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THE CHURCHES and MINISTERY of ENGLAND, True Churches and true Miniſtery.

Cleared, and proved, In a SERMON preach'd the 4th of May at Wiviliſcombe; before a numerous Congregation aſſembled together to hear the oppoſition, which had been long threatned to be made that day, by Mr Collier and others of his party, who, with the greateſt ſtrength the Weſt would afford them, were preſent at the Sermon.

Wherein were theſe Five things undeniably proved:

  • 1. That a mixture of prophane and ſcandalous perſons with reall Saints, is not inconſiſtent with the Church of God, or a true Church.
  • 2. That then the Churches that are now in England, are Churches of God, and true Churches.
  • 3. That then, the Miniſtry of thoſe Churches, is the Miniſtry of God, and the true Miniſtry.
  • 4. That then, there is a great and heavy ſin lying at the door of all ſuch, as do preſume to preach publikely among us, without a Call, who have true Churches, and a ſetled Miniſtry.
  • 5. And then, they alſo muſt needs be guilty, who forſake true Churches and a lawfull Miniſtry, to follow and hear unſent preachers.

By FRANCIS FULLWOOD Miniſter of the Goſpel at Staple Fitzpane in the County of Somerſet.

Before it there is an Epiſtle and Preface, ſhewing the Manner, and a Narrative [ſubjoyned] ſhewing the Subſtance of the Diſpute after the Sermon, (both which laſted nine hours.) Set forth by the Miniſters that were at the Diſpute, and Atteſted under their Hands.

LONDON, Printed by A. M. for George Treagle at Taunton, and are to be ſold at London by William Roybould at the Unicorn in Pauls Church-yard, 1652.

TO HIS Honoured Friend, Collonel JOHN PINE, A Member of Parliament, and one of the Commiſſioners for the Militia of the County of Somerſet.

Honoured Sir,

TRuth, though above this ſixteen hun­dred years of age, and hath learned long ſince to stand alone; yet experience hath found, it doth ever goe the better into the world, when imboldened with the care and gracious protection of a nurſing Father: and I need not dawb with untempered mortar to tell the world (what the whole Weſt of England well nigh knows) that the potent influence, and pleaſant ſhade of ſo noble a Tree, will better protect and ſecure thoſe truths againſt all the heat of preſent oppoſition, then theſe poor contemptible following Leaves can do.

Now, Bleſsed be the God of Truth, that hath inclined your heart to own his truth, and (more particularly) to embrace an opportunity, wherein you may do his ſhaken Churches throughout the world ſo great ſer­vice; a bold expreſſion, I muſt needs confeſſe, yet, Worthily Honoured Sir, give me leave to be bold, and I ſhall adde, That there is nothing more certain then this, that theſe mens principles we ſpeak againſt, would at once ſtrike down (I ſay, not the credit, but) being and truth of all the Churches, and Mini­ſtery, and Ordinances of Chriſt, that are either now, or ever have been in the world ſince the Primi­tive times; and (who is not affrighted!) from horrid principles?

But ſince the deſigne lies ſo deep, I beſeech you Noble Sir, to conſider a little who they are that un­dertake it; and with what Engine they think to ef­fect it.

Firſt, Who, and what are the men of ſo great an adventure? Methinks Fame ſhould carry them to be mightily skil'd in the Originall tongus, or deeply read in the Hiſtory of the Church, whereby they had diſcovered ſomething there, that was never found out before: or ſome Saints or Angels, or Chriſts ſent down from heaven to open ſome truths, that had been lockt up, and kept ſecret from the Church for ſo many hun­dred years: but alas! they pretend not to be any ſuch: but what are they? even men of like infir­mities with us, and in a word no betterthen the Apo­ſtle deſcribes unlearned, unſtable, wreſting the Scri­ptures.

But ſurely they have ſome weighty Arguments, though the men be weak, they would never under­take ſo great a deſign, as to overthrow all Churches, Miniſters, Ordinances, and that ever ſince the Apoſtles times, unleſſe their Engine were ſomewhat anſwera­ble: O yes, they have allowed Infant-baptiſm; Mini­ſters that baptize infants are Anti-christian: Members that were baptized Infants are Anti-chriſtian: and conſequently Churches and Ordinances are all Antichri­ſtian: Ah poor ſhift! and yet you have nothing elſe will hold an Argument but this: Let me now in the Name of God, and all the Churches, entreat theſe men to conſider a few things, or anſwer a few brief queſti­ons touching Infant-baptiſm; and then they will ſee how deſperate and unadviſed they have been in a mat­ter of ſo great moment.

1. Suppoſe we ſhould grant the baptizing of In­fants an Errour: May not the true Church erre? may not the whole Church erre? may it not erre in judge­ment? and then, what doth hinder but it may erre in practice too, and yet be ſtill a true Church? to affirm the contrary is rank Popery.

Again, If the Church may erre, it may erre in cir­cumſtance, without diſpute; and what is the errour of Infant-baptiſm (if it be an errour) more then a cir­cumſtantiall errour? for have we not ever kept the ſub­ſtance of it? the matter water, and the form, In the Name of the Father, Son, and holy Ghoſt? how then I pray you can the errour of Infant-baptiſm deſtroy our Churches, or nullifie our Miniſters or••her Ordi­nances?

2. But alas! who told you that Infant-baptiſm was an errour, before the Anabaptiſts of Germany did? who told you when this errour came firſt into the Church? What Precept or Precedent have you againſt it in all the Scripture? or what command have you to ſhew for the baptizing beleevers only? alas poor men! who a­mong you dare anſwer to any one of theſe queſtions? and how then wilt thou be able to anſwer them all? and much leſſe can you warrant the deſperate conclu­ſions you have built upon ſo weak, ſo tottering a foun­dation.

But why do I trouble theſe poor men? alas! they are but the weapons and Organs of Jeſuites, who play their game under theſe mens cloaks: Methinks I ſee them inſtilling their damnable doctrines into theſe mens ears, and venting them again at their mouths: how naturally do all the abominable errours of theſe our times (if you follow them a little) kinde­ly ſaluting each other, and joyning in one ſtream) tend and flow to the Sea of Rome! the Seminaries are ſowing their Tares among us, which indeed ſpring too faſt all the Land over; and if they be not rooted up and ſtopt in time, the Pope it's to be feared will ſhort­ly reap too large a harveſt among us in England, which Canterbury I remember warned us off (who know more of their plots and methods (perhaps) then he ſhould, or we do) in his ſpeech upon the Scaf­fold. Honoured Sir, give me leave I beſeech you to point a little at the Jeſuites drift, as I conceive a­mong us.

His generall laſt end is to advance the Pope and bring in Popery, which hath been hatching many years. The means he makes uſe of for this great end, is to bring in a generall Toleration, and to put down the Miniſters; in a generall Toleration (there being no hedge of Diſcipline to keep him out) he hopes to crowd in with the reſt, and then truſts to his learning and parts to do well enough; eſpecially can he but get his greateſt enemy, the able Miniſtry, down: Which he attempts, by ren­dring it odious to the people becauſe of maintenance; and to the Parliament, by making them, what in them lies, to be enemies to the State: But doth not the Parliament very well know, that every Coun­ty of the Land can produce divers Miniſters that have been true to their Cauſe, ever ſince they firſt ſate, to this very day? but I need not blaze the friendſhip of Jeſuits, or indeed of our adverſaries more immediate, to civill Authority, both in prin­ciple and practice: and in this I am ſure they agree, that the Chriſtian Magiſtrate hath nothing to do with matter of Religion; which caſts a greater blur up­on Parliamentary proceedings of that nature, for theſe many years paſt, then the worſt of the a­ctions (I think I may ſay) that the Miniſtry hath done.

Honoured Sr, I am too bold and tedious: take this I beſeech you as a pawn and pledg, of that honour and gratitude I owe to you: and the Lord inſpire you with the ſpirit of diſcerning, to ſearch into theſe things, more and more: diſcouraging error, and owning his truth, who hath ſaid, thoſe that honour me I will honour: to whoſe grace and glory I am bold to commend both you and yours, and ſubſcribe my ſelf, as indeed I am,

Moſt Honoured Sir,
Your very much obliged and moſt humble ſervant FRAN: FULLWOOD.

A Preface to the Reader.


FOr ſuch a one I ſuppoſe my ſelf ſpeaking un­to; one, who knoweſt thy ſelf concerned in all the affairs of Chriſtianity: and upon that ground art the Lords Remembran­cer at the Throne of Grace, not only for thy ſelf, but for all others alſo, who are partakers of like precious faith with thee; and hast powred out many a prayer and tear for the peace and proſperity of Jeruſa­lem. Thou art, it may be, lately come out of thy cloſet, where thou hadſt ſweet communion with him whom thy ſoul loveth: and thou ſawest ſo much of his comelineſſe and beauty, that thy heart was taken therewith more then ever: and then thou hadst many ſuch holy breathings as theſe; Whom have I in Heaven but thee, & c? I will ſuppoſePſal. 73. 25. this to have been thy last exerciſe (as it is ſometimes if thou art a Chriſtian indeed.) Let me intreat thee then to retire to thy cloſet again, and after thy former raptures and extaſies, let it not ſeem unſeaſonable, to reflect a little with ſad thoughts and weeping eyes upon the great diſtra­ctions in the Church the ſpouſe of Christ. Spirituall joy doth not uſe to ſtreighten the heart, but enlarge it, and make it the fitter and freer to mourn; nor doth it dry up the eyes, but rather open the fountain of tears. Beleeve me this would be a ſeaſonable exerciſe, nay it is the mark of a Saint: The gracious ſoul, as he grieves more, for that he hath ſinned against his God, than for any Croſſe, which reacheth his perſon or estate: ſo alſo he is much more troubled for the ſchiſmes and hereſies, wherewith the Church of God is rent and torn, than for his own private afflications. If thou haſt a publike ſpirit, and eſteemeſt the honour of Chriſt, and the promoting of Religion far more dear unto thee then thine own intereſt, credit or preferment; Tell me, Would it not be lamented, if poſsible, with tears of bloud, that the good Spirit of God ſhould be grieved by reaſon of thatEph. 4. 30, 31. Ut excontextu patet. biterneſſe, and wrath, and anger, which are ſecretly fo­mented, and too often break out into clamours and evil ſpeakings of Chriſtians one againſt another? Semeth it unto thee a ſmall matter, that the joy in the heart of Chriſt Jeſus now in Heaven ſhould be diminiſhed, by reaſon of the decay of love in thoſe who are his members? CertainlyJoh 15. 10, 11, 12. Quondam eſt illud gaudium Chriſti in nobis, niſi quòd ille di natur gau­dere de nobis? Aug. in loc. when Chriſtians are fruitfull in their lives, and abound in love one towards another, Chriſt rejoyceth over them even in Heaven. And I ſee no reaſon, why the contrary may not be implied, viz. That when the love of the bretheren ſhall grow cold one towards another (as wofull experience ſufficiently ſheweth, that difference of opinion doth, if not make a breach, yet ſecretly withdraw affection) the joy in Chriſts heart over them is leſsened; which how great an evilit is, I leave to them to judge, who love the Lord Je­ſus in ſincerity. Again, Is it nothing to thee, that the Dia­monds of the Lord cut one another? That the ſervants of Chriſt ſhould, as it were, ſet the Spirit againſt it ſef miſ­imploying thoſe precious gifts, which they received from him for mutuall help and furtherance, in bitter invectives, unſavoury diſcoveries of each others infirmities, fruit­leſſe and endleſse logomachies; ſo that inſtead of com­poſing, they widen the breach; and inſtead of terminating, rather perpetuate ſtrife and contention? Canſt thou with­out a ſigh remember, how by this means our Religion ſuf­fers in its reputation abroad, our profeſſion is ſcandalized, our hopeful Reformation flouted; as if the holy endeavours of our Reverend Aſſembly had all this while produced a ſolemne Nothing; or (which is worſe) had midwived on­ly to the birth, of that monstrous brood of errors, which now ſwarm and roar among us? Doth not thy heart bleed to conſider how the common enemy danceth at our diſcord, which makes a pleaſing harmony to them? how the Jeſuites triumph in our diviſions, feeding them­ſelves with aſſured hopes of prevailing againſt us, accord­ing to their old principle, Divide & impera? How much1 Pet. 5. 8. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. the Kingdom of Satan is hereby promoted? How many ſouls he hath drunk up? how the power of godlineſs is al­moſt laid aſide, and working out our ſalvation turned into talking, praying into diſputing, and preaching into railing? How much dirt hath been cast into the face of the moſt glorious Miniſtry that ever (next to the Apoſtles) the Church of Chriſt enjoyed? And how ſome of them, who at leaſt pretended to the Ministry, have cowardly ſhrunk from their ſtation, nay traiterouſly run to the enemy, and (as it is ſaid of the Janizaries, that they are the worſe enemies to Chriſtianity, for having been once Chriſtians, ſo) theſe are the moſt eager and violent ſticklers againſt the Miniſtery. Reader, here are conſiderations, which if thou hast a tender and gracious ſpirit, may well make thee cry out, My bowels!

Conſider further, how few faithfull labourers there are in the Lords harveſt: How many deceivers and im­postors are newly ſtarted up? What hideous blaſphemies are now vented? What a multitude of errours and here­ſies are now broached, which are obtruded upon the ſedu­ced people under the ſpecious name of New-lights, where­as in truth they are but Old darkneſſe: There is ſcarce an errour, that ever had inventor or fautour amongst that great number which Antiquity hath left upon record, mar­ked with the black note of heretiques, but now it is pluckt out of the dunghill, and ſent abroad it may be with a new dreſſe put upon it to make it paſſe. So that in this re­ſpect we may truly ſay, that this our age is the very draught, into which all the ſtinking opinions which ever have paſſed thorow the exulcerated bowels of all the he­retiques of ſo many by-paſt ages, are caſt and deſcended. For the more ſpeedy diſſeminating of which errours (grief to behold!) the devil hath the preſſe at command. Here­ticall books are printed by thouſands, and diſperſed into all parts of the Land. Nor are they contented to frame and deviſe new of their own, but they alſo tranſlate out of other languages. Not to ſpeak of others, I have ſeenHe that is minded to ſee ſome of his Divinity, may pleaſe to reade Wendeline in his Epiſtle Dedicatory his Theologia Chriſtiana. Gen. 43. 30. the works of Wrigelius printed in Engliſh. A more blaſphemous heretique the earth never bare. Thus they will traffique with any body, yea, with hell it ſelf, ſo they may have variety of baits and ſnares to deceive the more, I hope I need not uſe motives to thee (Chriſtian Reader) to bewail before the Lord the ſins and blaſphemies of this Age; nor ſet any ſpur to thy ſide, to ſtir thee to that to which thou haſtest already: Thou art by this time in Jo­ſephs caſe, who ſought where to weep. So thou, to pour out thy heart as water, before the Lord. Yea, thou takeſt up a reſolution to be the Lords Remembrancer, and never to ſtand before him with any petition, but this ſhall be the chiefeſt, That God would chain up Satan, that he deceive no more; That he would powerfully rebuke the ſpirit of errour, that it diffuſe it ſelf no further; Spee­dily diſcover, and ſpread dung upon the faces of all de­ceivers; give unto this people a ſpirit of diſcerning, that they may try them which ſay, they are Apoſtles, andApo. 2. 2. ere not, and finde them lyars; Put it into the hearts of our learned, wiſe, and pious Governours to reſtrain the licentiouſneſse of theſe Seducers, and put a ſtop to the growth of hereſies; Encourage his ſervants the Mini­ſters, and give them a mouth and wiſedom, that they may mightily convince and muzzle gainſayers, reclaim〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Jer. 6. 16. every ſeduced brother, ſettle every ſtaggering ſpirit, and confirm every one that loves the truth in the good old way, in which alone reſt is to be found to a weary ſoul. And certainly never was there more need of prayers and tears then now; never did greater exigency call upon us to wreſtle with God by the omnipotency of prayer. I amEſt quaedam precum omni­potenia. Luth. perſwaded this mercy is come to the birth: it wants but an Eſay, who with his effectuall fervent prayers might be in stead of a**Iſa. 37. 3. man-midwife to bring it forth. And oh that God would put into the hearts of all, eſpecially Mi­niſters, a a reſtleſſe importunity; ſuch a ſpirit of prayer as would be turned off with no deniall! There have been ma­ny deſires breathed heaven-ward, many prayers and tears already treaſured up for this very thing by the Samuels and Eſays of theſe and former times: But this mercy is ſo great, that it calls for yet more prayers, yet more tears, more ſtruglings and wrestlings to fetch it down. Oh then when God is willing to give, and to this purpoſe hath the mercy already in his hand, let not us be backward in asking?

For mine own part it's true, I have not ſo much as be­came me, laid to heart theſe ſad diſtractions in the Church; nor multiplied petitions, tears and groans at the Throne of grace, ſo much as one of my place ſhould have done; yet I have had ſome ſad and ſerious thoughts about them. As who is there, whoſe care and deſigns are not terminated wholly in himſelf, who hath not with good Nehemiah been ſad both in countenance and heart, to conſider, what a glorious Sun-ſhine of truth was breaking out upon us, which now is clouded with fogs of errours: To remember what a comfortable day of reformation dawned upon us, which now is cloſed up again: (Surely we are not worthy of it, we are not fitted for it, nay, the moſt diſtast it) To think how many Wolves are crept in among us in ſheep-cloa­thing, which worry the flock: what a generall defection there is from obedience to the truth, even of thoſe who ran with the foremost heretofore, and eſteemed, at leaſt in ſhew, the feet of them very beautiful that preached the Goſpell, the good and glad tidings of peace: what a phrentique wantonneſse hath poſſeſſed thouſands, who of looſe ignorants became Sceptiques, Sciſmaticks, Atheists? But that which may more trouble us, is, to obſerve how many ſouls who had received ſlight common illumination, whoſe hearts were become ſomewhat pliable and tender, like wax, fit to receive any impreſſion, theſe the devil, (who as one ſaid, is a good Biſhop in his Dioceſſe,Latimer. carefull of looſing, watchfull to win ſouls) ſtrikes in with, and before any right ſeeds of ſaving knowledge were cast in, ſows tares in the ground of their hearts, which indeed was rather ſcratched with the harrowing thoughts of death, hell and judgement, then broken up with the plough of ſound contrition? And which was yet a grea­ter grief, ſome, who dated themſelves Profeſſors ſome years before, Old Diſciples, were carried away with the errour of the wicked, and fell from their ſtedfaſtneſſe.

And yet in the midſt of ſo many ſad thoughts, which every of theſe occurrents did multiply in me, I was not without ſome comfortable conſiderations, which did both raiſe and confirm my dejected and ſometimes (I am not a­ſhamed to confeſs my weakneſſe) ſtaggering ſoul. To omit many, the chief were,

1. In that Satan raved and bestirr••himſelf ſo much. it was a ſign that his Kingdom began to totter. When his time is but ſhort, he roars to purpoſe. When he ſaw ſuch light breaking forth, maugre all his malice, and devices touppreſs it, which would ſurely diſpell the darkneſſe wherein he beares ſway, then he falls to his old ſhft: if he cannot wholly extinguiſh it, he will dim it. Hereupon he opens the botomleſſe pit, whereout comes ſmoak of errours, darkening the Sun of truth, and wholſomeApo. 9. 2. ayr of found doctrine. Thus he did in Germany, when Luther had (I do not ſay lighted, but) brought the candle of truth out of the dark lanthorn, and ſet it on a candleſtick: how did Satan ſtrain his lungs to blow it out? When he failed of that, what endeavours did he uſe to cast a miſt about it? Then alſo, and not till then, ſwarmed thoſe Anabaptiſticall locuſts which did ſo much miſchief. So here, when Popery was not only lopt, but even taken away branch and root, and religion ceaſed to be in ſhew only, and began to flouriſh in the power thereof, how hath Satan laboured to blaſt the blſſome of it with helliſh fums, and to eat away the very leaf thereof with infer­nall locuſts? Hence my ſoul hath ſtrongly concluded, That as when the Sun in its riſing is darkened with miſts, it portnds the faireſt day: So, the Sun of the Goſpel preſent­ly after his extraordinary bright riſing in our Horizon, being clouded, puts us in an aſsured hope, that after he miſts are once diſpelled, it will break forth with a more dazeling luſtre, ſhining more and more unto the per­fect day.

The ſecond thing which refreſhed me was a clear diſco­very of much good already wrought and working by theſe unlikely means of diviſions. How many ſparks of truth have been beaten out by the colliſion even of flints? How much precious flowre of wholſome doctrine hath been clean purged from its bran by the ſomewhat violent ſhaking thereof in the ſcarce of diſputations? It was obſerved as one good effect of the claſhings of ancient times, in that thereby the ſpirits of ſome Worthies then living, were ſtirred up more fully to clear the truth. The quarelling of the Anti-trinitarians quickned holy Auguſtines learned diligence, and produced his Book de Trinitate. And there hath not wanted an Auguſtine in our times, whoDr Channell. upon the ſame grounds hath done the like, whoſe name is hereby made precious, and will doubtleſse be ever menti­oned with honour in the Churches. Above all that moſt vexed queſtion of Infant baptiſm, upon what weak grounds hath it hitherto ſtood: In oppoſing whereof Satan and his Inſtruments have been moſt forward and cunning; and have concluded their objections irrefragable. But how fully and unanſwerably hath that truth been aſserted (as by o­thers, ſo chiefly) by learned Baxter? That God, who com­manded light to ſhine out of darkneſſe, doth often pro­duce the beſt effects out of the worſt cauſes. Adde to this, that hereby many hypocrites, unſound hollow-hearted pro­feſsors, have been clearly diſcovered, even by their falling off to errour. And thoſe who are faithfull unto the Lord, are made manifeſt. Reade and compare 1 Cor. 11. 19. and 1 Joh. 2. 19.

It is notoriouſly known to all that are not ſtrangers in our Engliſh Iſrael, how far the gangrene of errour hath prevailed and ſpread among us theſe ſeven years laſt past. I meddle not with what I have heard or read of in other Counties, (as doubtleſs all have had their ſhare, the diſeaſe being Epidemicall) theſe Weſtern parts ſeem to have not the least infection. We confeſs to our grief, the ſeducers have had more advantages over us, then poſsibly they could have otherwhere. They found generally an ignorant and credulous people, and therefore apt to be deceived: and the rather, becauſe many flocks are without a ſhepheard; or have a dumb dog, that cannot bark; or a blind watch­man that cannot ſee; or an hireling, that fleeth, when the wolf cometh. Hence they have ſeduced hundreds, unſetled thouſands, distracted and grieved all. Their impu­dent audaciouſneſs is ſuch, that they have interrupted and diſturbed many Miniſters in their publike exerciſe: and it is ordinary to come with a gang of ſouldiers, and prate on a tomb-ſtone, while the Minister preacheth in a pulpit. Nay they are grown to that height of confidence, as to chal­lenge learned Miniſters to publike diſputes; but with what ſucceſs, I preſume good Reader, thou art able to ſay, though I were ſilent.

Such a relation I am now to give thee of a diſpute, or ra­therHere are the ſigns and marks of an Apoſtle. jangling, had at Wiviliſcombe in the County of Somerſet, May 4. 1652. between three or four young de­ſpiſed Miniſters, and the whole ſtrength of the adverſary. I was an eye and ear witneſs of all, or the moſt, that paſſed: and becauſe I was preſent there, yet none of the number of the Lecturers, they deſired me to write, what I have, to give thee ſome light in the following Sermon and Narrative. I remember what Thales anſwered to one demanding, How far Truth was diſtant from a lye; As much〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. (ſaith he) as the eyes from the ears: Meaning that the eye was a faithfull ſpectatour, and authentique witneſs of things; but the ear was open to lies, and by it fictions and untruths had their entrance into the mind: and there­fore we ſhould credit their relations, whoſe ſeeing eyes had obſerved all paſſages; but worthily ſuſpect them, who were only able to give a blinde teſtimony. And there­fore I challenge belief from all ingenious Readers. I am not ignorant of the lying practiſes of Sectaries, who cry Victoria among their injudicious proſelytes, and it may be have prepoſſeſſed thee with ſome un­true relation: and therefore my Diſcourſe ſhall bring thee into the place, and (with the help of the enſu­ing Narrative) preſent to thy view the chief paſſages there.

Firſt I muſt tell the occaſion thereof. Thou must know,1. Occaſion. good Reader, that there is a weekly Lecture at Wiviliſ­combe aforeſaid: The Lecturers there unwilling that their meeting at the ordinary ſhould be without fruit, agreed among themſelves, that at ſet times they would, for their own better ſatisfaction, diſcuſse ſome of the moſt [at this day] vexed queſtions in Divinity. And becauſe hereſies grew apace, and many of thoſe parts fell away daily, they thought it meet to acquaint their hearers there­with, that all that would, might reſort to the place, and hear them.

The firſt Queſtion, propounded ſome weeks before, that the defendant might have ſome time to prepare himſelf, was, An juſtificatio ſit uno actu, ſimul & ſemel? Whether a beleever be actually justified from all his ſins, paſt, pre­ſent, and to come, at once, namely, upon the firſt act of faith, which he puts forth. This M r Fullwood, the Au­thor of the enſuing Sermon, held in the Negative: the reſt oppoſed. In the cloſe they all profeſſed their unanimous conſent to what had been made appear to be truth. At the next meeting was the Queſtion about the lawfullneſs of Infant baptiſme to be diſcuſſed; which M r Wood, the Miniſter of the place, held in the Affirmative. Their au­dence was now much increaſed, even to a chamber-full. Inhe end the major part ſignified their being fully ſatisfi­ed about the lawfullneſs thereof. But all were not, or rather would not be ſatisfied. And here were the firſt ſparks out of which aroſe the after flame: the fewel whereof was the intemperate heat and indſcretion of ſome, who threatned to bring Collier to the next meeting, if he were withinAn infamou­ſly famous Se­ctary. many miles of the place; and the courage of others, who promiſed to defend that, or any other Point, againſt him. The third Queſtion (which M r Howe held in the Affir­mative) was, Whether the now Miniſters of the Church of England, be the Miniſters of Jeſus Chriſt Excluſively? This was to be stated and diſcuſſed May 4. It ſeems that this aſſertion had as much offended thoſe ſeduced and turbulent ſpirits, as that of Infant baptiſme Hereupon ſwift notice was gi­ven to all or the most part of the Sectarians of the Weſt. In the mean time many threatnng and in­ſulting ſpeeches were given out by that party; as that no Presbyterian Miniſter durſt ſhew his head there, with much to that purpoſe. Nor was any thing more rife in every mans mouth, then the future diſpue at Wivili­combe.

The day being come, and a great Congregation aſſem­bld, the diſcourſe, which hereafter is preſented, was pub­likely delivered, yet as a Lecture-Sermon only: however thou maiſt eaſily perceive by the drift thereof, that the Preacher intended it as an Antidote againſt Errour, and as a Muzzle for the mouthes of them that came to oppoſe. While he was praying before Sermon, Collier comes in, guarded as it were, with ſome ſouldiers, and a great company of his furious diſciples. It was much wondred, that he ſhould ſo patiently hear out ſo un­pleaſing a Diſcourſe; but we have cauſe to think, that the ſtrength of reaſon there urged and delivered, did ſo daunt and confound him, that he durst not in­terrupt; his courage being much quailed, and his minde diſtracted through fear, leaſt he ſhould not in all that daies diſpute, raze out that deep impreſsion, which that Sermon had made in the hearers. After Sermon ended, he ſtood up and ſignified his not being ſatisfied with what was ſpoken; and here began the di­ſpute.

2. Thou expecteſt an account, how it was carried on;2. Manner. but this as to the matter thereof is exactly and faithfully ſet down in the Narrative; thither therefore I ſhall remit thee: but ſome paſſages obſervable in the manner of it, I ſhall relate.

1. Obſervable: was the cunning craftineſs of theſe deceivers, which as it was diſcernable to an obſervant eye thorowout the whole action, ſo it more plainly ap­peared,

1. In the beginning: For as if their hearts had been of stone, and their browes of ſteel, they began the buſineſs with ſuch an impudent majeſty, as muſt needs ſtrike a kinde of horrour into fools; yea and strangely amuſe even honeſt men of the ſimpler ſort, who had ne­ver been acquainted with the impudent boldneſs of hereticks.

2. They would not ſuffer Mr Howe to ſtate the que­ſtion intended to have been dſcuſſed by the Miniſters: they feared belike, that he was too well provided for them: but with eager importunity required Mr Full­wood to maintain what he had delivered. They hoped to have foyled him, who had been tyred with a two hours preaching, and came nothing prepared for the diſpute, which they intended. For

3. Collier after ſome velitaions, like a crafty ſoul­dier, drawes Mr Fullwood into the ambuſh of Infant-baptiſm, where they think themſelves invincible. But yet notwithstanding the diſadvantage of the question, and the confidence of the adverſary, they were charged ſo home, that they were beaten out of their place of ſtrength, and utterly routed, as the Narrative will ſhew.

4. They would ever and anon appeal to the people, eſpecially when their arguing was plauſible and ſpecious, or if there had been ſome verbal faultrings in any of the defendants. For they well know, that a Stentorean voice, and plauſible ſpeech, do much more prevail upon ignorant ſouls, then the ſtrongest reaſon or the most for­cible Argument. The Apostle hath given them this Character, Coloſ. 2. 4. And Tertullian (cited by Davenant upon the place) ſpeaks of hereticks; that Priùs perſuadent, quám edo­cent: (veritas autem docendo ſuadet, non ſua­dendo〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. docet.) It is the artifice of deceivers, firſt to perſwade, and afterward to inſtruct: but truth doth not ſo.

2. Obſervable: was Colliers notorious hypocriſie. When I had upon the deſire of the defendant given in my Greek Teſtament, that the Original might be ſearched about the true reading of a Scripture brought to prove the lawfullneſs of Poedobaptiſme, the defendant gave it into Colliers hand to read the place; who takes the book, and looking thereon, moves his lips, as if he had indeed read it. Is it not likely, good Reader, that he is skilled in the Greek, who inſtead of Primum mobile, wrote PrimumCollier in a Letter to M. Rob. Gorges of Oxford. obilum?

I might fill much paper, and waſt much time in reckon­ing up their non-ſenſe, abſurdities, poor and empty ſhifts and evaſions, to which they were driven; which were ſometimes ſo palpable, that the whole Aſſembly did more then once break forth into loud laughter. But I leave them to be conceived by the judicious Reader, who may, without fear of enlarging too much, gueſs at the reſt, by the enumeration of theſe few. But this I cannot omit, which I make

3. Obſervable: That Collier in my apprehenſion (and I think that I have five ſenſes) was put to ſilence more then once. But then, when the matter in queſtion was driven to an head, and he over-powred with ſtrength of Argument, and ſo non-pluſt, break­ing all the laws of diſputation, he would begin again, run­ning back to his Argument. And here alſo his fellowes would hep him at a dead-lift; when he knew not what to ſay, they would fill up that vacancy with clamours against one or other.

4. Moſt obſervable was the good hand of God upon us, who there did cleerly own our Righteous cauſe: mightily ſupporting the ſpirit of Mr Fullwood, ſo that though he had preached two hours, yet he held out ſeven hours diſpu­tation more, without moving from the place, powring contempt upon Collier and his adherents; oh how vile were they in the eyes of the moſt! much ado to refrain hiſ­ſing them out of the place; There was often breaking out into cachinnations, inſomuch that Collier himſelf ſeemed much to be daunted! giving the Miniſters favour in the eyes of the people, yea of their very adverſaries, ſo that (which I look upon as no inſignificant demonſtration of the goodneſs of our cauſe) Collier himſelf (what wreſted it from him I know not,) ſpake openly to Mr Fullwoods com­mendation. Report alſo ſaith, that the adverſaries them­ſelves have ſince confeſſed, that they never met with ſuch oppoſition. Thanks be unto God, for his unſpeakable guift.

3. And what need I now ſpeak of the ſucceſs of this di­ſpute? 3. Succeſſe. The adverſaries themſelves know to their ſorrow, and we to our comfort, that then and there the Lyons skin was pluckt off from the Aſſe, which had made him for­midable before: And that, though there were their whole strength, yet, they received the greateſt foil that ever they did. And indeed what can any one conceive will be the ſucceſse of ſuch a conteſt, when the father of lies ſhall conteſt with the ſpirit of truth? When ignorance ſhall cope with learning, hypocriſie with piety, errour with truth? When an ignorant caviller ſhall diſpute with a prudent Logician? I confeſſe indeed their ſtrange cavils and ſophiſtry, made me not a little to marvell: ſo that I thought there had been a〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉or a tranſmigration of the ſouls of ſome Jeſuites into their bodies; or as if they had been principled by ſome Old Loyoliſt: Surely they never learned them at the Plough: But they were all ſo ſoundly elided, and their falſity ſo plainly demonstrated, that the people profeſſed themſelves to have received full ſatisfaction. So that by the goodneſse of God that daies a­ction wan great credit to the truth, reputation to the Ministry, an encreaſe to that [formerly] thin and very diſcouraging lecture, reclaimed ſome deceived ſouls, confirmed many; and is interpreted by ſome as a pledge of the fullfilling of that Promiſe, 2 Tim. 3. 9.

Some men may poſſsibly diſlike the action it ſelf, and queſtion the prudence and diſcretion of the Miniſters, who would ſo much undervalue themſelves as to conteſt with ſuch ignorant wranglers. But the happy ſucceſſe thereof may alone ſufficiently anſwer whatſoever may be objected againſt their ſo doing; to ſay nothing of the great ſuffer­ings of truth which were there likely to have been, had there wanted ſtrong oppoſition.

As for the perſons who with ſuch courage undertook, and with ſuch felicity managed this buſineſſe: thus much I dare ſay, in their behalf, that they aimed moret the maintenance of the truth, then at the praiſe of a Victory. And yet they aimed at victory alſo, but not to credit themſelves but the truth, I have cauſe to think, that there was no Miniſter there, but is of my minde; who could be content and willing to be abaſed, ſcorned, and ſlighted, to loſe all my comforts and hopes on earth, to wander about as a vagabond, being deſtitute, afflicted, tormented; So that the name of Chriſt may be glorious, and his King­dom advanced; if it were pleaſing to God ſo to have it, and my affliction might be more for his glory then my com­fort and proſperity.

Nor let any ſupercilious cenſurer diſtaſt the publiſhing hereof. No ſuch thing was ever intended, till the deſires of ſome godly Christians (who were willing that others might receive that benefit by reading of it, as themſelves had by hearing it) and the neceſſity of vindicating them­ſelves forced them to it. Some reports were ſpread abroad, that the Miniſters were not only ſilenced, but did alſo acknowledge their errour, and openly make recan­tation: So that they were neceſſitated to make the whole publique. And herein they have Auguſtine for their Pre­ſident, who having had frequent conflicts with the Do­natiſts, was forced at laſt to commit all his diſputations to Writing, becauſe they alwaies proclaimed themſelves Victorious, though indeed (as theſe Donatiſts at Wi­viliſcombe) they were mightily convinced and confound­ed. As for theſe, its true, they never left prating, but that was looked upon and eſteemed as no other then the wriggling of ſome Inſecta, when their heads are off.

Reader, Thou maist not expect any elaborate Diſcourſe here. The diſpute was ſudden and unpremeditated; the Sermon ſuch as was then delivered, when never intended to be publiſhed: and I hope, that theſe conſidera­tions will apologize with thee for the Authour, who was willing, though much to his own prejudice, to impart it to thee, without any manner of dreſse, more then it had when he uttered it.

I had thought, (Good Reader) to have ſpoken more by way of Exhortation both to the honeſt-hearted, and alſo to thoſe who are for the preſent gone aſtray; but that I have already detained thee too long from the reading of what follows: And I doubt not, but that, if thou reade with an humble heart, and a diſcern­ing Spirit, thou wilt finde much ſatisfaction in the Points there handled. God in Mercy guide both thee and me into all truth. So prays,

Thy Servant in the things of Chriſt, CHARLS DARBY.

THE CHURCHES & MINISTERY of ENGLAND, True Churches, and true Miniſtery.

1 COR. 1. 2.To the Church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are ſanctified in Chriſt Jeſus, called to be Saints, with all that in every place call upon the Name of Jeſus Chriſt our Lord, both theirs and ours.

CAP. I. The Text opened and expounded.

THeſe words conteining the object of Pauls ſa­lutation, ſhew us to whom he ſends and dedi­cates this his Epiſtle, viz. in the firſt and ſtri­cter place, to the Church of God at Corinth; and then more at large and ſecondarily, to the Churches of God all the world over; even as it is ſubjoined, with all that in every place call upon (that is, by a Senecdoche, worſhip) the Name of Jeſus Chriſt our Lord, both theirs and ours; that is, Jeſus Chriſt, their Lord, as well as ours.

Now, to be the more particular and pertinent, we pitch upon the firſt and ſtricter object here of this ſalutation and dedica­tion; touching which the text affords, Firſt its appellation the Church; with, Secondly, its deſcription, and that three waies. 21. It is deſcribed in its ſpecification, the Church of God. 2. Its ſituation, the Church of God at Corinth. 3. Its qualification, 'Tis ſanctified in Chriſt Jeſus, and called to be holy; all which we ſhall briefly run over again, and, clearing the ſame, make the way more plain for our following diſcourſe.

The word〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉(moſt eaſily derived from〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, evoco) here rendred the Church, is frequently uſed for any company aſſembled together for any cauſe, both in prophane and**Act. 19. 32. holy Scriptures. We may reduce all kinde of aſſemblies to theſe three, Sinfull, Civil, or Sacred, and finde this word expreſſing them all. For firſt, there is a ſinfull Church, the Congregation of evil doers. Secondly, There is a Civil Church, Acts 19. 36. Pſal. 26. 5.And laſtly, There is a ſacred or a godly Church, as this the Church of Corinth was, which is here ſo plainly diſtinguiſhed from the two former, by this ſpeciall attribute, Of God: It is not the Church of the devil or men, but the Church of God at Corinth.

But this ſame [Church of God] is of various uſe and meaningChurch of God. too, and a little inquiry made thereinto we ſhall finde a help and furtherance to us in our way.

1. The Scripture means ſometimes by the Church of God, the whole inviſible, myſticall body of Jeſus Chriſt, viz. the whole number of the elect both in Heaven and earth that are or ſhall be gathered into one under Chriſt the head, Epheſ. 5. 23. Col. 1. 24, 25.

2. Sometimes again the Scrpture uſeth the Church of God for the univerſall viſible Church, which conſiſteth of all the particular Churches and perſons) with their children) through­out the world that profeſs the true religion: So it is uſed 1 Cor. 12. 12.

3. Sometimes alſo by a Metonimy, for the place it ſelf where a certain number of the viſible Church uſe to aſſemble. So 1 Cor. 11.

4. Sometimes alſo by a Synecdoche, for any number of Church-members where ever they be. So in 1 Cor. 16. 19. Col. 4. 5.

5. And laſtly, Sometimes for a particular viſible Church, whether it conſiſts of one Congregation or more, as the3 Church at Jeruſalem, Smyrna, Thyatira, &c. and ſo in the text, the Church of God at Corinth.

So far then we are come, having found this Epiſtle ſent to a Church, and that a Church of God, and the Church of God at Corinth too.

There is now but one main thing behind (but that indeed is a main one) namely, the qualification of this Church of God at Corinth, which is blaz'd before us in the following words; to them that are ſanctified in Chriſt Jeſus, called to be Saints.

Theſe words do plainly intend the matter or members of the Church at Corinth, becauſe all others are expreſſed after­wards, with all that in every place, &c. and alſo what theſe members are viz. of two ſorts; Saints indeed (ſuch as are ſan­ctified in Chriſt Jeſus,) and ſuch as are called to be ſo, though indeed they be not ſo; for many are called and few choſen: many are called to be members of the viſible, but few to be members of the inviſible Church: for they are not all Iſrael that are of Iſrael. Or elſe, if you leave out thoſe two littleRom. 9. 6. words [to be] which the Engliſh ſupplies, it may ſeem to be thus; the words [to all that are ſanctified in Chriſt Jeſus,] are expounded by theſe latter words, called Saints: q. a. to all that are ſanctified, or ſhould be ſo; that bear the name, the form, though they want the thing and power of holineſs and ſanctification: one of theſe two (chooſe which you will) muſt needs be the meaning of the Apoſtle here; which will be moſt cleer, if we but once think, to whom, and for what end he writes this Epiſtle: to the Church at Corinth, and on purpoſe to re­prove them too, and that for ſuch groſs and vile corruptions, as he knew (and we confeſs) are even inconſiſtent with true ſanctity, faith and holineſs, though not incompetent to a true Church, (as is plentifully manifeſt through his Epiſtles, &c.) which I ſhall reduce and ſet before you under three heads.

1. He reprooves them for the breach of the Laws of ſober­neſs,Sins of the Church of co­rinth. in the two groſs and known ſins, gluttony and drunken­neſs, cap. 11. 21.

2. Of righteouſneſs, in their diviſions, envyings, ſtrifes, cap. 3. 1, 2, 3, 5. and worſe, in inceſt too cap. 5. 1.

3. Of piety and holineſs (living neither godly, righteouſly,4 nor ſoberly:) And firſt, in defect, I mean in diſcipline, which ap­pears by their mixt and diſorderly fellowſhip, not caſting out the lewd and ſcandalous rout, cap. 5. with 11. as alſo abun­dantly, in exceſs, by ſchiſm: one deſpiſing Paul, and another Apollo; cap. 3. 4. Hereſie, denying the reſurrection of the bo­dy, 2 Cor. 15. Idolatry, 2 Cor. 6. with (to conclude) a moſt egre­gious prophanation of the holy Table, through ignorance, glut­tony, drunkenneſs, &c. cap. 11. 21, &c.

Now doubtleſs all theſe great and groſs corruptions, fore­known to Paul, and even juſt now, with this very Epiſtle, about to be reproved by him, in thus Church; he could not ſo groſly bewray his flattery, or ſin ſo deeply againſt his knowledge, as mean to call them reall Saints, all Saints, that were the mem­bers of it. Yea from what hath been ſaid, we muſt conclude; 1. That they were not all reall Saints. 2. Nor yet all viſible Saints, though indeed called to be both of theſe. Some true be­leevers there were among them, ſome viſible Saints, not true beleevers; thoſe are both likely; but this is certain, there were many vile and openly prophane and ſcandalous perſons a­mong them; and as certain alſo (notwithſtanding them) Paul ſalutes them as the Church of God. Notwithſtanding he fore-knew and intended by this his Epiſtle, to reprove all thoſe groſſe and abominable ſins you have heard, yet here and behold his ſalutation runs, To the Church of God at Corinth.

CHAP. II. That a mixture of prophane and ſcandalous perſons with reall Saints, is not inconſiſtent with the Church of God.

FRom the Text thus opened, we deſcend to inferre ſome ſeaſonable Points, which (like unto a chain) though eve­ry link be not faſtned immediatly to the firſt, we ſhall finde have a plain and kindely dependance each upon other, and they are theſe.

  • 1. That a mixture of prophane and ſcandalous perſons with5 reall Saints, is not inconſiſtent with the Church of God. or a true Church.
  • 2. That then, the Churches that are now in England, are Churches of God, and true Churches.
  • 3. That then, the Miniſtry of theſe Churches, is the Miniſtry of God and the true Miniſtry.
  • 4. That then, there is a great and heavy ſin lying at the door of all ſuchS, as do preſume to proach publikely among us without a call, who have true Churches, and a ſetled Miniſtry.
  • 5. And then (to conclude) they alſo muſt needs be guilty, that forſake true Churches, and a lawfull Miniſtry, to follow and hear unſent preachers.

I ſhall be as brief and plain as I may upon each of theſe in order.

1. The firſt of theſe immediatly depends upon the text ex­plained;Scandalous perſons in a true Church. for if there were prophane and ſcandalous perſons in the Church of Corinth, and yet notwithſtanding ſhe bore the name of the Church of God, it muſt immediatly and naturally follows, that there may be prophane and ſcandalous perſons in the Church of God: there may be, I ſay, but I mean de fa­cto, and not de jure; I confeſs they ought not to be there, but if they be, they do not unchurch the aſſembly wherein they are: they are the diſeaſe and trouble of the Church, but not its death: indeed, ſuch groſs and vile corruptions as we have found to have been in the Church of Corinth, are as inconſi­ſtent with a pure Church, as boyls and leproſie with a pure bo­dy: but yet, for all, as the ſoul doth not preſently leave and diſown the body, for any diſeaſe, except it be mortall; ſo nei­ther doth Chriſt his body the Church. Both the naturall and miſticall body may be true, though very corrupt: and what I have before aſſerted, is undeniable, viz. That a mixture of pro­fane and ſcandalous perſons, with reall Saints, is not inconſiſtent with a Church of God, or a true Church: for we ſee, in the pureſt times, in the very time of the Apoſtles themſelves, as ſoon as ever the ſeed was ſown, tares are mixt: as ſoon as ever the Churches are planted, they are thus diſeaſed; many corrup­tions are known to abound in moſt of them, and yet all of them are owned, none denied to be Churches of God, even by6 the Apoſtles. If this inſtance of Corinth be not ſufficient; con­ſider the Church of Theſſalonica, Galatia, Epheſus, Pergamus,2 Theſ. 2. Thyatyra; who had the myſtery of iniquity already working; who ſuffered themſelves to be ſoon carried away to anotherGal. 2. 3. Goſpel, who had loſt the firſt love; who had thoſe that main­tained the doctrine of Baladm, with the hereſie of the Nicola­itans;Revel. 2. 3. and 3. 14. 20. and who laſtly ſuffered the Propheteſs Jezabel. to ſe­duce the ſervants of Chriſt (as England too much) who yet notwithſtanding are called Churches, yea and Churches of Chriſt: and by the Apoſtles themſelves commending the good that was in them, even while, in the mean, they reprove the evil that they did, or ſuffered to be done among them.

And therefore it was doubtleſs a very groſs errour of Bar­roh1. Viſible Church not a company of true Saints. Mat. 13. 37. Mat. 3. 12. and thoſe of the old ſeparation, to define the Church to be a company of faithfull people that truly worſhip Chriſt and rea­dily obey him. Alas the Kingdom of God, that is, the Miniſtry ſent to gather Churches, is a net that gathereth fiſh both good and bad: and the Church is a floor that hath chaff and wheat, and a through-ſeparation ſhall never be attained, till the great diſtinguiſhing day comes. The ground of their errour is this, they confound the inviſible and viſible Church. It is moſt cer­tain, I fear, that if none may be ſaid to be a true Church, but ſhe whoſe members are all true beleevers, there is no true Church in the world this day, if there ever have been: Beſides, how ſenſeleſs it is to make true faith (an inviſible thing) the mark of the viſible Church I

Again, Though the errour be not ſo groſs, 'tis very dange­rous2. Nor alwaies of viſible Saints. to ſay, that there cannot be wicked and ſcandalous per­ſons in a true Church; for this doth immediatly tend to ſchiſme, and if it raſeth the foundation (as plainly appeareth) of thoſe firſt Apoſtolicall Churches, well may it ours. Alas, a particular perſon may have many failings and groſs corrup­tions powerfull in him, and yet all the while (I hope) be a childe of God: even ſo a Church may be very much degenerate, ex­treamly corrupt, and all the while be a Church of God, as theReaſ, Becauſe cor­ruptions ſtrike not the being of a Church. Church of Corinth was: And the Reaſon is plain.

The Reaſon is, Becauſe ſuch corruptions (in manners or diſ­cipline) ſtrike at a Churches benè eſſe only, and not at the being7 or eſſence of it: as a man with boiles and botches all over his body (like unto Job) is yet a true man, a man a live, though he be not ſo pure and healthy as other men are: theſe, indeed, do ſend him forward ſo far as in them lies to death and the grave, however he may not be ſaid to be dead, ſo long as his ſoul, his form abideth in him, which all theſe things cannot touch.

Queſt. But this doth invite that doubtfull query, viz. touching the form and diſtinguiſhing note of a true Church: What it is, or where it lies?

Anſw. To which, (though I confeſs I have met with few that write clearly of it) I briefly anſwer, That for ought I finde, all ancientWhat and wherein is the form of a vi­ſible Church. Generally in Ordinances. Churches and Counſels, before Rome was Antichriſt, and all the Churches reformed from her Antichriſtianiſm, together with all Judicious Papiſts themſelves, do jointly conclude, that the formall difference of the true Church, I mean, as viſible, lies in communion in true Ordinances; and on occaſion, farther enlarge and explain the meaning thus; that therefore the more or leſs pure the Ordinances are, the more or leſs pure the Church­es are, and though the Ordinances of Chriſt ſhould ſuffer cor­ruption, yet if they may be ſaid, but to be true, and if there re­main but only ſo much as will carry the Ordinances to be of Chriſt, even ſo far are the Churches, the ſubjects thereof, the Churches of Chriſt.

**When two or three are met together in my Name, defines a Church. Matth. 18.Communion, contains the form and eſſence of a Church in generall: communion in Ordinances of God, contains the Form of a Church of God; and the purer the Ordinances are, the pu­rer the Churches: and the truer they are, the truer the Churches: but ſo long as the Ordinances may be known to be Chriſts, though the havers be very corrupt, we muſt own the Church­es to be Chriſts alſo.

But to be a little clearer, might I judge here, I ſhould con­cludeSpecially in Miniſters of the Word. that the Miniſtery of the Word, rather then the Sacra­ments, contains the form of a particular viſible Church, for of ſuch we ſpeake. 1. As for Baptiſm, that enters the partie bap­tiz'd, into the univerſal viſible; and we muſt be conſtitute a particular viſible Church, before we have right unto, much more the enjoyment of the Lords Supper: indeed, none can be8 member of a particular Church unles he be baptiz'd, ſo baptiſm is a negative mark: and none can have a right to the Supper of the Lord, unleſs he be a member of a particular Church; ſo that the Lords Supper, I mean the actuall adminiſtration thereof, is a mark redundant. But, as for the miniſtry of the word, thatTherefore the Sacraments are called by Reverend Ʋſher, depen­dents on the Word. hath in it not only a mark, but the form and difference of the viſible Church of which the Sacraments are but ſeals, and ſeem to alter and change the nature, as the doctrine doth; as the ſame ſeal is of different value, according to the nature and value of the writing to which it is ſet. So that when the doctrine becomes antichriſtian, the ſeals thereof, can ſcarce be chriſtian, though they be counterfet and would be ſo, this may not deny the baptiſm of Rome to be lawfull baptiſm; yet thus far it goes, that the baptiſm of Rome is no farther chriſtian, then their doctrine touching it is ſo: for ſhould they deny the holy Tini­ty, although they did baptiſe in the Name of the Father, Son and holy Ghoſt, I hardly judg it to be lawfull baptiſme, though haply the old Rule might reach it, fieri non debuit, factum valet.

However this is ſafely concluded, that the chief eſſentiall mark or form of a true particular viſible Church, conſiſts in a fixt and ſetled viſible fellowſhip in the miniſtry of the word of Chriſt. A Church is ſo called from its gathering together, and where is this ſo plainly ſeen as in its viſible communion in the miniſtry of the word, eſpecially being ſetled and conſtant? what advantage hath the Jew above the Gentile? the Church a­bove the world? much every way, but chiefly becauſe to them is committed the Oracles of God: this is the particular privi­ledge of the Church of God.

But a little more diſtinctly, I mean the miniſtry here on both ſides:Docens, utens. The Papiſts of late deny this: but Sta­pleton one of the chief a­mong them ſaith, The preaching of the Goſpel is the proper and the teaching part: and the uſing, hearing and receiving part. 1. The miniſteriall Churches have their mark, viz. true doctrine, and this eſpecially join'd with the other, is very po­tent to diſcover to us the true Church. For this ſee Matth. 23. 2, 3. As if Chriſt ſhould ſay, join your ſelves to them; though wicked and prophane, yet they are a true Church. But how is that known? why, their miniſtry is true; they ſit in Moſes chair: But how doth that appear? becauſe their word and9 doctrine is true, though their lives be wicked; hear them, but doa very cleer Note of the Catholick Church, pro­vided by law­full Miniſters. Princ. dort. c. 22. what they ſay, not what they do. And anſwerable to this, is our Saviours rule, for triall of Prophets, By their fruit, that is, by their doctrine ye ſhall know what they be, whether true or falſe: preachers of the ſound and orthodox truth, is both a means and a mark; a means of gathering, and ſtrengthening, or confirming, or keeping the Churches thereby together. Now as the preaching of the word is a means to gather and conſtitute Churches at firſt, ſo it being uſually occaſionall only, it is not ſaid to be a mark of the true Church: but being gathered by the word, and church'd by Baptiſm, the miniſtery ſetled and fix'd (as was ſaid) among them, becomes an eſſentiall mark of the true Church. Not only of the teaching (which it doth im­mediatly) but of the profeſſing Church alſo, ſince who can ſay where the true Church is, but where the true doctrine and mi­niſtry is fix'd and ſetled? and therefore we ſhall never read that God did ever divorce any Church, though ſhe deſerv'd it longRev. 2. 5. Nulla poſſitſchiſmatius fieri tanta corruptio, i. emendatio, quanta eſt ſchiſ­matis pernities, if the doctrine of faith be ſound, Tert. de praeſ. cap. 6. Si confeſſio ejus convenit cum Scripturis verus eſt Chriſtianus, ſin minus falſus. Chryſoſt. before, untill he removes his candleſtick from them. Which is moſt remarkable in the Jewiſh Church, who, while a Church, God did not deal ſo with any Nation, neither had the heathen knowledge of his Laws; and the Apoſtles are charged to preach the Goſpel to none other; and who continued without all doubt to be a viſible Church of God, untill the courſe or the miniſtery is turned from her to the Gentiles: then and not till then, God cut off the Jew and ingrafted the Gentile.

2. There is another chief mark of the viſible Church, which lieth on the Receivers part, I mean, (as before the Preach­ers, ſo here) the profeſſours of the truth: My ſheep hear my voice, ſaith Chriſt, that is, my reall ſheep hear my doctrine really and my viſible ſheep, apparently and viſibly; ſo that a people baptized, profeſſing the true doctrine of Chriſt, and viſi­bly united in the publike and conſtant hearing and receiving the doctrine of Chriſt, from the true Miniſtry, are a true Church, and are hereby known to be ſo. I ſay, this profeſſion is viſi­bly, when the company do openly and viſibly own and pro­feſſe by frequenting the publike Ordinance of hearing, the true doctrine; and ſufficient to diſcover them a true Church, though very corrupt in other regards. Now each of theſe,10 the ſetled Preaching, and conſtant receiving (by publike at­tending) the doctrine of Chriſt, are very good marks of a true particular viſible Church; and in both together I con­ceive conſiſts the form of the ſame, viz. in a fixt and con­ſtant viſible fellowſhip with God and each other in the ſacred Ordinance of preaching and hearing the doctrine of Chriſt: and from this a Church may recede and die two waies: being ſtarved to death through a Famine of the Word, with the Church of the Jews. 2. Or elſe being poyſoned to death by contagious doctrine, with the Church of Rome.

Object. 'Tis but weak to object, That the preaching or hearing of the Word may not be marks, or contain the eſſence of a true Church, becauſe theſe are common to Infidels.

Anſw. For the Preaching and hearing of the Word, as common with Inſidels, is occaſionall only, as it was with Athenians and Paul: but as it is an infallible mark of the viſible Church 'tis (as before) fixt and ſetled: and in that as occaſionall preaching and hearing of the Word is the only proper means of gathering Churches; ſo where it hath ſo far wrought and prevailed, as that it is become fixt and conſtant with any peo­ple, it is to me a certain mark of gathered Churches; provi­ded alwaies, ſubmiſſion hath been made to the Ordinance of Baptiſm.

To which I ſubjoyn this argument: That which doth for­mally conſtitute or make a member of a Church, doth conſti­tute or make a whole Church: But profeſſion of the faith doth formally conſtitute a member of the viſible Church, and there­fore the whole viſible Church; ſince the whole here is made of parts of the ſame nature: viſibility denominateth the parts, and therefore the whole of the viſible Church: as true faith is eſſentiall to a member of the Church inviſible, and pro­feſſion of that faith to a member of the viſible: ſo truth of faith doth conſtitute the inviſible Church, and profeſſion there­of a viſible Church, according to the rule, quae eſt ratio con­ſtitutiva partium, eſt etiam conſtitutiva totius.

Queſt. But what ſhall we think of thoſe Churches then, that in time of perſecution loſe their Miniſters, ſo that the publike means of viſible profeſſion is gone?


Anſw. I anſwer, Such ceaſe not preſently to be true Churches: for while they own, they profeſſe the truth and profeſſion, we have ſhew'd, is a good mark on the peoples part.

2. While they deſire the ſame they have a right thereto, and enjoy this publike communion in its firſt act, though they want the actuall administration and enjoyment of it.

3. But conſidering how much of the form of the ChurchEcclefia est uni­us cōgregationis cujus membra inter ſe combi­nantur & ordi­nariè conveni­unt uno in loco ad publicū Re­ligionis exerci­tium. Ame. Med. p. 215. 2. 2. conſiſts in this publike communion together, I cannot com­pare ſuch a people better then to a man in a ſwound, in whom for a time the ſoul, the form, ceaſeth to perform its formall actions; though it be not yet ſevered and gone from the body, yet if ſuch a fit as this continue, Phyſicians tell us 'tis very dangerous, and experience reckons it a ſure infallible ſign of death: even ſo, when Viſion fails, the People periſh.

CHAP. III. That the Churches that are now in England are Churches of God.

THe next concluſion doth naturally follow, and cloſely and immediatly depend upon the former, for ſince (as we have found) a mixture of prophane and ſcandalous per­ſons with reall Saints, is not inconſiſtent with the Church of God, or a true Church; Then our Churches that are now in England, are Churches of God and true Churches.

I dare not ſay they are pure, and much leſſe perfect, yet IOur Churches true Churches. doubt not to prove them true Churches. : but by Churches I mean not (though I highly commend that hand of wiſedom that made the parochiall difference) the Pariſhes here (or at leaſt not as under the notion of Pariſhes) but the fixt and ſetled and uſuall aſſembling〈…〉conſiſting of Pariſhes, or more or leſſe. Theſe I affirm〈◊〉Churches of God, and true Churches. In the proof whereof, though I might very ſafely confine my ſelf to what hath been ſaid, touching the eſſence and marks of a Church before, I ſhall lay my line ſomewhat larger, to make (if poſſible) ſurer work.


Yet all ſhall be reduced to two Arguments, and the firſt is this.

Arg. 1There is nothing in our Churches to make them falſe, and nothing wanting in them to make them true Churches: andNothing in them to the contrary. what then can hinder them from being true? Firſt, I ſay, there is nothing in our Churches to make them falſe.

1. Neither of manners, nor 2. of government. 1. For man­ners,1. If either, we in theſe later daies ſhould have ſome al­lowance above theſe firſt A­poſtolicall Churches, for the Church is compared to a ſhip, the which the more it ſails upon the ſea the more it is ſubject to leakes: to a houſe, that with oldneſs doth decay and grow to ruine, &c. See Morney of the Church. p. 38. we confeſſe that the Lord hath much againſt us, both of ſin and errour, diſorder, prophaneſſe, blaſphemy and hereſie: but conſider, all this cannot unchurch us: this may de jure, pro­voking the Lord to remove his Candleſticks away from us ex­cept we repent: but while we have theſe, I mean his can­dleſticks, Word and Ordinances, our corruptions cannot de facto make us no Church, nor yet a falſe: no more then it did the Church of Corinth: unleſſe there have been ſome­thing revealed from heaven ſince then, that hath placed the eſſence of a viſible Church in the conditions and manners of the members thereof; which if, we pray, when, where, and how?

2. For matter of government, indeed of late we were un­der Epiſcopacy: all whoſe appurtenances ſavoured of Anti­chriſt: yet could they never denominate our Churches An­tichriſtian Churches: while our doctrine pure our heart was ſound though our heads did ake: for juſt ſo it was with the Church of the Jews in our Saviours time; the Rulers were re­bellious, the Prieſt corrupt, yet notwithſtanding (their do­ctrine pure) our Saviour accounts them a true Church, and accordingly adviſes his own Diſciples to joyn unto them, as before we ſhewed, the doctrine heretofore among us, is ſtill extant: and none can pick any materiall errours in it, our Epiſcopall ſervice, Courts, tyranny, &c. were very groſſe, yet not inconſiſtent with true••••rine, and much leſſe doubtleſſe with true Churches;〈◊〉were even then when ſuch like abuſes were higheſt, ever acknowledged, ſometimes defend­ed by preaching and printing, againſt the Browniſts, as is very well known by thoſe very men, that touching our corru­ptions were Non-conformiſts. But ſuppoſe we ſhould give you what you beg for, that our Churches then under (I mean)13 the Epiſcopall government were Antichriſtian thereby: what gain you? muſt we be therefore Antichriſtian ſtill? God for­bid. Are we not reformed (at leaſt ſo far) from that very thing for which you impleade us? Are not Biſhops gone? their Courts and Service-book, and all their dependencies gone along with them? I hope then we are not Antichriſtian ſtill? becauſe you and your brethren were Heathens and In­fidels before you were dipt, are you ſo ſtill? that you will ſay is but poor reaſoning: what then is there left to make us An­tichriſtian? You will not ſay Presbytery, for that will be vain, vainer then vain, ſince as it can never be proved Anti­chriſtian, ſo neither are we yet governed by it.

And as there is nothing in our Churches in England to2. Nothing wanting in them. make them falſe, ſo is there nothing wanting in them to make them true; now we can be pretended to want but 3. things that are neceſſary to a Church; Church-governours, Church-government, and Church-Covenant. Now as for Church-go­vernours we have ſo many of them as the being of a Church (though not as the well-being of it) requires; ſince the form of a Church conſiſts in Ordinances (not in Diſcipline) and we have ſufficient adminiſtrers of them, who rule over us by ſpeaking to us the word of God, Heb. 13. 7. 2. As for Church-government in ſome places, in ſome branches, viz. of diſci­pline, 'tis wanting among us; but the want thereof cannot unchurch us, for the Church of Corinth wanted the ſame (Cap. 5.) and yet is ſaluted as the Church of God. 3. And laſtly, We want not either a Church-covenant, ſince the word of God requires it not. 2. Since we have it implicitly, though not expreſly: for we muſt have ſome agreement or other who walk together in the ſame fellowſhip, for how can two walk together unleſſe they be agreed? 3. Beſides our Brethren of the Congregationall way that are ſo much for this Covenant, ac­count us true Churches, though we want it and ſhould have it; What want we then? yea, what have we not? have we not the Sabbath, Word, Prayer, Sacraments, and Cenſures too in many places with us? however what want we, eſſentiall to a Church, who have matter and form? matter, in that we have both reall Saints to gratifie you, and viſible profeſſors to ſa­tisfie14 us! Touching the qualification of Church-members in ge­nerall, and of our own in particular, ſufficient hath been ſaid before: and for the firſt conſtitution of our Churches in Eng­land, though that be nothing to our preſent condition, we have largely cleared it in the debate related and printed after the Sermon.

Arg. 2The Churches that are now in England are the Churches of God, becauſe they are in Covenant with him. Cauſe in Co­venant. Pſal. 50. 5.

Now the conſequence here will not be queſtioned, how­ever it is Analogicall, upon that Text, Gather my Saints to­gether unto me allye that have made a Covenant with me, &c. implying hereby, by being in Covenant with God they are re­ally a Church, for that they have a right to be an Actuall Congregation.

But the Aſſumption hence, viz. That we are in Covenant with God, cals for proof, which is eaſily performed by three Arguments, viz. becauſe we have the Seal of the Covenant, the word of the Covenant, and the bleſſings of the Covenant; all which we ſhall finde not only to prove us in Covenant with God, but immediatly to conclude us a Church of God too.

Then firſt, We have the ſeal of the Covenant, the Sacra­ment1. Having the Seal of the Covenant. of Baptiſm, which in its predeceſſour, Circumciſion, was called the token of the Covenant, or a token from God, where­by they ſhould know themſelves to be in Covenant with God; and this token or ſeal was called by God (and commanded by him to his people under the name of) the Covenant; inti­mating to us, that thoſe that denied the ſeal denied the Co­venant, or exclude themſelves from any intereſt in it; as is the folly and weakneſſe of too many with us, in renouncing their baptiſm. Now as this is the ſeal of the Covenant, ſo is it alſo the door of the Church; for perſons though really converted by the preaching of the Goſpel, and the Children of Belee­vers, born in the Church, are not (though virtuall) actuall members of the viſible Church, before Baptiſm, which ſeems to be built upon the known Text, Go, diſciple all Nations, bap­tizing them: that is, diſciple, not by teaching only, not by tea­ching properly, but by baptiſm: the participle uſing to ſignifie15 the manner of doing: Go, diſciple, but how muſt we diſciple? why as before by circumeiſing, ſo now by baptizing, and in this Commiſſion in Matthew to the Apoſtles, the Commiſſion given to our Father Abraham, is but enlarged: 'tis the ſame**The Sacra­ments of the Jewiſh Church in ſubſtance were one and the ſame with our Sacra­ments, Heb. 13. 8. 1 Cor. 10. 1, 2, 3. Joh. 8. 56. Joh. 6. 50, 51. Col. 1. 11, 12. 1 Cor. 5. 7. all ſay this except Papiſts, Anabaptiſts, Arminians and Socinians. for ſubſtance though it differ in circumſtance: the work is the ſame to diſciple, and make up Churches, though the matter is larger; Abraham chiefly, that one Nation to come out of his loines, together with all that would joyn as proſelytes; and the Goſpel Miniſters muſt diſciple all nations, (i. ) ſo far as they can, and the nation will ſubmit unto them. Abraham was com­manded to diſciple, by that initiating ordinance of Circumci­ſion; and the Goſpel Miniſters, by this of Baptiſm: indeed there is teaching prerequiſite, to prepare and fit men out of the Church for the ordinance of Baptiſm; and ſo much was re­quiſite to make men proſelytes, for Circumciſion: which thing makes it cleer, that not only Abrahams naturall ſeed had right to this Ordinance, or that his ſeed were circumciſed as his ſeed, but, as they were capable of being members of the viſible Church: and therefore we finde, that when heathen people were willing to become members of the Church, they had the Ordinance of initiation, Circumciſion, to enter them in, and not them only, but their children alſo: which is a cleer pattern for the Miniſters of the Goſpel towards the Gentiles: How ſhall we behave our ſelves to them? why, we have commiſſion to diſciple them. But how? why as the Miniſters of Law did pro­ſelytes, Gentiles before us, by Circumciſion; ſo muſt we now by Baptiſm: but whom among them? why, as they before us, the proſely to Gentiles, and their children too; ſo muſt we alſo diſciple (by baptiſm) the nations of the Gentiles, and their children too, ſo far as they ſubmit themſelves, and their chil­dren to the Ordinance of Chriſt. But I muſt return; Baptiſm wee ſee is the door of the Church, which further appears by Joh. 3. 5. Except a man be born again of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God: this Kingdom of God, I conceive to be the Church (for Chriſt is telling Nico­demus here of earthly things,) and you may conceive the Church inviſible or viſible: if inviſible, here is a door to let you in, the baptiſm of the spirit and regeneration reall: if viſible,16 here is another door for that too, the baptiſm of water, a re­generation viſible: a man may be born again (i) become a new man, two waies, and accordingly may have place in the Church two waies: he may be born again indeed by a reall work of the ſpirit within, and thus becomes a member of the inviſible Church: or elſe a man may be born again in ſhew only, from a viſible member of the world and the divel, diſcipled by baptiſm, and made thereby a viſible member of Chriſt, and entered into the viſible Kingdom of Heaven, the viſible Church: which in­deed is ſometimes firſt, according to the order of the words, except a man be born again of water and of the ſpirit, he can­not enter into (the viſible or inviſible Church) the Kingdom of Heaven. Now to end with this, it cannot be denied upon a good ground, but we in England are a diſcipled nation, and are entered into the Kingdom of Heaven, the viſible Church, being born again by water.

Neither have we the ſeal only, for we have the writings2. And word of it. Church is built upon the foundation of Apoſtles and Prophets. too: not only a pledg or token of the bargain, but the word of the Covenant alſo, the Scriptures in purity, and the Ordinances of them in power and fullneſs: which is undeniable, and there­fore we have the Covenant (Deut. 4. 13. Heb. 9. 4. ) alſo; above all reaſonable contradiction; and therefore we are the Church­es of God for full ſatisfaction. To**Rom. 9. 4. the Jews belonged the Adoption, glory, and Covenants; but how does it appear? be­cauſe to them belonged the giving of the Law, and the ſervice of God. And what advantage had the Jew by being a Church above the Gentile, that was none? why, much every way, but chiefly, becauſe to them were committed**Rom. 3. 1, 2. The walls of the Church have their foundation in the Names (i) doctrine of the twelve Apo­ſtles; and is therefore the pillar and ground of truth. Rev. 21. 14. the Oracles of God: ſhewing, that they were a peculiar priviledge to, and a diſtin­guiſhing character of the viſible Church: for God ſheweth his word unto Jacob, his Statutes and judgements unto Iſrael, and hath not dealt ſo with any nation, that is; among the heathen that have no Church. Pſal. 147. 19, 20. compared with Cant. 1. 7 other nations doubtleſs might have the Bible among them, as we at this day have the Turkiſh Alcoron; but here lay the difference, God did not ſhew, promulge or preach his word to them; it was not with them as the Oracles of God, the word of the Covenant to them.


Goſpel Ordinances, are a great part of the outward admi­niſtrationUbi eſt fides il­lic eſt Eccleſia, ubi non eſt fides, ibi non eſt eccle­ſia, Chryſo. of Goſpel Covenant, where God is pleaſed to hold a viſible communion with us, and we with him (as before,) and ſo long as we have theſe we are no doubt in covenant with God, and then, a Church of God.

And to make all ſure, we have the peculiar bleſſings of the3. And the bleſ­ſings of it. covenant which God beſtows on none but ſuch as are in co­venant with him, his own Churches. Theſe are chiefly three: the bleſſing of his spirit, of his providence, and of his people: the firſt is inward, the two later outward, but all ſpirituall and all ſpeciall and peculiar bleſſings: but of them in order.

The firſt and inward bleſſing of the Covenant, is the bleſſing1. Converſion. (I mean not only the common convictions, enlightenings with the knowledge of the Goſpel, which is indeed peculiar to the Church however, but the ſpeciall bleſſings) of the Spirit of God, accompanying his word, for the work of converſion, in the hearts of our hearers. This I make an infallible Mark of the truth of our Churches, Converſion ordinarily wrought in our Churches. Converſion may be extraordinarily wrought by diſcourſe; what's that? we ſpeak of a uſuall and ordinary work: and 'tis vainer to ſay, we convert from ſinne to duty and not to God: this is againſt charity, ſenſe, and reaſon: firſt, againſt charity, to damn all thoſe that have no other grace then what was received from the hand of our Miniſtery: a­gainſt ſenſe, for bloudy experience hath proved that faith to be true that was wrought by our Miniſtery, in its ſubjects, martyrdome: and laſtly againſt reaſon, yea, I may ſay, all Scri­pture too, as if duty was not in ſubordination to God. How­ever you cannot over throw the Scriputre, which faith, Faith comes by hearing, and that by the Word of God preacht, by a ſent Miniſter, which is uſually fixt in a Church; whence hath been written, and ſealed by all ages, without contradiction, that good rule, Extra Eccleſiam nulla ſalus, no ordinary ſal­vation, and therefore no converſion, is uſually had out of the Church: which clearly concludes thoſe Churches true where it is ſo.

The ſecond (outward) bleſſing peculiar to a Church in2. Speciall Pro­vidence. Covenant with God is his ſpeciall Providence: for God hath18 doubtleſſe a different care and providence over his garden the Church, and the common wilderneſſe of the world: now all his dealings with us ſince reform'd and ſeparate from the Church of Rome, hath plainly manifeſted his ſpeciall garden­care and providence over us, who can deny it? not the Pa­piſts themſelves, who have ſeen and felt ſuch ſignall teſtimo­nies of it in 88. powder-Treaſon, &c. Hath God long agone caſt us off as Antichriſtian Churches, and yet all the while ſtill ſo remarkably kept us from the ſlavery of Antichriſt? what an inſufferable contradiction is this? nay more, conſider his Providences towards us of late years: how long hath there been workings and ſtirrings in the bowels of this Land for a further reformation and diſtance from Rome? and how much in order thereunto of late hath God wrought for us? and all the while that we have been cleanſing in the fire of affliction, what wonderfull power and goodneſſe hath he ſhewn us? and is this the way that God uſeth to walk with a people divorc'd and caſt away? who can lift up his face a­gainſt heaven and ſay it? no rather, ſuch a manner of neglect­ing the Apoſtle ſpeaks of, if they be filthy, let them be filthy still; and if they be Antichriſtian, let them be ſo ſtill; If not a giving them over to strong deluſions to beleeve lyes.

The third and laſt bleſſing of the Covenant, is outward3. Salutation of all Churches. too, viz. the bleſſing of the people, and Churches of God: this I take to be a peculiar Church-bleſſing, and ſufficient to ſig­nifie a people in Covenant with, and a Church of God; which bleſſed be God, we have in abundance, who have the ſaluta­tion of all the Churches, which the Apoſtle ſets down as mat­ter of comfort for us, Rom. 16. 16. Conſider now, Have not the Churches the keys of the Kingdom, and power on earth to looſe us from all thoſe black aſperſions you caſt upon us? have ſpirits judgement to try the ſpirits; and not Churches judgement to try the Churches? Shall he be counted a Pub­lican and Heathen that ſleights the judgement of a particular Church, and not he much more that ſleights the commenda­tion of all the Churches? Conſider what you do, beloved, and lift not up ſo bold a face and voice againſt the verdict of19 all the reformed Churches in the world: but if you will, re­member what was ſaid, You engage againſt the hand of re­markable Providence, and have juſt cauſe to fear ſome ſtrange judgement will fall from heaven, to ſtop your mouths alſo, as it hath other of our enemies before you.

CAP. IIII. That the Miniſtery of the Churches of England, are the Miniſtery of Chriſt.

ARe our Churches Churches of God and true Churches?Concluſ. 3. then hence it further follows that we conclude, The Mi­niſtery of our Churches is the Miniſtery of God and the true Miniſtery; for where can we think or imagin, the Miniſtery of God, the true Miniſtery ſhould be, but where the Churches of God, the true Churches are? and now had we nothing elſe to commend us unto you (unleſs you recede from your own principles) you cannot deny us a lawfull Miniſtery, who have call and allowance from true Churches.

But I ſhall a little enlarge my Argument (which ſhall yet be but one, though of many parts,) and prove our Miniſtery thus unto you.

The Miniſters of our Churches in England muſt needs be theThe Arg. in generall, to prove our Mi­niſtery. lawful Miniſters of Chriſt, becauſe they have as much to make and manifeſt them ſo to be, as their very Adverſaries themſelves either have or allow and pretend unto; and over and above, what ever elſe their adverſaries want, and any other reaſonable men may require more: together laſtly with what the very Scripture it ſelf doth require, or hath ſet and left, as a canon or rule for the ma­king and diſcovering the lawfull Gospel-Miniſtery by.

For the making good hereof I am to clear three things,The parts of the Argument. 1. That our Miniſters have that to make, and manifeſt them true Miniſters, that is agreeable to the principles of their very adverſaries; and this being found will eaſily carry us above contradiction. 2. To the principles of all other indifferent men. 3. To the principles and rules of the Word of God:20 which two laſt being cleared and proved, may ſerve I think for full ſatisfaction.


Firſt then, let us ſee what theſe buſie men have, or rather would have, that deny our Miniſtery, and proclaim them­ſelves1. From princi­ples of our ad­verſaries. to our people as the only lawfull Miniſtery, in their pub­like preaching: let us examine the manner, and theſe men a little; and we ſhall ſee their boaſting vain, for they have no more in pretence then we have really: they acknowledge they have (and plead for) no more to give them a call, then themſelves acknowledge many of us have: there is doubtleſſe very much in this, let us ſearch it a little.

There are but four things left (ſince the men for ſhame have laid down their claim and pretence to a call immediateWho lay claim to four things. and extraordinary) that all of their party together profeſſe to have any influence upon their call; and we ſhall finde them all four agreeing with us, though ſcarce any of them lay claim to them all, onely ſome of them to one, and ſome to another. 2. Of them are inward, a ſecret impulſe and gifts. The other two are outward, and are the choice and deſire of the people.

Some of them ſay, truth is like a fire in them; they cannot hold ſire in their breaſts and not be burnt; it will have vent,1. An inward impulſe. it burns in their bowels, inflames their tongues, they muſt de­clare what things they have heard and ſeen: O brave, is this your plea for offering up of your ſtrange fire, that hath ſo in­flam'd and almoſt conſumed the Churches of Chriſt? Is there no other way to vent the truth (if you know ſuch a thing as truth) but from a pulpit? to ſet up your fire as a Beacon on a hill, to make a greater combuſtion among us? however my friends, conſider a little, doth this give you a call? how can you then deny ours? do you think that none of our Miniſters can ſay from their hearts the love of Christ conſtrains us: and woe is me if I preach not the Gospel? if ſo, then let that firſt plea fall to the ground, or elſe give us leave to be preachers as well as your ſelves.

2. Some of them, and truly the chiefeſt of them pleade their2. Gifts. gifts for calling: they are not, they ſay, ſince God hath light­ned21 their candle for them, to put it under a buſhell, but on the houſe top (upon the mention of thoſe things I cannot but ſay a word unto them, though their anſwer is reſerved for their proper place) to ſuch I ſay, Cannot the ſtarres ſhine and glitter, unleſſe they do manage the Chariot of the Sun? My Brethren, have you gifts, as you ſay? be humble and thankfull, have grace in your hearts, as well as gifts in your heads; truſt me then you would know your ſelves, your gifts, and places better; yea. and ſhine more too, to the benefit of others: for we are not the better for the light of the ſtars while the Sun ſhines: be not angry though I call you ſtarres, for your own hearts ſmite you, ſaying, Your greateſt light was borrowed from us; which may be my Apology if I boaſt not when urg'd of our own gifts: however ſuffer me to beg this queſtion of you, what one gift have you wherein the Miniſtery you ſo much blame excell you not? unleſſe it be in boldneſſe and out-braving confidence? there are two great gifts the Apoſtle re­quires in a Goſpel-Preacher, a being apt to teach, and able to convince gain-ſayers: the firſt implying Rhetorick, the laſt Lo­gick; both which you call Antichriſtian, and diſclaim as re­probate; certainly brethren, if you are apt to teach, then the old rule fails (qui benè diſtinguit benè docet;) for you are the worſt at diſtinguiſhing that ever I knew any (though indeed too cunning to divide) you cannot diſtinguiſh between extraordinary and ordinary ſending; between inviſible and viſible Churches: be­tween private and publike pteaching; ſtill apt to miſtake the one for the other, and errour for truth too often; how then are you apt to teach? the rule is, he that is good at diſtinguiſhing is good at teaching; but you are not able to diſtinguiſh well, and therefore not able to teach well, yea, you are not able to diſtin­guiſh at all, and therefore not fit to teach at all, nor is it indeed fit you ſhould: the Apoſtle means by [apt to teach] an aptneſſe of habit, not of exerciſe; an ability and fitneſſe, and not a pro­penſity and proneneſſe to be teachers: now whether you allow the firſt to us or no, the latter of theſe we cannot deny you, who are in this ſenſe ſo apt to teach, that truly you Run before you are ſent: and are you better able to convince gainſayers? let your publike diſputes throughout the Land be a witneſſe22 between us: though we need not ſo much ſince your own con­feſſions declare againſt you, while you openly declare you are enemies to, becauſe ignorant of the very rules of diſpute, which gainſayers walk by, for how can you then convince them?

3. Others among them fly to the**Election of the people. choice of true believers, for the proof of their call: they are, they ſay, elected to preach by precious, choice and holy people, whoſe call they cannot but3. Ames himſelf ſaith thus, Po­pulus in judi­cando dirigi po­teſt, ac ordinariè debet a judicio aliorum paſto­rum electionem vel praeeunte vel comitante. Cont. Bell. p. 96. hear and anſwer: but as this can never create a Miniſter in a ſetled Church, ſo is it greateſt arrogance for you to claim it, with defect in charity or exceſſe in impudence to deny it us: yea we have this choice priviledge of you, in that we are elect­ed both by Miniſter and people.

Laſtly, Others of them mention the deſire of the people, as giving them a call; then theſe Itineraries muſt have as ma­ny calls as Sermons almoſt; for if their call conſiſts of the peoples deſire, ſo often as they move to another place where they were not before, they muſt have a new call, or elſe preach there without a call, for the former people do not deſire, can­not4. The peoples deſire. therefore call them to preach to others, but to themſelves; however, can you ſay, that you have this call, and dare you ſay, that we have it not? Alas! Every one knows, if you do, the publique proceedings of the preſent Authority, and ſtate of things, will give you the lye; for none are inducted into a­ny place according to the Rule and Order of Parliament uſually, but ſuch as are choſen, deſired and petitioned for by their people, provided they be capable of ſuch a priviledge; beſides, that deſire and invitation to be preachers they have from their friends and acquaintance, which is all for the moſt part that any of you can plead or challenge.

Now conſider, I beſeech you, is not this all that you can ſayThe conclu­ſion of the firſt branch of the Argument. for your ſelves, and can you deny us any part of it? nay, dare you ſay, that in thoſe very things we have not the advantage? How then, I pray you, is it, that you ſpeak ſo boldly, that you rail ſo frequently, publikely, bitterly againſt us? and tell the people with all confidence, That you are the men that are called and ſent by God himſelf to preach the Goſpel, and that we have no call at all; Have you one grain more? yea, have23 you not many grains leſs then we, in theſe very particulars your ſelves boaſt of? I beſeech you, in the name of God, conſider this, and let it for ever ſtop thoſe mouthes that preach ſo much againſt our call; that they either preach no more who have no better call, then what they condemn; or elſe preach no more againſt our call to preach, who have the very ſame in every particular that themſelves either have, or allow, or pretend unto.

But here we muſt part, you can go no further in the way of a call: We muſt ſtep further, for aſſure your ſelves, Had we no better call to preach then you pretend unto, we durſt not pre­ſume thereupon, as you do, in a ſetled Church: But I paſs on, to ſhew wherein we excel you, and what warrant we have above you; for we have yet behinde over and above what any other reaſonable indifferent men, and the word of God it ſelf requires: To which we proceed for your further (and if poſſible full) ſatisfaction.


Now there are four other things which may be requiredThe ſecond part of the Argument. Four other things the Mi­niſters have which their adverſaries want. for the warrant of our preaching by other men; all which will be found to commend our Miniſtery to you, as the want of the ſame will very much diſparage, if not wholly condemn the preaching of others.

The firſt particular of them, is, humane learning; this our adverſaries allow us to have, who do not ſo much for the ge­nerall part of them as pretend unto it: and be not now un­willing, beloved, to ſuffer that little we have of it to commendHumane lear­ning. us ſo far above them that want it. O but alas! you abuſe it, ſay they: ſo beloved do you your gifts, and muſt you therefore deſpiſe and reject them? I pray you, examine, doth not your knowledge puffe you up that lifts you ſo high as the pulpit, and higher yet in your own conceit and vain-boaſting? this I am certain of, that if we do abuſe learning, you abuſe both it and us much more: (I ſpeak not here of your undervaluing, but ſlandering both:) while you ſay of learning it is Antichriſtian, an Idoll, and I know not what: and while you deceive the hearts of the people, by a bold and more ſlanderous perſwa­ding24 of them that we ſay, None may preach, unleſſe he comes fom the Univerſity, that all our calling lies in our learning: which things you your ſelves either do or might know we de­ny; we do not ſay, beloved, that humane learning doth im­power, but enable to preach: it doth not make us Miniſters (for that I ſhall ſhew you anon, we have by Ordination ac­cording to the Word) but able Miniſters. Beloved, do not think that humane learning is an enemy to God, which is in­deed the chiefeſt outward bleſſing of this life, it being not ob­noxous to the**Omnia mea mecum porto. worlds violence as all other outward bleſſings are, and ſo neerer to grace. Think not humane learning is con­trary to truth, which the God of truth himſelf hath made ſo much, and ſuch honourable uſe, in all ages, of, for the mani­feſtation of his truth unto the world: Conſider the penmen of holy Scripture, and to whom among them, if it be ſafe to make ſuch a compariſon, are we moſt beholding? and con­ſider whether they had not the benefit of humane learning. As for Moſes, that publike Miniſter and honourable penman of the very**The Pro­phets are but expounders of the Law. Calvin. theme and ground of the old Teſtament, he was learned in all the learning of the Egyptians: as for Solomon, Iſaiah and Paul (to mention no more) whoſe Songs, Prophe­cies and Epiſtles, you value above all the reſt of the Bible; had not theſe, all of them, the gift and bleſſing of humane learning? Solomon, the wiſeſt of men, the greateſt Philoſopher that ever was, who writ from the Cedar to the Iſop that growes upon the wall: Iſaiah bred up at the Court, and had by his own con­fſſion the tongue of the learned: and who know's not that Paul was bred up at the feet of Gamaliel?

There are three parts of humane learning that are judg'dThree parts of humane learn­ing judg'd ex­pedient for a Divine. expedient to make a Miniſter ſuch a workman as needs not be aſhamed; Hiſtory, Tongues, and Arts, and theſe only ſo far as they are neceſſary helps for true underſtanding and expounding the Scripture, which is our onely text to preach upon: I do not ſay we have all theſe ſo far as we ſhould, yet this I ſay, that ſo far as we want them, ſo far we are workmen that had need be aſhamed; and thoſe that have attained a ripeneſs in them, are the more to be commended and honoured, by how much the more they are fitter for their work thereby. 1. For History,1. Hiſtory.25 the ſtory of the Bible commends that to us, and not only in it ſelf but in other hiſtories, beſides it ſelf, without which truly the hiſtory of the Bible, nor Prophecies, nor Promiſes, belong­ing to our times, can well, if at all, be underſtood. 2. For Arts,2. Arts. we require no more then may ſerve to anſwer the Apoſtles precepts before named, that a man that deſires the office of a Biſhop be able to convince gainſayers, and apt to teach; which cannot, indeed, as experience proves in theſe times of ordina­ry acquiring abilities be gained and had without competent acquaintance with Logick and Rhetorick. 3. And laſtly for3. Tongues. Tongues, I only deſire you to think with your ſelves, how it had been poſſible for Apoſtles themſelves to have kept their commiſſion, and preacht to all nations, as in Acts 2. unles they had had the gift of languages: and whether the gift of tongues be ſuch a contemptible thing as you make it, if acqui­red, which we ſee God made (when inſpir'd) the great gospel miracle, and means for the tranſplanting his Church from the Jew to the Gentiles? withall, how your ſelves (your ſelves may conſider) would ever have enjoy'd the Bible in Engliſh, or un­derſtood of it, ſo much as you do, had you not been beholding to the humane learning of other men for it.

Yea, my brethren, if you recollect, you may eaſily rememberAll which three the ad­verſe partee had occaſion to uſe in their diſpute at Wi­viliſcomb. that ſenſible experience ſhew'd you the good and need of all three, at that one [late] conference with us at Wiviliſcombe: where your ſelves had occaſion to quote the Original: to retire to the ſtate of our Churches in England for many years agon: and alſo to diſpute in form and method; which if you remem­ber not, above a thouſand of people I ſuppoſe will for you: and which, if you remember, me thinks, ſhould poſſeſs you with better conceit of humane learning in all its parts, of Hi­ſtory, Tongues and Arts.

A ſecond particular that the eyes of men may look upon,2. Allowance of all the reform­ed Churches in the world. and ſee in us, and not in you; is of great weight, and is this; that we are members of, and allowed lawfull Miniſters by a true Church, yea, and by all the Reformed Churches in the world. Then how can your blaſt poſſibly hurt, or your pretences reach or equall us; when alas poor men, you are neither members of, nor allowed lawfull Miniſters, by any one true Church, but26 have been condemn'd, and ſilenc'd, by the verdict of all the Churches and Councils that ever were.

I ſay, you are no members of a true Church; becauſe youThey are not ſo much as members of particular, Nor of the u­niverſall viſi­ble Church. have rent your ſelves, by dangerous ſchiſm, from all the refor­med Churches in the world: Beſides, you are not in the uni­verſal viſible Church: for why? you were indeed, but by re­nouncing your Baptiſm, you are again gone out of the door of that Church alſo: poor ſouls, you little imagine, of what dan­gerous conſequence, the renouncing of the ordinance of Ba­ptiſm is, which was in due time adminiſter'd to you in a trueMuch leſſe Miniſters. Church, by a lawfull Miniſter; for the bare repeating of it, by one that is neither a Miniſter nor member of the true Church. O which way, can you then become true Miniſters? or be al­lowed ſo to be by any lawful Church? out this ſhould ſeem to be according to your principles, which is ſo agreeable to many of your practices; I mean, to be Preachers before you are Chriſtians: there are two fellows, within our knowledge here, within a few miles of this place, that were publike preachers, (and one of them to my knowledge hath taken a Church, a Pariſh, a Pulpit upon him, for a long time,) and yet were not rebaptiz'd (though long before againſt Infant-baptiſm) till about a moneth ago: I do not affect to relate ſuch ſtories, but the paſſage was ſo full to my preſent purpoſe, though ſo groſs and ridiculous, I could not hanſomely leave it out.) Then no wonder if all Chriſtian Churches and Chriſtian Councils re­nounce and condemn ſuch unworthy preachers as you are; while we have the commendation, allowance, and liking of all the reformed Churches in the world, and may commend our ſelves to you and to all people elſe, without vainglory, as judged worthy by the spirits of the Prophets, whom all the Churches of Chriſt ſalute, a thing not ſleighted by modeſt men.

A third particular that men may juſtly look for in the Mi­niſters3. A being fixed and ſetled in the Church. 1. In place. of the Goſpel is, that they be fixt and ſetled: and this may commend the Miniſters of England above their oppoſers, who are not fixt either with regard to place or time.

1. With regard to place; we are fixed ſtars in the hand of Chriſt, having our ſtation and place in the body of the Church; every one knowing his particular people and flock, over27 which he is made an over ſeer: while ſince the Apoſtolicall times, ſuch a ſteering, Miniſtery was never known, in a ſetled Church not under perſecution that could make a lawfull pre­ſident, for our wandering Comets, theſe itinerary ubiquitarian oppoſers of ours.

Indeed a ſetled Church of Chriſt may ſometimes appointNote. ſome able men (whom with ſafety and prudence they may) to preach the Goſpel among the heathens: or upon ſome no­table exigence, and want of Miniſters, in a true Church; that might bear the name and perform the Office of Itinerary Mi­niſters: yet in ſuch an extraordinary caſe as this, theſe men ſhould be ſent by the Church, and have their bounds and limits too. But our Itineraries are without all order, bounds and cal­ling, but what they allow to themſelves, and never remember themſelves to be in a conſtituted Church, wherein indeed though the labourers be few, yet is there no ſuch extraordinary need of ſuch preachers as they.

2. We are fit in regard of time, while they (in all ages that2. Of time. have known ſuch men) have riſen and fallen, riſen and fallen, riſen and fallen, like the proud inconſtant waves of the ſea in a ſtorm, raving, raging, roaring and daſhing againſt the rock the Church (the fixt and abiding foundation of our houſe) untill they daſhed themſelves to pieces, fiaming out their own ſhame, and fretting and chaſing themſelves away into ayr and nothing: while the Church of Chriſt, and the ſetled Miniſtery hath ſtood as mount Sion that cannot be moved throughout both ſtorms and ages. The Scripture doth more then allude to the difference in hand, deſcribing them thus; falſe prophess ſhall a­riſe;1 Cor. 12. 28. but the lawfull Miniſters of the Goſpel thus; He hath ſet them in the Church. 1. Falſe prophets ſhall ariſe, (i. ) actively a­riſe,Acts 3. 1 Joh. 4. 1. of their own accord raiſing up themſelves; while the true ones are paſſive, ſuch as the Lord God ſhall raiſe upto us. Like to this is that other expreſſion, there are many falſe prophets gone out, of their own accord, running before they are ſent: while the true ones ſtay for Commiſſion and miſſion, for how ſhall they preach except they be ſent, yea and thruſt out too ſometimes? 2. Falſe prophets ſhall ariſe (i. ) from beneath: while the true ones with Paul have their call from Heaven, and28 come down from above, as Eliah's mantle, and the gifts and bleſſings of Chriſts