THE PICTVRE OF INDEPENDENCY Lively (yet Lovingly) Delineated.

PRO. 27. 6.

Faithfull are the wounds of a Friend; but the Kisses of an Enemy are deceitfull: therefore,

PRO. 9. 8.

Rebuke a wise man and he will love thee; but reprove a Scorner, and he will hate thee.

LONDON, Printed by JOHN MACOCK at Adling-hill, and are to be sold by MICHAEL SPARK junior in Green Arbour. 1645.

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The Picture of INDEPENDENCY, Lively (yet lovingly) Delineated.

THe most unhappy jars and intestine divisions be­tween our most unkinde and unadvised Inde­pendent Brethren and the Presbyterian party, especially in matters of Church-government, having proved such a sad and sore Remora and retardation to the most blessed and glorious work of Reformation, at this time, in the Church of God, so long and so longingly desired by us all, and (at the first) so smoothly and sweetly begun among us, have filled my soule (and many thousands more) with many and most various both sad and serious thoughts and conjectures, both concerning the rice and root thereof, the present growth and increase of them, and the future fear and danger thereof; even no lesse then a miserable and confused Anarchy, if not seriously seen into, and seasonably pre­vented, either by a holy and humble reconciliation in them, or by a just necessitated restriction by authority. Now, I considered with my selfe, that for me to perplex my thoughts about the Dogmati­call discussion of the Controversie it self, would be as endlesse as it hath been fruitlesse, in respect of its proper end, yet I know much good and satisfactory settlement in the Truth hath come by the la­bours that way taken: But, I conceived it, a yet more near and as sure a way of satisfaction, seriously and sincerely to look into the practicall-manner of managing the matter in controversie on our Dissenting-Brethrens part. And truly, me thought (and that, upon apparent and indubitable grounds, as, by and by, I shall, I hope, make manifest) that that of divinely inspired and most wise King Solomon, Prov. 13. 10. seasonably and suitably offered it selfe unto me, as a main, if not sole and certain rice and ground of all the un­christianly and unbrotherly broyles and breaches, in this kinde a­mong us, viz. that, Only by Pride comes Contention. This being, then, the undoubted spurious Spring of our sad and bad divisions, [Page 4] I could not, but instantly and easily apprehend Self to be one most strong streame and turbulent torrent issuing out of that foul foun­taine. Which, that it most clearly appears so in generall, we have here a sure word of Truth for it: And that it is so in this particu­lar, and present speciall case, what man, though but meerly ratio­nall, can deny, that rightly and impartially discerns any thing at all in the mannaging of the matter by our Independent or Dissent­ing Brethren against their Presbyterian Brethren? For if it be not Spirituall-pride, and Selfe-seeking, that lead them on in their strange New-way (but, that they, with us, clearly intend, as they seem seriously to pretend, the glory of God in his own pure worship, and that King Jesus alone may rule his Church and childrens con­sciences according to his written Word) why, then, strive they so strenuously for such a way of worship and governement, which they are not able to demonstrate & make clear from the written Word unto their Presbyterian-Brethren? Now, if they are not able (as they have oft and earnestly been moved and mildely intreated thereunto) positively and plainly to set down unto us such an ex­act way of worship and Gubernation of Gods Church as may not, without sinne, be altered in the least circumstantiall particle there­of, to the end of the world; why rest they not content (with us) with so much materiality of worship and government as is set forth plainly & clearly in the Word, and with godly moderation, piety, and prudence, humbly refer the rest (in meer circumstantials) to Christian godly Governours and Magistrates, assisted with an As­sembly of most learned and pious Pastours and Teachers (no whit inferiour, for parts and piety to the best of theirs) and both these regulated and directed by the right rule of Gods Word, as near as possibly (in the integrity of their soules) they are able; herein, al­so, seeking assistance from Gods holy and un-erring Spirit, by much fasting and prayer, which, I think, they dare not deny to be Gods way. Why, I say, must this most considerable and most Noble Body of Bereans be rather regulated and circumscribed to the unwritten New-lights and strange Enthusiasmes of our Dissenting Brethren, they being also a most inconsiderable and inferiour part (therefore) of the Body? Is there any reason, much lesse religion for it? And if not, what then, means all this most unkinde and unbrotherly writing and wrangling against your Presbyterian Brethren, whom it highly concernes to contend earnestly to maintaine the faith, and those truths of God (Jude, v. 3.) delivered to them, and (as [Page 5] consonant to Gods Word and Scripturall Truth) practised by all the Saints in all the Reformed Churches of Christendome, yea and honoured by the speciall blessing of God himselfe on their way of godly Church-government, as hath been all along (for these many years) most visible in those many thousands of most precious Chri­stians and venerable Saints, brought forth and bred up in the Presbyterian-way, as Gods way, and, so highly honoured by him­selfe, as is aforesaid. These, I say, are those that are most fit, yea, that are most deeply bound in conscience, earnestly to contend for their so sound and ancient doctrine and discipline; not you of the Independent-way, for your meer imaginary opinions and barely conceited new-notions, who have been desired againe and againe to manifest unto us out of Gods Word, or from the constant practise of any setled Church in all Europe, what it is ye would have, and what it is ye hold, as a certaine, fixed, and unalterable rule of Gods worship and Church Govern-ment, but to this very day have not ingenuously declared it, or dealt plainly with us therein; wit­nesse even that so highly cryed up Apologeticall Narration attested by five of your most Eminent Pillars of Independency, made-up, mainly, of many, indeed, fair pretences; as, of a strange and almost ridiculous voluntary-banishment; self-praisings of your own parts and piety; complainings, (but, most untruly) how ye have been slighted and contemned among us; whereas, ye have been equally embraced and honoured divers wayes, both by the Parliament Assembly, and City of London, with the best of our Presbyterians; boasting how ye have been approved and entertained in your Church-way, in Holland, &c. Whereas both the Reformed Church in Holland and France also have assured us by the testimony of di­vers of their most pious and eminent Divines, the clean contrary, and that they have rejected your way, as very dangerous and de­structive to the Church of God, and vilifying and undervaluing all the Reformed Churches, in comparison of yours: and (to come to the point) pleading a mentall reservation in the main matter of our desire untill it come to a dead-lift, or a hard pinch: you laying down this irreligious Paradox for a principle (which ye make open and constant profession of, and wish to be enacted, as the most sacred law of all others, in the midst of all other Ecclesiasti­call Laws and Canons in Christian states throughout the world) Not to make your present judgement and practise, a binding law un­to your selves for the future; out of a jealousie of your own frailty, [Page 6] keeping this Reserve, to alter and retract what ever should be disco­vered to be taken up by you out of a misunderstanding of the rule. This being the avowed profession of your five grand-Apologists, to the whole world, in print: yet, a principle so inconsistent with sound faith and truth of Religion (of which, you so much vaunt) as that it suits with none but such an one whom the Apostle (James 1. 6, 7, 8.) long since, ye know reprehended and characterized, (the true character, indeed, me thinks, of our Independent Bre­thren) viz. A double minded man, unstable in all his wayes, wave­ring, like a wave of the sea, driven about with the winde, and tossed. Which, he closeth up with this dreadfull determination. Let not that man think he shall receive any thing of the Lord. And if such Scepticks (as you professe your selves by this Apostles determina­tion) cannot so much as think to receive any thing of the Lord; with what faces and consciences can ye think to obtrude your In­dependent-wayes and fancies upon us, as the infallable Oracles, nay, Scepter, and Government of God and Christ, which your selves, infallibly believe not to be such, and take up only for the present, with a Reserve of altering, and not binding your very selves there­to, for the future? For Gods sake, my Brethren, take heed what ye do herein: For does not the Apostle, 2 Tim. 3. 1, 2.) prophesie, That in the last dayes, perilous times shall come; for men shall be lo­vers of themselves, covetous, boasters, proud, heady, high-minded, having a forme of godlinesse, but denying the power thereof. Ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the Truth. Yea such as will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts will heap to themselves teachers, having itching eares, turning away their ears from the truth, and will be turned unto fables and fictions, new-lights and revelations. And are not your thus pre­tended New-lights, the very persons, thus, delineated, by your own confessions and practises too, even Murmurers, Com­plainers, desirous to walk after your own lusts, and having mens persons in admiration for advantage. Yea, take heed (I say) ye be not found to be those Clouds without water carried about with windes, and those Wandring-Stars which the Apostle Jude speakes of, which know not when or where, immutably, to fix your faith and judgements? Whereas, our Presbyterians, and all other true Be­lievers are alwayes (1 Cor. 15. 58. Phil. 1. 27. & Chap. 4. 1, &c.) Stedfast, unmoveable, standing fast in the Lord, in one spirit and in one minde, striving together for the faith of the Gospell, and not tos­sed [Page 7] to and fro, like children, carried about with every winde of do­ctrine, by the slight of men, as too too many Scepticall-Independents are, to the great obloquie and scandall of Religion. O my Bre­thren, I have therefore great cause to fear you will hardly prove Martyrs for that Church-way or Discipline, for the future, to which you will not peremptorily so much as binde your judgement; no, though but only for the present.

Now, if all this aforesaid, arise not (as wise King Solomon sayes) from Spirituall Pride and self-seeking, what meanes (I say) all this fruitlesse writing and wrangling (if not faithlesse shuf­fling with, and) against the unquestionable heaven-honoured Truths of the Presbyterian-way, never to be refuted (though much quarrelled at) by all the New-Speculations of our most unkinde Dissenting brethren. As namely, your most unjust and in­jurious quarrellings, and (I fear) malicious prejudicacies against reverend Master Edwards his pious, painfull, and learned Prea­ching and Writing against your Novell-wayes, especially your quarrelling against his most learned Antapologia, not hitherto answered (as, indeed, unanswerable) by the best of you all. How also have the elaborate labours of Reverend Master Herl, learned Doctor Stuart, religious and learned Master Rutterford, and di­vers other Eminent Divines, been slighted, traduced, and abused by you, who have most copiously and conscienciously confirmed (by invincible arguments, Scripture, and reason) their Presbyte­riall, and most abundantly and clearly confuted your Independent­way? And (though in the last, yet not in the least place) how have ye most ungodlily, and ungratefully traduced and palpably abused pious and most precious Master Prynne, who (as I had a late for­mer occasion to make like-worthy and honourable mention of him, in my Letter to Mr J. Goodwin) for his most famous and faith­full Sufferings, his most elaborate, learned, and divine writings, and for his indefatigable and most fruitfull Services, many-fold wayes, both for this Church and State too, can never be sufficiently ho­noured, embraced, and beloved by all true-hearted Christians over this whole kingdome; yet (I say) how hath this most incompa­rable and precious Gentleman, this most Eminent Saint and Ser­vant of the Lord and famous Patriot of his Country, been lately and liberally traduced, and most grossely abused by, almost, all our most unkinde and ungratefull Dissenting brethren of the Congre­gationall Church-way; But most especially (and more lately, [...] [Page 6] [...] [Page 7] [Page 8] since my foresaid Letter was published) by the fore-mentioned Master John Goodwin (as in all his former insulting and usavory peeces; so above all) in that last and worst most scandalous Pamphlet of his, Entituled Calumny arraigned and Cast, a most slashy and false work (as I can easily prove) and a most undis­creet, unjust, and unreasonable taske undertaken by him, in taking upon him to be both Judge and Party, in his own cause. For, who can expect any other but a totall conviction and tyrannicall censure from a profest Adversary against his Antagonist? But, if any im­partiall and judicious Reader will but enquire for, and read over, seriously this Mr. John Goodwins Letter to Mr. Thomas Goodwin, then in Holland (not long since printed and published by Mr. Bel­lamy in Cornhill, in London) he shall then see to his deep admira­tion what a fit man Mr. John Goodwin (so tainted with Socinia­nisme (if not Arminianisme) with most dangerous Errors in Sa­ving-faith; sometime a Presbyterian, and sometime an Indepen­dent) is to sit a Iudge, to arraigne, cast, and condemne, such a most constantly, orthodox, pious, and painfull servant to God and his country, as Mr. Prynne? And then, certainly, the Reader must needs also break forth (with me) into an extasie of astonishment and admiration at the strange boldnesse and unblushing audacity of Mr. Iohn Goodwin, so to censure others, considering his own guilt, Ievity, and instability of minde, and grosse errours in judgement; his said vanity and unconstancy of minde and promptitude to error, being lately further enformed to me by very reverend and credible testimony; thus, That even when he was a Sudent in the Ʋnivers­ty of Cambridge, his Contemporaries there with him, have reported and witnessed of him, that he ever loved to maintain and defend strange Opinions among them: Whereby it seems the man (Sala­mander-like) cannot live out of the fire of contention & offensive o­pinions; notwithstanding that one of his bewitched pert (if not, ma­lepert) Proselytes, most absurdly, superciliously, & falsly called him, A great Master in Israel, and the best of men. How, also, hath that foresaid Noble Berean, I mean Mr. Prynne, been yet more lately and more boldly abused, by a most scurrillous, proud, and illitte­rate poor Pamphlet, under the notion or title of Mr. Iohn Lilborns Letter to Mr. William Prynne? Wherein, how frothily, fondly, and falsely, hath he abused, not only precious Mr. Prynne, whose Books (in point of a Disputant) he is most unworthy to bear after Mr. Prynne; wilfully mis-reciting and mis-reporting his Positions [Page 9] point-blank against his words and writings, which, surely, he ei­ther read not or understood not; as if Mr. Prynne concurred with the Jesuites in a point wherein he is most opposite unto them; complaining against the Parliaments just restraint against libellous printing, even in his libellous Letter, in print, before ever it came to Mr. Prynne in writing: But also reviling the whole Reverend Assembly of most learned and pious Divines, terming them (most rudely and unmannerly) at least three or four times, no better then Black-Cotes, and, The profest enemies of Christ himself: yea, and most audaciously daring to censure the most honourable Parliament it selfe, both Lords and Commons, with dishonourable breach of their Covenant? But it hath pleased the most righteous Judge of all men, in some measure, to meet with the evill of both these most ungratefull Sons of their Mother, the Church of God, in way of punishment (as I, for my part, cannot but give God the glory, & so account it, the one) by just shame, in being deservedly thrust out of his Living, in London, by the Parliament; the other by smart, receiv­ing a most dangerous wound in one of his eyes, by a Pike, immediate­ly after his publishing of that most shallow and silly Letter. God give them both hearts to lay these things to heart, lest a worse thing follow.

Again, if Pride, (give me leave I pray you, without offence, still to use the language of Canaan, to speak in the dialect of Gods own Holy Spirit, which ye seem to delight in) if Pride, I say, and Self-seeking, or Self-engagements be not the Spring of al these your most unhappy and unholy contentions with us: what then, means your most unjust and causelesse Schisme and separation from us? and disdaining to joyn and communicate in holy Ordinances and As­semblies with us, putting your selves into an unwarrantable way of gathering peculiar Churches, out of Churches, to your selves, falling, point-blank, upon that complaint and crimination of pal­pable Schisme (which, I admire ye see not, and ingenuously ac­knowledge not, even to this day; but most obstinately and wil­fully, I fear, run on in) which the Apostle Paul himself so complains of, viz. That one is of Paul, another of Apollo, and another of Cephas: So ye, one is of Dr. Holmeses, another of Mr. Goodwins, and another of Mr. Lockyers Congregation; the very same thing, ye see, that the holy Apostle Paul himself, their complains of, even thus (as much as in you is) to divide and rend Christ himself a sun­der. By this means also making and esteeming every particular [Page 10] Congregation, yea, every particular Saint of yours (as ye cal them) a true and entire Church, as Mr. D. one of your Independent Bre­thren holds, and publickly teaches; to every of whom equally, ye say, the Keyes belong, (and I think, by this rule, to the Women-Saints, as well as to the Men-Saints) not being subject to any ap­peale or coercive-power, other then your own; no, nor to admit of any counsell or advice from other Congregations, further then ye please to ask and entertain it your selves. Now, if such an uncough Chaos, and strange Church-way (as ye call it) as this is, should be admitted over this whole Kingdome: O, I tremble to think and conceive, what a Humano capiti cervicem jungere equinam, &c. as the Poet Horace; or what a Monstrum horrendum, informe, ingens, &c. as Virgil; this would prove in short time! And yet you our most improvident Dissenting Brethren call and count this only, Christs way, and your Selves only (that run in it) of Christs Kingdome, excluding all other Christians (very many of whom, every way else as godly and gracious as your selves, and by some of your own learned & more moderate Independents (even your five Apologists themselves) held to be a true Church of Christ, and to have a true Ministry, yet shutting out, I say, all these Christians from Christs kingdome, even as the profest enemies thereof, and ac­counting them and their innocent babes and children, no better then Ethnicks and Heathens whom ye will by no meanes admit into your Assemblies or Congregations, to partake of the precious Ordi­nances of life and salvation (Baptisme and the Lords Supper) if they will not joyn with you in your Church-way, and take your unwarrantable and unscripturall formall-Covenant, invented by your selves: or, if they be poor, and cannot help to support (with their purses) your Congregationall-way: I speak but what I know herein, and can produce my testimonies. Tell me, I beseech you, where (in all the whole Book of God, from Genesis to the Revela­tions) Separation from Christian Brethren, every way as good and godly as your selves, is either commended or commanded? And, if ye are not able (is, to this day, ye never were, nor ever can) to make this clear unto us: Then, how dare ye thus obstinately and causelessely separate from us into Corners and Chambers, and I know not what private and unwarrantable Assemblies. Whereas, we can most plentifully prove (yea, your own consciences can­not but check and chide you for) the contrary; namely, how clearly it is the will of God that Christian Unity and Society be [Page 11] maintained. Witnesse, that especially (among many other full Texts of Scripture for it) of the Apostle, Ephes. 4. 1, 2, 3, 4, &c. I therefore Paul the prisoner of the Lord, beseech yee that you walke worthy of the vocation, wherewith ye are called. With all lowlinesse and meeknesse, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love. Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. For, there is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one Faith, one Baptisme, one God, one Father of all, who is above all, and through you all, and in you all. Together, I say, with very many other most pregnant Scrip­tures to this purpose. How then O my Brethren dare ye do these things (except it be by that most destructive and pernicious plea for Liberty of Conscience, which ye so urge, and cry up, and cry out for, to do what ye list, in pretended matters of conscience; vehe­mently urging, that the Civill-magistrate hath no power to rule over any Christians conscience; which, though we easily grant in point of private believing, yet, we say and will justifie, he has power to regulate Christians consciences, in point of publick, pi­ous, and peaceable practicall-cariage, both in life and doctrine, as is most clear from that pregnant & impregnable Scripture, 1 Tim. 2. 1, 2, 3. Where the Civill-magistrate is acknowledged by the A­postle Paul himself, to be the principall instrument of God to re­gulate mens outward consciences (as I may call them) as well in all godlinesse as honesty, for the preservation of publick peace, unity and community one with another. Unlesse ye dare avouch that Christ did purchase a liberty of conscience for men to sinne, in any sort, which were most blasphemous so to say or think. How dare ye then I say (if ye will shew your selves the Sons and Daughters of Christian love, peace, and humility) do these things, even thus separate your selves from holy communion with us, and thus cen­soriously judge and think of us, who do seven at this time) enjoy (ever blessed be the Lords free mercy for it, and the Lord grant that this unholy-ingratitude and wanton-contention of yours, cut us not short of the farther and freer enjoyment of) the Word, most ortho­doxly, plentifully, and profoundly preached, the Sacraments, in sweet measure (for the time) purely administred; and both Sa­craments and Church-discipline in a most hopefull way (had we but thankfull hearts, godly wisdome, and pious patience to wait the Lords leasure (as it is our Christian duty) for the perfecting & cō ­pleting thereof; and not, being poor-beggars, to be our own proud-carvers) [Page 12] even ever since we most happily shook off the Antichri­stian yoke of our tyrannicall Prelates, to be blessedly reduced and setled in a holy and unblended way, free from beggarly-ceremonies and humane inventions, as much as by Christian prudence and piety, (backed and strengthned by Gods rightest-rule, the Scriptures,) is possible to be attain'd unto, both for the present and future too.

But,Object. probably it will be here objected; But Sir, would you have us to submit to such a Church-government or Discipline as we fear & are informed by our learned & pious Pastors, is as Antiti­christian & as tyrannicall (if not more) than the Prelaticall was: and, which Mr. John Goodwin saies, in his Theomachia, is a bloody, unpeaceable, & persecuting way, a way much damping and deading the flourishing improvements of the gifts and graces of the Saints.

Whereunto I answer;Answ. First, that this is a most unjust & injurious slander maliciously cast upon the Presbyterian-way; witnesse, as I said before, the many thousands of most eminent Saints and rare Christians, famous in their severall generations, in Geneva, Ger­many, Sweden, Hungary, Bohemia, Holland, France, Scotland and now in England, both for most excellent and enlarged parts of learning and piety. Secondly, witnesse the most transcendent te­stimony of one of your own (now) prime Independent Brethren Mr. Lockyer by name, who (being at my house, upon just occasion thereunto afforded him by my selfe) professed most seriously unto me, that he having been in Scotland, and seen with his eyes, and taken speciall notice of the most exact practicall managing of their Church-government (and we all know that one eye-witnesse is better then ten eare-witnesses, or then a hundred speculative-con­ceits or imaginary New-lights) in all the particulars thereof; he, I say, professed most seriously unto me, that he was in conscience con­vinced and clearly perswaded that their Presbyterian-way was most Apostolicall and Evangelicall, even in these very tearms; and what higher Encomium could he possibly have given, in this be­half? Thirdly, and lastly, in further answer hereunto; I desire to ask any ingenuous Dissenting Brother or Sister, and if their consci­ence will but speak-out the plain truth herein, let them freely say, O, what would they and I have given, or done, lesse then ten years agoe, and so, upward, to have had the Presbyterian Government, as it then was, and now is, in Scotland, to have been established and set up among us, which, now, like fools and most ungratefull wantons, ye so contemne, condemne, and vilifie, to your great shame be it spoken?

[Page 13] Again,Object. 3. it may, peradventure, be here objected. But, are not the Ministers and many others of the Independent-way, very eminent Saints and Christians, both for their learning and most holy lives and unspotted conversation, and therefore to be, as justly, eredited, and believed in what they have delivered to us, by word or writing, as any of yours to the contrary?

I answer,Answ. 2. neither the parts, nor piety of men (though ever so out­wardly pure and holy) are a right rule for truly wise Christians to walk by; but, contrary wise, very dangerous and deceivable: For (though from my heart, I here professe, as in the presence of God, the Searcher of all hearts, that I love and honour very many of the Independent or Dissenting Brethren, both for their learning and ho­ly lives; yet give me leave, as ingenuously to confesse, with all, that I much fear them for their judgement and opinions sake, which I hold dangerous and destructive:) For, I say, as the Apostle Paul sayes, Gal. 1. 8. Though any of you, yea or an Angell from Hea­ven preach any other Gospel or Word, then that which Christ and his Apostles, in the written Word hath delivered to us, let him be accursed. And my Brethren, 'tis not an unknown thing to Scho­lars, and any others, verst in Ecclesiasticall histories, that the most dangerous Hereticks and first broachers of Hereticall and Schisma­ticall errours and opinions, as Pelagius, Arminius, &c. Were men of marvelous strict life, and outward holinesse. This rule, therefore I say, is no solid, safe or right rule for pious and prudent Christians to walk by, but the written Word of God only, and clear and de­monstrative deductions and necessary consequences drawne thence, by comparing Scripture with Scripture, and thus trying the spirits whether they are of God or not, 1 John 4. 1. As the noble Bereans did. Now, all these premises seriously considered, wherein remains I pray, the mighty distance and difference between our most un­kinde Dissenting Brethren and us, if not in the Self-flation of their spirits, and in their Self-seeking, and private ingagements, as hence we have great cause, more then to fear? For, they say, they desire but what we desire in the main, viz. Pure Ordinances, Holy As­semblies, and Christ upon his Throne, only they dissent and differ from us in some poor punctilios, some meer surmises, & bare pre­tence of what is not, or not yet proved to us from Gods Word, with­out which, they must pardon us, if we cannot believe them or be led by them; and herein, indeed, I confesse, they out-run us, and run before us, yea (and I fear and believe too) before God calls [Page 14] them. What then, means this Daggers-drawing at one another for poor circumstantials, things not absolutely necessary to salvation, and not justifiable by you from the Word? What, I wonder should be the reason of this unreasonable and irreligious contend­ing to divide Christs seamlesse-Coat (wherein, indeed, our Dis­senting Brethren shew themselves far worse then the Christ-cru­cifying Souldiers) for the pretended fringe sake thereof? What's the cause hereof, I say, if it be not too much of that knowledge which puffeth up, and too little of that love which edifieth? Do ye think, my Brethren, that Men and Women given to strife, contentions, envyings, malitiousnesse, hypocrisie, lying, pride, covetousnesse, and such like, being fruits of the flesh, and sinnes exceeding sinfull in Gods sight, (Col. 3. 5, 6, 7, 8 9. Tit. 3. 2, 3.) shall not be shut out of Heaven, as certainly, as those given to swearing, drunkennesse, mur­ther, whoredome, and such like more open enormities? For shame then, my Brethren, forbear any longer to bear-up your meer opini­nions with such an unfriendly feud and irreconcileable rancour, strife, and contention. What, had ye rather that three famous and (lately) flourishing Kingdomes nay (Christs Kingdome it selfe, as much as in you is) should be ruinated & destroyed (for, a Kingdom or Church, divided within it self, sayes our blessed Saviour, cannot stand) than that your hitherto unproved opinions should by you be left and laid down? What, must ye be Caesars or nothing? Had ye rather lose Peace and Truth too, then Victory? May not the mocking and revyling Royalists at Oxford, and the Malignant scoffers at London, yea, the Atheists and Papists too every where else, justly jeer us both, and in derision tell us, the King and his party know not what to grant us; since we, thus agree not among our s [...]lves, and know not what should be granted unto us? Nay, may not the King of Heaven, the Lord our God himself, deny us the mercies, which we hitherto have had great hopes he intends to be­stow upon us; when we his children, like unthankfull (as I toucht before) and wrangling wantons, fall out among our selves about a too-bold choice, fitted only to our own fancies, and will have this or that, or none at all? Must Beggars, I say, be their own carvers, both for the time and thing, or else they will frampally flye in their Brothers faces? O where is that pious pull-back of holy A­braham to Lot, Let not us fall out together, for, We are Brethren?

But here,Object. I know, ye will object and tell us. But Christ, in the times of the Gospel, came not to send peace on the earth, but a sword, [Page 15] and to set men at variance, one against another▪ the father against his child, and the daughter against her mother, &c. Mat. 10. 34. I but let me answer,Answ. & therein ask you this question. What sword was this, wch this blessed Prince of Peace brought into the world, in the times of the Gospel? was it a sword of strife and contention, of variance, and vitious discord of one godly and Christian Brother against another? of the godly father against his pious childe, of the truly religious daughter against her godly mother. No certainly, no such matter: but, of the godly father against the ungodly son, of truly vertuous children against obstinately irreligious & carnall parents: only in this sense (as I take it) that those of a mans own house should be his utter enemies. But, in the other sense, and to the other sort of godly Brethren, and truly pious Christians among them­selves, even his Disciples and Saints, 'tis, I believe, and ought to [...]far otherwise: O, here, sayes our Saviour, Peace, I leave you, [...] peace I give unto you, John 14. 27. This, indeed, was the great [...] everlasting Legacy, which Christ before his death be queathed to his children, & set the mark of Love upon them to be known to [...] his Disciples. And therefore in this respect, let me advise you, my Brethren, to take great heed, lest by your unjust jarres, ye come to near the number and nature of those to whom our Saviour pro­ [...]ces a Woe, for offending any of his innocent and peaceable [...]tle-ones of the Presbyterian-party, his undoubted beloved ones; [...]though (as Christ sayes) offences may, and must, or will come, Mathth. 10. 7. yet take heed ye be not those (as, I fear, ye are) by [...]om these offences do come. For, believe it, my Brethren, ye give [...] too great cause to set a mark upon you (Rom. 6. 17.) for raising [...]d causing such unjust divisions and offences among us & to wish [...]e had all kept in New-England & Holland still, then thus to come [...]mong us, to molest our (at first) so hopefull and happy peace and [...]mation, as ye have done, ever since ye came over to us. Only, [...]in, we may and must see the hand of God sorely upon us, in [...] raising you up, who we hoped would and should have been a [...]ghty help unto us) to help to whip us for our former unworthy [...]lking, and to be no small means to keep off the enjoyment of [...]erfull and pure ordinances, longer then we expected. But [...]gh thus ye will so inconsiderately, and indeed, so unchristian­ [...] retain your ungrounded opinions in your selves; yet will ye [...] (at least) endeavour with us, to maintain the grounds of pub­ [...] peace and Christian-unity and unanimity of spirit against the [Page 16] Common Adversary; but thus discover your impatient nakednesse for the scoffing Chams of the Kingdome to deride and detest us both, and all, I say, by your unkinde and causelesse quarrels with us? truly, my Brethren, if thus, ye wil unbendingly persist to prefer your own wils before Gods will and way; which is, godly love & com­munion, not unwarrantable wrangling & confusion; then take heed I beseech you, lest ye too justly fall into the compasse and capacity of the generation of those men; who (as Solomon sayes, Prov. 30. 12.) are pure in their own eyes, and yet are not washed from their filthinesse. And who (as the Lord himself sayes by the Prophet, Esay 2. 5.) walk in a way that is not good, even after their own thoughts, who say (unto their Brethren) stand by your selves, come not near unto us, for we are holier than ye. Truly, my Brethren, if these Scrip­tures be not exceeding nearly, yea, most punctually and properly ap­plyable to you; to what end is your so wilfull and obstinate separa­tion from us, to your own so pretended pure Congregationall waies and Church Assemblies, not admitting any other of your Christian Brethren to joyn with you, (nor you, by any means, willing to joyn or continue with them) but, as I said before, counting them [mark this] and their children, as unholy Heathens, hereby, saying thus much, in effect, Stand by your selves, for we are holier than ye? Be not, I pray, displeased at the words, for they are Gods own words, not mine; nor with the comparison or resemblance, for ye easily see how peculiarly appliable it is to you, not unto us; for, we desire most cordially your incorporation and communion with us, and it behoves you (as I toucht before, who have first made the breach, and most unkindly, and, as we conceive, most unjustly, separated and departed from us) with all Christian humility, and godly self-denyall, to return unto us, and so to repair and make-up the sad and bad breach ye have made between us. Which that it may be so, (that so we may with holy David in a heavenly harmony of hearts and voyces, sing out a loud and lovingly, Behold how good and joyfull a thing it is, Brethren to dwell together in Vnity! It is and shall be the sincere and incessant prayer of

Your Christian Brother, J. V.

Imprimatur,

Ja. Cranford.
FINIS.

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