An assertion of the government of the Church of Scotland in the points of ruling-elders and of the authority of presbyteries and synods with a postscript in answer to a treatise lately published against presbyteriall government.
Gillespie, George, 1613-1648.
Page  87

CHAP. XII. The extravagancies of Whitgift and Sara∣via in the matter of ruling Elders.

THese two Disputers, doe not (as D. Field) altogether oppose ye govern∣ment of ruling Elders, but with cer∣tain restrictions; about which notwithstan∣ding they differ betwixt themselves▪ hit∣gift alloweth of ruling Elders under a Ty∣rant, but not under a Christian Magistrate, but ayeth they cannot be under an Infidell Magistrate. Me thinkes J see here Sampsons Foxes, with their tailes knit together, and a firebrand betwixt them, yet their heads looking sundry waes.* To begin with Whit∣gift, he saith in one place. I know that in the primitive church, they had in every church seniors, to whom the Government of the Con∣gregation was committed, but that was before there was any Christian Prince or Magistrate &c. In another place. My reason, why it (the Church) may not bee governed under a Christian Magistrate, is it may under a Ty∣rant is this: God hath given the chiefe au∣thority in the government of the Church to the Christian Magistrate, which could not bee so, if your Seigniory might aswell retaine Page  88 their authority under a Christian Prince, and in the time of peace, is under a Tyrant, and in the time of persecution; for tell me, I pray you, what authority Ecclesiasticall remaineth to the civill Magistrate, where this Seigni∣ory is established?

Hee who pleaseth may find this op••ion largely consuted by Beza de Presbyterio con∣tra Erasmum, and by I. B. A. C. polit. civil. & Eccles.* Jn the meane while I answer. First, T. C. had made a sufficient Reply hereunto (which Whitgift here in his de∣fence should have confuted, but hath not) viz. That if the Seniors under a Tyrant had medled with any Office of a Magistrate, then there had beene some cause why a god∣ly Magistrate being in the Church, the Of∣fice of a Senior, or at least so much as hee exercised of the Office of a Magistrate should have ceased.

But since they did onely assist the Pastor in matters Ecclesiasticall, it followeth, that as touching the Office of Elders, there is no distinction betwixt times of Peace and Persecution. Secondly, There were Seni∣ors among the Jewes under Godly Kings, and in times of Peace: Why not likewise amongst us? Thirdly, The Ecclesiasticall Page  89 power is distinct from the civill, both in the subject, object, and end; so that the one doth not hinder the other: The Magistrates power is to punish the outward man with an outward punishment, which the Presby∣tery cannot hinder, for he may civilly bind whom the Presbytery spiritually looseth, and civilly loose, whom the Presbytery spi∣ritually bindeth, and that because the Magi∣strate seeketh not the repentance and salva∣tion of the delinquent by his punishment (as the Presbytery doth) but onely the maintenance of the authority of his lawes, together with the quietnesse and preserva∣tion of the Common-wealth.

Whence it commeth, that the delin∣quent serapeth not free of the Magistrate, though hee bee penitent and not obstinate. 4. How thought Whitgift, that the christian Magistrate can doe those things which the Seigniory did under a Tyrant? Can the Ma∣gistrate by himselfe determine questions of Faith? Can he know what order and decen∣cie in circumstances is fittet for each Con∣gregation? Can he excommunicate offen∣ders, &c. 5. When Bishops exercise Eccle∣siasticall jurisdiction (yea and the civill too) this is thought no wrong to Princes: Page  90 Is it a wrong in the Presbytery, yet not in this Prelacy? Good Lord what a My∣sterie is this! 6. When Presbyters are established in their full power, there remaineth much power to the Prince even in things Ecclesiasticall, as to take di∣ligent heed to the whole estate of the Church within his dominions, to indict Sy∣nods, and civilly to proceed in the same, to ratifie the constitutions thereof, and to adde unto them the strength of a civill sanction, to punish Heretickes, and all that disobey the assemblies of the Church, to see that no matter Ecclesiasticall be carryed factious∣ly or rashlie, but that such things bee deter∣mined in free assemblies, to provide for Schollers, Colledges, and Kirkes, that all corrupt wayes of entring into the Ministe∣ry, by Simony, bribing patrons &c. be re∣pressed, and finally to compell all men to doe their duty according to the Word of God, and Laws of the Church. 7. Whatsoe∣ver be the power of the supreame Magi∣strate, Ecclesiae tamen,*&c. Yet let him leave to the Church and to the Ecclesiasticall Rulers (such as are the Ministers of the Gospell, El∣ders and Deacons) their owne power in hand∣ling Ecclesiasticall things, untouched and whole saith Danaeus. For the Ecclesiasticall Page  91 power doth no more hinder the civill ad∣ministration, then the Art of singing hinde∣reth it, saith the Augustan confession. 8. We may answer by a just recrimination,* that the Prelacy (not the Presbytery) is prejudi∣ciall to the power of Princes, and hath often incroached upon the same. The Bishops assembled in the eight Councill of Constan∣tinople;* ordined that Bishop▪ should not light from their horses, when they chance to meet Princes, nor basely bow before them, and that if any Prince should cause a Bishop to disparage himselfe by doing o∣therwise, he should be excommunicated for two yeares.* They also discharged Princes from being present in any Synod, except the Ocumenicke.* The 1. Councill of Toledo or∣daineth that Quoties Episcoporum Hispano∣rum Synodus convenerit, toties universalis Concilii decretum propter salutem Principum factum, peractis omnibus in Synodo recitetur, ut iniquorum mens territa corrigatur. From which canon Osiander collecteth, that some of the Bishops were not faithfull and loyall to the Kings of Spaine. The inquisition of Spaine Anno 1568. presented to King Phi∣lip twelve Articles against the Netherlands,* one whereof was, That the King write unto and command the Clergie of the Netherlands, that with the Inquisition they should accept ofPage  92 15. new Bishops, the which should be free from all secular jurisdiction, yea in cases of Trea∣son. Now as touching the contrary conceit of Saravia,* he alloweth such Elders as the Iewish Church had to be joyned now with Pastors under a Christian Magistrate, but under an Infidell Magistrate, hee saith they could have no place; for he taketh the Iew∣ish Elders to have bin their Magistrates, & that in like manner, none but Christian Ma∣gistrates should sit with the Ministers of the Word in Ecclesiasticall Courts, Princes and Nobles in generall or Nationall Coun∣cills, and Magistrates of cities in particu∣lar consistories. This is as foule an error, as that of Whitgift; for 1. His opinion of the Iewish Elders, that they were their Magi∣strates we have confuted before. 2. Though it were so, that no Ruling Elders ought to be admitted, now except Christian Magi∣strates, yet might they have place under an Infidell Prince: as Ioseph under Pharaoh, Daniell under Nebuchadnezar. There have beene both Christian Churches, and Chri∣stian Magistraes under Hereticall, yea In∣fidell Princes 3. If Christian Magistrates be come in place of the Iewish Seniors, and ought to be joyned with the Ministers of the Word in the consistories of the church. Page  93 We demand quo nomine, quo jure? whither doe they sit as Christian Magistrates, or as men of singular gifts chosen for that effect? Jf as Magistrates then shall we make a mix∣ture and confusion of civill & Ecclesiasticall function, else how shall men by vertue of civill places sit in spirituall Courts? Jf as men of singular gifts chosen to sit, then may others aswell as they having the like gifts and election be admitted to sit also. 4. Saravia contradicteth himselfe,* for a little after he admitteth grave and godly men in the judicatories of the Church, whither they be Magistrates or privat men, sive illi ma∣gistratu fungantur sive in rep. vivant pri∣vati.