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THE Right of the Church ASSERTED, Againſt the POWER Uſurped over it.

By J. Gailhard, A. M. & D.

Auguſt. de Civit. Dei.

Philautia Dei contemptui inſita ſatanae civitatem edificavit, ſed ſuimet contemptus Dei amori junctus Dei civitatem in­ſtauravit.

LONDON, Printed for J. Rothwell at the Fountain in Gold­ſmiths-row in Cheapſide. 1660.


The Right of Chriſt's Church aſ­ſerted, againſt the Power uſurped over it.

IN this weighty undertaking of mine, to vindi­cate the Right, Liberty and Priviledge that Chriſt Jeſus with his own bloud hath purcha­ſed unto his Church, although we account it needleſs to inſiſt upon Principles which our Adverſaries and we are agreed upon, yet that we may build upon ſome grounds, we will lay the following foundations.

In the nature of things there is a Church really exiſting, which was ſaved, ſanctified and purchaſed with Chriſts Bloud and Life; and as this Church hath her Being from the Lord Jeſus, ſo the con­tinuation and preſervation of the ſame is from him: to which effect he hath appointed food in the Word and Sacraments to be diſtri­buted to the Church, by thoſe who are Paſtors and Miniſters in it, by way of Office; in which ſenſe our Bleſſed Saviour hath pro­miſed to be with his Spouſe unto the end of the world.

And further, as there is no Body, either Natural, Civil, Po­litical or oeconomical, without ſome Laws and Order, ſo Chriſt Jeſus hath not left his Church without Law, and in Confuſion; there is a certain Government properly belonging to it: For our Saviour hath not left it to mens liberty to invent and forge what Government they pleaſe, but he hath himſelf inſti­tuted one, which muſt not be changed by men, and which is ſtrictly to be obſerved in the Church. That there is, and ought to be a Government, it is clear from the Nature of the Church, for it is the Houſe of God; wherefore as God is the God of order, ſo his Houſe muſt be an Houſe of order, ſo that in ſome reſpect,2 order is eſſential to the Church, in that it cannot be the Houſe of God, except in it there be ſome order. Now ſince the voice of Chriſt alone is to be heard in the Church, ſo the Rule of Chriſt alone is to be obſerved in it, in the giving whereof he hath not been wanting; for as ſoon as he had form'd his Church, as ſoon he ſtabliſhed ſome orderly conſtitution in it, as the compariſon of a natural body (where there is an harmony between all the Mem­bers) uſed by St Paul, Rom. 12. & 1 Cor. 12. where he ſpeaks of the Gifts and Office; of the Church, do clearly declare it.

The Lord Jeſus Chriſt therefore who is the only Lord and great Shepherd of his Church, having inſtituted a Government in it, did alſo appoint thoſe that were to adminiſter and execute it, to the end that all intruſions and uſurpations might be avoided: For as the Authour of the Epiſtle to the Hebrews doth ſay, Chap. 5. That Chriſt glorified not himſelf to be made an High Prieſt, but he that ſaid unto him, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. Nay, he doth not ſo much as ſend his Diſciples without ſhewing his Commiſſion, As the Father hath ſent me, ſo do I ſend you: Like­wiſe none ought to feed the Church or rule the Church, except he be called thereunto; whence this muſt be concluded, that as there is a Government in the Church, ſo they that adminiſter it, ought to be named of Chriſt.

But to find out who theſe Rulers ought to be, we muſt have our refuge to holy Scriptures, where Chriſt hath clearly and fully revealed his will and mind unto us, we muſt not ſcorn nor be aſha­med to make that our Rule here, which ſhall be our Judge hereaf­ter: Peace and Mercy will be to as many as walk according to this rule, and upon the Iſrael of God, Gal. 6. Contrary practiſes muſt be left to that Antichriſt who exalteth himſelf above God, and ſitteth in the Temple of God, ſhewing himſelf that he is God, 2 Theſ. 2. But it becometh Chriſtian Kingdoms, ſuch as England, Scotland and Ire­land, wherein the light of the Goſpel hath ſo clearly appeared, to be ruled by the Word. In the daies of Ignorance God winked at mens waies, but now he will not have mens Traditions to make void his Commands, neither will he have will-worſhip preferred to that which he hath inſtituted. Since Chriſt Jeſus his Aſcention, never a Nation had ſuch knowledge of Heavenly Myſteries, neither did a Land ſo abound in godly and powerful Preaching as we have en­joyed within theſe Twenty years laſt paſt. We may then juſtly3 deſire that to be ſetled which is according to the Will of God, re­valed in his Word, and that Traditions be not preferred above Scriptures, namely, in the point of Church-Government: So that though there may be ſome Government good of it ſelf, as ſome would plead for Monarchy and Hierarchy in the Church, yet none is to take the place of that which is ſet down in the Word; for of all Rules in the Church, that is the beſt, and the only to be kept, which Chriſt hath inſtituted.

And this I preſs the more, when I conſider the abuſe in this and other Church-Offices, as it hath provoked God to wrath, ſo it hath procured Gods judgments: Obſerve the caſe of Ely's Children, and their Fathers remiſſeneſs to adminiſter the Natural and Eccle­ſiaſtical power which he had over them; yea, the neglect of admi­niſtring this Diſcipline, in not reſtraining his Children, was ſo great a ſin, that God did ſwear that the iniquity of Elies Houſe ſhould not be purged with Sacrifice nor Offering for ever, 1 Sam. 3.14. And the end is known to all: And under the Law, it was ordi­narily one of the greateſt complaints of God, to expreſs the cor­ruption of Church-men in the neglect of their duty, either in gi­ving inſtruction or bearing rule, when they propheſied falſly, cor­rupted the Law, and when they did not adminiſter judgment in the Houſe of God: So under the Goſpel, this is one of the few things Chriſt hath againſt the Angel of the Church in Thiatira, that he ſuffered Jezebel to ſeduce Gods Servants, and to commit forni­cation. And ſo it was the blemiſh of the Angel of Pergamus, that he had them that held the Doctrine of Balaam; when on the o­ther ſide, it is the great commendation of the Angel of Epheſus, that he could not bear them which were evil, Rev. 2. And indeed remiſſeneſs in Church-government hath ordinarily been followed with licentiouſneſs, prophaneneſs, depravation in doctrine, and at laſt, with the removing of the Candleſtick, and overthrow of the Churches: This ſome obſerve to have been the caſe of thoſe ſeven famous Churches of Aſia. An Army without Diſcipline, will ſoon be deſtroyed, and an Houſe without Order will quickly be undone: Hence I may obſerve how unjuſtly Presbyterians are condemned for their ſtrictneſs in Church-Diſcipline, and how un­deſervedly the Epiſcopal Party is commended for their remiſſeneſs in it: So that I hope it will not ſeem to be impertinent, if from the Governours of the Church, I have paſſed to the neceſſity of4 the Government it ſelf; for hereby I do convince of the neceſſity of having Governors, and theſe to be choſen according to Gods heart and will.

The Prelatical Party will or muſt hitherto agree with us, and then our work is more than half done; for they will be hard put to it, when we ſhall deſire them to ſhew out of Scripture their Hie­rarchical way; Let them prove Arch-biſhops, Deans, Arch-Dea­cons, Prebends, Canons, Chapters, &c. as we will prove Pa­ſtors, Teachers, Rulers and Deacons. But perhaps they will have refuge to their humane right, and ſay, that many things were left to the judgment of the Church; It is true of circumſtantial and ac­cidental things and caſes as to the Cenſures, which ought to be pro­portionable to the ſins and offences, whether ſuch a man doth de­ſerve to be ſuſpended from the Sacrament for ſuch a Fact, and whether to be excommunicated, about which yet we have certain ſeveral Rules, as that of Charity, Decency and Edification, which we muſt not trangreſs: But I do account it is a neceſſary thing, and not indifferent, who it is that muſt adminiſter Church-Diſci­pline: For it is not an accidental thing, as that it may be exe­cuted or not executed without any prejudice to the Church; nei­ther is it indifferent as that any one may indifferently adminiſter it, but it is thus far neceſſary, as that every one that doth admini­ſter it, muſt be called thereunto, and every one that is called thereunto, muſt execute it.

But now we muſt proceed, and ſhew how they that are to go­vern the Church, muſt be choſen out of the Church; here by Church I underſtand a Body or Aſſembly diſtinct and different from the civil or political Body; although ſomtimes one may be choſen a Ruler in the Church, and be a Civil Magiſtrate, yet he is elected, not becauſe he is a Member of the Civil, but of the Ec­cleſiaſtical Body: And to ſpeak the truth, every member of the Church is a member of the Civil body, yet in a different reſpect; and here from the whole and univerſal Church, we muſt come to particular Congregations, who muſt have in themſelves all the right which belongs to them, as parts and members of the whole: For when we ſay that Chriſt hath inſtituted a Government in his Church, we muſt not conclude it not to be inſtituted and neceſſary in particular Congregations, becauſe it is not ſaid, he hath inſtitu­ted it in his Churches; for the word Church being collective, doth5 include all the parts, and if you will Pariſhes or Congregations belonging to it: For I ſay that every particular Church hath all that which is eſſential and neceſſary to a Church, as it is a Church, as well as the Univerſal Church, or elſe it will not be a Church; and therefore as Doctrine and Diſcipline are neceſſary to the Church in general, ſo it is to every Church in particular: Accord­ing to this Maxim of Philoſophy, he that ſaith the whole, doth alſo ſay the parts in the whole; hence therefore I do by way of infe­rence conclude, that they who are to adminiſter Church-Govern­ment in particular places, ought to be choſen out of the Church in particular places; and the proof of this will alſo confirm my for­mer univerſal indefinite Propoſition, how the Rulers of the Church are to be choſen out of the Church.

My firſt reaſon to prove this, is drawn from the ſufficiency of the Church, whereby the Church hath all things neceſſary to it, having no need to borrow from others any thing conducing to it: Herein doth the perfection of the Church appear; for as it is a body diſtinct from other bodies, ſo it hath within it ſelf from Chriſt alone her dependency for being and well-being: Nay, it would not be a Church, if it had not within her ſelf all things neceſſary to it as it is a Church: If therefore the Church be perfect in it ſelf, then ſhe doth receive no perfection from without; this perfection conſiſts in the being and well-being of the ſame, that is, Doctrine and Diſcipline; ſo that if the Church had not her Diſcipline with­in her ſelf, it would be very defective and unperfect; by perfecti­on, I mean all things neceſſary: And who could think that Chriſt Jeſus after all that which he had done and ſuffered for his Church, would have left ſomthing yet which it needs to borrow from others? What his end was, when he gave himſelf for his Church, the Apo­ſtle tels, Eph. 5.26, 27. And in 1 Tim. 2.15. It is called the Houſe of God, the Pillar and Ground of truth. And elſewhere, the Spouſe of Chriſt, with whom Chriſt hath a conjugal communion, and from him ſhe receiveth Grace for Grace: But I need not to inſiſt upon this perfection and ſufficiency of the Church within her ſelf: I will wrap it all in Davids words, Glorious things are ſpo­ken of thee O City of God; ſo that I conceive that Government be­ing ſo neceſſary to the Church, the Church hath it within her ſelf, and they that are to be Rulers, muſt be choſen out of it.

The ſecond Proof is from the Right of the Church; I call the6 Right of the Church, that which Chriſt hath given to the Church, that which the Apoſtles and others after have yielded to the Church; this right is the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, as it is, Mat. 16. Where Chriſt ſaith that he would build his Church upon Peters confeſſion, and give the Keys to the ſame; it is then the Churches Priviledge, to chuſe her Governours out of her ſelf; but becauſe the right of the Church hath ſeveral Branches and Particu­lars, I will name ſome of them: It doth conſiſt,

I. In chuſing their Miniſters when they are ordained: Teach­ers muſt not be forced upon a Church, as that notwithſtanding the diſſent of the People, they ſhould be maintained in it; no Patron or other may lawfully preſent a Miniſter in a Pariſh, or maintain him in it againſt the mind of the Congregation.

This Right of the Church in this, is proved by Three Rea­ſons.

  • 1. Chriſt who is the Authour of Miniſtry, hath given this right to the Church alone, as we have ſhewed afore.
  • 2. Becauſe Miniſters were given by Chriſt to the Church, that by an ordinary and certain manner they might be procured by the whole Church.
  • 3. If it were not ſo, then the Church could not voluntarily ſub­mit her ſelf to her Paſtors, which is as neceſſary in Miniſters, as it is in Marriage, where the conſent of both parties is required. And truly this right hath been continued to the Church for the ſpace al­moſt of a thouſand years after Chriſt, as we have proved by ſome Inſtances in our Letters to a perſon of quality. But here when we ſay that the people of a Church have a right to call a Miniſter to themſelves, we mean not to ordain him, for Ordination is not made by every Member of the Church, though it belongs to the Church, as it is proved, Acts 1.23, 24, &c. & 16.22. And wit­neſſed by Cyprian in his Epiſtles, Book 1. Epiſt. 4. But we ſay that the calling to a certain place thoſe that are ordained, is of the Church.

II. This Right of the Church doth conſiſt in this, that the Church hath power to chuſe her Rulers from within her ſelf, this is evident in the caſe of Deacons, Acts 6. The Twelve called the Multitude, and ſaid to them, look ye out amongst you ſeven men of ho­neſt report. So it is in the caſe of Elders, which Paul and Barnabas did ordain, not without the votes of the people, Acts 14.23. 7And indeed ſince the fundamental right of Government dothly in the whole Congregation, it muſt be their Prerogative to elect whom they think fit for the Adminiſtration of it: It is an Article of the Waldences, written 500 years ago, that amongſt other Priviledges which Chriſt hath granted to his Church this is one, they muſt chuſe their Rulers from among themſelves, yet alwayes provided they chuſe them according to the will of Chriſt, revealed in his word, and if it be according to his appointment he will fit them with gifts to rule, and ſo he will proſper their weak endeavour: beſides that as after the Election, the Congregation muſt obey their Rulers, ſo afore their Election they muſt give their vote, and conſent to that effect, or elſe that Obedience which is due to Rulers, Heb. 13.17. will not be very free and voluntary, as it ought to be, for, as we have ſaid afore of Paſtors, ſo we ſay of this, it is a kinde of Marriage, where conſent of both Parties is required.

And, as we have ſaid, That the Church ſo called in diſtinction of any Civil body, hath right to chuſe her Rulers from among herſelf, ſo here by this amongſt her ſelf; we ſpeak of the Laity of it, from the Flock, diſtinguiſhed from the Paſtor or Teacher, In the 2 Chron. 19.8. there were choſen, as Prieſts and Levites, ſo alſo, of the chief of the Fathers of Iſrael, for the Judgment of the Lord: and ſince it is well known that the Synagogue had a Councell of Secular men, choſen out of the Congregation, to rule it, which was continued in the dayes of our Saviour; for we read often of the Rulers of the Synagogue, which Jewiſh Church we know to have been as well govern'd as any that ever was: and ſince our Saviour, although he much condemned their corruption in Doctrine and Converſation, yet he never had a word againſt this Form of Government, the continuation of which the Lord Jeſus foretold his Diſciples, when he ſaid, they ſhould be brought and beaten in the Synagogues: in the Chriſtian Church theſe alſo are appointed to be Rulers, as in our Letters to a Perſon of Quality, we have demonſtrated out of ſeveral Texts of Scripture: This only I add, as the Church did chuſe their Meſſengers, of whow we read, 2 Cor. 8.19, 23. as they choſe their Repreſentatives, Acts 15.23. So alſo they elected their Rulers, called Elders, 1 Tim. 5.17. to whom the relief for the brethren was to be delivered, Acts 11.30.

III. The Right of the Church doth conſiſt in the Adminiſtration of Diſcipline, the power whereof is in the Church, or her Repreſentatives, by vertue of which they may ſuſpend erroneous and8 ſcandalons Perſons from the publick hearing of the Word, receiving of the Lords Supper, and exclude them from communion with Gods people, 2 Theſſal. 3.6.14. untill they repent and give a publick Teſtimony of it. In the Primitive Church there were ſeveral degrees of theſe Church Cenſures according to the Nature of their Offences, ſome were only cenſured in private, others in a more publick way, others were not permitted to come into the Church, to hear the Word, although they were permitted to ſtand juſt at the door, ſome were ſuffered to go in untill Sermon was done, and then they went forth, ſome were permitted to ſtay till after Prayers, but they were to go out before the bleſſing was pronounced, and others might tarry till after the Bleſſing, but not to be admitted to the Lords Supper, when it was to be adminiſtred; All thoſe things may be accounted circumſtantial, becauſe left to the prudence of the Church, for now adayes we do not follow it altogether, although we know thus much to be neceſſary, to uſe Cenſures againſt Offenders, but the manner is left to the Diſcretion of the Church; however they muſt not be ſo abſurd, and ridiculous, as to give a white ſheet (as the Epiſcopal Cuſtome was.) I cannot but admire at ſome, who fearing to diſoblige men rather than to diſpleaſe God, do connive at the licentiouſneſſe and prophaneneſſe of others, as if in imitation of theſe unruly perſons, they were reſolved not to performe their duty, and this upon this account, that ſuch and ſuch men are of ſuch a temper, as that if they were cenſured, they would altogether forſake the Church; but I muſt tell them that they will be wiſer than God, as if to prevent an evil not in being, but only feared, they were to ſuffer and comply with a real and actual evil: they to whom Diſcipline is commited muſt be carefull to execute it, for ſaith the Apoſtle, Rom. 12. He that ruleth let him do it with diligence, as for the ſucceſs, they muſt commit it to the hand of God; however let the event be what it will, they have that comfort, to have diſcharged their duty: The caſe of the French Church is notable in this, where the Offenders have liberty to forſake the Reformed Religion, and be welcome amongſt Papiſts, the King being that way, yet notwithſtand­ing this Conſideration they ſtrictly adminiſter Diſcipline, and ſuch is the Bleſſing of God, that he overrules mens hearts; for inſtead of a poſtatiſing, they ſubmit to the power and Cenſures of the Church, and although upon this they would depart from the Church, (of which I cannot bring ſo much as an Inſtance, although I have reaſon to be aquainted with their Affairs) yet they may ſay, They went9 from among us, becauſe they were none of us: Rotten Members, if obſtinate, muſt-be cut off, leſt they corrupt others, as S. Paul ſaith of Hymeneus and Philetes, 2 Tim. 2.17.

That this Right is belonging to the Church is clear out of our Bleſſed Saviours ſaying, Matth. 15. v. 17, If he will not hear thee, tell it the Church: wherein is implyed, That the Church had Power to procure ſome ſatisfaction for the Offence received, which power, if a man will not ſubmit unto, he muſt be unto us as an Heathen and a Publican. This Right the Church of Corinth made uſe of, according to S Paul's Exhortation, 1 Cor. 5. which was not committed to a ſingle Perſon, but to the whole church to which the Apoſtle writeth this Epiſtle: and S. Paul, by vertue of this Right, delivered up, that is, excommunicated Hymeneus and Philetes, 1 Tim. 1.20. Yet from hence one muſt not infer, That this Right is adminiſtred by a ſingle perſon; for 1. It cannot be demonſtrated, that Paul alone did it, but it is more then probable, that he had the Advice and Aſſent of the Church which theſe two were of, perhaps of the Church of Laodicea, whence that Epiſtle was written, for this was his practice, 1 Cor. 3. When ye are Aſſembled, and my Spirit with the power of the Lord, J. ch. 2. Neither muſt every one draw this Conſequence, Whatſoever Paul did I may do, for his Calling was immediate from Chriſt, and extraordinary in it ſelf; The Sentence of the Church, in the Execution of this Diſcipline is paſſed by the Repreſentative of it; and in caſe the Nature of the thing be ſuch, as that becauſe the power of the Party, or of ſome other Conſiedration, it is not, or cannot be decided, in particular Congregations, by the Paſtor and his Elders, it muſt be referred to a Claſſis, from it to a SYNOD, according to the Pattern, Acts 15. So that, It is a Sacrilegious uſurpation of any particular one, as POPE, or any other that will do it alone without the Church, or her Repreſentatives, in the chuſing of which there ought to be ſuch care, as that they be not Idiots, or Ignorant men, but men of Piety, underſtanding, and of Credit, as much as can be, to meet in a certain place, and alwayes they muſt remember, that their Authority is not ſupream, but Miniſterial, and therefore, that they are bound onely to the Laws, and Rules given by the Holy Ghoſt, in the Word and therefore, as in point of Doctrine, ſo as to Diſcipline, in all things they muſt follow the Word; For it doth not belong to the Church now eſtabliſhed to make any Lawes different from, or contrary to the Rules of the Word.


The Right of the Church doth (in the 4th place) conſiſt in the power of adviſing and voting in Synods, Councels, and Eccleſiaſtical Aſſemblies, by their Elders, Deputies, and Repreſentatives, not only Arch Biſhops, and Biſhops, as Papiſts would have, and not onely Paſtors, and thoſe that are profeſſed Divines, as the Prelatical Party deſireth, but alſo other godly and knowing Perſons, choſen and ſent by the Church, afore called Elders, Deputies, and Repreſentatives, are to be admitted, to vote in the deciſion of Controverſies, this I ſpeak not of my own, neither muſt it be called a new thing, ſince for the confirmation of it I will bring, 1. Scripture. 2. Antiquity. 3. Reaſon. As to the 1. in the Councells, Synods or Aſſemblies, held by the Apoſtles, not only the Apoſtles themſelves, but alſo the Elders and Deputies of the people, who were not profeſſed Divines, were admitted; ſo in the Councill of HYERUSALEM, of which we read, Acts the 15, out of which place theſe 2 things do appear; 1. that the Church Deputies were admitted into the Aſſemblies, v. 22. It pleaſed the Apoſtles and Elders, with the whole Church; which is interpreted the next Verſe, The Brethren, repreſenting the Church. 2. it doth appear, that they were admitted, not to be ſimply and meer Spectators, but alſo to be Judges, and to decide with their Votes, Affairs propounded in the Aſſembly, for they are named among thoſe whom the Letter came from, who had not been named in the Letter except they had a Vote in the Decree. Wherefore, in theſe times, except the Prelatical Party do think themſelves wiſer and greater than the Apoſtles, they ought not to deprive the Church of this right, as they do, through Uſurpation, but rather to reſtore them to that ſhare which they ought to have in the Government of the Church, which to deny is to commit a heynous Sacriledg, and to be guilty of as great a tyranny as can be uſurped over the people of God.

And, as the Apoſtles yielded to the Church her right, ſo in the Primitive times the Church was not deprived of it, for in the moſt famous and Oecumenical Councils this was granted to the Church; 1. In the Firſt Councel of Nice, called by the Emperour Conſtantine the Great, againſt Arius, who denyed the Deity of Chriſt; the Elders of the People and Repreſentative of the Church had their Votes in it. So in the Firſt Council of Conſtantinople, called by the Emperour Theodoſius the firſt, againſt Macedonius, who denyed the Deity of the Holy Ghoſt, in this alſo the Deputies of the Church voted in the ARTICLES therein debated, as it11 doth appear, by the Subſcriptions of the Acts of theſe Two Synods.

For further confirmation of this Right of the Church, to my judgement no better reaſon than this can be given; Theſe Synods and Aſſemblies do repreſent the Church; If it be a Provincial Synod, it repreſenteth the Churches of a Province, if National, of a Nation; ſo, if univerſall, it repreſenteth the whole Chriſtian Church. Now, If this Church either Provincial, National, &c. repreſented by theſe Synods, doth conſiſt not only of Biſhops, or Paſtors, Doctors, Teachers, and Miniſters, but alſo of Lay, or Secular Perſons, (among whom ſometimes there happen to be men no way inferiour, in parts and Piety to many of the Clergy;) So it is of good conſequence to ſay, that ſome of the body of the Church, conſiſting of Lay men, are to be admitted to theſe Church-Aſſemblies, for ſince they are intereſſed in the Tranſactions of ſuch meetings, they muſt ſend their Deputies to be preſent, to the Concluſions taken there, or elſe all theſe Aſſemblies, ſhall be no better than a Councill of Trent, called, not to debate of, but to confirm Errours, where one of the Parties ſhall be excluded, and the other ſhall be the Party, and Judg. Theſe Aſſemblies cannot be ſaid to be free and Lawfull, when there is ſo much violence and corruption, as that one ſhall be admitted as guilty, and accuſed Perſons, when he ſhould be equal to his Adverſary in ſuch a meeting; wherefore I ſay, in caſe a Synod was called in this Nation, conſiſting of Epiſcopal men; for the moſt, if the buſineſſe was to be decided by plurallity of Votes, it would not be a right and competent Aſſembly, except things were reſolved by ſtrength of Reaſon, and by an equall number of the different Parties.

But to be brief, This right of the Church (in the 8th place) doth conſiſt in this, That the Church is ſubject to no power but to the power of Chriſt; The Church ownes no Authority but his: and it ought to be free from any others Dominion, Chriſt Jeſus is the only Lord and Potentate of his Church, which to ſignifie, he is called ſometimes the King, other times the Lord, Maſter, Husband, Head, and Shepherd of his Church: If any other Secular or Eccleſiaſtical Officer doth aſpire to this Power, He is a Thief, and a Robber. We muſt not think that Chriſt Jeſus hath ſo dearly purchaſed his Church, to ſubmit her afterwards to the will and luſt of men, He hath Redeemed us, ſaith the Apoſtle, that we ſhould be a peculiar people unto himſelf, therefore not addicted to others; One cannot lay any claim to the Church, except he hath purchaſed12 it, except he doth protect and preſerve it, providing it with all neceſſary Graces: This is the end of his giving ſome Apoſtles, ſome Prophets, ſome Evangeliſts, &c. for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the Miniſtry, for the edifying of the body of Chriſt, Eph. 4. This is a Song proper to the Church, to ſay, I am my beloveds, and my beloved is mine, Cant. 6.3. So that, to find her other Lords, is to make her an Adultreſſe: I am jealous over you with a godly Jealouſie, ſaith Paul to the Corinthians, for I will preſent you as a chaſt Virgin to Chriſt, for I have ſpouſed you to one Husband, 2 Cor. 11. Let therefore no man, no not the Angels themſelves pretend any Power and Superiority over the Church of Chriſt, for the Lord Jeſus hath purchaſed his Church a Freedom from all other powers but from his own.

And to ſpeak more exactly to this, No man in civil or eccleſiaſtical Office ought to pretend any Right and Authority over the Church: 1. No civil Magiſtrate, for, as we render to Caeſar the things that are Caeſars, ſo we muſt render to God the things that are Gods. It is ordinary in Scriptures to make a difference between civil and Eccleſiaſtical Juriſdictions. Chriſt's Kingdom is deſcribed, Pſal. 45. His Government ſpoken of, Iſaiah 9.6, 7. It is ſeen in a Dream, by the Stone cut out without hands, which broke the Image of all other Dominions, Dan. 2.34. Chriſt doth profeſs, His Kingdom is not of this world, and he makes a clear difference between civil powers, and that of his Church, when he ſaid to his Diſciples, The Princes of the Gentiles exerciſe Dominion over them, but it ſhall not be ſo among you, Matth. 20.25. In ſuch a caſe therefore let every one abide in that whereunto he is called: There is indeed a gracious Promiſe made of God, that Kings ſhould be nurſing Fathers to the Church, which began to be fulfilled in the time of Chriſtian Emperors, It is now continued, and I believe, it will be to the end of the world; but there is never a Promiſe to any Prince (Except to the Prince of Peace, Iſaiah 9.6. ) to receive any power or Dominion over the Church. It is one of the greateſt points of the Popes Uſurpation, that he will confound theſe two Juriſdictions, and aſſume not only S. Peters Keyes, but alſo S. Pauls Sword, as they call it, ſo that which the one cannot open, the other ſhall cut it: In a word, He will undertake the Eccleſiaſtical and Civil Government, ſince he boaſteth to have power in ſpiritual and temporal things: But thus much here is not approved of by the Word of God. As the Pope is a temporal Prince, ſo let him govern his Subjects; as he is a Biſhop,13 let him uſe tyranny as he doth, over his Church: But every Chriſtian Reformed Prince ought to be careful not to Adminiſter the Go­verment of State and Church together.

But beſides the not preaching of the Word, there are two things ſpecially, which the civil Magiſtrate may not do: The Firſt, He may not ordain Miniſters, becauſe he hath not Commiſſion to that effect, it belongs to thoſe that have already been ordain'd themſelves, and this would be to deſtroy Miniſtry by way of office in the Church: this was the practiſe in the Primitive Church, that Biſhops or Paſtors were choſen by other Biſhops; and the people, that is, the Repreſentatives of the people, without any civil Monarch, or any one pretending Monarchy in the Church, as it will at large be found written by Cyprian, who lived 250. in his Epiſt. 55. and 68. But the Second thing that the Civil Magiſtrate muſt abſtain from, is, The Adminiſtration of Eccleſiaſtical Diſcipline; For though his Office be about the Church, yet it is not in the Church: Although ſome Magiſtrate may be an Officer and Ruler in the Church, but not as he is a Civil Magiſtrate, for under that notion it doth not belong to them: It is indeed the Right of Kings to call COUNCELLS, to ſee the Church Reformed, (for he is the Keeper of both Tables) yet in this they muſt make uſe of Church Officers, He alſo muſt protect the Church from the power of her Enemies, for to that effect he is called the Servant of God, Rom. 13. So it becometh Princes to protect Miniſters from the Power uſurped by their Fellow-Servants, as it is Obſerved of the Duke of Lancaſter, who, to his great commendation ſecured Wickliffe from the malice and power of his enemies, that were Biſhops, as is obſerved by FOX, in his Book of Martyrs, Fol. 413. But we have briefly, yet clearly ſpoken to this Power of the Civil Magiſtrate in the Churches affairs, in a Latine EPISTLE, as an Anſwer to a Letter from a Learned Friend; only I do adde this, If the Civil Magiſtrate doth not pretend any Power over the Church, this is ſo far from tending to his Prejudice, diſhonour, and diſcredit, as, that it is the greateſt glory to abſtain from that which doth belong to him, yet it will be their higheſt praſie, to ſubmit to the Church Rules, as they are Members of the Church: It is well known, how Ambroſius uſed this Right with Theodoſius, and the words of Chryſostome, ſhewing the Power of the Church in adminiſtring Diſcpline, in relation to any one, are very notable: If any wicked man (ſaith he) come to the Table of the Lord, give him not the Body or Blood of Christ; but if he will not14 deſiſt, tell it me, and I will rather ſhed my bloud, than to admit ſuch a one.

And as it is the right of the Church not to be ſubject to the pow­er and dominion of any Civil Magiſtrate, ſo Chriſt hath not purchaſed this freedom, that it ſhould be ſubject to any Officers and Miniſters in it, but this liberty will be encroached upon, if any Monarchy or Hierarchy be ſetled in the Church, which do follow one another: For when there is a Prince and a Soveraign, there will be Lords and perſons of a quality ſuperiour to the common people. Now I ſay, any tittle ſignifying Monarchy in the Church, is tyrannical, ſuch as the Prince of the Church or the Supream head thereof, and it is neceſſary for any Chriſtian to abſtain from ſuch a Title: For,

1. It is known out of Scriptures, that Chriſt Jeſus is the only Head of his Church: One Text will ſerve for all, it is Eph. 1.22. So that to talk of any other Head under the notion of miniſterial or ſub­ordinate, it is to form a monſtrous body with two heads, for in the ſame place, v. 23. The Church is ſaid to be the Body: any one that doth aſpire to the title of Head of the Church, muſt have theſe three qualifications.

1. Excellency above the members in power and dignity.

2. Perfection in himſelf greater than any of the members have.

3. Infuſion of all things which the body hath need of: But theſe three qualities are to be found in Chriſt Jeſus alone, who being God and man, a King, a Prophet, and a High Prieſt, and infuſing life, motion and being into the Church, is the only head of the Church, excluſively to any other, under what notion ſoever. It is a notable ſaying of Gregory the great, who was a Biſhop of Rome, becauſe a­bout his daies he ſaw ſome of his Predeceſſors had affected Supremacy over all the reſt, yet much different from that abominable abuſe that crept in after his times: He lived 600 years after Chriſt. In his 6th. Book, and Epiſt. 24. he hath theſe words; I ſay confidently, that any one who calleth himſelf, or deſireth to be called Univerſal Biſhop, he is the forerunner of Antichriſt: And I do believe that where there is an Archbiſhop over a whole Kingdom, or the half of it, he is a kind of Monarch and Univerſal Biſhop over that whole Kingdom or part of it, and the Title of Archbiſhop is as dangerous, and as much to be avoided in ſuch a Kingdom, as the name of Univerſal Biſhop: For I account our controverſie with Hierarchy here, to be the ſame in nature, which we have againſt Popery, though in not ſo high a degree; but this uſurpation by Archbiſhops is ſo palpable (ſo all the15 Hierarehical way, which I am confident is not a way of Gods ap­pointment, becauſe in no wiſe grounded upon Gods Word) as that I will not inſiſt on it, but only upon that which hath a more ſpecious pretence, and to ſhew few of the grievances of Chriſts Church againſt this Hierarchical tyrannical Government.

We call Heaven and Earth to record, that we deſire nothing elſe but to be judged by the Word of God alone, and that no cuſtoms, humane inventions and traditions, but Scriptures only are to be lookt upon in this controverſie; and therefore we ſtand not for any waies of our own, but for the waies of God. Wherefore we do ab­hor Biſhops by way of ſuperiority, as uſurpers over the right of the Church, as being without Scripture and againſt Scripture; So that God may ſay in this, as he doth in another caſe, They ſet up Church-Governors, but not by me. And to argue the caſe; I would know from the Adverſaries, whether Biſhops are different from the Mi­niſters of the Church? that is, whether this be an Office by it ſelf, or what kind of difference this is? To the former, If it be an Of­fice by it ſelf, then they muſt prove it out of Scriptures, but this cannot be; for in the three places of Scripture where St. Paul doth acquaint us of the Offices in the Church, there is not a word of Biſhops, the Texts may be ſeen, Rom. 12.6, 7, 8. 1 Cor. 12.28. & Eph. 4.11. So that if they aſſert, that there ought to be Biſhops in the Church, then they muſt acknowledge that the nature of Biſhop is comprehended under one or other of the Offices named in theſe places, or elſe they muſt confeſs that there ought to be no Biſhops at all by Divine inſtitution: But the truth is, the nature of Biſhop is in the two former places comprehended under the name Teacher, and in the laſt Text under the word Paſtor; For he cannot be cal­led Prophet, Apoſtle, Miracle, Healings, &c. And this truth Scri­pture doth hold forth in other places, Acts 20.28. St. Paul ſaid to the Elders of Epheſus, Feed the flock, (from the word feeding comes the word Paſtor,) over the which God hath made you overſeers, or Biſhops, ſo that Paſtor and Biſhop are one and the ſame: They that have peruſed Tit. 1.7. will find that Miniſter or Elder, and Bi­ſhop are one and the ſame: likewiſe, 1 Tim. 3. Neither are they Lords over the Flock, if St. Peter ſpeaks truth, 1 Pet. 5. Feed the Flock. Here again the word Paſtor is implied, ſo the word Elder whom he exhorteth, ſo the word Biſhop, v. 2. taking the overſight,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to whom he ſaith, v. 3. Not being Lords over the flock. Neither muſt they be Lords, or affect to be greater than their fellow-Paſtors16 and Miniſters, for nothing can be more expreſly and clearly ſet down, than Chriſt Jeſus forbidding his Diſciples to uſe domini­on and authority one over onother, even upon this occaſion, when they diſputed amongſt themſelves of ſuperiority, Mat. 20.25.

I think therefore that any man, eſpecially a Miniſter cannot ſuffer upon a more righteous account, than in oppoſition to this Suprema­cy; and I make no queſtion but to bring many to this truth (through grace) when I have ſhewed how godly people oppoſed this uſurpa­tion when it began to creep into the Church, and how for this ſame cauſe ſome were crowned with Martyrdom: Ambition being the ſin of the Devil, who is a murtherer from the beginning, it doth infuſe cruel and bloudy diſpoſitions into thoſe that are ſtained with it: But when pride meets in an Eccleſiaſtical man, as it is the moſt deteſta­ble, ſo it produceth moſt fatal and pernicious effects. Any one that is acquainted with the names of Bonifaces, Leo's John's, &c. who ever heard of Guelphs and Guobellines, may have an illuſtration of what I ſay; this furious ambition did formerly rage with more vi­olence than now, that the Light of the Goſpel is clearer than afore. Yet although the ſtump be in Italy, there are ſome little Branches of the pride of that great Harlot even amongſt thoſe that profeſs the Reformed Religion, and it is to be wiſhed men were now as ſtudi­ous to extirpate theſe reliques, as ſome were at firſt to prevent the growth thereof. That ſome of the Biſhops of Rome were cenſured by the Biſhops of Alexandria or Conſtantinople and ſome other places, they that have been acquainted with Euſebius may teſtifie of it. Bo­nifacius the third of that name, who firſt publickly aſſumed the ambitious Title which the Biſhops of Rome do retain, did write a Letter to the Biſhops of Carthage, which muſt needs to be interpret­ed of Miniſters, for there could not be many Dioceſan Biſhops, as they call it, requiring them to have their appeal to Rome (being countenanced in it by Phocas that wicked Emperor, but pretending ſome authority out of the Council of Nice; but the Biſhops of Car­thage called a Council (the ſixth of Carthage) of 217 Biſhops, which muſt have been Miniſters, for how could ſo many of Biſhops in the adverſaries ſence, be found about Carthage, and they diſowned that pretended power of Bonifacius. This Council was called in the daies of Phocas. Bernard in his 2 Book to Eugenius, declareth to him, that he could not challenge any Dominion over the Church or other his Fellow-Paſtors: Hearken, ſaith he, what S. Peter ſaith,17 1 Pet. 5. Not bearing rule as Lords over the Clergy, but as examples to the flock, wherefore, if thou wilt be a Lord, thou ſhalt loſe thine Apoſtleſhip, if thou wilt be an Apoſtle, thou ſhalt loſe thy Lord­ſhip: How fitly doth this here hit our times? And they need not to tell me that this was to Popes, provided I find it to be the ſame thing which now we condemn in the Prelates of theſe daies; for I have already ſaid how I look upon this Epiſcopal ſupremacy as an Effect of that Cauſe, and as a Fruit of that Tree, they and we do condemn the ſame thing, though in different perſons, and per­haps in a different degree: Thoſe of Carthage would not make their appeal to Rome, What reaſon is it for the Paſtors of Warwick, Worceſter, &c. to make their appeals before the Archbiſhop of Can­terbury? (obſerve that Rome and Carthage were then under the ſame Emperor) Bernard reproveth Eugenius for affecting the Title of Lord; Why ſhall not alſo thoſe that are called here Lords, be in the ſame condemnation?

Wickliff who lived in the year 1379, oppoſed this uſurped Pree­minency and ſuperiority, for which doing, and other things, he was condemned as an Heretick, his bones taken from his Grave, and burnt: againſt him one Woodfort exhibited a Charge, the 18th Article whereof was this; There be ſaith Wickliffe, Twelve Diſciples of Antichriſt, Popes, Cardinals, Archbiſhops, Biſhops [by way of Prelacy] Arch-Deacons, Officials, Deans, Canons, &c. And for the teſtimony of this truth as of others, John Hus, Jerom of Prague, obtained Martyrdom, and had their bloud ſhed, becauſe they aſ­ſerted it: In the Council of Conſtance, in the year 1414, certain Articles were exhibited againſt them, ſpecially John Hus; the 4th. Article runs thus, He erreth touching the Church, in that he ſaith, all Prieſts are of like power, and therefore he aſſirmeth that conſecration of Biſhops was invented only for covetouſneſſe: Hence doth appear how God did formerly ſtir up men to oppoſe this uſurpation, which was not known amongſt the Waldenſes, who profeſſed the true Doctrine ſince the Apoſtles times till now, as I have demonſtrated in a La­tine Epiſtle to a Learned man. Howſoever I know that there are ſome who would not have Biſhops altogether ſo high, as to be Lords, but nevertheleſs they would have them as Preſidents over one or two Counties, and to direct his Presbyters, but this is a Branch of the former, unwarrantable from the word of God, as that ſuch perſons ſhould be at all times in all places, and during their life Preſidents over all Miniſters of ſo many ſhires, which cannot be de­nied18 to be a kind of ſuperiority, which in any kind being introduc'd into the Church, we diſclaim againſt.

The Adverſaries being not able to hold this kind of Biſhops out of Scripture (which they refuſe to be judged by in this caſe) they are forced to have a refuge to humane Right, ſaying, it is a benefit and, gratuity from Princes: But alas, Princes may not alter the Government ſetled by Chriſt in his Church; for the Church recei­veth no rule in neceſſary things, as this is, but from Gods Word. It was a Chriſtian ſaying of the Lord Cobham, ſtrongly perſecuted, who as it is quoted by Fox, Book of Martyrs, Fol. 515. ſaid to his Judges, The Precepts of God ought to be obeyed; If any Prelate of the Church doth require more, or elſe any other kind of obedience to be uſed, he contemneth Chriſt, exalting himſelf above God, and ſo becometh an open Antichriſt: In ſuch a caſe therefore we ſay, that in the Church no voice but that of Chriſt is to be heard, and to any that ſhall go about to perſwade or force us to it, we muſt with Peter anſwer to the Phariſees, judge your ſelves whether it be juſt to obey men more than God; when it ſeems it was not much that they were required, not to forſake Chriſt, or to preach againſt him, but only not to preach in his name: Herein therefore lies the firſt grievance of the Church of Chriſt, that thoſe who are appointed to be her Paſtors, do uſurp a Dominion over the Flock, and a ſuperi­ority over their Fellow-Miniſters.

But a ſecond grievance depending from the former, is from ſpiri­tual Courts (ſo called) and the exceeding corruption and irregula­rity of the ſame, whereby Miniſters are made Cyphers as to the ad­miniſtration of Diſcipline in their reſpective Congregations, and the Church is deprived of the right it hath in matter of Govern­ment. Is it not more conformable to the will of God and better in reaſon, to have every Miniſter with his Elders to rule in his Pariſh, (and when things come to be decided in it, to refer it to a Claffis or Synod) than to have a Biſhop, Dean and Arch-Deacon to rule all the Pariſhes of two or three Counties, and not ſeldom their Ser­vants being bribed, they are earneſt Sollicitors with their Maſters for Cauſes howſoever unjuſt they be; and ſure I am that theſe few perſons are more eaſily bribed than many; theſe Courts are ground­ed upon humane invention, and contrary to the form of Govern­ment by Chriſt ſetled in his Church, whence followeth, that it be­ing not a way of Gods appointment, there are groſſe and many a­buſes committed therein, which being well known, I will obſerve19 only one of the chief, and this is Fines, it is very ſtrange that they ſhould practiſe that in the Church for which they have no pattern in Scriptures or Primitive Church; it is ridiculous that men ſhould pay money for their offences in the Church, it is ſacrilegious to make any trafique in the Church, and it is a great impiety to turn Church-cenſures into Fines, theſe practiſes are good for Rome, where all things are ſold, we are not the firſt that condemn it; Wickliffe lived long ago, and in the 17th. Article exhibited againſt him, he is charged to have written, that Chriſts Miniſters have no power by any civil (and leſſe ſpiritual coaction,) to exact temporal things by their cenſures, this godly man as he diſclaimed much againſt the pride, and ſo the uſurped ſuperiority of the Clergy, ſo he much inveighed againſt their covetouſneſſe and their ſpiritual Courts (which word is odious in the Church) and although the abuſe now adaies committed, be not ſo exceeding as then, yet it is as bad and as much to be con­demned, becauſe of the greater light we have now. And that which makes it the worſe, is, that theſe Fines are exacted from thoſe who do well; if a Miniſter doth preach within the Dioceſſe of a Biſhop without his licenſe, he ſhall be fined for it: Is not this to hinder the preaching of the Goſpel, and to reſtrain the liberty of it? We may hear what Wickliffe (whom God extraordinarily raiſed to op­poſe thoſe abuſes in his daies,) ſaith to it; in one of his Articles which in a Convocation held 1382. were condemned as erroneous; this is one; It is lawful for any Prieſt or Miniſter to preach the Word of God as without any licenſe from the Apoſtolick Sea (or Rome) ſo of any of her Catholick Biſhops.

Further a third grievance is, the preſſing of a Canonical Oath, ſo called, for no man ſhall be admitted to any place, or have his In­ſtitution and induction into any Living, except he hath ſworn obedi­ence to his Biſhop and pretended Superiors, and a conformity to the Canons of the Church, that is, to the Traditions, as they are called in the 39 Articles, a thing very tyrannical: this is not much different from that blind and abſolue obedience which Jeſuits do promiſe to their Superiors: Is there any ſhadow for this in Scripture? Did the Apoſtles impoſe any ſuch Oaths upon their fellow-Miniſters, the end whereof is to keep up this Diana Prelacy? Can this be confirmed from the practiſe of the Primitive Church? or is there any good rea­ſon for it? This, this is the Flag of Faction, and the Colours of ſelf ends and ambition; and although the clauſe (in lawful things) were added, it would be no leſſening of the burden, for the things therein20 ſworn, are accounted lawful, neither will they ſuffer a man to inquire whether it be ſo or not, without danger of forfeiting his place, and of being expoſed to the diſpleaſure of thoſe Reverend Superiors, whoſe excellent practiſes are plainly diſcovered, in turning out of the Uni­verſities, men eminent for Piety and Learning, who cannot in con­ſcience ſubmit to theſe Oaths, Ceremonies and Hierarchical Govern­ment, and conſtituting in their places men of corrupt and dange­rous practiſes and principles, who will infect the Fountains of Learn­ing with errour, hereſie, ſuperſtition and prophanneſſe.

From hence doth proceed another grievance, which is, that the ſubſcription of the 39 Articles is forced upon Miniſters thus far, as that they ſhall enjoy no Living unleſſe they do it, although they be igno­rant of the meaning of ſome Articles; for it hath clearly been proved they are ambiguous and defective, and the 36 is abſolutely falſe, where it is ſaid, that the Government of the Church by Arch-Dea­cons, Deans, &c. hath nothing repugnant to the Word of God, this a man cannot in conſcience ſubſcribe, for thereby they preſumptu­ouſly do belie Scriptures, this is the cauſe why ſome godly men did formerly prefer the loſs of all Eccleſiaſtical preferments to the wounding of their Conſciences, and to a ſubmiſſion unto that which is contrary to Gods Word.

It was therefore to reform theſe and many other abuſes, to ſtop the Floud of Atheiſm, Popery, errour, ſuperſtition and prophaneneſſe, that the ſacred Covenant was taken, it was high time to appear when ſome men did publickly and unpuniſhed deny the Deity of the Lord that bough us, when they aſſerted a ſound nature without original ſin, when they deſtroyed the grace of Chriſt, by eſtabliſhing certain conditional decrees, whoſe condition was in the power of mans will, when the Sabbaths were highly and ordinarily prophaned, in ſuch ſad daies it was need of ſome reſtraint, to which end the Covenant was taken, not by few inconſiderable perſons, but by the whole Nation repreſented in Parliament, by a Houſe of Lords and a Houſe of Commons, and this not raſhly but after a mature deliberation, and by the advice of as famous an Aſſembly of Divines as ever England had, or I believe ſhall, and this warrantable by the practiſe of the people of Iſrael, and of the 2 Precept of the Law of God, wherein implicitly is a command of promoting the worſhip of God in a true manner, and withal this Covenant being taken ſo ſolemnly, God be­ing called not only as a witneſs to the ſincerity of the heart of thoſe that took it, but alſo as an avenger of the perjury in caſe it ſhould21 happen, as he hath puniſhed it in thoſe who intended to raiſe their fortune upon the Ruines of that ſacred Engagement, I wiſh all thoſe that are ſo forward for the breach of it to remember the Five Kings who had ſworn to Ched••l••mer, Gen. 14. ſo Hoſhea to Salmanaſſer, 2 Kings 17. Zedechie to Nebuchadnezzar, 2 Kings 25. and Ezechiel 17. and of Saul and the Gibeonites: Let them bluſh at the Hiſtory of Regulus, a Roman Heathen, who having given his word to his Enemies that he would come again to them, though he knew that grievous torments were prepared for him, yet he return'd to diſcharge his Promiſe; let them take notice of Uladiſlaus and Amurat, and alſo tremble at their ſeveral Puniſhments, becauſe they had forſworne; Why do we ſo much condemn the Council of Conſtance, becauſe they decreed, that Faith was not to be kept to Hereticks: What ſhall we ſay of thoſe who will not have it to be kept to Orthodox men, may not to God himſelf, to whom the Covenant was ſworn: and, Can be that is Faithleſſe to God be true to men? Shall be that breaks his Covenant to the Lord, keep his Oath of Allegiance to the King? This holy Oath cannot be made void, except it be proved to be evil in its nature; Neither can it be proved to be evil, except it be reduced under ſome Precept of the Law, as contrary to it; This the Adverſaries have never undertaken to demonſtrate, rather we may ſhew here it is good to the ſubſtance, and to the End. Their objection of the KING's not conſenting to it is ſuperfluous, for every publick Oath hath a twofold Relation, one, a Civil, and the other a Spiritual: this Covenant is a compleat Law, for the two HOUSES gave it, and his Majeſty paſſed it, and took it: As to the Spititual Account it is the more conſiderable; and in this reſpect the conſent or diſſent of Perſons is but circumſtantial, for Oaths are a part of Gods Worſhip, God commanding the Fathers to teach their children to ſwear by his Name; as if having ſworn privately to a man to do ſuch a thing, whether I am not bound in conſcience to performe it, becauſe I did not ſwear before the Magiſtrate. It is indeed ſtrange that the Lawes of God ſhould be tyed to certain Cuſtomes of a Nation, ſo that the Oath which ſhall binde my Conſcience beyond Seas, as Holland, &c. the ſame Religious vow ſhall not binde me here; We know the Ceremonial Law was tyed to times, places, and Perſons, but the moral was not ſo.

Upon this point of the Covenant, a Declaration ſet forth in the year 1650. dated Dumferlen, is to be taken notice of, as expreſſing much Zeal and Piety, and they that would diſpenſe men from it became guilty of the Popes uſurpation, who undertakes to diſpenſe from Oathes, that is, to create a new Divinity, and to preach another Goſpel, but the truth is, they do it under hope of a Miter, or in expectation of ſome other ſuch Preferment, yet let ſuch peruſe Rom. 1.31. where they may finde Covenant Breakers reckoned amongſt the worſt ſort of men, and they who draw back from it do wound their Conſcience, give ſcandal to the Church, and become a ſcorn even to the Epiſcopal Party, who know, it is not out of affection, but out of an intereſt, thereby do triumph in their Inconſtancy: and further, thereby they loſe their Reputation, (if they have any) for they ſhew themſelves to be men of no Principles: But I muſt no longer inſiſt upon a matter which hath already been handled by ſome Learned men.

From the things aforeſaid it doth appear how greatly miſtaken are thoſe who ſay, that Presbyterians, and Epiſcopal men differ only in Indifferent and circumſtantial things. For if we conſider the debate about Ordination, whereby the Adverſaries go about to make the Reformed Churches beyond22 Seas, to have no true Miniſters, becauſe they are not ordained by Biſhops: if we finde ſome of that Party to be Arminians, if ſurther we take notice that they refuſe to be ruled by the Word of God in point of Diſcipline, not willing to admit to the Government of the Church thoſe whom Chriſt hath appointed to that end, then we will finde that the controverſie is about high and mighty things! It is an amazement to me to behold, how in their practice they are incorrigible under Judgments, and unthankfull under Mercies: they are not wiſer for the chaſtiſement of 20 years, they have been ſmitten, yet they return not to him that hath ſmitten them, neither do they repent of their evil deeds, Rev. 16. as pride, Ambition, Prophaneneſs, and Superſtition, they do not hearken to the voice of the rod, and who is it that ſent it, and for what. Now after that God hath raiſed them up again from the duſt, and even from the dead, they will not forſake their former practices, for the which wrath was poured upon them, but like the Dog they will return to their vomit, and like the Sow to her wallowing in the mire.

We do deſire the Settlement of the Church, nor in outward glory, and pomp, which are the expreſſions of an Adreſſe from Surrey, preſented August laſt, but in the purity expreſſed in the Word of God. It was a pious concluſion in the Council of Laodicea, That nothing ſhould be done in the Church, (even as to Diſcipline) except it were warrantable from the Word of God: yet Hooker in his Hiſtory doth ſay, That though there were many more ſuch Articles, he would not be conformable to them. Cyprian ſpeaking of the Apoſtles, and ſo applicable to all Miniſters, he ſaith in his Book de Ʋnitate Eccleſiae, They were all equal in honour and dignity: But the Epiſcopal Party ſo pertinaciouſly maintaining their pretended Superiority, do ſhew how much they differ from him. As to the right of the people in Church-Affairs, it is obſervable, that Bonifacius, he who obtained the ſupremacy from Phocas, and who thereby became uſurper over the Church, yet he was ſo knowing, as to the Right of the Church, that in a Synod of above 200 Biſhops, by him called, it was decreed, that nothing ſhould be done without the Votes and conſents of the people.

I know the Adverſaries do bring Examples of their Church-Government, from the Churches in Sweden, Danmark, Saxony, and ſome few parts of Poland, why? to dazle the eyes of a Reader, in making ſuch an enumeration: they had ſooner done, to have ſaid, the Lutheran Church, which they call the Reformed Church. I confeſſe it is ſo in ſome reſpect, but if we conſider their having Images in the Churches, which to defend, they take off the 2 Precept, if we take notice that moſt of their Service in the Church, as ſinging of Pſalmes, is done in an unknown Tongue, how they confound the property of both Natures in the perſon of Chriſt, as to ſay; that the Deity it ſelf ſuffered, ſo their Adminiſtering the Sacrament not with Bread, according to the conſtitution, but with Wafers, and there their Conſubſtantiation, as abſurd as the Popiſh Tranſubſtantiation; all this being conſidered, we will finde, that the Lutheran Church is none of the beſt reformed, and therefore to anſwer the Adverſaries in their way, we ſay, That Tranſylvania, part of Hungaria, moſt of Bohemia, the Palatinate under the Palsgrave, the Landgrave of Heſſen, and other parts in Germany, the evangelical Cantons of Switzerland, France, the United Provinces, and the Italian Churches, whereſoever they be, the Waldenſes, and Scotland. All theſe have their Church Government different from that which the Epiſcopal Party is here ſo much for: However we do not ground our Diſcipline upon ſuch Examples, as we do upon the Word of God.


But, Becauſe now there are endeavours uſed by Learned and Godly Perſons, to finde out a way of Reconciliation, I pray to the Lord, to open the Eyes of the Adverſaries, that they may ſee the truth, and yield to it, and ceaſe to prefer their own wayes, and intereſt to the wayes and intereſt of God, not refuſing to be taught by his Word: Whence will proceed a well grounded Peace: Or elſe, What peace as long as they ſhall admit of no Moderation, (For I heard ſome ſay, They knew not what I mean'd, by it?) What Moderation, as long as they will maintain their Primacy? wherein, if they perſiſt, we may anſwer them in a way not much different from that of Jehu to Joram, 2 Kings 9.22. only changing the word Whoredomes and Witchcrafts, into Pride and Ambition of Superiority. But if they are ſtill reſolved to go on, I will ſay in the Words of S. John, in the laſt Chap. of his Revelation, Let him that is filthy be filthy ſtill: Howſoever I make no doubt but that God will, in his due time, aſſert the Right of his Church, and vindicate it from all humane Inventions and tyrannical uſurpations by thoſe means, that ſhall be the more ſutable to the work, and moſt conformable to his Holy Will, For the Stone cut without hands ſhall grinde and cruſh all other Intereſts, contrary to that of Chriſt, wherefore we be confident that maugre all humane deſignes, Force, and Policy, and in ſpight of all Helliſh Conſpiracies the Council of the Lord ſhall ſtand.


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TextThe right of the Church asserted, against the povver usurped over it. By J. Gailhard, A.M. & D.
AuthorGailhard, J. (Jean).
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SeriesEarly English books online.
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Bibliographic informationThe right of the Church asserted, against the povver usurped over it. By J. Gailhard, A.M. & D. Gailhard, J. (Jean). [2], 23, [1] p. printed for J. Rothwell at the Fountain in Gold-smiths-row in Cheapside,London :1660.. (Annotation on Thomason copy: "Oct. 17".) (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
  • Church and state -- England -- Early works to 1800.
  • Church -- Authority -- Early works to 1800.
  • Church polity -- Early works to 1800.

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