Irenicum, to the lovers of truth and peace heart-divisions opened in the causes and evils of them : with cautions that we may not be hurt by them, and endeavours to heal them
Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646.
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HEART-DIVISIONS OPENED In the Causes and Evils of them: WITH Cautions that we may not be hurt by them, And Endeavours to heal them.


Opinionum varietas & Opinantium unitas non sunt 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.


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To the Reader.

WHether the fiery tryall of contention, or of persecution be greater, is hard to deter∣mine; God hath wrought to free us from the one, we have brought upon our selves the other. Every man is an∣gry that others are not of his minde; we have been so divided, that it is the infinite mercy of God that our enemies have not come in at our breaches, and divided all among themselves, before this time. Were our divisions onely betweene the good and bad, they were not so grievous.*Chrysostome sayes, It is better to be hated for Christ, then to be beloved for him. How much better then is it to be hated for Christ, then to be beloved for sinne? The reason he gives of that strange assertion of his, is, If thou beest loved for God, it is an honour to thee, and thou art a debtour for that honour; If thou beest hated for him, God is a debtour to thee, he owes honour to thee, for so he is pleased to be to his poore servants. But our divisions have been and still are between good men, even Gods Diamonds do cut one another; good men cause afflictions to good men; every man is plotting, working, winding for himselfe. Every man strives like Apelles and Protogenes who shall draw the subtilest line to attain his owne ends, but few strive who shall draw the straightest, who shall in the most direct course work himselfe and all his wayes to God and publique Good. Who can med∣dle Page  [unnumbered] with this fire that is kindled among us, and not burn his fingers? A mans good affections happily may be approved, but his prudence will be questioned. But what I finde Luther writes in an Epistle to his friend Nicolas Gerbelius in the like case, shall satisfie me, Cupio ego inveniri Christi & Ecclesiae suae fidelis, si prudens esse non potuerim minister: I desire howsoever to be a faith∣full Minister of Christ and his Church, if I cannot be a prudent one. The standing in the gap is more dange∣rous and troublesome then the getting behinde the hedge, there you may be more secure, and under the winde, but it is best to be there where God looks for a man.* That which Pelopidas said to his wife taking her leave of him as he was going out of his house to the Warres, is a speech worthy of all men in publique place: She comes weeping to him, and prayes him to look well to himselfe; he answers her, My good wife, it is for private souldiers to be carefull of themselves, not for those in publique place, they must have an eye to save other men lives. It may be when you are go∣ing about a work that hath hazard and trouble in it, your wives or some friends of yours will with great affection desire you, beseech you, to have a care of your selves, that you bring not your selves into trouble or danger, oh take heed of that, rather never meddle, let others doe that work if they will; you should answer, It is for private men to take care of themselves, but men in publique places are called to look to the publique, that it suffers not through their neglect

Some come into the gap, not to make it up, but to keep it open, yea to make it wider; the Lord deliver me from such a spirit: God knows I had rather die, then be Page  [unnumbered] a cause of so great an evill. What this endeavour of mine may work in mens hearts, God knowes. If it meet with a son of peace, I hope it will speake peace, it will establish peace in such a heart: if with a son of strife it may worke ad modum recipientis. That which is inten∣ded to be an Irenicum, may prove to be a Polemicum, a bone of contention.

Those things which God himselfe ordaines for uni∣on (the Sacraments) are by mans corruption made the occasion of the greatest contention in the Christian world. No marvell then that what comes from mans sincerest intentions and best endevours be turned quite crosse.

Like enough these leaves may meet with some boi∣sterous Reader, that may beat them one against ano∣ther, that may pry and picke to finde that in them which is not, looking thorough the contradictions of his owne spirit he may think he sees the like here. Let the lines be never so straight, yet he will wrest and pul them what he can to make them lye crosse. I am so far from being sollicitous that they are so indeed, that the speciall thing I desire of thee is the laying one thing to another, the comparing one thing with another. Re∣member what the subject is, Divisions, Differences. I have in it to deale with various spirits, opinions, wayes: remember the scope is to seeke the composing of them what I can. If you see me now neare to the one side, and by and by neare to the other, which yet are very wide from one another, be not rash to judge, that I am off my center; reade on, and see what the issue may come to.

This path of mine hath beene upon sharpe stones, cutting shels, and pricking thornes; yet thorough the Page  [unnumbered] helpe of the shooe of the preparation of the Gospel of peace, I doe not finde my feet cut.

Peace is pretious to me, I feele the sweetnesse of it; I am willing to do what I can to honour it. The pub∣lique jarres, contentions, disturbances abroad in Church and Common-wealth are very grievous. They say there are in the world such things in Families also. I have brought here some water: if my line had been longer, my bucket had beene fuller. You have here what I delivered: some things are added, especially quotations of Authors and Histories. When they grow to be many I thinke them fitter for the Presse then the Pulpit. I was the more willing these things should come forth to publique view, because otherwise what other men apprehended to be my minde, would be put into their owne words, and so rendred in an evill appearance. But will Printing help? The boldnesse of this age is such, as not onely to make a mans words sound otherwise then when they came from him, and so traduce him; but confidently to averre that there are such things written in such Bookes, of such men, which never yet came into their thoughts, much lesse into their pen. With what boldnesse hath it been said and printed againe and againe, that I in that Book en∣tituled, The glorious name of God, The Lord of Hosts, did call the Earle of Essex the Lord of Hosts. Surely the sight of these men is extramittendo, not intramittendo, they send forth species of their owne dyed with the evill of their hearts, and then they say they finde them in such a book. No man can finde that name gi∣ven by me to him. I indeed endeavoured to encourage him in his worke, because the Lord had made him the Lord of our Hosts, which is no more then the Lord of Page  [unnumbered] our Armies. The utmost that ever was said or writ comes but to this, that God had put a name upon him that came neare to his, but never mentioned with∣out some difference from it. An abuse in this kinde, though not altogether so high, I have had from the An∣ti-Apologist; he quotes many places in my Lectures upon Hosea, he sets downe the pages, wherein he sayes, I have contrary to what is in the Apology preached for that way you call Independent. Would any man but thinke, when he sees the Booke named in Print, the Lecture, the very page mentioned, but that the thing is true, it is to be found there? But to this day it hath never come to my eares that ever any man hath found such things there but himselfe. Are those the places? Let moderate and quiet spirited men looke in∣to them, and they shall finde nothing there but what the generality of Presbyteriall Brethren, yea I thinke I may say every one, who is not either Prelaticall or very violent, will acknowledge to bee truth, and if so, I am free. But we shall have another time for this. At this time I would gladly that this Treatise might meet with no spirit exasperated, but in calmnesse and quietnesse, let what is here be examined. That God that can create the fruit of the lips to be peace, can make the fruit of the pen to be so. My aymes are peace, which I shall never cease endeavouring and pray∣ing for, who am

Thy friend, glad of any opportunity for thy good, JEREMIAH BURROUGHES.

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HEART-DIVISIONS The Evill of our Times.

HOSEA 10. 2.
Their Heart is divided, now shall they be found faulty.


The Text opened, and sutablenesse of it to our Times, shewed.

NO marvail though Israel be charged, ver. 1. to be an empty vine, seeing their heart is divided. Heart-division will cause empti∣nesse of good, both in mens spirits, and in Church and State. The least dividing of the heart, in any one part from another, if it be but by the prick of a pin, is deadly; a great gash in the head is curable. There may be much dif∣ference in mens opinions without any great hurt, if this dif∣ference gets not to the heart; but if once it gets in there, the danger is great; Now shall they be found faulty, Now shall they be guilty; or as some, Nunc delinquent, Now they will offend; as if Heart-division contracted the greatest guilt, and by it men were the greatest Delinquents of any.* The word signifies also to perish, to be made desolate, so Arius Montanus, Desolabuntur. Heart-division is a desolating sinne, by the judgment of God upon them for it, they shall be convinced in their own consci∣ences, and in the sight of all men, that they were guilty; that by such a sin as this, they had bound themselves over to the justice of God, & those desolating evils that came upon them, Page  2 were the righteous judgments of God upon them for those di∣visions that were amongst them. Men wil not be convinced of their sin, till Gods judgement is upon them for it; and then their consciences will, and others shall see that God is righte∣ous, and they are vile and sinfull before him, even in such things that before they pleaded for, or at least could not be brought to own their own guiltiness in. When thunder and raine came upon the men of Israel in their wheat Harvest, and they were afraid they should dye, 1 Sam. 12. 18, 19. then they could say, We have added unto all our sinnes this evill to aske us a King.

The Lord convince us of, and humble us for the sinfulnesse of our divisions by his word, that desolating judgments be not upon us to convince and humble us.

Their heart is divided.

This Heart-division is either from God, or from one ano∣ther.

Their heart is divided between God and their Idols; They would not cast off the worship of God wholly, that was too much; they loved their Idols, but they must not have all: to divide between God and them they thought was faire. Their hearts were also divided one from another; and just it is with God, that those who divide from him, should divide one from another. 2 King. 15. you may see what wofull divi∣sions there were amonst them, King against people, and peo∣ple against King, Civill Wars. Their King comes upon one of their owne Towns, and smites it, and rips up all the wo∣men that were with Child in it, and all because they opened not to him. O the rage and cruelty of men of proud spirits, when they get power into their hands! for then their pride swells, being blown up with the flatteries of such as are about them: As if they were such gods upon earth, as they might doe whatsoever they pleased, and the lives, estates, liberties, com∣forts of all must lie under their feet, and must submit to their lusts and humours. You shall find further in the whole Chap∣ter, there was nothing but conspiring, mischieving, and murthering one another. In their Church State there was no∣thing but factions and rents one from another; some were for Page  3 the true worship, some for the false. And amongst the false worshippers there were divisions too: Some were for the calves that Jeroboam set up at Dan and Bethel; some were for Baal: great contention there was between these. You know the sto∣ry of Jehu an Idolater, yet destroying the worshippers of Baal and his Idols.

The Jewes of old understood this Text of these Heart-divisi∣ons amongst themselves, as well as of their divisions from God, which appears by a notable tradition of theirs, St. Je∣rom in his Comment upon these words, relates: whereas (says he) the Scripture, 2 King. 17. tells us, that Hoshea was the last King of Israel, and in his time Israel was carryed captive; yet vers. 2. It is said, He did not evill in the sight of the Lord, as the Kings of Israel that were before him. Now the Jewes put this Questi∣on, Why was not Israel carryed captive with their King, when they had the worst King, but rather when things seem∣ed to goe something better then before? God yet chooses this time.

The Answer they give, is, Because in former times the people might pretend, they could not tell how to help what they did amisse in the matter of Worship; Indeed they wor∣shipped the Calves, but they were forced to it by the tyranny of their Kings, it should be the losse of all they had if they did not: but (say they) in the days of Hoshea there was more liberty given then before. Now those who would, might goe up to Jerusalem to worship, and that they say is the reason of that expression, that Hoshea did not evill as other Kings had done; but when they came to have more liberty, they fell to wrangling amongst themselves, (which is an usu∣all concomitant of liberty) now their division rose high, some would to up to Jerusalem to worship, others would not; those that went up, cryed out of those who went not; and those who went not, vilified those who went. Now their hearts are thus divided, now shall they be found guilty. The desolating judgment must now come. This is the time for their captivity. Now he gives them up to the Enemie. God was exceedingly provoked with their contentions one against another at this time. What? (says God) when I was in some way of favour towards them, when I took off (in great Page  4 part) the yoke of bondage that was upon them, that sore op∣pression that was before, none of them (a while since) dared goe to Jerusalem to worship, and now their Governours are more moderate, their oppressing Courts are downe, there is more liberty in the Land for my true worship, and do they now fall out, contemn, divide, wrangle one with another? let them goe into captivity, let the enemy come in upon them, my soule takes no delight in such a crooked perverse Generation as this is.

Our condition seems to parallel with theirs very much, we lately were under sore and cruell bondage, nothing was more dangerous then the worshipping God in his own way, wee were under hard Task-masters, oppressing, undoing Courts; The Lord hath in a great measure delivered us, it is the un∣thankfulness, the sinfull distemper of mens spirits that makes them say, what is done? it is as ill with us as ever it was; No, we have much ease, such liberties, as were our fore-fathers rai∣sed out of their graves to see, they would admire Gods good∣ness, and bless him with meltings of heart; but we spend that strength in siding, wrangling, contending, quarrelling, vex∣ing, opposing one another, that we should spend in magnify∣ing, blessing and praising the Name of God for that mercy we enjoy. We are a divided people, whose hearts are divided, and heads too, and hands too; peace and unity seems to be flown from us, and a spirit of contention and division is come upon us: King & Subjects are divided, Parl. is divided, Assembly is divided, Armies are divided, Church is divided, & State is di∣vided, City is divided, Country is divided, Towns are divi∣ded, Families divided, godly people are divided, Ministers al∣most every where are divided; yea, and what heart almost is there at this time but is divided in it self? the thoughts, the counsels, contrivances, endeavours, ways of men, almost of all men, how are they divided? O blessed Saviour! are these the times thou speakest of, wherein five should be in one house di∣vided, three against two, and two against three; the father a∣gainst the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother? Oh woe to us! wee find it so amongst us, and yet there is found no healing; we are broken, and there is no binding up: It is with us as it was with Page  5Ezek. 2. 6. Briars and thorns are with us, and we dwell among Scorpions. O Lord, what is this thy curse at this time upon England? Bryers and thornes shall it bring forth: We are rending and tearing, and devouring one another, while the adversary stands before us ready to devour us: Ephraim is against Ma∣nasseh, and Manasseh against Ephraim. A fire is come out from Abimilech, and devours the men of Sechem; and fire comes from the men of Sechem, and devours Abimilech; yea, there is a fire kindled in our owne bowels, it rises from our selves. Ezek. 19. 14. Fire is gone ont of a rod of her branches, which hath devou∣red her fruit, so that shee hath no strong rod to be a Seepter to rule, this is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation. This is amongst us at this day, and how long it shall continue, God onely knows.

What this people were in their divided condition, that we are; and what does this threaten, but that we should be as they a while after this were? namely, a people given up to the rage and fury of the Enemie, which the Lord forbid.

There is a great out-cry of our divisions, and while we cry out against them, wee still encrease them; we are angry with men rather, because they are divided from our selves, then be∣cause they are divided from the truth; we are angry because e∣very man is not of our own mind, & does not as we do. There was a great deal of doe in Luthers time about the seamless coat of Christ. Granvillian the Emperours Deputy in a Speech he made to the Citizens of Wormes,* beseeches them for the death of Christ, and for all loves, that they would amend our Lords coate, which is rent and torn on every side. When Luther laboured to bring Reformation to the Rule, they bad him take heed that he did not rend the seamless coat of Christ; and because they talked so much of the tunica inconsutilis, they were called the Inconsutilistae, the seamelesse men: And what a stirre hath there been in out-cryes against men that would not yeeld to every thing that was enjoyned? O they rent the seam∣lesse Coat of Christ. I remember Musculus in a Tract he hath De Schismate, hath a witty and pious note upon this, The Souldiers (saith he) would not divide the seamelesse coat of Christ; but what made them to be so carefull of it? was it out of respect to Christ, that they were so unwilling it should be Page  6 divided? No, but out of respect to their owne advantage, eve∣ry one hoping it might fall to his share, therefore say they, Let us cast lots for it; so, saith he, men would not have Christs coat divided, they would have no division in the Church; but what do they aime at? their own advantage, that they might enjoy quietly their owne ease, honour, and means, that they might have none to contradict them, but that the streame may run smoothly and wholly with them, what a fine brave thing were this? And because they see they cannot doe this while their ways are looked into and crossed, therefore they make such an outcry against the dividing the seamlesse coat of Christ.

But certainly, till our hearts be otherwise then yet they are, all our out-cries wil not serve our ends, the stilling our divi∣sings. Did we less divide between God and our own ends, our own way, we should not divide so much one from another. Wherefore let us first turn our thoughts to consider a little of this division between God and other things, and the evil of it.


The evill of dividing between God and any thing else.

THis people would give God something, and their idols something, and so think to please both, 2 King. 7. 33. They feared the Lord, and served their Idolls. Thus Judah in the days of Josiah, Zeph. 1. 5. sware by the Lord, and by Malcham; Swearing is a part of Gods worship, therefore no humane instituted Re∣ligious ceremony ought to be joyned with it, no more then with the Sacrament, or any other divine worship, no creature should share in it, but they joyned Malcham, that is their King. The worship and service proper to God hath been too much divided between God and the Kings of the Earth; but here it's probable is meant their Idoll, to which they gave a Kingly power over them, their Idoll Moloch had his name from hence.

I have read of Redwald King of the East Saxons, the first Prince of his Nation that was baptized, in the same place wor∣shipped Christ, and set up an Altar to worship his Idols. Many Page  7 mens spirits lye like that Haven, Acts 26. 12. towards the Southwest and Northwest, two opposite points: Surely their spirits must needs be very winding and crooked which lye to∣wards such opposites.

This dividing with God is very wicked; what communion hath God with Belial? How can you partake of the Table of the Lord, and the Table of Devills? 1 Cor. 10. 21. And lest they should thinke it a light thing thus to divide with God, hee adds, vers. 22. Doe we provoke the Lord to jealousie? are we strong∣er then he? It is a great provoking of God, and a fighting a∣gainst him, thus to divide in his worship. To think that God should accept of such a dividing, is to make him cruel, like that Harlot, 1 King. 3. 26. who was content to have the child divi∣ded, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but let it be divided. Gods worship is as deare to him as any child can be to the most ten∣der-hearted mother in the world. When Darius would have divided with Alexander, No, sayes Alexander, there can be but one Sun in the Firmament. If we will be dividing with God, he will cast off all. 2 King. 17. 33. it is said, they feared the Lord, and served their Idolls; but vers. 34. it is said, they did not feare God, God accounted a divided feare no feare at all. Verse 16. it is said, They left all the Commandements of the Lord their God, and made them molten Images. If they give any part of Gods honour to molten Images, he acknowledges no ho∣nour at all given to him, he accounts all his Commande∣ments to be left. So Jer. 32. 23. They have done nothing of all that thou commandest them to doe: and vers. 30. The children of Is∣rael and the children of Judah have onely done evill before me.

God is infinite, and hath all excellency in him, therefore he must have the whole heart; Idols doe not challenge so much, because they have not an universall excellency, a piece of wor∣ship is enough for them; our hearts, estates, liberties, all wee are or have, are more Gods then our owne. Cyrus tooke Ba∣bylon by dividing the River: The Devill soon surprizes us, if he can but divide our hearts.

The reason why heathen Rome rejected Christ from being of the number of their gods, when such a thing was tendred to their Senate, was, Because (say they) if we receive him to be Page  8 a God, he will suffer none of our other gods; if we take in a∣ny other new god, we may yet retain still our old ones; but if we take this Jesus, all our old ones must be abandoned. Ma∣ny at this day reject Christ upon this ground.

The Romanists since thinke they can take in Christ for a God, and yet divide between him and other gods; their Re∣ligion is made up of divisions between God and their graven Images; between Christ the Mediator, and Saints and Angels; between the Word, and their owne Traditions; between Di∣vine Institutions, and Humane Inventions.

1 King. 18. 21. Why halt ye between two opinions? Wee must not be voluntary Cripples to halt between two. Why are you dismembred in your hearts and your opinions? so Jose∣phus in his History mentioning that place. That is observa∣ble, when the Prophet put that question to them, the Text saith, The people held their peace, their mouths were stopped, they had not a word to say for themselves. If any thing be pretended for this dividing, it is that trouble may be prevent∣ed: exactnesse in Religion, through Reformation, giving up our selves wholly to God and his truth, hath a shew of bring∣ing much trouble with it. Hence men winde and shift about, and doe what they doe by halves.

It was a notable speech of Calvin to those who were offend∣ed with troubles they met with in the work of Reformation,* If wee could be content with halfe a Christ, (sayes he) our worke would more easily goe on, we could soone bring about what wee would have, we should not meet with so much opposition, but nothing but a whole Christ will serve our turne.

But it is necessary that all things be reformed at once?*

No:* Affirmative Precepts doe not binde to all times, but Negative doe; therefore it is necessary at all times, that there be no mixture of evill with any good we doe, that our Me∣diocrity be not Medium participationis, but Medium abnegationis, between two extreams, which are evill, but not partaking of any evill; no good thing is moderated by mixture of evill, but by removing from it something that is evill, that hath alrea∣dy mingled it selfe with it.

But must God have all our hearts,* so as we may not let them out at all to any thing else?

Page  9 If wee let out our hearts to any thing but in subordination to God,* then we divide between God and that thing sinfully; but though we do let out our affections to other things, yet if it be in subordination to God, so farre as God is in those things, and we may be led nearer to God by them; this is no dividing between God and other things, but an uniting all in God, and enjoying God in all. The Saints are instructed in this mistery of godlinesse, they know how to give God the whole heart, and yet to enjoy the comforts of wives and chil∣dren, and estates, and callings, as much as any in the world; they have that heavenly skil to unite all in God, and enjoy God in all, God is all in all unto them in their enjoyments of all good whatsoever; but if our hearts be let out to any thing otherwise then thus, they go a whoring from God, and will certainly vanish in their own folly. This is contrary to that singlenesse, to that onenesse of heart promised as a bles∣sing of the Gospel. Many of you complaine of barrennesse, here is the reason your hearts are divided; were the stream of your hearts wholly after God, it would runne strongly, and bear down opposition before it, you would be fruitfull in all the wayes of holinesse.

How fruitful and gloriously usefull would men in publike place be, if their hearts were single and one for God; did they only care to honour God in their duty, and leave the care of protection of, and provision for themselves and state to God? Let not mens hearts be cut, be divided with their cares and fears about consequences and successes; their wisdom should be how to work all about for God, not how handsomely to contrive that God may have part, and themselves part. The more fully we give up our selves, our ends, designes to God, the more securely may we sit under Gods protection, care, and blessing. Many of the good Kings of Judah had their hearts for God, but yet they let the high Places stand; their politick wisdom divided their hearts between God, and their fears of disturbance in the State; If they should raise their Re∣formation so high, by this their division, their hearts lay flat, the worke was neglected. But 2 Chron. 17. 6. Jehoshaphats heart was lift up in the wayes of the Lord, he tooke away the high places and groves, he sought to the Lord God of his father, and wal∣ked Page  10 in his commandements, not after the doings of Israel, vers. 4. But did he not bring disturbance to the Kingdome by this his zeale? No, Vers. 5. Therefore the Lord stablished that Kingdome in his hand, and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents, and hee had riches and honour in abundance. And vers 10. The feare of the Lord fell upon all the kingdomes of the lands that were round a∣bout Judah, so that they made no warre against Jehoshaphat. Vers. 12. Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly.

Let our hearts be for God alone, for God alone is enough to satisfie our hearts, to supply all good unto us for ever.

There is infinite reason our whole hearts should be for him, he is willing his whole heart should be for us. Jer. 32. 41. Yea I will rejoyce over them to do them good, and I will plant them with my whole heart, and with my whole soule.


Heart-divisions one from another.

WHen they divided from God, then they divided from his people, they would not joyn with his people in the way of his worship, only such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel, went to Ierusalem to sacrifice to the Lord God of their fathers, 2 Chr. 11. 16. only those whose hearts the Lord touched; but others for their owne carnall ends would not joyn with them, they saw trouble attended that way; and ha∣ving divided themselves from God & his people, it was Gods curse upon them that they should be divided one from ano∣ther; if you be divided from the truth, what can hold you to∣gether?* Truth is a single, simple, plain thing, but error is va∣rious, and ensnarls it self with infinite contradictions: If peo∣ple goe out of the plaine path of truth, they wander up and down God knows whither, intangling themselves in bry∣ars and thornes, so as they cannot extricate themselves: As those ten Tribes which at first divided from Iudah only in their subjection to the house of David, and in their worship at Ieru∣salem, but after they denied all Scripture but only the 5. books Page  11 of Moses: They were exceedingly given, and generally addi∣cted unto sorcery, magick, and witch-craft, in which they grew more and more notorious till Christs time. This is in∣timated in that blasphemy of the Jewes against our Saviour,*Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a Devil, taxing him with the pra∣ctice of that people, who commonly being Witches, had fa∣miliar spirits attending on them, for otherwise they knew he was no Samaritan, but a Galilean of Nazareth: They were also exceedingly divided amongst themselves. Epiphanius recites four severall sects of them, the Ossens, Sebuaeans, Gorthenians, and Positheans; Truth is the bond that keeps to unity, but er∣rour is wilde, you know not where to find it, nor your selves if you give way to it: Our present times will be a testimony of this to all future generations. The wild and unruly divisi∣ons of our times is to be the subject of the future discourse. I am not ignorant nor unsensible of the difficulty, the trouble, the danger there is in medling with such a subject at such a time as this. He that meddles with the divisions of the times, may expect to be divided himself, to have his name, his re∣pute, to be cut asunder and thrown this way and that way: It is an unthankfull work to meddle with a divided people; a man may with as much safety put his hand into a nest of Hor∣nets.* A learned man being once asked why he did not write his judgment about the controversie of his time, answered, To what purpose? it would not help the cause, but much ha∣zard him that should meddle. That which one once said to Luther, when he was about interessing himself in seeking Re∣formation, sounds in my ears, when I first thought of having to do with this Argument,*O Luther, rather get you into your Cell, and say, Lord have mercy upon us.

It is a great part of the skil of a Minister to divide the word aright; but this skill of his will be put to it, when he comes to divide the word amongst a divided people, to give every part its portion. I should never have ventured to have cho∣sen a Text on purpose for such an argument; but seeing Pro∣vidence hath brought it so fully into my way, I shall now venture upon it, with my heart cast and fixed upon that pro∣mise, Pro. 11. 3. The uprightnesse of the upright shall guide him.

Page  12 I shall cast what I intend into this mould:

  • 1. The causes of our Divisions.
  • 2. The evill of them.
  • 3. Cautions about them, that we may not make an ill use of them.
  • 4. Remedies or cures of them.

The causes of our Divisions.

The principal cause from without, is the Devil, he seeks to keep his own kingdom free from divisions, but seeks nothing more then to cause divisions in the Kingdom of Christ. The Mahumetans, who worship a cursed impostor: The Pagans, who worship the Sun, Moon, and Stars: The Aegyptians, who wor∣ship Onions, Leeks, Cats and Dogs, never had such divisions amongst them as the worshippers of Jesus Christ have had, and have at this day amongst themselves; for all the former are the Devils kingdom, which he seeks to keep at peace; but he is that envious one who sows the seeds of division in the Kingdom of Christ; hence those who foment divisions a∣mongst Christians are called Devils, 1 Tim. 3. 11. The wives of Deacons must not be slanderers:* The word may be transla∣ted Devils: women are most liable to the Devils temptations this way, because they are weak, and are in danger to run a∣way with sudden apprehensions without due examination; and what can foment division more then slandering, so far as any, especially in the Church, hath a hand in causing or fo∣menting division, so farre as she is a Devil in Scripture-lan∣guage, the part of the Devil is acted by them. I remember Ca∣jetan hath a note upon that place in the Gospel, where the de∣vils being cast out of the man, who had a legion in him, pray∣ed Christ that they might not goe out of that region; why would they not go out of that region? says Cajetan; He gives this answer, The Devils have certain places to which they di∣vide their work, such Devils to such a place for such a ser∣vice, and such to another for another service; now these De∣vils were loath to be displaced of their region, though they were cast out of the man, having further work to do in that Page  13 place: If this be so, surely the Devills that are appointed to cause and foment divisions and dissentions above all regions, love to be in the region of Churches, for no where do divisi∣ons such hart as there, and at this time especially; for now the Devils see they cannot prevail to get men to their old su∣perstitious vanities; but some reformation there wil be, they now seek to mingle a perverse spirit of division amongst men, hoping they shall prevail here, though they could not hold their own in the former. God put enmity between Satan and the Saints, but it is the Devil that puts enmity between Saints and Saints. When we hear fearful thundring, and see terrible storms and tempests, many people say, that ill spirits are a∣broad; surely these blustering storms of contention are raised and continued from evill spirits: But the truth is, all the De∣vils in hel could do us no great hurt in dividing us from God or from one another, were it not for the corruption of our own hearts: Wherefore as the Lord says to Israel, Perditio tua ex te, thy destruction is from thy self: So may we now say of England, Divisio tua ex te, thy division is from thy selfe.

The causes of our divisions from our selves, may be refer∣red to three heads.

1. Dividing principles; sometimes our divisions come down from our heads to our hearts.

2. Dividing distempers, sometimes they go up from our hearts to our heads.

3. Dividing practises, and these come from head and heart, they foment and encrease both.

We will begin with dividing principles: Except some care be taken of the head, it will be in vaine to meddle with the heart, to cry out against our heart-distempers; the chief cause of many of our divisions lies here: It is to little purpose, to purge or apply any medicine to the lower parts, when the disease comes from distillations from the head.

Page  14


Dividing Principles. The first, There can be no agreement without Ʋniformity.

THis Principle hath a long time caused much division in the Church.* The right understanding wherein the weaknesse and falsenesse of it lyes, will help much to Peace, to joyn us sweetly together.

In the substantials of worship, Unity is necessary; there all are bound to go by the same rule, and to do to the uttermost they are able, the same thing.

But the circumstantials of worship have a two-fold consi∣deration: They are either such, as though but circumstances to some other worship, yet have also in themselves some di∣vine worship, some spirituall efficacie, something in them to commend our service unto God, or to cause some pre∣sence of God with us, or to work us nearer to God, by an efficacy beyond what they have in them of their owne na∣tures. As for instance, Time is a circumstance, but the Lords day hath a worship in it commending our service to God, and an efficacie to bring God to us, and raise us to God: this not from any naturall efficacie of the time,* but from Gods institution. Now in such circumstances as these, there ought to be uniformity; for these have institutions for their rule, and are not at mans liberty to be altered as he thinks best in prudence; But there are other circumstances which are onely naturall or civill, subservient to worship in a na∣turall or civill way; They are conversant about worship, but have nothing of worship in them, but are meerely naturall or civill helps to it. When we worship God, we do some∣thing as men as well as worshippers; hence we have need of some naturall or civill helps. As for instance, when we meet to worship God, wee being men as well as Christians, must have a conveniency of place, to keep us from the wea∣ther, Page  15 to know whether to resort; and of time to know when.

There must be order: Many cannot speak at once to edifi∣cation; modest and grave carriage is required of us, as a so∣ciety of men, meeting about matters of weight. In these cir∣cumstances, and other of the like nature, there is no worship at all, there is no spirituall efficacie, there are only naturall or civill helps to us, while we are worshipping; therefore for these circumstances, humane prudence is sufficient to order them.

The right understanding of this takes away a great preju∣dice that many have against such as desire to keep to Divine Institutions, not onely in Substantials, but in the Circum∣stantials of worship; they thinke it an unreasonable thing, that divine Institution should be required for every circum∣stance in worship; this hath bred a great quarrel in the church: and well may it be thought unreasonable, if we required In∣stitutions for circumstances in worship, which are but natu∣rall or civill helps, and have no worship at all in them, for that indeed were endlesse, and a meer vanity. Certainly In∣stitutions are to be required onely in things that are raised beyond what is in them naturally, in tendring my respects to God by them, or expecting to draw my heart nearer to God, or God nearer to me in the use of them. The conten∣tion about Uniformity is much encreased for want of a right understanding of this difference in the circumstantialls of worship; did we understand one another in this, wee might soon have Peace as concerning this thing.

In these latter sorts of circumstances we must also distin∣guish. There are some that must of necessity be determined, as time and place; it is therefore necessary, there should be an uniformity in these, in all the members of every society respectively, that they agree to meet in the same place, at the same time, naturall necessity requires this: but naturall ne∣cessity requires not the binding of severall Churches to Uni∣formity in things of this kind. The urging Uniformity be∣yond the rule in such things, hath in all ages caused wofull divisions in the Church. Eusebius tells of Victor, Bishop of Rome, about two hundred yeares after Christ, broke off com∣munion Page  16 from all the Churches of Asia, for not keeping Easter the same time he did. The controversie was not about Easter, but onely about uniformity in the time. Never hath there been greater breaches of unity in the Church, then by violent urging Uniformity.

But further; there are other naturall civill circumstances, which need not at all be determined; though there be a liber∣ty and variety in them, yet order and edification is not here∣by hindered. As for instance, In hearing the word, one stands, as Constantine was wont constantly to do; another sits; one is uncovered, another is covered; one hath one kind of garment, another, another; yet no rules of modesty or gravity are bro∣ken. Now if any power should violently urge uniformity in such like circumstances, and not leave them as Christ hath done, here they make the necessity of uniformity a dividing principle, upon these four grounds.

1. This is a straitning mens naturall liberties, without sa∣tisfying their reason.

2. This hath been the in-let to almost all superstitions in the Church; First the plea hath been for decency and order, then there hath been stamped a humane institution to raise things higher.

3. The urging such things, when there is no reason seen in the nature of them; why this rather then that, makes men fear there is some religious respect put upon them already.

4. Here is a stretching the power of Authority beyond the limits of it, which Man naturally is very impatient of, not knowing how far it may yet further be extended. As for the practice of Church-Governors, or civill going beyond their bounds, we shall speak to in the third Head.

I have read of Solyman the great Turk,* when he was advised by a Muhty to compell those of divers Religions in his Do∣minions to Mahumetisme; looking out of his window into his Garden, where there was great variety of flowers and herbs, said, As the variety of flowers and herbs seeme very de∣lightfull, so the diversity of Religions in my Kingdome is ra∣ther usefull then burthensome, so it be those who professe them live peaceably. I am not of his mind for the variety of seve∣rall Religions, of which further by and by; yet certainly in Page  17 the varity of the practices of Brethren in such things as wee are speaking of, tuned with brotherly love one towards ano∣ther, there will be a sweet harmony, when violent urging Uniformity in such things will cause a harsh discord in the Churches.

When the fore-named Victor of Rome, with those who joyned with him, caused wofull divisions in the Church by standing so much upon uniformity, urging there could be no Peace without it, by it they brake the peace of the Church. Iraeneus and others in the same time pleaded for the peace of the Church, to be procured by yeelding to difference of pra∣ctice in such things, in the name of all the brethren in France under his charge, he writes to Victor, and those who joyned with him, and tells them of the variety of practises of di∣vers Brethren in times before them, which was very neare the Apostles times, who yet were at unity one with another. They who were Bishops (sayes he) before Soter, of that Sea which now thou governest, as Anicetus, Pius, Higinus, Tele∣sphorus, Xixtus, were at unity with them of other Churches, although their observations were various, and Polycarpus be∣ing at Rome in the time of Anicetus, varyed in divers things from him. Although Polycarpus had (says he) what he did from John the Disciple of our Lord, with whom he conver∣sed, yet would he not perswade Anicetus to the same things, but left him to the way of his owne Church, and they com∣municated lovingly one with another, and parted in a bro∣therly way. Cannot men walke peaceably in a broad way, though they do not tread just in one anothers steps? What though there be some distance in their walke, one towards one side, the other towards the other side of the way; must they needs fall out, because they are not in the same path, when the way is broad enough? Indeed if they went over a narrow bridg, they must not take that liberty to go abredth; if they keep not close to one anothers steps, if they step at a distance, they may fall into the River. Thus in matters of divine worship, we must look to it, that we walk exactly in the same steps; if there we presume to take liberty, wee may soone fall; but in circumstances of an inferiour nature, there may be difference without division. We must not here take Page  18 upon us to be wiser then Christ. Melancthon in an Epistle to some Brethren of differing minds (cited by Gersom Bucerus) perswades to unity thus:*Seeing (saith he) wee agree in the principall Articles of Faith, let us embrace one another with mutuall love, the dissimilitnde and varity of Rights and Ceremonies, (I will adde, sayes Bncerus) and of Ecclesiasticall Government, ought not to disjoyn our minds.


The second dividing Principle: All Religions are to be tolerated.

THis is a divider indeed. There is a great outcry of this but what is the scope of it?* it is to exasperate mens spi∣rits against the toleration of any thing. Some think there must needs be a necessary dependance between tolerating some things conceived errors, and tolerating all things; and if it were not for the fear of the one, there would not be such ado about the other. But I hope I shall clearly shew there is no such dependence; but as this is a dividing principle, that all things should be tolerated, so the other is as truly divi∣ding and false, that nothing should be tolerated.

There is nothing makes more stirre amongst us at this day, then this principle of absolute liberty in matters of Religion. Conscience presses me to speak what I shall find to be the mind of God in this thing: The wantonnesse of mens spi∣rits, their extream boldnesse about the matters of God, and Christ, is such, as should cause our hearts to tremble; such horrid blasphemous things are amongst us, owned and pro∣fessed with so much impudence, and their practice strengthned by this Principle, That there is to be an absolute liberty in the things of Religion, that our duty to God, our love to, and care of the preservation of Religion, calls us to set our selves against such a false, sinfull, dangerous disturbing Principle as this is.

This Principle is strengthened by two Positions; both Page  19 which are dividing as well as the Principle it selfe.

First, That Magistrates have nothing to do with men in the matters of Religion.

Secondly, Conscience is a tender thing, and must have li∣berty; nothing must be done to men, who plead their consci∣ences for what they do.

First, wee shall shew the Principle it selfe to be a dividing principle; Then the mistakes in those two assertions, that up∣hold this principle: As they strengthen the principle, so they strengthen division.

The principle is dividing; For,

First, It is an abhorring to nature. Is it not an abhorring [ 1] thing to any mans heart in the world, that men should suf∣fer that God to be blasphemed, whom they honour? and that nothing should be done for the restrayning any, but to aske them why they doe so, and to perswade them to doe otherwise? There hath ever been as great a contestation a∣mongst people about Religion, as about any thing, Exod. 8. 25, 26. Pharaoh bade Moses sacrifice in the land: But Moses said, It is not meete so to doe; for we shall sacrifice the abo∣minations of the Aegyptians: Loc, shall wee sacrifice the abo∣mination of the Aegyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us? Though they had leave of the King, yet the people would not endure it.

Secondly, It is against the light of Scripture, Deutr. [ 2] 13. 6. If thy brother the sonne of thy mother, or thy sonne, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosome, or thy friend, which is as thine owne soule, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us goe and serve other gods, which thou hast not knowne, nor thy fathers, Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken to him; neither shall thine eye pitty him, neither shalt thou spare him, nor conceale him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

Let not any put of this Scripture, saying, This is in the Old Testament, but we finde no such thing in the Gospel; for we find the same thing, almost the same words, used in a Prophesie of the times of the Gospel, Zech. 13. 3. In the lat∣ter end of the 12. Chapter, it is prophecyed that those who Page  20 pierced Christ, should looke upon him, and mourne, &c. having a spirit of grace and supplication powred upon them. Chap. 13. 1. There shall now be opened a fountaine for sinne and for uncleannesse. Vers. 3. It shall come to passe, that he that takes upon him to prophesie that his father and his mother that be∣gate him, shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live, for thou speakest lyes in the name of the Lord: And his father and his mother that begate him, shall thrust him through when he prophe∣sieth.

You must understand this by that in Deut. The meaning is not, that his father or mother should presently run a knife in∣to him, but that though they begat him, yet they should be the means to bring him to condign punishment, even the ta∣king away his life; those who were the instruments of his life, should now be the instruments of his death.

[ 3] Thirdly, It is a dividing principle, because by it the reines are let loose to all kind of wantonnesse, and spirit of opposi∣tion, in the matters of Religion. Men naturally are wanton in nothing more then in the things of Religion; and corrupt spirits are bent upon, and pleased with opposition in these things, above any other: for being things supposed to have an excellency in them, and above reason, and so liable to contradiction from men of corrupt minds, if there be nothing to restrain men from opposing one another in them; the wan∣tonnesse and pride of mens hearts will carry them forth to in∣finite jarrings, contentions, and divisions.

If it be said, Christ hath left spirituall meanes to helpe this.

It is answered, Christs spirituall meanes are to work in a spirituall way upon the heart to change it, and secondarily upon the outward man; while Christs means are working thus, externall means may keep evill from breaking forth in the outward man; Christ hath not left the outward man at absolute liberty to do what it will, till spirituall meanes be made effectuall to the heart, especially considering if you grant this liberty, men may choose whether any of those spi∣rituall means of Christ should at all come at them.

The first position that upholds this dividing principle: Ma∣gistrates have nothing to do in the matters of Religion.

Page  21 It must be granted, that a Magistrate is not an Officer of Je∣sus Christ the Mediator in his Mediatory Kingdome.*

There is a two-fold government that Christ hath:

1. One as he is God equall with the Father, together with the Father, ruling heaven and earth.

2. Another, as he is God and man, Mediator, in a peculiar Kingdome of his that he hath by way of dispensation from the Father.

Now the Magistrate is an Officer of God, both the Father and the Son, in the generall government of the world. But he is not the Officer of Christ, in that Kingdome of his that he hath by way of dispensation from the Father, that Regnum Mediatorum, as Divines call it: No, though he be a Christian Magistrate, there are no Officers of that, but such as are by di∣vine institution set down in the Word; his Christianity doth only adde unto him further ability to execute the work of his Office in a better manner, it adds no new authority to him: An Infidell Magistrate converted to Christian Religion, is thereby better enabled to performe the duty of his place then before, but he had the same authority before; it was his sinn, he did not use his Authority now as he is able to do; though he be a Christian who is a Magistrate, yet the power of his Magistracy belongs to another Kingdom, different from that the second person hath as he is Christ the Mediator.

But doth not this then exclude him from the exercise of a∣ny power in the matters of Christian Religion?*

No,* for God in the exercise of his power governing the world, hath a speciall ayme at the promoting the Kingdom of his Sonne Christ the Mediator: Therefore Magistrates ex∣ercising this power of God, ought to ayme at these ends, that God himselfe aymes at in the exercise of his own power, that is, to be usefull to Christs Government in his Church, and for the good of his Church: God in all his wayes, from the beginning of the world, hath aymed at the setting up his Son to be King upon his holy Hill, at the promoting of the glory of him who is God-man: and if his Ministers doe not make use of their power to this end, when this Kingdome of his Sonne comes to be revealed to them, he will require it at their hands.

Page  22 The power that God invested Magistrates withall in mat∣ters of Religion in the Old Testament, is so full and cleare in that which God gave to the Kings of Judah and Israel, that to name particulars would almost make a volume; I find ma∣ny who write about this subject, spend most of their strength here, but I wholly forbear mentioning instances in this, be∣cause it is granted by all that they had power; but the argu∣ment from thence to the power of Magistrates in the times of the Gospel, prevails little with those who hold this Divi∣ding Principle we are now speaking of. For they tell us that their power was typicall, they in the exercise of such a pow∣er were types of the Kingly power of Christ, for we find glo∣rious promises of dominion and stability made to Christ in the persons of many of those Kings.

2. They tell us, that it is no argument, because Priests and Levites had in time of the Law power in temporall things, in ordering the affairs of the State; therefore Ministers should have civill authority now: So neither is it an argument, be∣cause Magistrates had power then in spirituall things, there∣fore our Magistrates should have the like now.

3. They tell us that the Church and Common-wealth of the Jews were mixed in one; hence to be a stranger from the Church is expressed by being a stranger from the Common-wealth of Israel, Ephes. 2. 12. and therefore their Magistrates were Church-officers as well as Civill.

4. That the people of the Jews were brought up in a more servile way then Christ would have his Church, in the times of the Gospel, brought up in: Compulsion therefore in mat∣ters of Religion was more sutable to their condition, then it is to our Jerusalem which is free.

5. The whole Church was then bound to be under the same State-government; the Laws of their State were by di∣vine appointment; their Kings were chosen by God; but now Christ chuses his Church out of all Nations of the earth, and leaves them to the severall Governments, Lawes, Officers of severall Nations for their Civill State.

[ 1] 1. I confesse were there nothing but meerly examples or Laws from the Old Testament to confute this dividing Posii∣on, to an examining eye the argument would hardly be co∣gent Page  23 or satisfactory, only so far as there is a common reason and equity in them, and so all the judiciall bind now as well as they did then.

2. So far as the New Testament approves of for the times [ 2] of it, what was formerly done in the Old.

The strength of the argument from the power of Magi∣strates in the Old Testament, lyes in these two.

First, there is a common reason and equity, what ever the strength of such kind of arguing be from one Spirituall Ordi∣nances to prove another, yet without all question, it is strong enough from one Civill Ordinance to prove another, though it be conversant about spirituall things.

It is the Dictate of Nature, that Magistrates should have some power in matters of Religion. The generality of all peo∣ple have ever thought it equall. It hath been ever challenged in all Nations and Common-wealths. The Heathens would never suffer their gods to be blasphemed, but punish such as were guilty thereof by the power of the Magistrate. Socrates was put to death for blaspheming their multiplicity of gods.

2ly Surely there is a common equity, for there is a neces∣sity of it as truly now as there was then. I cannot argue the being of Spirituall Ordinances from our need of them, not thus there is such an institution, for the Church hath need of it; but rather thus, I find it in the Word to be an institution, and therefore the Church hath need of it. But in naturall or civill things this way of arguing is strong enough; there is need of such a help, and therefore we should seek to have it.

Now sure the need we have of such a power, is exceeding great, we were in a most miserable condition if we had no ex∣ternall civil power to restrain from any kinds of blasphemies and seducements. The condition of the Jews, O how happy was it in comparison of ours, if this were denyed us! for if any one of theirs did blaspheme God, or seek to seduce any from him, they knew wht to do with him, besides perswading him to the contrary; but if any should seek to seduce the wives of our bosoms, children of our bodies, friends as dear to us as our own lives, into those wayes that we think in our con∣sciences will undo their souls to all eternity, yet wee must only desire them they would not do so, we must only admo∣nish, Page  24 and seek to convince them, or reprove them, but restrain them we cannot: If the deliverance of us from the pedagogy of the Law hath brought us into this condition, our burden is greater in this thing then any that the Law laid upon our fore-fathers. Hath Christ delevered us from one burden to lay a greater upon us? Must we now see those who are dearest to us drawn into the wayes of eternall destruction, and stand and look on, but no way left to help them, or our selves, un∣lesse wee can perswade to the contrary? surely our condition is very sad: Have we not cause to say, Lord let any burthen of the Ceremonial Law be laid upon our necks rather then this? If there were a company of mad men running np and downe the streets with knives and swords in their hands, endeavou∣ring to mischief and kill all they met with, and we must doe nothing to restraine them; if we could perswade them to doe otherwise, well and good: but that is all we can do for help; what a dangerous thing were this? The case is the same, when those who are mad with damnable Heresies, run from place to place, seeking to draw all they can from the truth; If we have no means of help but arguments, it is ill with us: Surely God hath not put his people into such a sad condi∣tion as this is, he hath provided better for his people then thus.

Thirdly, wee find in the Record of Scripture mention of Heathen Magistrates, who had nothing but the light of na∣ture to guide them, interessing themselves in matters of Reli∣gion, and this the Holy Ghost relates in way of commendati∣on of them for this thing.

The argument from these examples cannot be avoided, as that which is taken from the practice of the Kings of Judah. We read Ezra 7. 26. Artaxerxes interposes his power in mat∣ters of Religion, and Ezra blesses God for it, Whosoever will not doe the Law of thy God, and the Law of the King, let judgement be executed speedily upon him. And in the next words, Ezra blessed God, who put it in the heart of the King by these and other means, to beautifie his house. The making such a Law was one notable meanes whereby the House of the Lord came to be beautified.

Thus also Nebuchadnezzar, Dan. 3. 29. I make a Decree Page  25 that every people, nation and language, who speake any thing a∣gainst the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dung-hil, &c. This the Scripture records as a worke of the Kings repent∣ance.

The King of Nineveh, Jonah 3. by the decree of his Princes and Nobles, proclaims a Fast, and commands every one to cry mightily to God, and to turne from his evill way.

Further, let us see how the holy Ghost justifies this power of the Magistrate in the times of the Gospel: First, in the Pro∣phesies of the times of the Gospel: Secondly, in divers places in the New Testament.

For Prophesies, the fore-named place, Zech. 13. 3. cannot be put off: Isa. 49. 23. Kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and Queens thy nursing mothers. The protection of their civil peace is not sufficient to give them such a denomination of nursing fathers and mothers.

Esay 60. 10. The sonnes of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their Kings shall minister unto thee: They shall not only be fa∣vourers of them, but as Kings they shall minister to them, e∣ven by their power: So Rev. 21. 24. The Kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honour to the Church: there is such a time coming. This surely is more then meerly to protect their outward peace.

In the New Testament, Rom. 13. 4. He is thy Minister for thy good. 1 Pet. 2. 13, 14. Submit your selves to every ordinance of man for the Lords sake, whether it be to the King as to the su∣pream, or unto Governours, which are sent for the punishment of evill doers, and the praise of them that doe well. Now seeing the Scrip∣ture speaks thus generally, For thy good, and for the punish∣ment of evill doers, and praise of them that doe well, Non distin∣guendum ubi Scriptura non distinguit, Except the nature of the thing require, why should we distinguish where the Scripture doth not?

You will say, The nature of the thing spoken of will re∣quire that it must be restrained to those things that belong to his cognisance.

Such a limitation must of necessity be granted; therefore Page  26 it is true that the Magistrate cannot command every good thing, nor punish every evill; the abstruse controversies in Religion come not under the cognisance of a Magistrate, as a Magistrate; only such things as are against the rules of com∣mon justice and equity, and the common light of Christiani∣ty, where he is to govern Christians, for he is to enjoyn and punish such things only as if he were not; the community of people which sets him up, ought to enjoyn and punish, for he hath his power from them: but of this more in the next Principle.

If you shall say, But those Scriptures speaking of Civill Magistrates, wee must understand them to be meant onely of civill things.

The Magistrate hath his appellation civil, because the pow∣er that he exercises is civill, the things that he do are civill; he cannot do the works of a Church-officer, by all the power he hath, as administer Sacraments, and the like; but this hin∣ders not the use of his civil power, and the doing of external acts upon the outward man, subservient to spiritual good; in∣deed what he doth, hath not any spirituall efficacy in it, for then it were worship. Though he cannot work in a spirituall way upon mans soule, by his power, it is not an Ordinance set apart by God to that end, yet he may by the exercise of his power upon the outward man, restrain it from the exter∣nall act of evill, or bring it to an externall good; his pow∣er still that he exercises is civill, yet ordered to the help of spirituall good, either removendo prohibentia, or applicando me∣dia externa, or cohibenda a malo externo; removing outward things that hindered, applying outward means, or keeping from outward evils. Whatsoever Commandement requires any duty, requires us to make use of all things that may help us to the performance of that duty; if there be any civil, na∣turall, spiritual helps, we are bound to make use of all. Only here lies the great doubt, Whether hath God appointed the use of the Magistrates power to be a helpe to the things of Religion? Hath God made this to be an Ordinance for the spirituall good of people?

That it is by God an Ordinance for their civill good, is plaine out of those Scripture before mentioned; but how doth Page  27 it appeare that ever God intended it to be an Ordinance for their spi∣rituall good?

What naturalnes there is in any thing,* it hath it from God, for nature is Gods worke, if there be a naturalness in it to work upon the outward man, for the furtherance of spiritual good; this is from God: if I should use it to work upon the inward man expecting a spirituall efficacy, then I make it an ordinance to my self, and sin against God, presuming to put more in a creature of his, then it was appointed to. In this consisted the evil of ceremonies, they were used in a spirituall way, to work upon the heart of man, by vertue of that insti∣tution that man put upon them, beyond what God in their natural power ever put into them.

But how can naturall and externall things be helps to things spiri∣tuall and divine?

Any mans reason,* yea sense may tell him, that the taking away externall hindrances, and the putting upon externall use of divers things, may keep from much evill, and further much good that is spirituall and divine; though it cannot reach to the spiritualnesse and divinenesse of that good, yet it reaches to the externall action, without which that divine and spirituall good cannot be. Wherefore seeing the New Testament sets out the power of Magistrates, and re∣quires submission to them in such generall termes; from this we may draw such a conclusion, Therefore the Lord intend∣ed to leave Christians for their subjection to Magistrates, to the light of nature, & to the equity of the generall rules that were in Scripture before time; if God should say, Ye are Chri∣stians, see you part not with that liberty Christ hath purcha∣sed for you; we may give this account, Lord we found in thy word that once thou didst make use of the power of Magi∣strates in matters of Religion, & in the New Testament there was nothing revealed to forbid their power in them; nay Lord, Thou toldst us there, that thou hast appointed them for our good, and to be a terrour to evill workes in the generall. From thence we ga∣thered, that in our yeelding to their power, it was thy will we should make use of those generall rules in Stripture wee found before the times of the Gospel, & of the light of nature. Being also perswaded it was thy mind we should make use Page  28 of all the naturall helps we could for our spirituall advant∣age, & we found it recorded in thy Word that thou didst al∣low of the exercise of such power in the things of Religion, even to those who had only the light of nature to guide them and being the use of it reached only to the outward man, we did not see a necessity of a speciall institution for this, know∣ing what naturalness it had in it, to be an externall help was put into it by thy self, therefore we made use of it. God will accept of this account. Add yet a consideration or two.

1. When the Apostles were convented before Civil Autho∣rity about matters of Religion, we never find that they plea∣ded for themselves, You have no power to meddle with us in the things of Religion, they belong to Jesus Christ only who is our King, & to that government he hath set in his Church; No, their plea was only the justness of their cause, that what they professed and preached was the truth of God, they did it in obedience to God.

2. If all men be bound to improve all the abilities, gifts, talents they have for the propagation of the Gospel, the Ma∣gistrates are bound to improve those which are peculiar to them; If a man hath more wisdom then others, or a greater e∣state, or more friends, he is to make use of all these for helps to the furtherance of Religion; if then a man hath more pow∣er then others, he is to improve that likewise, not onely by countenancing what he conceiveth to be right, but by all o∣ther means according to the dictates of Reason, not forb•• by Scripture.

But we have often heard that of Tertullian urged;* If it be therefore said it is lawfull because the Scripture doth not forbid, it is therefore unlawfull because the Scripture doth not command.

Ans. In the matters of Gods worship this rule is to be urg∣ed, but not in matters civil or natural, though in their way subservient to worship, their Reason may guide very far.

But you will say, What? will you then make the Magistrate a Judge in all causes of Religion?* he may be a wicked man, a Heath∣en, and yet a true Magistrate.

Ans. Whatsoever he be, yet he may be a Judg in matters of fact, & so far as Reason may go in matters of right, he may judge whether you do not go against your owne principles, Page  29 either in your profession, acts of worship, or in the wrong you do to your brother; yea, he may judg whether your very principles be not contrary to the common light of the knowledg of God, that God hath given to men, and to the rules of humane justice. A Magistrate who is not skilfull in Physicke or Navigation, yet he may judg Physitians and Ma∣riners, if they wrong others in their way.


The second Position, Conscience is a tender thing, and must not be medled with.

CErtainly Conscience is a very tender thing; and as men must take heed how they offer violence to their own con∣sciences, so to the consciences of others; It is such a thing as is not in subjection to any creature in Heaven or Earth, only to God himself. Gerrard reports out of the Histories of France of a King of Navarre,* writing to his Nobles, used this expres∣sion, The rule over consciences and soules is left to God alone: And of a King of Polonia, who was wont frequently to say, That God had reserved three things to himselfe: 1. To make something of nothing.* 2. To know things future. 3. To rule over conscience. Maximilian the second used to say, There was no tyranny more intollerable then to seeke to rule over consciences. Henry the third, King of France, as the last pangs of death carried him into a∣nother world, had this speech, Learn of me that piety is a duty of man unto God, over which worldly force hath no power; this was spoken in the same Chamber where the Councell was held about that fatall Bartholmew day,* in the year 1572.

But for all this, the Devill must not be let alone, though he be got into mens consciences, God hath appointed no City of refuge for him; if he flies to mens consciences, as Joab did to the horns of the Altar, he must be fetched from thence, or falne upon there. Something may be done to men to keepe Page  30 them from evill, and to reduce them, notwithstanding the plea of their conscience.

But what may be done to a man in such a case?*

First, any man that pleads his conscience, may be required to give an account of his conscience; it is not enough for him to say, his conscience puts him upon such a thing, or keeps [ 1] him from such a thing; he must give an account of the grounds upon which his conscience goes.

The world requires us to give an account to every man of that hope that is in us, if he requires it in a due way; wee are bound to give no offence neither to the Jew nor Gentile: It is against the light of nature, that men in a society should do things of which they need give no account to any whatsoe∣ver.

[ 2] Secondly, due enquiry is to be made, whether the Devill be indeed in the conscience, it may be you shall finde him in some other room of the soule, only he pretends to that as his sanctuary, hoping to escape better there then any where else; if he should be found in a mans will, he thinks he should be soon hunted out with violence, he could not scape there; but he hopes men will deal more tenderly with conscience; therefore either thither he will get, or at least he will give it out he is got in there, hoping you will enquire after him no further, when it is given out he hath taken refuge there, as a Malefactor searched after; it may be is lurking in some house not far from you; but that you may either not search, or cease searching; he causes it to be given out, that he is got into some strong Castle, or some other Countrey where there is little hope to come at him.

But how shall it be known,* whether the Devill be in a mans con∣science or not? Conscience is an inward roome, who can see into it, what, or who is there?

It is a very hard thing to give a judgment,* but these notes may help us much in discerning.

[ 1] First, if I see a mans owne private interest is much engaged in what he pretends conscience for, this may be enough to raise suspition, though it can be no determining rule; for a man may in some things have his conscience put him upon Page  31 that where there is much of his owne interest; but this brings him under much suspition, if the thing be not exceeding clear to the view of every man.

Secondly, if in the course of a mans life, he appears not to [ 2] be much under the command of his conscience, but can take liberty as he pleases; if indeed a man in the generall course of his life appears to be very conscientious; we had need take heed how we meddle with such a man in a way of opposition, except the evill we see now in him be very clear and grosse; but that man, who in the common course of his life, can tri∣fle with his conscience, hath deprived himselfe of the benefit of this plea, as a man may forfeit the benefit of his freedome in the City by misdemeanour: so the benefit that otherwise might be had of such a plea may be forfeited by such loose∣nesse of life.

Thirdly, when the account a man gives cannot in any ra∣tional [ 3] way be judged such, giving allowance to all his weak∣nesses, as should probably mis-lead him so grosly, as is appa∣rant he is mislead. We must grant, that those may be reasons to one which are not to another; but when they appeare so grosse, as after all allowances to weaknesses, they cannot in any common understanding reach to such a conclusion, we may at least suspect very much, that the evill of this man lies not in his conscience, but some where else; yet we should not do well to be too hastly and violent with such men; it may be a man for a while may be so over-powred, that he is not able to render a rationall account of his wayes, but wait a while, and deal with him tenderly in love; consider his per∣sonal disabilities, his temptations, give him all the allowance you can; if one means prevail not to shew him his error, try another; if at one time you do no good upon him, see what may be done at another; consider, is it not possible, that e∣ven such weak things may appear to the conscience of a man that hath so many weaknesses, and lies under so many temp∣tations, to be for the present such grounds as he cannot with∣out sin deny; and if so, you had need deale tenderly with such a man, except the grosseness of the evill requires severity.

4ly. If a man be proud and turbulent in his carriage, by [ 4] Page  32 that you may know the Devill is rather in the will then in the conscience; though an erroneous conscience may cause one to hold fast an errour, yet it does not put upon proud, scornfull, turbulent behaviour: When a man by reason of his conscience (it may be the weaknesse of it) differs from his brethren, hee had need carry himself with all humility and meekness, & self-denyal in all other things; he should be will∣ing to be a servant to every man, in what lawfully he may, that thereby he may shew to all, that it is not from any wil∣fulnesse, but meerly the tenderness of his conscience, that he cannot come off to that which his brethren can doe, whom yet he reverences, and in his carriage towards them, shews that he yet esteems them his betters; but if a man that is weak, ve∣ry much beneath others in parts and graces, shall carry him∣selfe high, imperious, contemning and vilifying those who differ from him, and be contentious with them: There is great reason to think, that the corruption is in the will rather then any where else; if there should be some conscience yet in these men, their heart-distempers may justly forfeit their right of pleading their consciences. Those who oppose them, if they doe it in a Christian way, may justifie what they doe before God; if God should call them to an account, and say, why did you deal so with such men who professed they were put upon what they held and did, by their consciences; If they can answer thus, Lord thou knowest we were willing to have dealt with them in all tendernesse, if we could have seen con∣scientiousness in their carriage; but we saw nothing but scornfulness, pride, imperiousness, turbulency, conceitednes, we could see nothing of the Spirit of Jesus Christ acting them in their way; this their carriage perswaded us, that the sin∣fulnesse was got rather into their wills then their consci∣ences.

[ 5] 5ly. When a man is not willing to make use of meanes to inform his conscience, not of those meanes that are not a∣gainst his owne principles, but goes on peremptorily and stoutly: Surely, when we see many of our Brethren differ∣ing from us, our respect to them should gain so much at least from us, that if there by any means left unused, for the further Page  33 trying our opinions, or informing our judgements, we should make use of that meanes, a conscientious heart will doe so.

The sixt note added, will seale up all; when a man by rea∣son [ 6] or Scripture is so put to it, as he must either renounce his errour, or flye from some of his own principles, he will ra∣ther deny his principles, then yeeld himselfe convinced of his errour; yea, when those principles are of great moment. The man that doth thus is the man spoken of, Tit. 3. 11. that is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, condemned of himselfe, An Heretick after the first and second admonition reject, because he is selfe-condemned; wee must not reject every man that erres in every little thing, no not after two or three admonitions, that was a prelatical, tyrannicall rule, but he must be an Heretick, and erring so grosly, as he is self-condemned in his errour, and such a man suffers not for his conscience, when he is rejected, but for sin∣ning against his conscience.

But who can know when a man is condemned of him∣selfe?* the judgement of a mans owne conscience is a secret thing.

This is the strength of this hold the Devil gets into,* he thinks he gets so deep, that you cannot get to it to find him out, and as for Gods displeasure who knows their conscien∣ces, these men will venture that. But by this Scripture, Tit. 3. it is clear, that a mans conscience may be so far seen into, as there may be a judgment passed upon a man, that he is a self-condemned man: To what purpose otherwise serves this Scripture? it is not like this Heretick would acknowledg that he was self-condemned, but yet the Apostle makes this the ground why he should be rejected; As if he should say, You see he wil go against his own principles, against what his con∣science tells him is truth, meerly to maintain a wicked Here∣sie that he is infected withall; let him therefore plead what he will, reject him, for his own conscience condemns him, and GOD is greater then his Conscience, and knowes all things.

The third thing that is to be done to a man who pleads his [ 3] conscience for evill, is, the great snare and danger he brings himself into, is to be declared to him, that by giving way to Page  34 let evill into his conscience, he puts himself into such a condi∣tion, as whatsoever he doth, he must needs sin against God, so long as he holds his errour: Evill gets into the consciences of many very easily, because they think the dictates of their consciences will be sufficient to bear them out in what they doe;* but they are deceived, for an erroneous conscience does not bind, you sin notwithstanding your conscience bids you do it; and if you goe against this erroneous conscience, you sinne too; what a miserable snare is this? you had need look to your selves then, and take heed what you let into your con∣sciences.

[ 4] The fourth thing is, to charge him, and if it be in a matter of consequence, to adjure him in the Name of God (who is the searcher of the hearts of men, and will judg them at the great day accordingly) that he deals plainly and sincerely, not to dare to put a pretence upon that which he knows his conscience cannot justifie him in; if there be indeed any consci∣entiousness in the man, this will startle him.

[ 5] But it may be this will not prevail, wherefore in the fifth place, whatsoever a man holds, though his conscience be ne∣ver so much taken with it, yet if it cannot stand with the pow∣er of godliness, but destroys it, if this man be in a Christian society after all means used to reduce him, if he still perse∣veres in it, he is, notwithstanding his conscience, to be cast out of the society of the Saints; this is not a little matter, if a man hath any conscience in him, it cannot but be a dreadfull thing to him: If poyson be got into a glass, and you cannot wash it out, the poyson and glass too is to be thrown into the sinck: Such a man as this is, with the conscience that he hath, is to be thrown upon the dung-hill. If a man by his wicked∣ness cuts himself off from the mysticall body of Christ, the Church may cut him off from his visible, he hath forfeited his Church-priviledger.

[ 6] Sixtly, If the errour with the profession of it be destructive to the State, and he cannot be reclaimed, he may likewise be cut off from it, or at least deprived of the priviledges of it, and benefits by it, notwithstanding his plea of conscience. This justifies the cutting off Jesuites and Priests, who teach people that the Crown is at the dispose of any forraign pow∣er, Page  35 by which also subjects may be freed from their Allegiance. A Reverend Divine of ours,* in a Treatise upon the powring out of the 7. Vials, interprets the turning of the Rivers into blood; the execution of Justice even to blood upon the Romish Emissaries, the Jesuites and Priests, who come from the See of Rome, to take people off from their Allegi∣ance.

7ly. What ever pretence of conscience a man hath, yet this [ 7] cannot excuse him in any matter of apparant injustice done to his brother in his estate or goods: As suppose a man pleads conscience in the point of community of goods, yet if he take away his neighbours goods by violence, his conscience can∣not deliver him from the stroak of justice. The Papists pre∣tend conscience for their murthers, for the Catholique cause, but this delivers them not out of the hands of justice; if a man pleads conscience that he is bound to marry more wives then one, and the like.

Eighthly, a man may bring himself under both Civill and [ 8] Ecclesiasticall sword, not only for sins destructive and inju∣rious to our brother, but for sinns against God, if they be also against the light of nature, as blasphemy and grosse ido∣latry: Though the Sunn be down, if you allow your ser∣vant a candle to work ordinary work by, and he put it out, he cannot plead he could not work, because it was dark: Man at first had Sun-light to work by, but our Sun is down, yet we have the candle of the light of nature; if we sinn against that, our darkness can be no plea for us: and if he be a profes∣sed Christian, and sins against the common light of Christia∣nity, which he cannot but see, except he will shut his eyes, he is to be dealt with as a man that sins against the light of Na∣ture.

Though such as are not Christians cannot by violence by [ 9] compelled to profess Christian Religion, yet notwithstand∣ing any plea of their conscience, they may be restrained, & that by violence, if other means will not do it, from an open blas∣pheming Christ, and the Scriptures, or doing any acts of o∣pen dishonour to them acts of open dishonour to God done by any whomsoever, as they are abominable, so such as have loved God and Christ, have accounted them unsufferable.

Page  36 I suppose you have heard or read that notable story we have in the Book of Martyrs, of one Gardiner, though we un∣dertake not to justifie his practice as allowable in an ordinary way, he being but a private man, yet there were little questi∣on to be made of it had he been a Magistrate: He being a Mer∣chant in Portugall, seeing the Cardinall offering the Hoast, though it were in the presence of the King and his Nobles, yet he runs to him and snatches it out of his hand, and throws it under his feet; if the King himself had done this, who would have condemned it?

[ 10] Notwithstanding any mans conscience, he may be kept from endangering the salvation of others, no mans conscience can set him at liberty to hurt other.

Those who strengthen others in dangerous soule-damning principles, may be taken from them, the light of Nature teaches it.

[ 11] In some cases, a private man may himselfe use violence to restraine men from evill; if a man should come to seduce my wife, or childe, in a matter I know will endanger their souls, if I could have no help by the Magistrate, I might if I had pow∣er keep him off: And what I might do by mine own strength, in case there were no Magistrate, I may call in the help of a Magistrate to do for me, when there is a Magistrate.

But you will say,* you speak all this while of the restraint of men from dangerous grosse evils; but what if the evils be of lesse moment, can there be nothing done to men for the re∣straining them from such?

Ye,* a man may be put to some trouble in those wayes of [ 13] evill, that his conscience puts him upon, so farre as to take off the wantonnesse of his spirit, and the neglect of meanes: In times of liberty there is very great wantonnesse in mens spirits, they stand as in an equall ballance to receive truth or errour; every little thing casts the ballance in many mens spirits, as interest in a friend, esteem from such men of repute in some, in others the credite they conceive there is in being able to speake further to a businesse then other men, to have a further insight into it then others, and a thousand the like; now to help against such temptions, if there be some trou∣ble Page  37 laid in the way, of that which is apparently evill, so as men shall see there is something to be suffered in that way; if there be no more graines of trouble then may help against this wantonnesse and neglect of meanes, I see no reason why any should be offended at this; indeed if there be a mistake, and the trouble be put into the wrong scale, if it be layd in the way of truth, let the sinne be upon those who dare ven∣ture upon their mistakes; or if so much be put into the scale as will not ballance only against wantonnesse, and neglect of meanes, but will be a sore temptation to decline the trueth, and rather embrace that which is evill, then to endure so much trouble; this is very displeasing to God: If a man be a∣sleep at a Sermon, his friend may pull his hand, yea he will not be offended though he give him a nip perhaps: but if he should strike him with a staffe on the head, so as to make the blood come, or cut his flesh with his knife, this would not be borne.

One step I think may be gone farther. Suppose a man be not [ 14] wanton, but serious, and neglect no meanes to informe his consci∣ence, and yet hee cannot yeeld, what shall bee done to such a man?

Though such a man should be dealt with in much tender∣nesse and love,* yet in such things as by his weaknesse he makes himselfe lesse serviceable to the Common-wealth, or Church, then other men, who have more strength; he may be denyed some priviledges and benefits that are granted to others. I instance in that opinion of some Anabaptists, who deny the lawfulnesse of War; suppose their consciences after much seriousnesse in the use of means, cannot be satisfied; yet seeing by this error of theirs they are made lesse usefull in the State then others, they should not think it much though they be denyed many priviledges and accommodations that are granted to others, who venture their lives for the preserva∣tion of the State. If a mans body be weak, he cannot help it, yet by it he is not so usefull as others, why should he think much that he hath not whatsoever others by strength are able to attain to? Suppose a man should have such a principle in his conscience, that the K. hath an absolute arbitrary power; though it be his conscience, yet by it he is disinabled from Page  38 imployment and preferment in places of trust. So for the Church, suppose the government of it by Prelats had been lawfull, (which now we know was not) there had been no evill in denying to those who in conscience could not submit to it, their preferments of Deanries and Prebends, and the like.

But lest what I say in this should be abused, you must under∣stand this denyall of places of profit or honour to men, because of that which their consciences will not suffer them to yeeld to, onely such places, as the tendernesse of their consciences in such a point makes them unfit to manage, if because their conscien∣ces differ from you in one thing, you will take advantage against them in other things that have no dependance upon that wherein they differ from you, and make them suffer in those things too, you now (to say no worse) begin to grow neare to a way of per∣secution and tyrannie over your brethren, which Christ, is dis∣pleased with. Wee accounted it in the Bishops not neare, but come up to tyrannie and persecution, when they would not suf∣fer such as could not conforme to their Church-discipline and Ceremonies, not so much as to teach children the Grammar, or to practise Physicke, or to preach Christ in places where there was no preaching, but people lived in darkenesse, perishing for want of knowledge. What dependance had these things upon their discipline and Ceremonies, supposing they had been right? Yes, they would fo∣ment their errours by this meanes.

But seeing there was no dependance between their errours,* (if you wil call them so) & these things, to deny the Church and Common-wealth the benefit of the gifts and graces of men, upon such a pretence that they will abuse their liber∣ty, wee thought it was hard dealing, yea no lesse then per∣secution.

Suppose a man differs from his brethren in point of Church-Discipline, must not this man have a place in an Ar∣my therefore? Though he sees not the reason of such a Dis∣cipline in the Church, yet God hath endued him with a spirit of volour, and he understands what Military Discipline means; must he not have a place in a Colledg to teach youth Logick and Philosophy? may be not preach Jesus Christ to poor ignorant creatures? if you feare he will divulge his o∣pinions, Page  39 surely some other course may be taken whereby he may suffer as much as such a fault comes to; but therefore to deprive Church and State of what abilities God has given him, which might be very usefull to them, and that before a∣ny such fault is committed, for fear it may be committed; the softest word I have to expresse my self against this, is, It is very hard dealing with your Brethren.

I have now gone to the uttermost line I can in shewing what is to be done to a man that pleads his conscience in things which we conceive are not right: I would now speak a word or two to men who have to deal with their brethrens consciences, and then to those who plead their consciences for their freedome.

To the first.* Let those who have to deale with mens con∣sciences, [ 1] first take heed they do not vilifie and slight mens consciences, do not scorn at the plea of their consciences. What, this is your conscience? your conscience forsooth will not suffer you. Woe to them who offend one of these little ones; it were better that a mil-stone were hanged about his necke, and he were cast into the bottome of the Sea, Matth. 18. 6. It is his conscience, and perhaps better informed then thine, and more tender; thou hast it may be a corrupt con∣science, thy conscience is broke by thy sinning against it, or otherwise it is loose or benummed, no quicknesse in it, thou canst swallow down greater matters, therefore thou wonde∣rest at those who are so nice-conscienced, who stand upon small matters; what if at the great day Christ shall own these to be truly conscientious, and honour them for obeying the voyce of their consciences in small things, for not daring to offend them in any thing, where wilt thou appear? what is like to become of thee then? Or if their consciences be weak, not rightly inform'd, yet Christ expects thou shouldst seek to heal, to strengthen them, not to jeer and scorn them; that fearfulnesse of theirs to offend Christ, though in the par∣ticular they may be mistaken, shall be accepted, when thy boldness and ventrousness in taking thy liberty shall appear to be thy folly.

2. Take heed in your dealings with such, you make them not [ 2] suffer more then Christ would have them suffer; do not abuse Page  40 your power over them, so as to cause them to complaine justly to God of conscience-oppression; Conscience-oppres∣sion is the most fearefull oppression; of all the cryes in the world, the cryes caused by it come up most swiftly to God. When an oppressed soule shall get alone, and make his moane to God;* Oh, Lord, thou who knowest the secrets of all hearts, thou knowest the desires of my soule in uprightnesse to know thy will; I can freely and comfortably appeale to thee. Thou knowest what a sad affliction it is to mee, that my judgement should be different from my brethrens, whose parts and graces I prize farre beyond mine owne. Thou knowest also there is no meanes for further Reforma∣tion, but I have been willing to make use of it as I was able, and what ever other helpe thou shalt make knowne to mee, I am ready to make use of it, that I may not be led aside into errour: and if thou wilt be pleased to reveale thy minde further to me, I am ready to submit to it. I should account it a greater happinesse then all the comforts in the world can afford, to know what thy minde is in such and such things; but Lord, as yet I cannot doe this thing, except I should sinne against thee, thou knowest it: yet thou knowest also, that I desire to walke humbly and peaceably with my brethren, and in all meekenesse, submissenesse, and quietnesse of spirit, toge∣ther with all diligence, I will waite till thou shalt further reveale thy minde to me. But Lord, in the meane time I find rigid dealing from my brethren; their spirits are imbittered, their speeches are hard, their wayes tomards me are harsh, yea Lord there is violence in them; Lord, thou knowest my spirit is not such as to need any such carriage of my brethren towards me; I am not conscious to my selfe (no not when I set my selfe most solemnly in thy presence) of stifnesse, wilfulnesse in my way; the least beame of light from thee, would presently turne my spirit what way thou wouldst have it goe.

Such a moan to God would prove a sadder business against such as shall occasion it, then if such men had strength and spirits to answer bitternesse, harshnesse, and violence, with bitternesse, harshnesse, and violence.

[ 1] Let me also on the other side speak to them who plead their consciences.*

First, take heed you rest not in this as an empty plea, setting it as a Bulwark against any thing that shal be said to you: why, Page  41 it is my conscience, and who hath to do with my conscience? and so think you need look no farther, nor give any other ac∣count to your Brethren then this: This is to abuse your con∣science, and the indulgence of God, and the respect he would have men shew to the consciences of his people; this is a hard∣ning conscience against the truth, no true tenderness of it.

Secondly, If Conscience be such a thing as none must have [ 2] the power over it but God, such a thing wherein thou hast to deal so much with God, thou hadst need keep it very clean; it is above all creatures, next to God, take heed of defiling it, oh keep it pure: Unclean consciences are good enough to pro∣strate to men, but consciences reserved for God need be kept unspotted and very clean. Doves love white houses, the holy Ghost loves a pure conscience.

Thirdly, thou wilt have none to commaud thy conscience, [ 3] let conscience then command thee; if thou wilt rebell against thy conscience, it is just with God to suffer men to tyrannize over thy conscience. When you complain of men seeking to have power over your consciences, lay your hand upon your heart, and say, Have not I rebelled against my conscience? I have resisted the power of it over me, just therefore it is that others should seeke to bring it under their power.


They who are for a Congregationall way, doe not hold absolute liber∣ty for all Religions.

BUt for all that hath been said, Are there not yet a sort of men, who though they would colour over things, & put fair glosses upon their opinions and ways, saying they would not have such an absolute liberty as to have all religions suf∣fered, yet do they not come near this in their tenets and pra∣ctise?* Doe not men in a Congregationall way take away all Ecclesiastical means that should hinder such an absolute liber∣ty as this? for they hold, every congregation hath sole Church power within it selfe, and they are not tyed to give any ac∣count to others, but meerly in an arbitrary way, will not this Page  24 bring in a toleration of all Religions, and a very Anarchy

First,* I know none holds this, and how farr men in a con∣gregationall way are from it, shall appear presently.

In the clearing of this thing, I shall not argue for one side or other, I shall only shew you that there is in effect as much means to prevent or subdue error, heresie, schisme in the con∣gregationall way, (which you call by another name) as there is in that way, other Brethren endeavour to hold forth. I am not here to plead what is right, what is wrong, but onely to shew you the difference is not great, so far as concernes this thing; what one holds, the same the other holds in effect; if this be done with clearness, then the great out-cry against that way, as fomenting divisions by opening a gap to all kind of liberty, will I hope be stilled, and your hearts in some mea∣sure satisfied. I confesse were it, as many of you are made to believe, that that way gives liberty, or at least hath no helpe against all errors & heresies, it must be acknowledged it were a means of most fearfull divisions, and in no case to be tole∣rated. But certainly you will find it far otherwise. This ar∣gument I am now about, (namely, how far Brethren agree in a matter of so great moment, and in that which they are by some thought most to disagree in, and their disagreement most feared, as a matter of dangerous consequence) I know cannot be an unpleasing argument to you, although we can∣not be ignorant that there is a generation of men that are vex∣ed when they hear how near their brethren come to them in way of agreement, it serves more for their turns to have the distance wide, they would keep open the wounds, yea widen them, but God forbid there should be such a spirit in you.

Wherefore for your help in this thing, these two things are to be premised.

1. That the only way the Church hath to keep downe er∣rors or heresies is spirituall; as for other means they are ex∣trinsicall to the Church; this all acknowledge: as for subje∣ction to the Magistrate, if he pleases to interpose, to that both they and we must yeeld.

2. The vertue of spiritual power works not upon the out∣ward man, by its prevailing upon conscience; therefore so far as men are conscientious, so far it works, and no farther.

Page  43 Now then see what difference there is in the Congregationall way from the Presbyterian, for the prevailing with mens Consciences, to reduce to the trueth those who goe astray from it.

First, Those in the Congregationall may acknowledg that [ 1] they are bound in conscience to give account of their ways to Churches about them, or to any other who shall require it; this is not in an arbitrary way, but as a duty that they owe to God and man.

Secondly, they acknowledge that Synods of others Minist∣ers [ 2] and Elders about them are an ordinance of Jesus Christ for the helping the Church against errors, schismes, and scan∣dals.

3ly. That these Synods may by the power they have from [ 3] Christ admonish men or Churches in his name, when they see evils continuing in, or growing upon the Church, and their admonitions carry with them the authority of Jesus Christ.

Fourthly, as there shall be cause, they may declare men or [ 4] Churches to be subverters of the faith; or otherwise accord∣ing to the nature of the offence, to shame them before all the Churches about them.

5ly. They may by a solemn act in the name of Jesus Christ [ 5] refuse any further communion with them, till they repent.

Sixtly, they may declare, and that also in the name of [ 6] Christ, that these erring people or Churches are not to be re∣ceived into fellowship with any the Churches of Christ, nor to have communion with one another in the ordinances of Christ. Now all this being done in Christs name, is this no∣thing to prevail with conscience?

You will say, What if they care not for all this?

That is as if you should say, What if they be not conscienti∣ous?* What if nothing can prevaile with conscience?

I demand, what can any Church-power do more to work upon mens conscience for the reducing them from evill?

You will say, They may doe all this with more authority then the Congregationall way will allow.

We need not contend about the word Authority: But, how* much higher is an act of authority in the Church, then for the Officers of Christ to act in the name of Christ?

Page  44 If you say, private Brethren may admonish, and declare in the Name of Christ.

This is more then if any private Brethren should doe the same thing; for a Synod is a solemne Ordinance of Christ, and the Elders are to be looked on as the Officers of Jesus Christ.

But our Brethren say, There is one meanes more in their way then the Congregationall way hath, that is, if the sixe former will not worke, then Synods may deliver to Satan.

In this very thing lies the very knot of the controversie be∣tween those who are for the Presbyteriall, and those who are for the Congregationall way, in reference to the matter in hand, namely the means to, reducing from, or keeping out er∣rours and heresies from the Church, in this lyes the dividing businesse; But I beseech you consider what a punctum we di∣vide here, and judg whether the cause of division in this thing be so great as there can be no help, and whether if an evil spi∣rit prevail not amongst us, we may not joyne; For,

First, consider, what is there in this delivering to Satan? which is a seventh thing that our Brethren thinke may hope∣fully prevail with mens consciences, when the sixe former cannot.

Yes, say they, for by this they are put out of the King∣dome of Christ into the Kingdome of Satan, and this will terifie.

This putting out of Christs Kingdome must be understood, clave non errante, if the Synod judges right, not otherwise; Yes, this is granted by all.

Then consider, whether this be not done before, and that with an authority of Christ by those former six things; for Hereticall Congregations, or persons are judged and declared in a solemn Ordinance, by the Officers of Christ gathered to∣gether in his name, to be such as have no right in any Church-ordinance, to have no communion with any of the Churches of Christ: Now if this judgement be right, are not such persons or Congregations put out of the Kingdome of Christ, and put under the power of Sathan consequent∣ly?

Page  45 But they are not formally and juridically delivered up to Satan?*

What?* shall we still divide, as to devour one another, for formality and juridically, when those termes are not at all in Scripture, seeing we agree not in the substance of the thing, which may as really and fully prevaile with conscientious men, as if formality were observed? especially, if we con∣sider,

Secondly, that it is a great question amongst our Brethren, whether this traditio Satanae were not Apostolicall, peculiar to the power of Apostles, so as ordinary Elders had it not: and if it prove so, then non-communion will prove the utmost censure the Church now hath.

But thirdly, if some brethren rise to a seventh degree, and others stay at six, which yet have such a power over conscience, that if they prevaile not, the seventh is no way likely to pre∣vaile: Why should not the Apostles rule quiet us all, Phil. 3. 15, 16. whereunto we have already attained, let us walke by the same rule: If in any thing you be otherwise minded, God will reveale even this unto you. If we have attained but to six, and our brethren have attained to seven, let us walk together lovingly to the six; If God shall after reveal the seventh (we will promise to pray and study in the mean time) wee shall walke with them also: why must it needs be now urged with violence, so as to divide else? and although we hold not the seventh, yet there is an ingredient in the sixt, that hath in it the strength of the seventh? For wherein lyes the strength of the seventh above the rest? is it not in this? that it is the last meanes Christ hath appointed in his Church to worke upon the heart, this consideration hath much terrour in it: Now those in the Congregationall way say, that this is fully in the sixt, wherefore that it is as terrible to their consciences as the seventh can be to the consciences of our brethren, and that up∣on the same ground.

And consider now, my Brethren, whether the Congregatio∣nall way be such, as if it be suffered, there will be no helpe to reduce an erring or hereticall Church, but all Religions, Arrianisme, Mahumetisme, any thing must be suffered. Surely men doe not deale fairly, in raising such mighty accusations Page  46 upon such poor and weak grounds; this great aspersion, and huge out-cry, that these men would have all religions suffer∣ed, and in that way, there is no help against any Heriticall Congregations, moulders and vanishes away before you.

Let no man yet say, All this that hath been said is no∣thing.

If you be conscientious who hear them say so, your owne breasts must needs suggest an answer; surely these things would be very much to me, to prevaile with my consci∣ence.

But what if Congregations refuse to give account of their wayes? what if they will not shew so much conscientiousnesse, as to regard admonitions, declaring against them, withdrawing communion from them?

So we may say,* what if they will not regard your delive∣ring them up to Satan, but will go on still?

You will say then, you will complain to the Magistrate, his power must come in to assist, to make them regard what the Church doth.

But now you have no further help from any intrinsicall power the Church hath;* and as for subjection to the Magi∣strate, there we are upon equall ground, if he will interpose, he may assist and second the sentence of judging men subvert∣ers of faith, of withdrawing communion from them in the one, as well as the sentence of giving men up to Satan in the other; and we must still be subject here to suffer what is inflicted, if we cannot do what is required; onely we do not go so far as some do, in this one thing, whereas they lay a Law upon the consciences of Magistrates, that they are bound to assist with their power the decrees of the church, taking cognisance only of the fact of the Church, that they have thus decreed, not enquiring into the nature of the things, we dare not lay any such bond upon the Magistrates conscience.

But say, that he is to assist the Church both upon the know∣ledg of what the Church hath done, and the knowledg of the nature of the thing, seeing every private man hath this power to be judg of his own act, it were a great misery upon those who have power over men, to be denyed this power.

Page  47 If it shall be said, But surely they do not agree so far, they do not come up to these six things mentioned. To that I an∣swer, I do not in these deliver only mine own judgment, but by what I know of the judgments of all those Brethren with whom I have occasion to converse by conference both before and since; I stand charged to make it good to be their judge∣ments also; yea, it hath been both theirs and mine for divers years, even then when we never thought to have enjoyed our our own Land again; and if it be so, then let the Lord be judg between us and our Brethren, for those lowd and griev∣ous out-cryes there hath been against us in this thing.

But if the difference be so little, why doe they not come in?

We come as far as we have light to guide us, we dare not step one step in the dark; if we do, we shall certainly fall in∣to sin; whatsoever else we fall into, what ever the thing be to others, it would be our sin, if there were no other reason, but because we venture in the dark. We sayl up to our Bre∣thren as far as we can see the Line of Truth, and beyond it we dare not venture in the least.

The controversie is not about little or great trouble, or in∣convenience; if it were, such a charge might well make us blush, the inconvenience or trouble is little, yet a few men wil not yeeld to their Brethren, who are many, for peace sake, but the controversie is about sin: now whether that be little or great, the difference cannot but remain, if one part shall urge upon another that which to them is sin, as to acknow∣ledg any one thing to be a power of Christ, which he cannot see Christ hath owned in his word, must needs be; therefore the way to peace, is not the necessity of coming up one to another, because the thing is little, but the louing, and peace∣able, and brotherly carriage of one towards another, because the difference is but small.

Page  48


The third dividing Principle, That nothing which is conceived to be evill, is to be suffered.

THis is the other extream; some think all things should be suffered, and they are loose, and cause divisions on the one hand; others thinke nothing is to be suffered, and these are rigid, and cause divisions on the other hand; If any thing be conceived evil, either in opinion or practise, if instructions and perswasions cannot reform, there must be means used to compell: This is a harsh and a sowr Principle, a disturbing Principle to Churches and States, to mankind. This Princi∣ple seldome prevails with any but those who have got power into their hands, or hope to get it. This must needs be a di∣viding Principle.

[ 1] First, because of the infinite variety of mens apprehensions about what is good or evill, scarce three men agree any long time in their apprehensions of some things to be evil; if then nothing that is conceived to be evill must be suffered, there must needs be continuall opposition between man and man.

[ 2] This subjects the generality of men to suffer for many things which they can see no evill in, but are perswaded is good; this raises an animosity against those by whom they suf∣fer; though a man can subject his body and estate to another, he cannot subject his reason to another: In the common ways of justice men are punished for those things, which if they be guilty of, they cannot but acknowledg themselves to be wor∣thy of punishment, as in Theft, Murder, Drunkennesse, &c. And for the fact, they are tryed in such a way, as they cannot but acknowledg is fit in reason to be subjected to; and there∣fore, though they suffer much, yet they will yeeld it with∣out disturbance.

But if this Principle prevails, every man almost is made ly∣able to punishment for thousands of things that he can see no reason why he should be punished: It is very hard to bring mens spirits to yeeld in such things.

Page  49But you will say, May not men be punished for things that they see no reason why they should be punished? for many malefactors may easily escape thus; guilt will quickely blind men, they will see no rea∣son why they should be punished.

It is not what men say they see no reason for,* or what it may be they indeed see no reason for; but what men cannot see reason for, though they should bend their understandings, and strength to the uttermost; yea, what the generality of man kind, and of that community of which a man is, cannot possibly see reason for, it is impossible for the generality of mankind, & the community of any Church or State, though they should be never so diligent to find out what is good, and what is evill, yet to be able to understand every thing that is evill, to be so.

If you will have laws made against all things, that such as are in authority conceive to be evill, then you must give them power to judge, not only by the rules of common justice and equity, and punish for the breach of them, but by the appre∣hensions that their own raised parts shall suggest unto them, and to punish men for not being raised to that height of un∣derstanding themselves have; but this power is more then is fit to be given to any men upon earth. This would bring ty∣ranny both in State and Church.

For first,* from whence is the rise of all Civill Power that any man, or society of men, are invested with? is it not from the generality of the men, over whom they have power? Is it not the power which they themselves had, and which they might have kept amongst themselves? For who can say, that a Democracy is a sinfull Government in it selfe? True, God establishes it upon particular men by his Ordinance, after it is given to them by the people, but the first rise is from them; and if so, then they should make no law to bring those men under punishment, who gave them their power, but such a Law as these men may possibly come to understand, to be e∣quall and just, for they act their power: and it must be suppo∣sed, that they never intended to give a power beyond this. Those who give power, may limit power; they may give part to one, part to another; they may limit the matter about wchPage  50 the power shall be exercised, it shall goe so far, and no fur∣ther; the utmost limits cannot goe beyond these rules of Ju∣stice which they are capable to understand. Hence it is, that all men in our Law, are tryed Per pares, by their Peers, be∣cause it is to be supposed, that they are to be accounted of∣fenders and to be punished; only so as those who are equall with themselves, shall judg them worthy; and this likewise is the reason that Courts are in publique, no man is to be shut out, because all men that will may behold the tryall, and ju∣stifie the proceedings of Justice against offenders: It must needs be supposed then, that the rules by which the Judges go, must be the rules of common equity and justice, that all men may understand; beyond what these rules will reach to, the Ci∣vill State is not to punish, not every thing that men of deep judgements and strong parts, may apprehend to be evill.

The power of the Church likewise extends not to the pu∣nishment of every thing, that either may by the Governours of it, be conceived to be evill, or that is indeed evill.

As the rise of the Civil power shews, that only such things are to be punished by it, as are against the common rules of Justice and Equity; so the rise of Church power will shew, that only such things as are against common rules, such things as some way or other appeare to be against conviction, and are obstinately persisted in, are by Church censure to be punished.

The rise of Church power is indeed different from the rise of the Civill, yet agrees in this, that it limits the Church, as the rise of the Civill doth the Civill power. The power of Governors in the State arises from the people, and they act their power that the Common-wealth gives to them: But the Governours of the Church have not their power from the members of the Church, but from Christ; neither do they act in the name of the Church, but in the name of Christ. It is true, the Members of the Church do design such men to such an Office; but being designed, now they are invested with the power of Jesus Christ, they exercise his power, and do act in his name, not in the name of the Church.

Page  51 You will say, seeing the Church chooseth their Officers as well as the Common-wealth theirs: How doth it appeare, that the Officers of the Church doe not exercise the power of the Church, as well as the Officers of the Common-wealth, the power of the Com∣mon-wealth?

These two things shew the difference clearly.*

First, The Officers of the Common-wealth can do nothing [ 1] by their power, but that which the Common-wealth may do without them, if they were not; they might have kept their Government in a Democracy, and if they had pleased, done any act of power by a major vote: But it is not so in the Church; if the Church be without Officers, they cannot doe that which belongs to Officers to do, they can have no Sacra∣ments amongst them, neither can they have any spirituall ju∣risdiction exercised amongst them; only brotherly admoni∣tion, and with-drawing from such as walk disorderly, for their own preservation.

2ly. The members of the Church cannot limit the power [ 2] of their Officers, so as the Common-wealth may the power of their: but if once a man be chosen to be an Officer in the Church, all that power that ever any in that Office had since Christs time, in any Church in all the christian world, or ever can have to the coming of Christ again, falls upon him: If a man be chosen a Pastor, he hath as full power as ever any Pa∣stor had upon the face of the earth, or can have by any Pasto∣rall power: The Church cannot limit him, and say, You shall be a Pastor for such ends and purposes, but no further: The same may be said of the ruling, none upon earth ever had, or can have more power of ruling, then this man who is chosen into that Office. It is not thus in the State, all Kings have not the like power; in some Countries Kingly power reacheth so far, in others further, according to the va∣riety of the Lawes of the Countries, the agreements between them and the people: all Dukes, all States, all Parliaments have not the same power.

Now then, the rise of the power of Church-governors ri∣sing from Jesus Christ, and they doing what they doe in the Name of Christ, therefore they cannot punish any evill be∣yond what Christ would have punished.

Page  52You will say, What evills would Christ have punished, and what not?

Christ would have no evill punished that is repented of;* if it be a known evill, then it must be repented of particularly; if it be a 〈◊〉 of ignorance, Christ forgives it upon a generall repentance, although a man should never be convinced of it all his dayes; Yet, says Christ, I discharge him of all these, supposing the rise of his ignorance be not some wilfull neg∣lect: But if it be a sinn committed through wilfulnesse, or continued in obstinately, then sayes Christ, I will have this man smart for such an offence; now comes in the power of the Church-officers, to doe in the Name of Christ what he would have done: But if they goe further, then they exercise a tyrannicall power, if they will punish every thing which they conceive to be evill, whether committed through ig∣norance and weaknesse, or wilfulnesse and obstinacy, in this they take upon them a higher power of punishing then Christ (according to the tenor of the Gospel) exercises. For my part, sayes Christ, I goe but thus far with my power; If I see any of my Church sin through weaknesse and ignorance, la∣bouring to understand and do my will, and mourning that they know no more, they do no better, I wil passe by all; but if any shall appear wilfull and obstinate, I will deale severely with such a one.

If you say, If men have meanes of knowledge and strength, and yet continue ignorant and weake, should not such be dealt with as wilfull and obstinate?

No,* says Christ, I do not goe by any such rule, for I have revealed my will in my Word, I labour by my Spirit and Mi∣nisters to convince men, yet I see after all meanes I use, there are many, who meerly through their weaknesse are not con∣vinced, I pitty them, I deal gently with them, I pardon them. Those then who will go further, they will punish for every evill; and if they use means to convince them, and they be not convinced, they will judge them obstinate, and proceed against them accordingly; these challenge and exercise not the power of Christ, but Antichrist. If Christ should deale so with them, as they deal with their brethren, it would go ill with them; If Christ should say, whatsoever I see evil in you, Page  53 I will not suffer it in you; if you are ignorant notwithstand∣ing means of light, I will deal with you as wilfull and obsti∣nate, and never leave inflicting punishment upon you, till you be convinced, and do reform; could any of you stand be∣fore Christ dealing thus with you? Take heed of exercising that power over your Brethren (and that in Christs name) that you would not have Christ exercise over you.

Both the Civill State and Church must take us as wee are faln from that integrity of our first creation, not as we came first out of Gods hands: God the Creator may (indeed) pu∣nish us for not knowing or doing what is our duty to know or do, because he once made us perfect; but Man must not do so, Man must deal with his fellow-creatures, as men imper∣pect; one man cannot require of another that perfection not only of heart, but of externall conversation, that God may, yea God-man our Mediator lookes upon us in a state of im∣perfection, and deals with us accordingly, and thus he would have all do who have to deale with his people in his name.

But you said before, All things must not be suffered; now you say, some things must be suffered: Tell us then what must not, and what must.

I am perswaded most of you yeeld to the falseness of both these dividing principles; you verily believe all things must not be suffered, and yet you think it were too harsh to affirm that nothing is to be suffered; only here lyes the difficulty, what must, and what must not be suffered. This hath been the unhappiness of pleading for toleration of any thing, yet of the very mention of it, that men presently cry out, and say, we would have every thing tolerated.

I confesse it is very hard to cut here right in the joynt; were I sure that none would blame or oppose what I shall deliver in this; but those who are willing to interess themselves in such a knotty business as this, and to be helpfull to us in the understanding how to untye such a knot, what ever such op∣posers should prove otherwise, I should not feare them for being too numerous.

What I have, I shall present unto you.

Page  54


Rules to know in what things wee are to beare with our Brethren.

[ 1] FIrst, though men be known to erre in judgment in things not fundamentall nor destructive; yet if after such know∣ledg of them, they would keep their judgments to themselves, so as not to hurt others, or disturb the peace; most men of moderate spirits, if not all, hold that such men are not to be punished either by Church or State: But though this be yeel∣ded to, yet the practices of many are against it, they have wayes to draw forth mens judgements, though they would conceal them, and when they have drawn them forth, they make them suffer for their judgments these 3. ways.

First,* by requiring men to subscribe to things which they suspect are against their judgements; they invent Articles, which if put to them, they know will pinch them, and draw forth their judgment, which when they come to know, they make them as Articles of Accusation against them. Surely such dealings as these are very harsh.

But you will say, Blessed be God, we hope we have done with forcing men to subscribe.

God grant that we never meddle with any thing answera∣ble to that tyranny;* heretofore we groaned under the draw∣ing out mens judgements, and then the punishing them for them.

[ 2] Secondly, if such things be put into oaths, which though a man should not hold in every clause, yet he may be godly, and a good Subject, and urge such oaths with violence under pe∣nalty, what is this but to punish a man for his judgment, though he would keep it to himself?

[ 3] 3ly. By propounding Questions to men, when they come to the choice of, or admission to any place of preferment, to draw forth their judgments, such questions as concerne not at all the qualification of men to such places, & then de∣ny them those places, either because they are unwilling to an∣swer; or if you will needs have them answer, they discover Page  55 their judgements different from yours, is not this to make men suffer for their judgments, though they would live peace∣ably, keeping them to themselves? Here is not that suffering of Brethren that Christ would have.

2ly. In things controversall and doubtfull amongst godly [ 2] and peaceable men, though there should be a declaration of difference of judgment, and some different practice, yet there is to be a forbearance of compulsory violence; we must not be to one another in such things as these are, as that Gyant we read of, who laid upon a bed all he took, and those who were too long, he cut them even with his bed, and such as were too short, he stretched them out to the length of it. Ve∣rily this is cruelty, God hath not made men all of a length nor height; mens parts, gifts, graces differ; mens tempers, ap∣prehensions, educations are various: and if there be no suffe∣ring one another in things not clear, all the world must need∣be quarrelling, there wil be strengthning interests, sidings and opposings one another continually, except not only mens bodies and estates, but their very souls also be brought under sordid slavery.

Our Brethren of Scotland writing against the tyranny of Prelats, when they were under it, in that Book, entituled En∣glish and Popish Ceremonies, have this passage: If the error of Con∣science be about things unnecessary, then it is tutior pars the surest & safest way, not to urge men to do that which in their consciences they condemne. And the Ministers of the Protestant Churches in France, giving their judgments, De pace inter Evangelicos procu∣randa, How peace amongst the Protestants in Germanie may be had, set forth by Duraeus, say thus:a Let all matters contro∣versal be brought into such a certain model, as may give satisfaction to both parties; and that if it be possible, framed out of the very words of Scripture: and let no man require any thing else of his brother. Zanc. in praecep. 4. hath this notable speech:b That which I say (says he) is diligently to be observed, that those who would stir up Princes to have all people, Kingdomes, Common-wealths, which (not Page  56 overthrowing the fundamentalls of Religion, differ from them in any thing) condemned of heresie, excluded from friendship, driven out of their territories, these are no friends, says he, either to their Princes or to the Church of Christ.

Many thinke they doe great service to Christ, the Church and State, if they can stir up Magistrates to suppress whatsoe∣ver they conceive are errors; it may be their hearts are upright in the main, they aym at peace, but certainly they cause much disturbance in Church and State.

Bishop Davenant in a little Book, entituled, His Exhortati∣on to brotherly love amongst Churches, the ninth Chap. hath this title,*that Brotherly communion between Churches Evangelicall, is not to be cut asunder, because of divers opinions about Questions con∣troversall. And in the beginning of the 10. Chapter, This is to be premised, The bonds of the brotherly communion of Christian Churches ought not to be dissolved upon every difference of opinions, but only for the denying or opposing Fundamentals. Here see the mo∣deration of a Prelate.

Thus Cyprian of old delivered his opinion,*and practised it accordingly, differing from many of his brethren, but with∣all professeth, That he meant not to prescribe or give Lawes to a∣ny; that he would not contend with any of his Collegues, so as to breake divine concord, and the peace of our Lord; that he was farre from judging or censuring any of his Brethren, or cutting off from his communion any that were of a different minde; and that in such case none ought to constraine his Collegue by tyrannicall violence, (therein glancing at the violent proceeding of Stephen to whom he wrote) to a necessity of believing or following what he thinks meet.*This modesty and charity of Cyprian is very of∣ten and very deservedly commended by St. Augustine, says D. Potter, an Episcopall man.

That this may go down the better, or at least that mens spi∣rits may be in some measure moderated, take these following Considerations.

Page  57 First, this contending about every difference of opinion, & [ 1] urging our Brethren with what we conceive right, in matters of controversie, crosseth the end of Christ in his Administrati∣on of differing gifts to his Church, and humane society, and his revealing truths in a different way, some more darkely, some more clearly; Christ could easily have given such gifts to all, or revealed all truths so clearly, that every man should have been able to have seen every truth. Surely Christ did not disperse gifts, and reveal truths so differently, to that end, that there might be continual matter of strife and contention in his Church, and in humane societies; not that there should be provocation to the exercise of cruelty one upon another, but rather that there might be the exercise of love, charity, forbearance, meekness, long-suffering of one towards ano∣ther; Christ bids us, charges us to be at peace amongst our selves. If we should say, O Lord Jesus, wouldst thou have us be at peace one with another? there are many things in thy Word, that we and our Brethren have different apprehensions of; for though (blessed be thy Name) the great necessary things of salvation be clearly revealed, yet many other things are so dark to us, that through our weakness we cannot all of us see the same thing. Now is it thy mind, O blessed Saviour, that one man, who conceives himself to understand the truth, (and that it may be rightly) compell another to his judge∣ment? And dost thou also require, that wee must not bring our judgments to our Brethrens till thy light brings them? How then is it possible that we should be at peace one with a∣nother?

Do not all Divines say, There are some things in Scripture wherein the Elephant may swimm, some things where the Lamb may wade? matters of Discipline are acknowledged by all, not to be revealed with such clearnesse, but that truly conscientious, upright, diligent men may not be able in ma∣ny things to see the mind of Christ in them. And to what end hath Christ done this think you.

2ly. Compulsion in such things as we are speaking of, is to [ 2] straine Justice so high, as to make it summa justitia, which is the degeneration of it: As Physitians say of the uttermost degree of health, it is a beginning of sickness: If Justice be Page  58 wound up a peg too high, it breaks: Though Justice were to be managed by the most holy, wise, self-denying, and meek men upon the earth, yet there would be much danger in win∣ding it up to the highest; for it is administred by men full of infirmities, to men full of infirmities, therefore God will not have it strained too high, he will rather have charity to be a∣bove Justice, then Justice to be above charity. This I have out of Luther, though he was a man of a fiery spirit, he could tell how to contend where there was cause; yet in an Epistle that he writes to the Divines of Norimberg,* upon occasion of dis∣sentions risen amongst them, he hath this passage, Judgement must serve, not rule over charity; otherwise it is one of those four things that Solomon says troubles the earth, namely, a servant ruling, or the Maid heire to her Mistresse; if therefore you would have peace sayes he, charity must rule over justice, you must not suffer justice to rule over charity.

3ly. If men goe upon this principle, they will be in dan∣ger of opposing truth as well as falshood, and compelling to falshood as well as to truth; for in matters doubtful & contro∣versal amongst good and peaceable men, it is not easie to have any such grounded confidence, as to be out of all danger of mistake; there is more confidence needfull in a thing that we impose upon others, then in what we practice our selves; If a thing be to us rather true then otherwise, we may lawfully do it; but this is not enough to be a ground for the imposing it upon others, who cannot see it to be a truth; in such a case we had need be very sure. The weak drislings of our probabilities, guesses, & opinions, are not enough to cause the stream of a∣nother mans conscience to stop▪ yea to turne its course ano∣ther way; especially considering, that in such things we have oftentimes misgiving thoughts our selves; yea, and not long since we were confident, that what wee now condemne was true; and what we now are ready to enjoyn others, we then did as confidently condemn. There must be great care taken, that when we seek to pluck up tares, wee plucke not up the wheat also; this may be understood of things, of truths and falshoods, as wel as of persons; we may be mistaken in the one as well as in the other. Pluck not up the tares. Christ does not sorbid casting out any wicked men from the Church; but as Page  59Hierome hath it, in those Countries tares were very like the wheat; therfore take heed, says Christ, what you do in pluck∣ing up; when you have to deale with men whose condition is any way doubtful, be sure they be hypocrites, or else meddle not with them, do not pluck them up upon every surmise, be∣cause you think they are not right, for then you may pluck up a wheat as well as a tare, he may prove to be a godly man; therefore you had better let tares grow; If you do but thinke that such men are not right, you were better let them conti∣nue in the Church, then by venturing upon them, to be in danger to pluck up the wheat.

Thus in respect of things good or evill, there are some things apparently evill, they are rather thistles and bryers, then tares, we may freely pluck up them; but other things, though perhaps they may prove evil, yet they have some like∣ness to good, so as you can hardly discern whether they be good or evill. Now saith Christ, take heed what you do then, do not out of eagerness oppose all evill, to get out every tare, pluck out some wheat too; what if that you oppose with vi∣olence as evill, prove to be good? you had better let forty tares stand, then pluck up one wheat.

Fourthly, If men take this power upon them, to compell [ 4] men to do whatsoever they conceive good, and to deny or forbear whatsoever they conceive evil, they take more power upon them then ever the Apostles took. The government of the Saints under the Apostles, was a great deale more milde, sweet, gentle then this. The rule the Apostles went by, Phil. 3. 15. was, Let therefore as many as be perfect be thus minded; and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveale even this unto you; neverthelesse, whereunto wee have already attained, let us walke. If any should be otherwise minded then I or the other Apostles, God will reveale it in due time, we will not force him,* only let us walke up to what we have attained. This rule, Zanchy, saith Augustine, would repeat a thousand time; and Chrisostome hath a good note upon this place, he does not say, God will bring them to it, if they be otherwise minded, but God wil reveal it, noting the love and goodness of God to those who are otherwise minded, excusing them that it was not through wickedness, but for want of know∣ledg Page  60 that they did otherwise, Acts 15. where the Apostles and Elders were met together, the furthest they would take upon themselves, was to lay no other burden but those necessary things. The false teachers put a yoke upon them, which was such a burthen, that neither they nor their fore-fathers could bear, v. 10. yet it was no juridicall authority that these had over them; surely the yoke they put upon them, in the judg∣ments of all was but doctrinall: But for us, say the Apostles, we finding what the mind of the Holy Ghost is, dare not yoke you as they did; all that we burden you with, is these neces∣sary things, no Church-officers, no Synod can go further then this, but certainly every matter in controversie amongst godly and peaceable men cannot be conceived to be necessary.

Rom. 14. is a very usefull place for this, Him that is weak in the faith receive, but not to doubtfull disputations; Receive him, though he understands not all you do; do not trouble him, neither with nor for doubtfull things: One believeth he may eate all things, another who is weake eateth herbes; let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not; neither let him that eateth not, judge him that eateth, vers. 5. One man esteemeth one day above another, another esteemeth every day alike; let every man be fully perswaded in his owne minde. Upon this he gives gene∣rall rules, to doe all to the glory of God; all these people were not in the right, for a man not to eate flesh out of con∣science, when the thing was not forbidden, certainly was a sin; or to make conscience of a holy day, which God requi∣red not, was a sinne: Now the Apostle did not come with his authority, and say, I will make you leave off keeping such days, or you shall eate, or to abstain thus as you do, is evill, and it must not be suffered in you. No, the Apostle lays no A∣postolicall authority upon them, but tells them, That every man must be fully perswaded in his own mind, in what he doth; and who art thou that judgest another mans servant? the Lord hath recei∣ved him. And yet the Governors of the Churches in the Pri∣mitive times might upon much stronger grounds have stood upon such a principle, then any Governours of the Church now can; there was lesse reason why they should suffer any difference in opinion or practice amongst them, then why we should suffer differences amongst us; for they had men a∣mongst Page  61 them immediately inspired, who could dictate the mind of Christ infallibly, they could tell them the certaine meaning of any Scripture. The burden of being under the de∣terminations of such men in points of differences, had not been so great as subjection to any Governors now in such ca∣ses would be; our differences are usually about the meaning of such or such Scriptures, in wch both sides think they have the right, & profess one to another, as in the presence of God the searcher of all hearts, that if they could but see the mean∣ing of such a Scripture to be so as their brethren believe it is, they would soon agree: and yet though there were in those Primitive times such meanes of reconciling differences more then we have, yet there was much mutual toleration amongst them; they used no compulsive violence to force those who through weakness differed from them, to come up to their judgments or practice. Yes, It is also more tolerable in Pa∣pists, not to tolerate any difference in opinion or practice, because First, they believe they have an infallible Judg to de∣cide all Controversies. 2ly. They hold implicite faith in the judgment of their Clergie, to be sufficient warrant to justifie the belief or practice of the people, or of any particular man, and yet they suffer differences in opinions and practices a∣mongst them; They have their severall orders of their Monks, Priests, Friars, Jesuites, they differ very much one from the o∣ther, and yet agreeing in the root, they are suffered, supposing those two helps to union; they have an infallible Judg, and implicite faith; wee have cause either to admire at their mo∣deration in their mutuall bearing one with another, or at the disquietness, the rigidness of spirits amongst us, who can∣not bear with far lesser things in their brethren differing from them; for we professe, we know no such externall in fallible Judg, upon whom we may depend; neither dare we warrant an implicite faith. We teach men, that every man must be per∣swaded in his own heart, must see the rule of his own actions, must give an account of his own way to God: now what can men that have the most gracious & peaceable spirits, you can imagine, doe in such a case? Before they believe or do what their brethren believe or do, they must see the authority of the Word to ground their faith or actions; and for the present, Page  62 though sincerely willing to know Gods mind, and diligently laborious to search it out, yet they cannot see it: and yet ac∣cording to this sowr, rigid principle, they must be forced to it by violence, what is it but to command the full tale of brick to be brought in, where no straw can be had, if this be not? Straw might be had in Egypt by seeking for it; but here, after the most carefull and painfull seeking for it, yet it cannot be had.

[ 5] 5ly. By this principle, the finding out of much truth will be hindered; it will stifle mens gifts & abilities in arguing and discoursing about truths. We know fire is beaten out by stri∣king the flint. Although differences be very sad, yet the truth that comes to light by them, may recompence the sadnesse. You cannot beat out a place for a window to let in light, but you must endure some trouble; Children will think the house is pulling down, when the window is beating out, but the Father knows the benefit will come by it: he complains not that the dust and rubbish lies up and down in the house for a while, the light let in by it will recompence all. The trouble in the discussions of things by Brethren of different judgments may seem to be great, but either you or your posterity hereaf∣ter may see cause to blesse God for that light hath been, or may be let into the Churches by this meanes; men of mode∣rate spirits doe blesse God already. But if according to this principle, the governors of the Churches must suppress what∣soever they conceive not to be right, to what purpose should should there be arguing and discussing of severall judgements and severall ways?

You will say, Those who are the Governours, they, or those whom they call to consult with, may argue and discusse, but not others.

Is not this to deny the Church the benefit of the gifts and graces of thousands of others?* The Church may soon receive as much prejudice by this, as the trouble caused by some diffe∣rences comes to.

[ 6] Sixtly, This lays a great temptation to idleness and pride before the guides of the Church: Men are naturally subject to sloth, and may not this principle suggest such a temptation as this? What need we take care or pains to search into truths, to be able to convince gain-sayers, to cry things with strength Page  63 of Scripture & Reason, seeing we have power to compel men to yeeld to us? And men who can do least by Reason and Scripture, are many times strongest in their violence this way, this strength must come in to make up their other weaknesse. But it may be Conscience will not let them compell men pre∣sently; it will tell them they must seek first to convince men: but because the seeking to satisfie other mens consciences in things differing from us, is a troublesom work, the temptati∣on that this principle presents, may at least prevail thus far, that seeing besides means of conviction by arguing they have another help at hand to keep down error, namely, compul∣sory violence, making men who differ from them, to suffer for those things; therefore not to trouble themselves very much in the way of seeking to convince, but for their owne ease to rid their hands of such a burthensom work, to cast the trouble, and lay heavy burdens upon their brethren, this is easie for them to do, though hard for their brethren to suf∣fer; But the Tables may turn one day, wherein the sufferers shall have the greatest ease, & the inflicters the sorest burthen. But God forbid that their brethren should lay it upon them, though it were put into their power to do it.

The temptation to pride is not less, neither are mens hearts lesse prone to this. If it prevails, what domineering is there like to be of one over another, yea of some few over many? If they judg in things never so doubtful, all must yeeld, at least for their profession and practice. This is a great power to be given to men over men in matters of faith and godliness. This is Lording it over Gods inheritance. It is observable, when the Church was in the lowest condition, this power was high∣est; the power of making Canons in doubtful things to bind under penalties: And when this power was lowest, as in the Primitive times, then the Church was highest.

Seventhly, This will be a means to bring grosse ignorance [ 7] upon the face of the Churches & of the world: For, first, if men shall not be suffered to profess or practice otherwise then Governors in Church or State shall determine, they will not take pains to find out the truth themselves, but rather take things implicitely, wch is the easiest way; they wil think it to little purpose to take pains in examining things, when after Page  64 all is done, they must be bound up at least in their profession and practice, to what either is or shall be determined by those who have power of rule in their hands.

Our late Prelates designe was to bring in ignorance, that they might with the more freedom rule over us as they plea∣sed; and in nothing did they drive on this design more, then in the practice of this power, which they took to themselves to command things doubtful and controversall, and by vio∣lence to urge their commands upon people: by which, had their power continued, gross ignorance would soon have bin spread over the face of the land. From whence hath come the gross ignorance of Popery, but from the prevailing of this principle? By which the people have been brought in such subjection under their guides, that they have lost their under∣standings in the matters of Religion.

If it be said, But wee will take care that those men who shall be consulted withall, and those men who shall have power in their hands to determine, shall be wise, understanding, godly men, and then the danger will not be so great.

Suppose those men who for the present have such power,* have attained to the highest measure of of knowledg and god∣liness that can be imagined to be in any men upon the earth, yet the people are under this temptation, to neglect the gett∣ing of knowledg themselves; and it may be the rather, because those who are appointed to determine things, are so under∣standing and so conscientious; now these people growing ig∣norant; when these knowing and godly men who are now in place, shall be gone, who shall choose other in their places? I suppose it to be the opinion of most of you, and of the godly in the Kingdom, and in all Reformed Churches, that either the body of the Church, the people must choose their Officers, or at least, that none must be put upon them without their consent. Well then, if the people through the prevailing of the former temptations grow ignorant, is it not like they wil chuse such guiders and leaders as themselves are? or if they shall not chuse, yet their negative voyce will have such an in∣fluence into the choise, as it is very probable, that in a gene∣ration or two, blind guides will be brought in, and so the blind leading the blind. And when by this ignorance hath Page  65 prevailed and gotten head in the Church, there is almost an impossibility ever to get it out again; this brings men into the dark, and locks and bolts the doors upon them.

Hence men by pleading for this principle, may bring them∣selves and their posterity into greater bondage then they are aware; for although now while they have the power in their own hands, it may be well with them; yet hereafter others may have the power, and then it may prove ill enough; they may then complain of what they now plead for; though now the guides of the Church may be good and holy, yet they may live to see such a change, or at least their posterity, that such a principle acted by such men as they may be under, may wring them; yea, it is the more strange, that men should plead so much for this now, when as the soares of their neckes, cau∣sed by the bondage under it a while since, are scarce yet healed.

Eightly, there is yet a further danger in this, not only that [ 8] men will neglect truth, but there will be a strong temptation to resist and reject truth; if God begins to dart in any light into a mans spirit, that appears to crosse what hath been de∣termined of for opinion or practice under a penalty; the cor∣ruption of a mans heart will entice him to turne his minde from that light, not to let it into conscience or heart, lest it prevailing, should put him upon such ways wherein he is like to suffer. This hath been common in former times; many have hid their eyes from those truths that would have kept them from enformity, because they fore-saw what sad con∣sequences would follow, if their consciences should not suffer them to conform.

But you will say: This supposes that some things will be urged that is contrary to truth, which is uncharitable to suppose.

Although in matters fundamentall,* there is no feare that godly able men wil erre, yet let charity be stretched to the ful latitude of it, and reverence of men in place raised to the ut∣termost height; yet if they will meddle with such things as are doubtful and controversal amongst godly and peaceable men, and force them upon others; that confidence of theirs that shall put them out of feare of erring, shall be to me a ground of great fear, that they will erre.

Page  66 But some will acknowledge, that some liberty should be granted in things thus doubtfull and controversall, to men who are indeed conscientious, godly and peaceable men; but if this be yeelded too, then men who are not conscientious, but of turbulent and corrupt spi∣rits, will abuse it.

We have given rules to find out those who onely pretend conscience,* and if by those, or the like, it does not appeare, but that men are indeed conscientious in their way, we should judg charitably of them; you think much if those be not ad∣mitted to communion with Christ and his Saints, when they professe godlinesse in word and life, and nothing appears to the contrary; why then should you think much to tolerate those as conscientious, who professe it in words and life, and nothing appears to the contrary.

Bishop Davenant in that exhortation to peace before quo∣ted,*as one meanes for peace, gives his opinion thus, Be∣cause it belongs only to God to teach the hearts of men, it is our duty alwayes to make the best interpretation of things, and to presume of every one where the contrary appeares not by manifest signes, that hee is kept from assenting by his conscience rather then by obstinacy.

As for the peaceablenesse of mens dispositions, let it be judged from their carriages in other things of as great mo∣ment, wherein the temptation for the attaining their owne ends is as great, yea far greater then here: Do they not carry themselves in as peaceable, gentle; self-denying way as a∣ny? Mr. Parker upon the Crosse, cap. 5. sect. 14. pleads for himself and others, who could not yeeld in some things en∣joyned them, when they were accused of pride, contempt, unpeaceablenesse; What signes, sayes he, doe men see in us of pride, contempt, unpeaceablenesse? What be our caetera opera, that bewray such a humor? Let it be named wherein we go not two mile, where we are commanded to goe but one; yea, whether we goe not as many miles as any shooe of the preparation of the Gospel of peace will carry us: What payment, what paine, what labour, what taxati∣on made us ever to murmure? Survey our charges where wee have laboured, if they be not found to be of the faithfullest Subjects that be in the land. Wee deserve no favour; nay, there is where∣in Page  67 we stretch our consciences to the uttermost to conforme and obey in divers matters: Are we refractory then other things? As Balaams Asse said to his Master, Have I used to serve thee so at other times?

And whereas it is said, that some will abuse such liberty at this: It is answered, Surely those who are peaceable and conscientious, must not be deprived of what sufferance Christ allowes them, because others who are in the same way, are, or may prove turbulent, and do or may not appear truly conscientious. This is as farre beneath the rule of Justice, as no sufferance in any thing conceived erroneous, is above it.

Thirdly, whatsoever errours or miscarriages in Religion [ 3] the Church should bear withall in men, continuing them still in communion with them as Brethren, these the Magistrate should bear with in men, continuing them in the Kingdome or Common-wealth, in the enjoyment of the liberty of Sub∣jects: Grant what possible can be granted to the Magistrate in the extent of his power about Religion, to be Custos utrius{que} tabulae; yet certainly no man can imagine, that this his charge reaches further then the charge of the Church: That he is to be more exact in his oversight of these things, then the Church is to be; for what ever the power of the Magistrate be in these things, yet to the Church especially are the Oracles, the Or∣dinances, the Truths of God committed. The charge of the spirituall estate of men especially belongs to the Church: Now the Church is to beare with men in their infirmities, though they be ignorant of many things, yea after means used for information. No Church must cast off any from commu∣nion with it, but for such things that all the Churches of Christ ought to cast them off for.* This is generally held by our Brethren, if a man be rightly cast out of communion with one Church, he is thereby cast out of all; if this be so, then surely many things must be suffered before we proceed to cast out a member, it must not be for every errour or mis∣carriage. Thus Bishop Davenant in his rules for Peace, Those may not be cut off from communion with particular Churches who re∣maine joyned to the Catholique Church.

Page  68 Yea,b none is to be cast out of communion, but for that which if whole Churches were guilty of, we must refuse com∣munion with, yea with all the Churches in the world, if they could be supposed to be so far left of Christ, as to be guilty of the same thing; If this be so, when a Church is about ca∣sting any out of communion, it need be wary, and not pre∣sently fall upon him, because there is something evill in him; and if the Church should be so, the civill Magistrate much more, whose care of a mans spirituall estate is not so immedi∣ate and full as the Churches is.

From what hath been said these 2. consequences are clear: First, Articles or rules for doctrine or practise in matters of Religion to be imposed upon men, should be as few as may be; there is a very great danger in the unnecessary multiply∣ing them: This in all ages hath caused divisions, and exceed∣ing disturbances in the Churches of Christ.

I finde an excellent passage in an Epistle of Isaac Causabon to Cardinall Perron, which hee wrote in the name of King Iames by his command,c The King (saith he) thinks that the things that are absolutely necessary to salvation are not many, therefore His Majesty is of that mind that there is no shorter way for peace, then first by severing necessary things from things that are not necessary, and then to labour a full agreement in those; but as for things not necessary, let them (sayes he) be left to Christian liber∣ty. And againe, These necessary things are few, and the King thinks this distinction to be of so great moment to lessen the contro∣versies which this day doe so exceedingly trouble the Church, that all who study peace, should most diligently explicate, teach, and urge this.

Page  69 God hath so graciously ordered things for the body,* that things necessary for life are not many, nor costly; the greatest stir in the world is about things not necessary. So for the soule.

A second consequence from what hath been said, is; we see [ 2] hence who is most for peace; one professeth what he is con∣vinced of to be a truth and a duty, if it be not necessary, he is not to force it upon his Brethren, though he had never so much power in the Church or State to back him. The other holds this principle, That whatsoever he thinks to be a duty, he must force it upon his brethren, not only by the power of the Church, but he must call in the power of the Magistrate to back him in it.

But doe not men in a Congregationall way urge upon others their owne conception and practices,* according to the power they have, as much as any? for if men will not enter into covenant, if they hold a∣nother kind of government in the Church differing from them, they will not receive them, nor communicate with them.

I would all our controversie lay here,* surely wee should soon agree. Whosoever doth as you say, cannot be justified in so doing; some men it may be through an earnest desire of promoting what they conceived to be the mind of Christ, have been too rigid in their dealings with their Brethren. What hath been said, will shew the evill of their practice as well as of others.

As for entring into Covenant, It is true, there is such a pra∣ctice in the Congregational Churches, and a Covenant either explicite or implicite, I think all acknowledg: that is, there must be some agreement to joyne those together in a body, who formerly were not joyned, to make them to be of such a society, to have power in it with others for the choise of Offi∣cers in this Congregation, and to be under the care & charge of those Officers more then Members of another congregati∣on: what shall joyn them, if not at least some mutuall agree∣ment to joyn in one body for such spirituall ends as Christ hath appointed this body for, the very nature of a society that is embodyed, carries this with it; and any farther then this I know none requires as necessary.

Page  70 Indeed the more explicite this agreement is, the more is the edification. Surely there is no Christian but will acknowledg that the more one Christian opens his heart to another, and binds himself to walk in the ways of Christ with another, the more comfortable it is, and helps to edification: and upon this ground doe the Congregationall Churches practice this.

Suppose any godly man shall come and desire to joyn with any of them, but withall tell them, that for his part he yet cannot be convinced by any thing he can find in Scripture that this way of convenanting is required; if the Church can∣not satisfie such a man (being godly) in their practise, yet desire to know of him whether hee be willing to joyn with them in all the ordinances of Christ, so farre as he knows, a meere affirmative to this is a covenant sufficient to joyne him with them. The more fully he expresseth this to them, it would be the more acceptable. Now then why is it that there is such a noise every where in exclamations against Church-covenant, when it is nothing but this, which how any graci∣ous heart upon due consideration can be against, I cannot see. And this is not only our present opinion, but that which e∣ver since we knew any thing in that way, upon all occasions, we have held forth.

But what do you say to the other; If a man who you believe is god∣ly, yet not being convinced of your way of Government, but rather thinks the Presbyteriall Government to be the way of Christ; would you receive such a man into communion with you?

If any godly man whose conscience is not satisfied in that way of Government,* yet is so cast by Providence as he cannot joyne with those Churches where there is that Government he thinks to be Christs; and because hee is desirous to enjoy what ordinances of Christ he can, therefore tenders himself to one of these Congregationall Churches: Such a man should be received to these Ordinances he sees to be Christs, if there be nothing else against him, but meerly because after all due means, yet through weaknesse he cannot see Christs minde in some other ordinance. Christ doth not lay so much upon the ordinance of Government, as to exclude all his Saints all Page  71 their days from all other Church-ordinances, if through weakness they cannot be convinced of that.

Now let one who is in a Congregational way, and connot see Christs mind in the Presbyterial Government, yet come to one of those Churches, and say, he would gladly in all his ways see the mind of Christ, and enjoy all his ordinances, but he cannot see that a Minister who takes only the charge to feed by Word and Sacraments one Congregation, yet should with others have the charge of ruling an hundred or more; and till he be convinced otherwise, he cannot in his practice acknowledg that Government to be Christs, would you yet receive such a one to communion with you in all other Church-ordinances? If you would, I make no question then but if we well understood one another, and were of quiet spi∣rits, we might live together in peace.

Let not miscarriages in particular men or Churches in thing of this nature, hinder our peace; what we say ought to be suffered in us, we professe to be our duty to suffer that or any thing of the like nature in others: and where there hath not been that brotherly and Christian forbearance as ought to be, there hath been sinne committed against Christ: but let not this hinder brotherly and Christian agreement amongst our selves, or any other Churches of Christ.

4ly. Evills that are small or uncertain, or come by acci∣dent, [ 4] must rather be suffered, then any good that is great, cer∣tain, and per se, should be hindered. We must take heed that in our zeal to oppose evill, we hinder not a greater good: If opposition of evill lies so far out of your reach as you cannot come at it but by hindering much good, you must be content then to let it alone.

Lastly,* if the evils be such as only can be removed by super-natural means, we must not use violence for the removing of them, though God hath such authority over us, as hee may justly punish us for not doing that which we are unable to do by the strength of nature; yet one man hath no such autho∣rity over another.

The power that God hath given a Magistrate,* is but a na∣turall help at the most, & therefore it can go no farther then Page  72 to help us in a naturall way, to do what we are able to do by a natural power; when it hath gone so far, there it must rest. I shall refer the Learned to Zanchy upon the fourth Comment, where they may see more about this.


The fourth dividing Principle, Division is the best way to maintaine Dominion.

THis is Machiavels principle,*Divide & regna. When Divisi∣on is got into such a Principle as hath not only in the bowels of it, that is something to foment it by what may be drawn from it; but when the principle carries division in the very face of it, not collaterally, or by consequent avowing it, but directly & immediately justifying it, then it grows strong indeed, who can stand before it? When this is brought down to the people, it is expressed by that Proverbiall speech, It is good fishing in troubled waters. The divisions of the times are our advantages. Some mens ends are best served, when church and State are most divided. They never had such comings in as now they have. It is true, it may be desired that men in e∣vil things should not agree, that they may be like the witnesses that came against Christ, who could not agree in their testi∣mony. Paul cast a bone of dissention between the Pharisees and Sadduces.

But when men love division, and desire the continuance of [ 1] it; First, to maintain that which is evill; Secondly, to aime [ 2] at their owne ends, not regarding what publike mischiefes come, so their own private advantages may be served; not ca∣ring what house be on fire, so their eggs may be rosted, if they may have some poor, pedling, private benefit by them.

[ 3] 3ly. Not caring what the divisions are, whether against good, or against evill, so be it their turn may be served: This is abominable, and cursed is that man that wishes for, or re∣joyces in, or seeks the continuance of divisions, for these base ends. Yea that man is not worthy to breath in so good a Land as England is, who would not willingly lay downe his Page  73 his life to cure the present divisions and distractions that are amongst us, who would not desire with Nazianzen, as form∣erly Jonah, to be cast into the Sea himself, so be it all might be calm in the Publique? Oh cruell, hard-hearted man, who for his own private advantage is not sensible of the woful mi∣series of Church and State, yea of that dreadfull dishonour to the name of God, caused this day by our sad divisions, mi∣serable distractions just it were that such a man should be se∣parated to evil, and that his name should be blotted out from under heaven.

But if things were setled in Church and State, some men should not have such liberties as now they have, therefore they are willing enough to have our differences continued, their plot is to lengthen them out.

First,* That which thou callest seeking to lengthen out di∣visions, it may be God now accounts, and will another day [ 1] call seeking after the nearest union with himselfe, and the firmest union of his Saints.

Secondly, the liberties these men seek for, are either evill [ 2] or good; If evill, oh how dearly do they buy that which is evill, with bringing the guilt of all that evil that comes from our divisions upon themselves; you need not wish any enemy more evil upon his head then this; certainly such a man hath load enough upon him.

But if those liberties they seek be good, or but supposed by them to be so, why then should they feare a right setling of things? what ever is good, can be no enemy unto good. That Scripture, Rom. 13. 3. is enough to keep their hearts from fearing, the right ordered power of authority, especially from fearing it so farre, as by the feare of it, to be driven into such a desperate guilt of wickednesse as this is, to desire or endea∣vour the continuance of such publique mischiefe for their own ends. Rulers, saith the Text, are not a terrour to good works, but to evil; wilt thou then not be afraid of their power? doe that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. Surely then the power was as formidable to any thing a christian heart could suppose good, as now any power is like to be that we have to deale with.

Thirdly, it is a sign of a very poor, low, unworthy spirit, [ 3] Page  74 to think that any in whom thou hast any perswasion there is any feare of God, or interest in Christ, should have no higher thoughts for their support and encouragement in what they conceive good according to the mind of Christ, but such as the hopes or desires of continuance of such wofull evils in the divisions of Church and State raiseth in them, if they did be∣lieve that Christ took no more care of them then so, but left them to such miserable supports as these are, their condi∣tion were sad indeed.

[ 4] 4ly. If such basenesse of spirit as this is, were ruling in them, which hath in it the malignity of all the dregs of an evil spirit, surely you would find it working in them in some other thing, save only in that wherein they differ from you. For certainly it is impossible but that man that is so left of God to such dregs of evill, must needs break out to some o∣ther vile evils in a little time. It were strange if such horrid wickednesse of a mans heart should break out in nothing else. The Lord therefore be Judg between his servants and those men, yea those men professing godlinesse, who have such hard thoughts of them; and the Lord convince them of all their hard speeches, and hard writings in this thing.


The fifth dividing Principle.* That every man is bound to professe and practice alwayes what he apprehends to be truth.

THis hath the greater strength, because it comes under a shew of exact godlinesse: I do not mean an hypocriti∣call shew, but an appearance to mens consciences.

[ 1] It is very dividing: For, first, if while many things lye in mens owne thoughts, they cause much strife within them∣selves; their reasonings are very divers: Though they have all the some tincture from the same affections, and are sway∣ed by the same ends then when these things come abroad, be∣fore others, who have not the same reasonings, nor the same affections, to give them such a tincture, but reasonings and affections running quite another way, nor the same ends to Page  75 sway them, but quite different to poyse them a cross way, there must needs be much strife, such divisions as will be hard to reconcile. If men sometimes can hardly prevail with their own thoughts to agree, notwithstanding the sway of their own affections and ends; how are they like to agree with o∣thers, whose affections and ends are so various from theirs.

Secondly, if men doe presently professe and practice what [ 2] they conceive to be right, they must necessarily professe and recant, recant and professe; for in many things, what they apprehend to be true at one time, they suspect, yea see cause to deny at another; and what confusion & disorder would there be in matters of Religion, if continually by some or other there should be profession of things as true and good, and cal∣ling the same things presently into question, yea within a while denying and renouncing them? And if not so, then

3. If a man hath once made profession of what he conceives [ 3] to be a truth, differing from others, if it proves to be a mis∣apprehension, there lies a great temptation upon him to stand out in it, to strive to make it out to the utmost; for no∣thing is more contrary to a mans nature, then to acknowledg himself to be mistaken in his understanding, and to lye down in the shame of rashnesse and inconsideratenesse in his actions; therefore whatsoever mens own thoughts be within, in their own spirits, they had need take heed what they doe, when they come to make open profession, and practice what they apprehend, and engage themselves thereby to maintaine; there are not many who attaine to Augustines self denyall, to publish retractations to all the world. Now if a man through the strength of this temptation, shall still retaine what he hath made profession of, and others shall see his weakenesse, joyned with wilfulnesse; they must oppose him in it, and so contention and division is like to rise higher and higher. In regard therefore of the great usefulnesse of this point, and the difficulty of the right understanding it, I shall endeavour to speak to it under these three Heads.

First, to shew wherein Profession is necessary. [ 1]

Secondly, wherein men may keep in, what they think they [ 2] understand to be truth, so as not to professe or practise it.

Thirdly, I shall propound some rules of Direction, to shew [ 3] Page  76 in what manner a man should make profession of what he conceives to be truth, though it be different from his Bre∣thren.

For the first. Certainly profession in some things is very necessary.

Rom. 10. 10. With the heart man believeth unto righteousnesse, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Confession is here joyned to believing, as necessary to salvation. This I conceive to be the meaning of those places which hold forth the necessity of Baptisme, He that believes and is baptized,* shall be saved. Augustine in one of his Sermons De Tempore, sayes, Wee cannot be saved, except wee professe our faith outwardly for the salvation of others. And Christ, Mar. 8. 38. sayes, Who∣soever shall be ashamed of him and of his words, in this adul∣terous and sinfull generation, of him shall the Sonne of Man be asha∣med, when he comes in the glory of his Father with his holy Angels. And it is observable,*that they follow upon those words, What shall it profit a man if he shall gaine the whole world, and loose his owne soule? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soule? As if Christ should say, If you would not lose your soules eternally, look to this, make profession of the truth, as you are called to it;*though you live in a wicked and an adulte∣rous generation, yet be not ashamed of me before them; for if you be, your souls may goe for it eternally.

Zuinglius in his third Epistle, says, We may as well with a Di∣oclesian worship before the Altar of Jupiter and Venus, as conceale our faith under the power of Antichrist.

Now though profession be necessary,* yet in what cases we are bound to professe, and in what not, is no easie matter to determine.

Zuarez, a man of great judgement, yet falling upon this Question, When a man is bound to make profession of the Truth, sayes, We cannot give rules in particular, when there is a necessity of profession, in regard of the good of our neighbour, but it must bee determined by the judgment of Pru∣dence.

But though the determination be very difficult, yet we may assert these five cases to bind us to profession.*

Page  77 First, when the truths are necessary to salvation,* and my forbearance in them may endanger the salvation of any, the salvation of the soul of the poorest beggar, is to be preferred before the glory, pomp, outward peace and comforts of all [ 1] the Kingdoms on the earth; therefore much before my pri∣vate contentments: In extream danger of life there is no time to reason what in prudence is fit to be done, but save the mans life if you can, and reason the case afterward.

Secondly, when not profession shall be interpreted to be a [ 2] denyall, though in case of a lesser truth; I must not deny the truth, the least truth interpretative, I must rather be willing to suffer, then the truth should suffer by me so farre: This was Daniel's case, when he would not cease his praying three times a day, neither would he shut his windows, though it endangered his life. A carnall heart would say, why might not Daniel have been wiser? he might have forborn a while, at least he might have shut his windows. No, Daniel was wil∣ling to venture his life in the cause, rather then he would so much as by way of interpretation, deny that honour that he knew was due to God,

Thirdly, when others shall be scandaliz'd, so as to be weak∣ned [ 3] in their faith by my denyall; yea, so scandalized as to be in danger to sin, because they see me not to professe; in this case we must venture very far, we should take heed of offend∣ing any of the Saints, so as to grieve them, but when the of∣fence comes to weaken their faith to occasion their sin, there we should venture very far to our own outward prejudice, ra∣ther then so to offend them.

Fourthly, when an account of my faith is demanded, if it [ 4] be not either in scorn to deride, or in malice to ensnare, but seriously, so as the giving it may be to edification, especially in a way of giving a publique testimony to the truth, 1 Pet. 3. 15. Be ready to give an answer to every man that asketh you a rea∣son of the hope that is in you. If to every one, much more to Magstrates.

Fifthly, so far as those whom God hath committed to my [ 5] charge for instruction are capable, at some time or other I must manifest that truth of God to them that may be for their good according as I am able.

Page  78 Yet this duty of profession being a duty required by an af∣firmative precept, though we are bound alwayes, yet not to all times, semper, but not ad semper, we must alwayes keep such a disposition of heart, as to be in a readiness, rather to give testimony to any truth of God, if called to it by God, then to provide for our ease or any outward comfort in this world, so as we may be able to appeal to God in the sincerity of our hearts, to judg of that high esteem we have of his truth. Lord if thou shalt make known to me now or any other time, that thy Nature may have any glory by my profession, of any truth of thine, whatsoever become of my outward peace, ease, or content, I am ready to do it for thy Names sake. There is a time, says Hugo, when nothing is to be spoken, a time when something, but there is no time when all things are to be spoken.

There are sixe other cases wherein you are not bound to professe.*

First, when you shall be required in way of scorn, or to en∣snare [ 1] you; this were to cast pearls before swine.

[ 2] 2ly. You are not bound to make profession of a truth to those who are not able to receive it, whose weaknesse is such, as they cannot understand it till they be principled with some other truths. I have many things to say, sayes Christ, but yee are not able to beare them. So St. Paul, Hast thou faith? have it to thy selfe; he speaks in the case of doubtfull things, which will trouble weak ones.

[ 3] 3ly. When mens hearts appear so corrupt, that there is ap∣parant danger of abuse of truths, to the strengthning them in thir lusts, there are precious truths that many Ministers can∣not speak of before people without trembling hearts; and were it not that they believed they were the portion of some soules in the Congregation, they dared not mention them.

[ 4] 4ly. When your profession of some truths will take off mens hearts from other that are more weighty and necessary. The rule of the Apostle, Rom. 14. 1. holds forth this; Re∣ceive not those men who are weake in faith to doubtfull disputations; this may hinder them in the great things of the Kingdome of God, Righteousnesse, peace, joy in the holy Ghost, vers. 17. As if the Apostle should say, Let them be wel established in them; Page  79 but these doubtfull disputations will hinder them in such things as these are.

Fiftly, when my profession at this time in this thing is like [ 5] to hinder a more useful profession at another time in another thing. Prov. 29. 11. A foole uttereth all his mind, he that is wise keeps it in till afterward. It was the wisdome of Paul when he was at Athens, not presently to break out against their I∣dols, hee staid his due time, and yet all the time hee kept in his uprightnesse in the hatred of Idolatry as much as ever.

[ 6] Sixtly, when our profession will cause publick disturbance, and that to the godly, the disturbance of mens corruptions who will oppose out of malice, is not much to be regarded. When it was told Christ the Pharisees were offended, he cared not for it, but he made a great matter of the offence of any of his little ones. When men who love the truth as well as wee, shall not only be against what we conceive truth, but shall be offended, and that generally at it; if we have discharged our own consciences by declaring as we are called to it what we conceive the mind of God, we should sit down quietly, and not continue in a way of publique offence and disturbance to the Saints. The rule of the Apostle will come in here, Let the spirit of the Prophets be subjects to the Prophets: wee should wait till God will some other way, or at some other time have that prevaile in their hearts and consciences of his peo∣ple which we conceive to be truth, and they are now so much offended at. There could never be peace continued in the Church, if every man must continually, upon all occasions, have liberty openly to make profession of what he apprehends to be a truth; never have done with it, though the Church, which is faithfull, and desires unfeignedly to honour Christ and his truth, be never so much against it.

In divers of these cases the consideration of that Text, Eccl. 7. 16. is very sutable; Be not righteous over much, neither make thy selfe over wise, why shouldst thou destroy thy selfe? Amongst other things this is included in the scope of the Holy Ghost; when you apprehend a thing to be a truth, do not think that you are bound all times, upon all occasions, to the utmost, profess, practise, promote that truth, without any considera∣tion Page  76〈1 page duplicate〉Page  77〈1 page duplicate〉Page  78〈1 page duplicate〉Page  79〈1 page duplicate〉Page  74〈1 page duplicate〉Page  75〈1 page duplicate〉Page  76〈1 page duplicate〉Page  77〈1 page duplicate〉Page  78〈1 page duplicate〉Page  79〈1 page duplicate〉Page  80 of others, being carried on with this apprehension, it is a truth, come of it what will; whatsoev becomes of me, whatsoever trouble shall follow upon it, I must and will pro∣fesse it; and publish it again and again to the death: In this you had need look to your spirit, in this you may be over-just, and make your self over-wise; though there may be some uprightnesse in your heart, some love to Christ and his truth, yet there may be mixture of your own spirit also; you may stretch beyond the rule; this is to be over-righteous, to think out of a zeal to God and his truth, to goe beyond what God requires.

It is true, at no time, upon no occasion, though thy life, and all the lives in the world lay upon it, thou must not deny any the least truth, but there may be a time when God doth not require of thee to make profession of every thing thou belie∣vest to be a truth.

You will say, This tends to loosness, to lukewarmness, to time-serving; men pretending and pleading discretion, grow loose and remisse, and so by degrees fall off from the truth.

Vers. 17. Let men take heed of that too; Be not over-much wicked, neither be thou foolish. As you must be carefull not to goe beyond the rule, so take heed you fall not off from it; so you may grow wicked and foolish, yea very wicked, over-wicked, God will meet with you there too: Wherefore vers. 18. It is good thou shouldst take hold of this, yea also from this with∣draw not thine hand: Take both, be carefull of thy self in both, but especially mark the last clause of the 18. vers. He that fea∣reth God shall come forth of them all. The feare of God possessing thy heart, will help thee in these straits; thou shalt by it be delivered from being ensnared by thy indiscreet, sinfull zeale, and it shall likewise keep thee from bringing misery upon thy selfe, by falling as farre on the other hand, to looseness and time-serving. The fear of God will ballast thy soul even, it will carry thee on in a way that shall be good in the eyes of the Lord, and of his Saints.

There is a natural boldnes, and a mixed zeal in many who are godly, that carries them on in those ways that causes great disturbance to others, and brings themselves into great straits and snares; and these men are very ready to censure others of Page  81 nesse and loosenesse, who do not as themselves do; but this Scripture reproves them, shewing that it is not through flesh∣ly wisdome, and providing for ease that is the cause others do not as they do, but the fear of God in a right way ballasting their spirits; God will own his fear to be in their hearts, or∣dering them aright, when thy disorderly, mixed zeale shall receive rebuke from Christ.

But doth not Christ say,* Hee came into the world to witnesse to the truth, and is not every truth more worth then our lives?

That man who in the former five cases wherein profession is shewed to be our duty,* shall witness to the truth, he shewes that truth is indeed precious to him, and gives that testimony to the truth, that he was born for, although in the six latter he shall forbear.

But when these latter cases shall fall out,* how shall the truth be maintained? will it not suffer much prejudice?

1. Christ will not be beholding to mens weaknesses for the maintenance of his truth.*

2. If every man according to his place to deliver his own soule, shall declare (observing the rules we shall speak to pre∣sently) what he conceives to be the mind of God, though he shall not either in words or practice continually hold forth the same, yet thereby the truth is maintained.

3. The truth is maintained, by forbearing that practice which those opinions of men that are contrary to the truth, puts them upon, not doing as they do is a continual witnesse against them, and so a witnesse for the truth, & this is a Chri∣stians duty at all times, although I must never upon any ground do that which my conscience sayes is in it selfe sin, in the least thing, yet I am not ever bound to do that which my conscience says is in it self good (as it may fall out) in some great things. A thing in it-self evill can never be made my du∣ty to do, what ever circumstances it may be cloathed with, what ever good I conceive may be done by it; but a thing in it self good, may by circumstances attending of it, be such, as at this time it is my duty to forbear it, so that in not doing it I cannot be charged of a sin of omission, of not living ac∣cording to what my judgment and conscience is convinced of to be truth, and good.

Page  82 That we may understand yet further our duty of profession so as we may cause no divisions by it,* let these five rules be considered for the ordering of it.

[ 1] First, we must be wel grounded in fundamentals, before we make profession of other truths; seldome or never have you known men who in the beginning of their profession of Reli∣gion have laid out the first of their strength in Controversies, but that they have vanished & come to nothing in their pro∣fession. Be first well rooted in the faith, in the great things of godlinesse, he absolute necessary things of eternall life, and then thy searching into other truths of God which are for thy further edification, will be seasonable.

[ 2] 2ly. Take heed that what thou dost be not out of affectati∣on of novelties, which men naturally have itching desires af∣ter. It is very pleasing to the flesh, to convey such things to o∣thers, to be the first that shall bring to others, things wch be∣fore they understood not, whatsoever the things be. As there is much wickedness in raising up old errors, as if they were new truths; so there is much vanity in bringing forth old truths in novell and affected phrases, as if men desired to be thought to find out some new thing that yet hath not been, or is very little known in the world, when indeed upon exami∣nation, when it is uncloathed of its new expressions, it proves to be the same old truth, that ordinarily hath been known & taught, and so the man appears to be no knowing man, more then ordinary. Take heed of this vanity of spirit in the hold∣ing forth of truth, especially when in publike you speak of Gods truths, speak of them with reverence of the name of the great God, as the Oracles of God, clearly, plainly, not in obscure, uncouth, unknown expressions, as the Oracles of the Idols were wont to be delivered in.

[ 3] 3. Whatsoever is differing from others who are godly, is not to be held forth and professed without serious examinati∣on: we may venture more suddenly upon those things which are generally received of the Saints; but if they be differing, then we had need examine them over and over again, with a jealous eye over our own hearts, and to take heed to our spi∣rits, & how we behave our selves in such things wherein we are like to go away so much differing from so many of our Page  83 godly, able brethren. Wee must take heed of publishing a∣ny such things rawly, undigestedly, lest we wrong the truth of God, and make the profession of it become ridiculous. If the thing be true to day, it will be true to morrow.

4. We must not think it enough boldly to assert things, but [ 4] according to the rule of the Apostle, 1 Pet. 3. 15. we must give an account, 1. with meekness; we must not do it in a passionate, froward way, not with our affections hurrying and tumultu∣ous; not after a contentious manner, as if we desired victory rather then truth; but with quietnesse and composednesse of spirit. We must not think it much to bear contradiction from others, yea though it should arise to contemptuous carriage against us, and with fear, that is, either in respect of our selves who make the profession, or in respect of those before whom we make it. For our selves, we must not do it in a conceited way, not in a high, arrogant way, with foolish confidence in our selves, in our own apprehensions and abilities, but with feare, manifesting our sensibleness of our own weakness, vani∣ty, and nothingnes: 2. In respect of those before whom the profession is made. We must manifest our due, reverent esteem of them; no unbeseeming behaviour, no scornfulness, light∣ness, contempt, if it before Magistrates, especially then what∣soever they are in regard of their persons, yet reverentiall re∣spects ought to be given to them in respect of their places; and if they be men of worth, learning, graces, publike use in the Church or State, that respect that is due to their worth, is to be manifested also in our carriage towards them. Grace teacheth no man to be unmannerly, rude, scornfull, furious, or foolish.

5. If you would make profession or practice any thing dif∣fering [ 5] from others who are godly and judicious, you should first acquaint those who are most able, with what you intend, and not go to youths, & women, and weak ones first, seeking to promote what you apprehend, by possessing your hearts first with it, and to get them to be a party for you; this is not the way of God. If God hath revealed some new thing to you, you have some new light that is not yet made known to your Brethren, which not only by profane men, but I fear by some who are godly, is in a profane manner scorned at; and it were Page  84 wel if none of those who pretend it, did not give some occasi∣sion: were not the temptation to the despising of that expres∣sion, yet you should first goe to those who are most able to judg, acquaint them with what apprehensions you have, and see whether they cannot make it appeare to you that you are mistaken; if not, they may confirm you in the truth, that you may go on in it with the more confidence.

If Churches were setled as they ought, I should think it ve∣ry ill for any Minister to preach any thing not ordinarily re∣ceived by the Saints, before they have acquainted other Elders, yea some of other Churches with it, if out of an eager desire to be formost in venting some new thing, they shall do it meerly from themselves, they may be meanes to raise and engage themselves in woful disturbances before they are aware. That common union and fellowship that there is between Elders and Churches, requires mutual advise and consultation in matters of difficulty, though to lay a law upon them to ad∣vise in every thing, be it never so clear, would be hard.


The sixth dividing Principle.* What is in it selfe best must be chosen and done, not weighing circumstances, or references.

THis brings much trouble to the Churches; yea it causeth much trouble in the spirits and lives of many truly god∣ly. It causeth men to break the bonds of their Callings, of their Relations, of their publique Interests, therefore certain∣ly it must needs be a dividing Principle.

Some men whose calling is only to a private employment, yet having some gifts, and having used sometimes in their Fa∣milies to take a Scripture, and speak something out of it; up∣on this they think it is a better thing to be exercised in prea∣ching Gods word, then to fit in a shop all day, at some meane worke, or selling out wares, therefore they thinke they are bound to give over their Callings, which they look at as too low, mean things, and be Preachers of the Word, not regard∣ing those due ways that Christ would have men come into such an employment by. Although I do not think, but that Page  85 Tradesmen, who have good knowledg in the Scripture, and are gifted by God to speak the Word to people for their edifi∣cation, when there is a want of able men, who have been all their lives preparing for such a work, and are set apart for it, rather then people should continue in ignorance, and so pe∣rish (if those who are able and fit to judg, shal judg them meet for such a work) they may be employd to make Christ known to them; yet for every man that takes himself to be a gifted man, and it may be is so judged, by some who are willing to flatter him, to take upon him of himselfe, or by the advice of two or three of his friends, to leave his other employment for the work of the Ministry, because that is a more noble and ex∣cellent work; this is not a way of God, but a way of confusi∣on and disorder.

Again, it is in it selfe a better thing to enjoy a Ministry of the most eminent gifts and graces, then one of lower; but if this should be made a rule, that a man who is under a Pastor, who is faithfull, and in some good measure gifted, upon ano∣ther mans coming into the Countrey that is more eminent, he should forsake his Pastor, and joyn to the other▪ and if af∣ter this still a more eminent man comes, he should leave the former and joyn to him; and by the same Law, a Pastor who hath a good people, yet if others be more likely to receive more good, he may leave his own people, and goe to them, what confusion and disorder would there be continually in the Church? Men must consider, not only what the thing is in its own nature, but what it is to them, how it stands in re∣ference to their relations. If you be joyned to a Pastor, so as you believe he is set over you by Christ, to be a Pastor to you (not because the Bishop hath sent one, or an old Usurer dyes, and leaves the Patronage of a living to some Ostler or Tap∣wench in an Alehouse, and he or she shall send one by vertue of their right to the patronage, this cannot tie a mans consci∣ence to depend upon him for the ordinances of Christ all his days, in case he cannot remove his dwelling, but if you can∣not but look upon the man as the Pastor that Christ hath set over you.) Though this man hath meaner gifts then others; and it would be more comfortable to you to have another Pastor; yet this is not enough to cause you to diset him whom Page  84〈1 page duplicate〉Page  85〈1 page duplicate〉Page  86 Christ hath set over you; and if people may not leave their Pastors, because others have more eminent gifts, then surely Pastors must not leave their people, because others have more eminent Livings.

To instance yet further, that you may see how this Princi∣ple disturbs mens spirits: Many being in the works of their Calling, have some thoughts come into their mind, that pray∣er is a better work, more noble and spirituall then to be em∣ployed as they are; therefore they must needs presently leave their worke, and go toe prayer: How many have been per∣plexed with temptations this way, by which their lives have been made very uncomfortable? Prayer in it selfe is better, but is it better at this time for me, all things considered? am not I about that wch God hath called me to do? By this Prin∣ciple many decive and trouble themselves, in respect of their souls; as some by a conceit of the like nature, deceive & bring great trouble to themselves in respect of their bodies; some who have sickly bodies, their flesh is decayed, they think such and such things have most nourishment in them, such things are hot, and full of spirits, and juyce, therefore they will eate and drink altogether such things, leaving their ordinary dy∣et; by this means thy many times overthrow their bodies: for though a man wants flesh, yet the way for him to have it, it may be is not to take nourishing things, but purging; and though he be troubled with faintness, it may be the way to get good spirits, is by eating ordinary dyet, and cooling his bo∣dy, that so some distemper may be cured, and he may get his veyns filled with good blood, and spirits got from it, rather then by drinking hot waters that are full of spirits, which perhaps burns his heart, and dries his body, that there is no good blood generated from his dyet.

It is not enough therefore to say the thing is in it selfe bet∣ter, but is it better in all the references I have, and it hath? is it better in regard of others, in regard of the publique, for the helping me in all my relations? May it not help one way, and hinder many ways? If a Physitian should come to a man, and see his disease is hot, and shold therefore presently cool him by giving him water, the man may like it for the pre∣sent; Page  87 why is it not better to be cool, then so burning hot? but thus the Physitian discovers his folly, and the Patient loses his life. A Physitian in prescribing some physick had need have forty considerations in his head at once, how one part stands affected to the other, of what yeers the man is, of what com∣plexion, how long the disease bath been upon him, what was last done to him, &c. So it should be in the duties of Religion, a Christian who desires to walk orderly, to beautifie and ho∣nour his profession to enjoy communion with God, & peace in his own soul, and be useful to the publique, had need have his wits about him, not presently to fall upon a work, be∣cause it is now presented as good to him in a single considera∣tion; he must compare one thing with another, and see what it is in all its references; or otherwise he will but enterfeir, hee will but hack and hew, and bungle, and disturb himselfe and others in the ways of Religion, he will make Religion tire∣some to himselfe and others, he will be in danger in time to cast off strictnesse, and to grow so much the more loose then others, by how much more streightned he hath been in a dis∣orderly way then others. I believe some of you have known those who in their young time have been very strict and tend∣er; whatsoever they have conceived to be better then other, they have presently followed it with all eagernesse, never considering circumstances, references, or consequences, but the thing is good, it must be done; yet being wearied with this, they have after grown loose, in as great an excesse, the other way; yea, it may be have vanished and come to no∣thing.


The seventh Dividing Principle;* It is obstinacy for a man not to be convinced by the judgement of many, more lear∣ned and godly then himselfe.

THe making this to be the rule to judg obstinacy by, hath in all ages caused great divisions by exasperating the spi∣rits of ••en one against another. In times of Popery what rage Page  88 did it raise against men who were most conscientious? the generality of men thought they did God good service, in persecuting those who would not yeeld to the judgment of others, who had the repute of learning and piety; and those who were conscientious, could not yeeld to their determi∣nations, not seeing the truth of God in them, and this made the stir. VVhile men appear obstinate, by the rule of Christ we are not to bear with them; and this Principle sets thou∣sands of godly peaceable men in the seat of the obstinate, these cannot in conscience yeeld, and others cannot but in consci∣ence oppose them; what reconciliation then can there be ho∣ped? either men must captivate their consciences, cause them in a sordid way to bow down to slavery, or else there must needs be continuall division and opposition where this pre∣vailes.

I confesse such a Principle as this is would make for union amongst those who either think they need not, or through carelesnesse regard not to searth out truth, but with an im∣plicite faith take in all that shall be imposed upon them, who think ignorance of Gods mind and conscience slavery, to be no great evil; this is never urged with violence, but either by those who have given up their consciences to be serviceable to the ease and content of the flesh, or those who have, or hope to have power in their hands, to bring others in subjection to them.

Because the right informing our judgments in this, may much conduce to peace, I shall endeavour, 1. To shew you what due respect is to be given to mens judgments who are learned and godly. 2. Yet not so much as to make their judg∣ments the rule to judg men obstinate, if they differ from them. 3. VVhat then should be the rule? by what should we judg a man to be obstiate?

For the first, Certainly much respect is to be given to the learning and godlinesse of men. There is a great delusion in many mens hearts,* that makes them thinke it to be halfe Po∣pery, to give any respect to Learning; although the abuse of Learning hath done much evill, against that much hath been and may be said; but I dare avow this, that never since the be∣ginning of the world could a man be found to speak against Page  89 earning but an ignorant man; neither is it like, nay I may a∣ver, it is impossible that any but such will be found to the end of the world: Learning hath so much of God in it, that it ne∣ver had nor will have any enemy but ignorance.

1. Tim. 4. 13. Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to do∣ctrine. Ver. 15. Give thy selfe wholly to them,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Be in them. And when we see grace added to Learning, it should adde much to our esteem of such a man; it is the orient pearl in the gold ring, it is a great testimony to a way, that it is the way of good men, Prov. 2. 20. That thou maist walke in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. The judge∣ment and counsell of such is to be received with very great respect, especially if the eminencie of their grace appears in the tenderness of their spirits, that we may see much of the feare of God in them. Ezra 10. 3. Now let us make a covenant, according to the counsell of my Lord, and of those that tremble at the commandement of our God. And when not only some few godly men are of this mind, but when it is that which God hath sealed in the hearts of the Saints generally, very high re∣spect is to be given unto it.

Wherefore he that differs in his judgment from wise, learn∣ed, godly men, had need

First, spend much time in Prayer and Humiliation before [ 1] the Lord. There is a notable expression of Basil, cited in an Appendix of an Epistle of Luther to the Ministers of Norimberg,*who were at variance one from another: He who will separate him selfe from his brethren, had need consider many things even to anxiety; he had need break his sleep many nights, and seeke of God with many teares, the demonstration of the truth.

2ly. You must even then when you cannot subject to their judgments, preserve due reverence in your heart, and shew due respects to men of learning and grace according to their worth. We have a notable relation of that holy man. Mr. Greenham, in a Letter of his to the Bishop of Ely, in whose Di∣ocesse he lived; the Bishop seeking to bring him to confor∣mity, objected thus unto him, Why will not you yeeld? Luther [ 2] approved of these things, are you wiser then he? His sober and gra∣cious answer was, I reverence more the revealed will of God in teaching that worthy instrument of God, Mr. Luther so many ne∣cessary Page  90 things to salvation, then I search into his secret will, why hee kept backe from his knowledge other things of lesse impor∣tance.

[ 3] 3ly. If those things wherein we differ from the judgments of learned and godly men, be not matters of duty, they only may bring us to some suffering, we should silently yeeld for peace sake, and out of respect to them not opposse.

[ 4] 4ly. In all things wherein you may have any helpe from them, you should repair to them, and desire to partake of the benefit of those gifts and graces God hath bestowed upon them.

[ 5] 5ly. In all things wherein you can agree, you should be the more carefull to manifest all possible observance and res∣pect to them, in blessing God for any help he grants to you by them, either in making known his truth to you, or at least in further confirming you in it by them.

[ 6] 6ly. And in what still your consciences will not suffer you to agree with them, you are to take it as your affliction, and to account that way you are in to want a great lustre, and most desireable encouragement, in that so many learned and godly mens judgments and practices are against it.

We are to raise our respects to men of learning and godli∣ness thus high; but if we should go so high, as to give up our judgment and consciences to them, we should in honouring them, dishonour Christ, yea they would account themselves to be dishonoured.* Such as are truly godly and wise, do rather account it their honor to carry a loving respect to those who differ from them, then desire that men should, blindfold, be∣fore they see their grounds, follow them. Prelaticall spirits indeed account it their honour to force men to be of their mind; it is their glory that they can say to the consciences of men, Bow down before us. A gracious spirit abhors the thought of such a tyranny. This to high raising respects due to learned, holy men, hath been very hurtfull in the Church, prejudicial to the souls of men, but especially to the honour of Christ. I will give you an instance. Erasmus was no novice, yet how dangerously he was taken with this, will appear by a strange expression of his, in an Epistle hee wrote to one Bilibaldus: How far the authority of the Church prevails with others, Page  91 I know not; but with mee it hath that power, that I could be of the o∣pinion with Arrians and Pelagians, if the Church did but allow that which they taught. This you will say is a strange expression, co∣ming from a learned man, and one too, not addicted to the Church that then was in that excess as others were; how then did this conceit prevail with men more weak, who gave up their consciences to others through their blind superstition?

Wherefore secondly, though great respect is to be given to men holy and learned, yet not such, that a man must be judg∣ed obstinate, if hee submit not to their judgments and deter∣minations. For,

First, if a man should believe or do any thing before he sees [ 1] some other grounds besides their judgments or examples, though the thing were in it selfe never so good, yet it would be sin to him. If indeed this were enough to answer Christ, Lord, I am a poore weake man, I cannot find out thy truths my self, therefore I seeing learned godly men to be of such a judgement, and doing such things, I thought it too much presumption for mee to differ from them, therefore I also believed it to be true, and practised accordingly. This were an easie way for people to agree, and it might well be judged obstinacy to gainsay. But this ac∣count Christ will not take, for he tells us, Whatsoever is not of faith, is sinne, and the judgments and practices of godly lear∣ned men, he never made to be the rule of faith.

2ly. If God in revealing his mind to men, alwayes did it [ 2] according to the proportion of their gifts and graces, then it were too much boldnesse for any to differ from those who are most eminent; but experience tels us it is otherwise, as God causeth his rain to fall upon one field, and not upon another; and as the wind blows where it lists, so are the workings of the Spirit of God upon men. Although hee reveales to all his Saints whatsoever is absolutely necessary to salvation, yet for other truths, a man of eminent parts shall know one, a∣nother of weaker shall know another. David was a man as e∣minent for parts, & was filled with the Spirit of God as much as Nathan, both in regard of Prophesie and godliness; yet sometimes that was revealed to Nathan, which was kept hid from David. When the Book of the Law was found, and read Page  92 before Josiah, they send to Huldah the Prophetesse, yet there were Prophets in the Land at that time.

But you will say, Is it not more likely that men of learning and pi∣ety, should know what is right, and what is not, better then others?

True,* it is more likely they should; but God many times doth things which we think are not likely; that which is the most unlikely to us, God many times chooseth as best to serve his ends.

[ 3] Thirdly, If there were no other reason why a man of wea∣ker parts should differ from other, then because he is concei∣ted of his parts, thinks himselfe more able to understand then those who are far his betters, then there would be more liber∣ty to deale severely with him: But being here may be this reason; why men who are weak, yet differ from those who are eminent, Christ hath laid this charge upon them, that they must not believe or practice any thing in the matters of Reli∣gion, but what they shall see ground for out of his word. If a man shall be jealous of himself, fearing lest his own under∣standing should mislead him; and in the use of all meanes he can, seeks to God, and yet cannnot see from Scripture the ground of those things learned and godly men have determi∣ned, and having received such a charge from Christ not to al∣ter his judgment or practice, till in the use of these meanes he should receive further light from him; what would you have this man do? If he yeelds to you, he sins against the charge of Christ and his own conscience; if he doth not, either now or after such a time you prefixe him, alter his judgment and pra∣ctice, you judg him obstinate, and in the name of Christ deale with him as such; do not you by this make that bond that Christ hath laid upon him (to do all he doth from a princi∣ple of faith) heavier then Christ would have it.

[ 4] Fourthly, the more learning, the more godliness men have, the more pains they take in finding out the truth; there is the lesse ground to judg those obstinate, who differ from them, because they differ.

You will say, How can that be? For if men be very learned and godly, and take much pains to finde out the truth, there is the more rea∣son we should believe their judgements more then our owne.

Page  93 We must indeed honour them,* then, the more; but yet the exquisitenesse of their learning, the eminency of their godli∣ness, the industry of their labours, for the finding out of truth, may excuse those from obstinacy who cannot see into the ground from the word, of all that they are able to see; for is it not more then probable, that men who are weak and excee∣dingly beneath them, should through meer weakness be una∣ble to see the rule of Scripture in those things which they have got the sight of, by the help of their great learning, god∣liness, and indefatigable labours? Can it be, that men who have not attained to that eminencie, who are not able to take so much pains in searching, that they (though they have their help added) should be able to attain to what these men so e∣minent and industrious have attained to? Can they in a few months come to see that which they have been studying, and debating one with another divers years before they could see it, can they be satisfied in their consciences of the mind of Christ, when these eminent men, for a long time could hard∣ly satisfie one another? yea, it may be after all the helpe of their learning, godliness, and painfull labours, they look up∣on many things but as probable, as more likely to be so then otherwise, they have not a Plerophory in their own hearts; and shall those who doe not see ground enough for the foot of Faith to settle upon, be judged, and dealt with as obstinate? Because they yet are not of their mind, (God forbid.)

Fifthly, there is much danger in making this to be the rule; [ 5] for if to go against the judgment of godly and learned men be obstinacy now, ere long it may come to this, that to goe a∣gainst those in place, who have power in their hand, shall be obstinacy, whatsoever they be; for who dare question their learning and piety? Whatsoever miscarriages these shal be in after ages in bringing men unlearned & ungodly into place; yet those must be judged as gulty of obstinacy who are not of the same judgment they shall be of, and into what a case then have we brought our selves.

If you shall say, True, our case would be sadde, but we must venture it, there is no helpe, better an inconvenience then a mischiefe.

But here will be not an inconvenience only but a mischief?*Page  94 In civil things this indeed must be ventured, for there we are not bound to understand the reason and ground of all things; but if nothing appeare to be contrary to the rules of justice and piety, we are to submit; but in the matters of Religion it is otherwise, we must understand the ground of all from the word; therefore those who shall lay downe such a position, that we may deal with these men as obstinate, by the Ordi∣nance of Christ, who after two or three admonitions shal not be of the same judgment, and do the same things that learned and godly men determine, do bring the Church into greater bondage then they are aware of.

[ 6] 6ly. Learned and godly men yet have flesh as well as spirit, & private engagements do often sway much even with them: Here with us we know how the greater number of learned and godly men goe, but in New-England the greater number of learned and godly men goe another way. Lately the grea∣ter number of learned and godly men in old England did judg submission to Prelaticall power in the Church, and practice of Ceremonies, and use of Common-prayer to be lawfull, I hope it is not so now.

[ 7] 7ly. If it be alwayes obstinacy not to believe or practise what they judg should be believed and practised, then some∣times it will be obstinacy not to believe and practise a con∣tradiction; for we know some learned and godly men deter∣mine one thing, some determine the contrary; yea, often∣times they are contrary to themselves.

[ 8] 8ly. It is against the rule of the Apostle, Try all things, keep that which is good, abstain from all appearance of evill. If after the tryall of Prophesie, there be but an appearance of evill, we are not bound to abstain.

[ 9] 9ly. We know by our own experience, we have differed from many more learned and godly men then our selves, and yet our consciences did excuse us before God, that we did it out out of obstinacy, that if our lives had lain upon it, wee could not for the present have helped it.

But if wee shall not judge men that goe against the determinati∣on of those who are most able to judge, then every man may do what seems good in his owne eyes, and so there will be nothing but confusion.

Page  95 Not so neither,* though this be not the rule to judg men to be obstinate by; yet men may by some other rules be judged to be so, and dealt with accordingly; as those by which we judged, whether the evill be in a mans conscience or in his will, especiall these four.

First, If the thing wherein men differ, be against the com∣mon [ 1] principles of Christianity; then such as will take up∣on them the profession of Christianity, doe involve them∣selves in the guilt of obstinacy, if they goe against those things.

Secondly, In other things, if their carriages be turbulent, [ 2] and altogether unbeseeming a Christian differing from his Brethren.

Thirdly, where there is neglect of those means of reforma∣tion, [ 3] which he hath nothing to say against.

Fourthly, If he so crosses his own principles, that he ap∣pears to be self-condemned.


The eighth dividing Principle. If others be against what wee conceive to be truth,* wee may judge them going against their owne light.

THis is a worse, a more dividing Principle then the form∣er; it is worse to make our judgments the rule of other mens actions, then other mens judgements the rule of our a∣ctions: This makes men who differ, to have exceeding hard thoughts one of another, it causeth a mighty spirit to rise in them one against another. A man cannot judg worse of ano∣ther, then this, that he goes against his owne light. Of all things conscientious men knows not how to bear this; yet how ordinarily will men who are weak, judg those that are strong, because they cannot see into the reasons of their acti∣ons? therefore those that do them, must needs do them against their own light: If they see another mans garb, and manner of converse, and way, to be differing from their owne, they presently judge him sinning against his own conscience, to be Page  96 acted by by-ends to doe what he does meerly out of cunning and craftinesse; This is from the pride and sowrnesse of mens spirits. This is farre enough for you to goe in judging your brother, were I in his condition, should I doe as hee doth, I should goe against my light, I should act by by-ends; but therefore to conclude that he goes against his light, and acts by by-ends, is very sinfull. Many carnall men thinke, if they should make such a shew of Religion; if they should doe such things as such and such men do, it would be hypocrisie in them, and they judge truly, because their Principle would not beare out their practice; but therefore to judge all that do such things to be hypocrites, we account to be a very wicked thing. If thou hadst any spirit of humility or wis∣dome in thee, thou wouldst rather think, it may be hee sees what I do not, I am to look to mine own heart and wayes, by what principles I goe my self: Men who are weake, and can see but a little way into things, must take heed they cen∣sure not others, who know how to manage businesses better then themselves; some may do that acceptable to God, that thou couldst not doe without an evill conscience: The same honesty and sincerity may continue in a man, though in true wisdome and discretion he applies himself diversly, accord∣ing as occasions are divers; as the hand remaines the same, whether closed into a fist, or extended abroad, or bended this way or that way as occasion serves. Wherefore for your di∣rection in this, take these five rules.

[ 1] First, we are bound to give the best interpretation upon our brethrens actions we can, if they be not apparently ill; we should not do as the Logitians, Sequi partem deteriorem, but in∣cline to that which may any way be conceived or hoped to have any goodnesse in it; we must rather wrong our selves by thinking too well of them, then wrong them by thinking too ill of them. This would help exceeding much to peace.

[ 2] Secondly, we should rather be jealous of our selves then others, knowing more of the evils of our own hearts then we can do of any others.

[ 3] Thirdly, if we know certainly we are right, and others not, our hearts should rather be taken up with admiring and blessing Gods goodnesse to us for what he shewes us, then Page  97 in censuring our Brethren for what he hath denied them.

4ly. We must remember, that not long since we were our [ 4] selves of another mind, & yet we sinned not against our light.

5ly. We must consider also, that in other things our Bre∣thren [ 5] see what they do not, and we would be loath to have such measure from them,* that they should judg us, going a∣gainst our light, and to be acted by by-ends in that wee differ from them. We must grant that liberty to our Brethren we would have our selves; that is not to be involved in the judgments of others, but try all things, and keep what God makes known to us to be good; This liberty, sayes Luther, Paul hath given me, & I will stand to it, I wil not suffer it to be captivated.

The ninth Dividing Principle. Rules of prudence are sufficient to guide us in naturall things and civill affaires, and may as well suffice us in spirituall and Church-affaires.

A Great part of our divisions about Church-affairs comes from this Principle: If God would help us with right appre∣hensions about tis, our divisions would in a great measure vanish. Those whose consciences are taken with a contrary princi∣ple, namely, that there must be institutions for all things that are properly Ecclesiasticall and spirituall, they cannot yeeld to any such thing, till they see the stamp on, an institution upon it: Others who think because Prudence is enough to or∣der civill affairs, there needs no institution for these things, they think such as stand for them to be too rigid and stiffe in their way.

It divides also upon this ground: In the corrupt estate of the Church (such as ours yet is) if we binde to institutions, we shall be sorely pinched with many things that will be very troublesom to us, but if we go according to the rules of com∣mon prudence, we may decline, or alter what would pinch, & take up what may be commodious for us: Hence the princi∣ple is very desirable, if it can be maintained, men will strive hard before they wil lose it; and on the other side, God is loo∣ked at as a jealous God, who will not suffer a mans wisdome to share with him in the things of his worship, which are spi∣rituall and holy, to appoint and leave out as may be most Page  98 commodious for the freedome of them from trouble, there∣fore they dare not yield to any Ordinance that is beyond ci∣vill, but upon some institution of Christ in his Word, and this divides.

Now for your help in this: As God hath given two lights to the world, the Sunne, the grater to rule the day; and the Moone, the lesser, to rule the night: So he hath given two Lights to man, to guide his course; the Scriptures the great∣er, to guide man, especially in his spirituall condition, in those more immediate references he hath to God, for his worship and enjoyment of communion with him: The other the less, the light of Reason, to be his guide in naturall and civill things, in the ordering his life for his naturall and ci∣vill good; and though it is true, Religion makes use of Rea∣son, and we have help from the Scriptures in our natural and civill affairs, yet these two lights have their distinct speciall use, according to those distinct conditions of man.

When I say,* we must have Scripture, and in it institutions for those things which are spirituall, and properly Church-affairs, I mean whatsoever is made use of for the drawing my soule neerer to God, or God neerer to me; or for the tendring up my Homage to God, beyond what it hath in the nature of the thing, put into it by God; for that I must have an institu∣tion, I must not frame any such thing to my self; If I make use of any thing of mine own, for such an end that I may wor∣ship God by, or that God might convey some spirituall effica∣cy to me in the use of it, because it is a thing that I thinke as fit for such an end, as other Ordinances I find in the Word, and yet have not an institution for it; in this I sinne against Christ the Lord, who alone hath power to set apart the use of what he pleaseth, for the tendring up homage to God, or the conveighing of any spirituall efficacy from God into the hearts of his servants.

Mans naturall and civill good is not so high, but reason and prudence will reach them; but for such things as these are, all the reason & prudence in the world lies too low, they can not without sinfull presumption attempt the putting any thing of their own in the place of these: Therefore there can be no other officers in the church, to act by any spiritual pow∣er, Page  99 then what we find in the Word; no new Ordinances, no new Courts erected, no kind of authority, no extent of au∣thority any further then we find in Scripture: The proof is e∣vident, all Church Ordinances are for spiritual ends, to work by a spirituall efficacy, beyond what is naturall or civill; and the efficacy of the power of government consists much in those who govern; if they have not their Charter to autho∣rize their power and the extent of it, it loses its efficacie, though it be otherwise managed with never so much wisdom and justice; the same act that is an act of Justice in one, is murther in another; yea, the same mans act done within such limits is an act of Justice, and if done beyond those limits, it is murther.

But you will say, Surely there is use of reason and prudence in matters spirituall; how far may their use extend?

To the doing of these two things.

First,* by reason I may compare institutions, and argue from one institution to another, and so find out institutions that lie more in the dak, by others which are more apparent. Though the thing that I gather be not terminis in Scripture, yet if I gather by necessary consequence from an institution, one or more, it hath the force of an institution in it: If I make Reason to be the Basis, the ground of my consequence, it wil never rise up to that height as to raise an institution; but if I make some other institution the Basis of my consequence, then it may.

Secondly, when I have found out an institution, then rea∣son [ 2] & prudence comes in to help to manage this in a fit and comly way, applying it to fit persons and times, making use of fit seasons, due order, and whatsoever naturall or civill conveniences may further the due administration of it. The Prelates abused that Scripture, Let all things be done decently and in order; for they joyned institutions of their own to Gods, to make them decent and orderly: But that Scripture only shews you when you have an institution of Christ, you are to apply by the use of reason and prudence, what natural or civill helps you can, for the better managing this instituti∣on of his.

From hence we have an answer to that Objection is made Page  100 against many things done by those who are in a Congregatio∣nall way; what institution have they for many things they do? what for their Covenant? &c.

Though there be no Text of Scripture holds forth this in terminis,* yet it is grounded upon other institutions, plainly held forth in Scripture.

First, it is clear in Scripture, that besides the Catholique Church there are particular Churches, Saints imbodied, un∣der such Officers, who are so Officers to them as they are not to others: These people can look upon this man as their Pa∣stor, and this Pastor upon this people in a peculiar relation; they may do some acts of power over one another in their Congregation, which they cannot do over others in another Congregation: Now then it follows, they being a body, must needs have something to joyne them together; and the least thing that can be to joyn them, is the manifestation of their assent to joyn for those ends for which Christ hath appointed such a body; and what is their Covenant, but this? Onely some manifest their assent more largely, some more briefly; I know nothing more is required, but to manifest their assent to joyn with that body, to set up all the Ordinances of Christ so far as they know.

If there be any other thing done in their Churches where∣in they make further use of reason and prudence, then in the two fore-named things, they cannot justifie it, but must ac∣knowledg it evill.

The tenth Dividing Principle;* or rather vaine conceit. Every difference in Religion is a differing Religion.

VVHat do you hear more ordinary then this, How ma∣ny Religions have we now? Shall so many Religi∣ons be suffered amongst us? we cannot tell now what Religi∣on men are of; upon this apprehension they oppose such as differ from them in some few things, with all the violence they can, as men bringing up new Religions, and would take away their Religion from them; how can they possibly accord with men that are of a different Religion from them?

Page  101 Surely we are more afraid then hurt;* Though our differen∣ces be sad enough, yet they come not up to this, to make us men of different Religions. We agree in the same end, though not in the same means; they are but different wayes of oppo∣sing the common adversary. The agreeing in the same means in the same way of opposing the common enemy would be very comfortable, it would be our strength, but that cannot be expected in this world.

Livie in his story of a great Battail between Hannibal and Scipio,* sayes, That at the joyning of the Armies, the shouting of Scipio's men was farre more terrible then the shouting of Hannibal's, because Scipio's men were all Romans, their shout∣ing had all the same tone: but Hannibal's Army was made up of men of severall Countries, so that in their shouting there was variety of the tones of their voyce, wch was not account∣ed so formidable a shout as the other. It is true, our adversa∣ries do not look our opposition to them having so much di∣versity in it, so formidable as they would if we were all but one in our way of opposing them; But stil we are all shouting against the common enemy; although therefore the terrour upon our adversary would be greater, if our shout were more uniform; yet we hope the victory may be as sure.

Souldiers who march against a common enemy, all under the same Captain, who follow the same Colours in their En∣sign, and wear them upon their hats or arms, may get the day, though they be not all cloathed alike, though they differ in things of lesse concernment.

Revel. 15. 2. we read of the Saints standing upon a sea of glasse, which had fire mingled with it. Mr. Brightman inter∣prets this sea of glass, the doctrine of the Gospel, more clear, more transparent then the doctrine of the Law, which, he sayes, was resembled by the sea of brasse that Solomon made; But there is fire mingled in this sea of glasse, that is, saith hee, There are contentions & divisions in the Church, where this doctrine of the Gospel is taught: But yet mark what follows, They got the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his marke, and over the number of his name, and had the harps of God in their hands, and sang the song of Moses, &c.

Men who are in a crowd, tread one upon another, yet they Page  102 all make to the same door, they would all go the same way: Godly people are divided in their opinions and wayes, but they are united in Christ; though they may be divided from such a particular society, yet they are not divided from the Church; it is with the Saints here, as with the boughs of trees in time of a storm; you shall see the boughs one beat upon a∣nother, as if they would beat one another to pieces, as if Ar∣mies were fighting, but this is but while the wind, while the tempest lasts; stay a while and you shal see every bough stand∣ing in its own order and comeliness, why? because they are all united in one root; if any bough be rotten, the storme breaks it off, but the sound boughs come into their former place. These times of division may break off men whose spi∣rits were before unsound, they will never come in to joyne with the Saints again so as they seemed to doe in former times: but within a while when this gust is over, others may come in and shew themselves to be all united in, and receive sap from the same root.


Dividing Distempers, the lusts of mens hearts.

THese divide us not onely from God, but from one ano∣ther.*This I learne, sayes Luther, from mine owne experi∣ence, that I have more cause to feare what is within me, then what is without. What ever others do to divide us would prevail lit∣tle, were it not for the lusts of our hearts within. Vapours that are got within the earth, are the cause of all earth∣quakes, they rend and tear: the winds, storms, and tempests without never move it. Ill humours within the body, disturb more then the ayre without. James 4. 1. Whence are wars and fighting amongst you? are they not hence, even from your lusts? Whence come they? The answer is soon made, Do you not see plainly that they came from your lusts? Yet were this Question put to some of us, Whence are all our divisions? Some would answer, Such kinde of men are the cause of them, and o∣thers would answer, Nay but such men cause them. We all put off the cause of our divisions from our selves; few would give Page  103 Saint James his answer, They are from hence, even from our lusts. There would not be such evill distillations from the head, if it were not for the malignant vapours that arise from the sto∣mach. The curing the heart will sooner cure the head, then the curing the head will cure the heart:

Whence are wars? even from your lusts. The Apostle doth not here condemn wars simply, this was the error of the old Ma∣nichees, raised up again by some amongst us; especially as the Wars are looked upon under that notion, raised for Religi∣on. They seek to weaken our hands in these wars, by telling young people who have newly given their names to Christ, and therefore desire to be guided by the Word in all they do, whom God hath used under himself to be the strength of these wars, that they have no warrant to fight for Religion. To whom our Answer is, that we have a Civill right to the out∣ward peaceable profession and practice of our Religion; wee have the Laws of the Land for it, and for the maintenance of this right wee fight. There can be no reason given why our civil right we have to our Religion, may not as wel be main∣tained by the sword, as our civill right to our houses and lands. This answers all objections against the maintenance of Religion by the sword, from the practice of the Christians in the Primitive times, who never sought to maintain Religi∣on thus. We say their case was not the same with ours; they never had any civill right to the profession and practice of Religion in the Countreys where they lived, as we have.

The wars meant in this Text are contentions, jars, divisions amongst Christians; though they did not take up the sword one against another, yet there were many quarrells, jarrs, and divisions amongst them, these came from their lusts. The lusts of mens hearts are very quarrelsom. Storms and tempests are here below in this impure muddy part of the world, in the higher part all is serene, calm, and clear. 1 Cor. 3. 3. For yee are yet carnall; how do's he prove that? whereas there is a∣mong you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnall and walke as men? Strifes and divisions do manifest mens hearts to be very carnall.

August. upon that place, Gen. 15. 10. where God required Abraham to take beasts and birds for sacrifice, the beasts were Page  104 divided,* cut asunder, but not the birds: Thus (says he, by way of allusion) carnall brutish men are divided one from another, but not the birds, not those who are more spirituall, more celestiall.

Ye walke as men, sayes the Apostle, yee should not walk as men, ye should walk as it becomes those whose condition is raised above the condition of men, as it becomes Christians the redeemed ones of the Lord; you say, Can flesh and blood en∣dure this? Can any man living beare this? what if flessh and blood, what if a man cannot? A Christian may, a member of Jesus Christ who is God-man, may. Chrysostome in one of his Ser∣mons to the people of Antioch, brings in Gods gracious dea∣ling with Cain, as an example for them to imitate, in their carriage towards those who carry themselves ill towards them; He brings them in also replying, God indeed was gen∣tle and patient toward Cain, for hee is God, he is above all passion, but we are but men; he answers them, Therefore did the Son of God come down, that he might make you as near as may be to God.

The Scripture sayes, The Saints are made partakers of the di∣vine nature; therefore do not say, We are but men. You must not walk as men, but as those who are endued with the Di∣vine nature. It is a great charge that the holy Ghost layes up∣on the Corinthians, that they walked but as men; yet many come short of the lives of men: they rather walk as doggs, as tygers, as wolves. Gal. 5. 20. The fruits of the flesh are hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings. All these are the causes or workings of divisions: Surely our di∣visions are the fruits of the flesh. We see it in nature, the more spiritual any thing is, the more it unites; and the more gross the substance of any thing is, the lesse it unites; the beames of the Sun are of a kind of spirituall nature, therefore thousands of them will unite in puncto, but it is not so in other things; spiritual hearts in this are like the Sun beams, though thou∣sands of them live together, they will unite in one so long as they continue spiritual. The three thousand Converts, Act. 2. joyned with one accord, with one single heart: We find it now by experience, so long as there be but a few in a Church, they agree well, but usually when they come to be numerous, dis∣sentions rise amongst them; this is an argument that the Page  105 hearts of men are not spiritual, still much flesh remains. Brac∣kish water ascending to the Heavens, is sweetned, it comes down sweet from thence; thus those things which have trou∣ble, which have an aptnesse to breed divisions, yet spirituall heavenly hearts having to do with them, they turn the nature of them, they work spirituall advantage out of them.

The higher fire ascends, the more it unites; the flame that is broad at the bottom, as it growes high, unites to be as the point of a needle. When the hearts of Christians keep below, and have a great deal of smoak amongst them, they do not so unite; but when they can get up high, O what close, single-hearted union is there 〈◊〉 a crooked and a right line cannot joyn,* but two right lines will joyn in every point.

The lusts of mens hearts cause divisions many wayes:

First, they are mens own, therefore they will contend for [ 1] them; nothing is a mans own, so much as his lusts; man aims wholly at himselfe in satisfying his lust: A Dog will barke, and bite, and flye in a mans face to preserve his own whelps.

Secondly, Mens lusts blinde their judgements; Perit ju∣dicium [ 2] cum res transit in affectum; when the heart is tainted, the judgement is soone blinded; if the beame of the scale you weigh by, be not straight, the scale that hath the light weight may weigh down the heavier; if our hearts be crooked, war∣ping to any sinfull lust, what weight soever there be in any arguments to convince, the scale will goe according to the warping of the heart, the conclusion will follow the worser part.

3ly. Mens lusts weaken their spirits, so as they are not a∣ble [ 3] to heare any thing that comes crosse to them; women; children,* sick people, who are weakest, fall out most with one another; things that are rotten cannot hold together, every little touch breaks them asunder; that which is sound hath strength to hold one part to another.

Fourthly, in mens lusts there is confusion, they cannot [ 4] be kept in order, therefore they must needs cause disturbance, not onely in mens owne spirits, but to all that have to deale with men acted by them; where there is confusion, there cannot be union; when there is right order in an army, though Page  106 the men be never so numerous, never so differing in other re∣spects, yet if they keep their ranks, they are all but one; but if put to a rout and confusion, then the bond of unity is bro∣ken, and every man divides from another to shift for himself.

[ 5] In mens lusts there are contradictions; no vertue is contra∣ry to another, but vices have nothing but contrarieties and contradictions in them. Mens lusts oppose and fight against one another in mens hearts; no marvail then when there are such stirs within, though they break forth into quarrels and contentions without: If a man be quarrelsom in his family, no wonder if when he comes abroad, he quarrels and con∣tends with his neighbours also.

[ 6] Sixtly, In mens lusts there is violence, violence and peace cannot stand together. Isa. 60. 18. God promises peace, and there promises, that violence should be no more heard in their Land. Mens lusts are boisterous and unruly, especyally when they have been acting a while; at the first venting they seem to be fair, but after a while they grow outragious: violent and boisterous dispositions are unfit for society.

You shall find in experience men who seem to be of weake spirits, of softly tempers, very remisse in what they do ordi∣narily, yet let the lusts of these men be engaged in any cause, to any side, O how violent and impetuous will they be! they care not what they say or do, they will divide from God, from the publique, from their dearest friends, from their nee∣rest relations, from what themselves have made profession of heretofore, from their credit, profit, from their own peace, from any thing, and all to serve a lust engaged in such a busi∣nesse; it is a dangerous thing to have a mans lust engaged, no∣thing can stand against an engaged lust, a man runs on head-long, he will break his conscience, he will desperately en∣danger his eternall breaking, to maintain the engagement of his lust.

[ 7] 7ly. In the lusts of mens hearts there is an antipathy a∣gainst God, against his wayes, purity of his Ordinances, his Saints. Gen. 3. 15. I will put enmity between thee and the wo∣man, between thy seed and her seed.

In Antipathy the opposition is,

[ 1] 1. In the nature of the things, therefore its deeply rooted, Page  107 it comes not in accidentally; you may find two sheep fight∣ing upon some accident, but the natures are not opposite, like the Wolfe and the Sheep.

2. The cause of this opposition is secret; wicked men have [ 2] their spirits rise against the godly, but they are not able to say why: The husband loved his wife while she was carnall, now God hath turned her heart she is more obedient then ever, she seeks to give him content in all things more then before, she is more usefull to him in all occasions, more faithfull, every way more lovely then before, only she is godly now, and was not so before; but his heart is now quite off from her, he dares not say that it is for her godlinesse, if he hath any con∣viction himself, but so it is that now he looks upon her with an evil eye, & an estranged heart: So a wicked Father or Mo∣ther, who loved their child exceedingly, before God was pleased to work upon him, yet now the child is more dutiful then he was, but the heart of the father or mother is taken off from him, can hardly endure him, ready to take any excepti∣on against him, their countenances are lowring and sadd to∣wards him, they can give no reason for this their change, but as they were wont to say of Christians, Such a man is a good man, but he is a Christian. Bonus vir Caius Seius sed Christianus, non amo te, I love you not, but I can give no reason; Hoc tan∣tum possum dicere, Non amo te, all that I can say is this, that I do not love you.

3. It is a setled, constant opposition: This hath been in all [ 3] generations the great cause of division between the men of the world, and the Saints, and still it continues the same; you may see the same spirit of the old opposers of godlinesse and godly men, working in our days; the names of things may be chan∣ged, but the same kind of men for the same things are oppo∣sed and hated now in the same manner as in former gene∣rations.

4. It is very strong, ungodly men are exceedingly imbitte∣red [ 4] against the Saints. Ezek. 26. 6. Because thou hast clapped thine hands, and stamped with the feet, and rejoyced in heart, with all thy despight against the Land of Israel: This spirit of bitter∣nesse and indignation that was in them against the people of God, is seminally at least in all wicked men.

Page  108 [ 5] 5ly. The enmity of Antipathy is incurable, it can never be taken away, except one ceases to be in its nature what it was; there can be no compounding things that are so contrary, one of them must cease to be, or turned into another nature, or else the pposition will be everlasting.

The great divisions amongst us are those that are between the seed of the woman, and the seed of the Serpent; some di∣vision▪ there are between those who are the seed of Christ, but the great stirs in the Kingdom come from the evill spirit there is in the seed of the Serpent against the godly in the Land. In the beginning of the Parliament, when mens liberties and e∣states being involved in one, there was good agreement, all men rejoyced, generally the countenances of those who were not Popish and Prelaticall, were serene, they had comfortable aspects one upon another; but when those whose spirits were opposite to the power of godlinesse, saw how the godly a∣mongst them rejoyced, how their heads were lifted up, how their hearts were filled with hopes of good dayes, wherein Religion should be countenanced and honoured; that Anti∣pathy that was in their hearts against the ways of God, boy-led in them; though they were glad that they should be freed from some burdens, yet to see those whom they hated in their hearts, to rejoyce so much, they could not beare, but their spirit rose against them, and in opposition to them they have raised these stirs, they have made these woful distractions that are amongst us.

[ 6] Lastly, the lusts of mens hearts are the cause of our divisi∣ons,* because God requires every man according to his place to make opposition against them; the cause of the strife lyes not in those who oppose them, they do but their duty; but in in those who nourish such lusts within them; yet we finde it ordinarily, that those who are most corrupt will cry out against those who oppose them in their wicked wayes, as the cause of strife and divisions, as if they were the troublers of Israel, whereas indeed themselves, the wicked lusts of their own hearts are the troublers of Israel, those who oppose their lusts desire all good to their persons. I remember Augustine in his Book about the unity of the Church hath this passage, The Son doth more grievously persecute his father by living naughtily, Page  109 then the father him by chastising him duely. Sarahs Maid did more trouble her by her wicked pride, then shee her Maid by her deserved correction. Those men who are most faulty, are the men who are to be charged to be the greatest troublers in Church and State.

Thus in the generall, mens lusts are the cause of divisions; but let us enquire into the particular lusts of men, which wee may also charge: Wee shall find these dividing distempers to be as many as the dividing Principles: As the Philosopher speaks of four Cardinall vertues, so the first four that I shall name I may call the four Cardinall vices, these are Pride, Self-love, Envy, Passion or Frowardnesse; All the other distempers that cause divisions, have the poyson of these four at the root of them. These are the Chariot wheels of the Furies, or the four horses that drawes them up and down hurrying from place to place.


The Pride of mens hearts the great dividing distemper.*

PRide is the greatest Master of mis-rule in the world, it is the great incendiary in the soule of man, in families, in Townes, Cities, in all societies, in Church and State: This wind causeth tempests to arise. Prov. 13. 10. Onely by pride comes contention. The holy Ghost singles out pride, as the on∣ly cause of all contentions, because it is the chief; though there be many in a ryot, the whole usually is laid upon the ring-leaders. Pride is the ring-leader to all ryots, divisions, disturbances amongst us. Prov. 21. 24. Proud and haughty scorner is his name who dealeth in proud wrath. Pride may be well indicted for the great common Barrettor in all Towns, and Cities, and Kingdomes, it makes wofull troubles where∣soever it comes. Mathematicians make this a rule to know when a thing is exactly round, and when it is exactly plaine; Round things will not touch but in puncto, if you lay plaine things together, they will touch in every part of them.

Page  110 Proud hearts will joyne only in some things that concern themselves, but plain hearts will joyn in every thing wherein God may have glory, and their Bethren good.

Guty swoln legs keep at distance one from another; blad∣ders that are blown up with wind, spurt one from another, they will not close, but if you prick them, and so let out the wind, you may pack a thousand in a little room. Wee finde this by experience, when God gives us most successe in our Armies, then are we most divided, then every man begins to look high, and to be sharking for himself; and when the Lord discountenances our Armies, and brings us low, then we think and speak ways of Accommodation, then we bewaile our divisions with some brokenness of spirit: As it is with Souldiers when they are fighting against the common adver∣sary, then they can agree well enough; but when they come to divide the spoile, or be put into their Garrisons, then they fall out: When we lye under the danger of the same common calamity, then we can agree; but when we come to share for our selves, then our spirits swell one against another.

We read in Scripture of the Mannah that God gave his peo∣ple; such was the nature of it that the heat of the Sun melted it. You wil say, How could it then endure the heat of the oven? for they baked it in the oven; yet so it was, of a strange kind of nature, that it could bear the heat of the oven, and not the heat of the sun. Even of such a temper are our hearts; the heat of the sunne of prosperity dissolves us, causes us to runn one from another, but the heate of the fire of affliction bakes us, brings us, and settles us together; it makes us to be one, it takes away our rawnesse, it consumes many of our ill hu∣mors, and so composes our spirits into one.

The stupidness of our hearts is such, as we do not make our brethrens case, who suffer the rage of these wars, our owne; But we for the present having some more liberty then former∣ly, we are lifted up, and in the pride of our hearts push at our brethren, and smite our fellow-servants: If the dogges be at a little distance from us, though we even heare the cryes of our brethren who are worried by them, yet we foolishly blesse our selves in our present ease, enjoyments, and hopes, as if our Page  111 flesh must be spared, our estates, our liberties and enjoyments must be continued, yea raised, whatsoever becomes of others. Oh sinfull vaine spirits, befooled and hardned with their pride!

But what are the severall workings of pride that make such a stir in the world?*

First, A proud man thinks himself too great to be crossed, Shall I beare this? I will make you know what it is to doe such things against me;* he thinks it a great dishonour to him to beare any thing, therefore he must needs quarrel and con∣tend, if it be but to shew what a man of spirit he is, or to shew that he is a man of such worth, as whatsoever others beare, yet it is not fit for him to bear it; it is but reason that such a man as he should make men who will presume to crosse him, to yeeld to him, to stoop under him. Now when one proud man thinks it a dishonour for him to put up wrongs from a∣nother who it may be is as proud as himself, and he thinks it a dishonor for him to put up wrong, what peace can there be? some wrongs must be put up, but proud men will never agree who shall begin.

Secondly, because his spirit swells so big, he thinks every thing that crosseth him to be very great; his sufferings are great to him according to what great thoughts he hath of himself, according to the excellency or meannesse of any per∣son: So are his sufferings to be reckoned, sufferings of a man in eminency are judged according to his eminency and place; if a mean man suffer the same things, they are not accounted so great; now whether a man be great really, or in his owne apprehension, its all one in regard of his esteem of his suffer∣ings, he thinks himselfe therefore intollerable, because they are against himself.

Dan. 3. 14. Is it true O Shadrach; Meshach, and Abednego? Do not ye serve my gods? that which you have in your books, is it true? Arius Montanus translates, Nunquid de solatio: what, is there desolation made? what, you to oppose the command of a King? if this be suffered, what desolation must needs foll∣ow? Add indeed the root from whence the word comes, signi∣fies desolari,* to make desolate; why? was it a desolation that these three poor innocent men made, because they would not, Page  112 nay, they could not do as this proud K. would have them? wht made him thus to aggravate the offence, but meerly the pride of his heart? he thought that any thing cross to his command was a most hainous offence, a thing most horrid in the very mention of it, no lesse then the utter undoing of all things. Pride ever aggravates any thing done against its owne mind. This in Dan. that Montanus turns, Nunquid desolatio, Buxtorfius translates num de industria; what on purpose? you doe it on purpose to provoke me; thus proud men and women in their families, whatsoeuer children or servants do amisse; what? you do it on purpose to anger me, do you? When the winde comes crosse the streame, the waters rage: So does the will and affections of a proud heart, when any thing crosseth it.

[ 3] 3ly. Pride makes men swell beyond their bounds; the way to keep all things in union is for every man to keep within his bounds, the swelling beyond tends to the breaking all in pieces. Hab. 2. 5. He is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and cannot be satisfied. If any humour of the body goeth beyond its bounds, it brings much trouble to it, the health and peace of the body consists in the keeping of every humour within its vessell and due proportion.

[ 4] 4ly. Pride hardens mens hearts. Dan. 5. 20. His minde is hardned in his pride. If you would have things cleave, you must have them soft, two flints will not joyn; the Spanyard hath a Proverb, Lime and stone will make a wall, if one be hand, yet if the other be yeelding, there may be joyning, and good may be done, not else.

[ 5] 5ly. Pride causes men to despise the persons, actions, and sufferings of others, nothing is more unsufferable to a mans spirit then to be vilified. A proud man despises what others do, and others what he does, every man next to his person, desires the honour of his actions. If these two be contemned, his sufferings will likewise be contemned by the proud: This also goes very neer to a man; one man thinks what another man suffers is nothing, no matter what becomes of him; a∣nother thinks his suffering's nothing, and no matter what becomes of him. O at what a distance now are mens hearts one from another!

Page  113 6ly. Pride causes every man to desire to be taken notice of [ 6] to have an eminency in some thing or other; if he cannot be eminent on one side, he will get to the other; he must be ta∣ken notice of one way or other: when he is in a good and peaceable way, God makes some use of him; yet because he is not observed, and looked upon as eminent, he will rather turn to some other way, to contend, strive, to oppose, or a∣ny thing, that he may be taken notice of to be some body, that he may not goe out of the world without some noyse: What, shall such a man as I? of such parts, such approved abili∣ties, so endued by God to doe some eminent service, be laid aside, and no body regard me? I must set upon some notable worke, some∣thing that may draw the eye of observance upon me. I have read of a young man,* who set Diana's Temple on fire, and being as∣ked the reason, he said, That he might have a name, that the people might talk of him. Because he could not be famous by doing good, he would by doing evill. Proud spirits wil ven∣ture the setting the Temple of God, yea Church and State on fire,* that they may have a name, whatsoever they do or suffer; to get a name they will rather venture, then dye in obscurity, that of all things they cannot bear.

7. A proud man would have others under him; and others being proud too, would have him under them; he would have others yield to him, and others would have him yield to them, where will the agreement then begin? What is that [ 7] which hath rent and torne the world in all ages, that hath brought woful distractions, perplexities, confusions, miseries in all Countreys by wars, but the pride of a few great ones, seeking to bring one under another? Those wasting Wars of the Romans between Sylla and Marius, Caesar and Pompey, were they not from hence? It is hard for men in great places, and of great spirits, to accord long. Melancthon in his Comment upon Prov. 13. 10. says concerning such men, there was wont to be this Proverb, Duo montes non miscentur, Two mountains will not mixe together.

8ly. A proud man makes his will to be the rule of his acti∣ons, [ 8] and would have it to be the rule of other mens too, and other men being proud too, would have their wils the rule of Page  116 though there be nothing else but pride, and in the Hebrew it is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Dabit jurgium, give contention, if there be no cause given, it will make it.

Now let every man looke into his own heart, and see what pride hath been, and still is there, and be humbled before the Lord for this. All you contentious, froward, quarrelsome people, you are charged this day from God to be men and women of proud spirits, and what evill there is in our sadd divisions, that pride in your bosome is a great cause of. Saint Paul did beat down his body, left after he had preached to others, he should become a reprobate. Let us all, and especially Ministers, labour to beat down our spirits, lest after all our profession and glorious shews, we at last become Reprobates, at least such as God may cast out for the present in this world, taking no delight in making use of; what in such times as these are to have hearts swoln and lift up in pride? God is now about the staining the pride of the earth. How unseasonable and dan∣gerous is it for a Marriner to have his top-sails up, and all spread in a violent storme? it is time then to pull downe all, lest he be sunck irrecoverably. The point of a needle will let the wind out of a bladder, and shall not the swords of God, the swords of Warre and Plague, that have got so deep into our bowels, let out the windy pride of our hearts? The haugh∣tinesse of men shall be bowed downe, and the Lord himself will be ex∣alted. The Lord humble us, that he may reconcile us, not on∣ly to himselfe, but to one another.

Page  117


Selfe-love,* the second dividing distemper.

THis is neer akin to the former: Phil. 2. 3. Let nothing be done through strife: Ver. 4. Looke not every man on his owne things, but every man also on the things of others: This is the cause of strife, because men looke so much on their owne things. Many will have no peace, except their own party be follow∣ed; Jehu-like, What hast thou to do with peace? follow me. It is not Peace, but Party that they mind. Maxima pars studiorum est studium partium: The greatest part of their studies, is to stu∣dy sides and parts. Luther upon Psal. 127. hath a notable speech,*I am of that opinion, sayes he, that Monarchies would conti∣nue longer then they doe, were it not for that same litte Pronoun [E∣go] that same [I] (my selfe.) Yea certainly could this same Selfe be but laid aside, all governments and societies would not only continue longer, but flourish better.

Selfe-love is the cause of our divisions.

First, where this prevails, men love to take in all to them∣selves, but let out nothing from themselves; this must needs divide societies in Church and State, for they are Bodies; if [ 1] one member in the body takes in all to it selfe, and lets out nothing from it self to other members; as suppose the arme or leg takes in all the blood and spirits that comes into strengthen it selfe, and when it hath got them in there keeps them, and lets out none to another member, how soon would the members drop one from another? The whole world is maintained by mutual communication of one creature to a∣nother; take away that, and the world dissolves presently.

2ly. Those who are acted by self-love, have no common [ 2] ends to joyn them, therefore they cannot close; if they be im∣ployed in publike service, they quickly warp to their private ends. Take two boards never so straight, yet if one be season∣ed and the other green, they will lye close a while, but ere long you wil find that the unseasoned wil divide from the o∣ther by warping, especially when heat coms to it. Thus many at the first, Oh who but they for the publike, for the common Page  112〈1 page duplicate〉Page  113〈1 page duplicate〉Page  114 their actions, and of his too. Thus the blustering winde of pride in mens hearts causes them to justle one against another, and so to split themselves one upon another; as where many ships lye together, a violent wind breaking their Anchor-ca∣bles, causes them to dash one upon another, and so to make shipwrack even in the Haven.

[ 9] 9. A proud man opposes others, because they have begun such a worke; and others, who are also proud, oppose him, because he hath begun it. The Senators of Rome could have been content to have admitted Christ to have been amongst the number of their gods, but only upon this, they refused be∣cause the motion began not with them. Many amongst us have no other reason why they oppose good motions, but because they were not first in them; They are loth to break the yee, to begin a good work, if they see any difficulty in it, and yet the cause of God must not goe on, Christ must not be admitted, if they have not been at the beginning: Like two men carrying a long piece of timber in at a narrow passage, one man will goe before, and the other man will go before, they can never carry it in, because they cannot agree who shall goe formost.

[ 10] 10. One proud man is conceited of what he doth, because it is his own way; and another proud man is conceited of what he doth, because it is his own way, and so men draw di∣vers ways, and the publique cause of God and his people must give way to their conceitness. Pride makes a man drunk with his own conceits, Hab. 2. 5. The proud man is as he that trans∣gresseth by wine; and Drunkards you know are quarrelsome. Wonder not at an absurd thing in a proud man, for pride makes him drunk. Prov. 13. 10. Proud men who cause con∣tention,* are opposed to the well advised, But with the well ad∣vised (cum consultis) is wisdome. The Sept. reads it, The wise are such at know themselves, but the proud do not.

[ 11] 11. Proud men will venture upon things unseemly, think∣ing their esteem and greatnesse will bear them out; and others who are proud will venture upon the like, upon the same ground, for every man is eady to have high thoughts of him∣self. Psal. 19. 14. Deliver me from presumptuous sins, a superbis, so some, Ab insolentibus, so others, from proud, from insolent Page  115 sins.* Pride makes insolent. A proud man, sayes the Philoso∣pher, is a faigner of boldnesse and valour, and therefore will foo∣lishly venture upon any thing.*

12. If there is any thing to be done that is conceived to be mean and low, a proud man will seek to put it upon others, [ 12] and others who are proud will seek to put it upon him, and if it be a work of credit, then he seeks it to himself, and others seek it to themselves, and hence are jarrings and divisions.

13. If there be any good successe in any thing, then pride [ 13] makes one man attribute it to himselfe, and another man at∣tribute it to himself; and if the successe be ill, then one puts it off from himself, and and another from himself, and thus quarrels and contentions are raised and fomented.

14. One proud man thinks himself the only worthy man [ 14] to have his counsel followed, and his desires satisfied, and the other he thinks himself the man that should have his counsell followed, and his desires satisfied, and thus men struggle and oppose one another.

Lastly, one proud man is very discerning in the discovery [ 15] of pride in another; and though he entertains it in his owne bosome, yet he hates it in others wheresoever he sees it: This is a peculiar curs upon this sin, one Drunkard loves another, one whoremaster another, but one proud man hates another. This is exemplified notably in Boniface the second, Bishop of Rome, he says of Aurelius Bishop of Carthage, and of the rest of those who were present at the sixth Councel of Carthage, that through the instigation of the Devil, they swelled with pride against the Roman Church, he means against the supremacy of it, for it was spoken upon the submission of Eulalius Bishop of Carthage, to the Chair of Rome. Behold the proud Bishop of Rome, who would have all the preheminence himself, swells with pride against the pride of others.

Here we see what a make-bate Pride is; That which Tertullus said to Felix, Act. 24. 2. is true of Humility, By thee we enjoy great quietnesse; but the contrary is as true of Pride, By thee are made wofull divisions, by thee we suffer miserable disturban∣ce. Though there be no occasion of quarrel, yet pride wil make some; only by pride comes contention, as before, Pro. 13. 10. Page  116〈1 page duplicate〉Page  117〈1 page duplicate〉Page  118 good; but there being a principle of Selfe within, like the sap in the board, when they began to feel heat, some difficulties rising, they warpd to their own ends, and divided from those they were imployed with. Mens private ends are narrow, they cannot drive on them, but they wil meet with one ano∣ther, & justle one another, quarrel, contend, and fight for the way▪ as Car-men doe when they meet in narrow streets, and Boat-men in narrow passages. If we had publique ends, our way would be broad enough,* we might to on peaceably and comfortably without, without prejudice to one another. If a man lived alone, then he might goe on quietly in his way, only God would meet him in it; but seeing men live in the world amongst others, they must consider, that if they will drive on their own designs, & work their own end, other men have designs and ends to drive on and work as well as they: it is therefore impossible but you will crosse and be crossed, you will vex and fret at others, and others will vex and fret at you. Whatsoever is such, sayes Tullie, wherein many cannot ex∣cell, in that there is for the most part such contention, as society can hardly be kept entire.

[ 3] 3ly. Self makes every man judg of things according to wht is in himself. I have read of Blackmores, when they paint an Angel, they paint him black like themselves; and when they paint the Devil, they paint him white, as much different from themselves as they can: Thus men acted by Selfe, the foulest, blackest opinon, yet if sutable to their judgments, they wil set out like Angels with the fairest glosses that may be; and that wch is truth, if disagreeing from them, they will paint it out in the foulest manner that can be; they labor so to besmear it, that if it be possible it shall looke like a Devil. If a selfish man be conscious of not having that wch is commendable, he will not believe that others hath it: As Nero being abominably fil∣thy, would not believe there was any chast man in the world: whatsoever evil he doth, he thinks all men if they had the like opportunity, would do the same; if they have plots to fetch a∣bout their own ends, they think every man is plotting too.

[ 4] 4. Selfe makes much stir and trouble, for it is a very odi∣ous thing; Omne affectatum odiosum: as vermine are odious, be∣cause they only take into themselves, consume thinge, and Page  119 are no way useful to any thing else. When any thing doth but smell of Self, it begins to be loathed, let a man have never such excellent parts, do never such excellent things, yet if Self ap∣pears, the loveliness and glory of all is gone; therefore those men that act selfe, they had need be very cunning, to keep in and hide it; herein appears what a vile thing Selfe is, that though in truth it acts all, and receives the incomes of all, yet it dares not appeare, but lies sculking under all the covers it can; how vile▪ is this selfe, for which all must be done, which thou makest thy God, yet cannot in the least appeare, but is odious and abominable to every one? yea it is consci∣ous to it self, that it is so, and therefore dares not appear; yet the acting of it is very mischievous to all humane Societies.

Fiftly, There is this wickednesse in self-love, that even [ 5] those things that men acknowledge to be right and good in the generall, yet if in the particular they shall not sute with something they would have, it will put men upon the oppo∣sing it; and what peace and union can there be amongst men, if what they will grant and commend to be good, yet when it falls crosse to them, they will oppose and contend against? Thus Acts 26. 7. Ʋnto which promise our twelve Tribes instantly serving God night and day hope to come, for which hopes sake I am accused of the Jewes. The twelve Tribes, the whole body of the Jewes constantly grant the promise of the Resurrectio, and yet in malice to me they accuse me of this; or if not so, yet they are willing that I should sink in this cause: Just as many Ministers were wont in their Pulpits to commend high∣ly the wayes of Religion, to exhort men to grow up in god∣linesse, to be carefull of all their wayes; but when some of their Parishioners did but practice in the particular, what themselves had commended to them in the generall, they would hate them, and persecute them for it. God deliver us from such a spirit.

Sixtly, Selfe causes men who are in publique employment [ 6] to keepe up their private jarres and grudges, to interrupt the publike, they will crosse one another in their work for the publike; let that suffer, so they may let one another feel of their private grudges: In this Christians are beneath Heathens. I have read of Aristides and Themistocles, who had many jar∣rings Page  120 between themselves, but being both employed in the work of the Common-wealth, in an Embassage, as they went over the Mountains, one sayes thus to the other, Let us lay downe all our private grudges upon these mountaines, at least till our businesse be over, and if there shall be just cause when we have done our worke for the Common-wealth, we may then examine them. It were happy with us, if all men in publique employment in this Land would from their hearts speak thus to one ano∣ther, but men are selfish and cannot do it: Hence comes so many of our breaches and divisions.

[ 7] 7ly. Selfe causes men not to see their own evils; or if they do, to indulge themselves in them, but to be quick-sighted and severe in the discovering and opposing those evils there are in others, and this causes many breaches and fallings out. We may apply that of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 13. Love covereth a multitude of faults to selfe-love. Selfish men see little evill in themselves, al is ever well with them whatsoever others do; and the more they cocker themselves, the more severe they are to others; but Christ would have the quite contrary, severi∣ty to our selves, but indulgence to others; those that are so, are the most peaceable men. Mat. 18. 8. If thy hand or foote of∣fend thee, cut them off, and ast them from thee; or if thine eye offend thee, plucke it out. We must deale severely with our selves in those things that are as neer and dear to us as our hands and eyes; but Vers. 15. When Christ gives order how we are to deale with our Brethren, he then requires more moderation; If thy Brother offends thee, goe and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; If he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, and see what thou cast doe with him that way; yea, and after that tell the Church, not presently cut him off, or cast him away, as you must do when your hand or eye offends you; If men have any indulgence, let it be exercised towards their Brethren; if they have any severi∣ty, let them exercise that against themselves. I remember I have read of Pliny, that he says of himself, That he so passed by other mens offences, as if himselfe were the greatest offender; and hee was so evere against himself, as if he meant to pardon none. If it were so with us, we should live at more peace one with ano∣ther then we do.

Page  121 8. Selfishnesse causes reservednesse; great self-lovers never [ 8] care for communion but with such as are either far above them, that so they may get from them, and have credit by con∣versing with them, or with those that are under them, for they will admire them, they may rule amongst them: In the compa∣ny of either of these, they will let out themselves fully; but if there be an equality, then you shall have little from them, there is nothing to draw forth Selfe, there soone growes a strangenes between them and such, union will not hold where communion is not free; if there be but an interruption of the freedome of communion, the union will soon break.

You will say, These were wont to be very entire friends, how came they to break? what hath either of them done? what unkindnesse hath befalne them?

None at all, onely that principle of Selfe was not so fully fed as it would be; upon that they began to be reserved, and so strange, and at last quite fell off from one another, from for∣mer love and friendship, and then every little thing caused grudgings between them.

Ninthly, Self sets mens wits on work in all cunning craf∣tinesse, [ 9] to fetch others about to their own ends, and this goes as much against a mans spirit as any thing: When he comes to discern it, no man can abide to be circumvented, to be as it were rid upon, to be made serviceable only to another mans ends: the more cunning there is in it, the more odious and abominable it is to a mans spirit, when it comes once to be perceived, a man cannot bear it. Crooked windings are the goings of the Serpent: But if a man shall not onely seek to make use of another to serve his own turne by him, but after he hath done that, then to cast him off to shift for himselfe; this is so provoking a thing, as it make breaches irreconci∣able.

10. When one is for Self in his wayes, he teaches another [ 10] to be so in his; As a man by conversing with the froward, learns to be froward: so many who have heretofore had plain hearts, full of love & sweetnes, yet by being acquainted much with selfish politique men, learn to be so too; I see how he hooks in himselfe in every thing, fetches about this way and that way, but still gets it to come to selfe; I perceived it not Page  122 at my first acquaintance with him, and then my heart was let out to him fully, but now I see every man is for himself, and why should not I be so too? and what then is like to become of the publique?

Surely this selfishnesse is very vile in the eyes of God; God hath made us members of a community, the Universe is maintained by union, therefore the creatures will venture the destroying themselves in going contrary to their natures, rather then there should not be union in the world; that which they do in a natural way, we should do by the strength of reason, much more by grace. Philosophers say there can∣not be a vacuity in the world; The world could not stand, but would be dissolved, if every part were not filled, because Nature subsists by being one; if there were the least vacuity, then all things should not be joyned in one, there would not be a contiguity of one part with another. This is the reason that water will ascend when the ayre is drawn out of a pipe, to fill it; this is to prevent division in nature; O that we had but so much naturalnesse in us, that when we see there is like to be any breach of union, we would be willing to lay down our self-ends, to venture our selves, to be any thing in the world that is not sin, that we may help to a joyning: O foo∣lish heart, that in such a time as this art selfish, when the dan∣ger is publike! As in a storm, when the Ship is in danger, if every Mariner should be busie about his own Cabbin, dressing and painting that, what infinite sottish folly were it? and is it not our case? It were just with God to leave thee to thy self hereafter, if thou wilt look so much to thy selfe now. Ezek. 22. 16. And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thy selfe in the sight of the Heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: This is in a way of threat, as appears if you compare it with vers. 14, 15. Woe to us if God leaves us to our selves. I have heard of a story of a fool being left in a chamber, and the door locked, and all the people gone, he cries out at the win∣dow, Oh my selfe, my selfe, O my selfe, nothing else came from him but O my self. Such fools have we amongst us now, nothing but Selfe is in their thoughts, their hearts and en∣deavourt. The Apostles complaint, Phil. 2. 21. may justly Page  123 be ours, All seeke their own, not the things which are Iesus Christs: Their own things,* that is, says Chrysostome, their pleasure and their security, their temporal commodities, their profits, their honours: So others, why are not the comforts, the safeties, the honours of the Saints the things of Christ, doth not Christ own them? Are they not under his protection and care?

Ans. Yes, and he would own them more, if we owned them lesse; the more we deny them, the more hath he a care of them: we may by our giving them up to the honour of Christ, make them to be amongst the number of his things, and then they would be precious indeed: but by desiring them, using them, rejoycing in them, in reference to our selves, Christ accounts them not amongst his things, things of a higher na∣ture are his things, the glory of his Father, the propagation of the Gospel, the spiritual good of his people, and the things of eternall life, they are his things; let us make his things ours, and he will make our things his.


The third Dividing Distemper,* Envy.

ENvie is a squint-eyed foole, Job 5. 2. Envie stayeth the silly one. Jam. 3. 14. If yee have bitter envying and strife in your hearts. Envy is a bitter thing, and causes strife, and makes that bitter too: So vers. 16. Where envying and strife is. Gal. 5. 20. Hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings. 1 Cor. 3. 3. There is among you envying, strife, divisi∣ons. Envy made divisions between Angels and men; it was the fist sinne, not the first born of the Devill, but that which trned Angels into Devils. The first heart-division amongst men was between Gain & Abel, and what caused it but envy? Who can stand before envy? she is subtil, undermining, dares not appear at the first: but if she cannot be satisfied with her under-works, then she flings, ends, frets, and fights, uses vio∣lence, seeks to raise a contrary faction, fals on any thing in the world so be it mischief may be done, let become of Gods glo∣ry, of service to the publike, of saving souls, rather then that Page  124 steem, respect and honour that otherwise might be had, should not be obtained; all must come under, all must be serviceable to this base lust, rather then the glory of an envious man must be eclipsed, God himself and his blessed Truth must be dark∣ned: O hideous wickednesse and high impudence against the God of Heaven! Envy divides in Counsels, in instruments, actions, in all proceedings; she will make use of good to oppose that which is good; if she cannot raise evil men to oppose good, she will seek to get good men to oppose; she would make God contrary to himselfe, she would strike at God with his owne sword. Phil. 1. 15. Some preach Christ out of envy. As Envy makes use of good for evill, so God makes use of this evill for good: Many seek to excell in preaching, or other∣wise, by this means; and sayes S. Paul, Howsoever I doe rejoyce, and will rejoyce. If Envy cannot reach others by imitation, she will reach them by calumniation. Zoilus the common slande∣rer, being asked why he spake evil of such and such men? Be∣cause, sayes he, I can doe no evill to them. If there be any good done, that she seeks to blast, together with the instruments of it; if any evil, that she rakes into, and feeds upon, like that Bird Ibis in Africa, that eats Serpents. Luther sayes, envious men feed upon the dung of other men; they are like flies, that love to be upon sores. Erasmus tels of one, who collected all the lame defective verses in Homer, and passed over all that were so excellent. When you see a man seeking to rake and gather together all he can of any distempers, disorders, mi∣stakes, miscarriages by hear-sayes, letters, or any way, so be it he may fill up his dung-cart; and for the good, the graces or gifts of God in men, those are laid aside, or slightly passed o∣ver, if at all mentioned, it is with some dirt mingled: Surely this is an envious man fitted for strife and debate, whom God permits to be an affliction to his people, in raising up a spirit of strife and contention, and causing divisions amongst them, like the Kite, who passes over faire Medowes, and pleasant fields, not regarding them, till she meets with a carrion, there she fals and fastens, now she is upon her prey where she would be: How pleasant is it to some men to hear of, or find out e∣vil in others whom they doe not love? To say no worse, you know how it hath been an old practise, to seek to get any Page  125 thing by reports, or any other wayes that might blast the pro∣fessors of Religion; and how glad were they? how did it please them at the heart if they could meet with any thing that might serve their turne?

This is a very shamefull distemper, some men will upon oc∣casion confesse they fear other men, and others that they love not other men, or that they contemn others, but no man will acknowledge that he envies others, there is too much shame in this, to be owned by any. The impiety and wickednesse is not lesse, it is a monstrous wickednesse for a man to complaine of God, that he made the world no better; and yet such wicked∣nesse there is in some mens hearts, but what is it then to com∣plaine of, and quarrel with God, that he hath made the World, or any part of it so well? This the envious man doth.

An envious man cannot endure to see others better then him∣selfe, or to have more respect then himself. It is reported of Licinius an intimate familiar with Constantine the Great, who also married his sister, but fell off to be a desperate enemy a∣gainst Christians, alledging this to be the reason, because in their Assemblies they prayed for Constantine, and not for him. Envious men, whether they deserve respect or no, yet if others have it, and not themselves, they rage, and are mad.

There is no vice but hath some kind of opposition to some other, as covetousnesse to prodigality, &c. but Envy only op∣poseth that which is good, and all good, therefore there is no∣thing in it but evil, and an universal evil. Gulielmus Parisiensis brings in Gregory, saying, That all the poyson in the old Serpent is in this sinne, as if it had emptied it selfe of its poyson, and vomited it in this sinne, so much venome there is in it.

Is it not a very evill thing, that in mens opposition against what they see others desire, they should give this reason why it should not be suffered,* because if it be, the greater part of the most godly people in all places will joyn with it? This brings to mind what I have read in Ecclesiasticall History: in the Second Century, The Emperour Adrian would have build a Church for the honour of Christ void of Images, because such was the custome of the Christians; but his friends disswaded Page  126 him, saying, If he did so, all men would forsake the Temples of the gods, and become Christians. I find in that learned piece of Voetius, Desperata causa papatus, a notable story of Ray∣erius a Popish Inqui••tor, he exclaims against the Waldenses, those poor men of Lios (as he calls them) He sayes there was never any more pernicious Sect then that;* and I pray why? He gives 3. reasons; First, That it is very ancient; Some say (says he) it hath continued from the time of Sylvester; others, from the times of the Apostles. Secondly, It is so generall, there is scarce any Countrey but this hath got into it. Thirdly, whereas others are guilty of blasphemy against God, upon which they are abhorred, these appeare to be holy men, they live justly, their beliefe of God is right, they believe all the Articles in the Creed; We can finde no fault with them either for their lives, or for their Doctrine, onely they are a∣gainst the Church of Rome, in which the people are ready to joyne with them. These are strange accusations; for do not they themselves make all these the signs of the true Church? and yet are these poor men so vile, because such things are found amongst them. Surely, it is Envy that imbitters the spirits of men against others, because they see in them those things which they cannot but acknowledg to be good, and herein the great evill of Envy, that malignity of it, by which it cau∣seth such great contentions does appear, they are angry they can find no evill in them, whereby they may get advantage a∣gainst them.

The holy Ghost say, that envy is rottennesse to the bones; the same learned man Guliel. Paris. applyes this to such as are chief in Church and Common-wealth, who are as it were the bones, the strength, the support of the societies whereof they are; Envy, says he, is often found amongst them, and it is rottennesse to them. This vile sin hath caused a rot in many men of emi∣nent abilities and places, who might otherwise have done much service for God & his people in Church and Common∣wealth: oh it is a michievous sin. Take away envy, says Augu∣stine, and what is mine, you have; take away envy, and what is yours, I have. We read Acts 11. of Barnabas, that hee was a good Page  127 man, and ful of the holy Ghost, and he was a man of a clea∣ving disposiion, of an uniting temper, ver. 23. He exhorted them that with full purpose of heart they would cleave to the Lord: This man was free from envy, for the Text sayes, when he had seen the grace of God, he was glad: He rejoyced in, and blessed God for the grace he saw in his Saints. Do you envy for my sake, says Moses? I would to God all the people of the Lord did prophesie. Moses was a fit man for publike service, who was so void of envy; No men are so fit for publike employment as such who can bles God that he is pleased to make use of others as wel as, yea beyond themselves. It was a good speech of that gracious holy, old Disciple Mr. Dod lately deceased, I would to God says he, I were the worst Minister in England; not wishing himselfe worse then he was, but all Ministers better.

The fourth dividing Distemper, Passion.*

PRov. 29. 23. An angry man stirreth up strife. Passion is so op∣posite to Union, that Prov. 22. 24. the holy Ghost would have us make no friendship with an angry man.

First, this fire of anger burns asunder the bands of union, [ 1] the bands of relation, as Nebudhadnezzars fire did the bands of the three Children. A froward heart car•• not for any relati∣ons. What makes divisions between husband & wife, brother and brother, servants and Masters, and Mistresses, neighbour and neighbour, but passionate forwardnesse?

Secondly, this fire burns asunder the bands by which mens [ 2] lusts were tyed up and kept in; it sets mens lusts at liberty. The lusts of mens hearts are like a bed of snakes in the cold, but the heat of passion warming them, causes them to crawl and hisse. What a stir would the Lions in the Tower mak, and the Bears in Paris-garden, if they were let loose? Passion lets mens Li∣on-like lusts loose. Philosophers say of the inferiour Orbes, that were they not kept in, restrained in their motion by the Primum mobile, they would set all the world on ire: If our lower affections, especially this of Anger, be not kept in and ordered by Reason and Religion, they wil set all on ire. Pas∣sion Page  128 makes men and women to be lawlesse, boundlesse, care∣lesse.

Men know not what they doe in their anger; this raises such a smoak, that they cannot see their way; the more cor∣rupt the heart is, the greater and the more noysome is the smoke raised by this fire in the heart. Put fire to wet straw, and filthy stuffe, oh what a filthy smoke arises!

Lev. 13. 25. we read of a leprosie breaking out of a burn∣ing; seldome doe mens passions burne, but there is a leprosie breaking out of that burning, and what union can there be with such? It froward people were dealt withall like the Le∣pers, shut up from others, we should have more peace. Some men when once their anger is got up, they will never have done, we can have no quiet with them; this fire in them is like that of hel, unquenchable. The dog-dayes continue with them all the year long. Seven devils can better agree in one Mary Magdalen, then seven froward people in one family. If one should set the Beakons on fire upon the landing of every Cock-boat, what continuall combustions and tumults would there be in the Land? Those men who upon every trifle are all on a fire by their passions, and what in them lies set others on fire, do exceedingly disturb the peace of those places where they live, those societies of which they are. Their hot passions cause the Climate where they live to be like the torrid Zone, too hot for any to live near them. Christ is the Prince of Peace, and the De∣vil is the Prince of divisions. Hence that expression of the holy Ghost, Ephes. 4. 27. Let not the sun goe down upon your wrath, nei∣ther give place to the devil: you are loth to give place to your brother, you will say, What, shall I yield to him? you will not yeeld to him, but you will yeeld to him that is worse, to the Devil. So you doe when you yield to wrath.

There are divers other dividing distempers that we shall speak to;* but for the present let us make use of the great mercy of God towards us that yesterday we solemnized in a publick Thanks∣giving; let us see how we may improve this glorious work of God for the closing of our spirits, the healing our divisions. It cals to us aloud to joyn, oh let your hearts joyn. There are 12: Arguments in this great work of God, to perswade us to union.

Page  129 First, there hath appeared much of Gods presence in this [ 1] his great work. I will praise thee O Lord, for thou hast done it, Ps. 52. 9. The Lord hath appeared wonderfully, his naked arm hath been revealed, his right hand hath become glorious in power. Those who were present saw much of God in this work. They send to us to give God the glory, and all the Countrey about sent still to tell us how much of God they have seen in this.

But how is this an argument for us to unite?

Suppose children or servants were wrangling one with a∣nother,* were not this an argument to make them be quiet, Your Father is here? your Mr. is come? will not all be whist presently? God is come amongst us, wee may see the face of God in what he hath done for us, and shall we be quarrelling before his face?

But 3. days before this great goodnesse of God, by speciall [ 2] Order from the House of Commons, there was a day set apart to humble our souls before the Lord, and to seek him for this mercy that now we rejoyce in, & in our Humiliation was not this one great sinne we did confess our divisions? did we not then acknowledg that it were righteous with God because of our divisions, to give us up as a prey to our adversarie? Now then, have not our divisions overcom Gods goodnes, lest Gods goodness overcome our divisions? Suppose there had been a day of Humiliation set apart to mourn under the heavy hand of God against us in delivering us up into the hands of our enemies, as (through his mercy we have had a day of Thanksgi∣ving, to blesse him for our deliverance from them) would not this sinn have been the matter of a great part of the comfession of all your Ministers? Oh the divisions that are amongst us! Thou hast dealt righteously with us. Our wraths were up one against another, and just it is with thee O Lord to let out the rage of the Adversary upon us; & shall we yet continue in that after a mercy, which we have confessed might justly have pre∣vented the mercy? shall we stil be guilty of that wch our con∣sciences tell us would have been the burden of them, as the just ause of our misery, if the Lord had come against us in his sore displeasure? God forbid. Let not that evill now be found Page  130 in us, that would have galled our consciences, if mercy had been denyed us.

[ 3] 3. We are delivered from being devoured by our enemies; shal we now devour one another? oh unworthy we of such a deliverance as this. It went ill with us in the beginning of the fight, but God looked mercifully upon us, his bowels wrought, if I come not in for their help. These ungodly men wil devour my servants, howsoever they have been faire to some, because yet they have not attained their own ends; but if they prevail here, they will account all their own, and then they will begin to exercise that cruelty that yet hath not been heard of, but it shall not be, my heart cannot bear the cries of my servants under such cruelties as I foresee. Do you think this was Gods end in delivering us from being devoured of our enemies, that we may be devoured one of a∣nother? We read Ezek. 5. 3, 4. the Prophet was bid to bind up a few hairs in his skirt, which was to signifie a few of the people which were preserved from that common calamity, but after these were cast into the fire, and fire came forth from these to all the house of Israel. Polanus upon the place hath this note, that grievous evils may come upon those who have been pre∣served from former common miseries, and those who for a while have been preserved by their contentions and divisions, may be the cause of woful evil to others. God forbid that this Text should be fulfilled in us. Let not a fire come from us, who yet are so graciously preserved, to devour the house of Israel.

[ 4] 4ly. God in this work of his hath joyned severall sorts of instruments, men of severall opinions; he hath made them one to do us good, why should not we be one in the enjoyment of that good? Let the one part, and let the other part have their due honour under God, in the mercy God hath made use of both, and why may not both enjoy the fruit of this mercy to∣gether in the Land?

[ 5] Fiftly, We were not without some feares, lest God should leave us in the work of Reformation begun; but now God speaks aloud to encourage us, he tels us he owns the worke. Now what doth this require of us? A little Logick will draw the consequence, Hath God declared himself that he intends to go on in this work he hath begun? Then let us all joyn to∣gether, Page  131 to further it, to the uttermost we can; let us not ex∣asperate the spirits of one another in ways of strife and oppo∣sition, but let every one set his hand and hand to this worke, that he may be able to say. Oh Lord God, thou that knowes the secrets of all hearts, knowest that upon this great mercy of thine, my heart was so moved, that whatsoever I could possibly see to be thy will for the furtherance of this great work of Reformation, and that I was able to doe, I did set my selfe to doe it, and am resolved to spend my strengh and life in it. If every one did thus, oh what glory might God have from this mercy of his!

6ly. When the Lord comes to us with mercies, and such [ 6] great mercies, he expects we should rejoyce in them, and sing praise; but how can we sing without Harmony? Prayer re∣quires an agreement. Mat. 18. 19. If two of you shall agree on earth touching any thing they shall aske, it shall be done for them. Surely Praise requires agreement much more. Psalms out of tune are harsh to the eare; disagreement of heart is much more to the Spirit of God.

7. Surely when God hath done so much for us, it must be [ 7] acknowledged to be our duty, to study what sacrifice would be best pleasing to him; some sacrifice we must offer: If there be any more acceptable to him then other, surely he deserves it no. If a friend had done some reall kindness for you, you would be glad to know what might be most gratefull to him, wherein you might testifie your thankfulness: Is this in your hearts? Do you now say, Oh that we did but know what is the thing that would be most pleaing to God; what sacrifice would smell sweetest in his nostrils! The Lord knowes we would fain offer it, whatsoever it be. I will tell you, That we would lay aside our divisions, our frowardnesse, that we would aband∣on our contentions and strife, that we would put on the bowels of mer∣cies, kindnesse, humblenesse of minde, meekenesse, long-suffering, forbearing one another, forgiving one another; If any man hath a quarrell against any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye, Col. 3. 12. And 1. Pet. 3. 4. A meee and a quiet spirit is in the ight of God of great price, it is much set by,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Psal. 15. 17. The sacrifice of God, that which is in stead of all sa∣crifices, is a broken spirit. Our hearts have been broken one from another in our unhappy divisions, oh that now they Page  132 could break one towards another in love and tenderness! Here would be a sacrifice more esteemed of God, then thousands of Rams, and ten thousand Rivers of Oyle: Loving mercy, and walking humbly is preferred above such sacrifices, Micah 6. 8.

[ 8] 8ly. God might have sode'd us together by the fire of his wrath, he might have made our blood to have been our ce∣ment to have joyned our stinty hearts together; but it is o∣therwise, God seeks to draw us to himselfe, and one to ano∣ther by the cords of love, the allurings of his mercy.

[ 9] Ninthly, what can have that power to take off the sowr∣nesse of mens spirits like mercy; the mercy of a God? surely if any thing possibly can sweeten them, that must needs do it. We read 1 Sam. 11. 11, 12, 13. a notable experiment of the efficacy of mercy to sweeten mens hearts. After Saul had slain the Ammonites, some of the bosterous spirits would have had him to have slain those who formerly had rejected him; but mark Sauls answer, ver. 13. There shall not a man be put to death this day: Why? For this day the Lord hath wrought salvation in Is∣rael. Though Saul at another time was a man of a harsh and cruell spirit, yet now mercy sweetens him; that which he was one day by the sense of mercy, that should we be not only in the day of our Thanksgiving, but in the course of our lives. When salvation came to the house of Zacheus, O what a sweet temper was he in! Behold, halfe of my goods I give to the poore, and if I have wronged any one, I restore foure-fold. Salvation is this day come to the Kingdome, O that all we had hearts to say, If wee have wronged any, wee will restore; if wee have wronged any in their names, by word, or writing, any way, we will restore: Mercy and love calls for mercy and love; if we were in a right tune, there would be a sympathy between the bowels of God and ours; as in two Lures, if the string in one be wound up to be answerable to the other, if you then strike one string, the other will move though lying at a dist∣ance: Now Gods love, Gods bowels move, let our love, our bowels move answerably.

[ 10] 10. God shewes that he can owne us notwithstanding all our infirmities: Was ever Kingdome in a more distempered condition then ours hath been of late? and yet the Lord hath Page  133 owned us: Why should not we own our Brethren, notwith∣standing their infirmities? Why should our divisions cause u to call off one another, seeing our divisions from God hath not provoked him to cast us off?

11. Is it not in our desires, that this great Victory might [ 11] be pursued, that it might not be lost, as others (in great part) have been? Surely it cannot be pursued better, then to take this advantage of it, to unite our selves more together then e∣ver we have done. This would strike as great a terror into the hearts of our Adversaries as the victory hath done.

Lastly, we had need take heed of breaches, lest God should [ 12] be provoked to change his administrations toward us; if there be so much choller in the stomack, that sweet meats are turn∣ed into choller, it were just with God to come with bitter and sowr pils to purge out our choller. We read Jude, ver. 5. The Lord saved the people out of the land of Egypt, yet after∣ward he destroyed them that believed not; the Lord hath gran∣ted us a great salvation from our Enemies, who would have brought us into Egyptian bondage. We have been singing the song of Moses, we have been praising God according to that, Apoc. 15. 3. but let us take heed that yet God be not provoked against us, for we are not out of all danger; as they by not be∣lieving, so we by not agreeing, but contending and quarrell∣ing may at lst be destroyed. You know how the Lord of that servant to whom 10000. talents were given, tooke it, that he should presently go to his fellow-servant who ought him but a hundred pence, and lay hands on him, and take him by the throat, and say, Pay that thou owest, and cast him into prison, Mat. 18. 28. If men be not mollified by this mercy, they will be hardened, they will use their brethren worse then they did before, the rather, because they would declare to all the world, that they make no such interpretation of this mercy, as that God would have them have further tender regard towards, to seek union and peace with, to beare with or yeeld unto their Brethren more then before; it is not unlikely but temptation may be suggested to do some act the more against them, either now or within a while, to wipe away any conceit of any such an interpretation of this gracious work of God for us. But those who are of gracious & peaceable spirits, should take the Page  134 hint of this, and goe to all they know, who have been at di∣stance one from another, of whom they may have hope to doe good, and seek to mollifie their spirits, to know what it is they have one against another, what prejudices, what hard thoughts have been entertained by them, and by all meanes they are able to remove them, that so we loving & delighting in one another, the Lord may love us, and delight in us, nad shew mercy to us yet more and more.


The fifth Dividing Distemper (Rigidnesse;)* the sixth, Rashnesse, the seventh, Wilfulnesse; the eighth, Ʋnconstancy.

RIgid, harsh, sowre, crabbed, rough-hewn spirits are unfit for union; there is no sweetness, no amiableness, no pleasingnesse in them, they please themselves in a rugged au∣stereness, but are pleasing to none else in all their ways; they will abate nothing of their own, nor yeeld any thing to o∣thers: this is against the rule of the Apostle, Rom. 15. 1, 2, 3. We must not please our selves, but let every one please his Neighbour for his good to edification; and this, according to the example of Christ, who pleased not himselfe. This is the duty not of weake men only, who had need please others, because they have need of others, but ver. 1. those that are strong ought not to please themselves, but seek to please others: Men who are of austere spirits affecting a gravity which turns to a dull, sullen, stern∣nesse, they think it to be the commendations of the strength of their spirits, that they can carry themselves as they doe to∣wards others, seeking altogether content to themselves with∣out any yeeldableness to others; no, that is but lightnesse and weaknes in men, they are of a more staid and strong temper then to do so: These men by their wisdome do very much sinn against the wisdome of the holy Ghost in this Scripture; yea, and against the example of Jesus Christ, who as in his whole course manifested tenderness, gentleness, affableness, amiable∣ness towards weak ones, who were infinitely beneath him, and here is set forth unto us to be one who pleased not him∣self, far from this rigid harsh temper: Those swords are not Page  135 of the best tempered metall who will not bend but stand stiff, but such as yeeld and bend with most ease, and stand streight again; neither are those dispositions the best, who are the stif∣fest; but such as are most yeeldable, and yet stand streight too. This harsh and rigid spirit makes mens gifts and graces to be very unuseful. When Plato saw Xenocrates of an austere rigid temper, he advised him to sacrifice to the Graes, that he might have more mildnesse, fearing that otherwise his parts and learning would be unprofitable. The Jews observe upon Exo. 25. 3. That no Iron was in the stuffe of the Tabernable; rigid iron spirits are very unfit for Church work. Levit. 17. 7. They shall no more sacrifice to Devills:* The word translated De∣vils, signifies rough ones; Devils had their names from thence; this is the name of a Satyr, Isa. 34. 14. The rough one. The Spirit of God is a Dove-like sweet spirit, but the spirit of the Devill is a rough harsh spirit, the spirit of a Satyr. Prov. 11. 17. He that is cruell, troubleth his owne flesh. That word here translated cruell, the Septuagint elsewhere translates it by a word that signifies rigid, stiffe, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Jer. 30. 14. Men of such tempers are very troublesome to themselves, to their fami∣lies, to all with whom they converse: If a Smith would joyn two pieces of iron, he must first file them, or beat them smooth: If the Joyner would joyn two pieces of wood, he must plain them: Except our spirits be filed, beaten smooth, or plained, they are unfit for joyning.

The sixth dividing Distemper,* Rashnesse.

ACts 19. 36. Ye ought to be quiet, and do nothing rashly. Doing thing rashly, and quietnesse, are opposed.

1. Rashnesse makes men engage themselves suddenly in bu∣sinesse, before they have examined it well: This causes much trouble, for if a man be engaged he lies under a temptation to goe on in it: As 2 Chron. 25. 9. When the man of God came to Amaziah, to take him off from a businsse he was engaged in; O but says he, what shall I do for the hundred Talents I have given out already? thus many answer to the truth of God that Page  136 would take them off from what they are engaged in, but what shall I do for my credit that lyes engaged?

2ly. Rashnesse causes men suddenly to provoke others; whereas did they consider what ill consequences might come of it, they would forbear. Rash men quickly take hold of the sword of Justice to hack and hew; they think that what they do is according to reason: but they do not wisely weigh things in the ballance of Justice. Remember, Justice 〈◊〉 a Ballance as well as a Sword. Prov. 29. 11. A foole uttereth all his mind.* The Sept. translate it 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, utters all his anger. Rash fools by uttering their anger, suddenly cause great stirre and trouble where ever they come. The Hebrew word that signi∣fies a fool, and that which signifies suddenly, rashly, is from the same root.

3ly. When peace sometimes is even concluded, and there is great joy in hope of a comfortable agreement, rashnesse will suddenly break it without any due consideration.

O that that promise Isa. 52. 4. were fulfilled among us. The heart of the rash shall understand knowledge. Rash men think they presently understand all that is knowable in such a busi∣sinesse, and thence presume to make sudden determinations; but as over-hasty digestion causes wind, and brings much trouble to the body; so over-hasty resolutions to mens spi∣rits and to societies.

The seventh Dividing Distemper, Wilfulnesse.

I Think I may say in most men, Will is the axletree, lust and passions are the wheels, whereupon almost all their actions are carried: Where there is much will, though the thing be little about which men contend, yet the opposition may be great; as a little stone thrown with a strong arme, may take deep impression. It is a dangerous thing to have mens wills ingaged in matters of difference, it is easier to deal with twen∣ty mens reasons, then with one mans will: A man of a wilfull stout spirit, stands as a stake in the midst of a steam, lets all passe by him, but he stands where he was; What hope can there be of union, where there will be no yielding? one mans Page  137 will raiseth anothers, set will to will they may dash one a∣gainst another, but not like to close, to get into one another. A wilful man thinks it is beneath a wise man to alter his way; yea, it may be he thinks it a dishonour to the truth, that both he, his profession, and the honour of God shall suffer by it; when a stubborn self-willednes is taken for a right constancy and setlednesse, it is very strong in men; but let us take heed of this, it is no matter though we go back from our former assertions, so long as we go forward to the truth. Luther was called an Apostate; I am so, says he, but it is from errour to truth. Many times stoutnesse of spirit comes from weakenesse rather then strength; there is not always the greatest strength of judgment where there is the greatest strength of will: As a mans judgment that is without prejudice is very strong, so a mans prejudice that is without judgment is as strong: The dullest horses are not always the most easily reigned. I know and am perswaded, says the Apostle, Rom. 14. 14. many men are perswaded before they know; those who are perswaded be∣fore they know, wil not be perswaded to know. Mens wills will not suffer their understandings to consider; if they doe consider, they will not suffer them to be convinced; if they be convinced, they will not suffer them to acknowledge that they are convinced.

It is dishonest for a man not to give in his Bond when the debt is paid; so for a man not to acknowledg himselfe con∣vinced, but stand out against the truth, though his conscience tels him it is made clear to him. Let men lay down their wils, and there will be no hell, sayes Bernard: So say I,* take away mens wills, and contentions will cease. Scaliger tels us, the nature of some kind of Amber is such, that it will draw to it self all kind of stalks of any herbe, except Basiliske, an Herbe called Capitalis, because it makes men heady, filling their brains with black exhalations:* Thus those who by the fumes of their corrupt wills, are grown headstrong, will not be drawn by that which draws others.

But this charging men of wilfulness is presently catched hold of, in an abusive way; if men wil not yeeld to what some conceive to be right, presently they are charged with wilful∣nesse and stubbornnesse, they do not see because they will not Page  138 see; they are not convinced, because they will not. We who differ so much from others in things that others thinke to be clear, should take heed how we charge others of wilfulnesse who differ from us: As it is dishonest not to give in the bond when the debt is paid, so it is a cheat to require the bond be∣fore the debt be satisfied: Men may think, and give out, they have done enough to convince men, when indeed upon exa∣mination, it will be found to be nothing, or far short of sa∣tisfying the reasons that are against it if they were their own. But when a man may have peace in his conscience, that what he holds or does, is not through wilfulnesse, but constancy of his love to the truth, I shall speak to presently.

The eighth dividing Distemper,* Ʋnconstancy.

IF a man had an art to change his face every day, to seem sometimes white, sometimes black, sometimes ruddy, some∣times pale, sometimes hairy, sometimes smooth, sometimes old, sometimes yong, how unfit were such a man for society? this which men cannot do in their faces, they doe in the un∣constancy of their spirits: As our affections and determinati∣ons must not be like the Persian Decrees, to admit of no altera∣tion, so neither must they be such as the Polonian laws are, wch (they say) last but 3. days: When a thing is so brittle, that it breaks as soon as you meddle with it, how can you make it joyn? there must be som consistency in that wch you would fa∣sten to another thing; when mens spirits are so fickle, that a man cannot tell where to find them, how can there be a close? O how much are men now differing from themselves, in what their thoughts of men and carriage towards them have been, though the men concerning whom they thus differ remain the same they were, yea the same they appeared to be long since, there was sweet agreement in affection, loving embracements! rejoycing in the presence of one another, and yet nothing is known in those from whom their hearts, countenances and ways are alienated, &c. more then formerly was: not diffe∣rence in judgment, that was known before: Such a change of spirits and carriages in hodly men one towards another hath Page  139 appeared, as never appeared in any age since the world began. A great deal of stir there hath been more then formerly,* & yet what are these men otherwise then they have bin many years since? Were I to speak to wicked men, to charge them of the unconstancy of their spirits, I would make use of that simili∣tude I have out of Epiphanius,* who speaking of the Jewes desi∣ring the coming of the Messias, but when he was come, they hated him, They were (says hee) in this like mad dogs, who first glaver upon men, and then bite and devour them. But because I speak to many of the Saints, I had rather use a softer expressi∣on, more sutable to the honour that is due to godly men; I compare them in their unconstancy towards their brethren which hath caused so great division, to the sweetnesse of the, ayr in a fair sun-shine morning, oh how does it delight the traveller when he goeth forth and truly such were the serene countenances of our brethren towards us, but within a while the clouds over-cast, the sky looks lowring, gusts of wind a∣rise, yea thunder-bolts of terrible words flye about our eares, and the flashes of their anger strike upon our faces.

Tantae ne animis coelestibus irae.

Unconstancy is evill, and a cause of division: Stoutnesse is evil, and a cause of division: A man must not be one thing one day, and another another day; not like a weather-cock, carri∣ed up and down with every wind; neither must he be wilfull and stout, not like a rusty lock that will not be stirred by any key. Now then, how shall we know when a man is neither fickle nor stout? For except some rules of discerning be gi∣ven, this temptation may be before me, I must not be fickle, un∣setled, and unconstant, I will therefore stifly stand to maintain what I have professed.

You may know whether your ficklenesse be avoyded by true setled constancy of spirit,* or by stoutnesse, by these five notes: [ 1]

First, true constancy and setlednesse of spirit is got by much prayer and humiliation before the Lord;*Establish me Lord with thy free spirit, unite my heart to feare thy Name. When af∣ter thy heart-breakings and meltings, and heart-cryings and pourings forth, Lord shew mee what thy will is in this thing, keep mee from miscarrying, let me not settle upon any errour instead of Page  140 the truth, but what is thy truth fasten my soule in it, that what ever temptations come, I may never be taken off from it. Tell God in Prayer what the thing is, and what hath perswaded thy heart to embrace it, open thy heart fully to God in all thy aimes; and if by this meanes the heart be fixed, now it is delivered from ficklenesse, and not faln into stoutnesse.

[ 2] 2ly. Where true constancy is attained by the Spirit of God, and not by the stoutnesse of thine owne, there is exercise of much grace, and growing up in grace, as faith, humility, love, meeknesse, patience, &c. 1 Pet. 3. 17, 18. Take heed ye fall not from your stedfastnesse, but grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Hearts stout and wilfull are dry and saplesse.

[ 3] 3ly. If the more a man hath to do with God, the more set∣led he is in his way; when he hath the most full converse and sweetnesse of communion with God, he is then the most fully setled, satisfied, established in such a truth, which he before conceived to be of God.

Many men are very stiffe and wilful, unmoveable when they have to deal with men, they seem then to be the most confident men in the world; but God knows, and their consciences know, when they solemnly set themselves in the presence of God, and have the most reall sight of God, and have to deale most immediately with him, then they have ms-giving thoughts, they have feares that things may not prove so sure as they bore others in hand they apprehended them to be: But if Gods presence and thy dealings with him confirms thee in this, thy conscience may give thee an assurance, that as thou art not fickle and wavering, so not stout and wilfull.

[ 4] 4ly. When there is a proportion in mens constancie, if a man be resolute and constant in one thing, but very fickle and easily turned aside in others, there is cause to suspect his constancy is rather from stiffnesse then from grace; for grace works proportionably through the whole soule, and in the whole course of a mans life.

[ 5] 5ly. If the more reall the presence of death and judgment appear to a man, the more setled he is in that way; this like∣wise may be a good evidence to him, that his setlednesse in such a way, is right.

Page  141


The ninth dividing Distemper,* A spirit of jealousie. The tenth, A spirit of contention. The eleventh, Covetousnesse. The twelfth, Falsenesse.

ENvy, strife, railings, evill surmisings, 1 Tim. 6. 4. Strife and evill surmisings are neer of kin. If contentious men can get nothing against their brethren, they will surmise there is something; if they can find nothing in their actions to judge, they will judg their hearts; if there be nothing above-board, they wil think there may be something under-board;* & from thinking there may be something, they will think it is very likely there is something; and from likely there is, they will conclude there is, Surely there is some plot working. But this is against the law of Love, for it thinketh no evill; all the good that they see in their Brethren, is blasted by their suspition of evil. Love would teach us rather by what appears to judg the best of what appears not,* then by what appeares not to judg the worst of what appears. Suspition is like some jelly stuffe that is got between the joynts; if the bone be out of joynt, and any jelly be got in, though it be but a little soft stuffe, it will hinder the setting of the bone. I confess in these times, because we have been so extreamly deceived in those who have been u∣sed in publike place, in whom we so much confided, there is a great deal of reason that we should be very wary of men, and believe (till we have very good grounds of confidence) with trembling. I remember Melchior Adam in the life of Bucholce∣rus, tels of a witty counsel of his to his friend Hubnerus, who being to goe to the Court to teach the Prince Electors chil∣dren, at their parting, I will give you, says he, one profitable rule for your whole life, he lissening what it should be: I com∣mend (saith he) to you the faith of the Devills: At which Hubne∣rus wondring, Take heed (sayes he) how you trust any at the Court, beleeve their promises but warily, but with feare; you may feare they will never come to any thing. But in the mean time while we are thus fearful of one another, while we cannot trust one ano∣ther, we cannot joyn one with another. I have read of Cam∣byses,Page  142 he did but dream his brother should be King of Persia, and he put him to death. Many amongst us do but dream of men,* with whom our hearts are not, that they have some plots working, and how do our spirits work against them? Groundlesse jealousies arise from much baseness in our owne hearts. Those who have no principle of faithfulnesse in them∣selves, are suspitious of every one; but as for those who suffer causelesly, in this thing let them be of good comfort, God will reward them good for what evill they suffer. Wee read Numb. 5. 28. that if a man were jealous of his wife, so that he brought her to the tryall by drinking the water of jealousie; if she were clear, she should not onely be freed from hurt by that water, but she should conceive seed, if she went barren be∣fore, the Lord would recompence her sorrow and trouble shee suffered by her husbands suspition of her. And Paulus Fagius upon the place, says, the Jewes had a tradition, not only that she should conceive, but it should be a man-child; if shee had any disease, she should be freed; and if she brought forth be∣fore with difficulty, she should bring forth now with ease. Let not men therefore who are of publike use, having their con∣sciences clear, yet because they are under suspition, throw off all in an anger: Such a temptation many lye under, but let them know, this temptation cannot prevail but upon the di∣stemper of their hearts, the exceeding sinfull frowardnesse of their spirits; they should trust God with their names, their e∣steem, their honour, and go on in their work. The only way to deliver themselves from suspition, is their constant indu∣stry and faithfulnesse in all opportunities of service God puts into their hands, and with the more quietnesse of spirit, with the lesse noyse they go on, the sooner will the suspitions they were under, wash off and vanish to nothing, God will make their names break forth as the light; those weeds having no ground to take root, will wither and dye away.

The tenth dividing Distemper,* A spirit of contention.

AS in some there is a strong inclination, a vehement impe∣tus to whoredom, which the Prophet cals a spirit of whore∣dome, so there is in others a vehement strong disposition of Page  143 heart to contention; these have a spirit of contention; these are like Salamanders, who love, and live in the fire. They thirst after the waters of Massah and Meribah, their temper is such, as if they drank no other drink then wht was brewed of those waters; Contentions and strifes, that are as tedious to other men as death, are their delight, they are most in their element when they are over head and ears in them. A contentious spi∣rit will always find matter for contention. Prov. 26. 21. As coals to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man is kindle strife: they are ready to put their hands to any strife they meet with: yet Prov. 26. 17. Hee that medleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that holdeth a dog by the cares. Ma∣ny men have no mettal in any thing but contentions; like many jades who are dull in travell, they have mettal only to kick and to play jadish tricks.

If thou hast any spirit, any zeal and courage, it is pitty it should be laid out in quarrels; reserve it for the cause of God, to strengthen thee in contending for the truth & the publike.

The eleventh Distemper,* Covetousnesse.

THis is the root of all evill, then of this; there is no greater plague to friendship,* then desire of money, sayes Laelius apud Cicer. A covetous man is witty to foresee wayes of gaine, and he is stiffe in holding fast what may be for his advantage. Yet know what a stir Demetrius and his fellows made in Ephe∣sus when their profit was endangered, they had rather set all in a tumult then let their gain go. 1 Tim. 4. 5. Envy, strife, rai∣lings, &c. perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, destitute of the truth, supposing that gaine is godlinesse.. How will some ob∣ject against men, & withdraw from them, deprive themselves of the benefits of the gifts of God in them, of much good they have heretofore acknowledged they have got by them, & all merely to save their purses, & that in a poor pedling way? What a stir hath this Meum and Tuum made in the world? The sweetnesse of gaine amongst men is like honey cast amongst Beares, they will fight, rend and tear out one anothers throat for it. They that will be eich, fall into temptations and a snare, Page  144 and into many and hurtfull lusts.* 1 Tim. 6. 9, 10. They pierce them∣selves and others too with many sorrowes.

VVhen divisions arose in Germany, upon Luthers Doctrine, men of base covetous spirits, judging Luther by themselves, thought that Luther made all this stir to get gaine; Why there∣fore, sayes one, do you not stop the mans mouth with gold or silver? Another answers, Oh, this German Beast cares not for money.

The twelfth dividing distemper,* Falsenesse.

NOthing more firmly unites and holds together the Com∣mon-wealth then fidelity,* sayes Cicero. Truth is a gir∣dle. Stand therefore, having your loynes girt with truth, Ephes. 6. 14. Truth binds, and Falseness loosen. The Apostle, Eph. 4. 25. exhorts to put away lying, and every man to speak trueth to his neighbour, upon this ground, because we are members one of another. The Romans esteemed so much of truth for uni∣ting men into societies, that they built a Temple to it, as to a Goddesse; in which Temple all Leagues, Covenants, Truces, and important bargains were made, which were so religious∣ly observed, that whosoever broke them, was held for a cur∣sed, damned creature, unfit for humane society. Rom. 1. 29. Full of envy, murther, debate, deceit, malignity. A man were better be true to false principles, then be false to true ones. Those who are false, are also mischievous: they care not what mischief they do to any, so they may but uphold them∣selves, and repair that credite which formerly they had, but now through their base falsenesse is crackt; and if they have wronged any by their falsnesse, they seek to keep such downe, if not to ruine them, fearing lest their falsenesse should here∣after be revenged: and if they cannot get them down by force, they will seek to do it by adding yet more falsenesse, by flat∣tering them whom their hearts hate, and would gladly ruine. That Scripture, Prov. 26. 28. is very remarkable for this, A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruine. Psal. 72. 14. He shall deliver their soule from deceit and violence. If men who are false cannot compasse their Page  145 ends by deceit, they will seeke to doe it by violence: God hath his time to deliver his Saints from both. Come Lord Jesus, come quickly.


Dividing Practices.* The first, The Practice of the Tongue. The second, Needlesse Disputes.

PRovoking bitter language, is a great divider: An evill tongue in Scripture is compared to swords, Arrowes, Razors, to poyson of Aspes, ire, yea to the fire of hell, which sets all the world on fire, to wild beasts; it is an unruly member that cannot be tamed. When a Philosopher saw two women of ill fame talking together,* he said, By this speech the Aspe takes in poyson from the Viper, which it seems was a proverbiall speech in Tertullians time, he inveighing against Marcion the Heretique, Let the Heretique,* sayes he, cease borrowing poyson from the Jew, according to the Proverbe, the Aspe from the Viper.

Many men of moderate spirits, if let alone, yet meeting with men who tell them stories, and speak ill of those men that here∣tofore they had a good opinion of, yet now before they have examined what the truth is,* there is a venome got into their spirits before they are aware, their hearts begin to be hot, and to rise against those men they hear such things of, their thoughts are altered concerning them, their spirits alienated, breaches are made, and men who are innocent wonder from whence all comes. O take heed of these men of evill tongues, especially at your tables, for while you are warme with mirth and good cheere, you are in greater danger to take downe the discourse of such as are at table with you, some poyson may get into your spirits, and you not think of it. Saint Augustine could not en∣dure such guests at his table; he caused therefore these two ver∣ses to be writ over his Table, it were well they were over some of yours.

Quisquis amat dictis absentum rodere vitam,
Hanc mensam vetitam noverit ipse sibi.
Page  146
To speak ill of the absent forbeare.
Or else sit not at Table here.

But if men of evill tongues doe so much hurt to men of mo∣derate spirits, what hurt doe they doe one to another? when two or three, or more of them meet together, having all of them bitter spirits and evill tongues, what hot burning venome doe they infuse one into another, inflaming one another with malice? That proverbiall speech, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, is true of these men; if one Serpent did not eate another, there would bee no Dragon; by taking in one anothers poyson, they grow to bee fiery Dragons, fly∣ing up and downe from place to place with their fiery stings.

Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues, for I have seen vi∣olence and strife in the City, Psal. 45. 9. The same letters in the Hebrew word that is to signifie verbum a word,* is also for pestis, the plague; an evill tongue hath the pestilence in it.

The whisperings of an evill tongue causes divisions, Rom. 1. 29. Full of envy, debate, malignity, whisperars, 2 Cor. 1. 20. Debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, whisperings. Many of fidling, paltry dispositions, goe up and down whispering, they speak very secretly to you, you must tell no body by any means, and yet themselves tell it to a second, a third, a tenth, and any one they meet with, with whom they desire to ingratiate them∣selves, and to every body they speak, yet still they must tell no body▪ they doe not love to be brought forth as the authors, they tell you as a friend, what they heare; and thus carrying tales up and downe in a secret way, they doe what in them lyes to blast the names of their Brethren; jealousies, suspitions, envyings, displeasure, anger is raised, and the parties against whom all this is, wonder what is the matter, they being no wayes conscious to themselves of any miscarriage towards such from whom they finde such strange carriage; at last some nibling whispering Mouse is found to be the cause of all.

These whispering Tale-bearers have such an art, as to cause what they thus speak in secret to sinke very deeply into mens hearts: They professe themselves very sorry for what they tell you, but it is too true, and with a deep sigh they mischiefe their Page  147 Neighbour; Et sic cum vultu maesto procedit maledictio, Bern. But let men take heede of them, for they strike, they wound them as much, if not more, then they doe those against whom they speak, for they know nothing of it; and though they suf∣fer, yet they doe not sinne; but you may not only be troubled, and that causelesly (it may be) and for nothing lose the sweet∣nesse of your love to your friend, and the enjoyment of his to you; but withall, you may entertain sinne into your heart, and so be wounded. Prov. 18. 8. The words of a tale-bearer are as wounds, and they goe downe into the innermost parts of the belly, beware therefore of such. Prov. 20. 19. He that goeth about as a tale-bearer revealeth secrets, therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lippes. Hee may come glavering, and fawning, and smiling to you, as if he accounted you a speciall friend, and therefore would not tell every body; but meddle not with him; if you shall hug and embrace him, you have re∣ceived a wound even in the innermost parts of the belly. Prov. 26. 20. Where no wood is there the fire goeth out; so where there is no tale-bearer the strife ceaseth.

Prov. 16. 28. A whisperer seperateth chiefe friends. Those who have lived in entire friendship many yeares, sometime by some whispering woman, have their hearts very much e∣stranged, the beauty of their friendship darkened, and the sweetnesse of it almost lost.

Whispering tale-bearing tongues is the cause of strife, take heed of it: And so is a censuring tongue: I can compare this to nothing better then to a candle, whose tallow is mixed with brine, as soone as you light it, it spits up and down the roome: Thus many have salt brine in their spirits, which when they get a little knowledge, they spit here and there in hard and bitter censures, which are exceedingly provoking to the spirits of men; though the censures should prove true, yet the mixture of so much salt brine in them, cannot but exasperate & cause mens hearts to fret; but much more if they prove to be meere slanderers. Jer. 9. 4. Take ye heed every one of his neigh∣bour, and trust ye not in any brother, for every brother will ut∣terly supplant, and every neighbour will walke with slanders; and c. 6 28. They are all grievous revolers, walking with slanders; they are brasse and iron, they are all corrupters. And yet more if Page  148 this be a raging tongue, Hos. 7. 16. Their Princes shall fall by the sword, for the rage of their tongue. Discontents rise high, first by too much liberty of the tongue, then higher, by the bitter∣nesse of it; but when it comes to the rage of it, by this many times they rise so high, that great men, yea Princes come to fall by the sword. There is a story in the Tripartite History of a Christian who professed he had beene seven and thirty yeares learning that lesson, Psal. 39. 1. I said I will take heed to my wayes, that I offend not in my tongue, and yet had not learned it. I feare there are many amongst us who have beene Professors these se∣ven and thirty yeares, and yet have not learned this lesson; not∣withstanding the Scripture saith, If a man bridleth not his tongue, hee deceiveth his owne heart, this mans Religion is in vaine, James 1. 26.

The second dividing practice, Needlesse Disputes.*

WHen men have got a little knowledge, they thinke it a fine thing to be arguing and disputing in matters of Religion: unnecessary disputes are their necessary practice, for otherwise they shall be accounted as no body, if they have not something to object against almost every thing, but in this way of theirs, they shall bee accounted knowing men, men who have an insight into things, who understand more then ordinary men doe: hence they turne all their Reli∣gion into disputes, and by them they grow giddie. Wine is good when it goes to the heart to cheere it, but when it fumes all up into the head, it makes it giddy. Knowledge is good when the strength of it gets to the heart to comfort it, there to breed good spirits, for the strengthning it in the waies of holinesse; but when it flies up all into the head, it fills it with thousands of phansies; it causes pride and giddinesse. Disputes draw the best spirits from the heart, by which it weakens it. It is a very ill signe in a man to have a contradicting spirit, to get into a veine of disputing against any thing, though it be good. I have read of Gregory Nazianzen, that he told his friends that Julian would prove to be a notorious wicked man, he gave this reason, Because be tooke such delight in disputing against that which was good▪ Disputes are seldome without much heart-distemper; if they Page  149 continue long, they cause snarling one at another; and no mar∣vaile though those who snarle so often, doe bite at last. A man shews most parts in the matter of truth, but most grace in the manner of handling it with reverence, holinesse and modesty. Rom. 14. 1. Receive not the weake in faith to doubtfull disputations. Here is a direct injunction against those disputes I am speaking of. Let no man say every truth is precious, the least truth is more worth then our lives, we must contend for every truth.

The least truth is so precious,* that we must rather lose our lives, then deny it; you must doe and suffer much to maintaine truth, but this in an orderly way.

First, you must be grounded in the maine Fundamentalls of [ 1] Religion; you must be strong in the faith, and after that labour to edifie your selves in all the truths of God, so as one may be helpfull to another. It is not for every one who hath but little time, little knowledge, little meanes, little strength, to tyre out himselfe and others in doubtfull disputes. The Scripture is so much against this, as nothing can be more. 1 Tim. 1. 4. Which minister questions rather then edifying. To aske and discourse of questions about the great things that concerne thy soule, thy eternall estate, how thou maist live further to the honour of God, is good, when you meet together; to confer one with a∣nother what God hath done for your soules, to tell each other the experiences of your owne hearts, and Gods dealings with you, what temptations ye meet with, and how God helps you a∣gainst them; such things as these would edifie. But when your questions are about things that you are never like to understand, and if you did understand, they little concerne you, they would not be helpfull to you one whit in the wayes of godlinesse, these the holy Ghost would not have you spend your time in. Eccles. 7. 29. Man was made upright and he hath found out to himselfe ma∣ny inventions, Miscuerit se infinitis questionibus, so the old La∣tine reads it, he hath mingled himselfe in infinite questions. If we had but that great question more amongst us, What shall wee doe to be saved? it would cause many unprofitable questions to vanish. Never such ignorance came upon the Christian world, as in that age when the Schoolmen were in the highest esteeme; all Religion then was turned into Questions, both the mystery and the power of godlinesse was lost. The things of Religion Page  150 are rather to be beleeved then disputed. We beleeve Fishermen, not Logitians,* sayes Ambrose. The Devill at this day seekes to darken the glory of Religion this way; he sees that in regard so much light hath broke forth, he cannot get men presently off it by prophaneness, therefore he labours to eat out the strength of it by busying them, and getting them to delight in multitudes of questions, and that about things of lesser concernment.

1 Tim. 6. 4. Hee is proud, and knoweth nothing, but doting about questions, and strife of words, whereof commeth envie, strife, railings, evill surmises, perverse disputings of men of cor∣rupt mindes, and destitute of the truth. These men conceit they have more knowledge then other men, but the holy Ghost saies they know nothing; they cry out much of the truth, and they contend for the truth, but the holy Ghost saies they are destitute of the truth. 2 Tim. 2. 22, 23. Follow charity, peace, but foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they doe gender strifes, but the servant of the Lord must not strive. And Titus 3. 8. 9. This is a faithfull saying, these things I will that thou affirme constantly, that they which have beleeved in God, might be carefull to maintaine good workes; these things are good and profitable unto men, but avoid foolish questions, and Genealogies, and conten∣tions, and strivings about the Law, for they are unprofitable and vaine.

The question about the Law, whether a man be justified by it, or by free grace in Christ, this is not one of those foolish questions and needlesse strivings, this is a great question, this we are to contend for, our life is in it, but there are other que∣stions about the Law, which cause striving rather then edify∣ing, as whether the Law be a rule for our lives, as it was given by Moses; That we are bound to doe what is required in the Law, this is generally acknowledged, as to love God, not wor∣ship Images, &c. but whether we be bound to doe it as it was the Law delivered by Moses upon Mount Sina, this question troubles many mens heads; that we are bound to doe the same things as they are delivered by Christ in the hand of that Medi∣ator, is acknowledged by any that understand themselves in any measure. Now then let these two things be granted about the Law; First, that we are not justified by it, but by the free grace of God in Christ: Secondly, that what duties of holiness Page  151 are set downe in the Law, we are bound to them by the most strong obligations: what neede we contend further about the Law? Let us be established in these two, and it will be suffici∣ent for our edifying; It is like when Paul wrote this Epistle to Titus, the heads of the people were troubled about some such kinde of questions about the Law, as are amongst us; therefore sayes he, Avoid foolish questions, and strivings about the Law. But now the questions about the Law are driven on to such a dangerous issue, that we have cause not onely to be carefull to avoid them, but even to tremble at the thought of them. It is now accounted a legall thing against the grace of the Go∣spel to confesse sin, to be humbled for sin, to make conscience of duty, or to be troubled in conscience for neglect of it; No, they thank God they are delivered from such things, in respect of God, whether they sin or not it is all one: yea these things prevaile with those who have beene forward in profession of Religion, who seemed to walke strictly, now are growne loose. That saith is easily wrought, which teacheth men to beleeve well of themselves, though their lives be ill. There is a migh∣ty change in mens spirits now from that which was hereto∣fore; Times have been when any opinion that tended to loose∣nesse, was presently distasted as unfavoury, and rejected by such, who made profession of Religion.

Sleidan in the tenth book of his Commentaries, sayes, The De∣vill that sought to doe mischiefe at Munster was not a skilfull Devill, but rude and simple, because he sought to prevaile by tempting men to loosenesse; whereas, sayes he, if he had beene a cunning Devill, he would rather have deceived by abstaining from flesh, by abhorring Matrimony, by shewes of wonderfull lowlinesse of minde, &c. he might sooner have taken men this way; but truly now the most cunning Devill sees it to be the best way to attaine his ends, to raise up and foment opinions that end to the liberty of the flesh, so be it he can carry them on under the colour of magnifying free grace; he findes that these things are exceeding suitable to mens spirits in these times, that they are taken in by such who formerly appeared so con∣scientious, that hee feared hee should never have beene able to have prevailed with them; hee never found a way like to this to prevaile with such men; yea, never a way like to this to Page  152 choake the Word, when it first begins to worke upon the heart; he hath blasted more young seeming converts this way, then ever hee did by any way since he was a Devill: Heretofore the way was to stirre up others to deride them for following the Word, and for praying; now he hath a way worth two of that, to make them to deride others for their conscienciousnesse in following the Word and praying, and this strengthened with a high perswasion, that hereby they are the great magnifiers of the free grace of God in the Gospel, the only men who understand the Gospel way. This Devill now lookes upon himselfe and his fellowes as simple and foolish in all their former devices, here is an experiment beyond them all, seeing this Christ must needes be magnified, hee will magnifie him too; seeing the Gospel must goe on, hee will put it on too, hee will finde out a device here, to strike at the practise, power, life of godlinesse, in a more secret and prevailing way then ever formerly was done; it is like in this generation the former principles of godlinesse will not be got out; but if this way prevails still in proportion to what it hath done, in a generation or two it is like to bring generall prophanenesse and licentiousnesse upon the face of the Christian world more then any way of Satan ever did since the world began, for here is a way to be loose and pro∣phane, and to satisfie Conscience too.


The third Dividing Practice,* Men no keeping within the bounds that God hath set them.

FIrst, when men will be medling with that whith concernes them not, that is out of their sphere. 1 Thes. 4. 11. Study to be quiet, and doe your owne businesse. Prov. 20. 31. It is an ho∣nour for a man to cease from strife, but every foole will be wed∣ling. Choller in the gall is usefull to the body, but if it over∣flow, the body growes into distemper presently; we may be all usefull in our places, if we keepe to them, contenting our selves with the improvements of our talents in them; thus both our selves and others may have quiet. When Mannah was gathe∣red Page  153 and kept in that proportion God would have it, it was very good; but when men must have more, and keep it longer then God would have them, then it breeds worms. Thus it will be in all that we have, or doe; let us keepe our proportion God sets us, and all will be well; but if we thinke to provide better for our selves by going beyond our measure, wormes are presently bred in all.

But especially where men will not keepe within their bounds in their power over others; for what is all our contestation at this time? it is not about mens stretching their power be∣yond their line both in State and Church? From whence are our State-divisions, our Warres, but because Princes have been perswaded their power was boundlesse? at least not to be kept within those bounds the State sayes it ought to bee. They think there is such a distance between them and others, that the e∣states, liberties, lives of all men within their country lie at their mercy; not considering how they come to be raised so high: that what they have above others, is given to them by those a∣bove whom they are. No man inheriteth more then was given to his forefathers, and so to him, whereby they might see that they are not limited onely by the lawes of God, but by the lawes of men also, namely, The agreement between them and the people when they are raised to such dignities. There is nothing wea∣kens their right more then the pleading it by conquest; Princes have little cause to thank those who plead their right that way. The surest foundation for Princes to set their feet on, is the a∣greement between the people and them, or their progenitors; but if they will goe beyond this agreement, what stirres, what wofull disturbances doe they make!

Secondly, if either they, or any Governours of the State, shall instead of being helpfull to the government of the Church, take it all from it into their owne hands, in this they goe be∣yond those bounds Christ would have them; it is by the Ci∣vill power that the Governours of the Church have the peace∣able exercise of what power Christ hath given them, but they have not their power from them. Civill authority cannot put any spirituall power into a man, or company of men, which they had not before; it can onely protect, encourage, and fur∣ther the exercise of that power that CHRIST hath given. Page  154They are inconsiderate men,* sayes Calvin, who make Magistrates too spirituall; This evill, sayes he, prevailes in Germanie, and in the Countries about us; we finde what fruit growes from this root, namely that those who are in power, thinke themselves so spirituall, that there is no other ecclesiasticall government; this sacriledge comes in violently amongst us, because they cannot measure their of∣fice within its due bounds.

And for Church-Governours, if they would keep within their Limits, we might enjoy much peace, if first they would assume to themselves no more power then Christ hath given them; Secondly, if they would not extend it over more congre∣gations then Christ hath committed to them; Thirdly, if they would not exercise it in more things then Christ would have them. Let us looke a little into these three, for the want of a right understanding in them hath caused, and may yet further cause much disturbance.

For the first. That Christ hath appointed some to rule in his Church, and that all the members of the Church are not in the office of ruling, is apparent in Scripture, 1 Cor. 12. 28. Rom. 12. 8, but that these Officers, preaching Elders, or others, should so have the sole power of ruling as to doe all in their owne Consistory Classis, or (whatsoever you may call their convening) that the Church should have nothing to doe with their acts of rule but to obey, this is assuming to themselves power beyond what is given them; This hath brought tyran∣nie into the Church,* it hath made the Church-officers to looke upon the rest of the Church in a contemptible way, as the com∣mon vulgar sort, men ignorant and weak, not at all fit to med∣dle with matters of government, not so much as to take cog∣nisance,* or give any consent to what the Church-officers doe; But whether they understand or no whether they consent or dissent, it makes no matter, the determinations of those in place must stand, their censures must be submitted to.

Peter Martyr in an Epistle to the Ministers, and such as Page  155 professed the faith in Polonia, exhorts them to endeavour the establishing of Discipline in the Church as soon as they could, while peoples hearts were heat with love to, and desires after the Gospell, he tells them it will be harder to bring it in after∣ward, when their hearts begin to grow more cold; and that they might not thinke Discipline a small thing, he sayes, that those Churches cannot be said to professe the Gospell truly nor solidly, which want it; he would have them acknowledge it not to be the least part of Christian Religion, but must know that the Gospel is neglected by such as shall put off from them∣selves such a singular excellent portion of it. But sayes he, this will be the Objection, Under the colour of Discipline, the Mini∣sters of the Church will tyrannize, they will carry things accor∣ding to their owne mindes.

To this he answers, Tyrannie in the Ministers needs not be feared, where the rule of the Gospel for censures is observed; for in casting out any who will not be reclaimed, the consent of the Church must be had; and if it be done by this authority, none can complain of the tyrannie of a few.

Cyprian in his sixt Epistle professeth his resolution to doe no∣thing without the counsell of the Elders,* and consent of the peo∣ple. Our Brethren of Scotland in their opposition to the Pre∣lates, give very much to the people in the matter of Excommu∣nication: It pertaineth say they to the whole Church collective∣ly taken to deny her Christian communion to such wicked per∣sons as adde contumacie to their disobedience,* therefore it per∣taineth to the whole Church to excommunicate them.*Againe, It pertaineth to the whole Church to admit one into her commu∣nion, therefore to the whole Church to cast one out of her commu∣nion. And a page or two after, The Apostle writing to the whole Church of Corinth will have them being gathered toge∣ther, to deliver that incestuous person to Satan, therefore eve∣ry particular Church or Congregation hath power to excommu∣nicate. There they give many arguments to prove, that the Apostle would not excommunicate by his owne authority a∣lone, but by the authority of the Church, and that collective∣ly taken, (so they say) not the Ministers or Elders of the Church onely.

Let no man say, this was the judgement but of one Mini∣ster, Page  156 for at the beginning of this Parliament, my selfe, toge∣ther with a reverend Brother, asked Master Henderson, two or three of the Ministers of Scotland being with him, Whether we might not take that Book as the judgement of the most godly and able of the Ministers of Scotland, for the matters of Church-discipline? They answered, we might.

The second way of going beyond their limits, is their ex∣tending their power to more Congregations then Christ hath given them charge of. The chiefe Church-controversie at this day is about this extent; I shall onely shew you where the diffe∣rence lyes betweene one and the other in it. The Question is this, Whether one that is set by Christ to take charge of a par∣ticular Congregation, as a Pastor to feed them, by Word, Sacra∣ments, and Rule, may keep the Pastorall charge he hath for Word and Sacraments to one Congregation, but his charge for Rule shall extend together with others to an hundred Congre∣gations or more.

Some say that no Minister can have the charge of ruling over people in a large extent then his charge over them for Word and Sacraments reaches; they thinke that those people that can say to a Minister, That charge that Christ hath given you for Word and Sacraments, extends not to take care of our soules to feed them, therefore you have no charge of our souls for ruling; if you thinke you may, preach or administer Sacraments in an accidentall arbitrary way onely, not as chalenging power over us for this, or looking upon us as those committed to you, for whom you are to answer; then at the farthest you may exercise rule over us but in this way.

But others hold this, That a Minister may answer to this people thus, I confesse I have indeed onely such a particular Congregation to be my flock, and although I being desired to help sometimes in another to preach or administer Sacra∣ments▪ yet I doe it not as having the charge of their soules as being Pastor to them: But as for that ruling power that Christ hath given me, I conceive by joyning of it with others, it ex∣tends to hundreds of Congregations, or more, according as our association shall be, so as we have not onely liberty to be helpfull to those who have the speciall charge of the Congre∣gations; but we have the supreame ruling power in our hands, Page  157 to challenge in the Name of Christ, to exercise over these Con∣gregations, as we shall see cause. I say, the supreme power above what your Ministers or Elders in your particular Con∣gregations have; for though these Ministers and Elders of yours be admitted to be members of our Court, yet if they all should be of a contrary minde from us, in some matter that concernes your Congregation, we yet will judge and determine, we will censure and exercise all kinde of Ecclesiasticall Juris∣diction in that congregation, as we see cause, though it may be not one of us ever saw any of the faces of any of the men of your congregation before. Here, I say, lyes the great dividing con∣troversie, which is right, which is wrong is not my worke to shew; all I am to doe, is but to shew you what the controver∣sie is, about which there is so much dispute.

And though I determine not the case either way, yet I shall leave two considerations to help you in your thoughts a∣bout it.

First, the extent of power of Jurisdiction must be by insti∣tution [ 1] as well as the power it selfe; all juridicall power what∣soever, either in State or Church receives limits or extent from the same authority it first had its rise, this is impossible to be denyed: If a man by a Charter be made a Mayor of a Towne, he cannot therefore challenge the power of a Mayor wheresoe∣ver he comes, except the authority that first gave him his pow∣ver shall also extend it. Now the Charter by which any Church-Officer is invested with power, is the Word, therefore we can∣not streighten or enlarge the power of a Minister otherwise then we find it in the Word; for Civill power it may be streight∣ned or enlarged, as the Governours of State shall see cause, be∣cause their Charter is from man, it is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

Secondly, man naturally is of nothing more impatient then to [ 2] have Jurisdiction challenged over him, except hee sees the claime to be right; and in the point of spirituall jurisdiction, man is the most tender of all, because in that men come in the Name of Christ to him, challenging authority to exercise the power of Christ over him, not over the outward man so much as over his soule, to deliver it up to Satan. Surely there had need be shewne a cleare and full Charter, that any men have, that gives them such a power as this, that men in conscience Page  158 shall be bound to submit to. Now then here lyes the division, on sayes his Charter does extend so farre; the other sayes, hee does not finde it so in the reading of it.

There is yet a further consideration of the stretching either Civill or Ecclesiasticall authority beyond their bounds, which hath been, and may be the cause of much division; that is, their challenging and excercising power in things indifferent, beyond what God hath given them; for the opening of which we must know:

First, no man either in State or Church, hath any authority given him by God, to command any thing meerely because hee will; especially, when the things concerne the worship of God. Our Brethren of Scotland in their dispute against English Popish Ceremonies, part 3. chap. 8. pag. 127. have this passage, Princes have enjoyned things pertaining to the worship of God, but those things were the very same which Gods written Word had ex∣presly commanded; when Princes went beyond these limits and bounds, they tooke upon them to judge and command more then God hath put within the compasse of their power: And pag. 136. of the same Booke they say, The Apostle, 1 Cor. 7. 23. forbid∣deth us to be the servants of men, that is, to doe things for which wee have no other warrant beside the pleasure and will of men. This was the Doctrine in Tertullians time,* You exercise, sayes he, an unjust dominion over others, if you deny a thing may bee done, because you will, not because it ought not to bee done.

It is onely the Prerogative of God, of Jesus Christ, to com∣mand a thing because they will.

God hath appointed Civill Governours to be his Ministers for our good. Rom. 13. Those things onely which they can doe in Gods Name as his Ministers, and are for the good of a State, are the object about which their power is to be exercised; they are not to require a thing because there is nothing against it, but because this thing is for God: And Church-governours are to require onely such things as Christ requires, all the ex∣ercise of their power ought to be in the Name of Christ, hence not because they will, or because nothing can be said to the contrary.

In all they require of us, they must be able to say as Paul, Page  159 1 Cor. 14. 38. giving rules about order and decencie, If any man thinke himselfe to be a Prophet, or spirituall, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the Commandements of the Lord.

You will say, But are Governours alwayes bound to shew a reason of their will, to those who are under them; or may not they obey except they know some good in the thing, besides their doing the will of those who doe command them?

Though no Governours may command but upon reason,* yet the Governours of State need not alwayes discover the reasons of their commands.

Wee may give up our Civill liberties so farre as to be bound to yeeld to our Governours commands, if wee see nothing against what they command, but have cause to suppose that they see some reason that we do not, which is not fit to make known to us. This is grounded upon this reason, that there are Ar∣cana imperii, mysteries of State that are not fit for every man to know, the secrecie of them conduces most to the good of the State: But it is otherwise in the matters of the Church, which are spirituall, there are no such mysteries in the Church, wherein any members of it can be required to be active, but it concernes them to understand as well as to doe. All the acti∣ons of the Church as such must be done for spirituall edificati∣on; now a man cannot doe a thing for the edifying his soule, or the soule of another, but he must understand his action and the rule of it; he must see it required by the Word, or other∣wise he cannot expect any spirituall efficacy in what he does; I may doe a thing for a civill good, wherein I may trust ano∣ther mans reason, and this may be sufficient to attaine my end, the procuring of some good meerly civill, but this will never be able to reach to a spirituall good, I must see the reason, the ground, the rule of the action my selfe; I must judge by the Word, that this action at this time cloathed with all its cir∣cumstances is by Christ sitted for such a spirituall good that I aime at.

Besides, if things meerely indifferent be enjoyned, then is Christian liberty violated. No, say some, Christian liberty is in the conscience, so long as a man keepes his conscience free, Page  160 the thing may be still indifferent to him in regard of his consci∣ence, though his practise be determined, and so Christian li∣berty is preserved. This is the put off that the Prelaticall party made use of against our Brethren of Scotland many yeeres since, when they pleaded that by their usurpation Christian liberty was taken from them.

To that answer of the Prelates, they thus reply: When the authority of the Churches constitution is obtruded to binde and restraine the practice of Christians in things indifferent,* they are bereaved of thir liberty, as well as if an opinion of necessity were borne in upon their consciences. They urge that place, Colos. 2. 21. where the Apostle gives instances, say they, of such hu∣mane ordinances as take away Christian liberty; he saith not, you must thinke that you may not touch, but touch not; you must not practise, not be subject to such Ordinances; telling us; That when the practice is restrained form touching, tasting, handling, by the ordinance of men, then is Christian liberty spoiled, though conscience be left free; if the outward man be brought in bondage, this makes up spirituall thraldome (say they) though there bee no more.

And further, the Apostle gives these two Arguments against these things:

First, sayes he, they perish in the use; that is, there is no good comes of them.

It may be you will say, What hurt is there in them? That is not enough, sayes the Apostle, to justifie them, though there should be no hurt in them, yet seeing they perish in the use, seeing there comes no good by them, you must not doe them: But what if they shall be commanded by authority? may wee not doe them then? No, sayes the Apostle, that is another ar∣gument against them; they are after the commandements and doctrine of men; if it be a meere ordinance of man, and there be no other reason in the thing, but because man enjoynes it in the Church, you are not to doe it. Yea, in some respect we have not so much liberty in things indifferent, if they be enjoyned by men, as we had before. This is thought to be a very strange as∣sertion by some; but consider this one thing, and it will not appear so: Though I might doe such a thing before, yet if man shall take upon him this authority to command, meerly because Page  161 of his will and pleasure, if I now obey I am in danger to edifie him, to strengthen him in his sinne; he challenges this authority, and I seeme to yeeld it to him, certainly he is strengthned in it by my subjection, except I doe this at least professe against any such authority of man granted by Jesus Christ.

But say some, If you take from Governours power to com∣mand things indifferent, you take away all their power; for things necessary are required without them, and things sinfull they may not command.

Surely this conceit comes rather from tradition then from due consideration;* for it is not power enough to see to the keeping of the commands of God, that the Ordinances be kept pure, that there be justice between man and man, to reward those which doe well, and to punish the evill doers.

Yet thus farre must be granted to the Officers of the Church, they have authority from Christ to declare dogmatically, when a thing in it selfe indifferent, yet by reason of some circumstan∣ces, comes to be a duty, and this is to be regarded more then the declaration of any private brother or brethren, for they doe it by way of office in the name of Christ. This we finde Acts 15. the Apostles and Elders sent their Decrees, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, their dogmaticall determinations about some things in themselves indifferent, but as cloathed with those circumstances they call them things necessary; they determine them to be done from the reason of the things, not from their authority; those things were duties before they decreed them, and had been, had they never decreed them. Even forbearing the eating of blood was a duty in case of offence, though their decree had never been, and otherwise it was no duty, notwithstanding their Decree, for afterward Paul sayes, that whatsoever is sold in the shambles, they might eate of it, asking no question for conscience sake, and every creature of God is good, if it be received with thanks∣giving. Thus we have seen what the bounds are which God hath set to men in authority, or at least the controversie about them: Let them be carefull to keep within their bounds, as they are set to keep others within theirs: by this, Church and State, may enjoy much peace.

Page  162


The fourth dividing practise,* Gathering of Churches disorderly.

THis is cryed out of as the greatest dividing practice of all: You may speak of this or that to be dividing amongst us, say some, but above all things, this Gathering of Churches is the great divider amongst us.

To this I shall speak in these six things.

First, it is not absolutely unlawfull for a Church to be gathe∣red out of a Church. Voetius that learned Professor of Ʋiretcht,* answering Jansenius, pleading against us for seperating from the Romish Church, which was the most ancient and famous Church: No, sayes he, it is not absolutely evill to separate from such a Church, for then the Christians gathering themselves out of the Jewish Church were Schismaticks, which is false.

Doctor Jackson, a Prelaticall man, in the 14. Chapter of his Treatise of the Church, gives two reasons which he sayes are just and necessary, for which men (whether few or many) may and ought to seperate themselves from any visible Church. First, because they are urged or constrained to professe or beleeve, some points of doctrine,* or to adventure upon some practices which are contrary to the rule of Faith or love of God. Second, in case they are utterly deprived of freedome of Conscience in professing what they inwardly beleeve, or bereft of some other meanes, either alto∣gether necessary, or most expedient to salvation. For which lat∣ter he quotes, 1 Cor. 7. 23. Ye are bought with a price, bee not ye servants of men. Although (sayes he) we were perswaded that we could communicate with such a Church, without evident danger of damnation, yet inasmuch as we cannot communicate with it upon any better termes, then legall servants or bondslaves doe with their Masters, we are bound in conscience and religious discretion, when lawfull occasions and opportunities ore offered, to use our liberty, and to seeke our freedome rather then to live in bondage.

This doctrine was allowed of in the Bishops times. Now sup∣pose upon these two grounds there be a withdrawing from a Church, Christ does no where require his people to live without Page  163 Ordinances all their dayes, rather then they should joyne them∣selves together into another body.

Secondly, yet where these causes are not, but men may com∣municate [ 2] without sinne, professing the truth, and enjoy all or∣dinances, as the freemen of Christ. Men must not seperate from a Church, though there be corruption in it, to gather into a new Church which may be more pure, and in some respects more comfortable. First, because we never finde the Saints in Scrip∣ture seperating or raising Churches in such a case: and secondly, There would be no continuance in Church fellowship, if this were admitted: for what Church is so pure, and hath all things so comfortable, but within a while another Church will be more pure, and some things will be more comfortable there? The generall peace of the Church should be more regarded by us, then some comfortable accommodations to our selves.

Thirdly, Although you cannot for the present communicate [ 3] with the Church, in which you are, without sinne, or bondage, yet you are not presently to withdraw, to gather into another, or to joyne with another, you are bound to give so much re∣spect to the Church, as to continue with much long-suffering, to seeke the good of that Church, to remove the sinne that is upon it, with all good meanes you can. You must beare much with a brother, much more with a Church.

Fourthly, If things were in that ordered and settled way, as [ 4] they ought, there ought to be no gathering of any new Church∣es without consulting and advising with neighbour Churches, Christ would have all Churches unite themselves, and have con∣junction one with another, being all of the same body of Christ: If then there be to be raised a new Sister Church, that expects and is to desire the benefit of Communion with the rest, there is all the reason in the world that the helpe, advice, and assistance of the other Churches should be made use of in the raising and ordering this Church that they are thus to owne in the way of communion with them to whom they are to give the right hand of fellowship.

Fifthly, All beleevers who live in a place together, ought [ 5] so far as they can, joyne into one Church, though they be of dif∣ferent judgements and tempers, what ever things they differ in, yet if they may stand with grace they can have no encourage∣ment Page  164 from the examples of any of the Churches, we read of in Scripture, for them to divide themselves into little pieces. The way of Christ all along in Scripture is, that all the Saints in such a place, who are not more then can joyne in one, should joyne together and make but one Church; certainly this is more for the honour of Christs Body then the division of Saints in the same place into severall little societies, Christ stands much upon the union of his Saints in one, in all wayes, by all meanes that may be.

[ 6] Sixtly, as things are yet with us, there is no such great rea∣son of that outcry there is amongst us against gathering of Churches as so great a dividing practice as many seeme to make it.

How can this practise be so very offensive, when almost all of you thinke it lawfull for a man for any commodiousnesse to remove from that Church of which now he is, to joyne with a∣nother, sobeit he will remove his dwelling?

But these do not set up new Churches.

If a company of men who have estates,* should not be satisfied with that Ministery that belongs to that company that now they are joyned with, and should buy a piece of ground close to the place where they were, and build upon it, and have leave of the State to make a new Parish of those dwellings they build; who would blame them for gathering a Church thus? Hence it is apparent, that withdrawing from our Churches, and gathering other, is not according to the judgements of our Brethren against any Church Principle; the offence that is, is onely against some civill constitution.

[ 2] Secondly, this thing in effect hath been ordinarily practiced heretofore without any offence to the godly; yea, and is still practiced without any complaint: Hath it not beene and is it not still ordinary for many not to communicate in the Parishes where they live? nor commonly to heare there, but from all parts of the City to come to some Parishes where they con∣ceive the best Ministers to be, and there to heare and commu∣nicate, and this in a constant way, and that with allowance to the maintenance of such Ministers? yea, and thus the Husband goes one way, and the Wife another, and yet none offen∣ded; it may be the Gentleman can content himselfe with his Page  165 Parish-Church, but his wife or Lady is not satisfied, but must go elsewhere.

If it be said, But this was in a time when things were in great confusion, not so reformed as now they are, and we hope may further be.

Then it is not howsoever simply unlawfull.*

2. It continues so still in many places of this City.

3. When you have reformed further, it may be mens con∣sciences will bee further satisfied; you may reforme so farre as you may prevent much of what you now complaine so much of.

But though they came for their present reliefe, yet they did not binde themselves one to another by Covenant, so as men now doe.

If those who came constantly to your Ministry and Sacra∣ments had professed their willingnesse to joyne with you in all the Ordinances of Christ so farre as they knew,* and to walke accordingly, you might the more comfortably have administred ordinances to them, but offensive to you it could not have been.

But their Covenant bindes them so,* that they cannot returne back againe, whatsoever reformation there be.

Doe you pray for and endeavour the putting on Reformation to the uttermost,* and then see what they will doe; they have not yet declared themselves, that they hold themselves so joyn∣ed by any Covenant, that they may not joyne with you; that what releife they have had for the present time, or what agree∣ment there hath been amongst themselves, should hinder them from falling into that way all along held forth in Scripture; namely, for all the Saints that live together, to joyne in one, so farre as possible they can.

But these who gather Churches thus, looke upon all others who are not in that way as Heathens; and what division must this needs make?

If this were so,* it were a sad dividing practice indeed; wick∣ed men cannot endure to be thus judged of, to be cast out as un∣worthy of Church-fellowship, much lesse can the Saints bee able to beare it, it must needes go neerer to their hearts. Aben Ezra sayes, the Ammonites and Moabites burnt the bookes of the Law, because of that place, Deut. 23. 3. An Ammonite or Page  166 Moabite shall not enter into the Congregation of the Lord, even to their tenth Generation. If an Ammonite or Moabite cannot beare the being shut out of the Congregation of the Lord,* how can the Saints beare it? But God knows, and our Brethren may know, I hope they shall know, that the thing is not so: O no, they looke upon you as the precious Saints of God, their deare Brethren in Jesus Christ, they blesse God for the graces they see in you, and rejoice in the hope of living eternally in Heaven with you.

But why then will they not admit them to their commu∣nion?

In all worship that belongs to Saints,* as Saints they joyfully joyne with them; but they thinke there is some that belongs to Saints as gathered in a Society under Officers, which cannot be performed orderly but in that way; and they think it unrea∣sonable, that any should have the benefit of the priviledges of the Church, and be under no power, no discipline of any Church; that they should pick and choose Ordinances, and yet live at li∣berty; so that if they walke disorderly, no Church hath any power to call them to an account. Suppose this to be a reason why they admit not of some, this is another thing then the judging of them to be Heathens.

Let me say further, I know none of these congregated Chur∣ches, either here or in other parts, that ever refused any who appeared to be godly, from communicating with them, if they did but acknowledge themselves to be members of any Church elsewhere, though that Church were in a differing way from it in respect of government.

You will say, What need that?

If it be to prevent loosenesse in men who will be under no government,* if it be because they judge Sacramentall communi∣on to be a Church-Ordinance; or if it should be through a mi∣stake, yet howsoever this must not be judged to be the cause that they judge all, that doe not joyne with them to be as Hea∣thens▪ this is the most uncharitable interpretation that can be.

Page  167


The fifth dividing practice,* The aspersing and seeking to blast the credits of those men whom the Lord uses to be instruments of good.

THis may be done you know otherwise then by the tongue: This hath beene an old dividing way, if wee can blast the cheife of a party, we shall doe well enough with the rest, where∣fore let us make as ill interpretations of what they doe as possi∣ble we can; let us fasten as ill things upon them as we can have any colour or pretence for; let reports be raised, fomented and spread, whether they be true or no, it makes no matter, some∣thing will stick.*Jer. 20. 10. Report, say they, and we will re∣port it; doe but raise a report, let us be able to say wee heard it, or there was a Letter writ about such a thing, and wee will boldly assert it and divulge it; the very apprehension of it will prevaile with many howsoever, these men shall not have that esteeme in the hearts of men so generally as heretofore they have had, and if we once get downe their esteeme, we shall doe well enough with their cause; if we can meet with any bold spirit that will venture to encounter with them in this, that will dare to take upon him to gather up, or make, or aggravate, or wrest reports, or doe any thing that may render them other∣wise in the thoughts and hearts of men then hitherto they have beene, we shall break them, it is but one or two venturing the hard thoughts of men to make an experiment, some may bee found fit for such a businesse, we will finde out wayes to encou∣rage them; if their hearts begin to faile, we will apply warme cloathes to them, we will one way or other support them; this must be done, or else whatsoever we doe will be to no purpose; something or other must be found to serve our ends in this. Doth Moses prevaile too much in the hearts of the people? something must be found against him; if we can finde nothing against himselfe, yet we will finde something against his wife, Shee is an Ethiopian woman, Numb. 12 1. and yet who was she but the daughter of Jethro, to whom he had been married many yeers before? for an Ethiopian and a Midianitish woman are all Page  161 one; but now we are resolved to pick out whatever we can get in∣formation of, though it be in things done many yeers since, when they were in the University, when they lived in such or such pla∣ces in times of old, it will serve our turne, we may fasten it up∣on them, Prov. 16. 27. An ungodly man diggeth up evill, and in his lips there is a burning fire: If he hath nothing above ground, he will digge something up, though it be what both by God and man hath been buried long since.

David was a publike instrument of God for much good, yet Psalm. 31. 1. Hee was a reproach amongst his enemies, but especially amongst his neighbours. Nehemiah raised up by God for great service, what dirt was cast upon him? he was accused of sedition and Rebellion.*Paul a pestilent fellow, hee and his company with him turned the world upside downe; what evill can be de∣vised, but was fastened upon the Christians in the Primitive times? They charge them for being the cause of all their mise∣ry; if they have ill weather, if the Rivers overflow, if Nilus does not flow, if there be any earthquake, plague, famine, hale the Christians to the Lions: At their meetings they said they made Thyestes suppers, who invited his brother to a supper, and presented him a dish of his owne flesh, a limbe of his Sonne: Many such abominable things were fastened upon them as are not fit to be named. Tertul tells the Christians, that they were Funmbulones, like men upon a rope, if they went one stept awry, they were in danger to be undone by it, so nar∣rowly did their enemies watch them, and so maliciously did they aggravate all their miscarriages. Thus the most eminent after his time, as Athanasius, he was as miserably aspersed as ever poore man in this world, by the Arrian party, they rendred him most odious to his friends, and strangers.

In the beginning of Reformation, the Waldenses were so a∣spersed, that the story sayes of them, there was not one Arrow in the quiver of malice, but it was drawne forth and shot at them. Luther,*Calvin, Beza, Oecolampadius, Bullinger, and the rest are by some in writing rendred the most black and vile pieces that the earth bore, both in their lives and deaths. I find it recor∣ded of Zuinglius, that he was a man so eminent, as his friends made him almost a God; and so traduced by his enemies, that one would wonder the earth did not open and swallow up such Page  169 a man. The like dealings did that worthy instrument of God Mr. Knox finde, who in Queene Maries time fled with divers others to Frankford; when men of vile contentious spirits could not prevaile against him any other way, they sought to asperse him, and that so maliciously, as his life was in danger, accusing him to the Governours of Frankford, for a Sermon preached in England; in which the Emperour was concerned: The words were these, O England, England, if thou wilt obsti∣nately r••urne into Egypt, that is, if thou contracting marriage, confederacy or league with such Princes as doe maintaine and ad∣vance Idolatry, such as the Emperour who is no lesse enemy to Christ then Nero; if for the pleasure of such Princes, thou returne to thine old abhominations, then assuredly, O England, thou shalt be plagued and be brought to desolation, by the meanes of those whose fa∣vour thou seekest.

The same measure did those worthy men of God meete with, who sought after Reformation in Queene Elizabeths dayes, they called Mr. Cartwright an Anabaptist, and whatsoever evill there was in any opinion in those times, they fastned it upon him. Mr. Ʋdall was accused for his life, and condemned to be hanged for writing, That if the Parliament did not bring in the Government of Christ, Christ himselfe would bring it in by some meanes that would make their hearts to ake; or to that ef∣fect; meaning, as he expounded the words, Christ would in some way of judgement make way to set up his own govern∣ment in the Land, but they wrested the words to a seditious sense, as if he had meant to conspire to raise a force, and by violence of Armes to make the Parliament to yeeld to that way of Government that he conceived to be Christs, justly like those accusations that are amongst us at this day, that if such kinde of men cannot have the liberty of their way granted to them, seeing they have, or hope to have the Sword in their hand, they will take it to themselves, and defend themselves also in it.

Only in this they goe beyond the bitternesse of the Prelaticall party, they wrested what was said or written, these feigne what was never said or written; who are the fire-brands amongst us, if not such men as these? as fire-brands plucked out of the fire, and now they seeke to fire those who plucked them out; but if Page  170 this be too hot, what will you call them? what will you say of them? O is this the fruit of all prayers for them, reliefe of them, respect to them!

Tanta ne vos generis tenuit fiducia vestri?
Sed motas praesta componere lites.

Whosoever shall reade that Booke of Bancroft, entituled, Dangerous Positions, published and practised by those who pre∣tend Reformation for the Presbyteriall Government, shall find the whole subject of the booke to be the blasting the names of the most eminent godly Ministers that lived in those times, ren∣dring them to the State, as men not fit to be suffered in any Christian Common-wealth. The State at that time being wholly for Prelacie, and discountenancing that way of government these men sought for, their adversaries thought they might be bold to take what liberty they pleased, to calumniate, traduce, and to render them as vile as possible they might, there was no such way to keepe them downe as this; in this, they being like those in the Primitive times, who put the Christians into Beares and Tygers skins, and then cast them to the Dogges to be de∣voured.

Let the servants of God but appeare as they are, they will gaine reverentiall respect even from the multitude; but when these ugly things are put upon them, they are prepared to be the objects of their fury.

I have read in Suetonius of the cruelty of Tiberius,* who be∣cause it was unlawfull that Virgins should not be put to death, caused the Hang-man to ravish them, and then to execute them: This is the cruelty of some amongst us, they can doe some men no hurt, but by offering violence first to their names, and if they be defiled, then they thinke they may doe any thing with them. Of such as these are who make divisions amongst us in so un∣godly a way as this, all that I shall further say, is,

The Lord rebuke them.

As for the Servants of God they commit their names and wayes to God, knowing that the Lord takes care of their names as well as their soules. If dirt be cast upon a mud wall it sticks, but if upon Marble, it soon washes or moulders away. God will in time justifie his servants even in your consciences, by the constancie of their peaceable carriage toward men, and Page  171 their gracious holy walking with their God; onely take you heed that you involve not your selves in the guilt of that wrong that is done unto them by readinesse of your spirits to close with, and take content in what evill you heare of those whom God accounts faithfull.


The sixt Dividing Practice,* the giving Characterizing names to men, names of Division.

THis is an old continued practice of the Devill, he hath gain∣ed much by it, and therefore is loath to leave it: The Or∣thodox of old were called Cornelians, Cyrillians, by the followers of Novatus and Nestorius,* in time of Reformation Luthe∣rans, Zuinglians, Hussites, Calvinists, Hugonots. Tertullian sayes in his Apology for the Christians of his time, their crime that they are persecuted for, hath no name, that for which they are hated and persecuted is the crime of their name; such men are cryed out of under such a name, but when things come to be examined, their name is all their crime.

And among other that of Schismaticke is not onely a chara∣ctising, but a stigmatizing name, whereby of old and lately many have had a brand of reproach upon them, which upon examination will be found to be as it is applyed by many, no∣thing but a scaring word, taken up by such who understand lit∣tle what Schisme is; I shall therefore endeavour to open this briefly. The word Schisme comes of the Greeke 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to rend, from thence 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Scisura, a rent; It is amongst Divines a Tecnologicall terme. Schisme in the Church, is much like to what Sedition is in the State: When the Church grew up to the state and outward glory of an earthly Kingdome, much use was made of this terme, as a brand upon those who would not subject to the yoakes of them who loved preheminence in the Church.

But the true nature of Schisme is this, An uncharitable, un∣just, rash, violent breaking from union with the Church, or the Members of it.

Page  172 The Church is that from which the rent is: Heresie divides from the head, Schisme from the body, Apostacy from both. This rent is either from the whole Church, or some part, if from the whole, it is Donatisme: Donatus denyed any to be of the body of Christ, to be beleevers, to be such as could be saved, except that company that joyned with him, and with those in his way. This is clear from the whole discourse of Augustine against him, in that Tract De unitate Ecclesiae. Wherefore those who censure such as deny communion with some particular Congregations, as Donatists, discover either ignorance or malice, if not both. Yet Schisme may be, though the rent be but from some part of the Church, but this must needs suppose union with that part: now there may be a twofold union with the severall parts of the Church, either that which all who are to be accounted Christians have with them as they are of the same body Catho∣lick; or that which is by agreement to grow up together into a speciall fellowship. The rending from any of these unions in such a way as before was mentioned, is Schisme. If we seperate from, or refuse that communion with such as are to be accounted Christians, that is due to all Christians, this is the more grosse Schisme. Or if we thus breake off that communion which is by speciall agreement, which may be either when Christians joyne together in a private way for mutuall edification and comfort: or when they so joyn together as to make up a distinct spirituall corporation, to set up the publick ordinances of Christ, which the Scripture calls a Church: Now though there may be Schisme in the breaking the former, yet the censure of Schisme is especi∣ally applyed to the undue breaking off communion in the latter.

Now this implyes an union by a Church agreement; where there never was such an agreement, there cannot be the guilt of this Schisme. Although they who dwell within such a perambu∣lation, such a compasse of ground, should not joyne in some or∣dinances with some within that compasse, whatsoever offence there may be against some civill constitution, yet the guilt of Schisme they doe not contract upon themselves, for that union they never had cannot be broke.

But you will say, Yes, they are Schismaticks, though they were never so united, because they were bound to unite thus, and they have not.

Page  173 It must be granted that CHRIST by what he ordered the Apostles to doe,* would have all Christians dwelling together, so far as they can, to unite into a body, but there is no such order of Christ, that all that dwell on the one side of the street should be of one body, and all on the other of another bo∣dy: if they be more then can joyn into one spirituall corporation, they are bound to joyne into severall, so as they may best, to their own and other Churches edification, and if they should fail in this, not joyning in the best way that possible might be, their sin is against that edification that Christ requires, but not there∣fore the sin of Schisme. Who ever they were that bounded Pari∣shes, surely they did not so bound them to the greatest edificati∣on of the Church that possible might be, and yet who will say they were therefore Schismaticks? But suppose you have joyned with any company of Saints in a spirituall corporation, if you now shall uncharitably, unjustly, rashly, and violently break from communion with them, then you contract the guilt of Schisme upon you.

First, the separtion must be from want of charity. By faith especially we are united to Christ our head, and by charity to one another. If a man appeares departing from any fundamentall Article of our faith which joyned him to his Head, he is to bee judged an Heretick. So by his appearing to depart from that love by which he was joyned in communion with the members,* he is to be judged a Schismatick. If his departure proceeds from his love of God, his love to his Saints, and his owne soule, yea his love to that very Church from whence he departs, as sometimes it may, witnessing in a gratious way against evill in it, he is farre from the guilt of Schisme.*

If you say, love is a secret thing, we cannot judge of what is in the heart.

We cannot judge of it while it is in the heart, but when it ap∣peares we may. You may know whether this or other principles act men or no by their behaviour in their breaking off commu∣nion. Where this is not, bitcernesse, pride selfe-ends, will soone appear, and carry them beyond those principles themselves pro∣fesse they goe upon.*

Secondly, If the cause of leaving communion be just, then those Page  174 who give this cause are the Schismaticks, not those who with∣draw upon it. Thus the Governours of the Church may be the Schismaticks, and a private member withdrawing may be free. Suarez a great Jesuite, in his disputation De Schismate, sayes in some cases the Pope may be a Schismatick.

If Governours shall enjoyne any thing upon the Church, or any member, that is sinne, or if they shall mingle evill in the publick worship, so that there can be no joyning with their worship, but there must be likewise a joyning with sinne, in this case if any withdraw from them,* they are the Schismaticks, not those who withdraw, they are fugati, not fugitivi. The blame of Schisme, sayes learned Votius, must not be upon those who forsake such as have forsaken Christ and the ancient faith; but upon those who have thus forsaken Christ and his truth.

When the second Councell of Nice set up Image-worship, many thousands could not yeeld to it, but were forced to with∣draw, who was the Schismaticall party there, but the Synod and those who joyned with it?

Yea further, if they impose that which is not necessary, (though in it selfe not sinful) and will not beare with the weaknesses of such as thinke it to be evill; if upon that they be forced to withdraw; in this the Governours are the Schisma∣ticks also; the cause of the rent is in them, they ought in such things to beare the weaknesses of their Brethren, and not impe∣riously to require of them those things that there is no necessity of. If such things be sinne to their Brethrens consciences, if they will stand upon it to enjoyne them, they lay a necessity up∣on them to withdraw from them. God will not lay the In∣dictment of Schisme thus, Such a one departed from the com∣munion of such a Church, because he would not doe what was lawfull to be done; but thus, You imposed that upon your Bro∣ther which there was no necessity of, and would not forbeare him in what I would have you forbeare him, but caused him by your imperiousnesse and stiffenesse, to depart from communion with you. It is true, sayes God, the thing might have been done, but it was not necessary, it was out of conscience to me that they forbore, the weaknesse is theirs, but the Schisme is yours.*

This hath beene generally received (though it be very false) Page  175 that if a man departs from a Church because he refuseth to joyn with it in that which is not in it selfe evill, that this mans de∣parture is Schismaticall: Certainly no; Grant there is a weak∣nesse in his conscience, and so a sinne, he should informe his conscience better, but cannot; and this inability is not without sinne, yet this arises not to that height of sinne, as to make that (which (supposing him to be in this condition) is better for him to doe then not to doe) to become Schisme; especially if he be willing to hold communion with that Church still in all acts of worship, wherein he can joyne without sinning against his conscience, and continues brotherly love to them as Saints in all the expressions thereof, as he is able.

The first great Schisme in the Church, that was caused by the Governours of it, was that which Victor Bishop of Rome, and those who joyned with him caused, by that imperious way of enjoyning Easter to be kept at such a time which you have men∣tioned, pag. 15, 16, 17. The story of which you have in Eusebius, lib. 5. cap. 23. Those who denyed not the lawfulnesse of keeping Easter, yet have generally accused Victor, and such who so violently urged this upon the Churches as the cause of the Schisme, not such who did not conforme to what was en∣joyned them, because the thing was not necessary, and there should have beene a forbearance in it: No Governour ought to urge such unnecessary things which are but under suspition by tender consciences, if they do, the Schisme is justly charged up∣on them.

Thirdly, where a man cannot have his soule edified in some [ 3] Ordinances and truths of great moment, which that Church whereof he now is shall deny, and is in great danger of being seduced to evill, he may depart from that Church to another, if he does it orderly, and not be guilty at all of Schisme, love to God and his owne soule is the cause of this, not want of love to his Brethren.

It is a good speech I finde Chillingworth hath, what the good∣nesse of the man was I know not, but in that Treatise of his, The Religion of Protestants a safe way, Cap. 5. Part. 1. Sect. 61. an∣swering that plea of his adversary against Protestants, that com∣munion with a Church not erring in fundamentals, upon pre∣tence of erring in other matters, must not be forsaken, he hath Page  176 this excellent saying: If I did not finde in my selfe a love and de∣sire of all profitable truth; if I did not put away idlenesse, and pre∣judice, and worldly affections, and so examine to the bottome all my opinions of divine matters, being prepared in minde to follow God, and God onely which way soever he shall lead me; if I did not hope that I either doe or endeavour to doe these things, certainely I should have little hope of obtaining salvation.

When I consider of these causes of departing from a particular Church, that speech of Tertullian concerning a Martyr comes into my minde, Non poena sed causa facit Martyrem, Not the punishment but the cause makes a Martyr. So, Non decssio sed causa facit Schismaticum, Not the departing, but the cause makes a Schismatick. Aquinas shewing that wherein the vitiousnesse of Schisme lyes,*sayes, As in naturall things that which is by ac∣cident does not constitute the species, so in morall, not that which is beside the intention for that is accidentall: therefore, sayes he, the sin of Schisme is in that it intends to separate from that unity which charity makes, and therefore Schismaticks are properly those who of their own accord and intention doe separate themselves from the uni∣ty of the Church.

The next thing considerable in the description of Schisme; is the rashnesse of the separation: though the cause of separating be just, yet the manner of it may be schismaticall, if done rashly or violently. Those who are joyned in communion with others, when they differ from those with whom they have communion, they are bound to examine, try, to make use of all meanes they can to satisfie their consciences in things they scruple: and if they cannot, yet before they breake off communion they are bound to seek by all means they can for a redress of those things which after most serious examination appeare evill to them, they are bound to wait with much forbearance, and longsuffer∣ing. And at last if there be a necessity of departing, they must not rend away with violence, but shew themselves willing and ready in the spirit of love and meeknesse to open their cause, to shew their reasons to the Church why they cannot continue in Page  177 that communion with them they formerly had, and desire that they may peaceably and lovingly depart, seeing they cannot with peace of their conscience and love to their soules continue with them, and that they may joyne with some other Church, where they may enjoy peace and further edification.

Surely here is no Schisme, this is no rending away, here is no violence used, here is onely a loving and peaceable secessi∣on; notwithstanding this, were it not the pride, envy and frowardnesse of mens spirits, much love and peace might con∣tinue amongst Christians and Churches: True indeed, if men can beare no contradiction, no kinde of blame of their wayes, there must needs be trouble; but then those who doe contradict or blame, though they be in the wrong, yet if it be through weaknesse, and carryed with meeknesse, they are not so much the cause of the trouble, as those who cannot beare this weaknesse of their Brethren without frowardnesse and con∣tention.

There are other names of division; the name of Puritan, what a divider hath it been? but that seeing it self ready to dye, divided it self into two, Round head and Independent; these are now the opprobrious, discriminating, scornfull names of division amongst us: For the first, there is so much folly and absurdity in it, that surely it will soone vanish of it selfe if you contemne it; it is too low and contemptible for a Pulpit, or a Pen to meddle with: But the other carries in the face of it an open defiance to all kind of government, a monstrous kind of liberty for men to live as they list, and to be accountable to none, whatsoever they hold or doe: Certainly such kinde of people as these, are not to be suffered; shall I say in any Christian society? no not in any humane society; if there be any such people as these, they are one of the most monstrous kinde of people that ever lived upon the face of the earth: How many runne away with the word, and cry out of men and their wayes under this name which they know not? How farre those who are for the Congrega∣tionable way, are from such an uncontroulable liberty, hath beene shewne, Chap. 7. Pag. 41. I shall adde this one thing, of all kinde of governments in the Church, that which hath this name fastened upon it is most opposite to the name of any in that sense it is ordinarily taken, for there is no Church-government Page  178 that holds forth more means to reduce from errour, or any miscarriage, then this doth; examine it with the Prelaticall or Presbyteriall Government, and you shall find it; for first, in the Prelaticall Government, if once the Prelates de∣termine any case, you must there rest, there is no Church helpe for you, except you will say it is in a Convocation, where we know they ruled both in the choyce of members, and ordering all things as they list. In the Presbyteriall way, if so many as∣sociated Elders determine any case, it must in them receive the finall determination, you must rest in it, although the greater part of the Churches, and the greater number of Elders in a Kingdome should be of another minde; for if you rise to a Nationall Assembly, there are not the twentieth part of Elders of the Kingdome in it: But those who men call Independents say, that if any thing be done by them that is offensive, not only those associated Elders, but all or any Elders or Churches whatsoever may require account, may in the name of Christ doe all in effect, for the reducing of them, that those associ∣ated Elders can doe, still remembring that Church-power in one or the other, goes no further then mens consciences; if men wil not conscientiously regard what is done to reduce them from evill, there is no help within the Church, but to appeale to CHRIST; as for the externall helpe by the Magistrate, that concernes not the controversie about Church-government, and yet for subjection to that Ordinance of God, the principles and profession of those you call Independents leave as much to the Magistrate, as the principle or profession of those who are Pres∣byteriall doe, if not more. Tolle am nominis crimen & nihil re∣stat nisi criminis nomen; Now take away the crime of the name, and there remaines nothing but the name of a crime.

Page  179


The seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth divi∣ding Practices.

The seventh, Whatsoever personall evill there is in any one who is in a differing way from others, is cast upon all that are in that way.

THis you know was the practice of former times, whatsoe∣ver evill any forward Professour was guilty of, that was cast upon all, they are all thus; Doe you not see that Hypo∣crites they are? whatsoever their shewes be, yet if they have opportunity they will be as vile as any men; enough may be found against the best of them all, if they were narrowly wat∣ched; this is their way, they are a company of dissemblers: Such kinde of imputations are carryed upon the miscarriage of any one, upon all, on purpose to enrage the people against them: We accounted this hard dealing heretofore, let us not now be guilty of such things our selves.

Some such practice it is like there was amonst the Corinthians, when that foule fact of the incestuous person brake forth, some of them were puffed up, so the Apostle chargeth them; it is a very strange charge that any should be puffed up upon such a thing as that; what was there in it to occasion puffing up? The Answer is this, It is cleare there were great divisions in Co∣rinth, some sided one way, some onother; now one of them who was of such a side, fell into this foule and scandalous sinne, upon that the other side thought they had an advantage against the whole party, and this puffed them up; nay doe you not see what one of them hath done? you may by him see what kinde of men they are; this made the whole party low in their eyes; they cast the contempt of this one upon all that were associated with him in such a way differing from others: This could not but widen the divisions amongst them.

It is an evill advantage that men take, if they see some very er∣roneous many wayes, and obnoxious in their lives, yet if these agree but in some one thing with those whom themselves differ from; all the odium of these errours and loose lives must be cast upon such as they thus agree with, in that one thing though Page  180 their consciences cannot but tell them, that those Brethren who are in a differing way from them, doe abominate such errourrs and loosenesse of life as much as themselves.

After God used Luther to bring light into Germany,* there arose many Sects; Papists say, there were grown in the Church after Luthers time, in one hundred yeeres, two hundred and se∣venty Sects, whereas from Christs time to his, there cannot be reckoned above a hundred eighty one. Now this was the practice of the Papists, that they might cast an odium upon the Lutheran party, which they lookt upon as standing most in their light; whatsoever errours were held, or miscarriages of life appeared in any of these Sects, all was cast upon the Lutheran party, upon this ground, because the Lutherans and these sects agreed in this, that they were all against the Papacie.

There are many amongst us, who contend for severall wayes, Anabaptists, Antinomians, Socinians, Separatists, those that are for the Congregationall way, Seekers, with many others, they all agree in this, that they are against the Prelacie; Doe you now thinke it were a just thing for the Prelates to gather together all the errours, opinions, and miscarriages in life, in all these sorts of men, and cast the ignominy and odium of all upon our Brethren, who contend for the Presbytery? if they should say, Look what vile opinions are held by those who are against Episcopacie, how scandalously many of them live, but they all concenter in this, they would have the Prelacie downe, they are enemies to Bi∣shops: You would presently answer, What though they agree in this one thing? yet such as are for the Presbyterie, they are as much against the errours and disorders of those who joine with them in this one thing, as your selves are.

We read Ier. 29. 26. Shemajah sent Letters to Zephaniah a∣gainst Ieremiah; marke the Argument he useth why Ieremiah should be dealt severely withall. The Lord, sayes he to Zepha∣niah, hath made thee Priest instead of Iehojadah. Why, what then? where lyes the force of his Argument, that Ieremiah must therefore be punished? It lay here, Iehojadah had puni∣shed one Matthan an Idolatrous Priest; therefore, sayes Shema∣jah, you must doe as Iehojadah did; as if he should say, they are both in one way,* This Ieremiah was a Priest, and so was Mat∣than; such kinde of men must be looked to, they are all alike. Page  181Matthan was odious to the people, they all said he was not to be suffered, and they being in some things alike, therefore all the evill which was found in Matthan, all the odium that was upon him, must be cast upon Jeremiah. Certainly this is a very sinfull, unjust, uncharitable practice of men, (especially such as professe godlinesse) against their brethren: it widens, heightens, and lengthens our divisions very much.

The eighth dividing practice is an innordinate cleaving to some, so as denying due respect to others.

THis was the practice amongst the Corinthians, which cau∣sed great divisions amongst them; some were of Paul, some of Apollos, some of Cephas. No question a man may in his heart more reverence, and prize, and outwardly shew more respect to those whom God makes the greatest instruments of good (ate∣ris paribus) then to others. David shewed more respect to Na∣than than to God; Nathan was by farre more intimate with him: The intimacy was such between them, that Nathan thought it a very strange thing that David should doe any thing about the disposing of his Crowne, and not make him acquainted with it. So Valentinean the Emperour upon this ground honoured Am∣brose above any of the Bishops in his time.* Such men as God is not pleased to make so instrumentall for good as others, should not envy this; let them be willing that those should be honoured whom God honours: but yet people should take heed that they give not so much honour to one, that they deny due respect to others; and Ministers and others in publike place should not entertaine, much lesse seeke for, or rejoyce in any honour or re∣spect given to them, which they see detracts from that esteeme and countenance that is due to others.

Peter Martyr upon that place, 1 Cor. 3. 4, 5. observes, that Heathen Philosophers were ambitious that their Disciples should receive denomination from them:* hence some were cal∣led Platonici, others Pythagorici, others Epicures, but this should be abominated amongst Christians▪ Lanctantius hath a notable speech against this, Those (sayes he) cease to be Christi∣ans▪ who take upon them the names of men, and are not called by the name of Christ.

Page  182Peter Martyr upon the fore-named place,* sayes of Se∣crates, that he was more modest then the rest, he refused to be accounted the author of that learning he taught others, but said of himselfe, that he was a but a Mid-wife to be helpfull to the bringing forth of that, which was in the mindes of men be∣fore.

The weaknesse and folly of people in their inordinate giving or denying respects, is often caused, but more ordinarily fomen∣ted and encreased by the pride and vanity of teachers, in seeking for, or at least in a pleasing embracing such inordinate respects given to them, whereby others suffer much; siding of parties is made, and more hurt comes to the publike, then their honours are worth a thousand times over: This evill many times comes of it, that reason and truth from one man is little regarded, and er∣ror and weaknesse from another man is greedily embraced, and stifly maintained; whereas it should be with Reason and Truth, as it is with money, one mans money in a market is as good as anothers, so should one mans reason and truth spoken by him be as good as anothers.

The ninth dividing practice. Because men cannot joyne in all things with others, they will joyne in nothing.

SOme men are of such dividing dispositions, that if they be offended with a man in any one thing, in hearing, or other∣wise, they will goe away in a tetchy moode, resolving never to heare him more. You think you have liberty in any froward mood to cast off that meanes of good which God offers to you, to refuse to partake of such mens gifts and graces as you please; It may be your stomack is so high and great on a sudden, or your spirit is falne into such a sullen humour, as you will not so much as go or send to him, to see if upon a serious and quiet examina∣tion of things, you may not have satisfaction in what for the pre∣sent offends you. No, mens spirits are carryed on with present rash heady resolutions. I believe there was never such a kinde of spirit prevailing amongst such as professe godlinesse, since Chri∣stian Religion was in the world; never did so many withdraw from hearing even those by whom they acknowledge God hath Page  183 spoken to their hearts and that before they have gone to them, to impart what it is that scruples them, to try whether they may not get some satisfaction. Certainly if you have no neede of the Word, the Word hath no neede of you. You may easily express your discontents one to another; you may easily say you are re∣solved you will never heare such an one any more, but you can∣not so easily answer this to Jesus Christ. When your weaknes∣ses, the prevailing of your distempers shall grate upon your con∣sciences, this will be a great aggravation of the evil of them, You neglected in a humorous way, and selfe-willed resolution, those means that might have done your soule good, even such as many hundred, if not thousands of soules blesse God for all the dayes of their lives, yea are now blessing God in heaven for. Heretofore you would have been glad of that, which now you sleight and reject; this is not from more light or strength that you have now which you had not then, but from more vanity, pride, and wantonnesse.

Others deny hearing, not from such a distempered spirit, but out of tendernesse, because they think the Minister is no true Mi∣nister of Christ, because he had no true call, because he was or∣dained by the Prelats, &c. I confesse though for mine own part I never yet doubted of the lawfulnesse of the call of many of the Ministers of the parishionall congregations in England, though they had something superadded which was sinfull, yet it did not nullifie what call they had by the Church, that com∣munion of Saints, amongst whom they exercised their Ministe∣ry, yet I doe not thinke it the shortest way to convince those which refuse to heare, to stand to prove to them the lawfulnesse of the call of those Ministers whom they refuse to heare, but ra∣ther to make it out to them, that though their call be not right to the Ministery, yet they have not sufficient ground of with∣drawing from hearing them. For they hold it is lawfull for a man to preach the Word as a gifted man, and that these men from whom they withdraw are gifted and faithfull, and preach excellent truths they deny not.

But they will say, If they did this as gifted men, it were ano∣ther matter, but they preach by vertue of their call.

The answer to that is, if they be acted by that principle, and therein mistake, this is their personall sinne, not the sin of those Page  184 who joyne with them in a good thing, which they doe upon an ill ground. When I joyne with a man in an action, I am to look to the action, and to the principle that I goe upon, but let him with whom I joyne look to the principle that he goes upon.

Your hearing a man doth no way justifie his call to the office of the Ministery.

If a man doth a thing that he may doe by vertue of two rela∣tions or either of them, it may be he thinks he stands in one of those relations which indeed he doth not, yet he doth the acti∣on by vertue of it in his owne thoughts, in this he sinnes; but there is another relation wherein he stands, that is enough to warrant the action that he doth to be lawfull. Now though he doth not intend the acting by this relation, the action may be sinne to him, but not at all sinne to those who joyne with him in it. If he will goe upon a false ground, when he may goe up∣on a true, let him looke to it. I will joyne with him in that acti∣on as warranted for him to doe by vertue of his second relation, which it may be he will not owne himselfe.

Take an instance in some other thing, and the case perhaps will be more cleare.

Giving almes is a worke that a man may doe either by vertue of Church office, as a Deacon, or as a Christian whom God hath blessed in his estate, or betrusted with the distribution of what others betrust him with. Now suppose a man is in the place of a Deacon, he thinks himself to be in that office by a right call into it, and he gives out the almes of his Church by vertue of his call; but I am perswaded his call to that office is not right, he is not a true Deacon; yet if I be in want, I knowing that both he & those who have given him money to dispose, may and ought to distribute to those that are in need, by vertue of another rela∣tion, as men, as Christians, enabled by God, surely then I may receive almes from him lawfully, though his principle by which he gives them me is sinne to him. I may communicate with him in this thing, though he acts by vertue of that office that he had no true call unto; why may I not as well communicate with a man in his gifts, though he acts thus sinfully himselfe?

This consideration will answer all those objections gainst hearing men, that they say are not baptized; grant they are not, Page  185 and so you thinke they cannot be Ministers; yet they are men gifted by God, and thereby enabled to dispence many truths of God to your soule.

The tenth dividing Practice, Fastning upon those who are in any errour, all those false things and dangerous consequences, that by strength of reason and subtilty may be drawne from that errour.

THis imbitters the spirits of men one against another, it is true, grant one false thing, and a thousand may follow, but I must not judge of a man that holds that one false opinion, as if he had the malignity of those thousand evill things in his spirit. I finde our Divines who have been of peaceable spirits have condemned very much this fastening of dangerous conse∣quences of mens opinions, upon those who hold the opinions, and yet whose hearts are as much against such consequences, as possibly may be deduced from them, as any: In their giving rules for peace, they advise to take heed of this, as a thing which makes Brethren, who are different in their opinions unlikely ever to become one.*Davenant sayes, It is abhorrent to charity and right reason, that any because of consequences from what he holds, neither understood nor granted by him, should be thought to deny or reject a fundamentall Article, which he firmly beleeves, expresly asserts, and if he were called to it, whould seale the truth of it with his bloud: Truer, and more gentle, sayes he, is the judgment of that great and peace-making Divine, Bucer, who sayes, It is our part not to look at what may follow from an opinion, but at what followes in the consciences of those who hold it.

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The eleventh dividing Practice, To commend and countenance what we care not for, in opposition to what we dislike.

WHen such as professe godlinesse shall make much of wicked men, shall commend them, joyne with them, embrace them; yea, be well pleased with the bitternesse, boi∣sterousnesse, boldnesse of their daring spirits, because there may be use made of them against those men and wayes they differ from, this is an evill which brings guilt upon themselves, and makes the division between them and their Brethren very great: If your hearts be right, and your cause be good, you need not make use of any thing that is evill, to comfort your hearts, or to maintaine your cause: The Lord will not be beholding to the evill, the bitternesse of mens spirits, for the furtherance of his cause; and why should you? God will not take the wicked by the hand, neither shouldest thou: Are not your spirits strengthned against your adversaries, when you see them cal∣ling in Papists, and all manner of the refuse of men wicked and treacherous: Can you thinke that these are the most likely to maintaine the Protestant Religion, and the liberty of the Sub∣ject? Why doe you seek to strengthen your selves by stirring up vile men to joyne with you, such as heretofore your hearts were opposite to? How comes it to passe, you can close so lovingly now? You can smile one upon another, and shake hands together: How comes it to passe, you doe rejoyce the hearts of evill men; they encourage you, and you encourage them? Those unsavoury bitter expressions that come from them, you can smile at, and be well pleased with, because they are against such as differ from you; blow up that sparkle of in∣genuity that heretofore hath been in you; lay your hands upon your hearts, bethinke your selves, is it the Spirit of Jesus Christ, that acts us in such a way wherein we are? Surely, this is not the way of peace, but of division and confusion.

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The last dividing Practice, The Practice of Revenge.

WHen any provoke you, you say you will be even with him, there is a way whereby you may be, not even with him, but above him; that is, forgive him.

Practising revenge is the way to continue divisions to the end of the world; such offend me, therefore I will offend them; and therefore they offend me againe, mee againe, and I them, and so it may run in infinitum; they deny mee a kindnesse, therefore I will deny them, and therefore they will deny mee; so these unkindnesses run on endlesly; divisions will have a line of succession, where will it, where can it stop, if this be the way of men?

Paulus Fagius in his Notes upon Leviticus, cap. 19. v. 18. sayes,* If Reuben should say to Simeon, Lend me thy Axe, and he should answer, I will not; the next day Simeon hath need of an Axe, and he comes to Reuben, and sayes, I pray lend me your Axe, and Reuben answers, No, you would not lend me yours yesterday; the Jewes accounted this to be Revenge: There is much more malignity in our revengefull practices one upon a∣nother then this.

Basil invelghing against requiting evill for evill,* in his tenth Sermon, speakes thus to a revengefull heart; Doe not make your Adversary your Master, doe not imitate him whom you hate; be not you his looking-glasse, to present his forme and fashion in your selfe.

Revenge God challengeth to himselfe as his, presume not to encroach upon Gods proprietie, to get up into Gods seate, and doe his worke, thou hast enough to doe of thine owne. And it is very observable, how God stands upon his challenge of re∣venge as his owne; as that which he by no meanes will suffer others to meddle with: in those Scriptures where this is menti∣oned, the challenge is doubled, yea, sometimes treble, as Psal. 94. 1. O Lord God to whom vengeance belongeth, O God to whom vengeance belongeth: So Nahum. 1. 2. The Lord revengeth, Page  188 the Lord revengeth, the Lord will take vengeance on his Adver∣saries, Heb. 10. 30. Vengeance belongeth to me, I will recompence saith the Lord; and againe, the Lord will judge his people: You must not think revenge to be so light a matter.

How unbeseeming are revengefull practices to Christian pro∣fession!* Many of the Heathens were above such things. Plu∣tarch reports of Phocion, That when he had done notable ser∣vice for the Athenians, yet was put to death by them; but be∣ing asked a little before his death whether he had any thing to say to his sonne; Yes, sayes he, that I have, I require of thee my sonne, that thou never wishest ill to the Athenians for this they doe to me.

How farre are most of us from this? we can hardly passe by an ill looke without revenge; but if we conceive our selves to be wronged in words or actions, then revenge rises high, such things must not be born.

A Gentleman of very good credit, who lived at Court many yeeres, told me that himselfe once heard a great man in this Kingdome say, He never forgave man in his life: and I am mo∣ved the rather to beleeve it to be so, because I have been told by some other Gentlemen, that the same man would when he was walking alone, speake to himselfe, and clap his hand upon his breast, and sweare by the Name of God, that he would be revenged, hee would be revenged; and that she who lay in his bosome, was wont to sit alone, and sing to her selfe, Revenge, Revenge, O how sweet is Revenge,! If they get power into their owne hands, and are so uxorious, as they must needs give way to have things managed according to the will of their revengefull wives: what peace, what security is there like to be?* Sir Walter Rawleigh in his History of the World, tells of the sad case of the Lacedemonians, when Nabis having power in his hands, having a wife, Apega, a woman full of cruelty and revenge, her husband delighting in her, caused her Image to be made, lively representing her, and apparelled with costly gar∣ments; but indeed, it was an Engin to torment men withall; he made use of it thus, when he could not have his will upon men by his owne perswasions, he tooke them by the hand, tel∣ling them, that perhaps his wife Apega, who sate by in a chaire could perswade more effectually, so he led them to the Image, Page  189 that rose up and opened the armes, as it were for embracement▪ those armes were full of sharpe iron nayles, the like whereof were also sticking in the brests, though hidden with her clothes, and herewith she griped these men to death: At which Nabis standing by, laughed to see the cruell death of these miserable men. The Lord deliver us from revengefull spirits.


The evill of Divisions, They hinder much good.

EVsebius reports of Constantine,* That he was more troubled with the dissentions of the Church, then with all the warres in his dominions, that he took them so to heart, that he could not sleep quietly for them; yea, although he had a spirit full of heroick valour, yet the dissentions of the Church were such e∣vils to him, as to cause him to cry and sob: Thus he writes in an Epistle to Alexander and Arius,*Let me enjoy the dayes in peace, and the nights without molstation, that the pleasure which riseth out of the pure light of concord and quiet life, may hence∣forth inviolably be conserved; if it otherwise happen, it behoveth us to sob and sigh, and to shed many a salt teare.

What heart that hath any tendernesse in it, bleeds not in the sense of those sore & dreadful heart-divisions there are amongst us! The evill there is in them, is beyond what tongue or pen can expresse: Take a view of it under these three Heads.

  • 1. The good they hinder.
  • 2. The sinne they cause.
  • 3. The misery they bring.

First, the quiet, comfort, sweetnesse of our spirits is hindered by divisions: They put the spirit out of tune; men who heretofore have had sweet spirit full of ingenuity, since they have interessed themselves in these Divisions, have lost their sweetnesse, their ingenuity is gone. When the Bee stings, she leaves her sting behinde her, and never gathers Honey more; men by stinging one another, doe not lose their stings, but they lose their honey, they are never like to have that sweetnesse in their hearts, that heretofore they had, Page  190 Shall I lose my sweetnesse, sayes the Fig-tree, and goe to be pro∣moted over the trees? Why doest thou not reason thus with thy spirit? Shall I lose my sweetnesse in contending, to get my will to be above others? God sorbid. There was a time that both my my selfe and others found much sweetnesse in the temper of spirit; there was nothing but peaceablenesse, quiet, calmnesse, contentednesse in it, and how comfortable was such a temper of spirit! me thought when my spirit was in that sweet frame, all things were sweet to me; but since I have been interested in quarrels and contentions, it hath beene farre otherwise with me. Prov. 15. 4. Perversnesse in the tongue causes a breach in the spirit. Contentions cause much perversnesse in mens tongues, and this causes a breach in their spirits. Your contending costs you deare: though it were in nothing else, yet the losse of this sweetnesse of spirit makes it very costly to you. All the wrong that you should have put up if you had not contended, had not been so great an evil to you, as this one thing is. There is nothing more contrary to ingenuity then quarrelsomnesse. It is repor∣ted of Melancthon, that when he was to dye he had this speech, and Strigelius at his death had the same:*I desire to depart this life for two causes: First, that I may enjoy the desired sight of the Sonne of God, and the Church in heaven. Secondly, that I may be delivered from the fierce and implacable hatred of Divines. There was much disputing, contending, quarrelling in those times, which was so tedious to the spirits of these good men, as it made them the willinger to dye, that they might be where their souls should be at rest. That Saint of God old M. Dod, never loved to meddle with controversies; he gave that reason, He found his heart the worse when he did. Men seldome come away from hot disputes, or any other contentions, but their spirits are altered for the worse. They finde it so, and others finde it in them. If a man has beene abroad, and met with company with whom he hath been contending, his wife, children, servants, finde that he comes not home with the same spirit that he went out with.

[ 2] Secondly, they hinder the freedome of a mans spirit, which a wise man sets a high price upon: the strength of many mens spirits is spent in contentions, they have no command of them to any thing else. When a man is once engaged in a contest, he knows not how to get off; Contention is a great snare to a man, Page  191 he wishes he had never medled with it, he is weary of it, but knowes not how to come off fairely. I have read of Francis the first, King of France, consulting with his Captaines how to lead his Army over the Alpes, into Italy, whether this way or that way; Amarill his Foole sprung out of a corner where he sate unseene, and bad them rather take care which way they should bring their Army out of Italy back again. It is easie for one to interest himselfe in quarrels, but the difficulty is to be disengaged from them when you are in.

Thirdly, they hinder the good of the body; many men con∣tending [ 3] with their Brethren are so full of stomach, that they have no stomach, they hinder their sleep; men lye tossing up & downe a great part of the night, sometimes whole nights, mu∣sing, plodding and contriving, how they may make their party good, what advantages they may get of those they contend with. Have the thoughts about the breach sinne hath made be∣tween God and thy soul,* broke thy sleep so much as the thoughts of breaches between thee and thy neighbours and brethren? We reade of Moses, Deut. 34. 7. that he was an hundred and twenty yeeres old when he died, his eye was not dimme, nor his natu∣rall force abated. Some give this to be one reason of such a won∣derfull preservation of his health and strength, the meeknesse of his spirit: God witnesses of him, Numb. 12. 3. That he was the meekest man upon the face of the earth. That good old man Mr. Dod came very neere to Moses in the one and in the other.

Fourthly, they hinder mens judgements: if the water be mud∣die, we cannot see what lies at the bottome. These dissentions disturb the medium of our sight: you cannot weigh gold in the middest of blustring windes: you cannot consider and give a judgement upon truth, except the heart be calme. Gregory Na∣zianzen hath this similitude: As the earth, sayes he, is fixed to men whose braines and eyes are sound, but to those who have a vertigo in their heads it seems to turne round: so we are decei∣ved in our apprehensions of things,* we have not the same judg∣ment of things when we love, and when we doe not love.

Fiftly, they hinder the sweetnesse of Christian converse and [ 5] communion: you know your communion with the Saints was wont to be farre more sweet then now it is: ye were wont to have your hearts spring at the sight of one another: Ipse aspectus Page  192 boni viri delectat, sayes Seneca, The very sight of a good man de∣lights, the sight of a godly man was wont to delight us other∣wise then now it does: you look one upon another now sowre∣ly, with lowring countenance, and withdraw from one another: your comforts were wont to be double, treble, seven fold, an hundred fold, according to that society of Saints you conversed withall; one godly man accounted it the joy of his heart, that he had any thing that he could communicate to another godly man, and the other had the like joy that he had any thing to communicate to him; thus comforts were multiplyed; but now your comforts are single, Oh the sweetnesse, the sutablenesse there was wont to be in the spirits of Christians! Shall I say su∣tablenesse? it was a blessed onenesse of heart: they did as it were exchange soules one with another every day; their soules did close claspe one with, and cleave one to another. Oh how did they love to open their hearts one to another! what delight was there in pouring forth their spirits one into another! What cheerfulnesse was there wont to be in their meeting! they eate their bread together with singlenesse of heart and joy, praising the Lord. There were no such merry meetings in the world, as the meetings of the Saints were wont to be: They parted one from another with their soules bound up one in another; their hearts warmed, enlarged, resolved, strengthened in Gods waies. But now they cannot meet together but they fall a jarring, con∣tending one with another, and part with spirits estranged from, sowred, and imbittered one against another: their hearts weak∣ned, and more unsetled in the things of God then before. Here∣tofore when they were absent one from another, yet the remem∣brance one of another was joyfull; but these dayes seeme to be gone. Where is there that opening of secrets one to another as formerly? every one is afraid of another. What sweet visits were there wont to be? what bearing one anothers burdens? what heart-encouraging Letters? It was with the Saints as in Tertullins time,* Christians called Brethren, and were ready to dye for one another: but now they are burdens to one anothers spirits, they bring evils one upon another. Those who heretofore were forward Professors, whose society was onely amongst the Saints, now they can suit well enough with those who are carnal, they close with them, their converse is most amongst them. Page  193 Oh Lord, what fire is it that is kindled amongst us! The nature of fire is, Congregare homogenea, & segregare heterogenea, to gather things of a like nature together, and separate things of a different: but our fire does quite contrary, it separates things that are Homogeneall, and joyns things Heterogeneall. Surely this is no other then the fire of hell.

Sixthly, they hinder our time. Abundance of time is spent [ 6] about our divisions, which we are not able to give account to God for. When men are engaged in contentions, they will fol∣low them night and day, whatsoever business be neglected, to be sure that must not: yea the choice of our time that was wont to be spent in meditation, reading, prayer, is now spent in con∣tending and wrangling. Those retired times that we were wont to converse with God in, are now spent in the workings of our thoughts about our divisions; and when we come abroad then a great part of our time is taken up in going first to this body, and then to the other, to help forward and foment matter of di∣vision. Of all the time of a mans life, that time that is spent in lawing and quarrelling is the worst, and happy it were for many that it might not be reckoned amongst the days, weeks, or mo∣neths of their lives.

Seventhly, they hinder our prayers. If two or three agree to∣gether [ 7] touching any thing they shall aske, it shall be done for them by my Father, sayes Christ, Mat. 18. 18. 1 Tim. 2. 8. I will that men pray, lifting up their hands without wrath. When Daniel was in a strait, he goes to his companions, and desires them to lift up prayers to God for him, Dan. 2. 17. There was a a sweet agreement between them. Hence their stock and trade in prayer went in common, but divisions do exceedingly hinder prayer, either one with another, or one for another. 1 Pet. 3. 7. the Apostle giving rules for a peaceable loving life between man & wife, the woman must be meek, and the man live with his wife as a man of knowledge; and they must walk together as the heires of life. Why so? That your prayers may not bee hindred. Private contentions in families are great hindrances of family-prayers: So our publick divisions and contentions are the great hindrances of the prayers of Christians in a more pub∣lick way. How were they wont to pour forth their hearts in prayer together? then their hearts closed, but now it is other∣wise. Page  194 Men do not walk now together as the heirs of life, there∣fore their prayers are hindred. God accepts not of our gift, if we offer it when our hearts are at a distance from our brethren. When breaches continue, and we are not reconciled, you know Christ requires us to leave our gift at the Altar till reconciliati∣on be made. It is the Spirit of God in the Saints that is the spirit of prayer: now Gods Spirit is a Dove-like, meek, quiet, and peaceable spirit.

[ 8] Eighthly, they hinder the use of our gifts: When Vessels are sowred with vinegar, they spoil liquor that is poured into them, they make it good for nothing: Many men have excellent gifts, but they are in such sowre vinegar spirits, that they are of little or no use in Church and Common-wealth.

1. In these times of division, many men exercise their gifts and parts in little or nothing else but in matters of division; do you think that God hath given you such parts for no other end but this?

2. They have no hearts to impart to their Brethren their gifts in counselling, admonishing, strengthning, comforting: No, their hearts are estranged from them, they care not to have any thing to do with them: but do you think, that you are so far your own men, that you may keep in, or imploy your talents as you please? Are you not the Stewards of Christ, are they not given to you for the edification of your Brethren, as well as for good to your selves? Can this satisfie your consciences? such a one differs from you, he hath angred you, therefore though you have opportunity of being useful to him, yet you refuse it, as if it were at your liberty to lay out your abilities for good, or not, Certainly, this is not according to the mind of Christ. 1 Cor. 12. 7. The manifestation of the spirit is given to every man to pro∣fit withall.

3. If you do make use of your gifts for the good of others, yet dissentions between you will hinder the profit of them, you are not like to do any good by them, except they be carryed on by the oyl of love, they wil not soak into mens hearts. When did you ever know a wrangling contentious Minister (though his gifts were never so excellent) do good amongst his people? And what comfort can a man have of his life, if he be laid aside by God as a useless man?

Page  195 4. These divisions cause men to make the gifts of others useless to themselves, whereas God puts opportunity into mens hands, to get much good by those excellent gifts their Bre∣thren have, yet if there be any difference between them, ei∣ther they will not acknowledge the gifts of GOD in them, or otherwise they have no mind to receive from them that good they might have, because their hearts are not with them.

Ninthly, they hinder our graces; how little of God and [ 9] Christ, little spiritualness appears in Professours of Religion since these rents and divisions have been amongst us, in compari∣son of what in former times hath appeared. As the members of the body (sayes Augustine) are not quickned, except they be joyned, so even the members of Christ do not receive of the quickning vertue of Christ, except they be joyned: Here is the reason of the deadness, coldness, emptiness, barrenness, vanity of your spirits, you are not joyned: O where are the heavenly Christians that were wont to be, those humble, those holy gra∣cious soules, who lived by faith, who were able to deny them∣selves, their whole lives were nothing else but a continuall ex∣ercise of self-denyall, who were not onely patient, but joyfull under afflictions? Where are those watchfull Christians who walked close with God, who enjoyed such spirituall communion with him, as made their faces shine in their holy heavenly con∣versations? Where are those tender, broken-hearted Christians that were wont to be, who lived upon the Word, to whom the Word was more sweet then honey and the honey comb? Now there is another kind of face of Professours of Religion, as if there were godliness in these dayes, not of the same kind with that which was formerly. If our fore-fathers, who were the most holy and gracious, should rise againe, they would not own those for Professours of Religion who now make a great noyse, keep a great stirr about Religion, as if they had got up higher then their fore-fathers had, and yet are loose, vain, fro∣thy, false in their way. Certainly, those holy, gracious Saints, whom these new Professours sleight, were they alive, they would abominate them, as the great disgrace of, and dishonour to Jesus Christ and his Saints.

Take but away their disputes, and for any else, how empty Page  196 and dry are they? If they ever had any grace, it is under a deal of rubbish, we cannot see it, and can these men be any other but an empty vine, seeing their hearts are so divided? The gra∣ces that they seemed to have had, are quite blasted; and if there were any in truth,* they are exceedingly weakned; Vinegar will dissolve Pearls. Pliny tells of Cleopatra Queen of Egypt, that in her wanton bravery, at a Supper she made for Marcus Antonius, she dissolv'd a Pearl in Vinegar, and drank it off, and prepared another, both which were valued worth neer five thousand pounds: Oh the many precious Pearls worth thou∣sands of gold and silver, that are dissolv'd by the Vinegar sowre∣ness of mens spirits in these sharp dissentions that are a∣mongst us!

[ 10] Our Divisions hinder the breaking forth of the lustre, the shine of Religion in the beauty and glory of it.

The fire of our contentions raises such a smoak, that it all besmothers us, it takes away our comliness, it makes us look black, no amiableness appears in the wayes of Religion to con∣vince men of the excellency of them. Scratch'd faces, rent and torn garments we account a shame to us; distracted, divided spirits, rending and tearing one another, and from one ano∣ther in our divided wayes, O how uncomely doth it render us,* and that profession of Religion that we take upon us! The Turks were wont to wonder much at our English men for pinking and cutting their clothes, counting them little better then mad men, for making holes in whole cloth, which time of it self would tear too soon: the cuts, rents, slashes that are in our spirit, in our divisions at this day, are much more uncomely, and may justly render us foolish and mad in the eyes of all that do behold us.

[ 11] Our Divisions hinder our strength; If you untwist a Cable, how weak is it in the severall parts of it? a threefold cord is not easily broken, but a single one is: Divide a strong current into severall rivelets, and how shallow and weak will the course of the water be? That act that Plutarch reports to the King of Scythia, Scilurus, toward his Sons hath been very famous, to set out how divisions weaken wheresoever they are; he sayes he had eighty Sons, and when he was near death, he caused a bundle of Arrows to be brought and given them one by one, Page  197 bidding each of them to break it; they all answered, it was impossible for any man to do it;* then he causes the Arrows to be taken out one by one, and bade one of his Sons break them, this any of them could easily do; upon this he speaks to his Sonnes thus, If ye agree together, ye shall abide strong and unconquerable; but if ye divide your selves, con∣tending one with another, ye will be weak and easily over∣come.

They hinder our doing good in publick; that which concerns [ 12] many, must be done by many: But how can two, much less many, walk together, if they be not agreed? that which one does, the other seeks to undo: Now although God can turn whatsoever is contrary to his work, to the furtherance of it, yet man cannot do so. When God would hinder the work of buil∣ding Babel, he comes down and confounds their tongues, so as they could not joyn together in it: Thus when the De∣vill would hinder the work of Jerusalem, he knows no way more likely then by dividing the hearts of those who are employed, if he can possibly, that thereby he might bring con∣fusion.

They hinder our own ends; none are more crossed in their [ 13] ends and designes, then contentious people; we have not the mutuall benefits of one anothers Estates, Houses, the many ways of accommodation and help for one another, as heretofore we were wont to have; now every man shifts for himselfe; scarce any man who knew what the heartiness of friendship meant, enjoyes those outward accommodations as he was wont.

They hinder the blessing of God, Psalm. 133. The Psalmist [ 14] commending the love of Brethren concludes, There the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. There! that is, where the love of Brethren is, there is a blessing, a blessing commanded by God; it comes with power, and this no less then life, and this life for evermore. God dwels in Salem, sayes Lu∣ther, not in Babylon; where there is peace, not where there is confusion.

Lastly, yea they hinder all good. They are like the Torrid [ 15] Zone, nothing can prosper under it. When the Dog-star rises no plants thrive as an other times. When a fire is kindled in a Page  198 Town, the bels ring backward. When fires of contention are kindled in places, all things go awke. There is little joy in any thing.

Thus you see how great evill there is in our divisions in respect of what good we lose by them: now then consider whether it be possible that any gain we can get by them can recompense this loss; can any thing got by them quit the cost? But if it could be supposed our loss may be recompensed, yet I am sure nothing can countervail the evill there is in them, in respect of the sinfulness of them. That is the next head.


The sinfulnesse of our Divisions.

THough there be sin in many things mentioned, yet we con∣sidered them in reference to our good that was hindred: but now let us consider what venome of sin there is in them.

The number 2. hath been accounted accursed, because it was the first that departed from unity. The departure from that uni∣ty God would have, is a very cursed thing, for it hath much sin in it.* That which S. Aug. sayes of originall sin, we may well ap∣ply to our divisions, They are sin, the punishment of sin, the cause of sin, nothing but a heap of sin.

[ 1] First, they are against the solemn charge and command of God, and of Jesus Christ. 1 John 3. 23. This is his commande∣ment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as he gave us commandement. It is not an arbitrary thing that we should love one another, but it is the command of God, and a great command joyned to that of be∣leeving in his Son Jesus Christ. The one is as truly necessary to salvation as the other. Let men talk of faith, of believing on the Son of God, of trusting to free grace in Christ, yet if they have dividing, contending spirits, no love, no sweetness, no grace of union with the Saints, their faith is a dead faith: And because God stands much upon this to have his people live toge∣ther in love, at the beginning of the verse he sayes, it is his com∣mandement; at the end of the verse he sayes, he gave us comman∣dement;Page  199 And it is also observable, that he sayes of the comman∣dement of love, that he gave us that commandement. It is a gift, for it is a sweet commandement. We should not onely submit to it, as being bound by the authority of it: but we should open our hearts to it, and embrace it joyfully as a gift from God. The commandement of love God gives us as a gift from his love. The excellency of these commandements are further amplified, ver. 24. And he that keepeth his commandements dwelleth in him, and he in him. I do not thinke that you can finde in all the Scripture any command of God in one ver. and a piece of another so in∣culcated and commended. Again, chap. 4. 21. This commande∣ment have we from him, that he who loveth God loves his brother also. If you think you have any command to love God, or to be∣lieve in Jesus Christ, know the same authority layes a command upon you, to love your brother also. Joh. 15. 12. This is my com∣mandement, that ye love one another as I have loved you. And ver. 17. These things I cowmand you, that ye love one another. Christ you see likewise makes a great matter of the Saints loving one another. Surely the sinne then must needs be great that breaks such a great commandement as this, upon which God the Father and Jesus Christ his Son layes so much weight.

Secondly, these unkind and unloving divisions are against [ 2] the prayer of Jesus Christ, yea against that prayer he made for us a little before he died, Joh. 17. 21. he prayes to his Father, that all who did believe, and should after believe on him, might be one, as his Father is in him, and he is in his Father; and that they may be one in the Father and him: as if he should say, Oh Fa∣ther, I am now going out of the world, and I foresee, when I am gone, even those whom thou hast given me, who are one in me, and in thee, will meet with strong temptations to divide them one from another: but oh Father I beseech thee, let thy fatherly care be over them, to keep their hearts together, that they might be united in the strongest union that is possible for creatures to be united in. Oh Father, let them be one, as thou and I am one. Would we not be loath to lose the benefit of that heavenly prayer of Christ for us in that 17. of Joh. read it over, see what soul-ravishing excellency there is in it, seeing he hath expresly said he intended us who live now, in it, as well as those Disciples who then lived with him; let us prize Page  200 this prayer, as being more to us then ten thousand worlds. Luther writes a chiding Letter to Melancthon; By those sinfull distrust∣full fears and carking thoughts of yours, sayes he, you do irri∣tas facere praeces nostras, you make void our prayers. How great then is the evill of our divisions? by them we do what in us lies to make void as concerning us the prayer, that blessed prayer of Jesus Christ. Sathan, sayes Christ to Peter, hath desired to win∣now you like Wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith fail not. He shall not prevail, sayes Christ: Why? Because I have prayed for you. Oh blessed Saviour, is not thy prayer against our divisions, as strong? Canst not thou prevail with thy Father as well in this as in that? We know thy Father did and does ever hear thee: some way or other this prayer of CHRIST is, and shall be heard; yet our sin is not the less, for it tends to the frustrating of Christs prayer. Sathan desires to winnow us in our divisions, but he de∣sires not to have the Chaffe divided from the Wheat, he rather would have the Chaffe mixed with the Wheat. The mixing the Chaffe with the Wheat makes a great stirre amongst us: But Christs prayer which helped Peter in his winnowing, we hope will help us in ours: only let not us do any thing that makes a∣gainst it.

[ 3] Thirdly, our divisions are against our own prayers, How of∣ten have many who now are estrang'd from one another, hereto∣fore so prayed together, as their hearts have seemed to melt one into another, so as one would think it impossible that ever in this world there should have been that distance between them that now there is. How often have we prayed, Oh that once we might be blessed with such a mercy, as to worship God ac∣cording to his own mind! that we might be delivered from conscience oppression, from spirituall bondage! Oh that we might be delivered from the inventions of men in the service of God: that the Saints might joyn and serve the Lord with one shoulder. There were never such hopes that the Saints should enjoy their prayers so as of late there hath been, and yet never were they so divided as now they are: they now seek to bring one another in bondage. If five or six years since when many of us were praying together, making our moans to God for that oppression we were under, God should have then presented as Page  201 in a Map, such times as these are to our view; could we have be∣leeved that it were possible that there should be such a distance in our spirits as now there is?

Fourthly, our Divisions are very dishonourable to Jesus [ 4] Christ; were it, that they darkned our names onely, it were not so much; but that which darkens the glory of Jesus Christ, should goe very neere unto us. I have read of Alexander Seve∣rus, seeing two Christians contending one with another, com∣manded them that they should not presume to take the name of Christians upon themselves any longer; For (sayes he) you dishonour your Master Christ, whose Disciples you professe to be. It is dishonour to a General to have his Army routed, and run into confusion. The Devill seems to prevaile against us in these our divisions, so as to rout us. John 17. 21. 23. is a nota∣ble Scripture, to shew the sinfulnesse of our divisions, in the dis∣honour they put upon Christ, and it may be as strong an argu∣ment against them as any I know in the Book of God; Christ praying to the Father for the union of his Saints, uses this argu∣ment, O Father let this be granted, that the world may beleeve that thou hast sent me: And againe, ver. 23. Let them be per∣fect in one, that the world may know that thou hast sent me. If they be not united one to another in love and peace, but have a spirit of Division ruling amongst them, what will the world thinke? surely, that thou didst not send me; that I who am their head, their teacher and Lord, never came from thee, for thou art wisdom, holiness and love, & if I had come from thee, then those who own me to be theirs, and whom I own to be mine, would hold forth in their conversations something of that spirit of ho∣linesse, wisdome and love there is in thee; but when the world does not see this in them, but the clean contrary, they will never beleeve, that I came from thee; those truths that I came into the world to make known as from thee, O Father will not be beleeved, but rather persecuted, if those who professe them by their divisions one from another, and oppositions one against another, shew forth a spirit of pride, folly, envy, frowardnesse; therefore, O Father, let them be one as thou and I am one; if this Petition be not granted, how shall I look the world in the face; I shall be contemned in the world: what am I come down from thee, for such glorious ends as indeed those were, Page  202 for which I came into the world, and when I should come to attaine those ends, for which I came, shall there be such a car∣riage in those who doe professe my Name, that by it the world shall perswade themselves, that thou didst never send me? O what a sore evill would this be! surely any Christian heart must needs tremble at the least thought of having a hand in so great an evill as this is.

[ 5] Fifthly, Divisions are sinfull because they grieve the holy Spi∣rit of God, Ephes. 4. 30, 31. Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed to the day of redemption. Surely, there is no godly heart, but will say, O God forbid that I should doe any thing to grieve the good spirit of God, it is the Spirit that hath enlightned me, that hath revealed the great mysteries of God, of Christ, of eternall life unto me; it is that Spirit that hath drawn my Soul to Jesus Christ, that hath comforted it, with those con∣solations that are more to me then ten thousand worlds; the Spirit that hath strengthned me, that helpes me against temp∣tations, that carries me through difficulties, that enables me to rejoyce in tribulations; the Spirit that is an earnest, to assure me of Gods electing love; the spirit thet hath sealed me up to the day of Redemption; and now shall I be gily of so great a sinne as to grieve this blessed Spirit of the Lord? If I did but know wherein I have grieved it, it could not but make my soul to bleed within me, that I should have such a wretched heart, to grieve this holy Spirit, by whom my soule hath enjoyed so much good: I hope should for ever hereafter take heed of that thing, I would rather suffer any griefe in the world, to mine owne spirit, then be any occasion of grief to that bles∣sed Spirit of God. But would you know what it is that hath grieved it, and what it is that is like to grieve it further? mark what followes, ver. 31. Let all bitternesse, wrath, anger, cla∣mour, and evill speaking be put away from you with all malice: And would you doe that which may rejoyce it? Oh! God knowes it would be the greatest joy in the world for me to doe it, then ver. 32. Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, for∣giving one another even as God for Christs sake hath forgiven you.

[ 6] Sixthly, these divisions doe grieve and offend our Brethren, this should not be a light matter to us, Christ accounts it a great Page  203 evill to offend one of his little ones: We may thinke it a little matter to give offence to some of Gods people who are poore and meane in the world, so long as we have the bravery of it, and the countenance of great men, no matter for them. But (friend) whatsoever slight thoughts thou hast of it, Christ thinks it a great matter; you may look upon them as under you, the times favour you more then them; but if you shall give them cause to goe to God, to make their moanes to him, of any ill u∣sage they have had from you; Lord thou knowest I was for peace to the uttermost that I could, so farre as I was able to see thy Word for my guide; but these who heretofore were as Bre∣thren to me, now their spirits are estranged, their hearts are im∣bittered, their words, their carriages are very grievous, and all because I cannot come up to what their opinions, their ways are; certainly this would prove very ill to you, regard it as light∣ly as you will; it may be when others carry themselves towards you otherwise then you expected, you vent your selves against them in quarelling, in giving ill language, in vilifying and scor∣ning, your strength runs out this way; but there are a genera∣tion of men, who being wronged, improve their strength in patient bearing, yet in making their moan to God in the exer∣cise of faith, in committing their cause to him.

Mat. 18. from 24. to 31. you have the story of the servant who had ten thousand talents forgiven him, who yet took his fellow-servant by the throat who ought him a hundred pence, and put him into prison; the Text sayes, When his fellow ser∣vants saw what was done, they were sorry, and came and told their Lord what was done. You do not hear them cry out of their fel∣low-servant, O what a vile base wretch was he, who would deal thus with his fellow! No, but they went and told their Lord. It is not the way of Christians when they apprehend wrong done, to give ill language, to seek to right themselves or others by bitter provoking expressions; but their hearts being filled with griefe, if they must needs vent it, if quiet debates with their Brethren will not ease them, let them vent themselves in the powring forth their complaints to the Lord.

Seventhly, there is much sinne in our divisions, for they stir [ 7] up much corruption on all sides, both in our selves and others; As if you shake a glass of water that has dirt in the bottome, the Page  204 dirt spreads it self all over: so doth the dirty stuffe in our hearts, these divisions causing a commotion in them; that corruption is now discovered, that neither our selves nor others had thought had been in us: Do not you say in your hearts, and it may be one to another, Who would have thought it possible, that so much filthy staffe should lie so long in such mens hearts undiscovered, which now appeares since these unhappy divisions have been a∣mongst us? James 3. 16. Where there is envying and strife, there is confusion and every evill worke. When Snakes are cold, they lye still; but if the heat of fire come to them, then they hisse and put forth their stings: Thus mens corruptions heat by the fire of contention that is kindled amongst us, begin to stirre, to act, yea, to rise very high. The reason that some give of that prohi∣bition of the Apostles, Ephes. 4. Let not the Sunne goe downe up∣on your wrath, which also I finde Chrysostome upon the place gives, is, because when mens wrath is stirred by contending, if it continues in the heat of it till night, as they lye upon their beds their corruptions will be boyling, they will lye musing and plotting against those that contend with them; their thoughts in the night season will worke up their corruptions to a great height; have you not found it so, when the Sunne was gone downe upon your wrath, you could hardly sleepe that night? William the Conquerour in his first yeer commanded, that eve∣ry night at eight a clock a Bell should be rung, and that all peo∣ple should then put out their fire, which was called the Curfew Bell: it were well that some were admonished every night, to cover the fire of their passions.

We stirre up likewise the corruptions of others, in these our divisions; doe you not see those distempers formerly menti∣oned, working and breaking forth in your Brethren when you provoke them in your contending with them? O pitty, pitty thy Brother, if thou canst not pitty thy selfe; does it not grieve thee, that thy Brother should bring sinne upon himself? Were it not better for thee to suffer; then for thy Brother to sinne? It is an evill thing to be an occasion of griefe to our Brethren, The Lord does not willingly grieve the children of men, but to be occa∣sion of sinne to them is much worse: When did you ever meet with your Brethren, and had your spirits put into any heat, but after your parting when you began to be coole, you then saw Page  205 canse to grieve for unbeseeming words, carriages, breakings forth of passion, that there was either in you or them: Some∣times in a froward debate there is more sinne committed in one houre, then there is otherwise in a whole twelvemonth, between those who live lovingly and sweetly together: yea, sometimes such corruptions are stirred by differences and divisions, that one would think were not competible to a Saint; namely, the rejoycing in the evill of other men, yea of godly men. David said, his zeal had ever consumed him, because his enemies had forgotten Gods word; but some mens zeale doe even consume them, because their friends do remember Gods Word; the more inoffensive they walke, the more are they troubled; it were endlesse to mention the uncharitablenesse, wrong, malice, injustice, oppression, cruelty, with the abundance of other sins that are caused by our divisions.

Eightly, Yet further, as they stirre up sinne, so they harden [ 8] in sinne. Fire hardens the clay into a brick: Thus are mens hearts hardened in evill by our divisions, men who hereto∣fore had tender spirits, their hearts were redy to relent upon any brotherly admonition, now they are stiffe, they stand out sturdily, yea behave themselves scornfully: O this fire of contention hath baked their lusts, hath hardned their hearts. Ezek. 11. God promises to give his people one heart, and this heart should be a heart of flesh: While the hearts of the Saints are united, they are tender; but when they divide, they grow hard.

Hence is the reason why Brethren being falne out, it is so hard to convince either of them of any ill carriage, they are angry, & they think they do well to be angry, and all because their hearts are hardened. Jonah was in a pettish mood, his heart was hardened with it, let God himself come now to convince him, he stands it out, he will by no meanes acknowledg himselfe faulty; no, what he does he will justifie, he does well to be angry.

Ninthly, there is much sinne in them, for they are a meanes [ 9] to keep off others from Gods wayes; if this be their religion for men to quarell one with another, I will have none of it: Carnall hearted men use to charge Religion with all the miscar∣riages of the Professours of it. You know what Saint PaulPage  206 sayes, 1 Cor. 14. If men speak with strange tongues, aud there comes in one unlearned, will they not be to him as Barbarians, will they not say they are mad? Thus when the men of the world looke upon those who professe Religion, and see their carria∣ges, their wayes strange, divided amongst themselves, will they not think them even mad people? I charge you, sayes the Church, Cant. 3. 5. by the Roes and by the Hindes, that you stir not up my Beloved till he please. This by some is interpreted thus, The Roes and Hindes are shy and fearfull creatures, by them are signified such as are observers of the wayes of the Church, and ready to take offence at any thing they see amisse in them, therefore I charge you, say those who are faithfull, that you doe nothing that may make any disturbance in the Church, whereby such as are observers of your wayes shall be offended: If they see miscarriages in you, they will fly off, and of all mis∣carriages there are none more offensive to the lookers on, then wranglings and contendings; when they see this, they will conclude, Surely this is not the way of Christ.

[ 10] 10. They are a very ill improvement of our zeal and cou∣rage; Zeal and courage have such an excellency in them, as its a thousand pitties they should have no other improvement then to raise and maintain quarels and divisions. The Lord hath use of every mans zeal and courage, reserve them for his, for some notable work that God hath to do for thee, and do not spend them about that from whence comes no good. If Soldiers lying neare their enemies, have no store of powder, should spend what they have in making squibs and fire-workes, would they not be condemned of folly, if not of treachery, by all? Those who have the most zeal and courage, have little enough to serve their turne, for the services that God requires of them, and must this be spent in unworthy brablings, wanglings and qua∣rellings? That mans body is in an ill condition that hath a sore to which the humors have recourse to feed it, leaving off the supplying to the parts of the body that are to be nourished and maintained by them; the sore is fed, but the other parts grow lank and feeble. Thus it is with many mens spirits, they are di∣stempered, and then what abilities they have, are drawn forth to feed those distempers; what account can be given to God of such a use of them as this?

Page  207 11. They make very much against the Cause of Christ now [ 11] in hand, the great work of Reformation. Had we joyned hand in hand together, and set out selves to serve the Lord with one shoulder, what abundance of service might have been done? how might the honour of Christ have been advanced high a∣mongst us before this day? But while one draws one way, ano∣ther another, one seeks to set up, and another labours to pull down, how can the work go on?

You will say, That is true indeed, things would go on a pace, if those who differ from others would give up their judge∣ments and practises to them, to beleeve what they beleeve, and to doe what they doe. But how can this be? you would not have them give up their judgements or practices to them till they know they be right, and how can that be, till they by discussing, praying, reading, meditating, finde that out? If some men had certainly found out the right, and other men knew certainly that they had done so, then the worke were at an end.

But when we complain of our divisions for making much a∣gainst the Cause of Christ, or work of Reformation, we do not complain against men, because they cannot all understand things alike. But this we complain of,

1. That all men who professe godlinesse, have not joyned in opposing that which they beleeve cannot stand with godlinesse, by all the wayes that God hath put into their hands.

2. That they have not joyned to promote those wayes of godlinesse, which they are convinced to be so.

3. That they have not joyned to study what wayes and means may be found out to ease the hearts and consciences one of ano∣ther, to beare with one another, so far as Christ would have them be helpfull to, and beare with one another. It is this that hath made such a stop in the work of Reformation. A peace∣able, humble, and quiet discussing of things, furthers that Re∣formation that Christ would have. Doe you thinke that Christ would be pleased with such a Reformation wherein the lesser part should give up their consciences and practices to the Judg∣ments of the greater? such a kind of slubbering over matters might soon be, but Christ must have all the matters of his Page  208 worship and doctrine consented to, and practiced from a prin∣ciple of faith. Let us joyn with all our might in all we know, and with peaceable, quiet, humble spirits seek to know more, and in the mean time carry our selves humbly and peaceably to∣wards those we differ from, and Christ will not charge us at the Great Day for retarding his Cause, the great work of Refor∣mation in hand.

[ 12] 12. These our dissentions are against a great part of the Cove∣nant of Grace which God hath made with his people in Christ, and those many promises of so much peace that there is to be in the times of the Gospel. We by these do that which tends to make void the Covenant, we doe as it were say that Christ is not come in the flesh, 1 Joh. 4. 3. Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God, and this is that spirit of Antichrist. Many men talk much of Antichrist, bet such as profess the Gospel, and yet are of unpeaceable, snar∣ling, contending spirits, they have the spirit of Antichrist, and they doe not confesse that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. It is the Argument the Jews have against Christ, say they, If he were come, then that Prophesie Esay 11. 6. would be fulfilled, The wolfe shall dwell with the lambe, and the leopard shall lye downe with the kid, and the cow and the beare shall feed together, &c. But this is not so, they bring many other places where Peace is prophesied of, as Esay 9. 7. Of the encrease of his go∣vernment and peace shall be no end. Those who seeke for his Go∣vernment, should seek for his Peace also.

Galatinus de Arcanis Catholicae veritatis, spends divers Chap∣ters in answering the Jews objections against Christ from these places with others, as Lib. 5. the 6, 7, 8. Chapters. A speciall part of the Covenant of Grace is in that promise, Ezek. 11. 19. I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, ver. 20. And Jer. 32. 38, 39. They shall be my people, and I will be their God, and I will give them one heart and one way. Many men speak much of the Covenant of Grace, who manifest little of this part of it in them. If that which is against any command of God be sinfull, much more is that which is so directly against Gods Covenant with his people, that which tends to make even the Covenant of Grace to be of none effect; if it be of no Page  209 effect in one part of it, it will be of none in the other.

13. By our divisions we cross that end that God aimed at in [ 13] the variety of his administrations in the gifts and graces of men; That this was not Christs end in dispensing gifts and graces in a different way, that there might be fuell administred to con∣tentions and quarrels, but rather to exercise love, we spake to before, now onely take notice of it as a consideration that set out the exceeding sinfulness of our divisions.

The Aggravations of the sinfulnesse of our Divisions.

FIrst, That we that are Christians should be thus divided, it [ 1] were not so much if we were Heathens; our divisions are a∣gainst the very character of Christianity: Hereby shall ye know that ye are my Disciples, if ye love one another, sayes Christ. Love and Unity are Christs badge, the Armes of a Christian, where∣by he shewes of what House he is: But by these divisions of ours, what doe we but rend the very Armes that Christ hath ho∣noured us with, and cast them under our feet?

Secondly, that we who were so lately in bondage, should up∣on [ 2] the beginning of our deliverance thus fall out one amongst another, one from another, one upon another; for us who are newly come out of prison, who have upon us still the very smell of our prison garments, the sores of our necks by reason of those yokes that were lately upon them are not yet healed, and yet we thus presently fight one with another, this is uncomely and very sinful.

Thirdly, The union of our enemies is an aggravation of the [ 3] sinfulness of our division;s how great a shame is it that they should joyne better then we! have they stronger bonds of union then we? Psal. 83. 5. 6. we read of ten or eleven sorts of men who could all agree in that which was evill; the Text sayes,*They consulted together with one consent, it is in the He∣brew, with one heart; there was Edom, the Ishmaelites, the Moabites, the Hagarens, Gebus, Ammon, Amaleck, the Phy∣listines, with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur is joyned with the children of Lot: these were of severall opinions and wayes in matters of Religion, and yet could joyne. I remember Gre∣Gregory Page  210 Nazianzen in one of his Orations makes a bitter com∣plaint of this,*Who is there, sayes he, that is of a right mind, that doth not deplore the present state of things? Who can find out expressions to set out this calamity of ours, that theeves and robbers, tyrants and whoremasters should be at peace amongst themselves,*yet we cannot be at peace? Revel. 17. 13. we read of ten Kings of the earth, that they are of one minde to give their power to the Beast, and to make war with the Lambe; shall not we be of one mind to fight against the Beast for the Lambe?

Fourthly, that such as God hath joyned in so many bands of [ 4] union, should so divide as we do, as the bands of old acquain∣tance, of deare friendship in former times, that fellow-sufferers, that such as are related nearly, brethren, sisters, kinsmen, kins∣women, such as live in the same family, as are of the same socie∣ty, the same calling, such as have received much good one from another, yet that now they should be thus divided, and there∣by the occasions of so much evill one to another, this is a sore, and a grievous evill.*Luther in an Epistle of his to his friend Spalatinus, tells him, that if he must perish, he would not that the Emperour Charles should have a hand in it, out of respect to him, but let me rather, sayes he, perish by those of Rome, for I know sayes he, what misery followed Sigismund the Em∣perour after the death of John Husse. Although we should desire that we might be no occasion of evill to any, yet if it must needs be, better a thousand times that the evill fall upon wicked men, and those who are at the greatest distance from us, then upon those who are godly, and so neare unto us.

[ 5] Fiftly, that such as agree in so many things, yea in all things necessary o salvation, yea almost, if not in all the Doctrinall part of Religion, yet because of some few things of lesser mo∣ment, there should be such a fearfull breach as now there is, this makes the account we are able to give of our breach the worse, and our sin the more. And this is the evill spirit of some, they could wish our divisions were in greater things, that they might justifie their opposition so much the more.

[ 6] Sixtly, the sinne is great, because it is Heart-division; if it were Head-division, difference of judgment, it were ill, but not so ill. Jer. 4. 18. Their wickednesse is better, for it reaches to the heart. This makes the wickednesse of our divisions bit∣ter; Page  211 the heart commands the head, but the head cannot com∣mand the heart.

7. They are the worse, because they break not so much as they [ 7] doe; wounds that take ayre, grow much worse then those who are kept closed; It is an ignorant, foolish speech that some please themselves with, when they are provoked, & vent abundance of choler in bitter, wicked language: When I am angry, say they, I must vent what I have within; it is better to let it out, then to keep it in. Indeed if the breaking of it out did make it to be lesse within then it was before, as the corruption of a sore is when it breaks out, then there were some reason in what you say; but it is otherwise. As the more you act grace, the more it increaseth, so the more you act sinne, the more it increaseth. And besides, Heart-corruptions when they break forth, they dishonour God in a publike way; whereas when they are kept in, the dishonour to God is but between God and your selves.

8. That our divisions are in the presence of wicked men, that [ 8] we should discover our shame before them. Gen. 13. 7. the Text sayes, There was a strife between the herdmen of Abraham and the herdmen of Lot,*and the Canaanite and the Perizite dwelt in the land. Their strife was the more vile, because it was before them. Let us remember when we are striving, that the Canaanite and Perizite dwell in the Land. It is not safe, sayes Nazianzen, to be trust him that hates a Christian, with the hearing any thing against a Christian.

9. Our divisions are long continued divisions, nothing can quiet us, as if they were irreconcileable. There is, sayes Nazi∣anzen, [ 9] a satiety in all things amongst men but in contentions;*in meat, in drinke, in singing, in all things otherwise most delight∣full, but men have never adone in mischieving one another. We are like cocks, who are easily set a fighting, and when they are in, they will never leave till they kill one another.

10. The late Covenant that should be a means to unite us, is made a meanes of widening our divisions, by making false inter∣pretations of it, by drawing the sense of it to what may serve mens turnes, by charging men of perjury, because they come not up fully to what they would have them, by which abuse some seek to make it to be a very snare to their brethren.

Page  212 [ 11] 11. We are thus divided at such a time as this, the most un∣seasonable for divisions that ever was in the world: For,

[ 1] First, it is a time of affliction. It was sad with the Chil∣dren of Israel when they were in the wilderness to meet with fiery Serpents to sting them; while we are in the wilderness in an afflicted condition, we are fiery serpents one to another. The Hebrew word that signifies afflicted,* signifies meeke, to note, that afflicted ones should be meek ones. When the storm is comming, the Bees flock together to the hive. Ier. 50. 4. In those dayes, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, and the children of Judah together, going and weeping they shall goe and seek the Lord their God. Judah and Israel could not agree at o∣ther times, but when they are in a weeping condition, then they shall come together.

[ 2] Secondly, it is a time of Fasting and Prayer; England never knew what such Fasting and Prayer meant, as it hath knowne of late: No nation in the world that we know of ever knew the like; and shall we in such times as these, when we are casting downe our selves before Almighty God, when we are judging our selves before him, in the pride and frowardness of our hearts contend against one another? Esay 58 4. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to fight with the fist of wickednesse. It is a fist of wickedness indeed, that fights in times of Fasts. Is it such a Fast that I have chosen? How doe we in the dayes of our Fasts, acknowledge our vileness, our unworthyness of the least mer∣cy, our pride, our self-love, our envy, our passions, all those distempers that are dividing distempers, yet still we continue in them, and they break forth into dividing practices? Surely our Fasts will rise up in judgement against us, to make the sin of our divisions out of measure sinfull.

[ 3] Thirdly, It is a time also of great mercies; We are afflicted, but not forsaken; and mercies should sweeten our spirits. This Sum∣mer hath been a continued miracle of mercies; if our agreeing together, our love to one another were now beyond the expe∣ctation of all men, as Gods mercies to us have been beyond, and above all expectation, even such a fruit of mercies would be the greatest mercy of all. But if instead of being sweetned by mercies we are the more imbittered one against another, how great is this sinne? If we shall take occasion from our victo∣ries Page  213 at Nazeby, Taunton, Bridgewater, Sherburne, Bristol, to seek to drive out of the Kingdome thousands of godly men whom God used as instruments of so great mercy to us; will not this be sin unto us? God brought us indeed into a wildernesse, but he hath there spoke comfortably to us; our wildernesse is our way to Canaan. It was the charge of Joseph to his bre∣thren, Gen. 45. 24. when they were going from Egypt to Ca∣naan, See that ye fall not out by the way: We hope God is lea∣ding us to Canaan, oh that we could see Christ looking upon us, and charging us, saying, See that you fall not out by the way, do not grudg one against another, let not one say, You are the cause of our trouble, and another say, Nay, but you are the cause of our trouble; let every one charge his own heart, let every man fall out with his own sin as much as he will, but let not brethren fall out by the way.

Fourthly, it is a time of Service; God never put such oppor∣tunities [ 4] of service into our hands, as now he hath. How many holy men who were furnished with large abilities and enlar∣ged hearts to have done service for God and his people in for∣mer times, lived privately, onely enjoyed sweet communi∣on between God and their owne soules, but oh how did they prize opportunities of service! how did they thirst after, and greedily embrace advantages for publique work! they were willing to submit to any thing to the uttermost their consciences would suffer them, that they might be employed in work for God and his Saints; Though their encouragement from men was small, yet their work was wages to them; but in those times, almost all places of publique imployment were in the hands or at the dispose of evill men; could they have foreseen that within a few yeers, there should be a doore open for all godly men, to full opportunities for the imployment of their gifts and graces to the uttermost. How would they have rejoyced and longed to have seen those times, and blessed those who should live in them! I am confident it cannot be shewn that ever there was a time since the world began, that so many godly people in a Kingdome have had such a large opportunity of publike service, as for these last five yeers hath been in Eng∣land; and shall this opportunity be lost with our wranglings and contendings? Oh how unworthy are we to live in such Page  214 times as these are! When a Master sets his servants to work, and that in such a peece of work as is of great concernment, the op∣portunity of which if lost, will be a great losse to him: if these servants shall trifle away this opportunity with wrangling one with another about their work, one opposing another in it, will this be a good account to their Master? So much time was spent in work, but so much in quarelling, whereby there is little of the work done. We read of Nehemiah, cap. 6. 3. when Sanballat and Tobiah, those quarelsome companions sent to him to meet them, intending to quarrell with him, he answered them, I am doing a worke, so that I cannot come, why should the worke cease? If we see men set upon strife and contention, we should not meddle with them, to spend our time in answering what comes from them; our case were miserable, if we were at the mercy of every quarreller, bound to answer whatsoever he pleases to put forth. But let us tend our work; these opportunities of service that now we have are too pretious to give away to them, to be spent, to be lost upon them. How just were it with God to take these opportunities from us, to bring us againe into such a condition as we should be glad of a dayes imployment in pub∣lick service, and then oh how would our consciences wring us, and grate upon us for such ill improvement of them, for such unworthy losse of them when we had them!

[ 5] 5. This time is the time of the tryall of our spirits. We never had such a time to try what spirit of love, what principles of union are in us, as now we have; and shall we now miscarry? May it not be justly thought that all our seeming love one to, & closing one with another formerly, was only for our own ends? Before we were all under oppression, or at least the fears of it, when we looked upon our selves as in the same condition. then the trial was not so much: but now there is some difference made in the condition of godly men. Some have the times smiling up∣on them more then others; now is the time of tryal. The time of the triall of the spirit of Pharahs Butler towards Joseph, was when he was out of prison, injoying his preferment at the Court, & Joseph remained stil in prison. Perhaps while they were fellow-prisoners he might tell Joseph that his heart did close much with him, and if he had any opportunity to be useful to him, oh what a happinesse should he think it to himselfe! Surely it should be Page  215 improved for the good of Joseph to the uttermost. But when he was preferred, when he had respect amongst great ones, and Joseph still was kept low, then he is not the same man that he was when he was Josephs fellow-sufferer. Now he hath other things in his head: Joseph is forgotten by him. Where this evill is, be sure God will find it out: for it is an evill very grievous to his Spirit. Put these together, and it will appeare that it is no time now to contend, whatsoever we doe at other times. I re∣member I have read of Sir Francis Drake, having a dear friend of his slaine by a bullet as he sate with him at supper, Ah sayes he, I could grieve for thee, but now is no time for me to let down my spirits. So when any shal do such things as might cause contention, do you speak to your own heart, Ah I find my anger stirred; I could contend, but now is no time for me to let my spirits rise in a contending way; these times call for peace and union, not for strife and debate. This is the 11. aggravation we are divided in such a time as this.

The twelfth is, we are divided, notwithstanding we are all [ 12] convinced of the evill of divisions. We cry out exceedingly a∣gainst them: we tell one another that of all the tokens of Gods displeasure amongst us these are the greatest. Yet scarce a man does any thing, or leaves any thing undone towards any help against divisions, or furtherance of our union. Every man cries out of the Theefe, but who stops him? We all say we would have peace, oh peace is an excellent thing! But where is the man who is willing to be at any cost for it, either in putting up any wrong which he conceives is done to himself, or bearing with his brother in any thing differing from himself? The Lord may justly judge us out of our own mouths.

13. We have complained of others who are in place of po∣wer, [ 13] to be of harsh cruel dispositions. We have sayd if they had been of gentle, loving, peaceable dispositions, tendring the glory of God dearly, & the good of their brethren as their own, what abundance of good might they have done! We have thought in those times, Oh if such men were in place, who were then our dear brethren, whom we conceived to be of holy, humble, sweet, peaceable spirits, very tender-hearted towards any they saw godlinesse in; had they power in their hands, what safety, peace, rest, would the Saints have! How comfortably should they goe Page  216 on in their work! How would they be edified, praysing the Lord! What a heaven upon earth should we have! And yet we finde it otherwise. We may say, we looked for light, and behold, (I will not say darknesse) but behold dimnesse even from them: for brightnesse, but behold obscurity. Oh how doe the carriages of these men in some degree justifie the harshnesse, sowernesse, domineering and cruelty of some of the Prelates! We hope no∣thing shall ever befall us as to be such a temptation to us, as to justifie their places. But some of their persons are so farre justi∣fied, as there is occasion given to think they were not such vile men as heretofore we thought they were. For now we see what a temptation there is in having the times shine upon me, in ha∣ving power put into mens hands. We see now that men who have other manner of principles then ever they had, yet how sadly they miscarry when they come under the like temptati∣ons. How can we answer Christ Jesus for these things?

[ 14] 14. We are still divided, though we have seen the wofull evils that divisions have brought upon others, yet we cannot be warned by other mens harmes. Those who are acquainted with Ecclesiasticall Histories, may furnish themselves with Volumes in this kind. Who can read that short but sowre History of the troubles at Frankford, but his heart must needs bleed within him? And of late what evills have almost all the Protestant party in Germany and through the Christian world, suffered by divisions! And yet we engage our selves in them, and are every day en∣gaging our selves more and more, How deep we shall sink the Lord knowes.

[ 15] 15. In our very labouring for union we are divided, in our endeavours for peace we are at variance.*Nazianzen in his 12. Oration rebuking this strange miscarriage of men, hath this no∣table expression, While we would have charity, we study hatred, while we seek to set up the corner stone which unites the sides toge∣ther, we are loosned our selves, we are for peace, and yet we fight one with another. Our wayes of late have been little else but do∣ing and undoing; yea we crosse our selves in what we would do, by doing what we doe. We are all full of contradictions in our own spirits and actions, and we cry out of others, that they are not consistent to their own principles.

[ 16] Lastly, the sin of our divisions is the greater, because we make Page  217 Religion to patronize them. We divide from one another, and all under a pretence of Religion. Surely this Virgin is forced, for there is nothing more contrary to the name or nature of Reli∣gion, then to cause or further divisions. The name carryes union, strong union with it: Religio à Religando, from binding us a∣gaine to God, and to one another, after we were divided by our sin. To father our wicked divisions upon Religion, is no o∣ther then to bring down the Holy Ghost in the likenesse of a Dove to be like a Vultur or a Raven. What spirit is it that we professe our selves to be acted by when we are working for Religion? is it not the Spirit of God? and is not that a Dove∣like spirit? although we dishonour our selves by discovering the basenesse of our own spirits by our divisions, yet let us not put dishonour upon the blessed Spirit of God; this makes the sin to be abhominable.*Nazianzen in his fore-named Oration, inveighs against this in those in his time, In our pleadings for the truth, we (sayes he) belye one another; as if this were the way to maintain truth.


The wofull miseries that our divisions bring upon us.

THey are themselves fruits of the curse, therefore there can come no other but cursed fruits from them, except God, contrary to their nature, be pleased to over-rule them, which he only is able to do. It was the curse of God upon the ground, Briars and thorns shall it bring forth; It is no lesse curse of God upon mens hearts, that they bring forth such briars and thorns, by which they tear one another.

First, our divisions provoke the wrath of God against us; [ 1] though the wrath of man accomplisheth not the righteousnesse of God, yet it may accomplish the wrath of God. Esay 9. 21. Manasseh against Ephraim, and Ephraim against Manasseh, and they together against Judah; for all this his anger is not turned a∣way, but his hand is stretched out still. When we are thus one a∣gainst another, the anger of God is not turned away from us, we may feare his hand will yet be further stretched out against Page  218 us; so long as our wrath one against another continue so hot, certainly Gods wrath is not appeased.

We read of Abraham, when he was about sacrificing Isaac, he found a Ram entangled in the bryars, which God had pre∣pared for him to be a sacrifice: We are this day entangled in the bryars, and we know not how to get out, it is a signe that we are prepared to be a sacrifice even to the wrath of God.

[ 2] Secondly, by them we serve the designes of our enemies; what would they have given when they first divided from us, to have procured so great divisions amongst our selves, as have been, & yet are? If a Million would have purchased them, rather then they should not have been, they would (no question) have gi∣ven it; I am sure they further their designes more then many Millions would have done:

Hoc Ithacus velit, & magna mercentur Atridae.

We have often said that some who have kept at the Parliament have served the designes of the King and those about him better then they who were with him. Certainly those who foment divisions amongst us, do serve our enemies turne more then ma∣ny that are with them. When in our contentions our spirits rise one against another, and we reproach one another, we do not con∣sider,* sayes Nazianzen, how unsafe it is to put weapons into our e∣nemies hands. Yea he thought in his time, though neer thirteen hundred yeers since, the divisions of the Churches to be a great means to further and hasten the comming of Antichrist: for so he sayes in the same Oration before quoted, I verily fear lest Antichrist should come sodainly upon these our divisions,*and lest he should take the advantage of these our offences and distempers to raise his power over us. Let those therefore who cry down Antichrist so much, cry down divisions also, lest they prove to serve the designes of Antichrist in a very great-measure, though they think not so.

Thirdly, by these we make our selves a scorn to our enemies. Hosea 17. ult. The rage of their tongue shall be their division in the land of Egypt. When Malignants hear our rage one against another, we are a derision amongst them; these Egyptians jeere us, they contemne us, and all the power we can make a∣gainst them. I find in one of Melancthons Epistles, a story of one Bessarion, exhorting the Princes to concord, that they Page  219 might joyne against the Turks he brings in this Apologue: There was a war between the wolves and the dogs;* news came to the wolves that there was a hge army of dogs comming a∣gainst them, intending to tear them in pieces; the wolves sent an old wolfe out to be a scout, he comes and tells them there were indeed a great company of dogs more then themselves were, but they need not fear, for he perceived they were of different colours: Upon this the wolves made nothing of them, accounting it an easie matter to deale with them who were so differing amongst themselves. In the same manner, sayes Melancthon, doe Staphilus, and Canisius, and others of the pogish faction, triumph in respect of us; upon which he folls to prayer, That the Sonne of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, would governe them, and make all in our Churches to be one in him.

Fourthly, yea by these we are like to be made a prey to our e∣nemies. [ 4] Here many sad storyes might be told you of the prevai∣lings of enemies against divided people. The divisions of Israel at this time made them a prey to their adversaries, which you may see cleerly if you read 2 Kings 17. afterwards the divisions of the other tribes made them a prey to the Romans. When the Turks have prevailed over Christians, do not all stories tell us it hath been through the divisions of Christians? When Normans, Danes prevailed in England, it was by the advantage they had of our divisions; if we will still divide and contend, our condition may prove to be like two birds peking at one a∣nother, in the mean time the Kite comes and catches them both away.

Fiftly, if God should free us from our enemies, yet we are like [ 5] to devoure one another, and this is a greater misery then to be devoured by the common adversary. Gal. 5. 15. If ye bite and devour one another, take heed ye be not consumed one of another. What biting and devouring was this? It was not in an open hostile way, they did not take up Arms one against another, but by their different opinions and contentious carriages in matters of Religion. Their differences in the matters of Religion were Page  220 very great, Non de finibus, sed de haereditate, not about the bounds, but the inheritance it selfe; yet unpeaceablenesse and violence in their carriages one towards another, though the matter of their difference was so great, is condemned and threat∣ned by the Apostle. Do not our Adversaries say, Let them alone and they will devoure one another? God gives us good hope that he will deliver us from our enemies; but the hearts of many godly and wise men tremble within them, fearing lest that wolvish distemper of ours should feed upon our own flesh, when the matter that it had to feed upon from without is taken away.

[ 6] Sixtly, if we should not devour one another, yet being thus divided, we are like to perish of our selves, as those Insecta, which after they are cut asunder, yet the severall parts live, they wrig∣gle up and down a little while, but they cannot hold long. So it is like to be with us; except we joyn we cannot live.

[ 7] Seventhly, these divisions are like to make many miserable in∣deed; for if God be not mercifull to them, and that soon, they are like to be such a rock of offence, as to split them, upon which they are running; they are in very great danger to make ship∣wrack of their consciences, yea I fear some have done it alrea∣dy; if it be not so, the Lord be mercifull to them, and prevent it. The spoiled houses, the torn estates, the maimed bodies of men caused by our divisions, are sad objects to look upon; but the broken, maimed, spoiled consciences that these have caused, and are like further to cause, were and yet are like to be objects be∣fore us to be lamented with tears of bloud. This shipwrack of conscience it may be is not felt now, but it will prove horrour of conscience hereafter.

[ 8] Eighthly, they are like to lay a foundation of much evill to posterity, this consideration is almost as sad as any. We think it a great evill that Kings children shold be brought up in the sight of bloud, that they should be in danger to have principles of cruelty or tyranny infused into them in their tender age; we are afraid lest the muddy water they drink now should breed diseases in them that may break out afterward. Surely it is a great evill also for the children of the Church, to be brought up in the sight and exercise of divisions in matters of Religion; that that knowledge of Religion which they now take in, should Page  221 be as troubled waters full of soyle. In the beginning of this Parliament there was as hopefull a generation of young ones comming up as ever the Sun saw, but many of them have lost their lives in this publique Cause; God will certainly take a va∣luable consideration at the hands of the adversaries for their blood especially; we have cause to blesse God for them: God made use of them to stop the rage, the overflowing of the proud adversaries upon us; they have served their generation, and have been more usefull in it, then others who have lived 70. or 80. yeers formerly: but for those who are preserved, these divi∣sions in the things of Religion have spoiled many of them, they are carryed away with such a strange kind of spirit of error, of conceitednesse, folly, wilfulnesse, bitternesse, licentiousnesse, and boldnesse, that their hopefull beginnings are lost, so that the next generation is like to reap very sowr, bitter, and un∣wholsome fruits of these our quarrels and contentions. By what hath been said you may see why the Spirit of God, Prov. 6. 19. puts the sowers of discord amonst those whom God hates: What the harvest of such seed is like to be, we shall see in the next Head.

Aggravations of the misery that comes by our divisions.

FIrst, our misery is the greater, because it is still increasing; [ 1] Divisions make way for divisions; we beat our brethren till they cry, and then we beat them because they cry, is not this hard dealing? We read in our Chronicles that those who were born in England the yeare after the great mortality 1349. wan∣ted some of their cheek teeth;* if we should judge of mens teeth by their biting, one would think that now men had more teeth, or at least farre sharper then they were wont to have; there was never such biting as now there is. Yet thanks be to God this increase is not in all places, not in our Armies; time was when we were much afraid of divisions there, but now we hear they are comfortably united, Dividing terms are not heard amongst them as formerly; though there be differing judge∣ments, their hearts and armes are open one to another, they love one another, they are willing to live and dye one with another. Page  222 The blessing of the Almighty be upon you; go on and pro∣sper, the Lord is with you; he hath done great things by you, and delights to use you in great services, for the honour of his Name and good of his people. You have had, and have the pray∣ers of the Saints, they blesse you, and blesse God for you. Soul∣diers united in love, and hating that which is vile, are exceeding∣ly strengthned in valour.

Plutarch reports of a Theban band that were but three hun∣dred, yet were the most terrible to the enemies, of any, and did the greatest services: They were called the Holy Band, because they hated dishonest things, and were willing to venture their lives for honest causes, fearing dishonourable reproach more then honourable danger. But though this was one cause why it had that name,* yet Plutarch thinks that the first cause why it was called the Holy Band, was from their intire love one to ano∣ther. By the selfe same reason (sayes he) that Plato calleth a lo∣ver a divine friend by Gods appointment, These Thebans, toge∣ther with other of their Countreymen, had a great power of the Lacedaemonians to resist such a power as the Athenians, for feare of it, left off to protect them, renouncing that league that they had before with them. Every man, said the Thebans, were un∣done. But these despised Thebans meeting with the Lacedaemo∣nians about the City of Tegyra, where according to the com∣pute of some they were sixe to one, and a warlike valiant peo∣ple, one came running to Pelopidas the Captain of the The∣bans, saying, Sir, we are falne into the hands of the Lacedae∣monians. Nay, are they not falne into ours? sayes Pelopidas. And so it fell out, for they utterly routed them. In all the warrs that the Lacaedemonians ever had, as well with the Grecians as with the barbarous people, no Chronicle ever mentioned that they were overcome by any number equall in battell. Whereupon these Thebans grew so terrible to their enemies, that none durst for a long time encounter with them. After this battell Pelopi∣das would never seperate them one from another, but keeping them together he would alwayes begin with them, to give a charge in his most dangerous battells. Yet notwithstanding all this service they had ill requitall from the people, for when their Captain Pelopidas came home, they stirred up a party against him, that sought to break him, though they could not prevaile. Page  223 It is farther reported of this Band, that it was never broken nor overthrowne till the battell of Choeronea, where it seems they had some added to them. And see what love and valour will doe in an Army unto death. Philip taking a view of the slaine bo∣dies there, he saw foure hundred dead on the ground, one hard by another, all of them thrust thorow with Pikes on their breasts, and being told that it was the Lovers Band, he fell a weeping for pitty, saying, Woe be to them that thinke these men did or suf∣fered any evill or dishonest thing.

Ever since our Armies have been united, God hath wonderful∣ly blessed them. Shall men of warre be at peace? and is this comely? and shall men of peace be at warre? how uncomely will this be? Yet so it is, The seeds of dissentions never sprung up more against us then of late they have done. The spirits of men seeme to be heat and ready to boyle one against another in this City more then heretofore they have done. The Lord hath made London a blessing to the whole Kingdome, and the neigh∣bour Kingdomes too. The children not yet borne will have cause to blesse God for London, for their union, their faithfulness, their courage, their bounty: and shall now, when God is about brin∣ging in rest to us from the rage of our enemies, a fire of dissen∣tion be kindled amongst us? Shall the comfort of all our former mercies and future hopes be lost, by raising up of new quarrels? and must this come from the City? The Lord forbid. The Lord make you like Jerusalem, a City Compact, at unity within it selfe. Your very name carries unity in the face of it. Civis à coeundo, says Cicer: quod vinculo quodi societatis in unū coeunt quasi Coi∣vis. I remember I have read in Livy a notable speech of Scipio to the Citizens at Carthage. By what name, sayes he, shall I call you?* I know not: Shall I call you Cives, qui à patria vestra de∣scivistis? Things are not come to this passe in this City. The Lord forbid that there should ever be that degenerating from that unity and love heretofore hath been, that there should be cause to say, Shall you still be called Cives? qui à pristina unitate, à pristino amore mutuo descivistis, who have departed from your former unity and mutuall love. Oh no, Let brotherly love conti∣nue, Heb. 13. 1. Let none take your crowne, but abide glorious in the eyes of the whole Nation about you, and all strangers that come in to you. We pray for the peace of London, Let them prosper Page  224 that love it, Peace be within her walls, and prosperity within her Palaces. If any shall say, the City is not guilty herein, it is but some few private men: I gladly answer as Scipio in his forena∣med speech did to the Carthaginians, making such an objecti∣on, Libenter credam negantibus, I am very willing to beleeve it. Only do you make it appear to be so, by knitting your selves so much the more strongly together, by how much any amongst you seeks to disunite you.

[ 2] A second aggravation of the misery of our divisions, is, Surely none will pitty us in all that evill that comes upon us by them. If God should have suffered our enemies to have prevailed a∣gainst us, all the Protestant party in the world would have pit∣tied us. If those who escaped had fled for their lives to them, they would have entertained them with much compassion. But if we mischief our selves by our divisions, we shall be looked upon as contemptible in the eyes of all. If we should flye to them, we may expect to be entertained with rebukes; You are an unworthy generation, God put a price into your hands, to have done your selves and all the Protestant party good; you might have freed your selves from thraldome, and many wayes have been helpfull to us, but you had such proud, envious, quar∣relsome spirits, that you brake asunder one from another, you mischieved one another, and so have undone your selves and your posterity; yea are not worthy to live amongst men. Can we be able to bear such rebukes as these? Every man that is in misery desires to be pittied, but this misery is like to be such, as no pitty can be expected in it.

[ 3] Thirdly, our consciences will fly in our faces, telling us that we may thank our selves for all this. It is a great part of the torment of the damned, that their consciences shall be alwayes upbraiding them for bringing so much evill upon themselves. This shall be the gnawing of that worm of conscience for ever.

[ 4] Fourthly, our misery is and will be aggravated by the execu∣tioners of it: our familiars, our brethren, those who not long since were dear to us, will be made use of to make us miserable. How great a misery will this be? When the men of Judah came up to Samson, to deliver him to the Philistines, Judg. 15. 11, 12. sayes Samson to them, But sweare to me that ye will not fall upon Page  225 me your selves. He thought it a very grievous thing for the men of Judah to fall upon him. He did not so much regard what the Philistines could do against him. Certainly there is nothing in the world more sad then for one brother to make another mi∣serable. The History of that Warre between Sylla and Marius tells of one having slaine a man not knowing him, but after he looked and found it was his brother, in the anguish of his heart, because he had slaine his brother, he took his sword and ran it into his own bowels. It is a great evill to be an instrument of evill to our brethren, and to suffer evill from our brethren.

This consideration might be enough to stop us in our divisi∣ons, and cause us to think of wayes of joyning. Plutarch in the forecited place, the life of Pelopidas, sayes, that the Poets write that the misfortune of Laias who was slaine by his brother Oe∣dipus, was the first originall cause that the Thebans began to be in such love one with another, to joyn in that Holy Band before mentioned. If this were cause enough to take us off from our contentions, we have enough of this amongst us. The Lord be mercifull to us.

Fiftly, the misery of our contentions in the Civill State is such, [ 5] as if we be overcome, we are undone, for our outward conditi∣on, we and our posterity are made slaves; if we do prevaile, yet there is sadnesse in our conquest. That is a miserable war, which is thus. The Civill Wars of the Romans were such, Nullos habi∣tura triumphos, there was no triumph, but sadnesse even in the victory.

Sixthly, what help can there be? for we wilfully make our [ 6] selves miserable; if men will undoe themselves, who can helpe it? Except God comes in from heaven with a mighty hand to help, our wound is incurable.

Thus you have seen what evill and bitter things our divisions are; their root is evill and bitter, and they are the root of much evill and bitter fruit. We reade Gen. 38. 29. that Pharez was the son of Tamar; Pharez signifies division, fraction, from whence he had his name;*Tamar signifies a Palm tree, Ab ama∣ritudine, sayes Pagnine, according to some, from bitternesse; Di∣vision comes from bitternesse, and begets, like it selfe, nothing but bitternesse.

Page  226


Cautions about our Divisions, that we may not make an ill use of them, but try if it be possible to get good out of them.

OUr Divisions are very evill, yet let us not make them worse then they are, and let us take heed that we be not made morse by them. Wherefore we shall▪

First, shew what are those ill uses which many make of them.

Secondly, that it is no such strange thing as some would make it, that there should be divisions in times of Reformation.

Thirdly, how it comes to passe that godly men are divided, who above all men, one would think, should agree.

Fourthly, why these differences are so strong, and sometimes so sharp amongst those men who seem to come very near toge∣ther in the maine, the matter of whose difference lyes in smaller things.

Fiftly, how far God himselfe, and Christ, and the Gospel may be said to have a hand in our Divisions.

Sixtly, What good uses we should make of our Divisions.

For the first. The ill uses that many make of our Divi∣sions, are,

[ 1] First, Some upon the evills they see and feel in them, think it was better with us heretofore, and wish we had those times againe; Just like the murmuring Israelites, as soon as they were put to any straits, they wished they were in Egypt again; it was better with us then, say they. Yea Num. 16. 13. out of dis∣content with their present condition, they commend the Land of Egypt, wherein they were Bond-slaves, to be a Land that flow∣ed with milk and hony, murmuring at Moses that brought them out of such a Land. The Land of Canaan that God promi∣sed to carry them to, was a Land that flowed with milke and ho∣ney, but out of the perversnesse of their spirits they despised that Land, and Egypt now in this froward humour of theirs, must be the Land that flowed with milke and honey. Oh the perversenss of mens hearts! if they be but a little crossed, how hard is it for God or man to please them! how unworthy are such fro∣ward spirts as these, to live in such a time as this, to see the Page  227 great work of God that he hath done for his people. It is true, heretofore men seemed to be more united then now, there ap∣pears more differences in mens opinions and wayes then for∣merly; but whence was it that men formerly were not at such a distance? was it not because they were chained together? two prisoners chained to a block keep together all day long; men that are at liberty walk in the streets at a distance; if the priso∣ners should commend their life as more comfortable then yours, because they keep closer together all the day then you do, would you envy their happinesse? time hath been that a tyranni∣call chain hath been upon us, we dared not then discuss any mat∣ters of differerence with freedom; if a Convocation determined it, there was a chain upon us to fasten us to it; now God hath given us more liberty to debate things freely, that we may finde out the truth more clearly; and though men while they are in their debates be at some distance one from another, do not say it was better with us heretofore then it is now, thou dost not speak wisely concerning this thing.

Surely these men who are so desirous of former times, are ad servitudinem nati, born to be slaves; it is pitty but they should have their eares bored for slaves.

Secondly, the ill use that others make of these divisions is to [ 2] cry out of Religion & preaching; since there hath been so much profession and preaching, we never had good world, there was more love and unity before, all things were more quiet, neigh∣bours were more at peace one with another: This is no other then if men when Christ lived amongst them, should have ob∣jected against him, Since this Christ hath come amongst us, we have had more trouble then we or our fore-fathers heretofore have known; we were not wont to heare of men possest with the Devill, so as now we do, now what a noyse is there in all the countrey of men possessed with evill spirits? we do not read of such things before Christs time; yet do you think this was a good argument why men should wish that Christ had never come? If the Devill be put into a rage now more then before, it is a signe he is more opposed then he was before; he possessed all in quiet before, but now his Kingdome begins to shake.

Thirdly, because of these divisions, many resolve they will [ 3] Page  228stand Neuters, they see it is doubtfull which way things may goe; seeing there are such differences, we will stand by and look on till we see how they will agree; by this means they do not only disert the publick Cause that is now on foot, but they are in danger to be for any thing at the last, or to turn Atheists. Chrysostome in his Sermons upon the Acts,* Chap. 15. in∣veighs against such men as these; he there makes an Apologie for the dissentions of the Christians, the Heathens objected, We would come to you, but we know not to whom we should come; one is of one mind, another is of another, we cannot tell what you hold, you are so different from your selves. Chrysostomes answer is, This is but a cavill; for first, this hinders you not in other matters, where there is difference amongst men, yet you will take paines and en∣quire which is the right; Yea secondly, if you did know what you should hold, yet you would not embrace it, for you doe know what you should do, and yet you do not do it; do what you know, and then aske of God, and he will reveale more to you.

[ 4] Fourthly, others cry out against these men that have been most active in this common Cause, putting forth themselves, ven∣turing their estates and lives, and putting on others; at the first these men were honoured, but men did not then see what would follow, they did not think that such troubles would have at∣tended such undertakings as now they have found; upon this their hearts rise against those who were the most publique spiri∣ted; Had it not been, say they, for a few hot fiery spirited men who know not what they would have, things had never come to this passe, we might have been quiet; These men are by some, yea many, looked upon as no other then disturbers, men of turbulent unquiet spirits, and yet they have been the means of preserving you and your posterity from slavery, and of continu∣ing the Gospell amongst you. This is an ill requitall of all that willingnesse of theirs to hazard their estates and lives for your good; You have cause to blesse God, seeing you were of such low, narrow, timerous spirits your selves, unfit for such a work as God had to do in the beginning of the change of these times, that he raised up others, and gave them enlarged, resolved spi∣rits, fit for such a publique work, accompanied with so many difficulties as attended upon this, did they break the ice for you, and do you thus requite them? This is like a froward, Page  229 perverse patient,* who flies in the face of his Physitian, because his Physick makes him sick.

Fiftly, others seeing much evill come of the divisions amongst us, they think there is no way to help them but by violence, for∣cing men to yeeld to what they think is right. They think they do God good service in compelling men to the same judgement and way that themselves are of.* This is a very ill use of them. It is a new and unheard-of way of preaching, sayes Gregory, to re∣quire men to beleeve by blowes. To go from the Divine Word to an iron Sword, from the Pen to the Halbert, to perswade men to beleeve,* is a way that Gerard. confess. Cath. l. 1. p. 809. exclaims against.

Socrates in his Ecclesiasticall History, lib. 3. cap. 21. reports of the Macedonians petitioning Jovianus the Emperour for the banishing of those who were not of their judgement in matters of religion of great moment. The Emperour receiving their sup∣plication gave them no other answer but this, I tell you truly, I cannot away with contention, but such as embrace unity and con∣cord I do honour and reverence them. Tertullian in his book ad Scapulam, cap. 2. sayes, It is not the way of Religion to compell Re∣ligion, which ought to be taken up willingly, not by force. If you should compell us, sayes he, to sacrifice, what did you in this for your gods? none desire sacrifice from those who are unwilling, but such as are contentious: but God is not contentious. I finde in Thua∣nus his History,* lib. 16. a notable passage in a writing that the Senat of Paris sent to their King in the yeare 1555. after he had sent forth an Edict requiring great severity against those who differed in matters of Religion: They professed to him they did not think his Edict equal, and that they could not subscribe to it: for, say they, we see that such severe punishments, for matters of Religion, render men detestible to the people, but their errours abide the same still, they are not at all altered in their opinions by seve∣rity but for their parts they give their judgements, that it were better to go in the old way of the Church, which did not propagate Page  230 Religion by sword and fire, but by pure doctrine, and the good ex∣amples of the lives of their Bishops. Let them live piously, and teach the word of God sincerely, this is the way to root out errours that encrease so fast: but if this be not done, no Lawes, no Edicts of men will doe any good.* Sleidan in his Commentaries hath set down a Decree of the Emperour, King Ferdinando, and the rest of the Princes and States, that the controversie of Religion should be appeased by none other but by godly, friendly, and quiet meanes. But a few pages after he relates the effect of a Petition of those in Austria for their freedom in Religion, to King Ferdinando, with an answer of the King to them: In which there was this passage, That such as shall not like that Religion which the Prince hath chosen, may have free liberty to sell that they have, and go dwell in another place, without any blemish to their estimation. To which the Embassadors of Austria reply: What discommoditie were herein, how heavie and sorrowfull newes this would be to the people, who seeth not? When they shall heare that they which have been ever most ready to spend their bloud and life for the preservation and dignity of the House of Austria, must now forsake their most sweet native Countrey, so many yeers inhabited and enriched by their fore-fathers? Therefore we admit not that Answer in this behalfe: but as we have done heretofore, for the honour of God we beseech you, that you would suffer us to have no let in this matter, &c.

But you will say, What does all this tend to, but to plead for an absolute Toleration, which you seemed before to be a∣gainst?

I answer, In quoting these Authors I own not such a judgment that possibly you may think to be in some of them for an abso∣lute Toleration. How a Toleration should be limited and grant∣ed, I have spoke to before: but I produce the Authors to this end, that the rigidnesse of the judgments of some amongst us that think all differences in religion thot cannot be quelled by argument, must be quelled b violence, may be mollified. I am sure if any of these men go too far one way, those which I am now reproving goe as wide another. Fierce violence in matters of Religion is dangerous; as the Chirurgeons rigorous handling his patients arm, breaks that bone quite, which before was but out of joynt.

Page  231 6. Some take advantage by them to give themselves to loose∣nes [ 6] in their lives: it is a time of liberty, and they will take their time. If times were quiet and settled, they would be observed more narrowly, there would be means of restraint; but in these times every man takes his own way, and so will they. But know that God takes this very ill at thy hands. The more loose others are, the more conscionable shouldest thou be: the worse the dayes are, the more circumspectly shouldest thou walk. Ezek. 44. 10. The Levites that are gone from me, which went astray when Israel forsook me, they shall also bear their iniquity. The common∣nesse of a sin is an aggravation of it.

7. Some make no other use of them, then to observe which [ 7] way there may be advantage got by them: how they may sute themselves to this side or the other, for their gaine, or to drive on some private designe: so long as they can make use of the times that run such a way, they are for them: if the stream turn they can turn too: they can tack about to every wind: their study is not to help to heale them, but to contrive wayes how they may get by them. Hence they wrench and sprain their con∣sciences with the quick turnings this way and that way: they will be on the sunny side wheresoever it be. Cunning heads and corrupt hearts will serve their owne turnes by all varieties of times. If they were in Dioclesians time, they could be Pagans; if in Constantines, Christians; if in Constantius, Arrians; if in Julians, Apostates; if in Jovians, Christians againe; and all this within lesse then the age of a man.

8. Some have their spirits in a base manner subjugated by [ 8] these divisions and troubles that come upon them: they care not what they do or submit to: so be it they may have peace, they will bow down their backs and consciences, they will put them∣selves and posterity under the yoke of perpetuall slavery: so be it they may be at quiet, and enjoy their estates for the present, no matter what becomes of the publick, no matter what be∣comes of the truth. They are content to let all go, to betray all, for their own private advantage. This is beneath the spirit of a man.

9. Others are discouraged, upon the sight of the great evils that daily low from our divisions, and are like still to flow, their hearts sinke in despaire. They call into question whether it be Page  232 the cause of God that we now undertake. When the Temple was building, there was no noise of hammer, axe, or any toole of iron heard in the house while it was in building. But oh Lord is our work Temple-work! We heare the noise not of hammer and axe, but of swords and spears, of drumms and cannons, of railings and revilings; these are dreadfull in our eares: but let us not be discouraged, for though there was no noise heard in the House, yet in preparation for the House there was. It may be all we are yet about is only preparatory work for the House of our God. If God will use us in this only, yet blessed be his name. Wherefore though our divisions be many and very evill, yet they are not so evill nor many, but that there may be hope in Israel concerning this thing. For consider,

[ 2] It is no new thing for divisions to be in the Church.

THe Apostle would not have us think it strange concerning the fiery triall, he means there of persecution. The fiery contentions amongst us, are another fiery triall. We should not think strange of this neither; as if such a thing had befaln us that nevr yet befell any. I think for all circumstances it is every hard to parallel, but the Church in all ages hath been sorely afflicted with divisions. Act. 15. 39. Paul and Barnabas, two great Apostles, were so divided, that they could not keep com∣pany together, but went one from another in anger. The Text sayes, The contentions were so sharpe betweene them, that they departed asunder one from another.* The word signifies such a sharpnesse as there is in vineger. It is used by Physicians to sig∣nifie the sharpnesse of the feverish humour when it is acting in a fit. Their dissention put them as it were into the fit of a Fever. You will say, Surely it was some very great matter that should cause such eminent and holy men to be in such a passion one a∣gainst another, to be so hot as not to company together. Truly no: the matter was not great, it was whether Mark should go with them or no; the one would have him, the other would not have him, & about this the contention arose to this height. Reade the Epistle to the Romanes, to the Corinthians, to the Galathians, you shall finde very great dissentions in these Chur∣ches: Page  233 And in after-times especially, when God delivered them from those ten bloudy Persecutions, the contentions of the Church were very great. When Constantine came to the Ni∣cene Councell,* divers of the Members of that Councell accused one another to the Emperour, and put up Libels one against a∣nother, which Libels Constantine caused to be burned. After all the debates of the Councell, with the presence of the Emperour, who laboured all he could for peace and union amongst them, making large speeches to that purpose, to them, yet there were five of them dissented from the rest in matters of greater conse∣quence then any amongst us dissent from our Brethren, namely, in that point of Christs being of the same substance with the Fa∣ther. I finde in Eusebius this grievous complaint:*After our affaires, through too much liberty, ease and security, degene∣rated from the rule of piety, one pursued another with open con∣tumely and hatred; we impugned our selves by no other then our selves with the armour of spite and sharpe speares, of opprobri∣ous words, so that Bishops against Bishops, and people against people raised sedition; and they which seemed our Shepherds, lay∣ing aside the rule of piety, practised contention and schisme among themselves; and whilest they aggravated contention, threatnings, mutuall hatred, and enmity, and every one proceeded in ambition, much like tyranny it selfe, then the Lord according to the saying of Jeremy, made the daughter of Sion obscure, and overthrew from above the glory of Israel. The contentions of the Church caused by those four grand Heresies of Arius, Macedonius, Ne∣storius, Eutyches, one after another, exercised the Church a long time. There was much siding, some cleaving to one part, some to another in all these four. The first denyed Christs divinity, upon which the first Nicene Councell was called. The second, the personality of the Spirit, upon which the second Generall Councell was called at Constantinople. The third, the distin∣ction of persons in Christ, upon which the third Generall Councell was called at Ephesus. The fourth confounded Christs natures, upon which the fourth was called at Chalcedon. A∣bout this time Pelagius and Donatus caused much disturbance in Europe and Africa. Epiphanius who lived in the third Cen∣tury, reekons threescore severall Heresies that had got head, ma∣ny followers of them all, which caused great breaches in the Page  234 Church from the time of the Apostles to the time wherein he lived. After the division of the Empire into the Easterne and Westerne parts, then arose mighty contention for the Pri∣macy between the Bishops of Rome and Constantinople, that put the Church into wofull contentions for many yeares, one part excommunicating the other, writing and opposing one a∣nother to the uttermost. When this heat is at the hottest then on the one side, upon the Westerne parts God let out the Gothes, Hunnes, Vandals, those barbarous people, and Ma∣homet upon the Easterne, so that all learning was almost extinct in the Christian world, and grosse darknesse came upon the face of all Churches. The Church having lost her lights, men of learning and worth, then the great contention about Images arose that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Eastern Churches demolishing Ima∣ges in Temples, the Western maintaining them with extreme contention against the Eastern. There were not only excom∣munications thundred one against another, but much bloud was shed in that quarrell. In this condition have the Churches been from time to time divided, yea fighting with one another about opinions. And for the divisions and contentions betweene particular men, and most eminent Lights in the Church, in those times, after they came to have rest from persecutions. We find most lamentable complaints in the writings of the Ancients,* of the extremè offence these dissentions were to the Heathen. Nazianzen in his first Apologeticall Oration: We are made a spectacle (sayes he) to Angels and Men, not as that valiant champion Paul, who fought against Principalities and Powers, but we are made a scorn to wicked men, in their Markets, their Feasts, their Playes, in all their meetings. The most vile people jeer us, and all this for contending and warring one with ano∣ther. Basil makes this complaint: I have lived now (sayes he) the age of a man, and see more union in Arts and Sciences then in Divinity: for in the the Church I see such dissentions as do di∣vide it assunder, and dissipates it.

Chrysostome and Epiphanius fell out so bittrly, that the one wished the other might never dye a Bishop,* and the other wished that he might never goe home alive. And it fell out to either of them as each one had wished to the other, for Epiphanius came not to Cyprus, he dyed on the Seas by the way, neither did Chry∣sostome Page  235dye a Bishop, for he was deposed and banished the Church. The contentions between Jerome and Ruffinus were bery bitter, who had been formerly great friends. Augustine in his 15. Epistle sayes,*Their friendship had been famous in all the Churches. If such things may fall out between Jerome and Ruffinus, (sayes he) who that is now a friend may not fear to be an enemy? Yet Ruffinus writes two Books against Jerome, which are intituled Ruffini Invectiva in Hieronymum.*He begins his first invective, applying that of the Psalmist to Jerome, Ps. 57. 4. I lye among them that are set on fire, even the sonnes of men, whose teeth are speares, arrowes, and their tongue a sharp sword. In the beginning of his second, he accuses him of lying, and that he does himselfe what he reproves in others; with abundance of such kinde of bitter stuffe. And Jerome payes him againe in the same kinde. In his 16. Epist. ad Principiam Virginem, he calls him a Scorpion, in regard of the poyson that came from him. And in his Apology against him, lib. 3. in the beginning of it he ap∣plyes that Scripture to Ruffinus, Prov. 14. 3. In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride. And that of Isay, Isa. 32. 6. The vile person will speak villany, and his heart will worke iniquity, to utter error against the Lord. And I finde in an Epistle of Au∣gustine to Jerome, a great complaint he makes to him of those differences there were between Ruffinus and him: with very patheticall expressions to move Jerome to peace.* When I read your Epistles, I pined away with griefe, my heart was cold within me for feare. Oh miserable, oh lamentable condition that we are in! You who were wont to be most familiar, joyned in the strongest bands; you who are wont to lick up the honey of the holy Scriptures, now there is bitternesse amongst you. Woe is me that I cannot meet you together, that I might fall down at your feet, and weep my fill! that I might beg of you as strongly as I love you, sometime either of you for your own sake, sometime both of you for eithers sake, and especially for the sake of those that are weake, for whom Christ died, who look upon you with a great deale of danger; that you would not in your writings spread such things one against another, which though you should agree you could not wipe off from one ano∣ther; or such things as if ye were agreed ye would be afraid to reade.

Page  236 Yea many times there was very hot contest between Jerome and Augustine himselfe. Sometimes I finde some of their wri∣tings one against another to be very sharpe.

If we can debate things without bitternesse of discord, well and good;* but if I cannot tell you what should be mended in your wri∣tings, and you tell me what should be mended in mine without sus∣pition of envie and breach of friendship, let us meddle no more, but favour our healths and lives.

In after-times when God stirred up a spirit in Luther, and o∣thers, to set themselves against the tyranny of Antichrist, to throw off that heavy yoke of bondage, the dissentions between the chief publique instruments of God to the Church was very great,* as Luther, and Zuinglius, and Oecolampadius, and Coro∣lostadius.

Luther in one of his Epistles sayes, that there was no wicked∣nesse, no cruelty, that Zuinglius did not charge him with. And in another Epistle he complains that Corolostadius was more malitious against him then ever any of his enemies yet had been. And as for Oecolompadius, Luther was so provoked against him, as he called him the black Devill. We may see what strange corruptions are working-sometimes in the hearts of godly men.

As for the many sects and rents in and presently after Luthers time, they would fill up a large volume to name them, with their severall opinions and wayes. There is one Schlusselburgius a Protestant Divine, that hath gathered the chief of them toge∣ther in twelve or thirteen severall Books that he wrote about them. There is not any one strange opinion amongst us now, but you shall finde it amongst them in terminis, and that so pre∣vailing as to get a strong party to joyne with it. Only I remem∣ber not that one that hath taken some, who though they ac∣knowledg the Scripture, yet think there is no visible Church upon the earth. In after-times whosoever shall read Junius his Comment upon Psal. 122. will finde the state of the Church in his time miserably distracted and distressed with contentions. IPage  237 cannot (sayes he): but be exceedingly moved,* when I thinke of these evills. What shall I doe? Shall I hold my peace when the Devill has stirred up so great a perturbation, has kindled so great a fire? Certainly there is such a fire kindled in the Christian world, that unlesse God looks from heaven upon us, it will consume all: the mindes of men are as hearths for this fire, upon which sin burns; the tongues of men, some are the bellowes that blow this fire, others as fuell by which this fire burnes more and more. That the tongue can∣not do to blow up and down this fire, that virulent papers do, dung∣carts of virulent papers, that is his expression. Yea a great part of the Christian world at this time, seems to be rather like the place of the burning of dead bodies, then the house of Christs flock: are these Shepherds? are these the Sheep of Christ, whom I see to con∣sume away in their miserable burning? Surely they are Shepherds still, they are the Sheep of Christ, and anointed ones still: but many of them in this horrible and deadly burning, remember not that they are Sheep or Shepherds. And thus he proceeds further in pouring forth his soul in most grivious complaints.

This fiery triall of dissentions in the Church then is no new thing; we are to be sensible of it, to account it a great affiction; but not to look upon it as if some strange thing had befalne us, that never befell the Churches before.

But you will say, How can we do lesse but account it a very strange thing, that those who fear God should be thus divided? that dogs should snarle one at another, is no marvaile: but that sheep, that those who are godly should do thus, this we cannot but wonder at: for what reason can there be given for it, yea what shew of reason can there be imagined?

If we consider of things wisely,* we have no such cause to won∣der that godly men in this their estate of imperfection should differ so much one from another as they do; For

First, every godly man prizes and seeks after knowledge; [ 1] Page  238 others mind little but their profit and pleasure; they trouble not themselves about the knowing the things of God, except am∣bition puts them upon it; they care not which way truths goe: But the Godly man prizes every truth at a high rate, worth the contending for, to the uttermost, rather then to deny it or lose it. In the dark, all colours be alike, but in the light they appeare diverse. While the Egyptians were in the darke, they all sate still, but they moved with various motions when the light brake out upon them: when men discusse things, and desire to see farther into them, it is impossible, considering the weaknesses of the best, and the variety of mens apprehensions, but there must needs be much difference in mens judgements, & then con∣sidering that every thing they apprehend to be a truth, their consciences are engaged in it, at least thus farre, that they must not deny it for a world; this puts mens spirits at distance, al∣though both be godly, both love the truth equally.

[ 2] Secondly, Godly men are Free-men, Christ hath made them so, and requires them not to suffer themselves to be brought under bondage, they must not, cannot submit their consciencee to the opinions, determinations, decrees of any men living; they cannot submit to any as Lords over their faith; this others can do: as for points of Religion, say some, let learned men judge of them, we will not be wiser then they, we will submit, and others must sub∣mit to what they shall determine: this makes quick work indeed of divisions, but this, those who feare God, cannot do; they must see every thing they own as truth, with their own light, yet re∣ceived from Jesus Christ though they reverence men of greater parts, deeper learning, yet they have the charge of Christ upon them, not to acknowledge it as truth, till they understand it to be so; this causes much contention amongst good men, through their weaknesse and corruption of their hearts.

The lesse distance men apprehend between themselves and o∣thers in regard of power, the more differences there are amongst them, as they say the greatest and sorest stormes are about the Equinoctiall: Men are kept more at peace in the Common∣wealth then in the Church, because there is a greater subjection of one to another there, then may be admitted in the Church.

[ 3] Thirdly, godly men give up themselves to the strictest rules of holinesse, they walk in the narrow way of Christ, it is broad Page  239 enough to the spirituall part, but in regard of our corruptions, it is a narrow pent way; they dare not give way to themselves to decline a haires bredth from the rule, to gratifie others; they dare not bend to them, that they might sute more with them, but must keep themselves to the straight rule; they must keep just in their path; they cannot go aside to give way to others; hence there is clashing, every one not having the same thoughts of the rule and way that others have; those who walke by loose rules, in wayes that are broad, even to their flesh, they can sure themselves one to another easily, they can gratifie their friends, yea the corruptions of their friends more then others can do; godly men cannot yeeld for peace sake to such termes as other men can.

Fourthly, the things that the Saints are conversant about, are [ 4] great things, things of a high nature, about their last end, their eternall estates; hence every one is very charie, and carefull, and strongly set to maintain what he apprehends; those who under∣stand not the infinite consequence of those things, who have not had the feare of them fall upon their hearts, they wonder at the stifnesse of mens spirits that they can be brought to yeeld no more in such things that they conceive they might yeeld in, and where there are different apprehensions of those things that concern mens eternall estates, even amongst godly men, they must needs stand out one against another, till God causes one of them to see things otherwise then now he doth.

Fiftly, the things of Religion are hidden mysteries, they are [ 5] the secrets of God, they are hard to be understood, God reveals them in a differing way, they are not ordinarily so clearly re∣vealed, but that the apprehensions of them are like to be diffe∣rent.

Sixtly, the Saints are bound to watch over one another, each [ 6] is his brothers keeper, they ought to advise, admonish, reprove one another, not to suffer sinne to be upon their brethren; now this (through our corruption) is very displeasing, we doe not love to be medled with, to be crossed in what we have a mind to; but other men can better preserve their own quiet, by let∣ting their brethren alone; I will not trouble them, lest I be troubled my selfe. Hence it is that they many times live more quietly one with another, then godly men do; yet this is a Page  240 great evill, a shame to those who are godly, that it should be so upon any termes.

[ 7] Seventhly, ungodly men are dead in sins, the Devill hath them sure enough, he doth not seek to stir their corruptions so much as he doth the corruptions of the godly; he shall not get so much advantage by the one as by the other; therefore he la∣bours to keep the corruptions of the godly acting as much as he can, that he may disquiet their owne spirits, and the spirits of those with whom they converse.

Thus you see it is no such wonder why there are dissentions amongst men that truly feare God; Suppose they should live all together, yet so long as they live here in this muddy world, it cannot be but there will be sometimes foule weather amongst them; but if you look into the Church, and consider of the dis∣sentions there, there is a farther reason for them, for usually there are many hypocrites mingled with the godly there, they taking up a profession of religion and so creep into the Church, they finde spirituall things unsuitable to them, hence they fly off,* their spirits not being brought under the yoke of Christ, they fling against those things that pinch them. We read Num. 11. 4. that the great trouble the Children of Israel had among them, after they were got out of Egypt, was from the mixt multitude that was among them; these are as ill humours in the body, that do much disturb the quiet of it. None have more turbulent, cruell, impatient spirits, then hypocrites; none are so desirous of revenge as they, sayes Luther.

[ 4] Yet further,* the fourth thing propounded, is to shew, that those that come nearest together, yet differing in some things, are many times at greater variance one with another, then those who differ in more things from them. The Jews and Samaritans were at greater variance then Jews and Heathens.

Epiphanius tells of a sect of the Jews, the Nazarites, who con∣tinued the Customes and Ceremonies of the Jewes, but ac∣knowledged Christ also; and the Jews in hatred to them cursed them solemnly three times a day, morning, noon, and evening, when they went into their Synagogue to pray.

The Turks have a honourable esteeme of Christ, which the Tartars have not; yet they say, that the Tartars turn. Christians sooner then the Turks: The Turks and Persians are both Maho∣metans, Page  241 they are both circumcised, but the Turks follow the way of Ebubezer, and the Persians are of the Schohle of Haly; they detest one another more then they do the Christians; they will both tolerate Christians to live amongst them, but they will not tolerate Mahometans, who are in a different order from themselves.*

Luther complaines much of those who acknowledged the same doctrine, professed the same faith with himself, came to the same Sacraments, yet were worse enemies then the Papists, so that the Papists laughed at them, and said, They bite one another, and are consumed one of another.

I have read of a profane speech of one Cosmus Duke of Flo∣rence, against some perfidious friends, You shall reade (sayes he) that we are commanded to forgive our enemies, but you never read that we are commanded to forgive our friends. Breaches of friends of such as are otherwise nearest are the greatest. Prov. 18. 19. A brother offended is harder to be won then a City, and their conter∣tione are like the bars of a Castle.

1. We see it in nature, the nerrer the union is, the more grie∣vous [ 1] is the usurpation; tis not so great an evill to a man for his arme to be seperated from his body, as his soule; for the u∣nion of the one is integrall, of the other it is essentiall. The bone is more firmly united in all the parts of it then the flesh, and the least breach in that is farre more hurtfull then a greater in the flesh.

2. Those who agree in many things, have hope it may be to get [ 2] one another to them; upon this they struggle with one another the more: as for those who are at a great distance, they have no hope to prevaile with them, therefore they make no onset, but seeing themselves frustrated of their hopes, there this troubles them, yea it oft stirs up a spirit of anger against them whom they cannot get up to themselves.

3. Those who agree in many and great things, and yet stand [ 3] out in few and of lesse consequence, are thought to be the more unreasonable; if you yeeld thus far, why not a little farther? the one thinks so of the other, and the other thinks so of him, and hence their spirits are stirred one against another.

4. Those who come up near to others, and yet dissent, seeme [ 4] to stand more in the light of those they come up so neare unto, Page  242 then those do who are at a greater distance: it makes men think such a one is not in the right, if he were, those who come so near to him would see it; they who think themselves got be∣yond others, cannot enjoy that comfort and content in what they are beyond others in, as otherwise they might, because such as are so near them are against it, if they did not agree in most things, and those of greatest moment, their opposition would not be much regarded: but because they are such men who for their judgements and lives are so unblameable, their differing in such a thing is more then if a hundred times as many, who were at a greater distance in their principles and lives, should differ from us.

[ 5] 5. They who are so near one to another, have occasion to converse more together then others have, and to argue things oftner one with another, then with such as they differ more from. Now it is seldome that men of differing judgements and wayes meet and argue, but there is some heat between them be∣fore they have done: and so their spirits grow more estranged one from another then before. And if your spirits be estranged, then those that you have reference to, and such as are in your way, will have their spirits estranged too, your relation of things to them according to what apprehensions you have of them, will be enough to estrange their hearts, and so by degrees a bit∣ternesse grows up between you.

[ 5] The fifth thing, That God hath a hand in our divisions, and how farre.

GOd had a great stroak in the division of these ten Tribes from the two, 1. Kings 1. 23, 24. The word of the Lord came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, Returne every man to hits house, for this thing is from the Lord. In the sense of the Prophet there, we may say that our Divisions are from the Lord. We are wrangling, devising, plotting, working one against another, minding nothing but to get the day one of another: but God is working out ends above our reach, for his glory and the good of his Saints.* There must be Heresies, sayes the Apostle, I Cor. 11. 19. So there must be Divisions.

Page  243 That word Haeresis is used to signifie severall opinions,* severall wayes, Haereses Platonicae, Haereses Peripateticae. Chrysostome interprets the place of the Apostle, There must be Heresies, of such Divisions as we are treating of.

But why must there be Divisions, what does God ayme at in them?

Answ. First, the discovery of mens spirits, that they which are approved may be manifest, sayes the Apostle. By those divisions in Corinth,* wherein the rich divided from the poore, whereby the poore were condemned, the graces of the poore in bearing this were manifested. Thus Chrysostome upon the place: The Apostle sayes this, That he might comfort the poor which were able with a generous minde to bear that contempt. The melting of the metall discovers the drosse, for they divide the one from the o∣ther. These are melting times, and thereby discovering times. If Reformation had gone on without opposition, we had not seen what drossie spirits we had amongst us. Those who have kept upright without warping in these times are honourable before God, and his holy Angels and Saints.*

2. By these Divisions God exercises the graces of his servants. A little skill in a Mariner is enough to guide his Ship in faire weather: but when stormes arise, when the Seas swell and grow troublesome, then his skill is put to it. In these stormy troublesome times there had need be much wisdome, faith, love, humility, patience, selfe-deniall, meeknesse, all graces are put to it now, they had need put forth all their strength, act with all their vigour; our graces had need be stirring, full of life and quicknesse now. God prizeth the exercise of the graces of his Saints at a very high rate. He thinks it worth their suffering much trouble. It is a good evidence of grace, yea of much grace, to account the trouble of many afflictions to be recompensed by the exercise of graces. In times of division men had need stirre up all their graces, and be very watchfull over their wayes, and walke exactly, be circumspect, accurate in their lives. Those who have not their hearts with them, have their eyes upon them, prying into them, watching for their halting. When there is siding there is much observing. Lord (sayes David, Psal. 27. 11.) teach me thy way, and lead me in a plain path because of mine ene∣mies, so it is in your books; but you may reade it because of Page  244 mine observers: enemies are observers. Hence it was the policy of the Lacedaemonians alwayes to send two Embassadours toge∣ther which disagreed among themselves,* that so they might mu∣tually have an eye upon the actions of each other.

[ 3] 3. God will have these to be in just judgement to the wic∣ked, that they may be a stumbling block to them who will not receive the truth in love. There are so many opinions, such di∣visions, so many Religions, say some, that we know not what to do. If your hearts be carnall, not loving the wayes of God, not prizing spirituall things, not savouring the things of another world, these opinions, divisions, may be laid by God in judge∣ment as a stumbling block in thy way,* that thou mayest stumble upon them and break thy selfe for ever. God hath no need of thee. If thou wilt be froward and perverse against his truths, if thou hast a mind to take offence, you shall have matter enough before you to take offence at. Stumble and break your necks, as a just reward of the perversnesse of your hearts. These divisions which you rejoice in, which you can speak of as glad that you have such an objection against my people and wayes that your hearts are opposite to, shall cost you dear, even the perdition of your souls everlastingly.

It was a speech of Tertullian, I account it no danger to af∣firm, that God hath so ordered the revelation of truth in Scri∣ptures, that he might administer matter for Hereticks.

[ 4] 4. God hath a hand in these Divisions, to bring forth further light. Sparkes are beaten out by the Flints striking together. Many sparks of light, many truths are beaten out by the beatings of mens spirits one against another. If light be let into a house, there must be some trouble to beat down a window. A child thinks the house is beating downe, but the father knowes the light will be worth the cost and trouble. If you will have the cloth woven, the Woofe and Warpe must be cast crosse one to another. If you will have truths argued out, you must be content to bear with some opposition for the time. Those who are not willing to bear some trouble, to be at some cost to find out truth, are not worthy of it. Those who love truth will seek for it, for truths sake; those who love victory, yet be∣cause the truth is the strongest, will seek after truth that they may get victory, Dan. 12. 4. Many shall runne to and fro, and Page  245 knowledge shall be encreased. To some these divisions darken truths, to others they enlighten them. We may well behold mens weaknesse in these divisions, but better admire Gods strength and wisdome in ordering them to his glory, and his childrens good.

Be not discouraged ye Saints of the Lord, at these divisions, your Father hath a hand in them, he wil bring good out of them. Yea Christ, who is the Prince of peace, hath a and in them. Matth. 10. 34, 35. he sayes, Thinke not that I am come to send peace on the earth, I came to bring a sword. I am come to set a man at variance against his Father, and the Daughter against her Mother. One would think it to be the strangest speech that could be, to come from the mouth of him who is the great peace-ma∣ker. Oh blessed Saviour, must we not think that thou art come to send peace? Thou art our peace. Is not thine Embassage from thy Father, an Embassage of peace? True: peace with my Father, but not peace on the earth; not an earthly peace; do not think that I came from heaven to work this for men, that they should live at ease in plenty and pleasure, that they should have no disturbance, no trouble to the flesh: no, the event of my comming you will finde to be a sword, divisions, and that between those of the nearest relation. A child who is wicked will despise and break with his godly father, and the daughter with her godly mother. And Luke 12. 53. the carnall father and mother will have their hearts rise against their godly sonne and daughter. I am come to send fire on the earth, and what will I if it be already kindled? Let it kindle as soone as it will, I am contented, I know much good will come of it. These Scriptures are enough to take away for ever the offence of divisions.

First, Christ himselfe is the greatest offence to wicked men that ever was in the world: he is the stumbling stone and rock of offence, thousand thousands being offended at him miscarry everlastingly. Christ foreseeing how many would be offended at him, Mat. 11. 6. blesseth the man who shall not be offended. Some are offended at what they see in Christ; others apprehend whatsoever is in him to be most excellent and lovely, that which they cannot but defend and stand for to the death. He is disal∣lowed of men, rejected by the builders, a stone of stumbling to them: but to the Saints the chief corner stone, elect, precious, Page  246 1 Pet. 2. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Such different apprehensions of Christ must needs divide men.

2. Christ comes to make the greatest alteration that ever was or can be in the world, and do we not finde that troubles ac∣company alterations, and above all alterations, alterations in government, and especially such a government as gives no com∣position, yeelds no compliance with any thing else? When Christ comes he brings his fanne in his hand, he must have his floore throughly purged; he gathers his wheat into his garner, & severs the chaffe to be burnt in unquenchable fire. If he comes thus, who shall abide his comming? Mal. 3. 2. Who shall stand when he appeares? for he is like a Refiners fire, and Fullers sope, he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, he shall purifie the sons of Levi. Certainly there will be much adoe when they come to be purified. No men in the world are like to make so much stirre when they come to be purified as the Clergy will. Christ comes to cast out Devils, they will fome, fret, vex, rend and teare when they are a casting out. The Gospel likewise di∣vides. The word of the Gospell is a dividing word. Heb. 4. 11. It is quicke, powerfull, sharper then a two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soule and spirit, of the joints and marrow. It divides in a mans own heart, and divides between man and man. The light of it divides. The first division we ever read of was of Gods making, Gen. 1. 3, 4. When he said, Let there be light, and God divided the light from the darkness. The doctrine of the Gospel shews the spiritualness of Gods commands, the sinfulnesse of thoughts, of the first stirrings of sin, Mat. 5. this touches to the quick.

The heat of the Gospel divides: it is like fire when it comes, Is not my word like fire? The preaching of the Gospel with power heaps coales of fire upon mens heads, which will either melt them, or burn them. In it there is a separation of the pre∣cious from the vile.

The Ordinances of the Gospel divide, they difference men. Some they will receive, others they will not. They must bring men to a higher, to a stricter way then the sluggish, dead, vain, slight, drossie hearts of men are willing to come up unto.

The godlinesse that is in Christ Jesus divides, therefore who∣soever will live godly so, must expect to suffer persecution, 2 Tim. 3. 12.

Page  247 1. Those who hold forth the life and power of godlinesse, seem to challenge a more speciall peculiar interest in God then others which cannot be endured, 1 Joh. 5. 19. We are of God, and the whole world lyes in wickednesse.

2. Their lives condemne others, which they cannot abide, as Noah is said to condemne the world, Heb. 11. 7.

3. In godlinesse there is an excellency. They whose hearts are naught cannot look upon that hath any appearance of ex∣cellency, without a spirit of envy. If they judge men only to be conceited with it as an excellency, but for their parts they think it not to be so, then they look upon them with a spirit of indig∣nation.

4. Godlinesse makes men zealous in such things as others can see no reason why they should. They think they do incalescere in re frigida, and that the ground of their zeal is vanity, and turbulency of spirit.

5. It makes men constant: nothing can turn them out of their way. The Son yeelds not to his Father, the Servant not to his Master; this is judged to be stoutnesse and wilfulnesse, though God knowes it is far otherwise, it must needs therefore enrage others at them.

The good uses that we are to make of our Divisions.

WHy may not meat come out of the eater, and sweet out of these bitter things? The Heavens can draw up salt vapours from the Sea, and send them down againe in sweet re∣freshing showres. Why may not heavenly hearts change the very nature of these sowre brinish things, and make them sweet to themselves and others? This is the excellency of grace; it does not only preserve the soule from the evill of temptations, but it gets advantage by them, it turnes the evill into good. Lu∣ther upon the Galat. c. 5. v. 17. hath a notable expression to set forth the power of grace: By this a Christian (sayes he) comes to be a mighty workman, and a wonderfull creator, who of heavi∣nesse can make joy, of terrours comfort, of sinne righteousnesse, of death life. And why may not I adde, of division and contention, peace and union? Wherefore

First, by these Divisions men may come to see the vilenesse [ 1] and the vanity of their own hearts: what were the thoughts of Page  248 men heretofore? Oh, had we but liberty and opportunity to be instrumentall for God, we hope we should improve all to the uttermost for him, now God hath granted these to us, we abuse them, we grow wanton, we jarre one against another: we are like some Marriners, who are calme in a storme, But storme in a calme. Surely every man is vanity. The untowardnesse of the spirits of those who heretofore longed after ordinances, freed from these defilements they mourned under, when they have their desires in great measure satisfied, discovers so much evill in the hearts of men, that it justifies those whom themselves have had hard thoughts of, men who seemed carnall and naught, that you looked upon as very evill, men of bitter spirits against good men, you thought such things apparently argued them void of grace, and yet when you are got into Church-fellowship, that way of freedome, that your soules mourned after a long time, now though you be joyned in covenant one to another, yet if your brethren differ any thing from you, though they be other∣wise godly, what a bitternesse of spirit is there in some of you against them! what pride! what frowardnesse doe you mani∣fest against them! Oh what a poor creature is man! if once he gets power and liberty, what a deale of filth appears in him! we may learn by this to have charitable thoughts of some, of whom we have had hard thoughts before; we see if these men have any grace, grace may be in a mans heart lying under much corruption.

[ 2] Secondly, learne to be humbled for that dishonour which comes to God by these divisions; thou spendest thy time in vex∣ing [ 3] and fretting at, in crying out against these breaches, but when was thy heart broken with the dishonour that God hath by them?*

Thirdly, let these divisions confirme us in the maine, and settle us there more then ever; for do we not see that those many sorts of men who are divided, who oppose one another much, yet they all joyn in the things of the greatest consequence, they all witnesse against the common enemy? This, sayes Nazianzen, is the greatest argument of the truth, that it is not overcome by time, neither can enmity one against another put out that little sparke of the love of it that is in us, &c. If a mans house stands after many shakings of strong windes, he concludes the foun∣dation Page  249 is good, this satisfies him, though some tiles be sha∣ken off.

Fourthly, let us blesse God who hath carryed on the work [ 4] of Reformation thus farre, notwithstanding our divisions; we were afraid that these differences, not so much betweene the good and bad, but betweene the good and good, would have undone all, and yet behold the Lord beyond our thoughts, how infinitely beyond our deserts, hath carryed on the work hither∣to, so as it gets ground, though it be not so speedily brought to an issue as we would have it.

Fiftly, let us hence raise our hopes in this, that Satans time is [ 5] not long; his raging and foming so violently, doth evidence it to us. Surely Christ our Prince of Peace is at hand, he will tread down Satan under our feet shortly.

Sixtly, let us from these stirs without, be put upon the labou∣ring [ 6] to make and to confirm peace within. Oh consider, is the breach between man and man so grievous? how grievous is that which is between God and the Soul! I find it hard, and doubt whether it be possible to be at peace with men in this world; I find them of such froward, peevish, selfish, wilfull spirits, even many who seem to be good men otherwise, but God gives many encouragements to poor souls to come unto him; he is a God of love and mercy, he delights not to grieve the children of men, to crush under his feet the prisoners of the earth: he is willing to be reconciled to sinners: there is nothing that his heart is more set upon, then reconciliation with wretched sin∣full souls. Oh that in these sad dayes of miserable dissentions, I might be blessed with the comforts of the reconciliation of my soul with God! if this were, I hope I should be able contented∣ly to bear, and with strength to pass through all those heart∣sadning evils caused by these breaches and dissentions there are amongst us. This were a good use indeed, made of such evill things, if mens contending with you shall thus further your peace with God; what he once said of Adams sin, it was Faelix▪ peccatum, a happy sin, because it occasioned so much good in Mans Redemption: So I may say of that strife and contention there is among us, it is faelix contentio, a happy contention, that God hath turned to so much good unto you.

I have read of Robert Holgate, who was Arch-Bishop of York,Page  250 because he could not peaceably enjoy his small living in Lin∣colne-shire, in regard of the litigiousnesse of a neigbouring Knight, comming to London to right himselfe, he came into the favour of King Hen. the 8. and so got by degrees the Arch∣bishoprick of York, he thought he got well by the litigiousnesse of this Knight; but if the strifes of men shall put thee upon those providences and duties which shall be so blessed unto thee, as to further thy getting into the favour of the high God, and the enjoyment of the soule-satisfying sweetnesse there is in peace with him; what cause shalt thou have of admiring free grace, which hath brought to thee so great a good from so great an e∣vil? and if these strifes have been a meanes to move thy heart Godward for thy making thy peace with him, let them also put thee on still to further, to confirme, to settle, to main∣taine thy peace with him. VVhen the winde and storme rises, the Traveller plucks his cloak the closer about him; these dividing times are stormy times, labour to get your souls to the harbour under shelter, labour to make sure of that one thing necessary; the more strangely men looke upon you, let your hearts be stirred up to seek with the more strength the face of God, that you may never look upon it but with joy. You hear harsh notes abroad, such things as grieve you at the heart, labour so much the more to keep the bird alwayes singing in your bosome.

[ 7] 7. If your peace be made with God, blesse God for it. It is a great mercy for a man in these times of trouble, to have rest in his own spirit; while others are tossed up and down in the waves of contention, you sit quietly in the Arke of a good con∣science, blessing the Lord that ever you knew him and his wayes.

[ 8] 8. Labour to make up your want of that good and comfort you heretofore had in Christian communion, with a more close and constant communion with the Lord, who hath been pleased to speak peace unto you. Although I have not that comfort in communion with the streams, yet I may find it fully made up in the fountain.

[ 9] 9. By way of Antiperistas, let us labour to be so much the more united with the Saints, by how much we see others to be divided: Men make void thy Law, sayes David, therefore doe Page  251 I love it above gold. We use to put a price upon things that are rare: what makes Jewels to be of that worth, but for the rarity of them? Unity, hearty love, sweetness of communion among brethren, is now a very rare thing, a scarce commodi∣ty, let us prize it the more, and you who do enjoy it, bless God for it.

10. The more confused, broken, and troublesome we see [ 10] things to be, the more let our hearts be stirred up in prayer to God, putting him in mind of all those gracious promises that he hath made to his Church for peace and union: Lord is it not part of thy Covenant with thy people, that thou wilt give them one heart? hast thou not said that they shall serve thee with one shoulder? hast thou not told us that thou wilt make Jerusalem a quiet habitation, that thou wilt take away violence, that there should be no pricking bryar nor grieving thorn?

11. Those whose consciences can witnesse to them, that it [ 11] hath been their great care not to enwrap themselves in the guilt of these divisions, but they can appeale to God that they have endeavoured after peace so far as they could with a good con∣science, let them bless God for this mercy, it is a great deli∣verance to be delivered from the guilt of those divisions. Deut. 33. 8. Of Levi he said, Let thy Ʋrim and Thummim be with thy holy One, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah. Massah signifies tentati∣on, and Meribah, contention. Places and times of contention are places and times of tentation. Now if God shall prove us at those places in those times, and we be found upright, this will bring a blessing upon us. At those waters where the peo∣ple murmured, contending even with God himselfe, Aaron (though there was some weaknesse in him) yet kept himselfe from being involved in the guilt of that sinne of contending with God. And Sol-Jarchi, with other of the Hebrewes, say, that the Levites were not in that sinne neither; which they thinke that place Malachie 2. 5. refers unto, My covenant was with him of life and peace, for the feare wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. The feare of God was up∣on Levi, at that time he dared not contend as then others did, and therefore my covenant of life and peace was and is with him. We have been these three or foure yeeres at these waters Page  252 of Massah and Meribah, God hath tryed us. How happy are those who have held out, who have kept their consciences free, upon whom the fear of God hath been, and through that feare of his, have walked before him in the wayes of truth and equi∣ty? The blessing of the Covenant of Life and Peace be upon them for ever.


The Cure of our Divisions.

VVHat gracious heart is not cut asunder with griefe for those sore and fearfull evils that there are in, and come from our divisions, and is not even the second time cut a∣sunder with carefull thoughts in it selfe, what may be done to heal them? Mat. 6. 25. Christ forbids that carking care that cuts our hearts, when it is in matters concerning our selves, yea for our lives, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, take no thought for your life, so it is in your bookes: but the word signifies, Doe not take such thought as should cut your hearts asunder: so v. 28. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; why doe you divide your hearts? and ver. 31. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and ver. 34. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 again. But though this charge of Christ be doubled and doubled againe, against our carefull divi∣ding cutting thoughts about our selves, yet for the uniting the hearts of the Saints together for the good of the Church, this heart-cutting care is not onely allowed, but required, 1 Cor. 12. 25. That there should be no schisme in the body,*but that the members should have the same care one for another. The words are, That the members may care, the same thing one for another, and that with dividing, cutting care, that there might be no schisme in the body. The word that is here for care, is the same that in the former places in the 6. of Mat. is forbidden. The expressions of my thoughtfull cares about this work, is the sub∣ject at this time: When I set my self about it, my heart doth even ake within me at the apprehension of the difficulty of it. There are some diseases that are called opprobria medicorum, the disgraces of Physitians, because they know not what to say or doe to them; or if they do any thing it is to little purpose. If there be any soule-disease that is opprobrium Theologorum, the Page  253 disgrace of Divines, it is this of contention and division. How little has all that they have studied and endeavoured to do, pre∣vailed with the hearts of men? What shall we do? Shall we but joyn in this one thing, to sit down together, and mourn one over another, one for another, till we have dissolved our hearts into teares, and see if we can thus get them to run one into ano∣ther? Oh that it might be, what sorrow soever it costs us!

We read Judges 2. 12. 3, 4, 5. the Lord sent an Angell from Gilgal to the men of Israel, who told them how graciously he had dealt with them, yet they had contrary to the command of God made a league with the inhabitants of the Land, for which the Lord threatned that they should be as thorns in their sides. When the Angell spake these words to the children of Israel, the people lift up their voice and wept. And they called the name of that place Boehim, a place of tears. Their sin was too much joyning, joyning in league where God would not have them: those whom they joyned with, God told them should be thornes in their sides. Upon this they wept, and that so sore, that the place received its name from their weeping. But oh that the Lord would send his Angell, yea his Spirit to us, to con∣vince us of our evill, that we to this day have not joyned in sure league one with another, but are thorns in the sides of one ano∣ther: and that after so many mercies, such great deliverances from our bondage, from the rage of ungodly men, yea that we are so false one to another, though the Lord hath never broke covenant with us, which was the heart-breaking argument the Angell used, ver. 1. Yea the Lord hath done abundantly for us, beyond our hopes, desires, thoughts, and that after all this there should be nothing but breaches and divisions amongst us, that we should be not only thornes, but speares and swords in one anothers sides, piercing to one anothers hearts. Are we the chil∣dren of Israel? Let our hearts then break for the breaches of our hearts. Let them break, and melt, and mourn, and bleed, and resolve that nothing shall comfort them, but peace with our God, and peace one wth another.

That one Text, 1 Thes. 4. 9. were enough alone to pierce our hearts through and through. As touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you, saith the Apostle, for ye your selves are taught of God to love one another. Oh Lord, what are we in these Page  254 dayes such kinde of Christians as these were? Oh that it were so with us, that we had no need to be wrote to, to be preached to, concerning this. Does it appear by our carriages one towards another, that we are taught of God to love one another? But that God may teach us this day, attend to what shall be said to you in his name, which I shall cast into these five heads:

  • 2. Joyning Principles.
  • 2. Joyning Considerations.
  • 3. Joyning Graces.
  • 4. Joyning Practices.
  • 5. Conclude with Exhortation.

Wherein we shall endeavour to set before you the beauty and excellency there is in the heart, union, and mutuall love of Christians.

I shall not need to be long in these: For take away Dividing Principles, Dividing Distempers. Dividing Practices, and be thoroughly convinced of the evill of divisions, and one would think our hearts should of themselves run into one another. But that I may not seeme to leave our wounds open, so that aire should get into them, but endeavour the closing of them, and so the healing, I shall speak something to these five Heads:

The first joyning Principle.

In the middest of all differences of judgement, and weaknesses of the Saints, it is not impossible but that they may live in peace and love together.

IF notwithstanding the differences from Gods mind, and many weaknesses, there may be peace and love between God & his Saints: then surely notwithstanding these things, the Saints may be at love and peace among themselves. Let this be laid for a ground, and let our hearts be much possessed with it, we shall finde it very helpfull to our closing. Away with that vain con∣ceit which hath been the great disturber of Churches in all ages, if men differ in their judgement and practice in matters of re∣ligion, Page  256 though it be in things that are but the weaknesse of godly men, yet there must needs be heart-burning and division. Let all peaceable men deny this consequence, Let us not say it will be so, and that our words may be made good afterwards indeed make it so: certainly the connection of them, if there be any, is rather from the corruption of our hearts, then from the nature of the things.

I have read of two Rivers in the East, Sava and Danuby, that run along in one channell threescore miles together, without any noyse, and yet they keep themselves distinct, the colour of the waters remain distinct, all along: why should we not think it possible for us to go along close together in love and peace, though in some things our judgements and practices be appa∣rently different one from another? I will give you who are Scho∣lers a sentence to write upon your Study doores, as needfull an one in these times as any; it is this:

Opinionum varietas, & opinantium unitas non sunt 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

Variety of opinions, and unity of those that hold them, may stand together.

There hath been much ado to get us to agree: we laboured to get our opinions into one, but they will not come together. It may be in our endevours for agreement we have begun at the wrong end. Let us try what we can do at the other end: it may be we shall have better successe there. Let us labour to joyn our hearts to engage our affections one to another: if we cannot be of one mind that we may agree, let us agree that we may be of one minde.

Eusebius records a Letter that Constantine sent to Alexander and Arius,*before he apprehended the grossenesse of Arius his heresie, conceiving them to differ but in smaller things, he endevours to reconcile them: For that (sayes he) the things where∣in you differ, concerneth not any waighty substance of our Religion, there is no reason why it should breed at all any division in minde, or discord in doctrine; and this Isay not to compell you in this light question, of what sort soever it be, altogether to condescend unto the same sentence: and though you dissent amongst your selves about a matter of small importance, (for neither truly are we all in all things like minded, neither have we all the same nature and gift Page  256 engrafted in us) neverthelesse for all that the sacred unity may be soundly and inviolably retained among you,* and one consent and fellowship conversed between all.

I have read of the like peaceable disposition in divers German Divines, meeting to confer about matters of Religion in diffe∣rence, in Marpurg. The conclusion of their Conference was this: Although we see we cannot hitherto fully agree about the corporall presence of the body and bloud of Christ in the bread and wine, yet both parts ought to declare Christian love one to another, as farre as every one can with a good conscience. Oh that this were the conclusion of all our debates and conference, wherein we cannot come up fully to one anothers judgements. If we stay for peace and love till we come to the unity of the faith in all things, we must stay for it, for ought I know, till we come to another world. Ephes. 4. 11, 12. He gave some Apostles, some E∣vangelists, some Pastors and Teachers, for the worke of the Mi∣nistery, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and knowledge of the Sonne of God, unto a perfect man. The unity of the faith, and the perfect man will be both together; and when they are, there will be no more need of any ministry, there shall be no more preaching after we are all come to this unity: when that is done, our work is done for this world.

The second joyning Principle.

That shall never be got by strife, that may be had by love and peace.

VVE would all fain have our wills: now that which lies uppermost upon many mens hearts, that which is the first thing they do, if their wills be crossed, is presently to strive and contend: but this should be the last thing, after all other means are tried: this should never be made use of but in case of pure necessity. We should first think, Is there any way in the world whereby it is possible we may have our desires satisfyed with peace, let us try this, and another way, a third, a fourth, yea a hundred wayes, if they lye between us and the way of strife, before we come to meddle with that. This rule you will find of very great use to order all our businesses in Churches & Page  257 Common-wealths, of Townes, Families, yea whatsoever con∣cernes any of your persons in reference to any other. The A∣postle, 1 Cor. 12. rebuking the divisions of that Church, of which they are guilty more then any, for they had many among them of raised parts, of eminent gifts, and therefore puffed up more then others. Except God joynes eminency of grace, men of eminent gifts joyne lesse then others, whose gifts are meaner. Among those meanes he directs for union, when he speakes of love: I will shew you, sayes he, a more excel∣lent way, ver. last; 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a way of the highest excellency, beyond any expression. The way of love, of the en∣gaging hearts one to another, is the only way to bring men to unity of judgement: yea the only way when all is done, for men to have their wills. I may give you this or the other rule to bring you to think and do the same thing, but that which hath an ex∣cellency in it with an Hyperbole, is the way of love. If you could get your mindes by other wayes, certainly you cannot enjoy it with that sweetnesse and comfort as you may if you have got it this way.

Marcus Cato repented that ever he went by sea when he might have gone by land (it seems the skill of those times for Naviga∣tion was not great) but certainly there is no man living but hath cause to repent him that ever he got that by strife & contention that he might have got by love & peace.* What hinders why soft and gentle words may not prevaile, as well as hard and bitter language? Why may not a loving winning carriage do as much as severe rigid violence? If it may, thou providest ill for thine own peace and comfort, to leave this way and betake thy self to the other. Tell me, were it a signe of valour in a man to draw his sword at every Whappet that comes near him? yea at every Fly that lights upon him? Were it not folly and madnesse? Why? he may by putting forth his finger put them off from him. Thy froward cholerick spirit is ready to draw at every thing that thou likest not. This is thy folly: thou mayest with lesse adoe have what thou hast a minde to. If I would put a Feather from me, I need not strike violently at it, a soft gentle breath will do it bet∣ter. Why should a man labour and toyle till he sweats again, to take up a pin? Have none of you sometimes made a great stirre in your families about that which when the stir is a little over Page  258 you plainly see you might have had as well with a word spea∣king: and hath not your heart secretly upbraided you then? Try the next time what you can do by faire and gentle meanes. Why should we let the strength of our spirits run waste? Let this be a constant rule; never make use of severity till you have tryed what clemency will do: there is more power in that to conquer the hearts of men you would faine have yeild to you, then you are aware of.

Plutarch reports of Philip of Macedon, that when one Arca∣dion railed on him, the Courtiers would have had him dealt se∣verely with; but Philip took another course, he sends for him, and spake gently to him, and shewed great love and respect to him: upon this Arcadions heart was turned, so as there was no man in the world that Arcadion spoke more honourably of then of Philip, wheresoever he came. After a while Philip met with those who would have him to have revenged himself upon Arcadion, What say you now of Arcadion? sayes he: How doth he now behave himself? There is no man living, say they, speaks better of you now then he. Well then, sayes Philip, I am a bet∣ter Physitian then you; my physick hath done that which yours never would have done.

The like he reports of Fabius,* who was called the Romans Target: When he heard of a souldier who was valiant, yet practised with some others to go and serve the enemy, he calls him to him, and in stead of dealing with him in rigour, tels him he had not had recompense according to his desert, and gives him honourable gifts, and so gaines him to be faithfull for ever. And sayes he, As Hunters, Riders of Horses, and such as tame wilde beasts shall sooner make them leave their savage and chur∣lish nature by gentle usage and manning of them, then by beating and shackling them; so a governour of men should rather correct by patience, gentlenesse, and clemency, then by rigour, violence, and severity. None but a cruell, harsh, sordid spirited man, will say, I had rather men should fear me then love me: God prizes most what he hath from us by love.

Page  259

The third joyning Principle.

It is better to doe good, then to receive good.

ACtive good is better then passive; only God himselfe, his Angels and Saints do good; all creatures can receive good. This principle would quickly joyne us; for if this were in mens hearts, they would study to do all the good they could to one another, and so gaine upon one anothers hearts: and the more good we doe to any, the more will our hearts be inclinable to love them. The very communication of goodnesse, if it be out of a good spirit, carryes the heart along with it to the subject this good is communicated to: the more good God doth to any, the more he loves them. God hates nothing that he hath made, but loves what there is in any thing of his work: but when he communicates his grace, his Spirit, when he gives his Christ in these gifts, he gives his heart: they do not only come from love, but they make the subject further lovely in his eyes. So it is with us in our proportion: if you take a poore childe from the dung∣hill, or out of the Almes-house, and make him your heyre, you do not only do this good to him because you love dim, but you also love him more,* because you look upon him as an object of your goodnesse as one raised by you. Titus accounted that day lost, a day wherein he had not raigned, if he had done no good. This principle would make men great as well as good. It is the glory of God that he does so much good. And if men could ac∣count this greatnesse, satisfying greatnesse, the most and greatest contentions that are in the world would be layd down: for what do men contend so much for as for greatnesse?

The fourth joyning Principle.

The good of other men is my good as well as theirs.

VVE are all of one body: whatsoeuer good others have, it is the good of the body; it makes them some way able to doe that good that we would have done, or at least that we should desire to have done. Plutarch sayes that Solon made a law Page  260 whereby every man was enabled to sue whosoever wronged his neighbour, as if he had wronged himself; he gave this reason for it, There is no good that one man has in a Common-wealth, but it is another mans as well as his.

Community in the Church is more. 1 Cor. 3. 22. Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things pre∣sent, or things to come, all are yours, you are Christs, and Christ is Gods. If you be godly you have an interest in all the eminent godly men in the world, in all their gifts, their graces, in all they have or do; all that is in the world that hath any good in it, is yours, yea what is evill shall be serviceable to you for good. This is brought by the Apostle to quiet the jarrings and con∣tentions that were amongst the Corinthians. One would be for Paul, another for Apollos, sayes the Apostle, What need this contention, who you are for, and who another is for? they are all yours, all the excellency there is in them is the good of every one of you. A speciall reason why men contend so much, is, they think the good that other men have is their evill, therefore they must either get it to themselves, or darken it in those that have it. But such men acted by such a principle are poore, low-spi∣rited men. A man of a raised, enlarged spirit, opens his heart that it may be filled with that infinite good in which there is all good. Now if it be that good my soul closeth with, and is sa∣tisfied in, then whatsoever hath any goodnesse in it, be it where it will, it flowes from this Infinite Ocean of good that my soul is launched into, and some way or other flows into this againe; though thorough mens corruptions, there may be windings and turnings in the course of it, yet hither it comes at last, and therefore it is mine as really and truly as any I have in mine own hand: my soul then shall rejoyce in all the good I see my brethren have, in all they do, I will blesse God for it, and seek the furtherance of it what I can. Surely this man must needs be a man of peace and love.

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The fifth joyning Principle.

My good is more in the publique then in my selfe.

THe strength, safety, excellency of a Cabbin in a Ship con∣sists not so much in the boards of the Cabbin, or the fine painting of it, as in the strength and excellency of the ship.

It is because we have such private spirits that there are such contentions among us: were we more publique spirited, our contentions would vanish. When I read of what publique spirits many of the Heathen were, I am ashamed to look upon many Christians. Paulus Aemilius hearing of the death of his children, spake with an un aunted courage thus, That the Gods had heard his prayer, which was, that calamities should rather be∣fall his family, then the Common-wealth. The publikeness of his spirit made it very sweet and lovely: the story sayes of him, he intreated them gently and graciously whom he had subdued, set∣ting forward their causes, even as they had bin his confederates, very friends and neer kinsmen. Publique spirited men are men of sweet and peaceable spirits.

The sixth joyning Principle.

What I would have others doe to me, that will I endeavour to doe to them.

VVOuld not I have others beare with me? I then will bear with them. I would have others do offices of kindnesses to me, I will then do offices of kindnesses to them. I would have the carriages of others lovely, amiable to me, mine shall be so to them. I would have others live peaceably with me, I will do so with them. This rule of doing to others as I would be done to, is a law of justice; such justice as keeps the peace. Alexander Severus the Roman Emperour,* was much taken with this: he sayes he learned it from the Christians, if he had to deal with his common Souldiers that did wrong, he punish∣ed them: but when he had to deal with men of worth and dig∣nity, he thought it sufficient to reprove them with this sentence, Do as ye would be done by.

Chrysostome in his 13. Sermon to the people of Antioch, Page  262makes use of this principle, thus, After Christ had spoken of many blessednesses,* (sayes he) then he sayes, Those things you would have others to do to you, do you to them: as if he should say, There needs not many words, let thine own will be thy law: would you receive benefits? bestow benefits then: would you have mer∣cy? be mercifull then: would you be commended? commend others: would you be loved? then love. Be you the Judge your selfe, be you the Law-giver of your owne life. That which you hate, doe not to another. Cannot you endure reproach? doe not you reproach others. Cannot you endure to have others envy you? doe not you envy others. Cannot you endure to be deceived? do not you deceive others.

The seventh joyning Principle.

It is as great an honour to have my will by yeelding, as by over∣comming.

MAny men in their anger will say, I will be even with him. I will tell you a way how you may be above him: forgive him. By yeilding, pardoning, putting up the wrong, you shew you have power over your self, and this is a greater thing then to have power over another. Numb. 14. 17, 18. Now I beseech thee let the power of my Lord be great, pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people, ver: 19. and by this thou maist honourably prevaile with thy Brother: hereby shalt thou heap coals of fire upon his head.

I have read of two famous Philosophers falling at variance Aristippus and Aeschines,* Aristippus comes to Aeschines, Shall we not be friends? sayes he. Yes with all my heart saith Aeschines. Remember, saith Aristippus, that though I am your elder, yet I sought for peace. True, saith Aeschines, and for this I will alwayes acknowledge you the more worthy man; for I began the strife, and you the peace.

The eighth joyning Principle.

I will never meddle with any strife but that which shall have peace to the end of it.

NO war is good upon any terms, taken up upon the justest ground, except it aymes at peace. Bellum minime bellum:Page  263 that Souldier is a murtherer that sheds bloud not in reference to peace. The Swords and Ensignes of Souldiers should have this Motto upon them, Sic quaenimus pacem, Thus we seek Peace. Hercules his Club was made of the Olive, the emblem of Peace.

The ninth joyning Principle.

No man shall ever be mine enemy, that is not more his owne then mine, yea more the enemy of God then mine.

IF a man offends me meerly through weakness, this is his af∣fliction, in this he is neither an enemy to himself nor me; he mourns for it, and I will pitty him in his mourning; he is more troubled for what he hath done, then I have cause to be for what I have suffered. If he offends willingly and purposely, he is his own enemy more then mine. When Latimer was cou∣sened in buying a commodity, his friends telling him how he was cheated of his money, he fell a mourning for him that had cheated him, He hath the worst of it, sayes he. If my heart rises against a man in this, and I seek to oppose him in his way, it may very well be interpreted to be out of love to him, for my heart rises against his enemy, I oppose his enemy, even himself, but an enemy to himself, more then to me; he hath hurt me a little, but himself more. I am troubled a little for the wrong I suffer, but more for the evill he hath done. If his wayes be enmity to God,* I will oppose him, because I love God, and no farther then wherein I may manifest my love to God rather then hatred of him. When Servetus condemned Zuinglius for his harshness, he answers, In other things I will be milde, but not so in Blasphe∣mies against God. Let us keep our enmity within these bounds, and the peace of God will not be broke.

The tenth joyning Principle.

I had rather suffer the greatest evill, then doe the least.

IF when others wrong you, you care not what you do to right your self: This is your folly and madness, Such a one hurt me, and I will therefore mischief my self; he hath pricked me with a pin, and I will therefore in an anger run my knife into my side. If in all we suffer we be sure to keep from righting our Page  264 selves by any wayes of sin, there will not be much peace broke. Such an one is thine enemy, and wilt thou of one enemy make two? wilt thou also be an enemy to thy self, yea a greater ene∣my then he or any man living can be to thee? for all the men in the world cannot make thee sin, except thou wilt thy self.

The eleventh joyning Principle.

I will labour to do good to all, but provoke none.

A Father hath not so much power over his child, as to pro∣voke him. Col. 3. 21. Fathers provoke not your children to wrath. Surely if a man hath not this power over his child, he hath it not over his friend, his neighbour, much less his superi∣our: yet how many take delight in this, Such a thing I know will anger him, and he shall be sure to have it! Oh wicked heart! dost thou see that this will be a temptation to thy bro∣ther, and wilt thou lay it before him? dost thou not pray for thy self and for him, Lord lead us not into temptation? we should accout it the greatest evill to us of all the evill of affli∣ctions,* to be any occasion of sin to our brother; but what an evil should this be to us, to provoke our brother to sin? if we will needs be provoking, then let the Apostles exhortation pre∣vaile with us, Heb. 10. 24. Let us consider one another to provoke unto love, and to good works: Let us not consider one another in a way of curiosity and emulation, to envy, or find fault with one another, from whence frowardness, pride, hatred, dissenti∣ons, factions may arise, saith Hyperius upon the place, but con∣sider one another, so as we may further the good of one ano∣ther, so as to make one another quick and active in that which is good.

The twelfth joyning Principle.

Peace with all men it is good, but with God and mine owne conscience it is necessary.

BUt how will this joyn us one to another?

Answ. Very much, both as it holds forth the goodness of peace with all men, and as it carryes the heart strongly to the making and keeping peace with God and a mans own consci∣ence. This peace with God and a mans own conscience will Page  265 so sweeten the heart, that it cannot but be sweet towards every one; a man who hath satisfaction enough within, can easily bear afflictions and troubles that come without. When Saul had made great breaches between God and his soul, and in his own conscience, then he grew to be of a very froward spirit to∣wards every man, before his Apostacy he was of a very meek and quiet spirit, but this sowred his spirit, and made it grow harsh, rugged, and cruell; This is the cause of the frowardness of many men and women in their families, and with their neigh∣bours, there are secret breaches between God and their own consciences.

The thirteenth joyning Principle.

If I must needs erre, considering what our condition is here in this world, I will rather erre by too much gentlenesse and mild∣nesse, then by too much rigour and severity.

MAns nature is more propense to rigour,* then to lenity; but the account of overmuch lenity is easier then of too much rigour. Men who are of harsh, sowre spirits themselves, are ready to think that God is so too. As the Lacedaemonians because they were of a warlike disposition, they represented their Gods all armed. But God is love: there is anger and hatred in God as well as love: but God is never said to be anger or hatred, no not justice it self; but he loves that expression of himself to the children of men, God is love. If God intended that all things amongst men, either in Church or Common-wealth, should be carryed with strictnesse of justice, he would rather have gover∣ned his Church and the World by Angels, who have right ap∣prehensions of justice, who are themselves perfect, altogether free from those evils that are to be punished, then by men, whose apprehensions of justice are exceeding weak, unconstant, par∣tiall, as often false as true, and have much of that evill in them∣selves that they judge in others.

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The last joyning Principle.

Peace is never bought too deare, but by sin and basenesse.

VVE use to say, We may buy Gold too deare, and so we may Peace: but whatsoever we pay for it beside sinne and baseness, we have a good bargain. Suidas tells of the Em∣perour Trajan, that he would cut his own cloaths to binde up the wounds of his Souldiers. We should be very pitifull to soul∣diers, who are wounded to keep us whole. We should binde up their wounds, though it cost us dear: but especially our care should be to bind up those wounds that by divisions are made in Church and Common-wealth: and well may we be willing to cut our cloathes to binde them up, when the evill of them is such as either does or should cut our hearts. But though peace be a rich merchandize, yet we must not saile too far for it, not so farre as to sinne. We read 2 Kings 23. 13. Mount Olivet is called the Mount of corruption, because of the Idolatry commit∣ted upon it. Though we are to prize Mount Olivet at a very high rate, with the Olives growing upon it, yet we must take heed that we make it not a Mount of corruption. We may give peace to buy truth, but we may not give truth to buy peace. We may be bold with that which is our own to purchase peace, but not with that which is Gods: yet we must not be base in our yielding in things naturall or civill for peace sake, that is,

[ 1] First, we must not for our own private peace yield to that which is like to prove publique disadvantage and disturbance. There is a notable story of a Turkish Emperour, perceiving his Nobles & people to be offended that he was so strongly in love to his Concubine Irene, his heart vvas so taken vvith her that he grevv remiss in his regard to the Stern of the State. Nothing must be done but as Irene vvould have it: vvhatsoever resoluti∣ons there vvere of any good to the State, yet Irene must be con∣sulted vvithall before they were put in execution, & if they plea∣sed not her all was dashed, so much did he dote upon Irene. This the Nobles and State could not bear: he therefore at last so far considered the publique, as he overcame his doting affections. He brought Irene before them, and sayes, That ye may see how much I prize the content of my people, I sacrifice her to them, Page  267 and so drew his sword, and slew her with his own hands be∣fore their eyes. If according to her demerits for drawing his heart away from the good of the Common-wealth, she had bin given up to the sword of justice, it might have satisfied as well. But lest I be thought to be too literall, give me leave to allego∣rize upon this Irene. Her name is a Greek name, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, it sig∣nifies peace: we must not so dote upon our Irene, our private peace, that the publique should suffer for the sake of it. This is baseness: let her be sacrificed for publick good; this is true ge∣nerousness.

Secondly, that is baseness, when our yeilding is thorough [ 2] ignorance, cowardize, base fear, not from a principle of wis∣dome and understanding: not so much out of true love to peace, as a foolish, ignorant, sottish, sordid spirit of our own: where∣as had we had a spirit of wisdome and courage, we might have peace upon more honourable terms. Indeed many think every kinde of yeilding basness, but they are for the most part such as are not put to any great triall themselves. But when our con∣sciences tell us, that what we do is what the rule allowes us; it is not because we would avoyd trouble, but we find thorough Gods grace, our hearts in some measure prepared for suffering, if God were pleased to call us to it, in any thing wherein he may have glory, and the publick may be benefited. But because all things duly considered, we see that God in such a way shall have more glory, and our brethren generally more good: there∣fore whatsoever becomes of our particular in regard of esteem, or other wayes, we are willing to yeild, and in this we finde our hearts as much closing with God, enjoying Communion with him in all holinesse and godly fear, and in other things that go as near to us, we are able to deny our selves as much as ever: in this we may have comfort, that it is not baseness that makes us yeild, but rather the grace of God enabling us to rule over our own spirits. The peace that we thus purchase with the suffe∣ring much in our names, and the loss of many comforts does not cost us too dear.

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Joyning Considerations.

The first. The consideration of the many things wherein God hath joyned us.

GOd hath joyned us together as we are men: we are not dogs, not wolves, let us not be so one to another. Act. 7. 26. Moses speaks thus to those who strove one with another: Sirs, ye are brethren, why do yee wrong one another? The words in the Greek are, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, men yet are brethren. There is a consideration in this, that ye are men: if there were no more, yet ye should not strive one with another, but much more consi∣dering ye are brethren. If we be men, let us be humane. What is the meaning of humanity, but courteousness, gentleness, pleasantness in our carriages one towards another? But still the consideration growes higher, as we are the same Country-men, of old acquaintance, in the same imployment, of the same fami∣ly and kindred, but above all, joyned in such a blessed root, the fountain of all love and peace. Ephes. 4. 4. presents this consi∣deration most fully to us. The reason the Apostle gives why we must keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, is, because there is one body, and one spirit, ye are called in one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptisme, one God and Father of all. Here you have seven Ones together in two or three lines. It is very much that the spirit of God should joyn so close together seven Ones; sure∣ly it is to be a strong argument for us to unity.

First, one Body. The meanest member yet it is in the body. Is it comely for the body of Christ to be rent and torn? any re∣ference to Christ might perswade unity, but union with Christ as the members with the body, what heart can stand against the strength of this? What can cause one member to tear and rend another, but madness?

2. One Spirit, 1 Cor. 12. 11. that one and the self same spi∣rit: he does not only say, The same spirit; but, The self same spirit: and as if that not enough, he addes One to the self same; and that yet not enough, he sayes, That one, all this is in the Greek, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. The repeating the Article hath a great Page  269 elegancy in it. And is not this one Spirit the Spirit of love and meeknesse? What does a froward contentious spirit do in thee, who professt thy self to be a Christian? What, sayes Cyprian, does the fierceness of Wolves,* the madnesse of Dogs, the deadly poyson of Serpents, the bloudy rage of Beasts, in a Christians breast?

3. Called in one hope. Are not you heyres, joynt heyres of the same Kingdome, and do you contend as if one belonged to the kingdome of light, and the other to the kingdome of dark∣nesse?

4. One Lord. You serve the same Lord and Master. Is it for the credit of a Master, that his servants are alwayes wrangling and fighting one with another? Is it not a tedious thing in a fa∣mily that the servants can never agree? Mark how ill the Lord takes this, Mat. 24. 49. 50, 51. that evill servant who begins to smite his fellow-servants, provokes his Lord against him so as to come upon him with such severity as to cut him asunder, and to appoint his portion with the Hypocrites; 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, he will dichotomize him, divide him in two; he by his smiting his fel∣low-servants makes divisions, but his Lord will divide him. It may be he pretends that his fellow-servants do not do their du∣ty as they ought; as if he were more carefull of the honour of his Lord then others who are of a different way from him. But in the meane while he inveighs against others, smiting them with the tongue, and otherwise as he is able. He sits at full Tables, eats and drinks of the best, with such as are carnall and sensuall, but they are great men, to have their countenance is brave; this is ex∣treme sutable to a carnall heart, who yet keeps up a profession of Religion, hath some forme of godlinesse, he is afraid to lose his fleshly contentment, therefore he smites those who stand in his way: Thus divisions and troubles are made in Gods fa∣mily: The Lord the master of it will reward accordingly; he will divide such by cutting them asunder, and appointing them their portion with the Hypocrites.

5. One Faith. What though we agree not together in some things of lesser moment, yet we agree in one faith. Why should we not then keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace? The agreement in the faith one would think should swallow up all other disagreements. We should rather blesse God for keep∣ing Page  270 men found in the faith, then contend with them for lesser mistakes. When the Pharisees, Acts 23. 9. understood that Paul agreed with them in that great doctrine of the Resurrection, they presently overlooked his other differences, saying, We finde no evill in this man. Our Brethren agree with us in more Funda∣mentals then this, and yet we can finde evill in them, and aggra∣vate their evill beyond what it is, and improve it all we can a∣gainst them. This is worse then Pharisaicall.

Master Calvin in his Epistle to our Countreymen at Frank∣ford,*fled for their lives in witnesse to the truth, yet miserably jarring and contending one against another there, to the scan∣dall of all the Churches of God in those parts, begins his Epstle thus: This doth grievously torment me; it is extremely absurd that dissentions should arise amongst brethren, exiles, fled from their countrey for the same faith, and for that cause which alone in this your scattering, ought to be to you as a holy band, to keepe you fast bound together. Their contentions were about Church-worship.

6. One Baptisme. We are baptised into Christs death, and is not that to shew that we should be dead to all those things in the world that cause strife and contention among men? Our Bap∣tisme is our badge, our livery, it furthers somewhat the unity of servants that they weare all one livery.

7. One God. Though there be three persons in the Divine Nature, and every person is God, yet there is but one God; here is an union infinitely beyond all unions that any creature can be capable of; the mystery of this union is revealed to us, to make us in love with union. Our interest in this one God is such a conjuction, as nothing can be more.

Josephs brethren, Gen. 50. 17. looked upon this, as having ve∣ry great power in it to make up all breaches, to heal all old grud∣ges. After their Father was dead, their consciences misgave them for what they had done to Joseph, they were afraid old matters would break forth, and that Joseph would turn their ene∣my; now how do they seek to unite Josephs heart to them? We pray thee, say they, forgive the trespasse of the servants of the God of thy Father, and the Text sayes, Joseph wept when they spake unto him. Oh this was a heart-breaking speech to Joseph, The servants of the God of my Father; Shall my heart ever be Page  271 stranged from the servants of the God of my Father? The Lord forbid. This offence indeed was great, but their God is my God, & he was my Fathers God; this argument had more in it to draw Josephs heart to them, then if they had said, We are your bre∣thren, we came from the same loynes you did: True, that is some∣thing, but the servants of the God of thy Father is much more. Let us look upon all the godly, though they have many weak∣nesses, though they have not carryed themselves towards us as they ought, yet they are the servants, yea the children of our God, and of our fathers God; let this draw our hearts to them. If they be one with us, in their interest in one God, let them be one with us in the affections of our heart, to love them, delight in them, and rejoyce in communion with them.

One God and Father. Mal. 2. 10. Have we not all one Father? hath not one God created us? why do we deale treacherously every man against his brother? Job 31. 15. Did not he that made me in the wombe, make him? and did not one fashion us in the wombe? Is it seemly that one mans children should be alwayes conten∣ding, quarrelling and mischieving one another? do you thinke this is pleasing to your Father? It followes in that 4. of Ephes. who is above all, and through all, and in all. You have enough in your Father to satisfie your soules for ever, whatsoever you want other wayes; he is above all; he that is so glorious and blessed, infinitely above all things, hath put honour enough up∣on you, that he is your Father; why will you contend and quar∣rell about trifles? He hath absolute authority to dispose of all things as he pleaseth; let not the different administrations of his, to some in one kinde, to some in another, be matter for you to contend about. And he worketh in all.

Those gifts and graces especially that are in his children, are his workings; that some have more then others, it is from his working. You may see the workings of your Father in the hearts of your Brethren. He is in all. Men may have children in whom little or nothing of their Father appeares, but God is in all his children, notwithstanding all their weaknesses, therefore our hearts should be in them and with them. This Scripture is one of the most famous Scriptures for the union of the Saints in one, that we have in all the book of God.

You will say, If indeed we could see God in such, if Page  272 we could see grace and holinesse in them, our hearts would close with them, but we see not this.

1. Take heed thou dost not reject any from being thy brother,* whom Jesus Christ at the great day will owne for his, and God the Father will call Child.

2. Suppose thou canst not be satisfied in their godlinesse, yet the gifts of the Spirit of God that are in them, should cause some kind of closing; common gifts are of a middle nature, between nature and grace, as the spirits of a man are neither of the same nature with the soule, nor of the body, but between both, and serve to unite the soule and body together, which otherwise are of natures very different. The common gifts that men who are not yet sanctified have, may and should cause some union be∣tween the godly and them while they live in this world, so far as to be usefull one to another in what God hath given them.

The second joyning Consideration: Let us consider how farre we can agree.

VVE differ thus and thus, but what doe we agree in? doe we not agree in things enough, wherein we may all the dayes of our lives spend all the strength we have in glorifying God together? Many men are of such spirits as they love to be altogether busied about their brethrens differences; their dis∣course, their pens, and all their wayes are about these, and that not to heale them, but rather to widen them. You shall not hear them speak of, or meddle with their agreements; their strength is not bent to heighten and strengthen them: if at any time they do take notice of their agreements, it is to make advantage of them: to render their disagreements the more odious, or to strengthen themselves in what they differ from them; they desire to get in men, and to get from them, only to serve their owne turnes upon them, this is an evill spirit. No marvaile therefore though some be so loath to discover to them how near they can come to him.

Pliny tells us of Apelles,* that drawing the face of Antiochus the King who had but one eye, that he might hide this deformity, he devised to paint him turning his visage a little away, so he shew∣ed but the one side of his face: and from him, sayes Pliny, came Page  273 the invention first of concealing the defects and blemishes of the visage. But the Painters of 〈◊〉 time are quite in another way, if there be any deformity or defect on any side, they will be sure to paint that side in all the lin••ments of it, that must be set forth fully to the view of all men; yea if it may be made to look more ugly and monstrous then it is, all the skill they have shall be improved to do it. But my brethren, this ought not to be, God doth not so with us: he takes notice of the good of his children, but conceals their evill. There was but one good word in Sarahs speech to Abraham, Gen. 18. 12. she called him Lord, the speech otherwise was a speech of unbelief, yet the holy Ghost speaking afterwards of her, in reference to that speech, 1 Pet. 3. 6. conceals all the evill in it, and mentions only that reverend title she gave to her husband, commending her for it. Thus should we do; had we peceable hearts thus we would do: all the good of our brethren we would improve to the ut∣termost, and what is evill, so far as with a good conscience we might, we could conceal. When I shall see this temper in mens spirits, I shall hope there will be peace.

The third joyning Consideration: Let us consider of mens tempers, spirits, temptations, education, yeeres, gifts.

THere must be a due consideration of all these, and we must indulge something to them all. This would allay much strife: as we read Numb. 31. 23. Every thing that may abide the fire, ye shall make it goe thorough the fire, and all that abideth not the fire ye shall make goe thorough the water. We must deal with every man according to his temper. Some men are by their complexions of a more harsh and rugged temper then others. Consider what is the best way of dealing with such: in the main they are faithfull and usefull, they will joyn with you there, and spend their lives for you: if the harshness of their natures cause some excrescencies, unpleasing carriages, consider their tem∣pers, though no evill in them is to be justified, yet deal ten∣derly with them, indulge them what lawfully you may. Some mens spirits, though upright to God and you, yet they have a fervor in them that is not qualified with that wisdome, meek∣ness, Page  274 humility, as they ought, do not presently take these ad∣vantages against them, that they in their heat may perhaps give you; do not fly upon them as if those unjustifiable expressions that com from them, came from a spirit of malignity: You know the man and the manner of his communication, pass by weaknesses, accept of uprightnesse. Some mens temptation are very strong; it may be their hearts are pressed with disappointments, it may be they are pricked with the want of many comforts you have; they have family-temptations, and personall temptations that you are freed from: you do not know what you might doe if you were under the like temptations. Blesse God that you are delivered from them; but do not adde to your brethrens afflicti∣on, by taking advantages against them, but according to the rule of the Apostle, Gal. 6. 1. If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spirituall restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, consider∣ing thy selfe lest thou also be tempted. Beare ye one anothers bur∣dens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Consider their education. Some men have been brought up altogether amongst Prelaticall men, perhaps among Papists; some all their dayes have lived in wicked families, they never were acquainted with the society of the Saints, with that way of godlinesse that hath the most strictnesse and power in it. You must not deale with them for all things you see amisse in them, in the same way you would deale with such who have had godly education, who have had acquaintance with the most strict and powerfull wayes of godli∣nesse, but now manifest a spirit against them.

Consider mens yeares: old age looks for respect, and justly: especially such as have gone through the brunt and suffered much for your good: though some infirmities should break forth that are incident to old age, we must cover and passe by what we can, not forgetting that reverent respect that is due to the hoary head found in the way of godlinesse. Consider mens gifts: it may be they are not able to rise to your height, to understand what you do; thank God for your strength, but be not angry with your brother because he is weaker. This was one of the ar∣guments for peace that Constantine in that forementioned Let∣ter of his to Alexander and Arius, used, we are not in all things like minded, neither have we all the same nature and gift engraf∣ted in us.

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The fourth joyning Consideration.

What we get by contention will never quit cost.

A Merchant thinks it an ill venture, if when he casts up his ac∣counts he finds the charge of his voyage rises to more then his incomes. If thou hast so much command of thy spirit, if thou canst so farre overcome thy passions as to get a time in coole bloud to cast up thy accounts truly, what good thou hast done, or what thou hast got by such and such contentions; and on the other side cast up what the hurt thou hast done, what sin hath been committed, what evill hath got into thy spirit, I fear you will have little cause to boast of,* or rejoyce in your gains. To be freed from that expence that comes in by strife, is not a little gain, says Ambrose. In strife you will finde there is a very great ex∣pence of time, of gifts, and parts. Many men in regard of the good gifts God hath given them, might have proved shining Lights in the Church, but by reason of their contentious spirits, they prove no other then smoaking firebrands. It may be by all the stirre you keep you shall never get your minde; if you do, it will not quit cost; the charge you have been at for it, comes to much more then it is worth. God deliver me from having my minde at such a dear rate.

The fifth joyning Consideration.

The strongest hath need of the weakest.

LEt not the hand say, it hath no need of the foot; nor the eye, it hath no need of the hand; God hath so tempred the bo∣dy, that every member hath need of every member.

It was a sweet spirit in Peter, that great Apostle, writing to the scattered Christians, he begins his Epistle thus: Simon Pe∣ter a servant and an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have ob∣tained like precious faith with us. Little nayles may be usefull, where great wedges can do no good. Little chips may help to set great logs on fire.

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The sixth.

Consider when any thing falls out that occasions strife, it may be this is but for a triall, this is a temptation.

WHen men provoke us we are ready to flye upon them, looking no further then the men with whom we are displeased. But if you look a little further, perhaps you may see the Devill is on the other side of the hedge, and hath been the chief agent in this business. Augustine presseth this by a most excellent similitude. When a Fowler, saith he, hath set his net to catch Birds, he sets it at a distance from the hedge, and when he has done he takes stones and throwes at the hedge, upon this the Birds flye out, and flutter about. The Fowler does not intend any hurt to the hedge, neither does he think to hit any Birds with his stones, but that which is in his eye is the net on the o∣ther side of the hedge, he hopes to drive the Birds in there. So sayes he, the Devill prepares his net to catch men in, he raises up contentions, and causes much trouble to be in Churches, and among brethren, you think all the evill is in the trouble of your present contentions. Oh no: the Devill is behinde, he intends to bring some of you into some great sin by these; he hath set his net for you, when you are troubled and vexed by such con∣tentions, the Devill sees you fit for a temptation, now I hope I shall get him to do such and such things, which otherwise I could never have got him to. Oh that we had hearts when we find contentions stirring to consider, But is there not a tempta∣tion in them?

The seventh.

Consider how the heart of God is set upon making peace with us, and what it cost him.

GOd was in Christ reconciling the world to himself: this work hath taken up the thoughts, councels, heart of God from all eternity above any thing that ever he did: this is the chief master-piece of all the works of God. There is more of the glory of God in this, then in all that God hath done. This is and shall be the object of the admiration of Angels and Saints, Page  277 the matter of their praises to all eternity. The heart of God was so in this, that he was resolved to have it whatsoever it cost him; it cost the dearest that ever any thing in this world did; yea the price of it was more then ten thousand worlds are worth: it was no lesse then the bloud of the Sonne of God, of him who is the second person in Trinity, God blessed for evermore. Col. 1. 14. In whom we have redemption through his bloud who is the image of the invisible God, the first borne of every creature: by him were all things created, he is before all things: by him all things consist, in him all fulnesse dwels: and having made peace through the bloud of his Crosse, ver. 20. What God hath done for peace with us, cals aloud to us to prize peace one with another. It is the Apostles argument, 1 Joh. 3. 16. He laid down his life for us, we ought to lay downe our lives for the brethren. It cost his life to make our peace with God. We should be willing to do any thing we are able, even to the hazard of our lives, to make peace among the Saints. Christ laid down his life even for this peace also. Ephes. 2. 14. For he is our peace who hath made both one, and hath broke downe the middle wall of partition betweene us, having abolished in his flesh the enmity, to make in himselfe of twaine one new man, so making peace, and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the Crosse. Christ reconciles both unto God: but how? it is in one body. Lay this Consideration warm at your hearts, and it will comfort your hearts, and so preserve and encrease peaceable dispositions in you towards one another.

The eighth.

Consider how unworthy we were when Jesus Christ received us into union with himselfe.

WHat uncomely, what loathsome creatures we were! yet Christ took us into his bosome, into his heart, and re∣solved that never any thing should seperate us from him againe. But that those embracements of his should be everlasting, and yet shall every trifle take us off from one anothers hearts? shall every jealous spusitious conceit, every little difference, be e∣nough to seperate us and that almost irreconcileably? Have we the spirit of Christ in us? is the same minde in us that was in Christ Jesus?

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The ninth.

Consider that we are called to Peace.

GOD hath called us to peace, 1 Cor. 7. 15. That case upon which the Apostle mentions our calling to peace is as diffi∣cult a case to preserve peace in, as any can fall out in ones life. It was the case of man and wife unequally yoaked, one is a Be∣leever, the other an Infidell, yet being man and wife the Apostle determines that the Beleever must be content to live with the unbeleever, as it becomes a wife or a husband; except he or she of themselves will depart, but they should give them no occasi∣on of departing, but rather by their holy humble conversation seek to convert them: this no question was accounted a hard task, but it must be, sayes the Apostle, and upon this he grounds it, for God hath called us to peace. There is another case almost as difficult as this, where the patience and quietness of spirit is very much tryed, and that is when a servant meets with a harsh, rugged, cruell master, that abuses him very injuriously; if any thing would put ones spirit into a rage, one would thinke this would do it. No, saith the Apostle, such must be the command you must have over your spirits, as you must patiently bear this: and he grounds it upon this, For hereunto were ye called, 1 Pet. 2. 21, 22. But though husbands and wives should live at peace, though they suffer one from another: though servants should put up wrongs from their masters, yet it followes not that the like patience should be required in us, when we are wronged by our equals, by those to whom we have no such band of rela∣tion to tye us. Yes, this argument of calling is strong in this case also: 1 Pet. 3. 8, 9. Love as brethren, be courteous, not ren∣dring evill for evill, or railing for railing, but contrariwise, bles∣sing, knowing that ye are thereunto called.

The tenth.

Consider the presence of God and of Christ.

OUr God, our Father, our Master, our Saviour, stands by looking on us. It is a most excellent passage that I finde in an Epistle of Luther to the Ministers of Norimberg. There were great divisions amongst them: he writes to them that he might pacifie their spirits one towards another. Suppose (sayes Page  279 he) you saw Jesus Christ standing before you,* and by his very eyes speaking thus unto your hearts, What do you, O my dear children, whom I have redeemed with my blood, whom I have begotten a∣gaine by my Word, to that end that you might love one another? Know that this is the note of my Disciples. Leave this businesse, ye wholly cast it upon me, Ile look to it, there is no danger that the Church should suffer by this, though it should be stilled, yea though it should dye, but there is a great deale of danger if you dissent a∣mongst your selves, if you bite one another: Do not thus sadden my spirit, do not thus spoile the holy Angels of their joy in Heaven; am not I more to you, then all matters that are between you? then all your affections? then all your offences? What? can any words of a brother, can any unjust trouble penetrate your hearts, stick so fast in you as my wounds, as my bloud, as all that I am to you, your Saviour Jesus Christ? Oh that we had such reall appre∣hensions of Christ looking upon us, speaking to us!

The eleventh.

Consider what account we can give to Jesus Christ of all our Divisions.

WHen Christ shall come, will you stand before him with scratched faces, with black and blew eyes? 1 Thes. 3. 12, 13. The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one towards another, and towards all men: To what end? To the end, saith the Apostle, he may establish your hearts un∣blameable in holinesse before God, even our Father, at the com∣ming of our Lord Iesus Christ with all his Saints. It will be a sad thing to be found in our divisions, at the comming of Je∣sus Christ, Mat. 24. 50. the comming of Christ is mentioned as a terror to those who shall but begin to smite their fellow-ser∣vants. We may wrangle & stand out one against another in our contentions now; but it will not be so easie to answer Jesus Page  280 Christ, as it is to answer one to another. In the Name of Jesus Christ I now speak unto you, yea as from him charge you, let no reason move you to contend with, dissent or seperate from your brethren, but that which you are perswaded in your conscience, and that after due and serious examination will hold out before, will be approved of, Jesus Christ at his comming.

The twelfth.

Let every man consider his owne weaknesses.

YOu are ready to take offence from others, within a while you are as like to be offensive to others. There will be as much need they should beare with you, as now there is you should beare with them. The Common Law of those who intend to live at peace one with another, is, Veniam, petimus, damusque, We desire pardon, and we doe pardon.

The thirteenth.

Let us consider our mortality.

IT is but a little time we have to live; shall the greater part of it, nay why should any part of it be ravel'd out with conten∣tions and quarrels? I have read of Pompey, that upon a time passing over divers hils, where there lived many people in caves, but their order was that the man lived in one cave and the wife in another; he asking the reason, they said, In those parts they live not long, therefore they desired that the little time they did live, they might have peace and quiet, which they had found by experience they could not have, if man and wife lived constant∣ly together.* Though the means they used for their quiet was sordid, yet the good use they made of the shortnesse of their lives was commendable. Virgil sayes, if swarms of Bees meet in the ayre, they will sometimes fight as it were in a set battell with great violence; but if you cast but a little dust upon them, they will all be presently quiet. Sprinkle upon your hearts the medi∣tations of death, that within a while this flesh of yours will be turned to dust, this will quiet you.

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The fourteenth.

Consider the life of heaven.

THere is and will be perfect agreement there. We are here as Bees, flying up and down from flower to flower all day, but at night they come all into the same Hive; That is a place where Luther and Zuinglius will well agree. Shall not we whom God from all eternity hath ordained to live co-heires in heaven, to joyn together in praises there, agree together here on earth?


Joyning graces.

1. Wisdome.

THe deepest Seas are the most calme, so men of the deepest judgements are most quiet. A man of understanding is of an excellent spirit, Prov. 17. 27. or thus, is of a coole spirit, for so the word signifies; his spirit is not heat with passion, there is a coole dew of examination and deliberation upon his spirit, he weighs the circumstances, consequences, and issues of things; he orders and disposes of things so,* as jarres, contradictions and oppositions are prevented. The wisdome that is from above is pure, peaceable, gentle, and easie to be entreated, Jam. 3. 17. Rea∣son and Wisdome have a majesty in them, and will force reve∣rence. Let Passion reverence the presence of Reason, sayes Basil, as children doing things unseemly are afraid of the presence of men of worth.

2. Faith.

1. THis unites us to Christ and God, and in them to one another.

2. Faith commits all causes, all feares, injures to God.

3. Faith layes hold upon, and improves those gracious promi∣ses that God hath made to his Churches for union. Faith sues out the Bond.

4. Faith is able to descry the issue of troubles and afflictions; Though Sense sayes, It will not be, Reason, It cannot be, yet Faith gets above, and sayes, It shall be, I descry land: and thus quiets all in the soule; all being quiet there, the turbulent moti∣ons that are in our spirits one towards another are soon quieted.

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3. Humility.

COloss. 3. 12. Put on as the elect of God, bowels of mercies, kindnesse, humblenesse of minde. Ephes. 4. 2. With all lowli∣nosse and meeknesse, and long-suffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavouring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Phil. 2. 3. Let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory, but in lowlinesse of minde let each esteeme others better then him∣selfe. We may say of Humility, as Tertullus, Acts 24▪ said of Felix, By thee we enjoy great quietnesse. An humble heart looks upon every truth of God as infinitely above it selfe, therefore it is willing to receive it from any; a child may lead it, Esay 11. 6. One Baldassar, a German Divine, writing to Oecolampadius, hath this notable expression:* Let the Word of the Lord come, let it come, and we will put under six hundred necks if we had them. Such a disposition as this would make much for peace. Esay 32. 18, 19. we have a promise, that the people of God should dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in quiet resting places, and the City shall be low, in a low place. When the heart lyes lowest, it is quietest.

4. Self-denyall.

THe joynts in the body cannot joyne, but one part must be hollow, and give way to the other. Condescention of one to another is a principall thing in friendship.*Philip. 2. the ex∣ample of Christ emptying himselfe, and making himselfe to be of no reputation, is set before us as an argument for our union, that therefore we should doe nothing through strife, be like min∣ded, having the same love, and be of one accord, and one minde. It is indifferent to a heart emptyed of Selfe, whether it conquers, or be conquered, so Truth may triumph. In other conflicts the Conquerour hath the honour, and the conquered is disgraced; but in the conflicts for truth, both conquered and conquerour are honourable; the mercy is the greater to him that is conquer∣ed; but he must have a self-denying heart to make him think so.

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5. Patience.

THe Olive, the Embleme of Peace, will continue greene, though overflowne by the waters for a long time toge∣ther. After Noah had been so long in the Ark, the Dove brought an Olive leafe in her mouth to him. It may be an Emblem of Pa∣tience as well as Peace. Patience and Peaceableness are neere akin. Ephes. 4. 2, 3. Long-suffering is amongst the graces, where the unity of the spirit is to be kept in the bond of peace.

There is a notable story I finde in the lives of the German Divines:* One Vitus Theodorus a Divine, sends to advise with Melancthon what he should do when Osiander preached against him; Melancthon writes to him, and beseeches him for the love of God, yea charges him that he should not answer Osian∣der again, but that he should hold his peace, and behave him∣self as if he heard nothing. Vitus Theodorus writes back again, This was very hard,* yet he would obey. Let not men be too hasty to oppose oppositions, but let them go on patiently in a con∣stant way, resolving to bear what they meet with, and God at length will make their righteousness break forth as the light. Confute evill reports by thy life. He that knowes not to beare ca∣lumnies, reproaches, injuries, he knowes not how to live, sayes Chytraeus, another German Divine.

6. Joy in the holy Ghost.

ROm. 14. 17. The Kingdome of heaven is righteousness, peace, joy in the holy Ghost. This grace in the heart puts a grace upon all a mans conversation; it makes it lovely and amiable. The beames of the Sunne shining upon the fire will put it out; The beams of this spirituall joy will put out the fire of our pas∣sions.

7. Meeknesse, Gentlenesse.

MIlk quenches wild-fire,*Oyle (sayes Luther) quenches Lime, which water sets on fire. Opposition will heat, will fire men, when meeknesse and gentlenesse will still and quench all. Cicero sayes, Sweetnesse of speech and rarriage is Page  284 that which seasons friendship; severity in every thing and sad∣nesse must not be among friends in their converse; such a kinde of carriage may have a seeming gravity, but friendship must have a remisness, it must be more free and sweet, disposed to all mildness and easiness. Ephes. 4. 2, 3. Meekness comes in as a speciall grace for peace and unity, so Col. 3. 12.

8. Love.

THat is the speciall uniting grace; Faith indeed hath the preheminence in our union with Christ our head, but Love is the grace that unites the members. 1 Cor. 13. the Apo∣stle shews many of the fruits of this grace, all tending to union and peace; It suffers long, it envies not, it is not puffed up, it be∣haves not it selfe unseemly, it seeketh not her owne, it is not easily provoked, thinketh no evill, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Bearing all things and enduring all things seem to be the same. Therefore some would have it,* it covereth all things, for so the word also signifies; but there is a greater elegancy in it, in the Translation, beareth all things, it is like the crosse maine beam in a house, suppor∣ting the whole building: and were it not for some who have the love of God and his truth, and the good of the publiqu, en∣abling them to undergo what they do, more then any encou∣ragement from men, all things in Church and State would be ready to fall into confusion, to be nothing but a heap of rubbish; but this love enables to beare all things. But if they have no en∣couragement, but see that though they hazard themselves never so much, be of never so great use, do the greatest services that can be expected from men, yet when mens turns are served, they are little regarded, but envyed and narrowly watched, to spy out any thing that may have some shew of excepting against them, and left to shift for themselves as well as they can, when they might justly expect a great reward of their services, yet are disappointed, their hearts are grieved. But yet because they are acted by a principle of love to God, his cause, the publique, they therefore still hold out, go on in their way, labour to be as in∣strumentall as they can for good, commit themselves and all their endeavours to God, expecting encouragement from him, and so they endure all things: such men are worth their weight Page  285 in gold: here is a heart that hath much of the spirit of God in it, God is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him. No marvell though these men act so swiftly in their way; no marvell though their motion in publick service be so speedy, for their Charet is like that Charet of Salomons, Cant. 3. 10. The middle thereof is paved with love, and this is for the daugh∣ters of Jerusalem.* Now the love of God be for ever with these his servants, the blessing of the Almighty and all his Saints, be with them, upon them, in them and theirs for ever.

Where men are acted by love they may do any thing without offence. If you be silent and be silent out of love; if you cry out, and you do it out of love; if you spare, and it be out of love; if you correct, and you correct from love; let all be for amendment for good, all from the root of love; love, and do what you will. Thus Augustine in his 7. Tractate upon John.

These with other uniting graces that might be mentioned, are the graces that God expects should be in a special manner acted in these times; and this is in a holy manner 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to serve the time, as some Copies have it, Rom. 12. 11. This is the most sutable work for the times wherein we live. What is more sea∣sonable for divided times then uniting graces?* And that union that comes from the acting of these graces, is a spirituall, holy, truly Christian union, a raised union to a farre higher pitch then any naturall excellencies can raise unto. It is an excellent saying of Clemens Alexandrinus, If the spirituall man be in us, our hu∣manity is fraternity. What then is our fraternity? it is raised to that which hath no name to expresse it: the union of the Saints in heaven is beyond the unity of fraternity; this which is of grace is of the same nature.


Joyning Practices.

The first the practice of the tongue.

Gentle Language.

A Soft answer turneth away wrath, Prov. 15. 1. In your dis∣putes let your arguments be as hard as you will, but let your words be soft. Soft words & hard arguments make a good Page  286 dispute. Gentle language gains much upon the hearts of men, 1 Chron. 28. 2. Heare me my brethren, and my people, sayes Da∣vid. This was better and tended more to union between King and people, then the rugged churlish answer of Rehoboam, My Father made your yoke heavy, and I will adde to your yoake. But what came on it? Ten tribes were rent from him. As good a man as he could say, Heare me my brethren and my people. Good words are as cheap as bad. Gentle courteous language is as easie as rough and bitter.*Napthali is said to give goodly words, sayings of goodlinesse or fairenesse; so the Hebrew hath it, that is, faire, pleasing words: this Tribe were faire spoken men. Now com∣pare this with Deut. 33. 23. there Naphtali is said to be satisfi∣ed with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord. Faire, cour∣teous language hath an acceptation among men, and the bles∣sing of God is with it.

The second joyning Practice.

Let us humble our selves for our divisions.

THat is a rule, Whatsoever sinne you have been guilty of, though you have for the time life it, yet if you have not been humbled for it, a hundred to one but you fall into it againe. Yes, say some, it is fit we should humble our selves for our divi∣sions, we will have dayes of fasts, that we may do it. But take this note with you, In your dayes of fast, or at other times when you would thus humble your selves, let it be principally for your owne guiltinesse herein. Many in their humiliations make great complaints of others, as the cause of divisions, whom it may be God will own, and acquit; take heed of being too forward in medling with others in your fasts, lest your fasts prove like those, Isay 58. 4. Ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist.

The third joyning Practice.

An Amnestia.

WHere we see there hath been mistakes and differences thorough humane frailty, and a willingnesse to be o∣therwise so far as God gives light, let all former unkindnesses be forgotten, so as never to rip up old things to charge them one upon another: let there he a line of forgetfulnesse drawn over Page  287 them; let them be buried in oblivion. This was the Athenians Amnestia; a Law that was made by Thrasybulus, with the con∣sent of the people; that former injuries should be forgotten. It was made upon this occasion. After Lysander had conquered the Athenians, he set thirty Governours over them which ty∣rannized exceedingly. Thrasybulus, with many others, were banished; but after a while, Thrasybulus gathering together his banished Countreymen, he got up an Army, and by it deli∣vered the Athenians from the yoke of these thirty Tyrants: now because when the banished men came home o their former pos∣sessions, Thrasybulus feared there would be exceeding heart∣burning amongst the Athenians, that those who had been ba∣nished would be revenged upon those whom they judged the causes of it, and the other would be enraged against them: there∣fore Thrasibulus got the people to joyne with him in this Law, which they called Amnestia, that all former wrongs should be forgotten, & that they should live lovingly and peaceably hence∣forth one with another, as if such breaches had never been a∣mong them. Whensoever God shall deliver these Kingdoms from bondage, and settle things amongst us, the addition of such a Law which we may call our English. Amnestia will be ve∣ry necessary. Otherwise oh the abundance of the fire of malice that will remaine raked up under the ashes, ready upon any oc∣casion to burst out! one will look upon the other with eyes full of revenge, with scorn, hatred, and disdain; one will charge the other as the cause of all our miseries, and curse him; the other will charge him, and curse him as deeply. Every time men think what they have suffered, their hearts will be enraged. Such now is that extreme bitter exasperation, and deadly rage of mens hearts one against another, that whensoever peace shall be concluded, if it be not made exceeding sure, our pacification is like to be the foundation of far greater evills to us then yet have befalne us. If this Amnestia be not strengthned with what is in the wisdome, power of man to do, and the blessing of the almighty also with it, we are an undone people.

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The fourth joyning Practice.

Never contend but be sure you understand one another what it is you contend for.

I Have read of a quarrell there was between the Eastern and Westerne Churches; the Eastern Churches said there were three subsistences in the Trinity, but not three persons; the We∣stern said there were three Persons, but not three subsistences. Athanasius comes and reconciles them both. It is true, the con∣tentions among us are more then verball, yet for any thing a great part of the Kindome knowes (even of those whose spirits are bitter enough) they may be no other then meerly verball. How many ignorant people, women, yong ones, understand not where the difference lyes between Presbyterians and those whom they call Independents; and yet they can with much bit∣ternesse cry out against the one or the other. Perhaps you have some Ministers, or others, come to your Table, they tell you a tale of such and such, your heart is hot presently, but do you understand the matter? You begin to make a stirre, but can you give account of it? Be silent, forbeare, take heed what you do; meddle not in way of strife, till you understand where the con∣troversie lyes, and that from both parties.

The fifth joyning Practice.

Be ingenious; 1. do not lye at the catch to take advantages, 2. make the best interpretation of things you can.

IF God should catch advantages against us, what would be∣come of us? This is most unseemly, when men are seeking to finde out truth, if then they shall piddle about words, catch at phrases; get hold of expressions; and seek to make their advan∣tages out of them; and in this shall be the greatest strength of their answer, though this may have a specious shew before men, who are willing to receive any thing which makes against what they would have crushed, yet this will not abide before the throne of Christ. We reade Matth. 4. Christ had a great dispute with the Devill, in which he had him at great advantage in his quotation of a Scripture, ver. 6. He shall give his Angells charge concerning thee, and in their hands they shall beare thee up, lest at Page  289 any time thou dash thy foot against a stoue. This was quoted out of the 91. Psal. ver. 11. there it is, He shall give his Angels charge over thee to keepe thee in all thy wayes. Yet Christ did not catch this advantage, he did not so much as upbraid him for leaving out that passage, which he might justly have done, but he an∣swers to the thing. Yea Christ might have taken a further ad∣vantage against the Devill, for the words following in the Psalm are a prophesie of Christ destroying the power of the Devill, Thou shalt tread upon the Lyon and Adder, the young Lyon and the Dragon shalt thou trample under thy feet. Christ did not▪ take the advantage of this neither, and upbraid him with it, he had e∣nough against him in the thing it selfe he brought. It is a signe that men have lesse advantage in the matter, when they seek so much to catch at all the advantages they can in the manner of the expressions of those whom they oppose.

2. Make the best interpretation of things you can. 1 Cor. 13. 5. Love thinkes no evill. It may be if you meet with a man in the streets, if he stayes not to talk with you, if he takes not speciall notice of you, you presently think it is his pride, his sleighting, disregarding you, this is the worst interpretation that can be. Why? is it not possible that it may be thorough multitude of businesse in his head that you know not of? May it not be that his eyes and thoughts were another way? he did not take notice of your passing by him; is it not thus often with your selfe in respect of others? Againe, perhaps such a man you find not in his behaviour towards you when you are with him, look∣ing so smilingly upon you, carrying himselfe in that familiar affable way as you expected;* you presently think and say, Sure∣ly it is his pride and surlinesse, whereas it may be it is because his head is fuller then yours, which may afterwards be for your good, if you would be but patient a while; it may be it is from some trouble of his spirit at that time; it may be it is from the temper of his body, his constitution, or some weaknesse in it at that time; if such a faire interpretation may be made, why should not an ingenuous candid spirit make it? This very exception I find was taken against Basilius Magnus, and Nazianzen in one of his Orations, in which he highly commends Basil, answers it, and justifies him; It is hard to keep unity, love and peace with men who are of exceptious carping dispositions; if God Page  290 were strict to mark what we doe amisse, what would become of us? God is strict to mark what good there is in his Saints; if there be any little good in the midst of much imperfection, Gods way is to passe by the imperfection, and take notice of the good; but our way is often, if there be a little bad, though but through a very pardonable mistake, in the midst of much good, to passe by all the good, and to seize upon the mistake, to make it the seed of contention, to brood over it, and so beget the brats of contention from it. Certainly this ought not thus to be.

The sixt joyning Practice: So farre as Reason and Conscience will give way, yeeld to those whom you contend withall.

THat standing at a distance with those that dissent from us, even to the utmost, is the way of many; but certainly it is a false way, God is not in it. It may be some, yea many will judge this yeelding to be a faire, handsome turning about to the other side; take heed of such bold censures: Is every diffe∣rence from that rigid, stout spirit of thine, a warping from the truth, a sinfull temporizing for private ends? The Lord judge between you and his servants. Some men who have been of yeelding spirits in things that God would have them, have stood out undauntedly when God hath called them to witnesse to his truth, when those who have been stout and harsh in their owne wayes have basely betrayed it, when they have beene tryed with greater sufferings. Ambrose was a man of a sweet and moderate spirit, witnesse amongst other things that no∣table saying of his,*If that end of vertues be the greatest that looks at publique good, Moderation is of all the most beautifull. Ay, but I warrant you, Ambrose was a man who saw which way the times went, he was loth to hazard himself in standing out against men who had power in their hands, this temper of his made him thus plead for moderation. No, Ambrose was a man of an invincible spirit in the wayes of God; In all Ecclesiasticall Sto∣ry we read not of a braver spirit then his contesting with men of power in the cause of Christ. For when Theodosius the Em∣perour had been the cause of a great slaughter in Thessalonica, though provoked to it by a sedition there, the Emperour a while after comming to Milan, where Ambroses charge was, after the Page  291 usuall manner he came to the Church, Ambrose meets him, and forbids him entrance,* reproving him before all the people, Doe you not know, oh Emperour, (sayes he) the barbarousnesse of that vile fact of yours? or doe you not remember we have another Em∣perour above you? what bold impiety is thi? doe you not feare to bring those feet of yours, polluted with the blood of innocents, into this holy place? or to stretch forth those hands of yours, wet, yea dropping with blood, to take the most holy body of the Lord? or to put that mouth of yours, which (forgetting not onely the clemen∣cy which belongs to an Emperour, but the justice) gave out the sentence for the killing so many innocent men,) to the precious blood of the Lord? Away therefore, will you adde impiety to your sinne? doe not think much to come under that discipline which the Lord commands. Upon this the Emperour goes back to his Palace with sighing and teares, and spent eight moneths in mourning and lamentation, and yet after this he was not re∣ceived by Ambrose, till againe being sharply reprehended, he cast himselfe downe in the porch, upon the pavement, bewail∣ing his sinne, and rising up he was about to sit in the Chancel where the Emperours seat was, he was required to goe forth into the place of penitents. With the like, yea more boldnesse he dealt with Ruffinus, a great Courtier, the Master of the Em∣perours Horse. Here behold a man of a moderate, quiet spirit, yeeldable in what he could, yet when he conceived himselfe in∣teressed in the Cause of Christ, his courage raises him above the feares or favours of men.

The seventh joyning practice: If you will needs be striving, strive who shall doe one another most good, who shall engage one another in the most and greatest offices of love.

THis is a good combate; such striving as this is, God and his blessed Angels looke upon, and take much delight in.

I find a notable story in the life of Alexander the Great, which may put on and encourage Christians in such a combat as this: There was a great King in India, his name was Taxiles, who on a time came to salute Alexander,*and said unto him, What should we need to fight and make Wars one with another, if thou commest not to take away our water and our necessary commodity to live by, Page  292 for which things men of judgement must needs fight? as for other goods, if I be richer then thee, I am ready to give thee of mine; and if I have lesse, I will not think scorn to thank thee, if thou wilt give me some of thine. Alexander being pleased to hear him speak thus wisely, embraced him, and said unto him, Thinkest thou that this meeting of ours can be without fight, for all these goodly fair words? No, no, thou hast won nothing by them, for I will fight and contend with thee in honesty and curtesie, because thou shalt not exceed me in bounty and liberality. So Alexander took divers gifts of him, but gave more to him.

Oh that our contentions were turned into such contentions as these are! Let us rejoyce in any opportunity of doing any office of love to those we differ from, yea to those who have wronged us. It was wont to be said of Arch-Bishop Cranmer, If you would be sure to have Cranmer doe you a good turne, you must doe him some ill one; for though he loved to doe good to all, yet especially he would watch for opportunities to doe good to such as had wronged him. Had we but a few leading men of such spirits among us, how great a blessing of peace might we enjoy!

The eighth joyning Practice.

Let every man be diligent in that work that God calls him to.

STudy to be quiet, and to doe your owne businesse, and to worke with your owne hands, as we commanded you, 1 Thess. 4. 11. It is not an arbitrary thing, the command of God lyes upon it.

I am verily perswaded that many of our divisions in opi∣nion and otherwise, our hard thoughts one of another, are raised and fomented by such as want imployment. Hence they go about from place to place, arguing, disputing, jangling about things they understand not; and yet think themselves to have a deeper insight then ordinary. I would be loath to adde to the affliction of those, who by the rage of the enemy have been put out of their imployments, and are come for shelter a∣mongst us; God forbid that I should willingly grieve them, their case is to be pittied, we are to succour, comfort, and helpe them what we can; but yet I desire them withall to take heed of a temptation they may be under, and think not of it, in this their want of imployment, now they are here they meet with variety of company, with all sorts of people, and having too Page  293 much time to spare, the Devill may soon and unawares to them prevaile to cause an itching desire in them; after this opinion and the other, this and the other way, which having taken their hearts, they carry up and down what they heare, and what ap∣prehensions they have of things, and persons, pleading and ar∣guing for that they have but sleight and sudden apprehensions of, and by arguing, the thing gets down into their spirits, before it be thoroughly examined and understood, and being got down there, then it must needs be maintained, and so a spirit of con∣tention rises in them, and seeds of contention are sowne among others.* It may be some of your callings are low and mean, and that may possibly be your discouragement: but let it not be so, for there may be as much obedience to God in thy faithfulness in that mean calling of thine as in the highest and most honou∣rable imployment upon earth, yea thy reward may be as great, for God looks at faithfulnesse in the work, not the greatnesse of the work. Let every man know, sayes Luther, that his work in any godly kind of life is a divine worke, because it is the worke of a divine call, having Gods command for it.

The ninth.

In all strivings with men have a care that due respect to their persons be kept as much as may be.

IT is very observable, when God in the manifestation of his displeasure against the Devill, in the Serpent, cursed him, Then he sayes cursed be thou; but when he would manifest it against Simeon and Levi, it is not, Cursed be ye, or Cursed be they; but Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce, and their rage, for it was cruell. You may be bitter against mens sinne, so be it you show due respect to their persons; by denying that respect you might and ought to give to mens persons, you deprive your self of that liberty which otherwise you might take in opposing their sinne, which is the thing you say you ayme only at.

The tenth.

Labour to get good by the wrongs that are done us.

IF we found God blessing them to us for good, our hearts will be very moderate towards those that have done them. The over-ruling providence of God turning the wrong that JosephsPage  294 brethren had done him to so much good, took off Iosephs spirit from practising any evill against them; but when this good shall come to us by the exercise of our own graces, it will be more prevalent to quiet and moderate our spirits. Philip of Macedon thanked some great men of Athens who had brought up ill re∣ports of him, because both in speech and life he was the better labouring by words and deeds to prove them liars: the best an∣swer to ill reports, is to live contrary to them.

The eleventh.

Turne your zeale from working one against another to zeale for God.

YOu will say, Are workes of zeale any helps to peace and u∣nion? who are they that make the greatest disturbances in the world, but your fiery zelots? if men were of a cooler tem∣per, we should have more peace.

Ans. Distempered zeale may cause disturbance; but true zeale, the cleare flame of the Spirit of God, making men in their waies zealous not for themselves, but for God, this has the bles∣sing of Gods peace with it. Numb. 25. 12. 13. Phinehas there has the promise of the Covenant of peace, because he was zealous for his God.

The twelfth.

In seeking to reduce others to good, let it appeare that you seek rather to be helpfull to them▪ then to get victory over them.

IT is grievous to a mans nature to be conquered, but not to be helped.*Ambrose writing to his friend Marcellus about com∣posing some breaches between him and his brother and sister, hath amongst other this excellent expression, I thought that to be the best way, I would have none to be conquered, and all to o∣vercome. The like practice is reported of Scipio, when at the taking of New Carthage two Souldiers contended about the Murall Crowne,* due to him who first climbed the walls, so that the whole Army was thereupon in danger of division, when he came to Scipio, he decides the matter thus: He told them they both got up the wall together, and so gave the scaling Crowne to both.

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The thirteenth.

Make up breaches as soone as may be.

TAke them, if it may be; at the beginning. When good men fall out, onely one of them is usually faulty at the first, but if such strifes continue any time, both of them become guil∣ty. If you deferre the setting of a bone broken, it cannot be done without much difficulty, and great paine. Prov. 17. 14. The beginning of strife is as when one lets out water, therefore leave off contention before it be medled with, antequam immisceat se, so you may reade it, before it be got into thee, and mingle it selfe in thy heart, or between you and your brother. If your house be on fire, you doe not stay quenching it till it breaks out of the roofe; divisions that are but sparks, very little at the first, if let alone, grow very high and great in a little time. I have read a story of two sonnes of the Duke of Florence, Who having been hunting, the one said, My dog killed the Hare, and the o∣ther said, Nay but my dog killed it: words multiplyed, they grew into a heat, the one drawes upon the other and kills him; the servant seeing his master killed, draws upon him who had slaine him, and kills him. Neglect not beginnings of quarrels, you know not to what they may grow.

The fourteenth.

Let us account those brethren, in whom we see godlinesse, and carry our selves towards them accordingly, though they will not account us.

LEt us not be too ready to take the forfeiture of our brethern.* The learned and godly men who lived in that Age wherein the Donatists renounced all Christian communion with other Churches, yea disclaimed any brotherhood with other Christi∣ans, yet seeing godlinesse in many of them, they did account them part of the Church and their brethren; thus they sought to pluck those to them, who thrust themselves from them.

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Lastly, pray much.

PLiny sayes of the pearles they call Unions,* though they be engendred in the sea, yet they participate more of the hea∣vens then of the sea. Certainly this precious union, though it be amongst men yet it hath its lustre and beauty, yea its very be∣ing from the heavens. You must look up to heaven therefore for peace, for the preservation, increase, lustre, beauty of it, if you would have it.

Job 25. 2. God maketh peace in his high places, the Lord can make peace between high and low. Let us carry mens rugged, crooked, perverse hearts to God in Prayer, who is the great joyner of hearts; it is he that makes men to be of one mind in a house, he maketh the wars to cease. Psal. 122. 6. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. In your prayers for the Church this must be men∣tioned as a speciall blessing. If praying prevaile not, fighting will not. Those are the most peaceable men in Church and Com∣mon-wealth, that pray most for the peace of them; God hath more prayers for the peace of this Church and State upon the file, of theirs whom some of you account hinderers of it, then of yours. You complaine much for want of peace, you inveigh much against those whom you are pleased to mark out as hinde∣rers of the peace, but doe you pray as much? You have these meanes presented unto you for the furtherance of peace; what other you may meet with any way, make use of. 2 Thes. 3. 16. The Lord of peace give you peace alwayes by all meanes.

And that all may be the better improved, let the exhortation of the Apostle,* 1 Thes. 4. 11. sink into you, Study to be quiet, the words are, Love the honour of being quiet: There is great excel∣lency in it.

That is the last thing.


Exhortation to peaceable and brotherly union, shewing the excellency of it.

ANd now, my brethren, as the Eunuch said to Philip concer∣ning his Baptisme, Here is water, what lets but I may be baptized? I shall say concerning our uniting in peace and love Page  297 one with another. Here are Joyning Principles, Joyning Consi∣derations, Joyning Graces, Joyning Practices; what now lets, but that we may joyne in love and peace one with another? Surely nothing can let but extreme corrupt, perverse hearts of our owne.

The Apostle Paul is mighty earnest in his desires, in his ex∣hortations for this: 1 Cor. 1. 12. Now I beseech you brethren by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly joyned together, in the same mind, and in the same judgement. The word translated perfectly joyned,*signifies such a joyning, as when a bone is out of joynt, is perfectly set right againe.

So Philip. 2. 1. If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind, let nothing be done through strife, &c. The Apostle poures forth his soule in this exhortati∣on, it is a heart-breaking exhortation.

Luther,*though a man of a stirring, hot spirit, yet writing to the Pastors of the Church of Strasburg, hath these words: I pray you be perswaded, that I shall alwayes be as desirous to embrace concord, as I am desirous to have the Lord Jesus to be propitious to me.

I finde also in a Letter that Martin Bucer writes to a godly Minister, a very high expression, of that high esteeme he had of, and earnest desires after the curing of divisions: Who would not (sayes he) purchase with his life the removing that infinite scan∣dall that comes by dissention? Oh that there were such hearts in us! Christ expects it from us all, but especially from his Mini∣sters,* for they are his Ambassadours for peace, to beseech men in his stead to be reconciled to God: reconciliation with God will reconcile us one to another. If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another, 1 John 4. 11. The faces of the Cheru∣bims in the Temple looked one towards another, which some think signified the agreement that should be amongst Ministers of the Gospel. So the six branches in the Candlestick joyned all in one; those who hold the light of truth before others, should be united in peace in one, amongst themselves. The first thing Christs Ministers were to doe when they came to any place Page  298 was to say Peace be to that place; if any sons of peace were there, they were to abide,* otherwise not: Surely then it is expected that themselves should be sonnes of peace. The contentions of private Christians are offensive, but the contentions of Ministers is a scandall with a witnesse. Yet in all Ages of the Church, the corrupt Clergie have been the greatest causes of divisions; they have been of the most cruell spirits against any that differed from them. But let not such a spirit be in us; we have enough to do to contend with the wicked of the world, with the malice of Satan, let us not contend one with another.

Luther writing to the Ministers of Norimberg, brings in Christ saying to them, Satis est vobis ob nomen meum malorum, You are like to suffer evil enough for my name, you need not be afflicti∣ons one to another. It was barbarousnesse in the Priests of Baal to cut and slash themselves, but it is worse for the Ministers of Jesus Christ to cut and slash one another. 1 Kings 6. 23. The Cherubims were made of the Olive tree; If you be typified by them, as we hinted before, let it appeare that you are olives, not brambles: yea and v. 31. For the entring of the Oracle the doores were of Olive-tree: who will believe that you bring the Oracles of God with you, when they see by your froward, contentious carriage, that you never entred in at these doores? People can∣not but think it a miserable thing to have a scratching, tearing bramble to be over them. Oh that God would set the beauty, glory of peace, friendship, love, before us! That this precious pearle, Ʋnion, might be highly valued by us! All men are taken in some degree or other with the excellency and sweetness of love and friendship.*Some men, sayes Cicero, despise riches, others honours; those things that by some are delighted in by others are vi∣lified; but all men of all sorts have a high esteem of friendship, they think there can be no life without it.

Gen. 34. 21. The great commendation that Hamor and She∣chem give of Jacob and his Sons as an argument to perswade the men of Shechem to joyn with them in the giving their daughters to them for wives, and in taking theirs, is, These men are peacea∣ble with us. A peaceable disposition is very convincing.

Page  299 Cant. 6. 6. My dove, my undefiled is but one, she is the onely one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. What then followes? The daughters saw her and blessed her, yea the Queenes, and the Concubines, and they praised her, Who ise she that looketh forth as the morning, faire as the moone, cleare as the Sunne, terrible as an Army of Banners? Let the Saints be but one, and then they will appeare beautifull and glorious indeed, yea they will be terrible as an army of Baners.

Evagrius in his Ecclesiasticall History records an Epistle of Cyrill of Alexandria,*written to John of Antioch, upon the oc∣casion of a Pacificatory Epistle of John unto him, his spirit was so taken with it that it breaks forth thus: Let the heavens rejoyce, and let the earth be glad, the mid wall of rancour is battered downe, the boyling choler which bereaved the mindes of quietnesse, is pur∣ged from among us, and all the occasion of discord and dissention is banished away, for our Saviour Iesus Christ hath granted peace unto the Churches under heaven.

The Thebans made Harmonia a goddesse,* they accounted her the defender and patronesse of their City. Harmonious, peace∣able, uniting dispositions, have much of God in them; if not from sanctifying grace, yet it is from a common work of the Spirit of God: there is a noblenesse in such a heart. By the Lawes of England Noblemen have this priviledge, that none of them can be bound to the peace, because it is supposed that a Noble dispo∣sition will never be engaged in brawles and contentions, it is supposed that the peace is alwayes bound to him, that of his own accord he will be carefull to preserve it. It is the base Bramble that rends and teares. Nazianzen reports of Alexan∣der, who having taken a City, and consulting what to doe, one Parmenius answered, If he were King he would raze the City to the ground.*Alexander answers, So would I too, if I were what you are; rigour may become you, but gentlenesse becomes me. Gentlenesse, mercy, goodnesse, love, tendernesse of others sufferings, are the greatest ornaments to a noble spirit. If this be sanctified, the glory of God shines bright indeed in such a heart. For God glories in this, to be the God of peace and love. 1 Thess. 5. 23. The very God of peace. 2 Thess. 3. 16. The Lord of peace himselfe. Jesus Christ in being the Prince of peace; the holy Ghost in being like a Dove that hath no gall: the Gospel is the Page  300 Gospel of peace; the Kingdome of God is peace as well as righ∣teousnesse; the legacy that Christ left is a legacy of peace; the Apostolicall benediction is grace, mercy, and peace: the glory of the Church is in this, that it is a City compact at unity with∣in it selfe. Yea this will be the glory of that glorious Church, that God is raising a new Jerusalem, there shall be no more cry∣ing there, Apoc. 21. 4. Ezech. 14. 9. The Lord shall be King over all the earth, in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name shall be one. There is but one Lord now, but he is called by different names, but in that day his name shall be but one. Zeph. 3. 9. Then will I turne to a people of pure language, that they may call upon the name of the Lord, and serve him with one consent. The Hebrew word is with one shoulder, now we shoulder one ano∣ther, but then all shall serve the Lord with one shoulder. This love and peace is compared to the most delightfull, and the most profitable things; Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell at unity; it is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ranne downe upon the beard, even Aarons beard; that went downe to the skirts of his garment, as the dew of Hermon, that descended upon the mountaines of Sion. Psal. 123.

There are many promises made to this. Mat. 5. Blessed are the peace-makers. 2 Cor. 13. 11. Be of one minde, live in peace, and the God of peace shall be with you. John 15. 12. Christ sayes, This is his commandement, that we love one another. ver. 14. he sayes, Ye are my friends if ye doe whatsoever I command you. By loving others we doe not only get them to be our friends, but Christ too. Me thinks I see Christ here pleading for love, as one who had to deale with two men who were at some variance, perswading them to peace and love; Come, you shall passe by all former things, you shall be made friends, by this you shall gaine me also to be a friend to you as long as I live.

Genes. 13. ver. 8. to the end, is a remarkable Scripture to shew how God is with a loving, gentle, peaceable disposition. Ver. 8. 9. we have Abrahams kinde gentle yeelding to Lot his inferiour for peace sake; but mark what followes, and you shall finde he lost nothing by this his yeelding: for as soone as Lot was gone from him, the Lord came to him, ver. 14. and said to him, Lift up now thine eyes and looke from the place where thou art, Northward, Southward, Eastward and Westward, for Page  301 all the Land that thou seest to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever: arise, walke thorough, the Land in the length of it, and in the breadth of it, for I will give it unto thee. The difference of what Jacob sayes of Reuben when he was to dye, Gen. 49. 4. from that of Moses, Deut. 33. 6. is observable: Jacob sayes, Hee is the first borne, the beginning of his strength; but he shall not excell, be∣cause he went to his fathers bed. But Moses, Let Reuben live and not dye, and let not his men be few. The reason of this difference is given by some, because it was fit that Jacob, to deter his other children, should exercise the authority of a father, but Moses frees him from the curse, because he was alwayes loving to his brother Ioseph. Brotherly love hath a blessing going along with it: God loves it exceedingly, for it makes much for the glory of God. And to what purpose do we live, if God have not glory by us? Rom. 15. 5, 6, 7. the Apostle first prayes that the God of patience and consolution would grant them to be like minded one towards another, according to Christ Jesus, that they may with one minde and one mouth glorifie God. Then he exhorts: Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. Much of Gods glory depends upon our union. Yea God stands so much upon this, that he is willing to stay for his service till we be at peace one with another. Mat. 5. 23, 24. Leave thy gift before the Altar, and first be reconciled to thy bro∣ther, and then come and offer thy gift. My worship shall stay till you be reconciled. I love my worship, and desire it much, but I must have peace and love amongst your selves first, I will stay for that. But I beseech you let us not make God stay too long. Remember while you are wrangling and quarrelling, God stayes on you all this while. If children should be quarrel∣ling, and one comes to them, and sayes, Your father stayes for you, it is time for them to break off. But not unmannerly with God, in making him stay so long upon you: some of you have made him wait upon you for an acceptable duty of worship di∣vers weeks, yea it may be many moneths, and yet your spirits are not in temper to offer any sacrifice to God. What a fearfull evill is it then to stand out in a stubborne, sullen, dogged manner refusing to be reconciled! Learned Drusius cites Hebrew Wri∣ters, saying, That he that offends his brother ought to seeke to pacifie him; if he refuse to be pacified, then he must bring three Page  302 of his friends with him to intercede twice or thrice, and if he shall after this refuse,* then he is to leave him, and such a man quia implacabilis est, vocatur peccator, is called a sinner, with a speciall note upon him.

Lastly, the Saints enjoyment of the sweetnesse of love, peace and unity among themselves, what is it but heaven upon earth? Heaven is above all storms, tempests, troubles, the happinesse of it is perfect rest. We pray that the will of God might bee done on earth as it is done in heaven; why, may not we have a heaven upon earth? this would sweeten all our comforts, yea all our afflictions. But the Devill envies us this happinesse. Come Lord Jesus, come quickly.

If you would have the excellency of love set before you more fully, reade over and over again the Epistles of Iohn. Ecclesi∣asticall story reports of this blessed Apostle, whose heart was so full of love, that when he grew very old, not able to preach, yet he would be brought into the congregation in a chaire, and there say only these words, Little children flee idolatry, love one another. But the more excellent union and peace is, the more is the pitty that it should be abused to be serviceable to mens lusts; the more would our misery be if we should be abused in our treaties about it; if we should have a mock-peace; if we should be gulled in either offers of or conclusions about peace; if peace should be made our ruine, but a preparation of us for slaughter. It hath been by many observed, that what the English gained of the French in battell by valour,* the French regained of the En∣glish by cunning Treaties. The Lord deliver us from such French tricks. Let us all be for peace, yet so as not to be befooled into bondage by the name of peace. Now God hath by his mighty arme helped us, let us not be put off with a bable, and made to beleeve it is this Pearle. We know with whom we have to deale.

And now as the Apostle, 2 Thess. 3. 5. The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God: Let me adde, And into the love of one another. Let us all study peace, seek peace, follow peace, pursue peace, and the God of peace be with us.

Page  303

The Contents.

  • Chap. 1. THe Text opened, and suitableness thereof shewed, p. 1.
  • Chap. 2. The evill of dividing between God and any thing else, p. 6.
  • Chap. 3. Heart-divisions one from another: the difficulty of med∣ling with them, 11. the Causes of them, and method in handling them, 12.
  • Chap. 4. The first Dividing Principle, There can be no agree∣ment without uniformity, 14. wherein is shewn in what things it is necessary for peace we should be the same, and in what not, 15.
  • Chap. 5. The second Dividing Principle, All Religions are to be tolerated, wherein is discussed the power of the Magistrate in matters of Religion, 19. and 158.
  • Chap. 6. That question discussed, What should be done to a man who pleads his conscience, 30.
  • Chap. 7. The congregationall way does not held absolute liberty for all Religions, 41.
  • Chap. 8. Not to tolerate any thing which is conceived evill, is a Dividing Principle, as well as to tolerate all things, 48.
  • Chap. 9. Rules to know in what things we are to beare with our brethren, 54.
  • Chap. 10. The fourth Dividing Principle, Division is the best way for rule. Wherein the cursed evill of this Principle is shewn, and some freedome from it that are thought to be guilty of it, 72.
  • Chap. 11. The fifth Dividing Principle, That every man is bound to profess and practice alwayes, what he apprehends to be truth, Here that case of conscience, When a man is bound to professe, when not, is discussed, and what rules to be observed in it, 75 to 84.
  • Chap. 12. The sixth Dividing Principle, is, What is in it selfe best, must be chosen and done, not weighing circumstances or references, 84.
  • Chap. 13. The seventh Dividing Principle, That it is obstinacy Page  [unnumbered] for a man to be convinced by the judgement of many more learned and godly then himself. 87. Wherein is shewn 1. what respect is to be given to the judgments of learned and godly men; 2. what men should do that cannot submit to their judgements; by what rules we should judge men to be obstinate, 88.
  • Chap. 14. If others be against what we conceive to be truth, we may judge them to go against their owne light: the rashnesse and evill of this Principle, 95.
  • The ninth Dividing Principle, That rules of prudence are suffici∣ent to guide us in naturall and civill things, therefore they may suffice us in spirituall and Church affaires, 97. to 100.
  • The tenth Dividing Principle, Every difference in Religion is a differing Religion, 100.
  • Chap. 15. Dividing Distempers; what they are, how they cause Divisions, 105.
  • Chap. 21. Dividing Practices: what they are, 145.
  • Chap. 23. Disorderly gathering of Churches: divers things dis∣cussed about it, 162.
  • Chap. 25. Characterizing the names of division, amongst others the name of Schismatick. The point of Schisme, who is a Schis∣maticke, who not, is discussed, 171.
  • 9. Because men cannot joyn in all things, they will joyn in nothing, 182. The point of hearing such as are supposed not to have a lawfull calling, discussed, 183.
  • Chap. 27. The evill of divisions, how much good they hinder, 189.
  • Aggravations of the sinfulnesse of our divisions, 209.
  • Chap. 29. The wofull miseries of our Divisions, 217.
  • Futher Aggravations of this misery of our Divisions, 221.
  • The ill uses that are made of our Divisions, 226.
  • Reasons why it is not to be wondred at, that godly men should be di∣vidd, 237.
  • That Christ and the Gospel occasion divisions, and how, 245.
  • The good use to be made of our Divisions, 247. The cure of them, 252.
  • Fourteen joyning Principles, from 254. to 267.
  • Fourteen joyning Considerations, from 268. to 280.
  • Eight joyning graces, 281.
  • Sixteene joyning Practises, 285.
  • An Exhortation to peaceable and brotherly union, shewing the ex∣cellency of it. 296.
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