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A Caſe of Conſcience CONCERNING Miniſters medling with State Matters in or out of their SERMONS reſolved more ſatisfactorily then heretofore.

WHEREIN Amongſt other Particulars, theſe matters are inſiſted upon, and cleared.

  • 1 How all Controverſies and Debates among Chriſtians ought to be handled Regularly, and Conſcionably to edification by thoſe that meddle therewith.
  • 2 What the proper employments are of Chriſtian Magiſtrates, and Goſpel-Miniſters, as their works are diſtinct, and ſhould be concurrent for the publick good at all times.
  • 3 What the way of Chriſtianity is, whereby at this time our preſent Diſtra­ctions, and publick Breaches may be healed: if Magiſtrates and Mini­ſters neglect not the main duties of their reſpective callings.

Where a ground is layed to ſatisfie the ſcruple of the De­murrer, and of the Grand Caſe of Conſcience.

Written by JOHN DVRY, Miniſter of the Goſpel, to give a Friend ſatisfaction: And publiſhed at the deſire of many.

Octob. 3. Imprimatur, Joſeph Caryl.

LONDON: Printed by Francis Neile for Richard Wodenthe at the Signe of the Star under Peters Church in Cornhill. 1650.


A Caſe of CONSCIENCE Concerning Miniſters medling with State Matters in or out of their Ser­mons reſolved more ſatisfactorily then heretofore.

Honoured Sir:

WHen I wrote to my Friend about in­termedling with State Matters in the Pulpit, I intended onely in a plain and familiar way, to ſatisfie his de­ſire: therefore as in a ſubject clear to my thoughts, I did not much fore­caſt the Matter and Method; but fe­ſtinante calamo and careleſly; I did al­ledge, both to juſtifie mine own pra­ctiſe, and to anſwer that which is objected againſt it; thoſe truths, which I thought he would moſt readily entertain. But ſeeing you have told me your obſervation, that ſome do not acquieſce in thoſe plain conceptions, but intend to wade deeper in that Subject then I ſeem to have done; and that from ſuch, I muſt expect to be contradicted, and ſhould do well to prepare for a Controverſie. Seeing (I ſay) this intimation hath been given me, both from your ſelf at firſt;2 and ſince alſo from others: I think it not amiſſe to reflect a little deeper upon this matter; that if needs there muſt be a Controverſie, it may not be a wilde one (as now adayes many are) but regulated unto edification.

The occaſion of this Diſ­courſe.

For mine own part, I have made it my work hitherto, to compoſe Controverſies amongſt thoſe of my Profeſſion, ſo far as God hath given me addreſſe thereunto: therefore I have not provoked any to ſtrife; nor have I entertained any provocation given me, as others are wont to do: but my way hath been to follow Peace. Yet I am not afraid of any Controverſie; for how elſe ſhould I be able to deal with Controverters? therefore if I ſhall be drawn forth, and ſet upon in a contentious way, for ſpeaking my conſcience, when I have given no particular offence unto any, but plead onely for the juſtifying of mine own practiſe; I hope I ſhall neither want reſolution to ſtand up for righteouſneſſe; nor that in ſuch a caſe, the ſtrength which God hath given me to maintain a truth for his glory, will fail me. And as for that which (I am told) is given out by ſome concerning me, that I had a private end to gain to my ſelf preferment, by writing that Diſcourſe, in ſeeking thereby to favour a de­ſigne of the State. I can call to witneſſe upon my ſoul him, who ſhall one day reveal the ſecrets of all hearts, and the hidden things of darknes; that when I wrote at my friends intreatie upon that ſubject, I had no worldly ayme for my ſelf: but my whole deſigne was onely his ſpirituall edifica­tion, and the building up of thoſe, to whom by him the Diſ­courſe might be imparted: nor do I know, that ever I was told by any, but by your ſelf, and that after the Diſcourſe was publiſhed, and ſince by one or two more, that there was any deſigne in the State, to make an Act to regulate that matter; ſo far was I from favouring ſuch a deſigne, that I was utterly ignorant thereof; But it is naturall to men to judge of others, by that which they uſe to do themſelves. Therefore it is with me a very ſmall thing, that I ſhould be judged of men ſet in ſuch a way; nor ſhall I for this ſet my ſelf to grieve any of them, or give them occaſion of diſcon­tent: but I ſhall take from hence rather an opportunity to3 prevent a needleſſe debate, if any ſhould ſeek it, about this buſineſſe: and if a needfull one ought not to be avoided, I ſhall endevour that it may be ſo ordered, as not to increaſe any breaches, confuſions and animoſities amongſt us; but rather heal, redreſſe, and allay the ſame.

If then any ſhall think himſelf or his cauſe much con­cerned in that which I have ſaid, and ſhall in the trouble of his minde, paſſionately fall either upon me, or upon my handling of that ſubject: I ſhall not at all perhaps take no­tice of him; or if I do, it ſhall onely be with meekneſſe to right the wrongful conſtructions, which haply will be made of my words and actions.

But if any ſhall with a ſober minde ſeriouſly take into conſideration the matter it ſelf, whereof I have declared my judgement; and ſhall endevour to ſhew me ſome error in my way; I ſhall heartily thank him, and fairly meeting him be very willing to conferre in a brotherly manner about that which ſhall be found doubtfull between us; that the truth, which is uſefull to edification in this matter, may be found out.

The ſcope of the Diſcourſe.

And to this effect (becauſe I am glad of any opportunity, to meet as in the preſence of Chriſt, with the ſpirit of ſtrife and bitterneſſe, to caſt it out from amongſt Chriſtians; and conjure it by the counſels of Peace and Truth, which he hath taught his diſciples) I ſhall offer ſome Rules to be conſider­ed by him, that will as a profeſſor of Chriſtianity enter into any debate, that not onely ſuperfluous and needleſſe mat­ters of debate (whereunto Satan lyeth in wait to draw us) may be prevented: but alſo that the things which ſhall be found forth the diſquirie, may without confuſion (where­unto our nature is bent) be diſcuſſed underſtandingly; and in an orderly way for edification. For I will neither be obli­ged to ſpend my time upon trifles, and venting of private paſſions (as ſome delight to do) nor will I in a ſerious mat­ter, ſuffer my thoughts either to walk at random by truſt­ing to my ſelf, or to be led up and down in a diſorderly manner, after the humor of any man whatſoever: and this courſe I take both with mine own ſpirit, and for others ſake,4 cautiouſly; that within my ſelf, I may diſcover the ſnares and plots of Satan againſt me, which my corruptions might cloſe withall: and that if others will take upon them to meddle with matters of duty towards God and Men, either under a Religious or Civill reſpect; and preſuming to play the maſters (as now almoſt all do) will not enter into the liſts of Conſcience and Reaſon to walk by a Rule therein; they may be diſcovered to be Hypocrites and Fools, and conſequently unworthy of the conſcionable and rationall entertainment, which is due unto the ingenuous profeſſors of Chriſtianity and Morality.

The ſubject of the Diſcourſe.

Give me leave then to acquaint you, or rather him (who­ſoever he is, it maketh no matter to me; God accepteth no mans perſon) who is preparing to take up the bucklers in this Cauſe, with the way wherein I purpoſe, God willing, to meet him: that he may fit himſelf, either to go along with me in it, or to ſhew me a more direct path to walk in Love and Truth, wherein I ſhall promiſe to follow him; becauſe the Prophet ſaith, that two cannot walk together except they beAmos 3. 3. agreed. Give me then leave (I ſay) to acquaint him, that to prevent needleſſe controverſies, and vain jangling, and to finde out Peace and Truth in a juſt debate, my way ſhall be determined, and circumſcribed by two ſorts of Rules; which if he cannot except againſt and rectifie, he will be obliged to obſerve.

The parts thereof.

By the firſt ſort of Rules, I prepare and order my thoughts before I ſuffer them to enter upon a Debate: By the ſecond, I direct them in a right way of proceeding after they are en­tred thereupon.

The Preparative Rules towards a Debate are mainly foure: whereof,

The firſt is concerning the Subject, whereof the Debate is to be undertaken.

The ſecond is concerning the end, for which it is to be proſecuted.

The third concerning the point of difference, wherein the doubt doth lye.

And the fourth is concerning the way of handling the5 point of doubt to finde a deciſion thereof.

Of theſe I ſhall briefly ſhew you what I conceive my ſelf obliged to obſerve.

What to be conſidered concerning the ſubject of a Debate.

Firſt, concerning the ſubject, whereof a Debate is offered, the main thing which I look upon therein is, the naturall worth of the matter, with the effects and accidentall conſe­quences of the handling thereof: that I may know whether it be operae-pretium, and that it deſerves to be handled yea or no. And that I may make a true eſtimate hereof, I uſe to conſider chiefly three things. 1. The nature and kinde of things whereunto the ſubject doth, or doth not belong. 2. The recommendation which it hath, or hath not from God unto my conſcience. 3. The ordinary or extraordinarie in­fluence, which the right or wrong handling thereof may have upon the ſpirits of men, to affect them to good or evill with powerfull motions.

If then I find, that the ſubject in its nature and kind doth not belong to the ſphere of my profeſſion; that it hath no recommendation from Gods Word, either in generall or particularly, and in expreſſe terms to be layed to heart: and that it hath no powerfull influence, either upon mine own ſpirit, or upon the ſpirits of others, to affect the ſame one way or other, I uſe not to meddle with it, for I judge it not worth the handling; but if it hath any of theſe properties, or all of them, and I finde that doubts are rationally raiſed about it, I think my ſelf bound to diſcuſſe the ſame when they are offered unto me; and it is ſeaſonable ſo to do.

Now the reaſon why I think myſelf obliged to make this, or ſome ſuch like eſtimate of every ſubject, before I entertain it, is, leſt unawares I might become as one of thoſe, of whom the Apoſtle in his dayes warned Timothie, who turned aſide1 Tim. 1. 6, 7 unto vain jangling, and deſiring to be teachers of the Law, under­ſtood neither what they ſaid, nor whereof they affirmed. And we ſee that ſince his dayes, many of the Schoolmen, and other brain-ſick controverters in our Age have done, and ſtill do the like.

What to be conſidered about the end for which a Debate is ta­ken up.

Secondly, concerning the end, for which a Debate is to be proſecuted; I judge thus, that except I can perceive the con­ference6 to be intended towards the uſe of edifying, whereunto we are commanded to direct all our communication, I ſhall notEph. 4. 29. meddle with it, but rather proteſt againſt it: and that I may not be miſtaken concerning that which is intended towards1 Cor. 10. 31. the uſe of edifying, I take the meaſure of mine own and other mens aimes by two Rules: the firſt is, If either the mat­ter in it ſelf is not fit to manifeſt ſome part of Gods glory: or if the aime of thoſe that handle it, is not ſet profeſſedly to ſhew forth that part of his glory which the matter offers; then I conclude, that the handling of it is not intended for edifi­cation.

The ſecond is, if the matter it ſelf, is fit to be reduced to the end of the commandment, and thoſe that handle it pro­feſſe to advance that end by it; Which is charity out of a pure1 Tim. 1. 5. heart, and of a good conſcience, and of faith unfained: then I con­clude that it is intended for edification, becauſe Charity doth edifie: 1 Cor. 8. 1.

And the exact obſervation of theſe two Rules in reflecting upon our own ſpirit, to examine and ſet our heart aright by them, is ſo abſolutely neceſſarie, that in all matters of de­bate, wherein men pretend to knowledge, it will be impoſ­ſible for any man to avoid the ſnares of his own naturall pride, except he can take up this courſe, to quiet and wean his ſpirit from it: for the naturall uſe of all knowledge doth puffe us up. Whence it is, that without this ſpirituall re­ſtraint,1 Cor. 8. 1. we ſhall unavoidably fall into the condemnation of thoſe, whom the Apoſtle doth characteriſe to be proud, know­ing nothing, but doting about queſtions, and ſtrifes of words; of which cometh envy, ſtrife, railings, evill ſurmiſings, perverſe diſputings: the proper works of men of corrupt minds, and deſtitute of the truth. From ſuch, and ſuch practiſes, he exhorts us to with­draw our ſelves: for we ſee daily by dolefull experience, that the profane and vain bablings, whereby men ſtudy onely to2 Tim. 2. 16. pleaſe themſelves and diſcredit others, do increaſe unto more ungodlineſſe. If therefore the end of the debate ſhould not be clearly determined by the forenamed Rules, and conſide­rately taken up in the fear of God, (ſeeing the beginning ofProv. 17. 14. ſtrife is like the letting out of water) I can foreſee, that I might7 be heedleſly hurried, into a labyrinth of endleſſe contro­verſies; as I finde ſome others are, whoſe hands are againſt every body, and every bodies hands are againſt them. Ex­cept therefore he that ſhall take up the Debate, will conſci­onably and rationally ſhew to me, as I ſhall do to him, where he will reſt, and at what mark he will ſhoot, I will not be obliged to run after him, as uncertainly; or to fight with him as one that beateth the aire.

Why the point of difference is to be care­fully ſtated.

Thirdly, concerning the point of difference, how to ſtate the Queſtion rightly, which is to be debated, I take it to be one of the chiefeſt rationall expedients that can be uſed, to prevent the inconveniencie of an endleſſe controverſie: nor is there any one thing that doth more intangle and increaſe the multiplicitie of needleſſe Debates, then the miſtake of the point of difference either wilfully or ignorantly enter­tained. By this means Satan doth inable and ingagemens ſpirits to make their conteſtations inextricable, endleſſe, and irreconcileable: for when the Queſtion is not diſtinctly ſtated, and men are entred as it were blindfold upon con­tradictions, they will rather ſhift the point of debate twen­tie times, then ſeem to be found in an error once; and will rather ſhew a willingneſſe to diſſent in every thing, then have any thing determined by their adverſarie, as a Truth againſt them. And becauſe in the ordinarie Debates we ſee, that men labour to ſtate the Queſtion onely as they pleaſe, which commonly is to the prejudice (although it be clearly againſt the ſenſe) of their antagoniſt; it is evident hereby, that they are led by Satan to affect rather this, that their adverſary may be thought guilty of hainous errors and practiſes; then to endevour this, that his true meaning may be diſcuſſed, and thereby ſome profitable truth, and rule of practiſe held forth unto all: and from theſe roots of bitter­neſſe it is, that almoſt all the books of Modern Controver­ſies, are ſtuffed throughout with clamors, railings, injuries, andeproaches; ſo that to lick up the vomitings of drunken men, or to hearken to the hideous howlings of wilde beaſts, is not more loathſome or irkſome to an ingenuous ſpirit, then to be entertained with the filthy belchings, and load8 brawls of men drunken and mad with paſſion, whereby they fome out their own ſhame.

How it is to be ſtated.

Therefore to prevent the miſtakes which lead men into ſuch diſtempers; the firſt occaſion thereof is to be avoided, which is an inclination to be partiall for our ſelves, to get ſome advantage by framing of the Queſtion. But to avoid this ſnare, the true knot and center of the difference ought to be propoſed as a doubtfull Queſtion, and not as an accu­ſation, or a charge; that is to ſay, the thing to be debated is to be layed down, in the name of both parties, as they ſhall agree to underſtand it; and not as any one of them would have it underſtood.

Therfore I do offer to walk by theſe Rules in this matter.

Firſt, let a Queſtion be framed by him that will enter up­on the Debate, expreſſing that which he conceiveth to be the matter of doubt between him and his antagoniſt to be decided.

Secondly, let the Queſtion be opened, and all the parts and terms thereof explained, to ſhew in what ſenſe every word is taken, by him that offereth it unto the Debate.

Thirdly, let that be ſhewed, wherein he conceiveth there is an agreement between himſelf, and the party with whom he is to debate.

Fourthly, and laſtly, let the preciſe point of difference be diſtinctly declared, as a doubt to be reſolved.

And when this is done, let the Queſtion thus ſtated (be­fore any arguing pro or contra, be entertained about it) be imparted to the party with whom the Debate is intended; that he may declare his ſenſe thereof, whether yea or no, the point of difference in his minde doth lye there where the other hath placed it. For if it doth not, and I ſhould have entred upon the Debate before this is known, all my labour would be loſt, and in vain as to him: becauſe he will neither deny what I intend to prove, nor affirm what I refute; but ſomething elſe perhaps which I have not at all mentioned, or thought upon.

What to be done to handle the Queſtion ſtated, ſo as to come to an or­derly debate thereof.

Fourthly, the way of handling the point of doubt, to find e a deciſion thereof, ought to be predetermined before9 the Debate be undertaken: and to this effect when ever I ſhall intend to enter upon a Debate with any body, I ſhall proceed with him after this Method.

Firſt, I ſhall write unto him as a Brother, letting him know the offence which his Doctrine or Practiſe doth give; and how prejudiciall it is to the Goſpel in publick. Here I ſhall ſtate the Queſtion between me and him as I ſhall underſtand it, deſiring him to rectifie my thoughts concerning his opi­nions or practiſes, if I miſtake either of them: and if I miſtake them not, to give me leave for his own and the publick good to endevour the rectifying of that wherein I ſhall conceive him to be out of the way.

This entrie is to be made upon the buſineſſe both in con­formitie to Chriſts rule, by which ſcandals are to be taken away from amongſt brethren: Matth. 18. 15. And alſo be­cauſe it is neceſſarie to prevent prejudicate affections, to be­get love, to try the ingenuity of our Brother; and to waken the ſincerity which ought to be in him, to walk anſwerable to the rules of the Goſpel.

If upon this offer he doth give a fair Anſwer, he will ei­ther ſtate the Queſtion otherwiſe then I did to rectifie my miſtake, and ſo perhaps decline the Debate: or by altring the Queſtion he will give a new riſe to deal further with him; or by allowing that ſtate which I have propoſed, he will accept of a conference thereupon.

But if he doth give no fair Anſwer, or no Anſwer at all, to that which is offered; then I ſhall give him a ſecond ad­monition, and acquaint ſome friends with it to joyn with me, to make him ſenſible of his duty by two or three wit­neſſes, according to Chriſts rule in this caſe, Matth. 18. 16. And if this ſecond admonition doth not draw him on, to any effect of Chriſtian ingenuity, the whole narrative and proces of the buſines may be offered to the Society of thoſe under whom he doth ſtand, that by them he may be dealt withall according to Chriſts direction, Matth. 18. 17. if they bring him to the ſenſe of his duty, well and good: if not, he is to be left unto himſelf as an Heathen and a Publicane, whom the Chriſtian Magiſtrate ought to reſtrain from diſ­orderly10 wilfulneſſe, and offenſive irregularity.

But ſuppoſing him to be ingenuous, and willing to juſtifie unto me that which I think to be a miſſe in him, a confe­rence will be accepted, either by word of mouth, or in wri­ting, or both wayes joyntly; for both wayes may concur at once. Then,

In the ſecond place, I ſhal make an offer of the Principles, from whence I ſhall conceive the deciſion of the doubt ſhould be taken: and of the orderly way of applying thoſe Principles, that by conſequences drawn from them, the point of doubt raiſed between us may be determined. If we agree upon the Principles, and upon the orderly way of in­ferring thereupon concluſions applyable to the doubt in hand; then we ſhall proceed affirmatively, and negatively, to ſeek out the determination of the point. But if we agree not upon the Principles at firſt propoſed, neither can we agree upon the way of applying the ſame to any thing in hand. Therefore we muſt riſe higher, and propoſe other Principles which are more common and remote, wherein a full agreement may be found; and then alſo the way to pro­ceed thereupon, to regulate the application of truths follow­ing from thence to decide the point of doubt, is to be deter­mined; which being done, nothing remaineth but to come to the Debate it ſelf.

The cauſe why the prepara­tives are to be obſerved.

Thus you have a proſpect of the method both to enter up­on a Debate in an orderly way, and to prevent that which may be hurtfull in the firſt approaches thereunto: for if Sa­tan doth not intrap us, by ſome part of our own corrupti­on in the preparatives of our way, we ſhall be leſſe obnoxi­ous to his ſnares, in the following courſe of the Debate. And although the greateſt danger of erring, is to fail in theſe be­ginnings of the work; and the greateſt difficulty incidert to the beginnins of a Debate, is to prevent uncharitable fore­ſtalements in our own ſpirits, which inſinuate themſelves under the pretence and colour of neceſſarie pretions, or riſe up with the forecaſt of prudentiall obſervations; ſo that to diſtinguiſh between that which is lawfull in the one, as wiſdom; and unlawfull in the other, as jealouſie, is in••­ſpect11 of our thoughts like the cutting of an hair in the breadth thereof: although (I ſay) this is the greateſt dan­ger and difficultie of the buſineſſe, yet it is not invincible to a plain dealing Chriſtian, who is acquainted with his own ſpirit, and hath accuſtomed himſelf to obſerve the motions thereof, and to bring them home to the Rule, which is the teſtimony of Jeſus, to walk after his Spirit in all his aimes and undertakings. For this is the anointing which teach­ethThe benefit and effect of the obſervation thereof. the true diſciples of Jeſus Chriſt all things, and leads them in all orderly wayes of knowledge, righteouſneſſe, and holineſſe, of charitie, meekneſſe, and ſobriety within them­ſelves, and towards all men: for he that hath not attained to the obſervation and demonſtration of theſe wayes with­in himſelf, and to the exerciſing of his own ſpirit thereunto, by and from the example of Chriſt, can never exerciſe them effectually towards other men.

Therfore if a Chriſtian that can look into his own heart, will as in the preſence of God reflect upon his buſineſſe, and before he undertakes a controverſie, firſt conſider & diſcern the matter offered, whether yea or no, it doth belong to him to meddle with it; and if he finds himſelf obliged to under­take it, if then he will ſettle his purpoſes within himſelf (in reference to the aime which Chriſt teacheth, and the means of proſecuting the ſame ſutable to Chriſts rules:) and laſtly if he will look upon his neighbour, with whom he hath to deal, with ſuch an eye as Chriſt (if he were in the fleſh) or the Apoſtle Paul (becoming all things to all men) would look up­on1 Cor. 9 19. 24. him: if (I ſay) he will thus conſider his buſineſſe at the firſt entrie thereupon, lifting up his ſpirit unto God, for help and direction to order his wayes aright; he ſhall not want light to diſcover, and power to caſt off all the ſnares of Satan, which may take hold of him in his way: for it is onely for want of this fore-caſt within our ſelves, for want of orderly carriage in reſpect of the buſineſſe, and for want of ingenuitie, and of humilitie towards our neighbour, (which things are no where taught but in the ſchool of trueThe inconve­niencie of the want thereof. Chriſtianity) that all our Debates are become meer hoſtili­ties; all our diſtractions meer confuſions; all our doubts12 inextricable difficulties; all our differences of judgement, breaches of brotherhood; and all our breaches irreconcile­able hatreds; becauſe our paſſions are full of malice, and our evill ſurmiſings devilliſh, and abominable: ſo that from hence, and the controverſies agitated by theſe motions, all manner of diſturbances to the publick Peace have broken in upon us, and overwhelmed the ſtate of Chriſtianity both in Church and Common-wealth: and if no remedie can be uſed to redreſſe theſe evils, or weapons found, neither in the ſtore-houſe of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, nor in the ſtore-houſe of Humanity, which is Reaſon backed with Power and Authority, which ſhould encounter with theſe monſters to ſubdue them: ourine will be unavoid­able, and our deſolation ſudden; becauſe it is evident, that Hell is let looſe upon us. But we hope, that as in the holy Scriptures there is no ſpirituall furniture, nor armour of righteouſneſſe wanting for the warfare, which is migh­ty through God to the pulling down of Satans ſtrong holds in the thoughts of all men; ſo in the rationall conſti­tution of Humane Societies for common ſafetie, there will be no juſt power wanting for the ſuppreſſing of wilfull un­rulineſſe in the actions of all men: for as the word which is goneIſa. 55. 11. forth of Gods mouth, ſhall not return void, but proſper in the thing whereto he hath ſent it: So his preſence ſtanding in the congre­gation of the mighty, and judging among the gods, ſhall bring the foundations of the earth into a right courſe; becauſe he ſhall in­heritPſal. 82. 1, 5, 6. 1 Cor. 2. 6. all the Nations thereof, when the rulers of this world who come to nought, ſhall be at their end. Therefore we have no cauſe to deſpair as yet of the redreſſe of our miſeries, ſeeing all means and helps are not yet taken from us; but we ought rather to ſet our ſelves in the way, and expect a bleſſing up­on the right uſe of theſe lawfull means, by which the Lord hath appointed to bring the ſalvation of his Iſrael out of Sion, and return the captivitie of his people out of Babylon: and becauſe the Lord hath promiſed to bring theſe things to paſſe he certainly will ſupport thoſe that faithfully work for his ends in his own way: now I am very ſure, that none can ſet himſelf to work by way of Debates, for his ends,13 otherwiſe then by preparing his minde, thus to enter there­upon.

When therefore the entrie is thus made towards a neceſ­ſarie Debate, by theſe preparative Rules; the ſecond ſort of Rules are to be obſerved in the proſecution therof, to make our way ſtraight before us: that in caſe any thing hath been neglected in the preparation, it may not be made worſe, but rather corrected in the future proceedings.

Concerning the Rules of Arguing in a Debate.

And to this effect, to regulate the Debate it ſelf in the diſ­cuſſion of doubtfull matters, I ſhall offer foure other Rules which relate to the point of arguing, that it may be ratio­nall, and without offence.

The firſt is, concerning arguments to be taken from the Scripture.

The ſecond, concerning arguments to be taken from Reaſon.

The third, concerning arguments to be taken from the words of men.

The fourth is, concerning arguments to be taken from humane actions.

For ſeeing our Debates with conſcionable and rationall men, ſhould tend onely to rectifie their thoughts and wayes in things pertaining to their duty towards God and men; nor is there any other way to do this effectually and ſa­vingly, but by argument to convince their conſcience and reaſon of that which they owe unto God and men: therfore I conceive, that none other arguments are to be uſed, but ſuch as are directly convincing, that is, binding of the Con­ſcience and Reaſon over, to a belief of that which they offer: nor are they to be uſed in any other way, then ſuch, as may make that belief moſt readie, moſt free, moſt full, and moſt conſtant: and if we can ſo regulate the way of arguing both for the matter offered, and the manner of propoſing the ſame, that nothing ſhall be diſproportionate or deſtru­ctive to theſe aimes: I ſuppoſe, we ſhall gain the purpoſe for which all Debates are to be entertained, which is the mani­feſtation of a truth by the deciſion of that which was doubt­full. For when this is done fully, as to the matter, and in­offenſively14 as to the manner, then all that man can be in­ſtrumentall in, is done; the reſt of the work, which is to cauſe that truth to be received in love for the converſion of the ſoul, is Gods own immediate work, and not mans: for hu­mane debates may reach to the conviction of the under­ſtanding, but not to a converſion of the heart; as we ſee in Chriſt himſelf, who oft-times convicted the Jews of a truth, but they were not alwayes converted to the love thereof by his Doctrine.

Now the Arguments which to me are onely convincing, and able to manifeſt a truth or an ero, whereof I may be in doubt, are no more but theſe foure Scripture rightly under­ſtood: Reaſon rightly applyed: Mine own words taken in my ſenſe: and mine own actions taken to the end for which〈◊〉them: by theſe a man may take hold of me; and by theſe, and none elſe, I ſhall deal with others.

And that the way to manage each of theſe Arguments in particular, may be more diſtinctly known; I ſhall offer the Rules which I obſerve therein, which in brief are theſe.

Concerning the holy Scriptures.
  • 1. In things determinable by Scripture authority, I ſhall neither alledge, nor admit of the allegation of any other Authority.
  • 2. In places of Scripture, whereof the meaning ſhall be doubtfull, to finde out the interpretation thereof, I ſhall proceed not conjecturally, nor traditionally, nor by any pretended private inſpiration, (which is but imagination, and commonly proves a deluſion) but rationally obſerving theſe Rules.
  • 1. In caſe the proper, that is, the ordinary grammaticall ſenſe of the words, is not repugnant to the undoubted Ana­logie of the common Faith, or the clear Analyſis and cohe­rence of the Context; I ſhall neither give nor receive any other ſenſe but that which is proper and grammaticall.
  • 2. But in caſe the proper and ordinary grammaticall ſenſe of the words is repugnant either to the Analogie of Faith, or the clear Analyſis of the text, then they muſt be taken in another ſenſe, either figurative or ſpirituall, which is moſt agreeable to both.
  • 153. By the Analyſis of the Context, I underſtand a right dividing of the whole Diſcourſe into its periods, according
    2 Tim. 2. 15.
    to the ſeverall parts of the matter contained therein; of the periods into their ſentences; and of the ſentences into their ſingle propoſitions by their proper joynts and articles.
  • 4. The Analyſis or Diviſion of every Context may not be contradicted, if it is not diſproportionate to the Generall Analogie of the Common Faith.
  • 5. Nor is any Prophecie, that is, propoſall of Doctrines,
    2 Pet. 1. 20, 21
    Exhortations, and Comforts otherwiſe to be admitted, but as it is Analogicall, that is, proportionate to the principles
    1 Cor. 14. 5.
    of the common Faith, and the undeniable conſequences of truth following thereupon. Rom. 12. 6.
  • 6. No Rules of ſcripturall interpretation are to be ad­mitted, but ſuch, which rationally direct us to compare ſpi­rituall things with ſpirituall things, that their proportio­nall ſtanding together, and their agreement may be under­ſtood, as the Spirit of God did utter them. 1 Cor. 2. 13. and 2 Pet. 1. 21.
Concerning the uſe of Reaſoning in Divine and Humane matters.
  • 1. In matters of Divinity, I cannot be obliged to beleeve any thing, which is contrary to ſound Reaſon; although I am obliged to beleeve that, which I reach not by my rea­ſoning.
  • 2. I allow nothing to be ſound Reaſon in Diuinitie, but that which is proportionate to the common principles of revealed truth in the Scriptures.
  • 3. I ſhall therefore oblige no man to beleeve any thing to be a Divine truth; but that onely, which from common ſcripturall principles is demonſtrable.
  • 4. I conceive, all revealed truths to be rationally uttered, and nothing irrationally expreſſed in the Word of God; and therefore a moſt fit object for the rationall facultie of man to be employed in.
  • 5. By the rationall facultie of man, I underſtand the abi­litie of his minde, by which he can think underſtandingly of things to be underſtood; and compare his thoughts after an orderly manner together, to take notice of the proportion16 or diſproportion which they have to each other.
  • 6. In matters of Humane diſquiſition, that is, which may be underſtood without any ſpeciall revelation; I ſhall not admit that any thing ſhould be determined by cuſtome, or humane authority, which is determinable by a true reaſon to be found in the nature of the thing it ſelf.
  • 7. Nor ſhall I acknowledge any thing to be a true Rea­ſon found in the nature of any thing, which is not propor­tionate either to the common notions which all men have of things ſenſible, and practicable by themſelves; or to the maximes of reaſoning concerning the ſame which all men make uſe of, and none have denyed, but ſuch as were pro­feſſedly Scepticks, or reſolved to ſpend their thoughts by doubting of all things.
Concerning Arguments to be taken from the ſayings of men.
  • 1. I ſhall oblige no man, nor will I be obliged by any man, to build any matter of Faith upon a bare humane te­ſtimony.
  • 2. In matters of fact, where none other proof of a truth can be had, but the teſtimony of man, it ſhall be preſſed no further, then it is found probable, and not lyable to any credible exception.
  • 3. The ſayings of other men in matters of Doctrine, whe­ther few or many joyned in opinion, ſhall be taken for no proofs further then their reaſons are found valid; or then he to whom they are alledged, hath declared his approba­tion thereof; for then they are to be conſidered as his own.
  • 4. Mine own words in the ſenſe wherein I ſpeak them, ſhall be valid proofs againſt any thing which I ſhall aſſert contrary to the tenor of the truth contained therein.
  • 5. I ſhall not preſſe upon any body the interpretation of his words, which hee doth not allow to bee conformable to his meaning; but ſhall yeeld him the priviledge of being the trueſt interpreter of his owne mind: nor ſhall I raiſe a conteſt about the ſenſe of another mans words; to make him be thought guilty of ſhifting his expreſſions; for that tends onely to vain jangling.
  • 6. I ſhall not apply my ſelf at any time ſo much to refute17 as to Aſſert; but I ſhall deliver mine owne mind concerning all matters in themſelves affirmatively and negatively ra­ther, then to ſtand upon the ſcanning of other mens opini­ons to find fault with them: But if I needs muſt, to cleer the matter, alledge the expreſſions of him with whom I am in debate; I ſhall build no inferences thereupon; but by way of ſuppoſition, that is, if I have rightly underſtood his meaning.
Concerning Arguments to be taken from humane Actions.
  • 1. ſhall conſider no mans actions to upbraid him there­with; or alledge them as a matter of reproach to inſult over him, and grieve him: for that can proceed from no­thing but from pride in my ſelf, and malice againſt my neighbour.
  • 2. No failings ſhall be aggravated to the worſt ſenſe though they bee manifeſt, but I ſhall bee willing to excuſe them ſo farre as probably they may bear a good conſtru­ction, without doing wrong to truth and righteouſneſſe.
  • 3. I ſhall not interpret any mans intention to have been otherwiſe in his actions, then hee ſhall declare it to have been: nor ſhall I charge faults otherwiſe upon him, then as Hypothetically gathered from cleere circumſtances; which ſhall be noted rather to give warning, and admoniſh him to take heed, leſt a root of bitterneſſe might be found in them; then to make them a poſitive charge againſt him, or the poiſon thereof his guiltineſſe.
  • 4. No matters of meer ſuſpition or hear-ſay ſhall bee further named; then to cleer my ſelf from the guilt of the wrong that may bee in them: But of things cleerly confeſ­ſed, or openly known to all; that which their properties manifeſtly utter, as contrary to the undoubted profeſſion of Chriſtianity, ſhall with meekneſſe and zeale be opened; that he who is guilty thereof may be pulled out of the fire, and made ſenſible of the dangerous unevenneſſe of his way; that he may recover himſelf from the ſnares wherein Satan hath caught him. And thus I ſhall alſo deſire to be dealt withall by thoſe, who ſhall have occaſion to obſerve my actions to redreiſe that which may be found amiſſe in them.

Now if any of theſe Rules ſhall bee excepted againſt by any; and ſhewed to bee prejudiciall to the diſcoverie of truth; or all of them together inſufficient to the finding of a reſolution in lawfull doubts; or defective to lead us by a profitable debate in the way of Truth, Peace, Love, and Righteouſneſſe; I ſhall be willing to adde, and alter, and upon conviction receive better directions from others, if offered. But if thoſe who intend to deale with me, upon the Subject which hath occaſioned this diſcourſe: ſhall ex­cept nothing againſt theſe Rules; and yet not obſerve them in their dealing with me: I may haply, if God per­mit, bee able to let them ſee the injuſtice of that manner of proceeding; and the grounds of that naturall corruption whence it proceedeth: which we by yeelding unto have fomented; and by exerciſing have increaſed amongſt our ſelves; which hath made all this ſpirituall diſorderlineſſe to break in, as a flood upon us; and which will infallibly become our utter ruine, if wee perſevere therein. And be­cauſe it will ſomewhat ſerve to our preſent purpoſe, to diſ­cover the originals, and obſerve the progreſſe and the cha­racters of our corruption, I ſhall now reflect a little there­upon, before I enter upon a more eſpeciall application of theſe Rules unto the preſent debate; to prevent the irregu­laritie which may be incident thereunto, if no caution bee uſed.

Who the men are that in­ntagle the work of Re­mation by Controverſies

I ſuppoſe it is not difficult to foreſee and conjecture, who the men are, and what their way will be, which intend to appeare in this controverſie. For that none of our Modern controverters will bee forward to enter into theſe regular courſes, whereby debates are made void of offence; may be eaſily gathered from hence; that no Spirits unaccuſtom­ed to a yoke, will be willing to take i〈◊〉upon them.

Now we finde two ſorts of men (to whom all others may be reduced, as partaking more or leſſe of their Principles and wayes) who are accuſtomed to judge and debate of matters in theſe our times, who being unacquainted with this yoke, intangle affairs by different wayes of proceeding into diſorders of a contrary nature.


The one ſort is full of confidence, relying onely upon themſelves in the high conceit of their ſingular opinions. The other look more to the conſent of a combination in the declaration of their joint opinions.

The firſt think themſelves ſtrong, becauſe they pretend wholly to the direction of the Spirit in their way. The ſe­cond, although they contradict not the truth, of the Spirits direction promiſed to the children of God, (as ſome others do) yet they put their ſtrength rather in a humane then in a Spirituall way of acting. But the truth indeed is, that nei­ther the one, nor the other in matters of debate, hold forth to any, or follow themſelves, either in Theoreticall or Practicall debates, any approved Rules, by which they go­vern themſelves to edification about the diviſion of ſpiritu­all or rationall doubts; and although this is truly ſaid of both theſe controverters; yet it cannot be denyed, but that the ſecond ſort of theſe for the moſt part is more ca­pable of entertaining rules, when offered, then the firſt: becauſe many of the former take up, under the pretence of a ſpirituall liberty, the principles of ſuch unrulineſſe both within themſelves and towards others, that it is almoſt impoſſible to fix them to any thing; whereas the latter are rather too much inclined to fixe upon inſufficient rules, and humane reaſonings: but yet in both, this is evident, that whenſoever either of them ſet themſelves to conteſt for any ſuppoſed truth, or againſt any error; they follow for the moſt part nothing ſo much, as the flaſhes of witt, or the motions of paſſion whiles they rely upon the ſtrength of their naturall and acquired abilities: for the one, viz: the firſt, are led chiefly by their naturall; the other by their acquired notions.

Theſe that walke in the ſtrength of their naturall con­ceptions,The firſt ſort of Controver­ters pretend­ing to be ſpi­rituall. which they raiſe to ſome extravagant height by the apprehenſion of ſpirituall objects; uſe to confound all things under the ſpeciall notions, which they have pitched upon; and without any diſtinction of matters, as ſuperna­turall from naturall; of humane from divine, of inward from outward, or even of God himſelf from the creatures,20 they caſt all things into ſome imaginary frame of their owne moulding, wherewith they are ſo prepoſſeſſed; that they can conceive of nothing elſe, but that which is wreſted and made conſonant to the thoughts, wherewith they have racked their own underſtandings out of frame. With theſe men (if once high flowen) there can be no rationall deal­ing: for they have crackt their brain, and deſpiſe all things as below themſelves: Magiſtracy, Miniſtery, Ordinances, Scriptures, nay and Chriſt himſelf, is by ſome made a mat­ter of ſmall or no concernment at all, in reſpect of that which they account themſelves to have attained unto.

From theſe and ſuch as joyne neereſt in Principles with theſe, none other controverſie (as I conceive) can bee ex­pected,What contro­verſie is to be expected from them. but that which theſe two queſtions do offer: as firſt, whether yea or no the Chriſtian Magiſtrate hath any thing to do at all, with the viſible affaires of the Churches? And ſecondly, whe­ther yea or no the Rule and Government of all things doth not belong properly unto the Saints, and to none but them? Whom they meane by Saints, and what by rule and government, is not now time to enquire after; but it is apparent, that their Principles and thoughts lead them rather to lay aſide all Rule, and all Magiſtracy, at leaſt in reference to the pre­tended Saints; then to think that they ought to be limit­ed in any thing. But by reaſon of the extravagancies whereunto ſome have licentiated themſelves, and of the ſtrange pretenſions which are made to a Fantaſticall per­fection, whereof none other account can bee given, but their owne bare ſaying of themſelves, that it is ſo and ſo with them: (I ſay) by reaſon of this and their other impertinen­cies; theſe men have not only made themſelves a grievance unto the Godly, and a laughing ſtocke unto others, that are morally ſober and rationall; but for their ſake the mouthes of the profane in the world are opened againſt Religion, Atheiſts are confirmed in their impietie; a diſreſpect and ſcandall is raiſed againſt the ſpirituall profeſſion of Chriſti­anity amongſt ſingle hearted formaliſts: and the politick adverſaries of our ſettlement and Reformation triumph and exult at it over us.


Now as I do not expect, that any of theſe who make themſelves ſo eminent in their ſpiritualitie, as to have caſt off all moralitie, ſhould debate this matter: ſo nothing which from their Principles can be drawn, is to be much regarded. But ſuch as are not ſtrangers to a life truly ſpi­rituall, although they are not found to walk up to it; but rather follow the way of humane reaſonings, ſuch as haveThe ſecond ſort of Con­troverters who are men of Reaſon and Learning. improved their naturall with acquired abilities, of ſciences and experience by ſtudie, and converſation: and ſuch as have intereſſed themſelves hitherto in State affairs, to be­come inſtrumentall for the deſignes of one, or againſt the proceedings of another party; ſuch (I ſay) as theſe may perhaps ſpeak ſomething to the purpoſe, worth conſiderati­on, and deſerving an Anſwer; chiefly if without prejudice and paſſion, and with due reſpect unto conſcience and rea­ſon, they weigh the matter, whereof they ſhall offer a debate diſcreetly.

With theſe I ſhall not be unwilling to go along to ſearch out a doubtfull truth in this or any other matter. Onely before I come to ſpeak of this particular ſubject, to ſhew what I conceive the debate may be with theſe, according to the forenamed Rules; I ſhall in two or three words, briefly intreat, by way of warning, the cauſes of diſorderlineſſe whereunto our ordinary courſe is acceſſory to intangle our affairs.

If we reflect then upon our wayes, wee may obſerve that the aime of ordinary controverters is ſet rather to upholdWhat way of controverting is uſed by moſt of them. (and that profeſſedly) the outward intereſt of a party; ei­ther to vindicate it from ſome aſperſion, or to gaine ſome advantage to the proceedings thereof; by aſperſing others, and by getting themſelves into power over others; then to make a diſcoverie of profitable duties, and of naked Truths, that the neceſſitie of the former, and the evidence of the latter, may become recommendable indifferently unto the conſciences of all men: or that the conſcience of thoſe who have ſtrayed from the ſame may bee brought backe againe unto the acknowledgement thereof, whence alſo we ſee, that the courſe taken to debate differences, even in22 ſpirituall matters, and farre more in outward concern­ments doth almoſt ſavour nothing elſe; but the affectation of naturall wiſdome, of ſubtilty, and of eloquence, and the venting of paſſions proper to men depending upon this world. And herein wee finde a pride moving men to out­ſtrip one another, either by ſhewing their parts; as wit, language, reading, Philoſophy, Hiſtory, and other learn­ing; or by laſhing and ſmiting one another with the tongue: to ſeek a conqueſt rather by the infamy of others, then by the armour of righteouſneſſe on the right hand, and on the left. By theſe unchriſtian and unconſcionable wayes of con­ſidering matters, and dealing with perſons, the more able, and naturally rationall the men are that take them up, the more deſtructive they make themſelves unto the comforts of their brethren; and the neerer their Debates thus agita­ted relate unto Religion, the further off they ſet themſelves and others from the kingdom of Jeſus Chriſt: the reſpect which is had to gain credit with men, to looſe no ground in the Debate, and to be thought a leader in the cauſe, toge­ther with the fear, leſt we ſhould ſeem to be foiled in any thing; chiefly after we have owned the title of a Doctor of Divinity, and think our ſelves in ſome repute for Learning; doth ſtrip us of all Chriſtian ſimplicitie, and morall inge­nuitie: for when we come to a cloſe fight, and in danger to be convicted of ſome error, our paſſions are inflamed, and we chooſe rather, to make our conteſtations endleſſe and in­extricable, then that our Antagoniſt ſhould ſeem to have gotten any advantage againſt us. Thus we ſtrive not for Truth and Righteouſneſſe, how to finde it out (for the un­partiall way to ſeek it, is not once thought upon) but for our ſelves in compariſon to others, that we, and we onely may be thought to have it; and this makes the Debates te­dious, full of trifling circumſtances, and ſo large and volu­minous; that to read onely the heads of matters agitated in this way, will require more time, then a wiſe man will af­ford thereunto, or a godly man can take pleaſure to ſpend thereupon.

Upon theſe rocks of contentiouſneſſe and irregularitie,23 the excellent gifts of many able (and otherwiſe godly) men, are oft-times ſhipwrackt. For Satan by their zeal for them­ſelves,The evill ef­fect of this way. and privat ends, hath blinded them in that which is truly publick; and by this meanes (for it is from the failings of godly men on all ſides, that our miſery doth chiefly ariſe) a fire is kindled amongſt us of prejudicacy and jealouſie, which never will be quenched by humane power, or perſwa­ſion: only God is able to put forth his hand in ſome extraor­dinary way to lead us in a path which yet we have not known, a path which godly men will be capable to diſcern from his word, wherein it is revealed; and which by his Spirit will beThe hope of a remedy to be found in it. Iſa, 35. 6, 7. & chap. 43. 19, 20. Iſai. 51. 3. manifeſted graciouſly unto them. For the promiſes upon which I raiſe this hope, are large & plain, and oft-times repea­ted: For it is ſaid, not only that he will make a way in the wil­derneſſe (where no path is) and give ſtreams of waters (that is, comfortable refreſhments) in the deſerts; but that he will make the wilderneſſe of his Sion (his Church) and her waſte places, like unto Eden, and her Deſert like the Garden of the Lord. The failings therefore, and humane frailties of the people that ſeeke him in truth, ſhall not bring upon them a perpetuall deſolation; as the back-ſliding of the wic­ked ſhall doe unto hypocrites: but when their wilderneſſe isIſai. 41. 18, 19, 20. become a poole of water, and their dry lands ſprings of water; the Lord will plant the Cedar, the Sittah and the Mirtle-trees to­gether with the Firre-tree, the Pine-tree and the Box therein; that all may ſee, and know, and underſtand, that the Lord hath done it, and the holy One of Iſrael hath created it. Then alſo ſhall the weake hands (of the inhabitants of Jeruſalem) be ſtrengthened, and their feeble knees confirmed, the eyes of the blind ſhall be opened, and the eares of the deafe be unſtopped, and the lame ſhall leap like an Hinde, and the tongue of the dumb ſhallIſai. 35. 3, 5, 6. ſing. But before this can come to paſſe, which is the effect of the binding up of the breach of his people, and the healing of the ſtroak of their wound, it is evident, that the Towers ſhall fall, theIſa. 30. 25, 36. Iſai. 40. 4, 5. valleys ſhall be exalted, and the mountains and hills made low in the frame of the world; that both in the Church, and in the World, the crooked may be made ſtraight, and the rough pla­ces plain; for the glory of the LORD ſhall bee revealed,24 and all fleſh ſhall ſee it together.

Seeing then, notwithſtanding all the failings which have o­vertakē us, whether on the right, or left hand, we have ſtil this dore of hope opened, to ſupport our ſpirits, that if we walk & work with God in his way, he is able and willing to reſtore us; let us lift up the hands which hang down, & the feeble knees, and prepare a ſtraight way, even a high way in this deſert for our God. And to this effect, among all the Propoſals that can be made to the ſpirits of ingenuous men, and upright­hearted Chriſtians; I know none more neceſſary for our caſe, and ſeaſonable at this time, than to determine how at all times, the Miniſters of the Goſpel ought to behave them­ſelves in their charges towards their Magiſtrates, for the pub­licke good: which is the advancement of Gods glo­ry, by the redreſſing of things amiſſe, and out of frame, in Church and Common wealth. For except this matter be made cleare to our conſcience, and the truth cleared made our practice; there will be no judgement found in our go­ings: juſtice will ſtand a-farre off, and we ſhall never know the way to peace; becauſe true peace and laſting quietneſſeJer. 32. 17. is onely the work and effect of righteouſneſſe.

The Appli­cation of the Rules of the debate unto the preſent controverſie.

To come then to a more ſpeciall application of all this, to the point in hand; I ſay, If a debate concerning my judge­ment (That Miniſters ought not to meddle with State-matters in their Pulpits,) ſhall be offered by any, with a deſire to dig deeper than I have done, and goe to the root of the contro­verſie, I ſhall not wave a conference with them: onely I ſhall deſire that it may be agitated according to the Rules which I have mentioned, or by ſome others, if better can be ſhewed to edification: Therefore in conformity to what, hath been ſaid heretofore, I ſhall offer the queſtion to bee ſtated in­differently thus:

The generall queſtion, or ſubject of debate.

Whether yea or no it doth belong to the Miniſters of the Goſpel of Chriſt, to declare concerning the affaires of State, which are the Magiſtrates employment, their opinions in their Sermons tou­ching the Goſpel.

The aim which I ſhall ſet before mine eyes in taking this ſubject into conſideration, ſhall be onely this:


To finde out what the Rules of Love, of Righteouſneſſe, and of Peace are, which at all times are obſervable mutually, between the Miniſters of Chriſt, and their Chriſtian Magiſtrates, in the re­ſpective diſcharge of their duties towards the people over whom they are ſet.

The end for which it is to be conſi­dered, and what the uſefulneſſe thereof is.

For ſeeing the Magiſtracy and the Miniſtery are the two great and Maſter-wheeles, of all the publick States of the Chriſtian world; therefore we ſee, that by the motions there­of, if regular upon their own Axle-trees, and duly correſpon­dent one with the other, all the affaires of humane ſocieties are carried on ſucceſsfully, for the attainment of their eternall and temporall felicity, both towards God and men: But if their motions be either irregular within themſelves, or incon­ſiſtent with each other, it is evident in all Ages, that from thence the affaires of all ſocieties, become unſucceſsfull, and tend onely to the miſery and deſolation of mankind. If then it be, (as no doubt it is) expedient for us, to diſcuſſe at this time, that ſubject, wherein both theſe are at once concerned; to cleare our doubts therein, that we may know what is juſt, lawfull and commendable in the behaviour of the one towards the other; and if we ſhould intend to do this ſatisfactorily; it wil be requiſite that we ſhould make a true diſcovery of the generall nature of the duties belonging to both their places, as well in the reſpect of the mutuall relations, as in reſpect of the outward actions of their charges; which lead them re­ſpectively to the true ends of all their motions. For by this ge­nerall diſcovery we ſhall finde grounds to come to the deci­ſion of any queſtion in particular, what ever it may be, depen­ding thereon (for with other queſtions we have nothing to doe) but if we take not the light which from thence may be gathered, along with us, our thoughts in every thing will be full of darkneſſe; nor ſhall we find any path to walk in, made plain before us.

I conceive therefore, that this aim to ſeek out theſe Rules, is to be taken up in this debate, not onely that we may know what is neceſſary foredification in the main works of both ad­miniſtrations; and that we may find a directory thereby, leading us towards the reſolution of our preſent doubt, which26 is wrapt up in the ignorance of thoſe fundamentals; but alſo that we may circumſcribe and determine our thoughts in the debate it ſelfe, leſt they miſcarry, and be ſuffered to wander upon uſe leſſe and by-matters, uncertainly, as it happeneth un­to others in the debates of this and of ſome other kinds, there­fore I declare before-hand, that my reſolution is unalterably to wave every thing which ſhall be offered, that hath no di­rect or collaterall tendency and ſubordination towards the diſcovery of theſe Rules: for to finde out a cleare demon­ſtration of the truth of theſe, is the whole fruit of all this Diſ­quiſition.

The termes of the Que­ſtion explai­ned.

Thus having determined the end of the debate, let us come to look upon the point of difference which may be between us: And here I cannot definitly ſay wherein others differ from me in a poſitive opinion (I ſee what the poſitive diffe­rence of their practice is from mine, but men oft-times doe more then they think they doe) but that they who allow at large (which I do not) Miniſters to meddle in matters of State, may judge wherein I doe differ from them; I ſhall fol­low the method formerly ſet down, and firſt open my ſenſe of the queſtion, and then declare both the agreement and the difference which I conceive to be therein between us.

The termes of the queſtion I underſtand thus:

1. By the Miniſters of the Goſpel of Chriſt, I underſtand certain men who (take not upon them at their own hand; but) are called in an ordinary and orderly way to teach other men the knowledge of Chriſt, to perſwade and exhort them to receive him, and walk in him by faith and love, for the ſal­vation of their own ſoules, and the enlargement of his king­dome towards others in the world, to pray for and with them, and to overſee their wayes, that they may be found conform­able to their profeſſion. And this I conceive is the whole ſub­ſtance of their imployment.

2. By the Goſpel of Chriſt I underſtand the glad Ti­dings of Gods free Grace offered to us in the new Cove­nant made with mankind in Chriſt, that we may entertain it by faith.

3. By the Sermons of thoſe Miniſters teaching this Goſ­pel,27 I meane their ordinary ſpeeches to their hearers con­cerning this ſubject, by which they ought to bring them to the obedience of faith.

4 By the Magiſtrates I underſtand certain men whom God hath exalted, and ſet over the viſible Societies of men for their good; to over-ſee their wayes, and order them in righteouſ­neſſe by power and authority to make them conformable unto his known will.

5. By State-affaires, which are ſaid to be the employments of the Magiſtrate, I mean all things which concerne either the viſible ſocieties, or the ſingle perſons of men, as relating to their outward ſtate and condition of life in the world, wherein power and authority can be exerciſed for the orde­ring of the ſame.

6. By Power I mean the forcible meanes of conſtraining through feare, thoſe that are in ſubjection, to doe that which their ſuperiors will have them to do. This is that which the Apoſtle calls the Sword, Rom. 12. 4.

7. By Authority I meane a right to adminiſter a charge, and to beare rule therein over others for the government of their wayes; whereunto thoſe that are to be governed, owe reſpect and ſubmiſſion: And this is that which the Apoſtle calls to be ſubject for conſcience ſake, Rom. 12. 5.

Theſe are the things whereof the queſtion doth ſpeak; but

The thing queſtioned, or the mat­ter of doubt.

The queſtion it ſelfe, or the thing queſtioned concerning theſe things is this, Whether yea or no it doth appertain to the calling and charge of thoſe that are employed in the ſer­vice of Chriſt for ſpirituall matters; when they are about that ſervice, to utter in publick their particular thoughts concer­ning worldly matters, which appertain to the calling and charge of thoſe who are ſet in power and authority over the Common-wealth?

To this queſtion whether we ſhould ſay abſolutely Yea, or abſolutly No,; or in ſome reſpect yea, and in ſome reſpect no, and how farre yea and how farre no, in each reſpect; is the matter of doubt, which by a friendly conference and debate, fitted to ſearch after hidden Truths, may be reſolved. And that we may endeavour this ſo, as to bring the matter to an28 iſſue, without diſtractedneſſe or confuſion, let us firſt conſi­der that wherein we agree, as a known and determined truth; then view that which remaineth yet unknown, as an undeter­mined doubt, that by the help of ſome principles, and the right application thereof unto the point of difference, we may make a way for our underſtanding to determine the ſame.

The matters of agreement

The matters wherein I ſuppoſe an agreement will be found, are theſe:

1. That the terms of the queſtion as they have been ope­ned, are truths, viz. That by Miniſters and Magiſtrates, and their employments; ſuch men, ſuch things, and ſuch actions are to be underſtood, as were deſcribed in the opening of the queſtion: and that the point of doubt in generall doth lie there, where it is ſaid to lie: For if either theſe termes, or any of them, be otherwiſe underſtood, or the point of doubt otherwiſe placed than hath been now mentioned; although in words we may ſeem to agree upon the ſtating of the queſtion, yet the thing it ſelfe is not agreed upon: therefore this muſt needs be preſuppoſed to be ſo, before we can proceed to a­ny other points of agreement; and then I ſhall offer this further.

2. That Ieſus Chriſt who is now at the right hand of God, having all power in heaven and earth, hath ordained in this world, both theſe kinds of Officers, ſome to preach the Goſ­pell unto men, as Miniſters of his Word and Myſteries, 1 Cor. 9. 14. and chap. 4. 1. with Tit. 1. 7. and 1 Pet. 4. 10. and ſome to rule the Societies of men, to keep them in good order, as Magiſtrates endued with power to puniſh the evill, and re­ward the good. Rom. 13. verſ. 1. till 8. and 1 Pet. 2. verſ. 13. till 18.

3. That the employments of theſe two Officers although they are coexiſtent under Chriſt, towards the ſame men who are to be governed by them, and concurrent towards them, for his ends upon them; yet they are diſtinguiſhable the one from the other, chiefly in reſpect of their different objects, of their different immediate ends, of their different fundamentall rights to their charges, and the properties thereof, and of their different wayes of adminiſtring their charges.


4. That the object of the Miniſteriall adminiſtration is no­thing elſe but the truth and will of God in the Goſpel, as it is revealed in the Scriptures; and that the object of the Ma­giſtraticall adminiſtration, is the Truth and Will of God, as in the Principles of right Reaſon, and the Law of Nature it is revealed.

5. That the immediate end of the Miniſteriall adminiſtra­tion of their object, is to bring mens ſoules to have commu­nion with God in Chriſt by his ſpirit; and that the immediate end of the Magiſtraticall adminiſtration of their object, is to bring men in ſoule and body to live together in the plenti­full enjoyment of all good things, honeſtly, peaceably, and ſafely one with another.

6 That the fundamentall right unto a Miniſteriall admini­ſtration, is to be called thereunto as Aaron was, Heb. 5. 4. And that the fundamentall right unto a Magiſtratical admini­ſtration, is to be in the place of power, and obliged to look to others, and ſee right done among them, as Moſes was, Exod. 2. 11, 12, 13. 14. compared with Acts 7. 23, 24. 25.

7. That the properties of the Miniſteriall right unto the adminiſtration of their object in their charges, are chiefly two­fold, their due qualifications for their employment, and their lawfull entry upon the charge of ſouls committed unto them. Their qualification for their employment muſt be ſuch as the Apoſtle doth require it to be, 1 Tim. 3. v. 1. till 8. and Tit. 1. v. 6. till 10.

And their entry upon the charge of ſouls committed unto them, muſt be ſuch as Chriſt doth require it to be, John 10, v. 1, 2, 7, 8, 9.

8. That the properties of the Magiſtraticall right unto the adminiſtration of their object in their charges, are chiefly a threefold preeminencie, viz. a preeminencie over the perſons of all men, that all ſoules muſt be ſubject unto the higher powers, Rom. 13. v. 1. A preeminency over the might and ſtrength of all men, that none may reſiſt the higher pow­ers, Rom. 13. 2. and a preeminencie over the goods and poſ­ſeſſions of all men, that every one is bound to pay them tri­butes and taxes, Rom. 13. 6.


9. That the wayes of the miniſterial adminiſtration of their Charge, are mainly three and no more, Inſtructive, Perſua­ſive, and Declarative. Inſtructive to work upon the under­ſtanding, that which is rational to manifeſt truth unto it. Perſuaſive to work upon the will and affections, by intrea­ties promiſes and threatnings, the ſence of good and evill, to cauſe it imbrace the one, and fly from the other. Declarative to denounce in Gods name from his undoubted word his expres will, to move the Conſcience to yield obedience there­unto, that is either to be comforted, or to be afflicted, as the Kingdom of Heaven is either opened or ſhut upon it, by the declared will of God towards it.

10. That the wayes of the Magiſtratical Adminiſtration of their Charge are Directive, Legiſlative, and Coercive, to or­der the wayes of their Subjects in righteouſnes.

Directive, by Councel and Inſtructions to ſet ſubordinate Officers a work towards their Subjects, to lead them unto the performance of their duties, and prevent diſorders.

Legiſlative, by Lawes and Ordinances, to let all men know the juſt duties which are to be obſerved towards all men, in all caſes, relating the ſafety of the ſociety, and the indempni­ty of every one belonging thereunto, from each o­ther.

Coercive, to right all things that are amiſſe, by diſtributing rewards and puniſhments to every one as they do de­ſerve.

11. That this Magiſtratical function may be in a Heathen man for the good of a Common-wealth; and although it may be in the hands of ſuch a man, or men, that Chriſtian Miniſters and Profeſſors, ought nevertheles to acknowledge him or them, in the place to be their lawful Magiſtrates, to reſpect them, to pray for them, and to ſubmit themſelves unto them, either actively or paſſively, as their Commands ſhall be conſiſtent with a good Conſcience under the rules of Chri­ſtianity.

Hitherto I have offered that wherein I ſuppoſe an agree­ment will be found in reſpect of the coexiſtence and diſtirction of the employments: now I ſhall go a ſtep further, and31 offer that alſo wherein I ſuppoſe we ſhall agree, in reſpect of the concurrence of the employments under Chriſt for his ends upon Mankind; here then I ſuppoſe it will be granted.

12. That it is as lawful for a Chriſtian man to be a Magi­ſtrate, as it is expedient for him to be rational, and neceſſary to be a true ſociable man by nature; for as the profeſſion of Chriſtianity doth neither make void the uſe of reaſon, nor a­boliſh the true life of nature; but ſanctifies the one and the other and exalts both to an uſe wherein God is glorified by them: ſo the rules of Government in a ſociable life, and the rational principle of good order in nature, are no wayes caſt off, or neglected by the Rules of Chriſtianity, but exalted and made ſubſervient to the higheſt way of happines.

13. That in a whole ſociety of men every thing is pro­portionably to be allowed, which in one man cannot be disal­lowed: as therefore the life of right reaſon, and true nature are not inconſiſtent in one ſingle man, but concurrent with Chriſtianity to make him truly happy; ſo in a ſociety of men, to become a State, and to be governed by Magiſtrates accor­ding to the Rules of reaſon, and the principles of good order in nature, is no wayes inconſiſtent, but wholly concurrent with the frame and life of a Chriſtian ſociety; although Chri­ſtianity abſtractively in it ſelf, is nothing elſe, but the Rule of a ſpiritual life, whereby we are directed to follow Chriſts foot-ſteps, that we may come to God by him, as new Crea­tures, ſeparate from the world.

14. That a Chriſtian being a Magiſtrate in a Chriſtian State, although all his Subjects in reſpect of Chriſt, and the way of the heavenly profeſſion; are his Brethren, and in that re­ſpect his equals; yet by this, he doth looſe nothing of the natural right and properties of this place, which God hath given to a very Heathen over Chriſtians; but gaineth rather thereby an enlargement of his preeminency, and an additio­nal right and gracious priviledge to his place, which is at leaſt threefold Firſt, the right to be more beloved and honoured than if he were a meer Heathen. Secondly, the priviledge to become a nurſing Father to the Church of God; to provide32 for it all things outwardly comfortable, and to protect it. Thirdly, the preeminencie of being Chriſts Vice-gerent in the outward frame of the ſociety, by which meanes, he hath an influence to ſee things ordered according to his known will in the Common-wealth, and to ſway things to the beſt frame in the publique profeſſion, for the body of the ſociety; and an obligation laid upon him; not to ſee and ſuffer Chriſts name to be diſhonoured; and his Ordinances blaſphamed: ſo farre as by his place he can hinder it, without conſtraining and perſecuting any man; for the enjoyment of his Conſci­ence, whereby he doth not give any publike offence.

15. That a Chriſtian being a Magiſtrate, although his profeſſiō doth ad theſe priviledges to him in his Magiſtracy, yet his Ma­giſtracy doth not exalt him above the Church of Chriſt, that he ſhould have a right to cōmand any thing therein after his own wil, as in humane affaires; for Chriſt only who is the head, hath authority to command in the Church, and thoſe that either teach for Doctrines the Commandements of men; or impoſe thoſe Commandements upon others, to teach them, or obſerve them be­ing taught and impoſed, worſhip God in vain. Matth. 15. 9.

16. That the greateſt honour and priviledge that can befall to a Magiſtrate, as being a Chriſtian, is, to become a Member of the myſtical Body of Ieſus Chriſt, and ſo to be under the ſpiritual inſpection, and care of the Miniſtery of the Goſpel, and the diſpenſation of the myſteries and graces of the King­dom of Heaven.

17. That a Chriſtian Magiſtrate being a fellow-Member of the Body of Chriſt, is obliged not only as a Magiſtrate to o­verſee them in outward things for their good; but as a Pro­feſſor and Brother to watch over their ſoules, conſidering them in love, to provoke them, and ſtir them up to all good works.

18. That a Magiſtrate being a Chriſtian; although he is ſet over all men, in reſpect of the outward and viſible Go­vernment of the ſociety; yet in reſpect of the inward and ſpiritual Charge of ſoules committed to the Miniſters of Chriſt, he is under their care and inſpection, to be watched o­ver,33 that he ſhould walk worthy of God in the Heavenly pro­feſſion.

19. That although a Magiſtrate as a Chriſtian, is thus un­der the inſpection of the Miniſterial function, as to his perſo­nal behaviour and walking in the holy profeſſion, and may lawfully be admoniſhed in caſe he doth any thing contrary to the rules of his profeſſion; yet his Magiſtratical function is not under the inſpection of the Miniſters of the Goſpel: for their line doth go no farther than their Stewardſhip; and their Stewardſhip doth go no further than the Myſteries and the houſe of God: therefore as the Miniſters are not ſet to overſee and direct him in his Magiſtracy; So he is not account­able to them of his proceedings in State-matters.

20. That although the Miniſters of the Goſpel depend not upon the Authority of any men in the duties of their ſpiritual function; yet they are accountable, not only to the civil and Chriſtian Magiſtrate of the reaſon and manner of all their proceedings in their adminiſtrations; but to any other, that ſhall deſire to know what their way and purpoſe of walk­ing is in any thing belonging to their profeſſion: becauſe2 Cor. 4. 2. & 1 Iohn 1. 7. they are bound to reject all the hidden things of darknes, to walk in the light, and approve their wayes unto the Conſciences of all men, as in the ſight of God.

21. That a Concurrence of the Chriſtian Magiſtrate with the Miniſtery by way of Councel and cooperation of coun­tenance & protection in all things belonging to the advance­ment of the Kingdom of Chriſt, is not only lawful, but very expedient and commendable, and a concurrence of the Mini­ſtery with the Magiſtracy, to teach both them and their Sub­jects the duties which God hath Commanded all of them to­wards one another is neceſſary; becauſe it is a part of that Charge which God hath given to the Miniſtery. Tit. 3. 1. 2.

22. That the Councels, the Reſolutions, the Lawes, and the executions of State-Government, which are the proper works of the Magiſtrate; whereupon according to his beſt un­derſtanding he doth attend, ought not publickly to be con­trouled34 by any of his Subjects; or in a privat way re­ſiſted.

23. That the conjunction of endeavours in the Magiſtra­cy and Miniſtery ought to be only for the publick good, either of Church or Common-wealth, or of both; and by each of them his work is to be done diſtinctly in the way of his own Calling, wherein Chriſt hath ſet him and not otherwiſe.

24. That the Miniſterial Function and Stewardſhip of the Myſteries of God, which Chriſt hath appointed to be diſ­penſed for ſpiritual and eternal concernments, in foro interiori, may not be employed for bodily and temporal and State de­ſignments, as ſubordinate thereunto in foro exteriori.

25. That Miniſters as private men, and living as Members in a State, may and ought to contribute their natural Talents, to further the publick good thereof in ſubordination to the Magiſtrates lawful deſires, and to give example to others of their duty.

26. That Magiſtrates profeſſing Chriſtianity, if they make a faire ſhew and pretence to advance a publick good, but in effect be found manifeſtly to ſeeke nothing but their own private ends in their places, they may and ought diſcreetly to be admoniſhed of their duty, and warned of the danger of Hypocriſie; whereunto their paſſions, their pride, and their covetouſnes may lead them.

27. That Miniſters as they ought not to refuſe lawful em­ployments; wherein as Members of a Commonwealth they may be called to do the publick ſome ſervice: ſo they may not entertain that employment after ſuch a manner as to be taken off thereby from their ſpiritual Function; or to con­found and mix the uſe and end thereof with matters of a dif­ferent nature to ſerve and pleaſe themſelves or other men thereby: for if I ſought to pleaſe men (ſaith Paul) I ſhould not be the Servant of Chriſt. Gal. 1. 10.

28. That all Conjunctions and Concurrences of the Magi­ſtratical and Miniſterial Functions which are not undertaken for their own direct ends and uſes reſpectively; but either by the neglect of thoſe ends, or by indirect meanes or commix­ture of Relations, tend to other ends, are unwarrantable, be­cauſe35 they take away the boundaries and right uſes of Chriſts Ordinances, and ſo apply them not to his ſervice.

29. That if Miniſters deal with a people, of matters which are the proper concernment of their particular Magiſtrate, with that people which is his Subject, they do manifeſtly ſet themſelves with him in his Charge, and whether they meddle with his matters towards his Subjects willingly and in love to him; or without love to him, and that either unwillingly as by command and conſtraint, or of their own accord, as by jealouſie and competition of intereſts: which way ſoever this is done, in all, or any of theſe caſes, it is evident they apply themſelves to their hearers, not as ſpiritual men and Diſciples of Chriſt, to ſpiritual men and to Chriſts Diſciples, but as intereſſed men to men of intereſt in this world; whether therefore the Ma­giſtrate be pleaſed or diſpleaſed, as a ſervice or diſſervice is done unto his Authority & deſignes thereby, the ſervice of Chriſt Ieſus in all this is not regarded.

The matters of diſagree­ment how to be thought upon. What they are in this controverſie.

Theſe Poſitions I hope will find no contradiction by any that I ſhall have to deal withall; but if any of them be ex­cepted againſt, it may either be laid aſide or regularly diſcuſſed by it ſelf, if it deſerve to be handled by it ſelf; or if it hath a­ny fundamental relation to the point of doubt, it may be brought in as one of the particulars afterward to be decided, when the Queſtion is fully ſtated, which now is to be done.

If then after all theſe material points of agreement there be any, that to maintain the practice of ſome, held at large, that Miniſters may meddle with State-matters, in their Pulpits, di­rectly or indirectly, as of State-matters, to declare their judgment thereof unto their hearers; I ſhal declare that herein I do diſſent from them, and think it altogether unlawfull, in the Miniſters of the Goſpel, and no wayes appertaining to the calling wherein Chriſt Jeſus hath ſet them over his people, to acquaint them with their own or other mens judgments, concerning the affaires and intereſts of their Magiſtrates, whe­ther to commend or diſcommend the ſame unto them.

I ſay then two things.

Firſt, that although Miniſters living in a State as private men (for in a State they are nothing elſe; though in the pro­feſſion36 of Chriſtianity they are publick perſons as a City ſetMatth. 5. 14. on a hill) may take notice of State proceedings and intereſts, and heare and obſerve what others think thereof, and judge with themſelves (as Members concerned) what is to be thought thereof: yet I ſay, that it is unlawful for them to publiſh thoſe thoughts with Reference to their Miniſterial employ­ment, to make it any way inſtrumental, to deface the ſame into the thoughts of the people, as to give them notice there­of by way of publick intelligence. Nay it is a very great Queſtion with me; whether any other men being private and Subjects, may lawfully publiſh their own or other peoples thoughts, concerning their own State Affaires any other way; except only in times of general deliberations, wherein all are priviledged to propoſe by their Truſtees what their deſires and grievances are to have them redreſſed.

Secondly, that it is far more unlawful for them upon ſuch obſervation of State matters to uſe any perſwaſions or inſinu­ations to ſway this or that way the vulgar affections to or from thoſe that are in Authority; for the ſuggeſtions by which Miniſters ought to engage Subjects affections towards their Magiſtrates are not to be raiſed from any private obſer­vations (which are deceitfull, and no true grounds to oblige the Conſcience unto any duty) but from the manifeſt will of God commanding the duty; and the nature of the Relation which God hath ſetled between Magiſtrates and Subjects which is grounded upon love, and doth partake of the con­junction which is between Parents and Children; whence it is, that as our Parents are to be beloved of us their Children; not ſo much becauſe they do this or that particular favour unto us; but becauſe they are our Parents, and next unto God over us, becauſe God hath made them to be Authours and Protectors of our life and being, & conduit-pipes of all bleſſings towards us; ſo Magiſtrates are proportionally to be reſpected by all dutiful Subjects upon the ſame grounds, & not upon any particular contemplations which their obſervation of State-contrivements may lead them unto, and to the per­formance of this duty the faithful Miniſters of the Goſpel ſhould become both leaders & monitors towards their flocks: And37 therefore as they ought to do nothing that may any way corrupt the ſimplicity of their mind from this ground of re­ſpect due unto their Rulers: So they ſhould uſe none other motives or arguments to perſwade them thereunto, but ſuch as are powerful in this kind.

The Queſtion then is not with me, whether faithfull Mi­niſters may dogmatically from the word of God, and the na­ture of humane ſociety ſpeak in the Pulpit of the righteous wayes of governing States in Theſi & Antitheſi? and whe­ther yea or no they may inſtruct, warne and exhort States­men, concerning the duties of their Calling towards God and men, that they may know how to keep a good Conſcience therein according to the will of God revealed in his word? I ſay the Queſtion is not with me concerning theſe things: for I am cleer that the Miniſters of the Word may handle and ap­ply all humane and divine matters thus. But the Queſtion is concerning particular matters of State done or to be done hic & nunc, relating to our ſelves or our Neighbours, where­in ſome of our intereſts lye: I ſay concerning ſuch matters, either to make narratives for information, or to apply thoſe matters to move the peoples affection to any humane Reſo­lutions, is a thing utterly unlawful in the Miniſterial Function as I conceive.

What the di­ſtinct State of the Que­ſtion is.

Thus I have ſtated the Queſtion, and ſeparated it from that which is not the Queſtion; and I hope ſhewed therein my meaning ſufficiently.

If now this aſſertion of mine ſhould be debated between me and ſuch as allow at large in Miniſters the handling of State-matters as ſome uſe to do; it ought to be offered as a doubt, and made a Queſtion indifferently thus.

Whether yea or no it be lawfull for the Miniſters of Ieſus Chriſt in their Sermons or Teſtimonies concerning the Go­ſpel, to declare their opinions alſo concerning State-Inte­reſts, wherein the Magiſtrate is concerned; to make Nar­ratives to inform their hearers of the condition of State-af­faires, and of their Rulers wayes and deſignes, and to ſway directly or indirectly their Subjects affections this or that way in complyance to this or that worldly deſigne?

To this I ſay no, and if any man doth think otherwiſe, who doth not except any thing material againſt that which hath been ſaid hitherto; I ſhall willingly diſcourſe the matter with him, and ſift it to the brain. That it therefore may be known, by what rule I will ſubmit the matter to a tryal; I ſhall after theſe two Principles, which no rational man will deny or ex­cept againſt, as I ſuppoſe.

The Princi­ples by which it is to be de­cided.

1. That it is not to be counted lawfull for any Servant to do his Maſters ſervice, that which his Maſter doth not only not al­low, but forbiddeth to be done therein.

2. That it is not to be counted lawful for any Servant to do in his Maſters Service, that which is wholly contrary to the nature of the employment and doth fruſtrate the true end and effect of the work which is to be performed thereby; although his Maſter doth make no inhibition concerning it.

I take theſe principles to be ſo evident, that none who hath common ſence can deny them: Therefore I ſhall come now in the laſt place to propoſe the orderly way of applying theſe unto the matter in hand; that if no exception be taken at this alſo; then the particular dec〈◊〉ſion of the doubt may follow thereupon, in caſe any ſhall enter upon the debate there­of.

The Applica­tion of the Principles to the Doubt.

I propoſe then the application of theſe Principles to be made in this order.

Firſt, let us conſider whether yea or no, the Miniſters of the Goſpel are to be accounted Servants to Ieſus Chriſt? if yea, then whether he is not their Maſter? and his will in his ſer­vice their law? if no, then whoſe Servants they are, and who elſe is their Maſter?

Secondly, Whether yea or no to preach the Goſpel, or to bear witnes concerning Chriſt Ieſus, be the ſervice wherein they are employed?

Thirdly, What properly this ſervice is? and whether yea or no Chriſt doth allow them in going about it, to bear wit­nes to any thing elſe than to himſelf and his truth; according to the Commiſſion which is given them. Luke 24. 46, 47, 48. Act. 1. 8. and 26. 18.


Fourthly, whether yea or no the Miniſters of the Goſpell are not expreſſely forbidden, to apply themſelves to any other teſtimony or doctrine, then that which is according to the words of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt; by theſe places of Scri­pture 1. Tim. 4. 6, 7. and 6. 3, 4, 5, 20, 21. and 2 Tim. 2. 14, 15, 16, 17. and 1. Tim. 1. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Fiftly, whether yea or no the Narratives, Inſinuations, and Applications, which are made of State matters in the ſermons of ſome, are not another kinde of teſtimony, then the words of the Lord Jeſus? and whether thoſe that deli­ver them, in delivering the ſame, ſpeak the oracles of God? which in the Church of God alone ought to be deli­vered. 1 Pet. 4. 10.

Sixtly, ſuppoſing there were no ſuch commandments and prohibitions limiting the ſervice of Chriſt in the Goſ­pell; yet it will be granted, that Miniſters ought to under­ſtand the nature of their own office and employment, and ought not to do that which is contrary thereunto: and if ſo, then we ought to reflect upon the poſitions, which have ſhewed the coexiſtence; the diſtinction and the concurrence of the Miniſteriall and Magiſtraticall offices under Chriſt, together with the properties of the Charge, of the Admi­niſtrations, of the objects, and of the fundamentall Rights of the Function, to ſee whether yea or no ſuch a medling with State matters is not wholly contrary there­unto?

Seventhly and laſtly, the proper end and effect of the work at which Chriſt doth aime, by the Miniſtery of the Goſpell; and the direct meanes, by which he hath appoint­ed the end to be gained, are to be conſidered; and compa­red with the proper end and effect of this practiſe, to ſee whether this practiſe doth not make voide the efficacie of thoſe direct means, and overthrow that end? and if ſo; then by the dictate of our Principles, we may conclude this Practiſe to be utterly unlawfull.

Thus I have done with the Rules of Regulating this con­troverſie, and the method of bringing the doubt to a deciſi­on: I think it not needfull nor fit at this time, to deſcend40 any further to the particulars of the application; but if any thing be offered in a ſober way inducing thereunto, I ſhall not be a verſe from that which ſhall tend to edification.

Now I ſhall come to another kinde of application, both of the whole, and eſpecially of the latter part of this Diſ­courſe unto our preſent ſtate, to ſee, what from theſe grounds, and this way, both of ſearching after truths, and of diſcovering duties, may be gathered, to redreſſe our diſ­orders, and prevent the increaſe of our calamities. For I told you, partly in the beginning of the whole Diſcourſe, partly at the entrie upon this laſt part thereof, (wherein I apply the Rules of debatement, unto the ſubject in hand) the aime which I have in handling theſe matters thus, which is diſtinctly this.

The Applica­tion of the whole Diſ­courſe forego­ing to ſuch as pretend to de­bate matters learnedly.

Firſt, in the whole I intend to meet with the ſpirit of con­fuſion and ſtrife, which hath taken poſſeſſion of the minds of very many of my brethren in the profeſſion; whom not­withſtanding I love, and reſpect for that Truth which is in them; I reverence and embrace for their many good parts, and godly inclinations; and for their humane failings and infirmities, I heartily compaſſionate them in the bowels of Chriſt. For many of them, pretending to Learning, to a bookiſh knowledge of other mens opinions, and to a cenſu­ring faculty of all, that is not agreeable to the notions which they have taken up in point of Theorie; and to the intereſt of that party which they have embraced in point of pra­ctiſe, are pitifully ſnared in holes, and ſhut up in priſon­houſes, and can look upon nothing in a ſtreight line, but one way, they ſee all things through a multiplying glaſſe, another through a diminiſhing proſpective. Towards theſe men my ſcope is upon this occaſion: firſt, to prevent a need­leſſe controverſie: ſecondly, to let them ſee a Model and true Method, without by a ſing (if they can take it up ſo) how to order their thoughts ſpiritually, and rationally, to find out truths in a profitable Controverſie: for indeed this is that which is moſt ſeriouſly to be recommended to the Miniſters of the Goſpel above all other men: for ſeeing they are the men, above others, by whom the thoughts of all men are41 ordered in doubtfull caſes, therefore they ought to finde themſelves obliged in conſcience above other men, not one­ly to be rightly and exactly ordered in all their thoughts and proceedings; but alſo to be able, in all things, to give a ſatisfactory reaſon to their own conſcience, and to all con­ſcionable and reaſonable men, an exact and full account, of the Rules by which they order thoſe thoughts, and intel­lectuall proceedings, by which they have ſo great an influ­ence upon the ſpirits of other men. He that muſt anſwer one day unto the Father of ſpirits, for all the impreſſions which he works upon the ſpirits of his children, ought to be very carefull, and watchfull over his own ſpirit to diſcern the motions thereof, that they may not be irregular: this in­ſight therefore in the ordering of our thoughts, as in the pre­ſence of God, chiefly in matters of debate, (for God is the finall Judge of all Controverſies) is one of the chiefeſt con­cernments that can be recommended unto Miniſters, in theſe times of diſorder and confuſion, that they may be found faithfull in their places, without blame, and in peace before him who trieth the hearts: and this is indeed the principall aime which I have in the Body of this Diſ­courſe, to put my Brethren upon the ſearch of the Rules, by which they ſhould walk in their hearts with him, and to draw them forth to give us an account thereof, before they take upon them to be many Maſters, leſt they receive the greater condemnation. I have a third aime alſo in the whole of that which hath been hitherto offered, which is this; to ſhew by the bye, and collaterally, the nature of our diſor­derly conſtitution, and courſes, with the evils which we be­get, and foment in one another thereby, both againſt the truth of Chriſtianitie, and againſt the wayes of Peace and Righteouſneſſe in the Common-wealth: and herein my full deſigne is by a cleer example of a regular and orderly way of meditation, to let ſome of thoſe that have an high con­ceit of their own ſufficiencie and Doctoralitie, ſee, how igno­rant moſt men are of the high-way and plain path to reall wiſdome; and of the direct and eaſie method to reſolve ra­tionall doubts; and conſequently how little cauſe many42 have (who think themſelves no ſmall Clerks) to preſume upon their bookiſh knowledge, which yet I do not deſpiſe as unprofitable in its own meaſure; but this I muſt ſay of it, that it will be found in end to be comparatively, but a blockiſh, ſcantie, ſtinted, and partiall way of learning, which doth not contain the ten thouſand million part of that knowledge which is attainable by another way, which is plain, eaſie to be followed, and demonſtrable to thoſe, that look upon the holy Scriptures as Chriſtians ought to do, to ſee Chriſt therein, and Gods wayes towards man in him; and that look upon the works of God in the world, as rati­onall men ought to do, to ſee the ordering of the creatures, of their faculties, and of their works towards their true ends, whereby they relate unto God in Chriſt; and the diſ­ordering of them as they are taken off from their true ends, by miſſing of this Relation. If this way of attaining to true learning, and the method of ſearching into theſe veins of knowledge, and of drawing waters out of theſe Wels, were diſcovered; the other way, which is now ſo much followed, and doth occaſion moſt of our diſputes and conteſtations, would be found rather a matter of ſhew then of ſubſtance: I do not deny, but that the way of Collections and Reading hath its own uſefulneſſe, if it be accompanied with the exer­ciſes of ſound meditation, and directed to its true end there­by; but to make ſo much ado about it, as ſome do, to take upon them great matters by it, and to ſtir up much duſt and ſtrife in it, is one of the diſtracting vanities of our Age, which leads us from the way of Truth and Peace. Onely of pride co­meth contention: (ſaith Solomon) but with the well adviſed is wiſ­dome. Prov. 13. 10.And in another place, With the lowly is wiſdome, whereas from pride cometh ſhame. As pride and folly, ſo contention andProv. 11. 2. ſhame are inſeparable companions. And as the way to wiſ­dome is to be well adviſed; ſo nothing maketh a man ſo capable of good adviſe, as the lowlineſſe of his ſpirit. It would be an eaſie matter, to ſhew the truth of theſe Proverbs verified, in the management of our ordinarie courſe of lear­ning, wherein there is no lowlineſſe of ſpirit, nor good ad­vice to be found, towards the attainment of wiſdome, but43 meer pride in things of no value, which lead us through contentiouſneſſe unto ſhame. I ſhall not now take into con­ſideration the Principles, the ſtrains, and the pinacles of the height, whereupon the literature, the Philoſophie, and the Divinity of the Schools is ſet, and doth exalt the Doctors and Diſciples thereof, to a conceit of their own ſufficiencie above thoſe that are counted illiterate, it were an eaſie mat­ter to ſhew comparatively to the plain and lowly way of ſeeking knowledge, the fooliſh emptineſſe of thoſe toilſome ſtrains, and the ſhamefull vanity which is in the affectation of, and a pretenſion to a titular eſteeme of learning before men, by a Science falſly ſo called: at this time it will be enough to ſay that which Chriſt ſaid to the Phariſees, when they derided his ſimplicitie; That which is highly eſteemed a­mongſtLuk. 16. 15. men, is abomination in the ſight of God. For theſe ſelf-con­ceited wayes of learning, are ſo far from making men either wiſer or better then others, that for the moſt part (except God over-act and over-power them with ſpeciall grace) it makes them ſo much the more unſerviceable to others, by how much they ſtrive to be ſet above them, and at a diſtance from their capacities; and ſo much the more incapable of the truth of wiſdome and vertue for themſelves, by how much it ſets them neerer to their own wit, and further off from the ſimplicitie and humilitie which is in Chriſt Jeſus. This matter is a larger ſubject then now I am willing to en­ter upon; nor is it yet ſeaſonable to undertake it: perhaps God will ſhew a way to meddle with theſe matters, and offer occaſions, which ſhall be more free from offence then theſe times ſeem to afford: for I am not willing, either to joyne hands with the perſecuters of learned men, becauſe they are learned, or to be thought a favourer of thoſe, who now a­dayes are mad againſt all that looks towards or like Learn­ing, (a generation of men, that knowing nothing, and yet preſuming without Learning to know all; think it their re­proach, that any ſhould be thought more knowing then themſelves; and being led without any grounds or princi­ples, by their own meer whimſeys, can endure nothing that is like a ſettlement, and looks towards the Regulating and44 compoſure of mens ſpirits.) For I confeſſe, that upon the name of Learning too much dirt and contempt is caſt alrea­die, though wrongfully as from ſuch men, yet deſervedly as from God: for by reaſon of the ambitiouſneſſe of thoſe that unprofitably have walked in a vain ſhew of Learning, and under a pretence thereof have ſought nothing, but eaſe, plentie, and pre-eminencie, and by reaſon of the ſelf-con­ceitedneſſe of thoſe that partially walk ſtill in ſtrife about it, and have made their Learning a ſeed of gall and worm­wood, to embitter and embroil the ſpirits of all Chriſten­dome, for certain private opinions. (I ſay) by reaſon of theſe abuſes of the wayes of Learning, which ſtill continue amongſt thoſe that ſtrive to be thought Maſters of it, God doth juſtly poure contempt upon them, and will not ceaſe to ſtain the pride of all their glory, and their greatneſſe, by a full diſcovery of their ſhame, till they ſhew themſelves wil­ling with all their deviſes, and ſhews of greatneſſe to be re­formed; and till all the monopolizing practiſes, and cove­tous incroachments, whereby the enlargement of common helps to true Learning towards all, are enviouſly obſtructed, be taken out of the way, and forſaken. And in hope that this may be done, we ſhall endevour without partialitie, to ſowe the ſeed which God hath put in our hand, upon all watersIſa 32. 20. (upon all ſorts of people, and upon all objects of knowledge)Gal 6. 9. for we may expect, that in due time we ſhall reap the fruit thereof, if we faint not: and this is the firſt part of my aime in the whole, even to provoke ſuch as are capable of theſe thoughts, to peaceable and orderly meditations, and hum­ble thoughts concerning themſelves in all matters of De­bate.

The applicati­on of the lat­ter part of the foregoing diſ­courſe is to all that in the Magiſtracy and Miniſtery pretend to walk by the rules of Love, of Righteouſ­neſſe and of Peace.

Secondly, in the laſt part of that which I have formerly inſiſted upon, where I ſpeak of the difference and concur­rence of the Magiſtraticall and Miniſteriall functions; my purpoſe is by a ſearch into the nature and Properties of both offices, as in ſubordination unto Chriſt they relate each other; to diſcover the Rules of Chriſtian Love, of Righteouſneſſe, and of Peaceableneſſe obſervable between them, for the good of humane ſocieties: to the end that45 ſuch as make conſcience their Rule, may ſee the path of Chriſtianity, wherein they ought to walk; and that ſuch as pretend to walk by the rule of Reaſon, and yet make their own will indeed rather then any thing elſe a rule to them­ſelves and others; may either be rectified by that which they pretend to walk by, or brought to the light and diſco­vered to be ſelf-willed and unreaſonable; and that ſuch as againſt both Conſcience and Reaſon are evill affected to the welfare of the publick; may be prevented in the miſchief which their practiſes may work againſt the ſafetie and quietneſſe of the ſtate, and of thoſe that are peaceable in the land. For in theſe doubtfull, diſtracted and troubleſome times; the greater our confuſions are, the more it is neceſſa­ry to ſettle our judgement by a rule; that in matters of cleer duty, where Gods will is known, a good conſcience may ſee where it ought to reſt, and in matters of Debate, wherein circumſtances are to be weighed, the common grounds of reaſon by the true method of reaſoning may take place: for there is none other way imaginable to deal effectually and to meet with the ſpirit of ſelf will, of igno­rance, and of preſumption (the great traitours of all hu­mane ſocieties) then to act thus, by undeniable Principles and Rules; and to oblige thoſe with whom we act, and our ſelves alſo; to go no further then theſe direct us; for I ſuppoſe all will grant this freely, that thus farre all men, in all places are bound to deny themſelves; nor ſhall it be re­quired, that any man, in any place ſhould deny himſelf further, then to exalt above his own apprehenſions and purpoſes the common grounds of Truths and Righteouſ­neſſe: and this we hope they whom we deal withall will readily yeeld unto.

That therefore the turbulent inclinations, which with ſome are in the dark; with others are apparent, may be convicted and caſt out of all; I ſhall endeavour to ſhew briefly the rules, by which the Chriſtian Magiſtracy and Mi­niſtery in their ſeverall places reſpectively, for the good of the people committed to their charges, ought to walk in Love, in Righteouſneſſe, and in Peace towards each other;46 that that which is obſervable at all times as a direction to our happineſſe, may by Gods bleſſing at this time be ap­plyed unto our preſent condition, as a reſtauration from our miſeries, and a preſervation from the ruine wherewith otherwiſe unavoidably we are threatned.

To come then to that, which is the fruit of all theſe conſiderations, and that which ought to be the finall re­ſult of all the Debates which may be undertaken about theſe matters. Let us ſet our thoughts in a way to diſcover three things; which being laid to heart, may by Gods grace rectifie our miſcariages.

The heads of this applicati­on. And the Rea­ſon why to be conſidered.

Firſt, let us reflect upon the proper works of the Magiſtra­cy and Miniſtery more diſtinctly, as they relate unto the ends for which Chriſt hath ordained them in the world.

Secondly, let us conſider the naturall properties, and proper acts of true love of righteouſneſſe and of peaceable­neſſe; as they are duties proper to Chriſtians more then to other men; and above all other men moſt obſervable by the leaders of Chriſtian ſocieties.

Thirdly and laſtly, let us ſee how at this time theſe duties may be applyed, by thoſe that are in place amongſt us, to fulfill the ends of their adminiſtrations, and to cure the di­ſtempers of our preſent condition.

For except we rationally underſtand both what our work is, and how we are to go about it conſcionably, as it becommeth Chriſtians; how can we undertake it ſo as to expect a bleſſing upon it? but if we know cleerly, both the work, which is to be done, and the Rule by which we are to governe our ſelves in doing it; then as by following that Rule we may expect a bleſſing; ſo by neglecting it we ſhall be inexcuſable.

Of the proper works of Ma­giſtrates and Miniſters jointly.

Concerning the proper works of the Magiſtracy and Mi­niſtery, as they relate unto the ends for which Chriſt doth employ them in his ſervice; they muſt be diſcovered by looking upon the aime which God hath in making them that which they are, and which they ought to have in ta­king their places upon them.

The end which God hath in making ſuch officers47 amongſt men is mainly this, to manifeſt the glory of his own goodneſſe and his ſupremacy in all things over man­kind. For the Lord hath made all things for himſelf firſt; andProv. 16. 4 Pſal. 8. then alſo for man, that in the right uſe of all things under God, man might ſhew forth his glory; and thereby attain to true happineſſe: for happineſſe in man is nothing elſe but to partake (ſo farre as he is capable) of the goodneſſe of God, which is his glory towards us. Now the goodneſſe of God in the hand of his Supremacy diſpenſing all things, runnes in two Channels, which anſwer to the twofold fa­culties of the life of man; to the two ſorts of Creatures which God hath made in the world, and to the twofold way of putting forth his infinite vertues: the two faculties of the life of man, are Bodily and Spirituall; the two ſorts of creatures which God hath filled the world with, are ſome viſible, and ſome inviſible; and the twofold way of putting forth his vertue is, by Nature and by Grace. In theſe chan­nels the glory of God is conveighed by the creatures unto the faculties of man; that all may partake thereof and be­come happie therein, and that one creature in the way of God may conveigh the ſame to another. Now that man, who is borne like a wilde aſſes colt, may be directed by the rightJob 11. 12. uſe, both of his faculties, and of the creatures, to attaine to his happineſſe; God hath appointed ſome inſtruments, to lead him towards the way thereof, which are called Magi­ſtrates and Miniſters: and leſt theſe, who by nature are nei­ther wiſer nor better then all the reſt, ſhould be ignorant of the true way wherein they ought to direct others, he hath given to them both, one Supream head and director, his onely begotten Son Jeſus Chriſt, by whom the worlds viſible and inviſible were made; by whom the Father hath brought back all things unto himſelf again, which were at a diſtance from him, by reaſon of the curſe: by whom all things bodily and ſpirituall in man are reſtored to their in­tegritie, and inabled to act towards God: by whom all the creatures ſubſiſt, and are made again the receptacles of Gods goodneſſe in nature and grace, and by whom, and in whom alone all the manifeſtation of Gods goodneſſe is48 apparent, and the way to happineſſe by giving God his glory, is made plain in the nature of man: and therefore he is ſet as the head of all things over mankind, and given as the Soveraign Director of thoſe who are to direct others in the way to felicity, as well Bodily as Spirituall, as well by Nature as by Grace. Thus then Gods aime is to glorifie himſelf in his Son; and to glorifie his Son over all, and to glorifie mankind by making it happy in conformitie to his Son: and that the life and vertue of his Son, which is the fountain of Glory, and the ſpring of living waters, may as a river flow out and be diſperſed to all that ſtand in need of comfort: he hath ſet inſtruments under him, as conduit pipes in the two channels of his vertue, to conveigh the ſame unto others. Theſe Inſtruments are the forenamed Magiſtrates and Miniſters, who are ſet to receive from Chriſt all that which is diſpenſable unto humane ſocieties for their happineſſe.

Between theſe two the Magiſtrate is firſt, for the Apoſtle ſaith, that was not firſt which is ſpirituall, but that which is na­turall, and afterward that which is ſpirituall. 1 Cor. 15. 46. the Miniſter therefore is the ſecond in order: for all his admi­niſtrations preſuppoſe a man to be under the government, and in the right channell of nature; or at leaſt capable of the adminiſtrations belonging thereunto: ſo then God hath made the Magiſtrate to ſtand by himſelf under Chriſt in the diſpenſation of the means of naturall felicitie, that he mayPſal. 2. 10, 11, 12. learn of him as his diſciple, how to manifeſt the glory of Gods goodneſſe unto all fleſh.

Of the Magi­ſtrates work by himſelf.

The aime therefore which the Magiſtrate, as he is a Chri­ſtian, ought to have in taking his place upon him, is to ſet himſelf under Chriſt, as his ſervant and inſtrument, to con­veigh to the ſocieties of men by naturall means the enjoy­ment of all Gods gooneſſe, that he may be glorified there­in, and they may be happie thereby in this world: and to this effect his more immediate aime and deſigne ſhould be, to employ the power and authority of his place, to or­der the outward ſocieties of men in unity, to overſee, and rectifie all their actions, which are contrary to the will of49 God in nature, and by his conduct to ſettle men together in a condition of life, wherein Godlineſſe and Honeſty2