PRIMS Full-text transcription (HTML)

AN APOLOGY FOR THE Diſcipline OF THE ANCIENT CHURCH: Intended eſpecially for that of our MOTHER THE CHƲRCH of ENGLAND: In anſwer to the Admonitory Letter Lately publiſhed.

〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Nazianz.
Ephraim feeds on winde. Hoſea 12.1.

By William Nicolſon, Archdeacon of Brecon.

LONDON, Printed for Willim Leake at the Crown in Fleet-ſtreet, betwixt the two Temple-gates. 1659.

THE COPY OF A LETTER Written by a Divine, A Friend of the AUTHOUR.

SIR,

I Thank you for the favour you did me in imparting thoſe papers to me, compoſed by our learned friend in de­fence of the Eccleſiaſtical Government, under which the Church of God hath liv'd ever ſince it was eſtabliſh'd by the Preachings Apoſtolical. I ſee and love his zeale, and ho­nour his learning, but am moſt pleaſed with his method and order of argument; for having proſperouſly defended and illuſtrated the Doctrine of the Church of England in his material and grave diſcourſes upon the Church Catechiſm, he does to very good purpoſes proceed to defend her Go­vernment; that as it already appears that her Doctrine is Catholike, ſo it may be demonſtrated that the Govern­ment of the Church of England is no other than that of the Catholike Apoſtolike Church; ſhe by the ſame way being truly Chriſtian, and a Society of Chriſtians, by which all Chriſtendome were put into life and ſociety, that is, became collective and united bodies, or Churches. And indeed they are both of them very weighty and material conſiderations; For more things are neceſsary to the being of a Church than to the being Chriſtian. Firſt, the Apo­ſtles preached Jeſus Chriſt and him crucified, and every day winning ſouls to Chriſt did adopt them into his Body, and joyned them to that Head; and there they had life and nouriſhment. But until their multitudes were much en­creaſed, they were no Body Politick; they were ſo many ſin­gle perſons; till the Apoſtles according to their places of abode, gathered them under one Paſtor, and they grew into Communion, and were faſtned to one another by the Ma­ſters of Aſſemblies. This Government with the altera­tion onely of ſome unconcerning circumſtances hath conti­nued in the Church of God; and the Church of England was baptized by it at the ſame time it was baptized into the faith of Chriſt; onely of late ſome endeavours have been to rifle this Government, and to diſsolve her being a body Politick, and almoſt reduc'd her onely to the being Chriſtian; which becauſe it ſeemed alſo to be in ſome danger, Being and Unity having ſo near relation to each other, I ſuppoſe it very adviſedly done of him firſt to do what he thought fit for the ſecuring the Doctrine, and then by the method A­poſtolical proceeding to the immuring of that Doctrine by the walls and towers of Government, and I finde he hath done it well. His arguments are grave and cloſe; not florid, but preſſing; his obſervations choice, his〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉and little by-diſcourſes pleaſant and full of inſtructions, his refutation ſharp and true; his returnes pertinent; and no­thing trifling but his adverſarie; who, becauſe he ſpeaks but weak things, miniſters not occaſions worthy enough for this learned man to do his beſt. But he hath made ſupply (I perceive) and by taking little occaſions by the hand, he hath advanced them to opportunities of handſome diſcour­ſings; and to my ſence, hath to better, more full, and ex­cellent purpoſes than any man before him, confuted the new faſhion of Congregational and gathered Churches; which muſt now needs appear to be nothing but a drawing Schiſme into Countenance and Method, and giving a warranty to par­tialities; it is a direct crumbling of the Church into mi­nuits and little principles of being, juſt as if the world were diſſolved into Democritus his dreame of Atomes, and minima naturalia. Every man loves Government well-enough, but few of the meaner ſort love their Governours; eſpecially if they think themſelves wiſe enough to governe; for then they are too wiſe to be governed. Now this Inde­pendant or Congregational way ſeemes to me the fineſt compendium of humouring and pleaſing all thoſe little fellowes that love not, that endure not to be ſubject to their betters; for by this meanes a little Kingdome and a royal Prieſthood is provided for every one of them; a Kingdom of Yvetot; and ſome had rather be chief but in a garden of Cucumers, and govern but ten or twenty abſolutely (ſo they do) than be the fifth or the twentieth man in a Claſſis, or in­conſiderable under the Apoſtolical and long-experienced go­vernment by thoſe Superiours which Chriſt by himſelf, and by his Spirit, and by his bleſſing, and by his provi­dence, and by the favour of Princes hath made firme as heaven and earth, never to be diſsolved, until the Di­vine Fabrick of the houſe of God it ſelf be ſhaken.

I pray give my ſervice to the good Man; and I do heartily thank him for my ſhare of the book, by which I have already had ſome pleaſure and ſome profit, and hope for more, when my little affairs will give me leave ſtrictly to peruſe every unobſerved page in it. When I onely heard of it, I was confident he would do it very well; and now I ſee it is ſo very well done, and in that grave judicious manner, if you had not told me, I ſhould have been confident it had been his, Vox hominem ſo­nat. I pray God that he may finde encouragement ac­cording to the mertt of his labours; and acceptance ac­cording to his good intentions, and that his book may not receive its eſtimate according to the cheap and vaſt numbers of others, but according to its own weight. The ſtrength that was put to this would have reſiſted a ſtron­ger adverſary, but it could not readily have ſupported a worthyer cauſe; and becauſe I beleeve it was done with as much charity as learning, I hope it will have the bleſ­ſings of God, and of the Church, and the peace of all good men. I onely have this to adde further: I wiſh that this worthy man would enter into no more warre but a­gainſt the open enemies of mankinde; that he would di­ſpute for nothing but for the known Religion of Jeſus Chriſt, that he would contend for no intereſts but the known concernments of the Spirit in the matter of good life, which is the life of Religion; and my reaſon is, not onely becauſe I finde that he calls his adverſary Bro­ther, and it is not ſo good that Brethren ſhould con­tend; but becauſe men are wearied with diſputes, and the errors of this or any age, after the firſt batteries and onſets by the Church, are commonly beſt confuted by the plaine teaching of poſitive truths and the good lives and the wiſe governments of our Superiours; and after all, I be­lieve that though he does manage this conteſt prudently and modeſtly, yet the ſpiritual warre againſt direct im­piety he would manage much more dexterouſly and proſpe­rouſly; and for his auxiliaries he would be more confi­dent of the direct and proper aides of the Spirit of God. This is very well, and he will I doubt not ſtill do bet­ter, when a more concerning argument is managed by ſo excellent a hand. Sir, be pleaſed when the Book is printed (in caſe you think it fit, and that it be appro­ved by authority) to ſend me a Copie of it into the farre diſtant place of my retirement; that I may be recreated with the worthieſt productions of my friend; for it will be inſtruction and refreſhment too, to

Your very loving friend and Brother J. T.

TO THE Reader.

THe Prince of peace knows who bequeathed peace as his laſt Legacy to all his followers, that I am not a man of contentions, or have loved to ſtrive, this being the firſt time that ever I ſet pen to pa­per in a conteſtation with any man. And to this kinde of any other I have been moſt averſe, be­cauſe I have found by experience in falling upon, and paſſing through the controverſies Theological, the ardour of devotion hath been abated, and many hours that might have been better ſpent in piety, and the ſtudy of neceſſary fundamental doctrines, ſurreptitiouſly ſtollen from me. When therefore I had ſet up my reſolution to meddle no more with the Polemicks, I was awaked by an importunate Letter, in which finding many foul aſperſions to be caſt on my Mother, or rather the Catholick Church, (I mean not the Romane, for I never did, nor do acknowledge her to be worthy of that name) in whoſe ſteps the Reformed Church of England hath troden in her Doctrine and Diſcipline legally conſtituted, I thought my ſelf bound according to my Talent to vindicate her in her conſtitutions.

If any man ſhall ſay this needed not, it having been ſo of­ten, ſo vigorouſly done by abler pens; yea, and confirmed to be wiſely conſtituted, by the diſtractions and diviſions which have fallen upon it, ſince thoſe foundations have been ſhaken and removed by aery brains, then which there cannot be a ſtron­ger plea for the neceſſity of that Diſcipline which is here oppo­ſed and vilifyed: I muſt confeſſe this is true, and that by all wiſe and ſober men, our Mother hath gained hence thus much advantage, thatPlus colitur, placet, atque viget, laudatur, amatur.

Yea, and her greateſt Adverſaries, were they unbiaſſed, might come to know quae recta ſunt, although Athenian like for ſome reaſons, they are all for news, and therefore facere nolle.

Yet being provoked I held my ſelf bound to anſwer, yea, though I did but ſay over again thoſe things which Wiſe, Learned, Pious men had ſaid before me; for I intended not to impoſe upon my Reader, which is uſual, by obtruding that for my own, which indeed I have but borrowed from other men. Eaſie it had been for me to vary phraſes, and in other words ſo to have dreſſed up the judicious determina­tions of the Learned before me, (who have in this diſcourſe ſaid ſo much that little can be added) that men might have attributed ſomething to me. But neither the ſubject upon which I was to write would ſuffer it, nor yet mine own in­clination. For ſuppoſe I ſhould magiſterially deliver the ſelf ſame truth as from my ſelf with thoſe Worthies; yet when were I able to do it with the ſame vigour and eloquence? how could an equal credit be given to my words, as to their grey hairs, and impartial relations of Church-practice, who were eye-witneſſes of what they have delivered? Beſides, it more ſharply ſtrikes the mind, and more deeply ſeizes upon the underſtanding, and wins belief ſooner, what the Pillars of the Church have left to us in their Monuments, then what I or Cluvienus ſhall ſet down. And this is the reaſon, that where I found any thing oppoſite, either in Ancient or Mo­dern Divines, I have expreſſed it in their own words, and not in ſuch as I could eaſily have diſguiſed. And in this I have followed the judgment and authority of the graveſt men, who have taught me, that in eo laborare quae ſemel rectiſſimè dicta ſunt, nova orationis forma enunties, intempeſtivae eſt oſtentationis. Moller, praefat. in Pſalm.Therefore whatſoever the Reader ſhall ob­ſerve in this Apology ſpoken to the point in hand, I deſire he would not attribute it to me, but to thoſe who have la­boured before me upon that ſubject, whoſe Diſciple I wil­lingly profeſſe my ſelf to be, and a Pigmy upon their ſhoulders. Only if the Reader ſhall find their allegations more aptly and vigorouſly applyed and preſſed home, or more perſpicuouſly opened and cloſely laid together, or ſome de­fects here ſupplied, and looſer diſcourſes fortified, I have my aime.

This Apology had not appeared in publick, had not the pub­lication of the Admonitory Epiſtle call'd it forth. For my in­tent in it was firſt to ſatisfie my friend that ſent it, an old ac­quaintance, though alwayes of a diſſenting judgment, which yet I hoped had been better bottomed: and then to put into the mouths of my brethren of the Clergy (to whom I underſtood the Copy was ſent as well as to my ſelf) what to reply. But when I found it abroad, I conceived my ſelf bound to let the World know what might be returned to the imputations; for I conceive to the conſiderate Reader they will appear no more, after he hath peruſed the Reply.

So fairly I have dealt with the Admonitor, that I have not here and there catched at pieces, or taking any advantages by wreſting any expreſſions in the letter; But deduced the whole into parts, and the parts into ſeveral paragraphs, and reſolved every paragraph into diſtinct propoſitions, framed in the very words of the Letter, which the writer cannot deny to be his own aſſertions, and annexed a ſeveral anſwer to them, that ſo the Authour of the Admonitory ſhould not complain that any wrong is done him, or his ſenſe miſtaken, as is uſual among Liti­gants in this kind: And I hope withall I have ſo demonſtrated the Truth, where the matter was capable of a demonſtration, that there wil be left no more juſt cauſe to wrangle. And my hope is in part confirmed by this, that the firſt part of it being ſent to the Authour of the Admonitory more than ſixteen months ſince, it received no return; which gives me juſt occaſion to ſuſ­pect it is not ſubject to any notable exception. The other two parts have lien by me ever ſince that was ſent; and that they were not made companions with the firſt, ſome reaſons there are, which I hold it not neceſſary to make known.

From any bitterneſſe of language (though ſometimes juſtly provoked to it) I dare ſay the frowardſt adverſary will acquit me. Sarcaſms you ſhall meet with none, Aſtîſmi now and then; and that cannot be imputed; for it was the honour of Socrates, the graveſt and wiſeſt of the Philoſophers, that he was〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉What Tully ſaid of old age, cannot be diſliked in any ſtile, ſeve­ritatem in ſenectute probo, acerbitatem nullo modo. That ſharpneſs which having over-much of the ſowre will diſtaſte, being brought to a right temper pleaſeth the palate, and provokes the appetite. Reader, it was the Authours purpoſe ſometime to delight thee, but moſt of all to edifie, informe, confirme thee, which if it may be effected, he hath his end. For it is my hearty prayer that a period may be ſet to this wrangle, and that we may all turn to the way of truth and peace.

Farewel,
W. N.
1

A KEY to open the Debate about a Combinational Church, and the power of the KEYES. The firſt Part.

THE chief point of the Controverſie lies in this, to know in whoſe hands the power of the Keys ſhall be, or rather who ſhall be the Prime ſubject of the Keys.

Of this I finde three opinions. Cotton, Burton, Goodwin, Nye, Aſſert the name. Bayly, p. 132. The firſt defend­ed by the Independents or Combinationals. A ſe­cond defended by the Presbyterians; and a third by the Prelates.

1. The Combinational Churches are divided in this point; for ſome ſeat power in the whole Congregation ſo ſoone as aſſociated in Covenant, even before they have any Officers. Others after the Officers are choſen ſettle it in them alone. A third even then conjunctim, make the whole body the ſubject of the Keys. Which of theſe, or whether any of theſe is like to be true, will appear if we conſider theſe two or three things.

1. That the Presbyters and Ruling-Elders cannot be the prime ſubject, is apparent, becauſe that the Keys were ſeated in ſome, before they were in them, if you be conſtant to your own principles; For how came they to be Elders and Rulers? were they not created by the power of the Keys? and who created them? was it not they who did elect and ordaine? The prime power then muſt be in the electors and ordaiers, not in the elected and or­dained, whence it will follow inevitably, that the Ruling Elders are not the prime ſubject of power; for a power there is which precedes theirs.

2. After Election and Ordination, they, viz. Ruling Elders cannot be ſo neither, becauſe it is your common Tenet, that the Congregation may again upon diſpleaſure reſume the Key, Depoſe, Excommunicate, caſt out2 their own Elders, which they could not do, were they not the prime ſubject of the Keys, and authority primarily in them.

3. But if you ſhall ſay, that conjunctim, people and Elders together are the prime ſubject, this cannot be neither. Becauſe before they are thus con­joyned, the Electors and Ordainers had the true eſſence of a Church (as you teach) both for matter and forme, though they had no Officer nor Elder, and then muſt radically and originally be inveſted with this power in the firſt combination, without any reflexion on this conjunction. So that as they are an organical Church heightned by Rulers and Elders, it makes them not the prime ſubject of the Keys, for this you ſay they had before.

That the people diviſim without the Elders and Rulers are not the prime ſubject of this authority, I prove in this Tract demonſtratively. I onely here adde, that the power of the Keys conſiſts in binding, looſing, preach­ing, adminiſtring Sacraments, &c. which till you can prove to be in the people originally, I ſhall never yeeld the power to be originally in their hands.

The difficulties are ſo many, and the ſubtleties ſo nice among you in this diſpute, that they have forced your fineſt heads, Robinſon, Cotton, Goodwin, Norton, to invent ſo many diſtinctions, diviſions, ſubdiviſions, that a man muſt needs think himſelf in a maze that reads them; the〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉of the Schoolmen, which you ſo much complaine of, are exceeded by you. And yet when all's done, by theſe you could never yet ſatisfie your own party, and therefore expect not to ſettle others. It ſhewes you are in a La­byrinth, and would faine help your ſelves out by the ſmall threads of theſe prettily invented diſtinctions. In a word, that there are very many knots and objections, to which your Tenet is liable. For you know that all di­ſtinctions were invented to give light to that which is very perplexed, in­tricate, dubious, ambiguous, and aeuivocal.

2. That this your aſſertion is mainly denied, oppoſed, battered and beat down by the Presbyterians, I need not tell you, or that they deny the the Congregation to be either conjunctim, or diviſim, the prime ſubject of the Keys, and ſettle it upon the Elderſhip primò, immediate, adaequatè Fi­nalitèr & objectivè; they will grant you that the whole Church is the ſubject; but autoritativè & formalitèr, they place it in the Guids, or Presbyters without a Biſhop. And of this opinion Rutherford is an〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. But he runs into the ſame inconvenience with your Rabbies. For to make his thoughts good, he hath ſo many nicities, ſo many new-coined diſtinctions of power, of the Church, of I know not what, that he is able to confound any Reader, and indeed drives on the point till he becomes almoſt unintelligible. Is not this think you a rare device in him and in yours to finde out a Truth, and ſettle a conſcience about Church-govern­ment?

3. The Pelates are oppoſite to both, they deny the Congregation con­junctim or diviſim to be the firſt ſubect of the Keys: They deny the Preſ­byterian Elderſhip to be the prime ſubject of Church power. And they place it under Chriſt in the Apoſtles, and their ſucceſſors; and for this3 they plead our Saviours promiſe, Matth. 16. and his donation, John 20. They plead again the Apoſtolical practice extant in the Scriptures, Acts 8.17. Acts 14.23. 1 Tim. 4.14. 1 Tim. 5.22. 2 Tim. 1.6. Tit. 1.5. and again the perpetual practice of the Catholick Church ever ſince: accord­ing to that of Jerome, Decretueſt toto ore, ut unus è Presbyteris ele­ctus ceteris ſuperponeretur, which teſtimony I have at large afterwards cited and opened at full.

This is the ſtate of the whole queſtion, and which of theſe is likelyeſt to be moſt true, I ſhall leave it to the unbyaſſed Reader to judge after he hath read over this Treatiſe.

In nomine Domini,October 29. 1656. & ad honorem Ieſu Christi & ipſius Ec­cleſiae, ad veritatis aram haec offero. An anſwer to the Admonitory Letter. The words are theſe. SECT. I.

Reverend Sir,

THat the glorious God who is the giver of all grace as well as of every good and perfect gift, would never be weary of conferring on you, or of continuing in you, or yet of encreaſing by you, thoſe real and rich gifts and graces, which he out of his good will and meere goodneſſe was pleaſed to indue and adorne your precious ſoul withal: for the due and daily uſe and exerciſe whereof his maine aime and uttermoſt end was his own ſer­vice, and your own ſolace to traine you up higher in holineſſe and happi­neſſe (as I am hopefully perſwaded in my very heart) then moſt of your companions, or acquaintance, kindred or countrey (and that at the leaſt) by the head and ſhoulders;1. An humble motion for you. is one of thoſe motions with which I have fre­quently and unfainedly found my ſelf moved (and that as I truſt from the higheſt heavens) for to make unto the hearer of prayers, and the granter of requeſts. This motion is my humble motion for you.

Tbe Anſwer to the firſt Section.

AMong thoſe different kind of prayers the Apoſtle mentions and en­joyns, Interceſſion is one. 1 Tim. 2.1.That therefore you are pleaſed to in­tercede for me at the throne of grace, is an act of piety and charity, and I heartily thank you for it, and deſire the continuance; and I beſeech the hearer of prayers, and granter of requeſts, to hear and grant to us both a clear underſtanding, a ready will, obedient affections to embrace the naked Truth, as it ſhall be manifeſted unto us, all partialities and ſacti­ons, or inclination to any parties being ſet aſide. For thus much I may aſ­ſure you, that I am of a peaceable and docible diſpoſition. Peaceable, and4 hate contention and wrangling, well knowing that pruritus litigandi eſt ſca­bies Eccleſiae,Eccleſ. 12.12. it cooles devotion, and animates faction. I verily beleeve he is the leſſe Chriſtian, that knows beſt to wrangle. There is no end of ma­king many books, eſpecially of Controverſie. For of theſe there is no end ei­ther for ceſſation or profit. None for ceſſation, becauſe the parties intereſſed either through ſelf-love or pertinacy, rarely are by the moſt forcible argu­ments drawn to retract what they have once maintained. None for profit, be­cauſe the contenders are ſeldome bettered or made more religious, would I might not ſay far worſe, more fierce and of alienated affections. This needs no proof, ſince it is too apparent in the encounters of all ſides, whether for Papiſtry, Prelacy, Presbytery, Independency, &c. The Writers pens are for the moſt part ſteep'd in gall, of which tart juice I promiſe you, you ſhall not taſte one drop, it being ſo contrary to my nature, whom the Dove that deſcended on our Saviour hath embued with mildneſſe and a ſtudy of peace. And as I am inclinable to peace, ſo I am very docible alſo. Wax is not eaſier to receive an impreſſion, than I am the ſeale of truth, but then it muſt be made evident unto me either by plaine and expreſſe Scripture, or elſe by ſome demonſtration and deduction evidently drawn from thence, for o­therwiſe I muſt remaine where I was. This becauſe I finde not in your diſcourſe, my judgement is not upon it altered. The words I finde in it ma­ny, the arguments and proofs in it very few. 'Tis a pretty Narrative, not any demonſtration; pardon me therefore if I yeild not.

The gifts and graces you take notice of in me, I freely and openly ac­knowledge are farre ſhort of your conceit; they cannot ſwell me but hum­ble me, being laid together with my imperfections; and were it not parti­ality in you, you might behold them farre more eminent in many of my companions and acquaintance. But your friendly minde hath preſented me unto you as an object through a miſt, which makes it ſeeme farre bigger than indeed it is. Yet your errour of love ſhall not make me beleeve I am a gyant, when I am but a Pigmee, and ſo rich in grace, goodneſſe, ho­lineſſe as you intimate, being conſcious to my own defects. However I am what I am,1 Cor. 15.10. and I hope his grace which is beſtowed upon me is not in vaine. My talent I received from him, to him I acknowledge it, and give thanks for it,Epheſ. 4.12. and I ſhall endeavour to employ it to that end it was given, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the miniſtry, for the edifying of the body of Chriſt. Hic labor, hoc opus. And it is my griefe, that I am forced to wrap it up in a napkin, and me thinks it ſhould breed in them ſingultum cordis, that have forc'd me to it. But no more of this. It follows in your Letter.

SECT. II. The words of the Letter.

THat you would call to remembrance, and alſo ſeriouſly conſider and lay to heart what (I in the judgment of rational charity am bound5 to conceive) you cannot chooſe but know, by what Chriſt did reveale to you, and by what you did likewiſe receive from Chriſt: namely how our God in covenant hath thought meet to conſtitute three ſeveral ſorts of vi­ſible Churches, and no more to be owned and acknowledged as his, to be founded and found ſucceſſively on earth from the beginning of the world to the end of the ſame.

Anſwer.

OF what you write in this paragraph in general, I am not now to conſi­der, to wit, what hath been the external government of Chriſts Church from the beginning to this day. And how farre I agree with you, will by and by come to be examined. But in the meane time let me put you in minde that theſe words [God hath thought meet to conſtitute three ſeveral ſorts of viſible Churches] are improper. For the Church of God, before, under, after the Law, was but one in eſſence and being; ſo we be­leeve One Holy Catholick Church, the bonds of whoſe unity are extant, Epheſ 4.4, 5, 6, 7. Let then the external government be what it will, yet this cannot conſtitute three ſeveral ſorts of viſible Churches, becauſe di­ſtinction of ſpecies muſt proceed from internal principles, not from extrin­ſecal accoutrements. This then is not properly expreſſed. But if you mean, as I hope you do, That the viſible Church of God hath had a different kind of regiment and exiſtence, one from the beginning under the Patriarchs to Moſes, another from Moſes to Chriſt, and a third from Chriſt to the end of the world, I aſſent to you. And I ſuppoſe your meaning to be this, by your words which thus follow:

Whereof the firſt was Oeconomical or Domeſtical; the ſecond the National or Judicial, and the third was the Presbyterial or a Combinational Church.

Reply.

In the general I told you I aſſent to you, but about the particulars I ſhal offer unto you ſome conſiderations, eſpecially about the firſt and the laſt.

1. You ſay the two firſt, viz. the Oeconomical and Judicial Church continued of a ſpace of time alotted to each of them of two thouſand years or near about. Here you are not ſo exact in your Chronology as you ought, for the firſt continued longer, and the laſt fell ſhort, as Junius hath given us the accompt, and other Chronologers diſſent not much from him. For the Oeconomical Church continued two thouſand five hundred and ten years, and the Judicial and National one thouſand five hundred and two onely, if you ſet the period at Chriſts aſcenſion; but if at the final over­throw of Jeruſalem by Titus, one thouſand five hundred forty two. For then it may be better ſuppoſed was the abolition of the Ceremonial Law, when the Scepter was utterly departed from Judah; and now your words will6 run ſmoothly on, in this laſt and third kinde of Church Government every child of man, that is an ingenuous child of God, and a conformable member of Chriſt, either really hath for the preſent, or elſe earneſtly longs and deſires to have for the future both a name and a naile according to what is pro­miſed to the beleeving Gentiles, and was performed to the beleeving Jews, Iſa. 56.5. Ezra 9.8. ſuch a naile was Eliakim the Type of Chriſt, Iſa. 2. An hearty motion to you.22.23. Upon this you move me to ſpend ſometimes a few of my morn­ing thoughts, maturely to peruſe, ponder and apply what is by you ſet be­fore my eyes, and propoſe to my conſideration. And I aſſure you I am not now to begin to do it; for I could preſent you if I pleaſed with many ani­madverſions on this ſubject many years ſince collected. I am not ſuch a ſtranger in Iſrael to be ignorant of theſe things, which are obvious to any one that hath been converſant but meanly in the Scriptures; however for your monition I thank you. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

SECT. III. The Letter.

NExt you begin to enlarge upon your diſtinction: and move firſt, That ſome others (especially ſuch of yours whom it may more nearly concern to be well ſeene and skill'd therein) may have made known unto their ſouls by your (that is my) ſelf (how and where you ſhall ſee cauſe and think fit) that the firt viſible Church, &c.

This motion I embrace, and it ſhall be perform'd. But whom you note out by ſuch of yours I know not. If you meane thoſe of my own Order, I know many of them as well if not better ſeene and skill'd in theſe things already than my ſelf, ſo that this were operam & oleum perdere, however they ſhall have notice of it. But if you meane of the common ſort, it hath been ſo often inculcated by me into them, that to do it again is actum agere.

Yet by the way, give me leave to intimate, that I am not pleaſed with the phraſe [Such of yours] for it ſeemes to me to be diſtinctive, and a­mong Proteſtants I never liked theſe pronowns, Yours and Ours, they border too near upon ſeparation, which I would not have amongſt us, who are all one in Chriſt Jeſus. Phil. 3.15.We may in ſome things think otherwiſe, and yet be­long to the ſame fold. God in his good time will reveale the Truth; away then with theſe termes of diſtance Yours and Ours. Now I proceed with your words.

The Letter.

The firſt viſible Church which was conſtituted by the wiſe Builder there­of was a Domeſtical Church, being outwardly guided and governed by the firſt borne of the family, who were types and ſhadowes of Chriſt Jeſus in the ſeveral houſes of profeſſing Saints: and did continue from Adam and Abels dayes to the time of Moſes and Aarons pilgrimage in the wilder­neſſe of Sin: as doth plainly appear to all that do deliberately weigh both7 what is expreſt, and what is neceſſarily implyed in Gen. 4.4. compared with Exod. 12.7.

Anſwer.

IN the ſubſtance I agree with you; But I pray take it not ill, that I cleare up ſome expreſſions that may be miſtaken.

1. You ſay the firſt viſible Church is Domeſtical, and did ſo continue from Adam to Moſes. That at firſt the diſcipline and government of the Church began and continued in certaine families, cannot be doubted, but that it ſo continued till Moſes dayes, is not eaſie to conceive, becauſe as fa­milies multiplied, there muſt be a multiplication of theſe Chuches, as there was of houſes, whence it will follow that every eldeſt ſonne muſt be King and Prieſt in his own houſe; and then what will become of the pre­rogative of the firſt-borne,Gen. 27.29. who during life was to be Lord over his bre­thren?

Better therefore I conceive it is to ſay, that this reglement was Paternal, and that all the ſeveral families were to depend on him durante vitâ, both for inſtruction and diſcipline. For while the firſt father liv'd, he was, 1. a Prophet to teach. 2. A Prieſt〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to ſacrifice, intercede, to bleſſe and give thanks. 3. A Prince to rule and puniſh. Thus Adam as a com­mon father guided the Church for nine hundred and thirty years. Seth the ſonne of Adam was his fathers aſſiſtant for five hundred years, and taught his children who were then the Church to call on the name of the Lord,Gen. 4. and continued that charge one hundred and twelve years after his fathers death. Enoſh did the like to Seth, and all the heirs of the promiſe to the fathers. God alwayes ſtirring up the ſpirits of ſome excellent men to preach in his Church, while their fathers yet liv'd and guided the number of the faith­full; as for example, Enoch that propheſied three hundred years,Gen. 5.22. 2 Pet. 2.5. Gen. 5.27. firſt under Adam, and after under Seth, in whoſe dayes he was tranſlated. So Noah a preacher of righteouſneſſe began under Enoch, and held on for ſix deſcents, till the year the flood came, the very year his grandfather Methuſalem died. I would call theſe then extraordinary and immediate Prophets, raiſed up by God to inſtruct his Church during the time of their fathers principality and prieſthood.

Noah after his grandfather Methuſalems death govern'd the Church for three hundred and fifty years, and left the reglement to Sem, who ſucceeding his father in the Covenant, and adopted into the dignity of the firſt-borne, govern'd the Church one hundred fifty and two years after his father, even till Abraham was dead, Iſaac dimme, and Jacob fifty two years old, and therefore might be the Melchizedech,Gen. 14. Heb. 7. the Prieſt of the moſt high God. The next that ſucceeded Sem was Jacob by Gods eſpecial choiſe too, Eſau having ſold his birth-right. As for Abraham and Iſa­ac, they could not lay claime to thee rights of primogeniture, Sem being yet alive. Call'd indeed Abraham was, and promiſed to inherit it, but poſſeſſed of he was not, becauſe Sem out-lived him, he therefore8 is called a King, and the Prieſt of the moſt high God. In Jacob this primo­geniture was eſtated, among whoſe ſonnes God divided the honours and dignities of Sem,1 Chron. 5.1. appointing the Scepter and ſeed to Judah, the Prieſthood to Levi, the double portion to Joſeph, which never were again conjoyned in any but in Chriſt Jeſus the onely Prieſt that ever ſucceeded according to the order of Melchizedech.

By whom the Church was after Jacobs and Joſephs deceaſe governed in Egypt, is not ſo certaine, but very probable it is, that it was done by the fa­thers and heads of the twelve tribes, over which I conceive Judah was the chief,Gen. 49.8. according to the tenor of Jacobs bleſſing, Thy fathers children ſhall bow down before thee. The ſumme of this is, that when the people of God increaſed and multiplyed into a Nation, and diverſe Nations for ought we know, as before the flood they did, and when after the flood they did the like, it is not ſo proper to call it a Domeſtical Church that was ſo farre extended. And if the inſtruction thereof was Domeſtical becauſe every father was to teach his houſhold and off-ſpring: yet the government thereof was Paternal; He that was ſet over the reſt being to be a father to the reſt, and to performe all Natural, Civil, and Eccleſiaſtical offices to them, and they again to do all duties to him by which they are bound by the fifth Command, Honour thy father.

2. Your next words are, that this Domeſtical Church was guided and governed by the firſt-borne of the family]. But this muſt be underſtood with a graine of ſalt; for this though for the moſt part, yet is not alwayes true; for what will you ſay to Abel who was younger then Cain? to Sem younger brother to Japheth? as Junius intimates in his notes, Gen. 5.32. and proves, chap. 10. verſe 21. which is therefore thus dubiouſly rendered by our Tranſlatours. Unto Shem alſo the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children borne. What will you ſay to Jacob? to Ruben when his primogeniture was loſt? Neceſſary then it is, that you limit your words, that they carry this ſenſe. God did conſecrate the firſt-borne of the family, as holy to himſelf, to be Prieſt in his Church, and increaſed their dignity with this princely prerogative, that they ſhould be Lords over their brethren, and honoured by their mo­thers children, as ſucceeding their fathers in the government and prieſt­hood; unleſſe they were rejected from that honour by Gods ſecret counſels or manifeſt judgements, and others named by God himſelf to ſuſtaine that charge. Thus the clauſe is clear, and true.

3. Againe you ſay that theſe were types and ſhadowes of Chriſt Jeſus in the ſeveral houſes of profeſſing Saints]. What then is every profeſſing Saint a King, a Prieſt, a Prophet in his own houſe? This I dare not aſ­ſent to, and I hope you will not; there were no more words to be made of a Presbyterial Church if this were true: for every man might officiate at home, and need not ſubject himſelf to any Presbytery; he might baptize, adminiſter the Sacrament, &c. being authoriz'd by this Type. I ſhould rather then ſay that theſe were types and ſhadowes of Chriſt Jeſus who is the King, Prieſt, and Prophet in his Church, and yet executes all theſe9 offices for her good and ſalvation, then make them types of profeſſors in their ſeveral houſes, who nor may nor can ex officio undertake theſe functi­ons. It follows,

4. As doth plainly appear to all that do deliberately weigh what is ex­preſſed, and what is neceſſarily implyed in Gen. 4.4. Exod. 12.7.

Theſe texts I have deliberately weighed, and finde not in them, neither expreſſed, nor yet neceſſarily implyed what you produce them for; In Gen. 4.4. I reade, that Abel brought the firſtlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof, and the Lord had reſpect to Abel and to his offering; but can any man either expreſſely or by neceſſary implication ever prove from hence, that the firſt viſible Church was a domeſtical Church, or that it was go­verned by the firſt-borne of the family? that they were types and ſhadows of Chriſt Jeſus in the ſeveral houſes of profeſſing Saints? Or that this Church did continue from Adam and Abels dayes to the time of Moſes and Aarons pilgrimage in the wilderneſſe? That Abel ſacrificed to God, that the offering he brought was of the beſt, that God reſpects, loves, and is reconciled to the perſon before he accepts his gift and ſervice, may eaſi­ly be collected from hence. But I cannot diſcerne which way to deduce from this text any of the former propoſitions. This text you compare with Exod. 12.7. When I thus reade, and they ſhall take of the blood, and ſtrike it on the two ſide poſts, and on the upper door poſt of the houſes wherein they ſhall eate it: An injunction I finde here concerning the uſe of the blood of the Paſchal Lamb, but not a ſyllable that can be drawne to your purpoſe. But the beſt is that what you ſay for the ſubſtance, is ſo clear in the book of Geneſis, that no man need queſtion it. Let the miſtake be but notified, and we agree, and therefore I proceed.

SECT. IV. The words of the Letter.

THe Chuch of the ſecond ſort was a National Church, conſiſting meerly of Jewiſh perſons, and their Proſelytes for its members, who were inſtrumentally enlightned and led by the Prieſts and Levites, as their ordinary Miniſters; the which kinde of Church-government laſted among them from the life of Moſes to the death of the Meſſias, and no longer, as it is exceeding plaine and cleare to any one that can finde in his heart adviſedly to compare the ſeveral teſtimonies of the Old and New Teſtament together, which will contribute pregnant light to this particular point; ſuch as are Exod. 19.6. Num. 8.10. Deut. 7.7. with Gal. 4 9, 10. Coloſſ. 2.14.17. and Heb. 7.12.

The Replication.

THe ſubſtance of this Paragraph is agreed on alſo. To wit, that the Jews with the Proſelytes were a National Church, taught and led ordinarily10 by the Prieſts and Levites; extraordinarily by the Prophets; and when they ceaſed, and the Urim and Thummim, God ſpoke ſometimes to us ſo by the Bath Col, or ſilia vocis. And that kinde of government began with Moſes, and ended at the death of the Meſſias, or a little after, as I hinted before, and rather encline to think. For I am ſure actually till then it did not, howſoever it ought to have done, Chriſts death upon the Croſſe put­ting an end to all the rites and ſacrifices of the Ceremonial Law.

Many things I could here obſerve about their Proſelytes, their Prieſts and Levites, their whole government, which yet I paſſe by, as not ſo neceſ­ſary to the preſent queſtion. One thing onely give me leave to tell you, that ſome of theſe texts are not ſo concluſive to your purpoſe, as you con­ceive. For firſt out of that of Exodus, that the Jews were a holy Nation and people, will eaſily be deduced, and as much may be ſaid of the Chri­ſtians, is as evident, if you compare the place with the firſt of Peter 2.9. for to this place of Exodus I make no doubt the Apoſtle alludes, when he affirmes of the Chriſtian Church, that it is a choſen generation, a royal prieſthood, an holy Nation, a peculiar prieſthood, &c. I would gladly know why I may not out of theſe words as well conclude a National Church of Chriſtians, as you do out of the other a National Church of Jews and Proſelytes. And then your National Church will not be proper to the Jew­iſh State, but communicable to the State of Chriſtianity alſo.

2. Out of Heb. 7.12. you conclude rightly that the Prieſthood being chang'd, there muſt be a change of the Law, that the Ceremonial Law of Moſes was quite aboliſhed, no more ſacrifices to be offered, legal purifi­cations to be obſerv'd; no nor dayes, moneths, times, years in a Jewiſh ſenſe to be kept up, Gal. 4.9, 10. In a Jewiſh ſenſe I ſay; for this is plaine Galaticari. Tertul.But to prove from hence, as you uſually here do, that no feaſts may be obſerv'd by Chriſtians, was never meant by the Apoſtle. Compare the text with Col. 2.16, 17. and you ſhall finde that theſe were ſhadows of good things to come; ſhadows, and then they muſt point out a body, and that was Chriſt;Amrſ. Medul. lib. 2. c. 15. p. 16. under Chriſt then the ſubſtance of theſe rites muſt be looked for; and here give me leave to put you in minde of a rule of Ame­ſius, Feſti dies anniverſarii, novilunia, & ſumiles inſtitutiones, quae merè ceremoniales fuerunt, aequitatem iſtam generalem in ſe etiam continent, & adhuc uos docent certos quoſdam & accommodatos dies cultui publico aſſig­nari debere. But of this more afterward.

That place you produce from Col. 2.14. ſpeaks home to your purpoſe, and I ſhall endeavour to give a further light to it. Thus the Apoſtle begins, verſe 13. And you being dead in teſpaſſes and ſinnes, and the uncircum­ciſion of your fleſh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all treſpaſſes, blotting out the hand-writing of ordinances that was a­gainſt, us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nail­ing it to his Croſſe. In which words three things are to be obſerved. 1. The miſery of man. 2. Who freed him from it. 3. The manner of his freedome. His miſery was that he was in treſpaſſes and ſins, and uncir­cumciſion of the fleſh. He who freed, was God in and by Chriſt, quicken­ing,11 pardoning; it was a work of power and mercie; for to raiſe to life and quicken is an act of power; to pardon and forgive, of mercie, which was gratuita, & univerſalis; free, for it is〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, of free grace then; and univerſal, for it is〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, all treſpaſſes. 3. And then follows the manner, Blotting out the hand-writing. A bond or hand-writing is that act which paſſeth betwixt a Creditor and his Debtor; that put caſe the Debtor ſhould be ſo impudent as to plead non factum, the creditor might have his owne ſeale, act and deed to produce againſt him. This God had againſt man; it was contrary to him; but now through Chriſt it was blotted out, it had no power to condemne, it was taken out of the way, it had no force to keep God and man aſunder, it was nailed to the Croſſe, torne in pieces, thruſt through with nailes, faſtened openly there, and as it were proclaimed publikely that it was cancelled. And in this all Interpreters agree. But what this Chirograph or hand-writing was, they agree not. For ſome re­ſtraine it to that bond which Chriſt made with Adam, Of every tree of the garden thou mayeſt freely eate,Gen. 2.16.17. but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou ſhalt not eate. Others to that Covenant and ſtipulation which the Jews made with God, All that the Lord hath ſpoken we will do. Exod. 19.8.Which they did not, and therefore it was Chirographm contra. A third ſort to that command, Thou ſhalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, &c. To which command the conſcience within bears witneſſe, non dilexi; and this is alſo Chirographum contra, this makes againſt us. The laſt ſort re­ferre theſe words to the Ceremonial Law, to whom you encline, and I do not decline; for the Ceremonies of the Law might very aptly be called Chirographum contra, in that Circumciſion denoted, that our fleſh was pol­luted in the very birth; the then waſhing and purgations, that we had con­tracted ſpot and filth; and the Sacrifices that we deſerved to dye; which of theſe ſenſes to fix upon I know not; I ſuppoſe it beſt therefore to take in all, for I am ſure all was nailed to the Croſſe, all blotted out and taken out of the way; whether the curſe that fell upon us by Adams diſobedi­ence, or that guilt we contract by breach of our vowes, promiſes, or un­dertakings with God, or that horror that ariſeth from an accuſing conſci­ence, or our original and actual pollutions for which we ought to die. I pray pardon this digreſſion; the richneſſe and comfor of the text drew me into it. After I ſhall ſpeak cloſer to the point, to which indeed now you come, and I ſhall follow you.

SECT. V. The words of the Letter.

ANd that the Church of the laſt and longeſt conſtitution was a Preſ­byterial or Combinational Church, whoſe commendable opinion and practice (and that without any ground of contradiction in the beſt judge­ment12 of unbyaſſed beleevers) it is quietly and cordially to ſubject the ear­thy, erring and unruly will of every creature therein unto the heavenly, infallible, and uncontrolable will of Chriſt: who peremptorily wills and enjoynes all his profeſſed ſubjects, and profeſſing Church-members to be indoctrinated and diſciplined by the preſcribed miniſtery of theſe Presby­ters or teaching and ruling Elders that are of their own voluntary electi­on and regular ordination. Whoſe office-extent reacheth from Chriſts aſcenſion to the Creations diſſolution: as is witneſſed by what is written, Acts 6.5. & cap. 14.23. Rom. 12.7, 8. 1 Cor. 12.8, 28. Epheſ. 4.7, 14. Rev. 4.6. & 5.6. & 19.4.

3. A harmleſſe motion by you.And here you make this harmleſſe motion by me, That you would re­ſolve (in time whoſe you are, and in whoſe hand your life and whole time is) to reveale and manifeſt unto ſome of yours, ſomewhat at leaſt of that much, which the loving and liberal Lord, and lender of pounds and ta­lents did ſee good to commit to the care of your conſcience. This is a third motion, which I was ſtirred up to ſpread before you. This motion is my harmleſſe motion by you.

Reply.

I Do very willingly embrace this motion, and becauſe I account you in the number of thoſe you are pleaſed to call [ſome of yours] I ſhall begin with your ſelf, and reveale and manifeſt (according to the talent which my good Lord hath beſtowed on me) to you firſt what I judge of this Section, after of the reſt. And that the truth may the better appear, I proceed to anſwer methodically; I ſhall reduce your diſcourſe to theſe propoſitions, and after examine them. Of which the firſt is,

1. That the Church of the laſt and longeſt conſtitution was a Presby­terial or Combinational Church.

2. That the commendable opinion and practice of this Church is quiet­ly and cordially to ſubject the earthy, erring, unruly will of every creature therein to the heavenly, infallible and uncontrolable will of Chriſt. This propoſition is ſo certain, that it needs no diſpute or proof. Onely I ſhall enquire whether you have performed it.

3. That Chriſt peremptorily wills and enjoynes all his profeſſed ſubjects and profeſſing Church-members to be indoctrinated and diſciplined by the preſcribed Miniſtery. None will deny this but Quakers. Neither do I well ſee how Itinerants can readily yield ſo much.

4. That this preſcribed Miniſtery muſt conſiſt of Presbyters, or teaching and ruling Elders.

5. That theſe Presbyters, teaching and ruling Elders muſt be of the profeſſing members own voluntary Election, and regular Ordination.

6. That their Office-extent reacheth from Chriſts aſcenſion, to the Cre­ations diſſolution. This is granted in a right ſenſe.

7. And for all this you bring your proofs out of the Scripture, Acts 6.5. Acts 14.23. &c.

13This is the Analyſis of the whole, and I deſcend to examine it by the parts, and ſhall open the Scriptures as I conceive they referre to the pro­poſition.

Propoſition 1. That the Church of the laſt and longeſt conſtitution was a Presby­terial or Combinational Church.

THat the Church you meane, viz. the Church of Chriſt is to be laſt, is eaſily granted; but whether to be the longeſt or no, is more than you or I, or any man elſe can tell. But to let this paſſe. Hic opus eſt Oedi­po; for I conceive not well the ſenſe of your propoſition, becauſe you phraſe it Presbyterial, or Combinational, ſince theſe two by the contend­ing parties are made Diſparata, and then muſt really differ. I know not therefore what to make of this; Or whether it be here a Diviſive or an Explanative particle. If you make it Diviſive, then it ſeemes not to agree with your following words; for you know that thoſe of the Presbyterial Church, though they will allow your profeſſing members liberty to elect, yet they ſtoutly, and with open mouth decry their power to Ordaine: and you allow the Church you ſpeak of to do both. If you make Or Expoſitive, then it can but onely declare the ſenſe of the former word Presbyterial, and will be farre from your intent, which is, if I miſtake not, that all the profeſſing members of a Church be combined in a Church Covenant, which you know the Presbyterial Church will never admit. For although Presbyters can be content to be in their own ſenſe Covenanters, yet they abominate to be in a Church-Combination; and again, though the Church combiners will joyne in a Church Covenant, yet they will not yield to be Presbyterial Covenanters.

Theſe Diſparata then are not hanſomely coupled in this place, neither can I gueſſe at any other intent you have in it, except it be to Umpire be­twixt the two parties, by finding out a Church that ſhould be both Presby­terial and Combinational, which hitherto the heat of zeale would never ſuffer the learnedeſt of both ſides to do. For the Presbyterians condemne your Combination by a Church Covenant as a Chimera, a fancy, a novel­ty, a meere humane invention, contrary to Chriſts Ordinance, and de­ſtructive of all Church power: And the Combiners on the other ſide, judge as harſhly of the Presbyterian Elderſhips in the whole reformed Churches, as of the Prelacy: nay and worſe too, if Baſtwicks words be true, which he hath in the Poſtſcript of his ſecond part, page 6. viz. The Presbyterial government not ſuiting with the humour of the Independents, they abhorre it, and all ſuch as endeavour to eſtabliſh it, and wiſh rather that the old trumpery were brought in again, and profeſſe they had rather have the government of Prelates. That which follows I forbear, that I of­fend not. Thus Baſtwick; which if true, 'tis not poſſible that a Presbyte­rial14 and a Combinational Church ſhould be all one as you ſeeme to make it. And therefore you muſt forgo one of the termes, and make it onely Presbyterial, or onely Combinational, if you will ſpeak intelligibly in this queſtion. But I ſhall make the beſt ſenſe I can of your words, and in order ſpeak to them both. And firſt of the Presbyterial Church which you call alſo Combinational, upon what ground I know not; for I meet with neither of theſe Epithets fixed to the Church of Chriſt in the Scriptures, nor in any antiquity. The firſt of theſe is new, and and the ſecond naught; for I never read of a Combination in a good ſenſe. Why can we not ſpeak as good Chriſtians have done before us, and call it the Chriſtian, Catholick, and Apoſtolical Church, but muſt pleaſe our fancies with theſe new termes of Presbyterial, or Combinational?

Act. 20.28, &c. Col. 1.24. and 13. Act. 11.26. Epheſ. 2.20.I often read in the Scriptures of the Church of God, and that this Church is the Body of Chriſt, the kingdom of Chriſt; to whom becauſe it was united by faith it was called Chriſtian. And that this Church was built upon the foun­dation of the Prophets & Apoſtles, Jeſus Chriſt himſelf being the chief corner ſtone. Whence it was called Apoſtolike. And again that this Church is Totum integrale,Ameſ. medulla. lib. 1. c. 31. Sect 19. of which the parts quae totum integrant, are all ſeveral and particular Churches diffuſed in all Nations, in all places, at all times, whence it was called Catholick. But of a Presbyterial or Combinational Church I hear not.

Good Sir, conſider how harſh it ſounds to ſtile Chriſts Church the Preſ­byters Church, and the number of the Profeſſors that are united by faith to Chriſt, to be combined in I know not what. But now I ſhall take into conſideration theſe termes ſeverally, and firſt I will begin with the laſt.

1. A Combinational Church. The firſt Author whom I meet with, it is Ameſius, and he defines it to be Parochialis, vel unius congregationis, cujus membra inter ſe Combinantur;lib. 1. c. 39. Sect 22. cap. 2. Sect. 4. there's your word, & ordinarie conveniant in uno loco ad publicum religionis exercitium. This your Synod at Cambridge in New England, choſe rather to call Congregational; for the word Inde­pendent they like not, (though I ſee no cauſe of diſlike, if the particular Congregations muſt not depend one of another, but remaine in full liber­ty, as Ames delivers in the ſame chapter, Sect. 20. & 26, 27.) And thus you there define this Congregational Church to be a company of Saints by cal­ling, united into one body by a holy Covenant for the publick worſhip of God.

But I pray you tell me what needs this combination by a ſecond Cove­nant? would not the firſt in Baptiſme have ſerved, if heeded and kept, to have done all this? and it ſeemed it did, by the very text your Synod pro­duces to prove it, Acts 2.42. For the Penitents and beleevers pricked to the heart by Peters ſermon, gladly received the word, and were baptized, and continued ſtedfaſtly in the Apoſtles doctrine and fellowſhip, and in break­ing of bread, and in prayer, &c. where we read of their Baptiſme, and con­tinuance in Church-fellowſhip, and in the duty of that fellowſhip; but that this is done by a combination, a confederation or holy Covenant, a Vow,15 other than that made in their Baptiſme, we read not.

2. And indeed it needs not; for what is it that Profeſſors can binde them­ſelves unto by Covenant, when they are admitted into the Congregation, that they have not in their Baptiſme bound themſelves to before? Whether you ſhall conſider the Myſtery, the Form, or the end.

1. In Baptiſme for the Myſtery there is an Indument, and a ſtripping,Rom. 13.14. Gal. 3.27. which the ancient Church reduced to two words, Credo, Abrenuncio: In the firſt there is the putting on of the Lord Jeſus Chriſt: For as many as are baptized have put on Chriſt. Firſt, as Lord, acknowledging no other Ma­ſter, whoſe voice to hear, whoſe doctrine to rely upon, but onely his. Se­condly, as Jeſus, aſſuring themſelves, that there is no other Name given under heaven whereby they may be ſaved. Thirdly, As Chriſt, as well their anointed King ſubmitting themſelves to his will: giving their names in to fight under his banner, and ſwearing themſelves his ſubjects: As al­ſo their anointed Prieſt, reſting in his one ſacrifice as the onely ſufficient; in his ſole interceſſion, as the onely powerful. Secondly, In the Abrenun­cio, or ſtripping part, they renounce and forſake the Devil,Gal. 5.20. and all his works, the pompes and vanities of the wicked world, the ſinful luſts of the fleſh, among which are all Hereſies and Schiſmes.

2. For the forme it is by our Saviour appointed in the name of the three perſons of the indiviſible Trinity, and ſo it is performed; neither of Cephas the ſirnamed Rock, nor of Paul a great Apoſtle. Mat. 28.19. 1 Cor. 1.13.The reaſon wherof you may read in my expoſition of the Church Catechiſme, page 172, 173.

3. For the end, they which are baptized are thereby made the ſonnes of God by Adoption and Grace, inveſted with an inheritance everlaſting:Gal. 3.26. Rev. 1.5. Mal. 1.11. Rom. 12.1. Col. 3.5. made Prieſts to God, to offer and ſlay: To offer that mundm oblationem, pure offering, or living ſacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is their reaſon­able ſervice, viz. the cleane and unbloody ſacrifice of prayers and thankſ­giving: and then to ſlay themſelves, mortifying their affections and luſts.

Yea but men may be minded of all this by a new Covenant, and upon a ſecond engagement made more watchful to keep their firſt vow. Be it ſo, for this alſo the Church had provided, without this ſeparating combination, when ſhe ordained, that all baptized children when they could ſay their Catechiſm, ſhould be brought to the Biſhop to be Confirmed, which order; were it in uſe, and reſtored to its original purity, the wrangle about the formality of a Church, Covenant, and collecting of members might be quieted and compoſed; There being in Confirmation the ſubſtance of what is ſo much and ſo hotly contended for, and that farre better grounded and bottomed than any new device can be, as I ſhew you in my Catechiſme, page 6.

Thirdly, This Elogy you give to your Combinational Church, that it is their opinion and practice quietly and cordially to ſubject their earthy, er­ring, and unruly wit, to the heavenly, infallible, and uncontrolable will of Chriſt.

That ſo it ſhould be I confeſſe and deſire; but how it is we ſee and feele16 ever ſince the Combination. But what now is this but an opinion, and onely commendable? I thought it had been neceſſary, & de fide; that it muſt be ſo, and could not be otherwiſe. For Opino is eutis vel non e­tis. You ſhall have it in Ameſius words. Aſſenſus ille qui praebetur ve­ritati contingenti propter rationem pracipuè probabilem ab intellectu appre­henſam,Medulla. 1. Theſ. de fidei divina unitate. opinio vocatur. The truth muſt be contingent and probable onely, of which a man retaines an opinion; it may be, it may not be; if no other reaſon can be produced for it, but a Topical. But that all men muſt ſub­ject their earthy will to the heavenly Will of Chriſt is ſo certain, that it cannot be denyed by any good Chriſtian: Hereafter let it paſſe then for ne­ceſſary, and let it be a principle of faith, which is more than o­pinion.

2. But you go on and ſay; This hath been the commendable practice of your Combinational Church. But here you muſt give me leave to think; for if I would ſay what I know, I ſhould fetch blood and perhaps pay for it too. Your Combination was for the worſhip of God, and that cultus naturalis inſti­tutus, Ameſius ſo divides it; the principles of the firſt are faith, hope, charity; the acts, hearing of the Word and Prayer, under which is an Oath: Of the laſt, Gods preſcribed Will or his Word. This is the Rule; but whats become of the practice? I will not meddle with your faith, which yet you know in many of your Combinational Churches is not ſound, nor in the Socinians, nor Antimonians, nor in the Browniſts, Familiſts, nor the Anabaptiſts, nor the Quakers, nor the Singers. Theſe youle ſay are not of you, but are gone out from you; yet you cannot deny, that theſe are Combinational Churches. The practice then of all the Combinational Churches is not commendable in Gods worſhip in this reſpect. Your hope may be great, but I fear it may be preſumption, when the foundation of faith upon which it ſhould be built is ſo uncertain and tottering. As for the charity of your party in general, I finde it dying ratheruite dead; chari­ty teacheth a man to love his neighbour as himſelf: charity to be juſt, and to do to all men, as he would all men do to him; Amongſt your Com­binational Churches, what's become of this charity, this juſtice? Religi­ouſly obſervant a man may find divers of you of three of the Command­ments of the firſt Table, but of the third, your practice ſhews you make little accompt; and as for the ſecond Table, he who ſhall lay to heart your actions, muſt needs conceive that you eſteeme it but for a cypher. I will no farther rake into this wound. I wiſh you had not given me occaon to do it, when you affirmed that it was the commendable practice of your Com­binational Church to ſubject their earthy, erring and unruly will quietly and cordially to the heavenly, infallible, and uncontrolable will of Chriſt, to which I finde their practice ſo contrary. I pray preſſe me not for in­ſtances, for I am reſolved not to give theyou. but if you are deſirous to be ſatisfied of the opinions and practice of the Combinational Church I aime at, be pleaſed to reade a book written by Robert Baily a Scot, entit­led, A Diſſwaſive from the Errours of the times, Printed in London, 1645. and publiſhed by Authority. Where he makes a large Narrative of17 the opinions and practices of your Churches in New-England; and whe­ther he ſayes true or no, you can beſt judge, becauſe you were upon the place. If true, all is not gold that gliſters.

2 A Presbyterial Church.

THis is your other Epithet, and I ſuppoſe you mean by it a Church to be governed by Presbyters. The word〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉is equivocal, and therefore till it be diſtinguiſhed, nothing can be concluded from it.

1. Presbyter in the Old Teſtament properly belongs to the Elders of the people, either in a common notion, or as members of the Sanhedrim: not any body or perſons peculiarly Eccleſiaſtique, Numb. 11.16. Nay,Godw. ant. l. 5. c. 1. it is diſtinguiſhed from it; for in the Civil Conſiſtory the Judges were called Elders; in the ſpiritual prieſts, Matth. 21.23. & 26.3. The chief Prieſts and Elders of the people are named as two diſtinct Conſiſtories, though Voſſius, Doctor Hammon, Downham and Weames admit not this diſtinction.

2. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉in the New Teſtament ſometimes, but rarely, is taken in the ſame ſenſe as in the Old. But moſt commonly it is attributed to an Order of Eccleſiaſtiques, whether in a higher or a lower Order and de­gree.

3. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉is by the maintainers of the Congregational and Con­ſiſtorial Church taken for a mixed company of Lay men and Eccleſiaſticks, to whoſe government they ſuppoſe the power of the Keys is committed, and this they call the Presbyterial Church; and if I am not deceived, of this you ſpeak in this place.

But againſt this I affirme, that there never was any ſuch Presbyterial Church before Calvin, and to that purpoſe I here propoſe, and hope to make good theſe Propoſitions againſt any opponent.

1. That there muſt be government in the Church.

2. That Chriſt inſtituted this government, and Governours for it.

3. That this government muſt be perpetual.

4. That the Apoſtles were thoſe Governours for the time; and for per­petuity, their Succeſſors appointed by them.

5. That their Succeſſors were Biſhops in Name and Office.

6. That for the execution of this Office Chriſt gave to the Apoſtles the Keys, and they to their Succeſſors onely.

7. That this power conſiſted in Ordination and Juriſdiction, and there­fore that they onely could ordaine, and juridically proceed.

8. That at firſt the Apoſtles, and after the Biſhops, did both without a Presbytery.

9. Yet that by the Apoſtles a Presbytery was inſtituted in ſome Church­es, who were Eccleſiaſtiques onely.

10. That yet none of theſe Presbyters were Biſhops, but aſſiſtants onely, being diſtinct from them.

11. That this Presbytery without the Biſhop, could not uſe the Keys.

1812. That no Lay-man was of the Apoſtolical Presbytery, nor no Lay-man after for 1500. years.

13. That at firſt the people elected not any Church-Officer.

All theſe Propoſitions will require much time to be made good. I ſhall now therefore omit the demonſtration of them, and go on to you fourth and fifth Propoſition, where I ſhall uſe ſome of them.

Propoſition 4. Viz. That this preſcribed Miniſtery muſt conſiſt of Preſ­byters, or Teaching and Ruling Elders.

THe ſubject of this Propoſition is the preſcribed Miniſtery, and it hath two Attributes. 1. The Presbyters. 2. Teaching and Ruling Elders, and both muſt be diſtinctly conſidered.

1. The preſcribed Miniſtery conſiſts of Presbyters. If by Presbyters you mean Presbyters in the ſecond acception, as it comprehends thoſe of an higher and thoſe of a ſubordinate degree, this part of your propoſition is moſt true, and it ſhall be granted you. But if you exclude the Biſhop pro­perly ſo called, I abſolutely deny it. For the Apoſtles were Biſhops, Mat­thias elected〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Acts 1.20. There you have the Name, and accordingly the Fathers of the Church called them Apoſtolos, i. e. Epiſcopos. Dominus Elegit,Cyprian. Epiſt. 9. lib. 3. Cyprian. They had the power of the Keys promiſed, Matth. 16.19. Matth. 18.18. and actually eſtated on them, John 20.23. In theſe texts you have the power which lay in juriſdiction and ordinati­on. In that was the office. The Apoſtles were then in Name and Office Biſhops.

This is performed in the ſe­cond part.I will give you a breviate of what I could ſay at large for the firſt Go­vernment of the Church. I finde onely in Scripture mention of three Church-Officers, Biſhops, Presbyters, Deacons.

1. The higheſt function which was Epiſcopal, the Apoſtles reſerved to themſelves for ſome time, and that for three reaſons. At firſt there were but few convicted,Acts 14.27. 1 Cor. 16. whence their labour was imployed in turning the firſt Key, in opening the dore of faith, that great and effectual dore; and all the helps they could make either by Prophets, Evangeliſts, Coadjutors, Paſtors, Do­ctors, Planters, Waterers, to this purpoſe was little enough. But none of theſe qua tales, were Biſhops. 2. After the converſion of Jews and Gen­tiles, yet in many Churches they yet ſetled not a Biſhop; firſt, becauſe a Presbyter fit for a Biſhops office, is not ſo eaſily found; it is Saint Pauls rule, that〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Epiphan.a Novice, one newly come to the faith, be not made a Biſhop. Secondly becauſe while the Apoſtles remained in or near any place, they reſerved the power,1 Tim. 3.6. there being no need of Biſhops; The Apoſtles for that time ſupplying the wants of thoſe Churches, either with their pre­ſence, letters, or meſſengers, as the cauſe required. 3. And yet there is a third reaſon; The Apoſtles ſuffered the Churches to make a trial what equa­lity19 of many Governours would do; but when they found the fruits thereof to be diſſenſion, and that every one would be maſter, parity and plurality breeding diſſenſion and confuſion, they committed the Church to one. I ſhall ſet you down this in Hieromes words,Hieron. Com. in Epiſt. ad Titum. even in thoſe very words which are produced againſt Biſhops. Idem eſt Presbyter quod Epiſcopus, & au­tequam diaboli inſtinctu ſtudia in religione fierent, & diceretur in popu­lis Ego ſum Pauli, ego Apollo, ego Cephae, communi Presbyterorum con­ſilio Eccleſiae gubernabantur. Poſt quam vero unuſquiſque eos quos bapti­zabat, ſuos putabat eſſe, non Chriſti, in too orbe decretum eſt, ut unus de Presbyteris electus ſuperponeretur cateris, ut Schiſmatum ſemina tolle­rentur. Haec diximus & oſtendims eoſdem fuiſſe Presbyteros, & E­piſcopos, & ut Epiſcopi noverint ſe magis conſuetudine, quam Dominicae diſpoſitionis veritate Presbyteris eſſe majores, & in communi debere Eccle­ſim rege e. I have recited theſe words of Hierome at full, becauſe in them there be many thngs clearly for me, and ſome other paſſages ſeemingly a­gainſt me, to which I will give light.

Note here then firſt the cauſe of the Biſhops creation. 1. The cauſa〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or occaſion, was factions and Schiſmes; and the end, that Schiſmes might be taken away: ſo his words are, cum diceretur ego Pauli, &c. ut ſchiſmata tollerentur. Secondly, The time when the Biſhop was or­dained, old enough; for it was in the Apoſtles dayes; for then it was ſaid ego Pauli ego Cephae, &c. 1 Cor. 1. a ſufficient authority I ſuppoſe for the Biſhops inſtitution: it muſt needs be granted Apoſtolical if it began then. Thirdly, this inſtitution was Decretum, and pray ſay, who then could decree except the Apoſtles; or durſt decree without them. Fourth­ly, that this Decree was generally aſſented to; for Decretum eſt toto orbe, it muſt be then Apoſtolical and Oecumenical. Fifthly, now conſider the words of the Decree, ut unus de Presbyteris electus ſuperponeretur caeteris. Rev. 2. & 3.1. It is Unus, it is One, not many, that the care of the Church might eſpe­cially belong to one. Chriſt directs his meſſage to the Angel individually of ſuch or ſuch a Church. 2. He muſt be Electus, of whom Hierome ſaith not, (of that more anon) but I dare ſay conſidering the time of which Hierome ſpeaks, it was not without the conſent of the Apoſtles, if not by them. 3. Note out of whom he was to be elected; it was de Presbyteris, and I ſhall prove unto you after that they were no Lay-men. 4. Ut ſuper­ponerentur caeteris. He was to be ſuper over the reſt, whether Clergy or Laity, and that not onely in preheminence, honour, and dignity, but in power of juriſdiction alſo; for otherwiſe how could the end be obtained here aimed at? how could Schiſme be reſtrained and removed? Thus far you ſee what makes for me; and now I ſhall clear up, what ſeemingly makes againſt me in this teſtimony.

1. The fiſt words ſeeme againſt me. For Hierome ſaith, Idem eſt Preſ­byter quod Epiſcopus. But he can meane no more than that the Biſhop is ſometimes called a Presbyter. The Names then may be common, that's true, but not the Office. Now the Office conſiſts in Ordination and Ju­riſdiction, as I ſhall by and by make appear. That Presbyter and Epiſcopus20 was Idem ordinatione, and conſequenly in Office, Jerome could not meane, except he ſhould contradict himſelf;Hieron. ad E­vagium. Ordination he reſerves to a Biſhop, and debarres a Presbyter from it. Quid facit Epiſcopus, quod Presbyter non faciat, exceptâ ordinatione? Mark, the mood is potential; He may not do it, He may not meddle with Ordination, for that ſure belongs to the Biſhop in his own judgment. In this power then the Identity lies not. 2. He muſt then meane in Juriſdiction, and that this is his meaning, is appa­rent, by thoſe words Communi Presbyterorum conſilio Eccleſiae gubernabantur, which your ſide catch at too, as making for the preſent Ruling Presbytery, as indeed at the firſt ſight they may, but throughly lookt into, nothing at all. I will ſhew you where the miſtake lies. Firſt, in the word Presbytery; for yours apply it to the whole Presbytery, Lay and Clergy, whereas Hierom as is manifeſt, ſpeaks onely of the Eccleſiaſtique; for it is of the Presbyte­ry that was before or when thoſe Schiſmes reigned. Secondly, he ſaith gu­bernabantur in imperfecto; and when was that? in the Apoſtles dayes; for then in a Church that had a Presbytery without a Biſhop, put caſe at Co­rinth, or had a Presbytery with a Biſhop over them, as at Jeruſalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Epheſus, it is moſt true Communi Presbyterorum conſilio guber­nabantur, the Presbyters were admitted in partem ſllicitudinis. It can­not be denied that the Apoſtles ordaining theſe Presbyters, had power in themſelves, and might have governed durante vita, alone retaining the power; when then they gave any power to others, it was deligated; for I hope they loſt none of their power in giving Orders. Whence it will fol­low, that the Presbyters when admitted in ſome acts of Juriſdiction with the Apoſtles, cannot challenge a right of governing affixed to their Order, qua Presbyteri, becauſe they did aſſiſt in ſubordination and dependencie. That the Apoſtles aſſumed theſe Presbyters in acts deliberative and conſiliary to aſſiſt firſt at Jeruſalem, Acts 15. was a meer voluntary act, from which ex­ample that it was derived to other Churches, will not be denied; and hence the laſt clauſe of Jeromes words will be moſt clear, Noverint epiſcopi ſe magis conſuetudine Eccleſiae, quam Dominicae diſpoſitionis veritate Presbyte­ris eſſe majores, & in communi debere Eccleſiam regere. For by the Commiſſion Sicut miſit me Pater, given to the Apoſtles, and in them to their ſucceſſors onely, they could not challenge it. It may well, proceed­ing from the voluntary act of the Apoſtles, be called an Apoſtolical Tradi­tion and Ordinance; but in ſtrict termes Dominica it was not, nor Dominicae diſpoſitionis veritas, according to Jerome.

2. But if this ſenſe of Jeromes words like you not, I ſhall yet offer you another; At firſt, as I ſaid, the Presbyters by delegation from the Apoſtles with common advice and equal care guided the Church under the Apoſtles; but after Biſhops were appointed, the whole care by little and little was de­rived to one, and ſo at laſt by cuſtome Presbyters were utterly excluded from all advice and counſel, and Biſhops onely intermedled with the regi­ment of the Church. This indeed grew onely by continuance of time, and not by any Ordinance of Chriſt, or his Apoſtles; this Jerome diſlik'd, and to that purpoſe he fixes his Noverint Epiſcopi, &c. And that this is likelieſt21 to be Jeromes meaning in that place, his following words ſhew, Imitantes Moyſen, qui cum haberet in poteſtate ſolus praeſſe populo Iſrael, 70. elegit cum quibus populum judicaret. The Biſhops then ought to do as Moſes did. What, to have Governours equal? No, but when they might rule alone, to joyne with them others in the fellowſhip of their power and ho­nour, as Moſes did. Moſes did not abrogate his ſuperiority above others, but took ſeventy Elders into part of his charge. So Jerome would have them. And thus much the King was content to grant, and reſtore, as you may read in his book cap. 17. about the middle. I ſaith he, am not againſt the managing of this precedencie and authority in one man by the joynt councel and conſent of many Presbyters; I have offered to reſtore it, &c. You ſee of what Presbyters I am content the preſcribed Miniſtery ſhall con­ſiſt, and what Presbytrry I ſhall allow you.

2. Or Teaching and Ruling Elders.

HEre again your words are dark. For if by〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Elders, you meane thoſe in Orders, I ſhall readily admit them to the Church mi­niſtry, whether Teaching or Ruling. But if you intend under theſe words to introduce into the Miniſtry either to teach or rule men, that are not of the Clergy (ſo you know we ſpeak, and ſo I muſt ſpeak for diſtinction ſake, for elſe I cannot be underſtood in this queſtion) I abſolutely deny it.

For there was never any Lay-man ex Officio, admitted to teach ordinari­ly in Scripture; called and ſent he muſt be before he did undertake to preach. So the Apoſtle intimates,Rom. 10.15. How ſhall they preach except they be ſent? If any be gifted, I ſhall allow him ex debito charitatis, privately and charitably to make uſe of his talent, to exhort, to reprove, to admoniſh; but publikely to divide the Word of God, and to teach, I may not admit him. For as a man muſt have inward endowments, gifts, and ſufficiencie, ſo he muſt have an outward calling before I ſhall call him a Teacher in the Church of God. And I hear you are not againſt me in this.

2. But about a Ruling Elder, I fear you and I ſhall differ; for in your Presbyterial Churches, you admit into that number thoſe who are not of the Clergy. Many of your Presbyters being meer Lay men. Of the Texts you hope to prove it, I ſhall conſider anon. And here about theſe Ruling El­ders I ſhall deliver my mind. 1. Negatively. 2. Poſitively.

1. Negatively. That Ruling Elders in the Church were never Laicks. Presbyters we read of, and Presbyteries in the Apoſtolical writings, but none Lay. This negative will be proved as all other negatives are; that is, by the contrary affirmative. Theſe Ruling Elders were alwayes of the Clergy, and conſequently no Laicks: for you know dae contrariae propoſitiones non poſſunt ſimul eſſe verae. I ſhall therefore ſhew you what I have to ſay of Ru­ling Elders.

2. Poſitively. The Keys Chriſt gave to his Apoſtles, and they to their Succeſſours; and with them ſo much power as was ordinarily of permanence22 and perpetuity in the Church, which power conſiſted in four particulars; the Diſpenſation of the Word, the Admniſtration of the Sacraments, Im­poſition of hands, and guiding of the Keys. With the three fiſt I hear not that Ruling Elders of the Laity undertake to meddle; and if they ſhall lay claim to the laſt, they muſt ſhew when and where any ſuch donation was made over unto them; otherwiſe, I ſhall call it an uſurpation. The con­trary is clear in the promiſe, Tibi dabo claves, and in the performance, ſi­cut miſit me pater, ſic mitto vos; quorum peccata remiſeritis, &c. Let it be ſhewed that any Laick here had any Key, any power made over unto him, or that the Apoſtles ever made any deſignation of it to a Lay hand, and you ſhall for me carry the cauſe.

Well then, to whom did they aſſigne it? That is clear to me in the Scri­ptures, to the Biſhops that they ordain'd. I ſhall inſtance onely in two, Timothy and Titus; the one at Epheſus, the other at Crete, ordained by Saint Paul; though if you would believe Ancint Records, I could name you many more. James the brother of our Lord Biſhop of Jeruſalem; Mark at Alexandria; Clemens at Rome; Euodius at Atioch; Polycarp at Smyrna; Dionyſius at Athens; Caius at Theolonica; Archippus at Coloſſi; Epaphroditus at Philippi; Antipas atergamus; Creſcens in Galatia; Soſipater at Iconium; Eraſtus in Macedon; Silas at Corinth; with others; all which if there be any credit to be given to Od Rcords, were ſet by the Apoſtles themſelves to be the Ruling Elders of the Church.

But perhaps you'll ſay theſe were chief in their own Churches reſpective­ly, but they had their Presbyteries and Presbyters to govern with them. Well, be it ſo, for in ſome it is evident it was ſo; Yet it lies upon you to prove, that thoſe Presbyters were Lay-Elders; for otherwiſe I ſhall preſume to the contrary, becauſe I finde it othrwiſe in the Churches of Epheſus and Crete, where Timothy and Titus were Bſhops, and in all the Churches where I read of a Presbytery.

That it was thus at Epheſus, is beyond all exception. For Timothy was there ordained by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery. 1 Tim. 4.14.I hope you will not ſay, that Tmothy was made the chief Paſtour there, by the impo­ſition of any Lay-hands. No man ever yet ſo interpreted that text; as for the fathers, they expound it of the Colledge of Presbyters, which they ſay was of Prelates,Heb. 7.7. Calv. Inſtit. lib. 4. c. 6. 2 Tim. 1.6. becauſe minor non ordinat majorem. Calvin of the Of­fice, and that it was given by the laying on of Saint Pauls hands, and he is reſolve, that Saint Paul alone did it, becauſe of that Exhortation, Stir up the grace of God which is in thee, by the laying on of my hands. Take it in which ſenſe you pleaſe, here's no place left at Epheſus for a Lay-Preſ­bytery.

No nor yet in Crete; for to that end was Titus left there to ordain El­ders in every City, and in the following words the Apoſtle tells what man­ner of perſons they muſt be,Tit. 1.5.7. who were to be ordain'd; and what their office to be, Biſhops; for a Biſhop muſt be blameleſſe; theſe Elders then at Crete muſt be Biſhops; not then of the Laity.

And if you ſhall conſider what theſe Elders were to do at Crete and E­pheſus,23 you will eaſily conceive that many of them fell not within a Lay-mans capacity. If any man did〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, preach any other doctrine then that was ſound, the Epheſian Elder muſt prohibere;1 Tim. 1.4. 2 Tim. 2.16. Tit. 1.9. if preach pro­phanely or babblingly, he muſt cohibere, reſtrain him. At Crete the or­dained Elder muſt have ability〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to convince the gain-ſayers, and that〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, with force of Argument. Tit. 1.10.13.For parti­culars, if any preach otherwiſe than becomes him,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, his mouth muſt be ſtopped, they muſt be reproved〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, taken up ſhort,Tit. 2.15. with all authority. Say in good ſooth, whether you conceive theſe to be the Works of a Lay-man; I wiſh all Clergy-men were ad haec idonci. But I fear few are. Laſtly, the rod, power of excommunication was in the hand of Saint Pauls Elders, which I ſhall never yield to be in your Lay Elders.

But were the Word of God in this point indifferent, which for ought I ſee is yet very reſolute againſt them: the general conſent of all antiquity, that never to your ſenſe expounded Saint Pauls words, nor never mention d one Lay-Presbyter to govern the Church, is to me a ſtrong rampire againſt all theſe new devices. And here did I liſt, I could preſſe you down with a whole load of fathers and Councils; but I ſpare you, for I fear you would caſt them off with ſome ſcorn. The Catalogue you ſhall have, if you deſire it; For my part, I ſhall cloſe up this point with the words of a wiſe learned man;Bilſon's pre­face to the Go­vernment of the Church. I like not to raiſe up that Diſcipline from the dead, which hath lien ſo long (if it ever liv'd) in ſilence by your own confeſſion; which no fa­ther ever witneſſed, no Council ever favour'd, no Church ever followed ſince the Apoſtles times till this our age. I can be forward in things that be good; but not ſo fooliſh, as to think that the Church of Chriſt never knew what belong'd to the government of her ſelf, till now of late; and that the Sonne of God hath been ſpoiled of half of his Kingdome (as you uſe to ſpeak) by his own ſervants and citizens, for theſe one thouſand five hun­dred years, without remorſe or remembrance of any man, that ever ſo great a wrong was offered him. You muſt ſhew me your Lay-Presbytery in ſome Ancient Writer, or elſe I ſhall avouch plainly, your Conſiſtory, as you preſſe it, is a Novelty.

And yet I ſhall adde one thing more by way of Apology; for I would not be a ſtumbling block to you in the leaſt; That I have made uſe of the com­mon diſtinction, Lay and Clergy, and Presbyters or Elders of both ſorts. I have been forc'd to it, becauſe I could not otherwiſe ſpeak intelligibly and diſtinctly enough in this point. And that in this I ſpeak in the language of the Ancienteſt of the fathers; ſo ſpeaks Clemens in that famous Epiſtle to the Corinthians, ſo cryed up by antiquity; and lately ſet forth by Maſter Patrick Young. Clem. Rom. Ep. 1. ad Cor. Ignat. ad Philip. ad Magneſ. Juſt. Martyr. Apo­log. 2. prope finem.〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉So Ignatius,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; and again,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and yet again,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. So Juſtine Martyr,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. So the Canons attributed to the Apoſtles; Si24 quis Clericus abſcindens ſeipſum, &c. Can. 22. Laicus ſeipſum abſcindens, &c. Can. 23.

Tertull. de pre­ſcript. In exhor­tat. ad caſtita­tem.Tertullian. Hodie Presbyter, cras Laicus; and again, niſi Laici obſer­vent, per quae Presbyteri allegantur. I ſhould trouble you to reckon up infi­nite variety of other teſtimonies down-ward. By theſe it ſufficiently ap­pears, that theſe two termes Presbyters and Laicks, were oppoſite termes; ſo that Presby ers were not Lay-men, nor Lay-men Presbyters; they were mmbra dividentia, and 'tis a Logick rule, that membra dividentia muſt be〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, ſo diſjoynd, that they never interfeer; which will not be ſo, if Presbyters and Lay-men may be affirm'd of the ſame perſon. What ſhould I tell you, that if you approve not this diſtinction of the Primitive Church, you may read it plainly in the Prophets; ſo that it is not profane, nor ſtrange. Iſaiah 24.2. It ſhall be as with the people, ſo with the Prieſt; Hoſea 4.9. There ſhall be like people, like Prieſt. And alſo Jeremy divides the Church into Prophet,Jerom. ad Ne­potia. Prieſt, and People, cap. 23.34. and cap. 26.7. As for the Clergy-men, Jerome ſhall give you the rea­ſon of the name; propterea vocantur Clerici, vel quia ſunt de ſorte Domini, vel quia ipſe Dominus ſors, i. e. pars Clericorum, either they are the Lords portion to do ſervice in the Church of Chriſt, or that the Lord is their portion and part; that is, to live on ſuch things that are dedicated to the Lord. And thus have I ſtopped two gappes with one buſh.

Propoſition 5. That theſe Presbyters, Teaching and Ruling Elders muſt be of the Profeſſing Members own voluntary Election, and regular Ordination.

Of the Presbyters, Teaching and Ruling Elders, as you call them, I have ſpoken hitherto; Now of that which you require in them, which are, 1. That they be of the Profeſſing Members voluntary Election. 2. That they have their Ordination frnm them, and that it be Regular. In neither of which I can aſſent to you.

1. Of Election of Presbyters and Ruling Elders.

THe Debate about Elections of Church-Miniſters, cannot be better determin'd than by the Scriptures; let us look then, how it was ab initio. I finde three ſorts of Election mention'd in the New Teſtament; By the Spirit, by lots, by voices.

1. By the Spirit ſpeaking in his own perſon, were Paul and Barna­bas called from Antioch to preach to the Gentiles. By the Spirit ſpeak­ing in the Prophets,Acts 13.2. 1 Tim. 4.14. was Timothy deſign'd; Neglect not the grace which was given thee by propheſie, with impoſition of the hands of the Presbytery. 25And again,1 Tim. 1.18. This commandment I commit to thee according to the Pro­pheſies, that went before of thee, that is, by direction of the Holy Ghoſt, and not by voices, as Oecuminius, Theodoret, Chryſoſtome, Throphylact, expounds the place. For this kind of Election was uſual in the Apoſtles times, the Spirit of God directing them on whom they ſhould lay their hands. By that Spirit were Peter and John directed on whom they ſhould lay their hands at Samaria. And ſo was Paul at Epheſes, when he laid the foun­dation of that Church; ſo that he might truly ſay, Take heed to the flock,Act. 20. whereof the Holy Ghoſt hath made you over-ſeers. For it was the Holy Ghoſts doing to notifie unto Paul the perſons that ſhould receive impoſiti­on of hands, and to poure out his wonderful bleſſings on them, to make them meet Paſtours and Prophets, whereto he had choſen them.

Yea, this dured ſome time after Pauls death, as Euſebius reports,Euſeb. lib. 3. cap 23. ex. Clem. Alex. e­ven in the time of John the Apoſtle; for after his return out of Patmos to Epheſus, being requeſted, he went to the Churches adjoining; ſome were appointing Biſhops, ſome were ſetting whole Churches in Order, ſome were〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. i. d. Supplying the Clergy with ſuch men as were ſignified or marked out for that purpoſe by the Spirit. Or if you read it as Hanmer tranſlates it chooſing by lot, then this was done to avoid ambition and contention: however it was of thoſe who were〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and ſo the mix'd multitude choſe not whom they pleaſed.

2. For ſecondly, by lot, I graunt it might be done, and then Saint John followed the pattern in the Election of Matthias to the Apoſtolate;Act. 1. which is the ſole example, that can be given in Scripture in this kind. And in this the people could have no voice, if you will weigh the circumſtances of the Text. For firſt the company that were then preſent were onely one hundred and twenty, of which eleven were Apoſtles, ſeventy two diſciples,Ver. 15.14. di­vers women, with Mary the mother of Jeſus; now if you deduct eighty three, and the women out of one hundred and twenty, what a ſmall remnant will there be of the people left to vote. Secondly, it is recorded indefinite­ly; they appointed two not determinately expreſſing who they were,Ver. 23. and ſo it might be the Apoſtles alone, or the Apoſtles and diſciples together for ought any man can ſay to the contrary. Thirdly, make what can be made of it, yet here is no more than preſentation which falls very ſhort of Election; for it is written they preſented the two. Fourthly, they com­mitted the Election to God, Shew whether of the two thou haſt choſen:Ver. 24. and ſo it was reaſon; for the place to which one of them was to be advanced,Gal. 1.1, 17, 18, &c. was an Apoſtles place; and an Apoſtle might not be choſen by men, but by God alone.

And here to remove a miſtake, I ſhall intreat you to obſerve this diſtin­ction; that the name of an Apoſtle hath a double acception. 1. In a ſtrict ſenſe, for an eye-witneſſe of our Saviours actions, life, death, and one immediately choſen and ſent by God, and ſo there were no more but twelve. Whence ſaith Peter,Act. 1.20, 21. of theſe men that have accompanied with us all the time, that the Lord Jeſus went in and out among us; 26 Muſt one be ordained to be a Witneſſe: 2. Or elſe the name of an Apo­ſtle is more largely extended, for an inſtructed Witneſſe, and ſent by the Apoſtles,Phil. 2.25. who yet had that honorary name; ſo Epaphroditus is called the Apoſtle of the Philippians; Judas and Silas are ſo term'd; Titus and others, 2 Cor. 8.23. and James the brother of our Lord is call'd an Apoſtle, Gal. 1.19. He was not Jacobus Alphei, nor Jacobus Zebedei, and therefore none of the twelve; and 1 Cor. 15. this James is named as diſtinct from the twelve; for there it is written, that Chriſt appeared to the twelve, then to five hundred brethren at once; after to James. In the firſt ſenſe no man ever did, ever could chooſe an Apoſtle; for they had an immediate vocati­on, and immediate miſſion. In the laſt ſenſe there is not a ſyllable in the Scripture of their Election by the people. Perhaps, for ſo it is recorded by Dorotheus, that they were of the ſeventy; but when they were advanc'd and authoriz'd to be Apoſtles, that is, Biſhops in the latter ſenſe, the Apoſtles only elected them, and impoſed hands on them.

3. Hitherto we hear not a word of any Election by the Profeſſing Mem­bers to the work of the Miniſtry; let us then come to the third way, which was by voices; and let us conſider whether we can finde it that way. It is moſt true, that the Election of the ſeven Deacons was referr'd to the mul­titude; and to this purpoſe your text is rightly cited, Acts 6.5. But this proves not what you would inferre from it; for by this choice, the Deacons received not the charge of the Word and Sacraments, but a care to ſee the Saints provided for; and the collections and contributions faithfully and up­rightly employ'd;Hieron. ad E­vagrium. Epi­phan. 4. Conc. Carth. cap. 4. they were only menſarum & viduarum Miniſtri. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, conſecrated to a ſervice, not to a prieſt-hood. And among you for ought I know, the Deacons have no other office than the care of the poor. And then I pray, what can this place make for the Ele­ction of the Presbyters, and Ruling Elders by the people? Are theſe no more but Deacons, Officers of Tables and Widows? That the people ſhould Elect theſe there was great reaſon; for they were to be Stewards and Diſ­penſers of their Charity; and therefore to ſtay the murmure that might a­riſe of partiality in them, and ſuſpicion of any unjuſt dealing, they advi­ſed the multitude to chooſe their own Almoners. The Churches treaſure was laid at the Apoſtles feet to be diſtributed as every one had need; they left it,Acts. 2. Acts 4. in all likelihood, in the hands of converted Jewes to be diſtributed; theſe regarded the Widows that were Jewes, more than the Helleniſts; this cauſed the〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉the murmure; To ceaſe this, the Apoſtle beſpeaks the multitude to conſider,Acts 6.1. Ver. 3. Ver. 5. Ver. 6.〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, of fit men for that ſervice. They did ſo, and〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, they choſe out ſeven, and〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉they pre­ſented or ſet out theſe before the Apoſtles, that's all. It was but a preſen­tation, ſo that it ſeems as yet it was in the Apoſtles power to admit or refuſe even theſe. But they accepted of their preſentation, and with prayer laid their hands on them for the Office; which was at the higheſt a diſpenſati­on of money, and no cure of ſouls. No hurt then can be done to our tenet by this Election, ſince as they who urge it, confeſſe they were not in or­ders; and therefore what hath this example to do for the Profeſſours Ele­ction27 of Presbyters or Ruling Elders?

Yea, but you'll ſay, the other text you cite, Acts 14.23.Acts 14.23. will ſtrike it dead; but upon a ſerious view nothing leſſe. For thus we reade there〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, &c. Ordaining them Elders in every Church. This word is a participle, and muſt agree with ſomewhat; and if you look before, it was Paul and Barnabas; the word〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉ſignifies not to Elect, but to Ordain; of which more by and by. The Ordainers were Apoſtles, Paul and Barnabas; the Or­dain'd Presbyters; here is not ſo much as a ſyllable of the people, no men­tion of any act of theirs. This then is ſo plain a perverting of the text, that I hope no wiſe man will ever more object it. The truth is, the Apoſtles im­poſed hands to make Paſtours and Prophets in the Churches as they travel­led, popular Elections they made none. For your other texts, I ſhall conſi­der apart, becauſe they are not directly to this purpoſe.

Thus I hope I have made it appear, that there is not any firm ground, I had almoſt ſaid any colour for Election of Presbyters or Ruling Elders by the Profeſſing Members of the Church in the Scriptures.

Yea, but did not then the People chooſe their Paſtour in the primitive ages of the Church? To gratifie you, I confeſſe they did: but this was af­ter the Apoſtles dayes, and then Scripture muſt not be urged for it. It was not a priviledge, that belongs to them of right, but out of convenience; and was deriv'd from the rules of Chriſtian equity and ſociety. Hence it came to paſſe, that the people when their deſires were accompliſhed did quietly receive, willingly maintain, diligently hear, and heartily love their Paſtours. And could the people have tempered their grief, when their deſires were croſſ'd, their intereſt in Electing their Paſtour had been better regarded, and longer continued: But experience of their Schiſmes, Factions, Tumults, Uproars, Murders, if they might not have their wills, cauſed both Ancient fathers and Councils to miſlike that the people ſhould bear the ſway in theſe Elections, and forced Chriſtian Princes, if not wholly to exclude them, yet greatly to abridge them. I could if I pleaſ­ed give you in a long liſt of examples of both kinds, both of whom, when, where, and how long the cuſtome of their Election continued; and by whom, and upon what occaſions abridg'd: But I ſpare you. This in a word; when they did Elect, it was not by any Scripture-right, and at moſt it was no more than a preſentation; and it lay in the power of thoſe in Authority to refuſe the preſented, which was ſometimes done. And the emergent miſchiefs took it away; which it never could have done, had it been a command of God. Now that it is poſſible, that ſuch miſchiefs may ariſe, and frequently do ariſe from popular Elections, I appeal to your con­ſcience, who have been an eye-Witneſſe of it in New-Eng­land.

One thing I ſhall adde more; that you, I mean your Combinational Churches in Old-England, ſhould of all other preſſe upon us popular E­lections, makes me wonder, ſince 'tis your practice to eject Paſtours ap­proved by their people; and by the approvers from above to ſettle other over28 their Congregations. Tell me I pray, what vote hath the people in any of theſe? If this be not to break your rule, and to practice what you declaime, I muſt profeſſe I underſtand nothing. But〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. I conceive what you may anſwer, but I will not now reply to it.

2. The other part of your Propoſition is; that theſe Presby­ters and Ruling Elders be of the Profeſſing Members Regular Ordination.

THat the Presbyters and Ruling Elders in the ſenſe above given of them, have a Regular Ordination, is neceſſary, but that they ſhall have this Ordination from or by the Profeſſing Members, I cannot yield.

That Ordination is an act of the Keys, I ſuppoſe is an axiome that will be granted on all hands. For otherwiſe, your Profeſſing Members can have no right to Ordain, who make their claim to it, becauſe they are ſub­jectum clavium. Rutherfords plea for Preſ­bytery. Sect. 6.But that they are not ſo, Rutherford and Bres demon­ſtrate: whence it will neceſſarily follow, that they cannot ordain Presby­ters and Ruling Elders.

Before he proves the minor, he thus diſtinguiſheth The power of the Keys is given to the Church of believers two wayes. Firſt, As to the end and object; and thus we acknowledge the Keys may be given to the whole Church, becauſe it is the object upon which the power of the Keys is to be exerciſed; for what have we to do to judge thoſe that are without? and then it was the end why Chriſt gave the Keys,1 Cor. 5. he gave ſome to be Apoſtles, &c. for the perfecting of the Saints, &c. Secondly, The Keys may be ſaid to be given to them who are the ſubject;Epheſ. 4. that is, to ſuch in whom the power doth reſt to uſe them, and who have authority to weild them, and in this ſenſe the beleevers in the whole body is not the formal ſubject of the Keys, neither may they authoritatively uſe them.

And this is demonſtratively thus prov'd. For that which is primum & proprium ſubjectum, cum ſuo accident reciprocatur; The attribute agrees to it primò,Rutherford. p. 12. per ſe, adaequatè,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉as rationale or riſibile agrees to man, all theſe wayes: ſo that a man onely is the firſt and adequate ſubject of rea­ſon or laughter, and conſequently every individual man reaſonable and ri­ſible. To apply this to my purpoſe, if the body of any viſible Congrega­tion be the adequate and proper ſubject of the Keys, the power muſt of right belong to every individual of that Congregation; ſo that every one hath a power to uſe them; women, young men and all: for quod competit〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, competit〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but ſuch a power I dare ſay, you will not put into women and childrens hands. Then you muſt not make the whole Church the ſubject of the Keys, but that ſome Profeſſing Members have the keys in their hands and that theſe onely have power to ordain.

29Now let us enquire who theſe Ordainers muſt be; You ſay your Pres­byters, and if I miſtake not, ruling Elders We ſay Biſhops,Auſtin in Pſal. 22. or at leaſt Biſhops with their Presbytery. As Auguſtine ſaid excellently in ano­ther caſe, ſo ſay I in this. Fratres ſumus, quarè litigamus? non inteſtatus mortuus eſt pater; fecit teſtamentum & mortuus eſt; tamiu contenditur de haereditate mortuorum quamdiu teſtamentum profetatur in publicum, & cum teſtamentum prolatum fuerit in publicum, tacent omnes, ut tabulae aperian­tur & recitentur; judex intentus audit, advocati ſilent, praecones ſilentium faciunt, univerſus populus ſuſpenſus eſt, ut legantur verba mortui non ſenti­entis in monumento. Ic ſine ſenſu jacet in monumento, & valent verba e­jus: Sedet Chriſtus in caelo, & contradicitur ejus teſtamento. Aperi, le­gamus; fratres ſumus, quare contendimus? pl cetur amicus noſter, non ſine teſtamento nos dimiſit pater. And for this Will, the ſearch will not be long, nor the trouble much; 'tis extant, John 20.21. As my Father ſent me, ſo ſend I you; and preſently he enſtates them in the power of the Keyes: Whoſe ſinnes you remit, they are remitte, &c.John 20.23. Matth. 28.20. And this power was to be perpetual, to remain and continue till his ſecond coming; for theſe are his laſt words; Lo, I am with you alway unto the end of the world. With them perſonally he could not be; for the Apoſtles are dead; this promiſe then muſt be made good to them and their Succeſ­ſours.

They then queſtionleſſe had the Keyes: which conſiſted in Juriſdiction, and Ordnation, of which I am now to ſpeak. And out of our Fathers te­ſtament I ſhall ſhew you how they uſed it. Act. 8.14, 17.Peter and John were ſent down by the Apoſtles from Jeruſalem to Samaria to lay their hands on them that ſhould receive the Holy Ghoſt. Philip preach'd and baptizd, but he could not give the graces of the Holy Ghoſt by impoſition of hands, to make fit Paſtours and Teachers for the work of the Miniſtry. The like we finde of Paul and Barnabas in the fore-cited place, Acts 14.23. who viſited the Churches where they had preached, and ſupplyed them with Presby­ters〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Wh re it were abſurd to ſay, that this was done by lifting up of the hands of the people, ſince it was the work of Paul and Barnabas a­lone. And by the way,Act. 10.41. though〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉doth ſometimes ſignifie extenſio manu­um,