Hebrews VI. I.
THe Apostle chides the Hebrews in the former Chapter* for their ignorance and uncapablenesse of Divine Mysteries, from vers. 11. to the end. He tels them they were dull of hearing, and that their ignorance was affected; they might for their time and means have been teachers, and yet now they must be taught; and (which is strange) the very principles of the word of God. Here in the beginning of this Chapter he earnestly ex∣horts them to increase both in knowledge and obedience.
Leaving] The Apostle alludes to men running a race, they leave one place and go on forward; we must leave the principles of Religion, that is, not stick there, but passe on to a greater perfection. The Apostle hath reference to the Schools of the Iews where he was trained up; there were two sorts of Schollers, 1. Punies or petties. 2. Proficients, Perfectists. Six Principles are named, as so many Heads and Common-places of the ancient Catechism; not but that there were many other necessary prin∣ciples; yet they might be reduced to these:
1. Two main duties, that is, 1. The Doctrine of Repentance from* dead works, that every man is dead in sinne by nature, and therefore had need to repent. 2. The Doctrine of Faith in God, in his Nature, as manifested in the Word, and revealed in Christ.
2. Two means, 1. The Doctrine of Baptisms, by which in the Plu∣ral Number he means both the Sacraments; and also the inward Baptism of Christ, and that outward Baptism of Iohn, that is to say, of the Mi∣nister, though some * referre it to the set times of Baptism. 2. The Im∣position Page [unnumbered] or laying on of hands, that is by a Trope or borrowed speech, the Ministery of the Church upon the which hands were laid, not the Sa∣crament of Confirmation, as à La•ide expounds it: So Cartwright in his Harmony. See M. Gillespies Miscel. cap. 3. pag. 47, 48. and M. Cartw. Re∣joynd. p. 278.
3. Two Benefits, Resurrection of the dead, that the same numerical* body shall arise again, that it dies not with the body; and eternal judge∣ment, so called metonymically, because in that Judgement sentence shall be given concerning their eternal state, either in weal or woe. Vide Grot.* in Matth. 26. 45.
Not laying again the foundations] Three things are required in a founda∣tion. 1. That it be the first thing in the building. 2. That it bear up all the other parts of the building. 3. That it be firm and immoveable. Simply and absolutely in respect of all times, persons, and things, Christ * only is the foundation upon which the spiritual building of the Church is raised.
The first principles of heavenly Doctrine are named here a foundation, because they are the first things which are known, before which nothing can be known, and because upon the knowledge of these things all other parts of heavenly knowledge do depend. They must be so firmly laid and received at the first, as they should never be questioned more, not that Ministers may not preach again of Principles. Those that deny Funda∣mentals must of necessity destroy Religion. Perfection is building on the old foundation. In no age since the Gospel dawned in the world, were all fundamentals in Religion denied till now.
The Apostles are the foundation of the Church, *Ephes. 2. 20. Revel. 21. 14. in three respects,
- 1. Because they were the first which founded Churches, and convert∣ed unbelievers to the faith.
- 2. Because their doctrine which they received immediately from God by most undoubted revelation without mixture of errour or danger of be∣ing deceived, is the Rule of Faith to all after-comers.
- 3. Because they were Heads, Guides, and Pastors of the whole uni∣versal Church.
The Proposition or Observation which ariseth from these words thus opened, may be this,
The Principles and Foundations of Christian Religion must be well laid.*
Catechizing and instructing of the people in the Principles of Religion is a ne∣cessary Duty to be used.
The Apostle illustrates this by a comparison, first, from Schools; se∣condly, from building, the foundation must be first laid.
The excellent definition of catechising which the Apostle here gives, yeelds us two good proofs of its necessity.
1. It is the Doctrine of the beginning of Christ, by some rendred not* unfitly for the sense, which gives beginning in Christ.
2. It is a foundation which bears up all the building (without this, Page [unnumbered] preaching is to no purpose) which though it makes the least shew, yet it* is of greatest use; it establisheth men, and keeps them free from wa∣vering.
3. This course is most agreeable, 1. To Art; all Arts proceed from principles. Physicians have their principles, Lawyers their maxims, Philosophers their chief sentences. 2. To Nature, which first forms the vital parts, then the more remote. 3. It is sutable to reason. Prin∣ciples are, 1. Easiest in themselves. 2. Facilitate other matters. 3. Are the most necessary Doctrines of all the rest, they bear up all the rest. 4. Are of continual and constant use; Principia sunt minima quantitate, maxima virtute.
4. Gods order and practice hath been still to lay principles; things might easily passe from one to another at first, they lived so long. Cain and Abels sacrificing is an evidence of catechising before the Flood; there was no Word written then, therefore it is like their Fathers taught them. It was practised by Abraham, Gen. 18. 19. the fruit of which observe in his sonne. Gen. 24. 63. and servant, Gen. 12. 26. God himself writes a Catechism for the Jews, describing a short compendium of Religion in the two Authentick Tables of the Law. Hannah delivered Samuel to Eli* his Instructor so soon as he was weaned. Iehoiada taught the young King Iihoash. David and Bathsheba practised it, 2 Chron. 28. 8, 9. Psal. 34. 11. Prov. 4. 4. & 31. 1. and Salomon himself seems to give that precept out of the most experience of his own most excellent education, Teach a childe the trade of his way, and when he is old he shall not depart from it; though himself scarce did so; and Eccles. 12. 23. he draws all which he had said in his whole Book to two heads, Fear God and keep his Commandments. Ca∣techizing* was also practised by Christ and his Apostles, Luke 2. 4. Acts 22. 3. Heb. 6. 1, 2, 3. Christ allowed of H•sanna sung by children. He be∣gins with regeneration to Nicodemus, and he drew the whole Law into two heads, Matth. 22. 37. Iohn and Christ preacht Faith and Repentance, and the Apostles a after them. Theophilus was catechized, Luke 1. 4. A∣pollos, Act. 18. 23. Timothy, 1 Tim. 3. 15, 2 Tim. 2. 2. The Apostle Paul commends to Timothies custody a patern of wholsome Doctrine, which he* calsbA form of Doctrine, Rom. 6. 17. and the Analogy of faith, Rom. 12. 6. that is, certain plain rules, unto which all others must hold pro∣portion.
The Magdeburgenses observe from these places, and that Heb. 6. that there was Catechismus ab Apostolis tra•itus, that the Apostle drew the Do∣ctrine of the Gospel into short heads for the instructing of the children of the Church.
This Duty principally belongs to Ministers, their Office is set down under the name of catechizing, Let him which is catechized make him thatPage [unnumbered]catechizeth partaker, Gal. 6. 6. Ministers must plant and beget as well as increase and build up, feed the Lambs as well as the Sheep; they are compared to Nurses, wise Stewards, skilfull builders; it must be perfor∣med by Housholders also, Ephes. 6. 4. God chargeth Parents to perform this Duty, Deut. 6. 6, 7. Rehearse them continually, whet them upon* thy children, often go over the same thing, as a knife doth the whetstone. They are bound to bring up their children in the nurture and information of the Lord; Children were to be taught the meaning of the Passeover, Exod. 12. 16. Masters of Families also must instruct their servants which are ungrounded, as children. Christ instructed his Apostles, he taught them how to pray, he being the Master of the Family, and they his Fa∣mily, as appeareth, because he did eat the Passeover together with them; and the Law appoints that every family should celebrate that Feast toge∣ther. The reason why God specifieth not this point in the Masters duty, is, because if it be performed by the Father, it shall be needlesse, seeing it is done to the Masters hand; but if the Father neglect it, surely the Ma∣ster which succeeds in the Fathers room, and hath his Authority, must see it done. For as a Father in Israel was bound to see his own sonne cir∣cumcised,* so he was bound to see his servant circumcised; and if to cir∣cumcise him, sure he must as well make him as his childe to know what Circumcision meaned. And what Christ did as a master of a Family, that* must every Master of family do, seeing we must be followers of Christ every one in his place; therefore every one must instruct his ignorant ser∣vants in the truths of Religion.
The Jews did use Catechizing; Cyprian saith, Optatus exercised it at*Carthage, and Origen at Alexandria, Clemens Alexandrinus had his Poe∣dagogus, Lactantius and Calvin their Institutions, Athanasius his Synopsis, Augustine his Enchiridion, his Books De Doctrina Christiana, and De Cate∣chizandis rudibus.
Catechizing is Institutio viva voce, a kinde of familiar conference. The Hebrew verb Chanach signifieth to instruct or train up even from childe∣hood; and to initiate or dedicate, from which word holy Henochc had his name, importing nurture in the fear of God. The Greek word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 signifieth to sound or re-sound as by an Eccho, and is applied even by Heathen Writers unto that kinde of teaching which is by word of mouth, sounding in the ear of him that is taught, and especially unto the teaching of the first rudiments of any Science whatsoever. It signifieth any kinde of vocal instruction, Acts 21. 21, 24. viz. that whereby the principles of Christian Doctrine are made known unto the hearers, as Luk. 1. 4. instructed or catechized, Gal. 6. 6. taught or catechized. See Acts 18. 25. Rom. 2. 18. 1 Cor. 14. 19.
Catechizing is a plain and easie instructing of the ignorant in the* grounds of Religion, or concerning the fundamental Principles, fa∣miliarly by Questions and Answers, and a spiritual applying the same for practice.
Page [unnumbered]Whatever the catechizing in the Primitive Church was in private, for the publick it seems not to have been Dialogue-wised by Question and Answer, but in a continued speech, with much plainnesse and familiar∣nesse
Catechizing differs from preaching; Preaching is the dilating of one* member of Religion into a just Treatise; Catechizing is a contracting of the whole into a summe; Preaching is to all sorts, catechizing to the young and rude.
- Catechizing is, 1. Plain; that none might excuse themselves; that the* most illiterate might not say at the day of Judgement, O Lord, thy wayes were too hard for us. 2. That the manner of the teaching might be suta∣ble to the hearers. 3. That no Governours might pretend the difficulty of it.
- 2. Instructing, which implieth that original ignorance and blindenesse we were born with.
- 3. It is such an instructing which is by way of distilling things in a fa∣miliar manner; our Saviour did not give the people whole Loaves, but di∣stributed them by pieces.
- 4. Such an instructing as acquaints them with the meaning of things,* and spiritually applies the same for practice. It is not enough to say the Creed and Lords Prayer, but to understand the sense, and apply it to practice.
- 5. An instruction by way of Question and Answer, which is thereby made more plain and familiar.
The exercise of Catechizing hath been proved to be most ancient, and very necessary and usefull; and therefore it should be alwayes continued in the Church.
- 1. Because there will alwayes be found Babes which stand in need of Milk, not being able to bear strong meat.
- 2. Because as no building can stand without a foundation, and none can be expert in an Art except he learn the principles thereof: so none can have sound knowledge in Divinity, except he be trained up in the grounds thereof.
The best way to perform this exercise, is,
- 1. By short Questions and Answers, the Minister demanding the Que∣stion, the people answering.
- 2. It must be done purely, 2 Cor. 2. 4.
- 3. Plainly, 2 Cor. 3. 2. Heb. 5. 11.
- 4. Soundly, Tit. 2. 7.
- 5. Orderly.
- 6. Cheerfully and lovingly, 2 Tim. 2. 24. praising the forward, en∣couraging* the willing, patiently bearing with all, admonishing such as are unruly. Amesius his Christianae Catechesios Sciagraphia is usefull this way, and Nowels Catechism in Latine; in English there are B. Ushers, M. Bains, M. Cartwrights, M. Balls, and M. Crooks Guide, and now the Assemblies.
Page [unnumbered]Here is a fault that both teachers and hearers must share between* them; Ministers do not teach principles sufficiently, happy is that man which can say with Paul, I have kept back nothing that was pro∣fitable.
2. Those are too blame which will not be taught, children and ser∣vants which are stubborn and unwilling to be catechized; some say they are too old to learn; but are they too old to repent and be saved? Some say, they are past principles, they are not now to be grounded; but we may say with the Apostle, Whereas they ought to be teachers, they had need themselves to be taught. Such people rebell against their Mini∣ster or Master, whose duty is to teach them, and God who com∣mands it.
Let men be exhorted to practise this duty, Ministers, Masters, Parents;* Schoolmasters teach the A, B, C, and the Grammer, Suffer little children to come unto me.
Consider, 1. Thou broughtst thy children into the world blinde and* deformed.
2. Thou canst not else have comfort in thy children or servants; many are crost in their family for want of this, and many at the gallows will cry out, If they had lived where they had been instructed, they had ne∣ver died a dogs death. Greenham saith; Thy children shall follow thee up and down in hell, and cry against thee for not teaching them. He that will not provide for his family (saith Paul) is worse then an Infidell; and he that will not teach them is worse then a beast. The old Nightingale f teacheth the young to sing, and the old Eagle her young ones to flie. Children ill brought up were devoured by Bears, to teach Parentsg, that since they have done lesse then Bears, who shape their whelps by much licking and smoothing them (though Vossius* and Dr. Brownh deny this) they therefore by Bears were bereft of them. It is good therefore to season our childreni with wholsome truths betime; a vessel will long keep the savour of that with which it is at first seasoned, and the Devil will begin betime to sow his seed. Master Belton upon his death∣bed spake unto his children thus, I do believe (saith he) there is never a one of you will dare to meet me at the Tribunall of Christ in an unregenerate condition.
It will be a great comfort to thee and benefit to them when they are in∣structed* in the points of Religion; If thy children die, yet thou mayest have great hope of them, when thou hast acquainted them with the principall grounds of Religion. The Papists in the Preface to the Cate∣chism of the Councel of Trent, confesse that all the ground we have got of them is by catechizing; and let us look that we lose not our ground again for want of it. Iulian himself could not devise a readier means to banishk Christian Religion, then by pulling down Page [unnumbered] the Schools and places of educating children. Egesippus saith, That by vertue of catechizing there was never a Kingdom but received alte∣ration in their Heathenish Religion within fourty years after Christs passion.
All ignorant persons though they be grown in years must be willing to* be instructed and catechized.
Ignorance in principles is a great sin:
- 1. The Lord appointed a Sacrifice for ignorance, Heb. 9. 7.
- 2. He requires repentance for it.
- 3. It is the original of all the errours in a mans life, both in doctrine and worship, 1 Cor. 15. 34. Ioh. 4. 22. such will be a prey to false teachers, Col. 2. 8.
- 4. The ground of all instability in the wayes of God, Ephes. 4. 14, 15. and of that non-proficiency that is in men, the way to damnation, Act. 4. 12.
Theophilus a Noble-man and of ripe years was catechized, as the Greek* word shews; ignorance bringeth men to the very pit and gulph of destru∣ction, Hos. 4. 1. and vers. 14. 1 Pet. 3. 15. Christians should be ready to give an answer to every man which doth ask them a reason1 of the hope which is in them; the foundation is that which is first and surest laid, and hath an influence into all the building.
Men should do all upon trial and solid conviction, 1 Thess. 5. 21. 1 Ioh. 4. 1. The Papists would have the people take things upon trust, they say, those places concerne the Doctours of the Church not the people, but compare the 20, and 21. vers. in the Thessalonians, and 1. vers. with 6. in Iohn, and we shall see the contrary.
This trial is profitable,
First, Because truth then will have a greater force on the consci∣ence.
Secondly, This is the ground of constancie, 2 Pet. 3. 17.
Thirdly, Hereby we shall be able to maintain the truth, Matthew 11. 19.
The Scriptures are fundamentum quo, the fundamental writings which declare the salvation of Christians, Iohn 5. 37. Christ fundamentum quod, the fundamental means and cause which hath purchased and doth give it, Iohn 4. 42. Them person we must build on is Christ, 1 Cor. 3. 11. He is called the foundation of foundations, Isa. 28. The doctrinal foundation is the written Word of God, which is not only the object and matter of our faith, but the rule and reason of it. Hold Christ as your Rock, build on him, the Scripture as your rule and the reason of your believing; this is general, there are some particulars.*
First, Some things are simply necessary; It were a notable work for one to determine this, how much knowledge were requi∣red of all.
Page [unnumbered]Secondly, Not absolutely necessary. Some make the foundation too* narrow, some again too wide; some say that if a man nean well and go on according to the light he hath, though he know not Christ, he shall be saved; Others say, that all are bound to know distinstly the Articles of the Creed.
Fundamental truths are all such points of Doctrine which are so plainly* delivered in Scripture, that whosoever doth not know or follow them shall be damned, but he that doth know and follow these (though erring in other things) shall be saved.
All the principles of Religion are plain and easie, delivered clearly in
- 1. Scripture, they are to be a rule to judge of other Doctrines.
- 2. They are very few (say some) reduced to two heads, by Iohn Ba∣ptist, Mark 1. 15. and by Paul, 2 Tim. 1. 13.
- 3. In all principles necessary to salvation, there hath been agreement among all the Churches of Christ, Ephes. 4. 5. though they may differ in superstructures. Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditur Catholi∣cam est. Vincent. Lyrin.
These Fundamentals (said a Reverend Divine now with God) are twelve; three concerning God, three concerning Man; three concern∣ing the Redeemer, three concerning the means of attaining good by this Redeemer.
- 1. There is one God, which is an Infinite, Perfect, and Spirituall Essence.
- 2. This one God is distinguished into three Persons or manners of sub∣sistence* after an incomprehensible way, which we believe but cannot per∣fectly understand. The Father begetting, the Son begotten, and the holy Ghost proceeding.
- 3. This one God, the Father, Sonne, and holy Ghost, is the Maker, Preserver and Governour of all things, by his Wisdom, Power, Justice, Providence.
- 1. That he was made by God of a visible body, and an immortal and spiritual soul, both so perfect and good in their kindes, that he was perfect∣ly able to have attained eternal life for himself, which was provided as a reward of his obedience.
- 2. That being thus made he yielded to the temptations of the Devil, Page [unnumbered] and did voluntarily sin against God in eating of the Tree forbidden, and so became a childe of wrath and heir of cursing, an enemy to God, and slave to the Devil, utterly unable to escape eternal death, which was provided as a recompence of his disobedience.
- 3. That he doth propagate this his sinfulnesse and misery to all his po∣sterity.
- 1. That he is perfect God, and perfect Man, the second Person in the Trinity, who took the Nature of man from the Virgin Mary, and uni∣ted it to himself in one personal Subsistence, by an incomprehensible Union.
- 2. That in mans Nature he did die and suffer in his Life and Death, sufficient to satisfie Gods Justice, which man had offended, and to de∣serve for mankinde Remission of sins, and Life everlasting; and that in the same Nature he Rose again from the Dead, and shall also Raise up all men to receive Judgement from him at the last Day, according to their Deeds.
- 3. That he is the only sufficient and perfect Redeemer, and no other merit must be added unto this, either in whole or part.
Lastly, Concerning the Means of applying the Redeemer, they are three,
- 1. That all men shall not be saved by Christ, but onely those that are brought to such a sight and feeling of their own sinfulnesse and mi∣sery, that with sorrow of heart they do bewail their sins, and renoun∣cing all merits of their own, or any creature, cast themselves upon the mercies of God, and the only merits of Jesus Christ, which to do is to repent and believe, and in this hope live holily all the remainder of their life.
- 2. That no man is able thus to see his sinnes by his own pow∣er, renounce himself, and rest upon Christ, but God must work it in whom he pleaseth by the cooperation of his Spirit regenerating and re∣newing them.
- 3. That for the working of this Faith and Repentance, and direction of them in a holy life, he hath left in writing by the Prophets and Apo∣stles infallibly guided to all truth by his Spirit, all things necessary to be done or believed to salvation, and hath continued these writings to his peo∣ple in all ages.*
Observe those places, Act. 15. 11. 1 Tim. 1. 15. Let a man hold this, that there was nothing but death in the world till Christ came, and that he is come to save sinners, Ioh. 17. 3.
Secondly, There are practical places, 1 Cor. 6. 9. Titus 3. 8. Let us,*
- 1. See our selves dead without Christ, and wholly trust in him.
- 2. Let us be exemplary in our lives and conversations.
There are other Fundamentals which are only comparatively necessary, Page [unnumbered] that is expected from one man which is not expected from another; and more from those that live in the Church. Have these six Principles of the Apostle not only in your heads, but hearts.
- 1. That a man is dead in himself.*
- 2. That his remedy lies out of himself.
- 3. Know the Doctrine of the Sacraments.
- 4. The Word of God.
- 5. Have some apprehension of the life to come, 1. That there is a passage from death to life. 2. That there is a fixed and irrevokable estate after this life.
- 6. Hold the Doctrine of Faith so, that Christ may live in you, and you be delivered up into that forme of Doctrine, lay hold on life eternal.
Secondly, There are some particular principles. There is a natural light and supernatural The light of Nature teacheth some principles: That, you must do as you would be done by, that no man hates his own flesh, that one must provide for his family, that there is a God, and one God, that he is to be honour∣ed and reverenced above all.
2. Supernatural, Let all our actions be done, 1. In Love. 2. In Hu∣mility. 3. In Faith. 4. In God; This the Gospel teacheth.
Shew your selves Christians in power, go beyond the Heathen in pra∣ctising* the good rules of Nature.
- 1. Be carefull to make a wise choice of principles; one false principle admitted, will let in many errours, and erroneous principles will lead men into erroneous practices.
- 2. Labour to act your principles, if you captivate the light, God will put it out.
- 3. Be sure you work according to your principles; we pity another in an errour when he follows his principles.
Here is an Apology for those Teachers which tread in Pauls steps, are carefull to lay the foundation well. It was the Observation of our most judicious King JAMES, That the cause why so many fell to Popery, and other errours, was their ungroundedness in points of Catechism.
How many wanton opinions are broached in these dayes? I wish I might not justly call them Fundamentall n errours. Some deny the Scriptures, some the Divinity of Christ, some the Immortality of the Soul.
Errours are either oContra, against the foundation, which subvert the foundation, as that of the Papists who deny the all-sufficiency of Christs once suffering.
3. Citra meerly without, these divert the foundation, as in the contro∣versies of Church-Government, whether it be Social or Solitary; this strikes not at the foundation. Laurentius saith, the Apostle, 1 Cor. 3. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. speaks not of heretical Teachers, and those which erre in fundamentals, but of those which erre in lighter matters, because he saith of both, they build upon one and the same foundation, Christ. See Mr Bur∣gess* of Justific. p. 80.
We should contend for a known fundamentall necessary truth, Iude vers. 3. The common faith; not every opinion entertained on probable ground.
It is a great Question in Divinity,
An Magistratui Christiano liceat capitales poenas de Haereticis su∣mere? Whether Hereticks are to be punished by the Christian Magistrate with death?
The Papists say, Haeretici qua Haeretici comburendi, That Hereticks* for Heresie sake, though they do not trouble the State, ought to be put to death.
Luther doth not approve of the capital punishment of Hereticks, espe∣cially for the pernicious sequel of it among the Papists against the Prote∣stants.* He thinks it better that they be banished. The present Lutherans hold the same almost concerning that Question. Meisnerp doth distinguish between Haereticus simplex, and Haereticus seditiosus ac blasphemus, these last he saith may be punished with capital punishments.
The Socinians (being themselves the worst of Hereticks) would have no outward forcible restraining of any errour, though never so grosse and per∣nicious.
You must not look (say the Socinians) into the Old Testament for a a rule of proceeding against false Prophets and Seducers: Nor (saith Calvin and Catharinus) can you sinde in the New Testament any precept for the punishment o• Thieves, Traitors, Adulterers, Witches, Mur∣therers, and the like, and yet they may, or at least some of them be capi∣tally punisht.*
For the Protestants, hear what Zanchy saith, Omnes fere ex nostratibus hujus sunt sententiae, quod haeretici sint gladio puniendi. Beza hath written a peculiar Tract, De Haereticis à Magistratu puniendis. Calvin also hath writ∣ten Aure•m librum (as Beza cals it) of this very Argument.
We do deservedly condemn the cruelty of Turks and Papists, which go about by force alone to establish their superstitions. The Church of Rome and the Pope, will judge what Heresie is, and who is an He∣retick,* and they appropriate to themselves the name of Catholicks, and all such as dissent from them must presently be pronounced Here∣ticks.
Page [unnumbered]The Pope and Canonists hold him to be an Heretick, Qui non in omni∣bus ac singulis Papae decretis obtemperat. He that readeth the Bible in his Mother-tongue, will be esteemed an Heretick with them. Virgilius a Germane Bishop and a Mathematician, was sent for to Rome by the Pope, and condemned of Heresie, because he held that there were An∣tipodes.
Because Heresie is not easily defined (as Augustine saith) and be∣cause* faith should be perswaded not compelled, We conceive that all fair means should be first used to convince men of their errours and heresie* which indeed is so; Therefore we will premise some things concerning the nature and danger of Heresie, before we speak particularly of the pu∣nishment of Hereticks.
Chillingworth thus defines Heresie: It is (saith he) an obstinate defence* of any errour against any necessary Article of the Christian faith. Two things must concurre (say some) to constitute an Heretick. 1. Error in side, 1 Tim. 1. 19. 2. Pertinacia, Titus 3. 10.
See Mr Vines on 2 Pet. 2. 1. p. 46, 47. Neque vero alia magis ratione defini∣mus, quam si veterum trium Symbolorum, vel si veterum quatuor Generalium conciliorum ulli contraveniat. Episc. And. Tert.
Dr Fieldq thus describes the nature of Heresie. Heresie is not every errour, but errour in matter of Faith; nor every errour in matter of Faith; (for neither Jews nor Pagans are said to be Hereticks, though they •••e most damnably in those things which every one that will be saved must believe; and with all the malice, fury and rage that can be imagined, im∣pugn the Christian faith and verity) but it is the errour of such as by some kinde of profession have been Christians; so that only such as by profes∣sion being Christians, depart from the truth of Christian Religion, are na∣med Hereticks.
Secondly, For the danger of Heresie. Heresie is a fruit of the flesh, Gal.* 5. 20. An Heretick after the first and second time reject, Tit. 3. 10. Heresie or false doctrine is in Scripture compared to rLeaven, and to a Gangrene, for the spreading and infectious nature of it. The Heresie of Ariuss was more dangerous to the Church then the Sword of all the persecuting Empe∣rours. Page [unnumbered] It is compared to a Land-floud, Revel. 12. because it did overcome all presently.
We need not to ask whether he joyn obstinacy to his errour, (saith t Dr Field) which er•eth in those things which every one is bound parti∣cularly to believe, because such things do essentially and directly concern the matter of our salvation, and he is without any further enquiry to be pronounced an Heretick, and the very errour it self is damnable; as if a man (saith he) shall deny Christ to be the Son of God, coessential, coe∣qual and coeternal with his Father; or that we have remission of sins by the effusion of his bloud.
They therefore who first hold pestilent Heresies; and secondly, who* when before they professed the Christian Religion, and held the truth, have yet made a direction from the same, to such Heresies; and thirdly, who labour to infect others; and fourthly, being convicted do yet obsti nately persevere in them, and in the manner before mentioned; such are and ought (say some worthy Protestants) to be punished by the Christian Magistrate with death.
They reason thus from the Office of the Magistrate. Every Magistrate may and ought to punish offenders; and the more pernicious the offenders are, the more hamous ought the punishment to be.
That the Magistrate is both custos ac vindex utriusque tabulae, these two* Scriptures do plainly evince, For he is the Minister of God to thee for good: but i• thou do what is evil, be afraid, for he beareth not the sword in vain, for he is the Minister of God, a revenger, to execute wrath upon him that doth evil, Rom. 13. 4. & 1 Tim. 2. 2. For Kings and all that are in Authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty, and are urged by Calvin, Beza, and divers others, to this very purpose. For if (saith Beza) the Magistrate have not power over Hereticks, one of these two things must necessarily follow either that Hereticks do not do ill; or that what Paul speaks in general must be restrained to a certain kinde of evil deeds, viz. to corporal sins. Ubi lex non distinguit nec non distinguere de∣bemus.*
From 1 Tim. 2. 2. both Melancthon and Beza collect, that the Magi∣strate is constituted by God, not onely a preserver of the second Table, but also and especially of pure Religion, and the external Discipline of it, and so a punisher also of the offences u against it. Godliness and honesty makes Kings Guardians of both Tables, as well of the first which con∣taineth the worship of God, as of the second which is the fountain of publick honesty. D. Hampton on Luk. 22. 24, 25. Vide Episc. Rosseus de po∣testate Papae in rebus temporal. lib. 2. c. 14. pag. 460. That Magistrate which takes care onely of honesty, doth but one and the least part of his duty. See 2 Chron. 17. 7, 8, 9.
For the inforcing of this Argument from these two Scriptures, these Reasons may be added:
1. The sins against the first Table (Caeteris paribus) are greater then Page [unnumbered] those against the second Table, and the Magistrate is more to respect the glory of God then the peace of the Commonwealth.
Heresies and corruptions in judgement are held by a Reverend Divine x to be worse then corruptions in manners; his reason is taken out of Levit. 13. 44. one that was leprous in his head was utterly unclean. There was a special dishonour put on him that had the leprosie in his head, there 45. v. compare with Mic. 3. 7.
2. Errours and Heresies are called in Scripture Evil deeds, 2 Ioh. v. 10, 11. and Hereticks Evil doers, Phil. 3. 2.
Divines generally hold, that such who erre blasphemously are to be put* to death, such as Arius and Servetus in France.
One saith the Devil will think he hath made a good bargain, if he can get an universal liberty for removal of the Prelacy.
That which Ierome wrote to Augustine, Quod signum majoris gloriae est, omnes Haeretici te detestantur, may be applied to those of our times, who* have been Champions for the truth, such evil doers will malign them; but if they mannage well so good a cause, it will bear them out.
Ierome was famous for confuting the Heresies of his times, for writing against Helvidius, Iovinian, Vigilantius, th•Luciferians and Pelagians. Origen shews great learning in writing against Celsus. Basil opposing Eu∣nomius. Cyprians writings against Novatus, and Hilaries against Constan∣tius, deserves praise. Austine wrote excellently against Pelagius, and Gau∣dentius the Arians, Manichees. Quis unquam (saith one) in Ecclesia paulo eruditior, post ortam novam haeresin reticuit? Ea demum vera militia Christiana est, haereses expugnare.