AN ANSWER TO W. R. HIS NARRATION of the Opinions and Practises of the Churches lately erected in Nevv-England.

Vindicating those Godly and Orthodoxall Churches, from more then an hundred imputa­tions fathered on them and their Church way, by the said W. R. in his Booke.

Wherein is plainely proved,

  • 1. That the grounds of his Narration are sandie and insufficient.
  • 2. That the maner of his handling it, unloving and irregular.
  • 3. That the matter of it, ful of grosse mistakes & divers contradictions.
  • 4. That the quotations extremely wrested, and out of measure abused.
  • 5. That his Marginall notes impertinent and injurious.

By THOMAS WELDE, Pastour of the Church of Roxborough in NEVV-ENGLAND.

Jude 10. They speake evill of things they know not.
Prov. 18.17. He that is first in his owne case seemeth just, but his neighbour commeth after and searcheth him.

This is Licensed and Entered according to Order.

LONDON, Printed by Tho: Paine for H. Overton, and are to be sold at his shop entring into Popes-Head Alley out of Lumbard-Streete. 1644.

THE EPISTLE TO THE REDAER.

THere was a law in Israell, Deut. 22.18, 19 that if any man did bring an ill name upon a Ʋirgin of Israell, the matter was to come before the Elders, and hee was to bee chastised, and amerced an hundred shekells of silver.

There is one, W. R. (if thou knowest the man) that hath brought many ill reports, not upon one Ʋirgin, but all the Virgin-Churches of New-England: When thou seest him do so much as bring him forth to Answer this law, Tell him, wee purpose to try an Action with him, and have satisfacti­on from him. And if hee saith, hee hath not raised these re­ports himselfe, but had them from others: Then tell him again from us, that cannot satisfie, for we have learned from divine and humane lawes, that if any bee taken reporting of slaunders (as wee shall abundantly shew hee hath do [...] his Narrative) he may be charged as the raiser of [...] [...] [Page] hee can cleare himselfe by bringing such Authors into light as will owne them.Dut. 17.6. 2 Cor. 13.1. 1 Tim. 5.19. But if he will not, or cannot; wee must lay them at his owne doore. Its for all the severall re­ports in his booke brought against us and our wayes, we ex­pect the rule of Moses and the Apo-stle Paul, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses and not under every matter should be established to produce Barrow, Browne, Robin­son, &c. for Authors; (for they were dead before New-England Churches were borne,) or H. W. T. P. and I know not what private letters lying by him in his study (for wee know not their voyce,) nor let him say, it was told me, (as he often doth) for wee protest against such testimony, nor I was informedso, &c. for sama est mendax and preju­dice hardly speakes well of any. Tell him wee will goe to a­ged Paul (hee was a good Divine) to bee our Vmpire to de­termine what witnesse we must have in a case of accusati­on, and to his verdict wee will stand, which is set downe plainely 1 Tim. 5.19.

Three things more let me say to the reader, and I have done.

1. Wonder not, this Answer staid so long, for it had certainly taken his narrative by the heele, but that some spe­ciall providence (whose distracted lines) intercepted; the truth is, I thought it should neede no other Answer then it selfe; untill I perceived some ill effects of it.

2▪ But why doe I undertake this worke? Answer, [Page] 1. I am one of the nearest kinsmen to those Churches of any other man in these parts, and therefore I take my selfe bound to the name of my Brethren (in a righteous way) and (not let it die) through my neglect. 2. Few or none are here, have had more experience of New-England Church courses then my selfe, through many yeares continu­ance with them, and to whom I am returning when God makes way: and am therefore able to speake on certainty, and with conscience where W. R. departs from the truth in his relations. 3. I have beene pressed by word of mouth, and sundry letters to doe it; therefore if I should hold my peace when I am called to speake, and see so many innocent Churches suffer, I should not lift up my face to God, nor my Brethren there. God knowes my spirit, how exceeding loath I was to controvert with a Brother, (though but a de­fendant) and to uncover his nakednesse, but when God calls I am bound with Moses, (when he saw the Ebrew did wrong to his Brother) to say, why smitest thou thy fellow? Exod. 2.13.

3. Touching the answer it selfe, some things I would say, 1 I thinke it not meete to answer all I could, nor to e­very particular, especially in his Marginall extravagances, that would be too tedious; For our principall passages being answered unto, the rest will fall of themselves. 2. Nor to answer any thing in his booke, so oft as hee repeates it, for divers things are fetched over by him, some three, some foure severall times; what his reasons are, himselfe can best give [Page] account. 3. Neither is it possible for me to answer the say­ings of his private letters lying by him, (such a ground of Church stories as I never heard of,) because I know nei­ther who they are, nor what their owne words are, or if I did, were it materiall. 4. Thou seest I have a three fold worke to answer: 1. his Articles, 2 his quotations, 3 his Margent. All which I have indeavored faithfully as in Gods presence to doe: what oversight or infirmity hath passed my penne therein, I crave thy pardon, for we are weake men and (God knowes) too apt to forget our selves in greater things then these. 5. What I here write, is onely from my selfe, (if any weakenesse appeare) impute it not I pray thee to the case in hand, or our Churches iudgements there, but to my owne frailty rather. 6. Nor is it my scope to discusse the points of Discipline, (that worke is in abler hands) but I looke up­on his booke, as an historicall narration, and accordingly I frame my answer. 7. Though he brings not the words of any of his Authors cited (which had been fairer, and might have kept him in closer bonds) yet I have done it for him, especi­ally in the last sixe or eight Chapters, that you may iudge whether hee hath dealt fairely with them or no. 8. When I recite W. R. his words in his narration, you will see I have dealt candidly with him, either mentioning his very words, or so many of them as containe their full strength, whereto my answer tends. 9. When at any time, in my answer, I say, such an Article, or such a clause is untrue, [Page] or is false; I am not willing to impute the falsity there­of to the Authors knowledge, (I would iudge otherwise of him then so,) but to the thing it selfe asserted; which may be done through his misinformation, or mistake: I will say no more; but commit thy spirit to the wise guidance of the Fa­ther of lights, who in Christ Jesus leade thee by the hand into all truth and peace.

Thine T. W.

The Reader may take a short view of some Particulars in W. R. his Narration; As they are made to appeare in his Booke by the Page, and Line, as followeth.

Vnfound passages.Vntrue Relations.Falsified quotations.
Page.Line.Page.Line.Page.Line.
425115176
5202211820
67. 24. 375201914. 24
75. 156232024
828203. 32. vlt.2435
9whole page252 last2518. 23
182639102523. 31. 40
243937 whole pag. 265
2917. 2838 whole pag. 323 last
362851 whole pag. 5716
4015569581. 2. 27
521. 9. 26575. 10. vlt.5922
532. 11. 22596. 336023, &c.
543. 1060116138
58336211. 25. ad fin.6211. 25. ad fin.
6121. 26664 last631. 9
641, 9. 25676. 12. 226414
6513 ad finem.684. 7. 126725. 18

There are some things in W. R. his Narration that carry a face of contradiction: I propound them to his review: in his owne words, sense, and pages. Thus they stand.

That

  • Sacraments are to be Administred to the Members of the same Church only. Narration p. 35. Art. 5. & vide p. 38. Art. 4.
  • The Churches do, and may, mutualiy, partake each with other in the Sa­craments. p. 37. Art. 31. p. 10. Art. 7

That

  • They conceive some to bee true Christians, whether they be in Church estate or no. p. 33. Art. 1.
  • Whosoever becomes not a setled member of a Church, they account him wicked, prophane, and a gracelesse person. p. 29. Art. 1. p. 12. Art. 12.

He saith, con­cerning the judgements & practises of the Churches ge­nerally in New-EnglandThat

  • They may, and doe constitute new Churches without the consent of the Christian State. p. 20. last line, p 49. Art. 2. & latter end of the Marg.
  • Before they doe enter into Church estate, notice is first given thereof to the Magistrate or the Christian State. p. 21. Art. 4. And (by a law of the State) none can enter without such knowledge given to the Magistrate. p. 21. Art. 2.

That

  • They may, and doe set up new Churches in the midst of, and against the mind of the Churches. p. 49. Art. 2. and latter end of Margent.
  • Notice is given thereof to the neighbouring Churches, that such as please may be present. p. 21. Art. 4.

That

  • The Church-Covenant is that, whereby all the Members of the Soci­ety are united to Christ. p. 12. Art. 1.
  • Many are within the Church-covenant, that are not within the Covenant of Grace, and so not united to Christ. p. 14. Art. 3.

That

  • The Churches of New-England are of one and the same way in Disci­pline without any materiall difference. p. 1. Art. 1.
  • They are not of the same way, but sometimes of 2. contrary waies, some­times of 3. severall waies at once, and that in very materiall points. p. 10. Art. 8. p. 16. Art. 8. p. 13. Art. 3. and 4. p. 27. Art. 11.

Objection. 1 But we in New-England goe different waies, so the contradictions come from our selves, not from him. Answ. No, for We are all of the same way, and differ not in any materiall point, as himselfe plainely saith. chap. 1. Art. 1. 2 His Narration speakes what the Churches in New-England doe generally, as Title. p. 1. Now it is impossible that they can generally goe two wayes at once.

Objection. 2 But our writers say so, and hee speakes according to them. Answ. Then let him make this appeare (and that will bee hard to doe) for his quoted Authors speake the selfe same thing.

An Answer to VV. R. his Narration of the Opinions and Practises of the Churches lately erected in New-England.

An Answer to the PREFACE.

IT would grieve a tender heart to heare this man call God and his Conscience to witnesse how highly he honours and loves those that are in Church waies, and by and by to assault with horrible untruths, and bitter invectives the Churches of New-England, (whom God hath beene pleased to honour in the hearts of thousands of his pretious Saints) which one would thinke hardly credible, that any that goeth under the notion of honesty, much lesse of godlinesse, should venture to doe.

He blames the Brethren of the Independent way, (as he stiles them) I that were and are in London, for breaking a solemne agreement; to produce a narrative of their Doctrine and practise, and yet did not, yea would not perform [...] it.

1. Some of us professe solemnely we never so much as heard of any promise, therefore were farre enough from breaking it; Answ. why then doth W. R. lay it upon the Independent Brethren in London without exception?

2. What was done by any of them herein, was freely from them­selves (as I am informed by them) that by some manifestation of their Judgements and practises, they might cleare themselves from misapprehensions and mistakes; so that if they did it not, them­selves were like to suffer most.

3. This they made performance of in their late Apologie, so farre as might satisfie in a rationall way, but if hee expected more, where lies the fault?

[Page 2]4. If they did not this, so soone as hee would have had them, let him know, the extreame distractions of these times, and the pub­lique service of some of these brethren (who were imployed by the State, for a good space together) might justly hinder greater things then this. Now, see what little cause the Narratour had to cast such a blot on the names of his Honored Brethren (as he calles them.)

II Hee saith, Many w [...]re drawne aside, their Churches and Ministry slighted, neglected, deserted, — yea contumeliously and scornefully re­proached as Antichristian, Babylonish, false and Null, &c.

Answ. 1. Such contemptuous speeches, & reproachfull carriages cast upon our Brethren of the Churches here, neither are, or ever were allow­ed by us: yea our owne examples, practisings, writings doe, and (we hope) ever shall beare witnesse against such loose and lavish spirits and practises: And can any man then justly impute them unto us?Psal. 11.3. May we not say with the Psalmist, If the foundations be cast downe, what hath the innocent done?

2. They are not alone in these reproches, our selves also are fellow-sufferers with them herein, from divers Sectaries now in London, whose usuall tones & dialects these words (he mentions) are, & not the voyce of Independents.

III That some of our way (contrary to our promise and Pactions) have impe­tously, both in Pulpit and Presse laboured to promote the popular governe­ment, & to make all men disrelish and abominate the Presbyterian way.

Answ. 1 A sad complaint if true; But to shew how farre from this spi­rit and practise we have beene, consider first how loath wee were to appeare in the case, who, though we had bookes of this subject rea­dy for the presse, yet by joynt consent suppressed them, (haply to the great detriment of our cause) for that wee were unwilling to blow a fire.

2. When we did appeare in Pulpit or Presse, whether it was with­out instigation or no, and how sparing wee have beene, ever since, (untill some late forced replyes) and how inoffensive in our carria­ges and preachings, we leave to all godly to judge.

3. Instance (but) in the Holland Brethrens Apologie; was it Im­petuously done, was it A MOCK NARRATIVE, A MEERE GVLL? (as this man most abusively styles it) was it not rather full of Peaceable­nesse, modesty and candor, and seasonably needefull? as that Reverend man affirmed in Print.

4. Doth not W. R. know that about this time of promises and Pactions, or a while after our Brethren, of the Presbyterian way did [Page 3] write a Letter into Scotland with many of their hands to it, telling the Ministers there they did approve of their Governement, and would joyne in the furtherance of it. Now for him to binde our hands, and seale up our mouthes, and then underhand at the same time to fore-determine the matter, and bee ingaged in that way be­fore any solemne dispute, and yet to accuse us for breaking Pacti­ons, seemes neither rationall nor faire. Other things I shall speake to the Preface afterwards in answer to the booke: Onely this, he will make the Reader beleeve, (to forestall him) that there are some seeming contradictions in our Tenets & apparent repugnances to the letter of Scripture, or light of common sense. But what reall contradictions are in his Narrative, and manifest repugnances in his Animadversions, to Scripture rules, light of reason, and common sense too, (by the helpe of God) I shall make to appeare, but with a sad heart (I must tell him) that such things should be written by a Brother whom we have so much esteemed and reverenced: but seeing now it is done (rather then so many pretious Saints and Churches should suffer wrongfully) I am forced to uncover. If others be rightly informed and himselfe convinced, I have my ends.

To the Narration in generall.

AS he saith, hee had laid by the thoughts of it a good while, through many discouragements. So (I conceive) if he had cast them by for ever, & made the place of conception their grave, he had dealt better for the truth and himselfe. But he is very angry for want of Narratives. One he must have, and one he will have, be it right or wrong, and if neither New-England nor Holland Brethren bee worth a Narrative, let him come, he will frame one himselfe. And this shall be no MOCK NARRATIVE, NO MEERE GVLL, as the Holland Brethren produced, but a more solid thing: Now what it is will appeare if we weigh three things.

That the grounds on which hee builds it, are sandie and insuffi­cient. I

The manner of his proceeding, unloving and irregular. II

The matter of it, 1. Full of grosse mistakes, contrarieties to the III truth, and contradictions to it selfe. 2. His quotations abused ex­tremely, and wrested. 3. His Marginall notes, very scandalous and offensive. And according to this method, we will proceede, and un­dertake to make all these particulars good in our answer.

First for his grounds.

You would thinke that the grounds on which all his worke is founded, and all New-England Churches taxed, had neede bee sound, even, adequate, or else hee will not prove himselfe a wise builder. But they are these three. 1. Our owne printed Bookes. 2. Private letters. 3. Other good intelligences, (as himselfe saith in his Title.)

For the printed bookes which he quotes, they are the writings of I some godly and learned men there: But that these be rightly concei­ved, know 1. These bookes (five in number) are not written from all the Elders, two of them but from one only; Another from some few, none of them from all. 2. Not written to the Chur­ches here, as a Platforme of our practise, but sent as an answer to some one or more Brethren in England that desired satisfaction to some quaetees of their owne (whereof W. R. himselfe was one▪) 3. Nor intended by them for the presse, much lesse to be made a stan­dard to prove our Churches opinions and waies by, but published by some well-minded here, without their knowledge, yea against the mindes of some of them. Yet if he had kept close to these in his narration, he had saved his credit, and my paines, but (you shall see) he hath so abused and wrested them (I dare say in wel-neere an hun­dred places) that his assertions are, not their sayings and words, but his owne, and they will leave him to quit himselfe as well as he can; For as Scripture it selfe (the rule of all things) abused is no Scripture, so the writings of men perverted are no more theirs. This we shall make plentifully appeare.

II Sundry private letters lying by him, (as hee saith) sent from New-England; (but names only two letters of their names) are another ground of his story. And whatsoever any one of these writs▪ (though never so privately, and unknown to any other man in any of all the Churches,) must needs be the opinion of all the Churches in New-England. But to shew the invalidity, yea, and impossibility of this to be a good ground, Consider,

1. These are incompetent proofes, and liable to great and just ex­ceptions. For 1. Some, there, are contrary to us in their opinions, Antinomians, Familists, Antichurchians, &c. and even some of his cited letters (as neer as we can gather) are from some of these. 2. Others that write letters from thence, are weake in judgement, not understanding what the Churches hold, or not able to expresse a­right [Page 5] what they themselves understand; are all these fit to be the Churches interpreters? Doth not W. R. himselfe in his preface say, Scribimus omnes indocti doctique. 3. Others may be novices & not well verst in our way, nor ripe to give the Churches verdict. 4. Some o­thers, haply, are but in part of our judgement, and not come off ful­ly to the Churches practises there. 5. Others are prejudiced against the place and persons; and prejudice (himselfe knowes) can hardly speake well. And (we know) diverse such have wrote letters, which (tis like) are fallen into his hands: Therefore these cannot be built upon for competent witnesses.

And whereas he saith in his Postcript. pag. 50. Object. That these letters come from Members of Churches, and many from Ministers of the Word. It is answered, That Members of Churches, and Ministers too, Ans. may be liable to some or other (and some of them possibly to many) of the said exceptions. Neither is it in our power (nor in any Church in the world) to cure all their Members (or Ministers either) of their distempers; for if it were, you would not suffer your own Churches (in many of their Members and Ministers) to be so infected with sun­dry grosse errors as they are.

2. A testimonie, against whole Churches had need be sure, that men may trust unto it. But how can we be assured, 1. Whether such letters as he cites were ever written from New-England or no, (for I have good ground to question, because he thrusts in T. G. to I. G. amongst his New-England letters, and yet these men never came there, though himself faith in postscript, pag. 51. ult. l. That his letters come from Members of our Churches in New-England.) And as he adds some, so he may adde more for ought I know. 2. If such letters were sent, how can we be assured, that such expressions (as he reports) are in those letters? 2. Or such a scope, (as he puts upon them) to be collected from those expressi­ons? All these must be cleared before we can ground any thing up­on them. But W. R. tells us so. Ans. So he tells us other stories in this booke, that are as far from truth, as Old-England is from New: which wee have no faith to credit. 2. If he hath so extreamly mistaken the printed letters, which he knowes we can come at to peruse, how can we, or any else, be assured that he hath not more a­bused his private letters, which no eye but his owne may see?

3. Suppose none of the mentioned exceptions can be had, but that the writers of the letters be as honest, sound, able men as can be ima­gined, and suppose we could be assured of the particulars recited; [Page 6] yet all this will not serve, because they are but single men, and write as private persons, their own thoughts, not as be trusted by any commission from the Churches, to write their common Judgements. Therefore no ground to esteeme their letters of such authenticall force, unlesse he can prove they were allowed by the Churches, or were men Apostolicall, that could not erre in writing. 4 If this be a good ground to prove Churches judgements by private letters: marke what absurdities will ensue. 1. That we must believe that the Churches of New-England denie a power of votes, ordinari­ly, to the people, because Mr. Parker a Pastour there wrote so. And so of necessity we must believe a falshood. 2. That if W. R. and two or three more, should write into New-England of their allowance of the lawfulnesse of an imposed Common Prayer booke; then we may write and print it, (for so doth W. R.) that the Churches and Ministers in Old-England, doe generally allow such impositions. 3. Then any few envious or malicious persons in a Church, may bring a scandall (unavoydable) upon any Church in the world, if what they say and hold should be accounted the Churches judgement, where they live. 4. Then the Churches of England are all Antinomi­an, and Familisticall, because (on our knowledge) such letters have been written from some in these Churches as professedly mainetaine such opinions: how absurd these conclusions would be, let any in­d fferent man judge.

5. Yea, (to sinke this unreasonable dealing of his) [ITS IM­POSSIBLE] that this should be a sound discovery of the Chur­ches judgement and practise there, because many of these letters ci­ted speake contrary one to another, (as himselfe well knowes) and his Narration fully expresseth) yet all the Churches in New-England, (saith W. R. himselfe in his 1. pag.) are of one and the same way in Church Government, and what may be said of any one may be believed of all: Therefore it's impossible that his letters (which speake contraries) can be a sufficient ground of testimonie for our Church way, which is but only one. And for him to produce them, as a proofe of what they cannot possible make good, appeares not only A SEEMING CONTRADICTION, but against light of COMMON SENSE, which he falsly imputes to us, but we truly to him.

6. Lastly, we appeale for a conclusion of this Argument, from W. R. in a distemper to the same man in his right minde, to tell us, now ingenuously, if this be a good Argument, by one mans writing to prove the Churches iudgement. No saith W. R. (pag. 3. line 4. of this ve­ry [Page 7] booke) it is not, for such a booke (saith he) called our way of the Chur­ches, proves not, that they hold a platforme of Discipline in New-England, and why. Because it was compiled by one particular man, and not consented to by the rest. What can be more full?

But he leanes not upon the testimony of any one letter, Object. but produ­ceth divers letters for the proofe of every particular.

If he did so, it were insufficient as is proved, Answ. but he often produceth one single private letter alone, without any other evidence at all, as I can make appeare in above fifty severall places throughout the booke.

But he will tell us that he produceth not these private letters and manuscripts by themselves alone to prove our judgements, Object. and pra­ctises in New England; but as ioyned with the printed book [...]s or papers, to make the storie compleat.

But it is not so neither, Ans. for in abundance of places he produceth none of the printed bookes at all for proofe, but only [...]hese private letters, as his only ground. As Cap. 1. Art. 2. Cap. [...] Art. 2. medio. and Art. 4. And Art. 5. And Art. 11. Cap. 4. Art. 9. And pag. 17. pag. 18. pag. 19. Cap. 5. Art. 2. And Art. 3. And Art. 4. And Art. 5. And Art. 6. And Art. 7. And Art. 8. And Art. 9. And Art. 10. And Art. 11. Cap. 6. Art. 10. Cap. 7. Art. 4. Art. 5. Art. 6. Art. 7. Cap. 9. 9. And above twenty more, mentioned in the Margent and the postscript. Therefore it's evident he grounds a very great part of his Narration upon these private writings, which are altogether insufficient, as we have proved upon demonstrated reasons.

But he was not there himselfe an eye-witnesse to behold things; Object. he produ­ced the best grounds he had for his Narrative.

What calling had he more then others, Ans. to make any Narratives of things done 3000. Miles off, which he knew no better? he should rather have let it alone then abuse the truth, the Church [...]s, and all dabble himselfe upon such slight grounds as these are.

But see his third ground, he hath OTHER GOOD INTELLIGEN­CES, III that is, by word of mouth.

1. Who can witnesse he hath such Intelligence? Answer.

2. That this is GOOD Intelligence?

3. Where are those good Intelligencers? let them come face to face and be tryed: but if they be peeping behind the doore, we owne them not for good Intelligencers.

Thus we have seene the unsoundnesse of this foundation whereon he builds his story, and the Axlettee on which all the burden lies, [Page 8] being thus broken, the NARRATIVE must needs fall without any further opposition.

II But as his grounds are weake, so the manner of his procedings is 1. Unloving. 2. Irregular.

1. UNLOVING. Witnesse 1. All those calumnies, he strives with all his might, (though to no purpose) to cast upon his, so much HONOVRED BRETHREN, from the beginning of his Preface to the end of his Postscript. 2. His crosse-grained animadversions, where are so many quibs, gibs, scoffes, and far-fetched collections, to make New-England men and their wayes odious to the world, toge­ther with his darke and doubtfull expressions, (often dropt out) which may easily be taken by the Reader in the worst sense: As though [...]e reserved his evasions if he should be put to it 3. His style full of bitternesse, that a man may know who the writeris: though he put downe but two letters of his name. 4. That he will (against all [...]mmon sense) needs make us as much differing from the Churches [...] England, as the most rigid Brownists, yea in some re­spects more; and this hee strongly contends for, though we (pro­fessedly) in our writings, preachings, practises manifest the contrary, and testifie as oft as occasion serves, the great dislike, & of their rigid Separation. 5. As he hath cast us out of his own heart, so he labours to bring all men out of conceit with us, the Churches here, the Par­liament, the Assembly, the whole Kingdome, 3. Kingdomes, yea, all other Churches and Nations: As if we and all our Church-courses were a compound of absurdity and folly: But in this, as in the rest, we commit our case to God that judgeth righteously, who can cleare us as the light, Psal. 37.

As his dealing is unloving, so irregular for it's directly against the Apostles rule, 1. Tim. 5.19. AGAINST AN ELDER RECEIVE NOT AN ACCVSATION, BVT BEFORE TVVO OR THREE VVITNESSES. Where it's plain, that Timothy himselfe must not receive so much as (one) accusation against any one Elder of a Church, but before two or three witnesses that are able to make it good, (so tender is God of the names of his Ministers.) But W. R. so far forgets himselfe, and this blessed rule, that he receives.

  • 1. Not one, but MANY accusations (as his booke shewes.)
  • 2. Not against some one Elder, but in a manner, ALL THE ELDERS, YEA AND MEMBERS TOO, AND ALL THE CHVR­CHES IN N. E.
  • 3. And all this not upon report of TVVO OR THREE VVIT­NESSES, [Page 9] but some one single testimonie.
  • 4. Yea, not so much as one single witnesse produced BEFORE us, as the text requires, but onely hee himselfe saith, hee hath such and such a letter by him, tells him so: So that (upon the point) there is not one legall witnesse, but all the testi­monie is involved upon himselfe only, (a most incompetent man) and unfit to be an Informer, an accuser and a witnesse too, much lesse in the roome of two or three witnesses.
  • 5. And (which is yet more) the doth not only receive these accu­sations, but [reports them to others,] yea divulge and print them to the whole world.
  • 6. And all this too, with as great infamy, dammage and wrong before the Churches and Kingdome, as may be imagined and at such a time also, as never was in our age, when as the Parlia­ment and assembly both sit at once, consulting about Church-Discipline.
  • 7. And he staies not in the bare reporting these accusations, but [So] reports them, as one [labouring to draw all others into the like errour, of beleeving them.]
  • 8. And (which is worse then all the rest) he brings such reports against us, as,
    • 1. It's nothing to him, whether they be true or false.
    • 2. Yea, which he certainely knowes are false.

The former of these I prove from his owne words in his Postscript, pag. 50. I undertake not (saith he) to report things (in New-England,) as really there they are, WHETHER THEIR REPORTS BE TRVE OR FALSE IS NOTHING TO ME. The latter appeares, in that, in sundry places of his booke, he relates things that are (ex diametro) contrary each to other, (both which he well knowes cannot possibly be true) and yet lets both stand still on record against us, and then infers bit­ter invectives, in his animadversions, from such contrary reports. You will stand amazed at this dealing, (I suppose) which (I conceive) I am bound to discover, that the world may see how we are abused by him, and cleare us in their apprehensions.

Thus for his grounds and manner of dealing. I come now to the III maner of his Narration.

Answer to the Title. A Narration of some Church-courses generally held in opinion, and practised by the Churches lately erected in New-England.

Answer. LEt the Reader mind well the latitude of W. R. his undertaking in his booke. It is to make a Narration (not of some particu­lar mens practises here and there in New-England, (but of the opini­ons and practises of whole Churches there, and) not of some one or two Churches (for that is too narrow, still for his scope,) but of THE CHVRCHES in New-England (indefinitely.) And that you may know for certain he means to tell you what [all] the Churches there doe hold and practise, and (not sometimes, but) in their constant course (he saith plainly,) they are the Church courses GENERALLY held by the Churches in New-England, which he will declare; So that though he speakes but of some Church courses, yet those he doth mention must be such, as are generally held and practised by the Churches there. The performance of which in its latitude (let him know) we expect, and if he comes short of this, unlesse he revoke his title, he will doe us wrong.

Answer to CHAP. I.

THe summe of Art. 1. and its Margent is That the Churches of I New-England, being the same in Discipline with Plymouth, and Ply­mouth having their Principles from Mr. Robinson it is to be inquired whether we be not all of the way of the Separatists.

Answer. 1. As in our judgements we much differ from them, so in several par­ticulars of moment, we practise what the Separatists (properly so cal­led) will not doe, as hearing, preaching, praying in the Assemblies in England, and also in private commmunion with them, &c.

2. Though we should practise some of the same things they doe in Discipline, doth that make the way evill, simply because they doe it? First, he must prove that the Separatists practise nothing right at all, or else that we must not, because they doe it.

3. Himselfe hath fully answered for us, Preface pag. 3. who saith to this effect. Though in Discipline men generally act like others,) he meanes the Separatist.) yet if in their opinion of these practises, and [Page 11] in the ground [...] of them, they not only differ, but stiffly [...]ppso [...] them, the just re­pute of such persons is to be preserved. We need looke no further to cleare us from censure, then to W. R. himselfe. For it's well know ne we differ from them in our opinions and grounds of our practise, and how we hate opposed rigid Separatists in that very point, let our own writings witnesse; Discourse of Covenant. 36. 37. 38. 52.

Here note (once for all) he saith, that the churches in New-England are of one and the same way in Discipline without any materiall difference: And this he would have remembred all along his booke. I hope he will not start from this afterwards, I pray him to mind it.

He saith Art 2. We have no Platformes agreed upon amongst us. II

1. We hold it not unlawfull to have a Platforme of Church Go­vernment, i. e. a confession of the Discipline of Christ, Ans. collected out of Scripture, and set down in writing.

2. Yet we see no Grounds to impose such a Platforme upon Chur­ches, but leave them to their libertie therein, because (we know not that) Christ ever enjoyned it, and therefore we desire W. R. not to stumble at our Churches, much lesse, take upon him, so masterly, to controll us because we have it not.

To the Marginalls of Art. 2.

He wonders how we so soone fell into such an exact forme of Discipline Objection 1 without a Platforme.

We answer him, (yea he tells us himselfe, Answ. ) we had it from that patterne of wholsome words written in the Scriptures, Gods good spirit opening our eyes to see it: And some others also, (laying aside prejudice, and humbly setting themselves to waite on God for light) may come to see an exacter forme of Discipline then (it may be) hi­ther to they have done.

But, why doe no other Churches in the world (saith he) besides your Objection 2 selves see this way, but all oppose it?

Blessed be God, it is not so, many thousands doe see and follow it, Answ. so far are they from opposing it. And even England is comming neerer it by many steps of late then before; He that hath brought them from Episcopacy, Imposed Formes, and Popish Ceremonies &c. can carry them on further.

2. Most of such, as doe not walke in, but oppose our way, are they that either have not heard our grounds, or else have not impartially weighed them, and hence have received a prejudice against our practise.

3. To reveale light being a free act of the father of light, he may [Page 12] choose what truths he will manifest, and when, and to whom, and in what measure he will dispence them, as Christ saith Mat. 25.11. Father I thanke thee thou hast revealed these things,—so it is Fa­ther, because thy good will is so.

Objection 3 But we tie our selves to a president, why not rather to a platforme?

Answ. 1. Let him consider well, if this be not a reproach injuriously cast upon us, whose indeavour is, and hath beene (as in the sight of God) not to follow mens, or Churches president further then wee see them following Christ: for though at first a president may be looked at, as a directorie into the right way, yet the practise may be grounded on the truth it selfe discerned, and not upon the president, according to Iohn 4.42. They were first led to Christ by the woman, yet after beleeved on him for his owne sake, and the truth they discerned to be in him.Ob.

All our Churches (saith he) in New-England, & their members, doe cleare­ly see the shining light of Discipline, by a cleare evidence of the way revealed to them, and yet do [...] ti [...] themselves to a president?

Ans. Is not here a contradiction? for, if we all have full cleare shining light, then wee neede no spectacles of a president; or if wee tie our selves to a president, it's because wee conceive wee have not full and cleare light of our owne.

Objection 4 But we have had divisions amongst us.

Ans. 1. Those divisions were not caused by our Church Discipline, but by certaine vile opinions brought to us from England, (which I feare) is your own case this day, and yet no blame (you will say.)

2. Through rich mercy, they are long since subdued by the light and power of his truth: O that you could say the same of all the loose opinions here, (if the will of God were so) for which wee sigh daily to heaven on your behalfe, and dare not reproach you with it.

3. When these divisions did FALL, it was whiles our discipline STOOD, which shewes that our Discipline bred them not, but destroyed them rather.

Objection 5 To the Margent on Article 3. If an imposed platforme by im­perious power be unlawfull (in others) why doe wee so rigorrously presse others to our president?

Answ. To impose a thing (and that by an imperious power) which may possibly be erroneous in it self, or without evidence to others consci­ences, [Page 13] on whom it is pressed cannot bee lawfull: but for us to make the perfect word our patterne, then carefully informe others there­in, and after i [...]formation leade them by it, is certainly much differing from the other, and farre from a slavish invitation by our selves, or ri­g [...] pressing of a president upon others, both which here he imputes very unjustly to us. As God hath kept us hitherto from such im­perious rigour, so I hope, by his grace he will ever doe.

But wee forbeare giving of our priviledges to such as conform not to our Objection 6 way.

1. If it were our way and not Christs, Ans. it were our great sinne and (in part) the same with the Prelates of late; but to forbeare giving priviledges to such as submit not to the rules of participation, is no rigou [...], but such a thing as Christ himselfe would doe if in our places.

2. It is no more then all other societies in the world doe, who first require conformity before they permit to any the injoyment of their liberties.

3. Doe wee any more herein, then the Reverend Assembly them­selves at this day, who would not willingly admit unto Church-im­ployments and priviledges, any of a contrary judgement in point of Discipline? And yet, (I hope) you will not say, that either these or those exercise rigour.

But wee will not own such as sister Churches that differ from us (though Objection 7 but in some things) in Church Discipline.

Doe not the Churches of England differ from us not onely in some things, but in many (as W. R. Ans. himselfe saith) and yet wee owne them as sister Churches, witnesse his owne quoted Authors, Dis­course of Covenant, p. 36. at large. Mr. Cottons printed letter. All which affirme in effect, and some in words, that we blesse the wombes that bare us, and the paps that gave us suck: We intreate W. R. (in the spirit of meekenesse) to cleare himself from a slaunder in such a ge­nerall accusation of his brethren.

Yet we more rigidly impose our patterne then any Churches ever did. Objection 8

How great an aspersion this is, I leave others to judge, Answ. and the Lord himselfe to convince him of: Why hath, there ever beene so much as any attempt amongst us, to suspend, excommunicate, de­prive, banish, imprison any for dissenting from us in matters of di­scipline, as of late in England, for non-conformity? Or to raise a bloody war for Bishops & a Service booke, as against our Brethren in Scot­land? or to slander, falsifie Authors, render many godly Churches odious to the world, as W. R. himselfe hath done in this booke [Page 14] (meerely) for difference from him in point of Church Govern­ment? We have indeed, Civilly & Ecclesiastically, censured divers there amongst us, but it was for obstinacy in weighty points in Re­ligion, sedition in the state, scandalous practises, as also manifest contempt of the Churches of Christ there, but not any for inconfor­mity in Church Discipline.

Answer to CHAP. II.

I HE saith Art. 1. 2. That we currently hold there is no visible Church, but a particular, and that we denie an universall visible Church [IN ANY SENSE.]

Answ. Though the quoted Authors say. There is no Church (proper­ly so called) wherein Ordinances may be administered, but a par­ticularly only. Yet wee acknowledge also IN SOME SENSE a Do­mesticall Church, Phil. 2. To the Church in thy house; and an VNI­VERSALL Church consisting of all visible beleevers, according to 1 Tim. 3.15. And this HIMSELF grants we hold, Marg. 2. Art. 2. Why then doth he say we denie an universall visible CHVRCHIN ANY SENSE?

He stumbles at the smalnes of the number of members in our Churches, at their first erection. 7. 8. 9. (saith he) and on this string he harpes foure or five times at least in this booke.

1. What number expresly shall make a Church is not set downe in Scripture. In Adams and Noahs time when there was not above 7. 8. or 9. persons, will he denie the being of a Church? And what will he make of Christ his family, where were not above 12. besides himselfe? And of the first foundationalls of the famous Church of Ephesus who were about 12. Art. 19. 1. 7. and Biz [...] on that place saith, Paul then planted a Church amongst the Ephesians.

2. When our number is thus small, it's only in the very first infan­cy of it, it abides not so, but members are speedily, and daily added, untill they be (as he blames us for not being) a compleate organicall body Hence [...]hese objections also in his Marg answered, OF WANT OF IMPLOYMENT AND MAINTENANCE for the Officers, in regard of their small number.

III He saith Article the third, We denie all representative Churches in a power of judicature.

Answ. It is because we know no rule to set the Officers in the roome of [Page 15] their whole Church, and the Presbyterie in the place of all their Churches, to binde the one or the other to stand to their decrees, un­lesse we had Apostles on earth againe, for Church Officers, yet even they were very tender in this point.

To the Margent to Art 1.

[...]t he may prove the number of 7. 8. or 9 too small, to admini­ [...] I censure, and so no Church, he makes a faire addition of his own to a rule of Christ: for whereas Christ directs, Mat. 18.15, 16. an offended brother to take one or two only to him to admonish the offender in private, and then tell the Church, now he will have this course, (beyond the rule) twice gone over, that he may make the foresaid number too small for a Church-censure. So that he will rather crosse Christ himselfe then not thwart us, and here he makes a long discourse to shew his owne weaknesse the more in this new devised censure of his.

He saith, The Apostles Churches consisted of many thousands. II

1. Not in their first beginnings, Answ. for in the greatest Church the number was small enough at first in comparison, Acts 1.15, and this is the time of our Churches we now speake of.

2. Their grouth was sudden, and by an extraordinary way, (cer­tain thousands being added in two dayes,) and so necessity inforced their abode together at present.

3. They continued not long so great a body, but were soone dis­persed by Sauls persecution of them, Act. 8.1.

4. While they did hold together, they might possibly meete to e­dification, as well as in some of our Churches here in London, as Cripple-Gate, Olives, Sepulchers and others, where the Ministers voyce may reach to edification, 4. 5. 6. 7000. soules, every Lords day. Vid. Mr. Mathers booke, pag. Therefore for him to say it is not possible, &c. is too large.

He tells us our Churches cannot be gathered in country Ʋillages, espe­cially III of such choyce Members, &c. where so few Saints are, &c.

1. That is the fault of people, not of the rule, nor of the way; Answer If the Saints be thin sowen, who can helpe it? They ought to have flowed in more abundantly to Christ by the Gospell in all this time.

2. They may partake of all Ordinances, as they did, except the Sacraments, and (such as are fit) of those also, in best times, and ways as may be ordered for most conveniency.

3. He must not limit Gods power, who by the word rightly dispen­sed and his blessing thereon,Gen. 13.14. can raise a people for himselfe beyond all [Page 18] (our thoughts,Ephes. 3.10. as he hath done elswhere.

IIII He takes much paines to no purpose in Marg. Art. 2. to prove in confutation of us) that in some sense, M 9.3 there is an universall visible Church.

Answ. Why, we never denied it [in some sense,] but blamed him, (even now) for saying, we denied it.

I wonder at the man, who saith, 1. That we hold what we doe. [...] 2. Then pretendeth to prove it, but falsifies his Authors. 3. Then makes confutation of his own sayings, as if they were ours. 4. Then flings reproaches on us for such sayings, which are not ours, but his. 5. (To make us amends) in the end of his Margent, he fathers all up­on our mutablenesse, saying. [sometimes] we acknowledge an univer­sall visible Church, but usually denie it; and yet even in this also, he slanders, not bringing (nor being able to bring, I verily believe) one word of proofe, that ever we denied it: Let him make those things good, or humbly confesse his error.

V 5. To Marg. of Art. 3. he saith, Though we denie (in Art. 3.) the Officers of one Church power to represent their Church in her judicature, &c. yet sometimes we are forced to use messengers to represent the whole body, as at the constitution of a new Church, and private examination of Members to be admitted, Answer. &c.

Thus he would beare the world in hand, (if you wil believe him) that our practise doth crosse our Principles, but there is no such thing, for here he proves not, neither can, that we denie a Church that libertie, (which all societies in the world have, i. e.) to depute & delegate her Officers, in some particular cases (as in her name and stead) to repre­sent the whole body: for this is no more then the Church of Antioch did, Act. 15.2. and then our selves frequently doe, in some instance he mentions and divers others.

But what is this to the giving those Officers generally a power of judicature in and over that Church: and a compound Presbyterie, in and over all their Churches, whom (he saith) they represent? be­cause we denie the latter, doe we therfore the former?

3 It is meete he should take notice of a double aspersion (without any shew of ground or proofe) cast upon us. 1. That we denie any representation of Churches. 2. That we crosse our principles, in practising what we denie; both these imputations, (I hope) he will honestly acquit us of.

VI Marg. Art. 4. In the difinition (saith he) of a Church the Officers are left out.

He knowes well that a definition must accord to the lowest de­gree [Page 17] of the thing defined, therefore we use to put in only essentialls and not all integralls into the definition: for suppose the Officers of a Church be taken away by death [...] it, yet (I hope) he will not say, that in the vacancy, the Church ceaseth to be, Officers are not simply for the being, but the well being of a Church.

See how he adulterates his quotation, in two or three Articles of this Chapter.

1. (He saith) his Author assumes,Answ. to q. p. 10. we hold there is no visible Church but a particular. But his Author saith, no visible Church (properly so called) but a particular, so W. R. leaves out the middle words, just as in Mat. 4.6. whereby the sense is exceedingly altered, sith a Church improperly so called, is yet a church.

2. He saith, [we currently hold this;] but his Author speaks modestly in these words, we know not any, &c. Ans. to 32. q. pag. 9. Ans. to 9. Pos. 66.

3. He saith, we hold there is no universall visible Church [in any sense;] but his Author saith only, we know no such visible Catholike Church, where­in the seales are to be dispensed] Ans. to 9. Pos. 66. A man with halfe an eye may discerne this is not square dealing.

Answer to CHAP. III.

THis Chapter is spent in laying downe what qualifications the Chur­ches of New-England require in persons of age that are admitted Members.

He tells us (to name but the heads in briefe.) [That they must be reall Saints, sincere Beleevers, men of meeke and humble spirit [...] and sincere ends, and that the Church in admitting of them, doth make exact triall, 1. by letters of recommen­dation, 2. or testimony of Members, 3. experience of their conversation, 4. by examination of their knowledge and the worke of grace, first in private, then in publique, 5. that they be such (which he saith is much desired) as can cleave toge­ther in opinion and affection, 6. that they cohabite as neere as may be, for the bet­ter mutuall watchfulnesse, 7. that they be such as know what belong to Church Covenant, approve it and seeke [...]]

I pray W. R. (speake now as a Christian and as a man of God,) [...] there any thing in all this you have said, that you can blame in our pract­ise, 1. for desiring to have all our members (if it might be) of such a spiri­tuall stampe and character as this, and 2. for endeavouring by tryall (what lies in us) to find out such as say that they are Jewes and are not, but doe lye, 3. and having discovered such, for keeping them from polluting the holy seales and other Ordinances of God to his dishonour, and their own [Page 18] ruine, 4. or if we (as far as our light and line reaches, for wee have no spi­rit of infallability, Find them sound in the faith, for receiving, en­couraging, comforting them, what hurt is in all this? I tell you, W. R. if your selfe and some others did take more exact pains in the tryall of your people, and fitting them for the enjoyment of Church-Priviledges, it would never repent you.

Now, although these particulars recited, doe justifie us and our procee­dings; yet marke his dealing, first in his Articles, then in the Margent of his chapter.

I He tells the world Art. 2. That we require in persons to be admitted, not on­ly to be common, bu [...] [choyce Christians.]

[...]ns.It by ch [...]y [...], he me [...]n [...]s eminent Christians, it's very false, for we accept Christians of the lowest forme, and never reject any for want of parts or eminency of grace, i [...] we can discerne in them an heart smitten with sense of sin and need of Christ joyned with a blamelesse conversation, though very weake in knowledge and faith, &c. we dare not refuse but embo­some them in the Lord.

And h [...]mselfe (when he will speake the naked truth) confesseth as much Art 8 & tells us what great indulgence we use in the admitting members.

Let the Reader take notice, that upon perusall of his Authors quoted, he sh [...]ll not find any one sentence or word tending to justifie his saying her [...]in.

II Hee would make men beleeve in Article the second, that wee hold if any be admitted that is not a reall Saint, he is false matter of the visible Church.

[...]nswer.This he boldly affirmes, but not one word of proofe, nor truth. We hold no such thing; for a visible Saint may be true matter of a visible Church, when admitted a member, upon his profession of godlines and taking the Covenant as Achan, Iudas, Ananias, & Saphira, were all true matter of the visible (though not of the invisible) Church, else they had never beene admitted, into the Churches. And that our Churches in New-Eng. hold so, vid. 1. 2. Ans. to 32 9. 50. Discourse of the Covenant pag 5.

Hence now, what will become of all his long Margent to Article 12. where hee keepes a great stirre in confuting us by foure tedious arguments of an error we never held, but it's one of his owne framing. So all his labour therein is lost; and some dishonour gained, he said in his preface he would bring proofe for every materiall thing not proved before; yet he breakes his word, because he had a minde to have it true, that it might reflect upon us.

III He reports, That every one that is admitted is brought before the whole Church (though never so many) to make their Declarations in publike, & wonders in his margent that we should be so harsh in our dealing, as not to betrust the El­ders and some private men with their examinations. Art. 6.

He is againe besides the truth, Answer. for in the Churches where we have lived many yeares, we have seene such a tender respect had to the weaker sex (who are usually more fearefull & bashfull) that we commit their triall to the Elders & some few others in private, who upon their testimony are ad­mitted into the Church, without any more adoe. And so shew more indul­gence to them then W. R. doth to us. As for that question in his margent, Why may not the Officers be trusted with their examinations, &c. Ans. So they are, frequently, according to your wish.

In the same Article he saith, That in the publique their Declarations must IIII be to the conviction and satisfaction of all before they can be admitted.

It's not so, for though some few be unsatisfied, Answer. they use to submit to the rest, and sit downe in their votes, unlesse their reasons be such as may convince the Church.

For his Quotations cited to prove both these last mentioned, good Rea­der V doe us the favour but to search. Answer to 32 quest. pag. 23. 24. and Answ. to 9 quest. 62. 70. and you shall finde them to justifie him so farre, as not to afford him any one word, or so much as a shew and countenance.

All I say to W. R. is this; How can this stand with simplicity and truth?

He would make men beleeve Art. 8. that SOMETIMES we goe contrary VI to our former rigour, by using great indulgence in our admitting mem­bers: as if we were not consistent to our selves and principles through in­constancy; and (upon this) taxes us in the Margent for so doing.

Do but marke his dealing in this his proofe of our unconstancy for the self same author, & page he quoted to prove the rigour of our admissions, Answer. he cites to prove our indulgence. Answ. to 32. quest. p. 8. he brings this for the one and the other as if the same pen had written contradictions in the same page, yet no show of any such thing will appeare if you peruse the place; I leave the Reader to judge.

That such members in one Church in N. E. as are received to the Sacrament in VII another Church, must fi [...]st bring letters of recommendation from their owne Churches, Art. 7.

Though we hold it a convenient thing (especially for such as live farre off, and altogether unknown to any of the Church, Answer. where he desires par­ticipation of the supper) to bring a testimoniall with him, yet it is a con­stant and usuall thing (especially if any of the Church knowes them) to accept Members of other Churches upon their desire, without any letters testimoniall, and the Author quoted does him the favour rather to seeme to speake contrary to him then for him, for (saith the Answer to 32. p. 29. 30.) We doe require letters testimoniall from the congregations in Old-England, for such as come from thence, before wee admit them to the Sacram [...]nts, whereas such as come from one Church to another in New-England we receive be­cause [Page 20] these Churches in N. E. are better knowne to us the [...] the other. See him this testimony favours him.

VIII The last and worst report of all the rest is in Art. 12. where hee rep [...] That if any amongst us doe not seeke and desire Church fellowship in our way, [...] account them DESPISERS OF IT, YEA WICKED AND GRACE­LESSE PERSONS.

[...]nsw.To which I answer with detestation, (GOD FORBID.) Wee speaket [...] (as knowing God heares all our words) We hope we are farre from such a spirit: for we know well, that many gratious and pretious Saints there amongst us may, and sometimes doe, for a good time abstaine from see­king and desiring Church fellowship for other grounds then DESPITE VVICKEDNES, AND GRACELESNES.

Sometimes because they are not setled in a place: sometimes because they desire more experience of the Ministers & people where they should joyne: some for want of cleare light and full conviction of the Church-wayes we walke in: and some others out of many feares about their owne spirituall estate before God, judging themselves (through temptation) out of a state of grace; and dare no [...] venture upon the Seales, &c. whom we yet esteem [...] pretious Soules and have laboured by all arguments, wee were able, to encourage to come into Church fellowship.

See what cause therefore he hath in his marginalls to this Article to up­braid us, for harshnes uncharitablenesse, and forgetting the royall law of love in this point, &c. whereas he forgets the law of love and trust also, in such reports as these are. And for these quotations cited of Answ. to 32. q. p. 21. and Answ. to 9. pos. p 69. (wee boldly say and doe here challenge him with it) that there is not one word therein to beare him out; and there­fore I doe here lay this report upon himselfe, as the raiser of it, let him defend it, or humbly take the blame.

Besides these blurs he puts upon us in the text, he attempts no lesse in his large marginall comments on this chap. by many objections raised a­gainst us, (besides those we have taken away already.)

[...]bject. As that we keepe our Church doores so close shut, and why may not faire over­tures and shewes of Grace in such as offer themselves, be sufficient for admission? and what neede such narrow searching and sounding of mens hearts to the bottom? and that Christ never made such rules, and the Apostles and their Churches ne­ver practised the lik [...], and that reall and internall holinesse is not required to make a member, but only federall and externall, &c.

Answ. Doe but see how Church members were wont to be qualified. Matt. 3.6. Act. 8 37, 38. Acts 19.18.9 Rom. 17. and 15.34. Eph. 1.1. 1 Cor. 9.13. 2 Cor. 8.5 Where is plainely expressed, what frame such were of. They confessed their sinnes; They professed their Faith; They beleeved in the Lord Iesus, with all their heart. They confessed & shewed their worke. They openly burnt as [Page 21] many c [...]iuring bookes as [...]e mo [...]th no lesse then fifty thousand peeces of silver. They were man beloved of God, Called to bee Saints; Full of goodnesse, fil­led with knowledge. The faith of some of them spoken of through the world; Faith­full in Christ Jesus; Professed their subjection to Christ; gave up them­selves first to the Lord, and there to the Church by the will of God. Now let W. R. speake, is here only federall and externall holinesse, were here onely faire Overtures and some shewes of grace? but if we goe further their his principles carry him: Then wee keepe our Church doores too close; Then hee cryes out; its against charity, against christian wisedome, against Justice and all; and then why will not Overtures and shewes serve our turnest I tell you these Overtures &c shewes (W. R.) have done mischiefe enough already, (a man would thinke) to Christ his Kingdome, and to these poore English Chur­ches, its even hightime (sure) to presse on further now then Overtures, first you were for stinted Liturgies, and now pleade for Overtures; whi­ther next?

But to Margent on Article 4. What need [...] we be so nice in our admissions, Objection 2 whereas men in Scripture have beene admitted into Church Communion upon one testimony onely, as Paul Acts 9.27. upon Barnabas testimony alone, and Phoebe, Rom. 16.1. upon Paul [...] bare testimony.

1. For Paule admission; If you would consider, Answ. 1. The incomparable eminencie of Grace, and singular excellency of spirit that was apparent in Paul: 2 The high esteeme and credit that Barnabas (who gave testimony of him) had in the Churches hearts, (as Acts 11.24. Acts 4.36. Acts 13.2. and 13 7. and 15.25.) And thirdly, The fulnesse of his testimony which he gave in for Paul, Acts 9.27. you will easily answer your selfe, that there were more grounds for his admission then ever were required of any member into a New-England Church.

Secondly, For the admission of Phoebe by Pauls testimony only, Rom. 16.1 Its answered, Pauls bare estimony was more then twenty mens words in the Churches hearts: 2 But here is a great mistake, for Phoebe was not by Pauls testimony admitted into Church fellowship (for she was alrea­dy a member of the Church of Ce [...]chrea, yea and a servant of it too, viz. either a widow of that Church, or sent from that Church to Rome upon some speciall businesse) but shee was only recommended by Paul to the Church of Rome, during the time of her abode amongst them, not for any admission into the Church at Rome, but for assistance in some busines, Rom. 16.2.)

What neede is there of Verball declarations of the worke of Grace? for if they be Object. 3 subtile Hypocrites they will deceive you with golden words, as Marg. Art. 5.

1. It may, and doth satisfie our owne consciences, Answ. if we do use all meanes we can, to finde out, by the rules of the word) whether grace be in them or no, it they yet deceive us, its their sin, not ours.

[Page 22]2. God (who often takes the wise in their owne craft, 1 Cor. 1.19.) laies open such hypocrites, while they seeke to deceive others, (as frequent ex­perience hath shewen us in the very act of their triall.)

3. Those that are sound doe manifest the sweet smell of their graces by such declarations. Therefore it is not bootlesse.

Object. It seemes a thing impossible to such good soules as know not the time & manner of their conversion, or have forgotten it, to give account thereof satisfyingly to a multitude, seeing also their manner of inquirie is strict, and the matter inquired into, the spirituall soule points.

Answ. 1. We wonder, (we confesse) to see a Christian, a Minister of God thus to speake. If it seemes so impossible for some Christians to give an ac­count of the worke of Grace in them,Pet. 3.15. what meant Peter to direct all be­leevers to bee alwaies ready to give an answer to every man of the hope that is in them? If they must give this answer to all (even to persecutors themselves,) (as the Text intends) of the grounds of their hope, is it impossible that these good soules should render account to their godly brethren, who in a loving way demande it, and for their owne good too?

2. What if they know not the time, order & manner of their conversion, yet, if they can give any evidence of Christ, now in them by the workings of his Spirit for present, though they know not how Christ came at first into them, its sufficient.

Object. If an account of their grace must be given, were it not better to have a set and standing rule written and recorded without variation in all the Churches? ibid.

[...]nswer.Would he have us make a New-England Primer, a set forme? this were a way indeede to bring all to a formall course, and to teach every one (though no grace or experience at all of Christ in his heart) to learne (by rote) this forme, and then all were well.

W. R. was (as we heard even now) first, for common praiers, and then for Overtures and shewes, and now you have him for standing formes; You shall see him goe further anon, are not your fingers singed enough yet with such formalities? Its time to cease.

Obiect. Through your strict examinations multitudes of our English in N. E. that were reputed godly, are kept out of Church-Order, and themselves and little ones little better then heathens, Marg. on Art. 6.

[...]sw.Many, for want of examination of themselves and tryall by others, that went, in common view, for sound ones, possibly (and that not without good cause) upon due triall may be found too light, when weigh­ed in Gods ballance, and its better for such to be discovered here, then hereafter, to their eternall ruine:

2. Many doe keepe out of Church-Order upon sundry other grounds above said, and out of choyce, and not through strait examination.

3 But that the non-admitted are esteemed by us, or doe live like Heathens, [Page 23] is an untrue and unsavory imputation: Where we see any breathings of Christ in any, we esteeme them as Christians, we love them dearely, and carry our selves accordingly to them and theirs, though not yet in Church fellowship with us, (God himselfe is our record against such calumnies,) where wee see no grace as yet wrought, we labour in all meeknesse to bring them to Christ, and in meane time take Christian care of them and their little ones, as those that may bee heires of the same grace with our selves: doe men all this to heathens?

But why are men of differing opinions, and men of harsh and rugged dispositions, Object. 7 though otherwise Godly, kept out from your Churches? Marg to Art. 9.

1. If mens opinions be such as destroy faith, or the power of holinesse, Answer. as many in New-England lately were, (though now layed prostrate by the light and power of the word) or such as doe directly crosse and eradicave the fundamentalls of our Church Governement, and the persons that hold these til opinions are factious and turbulent: It's no wonder though we be slow in admitting such as wee know will destroy either the power of godlinesse, or our Churches peace; but if they d [...]ffer onely in some inferi­our points (as you speake) and be of sober spirits, it's known, we admit such and live in peace together with them.

2. Wee never knew men of sowre and cynicall dispositions naturally, meerely for that, if otherwise they appeare godly, and labour against such distempers, to be kept out of Church-fellowship amongst us.

But if any man deny the Church Covenant, or doubt of it, your Church doores Object. 8 are shut for ever against him, p. 11. end.

We pray you goods W. R. speake not against common sense; Answ. How can wee possibly admit him into our Church Covenant, that denies the Church-Covenant? can wee make him doe that he denies to doe? Since Gods people must be a willing people, Psal. 110.3. Or if he doubts of the lawfulnesse of it, is it lawfull for him to enter into it doubtingly, or for us to offer it, seeing whatsoever is not of faith is sinne? Rom. 14. last.

But to say, our Church doores are [for ever] shut against him, is a speech as untrue as harsh, for as we waite on God to afford, and on him to receive light, so we are as glad when he is informed therein, & are ready to open our Church doores wide to receive him.

Some other things more slight I passe by in his Marginalls on this Chap. for brevity, the substance of all which may bee referred to some or other of these heads.

Answer to CHAP. IIII.

HE saith, (Art. 1. 2. 6. 7.) That we account a publike vocall and expresse Covenant — to be the onely absolute necessary constituting forme of a true [Page 24] Church, without which no true Church nor true members, but all [...] concubine [...].

[...]sw.He utterly mistakes the subject of the question, for those Authors hee quotes, declare not what it is that makes a TRVE Church, but a [...]V [...] congregationall Church, as it is refined according to the platforme of the Gospel: And to such a Church, (say they) is required an explicite Cove­nant. And that they doe intend only such a Church, is plaine.

1. Because there are in the description of that Church they meane, such particulars (as himselfe layes it downe, Art. 6.) as can belong only to a pure Church, as, 1 That they walke in all the holy ordinances of God; 2 Accor­ding to the will of God; 3 In one Congregation. All which (wee know) every Church (though true) doth not, (ergo.)

2. If wee hold that to every true Church this explicite Covenant is ne­cessary, for the constituting of it, then we should denie the Churches of En (for in them is not such an explicite solemne publique Church Covenant) to bee true Churches: but that is farre from us, as Discourse of Covenant. p. 36. 37. 38. ergo.

3. The expresse words of Answer to 32. quest. 38. 39. (from which he quotes this 1 Article) (if consulted with) will tell you that a pure Church is the Church intended. Therefore it's cleare, when we make such a Cove­nant (as W. R. expresseth) necessary, it is, to a Church, as it's compleated in all her integrals according to the perfection required in the Gospel, and not to the essence of every Church.

This one thing being cleared, what will now become of all his Marginal collections, exclamations, insultations on the 1. 3. 8. Art. Hee cryes out of our unheard of rigidnesse, as if we would touch the freehold of the Churches of England, and all the Churches in the world. But all his invectives are as ar­rowes shot into the aire; for we hold no such thing as he exclaimes at.

II We hold (saith he) That without this solemne expresse Covenant, no true Church or Church members, but all are harlots and concubines, Art. 1. (the quo­tes Discourse of Covenant, page 14. 18, 19 20, 21, 24. to prove it.

Answ. From what wee last said this falls to the ground as false. I say further, (Blessed be our God) wee never were acquainted with such Dialect in out Churches there, we hope such sore censures are and shall be farre from us. And for the quotations hee makes for these words, (I marvaile his paper blushed not when he wrote it, because himselfe did not, for) let any man III reade over the pages as wee have done, and see if one can bee found so much as savoring of such a thing.

IIII He reports (Article 1.) that we hold that members are united to Christ by the Church Covenant.

1. A Paradox we never knew before, or ever heard of in New-England; for wee professe freely wee know no meane or instrument of union to Christ, but faith in the Covenant of grace.

[Page 25]2. This is a device of his owne braine, for which we boldly againe chal­lenge him as being a thing not possibly to be proved in any of our quoted writings in print, let him (if he be able) prove himselfe honest by making it good, or confesse his fault (as becomes a Christian;) we professe our hearts are justly grieved at this dealing, and the Spirit of Christ in heaven also is (we feare) made sad hereby.

3. In this also he contradicts his owne relation Art. 3. where he plainly saith, that many that be within the Church Covenant are not in the Covenant of Grace (and so not in Christ;) and yet here he saith, that by the Church Cove­nant a man is united to Christ. So the Church Covenant doth unite us to Christ, and it doth not unite to Christ; how can both these be true? This is too frequent with him, to lay things that are contradictory to our charge; and not a word of proofe from the Authors, as any ground of it. This I lay on him as a further charge.

He reports Art. 2. That we hold, that joyning our selves in all holy fellowship, IIII cannot knit a man as a member of a Church. And quotes Dis. of Cov. pag. 21. for his proofe.

1. The Authour hath not one word to beare him out.

2. We wonder what the man meanes to affirmes this; Answ. for [joyning ones selfe in holy fellowship] (he knowes) is our usuall and frequent description of the Church Covenant, when wee speake most punctually to it, and doe commonly for that end, cite Jer. 50.5. Act. 9.26.

3. That very Authour, and page, he cites to prove, we hold, that joyning our selves in holy fellowship cannot knit a man as a member in Covenant; speakes directly the contrary, in these words. When joyning, (saith the Authour) is used for a mans taking on him voluntarily a new relation, (as in this case hee doth) there it alwaies implies a Covenant.

In Art. 3. and 4. he would make as though we our selves speak contrary V to our selves, in the one place (he saith) we hold our Church Covenant to be distinct from the Covenant of Grace: in the other place, That it is not distinct, but as a part from the whole. But we must digest grosser things then this in his narrations: consult with his Author, and you shall see nothing to countenance him; yea he quotes the same Authors for both.

In Art. 7. He tells us, We hold our Church Covenant must be v [...]call: but VI proves it not by any one testimony, wee can reade, and its contrary (wee are sure) to our constant practise that admits members into the Church by a Covenant agreed to by their silence only: and as it is contrary to our practise, so to our writing in the discourse of the Covenant, which ex­pressly saith, that silent consent is sufficient, and there proves it by Gen. 17.7. and Deut. 29.10.

Whereas hee had reported before of our rigorous exacting of our Cove­nant, VII and how it must be vocall, and expresse, or it would not serve our turne, nay, [Page 26] no Churches at all without this explicit Covenant, &c. Now in Art. 8. he puls downe all he hath built, and tells us that we hold that a bare consent and a­greement to be members will serve; And that mens implicit intentions to doe such a thing may suffice.

[...]sw. 1.Hee grosly falsifies his Authour brought to prove this minsing of the Covenant, Discourse of Covenant. p. 21. 22. where is not one word that way, and (which much aggravates) he still quotes the very same Author, and p. for our minsing of the Covenant, that he did (in Art 1.) for our ri­gorous exacting of it.

2. He slandereth us, to make the world beleeve we run contrary waies, sometimes by over rigorous exacting the Covenant: sometimes againe, that (af­ter all our rigour) we bring it so low, almost to nothing: whereas in all our wri­tings (I professe it solemnly) there is no shew at all of any such differing practise.

3. Hence also, the ground being rotten, his Marginall construction falls on his owne head.

4. Hee doth not only abuse his Authour and us, but himselfe also, who said in Cap. 1. Art. 2. That New-England Churches walke in the same way without any materiall difference; and yet this is the third time he hath taxed us for grosly differing from our selves: How can these things be? See how many grosse faulterings in one poore article, what are in all his book?

VIII He sets downe two of the formes of the Church Covenants which any savory and gratious spirit viewing over, and surveighing the godly sim­plicity of them, cannot (one would! thinke) but approve and relish: yet see this mans spirit (so prejudiced against us and all things wee doe,) that he cannot choose, but (without reason) finde fault with divers innocent passages therein; As 1 That wee promise willingly and meekely to submit to Christian Discipline without murmuring.

2. That we willingly will doe nothing to the offence of the Church, but bee wil­ling to take advice for our selves and ours, as occasion shall be presented.

3. That we will not be forward in the congregation to shew our owne parts and gifts in speaking or scrupling nor discover the failings of our brethren.

Now what spirit (but W. R.) would startle, scoffe, and quarrell (as hee doth in his marginalls.) pag. 17. 18. 19. at such plaine-hearted and found expressions as these, being all clearely grounded on Scripture?

He is angry with us also, that we mention not (in our Covenants) more par­ticular sinnes and duties then we doe, and yet is offended that wee mention a­ny at all; how shall we please him?

He tells us againe, that the former of these Covenants is us fit for wedding as the constitution of a visible Church.

X And then flies from New-England to some particular Persons here, who [Page 29] being Ministers of Churches there (saith he) yet accept of settled imployments, even charge of soules here, and how can they watch over their Church?

I know but two Ministers of the Churches there, Answ. that are in England at this time, and how far both those are from setled imployment, much more from taking livings (as these words [charge of soules] imply) God, their owne consciences, and the people (to whom they at present preach) can testifie (little to the comfort and credit of any that thus slaunder them, I advise him to reflect upon his words, and see if there be not somthing in them to be repented of, and recalled.

But how can such (so far distant) watch over their Church; and é contrà. Object.

That hand of Providence, that, upon weighty causes, and with their Answ. peoples consent, first led them hither, and upon like necessary grounds (beyond expectation) still detains them here, takes them off at present from performing that duty of watchfulnesse over their people, as in like manner it doth to other Persons, that are absent from their Families and Churches by long sea-voyages, warres, &c.

And yet note, that W. R. is the more blamable in these carpings at the Covenants mentioned, because he is convinced in his conscience (as his own words are, Pag. 17.)

1. That all things in those two formes of the Covenant (in a faire constructi­on) [are very good.]

2. That if any other interpretation be made of any thing therein, it is no better then [an harsh constuction.] It is not without a speciall finger of God, that himselfe should first commend, the matter of the Cove­nants; to be very good; and blame any other construction that should be made of it, as harsh. And yet should imediately, in his very next words, fall upon such harsh constructions in sundry particulars, as he hath done.

He reports in Art. 11. as strange and grosse an untruth (to call it by the fairest terme) and that without any ground at all: i. e. That we hold [that this our Church Covenant (as it is distinguished from the covenant of Grace) is that Covenant which is sealed by the Sacraments, and for the sealing and ratify­ing of which the Sacraments were principally ordained of God.]

I stand amazed at this report, wherein these 4. things lie plaine, Ans. which he must prove, we hold.

1. That our Church-Covenant is that covenant which is sealed by both Sacraments.

2. That this Church Covenant, (thus distinguished from the covenant of Grace) is sealed by the Sacraments.

3. That the sealing of this Church Covenant was the end of Gods or­daining the Sacraments.

4. The principall end. W. R. Now prove all these, else you will prove your selfe unfaithfull.

All his proofe we can see is Ans. to 9. Pos. p. 63. 66. I'le relate the ve­ry words, that he may have nothing to alleadge. [Baptisme (saith the Au­thor) serves to seale to our Justification, as circumcision did; yet not that alone, but also the whole covenant (i. e. of Grace) with all the priviledges, as Adoption, Act. 2.38. and sanctification, Gal. 3.26.27. Tit. 3.5. fellowship with Christ, Tit. 3.5. The salvation of our Soules, Mat. 20.23. and the resurrection of our Bo­dies, 1 Pet. 3.21. and not only the covenant of Grace, which is common to all be­leevers, but Church covenant also, which is peculiar to confederates, according to 1 Cor. 2.15.29.]

Now here is not said, that the Church Covenant is [the thing] sealed, much lesse the principall end of this ordaining the Sacraments, least of all that the Church Covenant (as distinguished from the covenant of Grace) is the principall end of the Sacraments; but all that is said, is this, that though Justification and the whole Covenant of Grace be the principall things sealed in their circumcision, and our Baptism, yet all the priviledges of the covenant of Grace, and the Church covenant also are not without their share and benefit in the Sacrament. How far this expression comes short of his assertion, let others judge.

Now see his marginal note upon this Art. [Here is (saith this commen­ter) a peece or two of such Divinitie, as I never read, but Ʋno absurdo dato mille sequuntur I could resort, Here is such an absurd foysting in of untruths as I never hardly read in Heathen or Christ [...]an writers: and having taken libertie in a few things at first now they come in by troopes. As he hath had ve­ry ill successe hitherto all the chapter through, let us see if he will speed a­ny better at the last close.

XI He saith Art. 12. Infants that were admitted Members by the covenant of their Parents, are not yet permitted to receive the Lords Supper, when they are come to yeeres, untill, 1. They have run through all the foresaid course of publike, & private examination, 2. Profession of their faith, 3. Declaration of the manner of their confession. 4. Personall, vocall, and expresse entering into the same cove­nant as others of yeers have done before them, and as if they never had beene made Members before.

And for this practise he cites only Ans. to 32. q. p. 20. 21.

How he deales herein, see that place. If there be not more in his pro­mises, then are in his proofe. All that the Author saith is this, That there ought to be a renewing of their covenant, or a new profession of their interest in the covenant, and walking according to it; and professeth modestly too, these are but their present thoughts not settled determinatively, for want of occasion to bring it into practise, yet he brings him in, as speaking conclusively; and with a lumber of additions, deviations, alterations of his own putting in, for where is now his running through all the foresaid courses of private and publike examination (he mentions) where is his declaraition of the manner of [Page 28] their conversion? Where is his personall, vocall and expresse entering intr the same covenant, as if they had never beene received Members before? Whose words are all these? Nay, the Author expresly tells us, that children are entered in­to Church covenant already, and doe but renew their covenant, and he saith they must enter in afresh, as if they had never yet beene received at all.

This we must tell him, is not faire dealing, and what will now become of his marginall note upon the Article so mistaken?

Many other collections (besides what we have answered to already) he makes in his marginall notes on this chapter, by way of objection against us, which deserve a little answering: as,

In his margent to Article 2. A strange yet bold assertion (saith he▪) I spoken—without good show of reason: but what is this bold assertion? That Job and Melchisedec were no Members of the visible Church.

I intreat the Reader to see if his Authors quoted for these words, Answ. will beare him out in these [bold] accusations of us or no: All that Ans. to 34 37. saith is this. We make no question of the salvation of Job and his friends, yet it is a great question whether they were of any visible Church or no, (and gives his reason) seeing the visible Church in those times seemed to be appropriated to the posterity of Abraham, &c. of whose line it cannot easily be proved that all these men did come. And all the other cited Author (Cns. to 9. Pos. 66.) saith, is this. We no where read (there is this reason) that Milchisedec, Job and his four friends were circumcised, neither doe we believe they were: Now see whether 1. we say and conclude, that these holy men were in no Church, 2. if we boldly assert it, 3. without good shew of reason, 4. if there needs a margi­nall confutation.

He saith, that Baptisme, though it doth not really admit infants into the visi­ble II Church, yet formally it doth, &c.

He speakes besides the point, for the question is, not 1. Answer. What doth for­mally and in the ceremony, but really, admit Members: 2. not Infants but men of yeers: 3. not into the visible Church, but a particular congregation; so he might have spared this labour, which makes nothing for him, or a­gainst us.

To his long Margent to the 3. Article, wherein he grants a covenant in III a four-fold sense, but denies and inveys against the strictnesse of our Church covenant, I should have answered, but because he builds all upon a grosse mistake (which was answered already in Article 1.) i. e. that we make this vocall and expresse covenant necessarily for that constituting of a true Church, and say that all societies are whores and Concubines without it (a speech abhorted of us) I passe it by, and tell him that what he builds upon such rotten foundations, will ruere mole suâ.

He makes foure false suppositions, and then drawes sundry conclusions IIII of his own from them, and so fights with his own shadow, pag. 15. 16.

As first that we hold the Church Covenant is the Covenant of grace.

2. That in our Church Covenant we hold it necessary and a thing essentiall to the Covenant, to make repetition of the whole covenant of grace.

3. That our covenanting to performe duties to our owne Church hinders our communion with, and care of all other Churches: Which things being nothing so, but meere mistakes, all his collections from them vanish in the aire.

4. That some men doe enter into this Covenant, and yet are unsatisfied, that it is a way of God, and so cannot safely engage themselves by this covenant. Which also (being a meere fancie of his owne) I passe by.

V The next is as strange as weake, p. 17 i. e. That if we have a set fo [...] of a Church-covenant imposed upon all that enter into the Church, and this read in a booke, why may we not as well have a set forme of Prayer and leiturgie to be read in Churches?

[...]sw.The Narratour shewes still a good minde to set formes, it is the third time he hath been harping on this string.

First, for Overtures and shewes in members, then for set and standing rules (or formes) in admissions, now for set formes of prayer, and that in Churches, are to be read also in a booke. He was hard driven for arguments, else he would never have produced this as a ground for set formes of prayer in Churches. For (he might know) there is a large breadth of difference betwixt a Cove­nant and a prayer. For 1 the one is presented to God himselfe only. The other to man also.

2. The severall Articles and all branches of the one had neede bee cer­tainely knowne and agreed on beforehand, that they may punctually and deliberately know what the particulars are they engage themselves to God in; no such ground for our Petitions in prayer.

3. The one had neede to bee written for remembrance, lest we should forget, (in tract of time) what the severall branches were we bound our selves unto, according to Jer. 50.5. [A perpetuall Covenant not to bee forgotten.] I know no such ground for our Petitions in Prayer, nay it is impossible to doe it.

4. Set formes of prayer are a stinting of the Spirit, who hath promised to enlarge our spirits, by helping our infirmities in prayer, as well in mat­ter as manner, in What, as well as How to Pray. Rom. 8.26. Wee know no such promise for extemporary assistance in the matter and forme of a Covenant.

5. Reading prayer in a booke hinders the affection (which is one prin­cipall thing in prayer,) but our maine worke, whiles the Covenant (which we take) is rehearsing, is attention, judgment, consideration, all which are not hindred, but much furthered and helped by distinct reading of it.

6. By reading of a set forme of prayer in the Church, the Ministers gifts (which Christ hath given him for that end. Eph. 4.8.11.) are obscured, and [Page 31] in great degree buryed, and the presenting to God the several and continu­all necessities of the congregation extreamely hindred and restrained: Neither of which are done by a set forme of a Covenant agreed unto, and read at the taking of it.

7. We have expresse warrant in Scripture for a forme of words and writing of a Covenant, (wch is the very thing we are blamed for) see (Neh. 9.38. And because of all this we make a sure Covenant, and write it & seale to it. And Nehem. 10.29. to the end of the chap. there are set downe the ex­presse Articles, forme and words of the Covenant that was written and subscribed and sealed by them. Let him shew us the like warrant in the word for a Liturgie or set forme of booke prayer for a congregation. I much wonder that a grave learned man, (especiall in such reforming times as these should so farre forget himselfe as to make such parallels, and talke still of Liturgies.

He saith 1. in this Marginall, that the Church imposeth that set forme of Covenant (invented by one or more) upon all the Members of that Church.

Hee reports in the 9. Article (to which this Marginall belongs,) That VI the Covenant is ever in one and the same forme of words, as well as matter, in the same Church.

Both which are great mistakes. 1 To the former, Answ. though the forming of the Covenant be the worke of some one or two at first, for how can it otherwise be? yet it is never imposed on any, but all that are to enter into Covenant have full liberty to consider and consult about the matter, or forme of it, or give reasons for addition or alteration of any thing in it. So that the forme of it, as well as the matter, is by his owne act or consent at least; and after all, if hee hath not light and ground, he is (in no case) forced to it. If this be so, he should not have called it an imposing of the co­venant upon the members.

2. The other is mistaken likewise. For any Church hath and taketh liberty as they shall see just cause (if there be a defect or error in the matter or forme of their Covenant made at first) to alter it, and renew it before the Lord, and bind not themselves to continue in any oversight, because they once fell into it: and some Churches have so done.

But w [...] may here see what a taske W. R. hath undertaken to make Nar­ratives of Church-courses in such places, where himselfe never came, but rests upon uncertaine and various relations; This is one reason why he so often stumbles in the darke, and rusheth upon so many foule mistakes in every Chapter. I hope it will instruct him for future times. Semel in­sanivimus omnes.

Answer to CHAP. V.

HE is at a sett (in Art. 1. and 2. and their Marginalls) and falls a wonde­ring at the contradiction in them. For in Art. 1. hee saith, That men may in New England constitute a Church without consent from the Magistrate or neighbour Churches: yet in Art. 2. that there is a generall Court-law, that no Church shall bee set up in New-England without the consent of the Magistrate and neighbour Churches. Hereat he stands amazed, and sets his Reader to doe so too.

[...]ns.I will doe him the favour to helpe him out of this straight, and salve his credit, by telling him; There is no contradiction at all in his Articles; doe but distinguish of times and you untie the knot.

For there was a time in New-England (for some few yeares space) be­fore such a law was made, and then Churches did use to gather, without any notice given to Magistrates or other Churches.

But after the opinions grew on, and experience discovered the danger, there was a law made that none must constitute any Church but first give notice thereof to Magistrates and Churches, and since that this course is duly observed. So both your Art. (W. R.) (you see) are true, and your report honest and right.

Yet, withall let me give [you] a few Animadversions, by way of bro­therly counsell, and I pray take them well.

1. See, what it is to wrong so many godly Saints, and faithfull Chur­ches upon private various informations, and your own mistakes, and so breake that 9. Commandement of our ever blessed God.

2. Whiles you live, undertake no more Narratives of Church-courses in places you are no better acquainted withall; lest (at unawarrs) unhap­pily you speake evill of things you know not.

3. When a matter lies before you, that admits a double construction; be sure you ever take it in the better, and not in the worser sense. In those two reports, you see one good sense (which indeed is the truth) and that I have given you: Another bad, and that your selfe have taken, for when you stood amazed in your Marginalls at the contrarietie of the reports; in the conclusion who must be beaten but either your Informer or else New-England Churches, for practising such foule, yea more foule contradictions (as you are pleased to speake) and yet note, you see neither he nor they, but your selfe only is in all the blame.

II For the proofe of both these 1. & 2. Articles, whom doth he produce, for the 1. Article, but the Ans. to 32. q. p. 43. where there is not one word nor jot to prove that the Churches in New-England are erected without [Page 33] the Magistrates cogniscence.

Then for the proofe of both the Articles (where this contradiction lies) he produceth R. M. to W. R. and makes him the father of that monstrous birth of a foule contradiction now this R. M. is a godly & Reverent Tea­cher of a Church there, who would not write such a seeming contradicti­on without clearing of it some way or other. Ever have we found him sober and wary in all his expressions. 2. This R. M. is his old loving friend also (who I know doth dearly respect him,) now I beseech you W. R. in the bowells of Christ, to consider if this be an act of love towards your deare friend, without his consent, to discover his letters to the world which were written to your selfe in private, (for those that know you both cannot but know who this R. M. to W. R. is) 2. to make him the Au­thor of contradictions; 3. so to fall upon him in your Margent, (whom you know so loving a friend, and so godly a man) as one that reports to you such things for truth as they neither hold nor practise in N. E.

Which is little better then to give him the lye, I leave my thoughts with you, desiring you to take notice of it.

In Art. 3. 4. to the end of the chapter, he reports (and that truly ex­cepting III some few mistakes) the manner of the first constitution of a Church in New-England.

As, That such Persons as are to enter into Church fellowship doe beforehand of­ten meete privately, to be inwardly acquainted with each other spirits by confe­rence, prayer, & mutuall examination of each other, till they have approved them­selves to each others conscience as in the sight of God, and before they joyne, they give notice to the Magistrate and neighbour-Churches, that such as please may be present at the place, and time of their meeting, to give them advice, direction, &c. the day appointed is kept with fasting, prayer, and preaching, &c. towards the end of the day each of those persons now to be Churched, makes publike professi­on of his faith and the worke of grace in his soule, &c. when the Messengers of the Magistrates and Churches have heard and considered, if they be unsatisfied (or a­ny stander by) they make their objections, &c. and if still unsatisfied, they forbid them to enter into Church fellowship, and so remain without the pale of the Church as they did before; but if they be sati [...]fied, the said Persons enter into covenant, then the said Messengers give them the right hand of fellowship, and returning back make report to their Churches that sent them.

Now what can W. R. Answer. or any man object against the substance of things done in this relation? (some mistakes only excepted in the laying of it downe.) One would thinke the godlinesse of the Person joyning the plainnesse, and sincerity of their dealing from the beginning to the end, their care and indeavour to doe all as becomes Saints; and to begin this ho­ly & weighty businesse as in the sight & presence of God, with fasting & prayer; (at least) should stop mens mouths from speaking ill of them and [Page 34] their wayes. Yet W. R. failes in his dealing with them in divers points, which I desire to advertise him of in the spirit of meeknesse.

I In that offensive phrase, saying, those Persons come now to be Chur­ches, he well knowes the meaning of that word; It doth not become gra­vitie and holinesse to give such deriding words, nor ludere cum sanctis, God heares all our words, and sees the scope of our hearts therein. But if he meant innocently in it, I should be sorrie, that I once named it.

II He speakes twise, both in Art. 6. and 8. of the Messengers of the Magi­strates s [...]nt to the gathering of the Churches.

[...]nsw.But there is no such thing done, the Magistrates come themselves in person if they can, or if not, they send no Deputies or Messengers, the Churches indeed send Messengers (commonly their Elders) to lend them a word of counsell if they need, being more experienced in those ways, then (cōmonly) new beginners are, to joyne their prayers with theirs & to give them the right hand of fellowship: But the Magistrates send no Deputies.

III He reports in Art. 8. That if the Messengers or any standers by be unsatisfi­ed, they make their objections as they thinke fit, untill they be satisfied.

Then (in his Marginalls upon it) It's an hard thing (saith he) to satisfie all commers, in what they please; If any objection be against his life, it must be presently, and openly declared before the country. This is little wisedom, lesse cha­rity.

[...]ns.Here are many unwise and uncharitable passages laid unjustly to our charge, and all those without any proofe at all but onely H. W. I. W. & who knowes where to consult with them?

As 1. That any stander by, yea all commers may question or object, 2. and that even what they please, 3. if any failings be in their lives they are presently and openly declared before all the country. Which things are nothing so: For 1. None may speake a word, but soberly and orderly; And 2. not without leave desired and granted; 3. nor how much hee will, nor what hee please; but things very weighty and necessary, And 4. not of any failings to their disparagement. For if they be unsatisfied with any of them in point of discipline, or matters of fact, they are first to deale with them in private, seeing they know before both the Persons, that are then to joyne, and the time and occasion of that daies meeting. And (I am confident) ne­ver a Godly sober man will write other wise: It's little wi [...]dome or charity (I am sure) for him to affirme things so contrary to the truth.

IV That if the M ssengers be unsatisfied with any of those that are about to enter into Church fellowship, they are forbidden to enter into Church estate.

[...]nswer.This is as wide as the rest. For the Messengers never arrogated to them­selves such power to this day, nay they professedly expresse against it, con­stantly in such meetings) as to forbid their entrance into Church estate. The most they doe (at any time in this case) is, to desire leave to be faith­full [Page 35] in interposing their counsell, and that only, when they see very great cause: And withall leave them to their Christian liberty.

Now having answered to the Articles, we will speake something to those of the Marginalls, on this 5. chapter, which are not touched alrea­dy.

He tells us, Mar. to Art. 2. that there are too many here who runne the same I Church-courses with us, that hold that the Magistrate hath nothing to doe with the first table.

But 1. he knowes, (or may know at least) that this opinion is utterly a­gainst our Judgement, practise, and established Iawes in New-England, Answ. therefore it no way concerns us.

2. Nor doth it any whit reflect upon our cause, (which he is too rea­dy upon this or any occasion to disgrace) for none are more dependant upon Magistracy, then those (they call Independants,) from whose prin­ciples they never sucked that dangerous opinion, therefore he did not well to give such by-blowes to innocent persons and waies.

3. If this should be a blot to our cause, that some of our Church-way hold ill opinions; let him make it appeare, that none of his way are grosly tainted with Popish and Arminian leavin, or else blot out, this Margent.

(He saith) Margent to Art 2. (It seemes to him) we have little lesse then a compound Presbyterie set up amongst us, and Church-Canons in act, though not II in rule, and gives his instances for this.

1. As it is (saith he) an agreement amongst the Churches and Ministers, that no Church shall be set up there without the knowledge of other Churches: [There is a compound Presbyterie]

2. That no man shall preach or vent any new or uncouth tenants, untill first he hath communicated them with his fellow Ministers. [A very good Canon.]

3. That such as are to enter into Church estate, do use to meete together before hand to acquaint themselves in private with each other spiritual estate, [a Canon]

1. Doe Canons bind people to obedience, Answer. so farre only as they please to agree unto them, and no further? these Canons are an agreement.

2, Doe Presbyteries consist of whole Churches, for he saith, (as it is an agreement of Churches as well as Ministers its little lesse then a compound Pres­byterie) If Ministers and people both doe rule, who shall be ruled over by this Presbyterie?

3. He answers the thing and contradicts himselfe (both at once,) for he saith Art. 2. this giving notice to Magistrates and Churches, of a Church to be erected, is by a law of the generall court, and cannot be as he saith in Margent; and agreement of Churches, therefore no Ecclesiasticall Canon. Suppose many Godly Ministers in London should agree amongst them­selves, that every one should preach downe the superstition of (that they call) Christmas; and promise each other, that (till they should give in [Page 36] their reasons to the contrary) they would not preach for or against disci­pline: would W. R. call this agreement a Presbyterie, or a Canon?

Let him see then how extreamely wide he is in the other.

II If Churches (saith he) send Deputies or Messengers to represent themselves, and to act in their room, why not in a Synod as well? Marg. to Art. 6.

[...]nsw.If Churches send their messengers, or chosen men, to conferre and con­sult onely in a Synod in their names, without any Authority of conclu­ding and determining of matters, or (much lesse) binding their Churches to what they determine of, (which is our case in New-England (as we have said) I know nothing against such a practise: But if Synods doe more, and goe further, his allegation is to no purpose,

III If so much time (saith he) be spent in joyning seven or eight persons together into one Church, how much time would be requisite to ioyne 3000 together? but the Apostles went a shorter way. Marg. to Art. 10.

[...]sw.Consider first, 1 The Gifts, Graces and abilitie of discerning, that were in the Apostles above any Minister now living, who as they were able to preach with lesse time of studie, so to dispatch and turne over weighty businesse with more speede and dexterity, then we are.

2 The extraordinary, wonderfull and visible stroke of God upon the spirits and hearts of men that heard Peter at that time; the meeting; the language; their understanding of it; Gods assistance of Peter, and blessing on the word, all extraordinary: Such a day, such a Sermon, such effects as never were before, nor like to be, to the end of the world; so the power of God was remarkable in their conversion, so also in their expression and demonstration of it; So that there needed little triall when God spake himselfe from Heaven.

Answer to CHAP. VI.

I HE reports (to recite such things onely as most neede Answer, and let the rest passe) Art. 1. 2. That we hold, that Christ hath invested with all power any that are in Church-fellowship, that though they be all illiterate, yet they may make & examine all their Officers, & unmake & depose them when they see cause so to doe, and preach expound and apply the word with all Authority, yea and doe it without any ref [...]rence at all to their Officers (as Officers) when they have them.

[...]nsw.If I did delight in retorting, I could say of these words, as hee of Hol­land Ministers Apologie, They are a meere Gull, for almost so many words so many mistakes. The Narratour should have done well first to have pro­ved all the Churches and Ministers in New-England men out of their wits, and voide of common sense, and then hee might more easily have made the world beleeve they hold and practise such a congeries of absur­dities and impossibilities; For else many of them there being well known [Page 37] to bee learned, godly, and sober men, no wise men will beleeve him that they can hold, that

  • 1. Illiterate men can examine Pastors fitnesse.
  • 2. Depose them at pleasure.
  • 3. Preach, expound, and apply the word with all authority.
  • 4. And that without any reference to their Officers at all.
  • 5. And (which is m [...]st strange) that Christ himselfe hath invested these illite­rate ones with all power to doe all these things.

For 1. It is a received practise amongst us, that when any combine into a Church, there is one at least of them indued with able parts of humane and divine learning, that either hath been a Minister in our native coun­trey, or is fit to be one amongst them, who usually and frequently preach­eth to them after they are united. So that al of them are not men illiterate, and W. R. himselfe knowes this to be true, for the Answer to the 32. quest. 42. (which is very page hee here quotes) directly saith this in so ma­ny words:

2. That those illiterate men do examine their Ministers abilities, and that we hold they ought; is another great mistake, for so wee should put men upon a worke beyond their reach, which were idle; whereas the truth is, that (if the suffici [...]ncy of such men as they intend to call into office bee not well knowne to them) they use to call in the helpe and assistance of Elders in other Churches to surveigh their abilities, and to informe them therein, that thereby (as well as by their owne experience of them and discerning of their gifts) they may be able to give in their suffrage for election when the time comes.

3. For their unmaking and deposing them againe when they see cause; Wee hold and professe it a thing most injurious to Jesus Christ himselfe in hea­ven & to his Ministers on earth, and such a thing, as (not only Christ will summon Churches at the great day to answer unto, but) our Churches there will also expect satisfaction from them for it, if they should thus de­pose Ministers (as he saith) when they see cause, unlesse Christ himselfe shall see good cause to allow their fact to be done according to the rules of his owne word. Wee are so farre from holding this, that wee protest against such practises.

And to shew how wary wee are in this point, no Church dares trust her owne judgement: but our manner is, as his quoted Authour speakes. Answer to 34. q. of p. 41. Our practise is in removall of Ministers to have counsell and assistance from sister Churches.

4. Whereas he saith also, That we hold that men illiterate should preach with all authority (which is a worke and a taske for the ablest Ministers to performe) is as farre from us, as any of the other. For though wee deny not, but in some case, some able judicious experienced Christians, may [Page 38] humbly & soberly, when necessity requires, as in the want of Ministers & being invited thereunto, dispence now and then a word of exhortation to their brethren. This is farre enough from Preaching in an ordinary way, with all Authority; which are words of his owne, put in without any ground.

5. But for him to adde that we hold they may thus preach when they have Of­ficers, and that without any reference at all to them, is extreamly contrary to our practise, and furthest from the truth. For this would directly crosse Christ his institution of calling Officers in his Church, and make meere cyphers of them, whose Office it is not onely to preach, but to rule and governe the Assembly, to open the doore of speech to any in the con­gregation, and to shut it up by silence, so that none may so much as speak without his allowance.

And this expression of his is contrary to his owne Narration in Art. 8. where he saith, That some of the Acts we ascribe to our Ministers in Office, are to declare unto their people the minde of God, and to moderate in Church-meetings: yet here he speakes cleane contrary to himselfe and the truth also.

6. For him to adde, That wee hold that Christ hath invested these illite­rate men with all power to doe all these things, so farre beyond their power, and all ordinary possibility, contrary to all rule, and to his owne institution; is to put up­on us one of the grossest absurdities that ever was heard of; even to make Christ crosse himselfe, and to be a patron of confusion in his owne house, by investing them with all power to oppose his owne rules of Order.

Now let us see what grounds our Nartatour hath to lay all these char­ges against us. You will thinke, sure his proofes are strong, or hee would never have ventured, to blemish so many thousands of Gods faithfull I ser­vants in such sore accusations as these. True hee quotes many, and (that I might see his bottom,) I have surveied all the printed Authors in every page quoted; and (I solemnly professe it) that none of these particulars re­hearsed as hee hath laid them downe, much lesse in them all, will any of them beare him out: and I desire the Reader to try, whether I blame him justly or no, by perusing the bookes.

But that you may see how soberly and cautiously his quoted Authors speake of Churches using their liberty, I will write their own words. Ans. to 32. q. 44. Wee conceive every Church hath right from Christ to transact all their Church businesse, (but marke the cautions) If so be they be able and carry matters justly, and according to the rules of the word. How different are those words from his? yet this is the very place he cites.

You say, W. R. you undertake onely to tell a story of New-England Church way, but now you make a story of your own, and frame it, and mould it after your owne fashion. You can so adde and alter as to make [Page 39] it speake as you please, that wee and our waies may seeme odious to the Churches. Is this a truthing of it in love (as you spoke in the last words of your Postscript?) and dare you pray for a blessing on your booke (as in the last words of your preface you doe, saying) Now the blessing of heaven goe with this poore Pamphlet, when it is so stuffed and bumbasted with such fearefull untruths and slaunders?

Art. 3. All which (Church matters) wee claime power (saith he) to our II selves to doe, without any Authority, concurrence, or assistance of any other Churches or Officers.

Authority is either immediately from the person, Answer. & that some call coercive and forcing; or from the rule, and that some call doctrinall, (no lesse bin­ding then the other.) The former in transacting Church matters, wee use not, for want of Scripture grounds, that Christ hath given any other Churches or their Officers power over us. The latter upon al occasions we improve by calling in the assistance of other Churches, and hold our selves bound to follow their counsell as farre as it is grounded on the word.

Art. 6. He saith we hold the Church (if she conceives that the Officers doe III not use their power well) may resume it unto her selfe.

If he meanes (while they abide in their Office) they may doe this, Answ. wee must professe against his relation; for if the Officers doe abuse their power, the Church exhorts him as a father, to fulfill his Ministery recei­ved from the Lord, as Col. 4.17. and if great neede require, they may ad­monish him, and if no other meanes will possibly cure, they may at last for incorrigble going on in manifest abuse of his place, excommunicate him: but in no wi [...]e, while he abides in O [...]fice to resume their power, and enter upon his worke. And observe him againe quoting his Authour to beare him out in his speeches, who is not for him, but against him. Ans. to 32. q. 58. where he saith, that no member without breach of order, and presuming above his place, may doe our Ministeriall acts of Church Governe­ment, but the Presbyters may onely doe them, Which Ans. of ours doth also take off those Marginalls, pag. 26. and saves us further labour, and part of the 7. Art. also that speakes to the same effect.

He saith Art. 7. We hold the Officers are all but the Churches Servants in IIII propriety of speech, and the Church the Mistrie.

That all Officers are the Churches Servants was no strange thing to a Minister farre better then any of us, 2 Cor. 4 5. Answer. Our selves your servants for Christs his sake. But (because he must needes keepe his hands inure) hee will in this, (as almost in all his Articles) be still adding something of his owne, to blurre the businesse. Therefore he saith, wee hold O ficers but the Church [...]s servants, which word [but] implyes a vilifying of Ministers and their place: whereas we have learned to esteeme them very highly for their workes sake, 1. Thes. 5.13. and also that they are onely servants, no­thing, [Page 40] but, servants; whereas we know they are Governours also. 2. [...] adds another expression of his owne, in propriety of speech, and makes a great stirre in his Marg. on that Article, that a Minister should be a servant in pro­priety of speech, (whereas it is his owne addition, and not our speech.)

Answ. The Officer may be said to bee a ruler and a servant too, in diverse re­spects, as Heb. 13.17. with 2 Cor. 4 5. And Christ himselfe is both, and so is the greatest Prince in the world, a servant to the Common weale. But his spirit is loath to acknowledge this, and labours to evade it, by such arguments as the Bishops made use of for their sole power in the Church; but wee know, to be servants of the Church, is no other then to bee for the Church, and not the Church for them equally; And so he that is a ruler in the Church may be well said to be a servant. In this case the max [...]m of law holds good in Divinity, that a King is singulis maior, universis minor, so the Church Officers are singulis maiores, Ecclesiâ minores.

V To Art. 9. That every member (except women and those under age) hath e­quall power even with the Ministers themselves in propounding, obiecting, an­swering, and iudiciall decreeing, and giving sentence in all matters of the Church whatsoever, whether pertaining to Doctrine or practise.

[...]sw.The relator of a story, (especially, when hee pretends and promiseth to write nothing materiall but from his cited Authors) should bee faithfull, and not make bold grosly to vary from the matter, manner, words, scope and all, much lesse to cite Authors that speake against him; but if you reade his Author, Ans. to 32 q. p. 44. (the place cited even now) you will finde, That the Church (indeede) hath a right within her selfe, to trans­act her owne matters, but how? according to the rights of the word: did the word ever give people liberty equall with the Minister? doth it not professedly condemne such doing in the Church? and yet this is the only printed Author of our own, that wee can come at, brought to iustifie this absurd Article.

Besides, all men know (that are seen in our wayes) it is against our prin­ciples, to have people propound and give sentence in the Churches decrees, these being acts of rule proper to the Officers, as Ans. to 32. q. 57. 58. plainely speakes; and yet he fa [...]th, we hold the people have power, yea e­quall power, and that with the Ministers themselves, even in all matters of the Church whatsoever.

Now what will become of his Marg. on this Art. full of exclamation and clamout? This body (saith he) is all an eye, all tongue, all Governours, all teachers, contrary to the Apostles rule, &c. wherein he fights with a shadow, and we leave him so to doe.

VI 5. He tells us in Art. 10. and the Marg. that wee hold all things ought to have a full debate in the presence of the whole society, untill all be satisfied.

Marke his words how large, 1 All things. 2 A full debate. 3 It ought to [Page 41] be so before the whole societie? till all be satisfied: And not one word (we can come at) to prove any of these universalls, whereas (the truth is) we nei­ther hold so, nor practise so; but bring as few matters as possible, into the Assembly, rather labouring to take all things up in private, and then make as short work in publique, (when they must needs come there) as may be.

Now what will become of that long Marginall wherein (so unground­ly) he makes invectives against us and our popular government: (as he is pleased injuriously to terme it) for making store of worke in our congregations, in hearing, debating, examining all matters till all be satisfied, which will take up (saith he) not an hower or two in a weeke, nor in every day of the weeke, nor scarce all the whole weeke time will suffice to finish businesse in that kind that may fall out; and tire Ministers and People, and breake the Sabbath, by keeping Courts thereon, &c. And so goes on at random to speake evill of things he knowes not, whereas many of our Churches are oft for many dayes toge­ther, and weekes, and moneths also, free from such heapes of matters as he dreames of, and oftentimes from any at all.

But this is his dealing, first he makes an Article of his own, for words, matter, manner, with divers universalls in it, expresly contrary to the truth, and without one word of authority for it, and then drawes his own collections from it, with course language and bitter invectives.

In Art. 11. he deales exceeding ill (at least) in 6. particulars in this VI one Article. 1. He represents us to the world as a people unset [...]ed, and strangely divided amongst our selves in the way of voting. Some (saith he) affirme, that the major part carries matters; others, that unlesse all doe a­gree, nothing proceeds, some, that things are not carryed by voyces at all, but by truth and according to God.

1. Let the Reader note well, Answer. that our Narrator undertakes to relate the Opinions and practises [generally] held by the Churches in New-Eng­land, as in the title pag. 1. And that the Churches in New-England walke in one way: And yet here he brings 3 relations, crossing each other of our practises in a very materiall point of Discipline. How can the Chur­ches practise one way and yet goe 3. contrary wayes at once? and how can he truly relate such things as are [generally] held by all the Churches, and yet tells us, how they hold and practise 3. severall things at the same time? For (I confesse) if he had undertaken to declare the practises of some par­ticular men only, and not of Churches; or of some Churches, not of the Churches of New-England in generall: Or if all those Churches were not of one, and the same way, (but he professeth they are, and that without any materiall difference) then his taske were easier to show how they walke in 3. severall waies at once. But now I leave him to untie the knot, and save his credit.

2. Here he pretends to bring Authors to prove that the Churches in [Page 42] New-England, (who walke in one and the same way) doe walke in 3. se­verall waies: Doe his Authors speake true? how then doe we walke in one and the same way without any materiall difference, (as he said when he would make his advantage by it) doe they speake false? why then doth he bring such for the ground of his Narrative, that so abuse him and us? or else doth he mistake their words, or falsifie them? (that is worst of all) In either of which, we must needs innocently suffer.

Here you see his speech verified in his Postscript, pag. 50. That whether the reports he brings be true or false, it's nothing to him.

3. Now we will scan his Authors quoted, to see whether the blame lies on them or himselfe, the first pretended proofe is Ans. to 32. q. pag. 60. 61. 62.

That the whole body must agree, else nothing can be done. Whereas this Au­thor saith no such thing, but the contrary rather, that is; That if the whole body accord not at first, but the minor part disagreeth, there are other means part­ly within them [...]lves, and partly by calling in help [...] from other Churches to bring matters to an issue. This plainly sheweth that some things may be done, when all agree not.

The 2. proofe is for this. That some things are not carryed by vo [...]es at all, but by truth and right according to God. And cites Ans. to 32. q 58 60. who saith to this eff [...]ct, that the word is the only rule whereby all Chur [...]h votes are carryed; and that matters are not to be carryed [only] that is farre enough from [not a all▪] by multitud [...]s of voices. For though the word of truth, (we all grant) be the only rule of Church proceedings, yet the means of all transactions in our Church must be the lively voices of the Saints, &c. Thus his proofs failing, who must be the father of this untruth, cast upon New-England, you may well judge.

4. Note yet further, whereas he quotes Ans. to 32. q. 61. to prove, that unlesse all agree nothing can be done: Yet from the same Author, and selfe­same page (in the end of this same 11. Art.) he concludes that though some di [...]agree, y [...]t matters may b [...] ended, and the rest proceed. That as he often speakes contrary to himself [...], so he can make his Author doe the same if he list, and can (as ships use to doe at sea) saile contrary waies with the same winde.

5. And yet (which is worse then the other) he would seeme to hide and cloake this dea [...]ing of his, and lay the fault upon our variablenesse, and say [sometimes they grant, &c.] as if we were (like the wind) s [...]me­times one way, and som [...]tim [...]s another, yet all is from the same Author in the same page, at the same time. And often you will find this word [some­time] to be brought in throughout the booke in the same sense (as here,) to make the world beleeve that our judgements and practises are variable, and to defend him selfe from a blow in case he be questioned.

[Page 43]6. If a lesser number (saith he) dissent from the greater, neither can give satis­faction to them, or will receive it from them, and è contra; but still persist in dis­senting, then the major part (after due forbearance and calling in the counsell of neighbouring Churches) admonish — and censure them.

This (he saith in the Margent) is harsh dealing and uncharitable and foolish, yea destructive, and spares no words that might lay loade upon us. Yea, but it may be his grounds for proofe are sound, and so he may be the more bold to blame us: but he cites onely Answer to 32. q. 58. 61. whose words are, If it appeares that such [...]s dissent from the maior part be [factiously or partially carried]— and after the rest have laboured to convince them by the rule, yet still they continu [...] [obstinate] they are admoni­shed— &c.

Now speak W. R. is this faire dealing, first to pretend proofes, & leave out the most materiall words, and secondly blame us for harshnesse when there is no cause; here you see is 1 faction, 2 partiality, 3 both those appearing, 4 obstinacy, 5 continuing in obstinacy after meanes used ac­cording to rule; all these before the censure of admonition passed; but you in your relation leave out all these words of your Authors and put in such of your owne as will not so much enforce a censure as these, and then taxe us (at your pleasure) and make bitter invectives against us in your Margent? If I should have retorted and said, This dealing of yours is harsh, uncharitable, foolish, destructive, &c. it would have troubled you: (yet you are but a single person, those whom you reproach are whole Churches, many Churches of Saints) but wee have learned what the Apostle saith, 1 Pet. 2.23. and to forbeare. This Article being thus laid prostrate, there is nothing at all in his Marginal extraction worth answer.

He blames us Art. 12. That we deny unto the Church all power to make VII any particular rules or lawes in things indifferent (conducing to the better Go­vernement of her selfe and more orderly and edifying performance of Gods worship) accord [...]ng to the generall rules of Scripture, &c.

1. He hath falsified his printed Authors alledged for this Art. Ans. Answ. to 32. q. 66. Col. Cap. 7. where is not a syllable of things indifferent, for where­as they indeede denie Churches power to make lawes about Church Go­vernement, &c. their words & meaning are expressed, it is only in such matters where the Scripture hath made lawes already and therefore they say, The Churches have no power to make lawes, but to observe those lawes which Christ hath given and commanded, and doe alleadge, Mat. 28.20. Deut. 33.3. Iohn 20.27. None (I hope) can thinke this a thing indifferent for us to add lawes to Christ his owne lawes, and this is all they say.

2. If you meane [by making of lawes] inferring of plaine and necessary conclusions from their proper grounds in Scripture, wee grant a power in a Church so to doe: yet so, as they shall not be binding, unlesse the evi­dence [Page 44] of the consequence be made appeare, as Rom. 14.5.22.23. But i [...] [by making of lawes] you meane a drawing of conclusions from r [...]mote Principles, such as the Bishops were wont to doe. [All things must bee decently done and in order,] therefore a Surplice, a Crosse in Baptisme a bowing at the Altar, &c. we deny it, as an inlet of all humane inventions.

Many of the Marginalls of this 6 Chap. are already answered, some few remaine, as

Who would not long to be churched seeing they are indued with such a vast pow­er? I this is a sweet morsell, no marvell peoples teeth so water after it, &c. p. 23.

I can tell you who longs not for Churching, it is W. R. himselfe, who with heart, [...]sw. hand, and pen thus opposeth it; but why doe not his teeth also water after it? It is I suppose because the people have a voyce in Church matters, and Ministers cannot carrie all. 2 Why doe you thinke W. R. that peoples teeth should so much water after this way? seeing they are under many watchfull eyes, a strict Covenant, disgraces in the world, sharpe censures (and overharsh too if all you say be true) therefore, why should they so much desire these waies thinke you (they being so crosse to corruption that would have elbowroom) unlesse they did see and feele our beauty and warmth of Christ in them? This is the true and reall cause.

The word (saith h) and the Sacraments should be both setled on the II Ministry. [Goe preach and baptize, &c.] Why doe wee separate them? pag. 23.

To Pre [...]ch by Office (which is the preaching that Christ there gives in commission to his Disciples being called to be Apostles) is proper only to Ministers, [...]swer. who are to waite upon teaching, Rom. 12.7. and this preach­ing and the administration of the Sacraments are ever joyned together in the same person. But there is a preaching in a large sense. i. e some­times to apply a word of instruction, exhortation, consolation, if necessi­ty shall require, according to their talent, being invited thereunto, and this may be common to other godly and able Christians, though not cal­led into Office, as Art 8. 1. 4. where the whole Church (except the Apo­stles) were scattered by persecution, and they that were so scattered: (without distinction of Ministers or people) went to and fro preaching, therefore others (besides Ministers) in some case may preach the word; if you take [preach] in a larger sense.

III 3. For the two instances hee brings p. 24. of Peoples unabilitie of iudg­ing, electing, voting, &c. from Holland and Boston, &c.

1. The best people on earth may have their houre of temptation; and personall failings doe not hinder the goodnesse or truth of the rule. [...]nsw.

2. What Church in the world hath not possibly, first or last, given or else may give strange instances of humane frailty: but still you count their way good.

[Page 45]3. Even those Churches you mention were able at other times, both before and since, to act, as becomes prudent and godly men, though possi­bly at that time they might shew themselves to be but men.

4. These persons recovered out of their error, and lay not in it: you should have mentioned this as well as that.

If the Officers through scruple of conscience, perhaps) refuse to act according IV to their (i. e. the peoples) minde, they will (& they hold they may) call fourth any other member to do, and enable him with power to doe all that their Officers should have done, except Sacraments.

A most unjust and slanderous report, and without any word of proofe; Answ. so now we must father it upon him, and doe here require him to prove it, for almost every word is an aggravation: but I study brevity, and men­tioned this before Art. 9.

They complaine in print, that their Ministers are slighted amongst them, yea V trampled upon by some. And mentions for this Cot. on 2 vial. p. 24. of whose words judge, and you shall not finde one word to warrant him.

All his invectives against us on the 11. Article Marg. for extorting a con­sent VI from such as dissent from us, is exceeding slaunderous, and not a word true, nor any tittle of proofe, for none are ever admonished for dissenting, but for faction and obstinacy, as his Authors speake, as was said before.

Let me heare tell the Reader, there are sundry unsound and uncouth passages in this chap. (as indeede through the whole booke) which for brevity. I am forced to passe by, and (indeede) not worth my time. I in­treate thee to take all his sayings with a graine of salt: knowing from what spirit they proceede.

Answer to CHAP. VII.

IN this 1. Art. there are three things that will be found too light. I

1. He affirmes, we say, all men are bound to be setled members of a parti­cular Church.

Yet in his Margent, he affirmes, Answ. we allow some to bee admitted transient members for a time only. Now to be [setled] and yet (transient) are termes contradictory, and how the Churches of New-England (for they are still the subject of this discourse) can binde all their members to bee [setled▪] and yet allow some to bee transient. I know not; Hee must grant, either a contradiction in his owne words, or prove one in our practise.

2. He affirmes we say, That whosoever is not a member of such a Church as is before described. (i. e. A New-England Church) is for the time without the visible Church of Christ, and quotes Ans. to 32 q. pag. 11.

That Author is abused, for hee saith not, Answer. that non-members of such a [Page 46] Church, as you described, i. e. of a N. E. Church, are without the visible Church, [...]ns. to 32. q. 38. but that if men be not members of [some particular Church or other] they — may [in some respect] be said to bee without the power and priviledges of the visible Church: (as the Answ. to 9. pos. p. 62. to which this Author points makes it evident.) Now W. R. I hope knowes we hold there are other particular congregations both in England and else where, (besides our owne) that are true Churches of Christ; of any of which, if they be members, it is sufficient to make them within the visible Church of Christ. Yet see, how against our expressed judgements plaine words, and the minde of his Authors, hee would make us odious, by laying such a grosse tenent to our charge.

3. That whosoever doe not become setled members of our Churches, are ac­counted despisers, &c. yea wicked and prophane.

[...]nswer.Hee againe rowles the same unhappy stone he did once before, cap. 3. art. 12. but you will say; sure; his proofes are strong which make him bold to assert this, (now) the second time: Therefore I intreate the Rea­der but to review his proofs which I will relate verbatim. Ans. to 9. Pos. 62. is one of them he brings (which saith thus,) We maintaine communion with all [godly persons,] though they be not in Church fellowship with us: and Idem. p. 69. To be without Church fellowship is the case of some beleevers, and Ans. to 32. q. 11. is (another of his quoted Authors, whose words are these,) Some Christians that are not without Christ, yet are not within any particular Church.

These are the Authors and pages he brings to prove the cleane contrary, i. e. that we account all non-members, wicked, and prophane men, and yet they directly say, Some such are godly persons, beleevers Christ, &c.

Yea, he hath an expression (as he layes it downe) exceeding grosse, which is this; That whosoever doth not become a setled member (if possibly he can) sin­neth; And (marke what followeth) [whether he can or no] — he is accoun­ted — prophane and wicked. He would make us up for the most absurd men that ever lived; that whether m [...]n can (possibly) (for so his word is) inioy Church fellowship or no, he is counted a prophane man: But the blemish will, and must needs fall upon himselfe.

II To Marg. of 1. Art. hee propounds 5 questions concerning transient members.

1. Q. If it be very inconvenient and discommodious to ioyne at present, may they not delay a while?

He answereth, we say [no,] but the place to which he points (Ans. to 32. [...] quest. p. 38.) saith not so, but thus. A man is alwaies bound to join himselfe to some Church or other, if possibly he can. Now doth not W. R. know there is [a p [...]ssibility of convenience] which the Answer must needs meane? for it's a constant and allowed course in New-England for more to forbeare [Page 47] joyning to any Church for a time, after they come thither, meerly to a­voyd discommodious inconveniencies, which over hasty joyning some­times puts men upon.

2. Quest. Why doe we not give the same liberty to all to be transient M [...]m­bers, as we doe to some?

Ans. Because all are not so free to abide with this or that Church, where they joyne at present, (as others are (by reason of some strong de­sires and pre-ingagements of joyning with some other congregation, which at present they cannot remove unto, or else the other (as yet,) not entred into Church-fellowship, and so unfit to receive them at present.

3. Quest. How doth this agree with the tenour of the Covenant, that limits no tim [...]?

Ans. There may be, (and is) such a clause put into the Covenant of a transient member, viz. [during their abode with that congregation.]

Quest. 4. How doth this agree with the sense of the Covenant, that binds them to aske counsell of the Church in case of removeall?

Ans. I know not what informations he hath received, I should know our practise as well as W. R. (after my 10. yeers experience, having beene present, at very many Church-gatherings) but I never heard (or heard of) such a clause put into any Covenant, and yet three times in his booke he mention [...] this: Let him learne hereafter: 1. to be slow in beleeving infor­mations, 2 slower to print them to the world, 3. ready to retract them, if nor done already.

He saith, Art. 5 That if the examiners conceive a man not fit to enter III into Church fellow [...]p▪ th [...] he is there staid, without any further proceedings.

He should h [...]ve added [only for the present] else he leaves the Reader to conceive that such a person is staid from Church fellowship for ever, which hims [...]e knowes to be untrue, as appeares by his own words, in the 7. Art. w [...]re he saith, that such a Person is staid only for a time, whiles all things are cl ared.

To his Margent Art. 7. That if the party be a Woman, or weake, who is to IIII be admitted, then their examination are taken more privately. Answer.

Is not this contradictory to what he said, Chap. 3, Art. 6. That the de­claration of their knowledge and grace must be made in publique, before all the Church though never so many. Now to presse all to make their declaration before the whole Assembly, & yet to accept of some weaker ones doing of it, more privatly (which indeed is the truth) are a contradiction.

Here he makes two objections. Objection 1

How shall the Church know the fitnesse of such, (i. e. as are examined in pri­vate? Answ.

By the testimony of such godly men whom they betrust with their tri­all; who (though they have not absolute power to determine yet) ma­king [Page 48] such report to the Church as they accept, the Church proceede to ad­mit them.

[...]bject. Why is this favour shewen to some, not to others, is not this to be partiall? con­trary to 1 Tim. 5.21.

Answ. Partiality is to respect the Person, not the cause, here the cause is re­spected not the Person, or the Person for the cause: Some being more weake, and fearfull, we rather tender, (as Jacob would not overdrive the feabler sort of Ewes and lambes) lest they should miscarry.

V Art. 9. He reports, That infants of parents that are no members are accoun­ted to be without the visible Church, and in the same estate with the Children of Turkes and Heathens, &c. and writes in the Margent, cold comfort to Christ­stian Parents, and cold charity to their Infants.

[...]nsw.1. It were cold comfort indeed, if that he said were true, but (blessed be God) it is not so. For though such infants be not as yet Members of this or that particular Church there, yet (he knowes) we account them (and their Parents) Members of the visible Churches of England, witness [...] our writings in print, discourse of Covenant pag. 36. &c. Therefore he much forgets himselfe, to say, we account them to be without the visible Church.

2. To say, we esteeme them as Children of Turkes and Heathens, is a most uncharitable and groundlesse censure, unworthy of his penne or our practise, to which we answered before. The Lord forgive him such hard speeches.

For his quotations (Ans. to 33. q. 20. 21. and Ans. to 9. Pos. 61. 62) if they will afford him the least word or show for either of these particu­lars, Il'e take the blame for ever, let any please to peruse them.

But he forgets the law in Israel of amercing and striping the man that brings an ill report upon a Virgin of Israel, I must mind him of it.

Answer to CHAP. VIII.

This chapter is spent (especially the Margent) in invectives against the strictnesse of our Church Covenant, that restrains men, that they can­not have elbow roome, and be at loose end, when they please. I will gather the strength of all he speakes in this chapter into some objections, and ve­ry briefly answer them.

Object. A member (saith he) cannot remove from a Church without our consents, sought and obtained. Art. 1.

[...]ns.It crosseth the nature of all Covenants in the world, for to dissolve the Covenant without the consent of the other: And shall this engagement, so solemne, so sacred, so deliberate, be loosed at pleasure, (by a mans re­moval [Page 49] whē & whither he pleaseth, & it may be also not without apparant sin without acquainting the Church withal, & getting approbation frō thē?

The Church may be partiall in their own cause, may not some of other Churches Object. 2 be consulted withall, rather then this: pag. 32. Marg.

Shall a man infringe this Covenant, Answ. deprive the Church of her proper right, and lay her under blame of partiality upon a meere supposall, that the Church may be partiall? Let this Church be [first] consulted withall, rather then any other, (and good reason too,) for the Covenant is made with her: and if it appeare she is (indeed) partiall, then let the counsell of other Churches and Ministers be called in, which was never yet denied a­ny Member, and I hope never will be.

But what need a man consult with the whole Church? what if his reasons be se­cret, Object. 3 &c.

The Covenant being made with the whole, Answ. (reason speakes) the whole ought to untie the knot. But if there be some case extraordinary, where the grounds of removall may not safely be divulged to all, as I con­fesse it's possible so to happen, let the partie but intimate so much to the Church, and desire that some two ot three faithfull men be intrusted, and what hinders?

If the Church covenant binds so fast, then (as the Disciples said of marriage) Object. 4 it is not good to touch this covenant. pag. 32.

1. A gracious sp;irit counts it no bondage but freedome, Answ. to be constantly under the sweet yoake of Christ in Gospell duties: and such and no other are the particulars of our Covenant; ah,Ex. 21.5.6 let none be weary of this but all be as the servant in the Law, that might have gone out free, yet (loving his Master well) chose rather to abide with him for ever.

2. Yet it any man be desirous, and stedfastly bent to depart, the Church never holds him against his will, though she sees little or no weight in his reasons, and I hope it is not the case of marriage, so easily to be dissolved.

But if the Church be not satisfied with his reasons, he goes away tacitely accu­sed, Object. 5 slandered, yea virtually cast out and curst.

Sure I am, this is accusing, slanderous, and curst language: Ans. Deut 22. [...] 19. not fit for a so­ber & grave man, by that law in Israel, W. R. would goe neere to be amer­cied and striped for this defamation. What would he have them doe when they cannot be satisfied with the grounds of his departure? must they needs act against light and conscience, and say they are satisfied, when they are not, especially when they see a brother (haply) running into evill, or danger, by such a removall? All they can doe, is (through indulgence) to suspend their vote and leave him to his own liberty. And yet they will neither accuse or slander him, much lesse curse him or cast him out: These are words fit for nothing but retraction, and repentance.

If men be once [...]tred into covenant, he is so riveted into it that he can hardly Object. 6 [Page 50] ever get out of it, but must continue in it, though perhaps against his conscience. Ibid.

Answ. To my best remembrance, I never heard of, or knew any godly Church-member that repented of this Church-way, & desired (upon that ground) to make a retreate.

2. If any should be convinced in his conscience (as you say) that there is sin in it, and should (after all meanes of information used) solemnely profes and make it appeare ingenuously, that he dareth not in conscience proceed on in those waies; I know no Church that will detaine him?

Object. 7 How shall this man, thus dismissed without the Churches approbation and Let­ters of recommendation be received into any other Church?

[...]nswer.How many lines doth he spend (to no purpose) about untying this knot? and when he cannot unloose it, (for that he knows not our practises there) he falls out extreamely with us, and our way as harsh and rigid.

I have read of Harpia (a lame woman in Seneca) who still complained of the roughnesse of the way that made her limpe, but faw not her owne lamenesse to bee the cause. I will not stand to make application, but unloose his knot, by telling him; Though a Church cannot see cause enough to commend such a person as we speake of, to another Church, for his Departure from them, as being not cleare in it themselves, yet (hee being a godly man, and of a good conversation in the generall) they may and doe use to commend him for his godlinesse, &c. and in prudence, con­ceale any supposed error, or infirmity in his departure from them: And upon such a testimony he is received, and so neede not bee left as an Hea­then.

Answer to CHAP. IX.

I THe first thing meets us is a contradiction, for here he saith, in plaine termes, That wee in New-England conceive men may be true Christians, whether they be in Church estate or no. But chap. 7. Art. 1. he affirmed abso­lutely, that whosoever is not a setled member of a particular Church is accounted by us prophane and wicked.

Answer. How is it possible, that both these parts should be true? can New-Eng­land Churches count the same men, at the same time, to be true Christians, and yet prophane and wicked? See what a story this must needes be, that is thus full of contradictions to it selfe, and in no small and triviall things, but in the greatest points of our Church Discipline.

II He saith againe Art. 4. 5. That we say, that the Sacraments and some other Church Ordinances are to be administred, and doe belong only to the members of the same Church, and not to the members of any other Churches.

Hee speakes flatly contrary to this, cap. 10. Art. 1. in these words, Answ. We grant that severall Churches have a communion amongst themselves— in some Church-ordinances, as Sacraments: how can both be true? They hold, and they hold not; They do, & they do not: speaking still of the Churches of New England generally without the least restraint or distinction; yea as if hee had studied to make his contradiction full, he expresly and in both parts of it mentioneth the Sacraments; that wee deny communion, in speciall, in [Sacraments] and we grant a communion, in speciall, in the [Sacraments:] and againe, this communion (saith he) is neither betwixt Ministers nor members, and this communion is both betwixt Ministers and members. And both of them within a leafe one of the other, in his booke.

W. R. himselfe must of necessity grant one of these three things; either, 1 a manifest contradiction by himselfe in a maine point in his story. Or 2. that his Authors or intelligences have written or spoken contrary concerning our way. And so a man would thinke hee hath little ground (in conscience) to build his Narration upon their testimony. Or thirdly, that hath abused them at his pleasure, and warped their words to what sense he list, all which are very ill in a Narrator.

Furthermore, I here confidently avouch, and shall make it good; that those printed writers by him cited, are all consistent to themselves in this point of administration of Sacraments to members of other Churches, and not one of them crossing another or himself. Therefore I must againe (but with griefe of heart to lay such load on a brother) lay this dealing upon him, in the sight of all that have beene misled by his Narration.

Nay, I will say more; If I can not prove plainly that these Authors cited doe not only not justifie him, but write point-blanck against him, I will beare the blame. vid. Ans. 9. Pos. 62. We doe not (say they) appropriate the seales only to members of our own Church, excluding all other Churches of Christ. and Cot. Cat. p. 7. The supper (saith he) is dispenced to the faithfull of the same body, or recommended to them by a like body, and Ans. to 9. Pos. 78. in these words. The members of other Churches doe mutually communicate at each others Churches, even as often as Gods providence leades them, and they desire it.

Lastly, if all this be not enough to open his abusing us & the truth; I will go further to shew you, that he still cites the very same Author to prove both parts of this contradiction; (and this is no new thing, but frequent with him.) For in cap. 9. Art. 1. he cites Ans. to 9. Pos. 62. to prove we hold communion with other Churches and their members: and also cap. 10. 1. he cites the same Author and page for one Churches communion with another in the Sacrament. But herein Art. 5. when hee would prove the contrary. i. e. that we hold no communion with other Church members in the Sacrament: he brings the selfe same Author and page for that end, i. e. Ans. to 9. Pos. pag. 62, &c.

And thus he doth not with that mentioned one Author only, but serves the rest in like manner, as Ans. to 32. q. Apol. R.M. to E.B. must all come in to avouch both parts of his contradiction; the one in chap. 10. 1. for communion; the other in Art. 4. 5. of this 9. chap. against Communion. And this he doth not this once onely, but in other places in this booke (as we have shewed; and shall againe) and yet these Authors give him no occasion thereto, but speake all the selfe same thing plainely, and con­stantly without any variation.

III He saith, Art. 7. We hold that a man that is sui juris, may not lawfully stand a member of such a Church in which he cannot enioy all Gods ordinances, or where any corruption is suffered, but if he be ioyned to it, he must separate from it.

Answer. The Narratour knowes in his owne conscience, that this is not spoken (by his cited Author) of our Churches in New-England, but of the Parish Churches in Old-England; nor of all the Churches in Old-England, but of such onely, where a man either cannot enjoy some ordinances of God; or else live there without sinfull conformity: (for this was written by his Author in the time of the Bishops reigne.)

2. He alters the Authors words and meaning, and that grossely, for hee saith, we hold a man must not continue in such a Church where any corruption is [suffered unreformed.] But his Author saith, in such parish assemblies where a man shall and must (himselfe) conforme to those corruptions, there his stan­ding is unlawfull. Ans. to 32. q. 32. So hee leaves out the very nerves and strength of the place which is the ground of our both with drawing. i. e. a necessity of sinning.

IV You find him againe strongly pleading for imposed formes of Prayer & Leiturgies. Art. 8. with it's Marg. This is the fourth time he hath harped on this string; 1. he was for Overtures, 2. for a kinde of N. E. Primer in admissions of members, 3. for booke prayers, 4. now, (and that more ful­ly then before) for [imposed] prayers and set Leiturgies: whither he will goe next, I know not. If God had not pittifully left him to himselfe in this Narration, (I am confident) he would not have come thus farre as to have used such arguments as these, that if we in New-England allow set formes of Psalmes, and of blessings of the people, and formes of Church-covenants; and of Catechising, &c. Why not as well set formes of prayers imposed? But to this having answered before, I leave him to the Father of truth to shew him his error.

Answer to CHAP. X.

I ARt. 1. he saith (and that truely,) Wee grant that severall Churches have a communion amongst themselves, whereby they doe and may partake with each other in the Sacraments.

Of the contradiction betweene this and and chap. 9. Art. 4 5. Answ. it is spo­ken to already.

Only here note 1 the fulnes of affirmation (in this Art.) for our commu­nion with other Churches in the Sacrament; we have (saith he) a commu­nion amongst our selves. 2 in the Sacraments, (in speciall,) 3 with severall Churches, 4 we do and may partake, 5 each with other, 6 mutually, 7 and this both betwixt Ministers and people, & 8 we not only practise this, but grant it may be so; And yet when he comes to speake of the other part of the con­tradiction (i. e. that we have no communion in the Sacraments) (as if he studied to crosse himself) he is as full in his deniall of it. vid. cap. 9. Art 4 5. 2. Note how thicke his sayings and unsayings fall in. Cap. 9. Art. 1. He affirmes, we hold Communion with other Churches and Church members, and then presently in 4, 5. Art. of the very same chap. he expresly denies, that we hold any such communion: Then againe in the very next chap. (the 10.) Art. 1. he saith, as full as can be, that we hold communion mutually with other Churches; and by in chap. 12. 8. as fully and expressely denies a­gaine that we hold any such thing. The man being an able and judicious man in other things, it is more remarkable, he should be thus extreamely left to confound himselfe, while he sought to confound our poore inno­cent Churches. Let any carefully observe in all these things mentioned, whether I have not dealt candidly with him, or no. II

Art. 2. He reports, 1 That one Church may give power to another over any of her members for excommunication. 2 That the Minister of one Church may convey power to the Ministers of another for the administration of the Sacra­ments. Answer.

Neither of both which doe wee hold or practise. The onely Author cited (that we can come at is Cot. Cat. p. 7. whose words are these. The Supper is dispenced by the Minister to the faithfull of the same Church, or to such as are cōmended to them by a like body: See if here be one tittle to bear him out.

Yet from these assertions (which he saith) we hold, he flings rebukes upon us in his comments upon his owne Text. p. 37. whereas indeede wee might reprove his, 1 misreporting, 2 abusing his Author, 3 reproving us without cause.

Without letters of recommendation from one Church and Minister to another, III it is unlawfull (saith he Art. 3.) in any case, to administer any Church ordi­nance to any Church member but their owne upon any pretence whatsoever.

1. Here is neither truth nor proofe to be seene. Answ.

2. Letters of recommendation for publique participation, are not sent from one Minister to another, but from a Church to a Church.

3. We hold it not unlawfull (but doe often practise) to receive other members to communion with us without letters; especially if they bee knowne to any of our Church, else such letters are desireable; but hee [Page 54] saith, We doe it not in any case, upon any pretence whatsoever, which is utterly false and without proofe.

IIII He tells us, That wee are so strait-laced, that if a company of godly people should sit neere us (where our power reacheth) differing from us only in some points of Church-Government, they should not onely not be owned as a sister Church, but should be in danger of severe punishment by our Magistrate.

Ans. 1 If you weigh well this accusation of us in all the particulars, it is very harsh and sore, and here is no proofe but H. W. who this should be, (I pro­fesse) I cannot tell, unlesse some malignant or back-friend amongst us there, or whether such a thing were ever written in these words and sense, I know not; and if it be certainly so written, and from a godly man, yet it is but one single witnesse and I am forbidden (and so are all others) 1 Tim. 5.19. to receive an accusation against one Elder, (much more against all the Elders and Churches in New-England without two or three witnesses: therefore we dare not beleeve it.

2. To this very point in hand, the Ans. to 32. 9. p. 82, 83. speakes fully and fairely, which W. R. well knowing, (for it was written to himselfe a­mongst others▪) deales not candidly to conceale that Answer of a printed booke from known Authors of credit in New-England, because it is faire and loving (for what other ground could hee have?) and bring in the Answer of H.W. (a man we know not) which is harsh and distastfull; how can the concealing of that, and relating of this seeme ingenuous, or friendly to us, or the truth?

Answer to CHAP. XI.

HE makes report of a groundlesse course (as he calles it) in the Church at Cambridge in New-England, where (saith he) the people use to meet together privately, each one to hold forth the work of grace in his or her soule, from the first conversion to that day, so that their Pastour might know their growth in grace. And, (saith also) that (as some report) the end of this meeting was to cast out by excommunication, non-proficients.

Ans. With what face can any godly man call such meetings of the Saints, for such an holy end (as to try their growth in grace) a groundlesse meeting; and so cast dirt upon it? for he makes proofe of no other end besides that.

2. Did these godly people ever cast any out of the Church there, meere­ly for non-proficiency?

3. He hath still forgotten that rule in 1 Tim. 3.19. that requires two or three witnesses to bee brought forth, &c. who yet proceeds upon (I know not what) relations to beleeve and report, yea and print to the view of the world, what (in his opinion) may detract from a Reverend Elder, and a godly Church also.

No marvell, he calls his Book [a poore pamphlet,] truly it is so indeed, if all things we have discovered in it be well weighed; and it will appeare yet poorer (before we have done) to any candid reader. It is our humble suit to heaven, that God will discover to himselfe the weakenes and error of his dealings herein, for the humbling of his spirit.

Answer to CHAP. XII.

A Short Answer might serve to this long Chapter, for most of it (as also of the two next) is but a repetition of things spoken once or twice, (some of them) thrice before, and answered to already. He said in the beginning of his preface he wanted not work [...], but (it seemes) now to­wards the end of his booke, he is more at leasure, (and so hee thinkes his reader is also,) else why he should so double & treble the very same things (totidem verbis) I know not, unlesse happily to make a deeper impression of his owne mistakes in his reader.

In Art. 1. he tells us, that after a Church is gathered, it is often some yeares I before she addresseth her selfe to the calling of Officers.

Whereas it is our usuall and constant course (as hath beene said) not to gather any Church; untill they have one amongst themselves, Ans. fit for a Minister, whom with all speede they call into Office, and account them­selves a lame and imperfect body till that be effected.

In his Marg. on that Art. he saith hee is told to his comfort, that many II that were counted good Ministers in Old-England, are there layed aside, because they aime at men of speciall parts.

1. We desire proofe for this aspersion unjustly cast on us, Answ. or else we shall still father it upon himselfe, as

2. That good Ministers are laid aside there, 2. many good Ministers, 3 on this ground, because they aime at men of special abilities And where­as he saith, he was told so, that is not sufficient: Let him produce his Au­thors, or it must lie on him.

I wonder he counts it strange (in Art. 3.) that we should desire to have a III man to be a Member before he be an Officer.

Is it not a thing most naturall for a body to imploy it's own Members? Answ. 2. Is not the mutuall interest in each other the stronger tye? [...] Doe not all bodies and societies in the world, the very same? Was eve [...] any man of another corporation, elected Sheriffe, Major, or into any speciall office in London, unlesse he were first seasoned with this same salt (as he saith) of Membership of the same body?

To the 4 Art. of ordaining Ministers by private men. IV

Let him not wonder at this, for Numb. 8.10. he may see, Answer. that though [Page 56] the Levites were Church Officers, and the Children of Israel were not; yet the Children of Israel did lay their hands upon the Levites; And though all the Children of Israel could not doe this, yet some principall ones did it instead of the rest. So it may be lawfull in some case to doe the like. 2. If people have a power of election of Officers, (which is the greater) then why may they not ordaine them (which is the lesse) unto the office which before they elected them to? But I referre the Reader to see more of this, in Mr. Mathers late answer to Mr. Herle, pag. 45.

V To the 5. Art. where he saith, We hold the imposition of hands of the Pres­byterie, but a meere formality.

[...]nswer.Doth he judge all the Churches and Ministers of Christ, there, so devoyd of Religion, reason or the light of common sense, as to account a venerable Ordinance of God [a meere formality?]

But that you may see whether he deals well with us or no, vid. Ans. to 34. q. p. 67. where its expresly said, That though the essence of a Ministers call consists in Election, yet we looke at ordination by imposition of hands, nece­sary by divine institution] can he with any shew of reason explicate a thing [necessary by divine institution] by [a meere formality,] is this right commenting upon the text? And note also that this very place cited is one proofe he brings for this Article, but whether for him or directly a­gainst him, I pray judge.

For the other printed proofe (discourse of Covenant, p. 23.) I confi­dently affirme there is not any one word, or the least shew for such an ex­pression, let the Reader prove whether I wrong him or no, but only that people have power to choose their own Officers.

Let him not delude the world by thwacking quotations on his Articles, when it's an usuall thing that some of them speake nothing for him, o­thers directly against him.

VI In Margent of 5. Art. he saith, That all that are elected by th [...] people to prea [...]h (which is one chiefe duty of the Pastour) and doe receive by compact the dues by law to the Pastour, [...]uld be their Pastour.

Ans. Though preaching by a Pastour called into office, be one of the principall workes of his office, yet all preaching is not a Pastorall worke, as Act. 8.4. The scattered Church, without respect to an office, are said to [preach] the word every where. Now if a man be called by a congrega­tion, to exercise his gift in this worke of preaching only, and not to be a Pastour to them: should he not exceed the bounds of his call, if he should be (as W. R. would have him) a Pastour to that people? And by this rea­son also he condemnes all Lecturers (and I suppose himselfe in so doing) (for they are called to preach, yet no man lookes on them) or they on thēselves, as Pastours of that place, where they so exercise. As for the dues he receives for his preaching, whether more or lesse, by a compact or o­therwise, [Page 57] whether of the same kind with the Pastour or not) is not mate­riall, for it's his call, not his wages, makes him a Pastour or no Pastour.

In the Marg. of the 6. Art. he saith, that one Pastour or Teacher alone, or VII one private man layes on his hands.

It hath neither proofe nor truth, Answ. but is against our judgements and practise, and so I leave him to looke over such ungrounded, and loose speeches cast upon our way.

Art. 7. That in our practise we usually confound the Pastours & Teachers office, VIII the Pastour and Teacher equally teaching, and applying the word without any difference.

This hath no more truth then the other, Answer. for it is both our professed judgements and constant practise, that as the teacher is chosen, whose proper gift is aptnesse to teach, so after hee is chosen, hee bends himselfe that way, and waites upon teaching, so the Pastor upon exhotting, as Rom. 12.7, 8. Though in such congregations where there is but one, hee labours to improve his talent both waies, for the present necessity till that defect be supplyed, (as good reason he hath so to doe.) And for his proofe, (see how punctuall he is) he turnes us to Mr. Cot. Sermons on the Revel. and other Texts. Would he have us looke over all Master Cot. Sermons, which may be at least 500. or 1000 pages, to find his proofes, and when we have done, we shall be just where we were, for Mr. Cot. (we know) is ex­presly contrary to him, and for that we turne him not to all his Sermons as he doth us, but to one certaine place in his Cat. p. 2. whose words are these; The Pastors speciall worke is to attend upon exhortation; The Teacher on Doctrine: and his owne, and others practises there run accordingly.

In the Marg. to this Article he saith, That some of us doe question the Com­munion IX of Churches as a thing overthrowing some of our principles, 2 that others, (to uphold it) have invented a power in one Minister to translate his owne power to another Minister to administer the seales and censures to any of their members.

Both these are ungrounded, unproved, expressions, Answ. and but repealed by him, now answered before by us; therefore I passe them by.

As for that Inference he seemes to drawe that every Ministeriall act X without power, and irregularly done it seemes voyd, and so millions of persons un­baptised to this day.

This might have beene spared for that maxim in law well approved of by Divines in this case (quod fieri non debuit factum val [...]t) holds good here. Answ. I know no grounds that Zipporah had to have circumcised her sonne (for it was proper to the man, as Gen. 17.9.23.) yet being done, it was not void or null, & though a Priest (popishly affected) should baptise a child with many invented superstitious, the child is not looked on as unbaptised XI

To Art. 9. he saith, wee hold, All other acts besides administration of the Sacraments are common to members, as well as to Ministers. Ans.

1. It is not true, (we hold no such thing.)

[Page 58]2. The proofe hee brings no whit reacheth it.

3. It is directly against his owne Authors, he builds upon Answer to 32. q. p. 57. The calling (saith he) of Assemblies, and dismissing them, preach­ing the word and prayer, administring the seales, permitting to speake in the As­sembly, enjoyning silence, voting of matters, pronouncing of censures, &c. These are acts which the Presbyters may doe and no other members.

4. It is contrary to himselfe, chap. 6. Art. 8. where he setts downe the severall acts which he himselfe saith we ascent unto our Officers.

XII Art. 10. He saith, That if a Minister who layes downe his ministry upon just grounds he is now become as a meere private man.

Answ. Whereas hee is looked on and reverenced as a worthy instrument of Christ, a man of gifts & parts, one that hath honored God in his house, and may doe it againe, and in meane time is imployed in dispensing his gifts, &c. is this to bee as a [meere private man;] but hee is not able to speake without disparaging.

XIII To Art. 12. That the end of our Ministry is onely the building up of men al­ready converted, (as supposing our members are all reall saints already,) nor are we bound by our Office to attend to conversion of soules, and if any bee converted by us, it is accidentall.

Answer. He strangly forgets himselfe, for 1 we say not that all our members are certainely reall Saints, but only visibly, so there may be some hypocrites amongst them probably, that may neede conversion, and therefore by our Office we are to attend that worke as farre as the needs of the stocke shall appeare. 2 The children of our members (the charge of whom our Ministers undertake, even by vertue of their Offices) are not yet, haply, converted, and he is bound to fulfill his Office towards them.

As for the Author cited to prove this Art. (Ans. to 32. q. 80. 81.) he of­fords him not one title towards it; therefore I looke upon this Art. as a devised thing of his own, as a great part of his booke is.)

XIII From this Art. thus mistaken, he drawes many invective conclusions against us, in a long Marg. but to no purpose at all, for the ground sincking, the bulding falls; and thus he shootes at his owne shadow.

So still he keepes his old custome, 1 frames a false Art. of his own, (as if it were ou [...]s;) 2 Then pretends a proofe, which is none; 3 Then falls out with us for holding such absurdities; 4 Lastly drawes his inferences from his owne premises: this is his dealing all along his booke.

And then, (to make all up) he fall a taxing some brethren of that way here, for two things, 1 for neglecting to build up their owne Churches at home; whereas he should first have proved, that they have not a call to be absent for a time for their Churches good, and with their consent.

2. For labouring to convert others here, not so much to grace (saith he) as to our Church-Covenant. But let our owne Sermons preached (not in corners, [Page 59] but) in the face of thousands testifie for us before God and men what the scope of our preaching hath beene and is.

He tell us Art. 14. First, That the Ministers in New-England are maintai­ned XV by the Peoples volutary contribution. 2. That this is cast in according to their weekely gaines, 3 and distributed to them according as the Deacons thinke fit.

Here are three particulars affirmed, and hardly any one of them true: Ans. for 1 this weekly contribution is properly intended, for the poore accor­ding to 1 Cor. 16 1. Yet so as (if there be much given in.) Some Chur­ches doe (though others do not) appoint the over plus [towards] the Mini­sters maintenance, 2 This is not given in by the peoplee, according to their weekely gaines, (for that is an addition of his owne) but as God hath blest them with an estate in the generall, for suppose a member that is rich, though he hath not gained but lost the weeke last past, yet he contributes on the Lords day following; 3 nor is this dispensed to the Ministers (in those Churches where any part of it is so given) though by the hands of the Deacons yet not (for proportion) as they please, for this were to set the Deacons, above the Pastour and Teacher) but by the Church, who usually twice in the yeare or oftner, doe meete to consult and determine of the summe to be allowed for that yeere to their Ministers, and to raise it, either from the Churches treasurie (so much of it as there is to be had,) or by a contribution to be then made on purpose.

8. And for one proofe of all those he brings Ans. to 32. q. 77. wherein is nothing to proove any one of the particulars mentiond, but somethings rather against him. For there it is said, 1 that our Ministers maintenance must be honorable for his person, charge, and for hospitality; 2. not as almes and courtesie, but as debt and duty, and to be paid according to rules of justice, &c. 3 but for a way of settled and stinted maintenance there is nothing done that may (marke this) [except from yeere to yeare.] doe but compare these words with his narration.

Now upon these premises unfoundly laid, hee builds many clamorous constructions in his Marg. which of themselves must needs fall with the ruines of their foundation, without any trouble of mine.

Then he falls upon some of us in particular (whosoever they are) for XVI strict requireing of so much set stipend for their lectures, or else they will not preach.

1. I must here professe solemly (as in the fight of God) for my part, Answ. I know not any one of us, that doth so; but (sure I am) I know some of the Contrary practise, who neither stand compounding at all, much lesse strictly (as he saith) require so much, and so much, least of all, refuse to preach, when such summes of the peoples owne voluntary profering lie unperformed; But yet notwithstanding, goe on as painefully and constantly in their preaching to them, as before.

[Page 60]2. Let me aske him one question, (for it is the third time he hath beene harping on this string,) that if he (on good grounds) knowes any to doe otherwise, were it not a better way, more loving and sutable to the rule of Christians admonition, (in personall failings,) to deale privatly and perti­cularly with such brethren, (for there are but very fewe of them here, and it were easily done.) Then (in stead of telling themselves) to print it to the world to their discredit? But if he indeede knowes none (as I verily beleeve he doth not, but goes upon surmises, and so casts imputations upon them ungroundedly, the sinne is the greater, and God (I hope) will finde a time (in mercy) to deale with his conscience about it.

He holds still his old course, 1. a false Article 2. pretended proof, 3. in­ferences at pleasure, 4 invectives against us, his arrowes are shot against a brasen wall, let him take heed, least by a divine hand they rebound back.

XVII For the three instances in the Magent, I looke upon them as so many slaunders, for which by rule hee is to give us an account, for whereas by Pauls rule, 1 Tim. 5.19. he is to produce two or three witnesses for one ac­cusation, yet he makes three severall accusations and that of three Chur­ches, without any one witnesse, therefore till the true father appeares, we must still lay the brat at his doore.

Answer to CHAP. XIII.

I TO 1, Art Of private men prophecying, &c. It is answered before, for this is his fifth time of repeating it (even to loathing,) It is high time to have done with it now.

But the oftner he hath said his lesson, the worse he hath learned it, for there is scarce one right word in this Art. either consonant to the truth, or his Authors quoted for it; as I shall make it appeare by comparing his article with the Authors words: [...]t. Cat. p. 6. [...]lles them [...]ophets. his 1 Author is Ans. to 32. q. p. 77. 78. first W. R. saith; this prophecying is done by [meere] private men. His Authour tells us, men haply indued with a gift of Prophecy. 2 Hee saith, they preach for confutation, as if they must bee polemicall men able to wade through controversies But not one word of that in the Author. 3 He saith, they expound and apply the word with all authority, but no word sounding that way in the Author these words [with all authority] being properly applyed by Paul to the off [...]c [...]rs, not to the Prophets Tit. 2.15. 4 He saith, this Prophe­cying is ordinary: the Author saith, they are not called to Prophecying ordi­narily (if by ordinary he meanes frequently and usually,) but sparingly and seldome, frequently when the Officers ar [...] sicke or absent, &c.

His other Author cited is Mr. Cot. Cat. p. 6. and as in the other quotati­ons he added diverse particulars of his own which the Author never men­tioned: So in this (as corruptly) he leaves out many materiall things which would have given light to the point in hand. To instance, such (saith Mr [Page 61] Cot.) as prophecy must, 1 be allowed for Prophets, 2 not prophecy till the Elders have done, 3 not unlesse the time permit, 4 and then also they must be first called thereunto by the Elders. But W. R. hath not one word of all these: that so much serve to cleare our practise.

Grant a Narratour, but this liberty, to adde, alter, and abstract as hee please, and when he please, and then what kind of Narration (doe you thinke) will he make? had I time to anotomize all his Articles, as I have done this, and compare his proofes, I should make him appeare more ful­ly, but I give onely a touch for brevity.

2. He would heere cast a blur by saying, there is a booke printed called a Sermon preached at Plymouth by a comber of wooll. But I intreat the Reader to put him to his proofes, for he produceth no other grounds, but [I am certified,] so he might scandalize all the Churches in the world.

3. He comes in with [some of them] tells us that Prophecying is seldome used, that so he might cast a blot on us, as if we were at variance amongst our selves (which course he often takes) and that [some of us] are for frequent, others for seldome Prophecying, and yet (do but marke the man,) it is not Authors, and Authors he quotes to prove this (as one would thinke hee should,) but only one, and the same Author which he quoted before; and (which is more) this Author not one haires breadth varying in his speech.

He saith in this Marg. 1 that some of our people have their farmes so farre II from the Assembly that they cannot possibly come every Sabbath day (hardly any) to the word; 2 that the people of late growe more violent in claiming their preten­ded liberty of prophecying; 3 deserting and contemning their owne Ministers and Churches because they are not suffered to injoy it.

I should know New-England as well as I. P. or M. B. or any of his in­formers, Answer. but I solemnely here professe, and with a safe conscience avouch it, that I know no truth in any of all these particulars asserted, but rather the contrary, unlesse haply in those of the Island or such as adheare to thē, who (he knowes well) [...]re not of us, whose waies and spirits are as grievous to our Churches, as to himselfe; why should he impute their practises to us, more then the opinions of the Antinomians and Familists here in Lon­don to the godly Ministers and people of the city? I will lay this (as all o­ther calumnious aspersions, ungroundedly cast upon our Churches) upon his back, as the raiser of them, untill he produceth two or three witnesses be­fore us that will avouch them according to Pauls rule. 1 Tim 5.19.

To Art. 2. After their Preaching (saith he) they take upon them to blesse the III people, III. as the Ministers doe.

I desire his grounds and proofes (for here hee brings none, Answer. nor in any other place that I can finde,) but the contrary hee well knowes, i. e. that Answer to 32. q. 38. (whom he hath often quoted) expresly saith, that bles­sing the people in the name of the Lord is an act proper to our Officers, which no member may presume to doe.

IV To Art. 3. We have (saith he) a course before our dismission (i. e. of the As­sembly) to give leave to any — publikely to propound their doubts, make their objections, and to argue pro and con, and in his Marg. makes a grievous and bitter outcry against us for so doing, and adds also, that it is an abrupt course at first dash openly to implead the Minister of error before all the people — and that it is scandalous and reproachfull, — it argues not so much civility, piety, cha­rity, nor prudence, &c.

Answer. [...]de 9.1. If a better then himself durst not reproach one worse then our selves, though he had ground enough to have done it; (I hope) then W. R. dare not without any ground at al [...], bring these sore accusations against so ma­ny Churches.

But what his proofes are, you shall see Mr. Cot. Cat. p. 6. (whose words are these) It may bee lawfull for any (except women) to aske questions at the month of the Prophets. 1 Mr. Cot. speakes onely of asking questions [of the Prophets] (i. e. such members as prophecy) he adds [of the Ministers also.] 2. Mr. Cot. seemes to speake of the matter then delivered only, for he men­tions no other. He adds [matters formerly delivered also,] 3 Mr. Cot. ex­cepts women; He saith, [leave is given to any] without exception. 4 Mr. Cot. speakes soberly, [it may be lawfull: hee speakes peremptorily, [wee have a course, &c.] 5 Mr. Cot. allowes only to [aske questions,] but he adds (a bed­roule of his owne to make us odious) they may (saith he) obiect argue pro and con about any matter, &c. yea, they doe abruptly, at the first dash openly im­plead the Minister of error delivered before all the people, — So as it is a scan­dall to the people & a reproach to the Minister, &c. all this is his own addition.

Then for the other cited Author (Answer to 32 q. 78) he deales more grosely with him then the former, who is in a manner point-blanck a­gainst him, yet hee boldly gives him up for an Author: his words are these, we never knew any Minister that did call upon the people thus to doe, (i. e. to propound questions) and such calling upon them is farre from us, some thinke the people have a liberty to aske a question — upon very urgent and weighty cause, none iudge the ordinary practise of it necessary, but (if not meekely and wisely carried inconvenient, if not utterly unlawfull, and therefore such as­king of questions is seldome, used in any, in most Churches neere. True it is in the times of the opinions some were bold in this kinde, but these men are long since gone —the Synod and Sermons have reproved this disorder, so that a man may now live from one end of the yeere to another in these congregations, and not heare any man opening his mouth in such kind of questions. These the Authors words.

Now good reader, do us the favour to give righteous judgement, whe­ther these words cited by him make for him, or against him, where is, 1 giving leave, 2 a course of giving leave? 3 to any? 4 to obiect and urge pro and con? and 6 (which is horribly grosse) to implead the Minister of er­ror [Page 63] at the first dash, and that openly before all the people, &c. Whereas his own cited Authors tells him the contrary: 1 That it is done not often, but sel­dome. 2 Not many questions, but a question. 3 Not upon sleight, but weighty and very urgent grounds: 4 Not rashly and boldly, but wisely and meekely. 5 And this not per [...]mptorily concluded of by all, but [some only thinke they have a liberty.] 6 And not that it is now so much done, but was for a time, by the bold opinionist, who are now chased away long agoe. See what a vast gulfe betwixt the Author and W. R.

Now for him to reade over distinctly all these expressions in this booke (for that answer was written to himselfe from godly men in New-England) yet to produce it, as a proofe for his Art. and the Marg. (which in common sence is contrary to it,) I stand amazed at it, and wonder with what face he could print it, or having done it, how he can let his book be kept from the fire thus long?

Yet further note, our Narratour undertakes to relate only such Church-courses as are [generally] by the Churche in New-England practised (as pag. 1. title.) How then can he (with honesty) bring in this [asking of questions] amongst such kind of generall Church courses of ours, whereas his Author plainely saith, this asking of questions is not [Generally] practi­sed, nor by [all] the Churches, but [sildome in any] Church, and in most Chur­ches [never at all] and that one may live (as he saith) from one end of the yeere to another, in our congregations and not here [any man] open his mouth in such kind of questions? What will not W. R. boldly attempt against his brethren of the independent way, and their Churches, that cites these very words I have related, to prove such Church courses in New-England, as are gene­rally practised amongst us?

Answer to CHAP. XIIII.

TO Marg. on the Title, Some (saith he) grow shie of the word [independent] I some utterly renounce it, yet most owne it. Answer.

If the word bee rightly taken, (as in Answer to 32. q. 46. it's expoun­ded,) for one Church that is not under the power of another, or in sub­jection to a Presbyterie, but as having received power from Christ to go­verne her selfe according to his lawes. Then all accord to it. But if the word [Independent] bee abusively taken, (as it is often with the vulgar) for such a Society as are neither subject to Magistracy, nor regard the counsel of other Churches, but are a conceipted and selfe-sufficient people, that stand onely on their owne leggs. Then wee have cause to be shie of a word, that may render us odious without cause.

To Marg. of 1 Art. That wee have store of imperative Churches who may II command, yea compell both members and Ministers to act.

Ans. Another slaunder, without ground or proofe, or truth, which I leave here upon record. God, our consciences, and our Brethren bearing us witnesse, how tender our Churches are, but to perswade men to act without light, much more to command or compell; both which very words, (though the thing required were lawfull) are odious in the Churches of Christ; most fitly becomming the Synagogues of Antichrist. Hath hee a lycense to speake any thing?

III To Art. 2. We hold our Church power absolute and imperiall.

Answ. All we use to speake of our Church-power, is that it is ministeriall, which is farre from [absolute and imperiall] (words fitter for Emperours of this world then the Churches of the Saints.) I charge it on his conscience (as in the sight of God) either to make this appeare, or else vindicate us (as becomes an honest Christian to doe.

And for his two printed Authors cited (for we cannot come at his pri­vate letters) if there be any one word, or shew of ground from them to maintaine his speech: Let me beare the shame of it, for I here avouch the contrary, under my hand.

IV To Art. 3. and Marg. That we deny all representation of Churches absent, and all authoritative deputation of Messengers to act for them.

[...]nsw.1. The Reader may well see it is his own saying not ours, for he brings no proofe but from Barrow and Johnson, who cannot well give in their te­stimony for our Church waies in New-England, because they never came there, yea were in their graves (both or one) long before ever wee had a beeing in New-England.

2. There is no truth in it, for we hold a Church may delegate some men, and send them forth in their names and stead, with authority to act for them in this or that particular businesse of trust as Act. 15.2. And yet he hath boldly now twise or thrise affirmed the same thing of us, and brings no proofe at all for it; and it is answered before cap. 2. Art. 3.

V Marg. Yet some tells us, (saith he) that Mr. P. and Mr. W. were sent hi­ther by the Churches to negotiate for them, &c.

Answ. 1. Some tell us? Sir, you are a man of judgement and gravity, able to instruct others; You know you may not blemish your brethren, and sl [...]nder Churches upon such poore and weake grounds, as [it is reported, I am informed, some tell us.] And yet how oft in your booke, have you u­sed this course of dealing towards your bretbren and their Churches? (Some tell us) indeede, is warrant enough for people that have no other businesse, to make three farthing bookes of and thereby fill the world with tales: but oh, farre be it from any Reverend brother to blot his paper so unwarrantably.

2. Though your ground of this report be weake, yet (it seemes) your credence is strong, for you make inferences from these premises against [Page 65] us. And as your ground is bad, so your end in relating of it is as bad, i. e. to cast a blot upon our Churches, as if their practises did crosse their prin­ciples.

3. What will you say now W. R. if your informations prove false, as in­deede they doe; for neither did their owne Churches, nor all the Chur­ches send Mr. P. and Mr. W. but the whole state of New-England (or Ge­nerall Court) with one consent upon some speciall imployments which cannot yet be all finished.

Now I have told you the truth, let me give you a few Animadversions. 1 Bestow to beleeve ought against your brethren hereafter. 2 Slower to report it to others. 3 But never print it, without manifest grounds and a good call. 4 If you have done otherwise, be swift to recall it.

To Marg. of Art. 4. wherein he disputes against us about our non-com­munion, VI or withdrawing our selves from other Churches in case of obstinacy; by two arguments.

1. Because non-communion is in substance the very same with Synodicall ex­communications, Object. 1 and by it (he saith) a man is cast out of the Church, and gi­ven up to Satan as well as by excommunication.

If it be so, W. R. 1 Why have you said so oft (in opposition to our way) that our Churches have no power over one another; Ans. when as our Churches have a power to withdraw by non-communion; and that withdrawing (say you) is as much as your Synodicall excommunication? 2 Why do you so sleight our Churches counsells & admonitions to other churches, as not being [authoritative.] Whereas, if they be not obeyed (it seemes) they can passe as sore a censure as all your Synodicall Authority? For you can doe no more (by it) then excommunicate, and so farre (you say) we can proceede.

3. Why then doe you call us, abusively, [Independants?] for (by your saying) it stands us in hand [to depend] as much upon other Churches, for counsell and admonition, as you on a Presbyterie or Synod, or they will give us up to Satan, as well as a Synod.

4. Why then doe not you accord with us in this point of Non-commu­nion; (seeing in it your selves and we can comfortably close) rather then strive with your brethren for Synodicall excommunication, to which their judgements cannot yeeld▪ seeing that is the same in effect with this? This being attended to will end a great part of the difference? Obj.

But whiles we oppose Synodicall excommunication, we establish it (saith he) by standing for non-communion it being the same in effect with the other. ibid.

Though W. R. thinkes they are both one, I cannot. For that is positive, Ans. this only negative: That a sentence passed, This not so: That a cutting off from Churchdom (at least for present) & a giving up to Satan, &c. This only a cessatiō of conferring Church priviledges, &c. By the one the Chur­ches [Page 66] withdraw, and call in that only (which once they gave (which is the right hand of fellowship) by the other the Synod or Classis take away that which they never gave, or had power to bestow (which is the excommu­nicates membership in their own Church) So that when we stand for the one (as having no rule to carry us further,) we doe not establish the other: This is his first argument against us about non-communion.

The second, that it is more cruell, and more dangerous then Synodall ex­communication.

Ans. Me thinks this seemes strange, seeing it is a lighter, and lesser punishment then the other: by Non-communion, A man is only let go into the world where Satans walkes are, by Synods excom. hee is given up and cast to Satan to terrifie and vexe him.

But his arguments for the cruelty and danger of Non-communion are these foure Reasons.

1. Because by this, whole Churches (saith he) may come to be cast out Ans. So they may as well by a Synod excommunication, for if a Synod hath power to cast out one member of other Churches, then) by the same rea­son) 2. 6. 10. and so a whole Church as well, and Churches too, for where will you stop? 2. By this, (saith he) the Church deserted is left to it selfe in their error. Ans. Looke what meanes publique or private a Synod may use for any man or Churches regaining, the very same meanes (to the highest ex­tent) may the other Churches use likewise. 3 This causeth endles rents. Ans. Shew in any point wherein, or why more then the other. 4 This (saith he) hinders not the infection of others, but that by cutting off the rotten members the rest are kept sound. Answ. Doe not this crosse what he said before? that by non-communion a man is cast out and delivered up to Satan? yet here hee de­nies it.Ob.

Popular Governement is one cause of Schismes in New-England, and quotes Mr. Parkers letter. Answ. Blessed be God, that under that Governement of ours (wch you call or rather miscall Popular) the very neck of Schisms, and vile opinions, (brought to us from hence) was broken; When here amongst you where there is not such a Governement, they walke bolt upright amongst you and crowe aloud. You shall doe better to lay aside this objection till a Presbyterian Government have healed these sore breaches in these Churches here.

Answer to CHAP. XV.

I ARticle 1. saith, We hold the Magistrate cannot lawfully compell men to enter into a Covenant with God.

Answ. It appeares by his Margent, he meanes a Nationall Covenant; But you must take his owne words, as for proofe he brings none, (and I beleeve hee [Page 67] cannot) but Barr. and Rob. which never came there, and the Apologie which (as he saith) lies by him: As long as I lived there I never heard or knew the Churches held so. But he must have leave to say any thing.

Marg. saith, that many of us hold the Magistrate hath nothing to doe in II matters of Religion.

Let him know, and all others that all the Churches with us doe ab­horre that vile opinion; Some, I beleeve, Answ. of Road-Island & some others ba­nished from us, doe hold so, but those are gone out from us, and are not of us (as it is said) 1 John 2.19. If he had considered this distinction of the blessed A­postle, hee durst not have said many of us hold so. This must goe amongst other aspersions to be revoked of, and recalled.

Art. 2. That we hold, that Christians may and ought to set up new Church [...]s, III and practise in them all Gods ordinances; and that 1 without the consent of a Christian State: 2 yea, against their commands: 3 their peremptorie cammands: 4 and against the established lawes of that State: 5 yea and in the midst of and against the mindes of such Churches as we freely acknowledge the true Churches of God.

He reserved a strange Article for the last; If I had not read it, Ans. I could scarse have beleeved it possible hee should have written it: no penne can expresse a greater latitude of opposition agaist Magistracy, and lawes, and Churches too, then here he affirmes to be in us: if you review the six par­cells mentioned you will see it.

To all which I say, 1 there is neither truth in it, nor any proofe of all, for any of these six, except the first. But God and men, our consciences, & wri­tings, our professions, and constant practises will rebuke, & testifie against this misreport. For now you would (in reason) expect some proofes, would you not? for this accusation; You shall heare his cited Author himselfe speake. Answ. to 32. q p. 35, 36. (which saith thus.) Observing the things commanded of God, in a peaceable way, yeelding due reverence to all in Autho­rity, I & praying for them. This observing Gods Ordinances cannot bee unlawfull for lacke of the command of man. The scope of all his Author speakes is this, That Christians may observe Gods Ordinances though they have no command from the Magistrate so to do; now where is doing of this against his commands? His peremptory command, yea against his lawes? and established lawes? and not the lawes of an Heathen, but a Christian State? and not against a State only, but against the mindes of all the Churches of God amongst us? These are all his owne additions, that so he might loade his brethren with contempt. How durst he bring in all these words as his Authors, and yet he knowes they all are his owne!

2. As it is against truth and without ground, [...]o it is contrary to him­selfe and his owne words Chap. 5. Art. 2. and Art. 4. where he expresseth that notice must bee, and is given to the Magistrates and Churches before their [Page 68] joyning in Church fellowship. Yet here in this Art he saith, we hold [...] and ought to doe it without their consents, and against their minds; how can th [...]se agree?

And whereas he quotes R. M. to prove that before Churches joyn [...] they give notice thereof to the Magistrate and other Churches; yet here he bring the same R. M to prove, we may and doe joyne without their consent.

Let this also be noted, that he speakes not only of our judgement, what we hold, we may and ought to doe in this case; but of our practise also, what we [doe,] as appeares in last words of the Margent: wee looke he should make that good also, i. e. that in our practise wee doe thus oppose State and Churches in our joyning in Church fellowship.

5. He againe crosseth himselfe, for in this Art, hee saith, wee hold that Christians may & ought to set up new Churches against the minds of other Chur­ches, and yet he in his Marg. saith, that we deny them (i. e. himselfe and some others) any liberty to doe thus.

Ans. He must prove either that we hold him and the rest no Christians, or that we crosse our own rules and principles, or else freely acknowledge a mistake in his word.

Thus having done with his Booke; I should now come to the Postscript, which I was fully purposed to have answered also: But now seeing my booke (farre beyond ex­pectation) swelling, I should be loath to tire out the Reader; besides I have touched upon many things therin already, and the rest (most of them being built upon his booke) must of themselves fall with it, and yet if it be requisite and worth the while, I shall be rea­dy to doe it, when I see cause.

A Postscript to W. R.

NOw, I intreate you, in the bowels of Christ and the spirit of meekenesse, to review your own worke, weigh my Answer without prejudice; and consider well how many pretious Saints, and godly Churches (deare to Christ, persecuted heretofore by Prelats, lo­ving to your selfe) without their least stimulation of you in this kind, you have in your Narration extremely wronged, whether through over-much credulity, incogitancie, or o­therwise, I dispute not. Sure I am it is done; and so done, that it is almost incredible, (as one would thinke) but you should, now, at least see your error; which if God shall open your eyes in whole or in part, to doe (as I humbly beseech him you may) it will bee your honour, [...]xod. 21. [...]3, 34. and no small argument of your selfe deniall, to recall. There was a law in Israel, that he that digged a pit, was not to leave it open but cover it, else what ever dammage happened he was to make it good. You are able to make application. Solomon, Austin, &c. never gained so much, as by their retractations. There are some sinnes, God will not sense up the pardon of, till satisfaction be made by the party: Defamation is one of them. It wil be no griefe of heart, but much comfort, to remember (when you are about to leave this world,) that although, through praecipitancy, you did blemish your Brethren, yet) after consideration you did againe as readily, wipe away the blot, by a brotherly vindication as for as truth required; which if [...]ter conviction) you shall for beare to do upon what pretence soever, how will you be able to lye downe in your grave in peace?

FINIS.

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