A fresh suit against human ceremonies in God's vvorship. Or a triplication unto. D. Burgesse his rejoinder for D. Morton The first part
Ames, William, 1576-1633.

SECT. 7. Concerning the Oath-gesture of Abrahams Servant.

1. IN this section, the Def. beginneth a confutation of the fore-proved Proposition: All humane Ce∣remonies, being appropriated to Gods service, if they be ordeyned to teache any spirituall dutie, by their mysticall signi∣fication, are unlawfull. His Scripture confutation (for want of rule or praecept) is onely by Examples.

Now to omit wordes of no weyght, his first example is Abrahams directing his servant, to put his hand under his thigh, when he did swear. Gen. 24.2. Against this, the Replier first excepted, that in probabilitie, Abraham was not the appointer of this Ceremonie. The Rej. answereth, that this is not materiall to the poynt, what man appointed it, so that it was not of Divine appointment. So that their first proof of Ceremonie appointed by man, is from an example appointed they know not by whome: onely begging of us to grant, that it was not appointed by God, whiche they ought to have proved. Yet the Page  305 Replier for citing Calvin and Iunius, as leaving it most probable, that is, was an ancient custome before Abra∣ham (which any man looking upon their interpreta∣tions, may see to be true) is called by the Rej. a false man in all his allegations. But let that goe.

2. Because the Def. for magnifying of this example, sayd, that ther is not a more Divine service of God, then the taking of an oath; the Replier denied this: affir∣ming the proper, and principall ende of swearing is (not to worship God, but) to confirme a trueth. To this the Rejoynder answereth 1. that so the proper ende of Preach∣ing, Sacraments, Petitioning, is edification of men, confirma∣tion of faith, and obteyning of mercies. Where if he had repeated the Repliers other terme, proper and principall ende, his exception had been at an ende: because the principall ende of these meanes, is to honor God. Be∣side those very endes which he mentioneth, edifica∣tion, confirmation of faith, and obteyning of mercie, are ill∣favoredly distinguished from Gods worship, as no more appertayning to it, then the fidelitie which a Vassall, or Copi-houlder, doeth by oath confirme ordinarily unto his Lord. The Rejoynder his second answer is, the Re∣plier before placed worship in the nature of the action it selfe▪ and yet now placeth it in the ende of the action. As if the nature of an action, may not be gathered from the pro∣per or naturall ende of it! Nay the Replier before decla∣red, that the ende of an instituted meanes, is part of the nature therof, and hath a place in the definition of it.

D. Iackson (in his Originall of unbelief, pag. 327. and 328.) by the difference given of the Replier, doeth well Page  306 answer the Popish Proctors for Images, who allege as like, the Ceremonie used in an oath: Particular oaths, given onely for satisfaction of men, are not suche proper acts of Gods service, as supplications, thanksgivings, and solemne vowes are. The honor of God would be no whit lsse, if the use or necessitie of oaths among men, were n••e. In supplica∣tions, and thansgivings, it is far otherwise, the more often & solemnely we prayse God, or pray unto him, the more we honor him; because these are direct and immediat acts of his ser∣vice, &c.

3. Because the Def. proved nothing to the purpose, about this Gesture, he was required to prove it signifi∣cative of some spirituall dutie: For it was in probabilitie onely a common signe of subjection, as well out of an oath, as in it, without any respect unto Christ. The Re∣joynder in stead of a proof, sayth, that some Ancient and Later Writers doe so conceit. And if the Def. and he also doe conceit it so, we doe not strive with them, about that: but mens conceits are no great proofs. He addeth 2. that if it were a signe of subjection yet might it be sig∣nificant of a spirituall dutie. But may be, and might be, is no proof.

He subjoigneth 3. that it was a common signe used in solemnitie of that kinde, as well out of an oath, as in it; this (sayth he) is barely and boldly affirmed, & implieth a contradiction, as importing other solemnities withut an oath, of the same kinde with thi, wherin was an oath. Now for barenesse, or boldnesse, of a probable conjecture, by way of answer, it should not be objected by him that bringeth meer conceits and might bees, for proving Argu∣ments. Page  307 And as for contradiction, if he had repeated the word subjection, then he might have discerned signes of that kinde, as well without, as with an oath. By the noting of this also he may see how the Replier herin agreed with Calvin. For no Gesture of subjection to a superior man, is wonte to be proper unto subjection sig∣nified in time of swearing.

Neyther is the Repliers observation (that as imposi∣tion of hands, in those parts, did allways signifie some superioritie: so this underposiion of hands was, by pro∣portion, fit to signifie inferioritie, or subjection) this I say was not a meer fiction, as the Rejoynder would have it. For, beside that the meaning was, of the usuall im∣posing of hands in blessing, wher the lesser is blessed of the greater, as Scripture teacheth: the Rejoynder hath brought but two examples, to infringe the generalitie of it Act. 13.2. Lev. 1.4. and in both of these it houldeth. For they that layd hands on Paul and Silas, did it not onely in the name of the wholle societie, which in suche cases hath some dispensative superioritie over par∣ticular members; but allso by Commission from God, which gave them in tht buisinesse superioritie. And he that brought a beast to be sacrifized, Lev. 1. had certainly power over it. If the Rejoynder could have shewed us, where, and when, a servant imposed his hand upon his Maisters head, or a sonne upon his fathers, that had been to the purpose. Wee on the contrary say with Tostatus on Gen. 47. that the putting under of the hand, was ne∣ver used, but by an inferior, to his superior.

4. Yet the Rej. hath more to say: namely, that the Page  308 signe of a servants dutie to which hee is bound by oath, is a mysticall signe of some spirituall dutie: because all the law is spirituall; and obedience to maisters, for conscience sake, is a service of God. Whereto I answere, that I never heard the Hang-mans office, which is servile, called a spirituall dutie; no though he bee bound to it by oath. 2. The oath maketh the thing sworne to, no more spirituall, then a carnall obligation unto it (which may concurre with the obligation of an oath) maketh it carnall. 3. The Law is all spirituall, in the manner; but yet all the workes required by it are not spirituall, nor so esteem∣ed. The Apostle (1. Cor. 6.) distinguisheth 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉things pertaining to this life, from spirituall things. All Divines usually distinguish the common morall duties practised by light of nature, from such as are spirituall. 4. Obedience to maisters for conscience sake, is a service, or obedience to God, as it commeth from conscience toward God: but every signe of subjection, is not a signe of it as it commeth from conscience toward God.

5. In the last place, the Replier, supposing all true that hitherto the Def. and Rej. have striven for, yet de∣nieth that any thing could bee concluded from thence, for our Convocation-power in appointing such Cere∣monies: because such Prophets as Abraham might doe more then our Convocation.

The Rej. heere, would have us shew that this was done by Propheticall inspiration: and because this is not done, he calleth this answere a boulting hole, fit for a di∣stressed and wilfull disputer, whose cause cannot bee defended and yet his stomach will not yeild. But if he had well con∣sidered, Page  309 that it belongeth not properly to the answere, but to the Opponent, to produce reasons; and how vn∣reasonable it is, for to require a reason proving a thing to be done, of him that iudgeth it false, and onely for disputation sake granteth his adversarie to suppose and take it as true, hee would never have abused so many words by misplacing of them. All these things consi∣dered, I doubt not (as the Replier said) but Abrahams servant, if he were heere present, and need required, would sweare, that his example maketh nothing for our Ceremonies.