CHAP. VI. An Enumeration of the common Tenets of the Independents.
IT is not easie to set down with assurance the Independents po∣sitions,* both because they have to this day declined to declare positively their minds; as also because of their principle of mu∣tability whereby they professe their readinesse to change any of their present Tenets.
How unwilling they are to declare their mind,* may appeare by their obstinate silence, and refusing to answer any of these Books that put them most to it; also, by hiding of their opinions from their brethren, who most earnestly have prest their Declaration.
These divers yeares the Ministers of London have been dealing with them for satisfaction herein, and once by importunity obtai∣ned a promise under their hand of a full and free Declaration, but these foure yeares they have eluded that promise (a).
Mr. Apollonius in name of all the Churches of Zealand with all earnestnesse did intreat this duty of them (b), but all in vaine. When upon any occasion they have been moved to make any kind of Narration of their way, it was ever with an ex∣presse proviso of their resolution to keep up as yet from the World their positive Tenets; so they conclude their Apologetick (c), so they begin their Keyes (d).
And now when the indignation both of the Assembly and Parliament, and of many more, was likely to break out upon them for this, that after so long time no plaine dealing hath been seen in them,* at last they have engaged themselves to de∣clare their minds; and yet since that their publike engagement there are six Months past, and the Worlds expectation of under∣standing at last their mind, is still suspended.
And though that their Declaration should come out to mor∣row, yet with what assurance can we take any thing therein for their constant and settled Tenet, so long as they professe it to be one of their cheife principles to be so loose and irresolute in any thing they maintaine for the time, that they are ready to leave it, and upon occasion to embrace the contrary (e)? So long as Page 102 this skeptick irresolution is avowed, there is no hope, there is no possibility of any fixed constancy.
*These things considered no man is able to set down their full mind, nor any one of their positions whereto any dare assure they will firmely stand; only the chiefe of their singularities which they have been pleased to let come abroad, and have not to our knowledge as yet revoked, we shall set down as they come to our thoughts.
It hath been hitherto their earnest desire to decline the infamy of Brownisme,* and it was the charity of their Brethren to distin∣guish them from that Sect, under the new name of Independents: importing their chiefe difference from us to stand not in the point of separation, which is our proper quarrell with the Brow∣nists, but alone in the point of Church-Government, which against all the Reformed Churches they ma•ntaine to be Inde∣pendent, that is, not subject to the Authority and Jurisdiction of any Superiour Synod. This was thought to be their proper di∣stinctive and characteristicall Tenet, till of late we finde them passionately reject the name of Independents, and tell us, that the dependency or independency of their Congregations will bee found one of their least differences and smallest controversies.
In this our long mistake, we are content to be rectified; albeit our charity should not be reproved▪ who being ignorant of their willingnesse to differ from us in any thing higher or deeper then the Dependency of Congregations upon the Authority of Su∣periour Assemblies, did put upon them no other name then that which implyed this difference alone.
It seemes that this Title is not only the most reasonable, but the most innocent and inoffensive note of distinction, which them∣selves could have chosen: The terme not being invented by any of their ill-willers, but by their own cheife Leaders (f), who did think that word most proper to notifie their Tenet of Govern∣ment;* and since some name must be given to every eminently differing party, it seemes none lesse irritative could bee fallen upon, then that which most properly did signifie the chiefe mat∣ter in Controversie.
But now finding they avow their chiefe differences to lie else∣where, for my part I could yeeld to them to have the name of Independents buried, did I not feare it behoved to be changed Page 103 with another Title, which would much more displease: For since they are gone beyond the question of Independent Government, and now doe question the constitution of our Churches so farre as puts them on a necessity of Separation, and in this doe place the chiefe of their Controversies with us: If a Sect may be deno∣minated either from the Author or principall matter, as they make no bones to Print us Calvinians (g) and Presbyterians (h): I cannot conceive why they ought not to take it in good part, if when the name of Independents is laid by, they have in place of it, the Title of Brownists and Separatists fastned upon them.
Of their owne accord they take upon them openly the halfe of the thing we alledge professing themselves to lie halfeway off us,* towards Brownisme (i) avowing the truth to consist in this their middle way: But whosoever considers better of the matter, will find, that however in some things they incline to a middle way; yet in the chiefe and most, they come up close to the out∣most line of Brownisme, and in many things doe expatiate so much beyond it▪ that in place of the Semi-Separation they mention, they may be justly argued to have drawn upon themselves the blot of Se•qui-Separation and more also: how true this is, it will ap∣peare to any, who will be pleased to make a paralell of the fore∣mentioned Tenets of the Brownists with these of the Independents, which here are subjoyned.
First, the worst and uttermost Tenet of the Brownists for which they cook to themselves,* and had bestowed upon them by others the stile of Separatists, was their doctrine and practise accordingly, to Separate from the Churches of England: In this the Independents goe beyond them. For beside that the practice of both is the same, both actually Separating from all the Congregations of England; the grounds of the Brownists Separation were a great deale more reasonable, then that of the Independents, albeit neither of them be good and sufficient: For the Brownists did build their Separa∣tion on the Tyranny of Bishops, on the Superstition of the Cere∣monies and Service-Book; on the grosse, avowed, and neglected profanenesse of the most in every Congregation: if these corrupti∣ons had been removed, so farre as I have read in any of their writings, they would no more have Separated. But the Indepen∣dents having no such stumbling blocks in their way, Bishops Page 104 and Books being abolished, and a barre set up in every Congre∣gation to keep off from the Sacrament, every scandalous and ignorant person, notwithstanding they will yet Separate. The more unjust and lesse cause they have so to doe, their separation must bee so much the worse, the grosser and more inexcusable Schisme.
*What they say for the avoyding of this challenge, will not hold water; while they tell us that they are not Separatists, be∣cause they avow the Church of England to be a true and gracious Church, That the Ministry of it, is true and saving. They should consider that the Brownists, when the fit of charity commeth up∣on them, say large as much as all this, as before from their own words we have shown (k): also that some of the Indepen∣dent Party have gone as farre as that which they confesse makes the Brownists to be justly called Schismaticks (l); but however, suppose their allegation were true, it doth not excuse and di∣minish, but much encrease the fault of their separation: For it is a greater sinne to depart from a Church which I professe to bee true, and whose Ministry I acknowledge to be saving, then from a Church which I conceive to be false, and whose Ministers I take to have no calling from God, nor any blessing from his hand.
*Neither are they cleared from the blot of Schisme by their countenancing the English Assemblies, by their preaching and praying therein: for beside that they doe no more in this then Mr Robinson hath taught them (m); They should remember they teach their Schollars, that Preaching, Prayer, Psalmes, and all things they doe in the English Congregation, are no acts of Church Fellowship (n): that none of them doth import any Church Membership, nor any Ecclesiastick Communion: but are such which without scruple they can dispence to very Pagans.
But we would intreat them to declare if they would be willing to receive any Sacrament in the English Congregations, or if they will be content to bee under any part of their Discipline, if they will be either Members or Officers in any of our Churches.
I see indeed the Apologists professe their participation of Bap∣tisme in our Congregations, but besides that, the Brownists will professe so much of themselves (o); yet how this is consistent with the constant practice and Doctrine of the Independents, I confesse my understanding is too blunt to conceive.
Page 105For however in New-England, they give the right hand of Fel∣lowship to the Brownists Congregations (p); and at London they are said to goe to the Brownists Sacraments (q): and we did never heare that either in England or Holland, they refused any to be a Member for their beliefe of rigid separation, or Anabaptisme; nor censured any of their Members for falling into these errours: yet in formall termes, they doe deny the most gracious of their Bre∣thren to live beside them in New-England in the Presbyteriall way of the old Non-conformists (r): yea, in Print they avow that whoever refuseth their Tenet of Independency, were they other∣wise never so Orthodox and pious, they ought not to be admitted to the Sacraments, nor enjoy any Church Priviledge (s): as peo∣ple who cannot be wholly, but at most are in part only conver∣ted: Yea, as such who must be taken for Anti-christian spirits, for enemies to Christ and his Kingdome (t): Neither have I heard that any of them now for many yeares▪ have either cele∣brated to others or received themselves the Sacraments in any English Church.
And when it was propounded that they might take charge in some of the best Reformed Congregations of England; with a full assurance of a personall dispensation to them for their whole life, if they would leave but that one intollerable Tenet of Separation; to this day they have disregarded that kind and brotherly Accom∣modation; shewing expresly that in this point of separate Con∣gregations they would be tolerated, or nothing else would satisfie their consciences; beyond this their best friends were not able by their long and earnest endeavours for divers weeks together to draw them one haires-breadth (w):* if this be not a more cleare and a more inexcusable Separation then was ever yet laid to the charge of any Brownists, I professe my utter mistake of the nature of Schisme, and desire to be rectified.
The next singularity of the Brownists, their Doctrine of the con∣stitution of the Church in matter and forme, the Independents have borrowed to the full: and not only enlarged it, but when all other grounds faile, upon this alone they build the necessity of their separation.
Concerning the matter of the Church, the Independents have learned all their unjust scrupulosity from the other; as the Brow∣nists require every Church member to be a Saint, really regene∣rate Page 104〈1 page duplicate〉Page 105〈1 page duplicate〉Page 106 and justified, who at their admission have publikely satisfied the whole Congregation by convincing signes of their true holi∣nesse: the other requires the same (x.) What ever indulgence here the Independents professe to give, either to weak ones in whom they finde the least of Christ, or to women whom they remit from the Congregation to speak more privately in the El∣dership (y•, this is no other then the present practise of the Brow∣nists at Amsterdam.
Only we observe, that the Independents here go farther from the Reformed Churches, both in the strictnesse, and in the loosnesse of their satisfactions.* The Brownists are satisfied with the signes of personall grace, but the Independents require more; they pro∣ceed to a triall by a long conversation of the sociable and com∣plying disposition of the person to be admitted, with the spirits of the whole Church whereof he is to be a member (z); without this sutablenesse of spirit they will reject them whom otherwise they finde to be Saints (aa).* But their chiefe excesse here is in loosnesse. The Brownists will not dispence with known errours and sinnes in the members; they will not admit of Anabaptists, of proud, luxurious, contentious people. If they finde any such to have crept in among them, they professe their judgement is for their casting out by censures But the Independents will here be more wise for the encrease of their party: and however they will have nothing to do with Presbyterians (bb), nor with such people who can live in their confused Congregations; yet they make it their rule to hold out none for any errour that is not fundamentall, nor for any sinne that is not continued in against conscience (cc); walking according to this rule, they swallow down without trou∣ble the small gnats of Anabaptism, and all other Sects, who erre not fundamentally, and obstinately, and against conscience: how many Sectaries are thus farre guilty, who can determine? The little spot of luxury in apparell, in diet, and many fleshly delights,* of strife, of disdainfull railing, and such other faults (as are too common in their members) are of easy disgesti∣on (dd).
Concerning the other part of the Church essence, its forme, their Covenant: in this the Disciples go much above their Master. Mr Cotton hath perfected by an expresse Treatise, this part of Brownism (ee), as many others. The Covenants of New •ng∣landPage 107 are much straiter then any that ever we heard of at Amster∣dam. It is true that of late both in Old and New England the Independents seem much to modify the rigour of their Covenant (ff); but whatever may be said of their profession, I never could learne of their practice, to admit any into their society who gave not full assurance of embracing their whole way, and all their dif∣ferences from the Reformed Churches. Sure I am, they did never admit any upon easier tearms then lately I my self did hear Mr Can admit a member into his Church at Amsterdam; yet if Mr Prynnes information be well grounded, they are become at Lon∣don more rigid in their Covenant then ever;* he tells us that now it is their custome to make it a part of their Oath to oppugne the Government of the Reformed Churches, and to defend Indepen∣dency with armes and violence, ff. 2.
Unto the constitution we may referre the efficient of a Church, and the number of its members; in both the Schollars follow punctually their Masters. As for the efficient, it is not only the Brownists, but the Independents also who put the power of ga∣thering Churches, and joyning together by Covenant in a Church way, in the hand of private Christians alone, without any Officer, or the authority of any Magistrate. It is presumption in any Mi∣nister, if he assay to make up a Church, only people must associate themselves into a Church, and then create their Ministers and other Officers (gg.)
In New England at the erection of a new Church,* they are con∣tent with the presence both of the Magistrate and Ministers of the neighbour Churches; but they declare that neither is ne∣cessary, and that the presence of either gives no authority to the action, and the absence of both detracts no authority from it (hh.) That the whole power to gather a Congregation and to erect a Church is alone in the covenanting persons (ii.)
As for the number of the members, the Independents go as low as the Brownists, avowing that seven persons make a full ministe∣riall and compleatly organized Church (kk): nor do they extend the number any farther then the Brownists, avowing that no Church, except the universall, may have any more members then conveniently can meet and be accommodated in one place for the exercise of all holy duties (ll), not only preaching of the Word, whereat thousands may be present, but celebration of the Sacra∣ments, Page 108 and administring all parts of Discipline; to which acts a few hundreds cannot commodiously meet.
The Independents minde about the gathering and erecting of Congregations,* may be clearly perceived by their late practice in the Sommer Islands, wherein they are applauded by the Churches of New England, and defended by Master White against Master Prynnes Fresh Discovery, with a great deale of confidence and high language: there hee justifies the necessity of the disso∣lution of all the Churches in the Barmudaes (which yet he pro∣fesses were among the best of all the English Plantations;) there were above 3000 people in the Isle, who had lived without all controversie with any of their Ministers from their first planting till the yeare 1641, when their Ministers perswaded by some writs of the Brethren of New England, found it necessary to lay down their charges, and become meere private men, denying to admi∣nister to their old flocks any Ordinance, till three of them entring in a Covenant, and thereby becomming a new Church, did per∣swade of the 3000 Islanders some thirty or forty at most to joyn with them in their new Church Covenant; these covenanted persons did chuse one of their old Ministers for their Pastor, and two others of them for Ruling Elders, who as gifted men were content to joyne with the Pastor in preaching, not only to the Church members, but to the whole Isle, to fit them to be Church members; but all the three refused absolutely to celebrate any Sa∣crament, or administer any Discipline, or do any act of a Pastor to any but to the forty named only. All this Mr White maintains as just and necessary, and petitions the Parliament in print for their countenance and approbation, whereby it seems it is the Inde∣pendents avowed and cleare intention when they have power to dissolve and annull all the Churches of England, yea of the world, to spoile all Ministers living of their pastorall charge, and all people of all Church priviledges, and to erect new Churches of their own framing,* into which they are to admit at most not one of an hundred of those who now do count themselves Chri∣stians: all this you may see at length in Mr Whites very peremp∣tory Reply to Mr Prynnes Fresh Discovery.
Leaving the constitution, their chiefe Tenets concerne the power of the Congregation, so constitute as is said: in this they come up fully to their Masters side; for they give unto their Page 109 Church, that is, their seven covenanted persons, the whole Eccle∣siastick power, and that independently upon any person under heaven.
First, they put it in their hands to create all the Officers;* they not only give them suffrages in their election, (mm) but the whole power of Ordination also (nn), the examination of their Pastor in all the abilities requisite for his charge (oo), the laying all the parts of his Office upon him, publique prayer, imposition of hands, and what other acts are requisite for a regular Ordinati∣on, are all performed by one of the people whom the rest have ap∣pointed for that end (pp).
As they have power to make all their Officers, so they have power to unmake them, to depose, and excommunicate all their Ministers (qq), to cognosce and finally to determine, without any appeal, in all cases, both in life and doctrine, of all Heresies and Scismes, of all Truths and Errours, to order all things be∣longing to the worship of God, and to do all things else (rr),* which other Churches ascribe to the most Generall Assemblies of the most learned Divines.
Upon this passage of Power come in the differences which divided the Brownists among themselves: whilst Iohnson would give all these acts of power to the Eldership, and Ainsworth would keep them for the Congregation; these same questions vex the Independents to this day, and are likely to divide the Chil∣dren as they did the Fathers.
The most of the New English Divines, with Ainsworth, at∣tribute the whole Ecclesiastick power to the body of the people: unto the Eldership they give the preparation of affaires (ss),* but the judgement and determination of all doth passe by the plura∣lity of the peoples voices (tt): the power of the keyes they put in the hand not of the Presbytery, but of the fraternity (ww), as they speak. And in some places upon the peoples sense of the Presbyteries encroaching and feare of their farther usurpation, they have thought it expedient to have no Eldership at all, as in Am∣sterdam the Brownists, so in Rotterdam the Independents, for these many yeares have had no ruling Elders, and so no Presbytery (xx); but have governed all their affaires by the voices of the people: and why might they not as well live without ruling El∣ders, Page 110 as their Brethren at Arnem for divers yeares did live with∣out a Pastor (yy) the more necessary Officer.* Mr Cotton and some others feeling to their small contentment the great and in∣tolerable power of the people over the Eldership have begun to fall from Ainsworth to Iohnson, and to plead the Authority of the Eldership above the Brotherhood, and the necessity of their sub∣jection by divine right to the Elders as to their Superiours (zz); yet to salve all, and to please both parties, he maketh the concur∣rence of the Eldership and Brotherhood to be both necessary, to be both sine quo non (aaa): whatever Authority he gives to the Eldership, he maketh it all vaine and frustaneous without the con∣sent of the people (bbb): and notwithstanding all the obe∣dience and subjection he putteth upon the people, yet he giveth to them such a power of Liberty, that their concurrence with the Eldership in every act of power is not only necessary but authori∣tative (ccc).
He goeth yet one step further in case of the obstinate and in∣corrigible aberration of the Presbytery; he gives power to the people, albeit not to execute any act of power, yet to separate from the obstinate Eldership (ddd),* and out of their own number to make new Elders, who will be willing to administer cen•ures, and do all else that they conceive to be right.
For all this, so farre as we can learne, there is yet no full agree∣ment among them, either in New or Old England, in setting the merch-stones of power betwixt the Eldership and Brotherhood: many Schoole distinctions they use, yet by them all they cannot come to concord. The Independents here confesse their agree∣ment with Mr Cotton in the chiefe things wherein he differs from his Brethren in New England, and from his owne selfe in his late Book of the way of the Churches: they applaud much his new in∣vented distinction of the power of Authority, and the power of Liberty (eee). Yet in other things they avow their dissent from him (fff): what these other things may be, they yet have not had leisure to informe us. I hope it be not the extent of Church power unto women, and the giving of a power to celebrate Sa∣craments unto private men, which yet are said to be the Tenets of some of their friends.
It is true, the Synod of New England maketh not only the fra∣ternity, Page 111 but as they speak,* the sorority also to be the subject of the private power of the Keyes of the Kingdom of heaven (ggg); also we have shewen how they have permitted women to be Lea∣ders to their whole Churches, and chiefe Pastors in Church acti∣ons of the highest nature: we have good witnesses that a woman was the founder of Mr Simpsons Church at Rotterdam (hhh); that a woman, and that none of the best led away Mr Cotton, and with him great numbers of the best note in New England, towards the vilest errours, and to the brink of a new separation from all the Churches there (iii). Notwithstanding all this, none of the Independents, either in New England or Holland, neither the Brownists of Amsterdam, did ever give unto any women any pub∣like Ecclesiastick power. In this, our London Independents exceed all their Brethren, who of late begin to give unto women power of debating in the face of the Congregation, and of determining Ecclesiastick causes by their suffrages, if Doctor Bastwick be rightly informed (kkk).
Concerning the power of the Sacraments,* Mistris Chidley is per∣mitted to print in defence of the Independent cause, without the reproofe of any of that party, so farre as I have heard, that not only Pastors but private men out of all office, may lawfully celebrate both the Sacraments (lll).
However,* in these and other things there may be great diffe∣rence among them in the point of Church power, yet that which is the principall point in this head of power, the matter of Inde∣pendency, in it there is a full and perfect agreement among them all. Whatever power, whether of Liberty or Authority, be in the Congregation, organicall, or homogeneous▪ radically or ha∣bitually, in the Brothehood or Eldership, conjunctly or severally; whatever power it be, or wheresover it be, all of them place it in the Congregation, without any subjection to any other Superi∣our (mmm). The word of Independency, some of them do much abominate, and yet but some; for there are of their chiefe Lea∣ders this day, who do not mislike it (nnn): but what ever wee speak of the word, the matter which every man did understand by it, is stifly maintayned by them all. In nothing there is great∣er concord among them then that in the smallest Congregations, even of seven persons, the whole Ecclesiastick power doth reside Page 112 absolutely without any dependence upon or subjection to any or all the creatures on earth (ooo).*
Whatever may be sayd of a charitable advice or friendly coun∣sell, or brotherly rebuke, yet if you speak of any authoritative power to censure, all of them avow that the offer of this from all assemblies of a nation, or of the world, is Antichristian Tyran∣ny (ppp): and for any person in the smallest Congregation to receive, or submit themselves to any such censure, were to betray and cast away the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free (qqq). So that it is utterly unlawfull for all the Churches of the World to inflict the least censure, or to give the smallest ad∣monition in order to any censure, not only to any Congregation, but to any one man therein, suppose he were never so erroneous, never so scandalous; although he did infect and destroy, not only all the soules of that Congregation, but as a common pest did corrupt the Churches of a whole Nation, or if it were possible, of the whole World (rrr).
*This strange Tenet seemeth to be either the root or the fruit, either the mother or the daughter of all the rest of their errors: the mother and root, because a few persons having locked them∣selves up within the narrow walls of one Congregation, with an Independent power, having made themselves uncontroulable by any or all upon earth; they open a wide doore to any erroneous spirit, to mislead them towards what ever fancy can enter into any cracked braine, without all possibility of any effectuall remedy; the daughter and fruit, because men who are conscious to them∣selves of singularities, which they feare will not be liked nor tolera∣ted by others, upon their fond love towards these errours, doe affect such a liberty which may exempt them from all danger to bee ordained by any censure to relinquish these darlings, which they have resolved to keep still in their bosome.
*The fatuity of this Tenet they use to season with the graines of three more sapid positions: First, they grant the being of Classi∣call Psesbyteries and Synods (sss). Secondly, they ascribe to them the censure of Non-Communion (ttt). Thirdly, they allow the Magistrate to correct Hereticall and Shismaticall persons (www). But if they will consider, they shall finde that in none of those po∣sitions, they goe beyond the Brownists and by them all they Page 113 doe not any whit cure the disease of Independency.
For the first, they admit not of any Classicall Presbytery diffe∣ring from a Synod;* for what ever they speak of their granting gladly unto us all the degrees and Subordinations of Assemblies which we could wish: yet betwixt a Congregationall Eldership and a Synod, they grant not any interposition of a Classis; or compounded Presbytery over more Congregations then one (xxx), which kinde of Presbytery the Reformed Churches make the first and ordinary subject of Ordination, and of sundry acts of Jurisdiction: esteeming it a Iudicatory specifically diffe∣rent both from the inferiour Eldership of a single Congregation and the Superiour Synod, whither of a Shire or a Province, or a Nation, or of more, or of all Nations.
Besides▪ that Synod whereof they approve, is only a Brownisticall one, such as needeth not to be moderated by any Preacher (yyy);* at the which any man who pleaseth may be present to debate, and vote decisively (zzz). Yea, they goe here much beyond the Brownists and their Brethren of New-England also; for they deny that the 15 of the Acts, is either a pattern or ground for any Synod (aaaa), expresly contrary to Mr Cottons latest Doctrine; neither will they have any ordinary or set Synods, but only occasio∣nall, and when the occasion of a Synod commeth, they will have it to be meerely elective (bbbb 1.): consisting of such persons alone as themselves please to chuse, not only of the Churches of their own Independent way alone, but also of such only among these as themselves think meet to pitch upon (bbbb 2): if a Classis or Sy∣nod bee of any other temper, they count it so corrupt and so tyrannicall a Court, that they could not countenance it with their presence; yea, not so much as they would doe an Episcopall Sea (cccc): the one being much worse then the other: that the Brownists Independency went ever thus farre I doe not know.
As for their sentence of Non-Communion,* it is one of Mr Cottons new additions to old Brownisme (dddd); which it seemes rather to embitter then sweeten; for it is a meer humane invention to supply the ordinances of God, which men injuriously have cast away: when they have denied to Synods the power of these censures which God hath appointed, and finde themselves straightned by the absolute necessity of the matter, to take up a∣gaine Page 114 either them or their equivalent: they will not be so change∣able as to resume the censures whereof God is the Author, ha∣ving once cast them away: but in their place they are forced to finde out some of their own, these their new declarations and abstentions from fellowship and such like new censures of their owne.
*But which is worst of all, these their new censures if there be any force in them, advance their Independency to the highest degree of power: or rather lift it up highly in the aire, and by a repugnancy and contradiction, make it evaporate to nothing; for this Non-Communion giveth power to every one, even the smal∣lest Congregation, over all the Churches in the World it pleaseth to deale with, so farre as to admonish, rebuke, declare against them all, and cast them all out of her Communion (eeee). The Refor∣med Churches contend only for a power to a great Assembly, for censuring a faulty member of a small Congregation; but this Non-Communion gives to the smallest Congregation of any seven persons, the power of sentencing the whole Churches and all the Assemblies in the World.
Howbeit, this Non-Communion, seemes to be contradictory and destructive of that Independency which it was invented to salve: For if every Congregation bee Independent, how shall all Congregations be so dependent upon every one, that any the least may inflict this high censure upon the greatest, yea upon all.
*Beside, this Non-Communion is nothing but the highest straine of separation that ever any Brownist aimed at; it giveth a power for any Church to deny Communion to all Churches, and to live separate without all Communion with any Church for ever.
This produceth an other power of a farther separation, to wit, a power to every member of that separate Church upon any grie∣vance not satisfied to separate himselfe, and either live there alone as many do, or to gather a new Church, of any whom they finde willing to associate with them: these things are brought not so much for reasons to evert the positions in hand; as to shew how unfit limitations they are of the extravagancy which appeareth in Independency, and how much they runne out beyond the bounds which they pretend to hem in.
Page 115As for their third Tenet of the Magistrates concurrence,* to second their sentence of Non-Cummunion, besides that the Brownists goe as farre as ever any of them did in this (ffff): we see now that the chiefe of them have recalled the Tenet: though all the Protestant Churches, and none more then they of New-Eng∣land, doe maintaine the Mag•strates power to suppresse errours; yet this unhappy love towards liberty, whereinto the Independent party here among us have lately fallen, makes them to entreat the Magistrate to let alone the affaires of Religion, though they runne into all the confusion whither Satan and his Instruments are able to carry them (gggg). If the Magistrates feare of God doth stop his eare to such impious petitions, then they flee up very high even to the deniall and decrying of all the Magistrates power in matters of Religion (hhhh); which yet the Papists in England and the Arminians in Holland, who have been the grea∣test pleaders hitherto for liberty, were never bold to impugne; but of this more hereafter.
I hope I have demonstrated that in the point of Separation and of the constitution and government of the Church,* the great and only intended Articles of the Brownists, our brethren the Independents come nothing behind them: Sure, in these their conceits they applaud themselves no lesse then the former; they put in these things the very Kingdome of Christ: all their oppo∣sites, in these fancies, they make them enemies to Christs King∣dome (iiii): they avow Independency to be a beginning,* and a part of that glorious Kingdome which Christ for a thousand yeares is to enjoy upon earth (kkkk).
Concerning the worship of God and other heads of Divinity, whatever crotchets the Brownists have fallen into, the Indepen∣dents punctually doe follow the most and worst of them: and if in any they come short, they are sure to exceed in other things more dangerous.
First, for the marriage blessing,* they applaud the Brownists Doctrine, they send it from the Church to the Town-house, making its solemnization the duty of the Magistrate (llll•; this is the con∣stant practice of all in New-England: the prime of the Independent Ministers now at London, have been married by the Magistrate, and all that can bee obtained of any of them, is to be content Page 116 that a Minister in the name of the Magistrate and as his Commis∣sioner may solemnize that holy band.
*Concerning Divorces, some of them goe farre beyond any of the Brownists, not to speak of Mr Milton, who in a large Trea∣tise hath pleaded for a full liberty for any man to put away his wife, when ever hee pleaseth, without any fault in her at all, but for any dislike or dyspathy of humour (mmmm); for I doe not know certainely whither this man professeth Independency (albeit all the Hereticks here, whereof ever I heard, avow themselves Independents);* what ever therefore may be said of Mr Milton, yet Mr Gorting and his Company were men of renown among the New-English Independents, before Mistrisse Hutchinsons disgrace: and all of them do maintaine, that it is lawfull for every woman to desert her husband, when he is not willing to follow her in her Church way, and to take her selfe for a widow, loosed from the bond of obedience to him, only because he lives without that Church whereof she is become a member (nnnn).
Concerning the circumstances of the worship of God, they will have nothing determined, but all which Scripture hath not determined,* to be left so free, that all Directories are much against their stomacks. How much they did crosse that gracious and ex∣cellent work of the Directory for the three Kingdoms, and when it was begunne, how long they did retard it; and after it was brought to an end, through all the mountaines of impediments which they did cast up in its way; how earnest they were by slight of hand to have put in its Preface such phrases as might have alto∣gether made frustrate the use of it, is well known to many: yea, when a Directory for the three Nations is established by the As∣semblies and Parliaments of both Kingdoms, they are bold so farre to slight it,* as to write unto the very Parliament, that uniformity is but a matter of forme, in the which for peace sake men will come up so farre as conscience can permit, intimating that all our covenanted uniformity must be resolved into the free-will or erroneous conscience of every private man.
In the abolishing of the monuments of Idolatry, they agree so farre with the Brownists, that they will not name the dayes of the week, the months of the yeare, the places of meeting after the ordinary manner (oooo); yet they make no scruple to use Page 117 the Churches builded in the time of Popery, nor of Bels though invented by a Pope, and baptized with all the Popish Superstiti∣ons▪ how this doth stand with their principles, I doe not well know, especially with their practice about another circumstance, the Church-maintenance.
For, the ancient way of maintenance by Tythes, or Lands,* or set Stipends, they do refuse, (pppp) and require here the re∣duction of the Apostolique practice. They count it necessary that all the Church Officers should live upon the charge of the Congregation, the Ruling Elders and Deacons as well as the Pa∣stors and Doctors (qqqq); but all they will have them to receive, is a meer Almes, a voluntary Contribution, layd down as an offring at the Deacons feet every Lords Day, and by him distri∣buted to all the Officers and the poore of the Congregation ac∣cording as they have need (rrrr). This is their Doctrin, but it seemes they are weary long ago of its practice. The Brownists (as I heare) are yet constant to practise what they teach, allowing their Ministers for their better supply, and that they may not be too burthensom to the Congregation, the use of handy Trades. but the Independents of New-England have a better provision, not only a proportion of Land, but a certayn Tax of money layd on by the Magistrate, both upon the members of the Congregation, and upon all the neighbours, though not received members of any Church. (ssss) These also of London, Arnheim, and Roter∣dam, have been famous for a sufficient care of a set provision, above the ordinary, to the rate of two or three hundred pounds a year (tttt.) And lest their Income should decrease with too large deduction for the supply of the poore, it hath been their pro∣vidence to admit none or few poore members of their Congre∣gations (wwww.*)
Concerning other circumstances, the form of their Church, and Pulpit, and such like, I have not observed any difference in the Mee∣ting-houses of the one at Roterdam, and the other at Amsterdam.
For the parts of the worship, as I take it, there is little diffe∣rence; only the Independents seem in their administration more to vary the persons; sometimes they make one to pray, and ano∣ther to preach, a third to prophesie, and a fourth to dismisse with a blessing (xxxx).
Page 118In the ordering of the parts of their worship after Mr Cottons in∣vention,* they take it for an Apostolick injunction, to begin first of all with a large solemne Prayer for the King and the Church, ap∣plying the words of the Apostle against the cleare scope of the Text, and all the writers which I have consulted upon it, to this very method of the ordinances, and to this matter of the first Prayer (yyyy).
*After the Prayer the Doctor proceeds to read and expound: their ordinary practice here agrees with the other, but their Do∣ctrine differeth; for the Independents at London grant, that rea∣ding by it selfe without exposition, is a divine Ordinance, however in their practice they conjoyne both.
*In preaching they differ from the Brownists and us, and joyn with the Popish Monks; they will not be tyed to a Text of Scripture, for the ground of their discourse, but will be at liberty to run out on whatsoever matter they think most fit and expe∣dient for their hearers (zzzz).
*About prophesying after Sermon, they are at a full agreement, permitting to any private man of the flock, or to any stranger whom they take to be gifted, publikly to expound and apply the Scripture, to pray and to blesse the people. They permit two or three of these after the end of the Sermon to exercise their gifts (aaaaa).
*When the exercise of the Prophets is ended, they use another Ordinance of questioning the Preachers and Prophets by any member of the Congregation, about any point of the Doctrine (bbbbb); but this exercise, as also the former, hath proved so unhappy in New England, that gladly there they would be quit of both (ccccc).
In the Psalms the Independents wander wider then their Tea∣chers; some of them will have no songs in the time of publike Iudgements (ddddd):* others will not permit women to sing in the Church (eeeee): but the greatest difference is, that the Independents of Arnheim did stop the mouthes of all but one, who Page 119 did sing the Hymne which himselfe had composed, in the midst of the Congregation for their edification (fffff).
In Prayer they fall short of their masters;* for however they use no set Prayer, yet they are so farre from esteeming of it Ido∣latry, that they professe both set and read Prayer to be lawfull (ggggg):* The Lords Prayer they commend to be said even in publike, and they permit private men to read prayer in their families (hhhhh); in this they have Mr Robinson for their guide; yet at London their pactice is constantly to forget the Lords Prayer.
In the Sacrament of Baptism the Independents lay a path-way to Anabaptism; for first they come close up to the most rigid Brownists, denying Baptism to the most part of Christian Infants; yea they will grant it to a very few; to these alone whose imme∣diate parents are members of their Congregation (iiiii), who are a wonderfull poor handfull: all other Infants they will have unbaptized till they come to the yeares of understanding, and de∣clare not only their actuall faith and holinesse, but their subjection to the Kingdom of Christ, that is to their Independency: they will have no stipulation made for the Infants education; they dis∣pute much for dipping, though they deny not the lawfulnesse of sprinkling (kkkkk).
But that which maketh men most afraid for their Anabaptism, is their open deserting all the Reformed Churches, and the Brow∣nists themselves, in three grounds.
First, they deny the federall holinesse of Christian children; a∣gainst this Tho. Goodwin did preach, and deny openly that com∣mon distinction of Protestants of reall and federall holinesse,* re∣quiring in every Infant to be baptized a reall and inherent sanctity. If this ground be maintained, I see not how Anabaptism, or else Arminianism, will be avoyded; for if this reall holinesse above foederall, be the great ground of Baptism,* and this cannot be as∣serted in the judgement of verity of any Infant; for whatever we say of the judgement of charity, yet in the judgement of truth, and with the certainty of faith wherewith we must assent to every Scripture, who can say that any particular Infant is holy, and so that any Infant should be baptized? or if we can say in the judge∣ment of truth, that every baptized Infant is really sanctified, as Page 120 it seems Mr Robinson hath taught Mr Goodwin, if Mr Rathband understand right the 309 p. of Rob. justification (kkkkk 2), the Arminians have wonne the field; for no man doubts but many baptized Infants, even in their way, do fall away totally and fi∣nally from whatsoever holinesse can be supposed to be in them. If these inextricable difficulties did move Mr Goodwin to stop the Presse that it went not on with his Sermons against the Anabap∣tists,* himselfe doth know.
Secondly, they esteem not baptized Infants to be members of their Church before they have entred into their Covenant; till then they hold them from the Lords Table and all the acts of Discipline, as people without the Church and not members of it (lllll): If it be so, their Baptism was of so small use that well they might have wanted it to the time of their admission to be members.
*Thirdly, they account Anabaptism a very tolerable errour; so farre as ever we heard to this day, they did never so much as re∣buke any of their members for it, much contrary to the practice of the Brownists, and of their Brethren in New England, who ever have removed the Anabaptists from their Churches, as Sectaries of a speciall evill note. We have long observed the great affection of Independents here towards them who professed opposition to Paedo-Baptism, but did never expect to have heard them declare any thing towards the Arminian errours of the Anabaptists.
The Lords Supper they desire to celebrate at night after all other Ordinances are ended (mmmmm); albeit the Brownists now take it in the forenoon.
*In the persons who do communicate, they are as strict as any of the Brownists; for notwithstanding all that their Brethren of New England, and themselves also, and their Apology do pro∣fesse, of their communicating of the Sacrament with the rest of the Reformed Churches, which sometimes also is the Brownists profession; yet it is told them without reply to this day, that in London, however they have admitted Brownists and Anabaptists to their Sacrament, and they have communicated in the Brownists Congregations (nnnnn); yet that none of them have ever offered to participate of the holy Communion in any other Congregation, nor have admitted any to communicate with Page 121 them who were not of their owne way (ooooo).
For the manner of their celebration, they who have seen it,* professe it to be in a very dead and comfortlesse way: it is not as in New England, once in the month, but as at Amsterdam, once every Lords day (ppppp), which makes the action much lesse solemn then in any other of the Reformed Churches, and in this too much like the daily Masses of the Church of Rome.
They have no preparation of their flock before:* they are so happy as to have all their members prepared alwayes sufficiently for the Lords Table, from their first entrance into their Church to their dying day; for all this time there is no catechising among them, this exercise is below their condition, & altogether needlesse in any of their Congregations. They will have no Sermon in the week before, nor so much as any warning of the Communion. This practice of New England, to give warning the Sabbath be∣fore, is disliked now at London: nor must there be any Sermon of Thanksgiving after that Sacrament:* They use not so much as a little application of the Doctrine in the Sermon before it to that occasion (qqqqq).
When they come to the action, there is no more but one little discourse, and one short prayer of the Minister; all the time of the participation, there is nothing in the Congregation but a dumb silence: no reading, no exhortation, no Psalmes, their people need no such meanes to furnish them in their Sacramentall meditations; they have also learned from the Brownists, a double and distinct consecration, one for every element apart.
They have another difference from all the Reformed, and in a part also from their Brethren of New-England.
That their Conformity with the Brownists may bee full,* the New-English doe count sitting at a Table, not only to bee ne∣cessary, but to be a part of our imitation of Christ, and a Rite significant of divers heavenly Priviledges and Comforts (rrrrr); but as the Brownists at Amsterdam this day have no Table at all,* as they send the Elements from the Pulpit (the place where the Minister preacheth, and celebrateth the Sacrament) by the hand of the Deacon to all the Congregation, where in their meeting house they sit up and down in their severall places: So the Independents at London, doe vehemently contend for the needlesnesse of any Page 122 to come to the Table, what ever be the practice of all the rest of the Reformed Churches: But they will have the holy Seales carried from the place where the Minister preaches to the people in their Pews, or where ever else they have their ordinary places for hearing of the Word; although most easily in their small Congregations without any disturbance all might bee brought to the Table (sssss).
*But their maine difference from all the Reformed, and great∣est consonancy with the Brownists, is in this, that as they teach all outward signes of Worship in the time of the Celebration to be Idolatry, and hereupon declare the necessity of all men who will follow the example of the first Communicants, to keep on their Hats, all the time of this holy action; so likewise the Independents begin to teach their disciples; for however at Amsterdam this day the named Doctrine bee not fully practised, the men there covering their heads in the time of the Celebration; but every one uncovering, during the time of their own personall participation of the Elements; yet we are now taught at London that cove∣ring is most requisite at the time of participation. That this act is a Rite significant to the Communicants of their Table-honor, and fellowship with Christ, also that the Minister in all his Celebrati∣on must be uncovered, and that in sign of his service to the Com∣municants, as the Lords much honoured children, sitting covered when they eat of their Fathers meat (ttttt).
*After all the Worship is ended, the Congregation may not yet be dismissed, but one ordinance more in the end of the day must be attended, the exercise of Discipline; in this the Independents come up fully to their masters; the whole people must be present to heare, judge, and voyce at every act of Discipline (wwwww).
In any Congregation the acts of discipline, when best managed, are very tedious and long, but with them more then anywhere else; for their contentions are more and more tough, as we may see in the best ruled Congregations that ever they had; That of Arn∣heim and Roterdam: if the praise given by the Apologists to them be just; there the exercise of discipline hath bin very tedious: the whole Congregation to their extreme wearinesse and fretting, have been forced to lay aside the works of their ordinary calling for many dayes of the week, to attend the Iudging of these causes Page 123 which on the Sabbath dayes could not be ended (xxxxx).
In the Cognition of these causes,* every member of the Congre∣gation must be satisfied in his own minde concerning every passage of every action; for they doe not proceed by the plurality of numbred voyces, but with the harmonious consent of all who have right to voyce (yyyyy).
And if it fall out that any doe dissent from the most, they appoint in that case paines to be taken for the information of the dissenters that they may consent; but if these paines prove fruitlesse, and the Dissenters refuse to joyn with their brethren,* they are declared obstinate, and to have lost the right of voycing for that time (zzzzz). Yea, which is worst of all, and which puts these Congregations upon the smallest occasions upon una∣voydable and remedilesse divisions, they appoint all who continue in their dissent in any matter of weight, to be farther proceeded with for their contumacy (aaaaaa).
The publike meetings of the Brownists are so long and tedious, that we doe not heare of their stomack for any private;* but the In∣dependents are yet for private meetings; how long they will be in love with them, we cannot say; for in New-England where they were most in request, their fruits have been very bitter; these meetings of a middle sort betwixt Congregationall and Dome∣stick, were the occasion very neere to ruine both that Church and State; for in these it was where under the pretence of reli∣gious conference, and re-petition of Sermons, false doctrine and wicked calumnies against the most Orthodox of the Ministers and Magistrates, were spread for the renting and (had not God pre∣vented it) the destroying of the State both Civill and Ecclesi∣astick (bbbbbb).
For the present, where they are in gathering of their Congre∣gations, these meetings in private houses (of all who will) are a very pregnant meanes to steale away men and women from their own Pastors; but if once their gathering of Churches were at an end, and their greatest care were for the keeping and edifying of what they had gotten, it is like that then they would be as cautious as now all other Churches are, even the Brownists and these of New-England, of such meetings which except well moderated and limited, under faire pretences, are exceeding fit to make new di∣visions, Page 124 and ever to frame new Societies of some, as it were, more select and eminent Christians out of the common Congre∣gation.
*Concerning the Magistrate, the Tenets of the Independents would bee well considered, because of their open proclamation of their loyalty beyond and above all which the principles of any Reformed Church will permit them (cccccc).
Had they magnified never so much their own vertues, without the expresse disparagement of others; had they put in the ballance with themselves an equall or a double number of the greatest men in any of the Reformed Churches, who yet would be very ponderous when they lie in the Scales against five particular men the Authors of that comparison, had they preferred themselves before all the Reformed Churches, in a casuall & contingent action, not in a maine duty, which their very principles are alledged to di∣minish; had they whispered all this in the eares of their friends, and not made a Proclamation of it to both the Houses of Parliament, and that in print to be trumpeted out in the eares of all the world; it might have been past over with the lesse either observation or offence: But since in so publike a manner they have required the Magistrate to believe their great deferences to him and the smaller respect he can expect from any out of their way: it seemeth very necessary to produce, not these particular respects which the Re∣formed Churches professe, according to their principles to give un∣to the Magistrate & continually have given according to their pro∣fessions (for these are well known to the world long before any of our new Censors were in being) but what these singular du∣ties may be, which the Independents above all other men by their principles are forced to performe to Magistrates, while they may be at leisure to publish them to the world, I will here present unto them the materialls of some few short observations for that purpose.
*First, that divers of their party, and those of very eminent note, though miscarrying in other things, yet keeping fast to the way of Independency, have denyed to the Magistrate all power over any of the Godly (dddddd).
And others of them with the grossest Anabaptists have denyed the lawfulnesse of any Magistrate at all (eeeeee).
Page 125Secondly, doe not their principles hold out of the Church,* and deprive of all Christian consolation which flowes from any Church priviledge, the farre greater part, if not absolutely all Kings, and Princes that are this day in the Christian world, and have been since the dayes of the Gospel, or ever are likely to be upon earth to the worlds end? how exceeding few of all that are, or have been Members of Parliament of either House, of all that have been or are Magistrates in England, if their principles might be put in pra∣ctice, would be admitted to the Lords Table, or yet their chil∣dren be baptised, or themselves be reputed Christians and Members of any lawfull Church?
Thirdly, of these exceeding few Kings, Princes, Peeres, Com∣moners and Magistrates of the Land, which they could take into their Congregations; how many could have assurance to live any long time in a Christian condition as Members of a Church ac∣cording to their principles? Since they tell us that they are to Excommunicate without any delay,* the greatest Kings for any fault either in beliefe or life, which doth subject the poorest ser∣vants to censure; how many and frequent these faults may be, it is hard to judge; but the worst is, when the greatest Kings and the chiefe Members of Parliament without any respect to their dig∣nity, are cast out of the Church for themselves and their children, by the peevishnesse or errour, or malice of a few in a small Congre∣gation, they have no meanes under heaven to redresse themselves of their injury; they and theirs must live as Pagans out of the Church, till they who did cast them out, be perswaded and become willing to take them in; should all the Divines all the Assemblies, all the Churches of their Dominions, see cleerly as the light their notorious wrong; yet there were no possibility to helpe it by any mortall hand till the injurious Congregation it selfe, of its own accord, should be pleased to repaire it.
Fourthly,* they permit none to be Magistrates where they have power, not so much as to be a member of their smallest civill Courts, except they be fully for their way, and be admitted mem∣bers of their Church, as it hath ever been their practice in New-England to this day; but the Magistrates they admit of, who are of their minde, they debase their power so low as to suspend it all on the will and pleasure of the promiscuous multitude, not Page 126 only to limit the Soveraignty of Princes within the bounds of their just Lawes, and to confine them unto the Counsell of their Parliaments, but to bring both them and Parliaments and all Magistrates to their first originall and Makers, to the free will of these whom they use to stile the prophane multi∣tude (ffffff).
Fifthly, have any of the Reformed Churches now for an h•n∣dred yeares and above, given to Magistrates such occasion to feare an unjust insurrection,* as they in the few yeares of their being have already furnished?
To passe by all their threatnings in this time of confusi∣on (gggggg) (while their strength is yet inconsiderable) and their mighty endeavours to get Armes into their hand to enable themselves with the evident hazard of the whole Isle, to doe what they please by force (hhhhhh).
Let men only look over to the fruits of their principles in New-England, not many yeares agoe there, upon a very small, and so farre as I know very groundlesse suspition, to have somewhat of their Government altered by the King contrary to their Patent, they did quickly purchase and distribute Armes among all their people, and exact of every one an Oath for the defence of their Patent against all impugners whosoever; Mr Williams opposition to this Oath as he alledgeth, was the cheife cause of his banish∣ment (iiiiii).
What principles could these be, that moved the same people a little after to doe and say such things for which their Magistrates did disarme so many of their Church members, not only else∣where, but even at Boston, upon fear of an apparent insurrection for the killing of the principall Magistrates, and overturning the whole state of that Countrey (kkkkkk 1.)
Few Magistrates will hereafter confide in these principles which saved not the Governour and generall Court of New-England, from extreme danger by the members of Mr Cottons Congrega∣tion at New Boston.
*Sixthly, doe the Independents principles give to the Magistrate any Ecclesiastick power at all? will they submit to his civill power in any Ecclesiastick affaires? will they be hindered by the Magi∣strates sentence, unlesse it be executed with violence to erect Con∣gregations Page 127 within his Dominions at their own pleasure? will their principles permit them upon the command of King and Par∣liament, to refuse to take into their Congregations the members of other Parish Churches without a dismision, or take and ad∣mit upon the Magistrates command within their number, any whom they account unfit for membership, or to recall for the Magistrates pleasure any of their Church censures? have they not very lately declared to the Parliament, that they esteem all mat∣ters of Religion free and exempt from their sword and power? That all matters both of worship and doctrine, that all things of the mind as they speak, or matters of opinion, and all matters of out∣ward forme wherein uniformity is required according to our Co∣venant, are so farre to be ruled by every mans own conscience his own light and reason▪ that the Parliament is not in any such mat∣ters to interpo•e their power? whither this bee the true sence of their openly avowed and repeated letters to the Parliament it selfe, let every intelligent man consider who reads the words (kkkkkk 2).
Seventhly,* are any of the Reformed Churches or any Churches or persons of the whole world so injurious to Magistrates as their principles force them to be, who •poyl Christian Kings and Par∣liaments of their whole Legislative power? they will have us to beleeve, as good Divinity, that it is not only unlawfull for Church-assemblies to make Ecclesiastick Canons, but that it is alike un∣lawfull for any Prince or State to make a Civill Law, (llllll)
That the placing of a Legislative power in Kings or Parliaments, is to usurp the property and prerogative of God. (mmmmmm 1)
These Principles cannot be very favourable to the State, which at one stroke annihilate all the Acts of Parliament that now are in force, either in this or any other Kingdom, and make it impossi∣ble (if they were beleeved) to have any more in any place of the earth, to the worlds end. Look back upon what I have cited from the chiefe of the Brownists writings. I grant the New English po∣lishers of Brownism doe not expresse their Tenets in tearms so hugely grosse; yet see how neare they come to them in substance, when they tell us that no Magistrate may make any Lawes about the Bodies, Lands, Goods, Liberties of the Subject, which are not according to the Lawes and Rules of Scripture, Scripture being Page 128 given to men for a perfect rule, as well in matters of Civill Iu∣stice, as of devotion and holinesse (mmmmmm 2); and if so, then they must make it as unlawfull and contrary to the Scrip∣tures perfection, for any man to make Lawes in matters of Righ∣teousnesse and of the State, as in matters of Holinesse and of the Church.
*That beside things in themselves good or evill, which Scripture determines by its Lawes expresly, things of an indifferent na∣ture, whereupon the most of civill Laws are made, must be regu∣lated according to the Scripture rules of Piety, Charity, and Con∣science, so farre that the expediency and reason of the Law must ever carry and convince the conscience of the Subject: that no man is obliged to the obedience of a civill Law in a thing never so indifferent by the authority of the Law-giver, but every man whose conscience is not convinced of the piety and charity of that Law, is free from all obedience and subjection thereto: Thus farre Mr Cotton (mmmmmm 3.)
*Eightly, what men besides them have made so bold with Kings and Parliaments, as not only to break in pieces their old Lawes, and to divest them of all power to make new ones; but also under the pretext of a divine right, to put upon their necks that unsup∣portable yoak of the Iudiciall Law of the •ewes, for peace and for warre, without any power to dispence either in addition or sub∣straction (nnnnnn 1)? I grant this principle of Barrow is li∣mited by Mr Cotton to such Iudicials as do containe in them a morall equity (nnnnnn 2); but this morall equity is exten∣ded by him to so many particulars, as Williams confesses the whole Iudiciall Law to be brought back again thereby, no lesse then by the plaine simple and unlimited Tenet of the rigidest Brow∣nists (nnnnnn 3.)
*Ninthly, doth any Reformed Church appoint their Ministers to be members of the highest civill Courts, with power of voice∣ing in the election of the supream Magistrate? (oooooo.)
Do any Divines but theirs, since the Bishops were abolished, joyne themselves as companions with the Magistrates, to draw out of Scripture a body of civill Lawes for the Government of the State? (pppppp.)
Page 129Tenthly, did ever any Divines but theirs,* so evidently mock the Magistrate, by instructing him according to their own inte∣rest, as it were from heaven, to contradictory practises, in New-England where the Magistrate is in their way, to perswade him the necessity under paine of sinne and judgement, to kill all Ido∣laters, and false Prophets, to destroy whole Cities; men, women, and children, who are seduced by a false Prophet (qqqqqq)?
Making a path-way by this meanes to the slaughter, not only of all Papists and Hereticall Sects, but also of many good Pro∣testants, who to the Brownists are Idolaters for the reading of Prayer, and obstinate enemies of the Kingdom of Christ for their mislike of Independency, according to the open profession of the prime Independents (rrrrrr.)
Their Doctrine in Old England, where the Magistrate is out of their way, is diametrally opposite to this:* for here they make it a Theomachy (ssssss), a fighting with God to deny a free liberty to Papists, to the worst Heresies and Schisms, to Iu∣daism, Turcism, Paganism, or if any errour can be imagined to bee more pernicious. I beleeve that few prudent Magistrates, when they have well ruminated these and the like principles of the Independents, will esteem them much more conducible for their ends, then the principles of the Reformed Churches.
In the point of Schools and Learning, how farre they will follow the Brownists, I cannot say: divers of them have as good a share in learning as their neighbours; yet whatever they have of that kinde,* they got it all before they entred into their new way, and whatever learning all of them do possesse, it is no more then what was among the Brownists, when they did most cry down learning. The most of their erudition this day dwels in New-England, that any reall course hath ever there been taken for its entertainment and propagation, I have not heard much; though the Magistrate and the whole Land have beene and are at their Devotion; and till of late they had no apparant hope of supplying their way from the Schools of other parts of the world.
Were we not weary,* we might go on yet farther in the para∣lell, especially in the doctrinall Tenets of the Independents, where∣in already they have gone farre beyond the Brownists: you had a Page 130 touch of the Arminianism of some in the reall Sanctification of all baptised Infants; of the enthusiasms of others in their con∣templations of God without Scripture; of the Libertinism of a third, blaspheming God as the Authour of the sinfulnesse of sin: of the Arminian reprobation, the Antinomian, Montanist•ck and Familistick Tenets of a fourth; for which I doubt if to this day they have given any satisfaction. The whole City hath been filled these many yeares with the noise of the Socinianism of the fifth; many of them are passionate for a full liberty of all Religions in every State. The Apologists declare, that they will have none cast out of the Church for any errours which are not fundamentall; and how farre they will extend this principle who can know? only it would seem that all the named errours which do lodge or have lodged, as is alledged, in their prime Leaders, without any censure to this day, must be taken within the compasse of errours tolera∣ble, not only in the State, but in the purest Churches.
And if Arminian, Socinian, Anabaptistick, Antinomian, Fa∣milistick, Enthusiastick errours be declared not fundamentall, and tolerable in a Church, what shall we say of Prelaticall, Cassandrian and the most of the Popish Tenets that are no wayes so grosse? Spalato and others have been at great paines to prove that none of all the Popish errours are fundamentall. The Remonstrant Apolo∣gists labour to free the greatest Heresies that ever were in the Church, such as Arrianism of old, and Vorstianism of late▪ from that infamy. Certainly, though our Brethren had kept in their princi∣ple of change, and not declared their full resolution to go on far∣ther then themselves or others have yet thought: what already they have positively delivered, giveth to the world just reason of doubt whither they may go, and where at last they will stop their very swift and volant progresse.
The Testimonies of the sixth Chapter.
(a) ANtap. p. 243. It was agreed upon, that they out of hand should bring in a Narrative of their opinions wherein they differed from us, and then should joyne with us in preaching against the Brownists and Anabaptists; they never brought in their Nar∣rative Page 131 untill this day, and though at full meetings of the Ministers, they have been spoken unto, and some Ministers have been sent from the Company to some of them, and the Narrative was promised at such a time, and then at such a time yet it was never performed; and where∣as the agreement in writing for our side, was left in Mr Calamies hand, Mr Nye comes after some time to Mr Calamy, and pretends some reasons to borrow it for awhile; but after he had it, he carries it away into Yorkshire, that so upon occasion of complaints of the breach of the agreement, when we would have consulted with that pa∣per, it was gone, and Mr Nye keeps it to this day, and having been moved to restore it, His answer is, it is at Hull amongst other papers.
(b) Apollonius Letter to the 5 Apologists, the 3 of May 1644. Hasce quaestiones ad vos reverendi viri transmitto de iisdem sententias vestras quaerens & ob mutuam nostram fidem & chari∣tatem serio vos oro ut non detrectetis sincere dilucide & accu∣rate absque Rhetorici apparatus diverticulis declarare, quid vos & fratres illi quibuscum societatem vestram Ecclesiasticam colitis de hisce sentiant, quoniam meae fidei ab Ecclesiis Christi id com∣missum est. Spero vos ex timore dei & charitate erga nos fra∣tres vestros absque ullo pretextu sententias vestras hac de re de∣claraturos, idque quam cito fieri potest, urgent enim Ecclesiae no∣strae ut opus hoc maturem; This zealous adjuration hath not to this day drawn from any of them any declaration.
(c) Apol. Nar. p 30. A relation of our judgments in the points of difference about Church-Government, we reserve unto the more proper season.
(d) Keyes Preface, p. 6. Only we crave leave of the reverend Author to declare that we assent not to all expressions scattered up and down, or to all and every assertion interwoven in it; yea, nor to all the grounds or allegations of Scriptures, nor should we in all things perhaps have used the same termes, to expresse the same materialls by.
(e) Apol. Nar. p. 10. A second principle we carried along with us in all: our resolution was not to make our present judgement and practice a binding law unto our selves for the future; and therefore in a jealousie of our selves, wee kept this rese•ve to al•er and retract, though not lightly what ever should be discovered to be taken up out Page 132 of a misunderstanding of the rule, which principle we wish were next to that most supreame, enacted as the most sacred Law of all o∣thers.
(f) Cottons Keyes published by Goodwin and Nye, p. 49. In what sence the Church of a particular Congregation is the first subject of the power of the Keyes, in the same sence it is Independent and none other, we taking the first subject and the Independent subject to be all one. Answer to the 32 questions. p. 46. For the matter of In∣dependency, we confesse the Church is not so Independent, but it ought to depend upon •hrist; But for Dependency upon men or other Churches, or other Subordination unto them in regard of Church-Government and power, we know not of any such appointed by Christ and his Word. The Churches were not Dependent and Subordinate to others, but all of them absolutely free and Inde∣pendent. Burtons Vindication▪ p. 42. We are not so ashamed of the Title of Independency▪ as utterly to disclame it, and that for two reasons; first, for distinction sake, between us and that which you call Presbyteriall Government; The second is, because this word Inde∣pendent is to signifie that wee hold all particular Churches of Christ to be of equall authority, and none to have Iurisdiction over another, but each Church is under Christs Goverments as the sole head, King, Lord, Law-Giver thereof.
(g) Apol. Nar. p. 22. We doe professedly judge the Calvinian Reformed Churches of the first Reformation from out of Popery to stand in need of a further Reformation themselves.
(h) Ibid. p. 19. Wee think we give more to the Magistrate then the principles of the Presbyteriall Government will suffer them to yeeld.
(i) Ibid. p. 24. Wee doe here publikely professe we believe the truth to lie and consist in a middle way, betwixt that which is falsely charged on us, Brownisme, and that which is the contention of these times, the Authoritative Presbyteriall Government. Preface to the Keyes, p. 5. We are yet neither afraid, nor ashamed to make profession that the substance of this briefe extract, is that very middle way be∣twixt that which is called Brownisme, and the Presbyteriall Go∣vernment.
(k) Vide supra, Chap. 2. (B) and (R 2.)
(l) Prynnes Discovery, p. 29. Iohn Lilbourn in his Answer Page 133 to 9 Arguments, p. 4. writes the Church of England is a true whoorish mother, and you are one of her base begotten and bastardly children. I say, the Church of England neither is, nor never was truly married to Christ in that espousall band which his true Churches are and ought to be, but is one of Anti-christs Nationall wh•orish Churches: your Church is false and Anti-christian, the Ministers of the Church of England, are not true Ministers of Christ, but false Ministers of Anti-christ, ibid. p. 31. This lan∣guage and opinion of his concerning our English Church and Mi∣nistry, is seconded by most Independents in their late Pam∣phl•ts.
(m) Mr Robinson hath written a whole Treatise upon this subject.
(n) Answer to the 32 questions, p. 27. If we were in England, we should willingly joyne in some parts of Gods true worship, and namely, in hearing the Word where it is truly preached; yea, though wee doe not know them to be true Churches. For some worship, as prayer, and preaching, and hearing the Word, is not peculiar to Church-Assemblies, but may bee performed in other meetings. Cottons letter examined, p. 43. The second thing which Mr Cot∣ton himselfe hath professed concerning English Preachers, is, that although the Word, yet not the Seales may be received from them, because (saith he) there is no Communion in hearing, and the Word is to be preached to all but the Seales, &c.
(o) Vide supra. Chap. 3. (G.)
(p) Cottons Letter examined, p. 37. Cotton here confesseth these two things; first, if any reproach the Church of Salem for Separation, it is a sin meet to be censured: secondly, the Churches themselves may be separated from, who tolerate their members in such causlesse reproachings, which I leave to himselfe to reconcile with his former profession against Separation.
(q) Vide supra. Chap. 4. (R)
(r) Vide supra, Chap. 5. (E 1).
(s) Burtons Vindication, p. 45. We esteeme the Government of Christs Church so holy, as we cannot think them fit to be admitted, be they never so good, that think so slightly of the way, and of them that walk in it, that they refuse to agree to walk in this way with the people of God. Ibid. p. 62. Doe you not know that no Infants have Page 134 any title to Baptisme, but by vertue of their Parents faith out∣wardly professed, and what outward profession of faith in the Pa∣rents that refuse Christ for their only King? If therefore the Pa∣rents refuse thus to be in visible Covenant, can the children be said to be in visible Covenant, and so to have a right to baptisme? If then the Parents by refusing Christ as their King, doe here∣by cut themselves off from the Covenant, they doe therewith cut off their children to.
(z) Ibid. p. 63. We dare not baptise the children of these Pa∣rents that refuse to professe the faith of Christ as their onely King as well as their only Priest and Prophet; for Christ divided, be∣comes no Christ to the divider; this is to dissolve Christ, that is, to receive him onely in part and not in whole, which is the spirit of Antichrist, ibid. p. 55. Such a conversion as you speak of, comes not home to whole Christ, and such with their Converters doe deny Christs Kingly Government; what kind of Converters call you these? at best they are converted but in part, and that maine thing is wanting, to wit, Christs Kingly Office which they come not up to by the preaching thereof.
(w) Paper of Accommodation after the ninth proposition: We ha∣ving weighed our Brethrens principles, doe find no probability of an Accommodation for them ordinarily to enjoy Congregations, unlesse it shall happen in a Parish that the Minister cannot administer the Sacraments to all of the Parish, whom possibly the neighbour Mini∣sters or the Classis may judge fit to be admitted, such persons shall have power to procure to themselves the Sacraments by the help of a neighbour Minister, ibid. Whereunto our brethren adde as follow∣eth, or otherwise if in a Parish it happen that there be a considera∣ble number of such as cannot partake in the Ordinances with the Minister and people, there they shall have liberty to dispose of them∣selves as a distinct Church, and to choose a Minister or Ministers, at their own charge to be maintained to be their Pastor.
(x) Thomas Goodwin to I. G. p. 1. Indeed we that are to admit doe it upon a conviction and perswasion of the parties true grace some way made forth visible to us. Welds answer, to chap. 3. Hee tells us that they must be reall Saints and syncere Believers, and that the Church in admitting of them, doth make exact tryall by exami∣nation of their knowledge, and the work of grace, first in private, Page 135 then in publike, and that they be such as can cleave together in opinion and affection, and that they be such as know what belongs to Church-Covenant, approve it and seek it; is there any thing in all this that you can blame?
(y) Ibid. In the Churches where we have lived many years, we have seen such a tender respect had to the weaker sex, that we commit their tryall to the Elders, and some few others in private, who upon their Testimony are admitted into the Church without any more adoe.
(z) Rathbones Narration, p. 11. Beside true and reall Saintship, they require that the members to be admitted, be such as can cleave together, both in opinion and in affection, and that there be sutablenesse and sweetnesse of spirit in them, apt to close one with another.
(aa) Vide supra, (Z) also Cotons Way, p. 7.
(bb) Vide supra, fifth Chap. (E 1.)
(cc) Apol. Nar. p. 9. Excommunication should be put in execu∣tion for no other kind of sinnes then may be evidently presumed to be perpetrated against the parties known light, as whether it be a sinne in manners and conversation, such as is committed against the light of nature, or the common received practises of Christianity professed in all the Churches of Christ; or if in opinion, then such as are likewise contrary to the received principles of Christianity, and the power of godlinesse professed by the party himselfe, and universally acknowledged in all the rest of the Churches, and no other sinnes to be the subject of that dreadfull sentence.
(dd) Bastwicks Postscript, p. 58. also his Iust defence. p. 39.
(ee) An Apologie of the Churches in New-England, for a Church-Covenant
(ff) T.G. to I.G. p. First, it is no more with us then this, an assent and resolution professed by them that are to be admitted by us, with promise to walk in all these wayes pertaining to this Fellow∣ship, so farre as they shall be revealed to them in the Gospel; thus briefly, indefinitly and implicitly, in such like words and no more or otherwise, do we apply our answers to mens consciences. Church-co∣venant, p. 36. We deny not, but the Covenant in many of the English Congregations is more implicite, and not so plaine as were to bee desired; yet there wants not that reall and substantiall comming toge∣ther Page 136 or agreeing in Covenant, and that substantiall profession of faith, which thanks be to God, hath preserved the essence of vi∣sible Churches in England unto this day.
(gg) Plaine dealing, p. 2. A Church is gathered after this manner; a competent number of Christians come together in some fit place in a publike manner, and there confesse their sins, and professe their faith, and enter into Church-covenant; after this, they doe at this same time or some other all being together, elect their own Officers, as Pastor, Teacher, Elders, Deacons, if they have fit men enough to supply these places; else as many of them as they can bee provided of; then they set another day for the Ordination of their said Officers.
(hh) Answer to the 32 questions, p. 36. If Church-commu∣nion and the exercise of such Ordinances, as Christ hath ap∣pointed for his Church, was lawfull and needfull, when Magistrates were enemies to the Gospel, and be not so when Magistrates professe the Gospel, we doe not see but Christians may sometime be losers by having Christian Magistrates, and in worse condition then if they had none but professed enemies, ibid. p. 41. It is our practise in Ordination of Ministers, as also in removing of them, to have the assistance of Ministers of other Churches; but for authority and power, we know none, that Ministers have, properly so called, in any Congregation save that one over which the holy Ghost hath made them Over-seers, and therefore we think it not lawfull when a Church is to Ordaine Officers, to call in by way of authority or power the Ministers of other Churches.
(ii) Cottons Way, p. 1. The Church to which Christ hath com∣mitted the censures, is a combination of faithfull godly men, meet∣ing by common consent into one Congregation, ibid. 7. Then such whose hearts God teacheth often meet together about the things of God and performe some duties of prayer and spirituall conference together, till a sufficient company of them be well satisfied in the spirituall good estate one of another, and so have approved themselves to one anothers consciences in the sight of God, as living stones fit to be laid in the Lords spiritull Temple, ibid. p. 10. The Church be∣ing thus gathered as hath beene described: Our next care is, that it may be supplyed with all these Officers which Christ hath ordained.
Page 137(kk) Answer to the 32 Questions, p. 43. We doe not finde that God doth anywhere say they must be above forty or else they cannot be a Church: nay rather that speech of Christs, of two or three ga∣thered together in his name, doth plainly imply, that if there be a greater number then two or three, whom they being not satisfied in the answer of an offender, may appeale unto, and in so doing tell the Church, such a small number may be a Church, and may have the blessing of his presence to be among them.
(ll) Ibid. p. 8, 9. When a visible Church is to be erected, it is necessary that in respect of quantity it be no more in number in the dayes of the New Testament, but so many as may meet in one Congregation.
(mm) Ibid. p. 15. The Church is before the Ministers, seeing the power of chusing Ministers is given to the Church by Christ.
(nn) Ibid. p. 68. The Church that hath no Officers, may elect Officers unto themselves; therefore it may also ordaine them: if it hath power from Christ for the one, and that the greater, it hath also for the other which is the lesser: now, Ordination is lesse then Election.
(oo) Ibid. p. 42. Ʋnto the 13 question, whether you think it convenient, that a company of private and illiterate persons should ordinarily examine, elect, ordaine, and depose their Ministers: a part of the answer to this question is, if there were none among them who had humane learning, we doe not see how this could hinder them of their Liberty to chuse Ministers, purchased to them by Christs precious blood; for they that are fit matter to be combi∣ned into a Church body, have learned the Doctrine of the holy Scriptures in the fundamentall points thereof; they have learned to know the Lord in their owne hearts; therefore they may not bee reproached as illiterate or unworthy to chuse their owne Ministers; nay they have the best learning, without which all other learning is but madnesse and folly.
(pp) Plaine Dealing, p. 3. They set a day for the Ordina∣tion of their Officers, and appoint some of themselves to impose hands upon them: where there are Ministers or Elders before, they impose their hands upon the new Officers; but where there is none, there some of their chiefest men two or three of good report Page 138 amongst them, though not of the Ministry, doe by appointment of the same Church lay hands upon them. Cottons way, p. 40, 41. Towards the end of the day, one of the Elders of the Church, if they have any, if not, one of the graver Brethren of the Church, appointed by themselves to order the work of the day, standeth up and enquireth in the Church &c. he advertiseth him who is chosen, what duties the Lord requireth of him in that place towards the Church; then with the Presbytery of that Church, if they have any, or if not, with two or three others of the gravest Christians among the Brethren of that Church, being deputed by the body, he doth in the name of the Lord Jesus ordaine him to that Office, with imposition of hands, calling upon the Lord; and so turning the speech to the person on whom their hands are imposed, he as the mouth of the Presbytery, expresses their Ordination of him, and puts a solemne charge upon him to look well to himselfe and the flock. After this the Elders of other Churches present, observing the presence of God in the orderly proceeding of the Church to the Officers Election and Ordination, one of them in the name of all the rest, doth give unto him the right hand of Fellowship in the sight of all the Assembly.
(qq) Answer to the 32 questions, p. 48. If the Church hath power by election to chuse a Minister, and so power of instituting him, then of destituting also; Instituere & destituere ejusdem est potestatis.
(rr) Ibid. p. 44. We conceive that every Church properly so called, though they bee not above ten persons, or the least number that you mention, have right and power from Christ to transact all their owne Ecclesiasticall businesse, if so be they be able, and car∣ry matters justly; for the power of the Keyes Matth. 16.19. is com∣mitted by Christ unto the Church.
(ss) Cottons Catechism, p. 10. It is committed to the Pres∣bytery to prepare matters for the Churches hearing.
(tt) Answer to the 32 quest. p. 60. In this sense matters with us are carried according to the vote of the major part, that is, with the joynt consent of the whole Church, but yet because it is the mind of Christ.
(ww) The propositions to which almost all our Elders did agree when they were assembled together: the first, the Fraternity Page 139 is the first subject of all Presbyteriall power, radicaliter, id est cau∣satim per modum collationis, non habitualiter, non actualiter, non formaliter.
(xx) Anatom. p. 26. I heare of no ruling Elders that ever Mr Simpson had in his Church. Anatomist anatomised, p. 12. It is true de facto wee had none, but were resolved to have them. Notwithstanding this answer of Mr Simpsons, that Church of Rotterdam to this day hath never had a Presbytery, after more then seven yeares delay.
(yy) Antap. p. 52. Pastors are necessary Officers in your Churches, and yet according to your practises your Churches are many yeares without them.
(zz) Keyes p. 10. Authority is a morall power, and a supe∣riour Order or State, binding or releasing an inferiour in point of subjection. Christ hath given no Iurisdiction but to whom he hath given office. The Key of power in a large sense, or Liberty, is in the Church; but the Key of authority or rule, in a more strict sense, is in the Elders of the Church.
(aaa) Excommunication is one of the highest acts of Rule; and therfore cannot bee performed but by some Rulers▪ now where all the Elders are culpable, there be no Rulers left in that Church to censure them: as therefore the Presbytery cannot excommuni∣cate the whole Church, though apostate, for they must tell the Church, and joyne with the Church in that censure; so neither can the Church excommunicate the whole Presbytery, because they have not received from Christ an Office of Rule without their Of∣ficers. Ib. preface p. 4. He gives unto the Elders or Presbytery a binding power of Rule and Authority peculiar unto them, and to the Brethren distinct and apart an interest of power and priviledge to concurre with them, and that such affaires should not be trans∣acted but with the joynt agreement of both, though out of a dif∣ferent Right: so that as a Church of Brethren only could not pro∣ceed to any publike censures, without they have Elders over them; so neither in the Church have the Elders power to censure, with∣out the concurrence of the people: so as each alone have not power of excommunicating the whole of either, though together they have power over any particular person or persons in each.
(bbb) Ibid. also Keyes p. 13. Else the Brethren have a Page 140 power of order, and the priviledge to expostulate with their bre∣thren in case of private scandals: so in case of publike scandall, the whole Church of brethren have power and priviledge to joyne with the Elders in inquiring, hearing, judging of publike scandals, so as to bind notorius offenders and impenitents under censure, and to forgive the repentant.
(ccc) The propositions, 3. prop. The fraternity having au∣thoritative concurrence with the Presbytery in Iudiciall acts.
(ddd) Keyes, p. 16. Though the Church want authority to Excommunicate their Presbytery, yet they want not liberty to withdraw from them.
(eee) Keyes Preface, p. 5. When we first read this of this lear∣ned Author, knowing what hath been the more generall current both of the practice and judgement of our brethren for the Congre∣gationall way; wee confesse we were filled with wonderment at that Divine hand that had thus led the judgements without the least mutuall interchange or intimation of thoughts or notions in these particticular of our brethren there and our selves here.
(fff) Ibid. Onely wee crave leave of the reverend Au∣thor to declare that wee assent not to all expressions, &c. Vide supra.
(ggg) Tabula. Potestas charitativa merè est primo frat•um & Presbyterorum charitativè non politicè ambulantium, secun∣do sororum.
(hhh) Vide supra, Chap. 4. (F).
(iii) Vide supra, Chap. 3. (M).
(kkk) Bastwicks Independency, p. 99. The fifth Quaere is whe∣ther the women and people as well as the Ministers have the Keyes? and whether the women have all their votes in the Church, both for election and reprobation of Members and Officers as well as the men? and whether the consent of all the women, and the greatest part of them be requisite for the making of any one a member, or officer, so that if they gain-say it, being the greater number, or allow of it, the most voyces carry the businesse? the practice of this the brethren in some of their Congregations hold for Orthodox. Mr Prynnes Fresh Discovery, in his Dedicatory Epistle to the Parliament, p. 5. And to interest the femall Sex and draw them to their party, they allow them not only decisive votes Page 141 but liberty of preaching, prophesying, speaking in their Congrega∣titions.
(lll) Keyes p. 6. We be farre from allowing that sacrilegious usurpation of the Ministers Office, which we heare of to our griefe to be practised in some places, that private Christians ordinarily take upon them to preach the Gospel publikely, and to Minister the Sacraments. Katharine Chidleys Iustification of the Independent Churches, p. 28. Yet that the Church must want the Word preach∣ed, or the Sacraments administred, till they have Pastors and Teachers in Office, is yet to be proved; but that which hath been alledged, is sufficient to prove that the family must not be unpro∣vided for, either for the absence or the negligence of a Steward.
(mmm) Keyes, p. 53. A particular Congregation being the first subject of the Church power, is unavoidably Independent upon any other Church or body for the exercise thereof; for the first sub∣ject of any accident or adjunct, is Independent upon any other, either for the enjoying or for the imploying, the having or using of the same.
(nnn) Vide supra (mmm).
(ooo) Answer to the 32 Questions, p. 36. For Dependency upon men or other Churches, or other Subordination unto them in regard of Church-Government or power, we know not of any such appointed by Christ in his Word.
(ppp) Welds Answer to Rathband, 14. chap. Our Churches are tender to perswade men to act without light, much more to command or to compell; both which very words though the thing required were lawfull, are odious in the Churches of Christ most fitly be∣comming the Synagogues of Anti-christ.
(qqq) Vide Cottons Keyes, p. 8. & infra (zzz).
(rrr) Cottons Catechisme, p. 13. All the Churches thereabout may meet together, and by the Word of God may confute and con∣demn such errours in doctrine or practice as are offensive, to prevent the spreading either of the gangrene of heresie or of the leprosie of sin; and if the Church offending, shall not yet hearken unto their brethren, though the rest of the Churches have not power to deliver them to Satan; yet they have power to draw from them the right hand of Fellowship. Vide infra, (sss).
(sss) Keyes, p. 57. In the Election and Ordination of Officers Page 142 and censure of offenders, let it suffice the Churches consociate to assist one another with their counsel, but let them not put forth the power of their Community to take such Church Censures out of their hands; let Synods have their just authority in all Churches how pure so ever, in determining such diataxeis as are requisite for the edification of all Churches. Keyes Preface, p. 4. Hee acknowledgeth that Synods or Classes are an Ordinance of Christ, unto whom Christ hath committed a due and just measure of power, furnishing them not onely with ability to give counsell, but also a Ministeriall power and Authority, to determine, declare and enjoyne such things as may tend to the reducing of Congregations to right order and peace; but not arming them with power of Excommu∣nicating either Congregations or their members; they are to leave the former act of this censure to that Authority which can only execute it, placed by Christ in these Churches themselves; which if they deny to doe or persist in their miscarriage then the Synod may determine to withdraw communion from them.
(www) Keyes, p. 50.51. The Magistates addresse themselves to the establishment of Religion, and Reformation of corruptions by civill punishments upon the wilfull opposers; Iosiah put to death Idolatrous Priests; nor was that a peculiar duty of the Kings of Iuda; for of the times of the New-Testament it is Prophesied, that in some cases capitall punishment shall proceed against false prophets.
(xxx) Keyes Preface, p. 4. Hee asserteth an association of Churches, sending their Elders and Messengers into a Synod; so hee purposely chuseth to stile these Assemblies of Elders, which the Reformed Churches doe call Classes or Presbyteries.
(yyy) Cottons Catechisme, p. 3. The office or work of the ruling Elders, is to moderate the carriage of all matters of the Church Assembled, as to propound matters to the Church, and to order the season of speech and silence in the Church.
(zzz) Keyes p. 48. The pattern of Synods is set before us, Acts 15. There the Apostles assembled together with the Elders, and a multitude of brethren together with them, the whole Synod be∣ing satisfied, determine of a Iudiciall sentence, and of a way to pub∣lish it by Letters and Messengers; so the matter is at last judged Page 143 in a Congregation of Churches in a Church of Churches; for what is a Synod else but a Church of Churches? ibid. p 57. All the liberties of Churches were purchased to them by the precius blood of the Lord Iesus, and therefore neither may the Churches give them away, nor many Churches take them out of the hands of one.
(aaaa) Keyes Preface, p. 6. In all humility wee yet see not that assembly of Apostles, Elders and brethren Acts 15 to have been a formall Synod.
(bbbb 1) Ibid. 4. He a•knowledgeth a Synod to be an Ordinance of God, in relation to the rectifying of male administrations and healing dissentions in particular Congregations and the like cases; in such cases they declare and judge the nature of the offence.
(bbbb 2) Antap. p. 146. I was desired by Mr Ward to be present at that meeting; but when the time came, neither I, nor any English Ministers, but them of Arnheim were called; whether were the other Churches of our Nation or any of them, who could not but be offended, as them of Amsterdam, Hague, Vt•ick, Leyden, Delph, called in by Arnheim, or by the Church at Roterdam to joyn in the hearing and trying of that businesse? or did they send Messengers, or was it onely agitate by two Ministers, and two Messengers of the Church of Arnheim, one Church only, Arnheim to Roterdam• one to one, both equall. The Sub-Committee for Accommodation Prop. 8. Some of them doe desire, that the effect of that which here∣after followeth, may be for explanations sake inserted, viz. That the Elders and Brethren of such Congregations in case they finde any thing too hard for themselves, or have any controversie among them∣selves, may have liberty to advise with any of these select Elders and others in the Province joyntly or apart, or with the Elders of any other Churches, for the determining and composing the con∣troversie, or resolving that difficulty.
(cccc) Bastwicks Independency second part. Postscript, p. 6.7. They professed that they had rather have the Government of the Prelates then the Presbyteriall, and protest that before Presbyters shall rule over them, they will joyn with Prelaticall Priests, for the re-establishing of the Hierarchy.
(dddd) Vide supra (rrr).
(eeee) Apol. Nar. p. 17. What farther Authority there is of one or many sister Churches towards another whole Church or Page 144 Churches offending, we doe not yet see; and likewise we doe yet suppose that this principle of submission of Churches that miscarry unto other Churches offended, together with this other, that it is a command from Christ injoyned to Churches that are finally offended, to denounce such a sentence of Non-Communion, and withdrawing from them whilst impenitent, as unworthy to hold forth the name of Christ; these principles are mutuall duties as strictly injoynd them by Christ as any other.
(ffff) Vide supra, Chap. 2. (EEEEE).
(gggg) Theomachia, p. 37. Concerning other civill meanes for the suppression and restraint of these spirituall evills, errours, heresies, &c. as Imprisonment, Banishment, Interdictions, Fi∣nings, &c. Both reason and experience concurre in this demonstra∣tion, that such fetters as these put upon the feet of errours and here∣sies to secure and keep them under, still have proved wings whereby they raise themselves the higher in the thoughts and minds of men, and gaine an opportunity of further propagation.
(hhhh) Ibid. p. 49.50. To hold that the persons so elected (the members of the House of Commons, chosen by men unworthy, and strangers to the power of godlinesse) have a power by vertue of such nomination or election, to enact Lawes and Statutes in matters of Religion, and to Order under mulcts and penalties, how men shall worship and serve God, as it is a meanes to awaken the eye of jealou∣sie upon them, and so is seven times more destructive unto and un∣dermining, not only of their power, but of their honour peace, and safty also, then any thing that is found in the way so ill intreated; so is it the settling upon the electors of such persons, I meane upon the promiscuous multitude of the Land, a greater power then ever Iesus Christ himselfe had, at least then ever he exercised.
(iiii) Vide supra, (s).
(kkkk) Vide supra, Chap. 4. (BB).
(llll) Plaine-dealing, p. 39. Marriages are solemnized and done by the Magistrates and not by the Ministers.
(mmmm) Miltons Doctrine of divorce, p. 6. That indisposition, unfitnesse or contrariety of mind arising from a cause in nature, unchangeable, hindring and ever likely to hinder the maine benefits of conjugall society which are solace and peace, is a greater cause of divorce then naturall frigidity, especially if there be no children, Page 145 and that there be mutuall consent. Ibid. p. 15. God himselfe com∣mands in his Law more then once, and by his Prophet Malachy, as the best Translations read. That he who hates, let him divorce, that is, he who cannot love, Ibid. p. 16. He who can receive no∣thing of the most important helps in marriage, being thereby disa∣bled to return that duty which is his, with a cleare and hearty coun∣tenance, and thus continues to grieve whom hee would not, and is no lesse grieved, that man ought even for loves sake and peace to move divorce; it is a lesse breach of wedlock to part with wise and quiet consent betimes, then still to profane that mystery of joy and union, with a polluting sadnesse and perpetuall distemper, Ibid. p. 63. Only these persons are joyned by God, whose minds are fitly disposed and enabled to mantaine a cheerfull conversation to the solace and love of each other; the rest whom either disproportion or deadnesse of spirit or something distastfull and averse in the im∣mutable bent of nature renders unconjugall, errour may have joyned, but God never joyned against the meaning of his own Ordinance; and if he joyned them not, then there is no power above their own consent to hinder them from unjoyning when they cannot reap the soberest ends of being together in any tolerable sort, Ibid. p. 76. The freedome and eminence of mans creation, gives him to be a Law in this matter to himselfe, being the head of the other sex which was made for him; whom therefore though he ought not to injure, yet neither should he be forced to retaine in society to his own overthrow, nor to heare any judge therein above himselfe, it being also an unseemly affront to the modesty of that sex, to have her unpleasingnesse and other conceale∣ments bandied up and down, and aggravated in open Court by these hired masters of tongue-fence.
(nnnn) Williams Paper. I thought good to let you see some particulars wherein I could not close, nor goe along with them. First, that it is lawfull for a woman who sees into the mystery of Christ, in case her husband will not goe with her, to leave her husband and follow the Lords House; for the Church of God is a Christians home where shee must dwell; and where the Saints are, there is the Lords house; and in so doing, she leaves not her husband, but her husband forsakes her: The odiousnesse of this point was further manifested unto me by the speech of Ezekiel Hollimers wife saying that she counted her selfe but a widow.
Page 146(oooo) Plaine-dealing, p. 21. They call the dayes of the weeke, the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh which is Saturday; also the Moneths beginning at March, by the names of the first, second, and so forth to the twelfth, which is Fe∣bruary; because they would avoid all memory of Heathenish and Idols names.
(pppp) Ans. to the 32. quest. p. 77. For settled and stinted maintenance, there is nothing done that way among us except from year to year, because the conditions of Ministers may vary, and of the Church to which they do belong; neither do we know any such thing to be appointed by Christ our Lord for the maintenance of the Mi∣nistry in these dayes; the bringing in of settled endowments and eminent Preferments into the Church, hath been the corruption, and to some the destruction of such as lived by them, both Church-Offi∣cers and Church-members.
(qqqq) Cottons Way, p. 38. The Deacons were elected, and ordained for the serving at Tables, to wit, the serving of all these Tables which pertained to the Church to provide for, which are the Lords Table; the Tables of the Ministers or Elders of the Church, and the Tables of the poore Brethren, whither of their own body, or strangers, for the maintaining whereof we doe not appoint them to goe up and down to collect the benevolences of abler brethren; but as the Apostles received the oblations of the brethren brought and laid down at their feet, and thereby made distribution as the use of the Church required, so the Deacons re∣ceive the oblations of the brethren every Lords day, brought unto them and laid down before them, and distribute the same as the need of the Church doth require.
(ssss) Plaine-dealing, p. 19. At some other places they make a rate upon every man as well within as not of the Church, residing with them, towards the Churches occasions; and others are beholding now and then to the generall Court to study wayes to enforce the mantenance of the Ministry.
(tttt) Antap. p. 276. Have you not carried a greater port then most of the godly Ministers in the City or Countrey? have not some of you the prime Lectures of the City and other good places of advantage and profit? besides, what some of you have from Page 147 your own Churches. Vide supra Chap. 4.
(wwww) Bastwicks Independency, p. 142.143. It is well known and can sufficiently be proved that godly Christians of holy conversation, against whom they had no exception either for do∣ctrine or manners, and who offered themselves to be admitted mem∣bers upon their own conditions, and yet were not suffered to be joyned members, onely because they were poore; and this very reason was given them for their not-admission, that they would not have their Church over-burdened with poore, Ibid. It was replyed, that the Congregation of which he was Pastor▪ consisted of great Personages, Knights, Ladies, and rich Merchants and such people, as they being but poore, could not walk so sutably with them; wherefore he perswaded them to joyn themselves with some other Congregation among poore people, where they might better walk, and more con∣fortably, in fellowship with them.
(xxxx) Plaine-dealing, p. 16. The Pastor begins with solemn prayer continu•ing about a quarter of an houre, the Teacher then readeth and expoundeth a Chapter, then a Psalme is sung which ever one of the ruling Elders dictates; after that the Pastor preacheth a Sermon, and sometimes ex tempore exhortes, then the Teacher concludes with prayer and a blessing.
(yyyy) Cottons Way, p. 66. First, then when we come into the Church according to the Apostles direction, 1 Tim. 1. We make prayers and intercessions, and thanksgivings for our selves and all men.
(zzzz) I have heard the chiefe of our Brethren maintaine this publikely, and I understand it is the practice of some of them in the City.
(aaaaa) Cottons Catechisme, p. 6. Where there bee more Prophets besides the Elders, they may Prophesie two or three if the time permit, the Elders calling to them, whither in the same Church or others, if they have any word of exhortation to the peo∣ple to say on.
(bbbbb) Ibid. And for the bettering of a mans selfe or others, it may be lawfull for either young or old, save only for women, to aske questions from the mouth of the Prophets.
(ccccc) Answer to the 32 quest. p. 78. Some think the peo∣ple have a liberty to aske their questions publikely for their better Page 148 satisfaction upon very urgent and weighty cause, though even this is doubted of by others, and all judge the ordinary practice of it not necessary; but if it be not meekly and wisely carried, to be inconve∣nient if not utterly unlawfull; and therfore such asking of questions is seldom used in any Church among us, and in most Churches never.
(ddddd) Anatom. p. 26. In the matter of singing of Psalms they differ not only from us, but are also at variance among them∣selves, some thinking it unlawfull for any to sing but he who prea∣cheth; and this hath been the late practice at Arnheim: others thinking it unlawfull for women to sing in the Congregation; hence some women at Rotterdam doe not sing; I heare also they think it unfit for any at all in such times of the Churches trouble as this.
(fffff) Vide supra Chap. 4. (SS 1.)
(ggggg) If the question be of joyning in some few selected prayers read by an able and faithfull Minister out of the book, as of the one side we are tender of imputing sinnes to these that so joyne. Vide infra (hhhhh).
(hhhhh) To that part of the Directory which recommends the use of the Lords Prayer they did enter no dissent: an Answer to the 32 Questions p. 55. By a Liturgie and forme of prayer, we suppose you meane not a forme of private prayer, composed for the help of the weaker: as for a forme of prayer in generall, we conceive your meaning cannot be of that; for it is evident that many Prea∣chers constantly use a set forme of prayer of their owne making before their Sermons, with whom the people refuse not to joyne, ibid. p. 59. Wee acknowledge the Lords Prayer, and other formes set downe in Scripture, may be lawfully used as prayers, due cautions being observed. Cottons pouring out of the spirit p. 10. Not that I would discourage any poore soule from praying on a Book, for I think as we may sing Psalms on a Book, so we may in some cases pray on a Book.
(iiiii) Vide supra (s). Also see the Petition of the Inha∣bitants of the Colony of the Sommer Islands p. 2. Our children die unbaptized, our selves are deprived of the Lords Supper, our daughters cannot be given in marriage.
(kkkkk) Plain Dealing p. 40. At New Plymouth Mr Chancey stands for dipping in Baptism only necessary.
Page 149(lllll) Cottons Catechism p. 4. What manner of men hath God appointed to be received as members of his Church? Answ. Such as doe willingly offer themselves first to the Lord, and then to the Church, by confessing of their sins, &c.
(mmmmm) This wee heare is their ordinary practice at London.
(nnnnn) Vide supra Chap. 4. (Q). (R).
(ooooo) Vide supra ibid.
(ppppp) This is the Apologists common profession.
(qqqqq) This also they professe as a cleare consequent of the former.
(rrrrr) Cottons way p. 68. The Lords Supper we administer for the gesture to the people sitting, according as Christ administred it to his Disciples sitting Matth. 20.26. who also made a symbolicall use of it to teach the Church their majority over their Ministers in some cases, and their Iudiciall authority, as Cosessors with him at the last Iudgement, Luk. 22.27. to 30.
(sssss) For this the Apologists did plead as much and as sharply as any.
(ttttt) I have heard some of their chiefe men discourse pub∣likely enough to this purpose.
(wwwww) Cottons Catechism p. 10. The body of the Church hath power from Christ to enquire, and heare, and assist in the judge∣ment of all publike scandals.
(xxxxx) Vide supra Chap. 4. (TT).
(yyyyy) Vide supra Chap. 6. (tt).
(zzzzz) Answer to the 32 Quest. p. 61. If it appeare, they who dissent from the major part, are factiously or partially carried, the rest labour to convince them of their errour by the rule; if they yeeld, the consent of all comfortably concurreth in the matter; if they still continue obstinate, they are admonished, and so standing under censure, their vote is nullified.
(aaaaaa) Ibid. If the difference still continue, the sentence is still demurred even till other Churches have beene consulted with; if the Church or the Elders should refuse the Testim•ny of other Churches according to God, they will deny them the right hand of Fellowship &c.
(bbbbbb) Short story p. 32. Then M•stris Hutchinson kept Page 150 open house for all commers, and set up two Lecture dayes in the week; when they usually met at her house three or fourscore persons, the pretence was to repeat Sermons; but when that was done, she would comment upon the Doctrines, and interpret all passages at her plea∣sure; she did lay all that opposed her, being neare all the Elders and most of the faithfull Christians in this Countrey, under a Covenant of works to advance her Master-piece of immediate revelations; wherin she had not failed of her aime to the utter subversion both of Churches and civill State, if the Lord had not prevented it. Ibid. p. 34. What say you to your weekly publike meetings? Answ. There were such meetings in use before I came; we began it with five or six, and though it grew to more in future time, yet being tolerated at the first, I knew not why it might not continue. The Courts reply, There were private meetings indeed, and are still in many places, of some few ne•ghbours; we allow you to teach younger women privately, and upon occasion; but that gives no warrant for such set meetings for that purpose, neither do yee teach them that which the Apostle com∣mands, to keep at home.
(cccccc) Apologet. Nar. p. 19. To the Magistrate we give as much and, a• we think, more then the principles of the Presbyteriall Government will suffer them to yeeld.
(dddddd) Williams paper, Prop. 2. That the Saints are not to submit to the powers of the world or worldly powers, and that the powers and governments of the world have nothing to doe with them for civill misdemeanors; these Governours must keep in their owne spheare, as Whales, not to govern Whales, but other fishes; Lions not to governe Lions, but the beasts of the forrest; Eagles, not to governe Eagles, but the other foules of the ayre.
(eeeeee) Mr Williams related to me, that Mistris Hut∣chinson (with whom he was familiarly acquainted, and of whom he spake much good) after she had come to Rid Island, and her husband had beene made Governour there, she perswaded him to lay downe his Office upon the opinion which newly she had taken up of the unlaw∣fulnesse of Magistracy.
(ffffff) Bloody Tenet p. 135. Williams sets down these words of Cottons modell, The proper meanes whereby the civill power may and should attaine its end, are only politicall, and principally these five: First, the erecting and establishing what forme of civill Government Page 151 may seem in wisedome most meet according to the generall rules of the Word and state of the people: upon these words Williams com∣ments thus; from this grant I inferre that the Soveraign originall and foundation of civill power lies in the people, whom they must needs meane by the civill power distinct from the Government set up: and if so that a people may erect and establish what forme of Government seems to them most meet for their civill condition, it is evident that such Governments as are by them erected and established, have no more power, nor for no longer time, then the civill power or people consenting and agreeing shall betrust them with. This is cleare, not only in reason, but in the experience of all Common-weals where the people are not deprived of their naturall freedome by the power of Tyrants. How right this Commentary is, Mr Cottons own words will declare, set downe p. 140. In a free State no Magistrate hath power over the Bodies, Goods, Lands, Liberties of a free people, but by their free consent; and because free men are not free Lords of their owne estates, but are only stewards under God; therefore they may not give their free consents to any Magistrate to dispose upon their Bodies, Lands and Liberties at large as themselves please, but as God the Soveraigne Lord of all pleases; and because the Word is a perfect rule, as well of righteousnesse as of holinesse, it will be there∣fore necessary that neither the people give consent, nor that the Ma∣gistrate take power, but according to the lawes of the Word.
(gggggg) Vide supra Chap. 5. E.
(hhhhhh) Bastwicks Independency second part. Postscript p. 65. It may evidently appeare, that all the projects of the Inde∣pendents in getting prime places by Sea and Land, and in the Ar∣mies, and in the Townes, Cities, Forts, and Castles, and all other places, and in all Committees, is only for the advancement and fo∣menting of their Faction: and this I conceive to be the only cause of all the linsie-woolsie Committees through the Kingdom.
(iiiiii) Williams Examination pag. 4. After my pub∣like triall, one of the most eminent Magistrates stood up and spoke; Mr Williams, said he, holds forth that it is not lawfull to call a wicked person to sweare, to pray, as being actions of Gods worship.
(kkkkkk) Vide supra Chap. 3. TT. WW. AAA.
(kkkkkk 2) Lieutenant Generall Cromwells Letter to the Parliament from Bristoll; As for being united in formes commonly Page 152 called uniformity, every Christian for peace sake would study and doe as farre as Conscience would permit; and from Brethren, in things of the minde, we look for no compulsion but that of Light and Reason; in other things God has put the sword into the Parliaments hands for the terrour of evill doers, and the praise of them that doe well; if any plead exemption from it, he knowes not the Gospell.
(llllll) Vide supra Chap. 2. (HHHHH), (IIIII) (KKKKK.)
(mmmmmm 1) Vide supra ibid.
(mmmmmm 2) Vide infra (mmmmmm 3.)
(mmmmmm 3) Cottons Modell of power in the Bloody Tenet p. 140. The Magistrate in making Lawes about civill and indifferent things in the Common-wealth; First, he hath no power given him of God to make what Lawes he pleases, either in restrain∣ing from or constraining to the use of indifferent things; because that which is indifferent in its nature, may sometimes be inexpedient in its use, and consequently unlawfull: it is a prerogative proper to God to require obedience of the sons of men, because of his Authority and Will. It is an evill speech in some, that in some things the will of the Law, not the reason of it, must be the rule of Conscience to walk by: and that Princes may forbid men to seek any other reason but their authority, yea when they command men frivola & dura; and therefore it is the duty of the Magistrate in all Lawes about indiffe∣rent things, to shew the reasons, not only the will; to shew the expe∣diency as well as the indifferency of things of that nature; and be∣cause the judgement of expedient and inexpedient things, is often dif∣ficult and diverse, it is meet that such Lawes should not proceed with∣out due consideration of the rules of expediency set downe in the Word, which are these three; First, the rule of Piety, that they may make for the glory of God, 1 Cor. 10.31. Secondly, the rule of charity, that no scandall come thereby to any weak Brother. 1 Cor. 8.13. Thirdly, the rule of Charity, that no man be forced to submit against his Conscience, Rom. 14▪ 14, 23.
(nnnnnn 1) Vide supra Chap. 2. (KKKKK.)
(nnnnnn 2) Cottons Modell in the Bloody Tenet p. 140. The Magistrate hath power to publish and apply such civill Lawes in a State as either are exprest in the Word of God, in Moses Judi∣cials; to wit, so farre as they are of generall and morall equity, and Page 153 so binding all Nations in all ages; or else to be deducted by way of generall consequence and proportion from the Word of God.
(nnnnnn 3) Ibid. p. 118. A strange modell of a Church and Common-wealth after the Mosaicall and Jewish patterne, framed by many able, learned and Godly hands, which wakens Moses from his unknown grave, and denies Iesus yet to have seen the earth.
(oooooo) Plaine Dealing p. 23. The Ministers give their votes in all elections of Magistrates.
(pppppp) Ibid. p. 25. The Ministers advise in making of Laws, especially Ecclesiastick, and are present in Courts, and advise in some cases criminall, and in framing of fundamentall Lawes. Ibid. p. 27. A draught of a body of fundamentall Lawes, according to the Iudiciall lawes of the Iewes, hath been contrived by the Ministers and Magistrates, and offered to the Generall Court to be established and published to the people.
(qqqqqq) Cottons third viall p. 8. In old time, if a man playd the false Prophet, the Lord judged him to death; and so in the New Testa∣ment, as in the Old he condemnes all such to death; it is a Law Deut. 13. That false Prophets who did fundamentally pervert Religion, should not live; if high Treason against Princes on earth justly be pu∣nished by death, verily this is as dishonourable to the Prince of all Princes; that whole 13 of Deut. is spent about the seducing of false Prophets, and he puts a threefold gradation; if he be a Prophet; Ther∣fore never so seemingly holy by his place and gifts, he shall surely be put to death: if there be never so many that shall joyne, if a whole City shall joyne together in such a course, thou shalt rise against it and de∣stroy the City, and burne it with fire, and leave not a stone upon a stone. Ibid. p. 12. The third reason is taken from the just desert of soule-murther; there is none of all these Priests, or Iesuites, or Here∣ticks, but they worry and devoure the soules of Gods people; and this murther of souls is justly a capitall crime, as Moses said before: if they thrust thee from thy God, let not thine eye spare such kind of corrup∣ters. Ibid. p. 16. Are not Moses morall Lawes of perpetuall equity, and therfore to be observed in all ages? Is not murther of soules as damnable now as then? a wonder that such f•ivolous interpretations should come in the hearts of men, to hinder the free passage of the Justice of God on such notorious offenders. Cottons third viall p. 8. on the 22 of Joshua, when the two Tribes and an half set up an Altar Page 154 by Iordan, although they thought not to bring in an other object of wor∣ship▪ but another manner of worship; yet the other Tribes would have cut them off if they had found another Altar for worship: he is the same God, and h•s zeale is as deeply provoked against the like kinde of vitiousnesse now as ever he was then, Ibid. p. 17. A soule that sinneth of ignorance, may be pardoned; but if he shall continue obsti∣nate, were it a City or a Tribe, they shall not suffer such in a Coun∣trey; but you will say that the tares and wheat may grow together; grant; but it is not said that briers and thornes should grow up with them, Ibid. p. 19. You see the first use is to justifie the equity of such capitall punishments upon Priests and Iesuites, and consequently on such who bring in other Gods, or another way of worshiping the true God then that wherein we may enjoy fellowship with the true God.
Cottons third Viall, p. 19.20. For a second use, it may serve to reprove the carnall and sinfull foolish pity that is found in any estate that shall bee sparing to spill such blood of the Priests and Iesuites; the Lord loatheth this kind of lenity and indulgency; cursed is he that doth the work of the Lord negligently; and cursed is he that keepeth back his sword from blood, when the Lord calls us to sheath the sword of Authority on such kinde of Delinquents, a State shall be separate from God for these tolerations.
(rrrrrr) Vide supra, Chap. 6. (s).
(ssssss) Goodwins Theomachy; also Chap. 5 (G). (H). and Chap. 6. (kkkkkk 2). also Chap. 6. (bbbb). (hhhh).