CHAP. 10. SECT. 10.
Concerning our order and form in administration of Gods publique worship.
THe Authour here contendeth for the worship of God in its native simplicity, without all ceremonies; to which I can oppose nothing, but shall prove the unlawfulnesse of humane ceremonies in another Treatise, God-willing.
Of the communion of the visible Catholique Church.
IEsus Christ hath now under the N. Testament a Catholique visible Church on earth (for of that part of the Catholique Church now triumphing in glory; or of that part which onely is a Church of elected Saints, and are not yet formally a profes∣sing Church, but onely such in the predestinatiun of God, I spake not now) and to this Church universall, visible, hath the Lord gi∣ven a ministery, and all his Ordinances of Word and Sacrament principally and primarily and to the ministery and guides of this Catholique visible Church hath the Lord committed the Keyes, as to the first subject, and for the visible Church Catholique, in∣cluding also the invisible Church; as for the object and end hath he given his ordinances and the power of the keyes; And the Ministery and ordinances are not given to this or this Congre∣gation which meeteth ordinarily in one place, principally, 1. The Lord Iesus gave this Ministeriall power to the universall guides of the catholick Church, the Apostles as they did represent the Presbytery of the whole Catholick visible Church, Ioh. 20. 21. As my Father sent me, so send I you. 22. And when he had thus sayd he breathed on them, and said, receive the Holy Ghost. 23 whosoever sinnes you remit, they are remitted; and whosoever sinnes you retaine, they are retained. The Apostles here receive the keys in name of the whole Catholick Ministeriall guides. For in this the Apostles must stand in the person and roome of a single Page 290 society of believers united by a Church covenant in one pa∣rishonall Church, if our brethrens grounds stand good; so as a Parishionall Church must be the onely successors of the Apostles, but this no Word of God can warrant. Nor is the Eldership of a single Congregation that which the Apostles here repre∣sented; except you say to this Eldership, as to the first subject, is this message of sending, as the Father sent Christ, commit∣ted, and to this Eldership within one Congregation is the power Ministeriall of pardoning and retaining sinnes given; For I aske, from whence, or from whose hands do the Eldership of a Congregation receive the keys? from Jesus Christ, say they, but this is no answer, the Ministery according to its institution is no doubt onely from the head of the body the Church, from Iesus Christ. But I aske now of an ordinary Church-calling; and I demand from whose hands under Jesus Christ have this par∣ticular Eldership received Ministeriall power: they cannot say from themselves, for they doe not make themselves Ministers: they will not say from a Colledge of Presbyters of many con∣gregations, for they are flatly against all such presbyteries, and that which they say indeed, the Eldership of a congregation hath their Ministeriall power from the people. Well then, the Apostles when they received the keys they did represent the people: but what people? not the people of a classicall presby∣tery, of a Province, of a Nation, of the whole redeemed Church, but of one single congregation; how shall this be made out of the Text, or out of one Word of God, I see not. 2. Christ ascending on high, and giving some to be Apostles, and some Prophets, and some Evangelists, and some Pastors and Teachers, 12. For the perfecting of the Saints, (not of Ephesus, far lesse of one single Congregation onely) for the worke of the Ministery (in generall) for the edifying of the Body of Christ (not a con∣gregationall body onely) 12. Till we all meet in the unity of the Faith, and of the knowledge of the Sonne of God, unto a perfit man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulnesse of Christ. Consider I pray you, that Christs intention in giving a Ministery is not for a congregation of forty, or sixty, or a hundred, as if hee in∣tended to impawn all power in that Congregationall body; but hee intended the edifying of his body Catholick, and Page 291the comming of all to the unity of the Faith. A Congregation of sixty cannot be all Saints, and this power is clearely given to that body, which the Lord is to make a perfit man, according to the measure of the fulnesse of the stature of Christ, this is a my∣sticall man, and the Catholick body of Iesus Christ. Call it a Congregation and you wrest the Scripture, and vilifie the noble and large end for the which Christ hath given a ministery: as aske to what end, and to what first and principall subject hath the Lord given reason and a faculty of discoursing, is it to Peter, to Iohn, &c. as to the first subject, and for them as for their good? no, no, it is for and to the race of mankind. The case is is just so here, 1 Cor. 12. 28. God hath placed some in the Church, first Apostles, secondarily Prophets, thirdly Teachers, &c. Is the meaning thus? God hath placed in the body of a single Con∣gregation Apostles? Where do you read that? I believe Apostles have the Catholick visible Church for their Parish; and is it a Congregationall body, wherein God placed such variety of members, as Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Workes of miracles, gifts of Healing, Helps, Governments, &c? So Rom. 12. 5. So we being many are one body in Christ, and every one members of another. Hence hee reckoneth out divers offices in this bo∣dy. Now this is not one Congregation onely, but that one Body of Christ whereof Christ is head, this is the Catholick Church.
2. What power ministeriall our Brethren affirme to bee given to a Congregation, they say it is given to them under the notion of a flock of redeemed ones, of the Spouse, and body of Christ, as they cite for this act, 20. 28. & Col. 1. 18. Eph. 1. 22 and under the notion of the City of God, the Kingdome, house and building of Christ, but so they come to our hand, for this reduplication, or notion of a flock of redeemed ones, of the body and spouse of Christ, of the City, Kingdome, House, Building, agree first to the Catholick Church as is clear, Col. 1. 8. Eph. 5. 25 26. 1 Tim. 3. 15. Eph. 2. 19, 20, 21, 22. and se∣condarily only to a Congregation as it is a part of this univer∣sall flock. 3. The whole Catholick Church visible is made one ministeriall body Cant. 6. 4. beautifull as Tirzah, comely as the City of Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners. By reason Page 292 of their order of discipline, and is there called an organicall bo∣dy having v. 6 7 8. Eyes, Haire, Teeth Temples, Locks and have∣ing particular Churchs under her, three score Queens, fourescore concubines, and virgins without number. Yet is it sayd, v. 9. My Dove, my undesiled is but one, she is the only one of her Mother. Ainsworth who here may be more then a witnesse, sayth this *one Church is the daughter of Jerusalem who is above and the mo∣ther of us •ll. C•ton a witnesse not inferior saith on this place: *The true catholick Church of Christ is the Mother of all reformed Daughters, and that argument that our Brethren useth to prove a particular Church to be visible, because of externall commu∣nion (not in one House, for that is accidentall to visibility, one congregation may meet in three caves of the Earth, in time of persecution, and yet remaine one congregation) holdeth good in this catholick church made up of so many organs, as a con∣gregation is formed. 1. Begetting by the Ministery of the word, daughter-Churches to God, as they say a congregation doth, nor is it enough to say Ierusalem is not one by externall go∣vernment and order of Discipline, because they cannot meet together to exercise Discipline, but shee is one invisibly, because shee hath one Faith, one Lord, one Baptisme, one Spirit, one Hope of glory. For the Text sayth, they have one and the same Or∣gans, Teeth, Eyes, Haire, Temples, Locks; they are one Ieru∣salem, and compact City, one Army terrible by the Sword of of discipline. 2. We do not say, to make them one visible church, that they must have one visible actuall government, in externall order: for when of a congregation of 60. their be 30 absent through sicknesse and the busines of a lawfull calling, they are one Church visible, though in one metting you cannot see them all with one cast of your Eye; and when the church of Ierusalem exceeding in number ten thousand, did meet in part. from House to House, that is in sundry Houses; yet continuing in the same doctrine of the Apostles, and in fellowship and in breaking of bread, and in prayer, Acts 2. 46. 32. our brethren will say, they are one church. And therefore the power of Discipline, and the exercise of the Word, Seales, and Discipline in parts, is sufficient to make one visible catholick Church. 4. To that Church hath Christ given, as to the first church, the ordinances and ministery, Page 293 which he principally intendeth to perfit, to gather, and to bring to the unity of faith in a perfit body by these ordinances and that Ministery; because the wisdome of Christ hath not given his Ministery, and Ordinances to the catholick Church, intending principally to save them, except he give them a power in that Ministery to the first subject, which being put forth in acts may compasse that end. But Jesus Christ princi∣pally intends, to perfit to gather, to bring to the unity of faith in a perfit body, by these ordinances and Ministery, the whole catholick visible church, and secondarily only this or this particular congregation. Ergo, Christ hath given to the whole catholick Church, as to the first Church, the ordinances and Ministery, and so in this Mioistery catholick, hee ha h given the Keys to this catholick Church visible as to the first Church.
5. I prove it thus, when ever Chrst giveth gifts to a whole, he giveth it to the whole, by order of nature, before he give it to the parts of that whole, as is cleare by induction. He gives Christ a gift to the whole Church, by order of nature, first to the World, Joh. 3. 16. Then to this or this believer of the World. So he giveth redemption and grace by order of nature first to his Church in generall, Eph. 5. 25. Christ dieth first for his Church, not this or that single company, or particular per∣son, first for His sheep, that is, the whole flock, Joh. 10. v. 11. then for this or this company, or this of this straying sheep; He came to seeke and save, first the lost, Luk. 19. 10. then this or this lost man. He died first to gather together in one, not one man onely, yee not the nation of the Iewes onely, but to gather together in one, all the Children of God, which were scattered abroad, Ioh. 11. 25. and he is a propitiatiou by order of nature. First, for the sinnes of the whole World, 1 Ioh. 2. 1. and then secondarily, for our sinnes, so hath hee given the gifts of Apostles, Prophets, and Teachers, first to, and for Saints, in common and in generall, and not for this and that Saint, or for this company of Saints at Ephesus. Now that particular Congregations are parts of the great visible Church; I prove, and first that they are parts visible of a Presbytery, or a cir∣cuit of Congregations, within the locall bounds of a Pres∣bytery. Page 294 I make good thus. Those who have one common ne∣cessary object of externall government in Church-affairs, those are a whole visible community gifted with power from Christ to rule in that common and necessary object of government, and this and this portion of this whole community must be parts of that whole. But those Congregations within the lo∣call bounds of the circuit of a Presbytery have one common necessary object of externall government, in Church affaires; Ergo, those Congregations in such a circuit must be parts of this whole. The major I take from our Brethren, who therefore make a particular Congreation to be one in respect of ordinary meeting, to partake of word, seales, and to transect matters of jurisdiction, amongst themselves, but this agreeth to ma∣ny congregations within one circuit, for they meet occasion∣ally one with another in hearing the word and receiving the seales; and for the assumption I prove it thus, all those con∣gregations have these particulars of externall government in Church affaires, which they cannot transact within their owne Congregations, but doe ex aequo belong to them all. As 1. That they doe not give offence one to another; that one Church doe not hold the Doctrine of Balaam to the effence and scandall of other Churches. 2. That one Congregation make not Acts and Canons against the Word of God, and against the Acts of another Congregation agreeable to the Word of God. 3. That one Church admonish, rebuke, comfort, pro∣voke another to love and to good works, in such and such poynts; now though a Congregation make acts and constitutions for governing this, or that member of the community; yet they doe not, nor cannot make acts that oblige the community and the Church as the Church; the Church as the Church being a part is to be regulated by the whole, and if there be things that ex aequo concerne all, and doe not concerne one particular Church more then another, one particular Congre∣gation cannot governe in these. And by the like reason parti∣cular Churches and classicall Presbyteries, and Provinciall and Nationall Churches, are parts of the whole Catholick vi∣sible Church.
6. Because Christ hath not given the power of Ministery and Page 295 Ordinances, and Jurisdiction to the single Congregation as to the first subject upon the ground that our Brethren speake, to wit, because the single Congregation is that Spouse to which Christ is referred as an Husband, and that body to which hee carrieth the relation of an head, communicating life to all the members, Eph. 1. 22. Col. 1. 18. nor is it that adequat number of ransomed persons, of sheepe, of lost ones, of fellow-citizens, of spirituall stones, &c. To the which Christ doth carry that adequat and compleat relation of a Saviour, of a good Shepheard, of a Seeker of lost ones, of a King and Governour, of the chiefe c••ner-stone. Therefore that visible Church for whose salvation Christ hath given the Ministeriall power, must be the larger visible Church, just as the God of Nature hath given to the whole race of sheep, a power to seeke their own food, and because of their simplicity, a power to be ordered and led by the shepheard, and secondarily this power is given to this or this flock feeding on Mount Caermel, or elsewhere: so hath the God of Grace given a power to the whole visible Catholick flock to submit themselves, in the Lord, to other guides, and he hath given to the whole company of Shepheards as to the first subject the power of the Keys, and secondarily the power is given to this or this visible Church, and company of Pastors.
7. When any scandalous person is delivered to Satan, he is cast out of the whole Catholick Church; Ergo, he was before his e∣jection a member of the whole catholick Church, for hecannot be cast out, who was never within. And when he is excommunica∣ted, his sins bound, as in Heaven, so on Earth, that is, not only in that Tract of ground, where a handfull of a little Congregation independent (as they say) of 10 or 20 or an 100 doth ordina∣rily feed, but in all the visible World where God hath a Church. and all both within the little Congregation where hee is, and without, are to repute him as an Heathen and a Publican. It is true some of our Brethren say, he is excommunicated onely out of that Congregation whereof hee is a member antecedentèr, because Christ hath given the power of excommunication onely 1 Cor. 5. 4. To the congregated Church, when they are met together to deliver to Satan, and they must do it, in collegio, in consessu, coram tota Ecclesia, before and in presence of the ChurchPage 296 congregationall, which is to give their consent and hath a cer∣taine power of interest in the busines, but he is cast out and ex∣communicated to all other Churches onely consequentèr, by consequent, and by vertue of the communion of Churches: I answer, the plaine contrary; hee is antecedentèr and formally delivered to Satan, by the power of the catholick visible Church which is put forth in exercises, and in act before that Church whereof he is a neerest member. Even as the left hand doth cut off a finger of the right hand, which otherwayes should infect the whole body. Now it is not the left hand onely that cutteth off the contagious and infectious finger, but the whole man, deliberate reason and the will consenteth it should be done for the preservation of the whole man; the left hand is a meere instrument, and the losse of the finger is the losse of the whole body, and the finger is cut off the right hand not ante∣dentèr, and onely off the right hand by that power intrinsecall onely in the right hand, but intrinsecall in the whole body; it is true the contagion should creepe through, and infect the right hand, and right arme first, and therefore incision is made upon the right hand. So if the Eldership of a Congregation deliver to Satan, it is not done by that power that is intrinseally onely in that Congregation, but by the power intrinsecall in the whole universall Church, who shall keepe communion with him that Eldership cuts him off as the instrument, or hand of the Church catholick, and the incision (as it were) is perform∣ed there in that meeting (I will not say of the whole Congre∣gation, that is to be proved) because the contagion shall come first upon these with whom the delinquent is to keepe the nearest fellowship, and that Excommunication be performed in a meeting I grant, and the place, 1 Cor. 5. 4. saith so much, and a meeting of the Church. But that that is a meeting of the con∣gregation▪ with favour of the learned, cannot be proved co∣gently; though I thinke excommunication when it is actually performed, it should be done before the Congregation, but that is for the edification and nearest and most immediate practice of that Congregation, for the contagion is nearest to them, but the reason why the presence of the Congregation whereof the Delinquent is a member is requisit, is not because this Con∣gregation Page 297 hath the sole intrinsecall power in her selfe; and be∣cause shee onely doth formally and antecedentèr Excommuni∣cate, and the rest of the Churches consequenter, and by vertue of a communion: for the sister Churches are to debarre this excomunicate person from their communion with Christ in the Seales of the Covenant, and that by an intrinsecall authorita∣tive, and Church power, where as if he were not excommu∣nicated, they should have received him to a Communion with them in the Seales, and that by an intrinsecall authoritative and Church power, for one man cannot receive another to the Seales of the Covenant with him; because no one man hath a Church authority. If therefore the Church as the Church is consociated by an intrinsecall Church-power should have admit∣ted him, if he had not been excommunicated, it is evident that hee was a member not onely of the Congregation out of which he is excommunicated, but also of the whole consociated con∣gregations. 2, The man sins are bound on Earth antecedentèr, to all the consociated Churches. He is now equally uncapable of Church-fellowship in all the consociated Churches, as in that Congregation whereof he is a member. All without and within that Congregation are to hold him for no visible Saint; not to eate or drinke with him, he is now to all the visible Churches, in regard of visible communion, no member of that body whereof Jesus Christ is head, no part of that City, of that building whereof Christ is the Lord and chief corner-stone. And he is to the sister Churches in their authoritative & Church-estimation (to speake so) and in relation to their power of Jurisdiction, in the very same case a member of Satan, that hee is in relation to the authoritative power of Jurisdiction of that Congregation whereof he was a neerest member; just as the finger cut off is alike separated from the body, yea the whole body as from the hand; and it is a wonder to me that Christ giveth an intrinsecall power to a Congregation of twenty be∣lievers to cut off a member, for the preservation of that little company of the Lords Flock, and that he hath denied that intrinserall power to the whole, which is no lesse in danger to be infected, seeing Christ principally intendeth in the giving of a Ministery to the whole Church, especially the gathering Page 298 of the whole body; To the full and perfit stature of the age of Christ, in the unity of Faith, Eph. 4. 11. yet he intendeth the salvation & preservation of the whole from infection more then the salvation of a part of this whole Body. That is, as it you would say, the God of Nature hath given an intrinsecall power to five hundred in a City to set guides over themselves and to rule themselves by wholesome Lawes, but hee hath denied that power to the whole City consisting of ten thousand; and he hath given to the right hand an intrinsecall power to con∣sent that a finger in the right hand infected with a Gangrene, be cut off, but he hath denied this intrinsecall power to the whole man. I beseech you doth the God of Nature in confer∣ring this power to the right Arme, intend the preservation of the right Arme onely, and its wellbeing, and not rather the preservation of the whole body? so doth not Christ intend that the whole consociated Churches shall be preserved from infection, and not that particular Congregation onely? Then if Christs meanes be congruously fitted for his owne end, he must have given an intrinsecall power to many consociated Churches to cast out a contagious lumpe; other wayes the con∣sociated Churches are to exercise the punishment of avoyding the Excommunicated person as an Heathen, which floweth from a power which is no wayes in them; what conscience is here? 2. What if the Congregation cast the man out, clave errante, and undeservedly? shall they, consequentèr, as sister Churches, in a brutish fraternity execute a sentence of a power intrinserall in another Church, and not any of them, or their guides have any power to discerne, whether the censure be justly or un∣justly infflicted? This our Brethren condemne in their owne Congregation: for because the reputing the ejected man an Heathen, is a matter of practise, that concerneth the consci∣ence of every one of the Congregation, therefore must all the Congregation give their powers and consent; yea do more then consent (say some) even exercise jurisdiction, or a power not different from it. Some things are objected against this way.
Ob. 1. The power of the Keys cannot be given to the catholick representative Church, or catholick Presbytery, as to the firstPage 299subject to be an ordinary and constant meane of edification; The exercise whereof, in an ordinary and constant way, is unpossible; But the exercise of this Ministeriall power given to the catho∣lick visible Presbytery, as to the first subject, in an ordinary and constant way, is unpossible; Ergo, such a power is not given to the Catholick representative Church, as to the first subject, to be an ordinary and constant meane of edification. The proposi∣tion is cleare, it is uncongruous to the Wisdome of Jesus Christ that hee should give that to bee a meane, which possibly cannot attaine the end. The Assumption is as evident; for the Ca∣tholick visible Presbytery cannot meete in an ordinary and con∣stant way.
Answ. 1. By distinguishing the Major proposition; That power of the Keyes remote cannot be given to the catholick pres∣bytery as to the first subject, the exercise whereof in an ordinary and constant way is impossile physically and ex natura rei. True, but now the Assumption is false; That neerer power cannot be given as a meane of edification, the exercise whereof is morally and through the corruption of mens nature physically im∣possible. That is false, and denyed, and in either sense the conclusion cannot be true. 2. I grant the whole, and yet nothing is concluded against us. For the power of the Keyes is not given to the catholick Presbytery as to the first subject, to be a meane of edification in an ordinary and constant way; but onely in an extraordinay and occasionall way, in those things which concerne the power of jurisdiction belonging to the whole Catholick Church. By (extraordinary) here I meane not that which is against a particular Law of God, and cannot bee done without a Divine dispensation of pro∣vidence, but by (extraordinary) I meane that which is rarò contingens, and doth not oft fall out; as almost it never fal∣leth out that the universall Church hath neede to excommuni∣cate a nationall Church, for all and every one of a nationall Church doe never fall away from the Faith. Yet a remote power for Excommunication, is in the Catholique visible Church.
2. It is objected, if the visible catholick Church be the first and principall subject of all Church-power, then a PresbyteriallPage 300 Church cannot Excommunicate, but by a power derived from the catholick visible presbytery, and so the presbytery should •• excommunicate, but by consulting with the Catholique visible Church, but this latter were impossible and absurd; Ergo, so must the antecedent be. The counexion is proved thus; for as •• things have beate in so farre as they partake of the Fire; be∣cause heate is originally in the Fire, as in the first subject, so all Churches exercising Excommunication must partake of the power of censures, that is, first and principally in the originall sub∣ject, to wit, in the catholick visible Church. And it would seeme that none can use or put forthin acts, the power of the catho∣lique Church visible, without the conscience of the catholique Church visible.
Answ. This occasioneth me to speake somwhat of the power of the presbyteriall and catholick Church. Hence I say. 1. With submission to the learned.
First, It is an hard way of arguing, to reason from the power to the severall exercises and diverse acts of the power. Our Brethren hold that all power of the Keys, and all power Ministeriall of preaching, administrating the Seales, is ori∣ginally in caetu sidelium, in a Church of Believers: but they cannot say that therefore the acts of Preaching, administrat∣ing of the Sacraments and all acts of jurisdiction can be exercised by the Believers, because they are the first subject.
Secondly, the farther that the members, or Churches either Congregationall, Presbyteriall, or Nationall are remo∣ved in locall distance, one from another; the lesse is the visible and externall communion of rebuking, comforting, and ad∣monishing one another; yet the power and obligation of these duties are not removed. So though the Nationall Churches be locally distant one from another, yet their power of ex∣ercising duties, and so their power of Jurisdiction, in an O•cumenicke Councell, is not from thence concluded to be null. Yea, Nationall duties upon occasion are still obligatory• and communion of men of sundry Nations is cleare to mee, Esai. 2. 3. many Nations shall flow unto the Mountaine of the Lords House, Zach. 8. 23. Ten men shall take hold out of all Lan∣guages of the Nations, they even shall take hold of the skirt of himPage 301that is a Jew, saying, we will goe with you, for wee have heard that God is with you. I do not say, these Nations doe meete all in one Synod, but the places doe well prove the power law∣full of performing duties, whereas the exercise of them in one place is not hic & nunc, in ordinary providence, possible. And so this consequence must be weake; the whole catholick visible Churches in their principall guides cannot ordinarily, and constantly meet, hic & nunc, for the exercise of their power; Ergo, they have no such power. For if the power be exercised in parts, which through occurrences of Providence, and the cor∣ruption of mens nature cannot be exercised in whole, at once; yet its not hence evinced to be a power not given of Christ for e•ification; for by our Brethrens grant three thousand are added to the Congregationall Church of Jerusalem, Acts 2. and to this Church of three thousand, and a hundred and twenty, Christ hath given the ordinary power of the Keyes as to the first subject, though through occurences of providence, and the corruption of mans nature, some of these, suppose a thousand, through sicknesse, pest, danger of persecution, and sinfull separating from the assembly of Saints, could not hic & nunc meet in one house, to exercise joyntly all the acts of that power which our Brethren say is given to them by Christ; they cannot say therefore Christ never gave to this whole Church consisting of three thousand and a hundred and twenty, any such power.
Thirdly, there is a great difference betwixt the power given ad esse simplictèr, to the being of a Church, and the power given ad benè esse tantùm, onely to the well-being. 2. Great difference also there is betwixt ordinary power to be exercised constantly, and ordinarily, because of neerer consociation of the Churches, in those things that concerne that Church in particular: suppose a presbyteriall or Congregationall Church, and a power to be exercised, but more rarely, not ordinarily, because of the lesse communion visible, and great locall distance of Churches, as it falleth out in the whole visible Church. Now from this.
First, The ordinary power of Jurisdiction because of neerest vicinity, and contiguity of members is given by Jesus Christ to Page 302 one Congregation in an Isle. 1. Because that Church is a Church properly so called, though it be not a perfit and complete Church. I say it is a Church properly so called, Because. 1. It is a little City, and a little Kingdome of Jesus Christ having within it selfe power of the Word and Sacraments: and that is a Church and hath the essence of a Church to which agree the essentiall notes of a visible Church. Now preaching of the Word and Administration of the Sacraments are essentiall notes of a visible Church. But I say it is not a compleate and perfit Church in the latitude of visibility, (for Churches, are lesse or more visible, according as they have lesse or more visible com∣munion) for visible communion constituteth a visible Church. Now a Congregation in a remote Island hath a lesse com∣munion visible with other visible Churches, then conscciat∣ed visible Churches have. 2. It is not compleate and perfit in its operations, because in case of doubts of conscience touching government and practice, and dogmaticall poynts, it wants the joynt authority, and power of Jurisdiction need∣full for the well-being of a Church, which it should have, if it were consociated with many other Congregations: so as wee say an hand with five fingers is a compleate hand, but it is not a compleat organicall body, but a part of the orga∣nicall body of a man; so is a Congregation a Church want∣ing nothing of the being and essence of a Church; yet is it incompleate, because it is a part or member of a Presbyteri∣all Church, and not being consociated wanteth that which belongeth to the well being of a compleat visible Church. For visibility of a Church must have a latitude, because it is an ac∣cident or adjunct of an organicall politick body, which is totum integrale.
Secondly, the ordinary power of ordinary Jurisdiction in a more perfit way, because of ordinary and perfiter consocia∣tion, is given to the Presbyteriall Church, as to the pro∣per subject in the constant and ordinary exercise of Discipline, because contignity being the foundation of visible externall government, the Presbyteriell Church of Ierusalem, Ephesus Corinth, Antioch, and Rome, is a perfit compleat consocia•d body. To which the power of ordination, exauthoration, Page 303 or deprivation of Pastors, of excommunication in a constant and ordinary way doth belong. For this is a principle of Church-policy. Every politick body of Christ hath power of Church government within it selfe. But a Presbyteriall church is such. 2. This is a received maxime also. Quod tangit omnes. ab omnibus, suo more, tractari debet. VVhat concerneth all, should be agitated by all, according to their degrees of concernment, but excom nunication of a person, in a consociated Church, concerneth all the consociated Churches in a Presbytery; all are scandalized, all may be, and are in danger to be leavened with the infectious lumpe. And here it is to be observed, that as preaching of the Word is an essentiall note of the visible Church, and agreeing to the visible Church, as necessary ad esse simpliciter, to the very being of a visible Church. For if the word as Preached and some way promulgated be not in such a society, we cannot call it a visible Church; so Discipline is a note of the visible Church, and necessary ad bene esse, and it cannot be a Ministeriall Church in a good condition ex∣ercising acts of edification, if the wall of Discipline be broken downe: and meeting in one place for Word and Sacraments is but accidentall for a Ministeriall Church. If the Word be preach∣ed, and the Sacraments administrated in sundry Congrega∣tions, though not in a Presbyteriall Church all convened in all its members in one place, yet hath the Presbyteriall Church the essentiall note of a visible Church. Because there is a difference betwixt carrying the colours in an Army tali modo, as all the Army at once may see the colours, and the carrying of the colours. Yet the colours are a note visible of such an Army: so there is a difference betwixt preaching the Word, simplici∣ter, and preaching the Word, tali modo; in such a way in one materiall house onely. And therefore it is necessary that go∣vernment which concerneth many Churches consociated, be in its exercise hic & nunc, larger then preaching of the Word in its exercise, hic & nunc: which cannot be done, but to a multi∣tude which conveneth 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to the same materiall place. And we see an act of government, Acts 15. by confession of our Brethren, belonging to divers consociated Churches and performed by them, and yet these cannot ordinarily meete Page 304 to one and the same place in all their members for hearing of the Word.
Thirdly, an extraordinary, and remote power of Jurisdicti∣on which is but rarely and in extraordinary cases to be put forth in acts, is given to the Catholick visible Presbytery of the whole Catholick visible Church. Because the Oommunion ex∣ternall and visible is lesse, where the locall distance of visible Churches is more: and therefore because oecumenicall coun∣cells, being necessary for the Catholick visible Church, neque ad esse simpliciter, neque ad b••è esse, sed ad melius seu optimum esse, neither in respect of the Churches being, nor in respect of the Churches well-being, •u• onely in respect of her best and most spirituall well-being, these councells are seldome to be had in an ordinary providence. For the Cresse of Iesus Christ is rather a marke of the catholick visible Church, then Bel∣larmine his prospe•ous condition, that he will have to be one of his fifteene notes of the Church: and since the Church cannot have her wishes, the want of generall councells is the Catho∣lick Churches Crosse, not her sin; we doe not say that God is deficient in meanes necessary to his Church, or to some of his owne Children; because the Woman hath wings given her of God to stie to the Wildernesse to hide her selfe from the Dragon, Rev. 12. 14. and so cannot enjoy Gods ordinary presence, in his Sanctuary. Nor doe wee say that God hath denied a power to his Church in the Wildernesse, to enjoy them in a visible Sanctuary, I meane a morall power, and jus, a right and interest in that presence, because he interrupteth the Churches physicall power, for a while, in the injoying of these comforts of a visible Church-Communion, in the Sanctuary.
Fourthly, hence it doth not follow, that because the catholick representative visible Church is the first subject of the power of the Keys, that the power of Excommunication is derived from the visible Church to a Presbyteriall Church, or that a Pres∣byteriall Church cannot excommunicate without consulting with, or fetching authority from the Catholick visible Church: Because the Catholick visible Church is a great integrall body of Iesus Christ, and he is the head of this body; because though the power of seeing by order of nature be first in the whole Page 305 man, and then in the Eye, yet the power of seeing in the Eye is not derived from the rest of the body, from Hands, Leggs, Shoulders, Armes, to the Eye. The light is first in the whole Body of the Sun, as the first and prime subject of light; yet sup∣posing now the received opinion of Astronomers, that the bo∣dy of the Sun doth exceede the quantity of the Earth an hun∣dred sixty and seven times, it doth not follow that this or that part of the Sun hath no light intrinsecall in it; but that which is derived from the whole body of the Sun; for then this or this part of the Sun should have borrowed light deri∣ved to it from another: so the Soule doth at one and the same instant, animate, and quicken the whole organized Body as its first matter and subject, but it doth not follow that the Hand hath life derived to it from the whole body: so because the power of the Keyes is also intrinsecall in the Presbytery, as in an O•cumenicall councell: it doth not follow, that the power that is intrinsecall in the presbytery is by derivation, or bor∣rowed and at the second hand, from the Catholick presby∣tery of the whole World; farre lesse that the Presbytery can∣not Excommunicate, except it consult with the catholick vi∣sible Church. The power of the Keys, by order of nature, is onely in the catholick representative Church as in the first sub∣ject, but in order of time this power is communicated from the head Christ to all the integrall parts of this great Bo∣dy according to the capacity of every part, so as it is intrin∣secall in the particular Eldership of a single Congregation in these poynts of Discipline, that concerne a Congregati∣on as a Congregation, and it is intrinsecall in the classicall Presbytery as it is such, and it is intrinsecall in the pro∣vinciall, and Nationall Synod, in poynts belonging to them as such.
3. They object; if a single Congregation have not power of Excommunication, and of entire and compleat government with∣in it selfe, because it is but a part of a Presbyteriall Church, and so an incompleat Church: by that same reason a Presbyte∣riall Church shall be a compleate Church, and not have entire and compleat power of Government within it selfe; because a presbyteriall Church is a part of a provinciall Church, and aPage 306provinciall Church shall be in the same case, because it is a part of a Nationall Church, and a Nationall Church, in that same case; because it is a part of the catholick visible Church, and there shall bee no perfit visible Church on Earth, which hath full and entire power of jurisdiction, save onely the caho∣licke visible Church, which by no possibility can convene, before her Oecunenick and highest catholick Court, a Nationall Church, or the Church of great Brittaine, and upon the te∣stimony of three witnesses deliver her to Satan, and upon sup∣posall of Repentance receive her againe to the catholick power of that same Court; into fellowship of Church-union with the great catho∣lick body. For so because this catholick Church, for many centuries, yea possibly for a million of yeeres, cannot convene to exercise her authority in a Court (and out of her Court shee hath none) the repenting Nationall Church, shall remaine in Satans bands for ever, by a physicall and invincible necessity.
Answ. A single Congregation is a Church, but so as it is a part also and a member of a Presbyteriall Church, and be∣cause of neernesse of communion with consociated Churches under one Presbytery; it can neither have compleat power of casting out one of its owne members, because that member hath so strict a visible Union of membership also with conso∣ciated Churches, nor can it exercise that intrinsecall power that it hath as a remote part of Christs Catholick body, but the case for ordinary and constant power of ordinary and constant Jurisdiction is not so in a Presbyteriall, in a provin∣ciall, in a Nationall, in the Catholick visible Body. And therefore it followeth not that they are not compleat Bodies, and entire Churches for all ordinarie and constant Juris∣diction; and the reason is cleare, because Synods or Synodi∣call Churches above a Presbytery to me are not ordinary; not constant Courts, but extraordinary, and prore nata occasionall, having their rise from some occurrence of providence, as is most cleare, by Scripture. The Church of Ephesus being a Presbyteriall Church, did constantly exercise Discipline, and try false Prophets, and those which called themselves Iewes, but were lievs, Revel. 2. 2. Whereas that famous Councell at Ieru∣salem was not an ordinary and constant Court, but extraordi∣nary, Page 307 that is, occasionall (for so I take the Word, for expressions cause) and had its rise, Acts 15. 1. from a meere occasion, because some came from Iudea and taught the Brethren, except yee be cir∣cumcised after the manner of Moses, you cannot be saved, And the subject of this Court was not the constant and ordinary af∣faires of Discipline, that belonged to the presbytery of Ierusalem, and Antioch. No, v. 6. the subject was only an incident controver∣sy raised by false teachers, subverters of soules, v. 24. and there∣fore it is said, v. 6. The Apostles and Elders, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to consider of this matter; therefore the presbyteriall Church hath both Word and Sacraments dispensed in it dis∣tributively through all the Churches, and for the power of Juris∣diction ordinary intensivè, and quoad essentiam Ecclesiae mini∣sterialis, according to the entire essence of a ministeriall Church, it is as perfit and compleat in one single Congregation, as in a provinciall, as in a Nationall, yea as in the Catholick vi∣sible Body, whereof Christ is the Head; onely a provinciall, nationall, and the Catholick Church visible, extensivè, accor∣ding to the power of extension, is a larger and a superior Church, and though the presbyteriall Church be a part of the Catholick, it is so a part, as it is a perfit whole Church: as a man is a part of this great all, the World, yet so, as he is a perfit reasonable Creature, and so a whole man, and a part of the World: but a Congregation is so a part of the Presbytery, that it hath not a whole, entire, compleat intensive power over its owne members to excommunicate them, because its members are for contiguity and necessity of neere visible com∣munion, parts that cannot avoyd dayly edifying or scandalizing of consociated Churches, and therefore the consociated churches trust have a power over the members of a Congregation. But our Brethren will say; Contiguity of locall cohabitation doth not in be a visible Church, but only the voluntary agreement of Profes∣sors who doe, ex pacto, and by covenant tacit or expresse, make up a conseciation: for a Papist and a Protestant may cohabit in one house.
Answ. That is true, but contiguity is such a necessary foun∣dation of externall visible Church fellowship in one presbytery, as without that contiguity, I see not how, jure Divino, there can be either a Congregationall Church, or any other Church:Page 308 for, sure I am, Christ hath not ordained me to be a member of a Congregation in America, or of a presbyteriall Church in Geneva. And that such persons and no more be members of a Congregation, is not juris Divini, yet without a contiguity lesse or more they cannot be members of a Congregation, nor is this single Congregation a limbe of this presbyteriall Church, jure Divin•; onely this in abstracto is jus Divinum, that there be a Congregation of a convenient number, and a presbytery of such as may meete conveniently in their guides. But to returne, the Brethren do deny that God gave a power of Jurisdiction to the Catholick visible Court of the O•cume∣nick Church. And why? because a generall councell cannot excom∣municate, nor relax from Excommunication a nationall Church, But I answer, 1. It is by accident, and not through want of innate and intrinsecall power, that the Court of a Catholick councell cannot in an ordinary and constant way, exercise the power that Christ hath given to her, as the presbyteriall church doth; and the exigence of providence maketh it so, because it falleth out by the blessing of God, that Zion must say, as it is, Esai. 49. 20. The place is too streight for me, give place to me that I may dwell. And because she inlargeth the place of her Tent, and stretcheth forth the curtains of her habitation, and lengthneth her cords, and breaketh forth on the right hand, and on the left, and her seed inheriteth the Gentiles, Esai. 54. 2 3. and because from the rising of the Sun, to the going d••ne thereof, his Name is great amongst the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to him, Mal. 1. 11. yet have generall councells condemned Hereticks, as Nestorians, Macedonians, Eutyches and others; and I see nothing to prove that a generall councell hath no power to excommunicate a Nationall Church. If the Lord should be pleased to give the Christian Churches a gene∣rall councell this day, they might lawfully, in a juridicall way, declare the faction of Romish pretended catholicks, to be my∣sticall Babylon, a cage of uncleane Birds, which is excommu∣nication in the essence and substance of the Act; nor is there need of a legall and juridicall citation of nationall Churches, or a citation of witnesses to prove Romish Heresies, and perfidi∣ous and detestable obstinacy: for their writings, and deeds, Page 309 are so notorious, that the senses of men may as infallibly prove the fact, as we know there is such a City in the world as Rome, and C•n•tantinople; as for the instance that a catholick councell cannot ordinarily be had, to relax a repenting nationall Church: I answer, the same inconvenience will follow, if we suppose an ordinary case, the Church congregationall (as our Brethren suppose) of Ie∣rusalem, Acts. 2. consisting of three thousand and a hundred and twenty, having excommunicated Ananias, Saphira, and others, who yet by the grace of God, should truely repent; in the meane time, the Sword of the Roman Emperor intervening scattereth this Church, that they cannot convene in a spirituall Court, to relax them (and out of Court they have no authority of Juris∣diction) here were an invincible necessity of their remaining in Satansbonds, in foro externo ecclesiae. But what then? This is to li∣mit God, as Papists do in binding and tying salvation of Infants to the outward signe of externall baptisme; as if God, in soro caeli, in his own Court could not absolve penitent sinners, because the Church will not, which is more ordinary, through mens cor∣ruption, or cannot absolve, through the necessity of exigence of divine providence: and the more catholick that crosses be, as war•, the universall and catholick cruelty, and treachery of the church of M•lignants against the true catholick Church of Christ, the more easily are the Juridicall and Court-operations, actions and proceedings of the catholick universall Church impedited. And therefore this of our Saviours, tell the Church, is necessarily to be applyed to all Churches and Courts of Christ, even to a catholick councell, though Christ gave instances in an offended Brother, who is to tell the Church, But I am sure, (tell the church) is not to be restricted to a vocal & personall complaining of one brother against another, in the face of a single Congregation. For if the offence be committed before the Sun at noon-day in the seeing and hearing of the church, either congregationall, or presbyteriall, as some may, and one do by word and writ openly blaspheme God: in this case Christs affirmative command, tell the church, doth not in conscience oblige one man to come and deale with the delinquent in private, and then (if he repent not) before witnesses, & then to tell the church, so as one sinneth if he tell not the church; for here Gods providence disposing of the notoriousnesse Page 310 and publicknes of the scandall doth tell the church; and yet, I hope, our Brethren could not deny, but this Text doth w•••• that such a publick offender who scandalizeth many Churches should be excommunicated by this place, Mat. 18. from which I gather the weakenes of what is said for the independency of churches from, Mat. 18.
Ob. 1. Here we cannot understand the Church universall. 1. Be∣cause he would not say where two or three are gathered in my Name, I will be in the midst of them, for two or three cannot represent all the Churches comprehended under the catholick visible Body of Jesus Christ.
Ans. This is an argument from the lesse to the more. If I be present (would our Saviour say) where two or three, though they be but two or three: I will far rather be present in the as∣semblies of the Church. Nor can the words stand according to the letter strictly, according to our Brethrens mind, that two should be a Church; for there should be Pastors and Elders, and Christian witnesses, two at least, and the accused Brother here. 2. two or three, and brother and brother are not to be taken as sin∣gular men only, but as two or thee men, or Churches, who as they * may be offended. 1 Cor. 10 32. so may they give scandall and of∣fence; so may three, foure, of consociated Congregations give the offence, and that publickly; what? hath Christ provided no remedy against scandals in his whole Kingdome, but only for scandals fallen out in the single persons of a small Congregati∣on consisting of ten, 20 100. or 200. only when these little con∣gregations offend sister Congregations, they are left to the im∣mediate judgement of God? This is wonderfull.
Ob. 2. The christian magistrate as a nursing father is to punish those who offend, and hath power to command Churches to confesse offences done to sister Churches, and command Church censures, as excommunication, to be used, and Christs power to be put forth in practise, according to the will of Jesus Christ.
Answ. Yet doth it fol∣low that the Apostolick Churches, & the succeeding Churches to them under the ten bloudy persecutions, when Magistrates were enemies to Christ, and his church, that the Churches wanted spirituall meanes to gaine fallen and scandalous churches. 2. Christ hath provided an Ecclesiasticall power to remove scand∣alls betwixt church and church; for the Magistrates power is Page 311 civill and put forth by the Sword, and by carnall weapons. Christs〈◊〉 in this, Mat. 18. 19. s to remove scandalls, and gaine soales v. 15 for heare thee, thou o•st gained thy Brothe. The Sword of the Magistrate is not ordained to gaine so•les to Repentance. That 〈◊〉 who careth for the part of a visible church, doth he not far rather care in a spirituall way, for the whole? 3. What can the Magistrate command here? the Eldership of a Congregation tur∣n•• Here•icks and scandalous to sister Churches and infecteth then. To• Magistrate commadeth that Church censures be used 〈◊〉 them as you say, who should use them? not a sister Church 〈◊〉 is offended. She hath no power; not the Eldership themselves offending. Christ never ordained that a church should excommuni∣cate her selfe; not the people; Who gave them power? And the ma∣jor part of them turneth scandalous. Also Christ nere hath left n•re ne•y. but let them grow till Harvest, so say A•abaptists.
Ob. 3. Christ here speaketh for a present and constant removing of scand 〈◊〉 Brother and Brother of one congregation. A ca∣thalick 〈◊〉 of the whole visible Church is far off, •nd cannot be 〈◊〉.
Answ. That he speaketh of a present and constant remedy only, and of no remedy against the scandall of whole Churches, is de•ed. He speaketh of all remedies to gaine any offenders, persons or churches.
Ob. 4. Then should an universall councell of the whole world be abso∣lutely necessary, if in some cases we must tell the whole catholickchurch
Ans. Neither doth that follow generall councels are neither ne∣cessary to the being, nor to the well-being, but only to the best be∣ing of the catholick church, and if the catholick church enjoyed its best-being to which it hath jus, and due right, that is, a perfit Re∣formation in doctrine and discipline, then should generall coun∣cell be necessary for the keeping of this best being. And this rule of Discipline given by Christ supposeth a particular Congrega∣tion right constituted (say our Brethren) else this rule cannot be necessarily kept. So say we, that it may necessarily be kept in the catholick church, it supposeth the catholick church to be reform∣ed; but Christs church must sayle with a second wind, when she cannot have a first.
Ob. 5. Refusing communion with sister Churches in case of scan∣d•ll is as effectuall a way for edification, as authoritative excommu∣nicationPage 312of congregations by Presbyteries.
Answ. Excommunication of Congregations is a possible, not an ordinary supposition; but our grounds proceed, when the members of one sister-church of∣fendeth another, if there be no presbyteriall power superi•r to both, that may take order with them, then hath not Christ, in the ordinary supposition of ill administration of the Eldership of a particular Congregation, provided an ecclesiastick way to re∣move scandalls out of His Kingdome. 2. non-communion is no more then I may do to a brother who offendeth me. 2. it is not so efficacious as a binding and loosing ratified in Heaven. 3. It hath not that speciall promise of Christs church presence walking in the midst of the Golden candle-sticks. 4. It is a secret condemning of the Wisdom of Christ in the institution of excommunication, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord, 1 Cor. 5. 4. that some may learne not to blaspheme, 1 Tim. 1. 20. as if excommunica∣tion which is a publick authoritative meane were superfluous, if a private and brotherly non-communion be sufficient, and as efficacious a meane of edification, as Christs mean.
Ob. 6. Either must you complaine to a presbyteriall, provinciall, and nationall Church, before you complaine to that congregation of which the 'Delinquent is a member, or after that you have complain∣ed to that congregation; if the former be said, then you cannot tell the presbytery, or superior Courts, but in case of obstinacy; for if you can gaine a Brother, or a Church in a private way, you are not to bring him to a more publickeshame, that is contrary to Christs order, v. 15. If he heare thee, thou hast gained thy brother. And if you tell it the Presbytery and the superior Courts, after you have told it to the Church, whereof he is a member, then you make foure steps, in your reclaiming your brother, where Christ hath made but three.
Ans. Christs order according to the number of steps are three, when the fault is private, scandalls of many Congregations can∣not be private, and in publick scandalls we cannot go but to that church which the offence doth immediatly concerne; and if you make foure steps or five according to your grounds, I see no transgression; if 1. You admonish the offender. 2. Before two. 3. Before the half of the Elders. 4. Before all the Elders, and. 5. If you be willing that the Elders bring it to the hearing of the Congre∣gation Page 313 the number of three precisely are not of positive Divine institution, they are only set downe by Christ to shew we are to labour to gaine our brother in private, before we publish his shame to the Church; and if he commit the offence before two, I think you need not tell him your selfe alone, but before two, and yet the offence is private, if three only be privy to it; seeing it is not yet come to the Church. 3. I much doubt if no faults be punish∣able by excommunication, but only obstinacy: I thinke the 〈◊〉 of incest, parricide and the like deserveth excommuni∣cation, though no contumacy be supervenient to such crimes.
Ob. 7. The Church spoken of, Mat. 18. is all one with the House of God, and the House of Prayer, where two or three agree to pray for onething. v. 19. and the place where worshiping is, and word and Sa•raments, that society in which stewards give a portion of the trea•• of life to every child of the House, Mat. 24. 45, 1 Cor. 4. 1. 2. 〈◊〉 publick Rebukes are tendered to these who sin publickly, before all, that others may feare, 1 Tim. 5. 20. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: this must be in the Churches hearing and before the Congregation meet for the Word and Sacraments, for these ordinances of God worke for the edi∣fying both of the party reproved and before all the Congregation, which shall heare and feare; and they worke upon the Heart, as the Word of God doth: now a presbyteriall Church convened in some Elders of divers Congregations, for Church censures and exercise of juris∣diction, is not such a House of God, where are the Word, Sacraments and publick rebukes in the hearing of the Congregation; for the Con∣gregations of all the presbytery being 20. or 30. cannot meet in one Church.
Answ. That onely a Congregation and not the catholick Church is the House of God, I judge, the Word of God cannot teach; as Esai. 56. 5. To them will I give a name within my House. What a name? to be a member of a single Congregation? No, but of a whole visible Church, opposed to the condition of Eu∣•uches and strangers, v. 4. that were not of the people of God. Cant. 1. 17 *The beames of our House are cedars, this is the catholick Church and Spouse of Christ, Cant. 3 4. I would not let Him goe, till I brought Him to my Mothers House, not a Congregation, but Ierusa∣lem, (saith Ainsworth) the Mother of us all, Cotton, the Catholick Church; Alstedius, Ierusalem, Heb. 3. 2. as Moses was faithfullPage 314in all his House. Not a single congregation. 2. This Church here is formally a Ministeriall Church meeting to bind and loose, and excommunicate. Nor is there need to expound it of an House of praying congregationally, but rather 2. 19. of ligatory and authoritative prayers of the Presbytery. 3. Nor is rebuking in a Congregation for the edifying of the hearers, any thing but the execution of the judiciall sentence of a Presbyteriall Church, which we grant may be done in the congregation, whereof the Delinquent is a member, and yet the Church here shall not signifie a congregation convened for the Word and S•crame•ts, except you say, all the people must necessarily be present, yea and authoritative actors to bind and loose, as this Church is expresly called, v. 18. for if the place speake, 1 Tim. 5. 20. of concionall rebuking; then it proveth nothing, that is done by Timothy as a Pastor, virtute potest at is ordinis, and not by the Presbytery, as an act of jurisdiction which is done by the Church, not by one man, if it be meant of juridicall rebuk∣ing that is done in a Court, where all the congregation are not present; or if it be done before the congregation in Name of the Presbytery, what is done before the Church 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 before many is not done by those many, as if they were the Church, which our Saviour biddeth us tell, and sure nothing i• here against us.
Ob. 8. The Word Church is never used in the New Testament, for the Presbytery; and if it signifie a Representative Church; the meaning of this, the Angell of the Church of Pergamus might be the Angell of the Church of Pergamus; for the Representative Church is the Eldership of that Church.
Answ. This being the first time that Christ spake of the Church (which the Hebrewes or Iewes who knew his language, behoved to understand) hee could not meane any thing but a representative Church, not the common multitude; and though it were taken other wayes in all Scriptures beside, here it must have this meaning; because he speakth of a court. If he heart not the Church &c, 2 Of a company who bindeth and looseth on Earth. 3. Whose sentence is •atified in Heaven. 4. Binding and loosing are words of highest royall judiciall authority in Scripture, Psal. 105. 20. The King sent and loosed him. 21. HePage 315made him Lord over his House, v. 22. to bind his Princes at his plea∣sure, Psal. 148. 8. To bind their Kings with chaines, and their Nobles with fetters of Iron. v. 9. To execute upon them the judge∣ment written, Mat. 22. 13. Take him and bind him; Pauls being in bands, is to be under the Judges power, Acts 12 6. Peter was bound with two chaines; So the Captaine of the Guard, J•r. 40. 4. and now be hold I loose thee this day from thy chaines. 2. The representative Church is not called the Elders of the represen∣tative Church, nor the Angell of the representative Church, but of the collective Church: and therefore there is no Angell of a Church, of a Church here.
Ob. 9. From the Church here spoken of, their is no appeale, be∣cause the sentence is ratified in Heaven. 2. It inflicteth the highest punishment, the censure of excommunication, and a higher judica∣ture can doe no more. 3. Their is no reason to appeale to a higher judi∣cature, because the inferior may erre, because all above a Congre∣gation are Courts which may erre: for Presbyteries, Provinciall, Nationall, the universall councell of the Catholique Church may erre. So Mr. Mather.
Answ. This is no reason why wee may not appeale from a * Congregation, because the sentence is ratified in Heaven, be∣cause the sentence of an inferior Judge proceeding rightly is ratified in Heaven; yet we may appeale from him: to appeale is but upon feares of ill administration to desert a lower Court, and go to a higher Court, so when we feare a counsell and ad∣vice given by a sister Church to be not according to the Word of God, which yet is according to the Word of God, upon the supposall of that feare wee decline that counsell, and take an∣other. Neither are we to appeale, de jure, from a just sentence in a presbytery. Illud possumus quod jure possumus. What the inferior Sanedrim of Israel did justly, was ratified in Heaven: yet by Gods Law there might be an appeale from it to the highest Sanedrim. 2. Nor is this a good reason that we may not appeale from a Judicature which may inflict the highest censure; for inferior Judicatures in Israel had power of life and death, yet might man appeale from them. 3. The cause of appeales is not because inferiour Judicature• may erre, for so wee might appeale from all judicatures, even from a general councell, for it may erre. Page 316 But the true cause is. 1. Because rariùs errant, they do not so frequently erre. 2. They are not so inclined and disposed to erre, for many Eyes see more then one, and many Eyes doe more sel∣dome miscarry in not taking up the right object then one. 3. Because we conceive more equality and lesse partiality in higher Courts.
Ob. 10. You grant that a single Congregation in an Island hath power intrinsecall of Excommunication within it selfe; Ergo, th• inconvenient which you put on independent Congregations, shall fol∣low in the case of a remote congregation, Christ hath not then provided sufficiently for that Church in that case.
Answ. It followeth onely; Ergo, Christ hath not provi∣ded so sufficiently for that Church as for others in a consocia∣tion, which is nothing against us. For woe to him that is alone, and two are better then one.
Ob. 11. If the Church here be a representative Church, the• it hath power from those whom they represent, but they represent the people, and so the power is first in the people, and the people must be the first visible Church, not the presbytery, not a generall councell. I prove the major, because the power the representer hath that must be first in the represented.
Answ. A representer standeth for another either objectively or subjectively. What ever representeth another objectively, that is, doth such a businesse for another, or in remejus, for his behalfe and good, though he some way represent that other, yet hath he not his power from that which he representeth; as the Eye objectively in seeing, and the Eare in hearing representeth the body, for the Eye seeth for the whole body, the Eare heareth for the whole body. But the eye hath not its visi•e, or seeing faculty from the body, nor the Eare the hearing fa∣culty from the body. Now the Presbytery doth represent the people onely objectively, that is, for the good and salvation of the people, and so the Elders have not all their power of ruling from the people, but from Iesus Christ. That which representeth another subjectively hath indeed its power from that which it representeth, as he who carrieth the person and roome of a King as an Ambassador, doth fetch his power from the King, and that power is more principally in the King. But Page 317 now the Assumption is false, because the Eldership doth not represent the people, in their power of Jurisdiction, subjective∣ly, as standing in the place of the people, but as the Ambassadors of Christ, and as stewards they have both the Keyes from Christ, not from the people, and doe actually use the Keyes, in his Name and authority, not in the peoples name and authority. Hence is easily answered that Delegatus seu deputatus non po∣test facere delegatum; one delegate cannot transfer his power to an∣other delegate, that would bring a progresse infinite in govern∣ment; for one deligate standing in the roome of others, sib∣jectively cannot transfer his whole power to another, its true; he cannot transfer his power in part and according to some singular acts, it is false: for Acts 15. 25. It is said by the councell, It seemed good unto us with one accord, to send cho∣sen men to you, with Paul and Silar. Paul and Silas and these chosen men, suppose six or ten are in this Embassage, are but the deputies and Messengers of the councell, and yet they doe agree to make Paul their deputy, and mouth to speake for them all, seeing order requireth that six at once should not speake, in this case Paul speaking the minde of all the rest, in this singular act, he is a deputy of Deputies, and he represen∣teth the whole six, who were Messengers of the Church sent with the Epistle, and these six were Deputies and Messengers of the councell, but as these six Messengers sent by the councell could not lay their whole power on another to carry the Epistle to the Church of Antioch, and bestow their labours elsewhere, nor could one of these six deligates, being chosen as deligate to speake for the rest, put that power of speaking the mind of the whole six off himselfe to another; in which sense, one de∣ligate cannot make another, one Messenger cannot send another; so the Presbyteriall or classicall Court convened as the deligates of the whole Congregations under them, or rather deligates for them, then of them, decerning that one of a Congregation should be excommunicated, may deligate one in that Congre∣gation to pronounce the sentence, and this one pronouncing the sentence as the deligate, and Messenger of the Church is a de∣ligate & a deputy of deligates, and deputies, in one particular act; and this our Brethren in their own Church-sentences pronoun∣ced by one Elder, must also say.
Object. 12. That neerest Church to whom we delate the offence of one single offender, is a single Congregation, else we must over-leap this Church, and tell the Presbytery, contrary to Christs dire∣ction; but if he heare not that very Church to whom we tell the bu∣sinesse, he is excommunicated by that neerest Church, as the words beare; Ergo, that nearest Church being single congregations, may excommunicate, and so it is the first Church, and the Presbyterial Church is not the first Church.
Ans. That neerest Church to whom we delate the offence of the delinquent; first, in the case of wilfull obstinacy; secondly, in the case of consociation of Churches (whom the obstinacy con∣cerneth) is not a congregationall Church, having power of Jurisdiction entirely and compleatly, to whom we must tell the offence, which is the subject of excommuncation. The whole ministeriall Church is that particular Church, together with the Presbytery; and my reason is, there is a Church, Acts 2. con∣sisting of one and thirty hundred and twenty, all called one Church. Now it is said of this Church that they continued, vers. 42. stedfastly in the Apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and prayer; but where did they meet? vers. 46. not onely in the Temple, but dayly from house to house. This whole number hath had v. 42. one Church-fellowship, one Word, one Supper of the Lord; but in one meeting at once? No, but they met from house to house, that is, in any private house, as the phrase is here, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and Acts 20. 20. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Now it is cleare there were Congregations and Churches, when Word and Sacraments were in private houses at Jerusalem, and from house to house in Ephesus; but I hope these were but parts of the Church at Ierusalem and Ephesus, and that they could not meet all in one house. If one therefore complaine of a scanda∣lous person to the Church of Ephesus convened in a house, possi∣bly in an upper Chamber, or elsewhere, this is a meeting that continueth in prayer and breaking of bread, and so hath power of Church-censures to admonish and rebuke, which things belong to that single Congregation or Church in a private house; but it hath not power to censure those that offend the con∣sociated Congregations that meet also 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in houses, that is, to excommunicate; and therefore he must complaine to the Page 319 Elders of Ephesus,•o• we are not to thinke that the false Jewes who were censured by the Apostles of Ephesus, Rev••. 2. 2. did onely infest houses, or one Congregation meet in a house, or that one House-Church, or House-Congregation of Ephesus, did try and censure those that called themselves Iewes, Revel. 2, 2 but Christ giveth the praise of this to the whole Church of Ephesus, who had the power of censures. But it may be said, Ascandalous person may infect two Congregations of two neighbouring Presbyteries, he dwelling neere the borders of both: Ergo, if he be to be excommuni∣cated, not by a Congregation onely, but by the Presbytery, because •e may leaven many consociated Churches; this man is not to be excom∣municated, except you tell two Presbyteriall Churches, and so a whole Province; and if he dwell in the borders of two Nations, betwixt Eng∣land & Scotland, he may leaven two parts of two Nationall Churches; and if the matter concerneth both the Nationall Churches, a higher Church then a Presbytery, to wit a Church made up of two Presbyte∣ries, yea, of parts of two Presbyteries of two Nations, must by divine institution be that Church compleat and entire to which we must com∣plaine, and which hath the power of excommunication. Answ. It is certaine, as the locall limits of a Congregation and the number is not properly of divine institution, onely a convenient number there must be to make up a Congregation; and suppose a man do dwell in the borders of two Congregations, where he is equal∣ly distant from the place of meeting of these two Congregati∣ons, it is not of divine institution whether he be a member of the one or the other; yet where his parents did willingly asso∣ciate themselves to such a Congregation, or he himselfe did as∣sociate himselfe, and where he received Baptisme, he hath now a relation to that Church as a member thereof, and that Pastor is his Pastor, not any other, as the Elders of the Church of Ephe∣sus (suppose it were one single Congregation) and the Angell of Ephesus is not the Angell of Thyatira; the Angell of Perga∣mus is not to be called the Angell of Sard•s. So i• the matter in a Presbytery, or two Presbyteries of two distinct Nations (I meane now a classicall Presbytery) therefore these doe make Presbyteries, 1. A convenient number of Churches may be go∣verned by one Colledge, or society of Elders. 2. Having ordi∣nary conversing one with another. 3. Voluntarily upon these Page 320 two grounds combining themselves in one society; and upon these three the supervenient institution of Christ is grounded. And therefore though it be true, that one dwelling in the bor∣ders of two Congregations, of two classicall Presbyteries of two Nations, may equally infect other, and so ex natura rei, and in reality of truth he may leaven both; yet the God of or∣der having made him a combined member now by institution of one Presbyteriall Church, not of the other, he is to be excom∣municated by the one, not by the other: For though locall di∣stinction of Congregations and Presbyteries bee not of divine institution; yet supposing consideration be had to, first, a com∣petent number which may be edified; secondly, to ordinary conversing; thirdly, to voluntary combination, either formall, as at the first molding of Congregations and Presbyteries, or tacit and vertuall combination, as in after tracts of time. Gods institution maketh a relation of a particular membership of this man, so to this Congregation or Presbyterie; as that now upon their foresaid suppositions, though he may leaven the neighbour∣ing Presbyteries or Congregations, no lesse then those whereof he is a member, yet may he be censured by those and none others now, in respect of Christs ordinance applied to this Pres∣byteriall Church in this place, and in this Nation, and not in this.
Object. 13. If the Congregation may admonish and rebuke, then may they excommunicate, for you may not distinguish where the Law of God distinguisheth not: for there is no reason why this or this ex∣ercise of jurisdiction should be given them, and not the exercise of all.
Answ. The Law clearly differenceth, Matth. 18. I may re∣buke and convince my brother with the consent of three wit∣nesses, which is some degree of Church-censure, especially if a Pastor rebuke before three, yet may not a Pastor excommuni∣cate; the Church doth that. 2. We acknowledge that a Con∣gregation may exercise all jurisdiction in re propria; but excom∣munication, where Churches are consociated, is not a thing that is proper to a Congregation, but concerneth many.
Obj. 14. We doe not thinke that the Church, Math. 18. 16. is the community its alone, nor the Elders there alone; but the Elders in presence of the community. For even Act. 15. when the Apostles andPage 321Elders did give out decrees, they did it before the Church of Ierusa∣lem, and in their presence, V. 22. Then pleased it the Apostles, El∣ders, and whole Church, to send chosen men to Antioch. For shew us a warrant in the Word, where the Elders there alone did exercise jurisdiction, the people not being convened, and where such a company of Elders there alone is called a Church. The Iudges in Israel judged in the gates before the people; the Elders judged in, or, before the Church, as the eye seeth united to the head, not separated from it.
Answ. Nor doe we exclude these from hearing the Elders ex∣ercise jurisdiction, if the matter concerne them; but we aske if the whole people of Israel were obliged by vertue of Divine In∣stitution to be present in the gates of the City when the Judges did sit there, and judge, as our brethren therein say; by a Divine Institution the people are to be present, and to consent; yea and have an honour above consenting, (say they) so as, if the peo∣ple be not there to have their share of excommunication in their way, then is Christs order violated, because the Church cannot be said to excommunicate and bind and loose on Earth; whereas the Elders onely, without the people, do only bind and loose, and excommunicate; and the Elders (say they) without the people are not the Church, nor can be called the Church, and so the acts of the Elders, judging, and separated from the people are null, be∣cause not acts of the Church; seeing the alone Elders are not the Church; & by this reason the Judges could not judge in Israel, ex∣cept all Israel had been present to consent, for all Israel are bidden to execute judgement in the morning, both the Rulers and people. 2. All the thousands in Ierusalem which made up many Congregati∣ons, * were not, nor could they, and the whole Congreations of A•tioch, Syria, and Silicia, who were all concerned in conscience no lesse then Ierusalem, be present, and that by obligation of a Divine Institution: and therefore that Church, and that whole Church, Act. 15. 22. can be no other then the whole represen∣tative Church. And so we say, both here and Act. 15. the Church representative exerciseth jurisdiction without the people; if people were present, it was by vertue of no Divine Institution: so as if they had not beene present the decrees could not have been called the decrees of the Church: and certainely the com∣parison of the eye which seeth not but as united to the body, if it Page 322 be strictly urged, may well prove that the Elders, if the people be not present, even all and every one whom it concerneth, c•• no more exercise jurisdiction, or decerne that a scandalous per∣son can be excommunicated, then an eye can see when it is pluck∣ed out of the head.
Object. 15. Divines bring an argument from Math. 18. by •••∣logy and proportion from particular congregations, to prove Na•i•∣nall and generall Synods of the whole Christian world. Ergo, they sup∣pose that a particular Church is the measure and patterne, and first Church which hath power of excommunication,
Answ. Parker, and some few enclining to our brethrens mind doe so, but Divines understand by a Church a Presbyte∣riall Church, which they make the measure and patterne of Assemblies.
Object. 16 Here is a particular Church, because here is an offen∣ded brother who is a member thereof. This particular Church hath Elders, this particular Church is a whole Church, 1 Cor. 14. if the whole Church come together. Jam. 5. Send for the Elders of the Church. It cannot be, that the sick• person is to send for the Elders of a Presbyteriall Church that are so farre removed from the sicke man.
Answ. An hand with five fingers is a whole hand, but not a whole body; a Congregation is a whole Church in its owne kind, whole for those things that concerne it selfe, but not whole and compleat for all jurisdiction. If Iames should bid, send for all the Elders, this consequence should have some colour.
Object. 17. A Presbyteriall Church can be an offending Church, but this, Math. 18. is for an offending brother, if thy brother sinne a∣gainst thee, &c.
Answ. Christ giveth an instance onely in an offending brother, but the doctrine is for the curing of an offending Church also, for all persons to be gained, Thou hast gained thy brother. We are to gaine Churches even as we are not to offend Churches, 1 Cor. 10. 32.
Object. 18▪ There are no Church-censures meant here, Christs scope is to resolve a case of conscience, how farre we are to goe on with an offending brother before we behave our selves to him as to an heather.•, It is said, if thy brother sinne against thee, Ergo, it is a private of∣fence,Page 323not a publique Church-scandall, that deserveth excommu∣nication.
Answ. Christs purpose is to shew how we may gaine to repen∣tance an offending brother, Thou hast gained thy brother. And he will have us use both publique and private meanes to gaine him. 2. It is such a sinne as must be told to the Church, when obstinacy to the Church is added, and therefore at length it is a publique scandall and so deserveth excommunication.
Ob. 2. Reprove him, that is, convince him, but is it not reproving to be brought before the Church? must I reprove every one who offen∣deth me, even the King? it is a mans glory to passe by an offence; and Salomon for biddeth us to over-heare our servant cursing us.
Answ. God hath made every man his brothers keeper, and we are not to suffer sin in our brother, but in any case to rebuke him, Lev. 19, 17. the King is not every mans brother whom he is to use fa∣miliarly, as the brother meant of here; though Kings should be rebuked by their Nobles, and by Pastors. 2. We are to passe over offences, that is, to forgive those that sin against us, and not to be too curious to know who reproacheth us, as Salomons meaning is to be taken, and to be willing to forgive, and yet to labour to gaine our brother by rebukes; one act of love fighteth not with another.
Ob. 3. Tell the Church, is not meant of a Christian Church, but he speaketh of a thing present, but there was no Christian Church as yet.
Answ. It followeth not, it is a rule especially for time to come, though Christ speake after this manner, as if it were a thing present.
Ob. 4. It is not much that the word, Church, signifieth onely in this place a company of godly men, witnesses of the mans offence; for〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉signifieth onely once, Joh. 3. the wind. 2. Christ spake in the Syriak and Gnedah, Psal. 22. Gnedah a company, or many Buls have com∣p•ss•d m•, 1 San. 19. a company of Prophets, Gnedah. The meaning is, if he be not convinced by the testimony of two, rebuke him before many.
Answ. It is not like, that seeing in the Chapter preceding he s•ake of the Church, as of a company to whom the Keys of the Kingdome of Heaven were given, and that here he speaking of a Page 324 Church which hath authoritative power to bind and loose, that Christ hath any such •nsolent meaning of the word Church, as onely to note many Christians. 2. The Syriak is not the Origi∣nall, but the Greeke.
Ob. 5. The witnesses sp•ken of here are not witnesses of the offen∣ces, but of the reproofe, and therefore there is nothing here of a judi∣ciall proc•s.
Answ. Yea, but these witnesses are witnesses both of the reproote, and of that obstinacy, for the which the mans sinnes are bound in Heaven.
Ob. 6. Let him be to thee as an Heathen. He saith not, let him be to the C•urt as an Heathen, and therefore here is no shadow of any Court.
Ans. It is an ordinary hebraisme, when the second person is put for the third, especially in Laws, as, Thou shalt not send him away empty. Also, Thine eye shall not spare him. Also, Then shalt out away evill out of Israel. And therefore here is a reall Court, it the context be considered. Christ speaketh so, Let him be to thee as an Heathen; in opposition to that which he was called to be, for his obstinacy; to wit, a brother, if thy brother offend. And how weake is this? Let him be to thee as an Heathen. Ergo, He should not be to the Church as an Heathen. The contrary consequence is most necessary, if he be to thee as an Heathen, be∣cause he is now convinced of obstinacy before two brethren, and before all the Church. Ergo, these two brethren and the whole Church are to count him as an Heathen, for the offended brother hath gone along all the way in the unanimous judgement, and a consort of mind, with both the witnesses and the Church; Ergo, this obstinate man is the same to the Church that he is to the offended brother, that is, he is to both as an Heathen and a Publican, and both are to abstaine from eating or brotherly con∣ve si•g with him, as the Jewes would not familiarly converse with the heathen, and as Paul commandeth 1 Cor. 5. 10, 11. that with an excommunicated man, we are not to eate.
Ob. 7. Whatsoever you bind on earth, is in good sence, that he who offendeth any little one that believeth, his sinne is bound in Heaven, as the friends of Job c. 42. were not accepted of God, till they made their peace first with Iob, yet Iob had no power of the Keyes overPage 325his friends, and an offering is not accepted, while first the offerer be reconciled to his broth•r, and so his sinnes are bound in Heaven, and yet one brother hath not a jurisdiction over another.
Answ. Binding and loosing in this, Chap. 18. must be the same with binding and loosing, Chap. 16. 19. but expresly their binding and loosing is by the Church. power of the Keyes, and is all one with that authoritative power of remitting and retaining sins 〈◊〉. 20. 21, 22 23. and in Scripture the keyes, and binding, and loosing, are never ascribed but to Stewards, Officers, Princes, and Judges, who have power of jurisdiction, as I have proved al∣ready; and therefore that which is spoken of Jobs friends, and of the offerer not reconciled to his brother, Come not up to the point, for Iobs friends doe not binde on earth, and the offen∣ded brother is a more private man destitute of the keyes, and of all power of j•risdiction.
It is first objected by our reverend brethren, The extent of the power of jurisdiction in the Elders of a classicall Presbytery must be proved by Gods Word, which cannot be.
For if many classicall Elders have power over many Congrega∣tions, possibly twenty or thirty Churches, then they beare the relation of Elders to these thirty Congregations, and they must all be Elders of these Churches, as the Scripture saith, the Elders of Ephesus, the Angel of the Church of Pergamus, the Angel of the Church of Thy∣atira; now this cannot be: for then, First, Deacons must be Dea∣cons of many Congregations, and Deacons might meet in one Col∣ledge to dispose of the Treasury of these thirty, and yet these thirty Churches should not be consulted with, nor could they all convene in one to give their consent and judgement concerning their Treasury. Now though Deacons be inferiour to Pastors, yet are they no l•sse Officers in their owne sphere, having power, then the Pastors; and Paul writing to the Church of Philippi, writeth to the Deacons as to the Bishops, insi•uating that Deacons are Deacons in relation to that Church, no lesse then Pastors.
Answ. I deny the Proposition, to wit, If many Elders be one Presbytery ruling many Congregations, then doe they beare the re∣lation of Elders to these many Congregations, as proper Pastors to every Congregation, of, or within that Presbyteriall Church: nor doe they beare that relation of watchmen and proper Pastors to Page 326 every one of these Congregations, that a Pastor of a particular Congregation beareth to his particular flock, that is to be •oved. It is true they are called the Elders of the presbyteriall Church of Ephesus, the Colledge of the Angells of the Church of Pergamus; but this is a generall and different relation from that which each Pastor, doth carry to his owne flock in those respects. 1. The Presbytery are Elders to the classicall Church 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉••; not in things proper to each Congregation but in things common to all, or in that which is the proper object of government, to wit, those things which rather concerne the consociation, and combination of those thirty Churches then the thirty consociated, and combined Churches in par∣ticular. 2. The Presbytery doth rather take care of the reg•la∣tion of the acts of governing in all these Churches, then the governed Churches: for they are to heed to the Pastors ordain∣ed, and to lay h•nds suddenly on no man, to commit the Word to faithfull m•n, to see that Pastors preach sound Doctrine, and exercise Discipline according to the rule, but they doe not feede as speciall Pastors the particular flocks, but every one is to feede his owne flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath set him, Acts 20, 28. 3 The Elders of the classicall presbytery are Elders to all these Churches, as the Elders themselves are, in Collegio Presbyteriali, in the Colledge of Presbyters and pro∣perly as they are in the Court, but not separatim, and oct of Court, so this and this Archippus is not an Elder, or Pastor to all these Congregations, so as he hath to answer to God and to watch for the Soules of them all, but hee hath a charge of them onely in Collegio; and if he doe any thing, as a classicall Elder, as if hee lay hands on a Pastor ordained to bee the Pastor of such a Congregation, hee doth it as the hand and in∣strument and deligate of the Presbytery, or if hee pronounce the sentence of excommunication in a Congregation, hee is virtualitèr in Collegio, when he doth that act, in respect he doth it as the deligate of the Presbytery. And this our Brethren may see in their owne particular Eldership of their indepen∣dent flock, if an Elder occasionally rebuke any of the flock, never convened before the Church, he doth not in that exercise an act of Church Jurisdiction, because he is not now in a Court, Page 327 and when hee is not in the Court hee cannot excommun•cate, Yet •iting in Court hee doth, in Collegio, with the rest of the Eldership exercise Church Jurisdiction. And separatim, and not joyned in the Court they cannot exercise Church Juris∣diction. 2. The presbytery hath a Church-Relation to all these 30. Churches not taken distributively, but collectively as all those are united in one Church classicall under one externall and visible government, even as the Elders of an independent Church are not Elders of their single Congregation, being se∣parated from their Court, and extra coll•gium Presbyteriale, in the notion of the relation of a Church-Jurisdiction, for they are Elders by reason of Church Jurisdiction only in their Court. 3. Classicall Elders in the Court have power of Jurisdiction in relation to this presbyteriall, or classiciall Church, but they have not properly an ordinary power of order to preach to them all and every one, and to administrate the Sacraments to them. The Elders of a particular Congregation, have power of order and power of Jurisdiction without the Court, but they have not power of Church jurisdiction, but in the Court; for there is a difference betwixt a power of jurisdiction which Elders have as Watchmen, and a power of Church-Jurisdicti∣on which Elders have not but in foro Ecclesiae, in the Court of Church-Jurisdiction. So the great Sanedrim beare rule over all the Tribes of Israel. But this Judge of the Tribe of Dan a mem∣ber of the Sanedrim is not a Judge of the Tribe of Benjamin, or a Judge to a thousand of that Tribe, as the Captaine of that thousand. 2. I distinguish the proposition, if the Elders of the Presbytery be Elders of the Presbyteriall Church, then are they Elders in relation to the many Congregations in that Church, if they bee Elders in these common affaires which concerne government in generall, then are they Elders in feeding, by the word of knowledge, and in governing in all the particulars which concerne the government of each Congregation. That I deny, for their oversight in governing in things belonging to all the consociated Churches, doth not make them Elders of all those particular Congregations. 3. Deacons in some cases are also Deacons in relation to all the particular Churches in some reserved cases: if all the Deacons of Macedonia, CorinthPage 328 and other Churches, should meete in one and take course for supplying the distressed Saines at Jerusalem, what inconvenient were in this?
Ob. 2. If Presbyteriall Elders be Elders to mary Congregations in a generall Relation, what sort of Elders are they? are they El∣ders ruling, or are they Elders teaching? it is unpossible that they can be Elders teaching, to so many Congregations; for teach∣ing is a personall and incommunicable act, that m•n cannot commit to any others, they must performe it in their owne persons, a•• cannot commit it to others, if they be Ruling Elders onely, and not teaching Elders, this is against the Scripture; for the exten: of teaching and the extent of ruling are commexsurable in the Word, and of alike extersion, Acts 20. 28. These same whoe are to feede the fl•ck at Eph•sue, are to governe and rul•, and they are to feede the whole fl•ck•, not a part of it; so the Text sayth, Take heede to the whole fl•cke, then they are not to governe all in a presby∣tery, and to feede with teaching the Word, one particular Congre∣gation onely; so 1 Pe•. 5. 2. feed the flock of God which is amongst you, not with knowledge onely, but be addeth their duty of governing: Taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly, &c. So H•b. 13. 7. Remember them that have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God; Ergo, these same who have the rule over the flock, and governe, du also speake the Word of the Lord and teach, v. 17. obey them that have the rule over you and submit to them, for they watch for your soules as these who must give accompt; Ergo, these same who governe, doe also as Pastors watch for the flock, as those that are to give an accompt; but the governing classicall Presbytery doe rule, but it is unpossible that they can give an accompt for all the Congregations of a classicall Presbytery, for they cannot watch over them all, except every one of these must have many Eyes: Nor can they be both ruling and teaching Officers, for then they should have two Offices, if one man be both a Physitian and a Chyrurgion to two severall companies, he must have two Offices in relation to two charges which he hath to those two companies, if he practise physick to the one company, and chyrurgery to the other, this is against the order that Paul Col. 2. rejoyced to behold. There∣fore the classicall Elders cannot be Rulers having the oversightPage 329of the whole c••ssicall Church, and yet every one of them must be a 〈◊〉 and teaching pastor only to the single Congregation over which 〈◊〉.
Answ. As grand-Fathers and fathers doe beare a relation to these same Children divers wayes, both are fathers and may tutor and provide for the children, but both are not be∣getting •athers, so also doe the classicall Elders and the El∣ders of particular Congregations, beare divers relations to the flocks. the question then is what sort of Elders are the Presbyteriall Elders to the Presbyteriall Church? I distinguish Church, I distinguish Elders. They are Elders classicall on∣ly to the classicall Church collectively taken, and they have an authoritative care over this Church. But they are proper Elders to the classicall Church taken distributively, that is, this man is an Elder to this part, or member of the Presby∣tery, to wit, to this Congregation. And another man to this Congregation as the Elders; in the Court and Aslem∣bly at Jerusalem, Acts 15. they are Elders in relation to the whole Churches of Antioch, Syria, and Silicia, and the Gentiles collectively taken in those dogmaticall poynts, with the confession of our Brethren, and these same Elders were in speciall manner Elders to the Congregations of Antioch, Syria and Silicia, and other Churches taken distributively; so also the Elders of many consociated, and Neighbouring Churches are speciall watchmen over their own fl•cks, by teaching and ruling, according to our Bre∣threns grounds, and also they have a Brotherly care over all the consociated Church, to Councell, •dmonrth, Com∣fort; seeing every man is his Brothers keeper, by a Divine Law, and the care is like as is it were authoritative, onely, by our Brethrens way, it wanteth the relation of authority; vet doth it not follow that Elders this way have two Of∣fices. but onely that they performe two acts of one and the same Office; also a Pastor of an independent flocke, who writcth • B••ke for the instruction of Sister-Churches as hee preache•• those same Sermons that are in the prin∣ted B•oke to his owne people and flocke, hath two Relati∣ons, one to his owne flocke whom hee preacheth unto. as a Page 330 Pastor, another as an instructer of other Churches by his writ∣ings, yet for that hee hath not two Offices, as one who is a 'Physitian and a Chyrurgion to two sundry companies. if any say, hee writteth not Bookes as a Pastor, by vertue of his Office, but as a gifted man by power of fraternity, let mee de∣ny the truth of the distinction, for this is to begge what is in question; For to teach the Churches by writing should pro∣ceede from the authoritative power of a Pastor, as a Pastor; and by that same officiall power that hee teacheth his owne flocke vivâ voce, by vocall preaching, as a Doctor hee teach∣eth other Churches by writing. But it was asked, whether are the classicall Elders ruling Elders, or Teaching Elders to the clas∣sicall Church?
Answ. They are both, and they are neither, in divers con∣siderations, they bee teaching Elders in all the Congregati∣ons, distributively taken, they are Rulers in all collectively taken, they are Teachers 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in some reserved acts, resol∣ving synodically some cases of conscience and dogmaticall poynts upon occasion, but they be not the constant Teachers to watch for the Soules of all. 3. The places, Acts 20. 28. 1 Pet. 5. 2. Heb. 137. 17. prove that those that rule in common many Churches should be Teachers of these same Churches distributively, and all the Eldership at Ephesus should rule the whole Churches amongst them. And there should no Pastor be a sole Ruler and not a Teacher, as the Prelate is; nor is there a Pastor who is a sole Teacher, and it is very true hee who is a ruling Pastor is also a Teaching Pastor, but not to that same flock alwayes. Neither is this true, that because power of jurisdiction is founded upon power of order, therefore teaching should be every way commensurable with ruling; for 1. The Eldership convened in Court, and onely formalitèr in foro Ecclesiae, in this Court hath Church-power of Jurisdicti∣on, in a Congregation, and in this Court they governe, but the Eldership in this Court neither doth preach, nor can preach. 2. The power of ruling is in the ruling Elder, but not the power of teaching, and the power of teaching publickly is in the un•fficed Prophet, as our Brethren teach, and yet in him there is no power of ruling.
Ob. 3. It is strange that to excommunicate agreeth to the rule∣ing Elder in a classicall Presbytery, which he may doe in many Congregations, and so he may performe his principall acts over thir∣ty or forty Congregations; and yet the Pastor may not performe his principall act of teaching in many Congregations, by vertue of his office, but onely in one congregation, by this frame of a classicall Church.
Answ. The ruling Elder doth onely in some common cases with the presbytery performe his speciall acts, but all the ordinary acts of the spirituall Jurisdiction the ruling Elder per∣formeth in that Congregation whereof he is an Elder, nor is this an inconvenient; but preaching which is given to unofficed men by our Brethren, should not be called the principall part of a Pastors charge.
Ob. 4. It is unreasonable that a Prelate or a Pope should rule me, and not teach me, and we condemned this in Prelates that they would onely rule, and not teach: But the classicall presby∣tery doth fall in that same fault, for they governe the whole classicall Church, but they doe not teach the whole classicall Church; It is dreadfull for a man to watch for the soules of one single Congregation, as being under necessity to give an ac∣cempt; Ergo, far more dreadfull it is to watch also for a whole tract of thirty or forty Churches, the Apostle will have Him who watcheth for one flock to entangle himselfe with no other imploy∣ments. How then shall hee take the burden of thirty, or forty Flockes?
Answ. It is unreasonable that Prelate and Pope should rule me, and so many hundred Churches 1. as the sole and proper Pastors, and all under them be but suffragans and deputed Pastors, doing by borrowed authority from Pope and Pre∣late. 2. That their sole Office should be to command feeders as Pastors of pastors, and not to feede with knowledge the flocke, that is most true; but the classicall presbyters are neither prin∣cipall nor proper pastors of the whole classicall Churches col∣lectively, nor are two or three pastors under them as deputies. 3. Nor is their Office to rule onely, not to feede with knowledge also. 2. The pastors of independent flocks are obliged by brotherly association, to be Vine-Keepers, Governours, fel∣low-Counsellers Page 332 to forty sister-Churches, for they acknow∣ledge * that Churches cannot subsist in good government with∣out the helpe of Synods; Now if wee distinguish onerous∣n•sse, care, and labour of B•therly watching over one another, and oner•u•n•sse, care, and labour, by way of Jurisdiction, the former is as great in foro Dei, in the Court of Conscience as the latter, and so ou• Brethren make Governing without Teaching, as well as wee doe; They in a Brotherly way, wee in a way of Jurisdiction. I prove that their way is as dread∣full and labo•ous in the •oynt of conscience, and in a way of giving accompt to God, as our way. For 1. A divine command that wee be our Brethrens keepers, and we watch over one another commandeth onerousnesse, and care in Bro∣therly governing to them, as to us. 2. Wee make the ground and foundation of governing a Classicall Church that band of Love and Union of the members of one Body of Christ, and this band of Lovely and Brotherly consociation of many Congregations commandeth, and ti•th us to doe no more in Governing and i• Helping, and promoting the edification of sister-Churches, then if wee had no further warrant to pro∣m•te edification, then the alone relation of Brotherly con∣sociation, for the onely and very reason why the Wisdome of our Law-giver Christ hath put a speciall Commande∣ment on consociated Churches to make one Presbytery, and to governe one Classicall Church, in these common poynts that concerne the whole Classicall Church, in the poynt of sound Doctrine and lawfull and Ministeriall Jurisdicti∣on, is the necessity that Members of one Body have of Bro∣th•rly Helpe, Light, Direction, Comfort one of another. Which poynt I desire carefully to bee observed: for wee see no ground to make the powers of a Congregation, of a pres∣bytery, of a Province. of a Nationall Church, powers for∣mally and essentially different, they differ onely in more or lesse extension, as the adjunct or genuine property of one and the same great visible Body, which is one integrall part; That same. 1. Covenant of God. 2. That same Lord 3. That same Spirit. 4. That same Faith and Baptisme. 5. That same power of the Keyes in Nature and Essence be∣longeth Page 333 to all; onely the power must bee more or lesse, as the Body is more or lesse, as there is more of that vis loc•∣motiva, the power of moving in the Hand then i• one Fin∣ger, and in the whole Arme then in the Hand onely, and in the whole body then in the Hand. And I cleare it in this, a man is a gifted Preacher in a Congregation in an Island, there is none other gifted of GOD to Preach the Gospell but hee onely. I would thinke, as a Brother hee were under as great an Obligation of care, and laborious onerousnesse of conscience to bestow his Talent for the gaining of Soules by preaching, though hee were not called to bee their Pa∣stor, and that by vertue of his Brotherly relation to the people, as if hee were called to bee their Pastor. I desire to know what the naked relation of Authority, or Juris∣diction addeth to his care and onerousnesse in poynt of la∣bouring by preaching the Gospell. Indeed now being cal∣led, his care is Pastorall and more authoritative. But if ac∣cording to the measure of the Talent, every one is to pro∣portion his paines to gaine more Talents to his Lord, and if the relation of a Pastor adde no degrees of gifts to His Talent, as wee may suppose, I thinke his onerousnesse in labouring was as great before hee was a Pastor as after: but I speake not this, to say that in a constituted Church there is no calling required other then giftes. Nor doe I speake this to say, that a calling is not a new motive why a man should imploy his gifts for the honour of the Giver; But on∣ly to shew that CHRIST hath united powers of Juris∣diction in Congregations, in Presbyteries, in Churches of Provinces and Nations; that so, not onely gifts might conduce to helpe and promove edification, but also uni∣ted powers of Jurisdiction which are also gifts of God, and though some may say that a calling to an Office layeth on M•n a more speciall Obligation, to make accompt for Soules, then gifts onely (which in some sense, I could al∣so yeeld) yet seeing wee thinke the relation of the Elder∣ship to a whole Classicall Church is not founded upon an Office different from the Offices of Pastors and Elders which they have, and are clothed with in relation to their Page 334 particular Congregations, but onely authoritative acts of the same Office, and that for the common promoving of edi∣fication in the whole Classicall Church, grounded in the depth of his Wisdome who hath seven Eyes, upon a Bro∣therly Consociation, in which they must either edifie one another, and occasionally partake of these same holy things, or then scandaliz• and leaven one another, with their pub∣lique transgressions; wee cannot see how presbyteriall El∣ders are more to give accompt for the Soules of the whole Classicall Church in Scriptures sense, Hebrewes 13. 17. then consociated pastors and Elders of consociated Churches are to give an accompt to GOD for sister Churches, over which they are to watch, and whose Soules they are to keepe, and so farre as they are Brethren must make a reck∣oning to GOD for them. And how can the presbytery be more said to intangle themselves, in governing the Classi∣call Church in some things, with things not proper to their calling, seeing consociated Churches, in a Brotherly way, doe medle with those same things, though not in a way of Jurisdiction? For helping the Classicall Church by way of Fraternity is not unproper to a Christian calling of Bre∣thren, and the joyning of power of Jurisdiction; I meane of power lesser to another power greater, to helpe the Classicall Church, upon the same ground of Fraternity, cannot bee unproper to the calling of a Colledge of pres∣byters.
Objecti. 5. The power of Presbyteries taketh away the power of a Congregation, therefore it cannot bee lawfull. The ante∣cedent is thus confirmed. 1. Because if the Presbytery ordain• one to bee Excommunicated, whom the Elders of a Congrega∣tion in conscience thinke ought not to bee Excommunicated, the man, Jure Divino, must be Excommunicated, and the power of the Congregation, which Christ hath given to them is nul. And the exercise thereof impeded by a greater power. 2. the voyces of two Elders of a Congregation, which are now sit∣ting in the greater and classicall Presbytery, are swallowed up by the greater number of Elders, of thirty or forty Congregati∣ons met in one great presbytery; Ergo, the power of thePage 335Congregation is not helped by the presbytery, but close taken away.
Answ. The Argument doth presuppose that which is a∣gainst GODS Law, to wit. 1. That there is a contradicti∣on of Voyces, betwixt the Elders of a Cong egation, and of the greater presbytery; which should not bee, for Bre∣thren even of Galathia, which contained many Congrega∣tions, as our Brethren confesse, should all minde and speake, and agree in one thing that belongeth to Church Discipline, as is cleare, Gala. 1. 8. Gala. 5. 10 v. 15. Gala. 6. 1. 2. 2. The Argument supposeth that the greater presbytery is wrong in their voycing, that such a man should be excommunicated, and the two Elders of the Congregationall Church is right, and hath the best part in judging that the same man ought not to be Excommunicated. But Christ hath given no power to any Church to erre, and that power which in this case the presbytery exerciseth is not of Christ; and de jure, the power of the greater presbytery in this case ought to bee swal∣lowed up of the two Voyces of the Elders of the Congrega∣tion. But suppose that the Elders of one Congregation, and the whole meeting all agree in the truth of GOD, as they all doe Acts 15. will you say that Peter, Paul, and Iames their power is null, and taken from them; and their three voyces are swallowed up in that great convention, because to their power and voyces are added, in this dogmaticall de∣termination (which you grant even now to many consoci∣ated Churches) the power and voyces of the rest of the A∣postles and Elders; yea and as some say, of the whole Church. Acts 15. 2, v. 6. 25. Acts 16. 4. Acts 21. 18. 25? I believe addition of lawfull power doth not annull lawfull power, but corroborate and strengthen it. So this shall fall upon your owne Eldership of your independent Congregation. Sup∣pose •en Pastors, Elders and Doctors in one of your Con∣gregations, whereas sometime there were but three, and these three had the sole power of Jurisdiction and exercise of the Keyes, you cannot say that the accession of six Elders to three, hath made null the power of three, and swallowed up their voyces; for if their power and voyces were against Page 336 the truth, it is fit they should be swallowed up: if they were for CHRIST, they are strengthened, by the accession of lawfull power and moe voyces, and neither annulled nor swal∣lowed up.
Object. 6. The Church at the first, for example, when it was but a hundreth and twenty, had the full entire power with∣in it selfe: Ergo, it should bee in a worse case by the multipli∣cation of Churches, if now that power bee given to Pres∣byteries.
Ans. It is a conjecture, that the whole Christian Church Acts 1. was onely an hundreth and twenty. I thinke there were more, though these onely convened at the ordinati∣on of Matthias, for there were above five hundred Brethren at once which saw CHRIST after his Resurrection, 1 Cor. 15. 6. and these, I Judge, belonged to the Christian Church also. 2. It is constantly denied that addition of law∣full power to lawfull power doth arnull, or put in a worse con∣dition the prexistent power; it doth helpe it, but not make it worse: and twenty Churches adding their good and Chri∣stian counsells, and comforts to two Churches doe not annull, or hurt or swallow up either the power of good counseling in these two Churches or their good counsels, but do much con∣firme, and strengthen them.
Object. 7. It is absurd that there should be a Church in a Church, and two distinct kind of Churches, or a power above a power, a Jurisdiction above a Jurisdiction, a State above a State, as Master and Servant, and Father and Sonne, so there is here a governing and a commanding Classicall Presby∣tery, and a governed and commanded Classicall Church, and in a politicall consideration formally different: now where there bee two different States, there be two different names, Titles, and Adiuncts, as 1 Cor. 12. 28. GOD hath set some in the Church, first Apostles, secondarily Prophets. So it is said, Genesis 1. GOD made two distinct Lights, a greater Light to serve the Day, and a lesser Light to rule the Night. But the Scrip∣ture maketh no mention of greater or lesser Presbyteries, wee have the name of Presbytery but twice in the New Testa∣ment, and in matter they differ not, for these same EldersPage 337are the matter of both: in form they differ not, for the same combination and union is in all: they differ not in operations, for the superior hath no operations but such as the inferior can exercise, for because a Pastor exhort•th a Pastor comsorteth, we doe not make two kindes of Pastors, if wee cannot finde a distinction betwixt presbyter and Presbyter, how can w•e 〈◊〉 a distinction betwixt Presbytery and Presbytery? Hath the Wisdome of Christ left these Thrones in such a confusion, as by Scripture they cannot be knowen, by Name, Title, Nature, Operations? And if there be a power above a power, wee have to a•end to a Nation and so to subdite a whole Nation, and their con∣sciences to this Government, and we are to put a Kingdome within a Kingdom.
Answ. A Church-Congregationall within a Church-Classi∣call is no more inconventent, then a part in the whole, an Hand in the Body, and that is a lesser body in a greater, and our Brethren call the people a Church, and the Elders the Elders of the Church, and what is this but a Church in a Church? 2. A power above a power, is not absurd, ex•ept it be a Church-power, so above a Church-power, as the Superior power be privative and destructive to the inferior, as the Popes power distroyeth the power of the Chu•ch Universall, and the prelates power destroyeth the power of the 〈◊〉 where of he is pretended Pastor. But the power of the presbytery is A•xiliarte, and cumulative to helpe the Congre∣gation, not privative and destructive to destroy the power of con∣gregations.
Secondly, a power above a power in the Church cannot be de∣nied by our Brethren: for 1. In the Eldership of a •••gle Con∣gregation, the Eldership in the Court hath a power of Juris∣diction above a power of order, which one single Minister hath, to preach the Word and administrate the Sacraments; for they may regulate the Pastor and censure him, if he preach hereticall Doctrine: is not this a power above a power? yea two Elders in the Court have a power of Jurisdiction to go∣verne with the whole prebsytery, but the power of the whole presbytery is above the power of a part. But to com• neerer; The Apostles and Elders at Ierusalem met in a Synod have Page 338 a power, in dogmaticall poynts over the Church at Antioch, and others: and our Brethren say that the Church at Antioch might have in their inferiour Synod determined these same poynts which the Synod determined at Ierusalem; her's power above power.
Thirdly, we doe not see how they be two, or divers indica∣tures formally and specisically different in nature and operations, for they differ onely in more or lesse extension of power, as the reasons doe prove, as the power of government in one City or Borough, doth not differ formally from the power of the whole Cities and Boroughs, incorporated and combined in one common Judicature, and the power of two or three, or foure Colledges, doth not differ from the power of the whole com∣bination of Colledges combined in the comm on Judicature of the Universities: so here the powers of the inferior Judica∣tures do differ from the Superior onely in degree, and in num∣ber of members of the Judicatures; the policy divine is one and the same, though the Superior can exercise acts of Juris∣diction different from the Acts of the inferior in an ordinary way; such as are ordination of Pastors and excommunica∣tion, where many Churches are consociated; though, where this consociation is not, Ordination and Excommunication may be done by one single Congregation: also to argue from the not distinction of Names, Titles and Adjuncts of the Iudica∣tures is but a weake Argument, because Congregationall, and presbyterian, provinciall and a nationall Church-Body make all one body, and the inferior is but a part and member of the Superior, and thefore it was not needfull that as Apostles and Prophets, and the Sun the greater light by name and Of∣fice is distinguished from the Moone Gen. 1. the lesser light, that Congregation and Presbyter should be distinguished by Names and Office and Titles in the Scripture; for a Prophet is not formally a part of an Apostle, but an Officer formally different from him, and the Moone is not a part of the Sun, as a Congregation is a part of the Classicall Church: so Mat. 18. the Scripture distinguisheth not the people and Elders in the word (Ecclesia) Church, as our Brethren will have then both meant in that place, Mat. 18. Teil the Church. Now Page 339 we say as they doe to us in the like, we are not to distinguish where the Law doth not distinguish. But the Scripture sayth, Mat. 18. The Church that the offended hath recourse unto, is that Church which must be obeyed as a Judicature and spirituall Court, but the people is neither a Judicature, nor any part there∣of. And 2. Of that Church Christ doth speake that doth actually bind on Earth and loose on Earth, and that by the power of the Keyes, but the people neither as a part of the Court doth actually bind and loose on Earth by power of the Keyes. 3. Christ speaketh of that Court, and of that Church which doth ex∣ercise Church-power on Earth, under the title of binding and loosing; but we find not a Church in the face and presence of the people binding and loosing under the name of the Church, in the Word of God. Shall we use such an insolent significa∣tion of the word Church, as the Word of God doth not use? and Lastly, I say of these of Corinth gathered together con∣vened together in the Name of the Lord Jesus, with the Mini∣steriall spirit of Paul and with the power of the Lord Iesus; these cannot be the Church excommunicating before the people. The Text destinguisheth not the Court of Elders who hath the power of Jurisdiction from the people, and all these to whom he writeth, and who were puffed up and mourned not for the scandall, have no such power of Jurisdiction: nor can the Text beare that the Elders set up a Court before the Eyes of all the people, and delivered such a man to Satan, so as this is called the head of Elders and people, as our Brethren teach, and here they distinguish where the Scripture distinguish∣eth not.
Fourthly, if the Scripture give to us Thrones really different, though names and titles cannot be found, more then we find expresly and in words; two Sacraments, three Persons and one God, Christ Iesus in two Natures, and one Person, then have we what we seeke: but wee have these different in the things themselves, as Acts 2. 46. wee have a Church meeting in an House, for Word and Sacraments, as Acts 20. 8. and a Con∣gregation in Corinth meeting in an House, 1 Cor. 11. 20. 1 Cor. 14. 23. and consequently here must bee some power in this meeting to order the worship of God: this single Page 340 meeting is to rebuke those that sinne openly, and to hinder Women to preach in the Congregation; and to forbid, by the power of the Keys, that two speake at once; because God is the God of order; to borbid Doctrine that edifieth not, and speak∣ing Gods Word in an unknowen Tongue, &c. 2. There is an El∣dership 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in every City in Ephesus, in Ierusalem who met for Jurisdiction, Acts 21. 18. who layd hands on Timothy, 1 Tim. 14. 14. in Antioch, Acts 13. 1. 3. There is a meeting of a provinciall Church in Galathia; where there are many Churches, as may be gathered from Acts 5. 9. 10. who were to purge out the scandalous and false Teachers who leavened all others, and who were Gal. 6. 1. to restore with the spirit of meekenesse any fallen Brother; and 4. There a map and patterne of a generall Synod warranting both a nationall Church-meeting, and an O•cumenick councell. And the like may be ga∣thered from that Synod, Acts 1. and Acts 6. where these universall guides of the whole Christian World, to wit, the Apostles were, and did exercise Jurisdiction, by ordaining of Officers; and though instances of these could not be given in Scripture, there is a morall ground and warrant for it 1. Because joynt power of Jurisdiction are surer and better, then a lesser and dispersed power. For if the Keys be given to the Church visible, not to this or this little Church, as meet∣ting in a private House, Acts 2. 46. Acts 20. 8. The division or union of this power, the extension of it must be squared by the rule of most convenient edification, and it cannot stand with edification if it be given to one Congregation onely: The God of nature for conserving humane societies, hath given the power of government originally, not to one, but to a multitude; for one onely is not in danger to be wronged and oppressed in a society; but a society is in this danger, therefore hath God given this power to a multitude: and a multitude is the formall object of policy and government, and cannot but be d•ssolved, where Lawes and Government are not; So the God of Grace must have given a power of go∣vernment to a society and multitude of little Churches: for a multitude of Congregations is a multitude, and therefore this society and consociation cannot subsist, except ChristPage 341 have provided a supernaturall government for it. It is not reasonable, that some say, a morall institution is not an institu∣tion; for Magistracy is both morall, and a Divine institution; that God have a certaine day for his service is both morall, and also a Divine institution: all institutions are not meerly po∣sitive, as some suppose, such as is, that the last day of the week be the Sabbath, that Bread and Wine be signes of Christs Body br•ken, and his Blood shed for us. So supposing that Christ have a visible Church, it is morall that shee have power of government also, in so farre as shee is a Church. Yea power of government, upon this supposition, is naturall, or rather con naturall; so by the same ground upon supposall that Christ have, in a Nation, a multitude of consociated Churches, who for vicinity may either edifie, encourage, comfort and provoke •re another to love and good workes, they submitting themselves to the Lawes of Christs policy, or may scandalize one an∣other (as many consociated Churches in Galathia were bent to bite, dev•ure and consume one another, Gal. 5. 15.) it is morall, yea and con-naturall that they be under a Divine policy ex∣ternall. Nor is it more agreeable to the Wisdome of Christ that a multitude of consociated Churches in one Land should be left to the Lawes of nature, and Christian brother-hood, and be loosed from all Lawes of externall policy, then that the just Lord who intendeth the conservation of humane societies should leave every man to the Law of nature, and not give them a power to set up a Magistracy, and to appoynt humane and civill Lawes whereby they may be conserved. And I thinke we should all say, if God had appoynted every great Family▪ yea or every twenty Families in the World to be independent, within it selfe and subordinate to no civill law, to no power, to no Magistracy without that indepen∣dent little incorporation, that God had not then appoynted a power of civill Policy, and civill Lawes for the conserva∣tion of mankind; and the reason should be cleare, because in one Shire, Countrey, Province and Nation there should be a multitude, to wit, ten hundred, ten thousand independent Kingdomes subject to no Lawes, nor civill policy, but im∣mediately subordinate to GOD in the Law of nature, and Page 342 when these ten thousand should rise up and with the Sword devoure one another, and one society independent should wrong another, the onely remedy should be to complaine to God, and renounce civill communion with such Societies; that is, traffique not with them, (doe not take or give, borrow or lend, buy or sell with them) but it is unlawfull to use any coercive power of naturall, or civill reparation to compell them to doe duty, or execute mercy and Judgement one to∣ward another: now seeing grace destroyeth not nature, nei∣ther can there be a policy independent which doth contradict this maxime of naturall policy, acknowledged by all, in all policies, civill, naturall, supernaturall, God intending the conservation of societies both in Church and State hath sub∣jected all Societies, and Multitudes to Lawes of externall po∣licy: but so it is, a Multitude of little Congregations is a Multitude; and a Society. Then it must follow, that govern∣ment of independent little bodies, under no coactive power of Church censures, must want all divine institution and so be will worship.
For these it shall be easie to answer the obloquies of some, saying, that a nationall Church under the New Testament is Judaisme. Hence say they, a nationall Religion, a nationall Oath or Covenant, is like a World-Church, a Church, a huge body as big as the Earth: and so, if some Augustus should subdue the whole VVorld to himselfe with the Sword, Hee might compell the VVorld to bee all of one Church, of one Religion.
Answ. The terme Nationall-Church is not in the Word of God, but I pray you in what sense can the Iewish-Church bee called a Nationall-Church? I conceive not, because of the typicall and ceremoniall observances that put a Church-frame on the whole Nation: for if so, then the name of a Nationall Church or a nationall Religion cannot, by envy it selfe, bee put in the reformed Churches, or on Church of Scotland which hath suffered so much for Iewish and Romish Ceremonies. But if the Jewes were a Nationall-Church, be∣cause they were a holy Nation in profession, and God called the Nation, and made 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a Church externally called to Page 343 grace and glory and the whole Nation commensurable, and of equall extent then all Christian Nations professing the true Faith, and the Gentiles, as well as the Iewes; Then the believing Iewes of Pontus, Asia, Cappadocia, and Bythinia (as Augustine, Eusebius, Oecumenius, Athanasius doe thinke that Peter wrote to the Iewes) yea and the Gentiles, (as many interpreters with Lorinus, Thomas, Lyra and others thinke) are yet 1 Pet. 2. 9. an holy Nation, and so a Na∣tionall Church; and there is no more reason to scoffe at a Nationall Church in this sense, then to mocke the holy Spi∣rit which maketh but one Church in all the World, Cant. 6. 9. as Cotton, Ainsworth, and other favorable witnesses to our Brethren, confesse; And if the Gentiles shall come to the light of the Jewish Church, and Kings to the brightnesse of of their rising, Esai. 60. 3. if the abundance of the Sea shall be converted to the Iewes true Faith and Religion; And the forces of the Gentiles shall come to them, vers. 5. and if all flesh shall see the revealed glory of the Lord, Esai. 40. 5. and the Earth shall bee filled with the knowledge of God, as the Seas are filled with Water. It is most agreeable to the Lords Word that there, is and shall be a Church through the whole World; you may nickname it as you please, and call it a VVorld-Religion, a VVorld-Church. As if the lost and blinded World, Ioh. 2. 16, 17. 1 Joh. 5. 19. 2 Corin, 4. 4. were all one with the Loved, Redeemed, Pardoned and Re∣conciled World, Ioh. 3. 16. Ioh. 1. 29. 2 Cor. 5. 19. as if wee confounded these two Worlds, and the Religion of these two Worlds. And if this World could meet in its principall lights, neither should an universall councell, nor an Oath of the whole Representative Church be unlawfull, but enough of this before. And what if the World bee subdued to the World, and a World of Nations come in, and submit to Christs Scepter, and royall power in his externall government: are the opposers such strangers in the Scriptures, as to doubt of this? Reade then Esai. 60. 4. 5. c. 60. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15: v. 4. 5, 6 7. Psal. 2. 8, 9. Psal. 72. 8. 9. 10. Esai. 54. 3. Esai. 49. 1. Esai. 45. 22. 23. Psal. 110: 1, 2, 3, 4 5. and many other places, and there is a Kingdome in a Kingdome. Christs King∣dome Page 344 and his Church lodging in a Worldly Kingdome, and Christ spiritually in his power triumphing over the World, and subduing Nations to his Gospell.
Object. 8. If Classicall Presbyters be not Elders in •elation to the classicall Church, and so to all the Congregations in it, yee must forsake all these places, where it is said, the Elders of Jerusalem, the Elders of Ephesus, the Angels of the seven Churches, which is absurd; if they be Elders to all these Churches, then 1. All those people in those Churches must submit their consciences to them and their Ministery, as to a lawfull ordi∣nance of God. 2. All the people of those Churches must have voyce in election of them all. 3. All these people owe to the•s maintenance and double honor. 1 Tim. 5. 17. for if the Oxes mouth must not be muzl•d, but he must be fed by me and my corne, he must tread my corne, and labour for me. These Churches cannot all meet in one, to ordaine, and chuse all these Ministers, and to submit to their Ministery.
Answ. The Elders are Elders of Ephesus and Elders of Je∣rusalem, not because every Elder hath a speciall, pastorall charge over every Church distributively taken, for it was un∣possible that one Congregation of all the converts in Ieru∣salem extending to so many thousands, could all beare the relation of a Church to one man as their proper Elder, who should personally reside in all, and every one of those Congregations to watch for their soules, to preach to all and every Congregation 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in season and out of season. But they are in cumulo called Elders of Ephesus, in that sense that Kings are called the Kings of the Nations not because every King was King of every Nation, for the King of Edom was not the King of Babylon; and the King of Babel was not the King of Assyria, yet amongst them they did all fill up that name to be called the Kings of the Nations, so were the Elders of Ierusalem in cumulo, collectively taken, Elders of all the Churches of Ierusalem collectively taken; and as it followeth not that the King of Edom, because hee is one of the Kings of the Nations, is elected to the Crowne of Cal∣dea, by the Voyces of the States and Nobles of Caldea; so is it not a good consequence, such a number are called the Page 345 Elders of the Church of Ierusalem, therefore the Elder of one Congregation at the Easterne Gate at Ierusalem, is also an Elder of a Congregation of the Westerne Gate. Nor doth it follow that these two Congregations should sub∣mit their consciences to one and the same Elder as to their proper Pastor; to whose Ministery they owe consent in E∣lection, Obedience in submitting to his Doctrine, and maine∣tenance for his labours; all these are due to him, who is their owne proper Pastor: the as Caldeans owe not Ho∣nour, Allegiance, Tribute to the King of Edom, though the Kingdome of Caldea bee one of the Kingdomes of the Nations, and the King of Edom one of the Kings of the Na∣tions. But if indeede all the Kings of the Nations did meete in one Court, and in that Court governe the Na∣tions with common Royall authority, and counsell in those things which concerne all the Kingdomes in common; then all the Nations were obliged to obey them in that Court, as they governe in that Court, but no farther: and when the people doe consent to the power of that common Court ••citly, they consent that every one of these shall bee chosen King of such and such a Kingdome; and promise also tracitly Obedience, and Subjection to every one of the Kings of the Nations, not simply as they are Kings in re∣lation to such a Kingdome, but onely as they are members of that Court; so the Congregations acknowledging and consenting to the classicall Presbytery, doe tracitly chuse and consent to the common charge and care that every Pastor hath, as hee is a Member of that common Court which doth concerne them all, therefore all these consequences are null.
Object. 9. But when the Presbytery doth excommunicate in a particular Congregation by a delegate, they may with as good reason, preach by a delegate, as exercise Jurisdiction by a de∣legate; the one is as personall and incommunicable, as the •••r.
Answ. It is certaine there bee great oddes; for the acts of jurisdiction performed by speaking in the Name of Iesus Christ, doe come from a Colledge and Court, and because Page 346 it were great confusion that a whole Court should speake, therefore of necessity such acts must be done by a delegate. Indeed the Juridicall acts of the whole juridicall proceed∣ing of decerning the man to be excommunicated cannot bee done by one man onely, it would bee most conveniently done by the whole Senate, or at least by a select number against which the accused party hath no exception, and is willing to bee judged by; but the acts of order, as Preach∣ing flowing from the power of order, can be performed on∣ly by the Pastor in his owne person, and not by a depu∣ty. Except that a Synodicall teaching, which commeth from the power of Jurisdiction may bee sent in writ by Messengers and Deputies to the Churches, Acts 15. 25. Acts 16. 4.
Object. 10. A Pastor is not a Pastor, but in relation to his owne Church, or Congregation. Therefore hee cannot doe Pastorall Acts of either Order, or Jurisdiction in a Pres∣byterie.
Answ. How a Pastor is a Pastor in relation to all the World deserveth discussing.
First, Some have neither power of Order nor Jurisdiction in any place, as private persons.
Secondly, some have both power of Order and Jurisdiction through all the World, as the Apostles who might teach and administrate the Sacraments, and Excommunicate as Apostles, in every Church.
Thirdly, some have power of Order, and Jurisdiction in a certaine determinate place, as Pastors in their owne particular Congregations.
Fourthly, some have power of Order in relation to all the VVorld, as Pastors of a Congregation, who are Pa∣stors validly Preaching and Administrating the Sacraments, but orderly and lawfully Preaching, where they have a calling of those, who can call to the occasionall exercise of their calling hic & nunc. In this meaning a Pastor of one flock is a Pastor, in regard of power of Order to all the World. Because though his pastorall teaching be restrained by the Church in ordinary, onely to this Congregation, yet Page 347 hath hee a pastorall power to preach to all the World, in in an occasionall way, both by Word and Writ, yet doth not this power being but the halfe of his Ministeriall power, denominate him a Pastor to all the World, as the Apostles were; and the same way hath hee power to administrate the Sacraments, and this way may our Brethren see that power of order to be a Minister or Pastor is given by the Presbytery, so as if the man were deprived clave non errante, hee now hath lost his pastorall relation to both the Catholick Church, and that Congregation, whereof hee is a Pastor. So as hee is now a private man, in relation not onely to that Congregation whereof hee was a Pastor, but also in relation to the whole visible Church; now no particular Congregation hath power to denude him of this relation, that he had to the whole catholick Church. But a Pastor of a flock is a Pastor in respect of power of Jurisdiction, not over all the World, to excommunicate in every Presbytery, with the Presbytery, hee is onely capable by vertue of his power of order, to exercise power of Jurisdiction, where hee shall come, upon suposall of a call, if hee be chosen a Pastor there, or be called to be a Commissioner in the higher, or highest Courts of the Church catholick, but other wayes he hath no power of Juris∣diction, but in that Court whereof he is a member; that is, in the Eldership of a Congregation, and in the Classicall Presbytery: for hee is so a member of a Congregation, as he is also a member of the Classical Presbytery, and therefore though he be not a Pastor one way in this Classicall Court, I meane in respect of power of order, yet is hee a Pastor, 〈◊〉, in watching over that Church, in respect of power of Jurisdiction.
Our Brethrens ground then is weake when they say. A Pastor cannot give the Seales to those of another Congregation, because he hath no Ministeriall power over those of another Con∣gregation; if they meane power of Jurisdiction, it is true, he hath no Jurisdiction over those of another Congregati∣on: but if they meane, hee hath no power of order over them, that is, for what ever be the Churches part in this, it is cer∣taine Page 348 the Pastor doth administrate the Seales by power of order, and not by power of Iurisdiction, and the Church as the Church hath not any power of order, for shee is not called to any pa∣storall dignity, though wee should grant that, which yet can never bee proved, that shee is invested with a Ministeriall power.
Object, 11. If the Church, which you suppse to be presbyteri∣all, to wit, the Church of Corinth, did excommunicate, or was commanded to excommunicate the incestu•us person, before the Congregation convened and met in one, then must your classicall Church exercise all other acts of Iurisdiction, before all the Congregationall Churches of the Classicall Presbytery meete in one.
But this latter is as unpossible, as absurd; For how shall thirty or forty Congregations meet all, in one place, for all the severall acts of Jurisdiction? Also you confesse that many Congregations cannot meete in one place: that the proposition may be made good; We suppose these grounds of the Presbyteriall frame of Churches: 1. That the presbyteriall Church of Corinth, not the Congre∣gation had the onely power of excommunication. 2. That this man was to be excommunicated in presence, and so with the consent of the whole multitude, for so the Text sayth, 1 Cor. 5. 4. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. When you are gathered together. 3. Excommu∣nication is the highest act of Iurisdiction in the Church, being the binding of the sinner in Heaven and Earth, if therefore this highest act of Iurisdiction must bee performed before all the Church congregated in one, then must all acts of Iurisdiction be performed also in presence of the congregated Church; for it concerneth their edification, and is a matter of conscience to then: all. 4. The reason why wee thinke sit hee should be excommuni∣cated before, or in presence of that Congregation whereof hee is a member, is because it concerneth them, and hee is a member of this Congregation, But by your grounds, the whole Presby∣teriall or classicall Church should be present, which were unpos∣sible; for hee is to you a Member of the whole Classicall Church, and the power of excommunication is in the whole classicall Church, and they ought to bee present by the samePage 349reason, that the Congregation, whereof hee is a neerest member, is present.
Answ. 1. There be many things in this argument to be cor∣rected, as 1. That the Church of Corinth conve•ed in the whole multitude whom it concerned, for 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, doth not prove it; for the same Word is spoken of the meet∣ing of the Apostles and Elders, who met in a Synod with authority, Acts 15. 6. the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is attributed to the multitude, Acts 21. v. 22. and to the Church of Believers, 1 Cor. 11. 20. and 1 Cor. 14. 23. therefore the one word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 seemeth to bee no cogent Argument. 2. The word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which is not here in all this Chapter, or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is used in the New Testament, and by the seventy Interpreters, whose translation Christ and his Apostles doe frequently fol∣low in the New Testament, use the words for any meeting of good or ill, of civill or Ecclesiasticall persons. As I might instance is a great many places of the Old and New Testa∣ment; then what is it, I pray you, which restricteth the sig∣nification of these words to signifie a civill, rather then an Ecclesiasticall meeting? certainly the actions which the com∣pany doth when they are met, and the end for which they meete. I give an instance in Acts 19. 41. the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 (the like I say of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) signifieth not the Church of Christ, and why? it is a reason that cannot bee controlled. They were assembled for to raise a tumult against Paul which was no Church-action, and so no Church end is here. So v. 39. But if you enquire any thing in other matters, it shall be determined 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in a lawfull assembly; surely the end of such an assembly in Ephesus, where this man was Town-Clark in the meeting, could be. no Church-businesse, Hence wee are led to know what 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, an Assembly or Church signifieth here not the Church of Christ, so Psal. 22. 16. the Assembly of the wicked hath inclosed mee 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Merighem the seventy Interpreters turne it 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and T•rtullian fol∣loweth them, the persons congregated, the actions and end for which they convenc lead us to this, that the Word signifieth not a Church of Christ. So wee may see, Psal. 26. 5. Page 350 the Congregation of Elders cannot bee a true Church, 2. 1 Cor. 11. 18. for first when you come together to the Church, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, I heare there are divisions amongst you. The place must signifie the Church of Believers, because the end of their meeting was the Supper of the Lord, or their commu∣nion, v. 20. as the Text cleareth, and 1 Cor. 14. 23. when the whole Church commeth together, that was for prophecying and hearing of the Word, as the Text is evident, v. 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25 26, 27. and therefore here the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 must signifie the Church of Pastors preaching, and people hearing the Word, praying and praising God. So in the third place when 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Church is convened to bind and loose, and to excommunicate, as Mat. 18. 17. 18. 19. there is no necessity that the Word Church, should include those who have no power of the keyes, and cannot by power of the Keyes bind and loose. And therefore from the naked and meere Gram∣mar of the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, no argument can bee drawen to prove that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Matth. 18. 17. must signifie that same which it doth signifie, 1 Corin. 1. 1. 1 Corin. 11. 18. 1 Corin. 14. 23. for the word actu primo, and originally, signifieth any meeting, but the persons who are Congregated and the end for which they meete leadeth us to the meaning and Gram∣maticall sense of the word, in that place. Now Matth. 18. the Ecclesia, a Church Congregated there is such as bindeth and looseth in Heaven and Earth, and congregated for that use: therefore I see not how the circumstances of the place help∣ing us to the Grammaticall sense of the word here, as in all other places, doth not inforce us to say in this place Mat. 18. the word Ecclesia, Church, must signifie onely those who have power to bind and loose, that is, only the Elders, and not the people. So to come to the place, 1 Cor. 5.
Those who come under the name of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, congrega∣ted together, must bee expounded by the persons Office, and the end of their meeting, now the persons Office is Mini∣steriall, hee will have them congregated by Pauls Mini∣steriall spirit, and in the name and with the power of the Lord Jesus, this is the power of the Keyes, which hee who hathPage 351Davids Keyes Esai. 22. 22. on his Shoulders, Revel. 3. 7. giveth to his owne Officers, Matth. 16. 19. and these persons cannot be all that hee writeth unto v. 1. all that were p•ffed up, and mourned not at the offence given by the incestuous 〈◊〉, to Iesus Christs holy Nam• and Church, all who are to forbeare eating and drinking with excommunicated per∣sons, vers. 11. all who were in danger to be leavened, vers 6. all who were to keepe the Feast in sincerity, not with the old Leaven of wickednesse and malice: for these directly were the whole multitude of Believers, Men, Women, and Chil∣dren, who (I am sure) were not capable of the Keyes and the Ministeriall power of Paul. 2. The end wherefore these 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 who were convened, did meete and convene, was, vers. 5. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. to deliver the man to Satan, they were not convened to celebrate the Lords Sup∣per, as the Church is convened, 1 Cor. 11. 18. nor for hear∣ing the Word of Prophecy, or Preaching, as 1 Cor. 14. 23, 24. And whether you construe the Words 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 with the Power of the Lord Iesus, with the Verbe〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to deliver to Satan, or with the Participle〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 con∣gregated in the Name and Power of CHRIST, all is one; the multitude of common Believers, of Men, Women, and Children, are neither capable of the power, nor of the exercise of that power to deliver to Satan. And therefore this meeting together, by no Grammar doth leade us to say that the sentence was to be pronounced in face and presence of the multitude convened, vers. 21. Giving, but not grant∣ing that the Church of Corinth, in all its members, must bee convened. Though I hold it not necessary by this place, yet it followeth not that all other acts of Jurisdiction must bee exercised in face of the whole Congregation: for there is a speciall reason of the pronouncing of the sen∣tence, which is not in other acts: the pronouncing of the sentence, concerneth more the neerest Congregation of which the Delinquent is a member, in relation of nea∣rest and dayly Communion, it concerneth also other Con∣gregations of the Classicall Church, of which also the De∣linquent Page 352 is a member, but not so immediately and neere∣ly, because (as I sayd before) the more universall the Church visible is, the externall visible Communion is l•sse; even as when the number of a Family is cut off, by the Sword of the Magistrate, the matter first and more inti∣mately and more neerely concerneth the Family whereof hee is a Member, yet it doth also concerne the Common-Wealth, of which also hee is a Member. A Finger of the right Hand is infected with a contagious Gangren, it is to bee cut off; yet the cutting-off concerneth more neerely the right Hand, then it doth the left Hand, and the whole Body. For the contagion should first over-spread the right Hand and Arme, and Shoulder, before it infect the left Hand, and the whole Body; though it doe not a little concerne the whole Body also. So though actuall Excom∣munication concerne all the Churches of the Presbyterie: yet it doth more neerely concerne the Congregation where∣of hee is a Member. 2. The pronouncing of the sentence being edificative, it is a fit meane to worke upon others, but calling and trying of witnesses, and Juridicall decern∣ing of a Man to bee Excommunicated, requiring secrecies, yea and some scandals, and circumstances of Adultery, Incest, Pestiality, requiring a modest covering of them, from Virgins, young Men, Children and the multitude, wee have no warrant of GOD, that they should bee tryed before the whole multitude, nor are acts of Jurisdiction for their excellency, to bee brought forth before the people but for their neerenesse of concernment, and use of edi∣fication.
Object. 12. The people are to consent, yea they must have a power, and some thing more than a consent in Excommu∣nication; Ergo, they are all to bee present. The antecedent is proved, 1. Because they were not puffed up, they did not keepe the Feast, they did not dostaine from eating with the ince∣stuous person, onely by consent. 2. Others not of that Church did excommunicate by consent. 3. It is said, v. 12, doe yee not judge them that are within?
Page 353Answ. If you will have them to excommunicate the same way, that they doe other duties, you may say they excom∣municate the same way that Pastors and Elders doe, and if they Judge, vers. 12. as the Elders doe, either all the people are Judges, and where are then all the governed, if all bee governours? or then hee speaketh in this Chapter to the Churches-Iudges onely. 2. There bee degrees of consent, these of other Churches have a tacite and remote consent, the people of the Congregation are to heare, and know the cause, and deale in private with the offender, and to mourne, and pray for him.
Object. 13. The highest and double honour is due to him who laboureth in the word, 1 Tim. 5. 17. but if the Presbyteriall Church be the highest Church, it shall not have the double honour, for it is onely the governing Church.
Answ. Highest honour is due in suo genere, to both. And this is, as if you should compare obedience and honour, that I owe to my Father with that which I owe to my grand-Father, 2. Paul, 1 Tim. 5. 17. compareth Elders of diverse sorts together; as the Ruling and Teaching Elder, here you compare Pastors to bee honoured in respect of one act, with themselves to bee honoured in respect of another act; and this might prove, I am to give more honour to my Pastor for preaching in the Pulpit, then for ruling in the Church-Senate.
Object. 14. The Congregation is the highest Church, for it hath all the Ordinances, Word, Sacraments, Jurisdiction; Ergo, there is not any Presbyteriall Church higher which hath only disciplinary power.
Answ. There is a double highnesse, one of Christian Dig∣nity. 2. Another, of Church-prehemenency, or of Ecclesiasticall authority: indeed the Congregation, the former way, is highest, the company of Believers is the Spouse and ran∣somed Bride of Christ. But the Eldership hath the Ecclesi∣asticall eminency; as the Kings heire and Sonne is above his Master and Teacher one way, yet the Teacher (as the Teacher by the fift Commandement) is above the Kings Sonne as the Page 354 Teacher is above him who is taught; And so is the Case here.
Object. 15. The Arguments for a Classicall, or Presbyteriall Church do much side with Prelacy; for you make many Lords ruling and not teaching.
Answ. Let all judge whether the independent power of three Elders accountable to none, in a Church-way, but to Iesus Christ onely, as you make your little Kingdomes on Earth, be neerer to the Popes Monarchy, and especially when there is but one Pastor in the Congregation, then the sub∣ordinate Government of fourescore, or an hundred Elders• sure I am, three Neighbours are neerer to one Monarch, then three hundred. 2. One Monarchicall Society is as tyrannicall Antichristianism as one Monarchicall Pastor. 3. If wee made many ruling and dominering Lords, you should say something; but wee make many servants endued onely with Ministeriall power, onely to teach and rule, and to bee accomptable to the Church; your Eldership in this agreeth with the Pope, that though they deliver many Soules to Satan, yet no Man on Earth can, in a Church-way, say, What doe you?
A Patterne of a juridicall Synod.
THat the Apostles in that famous Synod, Act. 15. did not goe on by the assistance of an immediately inspired spirit and by Apostolick authority, but onely, as Elders, and the Doctors and Teachers assisted with an ordinary spirit, to me is evident from the course of the context.
1. Because Act. 15. when a controversie arise in the Church •• Antiochia,aEpiphanius saith, as also bHieronymus, by C••mbus, and others, touching the keeping of Moses his Law, especially the Ceremonies, except they would bee losers in the bu•nesse of their salvation, Paul could not goe as sent by Ami•h to submit that Doctrine, which hee received not from flesh and blood, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ, Gal. 1. 12. to the determination of a Synod of Apostles and El∣ders for who would think that the immediatly inspiring spirit i• P•ul, would submit himselfe, and his Doctrine to the im∣mediately inspiring spirit in Paul, Peter, Apostles, and Elders, therefore Paul and Birnabas, come as sent to Jerusalem, not •• Apostles, or as immediately inspired, but as ordinary teach∣••. Therefore saith cDiodatus, Not because these two A•〈…〉 were every wayequall to the rest in the light and conduct 〈◊〉 Spirit, and in Apostolicall authority, Gal. 2. 6. 8. had any 〈◊〉 instruction, or of confirmation, but only to give the weake 〈◊〉, who had more confidence in Peter and James, and in the Church at Jerusalem, and to stop false doctors mouths, and to esta∣••••, by common votes, a generall order in the Church. Hence when a controversie ariseth in the Apostolicke Church, and the Controversie is betwixt an Apostle as Paul was, and others, and both sides alledge Scripture, as here both did, out of all controversie, there is no reason, that the Apostle Paul, who was now a party should judge it: and when a sin∣gle Page 356 Congregation in the like case is on two sides, about the like question, nature, reason and Law cry that neither can bee judge, and therefore a Synod is the divine and Apostolick re∣medie which must condemne the wrong side, as subverters of soules, as here they doe, v. 24. And the Apostle when hee will speake and determine as an Apostle, hee taketh it on him in another manner, as Gal. 5. 2. Behold I Paul say unto you, that if you bee circumcised Christ shall profit you nothing; hee speaketh now as an immediatly inspired pen-man and organ infallible of the holy Ghost: but it were absurd to send the immediately in∣spired organ of the holy Ghost as such, to aske counsell and seeke resolution from the immediatly inspired organs of the holy Ghost. 2. The rise of controversies in a Church is not Aposto∣lick, nor temporary or extraordinary, but to ordinary wee have the Scriptures indeed to consult with, so had the Chur∣ches, whose soules were notwithstanding subverted, v. 24. and this assembly doth determine the controversie by Scripture, v. 14. Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, &c. v. 15. And to this agree the words of the Prophets, as it is writ∣ten, &c. But because Scriptures may bee alledged by both sides, as it was here, and wee have not the Apostles now alive to con∣sult withall, can Jesus Christ have left any other externall and Church-remedy, when many Churches are perverted, as here was the cases of the Churches of the Gentiles, v. 23. in Antioch, Sy∣ria, and Cilicia, then that Teachers and Elders bee sent to a Synod to determine the question according to the Word of God?
2. Here also is a Synod and a determination of the Church of Antioch, v. 2. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, They determined to send Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem: I prove that it was a Church determination, for Chap. 14. 26. Paul and Barnabas come to Antioch; v. 24. And when they were come,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, having gathered together the Church of Antioch, they rehearsed all that God had done by them, and how hee had opened the doore of faith unto the Gentiles, (28. And there they abode a long time with the disciples) Chap. 15. 1. And certaine m•n which came downe from Iudea, taught the bre∣thren, Except yee bee circumcised after the manner of Moses, yee c•••• bee saved; hence v. 2. when there was much debate about the que∣stion,Page 357 and it could not bee determined there, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, they made a Church-ordinance to send Paul and Barnabas as Church-messengers, o• Church-Commissioners to the Synod, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 relateth to 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the gathered together Church, Chap. 14. v. 27. and it is •eare, •. 3. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, being sent on their way by the Church, to 〈◊〉 of Antiach: Ergo, this was an authoritative Church send∣ing, and not an Apostolick journey performed by Paul as an Apostle, but as a messenger of the Church at Antioch, and as a messenger Paul returneth with Barnabas and giveth a due rec∣•oning and account of his commission to the Church of Antioch, who sent him, v. 30. So when they, (Paul and Barnabas having received the determination of the Synod) w•en they were dismis∣sed, they came to Antioch,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which words are relative to Chap. 14. 27. having gathered together the Church, and to Chap. 15. 3. being sent on their way by the Church, so here having gathered the whole Church, the multitude, they deli∣vered the Epistle of the Synod, and read it in the hearing of all the multitude, for it concerned the practise of all whereas it was 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉the Church which sent them, Cb. 14. 27. Ch. 15. 2. 3. So here wee have a subordination of Churches and Church-Sy∣nod, for the Synod or Presbytery of Antioch, called the Church con•eened, Ch. 14. 27. and the Church ordaining and enacting that Paul and Barnabas shall be sent as Commissioners to Jeru∣salem, is subordinate to the greater Synod of Apostles and Elders at Jerusalem, which saith to mee that controversies in an in∣teriour Church-meeting are to be referred to an higher meeting con••ting of more.
3. The 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, this dissention and disputation be∣tweene Paul and B•rnabas, and some of the beleeving Jewes who taught the brethren they behoved to be circumcised, was a Church-entroversie; Paul and Barnabas did hold the negative, and defended the Church of the brethren from embracing such wicked opinions; and when Antioch could not determine the question, Paul and Barnabas had recourse to a Synod, as or∣dinary Shepheards, who when they could not perswade the •rethren of the falsehood of the doctrine, went to seeke helpe against subverters of soules, (as they are called, v. 24.) at the established judicatures and ecclesiasticail meetings; for when Pauls preaching cannot prevaile, though it was canonicall, Page 358 hee descendeth to that course which ordinary Pastors by the light of nature should doe, to seeke helpe from a Colledge of Church-guides; Ergo, Paul did not this meerely as an Apostle.
4. Vers. 6. The Apostles & Elders came together in an assembly, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to consider of this matter This Synodicall consideration upon the Apostles part, was either Apostolick, or it was Ecclesiastick. It was not Aposte∣lick, because the Apostles had Apostolically considered of it be∣fore, Paul had determined v. 2. against these subverters, that they should not bee circumcised, nor was it a thing that they had not fully considered before, for to determine this was not so deepe a mystery as the mystery of the Gospell; now he saith of the Gospell, 〈◊〉. 1. 13. I received it not of men, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ, v. 16. When it ples'ed God to reveale his sonne to me that I should preach him among the •ea∣then, I conferred not with flesh and blood, neither went I up to Je∣rusalem to them that were Apostles before me, &c. then farre lesse did hee conferre with Apostles and Elders, as touching the ce∣remonies of Moses his Law. If any say, this was an Ecclesiastick meeting, according to the matter, Apostolick, but according to the forme, Ecclesiastick, in respect the Apostles and Elders meet to consider how this might be represented to the Churches as a necessary dutie in this case of scandall; This is all wee crave, and the decree is formally ecclesiastick, and so the A∣postles gave out the decree in an ecclesiasticall way, and this con∣sideration Synodicall is an ecclesiasticall discussion of a contro∣versie which concerned the present practise of the Churches, and it not being Apostolick must obliege many Churches con∣vened in their principall guides, otherwise wee agree that the matter of every ecclesiasticall decree, be a Scripturall truth, or then warranted by the evident light of nature.
5. The manner of the Apostles proceeding in this councell holdeth forth to us that it was not Apostolicke, because they proceed by way of communication of counsells. 1. What light could Elders adde to the Apostles as Apostles, but the Elders as well as the Apostles, convened to consider about this matter, and Act. 21. 18. 25. All the Elders of Jerusalem with James take on them these acts as well as the Apostles, and they are the decrees of the Elders no lesse then of the Apostles, Page 359Act. 16. •. 4. a derivation of the immediate impi•ing Spirit to ••• Elders, and by them as fellow-members of the Synod to the Apostles, and a derivation of this immediat Apostolick spirit, by the Apostles to the Elders to make them also infal∣lible, is unknowne to Scripture; for one Prophet did not im∣mediatly inspire another, and one Apostle did not imme∣diatly inspire another, wee read not in the Word of any such thing, and therefore it is said, Act. 15. 7. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, And when there had beene much disputing Peter s••d up. All who interpret this place say, even Papists not ex∣•pted, as Salmero com.in 〈◊〉 Salmeron, L••mus •. Lorinus, Cornelius a lapt. Cornelius a lapide, and others on the place, that when there is not consultation and disputing on both sides to find out the truth, but an absolute authoritie used by commanding, the proceeding of the coun∣ceil is rash (saith Salmeron;) now the Prophets were immediatly inspired, without any consultation with men in delivering Gods will, and they saw the visions of God, as it is said. And the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, to Ezechiel, to Hosea, &c. and bee said, &c. yea when a propheticall spirit came upon Ba∣••m, Num. 24. bee seeing the visions of God, hee prophecied di∣rectly contrary to his owne carnall mind, and to his consul∣tation with Bal••k: now it is cleare that the Apostles, what they spake, by the breathings and inspirations of that imme∣diatly inspiring Spirit is no lesse cannonick Scripture, then the prophecies of the immediatly inspired Prophets, who saw the visions of God, and therefore 2 Pet. 1. 16, 17, 18, the voyce that the Apostles heard from heaven, This is my beloved Sonn• in whom I am well pleased, is made equall with the word of pro∣ph•cie and propheticall Scripture, which the holy men of God spale, • they were moved by the holy Ghost, v. 19, 20, 21. and 2 Pet. 3. 16. Pauls Epistles are put in the classe with other Scriptures, v. 15, 16. now all Scripture, 2 Tim. 3. 16. is given by divine inspiration, and 2 Peter 3. 2. puteth the words of the Prophets and Apostles in the same place of divine authority, 2 Pet. 3. 2. That yee bee mindfull of the words which were spoken before, by the holy Prophets, and of the commandements of us the Apostles of the Lord and Saviour, whence to mee this synodicall consultation is not Apostoli∣call, but such as is obligatory of the Churches to the end of the Page 360 world, and a patterne of a generall Synod.
6. This assembly is led by the holy Spirit, as is cleare, v. 25. 28. but this is not the holy Spirit immediatly inspiring the Apostles as Apostles, but that ordinary Synodicall spirit (to borrow that expression) that is promised to all the faithfull pastors and rulers of the Church to the end of the world: because the imme∣diatly inspiring spirit comming on Prophets and Apostles in an immediate inspiration, did necessitate the Prophets and Apo∣stles to acquiesce, and prophesie, and to doe and speake what∣soever this spirit inspired them to doe, and to speake: but this spirit spoken of, v. 28. doth not so, but leaveth the assembly to a greater libertie, because the assembly doth not acquiesce to that which Peter saith from Gods Word, v. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. nor doth the Assembly acquiesce to what Barnabas and Paul saith, v. 12. but onely to that which James saith, v. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. but especially to his conclusion which hee draweth from the Law of nature, not to give scandall, and from the Scrip∣tures cited by himselfe, and by Peter, v. 19, 20. Wherefore my sen∣tence is, saith James, &c. and this clearely is the sentence of James as a member of the Synod, v. 19. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which is an expression clearly insinuating that the judgement of James, though it was not contrary to that which Peter, Paul, and Bar∣nabas had spoken, yet that is was somewhat diverse from them, and more particular, and the very mind of the holy Ghost which the whole Synod followed; and therefore though Peter and Paul spake truth, yet did they not speake that truth, which did compose the controversie, and this is to mee an argument that they all spake, as members of the Synod, and not as Apostles.
7. The immediatly inspired Apostolick Spirit, though it may discourse and inferre a conclusion from such and such pre∣misses, as Paul doth, Rom. 3. 28. and hee proveth from the Scripture, Rom. 4. 4. 5. 6. that wee are justified by saith with∣out workes, and 1 Tim. 5. 17. 18. and Act. 9. 22. Act. 24. 14. 17. and so doth Christ reason and argument from Scripture, Matth. 22. 31. Luk. 24. 25, 26, 27. and so have both the Prophets and Apostles argued, yet the immediatly inspired Spirit of God in arguing doth not take helpe by disputing one with another. Page 361 and yet doth not obtaine the conclusion in hand, but here Pe∣••• and Paul argue from Scripture, and they prove indeed a true conclusion that the Gentiles should not keepe Moses his Law, as they would bee saved, yet they did not remove the question, nor satisfic the consciences of the Churches, in their present pra∣ctise, for if James had not said more, then the Churches had not beene sufficiently directed in their practise by the Synod, and for all that Peter and Paul said, the Churches might have ea∣••n meates offered to Idols, and blood, and things strangled, which at that time had been a sin against the Law of nature, and a great stumbling block, and a scandalizing of the Jewes. Except therefore wee say that the Apostles intending as Apostles to de∣termine a controversie in the Church, they did not determine it, which is an injury to that immediatly inspiring spirit that led the Apostles in penning Scripture, wee must say that Peter, Paul, and James here spake as members of an eccle•iasti∣call Synod, for the Churches after-imitation.
8. If the Apostles here as Apostles give out this decree, then it would seeme that as Apostles, by virtue of the immediatly in∣spiring spirit, they sent messengers to the Churches, for one spirit directeth all, and by this Text, wee should have no war∣rant from the Apostles practise, to send messengers to satisfie the consciences of the Churches, when they should bee troubled with such questions: now all our Divines and reason doth e∣vince that a Synod may by this Text send messengers to re∣solve doubting Churches, in points dogmaticall; for what the Apostles doe as Apostles, by that power by which they writ canonick Scripture, in that wee have no warrant to imitate them.
9. I propounded another argument before, which prevaileth much with mee; The Elders of an ordinary Presbytery and Churches, such as conveened at this Synod cannot be collaterall actors with the immediatly inspired Apostles for the penning of Canonick Scripture, but in this Synod not onely Elders, but the whole Church, as our reverend brethren teach, were actors in penning this decre, Act. 15. 28. Ergo, this decree is Synodicall, not Apostolick. I have heard some of our reverend brethren say, all were not actors in the decree, pari gradu au∣thoritatis,Page 362with a like degree: and equall authoritie, every one accor∣ding to their place did concurre in forming this decree. I answer, it cannot bee said that all in their owne degree saw the visions of God, and all in their owne degree were immediatly inspired to bee penmen of Canonick Scripture, for Paul in penning this, The cloake that I left at Troas bring with thee, and the Parchmen•s, was no lesse immediatly inspired of God, then were the Pro∣phets, who saw the visions of God, and then when hee penned the, 1 Tim. 1. 15. That Jesus Christ came into the world to s••• sinners; except wee flee to a Popish distinction which Duvallius and Jesuits hold, that all and every part, tota Scriptura, and totum Scripturae, is not given by divine inspiration, because (say they) the Apostles spake and wrote some things in the New Testament as immediatly inspired by God, as did the Prophets, but they spake and wrote other things 〈◊〉 necessary, with an inferiour and Apostolick or Synodica•• spirit, which the Pe•e and Church may decree in Synods to •ee received with the like faith and subjection of conscience, as if the Apostles had written them. 2. You must say there was two holy 〈◊〉 the penning of the decree, one immediatly inspiring the Apo∣stles, another inferior assisting the Elders; or at 〈◊〉 di∣verse and most different acts of that same ho•y 〈…〉 way in∣spiring the Apostles, and in a fallible way, inspiring the Elders. But with your leave, Act. 21. 24. The ordinary I•es•ytery at Ierusalem, by that same Synodicall spirit, by which they or∣•aine Paul to purifie himselfe, doe ascribe to themselves this de∣cree, v. 25. 3. Wee de•ire a warrant from Gods Word, of com∣mixion of immediatly inspired Apostles as immediatly inspi∣red with Elders, assisted with an ordinary spirit, for the p••∣ning of Scripture.
10. Wee thinke the Presbytery of Jerusalem as an ordinary Presbytery, Act. 21. 18. and contradivided from the Church of J∣rusalem, v. 22. The multitude must needs come together, for they heare that thou art come, did ordaine Paul to purifie himselfe, and it is cleare Paul otherwise would not have purified himselfe, and therefore hee did not by the immediatly inspired spirit purifie himselfe, and obey their decree, which was grounded upon the Law of nature, not to scandalize weake beleevers, v.•0, Page 363 21. and bt this same holy spirit did Paul with other of the Apostles write this decree, as is cleare v. 25.
11. If the Apostles did all in this Synod as immediatly in∣spired by God, then should the Synod have followed the deter∣mination of any one Apostle, of Peter and Paul, as well as of 〈◊〉, for the immediatly inspiring spirit is alike perfect in all ••s determinations, but it is said expresly, v. 22. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, &c. Then it seemed good to the Apostles, &c. and so to 〈◊〉, and Peter, and Paul, to follow the sentence of James,〈◊〉 the rest of the Apostles; now if James spake as an im∣mediately inspired Apostle, and not by vertue of that Synodi∣call Spirit given to all faithfull Pastors conveened in a lawfull Synod, then should James have acquiesced to what Peter and Paul aid, and not to what hee said himselfe, and Peter should have acquiesced to what hee said, and Paul to what hee said, •• every inspired writer is to obey what the immediatly in∣spiring Spirit saith, and then there was no reason why the Synod should rather acquiesce to what Peter and Paul said who spake of no abstinence from blood and things strangled, then to what James said, Ergo, by the Apostles consequence, v. 24. (we gave •• such commandement, that you must bee circumcised, Ergo, you should not bee circumcised) so this consequence is good, Peter and Paul speaking as Apostles gave no commandement in this Sy∣nod to abtaine from blood, Ergo, by the like consequence the Synod was not to command n• abstinence from blood, which consequence is absurd, Ergo, they command not here as Apo∣stles, 2. The Synod should have been left in the midst to doubt, whether shall wee follow Paul and Peter, who speake and com∣mand n• abstinence from blood and things strangled, o• shall wee follow James, who commandeth to abstaine from blood and things 〈◊〉, for all here command as immediatly inspired Apo∣stles, and what the Apostles judge lawfull and command as Apostles, that must the Churches follow, and what they com∣mand not, that by an immediatly inspiring Spirit they com∣mand not, as is cleare, v. 24. and that also must the Churches not follow, therefore I thinke we must say they did not here speak as Apostles.
12. These words, v. 24. Some who pervert your soules say, you must bee circumcised, and keep the Law, to whom wee gave no suchPage 364commandement) doe clearely hold forth what the Apostles as Apostles command in Gods worship that the Churches must doe, what the Apostles as Apostles command not, in Gods worship, that the Churches must not doe whence they teach, 1. That an Apostolicke commandement of any one Apostle without any Synod might have determined the question, to what use then doth a Synod conduce? Ergo, certainly either the Synod was convened for no use, which is contrary to Gods Word, Act. 25. 2. 6. Act. 16. 4. 5. it ser∣ved to resolve the controversie and edifie the Churches, Act. 16. 4. They delivered them the decrees, &c. 5. And so the Churches were established in the saith, and increased in number daily, or then the Synodicall commandement, and so the Synodicall spirit spo∣ken of v. 28. must bee some other thing then the Apostolicall commandement, and the immediatly inspiring spirit. 2. The Apostles gave no positive commandement to keep Moses his Law as Apostles, nay nor to keepe any part of it, they did not as Apostles forbid, before this Synod, that the Gentiles should ab∣staine from blood, and things strangled, which were Mosaicall Lawes before this Synod, yet now they give a commandement to keepe some Mosaicall Lawes, in the case of scandall; hence wee must either judge that now as Apostles they command in positive commandements the keeping of Moses his Law, con∣trary to what they say, for their not commanding to keepe Moses his Law is a commanding not to keepe it, (observe this) or then their commandement here is but synodicall and so far binding as the case of scandall standeth in vigor, which cer∣tainly a Synod may command, and one Church may injoyne, by way of counsell, to another, for otherwise as Apostles for∣bidding scandall, which is spirituall homicide, they forbid also eating of blood, in that case when it stood indiffe∣rent. 3. The Apostles saying, To whom wee gave no such com∣mandement, they clearely insinuate that their commandement as Apostles de jure, should have ended the controversie, but now for the edification and after-example of the Churches they tooke a Synodicall way.
13. The way of the Apostles speaking seemeth to mee Syno∣dicall, and not given out with that divine and Apostolicall au∣thoritie, that the Apostles may use in commanding: it is true, Page 365 they use lovely and swasory exhortations in their writing, but this is a 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 a decree, not an exhortation, now James saith, 1•. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is set downe as his private opinion, with reverence to what Peter and Paul saith, and v. 7. Peter when ma∣ny had disputed and spoken before him, standeth up and speaketh, and v. 12. Barnabas and Paul, after the multitude is ••nt doth speake, which to mee is a Synodicall order, and the whole Synod, v. 28. say, It seemed good to us.
They answer. 1. Consociated Churches have some power in de∣termining of dogmaticall points, but this is no power of juris∣dictim.
The seventh Proposition to which almost all the Elders of New Eng∣land agreed, saith; The Synod bath no Church-power, but the cause enimeth with the Church. Corpus cum causa, the Church-body, and the cause which concerneth the Church-body, doe remaine together, •nd therefore quaestio defertur ad Synodum, causa manet penes eccleiam, the question is brought to the Synod, the cause remaineth with the Church. Another Manuscript of Godly and learned Divines I saw, which saith; That the ministeriall power of apply∣ing of the rules of the word and Canons to persons and things from time to time, as the occasions of the Church shall require, pertaineth to, and may be exercised by each particular Church, without any necessary de∣pendance on other Churches, yet in difficill cases wee ought (say they) to consult with, and seeke advise from presbyteries and ministers of 〈◊〉 Churches, and give so much authoritie to a concurrence of judge∣ments as shall, and ought to be an obligation to us, not to depart from any such resolutions, as they shall make upon any consideration but where in conscience, and hence our peace with God is apparently concerned.
Answ. I perceive, 1. That our brethren cannot indure that a Synod should bee called a Church; but 1. I verily thinke that when Paul and Barnabas, Act. 15. 1, 2. had much dissention with those who taught, you must bee circumcised after the manner of Moses, that the Church of Antioch resolved to tell the Church, that is the Synod, while as they fall upon this remedy, v. 2. They determined that Paul and Barnabas and certaine other of them, 〈◊〉 goe up to Jerusalem unto the Apostles and Elders, about this question, that is, that the Church of Antioch, (when the subver∣•ers of soules would not heare their brethren of Antioch) didPage 366tell the Synod convened at Jerusalem, that is, according to our •∣viours order, Ma•••. 18. 17. they did tell the Church: and my rea∣son is, if the Church at Antioch could not satisfie the con•c•en∣•es of some who said, you must bee circumcised, else you cann•x in saved, they could not, nor had they power, in that cast not to goe on, but were obliged to tell the Synod, that is, the Church, whom it concerned as well as Antioch: for if they had sent the matter to the Synod as a question, not as a cause proper to the Synod, or Church; then when the Synod had resolved the question, the cause should have returned to the Church of An∣tioch, and been determined at Antioch, as in the proper court, if that hold true, the question is deserred to the Synod, the cau•e re∣maineth with the body, the Church; but the cause returned never to the Church of Antioch, but both question and cause was deter∣mined by the Synodicall-Church, Act. 15 v. 22. 23, 24. and the determination of both question and cause ended in the Synod, as in a proper court, and is imposed as a commandement and a Synodicall Canon, to bee observed both by Antioch, v. 25, 26, 27, 28, 29. and other Churches, Act. 16. 4, 5. Ergo, either the Church of Antioch lost their right, and yet kept Christs order, Matth. 18. 15, 16, 17. or the question and cause in this case be∣longeth to a Synod. 2. It is said expresly, •. 22. It pleased t• Apostles, Elders, and the whole Church to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch, &c. What Church was this? the whole Church of ••leevers, or the fiaternitie at Jerusalem; (say our brethren) but with leave of their godlinesse and learning no, say •. 1. What reason that the Church of all beleevers men and wo∣men of Jerusalem, should de jure, have beene present to give either consent or surfrage there: because it concerned then practise and conscience, but I say it concerned as much, if not more, the conscience and practise of the Church of Antioch, if not more, for the cause was theirs (say our brethen) and cause ad corpus (say they) quaestio ad synodum, and it concerned as much the practise and conscience of all the Churches, who were to observe these decrees, Act 16. 4. 5 Act. 21. 25. yet they were not present. If the multitude of ••leevers of Jerusalem was present, because they were 〈…〉 to the Synod, whereas Antioch & other 〈…〉 were nor off, were not Page 367 present, but in their commissioners, then I say the Church •• the multitude of Jerusalem, whose commidic•••s were here 〈◊〉; I say the multitude was present •uely de 〈◊〉 not 〈◊〉 nor was there more law for their presence, then •or all other Churches, who also in conscience were obliged to obey the councells determinations: but I, deare a warrant that the fact of the Synod, such as was sending of the decrees and Commissioners with the decrees to Antioch, should bee ••••ibed to the multitude of beleevers at Jerusalem, who by no Law of God were present at the Synod, and by no Law of God 〈◊〉 more consent then the Church of Antioch, and were present 〈◊〉〈◊〉, and by accident, because they dwelt in the 〈◊〉 where the Synod did sit, therefore say I, the 〈◊〉 Church in the whole Synod. 2. By what Law can Jerusalem a sister Church have influence or consent de jure, in sending binding Acts, as these were, as is cleare, v. 28. Ch. 16. 4, 5. Ch. 21. 25. to the Church of Antioch? for this is an authoritative sending of messen∣gers, and the Canons to the Church of Antioch, as is evident, v. 2 2. 3. It is utterly denied that the Church of Jerusalem, I meane the multitude of beleevers, could meet all at one Synod. 4. The word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, v. 12. which is said to hold their peace, is referred to the Apostles and Elders met Synodically, v. 6. and is not the multitude of beleevers. 5. Where are these who are cal∣led Elders, not Apostles, they are ever distinguished from the Apostles, as Act. 15. 2. v. 6. v. 22. Act. 16. 4. Act. 21. 18. 25. •are is no reason that they were all Elders of Jerusalem, for 〈◊〉 can Elders of one sister Church impose Lawes, burdens, •28 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 decrees, Ch. 16. 4. upon sister Churches? or h•w can they pen canonicall Scripture joyntly with the Apo∣stles? Some of our brethren say so much of those degrees, that they obliged formally the Churches as Scriptures doe oblige: the learned Junius saith well, that the Apostles did nothing as Apostles where there was an ordinarie and established Elder∣y•• in the Church; therefore those Elders behoved to bee the 〈◊〉 of Antioch, for Act. 17. v. 2. 〈…〉 Commissioners were 〈◊〉 from Antioch then Paul and 〈…〉. I thinke also the Churches of Cyria and 〈◊〉〈…〉 there, as well as Antioch, and de jure,〈…〉 should have beene Page 368 there; The case was theirs every way the same with the Church of Antioch, and their soules subverted, v. 24. 6. Those who are named v. 22. Apostles, Elders, and the whole Church are called v. 25. Apostles, and Elders, and Brethren, and elsewhere al∣wayes Apostles and Elders (Elders including brethren, or the whole Church, v. 22. of some chosen men, and brethren) as Act. 13. 2. v. 6. Ch. 16. 4. Act. 21. 18. 25.
2. I desire to try what truth is here, that this Synod but power and authoritie in points dogmaticall, but no Church-power (saith the seventh proposition of the reverend and god∣ly Brethren of New England) and no power of jurisdiction, but the Church of Antioch had Church-power and power of jurisdiction to determine this cause and censure the contravee∣ners, as our Brethren say. But I assume, this Synod tooke this Church-power off their hand, and with the joynt power of their owne Commissioners sent from Antioch, v. 2. v. 22. 23. de∣termined both cause and controversie, and it never returned to any Church-Court at Antioch, as is cleare, v. 25, 26, 27, 28. Ergo, this Synod had a Church-power. 2. A power and au∣thoritie dogmaticall to determine in matters of doctrine is a Church-power proper to a Church, as is granted by our brethren, and as wee prove from, Act. 20. 29. This is a part of the over-sight committed to the Eldership of Ephesus, to take heed to men rising amongst themselves speaking perverse things, that is, teaching false doctrine; and if they watch over them, as mem∣bers of their Church (for they were v. 30. men of their owne) they were to censure them. 2. If Pergamus bee rebuked, Re•el. 2. 14. 15. and threatned with the removing of their Candle∣sticke, because they had amongst them those who held the doctrine of Balaam, and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, hated by Christ him∣selfe, and did not use the power of jurisdiction against them▪ then that Church which hath power dogmaticall to judge of doctrine, hath power also of jurisdiction to censure those who hold the false doctrine of Balaam, and v. 20. Christ saith to Thyatira. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉because thou suff••• that woman Jesabel, which calleth herselfe a Prophetesse, to teach and to sedu•e my servants to commit fornication, and to eate things sacri∣f••dPage 369to Idols. Hence I argue, what Church hath power to try the false doctrin of Jesabel, and is blamed for not censuring her, but permitteth her to teach and to seduce the servants of God, hath also power of jurisdiction against her false doctrine: this poposition I take to bee evident in those two Churches of Pergamus and Thyatira. I assume: but this Synod, Act. 15. hath authoritie and power to condemne the false doctrine taught by subverters of soules, teaching a necessitie of circumci∣sion, in the Churches of Syria, Cilicia, Antioch, &c. Act. 15. vers. 23, 24. Therefore this Synod hath power of jurisdi∣ction.
3. Every societie which hath power to lay on burdens as here this Synod hath, v. 28. and to send decrees to be observed by the Churches, as Act. 16. 4. and to send and conclude, that they observe no such thing, and that they observe such and such things, Act. 21. 25. by the power of the holy Ghost, conveened in an Assembly, 25. and judging according to Gods Word, as •. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, &c. these have power of juridiction to cen∣sure the contraveners: but this Synod is such a societie, Ergo, it hath this power. The Proposition is, Matth. 18. 18. If hee re∣fuse to heare the Church, let him be to thee as a heathen and a pub∣lican; nothing can bee answered here, but because this Synod commandeth onely in a brotherly way, but by no Church-power, therefore they have no power of jurisdiction. But with reverence of these learned men, this is, petitio principii, to begge what is in question; for the words are cleare, a brotherly counsell and advise is no command, no 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, no decree which wee must observe, and by the observing whereof the Churches are established in the faith, as is said of these decrees, Act. 16. 4, 5. To give a brotherly counsell, such as Abigail gave to David, and a little maide gave to Namaan, is not a burden laid on by the commander; but it is said of this decree, v. 28. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, It seemed good to the holy Ghost to lay no other burden on you.
Also we do not say that power of jurisdiction is in provinci∣all or nationall Synods as in the Churches, who have power to excommunicate; for 1. this power of jurisdiction in Synods is cumulative, not privative; 2. It is in the Synod quoad actusPage 370imperatos, potius quam act us elicitos, according to commanded ra∣ther then to elicit acts, for the Synod by an ecclesiasticall power added to that intrinsecall power of jurisdiction in Churches, doth command the Churches to use their power of jurisdiction rather then use it actually her selfe. Let me also make use of two propositions agreed upon in a Synod at New England. Their 3. proposition. The fraternitie have an authoritative con∣currence with the Preshyteny, in judiciall Acts. 4. Proposition. The fraternitie in an Organicall body, actu subordinate, id est, per mo∣dum obedientiae, in subordination by way of obedience to the Presby∣tery in such judiciall Acts, 2 Cor. 10. 6. Now if here the whole Church of Jerusalem, as they say from v. 22. was present, and joyned their authoritative concurrence to these decrees, there was here in this Synod an Organicall body of eyes, eares, and other members, that is, of Apostles, Teachers, Elders and peo∣ple, and so a formed Church by our brethrens doctrine, ••gs, Paul and Barnabas, v. 2. being sent to this Synod by the Church of Antioch to complaine, were sent to tell the formed and or∣ganicall Churches, as it is Matth. 18 19 which is a good argu∣ment, if not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as Aristotle saith, yet 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 2. If the Brethren here concurre as giving obedience to the Elders, and the Apostles doe here determine as Apostles and El∣ders, then the brothren in this Organicall body doe concurre to the forming of these decrees by way of obedience to the Elders • Presbyters, and by the same reason the Elders concurre by way of obedience to the Apostles, for as the Elders as Elders and above the fraternitie, so the Apostles as Apostles are above the Elders: but then I much wonder how the acts are called the decrees of the Apostles and Elders joyntly, Act. 16. 4. and how the Elders of Ierusalem doe ascribe those decrees to themselves, Act. 21. 25. and how all the assembly speake as assisted by the holy Ghost, Act. 15. 28. Shall wee distinguish where the Scripture doth not onely not distinguish, but doth clearly hold forth qualitie and an identitie?
But some object, that the holy Ghost, v. 28. is the immediatly insti∣ring Apostolick Spirit• and so the Apostles must here concurre in gi∣ving out those decrees as Apostles, not as ordinary Elders. 1. Is Pe∣ter and Paul alledge Scripture and testimonies of Gods Spirit in thisPage 371Syned, as Elders, not as Apostles, then they reason in the Synod as falli∣•• men, and men who may erre, but that is impossible; for if they 〈◊〉 Scripture, as men who may erre, the Scripture which they al∣••dge 〈◊〉 be fallible.
Answ. Though the Apostles here reason as Elders, not as A∣p•st••s, I see no inconvenience to say they were men who might •re, though as led with the holy Ghost, they could not erre in this Syned following the conduct of the holy Ghost, as is said, •. 28. though the holy Ghost there bee onely the ordina∣ry holy Ghost given to all the Pastors of Christ assembled in Gods name and the authoritie of Iesus Christ, yet in this Act and as led by this Spirit, they were not fallible, neither men who could erre: for I see not how ordinary beleevers as led in such and such Acts by the holy Ghost, and under that re∣duplication can erre, for they erre as men in whom there is flesh and a body of corruption, and therefore, though both Apostles and Elders, modaliter, might erre, as Logick saith; Aposta••s err are est possible, yet de facto, in this they could not erre, being led by the holy Ghost, v. 28. and the necessitie of their not erring is not absolute, but necessary by consequent, because the Spirit of God led them, as v. 28. But the reason is must, weake, if they might erre, Ergo, the Scripture they al∣ledge might bee fallible: for though hereticks alledge Scrip∣ture, and abuse it, and make it to bee no Scripture, but their owne fancie, while as they alledge it to establish blasphemous conclusions, yet doth it no way follow that Scripture can bee fallible, or obnoxious to error, but onely that abused and a•• applved Scripture is not Scripture.
Object. 2. If ever the Apostles were led by an infallible spirit, 〈◊〉 to bee in a matter like this, which so much concerned the 〈◊〉 and consciences of all the Christian Churches amongst the Gen∣〈◊〉: E•go, in this Synod they could not bee led by a fallible spirit, but •• an infallible, and so by an Apostolick Spirit.
Answ. I conceive the spirit which led both Apostles and El∣ders in this Synod, was an infallible Spirit, but Ergo, an im∣mediatly inspiring and Apostolick Spirit, it followeth not; yea the holy Ghost of which Luke doth speake, v. 28. as the pre∣sident and leader of this first mould of all Synods, and so the Page 372 most perfect Synod, is never fallible, no not in the meanest be∣leever, and it were blasphemy to say the holy Ghost in any can bee obnoxious to errour; and I thinke de facto, neither A∣postles nor Elders could erre in this Synod, because, de fact•, they followed the conduct of the holy Ghost, without any byas in judgement; but it followeth not, 1. that the men could not erre, because the holy Ghost leading the men could not erre, as wee answer Papists who produce this same argu∣ment to prove that generall councells, and so the Church must be infallible. 2. It followeth not, Ergo, this holy Ghost was that immediatly inspiring and Apostolick Spirit leading both Apostles and Elders, which is the question now in hand.
Object. 3. This is a patterne of all lawfull Synods, then may all law∣full Synods say; It seemed good to the holy Ghost, and to us: if there∣fore the men might erre, the leader, to wit, the holy Ghost might erre, which is absurd.
Answ. It followeth onely that all lawfull Synods should so proceed, as they may say, It seemed good to the holy Ghost and to us, and there is a wide difference betwixt Law and Fact, all are lawfull Synods conveened in the name and authoritie of Christ, and so by warrant of the holy Ghost speaking in his Word; but it followeth not (as Papists inferre, and this argument pro∣veth) that therefore all which de facto, those lawfully assem∣bled Synods doe and conclude, that they are the doings and conclusions of the holy Ghost, and that in them all, they may say, It seemed good to the holy Ghost and to us. 2. The consequence is false and blasphemous, that if all lawfully conveened Sy∣nods may not say, It seemed good to the holy Ghost and us, that therefore the holy Ghost is fallible, and may erre, but onely that men in the Synod following their owne Ghost, and spirit, can say no more but, it seemed good to our Ghost and spirit, and cannot say, it seemed good to the holy Ghost and to us: for an ordi∣nary Pastor lawfully called and preaching sound doctrine in the power and assistance of Gods spirit doth speake in that act from the holy Ghost, and yet because in other acts, where∣in with Nathan and Samuel hee may speake with his owne spi∣rit, see with his owne eyes and light, it followeth not that he Page 373 is infallible, or that the holy Ghost is infallible.
Object 4 Is the Apostles did not conclude in this Synod, what they 〈…〉 an Ap s•a ••k spirit, it shall follow that the holy Ghost 〈…〉 15. 28. is not that same holy Ghost of which Peter 〈◊〉, 2 Pet. 1. 21. But holy men of God spake as they were moved 〈◊〉 Ghost, and if so, that holy Ghost which spake in the Pro∣〈◊◊〉 not also speake in the Apostles.
Answ. I see no necessitie of two holy Ghosts, 1 Cor. 12. 4. Now 〈◊〉••••ersities of gifts, but the same Spirit, there be divers acts of the same holy Ghost, and I willingly contend that the Sy∣nodicall acts of Apostles and Elders in this Synod, though comming from the holy Ghost assisting them as Elders in an ordinary Synod, v. 28. are different from the acts of that same holy Ghost as immediatly inspiring the Prophets and Apostles in prophecying and penning canonick Scripture; and yet there bee not two holy Ghosts, for Paul did not beleeve in Christ by that same spirit which immediatly inspired him and the rest of the Apostles and Prophets to write canonick Scripture. • meane it is not the same operation of the Spirit, because Paul by the holy Ghost given to all the faithfull as Christians, and not given to them as canonicall writers, or as Apostles or im∣mediatly inspired Prophets doth beleeve in Christ, love Christ, contend for the prise of the high calling of God, as is cleare Rom. •. 37, 38, 39. 1 Cor. 2. 12. 16. Phil. 3. 13. 14. 1 Cor. 9. 25. Yea Paul beleeveth not in Christ as an Apostle, but as a Chri∣stian, and yet hee beleeveth by the grace of the holy Ghost; but •• followeth not that the same spirit which immediatly inspi∣red the Prophets doth not immediatly inspire Paul as an A∣postle, and all the rest of the Apostles.
Object. 5. These decrees, Act. 16. 4. are called the decrees of the Apo∣stles and Elders, but if the Apostles in giving out these decrees gave 〈◊〉 as ordinary Elders, not as Apostles, then the sense of the words, Act. 16. 4. should bee, that they were the decrees of the Elders and of the Elders, which is absued.
Answ. It followeth onely that they are the decrees of the Apostles who in that give them out as Elders, and as a part of the ordinary established Elders of Jerusalem.
Whence if Christ promise the holy Spirit to lead his Apo∣stles Page 374 in all truth, hee promiseth also the holy Spirit to all their successors, Pastors, Teachers and Elders, not onely conveened in a Congregationall-Church, but also in a Synod, as hee maketh good his promise here, Act. 15. 28. and whereas the holy Ghost commandeth in a Synod of Apostles and Elders who are lawfully conveened, by our brethrens confession, and speaketh authoritatively Gods Word by the holy Ghost, Act. 15. 28. they cannot speake it as a counsell and brotherly ad∣vise onely, for that a brother may doe to another, a woman to a woman, Abigail to David, a maide to Naaman: wee desire a warrant from Gods Word, where an instituted societie of Pastors and Elders conveened from sundry Churches, and in that Court formally consociated and decreeing by the holy Ghost, as Act. 15. 28. against such and such heresies, shall bee no other then a counsell and advise, and no Church-com∣mandement, nor binding decree backed with this power: Hee that despiseth you, speaking by the holy Ghost, the Word of God, despiseth mee, and whether doctrines, or canons concer∣ning doctrine, comming from a lawfull Court, conveened in Christs name, have no ecclesiasticall power of spirituall juris∣diction to get obedience to their lawfull decrees; for if every one of the suffrages of Elders bee but a private counsell ha∣ving onely authoritie objective from the intrinsecall lawful∣nesse of the thing, and no authoritie officiall from the Pa∣stors, because Pastors, then the whole conclusion of the Synod shall amount to no higher rate and summe then to a meere ad∣vise and counsell. If it bee said, that when they are all united in a Synod, and speaking as assembled, Act. 15. 25. and spea∣king thus Assembled by the holy Ghost, v. 28. the authoritie is more then a counsell, yet not a power of Church-jurisdicti∣on. Then 1. give us a warrant in Gods Word, for this di∣stinction. 2. Wee aske whether this authoritie being con∣temned, the persons or Churches contemnibg it, bee under any Church-censure, or not; if they bee under a Church-cen∣sure, what is this but that the Synod hath power of censure, and so power of jurisdiction? if you say non-communion is a sufficient censure. But I pray you spare mee to examine this; 1. If the sentence of non-Communion bee a sentence Page 375 of 〈◊〉. it must proceed from a judicature that hath a 〈◊〉 of jurisdiction, but give mee leave to say as all Church-〈◊〉 have and must have warrant in Gods Word, so must 〈◊〉, such as non-communion, for the ordinary Church punishments, such as publike rebu•ing have warrant in the Word, as in 1 Tim. 5. 20. and excommunication, 1 Cor. 5. 4. 〈◊〉 1•. and the great Anathema Maranatha, 1 Cor. 16. 22. and forbearing to eate and drinke with scandalous persons, 1 Cor. 5. 10, 11. withdrawing from his company, 2 Th•s. 3. 14. and I pray you where hath the Word taught us of such a bastard 〈◊〉-ensure, or if you will not allow it that name, a censure indicted by the Church or Churches, as is non-communion. May our brethren without Christs warrant shape any pu∣nishment equivalent to excommunication without Gods Word? 〈◊〉 they may as well without the Word mould us such a censure as excommunication: if they say, separation war∣renth this censure of non-communion. But 2. By what Law of God can an equall give out a sentence of non-communion a∣〈◊〉 an equall, an equall cannot as an equall punish, when a Christian denieth followship to another because hee is excom∣municated, hee doth not punish as an equall, for the punisher in this case denying fellowship to the excommunicated doth 〈◊〉 an equall, but as having authoritie from the Church, who hath given this commandement in the very sentence of communication. 1 Cor. 5. 4. compared with v. 10, 11. Separa∣tion under a great controversie, and denyed in many cases •• the way of those who are more rigid therein, even by our 〈◊〉.
2. Christ, Matth. 18. 15, 16. will not have any brother, who 〈◊〉 but private authoritie and no Church-authoritie over a bro∣••••〈…〉 non habet potestatem) to presently renounce 〈◊〉 give up all communion with his brother, though hee bee 〈◊〉 before two or three witnesses, and inflict on him the sentence of non-communion, while hee first tell the Church, and non-communion is inflicted on no man as if hee were a heathen
〈◊〉 (to speak no thing of delivering to Satan) while hee •• conveened and judicially sentenced before the Church; 〈◊〉 our brethrens sentence of non-communion is in inflicted Page 376 by an equall Church upon a ••ster Church in a meere p•••• way, and by no Church-proces.
4. Non-communion, if it bee warranted by the law of ••∣ture, as communion of equalls is, yet should wee not bee re∣fused of the like favour, when wee plead that the Law of na∣ture pleadeth for combination and communion of joynt au∣thorities of s•s•er-Churches, in one presbytery: for if non-com∣munion of Churches bee of the law of nature, so must com∣munion of Churches, and authoritative communion, and au∣thoritative and judiciall non-communion, by natures law must be as warrantable upon the same grounds.
They 6. Object. •the Apostles, were in this Synod as ordinary Elders th•n, The Synod might have censured, and in case of obs•ina∣cie excommunicated the Apostles which were admirable.
Answ. For re•ukeing of Apostles wee have against Papists a memorable warrant in Paul, Gal. 2. withstanding Peter to •ce face, and Peter his giving an account, Act. 11 1, 2, 3. to the Church of Jerusalem of his going in to the Gentiles, which Parker acknowledgeth against Papists and Prelats to bee a note of Peters subjection to the Church. Papists say it was Peters hu∣militie; other Papists say Peter gave but such a brotherly ac∣count to the Church, such as one brother is oblieged to give to another: also all our Divines, and those Papists who con∣tend that the Pope is inferiour to universall councels. doc with good warrant alledge that by Matth. 18. Peter is subjected to the Church-censures, if hee sinn against his brother, and therefore we doubt not, but the Church hath, jus, law to excommunicate the Apostles, in case of obstinacie, and would have used this power i•Judas had lived now when the power of excommu∣nication was in vigor; but wee say withall, de facto, the su•∣position was unpossible in respect that continued and habi∣tuall obstinacie, and flagitious and at•ocious scandals deser∣ving excommunication, were inconsistent with that measure of the holy Spirit bestowed upon those Catholick Organs and vessels of mercy: but this exempteth the Apostles from act all excommunication, de facto, but is our brethren ex••pt them, a jure, from the Law, they transforme the Apostles into Popes, above all Law, which wee cannot doe, Apostolick eminencie Page 377 doth 〈…〉 neither Peter nor Paul to bee above either the 〈…〉 the 〈◊〉 Law, or the positive Lawes gi∣〈…〉 One doth wittily say on these 〈…〉 Matth. 8. 15. The Pope is either a 〈…〉 if hee bee a brother offending, 〈…〉 complaine of him to the Church,〈…〉 bee no brother, there's an end 〈…〉 his father, and never after this 〈…〉
〈…〉 in a Synod as Apostles, doth not 〈…〉 in Apostolick acts could not use Sy∣〈…〉 others; 1. Because Daniel, 9. 2. 〈…〉 understood by books the num∣〈…〉 Lord came to Jeremiah the 〈…〉 Paul. 1 Cor. 1. 1. and Timothi∣〈…〉 and 〈◊〉, 1 Thess. 1. 1. and 3. The 〈…〉, and yet • oph•ts and Apostles were immedi∣〈…〉 which they ••ote and spake.
Answ. 1. Daniel ••d the Prophecie of Jeremiah, and the Pro∣〈◊〉 the books of Moses, and the Apostles read the old Testament, 〈◊〉 and Paul read •eathen Poets, and citeth them, Act. 17. 〈◊〉. Ti•. 1. 12. and maketh them Scripture.
2. But the question is now, if as Prophets and immediatly in∣••• Prophets and Apostles they did so consult with Scripture which they reade, as they made any thing canoni•k Scripture upon 〈◊〉 medium, and formall reason, because they did read it, 〈◊〉 it out of bookes, and not because the immediate i••piration of the holy Ghost taught them, what they should 〈◊〉 canonick Scripture. Suppone a sentence of a •eathen〈◊〉 suppone this, that Paul left his cloake at Tro•s, not the •••wledge of sense, not naturall reason, not experience, none •• these can bee a formall medium, a formall meane to make scripture but as, (thus saith Jehovah in his word) is the formall reason why the Church beleeveth the Scripture to be the Word •• God, so the formall reason that maketh Prophets and Apo∣stles to put downe any truth, as that which is formally cano∣nicall scripture, whether it bee a supernaturall truth, as, the 〈◊〉 was made flesh, or a morall truth, as, Children obey your 〈◊〉, or a naturall truth, as The Oxe knoweth his owner, or Page 378 an experienced truth, as make not friendship with an angry 〈◊〉 a truth of heathen moralitie, as, mee are the off-spring of God, or a truth of sense, Paul lest his clo•ke at T•oas, I say the 〈◊〉, formall reason that maketh it divine and Scripturall truth is the immediate inspiration of God, therefore though 〈◊〉 learned by bookes that the captivitie should indure seventi. yeares, yet his light by reading made it not formally Scripture, but Daniels putting it in the Canon by the immediat acti•r, impulsion, and inspiration of the holy Spirit; and though Matthew did read in Esaiah, A Virgin shall conceive and beared Sonne, yet Matthew maketh it not a part of the New Testa∣ment, because Esaiah said it, but because the holy Ghost did im∣diatly suggest it to him, as a divine truth: for a holy man might draw out of the Old and New Testament a Chapter of orthodox truths, all in Scripture words, and beleeve them to bee Gods truth, yet that Chapter should not formally bee the Scriptur. of God, because though the Author did write it by the light of faith, yet the Propheticall and Apostolicall spirit did not suggest it and inspire it to the author. I know some School•. Papists have a distinction here. They say there bee some se∣pernaturall truths in Scriptures, as predictions of things that tall out by the mediation of contingent causes, and the supernaturall mysteries of the Gospell, as that Achab shall bee killed in the wars, the Messiah shall bee borne, &c. Christ came to 〈◊〉 sinners, and those were written by the immediatly inspiring Spirit: others were but historicall and naturall truths of fact, as that Paul wrought miracles, that hee left his cleake at Troas, and these latter are written by an inferior spirit, the assisting, not the immediatly inspiring Spirit, and by this latter spirit (say they) much of Scripture was written; and from this as∣sisting Spirit commeth the traditions of the Church (say they) and the decrees of Popes and councells; and this holy Spirit though infallible, may and doth use disputation, consultations, coun∣cells of Doctors, reading; but wee answer that what coun∣sells determin by an assisting spirit is not Scripture, nor yet •m-ply infallible, nor doth Daniel advise with Jeremialis writing what hee shall put downe as Scripture, nor Paul with Sos•h••••, with Timothy and Silvamus, what hee shall write as Canonick Scripture in his Epistles, for then as the decrees of the coun∣〈◊〉Page 379at Jerusalem are called the decrees of the Apostles and Elders and this decree which commeth from the Apostles and Elders as∣sem•led with one accord, and speaking with joynt suffrages from the holy Ghost, v. 7, 8 9, 10, &c. v. 28. as collaterall authors of the decree, is the conclusion of Apostles and Elders; so also should the proph•cie of Daniel, at least the first two verses of the ninth chapter, bee a part of Daniel, and a part of Jeremi•hs prophe∣cie, and Pauls Epistles to the Corinthians should bee the Epistle of Paul and S•sthe•es, and his Epistles to the Colossians, and Thes∣sah•ian•, the Epistles of Paul, of Timothy, of Silvanus, whereas Sosthenes, Timothy, Silvanus were not immediatly inspired col∣laterall writers of these Epistles with Paul, but onely joyners with him in the salutation.
The erring and scandalous Churches are in a hard condition, if they cannot bee edified by the power of jurisdiction in pres∣byteries.
Object. But it never or seldome in a century falleth out, that a Church is to bee excommunicated, and Christ hath provided Lawes for things onely that fall out ordinarily.
Answ. It is true, wee see not how an whole Church can bee formally convented, accused, excommunicated, as one or two brethren may bee, in respect all are seldome or never deserted of God to fall into an atrocious scandall, and wilful obstinacie, yet this freeth them not from the Law: as suppose in a Con∣gregation of a thousand, if five hundreth bee involved in li∣bertinisme, are they freed, because they are a multitude, from Christs Law? or from some positive punishment by analogie answering to excommunication? 2. The Eldership of a Con∣gregation being three onely, doth not seldome scandalously of∣fend, and are they under no power under heaven? The people may withdraw from them saith the Synod of New England, what then? so may I withdraw from any who walketh inordinately, 2. Thes. 3. 14. 15. (3) It is not well said that Christ giveth no Lawes for sinnes that seldome fall out. What say you of Ana∣thema Maranatha, 1 Cor. 16. 22. to bee used against an Apostate from the faith, and against such as fall into the sinne against the holy Ghost? I thinke visible professors capable both of the •nne and the censure, yet I thinke it falleth seldome out, it Page 380 fell seldome but that an Apostle was to bee rebuked, ha•Paul then no law to rebuke Peter. Gal. 2.
Object. 2. A Synod or presbytery may pr•nounce the d••d∣full sentence of non-communion against persons and Churches 〈…〉.
Answ. But I aske, where is the power, and institution from Christ, that one private man, as hee may counsell his bro∣ther, so hee may by our brethrens grounds, pronounce this sentence.
Object. 3. One private man may not doe it, to a whole Church, •• a classicall Presbytery and a Synod hath more authoritie over him, then hee hath over them.
Answ. One private man may rebuke another, yea bee may plead with his mother the whole Church, that hee liveth in, for her whoredomes, Hos. 2. 2. But if hee justly plead and his mother will not heare, may hee not separate? Our brethren of New Eng∣land, I thinke, shall bee his warrant to separate; for their sixth Synodicall proposition saith, the fraternitie, and people are to separate from the Eldership, after they refuse wholesome counsell. Now what Scripture warranteth twenty to withdraw and separate, shall also warrant ten, and five, and one, for no reason that if twentie bee carelesse of their salvation in the dutie of separation, and shall not separate, that one man shall not separate; because a multitude doth evill, I am not to doe evill with them.
Object. 4. But a Synod or a classicall presbytery hath more 〈◊〉 and authoritie, then one private man, or one single Congregati∣on. 1. Because they are a company of Elders, to whom, as to the Priests of the Lord, whose lips should preserve knowledge, the ••yes of know∣ledge, and consequently a power and Synodicall authoritie is given, though they have no power of jurisdiction. 2. Because as a private mans power is inferiour to a Pastors, so is the power of classicall and Synodioall meeting of Elders above a man, or a single congregation; and a Synod, in dogmaticall power, ariseth so higher then these, •• divine institution doth fall upon it.
Answ. The power of order and the key of knowledge doth elevate a Pastor, whose lippes doth preserve knowledge, above a pri∣vate Christian, yea as I conceive above a multitude of beleevers; but I would know if a Synods dogmaticall power bee above the power of single congregations; I thinke it is not, by our bre∣threns Page 381•enents, for they say expresly a that every particular 〈…〉, jus, to decide dogmaticall points, and this •ight the Church of Antioch had, Act. 15. and laboured to end that 〈…〉 in her selfe, which sheweth that they had right and • we, but they had not habilitie, and therefore in that case, they 〈…〉, light and advise from other Churches, and they say bThe c•niociation of Churches into classes and Synods, wee 〈◊〉 to bee lawfull, and in some cases necessary; as namely in things 〈…〉 not peculiar to one Church, but common to all. And likewise when a Church is not able to end any matter, that concernes onely them∣selves, the• they are to seek advise & counsell from neighbour Churches: hence the power of Synods is only by way of counsel and advise, & a Pastors advise is but an advise, & he giveth not his advise, virtute 〈◊〉, as he is a Pastor, for then his advise should bee pastorall and auth••itative, and proceeding from the power of order, though not from the power of jurisdiction; hee onely giveth his advise as a gifted and inlightned man, and so, to my poore know∣ledge, two hundreth, five hundreth holy and learned Pastors de∣termining in a Synod any dogmaticall point, they sit all there not as in a court, not as Pastors, for then their Decrees should have pastorall authoritie, and some power formally ministeriall to determine, yea and to sway, in a ministeriall way, by power of the keyes of knowledge, all the inferiour Churches, whom the de∣cree concerneth, even as the Eldership of Perg•mus, which to our brethren is a congregationall Church, doth decree by the dog∣maticall power of the keyes of knowledge that the doctrine of Balaam is a false doctrine, therefore they sit there as gifted Christians, and so have no Church-power more then a private brother or sister of the Congregation hath toward, or over another: for though a multitude of counselling and advising friends be sa∣fer and more effectuall to give light, then a counselling friend, yet are they but a multitude of counselling friends, and the result of all counselling and advising men doth never rise higher then a counsell and advise, and can never amount to the nature of a command: as twenty sch•••-fellowes, suppose as •udent and wise as the twentie masters of an Universitie, if these twentie schoole-fellowes give their advise and counsell 〈◊〉 a weightie businesse that concerneth the practise and Page 382 obedience of all the students, the result of their counsell and advise can never bee more then an advise, and cannot amount to the same determination of the twentie masters of the Uni∣versitie, the result of whose determination is a soveraigne com∣mandement and an authoritative and judiciall decree and sta∣tute to all the whole Universitie. 2. Whereas these Godly bre∣thren say the power of Synods in things which belong to particular Churches is but a counsell and advise, they should have told their mind, whether or no the Synod hath more then advise and counsell in things that are not peculiar to one Church, but common to all the Churches in that bounds, for it would seeme that a Synod is a colledge of commanders in dogmaticall points, that doe equally concerne all Churches (this should have beenespoken to) though in those things which are peculiar to each parti∣cular Church, they bee but a colledge of friendly advisers and counsellers.
2. If a Synod bee but a societie of counsellers, they have no more any authoritative power to pronounce the sentence of non-communion, against any single Congregation or private man, then a private man or a single Congregation hath au∣thoritative power to pronounce that sentence against them: but 3. You make the Synodicall power so above the power of private Christians in counselling, as that this Synodicall power is of divine institution, as you say, but let me aske what to doe? to counsell and advise onely? then that power of counselling in Abigail to David, in one brother or sister to another brother and sister is of divine institution, warranted by the Law of na∣ture, Levit. 19. 18. by the Law of charitie, by the communion of Saints, Col. 3. 15. 1 Thes. 5. 14. Heb. 3. 13. Heb. 10. 24. Mal. 3. 16. Zach. 8. 21, 22, 23. for there is a divine institution, for one brother to counsell and teach another. But if our brethren give a positive power to a Synod, to advise and counsell, which private Christians have not, then this Synodicall power shall not bee different from the power of private Christians gradu∣ally onely, as a lesser power to advise differeth from a greater power, but specifically and in nature. And indeed some of our brethren teach so, though I doubt if their brethren will returne them thankes; for this way, which to me is doubtsome. For Page 383 then the members of the Synod at Jerusalem, seeme to mee, to bee more then counsellers, and there must bee a positive institu∣tion by our brethrens grounds to warrant a power Synodicall sentially different from a Church-power, and essentially above it: for wee teach that because a congregation is a part of a classicall Church, and a classicall Church a part of a provinciall Church, that this power in Congregations, Presbyteries, and Synods differ onely gradually, in more or lesse extention, and by the way.
Whereas some derive all Church-power from a single con∣gregation to presbyteries and classes, ascendendo, by ascending,* others derive it from presbyteries to a Congregation, de∣scendendo, yea and some from the Catholick visible Church to na∣tionall assemblies, and from nationall assemblies to provinciall Synods, and from Synods to Presbyteries, from Presbyteries to Congregations; I, with reverence of the learneder, doe here con∣ceive, that there is no such cursory derivation to bee dreamed of; but because the Catholick visible Church is the great organi∣call body whereof Christ Jesus God blessed for ever is head and King, & it is to•um integrale, therefore there is no derivation ei∣ther by climbing up staires, or going downe, but Jesus Christ hath communicated his power to this great politicall body, and all its parts immediatly; to a Congregation hee hath gi∣ven, by an immediat flux from himselfe, a politicall Church power intrinsecally in it, derived from none but immediately from Jesus Christ, and the object of this power is those things that concerne a Congregation; and that same head and Lord hath given immediatly an intrinsecall power to the Presbytery, in things that are purely classicall, and that without either the intervening derivation of either a Congregation that is infe∣rior to the Presbytery, by ascending, or without any derivative flux of a Synodicall, nationall or Catholick visible Church, by de∣scending; and the like immediatly conveyed power politicall commeth from this glorious head to a Synodicall, or nationall, or the Catholick visible Church, and the reason is, the very nature of the visible Church which is totum integrale, a great integrall in∣tire body, now we know that life commeth to the thighes im∣mediatly from the soule, neither by derivation from the feet Page 384 and legs, by way of ascending, nor yet from the armes, brea•s, and shoulders, by descending. I deny not but here there may bee in other considerations, some order; as, if you aske which is t•• first Church; I answer with these distinctions of primatus, firstnesse.
1. The first Church, by way of constitution, is a congregation, * in the family of Adam and E••.
2. The first Church, by way of divine intention, is the Catholick Church.
Hence secondly, The first Church, by generation, or the order of generation, and so the lesse perfit, is a Congregation, and here is an ascension still from the part to the whole, from a Congrega∣tion to a Presbytery, from thence to a provinciall Church, from thence to a nationall, from thence to the Catholick Church.
And the first Church by way of perfection, is that Catholick Queen* and Spouse which Christ is to present to the Father, without sp•• or wrinkle, and all parts are for this perfect whole, all the mi∣nistery, ordinances, the dispensation of the worke of redemp∣tion, Christ, his death, resurrection, intercession, &c. are for this as the end, the perfectum totum, Ephes. 5. 25, 26. Ephes. 4. 11. 12. 13. 1 Cor. 15. 23, 24.
Hence thirdly, if wee regard the order of operation; The Congre∣gation* is primum movens, and primum operans, for all the moti∣ons of the Catholick-Church beginneth at the inferior wheeles and at the lower spikes, if a generall councell bee to inact any thing, motions must begin at the single Congregation at An∣tioch, at Jerusalem, and from thence ascend to a Preshytery, and from thence a nationall Church is to send their Commissioners to act in a Catholick councell, though if wee looke to the power it selfe, it is intrinsecally in the whole and in every part of the Catholick Church.
The fourth distinction considerable here is, that wee are to regard either,
|1. The order of nature,||Or 1. The order of the inhesion of this power.|
|or 2. The order of time.||Or 2. Of the reall derivation of 〈◊〉 power.|
If wee respect the order of nature, the power, by order of na∣ture, is given by Christ immediatly, first to the whole CatholickPage 385Church, as is proved before at length, and by this order of na∣t••• inhereth first in the whole Catholick Church, as mans or∣ganized intire whole body is, by natures order, the first adequat and principall subject of life and the reasonable soule, not this •• this part, but in regard of order of time, or reall derivation of〈◊〉, this whole power is immediatly conferred by Jesus Christ on the whole Catholicke visible Church, and to every part of it, and any reall derivation of power from one part of the Catho∣lick Church to another by ascension or descension is not to bee dreamed of here. As Commissioners of cities and shires have from those cities and shires who choosed them a virtuall power Parliamentary, yet is it not formally a power Parliamentary while the Parliament receive them as formall members, and then, by Law of the State, there falleth on them a formally parliamentall power: so Commissioners have from their Chur∣ches which sent them, onely a virtuall or radicall power, but they have never a formally Synodicall power, by virtue of a di∣vine institution, while they bee convened in Christs name Syn dically. It is true, the members of a generall councell de∣rive their virtuall power to voyce, and conclude from the na∣•••n•ll Church that sent them to the councell, but give me leave, this is but a derived power of membership making them fit to bee incorporated in a Synod, but being once incorporated, they have by their power of order, and by Christs immediate institution, a power immediatly given by Christ, in whose •ames they conveene, to voyce and conclude as a formall coun∣•••, and to say, It seemed good to the holy Ghost and to us; they can∣not say, 〈◊〉 good to the Churches that sent us.
The 5. distinction is, that the power is considered either •exercised ordinarily, or 2. occasionally. In regard of the ••mer ordinary power is seated collaterally in the Congre∣gation and Presbytery, in each according to its proportion of power, but because the power is compleater in the Presby∣••, which is a compleat body, and lesse compleatly in the Congregation, which is lesse compleat, it is more principally seated in the Presbytery; in regard of the latter Synods are the first subject of the occasionall Church-power, in things which •e in common belong to many Presbyteries, or to a nationall-Page 386Church. But to returne, if the Synodicall power bee different in essence and nature and not gradually onely, from the coun∣sell and advise of Christians, then, first, it is not a determination that bindeth, by way of counsell and brotherly advise onely, but under some higher consideration, which is as like a Church-re∣lation of Church-power, as any thing can bee, seeing here bee Pa∣stors acting as Pastors; 2. formally gathered in a councell; 3. speaking Gods Word; 4. by the holy Ghost. But this shall bee against the Church-government of New England.a 2. If it bee essentially different from an advise and councell and warranted by divine institution, why doe not our brethen give us Scrip∣ture for it? for if they give us Act. 15. then can they not say that the Apostles in this Synod did determine and voyce as A∣postles by an Apostolick, and immediatly inspiring Spirit, for the spirit Synodicall is a spirit imitable and a rule of per∣tually induring moralitie in all Synods, and must leade us, for an Apostolick spirit is not now in the world.
3. As they require a positive divine institution, for the frame of a Presbyteriall Church in power above a Congregation, and will not bee satisfied with the light of nature, which upon the supposall of a spirituall government instituted by Christ in a Congregation which is a part, may clearely, by the hand, lead us to the inlarging of that same spirituall government in the whole, that is, to a number of consociated Churches which are all interessed, as one common societie in a common govern∣ment, so they must make out, for their Synod endued with dogmaticall power a positive divine institution.
4. We desire a warrant from the Word why a colledge of Pa∣stors determining by the Word of God as Pastors having pow∣er of order and acting in a colledge according to that power, should not bee a formall and ordinary great Presbytery.
5. How can they, by our brethrens determination, exercise such pastorall acts out of their owne Congregations towards those Churches to which they have no pastorall relation, virtute potestatis ordinis?
6. How can the wisedome of Christ, (who provideth that his servants bee not despised, but that despisers in a Church way should bee censured, 1 Tim. 1. 19, 20.) cloth his messengers Page 387 in a Synod with a power dogmaticall and deny all power of i•••diction to them, upon the supposall that their determi∣nations be rejected? I feare there bee something under this, that none are to bee censured or delivered to Satan for hete∣rodox opinions, except they erre in points fundamentall.
But farther it may bee made good that a power dogmaticall is not different in nature from a power of jurisdiction, for we read not of any societie that hath power to meet to make Lawes and decrees, which have not power also to backe their decrees with punishments: if the Jewish Synedry might meet to declare judicially what was Gods Law, in point of conscience, and what not, and to tie men to it, they had power to conveene and make Lawes, farre more may they punish contraveners of the Law, for a nomothetick power in a societie which is the greater power and is in the fountaine, must presuppose in the societie the lesse power, which is to punish, and the power of pu∣nishing is in the inferior judicature, so a nomothetick power mi∣nisteriall cannot want a power of censuring. It is true, a single Pastor may ministerially give out commandements in the au∣thoritie of Christ, but hee cannot his alone censure or ex∣communicate the contraveners of those commandements, but it followeth well in an assembly hee hath power to censure and excommunicate, now here Pastors and Elders are in an assem∣bly.
It is objected; Pastors in a Synod have no jurisdiction as Pa∣sters; for what they doe as Pastors that they may doe there alone, and on; of a Synod: but they doe not, nor cannot determine and give out Canons there alone, and they cannot there alone determine juridically; therefore they doe not wholly and poorely as Pastors in relation to those Churches, give out these decrees, yet doe they not give out the decrees as privite men wholly, but in some pastor all relation, for Pastors as Pa∣stors have something peculiar to them in all Churches whither they come to preach so as a speciall blessing followeth on their labours, though they be not Pastors in relation to all the Churches they come to, even as a Sermon on the Lords day is instamped with a more speciall blessing b•••use of Gods institution imprinted on the day, then a Sermon preach∣ed in another day.
Answ. This argument is much for us, it is proper to acts of Page 388 jurisdiction ecclesiasticall that they cannot bee exercised by one onely, but must bee exercised by a societie, now a Pastor as a Pastor his alone without any collaterally joyned with him ex∣erciseth his pastorall acts of preaching and of administrating the Sacraments, but those who give out those decrees, cannot give them out Synodically, but in a Synod and Court-wayes as forensicall decrees, and so in a juridicall way, and because Pa∣stors, whither so ever they come, doe remaine Pastors. 1. The Apostles are not in this Synod as Apostles, Secondly, nor yet as gifted Christians to give their counsell and advise; nor, thirdly (as this answerer granteth) meerely as Pastors, then it must follow that, fourthly, they are here as such pastors con∣veened Synodically, by divine institution, and that this is the patterne of a Synod.
Object. 2. But there is no censuring of persons for scandalls in this meeting, because there is nothing here but a doctrinall declaration of the falsehood of their opinion who taught a necessitie of circumcision; and that all is done by way of doctrine and by power of the Keyes of knowledge, not of jurisdiction, is cleare from the end of this meeting, Act. 5. 2. Paul and Barnabas were sent from the Church of Antioc• unto Jerusalem unto the Apostles and Elders,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, concerning this question, and v. 6. the Apostles and Elders came to∣gether to consider,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, of this matter, consideration of*questions being the end of the Synod is a thing belonging to doctrinal power meerely, so Mr. Mather.
Answ. 1. It is false that there is no censuring of persons here, for to say nothing that Peter accuseth those of the wrong side as personally present at the Synod, either being summoned or comming thither by appeale, v. 10. Now therefore why tempt ye God to put a yoake upon the necke of the Discip'es, &c. which reproofe comming from one man onely, cannot be called a Synodicall reproofe; It is more then evident that the publick Synodicall censure of rebuke is put upon those who held and urged the necessitie of circumcision, and why not excommunication also in case of obstinacy? for the Synodicall censure of a publick Sy∣nodicall rebuke is onely gradually different, not specifically from excommunication and both must proceed from one and the same power? Now the Synodicall censure is evident in the Page 389 Text, v. 24. certaine went out from us, (so it is cleare they preten∣ded they were in this point followers of the Apostles) and Lo∣rinus thinketh that some deemed them schismaticks.
2. They have troubled you with words; Lorinus citeth the Sy∣〈◊〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉vedalacachum, they have terrified you, as if your salvation were not sure, except you keepe Moses his Law of ceremonies and the morall Law. 3. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, destraying by false arguments your soules, it is a word con∣trary to building up in sound knowledge (as Aristotle taketh * the word) saying that you must bee circumcised and keepe the Law. 4. They abused the name of the Apostles as having an Aposto∣lick commandement, and so a divine warrant for their false doctrine, and therefore are they refuted as liars, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, whence it is cleare they did labour to prove a necessitie of cir∣cumcision not onely from the old Testament and an expresse divine Law, but also from the authoritie of the Apostles, which was manifestly false; out of which I argue thus. If the Apostles doe not onely in a doctrinall way refute a false do∣ctrine in this Synod, but also in a Church-way, and by a juri∣dicall power rebuke and Synodically charge the authors, as sub•erters of soules, and liars, then they doe not onely use a meere doctrinall power in this Synod, but also a juridicall power: but the former is true: Ergo, so is the latter. 2. Ob∣serve two things in these obtruders of circumcision. First, the error of their judgement. It is more then apparent, that they had a heterodox and erroneous opinion of God and his worship, and the way of salvation, as is cleare, Act. 15. 1. And certaine men which came downe from Judea, taught the brethren, (and said) except yee bee circumcised after the manner of Moses, yee cannot bee saved. This doctrine is clearely refuted both by Pe∣ter v. 10. That yoake of the Law wee disclaime, there is a way of salva∣tion without that yoake, v. 11. But wee beleeve that through the grace of the Lord Jesus, wee shall bee saved as they, and it is synodically refuted, v. 24. wee gave no such commandement, it is not the mind of us the Apostles of the Lord that you keepe Moses Law, as you hope to bee saved; there was for this error in their judgement requi∣red a doctrinall or dogmaticall power, and this the Synod used. 2. Besides this erroneous opinion in their judgement, Page 390 there was another fault and scandall that the Synod was to censure, to wit, their obtruding of their false way up∣on the soules and consciences of the Churches, as vers. 1 They taught the brethren this false doctrine. 2. That they wilfully and obstinately did hold this opinion, and rai∣sed a Schisme in the Courch, v. 2. wherefore Paul and Barna∣bas had no small〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, dissention, (the word sig∣nifieth sedition which was raised by those who held that erroneous opinion) and great disputation with them. 3. They laid a yoake upon the brethren, v. 10. and v. 7. They made great disputation against the Apostles, and v. 24. They trou∣bled the brethren and perverted their soules. This was not simply an heterodox opinion which is the materiall part of a heresie, but had something of the formall part of an heresie, to wit, some degrees of pertinacie, of brutish and blind zeale, even to the troubling and perverting of the soules of the Churches, while as they would make disciples to themselves, and lead away soules from the simplicitie of the Gospell; now the Synod doth not helpe this latter simply, in a Synodicall way, by a dog∣maticall and doctrinall power, but by an authoritie Synodi∣call, and therefore they authoritatively rebuke them, as sub∣verters of soules; and whereas these teachers laid on an unjust yoake to keepe Moses his Law upon the Churches, v. 10. the Synod by their ecclesiasticall and juridicall authoritie doth free the Churches of that yoake, and they say in their decree. v. 28. It seemed good to the holy Ghost and to us, (not to lay the yoake of Moses his Law on you, as those who trouble you have done) to lay upon you no greater burden, then these necessary things, &c. now if there had beene nothing to doe but to resolve the question, if this had beene the totall and adequat end of the Synod, in a meere doctrinall way to resolve the question, Whe∣ther must wee bee circumcised, and keepe the Law morall and cere∣moniall of Moses, upon necessitie of salvation, as the argument of our brethren contendeth; Peter, v. 10. 11. made a cleare issue of the question, We are saved by the grace of God, both ••nes and Gentiles, and it is to tempt God to lay the yoake of the Law of Moses upon the brethren; the resolving of that question is the end of the Synod, but not the adequat end, for here that, Page 391 not onely the doctrinall power was to bee used, but beside that, 1. the schisme was to bee removed, and the authoritie of the Synod to bee used against the wilfulnesse and obstinacie of those obtruders of circumcision, in rebuking them as perverters of soules. 2. For the scandall which might have been taken if the Gentiles should have eaten blood and things strangled, and meats of∣fered to idols, and therefore the Apostles and Elders behoved, as a conveened Synod to forbid a grievous scandall and a spiritu∣all homicide against the Law of nature, to wit, that the Gen∣tiles for feare of scandalizing weake. beleevers amongst the Jewes, should abstaine from the practise of some things at this time meerely indifferent in their nature, though not indifferent in their use, such as were to eate things offered to idols, things stran∣gled and blood: and whereas our brethren, 3. Object, If the Apostles did any thing more then might have been done by private Pastors out of a Synod, it was meerely Apostolicall, and the Elders did but assent to the Apostles Apostolicall determination; and every one did here, A∣postles, Elders, and Brethren, more suo, Apostles as Apostles, El∣ders and Brethren as Elders and Brethren, after their manner as con∣senters to the Apostles, but other wayes it is a begging of the question, for to say the Apostles and Elders, rebuked Synodically the obtruders of circumcision, its but said, because one Pastor might have rebuked those obtruders; for the specification of actions must not bee taken from their efficient causes, but from their formall objects, therefore this is no good consequence, the Synod rebuked those obtruders, Ergo, the Sy∣nod rebuked them as a Synod, and by a power of jurisdiction, it fol∣loweth not, for Paul, Gal. 2. rebuked Peter; Ergo, Paul had a power of jurisdiction over Peter. I thinke your selves will deny this conse∣quence.
I Answer, 1. These two answers are contradictory, and sheweth that our brethren are not true to their owne princi∣ples, for sometime they say the Apostles gave out this decree as Apostles, and sometime there is nothing here done by a meere doctrinall power, such as Paul had over Peter, or one single Pastor hath over another, now it is sure that Paul had no Apo∣stolick, power over Peter, and that one Pastor have not Apostolick power over another. 2. When our brethren say here that the Apostles as Apostles by an infallible spirit gave out this Decree,Page 392 they doe in this helpe the Papists, as Bellarmine, Becanus, Gr••∣rut, and in particular the Jesuit aLorinus, who saith, decr•um authenticum cujus inspirator spiritus sanct•, and so saith bCor∣nelius a lapide, visi•m est nob is inspiratis & decretis a Spiritu sanctus, therefore saith hee the councell cannot erre, and so cSalme∣ron and dCajetan say, and expresly eStapleton saith this Apostosack definition flowed from the instinct of the holy Ghost; obser∣vandum (saith Stapleton) quanta habenda sit ecclesiae definienth au∣thorit•s; hence our brether here must yeeld either that all Sy∣nods are infallible, as Papists say, this Synod the patterne of all Synods being concluded by an Apostolick spirit could not erre, and so neither can councells erre, or they must with So∣cinians and Arminians say there is no warrant for Synods here at all. And certainly though wee judge our brethren as farre from Popery and Socinianisme, as they thinke wee detest Anti-Christian Presbytery, yet if this Synod bee concluded by an Apostolick spirit, it is no warrant to bee imitated by the Churches, and wee have no ground hence, for lawfull Synods. Whittakerus, Calvin, Beza, Luther, and all our Divines do all al∣ledge this place as a pregnant ground not of Apostolick, but of ordinary and constant Synods to the end of the world; and fDio∣datus, good to the holy Ghost) because they did treat of ecclesiasticall re∣ders concerning the quietnes and order of the Church, wherein ecclesiasti∣call authoritie hath place, the Assembly used this tearme, it seemed good to us, which is not used, neither in articles of faith, nor in the com∣mandements which meerely concerned the conscience: and to shew that authoritie was with holy reason and wisedome, there is added, and to the holy Ghost, who guided the Apostles in these outward things also, 1. Cer. 7. 25. 40.
2. If our brethren meane that the Elders and brethren were in this Apostolick and immediatly inspired Synodicall deter∣mination, not as collaterall penners of Scriptures joyned with the Apostles, but onely as consenters and as consenters by power of an ordinary holy Ghost working consent in them, more suo, according to their capacitie as ordinary Elders. 1. They yet more helpe the Papists because they must say one∣ly Apostles, and so onely their successors; the Prelates had definitive voices in this Synod, the Presbyters and Brethren did Page 393 no more then Papists and Prelates say Presbyters did in gene∣rall councells of old, and therefore the Presbyter is to sub∣scribe, Ego, A. N. Presbyter consentiens subseribo, whereas the Prelate subscribed (say they) Ego, A. B. Episcopus definiens sub∣scribo; wee crave a warrant in Gods Word to make an Apostle or a Prelate a Synodicall definer, having a definitive voyce, and the Elder Brother, or Presbyter to have a consultative voyce, for here all the multitude (if there was a multitude present) doe make Synodicall decrees by consulting and consenting, yea all the nation may come to a nationall Synod, and both reason, dispute, and consent, because matters of doctrine and government of the Church concerneth all, therefore all have an interest of presence, and all have an interest of reasoning; and 3. by consequent all have an interest of consenting; yea of pro∣testing on the contrary, if the Synod determine any thing a∣gainst the Word of God. If they say there is a threeford con∣sent in this Synod, 1. an Apostolicall, 2. a second Synodicall a∣greeing to Elders as Elders, and a third, that of the people, or a popular; What a mixt Synod shall this be? but 1. then as the Epi∣stle to the Tlxssalonians is called the Epistle of Paul, not the Epi∣stle of Silvanus and Timotheus, though Silvanus and Timotheus did consent, so these (dogmata) or decrees should not be called the decrees of the Apostles and Elders, as they are called, Act. 16. 4. Act. 15. 6. Act. 21. 25. but onely the decrees of the Apostles; seeing the Elders did onely consent, and had no definitive in∣fluence in making the decree, by this doctrine, as Silvanus and Timotheus were not joynt pen-men of Scripture with Paul.
3. When as it is said the specification of actions must not bee taken from the efficient cause, but from the formall object, and all that a done in this Synod might have beene done by a single Pastor.
I answer, wee doe not fetch the specification of this rebuke and of these decrees from the efficient causes, but from the for∣mall object, for an Apostle might his alone have rebuked these obtruders of circumcision, and made this decree materialiter, for Paul did, more his alone then this, when hee wrote the E•istle to the Romans, but yet one Pastor could not have Syno∣dically rebuked, and given out a decree formally Synodicall,Page 394 laying an Ecclesiasticall tie on moe Churches then one, there is great ods to doe one and the same action formally, and to doe the same action materially, and I beleeve though actions have not, by good logick, their totall specification from their effi∣cient cause, yet that ordinances of God as lawfull have their spe∣cification from the efficient causes in part our brethren cannot deny. For what made the difference betwixt Aaron his fire offe∣red to the Lord, and Nadab and Abihu their strange and un∣lawfull fire, that they offered to the Lord, but that the on fire had God for its author, the other had men, and the like I say of Gods feasts, and the feasts devised by Jeroboam, else if a woman preach and administrate the Lords Supper in the Church, that preaching and sacrament administrated by her should not have a different specification and essence, if wee speake morally or Theologically, from that same very preaching and celebration of the Supper performed in the Church by a lawfull Pastor; it is (as I conceive) of the essence of an action Synodicall (I say not its totall essence) that it cannot bee performed by one in a Church-way, and with an ecclesiasticall tie, but it must be per∣formed by many, else it is not a Synodicall action, and it is true that Paul, Rom. 14. and 1 Cor. 8. 10. hath in substance the same Canon forbidding scandall, which is forbidden in this Ca∣non prohibiting eating of meats offered to Idolls, and blood, in the case of scandall; but (I pray you) is there not difference betwixt the one prohibition and the other? yea there is, for, Rom. 14. 1 Cor. 8. 10. it hath undenyably Apostolick authori∣tie, here it hath onely Synodicall. 2. There it is a comman∣dement of God, here it is a Canon of the Church. 3. There it com∣meth from one man, here from a colledge of Apostles and Elders conveened, and yet materially it is the same prohibition.
Object. 4. The Acts of this Synod are finaliter acts of government, because they are rules conducing for the governing of the Church, but formaliter, they are acts of dogmaticall power, and not formally acts of jurisdiction, for there is no rebuking of subverters of soules inordine to excommunication, no penall power is exercised here, sub poona, under the paine of excommunication, and therefore there an here no formall acts of government.
Answ. 1. The acts of Church-government finaliter, that is, Page 395government, because to prescribe rules and directive Lawes (for they are not properly Lawes which the Church prescribeth, Christ is the onely Law-giver) are formall acts of governing, and one power doth not make Lawes for governing the Church, and another power different in nature punish the contraveners. And what power disposeth and ordereth, the meanes doe also dispose and order the end; Canons of the Church tending to the edification of the Church are meanes tending to the go∣vernment of the Church, and I appeale to the judgement of our reverend brethren, if wee suppose that one single Congrega∣tion should doe all that this Synod doth, if they would not call it a formall governing of that particular Congregation: for example, in the Church of Pergamus, one ariseth and teach∣eth the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, suppose that fornication is in∣different is the eating of blood, and is no sinne; the Angels of the Church of Pergamus preach against this doctrine, in private, they deale by force of arguments from Scripture, that it is a wicked doctrine, and destructive to holinesse, as Paul and Barnab as disputeth, Act. 15. 1. 2. with the obtruders of a necessitie of Circumci∣sion, yet they prevaile not, now suppose this independent Church following the Apostle Pauls way, thinke good to con∣vene a Synod or a parishionall assembly to determine Synodically that this is a wicked doctrine, and shall in their decree call the holders of this doctrine subverters of soules, and forbid forni∣cation in their Synod, now supposing Pergamus to be a single Church in a remote Iland consociated with no neighbouring Churches, who could in reason deny that this Synodicall pow∣er so inacting were a power formally governing the Church of. Pergamus? it is true, some of our brethren say, that it is even to us a received tenent that the power that disposeth of the meanes of governing doth not for that governe in respect that we teach that the classicall presbytery doth decree and in act, and the Congregation doth ex∣ecute these Decreed, but I pray you doth this prove that the power ordering the meanes of governing is no formall act of gover∣ning? yea the contrary is true, because the Congregation ex∣ecuting the acts of the classicall presbytery, as subordinat in that act to the classicall presbytery, & by their authority, therfore while they give out these acts or Canons, doe formally governe, that Congregation executing their acts, in this particular.
Page 396 Mr. Mather and Mr. Thomson against Mr. Herle, c. 1. p. 9. teach that there is a power of clearing truth dogmatically, and that 〈◊〉∣〈◊〉, ultimately, where the controversie is ended, but they will have this ultimate power not in a Synod onely, but also in a Congre∣gation. But 1. they seeme to make this dogmaticall power a Church-power, and the exercise thereof formally an act of Church-government, and so it must bee Church-power and Church-government in the Synod, as well as in the Congrega∣tion. 2. The last period and conclusion of the controversie cannot bee both in the Congregation, de jure, by right onely, and in the Synod by right onely, for two last powers cannot bee properly in two subordinate judicatures, for if Antioch ap∣peale to a Synod, as they doc, Act. 15. 2. then Antioch is not the sole, last and ultimate and finall judge; and 3. If the controver∣sie concerne many Churches, as this doth, Act. 15. 2. 23. 24. I see not how a Congregation, except they transgresse their line, can finally determine it.
And here while as our brethren doe all edge that a Synod hath a power to decree, and make lawes, but hath no power at all to execute these Lawes or to punish the contraveners, but power of punishing is all in the single Congregation.•. They tie all governing power to a punishing power, as if there were no other wayes to go∣verne, but upon supposall of scandalls, whereas all Scripture and polliticians make a power of giving Lawes formally a go∣verning power. 2. When one societie and Synod maketh the Lawes, and another must execute them and punish the con∣traveners, the single Congregation that punisheth, is more subjected by a truely prelaticall bondage, then if the Law-ma∣kers had onely the power of punishing the contraveners, at they onely have the power of making the Lawes. I take not here Lawes for Lawes properly so called, but for ministeriall di∣rectories having ecclesiasticall authoritie: and here in effect, our brethren lay truely a prelaticall bondage on the Churches of Christ, for they teach that a Synod may make a Law by a pa∣storall power, and that this Synod is an ordinance of Christ by Act. 15. and that as Prelates did, they send those Synodi∣c•ll decrees to bee obeyed and put in execution by the Churches, and ordaine the contraveners to bee punished by the Churches, and here is a power above a power, and mandates for govern∣ment Page 397 sent by the Synod to the Churches to bee obeyed, and a Synod governing by Churches, this they call prelaticall in us.
But 3. there is no penall power here (say they) and nothing de∣cerved to bee obeyed, sub paena, under the paine of excommunication, therefore no power of jurisdiction. But this consequence is justly denyed, for no politician, no reason in the world can say that all power of jurisdiction is included in the power of excom∣munication. What? hath the Church a Church-power to threaten, and no Church-power to pardon the penltent? I think if the Church as the Church, Matth. 18. receive a power from Christ to bind in heaven and earth, doth not Christ in that same patent give to her also a power to loose in earth and heaven? and when hee saith, if bee refuse to beare the Church, let him be to thee • aube•hen and publican; doth hee not give to the Church a power to command? if hee command to heare and obey the Church, hee must give a power of jurisdiction to the Church to command, and a power to command not penall onely, but promissorie also, to loose and absolve upon condition of pro∣sessed repentance. Now suppose the Church make a Law, that theresurrection of the dead is a truth of God to bee beleeved, and professed, upon occasion that in the Congregation Hymeneus & Alexander den yeth that Article, in that very Commandement doctrinall the Church doth governe the whole Congregation, and exerciseth a power of formall governing, though in their act they say nothing of the censure of excommunication, to those who shall deny that Article of the resurrection, for (I hope) a simple sanction maketh a Law, though no penaltie bee expressed in it, and though there had beene in the Decree, Act 15. 28. an expresse punishment, this should, to our brethren prove no power of jurisdiction exercised by many, for this which is said, Gal. 1. 8. Though wee or an Angel from heaven preach unto you (another Gospel) then that which wee have preached let him bee accursed, and that 1 Cor. 9. 16. Woe unto mee if I preach not the Gospel, and many other threatnings in Scrip∣ture, though a punishment bee annexed expressely, cease not to bee meerely doctrinall, and are not threatnings importing formally any power of Church-jurisdiction, and therefore Page 398 though mention should have beene made of a censure, if there bee not here a Synod. 2. Having power and authoritie from Christ. 3. Commanding by the holy Ghost, (as these indeed are all here) the name of censure should prove no power of juris∣diction.
Object. 5. The laying on of the yoake spoken of, v. 28. is a meer•, doctrinall yoake, and it importeth no more a poner of jurisdiction, then we can conclude that the obtruders of circumcision bad a power of jurisdiction, because they are said to lay on a yoake also, and to tempt God in so doing, vers. 10.
Answ. I retort this reason, for we can then no more conclude that the Apostles by an Apostolick authoritie layd on this yoake, then wee can conclude that the obtruders of circumcision did lay on this yoake, because they are said to lay on a yoake and to tempt God, v. 10. It is a most unequall reasoning to argue against a iust Synodicall power from a sinfull and unjust power, for these obtruders of circumcision had no lawfull power at all to lay a yoake on the Disciples, but sinned and tempted God in laying on that yoake, but it is not denyed by our brethren, but the Apostles and Elders had a lawfull power to lay on a yoake in this Synod, onely it is controverted whether it bee a meere dog∣maticall or doctrinall power, or if it bee a power of juris∣diction, nay the obtruders of circumcision by neither of these two powers layd on a yoake upon the Dsciples.
Object. 6. These decrees which did no other wayes bind the Church of Jerusalem, then they did bind all the Churches of the world, cannot bee decrees of power of jurisdiction over the Church of Jerusalem, and over the Church of Antioch. But these decrees did no otherwise bind the Church of Jerusalem, then they did bind all the Churches of the world, for the decrees of Apostles and Elders at Jerusalem, Act. 6. 4, 5. were sent to all the Churches of the world to bee observed, and seeing they could not as Synodicall Canons obliege all the Churches of the world, by an ecclesiasticall tie, because all the Churches of the world sent not Commissioners, and all the Churches of the world couldnot be represented in this Synod, but onely the Churches of Jerusalem and Antioch; yea wee see not that this Synod is any more then the Church of Antioch seeking counsell from the sister Church at Jerusalem; as one Church may advise another Church that is weaker in knowledge, in a matterPage 399of such difficultie, because the Apostles were at Ierusalem, and that 〈◊〉. 1. The whole Canons are ascribed to the Church of Jerusa∣lem onely, to the Apostles, Elders and the whole Church, Act. 15. 22. and Act. 15. 22. and Act. 16. 4, 5. and Act. 21. 25. the El∣ders of Jerusalem take this act or canon to themselves. 2. It cannot be proven that the Churches of Syria and Cilicia had any commissioners he••, farre lesse had all the Churches of the Gentiles, who yet are com∣manded to keepe those decrees by commissioners there, C. 15. 19. Act. 21. 25. Act. 16. 4, 5. 3. It cannot bee proven that Antioch sent Elders to this meeting, but onely Commissioners, Act. 15. 2.
Answ. This answer is much contradicent to what our bre∣thren other waies hold, for if it be a patterne of a sister Church, giving advise and counsell to another, this is imitable to the worlds end, and if the Canon come from the Apostles as Apo∣stles it is not imitable.
2. That one sister Church can lay burdens on another, and give out 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, decrees to bee kept is unwarrantable; now 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 as they are called by all that understandeth Greeke, are not friendly advises of brethren; the Seventie Interpreters use the word, Daniel 6. 26. to expresse a Law made by Darius, Luke useth the word, c. 2. 1. saith a decree 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 came from Augustus Caesar to taxe all the World. 2. It is a graver businesse then we can thinke of, to beleeve that these who onely give advise and counsell, and must conveene in a Synod, as Apostles and Elders doe here, v. 23. (2) that they can say as it is v. 28. It seemed good to the holy Ghost and to us to lay no other burden on you then t••se necessary things, for a counsell or advise can never amount to the burden imposed by the holy Ghost speaking in a Synod: 2. It is denied that this decree oblieged the Church of Jerusalem no other way then it oblieged all the Churches of all the world, for here bee three sorts of Churches, and three sorts of Churches are under a tie by this Synod; first, Jerusalem, secondly, Antioch, Syria and Cilicia, thirdly, universally all the Churches of the Gentiles. The Church of Jerusalem have formall commissioners, here under an ecclesiasticall tie as concerning the faith of the things contained in the decree, that it is lawfull for the Gentiles to abstaine from things offered to idolls, from things strangled, and from blood; and they were simply under a tie both of the se∣venth Page 400 Commandement, and by the fifth Commandement, to abstaine from fornication, because the Synod had forbidden it. 2. They were under a tie by due proportion, not to keepe the Law of Moses and not to bee circumcised by any necessitie of a Divine Law, but onely by permission to use these ceremo∣nies for feare of scandall. 3. They are tied by proportion also to give no offence in things indifferent. 4. Not to reject the Gentiles whom the Lord had called to his heavenly king∣dome, as well as the Jewes. 2. These Churches of the Gentiles who never heard of the Synod, and so were not oblieged to bee there in their Commissioners or not tied at all by this De∣cree, by vertue of any ecclesiasticall tie, but are onely tied by the Law of Nature, not to abuse their libertie in the use of things in their owne nature indifferent, and so this is false that the Church of Jerusalem was tied no other way by these acts then all Churches of the world, for some of the Churches of the world were not tied at all, by any ecclesiasticall bond, but onely for the necessitie of the Law of Nature. 3. Jerusalem, Antioch, Syria and Cilicia were tied by an ecclesiasticall tie, because Jerusalem and the Churches of Antioch had here Commissioners, for Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas with certaine other of them,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, this must relate to Pastors and Elders, if Syria and Cilicia had no Commissioners here, as certainly they were oblieged to send Commissioners, as well as Antioch, seeing their case was one with Antioch, v. 23. and they could not but heare of this Apostolick remedie to remove the scandall of false Doctrine, and therefore their Commissioners were either here, or then they were oblieged to bee here, and here wee have the true essence of a Synod, to wit, a meeting of the Chur∣ches of Antioch and Jerusalem at Jerusalem to determine of this question. But that the Church of Jerusalem did not determine all the businesse in a Presbyteriall way, and that others had hand in it, is cleare. 1. Because Paul and Barnabas and others with them are expresly sent from Antioch to Jerusalem as Com∣missioners and Elders, and here they reason and voyce, as is cleare, ch. 15. v. 12. v. 22. v. 28. ch. 16. 4. ch. 21. 25, 26. and the Acts and Decrees are ascribed to all the Apostles and Elders who were present at the councell, ch. 14. 4. ch. 15. v. 22. v. 12. and amongst Page 401 these were Paul and Barnabas, with certaine others sent from Anti•b, Act. 15. 2. and the Elders of Jerusalem, Act. 21. 25. with the Apostles, Act. 16. 4. (2.) the reasons alledged are false, for Act. 16. 4. Act. 15. 22. Act. 21. 25. the Acts and Synodicall De∣crees are not ascribed to Elders of Jerusalem onely, but to the Apostles who were not Elders at Jerusalem, and to the Elders in Jerusalem, Act. 16. 4. not of Jerusalem. 3. It is no matter though it cannot bee proven that the Churches of Syria and Cili∣cis had no Commissioners there, for first, the contrary can∣not bee proven; secondly, they ought to have had Commissi∣oners here; thirdly, the Acts are sent to them conjunctly with Antioch, and messengers to report the mind and sense of the As∣sembly as to Antioch, v. 23. (4.) It is but a groundlesse conceit to say that Paul and Barnabas came to the Synod as Commissio∣•••s, or as servants to receive information, not as Elders to give their decisive voices, because Paul carried himselfe in the assembly as Peter and James who were Elders in the assembly, and they being Apostles, the decrees are ascribed to the Apostles with∣out any distinction, Act. 15. 28. Act. 16. 4. And if Paul and Barnabas, and Silas a Prophet of the Church at Antioch, Act. 15. v. 32. with Judas, v. 27. also a Prophet, had beene onely Com∣missioners and servants of the Church at Antioch, and not El∣ders and members of the Assembly, how could they have voi∣ces in the Church or Congregation of Jerusalem? for the mes∣sengers of one Congregation hath not place to voyce in ano∣ther Congregation. 2. It is said expressely, It seemed good to the Apostles and Elders, with the whole Church to send chosen men of their owne, with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas surnamed Bar∣sabas, and Silas, chiefe men, (leading men) amongst the Brethren; now I desire to bee resolved in two; 1. how Judas and Silas were men of their owne company〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, certainly 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 must relate to the Assembly, to wit, to Elders and Apostles, by all good Grammar, and how are they called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Captaines and leading men amongst the Brethren, which brethren are certainly these mentioned in the same verse, Apostles, Elders, and the whole Church, and these mentioned in the next verse, 23. Apostles, Elders and Brethren, that is, chosen men of this Assembly; now it is evident that Judas and Silas were no Page 402 part of Elders of the Church of Jerusalem, but Prophets at Antiab, v. 32. and members of that Presbytery spoken of Act. 13. 1, 2. and Act. 15. v. 35. And what power then had the Assembly to send them, and especially what power had the Eldership or presbytery of Jerusalem to send men 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, of their owne company who were not men of their owne company? there∣fore they were called chosen men 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 of their owne com∣pany, and leading men 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 of the Brethren, because they were members of the Assembly, and of that councell gathered to∣gether with one accord, v. 25. and not because they were naked messengers of the Church of Antioch, but Elders, Prophets, v. 32. and members of the Assembly, v. 22. 23. And when as it is said Act. 16. 4. Act. 21. 28. These decrees are ascribed to the Elders in Jerusalem. I answer they are not called the Elders of the Church of Jerusalem, as Revel. 2. 1. To the Angel of the Church of Ephesus, v. 8. To the Angel of the Church of Smyrna, and v. 12. of the Church of Pergamus, and v. 18. and Act. 20. 17. but the E∣ders which were at Jerusalem assembled: and this doth no more prove that all these Elders were onely the Elders of the Church at Jerusalem, then it proveth that the Apostles were the Apostles of the Church at Ierusalem which no man can say: yea by the phrase of Scripture used in other places, it is cleare they were not the Elders of the Church of Jerusalem; and for Act. 21. 25. The El∣ders of the Church of Jerusalem taketh those Decrees upon them, not as if they made the whole Synod, but because they were a considerable part of the Synod, for it is cleare from the story, Act. 15. that the Apostles and others were members of that as∣sembly, and therefore, that v. 25. Wee have written and conclu∣ded, &c. must bee expounded, wee as a part of the Synod, have written, &c. and it is a Synecdoche, and the pronoune 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉(wee) includeth no Apostle but James, whereas Peter, Paul, Barnabas, Iudas, Sil•s and others Elders and Brethren were members of the Synod, yea and (as our Brethren say, though to mee it is not probable) the whole Church of Ierusalem from v. 22. c. 15.
Object. 7. They take away the scandall in a doctrinall way only, declaring that they ought to abstaine from things scandalous.
Answ. The very delivering to Satan may thus bee called doctri∣nall,Page 403 because it is a Declaration that the mans sinnes are retai∣ned in heaven, yet it is an authoritative declaration, and if it bee meere doctrinall, one Pastor and one Prophet might have done all which this venerable colledge of Apostles and Elders disputed, reasoned, and concluded Synodically. A meere doctrinall power layeth not on burdens and Decrees. Herodian calleth such 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉senatusconsult•in, and Bude••s a man excellently skilfull in the Greeke language saith the like * of it, and so doth the civill Law make it a statute of the Senate.
Object. 8. The reason why Patel could not, though hee was an A∣postle, determine this at Antioch, was not because hee wanted Aposto∣lick authoritie, but because his Apostolick power was more questiona∣ble, hee not having seene Christ in the flesh, nor being a witnesse of the life, death and resurrection of Christ, then the authoritie of James and Peter who wer• eye-witnesses of Christs life, doctrine, and suffe∣rings, and saw him visibly ascend to heaven, and the believers doub∣ted if hee was an Apostle, and the Synod was convened to have there∣solution of the Apostles, and so it was meerely Apostolicall.
Ans. Though I grant there beesome truth in this, that Pauls Apostolick calling was now more question 〈◊〉, then the rest of the Apo∣stles; and I easily yeeld that these who disputed with him could not rest upon his authority; yet I deny that hence wee can in∣ferre no Synod: for if the Apostles had convened in Synod to satisfie those who doubted of Pauls authoritie as an Apostle; then they would have reterred the matter to James and Peter, who to these beleevers were undoubtedly the Apostles of the Lord: but if the Apostles had had no intent, but to end the controversie in a mere Apostolick way, and not intended a Synodicall and an •clesiasticall and perpetuall remedy in such cases of contro∣versies, in particular Churches; I shall not beleeve that the A∣postles when they were to determine by a superior, an Aposto∣lick and infallible light, they would have joyned with them the Elders, as Act. 15. 16. to consider of the question, and that the Church of Au•ioch doubting if Paul was an Apostle, would have decreed to seeke a resolution from Elders, and that in an Apo∣stolick way, for they sent to the Elders at Jerusalem for a resolu∣tion as well as to the Apostles, Act. 15. 2. and judge yee if the Apo∣stles being to determine infallibly as Apostles, would joyne the Page 404 falliblo and inferiour light of Elders, v. 6. and Brethren, v. 22. if tlloy had not had a mind to determine the question in a Sy∣nodicall way.
Object. 9. But it is not cleare that in this act they either censure persons, or doe any thing in order to Church-censure, but onely exercise a naked doctrinall power.
Answ. A doctrinall power was in a higher measure in the Apostles, then in all the Elders of the world, who were all but fallible men, and James and Peter to these beleevers, who mo∣ved the question, were undenyably Apostles, and what doctri∣nall power could they seeke in the Elders to whose determinati∣on, by intention both of Antioch, ch. 15. 2. and by the Apostles intention, v. 6. the question is referred as well as to the Apostles? if the matter was not to bee ended by a formall Synod. 2. Nor can they deny a power of jurisdiction though there were no persons re∣buked and censured in this Synod; for the object of a juridicall power is not onely persons, but things of order, decencie, circumstances, questions of doctrine, as is cleare, Re•el. 1. 14. 15. & officers to be ordained, Act. 6. 3, 4, 5, 6. 1 Tim. 5. 22. 2 Tim. 2. 2, 3. (3.) Our brethren cannot deny but the sentence of non-Communion is a censure, and a great one, yea and of kindred and blood most neare to excommunication, and that if any Churches should have ref••sed those Canons, by this Canon the Churches might have pronounced the sentence of non-communion against them, and to pronounce this sentence is an act of go∣vernment as properly so called, as to pronounce the sentence of excommunication, for it is the formall halfe of the sen∣tence of excommunication.
Object. 10. It seemeth that Apostles here determine as Apostles, for they condenme the obtruders of circumcision, because they taught these things without any Apostolick, Commandement, v. 24. They teach that you must bee circumcised and keepe the Law, to whom, wee, (the Apo∣stles) gave no such commandement.
Answ. This is no more a good argument to prove that the obtruders of circumcision did teach false doctrine, and were not condemned by the Apostles and Elders Synodically, then if one should say, this is not a Synodicall decree of the Church, because it is proven and made good by the Word of God, for Page 405 Synodicall decrees exclude not Gods word, though they bee not formally Scripture; for in some part of the Epistle the A∣postles may well speak of themselves as distinguished from Elders and as Apostles, and yet the assembly is an ordinary Synod and not an Apostolick meeting, for if wee should argue thus, the whole Church, men and women, v. 22. sent messengers to Antioch, as the Church, and not as Apostles, our brethren would thinke it a weake consequence to inferre, Ergo, this was nothing but a Congregational, not an Apostolical meeting. Yet our brethren contend that the whole Church and single Con∣gregation of Ierusalem did concurre in this meeting as consen∣ters, and having power also, though not of jurisdiction; but I wonder why our brethren should so contend that there was no power of censuring put forth in this Assembly, seeing one of their speciall answers, whereby they would prove that this it not a patterne of an ordinary Synod, and such a Synod as wee contend for, having power of jurisdiction is, that this was an ordinary meeting of the Elders and Church of Ierusa∣lem, giving counsell and advise with the Apostles to the Church of Antioch, but I am sure the businesse of not scandalizing did as much concerne the Church of Ierusalem, and therefore in the Synod they ought to put forth power of jurisdiction, if any of their members, hearing that the Apostles contended that the ceremoniall Law did not lay a tie on the conscience of ei∣ther Jew or Gentile, in foro dei, before Gods court, as the pla∣ces cited by Iames prove, v. 15, 16, 17. (& Peter saith expresly that God now putteth no difference betwixt Iewes and Gentiles, v. 9. but 〈◊〉 are saved through the grace of our Lord Iesus, v. 11.) should ab •aine from blood, to the offence of the weaker, should not this Congregation all Church condemne such, in ordine ad censuram, in order to excommunication? yea the Eldership and Con∣gregation of Jerusalem here convened as our brethren say, should have failed in this first Synod, and also the Apostles with them, if they neglected to exercise juridicall power over their owne Congregation in the case of scandall, and a scandall as possible to them to fall in as the Gentiles, and therefore either this assembly consisting of Apostles and of the particular Church of Ierusalem erred, which wee cannot say, or then they did exercise power in order to excommunication to∣wards Page 406 their owne Church, and so there is some juridicall pow∣er put forth in this meeting.
Object. 11. Though the Apostles in this Synod proceed by way of disputing and borrow light one from another, it followeth not th•• they goe not on here as Apostles, yea though Peter and Paul d•e not say all the truth, nor fall upon that which is the conclusion of the Assem∣bly, as I ames doth, it doth not hinder but they are led in all these Sy∣nodicull deba•e• by the infallible and Apostolick spirit, because some things are revealed to one Evangelist and to one Prophet, which is not revealed to another; Iohn the Divine saw visions and heavenly myste∣ries which none of the rest of the Apostles saw, nor could write in their writings and Canonicall Epistles, yet it doth not hence follow that James, Peter, Jude and Paul in their canonicall writings and Epistles were not immediatly inspired. It is enough to make the Apostles in their writings infallible Apostles and immediatly inspired, if that which they write bee the infallible truth and canonick Scripture, though every A∣postle write not all canonick truth; now what the Apostles setteth down in this Synod is Scripture, and the object of our faith, and written for our instruction; so something was revealed to James which was not revealed to Peter and Paul in this dispute, but it followeth not, Ergo, what Peter and Paul spake, they spake it not by immediate re∣velation, and what they spake is not Scripture.
Answ. 1. The strength of my argument is close mistaken, for I did not argue simply from the Apostles borrowing light one from another, to prove they act not here as Apostles but as Elders, neither did I argue simply from this, James saith more then Peter doth, Ergo, Peter is not immediatly inspired in what hee saith: for I grant the Apostles borrow •ight from the Prophets, and their writings, one saith and writeth what another saith not, and cannot write, and yet all are immediatly inspired, in what they write. But I argued thus; when ever the Apostles are consulted with to resolve a question as Apostles & do conveen• Synodically & intend to resorve the question if the Apostles in that case, or any one of them come short of the resolution, & do not see the conclusion they intend to see, but in so sarre as they are helped on by another in a way of disputation, in that they doe not act as Apostles, but the case is so here; 1. all were con∣sulted with, Act. 15. 2. (2) all intended to resolve the question, and did meet together for that end to resolve it fully, v. 6. Page 407 (3) yet divers of the Apostles, as Peter, Paul and Barnabas see not the resolution fully that they aimed at, but determine the question imperfectly, and so, as if Iames had beene absent, or if hee had seene no more in resolving the question, then Paul and Barnabas and Peter said, which was onely that the Law of Moses was not to bee kept by either Iew or Gentile, upon the Necessi∣tie of salvation, but that both Jewes and Gentiles are saved by the grace of Jesus Christ; if James (I say) had seene no more then this, the consciences of both sides had not beene satisfied, and the question not resolved, but the Jewes should have gone on in a totall abstinence from all ceremonies, which because of the indifference of the ceremonies, was then dangerously scan∣dalous, and spirituall homicide, and the Gentiles should free∣ly have eaten blood, meates offered to idols, and things strangled, which also was scandalous in a high measure to the weake Jewes, and so the matter should have beene worse after this Synod, and the controversie hotter, the fire bolder, and the scandall more dangerous then it was before the Synod, which I cannot beleeve that the Apostles as Apostles could have done; So wee know Nathan to have spoken as a man, and not as a Prophet, when being consulted with by David anent the building of the Temple, and purposing and intending ful∣ly to resolve the question, yet resolved it amisse and quite con∣trary to the mind of God; now what the penmen of holy Scripture intended to write as Scripture, that they fully wrote and no more, and what they wrote not, that they intended not to write, but leave it to others of the penmen of the holy Ghost, because the immediatly inspiring holy Ghost consulted with and intending to resolve such a canonick truth, cannot misse in his blessed intention. And also the Elders at Jerusalem were consulted with to resolve the question as well as the Apo∣stles, as is cleare Act. 15. 2. Now if the Church of Antiech had beene minded to referre the resolution to the Apostles as infallibles Apostle, they would never have referred it to the Elders, whom they knew could erre as well as themselves, nor would the Elders have joyned as fellow-disputers with the A∣postles as Apostles, as they expresly doe, v. 6. for that is as you would say, some countrey men of ordinary spirit destitute of Page 408 all propheticall light concurred with Esaiah to see the visions of God; And it is as if David as king counsell at God, whether the men of Keilah would deliver him up to Saul, had consulted with God and with Abiathar, and some foure or five Elders of Keilah voyd of all propheticall spirit, whether the men of Keilah should deliver him up to Saul, or no: for these Elders of Jerusa∣lem and Antioch and other brethren were as voyd of an Aposto∣lick spirit as the Elders of Keilah were of a Propheticall spi∣rit. It were a vaine action for the Elders to joyne themselves as joynt-disputers and fellow-resolvers of the controversie with the Apostles, for the fellow-resolvers were to seeke resolution at the Apostles, who could as Apostles infallibly resolve them.
2. What the Apostles set downe is Scripture, and is the object of our faith, and written for our instruction, Ergo, the Apostles did give it forth in the Synod as Scripture, it followeth not: I may preach Scripture, and that which is the object of faith, and written for our instruction, Ergo, I preach it as an Apostle by an Apostolick spirit, it followeth not; for so if the Elders had spoken Scripture which is written for our instruction, the Elders should have spoken it by an Apostolick spirit, which is mani∣festly false; and so if the Elders of Corinth, 1 Cor. 5. should have proven in their Presbytery that the incestuous person should bee delivered to Satan, from Matth. 18. they should have spoken that in the presbytery by an Apostolick Spirit: all which are manifestly false. The holy Ghost by Luke did make it Scrip∣ture formally, but that the Apostles spake it as Scripture by an Apostolick spirit, because it is the object of our faith that Luke did insert it in the Canonicall history, is no more hence proven then one might inferre that Gamaliel by the immediate inspiration of the Spirit spake the oration that hee uttereth to the councell of Priests and Pharisees, Act. 5. 34, 35. & c. for that is formally made Scripture by Luke his inserting of it in the Register of Scripture; yea the words of Satan, Matth. 4. by that reason behoved to bee spoken by divine and immediate inspiration: but the truth is, wee are not to take what Peter speaketh from the Prophet Amos, Act. 15. v. 16. to bee Scripture, because Amos spake it in the Old Testament, but because LukePage 409 by immediate inspiration saith that Peter uttered these words from the Prophet Amos. Immediate inspiration maketh any saying Scripture, and not the Apostles historicall relating of it out of the writings of the Prophets, though the sayings of the Prophets as they are registred in the bookes of Old Testa∣ment bee formally Scripture, yet as cited by the Apostles they d•e not become Scripture, except these saying, bee cited, tali modo, that is, by the influence of the immediatly inspiring ho∣ly Ghost, which influence onely maketh formally any saying to bee Scripture.
Object. 12. If the Apostles did not in a Synod, with the Elders dispute and voyce as Apostles, it should follow that as Apostles, they did plant Churches, but after the Churches were planted they ceased to bee Apostles, and did all as ordinary Elders, which is most incon∣gr•o•s, for then should they descend from an infallible to a fallible spirit.
Answ. The Apostles did onely use their Apostolick power, when there was need of it; as God worketh not miracles, but in some necessitating exigence of second causes: and what they could doe by an ordinary power, when the Churches were once constituted, they did not attempt to doe by their Apostolick power; and though their Apostolick power was in them as a habit, yet the exercise thereof was rather under the dominion of an extraordinary and immediate rapt and in∣fluence of God, then under the mastery of their owne free∣will. I would aske why the Church of Antioch, no doubt most lawfully, Act. 15. 2. did send to seeke resolution at the fallible spirit of Elders, and also (as our brethren teach) at the infal∣lible spirit of the Apostles? and why did they not from their infallible and Apostolick spirit seeke out and choose seven men to bee Deacons, but remitted to the fallible spirit of the mul∣titude who are not infallible or Apostolick in their choise, both the nomination and election of these seven men; but the Apostles did much honour the Churches of Christ in coopera∣ting with them, and in doing most things with their consent, that by example they might interdict dominion, and assert a ministeriall power, and make Christ most Monarch-like in the government of his spirituall Kingdome: nor did they Page 410 put off, or interdict themselves, nor forfeit their Apostolick power, after Churches were constituted, but used their Apo∣stolick power at the Commandement of that great King exal∣ted Jesus Christ, whose Catholick Ambassadours they were, as God immediatly moved them.
Object. 13. Paul exercised the power of the Keyes of knowledge upon Barbarians, and might have preached to Indians, and did pres•h to the scefling Athenians. Ergo, hee might exercise power of jurisdicti∣on over them, and judge those who are without, it is no consequence, and against the word of God, 1 Cor. 5. 12. Yea Paul by this power dogmaticall rebuked the Athenians, Act. 17. 22. I perceive that in*all things yee are too superstitious, yet Paul had no power to excommu∣nicate the Athenians. Mr. Mather.
Answ. I deny not, but there is great odds betwixt a concio∣nall rebukin•, by way of preaching, which may bee, and is al∣wayes performed by one, and a juridicall rebuking by a power juridicall of the Keyes, which is performed onely by a Church-s•ci•tie: now it cannot bee denyed but the rebuking of men, because they subverted soules, v. 24. is not a meere concionall re∣buking, which may bee performed by one; 1. it is a rebuking, v. 24. (2) it is a rebuking performed by many, by a whole Synod, v. 6. v. 22. (3) It is performed by a politicall societie and body having a dogmaticall power to judge and determine in a doct•inall way, as our brethren say, and consequently as wee say, having a juridicall power, v. 25. It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you, &c. which is undenyably a politicall body, an assembled compa∣ny, as v. 6. met about a question which concerneth the Churches of Christ, as is cleare, v. 2. v. 6. v. 23. c. 16. 4, 5. c. 21. 25. com∣pared with v. 22. hence a businesse of doctrine which troubleth the Churches of Antioch, c, 15. 2. and of Jerusalem, v. 5, 6, 7, 8. and Syria and Cilicia, v. 23, 24. must bee a Church-businesse in respect of the subject. 2. The question is a Church-question in the matter of practise, it cono•rneth the consciences of the Churches in the point of taking and giving offence, in a Church-societie as this doth, v. 19. That yee trouble not them which amongst the Gentiles are turned unto God, and v. 28, 29. compared with 1 Cor. 10. 24, 25, 26, 27, & c. Rom. 14. 14, 15. this was a Page 411Church-•candall or publick offence, as touching the matter, materia qu•nt. (2) The forme and manner of deciding the contro∣versie was a publick Church-way by the Word of God, Act. 15. so 〈◊〉 proveth, v. 7, 8. 9. and James, v. 15, 16, &c. maketh good. (4) The efficient causes and agents in the question, are 1. Church-〈◊〉, v. 6. Apostles and Elders. 2. Church-officers conveened Church-wayes in a Church-body or societie, v. 6. c. 15. and The Apostles and Elders came together (in a Synod, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a word which cur brethren acknowledgeth doth, 1 Cor. 5. 4. note a formall Church-assembly) to consider of this matter, and •, 25. It seemed good to us being assembled with one accord,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and the very word Church is not wanting though with reverence of others, it seemeth not to bee the multitude, seeing the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, beeing so generall, must have its signification from the action and end, for which the meeting is intended, as before I said) as is cleare, v. 22. It plea∣sed the Apostles, Elders, and whole Church. 5. The action they performe, when they are met in a politicall body, is to decide a Church-controversie, that troubled many Churches, Act. 15. 2. v. 23, 24. (6) The end is the peace and edifying of the Churches, as that the Churches of the Gentiles bee not troubled with needlesse ce∣remonies, as James saith, v. 19. and the good of the Churches, v. 29. from which if you keepe your selves, yee shall doe well, c. 16. 4. And •s they went through the cities they delivered them the Decrees to 〈◊〉, v. 5. so were the Churches established in the faith. Consider 〈◊〉 is the happy end and fruit of this Synod; The establish∣••• of the Churches. Therefore have our brethren without rea∣son (I speake with reverence of their learning and godli∣nese) denied the word Church to bee given to a Synod, or a meeting of Elders, which to mee is cleare, Act. 15. v. 6. The 〈◊〉 sending is the Eldership of Antioch; the Church recei∣•••, v. 4. is the Eldership at Jerusalem, and cannot conveni∣ently bee exponed of the whole and numerous thousands that ••e•ed at Jerusalem; the rebuking cannot then bee meerely ••••inall by the power of the keyes of knowledge which is exercised by one, nor are the Apostles and Elders here consi∣dered as meerely Preachers and Teachers in the Act of teach∣er, for why then should they not bee formally a Church and a Page 412Church-assembly, as our Brethren say, if they bee an assembly meeting for preaching the Word? for the exercise of the keyes of Knowledge in the hearing of a multitnde is essentially an act of preaching the Word.
Object. 14. This Synod declares only in a doctrinall way what is necessary, what is scandalous, the same way, that Paul doth, Rom. 14. 14, 15. i Cor. 8. 1 Cor. 10.
Answ. This Synod and Paul declare one and the same thing, Ergo, with one and the same authoritie, it followeth not; Paul writeth, 1 Cor. 5. that the incestuous man should bee excom∣municated, and this hee wrote as canonicall Scripture, by the immediat inspiration, of the holy Spirit, if then the Church of Corinth should have excommunicated him, shall it follow that they gave out the sentence of excomunication by the immedi∣ate inspiration of the holy Spirit? I thinke not, their Churches sentence had been given out by a meere ecclesiasticall authoritie, according to the wch Churches of Christ to the worlds end doth excommunicate, following the Church of Corinth as a patterne.
Obj. 15. Though these obtruders of ceremonies did pervent so•ks, v. 24. yet the Synod doth not summond them before them, nor excommun∣cite them, but remit them to the particular Churches to whom it properly belonged to censure, and not to any Synod, or superiour Judicature.
Answ. There was no need to summon them, for these subverters of soules were personally present at the Synod, and re∣buked in the face of the Synod as perverters of soules, v. 24. for if they were not present; 1. to whom doth Peter speake, v. 10. Now therefore why tempt yee God to put a yoake on the necke of the di∣sciples, &c. the Apostles and Elders did not impose the yoake of Moses Law upon the beleeving disciples, nor any other, save onely the obtruders of circumcision. 2. Who were they in the Synod who made much disputing? v. 7. note the Apostles, not any save these obtruders. Ergo, they were personally present at the Synod, nor needed they to excommunicate them, for I judge that they acquiesced to the determination of James, which was the sentence of the Synod, and the great dispute spoken of, v. 7. ceased, v. 13. and the conclusion is agreed upon, 22. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉then it seemed good to the Apostles, Elders and whole Church, and there was reason why these obtruders should ac∣quiesce, so that there was no need of further censure, for there Page 413 was satisfactiou in part given to both siddes. The question was, whether or no are beleevers now to keepe the Law and the ceremonies of Moses his Law? It was answered by the Synod, by a distinction which favoured, in part, both sides, 1. There is no necessitie that the beleeving Gentiles who are saved by grace as well as the Jewes bee troubled to keepe all the ceremo∣nies, and this satisfied the Apostles who taught that the Gen∣tiles were now made one people with the Jewes, and both are freed in conscience from Moses his yoake, the other part of the distinction it was this, yet there bee some ceremo∣niall commandements, as not to eate things offered to Idols, blood, and things strangled, (for fornication is of another nature, and abstinence therefrom is of perpetuall necessitie, 1 Cor. 6. 13, 14, 15, 16. 1 Thess. 4. 3. Col. 3. 5.) these must bee avoided, for scandals sake, by all the Jewes, but especially by the Gentiles, lest the weake Jewes, who take these to be divine commandements yet in force, take offence, and this was satisfactorie to the obtru∣ders, and wee heare no more of their disputing, and there is an end of the controversie by the blessed labours of a lawfull Synod. 3. I could easily yeeld that there is no necessitie of the elicit acts of many parts of government, such, as excommuni∣cation, ordination, admitting of heathens professing the faith to Church-membership, in Synods provinciall, nationall or oecu∣menicall, but that Synods in the case of neglect of presbyteriall-Churches, command these particular Churches whom it concern∣eth, to doe their dutie, and in this sense the Synod, Act. 15. is to remit the censure of excommunication to the presbytery of Antioch and Jerusalem, in the case of the obstinacie of these obtruders of circumcision, but so some power of government is due to the Synod, as prescribing of Lawes and Canons for presbyteries and Congregations.
Object. 16. Therefore was the Synagogue of the Jewes no compleat Church, because all the ordinances of God cannot bee performed in the Synagogue, and therefore were the Jewes commanded onely at Jerus salem and in no other place to keepe the passeover, and to offer offerings and sacrifices, which were òrdinary worship, Deut. 12. but there is not any worship or sacred ordinance, (saith thataworthy Divine Dr. Ames) of preaching, praying, Sacraments, & c. prescribed, whichPage 414is not to bee observed in every Congregation of the New Testament: Nor is there any ordinary minister appointed who is not given to some one Assembly of this kind. So alsob Mr. Mather and Mr. Thom∣son, teachers in New England. Others say because there was a repre∣sentative worship of sacrificing of all the 12. Tribes at Jerusalem, therefore all the Synagogues were dependent Churches, and Jerusalem was the supreme and bighest Church, but there is no representative wor∣ship in the New Testament, and therefore no need of Synods, as high∣er Churches.
Answ. Surely the aforesaid reverend Brethren of New England have these words, cBut it seemeth to us that the power (of a Synod) is not proporly a power and exercise of government and juris∣diction, but a power of doctrine, and so a Synod is rather a •aching then a governing Church; from which I inferre; 1. That out Brethren cannot deny a power of governing to a Synod, but it is not so proper governing, as excommunication and or∣dination performed in their Congregations, but (say I) it is more properly governing, as to make Lawes and rules of go∣verning, is a more noble, eminent and higher act of govern∣ing (as is evident in the King and his Parliament) then the ex∣ecution of these Lawes and rules. 2. Our brethren incline to make a Synod a teaching Church; but I inferre that Synodi∣call teaching by giving out decrees tying many Churches, as our Brethren of dNew England, and the forenamed e au∣thors teach, is an ordinance of Christ that can bee performed in no single Congregation on earth, for a doctrinall Canon of one Congregation can lay no ecclesiasticall tie upon many Churches. Ergo, by this reason our Congregations shall bee dependent, as were the Jewish Synagogues. 3. With favour of these learned men it is a begging of the question to make Jerusalem the supreme Church, and the Synagogues depen∣dent Churches, because it was lawfull onely at Jerusalem to sacrifice, for I hold that Jerusalem was a dependent Church no lesse then the smallest Synagogue in all the tribes, for in a Ca∣tholick meeting of all Judah for renewing a Covenant with God, Ierusalem was but a sister Church, with all of Iudah, Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh, who 2 Chron. 15. 9. 10. 11, 12. made up one great Church which did sweare that Covenant. Ordinances Page 415 doe not formally make Churches visible, nor divers ordinances divers Churches; profession of the truth formally constituteth a visible Church, and Church union in ordinances and govern∣ment, and this was alike in the Synagogues and in Ierusalem. It was a thing meerely typicall that at Ierusalem onely, and in the Temple onely should there bee offerings and sacrifices, be∣cause in Christ God-man, all our worship and service and prayers are accepted of the Father, but (I pray you) did this instampe Ierusalem with any note of Church-supremacy above the meanest Synagogue in all Israel and Iudah? I see it not, all the Syna∣gogues and all the land were members of the nationall Church, and every one a member of his owne Synagogue, the persons processing the truth and dwelling at Ierusalem had no suprema∣cie over the Synagogues, because they did inhabit that typicall place, but the Priests and Levites were indeed servants to all the land, in offering sacrifices, and in governing in the Synedry ei∣ther the greater, or the lesse, but these professors who did con∣stitute the visible Church at Ierusalem had no Church supremacie at all for their relation to the Temple, their cohabitation or bodily contiguitie was no Church-relation then or now; and that these of the Synagogues behooved to worship in some so∣lemne acts onely at Ierusalem, did no more give supremacie to the inhabitants of Ierusalem to bee a Church over them, then the Synagogues could claime supremacie over the inhabi∣tants of Ierusalem, for the inhabitants of Ierusalem were tied to worship there, and in no other place, and to stand to the determinntion of the great Synodrie without appeale, be∣cause there was not a Catholick visible Church in the world but the Church of the Iewes; and this argument with as great force of reason might conclude that all the cities and incorporations of England are in government dependent and subordinate to London and the suburbs, because they are subordinate to the honorable Houses of Parliament, if wee should suppone that Westminster by a standing Law of the Kingdome were the unal∣•erable seat where the Parliament can fit, and in no other place, which yet could prove nothing, seeing London and the suburbs are in their government no lesse subordinate to the Parliament, then the meanest village and towne in England,Page 416 and therefore I see no ground, because some representative worship was tied to Jerusalem, to give Jerusalem a Church-supre∣macie, 2. because one Congregation doth pray for another that is under pestilence and diseases, and praises God for the delive∣rance from these evills which also is a sort of representative worship (every Church and person partaking of a Christian priesthood to offer up prayers and praises one for another) it will not (as I conceive) prove that one Congregation hath Church-supremacie, and power of jurisdiction over another. Because 1. all Israel was alike circumcised; 2. all alike the called people of God, in covenant with God; 3. all had claime to the Altar, Sacrifices, Temple, Arke, &c. 4. All alike professed their subjection to God, to Priests and Prophets in these same ordinances, whether typicall, or judiciall, or morall, therefore every Synagogue alike at Ierusalem, at Dan or Bersheba, were alike Congregationall Churches, without dependance one up∣on another, and all depended upon the whole nationall Church, and on the Synodries supreme, subordinate, and the Synagogue-government according to their subordinations re∣spectively; and I see no nationall Church in Israel peculiar to them, or typicall, more then there is a nationall Church in Scotland or England, though God put some distinguishing typicall notes upon their government, yet it never made either the invisible or visible Church of the Iewes to differ in nature and essence from the Christian Churches.
Object. 17. From the power of jurisdiction, in a Synod, you may inferre a power of jurisdiction, in a nationall Church, and a power of jurisdiction in the whole Christian world, and wee know not any Politicall Church Catholick and visible in Scripture, and if then were any such Church Catholick, then might they conveene and sweart a Catholick-covenant for uniformitie of doctrine, worship, and govern∣ment of the Church, as wee have done in Britaine, and this Catho∣lick Church might impose it, upon a nationall Church, even by that same Law of proportion, by which the nationall Church may im∣pose it on particular Churches which are parts of the Nationall Church.
Answ. I see not how the consequence holdeth every way Page 417 good, that as wee inferre from a juridicall power in a pres∣bytery, the same power juridicall in a Synod, and the same in a nationall Assembly, that therefore wee may inferre the same juridicall power in an Oecumenick councell: and the reasons of the disparitie I take to bee these; 1. The farther remote in locall distance of place that Churches bee, (as it falleth out in the Catholick visible Church) the danger of scandalizing one another, by visible communion, and so the opportunitie of edifying one another is the lesse, and so the communion visi∣ble is the lesse, and consequently the power of jurisdiction is the lesse. 2. An universall and oecumenick councell of all the visible Churches on earth, is an act of the visible Church which supposeth all the visible Churches on earth to bee in that mo∣rall perfection of soundnesse of faith, of concord and unitie, that some one Congregation or classicall presbytery of Elders according to Gods heart may bee in, which morall perfection perhaps is not de facto attainable, (though it bee not physically impossible) in this life, except wee suppose the heavenly dayes of Christs visible reigne on earth a thousand yeares, when yet there shall bee no Temple nor externall ministery, of which state I cannot now dispute, and therefore I conceive these six∣teene hundred yeares there never was an integrall and perfect oecumenick councell of all the Churches on earth, and there∣fore if wee should dispute of the juridicall power of such a Ca∣tholick assembly whether it may impose an oecumenick and Catholick oath on a nationall Church against their will, and excommunicate a nationall Church, is but a needlesse and a Ch•mericall dispute, and it includeth two contradictory sup∣positions. 1. That all the Churches on earth are of one sound faith, worship, doctrine and Church-government, and yet one nationall Church is supposed to bee heterodox, scandalous, and obstinate, so that that whole nationall Church must bee constrained to take a lawfull oath and must bee excommuni∣cated; such an hypothesis is not possible where the Gospell is preached, for even the whole Romish Church in all its mem∣bers deserveth not excommunication, in respect wee are sure God hath thousands in the bosome of that Church; who be∣leeve in Christ, and doe not defend popery with obstinacie, Page 418 and such an hypothesis is contradicent to the supposition of the soundnesse of faith and unitie of all Christian Churches on earth, and therefore I plainely deny that Christ hath given the like power of jurisdiction to the Catholick visible Church, that hee hath given to a nationall Church, over a pro∣vinciall Church or Synod, and to a Synod over a classical Presbyterie; yea I much doubt if a Catholick councell can for∣mally excommunicate a nationall Church, though such a coun∣cell may use a power analogicall like to the power of excom∣munication.
Object. 18. But you cannot demonstrate from Gods Word, that there is such a thing in the New Testament, as a Catholick visible Church.
Answ. I said something of this before, but I conceive the subject of the 1 Cor. 12. is a Catholick, visible Church, But, 1. wee doe not understand a politicall body with ordinary visible government from one man who maketh himselfe the vi∣car of Christ, the Pope, whose members are Cardinals, Bishops, & c. and such like. But the Catholick body mysticall of Jesus Christ, and that as visible: and 1. that the Apostle is to bee un∣derstood of an universall, not of a Congregationall and par∣ticular politick Church that meeteth in one place, is cleare; 1. hee speaketh of that Church wherein are diversities of gifts for the good of the whole Catholick body, as miracles, the gift of prophecie, the gift of interpretation, the gift of healing, &c. of whom hee saith, v. 5, 6. there is the same spirit, and the same God, who worketh all in all, the particular Congregation is not such an all in all. 2. Hee speaketh of such a Church as taketh in all baptized into one spirit, but this is the whole visible Church, not one single Congregation onely. 3. Hee speaketh of such a Church as taketh in all, both Jewes and Gentiles, making them one body, v. 13. and that taketh in all the world. 4. Hee speak∣eth of such a Church as hath an adequat and full relation to Christ, from which this Church is denominated Christ mysticall, all the beleevers meeting in one mysticall body of Christ, as lines in one center, v. 12. now a single Congregation hath not a foot to fill this measure. 5. Hee speaketh of such a body as hath need of the helpe one of another, as the head hath Page 419 need of the feet, v. 15, 16, 17. those of a single Congregation have need of those, who are eyes and eares without the con∣gregation. 6. Hee speaketh of such a body, as is not to se∣parate in their members, one from another, to make a schisme in the body. v. 25. but a single Congregation ought not to se∣parate from the rest of the great body made up of many sister Churches. 7. Hee speaketh of such a body, the members where∣of must care one for another, and suffer one with another, v. 26. now single Congregations are such members of this great bo∣die, as must mourne with these that mourne and rejoyce with these that rejoyce, therefore one single Congregation cannot bee this whole body, but its part onely. 8. Hee speaketh of such a body in which God hath set, v. 28. Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, mi••cles, &c. now Christ hath not wedged in Apostles the Ca∣tholick Pastors of the whole world, to one single Congrega∣tion, nor hath hee confined such a multitude of officers ordi∣narie and extraordinary to one single Congregation. And that hee speaketh here of a Catholicke visible Church is cleare; 1. Hee speaketh of such a body, to which is given the mani∣festation of the spirit to profit withall, v. 7. this must bee a vi∣sible policie. 2. Hee speaketh of a politicall and organicall body, having eyes, eares, hands, feet, &c. which must bee a vi∣sible ministery. 3. Hee speaketh of a body capable of the seales, such as Baptisme, v. 13. We all are baptized by one spirit into one body, this must bee a visible baptized body; discer∣ned by the visible character of baptisme from all societies of Jewes, Pagans, and others who professe not Christ Jesus. 4. Hee speaketh of such a body as standeth in need of the helpe one of another, as the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of the, v. 21. this evidently cryeth that hee supposeth a visible and externall policie in this body. 5. Hee speaketh of a body so tempered of God, as that there should bee no schisme in the body, nor separation from it, v. 25. now this cannot bee a separation from the invisible body of Christ, for so hypocrites which are members of this visible body, and are often officers, as eyes and eares, yea Pastors, and Teachers remaining in the body without any schisme or separation, are yet separatists from the invisible body of Christ, and no more parts of that body, then a woodden leg or arme is a member of a living man. 6. He Page 420 speaketh of that body which is to expresse its care in praying, praising, mourning and rejoycing with the rest of the mem∣bers as they are in a good or adverse condition of prosperitie or adversitie, v. 23, 26. and this must bee a visible Church praying or praising God. 7. Hee speaketh of such a Church as the fel∣low members may see and know by their senses, to suffer, and bee in a hard condition, or to rejoyce, as v. 25. 26. and this is more then apparently cleare to bee a visible Church. 8. Hee speaketh of such a Church as God hath furnished with severall officers, in severall orders visibly knowne to bee different offi∣cers, as v. 28. Now God hath set some in the Church, first Apostles, secondarily Prophets, thirdly teachers, these bee parts and most emi∣nent and considerable organs of a visible Church. And the like I might prove by divers of these arguments of that body poli∣ticall of which the Apostle speaketh, Rom. 12. 3, 4, 5, 6. to the end of the Chapter. These speciall exceptions there bee a∣gainst this. 1. That the Church, 1 Cor. 12. is the invisible and my∣sticall body of Christ, because it is a body baptized by one spirit. 2. A body called Christ, that is Christ mysticall. Answ. It is true that this visible body hath also an inward and spirituall baptizing, answerable to the externall and outward baptizing, and so ac∣cording to that internall and mysticall union it is an invisible body, as these reasons prove: but the question is, if the Apo∣stle speake of the body of Christ in that notion, we deny that, for hee speaketh plainly here of the Church, as it is a po∣liticall, organicall and visible body.
Object. 2. If one should say, God hath placed in the common-wealth Emperours, Kings, Dukes, Princes and Rulers, as the eyes and eares of the Commonwealth, it should no wayes follow that all the Common∣wealths in the earth are one visible civill body having a government, so though it hee said God hath placed in the spirituall Common∣wealths of the Church Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, &c. it followeth not that the Church is all one spirituall, politick visible body, it followeth onely that the Lord hath placed in the Church Apostles, Prophets, Teachers indefinitly, that is, that these may bee in any one single Con∣gregation, as it is said, James 2. 2. If there come into your Assem∣bly, or Synagogue, a man with a gold Ring, &c. now this will not prove that all the dispersed Jewes, to whom James wrote, were all but one Congregation.
Page 421Answ. 1. It is true, if any should say, God hath placed in the Common-wealth Emperors, Kings, Dukes, Princes, it should not folow that Common-wealths are one body, even Jewes, Gentiles, Bar∣barians, Americans, because there is not this externall union of visible Communion in the Common-wealths of the earth, as there is in the Churches; but if one should say, God hath placed Emperors, Kings, Dukes, Princes in the Common-wealths, as in one organicall body, having one head who hath given influence to so many Orgins of head feet, hands, eyes, eares, &c. as the Apostle speaketh of this body of the Church, he should then say all the Common-wealths of the world made but one body, but this indefinite speech must, by good logick, have the vertue either of an uni∣versall or a particular proposition, as if I say (The Church hath seated in it Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, &c.) you meane either the Cathlick visible Church, or the particular Congregation, or 3. some Church betwixt these two: our brethren cannot say they meane of a middle Church, for then they grant (contra∣ry to their owne principles) a politicall visible Church, beside a Congregation; if they say the first, wee have what wee crave; if they say that the Congregation hath seated in it Apostles, Prophets, they fall in the former absurditie, for God hath pla∣ced Apostles, in the whole Christian world.
Object. 3. When the Apostle saith, v. 21. The head cannot say to the feet, I have no need of you; either must wee acknowledge here that •ee meaneth the head of a Congregation, to wit a Pastor, or a Doctor, and so hee speaketh here of a Congregation; or if hee speake of the Catholick Church, then Estius his argument may stand in force to 〈◊〉 the Pope to bee the head of the Church; for Estius exponing these needs (The head cannot say to the feet, I have no need of you) by the head of the Catholick Church (saith hee) you either understand Christ the principall head, or then, some mortall man, the Pope, who is a ministeriall head; the former you cannot say, because Christ being God, and also man perfectly happy, hee may say to all the members of his Church great and small, yea to the very Angels, I have no need of you; for hee can sanctifie and governe his Church without the ••d, the Sacraments, or any ministers, therefore the head which 〈◊〉 in need of the feet, must bee the ministeriall head the Pope, 〈◊〉 standeth in need of the feet for the governing of the body in a mi∣nisteriall way.
Page 422 I answer, there is no reason for a Popish argument to leave the truth, for this argument shall no lesse militate against cur brethren, then against us, because it shall prove that there is a ministeriall head and Pope in every Congregation, which is no lesse absurd then to make a Catholick head over all the vi∣sible Catholick Church. Secondly, as for the argument it is easily answered, for the Apostle here useth a comparison from the naturall body, and there is no ground to presse every to•, lith and sinew of a comparison; and wee deny that the word (head) here doth signifie literally either Pastor or Bishop, for the eye also being that which watcheth and seeth for the whole body should also signifie the Pastor, but the intent of the Spirit of God is, that the most eminent members which are as the eyes & the head, whether their eminencie bee excellencie of saving grace, called, gratia gratum faciens, or excellencie of gifts, called, gratia gratis data, they have need of the gifts and graces of others inferiors and of meaner parts, and there is neither ministeriall head, nor ministeriall feet, nor ministeri∣all eyes in the Text.
Object. 4. To every visible Church there should bee a Paster to feed and rule that Church, if then there bee here a Catholick visible Church, thers should also be a Catholick visible Pastor, & that is a Pope.
Answ. That to every Church meeting 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 into one place, for Word and Sacraments, there should bee one Pastor onely and a supreme one, I deny; there may bee more Pastors then one, but that to every Catholick Church there should be one head most eminent, that is farre rather to bee denied, for this is so great a flocke that there bee a necessitie of multitude of Pastors and watchmen to attend so Catholick a flock.
Object. 19. You teach that the government of consociated Churches is warranted by the light of nature, which if it bee true, surely this light of nature being common to us, in civill, as in ecclesiasticall ca•∣ses, then by natures light every citie governed with rulers within it selfe, is suberdinate to a Classe of many cities, and that Classe to a na∣tionall meeting of all the cities, and the nation must in its government bee subordinate to a Catholick or •ecumenick civill court, and*this same way may appeales ascend in civill courts; and because by the same light of nature (saith Mr. Mather, and Mr. Thomson) there must bee some finall and supreme judgement of controversies le•t •p∣peaks Page 423 should bee spun out in infinitum, it must bee proved that this su∣p•em 〈◊〉 lyeth not in a Congregation.
Answ. 1. Appeales being warranted by the morall counsell which Je•hro gave to Moses, in which there is nothing typicall or •remoniall, but a patterne that all Common-wealths on earth, without any danger of Judaizing may fellow, cannot but bee (as Whittaker hath observed) naturall, and supposing that God hath given warrant in his word, for Monarchies, which are knowne by Gods appointment to bee independent, as also the government of all free and unconquered States are, it doth follow by the light of nature, that appeales in all states are na∣turall, and that God hath appointed that the supremacie should lie within the bounds of every free Monarchie or State, so that there can bee no appeale to any oecumenicall or Catholick civill Court, for that is against the independent power that God hath given to States; but in the Church it is farre otherwise, for God hath appointed no visible Monarchie in his Church, nor no such independencie of policie within an congregation classicall, pro∣vinciall or nationall Church and therefore though appeales bee warranted both in Church and State, by the light of nature, yet appeales to exotick and forraine judicatures is not warran∣ted by any such light, but rather contrary thereunto.
2. Church-appeales, though warranted by the light of nature, yet it is supposed they bee rationall, and grounded on good reason, as that either the matter belong not to the congregation, or then it bee certaine or morally presumed the Congregation will bee partiall and unjust, or the businesse bee difficill and intricate, and if appeales bee grcundlesse and unjust, neither Christ, nor natures light doth warrant them, yea in such a case the supre∣macie, from which no man can lawfully appeale, lyeth some∣time in the Congregation, sometime in the classicall presbyte∣ry, so as it is unlawfull to appeale, for illud tantumpossumus quod jure possumus, and neither Christ nor natures light doth warrant us to unjust appeales, or to any thing against equitie and reason: but that supremacy of power should bee in a Congregation with∣out any power of appealing, I thinke our brethren cannot teach; for when the Church of Antioch cannot judge a matter concerning the necessitie of keeping Moses his Law, or any diffi∣cill dogmaticall point, they by natures direction, Act. 15. 2. Page 424 decree to send Pau', Barnabas and others to Jerusalem to the Apo∣stles and Elders, as to a higher judicature, that their truth may bee determined, and this they did without any positive law that wee can imagine: for a Mr. Mather and Mr. Thomson, as also b the Author of the Church government of New England teach that the Church of Antioch had, jus, power to judge and de∣termine the controversie, but because of the difficultie had not light •o judge thereof; Ergo they must acknowledge appeales by natures light warrantable as well as wee, for suppose wee, that a Congregation inclineth to this (that Arminianisme is the sound doctrine of grace opposite to Stoicisme) one man is cited be∣fore the Congregation for holding the contrary, hee know∣eth all the Congregation in those points to be Pelagians, would not our brethren say, that this man so unjustly accused for hol∣ding the truth against the enemies of grace may appeale to a Synod? I thinke they must teach this by their grounds, though by the way I thinke the brethren erre in this to teach that An∣tioch had power to determine the controversie, Act. 15. in this case; 1. when the Churches of Syria and Cilicia, to their know∣ledge, were troubled with the like question, as v. 24. may cleare; 2. when as the partie against the truth was so prevalent with∣in the Church of Antioch, Act. 15. 2. as that they opposed the A∣postle Pau', and Barnabas, also in this case I doubt much if they had power to determine a question, that so much concerned all the Churches, for that was proper to a Synod of many Churches. 2. When the greatest part of a Church, as Antioch, is against the truth, as is cleare, Act. 15. 2. I beleeve in that they lose their jus, their right to determine ea•enus, in so farre, for Christ hath given no ecclesiasticall right and power to deter∣mine against the truth, but onely for the truth, and therefore in this, appeales must bee necessary. Mr. Mather and Mr. Thomson against Herle, c. 2. p. 17. 18. say we do much Judaizein that we multiply appeales upon appeales, from the Congregation to a Classe, then to a Synod, then to a nationall assembly, then to an •eck∣menick councell, and this way, while the world indureth, causes are never determined, and Synods cannot alwayes bee had, even as in Jerusalem the supreme judicature was farre remote from all proselytes, as from the Eunuch of Aethiopia, Act. 8. and from the remotest parts of the holy Land; But God hath provided better for us, in the New Te∣stament, Page 425 where every Congregation, which is at hand, may decide the controversie.
Answ. 1. The speedinesse of ending controversies in a con∣gregation, is badly compensed with the suddainnesse and temerity of delivering men to Satan, upon the decision of three Elders, without so much as asking advise of any classes of El∣ders, and with deciding questions deepe and grave, that con∣cerneth many Churches, which is a putting a private sickle in a common and publick harvest. 2. All appeales without just warrant from Christs will, wee condemne, as the abuse of ap∣peales to a court, which is knowne shall never bee. 3. An∣tiochs appeale to a Synod two hundreth miles distant (as our brethren say) in so weighty a question, was no Judaizing, but that which Paul and the Apostles was guiltie of, as well as wee. 4. Matters concerning many Churches must bee handled by many.
The Doctrine of the Presbyteriall Churches of Jerusalem, Corinth, Ephesus, Antioch, vindicated.
VVEe are convinced from the numerous multitude of beleevers, and the multitude of Pastors at this fa∣mous and mother Church of the Christians at Jerusalem, to be∣leeve the frame and mould was presbyteriall, and that it can∣not bee so much as imagined or dreamed that it was moulded to the patterne of one single Congregation which could all meet 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 into one place.
The frame of an independent single Congregation is such as no more doe meet ordinarily in one house, then may con∣veniently bee edified, in partaking of one Word, and one breaking of bread, that is, one Table at the Supper of the Lord; nor can wee imagine that the first mould of a Christian visible Church was so inconvenient as that it crossed edification and conversion, which is the formall effect of a Church-meeting: Now the multitude was such as could not, neither morally; nor physically, meet in one house. For at one Table many thou∣sands and multiplied thousands could not meer and therefore Page 426 consider their number; they were, Act. 1. a hundreth and twen∣tie met in one place, but I shall not bee of the opinion that this was all, seeing, 1 Cor. 15. 6. Christ after his resurrection was seene of Cephas, then of the twelve, after that hee was seene of above five hundreth brethren; then in one day at one Sermon about three thousand soules, Act. 2. 42. and ch. 4. 4. though they were apprehended who preached the Gospell, yet many of them which heard the Word beleeved, and the number of the men was about five thousand. I deny not but worthy Calvin saith, id potius de tota ecclesia, quam de nova accessione intelligendum, this was the whole number including the three thousand that were converted, c. 2. but first hee saith, Potius, hee inclineth ra∣ther to this opinion: but secondly the Text saith of those which heard the word, it would seeme to mee, at the second Sermon of Peter, and aAugustine,bChrysostome,cBed•,dBasilius,eOecumenius,fHie∣ronym.gIreneus make this number divers from the former, so doe hCor∣nelius a Lap.iSalmeron,kStaple∣tonus, (l) Sanctius,mLorinus,nLy∣ranus,oCajetanus; but we shall not contend about the matter, nor yet whe∣ther the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 includeth wo∣men, which it often doth in the Greek, as 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in Demo∣sthenes doth also; yet the wisdome of God in the Apostles cannot admit us to imagine that five thousand could ordinarily meet to the Word, Sacraments, and government in one house, and after this many thousands were added to this Church.
1. Our brethren say, it is one thing to say that they could not meet in one place by reason of extrinsecall impediments of persecution, and through want of a capacious and large roome, and another thing to say, that it was unpossible that they could bee one Congregation, and meet in one place, for though wee prove they could not meet because of persecution, wee doe not prove that they were so numerous that they could not conve∣niently meet in one place.
Page 427Answ. Though it bee evident that the Apostles were perse∣cuted, cast in prison, and beaten, Act. 4. 3. c. 5. 18. 26. 33. 40. it is as evident that they had Assemblies, and Churches meet∣ings, Act. 2. 37. 41. 46. c. 4. 1, 2, 3. c. 5. 10. v. 25. now the que∣stion then is not if they could not meet, for extrinsecall impe∣diments of persecution; for both our brethren and wee agree in this, that they had their Church-assemblies for Word and Sacraments, then the question is upon the supposall of Church assembles, which the persecution of the Jewes then fearing the people was not able to hinder, c. 5. 26, whether or no was the Church at Jerusalem of such a competent number, onely as that they could meet not occasionally onely to heare a Sermon, but in an ordinary Church-meeting to heare the Word, and communicate in the breaking of bread, and seales of the Cove∣nant; and though the want of a capacious house bee also an extrinsecall impediment why they could not meet, yet that they wanted such a capacious house as the Temple, will prove nothing, but it cannot bee said that they wanted a capacious house for the ordinary meeting of a Congregation, the ordi∣nary and genuine use whereof is to bee edified by the Word and Sacraments, and that an ordinary house could containe such a number of thousands and multitudes as can bee edified in a Congregationall way, is denyed.
2. Our brethren say; that they did not eate the Supper in pri∣vate houses, for the breaking of bread, Act. 2. 46. was common bread, and they had the use of the Temple, and taught in the Temple, for the Senate of the Jewes durst not extend their malice to the highest, Act. 5. 26. for they feared the people, and Act. 4. 21. So when they had s•••her threatned them, they let them goe, finding nothing how they might punish them because of the people; for all men glorified God, for that which was done, so the people favouring the Apostles, they made use of their libertie to the full, and bad their publick meetings for Word and Sacraments in the Temple, and did meet in private houses, Act. 20. 20. in a private way, not in a Church way, So Act. 2. 47. They had favour with all the people.
Answ. It is said these beleevers, v, 44. were 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉in one place, and those who, v. 46. did eate bread 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 from house to house, met then being in one place, and (eating of bread from house to house) must bee exponed as wee doe, distributively, that Page 428 is, divided in small Assemblies, for the argument that we bring militateth against the eating of their common meat in hou∣ses, all being in one private house; were three thousand in •ne place,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, all at one banquet, and that daily? 2. It is true, divers expone the breaking of bread, v. 46. not of the Supper of the Lords yet of the banquets of love where there was an assembly of many; but v. 42. It is cleare these three thousand did receive the Supper of the Lord toge∣ther, and it is so true that the Syriack hath it in his exposition thus 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉un•isht an•hephin bavau but luthi u•aktsa•a deu•ha•rskia, it is me∣morable, saith Lorinus, that hee retaineth the name of Eucharistia, it a is rendred, Et communica•ant in oratione & fractione Eucharistia, yea and bLutherus and cCalvin both expound it so, and as dLorinus,eCajetanus,fCornelius a Lapide, they bee all spirituall exercises named here. But how can wee imagine that many thousands could in one meeting communicate at one Table in the Lords Supper, and that ordinarily? 1. What voyce could reach to so many thousands, as they did grow un∣to? 2. What Table could suffice to a Congregation of so ma∣ny thousands added to the Church, for the supper is a Table ordinance, and requireth Table communion, Table gestures, which the Apostles could not so soone remove and change in∣to an Altar, that all might conveniently heare and bee edified. 3. Can wee beleeve, that seeing Congregationall meetings of fewer, and that in private houses, was lesse obnoxious to the indignation of authoritie, then meeting in the Temple, as is most evident, Act. 4. 1, 2. and seeing the Apostles had libertie to meet, Act. 5. 26. that they would draw the first mould of the Christian visible Church, after the patterne of a conventi∣on most unfit, yea unpossible, for attaining the intended end, to w•t, edification, especially not being compelled thereunto, by an extrinsecall necessitie. Our brethren say, three thousand, five thousand might all communicate in one place, though not at one time, súccessively, as it is in many numerous Congregations; But I answer 1. after they were five thousand, ch. 4. I dare say, ta∣king in the hundreth and twentie, the five hundreth brethren that all saw Christ at once, 1 Cor. 15. 6. and the fruit of the preaching of the other ten Apostles, all now present at Jerusalem, when Page 429the 〈…〉 the Spirit on all flesh, joe. 2. 28, 29. 〈◊〉 15, 16, 17. was now to take effect at this time, there were 〈◊〉 thousand, but after there all it is said, Act. 6. 1. The 〈…〉 were multiplyed, v. 7. And the Word of God 〈◊〉,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, The 〈…〉 Disciples grew exceedingly, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉a great 〈◊〉 the Priests were obedient to the faith; how many of the people were then obedient to the faith? could all these make on: Congregation to eate at one Table? But 2. when they are put to this shift, to say, that they did communicate suc∣〈◊◊〉 Table, and (which must bee) not all in one day, then 〈◊〉 brethren grant there was not here such a Congregati∣on as is, 1 Cor. 11. 20 When you come together therefore into one 〈…〉 eat the Lords Supper, 23. Wherefore my brethren 〈…〉 together to eate,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, tarry one for another; when 〈◊〉 come to eate at the love-feasts, especially at the Lords Supper, saith Di•datus; if every one of the Congregation bee to waite on while another come, then in the Apostolick Church all the Congregation came together to the Lords Sup∣per to one place and at one time, and this is not the Congre∣gation where of hee speaketh, 1 Cor. 14. 23. if therefore the whole Church c•me together to the same place, and all speake with tongues, 〈…〉 in th•se that are unlearned and unbeleovers, will they 〈…〉 mad? Hence all the Congegration come toge∣ther to one place, at one time, and the place was so that hea∣then and unbeleevers might come into their worship of the Congregation, but our brethren make the meeting of this Congregation such as they were not to s•ay one for another, 〈◊◊〉 all at one time, but successively, and so as the whole Congregation could not come to one place at once, but by 〈◊〉 and quarters, and fractions and divided parts, now one 〈◊〉, or two thousand, then another two thousand the next day, for the Apostles then celebrating the supper at night and after Supper, 1 C•r. 11. 21. few thousands should bee able to communicate after Supper. 2. There was no necessitie, that these wise master-builders should divide the Church, and the first visible Church in so many parts, and this successive communi∣on doth clearely prove our point, that there were many Con∣gregations, Page 430 for every successive fraction being a competent convention of beleevers having the Word and Sacraments, and so power of jurisdiction not to admit all promiscuously to the Lords Table, is to our brethren a compleat Church, for to it indeed agreeth the essentiall Characters of a visible instituted Church, for there is here a ministery, the Word and Sacra∣ments, and some power of jurisdiction within it selfe, and so what lacketh this successive fraction of an intire Congre∣gation?
But what ground for so needlesse a conjecture, that the Apo∣stolick Church did celebrate the Lords Supper in the Temple, never in private houses? The contrary is, Act. 20. 7. And up∣on the first day of the weeke the Disciples came together to breake bread, Paul preached unto them, v. 8. And there were many lights in an upper Chamber, where they were conveened, so the Text is cleare, the first day of the weeke, 1 Cor. 16. 1. was the day of the Christians publick worship, and aAugustine,bCal∣vin,cLu•her,dMelancthon, Bullinger,eDiodatus; and so fLorinus and gSanchius say this was the Lords Supper, who can imagine that the Apostles did bring so many thou∣sand Christians after Supper to the Temple, to celebrate a new Evangelick feast, and that immediatly after Peters first Sermon, Act. 2. 42 ? 1. Before the Apostles had informed the Jewes, that all their typicall and ceremoniall feasts were now abolished, yea while they stood in vigor, and the Apostles themselves kept them in a great part? was this like the Spirit of the Gos∣pel, which did beare with Moses his ceremonies for fortie yeares?
2. The Apostles, Act. 4. 1. are indited before the Synedry, that they taught, in the Temple, Jesus Christ: if they had with so many thousands, gone to the Temple with a new extraordi∣nary ceremoniall ordinance as a new Sacrament, so contrary in humane reason, to all the sacred Feasts, Sacrifices, and cere∣monies, should not this with the first have beene put in their inditement, that they were shouldering Moses out of the Tem∣ple? yet are they onely accused for teaching the people; yea Christ the Law-giver, who preached the Gospell daily in the Temple, would not take the last Supper to the Temple, but celebrated Page 431 it in a private Chamber; and Paul being accused alwayes as an enemy to Moses and the Temple, his enemies the Jewes who watched him heedfully, could never put on him, that hee ce∣lebrated a Sacrament in the Temple: as for Baptisme it being a sort of washing, (whereof the Pharisees used many, Matth. 15. Mark. 7.) it was performed often sub di• in rivers, never in the Temple; wee desire any author, father, (Ocecumenius doubteth onely) Doctor, Divine, Protestant, or Papist, late or old, who said the Apostles celebrated the Supper in the Tem∣ple.
3. Our brethren say all, These did conve•ne〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, for Act. 4. 31. When they had prayed the place was shaken where they were assembled together,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Act. 2. 46. and they continued daily with one accord in the Temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eate their meat with gladnesse.
Answ. The place, Act. 4. 31. saith not, that all the five thou∣sand beleevers were in that one place, which was shaken, for v. 21. that when the Apostles were let goe by the Priests and Captaines of the Temple they returned to their owne compa∣ny 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to their owne, but no circumstance in the Text doth inferre that they came backe to the whole five thou∣sand, but onely to some few of the first beleevers, that were converted before the first Sermon of Peter was made, cap. 2, they returned, Lyra and Hugo Cardinalis, to their owne com∣pany, ad domesticos suos, and so saith Lorinus, who citeth the Syriack 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉hachaiehin ad fratres suos. Salmeron, ad suos •apostolos, sive condiscipulos & domesticos fidei, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 doth not signifie the whole Church, but friends and domesticks, as, Mark. 5. 19. Goe home to thy own house and shew thy friends, Luke,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 compared with, Luk. 8. 39. and Gal. 6. 10, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and 1 Tim. 5. 8. therefore the place saith that the five thousand were gathered together in this one place which was shaken. 2. Giving and not granting that they were all conveened to prayer, it doth not follow that they did meet ordinarily in one place, for partaking of Word and Sacra∣ments, as one Congregation, for •oe might conveene to prayer and hearing the Word, then could meet ordinarily in a Congregationall-way. Neither will any Text inforce us to Page 432 expone 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, collectively, but distributively, as wee say, all the Congregations in Scotland met, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in one, every Lords day, that is, every one of the Congregations is in one place, but the sense is not that all the Congregations collective∣ly are in one place. And wee may justly aske what this place was which was shaken, it is not like that it was the Temple, that which should have beene more prodigious like, and pre∣saged a ruine to the Temple, would not have beene concealo• by the holy Ghost, for it would have more terrified the Jewes, and the Temple is never called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉sine adjecto, without some other thing to make it bee knowne to bee the holy place, if it was a private house, give us leave to say it could not containe five thousand to heare prayer, farre lesse a more numerous mul∣titude.
Wee re•it it to the judgement of the wise, if the Apostles were so lazie to propagate the Gospell, that where twelve of them were present undoubtedly, Act. 4. 23 31. Act. 6. 2. and (as many of the learned thinke, the seventie Disciples) that ele∣ven Apostles did heare the Word onely, and one did speake to one Congregation onely, which consisted of so many thou∣sands, for to the five thousand, if there were no moe, c. 5. 14. mere beleevers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women, who could not conveniently heare? This I thinke not imagina∣ble; for 1. now the harvest was large, thousands were to bee converted. 2. The Spirit was now powred upon all flesh. 3. Christ, when hee sent the tw•lve but to Jude•, hee sent them two and two, and would have every man at worke, and the Apostles went out in twoes, Act. 13. Paul and B•rna•as and sometimes but one Peter was sent to the Jewes, Paul to the Gen∣tiles, and the world divided amongst them, 1. of other offi∣cers Timothy is sent to Ephesus, Titus to Crete, that so they might the more swiftly spread the Gospell to all the world. What wisedome could wee imagine would lead the twelve Apostles to speake to one single Congregation met in one place, at one time? the rest, to wit the eleven and the seventic Disciples be∣ing silent? for in the Church the God of order will have one to speake at once, 1 Cor. 14. 31.
But our reverend brethren seeing and considering well that Page 433 the Church at Jerusalem could not all meet in one Congregatio∣nall way, and that they were a Christian Church, and so behoo∣•ed to bee a Presbyteriall Church, they doe therefore betake themselves to another Answer, for they say that this Church at 〈…〉 an extraordinary constituted Church, and 1. wanted an Eldership, and presbytery, as Christian Churches have now: 2. the government was meerely Apostolicall: 3. the constitution was some∣what Jewish, rather then Christian, for their service was mixed with legall ordinances and Jewish observances for many yeares, and there∣fore cannot bee a patterne of the Christian visible Church which wee now seeke.
To which I answer. 1. Because our brethren consider that the Church of Jerusalem will not bee their independent Con∣gregation, before wee obtaine it, for us, as a mould of a pres∣b•t•riall Church, they had rather quit their part of it, and per∣mit the Jewes to have it, for us both, but wee are content that their Congregations in some good sense bee given to them, and not to Jewes. 2. There is no reason, but the Church of Jerusalem bee a Christian Church; 1. The externall pro∣fession of a visible Church maketh it a visible Christian Church, but this Church professeth faith in Christ alrea∣dy come in the flesh and the Sacraments of the New Te∣stament, baptisme, and the Sacramentall breaking of bread, Act. 22. 41, 42. wee desire to know how saving faith in a multitude constituteh an invisible Church, and the exter∣nall and blamelesse profession of that same saving faith doth not contitute a visible Church also? and how this is not a Chri∣stian visible Church not differing in essence and nature from the 〈◊〉Churches that now are, to which the essentiall note of a visible Church agreeth, to wit the preaching or profession of the sound faith: if it bee called an Apostolick and so an ex∣traordinary Christian Church because the Apostles doth governe •it, that is not enough, if the Apostles governe it, according to the rule of the word framing the visible Churches of the New Testament, this way the Church of Corinth, 1 Cor. 5. shall bee an Apostolick and so an extraordinary Church, which our bre∣thren cannot say. But wee desire to know wherein the frame of this first patterne Christian Church at Jerusalem is so extra∣ordinary, Page 434 that it cannot bee a rule to us to draw the mould of our Churches according to it, for if the Apostles make it a patterne of an ordinary Christian Church in Word and Sacra∣ments, to say it was extraordinary in the government, except you shew that that government was different from the rule that now is in government, is petitio principii, to begge what is in question, for these same keyes both of knowledge and jurisdiction that by your grant, were given to the Church, Matth. 18. 15, 16, 17. were given to the Apostles, Matth. 16, 17, 18. and Joh. 20. 21. If you say it is extraordinary, because as yet they had not Deacons, for the Apostles did as yet serve tables, where as afterward Act. 6. that was given to the Deacons by office, and so they had not Elders, nor Doctors, nor Pastors as we now ha•e, but the Apostles were both Pastors, Ruling Elders, Doctors, and Deacons, and they were the onely governing Eldership, and this was extraordi∣nary that they had no Eldership, and so they were for that same cause no presbyteriall Church, whence it followeth that you cannot make this Church which had no presbytery, a patterne of a presbyteriall Church.
But I answer, this will not take off the argument, if wee shall prove that after they were more then could meet in one Congregation, and so after they were so numerous that they were moe Congregations then one, they had one common government, and 1. wee say though the Apostles had power to governe all the Churches of the world, and so many Congre∣gations, yet if they did rule many Congregations as Elders, and not as Apostles, wee prove our point. Now we say where baptisme and the Lords Supper was, there behoved to bee some government, else the Apostles admitted promiscuously to baptisme and the Lords Supper any the most scandalous and prophane, which wee cannot thinke of the Apostles: it is true say you, they admitted not all, but according to the rule of right go∣vernment, but this right government was extraordinary, in that it was not in a setled Eldership of a Congregation, which was oblieged to reside and personally to watch over that determinate flock, and no o∣ther flock, but it was in the hands of the Apostles, who might goe through all the world to preach the Gospell, and were not tied to any particular flock: and so from this neither can you draw your classicallPage 435Eldership, nor wee our Congregationall Eldership.
But I answer, yet the question is begged, for though it bee unlawfull for a setled Eldership not to reside where their charge is, yet the question is now of a government in the hands of those who are oblieged to reside and give personall attendance to the flock, and the government in the hands of the Apostles, who were not oblieged to personall attendance over this and this particular flock, which they did governe; were governments so different in nature, as the one is a patterne to us, not the other, and the one followeth rules different in nature and spirit from the other; for though it were granted that the Apostles did governe many Congregations as Apostles, not as Elders, yet there was no extraordinary reason why these many Congregations should bee called one Church, and the beleevers added to them, said to bee added to the Church, as it is said, Act. 2. 47. And the Lord added to the Church daily such as should bee saved, except this Church bee one entire body gover∣ned and ruled according to Christs Lawes. 2. There bee se∣ven Descons chosen to this Church, Act. 6. and Deacons are officers of the Church of Philippi which our brethren calleth Phil. 1. 1. a Congregationall Church, and Pnebe was a Deaco∣nisse (say they) of the Church of Cenchrea, Rom. 16. 1. and if they had Deacons, they could not want Elders, who are as necessary. 3. This Church could not bee so extraordi∣nary as that it cannot bee a patterne to us of the con∣stant government of Churches by Elders, which wee call Aristocraticall, seeing it is brought as a patterne of the Churches government by the voices of the people, which is called by Divines, in some respect, democraticall, and this place is alled∣ged by our brethren, and by all Protestant Divines against Bishops and Papists to prove that the people have some hand in government, to wit, in election of officers, and so the words are cleare, Act. 6. 5. And this saying pleased the whole multitude, and they choosed Steven, &c. so this multitude did not make one Con∣gregationall Church, but it was a company of the multiplied di∣sciples, both of Grecians and Hebrews, as is clearely related to these spoken of, v. 1. c. 6. Now Hebrewes and Grccians were di∣rectly one Church having one government, and seven Deacons,Page 436 common to both, now that could not bee a single indepen∣dent Congregation, as is already proved. 4. If the con•ti∣tution of this Church at Jerusalem bee sewish, because of some Jewish observations, and so no patterne of the frame of ordi∣nary visible Churches Christian; I say 1. this is no good argu∣ment, seeing the Christian visible Church, and the Jewish visible Church is of that same frame and constitution, having that same faith, s•all grant, except Papists, Socinians and Armini•ns, and so that same profession of that same faith. 2. If this were a good reason, then all the Churches of the Gentiles which are commanded for a time, in the case of scandall, to observe some Jewish Lawes, to abstaine from eating meates offered to Id•ls, and from blood, and from things strangled, Act. 15. 29. Act. 16. 4. shall bee also Churches in their constitution Jewish, and so no patterne to us; and the Church of Rome and of Corinth shall bee Jewish also, and no patterne to us, because in case of scandall they are to abstaine from meats forbidden in the Law of Moses, Rom. 14. 1 Cor. 8. c. 10. but this our brethren cannot teach. 5. Though Apostles did governe all these Congregations, yet wee are not to thinke• that seeing there were such abundance of gifted men in this Church, on which the Spirit, according to Joels prophecie, was powred in so large a measure, that they did not appoint Elders who did personally watch over the converted flock, especially seeing Apostles use never this A∣postolicall and extraordinary power, but in case of necessitie, where ordinary helpes are wanting, else this answer might clude all reasons drawn from the first moulded Churches which were planted by the Apostles and watered by their helpers. But I have heard some say, that multitude of Pastors at Jerusalem doth not prove that the Apostles were idle, if they did all attend me Congregation, because they had worke enough in the Synagogues 〈◊〉 convert the unconverted Jewes, all the twelve did not labour in preaching to the one single new converted Congregation.
Answ. But if you lay downe our brethrens supposition, that the Apostles had no publick meetings for the Word and Sacra∣ments of the Christian Church, but the Temple, and that they ceased not daily in the Temple, and from house to house to teach and preach Christ, as is said, Act. 5. 42. then consider that they Page 437 preached not daily in the Synagogues, but in the Temple and i• houses, and their first conquest of five thousand was above three Congregations, beside those who daily came In: and c•r•ainly it the first was but one Congregation, yet one of the twelve preached to that Congregation, the other eleven b•hoor•d to have a Congregation also. 6. Our brethren acknowledge the Church of Jerusalem to be one Church, for it is called, even before the dispersion, one Church in the singu∣lar number, Act. 2. 47. And the Lord added to the Church daily. 〈◊〉 as should bee saved, Act. 5. 11. Great feare came upon all the Church, and Act. 8 1. A• that time there was a great persecution 〈◊〉 Church. 2. They grant before the disportion that it had a government, but they deny this government to bee presbyteri∣al, thy s•y it was Apostolick and extraordinary, and that it had not in Eldership, nor read wee of any Elders till after the dispersion, Act. 8 1. When their number was diminished, so as it is cleare they 〈◊〉 meet in one Congregation. 3. You must prove this govern∣ment bee one if you prove a Presbyteriall Church at Jerusalem. 4. 〈◊〉 must prove divers formed and organicall and severall Con∣•••nions at Jerusalem, if you prove such presbyteriall Churches as 〈◊〉 have in Scotland; but I pray you, The Apostles (you say) 〈◊〉 the Church of Jerusalem as Apostles, and so as extraor∣dinary Elders, not as an ordinary Eldership and Presbytery, but give mee leave to say this is a meere shift. 1. What reason to call the Apostles governing of the Church extraordina∣ry, more then their preaching the Word and their admi∣nistration of the Sacraments is extraordinary? and if Word and Sacraments doe prove that this was the first visible Church and a type and patterne to all visible Churches, why should its government bee extraordinary? 2. Why should the go∣vernment bee extraordinary, because the Apostles did governe it, in respect they were extraordinary officers, and should not the government bee by the Apostles; and exercised by them as a common ordinary presbytery, seeing this Church in its goods, was governed by seven ordinary and constant Chu•ch-officers, the seven Deacons? Act. 6. and seeing the peo∣ple did exercise an act of ordination (say our brethren) but an act of popular election (say wee) which cannot bee deny∣nyed Page 438 to bee a politick act of divers Churches, Hebrewes and Grecians choosing their owne ordinary officers in relation to which they made one governed Church, under one common government, which is not congregationall; because not of one Congregation, but of moe Congregations conveened in their principall members (for they could not all meet in one, as wee have proved) Ergo, it must bee presbyteriall. And that this government is one to mee is evident, because these seven Deacons were officers in ordinary to them all. 3. Wee see not how wee need to prove that the severall Congregations were severall formed, fixed and organicall bodies; 1. Because it shall bee hard to our brethren to prove a Parishionall Church in its locall circuit in the Apostolick Church, and when Churches were moulded and framed first in locall circuits of parishes, I will not undertake to determine. 2. Ten Congregations in a great Citie, though not moulded locally and formally in ten little distinct Churches organicall, yet if sixteene or twen∣tie Elders in common feede them all, with Word, Seales and common government, they differ not in nature from ten for∣med and fixed Congregations, and the government is as true∣ly Aristocraticall, and presbyteriall, as if every one of them had their owne fixed Eldership out of these sixteene Elders, for fixing of this or this Elder to this or this Congregation is but accidentall to the nature of an organicall Church; if ten little Cities have ten magistrates who ruleth them all in com∣mon, they are ten perfect politicall incorporations and socie∣ties, no lesse then if to every one of these ten were a fixed magi∣strate, to this or this citie; Because the King and State might accuse them all for any misgovernment or act of unjustice done by the whole ten conveened in one judicature to judge them∣all; for what unjustice is done by the major part is to bee im∣puted to the whole colledge, in so farre as the whole colledge hath hand in it. 2. The formall acts of a politicall Congre∣gation not fixed are one and the same in nature and essence with the formall Church-acts of a fixed Congregation; For 1. the Word and Sacraments are one and the same: 2. their acts of government, in rebuking, accusing, and joynt con∣senting to deliver to Satan an incestuous man are one and the Page 439 same, whether the Congregation bee fixed, or not fixed; shew us a difference.
But it is said, they are different in a politicall or in a Church∣consideration, 1. Because this determinate Congregation is to subject their consciences in the Lord, to this fixed Eldership whom they have called and chosen to bee their Elders, and not to the ministery of any others, as 1 Thess. 5. 12. Know them that labour amongst you,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, (not those who are over others,) and that are over you,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and are over you in the Lord, not over others,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉and adm•nish you, not others: and 2. The Pa∣stors are to feed such a flocke over which the holy Ghost hath set them, Acts 20. 28. and they are to feede the flocke amongst them, 1 Pet. 5. 2. not any other,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, there∣fore Pastors are fixed by the holy Ghost to a fixed congregation. 3. Pa∣stors are not rebuked by the Spirit of God, for remisse exercise of jurisdiction and Church-power, but over their owne fixed Congrega∣tion, not because they doe not exercise their power over other Congrega∣tions over which they are not, and for whose soules they do not watch, as is evident in the severall rebukes tendered by Christ to every Angell or Eldership of the seven Churches in Asia, Revel. 2. c. 3. where every Angel and Church is rebuked for their owne omissions towards their owne fixed and particular flocks.
Answ. The places doe not come up, to prove fixed Con∣gregations in the Apostles times; for 1. wee deny that the Church of Thessalonica was one single fixed Congregation, or the Church of Ephesus either, and farre lesse can the Churches of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bythinia, to which Peter writeth, and whose Elders, 1 Pet. 5. 1. 2. hee exhorteth to feede the flock of God, bee one fixed Congregation, nor doe they prove that fixed Congregations were, though I thinke it not unprobable that when Phebe, Rom. 16. 1. is called a Dea∣c•nisse of the Church, which is at Cenchrea, that there were fixed Congregations at that time, but many things not without ap∣parent strength of much probabilitie may bee said by the learned, on the contrary. 2. The Eldership of Ephesus I dare not call the Eldership of one Congregation, farre lesse of one fixed Congregation, and they are all commanded to feed the flocke over which the holy Ghost had set them, and no other Page 440Church that is most true. But how doe our brethren inferre a fixed Congregation at Ephesus from thence? farre lesse I think can they in ferre that the formall Church-acts of a fixed, and a not fixed Congregation are different in nature; and therefore, if we can show that in the Apostolick Churches they had many Congregations though not fixed, under one common Elder∣ship, which did feed them in common with Word, Sacra∣ments and Discipline, as is clearely proved, then have wee a patterne of a Presbyteriall Church. 3. The Elders of Ephesus and these Elders, 1 Pet. 5. 1, 2, 3. had all of them a burden of the soules amongst them, and over which the holy Ghost had set them, and they had not a burden and charge in particular of others as watching in particular for the soules of others: but how fixed Congregations are hence inferred I see not, for I may have with other six Pastors, a Pastorall burden and charge to watch for three Congregations, according to my talent and strength, though I bee not a fixed pastor to all the three collectively, or to any fixed one distributively, so as all the omissions of my six fellow-labourors shall bee laid to my charge, in the Court of the Judge and Lord of all, if I do what I am able: which I demonstrate thus. 1. That morall obligation of conscience which did obliege the Apostles as Pastors of the Christian world which was to bee converted, is not temporary but per∣petuall and morall and did obliege the Apostles as Christians. Therefore this morall, obligation did lie upon the Apostles to feed the Catholick fiocke of the whole Christian world over which the holy Ghost had set them, just as the Elders of Ephesus, Act. 20. 28. are commanded to feed the whole flock of God which is at Ephesus: now I aske if every single Apostle is to make a recko∣ning to God for the soules of all the Christian world? 2. If Peter must bee answerable to God, because Paul by negligence should incurre the woe of not preaching the Gospell, 1 Cor. 9. 16? (3.) If upon this morall ground of an obligation lying on the Apostles to feed the Catholick flock of the whole world, amongst which they were, for the most part, by speciall com∣mandement of Christ, to preach to all nations, Matth. 28. 19. to every creature, Mark. 16. v. 15. If (I say) the Apostles bee tied to plant Churches in such determinate quarters and fixed king∣domes Page 441 of the habitable world, and if the dividing of the world into twelve severall parts, and large parishes to the twelve Apostles, bee juris divini, of divine institution? I be∣lieve this can hardly bee proved by Gods Word. 2. Where there bee six Elders in a Congregation supposed to bee inde∣pendent, every one of the six are oblieged in their place to feed the whole flocke, over which the holy Ghost hath set them, and that by the commandement of God, Act. 20. 28. 29. 1 Pet. 5. 1. as our brethren teach, but I hope by these places no humane logick would inferre, nor could our brethrèn collect, that, 1. every one of these six should, by divine institution, bee set over each of them the sixt determinate and sixt part of that Congregation. 2. That every one of the sixt were not to give a reckoning for the whole Congregation, and did not watch for the whole Congregation according to his Talent. 3. That one might not be accused, even one Archippus possibly at Colosse, Col. 4. 17▪ for his owne particular neglect to the whole flock, though others were also joyned with Archippus who fulfilled their part of their ministery, Col. 2. v. 5. yea & we justly aske if all the Elders of Thyatira were guiltie of remisse discipline against the false Prophetesse Jezabell, and if all the Church of Sardis did become sleepie, and secure, and had a name that they were living, and yet were dead, though the Eldership under the name of the Angel of the Church, bee indefinitely rebuked, Revel. 2. 20. c. 3. 1, 2, 3. 4. yea it is like to mee that seeing the Lord Jesus com∣mendeth the one for love, service, faith, patience, Revel. 2. 19. and the other, that c. 3. 4 they had a few names that had not defiled their garments, that onely those who were guiltie, were rebuked, I beleeve, and therefore this is to bee proved that Elders are not rebuked, but for their remisse watching over an unfixed Congregation, the places to me, doe not prove it.
Now whereas our brethren say, that they read of no Eldership before the dispersion of the Church at Jerusalem, Act. 8. 1. and therefore of no presbyteriall government, and after the dispersion, the number was so diminished as they might all meet in one Congregation, bec•use it is said, Act. 8. 1. They were all scattered abroad through∣••• the regions of Iudea and Samaria except the Apostles. It is easily answered.
Page 442 1. To what effect should the twelve Apostles not also have followed their scattered flocks, and to what end did twelve Apostles stay at Jerusalem to preach to one single handfull, that might all conveniently meet in one house, and a private house, for I thinke the persecution could as easily put them from publick meetings in the Temple and Synagogues, as it could scatter them all to so few a number as one congregation? was the the harvest so great, and the Apostolick labourers so sparing in reaping, as eleven should bee hearers in one Congregation? and one speake onely at once?
2. Our brethren may know that wee prove a Presbyterlall government before the dispersion. 3. If our brethren elide the force of our argument from multitude of beleevers at Jerusa∣lem, to prove a presbyteriall Church, they must prove that this dispersion did so dissolve the Church as that three thousand, Act. 2. and some added daily, v. 47. and five thousand, Act. 4. 4. and beleevers more added, multitudes both of men and women, Act. 5. 14. and Jerusalem was filled with the doctrine of the Apostles, c. 5. 28. and yet the number of the Disciples multiplied, c. 6. 1. and the Word of God increased, and the number of the Disciples multiplied in Je∣rusalem greatly, and a great company of the Priests were obedient to the faith, they must (I say) prove (for affirmanti incumbit pro∣batio) that all this number and all these thousands by the dispersion, Act. 8. 1. came to one thousand and to a handfull of a single Congregation.
3. I see no necessitie that these (all) be the whole body of the Church, I grant Diod•tus saith so, and aBaronius conjectu∣reth that there were fifteene thousand killed at this first persecution,b but Dorotheus saith there were but two thousand killed, and (c) Salmeron saith of Dorotheus his relation, Quae si vera sunt, pro∣fecta magna fuit persecutio, if it bee true, the persecution was indeed great, and wee cannot but thinke, seeing the spirit of God saith * this was a great persecution, but the Church was greatly diminished: but let us see if the Text will beare that so many thousands (for I judge at this time that the Church hath been above ten thousands) were partly killed, partly scattered, so that the Church of Jerusalem came to one single Congregation which might meet ordinarily for Word and Sacran•ents in Page 443 one private house, where the tewelve Apostles came to them: for my part I cannot see it in the Text, onely the persecution was great. 2. All were scattered except the Apostles. 3. Act. 26. Paul saith of himselfe at this time, 10. Many of the Saints did I shut up in prison, having received authoritie from the high Priests, and when they were put to death, I gave my voyce against them. 11. And I punished them oft in every Synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme, and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them to strange Cities; all which saith many were imprisoned. 2. Some scattered, but the Text saith not that thousands were put to death, and it is not like that the holy Ghost who setteth downe the other sort of persecution and the death of Steven, would have beene silent of the killing of thousands. 3. Where∣as it is said, they were all scattered except the Apostles, I see no ground of the Text to say that by (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) all scattered, hee understan∣deth, all the Disciples as dLyranus saith, so saith eEuse∣bius, though fSanctius saith hee meaneth of the 70. Disci∣ples. And my reasons are, 1. The Text saith, v. 3. Saul enter∣ing into every house, •aling men and women committed them to pri∣son, as you may read, Act. 26. 10, 11. Ergo, all and every one without exception of any, save the Apostles, were not scatte∣red. 2. Amongst so many thousands of men and women, many for age, weakenesse and sicknesse, and having young * children, and women with child were not able to flee, there∣fore (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) cannot bee taken according to the letter every way. 3. Paul after this dispersion, Act. 26. 11. punished them in every Synagogne. What? punished hee Jewes? no Christians; Ergo, after the dispersion there were Christians left in Synagogues at Jerusalem which were not dispersed. 4. The Text saith that the scattered abroad were Preachers, and as I prove elsewhere here after, extraordinary Prophets, and therefore all were scat∣tered except the Apostles, seemeth to imply that especially the whole teachers were scattered, except the Apostles; and gChry∣sostome,hAthanasius,iNissenus observes that God out of this persecution tooke occasion to spread the Gospell, by sen∣ding scattered Preachers to all the regions about, so kLo∣rinus,lSanctius,mCornelius a Lapide, say they were not all sattered, and nCajetan exponeth these (all) onely of those up∣on Page 444 whom the holy Ghost descended. 4. Though this Church should come to one Congregation now, this is but by accident, and from extrinsecall causes of persecution and scattering, but wee have proved at the first founding of this Church Apostolick the Church of Jerusalem called one Church, the first draught and pat∣terne of the visible Christian Church was such as could con∣taine many Congregations, and could not all meet in one. 5. There is no ground to say that Apostles after this disper∣sion erected an ordinary Eldership in Jerusalem, whereas be∣fore there was an extraordinary, because the Apostles was present with them, and you read of no Elders while after the dispersion, because 1. you read not of the institution of or∣dinarie Elders in the Church of Jerusalem after the dispersion, more then before, and so you are here upon conjectures. 2. There is no ground to say that the Apostles changed the government of the first patterne of the Christian Churches from extraordi∣nary to ordinary. 3. Nor is there ground that the govern∣ment of the first samplar of Instituted Churches of the New Te∣stament, should rather bee extraordinarie, then that first or∣dering of the Word and Sacraments should bee extraordina∣ry, seeing the Apostles the first founders of instituted Churches under the New Testament, had as ordinary matter to institute an ordinary presbytery and government, having beleevers in such abundance, upon whom, by the laying on of hands, they might give the Holy Ghost, as they had ordinary matter, to wit, a warrant, and command from Christ, to preach and administer the Sacraments. 4. The Apostles abode many yeares at Jerusalem, after there was an erected Eldership, Act. 15. 2. 22. Act. 16. 4. Act. 21. 18, 19, 20. Gal. 1. 18 After three yeares I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, Gal. 2. 1. Then foureture yeeres after, I went up againe to Jerusalem, &c. 9. And when James, Cephas, and John who seemed to bee pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto mee, they gave to mee and Barnabas the right hands fellowship. 5. Though wee should give, and not grant that this dispersion did bring the Church of Jerusalem to so low an ebbe as to make it but one single Congregation, yet after the dis∣persion, all the Churches, Act. 9. 3. had peace, and were edified, and multiplyed, and so the Church of Jerusalem also was multi∣plied, Page 445 if all France be multiplied, Paris which is a part of France must bee multiplied, and if there were many thousands of the Jewes that did beleeve, Act. 21. 20. though these many were for a great part come up to the feast at Pentecost, as some thinke, yet may wee well thinke a huge number of these thou∣sands were of the Church of Jerusalem: it is said, v. 21. They are in∣formed of thee that thou teachest all the Jewes which are amongst the Gentiles to forsak Moses, these belike were the Jewes at Jerusalem who heard that Paul was come to Jerusalem, and Act. 12. 24. The Word of God grew and multiplied; it is the same phrase that is used, Act. 6. v. 7. to expresse the multiplying of the Church, by the multiplying of the Word, for there is no other multiplicati∣on of the Word but in the hearts of numbers who receive the Word in faith.
Our brethren object; 1. Though there bee Elders at Jerusalem, Act. 15. 2. v. 4. and Act. 21. 18. yet that doth not prove an Eldership o• a formall presbytery, even a presbytery of a classicall Church doth not prove that these Classicall Elders are Elders of a Classicall Church.
Answ. Our brethren should give to us the measure which they take to themselves, for they prove from that which the Scripture, Act. 20. 28. doe name the Elders of the Church of Ephe∣sus that there was an Eldership at Ephesus, which governed all the people of Ephesus; and from Bishops and Deacons at Philippi, Phil. 1. 1. that there was an Eldership in that Church; and from the Angel of the Church of Smyrna, Perga∣mus, Thyrtira, &c. that there was a colledge of Elders or a Presbytery in those Churches: for if those Churches had elders in them, though they were in their meaning Elders of a par∣ticular Congregation, and so an Eldership and a presbytery, they must give us the favour of the like consequence, in many of those Churches, they had Elders; Ergo, they had a pres∣byteriall or classicall Eldership, and the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is as seldome in Scripture to our brethren to prove their Con∣gregationall Eldership, as it is to us to prove our Presbyteri∣all or classicall Eldership, and in this, jam sumns ergo pares; and one government, and combination voluntary under one Congregationall presbytery shall bee as hardly proven, as one government, and one voluntary combination of many Con∣gregations, Page 446 and where the multitude is so numerous, as that they cannot meet in one, it is unpossible to prove that so ma∣ny thousands did all agree, and that according to Christs in∣stitution, to meet ordinarily in one for doctrine and discipline, whereas the meeting in one of so many thousands is most in∣convenient. 2. An Eldership doth prove there is a relation of those that make up the Eldership to all the Church distribu∣tively to which they have the relation of Elders, but doth not prove that the Eldership is an Eldership in a Church-relation to any one single person, and that that single person hath a reci∣procall Church relation to that Eldership; so here the classicall Eldership carrieth a relation to a classicall Church, and a clas∣sicall Church doth retort and reflect a reciprocall relation to the Eldership, but it doth not follow that every Congregati∣on of the Classicall Church doth reflect a reciprocall relation of a Church classicall to either the classicall Eldership, or to any one Elder of the classicall presbytery.
2. They affirme, that there was no presbyteriall government ex∣ercised by the Apostles in the Church of Jerusalem; for they say, for the substance of the Act (it is true) The Apostles did governe as El∣ders, that is, their Acts of government were not different from the Acts of government of ordinary Elders: but the Apostles did not go∣verne under this formall reduplication as ordinary Elders, but as Apo∣stles, because as Apostles they were Elders both in the Church of Jerusalem, and in all Churches of the world: but this proveth not an ordinary Eldership, Titus at Crete did but the ordinary Acts of an ordinary Elder at Crete in appointing Elders in every citie, yet this proveth not that there is in the successors of Titus an ordinary E∣piscopall government, for because of the extent of the Apostles power to all Churches on earth, you may from this prove as well an Episcopall power as a presbyteriall power in an Eldership over many Congregati∣ons; and before you prove a presbyteriall power you must prove an ex∣tent and an ordinary extent of an Eldership over many Congregations, which you shall never prove from the extent of the Apostles power, which was universall and alike in all Churches.
I answer, if our brethren had formed their arguments in a syllogisme, I could more easily have answered, but I will doe it for them. Those who did rule with an universall extent of powerPage 447of government in all Churches, these did rule as Apostolick rulers, and not as ordinary presbyters, in the ruling and governing the Church of Jerusalem: but the Apostles before the dispersion did rule thus, Ergo, the Apostles before the dispersion did rule as Apostles, not as or∣dinary presbyters. The proposition they make good, because if those who rule with an universall extent of power, doe it not as Apo∣stles, they have then prelates to succeed them as ordinary officers in their extent of power and extent of pastorall care over many Churches.
But I answer by granting the major, and the probation of it in the connex proposition, because those who rule with an universall extent of power doe it as Apostles, but I deny the assumption that the twelve Apostles did rule the Church of Jeru∣salem with an universall extent of power over all Churches; for it is true, the Apostles who did governe the Church of Jerusalem had an universall power over all Churches, but that they did rule the Church of Jerusalem as having this universall power, and by vir∣tue of this universall and Apostolicall power, I utterly deny, and I deny it with the reduplication, and except our brethren prove that the Apostles did governe the Church of Jerusalem as having this Apostolick power, and under this reduplication, they doe not prove that they ruled as Apostles, which is the conclusion to bee proven. Now that I may give a solid reason of this, wee are to con∣sider, what Apostles doe as Apostles and what as ordinary Elders, as take along this rule with you, what Apostles doe as Apostles; every one of the Apostles his alone may doe, as quod convenit〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, conv•nit〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, What ever agreeth to an Apostle as •• Apostle, agreeth to all Apostles, as because Apostles may worke miracles, any one Apostle may worke a miracle, so Peter his alone, extra collegium, when hee is not with the twelve, hee may worke a miracle, his alone hee may speake with tongues, and his alone hee may preach and baptize through all the world, and therefore Peter as an Apostle, not as an ordina∣ry Elder doth raise the dead, speake with tongues, preach and baptize in all nations without any calling of the people or without consent of the presbytery; but what the Apostles doe as ordinary presbyters, and as a classicall Colledge that by cannot doe in that relation, but in collegie: as the eye Page 448 doth not see but as fixed in the head, so when the Apostles do any thing in collegio, not without the suffrages of a colledge, that they must doe as ordinary Elders; for example, Paul if hee delivered Hymeneus and Alexander his alone to Satan, 1 Tim. 1. 20. as many thinke hee did, then hee did that as an Apostle; but suppose hee had beene present at Corinth, 1 Cor. 5. to obey his owne Epistle and direction that hee gave to excommunicate the incestuous man, hee should with the El∣dership of Corinth delivered him to Satan as an Elder, not as an Apostle; yea in a presbyteriall way Paul could not have delivered him to Sathan without the concurring joynt suffra∣ges of the Eldership of Corinth. So because Act. 6. 1. 2. 3. the whole twelve doe call together the multitude, the whole twelve doe that as ordinary Elders, which I prove, for if they had conveened them as Apostles, by that transcen∣dent Apostolick power by which they preach and baptize in all the Churches and by which they raise the dead, Peter his alone might have conveened them; so they ordaine Elders by imposition of hands, as an ordinary Eldership now doth, all the twelve doe it in a Court, whereas if they had put on these seven men to bee Deacons upon the people by vertue of their Apostolick calling, they should not have convened the people, nor sought the free consent of the people; for any one Apostle his alone, as Peter might, by the transcendent power of an Apostle have ordained those seven men to bee Deacons, but then hee should clearely have done it not in an ordinary Church way, so now the Apostles must, Act. 6. go∣verne as ordinary Elders, also what the Apostles do by the inter∣veening help of ordinary perpetually established meanes, that they doe not as Apostles but as ordinary Elders, as they work not miracles by advise and consent of the multitude, be∣cause they do it as Apostles, but here the twelve do all by the interveening help of the ordinary and perpetually established free voices of the multitude. 1. Because the twelve Apostles con∣veene. The Apostles did nothing in vaine, and without war∣rant, any one of the twelve might have instituted the office, then that all the twelve conveene it must bee to give a pattern of an ordinary Eldership; for you never finde all the twelve Page 449 meet to doe with joynt Forces an Apostolick worke, they ne∣ver met all twelve to pen a portion of Scripture, twelve of them, nor a colledge of them never met to raise the dead, to worke a miracle, to speake with tongues, because these bee workes above nature, and one is no lesse an instrument of omnipotencie to work a miracle, then 12. or 20. therefore wee must say that these twelve conveened as ordinary Elders to bee a patterne of a presbytery. 2. The complaint is made by the Grecians to the court, not to one Apostle, for the whole twelve doth r•dresse the matter. 3. Tht colledge hath a com∣mon hand in this government for the poore, as their words cleare. 2. It is no reason that wee should leave the Word of God, and serve Tables. 4. They put on the people what is their due, to looke out and nominate to them seven men, as Apo∣stles they should have chosen the men. 5. They doe put off themselves the charge of Deaconrie, and the daily care, as v. 1. Ergo they were before daily constant Deacons, and why not Elders also? 6. They will doe nothing with out the free voi∣ces of people, and give to the people the ordinary election, this day, and to Christs second comming, due to them, Ergo, the Apostles stoope beneath the spheare of Apostolick power and condescend to popular power, and so must here bee as or∣dinary Elders, not as Apostles. 7. They doe ordaine seven men to be constant officers. 2. From this it is easie to deny that we may as well inferre Prelates to be the lawfull successors of T•us whose power was universall in every Church of Crete, as to in•erre a presbyteriall power, because Titus his alone 〈◊〉 an 〈◊〉 appointed Elders; and wee cannot inferre a Monarchi• in the Church, from some extraordinary acts of the the first planters of Churches, because wee inferre from the A∣ristocraticall and ordinary power of the Apostles an Aristocrati∣call power of presbyteries now in the Church, shall wee hence inferre a Monarchie? 3. If the Acts of government performed here, Act. 6. by the Apostles, bee extraordinary and Apostolick, they are not imitable by us, but all Divines teach that from Act. 6. the ordinary presbytery may according to this very patterne ordaine Deacons and Elders.
The reverend brethren object. The Apostles did ordaine aPage 450new office here, to wit, an office of Deacons, as all our Divi••s prove from the place, but the Apostles as ordinary Elders in an ordinary Colledge presbyteriall cannot appoint a new Office in the Church, for the presbyteries now also by that same presbyteriall power might also appoint a new office in Gods house which is absurd.
Answ. I grant that the Apostles as Apostles performe some Acts of government in this place, and that they appoint a new office of Deacons here, but that is neither the question, nor against our cause, but I desire the opponents to make good that the Apostles did appoint this new office in a Church-way, as they ordaine these seven men to the office, and that, in collegio. I aske did the Apostles, 1. Crave the concurrence of the conveened multitude, and their free voices shall wee appoint this new office, men and brethren, or shall wee for beare? 2. Did they voice the matter in a colledge amongst themselves, as they doe Act. 15. and do they say amongst themselves in the presbytery Apostolick, have wee warrant from Christ to appoint a new office of Deacons? What is your mind Peter, what is your sentence, James, Matthias, &c? now this is to proceed formally, in collegio, this they did not, nor could they doe in appointing the of∣fice, for they were immediatly inspired by the Spirit to appoint new offices, but in ordaining the officers, in concreto, that is, in ordaining the men, Steven, Philip, &c. they proceed after a pres∣byteriall way, every way as an ordinary presbytery doth.
Object. But they ordaine Elders here upon this Apostolick •round, because they were Apostles and Pastors to all the world, &c. if the ground was Apostolick, the action was formally Apostolick.
Answ. Wee must distinguish betwixt ordination comparative and absolute: ordination comparative is in relation to the place, if the question bee, upon what ground doe the Apostles ordaine in all the world; I answer because they are Apostles, and every where, Ergo, they may ordaine every where; but as for absolute ordination, here in Jerusalem, if the question bewhy they did ordaine Stephen, Philip, &c. tali modo, by conveening the Church; I answer, because the Apostles were Elders. But our brethren say, Then the Apostles in this act laid downe their infallible Apostolick spirit. I answer, they laid downe the in∣infallible spirit, which they had as Apostles, and tooke them to • fallible spirit, but they did not operate and governe in this Act, Page 451 from this infallible spirit, but from an ordinary spirit, else you must say, 1. when the Apostles did eate and drinke, they laid downe an infallible and Apostolick spirit, and tooke an ordi∣nary and fallible spirit, for they did not eate and drinke by immediate inspiration and as Apostles, but as men; 2. because they were Apostles where ever they came, it shall follow by this that they did all by this Apostolick spirit; as if the question bee upon what ground, Did the Apostles every where baptize, pray pa∣si•a••y, exhort as Pastors, governe in Corinth, deliver the incestuous man to Satan at Corinth? If you answer, because they were Apo∣stles, then I say because they were Apostles alwayes, and in eve∣ry place, they never used the ordinary power of the keyes given to them, as common to them and all Pastors to the end of the world, Matth. 18. 18. Matth. 16. 19. John 20. 23. and so they could not doe any thing as ordinary Pastors, or ordinary El∣ders. 2. Christ gave to the Apostles an ordinary power which they could never put forth in Acts 3. we have no warrant from the Apostles preaching, baptizing, exhorting, governing, retaining and remitting sinnes, excommunicating, rebuking, to preach, baptize, exhort, governe, retaine and remit sinnes, excommunicate and rebuke, because the Apostles, in Acts Apostolick and extraordinary, are no more to bee imitated by us, then wee are to imitate them in speaking with divers tongues, and raising the dead.
Hence upon these grounds wee are certainly induced to be∣leeve that the Apostles did here ordaine, not as Apostles, but as or∣dinary Elders; 1. Because in these Acts the Apostles are imita∣ble, but in what they doe as Apostles they are not imitable.
2. What ever rules of the Word doth regulate the ordinary classicall presbytery, the Apostles goe along in all these acts here condescending to these rules, such as the meeting of the pres∣bytery, the twelve do meet. 2. They tacitely acknowledge a neg∣lect of the daily ministration to the widowes which is an act of mis∣government of the Deaconrie, which is an ordinary office of the presbytery, and therefore they desire of the Church to bee freed of this office. 3. They referre the nomination and electi∣on of the seven men to the people. 4. They ordaine seven con∣stant and perpetuall officers, as the presbytery doth, Ergo, they doe not ordaine by their transcendent power, as Apostles.
3. From this place our brethren prove their Congregationall Page 452 presbytery, which they would not doe, if the Apostles did here manage aff•ires as extraordinary officers. 4. This colle•ium of Apostles doe nothing in all this, which by confession of both sides may not bee done, and to the end of the world is not done in the transacting of the like businesse, by the ordi∣nary presbytery. 4. What the Apostles doe as Apostles agreeth onely to Apostles, and can be done by none but Apostles, or by Evangelists, having their power, by speciall warrantable com∣mission from them, as what a man doth as a man, what a Pa∣stor doth as a Pastor, a Deacon as a Deacon, a Prophet as a Prophet, can bee done by none but by a man onely, a Pastor onely, a Deacon onely, except whereas one Act, as to teach, a∣greeth both to a Pastor and a Doctor, which yet have their owne differences, but all here done the Apostles might have done, if wee suppose, they had not beene Apostles. 5. If as Apostles they ordaine, any one of the twelve Apostles should compleatly and entirely ordaine all the seven, and so the seven Deacons should have beene twelve times ordained at this time, which needles multiplication of Apostolick actions were uselesse, served not for edification, and is not grounded in the Word, for the whole twelve, in collegio, doe ordaine, and what any one Apostle doth as an Apostle by the amplitude of a transcen∣dent power, every Apostle doth it compleatly, and wholly his alone, as without helpe of another Apostle, Peter worketh a miracle, especially any one Apostle as Paul his alone might or∣daine Timothy an Evangelist. 6. If they did here act as Apo∣stles, any one Apostle might have ordained the Deacons in an ordinary way, as here; but that wee cannot conceive, for then one and the same action should have beene ordinary, and not ordinary, for one man cannot bee a Church or a societie to doe the ordinary Acts of an ordinary societie, for it should bee extraordinary to one to act that which is the formall Act of many as many, and should involve a contradiction, ex∣cept it were an Act which cannot bee performed by many, as when one Paster speaketh for many, for a whole Church; but that is ordinary and necessary, because a multitude as a mul∣titude cannot speake, without confusion in a continuated dis∣course, for that all the people say one word (Amen) is not a multitude as a multitude using one continuated speech.
Object. 1. If the Apostles did not all their Ministeriall acts as Apostles, they did not fulfill their commission given to them, as to A∣postles, Matth. 28. Goe and teach all Nations.
Answ. The consequence is nought, if they had not done all things, which by vertue of their Apostolicall Office they were commanded to doe, they had not then fulfilled their com∣mission given to them by Christ. That is true, but now the assum∣ption is false, they were under no commandement of Christ to doe all their Ministeriall Acts as Apostles, prove that they did neither Preach, nor Baptize as Apostles; but only as A∣postles they did preach infallibly. 2. In all places of the world, as Catholick Pastors. 3. With the gift of Tongues. 4. Work∣ing of Miracles, which by divine institution were annexed to their preaching, but their preaching according to the substance of the act was ordinary.
Object. 2. The Apostles went to Jerusalem by revelation, as Paul did, Gal. 1. Ergo, all their acts that they did there, they did them by immediate revelation.
Answ. The consequence is null, Paul went by revelation up to Jerusalem, and there Gal. 2. hee rebuked Peter, as an Apostle? no, as a Brother, for then Paul should have exercised Aposto∣lick Authority over Peter, which is popish.
Object. 3. If the Apostles did act as Presbyters here, they did wrong the particular Churches, and took their Liberty from them, in exerci∣sing ordinary Ministeriall acts there, which are proper to that Church.
Answ. It followeth upon the denyed principles of an in∣dependent Congregation onely, for a Church without El∣ders hath no Presbyteriall power, and therefore such a power can not bee taken from it, you cannot take from a Church, that which by Law it hath not. If the Acts of the govern∣ment in the Apostles, are according to the substance of the Acts all one with the Acts of government, in the ordinary presbytery; Ergo, say I, those Acts come not from an Apo∣stolicall and extraordinary power, even as the Apostles preach∣ing and baptizing are not different in nature and essence, from the Acts of preaching and baptizing in ordinary Pastors, though they had power to preach and baptize every where, and wee onely where wee have an ordinary calling of the Church, and from the Apostles preaching and baptizing every where, wee Page 454 may inferre, it is lawfull for the ordinary Elders their suc∣cessors to preach and baptize in some place, why may we not in∣ferre because the Apostles, in collegio, in one presbytery did or∣daine ordinary officers, that we have thence a patterne for an ordinary presbytery?
Object. 4. If there were no institution for preaching and baptizing, but onely the Apostles naked practise, we were not warrantably to preach and baptize from the sole and naked example of the Apostles.
Answ. Shew us an institution for preaching and baptizing then, for that which we alledge is an institution, Matth. 28. 19, 20. Mark. 14. v. 15. to you is a commandement given to the Apo∣stles as Apostles, as you said, in the 1. objection proponed by you, and therefore we have no more warrant to preach and bap∣tize from the Apostles example, then we have to work miracles, and because by the same reason of yours, Christs command to his Apostles to preach before his death, Matth. 10. is not ordi∣nary presbyteriall preaching, but conjoyned also with the power of casting out devills, Matth. 10. 1, 2, 3. it must also upon the same ground bee a Commandement given to the Apostles not as ordinary Pastors, but as Apostles, if we compare Matth. 10. 1, 2, 3. with Mark. 16. 15, 16, 17, 18. If you flee to John Baptist his practise of baptisme, 1. you are farther off then you were; 2. What warrant more that John Baptist his practise should warrant preaching and baptizing, if it want an institution, then the Apostles preaching and baptizing when it is separated from an institution? 2. This argument pincheth you as much as us, for a thousand times in your bookes, a warrant for our ordina∣ry Elders to preach and baptize is fetched from the sole practise of the Apostles. 3. By this the argument for the Christian Sal∣bath, from the Apostles observing that day, shall also fall. 4. This also shall make us loose in fundamentalls of Church govern∣ment which are grounded upon the Apostles practise. 5. The Apostles had no Apostolick and extraordinary ground which moved them to preach and baptize, according to the substance of the Acts, for they did preach and baptize upon these morall and perpetuall motives and grounds which doe obliege ordinary Elders to preach and baptize even to Christs second comming, Ergo, their very practise, not considered with the institution, is our patterne and rule.
Page 451 It is as evident that there was a Presbyteriall Church at Ieru∣salem after the dispersion, seeing the dispersion, as we have proved did not re•rench them to one Congregation, because our Brethren doe conclude from a company of Elders of the Church of Ephesus, Acts 20. of Ierusalem, from the Angell of the Church of pergamus, of Thyatira a formall ordinary Presbytery of Ephesus, of Ierusalem, of Thyatira. Let us have the favour of the same argument, upon the supposall of many Congregations which the word doth warrant, and upon the supposall that it is called one Church alwayes, as Acts 2. 47. The Lord added to the Church, Acts 5. 11. feare came upon all the Church, Acts 8. 1. there arose a great persecution against the Church, Acts 12. 1. Herod stretched forth his hand to vex certaine of the Church, v. 5. prayer was made without ceasing of the Church unto God. Acts 15. 4. and when they were come to Jerusalem they were received of the Church, and of the Apostles and Elders, Acts. 21. 15. Paul went up to Jerusalem, and v. 18. The day fol∣lowing Paul went in with us, into James, and all the Elders were present. Here be Elders of the Church of Ierusalem, and Ieru∣salem is named one Church frequently, and alwayes before and after the dispersion; it is called a Church in the singu∣lar number, not onely in relation to persecuters, but also in relation to government, and because they were a politicall so∣ciety to which there were many added Acts 2. 47. and which hath Elders Acts 15. 4. Acts 21. 15. 18. And a Church-union in a constituted body hearing the Word and receiving the Sacraments, as this Church did, Acts 2. 42. is not a Church but in regard of Church-policy, and Church-government. They reply, That enemies doe persecute the Church, Acts 8. 1. Acts 12. 1. Acts 8. 3. Saul made havock of the Church, that is, of the faithfull of the Church, for Saul had no regard in his persecuti∣on, to a Church in their government, or Church-combinati∣on, therefore the enemies are said to persecute the Church ma∣terially.
I answer, this objection I tooke off before. But 2. Princi∣pally the enemies persecuted the Church under the notion of *• Society politicall holding forth in a visible Church-profes∣sion their faith in Christ, and that by hearing, receiving the Page 452 Seales, and subjecting themselves in a visible way obvious to the Eye of all, to the government of the Christian Church, Yea the enemies had no better character to discerne them to be Saints, and so worthy of their malice, then Church-cha∣racters of a Church-profession. But 2. Whereas the Holy Ghost giveth the name of one Church, to the Church of Ierusalem, all constantly speaking of it both as a Church, and in relation to persecuters, and that every way in that notion, as our Brethren say, that the Scripture speaketh of their own Cor∣gregationall Church, wee have the same reason to call it one Church, because of one government; for the question is not now if it bee many Congregations, but it it bee one Church.
Object. 2. They are called the Elders at Jerusalem, not the Elders of the Church of Jerusalem; Ergo, from this it is not concluded that they were one Church.
Answ. Acts 16. 4. they are called Apostles and Elders in, or at Ierusalem Acts 16. 4. for another cause, these were El∣ders from other Churches, from Antioch no lesse, then El∣ders of Ierusalem, they onely sate in Synod at Ierusalem. 2. All Ierusalem was not converted to the Christian Faith, and there∣fore they may well bee tearmed Elders at Ierusalem, as the Church at Ephesus, at, or in Thyatira. 3. I deny that the Scrip∣ture speaketh any other wayes of the Elders of the Church of Ierusalem, then of the Elders of other Churches.
2. Those Elders ought to meete for the governing of the Church of Jerusalem, for this was their duty; Ergo, they were one Presbytery. 2. They did meet Acts 15. 14. to receive Paul and Barnabas, and to heare what God had done by them for their edification; and Acts 21. Paul goeth to Ierusalem and is received v. 15. by the Brethren, but the next day, v. 18. The day following Paul went in with us unto James and all the Elders were present; and there the Elders doe presbyterially act for the removing of a Church-scandall, v. 21. The believing Jewes were informed that Paul taught all the Iewes which were amongst the Gentiles to forsake Moses. This was a publick scandall. 2. The offended multitude were to convene, v. 22. as plaintiffs. 3. The Eldership ordaineth Paul to remove the Page 453 scandall by satisfying the offended, by purifying himselfe after the manner of the Jewes, and it is cleare Paul should not have satisfyed the scandalized Iewes, except Iames and the El∣ders had injoyned him so to doe. 4. This the very course of a presbytery, yea, our Brethrens doctrine, which a Congre∣gationall presbytery would, and doth take with any other person who doth give offence, yea though it be taken and not given, if the way of remedy be lawfull and expedient, as this presbytery conceived Pauls purifying of himselfe to be, and if any scandalizing person should be disobedient to the voyce of a Congregationall eldership, such as our Brethren be∣lieve the Eldership of Jerusalem to be; they would say they are to censure him, and therefore if Paul should have beene dis∣obedient to this, he should have incurred a censure; It is true Lorinus saith that Chrysostome and Oecumenius will have this to be a Counsell, not a Synod, to command Paul, and they * deny any Juridicall power here, but v. 18. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to mee it is, They were gathered together: Diodatus cal∣leth them The colledge of the governours of the Church, Beda* saith there were foure Synods and hee maketh the Synod Acts 1. at the chusing of Matthias the first, the second at the chusing of Deacons Acts 6. the third Acts 15. and this the fourth, Acts 21. 2. The Text seemeth to mee to say it, for as Acts 15. there was course taken for the Gentiles that they should abstaine from blood, lest they should either scandalize, or bee scandalized; so the Eldership here taketh course that the infirme Iewes be not scandalized, as is cleare, v. 25. As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written, &c. and to me they seeme to do both Synodically, some thinke that this fact of the Elders and Paul was not lawfull: but how ever, though it was not a generall councell, a presbytery I take it to be taking course to remove a scandall from the weake Iewes in this place, as they had by a Synodicall power removed it from the Gentiles, Act. 15. *
It is objected by Master Mather, that if a Church in an Island by Divine institution, and so this first founded congrega∣tion at Jerusalem which did meete in Salomons porch, had once an entire power of Iurisdiction within it selfe, though in an extra∣ordinary Page 454 case. 1. The case is ordinary, as in the Dominion of Wales, there is scarce a congregation to be found within twenty or thirty miles. 2. Suppose the case were extraordinary and rare, may they violate the ordinary rules of Christ? for so some may thinke and say, that though according to ordinary Rules, Baptisms and the Lords Supper must be dispensed only by men and by Mi∣nisters, yet in the want of these, the one may be dispensed by a Woman, or Mid-wife, and both of them by such as are no Ministers.
Answ. We thinke a Ministery and Discipline more neces∣sary to a Congregation in a remote Island, or to the Church of Ierusalem before they increase to such a number as cannot meet for their numerous multitude in one Congregation, then the Sacraments, when there be no Ministers to dispense them. 1. That the Church be so in the Island its alone, may possibly be extraordinary, but that in such a case they have the Word preached and entire power of Discipline whole and entire within themselves to excommunicate scandalous persons is not extraordinay, when there be no consociated Churches, whom excommunication concerneth, that are in danger to be scandalized, for it floweth connaturally from a Church to which agreeth the essence of a Church, to exercise Jurisdiction over all its owne members, if there be no more consociated with that Church, that is by accident and an extraordinary exigence of Gods providence. As a master of a Family is to do his duty to educate his children in the feare of God; but if God take all his children from him by death, he doth not transgresse the ordinary rule of educating his children in the feare of God, when hee hath none. This argument supposeth that a Congregation hath no power of excommunication at all ei∣ther compleat or incompleat, as the Mid-wife hath no power to Baptize at all either compleat or incompleat: neither doth a Congregation transgresse any rule of Christ at all when it exerciseth entire power of censures within it selfe, whereas there be no consociated Churches to share with it in that power. A Congregation is capable of entire Jurisdiction, because it is a Church; But a woman in no case is capable of administrat∣ing Baptisme, or the Lords Supper, except shee were extraor∣dinarily Page 455 and immediatly inspired to be a prophetesse, but for the exercise of entire power of Jurisdicton by a Congregation in a r•mote Island, I hope, it hath no such need of immediate inspiration. 2. There is no such morall necessity of the Sa∣craments, as there is of the Ministery of the word and conse∣quently of some use of the Keys, where a scandalous person may infect the Lords flock. For where vision ceaseth the people perish, but it is never said, where Baptisme ceaseth the people perish, and therefore uncalled Ministers in case of necessity, without ordination or calling from a presbytery may preach, and take on them the holy Ministery and exercise power of Jurisdiction, because the necessity of the Soules of a Congregation, in a re∣mote Island requireth so, but I hope no necessity in any the most extraordinary case requireth that a Midwife may Bap∣tize, or that a private man remaining a private man may cele∣brate the Lords Supper to the Church without any calling from the Church.
But Mr. Mather, if the power of Iurisdiction flow immediately and*necessarily from the essence of a Church, and a congregation be essentially a Church, then this power agreeth to all Churches, whether consociated, or not consociated, and without respect of what neighbours they have, whether many, or few, whether any, or none. 2. A congregation its alone cannot have sole power of juris∣diction, and then be deprived of it, when God sendeth neighbour Churches; for then neighbouring Churches which are given for helpe, should be given for losse, the contrary whereof Ames *saith. Nor doe Synods (saith he) constitute a new forme of a Church.
Answ. Power of Iurisdiction floweth from the essence of a con∣gregation in an Iland; Ergo, a totall and compleat power of juris∣diction, floweth from the essence of a Church or congregation con∣sociated; it followeth no wayes, so a pastor of a Congregation hath as a pastor power to rebuke sinne, and to administrate the Sacraments, Ergo, when three pastors are added to help him, he hath the sole power of rebuking sinne, and the sole and entire power to administrate the Sacraments, and none of these three pastors hath power with him, it followeth not; and because these three pastors are added to help him and Page 456 their pastorall power added to him is cumulative and auxi∣liary, but not privative or destructive of his pastorall power, therefore the first pastor suffereth losse by the addition of these three to him: who will say this? our Brethren do conceive the power of Congregations, in its kind and essence, to be Mo∣narchicall, so as if any power from consociated Congregations be added thereunto, the Congregations power Monarchicall is d minished; and the essence of it changed. 2. Compleat and entire power to rule both the Congregation and the Members of consociated Churches in so far as they do keep communion with that Congregation, and may either edifie, or scandalize them, floweth not immediatly and necessarily from the essence of every Congregation even in remote Islands not consociated with others, that we never said. 3. A power to governe well, and according to the rule of the word added to another power to governe well and according to the word, is an auxiliary power and no way destrective of that power, to which it is ad∣ded, indeed a power to governe well, added to a power of male administration in a Congregation is distructive of that power, and reason it should be so, because Christ never gave any such power of male administration to a Congregation; but a power of right governing, added to a power of right go∣verning is neither destructive thereof, nor doth it constitute a new forme of a Church, or a Church-power, but only inlarge the pr•existent form to extend it selfe farther, for the edification of more soules.
But (saith Mr. Mather) if it be against the light of nature that the adverse party be the sole judge which must be, if the s•le*power of Iurisdiction be in the Congregation (as we grant in an extraordinary case, when a Congregation is in an Island its alone) and so it shall be lawfull for a single Congregation to doe that which is against all equity and the very light of nature, it must then follow that it is not against the light of nature that a Congregation (though consociated with other Congregati∣ons) have entire jurisdiction within it selfe.
Answ. None of us do teach that it is against the light of na∣ture that the adverse party be the judge, it might fall out in a gene∣rall councell lawfully convened, from which there is no pro∣vocation, Page 457 yea and in a nationall councell, (for all councels may erre) the adverse party may judge, as it was a lawfull councell according to a Church-constitution that condemned Christ of blisphemy, and they were also his enemies; but we teach that it is not congruous to the wisdome of Christ, nor to the light of nature, that Christ should have appointed all the ordinary Churchcourts, so many thousand congregations, who may rather erre then extraordinary and higher Synods, to be the onely ordi∣nary judges in their owne cause; Nor doth any thing more fol∣low from this argument, that when there is one congregation its alone in an Iland destitute of the helpe of consociated Chur∣ches (which is a defect of an extraordinary providence of Christ in that one singular exigence) that that congregation shall be both judge and party in its owne cause, if we suppose that one Micaiah shall contend for the truth, and all the rest of the Pro∣phets and people of that congregation to be against the truth, and to judge and condemne one man, who seeketh the Lord in truth.
It is a wonder to me that Thessalonica was but one single con∣gregation, all hearing one Word, partakers of one Lords Sup∣per at one Table; yet the Apostle ascribeth to them that which is a note to worthy Baynes of the numerous multitude of the Church of Ierusalem, from whence went the Word of God to all * the world, 1 Thes. 1. 8. For from you sounded out the Word of the Lord, not onely in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad. I deny not what Mr. Mather and Thomson say, but 5000 may meet to heare the word, and many thousands were gathered together Luke 12. to heare Christ; but these reverend brethren doe leave out, 1. The incon∣venience of thronging so all at once; for, they trode one upon ano∣ther. 2. Christ preached not to all those thousand at once, for it is expresly said, v. 1. He began to say to his Disciples. So Christ refusing to preach to such a disorderly confluence of people, who could not heare, and his doctrine being all for his Disci∣ples, the very Sermon being preached to his Disciples onely, Matth. 10. 2, 3, 4, &c. and the Parable of the rich man v. 22. he applieth to his Disciples, Then he said to his Disciples, therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, &c. It evidenceth to Page 458 me that Christ condemneth a numerous multitude in one con∣gregation to heare at once. And whereas Chrysostome saith, 5000 persons did heare his voyce, at once, in one congregation, by meanes of Scaffolds and Galleries; and Mr. Mather is willing to yeeld eight thousand an hundred and twenty were all assembled in one place to*heare the Word, and that all the multitude of converts at Ierusalem were together in Salomons porch, Act. 5. 12. I grant three thousand could heare one at once; but alas, this is a great uncertainty for independent congregations. But 1. this is to be proved that eight thousand (Mr. Mather hath not added many other mul∣titudes mentioned, Act. 5. 14. Act. 6. 1. v. 7. and elsewhere) did meet daily in the Temple. 2. Daily and ordinarily from house to house. 3. To celebrate the Lords Supper daily in the Tem∣ple and in every private house (there were need of many Scaffolds and Galleries) to sit at one Table. 4. To make one judicature, and have more then power of consenting in Church. censures, as our brethren prove the whole Church of beleevers had, from Matth. 18. 17. 1 Cor. 5. 4. Act. 15. 22. 1 Cor. 14. 23. for my part I thinke such a miraculous Church cannot be the first mould of independent Churches to be established congregations meeting in one place, for to be edified by word, seales and censures. Yea Mr. Mather will have the whole convening as one independent congregation Act. 6. 2, 3, 4. and the many myriades or thou∣sands of beleeving Jewes, Act. 21. 21, 22, 23. to meet as one con∣gregation. Certainly the Apostles practice must be our rule, and then five hundred or a thousand being so farre beneath ten or eight thousand, may wel seem a number for fewnesse not com∣petent; and what shall we then thinke of seven onely, or ten? Now let it be considered, if Rome being granted to be one Church, and in which to me there was a congregation and Church in the very family of Aquila and Priscilla, Rom. 16. v. 5. and whose faith was spread through all the world, Rom. 1. 8. so as famous writers say the halfe of the City beleeved, if they be but one single congregation meeting all in one place? ard to me it is cleare, there was a single congregation in the very house of Aquila and Priscilla, Act. 18. 1, 2, 3 4. v. 26 27, 28. and that Paul preached when he was there daily, beside his dispu∣ting in the Synagogue; when he was at Rome there was a ChurchPage 459 at his house, Rom. 16. 5. So Diodati saith on the place, That the Church at Aquila his house was the assembly of beleevers, who assembled themselves in their house; for there were divers small assemblies in one and the selfe same City, 1 Cor. 16. 19. Col. 4. 15. Greet the Church that is at their house. Col. 1. 15. Salute Nym∣phus, and the Church at his house. Where Paul speaketh of believers only in a house, he giveth them not the name of a Church, as Ro. 16. 10. Salute them that are of Aristobulus houshold. V. 11. Greet them that are of the houshold of Narcissus. Phil. 4. 22. All the Saints salute you, especially those that are of Caesars house. I desire to know a reason of the difference of this Grammar, if there were no constituted Church in the house of Aquila and Priscilla, why in one Chapter the Apostle should change the phrase? and I de∣sire know what reason we have to goe from the literall mea∣ning of the word, that is, a Church at Aquila his house, as well as a Church at C•rinth. For whereas some say that Rom. 1. 6. he saluteth not all of the house of Narcissus, but onely v. 11. those which are is the Lord; 1. this exception is not brought concerning the house of Aristobulus, v. 10. 2 This exception confirmeth what I say, because where there is not a Church and an insti∣tured Society and politicall Church-meeting in the house of any of the Saint, there they are called beleevers of such a house, and not a Church at such a house. 3. This phrase 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 used Rom. 16. 5. 1 Cor. 16. 19. Col. 4. 19. Phile. 2. must be the same with the Saints assemblea for the Word & Sacraments. Act. 5. 42. in the Temple,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉from house to house daily, and it must be allope with Act. 2. 46. Where they continued daily in the Temple with one accord,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and breaking bread from house to house; and all one with the assembly of Disciples Act 20. 7. where they assembled for the Word and Sacrament of the Sup∣per, especially seeing as the learned acknowledge, the Christians could not have Temples or houses built for the publique assem∣blies of the Saints as Rome and Corinth, but they met in private houses; which seeing it cannot be denied, then were there at Rome two Churches at least; one at the house of Aquila and Priscilla, 1 Cor. 16. 15. and another also pertaining to the rest of the Saints at Rome.
And this saith, that if there had beene but one single Congre∣gation Page 460 at Rome, whereas one family had a Church, c. 165. and so many illustrious families received the faith of Christ, it is like their faith could not have been published through all the world, Rom. 1. 8. if the Christian faith had not had a greater prevalency in comparison of the false God• then worshipped at Rome, then to be in one poore single meeting.
And for the Church of Corinth, I humbly conceive they could not be one single congregation, if these foure circumstances be considered: 1. The multitude of beleevers there. 2. The multi∣tude of Teacher•. 3. The diversity of Tongues. 4. A Presbyte∣riall meeting of Prophets, 1 Cor. 14. For the first, Act. 18. 9. Many of the Corinthians believed, and were baptized. Now if we shall believe that the Apostolique Church conjoyned preaching and baptizing, the Word and the Sacraments; and that the A∣postles baptized none but those to whom they preached, I con∣ceive it cannot be denied but there were divers assemblies for the Word and the Sacrament; for Paul, 1 Cor. 14. 15. Baptized n•ne but Crispus and Gaius, and the houshold of Stephanus; it many were baptized, other Pastors, not Paul baptized them, 1 Cor. 1. 14, 15, 16. and so they were baptized in other assemblies, then in those in which Paul baptized. 2. It is cleare that to comfort Paul whose spirit could not but be heavy, as you may gather from Rom. 7. 2, 3. because he was Act. 18. 6, 7. resisted so in his ministery by the blasphemies of the Jewes rejecting the Gospel, that he shooke his rayment on them, and said, your blood be upon your owne heads, I am cleane; from henceforth I will goe to the Gentiles; The Lord saith unto him in a vision, 9. Be not afraid, but speake, and hold not thy peace, 10. For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee, for I have much people in this City. 11. And he continued there a yeere and six moneths, teaching the Word amongst them. Now let this in equity be considered, if the gaining of one single congregation which meet for the Word, Sacraments, 1 Cor. 11. 20, 21, 22. 1 Cor. 14. 19. and also to acts of Church-censures 1 Cor. 5. 4. as our brethren teach, which could not exceed one thousand conveniently in a setled and daily meeting, had first been much people; secondly, much, in comparison of thousands of the Jewes who rejected the Lord Jesus, as may be gathered from comparing Act. 18. 5, 6. and Act. 13. 43, 46, 47. with Act. 21. •0. Page 461 where it is said, many thousands of the Jewes believed, for the greatest part of the Iewes rejected Christ, as is cleare 1 Thess. 2. 14. 15. 16. and so many more thousands behoved to reject Christ then believed? Now what comfort could Paul have had in this, that many thousands of the Jewes rejected the Gospell, and yet all the much people that God had in Corinth were but fo•soot• to the number of one compleat Assembly of a single Congregation, which did meet in a private House, for the celebration of the Lords Supper? For Piscator with all our Divines, 1 Cor. 14 teach that their were no capacious Temples in Corinth, where they did meet for Gods worship. 2. Judge if one single Congregation (for the Congregations planted by the Apostles behoved to be competent, and convenient for edification, that all might heare and all partake of one bread, 1 Cor. 10. 16. and one Table of the Lord, v. 21.) could necessitate Paul to stay at Corinth a yeare and six moneths, when as Paul by one Sermon made in a certaine mans House named Justus did bring many to believe and be Baptized, Acts 18 7. 8. And these many might conveniently make a Congregation beside the much people that God had there, v. 10. not yet called, but yet they were, as interpreters say, the Lords people, by Gods decree of predestination. 2. The multitude of Teachers proveth that their were more Congregation then one; for 1. It is in∣congruous to the Wisdome of Christ to raise up many reapers, where the harvest is narrow, many builders for one congrega∣tionall House. 2. It is contrary to Christs practice, who sent not twelve Pastors to one place, but sent them out two by two, that all might find worke: now can we thinke, that where God had much people, as Acts 18. 10. that he would have hun∣dreths of Prophets to be hearers and one at once to speak to one single Congregation? to what end gave the Lord a Talent to such a huge multitude of prophets? that they might be oftener hearers, then they could be in actuall prophecying? It is not like. 3. Whereas it is said, 1 Cor. 14. 31. you may all prophecy one by one, that all may learne, and all may be comfor∣ted, Di•datus saith, yee may all prophecy, namely by course and in diverse or severall Assemblies. And Estius saith the same, to wit, that these Prophets were to prophecy in diverse Page 462 assemblies; and for this it is that he saith, v: 34. let your women〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉keepe silence〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in the Churches; Ergo, he supposeth there were more Congregations then one at Corinth; Nor is there reason to say with some, he speaketh of Churches in the plurall number, because he made mention of all the Churches of the Saints in the verse going before, for 1. He saith, your Wom•n, let them be silent: now if he had not meant that there were many Congregations at Corinth, he would not have forbidden it in their Women, but of all Women, and it is knowen there was a great abuse of spirituall gifts in Corinth, so as women did prophecy in the assemblies, and this the Apostle forbiddeth in their Churches in the pl•• all number. And I pray you what roome or place was there for such a multitude of Prophets to edifie the Churches in one private House? for there were no Temples where they might meet at Corinth. 4. If Kenchrea be comprehended under the Church of Corinth in this Epistle, and the Apostle writing to the Corin∣thians wrote also to this Church called Romans 16. 1. The Church at Kenchrea, then have we more Congregations then one at Corinth. Now the learned teach that Kenchrea was a Sea-port or Harbour of the Corinthians, aOrigen saith it was a place neer to Corinth. Off the Aegean Sea one the East, and as bStrabo saith, ad sinum Saronicum, as Lechea was the other port. See cPlinius. And the multitude of Teachers (I humbly conceive) which did preach at Korinth may be gathered from 1 Cor. 1. 5. 1 Cor. 4. 6. 15. 1 Cor. 1. 12, 13. 1 Cor. 3. 4, 5. 1 Cor. 14. where there are multitudes of these who were all gifted to edifie others, as those who spake with Tongues, wrought miracles, had the gift of healing. And so many Prophets that Paul saith, v. 31. for yee may all prophecy, that all may lear•e, and all may be comforted, if these (all) who were to learne, and to be comforted be the much people which God had in this City Acts 18. 9. and this (all) to be instructed and comforted, I have no farther to say. And 3. I can hard∣ly believe that the end why God sent the gift of diverse tongues amongst them was to e•ifie one single Congregation: for it is true that our Brethren say, that 1 Corinthia•s vers. 22. 14. Tongues are for a signe, not to them that be∣lieve, Page 463 but to them that believe not. But that which they hence collect is most groundlesse, to wit, that therefore the gift of Tongues, according to its genuine end and intention is onely a miracle for the gaining of Heathen to the Faith, and not intended to edifie the Church and people of a strange Language, after they are brought in to the Church, and therefore there is no ground for people of divers congregations to be instructed by strange Tongues.
Ans. The whole current of Divines answer, (as also Estius observeth on the place) Tongues are given especially for in∣fidels, ut novitate mirac•li convertantur, that by the newnesse of the miracle they may be converted, though also Tongues serve to instruct these who believe, and consequently; say I, that the Churches of divers Tongues may be edified. And let me adde that strange Tongues were a mixt miracle. I say mixt, because both they were given to be a miraculous signe to assure Heathen, that the sending downe of the Holy Ghost was a mira∣culous fruit of Christs Ascension to Heaven; who promised that when he was ascended to the Father, he would send the other comforter, as is cleare Acts 2, 89, 10, 11 12. and also it was so a miracle that Paul proveth that it is fruitlesse and wanteth the naturall and genuine end of speech and an humane voyce in the Church, if it edifie not, as 1. Tongues edifie not the Church, except you speak to these who know the Language, or except there be an Interpreter, for other ways the speaker with Tongues shall be as a Barbarian to these to whom •e speaketh, and they as Barbarians to him 1 Cor. 14. 6. 7. 8 9, 10, 11. 2 He that speaketh with Tongues is to pray that he may interpret, v. 13. That he may edifie the Church. 3. He that speaketh with Tongues, if he be not understood, is fruitlesse and uselesse to others, because the hearers can neither say amen to his preaching, nor to his praying, v. 14. 15, 16, 17. (4) except a man teach others, his gift of Tongues teacheth not the Church, v. 18, 19 10. (5) strange Tongues in the Church when the hearers understand not, are a judgement of God rather then an edifying of the Church, v. 21. & c. hence it is more then evident, that the edifying end, why the Lord had raised up these in the ChurchPage 464of Corinth, (which was now a planted and watered Church, 1 Cor. 1. 1. ch. 3 5, 6, 7. and a building, the foundation where∣of was layd, v. 10. 11, 12, &c.) was that the Church might be edified. And so the gift of Tongues, as touching its edi∣fying use and end, was fruitlesse, and of no effect; yea as we teach against Papists, unlawfull in Gods publick worship, ex∣cept there had been diverse assemblies and Congregations, which understood these Tongues. Nor can it be said, that all in Corinth understood Greeke. And therefore these of divers Tongues might be understood by all: for 1. This layeth a ground that there was no Tongue a strange Tongue, but the Greeke Tongue. 2. That all speaking with strange Tongues was well understood, whereas the Apostle sayth the contrary, v. 10. 11, 12. v. 16. v. 23. That many spake with Tongues in that Church, and yet the hearers could not say amen to them, nor be edified by their preaching or praying, v. 19. if then strange Tongues were gifts of God given to that planted Church to edifie these who believed, and to edifie the Church, as well as to gaine heathen, there must needs be divers Congre∣gations at Corinth, and therefore I cannot but thinke that weak which Mr. Mather; and Mr. Thomson say; But the*place, 1 Cor. 14. 23. That speaketh of the whole Church com∣ming together to one place doth unavaydably prove, that Corinth had their meetings, and not by way of distribution into severall congregations, but altogether in one congregation: and it is plaine, that though they had variety of Teachers and Prophets. yet they all used to c•••e together to one place.
I answ. 1. The place, 1 Cor. 14. 23. if the whole Church come together, &c. doth evince the contrary, for the Apostle doth there reason ab absurdo, from a great incongruity; it were incongruous (saith he) and ridiculous that the whole Church of Corinth, and all their gifted men speaking with diverse Tongues (so that they could not be understood by In∣fidells) should all convene in one place, and speake with divers Tongues, for the unlearned and the unbelievers would say they were madde; therefore hee presupposeth that the whole Church should not all come to one place, but that they should so come to one place v. 24. in diverse assemblies, and Page 465 all prophecy in a Tongue knowen to the Infidells, as the un∣believer being convinced and judged of all the Prophers. he might fall down on his face, and worship God, and say, God is in you of a truth. 2. The whole Church is not the whole, much people of Corinth that believed, that did ordinarily meet in one place; the Text saith no such thing, and that is to be proved and not taken as granted, and so the consequence is most avoydable; for 1. You must say that at any one Assembly, all the Prophets and Teachers of Corinth did prophecy, for the Text saith, v. 24. He is convinced of all, he is judged of all. Whereas the consequence should be absurd, it should be a longesome and we••• some meeting; for Interpreters say they meet in diverse Assemblies, and the Text saith expresly, v. 29. That at one meeting they prophecied, but two or three: now if two only prophecied in one Congregation at one Assembly, as this Text will warrant clearely, then how doth this whole Church consisting of all the Believers of Corinth, a• is suppo∣sed by our Brethren, convince the infidell, so as it may beare this sense, v. 24. He is convinced of all, he is judged of all? can two Prophets be all Prophets? And how doth it be•re this v. 24. But if all prophesie, &c? surely, for my part, I think it must unavoydably be said, that they all prophecied distri∣butively and in severall Congregations. And it is very pro∣bable to me, that as women prophecied, so many prophe∣cied at once, and that the Apostle correcteth their abuse, when he will have them to prophecy by course, v. 27. And that too numerous a multitude did prophecy in one Assembly, and therefore the Apostle reducing this Church to order, retrench∣eth the number v. 29. to two or three, and so this which he saith v. 31. for you may all prophecy one by one, &c. must una∣voydably be understood distributively in divers Congregations and Assemblies, and so must we take the words where it is said, v. 24. all the Prophets convince, all judge, distributive∣ly; and the whole Church v. 23. by this cannot beare this sense, that the whole Church of Corinth comprehending the the whole Prophets. Teachers, and •elievers, did all collective∣ly meet in one single Assembly. And that the much people which the Lord had at Corinth, Acts 18. 9. was one society par∣taking Page 466 of one Table of the Lord, in one private house, and all in one consistory judging and censuring and excommu∣nicating.
Lastly, I thinke (with reverence of the learneder) that these Prophets were a Colledge of Teaching Prophets whose gifts were imployed in edifying severall Congregations; only some, say they, were Prophets extrordinarily inspired. 2. They were not Prophets of the Church of Corinth, and therefore are not any patterne of a Presbytery, but I answer. 1. Though they were Prophets extraordinarily inspired, yet do they prove well some ordinary acts of a Presbytery, and that 2. They were Prophets of that same Church of Corinth, I conceive; For they do here Prophecy according to the analogy of Faith, and that they have common with Prophets now adayes. 2. They are by these same rules regulated that our Pastors are now. 3. They exercise these same acts of Jurisdiction which Pastors do now exercise. 1. They are to prophecy in a knowen Tongue, v. 19. 20, 21, 22▪ and that the edification and comfort of the Church, •. 31. even as P•stors now adayes, only the internall princi∣ple, to wit, the insused gift of prophecying made them extra∣ordinary Prophets, in fi•ri, as our Prophets become Prophets by ordinary industry and studies, in furi: but in facto esse, and according to the substance of the acts of prophecying, these extraordinary Prophets, and our ordinary Prophets and Pa∣stors differ not in specie and nature. As the Eyes put in the man borne blind Ioh. 9. and these Eyes which we suppose he was capable of from his mothers wombe, and the Wine miraculously made out of water by Iesus Christ, Ioh. 2. and the Wines that grew in Iudea, according to their manner of pro∣duction and in fieri differed, but in facto esse they were of the same nature. Hence you see in the Text these Prophets are every way regulated as ordinary prophets, and as the Prophets of the Church of Corinth. 1 Because it is acknow∣ledged by all Interpreters that the scope of the Chapter is to prescribe what is order and decency in the publick worship in the Church of Corinth; as the last verse saith, v. 40. let all things be done decently and in order, and consequently how these Prophets should edifie the Church of Corinth, v. 4. 12 16, 17. (•) Page 467 That these Prophets should not speake in publick the lan∣guage of Barbar•an, v. 11, 12. to the which the hearer could not say Amen, v. 16. and this way are our ordinary Prophets regulated, except that Papists will but say service in Latine, (3) A direction is put on the Prophets, on these who speake with Tongues, that they be not children in understanding, and that they be, in malice, as children, but as concerning under∣standing, men, v. 20. which agreeth well to Prophets as they are ordinary Pastors. (4) What more ordinary, then the comming together of the whole Church for prophecying, v. 23. 24. and convincing of unbelievers? a• 25. (5) the Prophets are to be limited to a way of speaking to edification, as he who speaketh with Tongues, who must speake by an Interpreter, or then be silent in the Church, v. 27. 28. (6) These Prophets, a• our ordinary Prophets, must speake orderly, and that but one at once, to eschew confusion, v. 29. (7) What they speake is to be judged and put under censure, for the whole Colledge must judge, v. 29. 8. (8) And as the women are here put under a rule, when to speak, and when to be silent, v. 34. 35. So are these prophets, all which, and divers other rules doe re∣gulate our ordinary Prophets, which clearely saith to me, that this is a patterne of a Colledge of ordinary Prophets un∣der that same policy and rules of policy as the ordinary Colledge of Pastors at Corinth, and 3. To this Colledge agreeth a power dogmaticall of judging, and censuring the Doctrine of the Prophets delivered, 29. let the Prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. This is not a power of judging that every Christian hath. For 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 saith Piscator, doth relate to the Prophets who are to judge; But (as I take it) a propheticall judging, which may, by good anology, warrant the juridicall power of a presbytery to judge and examine these who preach the word, that there creep not in false Teachers into the Church.
And for Ephesus. The huge number of Believers and yet mak∣ing one Church, Rev. 2. 2. saith that Ephesus was a presbyteriall Church as many circumstances evince, Acts 19. for. 1. Paul established twelve men Prophets who spake with Tongues, and prophecied. To what end did Paul set up twelve Labourers at Page 468Epheseus, with diverse languages, but to establish divers Assem∣blies? did they all meet dayly in one house with Paul to heare him, and turned silent Prophets themselves, when they were indeed with the gift of Tongues to speake to the edification of Assemblies of divers tongues? It is not credible. 2. And v. 10. Paul continued here for the space of two yeares, (and was this for one competent number, who did all meet in one private house? how can this be credible?) 3. All that dwelt in Asia heard the Word of the Lord Iesus, both Jewes and Greeks, then in great Ephesus there behoved to be more then one Con∣gregation. 4. The great miracles done by Paul. v. 11. 12. to admiration of all, and to procure the imitation of false Pro∣phets. 5. The name of the Lord Iesus was magnified by the Iewes and Greeks that dwelt at Ephesus. 6. There behoved to be a great work of God, when great Ephesus turned to the faith. It is, 1. Remarkable that Christ the wisdome of the father di∣rected his Apostles to the most famous Cities, to cast out their nets, for conquering of soules to Christ, as in Indea they came to Samaria, and to great Jerusalem; in Syria to Anti∣ochia, in Grecia to Corinth, in Italy to Rome, in Asia the lesse to Ephesus; now the Scripture is cleare the Apostles, that ever we read, planted but one Church, as is cleare in one City in Ierusalem, in Antiochia, in Corinth, in Rome, in Ephesus: and observe, the basis and prime principle of our Brethrens independent Churches doth all ly upon this meer conjecture, that the Lords Grace did restrict and limit the fruits of the tri∣umphing Gospell, in the hands of the Apostles the conquerors of the World to Iesus Christ, that they planted but in the greatest Cities they came to (and they appoynted Elders in every City) onely one poore single Congregation, as a patterne of all inde∣pendent Churches, and this consisted of no more then could meet conveniently in one House for Word, Sacraments, one Lords Table, and one Ecclesiasticall Church-court for censures. Cer∣tainly this Church being a patterne to all instituted Churches, could not exceed the number of a thousand men, or two thou∣sand Believers, and this is a greater number by some hun∣dreds, I am sure, then can make a competent Church-meeting, and I hope no man could say we erred, if we should now make Page 469 eight or ten thousand one Congregation in ordinary, as our * Brethren say the first Congregationall Church of Jerusalem wa•. B•t. 2. This City was the mother City and flower of Asia. 2. It was noble, because of Diana's Temple, the length whereof was foure hundred and twenty five foot, the breadth two hundred and twenty foot, the pillars were an hundred and twenty seven, the height of every pillar was sixty foot. Amongst which there were thirty pillars most curiously carded. Others say they were an hundred and thirty seven pillars made by se∣verall Kings, the Temple was built by all Asia for the space of two hundred and twenty, (some say) fourty yeares. It was inlarged by Alexander; And thither came all Asia the lesse to the Temple of great Diana. For they had no other Religi∣on, here dwelt the proconsull of Asia, as saith aPhilostratus, It abounded with artes and Sciences, Philosophers and Ora∣tors, bChrysostom saith that in it were Pythagaras, Par∣menides, Zeno, Democritus, it was compassed with excellent Cities, and noble for Asiatick commodities, see cPlinius, and dAlexander Neopolitanus,eIgnatius highly commendth it from the purity of the Gospell. All this I relate not as an unpertient digression, but to shew that the Gospell behoved to be more mighty here; then that Paul set up but one single Congregation and an Eldership congregationall only, Acts 20. 28. v. 36. 37. Especially consider what Beasts Paul fought with at Ephesus, for here were many Jewes who opposed him. 2. All the multitude, by the instigation of Demetrius, avowing that their Diana was the goddesse not only of Ephesus but of all Asia; yet God made the word so mightily to prevaile, for v. 10. Paul remaining there by the space of two yeares, all that dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jewes and Greeks. I aske how it could stand with Pauls universall commission to preach to Iew and Gentiles, 1 Cor. 9. 20. 21. as an Apostle, to •em•ine neere three years at Ephesus for one single congregati∣on, and the erecting of one Congregationall presbytery? 3. We see how zealously mad they have been on their Religion, when they had such a curious Temple for Diana. And 4. Demetrius and the crafts had their living by making silver shrines to Diana. And 5. What power of the Gospell it behoved to be, which Page 470 made their learned men who used curious arts, to submit to the Gospell and bring their Books and burne them before all men? and the sums of these Books extended to a great sum of mony, the common people ordinarily follow the learned and the wise of the City and Land; This could not have been done except the far greater part of the City had submitted to the Gospell, for when they were well neer ready to tear Paul in peeces, they behoved to be wounderfully tamed, when many Believed, and came and confessed and shewed their deeds, v. 18. Baynes com. on 1. ch. Ephes. saith, Ephesus was a City sogiven to riot that it banished Hermodor. Upon no other consideration, but because he was an honest sober man; And also Paul 1 Cor. 16. saith, v. 9. for a great doore and effectuall is open to me at Ephesus, This was, as all Interpreters Protestant and popish say, uno ore, a large harvest. Upon these considerations, I leave to our reve∣rend Brethren their judgement: if Mr. Mather, and Mr. *Thomson say right, we doe not thinke they were more in number at Ephesus, then in Corinth and Ierusalem, where the Christians met all in one place.
Likewise Samaria a numerous City was one Church, for that it is said of them, Acts 8, 5, 6. They heard Philip, v. 14. Samaria received the Word, it was a publick visible Church∣receiving of the word; and v. 12. They believed and were Bap∣tized both men and women. Where a multitude no better then Heathen as Samaria was, receive the Seale of the Covenant, to wit Baptisme, they must receive it in a Church-way, except we thinke that promiscuously all come to age were recei∣ved to the Seales, and when Peter and Iohn came to Samaria to helpe Philip in the worke, it cannot be that they all went to one House, and to one single Assembly to preach the Word;
The Church of Antiochia must be a Presbyteriall Church, a• it is Acts 11. v. 19. 20. for the multitude of Believers may be col∣lected from These who were scattered abroad upon the perse∣cution that arose about Steven—20—when they were come to Antioch, spaks unto the Grecians preaching the Lord Jesus. 21. and the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. This is not like to be one Con∣gregation, seeing they are, 1. much people. 2. many scatteredPage 471preachers. 3. And the Hand of the Lord accompained their la∣bours 2. v. 23. when Barnabas, sent by the Church of Ierusa∣salem, came and saw the Grace of God, he exhorted them all, That with purpose of heart they would cleave to the Lord, and upon Barnabas his preaching, v. 24.—much people was added to the Lord. Here is a second accession made to the Church of Antioch. (3) v. 25. Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus to seek Saul. 26. And when hee had found him, hee brought him to Antioch. And it came to passe that a whole yeare they assembled themselves with the Church, and taught much people (here is a third accession;) And such a huge multiplication, that the Church of Antioch giveth a denomination of Christianity to all the Christian Churches of the World. All which saith, it can∣not be one poore single Congregation, for there was at least, if not more then one Congregation at Antioch, when ti∣dings came to Jerusalem that the Lord had a Church at An∣tioch, before they sent Barnabas to these Churches, v. 22. and what might this Church grow to when much people was added to the Lord, by the labours of Barnabas? v. 24. And how was it increased when Barnabas and Paul after that taught the Word to much people a whole yeare? v. 26. It grew af∣ter that a great Church, so that aChrysostom commendeth Antioch for the prime Church. And bOecumenius saith, for this cause there was a Patriarch appointed at Antioch, which certainly sayth thus much, that it was a more numerous Church then one single Congregation, and cCyrillus so ex∣tolled the Church of Antioch, because the Disciples were first named Christians there, that he saith, this was the new name that Esaiah said the Mouth of the Lorddshould name, and so doth eHilarius expound the Text; which, seeing it is clearely the new glory of the Church of the Gentiles, ad∣joyned to the Church of the Iewes, it cannot arise from a handfull of a single Congregation, in the mind of these Fa∣thers, and though we love not with some antiquity to make Antioch the first Church before Rome; yet seeing it was of old before Rome, we may hence collect that that Church which was patriarchall, was not Congregationall, and therefore I make no use hereof, fVolaterranus who saith of old the Page 472 Patriarch of Antioch had under him 14. Metropolitans, 53. Bishops, and 366 Temples, onely it is like that Antiquity hath believed that there was a great number of Believers in this Church at first. Now to These, which to mee prove it was more then one Congregation, wee may adde that there was, Ch. 13. 1. in the Church that was at Antioch, certaine Prophets and Teachers, as they are reckoned out; These at Antioch Ministered to the Lord, in publick prayers (saithgBeza) and preaching, and (saith nDiodatus) in admi∣nistration also of the Sacraments, and other parts of the Evan∣gelick MinisteryiOecumenius〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Now I would know what all these Prophets and Doctors, beside Paul and Barnabas who preached a whole yeare at Antioch, did, in peaching to one single Congregation? and also it is said, Acts 15. 35. Paul and Barnabas continued at Antioch, Teaching and preaching the Word of Lord〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, with also many others. Certainly here is a Colledge of preaching Pastors, who also did lay hands on Paul and Barnabas, Acts 13. v. 3. which all could not be busied in Teaching one single Congregation at Antioch.
Mr. Mather saith that the whole multitude of the Church of Antioch were gathered together Acts 14. 27. and Acts 15. 30, 31. *to heare the Epistle read which was sent from the Synod. Therefore this Church was no more then might meete in one place.
Answ. I answer, the place Acts 14. 27. is the representative Church, for they met for a poynt of Discipline, at least for a matter that concerned all the Churches, to wit, to know how God had opened the doore of faith to the Gentiles, then must the many thousands of Men and Women, which made up the Church at Ierusalem, Acts 2. 42. Acts 4. 4. Acts 5. 14. Acts 6. 1. v. 7. Acts 21. v. 22. be many Congregations; now any Man may judge, how unpossible it was for the many thousands of the Church of Ierusalem to meet as one Congregation, for the Lords Supper and matters of Discipline, and it is knowen that the many thousands of the believing Iewes convened to the feast did not make one Church, Acts 21. 20. 21, 22. for our Brethren say, that was an extraordinary confluence of Page 473 many people from all •udea came to the feast of Pentecost. And this, many learned Protestant Divines answer to that place. But 2. I doe believe that the assembling of the multitude at Antioch, c. 15. v. 30. which sayth Judas and Silas gathered to•ether the multitude, and delivered the Epistle, and Acts 11. 26. and Barnabas and Paul their assembling with the Church a yeare, must be taken distributively. And that there were more assemblings of the multitude and Church at Antioch then one, for Silas, Paul, Barnabas abode a good space at Antioch and taught the Word of the Lord with many others, Acts 15. 34 35. and therefore there is no ground or warrant, to say, that the Epistle was read to all that meeting in one day, and at one meeting, and as little warrant there is to say that Barna∣bas and Paul assembled themselves, Acts 11. 26. with one and the same single Church-assembly consisting of all the Chri∣stians at Antioch, in one house, and in one day, the space of the whole yeare in which they abode at Antioch, nor shall I be∣lieve that Paul and Barnabas and many other Teachers at Antioch, Acts 15. 35. Acts 11. 20, 26. Acts 13. 1, 2, 3, 4. assembled all in one materiall house at one single Church-con∣vention: but it suteth not with the wisdome of Christ who sent his Disciples out, two by two, for the hastening of the worke, Mat. 10. That they did all, even the many prophets at Antioch, Acts 15. 35. Acts 13. 1. 2. onely bestow their labours upon one single Congregation. And the word Church, and (Synagogue) both are taken distributively in the Scripture, and must of necessity be taken so. And so must we take the word, Exod. 12. 6. and so aAinsworth readeth it, and the (lambe) shall be kept by you, untill the fourteenth day of this moneth, and the whole Church of the congregation of Israel shall kill it. between the two evenings, & immolabunt eum〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉bArias Montanus turneth it, omnis cetus catus Synagogae Israel. Now the Word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in that place must be taken distri∣butively. For all the children of Israel collectively did not meet to slay the Lambe; for the Text saith, v. 3. it was to be slaine in the House, that is, (saith cAinsworth) as the Greeke translateth, Houses. And here v. 3. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉according to the House of their Fathers. The word (House) here must bee Page 474 taken distributively for dRivetus with great reason in∣clineth to thinke that the Passeover was not a Sacrifice pro∣perly so called. And truly to me the Lord doth determine the question, Jer. 7. 22. for I spake not to your fathers, nor com∣manded them in the day that I brought them out of the Land of Egypt concerning burnt offerings and sacrifice, for 2 Chro. 30, v. 2. 17. there is no necessity to expound the place of these con∣vivall Lambes of the Passeover, but of other Sacrifices of∣fered at this time, see eLyran, and fCajetanus. And also gCornelius a lapide saith on the words (because he can find no ground for the Mosse in the place) hinc pate• uni∣versos sacerdotes non immolasse hos agnos paschales in Templo, uti sentit Claudius Sainctes, 1. Repet. Eucharist. c. 7. Abulensis in Exod. 16. & ex eo Serrarius in Josu. 5. 9. 22. and it is cer∣taine every Master of the Family did slay his owne Lambe, and hDiodatus on these words (in every House) to shew the communion of the Church, in the enjoying of Christ and his benefi•s. And the iseventy Interpreters render the place, Exo. 12. 6. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; and k the Chaldee paraphrast, &c. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉immolabunt eum omnis Ecclesia filiorum Israel.lHieron. immolabit eum universa multi∣tudo filiorum Israel. However, there were neither Priests nor Temple as yet in Israel, when they came out of Egypt. And therefore every head of a Family did slay the Lambe, and so the Church of the Congregation distributively taken slew the Lambe, every one by himselfe; and so is the word (Synagogue) taken where its every way a Congregationall assembly; as Mat. 13. 54. And when hee was come to His owne Country, He taught them in their Synagogue〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, The word (Synagogue) must be taken distributively. For he did not teach in one single Synagogue onely in his own Countrey, but in many Synagogues, one after another, in diverse places, and at divers times; as it is expounded, Luke 4. 44. and Hee was preacking,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in the Sgnagogues of Galilee, in the plurall number, Mat. 9. 35. He went about all Townes and Villages teaching in their Synagogues, &c. Joh. 18. 54. I ever taught in the Synagogues, and dayly in the Temple whither the Iewes alwayes refort. And therefore (Synagogue)Page 475Mat. 13. 54. in the singular number must be expounded distri∣butively, for many Synagogues in diverse places and diverse times, and so doe I thinke the word (Church) and muluitude Acts 11. 26. Acts 5. 30. must be taken distributively; and so the word Church is taken. 1 Cor. 14. 19. Yet in the Church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others, then ten thousand words in an unknowen Tongue. Paul (I hope) de∣sired not to speake in a knowen tongue to edifie in one single Congregation of Corinth onely, but in all the Churches where he taught, and 1 Cor. 14 35. It is a shame for a Woman to speake in the Church: the word Church cannot be in that place restricted to the one single Congregation, supposed to meet all in one house at one time in Corinth, because it is a shame for a Woman to preach in all the Churches of the World, as is clear, 1 Tim. 2, 11, 12. and Exod. 12. 47. all the Church, (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) of Israel shall doe it, that is, they shall eate the Lambe in their Houses, and shall not break a bone thereof, so the 70. Interpreters render it, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, The Chaldee paraphrast, Omnis caetus Israel faciet illud. It were easie to b•ing infinite instances out of the Word of God* to make good that a collective, noun such as 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a Church, is taken distributively. So James 2. 2. if toere came unto your assembly,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a man with a gold Ring, &c. Except the word (assemblie) or, Church, be taken distributively and not collectively, it shall follow that all the dispersed Iewes, to whom Iames doth write, have one single place of Church-assembly, as Heb. 10. 25. not forsaking〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the assembly of your selves together, a• the manner of some is; but can any inferre from this place, more then from Acts 11. 26. Acts. 15. 35. that all the whole Hebrewes, to whom that Apostle doth write had one (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) single Church-meeting, and one Congregation, in the which they did all meet for worship? I thinke not: or will it follow that there were none amongst all these Iewes who did separate from any Church-assemblie, except onely from the Church-assembly of a single Congregation, because the Apostle mentioneth onely one single Church-meeting? I think not, and therefore the Apostles mentioning of one assembling Page 476 of the Church, acts 11. 26. and of one multitude, in the sin∣gular number, acts 15. 30. can never prove that there was but one single Congregation at Antioch. Therefore there be great •dds betwixt meeting in a Church, and meeting in the Church.
Also Tit. 1. 5. for this cause was Titus left at Creet, that he might appaynt Elders〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in every City, if〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 be not all one with 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Acts 14. 23. acts 16. 4. 5. That is, if ordaining of Elders of every City, bee not as good, as ordaining of Elders in every Church, then must there be but in all, and every City, where ever the Apostles or Evan∣gelists planted Churches, but one single Congregation, and not any more then could meet in a single Congregation; which is a conjecture, and much contrary to these times when the Gospell admirably grew in the World. And it must fol∣low that every City had but such a competent number as met in one place; and if this hold, as an uncertaine thing, in great Cities, then must we say an Eldership in a City, and an Eldership of many Congregations were the first planted apostolick Churches, and so rules to us also. And looke what frame of Churches the Apostles did institute in Cities, that same they behoved to institute in Villages also, for places can∣not change the frame of any institution of Christ. 2. The com∣munion of Saints and Church-edification is as requisite for Villages, as for Cities.
Arguments removed, which Mr. Richard Mather, and Mr. William Thomson Pastors in New England, in their answer to Mr. Charles Herle, do bring, so far as they make against the authors former Treatises, and a scanning of some Synodicall propositions of the Churches of N. England.
MR. Mather, Mr. Thomson, c. 1. 9. Governing power is only in the Elders, 1 Cor. 12. 28. Rom. 12. 8. Heb. 13. 17. the people hath no power but rather a liberty or priviledge, which when it is exercised about Ordination, Deposition, Excommunication, is of the whole communiter, or in generall, but not of all and every mem∣ber Page 477 in particular; Women for their Sex, children for want of discr•tion are d•barred.
Answ. If there be no governing power in Women, nor any act at all in excommunication. You loose many arguments that you bring, 1 Cor. 5. to prove that all have hand in ex∣communication. 1. Because Paul writeth to all. 2. All were to mourne. 3. All ware to forbeare the company of the ex∣communicated men. Then belike Paul writeth not to all Saints at Corinth, not to Women, and Women were not to mourne for the scandall; nor to forbeare his company. 2. The pri∣viledge being a part of liberty purchased by Christs Body, it must be due to Women, for the liberty wherewith Christ hath made Women free cannot be taken away by any Law of God from their Sex, except in Christ Iesus there be difference betwixt Iew and Gentile, male and female; nor is it removed because i• i• a power or authority, for the authors say it is no power, but a priviledge. 3. What priviledge the people have in ordination to confer a Ministery which they neither have formally, nor vertually, I know not. But I doe willingly say something here of the peoples power; The first Synodicall proposition of New England, is.
1. Propos. The fraternity is the first Subject of all Ministeriall power, radicalitèr, idest 〈◊〉 per modum collationis, some say sup∣pletivè, non habitualitèr, non actualit •r, non formalitèr.
That is, (if I conceive it right) The people voyd of all Officers have a vertuall power to conferre a Ministery on their Officers though they have not this power in themselves. I could in some sense yield that Believers not Angells, are capable of the Ministeriall power to exercise it formally, but that Believers doe, or can, by any way of causative influence, make Church-Officers, I see not: they may design a man qualified to bean Officer to the Office, and that is all. But say they, people wanting, or being naked and without all Officers hath not formally or habitually any power in them, this latter part Igrant, and the
2. Proposition I grant, to wit.
That the presbytery is the first subject of all presbyteriall power habitually, and formally. But I doe not see how it standeth with the third proposition; which is
Page 478 3. The fraternity or the people without the Officers, and without Women or children, have an authoritative concurrence with the pres∣bytery, in judiciall acts.
Because if the Brethren have an halfe Ministeriall power with the Officers in acts of Jurisdiction and Excommunicati∣on, Deposition, and Censures, I see not how there is not a Ministeriall power formally and habitually, at least in part, in the Brethren; and so contrary to the third proposition, the Prasbytery is not the first subject of all Prebyteriall power, for the brethren are sharers with the Elders in this power. 2. We desire to see it made good by Gods Word, that the bre∣thren have a joynt power of Jurisdiction with the Elders, for the Table giveth them a brotherly publick power not by way of Charity, but a politick Church power, in many emi∣nent acts, especially in those eight; and that constantly,
|1. In the admission.||1. In Sending Messengers to the Churches.|
|2. In the excommunication of members. 2.||2. In interpretation of Scripture.|
|3. In the calling.||3. In a judiciall determination of controversies of Religion in a synod.|
|4. And Deposition of Mi∣nisters.||4. In a power of disposing of things in∣different.|
I cannot see any judiciall power, or any farther then a cha∣ritative yielding by way of a loving and brotherly consent, that the Scripture giveth to brethren. 3. How this can be denied to be a power of jurisdiction and governing; and an actuall Ministeriall using of the Keyes of the Kingdome by those who ex officio, by place, and calling are no Officers, I believe is not easily understood. 4. The letter that I saw sayth, that that learned and godly Divine Mr. Cotton and some others thinke, that the Church as it is an Organicall Body made up of Elders, and people is the first subject of all Ecclesiasticall power, and they divide it into a power of authority, and a power of liberty, whereof the power of authority belongeth to the Elders or Eldership, and the power of liberty to the Fraternity, or Brethren that are not Officers; and therefore these reverend bre∣thren Page 479 deny any authoritative concurrence to the brethren, and they thinke that the Church as it is an homogeneall body, that is, a company destitute of Officers, cannot formally or∣daine, excommunicate, or censure the Elders, though in case of obstinacy they may doe that which is equivalent, and so se∣parate from them.
The 4. Proposition is;
The fraternity or Brethren in an Organicall Body, or in a ••med and established Church consisting of Officers and people, act and use their authority, subordinate per modum obedi nt•ae, subordinately, and by way of due obedience to the Elders, 2 C•r. 10. 6.
But I desire a word of Christs Testament for this, where wee a•de that collaterall Judges acting as Judges doe act by way of obedience and subjection one to another: for if the brethren, 1 Cor. 5. convened in Court with the Elders to deliver the in∣cestuous man to Satan, do act in that Court as giving obedience to the Elders, I see not how they concurre authoritatively is sharers with them of that same Ministeriall power: if it be said, brethren though they act as Judges in excommunicating, yet they remaine brethren and a part of the flock, and so in all their morall acts of authoritative concurring with the Elders, they are under the pastorall care of these who watch for Soules, and so they judge and act even in the Court as un∣der subjection to their watchmen, who must give an accompt for their Soules; I answer, so the Elders in their acts of the most supreame Ministeriall authority and acting in a Church. court, leave not off to be brethren and a part of the flock of Christ, and so in subjection one to another; for six Elders watch for the Soule of one, and one also for the Soules of six, and so if this were a good reason the Elders should act with subordination of obedience to Elders. As the people act with subordination to the Elders. 2. The place cited for this 2 Cor. 10. 6. where it is said, that the Preachers have in readi∣nesse to revenge all disobedience, must inferre that they are to revenge, by the word which is mighty through God to cast downe strong holds, as is said there, v. 4. 5. even disobedience of Elders ruling unjustly and abusing the Keyes, no lesse then Page 480 disobedience of the people. And I see not how brethen act∣ing in a Church-Court joyntly with Elders, how in that they put on the relation of the flock, and the part governed in the very act of exercising acts of governing, for otherwayes one Pastor in the act of preaching in the Name of Jesus Christ, and so in authority above these to whom he preacheth, doth preach subordinatè, and as in subjection to the whole or∣ganicall and formed Church, who hath power to censure him, if he preach erroneous Doctrine. 3. I see not how the third Proposition doth stand, to wit, that the brethren, share with the Elders in authoritative acts of the Keyes, and yet they •ct (according to the. 4. Proposition) as under the Eldership by way of subjection and obedience to them. Except this be that which our brethren meane, that the people of a single Congregation exercise acts of Jurisdiction by way of depen∣dence, so as they may be censured by the Elders if they erre, but the Elders if they erre, are every way Popes, and so inde∣pendent; that there is no Church-power on Earth above them, that in a Church-way may censure them, or call them to an accompt. 4. The Table of New England divideth the actu∣all exercise of the power in a Charitative power by way of Love and Charity, and a politick or Church-exercise, the politick exercise againe is either brotherly, fraternall, or Pres∣byteriall,
|and the presbyteriall exercise is either||1. Teaching.|
And Teaching is either by way of Office, or Administrating the Sacraments.
The Presbyteriall exercise of the Keyes is independentElders, in the power of governing, sed respect• apo∣telesmatis s•u complementi censurae, in respect of the effect, or a com∣pleat act of governing, the Elders Rule and Act with dependence up∣on
|the people, in these foure cases||1. In excommunication.|
|2. In judging.|
|3. In sentencing the aocused.|
|4. In election or〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in calling of a Minister.|
So that the Elders there alone without the people, can Page 481 exercise none of these acts completely, without the people so heare the Elders depend upon the people in their actuall go∣verning, and the Fraternity or Brethren depend on the Elders by way of subjection, or obedience to them.
Yet give me leave, the letter informeth me that it is said by many learned and godly men in New England, that if their po∣licy should make the government of the Church popular, they should give up the cause. But I conceive the government to be popular, though the people only be not governours, for Mor∣•llius never taught any such thing; now this government mak∣eth Elders and people to governe the Church joyntly with mutuall dependence one upon another, which certainly maketh the brethren in the Lord, as well as the Elders; for if the Elders be not these onely which watch for the peoples Soules as these which must give an accompt Heb. 13. 17, 18. and they be not onely〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉over the people in the Lord, as is said 1 Thess. 5. 12. 13. Then the brethren must be taken in with them a• joynt governours, as is said Propos. 3. Which certainly must confound the Scripturall order established by God betwixt the Pastors and the Flock, the Watchmen, and the City, the shep∣•eards and the flock, these who are to obey, and these who are over them in the Lord.
The 5. and 6. Proposition is, The Brethren may not excom∣municate an Elder but mediante concilio, by the intervening sentence of the Elders; is, but the brethren may separate and withdraw from the Presbyteris, after they refuse sound ad∣vise.
Answ. 1. This is much contrary to that which they ordinari∣ly teach, to wit, that people destitute of Officers may ordaine and excommunicate their Officers. 2. By this learning the Soules of Elders are in an hard case, for when they do all scandalously 〈◊〉, there is no Ecclesiasticall meane of edifying them, for there is no Church on Earth to excomunicate Elders when they ••re. Separation from them is an unwarrantable way, except they be excommunicated. 3. In the case of the Elderships incor∣rigible scandalls, the power of excommunication retireth into the brethren. yet it was never formally in the brethren, nor can they exercise this power, but mediante Presbyteri•,Page 482 that is, they cannot excommunicate the Eldership, but by the Judiciall sentence of the Eldership, and so the power is but a shadow.
Mr. Mather, Mr. Thomson, cap. 2. pag. 16, 17. though some have appealed, as Luther and Cranmer from the Pope to a gene∣rall councell. Yet not from a Congreation to a generall councell.
Answ. In matters doctrinall, some as Luther and others have justly appealed from a Congregation, to a generall coun∣cell, though Luther and Cranmer did it not; though verily I professe I cannot see what power of Jurisdiction to censure scandalls can be in a generall councell, there may be some meerly Doctrinall power, if such a councell could be had, and that is all.
M. Mather, Mr. Thomson, c. 2. pag: 20. if Churches be dependent on Synods, because the light of nature teacheth a communion and assistance in government, by the same reason Churches must end in a Monarchy on Earth.
Answ. I see this sayd, without any probation. Churches depend on many above them for unity; but what consequence is this; Ergo, they depend upon one visible Monarch. It is an unjust consequence.
Mr. Mather, Mr. Thomson, c. 2, pag. 26. The Graecians and He∣brewes made not two Churches, but one Congregation, they called the multitude of Disciples together, v. 2.
Answ. That the chiefe of both Grecians and Hebrewes were convened in one to give their consent to the admission of their Officers the Deacons, I conceive; but that all the thousands of the Church of Jerusalem were here, as in one ordinary Congregation I judge unpossible.
Mr. Mather, c. 3. pag. 27. 28. If your argument be good, if thy Brother offend and refuse to submit tell the Church, because Christs Remedy must be as large as the Disease: then if a Nati∣onall Church offend, you are to complaine to a higher Church a∣bove a Nationall Church; and because offences may arise betwixt Christians and Indians, you may complain of an Indian to the Church.
Ans. Because ordinary communion faileth, when you got higher then a Nationall Church, and Christs way suppoleth Page 483 an ordinary Communion, as is cleare. If thy Brother offend, &c. Therefore I deny that this remedy is needfull in any Church above a Nationall Church. 2. Christs remedy is a Church. remedy for Offences amongst brethren, and Members of the visible Church. And Indians are no Members of the Church, and so being without, they cannot bee judged, 1 Co. 5. 12.
We say that if the Magistrate be an enemy to Religion, may not the Church without him convene and renew a Covenant with God? Mr. Mather, and Mr. Thomson answer, c. 3. pag. 29. if the supreame Magistrate be an enemy to Religion, it is not like, but most or many of the people will be of the same mind. Regis ad exemplum—as it is in France, and Spaine, and was in the dayes of Queene Mary, and then the Believers in the Land will not be able to beare the name of the Land or Nation, but of a small part thereof; nor can it be well conceived how they should assemble in a Nationall Synod, for that, or any other purpose, when the Magistrate is a professed Enemie, nor doth God require it at their hands.
Answ. This is a weake answer: the Christians under Ner• were not like their Prince, and its not like but sincere Chri∣stians will bee sincere Christians and professe truth. even when the Magistrate is an enemy. And 2. If your meaning be, it cannot be conceived how they should assemble in a Nati∣onall assembly when the Magistrate is an Enemy; because it is not safe for feare of persecution. Then you say nothing to the argument, because the argument is drawen from a du∣ty, a Nation professing the Gospell after many backslid∣ings are obliged to convene in a Nationall Synod, and are to renew their Covenant with the Lord, and your answer is from an ill of affliction: and if you meane that because the Princes power is against their Synodicall convening, this is nothing against the power of the Synods that CHRIST hath given to His Church; But if your meaning be that it is not lawfull to them to convene in a Nationall Synod to re∣new a Covenant with GOD against the supreame Magistrates will, I hope you minde no such thing•; for so doe MalignantsaNow alledge that wee never read of any Reformation ofPage 484Religion in Scripture warranted, but where the Prince did contri∣bute his authority, because he onely is to reforme, and he onely rebuked for the standing of the high places, but hee may soone be answered.
1. Both Israel and Iudah were so bent to backsliding, that wee read not that ever the people made any reall Re∣formation of Religion, Josiah, Hezekiah and Asa did it for them. But what an argument is this: Iudah did never, for the most of the Land, seeke the Lord God of their Fathers with all their heart; Ergo, the seeking of the Lord God with all the heart is an unwritten tradition?
2. Princes are obliged to remove high places; But are they obliged with their owne Hands to breake all the I∣mages? No, I thinke if they remove the high places by the Hands of their Subjects, or command their Subjects to remove them, they doe full well. But I see not this consequence. Ergo, Princes onely are obliged to remove the high places, it followeth not.
3. If it be the Princes part to command his Subjects this duty of Reformation and removall of the high places, then they may performe their duty without the Prince.
4. There is a twofold Reformation, one an heart-Re∣formation. Sure this is not the Princes onely. All the Land may repent without the King. There is another, an out∣ward Reformation. And that is twofold, either Negative, or Positive• Negative is to refraine from ill, and the unlawfull and superstitious manner of worshipping GOD, as in new Offices not warranted by his Word, Antichristian Cere∣monies, and a Masse-Booke, &c. Certainly all the Land are to abstaine from sinne, though the King command not: now all the Reformation for the most part in both King∣domes is in obstinence from superstitious superadditions that defiled the worship of GOD, and to this there is no necessity of the Magistrates authority, more then wee need• the Kings warrant, to put an Obligation upon Gods Negative Commandements. All that is Positive is the swear∣ing of a lawfull Covenant to observe and stand by the faith and true Religion of the Land, but I see no more a neces∣sity Page 485 that a King warrant the lawfull Vow of twenty thou∣sand, then the Lawfull Vow of one Man, seeing it is a lawfull profession of CHRIST before Men commanded in the third Commandement. And to the observance of that Law of God, which God and Conscience hic & nunc doe oblige us, there is no addition of a Kingly autho∣rity by necessity of a Divine Law required to make it va∣lid, no more then if all the Kingdome at such a solemne day of humiliation, should all in every severall Church sweare to Reformation of life.
5. The Apostles and Christ positively did reforme Re∣ligion, and the Church without and contrary to the mind of civill authority, nor is it enough to say the Apostles were Apostles, but wee are not Apostles, for upon this morall ground, Acts 5. 29. Wee ought rather to obey GOD than man,) they reformed contrary to the Magistrates mind. And wee doe but contend for that very same Faith, Jud. 3. which was once delivered to the Saints. So to Reforme is to seeke the old way, and to walks in it, Jeremy 6. 16. to turne to the LORD with all the heart, Jeremy 1. and for this cause, Jeremy 3. 10. Iudah is sayd not to veturue to the LORD with her whole heart, but fainedly, because when a zealous King reformed, them they returned not with all their heart. Whence Reformation of Religion must bee the peoples duty, no lesse then the Kings; and I believe such a divine precept carrying the new sense of our Malignant Divines should bee black policy, not sound Divinity, if any Ierimiah or Prophet should say; amend your wayes and turne to the LORD with all your heart, and put away your Idolls and your strange Gods, providing the King will goe be∣fore you, and command you so to doe. Hence I say that's a poore Court-argument of Parasites for Kings. Wee never read of any Reformation of Religion in Israel and Judah but when holy and zealous Kings commanded the Reformation; Ergo, the Reformation begun in Scotland without the consent of the Supreame Magistrate, and a Reformation now prosecuted in England against the Kings will is unlawfull. To which. I desire the Malignant Divines to receive these Page 486 answers for Justifying the zeale of both Kingdomes in their Reformation.
1. It is a question, if they question not the Reformati∣on according to the substance of the action, that is, if they are not offended that the Queenes Masse, the popery of Pre∣lates and Divines under their wings, and their Armini∣anisme, and Socinianisme should be abolished, or if they con∣demne not the Doctrine, but question onely the manner of abolishing such Heterodox stuffe. If the former be said, i• is knowen, never Malignant, Prelate or other had grace, by Word, or Writing, to entreate his M•jesty for a Refor∣mation, and this is enough for the former. If they meane the latter, they bee very like the Pharisees, who when they durst not question the Doctrine and Miracles of Christ, they onely questioned the manner of doing. And sayd by what authority doest thou these? But because they are joy∣ned to the Papists side, and fight under their banner; It is most evident it galleth their stomacks, that Popery, Atmi∣nianisine, and Socinianisme are cryed downe; else the man∣ner of doing a good worke, and such a necessary worke as Reformation, would not have offended them so highly, as to move them to kill the people of GOD; an error in the cir∣cumstances of a good worke is very veniall to Papists and Ar∣minians.
2. Let them give to us, since they argue from a practice, a warrant of any such practice, where a whole Land went on in a Negative Reformation without the Prince Ergo, Negative precepts, by this logick, shall lay no divine ob∣ligation on us, except it bee the Kings will to forbid that which GOD forbiddeth, then suppose Episcopacy and the Ceremonies were the Idoll of the Masse establish∣ed by a standing Law, it should bee unlawfull for the Kingdomes to forbeare and abstaine from Idolatry, except the Kings Law forbid Idolatry. What were this else but to say, we are obliged to obey Christs will, but not except with a Reser∣vation of the Kings will?
3. This is an argument Negative, from one particular in Scripture, and therefore not concludent. For it is Page 487 thus, Reformation without the King wanteth a practise in the Sc•ipture; Ergo, it is unlawfull, it followeth not, except it want Precept, Promise and Practise, for the argu∣ment Negative from Scripture is onely undeniable in this sense; And in this sense onely pressed by our Divines a∣gainst Papists. And therefore it is like this argument, Pur∣gatory is not commanded in this Chapter, Idolatry is not for∣bi•den in this Commandement, Ergo, neither Purgatorie, nor Idolatry is forbidden in Gods Word. So let the adversaries give me a practise in the Word of God, where a Brother kept this order of Christs three Steps, Mat. 18.
First, to reprove an offender alone.
Secondly, before two or three witnesses.
Thirdly, in case of obstinacy, to tell the Church; and to these adde, that the man was by the Church to be reputed as an heathen and a Publican. And I hope, because such a practise we doe not read, yet it followeth not that it is unlawfull. So where read you a Man forgiving his Brother seventy seven times: Ergo, it is unlawfull to forgive him seventy and seven times? Where read you that Christ and His Apostles, and the Christian Church in the New Testament raised Warre and Armies ei∣ther to defend or offend, but I hope Anabaptists have not hence ground to inferre, then must all Warres be unlawfull to Christians, for wee can produce warrantable precepts, where we want practise.
Fourthly, where it is said, Kings onely are rebuked for not removing high places, and Kings onely are commended, because they are removed, therefore none should reforme but Kings. This followeth no wayes, but onely Kings by Royall authority should reforme; but it followeth not; Ergo, the people without the King are not obliged to reforme themselves in their manner, for I am sure, that the people should all universally resolve and agree, never to sacrifice in the high places and accordingly to practise: And to sacrifice onely in the place which the Lord had chosen to place His Name there, at GODS expresse Law commanded, Deuteronomy 13. 23. Deuteronomy 12. 14. 18. Deuteronomy 16. 2. 7. 11. 15. Deut. 31. 11. had beene a removall of the high places and a war∣rantable Page 488 Reformation, though the King should have, by a standing Law, commanded that they should sacrifice in the high places, for the people are rebuked, because 2 Kings 17. 11. They burnt Incense in all the high places, 2 Chronicles 33. 17. Hosea 4. 13. and, a Chronicles 20. 33. the reason why the high places were not taken away, is: For as yet the people had not prepared their Hearts unto the GOD of their Fathers. If then not Sacrificing in the high places was the peoples duty, they were to remove the high places, in their place; and so farre to reforme without the KING, yea suppose the KING command the contrary, the people ought to obey GOD, and the Parliament may by GODS Law abolish Episcopacy, popish Ceremonics, and the popish Service though the KING consent not, upon this ground that those he the high places of England, for the which the Wrath of the Lord is kindled against the Land.
Fifthly, the adversaries may read, 2 Chronicles 15. 9. That the Strangers out of Ephraim, and Manasseh and Simeon ga∣thered themselves together to Asa without the consent of their KING, and did enter in a Covenant to seek the Lord God of their Fathers.
Sixtly, the Pastors of the Land are obliged to preach all necessary truth, without the KING, and accordingly are to practise what they preach; now Reformation is a most necessary truth, they are then to reforme themselves and Religion without the KING: for the Word of GOD, not the KINGS will is the Pastors rule in preaching, and hee is to separate the pretious from the vile, that hee may be as Gods Mouth, Jeremy 15. 19. and Ezekiel 2. 7. Thou shalt speake my words unto them, that was the Doctrine of Refor∣mation, not the KINGS words, vers. 8. But, thou sonne of man, heare what I say to thee; yea Pastors are to preach against Kings and their sinnes, 1 Kings 13. 1. 2. 3. Jer. 1. 18. Ier. 26. 10, 11, 12.
Seventhly, if no Reformation can be without the KING, 1. People are not to turne to the Lord, and repent th•m of the evill of their doings, and to prevent the Babylonish cap∣tivity, or a worse judgement, except the KING Page 489 will, and all Religion and. 2. Church-worship must bee re∣solved ultimately on the KINGS will and pleasure: for if it be not the KINGS pleasure to reforme, the people must continue still where they were, and Scotland who contra∣ry to the will and heart of authority at our first Reforma∣tion put away the Masse and Popery, and established Re∣ligion in sincerity, is greatly to bee condemned. Luther had authority against him, and the powers of the World, it was one point of Reformation that John Baptist tooke up, against the Law of the Land to preach against Herods sinne; for if Popery be in a Land, to leave Popery is a great de∣gree of Reformation, and if the people, without the Prince, may goe on in the greatest step of Reformation, why not also in the lesser? except you say the people without the King, are not to abstaine from the grossest Idolatry under the Sunne, which is to worship and adore the worke of the Bakers hands.
Mr. Mather, Mr. Thomson. The name Church, 1 Cor. 14. 4, 5. 35. 26, 27. 28. is plainly given to that company that did assemble and come together for performance of spirituall duties, and for the exercise of spirituall gifts, as Acts 14. * 27. Acts 11. 26. 15. 4. 22. 30. 1 Cor. 11. 18. 20 22. 23. 3. Ioh. 6. which places doe abundantly shew that a company ga∣thered together to one place is called by the name Church, as Cen∣c•rea, Rom. 16. 1. which could not containe many Congregations, being but the prot of Corinth.
Answ. We seeke no more, if it be called a Church which conveneth for performance of spirituall duties: as some of your places doe well prove; Ergo, no assembly should have the name of Church, but such as assemble for Word and Sacraments; this now you cannot affirme, and it followeth not, the Church spoken of Matthew 18. is not assembled to Word and Sacraments, But to bind and loose on Earth. The meet∣ing, 1 Cor. 5. 4. is not for Word and Sacraments, but to de∣liver to Satan, for ought wee can read, the word Church, Acts 14. 27. is not an Assembly for Word and Sacraments; but to heare how God had opened the doors of Faith to the Gen∣tiles, and whether this was preaching of the Word and re∣ceiving Page 490the Sacraments, or rather a matter that concerned the Apostles and Elders that they might not thinke hard to preach the Gospell to the Gentiles, I leave to the judicious Reader; and if to be received of the Church, Acts 15. 4. be a matter of word and Sacraments, let all judge. And if to lend a decree of a Synod, Acts 15. 22. be the act of a Church assembled for word and Sacraments, let the World judge: and therefore all these places doe strongly confirme a Presbytery assembled for acts of Iurisdiction, and matters that belong to many Churches, as is most cleare, Acts 14. 27. Acts 15. 4. Acts 15. 22. and seeing wee finde the name (Church) given to a meeting assembled onely for discipline or things that concerne many Churches, for any thing wee can read or observe from the word: as Acts 14. 27. Acts 15. 4 22. 30. Matthew 18. 17. and also the word Church given to a meet∣ing assembled for the word, 1 Cor. 14. 1 Cor. 11. 18. 20, 22, 23. Rom. 16. 1. and not for acts of Jurisdiction for ought that wee can collect from the word. I beseech you, Brethren, why doe we contend? if the word Church, be a meeting of persons assembled to one place, for spirituall duties, some∣times for word and Sacraments onely, sometimes for acts of Jurisdiction onely, then is the word Church, by our bre∣threns argument taken both for the Congregation, and for the Elders of one, or of diverse Churches; and so wee have our intent. And we desire our brethren to prove (which they must prove, if they oppose our principles) that the word (Church) is never taken for the Eldership onely, in all the Word of God, but these places prove the contrary, as I have shewen. 2. Whereas our brethren say; a company gathered into one place (which is nothing else but a Congregation) are called by the name of a Church. I answer 1. Such a company is onely called by the name of a Church, as I have proved; for a company meeting for discipline onely, Matthew 18. 17 1 Cor. 5. 4. is a Church also. 2. It is false that a company ga∣thered in one place are nothing else but a Congregation. As you take the word (Congregation) for to you (Congregation) is an assembly of men and Women meeting for word and Sacra∣ment with the Elders of the Church, I appeale to the judge∣ment Page 491 of our reverend brethren; If the Church, Mat. 18. 17. assembled to bind and loose, if the Church, 1 Cor. 5. 4. (though the Text speake nothing of the word (Church) assembled to deliver to Satan. If the Church assembled, Acts 14. 27. Acts 15. 2. to heare things which concerned the Apostles, and ma∣ny Churches, rather then one; If the multitude convened, Acts 15. 30. to heare the decree of the Synod read, and if the Church of Apostles and Elders from Antiosh and Ierusalem. Acts 15. 22. be a Congregation or a Congregationall Church assembled for word and Sacraments, as the word Church is taken, Acts 11. 26. 1 Cor. 11 20, 22, 33.
Mr. Mather, and Mr. Thomson, Num. 8. 10. The children of* Israel which were not the Church of Officers layd on hands on the Levites, therefore when a Church hath no Elders the people may conferre ordination, and it is not to be tyed to the Presbytery onely. Hence other of our Brethren say, ordination is but acciden∣tall to a Ministers calling, and may be wanting, if the people shall chuse, in the defect of Elders.
Answ. Here two poynts are to be discussed shortly. 1. If Ordination belong to the People. 2. If Ordination to a certaine stick be necessary, for certainly the people doe not call but to a certaine flock. To the first I say; There is not a place in all the Word of God where the people conferre ordinati∣on to the Pastors of the New Testament. Therefore our bre∣thren flee to the Old Testament to prove it from the Levites who received imposition of hands from the children of Israel; but our brethren hold, that the calling of the Levites and of the Pastors of the New Testament are different, as the Officers and Churches of the Jewish and Christian Church are different. 2. Our brethren grant pag. 49. That it wanteth all example in the New Testament that the people lay on hands. 3. These who layd on hands on the Levite, Num. 8. were Elders and (our brethren say,) It is like they were, but. 1. They did it not as Elders. 2. But as representing the people, not as Elders civill, for that belonged to Aaron and his sonnes, Levit. 8. else it will follow that where the Church *hath no Magistrate to lay on hands, the Church may doe it. Nor did they lay on hands as Ecclesiasticall Elders, becausePage 492what these which layd on hands did, they did as from the Con∣gregation for 1. These Levites were taken in stead of the first borne of Israel and not in stead of the first borne of the Elders only, Num. 3 40, 41. 2. They were presented to the Lord, as an offering of the children of Israel, not of the Elders only. 3. When the multitude brought an oblation, the Elders put their hands on the head of the sacrifice Levit. 4. 15. in stead of all the multitude.
Answ. These who layd on hands, did it as a worke pe∣culiar to the Elders, because the Elders were a part of the first borne, who by Office were Elders, and in whose stead the Levites were assumed, Num. 3. 40. 41. else the Church of Israel being a constituted Church before this time, want∣ed Officers, which is against all truth. 2. We grant the Ma∣gistrates layd not on hands, but they who layd on hands did it as Ecclesiasticall Elders. And the reasons against this conclude not. 1. The first reason concludeth not be∣cause these who layd on hands were the first borne, who by Office were Church men. 2. The other two reasons prove nothing, for because these who layd on hands, did lay on hands as representing the whole Congregation, alas it doth no wayes conclude that they layd not on hands as it is a works peculiar to them as Elders, for the Priest of∣fered sacrifice first for his owne sinnes, and then for the peoples, Heb. 7. 27. and so did represent the people. But, I hope, it followeth not that therefore the Priest did not sacrifice as a Priest, and by vertue of a peculiar Office, but onely as a principall member of the Congregation. 3. What if there be no Elders in a single Congregation, as our bre∣thren suppose there were no Elders in Office in Israel to lay hands on the Levites? it will not follow therefore, the people are to lay on hands, except there were no Elders in all the Land or Nationall Church to lay on hands. And though I thinke imposition of hands not so essentiall perhaps as a Minister can be no Minister without it, yet I thinke not so of Ordination (for these to mee are as different as the authoritative calling of a Minster, and a rite annexed to that calling) because none can be a Minister in a constitu∣ted Page 493Church, but one which is called of God as was Aaron. But you will say, in a Church, in an Island one may bee a Pastor without any ordination, if the people elect him, and there be no Elders to ordaine.
I answer, it is true: but so many Pastors send a Pastor to bee a Pastor to a Congregation, though that Congregation never chuse him, as possibly they bee for the most part Popish, or unwilling, yet both Cases are extraordinary and the Church not constituted and esta∣blished.
M. Mather, if the people may elect Officers, then in some cases they may ordaine them! also, because ordination is lesse then*election, and dependeth, upon it as a necessary antecedent, and it is nothing but a• consummation of election, or the admission of a person into the possession of that Office, whereto hee had right before by election. If then a single Congregation may elect, which is the greater, they may ordaine which is the lesser.
Answ. Ordination is the more, and election the lesse; for ordination is an act authoritative of the Presbytery, 1 Tim. 4. 14. and, for ought I see, the authors might argue thus, the people may ordaine; Ergo, they may preach and baptize, for all the three are presbyteriall acts given to men in of∣fice. 2. Some doubt if I said rightly in my former Treatise, that ordination is prior to election, because ordination is that whereby a Minister is made a Minister, and election that whereby he who is a Minister first by order of nature, is made the Minister of such a fl•ck. I will not contend with any of either sides for order. But when I said so, I tooke the word (election) for the peoples actuall receiving and their com∣pleat taking him for their Minister, after hee is now ordain∣ed a Minister this is his installing in his Office. And my rea∣son is; because the peoples naming of such a man to bee their pastor doth stand with his never being their pastor; hee being unwilling to be their pastor, and the presbytery thinking it unfit hee be the pastor of such a people. 2. The people elect him as a pastor to be their pastor, they doe not elect him as a gifted man. And whereas some say. ActsPage 494 6. 3. 4, 5. Election of seven men to be Deacons goeth before ordination and imposition of hands, v. 6.
Answ. Election of the people goeth before ordination in the relation of Luke, true; Ergo, election is prior by order of nature, it followeth not. But Acts 1. Ordination of Matthias (God casting the lot upon him, vers. 25.) is prior to the peoples electing of him, for the peoples appoynting of two, vers. 23. cannot be their election; for they were to elect one, but I submit to the learneder my thoughts in this. As also my tearming Paphnutius neither Bishop nor Elder at the Councell of Nice, which I did not as denying him to bee a Bishop, but because hee was called to that Councell of Nice where as before hee had beene deprived, but was restored by Constantine, though in the estimation of these who contended for the single life of Priests, whose corrup∣tions Paphnutius opposed, hee was in an Ecclesiasticall sense neither Bishop nor Presbyter but deprived from both. But let the righteous rebuke mee, and it shall be as Oyle to my Head. 3. It cannot bee that election of the people is the whole calling of a man to the Ministerie, and Ordi∣nation onely a supplement and an consummatory rite, or a benedictory signe which may bee spared. 1. Because by the imposition of the bands of the Presbytery, Timothy was made a Minister, 1 Timothy 4. 14. Paul and Silas separat∣ted to preach to the Gentiles, Acts 13. 1, 2, 3, 4. the Dea∣cons ordained, Acts 6. 6. and this is enjoyned with the right manner of acting it to Timothy, 1 Timothy 5. 22. 2 Timothy 2. 2. as a Ministeriall act. 2. A Ministeriall cal∣ing standeth in an authoritative sending, Romans 10. 15. and I see not well how the people themselves doe send a Mi∣nister to themselves. (3) The people have not either for∣mally, or by any grant of CHRIST, vertually, the Keyes committed to them, how then can they give the Keyes to pas∣tors? 4. People may as the Sheepe of CHRIST, Ioh. 10. decern His Voyce, and so have a power of Election of their owne pastors, nor doth this make good which our Bre∣thren say.
Mr. Mather sayth, that because they are all taught of God,*Page 495 Esa. 54. 13. and they knew Christs 'Doctrine, Joh: 7. therefore they may judge of a Ministers fitnesse, for it is plaine that there it a twofold knowledge; one of Christians, Esal. 54. 13. not denied to Women and believing Children, who cannot lay on hands nor ordaine Ministers, as the presbytery doth, 1 Timothy 4. 14. Acts 6. 6. Acts 13. 1 2. 3. 1 Timothy 5. 22. 2 Timothy 2. 2. but for trying of Ministers if they bee the sonnes of the Prophets and must be apt to teach, 1 Timothy 3. 1, 2. able to convince subtile Hereticks and gain-sayers and to put them to silence, Titus 1. 10. 11. there must be in a constituted Church a Colledge of pastors and prophets to try the prophets, with a presbyteriall Cognizance.
But here some object. If Election bee absolutely in the h••ds of the people, then is the peoples will, because will, the absolute determiner who shall be the Pastor to such a flock; but people certainly may erre, therefore the Presbytery must bee the last determiner in election; And people have onely a ra∣tionall consent, and if their consent be irrationall, the Presbyter must chuse for them.
I answer shortly in these propositions.
1 Pro. Neither is the People infallible in chusing, nor the Pres∣bytery infallible in regulating the peoples choice, yet is power of regulating the choice, the presbyteries due, nor power of election to be denied to Gods people.
2. Pro. You must suppose the Church a settled and an esta∣blished Church of sound professors, for if the Congregation or presbytery, either of them be, for the most part, popish, Arminian or unsound in the Faith, in so far hath Christ given neither power to the one, or other.
3. Prop. When it is acknowledged by both people and presbytery, that of two or three men, any one is qualified for the place, then the man is absolutely to bee referred to the peoples choice, and though the people give no reason why they chuse this man, rather then any of the other two, yet i• the Peoples choice reasonable, for no doubt Acts. 6. there were more men then these seven of good report and full of the Holy Ghost, and fit to be Deacons, therefore the mul∣titudes choice of these seven, and their nomination of them Page 496 to be Apostles rather then the nomination of any other men is rationall and approved by the twelve Apostles, though they give no reason; Yea, though Nicolas be the S•ctmaster of the Nicolaitans (as the learned thinke) yet the election is Ecclesiastically lawfull and needeth not that a reason be given to the Apostles.
4. Prop. We never read that in the Apostles-Church a man was obt•uded upon the people against their will. And there∣fore Election by the people in the Apostolique Church, as Acts 1. 26. Acts 6. 2, 3, 4. Revel. 2. 12. Acts 20. 28. must be our rule, any election without the peoples consent must be no Election, for if it please not the whole multitude, as Acts 6. 5. it is not a choice.
5. Prop. We must distinguish Election and Regulation of the Election.
2. There is a Regulation of the Election, positive; and a Re∣gulation negative. Hence the presbyteries power consisteth on∣ly in a negative regulation of the peoples choice, not in a posi∣tive; For example, Election is an elicit act of the people, and their birthright and priviledge that Christ hath given to them, and it cannot be taken from them; if there be any Election, it must be made by the people, the presbytery even in case of the peoples aberration cannot usurpe the act of Election; be∣cause the Apostles, who yet had the gift of discerning spirits, in a greater measure then the multitude, remit the choice of the seven Deacons to the multitude; Ergo, the presbytery should doe the same; yet may the presbytery negatively reg∣gulate the Election, and if the people out of the humour of itch∣ing eares chuse an unfit man, in that case the presbytery may declare the Election irregular and null; as suppose the mul∣titude, Acts 6 had chosen such a man, or all the seven men, like Simon Magus, the twelve Apostles by their Ministeriall power might have impeded that Election, or rather nomination as irre∣gular, and put them to chuse other seven men; but the Apostles could not have chosen for them other seven, for then Election should have bin taken out of the peoples hands; Hence that distinction of elicit and imperate acts, even as the understand∣ing commandeth and directeth the will to such and such elicit. Page 497 actions, and regulateth the will therein, and yet the understand∣ing can neither nill, nor will, and the King may punish pastors who preach Hereticall doct in & vitiate the Sacrament; but the King can neither preach the word himself, nor administate the Sacraments; so the presbytery may regulate negatively and hin∣derth Election of an unfit man, but the presbytery cannot do, as the P•elate did who would name a man to the people, and desire their consent (but consent is not all, the presbytery and neighbour Congregations have consent, but no elective liberty given them by Christ) but if the people refused their consent, he Prelate without more a do, chose and ordained the man, and so he was obtruded on the people without any Election at all.
Ordination of an ordinary pastor is always to a certain flock, Act. 20. 28. 1 Pet. 5. 1. Rev. 2. 1. yet here must we distinguish'd de∣dication to Christs service by the office. 2. The exercise of the office, in the former respect the pastor is a pastor every where, and may be sent as a Pastor to plant Churches, but ratione finis. He is primariò principally to feed this flock, and secundario and ratione med•i, secondarily, while he feedeth this flock, he feedeth the Church universall.
Mr. Mather, if people may not m•dle with ordination, because it*is proper to Timothy and Titus, this may prove that they were Bishops who did ordaine Elders there alone, which ministers may not do there; for these Epistles are not written to them, as Bishops alone, nor as El∣ders alone, but as to a mixt state, including the people.
Answ. Some parcells of these Epistles are written to Timothy and Titus as Evangelists, such as none may now do but they only,•• 2 Tim. 4. 4. 1 Tit. 1. 3. Tim. 1. 5. and some other things which they gave in charge to Elders. 2. Some things are written to them as Christians, as 1 Tim. 1. 19. Tit. 3. 3. & finaliter or objectively all is written for the Churches good; but (3) the builk of the Epistle is written to them as Elders, and is a rule of perpetuall govern∣ment, and especially, 1 Tim. 1. 22. 2. Tim. 2. 2. for these and the like they were to doe with the presbytery, as is cleare, 1 Tim. 1. 14.
Object. The Congregations of Jerusalem were not fixed in their members and officers, onely the Apostles preached to them (if they were many congregations, which is possible) in a circular way, now onePage 484Apostle to this assembly, then another. But in regard not one Paster could say (this is my flock, not this) nor any flock could say (Peter is our Pastor, not Andrew.) Therefore there was no Church-state in any of these congregations as where there is not a head of a Family and members, there is not a Family, and so you prove not Jerusalem a presbyteriall Church over many fixed and formed Churches, as they are in Scotland, and if the Apostles were pastors in a circular and fluid way to many congregations, every one was a pastor to many congregations and so elected by many congregations: which is absurd.
Ans. 1. Fixed or not fixed cannot vary the essence of the go∣vernment. 1. The Priests, Levites, and Prophets teaching in the wildernes from place to place, and the people by war scattered to sundry Tribes, doth not make these meetings not to be under the government of the great Sanedrim, more then if the meeting made a fixed Synagogue, divers members and dverso heads in one Family occasioned by death, and pestilence, diverse Souldiers and new Commanders in a Regiment, diverse Inhabitants, yea and weekly altered rulers and watchmen in a City, doth not in∣fer that that family, Regiment, and City is not under one govern∣ment of the City, one of the whole army, and one parliamentary law of the whole kingdome; no more then if all were fixed in members and heads. 2. Churches their persecution may have both members and teachers removed to a corner, and altered, yet they remain the same single Congregation having the same go∣vernment. 3. Officiating in the same word, seales, censures, by Pe∣ter, to day, and by Andrew, to morrow, though members also be changed, is of the same species and nature, even to the worlds and, if we suppose the Church of Ierusalem to be one Congregation induring a patterne these sixteen hundred yeares, members and officers must be often altered, yet it is one Congregation in specie, and one single Church in nature, though not in number, and the government not altered, through the fluidity and alteration of members and officers, as it is the same Parliament now which was in the raigne of King Iames, though head and members be altered; fluidity and alteration of rulers and members must be, by reason of mortality accidentall to all incorporations, and yet their government for all that doth remaine the same in nature, if these same Lawes, and Government in nature by these Lawes remaine.