth from Scripture-Argument to Antiquity,Illi verò quamvis non habent sacras lite­ras. habent fortasse do­ctores vete­res, & san­ctos Patres, Juel. Apol. p. 114. which discourse is continued in the seventh and eighth Sections. In this a line is drawn from the Primitive Church, down to the time of Chrysostome, or rather a circle a­bout that age he lived in. In whose time the yoke of Auricular confession was brok­en, and liberty granted to every man to resort to the Communion upon the private examination of his own conscience. We shall now make triall of the strength of this also, where we finde some things yielded, others affirmed, and supposed, all which we will consider. We might here shew many reasons against building too much on the Fathers and Antiquity, this objection being raised upon the sand thereof, and taken not for Scripture-An­tiquity, but upon humane account, of Fa­therss [Page 52]and Councels.Sibrandus Lubertus, de princi­piis, c. dogm. p. 7. It is received among all Orthodox Divines, that the Books of the Prophets and Apostles, are the onely principle of Christian belief. The Fa­thers have their errours, sometimes they agree in mistakes, and another while are divided in truths. It is the saying of an eminent man,L. Veru­lam Essays, p. 140. (They that teverence old times too much, are a scorne to the new,) in his Essay on Innovation, whereon by some passages in the first Section of the Paper sent, we conjecture the Authors eye to have been. Justine Martyr refers the opinion of the Chiliasts (which hath been taken for an errour,) to the Apostles. Irenaeus sayes, that he had by tradition, that Jesus Christ lived fifty years on earth, which is false.

It is the manner of the Fathers (saith our Author) when they would commend a thing,Sib. Lub. de p. c. dog. p. 130. not knowing its Original, to refer it to the Apostles, and Primitive Church. In the three first ages, or centuries of the Fathers, the Learned are perplexed with spurious works; so that there is great un­certainty as to the Fathers and state of the Primitive Church, as it is reported by Writers. Besides, the Primitive Church is stretched somewhat too farre, when it is brought down to the time of Chrysostome, [Page 53](who lived in the fourth Century) when in the judgement of some it extends not beyond the Apostles dayes, or but to the third Century: We wonder most at this, that devout Chrysostome is brought in for this suggested liberty. Let the Reader con­sult him, especially on Matth. Hom. 38.Chrrysost. Hom. 28. on Mat. p. 98 toward the end of the Homily; and if he finde not Chrysostome of another minde, we are deceived. We shall set down his words hereafter: But what if such a thing be concluded on, will it therefore be a truth not to be gainsaid? No, the con­sent of Bishops is not alwayes so authen­tick. Here again Auricular confession is made our patterne, and so presented, as to cast an odium upon the Ministers, and their actings in this businesse. What else that story of unclearmesse serves for, we know not.

As to the Queries, and demands in the end of the Section, we answer,

  • 1. Repentance is as necessary as know­ledge, and is a part of examination, or rather examination is a part, or act of re­pentance.
  • 2. That private confession in a right and rectified manner, hath never been to­tally disused; the private unburthening of grieved soules into the bosome of some [Page 54]Christian friend, Minister or other in some difficult cases, hath been, and is practised home to this day.

We hope that the Authour may see in time, that the Ministers principles in their separation, and examination are not Ro­mish: We abhorre the Church of Romes rotten Principles; We abhorre her, her wayes, and friends. Some of her Prin­ciples may be good, yet then her infe­rences are base. These men pointed at in the Paper do undertake to shew, that as they dislike not that Christian refuge of private confession, which is the very word and will of God:Jam. 5.16. So they can maintaine their course of examination without use of the Philistines forge, nor do they in­troduce anything; only they desire that all, whether publick or private duties to God, or the Churches honour, may be up­held.

We come next to consider, what is pro­duced from Antiquity, and yielded in this Controversie; as also to see, whether this be for the Paper, or against it. A smatte­rer in Antiquity may know, that the An­cients rejected, and suspended divers sorts of men under sundry considerations, and that they were exceeding cautelous about admission to this Ordinance, no [Page 55]print whereof is to be seen in the common practice of our Assemblies. Such orders, or distinctions of men as are named, may be found; some make three, some foure sorts of these, as Catechumeni, Energu­meni, &c. All which formes were in order to a holy Communion, that persons igno­rant and unfit might be kept off.

First, The Catechumeni were such as the Church nurtured in the fundamentals of Religion, being unbaptized, the children (as we suppose) of Pagans.

The Energumeni were a sort of men pos­sessed of Satan, or men excommunicate; as Peter Martyr P. Mart. loc. com. p. 835, & 831. Illi dicun­tur energu­meni, qui interiùs la­borant per­vexationem daemonis, &c. Joh. Alstaig. Lex. Th. p. 282. thinks, because such were delivered unto Satan. Energumeni, ab energia, as others, from an inward la­bouring under Satan.

What the penitents were, is more easily known by the sound of the Word, namely such as became scandalous by their man­ners, or opinions. Now that such as these are mentioned in ancient Writers is grant­ed; nor is it necessary we should assigne other qualifications, when these distincti­ons in Antiquity were in order to a more holy Communion, (which is our end) that persons ignorant and unfit might be kept off: Such as speak of the Discipline of [Page 56]these times do relate their courses more fully about admitting penitents, and such as had been scandalous.

1. They were admitted to the limits of the Church.

2. To lie down in the Church-porch.

3. To hearing of the Word, but not to stay at prayers.

4. Next to see the Sacrament, not re­ceiving till they were sufficiently hum­bled.

These things without doubt had a good use, and do shame the ordinary Admini­strations in our Parishes, where no such things are thought on,See Evan­gel. Com. in Episle, in p. 4. but (all to the Sacrament.) is the plea and practice.

Thus farre Antiquity is for us, rather then against us.

Let us take a little more of what is grant­ed; The Primitive Church (sayes the Pa­per) saw the use of publick confession; Now our examination is little more or o­ther The admission of very many of our members, was only by publick confession, and that some others have done the same thing more privately, before two or three witnesses, this hath been out of our ten­dernesse, and condescension to their bash­fulnesse; Otherwise we think the publick [Page 57](we mean the presence of the Church) to be the fittest place, so that here is little va­rying from Antiquity. Now if this be considered, what comfort can Ministers, or others take in holding larger and wider principles then the ancient godly did; the clear light of the Doctrine of Grace cal­ling (now) for more purenesse in our own wayes, and in the Churches, and the times now being more enlightened, and discerning, godly men then submitted to the Churches discipline, why are such as would be so esteemed averse now? That the practice of publick confession at first pure, did afterward become corrupt by the working of Antichrist, this is to be bewailed, but it is no argument against the use of the same, o [...] a very like course by us. The rejection spoken of, was after the abuse appeared; but now men (to use the Proverb) sweat to see the saddle, or rather bridle to curbe their lufts. It seems to us the authorities urged should con­strain men, we speak (to the better sort of Ministers) to do somewhat equivalent to what the Ancients did, rather then to stickle against the day of small things. It affects us to read in the few Ancients (we converse with) such passages as these, San­cta Sanctis. Holy things to holy men, [Page 58]which was pronounced by the Deacon be­fore the administration of the Lords Sup­per; which shewes their purity this way; the very Heathens had one to cry, Procul hinc, J. Mich. Dilherrus, lib. 2. E­lect. c. 1. Be gone you that are profane. We see by what we have read, that the Anci­ents require as much, or more then we do; and therefore are censured by one for go­ing too farre this way: Now what if some difference be in the formality of our act­ings? a distingue tempora will take off that. We live in a Church corrupted through the negligence of latter dayes; If we redres­sing differ (something) from them in ga­thering and ordering, it is not much to be stood upon. We shall shut up this Secti­on with one or two testimonies, by which the Reader may see of what Spirit the best of the Ancients were, as to the point in hand, namely about suspension, or admis­sion to the Lords Table.

They thought it (saith one) detestable to God and man, not only for them that were defiled with lesser sins, but if but under a cloud of suspicion to come to the Eucharist, and they judged it dangerous for absolv'd penitents to touch those things.

If not thought holy enough by them to whom the care of the Sacrament was com­mitted. Chrysostome is as full as can [Page 59]be wished, I would not suffer these things to be done (speak­ing of the approaching of men unfit) rather will I give my life,Albaspinaeus, lib. 2. obser. 25. Nulla potest congru­entior commodiórque af­ferri ratio, (speaking of the strictnesse of the Ancients) quàm quae ex reverentia ac Reli­gtone petitur; quâ ad­versus Sanctam Eucha­ristiam ferebantur; de­testabile quippe Deo & hominibus non solùm existimabant hominem vel levissimâ maculâ in­quinatum, ac maculae nebulâ offensum ad Eu­charistiam accedere, &c. and poure out my own blood. After he had admonished Mi­nisters not to deliver the Eu­charist, to the unworthy, he addes these words, if therefore any general, if the Con­sul himself, if one that weares the Crown come unworthily, forbid and restrain him, thou hast greater authority then he. How round are these words? Let us therefore keep off all (absolutely) that we see to come unworthily. No small punishment hangs over our heads, if we suffer any to come that we know to live in any sinne; He doth not say, if he will not submit to tryall, you are free; and if you exhort, you have freed your own soul. No, his principles were more strict, and holy, then so to speak. His blood will be required of thy hands: This is other,See Chry­sostome at large, 38. Hom. on Matthew, p. 198. yea, higher language. If it be said, that Chrysostome spake of notorious known sin­ners, and that such are not pleaded for; We must answer, nor are others [Page 60]pleaded against, or willingly exclud­ed by us: Though knowing men, and such as are of innocent lives, may be called forth, these make little worke for Friers, and are good examples to their weak Brethren. What is required of, and done by them, is chiefly to en­courage others; We wish we could but see notorious wicked ones kept off in the Assemblies obout us, it would be­get better thoughts in us of the spirits of some, then now we can have; but we hear of no such work, rather we know the contrary.

The seventh Section of the Paper.

THE Eucharist was often in these Primitive times sent to persons ab­sent:The seventh Section of the Paper. It was given to Strangers coming to Rome, as a pledge or Symboll of their consent, and communion in the same faith, where was no probability, surely no evidence of precedent exami­nation.


Wherein is replied unto the seventh Paragraph, about giving the Sacra­ment to strangers, and sending it to the absent; Arguments against Examination.

§. 14 Sending the Elements to persons ab­sent, we take to be a corruption, smelling of rank superstition; The Paper you see [Page 62]fetcheth it from Rome; prove it you to be an ancient practice, and we will main­tain it to be an ancient errour. Antichrist hath been long working in the Church, the Fathers might be too free,2 Thess. 2.7 this will not excuse mens prodigality of Christs blood in these dayes. Mens actings which have been without warrant, are neither good presidents, nor arguments; such as are strangers by place, may upon the know­ledge of some members, or certificate from their Church be admitted; Strangers in place are not to be stood upon, if they be not strangers in heart and condition: He that dwells next door, may be a stranger to Heaven and Jesus Christ.

The eighth Section of the Paper.

IN the first times they generally commu­nicated daily, which St. Hierom saith,The eighth Section of the Paper. Euseb. ex Iren. cent. 2. Magde­burg. he neither approves, nor reprehends. Ze­pherinus Bishop of Rome about A. D. 300. ordained that generally every one puber­tatem excessus, (which was about the 15. or 16. year) should communicate once a year. Fabianus; that they should do it thrice; so did the Agathense Councel.

This decree is found under the name of the Apostles Canons, Can. 10. Which though I am not ignorant, are not rightly fathered upon them; yet are ancient, and not contemptible. As many of the faith­full as come into the Church, and hear the Scriptures, but continue not out the pray­ers, nor receive the holy Communion; let them be put from the Communion of the Church, as men that work the breach of order. And it is noted in the Margent upon the same Canons: In old time all that were present did communicate. And [Page 64]consonantly the Councel of Antioch de­creed. that all that come into the Church of God, and hear the holy Scriptures, and refuse the receiving of the Lords Sa­crament, let them be put from the Church; In vain,Hom. 3. ad Ephes. saith Chrysostome, we stand at the Altar, when none will participate.—If thou stand by, and do not communicate, thou art wicked, thou art shamelesse, thou art impudent; I would not only have you to participate, but to be worthy partak­ers. Thou wilt say, I am unworthy to par­take of the holy Mysteries; then art thou unworthy to be partaker of the prayers; not only by those things set before us, but by Hymnes also doth the Holy Ghost de­scend; you that are under pennance, de­part.—He that partakes not,De medici­na poeni­tent. super illud, 1 Cor. 5. Si quis frater, &c. is a pe­nitent. We can, saith Augustine, re­pell no man from the Communion, but one that by his own confession, and the sentence of the Ecclesiastical, or Civil Ju­dicatory shall be accused, or convicted of some crime. And in another place, (which Gratian cites) under the name of St Hilary (De consecrat. dist. 2.6. si. non tanta,) Only for these sins that deserve ex­communication, may a man be driven from the Communion, Ep. 118. c. 3.

And the School (if it hath any regard [Page 65]left it) doth generally hold, as also the Casuists, (and besides many rea­sons, they cite the authority of Saint Augustine to abet their opinion) that the Communion is not to be denied to a se­cret sinner, that is not notorious, if he desire it, left he be thereby defamed. Let it now be considered, whether there can be any conformity between the An­cient Church, and these men, that are as careful, and as earnest to exclude men from the Sacrament, as the Ancients were to bring them to it. Now men stand by, and would, but are not suffer­ed to communicate; where then, and upon whom shall we lay Chrysastomes stigme of wicked, shamelesse, and im­pudent? If the Pastor shall say of his flock, as it seemes some of Chryso­stomes auditours said of themselves, they are unworthy, the same Father will give the Pastor the same answer which he did his own flock, they are then unworthy to be partakers of the pray­ers; and the Councel of Antioch addes, unworthy to heare the holy Scriptures. If they are not under pennance, they are not in that Fathers judgement to be rejected. And I would have it laid to heart in a serious considera­tion, [Page 66]that seeing the Word is the savour of death unto death unto some, as well as he eates and drinks his damnation that eates and drinks unworthily; why there should not be as great a necessity to examine men of their prepara­tion and fitnesse in order to the hear­ing of the Word, as to the receiving of the Sacrament; especially seeing that precept of not casting pearles before swine, or giving holy things to dogs, (which some alledge to justifie this Oc­conomy of excluding from the Sacra­ment such as they suspect unworthy) is first and principally intended of preach­ing of the Word.

SECT. 15.

Wherein other Arguments from Anti­quity are answered, and the vote of the Schooolmen produced for the defendants.

§. 15 Here are more lines then in the former Section, but little that presseth us.

1. What if they received often? this was an argument of their faith, and strength of love to Christ in those dayes; we like their daily receiving better then their ge­neral, unlesse the times were much bet­ter then ours. It may be oft, and yet not so oft. There is no necessity, nor hardly fitnesse in this daily receiving.

  • 1. How shall the Church come to­gether?
  • 2. What shall become of their cal­ling?
  • 3. What time of preparation?

This often receiving touches not us, but checks those that while they dislike us, do content themselves with receiving it once, or twice a yeare, if they make it not an Easter-formality alone.

2. What if they received at fifteen or sixteen years old? so they be godly young ones, we see no fault in that neither, we have had some taken in among us a­bout that age.

3. Suppose it were decreed that all pre­sent at the Word should communicate; this might well be, if such as were under censure, or obnoxious to it were excepted. We also beleeve that such as belong to a reformed and orderly Church, cannot without offence, unlesse the cause be shewn go away from the Eucharist, (ha­ving been present at the Word) when it is administred. All this while these men are no enemies to Antiquity. While we are considering these authorities, we see more confusion then variety; How agrees that note upon the Margent of the Ca­nons? [In old time all did communicate, yea all that hear the Word by the appoint­ment of the Councel of Antioch, and no difference between presence at the Churches prayers, and at her breaking of bread.]

This was in old time, and truly unlesse the thimes were holier then ours now are, they were old dark times when such things were practised. Thus the former authorities. But the following testimo­nies [Page 69]remember of some restraint upon that Ordinance, which is the true account of Antiquity, as is confessed in the Paper, and hath been demonstrated by us. It is as cleare as the light at noon-day, that all under the Word were not suffered to come to the Lords Table, though this be the minde, and desire of most in those dayes: and that which commonly lies in the deck, where examination, and such like distinguishing courses were op­posed.Mr. Ph. Goodwin. All to the Sacrament, being (as a godly man speaks) the great Goliah of these dayes, with whom the little Da­vids of this age are encountring;Amesius in medulla, Th. p. 288 289. As little weight has that testimony, which allows no cause of suspension from the Com­munion, lesse then that which deserves excommunication; whereas the Paper makes the excommunicate but one of those sorts of the excluded, Antiquity hath distinguished between suspension, and ex­communication, which are now termed the greater and the lesser excommunica­tion.

We come now to give an account of our regard of the Schoolmen, and of their respect to us in the present debate. We shall desire those that have them, to consult them upon the third part of [Page 70] Thomas Aquinas, and to bring us word whether they don ot put it into the hands of Ministers, to deny the Sacrament unto all such, as they do judge to be scandalous sinners, or unworthy persons. We have given a taste of the words of one of these.

This dispensation or denial of the Sa­crament,Haec dis­pensatio vel negatio Sacramenti, non est con­sideranda ut actio ju­dicialis, &c. is not to be considered as a ju­dicial or penal act, but as a prudent and faithful administring; and therefore de­pends not upon witnesses and proofs, but only upon that judgement and know­ledge, which in a prudent existimation by occurrent circumstances is judged suf­ficient, that without any offence the Sa­crament may be, and ought to be denied; see the Schools say so much,Suarez par. 3. Tho tom. 3. disp. 6, 7. Sect. 3 p. 856. that they say more then we would have them; that whole Section, and all the Sections of that disputation tend to the same purpose. The Pastor must more regard the reve­rence, or dignity of the Sacrament, then the right of the sinner. In the sixth Se­ction are these words: A violent suspi­cion is enough to deny the Sacrament,Ib. Sect. 6 p. 863. according to the common opinion of Divines. Now to prove from the School­men, and Casuists, that all but the scan­dalous were admitted, or that secret [Page 71]sinners are not to be kept off, is to prove nothing at all,Greg. Mag. Epist. lib. 2. cap. 66. for we sinde that only such ought to be excluded, as are some way scandalous. If it be manifest to our knowledge of any man, that he is guilty of some ungracious fault, let him by our authority be deprived of the commu­nion of Christs body and blood. It is a sad charge which closes these authorities, but being misapplied, it troubles not us much, we leave it to the Reader to judge whether there be not more conformity between us and Antiquity, then our Ad­versaries can make good of their practice, while they make no separation, and set no bounds or fence against profaners. Who they be that are so careful to repell, and exclude men, as the Ancients were to bring them to the Sacrament, we know not. Nor will we too hastily resolve where that stigme of Chrysostome (being so foule) should rest; a man may see (with halfe an eye) where the Paper would fix it, nay, where it doth; but no matter, har­der words then these must the servants of Christ bear with joy: With more truth, and candor may it be laid at their doors that are more careful and forward to have men partake, then to have them worthy partakers, as many are; this was not Chry­sostomes [Page 72]minde, we have cause to blesse God for the comfort he hath given us in our weak endeavours, to preserve the dignity of his Ordinance. Nor have we the least touch of guilt, as to our exclu­ding some, many are worthily excluded, some stand off, and exclude themselves upon some poore pretences. We shall not beare their guilt at the last day. It is not much what men think, mans judge­ment is much easier borne then Gods. There is yet one thing unanswered in this Section, which we are requested to consi­der. It is, Whether it be not as necessary to examine men before they hear the Word,See Ursini Cateche. à Pareo illust. p. 531. See Evang, com. p. 178. See Gillespy, Aarons Rod. p. 489. Canes quidem quibus sanctum non est dandum, & porci ante quos mar­garitae non suntt abjici­endae, Mat. 7.6. ab ista sacra mensa abigantur. At in quibus seriae poe­nitentiae signa depre­benduntur, illi non diu­ [...]urnis remoris, &c. Harm. Evang. Ger. fol. cap. 66. p. 941. as before the ho­ly Supper, becanse the Word hath the savour of death to some; and that Scripture (Cast not your pearles before swine) is meant of hearing the Word? It seemes to us to be below reason, to see no difference be­tween other Ordinances and the Lords Supper, as to mat-of examination. Those words (Cast not your pearls, &c.) may extend to hearers of the Word, this is not denied: but where one applies it so, many [Page 73]do apply it to the Communion. So by A­lexander Halensis, and others of note, Who knows not that distinction between a converting and confirming Ordinance?—Some indeed have contested against this difference, but with slender successe. The Word Heathens are capable of. Go, preach the Word to every creature. The other is proper to Saints, to comfort, and strengthen the begotten. So that there is not the same reason for a preced a­neous examination in these two Ordi­nances.

As to that controversie, Whether the Sacrament may convert (which borders upon this opinion?) so much is said about it by two learned and godly men, as lit­tle can be added.Gillespy. One in a vigorous re­ply to Master Prinne, by whom (though a man free of his pen) no answer hath been given.Ph. Good. The other is a late, cleare, and sweet discourse. Consult these; we are sailing with a side-winde, being not direct­ly ingaged by the Paper, to speak our thoughts, yet we shall spare a few words to it. Conversion of souls is Gods work, who is not limited by his own Ordinances, but is above them, while we are under them; he can without any or by unsancti­fied meanes call a soul. We read of one [Page 74]converted by often seeing a deaths head in a ring, another by a mans falling down dead in his sight; these (you will say) are not proper, or sanctified means. Again, by prayer a soul may be converted in some sense, As

1. Grace may be then given in.

2. In prayer much of the Gospel may be held out, as to sinnes guilt, misery and remedy, and so a soul may be wrought upon, this is by prayer, but not as such: The scope of it being to beg grace, to seek a blessing on the Word, and san­ctifie that meanes. Further, a soul may be wrought upon by a Sacrament-Sermon, or Sacrament-exhortation, or one may be turned from the practice of a particu­lar sin, and may have his conversion cleared at such a time. Or thus, the time of re­ceiving the Sacrament, may be the time of his first sensible feeling of grace wrought, yet all this doth not make it a converting Ordinance in an ordinary way, such as in faith may be used for that end. No, Faith comes by hearing, Rom. 10.17. which is meant of preaching, as a distinct Ordinance, see ver. 15. But this is more then we owe the Paper, which doth not affirme (in terminis) that the Lords Supper is a converting Ordinance, but only this, [Page 75]that the danger is alike of unworthy hear­ing, as of unworthy receiving, and there­fore examination is no more necessary to the one, then before the other; there being no examination before hearing, why before the Lords Supper?

1. But this conceit hath no conformity with Antiquity, for the Catechumeni, and penitents were admitted to the Word, but put from the other as all men know.

2. Heare a worthy or two in this case. The Word goeth before faith, the Sacra­ments, follow saith learned Amesius. Peter Martyr speaks thus in English: Moreover,Amesius, Bel. Enerv. tom. 3. lib. 1. cap. 1. Pet. Mar­tyr upon Mat. 18.17. Adbaec praedican­dum est eis qui non­dum audie­runt, aut certè non­dum perceperunt: attamen utcunque feratur impuritas conventuum ubi ver bum praedicatur quam Christus & Apostoli tulcrunt, coenae tamen communio (ut dixi) purior esse debet, &c. we must preach to those that have not yet heard or not understood. Yet though the impurity and mixture of Assemblies where the Word is preached, be to be born with, which Christ, and his Disciples did beare, yet the communion of the Supper should be purer (as I said) for it is a pub­lick thanksgiving for redemption given of them, who do openly professe themselves Christians.

The nineth Section of the Paper.

WHat apological reason can there be shewed to obstruct or impede the admission of all that professe the faith of Christ,The ninth Section of the Paper. though formally, and are not scandalous by a manifest belying of their profession? The Sacrament is not defiled by their partaking, no more then the Word is by being preacht unto faithlesse people, and that is no more then the Sunne is pol­luted by shining upon a dunghill. Those that communicate with them are not pol­luted, or defrauded thereby of the fruit, and efficacy of the Sacrament; neither doth God binde us to dive into other mens consciences; nor can their fraude, or deceits, or cold, formal profession hurt any beside themselves. To God they seem such as they are, but of us they must be taken for such as they seem. In the eye of God they are against Christ, that are not truly and sincerely with him: in our eyes they must be received as with Christ, that are not in outward shew against him. [Page 77](Beside that it was said by Tully to be Cato's fault, that he was so strict and se­vere, as if he had lived in Plato's Common­wealth, not in the dregs of Romulus:) The Church at no time can pretend to, or hope for perfection of degrees, rarely that of parts. Jacobs ladder had several degrees in it, and all were not of one height, or rising. The floore hath in it wheat, and chaff; the field corn, and tares; the net good fish, and bad; and which I would have more especially taken notice of, at the nuptial banquet was one found without a wedding garment. I keep the Church, saith St. Augustine, full of wheat,Contra. Crescon. l. 3. c. 15, & 36. and chaff: I amend whom I can, I tolle­rate whom I cannot: I fly the chaff, lest I become the same thing; but not the floore, lest I be nothing. Accuse thou with all thy forces; if they be innocent, thy vento­sity shall not hurt them, as being corne; if nocent, the corn ought not to be desert­ed for the chaffe. Accuse them what thou canst, I, overcome if thou provest it; I am victor if thou provest it not. If thou prove it not, I overcome, be thy selfe Judge, if thou doest prove it, I am victor by the judgement of Cyprian, who taught that the barn was not to be forsaken for the chaffe. To forsake the Assemblies because [Page 78]of the mixture, and communion of hypo­crites, and evil men I should willingly know, if it be not to revive the old he­resies of Donatus, Lucifer, Novatus, and Audius? And to make the Church of the called to be of no greater latitude then that of the elect? whereas many are cal­led, but few are chosen. And as the peo­ple may not withdraw themselves from the Communion upon that pretence, so nei­ther may the Minister withhold the Com­munion from them; for can it be thought rational that the holy desire of a compe­tent number should be unsatisfied, because the greater part is carelesse, and indisposed to joyne with them? Is not this to eradi­cate the corne for the tares sake, whereas rather both should be suffered to grow to­gether untill harvest? And as it is no pre­judice to the rest of the people to commu­nicate with them, so none likewise to the Pastor to administer it to them, so as he have by publick and preparatory teaching, and as he shall finde it fit, and seasonable and meet with opportunities to do it, by private conference endeavoured to principle, and dispose them to a worthy receiving. Petitur à te cura, non curatio, saith St. Bernard, If thou teachest, that is thine; if he will not learne, that is his: take [Page 79]what is thine, and go thy way, saith the same Father. If the watchman cry, and the City will not be warned, their blood shall be upon their own heads, he hath de­livered his soul. Neither was the Pastor of Corinth blamed for admitting those that did eate, and drink unworthily, but they were reprehended that came so unpre­pared; nor were the servants checked for bringing into the marriage-feast a man that had no wedding garment, though himselfe were cast out into utter darknesse. I know a man is guilty of every sinne he labours not to hinder, but then first he must have a power to impede it; and to say a Mini­ster is impowered to put from the Sacra­ment without the party will submit to examination, is petitio principii, for that is the thing controverted. And secondly, if the matter be necessary, and the failer be only in the manner of doing it, the rule holds not, for to crop one eare of a whole harvest; and to instance in one of many cases, How then could a Christian Prince from a Heathen, for confirmation of a league, take an oath made by his false gods? And surely, take, eate, and let a man examine himselfe, and so let him eat, being in the imperative, and so conse­quently commands, make the Communi­on [Page 80]a matter necessary, and it is denied by none that the Sacraments are necessary necessitate precaepti, if not medii. It is true, Chrysostome that so vehemently urgeth all to come, as deeply chargeth Ministers not to admit known offenders to the Commu­nion; But if one, saith he, be ignorant, that he is an evil person, after that he hath used much diligence therein, he is not to be blamed; for those things are spoken by me of such as are known, but this is not our present case; for persons openly evil, and scandalous, we have before professed that we plead not for; but I shall desire it may be thought upon, whether, or no, while some men fear accidentally to lose or hazard soules, they do not more en­danger them, and their own souls too, by withholding from them the Sacrament, the likeliest means of full, and perfect recovery of them?

SECT. 16.

Wherein answer is given to the ninth Paragraph, calling for reasons, and grounds, and containing some other arguments.

§. 16 This Section is the largest, yet affords little work for us. There are in it some arrowes well drawn, but aimed at a wrong mark. In much the Paper objects, and then answers it selfe; there we shall not need to meddle, as that the Sacra­ments are necessary, necessitate praecepti; true, so they may be, and yet to be admi­nistred in due manner; and with due care. It is still intimated that scandalous sinners should not come; now we might take this for granted, and say no more, but that the concessions look one way, and the arguments another; how shall a­ny be kept back, if the Ministers have no power to impede, unlesse men will submit? no man saith, the Minister (or any other) hath power to impede such as are not un­fit. If the unfit may be suspended it is e­nough; and if not, these the Minister hath [Page 82]no power at all. If some be scandalous, and unfit as is yielded (in terminis) then there must be a Judge of this unfitnesse, which must not be themselves, but the Ministers; and Church-Officers. But to come nearer to the very words, and or­der, we can yield no reason why men not scandalous, (nor ignorant) should be kept off, our mindes being to admit all that come not under those qualifications, namely, ignorant, or some way scandalous; if we could know men to be but formal, (that is dead, and hypocritical) though they were not scandalous, they should be kept off; for such are intruders, have no right, and are necessarily profaners of the Sacrament; but we cannot ordinari­ly discerne this, though we know that there are many such; therefore we steere by another compasse.

We say further, that the openly wicked only do defile the Sacrament (in the worst sense;) secret sinners (hypocrites, and formalists) in Gods eye, profane ones in the Churches sight; the first draw judgements on themselves, the latter on others: ungracious persons cannot actu­ally, and intentionally sanctifie Gods Name in their approaches to the Lords Table. But if all these, and such as these [Page 83]be excepted, there will be no dunghils for the Ordinance of the Sunne of righ­teousnesse to shine upon, and so no fear of manifest pollution.

Again, Gods people themselves may be faulty through negligence; but if Mini­sters, and godly people do their duty, then though ungodly ones be admitted, they are blamelesse, and the Ordinance may not be null to them, nor polluted; however, if they know such to be admit­ted, it must needs be a sore burthen to them. Long have godly people in this land groaned (Ministers especially) under this heavy burthen, from which (as they hope) they may now deliver themselves. That which is affirmed here, that a previous exhortation on the Ministers part frees his soule, is to us an unsound position; for we conceive much more required, and incumbent on Ministers, and the Church. There is more required: Why else doth Chrysostome bid them deny it to some? If after he have admonished, he admits such as he knows, (or may know) to be wicked, he sinnes against his own soul, by defiling it with other mens sinnes. The people also have somewhat to do on their parts, namely, praying against the toleration of the wicked, besides inform­ing, [Page 84]and declaring against them that live loosely, and are inordinate walkers, as did the house of Cloe; 1 Cor. 1.11 why should men think that publick warning is enough, while some are not capable of the sight of the danger shewen, or of performing the duty of self-examination; others are har­dened, and will advance through a storme of the most terrible threats? suspension is a more effectual meanes, then a bare ex­hortation to teach men repentance; we have seen the experience of both. You will scarce finde one staying away in these Parishes, where are warnings, but no other discipline; let not men deceive them­selves, and others. It is objected that the Ordinance is defiled no more then the Sunne is by shining upon a dunghill. We answer, the Ordinance may be defi­led, that is, profaned, and abused, though not corrupted in its essence. The Sunne is a natural agent, and in a Phy­sical way cannot be defiled: The Sacra­ment doth continue a holy, and pure in­stitution in it self, while it is most pro­fanely abused. God is dishonoured tru­ly, yet he doth not become inglorious in himself, by mens wickednesse: the de­filement of the Sacrament is this, the so­ciety,1 Cor. 5.7. wherein the wicked are, is corrupted, [Page 85]leavened, or troubled, as the Spirit speaks; defiled it is unto the wicked through the sinnes of their souls: Yea, unto the godly too, they do become filthy, if they be faulty.

Object. But why do the wicked more defile the Communion then the Word?

Answ. They may defile the one, and not the o­ther, seeing Gods Word allows a visible mixture at the one, but not in the dispen­sing of the other, as was plainly proved before.

All that follows about the errors of Novatus, and others:Gal. 5.12. Holymour Stocke on Mala. p. 30. By Mini­sters conti­nuance and suffering wicked men, & not censuring them, they may be ma­ny ways hurtful, and infect the cleane, and holy, these being more capable of the others evils, then they are able to communicate good to them, as health is not so communicable, as contagion, 1 Cor. 5.6 Then if they desire to keep them whole from pollutions, they must separate the wicked as shepherds, saith Chysostome, separ­rate the infected, and scabbed from the whole. The distinguishing of the Church visible from the invisible, the state of the Church here below, &c. We yield all this, and yet can see nothing gained upon us thereby, there will be tares among the wheat unto the worlds end, onely we are not taught that tares do signifie profane men, but rather hypo­crites, such as come so near Christians, that we cannot distinguish them.

Tares are very like the wheat in the growing up, as one observes out of Je­rome, Gospel­worship. p. 239. but scandalous men are not like beleevers.

Object. But is it not rational, that the desire of a competent number be satis­fied, though the greater part be indispo­sed?

Answ. Yes, it is fit they should be sa­tisfied in a lawful, and due way: But what if such a competent number hath not ap­peared, when proposals have been made; upon this supposition, that such might be found? We know of no godly and well-disposed people within our precincts, but may have the Ordinance if they de­sire it, nor is it our desire to straiten the Ordinance causelesly; we are joyful, when any discover a serious minding of that holy businesse. The fewnesse of those that are accepted is either from mens own unfitnesse, or from their own unwilling­nesse. The truth is, men will have it where they please, and in what manner they please, otherwise they are not so godly, but they can neglect so precious an institution. But still the strong hold and place of retreat we finde to be this. If men come unworthily it is to themselves, the Minister can but teach, and warne; [Page 87]so doing he needs not fear the guilt of other mens sinnes, for he hath no power to do more. We answer,

  • 1. The zeal of Chrysostome and Ambrose will rise up against those, who taught not only to admonish, but to keep back. Ambrose kept off Theodosius an Empe­rour.
  • 2. The partaking of other mens sins will not be so easily avoided. Can I clear my self by telling one that there is poison in such a cup that will be his death, and yet (he desiring) afterwards give it him? What a folly is this? But the Minister hath no power to do more. That is a question not yet fully resolved. Though the power be not solely in him, yet if it be in the Church-Officers, it is e­nough; and surely there is a power to that end somewhere, or almost all the learned men in the world have mistaken the doctrine of the keys, from that text, Mat. 16.19. We should confirme this more,
    See the 3d. Section of the Paper.
    but that we finde the paper in a sort granting it. If Ministers have not a power, who have? If there be such a thing to be done, the power is somewhere; shall we raise up Bishops, and their Substitutes out of their graves to leade us herein? Is not the Word Christ enough? Alas, [Page 88]that a duty should be to be done, but none found to do it; a power, but none to act it; keys, but no hand to hold them. What a vanity is this? If the Schooles be regarded, they impower the Minister, as was shewed before. And the Authority we live under, did (and for ought we know does) authorize the keeping back of the unfit,
    See the se­veral Ordi­nances of Parliament
    and unworthy. If you say, This is granted you, that scandalous per­sons should not be admitted: We must needs say, we have observed such words often. But how are they made good while this passeth so current, that a Minister hath no power to keep him back that will not submit to his trial, which is here af­firmed? If you say, He may keep back the scandalous, but not whom he pleases, or men well qualified; nor is this desired, or pleaded for; Let coming to this Ordi­nance stand, and passe for a Disciple-privi­ledge, and Ministers authorized, and al­lowed to discerne Disciple properties in them that come, and we are agreed. O­ther allegations seeme to us to lessen the care, and take off the activity of Mini­sters in casting out, or turning off the un­worthy. The Pastor of Corinth (you say) is not blamed for admitting those that eat, and drink their own damnation, but [Page 89]they themselves are reprehended, not he. We grant, he is not there, or elsewhere blam'd alone, but the whole Church, (whose the duty is, and not the Mini­sters alone) is blamed, 1 Cor 4.21. This Rod was for abuses among them, and their negligence in this might be one.

Object. Again, the servants are not checkt when one is brought in without a wedding garment.

Answ. Our Answer is,

  • 1. This is a Parable, & so proves nothing, but onely in the scope of it.
  • 2. It is a great Question whether this be not to be understood of the Preaching of the Gospel, or of the Supper of grace at large in the Word taught, and not of this Ordinance alone? We do not finde that the servants brought in that man,
    Mr. Phil. Goodwin. p. 125.
    for then they might have been questioned too, and not he himself alone. One sayes well, Parables are like spectacles, they help some to see,
    Ne quem à gratia Dei excludat, impiis quo­que illam & iniquis proponit. Musc. in Isa. cap. 55 p. 745.
    but others see the worse for them: So shall we, if we build a liberty of coming to the Lords Supper, and an exemption of Ministers from blame upon this Scripture. 'Tis true Ministers must preach Christ freely, bidding all according to the universal tenders of grace in the Gospel. See we not the great­est [Page 90]sinners sometimes foremost in coming to Christ? So that the Gospels way of in­viting all sensible sinners, suits this para­ble right well. But should the utmost be made of each branch thereof, to advance Sacramental liberty, not onely admit­ting, but even constraining of the worst might be inferred; and this foundation every one would see to be sandy. The unsealed may be called, or invited, but the uncalled may not be sealed. We like a free Pulpit well, but condemne a too free Table.

Object. Now to shut up our reply to this Section. There is a serious caveat given us, not to hazard, and lose our own soules, while we are scrupulous about others.

We answer, we do not (at least desire not to do) things out of feare, but up­on knowledge and perswasion of our du­ty. We know that the unworthy comers do directly (quoad corruptionem actûs) de­file and destroy themselves; nor is the Sacrament a proper or likely meanes to recover such as we desire to keep back, but is rather likely by accident to blinde, and harden them more then before. The preventing of mens sinnes, and damnation cannot hazard our souls,Epistle of Jude, v. 23. but will comfort [Page 91]our consciences at the last day;2 Cor. 2.15 under this buckler we fight, and act.

I should be glad that some godly,The begin­ning of the tenth Se­ction of the Paper. and mo­derate men might be satisfied in the scruples they have concerning this course, and discipline.

Answering the Queries made in the end of the Paper.

§. 17 If our principles, and practice be mista­ken, many things will appeare offensive which are not so. Where are pure doubts, we have hopes our Apologie may remove them, especially from godly, and peace­able men. But when we reflect upon these doubts, or queries here made, they seem to us to be rather the hard thoughts of enemies, then the doubts of friends. Scru­ples are (as we take it) mens doubts in their own way. That which impedes, & in­tangles my conscience in my own actings, that is my scruple. But whatever these be, (for we are not willing to contend a­bout words) whether objections, censures, [Page 92]or scruples, they shall (by Gods help) re­ceive some answer.

Whether it suite with the rule of the Apo­stle, Rom. 14.1. Him that is weak in the faith receive you? The first Querie in the tenth Section of the Paper. Whether it be not judging, or setting at naught thy brother, or indeed not owning him as a brother; And so contrary to ver. 1?

Wherein of the first Querie, namely,

§. 18 How farre the Apostles scope is from the businesse in hand is quickly seen; He speaks of receiving, and eating, but it is of herbs, not of the Sacrament. He speaks of not receiving the weak to doubtful dis­putations; men therefore are not to be called to such exercises as may be hurtful to them. Briefly, their receiving is this: Such as were more resolved, knowing and satisfied about the abrogation, and burial of the legal ceremonies, these as strong must deale gently with Jewish con­verts, who were not of so pure a Gospel­judgement.

This languor or infirmity of faith must be borne, this is the sense of the place. But least we should seeme to decline this Scripture, let it be granted, that be­leevers may be weak in other respects, and that this Apostolical precept must not dasht against in any practice.

Our answer therefore is, that the Or­dinance of the Supper is very proper for the weak in faith, being a strengthening appointment. We exclude not (willingly) any such as are weak in the Apostles sense, but rather invite, and incourage them. We think our brethren go beyond their warrant, while they take Saints of the first magnitude only into fellowship. God hath people of ill sizes; there is the same holinesse, but not the same degree of true holinesse in all beleevers; not the weak, but the dead; not children, but bastards do we (purposely) refuse. Where we see any measure of true godly fear, any degree of graciousnesse we glad­ly admit. God forbid we should refuse the meanest as to the world, or in grace: no, we covet the purest, and take the weakest.

As to judging the other part of our bur­then,Calvin on the 14. Ch. to the Ro. ver. 1. Calvin will tell you, that judg­ing there, is to bring men under our own [Page 94]Laws. We abhor this: we desire to bring men under Christs rules, and Lawes, to finde men able to examine themselves, to be discerners of the Lords body, and that they are desirous of holinesse, and conformity to Jesus Christ; this we do try for, and strive to discerne: we judge not mens hearts, or final estates, but their present condition by their actions. When we act in those matters (according to our callings) we build our thoughts up­on mens words,Mat. 7.16, 17. and fruits, by which we are taught to discerne one man from a­nother, and good men from bad; It is Christian and rational so to judge.

Who will fear to say, it is a smoaky house, where ordinarily the smoak breaks out at doores, and windows? We de­sire to feare, and feele the least guilt of e­vil, which may lie upon us; but as for this pride and contemning which is laid to our charge, we hope the Lord sees us innocent. Austin makes it pride to contemne discipline, not to use it: But more of this, when we come to answer the Querie about Lording. It hath been an old designe of Satan,See Bol­tons direct. to walk with God. p. 7, 8. to brand re­ligious courses with pride, as Master Bolton observes. He that differences his society, and is not humble enough to be [Page 95]base, is by many deemed pround.The Dis­course of true happi­nesse. p. 43. To be render beyond the common course, this is to be strait-laced: to be sullen, rigid, proud, or what you will; but after the way that the world calls pride, have the precious servants of God walk­ed, in a holy,Mr. Bo­roughs Gracious Spirit, p. 156. not in a humourous singu­larity, as one speakes. It is not safe to call good evil. The Lord deliver us from that which some call humility. He is tru­ly devoted to humility, that can be con­tent (in this world) to lose the repute of an humble man,1 Cor. 4.10 and be thought proud, (as Paul and his fellow-Christians were counted foolish, weak,Nemo vir­tuti magìs devotus, quàm qui boni viri famam per­dit, ne con­scientiam perdat. Se­neca, Epist. 8. any thing) for Christs sake. Pride in judging others is a very foule thing, it concernes all to watch against it. We know no better remedy then to judge our selves rightly; we ought to observe the inward workings of our own hearts, and to have a judgement of faith of our selves. He that judges him­self truly, is most likely to judge others wisely, and charitably. But if the godly cannot perswade others to think well of them,1 Thes. 2.5, 6, 7, 8. 2 Cor. 1.12. yet let them rejoyce in this, that they so farre know their own spirits, that though they be compassed about with great infirmities, yet they know, that what they do is not out of pride.

Lastly, if our suspension of some from the Sacrament, must needs be contemn­ing, yet let me tell you of whom it is; it is of them that contemne Gods wayes, and of no others. Now to contemne such contemners is no sinfull contempt, and yet we deny that we contemne any: no, we mourne over the worst; Refusing the wicked, may be (we hope) without con­temning, but esteeming of the godly will hardly stand without such contemn­ing; as that of David, Psal. 15. ver. 4. These will not be parted, both spring­ing from a pure heart.2 Thes. 3.6, 15. Such as are withdrawn from in this exercise, are not disclaimed altogether from being bre­thren, but look'd upon as offending brethren, at present not capable of that which they have a remote right un­to.

Whether this Oeconomy, that seemeth to hope, or beleeve nothing, and sus­pecteth all to be ignorant,The second Querie in the tenth Section. or hypo­crites, and therefore necessarily to come under probation, resent of that charity, which hopeth, beleeveth all things, and fuspecteth not?

Wherein the second Querie, namely,

§. 19 The Scripture hinted at in this must be,Morton in locum. p. 345. 1 Cor. 13.7. Whereon the judgement of some learned ones is, that the particulars there are rather to be referred unto God, then to man; but not to stand upon that. If we hope nothing, and suspect all, we are uncharitable to the utmost, we had then as little love, and wisdome, as now these words, as applied to us have of truth. We know some, (yea, many) to be knowing, and hope of divers that they are not hypocrites; there may be reasons given why persons may be called to some tryal and prosession of their knowledge, who are not suspected of grosse igno­rance; [Page 98]the more remote any are from the suspicion of ignorance, the more for­cible will their example be to bring on others of a lower forme: and the more pliant such are, the more will their hu­mility commend their knowledge. The tryall of such may be necessary, though not in their single capacity as commu­nicants, yet in the relative, as to the bo­dy they unite with, and the work of reformation which the Church is to passe under. We have a minde to be as cha­ritable as others, and as we ought to be, but we cannot suffer charity, (as much as we love and honour it) to swallow up all our duty. Ministers may be cha­ritable over-much, and are, when they are prodigal of Church-priviledges, (and therein of Christs blood,) and when they are senselesse in their hopes, as some are, trusting all, and trying none: but watch­men must suspect, and Ministers must save some with fear. Paul was jealous and afraid, was he uncharitable? It is the praise of the Angel of the Church of Ephesus, that he had tried some; charity hath a garment to cast upon some sinnes,Rev. 2.2 but no licence, or indulgence for any. True charity (as the saying is) is not blind: We are not bound to hope contrary to [Page 99]our knowledge, and experience; cha­rity when true, is friendly to the love of God (whence it springs) and to his wayes, and people; it is not against charity to sus­pect of ignorance and unfitnesse, when the contrary is no way discovered. Men shew ignorance of their duty in this very thing, that they refuse to submit to the tryall of their knowledge in so faire a way. We hear much of charity, we wish we could see more of that which re­joyces in the truth,1 Cor. 13.6 more then in ini­quity.

Some mens charity is so great, that if they know a man to be an often swearer, or that loves the pot, or ale­bench, or have but over-night, (or late­ly) beheld him in his sins, yet if he cry guilty, and say he will amend; they can next day beleeve a change in him, and that such a one may be a fit partaker of that blesseh Ordinance. But (alas!) this is a large charity, which fondly neglects Gods revealed will, and flies to his absolute power. Men experienced in the work of grace, and repentance will have other thoughts: hell and heaven do not stand so neere together, that men may so quickly step from one to the other. Commonly men fall down before they [Page 100]stand upright, and when they are down,Act. 2.37 2 Cor. 7.12 there is some strugling and striving before they get up. Grace, if we judge by Gods common working, is not like Jonah's Gourd, which sprung up in a night. Let us not be over-credulous, and unscriptu­ral in our thoughts and hopes; there may be more charity in in our keeping back, then in our admitting some.

1. It is against love to God,Et quam ventam hu­jus con­temptus consequeris Hom. 38. in Mat. whose Ordinance by this credulousnesse is pro­stituted to many vile persons. They are farre from loving God whose embracing of men is a spurning at their Redeemer, a trampling on the blood of the Cove­nant, Heb. [...]0.29. as that text is appl­ed by Chrysostome.

2. Love to men requires, that if we see one about to hurt himself, we prevent him, if we can; Shall I permit a man to drink his damnation, and say, I love him? Love must be guided by wisdome; there is little love unto the souls of men shewn by them, who admit all; though they pretend to do this out of love. We take them (say some) to be all Gods peo­ple, that will come, and will not debar themselves of so great a good, thus some speak.

Pareus will teach those men that the [Page 101]work is not good, unlesse the men be good; but alas,Cùm ab infi delibus usurpentur Sacramenta, eorum usus non est bo­num opus. Usus Sa­cramento­rum est bo­num opus, quando hunc usum praecedunt opera moralia, tunc dicitur usus, aliàs abusus. Pareus in Cath. Uisin. p. 539. it is not good to them though it be good, and most precious in it self. It is that which will con­tent them for the present, but undo them (namely, the impenitent) in the end. He loves his friend best that keeps him to his Physicians rules, though it crosse his present desire. One of note, among other reasons why unworthy persons were kept off, proves it to belove to their souls.

3. It is against charity to the Church,Walt Stra­to. de re­bus. Eccles. cap. 17. lying under losse, and reproach through neglect of order, and discipline: Some separating absolutely, others staying with grief of soul.

Whether it savour not much of the old Pha­risees, Touch me not, for I am holier then thou; The third Querie. and relish not of that Pha­risees standing and praying by himselfe [Page 102]in the Parable, where Beza notes a sin­gularity, and sequestring himself from the Publican, who must stand afarre off, which as one saith was not supplicatio, but superlatio?

Wherein of the third Querie, namely,

§. 20 Things savour according to the dispo­sition of mens palates. In some condi­tions the best, and most wholesome meats have the worst taste, 'tis the stomake mars the taste. What taste have the godly ones with us that so deadly a weed as ranck Pharisaisme should be shread into their pot, and yet their food be so savou­ry, that they eat it with much blessing of God?

Answ. Answ. Well, Touch me not, &c. This saying of the Jewes hath been the old at­tendant of that common nickname of Puritan, and the very labell of profane lips. But if we may not suspect others (as was thought in the former doubt) of hypocrisie, why are we suspected?

Are we fallen below all good thoughts and hopes? May not our actings proceed as well from the tendernesse of our con­sciences, and love of holinesse; as from the base over-weening conceit of our own purenesse? Surely it is possible they may. May not a man be humble in his [Page 103]own eyes, and yet be wary about his so­ciety in Gods Ordinance? We are per­swaded he may, we see no incongruity in either of these. Truly we desire more holinesse in our selves, and others, then is yet attained, and we judge our pre­sent way conducing to it. When you finde us boasting of our own holinesse, condemne us boldly; we wish all Phari­sees had hypocrisie written on their fore­heads with a Sunne-beame, we should see many a worlding, and Politician de­tected then. As to that text of Esay, it is spoken (as the best think) by the people to the Prophets,Musculus on Esay 65. ch. p. 851. who had reproved them for their corrupt worship in gardens, and mountaines, Stand by thy self, (say they to Esay) come not near us. Now if the speakers prove to be the people, why are the Ministers marked (with this coale) for Pharisees? Many like those in Esay's time stand off from us as too holy, and the while blame us for standing off from them as Publicans. The distance between us, and others is not of our making, but of their own.


Wherein of the fourth Querie, namely,

Whether it mell not strongly of the spirit of Diotrephes, that sought the prehemi­nence, and be not a Lording it over Gods heritage, since it tends to reduce every one to an awful subjection to his Mini­ster, lest his reputation be blasted by be­ing repelled from the Communion? The fourth Querie. [...] his is the more suspected, because not only per­sons, which they may think they have cause to suspect to be of incompetent knowledge, must passe this trial by examination, but generally every one; not only such, of whom they might be doubtful, (and yet in dubio melior est possidentis bonam fa­mam, (as I said before) yet when sure there can be no such violent suspition, that makes the thing morally certaine, and which onely by the opinion of the Casuists, may warrant the trial, but even those that perchance were more susceptible of Catechising the Minister, and whose she­kels are known to be double to those of the Sanctuary. And to think there is cause [Page 105]to suspect every mans insufficiency in point of knowledge is to imply, as the Papists have abusively perverted that of Gre­gory, that while the Oxen laboured, The fourth Querie in the tenth Section of the Paper. they were all Asses that fed by them. It grieves some that suffrage for Presbytery, to see others hereupon to suspect, that it was cast in like mould with that of Popery, whose main (if not only) pinciple was the advance of the power and grandor of the Prelates and Priests. As they (among other things) would seeme to have a pow­er to damne any man, while they taught a necessity (necessitatem medii) of par­taking the Sacraments, as absolutely me­dious to salvation, and the efficacy of those Sacraments to depend upon the in­tention of the Minister; so as it was no Sacrament, where he intended it not, vesting a power in the Pastor, without any notorious offence to exclude from the Sacrament, impowers him to reject any from the ordinary means of salvation, and so coacts an awful dependance of all upon him in order to subjection.

§. 21 We have transcribed the whole; as the other tasted, so this smells, such hard thoughts we are more grieved to reade, then troubled to answer. The spirit of [Page 106] Diotrephes is that which seems to possesse and act us in our way. Pudet haec oppro­bria dici potuisse, & non potuisse refelli. Should we spread our selves upon every limbe and part of this Objection, too much time would be spent in an­swering.

But why the spirit of Diotrephes?

  • 1. Because it designes reducing our people into awe.
  • 2. Because all are called to trial, yea, such as are more able then the tryers.
  • 3. Makes the people asses.
  • 4. Shapes Presbytery to Popery. This is the series.

Answ. Answer unto these severally.

1. To Diotrephes and his Lording po­wer.See Estius on the 3. Epistle of John, v. 9. It feems to us that the author is somewhat mistaken in the condition of Diotrephes. The text tells us, he sought preheminence, and the learned tell us, that his ambition rather crossed John, then oppressed the people. He was an here­tick, and sought to sit in the Church a­bove an Apostle. He receiveth not us, saith John; any thing over the people above the state of a Bishop we reade not of in him, only he depressed John; so that he was nearer the spirit of an Anti-apostolist, then of a rigid, and imperious Presbyter, [Page 107]as to the people. But what is it to Lord it over Gods heritage? It is a going be­yond Ministerial power, and infringing the liberties, and priviledges of the Saints.

1. It is a going beyond Ministerial pow­er. Then if keeping away ignorant, and scandalous persons be not an exceeding of this power, it is no Lording,1 Cor. 4.1, &c. or impe­rious thing. That Ministers are Church-Officers, and have committed to them, as stewards in Christs house, all the myste­ries of the Gospel, is too clear to be de­nied, or doubted. This Paper yields (somewhere) a Ministerial power as to the use of those two keyes of Doctrine and Censure, we desire but Ministerial po­wer. If we act more, we are deservedly blamed. We shall not dispute (here) the proper, and proximate subject of Church-power, as Ministers we claime, but what doth belong to Church-Officers without injury to the Church. Now if stewards of the mysteries of the Gospel, it behoves us to be faithfull as to the peo­ples right, so to the dignity of the Sacra­ment. Did we impose any thing not com­manded of God, or act Bishop-like in a sole jurisdiction, we could never avoid this blame. Let Lording fall, so rule may [Page 108]stand, some subjection is due by Gods Word to all godly Ministers from their people. If when minded of this, they crie out of Lording, this is their own fault, and ignorance of their duty. In a way of sur­mising, what godly courses but may be (thus) blasted, and confuted? With some men all rule is tyranny. Some Anabaptists count all Magistrates Ty­rants, so do others all Church-power tyrannie.

Erastianisme, and Anabaptisme do in this joyne hands.Ph. Good­win, Evan. Communi­cant. p. 206 A late godly Writer saith, that in Luthers time some profanely professed, that they had rather live under the dominion of the Turk, then where all should be ordered according to the will of God. Shall such thoughts, and sayings now prejudice Gods wayes? We read that the men of Israel counted Solomon a Tyrant,1 Kin. yet the Queen of Sheba admires the happinesse of his servants, and Sub­jects, he made none of the people bond­men. Yea, he made silver to be as stones, only he laid a tribute for the house of the Lord. But they that cannot distinguish be­tween pride, and power, between pride, and discipline, need somewhat to clear their eye-sight. When the Apostle con­demnes Lordship over the flock, he takes [Page 109]not away government,Heb. 13. ver. 7.17.24. for that were to contradict Puul in three places in one Chapter; the Pastor then hath rule, but it must not be tyrannical.

2. Lording is an overthrowing of the priviledges of the Saints, and godly; but we study to preserve their priviledges, and to raise a fence, that they may not be tro­den down by wilde beasts,Esay. 5.2. but preserved in their use from evident prophanation. We gather out the stones of Gods vine­yard? Besides all that is done is by vo­luntary agreement, our rules extend but to them that freely submit to them. We excommunicate none, nor meddle with other mens wayes. Indeed we discover by our actings what we would draw our Con­gregations unto; and that while they re­fuse to follow us therein, our union with them (in that Ordinance) cannot be comfortable. And this we do as being bound in conscience to use all good means to redresse abuses, and to promote the National Engagement of Reformation. Here now are essayes of rule, and order, but no imperiousnesse, or usurpation: When Moses stood for the Priests Office against the pride of Corah, and his com­plices, they tell him, that the Priests took too much upon them.

Truth is, only gracious spirits are fit to be governed in a Christian, or Church-way. Gods yoke is grievous to the sons of Belial. Hinc illae lachrymae. Is any thing put upon men but the light burthen of Christs lawes? Is it intolerable to come under the duties of godlinesse? is there cause given to men to crie out of Lording, and blasting their reputation, when so fa­cile a thing is required, as the discovery of their knowledge, and clearing of their practices from known wickednesse?

Object. 2 Object. 2. But all are called to trial, such as excell their teachers.

Answ. Answ. Why not all as well as some? Duties of Religion are to be imposed without respect of persons. It is possible (though not so usuall) that the Pastor may be exceeded in learning, and gifts by some of his Congregation, but doth this exempt such from obedience? What if a wife have more knowledge then her husband? some particular subjects more policy then their governours? will this justifie the disobedience of the one? or null the authority of the other? An hum­ble man may submit to one of meaner abi­lities then himselfe; yea then, when they are known, and confessed to be so; if for no other reasons, yet to avoid excepti­ons, [Page 111]and to encourage others; such as are able, and godly too, do seldome scruple this, because though they have great abi­lities, yet they know them not so, as to op­pose them against their duty. Again, if the persons tried be found so knowing, it will adde to their esteem, and not dimi­nish it in the least. Among other mistakes this is one, that our greatest suspition is of ignorance. Alas, many are better head­ed, then hearted. We believe, were the truth known among them that stand off from us, the greater part suspect their practice, more then their knowledge. For did they live as they should, and as they conceive we expect, the discovery of their knowledge of Jesus Christ before a few Christians would not appear so formida­ble a work; yea, should we know any un­der our charges, or near us, that were susceptible of Catechising any of us, we might in policy forbear the calling of them forth, without any other reason.

Nay, we could ingenuously say to such, as once John to Christ, I had need to be taught of thee, and comest thou to me? which was the answer (as I am informed) of a Minister not long since to an emi­nent man, submitting to his trial for ad­mission to the Sacrament. Shortly, we [Page 112]envy no mans gifts, but wish them more, and their conversation suitable. One saies of the present state of the University of Oxford: There have been more Muses here­tofore,Cor. à Lap. in Exod. 6.30. p. 543 but never so many Graces as now. We honour Graces above Muses. We finde it to be a doubt among the learned, whether the common shekel be greater, or lesse then that of the Sanctuary? Some make it lesse, others greater; we will not go about to determine this; the allusion (every one sees) reflects upon the par­ticular Ministers: however, we passe it by. There were shekels of gold some, others of brasse, iron, &c. Answerable to these are the various kindes and degrees of mens gifts; not the largest shekels, but the holiest are the best; a little piece of gold is better then a great piece of silver. Knowledge adorn'd with humility, and engaged to advance piety (of whatever measure and content) is after the she­kel, and standard of the Sanctuary.

Object. 3 Object. 3. We imply that our people are asses.

Answ. Answ. We need a paire of tongs to deal with so odious a comparison as this is, let it returne to the place from whence it came; we leave it to Popish Priests, and Episcopal spirits, whose guise it hath been [Page 113]to advance themselves, and depresse the laity, and to this end wish their igno­rance, rather then their knowing much. We maintaine a difference between Offi­cers, and members of Churches; but we freely acknowledge all godly people to be the Lords Clergy; however, we are not ignorant of a more restrained use of that word in the Ancients.

Obj. 4 Object. 4. We shape Presbytery to Po­pery, &c.

Answ. Answ. These are the dregs of this bit­ter cup. We stand not much upon the say­ings of them that have voted for Presby­tery. Perchance some voted and acted therein for wrong ends, and their votes might prosper accordingly; some we are sure were once in a nearnesse to act in that way, who were very unmeet for such a work.

Last of all, that Presbytery should be cast into the mould of Popery is a wilde fancy, and argues both the corruption of the mans heart, and darknesse of his minde that suspects it.

Men that like not the restraint of their lusts by any Church-government, must crie out of Popery, covetousnesse, ambi­tion, Prelacy, and such like, which are but fig-leaves to cover their nakednesse. [Page 114]In a word, a man may say this for Pres­bytery, though he be not fond of it, that (whatever it be else) it is the strongest barre that ever was set against Popery.

SECT. 22.

Wherein of the fifth, and last Querie, namely,

Whether this be not halfe way towards the Independants, and symbolize not with the congregational way? For what difference is there between their gathering a Church, and this collecting together of communi­cants, The fifth query in the tenth section of the Paper. some of one place, some of ano­ther? what material disparity is there between their covenant with the Church, and this admitting none without satisfacti­on given, and profession made of their suf­ficiency to the Minister? They admit any to the hearing of the Word, not to the Communion, and such is the method also of this Difcipline. Are not both equally guilty of an Allotrioepiscopacy of remo­ving the ancient land-markes, and con­founding of Churches, and limits: And taking in such of whose soules they have [Page 115]by no law, nor consonancy to good order, any proper, or special cure?

And of a resemblance with the Par­tridge, Jer. 17.11. which gathereth the young which she bringeth not forth, The fifth querie of the tenth section of the Paper. (as was the ancient, and is still the marginal reading) and of that Magick which some Romanes were slandered with, of charming, and bringing other mens fruits into their fields? Consider what I say, and the Lord give me, and thee understanding in all things.

§. 22 Here we shall only answer for our selves, though others be charged with us. Independants are no such formidable creatures to us, there are many eminently godly men that lie under that distinction of judgement; we see some imperfection in their way, nor do we know our own altogether free; our present reformation is not the measure of our will, but of our power; though some difference between us and them be professed, yet we look up­on them as dear brethren, and defire so to walk, waiting for theirs, and our own suller satisfaction. We agree in the great­er, and differ but in lesser things; we con­ceive the interest of both parties to be the same, the rule one; so that accommoda­tion [Page 116]is neither sinfull, nor impossible. We are so much for peace, that we could (if our hearts deceive us not) go many miles barefoot to meet it. We are very sensi­ble of that of the Apostle Paul, and wish others to minde it:Gal. 5.15. If ye bite and de­vour one another, take heed ye be not con­sumed one of another. They are strangers at home, and to the times, that see not truth and holinesse losing sensibly and fearfully by our rents.

Lastly,Of infant-baptisme. p. 228. we commend the opinion, in some branches, of holy master Baxter to serious scanning.

Notwithstanding all this, if our neigh­bours will see how farre we are from com­pliance with rigid Independants,One blow more to Babylon. p. 21. let them consult a late book written by an affectionate opposite. We leave them to answer the confounding of Churches; when we have fully embraced their prin­ciples, we will reply to this charge also.

In the mean time that which is called disorder against law, and Magick, is but the effect of such speeches, as we have of­ten heard, terming our meeting schismati­cal, and seditious: but we are assured the society is guilty of neither; not of Schisme, because we separate not from true Churches, but only aime at the Reforma­tion [Page 117](if possible) of those Congregations we watch over, and in the Countrey about us; not of sedition, while the present authority is for us, (at least not against us,) and we no underminers of them, nor are we tumultuous, or injurious: we constraine none; that which is done is a voluntary, and free work. If we cannot convince, and satisfie other mens consci­ences, we leave them to themselves, nor is there any injury to other Ministers. We do not clock their chickens from them, but it may be (if it be serious enough so to speak, as we are in a sort urged,) we may have hatched some egges of their nest, and this offence (we hope) they will forgive us.

But to answer the comparison taken out of Jeremy. We shall borrow a like resemblance from a learned Divine, and so end. He speaking to that word of Peter [...], 1 Pet. 4.4. alludes thus:Mr. Hos­kins Dr. of law, in his 7. Serm. p. 22. The henne that hath hatched Par­tridges or Pheasants egges, seeing them soare aloft, looks strangely after them, be­cause she knowes not that they are of a higher kinde.

This is the reason (saith he) why men of the world do gaze, and grudge at such as take a flight somewhat above them, be­cause [Page 118]they are ignorant of this, that they are of a better generation.

We have gone step by step with the Author to the end of his walk. To satisfie the Reader, and more fully to lay open our mindes, and desires as to the use of the Lords Supper;

These foure following heads we purpose to passe over.

  • 1. Why not the Sacrament in our own Congregations?
  • 2. Why we seperate not in other Ordi­nances?
  • 3. What are the Scripture-grounds and proofes for our way, and practice?
  • 4. Some other queries about this busi­nesse in the close of all.

SECT. 23.

Why not the Sacrament in our own Congregations?

§. 23 To open our selves in such points as this, [Page 119]only the law of love and condescen­sion bindes us, we stand not upon termes of policy, and closenesse, while we have hopes of doing good to soules; and there­fore answer,

It is in some, but not yet in the rest of our Assemblies, and this is because there is no fit matter, or rather not sufficient at home; not that we think all our people uncapable, as is by some enviously sur­mised, and suggested. No, it is unto some more their own unwillingnesse, then any thing else that keeps them off. They that will partake must not only be fit for such an Ordinance, but willing for such a work as we designe, (viz.) Reformation of corruptions, and noting of corrupt members; we know not how these Mini­sters and people do satisfie themselves, who wholly neglect the Ordinance. We must needs say, our former corruptions are justly punished with these interruptions, which are as well the sinnes, as judge­ments of most places. Most particular Churches have been fed (of late) with one breast, the other being dry; though we doubt not but the Lord hath supplied this to all his, (who is able to make this non-use, useful, holding forth a crucified Christ in the Word, and giving soules to [Page 120]eate, and drink the flesh and blood of Je­sus Christ by faith,See Calvin on Joh. 6, p. 806. Perperam hanc locum de caena. of which John the sixth Chapter, while they have wanted the Sacramental eating) yet we conceive the Word of Christ to be peremptory, and therefore the duty so incumbent on all believers, as upon no pretence whatsoe­ver (if necessaries be not wanting) alto­gether,Evang. Commun. 403. or long to be discontinued. One Objection without any long digression we may consider. It is better (saith one) to delay, then to defile an Ordinance; bet­ter to delay that we may not defile, then to defile that we may not delay; the de­lay only opposing the circumstance, &c. We shall more fully answer this in ano­ther place.

Here in a word, the delay doth more then oppose the circumstance; as it may be prolonged, it doth oppose the command it selfe, time here being of the substance of the command: Do this as often. But (to return) whatever others think, we could not satisfie our consciences as to our own duties, without procuring opportuni­ties for them that were godly to enjoy this so blessed an institution: but when this is done, and all serious people may with no great paines embrace this privi­ledge frequently and purely; they (the [Page 121]generality) scruple that which hath no sinne in it, namely, the going out of their Parishes; a circumstance which defiles not the action,The true admini­string of censures the earth cannot bear it. The thiefe endureth to hear of hemp, as well as unruly lustfull men to be shackled in the fear of being excommuni­cate. Mr. Paul Baine on the Ephesians. p. 293. so much as in appearance, while we have professed (as they know) and are still resolved to return to our places, (as to this Or­dinance too,) as soon as a competent number shall ap­pear fit, and willing to carry on so great a work. Some yeares since, and before we pitched at Pyworthy, this our intendment was spoken of in the Pulpit; and the people desired to discover their affection to the work, but not a man in some places appeared. Some through worldly fear, doubting State-changes, and revolutions; others (we fear) for worse reasons, and a few (as we believe,) wanting zeal, and boldnesse to go before others in the mat­ters of God. Upon this there being a Church form'd in one of our Congregati­ons, according to the rule of the Word, in the choice of a Pastor, Officers, and Members, other Ministers, and people are joyned to this society; for which we blesse God, and in which we are likely to walk till we can see truth, or reason against us, [Page 122]which yet is not shewen us. But lo, what a dust doth this raise? what rumours fill the Countrey, as if some strange thing had happened? how are we become our peoples enemies, and grievous bur­thens? we complaine not of uncivil di­sturbances, (we have found none,) but of hard thoughts, and untempered words; unto which that of the Historian concern­ing Germanicus may be applied:

Tacitus.He was hated (saith he) and maligned the more violently, because unjustly. Instead of six hundred necks in one man (as one saith) to submit to the Discipline of the Gospel, we finde a thousand mouthes opened by one against it, when we observe the disorder of mens spirits, and their unthankfulnesse; theJoshua, chap. 22. And for our much desired Discipline and holy order, was there ever a people under beaven who called themselves reformers, that opposed it mere desperately, and that vi [...]ified it, and railed against it more scurrilously? as if it were but a device of ambiti­on; Presbyters, that traite­ronsly sought domination over their superiours, and not the law, and order established by Christ, as if these men had never read Scriptures, or will tread in the dirt the lawes of Christ, which must judge them? Mr. Baxter his Saints everlasting Rest, p. 296. 2d. part. Divine history brings to our mindes that passion, which was once stirred up in the other tribes, against the two tribes, and halfe; when they supposed a schisme to be hatching, yea, broken forth, they censure [Page 123]deeply, and prepare cruelly, but the issue was peace at the last; the like approbation and blessing we hope for, when a good understanding is begot. In the mean time, better is dissension for Piety, then corrupt communion. As to them that traduce, and revile us, did they know how sweet God makes their gall to our tastes, they would soon grow weary of their reproaches out of very envy. Let no good soul faint for men, but eye God, whose Word must be our Sunne and shield; whatever we suffer in our estates, names, and quiet, we shall have him a faithfull debtour, and seasonable pay­master.

SECT. 24.

Wherein of this, Why we separate not in all Ordinances?

§. 24 It is because we are for Surgery, not for Butchery. Physicians seek all meanes to cure, before they cut off but a member; should not we before we cut down a Church? Here we must answer them that condemne us for coming short, as others [Page 124]do for going too farre, and doing too much.Camero praelect. de Escles. p. 402. The learned distinguish of a two­fold separation, namely, positive and ne­gative. The first we condemne, unlesse upon weighty and just grounds. The se­cond we are acting in, namely, making a separation in our Congregations, not se­parating from our Churches, but from some corruptions in them, in order unto Reformation. So did our Saviour; he li­ved in unity with the Jewish Church in ne­cessary Ordinances, but yet separated from it in regard of corruptions in some things, as in the washings,Mr. Hil­dersham, on Joh. p. 167. and mis-observation of the Passeover, namely, on a wrong time. Churches are to be made new, as Christi­ans are, by restoring that which was lost. We are not so strong,Mr. Cotton against Williams, p. 117, 118, 119. in the 5. part. as they seem to be, who renounce their Ministery, and Con­gregations, as nullities. It is no small mat­ter to destroy Churches and to scatter flocks. It hath been matter of repentance unto some, the seducing of men from hear­ing in Parish-Churches, and teaching them to account their Ministery a false Mini­stery, and our professors no visible Saints. It is supposed by us, that some at least of our Congregations are sound in their es­sentials, and so capable of Reformation: these we would cure, not destroy. We are [Page 125]afraid of schisme, as of a great sinne, and work of the flesh. We professe before God, Angels, and men, that our consci­ences tremble at the destruction and con­fusion of true Churches in the lowest ca­pacity; we may not (as we conceive) safely forsake Assemblies, which God hath not forsaken, but is present with, in the Word, and Doctrine of salva­tion.

Rigid and absolute separation carries contempt with it, and rather hinders then furthers the amendment of evil men. The rigid separatist hath seldome been stea­dy, or rested, till all instituted worship, and morall lawes of God are separated from. It is the saying of acute Baxter, Commonly the truest opinion lies in the midst. But more particularly,

1. We separate not, as to the Word and prayer, because a mixture is allowed here, not only in the judgement of the godly learned, as before, but by the ex­ample of the Word, and true reason, all sorts have been admitted to both these, and necessarily must, being the or­dinary means of begetting faith. Christ taught the multitude. The Apostles sent to preach unto the world. The godly have prayed in the presence of unbelie­vers. [Page 126]He gave thanks (which is prayer) in the presence of them all, namely passen­gers in his ship, Act. 27.35. Elisha pray­ed in the presence of Gehazi, Dr. Gouge in his whole ar­mour. p. 216. as is collect­ed by some of note, from 2 King. 4.33. We may pray for wicked men, which is not denied, then why not in their pre­sence, or with them? To pray for, is more then to pray with; their presence at the duty can be no sinne, while 'tis that they are commanded to do, though at present their own evils make them un­able to do as they should. Peter bids Simon Magus to pray, Act. 8.22. and yet he saw him in the gall of bitter­nesse.

Lastly, that which is lawful in it self, and the duty of all men, may be done any where, or in the presence of any; but so are prayer and hearing.

2. As to Baptisme,Disciplina cum ver­bo & Sacramentis con­jungi solet ab optimis Theologis in Ecclesia Dei notanda: quamvis non sit nota simpliciter essentia­lis & reciproca. (Jicut neque reliquae duae) ad completum tamen eccle­siae statum necessario de­bet idesse. Ames. Me­dul. Theol. c. 37. p, 285. we suppose our Churchss to be true, but sick, and corrupt; the truth of some of them (as to their essence) we think we can prove. A Church may be in a Parish, as well as in a Countrey, or City, (as Ephesus, Corinth) yea, as well as in the world. We do not [Page 127]say our Assemblies are Churches as Pa­rishes, but that they are Churches in Pa­rishes: and in that sense Parish-Churches. They are Churches, as having the mat­ter and forme of Churches, but not without great disorder at present. We are willing to discusse in another fit place this question with our brethren other­wise minded, Whether the Churches of England be true Churches (because it is the hinge of many other controversies?) and we will undertake to prove that some are, which is enough where all are denied for matter & forme true Churches.

We suppose the Controversie would quickly be ended, were the characters of visibility agreed on. The Word and Sa­craments have passed as notes of a vi­sible Church, in the judgement of Austin, Calvin, Zanchy, and almost all good Writers unto this day; and although we may and must allow discipline to have a place in the definition of sound, and healthy Churches, yet to put all, or most upon this one, is unwarrantable, & unrea­sonable. Amesius speaks somewhat to the purpose, and (as we conceive) fully and truly, to whom we remit the Reader, Men professing holinesse and not contradict­ing their profession are the proper mat­ter [Page 128]of a true visible Church: but such our Churches have, though not only such, which the Apostles Churches had not. The forme of a Church is the union of the body with Jesus Christ, which is (visibly) by living under Gospel-Ordi­nances conscienciously dispensed; the forme of a man is the union of the soul and body together. Ordinances are the ligaments that tye Christ and the Church together. Now the means can­not be denied to be with us, no, nor the effect of the meanes, therefore with us is the forme of visible Churches. Now (having a little cleared our supposition) upon this account it follows, that all in­fants borne in our Churches are to be baptized. For Congregational Churches (as they are called) do baptize all their infants, we follow in this the same ground and principle. If any object that sundry of the Parents are ungodly, whose chil­dren we baptize; We ask, whether they can deny baptisme to the childe of any member, (how offensive soever) before the sentence of cutting off passe upon him? These supposed wicked ones whe­ther (as carnal or prophane) are not ex­communicated, what therefore should hinder their childrens baptisme? Besides, [Page 129]the children are not baptized in their right alone, but in the Churches: Where the childe is borne a member, being ho­ly (federally) by birth and therefore to be baptized. We look to see so much as may perswde us in charity to take a mans profession to be serious, before we think him fit to come to the sealing, and di­stinguishing Ordinance,Mr. Per­kins on Gal. 3. ch. 2. vol. p. 284. a remote right may serve to bring in his childe, but a nearer right (in actu primo, (as the learn­ed speak) that is present, and visible) is necessary to a mans self.

While a father is sequestrable, or seque­stred, his sonne hath the right of an heire. Under excommunication it self (as some think) it being for the souls good, there remaines (so terrible as it is) some dor­mant, or virtual right still: and therefore it is a question, whether formal excom­munication of the Parents,The Lord deliver us from this medicine of our dissensious, that we be not made so to agree (viz) as Hooper, and Ridley in the pri­son, yea, that we be not soder'd together with our own blood. Mr. Burroughs on Hosea p. 131. do cut off the seed from all Church-priviledges? Charity may embrace the childe in some one initial Ordinance, when it cannot embrace the Parent in all.

But to close this. We are not of those that take delight in making differences among [Page 130]the godly more wide, but (as equal­ly tender of peace and holinesse, of uni­ty and piety:) do humbly desire all pro­fessing religion in earnest to lay to heart Satans, and profane mens advantage by the Churches divisions. O pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love it. But alas, instead of prayers, fightings. The godly were better friends when they enjoyed lesse liberty: but this doth not please God, nor become his children: our fear is that if the godly u­nite not under mercies, God may bring together by some common calamity.


Wherein the Scripture-grounds and proofes for our way and practice are held forth.

§. 25 The texts which contribute more or lesse to warrant our practice, are these among many others, 1 Cor. 14.40. Jer. 15.19. 2 Thes. 3.2. 6, 14, 15, verses, 1 Cor. 5.11. Mat. 7.6. 1 Cor. 11.27. unto the end, compared with Jude ver. 23. 1 Tim. 5.22. Heb. 13.17. 1 Pet. 3.15. 2 Chron. [Page 131]23.19. Joel 3.17. Nahum 1.15. Zach. 12.21. Unto all these, And

1. Unto, 1 Cor. 14.40.The first Proof. Let all things be done decently, and in order. This is a ge­neral rule serving unto the worlds end, to direct the Churches in matters of outward worship, whereof this of ad­mission to, and exclusion from the Lords Table is one; suppose now we had no particular warrant from Gods Word to beare us out, yet if our course be holy, and orderly, it hath warrant from that general rule.

Courses that have an excellent, and holy use in the Church, may be justified by this text (being well managed a­gainst all the world.B. Abbot against Church for­sakers. p. 116. It is confessed by one, and it is the minde (we beleeve) of the most moderate, and ingenuous of our adversaries, that it were a glorious and comfortable thing, if none but holy per­sons did draw neer to this holy Table. We assume, But a general rule will beare up a glorious and comfortable practice in the Church. He sayes (in another place) that it is the Ministers misery, that he must admit all. This (must) is without either command of God, or man. If it seeme necessary, but yet a misery, and they (the Ministers) sensible of it, why [Page 132]embrace they not with joy the liberty now given to exclude the unworthy? He is not sensible of his misery, that embraceth not the remedy. It could not be a misery but as it is sinne; and if a sinne to admit all, as undoubtedly it is (as our Congrega­tions are) a great one, then Gods Word must warrant the exclusion of some. If a misery, why doth not the sense of this misery stirre up men to act in courses of reformation? But they will tell you, they want a command from men, and therefore cannot do as they would. This is but a shift of unwilling mindes. Is not Gods Word our rule, giving a command for all Gospel-duties? We will not un­dertake to speak the minde of the higher powers in this matter; only this we be­leeve, that they give more liberty then. is taken, and we hope they will satisfie the just desires of the godly in this thing. The Magistrate doth command Ministers to do their duty, but leaves them to the Word for their rule. There be Ordinan­ces of Parliament (which are in force while the same Parliament sits that made them) which do authorize the keeping back of all ignorant and scandalous per­sons. It is not good to father our own corruptions, and unwillingnesse to the [Page 133]work of reformation on the State. Let not Ministers say they want authority, while they have the authority of the Word. Let us aske the learned, what other war­rant, or authority, besides the general rule fore-mentioned, had the Ancients for all their wary discipline, and separating, and distinguishing orders about the Lords Supper? No particular warrant from the Word (we are assured) as to their or­ders of Penitents, and courses about them.

The Text then, 1 Cor. 14.40. will yield this Argument.

Where is no due order in Sacramental administrations, there Gods Word is not observed; But where all are admitted there is no order: Therefore in the ad­mission of all Gods will is not ob­served.

The Major is very clear; Gods Word commanding order, it cannot be obser­ved without it.

The Minor may be further proved.

Where there is mixture, and confusion of good and bad fit and unfit, there is no order. But where all are admitted is this mixture. Ergo.

We do not well see what can be de­nied here.

Lastly, as the course which others walk in is contrary to this rule, so ours is according to it.

Which may be thus drawn out:

That course, and way which doth na­turally, and directly tend to set up order, and holinesse in the Church, is warrant­able by this text;

But our way doth so tend.

The Minor is thus proved.

Where only such are admitted, and all such are admitted as can challenge right to the Sacrament by the Word of Christ, there due order and decency are ob­served.

But so it is with us.

Therefore with us is a direct tenden­cy unto holy order and decency.


Wherein of that text, Jer. 15.19. If thou takest forth the precious from the vile, then shalt thou be as my mouth.

§. 26 The second Proof. Not to mention variety of interpreta­tions: it may be otherwise worded thus:

If thou separate the flexible, ingenuous, and godly Jews, from the hardened, pro­fane, and obstinate.

This is most likely to be the truth, be­cause he speaks of persons, not of things; not of graces, and corruptions, but of men, namely, precious ones, and vile ones, for he saith (them, namely men) in the next words. What by taking out? This is a Metaphor alluding to Goldsmiths re­fining mettals, taking the heaviest from the lighter; the heaviest mettal being pu­rest. Some give the sense in this manner: If thou seek to win the good; from the bad. Others thus, If thou wisely make a differ­ence between the prophane, and godly. Now there is a threefold separation, as some distinguish.

1. Ministerial, or Doctrinal, which is twofold.

1. In preaching, which is called a di­viding the Word aright.

2. By preaching, namely, when by Gods blessing the Word preached converts some, and so separates them from the world, or men uncalled.

2. The other kinde is Practical separation, this is when in some things of conversa­tion we turne from some men; of which the Apostle, 2 Tim. 3.5.

3. The third kinde of separation is Ecclesiastical, which is properly the act of the Church, or its Officers. This is also twofold.

1. When a company of men do sepa­rate from an Idolatrous Church, (as we from Rome justly) and do make another Church;See Came­ro de Ec­clesia. p. 402. of this, Rev. 18.4. and many o­ther Texts: This the learned call a positive separation.

2. Another is when a Church doth separate from the scandalous members of her own body, or separate such as are scandalous from her; This hath been, and may be practised, being grounded upon this, and other texts of Scripture; as, 2 Thes. 3.6. of which hereafter. This is termed a negative separation, in a Church, not from it. This is our case, we separate only in that wherein those separated [Page 137]from cannot lawfully joyn; the lawfulness of this is contended for by this, and ma­ny other Scriptures. The text in hand is by many taken as speaking only of do­ctrinal separation in preaching; but this cannot be: for the following words are expressed for more, for a practicall separa­tion at least: Returne not thou to them, let them come to thee, that is, walk thou Jeremy in a right way thy self, and draw as many to thee as thou canst. He speaks of making, and maintaining a personal separation, as to some things of God. He speaks of separating persons.

Further, if the opinion be true, that the text alledged allows only a doctrinal se­paration in preaching, and denies any o­ther, then Excommunication falls, and all the Religious practices of the Ancients (who make divers sorts in the Church,The Ministers of the Gospel, and New Testa­ment ought to make dif­ference between the godly and wicked, as much as in them licih; to accept and receive the one, and to reject and exclude the other from the publick prayers of the Church, & from the sacred Table of Christ; hence is the command to the Church of Corinth, and to the Pastor, as the principal man. Adds these texts, 2 Cor. 5.13. Jer. 15.19. See this and more in that learned, & godly man Mr. Stocke, in his Commentary on Mal. p. 129, & 130. as hath been shewn) must be, and are condemned. It hath been a rule in expounding Scripture, that we must not limit it, and strai­ten it, when the Spirit leaves it free, and general; now they do limit for their own ends, who will have it speak only of differencing mens spiritual [Page 138]estates by preaching. Who knows not that Church-cen­sures were under the Old Te­stament, and that there was (then) an Ecclesiastical sepa­ration, or casting out, but that the love of carnall liberty makes men forgetful? But to summe up this text also.

That which God commands is our duty.

But God commands more then a do­ctrinal separation in applying the Word.

Therefore more is our duty.

The Minor is proved in the open­ing of this text, and by the rea­sons given upon it. What reason, and cause we have to make some separation in our Assemblies, the whole land saw, (the godly party we mean) in every corner of it, as doth appear by their petitions, and the Parliaments orders, and acts upon them: and truly he that sees it not ne­cessary at this day, is not a little blinde; now if some separation must be made, then examination and such like proper meanes must be alse.


Wherein of 2 Thes. 3.2, 6, 14, 15. verses.

§. 27 The third Proof. He speaks of wicked men (verse 2.) which he will have noted, (verse 14.) that is, censured, as is plaine; and that not as to civil conversation only,1 Cor. 5.10 Ità sanè, ut nec e­mendatio­nis vigilatia quies­cat corripi­endo, de­gradando, excommu­nicando, caeterísque coercioni­bus licitis, &c. Aug. lib. 4. con­tra Dona­tistac. for herein more liberty hath been, and may be taken, as hereafter may be shewn. The best Di­vines do expound verses 14.15. of Church-censures. So by Austin of old, speaking touching mixture in the Church: This may be, provided that Church-censures be not neglected (saith Austin alledging the Words of our text.) So by many choice ones of latter dayes. Here is first a cha­racter of some false brethren, unreasonable wicked men; then a command, (ver. 6.) to withdraw, and after to note, and have no company, ver. 14. which by the following words we are constrained to understand of some exclusion from fellow­ship in some Ordinances, or act of Church-communion.

Note, that is, put a marke upon him, that [Page 140]he may be ashamed: Non significatè sed signatè, as Erasmus, and others. What should this black mark be? Is it casting out by excommunication? No, that is too much at first,1 Cor. 5.13 the excommunicate is to be accounted as a Heathen, not as a brother. What, is it only by leaving his society in civil things? No, that is as much too lit­tle, and hardly to be done, such may his relations be.Dr. Sclater 1 Thes. 2. p. 284. Therfore meant of withdraw­ing in sacris, namely, in holy things. Thus judge the best, and soundest Interpreters. Some censure; either the greater, as Ex­communication; or the lesser, as Suspen­tion from the Lords Table must be. It is noted as a punishment to be in the sight of the Church, such a noting, and with­drawing, as tends to the shaming, and reforming of scandalous and misliving brethren. Suspension from civil society, is lesse shaming. But to end this text.

Noting offending brethren so as to shame them, is holy, and necessary.

But such is our suspension of misliving men.

Therefore holy and necessary.

That it hath, and doth humble, experi­ence proves. What noting, or shaming [Page 141]is there, or can there be in general ca­veats, and warnings? who sees not that the grossest men take neither shame, nor warning by them.


Wherein of these words: If any man that is called a brother, be a fornicator, or cove­tous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, with such a one no not to eate, 1 Cor. 5.11.

The fourth Proof. We will not cloy the Reader with autho­rities of most learned, and holy men,§ 28. Centurists, lib. 1. cap. 2. p. 275. Atque ità excludun­tur à com­munione Ecclesiae. which might here be multiplied. The Centurists apply this text to the Sacrament, that he will not have meat taken; this belongs to Discipline (saith Tossanus upon the place.)

Others are as expresse, as Martyr, Beza in his Annot. in locum. p. 526. Be­za, who defends Aquinas in this against Erasmus. This text affords an argument (which way soever taken) against admis­sion of drunkards,Quantò magìs con­victu sacro, saith Pare­us on the place. and such like to the Sacrament.

If by eating you will understand com­mon bread, then it followes à minori, from [Page 142]the lesser, to the greater, that if we may not eat common, much lesse sacred bread with such men. But,

3. If we take it for Sacramental eating, then we have an Apostolical injunction, against the coming of ungodly ones to the Lords table, and by consequence an allowance of [...]eparation as to such, and of trial in order to it. Now that this is the true meaning of the words, is to be proved many wayes.

1. By the context, for the whole Chap­ter concernes Church-fellowship, and censures.

It is about casting out of the Incestuous person, as every one sees; marke these words which follow immediately (Do not we judge them that are within?) then he speaks of judging, that is, of a Church-cen­sure; therefore inferres as a conclusion, Put away from among you that (or the like) wicked person.

2. It may be proved by these reasons out of the text.

1. If meant of common bread, then this absurdity followes, that I may not sit at an ordinary, or dine, or sup any where. if any ungodly man be present; what a snare will this be to mens consci­ences, considering that we account all bre­thren [Page 143](in a larger sense) that professe Christ? so that it must send us out of the world, and put us to borrow Novatus his ladder.

2. He means not the withdrawing of civil society by particular persons in a private way, but of the Church; for to them he writes; therefore meant of Church-eating.

3. The nature of the recited sinnes shew that he intends scandals calling for Discipline, and coming under the like cen­sure with incest.

4. He had spoken of keeping company before, therefore (eat not) containes more then a denial of civil converse.


of Matth. 7.6. Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearles before swine.

§. 29 The fifth Proof. The conceit (here) of some is, that this is meant of preaching the Gospel un­to the Gentiles, but much besides the marke. Some restriction we read of, as [Page 144]to going into the way of the Gentiles;Mat. 5.10. but this was but for a time,Act. 13.46 afterwards we reade, Lo, we turne unto the Gentiles; this fancy evacuates the text, and makes it to be as a Bee without a sting. Others will have the words to be meant onely of those that be open persecutors, or of dogs, by a legall censure, namely, such as have been proved, and judicially so made, which they do suppose none to be (in actu, vel potentia,) because Church-go­vernment is unsettled. There is some truth in this last, but (yet) as it is urged by some it is but a shift: The truth (that we grant) is, that every private Christi­ans Censure does not make a man to be a dogge, but the sentence of such as have some power from Christ to keep back from an Ordinance; but the shift is this, That because now gouernment is unset­led, therefore none may be taken, or lookt on as such. This we cannot close with; we beleeve that Ministers of the Gospel may act by vertue of their com­mission from Christ, upon their own knowledge or conscience, as to censuring, by not admitting such as are scandalous. Do prophane men cease to be dogges, be­cause there is not a compleat Judicatory to judge them? No, they are so voted by [Page 145]the Word, their sinnes, and contempt of Gods wayes make them such, the Scri­pture interprets this expression to signifie men of a profane life. See 2 Pet. 2.18, 19, 20, 22. Prov. 26.11. Adogge turneth to his vomit, and so a foole to his folly, that is, a wicked man to his sinne. Now if the will of Jesus Christ be, that this fountaine be kept pure, as Chrysostome speaks, that is, that the precious Ordinance of the Lords Supper be not prostituted unto men of vi­cious lives, then our endeavour to keep off the unfit, is fully the minde of Christ too. But the first is true; Therefore, &c.

Lastly, where none are kept back, where no courses of discipline are acted in, but preaching alone, there this Command of Christ is not observed at all.

It is cleare that the Sacrament is holy, and that vicious men are swine, then to give them the Sacrament is to pro­phane it, which should not be given way unto. But,

See more of this Text, pag. 42.

Object. Object. It is objected by some that the Word preached is a pearle too, and upon this account not to be preacht un­to swine.

Answ. Answ. The word is indeed a pearle, [Page 146]and some men are so swinish, and dog­ged, that this text will warrant our silence toward them, but the objection is weak; for non est eadem ratio, as we say, the rea­son is not the same; For though the Word, and Sacrament be both jewels, yet the one is necessary to conversion, to make them that be swine to become sheep; and dogges, lambs: but of this before. So then sancta canibus, is a harsh discord to that sweet note of the Ancient Church, Sancta sanctis, namely, holy things to holy men.


Of 1 Cor. 11.27. unto the end of the Chapter, compared with ver. 23. of the Epistle of Jude.

§. 30 The sixth Proof. Many things for our purpose may be drawn hence. In the former text there is a fiery danger represented, and detect­ed in unworthy receiving. In the other text a duty towards them that are apt to runne into this danger, and to neglect their warning. In that the Apostle would [Page 147]have men to examine themselves, and so to eat, he shews, that such as do eat wor­thily must be people of knowledge, and grace; for such onely can, and will ex­amine themselves. So that if self-exa­mination be necessary to go before recei­ving, then such as do not, or cannot, ought to be excluded; and the danger being so capital, there should be a pre­venting thereof in others to their utmost. Now it is very certaine that a natural man, an ignorant, impenitent person cannot prforme his duty of examin­ing, therefore all such ought to be ex­cluded. That which we examine for (as to one principal part) is, whether people can examine themselves? which we are assured many canot do, who yet are left by many Ministers to themselves, and desire so to be. Upon this ground in­fants, fooles, and mad men are not ad­mitted, because unable to examine them­selves; now such as be wicked men can­not be (rationally) supposed either able or willing to try, or judge themselves, they are spiritually fooles, wanting that prudence, patience, and self-suspicion, which are the principles of this examinati­on; they suspect neither good absent, nor e­vil present, but are full of false confidence, [Page 148]and Laodecean security. How should a natural man be willing to such a work? He that lives in sinne, and is unconverted, hath no principle to walk in the wayes of God freely; he may play the Ape, and do (as to outward works) what he sees others do, but as for discerning in the Ordinance, or searching his own heart before, these are things far above him. We do then our own work, not other mens, while we try their fitnesse, and ca­pacity to examine themselves.


On 1 Tim. 5.22. Neither be partakers of other mens sins.

§. 31 The se­venth Proof. Other mens sinnes becoming ours, will prove as terrible to our consciences, as any originally our own. The evasions applied to this text are many. We are not partakers of other mens sins, (say some) while we exhort the unworthy not to come, setting before them the danger of such coming; which is all that lies on us to do. But we suspect the insuffici­ency [Page 149]of this excuse. If a Minister be si­lent and do not reprove the sinnes of his Congregation he is guilty by silence of their sinnes, this is truth. But yet though silence makes guilty, yet bare reproving doth not make innocent, because not our full duty. A Ministers reproving & binding the impenitent in the Congregation by denunciation of Gods judgements may clear him (ad hoc,) or as a Preacher, but not as a Ruler or Steward. For if the same Minister shall loose the same men by gi­ving them the seales of the New Cove­nant, which is in effect to tell them, that they are Saints interested in Gospel-pri­viledges, and promises, or justified per­sons, we must fear that the guilt which was thrust out at the fore-doore, comes in again at the back-doore.

It must needs be, that Ministers obser­ving the state of their flock, shall, and will finde, and know among them some that are very sottish, worldly, and wicked: now are they not guilty of these, or such mens sinnes, when they admit them know­ing them to be in the gall of bitternesse, so far as fruits can shew it? In the text we are upon, the Apostle speaks of Ordi­nation of Ministers, wherein by not exa­mining the persons to be ordained, guilt [Page 150]is contracted, and this is when that great work is done without examining, or pro­ving, As 1 Tim. 3.10. then it is sudden. In like manner the giving of the Sacra­ment is sudden, and guilty, (though but once in a yeare) where no difference or trial is made of them that come; but as in Jeroboams dayes, he that would might be a Priest, so he that will (though of the basest of the people) may be a guest at the Lords Table; men may put all this off, by thinking the fault is is not theirs, while the act is other mens, but other mens sins may be ours. As in civil Judi­catories there are Principals and Accesso­ries, so before God there will be too and non-examiners, are Accessories before the fact.


On Heb. 13.17. Obey them that have the rule over you. 1 Pet. 3.15. Be ready alwayes to give an answer to every one, that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meek­nesse and feare.

§. 32 The eighth and. nineth Proofes. We joyne these together that we may be the shorter. Here are two famous A­postles appearing for us, the one requi­ring confession of faith even before ene­mies; that which we desire in order to mens discovery of their knowledge, is but in effect the confession of their faith, or an answer, or reason of their hope. Now if this were to be given before an enemy, then much more, and easier is it to be made before friends: Such as desire to be helpers of mens faith, not upbraiders of their weaknesse.

Not expecting more submission from a­ny, then they (hope) to shew meekness, and gentlenesse to all.

As to the other text, Obey them that have he rule over you.

They that would construe it of the Ma­gistrate; forget themselves very much; for though they be Rulers in a true sense, yet the Apostle could not mean such here. He speaks of actual Governours at that time. Now were there any (then) that did watch over the soules of beleevers? Were they not enemies to them, and their faith? But now if we take Guides, and Ru­lers to be Ministers, (which is the opini­on almost of all Expositors) then these things will follow.

1.1 Thes. 5.2. 1 Tim. 3.5 That the people under them must be ruled and governed by them, for the title of Rulers enforceth duty.

2. Ministers must give an account of them, which cannot be well done without taking knowledge of their estates.

3. They must not only preach and ex­hort, but do all else, which may conduce to the peoples salvation.

4. If people obey not, they hurt them­selves two wayes:

  • 1. By sinning directly against this com­mand.
  • 2. By sadding their Pastors heart, and so lessening their profit by his Ministe­ry. All these are applicable to our pur­pose, urging activity on the Ministers as well in discipline as in preaching. and [Page 153]calling loudly for compliance from the people.


On Lev. 13.5. 2 Chron. 23.19. Joel 3.17. Nahum 1.15. Zach. 14.21.

§. 33 The 11.12, 13, 14, & 15. Proofs. These Texts, (Lev. 13.5. 2 Chron. 23.19.) have an equity in them, which is Argumentative. May none enter the gates of Gods house being unclean in any thing? then still there need Porters in Gods house to keep out men morally un­cleane; shall we be lesse tender in the sub­stance, then they were in the type, and shadow?

That of Leviticus shews that the Priests were made Judges of the peoples fitnesse,Priests, and Prophets under the Law ought to reject and exclude, much more they in the Gospel; that which was not tolerable then, can­not be now. Holy Mr. Stocke, p. 130. on Ma­lachi. as to the legal qualification: then may Ministers try and discern (by vertue of this) of mens fitnesse for spiritual commu­nion.

Lastly, these Texts, Joel 3.17. Nahum 1.15. Zach. 14.21. All these are against the impure, and horrid mixtures, which [Page 154]in our dayes are without sufficient check in most Assemblies. God hath promised this happinesse unto his people under the Gospel, that there shall come no more into them the uncircumcised, and unclean; So shall you know that I am the Lord your God dwelling among you, See Mr. Caryll in his 5. Vol. on Job, p. 85. Esay 52.1. Now if strangers, and men of Belial, (that is not enduring the yoke of Christ) shall still be mixed (knowingly) with Gods people, How is this promise made good? The times of the Gospel will never appeare pure and Gospel-like, while this is un­redressed: and he that suffers such to passe and stand approved in the fellow­ship of the Gospel, will be found one day a back-friend to holinesse. God looks now for a more real and spiritual people, and will not own such for his people as are gracelesse, whatever their profession may be. Camero observes well. That in the Old Testament they that were jews without,Camero, to 3. p. 538, 539. In populo Novi Test. Deus omnia vo­luit esse spiritualia, & realia. In Novo Test. nusquam populi Dei no­men tribuitur prophanis, & impiis hominibus, ut­cunque extrinsecus no­men Christo dederint. though inwardly, and really p [...]ophane, yet they were cal­led Gods people: but (saith he) in the New it is not so found; because the present state is more spiritual. The name or title of Gods peo­ple [Page 155]is never given to wicked men, though they professe, unlesse by antieipation, as Act. 18.10. Here is an end of the texts, which conclude positively for our endea­vour, and practice in gathering and di­stinguishing our Communicants by ex­amining. What all these lights will do, be­ing set up together, who knows?

There remaines yet a fourth proposal, which we intend to finish in a few Secti­ons; and so an end of this discourse. Three heads are intended. Of

  • 1. Arguments.
  • 2. Objections.
  • 3. Queries upon the whole businesse.


Wherein of some Arguments, as se­conds to the Scriptures alledged.

§. 34 We shall speak here of convincing Ar­guments. In the next of moving and perswading That there should be examination, and differencing of men in order to the reformation of an un­disciplined Church, and prevention of unworthy receivers of the Lords Supper, This may convice:

1. Because this Sacrament belongs on­ly to godly ones: all admitted upon good grounds are supposed to be such (in the judgement of charity) (viz.) to be true, and real beleevers. Men have a right (in Gods sight) only as such; the wicked eat panem Domini, not panem Do­minum, as by Protestants is maintained a­gainst Papists: and they that have no true grace, have a seal to a blanck, as their case is commonly expressed by our Di­vines. Men stand in the visible Church, as they are apprehended to belong to the in­visible. All this is foundly proved by our Saviour Christ, administring at first to Disciples only, Mat. 26.26. Not to Dis­ciples in the largest acceptation, (for ma­ny professed besides) but to such as were more peculiar was it given. Nor can we without much weakness take this to be an accidentall circumstance, it being fore-determined by Christ so to have it, and his practice being a rule to the Church. Such as are not learners of Christ (as the grossely ignorant) or such as are not sin­cere lovers of Christ, but lovers of, and livers in known sinnes, how can any man make those to be Disciples of Christ? An un­regeuerated person is far from a Disciple. He cannot examine himself, (as before) not [Page 157]act graces which he wants. None can take Christ in the Sacrament who have not taken him first in the Word. Shall souls be thought to extend spiritu­al acts which are carnal? This being so cleare it must needs be agreeable to the Word, and minde of Christ, to examine men in order to a worthy receiving, & wal­king up to the rule, & example of Christ.

1. Posito fine, ponuntur media couducen­tia ad finem. The meanes,Quae Deus prohibet in Ecclesia fi­eri, ea vult Ecclesiae judicio vi­tari. and the end come under the same command; this pas­ses with all learned, and intelligent men. Now we finde the end commanded. Un­worthy ones are forbidden, and denied. Who will say that ignorant and scanda­lous in life are to be admitted?In opere Catech. Ur­si [...]i Parei oper â re­cognito. p. 538. Now this being granted, any proper, and sufficient way to this end, namely, exclusion of the unfit, cannot want a probation from the Word. For the end is attained by meanes, and is in vaine set forth with­out them. Christs will is that only Dis­ciples (real souls) should come to this Ordinance; Must there not then be a means, and a way found to distinguish them from others?London Ministers Vindicati­on. p. 66, 67 The point is hand­somely expressed by this similitude: A man gives a legacy by will to certaine poor Scholars. Now shall the trustees of [Page 158]this Will take mens own sayings, or trust, reports that they are Scholars, or try their ability in arts, and tongues? All will say, the Trustees may examine such as desire the Legacy▪ and refuse them that will not submit. Now let this Sa­crament be this Legacy of Christ, as 'tis (you know) the New Testament in his body and blood, and then apply and re­solve accordingly. If there be a work to be done, there must be powers to act it, for powers are in vaine unlesse drawn into act, and a work is in vaine command­ed without a power somewhere. If ad­monition will not serve, there must be a further power of suspension, and cen­sure. Christ hath not only a purpose that this ordinance should be continued, but that it should be fenced from profa­nation in the continuance. He that holds up the use of this Ordinance, without setting up a fence to keep it pure, respects too little the will, and glory of Jesus Christ.2 Cor. 13.8 We can do nothing (saith the Apostle) against the truth, but for the truth. He speaks not of doctrinal truth alone, but chiefly of practical, or true ad­ministration of Church-power in matters of plety; for before he threatens the use of Apostolical power in punishing. The [Page 159]end of which power is the supporting of the Church by upholding godlinesse, and purity of Ordinance therein, and sup­pressing the contraries, so that to make no separation is to crosse the very end of Church-power, and to do against the truth of Piety, which the Apostle could not do, and we should not, though we be as reprobates, or unapprov'd by some for it.


Motives unto Ministers, and o­thers serving to move them unto a right transaction of the Lords Supper.

§. 35 We shall commend divers heads of consideration, and perswasion without much enlargement.

1. See,Motive. and lay to heart the evils fol­lowing the neglect of this, or any like course, these will make a large Cata­logue.See Mr. Hilder-sham on Joh. 4 p. 167.

1. And chiefly God is provoked to remove our Candlestick for neglect of [Page 160]Church-Censures upon scandalous offen­ders, considering the Apostles Words, A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, 1. Cor. 5.6.

Alas, we have not only a little leaven in our Congregations, but are (many wheres) even lumps of leaven, as to the practice of known sinnes. Our corrupti­ons unlesse appeared against will pro­voke God to depart from us: Thy Camp shall be holy, that he may see no uncleane thing in thee, and depart from thee, Deut. 32.14.

2. The second evil is the confusion of soules by ordinary and common profa­nation; eating and drinking their own damnation.

3. Abuse of the blood of Christ, by be­ing too prodigal thereof.

4. Obstructing the reformation of the Churches we live in.

5. Crossing the desires of the godly in the land, and the actings of the State herein.

6.p. 33. Omnes simpliciter pellamus, quos in­dignè acce­dere vide­mus, Chrys. in Hom. 83. on Mat p. 198 Degenerating from the primitive times, and all true Antiquity. Witnesse the forecited courses of the Ancient Churches, and the Words of Chrysostome, Let us keep away all without exception that we see to come unworthily.

These and many more we might repre­sent (viz.) all former attempts this way fall to the ground. Malignants, and Neu­ters made to rejoyce at our confusion, grieving the godly in communion, who though they dare not rashly separate from a Church, yet desire a differencing by cen­sure in it. Thus not of late, but of old.Laurentius Hum­phredus de religionis conservatione & con­firmatione vera ad No­bil. Clem. & populum Anglicanum, p. 23. We shall present but one, or two of former times. One of good learning and good esteeme writes thus from abroad of the Church where he was. I cannot won­der enough (saith he) or grieve e­nough, when I perceive in these places Church-discipline to be rejected. And to be either none or too loose, or not vigi­lantly administred, where yet else a true image of religion is seen, as if the Gospel could be where men live not Evangelically:Interea non despe­randum libenter esse fa­teor, dabit posterior ae­tas tractabiliores fortè animas, mitiora pectora quàm nostra habent se­cula. Aret. Probl. p. 132. thus he. A­retius living in such evil times (as ours are) wherein men were impatient of any re­straint or censures as to Church-fellowship, comforts himself with hopes of better dayes.

Lastly, the want of making some se­paration [Page 162]as to the Lords Table, hath gi­ven occasion to such as have absolutely forsaken our Congregations:Mr. Cotton, Bloody Tenent. 2. p. p. 138. Sacramen­tal stum­bling-block removed. p. 24. Motive. 2 See Master Cotton, and others. All these well weigh­ed, they will prove the Churches best friends, that in an humble, and moderate way desire the best meanes to be used to provoke its purity.

2. The second Motive, and consider­ation containes the great advantages got by acting in some courses of disci­pline.

1. We shall the better de­fend the truth of our Chur­ches,Disciplina est pars regni Christi, sic câdem ratione est pars Evan­gelii, est sanctus modus Evangelii promovendiin ipso Evangelio institu­tus. Neque igitur totum Christi regnum, neque Evangelium recipiunt, qui rejiciunt discipli­nam. Ames. Medul. p. 287. while the whole Gospel is with us, and not a part only, and the holy means of promoting the Gospel, as Re­verend Amesius.

2. We shal see the more com­fort in our preaching, have the better satisfaction in our own consciences, (whil'st God is our witnesse that we have taken paines, drawn losse upon our e­states, stirred up the envy of the multi­tude against us for his service sake) and adorne our Ministery: This is your dignity (saith Chrysostome) speaking to Ministers about keeping off from the Lords Table, [Page 163]this your stability, and crown; in the fore-cited Homily.

3. We shall enjoy the sweet society oftentimes of them that feare the Lord,The com­munion & fellowship of the Saints is the lower beaven of Saints Mr. Caryl 5. vol. on Job p. 254. which the godly finde to be a rare cordial. Men of this world (great ones) think they do not live longer then they have their matches, and meetings in a fellowship suitable to their spirits. A soul having real union with sesus Christ, findes the communion of Saints its proper, and natural element, out of which he languisheth, and in which he liveth with much pleasure.

4. We shall have the honour of pro­fessing Christ, beyond the line of former customes, and formality, and shall bear witness to the excellency which the Word places in those that be really gracious. None are now counted (by some men) sublime, but such as are of good blood and birth above common men, the ex­cellency that is by grace is little noted. The world looks on them as Jewels who have some naturall, and outside-lustre, though never so low, and dark creatures as to the wayes of God.

5. We reap the fruit of the prayers, and dangers of those renouned Saints in the age before us, who desired to see the [Page 164]things we (do or might) see, but did not see them, we are entred into the labour of their spirits.


Wherein usual Objections are answered.

§. 36 Object. 1 Object. One is this: The Stirres and troubles where any such separation is made.

Answ. Answ. To this our answer is, That the farthest we may follow peace with men is, as it may stand with holinesse, and duty to God. Better to quit peace then holinesse, though peace be deare. Indeed from a high, rash or absolute separati­on there are dangerous consequences, but from that which is moderate, and warrantable no such dangers; we must distinguish between the cause, and oc­casion of stirs and divisions.

Christs Doctrine may be the one, but mens lusts are the other. Esau is angry with Jacob, now although Jacob loved peace, and would not willingly offend his brother, yet he thinks it not fit to part with his blessing to end the quarrel: So here reformation is necessary, and [Page 165]that requires examination, and alterati­on in some things, which offends men that are brethren by profession; shall we now desist for quietnesse sake? that were to lose our blessing, & to offend God by be­ing wanting to his providence, and our own duty.

Object. 2 Object. 2. That this is not discern­able from schisme, and absolute separa­tion.

Answ. Answ. For answer to what is said al­ready, we adde this: Separation from Churches is properly a renouncing of all membership with them as unlaw­ful rigid separatists would not com­municate, though they know all to be godly with us, this is remote from our thoughts.

Object. 3 Object. 3. Against the responsory part of this discourse, that we do but under­take to prove what is granted us, name­ly, that all scandalous persons are to be kept off, and therefore answer not.

Answ. Answ. But may we not retort this? The Paper which is answered doth grant the maine thing we contend for, and drive at, and yet opposes us stifly, which is to prevaricate, as we take it. He that will put us to this task, namely, to prove that per­sons knowing, & not any way scandalous [Page 166]may be kept from the Lords Table, will heare of our refusal; the Oeconomy of our way is only to exclude the visibly un­worthy, and no others. We do still de­sire that all serious Christians may enjoy this, and all other priviledges of the Gos­pel. We have in our answer (as was said before) opposed all that doeth oppose us, and no more. Other Objections are touched on before.


Wherein of certaine Queries upon the whole businesse, which is the last head.

§. 37 In these we desire not only, or so much to satisfie, as to be satisfied by others, and to put others upon satisfying them­selves; and first in this:

Query. 1 Whether it be not against the solemne Covenant, (which in the eyes of con­sciencious men is a sacred tie upon all that have lift up their hands unto God in it) not to act in some disciplinary courses? For in this we have sworn to en­deavour Reformation in Discipline, accor­ding [Page 167]to Gods Word. Whence we may as­sume in this sort:

When this was taken, either we saw the alteration of corrupt customes to be ne­cessary as to the Congregations we live in, or we saw it not necessary to be so now; now if the latter be true, may we not say, that whosoever so took it, he swore not in judgement, and so took Gods Name in vaine? For he swore to reforme, being convinced of no corruptions. But if the first be true, then we desire to know of e­very Minister, and other man that hath taken it, whith what conscience they can oppose wayes, and courses tending to that sworne end, and how they dare to with­hold their own activity therein?

Query. 2 Whether Ministers contradict not themselves, Ecclesia es­set falsaria, admittens, quos Deus excludit, & pugna­ret secum. Ursin. Cath à Pa­reo illust. p. 532. in giving the Seal of salvation to the very same man, which they have pronounced damned; binding the same men in one Ordinance, and loosing them in another? Is not this to play fast and loose with the Ministery? We put this to them only, that do admit such as they know to be scandalous, and see them (as farre as men can see) to be impenitent. This is ordinarily done without any grief or scruple, that we hear of. In the denun­ciation of Gods judgements, the most [Page 168]scandalous of any Congregation must needs be sometimes in the Preachers thoughts.

Query. 3 We desire to learn of all able, and god­ly men, what other way there is to be walked in, to answer the holy courses of the Ancients, and to keep close to the Word? when they blame ours, we desire them to set down their way to us, which finding better, we will embrace, and desert our own.

Query 4 Whether the Church should own men to be members for bare profession, ha­ving no positive qualification? We un­derstand bare profession to be that which hath no wooll of holinesse upon it, or when it is without a suitablenesse in pra­ctice. Some say,See Man­ton on Epist of James p. the Church is not to own upon profession only: others say, profes­sion gives a right; but when the learned so speak, they (as we think) take profession as contradistinct to faith, and truth of grace, which is inward, and invisible. Should they understand it so, as if profes­sion alone namely, a bare, dead, and na­ked profession, without any thing to e­vidence it to be serious, should be enough, they should not (as we conceive) speak soundly.

Query. 5 What shall Ministers do, while go­vernment [Page 169]is unsettled,See Mr. Stocke on Mal. p. 130 and their people be­ing opposite to wayes of reformation? shall they give the Sacrament promiscu­ously to all? or shall they by their own authority exclude, and put off the unfit? or shall they wholly desist, or lay down? We conceive that Ministers are in a very great strait, having a necessity lying upon them on the one hand, to administer the Ordinance, and yet having (perchance) a ked party predominant in their Congre­gations ready to hinder any good course of separation. Somewhat is written, but not much, to this purpose; we wish a time­ly and full light were given. We con­ceive,

  • 1. The use of the Ordinance of the Supper to be so necessary; as that it may not alwayes, nor long be discontinued; the command of Christ [Do this] requires obedience; This is well proved by one of late.
    Mr. Jeanes
    But we see no necessity to close with him, in another point, that while the Church is undisciplin'd, the Sacrament may be administred in every Congrega­tion, without any separation, which seems to be his practice, and judgement.
  • 2. We conceive that the Lords Sup­per cannot be holily transacted by any, unlesse the scandalous be removed: the [Page 170]minde of Christ being fully against it.
    p. 16.
    Intending it for Disciples onely, as was there shewn. As he that pleades thus, My Church is not Presbyterated; There­fore I am at liberty to administer, or not, pleads weakly: So he that saith, My Church is not disciplined; Therefore I make no separation at all, but take all; truly to us he speaks as weakly as the other. The pleas are much alike. Mr. Jeanes his advantage upon his ad­versaries, is by this, that he holds them so strictly to Presbyterian principles; where­as we think it much safer to transgresse a disputable principle of Presbytery, then to offend against the light of the Word. All principles of Church-government are not alike cleare; were we to speak to some particular Minister, we should o­pen our mindes thus: If you cannot with the godly party of your Congregati­on, joyne your self fitly to some well constituted Church, then may the Mini­ster by his own authory (without Elders) put back such as he knows to be unfit, and so administer it at home; this seemes safer then a total disuse of the Sacrament, or then the abuse of it by admitting all. We speak of this as to be done onely in a case of necessity. The necessity of Elders [Page 171]to joyne with the Minister is clearer to some godly men, then it is to others. The Minister is impowered, and commis­sioned as to all Ordinances by Christ; whether in this Sacrament to act solely, or alone, is a question. What if two, or three Ministers joine and act together for a while, being not so well able to act alone? Stands this at any great distance from the rule?

The Fathers, and Schoolmen give much, yea, most (if not all) to the Minister. We write this as willing to help others, and willing to be holpen our selves by better judgements.

Query. 6 Who are fit to come to the Lords Table? and what are the qualifications which may be justly required?

Let the godly consider these following.

1. As to knowledge, there must be so much light as may let in Christ into the soul; the quantity of a mans knowledge is not so much to be weighed, as the quality thereof to be tryed. Knowledge of principles, and fundamentals must be. If to our our best discerning a mans know­ledge appear to be sound, and distinct, that is, not of many things, but of one thing from another, or in order to ano­ther; then our minde is that the least [Page 172]measure may serve:Job 21.14 2 Pet. 3.5 Hos. 4 6. the light comes in at a very little hole, the best know but in part; all are therefore in some sence ig­norant, but in the worst sense they onely are ignorant, who care not to know, who have no minde to knowledge, who are ignorant of their ignorance, and the danger of it. Mark these with the black coale of ignorance.Eph 5.11

2. As to practice these foure qualifica­tions seeme necessary.

1. He that is received upon good grounds, must be no com­panion of drunkards,2 Tim. 3.5. Psal. 101.4, 5. Prov. 1.14, 15. Gen. 49.6. Prov. 28.7. Mat. 8.22. 2 Chron. 19.2. 2 Cor. 6.14, 15, 16. Act. 2.42, 44. 1 Joh. 1.7. Heb. 10.33. Mal. 3.16. Psal. 15.4 Psal. 101.6. or deriders of godlinesse, nor of any loose livers. It be­come not Disciples, or the children of God to accompa­ny their Lords, and Fathers enemies. It is in some sort an approving of their wayes, which not only in word, but every other way we should appear against; we are not free enough from any sinnes, while we are too free in accompanying those that commit them; while the wicked confesse they are bur­thened with the company of the good, the godly must professe the like of the wicked.

2. He must be such a one, as frequents, [Page 173]and delights in the society of godly people.Dr Preston of love. p. 102, 103. 1 Sam. 19.2 Heb. 10.25 Ps. 122.1. 2 Pet. 2.7, 8 Ps. 120.5. Psal. 16.3 Phil. 2.1, 2 Eph. 4.3. 1 Thes. 5.11. A mans companion is (as it were) the counterpane of himself. Of all o­ther things (saith one) company is worst dissembled. Will ye professe that ye love the Saints? and that you delight in them, and yet you desire to be in any company rather then theirs; that when you are among them, you are as it were out of your element? It is im­possible, but those that are moved by the same Spirit, should be best pleased when they are in one, and the same society; 'tis natural to love company, and religious to love good, and suitable company.

2.1 Joh. 1.6. 1 Thes. 2.10. Phil. 1.27. 1 Chron. 5.1, 2. 1 Cor. 6.11 Gal. 5.19 Rev 22.15 2 Tim. 2.19. He must not be known to be guilty of any grosse sinne. Sinnes of infirmity (truly so called) will stand with this rule, but the practice of known sinnes will not; A man is guilty of that sinne, not which he hath once committed, and re­pented of, but of that which he is not changed from, but continues in.

If it may be said freely of any one, that he is a liar, a deceaver, a swearer, an idler, a wanton, a filthy talker, or such like; he, or she lives in a known sinne; there must be a freedome from scandal.Sine crimi­ne, though non fine peccato, as Jerome.

4. He must be such a one as performes all religious duties, as well in private, as [Page 174]in publick according to his calling, this is visible godlinesse.Reverend Mr. Stocke on Malachy p. 132. Phil. 2.15. 1 Pet. 1.15 2 Pet. 3.11 Luk. 1.6. Act. 3.19. Rev. 3.19. Rom. 2.4. Psal. 4.3. Psal. 32.6 1 Tim. 2.2, 10. Gen. 18.19. Act. 17.11 Acts 16.25. Acts 2.42. Revel. 1.10. Heb. 10.23, 24, 25 [...] Acts 20.7. Acts 10.2, 9, 30. Joh. 4.23. Joh. 9.31. 1 Tim. 4.7. Tit. 2.12. 2 Pet. 3.11. 2 Pet. 1.6, 7. Gen. 12.7. Inward worship makes a Christian in Gods sight, and out­ward in mans: no other vertue can com­mend, or qualifie without godlinesse, this is the chiefest flower of a Christians crown. Honesty is indeed a part of religion, and devotion is the life, and soul of honesty. We deny not but these may be apprehen­ded to be in such as God sees unsound. Neverthelesse requiring these, we do what in us lies. While undiscerned hypocrites deeply ingage their soules in Sacrament­all guilt, we have freed ours, and shall be a sweet savour to God, when their sacri­fices stinke.

We have (now) done,Conclusion. only this Cauti­on we thought to conclude with, while we have spent time, and some pains in holding out the truth in, and about the fellowship of beleevers in that great Or­dinance of the Lords Supper. We would not be so taken, as if we placed the life of Religion in any outward way, or more refined course of Gods worship. No, the having of Christ is an inward thing, the [Page 175]power of godlinesse is first to be heeded. If we be nothing within, no great matter though we sit at the right or left hand of Christs outward Kingdome. Let us contend principally to be members of Christ, to be of the invisile Church: Im­bodied in the Church of the first-borne. Here we cannot easily be too careful, or curious; but as to externall fellowship, though the minde of Christ in this also be to be sought, and followed, yet so much earnestnesse, and confidence needs not, as in the other, unlesse men take care how they live, 'tis not much matter how they worship. Thou may'st be in a purer Church-way then another, and yet be the impurer, and vainer soul of the two. It is better to see a mans conversation commending his way, then to see men be­holding to their way for their esteem.


I Shall make two stands upon the whole;

How this Doctrine is

  • 1. Raised.
  • 2. Managed.

I. How this Doctrine is raised. His Text is, Mark 14.23.

And they all drank of it.

These [all] he saith, were the twelve Apostles, and Christs whole Congregati­on; [Page 178]whence he gathers his free admission to this Ordinance.

Answ. Two things are here supposed or affirmed.

1. That they were the twelve Apostles which did communicate with Christ.

2. That these twelve were his whole Congregation. This is the Basis of the whole; so that if these communicants were rather lesse then twelve, or not Christs whole Congregation, then all is lost on his side.

1. That all then present, when this Ordinance was instituted by Christ, did partake thereof is to be granted, so far the universality holds right; but,

2. That these all which dranke, were the twelve Apostles, is more then is said, and is (at least) a disputable point.

Now to suppose or begge that which a man knowes to be doubted, and denied by many eminent Divines, this is not Scho­lastical. They might sit down all, (in his sense) and yet might not all continue out all the several actions which were per­formed at that sitting.

3. To gather hence, that all howsoe­ver professing Christ should be admitted to this Ordinance, seems to me weake, and most unsound. My reasons are,

(1.) Because Christ did not then call all that did professe him, and so belong to him; he had many more Disciples besides the twelve, as is well known, which were part of Christs followers, though not so nearly altogether related as these. To say that the twelve were Christs whole Con­gregation, is but a fancy, however ser­viceable to the designe in hand; Christs followers were his Congregation, at least the seventy were surely part of it, and therefore the twelve were not his whole Church, as is boldly affirmed. These then were but part of his Disciples, the chiefest and most reall, as Elders or Officers in a Church may be, so that their general admission is no plea for free admission. If all named Disciples had been called to this holy Institution, there had then been some footing for such a Collection; but not so, not all, but on­ly the choicest are called.

Besides, (2.) Christs words point not out only this generality, but rather by that restriction ye (Take ye, drink ye,) shew us that Christ did not intend that spiritual feast for all howsoever professing; but that such as were his true Disciples should partake.

All Disciples (we say) should drinke [Page 180]of Christs cup, and only Disciples, not bare born professors, whose prophanenesse plainly sheweth them to want all true love and duty to Jesus Christ. You see how sandy the foundation is on which the whole Book and Discourse is built, viz. on a forced and wrested sense of Scripture. Thus shortly of the first.

II. How his Doctrine is managed.

The management is in three things:

  • 1. Apology.
  • 2. The state of the question.
  • 3. Proof by Scriptures and Rea­sons.

1. His Apology, wherein he commends his own meaning to be honest; so it may be, and yet his plea evil; sometimes the meaning is better then the matter.

2. In his stating of the point,

1. He distinguisheth the people of a visible Church into capable, and uncapable. The uncapable are of three sorts, Infants, Mad men, and Ex­communicate persons: all besides (he saith) are capable.

And why are these uncapable? The Church (he will say) hath censured one sort; but the other (I hope) are un­capable, [Page 181]because they cannot discerne the Lords body, or examine themselves; and if so, then all that cannot performe those duties are uncapable also. Now it is sure that all grossely ignorant of Christ, all impenitent sinners are unable to do these; therefore his own reason will constraine him to allow the keeping back of others, (viz.) as well spiritual fools, and mad men as natural. Folly and madnesse can never be denied to be, where-ever sinne reignes.

1. He distinguishes of mens capacity.

  • (1.) In regard of themselves, this he dares not affirme as to all in the Church; should he, the very stones might cry out, and confute him.
  • (2.) In regard of the Church, or Mini­sters, and thus all are capable that do, or may come.

But what Scripture hath this distinction footing on? Those that are incapable in themselves, (we knowing them to be so) we should judge to be such, and exclude them. Can necessary profaners of the Sacrament be capable in respect of the Church, whose duty it is to preserve the dignity of all Christs appointments? The Church must take none but such as she sees, and may suppose capable. [Page 182]The reason to colour this distinction, is this: Ministers are to offer Christ freely, (which is more formally laid downe af­terwards, here but in a Parenthesis) there­fore an universall capacity for all men, [whoever comes.] It seemes by this that even Jewes, and Pagans may not be deni­ed this Saerament, if they come, and aske it; for these are called to beleeve, even all that beleeve not within the sound of the Gospel, so that here he seemes to forget his former limitation as to the Church; his Scripture is, Revel. 22.17. and Esay 55.1. which indeed do hold out a free ad­mission of all sensible sinners to beleeve on Christ, but to ground on this a liberty for the most insensible soul to come to this Ordinance, is a non sequitur with a wit­nesse.

In the foot of all, he beleeves that none except ipso jure, or de facto, (that is, such as are, or ought to be excōmunicated,) should be excluded. Here is somewhat more then was before, he seemed to speak of actual ex­communication alone; now if there be but such as ought to be excomunicated, they may be kept back. Truly this wil almost ma [...] the mans market. Such as he speaks against do desire to exclude none but these that [...] ­jure [of right] should be censured by the [Page 183]Church; for this very exclusion is a noting, or censuring of them, as some wayes of­fending; Now let the Reader judge, what weight, and light these distinctions carry, wherein he rather contradicts himself, then cleares his matter.

3. His Scripture-proofs. His first Text is, Exod. 12.3, 47 50. verses. They shall take every man his lambe, that is, This is my, law concering every family in Israel, all the congregaion, and every person rightly disposed in their families must observe this. Of these generall termes, [every man, all the Con­gregation, the whole people] I may say (as to his use, Dolosus in universalibus; I deny not but the Evangelicall Sacrament is one in substance with the Passcover, which did foreshew Christ to die for his peoples sins, nor dare I slight arguments fetcht from the Old Testament, yet I conceive, that arguments out of the Old Testament, and matters of the Jewish Church may be sometimes misapplied unto the things of the New, and if I am not mistaken, it is so here. Here is (viz. Exod. 12.) a free admis­sion. Why? All are commanded to eate, and all disaccordingly. But many things may be said to this.

1. This was the first Passcover, and some things were extraordinary in it, (viz.) [Page 184]sprinkling of the blood, the staff in hand, &c. As learned Interpreters observe.

2. The text only shewes what is the law of the Passeover as to all fa­milies, not medling with the lawes of suspension from it, as to some persons, which were afterwards given, (Numb. 9.6, 7. Levit. 22.47.) where some for seven dayes, others for a moneth were suspend­ed; this is plaine that no uncleane person was to eate of holy things, Passeover, or other. Some [then] knowing this, grum­bled, as many do now, Wherefore are we kept back? Numb. 9.7? Gods answer indeed there is not an absolute denial, & the rea­son is, because the uncleannesse spoken of was not moral, it was but for a ceremoni­all fault; now uncleannesse as to sinnes lies till men repent; here are no set dayes therefore, but in that cause, God resolves how long that typical filthinesse should exclude. Now because no such lawes were given at the first Passeover, shall we infer, therefore it was free for all, which other Scriptures shew to be false?

3. This text serves not Mr. Humphreys turn. For,

  • 1. He excepts some, but here all are cal­led; Make the Lords Table, as free as the Passeover, and it should be extended to e­very man, without exception.
  • [Page 185]2. If legall pollution did keep off for a moneth (so long is the pollution judg'd to continue) as he grants, much more ought spirituall pollution to exclude, which is greater; how else do we answer, or rise higher then the type?
  • 3. It seems to me to be a very falsehood, that no spirituall pollution did keep off. Did not uncircumcision of heart, declared by practice keep back? Why else are those that have the charge of Gods Sanctuary blamed? Ezek. 44.7.8, 9. The Jewes thought they might not eat the Passeover, if they enter the Judgment-hall on an holy day, which was not forbidden by any cere­moniall law, therefore a morall, and not a legal pollution, Ioh. 18.23. And why else are the Priests reproved for putting no differ­ence betwixt the holy, and profane?
  • 4. The Passeover had an external benefit which all did partake of, therefore a right to that Ordinance so far, as externall; but the Lords Supper is a more spiritual Ordi­nance, no type. The wicked were termed Gods people then, not so in the New. See Camero, p.
  • 5. Morally unclean were kept from the trespasse-offering, which was lesse then the Passeover, Num 5.6.7. How inevident then, if not untrue, is that assertion, Morall evils [Page 186]keep none from the Passeover.

2. To the second proof, which is, 2. Chro. 30.5. They decreed to proclaime through all Israel from Dan to Beersheba, that they should come, and keep the passeover to the Lord.

Here is indeed a generall proclamation, but yet you see after, v. 18. that such as sanctified not themselves, and yet came, did highly, offend the will of God; there­fore there should not have beene so free a coming, as he suggests. Besides, they had all interest, as I said, in the typicall, externall, and commemorate part of that Ordinance, Look upon Hezekiahs prayer, and you will finde that generall coming sinful; and if so, some prevention would have done well; see also that even the hearts unprepared­nesse, when men are legally pure, doth de­serve exclusion.

3. To the 3d. proof, which is, 1. Cor. 10.17. We being many are all partakers of one bread.

Here he hath found the word [all] and this is victory enough; but (with his leave) some might be excluded for all this; the sense is but this, we partakers do all par­take of one bread; If in that Church they did suffer all, or too many to partake, that was their fault, and it is set downe to warn us against the like, not to be a rule to us.

This mistake I wish those men would see, that would faine make the faults of the Corinthians to become our rule. What if these that were Idolaters, and drunkards did eate? This (I beleeve) is not set down, to teach or allow us to admit the like scan­dalous ones; but rather to warne us, that we might be more pure. I hope the faults of particular Churches, & beleevers are not recorded for our imitation. Againe, it doth not appeare to me that any of those Co­rinthians were so grosse as you make them. How is it possible that any one embracing Christ, can remaine an actuall, and open Idolater? Idolatry was their great sinne before conversion, from which they were turned to beleeve in Christ. How can it then be conceived that they still retained it? It is true, that they did not keep them­selves so cleare, as they should have done from Idolatry, in that they might be some­times present (as a Protestant at Masse) in their idol-temples, or else (as I thinke) in that they eat with them, eating of the very meate sacrificed by the Pagans, and drinking in the same cups, in which they offered. This was very base, it was in them Idolatry, they were guilty of that sinne, by sitting, and eating with them in such a manner, that men given to Idolatry (as you [Page 188]speake) that is, serving of Idols, were ad­mitted to the Lords table, this (in my opi­nion) is very unlikely, if not false; do not you beleeve any longer, that the Church of Corinth was so corrupt, as that they would take into fellowship Gentiles, without an utter renouncing their knowen sinne of Idolatry; yet this you do surmise (very sinfully, as I thinke) that you may make men beleeve an over-easinesse in this Church as to receaving members, and per­swade the stronger to your own Idol of general admission to the Sacrament.

4. The next Scripture is, 1 Cor. 10.4, 5.

To this some answer, that this Sea, Rock, & Manna, were not Sacraments to the Jewes, but their use was externall, to feed their bodies, which had they wanted they must have died; but I rather answer,

  • 1. That these were extraordinary things, and Ab extraordinario ad ordinarium non valet argumentum.
  • 2. 'Tis true, they had some Spirituall signification, and therefore God was dis­pleased with that very action proceeding from unworthy ones.
  • 3. Their sinnes did follow, not forego those actions, at least one of them (viz.) [Page 189]Baptism in the cloud & sea. Therefore this proves not, that such as are scandalous be­fore, may be admitted to the Evangelicall Supper. How far then is this place from the mans purpose, notwithstanding his crowing upon it? The Apostle presseth it to this end, that things spirituall be not abused by carnall, and ungodly ones, which is our aime, and desire.

5. His next argument is from the Parable of the feast, Mat. 22. and, Luk. 14.

This to serve his turne must signifie the Sacramental Supper, whereas it seems much more to point unto the preaching of the Gospel, or the Supper of grace, to which souls are invited. It is that feast which the Prophets called to, before ever this Ordi­nance was instituted. See, Isai. 55.1, &c.

The scope of Parables (I grant) is ar­gumentative, but you shall finde him argu­ing from particular branches, as that of compelling men to come in, which he will have to signifie their duty, which is a wilde fancy; rather (as I apprehend) the scope of this Parable may be either,

First, by sending three several times, to signifie the three several dispensations of the Gospel. First, as a breakfast, Gen. 3. Secondly, under the Law, as a Dinner. Thirdly, under the Gospel, as a Supper. [Page 190]For that which is a Supper in Luke, is a Dinner in Matthew.

Secondly, in that it is a Supper, it shews we have now the fullest, and last dispen­sation of Christ; as a Supper is the last meale of a day.

Thirdly, it may note Gods sending first to the Jews, who for the generality refu­sed; then to the Gentiles, who were far off. The compelling may signifie the Spi­rits convincing, or Gods drawing of souls to Jesus Christ.

The love of Christ constraines (saith the Apostle;) and the Spirit of Christ doth convince, when it begins conversion; and the love of Christ drawes, when it seazeth upon a wounded, and bleeding heart for sinne.

So that all these flourishes from this Pa­rable (restraining it to the Sacrament) seem much besides the minde of God therein. I might note other defects, as where he saith, the servant brought in the man with­out the wedding-garment, which the text doth not say. Lastly, the man will have a free Table, and a free Pulpit to be one. I meane the same liberty and latitude in coming to the Sacrament, as in hearing, which is a grosse mistake, contrary to Scri­pture, reason, and Antiquity.

6. Another Scripture is, Mat. 3.11. with Mark. 1.5. where John baptizeth all; whence is inferred an equall latitude for the other Sacrament; this argument he takes to be very strong; but the Reader searching the Scripture, will finde it weak.

1. John did baptize none, but such as came in a capacity for it, and he required con­fession of sinnes, yea, fruits of repentance too; give us these, and we shal ask no more. Johns example serves us much better then him. 1. John did not baptize those Phari­sees which he calls a generation of Ʋipers, they wanted the fruits he called for; the Publicans came in a capacity, the Pharisees not, therefore checkt by Christ; See, Luk. 7.29, 30. And all the people that heard him, and the Publicans justified God, being baptized with the baptisme of John. But the Pharisees, and Lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. The Pharisees came to his baptisme; which might be to see the administring of it, or as sent. See, John. 1.24. And they which were sent, were of the Pharisees; which is the judgement of diverse godly learned; this might be, and yet they not be baptized: the text is plaine, that some did refuse, if not all: and there­fore are checkt by John for resting on that [Page 192]carnall priviledge of being Abrahams seed; had some of the Pharisees only resu­sed, they had not been more to be blam'd then the Publicans, for some of them reject­ed also.

Secondly, those that were baptized by John whether Pharisees, or Publicans, did all confesse their sinnes, they were first tryed by that; now grant this to be done before the Lords Supper in a serious way, and we are friends. The drunkards, and pro­fane persons, which he would have freely admitted must first confesse their drunkennesse to be a foule sinne, and take shame to themselves for it, or we may exclude them by his own argu­ment; for Eadem est ratio utriusque Sacra­menti; and John did not baptize any with­out this triall by confession of sinnes, which was an act, and evidence of their repent­ance.

7. The next Text is, Acts. 2.41. Then they that gladly received his word, were baptized, &c. And did communicate.

How little this Text helps him, the Rea­der will plainly see, when he hath noted the great difference between those thou­sands, and our multitudes.

1. These were all converted ones, ours many of them making but a dead and con­tradictory [Page 193]profession, some as void of the knowledge of Religion as the Heathen, and others worse then Pagans in their practice. Is it not the mans doting on his Sacramentall liberty, which keeps him from seeing any difference betweene those con­verts, and [some] loose professors among us? I would faine learne from this Au­thor, what more could be said of the truest Saints, then is said of these, Acts. 2. First, they are pricked in heart, ours (alas many) insensible sinners, blinded, and hardened creatures. Secondly, they affecti­onatly desirous after the ways of salvation, ours (some) enemies in heart, and very crosse to good wayes. Thirly, they were stedfast and constant in the communion with the Apostles, and practice of holy du­ties; these stand off from the people of God as hypocrites, maligning and defaming them; what they can, not having so much as a forme of godlinesse, if you expect their customary coming to the Church.

It seems to argue some want of spiritual sight and love to holinesse, when scanda­lous persons, only because they professe, must be admitted to the Lords Table upon this ground alone, because thousands of precious godly ones had this liberty of generall admission; in his next let him [Page 194]teach us how we shall know common drunkards and swearers to be converted, which must be, or this argument dies; it was, I know, some twenty yeares a go, the opinion of Chancellours and Officials, that albaptized persons were to be held regene­rate, and upon this account their use was to check such Ministers as did difference mens spirituall estates in their preaching.

8. Acts. 10.28. God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common, or unclcane.

He very much likes this place as peculiar for expression; See how fancy may bring a man in love, and make him blesse God for that which should make him mourne; he judges no man unclean, and yet the Apostle teacheth us to call, and account some swine, even all such as wallow in their sins. But let us see his strength from this Scripture. Peter he saith was scrupulous about admit­ting the Gentiles in Christian communion, and well he might, till God resolved him; I much question whether Mr. Humfry can shew so good a warrant for his resolved­nesse to admit scandalous ones to the Lords Table: If he have had a vision from heaven to justifie his general admis­sion, let him tell us; He hath not any clear light from Scripture, and yet he is re­solved, [Page 195]so was not Peter; Why must the Gentiles be taken into fellowship? First, because the wall of partition is taken down. Secondly, because God gives of his Spirit & grace to them; I pray see Peters Comment. v. 35. In every Nation he that feareth God; and worketh righteousnesse is accepted of him; Such Gentiles as feare God; yea, all men fearing God must be embraced; must all Gentiles be embra­ced? No, but such as believe, receive the Word, had the Holy Ghost, and repentance unto life. See Acts. 11.1.18. Acts. 10.46. The Gentiles upon this account are not ac­counted uncleane. If your conscience be so large, as not to account those men unclean, who want all hopefull evidences of grace, yet do not so abuse the Scripture, and Peters example, as to make these your supporters.

9. His last texts are, Isay 55.1. Ho, e­very one that thirsteth, come. Rev. 22.17. Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely. Mat. 11.28. Come unto me all ye that labour. 1 Tim. 2.4. Who will have all men to be saved. John 6.37. All that the Father giveth me, shall come unto me.

To speak nothing particularly unto these Scriptures; here are two grosse mistakes. 1. That the tender or offer of Christ in [Page 166]the Word preacht ought to be no larger then admission to the Lords Table; Christ and grace are to be propos'd in the mini­stery of the Word, even to the wicked, be­ing sensible of sinne; yea, to them, that they may be sensible; but that before men do beleeve, or are converted, they should have enjoyment of the Sacrament, is con­trary to all the practice of Christ, and his Apostles. 2. Another mistake is this, That we so straighten the Ordinance, as to shut out poor sinners from it; This here, and elsewhere he quaintly dilates on, and aggravates to stir up hatred against god­ly Ministers. But Sir, I would have you know, that we embrace every poor sinner, so farre as we can discerne; and they are only scandalous, and grosse sinners, such as want feeling of sinne, and spirituall po­verty that we willingly exclude; do you no better understand who are poor sinners? Alas poor Froome.

Having spoken to his Scriptures, I come next to his Reasons, and considerations, which are six, or seven, as he numbers them.

Reas. 1. His first Reason is shortly this. The Sacraments are a visible word, a de­claring of Christ crucified; This Sacrament spoken of, sets forth Christ to the eyes, as the Gospel preacht doth to the eare; 'tis [Page 197]only to diverse sences, there is all the dif­ference; hence he confidently infers, that the same latitude must be in communicat­ing, and hearing; and here, saith he, I stand as upon a Rock; Now I shall try whether he build upon a Rock indeed, or upon the sand. Sir, you do in this tell us that the forenam­ed Ordinances aggree in their matter, this is most true; but that there is no difference between them, but only in this, that they are to diverse sences, this is what you af­firme, but do not prove; Some difference besides in their proper and peculiar use, is apparent; the Word serves to call sinners, this Sacrament to nourish, and confirme believers. Multitudes of authorities, e­ven of the most learned and godly might I heap, who are so rationall as to reject this Reason, but I should argue, and reason out the difference between us in this particular. Where do you finde that ever the Sacra­ment was made use of but to confirme, and comfort such as had already the effect of the Word upon their hearts? Therefore although the Sacrament doth represent Christ to believers, (which is all you prove, and this is not denyed) yet it doth not follow but the Word hath a precedency, and must first call and dispose before this Sacramentall declaration is propor for a­ny [Page 198]eyes; Go teach, and boptize, saith out Saviour; first teach, make disciples, and then baptize; this [de adultis] is found rea­soning; we must not baptize men of yeares, much lesse give the Lords Supper with­out some fruits of teaching, appears. Our blessed Saviour only mentions those two, Word, and Baptizme for the gathering of Churches, and so as the Word must go be­fore Baptizme too; As for the Lords Sup­per, that follows both. It is by the Gos­pel phreacht in a proper sence, that sinners are gathered Eph. 1.10. Though we be not about gathering Churches (unlesse our peoples obstinacy drives us to it) but study­ing and striving to reforme our Congrega­tions corrupted by a too long disuse of Scripture discipline, yet here to persecute this rationally and effectually, it will be necessary that we try who they be that are wrought upon by the word, at least that we for a time keep off them from the Or­dinance who appear to be wicked ones. We are about I say to redresse, and perfect our Church-communion according to the Word; our Covenant, and will of the chief Magistrate. Now, why may we not observe the same rule in reforming, which the Apostle did in gathering?

So then, I grant you what your texts [Page 199]say, namely, that the Sacrament doth de­clare Christ crusified to believers, but it followes not (as I take it) that it must be a proper Ordinance for the ignorant, and scandalous to partake of; The Word in its proper latitude reaches to the world, to every creature, to the old creature, as wel as to the new; but if we make the Word & Sacrament to be (as you say) of the same la­titude, we shall confound the Church and world, which the Word distinguishes and opposes; but you say, are there any to whom the matter of the Word may not be declared?

Sir, the bare declaring, or setting forth of Christ is not the thing we stand upon; we set not bars to mens hearing, or see­ing, but to their receiving; the Sacrament doth more then declare, it doth seal Christ, now this ought not to be done, but to beleevers only; I meane, to such as in a rationall charity may be judged such.

The matter of the Gospel may be de­clard to any to the Word preacht, or any other holy way, even to the most scanda­lous, if they will give it the hearing; but it doth not follow, that therefore in this Or­dinance which doth not declare only, but seal, they should have equall fellowship; The declaring or setting forth of Christ e­ven [Page 200]to the worst dishonours not Christ, but the taking of such as are scandalous in­to full communion, and owning them as members of Christ, I dare not say that this either pleaseth, or honours Christ. The Doctrine of the Sacrament, or Christ Sacramentall may be set before them, but it is their admission to partake, that we oppose; The Sacraments are (you say) seales as signes; As much as they are signes as seales; 'Tis true, these two sign­ing and sealing are distinct ends of the Lords Supper, they are signes to repre­sent, and seales to confirme. So farre as they represent they may be some­what suitable unto scandalous persons, but nothing as they confirme. Would you have them confirm'd in grace, who have no true grace at all? Your two lame similitudes contributes nothing, that the seale is not to be divided from the writ­ing, we easily grant, but you will have the writing seal'd to him which is no purchaser, which is absurd. You tell us how the writing and seal are deli­vered together unto the Church, but our dispute is about the Churches delivery of them to creatures. Baptisme, and the Lords Supper were delivered together un­to the Church, must the Church therefore [Page 201]deliver them together? then Infants must partake of the Lords Supper as well, and as soone as of Baptisme. What an ab­surdity is this? Because men are under the declaration of such a bargaine as heaven, that therefore the Church must seal it to them in particular, in hope that they hereafter will have a minde to buy, 'tis pity such stuffe should stand under the notion of reason. No man (I grant) will say that the Proclamation belongs to any, to whom the seal belongs not, nor will any one (well advis'd) say, that ei­ther Proclamation or Seale doth belong to a Rebell that doth not lay downe his armes, which are your owne wrods. The Gospel belongs in a fence to all such as are under it, God sends it to most wretched sinners, offers them conditions of peace with himself, seal'd with Christs bloud, but the doubt is, whether these promises, and tenders must be actually and formally sealed to men, because this Proclamation, they being still in armes, this you seeme to affirme.

What you mean by confirming men to come in, I scarse understand, I think they should come in before they be confirm'd, or else your confirming will prove to be (as it is) a sad delusion.

The Authour adds force to his first Reason by four considerations. He had need adde some force, for his reason wants it.

His first consideration is this.1 He findes the Gospel is to be preacht to every creature, and baptizing, which includes this Sacrament (as he saith) in the same Commission; I Answer, the Lords Supper is in the same Commission, if you understand the whole Gospel, else the Word and Baptisme are named you know without it; If Baptisme as large as preach­ing of the Word, because it is in the same commission? I hope not; you know many were preacht unto, who neverthelesse were never baptized, neither ought to be.

The Second consideration is.2 The whole Gospel is to all, and offers Christ freely, therefore you infer, that we, who would have a poor soul come to Christ, and yet will not have the same come to the Sacra­ment, deale amisse. Answer. Sir, you are a stranger (as it seemes) to the actings of godly Ministers, you conceive so grosse­ly of them.

1. That they refuse to admit poor souls, this is your slaunder, I told you before of this, you distinguish not between grosse sinners, and sensible sinners

2. That they receive not men though qualified according to Christs minde. This is another false witnesse.

Sir, it is Christs minde that men should be qualified with grace, as with knowledge, to discerne Christ in that Ordinance, &c. And therefore do his faithfull Ministers look after these things.

3. He coming with knowledge and re­pentance, or requiring and looking after these, contrary to free grace? I had thought that free grace had only opposed merrit, not cast off all qualifications as the fruites, and signes of it. Cannot Christ be free in the Sacrament, unlesse the ignorant, and scandalous person be also admitted to it? I know well, we must come to this Ordi­nance, without the least thought of the me­rit of our graces; but yet he that comes to the Lords Table without this price in his heart, and life, will be dealt with as he was that wanted a wedding garment; In­deed by your arguing you make grace not free, but loose.

The third consideration is an inconside­rate one, a very darke, and sad one; 3 It doth affirme or suppose, that the giving or applying the seale of the New Cove­nant is a proper means to convince, and save them. Answer. Sir, the use of the Or­dinance [Page 204]of the Gospel in Christs owne way, and order is best; I am confident you ne­ever read that Christ, or the Apostles used this way of conviction. The experience of the most godly in all parts of the land, and of the world, will rise up against this your assertion; The sealing of the Co­venant to men, before they understand it, and take hold of it, is the common cut­throats of souls in our Parishes. Which way soever we take it, it is the spirit, and his fulnesse that doth convince. The Sacra­ment is not the fulnesse of the Word, but the Spirit; the Word may come with the outward seal, and yet not come in its full vertue, as you say.

The fourth consideration is. That the Gospel is a Gospel of peace, but the course of separation, or admitting only some, this is unpeaceable. Answer. Have you never read those words of Christ? I came not to send peace, but a sword. The godly will more peacable, and quiet, when the scandalous are put from them. You would have a worldly, and fleshly unity kept up, whatever become of pu­rity and Reformation. Sir, The peace of the Church will not well, nor long stand without a holy use of all Church Censures. It is the sweet saying of a [Page 205]godly man. It is farre better to occasion wrath in the bad, then grief in the good. We are and must be tender of unity, but not insensible of corruptions in Gods worship. We look upon the distempers in many mens spirits, their railing, and many created difficulties to the godly to be evidences that the work is Gods, who can, if not calme, yet restraine the spirits of the worst; you are told that wounded sinners are not to be rejected: in your next impression leave out your Prosopopria's, we take Saints of the low­est forme, and acknowledge none to be such, unlesse they acknowledge them­selves to be the chiefest of sinners.

Reas. 2. This is from the nature of the visible Church containing a mixture, now our Congregations being Churches, they should have this Sacrament in a free, and mixt way.

Answ. I shall in this oppose you upon your own principles, let the Churches of England be true Churches, (as it wil not be hard to prove many of them to be) yet are they corrupted through the negligence of former times, that there may be need of Reformation or separation in our Churches, to prevent separation from them.

I do not beleeve, nor can you prove, [Page 206]that we should own men for Church-mem­bers for bare profession.

Sir, We are not about to take this Or­dinance from our Churches, but to fit our Churches for this Ordinance; so that what you say is little to the pur­pose, you allow particular Churches to use the highest censure of Excommunica­tion, why not this of Suspension, acting in, and for the Reformation of our Dis­cipline according to Gods Word, and our Covenant, whereof you take as little notice, as if you were a man of another Nation. What you say about the nature of a visible Church, I shall not oppose, only I must point at your ignorance in making our separation, and Christ to be one. Christs is a final determination of all men as to their estates. Ours is but a severing of some in order to their future salvation, if they belong to God. We note some for ignorance, that they may get knowledge; and others for their wickednesse, that they may repent. We should indeed presume, and (as you say) anticipate Christs work, did we attempt, or designe, a general, or final separation. Hypocrites (as the tares) will grow to­gether with the wheat to the end. This is all the scope of that Parable, but the [Page 207]force of your argument is built not upon the scope, but upon the circumstance, namely the servants discerning; which is but a branch of the Parable, and added to fill up this Similitude, of no vertue there­fore to prove that known sinners must not be kept off, when discerned. The Parable speaks of hypocrites, as you your selves say well, now hypocrites are not dis­cerned but by God onely. Is not here a contradiction? If we put these things together.

Let us come now to Christs example. What is that?

1. He converses with Publicans, and sinners, but where I pray you? Was it at the Sacrament? I hope not, but at their owne Table. This he did that he might have occasion to do them good by his Word. But what is this to the purpose? We know it is our duty to hold forth Christ to the worst of men, if they will hear us.

2. But in this Ordinance, Christ also conversed with Judas, something you say for this; and I could quickly say as much against it; I will only tell you, what a learned man saith to others, that you have chosen a bad Porter to let in men to the Sacrament, nor have you well studied [Page 208]the Evangelists I see: for you might have found the three Evangelists to differ somewhat, which might have abated your confidence.

Luke indeed speaks of Judas after the Cup, but Matthew, and Mark before; and it is the opinion of very many godly and learned, that there is a recapitulation in Lukes Narration. As for John he is ex­pressely against you. Immediately after the Sop, (saith he) which was before the Sacrament, Judas went out, being now discovered, and in a sort cast out, as those words intimate (John 13.30.) which was before the Suppers administring; so then what was dark as to the disagreeing of the other Evangelists about the order, and Judas his presence, that John clear­ly resolves, saying, That he went imme­diately out upon our Saviours discovering him.

That which thou doest do quickly, which words were spoken before the Sacra­ment.

Here is little argument in all this; But he will tell you that it is a poore shift to say, Judas was a close hypocrite.

Answ. He aimes (I know) at an Ob­jection lying against him, namely this, That though Judas had received, yet this [Page 209]will not help him, or his cause. Had he prov'd that to be a shift, which he so stiles, he had written ingenuously, but he sayes it, and proves it not.

The truth is, That though the most eminent of our Divines, (at least many of them) oppose Judas his receiving, (which should have moved this Author unto a little more consideration, and modesty in faying down his opinion) yet the thing is left by others as doubtful, and so hath it ever stood in the Church, so that there is no such evidence of fact, as he speaks of; if there had, men of cleare heads, and upright hearts would see it, as well as himself,

Sir, let me give you and others this Caveat. You know the story of Judas, beware lest your contending for a free admission to the Lords Table, prove not as traiterous to the Churches purity, as Judas did to Christ himself.

Reas. 3 Reas. 3. Admission to, and transaction of the businesse of this Sacrament must be with much charity, and humility; without judging, especially in Ministers; But this is impossible, where there is not a free admission. Thus he.

Answ. But what time will he take to prove his Minor?

He shews us not the least proof or reason, onely flies to his own experience, which is a weak prop. Should a Jew go this way to work, how might the pre­cious doctrine of our Saviour be decried? That Doctrine which is of God ought to bring forth, and continue love among men; but see the Gospel doth the con­trary. What sects, what warres, what bitternesse from this way? The Popish­ly affected commonly argue in this sort against the Gospel. Look (say they) what stirs, and blood since Luther, the founder of their Reformation: The truth is; That when men faile in their judge­ments they must needs faile in their ob­servations, so doth this Authour; He is fallen in love with a free admission to the Sacrament, (and so is the generality of men) and therefore layes load upon our opinion and practice, voting it to be the ready way to heart-burnings, and such like evils in mens spirits; I will not say, but these courses of Reformation may occa­sion and draw forth such evils, but sure­ly mens own lusts and wickednesses are the causes of them. And why so much pride, and hatred, and contempt of others in Mi­nisters, and other Christians, perswaded to exclude some from the Lords Table? [Page 211]May we not be humble, and loving too, and yet careful, and tender over the Ordinances of Christ? The Spirit of a Mi­nister of Jesus Christ (as I take it) carries him to a special love of the godly. Can we not be loving to men unlesse we be cruel to the blood of Christ? Lay down therefore these uncharitable conjectures, and evil surmises of Gods servants: the faithfulnesse, humility, and gentlenesse of some of these is very evident to the hearts of the godly, and yet of a contrary judge­ment to you in this matter of the Sacra­ment; Your text 2 Tim. 2.24, 25. is not to be understood of such forbearing of evil men, as rationally conduces to please them in their sins, and blinde their souls; such suf­fering and bearing with evil ones is most ungracious; see what follows his suffering, and bearing, In meeknesse instructing, ver. 25. This all godly ones will strive to ob­serve; such as they debar they also lovingly informe of their unfitnesse, and intreate to forbear till they shall be apprehended to be in a better capacity. Can you tell us of any won to repentance by your free way? truly we know none; but if we may speak our experiences, as you do yours, we finde very many hardened in their sins by this indulgence, which you plead for.

Here you minde us of three passages of our Saviours.

1 From that Parable of the Pharisee, and Publican, where you go about to fasten Pharisaisme upon us, but with some molli­fying; not a proud, only a strict and rigid Pharisaism; here he is somewhat more mo­dest then others who are of his minde in our dispute. We are Puritans, Novatians, Chatharists, Donatists, or what you will, if we be found desirous to mend our Church-society by examining and severing of our people. But what if this be his own blinde zeal? For, first, he knows not that we turn off any poore sinners: no, we embrace where we see any (though the least measure of) true spiritual poverty, Secondly; I might tell him, that he rather inverts the use of this blessed Ordinance, and by his free­nesse layes it open to manifest prophana­tion. Christ ordained it to be a Disciple-priviledge, a bond to unite his people, and he would have it lie common even to them that have not the face of Christians in their practice. O blessed Lord! open the eyes, and rectifie the zeal of these men, who are more forward to satisfie the de­sires, and cries of carnal men, then they are to advance the Churches holinesse, or pre­serve the dignity of thy holy institutions.

2. The second memorable passage con­cludes Christs freenesse in eating with sin­ners to be a reason for a free communion; but I have told him already, Christ was more free at the Pharisees Table, then at his own. Christ that did eat with Publi­cans, did celebrate his Supper with his own Disciples onely, he took none of them in there; nay, he left out very many that professed him to be their Lord; How im­pertinent therefore is that passionate ex­clamation? O sweet Jesus! &c. I see Rhe­torick must serve, when Logick failes.

3. The third place is in John 8.3 of the woman taken in adultery, of whom our Saviour saith: Let him that is without sin himself, cast the first stone at her. I could tell him of a better use to be made of this example; though Christ knew this woman to be a grievous sinner, yet because no proof came, he would not censure her; he would act so as he might example us; not as a God, who knew all things, but as a Judge, who must know but what is prov'd. And this may afford a reason, why Judas was not excluded, (if we grant him ad­mitted) because Christ would not exclude him upon his divine knowledge, as he would not condemne the woman spoken of; as to men, Judas was as free from scan­dal [Page 214]as any of the rest; besides, if this be a reason why we should not censure, and note open offenders, because we our selves have sins and corruptions about us, then why should not this hinder the Church from excommunicating also, which he himself grants to be a Christian cen­sure? I confesse the feeling of our own sins should make us act humbly, and compas­sionately, but that this should take us off from censuring others in the way of our callings. and offices, because God may censure us; this is a meere fancy; God without doubt can censure us all, and will as for other sinnes, so for our unrighte­ous censures of others, yea, for our not censuring when there is cause. Why falls he so foule upon the Churches cen­sures? Why doth he not tell the Judges on the bench, that they are sinners them­selves and therefore should not condemn theeves, and murtherers? The Churches spiritual censures are in the hands of men, subject to like passions with others, even to all humane infirmities, and if this had been a barre to their execution Christ would (not doubt), have found other hands for them.

Reas. 4 Reas. 4. This is drawn from the va­nity, (as he saith) formality, impossibility [Page 215]of selecting people to this Ordinance, all these separations come to nothing.

Answ. Answ. He hath heard (I beleeve) of some rash, groundlesse separations to have run unto a shameful extreme. What of this? doth it follow that a moderate severing (as to some Ordinance) of the more pre­cious (in a visible Church) from the vile must needs end so too? he might (were he willing) observe the contrary in many places of this land, where this discipline hath been long practis'd, and the Churches standing to this day, and the godly walk­ing with much stedfastnesse in them; so then, here an untruth is affirm'd; & he bids men to look for that which I hope they shall never see; here he makes this que­ry under his reason, Who are to be ac­counted fit? Are all that make profession? or only real beleevers the men? I answer, We do not think bare profession to be enough to challenge admission unto this Ordinance, where there is a denial there­of by ignorance, or a contradiction by ungodlinesse of life; and yet we do not stand to this that all must be sincere; you are out therefore in your division, it wants a member; we expect rationall grounds for our hopes of mens serious­nesse in what they professe; but are not [Page 216]for certainty, and infallibility, as to their gracious estates. We are not asham'd to professe that we would have our Churches as pure as by any sanctified meanes we can make them, and yet are enemies to the endlesse, infinite separation you point at. As for your girds at Purity, God may per­chance make you mourne without an Oni­on.

Reas. 5 Reas. 5. This is gathered from a sup­posed uniformity of Gous service in all o­ther parts of worship; the command of God is universal, therefore should be so as to the Communion. Answ. Some inclosure you your self have yielded, as to children, mad men, &c. All therefore may not do this. In a Church reformed, as to go­verment, all (I grant) should be admitted which are not under the Churches censure; but with us hath been a long neglect of discipline, with us are multitudes of pro­phane ones, and no such thing as excommu­nication in use. The present inclosure put upon this Sacrament, is a way to redresse our fellowship, and communion, which are grown so corrupt, that without a purge there can be small hopes of ever seeing or­der or discipline among us. Had you, and others the patience to wait till the Church­es hedge be made up, you might then have [Page 217]your desired freedome. While the Church is without inclosure, the Sacrament will need one very much; When the street­doore lies open, there is the more need to lock the inner roomes. You say, that unregenerate men, who cannot performe duties without sinne, are not yet to be ex­cluded from any. [You say] This is your strength and common thunderboult; should I but say the contrary, this were a just an­swer to you. But to give you better then you bring: you would faine (I see) have all duties alike, but this will not be yield­ed you. There be duties that be naturall, and there be duties that be instituted; These you should learn to distinguish. There be intiall duties; To these unregenerate men must be call'd and mov'd, as to pray, beleeve, repent. Prayer and hearing of the Word, are such, that whatever the men be, they are to endeavour, and act in these as the meanes of grace. Notwithstanding that it is any ones duty to come to the Sa­crament being unregenerate, this you will hardly prove. Certainly Christ com­manded not those to come, that cannot per­forme what he wills, nor discerne what he offers. Every one must pray to God, and praise God. It is their duties as creatures to do those things, and they sinne as much or [Page 218]more in not doing, as in doing. But to receive the Sacrament, this is a duty of men, not as creatures, but as beleevers. And he that is judg'd unfit by his Minister or the Church, doth not sinne in staying a­way.

To your Grammatical conceit, which here followes, I returne you this: Why do you not as well question Lily, as to his Grammar method, as Independents, and Presbyterians for their practice as to Ordi­nances? Being a Scholar you, know, the Grammar would not be perfect without a Quae genus. No more will our Churches if there be a Syntax, & no noting Anomala's. The ignorant, and scandalous are Hetero­clites to the Churches communion, or Syn­tax. And to your question, the Presbyte­rians will tell you, that a child, by a re­mote right of his Parents, may have a just claime to a Church-priviledge. The Le­pers had a right to their houses, when they were thrust out of them. Such as are of a Church may make themselves incapable of some Church-enjoyment, and yet pre­fer their children: So do suspended, and excommunicated persons. Infants of Church-members, whether de jure, or de facto excommunicate, or whether growing mad, and so excluded; these infants (I say) [Page 219]are borne in that Church, whose censure their Parents beare.

Now Sir, that is such a stitching, such a Presbyterians seame, as your knife is (for ought I see) too dull to rip; So farre is this from truth which you say, that in yielding the one, they have granted the o­ther.

Reas. 6 Reas. 6. This is made up of many particu­lars.

1 1. I do (saith he) but my duty. Answ. When you prove it your duty to do, as you teach, I shall then beleeve you.

2 2. You have no power to turne away a­ny. Answ. Yes, as a steward of the my­steries of the Gospel you have a power to preserve the dignity of this Ordinance, and to keep off all visible unworthy ones.

3 3. I hope the best of all. Answ. So (it seemes) of the most prophane drunkards and swearers; but is not your hope faith­lesse, and your charity blind, and irration­all.

4 4. I know God can turne the worst. Answ. But his absolute power must not be eyed in such cases, but his revealed will.

5 5. I endeavour my utmost, that all may come prepared. Answ. This is good, and [Page 220]charitable, that your endeavour extends to all; but when you do, or may know by con­stant experience of too many, that they are unprepared; is not this branch of your rea­son vaine? Your duty is to endeavour to fit all; but, Sir, this is not all, but only a part of your duty. It is your duty to advance ho­linesse, and order in the Churches of Christ, to preserve the dignity and purity of his Ordinances, to provide for the com­fort of his people in the use of them. This you do not.

6 6. I humbly confesse the sinnes of all. Answ. Because God in mercy heard Heze­kiah, and removed upon his prayer a judg­ment inflicted for unworthy coming to a typical Ordinance, therefore he concludes his innocency from doing a like; but stay, Sir, in this you are unlike Hezekiah, he did this once, when upon an extraordinary oc­casion, the people came from far, and could not well observe the legall rites; but you (it seemes) make this a common practice. You know beforehand what people will come, (that the scandalous ones of your flock will come) and you think to preserve your soul from the guilt of their sinnes by confessing their unworthinesse. Pray for those that come, (the best need it) but think not that your praying will be an an­tidote [Page 221]to you and others, if you knowingly admit the unworthy.

7. Lastly, I venture the issue on God.7 Answ. It is good to be sure keeping to our rule, and not to venture too far.

To venture without the Word is to pre­sume, which is evill as you know. It is good to walk by a rule; for then if we venture, 'tis in a good bottome.

Gods Ordinances (I acknowledge) will be a sweet savour to him, whatever be the effects of them upon others: But while his Ordinances are sweet, our actings may be soure; and when they are so we must look one day to heare of it.

Finally, he hints at some other pressing consideracions from the command, and good of coming, and from the evill of o­mitting this Ordinance. Answ. What is here behinde in the bottom, we'll meet with in the other part of the book.

Ordinances are meanes, this is true, but yet all Ordinances are not alike, as hath been shewen. If a soul want grace, there are proper means of conversion, and begetting grace, to which he must apply himself; some Ordinances (as this) are both meanes and pledges of grace alrea­dy given.

The Ordinances are baths, but are baths [Page 222]common to them, that have the plague, (I hope not) though they are open to all, or most other diseases, Some Records tell us, that John would not come into the bath, because Cerinthus was there.

In his upshot, he makes a weak flou­rish, with the Parable, Mat. 22. and instead of scrupling the unworthy com­ing of the worst men, sentences them to be worst of all that come not. I think him a wretch, who despises, and al­together neglects this Ordinance; but he that forbears for a time, either as scru­pling his owne fitnesse, or as offended with the undue manner of administring where he should partake, I am far from thinking such a one more unworthy, then a presumptuous intruder. Such as are in a capacity, and come not, these deal unwor­thy indeed. As to your trouble about neg­lect of administring, and coming; Why take you such a large stride, stepping from one extream into another, whereas the truth and your duty lies between both? You need not neglect administring, that is another extream to admitting all. I wish you would avoid them both. If you will not be perswaded to this, but still practise your free admission, who will promise you, that [Page 223]none shall presume? I think very many have already presum'd upon your book to come unworthily, and many more (while you maintaine this freenesse) are like to do so. Let this stick another while on your thoughts, and then perchance instead of calling in of all, you may see cause to call in much of what you have publisht in this book.


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