Independant Churches of Christ.
Being an Anſwer to
Mr. Edwards his
Booke, which hee hath written againſt the
Government of Christs Church, and
Toleration of Christs Publike Worſhip;
That the Congregations of the Saints ought not to have
Dependancie in Government upon any other; or direction
in worſhip from any other than Christ their Head
Printed for William Larnar, and are to be ſold at
his Shop, at the Signe of the Golden Anchor, neere
To The Christian Reader; Grace, Mercy, and Peace, from God the Father, and from our Lord Jeſus Chriſt.
It is, and hath beene (for a long time) a Queſtion more enquired into than well weighed; Whether it be lawfull for ſuch, who are informed of the evills of the Church of England, to Separate from it: For my owne part, conſidering that the Church of England is governed by the Canon Lawes (the Diſcipline of Antichriſt) and altogether wanteth the Diſcipline of Christ, and that the moſt of them are ignorant what it is, and alſo doe profeſſe to worſhip God by a ſtinted Service-Booke. I hold it not onely lawfull, but alſo the duty of all thoſe who are informed of ſuch evills, to ſeparate themſelves from them, and ſuch as doe adhere unto them; and alſo to joyne together in the outward profeſſion and practiſe of Gods true worſhip, when God hath declared unto them what it is; and being thus informed in their minds of the knowledge of the will of God (by the teaching of his Sonne Jeſus Chriſt) it is their duty to put it in practiſe, not onely in a Land where they have Toleration, but alſo where they are forbidden to preach, or teach in the name (or by the power) of the Lord Jeſus.
But Mr. Edwards (with whom I have here to deale) conceiving that the beauty of Chriſts true worſhip, would quickly diſcover the Foggy darkneſſe of the Antichriſtian deviſed worſhip; and alſo that the glory of Chriſts true Diſcipline, grounded and founded in his Word, would ſoone diſcover the blackneſſe and darkeneſſe of the Antichriſtian Government (which the poore people of England are in bondage unto) hath ſet his wits a work to withſtand the bright comming of Chriſts Kingdome (into the hearts of men) *2 which iv *2v which we are all commanded in the moſt abſolute rule of Prayer to petition for; for the turning aſide whereof Mr. Edwards hath muſtred up his forces, even eight Reaſons, againſt the government of Chriſt, which hee calls Independant; and hath joyned unto theſe eight, ten more; which he hath made againſt Toleration; affirming that they may not practiſe contrary to the courſe of the Nation wherein they live, without the leave of the Magiſtrate, neither judgeth he it commendable in them to aske the Magiſtrates leave, nor commendable in the Magiſtrate to heare their petitions, but rather ſeeketh to ſtirre up all men to diſturbe their peace, affirming moſt unjuſtly, that they diſturbe the peace of the Kingdome, nay, the peace of three Kingdomes, which all the lands under the Kings Dominions know to be contrary, nay I thinke moſt of the Kingdomes in Europe cannot be ignorant what the cauſe of the diſturbance was;
But this is not the practiſe of Mr. Edwards alone, but alſo of the whole generation of the Clergie; as thou maiſt know, Chriſtian Reader, it was the practiſe of the Biſhop of Canterbury to exclaime againſt Mr. Burton, Doctor Bastwicke, and Mr. Prynne, calling them ſcandalous Libelers, & Innovators (though they put their own name to that which they write, and proved what they taught by divine authority) and this hath beene alwayes the practiſe of the inſtruments of Sathan, to accuſe the Lords people, for diſturbing of the peace, as it hath been found in many Nations, when indeede the troublers be themſelves and their fathers houſe. But in this they are like unto Athalia crying treaſon, treaſon, when they are in the treaſon themſelves.
But for the further ſtrengthning of his army, he hath alſo ſubjoyned unto theſe his Anſwer to ſixe Reaſons, which he ſaith, are theirs, but the forme of ſome of them ſeemeth to be of his owne making; all which thou ſhalt finde anſwered, and diſproved in this following Treatiſe.
But though theſe my Anſwers are not laid downe in a Schollerlik way, but by the plaine truth of holy Scripture; yet I beſeech thee have the patience to take the paynes to reade them, and ſpare ſome time to conſider them, and if thou findeſt things diſorderly placed, labour to rectifie them to thine own mind. And if there be any weight in them, give the glory to God; but if thou ſeeſt nothing worthy, attribute not the weakeneſſe thereof to the truth of the cauſe, but rather to the ignorance and unskilfulneſſe of the weake Inſtrument.
Thine in the Lord Jesus,
The Anſwer to Mr. Edwards his Introduction.
I Hearing the complaints of many that were godly, againſt the Booke that Mr. Edwards hath written; and upon the ſight of this his Introduction, conſidering his deſperate reſolution, (namely) that he would ſet out ſeverall Tractates againſt the whole way of Separation. I could not but declare by the teſtimony of the Scripture it ſelfe, that the way of Separation is the way of God, who is the author of it, Dout, 32. 8. 1 King. 8. 53. which manifeſtly appeares by his ſeparating of his Church from the world, and the world from his Church in all ages.
When the Church was greater than the world, then the world was to be ſeparated from the Church; but when the world was greater than the Church, then the Church was to ſeparate from the world.
As for inſtance; When Caine was a member of the Church, then the Church was greater than the world; and Caine being diſcovered, was exempted from Gods preſence; Gen. 4: 14. 15. 16. before whom he formerly had preſented himſelfe: Gen. 4. 3. but in the time of Noah, when the world was greater than the Church Mat. 24. 38. 39. 1 Pet. 3. 20. then Noah and his Family who were the Church, were commanded to goe into the Arke Gen. 7. 1. in which place they were ſaved, when the world was drowned, Ver. 21. 22, 23. yet Ham being afterward diſcovered, was accurſed of his Father, and Shem was bleſſed, and good propheſied for Japhat.
Afterward when the world was grown mightier than the Church againe, then Abraham was called out of Ur of the Caldeans, *3 both vi *3v both from his country and from his kindred, and from his fathers houſe Gen. 12. 1. (becauſe they were Idolaters), to worſhip God in Canaan.
Moreover, afterwards Moſes was ſent, and his brother Aaron, to deliver the children of Iſrael out of the Land of Egypt when Pharaoh vexed them, Exo. 3. 7, 8, 9. 10, Chap. 6. 26. 27. at which time God wrought their deliverance, And 12, 42. ſeparating wondrouſly between the Egyptians and the Iſraelites, and that which was light to the one, was darkneſſe to the other.
Afterwards, when Corah and his Congregation rebelled against God, and were obstinate therein Num 16. 12, 13 14. the people were commanded to depart from the tents of thoſe wicked men Ver. 21. 24, 25, 26. then were the children ſeparated from the parents, and thoſe who did not ſeparate, were deſtroyed by fire, Ver. 35. and ſwallowed by the earth, Ver. 31, 32, 33. upon the day which God had appointed Ver, 5. as thoſe of Noahs time, who repented not, were ſwallowed by water.
Moreover, when God brought his people into the promiſed Land, he commanded them to be ſeparated from the Idolators, and not to meddle with the accurſed things. Deut. 5, 26. 27. And for this cauſe God gave them his Ordinances and Commandments; and by the manifeſtation of their Obediance to them, they were knowne to be the onely people of God, Deut. 28. 9. 10. which made a reall ſeparation.
And when they were carried captive into Babylon at any time for their ſinnes: Ezza. 1. God raiſed them up deliverers to bring them from thence: Hag. 1. 2, 3. 4. 8. 12. 14. and Prophets to call them from thence Ier 51. 6. and from their backeſliding. Ier. 3. 12. Hoſ. 11, 7. And it was the practiſe of all the Prophets of God, (which propheſied of the Church under the New Teſtament) to ſeparate the precious from the vile, and God hath declared that hee that ſo doth ſhall be as his mouth, Jer. 15. 19.
And we know it was the practiſe of the Apostles of the Lord Jeſus, to declare to the people that there could be no more agreement betweene beleevers and unbeleevers, than between light and darkeneſſe, God and Belial, as Paul writing to the Corinthians doth declare, when he ſaith, Be not unequally yoked together with unbeleevers; for what fellowſhip hath righteouſneſſe with unrighteouſneſſe? and what communion hath light with darkeneſſe, and what concord hath vii *4r hath Chriſt, with Belial? or what part hath he that beleeveth with an Infidell? and what agreement hath the Temple of God with Idolls? for yee are the Temple of the living God, as God hath ſaid, I will dwell in them, and walke in them, and I will be their God, and they ſhall be my people; Wherefore come out from among them, and be yee Separate, ſaith the Lord, and touch not the uncleane thing, and I will receive you, and I will be a Father unto you, and yee ſhall be my ſonnes and daughters, ſaith the Lord Almighty, Chriſt made ſo great a difference betweene the world and the Church, that hee would not pray for the world; yet would die for the Church, which was given him out of the world; and without a Separation the Church can not be known from the world. 1 Cor. 6. 14, 15, 16, 17, 18.
Moreover, they are pronounced bleſſed, which reade, heare, and keepe the words of the Booke of the Revelation of Jeſus Christ; Rev. 1. 3. among which ſentences, there is a commandement from heaven for a totall Separation. Rev. 18. 4.
Theſe things (in briefe) I have minded from the Scriptures, to prove the neceſſitie of Separation; and though the Scripture be a deepe Well, and containeth in the Treaſures thereof innumerable Doctrines and Precepts tending to this purpoſe; yet I leave the further proſecution of the ſame, till a fitter opertunity be offered to me, or any other whom the Lord ſhall indue with a greater meaſure of his Spirit.
But Mr. Edwards, for preparation to this his deſperate intention, hath ſent theſe Reaſons againſt Independant government, and Toleration, and preſented them in the Honorable Houſe of Commons; which Reaſons (I thinke, he would have to beget a Snake, to appeare (as he ſaith) under the greene graſſe; for I am ſure, he cannot make the humble petitions of of the Kings ſubjects to be a Snake, for petitioning is a way of peace and submiſſion, without violence or venum; neither can it caſt durt upon any government of the Nation, as he unjuſtly accuſeth the Proteſtation Proteſted, for that Author leaveth it to the Magiſtrate, not undertaking to determine of himſelfe what government ſhall be ſet over the Nation, for the bringing of men to God but leaveth it to the conſideration of them that have authority,
And whereas Mr. Edwards grudges that they preach ſo often at the Parliament; in this he is like unto Amaziah, who bid the Prophet Amos to flee away into the Land of Judea, and not to Propheſie at Bethel, the Kings Chappell, and the Houſe of the Kingdome. Amos 7. 12. 13. Andviii *4v
And though Mr. Edwards boaſt himſelfe heare, to be a Miniſter of the Goſpell, and a ſufferer for it, yet I challenge him, to prove unto me, that he hath any Calling or Ordination to the Miniſtry, but that which he hath ſucceſſively from Rome; If he lay claime to that; he is one of the Popes houſehold; But if he deny that calling; then is he as void of a calling to the worke of the Miniſtry, and as void of Ordination, as any of thoſe Miniſters, whom hee calleth Independant men, (which have caſt off the Ordination of the Prelates) and conſequently as void of Ordination as a macanicall trades man.
And therefore I hope that Honourable Houſe that is ſo full of wiſedome (which Mr. Edwards doth confeſſe) will never judge theſe men unreaſonable, becauſe they do Petition, nor their petitions unreaſonable before they are tried, and ſo proved, by ſome better ground, then the bare entrance of Mr. Edwards his Cavit, or writ of Ne admittas, though he ſaith he fetched it from heaven; for I know it was never there, Neither is it confirmed by the Records of holy Scripture; but taken from the practiſe of Nimrod, That mighty Hunter before the Lord, Gen. 10, 8, 9. and from the practiſe of Haman that wicked perſecucu ter, ter, Eeſter 3. 8. 6. 6. & from the evill behaviour and malicious ſpeeches, and gesture of wicked Sanballet, Neh. 6, and Tobias, who were both bitter enemies to God, and ſought to hinder the building of the walles of Jerusalem.
But the Prophet Haggai, reproveth not onely ſuch as hindred the building of the Lords Houſe, but alſo thoſe that were contented to live in their ſeyled Houſes, and ſuffer the Lords Houſe to lie waſte, Hag. 1.
An Answer To Mr. Edwards his Booke, Intituled, Reasons againſt the Independent Government in particular Congregations.
Iunderſtanding that you are a mighty Champion, and now muſtering up your mighty forces (as you ſay) and I apprehending, they muſt come againſt the Hoaſt of Iſrael, and hearing the Armies of the Living God ſo defied by you, could nort be withheld, but that I (in ſtead of a better) muſt needs give you the meeting.
Firſt, Whereas you affirme, That the Church of God (which is his Houſe and Kingdome) could not ſubſiſt with ſuch proviſion as their father gave them: which proviſion was (by your owne confeſſion) the watering of them by Evangeliſts, and Prophets, when they were planted by the apoſtles, and after planting and watering to have Paſtors and Teacheers, with all other Officers, ſet over them by the Apoſtles & their own Election, yet notwithſtanding all this proviſion, the Father hath made for them, it was evident (ſay you) they could not well ſtand of themſelves, without ſome other helpe.
This was the very ſuggeſtion of Sathan into the hearts of our firſt Parents; for they having a deſire of ſome thing more then was warranted by God, tooke unto them the forbidden fruit, as you would have the Lords Churches to doe, when you ſay they muſt take ſome others beſides theſe Churches and Officers, and that to interpoſe authoritatively; and theſe ſomething elſe you make to be Apoſtles, Evangeliſts, and Elders of other A Churches, 2 A1v 2 Churches, whereas you confeſſed before, that theſe are the furniture of Chriſts Kingdome; and wee know their authoritie was limitted, within the bounds of the Word of God: as firſt, If any of them would be greater, he muſt be ſervant to all. Secondly, they were forbidden to be Lords over Gods heritage. Thirdly, they were commanded to teach the people, to obſerve onely thoſe things which Chriſt had commanded them.
And whereas you ſeeme to affirme, that theſe Offices were extraordinary and ceaſed, and yet the Churches have ſtill neede of them: You ſeeme to contradict your ſelfe, and would faine cure it againe, in that ſome other way which you ſay, you have to ſupply the want of them, but this other way you have not yet made known: You preſuppoſe, it may be by ſome Sinods and Councels, to make a conjunction of the whole.
If you meane ſuch a Counſell, as is mentioned, Acts 15. 4. 22. conſiſting of Apoſtles and Elders with the whole Church; then you have ſaid no more than you have ſaid before, and that which we grant, for this is ſtill the furniture of the Kingdome; but if you intend that your Counſell ſhould conſiſt of an armie of Arch-Biſhops Dioceſan Biſhops, Deanes, Suffragans, with the reſt of that rabble, which be for their titles names of blaſphemy, and ſuch as were bred in the ſmoake of the pit. I deny that any of theſe be ordained of God, for they have no footing in his word; therefore indeede theſe are a part of the fruit of the forbidden Tree, which the Churches of God have taken and eaten; and this ſeeking out inventions of their owne, after that God made them righteous, hath brought them into a ſtate of Apoſtaſie, even as Jeroboams high places and Calves did the people of Iſrael; which may plainely appeare by the Churches of Aſia. If theſe be that ſome other ſupply which you meane and have produced to helpe the Churches, and Cities of God (as you call them) to determine for thoſe Churches and Cities the caſes of Doctrine and Diſcipline in ſtead of thoſe many Miniſters which, you conceive them now to want, it tends to make (as they have now done) a conjunction not onely of all the Churches profeſſing one faith into one body; but alſo of all the Armies of the Man of Sinne, and ſo to confound the Church and the world together, which the Miniſters of the Goſpell ought to divide, by ſeparating the precious from the vile. Ier. 15. 19.
And whereas you affirme, The Independent Congregations now have but few Miniſters;
It is very true, for indeede they are but a few people, and a few 3 A2r 3 few hands will feede a few mouths ſufficiently, if God provide meat.
But whereas you affirme, That thoſe Congregations may have no Officer, at all by their owne grounds, and yet be independent.
I thinke, they conceive by thoſe grounds, the Office onely of Paſtor, and Teacher; but not that the Church of God hath need at any time of the helpe of any other, then God hath given and ſet in his Church, which be all the Officers that are before mentioned, as Apoſtles, Prophets, Evangeliſts, Paſtors, and Teachers; and to have recourſe to any for counſell, helpe, or aſſiſtance, either of Church or Miniſtry, which is not of Chriſts owne, were very ridiculous. For it is recorded, Ephe. 4. 11. 12. That he gave thſe for the gathering together of the Saints for the worke of the Miniſtry, and for the edification of the body of Chriſt, being ſo gathered; The time they muſt continue is, till all the Saints be in the unitie of faith.The reaſon wherefore they were given, was to keepe people from being toſſed too and fro with every winde of Doctrine. Verſe 13. 14, 16. Compared with 1. Cor. 12. And theſe are they, by whom all the body is coupled and knit together, by every joynt for the furniture thereof, according to the effectuall power, which is in the meaſure of every part, and receiveth increaſe of the body unto the edifying of it ſelfe in love. And this is according to the promiſe that Chriſt made, Matth. 28. 19. 20. to be with his Miniſters in teaching his people to the end of the world.
And thus you may ſee Mr. Edwards, you cannot gather from our owne words, that we have neede of the helpe of any other Churches, or Miniſters, to interpoſe (as you unjuſtly affirme) as it may plainely appeare by Mr. Robinſons owne words in the Juſtification of the Separation, pag. 121. 122. Theſe are his words; It is the Stewards duty to make proviſion for the family; but what if he neglect this duty in the Maſters abſence? Muſt the whole family ſtarve, yea and the wife alſo? Or is not ſome other of the family beſt able to be employed for the preſent neceſſity? The like he ſaith concerning the government of a Ship, of an Armie and of Commonwealths; alluding to the Church of Chriſt. And further expreſſeth, that as a private Citizen may become a Magiſtrate, ſo a private member may become a Miniſter, for an action of neceſſity to be performed, by the conſent of the reſt, &c.
Therefore it appeares plainely by all that hath bin ſaid that the Churches of Chriſt may be truely conſtituted according to the Scripture, and ſubſiſt a certaine time without Paſtor and Teacher, and enjoy the power of Chriſt amongſt themſelves having A2 no 4 A2v 4 no dependancie upon any other Church or Churches which ſhall claime Authority or ſuperiority over them.
Now in your ſecond Reaſon, which runneth upon the calling of the Miniſtry, you affirme, That the government of the Independent Congregations is not of divine inſtitution.
Which I utterly denie, and will prove it, by diſproveing the following Inſtances by which you affirme to prove it.
Whereas you affirme, That their Independencie forces them to have Miniſters without Ordination.
I Anſwer, it is a plaine caſe by the foregoing Anſwer, to your firſt Reaſon, that you ſpeake untruely, for their practiſe is there made knowne to be otherwiſe; and if you will ſtill affirme, that they have not power ſo to practiſe, you will thereby deny the truth of the Scriptures; for the Apoſtles were commanded to teach the Churches, to obſerve all things whatſoever Chriſt had commanded them. But Chriſt commanded the Apoſtles to ordaine Elders in every Church by election; therefore the Apoſtles taught the Churches to ordaine Elders by Election alſo. And whereas you bid us produce one inſtance (if we can) for an ordinary Officer to be made without Ordination , it is needleſſe; for we (whom you call Independant) ſtrive for no ſuch thing, as you have proved it plainely out of Mr. Robinſons Booke, Apol.Chap. 1. 18. to which I ſend you to learne better.
Further you alleadge, That if they be ordained, it is by perſons who are not in office.
Now if you meane they have no office becauſe they are not elected, ordained and ſet apart by the Clergie to ſome ſerviceable adminiſtration; I pray you tell me who ordained the Apoſtles, Prophets, and Evangeliſts to their worke or Miniſtry? If you will ſay they were ordained of God, I will grant it, and doe alſo affirme that God hath promiſed the ſupply of them, to the end of the world, as before hath beene mentioned, from Ephe. 4. As alſo, it appeares by Pauls charge to Timothy; 2 Tim. 2. 2. That what things he had heard of him, among many witneſſes, the ſame he ſhould commit to faithfull men who ſhould be able to teach others alſo: but I verily doe beleeve, that as Titus, ſo Timothy heard of Paul that Elders muſt be ordained by Election in every city, and that Titus was as much bound to communicate the things unto others, which he had learned of Paul, as Timothy was, and Timothy (we know) was to teach faithfullfull 5 A3r 5 full men, and thoſe faithfull men were to teach others thoſe things that they had heard of Timothy, among which things Ordination was one, as it was delivered to Titus; and we are not to doubt of Timothius faithfulneſſe in the declaring of this part of his meſſage more than the reſt, but if thoſe to whom Timothy delivered it, were not faithfull in the diſcharge of their duty: but that in due time the Ordinances might poſſibly grow out of uſe, as the Churches, did by little and little apoſtate; yet that hinders not but that it was ſtill written in the Scripture, that the generations to come might recover againe the right uſe of the Ordinances when God ſhould by his Spirit direct them to know the ſame.
Moreover, I affirme, that all the Lords people, that are made Kings and Prieſts to God, have a free voyce in the Ordinance of Election, therefore they muſt freely conſent before there can be any Ordination; and having ſo conſented they may proceede to Ordination; notwithſtanding they be deſtitute, of the Counſell or aſſiſtance of any neighbour Church; as if there were no other Churches in the Land, but onely one company of beleevers joyned together in fellowſhip, according to Chriſts inſtitution. The promiſe made in the 14th. of Iohn 12. 13. is made unto them, where Chriſt ſaid. The workes that he did they ſhould doe alſo; & that whatſoever they ſhould aske in his name, that he would do for them, that the Father may be glorified, and that the Spirit of truth ſhould abide with them for ever. And that he ſhould teach them all things, and bring all things unto their remembrance, as it is ſaid in the following verſes of the ſame Chapter. This (you may ſee) is the portion of beleevers, and they that have this portion are the greateſt in the world, and many of them are greater than one, but many joyned together in a comely order in the fellowſhip of the Goſpell, according to the Scriptures, are the greateſt of all and therefore have power to ordaine, and to bleſſe their Miniſters in the name of the Lord. Thus the leſſer is bleſſed of the greater.
Now Mr. Edwards, I hope you will confeſſe, that you ſpake unadviſedly, when you affirmed, The maintenance of Independenſie, was the breaking of Gods Ordinance, and violating of that Order and conſtant way of Miniſters recorded in the Word.
To this I Anſwer, that if the Church doe elect one, he muſt be elected out of ſome more & thoſe that are not elected, may be as able to bleſſe the Church in the name of the Lord, as he, therefore one of theſe who are not elected, being choſen by the whole Church, to bleſſe him in the name of the Lord, whom the A3 Church 6 A3v 6 Church hath ordained, is the hand of the whole (who are greateſt of all, and ſo a ſufficient Officer for that worke which hee is put a part to doe.
Thus you may ſee (Mr. Edwards) that we doe not hold Ordination extraordinary and temporary; neither doe we hold it the leaſt of Gods Inſtitutions, for we have reſpect unto them all; But that nothing in matter of Order hath ſo cleare and conſtant a practiſe as this (as you do affirme) and alſo ſay, the whole frame of Church and Diſcipline, hath not ſo much ground in the word for it as this, I deny and doe affirme, that not onely this, but all Gods Ordinances have as much ground and footing in Gods Word alſo.
Yet notwithſtanding you ſay, that Calvin confeſſeth, that there is no expreſſe precept concerning the impoſition of hands: Hath the impoſition of hands no footing in Gods Word? and yet hath not all the forme of Gods Worſhip ſo much footing as it? Here Mr. Calvin and you, will now pin all the forme of Church and Diſcipline, upon unwritten verities.
Further, you rehearſe confuſedly, the opinion of Zanchius to ſtrengthen yours who (ſay you) would have the example of the Apoſtles and ancient Church, to be more eſteemed of, and to be inſtead of a command.
I pray you, how doe you know it to be their example, if it be not written?
And whereas you alledge, that Zanchius ſaith, it is no vaine Ceremony but the holy Spirit is preſent to performe things inwardly, which are ſignified by this Ordinance outwardly.
I have granted you that already, where I affirme, that the Church having the Spirit of God hath power by an inſtrument of her owne chuſing, to bleſſe the party to his worke in the name of the Lord; and I am alſo bound to beleeve, that God will accompany that his owne Ordinance (which is performed by them outwardly) with his owne Spirit inwardly, to furniſh the party (ſo bleſſed by them) with the knowledge of the Scripture, which is able to furniſh the man of God to every part of his duty. And thus you may ſee, that we have not departed from Chriſts way, nor gone any other way, in things concerning his Houſe and Officers, then he hath directed.
And whereas you demand for what cauſe Paul left Titus at Crete? I anſwer, that I have told you before, that it was to communicate the things unto others, which hee had learned, whereof Ordination was one. And no doubt but hee declared the ſame to faithfull men, that they might teach others alſo, therefore he was there employed in preaching of the Goſpell, as well 7 A4r 7 well as if he had gone preaching with Paul.
The next thing you goe upon, is the triall of the gifts of Miniſters, and then you attribute to them which have the greateſt meaſure of the Spirit, for you ſay, Examination belongeth to the moſt skilfull, and they who have moſt authority.
All theſe things are well allowed of by us, for who hath a greater meaſure of the Spirit than beleevers? and who hath more skill than he that hath beene trained up in the Schoole of Chriſt? and hath learned this Leſſon to be obedient to his Maſter Chriſt in keeping of all his commandments? and who hath greater authority upon the earth then they that are viſible Saints? and what makes men viſible Saints? if not the manifeſtation of their obedience to God the Father, and Chriſt his ſonne, in the practiſe of all his Ordinances, and not to have ſome other Presbyters preſent with them, to aſſiſt them, (as you affirme) for by theſe other Presbyters, I know not yet who you meane.
And whereas you ſay, that the Church may be led into errours, or kept in a low eſtate by unfit Paſtors and Elders.
I anſwer, It is a cleare truth; as wofull experience teacheth us, who live here in the Land of England.
And whereas you affirme, that viſible Saints cannot ordaine Officers, becauſe they have no gifts of prayer.
I Anſwer, Here you make prayer the Ordination of Miniſters.
And whereas you ſay they are not able to conceive prayer.
Here you give the holy Ghoſt the lie: for Beleevers have received the Spirit of adoption to cry Abba Father,
But ſay you, they cannot conceive prayer according to the action in hand.
Here you would ſeeme to make beleevers, which have the Spirit of God, to leade them into all truths, more voide of common reaſon, then men that have but gifts of nature.
Againe, you ſay, they have not gifts to make publike exhortation, and admonition.
To which I anſwer, If they had firſt knowledge to feele the want of a Paſtor, and alſo divers able men out of whom to elect and ordaine a Paſtor, then they out of whom this perſon is choſen, are able to exhort, and to admoniſh: for he that hath not the gift of teaching, may have the gift of exhortation: againe the man that undertaketh to teach others, ought to be taught by God, and likewiſe to be able by ſound Doctrine to withſtand the Gaineſayers, but a man may give good exhortations, (and that 8 A4v 8 that publikely) that is not able to withſtand the Gaineſayers by ſound Doctrine. By this you may ſee, the Church of God can never be without ſome Miniſters, except it be (according to that ſpoken by Zachariah) in the day of very ſmall things indeede, when God ſhall take away their Miniſters by death, priſon, or exile: for ſeeing the Churches were planted by Miniſters of Gods owne ordaining; therefore they were not without Miniſters in the very beginning: and ſtill the Churches are planted by the Miniſteriall power of the Lord Jeſus, which cannot be exerciſed without fit inſtruments; Yet that they muſt want the word preached, or Sacraments adminiſtred, till they have Paſtors and Teacher in Office, is yet to be proved, but that page of Mr. Robinſons, which hath beene alledged before, is ſufficient for this preſent purpoſe againſt you, even to prove that the family muſt not be unprovided for, either for the abſence or neglect of a Steward.
But now you ſeeme to inſinuate an affirmation, or a ſuppoſition, I cannot well tell whether, That a ruleing Elder may be deſtitute of the guift of diſcerning, and ſeeme to imply, that if he be deſtitute, then all the Church muſt be deſtitute, if there be no more Officers then he.
Here you would faine make the ruling Elders, the eyes of the Church, and then all the reſt of the body muſt be blinde, and ſo unfit to have any hand in election, and alſo voide of the Spirit of grace to diſcerne the gifts by, though it hath beene proved unto you before, that ſhe is the greateſt of all, having the Spirit of God to leade her into all truth, being the Spouſe of Chriſt, and endowed with all his riches, gifts, and donations.
And thus you ſtill deny the Authority & ability of the Church giving to the perſons in office all power and deſerning. But this is indede according to your practiſe here in England, but not according to the minde and Spirit of God.
And for the neighbour Churches Counſell, I deny not, but that it may be imbraced, and the Saints have cauſe to praiſe God for any helpes of Gods ordaining. But if they want the helpe of a neighbour Church to Counſell them, or neighbour Miniſters to direct them: yet if they be a Church of Jeſus Chriſt, they have (as hath beene ſaid before) power among themſelves to elect and ordaine their owne Officers; as alſo the Spirit of diſcerning, whereby to try their gifts, and yet be farre from falling into that evill, which they complaine againſt in the Epiſcopacie (namely) for one man to have the ſole power of Ordination.
By all theſe particulars, you may clearely ſee all your pretendedded 9 B1r 9 ded proofes and former aſſertions diſproved, as I promiſed you, in the entrance of this my anſwer to your ſecond Reaſon.
So that theſe two firſt Reaſons, being (as I conceive) the greateſt Champions, which you have ſent out in this skirmage, are now both ſlaine, and made voide of all the life that ever was in them, for, they were made moſt of ſuppoſitions, and of things that appeared unto you by likelihood, without any ground from the Scriptures: and of ſome other thing than Gods Word allowed: and of ſome triviall affirmations which were not grounded upon any truth of Gods Word.
Now, theſe two being thus turned aſide, by one of the meaneſt of all the Army of Jeſus Chriſt, you may juſtly feare, that all the reſt of your ſouldiers will run away wounded.
In your third Reaſon, You ſay it is not to be thought, that Chriſt would inſtitute ſuch a Government of his Church which affords no helpe; nor allowes no way or remedy for innocent perſons that are wronged.
Which thing I grant to be very true; but touching the means and helpes which you pleade for, that is, ſome other Synods to appeale unto, I tell you I know not what Synods you meane. But this I affirme that there are no larger Synods to be kept to ſettle Church differences, then the comming together of the Miniſters, and Brethren, as it is mentioned in the 15th. of the Acts, which I have garranted you in my Anſwers to your former Reaſons.
And whereas you ſtrive for appeales:
I Anſwer, It is the rule of Chriſt, that if one brother doe treſpaſſe againſt another; and if the brother offending will not be reclaimed by the private admonition of the brother offended, he is to be admoniſhed by one or two other brethren with him; Matth. 18. 15. 16. 17. but if he will not heare them, the brother offended is to tell the Church; and if he will not heare the Church, then he is not to be accounted a brother but as a Heathen man and a Publican; if not as a brother, then out of the fellowſhip: then if the wrong be any perſonall injury, as oppreſſion, or fraud, or any other ſinne of theſe natures, the Law is open, where he may appeale for Juſtice to the Magiſtrate in any part of the Kingdome, where-ever he liveth; but if it be a matter of ſcandall; as if hee ſhould be a drunkard, or incontinent, or the like, then he hath ſufficient remedy, when ſuch a one is caſt out of his ſociety. By this you may ſee, the way of government given by Chriſt Jeſus, the King of peace, is the way of peace and righteouſneſſe.
And whereas you affirme, That if the controverſie touching Circumciſion, ſhould have beene ended in the Church of Antiochia, then parties muſt have been Judges. B Here10 B1v 10
Here, you would ſeeme by this to make the whole Church of Antioch leavened with the Doctrine of Juſtification by Circumciſion, which to doe is a very great ſlander, as it appeares by Paul & Barnabas oppoſing them there, and that Churches ſending Paul and Barnabas to have the Churches adviſe at Jeruſalem concerning this matter. Acts 15. 1. flawed-reproduction
But whereas you affirme, That the Church of Antiochia, judged it unequall to decide the caſe among themſelves:
I anſwer, That they judged it unequall, is more than is expreſſed in that place: but if that ſhould be granted, it will make againſt you, for their reaſon in ſending the matter to Jeruſalem, was, becauſe the parties were members of the Church of Jeruſalem, as it appeares by Acts 15. 1. 5. 24. The firſt verſe ſheweth, that they were men of Judea; the 5th. verſe proves that they were Beleevers; The 24th verſe declares, that they went out of the Church of Jeruſalem unto them. And by this you may ſee plainely, that this Chapter (above all the Chapters that I can finde) proves Independencie upon your owne ground; that the Church of Antiochia judged it an unequall thing for them to judge the members of the Church of Jerusalem. And by this you may perceive how you have either erred, not knowing the Scriptures or elſe you have done worſe in labouring to darken the truth by evaſions, or falſe gloſſes.
In your fourth Reaſon you affirme, That the light and Law of Nature, with right reaſon, is againſt the Independancie of particular Churches; which is an unjuſt affirmation as hath been plainely proved before in the Anſwer to your third Reaſon. But a few words concerning this Reaſon.
You ſay it is found neceſſary, in bodies naturall, that the particular members doe joyne in one, for the good of the whole, and that the whole being greater than a part, the ſeverall parts ſhould be ſubject too, and ordered by the whole: All this I have granted you freely already in the Anſwer to your ſecond Reaſon; where I have plainely proved unto you, that the hands of the Church are ordered by the whole body, in the Ordination of the Miniſtery: And this is according to the very Scripture it ſelfe, for the holy Ghoſt ſpeaketh ſo, in 1 Cor. 12. 1 Cor. 12. Comparing the Church of God to the naturall body of a man; and therefore when the hand lanceth the foote, it cannot be ſaid properly to be the action of the hand alone, becauſe the hand is ſet a worke, by the body; neither can the body ſet the hand a worke, if it be deſtitute of the power 11 B2r 11 power, for the motion of the body commeth not from the hand, but the motion of the hand from the body; and thus you may ſee I have granted your compariſon. And the nearer politicke bodies doe goe to this Rule; the more orderly they are guided; for as all the cities and country of England, make up but one Kingdome, and all the people in England ought to be ſubject to one King; ſo all the Independant Congregations in England, and out of England, (that are guided by the Lawes of Chriſt) make up but one Kingdome ſpiritually to him that is their King.
Now concerning Armies; though I be very ignorant in theſe things, yet thus much I conceive, that all the Armies, that belong to the Kingdome ought to be under the banner of their owne King; even ſo all the particular Congregations of Chriſt, are to be guided by the Lawes of their owne Captaine Chriſt, who rideth before them with his garments dipt in blood, and they follow after him riding upon white horſes, Revel. 19. 11, 12. 13, 14.
We reade alſo in the Scripture of another armie, which were gathered together againſt the Lord, and againſt his Chriſt: And this armie (I conceive) conſiſteth of thoſe Locuſts, which aſcended out of the bottomleſſe pit,Rev. 9.. And theſe, as I told you before, are Arch-Biſhops, Dioceſan Biſhops, Deanes, Prebends, &c. and the reſt of the rabble; and theſe alſo have a King over them, which is the Angell of the bottomleſſe pit, who is ſaid to be the great red Dragon the Devill and Sathan, Rev. 12. 3. 9. and 20.2 who gave unto this armie his power and throne, and great authority, Rev. 13. 2. Therefore, to any Counſells that are held, or Canon Lawes that are enacted by any Captaine of this armie, the Churches of Chriſt ought not to ſubmit, though they ſhould be commanded, by any Statute Law of the Kingdome; for thoſe Statute Lawes are not according to Chriſts Rule, but ought by all Councells of State to be repealed.
And whereas you ſay, It is alledged by the Separation; that hold Independancie, That the Magiſtrate of Leyden cannot governe in Delph:
This I hope you will grant; for I am ſure the Magiſtrates of Coventry cannot execute their office in Shrewsbury, neither can the one Towne chuſe Magiſtrates for the other: and this ſtill proves Independencie, for either of theſe may chuſe their owne, and guide their owne at all times, except they forfeit their Charter.
Now whereas you ſay, the people alleadge for themſelves, that the B2 Law 12 B2v 12 Law of nature teacheth them to make a Covenant; though there be neither precept nor practiſe of it in the word.
I ſuppoſe you miſconſter their ſayings, for the text alleadged in Theſſalonians 4 9 doth not prove that brotherly love was never written of in the Scripture; but that it had beene ſo ſufficiently taught of God by written precepts, that it needed not to be written againe. Beſides, I am able to prove by the Scripture, that there is both precept and practiſe for a Church Covenant: the which I will anſwer you in the Anſwer to your 6th. Reaſon, where you begge the Queſtion.
Concerning what is aſſerted by ſome Divines of Scotland, That in ſuch things as are alike common to the Church, and Commonwealth, and have the ſame uſe in both, and that whatſoever natures light directeth the one, directeth the other alſo.
You know (by what hath beene formerly ſpoken) I have fully aſſented unto it.
I alſo agree with Ameſius, as farre as he agrees with the truth; but to agree with you in that falſehood, that the Government of independant Churches, is againſt the light of nature and right Reaſon, that I have denied, and diſproved ſufficiently already.
This having anſwered every particular thing in this Reaſon, that hath not beene anſwered already, I proceede to the Fifth.
In your 5th Reaſon you affirme, That there be many Rules in Scripture, that doe require the combination of Churches into Synods; for proofe whereof you ſay, that Ameſius confeſſeth, the Rules and Commands to be ſuch as theſe; Let all things be done to edification, decently and in order, Cor. 14. 26. 40. and follow after the things which make for peace, Rom. 14. 19. So Phil. 4. 8. And you conclude that Synods are found to be for edification, peace, and order. But you have brought no Scripture yet that proveth it; and I know all Scripture is againſt it, therefore I deny it. And as for the Scriptures alleadged (as you ſay) by Ameſius, they are ſuch as were ſpoken to particular Congregations: and in the particular Congregation of Coloſſe, Paul beheld a comely order, notwithſtanding there were no Synod conſiſting of any but onely the members and Miniſters of that Congregation, Col. 2. 5.
And as for commands, which you ſay are ſome generall, and others particular; Here you labour by evaſions to turne away the truth; for you your ſelfe know, that every particular command reacheth not to the generall, though a generall command reach to every 13 B3r 13 every particular. Now if you can ſhew us in the Scriptures any generall command, that all the Churches ſhould, or an example that all the Churches did gather a Councell of ſome Miniſters out of every particular Congregation, to make Decrees or Lawes to impoſe upon the whole, then you will ſpeake ſpeake ſomething to the purpoſe, but as yet you have not ſpoken one word that proveth any ſuch thing.
And whereas you alleadge that Scripture, That the Spirits of the Prophets muſt be subject to the Prophets, 1 Cor. 14. 32.
I Anſwer, That that is given to particular Congregations; and therefore not to all in a Province or Nation, and ſo not to Synods: And Paul never ſought to winne credit not obedience to Orders eſtabliſhed by himſelfe, (as you ſay) for he never made any other Orders, nor taught the people any other thing than what he had received of the Lord Jeſus, as it is plaine in 1 Cor. 11. Be ye followers of me (ſaith he) as I am of Chriſt, and in the 23. verſe of the ſame Chapter, I have received of the Lord (ſaith he) that which I have delivered unto you. Paul alſo writes unto theſe Corinthians, (whom he had converted unto the faith) to be followers of him, 1 Cor. 4. 16. in ver.verse 17. he ſheweth them, that therefore he ſent Timothy unto them, to the end that Timothy ſhould put them in remembrance of Pauls wayes in Chriſt, as Paul had taught every where in every Church. Here you may ſee Paul brings not the Example of the Synod before them, nor layes upon them any Decree or Command, to practiſe otherwiſe than he himſelfe had learned in Chriſt; yet I hope you will not deny, but that this Church ſpoken of, was a Church of Chriſt as well as the Church of Coloſſe.
Now the next thing to be conſidered is, that which you alleadge of Pauls ſubmiſſion, to the practiſe of what was agreed upon, by the common conſent of James, and the reſt of the Elders, Acts 21. from 18. to 27.
The Reaſon why they counſelled Paul to doe the thing, was, becauſe of the information that the Jewes had then againſt Paul; that he taught the people to forſake Moſes, Acts 21. 21. Now I hope you will not deny, but that this was a falſe affirmation.
The thing wherein they conceived he tranſgreſſed was, by bringing in Trophimus an Epheſian, (as they thought into the Temple) becauſe they ſaw him with him in the citie.
This was but their ſuppoſition, as it appeares in the 29 verſe of this Chapter.
Now what the Elders counſelled Paul to doe, in reſpect of giving offence to the Jewes, was no injunction to any to follow B3 the 14 B3v 14 the ſame example, except it were in the ſame caſe.
Now Paul himſelfe was a Jew, and taught all men that Chriſt was come to fulfill the Law, and not to deſtroy the Law; therefore he condeſcended to circumciſe Timothy becauſe his mother was a Jew, and the Jewes knew his father was a Grecian. Act. 16. 1. 3. But Titus a Grecian was not compelled to be circumciſed; yea, though there were falſe brethren craftily crept in, to ſpy out their liberty; Paul gave not place to them, no not for an houre, Gab. 2. 3 4. 5.
Now the things that the Elders counſelled Paul to doe, was to purifie himſelfe, with them that had a vow, and to contribute with them; and the reaſon wherefore they counſelled Paul to doe this, was, that it might appeare to the Jewes that Paul was a Jew, and not an uncircumciſed perſon, for the Jewes knew that it was a ſinfull thing to bring into the Temple any uncircumciſed perſon in heart or fleſh, Ezek. 44. 7.
Now Paul in all this did nothing but what was commanded in the Law, as purifications and vowes, &c.
Moreover, this counſell of James and the Elders unto Paul, was not generall to the beleeving Jewes; neither was it generally or particularly to the Gentiles, but particularly to Paul, and the reſt with him, becauſe of the falſe report which the Jewes had received of him.
And as this Counſell was not generall, ſo it was not perpetuall, but ſerved to put an honorable end to the Law, which Chriſt came to fulfill, and not to deſtroy.
By all this it appeares, it maketh nothing for any counſell that you plead for, to eſtabliſh any unwritten verities; for ſuch counſels are the counſels of darkneſſe: because they are not according to the Law and the Teſtimony, it appeares there is no light in them: therefore they are not of authoritie to bind any particular member of the Church, much leſſe the generall, as you ſay they are.
But ſeeing you confeſſe, that no Synod can ſay, It ſeemeth good unto the holy Ghoſt and to us; it plainely appeares that your counſels preſume without the counſell of the holy Ghoſt. But you may ſee, that the Church of Jeruſalem did nothing without the counſell of the Spirit, neither determined of any thing, that was not written in the Scripture. So the Churches of God now ought to preſume to do nothing but what the written Word allowes them; being taught the true meaning thereof by the Spirit that God hath given them.
Moreover, the counſell of Jeruſalem impoſed nothing upon 15 B4r 15 upon the Gentiles for a Law, but counſelled them to abſtaine from ſome neceſſary things, which would be either offenſive to the Jewes, or ſinfull in themſelves, Acts 15. 29. 20. 28. 29.
Now ſeeing the Church of Jeruſalem hath done nothing, but by the counſell of the written word, in forbidding things ſinfull in themſelves and offenſive to their brethren, it appeares to be plainely againſt your Synods, and dependencie in government, which in caſes difficult, doe eſtabliſh things which have no footing in Gods word; neither have they, by your owne confeſſion, in their Counſels any one, who is immediatly and infallibly imnſpired by the Spirit, and able of himſelfe to ſatisfie the controverſie, they being by your owne confeſſion inferiour to Paul and Barnabas; And Paul and Barnabas might teach nothing but what was taught in the Law and the Prophets. And therefore, by this it appeares you have not grounded any affirmation or ſuppoſition upon Gods word; for the proving either of your Synods or dependencie.
In your ſixth Reaſon you affirme that the government of the Church by Synods, is no where forbidden by God in the new Teſtament, either directly, or by conſequence.
But I doe affirme the contrary, and prove it thus;
That whatſoever Government is not commanded by God is accurſed, and that is plainely manifeſted in the New Teſtament, Rev. 22. 18.
But your government by Synods is not commanded by God, and therefore is accurſed; as it will appeare in the following diſcourſe.
Whereas you ſay, that all the Miniſters are greater than one:
I have already proved, that the Church of Chriſt is greater than all the Miniſters.
You ſay Synods appoint no other office or Officer in the Church, which Chriſt hath not appointed. See the Anſwer to his ſecond Reaſon againſt Independencie.
Me thinkes you are ſtrangely put to your ſhifts, that dare not tell the world what you meane by your Synods. But if you meane the Councell or Convocation that uſed to ſit at Pauls, I have told you already they are none of the Councell of Chriſt, neither hath he appointed that councell or any other councell, to make, or ordaine, either Officers or Offices for his Church, therefore ſo to affirme is blaſphemie, for he himſelfe is their Lord and Law-giver, and hath inſtituted every particular Ordinance in his Church, that the Church hath neede of, therefore it is (as hath been ſaid already) againſt the Law and light of nature, and 16 B4v 16 and contrary to edification, order, peace, pureneſſe, lovelineſſe, for any to decree for, or injoyne upon, the Aſſemblies of the Saints any other practiſe but thoſe that the Apoſtles have taught, which they themſelves had learned from the Lord Jeſus; but as for you Mr. Edwards, it appeareth plainely that you doe not underſtand nor ſee the forme of the Lords Houſe; which cauſeth you to call upon any to produce a particular word, or rule, for the order of Gods worſhip, what muſt be performed firſt; what ſecond, what third, what fourth, and ſo of the reſt; and that no Ordinance, and part of worſhip may be in another order. Further, you chalenge them if they can, to ſhew a particular word or rule out of the New Teſtament, for their Church Covenant, which you ſay, is the forme of the Church.
You alſo inquire for the forme of Excommunication, and Ordination, and geſtures in the ſeverall Ordinances of God. And this you ſay they are not able to doe, but onely in generall rules.
I have told you already that generall rules reach to every perticular, and that is no more than you ſeeme to know already: for you have confeſſed, that there are generall rules to teach every one of theſe particulars, which you could not chuſe but acknowledge; otherwiſe you would have made Chriſt not ſo faithfull in his houſe as Moſes. But the more you know, the greater is your ſinne, in that you labour to turne away the light; and you are ſtill repairing of thoſe threſholds, which have beene ſet up by Gods threſholds. If I had any hope therefore that you would be aſhamed of all that you have done, I would ſhew you, though not all that I ſee, yet what I am able to expreſſe of the forme of the houſe of God, and the paterne thereof, and the going out thereof, and the comming in thereof, and all the Ordinances thereof, and the Lawes thereof and write it in your ſight, that ſo you may keepe the whole fa-ſhion thereof, and all the Ordinances thereof, and doe them. See Ezek. 43. 11.
As for the Ordinance of Election, Ordination, and Excommunication &c. I have declared already the forme to them that have their eyes open to ſee it. But they cannot ſee the forme of the houſe, that have not repented them of the evills that they have done, therefore I will ceaſe to ſtrive with ſuch perſons, for they may live and ſtay long enough, and be of no Church of Chriſt.
In your 7th Reaſon you ſay, That conſociation and combination, in way of Synods, is granted by themſelves, (and you produce for your Authors theſe foure; Chriſt on his Throne, Examination of Prelates Petition, Syons Prerogative Royal, and the Proteſtation Proteſted; which Authors 17 C1r 17 Authors, if the Reader pleaſe to examine, ſhall find cleare againſt you) That which you have gathered here from theſe Authors is, that they grant that one Church ſhould be content that matters of difference and importance ſhould be heard by other Churches, as alſo to be adviſed and counſelled by other Churches, &c.
I anſwer, though all ſhould confeſſe, that it is profitable to have the counſell of their brethren and neighbour Churches in doubtfull caſes, yet this will be farre from proving the lawfulneſſe of your Synods; as may appeare by the Authors that your ſelfe hath here alledged, for they intend no ſuch Conſociation, nor Combination, which you have mentioned: but ſeeing your ſelfe would have ſomething which you cannot prove, you would begge of others to grant it or prove it for you.
Concerning the Orders, or Decrees of the Church of Jeruſalem (Acts 16 4.) they were not ſuch Decrees as were alterable, but ſuch as were warranted by God, and a perpetuall Rule for all the Churches of the Gentiles.
You neede not tell me what Ameſius ſpeaketh of the parts of Diſcipline, as if any of the Separation, held it to conſiſt all in Excommunication; for I have told you already, that they have ſeene the forme of the Lords houſe, and have reſpect unto all his Ordinances, and doe not take one for all.
Neither is it granted you, that admonitions and reproofes, and decreeing of Excommunications ſhould be by Officers of other Churches, towards members of any Congregation, though in the ſame conſtitution; the contrary moſt evidently appeareth, even by the practiſe of the Church of Antioch, who brought the matter to the Church of Jeruſalem, which concerned the Church of Jeruſalems members, neither may any of the Churches now be ſubject to the cenſures of other Congregations, except they muſt be ſubject to humane Ordinances; but in caſe, both the members, and the Church, be obſtinate in any knowne ſinne, then are the Churches of God bound to admoniſh her, and reprove her, and reject her; as if the Church of Antiochia had found the Church of Jeruſalem all leavened with the Doctrines of Juſtification by circumciſion; then had the Church of Antiochia power to admoniſh, reprove, and reject the Church of Jeruſalem, and not have communion with them, if they perſiſted obſtinate in that evill; for the Church of Antiochia was not inferiour in power to the Church of Jeruſalem.
In the beginning of your Eight Reaſon you ſay they grant and confe ſſe, That Churches of one conſtitution ought to withdraw from, and renounce communion and fellowſhip with a Congregation or Church that is fallen into ſinne, as falſe Doctrine, and evill diſcipline, &c.
I anſwer, I have granted you, that in the concluſion of the anſwer to your 7th Reaſon, if the Church ſtand obſtinate in ſinne and will not be reclaimed.
But that they ſhould be complained on to Synods and Claſſes, and ſubject to their cenſures, that is but a queſtion of your owne begging, and remaines for you to prove, and denied of me.
The next thing you would know is the difference betweene excommunication and rejection, and would ſeeme to make them both one.
To which I anſwer, Titus had power to reject a perſon, Tit 3. 10. but we doe not reade that he had power of himſelfe to excommunicate that perſon.
A wicked man may be ſaid to reject God when he rejecteth his Word. So Saul rejected God, (1 Sam. 15.23. therefore God rejected him from being King, verſ.verſe 26. but did he excommunicate God? So the people of Iſrael rejected God 1 Sam. 8.7 and 10 19. Did they therefore excommunicate God?
Here Mr. Edwards, you may ſee that Excommunication is more than rejection, as it alſo plainely appeares by Pauls words, 1 Cor. 5 4.5. where he delivers unto them the forme of Excommunication, in theſe words; When ye are gathered together, and my ſpirit, in the name of our Lord Jeſus Christ, that ſuch a one by the power of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt be delivered unto Sathan&c.. Here Mr. Edwards, you may plainely ſee the forme of this part of the Lords houſe; This you ſee Paul had determined before; and alſo that Pauls ſpirit was together with the Church in the action doing; yet Paul tooke not upon him that power of himſelfe, but committed the action to the Church who had the power of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt, as he himſelfe teſtifieth, which plainely proves, that the Church had the power that Paul had not, for though Paul was a good Counſellor, yet he was no executioner in that action, but as a member for his part. Here Mr. Edwards you may ſee the difference betweene rejection and excommunication; a man in rejecting the Law of God may be ſaid to reject God, and he that addes to, or diminiſheth from the Lawes of God, rejects God, in rejecting the counſell of God, which injoynes him neither to adde, nor diminiſh: but you by pleading for your unknowne Synods and ungrounded dependence, reject the counſell of God: and ſo doe all thoſe, that aſſiſt you in it. The19 C2r 19
The next thing you affirme is; That this government of Independencie (which I have proved to be Chriſts government) overthrowes the Communion of Saints.
To which I anſwer, This appeares to be contrary by that which hath beene ſaid already; as for example, the difference betweene the Church of Antiochia, and the Church of Jeruſalem; turned to good, becauſe they undertooke not the authority to determine the caſe themſelves, as hath beene ſaid; becauſe it was againſt the members of the Church of Jeruſalem: and this increaſed union and communion in both Churches, as we may plainely ſee, for Peter communicated unto them what God had revealed unto him: and Paul & Barnabas declared what God had done by them. James calls them back to conſider what Peter had declared; and backes it with the Scripture, manifeſting how it agreed with the words of the Prophets, as you may reade at large in Act. 15. Thus you may ſee what ſweet Communion was betweene theſe Churches that were both Independant.
Now, whereas you ſay it cannot be in a Chriſtian Common-wealth, or Nation.
I doe affirme it may ſtand with Chriſts Church in a Common-wealth, as may plainely appeare in the three firſt Chapters of the Revelations, which teſtifies that there were ſeven Churches in Aſia, and theſe ſeven Churches were compared to ſeven golden Candleſtickes, Rev. 1. 20. and every Candleſticke ſtood by it ſelfe, and held forth her owne light, as appeares by thoſe ſeverall meſſages, which were ſent to thoſe ſeven Churches, for had they had a dependencie one upon another in reſpect of power; then one meſſage would have ſerved unto them all; and what ſinne any of the Churches or Angels were guilty of, would have been laid unto the charge of all the Churches and Angels, but wee ſee it was otherwiſe. As for inſtance, there was none charged for ſuffering the woman Jezebel to teach the people, to commit fornication, and to eate things ſacrificed to Idols, Rev. 2. 20. but the Angell of Thyatira; by this you may plainely ſee there was not one Angell ſet over them all, not one Synod oppointed to judge and correct them all, which is the thing you labour for. Yet it cannot be ſaid that the Independancie of theſe ſeven Churches hindred their communion, either with Chriſt their head, or one with another; neither was it any diſturbance to the Commonwealth or Nation wherein they lived.
And here you cannot ſay that I have evaded, but have anſwered you directly, to theſe your doubts, and ſuppoſitions, and to many of your Iffs, which have beene your ſpies ſent out in this Scout; And moreover, I will anſwer all your many Reaſons as C2 I 20 C2v 20 I come to them (though they be joyned in battle with theſe) I meane your following Reaſons againſt Toleration; and alſo batter, or drive backe your anſwers which you have made to the Six Reaſons, which you ſay be theirs, and yet neither this Scout, nor the joyned, nor the ſubjoyned forces, ſhall be able to diſcover what ſtrength is on my ſide, although they be formed by you in battle aray.
Now I have proved the Independant Government to be Chriſts Government; I will alſo prove in my Anſwers to theſe your following Reaſons, that the Independant Congregations performe Chriſts publike worſhip, and therefore ought to be tolerated, and maintained in the practiſe thereof.
In the beginning of your firſt Reaſon againſt Toleration, you grant, that the Scriptures ſpeake much for Toleration, and bearing with one another in many things, both in matters of opinion and practiſe, and the Scriptures you quote are very pertinent to this purpoſe, but alwayes provided, they are to be underſtood as ſpoken properly to particular Congregations, and not unto any whole Nation.
But to ſtand for the Toleration of the maintenance of Hereſie, and Schiſme, is not the Toleration that we plead for (as farre as hath beene yet made knowne) but rather your inſinuation: for I have declared unto you already in the driving backe of the firſt Scout of your Army,. That God hath provided a way and meanes to purge every Congregation of his from all ſuch perſons that doe offend, whether it be in matters of Faith or Order. Neither doe any that ſtand for Chriſtian liberty comdemne them for cruelty, or that it is againſt charitie.
For if we compare the Church with one man or a few then it will eaſily appeare, that the one doth out-weigh the other: And you ſay, Calvin ſaith,It is cruell mercy which preferres one man, or a few, before the Church: To theſe words of Calvin I doe fully agree unto, for they are of the ſame nature with my former Anſwers to your Reaſons against Independancie, where I have proved againſt you, that the weight and power lieth in the Church and that the Church is above the Miniſters, and that the Miniſters have 21 C3r 21 have their power by the Church to exerciſe in the Church, and not the Church by the Miniſters.
The next thing to be conſidered in this your Reaſon, is your peremptory affirmation, but grounded upon no Scripture, (namely) That to ſet up Independant and ſeparated Churches, is a Schiſme in it ſelfe, and that it will make great diſturbance in the Church, both to the outward peace, and to the faith and conſcience of the people of the Kingdome.
Now that it is a Schiſme in it ſelfe, I deny; and prove the contrary thus;
God hath commanded all his people to ſeparate themſelves from all Idolatry 2 Cor. 6. 14, 15. 16. 17. and falſe worſhipping Rev. 14. 9, 10, 11. 12. and falſe worſhippers Chap. 18. 4. (and therefore it is no Schiſme) except you will make God the Author of Schiſme) & this is according to the Prophet Eſaiahs words, Eſay 1. which is the firſt Leſſon that every one ought to learne; even to ceaſe to doe evill. But I hope it will not be denied but that they are to learne another leſſon, which is, to learne to doe well: but to doe well is to keepe all Gods Commandements, and to obey God rather then men.
Now Gods commands to his people, is, that they learne to know the forme of the houſe (as I have told you before) and all the Ordinances of the houſe, and to doe them, Ezek. 43 11. but the Ordinances of Chriſts Kingdome under the Goſpell, (amongſt the reſt) are Doctrine, Fellowſhip, breaking of Bread, and Prayer; which Ordinances the Saints continued ſtedfaſtly in, and are commended for their conſtancie in the ſame, Acts 2. 42 and that in every particular Church or Congregation, though there were divers in one Nation, and yet I hope you will not affirme it was any diſturbance to the Nation (otherwiſe then Chriſt hath ſhewed ſhall ever be, that the ſeed of the Serpent, ſhall perſecute the ſeede of the Woman) for Gods people are ſaid to be a peaceable people and the Lord himſelf hath ſaid that he hath ſet them in the world as Lambs among Wolves. Now there muſt needs be a diſagreement betweene Lambes and Wolves but the Lambes are not the cauſe thereof. By this you may ſee that Separation is not a Sciſme, but obedience to Gods Commandement.
And for any Magiſtrate to give way for men to ſeparate, from the worſhip of the Kingdome eſtabliſhed by Law (if that worſhip be not according to Gods Law) is the Magiſtrates duty; and the Magiſtrate ſhall partake of no ſinne in ſo doing becauſe there is no ſinne committed. Therefore the Magiſtrate ought not to forbid the practiſe of Gods Worſhip; when hee C3 hath 22 C3v 22 hath power to command it; for he is ſet up for the practiſe of thoſe that doe well, and for the puniſhment of evill doers.
And therefore you did well, when you admoniſhed the Parliament in your Epiſtle, See the 3. & 4 leafe of his Epiſtle. to caſt out of the way all ſtumbling blockes, and to breake downe all Images, and Crucifixes; and to throw downe all altars, and remove the High places; and to breake to pieces the brazen Serpents which have beene ſo abuſed to Idolatry and Superſtition. So then you grant, that much may be done (as it ſeemeth by your ſpeech) and yet if there be not a full reformation, even to the throwing downe of the High places, it will prove a blemiſh to the reformers.
You ſay, he that doth not forbid, when he hath power he commands. Reaſon 1. Pag. 23.
But I hope you doubt not but the Parliament hath power, and therefore whatſoever they doe not forbid (by your owne ground) they have or doe command.
But in the Proteſtation, they have not forbidden Gods Worſhip, which is according to his Word; but they have Proteſted (and have injoyned others ſo to doe) to maintaine and defend the Proteſtant Religion, expreſſed in the Doctrine of the Church of England, againſt all Popery, and Popiſh Innovations within this Realme &c. And in the Interpretation of their meaning of the ſaid Oath, they binde us neither to the ſet forme of Worſhip, Diſcipline, or Government, nor any Rites or Ceremonies of the ſaid Church of England.
Now if we muſt withſtand Popery, and Popiſh Innovations, then we muſt needs withſtand ſuch dependencie as makes up a whole Nation a Church both good and bad, without ſeparating the precious from the vile, and alſo ſuch Synods or Counſels that decree, and make Lawes, and impoſe them upon any Church to keepe, having not the Word of God to warrant them; for theſe are Popiſh Innovations, and to be withſtood by us, according to our Oath.
And truely Mr. Edwards, you might have asked the independant Miniſters a queſtion in private, (for you knew where to find them) and not have propounded ſo ſilly a queſtion before the Parliament, when there was none there to anſwer you.
Your Queſtion is, Whether it be fitting, that well meaning Christians ſhould be ſuffered to goe to make Churches? Pag. 23.
To this I Anſwer, It is fitter for well meaning Chriſtians than for ill-meaning Chriſtians, for well-meaning Chriſtians be the fitteſt on the earth to make Churches, and to chooſe their Officers; whether they be Taylors, Felt-makers, Button- makers, Tent-makers, Shepherds, or Ploughmen, or what honeſt Trade 23 C4r 23 Trade ſoever, if they are well-meaning Chriſtians; but illmeaning Prieſts are very unfit men to make Churches; becauſe what they build up with one hand, they pull downe with the other.
Further you ſeeme to feare the ſpreading of Hereſies, if there be not a hindrance of theſe Aſſemblies.
But you ſhould rather feare that your owne glory would be eclipſed by their gifts and graces; for they are not men of ſo meane parts as you would make them: but are able to divide the Word of God aright by the ſpirit that God hath given them. Therefore I would wiſh you rather to let your heart bleed for your ſelfe and for the evills that you have done. For Chriſt will never ſuffer any to periſh for whom he died.
In your ſecond Reaſon you ſay, the Toleration deſired will not helpe to heale the Schiſmes and Rents of your Church.
To which I anſwer, that if you Church be not the Church of Chriſt, it will not heale it indeede, for though the Prophets would have healed Babel, it could not be healed.
You ſay that Miniſters and people will not ſubmit to the Reformation and Government ſetled by Law.
It is very like ſo, if it be not free from Innovations of Popery, becauſe they are ſworne to the contrary.
But you ſay many doubts will ariſe in the peoples mindes, that the Gover mnnment of your Church is not ordered according to the Word of God.
To this I anſwer; If you meane the Church of Englands Government, eſtabliſed by the Canon Law. I thinke it is out of doubt with the moſt, for they that underſtand but little, doe ſee and know that that Government is vaine and Popiſh; and that is the reaſon (as I conceive) why ſo many refuſe to conforme to it: and if you feare that that will prove ſo great a diviſion, you may doe well to counſell the Magiſtrates, to expell all ſuch Government, and to reject all ſuch Synods and Counſells, and to labour to underſtand the minde of God, and to ſet up his Government over Beleevers in the Kingdome of England.
And whereas you ſay, that many of the people who yet be not in this Church way, are poſſeſſed with theſe principles (of the Independant way) and much looking towards it:
I ſay it is pitty they ſhould any longer be led about by the way of the Wilderneſſe.
2. You doe affirme, that the mindes of multitudes of Profeſſors in England 24 C4v 24 England, and eſpecially in the City of London, are upon all occaſions, very apt to fall to any way in Doctrine or diſcipline, that is not commonly received by the Church.
I anſwer, Indeede the Proverbe is verified upon them. The burned child dreads the fire; for they have beene ſo long deceived by your falſe gloſſes, that now their eyes being a little open, the light appeareth very ſweete unto them; yea, although they ſee men but like trees, as the blinde man, when his eyes began to be opened, who had beene blinde from his birth.
The third thing which you have laid downe in this Reaſon, is; That the Miniſters will not be tied, from preaching thoſe points in publike, nor from ſpeaking of them in private.
To which I anſwer, I hope they will not indeed, for it were their great ſinne, if they ſhould not declare Gods whole Councell, ſo farre as he hath revealed it unto them.
But if they would (you ſay) the people both men and women, are ſo ſtrangely bold and pragmaticall, and ſo highly conceited of their way as the Kingdome of Chriſt and the onely way of Chriſt, that out of thoſe principles, they would be drawing many of their friendſhip and kindred; and many would (ſay you) come unto them.
I anſwer, that this (I hope) you count a vertue, for it is the property of the Sheepe when they fare well, to call their fellowes. But Hogges will not doe ſo.
The fourth thing to be minded is (that you ſay) Liberty, the power of government, and rule, to be in the people, are mighty pleaſing to fleſh and blood, eſpecially in meane perſons, and ſuch as have beene kept under.
To which I anſwer, that they that have beene kept under, have beene kept under by the tyranny of the Man of Sinne; This you confeſſe to be eſpecially the poore, upon whom thoſe Taskemaſters have laid the greateſt burthens. Therefore for them to affect liberty is no wonder.
And whereas you ſay they would have the power and Rule:
I anſwer, It is not any power or Rule which is pleaſing to the fleſh (as you ſpeake, thinking them to be like thoſe Prieſts, Whoſe god is their belly, whoſe glory is their ſhame, who minde earthly things) but it is the power of Chriſt which they ſtand for, as they are members of the Churches of Chriſt; to which Churches Chriſt the King thereof hath given all power in ſpirituall things.
And that the Church of Chriſt conſiſteth of meane perſons, is no wonder; for wee have learned, that the poore receive the Goſpell, and you know you have granted, that it ſtands with the light and Law of Nature, That the liberty, power, and rule, ſhould 25 D1r 25 ſhould be in the whole, and not in one man or a few; ſo that the power muſt reſt in the body; and not in the Officers, though the Church be never ſo poore.
Now the fifth thing you minde in this Reaſon is, That Tolleration will be made uſe of to ſtrengthen their way.
And you alſo conclude, it will be granted, that the ableſt Miniſters could not anſwer them, and therefore were content they ſhould have a Tolleration.
You doe very well to feare the worſt, but you had done better if you had armed your ſelfe againſt them, and anſwered the Scriptures, they bring by Scripture: But it is a plaine caſe, you could not do that, & therfore your feare was juſt; but if you were a wellminded man, or a wellmeaning Christian man, you ſhould not have feared the comming of the truth to light, nor have been afraid of reformation, becauſe it would worke to your greater diviſions, and rents, for Chriſt came not to ſet peace upon the earth, (as I have told you before) but the ſeede of the Serpent will be ever playing his part.
In your third Reaſon you affirme, That Tolleration will breed diviſions, and Schiſmes, diſturbing the peace and quiet of Churches, and Townes.
I anſwer, I have told you already, we plead for no tolleration that ſhall diſturbe the peace of Churches or Townes.
Moreover, you ſay, it will not onely doe ſo, but it will alſo breed diviſions in families betweene husband and wife, brother, and brother.
To which I anſwer, There was a diviſion in the firſt Family that ever was, and brother roſe up againſt brother, but Tolleration was not the cauſe of it; but the malice of Sathan in the ſeed of the Serpent, as it hath beene, and is now at this day.
And this is according to Chriſts words, Luke 12. 52, 53 which ſaith, That there ſhall be five in one houſe, two againſt three, and three againſt two, &c and in Matth. 10. 34, 35, 36. Thinke not (ſaith he) that I come to ſend peace into the earth, I came not to ſend peace, but the ſword: For I am come to ſet a man at variance againſt his father, and the daughter againſt her mother, and the daughter in Law againſt her mother in Law, and a mans enemies ſhall be they of his owne houſehold; and moreover, in Luke 21. 16. our Saviour doth declare, that we ſhall be betrayed, both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolkes, and friends. D Now 26 D1v 26 Now if Chriſt may be ſaid to be the Author of evill, then you may ſay that Toleration of true Religion is the cauſe of this diviſion.
Againe you ſay, (O how) this will occaſion diſobedience.
To this your Lamentation I anſwer. O that you would remember the rule 1 Tim. 6. 1 that every ſervant ought to count his Maſter worthy of all honour; and in the judgement of charitie beleeve, that perſons profeſſing the Gospel will learne that leſſon.
Next you ſay O! how will this take away that power & authority which God hath given to Husbands, Fathers, and Maſters, over wives, children, and ſervants.
To this I anſwer, O! that you would conſider the text in 1. Cor. 7. which plainly declares that the wife may be a beleever, & the husband an unbeleever, but if you have conſidered this text, I pray you tell me, what authority this unbeleeving husband hath over the conſcience of his beleeving wife; It is true he hath authority over her in bodily and civill reſpects, but not to be a Lord over her conſcience; and the like may be ſaid of fathers and maſters, and it is the very ſame authority which the Soveraigne hath over all his ſubjects, & therfore it muſt needes reach to families: for it is granted that the King hath power (according to the Law) over the bodies, goods, and lives of all his ſubjects; yet it is Chriſt the King of Kings that reigneth over their conſciences: and thus you may ſee it taketh away no authority which God hath given to them.
The next thing you ſay is, that they cannot be certaine, that their ſervants and children ſanctifie the Lords day.
To which I anſwer, that indeede unbeleeving Maſters take as little care of this as they that have given liberty to prophane the Lords Day; but beleeving Parents and Maſters, may eaſily know (if their children or ſervants be of any Congregation) what their life and converſation is, and therefore this can hinder no duties, or workes of Families (as you falſely affirme) nor croſſe the good and peace of Families.
By this you may ſee, that this your groundleſſe affirmation, is no good Reaſon againſt Toleration.
And therefore the Court of Parliament (to whom you ſubmit for judgement) may eaſily ſee that good members both for Churches and Common-wealths, may iſſue out of ſuch Families, that live under Chriſts government, and that ſuch Families may be good Nurſeries, both for Church and Commonwealth.
In your fourth Reaſon you doe affirme, that there will be great danger of diſputes amongſt you about Government and Worſhip, and Dotrine, and practiſes (in the Concluſion) you ſay, it will be about a queſtion where Saints goe when they die, whether to heaven or a third place.
I Anſwer, This is a queſtion I never heard amongſt the Separates, (or any of thoſe whom you call Independant men), but amongſt the Papiſts of Rome, and England.
The next thing is, about ſitting with hats on to breake bread?
I Anſwer, this may be a queſtion indeed, but not to breede diviſion; for it may be as lawfull for one man to ſit covered & another uncovered, as it may be lawfull for one man to receive it ſitting, and another lying in bed. But if any man liſt to be contentious, the Churches of God have no ſuch cuſtome.
In your fifth Reaſon you affirme, that the Miniſters of the Kingdome, can have little aſſurance, of the continuance of their flockes to them, if ſuch a toleration be granted, but that the tolerated Churches will admit them into fellowſhip, and increaſe Churches out of their labours: and that they ſhould doe little elſe but ſpend and be ſpent.
To this I anſwer, that if you were the Miniſters of Chriſt, as you would be taken to be, it might be your comfort, joy, and glory, for it was the Apoſtles worke to gather the Saints, and to travell in birth of children; and they did not grudge that they were added unto the Churches of Chriſt, but tooke care for them being ſo added, for the care of all Churches lay upon them, and therefore they were as Fathers, and Nurſes, unto them; and the Goſpell admits of no ſuch theft as to ſteale away members from other Churches: but if men draw neere to the truth (which never were members of any Church) and offer themſelves to joyne unto us; we may admit them upon good experience of their life and converſation, for thoſe members that travelled from one Church to another, were commended unto thoſe Churches by Letters from the Church where they were members, or elſe they could not have beene admitted: and thus you may ſee the way of the Goſpell admits of no ſuch diſorder.
Now whereas you ſay, that this Toleration upon any light occaſion of demanding dues; or preaching againſt any thing they like not, opens a wide doore, and will invite them to diſert their Miniſters.
I anſwer by demanding of that which you call dues; you may indeede give juſt occaſion, for you may demand for due, that which is not due; as all the Prieſts of England doe. LikewiſeD2 wiſe 28 D2v 28 wiſe by preaching of Doctrine, you may give juſt occaſion, if you juſtifie the wicked, and condemne the juſt, and make ſad the hearts of thoſe whom God would not have made ſad; and then if your people flye from you, you may thanke your ſelves; but concerning what you count to be your due, I will declare hereafter. For this ſee the Reply to his Anſwer to their third Reaſon for Toleration.
Now in the beginning of your ſixth Reaſon, you ſay, that liberty will be an undoubted meanes and way of their infinite multiplication and increaſe, even to thirty fould.
Truely I thinke you are afraid, as Pharaoh was, leaſt the Lords people ſhould grow mightier then you.
Next you ſay, if the Parliament could like to have more of the Greede of them, and have a delight to have multitudes exempted from the Eccleſiaſticall Lawes of the Land, &c.
I anſwer, it is no diſgrace to the Parliament, if they ſhould ſo delight, though never Parliament before had done the like.
Moreover, you ſay, they have increaſed within this nine moneths, without a toleration, therefore (you conclude) they would multiply much, if they had a toleration, in many, if not in moſt Townes and Pariſhes; and you ſay it cannot be helped.
All this I grant may be; although they have not a Toleration, I thinke they will increaſe; for the Taskemaſters can lay no heavier burthens upon them, then they have laid already: but though they ſhould increaſe, it will not be unprofitable, for the increaſe of beleevers will be the ſtrength and glory of the Kingdome; for they will in all lawfull things, be ſubject to the Kings Majeſtie their dread Soveraigne, and to all the wholeſome Lawes of his Land, and therefore it will be no danger to have (as you ſay) ſwarmes of them.
illegibleg 29. In your 7th. Reaſon you affirme that it will be very prejudiciall dangerous and inſufferable to this Kingdome, for Saints two, or three, or more, to gather, and combine themſelves in Church Fellowſhip, having onely power from Chriſt their immediate heade: without expecting warrant from any Governors.
Firſt, whereas you ſay it will be prejudiciall:
I anſwer, It can prejudice none in the Kingdome, except it be the Prieſts, and it will be but of a little tithes, which they dare not in conſcience pay, becauſe thoſe Jewiſh Ceremonies are ceaſed, 29 D3r 29 ceaſed, and if they have not Toleration, that will be all one (in that reſpect,) for they will rather ſuffer, then doe any thing againſt conſcience.
Now whereas you ſay it will be dangerous, and inſufferable to the Kingdome, both theſe I deny; for if they were offenſive people, two or three or a few could doe but little hurt. But they have beene proved to be a peaceable people, and the ſuffering of ſuch hath never beene dangerous to any Nation, but the not ſuffering of ſuch to live quietly in a Land, or to paſſe quietly thorow a land, hath brought Judgements upon ſuch Lands.
Now whereas you ſeeme to imply, that they ſhould aske leave of the Magiſtrate, to gather and combine themſelves into viſible Churches, &c.
I anſwer, I doe not reade that any ever asked leave of the Magiſtrate for ſuch a thing; nor to performe any of the parts of Gods Worſhip or Diſcipline: and yet you confeſſe that theſe independant men doe petition, to the Parliament for liberty. For this ſee his Book pag. 55. Now I pray you Maſter Edwards, would you have Magiſtrates, and Kings, and Princes to have more power over their ſubjects then over their bodies, eſtates, and lives? would you have them be Lords over their conſciences? I pray you where muſt Chriſt reigne then? Muſt he ſit at the Magiſtrates footeſtoole? and take what power the Magiſtrate will give him? (I meane ſpirituall power of gathering and making Churches) and ſuch Lawes as the Magiſtrate will give him leave to have, to rule over them by? Here you thruſt Chriſt into a narrow corner; for you would faine force him to give his glory to ſome other, and his praiſe to ſome graven Image, of your owne deviſing, which he hath ſaid he will not doe. Eſay 42. 8.
But methinkes it were fitter for men of your coate, to ground the Government of Chriſts Church, upon the written Word of God, and not upon Statute Lawes, nor Canon Lawes, which you call Eccleſiaſticall; for it will be no diſparagement to the Imperiall Crowne of this Realme, for Chriſts Church to be governed by Chriſts owne Lawes.
The next thing is, you ſay, the Oath of Supremacie was appointed by Law for Ecclesiaſticall perſons to take. Pag. 30. lin. 30. 31.
Methinkes that was a good conſideration, for Eccleſiaſticall perſons have beene in all ages ready to tyrannize, over Kings and Emperours.
But now you aske the independant men (as you call them) a queſtion; but before you come to the queſtion, you lay downe an affirmation or a concluſion: (namely) That theſe, independent men give power to the Churches.D3 To 30 D3v 30
To which I anſwer; If they ſhould doe ſo, they were very ignorant, and very preſumptuous, for Chriſt hath given power to the Churches, and all the Miniſters that doe adminiſter in the Churches, muſt have the power by the Church.
But ſay you, they give that power to the Churches, which the Papiſts give unto the Pope.
I anſwer, if they doe ſo they are blaſphemers for the Papiſts acknowledge the Pope to be the head of the Church: which title all men ought to give onely unto Chriſt.
But now to your queſtion; which is, whether they will take the Oath of Supremacie, or doe acknowledge in their prayers, The King Defender of the Faith? &cetcetera.
To which I anſwer, This Ooath you ſay, was ordained for Eccleſiaſticall perſons, and I hope theſe Eccleſiaſticall independant men (if I may ſafely ſo call them) will ever, both acknowledge, and maintaine, that the King is ſupreme over all the Land, therefore over the Church of the Land, though it conſiſt of the Clergie, as it appeares by that Oath which you ſay was appointed for the Clergie.
But whether they doe acknowledge the King, defender of the Faith, &c.etcetera which is the later part of your Queſtion?
To this I anſwer. It is out of all doubt, that theſe men doe deſire from their heart, (as well as all the Lords people) that the King may defend the Faith of Chriſt Jeſus, and dayly make their prayers and ſupplications to God for him, and that in conſcience and obedience to God, being commanded in his Word ſo to doe, for they know it is a duty laid upon them; for prayers and ſupplications muſt be made for Kings, and all them that be in authoritie; 1 Tim. 2. 1.2. but none can make axceptable prayers, but the Saints, for the prayers of the wicked are abomination unto the Lord Pro. 15. 8. But that all Kings have beene defenders of the Faith of Chriſt, I deny; for there is but one Faith, Eph. 4. 5. and thoſe that do maintaine that true faith of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt, lawfully have that title given them; and none other may lawfully have it but they.
You will happily ſay, Queene Mary was not a Defender of the Faith. But I ſay unto you, if the Crowne of England give unto Kings and Queens that title; Queene Mary had as much right to the title as Queene Elizabeth. &cetcetera.
Secondly, you ſay, they hold that the impoſition of lawfull things, doth make them unlawfull, (which you ſay is a ſtrange paradoxe.) Pag. 31. lin. 36.
I anſwer, the impoſition of lawfull things doe not make them unlawfull, if he that impoſeth them have authoritie ſo to doe: as for example; the impoſition of an Oath is very lawfull; but if 31 D4r 31 if it be impoſed by him that hath not authoritie, though it make not the Oath unlawfull ſimply in it ſelfe, yet it makes the uſe of it unlawfull, at that time, both to him and to me.
But as for formes of prayer: which (you ſay) they doe confeſſe to be for order, and lawfull in themſelves, yet unlawfull, being impoſed.
I ſay, not as you ſay, they ſay, for I know no forme of prayer lawfull in it ſelfe, for any of the Lords people to tie themſelves unto; nor that ever was impoſed upon any by Chriſt, or his Apoſtles; (We reade in 1. Tim. 2. 1. 2. that all manner of prayers muſt be made unto God; and amongſt other, ſupplications muſt be made for Kings, but there was no forme of words given by which wee muſt pray for any: and we are commanded to pray with the Spirit, and to pray with underſtanding;) but we are commanded to avoid an evill manner of praying; that we ſhould not be like the Hipocrites; which love to ſtand and pray in the Synogogues, Matth. 6. 5 nor that we ſhould make vaine repititions as the Heathens, which thinke to be heard for their much babling: Ver. 7.8. and as alſo we are forbidden an evill manner of praying; ſo wee are commanded by God what manner to uſe, as it is Matth. 6.9. plaine in Matth. 6. 9.
The manner is that wee muſt in our prayers acknowledge God to be our Father.
And ſecondly, That he is in heaven.
Thirdly, we muſt give glory to his Name..
Fourthly, we muſt pray for the coming of his Kingdome.
Fiftly, we muſt pray that the Lords Will may be done, both in earth and in heaven. Ver. 10.
Sixthly, wee muſt pray for all things neceſſary for this life, which is there ſet forth under the name of dayly bread. Ver. 11.
Seventhly, wee muſt pray for the forgiveneſſe of our owne ſinnes; Ver. 12. and we are alſo put in minde, that as wee would have our owne ſinnes forgiven, ſo we ſhould forgive others; if they acknowledge their offences, according to that in Luke 17. 4. If thy brother treſpaſſe againſt thee ſeven times a day, and ſeven times a day, and ſeven times a day, and ſay it repenteth him, &c.etcetera
Eightly, we muſt pray againſt temptations to be delivered from the evills thereof. Ver. 13.
And laſtly, we muſt conclude with thankeſgiving acknowledging the Kingdome to be the Lords and all power, and glory to be due unto him, not onely for that preſent time, but for ever.
Here you may ſee we are taught the manner how we ought to pray, but we are tied to no forme of words, yet we are to beleeve that this is a perfect Rule, and that we may ſufficiently ground all the 32 D4v 32 the petitions we neede to put up from this very rule.
As for Example,
As we deſire to acknowledge God to be our Father, ſo wee ought to deſire, that others would doe the like.
And whereas we ought to pray for the Kingdome of God to come, we are not to limit it to this, (that Chriſt may come to rule in us onely) but that he may rule as a King in the heart of all his choſen.
Neither ought wee alone to acknowledge praiſes but wee ought to deſire that prayſes to God may be acknowledged by others alſo, and that they may grant the Kingdome, and power, and glory to be his, not that he ſhould be a King onely to rule in the hearts of men, but alſo that he may rule and governe the actions of the bodies of men in his outward worſhip: as we are commanded to glorifie God with our bodies and ſoules, and the reaſon is becauſe they are his, 1 Cor. 6. 20. Now, if our bodies and ſoules be Gods, then it muſt needs be granted, that it is in ſpiritual worſhip: for in all civill things it hath beene acknowledged already, that both bodies and lives are our ſoveraigne Lord the Kings; in whoſe Land we dwell.
Now if there were any forme of prayer for men to bind themſelves unto, it would have beene ſhewed, either in this Scripture, or in ſome other; which thing you have not yet proved.
That they were not tied to this forme of words is plaine by another Evangeliſt, which doth not uſe the ſame words, but addeth ſome, and leaveth out other ſome; and alſo the whole forme of thankeſgiving, is left out by Luke, (Luke 11. 2. 3.4. Compared with Matth. 6. 9.) and to ſeeke the helpe of any booke but the Bible to teach men to pray, is to diſable God which hath promiſed to give Beleevers his Spirit, whereby they ſhall cry Abba Father, Rom. 8. 15 and that that Spirit ſhould leade them into all truth, and bring all things to their remembrance Ion. 14. 26. Therefore a forme of prayer for men to tie themſelves unto, cannot be ſufficient and pleaſing to God though it were never impoſed by any.
Thirdly, you lay another ſlander upon us, as though we ſhould affirme, that Chriſtian Princes, and Magiſtrates, who are defenders of the Faith have no more to doe in and about the Church, then Heathen Princes.
This is not true, for we know that Chriſtian Princes, and Magiſtrates ought to be members of Chriſts Church; and ſo being, they may be Officers in the Church; And if they be Defenders of the Faith, they be ſuch as defend the pure worſhip of God, manifeſted in his Word, as alſo the true profeſſors thereof, and that againſt all tyrannicall power that ſhall attempt to ſuppreſſe either it or them, as the good Kings of Judah and Iſrael did 33 E1r 33 did, by ſlaying the Servants and Prophets of Baal who had ſlaine the Lords people.
But Heathen Kings cannot be ſaid to be members of the Church of Chriſt before they know Chriſt, and then they become Chriſtian Kings. Therefore, to vent upon all occaſions, ſuch principles as you ſee wee hold, and maintaine, is not (as you ſay) dangerous and inſufferable, neither are the people.
But you ſay further, that the people for a great part of them are heady and refractory, and proud, and bitter, and ſcornfull, and diſpiſers of authoritie, and that they will not ſuffer publike prayers to be prayed, but that by their geſture and threatning of the Miniſters, they have laboured to hinder the uſe of them: And theſe people (I gather from your owne words) are the profeſſors in England, and eſpecially in the city of London; and it is very like to be ſo; becauſe they were there at the time of your ſervice; (for neither the Separates nor Semiſeparates (as you call them) uſe to be there at the time of your ſervice (for ought I know:) and theſe Profeſſors you have alſo called Idle, & buſibodies, tatlers alſo, as it is ſaid, 1 Tim. 5. 13. very wanton in their wits (ſay you) affecting novelties in Religion, and liking of points that are not eſtabliſhed nor commonly held, and theſe you ſay are many of the profeſſors. For this ſee the third part of his Anſwer to their ſecond Reaſon againſt Toleration, pag. 30. And in your ſecond Reaſon againſt Toleration, Pag.page 24. (you ſay) that the mindes of multitudes of the Profeſſors in England, and eſpecially in this citie, are upon all occaſions very apt to fall to any way in Doctrine or Diſcipline that is not commonly received by the Church, &c. But I tel you, you ought not to blame any for withſtanding any thing in Gods worſhip, which is not grounded in his Word: Neither (if the whole body of the worſhip there tendred be the invention of man) ought any of them to be blamed for oppoſing ſuch a worſhip; becauſe it is according to their Proteſtation.
Yet I juſtifie none that will oppoſe diſorderly, as either by caſting up of hats, or threatning the Miniſter, or any the like unſeemely behaviour; for I judge it better for them to depart in peace, if they have not faith in the action performed.
But methinkes (Mr. Edwards) you have foulely miſſed it, in that you have vilified your brethren, to call them by the names of thoſe mockers which (Paul teſtified) ſhould come in the last time, that ſhould be heady, and high minded, and proud boaſters, and deſpiſers of authority; for ſuch as theſe have not the power of godlineſſe, (and by this you make your Church a foule Church, and defile ſhrewdly your owne neſt, and make it appeare to all men that you live in a Cage of uncleane birds) & therefore you are commanded from ſuch to turne aſide; 2 Tim. 3. 5. if the feare of God be in your heart. E More- 34 E1v 34 Moreover, You ſay, you feare they will not tolerate the Government eſtabliſhed by the Eccleſiaſticall, and civill Lawes, and you would faine father the cauſe of this your feare upon Separates, and Independancie, whereas you cannot be ſo ignorant, but that you muſt know, that the government eſtabliſhed by Law may ſtand without the leave of Separates, for they have neither power to give toleration, nor to prohibit toleration, for, or againſt, any thing.
But you ſay, you would rather pray againſt toleration, than propheſie of the wofull effects of it.
I anſwer, if you can make ſuch a prayer in a time acceptable, then ſometimes ſuch prayers will be accepted which are not grounded upon Gods Word.
But of the wofulleſt effects of toleration, you have propheſied already, in that you ſay, they will withſtand your Doctrine and your dues, For this ſee his fift Reaſon againſt toleration. pag. 28. lin. 12, 13. and that will be a wofull effect indeede! when you ſhall be driven, to cry out, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, for in one houre is ſo great wealth come to deſolation.
In your Eight Reaſon, you affirme, That theſe Independant men, where they have power, as in New-England, will not tolerate any Churches or Government, but in their owne way.
In uſing the word theſe, you carry the matter ſo darkely, that I know not whom you meane, for you have named none.
But you ſeeme to ſay, they be men that have power in New-England.
I anſwer, Indeede it may happen to be ſo; That there may be ſome men there, that take upon them authority, to binde mens conſciences, as you and all your fellowes do here. But if it have beene ſo, I thinke it was, becauſe they had (here in England) taken upon them an oath of conformity, (as you have ſometimes done;) and becauſe the tyranny of the Prelats was ſo mighty, againſt all good men, that they were faine to go away privately, and ſo had not time or opportunity publikely to diſclaime this their Oath; and then there might be feare, that upon complaint made for diſorder committed there, in ſuffering the liberty of the Gospel there which could not be admitted here, they might have beene ſent for backe by their Ordinaries, and ſo have been committed to ſome ſtincking priſon, here in London, there to have been murdered, as divers of the Lords people have beene, of theſe late yeares, as I am able to prove of my owne knowledge; and if they have baniſhed any out of their Patents, that 35 E2r 35 that were neither diſturbers of the peace, of the Land, nor the worſhip practiſed in the Land, I am perſwaded, it was their weakeneſſe, and I hope they will never attempt to doe the like. But I am ſtill perſwaded, they did it upon the ſame ground, that having knowledge in themſelves, that their former Oath, might be a ſnare unto them, if they did not hold ſtill ſome correſpondencie with the practiſe of England, even till God ſhould open a way or meanes for them to ſeeke free liberty for all, by the approbation of authority.
The next thing you minde againſt them is, that they would not admit liberty, to ſome of their brethren, which were godly Miniſters, though they did approve of them, as being againſt Ceremonies.
To this, 1. I anſwer, that it is ſtrange that any man ſhould ſend to aske their liberty. 2. It is much more ſtrange to me (if it be true, as you ſay, that theſe men were againſt Ceremonies) that there ſhould be any difference betweene them, and the Miniſters in New England.
But it ſeemes (by your ſpeech) they would have gone in a middle way, which preſuppoſeth to me, that they are ſo farre from being againſt Ceremonies, that are already invented, that they would have ſet up ſome invention of their owne.
The next thing you charge ſome of them with, is, That they would not admit into fellowſhip, thoſe that would not enter into their Covenant, and profeſſe faith, and ſubmit to their Church Orders, though they would be of their Church .
Me thinkes you have ſtrange evaſions, but I pray you anſwer me to theſe two queſtions: the firſt is, how men of yeares of diſcretion, may (by the rule of Gods Word) be admitted into fellowſhip, and not profeſſe their faith.
Secondly, how men may be accounted, to be of the Church, and not ſubmit unto the orders of the Church: Seeing that the Apoſtle Paul had theſe two things to rejoyce in; the beholding of the Saints ſtedfaſt faith, and comely order, in the Church.
But you ſay, that theſe men who would faine have a toleration in this great kingdome, will not allow any in their ſmall particular Congregations.
Truely (Mr. Edwards) It were good for you to labour to underſtand the minde and will of God for your ſelfe, and have charitie towards your brethren; and hope well, that they have ſo much knowledge, of the Lords will, that they will not pleade for ſuch an abſurdity, as to ſet up one Church, within another, and ſo make a ſchiſme. But the Toleration they plead for, is that Gods true worſhip, may be ſet up in the Kingdome by thoſe that underſtand what it is; and that by the ſufferance of E2 the 36 E2v 36 the Governors; and that it ſhould be ſetled in a peaceable way; which would be farre from diſturbing the peace of three Kingdomes, (as you invectively ſpeake;) but to ſet up a Congregation in a Congregation, would be confuſion, even as to ſet up one Kingdome, within another.
The next thing you charge them with, is, that they are partiall; (by a ſuppoſition of your owne:) for you ſay, it is ordinary for men, when they are not in place, nor have no power in Church or Common-wealth; and hold alſo Doctrines and principles contrary to what is held and eſtabliſhed; to pleade for Toleration; but when the ſame men come to have place and power (ſay you) they will not tolerate others; and you ſay, that you doe beleeve that theſe are the men which now indeavour a toleration.
To this I anſwer, you may doe well to let this beleefe of yours be no Article of your faith, becauſe it ſtands upon no ground; for though a man may hope the beſt, and feare the worſt; yet he may beleeve nothing but what he hath proofe for. But I doe beleeve that all this is your evill ſurmiſing, (to think, that if they had power in their hands to ſettle a Government, they would tolerate none but their independant way,) as it may plainely appeare by the Proteſtation Proteſted, which you quote here for your Author, for though the Proteſtor declare what he would have for the Churches of the Saints; yet he doth not take upon him to determine, what Government or rule, ſhall be ſet up in the Land, to bring men out of darkneſſe to light, but leaveth that to the judgement of them which have the power, even the King and Parliament.
In you ninth Reaſon you affirme, that toleration may be demanded, upon the ſame grounds, for Browniſts, Anabaptiſts, and Familiſts, and others who profeſſe it is their conſcience.
To which I anſwer; That ſeeing you plead for them, I may well hold my peace. But I thinke the Familiſts will not aske liberty for toleration if they be as (I doe conceive) of the Sect of the Libertines mention in the Acts.
But, ſay you, theſe may be pleaded for upon better grounds then SemiSeparates and the Reaſon you ſay is, becauſe they deny the truth of your Church.
Anſwer, I do beleeve, thoſe (whom you call Semi-Separates) do deny the truth of your Church alſo; (though not in all reſpects) and ſo farre as they be Separates, they muſt needs deny the Church from which they Separate.
But you here demand, whether Papiſts may not petition and have hope for 37 E3r 37 for toleration, ſeeing it is their conſcience.
To this I anſwer, I know no reaſon why they may not petition and hope to ſpeede alſo, ſeeing they have many friends in the Kingdome.
Further, you adde, that if one ſort may have an exemption from the Religion eſtabliſhed, why not others?
I anſwer, There may be many reaſons given, why thoſe may not have freedome (of any great reſorts in the Land) which have often attempted, by plots, and treachery to ruinate the Land.
The next thing you affirme, is, if ever the doore of toleration, ſhould be but a little opened, there would be great crowding in.
To this I anſwer, That the more good men doe imbrace the whole truth of God, the better it will be, but there have beene too many crowders and creepers in in all ages; and we may juſtly feare it will be ſo ſtill; for the Text ſaith, in the 2 Pet. 2. 2. That many ſhall follow their deſtruction, and ſome of them ſhall doe it through covetouſneſſe, who ſhall with fained words make merchandiſe of the Lords people (as is plaine in the next verſe) whoſe deſtruction ſleepeth not. But who theſe creepers in be, appeares by the 15. verſe of this Chapter, That they were they that loved the wages of unrighteouſneſſe as Balaam did: But if any one ſo doe, his laſt end ſhall be worſe then his beginning.
In your Tenth Reaſon, you affirme, That the firſt principle of the Independant way is, That two or three Saints whereſoever, or by what meanes ſoever they doe ariſe; ſeparating themſelves from the world into the fellowſhip of the Goſpell, are a Church truely gathered: for this you quote Mr. Robinſons Juſtification, pag. 221.
But in that page there is no ſuch thing written, as I can finde, but ſeeing it commeth ſo neere the truth, we neede not to contend about it. For I doe affirme, that a company of Saints, Separated from the world, and gathered into the fellowſhip of the Goſpell (by what meanes ſo ever it be, that matters not, ſo it be by the teaching of the Sonne of God, according to that in Heb. 1. 1.) theſe Saints (I ſay) ſeparating themſelves, and being gathered into the fellowſhip of the Goſpell (though they combine themſelves without the warrant of the Governours) are a true Church, and have right to all Gods Ordinances, Matth. 18. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Rev. 21. 27. and 22, 14, 15. not onely to admit men into fellowſhip, but alſo to admoniſh, to reprove and to caſt out of their ſocietie all obſtinate offenders amongſt them that doe tranſgreſſe, either againſt the firſt or ſecond Table; having (as hath beene ſaid before) the Spirit of God to E3 guide 38 E3v 38 guide them, and wiſedome from above to judge of perſons, and cauſes, within the Church, though they have nothing to doe to judge thoſe that are without.
And this doth not make way for Libertiſninisme, for Hereſies and Sectaries (as you ſay) neither doth it make men to runne from their owne Miniſters, becauſe they reſtraine them from ſinne, or keepe them to Gods Ordinances, (as you doe affirme) for if any ſeparate for any ſuch cauſe, they ſhall not be received into fellowſhip, nor juſtified of any of the Lords people.
But the way of the Goſpell, as hath beene plainely proved, is not to live without Gods Ordinances, nor to live at liberty (as you ſay) except you meane the liberty wherein Chriſt hath ſet them and commanded them to ſtand faſt, becauſe he hath made them free, Gal. 5. 1. By this you may ſee the Saints are called into liberty; but not a liberty to ſinne (as you would inſinuate) but to be freed from the yoake of bondage, which is the tyranny, or tyrannicall government of the Canon Lawes, either of Rome or England.
But you ſay, all heretickes, Sectaries, or libertines will count themſelves Saints, as well as the Independant men; and the reaſon you ſeeme to give for this, is, becauſe the Miniſters, and Magiſtrats of the Kingdome, ſhall not have power to determine who be Saints. Pag. 34.
Now let all men judge what a weighty argument this is, who is he that knows any thing, & knows not this, that the Prieſts in England which are the Biſops creatures, do generally juſtifie the wicked, and condemne the juſt, and are not theſe meet men to judge Saints? they juſtifie none that will not be conformable, and yeeld unto the traditions which they have invented, in their Councels and Convocations; though they have not one title of Gods Word to warrant them; Furthermore, they condemne all that will not ſubmit, to their deviſed worſhip, even in all the traditions thereof: and this is the dependancie which they have brought all men unto, both high and low, even to be ſubject to their wills, which is a Law.
But now touching the Magiſtrate, you would ſeeme to inferre that he ſhould have no more power than a Prieſt.
It is plaine, the Prieſts have no power, but what they have by permiſſion, and ſufferance, though they have dependancie upon the Pope himſelfe, but the Magiſtrate hath power given him of God, by whom he is ſet up, for the praiſe of thoſe that doe well, and for the puniſhment of evill doers, and hath the ſame rule given him (whereby to judge them) that God hath given to his Church; eſpecially Chriſtian Magiſtrates, notwithſtandingwithſtanning 39 E4r 39 withſtanding they are oppoſed, yet they have power given of God; as you may reade in Acts 7 35. This man Moſes whom they forſooke ſaying, who made thee a Prince and a Judge, the ſame God. ſent for a Prince and a deliverer: and this is he which was as a God unto Aaron; when Aaron was as the mouth of Moſes to the people, Exod. 4. 16. Now if you Prieſts could have proved your ſelves as Aaron, then you might have beene aſſiſtanrts to Godly Magiſtrates to deliver the Lords people out of the hands of Tyrannicall Princes; Exod. 5. 17. but contrariwiſe, you adde afflictions as Pharaohs Taskemaſters did; even you (Mr. Edwards) when you ſay the Lords people are wanton-witted and idle, when they deſire to have liberty to ſerve God.
And thus you ſit in the conſciences of men; judging zeale to be hypocriſie; but the time will come, when every worke ſhall be brought to judgement.
And now drawing neere to an end of this Anſwer to your tenth Reaſon (which is the laſt of this your joyned army) it is good to looke backe a little, and conſider what hath been ſaid.
You have ſpoken much for Dependencie; but upon whom you doe depend, I cannot tell;
You labour to bring men into doubts, by you ſuppoſitions, but you doe not make any concluſion, which is Gods way, that men fearing God, may expect a bleſſing when they walke in it, but you cry out for Dependencie, upon Councels, and Synods, and Churches; I pray you what Dependencie hath the Church of England upon any other Church? for I ſuppoſe you will ſay, that all the Land is but one Church.
If you ſay, that you have Dependencie, upon the Church of Rome; I doe beleeve you; for the Biſhop of Canterbury hath ſaid ſo much, in his booke, where hee confeſſeth, Rome to be as leprous Naaman, and England to be the ſame Naaman cleanſed.
Now that it is the ſame, may eaſily be proved, by divers of your owne Authors. But you in your Epiſtle, affirme, it is not cleanſed, in that place, where you ſay, that there is yet Altars and Images, braſen Serpents, abuſed to Idolatry, with divers other things, which you would have purged out.
By this it appeares, that it is the ſame with Rome, in the very nature of it, though not in every Circumſtance, and this (for any thing can be diſcerned) is the Dependancie, for which you pleade: even the Dependancie and affinitie, betweene Rome and England.There- 40 E4v 40
Therefore you ſhould rather have ſaid, That in the belly of this Dependancie, doth lurke all liberty, and hereſie, and whatſoever, Sathan, and the corrupt hearts of men have a pleaſure to broach. For in that way, it is too common, for men to broach their owne pleaſures; for their Religion is made of mens inventions.
Yet furthermore, (for addition to theſe ten Reaſons, you adde a Queſtion; Pag. 34. your Qeuueſtion is, what theſe men would have in this Toleration, Whether the number of five or ſixe Congregations onely, and no more? Or whether the number ſhall be left undetermined, and be free to multiply? &c.
For anſwer to this, I doe affirme, that the number ought not to be limitted, for the Churches of the New Teſtament were free to multiply, not onely in greatneſſe, but alſo in number. I ſay they were left free by God; for the Apoſtles were not limitted, from conſtituting Churches whereſoever men were brought to beleeve in Chriſt.
But ſay you, it is their principles to breake one Church in two or three.
I anſwer, I know no man that holdeth any ſuch principle.
But ſay you, it hath beene ſo at Amſterdam, Roterdam, and London.
To this I anſwer, I deny not, but that there may be offences taken, and ſometimes given, which may cauſe men to depart one from another (as Paul and Barnabas did) ſometimes about perſons, and ſometimes about things; and wofull experience teacheth all men, that brethren are apt to fall out by the way; and that Joſeph knew very well, when he admoniſhed his brethren to the contrary. Gen. 45. 24. But though ſome ſhould be offended, and could not be reconciled, (as the Scripture ſaith, a brother offended, is harder to be wonne than a ſtrong citie) Pro. 18. 19. ) yet the departing of ſuch a brother, (or brethren) cannot make that Church two Churches, yet notwithſtanding this may ſometimes tend to the further ſpreading of the Goſpell, even as the departing of Paul and Barnabas did. Not that I juſtifie the practiſe of any that are not apt to beare, but that God doth ſometimes, bring good out of evill, (as it was in he ſelling of Joſeph, Gen. 50. 20. ) by turning it to his owne glory, and the good and comfort of his people.
Therefore you neede not to marvell which ſhall be the ſtate approved by the Magiſtrate; becauſe that properly, there remaineth but one intire ſtate, (in ſuch caſes of diviſion, as you have before mentioned.) By all this it appeares that it is none of our principles to breake one Church into two or three.But 41 F1r 41
But you ſay, if the number be left undetermined, there may be many Churches in a Towne.
For anſwer whereof, I muſt tell you, that I reade in the Scriptures of no more Churches in a towne, but one, as in Jeruſalem where there were many Converts, yet I reade but of one Church.
Now this was in the firſt plantation of the Goſpell, but what they might increaſe to afterward, the Scripture is ſilent in, for any thing I know.
But that there may be two or three in one place (as you ſay) that ſeemeth unto me to be confuſion, except they ſhould meete in one place for conſultation, which may very well be, for God is the God of Order and not of confuſion.
And I never reade in rthe Scripture, that two Churches met together in one place, for the practiſe of publike worſhip.
But ſay you; we may have, every where, three or foure men, of an opinion differing from others, to goe to make a Church.
To this I anſwer, If you meane (by every where) in every Towne of the Land, I ſay, although it ſhould be ſo, (and though there be ſixe townes in a Pariſh) yet it will be no no confuſion; for the fewer they are together the leſſe ground will there be of fearing them.
But touching diviſions and ſubdiviſions.
If any ſuch thing happen, it is but that we which have bin told on before. The Apoſtles words are theſe, They went out from us, becauſe they were not of us &c. 1 Ioh. 2. 19. and if evill minded men, that crept in departed from Chriſt, Ioh. 6. 66. 67. we neede not to thinke much, that ſuch creepers in, ſhould depardt from us alſo; yet the diſorderly going away of any (as I have ſaid before) doth not make them a Church which goe away diſorderly.
And thus I have given you an anſwer to your ſecond tenth Reaſon, I pray thee (good Reader) take notice, that here I acknowledge an ove rſight (in taking Mr. Edwards his eleventh Reaſon, to be a ſecond tenth Reaſon) it was through my neglect, in not looking into his Errata. for in your Booke you have by your ſtile made it a Reaſon, though you ſeemed at the firſt entrance into it to make it but a queſtion.
But before you conclude the whole, you ſubjoyne to theſe, the Anſwer to five or ſixe things (which you would make to be their reaſons) and you ſay that they are continually alleadged, by them for their toleration, in this Kingdome.
The firſt Reaſon (you ſay they bring) is, that toleration is no more then the French, and Dutch enjoy, who live among us.F Indeed 42 F1v 42
Indeede that is a very good reaſon, for methinkes it ſtands with equitie, that Natives borne, ſhould have as much priviledge as Strangers.
But you would ſeeme to alter the ſtate of the caſe, in ſixe reſpects.
Firſt. That the French and Dutch Proteſtants have nothing, nor deſire nothing, as contra diſtinct to the Proteſtants of France and Holland.
I anſwer, if the Proteſtants of France, and Holland, have liberty of their conſcience, and be not at all burdened, with Jewiſh, Popiſh, or Heatheniſh Obſervations, but may be free there, to worſhip God, according to his Will, revealed in his Word, then they that are here (amongſt us) neede not to ſeeke more liberty, and I am ſure the Independant men will aske no more.
Secondly, you ſay, that this liberty, was granted, by our Pious Princes, in the times of perſecution to the Proteſtants.
Here you croſſe your firſt reſpect, for if theſe Proteſtants were perſecuted in France, then it is certaine their Religion was different, from the ſtate of their owne Nation; for you ſay they could not enjoy their Religion at home.
Furthermore you adde, that it hath beene kept ever ſince, for a refuge to the perſecuted Proteſtants.
To which I anſwer, The very like may be ſaid of the libertie granted to the Engliſh Church in Amſterdame, which hath beene a refuge for the Proteſtants which have beene perſecuted out of England ever ſince.
But (you ſay) we may enjoy our Religion in this Land, and that by the authority of the King and Parliament.
If it be ſo: I pray you what is the meaning, of the bleating of ſuch cattell, as your ſelfe? which cry out dayly to the King and Parliament, for the ſuppreſſion of the Lords people; and for the hindring of their meetings.
Thirdly, you ſay, The French and Dutch Churches will willingly be joyned in Government, and in one way of diſcipline with the Kingdome, if there be a Reformation.
Indeede if you had not added a great If, here you had told a loud untruth, but if this were performed, that there were a Reformation, according to Gods Will, I doubt not but the Independent men would doe the like.
Fourthly, you ſay theſe Churches doe not hold our principles, but doe admit of appeales in great buſineſſes.
I anſwer, I have told you already, and I now tell you againe, that I admit of appeales alſo, ſuch as the Scripture warrants, and 43 F2r 43 and I have declared at large what appeales they be. For this reade the Anſwer to his third Reaſon againſt Independan cie.
Fifthly, you ſay, they be ſtrangers different in Language, and have little acquaintance with you (keeping themſelves for the moſt part among themſelves) and therefore (ſay you) there will be the leſſe danger of drawing away the people.
I anſwer, if they differ ſo little from you, as you would make the world beleeve, there were ſmall cauſe of danger, or Schiſme, if they will willingly be joyned (as you ſaid before) in Government, and in one way of diſcipline with the Kingdome.
Further, you adde, that they vent no principles, againſt your Church, and Government.
I anſwer, Indeede, if they ſhould never open a mouth to ſpeake, yet their practiſe makes them different from you, both in worſhip and government; and yet it may be upon better conſiderations, they may draw neerer to the rule hereafter; but for my part I leave them, as being partly ignorant of their practiſe.
But you ſay, they will not admit your people to be members of their Congregations.
Anſwer, Indeede I doe not know that ever they have refuſed any; but this much I know; that ſome Engliſh people, that have the French, and Dutch tongue, have, and doe goe thither to heare; but that any ſhould deſire to goe thither to heare, that have not the language, were very abuſurd.
Sixthly, There, is (ſay you) a great reaſon, and neceſsity, of allowing them Churches and places to preach, and be by themſelves, and the reaſons you yeeld, are (1) becauſe many of them underſtand not Engliſh at all, and (2) for the benefit of ſtrangers of their owne Religion.
To which I anſwer, The very ſame may be ſaid concerning the Engliſh Churches in Holland.
But further you adde, that they may well be allowed ſome Diſcipline among themſelves, in reſpect they maintaine all their owne poore.
Methinks (Mr. Edwards there ſhould be much more reaſon, that the English Proteſtants, or Separates, ſhould be tolerated, for the ſame cauſe, for they maintaine all their owne poore alſo. And furthermore, they maintaine the poore of the Church of England; yea, in every pariſh where their dwelling houſes ſtand, they pay to the poore weekely, as well as any other man.
They alſo pay their money for the maintenance of the Viſited Houſes in the Pariſhes where they dwell.
Nay, furthermore, they pay alſo their mony for the maintenance of the Prieſts of England, (the more is the pitty) and ſo I feare F2 the 44 F2v 44 the Dutch and French doe alſo, yea though the Prieſts are as Popiſh as they were in Queene Maries time. And this is well knowne to all Landlords that doe let them houſes, for if they know them to be Separates, and that they will not, have to doe with the Prieſts in the pay ment of that they call dues, they make their Tenant pay the more rent, for if the Tenant will not the Landlord muſt. And by this you may ſee, their burthens are double to other mens; in that they muſt maintaine their owne poore and their owne Miniſters, and the Church of Englands alſo.
And by this you may ſee, that you have not (in the leaſt) altered the ſtate of the caſe, betweene the Dutch, and French, and us, in the cauſes before mentioned.
Therefore this their firſt reaſon for toleration lies yet unanſwered by you.
For anſwer to their ſecond Reaſon, which (you ſay) is that they ſeeke no more then is granted them, in Holland; your anſwer to it is this,
That if that be a good ground, then Jewes and Anabaptiſts may have a toleration alſo.
To this I anſwer, For my part I ſpeake for my ſelfe, and I ſuppoſe that they may ſay as much for themſelves (in theſe late reſpects, which you have mentioned) as the Separates doe, for they maintaine their poore, and their Miniſters, and the poore, and the Prieſts of the Church of England, as well as we. And I think they are perſecuted and hunted alſo; but I will leave them to pleade for themſelves.
Further, you adde, That ſuch a Toleration is not fit, neither in Divinity, nor in policie.
I anſwer, I know no true Divinitie that teacheth men to be Lords over the conſcience; and I thinke it is no part of Godly policie, to drive the Kings ſubjects out of the land, becauſe they deſire free liberty to worſhip God in the Land according to his will; the States of Holland are counted politicke, and yet they eſteeme it the Strength of their Kingdome, to grant free libertie of conſcience.
Secondly, you ſay, there may be a toleration for us in Holland, with much more ſafety to the government eſtabliſhed, then can be here, becauſe the people underſtand not our language; and alſo have little, or no relation to us of kindred and friendſhip, &c.
I anſwer, I muſt ſay to you, as I have ſaid already, that there was never any danger to a Kingdome, to ſuffer the Lords peopleple 45 F3r 45 ple live quietly, and enjoy their liberty.
Thirdly, you ſay, The people of the Holenders are generally induſtrious, and mind their buſineſſe, and keeping to what is eſtabliſhed by their Lawes, not troubling their heads ſo much with other points of Religion.
By this one may eaſily perceive your minde (Mr. Edwards) with the reſt of your fellowes, and alſo know, that you are naturally derived from Rome, in that you would have all men, to content themſelves, with an implicit faith; and to take for granted, what government your Lawes alloweth, and what worſhip your inventions have hatcht; and not to ſearch the the Scripture at all.
Further you add here, that the people in England are not ſo, eſpecially in this city of London and great Townes, you ſay many of the profeſſors, are more idle, and buſie-bodies, tattlers alſo, as it is ſaid, I.Tim. 5. 13. very wanton alſo in their wits, affecting novelties in Religion, &c.
Now truly (Mr. Edwards) if you were of my mind, and were a member of ſuch a Church, that had ſuch members in it; you woulde be ſo farre from fearing, of being beguiled of them, that you would be very glad to have ſuch birds taken out of your neſt. But you are ſo farre from obſerving the rule of Chriſt (Matth. 18. 15.) that is to tell your brother of his fault betweene him and you that you rather walke with ſlanders and clamours, vilifying your owne mothers ſonnes; ſo that every good man may be aſhamed of you.
Fourthly, you ſay, that Holland tolerates us and many others, but it is more upon the grounds and neceſsitie of worldly reſpects, becauſe of the benifite of exſiſe towards the maintenance of warre.
Now (Mr. Edwards) you have utterly overthrowne your owne Argument, laid downe in the beginning of your anſwer to this their ſecond Reaſon, for then you ſaid, it was againſt the rule of policie, but now you ſay it is their policie.
And whereas you would make the caſe different betweene England and Holland.
I anſwer, It is not different at all; for England hath the Subjects purſes to maintaine warres as well as Holland; and though it be not in exſiſe for victuals, yet it is in ſome other wayes from which the ſubjects of Holland are freed.
The next thing you affirme, is; That your riches and ſtrength, ſtandeth in one way of Religion.
To which I anſwer, I thinke (if I could underſtand your minde herein) you meane the riches and ſtrength of the Prieſts: F3 for 46 F3v 46 for I am ſure the riches, and ſtrength of the Kingdome, may ſtand beſt with Toleration, as it may appeare, partly by what hath been ſaid already, for you have heard that the Lords people (whom you thus perſecute) maintaine their owne poore.
And it will alſo be made appeare, that they pay Scot, and Lot, in the Kingdome, in all civill reſpects, and are all as true ſubjects to the Kings Majeſty, and are ready to doe him all faithfull ſervice with other bodies, and eſtates, as any in the Kingdome.
But I confeſſe that toleration would be neither riches nor ſtrength to the Prieſts, for it is ſore againſt the peoples will, that they pay them any thing now; and it will be no wonder when it ſhall be made to appeare, what the Prieſts wages is, See the Reply to the ſixth part of his Anſwer to this their following Reaſonn. but that ſhall be done hereafter.
Their third Reaſon you ſay is, That if they have not liberty to erect ſome Congregations, it will force them to leave the Kingdome.
For anſwer whereof, you do affirme (in the firſt place) that there is no neede of a toleration for them; neither that they ſhould leave the Kingdome for conſcience, and that you ſay will appeare by the Reaſons and principles which they doe agree to, which you ſay are theſe;
Firſt, that they hold your Churches true, your Miniſters true, Ordinances true: Further you ſay they can partake with you in your Congregations in all Ordinances, even to the Lords Supper.
To which I anſwer, Indeede here you would make the Readers beleeve, that they had opened a wide gappe, (if they ſhould take your affirmation, without your proviſall) but you come to helpe your ſelfe handſomely, in that you ſay their condition was, that it muſt firſt be provided, that ſcandalous and ignorant perſons muſt be kept backe, and Cerimonies muſt be removed.
Methinks this is a mighty great mountaine, that ſtands between them, and you, and therefore you have ſmall cauſe, to aske them wherefore they ſhould deſire, to ſet up Churches? for till this mountaine be removed, they may be true to their own principles, and not go from their word, and yet never communicate with you, either in worſhip, or government.
For firſt, If you keepe out all ſcandalous perſons, out of all the Churches in England, from the Sacraments, and all ignorant perſons; truely then your Churches will be as emptie as ours.
Secondly, If you ſhould remove away all your Ceremonies, (which is the ſecond part of your reformation,) you could not tell how to worſhip; for your whole forme and manner of worſhip is made of invented Ceremonies.But 47 F4r 47
But if you can procure ſuch a reformation, to have your Church all conſiſt of perſons of knowledge, fearing God, and bating covetouſneſſe, & void of all other ſcandalls (ſo far as we can judge by the Scripture) and that the Ceremonies may be removed, and we enjoy (as you bragge) all Gods Ordinances with you, as well as in our owne Churches, then you ſhall heare, what I will ſay to you, as well as the Independant men.
But till all this be done, you ſee there is ſtill good reaſon, for good men, either to deſire liberty, or to leave the Kingdome.
Further, you ſay, ſome of them could take the charge of Parochiall Churches amongſt you, upon the Reformation.
I Anſwer, Indeede ſuch a Reformation, which you have formerly mentioned, will hardly ſtand with Parochiall Churches.
But you ſay, they could yeeld to Presbyteriall Government, by Claſſes and Synods; ſo they might not be injoyned to ſubmit to it, as Jure Divino.
To which I anſwer, It ſeemes (by your owne confeſſion) that they doe deny the Presbyteriall government by Claſſes, and Synods, to be from God, as it appeares, in that you ſay, they will not ſubmit to it, as Iure Divino, and therefore you have overthrowne your ſelfe (in all this your reaſoning) with your Synods and Claſſes alſo; ſo that ſtill there remaines good grounds to seeke a Toleration, that the Saints may grow into bodies even in this Land.
But to grow into one body with you (as you would have them) while your Churches body is like a Leopard, and all beſpotted, (as appeares by your words) were very abſurd; for you doe affirme, that the beſt of your members, even the Profeſſors, eſpecially of London, and of the great Townes in England; are very foule; yet I hope you will confeſſe, that they are the beſt of your members; then if it be true (as you ſay) that you muſt remove in your Reformation, all ignorant and ſcandalous perſons; by your grounds, you ſhould have but a very few to make a Church of as well as wee. For you muſt remove alſo all your Profeſſors, which you ſay are ſo ſcandalous.
Therefore, I ſhould rather counſell you to repent of all your evills that you have done, and be reconciled to God the Father, and Chriſt his Sonne, and ſeparate your ſelves from all your wickedneſſe, and even come and grow up into one body with us.
Secondly, you ſay, Seeing your Churches, Miniſters, and Ordinances be true, the erecting of new, and withdrawing from ſuch Congregations, can never be anſwered to God.I 48 F4v 48
I anſwer, Here you take for granted that which you cannot prove, and it is your wiſdome ſo to doe, for by that meanes, you may make ſimple people beleeve, that you are very right, except a few defects, which no man ſball be freed from, while he is in this life.
But now to the point; and firſt, touching your Churches and Miniſters, which you ſay be true, and you alſo ſay, the Independant men would grant them to be true, upon a Reformation, ſuch as the Word requires.
I tell you for anſwer, that this your juggling will not helpe you, for no man is bound to take your bare word, therefore it is good you make proofe of that which you have ſaid.
But before you goe to prove your Churches true, declare unto me what Churches you meane? for I ever tooke the whole Land of England to be but one Church, (as it ſtands eſtabliſhed by the Canon Laws) and that all the Pariſhes in the Land make up but one entire body, therefore what is amiſſe in one Pariſh, all the whole are guilty of, and it will be laid to the charge of the Archbiſhops, who are the Metropolitanes, or chiefe Prieſts over the Church of the Land. Seeing it is ſo, you muſt ſtand out to maintaine your Church-es for I know no dependancie you have upon any, except it be Rome, according as I have told you before in the concluſion of my anſwer to your firſt tenth Reaſon againſt Independencie. Therefore this is the Church that you muſt maintaine, even the Church of England, eſtabliſhed by the Canon Laws, conſiſting of Archbiſhops, Dioceſan Biſhops, with all the reſt of that crew; for this is indeed both your Church and Miniſtry, which doth appeare by your owne ground, becauſe you affirme, that in this part lieth all the power; but (by your owne grounds) the whole body of the Land (I meane of the Laitie (as you call them) hath no power at all to reforme any abuſe: therfore this Clergy muſt needs be your Church; and thus you make your ſelves the head, and body, and all the reſt of the Land the tayle to follow after you.
Now if you can prove this to be a true Church, which hath neither ground, nor footing in Chriſts Teſtament, you will worke wonders: but indeede ſuch wonders have been wrought by you; for all the world hath wondered, and runne after the beaſt, ſaying, Who is like unto him? and who is able to make warre with him? as you may plainely ſee in the 13. of the Revelation. Rev. 13. Therefore they that doe juſtifie ſuch a Church, are ſuch as have beene deceived by her falſe miracles, even by the fire which ſhe hath made to come downe from heaven.I 49 G1r 49
I pray you did not fire come downe from heaven in Queene Maries time, and devour the Saints in Smithfield; if you underſtand heaven in that place, as I underſtand it (to be the ſeate of the Magiſtrate) you muſt grant the ſame, for they are called Gods, and the children of the moſt high.
For your forefathers did (as Pilat did) waſh their hands from the blood of the Saints, and of the innocent, and turned them over, for their ſentence of condemnation, to the Secular power, which you made your hornes, and your heads puſhed them forward to execute your bloody cruelty; and thus you may ſee that fire came downe from heaven, in the ſight or apprehenſion of men, for moſt that beheld it thought it was juſt, becauſe it was the ſentence of the Magiſtrate.
Whence the Church of England is derived. And by this all men may ſee, that you of the Clergie are the Church of England, and that this Clergy came from Rome, and that therefore your Church is derived from Rome.
Whence the Church of Rome is derived. Now if you would know whence the Church of Rome was derived; I conceive that her power was derived from the beaſt with ſeven heads, which roſe up out of the ſea, as you may read of in the thirteenth of the Revelations, for there both thoſe beaſts are mentioned. and alſo the Image of the firſt beaſt, which the ſecond beaſt hath cauſed to be made, which is even here in England amongſt us; and you may ſee I have proved unto you already what it is; as you may alſo read in the 15. verſe of that Chapter, it was that to whom the beaſt gave a ſpirit, and alſo he gave it power that it ſhould ſpeake, and cauſe as many as would not worſhip the Image of the beaſt, to be killed, and hath not this Image cauſed aboundance to be killed in England, and hath not he cauſed all to receive his marke, or his name, or the number of his name; and they that have it not, may neither buy nor ſell, as it is apparant by the teſtimonie of the Scripture itſelfe, and wofull experience.
And is not this Image the Church that now you pleade for? which conſiſteth of all the Prieſts of England; if it be not, I What the Image of the firſt beaſt is. pray you tell me what it is?
But if this be it (as it appeares it is) then theſe are your Miniſters alſo; and then it hath beene proved plainely, whence this your Church and Miniſtry came. And that any of underſtanding ſhould grant this Church, and Miniſtry to be a true Church and Miniſtery, would bewray great ignorance in them.
Further you adde, that they acknowledge the Ordinance to be true.G In 50 G1v 50
In this I doe beleeve you upon your bare word, for it is a truth, if you meane Gods Ordinances which you have amongſt you.
As firſt, you have the Scripture but you wring it and wreſt it, according to your owne devices, and make of it a noſe of waxe, and a leaden rule to leane which way your minde leadeth you; and though you ought to take that reede or rod in your hand, at all times (if you were Gods meſſengers) to meaſure both the Temple and the Altar and the worſhippers, (Rev. 11.2, ) yet you have not learned that skill, (for your Church and Miniſtrie holdeth no correſpondencie with that meaſuring line) but contrariwiſe you have taken that golden cup and filled it full of abominations; nay you have hacked it and mangled it to peeces, and made it into little leſſons, which you call your Epiſtles and Goſpells & they are Dedicated to your Saints, upon your Saints-Dayes; and thus you may ſee though you have the Scriptures (which is the Word of God) and take upon you to unfold the myſteries thereof, yet in ſtead of that, you darken the truth by falſe gloſſes.
Secondly, you have the Sacraments, even baptiſme, and breaking of breade: but you pervert them both, to your owne deſtruction; nevertheleſſe they ſtill remaine Gods Ordinances, even as the golden veſſells, were Gods veſſels, when they were in Babel, though Belſhazar made them his quaffing boules, yet ſtill they remained to be Gods veſſels. Even ſo did Circumciſion remaine Gods Ordinance, though it was with Jeroboam. The like may be ſaid of Baptiſme, it ſtill remaines Gods Ordinance, though it be carried away with backeſliding Antichriſtians (even the Apoſtate fallen ſtars) and ſo you may read in the eleventh of the Revelation, ver.verse 2. that the court muſt be left out, and be unmeaſured; and the reaſon was becauſe it was given to the Gentiles even to them that ſhould tread downe the holy citie for 42. monethes; this court we know, belonged to the Temple (as you may read in the 42. of Ezekiel) and had in it the Ordinances belonging to the people. And although you have Baptiſme, and the Lords Supper, they will not ſanctifie you; though they may be ſanctified to the uſe of them amongſt you which are Gods people, according to the election of grace.
And though you have ſome of Gods Ordinances, amongſt you; yet you have added unto them many Ordinances of your owne deviſing, which doth utterly debarre the Lords people, which have knowledge of them, from communicating with you in any worſhip.As 51 G2r 51
As for example,
How ſhall any man partake with you of the word preached in your aſſemblies, but he muſt needs partake alſo with the falſe calling of the Prieſt, by which it is preached, for none elſe are ſuffered to preach amongſt you, (by your leave or approbation,) but they that preach by that falſe power.
And who ſhall receive the Sacraments with you, and not juſtifie your deviſed Service-booke? for all your things are adminiſtred by that. And as all the Lords Ordinances ought to be ſanctified by the Word of God and prayer: So on the contrarie you labour to ſanctifie your things, by the ſtinted ſervicebooke; and therefore the withdrawing from you, may be anſwered to God.
Further, you beare the world in hand, that you have but ſomething amongſt you wanting yet, that were to be deſired, and therefore you ſay there is no cauſe to leave the Kingdome, nor for private men to ſet up true Churches.
Anſwer, Indeed If your Church & Miniſters could be proved true (which you ſee is a thing unpoſſible) then it had beene needleſſe (as you ſay) to leave the Land; but neither is your Church nor Miniſters true, nor can the Ordinances be had amongſt you without ſinne; and that this is the judgement of the Independant men, is plaine by your former confeſſion; Where you affirme, they will not heare of growing into one body (or communicating) with you before a Reformation; neither ſubmit to your Claſſes or Presbyters, as Jure Divino.
But in the next place you ſay, the ſetting up of devided Churches, would be to the ſcandall of all the Churches, and not the giving of ſcandall to one brother, but to tenne thouſands of Congregations.
Truely (Mr. Edwards) you overſhoote your ſelfe (in that you make your ſelfe ſuch an apparant diſſembler) for you would make men beleeve, that you deſire to keepe your Church and brethren unſpotted, and yet you your ſelfe with your owne tongue have moſt foulely ſcandalized the chiefe members of your Church, making them ſo foule a people, that they ought not to be communicated with. In the Second Part of his ſecond Reaſon againſt toleration, pag. 24. In his ſixth Reaſon againſt toleration pag. 29. and the third part of his Anſwer to their ſecond Reaſon for toleration.
Further, your words imply that ſo long as a man is not put upon the practiſe of that which is unlawfull, he may beare.
I tell you againe, that your whole manner is unlawfull, and therefore all the Lords people, as they deſire to be bleſſed and to be found walking in Gods wayes have cauſe to ſeparate from your Church, and to practiſe Gods Ordinances among themſelves, as well as they who are ſeparated already, (which you G2 here 52 G2v 52 here you call Browniſts) and the grounds and cauſes be ſo great, that they may well be juſtified.
But you would have conſcious men to conſider Mr. Robinſon, concerning cirumſtantiall corruptions; you ſay, he ſhewes it is not an intolerable evill, for evill men be ſuffered in the Church, &c. yet you confeſſe he affirmes it to be an evill.
Two things are here to be minded.
Firſt, that you would ſtill pleaſe your ſelfe with this, that you have a true Church (though corrupted) which hath beene proved contrary.
Secondly, that you would juſtifie your Church by the ſinnes of others.
But you know what Mr. Robinſon ſaith, That the government inſtituted by Chriſt is not onely neglected or violated in the Church of England, but the plaine contrarie to it is eſtabliſhed by Law.
But you ſay, now ſuppoſing your Reformation, it will be otherwiſe with England, then when he writ.
But (you may ſee) it is verie plaine, that the crueltie, and wickedneſſe, of the Church of England hath increaſed ever ſince that time.
You ſay there is but ſomething neglected, and you would make it the want of ſome Law to ſuppreſſe evill men.
To which I anſwer, That your Canon Lawes be evill Lawes, and your Lawmakers evill men, and therefore it could not ſtand with their principles to make Lawes to ſuppreſſe evill men.
Thirdly, you ſay, that they (whom you call Independant) live in and are members of ſuch Churches, and yet they thinke it unlawfull, to forſake them.
I pray you, have any of them told you, that their Churches be like the Church of England? you muſt make proofe thereof, for in this I will not take you upon your bare word.
Further, you ſay they want ſome parts of Government and Officers appointed by Chriſt, more materially than will be in your Church, upon a Reformation.
I anſwer, I have plainely proved to you: that Chriſts Church hath his Government, and Officers; but your Church hath neither Chriſts Government, nor Officers. But what it will be upon the Reformation, I cannot tell.
But you ſay, they muſt want the Ordinances, or elſe they muſt have them with inſtruments, without ordination.
I anſwer This is untrue as hath been proved at large, in the anſwers to one of your former Reaſons againſt Independancie.
But you ſay you would have them beare with the defects in your Church, 53 G3r 53 Church, and waite till God give you more light.
I anſwer I know none that interrupteth you, for wee will neither meddle with your Idols, nor with your Gods: if you would but ſuffer us to worſhip our God, after the way that you call hereſie.
The next thing you ſay is that they tell you that ſomething may be omitted for a time, and that affirmatives binde not alwayes and that the exerciſe of Diſcipline may be forborne for a time, when it will not be for edification to the Church, but for deſtruction; and therefore you queſtion them for not incorporating themſelves into your Church, though ſomething were more there to be deſired, yet you ſay, there will be nothing contrary put upon them (nor quite another thing.)
Now that ſomething may be omitted for a time, that may plainely appeare; for a man that hath brought his gift to the Altar, and there remembreth that his brother hath ought againſt him, muſt leave the offering of his gift, and goe and be reconciled to his brother, Matth. 5. 23. 24.
Now that affirmatives binde not alwayes, is plaine; for they binde not alwayes in caſes of impoſſibility, but in ſuch caſes God accepteth the will for the deede.
Further, whereas you ſay, the excellencie of diſcipline may be forborne for a time, when it is not for Edification of the Church, but for deſtruction;
I ſay, true diſcipline, (being rightly uſed) is alwayes for the edification of the Church, and never for deſtruction.
And whereas you affirme, that there is nothing contrary put upon us by you, (or quite another thing;)
I ansſwer, wee know you have none of Gods Ordinances, without ſome other thing to accompany them.
Fourthly, you ſay, that they may ſafely be members of your Church in the Reformation of you.
I anſwer, You might well have ſpared this your vaine repetition till you had obtained a Reformation.
But the Reaſon you have heard alleadged for their firſt going away granted in a letter from Rotterdam, that reaſon ſtill remaines (though you ſay it is ceaſed) and will remaine till the Reformation, you have formerly promiſed.
But ſay you, that practiſe they judge themſelves tied to, is founded upon a falſe principle (namely) that the power of government is given by Chriſt to the body of the Congregation.
I anſwer I have told you before, (in the reply to the ſecond part of this your anſwer to their third Reaſon) & I now tell you G3 againe, 54 G3v 54 againe, that you make your Prieſts the head and body both; but Chriſt hath given the power to the Church which is his body, by whoſe power every Officer, and member thereof, doth move, and doe their ſeverall Offices.
Fifthly, There is, ſay you a medium, between perſecution and a publike Toleration; a middle way, ſay you, betweene not ſuffering them to live in the Land, and granting them liberty.
I Anſwer, This is a very true thing, for Pharaoh would have beene willing, that the children of Iſrael, ſhould have ſtayed in Egypt, and made him bricke, but he would not ſuffer them to goe into the wilderneſſe, to offer ſacrifice. But if Pharoah had beene willing to have ſuccoured the children of Iſrael, he would have commanded his taskemaſters not to lay burthens upon them, that they could not beare; but he did not doe ſo, and therefore their bricke-making turned to perſecution, even as your injunctions and penall Lawes doe here in England, and you binde them up with a pretence of his Majeſties command, which makes the burthen very mighty.
By this it is plaine, that no good man can live in England without perſecution, even at this day.
But you would have them to have a third way, for you ſay perſons may live in the Land, and injoy their Lands and liberties, and not be compelled to profeſſe, and practiſe, things againſt their conſcience.
I pray you (Mr. Edwards) bethinke your ſelfe now, how untruly you ſpeake and whether you doe not looke one day to give an account, for your words, for you know that no man can live in this land, and enjoy his lands and liberty, but he ſhall be forced to worſhip according to the cuſtome of the Nation. Nay, children that be but ſixteene years of age, though ignorant, and ſcandalous in their lives, are forced to receive the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, though it be to their utter condemnation.
Further you adde, that if upon petition to the Parliament, the Papiſts ſhould have the Statutes repealed, which injoyne them to come to your Church, yet ſay you, the granting the Papiſts a publike toleration, for their Religion, would be quite another thing, in as much as you ſay though the Papiſts were the firſt in petitioning for the former, yet they move not for the latter.
For anſwer to this, I tell you;
Firſt, That for granting the Papiſts publike exerciſes will not much croſſe your principles, for they and you are naturall brethren.Secondly, 55 G4r 55
Secondly, for that they move not for the latter (as you ſay:) They neede not for they injoy it without moving, and till this Parliament, none hath diſturbed them for many yeares.
But further, you adde; that ſo you judge that the Independant men may live in the land freely, and injoy their liberties and eſtates, (but you have your clauſe whereby you ſtill croſſe all your own tale; your clauſe is that it muſt be) by comming to your Churches, and enjoying the Ordinances.
Whereas you ſay ſo you judge, it preſuppoſeth that the Papiſts doe come to your Churches, by what comes after, that it muſt be by comming to your Churches, and enjoying the Ordinances.
Indeede the Papiſts may come to your Churches, and injoy your Ordinances, for firſt they were their Ordinances, for when you apoſtated from Rome, you carried the Romiſh traditions with you; even as your forefathers in their apoſtacie from Chriſt Jeſus, carried ſome of his Ordinances with them; ſo you retaine ſomething of Gods, to make your owne ware paſſe in ſale, and have patched you up a bundle of worſhip, borrowing alſo ſome Jewiſh and Heatheniſh Ceremonies to make up your packe; and will you be ſo kinde to ſuffer men to live in the land, if they will but ſubmit to this worſhip and promiſe them they ſhall never be compelled, to profeſſe or practiſe any more? Indeede you are very liberall but it hath beene often ſaid already, (and you have ſaid it your ſelfe) that the Independant men, cannot of conſcience communicate with you before a Reformation: Therefore if this be the medium you have (betweene leaving the Land and toleration,) even that they muſt ſubmit to your worſhip, you might have bequeathed this Legacie to ſome that would accept of it, and give you thankes, for the Lord hath bequeathed liberty to his Saints and Servants, and hath purchaſed it at a deare price; even that they ſhould be freed from all Egyptian bondage; and hath commanded them to ſtand faſt in that liberty, wherein he hath made them free: and whether they muſt obey Gods commands, or your counſell be judge your ſelfe.
Sixtly, you ſay, If the former anſwers will not ſatisfie, but that they muſt needs be in a Church-fellowſhip, as now they are then (you ſay) you you will ſhew them a way, according to their owne principles of a viſible Church.
For anſwer whereof I muſt tell you, that fallacies and falſe concluſions upon mens words, (without bringing their conditions) can ſatisfie no man concerning the matter in hand; but it may ſatisfie all men of your evill minde, that you ſtill labour to turne away the truth as it may appeare; by the way you here have chalked them out, to walke in; which isThat 56 G4v 56
That becauſe it is their principle (ſay you) that a few Saints joyned together in a Covenant, have power; therefore you imply that there ſhould never neede a greater addition to them. Pag. 43. lin. 16. 17.
This you may know croſſeth the whole Scripture as the very propheſies of the Church under the New Teſtament, that is to ſay, that a little one ſhall become a thouſand, and a great one a ſtrong Nation, Eſay 60. 22. and that they ſhould grow up as the Calves of the ſtall, Rev. 7. Mal. 4.2. not onely in greatneſſe, but alſo in number: and eſecially when the Lambe overcommeth, that is, even when the Saints overcome, by the blood of the Lambe, Rev. 12. 11. and the word of their teſtimony, not eſteeming their lives to the death.
Therefore you might have ſaved your ſchollerſhip, when you went about to teach them, to make Churches in houſes, and alſo to come to your Church, to the Word, Prayer, and Sacraments; for they have not ſo learned Chriſt; to come one part of the day to worſhip before the Idols, and to ſtand another part before God, for if they ſhould doe ſo, the Lord ſaith, (Ezek. 44. 13.) they ſhould not come neere him, neither to doe the office of the Prieſt, nor to come neare the holy things, but that they ſhould beare their ſhame, and their abomination.
Further, you might have ſaved your labour in teaching them, to make family Church es: for God hath directed them what to doe in their Families.
And it is not the practiſe of Gods people, to ſhut out from their prayers, and holy duties, them that are of their Family: for God gave his Law to Abraham for another end (namely) that he ſhould teach it his Family, and by ſo doing, traine up members in his family, for Chriſts Family.
Further, you might have ſpared your care taken to ſhew a way for maintenance, for thoſe men among us, that are ſchollers bred, for if you can find no better maintenance for them, then to come and be Lecturers amongſt you (as you would have them) and to live in hope of the gifts of the dead; that is no good proviſion: for, for want of thoſe ſhooes men may goe long barefooted, ſeeing they cannot (by your owne confeſſion) doe that of conſcience till there be a Reformation. But you might rather have perſwaded your Pariſh Prieſts to have bequeathed ſome of their large revenewes unto them: for whether they have Parſonage or Vicarage their pole-money comes in ſo thicke to them and their followers, that it would make any ſober minded man or woman to wonder how they can conſume it: for beſides their ordinary tithes or maintenance, whiech is the principall, they have many other petty dues, which they require of every one of the Kings 57 H1r 57 Kings ſubjects, & they are not ſo reaſonable as his Majeſtie, which is contended with pole-money from his ſubjects, from 16. yeares old, and upward, but they will have a ſhare out of him that is borne without life (as it will plainely be proved) for if a dead child be borne into the world, they will be paid for reading a dirge over it, before it ſhall be laid in the earth, and they will be apt to inferre, that that their deere brother is departed in the faith, though it be the childe of theeves and murderers, and the like.
Further, they will yet have another patrimony for the birth of that childe, for before the mother dare goe abroade, ſhee muſt have their bleſsing; that the Sun ſhall not ſmite her by day, nor the Moone by night; for which bleſsing of theirs, they muſt have an offering, and the like they require for all the children that be borne into this world, though there live not one of ſixe to be men or women.
But for as many of them as doe live, they enlarge their Revenewes, for, if they live to come to the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, then they muſt pay their offerings yearely to the Prieſt, though the bread and wine be provided at the pariſhes charge.
Further, if they live to enter into the ſtate of Matrimony, then they muſt be joyned together by a Prieſt, for which worke of his he muſt have a large Offering.
And theſe men be not content to take money where there is money (as the King is) but they will have theſe (which they call dues) of him that liveth of the very almes of the Pariſh, whereas the King taketh not a penny of any that receive almes.
Then if we conſider their exaction how they oppreſſe the people, by their cruell forcing of them to pay ſo much as they demand, (though it be contrary to all Law or equity) it will cauſe us to wonder at the hardneſſe of their hearts for rather then they will abate any thing of what they demand they will force poore people even to pawne their cloathes; for I am able to prove that they doe demand of poore people before they can have a childe (that is but fourteene, or fifteene yeares of age) buried in one of the out-Church-yards of the great Pariſhes (which land is the free gift of the dead, for the helpe of the poore, even as Creplegates new Church-yard, or Algates, Roſemary lane, or White Chappell; Mile-in greene, (or others the like;) before (I ſay) they can have ſuch a child buried there, it will coſt the pooreſt parent, ſeven or eight ſhillings: Nay, I have knowne when they have diſtruſted paiment, that they have affirmed, that they would not bury them, except they had their money paid before hand: Nay, when any poore man bringeth out of the remote places of the city any H Corps 58 H1v 58 Corps to Bedlam (which is the cheapeſt place that I know) yet when all things elſe is diſcharged, even as, Bearers wages, Grave- diggers wages, and the ground paied for alſo; yet they muſt be conſtrained to have a twelve-penny Prieſt, to ſay ſomething over the grave, and he will grudge if he have not more than a ſhilling (though he ſay but a few words without the booke) when (perhaps) all the people that be left alive in the Family, be not worth a ſhilling.
Furthermore, If any poore man have a neceſſitie to worke, upon one of their Saints-dayes, then Mr. Paritor muſt come, and have a grote, for citing him to the Court, but if he appeare not, he muſt be Preſented, and for not paying Fees, he ſhall be Excommunicated, and he ſhall never be bleſſed in again, but (though he be the pooreſt man in the Kingdome) the price of his bleſſing will be a noble at the leaſt: but if he happen to die an Excommunicant, then his friends muſt give money to abſolve him after he is dead, or elſe he ſhall not be buried in the conſecrated Earth: but if his friends will goe to the Office, and give but a matter of five pound for his Abſolution, after he is dead; then he ſhall be buried in the Conſecrated ground; and they will alſo affirme he died in the Faith of Chriſt, yet though he were excommunicated for notorious ſinne, and lived and died obſtinately in it.
It is a plaine caſe therefore, that theſe men are a greater plague to this Land, then the naturall Locuſts of Egypt, for they ate up the greene things, but theſe eate up both greene and dry.
Nay, further, I conceive they are more prejudiciall to the Common wealth, than the Frogges that came up upon the Land of Egypt, for they entred into the Oven, and into the Kneading Trough: and wee reade not that they aſcended higher than the Kings bed, and the beds of his Servants; but theſe are exalted above the Chimney tops, to catch a Smoke-penny from every poore mans houſe.
Thus you ſee the mighty Revenewes of the Prieſts: If I had but time to tell you of the things which I know (even of the extent of their Revenewes) what is gained unto the generality of Prieſts, by granting of Licenſes to Midwives, and to Schoolemaſters, with divers of their own Officers, ſuch as Paritors, Sumners, & Purſevants, with a number of that Ranke, which have ſtrange names that I know not, It would (as I ſaid before) make all men wonder, how it is devoured: for they muſt be freed from all taxations, and have their houſes rent free, and many times eate their bread at other mens tables, and yet (for the moſt part) they die poore men, and farre in debt, and leave behinde them 59 H2r 59 them both wives and children, deſtitute of Calling and Maintenance, which is a plaine caſe to me, that the hand of God is upon this Generation, in curſing that which they would have bleſſed. And therfore I will confeſſe that I was overſeene (in the entrance into this Diſcourſe) when I moved you to perſwade theſe men to bequeath ſome thing to their brethren, (that are Schollers bred;) for I did not conſider, that though they received much, yet they had but little to give, becauſe it is not bleſſed for increaſe: but I ſhould rather have comforted you, with giving you knowledge, that God hath provided maintenance for his Miniſters; as well as for his People, that they neede not bow to you for a morſell of bread; for God taught his Apoſtles to worke with their hands, as Paul ſaith, that his hands miniſtred to his neceſſities, and those that were with him, Acts 20. 34. not that Paul might not receive of the people carnall things, for he declareth the contrary in another Scripture, and I hope, all the Lords people will confeſſe that the labourer is worthy of his hire, and that it is their duty to make them partakers of their carnall things, of whom they receive ſpirituall things.
Further, you are carefull to have them ſober, and peaceable, and not to preach and ſpeake againſt what is eſtabliſhed by Law. Pag. 45.
Indeede (I muſt tell you) in my judgement, no man can make way for a true Reformation, except hee declare what is evill, before he ſhew what is good.
Further you ſay, you ſuppoſe ſubſcriptions will not be injoyned to formes of Government and Diſcipline.
Here you ſeeme to yeeld that your Formes of Government and Diſcipline be not of God; then if there be no injunction, none will obey, but if injunctions, none will obey for conſcience; for what good man can yeeld to an injunction that is not of God, ſo then, (you may ſee) your injunctions have beene the way and meanes to breed and bring forth a world of hypocrites, as one may eaſily ſee by the Timeſervers of your Church.
But you ſay, that without a toleration we may injoy in a ſecret way our Church fellowſhip.
Indeede (M. Edwards) we have learned that leſſon already for Chriſt hath taught us, that we ſhall fly into the Wilderneſſe, Rev. 12. 14 and that the earth ſhall helpe us Verſe 16. but ſometimes it proves to the danger of our lives, and alwayes to the danger of our liberty; as it may appeare by the practiſe herein London, for though wee meete never ſo privately, and peaceably, yet ſuch Cattle as your ſelfe, are alwayes bleeting in the eares of your Pariſh Officers, and Conſtables, with your other Officers, even till you move the H2 Lord 60 H2v 60 Lord Major himſelf to be your drudge, and as your horne, which you puſh forward for the deſtruction of our bodies, when he hath laid violent hands on them, for it is evident that it hath beene to the loſſe of ſome of their lives; and this is the liberty we have in this Kingdome, and all through the inſtigation of you Prieſts.
But you ſay, though ſome of the more ſober and conſcientious Miniſters and people could uſe it better, yet the Browniſts and Anabaptiſts, and weake brethren would be apt to ſcandall: and therefore to avoid ſcandall, you would inſinuate that we are bound to neglect the whole forme of Church worſhip.
I told you before, and I tell you now, that you are afraid to have your owne glory ecclipſed and by this all men may ſee, (and by all your formers anſwers alſo) that you would have us to enjoy in this Kingdome, neither Ordinances, nor conſcience.
The next thing you lay downe, is the judgement of an antient Father; But indeede he is as ſound in the faith as your ſelfe, for hee would have men to joyne to Churches that have no power. Pag. 46. li. 28.
And this being the ſixth anſwer that you have given to their third reaſon, you entreat them to lay all your ſixe together, and to conſider ſaflawed-reproductiony, whether God require, unleſſe they have a toleration to leave the Kingdome to runne many hazards, and dangers, when as they may enjoy, ſo much at home, without a Toleration, as you ſay you have opened up theſe ſixe anſwers.
To wchh I anſwer, when they are all ſix together, they make but a peece of an anſwer to one of their Reaſons, and this piece of your anſwer is ſtuffed full of falicies, as hath beene already proved, and may further appeare, by the concluſion of all here, when you ſay they may have ſo much at home, for it hath beene proved already, that they can have nothing at home, either in reſpect of liberty, or worſhip; (but what they muſt have by ſtealth; for when they would injoy the Ordinances of God, which are Jewels, which you would have none to have but your ſelves, that ſo you might ſeeme glorious; If any (I ſay) will preſume to borow the Jewels, and carry them away, you will purſue after them; and you know it was the practiſe of the Egyptians of old, for they would have ſuffered the Iſraelites to have gone away empty, and left their cattle behinde them, ſo that they might have had nothing with them to have offered ſacrifice withall and I pray you were not the Southſayers the cauſe of this? bywithſtanding Moſes and Aaron, againſt the children of Iſrael, even by the falſe Figures which they have caſt before the eyes of Pharaoh, to harden Pharoahs heart, even as you Prieſts doe at this day.And 61 H3r 61
And thus I have laid together your ſixe Reaſons, and weighed them; but one truth is ſufficient to overweigh them all.
But yet you have alſo a ſeventh Anſwer which is by it ſelfe: and it is this, That if they will not be ſatisfied (ſay you) without ſetting up Churches; it is better they ſhould get out of the Kingdome.
Beſides, you would have all others that be of this minde, to leave the Land, and goe to New-England, that cannot be ſatiſfied, but that they muſt erect Churches to the diſturbing of the peace of three Kingdomes.
Truely (Mr. Edwards) you ſhew your ſelfe a bloody minded man, that would have the Innocent ſuffer for the faults of them that are guilty. Was not the ſending of your Maſſe-bookes into Scotland the cauſe of the diſturbance? and hath it not appeared plaine enough to the Parliament and to the Scots, before the Parliament ſate, that the Biſhops and Prieſts were the cauſe of the diſturbance? I doubt not but you have read both the Scotiſh Intentions, and their Demands, with their Declarations, which have plainely manifeſted, who and what was the cauſe of the diſturbance, it was not the meeting of a handfull of the Lords people, which ever ſought and do ſeeke the good and wellfare of the three Kingdomes, with the life & happy reigne of their Soveraigne Lord the King, who alwayes ſue unto God for the peace of the Kingdome, in whoſe peace they may enjoy peace: but contrariwiſe, it plainely appeares, that it was you and your Fathers houſe which cauſed this variance.
But ſay you, it will be no great harme for many of them to goe away.
I anſwer, It is like you apprehend the Judgements of God comming upon you, and you thinke to be eaſed, by driving out the Lords people in haſte.
Further, you ſay, you would rather goe to the uttermoſt parts of the earth to live in a meane and hard condition, rather than you would diſturbe the peace or good of three Kingdomes.
For Anſwer, to this I muſt tell you, I would you had conſidered this before you had done it. But now ſeeing God of his mercy hath reconciled them againe, it may be the wiſedome of you and your fellowes, to depart unto Rome, that Gods true Religion may be ſet up here in England without Popiſh Injunctions, that ſo the laſt errour be not worſe than the firſt; for you ſay, It is better that one periſh than Vnity; therefore (in my judgement) it is better that they ſhould runne the hazard, who have occaſioned the ſtrife.H3 Further, 62 H3v 62
Further, you plead for your ſelfe and for hundreds of your brethren, that you have borne the brunt of the times, and yet you doe profeſſe that you will ſubmit to what is eſtabliſhed by Law, becauſe you hope it will be bleſſed and glorious.
I tell you, you are even like Iſachers Aſſe, and ſo are the reſt of your fellowes, even willing to ſtoope downe between two burdens, becauſe eaſe is good: for the Law indeede makes every thing ſeeme glorious; but for any brunt that you have borne in theſe laſt times; I thinke it hath not over-loaded you; for I have not heard that you have beene at two pence coſt, to maintaine the Lords people in priſon; and therefore you are very unlike to Obadiah, for inſtead of hiding of the Lords people, you cry out upon the Parliament to have them hunted; and this is a great brunt indeed, (if it be well conſidered) and it is doubt it will coſt you deare, (by that time you have paid your reckoning) except God give you repentance.
But you further expreſſe, that you would not ſet up true Churches againſt a true Church.
I anſwer, neither would theſe Independant men, I hope, for thoſe things which God teacheth his ſervants to doe, be not againſt the truth, but for the truth, neither can they be any cauſe of Diviſions, or heart-burnings, betweene either Miniſters or People.
And thus you may ſee, and behold, that your ſeventh Anſwer (to their third Reaſon) that you have now left alone, is a Noune Adjective in reſpect of proving any thing that you brought it for.
You ſay their fourth Reaſon is, that if the Miniſters and Churches be not tolerated, they are afraid that in time they ſhall draw moſt of the good people out of the Land after them.
And for anſwer to this, you ſay, you ſuppoſe they rather hope than feare it and that, (ſay you) plainely ſheweth, they have a good conceit of themſelves, and of their owne way.
For anſwer to you, I ſay, that this your Anſwer is but a Suppoſition, neither do I know whether it be their Reaſon for methinks it ſounds ſomewhat like Nonſenſe, but your Suppoſition will not prove them to have a good conceit of themſelves, neither of any way of their owne; for it is the way of the Lord Jeſus Chriſt, that they plead for.
Secondly, you ſay, you feare too, but not as they doe, but your feare is, leaſt toleration ſhould draw away many good people.
I pray you trouble not your ſelfe, too much, for if there be no 63 H4r 63 no toleration, the good people will flye from you, and ſtand a farre off, and waite for the Reformation which you have all this while promiſed.
But now at laſt you ſeeme to make a doubt of any Reformation at all, when you ſay, If the Ceremonies and Liturgie ſtand in full force Pag. 48. lin. 14. which preſuppoſeth, that you conceive they will ſtand ſtill; but no doubt, but if they be ſetled by Law, they will ſeeme glorious to you, although they are in themſelves Romiſh Traditions.
Further, you adde, if theſe ſtand in force, and Churches tolerated, they will make brave worke in a ſhort time.
I anſwer, you are ſo fearefull leaſt the Lords people ſhould enter into the citie of promiſe, that it is very like you never intend to enter in your ſelfe; and that makes you gather up your hopes, in the midſt of all your feares: ſetting a worke your confidence, that God will preſerve many judicious, and adviſed Chriſtians from your way; and therefore you counſell them, to whom you ſpeake, to let them be well ſhipped, and a Reformation in Government and Miniſters; and then you ſay your feare will be over.
Truely methinkes you patch your matter together very diſorderly: for you have many times ſaid, that upon a Reformation they would communicate with you.
But now you would have them well ſhipt, Pag. 48. lin. 20. which I thinke is the Reformation which you deſire: as may appeare by the confuſed ſpeech which you make afterwards; for you ſay; When there is a Reformation amongſt you in Government and Miniſters, that feare is over with you; and your Reaſon is, becauſe when that which firſt bred theſe men What it is that bred the Separates. is taken away, which (ſay you) was the violent preſsing of Ceremonies, and the caſting out of good Miniſters; and many notorious perſons being ſuffered in the Church of England without all cenſures, ſhall be removed; many (ſay you) will not be bred, and others will be ſatisfied, and ſome godly painefull Miniſters of the Church of England would out-preach them, and out-live them.
To this I anſwer, you ſeemed in the beginning of your Anſwer, to make them proud perſons, or conceited of themſelves. But now methinkes, I heare you boaſt very much of your ſelfe, and others of your Church.
But I thinke it may be very true: for you cannot chuſe but out-preach them, if you preach them out of the Kingdome.
And it is very like you may out-live them alſo; if you can but baniſh them into ſome hard country, or elſe get them into ſome ſtinking priſon, as you and the reſt of your Fathers houſe have done very lately.But 64 H4v 64
But further you adde, that you and your fellowes, will compare with them for all excellencies and abilities.
Methinkes it had beene more credit for you to have given your neighbours leave to ſpeake.
But now you have advanced your ſelfe, you labour to caſt them downe, for you ſay, you knew many of them long before they fell flawed-reproductionis way, but you have not ſeene any of them better, nor more profitable for you ſay, whilſt they were in the Church of England, they preached often, and now ſeldome.
I Anſwer, it is very like they dare not tell ſuch as you when they preach, that cry out to the Parliament to diſturbe their meetings.
Further, you ſay, they go looſer in their apparel and haire.
I anſwer, I know ſome indeede that have beene conſtrained to change their apparell for feare of perſecution and (it may be) the haire you were offended at, might be ſome Perriwigge, which ſome of them have beene conſtrained through feare to put on, to blinde the eyes of the Biſhops Blood-hounds, when they have come to take them.
Further, you exclaime againſt them, that they take leſſe care for publike things that concerne the glory of God, and the ſalvation of mens ſoules.
I anſwer, if their care be ſo little, you may wonder, what makes them to take this paines, and care to travell out of a farre countrey, to ſue to the Parliament, by humble petition, for freedom of conſcience, and liberty for Gods publike worſhip, which are things moſt concerning the glory of God, and the ſalvation of mens ſoules.
Further, you accuſe them, that their ſpirits are growne narrow, like their Churches, and that they grow ſtrange, reſerved, and ſubtill; further, you ſay, in a word, they minde little elſe, but the propagation of their Independant way.
For anſwer whereof I ſay to you, that it is no marvell though their ſpirits grow narrow, towards ſuch an Adverſarie as your ſelfe and great cauſe they have to be ſtrange towards you, and reſerved and ſubtill alſo.
But whereas you ſay their Churches be narrow: I ſay they are even like the way to heaven or the gate that leadeth unto life, which is ſo narrow, that ſuch as you can hardly enter in thereat.
But if their greateſt care be (as you ſay) to ſet up the Independant way Pag. 49. l. 9. 10. (which is the way of God:) This ſtill croſſeth your former ſlander of them, that they little minde the publike good, and 65 I1r 65 and ſalvation of mens ſoules. But that this is true (namely, that they minde little elſe but the propagation of their Independant way) you bring the Proteſtation Proteſted to witneſſe, which Teſtimony maketh them peacable men, becauſe they deſire to meddle with no mans buſineſſe but their owne.
And if they minde little elſe but to ſet up the Independant way, then it will alſo croſſe your following ſpeech, (which you ſay, you ſpeak from your conſcience and experience) that never any of them, had ſo large a ſpirit for good, after they fell into that way, nor tooke ſuch care (you ſay) for the propagation of the Goſpell, and preaching the Word to men without.
I tell you, indeede if they did not take care to preach the Word to men without, they would never come to preach amongſt you, much leſſe would they then ſue for libertie ſo to doe, (as the Welſh Miniſters have done) if they had not a deſire to informe the ignorant, in thoſe truths that God hath revealed to them.
And therefore you may ſee in your accuſations againſt them, you are proved a very ſlanderer, and have taken upon you the office of Sathan, the old accuſer of the Brethren.
But you conceive God never honoured them ſo much afterward.
But ſeeing it is but your conception, it matters not; for if they were active for God, and did famouſly and worthily before they entred into the way of God, I am ſure they could not but be more active afterwards; for when a man is in a Journey (eſpecially if he know or conceive himſelfe to be out of the way) he goeth on heavily till he meeteth with ſome directer, either to informe him that he is in the right way, or to direct him how he ſhall get into it; and being ſetled in his right way, hee goeth on more cheerefully, and actively than hee could doe in the time of his doubting; even ſo it muſt needs be with theſe men, as I ſaid before.
Againe, you ſay, that the men that hold thoſe principles of Separation, God did never honour much.
I anſwer, it ſeemes you thinke Gods thoughts are as your thoughts, and becauſe you ſeeke for the praiſe of men and have it, and a few men honour them: and becauſe Chriſts flocke is a little flocke, therefore you imagine they are not honoured of God, which is very carnall reaſoning.
But as you have ſlandered the men all this while; ſo now you here ſlander their way (and principles) which way is the way of God, and whoſe principles are Gods truthes; yet (you ſay) there is ſuch a malignitie cleaves to it, even as doth to the Epiſcopacie.I This 66 I1v other
This is a very great ſlander, to compare Gods wayes to the wayes of Sathan, in ſaying there is ſuch a malignity cleaving to it, which alters mens ſpirits, and makes their hearts worſe; and yet you here confeſſe, that many of them continue good in the maine.
You ſay, their fifth Reaſon is, That this is no other but envy in the Miniſters, that makes them againſt Toleration, becauſe they feare their people will deſert from them, and come to us, being ſo pure in Ordinances, and Churches; and thus you ſay the Proteſtation Proteſted ſpeakes.
Your anſwer to this Reaſon is,
1. That it is not out of envie, but you hold their practiſe ſinfull and unwarrantable to ſeparate from your Churches, and to erect ſuch Congregations, and therefore you ſay, you ſpeake againſt it, and that you here promiſe to make good in a following Diſcourſe.
For anſwer to this, I muſt tell you, that it is not your denying it to be out of Envie, that will cleare you, for there is nothing appeares more plainer, than that envie againſt the truth, and the Profeſſors thereof, was the cauſe of your writing againſt Toleration.
And that it is through feare your people will deſert, is plaine, by your own confeſſion in your Fourth Reaſon; where you ſay, that if the Liturgie, and Ceremonies, ſtand in force, and Toleration be granted, they will make brave worke in a ſhort time, and yet you hope ſome judicious Chriſtians (as you ſay) will be kept from their way.
But in that you here ſay, you hold the practiſe ſinfull and unwarrantable.
You have made that part of your judgement knowne already before, but your judgement was grounded upon no true Principle; and therefore it hath beene already proved to be erroneous.
And whereas you ſay, you will make it good to be fruitfull in a following Diſcourſe:
I anſwer, If you can but make men beleeve this, you will worke a wonder. But I know it is impoſſible, for you to make good your promiſe, and therefore I cannot expect performance.
Now to cleare your ſelfe.
2. You ſay, it cannot be counted envie in Miniſters, to be unwilling to have their flocks, and people fall from them.
I anſwer, By ſo ſaying, you rather confirme their Reaſon than remove it, (namely) that it was your feare of the deſerting of your people.
But for you to inſinuate, that the people that be called out of a way of ſinne, and brought into the way of grace, and liberty; be ſtollen away,way 67 I2r other way, and tempted away by ſtrangers (as you would make it) concluding that it is as tolerable for children to forſake their parents, renouncing the wombe that bare them, and the pappes that gave them ſucke, throwing dirt in the face of father and mother, as it is for a man to forſake Idolatrous worſhip; this is an unjuſt compariſon, and croſſeth the whole tenor of the Scripture.
Now you would make this your owne caſe, for you allude to your ſpirituall children, who (ſay you) are the fruit of your labours.
I pray you, how can you count the Pariſh of St. Elens your ſpirituall children, ſeeing you are there but an hireling; and as you have not begotten them to the Faith, ſo you have not taken the charge of them, to watch over them as a Spirituall Father, and you will onely preach to them ſo long as any will pay you wages, but no longer; how then have you converted them to God? from what have you converted them? or what have you converted them too? hve you turned them from ſerving dumbe Idols, to ſerve the living God? I have heard of no great change of them, nor of any other where you have preached; you found them in the Church of England, and you found them Chriſtians, (in your owne judgement) and you know they were baptized, when you came to them; and in the ſame Church where you found them, there you leave them; I pray you, how have you begotten them to God? you found them under a falſe power, ſubmitting to a falſe worſhip, and you juſtifie them as men begotten to God, and you juſtifie their ſtanding there. Thus doe you ſow pillowes of flatteries under their elbowes.
But you neede not to feare any mans comming to ſteale your Diſciples away by night, as the Jewes gave out falſely of Chriſts naturall body, for that was but a lie; therefore let no man preſume to lie by their example.
But you ſay therefore you ought to watch againſt us, (and ought not to ſleepe) leaſt they ſhould be ſtolne Pag. 50. lin 23 to lin. 29. away.
I anſwer, ſo did the Jewes watch the naturall body of Chriſt and yet he by his power raiſed himſelfe, and alſo departed from them; even ſo by the ſame power will he raiſe from the death of ſinne many that are amongſt you, and will cauſe them to ſeparate themſelves from your falſe worſhipping, and from you that are falſe worſhippers, and he will tell them where he feedeth his ſheepe, and cauſeth them to lie downe at noone. Cant. 1.7.
Neither can you cleare your ſelfe by ſaying, you pitty them, and love them, and would not have ſuch a ſword as a toleration put into their I2 hands 68 I2v 68 hands (as you are pleaſed to ſay) to hurt them, though ſome amongſt them (ſay you) might perhaps uſe it better.
I pray you feare not this, (which you here call an error on the right hand) but rather feare your Church, if (as you ſay) your Liturgie and Ceremonies ſtand ſtill in force, which (you ſay) were the cauſe that bred the Separates. Pag. 48. l. 23, 24.
I tell you, if the ſame cauſe remaine you may juſtly feare, it will take the ſame effect; you have alſo as great cauſe to feare the prophaneneſſe and Atheiſme, which is ſeated in the hearts of moſt of your people, but onely that you bleſſe your ſelfe, in hope that all ignorant and ſcandalous perſons ſhall be driven out. But I pray you tell me, whither doe you intend to drive them? if you leave them any where in the Land, they will be ſtill of your Church: except you will make you a new Church: But if you ſhould drive them out of the Land, you would leave many places of the Land uninhabited; for the generalitie of the people (in moſt parts) be ignorant, and prophane; and thus you may ſee your ſelfe in a great ſtreight, and therfore you have great cauſe to feare.
Further, you ſay, the Author would intimate that the honeſt ſoules are with them, and would be for their way; but as for thoſe that are againſt their way and Toleration, they are not ſuch honeſt ſoules.
If this Author be the Proteſtation Proteſted, you have wreſted his words, for he hath not ſaid they are not ſuch honeſt ſoules neither hath he entred into judgement againſt any.
But further, (you ſay) you would have them know that the honeſt ſoules are not onely with them: for in the Church of England (ſay you) there ever have beene, and are honeſt Miniſters and people, that have rejected our way, and any that fell to it, nay the greateſt Nonconformiſts, and moſt able in that way (you ſay) have written the moſt againſt our way, and laboured upon all occaſions to preſerve the people from falling to us.
For anſwer whereof, I muſt tell you, that the Miniſters, and people, were never the honeſter for rejecting of that way, (which hath beene proved to be the way of God) though they were the greateſt Nonconformiſts in the world: for it is not our way properly, but the gift of the Father, which he hath given us, to walke in; and ſurely, it is no ſigne of honeſty to commend the Saints in their infirmities, or to condemne them in their workes of pietie, I ſay, it is no ſigne of an honeſt ſoule to ſpeak evill of ſuch a holy way: I tell you, I take Hugh Latimer to be an honeſt ſoule, though he have declared both by word and writing againſt ſuch as you; and affirmed, that a lay man fearing God, is much more fit to underſtand the holy Scripture, then a proud and 69 I3r 69 and arrogant Prieſt; yea, then the Biſhop himſelfe be hee never ſo great and gliſtering in all his pontificalls: and ſuch honeſt ſoules (though they are not of the Clergie, but of thoſe whom you call the Layetie:) are the fitteſt men on the earth to make Churches, and to chuſe their owne Miniſters (as I ſaid before) though they be Trades-men; and ſuch as theſe have dependancie upon Chriſt alone, whoſe way is properly the ſincere way of God. And as for any that have writ againſt this way (or againſt thoſe who walke uprightly in it,) it will not make much for their account, for that part of their worke ſhall burne (as well as yours) though they may be ſaved: and as for theſe Authors which here you bring, which have beene ſo carefull (as you ſay) to keepe the people from falling into that way; I have reade ſome of their bookes, and found the moſt of them, propheſie ſad things againſt the Church of England, except ſhe repent.
Their ſixth Reaſon (you ſay) is, that they are good men, and men of great gifts, and therefore they ſhould be tolerated to have ſuch Churches, it is pitty they ſhould leave the Land, and wee looſe their prayers.
Indeede (Mr. Edwards) this may be ſome other, mans Reaſon, on their behalfe, but I hardly beleeve, that they lived ſo farre from good neighbours, that they muſt ſet forth their owne praiſe.
But for anſwer to this Reaſon, in the firſt place; you ſay, the better men they be, and the more able, the worſe, to ſet up ſeparated Churches.
To this I anſwer, that I ever conceived by the Scripture, that thoſe that Chriſt ordained, to plant his Churches were good men, as it was ſaid of Barnabas, that he was a good man Acts 11. 24. and the very like was ſaid of Stephen Acts 6. 5. 8. 10. and therefore me thinks you are ſhreudly miſtaken.
But further, you ſay, they will the more indanger the peace of the Kingdome, and make the Schiſmes greater.
I anſwer, If it be good and able men that indanger the peace of the Kingdome, you may doe well to perſwade the Parliament, to keepe ſtill in your Church, all the dumb and drunken Prieſts: for they are bad enough, and unable to doe good, and yet of my knowledge, they are very able to diſturbe the peace, and to breed ſtrife, and to bring Gods judgements upon the Land, which is able to make a greater Schiſme than you are aware of.I3 Secondly, 70 I3v 70
Secondly, you ſay, for their prayers, you have the benefit of them, as well when they are abſent, as preſent, and ſome of them have ſaid (ſay you) they prayed more for England when out, of it than in it.
Indeede if they did ſo, they did well, for that was their duty; but I ſuppoſe you (for your particular) had little benefit of thoſe prayers, and that, becauſe God hath hardened your heart, ever againſt them, and all good men.
Thirdly, For theſe their prayers you have rewarded them with an accuſation (namely) that they left the Kingdome, when it was in greateſt danger, and in moſt neede of helpe, and provided for themſelves to keepe in a whole skinne.
I anſwer, if they did evill in it, that evill is to be paſſed by; for it is very probable, that they did know that the Great Canons were already made, and that they were mightily charged, and overcharged, as it may appeare by their ſhivering in pieces: but if they had held to have beene ſhot off; they might eaſily perceive, that they might beate holes in their owne skins, as well as in other mens, and they ſeeing the plague before hand, might be borne with to hide themſelves.
But you ſay you ſtood without them here in the gappe, and prevailed with God.
I anſwer, It may be conceived, that they prevailed with God, who prayed ſo much for England, when they were out of it, for God will not heare ſinners, Ioh. 9. 31. therefore you cannot expect that God ſhould heare you, ſo long as you juſtifie the abominations of your beſpotted Church; and you know Moſes prevailed for Egypt, when he was out of the city. Exod. 9. 29. 33.
But you ſay it is better to want their company, than to buy it at ſo dear a rate as a toleration, and you ſay you queſtion not, but the Kingdome will doe well enough without them.
Is it poſſible, that you ſhould enjoy the benefite of the prayers of thoſe that you ſo much ſleight, and ſet ſo little by their company, that rather then they ſhall have liberty, to worſhip God in a peaceable way (by your will) they ſhould depart the Kingdome, when it is proved, by the Word of God, that Gods ſervants are the ſtrength & glory of the Kingdome: for even as the Prophets were the Charets and Horſemen of Iſrael, ſo are they that feare the Lord, a ſupport to the Kingdome and Common-wealth wherein they live.
But as for your Kingdome of Prieſts, it ſhall neither ſtand without them, nor with them, for though the Prophets ſought to heale Babel, yet it could not be healed 71 I4r 71 healed, for your hornes ſhall be knocked off; and methinks I heare the decree gone forth, that your Kingdome is devided, and therefore you have neede, to ſet downe your reſolution, that it ſhall not long ſtand, but the Kingdome of England may ſafely ſtand with Toleration.
Fourthly, you ſay for this Objection of being good men, you will anſwer it at large in another Tractate, wherein (you ſay) you ſhall minde men of many dangers that may ariſe to them from good and eminent men; and further, you ſay you will fully ſhew what little ſtrength is in that Reaſon, and cleare alſo many things in reference to that Objection.
I anſwer, when I ſee this performed, I will take it into conſideration, and then you may heare more of my minde; in the meane while, I reſt in the Scriptures; which ſatiſfie me, that good men ever bring a bleſſing.
Pag 52. The next thing you bring is this queſtion (namely) whether conſcientious men, who agree with you in the maine in points of Doctrine, and practiſe, may be tolerated and ſpared, in ſome things wherein they differ from that which is commonly received.
Indeede you have made divers anſwers to this already for it was before your owne queſtion, in ſome of your Reaſons alledged againſt them, where you affirme, that you juſtifie much, both bearing and forbearing, and have alſo ſet the Counſell of ancient Fathers before them, to teach them to beare with others both in points of Doctrine and practiſe, wherein they may ſomething differ from that which is commonly received.
But here further, you adde a more large anſwer, That you ſtill ſay it is your judgement, that there ſhould be bearing in many differences of opinions and practiſe, ſo as Chriſtians ought not to judge nor cenſure one another, nor refuſe communion and fellowſhip, by not admitting men into their Churches, and to the Ordinances.
You have ſeemed (all this while) to be afraid leaſt they ſhould admit too many into their Churches, and now you ſeeme to ſay, it is the fault of the Independant Churches to deny communion to many Saints for ſome differences in judgment; about Church-Government and Orders. Now if this be true (as you ſay it is) they are ſo farre from ſtealing away your members, that they will not receive them into fellowſhip, if there be differences in judgment, When Stephen Gardiner harped upon unitie, unitie, yea Sir (ſaid Latimer) but in Veritie, not in Popery: better is a Diverſitie than a Unitie in Popery. for which you here ſeeme to blame them, and therefore I think you would have them open the mouthes of their Churches wider, even as wide as yours. But the Scripture hath declared, that the gates of the holy city, are of 72 I4v 72 of an equall wideneſſe, for they are never ſhut, Rev. 21. 25 and yet they are ſo well watched by the Angels of God, even the Miniſters of Chriſt Jeſus, that there ſhall be no uncleane thing ſuffered to enter in thereat, &c. Rev. 21. 27. Here you may ſee if any of you attempt to come in (who are ſo ignorant and ſcandalous and ſpotted (as you ſay they be) they ſhall not be ſuffered amongſt us; for indeede they are fit for no ſociety, but the ſociety of your Fathers houſe: yet (I ſay) of any of theſe doe creepe in, it is through the neglect of the Portor, which the Lord hath ſet to watch, or elſe it muſt needs be by their cunning transfiguring themſelves to be that which they are not.
Pag. 52. But (you ſay) you would not have men forced to change their mindes, and opniinions, by caſting them violently out of the Miniſtry and Church which (you ſay) was the practiſe of many in theſe late times, and hath cauſed ſo many Schiſmes and ſtrifes amongſt you.
Well, here all men may take notice, that it was the cruelty of the Clergie, that cauſed the Schiſmes and ſtrifes, by forcing men to change their mindes, and not the practiſe of the Separation (as you here acknowledge) therefore in this confeſſion you have croſſed the tenor of many of your other arguments, as that the Saparates have cauſed ſtrife in the three Kingdomes, and that they had made the rents and Schiſmes, which now you acknowledge to be done by them (that force men to change their mindes) which are the Clergie of England.
Further, you ſay, that you approve not of ſuch practiſes, but deſire to be a follower, and lover of the wayes of peace and communion, with any who (agree in the maine, and have ſomething of God and Chriſt in them.
I anſwer, if you approve not of ſuch practiſes, I hope you will not hereafter be an occaſion to move Magiſtrates to force men to change their mindes, and ſo juſtifie your ſelfe in that you condemne in others, for you confeſſe your ſelfe, that though theſe Independant mens ſpirits be growne narrow (even cloſed up from you) yet they continue good in the maine; Pag. 49. lin. 31.illegible and then ſure they have ſomething of God, and of Chriſt in them.
You ſay further, that the practiſe of the antient Fathers, that pleaded for bearing, are infinitely pleaſing to you.
I anſwer, if they be infinitely pleaſing to you, I hope you will never be unpleaſed againe, with any of the Lords ſervants, about keeping of dayes, which you ſay was the difference betweene theſe Fathers. Pag. 52. lin. 33. 34.
Moreover, you ſeeme to inferre, that becauſe Siprian (whom you confeſſe, erred in the point of rebaptizing) would not condemne them, who 73 K1r 73 who were of a contrary opinion: that therefore men may be tolerated in their differences of opinions.
But here you have brought an erring Father (by your owne confeſſion) to perſwade us to keepe communion with thoſe that are contrary minded; but the Apoſtle exhorteth us to labour to be of one minde, that we may walke by one rule, but if any be otherwiſe minded, we ought to waite till God reveile further, and not to force him to be of our minde, till he hath faith in himſelfe, grounded upon the Word of God. But that ground which you have (that men ſhould be tolerated in their differences of opinions) is built upon the ſayings of this Father Ciprian.
But preſently you come with your proviſall, which hath quite altered the Caſe, your proviſall is (they may be tolerated) ſo long as they keepe communion with the Church, and ſubmit to the Diſcipline and orders, and be peaceable, and not ſpeake againſt what is eſtabliſhed by common conſent nor practiſe to the ſcandall and contempt of the Magiſtrate and Church.
I anſwer, this is but even a croſſing of your owne ſpeech againe, for this conſtraining of men to yeeld to whatſoever is eſtabliſhed by common conſent, is but a forcing of men to change their minds; which you ſaid before, was the cauſe of Schiſmes and ſtrifes, and though you approve not of it in others, yet (it ſeemes) you could freely practiſe it your ſelfe, as may plainely appeare by what you ſpeake hereafter, which is the very ſame thing which you have often ſpoke already; that is, If a few men (halfe a dozen, or halfe a ſcore) refuſe communion with your Church, and vent opinions every where, to the diſturbing of the Kingdome, and drawing diſciples after them, though they were Miniſters of gold, and had the tongues of men and Angels, they ſhould not be tolerated.
Now you have ſtrucke up the ſtroke, but it will not ſerve your turne; for this your vaine inſinuation (that they diſturbe the Kingdome and draw Diſciples after them,) hath beene many a time diſproved already, becauſe it hath beene oftentimes repeated by you, to fill up your matter; nay your owne words have diſproved your ſelfe, where you say, they will not receive them into fellowſhip except they be of their mindes. For this ſee his eigth Reaſon againſt Toleration. pag. 32. lin. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27.
But further (you ſay) you would have us to reade Calvin upon that ſubject, in his laſt Epiſtle to Felerius: The matter you ſay is this, that if He would not be reduced into order, the Miniſters ſhould tell him, that he is not to be accounted as a brother, becauſe he diſturbed the common diſcipline.
What the Diſciſcipline was that he diſturbed I cannot tell, but you ſay it was a Diſcipline that was common, which makes it K appeare 74 K1v 74 appeare to mee, that it was like your Booke-worſhip or your Common Prayer-booke, which is common as farre as the Pope hath any preheminence or juriſdiction; and that you confeſſe this Common Diſcipline, was not the Diſcipline of God, neither a Diſcipline that you approve of, appeares by your owne words.
That you judge it not of God, appeares here in your following words; where you grant this to be the authority of men, and that it is not to be ſought after it: &c. and you know the things that they decreed was. that he that would not ſubmit to the Synod muſt be put out of his place; and you ſay, that you would not have any caſt out of the Miniſtery, or Church, becauſe it breedeth Schiſmes Pag. 26. and by this it appeares, that you allow not of this manner of Diſcipline, and by this one may alſo plainely ſee, that you are made all of contradictions, as it may plainely appeare in the very next words following, where you conclude, that the authority of men is not to be ſought, when the Spirit of God pronounceth of ſuch, &c. and here you quote the 1 Cor. 11. 19. where you would make Paul an author of caſting men out of their places, becauſe they would not yeeld to the Synod. I pray you, hath Paul in this Chapter diſcourſed of any ſuch thing? was not the controverſie here about long haire about which Paul ſaith the Church hath no ſuch cuſtome of contention; and doth not Paul himſelfe put the thing to be judged by the Church? in the thirteenth verſe, where he ſaith, Judge in your ſelves, Is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? and further, in the 14th. verſe, Doth not nature it ſelfe teach us, that if a man have long haire it is a ſhame unto him? and was not this Doctrine grounded in the Law and Prophets, and confirmed and eſtabliſhed by God long before the Apoſtles time? yes ſurely it was, and therefore it will not ſerve your turne, to prove that Synods may decree Cuſtomes, for the Church of God; but it will ſerve your turne to prove what you deſire, that is, a dependancie betweene Rome and England, and that the Biſhops of Rome and England by their Synods ſhould make all their ſhavelings to crouch and ſubmit, and bow to their injunctions; for your owne practiſes prove it, by your very ſubmitting, be it never ſo contrary to the Law of God and of Nature it ſelfe, if it be confirmed by a Synod; and therefore it appeares that it is your malignity of ſpirit, which cauſeth you to write as you doe.
But you ſay you doe it from a zeale;
But I tell you, it is a zeale againſt Gods glory and the good of his Church, and againſt the preſervation of puritie of Dotrine, and holineſſe of life, even at the beſt like unto the zeale which 75 K2r 75 which Paul had, before hee knew Chriſt, when he went with Letters from the high Prieſt, to perſecute the Church of God, and when he was their Purſevant, to enter into houſes, and to hale men and women to priſon Acts 8. 3. if Paul ſhould have ſaid for himſelfe, as you would now pleade for your ſelfe, that peace could not ſtand with toleration, and therefore it was meete to diſturbe their meetings, it would not have ſerved his turne, for if God had not ſtricken him downe in the way he ſhould never have ſeene the Lord Jeſus (but to his confuſion) though he was a man every way as well informed as your ſelfe.
Yea, he might have pleaded as well as you, that he did it not out of paſsion, but that he had thoughts of the Church way before; for you may know that Paul was a member of the Church of the Jewes, which was erected by God, and was zealous for the Law, and mighty in knowledge being brought up at the feete of Gamaliel, Act. 22. 3. and alſo a free borne Roman, Ver. 28. and yet he neither knew Chriſt, Ver. 8. nor what Chriſt would have him to doe, Ver. 10. but hee thought other wayes of himſelfe, or elſe he would not have perſecuted the profeſſors of the truth, but that hee imagined there was evill in the practiſe of the truth; even as you ſay you apprehend evill in the practiſe of Independancie, though they ſee it not that practiſe it, becauſe (ſay you) they are ingaged in it, but it was ignorance in Paul, ſo to thinke, and ſo (at the beſt) it is ignorance in you. Therefore you have no neede to ſay, that you ſee more evill in it, than the Independants can doe, but you ſhould rather have ſaid you ſeeme to ſee, for you cannot ſee an evill where none is.
But you wiſh that the Independant Miniſters, would conſider what hath beene written.
I anſwer, Indeede (for my part) if their conſiderations be as mine, and though they conſider it as I doe, without partialitie, yet they will finde nothing in it, to perſwade them to lay aſide all thoughts of ſetting up ſeparated Aſſemblies (which hath beene plainely proved to be the way of God) much leſſe that they ſhould come, and grow into one body, and joyne in one way with you, ſo long as you have ſo foule a body (which you confeſſe you have) and your way ſo contrary to the way of Chriſt, being indeede a way of your owne deviſing.
And touching the counſell of Mr Calvin to this purpoſe.
I ſay, If he ſhould counſell, as you counſell, it would be to me but a asas a blaſt of breath; for we are to take the councell of the holy Ghoſt, by the mouth of Paul, which bids us follow him, as hee followes Chriſt. 1 Cor. 11.1.
But you would have us to conſider, what Paul requires in a K2 Paſtor 76 K2v 76 Paſtor, of which things you ſay, this is not the leaſt, that hee ought not to be ſelfe-willed; that is (ſay you) to be adicted to his owne proper judgement.
I anſwer, I have conſidered this text already, and doe conceive, that this rule of Paul is broken by the Pope of Rome, and the Popes of England, which are adicted to their owne wills, and ſet up their own proper judgements for a Law; which evill and error Paul ſaw in his time, when he said, the myſtery of iniquitie began then to worke. 2 Theſ. 2. 7.
Moreover, I do acknowledge that it is a vertue in a good Paſtor from his heart to feare contentions, and not to differ from his brethren, unleſſe it be in caſes greatly neceſſary, but what is all this which you have ſaid to the matter in hand, you know Paul ſpake to the Churches planted in the order of Chriſts Goſpell, and not by the order of the man of Sin, and therefore it will not help you to call them againe, to conſider what they may enjoy in your Church, for I have proved it plainely before in my reply to your Anſwer to their third Reaſon, that a Saint of God can injoy no thing in your Church without ſinne, and therefore what you thinke you have ſhewed before in your three firſt Reaſons is nothing at all; for though you ſay it is but ſome circumſtances that be wanting, about the manner and forme of Diſcipline. I tell you you want the ſubſtance, even Chriſt to be the head of your Churche, and have made you a head of Archbiſhops and Lord Biſhops, which head is full of leproſie.
But there you have brought Mr. Calvin to croſſe you ſhrewdly, and you would have us to beleeve him; and indeed with my heart I beleeve it, whether Mr. Calvin ſpeake it or no; you ſay he affirmes that the Scriptures expreſſe the ſubſtance of diſcipline; this is very true; but in another place you ſay, that Calvin ſaid, there is no expreſſe precept concerning this matter: For this ſee Reaſons againſt Independancie, pag. 5. lin. 12. 13. And the like you rehearſe preſently in your next words: for you ſay he affirmeth, that the forme of exerciſing it, muſt be ordained by the Miniſters for edification, becauſe it is not preſcribed by the Lord.
Doth not Calvin and you both croſſe your ſelves here? hath Chriſt indeede written in his Word the ſubſtance of Diſcipline and not the forme? you would make (indeed) the ſubſtance of diſcipline without forme, and voide, even as the earth it ſelfe was, when darkenes was upon the face of the deepe: ſo you would have men conceive there is a ſubſtance, but they muſt have no rule to know where to finde it; for you ſay, the forme of exerciſing it, is not preſcribed. Here you would make Chriſt wanting to his owne 77 K3r 77 owne houſe, for we know that Moſes had the forme of the houſe, as well as the ſubſtance of the houſe, and the forme of every Ordinance, with every, circumſtance that was to be uſed, in and about Gods worſhip, and the forme was given unto Moſes by God himſelfe and Moſes had not power to alter any thing in the forme, neither had any of the Miniſters which came after him: but the wicked Prieſts did alter the forme, and Apoſtated from the truth of thoſe Ordinances taught by Moſes; even ſo the wicked Antichriſtians apoſtated from the forme of wholſome words given by Paul, which was to follow him as he followed Chriſt.
And alſo from the rule of our Saviour Chriſt given to all his Apoſtles, that they ſhould teach the people what he commanded them, (Matth. 28. 20.) And this (you may ſee) was not onely in ſubſtance but in forme alſo, for Paul expreſſeth to the Corinthians, the very forme of breaking of bread, which he had received of the Lord Jeſus; 1 Cor. 11. 23. and by this you may ſee you have given the holy Ghoſt the lie, even as Calvin alſo, affirming, that the forme of exerciſing it, is not preſcribed by the Lord; and therefore I would have you, (Mr. Edwards) to take the Counſell your ſelfe, that you give unto others, for it is very good counſell.
Firſt, that you pleaſe not your ſelfe in your owne Opinions.
Secondly, that you be not ſo adicted to your owne judgement, but remember the danger that Calvin laies downe here, that a man being wedded to his owne Judgement, ſo soone as ever an Ocation offers it ſelf, will be a Schiſmaticke; and I have told you already, that this was the firſt occaſion of Schiſme and Apoſtacie, from the truth of the Goſpels worſhip, that being darke in their mindes and judgeing the ſubſtance of Gods worſhip to be without forme; and as they them ſelves (ſo preſuming) tooke upon them to preſcribe a forme themſeves, ſo they being wedded to their owne judgement, did Schiſme from the truth of the Scripture.
Thus you ſay you have delivered your owne ſoule.
But to whom, or from what you have delivered it, I cannot tell.
But you ſay further: you hope the brethren, will withdraw their petitions, that they may not be reade in the honourable houſe of Commons, but, if they ſhould be read (you ſay) you hope the Houſe will caſt them out. For this ſee his Book pag. 55.
I Anſwer, That they ſhould withdraw their Petitions, is but one of your vaine hopes, for they had more neede now to petition then ever they had, both to God and men, ſeeing ſuch a K3 Goliah 78 K3v 78 Goliah as you, muſters up ſo many forces againſt them.
But the later of theſe your vaine hopes, doth manifeſt the malice of your heart, in that you hope the houſe will caſt their petitions out.
Are you ſo void of true piety towards that Honourable Houſe? or judge you that Houſe ſo void of common Reaſon? being as they are indeede the very Eyes of the whole land; the Eares of the whole land, and the Tongue of the whole land; yea the hand and power of the whole land: being ſo as I conceive in my ſimplicity, would you have them, I ſay to be blinde of one eye? and to look upon the Petitions and complaints of ſome of the people of the land, and not upon all? would you have them ſo partiall? would you have them alſo deafe of one eare? that they ſhould not hearken to the cries and petitions, and complaints of all the Kings ſubjects, one as well as another? would you have them alſo ſo defective in their tongue, that they ſhould not be for the praiſe of them that doe well, as well as for the puniſhment of evill doers? nay, ſeeing they are called Gods, Pſal. 82. 1.6. would you have their hands ſo ſhortned, that they ſhould not once ſtretch them forth, to ſupport and helpe the poore afflicted members of Jeſus Chriſt? Then indeede you would have them very unlike unto Moſes, even as unlike as your ſelves are unto Aaron.
Would you have this Houſe to exerciſe their power upon perſons before they have made due triall of the cauſe? (by hearing witneſſes ſpeake on both ſides): truely (Mr. Edwards) if you would (as it appeareth plaine it is your minde,) then I will ſubmit to the judgement of both the Houſes of Parliament, whether you be not a man void of common Reaſon; for he is a foole that judgeth a matter before he know it.
And you are not onely void of Reaſon your ſelfe, but you would have the Parliament to be like you; for if the Parliament ſhould judge a man before they heare his cauſe, they would be like the Court at Lambeth, which were uſed to ſit in the high Prieſts Hall, judgeing matters without due triall.
Further, you ſay you are perſwaded, that it will never be ſaid of this Parliament, that they opened a doore for Toleration.
For Anſwer to this, I muſt tell you, that I conceive, they may receive a Petition, and yet not open a doore for Toleration; I meane for ſuch a Toleration as you here ſpeake of, for ſetting up Churches againſt Churches, for that is not the Toleration that we pleade for, but your evill concluſion.
And therefore you may pray, if you will, that that doore may be kept ſhut.
And we will pray alſo that all doores may be kept ſhut; that will 79 K4r 79 will let any evills into the Kingdome in proceſſe of time, leaſt that any ſucceeding generations, ſhould have cauſe to write in their Chronicles of this Parliament, as it was written of Naaman the Syrian; that is (as you ſay, (it will be ſaid of them) but they granted a Toleration.
Moreover, we deſire nothing at their hands, that may caſt a darke ſhadow upon their glorious light.
But that which we deſire, is liberty of conſcience to practiſe Gods true worſhip in the land wherein we were borne, which will be no blemiſh to any Chriſtian Magiſtrate to grant, nor for any Counſell of ſtate to eſtabliſh.
And therefore you ſhould not have concluded this your Diſcourſe againſt independancie, and againſt Toleration, before you had offered it to the triall before ſome lawfull Committee choſen by the Parliament, to heare both you and them; and then if you could have maintained your Church of England (which you plead for) with your Synods, and Counſells, Ceremonies, and Booke-worſhip, Canons, and Senſures, Citations, Degradations, and Excommunications, with your Abſolutions, to be founded upon the ſubſtance of that Worſhip and Diſcipline, which you ſay Calvin affirmeth, is expreſſed in the Scriptures then you might with the more ſhew of honeſty have admoniniſhed the Parliament, to have caſt out their Petitions, but till then you may lay your hand upon your mouth, and never for ſhame affirme, that the granting of Toleration unto us (to worſhip God, without moleſtation) will be ſetting up Churches againſt Churches.
Neither ought you to have conlcuded againſt them, before you had proved their way of worſhip to be contrary to the word of God, or not to have footing in his word (as yours hath not) for except you had done this, you have ſmall cauſe to rejoyce in your thoughts, in reſpect of the accounts that you are to give about this contraverſie; for your contraverſie can be conceived at the beſt, to be but, the contraverſie that Paul had, when he went unto Damaſcus which was a Contraverſie againſt Chriſt Acts 9. 4. 5. though Chriſt in his rich grace pardoned him, when hee had ſmitten him downe, and driven him out of himſelfe and made him to confeſſe, that he knew not Chriſt, in theſe words (where he ſaith,) Lord Who art thov, and further acknowledged that he knew not the will of Chriſt? by aſking him (with theſe words) What wilt thov have me to doe? thus you may ſee, though the controverſie was againſt Chriſt, yet Paul was reconciled to God the Father, by Jeſus Chriſt the 80 K4v 80 the Sonne, and endued with the holy Ghoſt, which made him a Miniſter of the New Teſtament, which all his humane learning could not doe.
And Paul might have boaſted that he was stirred up by the Spirit of God, againſt the way of Chriſt, as you boaſt, that you are ſtirred up by Gods Spirit againſt the way of Separation. But you would not have juſtified Paul, much leſſe ſhall it juſtifie you; for Paul did that hee did out of a zeale to maintaine the Law of God. But yours is to maintaine the Law of Sinne, even the Law of Sathan. Paul perſecuted thoſe that he did conceive to be evill; but you perſecute thoſe that you acknowledge good men, and ſuch as have beene active and famous for God.
And therefore you have no neede to boaſt of the Spirits enabling you all along, and that above your owne ſtrength (as you declare) for it plainely appeare (unto all men of underſtanding) that it was the very ſpirit of deluſion.
And therefore, you may juſtly expect Cenſures and Reproaches (as you ſay you doe) becauſe your way in this action was not pleaſing to God.
But for my part, inſtead of cenſuring you, I would rather reprove you; and admoniſh you, rather than reproach you, and pray that God might turne you. And if God would be pleaſed to give you that reward of your labour, which hee gave unto Paul, even to ſtrike you downe, and to make you to heare his voyce, and learne to know him, and what he would have you to doe; then it would turne much to the praiſe of God, and to the comfort of your poore ſoule, if you be a choſen veſſell unto him, (which is the thing you pretend you aime at) and then you ſhall be ſure to gaine truth, and love and peace, and holineſſe in all your after diſcourſes, when you ſhall ſpeake with a new tongue, and expreſſe the language of Canaan.
And now (Mr. Edwards) for concluſion of the whole, I doe here affirme, that if upon the ſight of this Booke, you ſhall conceive that I have either miſconſtrued your words, or accuſed you without ground (neceſſarily drawne from your owne ſpeeches) or that I have miſtaken the ſence of any Scripture, that I have quoted in this Booke; or that I have not anſwered you directly to the point (by any overſight) Then chuſe you ſixe men, (or more, if you pleaſe) and I will chuſe as many, and if you will we will agree upon a Moderator; and trie it out in a faire diſcourſe, & peradventure ſave you a labour from publiſhing your large Tractates, which you ſay you intend to put out in Print againſt the whole way of Separation; and if it can be made appeare that 81 L1r 8081 that (in any of theſe particulars) I have miſſed it, I will willingly ſubmit. But if you overcome me, your conqueſt will not be great, for I am a poore worme, and unmeete to deale with you.
But if you doe give another onſet, before you accept of a parle, (ſeeing I have offered you conditions of peace) the world will judge you an unreaſonable man, and you ſhall never have the day.
But if you will (ſay for quarrell is only againſt thoſe Miniſters, that juſtifie your Church and Miniſtry, and worſhip) and can prove that the Miniſters of Holland and New England doe generally juſtifie the Church of England, and the Miniſtery of the Church of England, and the worſhip inſtituted by the Church of England: I ſay if they thus far juſtifie you (as I have here ſpecified) then will I freely acknowledge (when I heare them ſpeak it) that I was miſtaken concerning them (yet the caſe in controverſie ſtands ſtill to be tried between you and me) but I do otherwiſe conceive of them for the preſent, becauſe I am credibly informed, that they doe, generally and publikely, renounce the power by which they were called to their office of Miniſtry, in and by the Church of England; ſome of them affirming that they have ſtood Miniſters too long under ſuch a falſe power; others confeſſing here in publike, that it was their ſinne, that they had not revealed ſo much to people before they went away, with many the like expreſſions, which I can prove, if wee come face to face, which maketh it appeare to me (for the preſent) that though they preach in the Aſſemblies met together by publike authority, yet they judge themſelves to be Miniſters ſent of God to ſeparate the precious from the vile, and that though they have not an outward mediate calling (ſeeing they have caſt it off, becauſe it was falſe) yet they have an inward immediate calling, as all the Miniſters of God had in former time, which were able to unfould the Miſteries of the Scripture, though they had neither calling by man, nor by the will of man but by the holy Ghoſt.
And I hope theſe men, (of whom I ſpeake) will never returne to ſerve God before the Idols, nor preach for wages, as Balaam did, but ſtill ſtand faſt in the liberty wherein Chriſt hath ſet them; Seeing they chave hcaſt off the grievous yoke of Antichriſt, ſeparating betweene the precious and the vile, fitting men for the Lords building, that ſo they may goe up to Jeruſalem by troupes.
This is my charity towards them, though I know them not L by 82 L1v 8182 by face and I thinke I may boldly ſay that none of them know me.
Eſay 41. 21. Stand to your cauſe, ſaith the Lord, bring forth your ſtrong reaſons, ſaith the King of Jacob.
Eſay 5. 8. Take counſell together, yet it ſhall be brought to naught, pronounce a Decree, yet it ſhall not ſtand, for God is with us.