A POST-SCRIPT, In answer to a Treatise very lately published, which is intituled, The Presbyteriall Governement examined.
WHen the Printer had done all except two sheets of my former Treatise, there came to my hands a peece against Presbyteriall Go∣vernement, which promi∣seth much, but performeth little. Though my time be very short, yet I trust to make an answer to it, as full as it deserveth.
It hath a magisteriall and high sound∣ing title, undertaking the examination of Presbyteriall Governement. But Presby∣teriall Government secretly smileth, be∣cause Page 2 while she was ready to say much more for her selfe, he did not put her to to it, lest himselfe should have been put ad metam non probandi. But he particularizeth himselfe, and telleth us he hath unfolded the weaknesse of our grounds, and dispro∣ved our pretended proofs. The truth is, that the best of them & the most of them he hath not touched. He addeth that hee hath proved out of the Word of God the liberty of the people in choosing th•ir own officers. This may be added •aute, but caste, I am sure it is not. He would make the world beleeve that Presbyterians are a∣gainst the peoples election of their officers, which is a calumny. He saith, he hath an∣nexed certaine arguments, proving Pres∣byteriall Governement to be contrary to the pattern which Christ hath left in the New Testament. These arguments shall be answered with no great difficulty. In this place I shall only say a word of them in generall. The man hath a notable facul∣ty of proving that wherein the Presbyteri∣ans do agree with him, and passing that wherein they disagree from him. Many humane testimonies and citations of wri∣ters he mustreth together, to make a sim∣ple reader beleeve that many are of his judgemen•▪ But I find none of them all Page 3 except two or three to affirme any thing which we deny. But why hath he taken all this paines? He will present it (forsooth) to the Kings most excellent Majestie, and to the right honourable Lords, and the ho∣nourable house of Commons now assem∣bled in Parliament. As if it were to be ex∣pected that a popular and independant forme of Church government in every Congregation, which should most certain∣ly open a doore to a thousand remedilesse confusions, may obtaine his Majesties roy∣all assent, or the acceptation of the High Court of Parliament. Nay, brother, seek some other friends to your cause, for, if wise men be not too too much deceived▪ the King and the Parliament in their great wisdome do fore-see, that whensoever E∣piscopall government shall be removed, another form of Provinciall and nationall Church government must needs succeed unto it.
Now to come to the substance of his discourse; first hee maketh a quarrell against the Presbyteries of particular Churches (which are in Scotland called Sessions▪) then against all higher Consisto∣ries in the Church.* As for the Presbyteries of particular Churches, he judgeth them three wayes defective. First he requireth Page 4 that all who are admitted into the compa∣ny of Elders, even the governing or ruling Elders should be apt to teach and able to ex∣hort with sound doctrine and convince gaine∣sayers,* and that not only privately, or in the Consistory, but in the publick assembly al∣so, if not exactly, yet competently.
Answ. 1. Though ruling Elders ought to teach, exhort, rebuke, &c. both in the Consistory, and privately from house to house, as the case of every family and per∣son doth require (which is all that can be drawne from those alleaged places to Ti∣mothy and Titus, if so be they ought at all to be extended to ruling Elders) yet there is no place of Scripture to prove that they ought to teach publikly in the Congrega∣tion. 2. That expression if not exactly, yet competently is somewhat mysterious. 3. Ruling Elders are expresly distinguished from those that labour in the word and doctrine. 1 Tim. 5.17. and from these that teach or exhort, Rom. 12.7, 8. 4. If ruling Elders shall •each publikly in the congre∣gation ex officio, and with cure of soules (as they speak) why shall they not also mini∣ster the Sacraments, which are pendicles and seals of the word, and therefore com∣mitted to those, who are sent to the pub∣lick preaching of the Gospell, Matth. 28.19. Page 5 5. Though he speak here only of ruling Elders, yet I doubt he requireth of, at least will permit to all men that are members of the Church the same publick teaching and prophesying in the Congre∣gation.
The second defect which he wisheth supplied,* is, that the temporary ruling El∣ders may be made perpetuall and for life, which he enforceth by foure reasons. This I assent unto providing he admit a distin∣ction betwixt the office it selfe, and the ex∣ercise of the same. The office of a ruling Elder ought to be for his life no lesse then the Pastors; yet must we not condemne those Churches which dispense with the intermission of their actuall attendance for a certaine space, and permit them to exercise their office by course, as the Levits did of old, whose example himselfe here taketh for a patterne.
The third thing he saith is of most mo∣ment.* He doth complaine that the Elders do not administer their publik office pub∣likly as they should, but only in their pri∣vate Consistory. He doth permit them in∣deed to meet apart for deliberation (whereof we shall here afterward) but he will have their Church-office which in the Lord they have received, to be executed Page 6 publickly in the face of the Congregation. 1. Because an office publick in the nature, ought also to be publick in the administra∣tion. 2. Because the reformed Churches cannot know their Elders whether they be good or bad, except by heare-say. 3. Because otherwise the Elders can not mi∣nisterially take heed to the whole flock as they are warned to do, Acts 20.28. Ans. 1. Ruling Elders do execute their office not only in the Consistory, but from house to house throughout al the bounds of the Cō∣gregation; wch may easily make thē known to that Church where they serve, whether they be good or bad. 2. Their Consistoriall sentences in all matters of importance, such as ordination, Church censures, excom∣munication, &c. are made knowne to the whole Church. 3. He passeth a short cen∣sure upon the reformed Churches. The re∣formed Churches is a great word, but this man maketh a moat of it. 4. The place Acts 20.28. cannot helpe him, for ruling El∣ders do feed and oversee the whole flock, both by discipline in the Consistory, and by taking heed to all the sheepe several∣ly, as every one hath need, and in that re∣spect may be called both Pastors and Bishops. Beside I doubt he can prove that place to be meant of ruling Elders. He Page 7 He goeth on to make plaine what hee hath said,* by descending to some particulars in which the Elders office s•emeth especially to consist, and these are saith hee, The admitting of members into the Church, upon profession of faith made, and the reproving and censuring of obstina•e of∣fenders. These are the most frequent publike administrations of the office of Ruling Elders. And what of them? hee saith, as they leave the execution of these things, to the Elders alone in the setled and well ordered state of the Church, so doe they deny, that they can be rightly and orderly done, but with the peoples privity and consent. His restriction to the setled and well ordered estate of the Church, I cannot understand. Hee had done well to have explained what hee meaneth by that not setled, nor well orde∣red state of the Church, in which he thinks it belongeth not to the Elders alone, to ad∣mit or cut off members. His other ambi∣guous expression I understand better, for by the peoples privity hee meaneth, that the people should heare the voyces and suffrages of the Elders, and by the peoples consent, hee meaneth the peoples voting with the Elders, as wee shall heare after∣ward. That the admission of members,*Page 8 ought to bee with the peoples privity and consent,* hee will prove by two reasons. 1. Because wee finde in the acts of the A∣postles, that men were received into the fellowship of the Church, and baptized publikely, and in the face of the congre∣gation. 2. Because the whole communal∣ty, being neerely to joyne with these that are admitted, ought to take knowledge of the profession of their faith. These rea∣sons can neither conclude the peoples right of suffrage in this matter, nor so much are the peoples hearing of the suf∣frages of the Elders: But only that the matter might not bee ended without the peoples knowledge and tacite consent. Beside there is no small difference to bee put betwixt the admission of Jewes, Infi∣dells, and Hereticks, upon their profession of the true Christian faith, and the admis∣sion of such as have transported them∣selves from another Christian congregati∣on, bringing with them a sufficient testi∣monie of their holy profession of faith, and good conversation. In the meane while, Let the Reader note, that this dis∣puter hath here in a parenthesis interlaced grosse anabaptistry, holding it a kinde of unorderly anticipation to baptise infants, who cannot give a confession of their Page 9 faith. And within a few lines, he lets ano∣ther thing fall from his pen, which smel∣leth strongly of the Anabaptisticall tenent, concerning having all things common, even bodily goods.
But I proceed with him to the second head,* concerning excommunication, and Church censures by the Elders, with the peoples privity and consent. This he pro∣veth by three arguments.* 1. Because Paul saith, These who sin, rebuke publikely, that o∣thers also may feare a brave argument indeed. This charge is not given to ruling Elders; and if it had, it can neither prove the suf∣frage of the people, nor their hearing of the suffrage of the Elders, but onely the execution of the sentence of the Elders, in the presence and audience of the con∣gregation. 2. Hee argueth from these words,*Tell the Church, where hee would make it appeare, that by the Church is not meant the Senate of Elders excluding the people;* yea hee saith, that in this circum∣stance now in consideration, it comes nee∣rer the truth to expound the Church to be the Bishop, since neither Bishops nor their Court-keepers, doe exclude the people from their consistories. Sure I am, in Scot∣land, (let others speake for themselves) The Bishops in their visitations, high Com∣missions, Page 10 Privie-conferences at Synod• (in which they passed their decrees) did exclude both the people, and the most part of the ministers. He thinkes it a course unheard of either among Jewes, Gentiles, or Christians, before this last age, that pub∣like judgements should be privatly exer∣cised, and without the peoples privity. This (if at all to the point) must be un∣derstood, not of the finall execution, but of the judiciall sentence or decree. What then shall wee thinke that the Senators at Rome or the Areopagites at Athens, did ne∣ver conclude or degree any thing, con∣cerning a publike judgement, except in the audience and presence of the people. The Judges in Israel did sit in the gates of of the City, that all persons both poore and rich, great and small might have accesse unto them with their complaints, and that the sentence of judgement, might bee the more notorious & exemplary▪ being given forth and promulgat in the gates: This proveth not that the Judges did debate, voyce, and conclude all matters in the publike audience of the people.* It appea∣reth rather that they were so accomodate, that they might doe these things apart from the multitude. It is too much for him, to affirme either that the Synagogues Page 11 were places of civill conventions and judgements,* or that nothing was in the Sy∣nagogues decreed without the peoples privity, while as hee hath given no proofe nor evidence at all for it.
You need not, my Masters be so curious in the notation of the name 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which every smatterer in Divinity knoweth. But what of it? you say, the Elders (as such) are called, to wit, to their office of Elder∣ship, but called out they are not, being themselves to call out the Church. It is true that the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 noteth not only a calling, or a gathering together, by ver∣tue of verb 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but also a separation by vertue of the particle 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. But I hope it is no paradox to say, that the Elders are both called or gathered together unto the El∣dership, and called out or separate from the rest of the Church to that office. And it is as far from a Paradox to say that they who are called out cannot call out others, especially the one calling out being to an office, and the other calling out being from nature to grace.
He cannot think that the name, Ecclesia, Church, hath been used by any Greek Au∣thor before the Apostles times, or in their dayes, or in the age after them, for the as∣sembly of sole Governours in the act of their government. I shall first give Instan∣ces Page 12 against him in the verb, because, hee said, the Elders (as such) cannot be said to be called out. The Septuagint reade, Deu. 31.28. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Gather unto me all the El∣ders. The like you may find, 1 King. 8.1. 1 Chron. 28.1. I shall next put him in mind that the Septuagint sometime turne Kahal by 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as Prov. 26.26. His wickednesse shall be shewed before the whole Congregation,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. And it is plaine that the name of the Congregation, or Church, is given to the Elders, for that which is said of the El∣ders, Deut. 19.12. Ios. 20.4. is said of the Congregation, Num. 35.24. Ios. 20.6. So Exod 12.3. compared with verse 21. This if hee will not take well from us, with verse 21. This if hee will not take well from us, let him take it from an Anti-pres∣byterian, who observeth from 1 Chron. 13.1, 2, 4. and 2. Chron. 1.3. that both Kahal and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 are used for the Elders and Go∣vernours. Guide unto Sion, pag. 5. The place Deut. 23.1, 2, 3. is well worthy of observa∣tion. It is ordained that he who is woun∣ded in the stones, or hath his privy mem∣ber cut off, or is a Bastard, or an Ammo∣nite, or a Moabite, shall not enter into the Congregation the of Lord to the tenth ge∣neration. The word is Kahal in the Hebrew, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in the version of the 70. yet Iu∣nius, Piscator, and Pelicanus on that place, Page 13 and Martyr on Iud. 11.1. hold that by the Church or Congregation in that place is meant Consessus I•dicum, the Court of Jud∣ges and Rulers, which is called The Congre∣gation of the mighty, Psal. 80.2. So that the true sense of the place, is the secluding of those persons from bearing any office or rule in the Common-wealth of Israel, whereby they might be members of those Courts which did represent Israel. The same sense is given by Lyranus, Cajetan, Ole∣aster, Tostatus, and Lorinus. And which is more to be thought of, Ainsworth himselfe expoundeth it so, and further sheweth that it cannot be meant of joyning to the faith and religion of Israel, or entering into the Church in that respect, because Exod. 12.48, 49. Num. 15.14, 15. All strangers were upon their circumcision admitted into the Congregation of Israel, to offer sacrifices, and by consequence to enter into the court of the Tabernacle, which also appeareth from Levit. 22.18. Num 9.14. The point be∣ing now cleared from the holy Scriptures, we shal the lesse need to trouble our selves in the search of prophane Authors; yet Pasor findeth Demosthenes using the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉pro concione magnatum.
As for that common expression of Di∣vines,* that the Elders are the Church re∣presentative, Page 14 wee desire not to wrangle about names, so that the thing it selfe (which is the power and authority of the Officers sitting and judging apart from the people) be condescended upon. Yet let us see upon what grounds the name of a re∣presentative Church is by this man so su∣perciliously rejected. First, hee saith that no godly, no nor reasonable man will af∣firme, that this representation is to be ex∣tended to any other acts of religion, than these which are exercised in the gover∣ning of the Church. But quo warrant•? shall a man be both ungodly and unreaso∣nable, for affirming that the Elders may and ought to represent the Church where they serve, in preferring a petition to the King and the Parliament, for a Reforma∣tion, or in bearing witnesse of the desolate condition of the Parish through the want of a ministery, or in giving counsel to a Si∣ster Church, though these bee not acts of governing the Church. Well: be it, as he saith, what great absurdity shall fellow? then (forsooth) it appertains to the people primarily and originally (under Christ) to rule and govern the Church, that is, them∣selves. But who saith he will so say of a government not personall, but publique, and instituted as the Churches is. Surely, Page 15 they who think the power to be originally in the people, might here easily reply that this is no more strange than to say, that the power which is primarily and originally in the body of a Kingdome, is exercised by the Parliament, which is the representa∣tive therof. But because many learned men deny the power of Church government to be originally in the people, though others, (and those very learned too) doe affirme it: therefore to passe that, I shall serve him with another answer. For as we can defend the authority of Presbyteries and Synods without wrangling about the name of a re∣presentative Church, so can we defend the name of a representative Church, without debating the question, whether the peo∣ple have the power originally or not. May he therefore bee pleased to take notice of other grounds and reasons for the name of a representative Church, as namely, First, what the Elders, with the knowledge and tacite consent of the Church, doe approve or dislike, that is supposed to be approved or disliked by the whole Church, which importeth, that the Church is in some sort represented by the Senate of Elders. Se∣condly, as wee say wee have seene a man, when haply wee have seene nothing but his head, or his face which maketh him Page 16 knowne unto us, (whence it is that Pain∣ters represent men unto us oft-times onely from their shoulders upward) so doe wee discern & know a visible political Church, when we see in the Senate, as it were, the head and face thereof, the officers being as eyes, eares, nose, mouth, &c. to the Church, that is, being the most noble and chiefe members whereby the body is go∣verned. Thirdly, the Senat of Elders is said to represent the Church, because of the affinity and likenesse betwixt it and the Se∣nate, which representeth a City, or some inferior civil Corporation, affinity, I mean, not every way, but in this, that the govern∣ment is not in the hands of all, but a few, and that those few were chosen with the consent of the whole Corporation. Fourth∣ly, and if for these reasons the Eldership of a particular Church may be called a re∣presentative Church, there is much more reason for giving this name to a classicall Presbytery, or to a Synod provinciall, or nationall, for these doe result out of many particular Churches being made up of their Commissioners.
His second reason he taketh from the nature of representations, alleaging that if the Elders in their Consistory represent the Church, then whatsoever they either Page 17 decree or do agreeing to the Word of God, that also the Church decreeth and doth, though absent, though ignorant, both what the thing is, and upon what grounds it is done by the Elders: and this how consonant it is to Papists implicit faith, he leaveth it to wise men to consi∣der. This argument is as much against the representations of Kings and States by their Ambassadours and Commissioners, it is against the representation of Churches by the Consistory of Elders, and so all the wisdome of Princes and States in their Embassages shall turne to implicit faith, because according to this ground, what the representing doth within the bounds of his Commission, that the represented doth implicitè. And now I shall leave to be con∣sidered by wise men these vast differen∣ces betwixt the Papists implicit faith, and the case of our Churches governed by El∣derships. 1. The Church assenteth not to that which the Consistory of Elders de∣creeth or doth, except it be agreeing to the Word of God, as the Reasoner him∣selfe saith: but there is no such limitation in the Papists implicit faith. 2. The Con∣sistory of Elders doth not presse any thing upon the Church, imperiously, or by na∣ked wil and authority without any reason, Page 12 as the Church of Rome doth with those from whom she requireth implicit faith. 3. The Papists know not what those things be which they beleeve by implicit faith: so that such a faith is rightly called mera ar∣ticulorum fidei ignorantia,* a meere igno∣rance of the articles of faith: but the de∣crees of our Elderships whereunto our Churches do consent, are made knowne unto them. 4. Our Churches are by the judgement of Christian discretion to ex∣amine all things propounded unto them, even the decrees of the Elders, whereas Papists may not examine what the Church propoundeth or commandeth. 5. Papists by their implicit faith beleeve whatsoever the Church beleeveth, because they think the Church can not erre, but our Churches conceive not only their particular Elder∣ships, but oecumenicall councels to be sub∣ject to error.
*Come we now to his third generall rea∣son: whereby he laboureth to prove that the consistorian course is contrary to the practise of the Apostolick Churches, be∣cause the Apostle, 1 Cor. 5. writeth to the whole Church of Corinth to excommuni∣cate the incestuous man. And that by these words (when you are c•me together) the whole Church is to be understood,* he pro∣veth Page 9 by three reasons: the strength of them all, we shall take together in one ar∣gument thus. They among whom the forni∣catour was, who were puffed up when they should have sorrowed, and out of the midst of whom he was to be put, who had done that thing, to whom it appertained to purge out the old leven, and to whom the Apostle wrote not to be commingled with fornicators or co∣vetous persons, they were to be gathered to∣gether into one, and to judge and excommu∣nicate that incestuous person.
But they among whom the fornicator was, &c. were not the Elders alone, but the whole Church, Ergo, &c.
And now what shall this disputer say, if I cleave this his strong argument with a wedge of his own timber, thus, &c.
If they among whom the fornicator was, who were puffed up, when they should have sorrowed, and out of the midst of whom, &c. were to judge and excommunicate that incestuous person, then women were to judge and excom∣municate him, and not men only. But the latter is absurd, therefore so is the former. My proposition he must either grant, or else say that the incestuous man was not to be put out of the midst of women, and that the Apostle did not forbid women to be commingled with fornicators. My assump∣tion Page 20 is his own, Pag. 24. where he tels us from 1 Cor. 14.34, 35. 1 Tim. 2.12. that wo∣men are debarred from liberty or right of voting in publick ecclesiasticall matters. Then let him see to the conclusion. Another proofe of the same point he ad∣deth from 2 Cor. 2.* where he writeth to these same Corinthians to receive pardon, and comfort the penitent: which I might repell in the same manner. But there is a word in that same Chapter which may cleare the thing, Vers. 6. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment (or censure) which was inflicted of m•ny. Which many, if (as he saith in the next page) the Apostle had op∣posed to himselfe alone, and not to all, then he said but the halfe of that which he meant to say. He would have the Corin∣thians to think it enough that the man had beene publickly censured by so many as were in their Presbyterie. Now if he had beene censured by the whole Church, it had been more fit and emphaticall to have said censured by all. But there is another sence which well fitteth the place.*Heinsius observeth that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is one thing, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 another thing: the former noting those that exceed in number: the latter those that are chiefe in dignity, and that there∣fore the Apostle when he saith 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, meaneth the rulers and Elders of that Page 21 Church, so that the reading shall be this, Sufficient to such a man, is this censure in∣flicted of the chie•e. In the same sence Pi••r∣tor taketh the words: which also he doth illustrate from Mat. 12.41.42. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉a greater then Ionah, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a greater then Solomon.
To conclude this case, the Apostle as in other Epistles, so in this, doth sometime point at common duties belonging to the whole Church, sometime at the du∣ties of officers. That the whole Church of Corinth should have sorrowed for the incestuous man, and that it was a common duty to them, not to be commingled with fornicators,* and to have no fellowship with the unfruitfull workes of darknesse, but rather to reprove them: In like manner it con∣cerned them all to comfort him being pe∣nitent. But as for the judging, and excom∣municating of him, that did belong only to the Presbytery of Corinth, and so Calvin, Piscator, Paraeus, and many others expound the Apostles words.
His digression to prove that the Apostle alone,* did not give forth sentence judicia∣ry upon the offender, is not against us, but against the prelaticall party, therefore I passe it.
What he alleageth from Act. 1.*& 6. & 14. For the Churche• right of suffrage in the election of Officers, we doe most hear∣tily Page 16 assent unto it, with this distinction, that when the case is such, as it was in the ex∣amples alleaged, that is, when visible po∣liticall Churches are to be erected, not ha∣ving beene before, then the right of suf∣frage in elections, doth indeed belong to the whole body: And though this way of election were ordinary, it cannot prove that the people have the power of that authority in them, to which they elect the officers: no more then the Electors of the Emperour have in them power of the im∣periall dignity, saith Baynes. But now it is not ordinary, for when there is already a setled Ecclesiasticall republike, or a Church with officers, the officers for the time being ought by their suffrages to elect the officers that are wanting, with the knowledge and consent of the Church.
*Somewhat he demurreth upon Act. 15. for the vindication of which place, I refer my reader to the second part of the for∣mer Treatise, Chap. 1. & 8. Neither shall I stay to examine, by what Method either this discourse or the other about elections, falleth into the proofe of his proposition, concerning that part of the Elders office, which standeth in the censuring of offen∣ders.
*He falleth at last into his owne channell, concluding it to bee a thing most equall, that the whole Church, should clearely Page 13 and undoubtedly take knowledge of the contumacy of the person, that is to bee ex∣communicated, & of the crime for which, and this we also say with him.
One word I desire to have cleared be∣fore wee proceed.* One of his grounds in his discourse about elections, is that the Church officers, as they are the servants of Christ Jesus, so also her servants for Jesus sake,* 2. Cor. 4.5. The professors of Leyden say well, that they are not properly the servants of the Church, but of God, and of Christ: They are not Lords of the Church neither, but Rulers, Guides, Bishops, and Pastors of the Church: yet not servants of the Church except, objective, that is, the servants of God in the Church, or for the Churches good. If this bee his meaning, it is well. But I doubt he hath another mea∣ning, and that is, that the Church doth give the power (which is hers) unto her officers, as her servants to exercise it in her name. If this bee the matter, then let us marke with Baynes,* that the Church doth not virtually and out of power make an officer, but shee doth it in Stewardlike manner, ministring to the sole Lord and master of the house, so that hee who is taken in doth not his office in her name, but in his masters name: as a Butler taken in by the Steward of the house, doth not ex∣ecute his office in the stewards name, but Page 24 in his masters, who only out of power did conferre it on him.
*But now lest any should conceive of him and those of his side, that they either exercise amongst themselves, or would thrust upon others any popular or demo∣craticall Church governement: therefore he desireth the Reader to make estimate, both of their judgement and practice in this point, according to these three decla∣rations.
First he saith they beleeve, that the ex∣ternall Church governement under Christ, is plainely aristocraticall and to be admini∣stred by some choyce men, although the state bee after a fort popular and demo∣craticall.* In respect of the latter, he saith it appertaines to the people freely, to vote in elections & judgements of the Church; in respect of the former, that the Elders ought to governe the people, even in their voting in just liberty, by propounding and ordering all things, and (after the voting of the Church) solemnly executing, either ordination or excommunication. Behold how he runneth upon the rocke of popu∣lar governement, even whiles he preten∣deth to have his course another way: God send us better pilots. I remember I have read in sundry places of Bodin de repub. that the state is oft times different from the go∣vernement. But sure I am, this anti-consi∣storian Page 25 maketh not only the state, but the governement of the Church to be demo∣craticall, & that in the superlative degree, for the governement is democraticall, at least composed of a mixture of aristocracy, and democracy (which is the most that he dare say of the Church governement) where the people have the liberty of ele∣cting their owne officers and rulers, and where the Senat so farre observeth the people, that they may not passe the finall act, in any matter of importance, without the knowledge and tacite consent o the people, though the people doe not vote in the Senat, nay though the Senat doe not vote in the hearing of the people. Now this seemeth not enough to those with whom wee have now to doe. They will have the people freely to vote in all judge∣ments of the Church. And what is that, but the very exercise of jurisdiction by the people,* which is the democracy of Movel∣l•s condemned by Parker himselfe, who maketh the exercise of ecclesiasticall po∣wer proper to the Rulers of the Church, though he placeth the power it selfe origi∣nally in the whole Church. Let it further be observed, what difference these men make betwixt the Elders and the people in the governement of the Church: That which they make proper to the Elders is only the propounding and ordering of matters, and the excuting of some so∣lemne Page 26 act in name of the Church. This is no more then belongeth to the moderator or Praeses in any consistory, But they will have the matter to bee determined accor∣ding to the most voyces of the people. And so the new forme of Church governement which is here laid before us, is a mere de∣mocracy with many moderators, which is the most monstrous governement that ever was heard of.
His second declaration is, that the El∣ders may and ought at times to meet apart from the body of the Church, for delibe∣ration. This if hee meane only of that which hee specifi•th, the preparing of things so as publik•ly, and before the peo∣ple, they may bee prosecuted with most conveniency. It is no more then what many require in moderators of Synods, to whom they think fit, that some Assessors, or Coadjutors be adjoyned for delibera∣ting in private, upon the most orderly and convenient prosecuting of purposes in publike: which as it hindereth not the governement of Synods to be aristocrati∣call; so neither doth the deliberation of the Elders in private, hinder the governe∣ment now in question to be democraticall. But if he meane generally, that the Elders may deliberate apart upon everything whatsoever, which is to be voyced by the people, then I aske by what reason doth Page 27 he seclude from the deliberations those who are to voice? for to give being and force to an Ecclesiasticall decree by voy∣cing, is more than to deliberate upon it, whence it is that Papists give to Presbyters a deliberative voice in Councels, but not a decisive voice, and we also permit any un∣derstanding godly man to propound a matter to a Synod, or to reason upon it, though none have power of suffrage but the Commissioners of Churches; So that he had greater reason to seclude the peo∣ple from the voyces, than from the delibe∣rations.
His third declaration comes last,* and that is that by the people whose right in voting they thus stand for, they understand not women and children, but only men, and them growen, and of discretion. Be∣fore hee did object to us that neither in Scripture nor in Greeke Authors, the name Church is used for the assembly of sole Go∣vernours: and to this I suppose I did give a satisfactory answer. But good Sir be plea∣sed mutually to resolve us where you have read in Scripture, or in Greek Authors the name Church (setting aside all representa∣tives of Churches and Assemblies of sole Governors) used for men alone, and them growen and of discretion, secluding wo∣men and children: for now I see your re∣served Glosse upon those words Tell the Page 28 Church: Tell all the men in the Parish that are growne and of discretion, you must not take so much upon you, as to expound that Text by a Synecdoche, which none that ever wrote upon it before your selves did imagine, and yet challenge us for expoun∣ding it by another Synecdoche, following Chrysostome, Euthymius, Faber Stapulensis, and many late Interpreters, who under∣stand by Church in that place, the Rulers of the Church, which are the noblest part of the Church. I shall shut up this point with the words of Hyperius,* who saith that we must not understand by the Church the whole multitude, Sed potius delectos &c. But rather certaine choice Elders, noted for their learning and godlinesse, in whose power the Chu•ch will have to bee the judgement in such like causes, which is proved from that, that Matth. 18 after it was said, •ell the Church, it is added; where two or three are gathered to∣gether in my name, there am I in the midst of them. And 2 Cor. 2. he saith, Sufficient is this censure inflicted by many.
We have now done with the Elderships of particular Churches,* but there is ano∣ther blow which I perceive is intended a∣gainst classicall Presbyteries and Synods provincial and national, for the due power by which my opposite would have the Church to be governed, hee layeth before us in this Assertion, that every particular vi∣sible Page 29 Church hath from Christ absolute and intire power to exercise in and of her selfe, every or∣dinance of God, and so is an independent body, not standing under any other Ecclesiasticall au∣thority out of it selfe. And this he will prove by ten Arguments: but I shall not need to multiply answers, as hee doth arguments, because many of them are coincident. The first, third, fourth, and sixth, doe all hit up∣on the same string.* The first is thus: If those Churches, planted by the Apostolique in∣stitution, had power fully in themselves immediatly from Christ to practise all his ordinances: Then have all Churches the like power now.* But the first is true. Ergo. The third thus; Whatsoever was com∣manded by the seven Churches to be pra∣ctised by each of them, apart, in and for themselves, that no Church of God must now omit. But Ecclesiasticall government was commanded to the seven Churches to bee practised by each of them, &c. The fourth thus;* If the Church of Corinth had power and authority within her selfe to exercise Ecclesiasticall Government; then ought not particular Congregations now to stand under any other Ecclesiastical au∣thority out of themselves. But the first is true,*Ergo. The sixth thus. If the Apostle gave commandement unto the Eldership of Ephesus for the whole administration of all ordinances in that Church: then may Page 30 the Eldership of every particular congre∣gation, administer among themselves all Gods ordinances. But the first is true, Ergo.
Now for answer to these: First, I simply deny the connexion of the proposition of the fourth argument, because it argueth à genere ad speciem affirmative, from the exer∣cising of ecclesiastical Government, to the exercising of it independently. Neither hath hee said any thing for proofe hereof. Next, the Reader will easily perceive, that both in the first and sixth Argument his ci∣tations in proofe both of the propositions and assumptions, have not so much as the least colour of pertinency, and farre lesse of proofe. In both these arguments, when he would prove the proposition, he spea∣keth to the assumptiō, & contrariwise. But these things I delight not to insist upon: only I shall give two Distinctions, any one of which, much more both of them shall make these arguments wholly improfita∣ble unto him▪ First, I distinguish his pro∣positions. That power & authority which the Church of Corinth, the seven Chur∣ches of Asia, and other Apostolicall Chur∣ches had to exercise Ecclesiastical govern∣ment in and for themselves, the like have all Churches now which are of the like frame and condition: but the most part of particular Churches now are of a different frame and condition from the Apostolique Page 31 Churches, and so have not such fulnesse of power as they had. Put the case that the Apostolick Churches were no greater then might and did or∣dinarily assemble together into one place for the worship of God, yet since by reason of the trou∣ble• of those times (which suffered not the Chri∣stians to spread themselves abroad all the coun∣trey over, but confined them within Cities and safe places) those Churches were not planted so thick and neare together, as that they might have the conveniency of Synodical consociation: hence it appeareth that they might do many things in and by themselves, which particular Congregati∣ons now having the conveniency of consociation with neighbour Churches, ought not to do in and by themselves. But this I have said gratis, having in my former Treatise at length declared that the Apostolick Churches (at least the most and prin∣cipall of them) were greater then could assemble ordinarily in one place of worship, and that they were served with sundry both Pastors and Elders, & that therefore our Parochiall Churches ought not to be (in respect of the points in question) compared with their Churches, nor our Parochiall Presbyteries with their Presbyteries.
The second distinction which I have to pro∣pound is concerning the assumptions of the argu∣ments now in hand. The Apostolick Churches did indeed ordinarily exercise Ecclesiasticall go∣vernment and all the ordinances of Christ, in and for themselves, yet so that when the occasion of a Synode did occurre for determining a question Page 32 which was too hard for particular Churches, and was also common to many Churches, in that case they did submit themselves to the authority of he Synod. Which hath also before beene made plaine from Act. 15. To practise all the ordinan∣ces of God in a Church is one thing, and to pra∣ctise them independantly so as nev•r to be subject to the authority of a Synod, is another thing. My antagonist doth after take it for granted & saith, that all learned men have granted that the Church∣es of the Apostolick constitution were indepen∣dant bodies.* But whence are you Sir that would make your Reader beleeve there are no learned men in the Churches of Scotland, France, the low-countries, and the other reformed Churches which have the governement of Presbyteries and Synods, conceiving it to be most agreeable to the Apostolicall patterne? Have you put out of the category of learned men all Protestant writers who in the controversies about Councels dispute against Papists from Acts 15.2. Why did you not among all your imeprtinent allegations, cite some few of those learned men who grant the Aposto∣lick Churches to have been independant bodies? But we must heare what more you have to say.
Your first eight and tenne arguments are in like manner coincident.* The first you frame thus. Such actions the Church may lawfully do where∣in no law of God is broken. But there is no law of God broken, when particular Churches do in and among themselves exercise all Gods ordinan∣ces. Ergo. The eight thus. Whatsoever governe∣ment Page 33 cannot be found commanded in the written Word o• God, ought not to have any place in the Church of God. But the Government of Presby∣teries and Synods over many particular congre∣gations cannot be found commanded,* &c. The tenth thus. It is a sinne against God to adde any thing to that forme and manner of ordering Churches which Christ hath set forth in the new Testament. But to subject particular congregati∣ons under any other Ecclesiasticall authority out of themselves, is to adde, &c.
Now the word independantly must be added to the assumption of the first argument, else it can∣not conclude what he affirmes and we deny: for there is no question but particular Churches may exercise in and among them selves all Gods ordi∣nances in those cases and with those distinctions which I have spoken of before, part 2. chap. 2. This being cleared I deny the assumption in all these three arguments. I expected proofe for it, but he hath given none, except that it cannot for shame be denied. I had thought it rather a shamefull thing for a writer to trouble his Reader with ar∣guments which he cannot make good.* But what saith he to the professors of Leyden who hold the institution of Synods not to be humane, but di∣vine, wch they prove from Mat. 18. & Act. 15. Nay what is more ordinary in Protestant writers then the applying of those words, Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them, unto Synods and Councels; and hence they condemne the popish Councels, in so much that Bellarmin, Salmeron, and other Jesuits have in this contradicted all our writers, telling us (as Page 34 these men doe) that our Saviour meaneth not of Councels in these words. Moreover that com∣mandement whereby we stand obliged to fol∣low the example both of the Jewish Church in the Old Testament, and of the Apostolicall Churches in the New Testament, in such things as they had not for any speciall reason which doth not concerne us, is transgressed by the withdraw∣ing of Congregations from subjection unto Sy∣nods. Of which things I have said enough be∣fore. It is now but a poore begging of that which is in question, to object that the governement of Presbyteries and Synods hath no warrant from the Word of God.
Come we then to examine his other Arguments. His second he composeth thus.* If Christ in Mat. 18.17. where he saith, Tell the Church, doth mean a particular Congregation: then hath every par∣ticular Congregation an intire power in and of it selfe to exercise Eclesiasticall governement, and all other Gods spirituall ordinances. But the first is true. Ergo, for the proposition he citeth some Writers who do not speak of such a connexion as he had to prove. The assumption he proveth thus. That Church which Christ intendeth in Matth. 18. hath absolute power in and of it selfe to perform all Gods ordinances. But Christ intendeth in Mat. 18. a particular Congregation. Therefore every particular Congregation hath absolute power, &c. How bravely doth he conclude the point? Specta∣tum admissi risum teneatis amici▪ We will not exa∣mine our examinators logick: we know what he would say: and we woul• have him to know a∣gaine that Christ in Mat. 18. meaneth indeed some Page 35 sort of a particular Congregation, but neither on∣ly nor independantly. Nay he meaneth all the Consistories of the Church higher and lower re∣spectively, as Parker conceiveth, whose words I have before set down: and to this sense the threed of the text doth leade us, for as in the preceding words there is a gradation from one to two or three more, then to the Church, so is there a gra∣dation (by the like order and reason) in the Con∣sistories of the Church. Tostatus upon this place ac∣knowledgeth that Diae Ecclesiae reacheth as far as to an oecumenicall Councell, when particular Churches erre in their determinations, or when the cause is common to all the Churches, for ex∣ample, when the Pope is to be condemned.
His seventh argument followes in my order,* and it runneth after this manner. Such offices and callings without which the Church of God is cō∣pleat and perfect for government, are superfluous and humane. But the Church of God may be com∣pleat & perfect for government, without Presby∣teriall and Synodicall offices and callings. Ergo. I answer by a distinction. Such offices and callings without which the Church of God are according to the course of Gods ordinary providence, or at all times and in all cases, perfect and compleat for government, are indeed superfluous and humane. But that such offices and callings without which the Church by the absolute power of God or at some times & in some cases is perfect & compleat, are superfluous & humane, we utterly deny. Now for the point of Synods I shall produce no other witnesses then those which this Disputer here ta∣keth to be for him.*Whittaker acknowledgeth of Page 36 Councels that Secundum ordinariam providentiam necessaria sunt ad bonam ecclesiae gubernationem:*ac∣cording to ordinary providence they are necessary for the well governing of the Church. Parker acknow∣ledgeth Synods to be sometime necessary in the Church, and he giveth example of the Councell of Nice, without which the evils of the Church in the daies of Constantine could not have bin remedied.
The ninth Argument remaineth,* which is this. That government which meerly tendeth unto the taking away from particular Congregations, their due power is unlawfull. But the government of Presbyteries and Synods (as they now are) doth meerly tend unto the taking away from particu∣lar Congregations their due power. Ergo. I did ex∣pect some strong proofe for the assumption of this argument, but we must take it as it is. He tels us out of Master Barlow▪ that no man under the degree of a Prophet or an Apostle may prescribe Gods Church and children patternes. Our Synods are further from prescribing patterns either of worship or Church government than himselfe is. The patterne and whole manner of Church government is set down in the Scripture, those circumstāces excepted which are common to the Church with the Common-wealth, and are therefore determinable by natures light. Synods may not prescribe new patterns, no more may par∣ticular Churches: but Synods may in common causes, and extraordinarily prescribe unto parti∣cular churches, such things as particular churches may in particular causes and ordinarily prescribe to their owne members. If he will beleeve Parker (whom he thinks his owne) the authority which Page 37 particular Churches have severally is not lost,* but augmented when they are joyned together in Sy∣nods. But we have before abundantly declared how Presbyteriall & Synodical government doth not at all prejudge the rights of congregations.* As for that which here he addeth by way of supposi∣tion, putting the case that Presbyteries & Synods will not permit a congregation to reject some cō∣victed hereticks, nor to chuse any, except unfit Ministers, this is just as if one should object a∣gainst Parliaments, that (as they are now) they do meerly tend to the taking away of the right and liberty of the subject, and then for proofe should put the case, that Parliaments will protect and maintaine Monopolists, Projectorers, &c.
Now in this drove of arguments,* the drover hath set some like the weake of the flock to follow up behind. The first two are blind, and see not where they are going: for it maketh nothing against us, either that the Eldership of one congregation, hath not authority over the Eldership of another congregation, or that a minister should not un∣dertake the care of more Churches then one.
His third,* that presbyteriall power is never menti∣oned in the Scripture, is a begging of the thing in question, & is answered before; yet I must put him again in mind of Parker, who speaking of churches saith: Legitur in Scripturis de conjunct a earū auct ori∣tate, quando in Synodis congregantur. We read in their Scriptures of their joynt authority, when they are ga∣thered together into Synods. But there is a speech of Zuinglius against representative Churches, which he may not omit. Zuing•ius doth indeed justly aske of the antichristian prelats, who had given them Page 38 the name of a representative Church, & who had given them power to make Canons &c. yet hee addeth,*de his duntaxat &c. I speak of them only that are such, others who put themselves under not above the Scriptures, my writings shall nothing prejudge.
In the fourth place he objecteth,* that whosoever shall deny their assertion, must hold two distinct formes of Church government to be lawfull, one where particular congregations do in & of them∣selves exercise all Gods ordinances;* the other where they stand under another ecclesiasticall au∣thority out of themselves. I answer it is most law∣full for particular congregations in and of them∣selves to exercise all Gods ordinances, according to the distinctions & rules above mentioned: but this is not repugnant to their standing, under the authority of presbyteries & Synods, for which let us againe heare a tender friend of congregations. Major quidem potestas est Synodi quam unius alicujus Ecclesiae primea,*& parochialis; But goe we along.
*His first argument is, that for this reason, among others the learned say the Pope is Antichrist, viz. because he will have men to appeale from their owne Churches unto him, and to stand unto his sentence and decree: and doe not the pres∣byteriall assemblies & Synods, take upon them an authority much like to it. Soft my master, Soft. Canno lesse serve you, then to match our Church governemēt with the papall usurpations. 2. I shall beseech you to remember, 1. The Pope is one and receiveth appellations monarchinally: a Synod consisteth of many, & receiveth appellations ari∣stocratically: 2. The Pope receiveth appellations from other nations beyond Sea: presbiteries and Page 39 Synods not so. 3. The Pope will have his sentēce re∣ceived as infallible: presbyteries & synods acknow∣ledge themselves subject to error. 4. The Pope ac∣knowledgeth neither the Elders, nor the Elderships of congregations: which Presbyteries & Synods do. 5. The Pope acknowledeth no power ecclesiasti∣call on earth, except what is subject to him, yea de∣rived from him: and who will say so of Presbyteries & Synods. 6. The Pope receiveth appellations in other causes then ecclesiasticall: Presbyteries and Synods not so. 7. Synods are made up of the Com∣missioners of Churches: The Pope neither hath any cōmission himselfe from the Churches, nor will ad∣mit the Commissioners of Churches, to sit in judge∣ment with him. 8. Synods when they receive appel∣lations, are tyed to certaine rules of proceeding and judging, especially the Scripture. The Pope maketh his power boundlesse, and exalteth himselfe, above the very Scripture. There shall be no end▪ except I stop in time. And what need I to make so many differences betwixt light and darknesse.
A sixth argument we shall now have, what more meet and reasonable saith he, then that every mans case be there heard & determined, where the fault was cōmitted. If this rule hold thē the Parliamēt or privy Councell, ought to go to every remote coun∣ty & corner of the kingdome, to judge of such faults there cōmitted, as are proper for thē to judg. His 126.96.36.199. arguments must be gone with silence,* for they run upon the robbing of congregations of their right, the exercising of ecclesiasticall govern∣ment, in all the apostolique Churches, & our accor∣ing with Papists & the Hierarchy. All which obje∣ctions have been before repelled; & it is somewhat Page 40 strange, that the disput•r doth so often repeate the same arguments, to make up the greater number. A pretty art indeed: like that of the young logician who would needs prove, that the foure egs upon the table were five, because two & three make five.
In this second clause of arguments there is only one behind, and that is, that by the titles given to all particular cōgregations, viz. a kingdome, a family, a body, a Queen &c. it appeareth that all ecclesiasticall auctority, ought to be in every one of thē distinct∣ly, wholly, entirely. Where let the reader observe, that he maketh the meaning of that place Mat. 3.2. the kingdome of God is at hand, to be this, a particular congregation is at hand; also that he expoundeth Eph. 2.19. & Ps. 45. of a particular congregation, which are meant of the holy Catholike Church. But say that every particular congregation is a kingdome, a family, a body, a Queene, how proveth he that these names doe agree to every congregation in re∣spect of her externall policy, or ecclesiasticall go∣vernment. Nay say they, doe agree in this respect, yet in a thousand examples it is to be seen, that one and the same thing is both totum & pars, the whole, & the part, in different respects. Whereof we have also spoken in the former treatise.
He concludeth, that by this time he doth suppose the reader perceiveth, that the Scriptures are every way for them, and against the Presbyteriall govern∣ement, you shall doe well Sir to thinke better upon it; you have it yet to prove: Therefore goe to your second thoughts, and examine with me your not unexaminable examination. Farewell.