[Page]
[Page]

Some Remarks On a late SERMON, Preached at Boston in New England, BY George Keith M. A. SHEWING That his pretended Good Rules in Divinity, are not built on the foun­dation of the Apostles & Prophets.

By Increase Mather.

Phil. 1.17.

Knowing that I am set for the defence of the Gospel.

Consuetudo sine Veritate vetustas erroris est.

Cyprian.

BOSTON: Printed for Nicholas Boone near the Old Meeting House. 1702.

[Page 1]

Some REMARKS On a late Sermon Preached at Boston in New England.

Sect. 1. THere is of late com [...] forth a Sermon Preach­ed by George Keith, M.A. Which I am importu­ned by some who are scandalized by that Discourse to Animadver [...] upon. The Author instead of keeping to his Text, or to the Doctrine of the Apostles and Pro­phets, has obtruded upon us notions of his own, which he calls Good Rules in Divinity: but eve­ry one of them, if not taken with grains of Salt, are unsavoury Divinity. This Writer has not long since been famous for corrupting ma­ny in the Fundamentals of Religion, in which he has seen and renounced his errors, and is on that account worthy of commendation▪ Nevertheless, it seems by the Publication of his present pretended Sentiments, he aims a [...] gaining a Reputation by Endeavours to seduc [...] [Page 2] m [...]n from the Truth in matters relating to that Order of the Gospel, which is of Divine In­sti [...]u [...]ion. I think there is no great fear that such weak reasonings as he has offered, will gain many Prose [...]es among those who are so well inst [...]cted and en [...]ightned in the Doctrine of the Prophets and Apostles, as the People in New England (through Grace) generally are. Nor has he sa [...]d any t [...]ing but what is [...]rambe­bis [...], said by others, and has been Answer­ed more than twenty times. Yet inasmuch as many amongst us have not those Books in which his Good Rules in Divinity are abundant­ly con [...]u [...]ed, and discovered to be false ones, and since if nothing should be replied to him, some of his p [...]y will be apt to say that his Allegations are unanswerable. We shall there­fore make some few Remarks upon them.

Sect. 2 His first Rule is in these words: Whatever is Enjoyned by our Superiours, if it con­tradict [...] Gods Command in Holy Scripture ought for Conscience sake to be obeyed, according to 1 Pet. 1 13, 14. [...]m 12.5. Heb. 1 [...] 7, 17 And if what they Enjoyn is not made a Command of God, or an Article of Faith, or a means of Grace. Such a Rule as this would do very well among Pa­pists: For their Clergy men readily swear Obedi­ence to their Superiours as some others do Cano­nical Obedience. But this do's not very well agree with the Apostles Rule, who has taught Christi­ans [Page 3] not to use their lawful liberty when the use thereof cannot be without scandal, Rom. 14. [...] Mr. K's. Rule implies that the determina­tion of a Superiour will take away the sin of scandal, and make it a duty for a men to of­fend his Brother. Thus have Dr. Ames, and Mr. Jeanes long si [...]ce a [...]gued to shew the in­validity of their reas [...]ning who p [...]end Obedi­ence to Superiours tho [...]gh acting contrary to edification and charity to be a duty. As for the Texts by him a l [...]ged they only speak of Subjection. I suppose he is not alto­gether ignorant that our Divines when the Scrip­tures quoted have been urged against them, are wont to Answer that there is a difference between Subjection and Obedience. Subjectio po­test esse ubi [...]on est obedientia, says the Casuill: They are subject who choose rather to suffer then Obey an O [...]dinance which their Consci­ences will not permit them to comply with. A Learned Countrym [...]n of his own (namely Mr. George [...] in hisPart [...]. Chap. [...]. Judicious Disputations ag [...]ansi English Popish Ceremonies) will instruct him, that what­soever Superiours Command in such matters as any way appertain to the External Worship of God, must be both lawful in the nature of it, and expedient in the use of it, which Condi­tions if they be wanting, their injunctions do not bind to Obedience. The Divine Law bind [...] men to do nothing which is not for edificati­on, [Page 4] 1 Cor. 6.12. & 14.26. which whether the thing required be so, every man has liberty to examinev. Dave­nant de Ju­dice controvers. cap 14 by the judg­ment of discretion. The Laws of men are only Regulae regulatae, & Mensurae mensuratae. If Mr. K intends an In­timation that humane Laws do directly bind the Conscience, his Divinity is not good. They bind not (propter se sed propter aliud) of them­selves, but because of some other Law of a Superiour bond. So Calvin, Beza, and among the Pontificians, Gerson and many other Casuists v. Ames Gas. Cons [...] lib. 5 cap 25. have determined. In Civil Matters the Laws of men are to be complied with when they are not repugnant to any Law of God. But in Religious or Ecclesiastical matters, we are not to consider so much what men say, as what the Lord says. Isa. 33.22. The Lord is our Iudge, the Lord is our Law-giver, the Lord is our King. Jam. 4.12. There is one Law giver. In matters relating to the Worship of God, the Negative argumen [...] is sufficient. What is not commanded ought not be practised. Ier. 7.31. Heb. 7.14. All sound Protestants agree, that Christ is the only Head of the Church. It does therefore belong to him alone to appoint Laws for the Government of his Church. If men, let them be never so Superiour, suppose Pope or Emperour shall take upon them to make Ecclesiastical Laws which the Lord Christ has [Page 5] never made, no man is bound in Conscienc [...] to submit to them, but may with a good con­science refuse to Conform thereunto, and will be a Martyr in case he suffers for that his Non Conformity. Some of [...]a [...]e have taught, that a mans private Conscience must be ruled by the publick Conscience, viz. The will of Superiours, which (as one says) is a Solecism in Divinity. [...]ouner used to object Rom: 13.5. against the Martyrs. All the time of Popery Protestants were reproached as disobedient to Authority. Celsus reflects on Christians after the same manner. Conformi [...]ts in their disputes with Nonconformists, wonderfully extol the Autho­rity of the Church. But when they have to do with Papists, that argument is of no validity. This proved a [...] great temptation to a Great man to change his Religion. Mr. K. design­ing to exalt the Churches Authority, alleadgeth, Heb. 1: 17. Doubtless his meaning is, that in things [...]ot forbidden by the Divine Law, the Commandments of Bishops must be obeyed. There was a man (Dr. Richard Smith) that Preached such Doct [...]ne in the days of King Edward VI But he was said to make a pub­lick Recantation of his Error at Pauls Cross in London, May 15, 1547. In which he says, that whereas he had taught, that it is more convenient that the people obey their Bishops Commandments and Decrees, although it be but [...] thing indifferent of it self, and not commanded by God, then that [Page 6] Servants should obey their Masters, or Children their Fathers. Which sayings (says he) I revoke, disanu [...] and condemn as erroneous and false. And then he adds, That the Authority of Bishops and other Ministers of the Church consists in the Dis­p [...]nsation and Ministration of the Word, and not in making Laws and Decrees besides Gods Word. T [...]e Reader m [...]y see Dr. Smiths Recantation more largely recited in Mr. Nath Taylors De­fence of the Diss [...]n [...]s against Dr. Sherlock. p. 21.22.23▪ Mr. K would do wel [...] if he would follow Dr. Smiths example in some fur­ther Retractations of his errors.

Sect. 3. The Second Canon which Mr. K. would impose upon us, says that, Whatever Church holds the Fundamentals of the Christian Religion, and has the Word of God duly Preached, and the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lords Sup­per duly administred, such a Church is a true Church of Christ and to separate from such a Church in Ex­ternal Communion, & in External Acts of Worship, is a Sin, the which Sin is the Sin of Schism. It is e­vident by these words that he has not attained unto the true notion of Schism. According to him, Schism consists in a Separation from a true Church in external acts of Worship; but ac­cording to Scripture, men may be guilty of Schism, and yet hold External Communion with that Church where they have made a Schism. Corab made a Schism in the Church of Israel, [Page 7] for which the Earth made a Schism to swallow up him and his Company, yet he did not se­parate from the Church in external acts of Worship. The Schismaticks in the Church at Corinth did not withdraw from the Communion of the Church. They did not make separate Meetings, but all came together, meeting at the same place, and partaking of the Lords Supper, 1 Cor. 11.17▪ 20. There were those among them that caused Contentions and Divisions, and they were the Schismaticks. When after the Apostles death, that Church was influenced by two or three chief men among them, so as that the major part of the brethren deposed their Elders with­out any just cause, they were again guil [...]y of Schism, which occ [...]sioned Clemens Romanus to Write an Admirable Epistle to them, yet they did not then neither (so far as do [...] appear) separate from Communion in external acts of Wor­ship▪ If Mr. K. will consult Dr. Owen, and Mr. Philip Henry, they will let him understand that his notion of Schism is not Scriptural nor good Divinity. Nor is it a true Assertion, that to separate from a true Church in some external acts of Worship is always a Sin, or that they who do so are guilty of Schism. For,

1. There may be just and allowable causes of such a Separation. The late Bishop of Worcester has mentioned several Cases wherein the Scripture allows of Separation. One of which he says, is, if false Doctrine is imposed in­stead [Page 8] of true. Is not Lutheranism as opposed to Calvinism false doctrine? Let the doctrinal Articles of the Church of England be judge. Are there not some true Churches in the world, in which Lutheranism is imposed? Another of his cases, is, If men make things indiffer [...]t necssary to Salvation. A Learned man infers upon it, why is not the imposing of things in­different, so as to make the observation of them necessary unto Temporal Salvation, a just cause of Separation? Dr. Owen Original of Churches, first part p. 334 ibid p. 181. &c. has mentioned four other just causes of with-drawing Communion from some Churches. That incompara­ble Author dos also Assert and has proved, that where the Fundamentals of Church order, practice and discipline are destroyed, it is not Lawful for any man to joyn in Church Communion.

2. It is possible that a true Church may walk-disorderly, and not hearken to the Admonitions of those that would reclaim them from the Er­ror of their way: They may tolerate Scanda­lous evils, and very Scandalous persons in their Communion. Dos not the Church do so throughout most if not all the Parishes in Eng­land? And yet Mr. K will now (though a while ago he would not) own them to be true Churches. In this case with drawing is no Sin, but a duty rather. 2 Thes. 3.6. We Com­mand you brethren in the Name of our Lord Jesus [Page 9] Christ, that you withdraw your selves from [...]very brother that walks disorderly. The Apostl [...] in those words seems to have respect to the Jews Nidui, which signifies Separation, and was the lowest of Ecclesiastical censures among them. If then every Brother in a Church shall walk dis­orderly and scandalously, (which is not im­possible) neighbour Churches may and ought to with-draw from them.

3. Church of England Divines do many of them own the Church of Rome, to be a true Church, because they pretend to a belief of that which is commonly called the Apostles Creed, and they have the Sacrament of Baptism admi­nistred among them in the Name of the Trinity. Yet the Church of England is not guilty of Schism in separating from the Church of Rome!

4. It is possible that a true Church may im­pose on its Members unlawful terms of Com­munion, and then if a Schism happen the guilt will lie not on them that dare not Sin, but on them that make such Terms of Com­munion as God in his Word does not ap­prove of. And this I take to be the case be­tween the Church of England and the Dissenters. The Law requires all Ministers to declare their assent and consent to all and every thing contained & prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer. This they dare not for their lives do, because they should then dissemble with God & men. One of the first things in the Liturgy is Mathamatically false; for it giveth a Rule for the finding of Ea­ster [Page 10] Day for ever, as fallible as Mr. K his Rules of Divinity. It requires Apocrypha Stories to be read in Divine Service, which are contrary to the Word of God, such as the Magical Su­perstitions related in Tobit, to be read the last day of September, and first of October; And on November 23. the Legend of Bel and the Dragon. And some thing [...] out of Iudith and Ecclesiasticus, which are contrary to the Scrip­ture. The Common Prayer Book will not al­low the Minister to Baptize without the Sign of the Cross, nor unless God fathers and God mo­thers be procured. Nor to administer the Lords Supper to such as do not receive it Kneel­ing, which is a clogging the Ordinances of Christ with new Terms of Communion, not ap­pointed by him, but devised by men. All and every one of these things, and many more mu [...] [...]h [...]s [...] Ministers that will be of the Church of England Communion d [...]clare their Assent unto, although in thei [...] Consciences they a [...]e otherwise perswaded, which if they dare not violate, there are that will brand them with the name of Schismaticks. But it has often been known, that they who have themselves been most guilty of that crime, have been very li­beral in bestowing the censure of Schismaticks on those who never deserved it. When the Arians of old were uppermost, they called the Orthodox who withdrew from their Communi­on, Schismaticks. Papists at this day say all [Page 11] Protestants, and in particular, Church of England Protestants are Schismaticks, and the [...] of the Church of England Communion (many of them) do the like of all Nonconformists. Ne­vertheless, Mr K has put a weapon into our hands which slayeth himself. For th [...], I ar­gue, They that Separate from Churches [...]ich hold the Fundamentals of Christian Religion, in which the Word of God is duly Preached, and the Sacraments duly Administred, and set up other Churches in opposi [...]ion to them, are guilty of Schism; and consequently of great Sin. This Proposition is what himself asserts as a Maxim. I assume [...] But George Keith and his Brethren in sepa [...]ating from the Churches of New England, and setting up o­ther Churches in opposition to them, separate from Churches that hold the Fundamentals of the Christian Religion, and in which the word of God is duely Preached, and the Sacraments duly Administred: This no man can deny.

Ergo George Keith and his brethren are guilty of Schism, and of great Sin▪ If his second Rule is good Di [...]inity and infallible, he is out of his own mou [...]h infallibly proved to be a great Schismatick.

Quis tulerit Gracchos de Seditione querentas?

I am loth to put him in mind that the fa­mous Author of Puritanismus Anglicanus, was wont to say, that the C [...]nformists were Schisma­ticks, by their Nonconformity to the Catholick [Page 12] Protestant Church, throughout all Europe. And d [...]s he not know that Protestants look on the Church of Rome as the most Schismatical in the W [...]ld, for breaking Communion with all the Gresi [...] Churches in Europe, and with the Russian and [...]m all under the Patriarchs of Jerusalem Antioch, and Alexandria, and in all places in Asia or Africa, and with all Protestants if they will not receive their Errors, and subject their Con­sciences to her dictates? Let them be Schis­maticks who impose their unscriptural opinions on all others, like the Donatists of old, and thereby transgress the Rule of Charity and break Communion. The Reverend Baxter has these smart Expressions, We (says he)English Nonconformity. p. 219. Appeal to the common reason of mankind, whe­ther they that make a Multitude of sinful Canons to Persecute Christs Church and Servants, and add to his Laws an hundred and forty one of their own with inhumane penalties, casting out th [...]se that obey them not, be not rather Schismaticks, than they that say, we with-hold Concord in all that Christ Commandeth or his Apostles practised, but we dare not Obey you against God.

Sect. 4. His third Rule would have been l [...]ss liable to Exception, if he had said, that the Errors of particular persons are not to be charg­ed on the whole Church, in case the Church dos bear a due Testimony against them: but Mr. K. [Page 13] it seems would have the Church innocent, unless they justify those persons in those things. In which phrase there is an ambiguity. For if by Justifying he means an [...]vowed defending of Scandalous Criminals, like that of the Benjamites towards the Sinners in Gibeah, then his Rule is not Good Divinity. For the Scripture giveth us to understand that if Scandalous persons are Winked at, or not duly brought under the Holy Discipline of Christ, the whole Church is guilty though but a few, perhaps one in their Com­munion has been an Enormous transgressor. Heb. 12.15, 16. The Corinthians did not say, that the Incestuous person did well in violating the Seventh Commandment; nevertheless, the whole Church was Levened and became like a Sower Lump, because of the Sin of one man in their Communion, which was not duely wit­nessed against. 1 Cor. 5.6. When the Church in Pergamus did not exercise discipline towards the Nicholaitans among them, the Community was guilty, and exposed to the Holy displea­sure of the Lord Jesus Christ: who was also offended with the Church in Thyatira, not for their Commending and Justifying, but for their Suffering a Jezabel to be in their Communion. Rev. 2.15, 20. And this has been the fault of that Church whose Communion Mr. K. chus­eth above all others. This neglect of discipline has caused many Thousands of Godly men to separate from her Corruptions, lost they should [Page 14] partake in her Sins. Nor can she be excused in this matter, since in her Liturgy, she con­fesseth that in the Primitive Church there was a Godly discipline, and that it is much to be wished that Discipline might be restored: But although this Confession was made One hundred and fifty years ago, no ca [...]e has been taken for the Restoration of that Discipline to this very day: nor will it be as long as the Discipline of Christ is become a Picuniary business, as it is in the Church of England, as well as in the Church of Rome.

Sect. 5. The design of Mr. Ks. fourth Rule in Divinity is to Intimate, that the Dissenters ought to joyn, in Acts of Publick worship with the Church, notwithstanding the great mixture of unsound Members in that Church, because the Prophets and Apostles did not separate from the Publick Worship of God in the Jewish Church, when the matter of it was found. This Argument though often urged is not Cogent. It is Controverted among Learned men, whether there were any Ecclesiastical Dis­cipline in the Jewish Church, except in cases wherein the Ceremonial Law was Transg [...]ssed, and that Moral Offences were Punishable only by the Civil Magistrate. Whereas it is other­wise under the Gospel, as all except Erastians, do willingly Confess. But suppose it be grant­ed that Moral Transgressions in the Jewish [Page 15] Church fell under Ecclesiastical Ju­dicature, as the Jewish Writersv. Buxtorf. Lexic Tal­mud p. 1304 tell us of above twenty crimes which they say were Censurable Evils, and it is certain that Heresies were so, Mr. K's reasoning is nevertheless invalid. For he cannot but know that the Dissenters from the Church of England find fault with some par­ticulars in the matter of the Worship required by the Liturgy. They verily believe that such things are herein Commanded as God has for­bidden. Whether they are mistaken in their Judgment the day will shortly declare. The Conformists say that the Ceremonies enjoyned by the Common Prayer Book, are not com­manded by Christ nor forbidden by him, but that they are of an indifferent nature. The Nonconformists believe that they are forbidden in the Second Commandment. I shall not here dispute that point, which has been so Elabo­rately handled by many others. Particularly by Mr. Bradshaw, and by Dr. Ames in his fresh Suit against Ceremonies. And by my Brother Samuel Math [...]r, late Pastor of a Church in Dublin, and sometimes Senior Fellow of the Col­ledge there. Particularly, Nonconformists com­plain of the Sign of the Cross in Baptism, as a corrupting addition to an Ordinance of Di­vine Worship. Dr. Taylor notwithstanding his Pleas for the Liturgy, confesseth that in respect of the Cross in Baptism, a Non instituted Cere­mony [Page 16] is made a part of External Worship. There are also many Nonconformists who suppose that if they should Kneel before Bread and Wine, they should be guilty of Idolatry. Nor was that enjoyned or practised in the Church until the Idolatrous Doctrine of Tran­substantiation was established. Some Popish Authors have said, that if the substance of the Bread remains after the Consecration, then they must acknowledge themselves guilty of Idolatry in kneeling at the Sacrament. The Jesuit Costerus pro [...]esse [...]h that he would rather be torn in pi [...]ces by wild Horses, then Kneel at the Sacrament, if he did not believe the Bo­d [...]l [...] presence of Christ, and that the Bread was real Christ. I is true, the English Liturgy de­clares otherwise: for which cause many that Kneel do not violate their Consciences. Never­theless, they whose Consciences are perswaded that the inj [...]nction of Kneeling is a corrupting the Worship of God, ought not themselves to joyn in an act of External Worship so circum­stanced. It would f [...] a Volumn to inlarge on this Subject Mr. Baxter in his English Nonconformity, has enumerated no less th [...]n for­ty things imposed on Ministers, which they cannot Conform unto. Also twelve particu­lars which hinder Laymen (as they call them) from Conforming to what is by the Common Prayer Book required.

[Page 17] Sect. 6. That which Mr. [...] calls his fifth Rule needs Explication. It is not a found as­sertion, That what things soever were allowed under the Old Testament that were neither any part of the Ceremonial Law, [...]r of the Jewish Polity peculiar to that Nation, are allowed and practised lawfully under the New Testament. Di­vers things were allowed to the Jews that Christians cannot lawfully practise. Polygamy and Divorcements were customary with them, but the New-Testament does not permit such things, Mat. 19 8, 9. Some Rites which were used by them as they were Asiati [...] and not meerly as Jews, do not oblige European Chri­stians to an Imitation. It was usual with them when they entred into their Synagogues, to put off their Shoes, Eccles. 5.1. And to pray with their Hats on. None can think that Christian Nations whose Civil Customs are differing, should in that follow the Jewish mode. 1 Cor. 11 4. Dr. Lightfoot has observ­ed that some Christians would pray with their faces covered, in which he says, they were guilty of a Jewish Superstition. Two things we may affirm in opposition to Mr. Keiths Rule.

1. That the Apostacy of the Christian Church has consisted partly in its Judaizing. Some indeed have made the Antichristian Apostacy to be solely in the Idolatry and Paganizing of [...]h [...] [Page 18] Christian World. But there has been a strange aptn [...] in Christians to imitate je [...]ish Customs which the Gospel does neither require nor al­low of. The Agapae or Love feasts among Christians seem to be of this o­riginal, 1 Cor 11.20, 21.D [...] Light­foot, vol. 2. p. 1044, 1045. The h [...]t now mentioned Learned Author has further observed, that the Jewish part of the Church re­tained something of the old Lea­ven, and could not fo [...]bear Judaizing in the Ordinance of the Lords Supper, and therefore it mu [...]t be attended with a Feast as the Passeo­ver was. The Jews in Swearing would say, By the Law I Swear this, whence also in ta­king an Oath, they laid Drus [...]s de 3 Sect [...] 2, [...] 16 L [...]us [...]n P [...] [...]ol H [...] mixt. p. 452 their ban [...] on the penta [...]uch; but are Christians bound to imitate them therein? In the Council of Ni [...] it was decreed that Chri­stians should not keep the Feast of Easter at the [...]ime the Jews did, that so they m [...]gh [...] not [...]m to symbolize with them. The Jews had many s [...]ed Festivals besides the Sabbath day. In Conformity to them, Christians would have so too. In such Iu­daizing they offended against the Gospel. Gal. 4.10, 11. C [...]l. 2 16. The Jews had Musick in their Temple-worship. In imitation of whom Papists and some Protestant Christians worship with Cathedral Musick. Priests in the [Page 19] Jewish Church had holy Garments whereby they were distinguished from other men. Ac­cordingly Ecclesiasticks among some Christians have been known by their Miters, Albes, Sur­plices, Copes, &c. The retaining of things of this nature in the imperfect Reformation of the Church of England has not only been of­fensive to other Reformed Churches, (as is to be see [...] in Zanchies Letter to Queen Elizabeth) but has given occasion to Popish Adversaries to [...]e [...]ide them. ‘West [...] [...] Popish Bigot hav­ing said that the Religion of Protestants is without all Religion, because they have no Sacrifice, Priesth [...]d n [...]r sacred Ceremonies: He further adds, s [...]me Protestants indeed, that they may not appear absolutely in [...]i us and irreligious, use our Miss [...] and Br [...]viary, selecting what they please [...]ereof for the Ru­brick of their [...]sturgy, and to make the form of their Worship appear the more goodly, they have their Canonical person, [...]orsooth, after the Mo [...]es and Customs of the Church of R [...]me, their Caps and Hoods and Holidays, and such like stuff, wh [...]h they say they found in the Synagogue of Antichrist; by which very thing it i [...] apparent that the Religion of those Protestants stands guilty of Stealth and Rob­bery, by which it [...]t came into the world; or if they will not be taken for Thieves, let them go for our Apes. These with their whole Service are derided; not only by [Page 20] ours, but also by the [...] own. The English seem to have driven the Pope out of England in such haste that they forced him to leave his Cloaths behind him, which they as fools in play put on with a kind of pompous Ce­remony of triumph, and so lead the Quire: A goodly Reformation it is, that they dare not carry it through!’ Thus has a Scoffing Pontifician reflected on our Hierarchal men for symbolizing with Papists and Jews.

2. Whereas Mr. K. has asserted that proofs out of the Old Testament are in all cases as good as proofs out of the New. No man doubts of that, provided they be proofs indeed, and not Scriptures misinterpreted or misapplied, but we affi [...]m that the Order of the Gospel respecting the Constitution of particular Evangelical Chur­ches is to be found not in the Old Testament, but in the New. It is only the New Testa­ment that informs us what Officers, what Sacra­ments, what Censures are to be allowed of in Churches of Christians to the end of the world. When some would have had Mr. Fox (the famous Martyrologist) to have subscribed to certain Canons of their devising, (such as Mr. K's Rules in Divinity) He declined it, but producing his Greek New Testament, he said, I'le Subscribe to all that is written here, but to nothing more.

Sect. 7. Our Authors last Rule is very Ex­ceptionable. [Page 21] He therein tells us, That Set Forms of Prayer and Thanksgiving where the peo­ple pray vocally with the Minister, are a duty as well under the New Testament as the Old. We suppose that he intends Prose and not Psalm Prayers, otherwise he fights with his own sha­dow. None excep. Non singers, or his Qu [...]ndam Friends, the Quakers will [...]ainsay him, [...]rce Praying in Meeter cannot be without a Form. We then say.

1. That it is not our opinion that all Forms are unlawful. A late virulent Anonymous Author has slanderously reported that to be the opinion of him [...]h [...]t wrote a brief Discourse concerning the unlawfulness of Common Prayer Worship; but as he has in many other particu­lars dealt very falsely and disingeniously, so in that report of the Discoursers judgment, the pretended Answerer has wronged him. In­deed we look upon the Imposition of Forms as sinful, but not all use of them. It were much better for men that have not the gift of Pray­er, to use a Form in their Families then not to pray at all. This I have often declared, both in Sermons and in Printed Books.

2. We maintain that there was no such Common Prayer Book of Divine Institution as our Author, and some others have imagined. This notion of his is not built on the Founda­tion of the Prophets. They did not make a Liturgy for the use of the Iewish Church. The [Page 22] Jews themselves (as great Formalists as they now are) confess this to be true. They saySaubert [...]s precious Hebrae­r [...]m. p. 123. that from the time of Moses to the great Sane­drin, there was no ordinary form of Prayer amongst the Israelites; but every man made a Prayer for himself, accord­ing to what knowledge and gift of utterance he was end [...]d with. As for the Texts alleadged by Mr. K. they will not serve his purpose; because the Prophet Isaiah complains of the Jews, that they did draw nigh to the Lord with their mouth, and honour him with their lips, when their hearts were far from him, Isai 29 13. He concludes that there [...]ors they had a [...]inted Liturgy. But is this any proof? Are not men whose Religion is Formality and Hypocrisie, or who draw nigh to God with the outward, but not with the inward man, guilty of what the Prophet chargeth the Jews with. Can none honour God with their lips, and yet not with their hearts, but such as use a Common Prayer Book? Mr. K will not say so. And what though the Prophet Hosea and Ioel, say, Take with you words and say, receive us graciously, and the Ministers of the Lord should say, Spare thy People. The meaning is that they should humbly confess their sins, and deprecate the Judgments of God, and not that they must needs use those very words and no other. Whoever among them did with a penitent [Page 23] heart pray for mercy, observed what was en­joyned, whether they made use of those very words or not. I suppose Mr. Keith took these quotations from Dr. Comber, or Dr. King, or from both of them, for they both abuse those Scriptures as he does, pretending that they command the use of a [...]inted form of words in prayer. I affirm that there is not one instance in a [...]l the Bible, of mens reading their Pray­ers; (still remember that we distinguish be­tween Psalms and Prayers) but there are very many examples of free Prayer, or of that Ex­tempory Praying which some have not been a [...]raid to ridicule. Mr. Boyse, Answer to to the Bishop of Derry. p. 36. has well shewed, that God was so far from confining the Jews to any [...]inted Liturgy, that most of the Prayers, both private and publick recorded in the Old Te­stament, are conceived or free Prayers, without any set or prescribed form. Such was Solo­mons prayer at the Dedication of the Temple. 1 King 8. and Asas, 2 Chron. 14. And Iebosa­phats. 2 Chron. 20. And Hezekiahs. Isai. 37. And Ezras. Chap 9. And the Confession in Neh. 9. was a free conceived prayer, according as God was pleased to afford the assistance of his Ho­ly Spirit. It is pretended that our Saviour taught his Disciples a Form of Prayer. I have in another Discourse proved that the Lords Prayer was given as a Platform and Directory, [Page 24] and not commanded to be used as a Form, as is evident in that the words of that prayer in the two Evangelists Matthew and Luke, are not altogether the same. Our Saviours de­sign in delivering that Prayer, was not to teach his Disciples what words they should use in Prayers, but what things they should pray for, as very many Divines both Ancient and Modern have truly asserted. And there­fore we do not find that ever the Apostles concluded their Prayers with the repetition of those words. Nor that it was usual to do so among Christians in the next Age to the Apostles. In the third Century it was practi­sed in some Churches. From that Expression inde Orat. p. 122 Edit. Franeker, An. 1597. Tertullian, Praemissa Legitim [...] et Ordinari [...] Oratione: 'Tis conjectured that in those days they did not con­clude but begin their publick Prayers with the Lords Prayer. It was a long time before they would use it in mixed As­semblies, only at the Lords Supper when the Church was by themselves. They would not permit the Catechumeni to be present when that Prayer was used in the days of Austin and Chrysostom. To finish this Argument. If there had been any need of a Common Prayer Book for the Edification of the Churches, doubtless the Apostles would have composed one, which they never did. We therefore conclude, that [Page 25] to use a publick Liturgy or Set Forms of Pray­er is not a duty commanded in the Scripture.

3. Supposing it be a duty to make use of Forms which were of Divine Inspiration, it does not at all follow that it is then a duty to use Forms which are of Humane Composure. If Christians are under obligation to read the Scripture, it does not follow that they are then bound to read the Apocrypha. So could it be proved that the Jews used Forms of Prayer with Ezra by Divine Inspiration directed them unto, we cannot rationally thence infer, that Liturgies of mens devising ought to be used in the Publick Worship of God.

Sect. 8. As for his Testimonies out of the Writings of the Ancients, they are vainly produced. For,

1. Suppose in the next Age to the Apostles, Forms of Prayer had been used in Christian Assemblies, that does not prove the use of them to be a duty. Isai 8.20. To the Law and to the Testimony, if they speak not according to this word, 'tis because there is no light in them. In­novations and Corruptions did gradually and insensibly, and very early creep into the Church, when the Apostles were all dead. Ireneus and Socrates both of them confess that the Observation of Easter was never appoint­ed by Christ or by his Apostles, yet was it kept as an Holy Time by those that had seen [Page 26] the Apostles. Soon after Polycarp (who knew the Apostle Iohn) every year Christians ob­served a day in Commemoration of the Birth­days (so did they call the Death days) of Martyrs. This was a Superstition which made way for greater Corruptions. The mixing of Water with Wine in the Lords Supper, and sending the Elements to such as were absent, were practices that had no warrant in the Scripture. Nevertheless, thus it was within Fifty years after some of the Apostles were living. Exorcisms, Chrysm, and other additions to the Sacrament of Baptism were ancient Su­perstitions. In Tertullians and Origens T [...]m [...], the Custom of praying towards the East was advanced among Christians.

2. It is certain [...]h [...]t there were no stinted Liturgies or Forms of Prayer prescribed to the Churches for some Hundreds of years after the Apostles. Mr. K. has notoriously abused his ignorant Reader by rela [...]ing a pi [...]ce of a Sentence out of Cyprian. All that that Father (so called) says, is,Cyprian p. 55. 102 Edit. pari­sys. An. 1541. That Christians are not to pray for themselves only, but for the whole People; for all the B [...]e­thren with a common and con­cording Prayer. Now because Cyprian calls the Prayers of Christians Publick and Common in the sence mentioned, to conclude that there­fore they had in his Time a Common prayer [Page 27] Book, is a weak Inference. I have that chari­ty for Mr K. as to believe that he did not himself consult Cyprian, but made use of that Sentence as he found it quoted and perverted by Dr Comber. Mr. Clarkson, (a Judicious and Learned Divine, has Elaborately proved, that for the three first Centuries, there were no Common Prayer Books used among Christians in the Publick Worship. Dr. Comber has endea­voured, but in vain to perswade us, that Mr. Clarkson has falsified in his Quotations: And that Dr. has obtruded on his Reader, many Sentences out of the Fathers, strangely per­verting them to a sence never in the least by the Authors themselves intended. A worthy Con [...]ormist Minister, (Mr. Samuel Bold) has taken the pains to examine the Quotations both in Mr. Clarkson, and in Dr. Comber. And notwithstanding his being a Conformist, and using the Liturgy of the Church of England in his officia [...]ing as fully as the Law requires, he does ingenuously acknowledge that Mr. Clark­son in his Citation of Authors has used great Fidelity, and not imposed a sence on their words contrary to their meaning; but that h [...] finds it otherwise in Dr. Comber. Were all Conformists as moderate and candid as Mr. Bold, Nonconformists and they might live and love like Brethren.

[Page 28] Sect. 9. Mr. K's. Commendation of Vocal Praying with the Minister deserves a further Remark. He does on this account extol the Church of England above all other Churches. But he cannot be ignorant, that in Antiphones and Responses in Publick Worship, the Church of Rome ou [...]does the Church of England. He says true, that the Reformed Churches in Holland, France, &c. have no such Custom a­mong them; only he is a little mistaken a­bout the Protestant Churches in Germany Chvtraei O­ [...]as de statu Ec­clesia [...]. for some of them do, though most of them do not Conform to that way of Worship. That it was not thus practised in the Apostles days, is indisputable. The highest Original pretended for it from Ignatius. Socrates l. 6 cap. 8. (though otherwise one of the best among Ecclesiastical Historians, however condemned by Bellarmin, Baronius, Possevinus, and other Popish Authors) reports that Igna­tius had a Vision of Angels Singing after that manner, which caused him to introduce An­t [...]phones into the Church in Antioch; but Judi­cious men esteem that Relation of Ignatius his Angelical Vision as fabulous. The [...]doret says, that Flavianus and Diodorus taught this way of Antiphonical Praying. Basil (who flourished Anno [...]70) found a difficulty in [Page 29] perswading his Neocaesarienses to Conform to re­sponsory praying by reason of the then No­velty of it. The Arians at Constantinople used that mode of Singing, which lest simple peo­ple should be taken therewith, and be seduced from the Truth thereby. Chrysostom appoint­ed the like to he done by some of his people with Nocturnal Hymns, Ambrose (about the year 383) is reckoned to be the first that brou [...]t this way of pra [...]ing in to the Latin Church.Durand Ra­tional. l. 5. c. [...]. Cres­p [...]tius (a Popish Author) being willing to prove that this mode of praying was used by Christians in the Pri­mitive Times: He endeavours (as Mr. K. does) to confirm his notion by Plynys, Carmen dicere sibi invicem; unto whom the most Learnedde Eccles. po­lit. pa [...]t. 1. ch. 2. p. 538. Voetius replies, that the words of Pli­ny do not imply any such Anti­phonical Singing as is used a­mong the Papists, only an Alternation in divers Psalms. If Pliny had lived in our Times, and heard the Reformed Churches who use not Antiphones and Responses Singing the Prai­ses of the Lord, he might have reported of them as he does of the Primitive Christians. To add no more on this head, very Learned men have disliked the impleaded mode of Praying, as judging it not to agree with the [Page 30] Apostles words, 1 Gor. 14.15. Ubi supra p 483. So Voetius, andAltore Da­masc. p. 491. Dida­clavius. The words of the Ingenious Mr. Boyse in his Answer to the Bishop of Derry, are, I must Confess I am not very fond of it, because it seems less suita­ble to the gravity and solemnity of Christian Wor­ship, and brings in a confused noise in a Christian Assembly, too like that of a Dover Court, where 'tis said, all speak and none hear. Mr. Makemie says: We dare not allow in Publick Worship, which should be for the Edification of all, that inarticulate and unintelligible way and noise of all people, where all or most confusedly speak to­gether, one mans voice drowning the accent of another, which seems to be far from order, that it appears confusion, a Service in an unknown tongue. Mr. Hikeringill notwithstanding his being a Conformist,) tells us, that he suffers not such babling in his Church in Colchester, as is made by Alternate Responses.

Sect. 10. There are other passages in Mr. K's Sermon that are Crude Assertions, and which it is not worth the while to spend time in any large Remarks upon them. He would make his Reader believe, that Vocal Prayer with the Minister is a duty, because the Apostle says that we should with one mouth glorifie God. Rom. 15.6. I suppose he had this gloss from [Page 31] the Bishop of Derry. Can any man seriously think that those [...] of the Apostle are a precept [...]r [...]he Congregation repeating a wh [...]le pr [...]yer with the Minister, or for their so dividing the words between them as that the people, rather than the Minister make the Prayer, as in most petitions in the Litany they do? When Christians are Unanimous in Ser­ving God, and agree in the profession of his Tru [...]h, they glorifie him with one mouth: But (says Mr. K) Confession with the mouth is re­quired in the New Testament in order to Salvati­on. Ergo Vocal Prayer with the Minister, one after another in Responses is a duty. And can he now think that this mode of Praying is a thing wherein Salvation is concerned? He tells us further, That the whole Church is a King­dom of Priests, therefore they may offer their Pray­ers each one with his own mouth, as well as by the mouth of the Minister, which cannot be done without some Set Forms. Is there any weight in such reasoning? All Believers are Priests, therefore they must all pray vocally af [...]er the Minister, and therefore we must have Set Forms of Prayer. The Recitation of such weak arguing is Confutation sufficient. One notion more he has (p. 15.) which I passed over. A King (says he) would not put on a new pair of Shoes every day, Ergo, a Christian should not make a new Prayer every day.

[...] Risum te [...]atis Amici. But he is though [Page 32] an Old man, nevertheless a Novice [...], re­ [...]ens Ecclesiae infitus, one newly come to the Faith, on which account his mistakes are the more pardonable. I have taken no notice of what he speaks of Spiritual Overflowings, and the gift of Prayer. Some (I perceive) look on his Ex­pressions on that Subject as scandalous. Is not what he says contrary to, 2 Cor. 1.4, 5, 6.

Sect. 11. George Keith wrote a very wicked Book in the year 1689 full fraught with Hae­resies and Blasphemies, and with Revilings and Slanderings of the Ministers and Churches of Christ. Had he made a penitent acknowledg­ment of his great sin therein, and published to the world his detestation of that Book of Blasphemies, that would have been a better evidence of the sincerity of his Conversien, then this Sermon which strikes at the most Re­formed Churches on Earth. He has reason to walk [...]o [...]ly all his days, from the consideration of the hu [...]t he has done to the Souls of men, not a few having been either perverted or confirmed by him in the damnable Heresies of Quakerism There have been many Con­formists, whom for their eminent Piety and Learning we shall always love and honour. Would Mr. K. make it his business without concerning himself in those Circumstantials in Religion about which Godly and Learned men differ in their Judgments, to undeceive [Page 33] that miserable sort of people by him formerly deluded, he might do a Service, for Christ; but it is to be feared that this S [...]mon of his, besides the offence it has given to many Judi­cious and Orthodo [...] Professors of the Truth, may have scandalized his old friends, so as to make his Endeavours of reducing them to a sound mind the less successful, since 'tis now plain to all men that his design is to advance notions which have no Scripture foundation, as well as to make the world believe that the Churches of Christ in New England & all other that Conform not, consist of Schismatick [...] & Sin­ners, as formerly he declared them to be no true Churches at all, pretending the Doctrine of the Apo­stles for his Errors then as well as now. For him who has himself been as great a Schismatick as ever was any Donatist in the worl [...], now to insi­nuate that all the holy Churches of Non Confor­mists are Schismaticks, and yet at the same time to scatter his Sermon up & down, with a Schis­matical Design to make Divisions (if he could) in the Churches of New England, by seducing and corrupting them from the simplicity that is in Christ, to another mode of Worship never taught nor practised by the Apostles, deserves severe reproof. But we spare him, not do [...]bt­ing but that our people will be mindful of that Apostolical Advice, Rom 16 17. Mark them which cause divisions and off [...]nees contrary to the Doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them.

[Page 34] Sect. 12. It has been oft and truly said, that New England differs from all other the Outgo­ings of the English Nation, in that it was purely on the account of Religion that the first Plan­ters came into this Corner of the Earth. They were men Eminent for Godliness in the power of it. The Ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ who first Preached [...]he Gospel in this part of the World, were men fa [...]ous for their Learn­ing as well as Exemplary Holiness. When they arrived here, they found this Land a meer Wilderness, full of wild men and wild beasts. With incredible difficulty and vast expences they subdued it, so as that through the Blessing of Heaven on their Endeavours, it has been made a fruitful Land. But THE GLORY of it has been, that therein our Fa­thers have Built Sanctuaries for the Name of the Lord, (as 2 Chron. 20 8) And it has been not the least wonder of the last Age, that in a Land where Satan had been Wor­shipped for Generations, no man can say how many, he is disposessed, and Christ Reigns there. The sincere Endeavour of those that went after the Lord into a Wilde [...]ness, into a Land not Sown, (as Ier. 2 2) there to worship him, was to have no [...]ing in matters of Religion, or of Church Order, but what agreed with the Foundation laid by the Apo­stles [Page 35] and Prophets: And therefore they had not among them so much as a Ceremony or Holiday besides what the Lord Christ Him­self has Instituted. Nor were the Churches of New England ever tainted with those ear­ly Superstitions which crept into the Church in the next Ages to the Apostles. So care­ful were those M [...]n of God who laid the Foundation here, to keep exactly to Scrip­ture Pattern. Conformists (who have and we desire they may have equal liberty of Conscience wi [...]h our selves; only we like not their calling us Schismaticks, especially considering that some of their late Bigotted Writers say, that Schismaticks are as bad or worse then Murderers or Adulterers) are in New England, Dissenters, there being but one or two Conformist Congregations in all New England, and those not the greatest; but more than an hundred Congregations of Nonconformists. Since our Churches not­withstanding his making them Schismaticks and Sinners are built on the true Foundati­on, it is to be h [...]ped that if an hundred George Keiths should come to seduce them, and to pervert the right wayes of the Lord among them, they will not forsake that pure Religion which their Fathers have left them in the possession of. The little Fo [...] ­ [...] who have [...]ought to spo [...]l these vines, have [Page 36] not hitherto prospered. The Lord Jesus Christ who walks in the midst of the Golden Candlesticks, has taken a singular ca [...]e of these his Churches. The Rebukes of Heaven on those that have set themselves to under­mine them have been signal; some Instan­ces whereof are to be seen in the Church History of New England, newly Published at London. If Mr. Keith and those that abett him, would follow my (or rather Gamali­els) advice, they should refrain and let these Churches alone, left ha [...]ly they be found even to fight against God.

THE END.

ERRATA.

Page 11. line 27 [...]. querentes. p. 12. l. 2 [...]. for with r. will.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.