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A SOBER and TEMPERATE DISCOURSE, Concerning the Intereſt of Words in Prayer. The juſt Antiquity and Pedigree of LITURGIES, OR Forms of Prayer in Churches: With a View of the State of the Church, when they were firſt compoſed, or impoſed. Together with A Diſcovery of the weakneſs of the grounds upon which they were firſt brought in, or upon which Biſhop Gawden hath lately Diſcourſed, the necſſity of a Liturgie, or the inconvenency of altering the Engliſh Liturgie, the utility of Church Muſick, and the lawfulneſs of Ceremonies: in which are mixed Reaſons juſtifying thoſe Godly Miniſters, who forbear the uſe of the Common prayer, againſt the late Out-cryes of the ſaid Biſhop.

By H. D. M. A.

1 Pet. 3.9.

Not rending evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwiſe bleſſing, knowing that you are thereunto called, that you ſhould inherit a bleſſing.

LONDON, Printed for W.A. and are to be ſold at the Royal Exchange, & in Pauls Churh yard, 1661.

HE (who had reported to Maſter Willi­ams, Whittingham, Gilby, and others, that Cranmer Biſhop of Canterbury, had drawn up a Book of Prayer, an hundred times more perfect thenhis that we now have; the ſame could not take place, for that he was matched with ſuch a wicked Clergy and Convocation, with other enemies) even he, I ſay ſtood in this, that Maſter Bullinger did like well of the Engliſh order, and had it in his Study. But when Whit­tingham had demanded that queſtion, Bullin­ger told him, that indeed Maſter H. and Ma­ſter C. asked his judgement concerning cer­tain points of that Book, as Surplice, Private Baptiſm, Churching of Women, the Ring in Mar­riage, with ſuch like, which (as he ſaid) he al­lowed not, and that he neither could if he would, neither would if he might uſe the ſame in his Church, whatſoever had been reported. Hi­ſtory of the troubles at Frankeford firſt publiſhed 1575. in the 42. 43. pag.

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A Diſcourſe of Lyturgies, or Forms of Prayer in Chur­ches, &c.

CHAP. I. The Intereſt of Words in Prayer conſidered, both as to private and publick Prayer; The Neceſſity of them conſidered, as the Homage of our Lips, as they reſtrain mentall extrava­gancies, and are Interpreters of our Conceptions to others: Conſequences from this Conſideration.

I. SO tranſcendent is the priviledge of coming to the Holy of Holies, by the new and living way in the moſt ſublime and ſpiritual duty of Prayer, where the ſoul talks with its Creator, as it were face to face. Such is the nature of that ſpiritual perfor­mance, conſidered in it ſelf, ſo momentous the Concernes, for which in it we wait upon the Throne of Grace; ſo many the dire­ctions which our Holy Father hath given us in his Word for the ac­ceptable performance of it, that we muſt needs be concluded unthank­ful to God, who hath indulged ſo glorious a Liberty to us, unjuſt and unreaſonable to our ſelves, who are by the Law of Nature taught to2 remit or intend our minds in all performances, according to the moment of them, and unfaithful to that Word, which we own as the ſquare of all our Converſations, if we ſhould not warily at­tend our Souls in ſo Sacred an Homage, in which ſo much of our Intereſt lies, not offering a Female, when we have a Male in our Plock; though we knew of no ſuch Malediction as that, Curſed be he that doth the work of the Lord negligently.

II. Whilſt we view this ſacred thing Prayer, as our Priviledge, we can conſider it no otherwiſe than as a Liberty, to ask of the Father of mercies, what we or others ſtand in need of, under the encourage­ments of many precious Promiſes, nor ſhort of his who ſaid, Ask what thou wilt, even to the half of my Kingdom, I will give it thee; yea far beyond; for the Lord will give Grace andlory, Pſal. 84. When we reſpect it as our duty, we find it is expreſſed in Scripture under the many notions of Seeking God, Calling upon him, wreſtling with him, powring out our ſouls before him, &c. As our view of it in the no­tion of a priviledge, forbids us any limitations, as to the matter of our Prayers, other than what God hath ſet us; ſo the latter obligeth us to a performance of it under ſuch Circumſtances, as ſhall neither divert the intention of our mind, nor cool the fervour of our Spirits, which two things are moſt eſſentially neceſſary to the acceptable perfor­mance of our duty in it, and ſo excellently becomes that moſt ſa­cred performance; and without which our performance is but lip-labour, and loſt labour; yea no other than a moſt groſs Hypo­criſie, and mocking of him who cannot be mocked.

III. Prayer being the ſouls Colloquy with God, who is a Spirit, and our Tongue (which is the Organ of ſpeech) with all the faculty belonging to it, and the iſſues of it, ſerving chiefly (if not only) for intercourſe with men (Spirit having another way to communi­cate their ſenſe each to other) It is rationally apparent that there is no abſolute neceſſity of any words at all in Prayer. (Haunch can pray acceptably, and yet her voice not be heard, 1 Sam. 1.) for ſuch neceſſity muſt either be on the Souls part or on Gods: On the Soul part they are not neceſſary, for it can long and deſire with­out the Tongue; nor yet on Gods part are they ſo, for he not only knows what things we have need of, but alſo what we would have before we ask them; how elſe can he anſwer before we call, and (as be promiſeth) hear before we ſpeak.

IV. But he who made all things for himſelf, did not in that gene­ral deſign except the Tongue of man, which being his creature, is3 naturally obliged, and ex Inſtitute, is otherwiſe obliged to his Ser­vice, and as his Word hath directed its ſervice in other things, ſo alſo in the duty of Prayer, commanding us to take unto us words, and ſay, &c. And calling to his Spouſe, Let me hear thy voice, for it is comely; And his Providence hath for this end (amongſt others) diſpoſed reaſonable ſouls into humane bodies, that they ſhould ani­mate the tongues of men to this ſacred Service: Beſides that, experience teacheth the Sons of men that the uſe of the lively voice is of excellent uſe to fix the mind, and to reſtrain that wild thing from ſuch wanton diverſions, as it is moſt prone to, in its exer­ciſes upon God: Whence it is that there is not only Mental, but Vocal Prayer, and both the unqueſtionable duty of Chriſtians; and an uſe of words in Prayer is, if not at all times, yet at ſome times, and for all Chriſtians, neceſſary by a neceſſity of Precept, and highly expedient generally even in the Souls privatest converſes with God.

V. But in Publick Prayer, the uſe of words is moſt unqueſtionably ne­ceſſary: God hath not only allowed us a liberty to pray for our ſelves, and in our Cloſets, but alſo to pray one with and for another, and alſo enjoyned us it as our duty, and encouraged us to it by many gracious Promiſes. It is his revealed will, that in ſuch pub­lick devotions, ſome particular perſons ſhould be the mouth of the reſt unto him, whoſe Prayer (according to divine Inſtitution) is made the common performance of the whole Society (whether it be that of a whole Family, or that of a greater or leſſer Congrega­tion) by their concurrence in ſpirit with him that ſpeaketh, and their rational and fiducial aſſent to what he ſpeaketh, as well on theirs, as his own behalf. Now there being no other ordinary way of correſpondence which God hath allowed rational ſouls each with other (in their united eſtate) but by the tongues of men, animated by the ſouls to that very purpoſe, that they might be their Interpreters. It is impoſſible that publick Prayer ſhould be performed without words, and thoſe both audibly and intelligibly pronounced, which is alſo conformable to the will of God, who hath taught us when we pray, to ſay Our Father: Whence it appears, that both the ſilent, mute Meetings of Quakers, and the Latine Service of Papiſts, and the Prayers of any others ſaid or ſang, ſo that People cannot hear or underſtand what is ſaid, are all of them abominable in the ſight of God, and to be abhorred of every reaſo­nable Chriſtian.

4VI. But ſeeing words are no more than the deſires of our ſouls in­terpreted. And there being no further uſe of them in the duty of Prayer, than that by them we might ſacrifice unto God the devo­tion of our hearts by the Calves our lips. 2. And by the help of them we might interpret the (otherwiſe not intelligible) de­ſires of our ſouls unto others. And 3. Reſtrain the extravagancies of our own Spirits: A Curioſity of phraſe in Prayer, ſeems nei­ther neceſſary nor reaſonable. Not neceſſary, becauſe as our holy Father who underſtands the thoughts of our hearts, before they be brought forth into words, hath no need of well turn'd Language to affect his ſacred ears, nor hath required more than according to the ability, which he hath given to ſeveral ſouls: So the plaineſt phraſe is beſt intelligible to the moſt of thoſe that hear us, who are to give a rational aſſent, and ſay a fiduciary Amen to what we ſpeak.

VII. Nor are the Prayers of the pooreſt Ruſtick (who ordina­rily ſalutes his neighbour and expreſſeth his mind to him in terms which the Critick cals Nonſence) for their Grammatical incongrui­ties or defects in Rhetorick, leſs acceptable unto God than the ſofty ſtrains and luxuriant iſſue of wanton Rhetorick in the prayers of others are, whoſe great ſtudy poſſibly is to put their prayers into handſom Language. Who knows not that many Idiomes in other Languages are perfect nonſence in Engliſh? Yet who doubts but God accepteth in every Nation pious ſouls, powring out their hearts unto him in Prayer, by their mouths, according to the Dialects of their ſeveral Countries.

VIII. In very deed, the only Nonſence that can attend Prayer, is the incongruity of the tongue of him that ſpeaketh with his mind and heart, or with the underſtandings of thoſe who joyn with him. Let but the tongue be the true interpreter of the heart towards God, and the expreſſions of it be commenſurate with the capacity and under­ſtanding of thoſe that hear, and the Prayer ſhall be diſcharged from any guilt of Nonſence in the ſight of God, accruing from a want of Grammatical order in words (unleſs ſuch want proceed from the Speakers non-attention and careleſſeneſs of his Spirit) Yea the Prayer which the wanton Orator, the curious obſerver of words, and Pryer into the proprieties of them, may call Non-ſenſe, may be moſt admi­rable ſenſe in the ears and judgment of God and good men, whoſe eye is upon higher things in ſpiritual duties, than a well tuned eſſe poſſe videatur.

5IX. Yea there may be in him that ſpeaketh, ſuch an affectation of nitid words and curious phraſes, ſuch a ſuperlative care, that Noun Substantives and Adjectives may ſtand in due places, and Verbs be put in right Moods and Tenſes, that too many monoſillables or pollyſil­lables may not hobble or rumble after one another, ſuch a ſtudy for paranomaſia's and other Fooleries of phraſe, as may make the Prayer abominable both to God and to all good men: Whilſt not the holy Omniſcient God only, but even ſober men eaſily diſcern the heart of him that ſpeaketh, as to its ſecret intention, gone a whoring from God (to whom it ſhould be united in Prayer) after that Strumpet Rhetorick in which he never took any delight. Nor is the Prayer (thus patched and painted and diſguiſed by this Taylor-like art of words) underſtood by thoſe who would better know it, and to whom it would appear far more lovely in the morning-dreſs, of a homebred, natural inaffected phraſe.

X. Yet in regard that it cannot be reaſonably preſumed, that any publick Congregation ſhould be made up of perſons equally in­telligent, in the myſteries of Godlineſs, nor equally intelligent of words and phraſes, nor equally conſidering that words are but the ſhell and skin of Prayer. Nor ſo, but that there will be many a­mongſt them of carnal hearts; it is very reaſonable that he who ſpeaks in publick Prayer, ſhould ſo ſpeak, that whilſt he humbleth his phraſe to the meaneſt capacity and underſtanding (that his Prayer may not loſe their Amen) he alſo elevates his words, above the nauſeam and juſt reproach, of the moſt ſqeamiſhears, even of thoſe who far more regard the ſtarching of the Prayer, that it be pull'd right in every corner, and round about, than the matter of which it is compoſed, or the fervency of heart with which it is ut­tered.

XI. And doubtleſs who ſo in this thing keeps a due mediocrity, in the publick performance of the duty of Prayer, neither by too much curioſity of phraſe, and attention to that, diverting his ſoul from the more ſerious and fixed contemplation of God, nor by mixing too much of mans ding, as Luther cals it (alluding to that of Ezechi­el) with ſpiritual bread, makes the duty a loathing to ſpiritual ſouls: Not yet by too much rudeneſs, and careleſneſs of phraſe, ſhall either give a juſt ſuſpition to others, that his heart attends not what his Tongue ſpeaks, or offers a temptation to the more carnal part of his Hearers, to loath and contemn the Service, hath ſufficiently diſcharged his duty, and needs be no further careful of6 words in Prayer, unleſs (which it may be is not impoſſible) he can find out or invent ſome modes and forms of expreſſions, which upon the evidence of experience ſhall appear to be more proper means, than the uſe of other words, to warm the hearts of thoſe that are to joyn with him, and to boyl them up to a greater degree of fervency in ſpirit, whilſt they are in that duty ſerving the Lord. To which purpoſe, handſom cadencies of periods, a lofty rouling ſtile, affected Paranomaſia's, pedantick quiblings of words and phraſes, (fine Knacks to pleaſe childiſh ears with) are ſo far from ſignify­ing any thing, that they are cuſus contrarium's in the buſineſs, good for nothing but to loath pious ſouls. And indeed, thoſe phraſes which do this excellent deed, are experimentally found to be ſuch as the inwardly affected heart of the Speaker immediatly dictates to his Tongue. It being moſt undoubtedly truth, That words coming from the heart of the Speaker, find the neareſt and readieſt way to the heart of the Hearer; and the Souls of the hea­rers ſhall acknowledge themſelves moſt affected, when the Spea­ker finds his heart moſt warmed and enlarged, as if there were a Sympathy of devout Souls, which is indeed from the mighty ſecret working of the ſame ſpirit of Prayer acting both and at the ſame time preparing the Speakers heart and tongue to dictate and ſpeak, and the Hearers ſouls to hear, ſigh, groan, and to give a fiducial aſſent, Rom. 8.26.

CHAP. II. The Gift of Prayer is partly Natural, partly by Induſtry ac­quirable. That it is promiſed by God, denied to none that will duely uſe means to attain it; but they may ſo far attain it, as in publick to pray without forms, ſo as God ſhall accept it, and none have juſt cauſe of Scandal. That none worthy of the office of the Miniſtry, need to want it, nor do, but through their own Sin and Negligence.

I. THE Gift and Grace of Prayer are two things: The Grace of Prayer is a ſpiritual ability in the Soul, from which it is enabled from the Spirit of Adoption to go unto God ſaying Abba,7 Father, with an holy boldneſs, fiducial confidence, fervency of ſpirit, begging of him things according to his Will: This Nature doth not teach, Induſtry will not neceſſarily bring us to; for this God muſt ſend forth the ſpirit of his Son into peoples hearts, crying Abba Father, Gal. 4.6. And none can do this but thoſe who have received the Spirit of Adoption, Rom. 8.15. But the gift of Prayer is nothing elſe, but an ability of mind to form words, expreſſive of ſuch deſires of our hearts, as are according to the will of God, conjoyned with a facul­ty of memory, and of expreſſion and elocution.

II. Hence it appears, that the gift of Prayer is partly natural; for from nature is the faculty of Meditation and Speech: partly by Induſtry attainable; For let us duly conſider, what he hath to do that prayeth, more than to ſpeak (that is in reference to the ex­ternal part of Prayer, performable by the gift of Prayer) Prayer conſiſteth of a Confeſſion of all ſins, Supplications for ſupply of wants for our ſelves and others, and a thanksgiving for Mercies received. Sin is either Original or Actual: Actual ſin is a tranſgreſſion of the Law of God. This Law of God is contained in his Word; all vi­olations of it in thought, word or deed are ſins. Suppoſing a man in a capacity to meditate and ſpeak what is wanting to any, ſave In­duſtry only, why he ſhould not compoſe a Confeſſion of Sins? If he knows what the Scripture ſaith of the imputed guilt of Adams ſin, of our being conceived in ſin, and brought forth in iniquity. What the Law of God requires and forbids, and conſidereth his own and other mens words and actions, and his own heart, to which other mens hearts anſwer in a great meaſure, why ſhould he not be able to form a Confeſſion in his heart, and (if he have any elocution) to ſpeak it with his Lips? And if he hath any ha­bit of knowledge of the Scriptures as to theſe things, why ſhould he not be able to ſpeak this Confeſſion to God ex tempore, as well as a Lawyer ſhall ſpeak in matter of Law, or a knowing Philoſopher diſcourſe Philoſophical Learning rationally, many times to the admiration of his Hearers?

It is further reaſonable, that to a Confeſſion of ſins, ſhould be added, an acknowledgment of the Juſtice of God in caſe of any Judgments already brought upon us or others, or upon ſuppoſition if God ſhould bring upon us any. Surely every Chriſtian know­eth, or ſhould know, that the wages of ſin is death, that the leaſt ſin expoſeth us to the wrath of God here and hereafter, &c. And if he hath a tongue to ſpeak, can ſay ſo to God in Prayer. In the8 ſupplicatory part of Prayer, we deprecate Judgment, we implore Mer­cy, for our ſelves, for others, for ſouls, for bodies, all according to the Will of God; whoſo knows he hath a Body and a ſoul, and knows the wants of both, knows what to ask for; and he that knows the Scriptures, is advantaged in that knowledge, and fur­ther is by them directed, what to ask for abſolutely, what conditio­nally, what Promiſes to urge upon God in Prayer, what Judgments to deprecate, and in what manner: Nor is any ſo ignorant, as not to know what is good for himſelf or others in a natural ſenſe; the Scripture tels him what is ſo ſpiritually and truly, and if he hath a tongue, he can ſurely ſay, O God, I thank thee for, &c. Doth he want Expreſſions? The Scripture is full of Expreſſions directive of him.

III. In ſhort, (ſetting Elocution aſide) now that the Word of God is in our own Language, there can be nothing but particu­lar Chriſtians horrible neglect of acquainting themſelves with it, or their non-obſerving their own hearts, or not uſing themſelves to the exerciſe of Prayer, that can hinder any private Chriſtian from being able to ſpeak unto God in Prayer, fully, profitably accepta­bly, and ſo as none but prophane hearts ſhall be ſcandalized. And this Aſſertion is demonſtrable.

Rom. 8 26. Luke 21. Mark 13.11.IV. Beſides this, God hath promiſed the help of his Spirit as to words and matter (in the uſe of means) the Spirit ſhall teach us what to pray for; nor is this beneath the Holy Spirit any more than to give unto ſuffering Saints what to ſpeak in the very hour they ſhall be called before men for Chriſts ſake; for which there is a Promiſe, and they allowed therefore to take no care what to ſpeak before-hand. We acknowledge that the Gift of Prayer is no ſpecial diſtinguiſhing Gift, but a common Gift; but by no means can allow our ſelves in the ſuppreſſing of it.

V. Hence it is that many a perſon whoſe conſtant employment is not in the work of the Miniſtry, is able to poure out his ſoul in Prayer before God, in proper and apt expreſſions, without any further premeditation than is neceſſary, to take the noiſe of his worldly buſineſs out of his head, ſo orderly and methodically, and in ſuch handſom expreſſions, that any godly ſober Divine, though never ſo Learned, ſhall approve his performance, and bleſs God on his behalf.

VI. That any owning the Name of a Miniſter of the Goſpel, ſhould not be ſo able, is a great reproach to our Church, conſider­ing9 that this diſability muſt proceed, 1. From a want of knowledge in the Scriptures, (which every Miniſter ought to know exactly.) Or, 2. From a want of a due obſervance to, and a watchfulneſs upon his own heart and waies (whereas he ought to excel others in the practical part of Holineſs) Or, 3. From want of Elocution or freedom of ſpeech, or ſuch other natural gifts, without which none can judge himſelf called of God to that holy Employment. Or, 4. From want of exerciſing himſelf in the duty of Prayer: All which are lamen­table things for any profeſſing himſelf a Miniſter, ſo much as to be ſuſpected of.

VII. Yet that de facto, there have been ſuch called by the name of Miniſters, amongſt us, and that there are many ſuch amongſt us ſtill, cannot be reaſonably denied: But we dare to aſſert, That all ſuch are either ſuch as for want of Natural Parts, are by all Scriptural Rules determined inſufficient, and not fit for the Mi­niſtry, or ſuch, as according to all Scriptural and Eccleſiaſtical Rules ought to be removed from the Miniſtry, as neglecting to uſe the Gift of God beſtowed on them, or neglecting to ſtudy the Scrip­tures, or ſuch as live in open and known courſes of Debauchery, or finally, ſuch as have ſo uſed themſelves to the lazy Devotion of Book Prayers, that they have choaked their abilities, or provoked God in righteous Judgment to deprive them of them.

VIII. It yet remains a moſt demonſtrable truth, that the work of Prayer is not ſuch, as to the uſe of words in it, but that any Mini­ſter of any competent abilities, (as all Miniſters ought to be) and who is in any reaſonable degree acquainted with the holy Scrip­tures, and with any Chriſtian diligence, either obſerveth his own heart, or peoples converſes, and watcheth over his Flock but with half an eye, may ſo perform, as neither God ſhall be offended with his performance, nor any ſober Auditor ſcandalized and made to nau­ſeate the Duty. And it will (upon experience) be found impoſſible for any State or Church to maintain (by impoſing Forms of Prayer) the credit of any Miniſtry, whom the people ſhall diſcern ſo woful­ly neglective of their duty, and defective in ſo noble a performance, in which they are excelled by the meaneſt of the Vulgar. There being no other way (when all is tried) to maintain the Authority of the Miniſtry, than the employment of ſuch, and only ſuch perſons in that work, who ſhall evidently appear to People, as to the Gifts and Graces of Gods Spirit beſtowed upon them, to be taller by the Head and Shoulders than thoſe are, over whom God hath ſet10 them. Other Devices may be tried; this only in the end will be found efficacious.

CHAP. III. The Original of Lyturgical Forms of Prayer. None for 400 years after Chriſt. None impoſed upon any conſi­derable Part of the Church, till 800 years after Chriſt, when all manner of Superſtitious Uſages had defiled the Church.

I. VVHich being premiſed, it is no wonder at all, that nei­ther Chriſt nor his Purer Church ever impoſed upon the Church any Books of Lyturgies. Duranti ratio­nale, l. 5. c. 2. Durantus indeed tels us, That Chriſt himſelf (who certainly had an infallible Spirit, and a pro­portion of it without meaſure, if that may be called a proportion) yet uſed that excellent Form of Prayer, called the Lords Prayer (by which he taught his Diſciples to pray; And that the Apoſtles uſed the Creed, called (but never yet proved) theirs: But he confeſſeth, that in Primitivâ Eccleſiâ diverſi diverſa quiſquepro ſuo velle cantabant, dummodo quod cantabant ad Dei Gloriam pertinebat. In the Primitive Church every one ſung or prayed (for that he called ſinging) as they pleaſed, ſo what they all did, related to the Glory of God. When Chriſt ſent out his Diſciples to preach, he was ſo particular in directing them, that he takes care to direct them to provide a Purſe and a Scrip, but none for a Service-Book: Nor did the Apoſtle Paul in his particular directions to Timothy or Titus (whether they were Evangelists or Biſhops) though he or­dered them to ordain Miniſters, and charge them to fulfil their Office, by putting up Prayers and Supplications for all men, &c. ſo much as mention any Miſſal or Lyturgy for their directions; which it is ſtrange they ſhould have omitted, had Lyturgies been ſo neceſſary, as we are now told they be, that Religion without them cannot be preſerved, nor Hereſies without them re­ſtrained.

II. Thoſe holy Servants of God knew, that the Spirit of Prayer was powred out in the world, and that the gift of Prayer was one of thoſe gifts, which their Maſter when he aſcended up on high did11 give unto men; and were tender of delivering ought to the Church, which they had not received from the Lord: And (which Tertul­lian ſaid afterward) were willing that Miniſters ſhould pray ſine Monitore, quia de pectore, without a Monitor (not a Mummer, as ſome would have it) becauſe it was their duty to pray from their hearts; they therefore even in the Confeſſion of our Adverſaries, and the greateſt Maſters of the Ceremonies, left no Lyturgies for the Church of God.

III. Indeed Claudius de Sainctes and Pamelius (two Popiſh Di­vines) have diſcovered to the world the Terra incognita of certain Lyturgies, fathered upon St. James, St. Peter and St. Mark;De Miſſae ap­paratu, l. 7. c. 21. which Joſephus Vicecomes takes notice of (but doth not think fit to inſiſt upon them.) Cardinal Bellarmine in his Book de Scriptor. Eccleſ. neither mentions that of Peter nor Mark, but brands all Books (not mentioned by him, attributed to St. Peter) with the names of spurii & ſuppoſititii. That of St. James indeed he mentioneth,Bellarm. De Script. Eccl de Jac. Apoſtol. but tels us that it is ſo baſely augmented, that none can determine what of it was St. James's. But the Learned Mornay hath ſaid e­nough to prove that theſe pretended Lyturgies of the Apoſtles were all Fictions, and it will be no hard matter to evince every ſo­ber Reader the truth of it. Who knows not how hard a thing the Biſhops in the Councils of Epheſus and Calcedon found it to find a place or two in the Writings of the Ancients, where the Virgin Mary was called〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉? Where had the difficulty been if theſe Lyturgies had been in the world, and in Proclus his hand too (who was preſent in the Council of Epheſus) who they ſay, tranſmit­ted that of St. James to the world (for in that Lyturgy it is 5 or 6 times over: Nor certainly would the Members of the Synod of Conſtantinople have been at a loſs to have proved out of this, the cal­ling of the Holy Spirit conſubstantial with the Father, had they ever ſeen this new invented Toy. Both in this, and St. Marks Lyturgy Chriſt is again and again called〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉with his Father, which certainly would have determined that great Queſtion about that Word in the Nicene and other Councils. Both in St. James's and St. Marks Lyturgies we have the〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉invented by Felix 480. To ſay nothing of the Notions of Altars, Temples, burning Frankincenſe, Cenſers, ſuch as lived in Monaſteries, Confeſſors, the Prayer for the Pope, In St. Marks Lyturgy, the Prayers for Sub-deacons, Readers, Singers. All which things have made themuſtly rejected by all ſober Writers, and accounted of no better12 authority than the Epiſtles of Chriſt and Abagarus; for the very mention of which, Gelaſius of old, called Euſebius his Hiſtory Apo­chrypal. Nor are thoſe pretended to be St. Peters and St. Mathews of better authority. The ſame things are to be objected againſt the firſt, and ſurely if St. Peters Vicar thought better of it, the Church of Rome would have uſed it before that made by Gregory the Pope (which is that they uſe.) In that pretended to be St. Matthews, there is mention of the Epact & Golden Number (knacks invented long ſince) Prayers for Popes, Patriarchs, Archbiſhops, (perſons St. Matthew never knew) Nay Baſil, Chryſoſtom, Gregory the Great, the Nicene Council have their honourable mention in it, which were all 3, 4, 5 or 600 years after St. Matthews time. So that Baronius himſelf is aſhamed of all, but that called St. James's, nor doth Sainctes mention more. To ſay ſome things might be ad­ded,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Pa­riſ. 150. yet they might make Lyturgies of no value; 'tis that which Bellarm. and Baronius have ſaid, and ſome Semi-Protestants have taken up after them: For which they have no further proof than the Title of a Book ſet by a Popiſh Prieſt, which proves all as well as ſome.

IV. Nor is there any thing more clear to us than this, both from that of Tertullian (mentioned before) who lived Anno 200 after Chriſt, and from that long ſince quoted by Smectymnuus, out of Euſebius, That Conſtantine the Emperor made Prayers for his Ar­my, which unqueſtionably he would not have done, had there been then any Lyturgies (eſpecially any known by the Reverend autho­rities or Names of Matthew, Mark, Peter, or James. Beſides that, Biſhop Hall could pretend no higher authority than the Ca­non of the Council of Laodicea. (of which more by and by) For any Pretences of any in the Jewiſh Church, they are perfect Apo­chryphals. Joſ. Vicecomes de Miſſae appasatu, l. 7. c. 21.What truth there may be in what Vicecomes ſaith, that the Pagans had their Service-Books, to direct them in their idola­trous Service; which he proves out of Cicero, Feſtus, Clem. Alex­andr. and Lactantius: We are not at leiſure to enquire, nor think it much material; for ſurely Chriſtians are to take no Copies from them.

V. The higheſt pretended Authority then for publick Lyturgies, is from the 18th Can. of the Council of Laodicea: What time that Council was celebrated, is not agreed. Caranza ſaith it was Anno 364. towards the latter end of the time of Liberius the Pope. Longus and Baronius (from whom he had it) dates it 315. under13 Pope Sylveſter; which he proves, becauſe it was before the time of Baſil and Theodoret, which are no Arguments (for Baſil wrote not till near 380. nor Theodoret till Anno 420.) Balſamon (a man well enough skilled in the Chronology of the Gr. Councils) ſets it after the Synod of Antioch, and next before that of Sardis. This Synod decrees〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, (ſaith Balſamon) that the ſame Lyturgy of Prayers ſhould be uſed in the Morning and Evening: Sup­poſe his a true Copy, every one knows, that〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉doth not neceſſarily ſignifie a Form of words in Prayer, but meerly an Order of Prayers: But beſides this, Caranza gives this Canon another title, and phaſe too: The Title, De Orationibus quotidi­anis. The Canon, De eo quod ſemper ſupplicationes orationum, & ad horam nonam & veſperam oportet celebrari. According to him, (in which were but 22 Biſhops, Longus ſaith 32.) This Synod on­ly decreed that there ſhould be conſtant Prayers at Nine in the Morning and in the Evening; not that they ſhould be the ſame Forms.

VI. Nor can we believe there were at this time any Forms of Prayer made, for all Miniſters to uſe; becauſe we find the Coun­cil of Carthage only impoſing this,Can. 23. That if any Miniſter made any Prayers for his uſe, her ſhould not uſe them, till he had communicated them to his more able Brethren: Whence we gather, that at that time, which was about 395. there were no Forms of Prayer impo­ſed upon Miniſters.

VII. In which we are the more confirmed by the 12th, Canon of the Council of Mela, (commonly called the Milevitane Council) held in Africa, under Aurelius the Archbiſhop, where (ſo far as their Juriſdiction reached) they reſtrain Miniſters, to the uſe of ſuch Prayers, as ſhould be approved by the Synod, ne forte ali­quid contra fidem, vel per ignorantiam, vel per minus ſtudium ſit com­poſitum: leaſt any thing through ignorance or negligence ſhould be vented againſt the Faith, the Doctrine of which was then wo­fully ſhaken by Pelagius, to condemn whoſe Errours, that Coun­cil (which was but a Provincial Synod of 60 Biſhops) were con­vened.

VIII. We are not ignorant of the Lyturgies fathered upon Ba­ſil Chryſoſtome, and Ambroſe, a little before this time. Baſil was made Biſhop about the year 372. Chryſoſtome about the year 382. Ambroſe about 381. But he muſt have more Faith to ſpare, than we have, who can either believe, that the Lyturgies publiſhed un­der14 their names, are indeed theirs; or that they indeed impoſed any. There are two fathered upon Baſil, one printed 1569. tran­ſlated by Maſius. The Greek Copy is far more large than the Latine, and ſo differing one from another, that 'tis no hard thing to determine of their authority, as the Learned Morney hath done. For that of Ambroſe,Morneus de Miſſa, l. 1. c. 6. we have it not in his workes, Eraſmus, Per­kins, and others condemn, thoſe two Prayers (which are found in his works, preparing the Prieſt to celebrate Maſs) as none of his; in which cenſure, Robertus Cocus, yea and ſome Papiſts a­gree with him. What Vouchers therefore the Papiſts have for that Officium Ambroſianum, which Jacobus de Voragine, in the Golden Legend, and Durantus in his Rationale, tell us a Tale about, we cannot tell. For that fathered upon Chryſoſtome, there are di­vers Copies of it, ſcarce any of them agreeing with one another. Let thoſe who can think that ſo grave a man as Chryſoſtome could direct the Church to pray for Pope Nicholas who lived almoſt 500 years after Chryſoſtome was dead) or for the Victory of Alexius, (which was in a Battel fought 700 years after he was dead) or who can believe that ſuch a confuſed Fardel of ſtuffe could be made by ſo worthy a perſon, believe it was his if they will. We are the more confirmed in the contrary, by the latter craft of Lyturgy-mongers, in leaving out the Names of Alexius and Nicholas, in their latter printed Latine Copies,Eraſm. Epiſt. in Paraph. in 1 Cor. the Tranſlation of which, they yet unwa­rily father upon Eraſmus, who tels us, he did not think it like to be true that ever Chryſoſtome made it.

IX. To be ſhort, When we find that Joſephus Vicecomes (as ſuperſtitious as he was) can fetch no higher authority for Lyturgies, than Arnobius, who lived 306. Athanaſius who flouriſhed 330. Hierom, who lived 385. Victor Uticenſis, who lived 480. nor any plain proof from any of theſe: Only ſome of theſe ſpoke of Books of the Chriſtians, ubi ſummons oratur Deus, (ſo Arnobius) Sacros Scripturarum Libros (ſo Athanaſius) Liber Hymnorum & Myſte­riorum, ſo Hierom. Libros cunctos Domini, (ſo Uticenſis) We can­not but conclude, that at this time there were no Service-Books made, directing Forms of Prayer, though poſſibly Baſil, Chryſo­ſtom, Ambroſe, and others might write ſome Prayers to help ſome weak Chriſtians which they might tranſcribe.

Duranti Rati­onale, c. 2. l. 5.X. But what need we any further Teſtimony than is given, by one as zealous for Lyturgies, Rituals and other Ceremonies, as ever lived in the world? it is that of Durantus in his Rationale Divino­rum15 Officiorum, l. 5. c. 1. Durantus having ingeniouſly confeſſed (what none can without great impudence deny) that neither Chriſt nor his Apoſtles uſed any preſcribed Forms but the Lords Prayer and the Creed (nor doth or can he or any other ſay a word to prove they uſed them) tels us that in ſuceeding times becauſe the Church was rent by Hereſies, Theodoſius (who lived about the year 380) intreated Pope Damaſus,That ſome Eccleſiaſtical Office (or Lyturgy as we call it) might be made by ſome Eccelſiaſtical Catho­lick perſon, upon which Pope Damaſus commanded Hierom, who was then in Bethlehem with Paula Euſtochium, and other Virgins, to abide there, and make a Lyturgy for the Churches, becauſe he was well skill'd in Hebrew, Greek, Chaldee and La­tine; which he obediently did. He appointed how much of the Pſalmes ſhould be read each day in the week, he alſo order­ed the reading of the Gaſpels and Epiſtles out of the Old and New Teſtament: When he had done it, he ſent it to Rome; it was approved by Pope Damaſus, and made a Rule; and Da­maſus had the honour of the work, becauſe it was done at his Command. Gelaſius (who lived 490. and was Pope) and Gre­gorius Magnus (who lived 600 years after Chriſt) added Pray­ers and Songs, the Leſſons and the Goſpels. Ambroſe, Gela­ſius and Gregory (ſaith he) added the Gradualia, Tractus, Alle­lujah, other Doctors of the Church added other parts. Thus far Durantus.

XI. He fetcheth the Original of Lyturgies from Theodoſius; but how probably, let the Reader judge, who ſhall conſider, that this good Emperor, was Emperor but 17 years; that in that time he convened that great and venerable Council of Conſtantinople, where were 150 worthy perſons: Now let any judge how probable it was that this Emperor ſhould never propoſe the buſineſs to theſe; (for their Canons are only about grave and neceſſary things) and ſend to Pope Damaſus about this: He was a man too much ac­quianted with the efficacy of fervent Prayer, to reſtrain it. Nor indeed doth Durantus ſay, that he cauſed any Prayers to be made, all that he ſaith Hierom did, was the appointing an Order of read­ing the Scriptures.

XII. We muſt therefore go a little further than Theodoſius his time. Nuda ab initio omnia & ſompliciter, Myſteria a Chriſto tra­dita apud Apoſtolos erant,De Inventor. cerum. l. 5. c. 11. &c. (ſaith Polydore Virgil) One Pope af­ter this time brought in one piece of the Lyturgy, another brought in16 another. Coeleſtinus brought in the Introitus Miſſa, Damafus the Confeſſion, Gregory the Reſponds; and indeed till Gregories time there was no conſiderable uſe of it, nor any impoſing of it. This was near upon 600 years after Chriſt.

XIII. Pope Gregory is uſually ſaid to be the worſt of all the Biſhops of Rome that preceded him, though the beſt of thoſe that followed him; a man of no great Learning, for he confeſſeth himſelf (in one of his Epiſtles, that he underſtood no Greek) not blameleſs for Morals, (for he was accuſed before Mauritius the Emperor for the murder of one Malchus) Indeed the Proteſtant Writers make good uſe of him, for his Teſtimony, about ſome Points, viz. that about the Scriptures, Images, but chiefly in the queſtion about the Head of the Church. Ep. l. 7. c. 194.

XIV. The truth of the Story is, Two great Councils having be­fore determined the Patriarch of Conſtantinople and the Biſhop of Rome equal, only allowing to the latter the empty Title of the Biſhop of the firſt Seat. John, Patriarch of Conſtantinople was not able to endure that, and ſo upon the Point, though both refuſed the Title, yet both ſtrove to act the part of an Univerſal Biſhop: The Patriarch had the advantage of Gregory, becauſe (the Em­pire being then in the Eaſt) the Emperors Seat was at Conſtantino­ple:Greg. ep. l 4. Ep. 75.76. which cauſed divers Epiſtles between Mauritius and Gregory, (yet extant in Gregories workes) Mauritius in the heat of this Conteſt, was baſely murdered by Phocas (one of his Captains) who was by the Souldiers made Emperor. v. Greg. Epiſt. l. 11. c. 36, 43, 44.Gregory (tending the Intereſt of his Sea) writes a moſt unworthy Letter to the Empreſs, fawning upon that vile Murderer, and beſeeching him to favour Sr. Peters Succeſſor, and to remember who ſaid, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church: Soon after this, Gregory dies; but before he died, he had made a Lyturgy, (if we may be­lieve Pamelius, he made a Lectionary or Calendar, directing Scrip­tures to be read in order, an Antiphonary, directing the Reſponds for Prieſts and People, and an Order for adminiſtring the Sacra­ments) Others think the two latter were made after; but howe­ver, theſe reached no further than Gregories power, the Extent of which was at this time but ſhort and harrow.

15. Sabinianus was Pope immediatly after Gregory, he lived but ſix Moneths; Boniface ſucceeded him, he alſo fell in with Pho­cas, the Murderer of his Maſter: and the Patriarch of Conſtantino­ple being now out of favour with Phocas, becauſe he could not flat­ter17 him in his horrid wickedneſſes and cruelties, Phocas deſerts him, and gives Boniface (what he asked) the Title of Univerſal Biſhop: This was about the year 605. And now he might pretend ſome authority to impoſe his Service-Book.

XVI. But yet he did little (exept in Germany) for the Lom­bards continual quarrels with the Emperors, till the year 800. much hindred the Popes power all that time, they lay cloſe at home, all this while encreaſed in ſuperſtition, and the ſottiſhneſs and ignorance of their Clergy encreaſed, but in Juriſdiction they did little: Only taking advantages, one while favouring the Empe­rors, other while the Lombards; they added (by the favour of both) to St. Peters Patrimony, by all wicked acts imaginable, to be read at large in Mornayes Myſterium Iniquitatis, and in many other Books.

. XVII. But about the year 800. Charles the Great, being come to the Empire (who was a vertuous and noble Prince, only highly addicted to the Sea of Rome) Adrian was then Pope, the Empe­ror was a great Favourer of him, he confirmed to him all the tem­poral Poſſeſſions which the Popes had got either from former Em­perors, or from the Commanders of the Lombards, and added much more, which his Son Ludovicus Pius confirmed. This Emperor alſo ſetled the civil difference; which had a long time troubled the Empire, and he had a vaſt empire; it contained Italy, Germany, Hungary France, and part of Spain.

XVII. Now it grew a ſeaſonable time to impoſe a Lyturgy; to which purpoſe, Hadrian the Pope moved Charles the Great, that it might be by his civil authority impoſed,Duranti ratio­nale, l. 5. c 2. Mornei Hiſt. Papatus, p. 141 Fol. Gregories Lyturgy was it, ſaith Durantus. Ad quod Carolus Imperator omnes Clericos Minis & Suppliciis per diverſas Provincias cogebat Libros Ambroſia­ni Officii comburens, i. e. To which Charles the Great compelled all his Miniſters with threats and puniſhments; and burning thoſe Books that went under the name of St. Ambroſe. The Learned Morney ſaith the ſame almoſt, where we only obſerve, That the firſt impoſing of a Lyturgy was importuned by the Biſhop of Rome, and done in favour to him, in Adriani gratiam, (ſaith Morney) and began with a perſecution. but the Univerſal Biſhop muſt give the Catholick Church a caſt of his Office, and impoſe a Lyturgy as far as he could.

XIX. But after this, there was no ſmall conteſt; one Eugenius comes and complains to Pope Hadrian, concerning the impoſing18 of Gregories Lyturgy (it ſeems he liked that of St. Ambroſe, i. e. ſaid to be his) better. Durantus ſaith his importunity cauſed ſome Holy Fathers newly broke up from a Council, to meet again, who to determine this difference, reverently and unanimouſly agreed that both the Service-Book which was made by St. Ambroſe, and that alſo made by Gregory, ſhould be laid on St. Peters Altar, ſeal­ed up with the Seals of many Biſhops, and the Church-doors ſhould be ſhut, and the Fathers ſhould ſpend the whole night in**It were worth the while to know by what book they prai­ed in the mean time, Jacobus de Vo­rag. Leg. aurea in vita Greg. Durantus ib. Fox Martyrol. Vol. 1. Prayer, deſiring God by ſome ſign to determine, which of thoſe Service-Books he would have to be uſed univerſally: It was done according­ly. In the Morning they go in, and find that of St. Ambroſe ly­ing in its place, that of St. Gregory torn in piece; and ſcattered all about. (If it be a Lye, Reader, thou haſt it as cheap as we, and maieſt read it in the Golden Legend, Durantus and Mr. Fox his Martyrology, and doubtleſs in many other places, but in thoſe three we have read it.)

XX. But now what do the Fathers determine upon this Mira­cle? We ſhould have concluded, That it was the Will of God that Gregories Service-Book being full of all manner of ſuperſtitious Traſh, ſhould never be uſed, nor St. Ambroſe's impoſed, only lie by to be uſed in that Church of the Parſon pleaſed. But (ſaith Durantus) they concluded this a ſign from Heaven, that Greg. Service-Book or Miſ­ſal ſhould be ſcattered abroad, and uſed in all Churches, and that of St. Ambroſe only uſed in his own Church. (The buſineſs was, Gre­gory had been Pope, but Ambroſe had not.) Accordingly Pope Hadrian moving the Emperor Charles, Gregories Service-Book was now impoſed upon all Churches in France, Hungary, Italy, Ger­many, and in England too, for here 60 years before this, viz. Anno 740. Ina had ſubjected his Kingdom to Pope Gregory.

XXI. By, or before this time, the whole Fardel of Popiſh ceremo­nies and ſuperſtitions were brought into the Church, nothing want­ing (ſaith the Learned Morney) but the worſhipping of Images, (which Charles the Great alwaies oppoſed and wrote againſt, yet this alſo was about this time decreed by the Second Council of Nice, which Caranza ſaith, was celebrated, Anno 781. under A­drian and Tranſubstantiation, for which the way was how prepared too; for at this time the Lords Supper was called the Sacrifice of the Maſs, (ſaith Morney;) And he who reads the Eccleſiaſtical Hiſtory of the Magdeburgenſer, will find, that all the traſh of Ce­remonies and all manner of ſuperſtitious uſages were now come into19 the Church. Gregory almoſt 200 years before had defended Purga­tory, and was indeed (as Alſtodius calls him) the Maſter of the ce­remonies, he who defiled the Church with all manner of groſs and abominable Superſtition.

XXII. Now from this time, which was about the year 800. till the beginning of Reformation, which was about 1517. in Ger­many did the Church of God lie hid in the wilderneſs, ſome wit­neſſes to the truths of God there were, but no conſiderable open Aſſemblies, the durſt oppoſe the Popes power. The Popiſh Maſs-Books were every where uſed, and long before the Reformati­on, the Latine-Service was univerſal; for to that height of folly was the Holy Father come, that he could not think it enough for the Communion of the Church, that they ſhould every where pray for the ſame things, (which was alwaies done) and in the ſame words, phraſes and forms (which he had brought in) unleſs they alſo did it in the ſame language. And this impoſing of Forms, did admirably comport likewiſe with the ignorance and ſottiſhneſs of the Clergy in the 6th, and 7th. age, and ſo downward; all the world knows, in what a pickle Eraſmus found the world in as to Learning: Reuchlin, and he did much to amend it.

XXII. As the work of Reformation improved, the Maſſe-books were thrown our in England, nothing conſiderable was done until the 2. and 3. of Edward the 6. which was about the year 1549, and 1550. King Edward obſerving that Divine Service was, through­out his Kingdom, yet uſed in an unknown tongue, and that in ſe­veral modes, (here was the Com. Pr. after the uſe of Sarum, York, Bangor, Lincolne, &c.) appointed the Archbiſhop of Canterbury, (Cranmer) and ſeveral other Biſhops and Learned men, to make one convenient order, rite and faſhion of Common Prayer for publick uſe. Which they did, and preſented it to the king, and it was impoſed by Authority of parliament, in the firſt year of his Reign. Stat. 1 Ed. 6.1.In this firſt Book, were many groſs remains of Superſtition:Stat 5 & 6. Ed. 6. .1. . The King therefore cauſeth it to be reviſed again, explained and made fully perfect, and this ſecond Form was eſtabliſhed by Authority of Parliament, Anno 5. and 6 Ed. 6. and annexed and joyned ſo ex­plained and perfected, to that Statute, adding alſo a form and man­ner of conſecrating Archbiſhops, &c.

XXIII. Theſe prudent Reformers, conſidering they had to do with a people newly come out of the dregs of Popery, did not think ſit at once to do all that was to do: In the firſt Edition of the Com­mon20 Prayer Book, they left (if we remember right) Prayer for the dead ſtill to be uſed, gave directions for uſing the Croſs in the ad­miniſtring the Sacrament of the Lords Supper. In the Second Edi­tion, theſe and other things were left out; neither did they think fit at the time to make a new Lytugry, (the Common people would have thought it a new Religion) they therefore tranſlate the old Gregorian Miſſal, leaving out the Prayers for the Pope, and to Saints, and for Saints departed, and a few ſuch things, as could not be uſed without palpable Idolatry, and tranſlate the other Prayers in the Maſs-Book out of Latine into Engliſh, and theſe were ſome of them eſtabliſhed by that Act, 5, 6. Ed. 6. Stat. 1. The truth of this any one that can underſtand Latine may convince himſelf of, by comparing the Maſs-Book with the Com. Pr. of Edw. 6. Where he will find betwixt 40. and 50. Collects tranſla­ted verbatim; and if he compares the other parts with the Roman Breviary, the Roman Ritual, and the Pontificale Romanum, he will yet further ſee the truth of it.

XXIV. Not indeed could it be imagined, that thoſe firſt Reformers ſhould leave at that time all Miniſters at liberty, or to their own conceived Prayers, when moſt of them were Papiſts in their hearts & generally ſo ſottiſhly ignorant, and inſufficient, that they could not have done any thing. Which very cauſe held in Qu. Eliz. time, (where 1 El. c. 2. the Common Prayer was with ſome further emendations ſpecified in the Statute,5 Eliz c 28. again impoſed) In the 5th. year of her Reign, by Act of Parliament, the Common Prayer was ordered to be tranſlated into Welch, and uſed in Wales. And this is the true Story both of Lyturgies in the General, and the Engliſh Lyturgy in ſpecial.

XXV. By this time the Reader, who hath not a mind to re­vive Pythagoras his School again, and to ſacrifice his Reaſon to an〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, & believe every thing that is told him, before he hath tried the truth of it, may ſee reaſon to deſire the preſent L. Biſh. of Exe­ter to tell him (if he can) where thoſe ſame ancient models of Lytur­gies (not Roman,Biſh. Hall Re­monſtr. p. 13. but Christian) and contrived by the holy Martyrs and Confeſſors of the bleſſed Reformation of Religion, are to be found? The Remonstrant was challenged, to make it good out of ancient Models, but thought fit to wave the buſineſs in his Reply. It hath been the old Plea, but let them prove it if they can, (ſaith Di­doclavius.) Or if his preſent Lordſhip of Exeter doth not think fit to anſwer for another, yet it is reaſon that he ſhould juſtifie his21 own words. He hath told us, in p. 8. of his Conſiderations touching the Lyturgy, That,The Ancient Churches from the very firſt Century did uſe ſuch-publick wholſom Forms of found words in their Sacramental celebrations eſpecially, and afterwards in other holy Adminiſtrations or publick duties as made up their ſolemn, devout and publick Lyturgies, which Patterns, all Modern and Reformed Churches of any Renown, have followed according to the many Scriptural Examples and Expreſſions in ſet Forms of Prayer, Pſalms, Confeſſions and Benedictions, commended to us by holy men in all ages, and by Chriſt himſelf.

XXVI. The world is grown too wary to believe any thing of this, becauſe any one ſaith ſo; and the Doctor is too wiſe, to undertake to prove this: Let him prove, That Christ preſcribed the Lords Prayer for a Form, or that the Apoſtles ever uſed it ſo. 2. Let him prove, that in any of the four firſt Centuries there was any Stated Forms of Prayer uſed in the Church. 3. Let him prove, that any Modern Reformed Churches impoſed any Forms of Prayer, ſo that thoſe and no other might be uſed. And 4, That they did this after the Pattern of the Ancient Churches from the firſt Century. All theſe things are to be proved; nor is it poſſible to prove them.

XXVII. In the 18th. p. of that Diſcourſe, he tels us, That,Dr. Gaudens Conſider. p. 19.It is a Jeſuitical Artifice and back-blow uſed by ſome to aver, though falſely, That the Engliſh Lyturgy was nothing elſe but the Romiſh Miſſal or Maſs-book turned into Engliſh: 'Tis true, he ſaith, ſome things (very ſcriptural) devout and excellent, which the Roman Miſſal had taken, and retained after the an­cient Form of Lyturgies of the Church, were ſevered and taken as Wheat from Chaffe, and Jewels from Droſs, by our wiſe Re­formers, and preſerved in the Engliſh Lyturgy, conform to pi­ous and unſpotted Authority.We challenge Dr. Gauden and all others of his mind, to make this good if they can. It is true, there are ſome things in the Engliſh Lyturgy, that are not in the Gregorian Miſſal. But let any one take Miſſale Romanum, both the old one, and that eſtabliſhed by the Council of Trent: Breviari­um Romanum, Rituale Romanum, and Pontificale Romanum. and compare them all with the printed Com. Prayer-book of 5 & 6 E. 6. and then judge whether he can find a 6th. part of the latter, which is in none of the former. If he finds that there is very little added, let him the learn how to truſt men talking after ſuch a magiſterial rate, and annexing no proofs of their words.

22XXVIII. If the Reader finds it true, that (whatſoever Dr. Gau­den ſaith) there is in our Engliſh Lyturgy, as it is commonly ex­poſed to ſale, very little but what is to be found in the Maſs-book in Latine, let him then go to the Biſhop of Exeter, and deſire him (for his credit ſake) to ſhew him thoſe ancient Forms of Lyturgy uſed in the Church, out of which theſe Forms of Prayer were tran­ſcribed and taken, which muſt be immediately after the firſt Cen­tury; or tell him, what that ſame pious and unſpotted authority is, If he tels him, it is Pope Gregories, (which he muſt if he ſpeaks truth) let him tell him, that he hath heard, that he was a vile wretch, accuſed for a Murtherer, the Father of most of the ſuperſtiti­ous uſages now in the Church of Rome, one who underſtood not the Greek Tongue, (as himſelf confeſſeth) a man of no admirable Judgment (witneſs his pretented Commentaries upon Job, which might have as well been upon the Revelation) a man very far from being either pious or unſpotted, or fit for his Seat, one that defended Purgatory, that fawned upon Phocas the Murderer; in ſhort, one of no deſerved Name or Authority in the Church of God.

XXIX. By this Diſcourſe it appears, that there was no Lyturgy directing Forms of Prayers for the Church, till Pope Gregories time Anno 600. nor any impoſed till the time of Charles the Great, Anno 800. when all manner of ſuperſtitious uſages were brought into the Church; nor was it then impoſed without a Perſecution at­tending it. And this, Reader, is the pious and unſpotted Authority, the Biſhop tels thee of. From hence thou wilt alſo conclude, the antiquity of the Engliſh Lyturgy, the reaſon of its firſt being impo­ſed, and no further reformed, either by K. Edw. or by Qu. Elizabeth. In King James his time, it received ſome additions, what Refor­mation we cannot tell.

XXX. By all this Diſcourſe, it appeareth that there is no divine Preſcript, no Apoſtolical Tradition, no Univerſal Tradition, no Ex­ample of the Purer Primitive Churches, for more than 400. yea, 700 years after Chriſt, which can be pleaded for impoſed Forms of Pray­er, by any that make any conſcience of their words, or will under­take to prove what they ſay.


CHAP. IV. An Enquiry into the ſtate of thoſe Churches which firſt com­mended or impoſed Lyturgies, at the time when they firſt made ſuch Impoſitions.

I. THough it may ſeem abſurd to enquire, whether the gray hairs of Lyturgies be found in the way of Righteouſneſs? when we have evinced, that they have no ſuch pretended Anti­quity and Age to glory in, and that the Aſſertors of ſuch Antiquity for them, do but impoſe upon the world; yet conſidering what we remember we have learned out of Ariſtotle, That there is a youth­fulneſs in reſpect of Age, or in reſpect of Manners and Conditions. It may be worthy of a further enquiry, Whether yet there may not be ſuch a neceſſity of them, or ſuch a comlineſs, beauty and gravi­ty in them, as may not only juſtifie Magiſtrates in the impoſing of them, but oblige every ſoul that hath ought to do with reaſon, to fall in with the uſe of them, yea paſſionately to deſire them (even as much as Rachel did children) which we ſhall the better determine, by reviewing the firſt occaſions of Lyturgies, and the complexion of the Church in thoſe ages, when they were firſt made, or moſt uſed.

II. I think we may ſay of Lyturgies, as Chriſt ſaid of the Bill of Divorce, which Moſes allowed; Moſes verily for the hardneſs of your hearts, gave you a Bill of divorce, but from the beginning it was not ſo. He that had a reſidue of Spirit (as the Prophet ſaith) made one for one. The Church played Moſes his part in the buſineſs of Forms of Prayer. Chriſt who had a reſidue of Spirit, the Spirit given him without meaſure, impoſed no Forms of Prayer upon his Miniſters, or Church. The Apoſtles, who had the firſt and moſt plentiful powrings out of the Spirit of Grace, impoſed no ſuch things. Chriſt indeed gave a more general direction to his People in Prayer, to ask things according to the Will of God, and in his Name; and more particular directions in that excellent Form, called the Lords Prayer; but that (as Durantus idly ſaith) either Chriſt, or his Apo­stles uſed the Lords Prayer (ordinarily) as a Form of words in Prayer, or that the Apoſtles uſed a Form of words to expreſs their24 Faith,r impoſed the Creed (commonly called, but hardly to be proved) theirs (which the ſame Author aſſerteth) muſt certainly be proved out of ſome ſuch Canonical Writings, as the Epiſtles of Chriſt to Abagarus, or to Paul and Peter, for there is no authen­tick Record of any ſuch things; but in proceſs of time indeed the Church began to do ſome ſuch things.

III. The higheſt mention we can find, is, that thin Synod of the Church of Laodicea, made up of 32 Biſhops; and this (whatever Biſhop Hall ſaith according to Longus) cannot be proved (as we ſaid before) to have been before the year 364. (as to which time Balſamon and Caranza agree it) but truly it had been no great wonder if this Church which many years before was grown neither hot nor cold,Rev. 3.17. but in ſuch a temper, that God was ready to ſpue it out of his mouth (for which we have an authentick record in the Revela­tion) ſhould long before this time have made ſuch a Salve and prudent Prouiſion for the Lazineſs of her Miniſters: He that ſhall read the Canons of that Synod, againſt the Miniſters hanting Taverns, and uſing Inchantments; as alſo the other Canons about exor­ciſing, and the ſeveral Officers and Offices of the Church, will ſee reaſon enough to conclude, the woful corruption of the Church in thoſe parts, if not to ſuſpect, that it was of a far lower date than is pre­tended.

IV. The Synod of 40 Biſhops at Carthage, (which was the 3d. Synod of Carthage) only enjoyned Miniſters to communicate to their more able brethren, their Prayers compoſed for their publick Congregations; this was in the year 397. Yet that the face of the Church at this time, had many ſpots, and much impurity cleaving to it, may appear by this Synod, by their 6th. Can. againſt giving the Lords Supper to, or Baptizing ſuch as were dead: by their many Canons, 17, 25.27. againſt Clergymen hanting Taverns, and keeping ſcandalous company with women, their 30. Can. againſt jovial Meet­ings in Churches. their 36 Can. about the Chriſma or the anointing Oyl, which no Presbyters muſt make. And that this Synod conſiſt­ed not of the moſt infallibly wiſe Fathers, appears, by their Learn­ed 29 Canon; where they take pains to decree that every Miniſter ſhould give the Sacrament of the Altar (ſo it ſeems they had learn­ed to call the Lords Supper) faſting. Yet this Synod in the buſi­neſs of Prayer, did not think fit to reſtrain every Miniſter, only ha­ving ſo looſe and inſufficient a Clergy, they order the weaker ſort, having compoſed Prayers, to confer their Notes (before they uſed25 them) cum fratribus inſtructioribus, with their more able Bre­thren.

V. After this, the Council of Mela, Anno 416. grew more bold; and ordain (as to their Province, for what authority had they further?) that the Miniſters ſhould uſe no Prayers, but ſuch as that Synod had approved. They might juſtly expect, that the Churches under their inſpection would hardly ſwallow this new Pill, if it were not lapped up in ſome good Reaſon, and there­fore they give their reaſon for it, leſt ſomthing ſhould be vented againſt the true Doctrine of Faith, either by ſome Miniſters negligence or igno­rance. The cauſe of that Synods Meeting, was the cenſuring of Pelagius, that great enemy of Grace.

The Errors which Pelagius had broached, were theſe;

1. That Adams ſhould have died though he had never ſinned.

2. That Infants were born without Original ſin.

3. That there is no need of he aſſiſting Grace of God (ſin being once pardoned.)

4. That all the need we have of Grace is, to illuminate us in the know­ledge of Gods Commandments.

5. That the Grace of God only helpeth us to do his will more eaſily and freely.

6. That the words of St. John, If we ſay we have no ſin, we de­ceive our ſelves, were only figuratively true, not literally.

7. That the Saints praying, Forgive us our Treſpaſſes, was ap­pointed them in the behalf of others, not themſelves.

Or, 8. If for themſelves, only as an expreſſion of their humility: not concluding them to have any ſins to be forgiven.

Againſt theſe Errours that Reverend Synod made their 8 firſt Canons. Pelagius having uſed diverſe Arts (the ſtory is too long to inſert) to ſecure his Doctrine from a publick Cenſure, had far diffuſed the poyſon of this Doctrine. This Reverend Synod ob­ſerving his Errors to be in ſuch things as are the daily matter of Miniſters Confeſſions and Supplications, thought fit for the preventi­on of the diffuſing this Venom by Miniſters in their publick prayers, as alſo that the Church might have due confeſſions made, as well of Original ſin as Actual, and due Petitions put up for pardoning and aſſiſting Grace, &c. And conſidering that the church was ſo de­bauched now in her Clergy, that ſome through ignorance could not do it, ſome through Lazineſs would neglect a due care in doing that to which they were able. Others poſſibly (though that be26 concealed) through a perverſe and corrupted Judgment, would not do it, appointed Forms of Prayer to be uſed, and reſtraine the liberty of Praying to the Miniſters within that Province, obliging them to uſe the Forms approved by the Synod.

VI. The reaſon for which (as Durantus tels us) Theodoſius much about this time, or a little before, ſet St. Hierom to com­poſe a Calendar, indeed rather than a Lyturgy (for Durantus ſaith, he did no more than order the Scriptures to be read, though Pame­lius hath tranſmitted to us an Antiphonary and Sacramental Lytur­gy, as well as a Lectionary of his compoſing) was in regard of He­reſies riſen up in the Church. So that hitherto, we have had no other account given us of the compoſing Forms for publick worſhip, than 1. The Ignorance of the Ministry which they were forced to employ. Or 2. Their Lazineſs and Negligence. Or 3. Their, or the Peoples falling into Errors.

VII. But after that the Univerſal Biſhop got up into the Saddle, it was reaſonable that he ſhould have a power of Univerſal command, and to ſhew his authority, he muſt impoſe a compleat Lyturgy (as to all parts) and enjoyn univerſal conformity, which yet he could never obtain, till he got a great Intereſt in the Civil Magiſtrate; who had a civil power over what was then almoſt the univerſal Church. Nor muſt this ſerve the turn, for this Univerſal Biſhop muſt have all Churches, not only ſpeak the ſame words and phraſes, but in the ſame Language too; hence he brings in Latine Service. All which alſo admirably comported with the ſottiſh ignorance and debauchery of the Clergy, in the 6th. & 7th. Century, and ſo downward, till the times of Reuchlin and Eraſmus, when Reformation began to dawn, and the light began to ſpring out of darkneſs. Whether theſe ends were good and lawful, and the impoſing of Forms of publick divine Worſhip were applied as juſt means in order to them, viz. either to cure the ignorance or negligence of the Clergy, or to bring the Church to an unity in Doctrine, Worſhip or Affection, ſhall be examined: For if either the end or means be proved un­lawful and againſt the Will of God, they talk vainly for the con­tinuance of them, that urge no more than Humane Prudence, World­ly Wiſdom, being no other than perfect Folly, becauſe Enmity to God.


CHAP. V. Univerſal Conformity of Devotion, as to words and Sylla­bles, no good End. Impoſing Forms of Prayer no rea­ſonable, juſt or ſufficient Means to prevent Hereſies, or to cure the Lazineſs or Inſufficiency of the Church, proved by Reaſon and by Experience.

I. IT cannot but be confeſſed, that it is a noble end for any Church to aim at, to take care, that the people may have the truths of God aſſerted to them; and not through the ignorance or lazineſs, or perverſeneſs of its Miniſters, be ſerved with an Husk in ſtead of bread, or a Scorpion in ſtead of a Fiſh. This end is approveable both from the Word of God, and the light of all Chriſtian Reaſon. But that there ſhould be an Oneneſs in the devotion of people, as to Letters and Syllables, and Phraſes, and Forms of Sentences, is an end ſo little, and low and inſignificant in it ſelf, that we cannot ex­pect it ſhould be juſtified from Scripture, which indeed ſaith not a word to that purpoſe.

II. And although the prevention of Errors & Hereſies, & the poyſon­ing of people with them, as alſo the prevention of the miſchief ariſing to the Church from ignorant and lazy, or erroneous Preachers or Mi­nisters, be (as I ſaid before) a noble end, and well worthy of the Churches care, yet before we can allow the ſame honour to the impoſing of Lyturgies and ſtinted Forms of Prayer, as means in or­der to thoſe ends, we muſt both enquire, whether they be lawful means; and alſo, 2. Whether they be ſuch as Reaſon will evince, or experience hath proved effectual to the obtaining thoſe ends, and that 3. Without bringing upon the Church a miſchief every way as great, as what they are pretended to deliver us from.

III. That when Chriſt himſelf appointed no ſtated Forms of pub­lick Devotion for his Church, to the uſe of which, and no other they ſhould be tied; nor his Apoſtles, though guided by an infal­lible Spirit; nor the Purer Church for ſome hundred years after, it ſhould remain yet lawful for the Church, not content to repreſs and prevent Errors and Hereſies, by ſuch waies and means as the28 Apoſtles uſed, but by this new device, to endeavour it, may be juſtly a queſtion to all ſober Chriſtians.

IV. Eſpecially conſidering, that as a liberty in coming to the Throne of Grace, and asking there whatſoever we will (provided it be conſonant to the Will of God, and begged in the Name of Chriſt) is one of the great priviledges purchaſed by Chriſt for his Church; ſo the Spirit of Grace and Supplication is eminently and frequently promiſed for their aſſiſtance, and that not only to teach them how to pray, but what to pray for, Rom. 8.26. Nor is this promiſed only to the Prelates in a Church, but to every individual Chriſtian; and the gift of Prayer, whence flows mens abilities to expreſs themſelves by words and phraſes, is one of the moſt excel­lent gifts which we are bound to cover, and to improve. All which being conſidered, it is far from being clear, that the reſtrain­ing of Chriſtians, eſpecially of Miniſters in the exerciſe of the no­ble gift of Prayer in the publick Aſſemblies of the Church, is a lawful means in order to any end, it looking like that quenching of the Spi­rit, which is forbidden to all men by the Apoſtle, 1 Theſ. 5.19. and choaking the coveting of the beſt gifts, which is commanded all Chri­ſtians, 1 Cor. 14.1. For to what purpoſe ſhould thoſe Talents be deſired, which man hath authority to command to be laid up in a Napkin? Nay which had far better be laid up in a Napkin, than uſed, if the Doctrine of ſome be true, concerning the tranſcendent excellency of Forms of Prayer, above what are conceived by Mini­ſters, according to the gift of God beſtowed upon them.

V. Beſides, it may be worthy of enquiry, whether it be poſſi­ble, or at leaſt ordinary with men to read any Prayer, with that fixed and conſtant intention of mind and fervency of ſpirit (the two neceſſary requiſites of Prayer) as they may ſpeak unto God from the dictate of their own hearts, while their ſouls are more abſtra­cted from created Objects, than they can poſſibly be, while it is a great piece of their work to look upon their Books, to ſee what to ſay next: For what ſome pretend, that the diverſion is greater in conceived Prayer, by the employment of the mind in prompting the tongue what it ſhould ſay next; beſides that this is a ſpiritual employment of the mind within it ſelf, neither doth it require any ſuch ſtudy, where the heart is right with God, and ſo acquainted with the Word and Promiſes of God, as every reaſonable Mini­ſter ought to be.

29VI. Nor is it out of the way to conſider whether this method of Book-praying, will not expoſe the Ministers of the Goſpel, to a perfect contempt amongſt the people, who will certainly conclude their Parſon not able to do what every ordinary Chriſtian doth. Of which contempt we have had a plentiful experience, nor do we believe that any thing hath ſo contributed to our breed of Lay-preachers as our Stinted forms of prayer; Whilſt the people have apprehended their gifts better than their Miniſters, an eaſy temp­tation hath ſerved them to uſurp their Office. Nor will any Mini­ſter longer keep his authority amongſt a knowing people, then by his performances of his Office, they ſhall be convinced he is higher in gifts than themſelves; For rational people will not ſa­crifice a blind faith to the Biſh. of Exeter magnifying the forms of prayer in the Common-prayer-book beyond all meaſure, but will be enquiring, wherein their excellency lies. Are they more perfect Summaries of things to be confeſſed, or to be petitioned for? Is their phraſe more ſcriptural? &c. or if they do ſee an excellency in them, it will be hard to informe them, that the gift of reading is more admirable in their Miniſter at Church, then in their ſervant at home.

VII. Now if the Univerſal impoſing of any forms upon the afore­mentioned conſiderations, appear unlawfull of it ſelf, or in regard of ſome neceſſary or certain conſequent, there needs no more be ſaid to prove that men ſhould have made uſe of ſome other means in order to thoſe good ends of preventing errors, and the miſchiefs ariſing, or poſſible to ariſe from a negligent and ignorant Miniſtry, to the Church of Chriſt.

VIII. But ſuppoſe the uſe of this means lawful, yet if Reaſon might then dictate unto them that applied this means, That it was never like to effect its end; and Experience hath ſince taught poſteritie that upon the experience of 80. years, it hath proved ineffectual, cer­tainly the very light of Nature ſhould have taught the firſt im­poſers, to have uſed ſome other means, and will yet direct us (who have the advantage of experience) in this, to excel out Fore-fa­thers.

IX. It may put the rational world into a fit of aſtoniſhment to conſider that ſo many Biſhops ſhould think that the impoſing of formes of prayer, would ever contribute any thing to cure the ignorance or negligence of the Clergy, when in very deed, it was the right way to feed both, and to continue theſe ſcabs upon the Church30 for ever. For a man to be able to compoſe a prayer fit for a con­gregation, requires no leſſe then a very competent skill in the whole body of Divinity, and a very large knowledge of the Scriptures, which would have ingaged Miniſters to ſtudy the Scriptures, and to ſtir up their gifts. But when they had once thus provided for them, there needed no more skil for a Parſon, then every ordinary per­ſon had, viz. an ability to read the written prayers. It is true, they had yet ſome work to do in preaching, but this was ſoon taken off their ſhoulders, by adding ſtill formes of prayer, the reading of which ſhould require ſuch a length of time, that no roome was left for Sermons, or it there were, Homilies came quickly after, which would ſerve the turn: So that theſe impoſed Liturgies, in ſtead of ſerving their end, in curing the ignorance or negligence of Miniſt••s, did moſt wretchedly ſerve to fill the Church, with ignorant and la­zy perſons yea and debaucht too, for now the Miniſters work was ready, and he might ſtay at the Ale-houſe till Saturday, and yet be as fit for his work, or at leaſt do as much the next day, as was required of him, which was not only miſerably exemplified in the Popiſh Church (til Eraſmus his time and the beginnings of refor­mation, when they began by the Proteſtants oppoſition to be quickened to a little better attendance to their work) but is at this day ſufficiently evident, as to the generality of their Prieſts, to ſay nothing of the liberal experience of it, which our own Nati­on hath afforded.

X. Nor certainly could juſt reaſon dictate it a proper or adequate means to prevent, or reſtrain Errors and Hereſies: for how ſhould this ever do it? ſhall preaching by a form impoſed be ſu­peradded to praying? or ſhall there be forms of prayer impoſed for the Pulpit as well as the Desk? Theſe certainly had been too groſſe impoſitions. If not; had not the Miniſters as much liberty to vent their Errors in their Pulpit-prayers, as they would have had in the Desk? or in their Sermons as in their prayers? But then people would have apprehended, they ſay, that they vented their own conceits, not the doctrine of the Church? And would they not far better have apprehended this, if the Miniſter had only been enjoyned to read a perfect Syſteme of the doctrine of Faith ſummarily drawn up. (Such was the wiſdome of the Councel of Nice in the caſe, though indeed that Creed be far from a perfect Syſteme) This no ſober Miniſter would have ſcrupled. Beſides Hereſies are commonly the iſſue of Schiſmes, and experience hath told the31 world that nothing ever ſo contributed to the breeding of Schiſmes in the Church, as impoſed formes of prayer have done: So contrary hath it appeared to the Senſus communis of Chriſtians in all times, that the Miniſters of the Goſpel ſhould be reſtrained in the gift of prayer, I ſay in all times ſince the Reformation of the Church, nor would the Popiſh Church have ever been able to have impoſed theirs ſo long upon the people, if beſides that Fire and Sword which alwaies at­tends his Holineſſe is commands in caſe of diſobedience; they had not wiſely kept the people from the ſight of the Scriptures, or from the hearing of any Sermons (almoſt:) For nothing but the peo­ples ignorance, could have ſecured this devotion ſo long. And no ſooner came the light of knowledge amongſt the people, but many of them either ſaw, or thought they ſaw, that this kind of Praying was not all that God required of his Miniſters. And in thoſe Churches where were forms of prayer (though tranſlated into an intelligible tongue) there were continual Factions and Separa­tions from that which they called the Church, and more in Eng­land then elſe-where, becauſe no reformed Church had ſuch a Li­turgy, nor ſo impoſed.

XI. But ſuppoſe the impoſing formes of prayer lawfull, and that it had effected its end, done ſomething to prevent Errors & Hereſies, and ſome miſchiefes which from the Ignorance and Negli­gence of Miniſters might have come upon the Church. If yet the miſ­chief coming by the means uſed hath been, or is like to be as great, as that which they are deſigned to prevent, (or though not ſo great) if there be other more proper and regular means (not ſubject to the ſame ill conſequences) and more certain to obtain the end which may be uſed, certainly all prudent men, will conclude that, theſe old ineffectual miſchievous means, ſhould be no longer uſed, but thoſe far better applyed.

XII. The miſchiefs which the impoſing forms of prayer have brought upon the Church, have been, 1. The nurſing up of a no­toriouſly ignorant and lazy Clergy, not giving themſelves to medita­tion and Prayer (two of thoſe things which Luther thought neceſſary to make a Divine) 2. Separation from Church Aſſemblies. 3. Dreadful Perſecutions upon Godly Miniſters and people, who could not judg their conformity lawful. The Admirers of theſe forms perſwading Princes to eſtabliſh them by their civill authority, and then ſuggeſting to them, that the Miniſters and peoples not complying with them, was out of a principle of diſloyalty to their32 Princes, and diſaffection to their authority, and bringing non­conformiſts under the crime of Laeſa Magiſtatis, evils certainly not much leſſe, then what Impoſed forms were pretended to pre­vent.

XIII. Yet were the continued uſe of theſe means in order to ſuch ends more tolerable, if there were no other to be found moſt cer­tainly juſtifiable, far more regular, and more effectual, as to the end. Would the Prelates of the Church prevent the riſe and growth of errors & hereſies by the Miniſters negligence, ignorance, or perverted Judgement? Let them, 1 Take care, that none be admitted into the Miniſteral Office or truſted with the charg of Souls, but ſuch as ſhal be throughly examin'd, as to their knowledg in the body of Divinity, & of whoſe gift in prayer, they ſhal have taken an Experiment, and who ſhal not firſt by ſome open Act declare his Aſſent to the doct­rine of Faith. May they not withſtanding this be lazy? or afterwards perverted in judgement? To what purpoſe ſerve Synods, Presby­teryes, &c. But to take a conſtant account of the Miniſters of ſe­veral Pariſhes? how they uſe their gifts? diſcharge their Office? to admoniſh, the irregular, ſuſpend, deprive them, &c. Certain­ly as this means is more proper and more regular, more rational for the obtaining the aforeſaid ends, ſo the uſe of it would be far more effectual, and all good people would be ſatisfied, and rejoyce in it.

XIV. From this diſcourſe it appears, that the pretended neceſſity of a Liturgy or impoſed forms of prayer in any Church, is no other then ſuch as the author of Diſcoliminium told us merrily, Von Doſme conceived there was, when the fire burnt his Shins, that the Chimny ſhould be pulled down and ſet farther off, when it had been more eaſy, and every whit as effectual for him to have re­moved his Shins from the fire; yea ſuch as (the ſame author tels us) was the neceſſity which Simon the French Monk ſaw, that the poor people of a Province of France were under (wanting cloathes) to flea themſelves and ſend their Skins to be tanned, that they might have cloathes for their backs, when as they eaſily ſaw, the remedy would be as bad as the diſeaſe. In very deed there can be no pre­tence of the neceſſitie of impoſed forms of prayer, for the ob­taining any of the Ends aforeſaid, of which aſſertion we have a demonſtration both in the Church of Scotland, and other reformed Churches, where there is no ſuch impoſed Liturgies, though poſ­ſibly33 moſt of them have Lyturgies compoſed, to be uſed at li­berty.

XV. Nor would any ſober perſons oppoſe the compoſing of a Ly­turgy, for publick Aſſemblies, which might by way of puniſhment be enjoyned to thoſe to uſe, whom the Governours of the Church ſhould ſuſpect perverted by Error, or diſcern lazy and negligent, as to the ſtirring up of the Gift of God beſtowed upon them. But that ſuch Forms ſhould be impoſed upon all, cannot certainly be either lawfully or prudently adviſed or wiſhed, leſt Gods Gifts given to his Miniſters, ſhould be ſmothered, their deſires to improve them, (according to Gods Command) quenched, good people ſcandali­zed, and the moſt ignorant, negligent, and worſt of men en­couraged in the higheſt Services of God. In fine, leſt the hearts of any Subjects by ſuch unwelcome Impoſitions, ſhould be aliened from their Magiſtrates, who (except in the matters of their God) deſire no other Priviledges or Liberties from them, as the reward of their daily Prayers and Allegiance, than their own goodnes ſhall prompt them to give them.

CHAP. VI. A particular Examination of the five late Arguments uſed by the Biſhop of Exeter, to evince the Neceſſity or high Expedience of a Lyturgy.

I. VVE have hitherto conſidered whatſoever Antiquity could pretend for the uſefulneſs of impoſed Forms of Prayer in the Church, and weighed them in the Ballance of Rea­ſon;Conſd p. 9. but the Reverend Biſhop of Exeter improves the notion of their uſefulneſs higher, telling us, they have very many great, and good influence, upon true Religion and upon every Church; which he endeavoureth to make good in five Inſtances, which we ſhall crave leave modeſtly to examine.

II. Firſt, He ſaith, It conduceth much to the more ſolemn, com­plete, and auguſt and reverent worſhip of the Divine Majeſty, in Chri­ſtian Congregations, where otherwiſe the moſt Sacred and venerable my­ſteries muſt be expoſed to that rudeneſs and unpreparedneſs, that barren­neſs34 and ſuperficialneſs, that defect and deformity, both in matter, man­ner, judgment and expreſſion, to which every private Minister is daily ſubject, as late experience hath taught us. It will be very hard to find any thing in this more then words.

1. It will be granted, that the publick Service of God ought to be performed ſolemnly, reverently and compleatly; for that ſame auguſt ſerving of God, we do not well underſtand the Doctors meaning; if he means outward Pomp and Splendor, in the habits of thoſe that ſerve at the Altar, or lofty high flown phraſes, ſwel­ling words of vanity, we never read that God either required it, or delighted in it, nor can we from any reaſon conclude the neceſſity of it or uſefulneſs of it, as being contrary to all the Copies of Prayers and Sermons ſet us by Chriſt or his Apoſtles, and no way ſuted to the ſimplicity and plainneſs of the Goſpel-Devotion: God is unqueſtionably then ſerved moſt reverently and ſolemnly, when the worſhippers of him approach him with moſt fear, and worſhip him with moſt affection and fervency of ſpirit, wreſtling with God, (as Jacob did) which the Prophet interprets by weeping and ma­king Supplications.

2. It is true, that Miniſter ſins, who (though ignorance or negligence) expreſſeth any want of Reverence of God in his heart, by impertinent and rude expreſſions, (not fitting to be uſed in civil con­verſe with men) or which may make the Service of God contempti­ble to others.

3. But that every miniſter muſt needs be thus guilty, (with the Doctors leave) experience hath not taught us, and is very uncha­ritably and falſly aſſerted. We have not (bleſſed be God) ſuch a pitiful Church, that there are no Miniſters in it, but are liable to the charge of ſerving God in Prayer with rudeneſs, unprepared­neſs, barreneſs, ſuperficiality, defect, deformity, and that both in matter, manner, judgment and expreſſion. No Jeſuit ever had the confidence ſo to aſperſe the Miniſtry of England, nor could ſpeak more ſordidly to their diſhonour. Poſſibly there may be ſome, (and there have been far more than now are) who may be too lia­ble to this charge. But where's the fault? Is it not in thoſe to whom the truſt is committed of taking a due cogniſance of ſuch as offer themſelves to be ordained, or admitted to the cure of ſouls? Should not they take care to admit none, but ſuch as are both able to preach and to pray? Do they not diſcharge their work conſci­entiouſly, while they admit ſuch as are not able to pray, without35 ſuch rudeneſs as is here complained of? or make no more conſci­ence of it, than to do it unpreparedly, ſuperficially, with ſo much barrenneſs, defect and deformity? ſuch as neither have judgment to compoſe a Prayer, as to matter, nor elocution to pray, as to man­ner, ſo, but that people ſhall have juſt cauſe to nauſeate the Wor­ſhip of God.

4. If the Doctor means (by his phraſe of every Minister being ſubject, &c.) only that 'tis poſſible that the beſt Miniſters may ſo be negligent, &c. as to run upon this Rock, that is as true con­cerning reading Prayers: none will deny, but he that can read very well, may read falſe, and if he keeps not his mind intent, no doubt but he will perform the Service, as rudely and ſuperficially by reading, as by ſpeaking; Inſtances might be given of this, and ſhall if need be: And certainly the conceiving of a Prayer will com­mand more attention of mind, than reading can. All therefore ſaid under this Head, is meer air.

III. But Secondly, He tels us, That a Lyturgy is a moſt excel­lent means to preſerve the truth of Christian and Reformed Doctrine, by the conſonancy of publick Devotions,Pag. 10. into which otherwiſe corrupt minds are apt to infuſe the ſour Leaven of their own corrupt Opinions. Fine words again! But what reaſon? we have before ſhewed it to be,

1. Queſtionable, whether a lawful means or no.

2. If lawful, by no means effectual, except it reach to all Pray­ing and Preaching too.

3. Not the only means, a good Summary of Chriſtian Faith is far more proper and rational.

4. A means bringing a miſchief as bad as what it pretends to cure, yea far worſe, fit for nothing but to breed rents and ſeparations, the mothers of all Hereſies.

5. An Apochryphal means by which men make themſelves wiſer than Chriſt and his Apoſtles, or the Purer Church. We ſhall on­ly propound this Queſtion upon this ſuggeſtion: If this be true, how comes it to paſs, that all the Arminians and Popiſhly affected Clergy-men of England are ſuch Zealots for a lyturgy? The thing is demonſtrably true, that it is ſo; let the Doctor anſwer this Queſtion by his next.

IV. But Thirdly, A Lyturgy (he ſaith) is neceſſary for the holy Harmony and ſweet communion of all Chriſtians, as well in National, as Parochial Churches, whilſt thereby they are all kept in one mind and36 Spirit, praying the ſame things, and chearfully ſaying Amen to the ſame Praiſes and Petitions. Here is the old Fallacy ſtill of Verba elegancia, pro ſenſu ſimplici, That all Chriſtians have the ſame com­mon wants, and ought to pray for the ſame things in the main, is to be granted, though as particular perſons, ſo particular Churches may have renewing wants, not common to all (for which a Ly­turgy will not ſerve the turn) But is there any ſo ſimple, as not to underſtand, that the ſame things may be prayed for in different words and phraſes? The Doctor here miſtook his Mark, he ſhould have proved, that it is the Will of God that Chriſtians ſhould main­tain their Communion in the uſe of the ſame phraſes, letters and ſylla­bles. And when he had done that, a Popiſh Prieſt ſhould have improved his Notion, and concluded that becauſe the one body of Chriſt ſhould have but one tongue, and ſince the confuſion at Babel, men in ſeveral nations have ſpoke ſeveral languages; therefore to the perfection of the Communion of the Church, there is not only a Liturgy neceſſary, but a Liturgy every where in Latine, that being a Language moſt univerſally known. The Churches external Communion lyes in their keeping the ſame Sabbath, performing the ſame Acts of worſhip (of which prayer is one) confeſſion of Original and Actual ſins, praying for the ſame mercies generally, &c. not in their ſaying all the ſame words ſure.

He tells us (fourthly) That a Liturgical form is not onely of great benefit, and comfort to the more knowing, judicious, and well-bred ſort of Chriſtians, but highly to their ſecurity, and to the holy and humble compoſure of their ſpirit in the worſhip of God, who otherwiſe are prone not onely amidſt the publique devotions curiouſly to cenſure, but ſcoffingly to deſpiſe, (By the way this is no Demonſtration, nei­ther of their Chriſtianity, nor of their good breeding) yea many times to laugh at, and at beſt to pity, or deplore, the evident defects and incongruities which appear in many Miniſters odd expreſſions, and incongruous wayes of officiating, &c.

To reduce theſe many words to a ſhort ſum of reaſon, the uſefulneſs of impoſed Liturgies is here pleaded. 1. For the benefit of the moſt knowing, judicious, and well-bred ſort of Chriſtians. 2. To avoid the cenſures, ſcoffs, and jears of others. The Dr. hath not yet told us what benefit accrues to the former from a Liturgy, nor yet what ſolid grounds of comfort for them to feed upon, the want of which it may be is the reaſon, that if others gueſs rightly, that take all the profeſſors of Religion that can but give any under­ſtanding37 account of the Syſteme of Divinity, and live in any ſo­briety of life and converſation, and number them (taking their judgment as you go along) and in will be found, that ten for one are againſt any impoſed Forms: On the other ſide, it is certain, that ſome others make it all their Religion: So it was of old. That Holy and Learned Oeculampadius living in a Noble mans houſe, who yet was a Proteſtant, and would ſeem a forward man in the Reformation, complains of the ſlender regard the greateſt part of the Family gave to him, and to his Miniſtry, in a Letter to his Friend in theſe words,Such a man (ſaith he) ſent for me, that I might publickly in the Church inſtruct his Family in the Chriſti­an Religion, or rather feed them with the words of Chriſt, who were initiated already. I counted it my chief duty to make the Evangelical Law known familiar at hand to them, that ſo after­wards they might of themſelves proceed in the true and ſincere ſtudy of Chriſtianity, Peace, Meekneſs, Modeſty, Charity, Piety, Faith and Confidence in God. All the time of Lent that I was there, nothing hindred, but that I might every day read a piece of the Goſpel to them, and expound it, and exhort them out of it to the ſtudy of Godlineſs: But after Eaſter, it was leſs conve­nient; for the Family was not at-leiſure to ſpend much time at Church, their buſineſs did ſo call upon them; and there are ſome that are ſick of the Church, if they tarry there never ſo lit­tle while. pieriqueut forme ubiquemos eſt, &c. Moſt people, as the manner is, amant quotidie audire, imo videre Sacrum; love to hear, yea to ſee ſervice every day, yea to hear thoſe things mum­bled over, that they underſtand not, to ſee the Ceremonies, to be preſent at the Bleſſing, to commend themſelves perfunctori­ly unto God, and ſo think they have been religious enough of all conſcience in that day wherein they have done this, quod ſane exigni fructus eſt, & credo plerisqueinterim conducibilius eſſet arare & texere; which truly (ſaith he) is little worth, and I am perſwa­ded it were better for many to have been plowing or weaving,I. 1 Epist Oe­culamp. & Zu­inglii Theſe words may be a Glaſs for theſe times. or Riving of Logs, or doing any other work.And (if they may be believed, not is it incredible) find more comfort in the Lytur­gy than in all the Promiſes of the Goſpel, the reaſon is, Miſſa non mordet. For the Scoffes and Jears of ſuch as are poſſeſſed with a Spirit of Prophaneſſe, 'tis hard to avoid them. Nor are we fur­ther concerned, than not to give juſt cauſe to them to prophane the Worſhip of God; which may be done without a Lyturgy, if38 the Governors of the Church take due care, that none but perſons fit in reſpect both of Parts and Piety be admitted to, or continu­ed in the exerciſe of the Office of the Miniſtry.

V. But it ſeems this Maſter of our Lyturgical Feaſt hath kept his best wine till the laſt, for he tels us, that a Lyturgy is neceſſary, or conduceth at leaſt mightily above all to the edification and ſalvation, as well as the unanimity and peace of the meaneſt ſort of People. Salvation and Edification in order to it, are great things, ſo alſo are unanimity and peace, and doubtleſs by all juſt and lawful means to be endeavoured: But how ſhall a Lyturgy conduce to theſe? Certainly the Captain of our Salvation hath directed the beſt and moſt proper means for the Salvation and Edification of ſouls, and we need not deviſe other than what he hath appointed; yet did he never inſtitute a Lyturgy, nor the Apoſtles after him. He tels us, That a daily variety of Expreſſions in Prayer or Sacra­ments, is much at one (to the Vulgar) with Latin Service, little un­derſtood,Pag. 11. and leſs remembred by them; they are ſtill out, and to ſeek, when a new Miniſter officiates, yea and when the ſame, if he affects va­riety ef words, where the duty is the ſame. For the peoples remem­bring, it were worth the while to examine the Vulgar people, where a Liturgy is conſtantly uſed, how much they remember of it? If the Doctor would do this, he might poſſibly be convinced, that a Lyturgy is not ſuch an effectual means to imprint Divinity no­tions in peoples memories. As to the peoples underſtanding, the reading of the Lyturgy ſignifies as little; if the furious Zealots for Lyturgies amongſt the Vulgar, were examined of their ſenſe of the ſeveral phraſes, they would make a wild Interpretation. It is not the uſing of a Lyturgy, will bring people to ſuch an underſtand­ing the Body of Divinity as is neceſſary to him that would under­ſtand a good Prayer (whether it be a ſtinted Form, or no) but their underſtanding of a good Catechiſme to be wrought in them by a frequent exerciſe of Catechizing; and when they once underſtand the Principles of Religion, they will eaſily underſtand a Prayer, (though they do not alwaies hear the ſame words) where the Mi­niſter doth not affect a vanity and ſingularity of phraſe; which if he doth, the Governors of the Church ought to reſtrain him, by ad­monition and other Cenſures. This is the way to make people underſtand Prayers, (whether the Phraſe be the ſame, or diverſe) provided it be not phantaſtick and vain. By this it appears, that the Biſhop hath ſaid nothing to convince the world of any neceſſity39 of impoſed Forms, nor yet of any expediency in them. We have before offered enough againſt them, ſo that thus much may ſuffice to have ſpoken of Impoſed Forms in the general.

CHAP. VII. Suppoſing Forms of Prayer Lawful, yet every Form is not. What neceſſary, or reaſonable to be found in pub­lick Forms. Doctor Gaudens unhandſom and falſe Repreſentations of Miniſters refuſing to uſe the Com­mon Prayer.

I. FRom our former Diſcourſe, every intelligent Reader will ea­ſily conclude, that we have neither aſſerted it unlawful to compoſe a Form of Prayer, nor yet to uſe it, either in private or publick, no nor yet to impoſe it upon ſome: All that we have que­ſtioned, is the lawfulneſs of impoſing Forms of Prayer upon all Miniſters; as well thoſe whoſe gifts are eminently known, and their diligence and conſcience in that duty ſufficiently experiment­ed, as thoſe who either through Ignorance or Lazineſs are not fit to be truſted, without ſuch a guide in the publick ſervice of God. Nor do we think it impoſſible that a Miniſter of eminent gifts, through ſome bodily, or ſpiritual diſtemper, may poſſibly be ſo out of courſe, that he may lawfully enough help himſelf with a Form: but becauſe a Staffe may be uſeful for an old withered body, and for a vegete and lively body, that hath accidentally got ſome Vertigo in his head, or wound in his foot, it will nor therefore follow, that it is rea­ſonable, that it be enacted, that none ſhould walk without it.

II. But certainly in reaſon, thoſe Forms which ſhould be either publickly or privately uſed, ſhould be ſuch rare Patterns of Prayer, as might juſtly commend themſelves to all ears, as containing full con­feſſions of ſin Original and Actual, full Petitions for ſpiritual and temporal Mercies, for our ſelves and others, as alſo proportionable Thanksgivings, and all theſe expreſſed in Scripture phraſes, ſo or­dered and couched, that the hearers may be convinced, that there is nothing contrary to the Will of God in them, nor any momen­tous thing, by Gods Will allowed us to ask, which is omitted. It40 is alſo reaſonable, that ſuch Forms ſhould be ſo worded, ſo every way circumſtantiated, that no ſober ear could be offended at them, all conſcientious Chriſtians might ſay Amen to them, and if any ſhould be needful to plead their cauſe, he might have more to ſay, than that jejune commendation, Nothing can be ſaid againſt them but may be anſwered, nor found in them but what is capable of a very good ſenſe. Theſe are lamentable commendations for Forms of Prayer to be impoſed upon a Church, full of holy, learned and godly Mini­ſters and People, who cannot be cheated into a blind Belief, That they are the beſt, becauſe ſuch a man ſaid ſo. And no private Mini­ſter muſt preſume to rate his private abilities above the Shekel of the Sanctuary: From whence will eaſily be concluded, that ſuppo­ſing it lawful to uſe Forms of Prayer in publick, yet it will not fol­low, that it is lawful to uſe every Form that ſhall or may be tender­ed to us, but ſuch only as for matter, manner and circumſtances, ſhall appear to us agreeable to the Word of God.

III. We ſay, 1. It muſt appear to us that the matter of thoſe Prayers be ſuch as Gods Word allowes us to ask of him; otherwiſe we ask not according to his Will. 2. That the mode and manner of Pray­ing preſcribed, be ſuch as Gods Word alloweth, either by expreſs Letter of Scripture, or juſt conſequent. 3. That no appendant cir­cumſtance make the uſe of them unlawful, which as to the matter and manner are lawful enough. For none is ſo ignorant, as not to know that in matters of practiſe a thing may ex accidenti be unlaw­ful, which is not ſo per ſe, or of it ſelf.

IV. This now bringeth us from our general Diſcourſe concerning the lawfulneſs or expedience of any Forms, to a more particular con­ſideration of the particular Forms of Prayer in the Engliſh Lyturgy, according to the Copies now printed and ſold: (For what thoſe were that were eſtabliſhed by Acts of Parliament we cannot tell) and therefore muſt reſtrain our Diſcourſe to that Engliſh Ly­turgy only, which is ordinarily to be had in Stationers ſhops, and at adventures from thence tranſmitted to many Churches.

V. And we cannot but take our ſelves concerned a little to ſpeak in this caſe, when the Biſhop of Exeter thinks fit to brand all thoſe Miniſters that are willing to accept his Majeſties moſt Gracious Indulgence, and to forbear the uſe of the Common Pray­er; as alſo all thoſe ſober perſons, that are not ſo fond as his Lord­ſhip of it, with reſtiveneſs, inexcuſable moroſeneſs, an antilyturgical hu­mor, peeviſhneſs, ingratitude, ſchiſmatical petulancy, pride, ſuch as only41 fancy they could mend ſome words & phraſes in it, or put ſome Ali­aſſes to it, ſuch as ſacrifice their judgments to their Credits, yea, and (he had almoſt ſaid) Conſciences too; ſuch as ſtand in need of it to help their frequent infirmities, reſtrain their popular and deſultory levity, to ſet bounds of Diſcretion, Decency, Charity and Piety to their extra­vagancies: and brands their powrings out of their ſouls to God, (without the Common-Prayer-Book) with the ugly Notions of flat, dull and undevout, deadly tedious, of a confuſed length, like a Skain of Yarn courſe and ſnarled, ſomtimes ſo dubious, between wind and wa­ter, ſence and Nonſence, faction and ſedition, boldneſs and blaſphemy, &c. Is it not time when this Gentleman thinks not fit to ſpeak all this, with much more ſuch ſtuffe, in the Syriack Tongue, but upon the walls, in the face of all Iſrael in the Engliſh tongue, to make ſome reply, to let both him and the world know, That though we have not ſo learned Chriſt, as to render reviling for reviling, nor dare pretend to an ability to give the Biſhop word for word of this nature, but ſhall willingly allow him proeſtaſie in that Art and Practiſe; yet we do humbly conceive our ſelves able to give ſome reaſons of our preſent forbearance, which may poſſibly be judged good and ſufficient, if the Reformed Churches my be our Judges, and not ſuch of our Brethren at home, whoſe only deſire is to have an occaſion againſt us, and know not how to find it, in thoſe things which concern the Worſhip of our God.

VI. If, indeed, any of us have heretofore uſed it, and are ſtill ſatis­fied in our Conſciences both of the lawfulneſs and expediency of it, yea and were dispoſed immediatly to have uſed it, before the Declaration of his Majeſty came forth, in caſe we had been required to it according to Law in force, rather than for default to have been puniſhed (as the Biſhop ſuggeſts, p. 4. Or if any of us thought the iterated uſe of the Lords Prayer, the daily repeating of the three Creeds, the ten Com­mandments, the Confeſſion of ſins and the Church-Catechiſm not on­ly wholſom and convenient, but alſo neceſſary (as he hints, p. 2.) and that in the Common Prayer-Book, there are only ſome verbal de­fects, obſolete words, &c. that need emendation, and we have only forborn the uſe of it, becauſe his Majeſty hath had a compaſſionate eye to ſome mens infirmity, then indeed the forbearance of it, as to ſuch Miniſters, may be judged what doth become judicious, ſober men; but not knowing any ſuch, we cannot but look upon theſe as moſt falſe and unworthy ſuggeſtions, deſigned to no other purpoſe, than to beget in his moſt Sacred Majeſty an ill Opinion of able and con­ſcientious42 Miniſters, who (as ſhall God willing hereafter appear) have other more grave and momentous Reaſons to aſſign, why they have forborn the uſe of it, not only in whole but in part; yea, though poſſibly they formerly have uſed it, it not being impoſſible that either ſomthing may have intervened ſince their former uſe of it, w