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The Nullity of Church-Cenſures: OR A DISPUTE Written by that Illuſtrious Philoſopher, Expert Phyſician, and Pious Divine Dr THOMAS ERASTƲS, Publick Profeſſor in the Univerſity of Heidelberge, and Baſil.

Wherein is proved by the holy Scriptures, and ſound Reaſon;

That Excommunication, and Church-Senates or Members, ex­erciſing the ſame, are not of Divine Inſtitution; But a meere humane Invention.

Si Deus nobiſcum, quis contra nos?

But let a man examine himſelf, and ſo let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup,1 Cor. 11.28.

But why doſt thou judg thy brother? we ſhall all ſtand before the judgment ſeat of Chriſt. So then every one of us ſhall give an account of himſelf to God. Let us not therefore judg one another any more,Rom. 14.10, 12, 13.

London Printed for G. L. and are to be ſold at the Star in St Pauls Church-yard, neare the Weſt end. 1659.

For the moſt excellent Medico Chyrurgion John Troutbeck of Hope, late Chyrurgion-Generall in the Northern Army, his much ho­noured Maſter and Patron.

Honoured SIR:

YOur Concernments in this Book are ſo ma­ny, and manifeſt, that it would be no leſs then Sacriledge in it ſelf, and ungratitude in me, to lance it forth under the Looky­fate of any other Tutelar. It was done at your Direction, and in your ſervice re­ceived its Birth; therefore cannot be free without your Manumiſſion and Patronage: And your intereſt is ſo great in••e parts and qualifications, which rendred the Author hereof Famous to Poſterity, that if I did not fear a Church-Cenſure, I would fall into the Pithagorian error, and proteſt, that the Authors Soul had again lodged her ſelf in your Body. To tell that the Author hereof was a great Maſter of Reaſon, an expert Phyſician, and pious Divine, is a work not at all neceſſary; for his enemies confeſs it; and his actions, and Writings do aſſert it to all poſterity. To ſpeak the ſame of you, I hold it an abſolute duty laid upon him that is free to bear witneſs to the Truth, and is willing at every ſeaſona­ble occaſion, to be thankfull to them, by whom he hath pro­fited. And indeed I think, there are none can more truly a­vouch the ſame then my ſelf, who for five years together, had the happineſs to be witneſs, to ſo many of your pious, and vir­tuous actions. 'Tis true, You never courted the applauſe of Men, or overthrow of Widows by long Prayers; neither thought Preaching a fit Pulley to raiſe your preferment: you leſt theſe Ginns of Hypocriſie to Men, that had no better parts to become eminent: of which Nets any of themſelves were aſhamed, at leaſt did not uſe, ſo ſoon as they had caught, what they fiſhed for. But your piety is of a more un­tainted Tincture. If we believe (as we ought) what the A­poſtle in ſo many, in ſo pithy words inforceth: That all things profit nothing without Charity: not tongues, not faith to remove Mountains, not prophecy it ſelf, not zeal to the fire. It is kind, it envyeth not, it is not eaſily moved, it rejoyceth in the truth, it beleveth, hopeth, and endureth all things: and is no more ſubject to time, then eternity is. This is that virtue that maketh you pious: this is it that crowneth your actions; and this is it which compelleth me (in deſpite of forgery or envy) to proclaime you religious. How oft have I ſeen you viſit the ſick? how oft feed the hungry? cloath the naked, comfort Priſo­ners? What Souldier of what Regiment, Troop, or Company ſoe­ver, can ſay, but you were ever more willing to affoard, then he was ready to deſire, your aſſiſtance in your Art and Me­dicines? How many Countrey-Men, both Angles and Scots, have you helped in their ſickneſſes and diſtreſſes? I have known you liberally beſtow on them whoſe former degree and parts made aſhamed to beg, and nevertheleſs their neceſſi­ties required the help of the meaneſt: and this was done by you undeſerved, undeſired, and without the ſound of Trum­pet. And the Army you ſerved, cannot ſay that ever you for­ſooke them in their greateſt hazards or hardſhips; though they forſook you in that proſperity, whereof you ſhould have been a ſharer. But it is a rule of Machiavell; That we ſhould fall out with thoſe, whoſe benefits confer'd on us, we are not able to requite; and this confidence ſhall make the people be­lieve, that either we were not oblieged, or at leaſt we have not been unthankfull; As for the ſkill in your profeſſion, I need ſay little. Your enemies [if there be any ſuch Beaſts] will not deny it. The whole Iſland is filled with the Fame, and Mo­numents thereof; And there is not an honeſt ſcarre ſhewn by the valiant, but is an equall trophy of his and your glory. And truly I believe not any will queſtion this, but he whoſe courage could never affoard, to make him the fit object of your care and profeſſion. I come to your reaſon, but that is ſo piercing, ſo profound, that I dare not meddle with its edge, nor ſearch its bottome; leaſt mine ſhould be divided by the one, and loſt in the other, But thus farre I dare adventure to ſay, that I never ſaw you do an action, though many ſeemed triviall, but alwaies a good effect followed thereon. You ne­ver Churched it, nor Kirked it; yet your wiſdome [under the Divine providence] carried you our and up in all your enter­priſes. You ſpoke the truth bluntly, and yet it alwaies left an impreſſion. You neither profeſt a Sect nor Sectling, yet you were reſpected by all, and imployed by moſt. And your reaching wit was never miſtaken in the greateſt deſigns, which I believe made the deſigners more willing to quit you. If this then be not the higheſt enjoyment of reaſon, it ſhall be my de­ſire alwaies to remaine in folly. SIR, (to give no further trouble) I have Tranſlated this Book at your deſire, and have according to my duty Dedicated it to You; not becauſe either You are, or are not of theſe Opinions; or that I deſire You to draw out an Act of reſolution in reference to either: But that at this time, when moſt men ſeem to be buſie in the inqueſt of truth, You thought it fit, that this Opinion ſhould likewiſe come to the Teſt, in ſubmiſſion to that word of the Apoſtle, Try all things, and hold that which is good: We are commanded here, to try that which we are not commanded to hold: o­therwiſe the words would be ridiculous. Try all things that are good, and hold that thing which is good: and ſo we ſhould try that which we knew to be good, whether it were good, which is vain, and needleſs. But all things here, are meant all Doctrines, all Opinions: and we ought only adhere to that, that is able to abide the touch of Scripture, and ſound reaſon deduced there­from. Now whether this be ſuch a work, or not, I leave it to e­very triers judgment; and You to the protection of him, that in the great day of tryall, ſhall ſave you in mercy;

Which is the Devotion of your Servant CHR.


BE pleaſed to be informed, that the de­fences of theſe Theſes, againſt Mr. Beza and others, are like­wiſe tranſlated; and if thou deſire, ſhall be Printed. In both which, if thou find not all Anſwered, that can be ſaid againſt them; or hath been ſaid by Mr. Beza, Mr. Catherwoods in his Altare Damacenum, Mr. Gileſpy in his Aarons Rod Bloſſoming; or by the Divines of London in their Jus Divinum; never believe me to have reaſon, if thou wilt be at the pains to con­ferre their Reaſons and Anſwers, with what is by our Author Aſwered and urged. The Life is ſomewhat Scholaſtick and Laconick; Nevertheleſs to know the force of his Reaſons, is well worth the time that ſhall ſo be employed: I chuſed rather to be a Pedant in adhereing to the Authors words, and Conſtruction, then to be too buſie in anothers La­bour. Pardon the Errors of the Preſſe in this Edition: for both my Amanuenſis, and the Corrector are Presbyterians: the next E­dition ſhall make an amendment of theſe faults which now we deſire thee to amend, &c.

To the Reader that is pious, and deſirous of Truth.THOMAS ERASTUS Phyſician wiſheth all health and Happineſs.

LEaſt any, that ſhall fall on theſe my Writings, ſhould wonder what cau­ſes induced, yea fully moved me to enter this Diſpute concerning Ex­communication; I will briefly and truly relate the originall and occaſion of the commencement thereof. It is about ſixteen years ago, ſince ſome men were ſeaſed on by a certain Excommunicatory-feaver, which they did adorn with the title of Eccleſiaſticall Diſci­pline, and did contend, that it was holy and com­manded of God to the Church; and which they earneſtly did deſire ſhould be impoſed on the whole Church. They affirmed the manner thereof to be this, That ſome certain Presbyters ſhould ſit in the name of the whole Church, and ſhould judg who were worthy or unworthy to come unto the Lords Supper.

I wondred that then they conſulted about theſe matters, when neither we had men to be Excommunicates, nor fit Excommunicators: for ſcarcely the thirtieth part of the people did underſtand or approve the Reformed Religion; all the reſt were our violent enemies: ſo that any man, that was indewed with the leaſt under­ſtanding, could not but foreſee, that there would follow on this neceſſarily a dangerous ſchiſme of the multitude. Therefore at that time, it ſeemed to me not good to inquire, how any might be throwne out of the ſociety of the Church: But on the contrary, I rather judged, that we ſhould uſe means to induce moſt to the knowledg of the truth, and to infold them into the Church. And they that were to be Over­ſeers herein, did neither in age and experience, nor in wit and judgment, no nor in carriage and authority, ſo farre excell the reſt, that they ſhould be eſteemed able to diſcharge theſe mat­ters worthily. Wherefore when I did ſee this buſineſs, which they ſo violently deſired, could not go forward without the loſs and overturning of the Church; I oft requeſted them that they ſhould ponder the matter accurately, and that they ſhould not raſhly begin any thing, which afterwards they ſhould repent; but in vain. For although at that time my opinion was, that Ex­communication was commanded in the holy Scriptures; yet notwithſtanding I found not the manner thereof, which they propoſed to us, to be commanded there. Wherefore ſeeing it ſeem'd that Chriſt had left the manner thereof free to our own choice, I alſo did ſeriouſly conſider of the way and manner which would moſt fit our matters, and draw leaſt trouble with it. In which I uſed ſo much more diligence, as I had ob­ſerved it to be more deſtructive to Chriſtianity, not only in former times, but now alſo.

Whileſt I was in theſe thoughts, and did in­quire what the Antients had written concerning theſe matters, and that I found all things weak­er in them then I had perſwaded my ſelf; I was compelled a little to doubt of the whole buſineſs: preſently after that, I conſulted the Schoolmen, but found nothing better amongſt them. From them I betook my ſelf to the Modern Writers. But even amongſt theſe men I found nothing more exact or ſolid: yea I perceived that in ſome things they manifeſtly diſagreed amongſt themſelves; which made me a great deal more attentive. Therefore, leaving the Interpreters, I returned to the holy Scriptures: and in my reading I diligently noted, according to my un­derſtanding, what was conſonant or diſſonant to the received opinion. In which the confide­ration of the Jewiſh Republick and Church did not a little help me. For I thought thus with my ſelf: The Lord himſelf doth teſtifie, Deut. 4. that his people hath Statutes and Laws ſo juſt and wiſe, that the Inſtitutes of no people, that the Sanctions of no Republick, that no Ordi­nances, howſoever wiſely conſtitute, were able to compare with them. Therefore it is neceſ­ſary, that that Church is moſt worthily and wiſely ordered, which cometh neareſt to the conſtitution of the Jewiſh Church. But in this the matters were ſo ordered by God, that we find not any where two divers Judicatories con­cerning manners, the one Politick, and the other Eccleſiaſtick. What then hindreth, that the Church now alſo, on whom the moſt mercifull God hath beſtowed a Chriſtian Magiſtrate, ſhould be leſs content with one Government?

After this I did conferre about my thoughts with good, holy and Learned men, and I did ex­hort them that they ſhould not lightly ponder the Cauſe. For it ſeemed to me moſt unneceſ­ſary, to put two heads upon one body of a vi­ſible Church, whoſe commands, decrees and Government were already divers, ſo that the rule of the one was not ſubject to the care of the other, but the Government of each in its own kind was ſupream. Indeed they would have had their Eccleſiaſticall Senate or Presbytery ſo conſtitute, that it ſhould have the ſupream pow­er of puniſhing of vices, yea in the Magiſtrates themſelves: notwithſtanding not with corpo­rall puniſhments, but with the debarring them from the Sacrament, firſt privately, then mixt, if it did not ſucceed well, then ſolemnly and pub­likely. But I ſaid, I did beleeve that one Magi­ſtrate appointed by God, could as well now bri­dle all tranſgreſſors, as he could of old. I did pro­poſe for example to my ſelf the moſt famous Kingdom of Solomon, which was as it were a type of Chriſts Church reigning on this earth. And that we did not find either under Moſes, or under the Judges, or Kings, or under the Go­vernment of theſe that were called Rulers, ſuch two diſcrepant Judicators. Nature denies (ſaith Muſculus) two authentick Governments in the ſame people, whereof one is not to be ſubject to the other. I was not a little helped by thoſe, with whom I conferr'd: partly becauſe they ob­ſerv'd ſome things better then I could, partly becauſe they gave me occaſion to think of certain other things more exactly.

In the mean time I kept my ſelf quiet: nei­ther did I reaſon with any man, except he pro­voked me, in this matter; and being provoked, I ever anſwered moſt modeſtly: becauſe it ſeemed neither profitable nor neceſſary to di­ſturb our Churches with this diſpute, whileſt no man was known to thruſt this form of Go­vernment on them openly. Indeed they who thought it farre more ſweet and pleaſant to com­mand then to obey, reſted not ſo; but by all arts they could (as I afterwards knew) labour­ed to perſwade our moſt holy Prince, that he ſhould indeavour to bring ſome ſuch thing into our Churches. And if ſome other things had not withſtood it, perchance they had perſwaded him. By what ſcandalous ſpeeches they did every where traduce me, [Who they knew did not conſent to them, and were not ignorant that I laboured, that they might not accompliſh their deſign] it is needleſs here to relate.

It fell out afterwards, that an Engliſh-man, who was ſaid to have left his Country by rea­ſon of certain veſtures in the Church, deſired to be graduat Doctor, and did propoſe a diſ­pute concerning indifferent things, and veſtures. This diſpute our Theologues would not admit, leaſt they ſhould offend the Engliſh, [albeit in his laſt Theſes there was ſomething concern­ing this matter] but as it ſeem'd, they eſteem'd it nothing to diſturbe our peace; wherefore a­mongſt other Theſes he propoſed this, That it behoved in each right conſtitute Church, that this order ſhould be kept, In which the Mini­ſters with their Presbytery choſen for that pur­poſe, ſhould have power to Excommunicate a­ny ſinners, yea Princes themſelves. Although I feared that this Diſpute was not appointed in vain, yet I hoped that it would be nothing elſe but an ordinary Diſpute, not ſuch an one as are appointed for the deciding of Controverſies, but ſuch as are inſtituted for the exerciſing of the youth, and for judging of their gifts, that defire theſe publick honours. Therefore neither would I move any thing, neither could I by reaſon of my occaſions be preſent at it. And I did exhort o­thers, which I did ſee would Diſpute againſt it, that they would have a greater care of the good of the Church, then of ſome few mens impru­dency. Nevertheleſs one and another diſputed, whom if they had not afterwards called, together with me, Prophane, Satanick, Diabolick, Tur­bulent, Phanatick Perſons, enemies to Piety, &c. the Diſpute had been nothing but ordinary.

Indeed, As for my part I can truly affirme, that I never purpoſ'd with my ſelf to Write any thing concerning this matter of Controverſie, before I did ſee and hear them to carry them­ſelves ſo immodeſtly, both in private and pub­lick: And becauſe I was then a great deale more then uſually imployed [By reaſon of the Soul­diers, which then Anno. 1568. returned with Duke Caſimire, &c. out of France, loaden with diverſe diſeaſes] I did note down my thoughts by peeces, as they did, amongſt ſo great buſi­neſſes occure to me at any time. Which albeit I had thrown them together confuſedly, and had placed them in no certain order, for the foreſaid cauſe; partly whilſt they were writing over, and partly as ſoon as they were written, I gave them to be examined and judged of unto ſome, unto whoſe judgement I attributed much, and of whom I thought my ſelf to be very well belo­ved, and that not without cauſe, though I be­leeved it falſely: And I did deſire them if they found any thing that was truely affirmed, or ſo­lidly proved, that they ſhould freely refute it with better reaſons. I did hope that if I gaind nothing elſe, yet I would obtain this; That they ſeeing our Arguments, would become more calme, and would think that we did not without reaſon diſſent from them. One of the two chief with whom I reſolved principally to conferre, did read three parts of four, before all were written faire over. Of which being demanded his opinion, he promiſed he would give it, after he had read over all. Neverthe­leſs he by the by propoſed ſomething concern­ing the Leaven, and did think that the conſent of the Ancient Church was much to be eſteem­ed: to conclude, he produced other ſuch like ſtuff, by which it was moſt eaſie for me to know his mind and opinion. I underſtood almoſt at that ſame time, that this ſelf ſame man had writ­ten a Treatiſe of Excommunication, in which he did approve of the common opinion: which once known, there needed no doubt to be made what his Anſwer would be. For I knew, that he would not depart from that he had once af­firmed, without it were for fear of Danger. Therefore ſeeing theſe things which he did op­poſe were refuted in the laſt part of my writing. I offered it all to be judged by the other, whom I eſteemed to be as dear a friend to me, as was living. He did not only receive the Book from me loathingly, (I know not whether he was ad­moniſhed before) but did openly declare, he would not read it: and albeit I did urge it, he declared he was compelled to it againſt his will. Nevertheleſs I left the Book ſome daies with him, and did intreat him by all meanes and prayers I could, that he would read it over, and give me his judgment thereon. Which when I knew by certain reaſons that I had in­treated this of him in vain, I took my Book back from him after twelve daies, or therea­bouts, that I might require the judgment of others. But becauſe that writing was of a grea­ter length, then that it could be read in a ſhort time by more perſons, I did contract it into a few Poſitions: whereby it might be more eaſi­ly communicate to many. And in this point my reſolution fell not out unhappily. For both I did know the opinion of many moſt worthy and famous Theologues throughout Germany, which was the thing I only deſired: And they were ſo diſperſed amongſt the Students, that they who at my intreaty would not read them, were now compelled to peruſe them againſt their will.

But that it might appear unto all, that I ſought no other thing but the naked truth, I prefix'd a Preface, in which I demanded theſe two things: Firſt, That all men would diligently examine each parcell, and that they would weigh them in the Balance of the holy Scriptures, and if they ſhould ſee me in an Error, that they ſhould free me there from, that thereby I might like­wiſe free others. I promiſed with my very heart [I call God the Searcher of all hearts to witneſs] that I would before God and Men give him thanks that would ſhew me my error. But becauſe I foreſaw that would come to paſs, which afterwards happened; I deſired in the ſe­cond place, That if they had reſolved to repre­hend any thing therein, they would do it in theſe waies and places, wherein it ſhould be lawfull for me both to Interpret my own words, and to defend juſtly, what injuſtly they ſhould condemn. And although they had ever found me their moſt conſtant Friend, and moſt ready to ſerve them in all good Offices, notwithſtanding I could ſcarcely keep them, by reaſon of what had paſ­ſed before, that they would ſo deal with me, as I dealt with them. Neither was I deceived in my opinion: for of my greateſt friends, as I fooliſhly beleeved, they became ſuddainly my enemies, in ſo much, that they would not any more deign to ſpeak with me, although in my whole Life I had never hurt them in word or deed, but had e­ver laboured to deſerve well at their hands, which I yet reſolve to do. In the mean time I gave God thanks, that it ſo happened, that I ſhould make proof of their faith and good will, rather in ſuch a matter, then in any other.

In the mean time they were not quiet: for after they did ſee that they had tryed in vain by the Magiſtrate, to wring the Theſes out of the hands of the Students, they wrought another way: To wit, under the ſhew of Laws, which are no where extant: they deſired, That as the The­ologues did aſſay nothing in the profeſſions and rights of others, ſo they deſired that other pro­feſſors might be injoyned to abſtain from their Schools. If this had been defired ſixty years ago, it had ſeem'd tollerable: how at this time it can be carried, let others judg. Was it only ſaid to them, that teach Theology for a yearly Salary of ſome hundred Florens, Search the Scriptures: Prove the Spirits, whether they be of God: Prove all things, hold that which is good? I thought the Doctrine of Theology had been common to all Chriſtians, and that therefore it was every where taught publickly. What other thing do they deſire, when they deſire we ſhould abſtaine ſo from their Schooles, as they eſſay no­thing in the rights & doctrines of other faculties?

I believe they would not this, That we ſhould not hear their Leſſons, or that we ſhould not enter that place to Learn. Chiefly ſeeing they deſired that, by reaſon of my Theſes propos'd moſt modeſtly. Who I pray hath interdicted them the ſtudies of the tongues, of Me­dicine, Philoſophy, or of the Laws? Is it be­cauſe they care not for theſe Studies, that we ſhould alſo neglect the Study of Theology? If we got not more loſs by the ignorance of holy Scripture, then we ſhould receive by our un­skillfullneſs in thoſe matters, perchance we ſhould gratifie them. They will eaſily vanquiſh if it be not conceded to any, to contradict their Statutes. Of old thoſe of the Church of Rome required theſe things of us, and they deſired it with ſome more right thereto. But I cannot gratifie either, whilſt my Saviour Jeſus Chriſt commandeth me otherwiſe.

In the Interim it doth not move me, that they ſay, that it becometh not me to handle Theolo­gy: and that in ſo doing, I do not rightly pro­vide for my own eſteem. It may be it is, becauſe I enquire after the truth without wages. For if I were hired by a Stipend to teach Theolo­gy; I ſhould do nothing in this Point, accord­ing to their opinion different from my Office and Duty. But I deſire nothing elſe then to underſtand the truth, to glorifie God, and that I ſhould be rather made aſhamed, then that the truth ſhould be troden on. Chriſt in that place ſpoke not in vain, That they cannot believe, who deſire glory of one another, neg­lecting the glory of God.

Wherefore when even this had not fallen out according to their opinion, and that they could not contain their conceived hatred, They be­gun to oppugne them with Arguments: which at every opportunity they did propoſe not with­out cruell Criminations. Which albeit they were told me by diverſe Men; notwithſtanding for Peace's ſake, I eaſily contemn'd them: and I hoped it would come to paſs, then when that violence of their mind ſhould begin to languiſh, and their wrath was a little cooled, they would be rendred more favourable to us. Notwith­ſtanding here I was alſo deceived: for after the firſt Moneth almoſt, they neither have re­mitted any thing of their wrath, neither have they forborne to impugne our writings, partly by reproaches, partly by calumnies, partly I know not by what Sophiſticall little reaſon; wherefore I brought again the hundred Theſes to the forge, and reduc'd them to ſeaventy five, and plac'd them in their own order; which at firſt I had plac'd, not where they ſhould have been, but where they did occurre: I explain'd ſomething in them more clearly: and prov'd ſomething more ſolidly: To conclude, I laboured that I might fully ſatisfie the lovers of the truth, as far as could be done in ſo ſhort a writing.


AN EXPLICATION Of that moſt weighty QUESTION, Whither Excommunication; (as it debarreth Men that know and imbrace Religion, from the uſe of the Sacraments, for their Delinquencies,) Be of Divine Inſtitution OR A Humane Invention?

The I. Poſition.

THe word Excommunication ſeemeth to be taken out of the tenth Chapter of the 1 Corinthians: And to ſigni­fie a removall from that Commiunion which in that place is called the Bo­dy of Chriſt. And indeed at this time Excommunication is defined by almoſt all to2 be, An excluſion from the fellowſhip and Communion of Believers.


There is a twofold fellowſhip of Believers; The one is internall and spirituall, The other externall or viſible and politick. The third ſort of which ſome of the late Romiſh-Catholicks do mention, is neither fitly feigned, nor belongeth at all to our preſent purpoſe.


And the difference betwixt theſe two is ſo great; that he which is comprehended within either of them, is not likewiſe neceſſarily included in the other. For as that man may be a Member of Chriſt, that is unjuſtly thruſt out of a viſible Congregation; or is compelled to live and lurke a­mongſt Infidels: So, all they that are of a viſible Congregation, are not alſo the lively Members of Chriſt, whence it follows, that theſe matters may be different, which tye us to the one, and not to the other: and which divide us from the one, and not from the other.


And indeed we are made Members of Chriſt, that is; we are joyned to the internall and ſpirituall ſociety of Chriſt, and of the faithfull, by Faith a­lone, which worketh in Charity: and we fall from this fellowſhip, only by Infidelity. Therefore none can ingraff us in, or loppe us off from this, ex­cept only he that can give us living Faith, and can take again the ſame from us.


But we are made Conſorts of the externall and3 viſible Church, by the profeſſion of the ſame Faith, by the conſent we give to the ſame Do­ctrine, and by the uſing of the ſame Sacraments. In whatſomever Perſon theſe three are found, he is, ſo long as they are found in him, accompt­ed for a Member of the externall Congregation of Believers: although he never attaine to the in­ward Communion of the ſpirit and mind.


Therefore he that is thrown out of the exter­nall Communion of the Church, that is, He that is excommunicated; Is debarr'd either of all theſe three; or of two of them; or only of one. But not any ought to be debar'd of the two former, that is, from profeſſing of the Faith, and approving the Doctrine (under which the hearing of the Word or Doctrine is comprehended) of Chriſti­ans: but rather all men are to be invited, and by all meanes poſſible are to be induced thereto.

Wherefore it remaineth, That he that is Ex­communicated, is debar'd from the ſole (of the foreſaid three) participation of the Sacrament: we will conſider afterwards, whither the deniall of private converſe doth inſeperably adhere unto this, or may be ſeperate therefro. But this is cer­tain, that not any other puniſhment belongeth to the eſſence of Excommunication; for the ſame may be inflicted upon Perſons, that are not ex­communicate; and may not be inflicted upon the Excommunicate.


Therefore Roman Catholicks have not rightly, beſides this Excommunication (which they call4 the leſſer, and have moſt properly defined it, to be only a deniall of the Sacrnments) added more­over an other, which they term, the greater Excommunication, and Anathema: And have againſt the clear ſenſe of Scripture, defined it to be an interdiction of Churches private Commerce, and all other lawfull converſe; becauſe the Apo­ſtle in the 1 Corinth. 14. openly ſheweth, that nei­ther the Heathen, nor any other Perſons what­ſomever were forbidden from the hearing of the Divine Word, from the Readings, Thankſgiv­ings, and Prayers of the Chriſtians.


It appeareth from what hath been ſaid, that Excommunication is nothing elſe then a ſolemne and publick interdiction of the Sacraments, and chiefly of the Lords Supper. (which the Apoſtle eſpecially calleth a Communion,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as was ſaid in the beginning,) The Elders taking no­tice, and voycing the ſame before: whereby they that ſin may repent, and again be admitted to the Sacraments.


Here then ariſeth a Queſtion, Whither any man for committing of a ſin, or living in filthi­neſs, ſhould be removed from the uſe and parti­cipation of the Sacraments, he being deſirous to receive the ſame with other Chriſtians?

The Queſtion here is moved concerning him, that profeſſeth the ſame Faith with us, that hath entred the ſame Church by Baptiſm; and doth not diſſent therefrom in Doctrine, (as we laid it down in the fifth,) but erreth only in life and5 manners. This then is demanded; Whither in the holy Scriptures, there is extant either any Precept or example, whereby it is commanded or taught that ſuch ſhould be removed from the Sacra­ments?


Our Anſwer is, that there is not any ſuch ex­tant; But rather, that contrary both Examples and Precepts are to be found every where in the Bible.

For we find it written by Moſes, Exod. 12.23, 24. Numb. 9. Deut. 16. That every Circumcis'd Male ſhould appear thrice every year before the Lord: To wit, in the Feaſt of unleavened Bread, in the Feaſt of Weeks, and that of Ta­bernacles. For that Law commandeth ſtrangers alſo, if they be Circumcis'd, to celebrate the Paſ­ſover together with the Jews. And likewiſe it is commanded that the unclean; and they that are travelling, ſhould upon the ſame day of the ſecond Moneth, and after the ſame manner, eate the Paſſover with the Jews: And it is moreover ad­ded, that he ſhall be put to death, that ſhall neg­lect the Celebration of the Paſſover: viz. he that neither travelleth, nor is unclean. Wherefore God hath willed and commanded all the Circum­cis'd to Celebrate the Paſſover. Neither hath he excluded any from this Sacrament, or from other Rites, Ceremonies, or Sacrifices except uncleane Perſons.


In Leviticus there are diverſe Sacrifices com­manded for diverſe ſins, whither they be commit­ted6 by ignorance or error, or willingly and wil­fully, by which theſe ſins ſhould be expiate by them that have committed them. Likewiſe God commandeth Deut. 14. That all (without excepting of the wicked,) ſhould at Jeruſalem eate their Tenths before the Lord: and he addeth the cauſe, that ſo they might learn to fear their Lord Jehovah all the daies of their lives. Therefore the Sacraments were Incitements to Piety: and therefore none were debarr'd therefrom, but all ſo much the more invited thereto.


Verily we do not read that any Perſon at any time amongſt the Jews, was for the foreſaid cauſe, forbid by the Prieſts, Levites, Prophets, Scribes, or Phariſees to come to the Sacrifices, Ceremo­nies, or Sacraments. The High-Prieſts and Pha­riſees eſteemed Chriſt and his Apoſtles to be moſt wicked Perſons: But we do not find during Chriſts Life, or after his death, that ever they went about to debarre them of the Sacraments and Sacrifices inſtituted of God: yea neither did they chaſe any Publican Jew, or any other Cir­cumcis'd Perſon that liv'd impurely, from the Temple or Ceremonies, for they were not igno­rant, that the Law permitted them not to do it. They reprehended indeed Chriſt, Mat. 9. that he did eate and drinke with Publicans. But they did not in any place at any time upbraide him, that he Prayed in the Temple with them; that he was preſent with them at the Sacrifices and Rites: That with them and all others he went up to Je­ruſalem to Celebrate the Paſſover and other year­ly7 Solemnities. And for the ſame reaſon they were ſo farre from indeavouring to debarre theſe wicked Knaves and moſtcruell Hereticks, the Saduces from their Ceremonies; That they per­mitted them to aſcend to the honour of the High-Prieſt-Hood. In the mean time, how much the one hated the other, is clear out of Joſephus Hiſto­ry, and the Acts of the Apoſtles. They would with ſtretched out armes have embraced this oc­caſion to be revenged on their enemies, if it had been lawfull.


Yea they could not indeed debarre the impure from eating of the Paſſover: ſeeing they did not eat it before the Prieſts, but in their private hou­ſes; as we find that Chriſt together with his Diſ­ciples did Celebrate the laſt Paſſover. For then all the people in ſome meaſure did diſcharge the Office of a Prieſt, as Philo the Jew ſpeaking of the Paſchall doth teſtifie; When every one of the people do Sacrifice, not expecting the Prieſts, they being by the permiſſion of the Law allowed once a year on the day appointed, to diſcharge the Office of a Prieſt. And if in one Family there were too few to eat up all the Paſchall Lamb, they were commanded to call their Neighbours to them, Exod. 12. that they might eat up the whole. The ſame way ſeemeth to be obſerved in Circum­ciſion, except that they were not bound only to Circumciſe at Jeruſalem, as they were oblig'd to Celebrate the Paſſover there: for I do not remem­ber that I have read, that the preſence of a Prieſt was neceſſary to that matter.



That forerunner of Chriſt John the Baptiſt ob­ſerved the ſame conſtantly: when he Baptized all the Phariſees, and Sadduces, whoſe manners he fully knew; and thence openly called them a generation of Vipers,) together with the Pub­licans, and all others that came unto him, Matth. and Luke 3. that they might repent and a­mend their former life, and flye from the wrath of God which was to come. It is not likely, that this eminent man would have admitted men co­vered with ſo many wickedneſſes, yea impiouſly and publickly denying the Reſurrection of the dead, except he had well known, that the Law excluded no ſuch perſons. For the Law exclud­eth no Circumcis'd Perſon, except the unclean and leprous, as was ſaid before.


This uncleanneſs indeed was a legall Ceremo­ny, and not the impurity of life and manners, for he was not unclean that had committed any ſin or perpetrated any villany: But he was unclean that had touched any dead Body, Excrements, bloody Iſſues, or ſuch like. For this reaſon the Phariſees would not enter the Councell-houſe, when they delivered Chriſt to Pilate, to be put to death, leaſt they ſhould be hindred to eat the Paſſover. Certes, the Moſaicall uncleanneſs did not ſo figurate out ſins, that as thoſe that were de­filed with them, were forbidden the Tabernacle, and converſe of others; So they that were guilty of ſin, ſhould be chaſtis'd and puniſhed by the de­nying them the Sacraments, or throwing them9 out of the viſible Church: which is clearly held forth by the reaſons following.

1. Tranſgreſſors were not puniſh'd with the ſame puniſhment that the unclean were, whilſt that legall uncleanneſs was in force, and together therewith there were multitudes of wicked per­ſons. How then is it likely, that after theſe Cere­monies are remov'd and aboliſhed, they ſhould have ſignified theſe wickedneſſes ought to be ſo puniſhed?

2. Moſes ſhould have openly been oppoſite to himſelf, whilſt he did really admit thoſe perſons to the Temple and Ceremonies, which by the le­gall Ceremonies he ſignified ſhould be debarred the ſame. For it is certain, that not any was for­bidden the Temple and company of others, for the vitiouſneſs of his manners. If he had not, ac­cording to the appointment of the Law, touched a dead body, or defiled himſelf by any other ſuch like meanes: Therefore he ſhould have puniſh­ed them that ſignified the wicked, and ſhould have left the wicked themſelves (as to this puniſh­ment) unpuniſhed: and ſo he ſhould both deny and affirme the ſame thing.

3. Legall impurity was a certain quality and ſtaine of the body, when as wickedneſſes are op­perations and conſiſt in action. For the cauſe and wet of wickedneſs is brought forth together with us, neither is it puniſhed by man ſo long as it bringeth forth no fruits: Otherwiſe all men ſhould be Excommunicated. For we will ne­ver be freed from this impurity of ſoul, ſo long as we ſhall enjoy this mortall life. But the other10 being only a blemiſh and uncleanneſs of body, is puniſhed by ſecluding them from dyeting toge­ther with others; although it produce no fruite; that is, although the legall unclean Perſon do not offend in any thing againſt the Law. The workes and tranſgreſſions of legall unclean per­ſons; If whilſt they were unclean, they offend­ed againſt the Law in any thing, were puniſh­ed by the Magiſtrate, as other tranſgreſſions were.

4. Our Adverſaries confeſs that all ſorts of ſins are not to be puniſh'd by Excommunication, whenas the Law commandeth every purity to be puniſh'd by excluding the Offender from the Tabernacle and publick Sacrifices; wherefore they did not prefigurate all offences.

5. Not any can be Excommunicate that ſinneth unwillingly; when as men moſt frequently be­came unclean againſt their wills, and without a­ny fault in them; yea many times to their great grief. What guilt is to be thought in him, who againſt his will, and whilſt he was ſleeping loſt his ſeed in the night? whoſe Wife became men­ſtruous before his expectation? whoſe Children, Wife, Parents, did die? or to whom any ſuch thing did happen? But that theſe vices ſhould be voluntary, for which men ſhould be excluded from the Sacraments (as ſome are of opinion) needeth no probation.

6. There was a farre heavier puniſhment ap­pointed for one that ſhould kill a man againſt and beſides his will; Then a few daies or weeks exclu­ſion from the Sacraments: which was almoſt11 the greateſt puniſhment was inflicted on unclean­neſs. Becauſe then, an involuntary, and there­fore the moſt eaſie ſin was chaſtiſed with a ſeverer puniſhment, then the moſt unclean legall impu­rity, it eaſily appeareth that the puniſhment due to this is not to be transferr'd for the chaſtiſing of wickedneſs.

7. It frequently came to paſs, that the moſt ho­ly and upright perſon was made unclean, and was debarr'd from entring the Temple and uſe of the Sacrifices; whilſt the moſt wicked perſon without any impediment was admitted to both. Wherefore if in the Church of God, the puniſh­ment of both ſhould be the ſame, this perſon ſhould much more be debarr'd the uſe of them then the other.

8. It is clear, That God hath not at any time or in any place abſolutely forbidden all legall im­purity; for then without doubt he would not have had ſome to attend that were dying, or that were infected with ſome unclean diſeaſe: yea he would not have ſome to bury the dead, and cleanſe the unclean, by whoſe meanes they themſelves be­came alſo defiled, Numb. 19. And whilſt he willed this, he willed that all legall uncleanneſs ſhould not be avoided. But God did forbid all ſorts of wickedneſs to all perſons at all times: neither did he permit them at any time, or in any place to do evill.

9. God commandeth that wickedneſs ſhould be repreſſ'd with fire, ſword, ſtrangling, ſtones, ſtripes, fines, impriſonment, and with other ſuch like puniſhments: But he commanded the12 unclean to be purified by water, and with other ſuch like meanes to be purged.

10. He was not eſteem'd a wicked and con­demn'd perſon, who was according to the ſen­tence of the Law, made unclean, and even to the day of his death did remain ſuch; as when Wo­men in their courſes, or Men ſick of a Gonorrhaee or infected with a Leproſie did die. But he that liveth ſo, that even at the houre of his death, he ſhall be by good and upright men thought wor­thy of Excommunication, he cannot but be e­eſtem'd an unworthy and ungodly perſon.

11. Legall impurity had no place but amongſt one people and for a certain time. But vices did ſpring every where amongſt all Nations, in all places, and at all times. Wherefore ſeeing vi­ces were puniſh'd and judged fit to be puniſh'd both by Gentiles and Jews, before ever the legall impurity was introduced, it certainly ſignified ſome other thing, then this puniſhment of wick­ed perſons, being much more light then that which would be ſatisfactory to the will of God.

12. Every man was purified in a certain ſpace of time, or number of daies, by uſing certain Ce­remonies, of what mind ſoever he was of, that is, whither he willingly, or againſt his will be­came unclean. But no man is delivered from wickedneſs, except he be cordially ſorry, and de­ſire truely and earneſtly both to be, and be made better.

13. Every unclean perſon was purged accord­ing to his own judgment, (The Leproſe and ſome few others being excepted) neither had they13 any need of Judges and Elders, who were to diſ­cern wither they were rightly purified or not. Our Adverſaries hold another opinion concern­ing Excommunicate Perſons. For in this point they will have us to follow the judgement of their Elders: and not to accept of their Aſſertion, who declare that they are penitent for their ſinnes.

14. He was to be declared ſound and clean, who had the whole skin of his body of one colour, though from the crown of his head, to the ſole of his feet he were Leprous: And on the other part he was eſteemed unclean, who had his skin ſpot­ted in one or more parts. In wicked perſons the caſe is farre different: for he that is altogether cloathed with wickedneſs (as the Sow that hath weltred in the mire, is altogether durty) is not bet­ter then he, who yet carrieth ſome ſhadow of ho­neſty and godlineſs.

15. The Leprouſe Perſons are not commanded to do any thing for their own cure; but they are only commanded to ſhew themſelves to the Prieſt; that he may declare whither they be, or be not purifi­ed. But wicked perſons are commanded to amend their lives, and that they declared the ſorrow of their ſouls by their upright and holy converſation.

16. Many became unclean by touching thoſe things, whereby others were purified, and whilſt they were purifying others, Numb. 19. But not any deſerve to be excommunicate for that, by which he goeth about to cure and cleanſe thoſe, that are defiled with ſin and wirkedneſs Where­fore if you aſſert the figure to coreſpond, it be­hoveth you to concede, that all they, that by this14 means go about to bring the ſtray into the way, are to be excommunicate.

17. Unclean Perſons, according to the Law, were not debarr'd from all the Sacraments; for they were commanded to obſerve all the private rites of their Countrey, to obſerve the Sabboth and feaſt of expiation, which chiefly held forth the fruits of Chriſts works, and that under pain of death, Lev. 16, and 23. for (as we ſaid before) they were not judged to be condemned and for­lorne Perſons. Now whither the condition of excommunicate Perſons, according to our Adver­ſaries opinion, be not far different from this, is not needfull further to be inſiſted on.

18. Unclean Perſons did defile legally the cloaths, houſes, places and people, with whom they hold any converſe. But wicked men do not defile the Temple or any other thing, or Per­ſons except thoſe that communicate with them in their vices. The Temple was not defiled ſo oft as Adultereſſes were brought in thither, Numb. 5. and John 8. And the Publican did not defile the Temple when he went up thither toge­ther with the Phariſee to pray, Luke 18. Certain­ly the Phariſee who eſteem'd him a wicked Per­ſon in reſpect of himſelf, did not think himſelf defiled by his company. When Judas threw back the price of treaſon, we do not read that the Temple was defiled by him: neither do we find the Phariſees complained thereof, which never­theleſs would not enter the Counſell-houſe, leaſt they ſhould be defiled. But if a woman ſick of her flowers or any other Iſhew, or that had a care of a Buriall, or had touched a dead body though unwillingly, were ſeen in the Temple, then all things became unclean: neither was it lawfull to Sacrifice or uſe any other worſhip, till it was purified. After the ſame manner Judas did not defile the laſt Supper by his villanies: which nevertheleſs had come to paſs, if either he or any other of the Diſciples had touched any dead thing.

To conclude, Legall uncleanneſs was a figure of our crooked and corrupt nature, which cannot enter Heaven, unleſs it be waſhen and cleanſed by the pure blood of Chriſt; for as the Taberna­cle ſignified Heaven, and the excluſion from it, the keeping out from the Heavenly Jeruſalem; ſo the purification by common or holy water, did prefigure the changing by the death of Chriſt. The quality then thereof was not a figure of a work, but of a quality, or of our corrupted Nature: nei­their did it foreſhew how offences were to be pu­niſhed (for Moſes had taught this in clear and plain words.) But what our condition was to be in the life to come, that is, in the Kingdome of Heaven, which the Land of Canaan did repreſent: which all are manifeſtly enough to be ſeen throughly from the 21. of the Revelation. Au­guſtine in his Writeing againſt the Donatiſts did believe it ſignified the excluding of Hereticks. From the many and great differences that are found betwixt both theſe impurities, yea a blind man may diſcern that the one could not ſo figure the other as our Adverſaries averre.



Although Moſes lay down no other exception, except that which we have ſpoken of, notwith­ſtanding I will anſwer to another Objection, which may be gathered from Moſes words. For may be after this manner ſome will reaſon: The Jews were commanded by Moſes to eate the Paſ­chall without Leaven: which St Paul interprets to be without corruptneſs of life, 1 Gor. 5. It muſt then ſeem unto any man very agreeable, That the Lords Supper, which ſucceded unto the Paſchall, ſhould be celebrated ſo that the wicked ſhould be excluded.


I anſwer, firſt, That indeed it is very unlike­ly, that God ſhould command any thing in clear words, and yet at the ſame time ſhould again forbid the ſame figuratively. He commandeth clearly in a mandate ſometimes repeated, that every Male (except theſe that were unclean, and were on the way) ſhould celebrate the Paſſover. He would not then by the figure of Leaven af­fright any others therefrom. There were then enough of evill Men preſent, that it was not need­full they ſhould be figured by Leaven. Neither did the wicked Men leſs appear to the ſenſes, then Leaven it ſelf. Wherefore ſeeing figures are not propos'd of thoſe things that are preſent, and that as fully repreſented themſelves to the ſenſes, (chiefly if the things figured be more known and frequent them the figures themſelves) a figure here is ſought after in vain. Again, Moſes doth not command him to be debarr'd the eating of the17 Paſchall, that had eate Leaven: but command­eth him to be killed. Wherefore wicked men are not to be debarr'd from the Supper, but are to be put to death: which conſequence I ſhall not unfreely admit: and I heartily wiſh it may be done: for I deſire nothing more, then that a moſt ſevere Diſcipline concerning manners may be obſerved in the Church: but I would wiſh it ſuch as God hath appointed, and not Man fained. Thirdly, It was lawfull for the Jews to eat Lea­ven all the year over, except on theſe ſeaven daies of Unleavened-Bread which they begin with eat­ing of the Paſſover. If you do apply this unto the Lords Supper, you muſt concede, that men may live impurely all the year long; only they muſt abſtaine from wickedneſs, in the time of celebra­tion of the Lords Supper. Fourthly, Moſes ſpeaketh here only of the Paſchall, not of the o­ther Sacraments. Then wicked men ſhould be debarred only from the Lords Supper, but not from Baptiſm. Fifthly, The Apoſtle doth not compare the Feaſt of the Jews with the Supper of the Lord, but with our whole life. He ſaith we are Unleavened, as being men which are throw­ly purged from all Leaven by the Blood of Chriſt. Therefore he ſaith it is fitting, that we ſhould live in the Unleaven of truth and ſincerity, and not in the Leaven of malice. There is a vaſt dif­ference betwixt Leaven ſimply ſo termed: and the Leaven of malice or verity; for Leaven be­ing ſo put or taken, is known by all to be figura­tively taken. The Analogick or figurative ſenſe, as the School-Men affirm, is not Argumentative. 18Certainly whatſoever we ſhall underſtand by Leaven, yet Excommunication cannot hence be held up and eſtabliſhed againſt the clear com­mand of God.


Nevertheleſs ſome may ſay, that Paul maketh mention here of the Paſſover. But what doth this concern our buſineſs? as if indeed this word, Paſſover, were put in the new Teſtament for the Lords Supper. Chriſt, ſaith the Apoſtle, is our Paſchall Sacrificed for us, not his Supper. The meaning is, That as the Jews beginning their Feaſt of Unleavened-Bread, by the eating of the Lambe, did after that thorow the whole Week eat Unleavened-Bread: So likewiſe you, which have begun to believe in Chriſt, and who are purged and unleavened by His Blood, you ought purely and chaſtely to ſpend all the reſt of the Week, that is, all the reſt of your life.


Now that not any thing diverſe to this, is to be found in any other of the Volumes of the old Te­ſtament, is clear from this alone, that the Poſte­rity were to live according to Moſes's Laws and Conſtitutions. And it was not lawfull to ordain any thing oppoſite to them, concerning the wor­ſhip of God. Indeed the holy Judges, Prieſts, Prophets, and Kings, debarr'd none from the Sa­crifices and Sacraments: But rather by all meanes indeavoured to invite all men to the ſame. The Hiſtory of the holy King Joſiah is known, 2 Chron. 30. who did convocate all the Iſraelites, (which he knew newly had offered incenſe to19 ſtrange Gods or Devils) or beſides them all thoſe which by reaſon of the ſhortneſs of time could not be purified, to the celebration of the Paſchall. From which place it is moreover cleared, That the Sacraments are incitements or invitements to Piety: And that men become better rather by their frequent uſe, then by their privation: If together with them they be fully and faithfully in­ſtructed.


Wherefore excommunication cannot be defen­ded out of the 1. of Iſaiah, Pſalm 50. and many o­ther ſuch places, in which it is ſaid, that God wil­leth not the Sacrifices and Oblations of the wick­ed; for in all ſuch places God reprehendeth that abuſe, that they thought they had moſt clearly ſatisfied the will of God, if they did theſe exter­nall things, howſoever their hearts were affected. Again, He doth not command the Prophet, or any other perſon by him, to keep back the wick­ed from the Sacrifices or Ceremonies: But de­clareth he will not hear them unleſs they amend their lives alſo. The reaſon of the externall po­licie of the Church, is other from that of the will of God towards us approving or diſapproving of our actions. Laſtly, From the ſame places after the ſame preciſe manner, it ſhall be demon­ſtrate, that it is not lawfull for any wicked man to call on the name of the Lord, yea neither to praiſe nor thanke him: becauſe the Miniſters and Elders ought to interdict the ſinfull of all theſe: for God doth likewiſe turn his counte­nance from theſe in the wicked: as is clear from20 the cited and all other like places. Wherefore if this be abſurd, the other muſt be abſurd like­wiſe.


Neither doth that make againſt us which we read in the 1. of Eſdras, and 10. Chapter, for that matter was publick, and belonged not to the Sa­craments. For the Magiſtrate, not the Prieſt Eſdras alone (who nevertheleſs was one of the Magiſtracies, for as Joſephus witneſſeth, they were govern'd by States, though they had a Chieſtaine) ſent forth that decree, that under pain of confiſ­cation of their good and excluſion (not from the Sacraments and Sacrifices, but) from the people which were returned from captivity, all men within three daies ſhould preſent themſelves at Jeruſalem. We do not queſtion in this place, whi­ther the Magiſtrate hath right to puniſh this, or that way: but whither the Prieſts could remove diſſolute and filthy livers from the Sacrifices? Eſ­dras could not do this, which was againſt the command of God. Adde, That Moſes did not command Deut. 7. this puniſhment, to wit, to be removed from the Sacraments, to be inflicted on them that had Married ſtrange Wives. And how Eſdras was to puniſh the tranſgreſſours of the Law, is ſet down in the 7. Chapter of the ſame Book, by death, baniſhment, puniſhment of the body, confiſcating of their goods, fetters or im­priſonment. To conclude, It is a farre other thing to be turn'd out of the ſociety of thoſe that had come back from Captivity; then to be de­barred the Temple and Sacrifices. For it appear­eth21 from the 12. Chap. of Exod. and Numb. 6. that even ſtrangers were admitted to the Cele­bration of the Paſſover, ſo be they were Circum­ciſed: At that time alſo, many of theſe that had either remained ſtill in Judea: or that being Na­tives, had forſaken the impurity of the Gentiles, and had turned to the Jews, did together with all the others Celebrate the Paſſover, as it is written in the end of the ſixt Chapter of that Book. Theſe being ſuch perſons, were not debar'd the Temple, Sacrifices, or Ceremonies; although they were not numbred amongſt them that had returned out of Babylon. So likewiſe they removed ſome Prieſts from their Office; becauſe they could not inſtruct their Geneologies, as is clear from the 2. of Eſdras. From all appeareth, that it is impoſſible, that excommunication can have any help from this.


There remaineth only the ejection out of the Synagogue to be conſidered, wherewith diverſe perſons do wonderfully pleaſe themſelves; whileſt they produce for excommunication, that which is written John the 9. and 12, 16. concerning this matter. But here diverſe and ſolid Anſwers are offered. The word Synagouge ſometimes ſignifieth a place; as when Chriſt is ſaid to have entred into the Synagogue, and to have taught them: Sometime it ſignifieth a meeting, or con­vention of the people, whither their gathering together was in the Synagogue, or in any other place; As when we read that the Phariſees deſir­ed the firſt ſeats at Banquets, and the firſt places22 in the Synagogues. In the ſame ſignification, or in both it is taken Mat. 10. and 23. Where Chriſt foretelleth that the godly ſhall receive ſtripes in the Synagogues. And Mat. 10. Mark 13. Luke 12.21. In which places it ſignifieth the publick judgment, in which ſignification this word is oft put by the ſeventy Interpreters; as we ſhall afterwards ſhew in its convenient place. In the next foregoing places, as in Mat. 10. Marke 13. the word〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Synedrium, and〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Synagogue are clearly ſo put, as if the ſome ſhould be underſtood by both. In the other pla­ces,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to the word Synagogue are im­mediately added〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Kings and Rulers, as Luke 21. (for which the ſame Evan­geliſt in the 12. Chapter had put〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Magiſtrates and powers.) Marke 13. Mat. 10. as by the collation of places is manifeſtly ſhewn, that the Evangeliſt or Chriſt in theſe laſt places did underſtand nothing elſe by the words Synedrium and Synagogue then thoſe judicato­ries of the Jews, which were exercis'd by many ſitting together: As the judicatories of the Gen­tiles are expreſſ'd by the words, Kings, Magi­ſtrates, Powers, and Rulers: over which al­waies one was preſident, or if more then one did adminiſter judgment, yet it was adminiſtrate in one mans name. In theſe Convents or Syna­gogues, they that were judged guilty, were pu­niſh'd with rods, ſtripes, buffets, Matth. 10.23. Acts 17.26. 2 Cor. 11.1. which place any man may eaſily underſtand by the 25. of Deut. The caſting out then out of ſuch a Synagogue, was a23 kind of politick ignominy and puniſhment, and ſo as it were a locall baniſhment, as we may con­jecture by the fourth Chapter of Luke. It cannot be drawn to the Sacraments, which were only celebrate in the Temple (which was but one) and at Jeruſalem, except circumciſion, and ſome few others. It ſeemeth to be a puniſhment not diſlike to that, of which we have ſpoken a little before, in our explication of the place of Eſdras. There is not any that doth not know, that there were ſuch Synagogues in every Town. Therefore whither the word Synagogue in John be taken for the place, or for the convent it ſelf, it will not in any part be repugnant to our opinion. And if it ſhall altogether be denied to have been politick, yet this will be clear, that it belong'd to Religion; But I do not diſpute here, whither he that hath an evill opinion of the true Religion is to be ex­communicate. For the Phariſees, ſaith John 9. did conſpire together in this, That they ſhould be thrown out of the Synagogue, which eſteemed Jeſus to be Chriſt: And that, to be in the Sy­nagogue, was only an honour; and to be thrown out of it an ignominy; It ſeemeth that it may be gathered from this, which is written in the 12. of John, That many chief Rulers amongſt the Jews [in whch number may be Nicodemus was] did believe in Chriſt, but durſt not confeſs him, for fear of the Phariſees, leaſt they ſhould throw them out of the Synagogues: and this reaſon is added; becauſe they loved more the glory of men, then the glory of God. Moreover it is clear, that the Circumcis'd Publicans were not admit­ted24 into the Synagogues (we meane of theſe of which we diſpute at preſent. ) for the Phariſees would not ſo much as conferre with them; And upon this accompt they did backbite Chriſt; be­cauſe he did familiarly converſe with them. But I believe not any man of a ſound judgment will affirme, that theſe men were not admitted to the Paſſover, Temple, and Sacrifices. Wherefore to be thrown out of the Synagogue; and to be debarr'd the Sacraments and Ceremonies appoin­ted by God, do very much differ: As appear­eth by all, that hath been ſaid already, and is more clearly ſeen by the firſt Chapter of the Acts. For the Diſciples being ſharpely reprov'd by the Synagogue, did notwithſtanding teach daily in the Temple. Out of how many Synagogues was the Apoſtle Paul thrown? Nevertheleſs the Jews did never reprehend him, that he entred into the Temple; and offered oblations for himſelf and others. And if it could be never ſo well prov'd, that to be thrown out of the Synagogue, and kept back from the Sacraments, were one and the ſame amongſt the Phariſees [that which at no time can be proved to be true, to have been, or to be hereafter] Nevertheleſs they had done this (as they did many other things) againſt the expreſs precept of Moſes: therefore we ſhould not follow, but condemne their doing thereof: for we muſt not live by examples, but by Law, neither ought we to imitate what is oppſite to the Law of God, except our intentions be to confound all things. We muſt follow the examples of good men and good examples, and not of evill men, and evill25 examples. I have therefore handled theſe things in ſo many words, yet ſhortly: becauſe ſome men do wonderfully flatter themſelves with this Argument, when in the mean time they deceive themſelves and others.


This then remains firme, unmoveable, and unſhaken; That in the old Teſtament none were remov'd from the Sacraments for their delinquen­cies in manners: But that every one according to the Law, were rather invited to, then repuls'd from their celebration, by the holy Prieſts, Pro­phets, Judges, Kings, yea and at laſt even by that moſt famous and holy forerunner of Chriſt, John the Baptiſt himſelf.


And indeed the Sacraments of the Antients and ours, are the ſame, in reſpect of the thing ſignifi­ed, as Paul cleareth in the 1 Cor. 10. wherefore ex­cept it appear that the Law of Moſes is either abo­liſh'd or chang'd in this point, it is not lawfull for any man to bring in the contrary.


For as we uſe rightly againſt the Anabaptiſts this firme Argument, becauſe circumciſion hath ſucceded to Baptiſme, and Chriſt hath not in any place forbid Infants Baptiſm, therefore it is not leſs lawfull for us to Baptiſe our Infants, then it was for the Jews to circumciſe theirs: So here like­wiſe, we can no leſs ſoundly reaſon after this manner. The Lords Supper ſucceeded to the eat­ing of the Paſſover. But vices were not puniſh'd by the deniall of the Paſſover, neither were any26 for theſe debarr'd it: but rather all, eſpecially the Male, were invited by the Law to the celebrati­on thereof, which ſeeing in no place we read to be antiquate and aboliſh'd, neither are they in­deed to be puniſh'd by the deniall of the Lords Supper, nor upon this account ought any to be re­jected. We have ſaid enough concerning the old Teſtament: now it is convenient that we deſcend to Chriſt and his Apoſtles, that is to the new Te­ſtament.


After the ſame manner we do not read that our Lord and Saviour Chriſt did forbid any the uſe of the Sacraments: Yea moreover we do not find, that his Apoſtles in any place, command­ed that ſuch a thing ſhould be done. For Chriſt came not into this world to deſtroy the Law, but to fulfill and perfit the ſame. Wherefore ſee­ing the Law commanded all, except the unclean, to celebrate the Paſſover, he would not forbid any.


'Tis likewiſe apparent, that Chriſt never repre­hended any, becauſe they uſed the Sacraments, and were frequently preſent in the Temple, and at the Sacrifices: But only admoniſh'd them, that they ſhould uſe them aright according to the will and Law of God. He entred alwaies into the ſame Temple with the Phariſees, Sadduces, Pub­licans, with all other evill, together and with good perſons: he was preſent with them at the ſame Sa­crifices; and together with the whole people uſed the ſame Sacraments: And he was Baptis'd like­wiſe27 with the ſame Baptiſm of John, wherewith thoſe wicked perſons now named were Bap­tized.


For this ſame cauſe he did not keep back from the eating of the laſt Paſchall Lamb, his betrayer Judas, but he did ſit down together with the o­ther eleven Diſciples. And albeit there are ſome, who go about to prove, that Judas was not pre­ſent at the inſtitution of the new Supper (which will be very hard, that I may not ſay impoſſible, to ſhew clearly out of the holy Scriptures,) but that he went away before it was inſtitute by Chriſt: Notwithſtandinging I believe none dare deny, but that according to the Law, he was ad­mitted to the eating of the Paſſover. Which be­ing granted, our Argument remaineth unmoved. For whither he went out before the inſtitution of the other Supper; or went not out (which is more probable and alwaies beleeved by more men,) This is ever clear, that he was preſent at the firſt, and was not commanded openly to ab­ſtaine from the ſecond. Yea moreover we do not read in any place, that he was commanded by Chriſt to go out, that he might not be preſent at the new Supper. Wherefore if he went out, he went out of himſelf, neither went he out for that cauſe. But we inquire what Chriſt did do, not what Judas did. It ſufficeth us that Chriſt did not command him to abſtain from his laſt Supper.


'Tis frivolous and light, that is brought for ex­cuſe;28 That the fault was not publick, and that therefore he ought not to be removed. For he had then agreed upon a price with the Phariſees. And in the time of Supper it ſelf, Chriſt did o­pen it up to his Diſciples, and had made it pub­lick; whereby the rather an example ſhould have been made thereof. Laſtly, That this be but ſomething, yet at leaſt he was noted before that time for a Thief. And although he was ſuch, nevertheleſs our Lord committed the Mi­niſtry to him, and did honour him with the pow­er of caſting out Divels, of healing the Sick, and of working other miracles: and to conclude, all the years he was with Chriſt, he admitted him together with the reſt, to the celebration of the Paſſover. Is not this Argument enough, that Chriſt would not that wicked men ſhould be pu­niſh'd by the deniall of the Sacrament? Certain­ly it is a greater matter, to admit a wicked man in­to the Miniſtry, then to admit any ſuch an one to the Supper. We ſee that Chriſt let both theſe fall to Judas.


That is alſo to be obſerv'd, that the Diſciples at the firſt Supper, begun to contend amongſt them­ſelves, about the eminency and dignity, neverthe­leſs none of them were removed for that cauſe. But moreover he commanded and willed, that all ſhould drinke of the Cup, [in relation to this matter, the reaſon of the Cup and Bread is the ſame,] witneſs Matth. 26. which Marke doth te­ſtifie was done: what other thing can be believ'd Chriſt willed by theſe words then to confirm29 thoſe things, which God had of old commanded by Moſes? viz. that no Baptiz'd Perſon ſhould be excluded from that publick and ſolemne Thankſgiving, who deſire to be preſent thereat? By which it appeareth, that not any ought to be remov'd from the Table of the Lord, which em­braceth the Doctrine of Chriſt, and ſuffereth him­ſelf to be taught of Chriſt.


Chriſt will not have his Kingdome [I ſpeak of the externall] on this earth Circumſcrib'd with­in narrower boundings amongſt Chriſtians, then in old times he would have it contain'd and de­fin'd amongſt the Jews. Therefore as God com­manded all the circumcis'd externally to be parta­kers of the ſame Sacraments and Ceremonies, and commanded Offenders to be coerc'd and pu­niſh'd with the Sword and other puniſhments: So here Chriſt will have all them that are Baptiz'd, or are Chriſtians, and have right and true belief concerning Religion, to uſe the ſame externall Ceremonies and Sacraments: But will have thoſe, that are flagitious to be chaſtis'd by the Ma­giſtrate with death, baniſhment, impriſonment, and other puniſhments; hitherto, as it ſeemeth be­longeth theſe Parables of the net, marriage, and of the tares.


In the Apoſtles, eſpecially in the Apoſtle Paul, we find no fewer, and no leſs plain and pithy Ar­guments. The firſt is this, That the Apoſtles are not found any where either to have taught or exercis'd the Excommunication. Which Ar­gument30 ſeeming in itſelf invalide become unan­ſwerable, if we conſider, that they were even unto their deaths moſt ſtrict keepers of Moſes's Laws, which Chriſt had not aboliſh'd: as every man may know even by the 21. and laſt Chapter of the Acts. Wherefore they never tried or would try to repell any man, which profeſſ'd himſelf a Chriſtian, and to believe rightly concerning that Doctrine, from our Sacraments, which only dif­fered from them of old in the ſigns and time ſigni­fied. For they did not in any place either do or teach any thing againſt Moſes's commands, which were not aboliſh'd by Chriſt; But they obſerv'd the Law no leſs diligently afterwards, then they did before the death of Chriſt. As the chief of the Apoſtles in the Place newly cited do witneſs. For they only ſuffered the Nations to live without the Law of Moſes, and not the con­verted Jews: which is diligently to be obſerved here, becauſe of the things that follow. And as farre as concerns the ſubſtance of the Doctrine, they taught nothing which was different from Moſes and the Prophets. For if they had taught otherwiſe, their Doctrine had not been judged by them of Beroea, to be conſonant to the Scriptures, Acts 17.


I will ſay ſomewhat more for the ſentence of Moſes, which is much the very ſame which we hold: That there are no reaſons found in the A­poſtle Paul for the contrary opinion. For in the 1 to the Corinthians and 8. Chapter, he excluded not thoſe which as yet believ'd Idols to be ſome31 thing: Neither thoſe elevate and proud ſwelling Gnoſticks, who did openly with profane and ungodly worſhippers of Idols, eat things of­fered to Idols in their very Chappels at their ſo­lemn and publick Banquets: That, which God by Moſes had clearly forbidden, Exod. 34. and by the Apoſtles Acts 15. and laſtly by John, 2. Re­velation, this was no leſs weighty ſin, than if any this day ſhould dare to be preſent at the Maſs of the Roman-Church: which may readily be ga­thered by any man out of the tenth Chapter of the ſame Epiſtle. Becauſe in this place the Apoſtle Paul proveth, that ſuch men do declare by this their deed, that they are no leſs fellows and com­monners of the Devill; Then by the receiving of the Lords Supper, they teſtifie themſelves to be members of Chriſts myſticall Body.


Next, in the tenth Chapter, Paul reaſoneth thus: As in old times the Lord did not ſpare thoſe that coveted evill things, nor Idolaters, nor whore­mongers, nor tempters, and murmurers againſt Chriſt, although they were Baptis'd with the ſame Baptiſme with all the reſt; and did eat the ſame ſpirituall food, and drinke the ſame ſpirituall drink: So neither will he ſpare any of you what­ſomever, which are defiled with the ſame ſins, although you eat all of the ſame Bread, and drinke all of the ſame Cup with all the Saints. By theſe it is perceived. Firſt, That our Sacra­ments and thoſe of the Antients were the ſame, in reſpect of the thing internall and Heavenly, o­therwiſe the Argument of the Apoſtle would be32 of no effect. Next it is clear, That many cor­rupt perſons, and that publickly known to be ſuch, were admitted. Thirdly, This is likewiſe cer­tain, That not any was commanded to forbeare, as Excommunicate perſons are commanded. The Apoſtle doth not ſay that ſuch are to be kept back: But he foretelleth that they would be puniſh'd by God ſo, as the Antients were puniſh'd. For Mo­ſes together with the Levites did kill a part of them 32. and the Lord did conſume another part with fire, Serpents, with the Sword, and with the o­pening up of the earth: which alſo happened unto the Corinthians; for he affirmeth that many of them then were ſick, and many of them dead.


In the following Chapter he commandeth nei­ther the contentious perſons, and Sectaries, nei­ther them that were made drunke in the very ce­lebration of the Supper it ſelf, nor them that were polluted with other ſins to be kept back from the uſe thereof: indeed he doth not mention, ſo much as in one word this interdiction: when as he correcteth farre leſs faults, as that every one ſhould eat at home. How could he in this place not have mentioned this matter, if he had ap­prov'd thereof, or thought it neceſſary in the Church? The Apoſtle knew the Law command­ed otherwiſe, and that there was another uſe of the Sacraments in the Church: then that by their deniall corruptneſs in life ſhould be puniſhed. Therefore he commandeth, that every one ſhould examine himſelf: but he doth not command that33 they ſhould examine and approve of one ano­ther; he moreover exhorteth them all, that they ſhould ſtrive to eat worthily, leaſt any ſhould eat judgment to themſelves: he doth not command them that eat unworthily to be kept back there­from, but he threatneth them with the Lords chaſtiſement. He divideth the generall ſort of eaters into two kinds, by their oppoſite differen­ces, to wit, in them that eat worthily, and them that eate unworthily: he commandeth neither of them not to eat, but he deſireth that all ſhould eat worthily.


Afterwards in the ſecond Epiſtle, Chapter 12, and 13. he doth not threaten them, which after his admonition, had not repented them of the im­purity, luſt and licentiouſneſs, which they had committed, with a removall from the Lords Table; but by the authority and power which was given him of God, he ſheweth that he would ſeverely and rigorouſly puniſh them: which in his own writeings he doth verifie oft: but he no where telleth them of the debarring from the Sa­craments, which is the Queſtion in hand: nei­ther doth he command the Elders or any others to do this. But if he would have had the wicked puniſhed after this manner, he ſhould have com­manded them to be removed from the Sacra­ments till they amend: Chiefly ſeeing he had ap­pointed Elders in the ſame Church before, 1 Cor. 6. Chap. and had amended the celebration of the Supper. But we will perchance ſpeake more of this matter hereafter.



Even as in the celebration of the Sacraments we ſee no mention to be made of Excommunication; ſo neither do we find any ſuch thing in their Inſti­tution. Yea the Scripture hath not made mention of it, where it explains the end and uſe of the ſame. But if they were given to this end to the Church, that they might be a kind of puniſhment to the wicked and wickedneſs, without doubt in one of the places there would have ſome mention been made thereof. The ends of the Lords Sup­per for which it was inſtituted are theſe: That we ſhould ſolemnly celebrate the death of our Lord, and give publick thanks to him for our delivery: That we ſhould by our preſence teach and teſtifie that we have no other meat and drink of life, but Chriſt Crucified, and his Blood ſhed for us: That we ſhould declare we repented of our foreſpent life, thinke of a better, imbrace the Chriſtian Doctrine, to belong to his Church, in which we ſhould deſire afterwards to live ho­lily and godly, and dye therein. Hath the Scrip­ture in any place forbid any man to do theſe things? But ſome, you will ſay, do oft re­turn to their own Byaſs, and are made no bet­ter. I anſwer, That he who in the preſent thinks ſo, as I have ſaid, by the motion of the holy Ghoſt is not repelled by the Scriptures but God know­eth whither and when at leaſt he ſhall perſevere in that holy Reſolution. It is our part alwaies to hope well of all men, albeit we will oft be de­ceived; and moreover from our hearts to beſeech God, that he will confirme them and us toge­ther35 in good. In the mean time he that doth evill, is to be reproved and admoniſht, that he ſhould prove himſelf, leſt he eat and drink damnation, as the appoſite teacheth.


To conclude, Are the Sacraments either in au­thority or dignity more excellent then the Word? or more neceſſary by uſe? not any where ſave without the Word: but no man doubteth but many both are and may be ſav'd without the Sa­craments; chiefly without the Lords Supper if they contemn them not. It ſeems the Apoſtle thought no otherwiſe, when he writes that he was not ſent to Baptize, but to Preach the Word. Do not moſt men call them the viſible words? and that they propoſe that thing to the eyes, which the Word doth to the ears? Why then do we ſtudy to keep men from the Word, but to keep ſome from the Sacraments, and chiefly from the Lords Supper? and that againſt, or at leaſt with­out the expreſs command of God? becauſe, ſay they, the Word was given to all, the Sacraments were only inſtitute for thoſe, that were converted. I know this; neither do I ſpeak of Turks, and of the unconverted: but I ſpeak of them that are cal'd by God into his Church; that are inſert threin, and approve of the Doctrine thereof, and that are deſirous at leaſt externally, to uſe the Sa­craments rightlier.


I have ſhewn hitherto, that there is no exam­ple nor word extant, neither of Chriſt, nor of his Apoſtles of this chaſtiſment or rather36 coercement of the ungodly. Wherefore ſeeing neither the Old nor New Teſtament have com­manded this forme of puniſhment; but the con­trary doth occurre very oft in both, we deſerved­ly believe, that Excommunication (in ſo farre as it keepeth men from the uſe of the Sacraments for the wickedneſs of their life and manners) is rather a humane invention, then any divine Law. Therefore it ſeemeth now conſequent, that we ſhould view thoſe things which they, that think contrary to this, bring for themſelves, and demonſtrate that they have no ſtrength in them­ſelves.


The command ſay they is extant in the 18 of Matthew, and in the Epiſtles of Saint Paul, but the example is found 1 Cor. 5. Chapter, alſo the 1 of Timothy and 1. Chapter. Of theſe we will ſpeak in order: And firſt of that place which is in Matthew.


Chriſts purpoſe in this Chapter was not to in­ſtitute a new government, or a forme of exerci­ſing Excommunication, but to inſtruct his Diſci­ples how they ſhould avoid offence in repelling of private injuries. For becauſe theſe that immedi­ately purſued the right before the Magiſtrate, (chiefly before a Heathen and prophane Magi­ſtrate, to which then the Jews were ſubject) did oft-times offend the weak; firſt he exhorteth them, that they ſhould rather forgive injuries, then in every cauſe to run to the Magiſtrate. In this part he doth no other thing then call into me­mory37 that command of Moſes in the 19. of Exod. which Syracides in his 19. Chap. likewiſe doth more largely handle. Then he commandeth that if they ſhould perchance be compelled to bring their Cauſe before the Magiſtrate, that they ſhould not accuſe their Brethren the Jews before the Romans, before firſt they had deſired the aſi­ſtance of their own Magiſtrate in vain. If in­deed they would avoid ſcandall, the Apoſtle de­livers the ſame command to the Corinthians the 1.6. Chap. (which place is as it were an Expoſi­tion upon this,) viz. that the Chriſtians ſhould not raſhly go to Law together before the Gentiles. Therefore the genuine ſenſe of this place and Chapter is this: when thy Brother, that is, when a Jew doth unto thee an injury, ſtudy how by thy ſelf alone to reconcile him to thee, if thou a­lone cannot prevaile, take two or three with thee and try it again: if neither ſo, thou can deliver thy ſelf from the wrong, tell it to the Synedrium, that is, tell it to the Magiſtrate of thy People and Religion. But if he will not hear him, then you may proceed againſt him without the offence of any, as you will proceed againſt the Publicans and Heathens, (who will not ſuffer themſelves to be brought to any other Tribunall, but that of the Romans. ) that ſhould wrong you.


That this is the proper and legitimate inter­pretation of this place is manifeſtly ſhewn by all the circumſtances and whole ſeries of the diſ­courſe, but chiefly by the concluſion. Firſt Chriſt doth not diſcourſe in this place of the weighty38 and publick ſins that belonged to his Countrey Religon, and rites, the puniſhing of which belong­ed to the Synedrium: but he ſpeaketh of private injuries, the power of remitting of which be­longed to every man: this proveth evidently that which I have ſaid, that the whole contexture of the diſcourſe is in the ſingular number. If thy Brother oeffnd againſt thee (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, ) reprove him betwixt thee and himſelf alone: tell the Church if he will not hear thee, &c. After the ſame man­ner alſo he ſpeaketh, Luke 17. if thy Brother (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) ſin againſt thee, and immediately if thy Brother ſin ſeaven times in one day againſt thee, and return to thee, and ſhall ſay, that he is ſory, forgive him. We cannot interpret (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, ) againſt the Church; for ſeeing he ſaies afterwards, tell the Church, the ſenſe will be, O Church, tell the Church. Neither can it ſignifie the ſame, that thou being conſcious: for neither the nature, nor circumſtances of the word or ſpeeches will ſuffer this: for preſently after is added, betwixt thee and himſelf alone. How then if he ſin, I be­ing conſcious to it, and did not ſin againſt me on­ly and alone, am I alone compelled to admoniſh him alone? am I not rather commanded to re­prove him, together with them, againſt whom he hath properly ſinned? but Chriſt doth not concede, that I ſhould firſt go to him with o­thers: therefore he ſpeaketh of an injury done by my Brother againſt me only. As likewiſe how ſhall the words of Luke agree with this interpreta­tion, when he ſaith, if thy Brother ſhall return to thee, forgive him? ſhall we likewiſe ſay here,39 that to thee, is put for thou knowing it? but what then will forgive him ſignifie? Muſt we al­ſo ſay here that it is, be thou conſcious to his for­giveneſs? did the prodigall Luke 15. ſinning a­gainſt Heaven, ſin, Heaven being conſcious there to? how we ſhall ſin againſt our Brethren by do­ing evil is clear, 1 Cor. 8. but the nature of this place is different. Truly the ſpeech and words do not ſuffer us to take them of any other but for pri­vate injuries; which you your ſelf may remit to the penitent; but if he will not of himſelf repent, you muſt uſe all meanes that he may repent. Se­condly, The ſame is proved, becauſe the Apoſtles did underſtand Chriſts words any otherwiſe, as is manifeſt by Peters Interogation on whom he asketh: Is it enough that if my Brother ſin a­gainſt me ſeaven times, I forgive him ſeaven times? Peter was not ignorant that he neither ſhould nor could of himſelf alone remit thoſe ſins which belong to the Church and divers others. Thirdly, The word to the proveth this, Chriſt ſaith not let him be to us, let him be to the Church, let him be to others; but let him be to thee a­lone, which hath ſuffered, or doth ſuffer an injury by him, as a Publican. Albeit chief ſpeaketh to all the Apoſtles alike, nevertheleſs he com­mandeth that the offender ſhould be eſteemed as a Publican to him only that was hurt by him: and that after the admonition of the Church; therefore he ſpeaketh not of theſe things which belong to the whole Church, or to many others: but of theſe things which belong to every ſingle man. Fourthly, He ſpeaks of ſuch ſins as we40 ought ſo oft to forgive our Brethren, for as oft as they ſay they repent of them: and that this tranſaction or remiſſion done betwixt two only, ſhall be the end of all ſtrife, is clearly held forth in theſe words. Again, I ſay unto you if, two of you agree together, &c. Ver. 19. but a great of­fence which belongs to more, or to the whole Church cannot be forgiven by one alone. By the way ye are to take notice here, that the Ad­verb〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, again, doth declare that he ſaid the ſame now juſt before, albeit he uſed other words. Fifthly, Chriſt ſpeaketh of ſuch ſins, whereof they are not aſhamed that have committed them: or which they will not deny before any man, if he ſpeak of other grievous ſins, and of ſuch as belong to the Church; and many other witneſſes ſhould have no place. For no man would confeſs that before witneſſes, that he re­mitted ſuch an act if it were done privately. But in all thoſe things of which is ſpoken here, there is degrees ſet down by Chriſt to be kept, where­fore he ſpeaketh of private injuries, belonging not at all to others. Sixtly, He ſpeaketh of ſuch, which the Church, of which Chriſt ſpeaketh here, doth not puniſh, but ſendeth away the Offendor chaſtis'd only with words. For in vain ſhould he ſay, if he will not hear the Church; for indeed it could puniſh ſins with publick puniſhment. Seaventhly, The Parable that immediately fol­lows, doth prove the ſame clearly; which doth teach, that God would not forgive them their ſins, that would not forgive from their heart their pe­nitent Brothers, without pain or puniſhment,41 but the Church ſhould not ſo, as they ſay, forgive the Offenders: but ſhould keep them at leaſt for a time from the Sacraments: untill they ſhould approve their penitence to Presbyters choſen for this purpoſe. Therefore he would have them forgiven ſeaven times a day, that ſay they repent, but would ſee Arguments of their Repentance, of which Chriſt ſpeaketh not one word here: for he will have no other Argument, then a confeſſion of their fault; which he that doth not diſſemble it, will not return ſeaven times a day. It is then clearly demonſtrate by theſe reaſons, that Chriſt doth not diſcourſe here of theſe ſins that are to be puniſhed by Excommunication, but of light and private injuries, and of the meanes to compoſe them: therefore it doth not belong to the buſi­neſs of Excommunication. If the concluſion on­ly uſed by Chriſt in the end of the Chapter be looked unto all cauſe of doubting will be re­moved.


Thoſe that are of oppinion, that Chriſt in this place and Chapter did inſtitute Excommunicati­on, muſt be compelled to ſhew in what words this command is comprehended. If they cannot demonſtrate it to be contain'd there; and it is in vain for them to ſay it is commanded here. Therefore its either in theſe words, tell the Church; or in theſe, let him be to thee as a Publi­can; or in theſe, whatſomever you ſhall bind, &c. But that not any of theſe contain any ſuch thing, I will prove what ſolid Arguments: therefore ſeeing it cannot be ſought in any other words,42 it is in vain ſought after in this Chapter.


The words of Chriſt, tell the Church, prove only this; that he that is injur'd by his Brother, and hath indeavoured in vain to be reconciled to him, may complaine of the injury to the Church, or to the moderator of the Church. Moreover that the Church hath right and power to reprove and admoniſh an injurious man, that he may ceaſe to be ſick. There is no more power here given to the Church, then was given before to the witneſſes: if they only except this that the caſe was not to be brought before the Church without witneſſes. Would not this then be a fooliſh way of reaſoning, the Church hath power to reprove him that doth injury to others, therefore it hath power to Excommunicate him, and keep him back from the Sacraments? But indeed ſome will ſay, the Church hath no power to puniſh Offen­ders with corporall puniſhments, or with the Sword; therefore it is compel'd to puniſh them by forbidding them the Sacraments. I anſwer, That this connexion doth not follow, albeit the Antecedent were true; (but that it is falſe, being taken of the viſible Church is clearly demonſtrate to our eyes and ſenſes, by all the Old Teſtament, and the Hiſtory of all ages,) neither can it ever be proved, that theſe ſhould rightly cohere toge­gether: it cannot puniſh by the Sword, therefore it muſt debarre from the common Sacraments, them that profeſs the ſame Religion.


If he, that is of another judgment, ſhall an­ſwer43 that it is contained in thoſe words, let him be unto thee as a Publican and a Heathen: I an­ſwer, it is falſe, for by no ſpeech, by no perſwa­ſion, by no Arguments; can it ever be demon­ſtrate, that this ſpeech of Chriſt, let him be to thee as an Heathen and a Publican, is the ſame with this, let them excommunicate, let them be ſhut out from the Sacraments. For in Chriſts time circumcſs'd Publicans, whither they were Jews or Gentiles, were not kept back from the Sacrafices, Temple, Ceremonies, and Sacra­ments: Truly it ſeems that Chriſt therefore joyned a Publican with a Heretick, leſt any ſhould judg that the interdiction of the Sacra­mehts were commanded here. How could he according to the Law be kept from the Temple and divine worſhip, ſeeing it was not a ſin to be a collector of the publick revenues? Neither is it in any place found to be forbidden by God; and truly Chriſt hath not forbid it. When the Pub­licans demand of John what was needfull for them to do that they might be ſaved, he doth not bid them that they ſhould forſake their office: but he exhorteth them that they ſhould not exact more then was impoſed, Luke 3. Chriſt likewiſe doth not bid Zacheus the chief of the Publicans to forſake this Office; Neither doth he reprehend him for it, Luke 19. Neither do we read of him who went up to the Temple to pray and return­ed home juſtified by Chriſts ſentence, that he left of to be a Publican, Luke 18. neither theſe that praiſe God, Luke 7.15. and was moſt dear to Chriſt and his Apoſtles, to change their condition,44 as we find. In brief I will ſay it, that the holy Scriptures, that is, that God did at no time and in no place condemn and diſpraiſe the Publicans upon the account that they were Publicans, that is, Collectors of the revenues; which all wiſe men will freely confeſs with me. Which being laid down I argument thus, God doth condemn no Publican becauſe as Publican in the holy Scrip­tures; but he that God doth condemn cannot be excommunicate by the Law of God; therefore no Publican could by divine right be forbidden from the Temple and divine Worſhip: Now I go on concluding this no Publican by the Law, could be condemned or Excommunicated, but Chriſt commandeth him that will not hear that Church of which he ſpeaketh, there to be eſteem­ed as a Publican, therefore he commands him to be eſteemed ſuch a one, as by the Law of God could not be eſteemed acceptable, to waite upon this account becauſe he was a Publican. When the Excommunicators affirme that theſe words let him be unto thee as a Publican, doth ſignifie alſo much as if he had ſaid, let him be to thee ſuch an one, as a Publican is to a Phariſee, they ſpeak what is abſurd, falſe, and impoſſible; for it is not credible that Chriſt would in that place in which he reſolved to inſtitute (as our adverſaries affirme) a thing of ſo great moment, and there­fore ſo profitable and neceſſary in the Church, take his rule which afterward was to be kept by all, from the impious facts of moſt wicked men: and moreover I proved before that no man was ever excommunicate by the Jews, after that manner45 that now we diſpute of. To conclude, all the words of Chriſt do oppoſe their interpretation, for Chriſt doth not here ſpeake of the Phariſees, or with them, but he hath to do with his Diſciples, and centers of the way to avoid ſcandals, he ſaith this, if an injurious man will not hear the Church let him be unto thee as a Publican, viz. to thee, not as he is to the Phariſees; but it is known that Publicans were not hatefull to Chriſt and his Diſ­ciples, and to all other Religious: Truly they did not eſteem them as perſons worthy of Ex­communication, but they did eat and drinke with them daily. But that he joynes a Heathenick and a Publican together, it compels us to confeſs that Chriſt ſpeaketh of ſomething which ſhould be common to them both; but the Publicans could enter the Temple, the Heathen could not. Wherefore Chriſt ſpeaketh here nothing of Ex­communication, therefore theſe words, let him be to thee as a Publican, ſignifieth for another thing then theſe, let him be to thee as an Excommuni­cate perſon. Theſenſe then of this place is this. If he hear not the Church, you may in this ceaſe without the offence of any man ſo we with him, as if he had bufineſs to do with an Heathenick and a Publican, he that had any controverſie with ſuch men, was compel'd to diſpute his cauſe before the Roman Magiſtrate: This is cleare concerning the He­thenicks; concerning the Publican, it appeare••hence that they were Miniſters ſworn to the Ro­mans againſt their own Nation: and that they could reſect no juſtice from the Phariſee, and the chief men of the Jews who eſteemed them Knaves and forlorne perſons. This is not permit­ted46 by Chriſt to any perſon againſt his Brother Jew, before he ſeek reconciliation after that man­ner, that he hath propoſed and was preſcribed be­fore in the Law. To this belongs the excuſe of Paul in the laſt of the Acts, to wit, that he did not appeal to Caeſar, but being compel'd; neither that he might accuſe the Jews, but that he might defend himſelf from wrong and violence. If a Chriſtian had any thing againſt his Brother, the Apoſtle in the Corinthians commands that he may try to tranſact with him, before ſome choſen Ar­bitrators; and that he ſhould not immediately go to Law before a Heathen Magiſtrate, but if a Chriſtian had to do with a Heathen, who doubt­eth but that he might perſue his right before a Heathen Magiſtrate? After the ſame manner, if a­ny ſhould contemn the judgment and ſentence of the Elders of the Church; he that was wronged and injured, might perſue the other before the Heathen Magiſtrate without any offence to his Neighbour.


The handling hereof will be more clear, if we ſhall conſider which was, and what an one that Church was, which he commanded us to tell it to: In the declaring of which matter in the be­ginning I laid down this as a fundament, which I am confident will be approved by all, and I know will not be denied by any: viz, that Chriſt ſpeaketh of that Church, which was then. For how ſhould he command them to tell to the Church which was not to be found in any place? of whoſe conſti­tution at that time they had not heard any thing? If he would lay the foundation of a new Church,47 or of a new form of Government, unknown to the Apoſtles, he ſhould have delivered the inſti­tution thereof very lame and defective. For he neither taught who were that Church, neither of whom, nor how it ſhould be gathered, neither the way of judgment and puniſhing therein: neither did he ſpeak of all ſins, as I have now proved, and they themſelves, which out of this place build up Excommunication, are compel'd to confeſs the ſame with us: while they affirme openly that here only hid errours are handled. Where Chriſt inſtitutes any new thing, he omits nothing of thoſe things without which that matter cannot conſiſt, here only he commands us to tell it to the Church: which if he hear not, he permitteth the accuſer to eſteem him as a Publican: therefore he addeth no puniſhment. Luke when he fell upon this place, doth not ſet down all theſe things particularly, which St Matthew relates: the reſt of the Evangeliſts make no mention thereof at all; they would not have been ſilent in ſo great and neceſſary matter, if they had known it was then firſt done by Chriſt: adde, that the Apoſtles were certainly perſwaded that Chriſt would not die, nor change the Religion of the Jews: and that they did in no token, no word, no ſign declare that they underſtood not well enough the Doctrine of Chriſt: or if as they had heard ſomething unknown and unuſuall, they neither did queſtion, we admire thereat. Peter only did wonder at this, that he was ſo oft commanded to forgive his Brother, therefore they did not underſtand theſe words of Chriſt of a new48 form of government unknown to them: but they believed, and that rightly that they were taught when it ſhould be lawfull for them without offence to accuſe their Brother Jew, before a pro­phane Magiſtrate. And at this very day ye will not eaſily ſee a Jew going to Law with a Jew, be­fore the Chriſtian Magiſtrate.


Therefore this command doth not belong un­to all men ſay ye, but to them that live under an impious Magiſtrate. I anſwer, That the firſt part thereof to uſe means to be reconcil'd before they come before a Judge, doth belong to all Chriſtians: but the laſt part thereof hath on