CHAP. 9. SECT. 9.
Of the addition of Members to the Church.
THE Author sayth, a Church cannot consist of a fewer num∣ber*then seven, since there must be foure of them, a Pastor, Doctor, Elder, and a Deacon.
Ans. And wee contend not for number, but foure may be a Church of your making, and in Church-covenant: for it is a wonder, that you require officers who by your Doctrine, can∣not be parts of the Church, seeing you make them accidents of the Church, and teach that the Church, in its being and operation, is before any officers be ordained in it: the acci∣dents of a subject, and a subject make not multiplication, Peter & his learning and whitenesse make not two Peters. And there∣fore seeing three believers may be united in your Church-co∣venant, they must be a Church: and seeing these foure officers, a Pastor, an Elder, a Doctor, and a Deacon must be chosen by the Church, yea and ordained also (by your Doctrine) neede they must have their ordination and lawfull calling from Page 242 three, and so these three must be their Church electing them; and a numerous congregation, we dislike with you.
Author, These who are to be added, are to make knowen to the Elders their desire to be added, that they may be tryed, if he be found graceles or scand•lous, he is not to be presented to the Church; if no exception be against him, he confesseth his Faith publickly, and shew∣eth the grace of God to his soule in drawing him out of the State of sin.
Answ. 1. Wee reade not that three thousand added to the Church at one Sermon, Acts 2. Nor any other that we reade of, were in this manner and order added, and therefore this way we suspect. 2. You require in one to be added that he be not graceles and scandalous, to be free from scandals is visible and is required in a visible Church member, but grace is in∣visible and can be a note of a member of the invisible Church, but no wayes a note of a member of the visible Church. The A∣postles required it not in Simon Magus.
The Author in the same place proceedeth to prove that none can be members of the visible Church, but such as be regenerated so far as the Church can discerne. Hence our,
1. Quest. Whether the members of the visible Church be only visible saints, sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty, temples of the holy spirit, &c.
1. Distinct. Any who blamelesly professeth Christ is Eccle∣siastically, in foro Ecclesiae, a true and valid member of the Church visible, having Ecclesiasticall power valid for that effect: but, except he be a sincere Believer, he is not morally and in fo•o Dei, a living member of the invisible Church.
2. Dist. That which is unseene is the forme and essence of an invisi∣ble Church, and that which is visible must be the essentiall forme of a visible Church.
3. Dist. The invisible Church Catholick is the principall, prime and native subject of all the priviledges of Christians, the covenan• premises, titles of Spouse, bride, redeemed Temple of the holy spirit, &c. And the Church visible as she is such, is no wayes such a subject, the non-consideration whereof we take to be the ground of many errors, in our reverend brethren in this matter, which also deceived Papists, as our Divines demonstrate.
Page 243 4. Dist. A seene profession is the ground of members admission to the visible Church. Hence there is a satisfaction of the consci∣ence of the Church in admitting of members, either in the judge∣ment of charity, or in the judgement of verity.
5. Dist. There is a satisfaction in the judgement of charity po∣sitive, when we see signes which positively assure us that such an one is regenerate: and there is a satisfaction negative when we know no∣thing on the contrary which hath a latitude: for I have a negative satisfaction of the regeneration of some, whose persons or behaviour I know neither by sight nor report. This is not sufficient for the accepting of a Church-Membership, therefore somewhat more is required.
6. Dist. There be three rankes of men here considerable. 1. Some professedly and notoriously flagitious and wicked; little cha∣rity may exclude these. 2. Some professedly sanctifyed and holy, little charity may accept and welcome such to the visible Church. 3. Some betwixt these two, of whom we have neither a certainty full and satisfactory to the conscience, that they are regenerate; nor have we any plerophory or persuasion, that they are in the State of nature.
7. It is no lesse sin to sadden the heart of a weake one, and to break the bruised reed, then out of overplus of strong charity, to give the hand to an Hypocrite, as a true Church-member.
8. Materially it is all one not to admit members of such a Church to your Church, as to separate from such a Church, and to Excommunicate such members: for it is a negative and autho∣ritative leaving of such to Satan, if it be not a positive Excommu∣nication.
9. There is a visibility of the Church by writing. 2. By Synods which meete for consultation, as our Brethren teach. 3. By Martyr∣dome. 4. The seene profession of many Churches, and these being without the bounds of a Congregation, it is not Iustice to restrict all visibility to one single Congregation. 10. Visible security, backslyding, over swaying predominants tolerated may consist with the Church, membership of a visible Church:
1. Conclus. These two be farre different, (Hic vel in hoc satu est Ecclesia vera) there or in this company there is a true Church. And this (Haec est Ecclesia vera) this determinat com∣pany Page 244 of such persons by name is a true Church) the former is true, where ever God setteth up his Candle, there be their Church-members of Christs Body either actually or potentially; for asmuch as if their be no converts there at all, yet in respect of Gods Decree which Hee beginneth to execute while as Hee erecteth a Ministery, certainly there must be some converted there at last. But as concerning the latter proposition, none can say certainly, such visible persons by name, Iohn, Paul, Anna, Mary, &c. Are the true Spouse and redeemed of Christ, because, as Divines answer to Papists, we believe the Church of Christ rather then see it. Yea, the Spouse of Christ, as the true Spouse, is all glorious within, Psal. 45. 13. and that which essentially constituteth a Spouse of Christ, is not visible, but the hidden man in the heart, 2 Pet. 3. 4. Neither is there any Union of believers as believers visible. 2. Faith and true grace are not the essence of a visible Church, as it is visible, because no∣thing simply invisible can essentially constitute that which is visible.
2. Con. The invisible and not the visible Church is the prin∣cipall, prime, and onely proper subject, with whom the cove∣nant of grace is made, to whom all the promises doe belong, and to whom all Titles, Stiles, Properties and priviledges of spe∣ciall note, in the Mediator doe belong. If our reverend Bre∣thren would be pleased to see this, they should forsake their Doctrine of a visible constituted Church, of separation, of popu∣lar government, of independency, of parochi•ll Churches, which they conceive to be the only visible Churches under the New Testament. 1. The Church, to whom the covenant, and the promises of the covenant are made, is an Church, and a seed which shall endure as the dayes of Heaven. Psal. 89. 35 36. and such as can no more fall away from being Gods people in an eternall covenant with him, then their God can alter what he has spoken, or lic, Psal. 89 33, 34, 35. They can no more cease from being in Gods Favour, or be cast off of God, then the ordinances of Heaven can depart from before God, then Heaven can be mea∣sured above, or the foundations of the Earth searched out beneath. Jerem. 31. 35. 36, 37. Nor the Mountaines and Hills can be remo∣ved out of their places. Esa. 54. 10. Or the World can be destroyed,Page 245with the waters of Noah againe: Or then God can retract his O•th and promise. Heb. 6. 18, 19, 20. But the visible Church of 〈◊〉 or that congregation or parish (as our Brethren say) of Rome, Corinth, Colosse, Thessalonica, Philippi, and the seven Churches of Asia, shall not endure as the dayes of Heaven, yea they are all this day under horrible defection of Antichistian Idolatry and Turcisme and Judaisme: if it be said, the faithfull and believing of the visible Churches at Rome, Corinth, Colosse, &c. could no more fall away, then the house of Israel and seed of David could cease to be Gods people. I answer, this is to flee to the invisible Church; but the Professors of these visible Churches as Professors and in Church-state might fall away from the Church profession. If they say, they cannot fall from the sincerity of a true profession; now yet they are aside, and flee from the visible Professors, and Churches visibility agree∣ing to the Church as visible; to the Churches sincerity and invisible grace of constancy proper to the invisible Church, and by this meaning, none are the true visible Church, nor mem∣bers thereof, but only such as have profession, and withall sin∣cerity of profession; so Hypocrites, though never so fairely in∣churched, have no power of the Keyes, of censures of excom∣munication, of admitting of Church members, of Baptizing, &c. All which is very Anabaptisme, that there is no visible Church on Earth, but a company of truely, and (in foro Dei) regenerated and converted persons and the onely redeemed of God; and. 2. Our Divines in vaine contend with papists a∣nent the visible Churches failing on Earth, for most certaine it is (except we hold with Arminians, Socinians and Papists the apostacy of Believers) neither the catholick Church, nor a particular congregation of sincere Believers can fall into heresies and lose true and saving Faith. But we hold that there is not a visible Church consisting of only visible professors never so or∣thodox, but it may fall into fundamentall heresies, and we give instance, in the sometime orthodox and visible Church of Rome which hath fallen from the sound Faith, and is become B•bel and a whore and mother of fornications. 3. A Church consisting of seven professors (which our Brethren in this place say, is a visible Church) may have foure or five, yea six hypocrites in it, Page 246 and yet the essence of a visible Church, the nature of a Church-state, Church-covenant, the power and use of the keyes is 〈◊〉 in such a Church of seven: for it is certaine, Professon, 〈◊〉 uniting themselves together in one Church-state, are not led by an infallible and apostolick Spirit, that they cannot erre in∣constituting a visible Church: but if they be fallible and ob∣noxious to error, then in erecting a Church of seven, five, six, and by the same reason all the seven may be (in foro Dei) in Gods Court, yea and (in an ordinary providence now with relation to the state of man fallen into sin) often are unbelievers and unconverted persons, and yet a visible Church performing all Church-acts of a visible profession. Now if our Brethrens grounds hold good, seven unbelievers are a company in cove∣nant with God, and can no more fall from the covenant and grace thereof, then God can lie or alter that which is gone out of his mouth.
2. The Church with whom the covenant is made, and to whom the promises of the covenant are made, is the Spouse of Christ, his mysticall body, the Sons and Daughters of the Lord God Almighty, a royall priest-hood, a chosen generation, Kings and Priests to God: but this is the invisible Church of elect be∣lievers, not the visible Church of visible professors. Therefore the invisible, and not the visible Church, is the first subject of all the priviledges of Christians, and all the promises of the co∣venant. The proposition is not doubted. I prove the assump∣tion; The visible Church as it is such, is a company of profes∣sors of the truth, and connot be, as it is such, the Spouse of Christ and his Body. 1. Because then Professors, as Professors, should be Christs redeemed Body, which is openly false and a∣gainst the Word of God: for Rom. 9. 6. for they are not all Israel, which are of Israel. 2. Our Brethrens argument is strong to prove, that the Church of Elders are not the true Church spo∣ken of in the Word; For, say they, the true Church is a flock that Christ hath Redeemed with his Blood, Acts 20. 28. The Temple of the living God, 1 Cor. 3. But the Church of Elders is not a flock of redeemed ones, and Temples of the holy Spirit, but in so far as they believe, and are elected to glory, and not as a flock of Elders, are they redeemed: so they say, true Elders, as Elders, Page 247 are not a part of the true Church, nor the Church to whom Christ gave the keyes, Mat. 16. But the Church making Pe∣ters confession. So say wee, the Church of visible professors, as they are such, are not the redeemed of Christ, and Temples of the holy Spirit, but in so far as they are Believers and the elect of God. For if our Brethren say, the Church, as it is a compa∣ny of visible Professors, is also essentially the Church of Re∣deemed ones, then only the Church of visible Professors, and all the Church of visible Professors are redeemed of God, but this is absurd and false. Quod convenit〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉convenit〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Our Brethren acknowledge there may be an hundred Believers and Temples of the holy Spirit, who are a flock of redeemed ones, and yet not be a company of visible Professors. 1. Because they are not united (say they) covenant∣wayes into a Church-body. 2. (Say they) because of weakenesse and for feare of persecution, men may hide their profession as many doe in the Church of Rome, and yet be the redeemed of God, and be the seven thousand who have not bowed their knees to Baal; and our Brethren cannot say, that all the visible Church are the flock redeemed of God, for then should there be no hy∣pocrites in the visible Church. 3. In this our Brethren main∣taine one of the ••ossest poynts of the Arminian, Popish and Socinian Doctrine, even that all visible Professors are chosen to glory, redeemed of God, and the children of the promise, and that in Gods purpose, the cove•ant of grace and the pro∣mises of the covenant are made to all and every one in the visible Church, and that God hath an intention that Christ shall die for all and every one of the visible Church, and that he inten∣eth to save all and every one of the visible Church. This I prove, for if th• covenant and promises of the covenant, if the stiles of Christs Body, his Love, his Spouse, his Sister and D•ve, if the revelation of Christ made not by flesh and blood, but by Christs Father the ground of that blessed confession of Peter Mat. 16. 17. For which the keys were given to the visible Church, if I say all these be proper to the visible Church as visible, and due to her as to the first principall and prime subject, and not to the chosen redeemed and invisible Church as such, then the pro∣mises of the covenant, and all these styles belong to the vi∣sible Page 248 Church, and God promiseth and intendeth a new heart and a new spirit to all visible Professors as such, and so he in∣tendeth redemption in Christ and salvation, and Christs Righte∣ousnesse and Forgivenesse of sins to all the visible Church. But our Brethren do not (I hope) thinke that Gods intentions, are castles in the Aire, and new Ilands beyond the Moone, as if his intentions could be frustrated, and he could misse the white of the scope he shooteth at; for certainly these to whom the covenant, and promises thereof belong as to the prime and first subject, these are his covenanted people; now the orthodox and reformed Church holdeth, that the covenant and promises are preached to the whole visible Church, but for the elects sake, and that howsoever externally, the covenant of grace and promises be promulgated to every one, and all with∣in the lists of the visible Church; yet they belong in Gods Intention and gratious purpose only to the Elect of God, and his reseemed ones, to that invisible Body, Spouse, Sister, whereof Christ alone is Lord, Head, Husband, and Brother, and the first begotten amongst many Brethren. Hence let me reason thus. The Church whose gathering together, and whose unity of Faith, knowledge of the Son of God, and growth of the mea∣sure of the stature of the fulnes of Christ, the Lord intendeth by giving to them for that end, some to be Apostles, some Prophets, some Pastors and Teachers, Eph. 4. 11, 12, 13. must be the Church to which all the promises of the covenant and priviledges do belong. But the Lord intendeth the gathering together, the unity of Faith, the knowledge of the Son of God and growth of the measure of the stature of Christ only of the invisible Elected and Redeemed Church, not of the visible professing or conses∣ing Church, nor doth the Lord send Pastors and Teachers up-on a purpose and intention of gathering the visible Church, and visible Israel, except you flie to the Tents of Arminians. I conceive these arguments cannot be answered. If any say, that Christ in giving Prophets, Pastors and Teachers to his Church intendeth to save the true visible Church of the chosen and redeemed, in so far as they are chosen and redeemed, now they who answer thus, come to our hand and forsake the Doctrine of their visible Church, and say with us, that the Ministery Page 249 and the keys are given only upon a purpose on Gods part to save the invisible Church, and that all these promises of the co∣venant, the styles of Christs Spouse, Sister, Faire one, are not proper to the visible Church, nor any ground or argument to prove that the keys, the power of excommunication, ordaining of officers are given to the visible Church, as to the prime and principall subject.
4. The invisible Church; and not the visible Church as it is such, hath right to the Sacraments, because these who have right to the covenant, have right to the seales of the covenant; and this is Peters argument to prove the baptizing of Infants to be lawfull, Acts 2. 38, 39. But only the invisible Church hath right to the covenant. For God saith only of, and to the invisible Church. and not of the visible Church in his gratious purpose, Jerem. 32. 38. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people, Jer. 31. 33. I will put my Law in their inward parts, 34. They shall all know me (all within the covenant) I will for∣give th•ir iniquity. Now the visible Church as the visible Church is not within the covenant, therefore the visible Church as the visible Church, and being no more but the visible Church, hath not right to the Seales of the covenant, but in so far as they are within the covenant, and in so far as God is their God, and they his pardoned and sanctified people, as it is, Ierem. 31. 33 34.
5. It is knowen that our Brethren here joyne with Papists, for Papists ignorant of the Doctrine of the visible Church, la∣bour to prove that the visible Church on Earth, the Ministeriall, Teaching and Governing Church, cannot erre, but that she conver•ed in a visible Synod, and met in Christs Name, hath a promise of an infallible assistance. And by what argumunts do they prove it? You know here Bellarmine, Pererius, Tolet, Stapleton, Bail••s, Suarez. Vasquez, Harding, Gretsirus, Coste∣rus, Turrecremata, Salmoron, Locinus, Cajetan, and an host of them say, because the Church is builded on a Rock, and against it the Gates of Hell shall not prevaile: because Christ saith, I have prayd to the Father that thy Faith faile thee not: because Christ saith, I will send you the holy Spirit, and he shall leade you into all truth. Now our Divines say, that the invisible Church of Page 250 Elect believers cannot fall off the Rock, and cannot fall from saving Faith, and cannot erre by falling into fundamentall here∣sies, but it followeth not; Ergo, the visible ministeriall and Teaching Church, either out of a Synod, or convened in a Sy∣nod, have an infallible and Apostolick Spirit to lead them so, as in their determinations they cannot erre. Just so our bre∣thren take all the places for the priviledges, covenant, promises, stiles of Sister, Love, Dove, Spouse, mysticall Body of Christ, &c. Which are proper only to the invisible, redeemed, chosen, sanctified Church of God: and they give all these to their only visible ministeriall and right constituted Church in the New Testament; and say that this visible church gathered in a church-state, because of the foresaid priviledges and stiles, hath the supreame and independent power and authority of the keys, above all Teachers and Pastors whatsoever, and that the right visible church consisteth only of a Royall generation, Temples of the Holy Ghost, a people in covenant with God, taught of God, partakers of the Divine nature, &c. And that all visible churches that meet not in a materiall House, in a visible and conspi∣cious Society, as on visible Mount Zion, and not consisting of such a covenanted, sanctified, and separated people, are a false church, false in matter, not an ordinance of Christ, but an Idoll, an antichristian device, a Synagogue of Satan voyd of the power of the Keys.
6. A church in covenant with God, and the Spouse of Christ, and his mysticall Body, and a church which he redeemed with the Blood of God, Acts 20. 28. Eph. 5. 25. 26. Col. 1. 18. 1 Cor. 12. 12. Is a church whereof all the members without exception are taught of God. Jerem. 31. 34. They shall all know me (saith the Lord) from the least, unto the greatest. Esa. 54. 13. All thy children shall be taught of the Lord. And therefore they all haveing heard and learned of the Father, come to Christ, Iohn 6. 45. and therefore have all the anointing within them which teacheth them all things, 1 Iohn 1. 27. And so they have all Eares to heare. Yea among such a company, Esai. 35. 9. 10. there is no Lyon, no ravenous beast, but the Redeemed and Ransom∣ed of the Lord. But so it is that no visible congregation on Earth, that are visible Professors of any competent number, is such Page 251 a Church whereof all the members are taught of God, all ran∣somed and redeemed, and therefore no visible church, as such is a people or Church in covenant with God. See aRodgers Catechisme.
3. Conclus. A visible profession of the Truth and Doctrine of godlinesse, is that which essentially constituteth a visible church, and every member of the visible church; onely our Brethren and we differ much about the nature of this profession which is required in members added to the Church. Our Brethren will have none members of the visible Church, but such as are satis∣factory to the consciences of all the visible church, and give evidences so cleare, as the judgement of discerning men can atraine unto, that they are truly regenerated. We againe do teach, that the scandalously wicked are to be cast out of the Church by excommunication, and these of approved piety are undoubtedly members of the visible Church, so these of the middle sort are to be acknowledged members of the Church, though the Church have not a positive certainty of the judge∣ment of charity, that they are regenerated, so they be knowen. 1 To be Baptized. 2. That they be free of grosse scandals. 3. And professe that they be willing hearers of the Doctrine of the Gospell. Such a profession, as giveth evidences to the positive certainty of the judgement of charity, of sound con∣version, is not required to make and constitute a true visible Church.
1. Argu. Israel entered in covenant with God, Deut. 29. was a true visible Church, as our Brethren Teach, because that they conceive to be a Church-covenant, Deut. 29, but Churches by that Oath were not such, as to the satisfaction of Moses, and the whole people their consciences gave positive certainty of sound conversion. Because v. 4. The Lord (saith the Text) hath not given you an heart to perceive, nor eyes to see, nor Eares to heare to this day, Deut. 31. 27. for I know thy Rebellion and thy stif∣neck, behell, while I am yet alive with you this day, yee have been rebellions against the Lord. ver. 21. Deut. 32. v. 5. v. 15, 16, 17. Josh. 24. 23.
2. Argu. Christ would not seven times have said. He that hath Eares to heare, let him heare what the Spirit saith to thePage 252Churches, if he had not supposed that in these seven Churches, there were blind, obdurate, and carnall hearers, as there were when, Mat. 13. upon occasion of the like hearers, he uttereth these same words in substance. Now Christ would have blam∣ed their ill discerning in admitting such to be the materialls of a visible Church, as hee reproveth their other faults in govern∣ment. Neither could Christ reprove these Churches, for not exercising the Church-censures against liers, false Apostles, fleshly Nicolaitans, followers of Balaams wicked Doctrine, Jezebed and other ill doers and seducers, if these had not been Church∣members, as our Brethren teach, how can we conceive, that Christ would call these Churches, who were false in the matter, or give his presence and communion by walking among the golden candlestickes, and holding the starres, the Ministery, in his right hand? And if every one of these Churches were approved to the consciences one of another, that they positively knew they were all of them, a royall Priest-Hood, an holy Generation, all taught of God, all sonnes and daughters of the Lord God Almighty, how are there such grosse scandals put upon them by Jesus Christ?
3. Argu. Paul clearely teacheth, 1 Cor. 5. That the Church of Corinth convened had the power of the Lord Iesus amongst them, and was a betrothed Bryde espoused in a Church cove∣nant, even all of the visible Church as one chaste Virgin to God, as our Brethren prove from the, 1 Cor. 11. 1, 2, 3. Who had re∣ceived the Spirit and the Gospell, their minds being knit thereunto, in the simplicity of Iesus Christ; now if the matter of this betrothed Church was such, as our Brethren say, then Christs Power, and Presence and Spirit, were in these as the Temples of the Holy Ghost, and these were betrothed to Christ Iesus, and had received the Spirit and were Saints by calling, were justified, washen, sanctified, who were incestuous, Forni∣cators, Drunkards, Railers, carnall, Schismaticks, going to the Law one with another before Infidells, partakers of the Table of Christ and of divells, deniers of the Resurrection, to whom the Word was the savour of Death, and the Gospell as it is to these, whom the God of this world, Satan, hath blinded. What can be more repugnant to the truth and to the Gospell of Christ? It cannot Page 253 be answered, that these in Corinth who were hypocrites and walked so contrary to the Gospell were not members of the Church of Corinth. For only the truly converted were such. I answer. 1. Then Paul writeth not to the visible Church and to all whom he doth rebuke, the contrary whereof is cleare. 1 Cor. 2. 11. 2 Cor. 3. 22. 1 Cor. 5. 1. 2. 1 Cor. 6. 1. 2. 3. 1 Cor. 11. 17 18 19, 30. 1 Cor. 15. 12. 1 Cor. 10. 21. 1 Cor. 8. and in many other places.
2. Then the visible church was not betrothed to Christ as a chaste Virgin: contrary to this our Brethren alleadged, 1 Cor. 11. 1 2, 3. 3. Not only is conversion professedly true in the judg∣ment of charity, but also in the judgement of verity, essenti∣all to a visible church as you teach; and so none can be a mem∣ber of the visible church, but he who is a member of the invisible Church, which is Anabaptisme. 4. Three thousand in one day were added to the visible church, who could not (as I have pro∣ved) all be approved to the conscience one of another, as true con∣verts, Acts 2. Since amongst them were Ananias and Saphira, and the time was short. 5. If we are to beare one anothers bur∣dens, and so fulfill the Law of Christ, and if grace may be beside many and great sinnes, as we see in Asa, in Salomon who remained the children of God, under many out breakings, if the children of God may be the children of God, and yet some of them habitually proud, passionate, some of them worldly minded, some talkative and imprudently rash in zeale, some lustfull, some slothfull, some ambiticus, yea and if Simon Magus his profession, though false, was esteemed sufficient, for to give him baptisme, the Seale of the covenant, Acts 8. 9. Then it is not required that all the members of the visible church be such as positively wee know (so farre as humane knowledge can reach) that they are converted, yea if this were true, then spe∣ciall commandements would be given, that as we are to exa∣mine and try our selves, 1 Cor. 11. 28. 2 Cor. 13. 5. And to try officers before they be admitted, 1 Tim. 3. 10. 1 Tim. 5 22. and to try the spirits of Prophets and their Doctrine, 1 Iohn 4. 1. and, 1 Thess. 5. 21. Acts 17. 13. So would God in his Word give a charge, that we try, examine and judge carefully one ano∣ther, and that every man labour to be satisfied in conscience Page 254 anent the regeneration one of another. But such commande∣ments we reade not of. 6. If many be brought and called into the visible church, of purpose both on Gods revealed intenti∣on in his Word to convert them, and on the churches part that they may be converted; Then doth not the church con∣fist of these who are professedly converted, but the former •• true; Ergo, so is the latter. The proposition is sure, these whom God purposeth to convert by making them Church-members, they are not Church-members because they are al∣ready converted. I prove the assumption, because. 1. The con∣trary doctrine, to wit, that none are under a pastors care till they be first converted, maketh to the eversion of the publick Ministery, and gratifieth Arminians and Socinians, as before I observed, because Faith commeth not by hearing of sent pa∣stors, as Gods ordinance is, Rom. 10. 14. but by the contra∣ry, we aske a warrant from the Testament of Christ, that now since the Apostles are not in the Earth, private men not sent to preach, should be ordinary Fishers of men, and gatherers of Christs church and Kingdome. 2. That Christ hath provided no Pastors nor Teachers to watch over the Elect, yet remaining in the Kingdome of darknesse, and that Christ ascending on high, as a victorious King hath not given Pastors and Teachers by office to bring in his redeemed flock, which he hath bought with his blood, Acts 20. 28. 3. It is against the nature of the visible Kingdome of Christ which is a d•aw-net and an offici••, a workehouse of externall calling into Christ, even such as are serving their honour, buying a Farme; and their gaine, buying five yoke of Oxen; and their lusts, having married a Wife. Luk. 14. 16, 17 18. 4. It is against the nature of the Ministery, and Wisdomes maides, sent out to compell them to come in. Luke 14. 23. Matthew 22. 4, 5, 6. Prov. 9. 2, 3, 4, 5. who are yet without.
7. If none can be members while they be first converted. 1. The church visible is made a church visible without the Ministe∣ry of the church. 2. These who are baptized are not by bap∣tisme entered in the visible Church contrary to Gods Word, 1 Cor. 12. 13. and the sound judgement of all Divines. 3. All these who are baptized. 2. Who write as Doctors for the de∣fence Page 255 of the Orthodox Faith. 3. Who seale the Truth with their sufferings and blood. 4. Who keepe communion with visible Churches, in hearing, partaking of the Word and Seales, as occasion serveth, if they be not professedly and notoriously to the consciences of a particular parish converted to Christ, are no members of the visible church.
8. All our Brethrens arguments to prove this Doctrine doe onely prove the truly regenerate to be members of the in∣visible Church, and not of the visible Church. And if the arguments bee naught, the conclusion must bee naught and false.
9. It is against the Doctrine of Fathers, as aAugustinebCypriancGregoriusdChysostomeeNazianzenfEu∣sebius. Who al accord that the visible church is a company of pro∣fessors, consisting of good and bad, like the Arke of Noah as gHierome maketh comparison.
I might cite Ireneus, Tertullian, Origen, Cyrillus, Basilius, Hilarius, Presper, Ambrosius, Primasius, Sedulius, Just. Mar∣tyr, Clemens Alexandrinus, Euthymius, Theophylact, Epiphani∣us, Theodoret, and Luther, Melanchton, Chemnitius, Meisner∣us, Hunius, Hemingius, Gerardus, Crocius, Calvin, Beza, Voe∣tius, Sadeel, Plesseus, Whittakerus, Ioannes Whyte, Fransc. Whyte, Reynoldus, Iuellus, Rich. Feildus, Perkinsius, Pau. Baynes, Trelcatius, Tilenus, Piscator, Ursinus, Paraeus, Sibrandus, Pro∣fessores Leydenses, Antonius Wallaeus, And. Rivetus, Pet. Mo∣lineus, Dam. Tossanus, Mercorus, Fest. Hommius, Bullingerus, Mns∣culus, Rollocus, Davenantius, Mortonus.
Quest. 2. Whether or no our Brethren prove by valid agu∣ments, the constitution of the Church visible to be only of visible Saints, of sanctified washen and justified persons.
Let us begin with our present Authour, and with what the (a) Apology saith. We admit all, even Infidells to the hearing of the Word, 1 Cor. 14. 24▪ 25. Yet we receive none as members*••to our Church, but such as (according to the judgement of charitable Christians,) may be conceived to be received of God, unto fellowship with Christ the head of the Church. Our rea∣sons be. 1. From the neere relation betwixt Christ Jesus and the Church, as also betwixt the Church and other persons of thePage 256Trinity. The Lord Jesus is the head of the Church; even of the vi∣sible Church, and the visible Church is the body of Christ Jesus 1 Cor. 12. and 27.
Answ. To admit as ordinary hearers of the Word and Church Prayers, is a degree of admission to Church-communion, and they who are baptized, and ordinarily heare, and pro∣fesse a willing mind to communicate with the Church in the holy things of God, they being not scandalously wicked are to be admitted, yea and are members of the Church visible.•. Set the first reason in forme it is thus; These only are to be received as Church members who are conceived to be members of that body whereof Christ is head. But the promisccous multitude of professors are not conceived to be such, but on∣ly the sanctified in Christ Iesus are such. Or thus, If Christ be the head of the visible Church, then only such are to be ad∣mitted members of the visible Church, as are conceived to be members of Christ the head, and not the promiscuous multi∣tude of good and bad. But the former is true; Ergo, so is the latter. 1. If Christ be the head of the visible Church as visible, it would seeme onely these who are conceived Members of CHRIST, should bee admitted Members of the vi∣sible body. True and in this meaning let the Major passe; but if Christ be the head of the visible church not as it is vi∣sible, but as it is a body of believers and invisible, then we see no reason to yeeld the connexion: Because Christ is the Head of True Believers, therefore none should be admitted members of the Church, but such as we conceive are Believers, because they are to be admitted to the visible Church, who are willing to joyne themselves are baptized and doe professe Christ to be their Head, though we cannot conceive whether they be sound believers or not; for a profession is sufficient to make them members of the visible body, though indeed to be sou•d Believers, maketh them members of Christs Body invisible. 2. That Christ is the Head of the visible Church, as visible, i• not in all the Word of God, he is the Head of the Church catholick and invisible, by influence of the Life and Spirit of Christ, Eph. 1, 22, 23. Eph. 4. 16. Coloss. 1. 18. and in a large sense may be called the Head of the church-visible, as visible, Page 257 in regard of the influence of common graces for the Ministery; government, and use of the keys: but because of such a degree of Christs Head-ship, it followeth only that these are to be ad∣mitted members under Christ the Head, whom we conceive to be •t members of the Church, as it is a Ministeriall and a go∣verning society, and for this there is not required an union with Christ, as head, according to the influence of the life of Christ, but only an union with Christ, as head, according to the in∣fluence of common gifts, for the governing a Ministeriall Church; in which respect, Christ may be called the Head of Judas the Traitor, and of some other hypocriticall Professors; and also though the promiscuous multitude, that is a multitude of prophane Atheists and scandalous mockers, be not mem∣bers of Christ, nor are to be acknowledged as his members, but to be Excommunicated, yet the promiscuous multitude of Pro∣fessors, whereof there be Reprobate and Elect, good and bad, are to be received and acknowledged as members of Christs vi∣sible body, wherof he is Head in the latter sense. 2. The Argu∣ment proceedeth upon the false ground before observed and discovered, that Christ is Head of the Church and the Spouse, redeemer and Saviour of the visible Church, as it is visible, which is the Arminian Doctrine of universall grace. 3. If these who are conceived to be members of Christ the Head and sound Be∣lievers are to be admitted, why doe you professe that Brethren of approved piety, and so conceived to be Believers by you, and consequently members of Christ the Head, cannot be mem∣bers of your Church, except they sweare to your Church go∣vernment, which you cannot make good from Gods Word. Now to refuse communion to these who are knowen to be mem∣bers of Christs body, and to separate from them is all one, and therefore in this you separate your selves from Christs Body.
The Author addeth. The visible Church is said to be the habi∣tation of God by the Spirit, Eph. 2. 22. to be the Temple of the Ho∣ly Ghost, and the Spirit of God to dwell in them, 1 Cor. 3. 16, 17. To he espoused to Christ as a chaste Virgin. 2 Cor. 11. and sonnes and daughters of the Lord God Almighty. 2 Cor. 6. 18. And are exhorted to be followers of him as deare children, Eph. 5. 1. Now how can the visible Church be the members of the Body and thePage 258Spouse of Christ, & c. Except they be in charitable discerning (as indeed the Holy Ghost discribeth them to be) Saints by calling. 1 Cor. 1. 2. and faithfull Brethren, Gal. 1. 2. and that not only in exter∣nall profession (for these are too high stiles for hypocrites) but in some measure of sincerity and truth.
Answ. The argument must be thus. These only we are to admit members of the visible Church, who in the judgement of charity are conceived to be such as were the members of the visible Church of Corinth and Ephesus.
But only such as are the habitation of God by his Spirit, and the sons and daughters of the living God, not only in profession, but in some measure of truth and sincerity, were the members of the visible Church of Corinth and Ephesus:
Ergo, such onely are we to admit to be members of the visible Church.
Now this argument concludeth not what is in question; Ergo, only these are to be admitted members of the visible Church, whom we conceive to be the Spouse of Christ, and truely rege∣nerated. Now if our conception be erroneous (as it cannot be infallible) then we may admit these who are not regenerated, to the Church-membership, if we conceive them to be regenera∣ted; and so our Brethren say falsely, that the admitted must be Saints and faithfull, not only in profession, but in some measure of sincerity und truth, for these are members of the invisible Church who are truly and in a measure of sincerity regenerated, if our conception be not erroneous: yet it is by accident, that they are admitted de facto, who are not Saints in truth, for the Church may be deceived, and receive in for members of the Head Christ, hypocrites and such as are not the Habitation of God by his Spirit, but of Satan; as is cleare in Ananias and Saphira admitted by the Apostles to Church-fellowship, Acts 5. 1. 2. and in Simon Magus, Acts 8. admitted to the Church and bapti∣zed by the Apostolick Church, who was yet in the Gall of bit∣terness.
But. 1. The assumption is false, for the Apostle admitted to be members of the Church visible of Corinth and Ephesus, not only Saints by true profession, but also carnall men, deniers of the Resurrection, partakers of the Tables of Divells, and in Page 259Ephesus false Apostles and Liers, Revel. 2. 3. But Paul speaketh of Corinth according to the best part: for the Epistle and Doctrine of the covenant is written and preached for the Elects sake and for Believers; neither is the covenant of grace made with the Reprobate and Unbelievers, nor doe the promises of the co∣venant, indeed, and in Gods Intention belong to the visible Church, though the Word be preached to carnall men for their conviction. 3 This proposition is false (these onely we are to admit to the visihle Church, whom we conceive to be Saints, and are in the judgement of charity perswaded they are such) for the Apostles admit all Professors, even three thousand at one Ser∣mon in one day, Acts 2. and they could not be perswaded in the judgement of charity, that they were all Saints. 4. This argument sayth, that all the visible Church of Ephesus was a Spouse betrothed to Christ, and Saints by calling, which the Word of God sayth not. For were all the carnall in Corinth betrothed as one chaste Virgin to Christ? were these who called themselves Apostles in Ephesus and tryed by Church censures to be Liers, Revel. 2. 2, 3. betrothed to Christ as a chaste Virgin? were all the visible Church the sinnes and daughters of the Lord God Almighty? and that not only in profession but in some mea∣sure of sincerity and truth? It is true, the stiles given to the Church of Corinth are too high to be given to hypocrites, but these stiles are not given to that Church precisely, as visible and as a professing Church, as you suppose, but as an visible and true Church of Believers: for a Church of Believers and a Church of Professors of beliefe are very different. Paul writing to the Corinthians writeth to a visible Church, but he doth not speake alwayes of them as a visible Church, but as of an invisible, when he calleth them Temples of the Holy Ghost, Saints by calling, &c. he wrote the Epistles to the incestuous man, whom he command∣eth to cast out of the Church.
We reade (saith the Author) Acts 2. 43. that the Lord added to the Church such as should be saved, and how then shall we adde to the Church, such as God addeth not; such as have no shew of any spirituall worke in them to any spirituall discerning? Ought not the Lords Stewards to be faithfull in Gods House? And to doe nothing therein, but as they see God going before them, receivingPage 260whom he receiveth, and refusing whom he refuseth. So upon this ground Paul willeth the Romans to receive a weak brother, because God hath received him, Rom. 14. 1, 2, 3.
Answ. Gods acts of speciall and gratious providence, are not rules of duties to us; God addeth to the Church as it is invisible and Christs Body, it followeth not therefore we are to adde to the Church visible as visible. Gods adding is invisible by giving Faith and saving grace to some to professe sincerely, be∣cause we see not Faith nor sincerity, therefore Gods adding can∣not be a rule to our adding. God doth adde a person falling into an open scandall to the Church invisible, having given him true Faith, but the Church is not to adde him, but to cut him off, if he be obstinate to the Church, and refuse him, and so this proveth nothing, nor is the place, Rom. 14. by any, except your selves, expounded of a receiving into a Church-communion, as is elsewhere declared. 2. Where there is no shew of saving worke of conversion; there you thinke the Stewards want God go∣ing before to receive, but then except God be seene to goe before to regenerate, the Church Stewards cannot follow to adds such to the Church; but since that same power that casteth out of the Church holdeth out of the Church, if any after they be received, shall be found to be not added of God, because they be not regenerated, yet we are not to cast any out for non-regene∣ration, even knowen, except it breake out into scandals, and then the person is not cast out for non-regeneration, for though he were knowen to be regenerated, yet for scandals the Church is obliged to cast him out, because the scandall leaveneth the whole Church, and. 2. The casting out is a meane to save the spirit in the day of the Lord. But I prove, none are to be cast out for non-regeneration, where there be no outbreakings into scandalls. 1. Because, de occultis Ecclesia non judicat, non-Regeneration where it is not backed with publick scandalls is a hidden thing, that the Church can neither judge nor censure. 2. None are to be cast out but for such a scandall, that if the party deny, should be proved by two witnesses, as Christs Law provideth, Mat. 18. 16. 1 Tim. 5. 19. 3. Onely publick scandalls which of∣fend many, are to be censured by the Church, 1 Tim. 5. 20. that others may feare. But non-regeneration breaking out into Page 261 no scandalls, can neither be proved by witnesses, if the party deny, nor is it a seene thing which giveth publick scandalls, and therefore is not the object of Church censures. For it is evident though the Stewards see some not regenerated, and so not added by the Lord to the Church they are to adde these same and cannot cast them out. And yet God goeth before them in adding them to the visible Church, when they professe the truth. 3. God addeth such as should be saved to the visible Church by baptisme, because the adjoyning to a visible Church is a way to salvation, but it followeth not that all whom God addeth to the visible Church are saved ones, for then the visible Church should consist only of believers, which only Anabaptists teach. 4. Whereas he sayth, The Stewards should be faithfull, and should not adde except God adde, it seemeth to infer that either all the people are Stewards, and so Officers contrary to Gods Word, Eph. 4. 11. 1 Cor. 12. 29. or that onely officers admit Church-members, which is against our Brethrens Doctrine, for they teach, that the whole multitude of believers are only to adde and cast out.
3. If Peters confession (sayth the Author) be a Rock on which*the visible Church (to which onely the Keys are given) is built, then to receive these who can hold forth no such profession is to build without a foundation.
Answ. This conclusion is against your selves, no lesse then against us, except all and every one whom you admit, be buil∣ded upon this Rock; if there be hypocrites in your Church (as you cannot deny it) then you build without a foundation. 2. By this, Peter before this confession was an un-churched Pastor built upon no Church-foundation, 3. By this place is not pro∣ved that the keys are given to the Church of Believers, but to the Ministers, for then against no parochiall Church can the gates of Hell prevaile. All the Fathers with good reason, as Au∣gustine, Chrysostome, Cyrill, Tertullian, Hieronim. Nazianzen, Cyprian, Ambrose, &c. And our Divines against Papists (whom you side with in this) deny, that Christ meaneth here of the visible Church, such as Rome or Corinth, but of the catholick and invisible Church.
4. When (saith the Author) Christ saith, Mat. 22. 12. Friend,Page 262how camest thou here not having thy wedding garment, he doth in∣timate a taxing of these, by whose connivence he came.
Answ. The contrary is in the Text, v. 9. Goe ye therefore to the high wayes, and as many as you finde, bid. Here is a charge that ministers invite and call all, and so the Church is a compa∣ny of externally called, though few of them be chosen, as v. 14. and their obedience is commended, v. 10. so these servants went out into the high wayes, and gathered together all, as many as they found both good and bad. This is a praising rather then a taxing, seeing they are commanded, without trying or selecting only the regenerated, to call in as many as they finde both good and bad. For as many as you finde is as good in sense, as both good and bad, and the latter doth expound the former, and when the Lord commandeth them to bring in as many as they finde, and they finde in the streetes both good and bad, therefore they bee commanded to bring in both good and bad. 2. Yea, the very scope of the parable is contrary to this; the scope is that many are called externally, and so are the visible Church and that by Gods speciall command both here, v. 9. 10. and Luk. 14. v. 17. v. 21. v. 24. and yet few are chosen, and of the invisible Church. And Luk. 14. severall times the servants or pastors call all (by the Lord of the feasts commandement) without exception of regene∣rated or not regenerated.
5. Christ in the parable imputeth it to the sleepines and negli∣gence of the servants, that tares were sowen amongst his wheat, Mat. 13. 35, 38, 39. Ergo, Pastors are to be blamed that there be scandalous persons in the visible Church.
Answ. This doth but strengthren Anabaptists who object∣ed the same a It is a fault that a very popish Doctor Aquinas condemneth. Theologia symbolic• non est argumentativa. For it is not said, while the servants sleeped, the envious man did s•w his seed, but while men sleeped, which is spoken (saith bPareus) according to the manner of men, for otherwise Gods providence can hinder the growing of tares; and cCajetan saith, here is not accused the negligence of pastors, and certainly since as dBul∣linger observeth well, Christ when he expoundeth the parable, passeth this part of it, to teach us (as eCalvin saith) not to presse every part and tittle of a parable, except we would be (saith Page 263Bullinger) Christo argutiores, sharper sighted then Christ, and therefore the Author alleadgeth that by sleeping of men is under∣stood the negligence of pastors, but that is beside the Text and is not expounded at all of Christ, but signifieth that men cannot see the hollownesse and falsehood of Hypocrites, till it breake out in their actions, no more then the sleeping husband∣man can see when weeds grow up in his F•elds. And if the Lord here condemne the sleepinesse of Pastors, for suffering scandalcus Professors to be members of the Church, how doth the Lord forbid these servants to plucke up the tares, but to let them grow till Harvest? for he commandeth the officers to cast out of the Church and excommunicate the scandalous persons. Yea certainly, seeing the Field is the Field of the visible church, it maketh for us against our Brethren, that wicked men are growing in the visible church. It is true that Barow with the Ana∣baptistes* expound the Field to be the Field of the World, mistaking Christs Words, v. 41. which indeed signifie the Field of the visible Kingdome of Christ, because the World of all mortall men is not the Lords Field, where he soweth his Wheate, but the visible Church only is such a Field. For seeing the Gos∣pell, the immortall seed of the regenerate, 1 Pet. 1. 23. is not sowen through the whole World of mortall men, Psal. 147. 19 20. Mat. 10. 5, 6. Acts 16. 6. but only in the visible Church, the Field must be Christs Field, or his World of Church-Profes∣sors. And also by this, their exposition falleth, for then it is the sleepines and sloth of Preachers that wicked men are borne in the World of mortall men, which is absurd.
We are bidden, 2 Tim. 3. 5. Turne away from such as have a form of godlines, and have denied the power thereof; Ergo, we cannot joyne*in Church communion with them.
Answ. It is cleare by this argument, to our Brethren, that one and the same reason holdeth for turning away, and separa∣tion from all persons and Churches, which are not inchurched by covenant, and constituted of visibly regenerated persons, and the not admitting Church-members. So our Brethren by this professe the lawfulnesse of separation from all Churches, except from their owne. 2. No marvell then Paul will have Timothy to separate from Apostates and from Resisters of the truth, v. 8. andPage 264from proud boasters, blasp•emers, Traitors. For such are to be excommunicated, as 1 Tim. 6. 3. 5. At l•quitur Paulus (saith a Parkerus) de fundamentali corruptione istius Doctrinae, qu• est secundum pi•tatem: but Paul here forbiddeth to exhort the proud and malitious blasphemers and resisters of the Truth, and not to waite upon them any longer, whereas otherwise he had said in the end of the preceding Chapter, 24. 25. 26. O∣thers, who are detained in the snare of Satan, must be waited on, and instructed with meekenesse, if God will give them Repentance; Ergo, Tim thy was as a Pastor to instruct unconverted persons, and to joyne in communion with them, but as for desperate enemies and blasphemers, he was not to waite on them, nor to exhort them with meekenesse. And if this Text prove any thing it will conclude against our Brethren, that such as deny the power of godlinesse, should not be hearers of the Word, and farre lesse (as our Breathren reason) members of the visible Church.
Can any (sayth the Author) judge such persons fit materials for the constituting and edifying of a Church, who are more fit for*the ruine and destruction of the Church, such as leave their first love (as all hypocrites will at length do) they procure the removall of the candlestick.
Answ. The argument must be thus formed. All these whom God intendeth shall edifie and not ruine the Church, are to be only members of the visible Church: but all knowen hypocrites are such; Ergo. The proposition is false, for if we speake of Gods se∣cret Intention and his decreeing Will; It is not a rule for the Church to square and to regulate them in the choysing or refu∣sing Church-members, because God intendeth in his decreeing wi•l, that many hypocrites, such as Judas and D•mas, shall be Church-members, and let our Brethren judge if they be fit ma∣terialls to edifie the Church. If we speake of Gods revealed will, the proposition also is false; for by our Brethrens Doctrine, it is Gods revealed will that the Church receive as Church-members latent hypocrites, such as Simon Magus, Acts 8. who are conceived to be regenerated, as the church, Acts 8. concei∣ved Simon Magus to be a sound Believer, as our Brethren say, and yet latent hypocrites, are no lesse unfit materialls to build the Page 265Church, then knowen hypocrites. 2. We doe not thinke that hypocrites fallen from their first love, and by scandalous liv∣ing declaring themselves to be such should bee kept in the Church. But so the Author alleadgeth, Revel. 2. That the Church of Ephesus falling from her first love, must bee a false constituted Church, in which there were members fitter to ruine, then to edifie the Church. And yet certaine it is, Paul, Eph. 1. and Christ, Rev•l. 2. acknowledgeth the Church of Ephesus to be a true visible Church.
We passe (saith the Author) the types of the Old Testament, which yet are not without their due weight. Rough stones were not*laid in the building of Salomons Temple till they were hewen and prepared before, 1 King. 6. 7. and behold a greater then Salo∣men is h•re, the attendance of the porteres suffering none to enter into the Temple who were uncleane (2 Chron. 23. 19.) doth evi∣dently type forth the watchfulnesse of the officers of Christs Church, to suffer none uncleane in estate or in this course of life, to enter into the fellowship of the Church, which ought to be a communi∣on of Saints. Their apology saythathough all Israel were ad∣mitted to the fellowship of the Ordinances administrated in the syna∣gegne, yet none uncleane were admitted into the Temple; for Revel. 21. without are dogs, &c. So Master Can and Robinson presse*this place.
Answ. In this Type many things are loose and doubtfull. 1. We desire a warrant from the Word, that the Temple was a Type of a visible Congregation, and that all must be as really holy before they enter into a visible congregation, as they be∣hoved to be Typically holy, who entered into the Temple of Jerusalem. The Temple is a Type of Christs Body, Iohn 2. and of the Church of the New Testament invisible, which must consist of sanctified ones, but how it is a Type of the visible Church we see not. For the Lords spirituall building whereof the Corner-stone and the foundation is Christ▪ is the Church invisible built by Faith as lively Stones upon Christ, 1 Pet: 2. 7. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious, v. 5. yee al∣so as living Stones are built up a spirituall House. opposite to the disobedient, v. 7. who stumble at the Word, v. 8. 1 Cor. 3. 9. yee are Gods building, Eph. 2. 20, 21, 22. Expressely the building Page 266 are these who are built on the Doctrine of the Prophets and A∣postles, and grow up into an holy Temple in Christ, and are the habitation of God through his Spirit. This cannot agree to a vi∣sible Church, the members whereof may be (as our Brethren teach from Revel. 2.) Hypocrites who fall from their first love. Yea also the laying on of stones on the bulding is not the act of in∣churching, or of union to a Church, as it must be, if the com∣parison prove the poynt, but the joyning of the stones to the building is the union of these stones by Faith to Christ, the chiefe corner stone, as is expounded, 1 Pet. 2. To whom com∣ming as to a living stone, v. 5. yee also as liveing stones are built, &c. Yea, and Peter doth not build this comfortable Doctrine all upon the comforts of a Church-state in a single congrega∣tion; for many of these to whom he writ, were dispersed and persecuted through Pontus, Asia, and Cappadocia, &c. And might have, and had an Union with Christ by Faith with∣out a Church Union in a Parish. 2. Though in this Type were signified a morall obligation, that all before they be in∣churched in a visible Congregation, should be converted, how is it proved that the Church should receive none to a visible Congregation till they bee converted? for these are farre different. All should be converted, but there is no new Law commanding the Church to receive none into her fellowship, but the converted. 3. The hewers of stones or builders of the Temple, must Typifie Pastors in Office, dressing stones for the spirituall building, our Brethren make them to Typifie pri∣vate Christians out of Office, and deny that any Pastors as Pastors doe fit and prepare stones to bee layd on the spi∣rituall building. Also none layd stones on that Temple save onely builders by Office, but by our Brethrens Doctrine, onely Pastors doe not convert Soules. There were no Stones at all in the Temple of Jerusalem, but choice and well squared stones, are no members of the visible Church but the chosen of God?
3. If the Porters typifie the Ministers of visible Churches, first only Porters hold out the uncleane; Ergo, onely Pastors should hold out the scandalous, but you admit the whole Church with equall authority to take in, or refuse Church-members. 2. If the Page 267 Temple be a Type of the visible Church, then no prophane per∣son, nor uncircumcised in heart should meet with the visible Church to heare the Word, for hearing of the word prophanes the holy things of God. This you cannot say, for infidels may be, as you say, fellow-partners with the Church, in hearing the word. 3. Robinson holdeth athat Abrahams seed, and so all the Jewes were to separate themselves from the world, that they might be a visible Church to God, but we read not that the porters were to hold out any wicked person. Yea Jer. 7. pro∣fessedly they came to the Temple of the Lord who were theeves, adulterers, and wicked persons. And so by that neither are the porters of the visible Churches of the New Testament to hold out unconverted persons because they are unconverted.
Lastly, the place, Revel. 22. 15. For without are dogges, &c. is fouly abused when it is applied to the visible Church, where there may be, and ordinarily are dogges; yea and liers, Revel. 2. 2. *idolaters, v. 14. Napper, Pareus, Marlorat, expoundeth it of the Kingdome of glory, for it is that Kingdome spoken of, Rev. 21. 27. but within that Kingdome cannot enter any thing that defileth, neither what soever worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they which are written in the Lambes booke of life, But it is a∣gainst all reason and the Lords Word that in the visible Church is nothing that defileth, that is no sinne, but onely those who are written in the Lambes book of life. This is the very doctrine of Anabaptists though we know our deare brethren hate that Sect, and their Doctrine.
aRobinson. The purest Church on Earth may consist of good and bad in Gods Eye, but the question is about the true and naturall members, whereof the Church is orderly gathered, but as it were fond Philosophy, in the discription of Wives and Children, to make Rebellion a naturall property of a child, and Whoredome of a Wife, so it is as profane Divinity to make ungodly persons the true matter of the Church, and prophanenesse a property of the same, because many seeming Saints creepe in.
Answ. If the holiest Church visible on Earth consist of good and bad, before God, then to be partakers of the Divine nature, Temples of the holy Ghost, Saints by calling, is not of the es∣sence of a visible Church, nor is it essentiall to make one a mem∣ber Page 268 of the visible Church, that he be converted. It is sufficient that he be a professor of the Faith. And it is a poore compa∣rison to say, that prophannesse cannot be put in the description of a visible Church, for in the essence of a visible Church as visible, we neither include Holinesse nor Propanenesse, but only a visible com∣pany professing the Faith of Christ and called by the Ministery of the Word, whether they be Believers or Unbelievers it is all one, neither of the two belongeth to the essence of a visible church: a visible Church is saved in the number of fourty, all being conver∣ted, or in 40. being all unconverted, so they be externally called by the Ministery of the Gospell and prosesse the same. And it is as foolish to make holinesse the essence of a child, as to make it of a visible Church, and as vaine to make chastity the essence of a married Wife; for this is not our philosophy, but a conceit of Mr. Robinson falsely imputed to us.
aRobinson. All the Churches that ever the Lord planted consisted of good only, as the Church of the Angells in Heaven and of mankind in Paradise. God hath also these same ends in creating and restoring his Churches, and if it were the Will of God that persons notoriously wicked should be admitted into the Church, then should God directly crosse himselfe and his owne ends, and should receive into the visible covenant of grace, such as were out of the visible estate of grace, and should plant such in his Church for the glory of his Name, as served for no other use, then to cause his Name to be blasphemed.
Answ. This argument proveth that the visible Church is not a visible Church, except it consist of onely holy and gratious persons, without any mixture; and so not only holinesse in pro∣fession, but holinesse reall and before God is required essenti∣ally to a visible Church. Then Pastors, Doctors and Professors, binding and loosing, clave non errante, are not a visible Church. Yea, this is downe right Anabaptisme that no visible Churches are on Earth, but such as consist of reall Saints only. 2. It is most ignorantly reasoned, that God in creating Man and An∣gells good, did not intend that they should fall by his permission, but that they should continue holy and then God was frustrated of his end, as Arminians and Socinians Teach. So sayth aArminius Antiperk.bCorvinus. The Remonstrants Page 259c at Dort, and dSocinus, that God intendeth and purposeth many things which never come to passe. 2. His Decrees faile and are changed. 3. Men may make Gods Decrees of election fast and sure, or loose and unsure, as they please. 3. Here is much ignorance that God intendeth nothing that may be against the glory of obedience due to him, as Law-giver; as if sinners and hypocrites being in the Church because they are dishono∣rable to God, should crosse Gods end, and purpose: so Ter∣tulliane bringeth in some whom he calleth dogges, thus reason∣ing against providence, which suffereth sinne to be in the World so contrary to his Will and goodnesse: And who de∣nieth but Christ commanded Judas to preach, and that the Apostles according to Gods Will and Cammandement recei∣ved Ananias, Saphira, Simon Magus in the visible Church by baptizing them (for I hope the Apostles sinned not against Gods revealed Will in admitting them to the visible Church.) And shall we say that God directly in that crosseth himselfe and his own ends, because God gathered hypocrites into his Churcch, and yet they dishonour and blaspheme the Name of God? Whiles Robinson saith, Gods maine end in gathering a visible Church is, that they being separatedf from the World, may glorifie his Name, he speaketh grosse Arminianisme, that God faileth in his ends. Lastly, he saith that God cannot will that persons notoriously wick∣ed should be in his visible Church, for then he should crosse him∣selfe and his owne ends advert (notoriously) is vainely added, seeing we teach that notoriously wicked ought to be cast out of the visible Church; as also if he shall will wicked persons, let alone notoriously wicked, or latent hypocrites to be in the Church, yea or in this visible World, he should by this Ar∣minian argument crosse himselfe and his owne ends? Do you be∣lieve with Arminians that Gods end is, that Angells and men should have stood in obedience, and that a Redeemer should never come to save sinners? And that blasphemy and sinne is against Gods purpose and intended end, and that sinne crosseth him? but when all is done it is his intention and revealed will that hypocrites be invited to the visible and preached covenant, and yet he knoweth that they are out of the visible, yea and invisible state of grace.
Page 260aRobinson. In planting the first Church in the seed of the woman, there were only Saints without any mixture, now all Churches are of one nature and essentiall constitution, and the first is the rule of the rest.
Answ. Though God planted Adam and Eve two restored per∣sons, to be the first repenting Church; from Gods fact you cannot conclude a visible Church gathered by men, should be voyd of all mixture, so as it is no visible Church; if it be a mixed com∣pany of good and bad, this is contrary to his owne comman∣dement, Mat. 22 9. Go and call as many as you finde. 2. Gods acts are not rules of morall duties, his Word and Commande∣ment doth regulate us, not his Works. God hardeneth Pha∣raos heart, should Pharao harden for that his owne heart? God forbid.
Robinson. Cajan that evill on was broken off, and cast out of the Church, and by Moses it is imputed for sin, that the sonnes of God*married with the daughters of men; Ergo, it is far more unlawful to contract with the wicked in a religious covenant of the communion of Saints.
Answ. Wee grant such as Cain are to be excommunicated, but what then? Ergo, none can be members of a visible Congre∣gation but such as Abel, we love not such consequences, a Though God forbade his people to marry with the Canaanites, yet he forbade not that the Godly and ungodly should come to the Temple together, and that Noah and cursed Cham should be in one Arke together. 3. Though it be a sinne that the wicked should mix themselves with the godly and come unto the Kings supper without the wedding garment, yet that is not the question, but if the pastors inviting all to come to the supper do sin, and 2. If the Church be not a true visible Church, though it consist of good and bad.
Robinson. Circumcision is a seale of the righteousnesse of Faith,* Gen. 17. 10. Rom. 4. 11. Now to affirme that the Lord will seale up with the visible seale of Faith any visibly unrighteous and faithlesse person, were, that God should prophane his own Or∣dinance.
Answ. God doth by this argument profane his owne seale, when a visibly wicked person is sealed with the seale, as when Page 261 one visibly unrighteous is sealed, for the latent hypocrite pro∣faneth the seale of Righteousnesse, as the open and visibly un∣righteous and faithlesse person doth. Yet it is Gods com∣mand that the latent hypocrite have the seales of Righteous∣nesse, since the Church conceiveth him to be a sound profes∣sor; Ergo, by your Doctrine God commandeth to prophane his owne seales, but this is the wicked reasoning of Arminians, and Socinians. So Arminians against Perkins, Corvinus against Molin•us, the Arminians at the synod of Dort would prove an universall grace accompanying the Word and Sacraments, and they say that Sacraments doe not seale remission of sins, redemption in Christ, and that they be empty and toome ordinances yea and mock∣ing signes, except all who receive the seales, both elect and repro∣•ate be redeemed in Christ, and have grace to believe. But the truth is, God doth not prophane his owne seales, because he com∣mandeth that they be received with Faith: and let us see where any male child, reprobate or elect, borne amongst the Iewes, but he is by Gods Commandement to be circumcised, yet that seale was an empty ordinance to thousands in Israel. 3. Nor is the seale, a seale of righteousnesse, actu secundo, sed actu primo it is a seale of righteousnesse, as the Word of God is the power of God to Salvation, not to all, nor of it selfe, but by the ef∣ficacious grace of God, to every one that believes.
Iohn Baptist (saith Robinson) Christ and his Apostles being to repaire the desolation of Sion, did not by the coactive Lawes of men*s•• ffle together good and bad, as intending a new monster or Chi∣maera, but admitted of such and none other, as confessed their sinsaand justified God, and were not ofbthe World, but chosen out of it, andcdid receive the Word gladly, and communicated all of them in all things, as every one had neede, and that in glad∣nesse and singlenesse of heart, as receiving Testimony of the Holy Ghost himselfe, that they were such as should be saved, as weredall of them purchased by the Blood of God, asefor all for whom there was cause to thinke God, as whom the Apostlefdid remember in his prayers with gladnesse, being perswaded that God would perfect his good Worke begun in them, as became him to judge of them all, being all partakers of the grace of God with him in the confirmation of the Gospell, and after whom all he longedPage 262from thegvery heart roote in Christ, and for all whom he gave thankes, alwayes making mention of them in his prayers, without ceasing remembring their effectuall Faith, diligent love, and patient hope in the Lord Jesus, which did grow in every one of them.
Answ. Here is much Scripture abused to no good use; 1. that coactive Laws of Princes be the onely way of inchurching peo∣ple, we never taught; but of this hereafter. 2. He calleth the Kingdome of God which is a draw-net of good and bad ha called company invited to the Supper of the Gospell, whereof many are called, but few are chosen.iwhich is the field where grow Wheat and Tares k the Barne-floore wherein is Corne and Chaffe. l He calleth (I say) these men good and bad shuffled together in a new monster or Chimaera. Sinne is a monster, but that it should be in the world is not without the decree of efficacious providence, except we turne Epicures with Arminians. 3. That all and every one baptized by Iohn Baptist justified God, and were true converts is more charity, then the verity of the Text Luk. 7. can warrant. 4. And that the visible Church con∣sisteth onely of men chosen out of the World, as he spake from Ioh. 15. is a plaine contradiction to that (many are called, but few chosen out of the World) and serveth much for Huberians, who will have all the visible Church chosen, and for Arminians who make all in Gods intention separated from the World, and so make election to life eternall, as universall in the visible Church as the preached Gospell. 5. It is an adding to the Text, Acts 2. That the visible Church (all of them) and you say did communicate in all things with singlenesse of heart, and were to be saved. For we have not so much charity to bestow on An•∣nias, Saphira, and Simon Magus, who were added to the Church visible: but why call you this the Testimony that the Holy Ghost giveth of all them? where did you reade or dreame this? The Holy Ghosts Testimony is true, and what Divinty is it, that all added to the visible Church shall be saved? deeme you with Origen and some others that none are eternally d•mned? 8. And you say of the visible Church, Acts, 20. 28. All of them were redeemed by the Blood of God. If Luke had said so, I could have believed it, but your saying is groundles. All whom they are commanded to feede, and all who were to be devoured Page 263 by grievous Wolves, and all the drawen away Disciples of false Teachers, 29. 30. Are all these redeemed by the Blood of God? Th•• Church is an Arminian Chimaera: that all to whom the Gospell is preached by Feeders and Pastors, must be obliged to believe that Christ by his Blood redeemed all and every one of them, is Arminianisme. aCorvinus and bJac. Arminius,cNic. GrevinchoviusdEpiscopius,eSocinusfSmaleiusgOstorodius will thanke you, for they hold that Christ gave his Blood for all the damned in Hell, and purpose∣ly to redeem them, and for his part gave his life for all the World, and especially for the visible Church. 7. That the Apostle gave thanks to God, for the sound faith of all who professed the Gos∣spell at Rome, and were perswaded that God would perfect the worke of salvation in all and every one of the Philippians, is a wicked dreame, that they were all partakers of the grace of the Gospell, and that all the Thessalonians, without exception had effectuall faith, diligent love, and patient hope. All this is said, without ground of Gods Word: and contrary to the Word. Were there none, Rom. 6. Servants of sinne? None who walked after the flesh? Rom. 8 So Rom. 14. and Phil. 3. 2. 18. Phil. 2. 21. 1 Thess. 4. 2. 2 Thess. 3. 8 9, 10. None in Philippi whose God was their belly? none who minded earthly things? No dogs? No evill workers?
aRobinson; The Jewes were forbidden by God, under the Law to sow their Field with diverse seeds, and will he sow his own Field with Wheate and Tares? andbthe Lords Field is sowen with good seed, Mat 13, 24 27, 28. His Vine Noblecand all the seed true, his Church Saints and beloved of God dbut through the malice of Satan, and negligence of such as keep the field adulterate seed and abominable persons may be.
Answ. God who is above a law forbiddeth the Father to kill the son, yet may he command Abraham to kill his son, in po∣sitive Lawes, such as sowing of seeds, Gods practice is not a Law to us; I remember Jesuites, especially Suarez, Didac. Ruiz Molina, Laessius, Lod. Meratius Hiero. Fasolus and their Disciples, the Arminians, labour to prove that God cannot pre∣determinate the will of man to the positive acts that are in sin: For then he should be the author and cause of sin which Page 264 he forbiddeth us to do, and he would not do himselfe, say they, that which he forbiddeth us. Which is but in the ge∣nerall a weake answer, for it followeth not hence, that he is the author of the malice, because he praedeterminates the will to the positive act of sinning. For though God in his working Providence permit wicked men to be in the Church (as you cannot deny his providence here) yet doth it not follow, that he soweth wicked men in the Church. Nor doe we say, that it is the Lords appoving and revealed will that hypocrites should joyne with his friends at the marriage supper of the Gospell, they wanting their wedding garment. It is hy∣pocrites sin that they joyne themselves to the Church, they being heart Enemies to the truth. And in this respect God soweth them not in the Church. But the question is if the Church and Pastors sin in receiving such into the bosome of the Church, because they see not, in conscience, that they are regene∣rated: That we deny, yea the servants bid all come whom they finde. Mat. 22. 9. and that by the commandement of God. And in this respect God doth not plant his visible Church a noble Vine, and a Field sowen with good seed, yea it is his revealed Will that the Church and the Servants of God invite all to come to Wisdomes banquet, Prov. 9. 2. 3. and so all the called externally are not the choise Vines. This you are to prove, that the visible Church in all its members, or essenti∣ally as it is a visible Church is a choise Vine, and an holy seed. Nor is it the Pastors negligence that Tares grow in the Lords Field (though it be Satans malice) yea the Pastors here are to invite all to come in, and to call externally all to come to Christ. That they who are invited give not obedience is their own wickednesse, but neither the Churches, nor the Pa∣stors sinne.
(a) Robinson. There be amongst you hundreds and thousands*partakers of the life of God in respect of your persons, but in res∣pect of your Church Communion, and your Ordinances, you are all alike, because you are all alike partakers of one set forme of worship.
Answ. The Church of the Jewes so should be a falsely con∣stituted Church, because however there were many Believers Page 265 amongst them, yet all are commanded to receive one Ministery of Sc•ibes and Pharisees sitting in Moses chaire. But know that the leaven of the externall worship (except it evert the foundation) doth not make the Church a falsely constituted Church.
aRobinson, Mr. Smith truely affirmeth your Church to be a greater Antichristian Ministery and worship then Rome, as the Temple which sanctifieth the gold, and the altar which sanctifieth the offering is greater then the offering: so the Temple of the New Testament, the Church and people of God, by whose Faith all the Ordinances of the Church are sanctified, is greater then the Ministery, worship, or any other Ordinance, and being Idolatrous is a grea∣ter Idoll.
Answ. This is a new poynt of Divinity that the Faith of the Ministery or congregation sanctifieth the worship; as the Temple did the gold and the altar the offering: yea though the Mini∣ster were a Judas, and the people latent hypocrites, the Ordi∣nances of God lose no authority, for all the Ministeriall sanctifying of the Ordinances is from Christ the Instituter, not from the instruments; and the Donatists did suspend the power of the Ordinances of God, upon the holinesse, or unholinesse of the Instruments. 2. The Ministery in its substance is not An∣tichristian, though it be from the Antichrist. For Prelates giving of a ministery is not to be measured by the particular intention of the Ordainers, but by the Nature of Gods Ordinances, and the generall meaning of all the Catbolick Church.
Robinson here objecteth, The Law sayth nemo potest plus juris in alium transferre, quam ipse habet. Prelates have no calling of God themselves, therefore they cannot give it to others.
Answ. Prelates reduplicativè, as Prelates have no calling, yet as Pastors they have, and Antichristian prelacy destroyeth not the essence of a Pastors office in the subject. They object, as a Prelate he ordaineth Ministers, and not as a Pastor. Answ. 1. as a Prelate he usurpeth to give a Ministery, but as a Pastor he giveth it. 2. He invadeth the place of the Church and with consent of the Church standeth for the Church, though he be not the Church, but a simple Pastor, therefore what Ministery Page 266 he conferreth, it is the deed and fact of the Church. 3. They object, No man can give that which he hath not. Answ. No man can give that which he hath not, neque virtualiter neque formaliter, true; what he hath in no respect, that he cannot give. What he hath in vertue or in some respect, that he can give. What bap∣tisme the hereticall Minister hath Ministerially, that he may give validly. aHieronimus saith, the Luciferians admitted Baptisme conferred by an Heretick, but not a Ministery, Ana∣tolus was consecrated by Dioscorus, Faelix by the Arrians, as Mr. bBall observeth. So cBellarmine.dGratianeNazianzen,fAugust.
They say gwe finde it by experience that the refusing of Church-communion hath been blessed of God, to their conver∣sion who were holden cut. Answ. Manass•h his being bound in fetters was a meanes of his conversion. David by his afflictions learned to keep Gods Commandements: did therfore the perse∣cuters of Manasseh or Davidright and lawfully?
The Apostles (say they hhad commission to Baptize none but Disciples, Mat. 28. 19. Answ. See you doubt not of a warrant for Baptizing children, who are not Disciples: for then the A∣postles from this place had no warrant to baptize the infants of Believers.
We should (say they iopen the doores of the Church more wi•• then God alloweth, how shall we lay wittingly and willingly dead stones in the living Temple? If Christ be a Head of pure Gold, and the Churches golden candlestick, how shall we be allowed to put in leaden members?
Answ. This argument is against the Lords dispensation, be∣cause not without his providence are hypocrites in the Church. It is not against his Commandement, for he alloweth and com∣mandeth the Church to take in Hypocrites, so they professe the truth, and so commendeth that leaden toes and members be added to Christ the Head of gold. Christ is the Head of the invisible Church properly and according to the influence of the Life of God, but he is the head of the visible Church as it is such according to the influence of common gifts, which may be in Reprobates. And they may be this way in Christs Body, who are not of Christs Body, as Augustine sayth.
Page 267We are (say they) accessary to the prophaning of the Lords Or∣dinances. Answ. So far as they are notoriously scandalous they are to bee cast out of the Church, and debarred from the Seales.
The Church (say they) shall be pestered with prophane and car∣nall men, and the blind shall lead the blind, if all be admitted to Church f•llowship.
Answ. The admission or keeping in of all to partake especially of the Lords Supper, we doe not allow. 2. The multitude of carnall men in the Church is an inconvenience of providence, and resulteth by accident, from the receiving of Professors to Christs Body visible; but it is no kindly fruit growing therefrom.
A faithfull servant (say they awould admit none into his Lords House, but servicable instruments, therefore neither may the Stewards of Gods House (which is a spirituall building) admit any but men of spirituall gifts, living stones, sanctifyed and meet for the Lords Worke.
Answ. The comparison halteth many wayes. 1. All in a Noble mans house, are not stewards, you make all the Church to be stewards having the power of the Keys to put in, and out. 2. Members are received into the Church, not onely because they are serviceable, for the masters use, but to be made servicable and to be polished by the Word of God, and care of Pastors, but servants are taken into great houses because they are servicable; for if that follow, that they are made more servicable, it is not the intent of the Lord of the house, or of the under-stewards. 3. The Oeconomy of Princes houses is no rule for the government of the house of the King of Kings.
Mr. Coachmanbwhile the materialls and pillars of the house are rotten, and the house founded upon Briers, Brambles and rubbish, that is, while wicked men are members, no Discipline, 〈◊〉 Reformation, no censures, no Election by the multitude will doe good.
Answ. The connexion is naught, the fruit and power of Gods ordinances depend not upon the conversion or non-conversion of the instruments, the preaching, Sacraments, censures are of themselves golden and exercisers and dispensers thereof, Page 268 following Christs direction therein are golden, eatenus in so far, though in respect of their personall estate they be wooden and clay members voyd of faith. 2. It is false that the visible Church is founded upon men or their Faith. God strengtheneth the barres of his own Sion. And Christ and the Gospell are the pillars thereof. Nay the Church strandeth not upon Peter and Paul and the Apostles faith subjective, because the Apostles were holy men and Believers, but upon the Apostles Faith objectivè, that is, upon the saving truth that the Apostles deli∣vered from Christ to the Churches, Ephes. 20. 21. 1 Cor. 3. 11, 12. Mat. 16, v. 18.
Quest. 3. Whether or no there be a true Church communion with ordinary hearers of the Word, who cannot be admitted to the Lords Supper, and what union excommunicated persons who d• heare the Word have with the visible Church? and how the preach∣ing of the Gospell is an essentiall note of the visible Church?
For the clearing of these confiderable poynts tending much to a fuller understanding of a true visible Church in its right constitution, let these considerations make way to what we can say of these poynts.
1. Dist. There is a difference betwixt ordinary and setled bearers of the Word, and transient and occasionall hearers.
2. Dist. Publick ordinary preaching for the converting of soul•• is a publick Church-worship. Another set way of ordinary publick use of converting soules, by preachers not in office, wee know not.
3. Dist. Some be members of the visible Church properly and strictly, such as are admitted to all the seales of the covenant and holy things of God. Others are lesse properly, or in an inferiour degree, members of the visible Church, such as are baptized and are ordinary hearers of the Word, but not admitted to the Lords Supper, of old the Catechumenoi were such. As there be decr••s of Ci∣tizens, some having all the priviledges of the City and some onely right to some priviledges, but not to all. 3. Some have right to all, and are most properly in the visible Church.
4. Dist. Excommunication being medicinall and for edificati••, cannot cut off the member close, except we should confound killing and curing.
Page 269 5. Dist. There is a note of a ministeriall Church, such as is preaching of the Word of God, and a note of the visible Church of Believers, and obedience professed to the Word preached is such a note.
6. Dist. Preaching of the Word may well be a note of the Church invisible in fieri while it is in gathering, because God pur∣poseth to convert where the Word is purely preached. 2. A note of the invisible Church already constituted, in so far as it is obey∣ed. And. 3. A note of the Ministeriall Church, in respect where God holdeth out the Standard of the preached word, there is his ordered army.
1. Conclusi. To communicate with the Church ordinatily and of set purpose is an act of externall Church communion. 1. Be∣cause if the preacher in preaching edifie the Church convened for that effect to receive edification, and if he convince the I•fidell by preaching and cause him fall downe and worship God, and report that God is in that meeting, then to communicate with the Church in hearing and preaching is an act of externall Church communion. Because an act of worship terminated and bounded upon the Church is a Church-act. But the prophet prophecying in publick to the Church edifieth the Church and converteth infidells in causing them to worship & acknowledge Gods presence in a Church-meeting. As is cleare. 1. Cor. 14. 4. He that prophecieth, edifieth the Church. v. 5. v. 12. seek that you excell to the edifying of the Church. 29. Yet in the Church I had ra∣ther speak five words with my understanding, &c. 23. If therefore the whole Church be come together into some place and all speake with tongues, and there come in these that are unlearned and Unbelie∣vers, will they not say that yee are mad? 24. But if all prophecy and there come in one that believeth not, or one that is unlearned, he is convinced of all, &c. And that this is a Church-meeting for∣mally, it is cleare, because it is said, 34. let your women keepe silence in the Churches, now women out of a Church-meetings are not commanded silence, for Tit. 2. 4. They are to teach the younger women: and at home in the house, Prov. 31. 26. She openeth her mouth with wisdome, and the Law of grace is in her lips. Acts 20. 7. and upon the first day of the week the Disciples came together to breake bread, and Paul preached to them. Had they not then a Page 270Church Communion in hearing the Word, as in the receiving the Sacrament: Our brethren say that eating one bread together at the Lords Table is properly a Church Communion. For thereby, we may eat one bread we are one body, for we all partake of one bread 1 Cor. 10. 18. But heating one word is not a Church-communion, because Infidels and Turkes who are not members of the Church may heare one word, 1 Cor. 14. 24 25. I answer 1. Wee speake of a professed and resolved hearing. Turks and Infidels comming in without purpose to joyne with the Church, as 1 Cor. 14. 2. 25. are not such hearers. 2. If this were a good reason, a latent hypocrite eating one bread with sound be∣lievers at the Lords Table, should keepe no Church-communion with the Church, for by our Brethrens Doctrine, a •ypocrilt is no more in deed and truth a member of the visible Church then a leg of wood is a member of a living body.
But we hold that he is a true member of the Church as visible, and that his binding and loosing with the Church (suppose he be an Elder) is no lesse valid in Heaven, when Christs order is followed, then the binding and loosing of a believing Elder, and therefore that his eating at the Lords Table is an act of exter∣nall Church-communion, and of visible fellowship in a visible body, and the same is every way strong for a visible Church-fellowship, in hearing the Word, for that same Christ and fel∣lowship with him, which is sealed in the Sacrament, is preach∣ed in the Word; and as joynt communicating of hypocrites and Believers is an externall Church-communion, ought to seale an internall communion with Christ and his Church, so the joynt-hearing in a professed adjoyning to the visible Church it a compartning visible in a visible worship, and a prosessing of an union with that same Christ and his Church in the same word preached. For as the Apostle concludeth the unity of the catho∣lick Church by one Baptisme, so doth he conclude it from one faith, and one Lord of the covenant preached to all.
2. The visible Church of called and chosen, and not chosen, is the scope of the parable, Mat. 22. and Luk. 14. 16. 17. &c. Now v. 9. Mat. 21. All are bidden come to the Supper, and be joynt-hearers of the Word of the Gospell, though all be not choses who are externally called. 1. Also if converting of soules to Page 271 the Faith of Christ be the most formall and specifick act of edi∣fying, and of laying stones upon the chiese corner stone in the building, 1 Pet. 2. 4. 5. seeing edifying is the end whereof Christ ascending on high, gifted his visible Church with Pastors and Doctors, Eph. 4. 11, 12, 13. Then hea•ing and joynt-hearing of a sent Pastor, Rom. 10. 14. must be formally externall co•wor∣shiping in a visible Church. For our Brethren hold that there be now no Pastors under the New Testament, but in relation to a particular and visible congregation. Now if our Brethren say, that pastorall teaching is an act of a visible Church, hearing of pastorall preaching must also be an act of Church worship. For they are relata quae se mutuo ponunt & tollunt; yea members of a visible congregation have no Church-worship except receiv∣ing of the Sacraments and Church censures, if hearing of a pastor be not Church-worship.
3. Under the New Testament every congregation to our Bre∣thren * is a visible mount Sion. Now if under the New Testament the people are to incite one another to publick Church worship, and say. Let us go to the mountaine of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. and he will teach us his wayes, Esa. 2. 3. And if they shall publickly worship and aske the way to Sion, that they may be joyned in covenant to the Lord, Jer. 50. v. 5. Then is hear∣ing of he doctrine of Gods wayes and covenant, a publick church-worship, and the service of the Church or house of the God of Ja∣cob. But the former is true; Ergo, so is the latter.
4. If it be not Church-worship to heare the Word, a pure and sound preaching of the Word is no note of the Church, con∣trary to the Word, and the unanimous consent of the Reformed Churches.
5. Hearing of the word is a worshiping of God. Ergo, the Church-hearing of the word must be Church-worship. For all professing by their visible communion in hearing the Word, one Faith, one Lord, one Hope of glory, and that as one visible bo∣dy, must thereby testifie they be all joynt-worshippers of Christ and of one God, whose covenant they preach and heare.
6. Professed hearing separateth a visible member of the church (in genere notarum visibilium, in the kind of visible marks) from an Infidell and Turke no lesse then the receiving of the Lords Supper doth.
Page 272 7. Professed hearing maketh the hearer under a ty of being particularly rebuked of his sinne, but particular pastorall re∣buking being done by the power of the keyes presupposeth the rebuked to be within; for the Church cannot judge those who are without.
2. Conclu. Excommunicated persons though they be debar∣red from the Lords Supper, and delivered to Satan, and to be accompted as heathen and publicans, yet are they not altogether and every way cut off from the visible Church. 2. Thess. 3. 14. If any obey not our word by letter, •arke such an one,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, with the note of Excommunication (saith aBeza) and have no fellowship with him, that he may be ashamed, that is, as Calvin well expoundeth, exclude him out of the company of the faithfull, and*excommunicate him. So also cBullingerusdMarlorat and eIodoc. Vullichius, v. 15. Yet accompt him not as an enemy, but ad∣monish him as a brother. I know Mr. Robinsonf denieth this place to be understood of any Excommunicated person, but he willeth the Thessalonians not to countenance, but to shew their dislike of idle persons▪ and his reasons are. 1. Because if Christ biddeth accompt the excommunicated person as an Heathen and a publican, would Paul thereafter accompt him as a brother? 2. Idola∣ters and Hereticks are to be excommunicated, and will you have such a brotherhood, as brother idolater?
But I answer, 1. We read not in the New Testament, where Christ, or his Apostles bid break off Christian fellowship with any but there is excommunication signified. If these words 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, have no fellowship with him, that he may be ashamed, signifie, not to forbeare fellowship with him, as a cast out person, but only to shew their dislike of the sin, that he may see it, and be ashamed: as Robinson sayth, there is no more pu∣nishment to be inflicted on a contumacious person who will not obey the Apostles words, then is inflicted for any sinne to which contumacy is not added; for we are to shew our dislike of any sinne, even the seene infirmities of our Brethren. For Augustine saith, peccatum tuum est, quic quid tibi non displicet, every sin in another is thine, against which thou shewest not thy dislike. 2. The Law of nature doth inforce, that Lev, 19. 17. we should generally rebuk our brethren, and so shew our dislike for any sinne.
Page 273 3. Be not mixed in fellowship with such a man, is a publicke ab••nence from communion with him, else it doth not shame him. For every showen dislike or not-communion with another in his sinne, is not that which will put publick shame on him, that he may repent, as is intimated here. 2. Christ biddeth not accompt him a Publican, but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is a note of similitude. Simile qua simile non est idem. Every thing like is not the same. So that he may well be accompted as an Heathen, not being altogether an Heathen, and yet a Brother, whose salvation and gaining you must intend. Nor is it altogether against the comparison of Christ, and that gentle waiting on perverse idolaters and excommunicate persons to admonish them as Brethren. Seing it becommeth us to be mercifull as our Heaven∣ly Father is, 2 Tim. 2 24, 25. Mat. 5. 45. And we must forgive our offending Brethren seventy seven times, Mat. 18. 22. And therefore though he were twice excommunicated, he is to be dealt with as a Brother. And an Idolatrous brother is no worse then a Samaritan neighbour or friend. 2. If Excommunication be a medicine of the Church toward a sick sonne, the end where∣of is salvation, that the spirit may be saved in the Lords Day, 1 Cor. 5. 5. that he may learne not to blaspheme, 1 Tim 1. 12. That be may be gained, Mat. 18. 15. Ergo, he is not altogether cut off from the Church, for delivering to Satan is medicinall, not vindictive, as the great Excommunication is which is called Anathema Maranatha, which we cannot use, but against such, as have sinned the sin against the Holy Ghrist, and is hardly discerned, and I would think, such an one as Julian the Apostate should be debarred from the communion of the word preached. But these who are ordinarily excommunicated for contuma∣cy and particular faults, and not for universall Apostacy, are not altogether excluded from all brotherhood of the Church. 3. If the excommunicate person be excluded from all priviledges of Church-fellowship, then also is he excluded from hearing the word as a sick patient under Church-medicine, for it is a pastorall, and so to our Brethren a Church-act, that the Shep∣heard strengthen the diseased, heale that which is sick, bind up that which is broken, bring againe that which is driven away, seeke that which is lost, Ezec. 34. 4. And feed the flock with know∣ledge, Page 274 as a Pastor according to Gods heart and a Bishop. Jer. 3. 15. Act. 20. 28. 1 Pet. 5. 2. Jerem. 23. 1, 2, 3 4. Jer. 50. 7. Esay 56. 10. Z•ch. 11. 9, 10, 11, 12. It is a Pastorall act to preach with all au∣thority, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and do∣ctrine, 2 Tim. 4. 2. 5. He should as a Pastor teach sound doctrine, exhort, convince the gainsayers, and silence heretickes, Tit. 1. 9. But seeing the excommunicated person is not excluded from hea∣ring the word, and the Pastor hath a Pastorall care of his soule, and is to intend that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord, 1 Cor. 5. 5. he cannot be utterly cut off from all Church-fellowship. Also this Authour a saith, that Church-members are to be admonished, and if we doe it not, we hate them in our heart, Levit. 19. 17. and if we warne not an Achan, his sin is the sin of all Israel. Now if an excommunicated brother remaine one, whom we are to gaine, and whose salvation we are to intend, if he be an ordinary coworshipper in hearing, the object of Pasto∣rall and brotherly teaching and admonishing, he cannot be wholly excluded from all Church-fellowship. And this also proveth that these be members of the visible Church in some degree of Church-worship, who yet are deba•red from the •eale• of the Covenant. And it cannot be said that the excommuni∣cated person ought not to rebuke his brother, and not hate him in his heart, as Levit. 19. 17. Penall excommunication looseth not from the Law of nature. But our brethren make rebuking and mutuall exhorting one of another Church duties of watch∣fulnesse; then is the excommunicated in some degree of Church-membership. Nor can our brethren here reply with good reason. Indians and Turks may heare the Word as well as the excommu∣nicated person, and therefore hearing of the word is no note of Church communion.
I answer, the Turke and Indian must heare the word, but at the by, and not professedly; but the excommunicated person by the•ty of his Covenant made in baptisme, and that relation he hath to the Church under whose cure he is, for the saving of his spirit, and to that Gospel which he professeth, is obliged to the Church-communion of publique hearing the Word; yea, and according to his oath given, to be subject to the ministery of such a man whom he chose for his Pastor, to give obedience to him in Page 275 the Lord, however in that one particular for which he is cast cut, he hath failed against all the foresaid obligations. 2. The Church, as a visible Church, exerciseth no medicinall acts upon Turks or Heathen persons, and doth not repute them as Heathen, but doth repute them to be Heathen. Nor hath the Pastors any pastorall charge of Turkes and Heathens, except they would de∣sire to be baptized and professe the faith. But the Church as the Church exerciseth medicinall acts of shunning Christian f•ll•w∣ship with the excommunicated, and that with a continuated in∣tention even when he is excommunicated, that his spirit may be saved in the day of God, and the Pastor hath a pastorall, and so a ministeriall care and obligation of pastorall teaching, admonish∣ing and perswading him to returne to God.
4. Neither doe we meane with aSuarez and other School∣men, that excommunication doth not so cut off a member as it removeth not that baptismall character, or that passive power to receive the Sacraments; or that the prayers of the Church are not offered of direct intention, for the inwardly humbled and repenting excommunicated person, while the sentence of abso∣lution be pronounced by the Church, as bSoto,cAdrianus,d and Alanus thinketh, because forsooth fInnocentius 111. saith, the excommunicated person, though repenting, and doing what he can to be reconciled to the Church, yet without absolution from the censure, he is mortuus Ecclesiasticè dead Ecclesiastically, and so in Heaven also. Though gNavar,hTurrecremata,iRichard,kAnton. thinke the penitent excommunicated person is included in the generall desires of the Church in their prayers, because it is not the intention of the Church to exclude a true and living member of Christs body from a communion spirituall with Christ. But our meaning is, that the excommuni∣cated person is deprived of actuall fellowship with Christ in the Seales of the Covenant, as the lCouncell of Arausican, A gremio 〈◊〉 matris Ecclesiae & consortio totius Christianitatis climina∣•us. His sin is bound in Heaven, yet so as the salvation of his spirit is intended by the Church, see for this mAugustine. We understand not a baptismall character, except regeneration and 〈◊〉 of sins, which cannot be taken away by excommuni∣cation, and therefore a morall claime to the holy things of God, Page 276 and that for that time and state is rather removed, then any in∣ternall right to Christ. Therfore some say, in this he loseth rather possessionem quam jus, possession then right. As a Nobleman, for some offence, of three dwelling houses that he hath, is confined to one of the three, so as he may not remove from that one; yet doth he not lose right to the other two.
5. Our brethrens doctrine is, that none can be judged and excommunicated, but those who are within the visible Church; n now none are within to them but such as are sup∣posed to be regenerated and saints; yea and more, faithfull bre∣thren, not onely in profession (saith our oAuthour) but also in some measure of sincerity and truth. Hence none are to be excom∣municated and delivered to Satan, but regenerated persons; then it cannot be the Churches mind, that the excommunicated per∣sons are wholy cut off from the visible Church, since they being the true matter of the Church, as our brethren teach, remains therefore a part of Christs body in covenant with God, having right to the promises of the Covenant, and so these to whom the keyes are given, by our brethrens grounds, and are regenera∣ted, can onely be excommunicated, and none else can be excom∣municated, by their way also, for the unregenerated are without, and so cannot be cast out.
I know not what Mr. Robinson can meane pthat the Church cannot cast out (as he saith) any part or parcell of her true matter. The Church cannot excommunicate the regenerated, 1. Because (saith he) the true matter of the Church, hath the forme and essence of the Church, and the Church cannot cast out her owne essence. 2. The Church should deliver to Satan the true members of Christs body, which he abhorreth to write.
But I have learned of q Mr. Coachman that onely the con∣verted are to be excommunicated, because they have a spirit to be saved in the day of the Lord, 1 Cor. 5. The non-converted are flesh▪ but truely this is strange, Paul speaketh of the incestuous person according to the judgement of charity, as supposing hi• to have flesh and Spirit, as he professeth himselfe to be a member of the Church; but truely this is weake: for in the same Chap∣ter Paul will have drunkards, railers, extortioners, idolaters, to be excommunicated. Peter did really excommunicate SimonPage 277Magus excluding him from part and portion in the visible Church. Act. 8. 21. and are such not to be excommunicated be∣cause they cannot be cast out, who were never within? See into what inconveniences our brethren are fallen, while they agree (I speake with reverence of those godly men) with Anabaptists in the nature of the visible Church. But truely hypocrites are with∣in the Church, and when their hypocrisie doth breake out into grievous scandals, they are to be cast out of the visible Church; but they cannot indeed be cast out of the invisible Church, because they were never within the same, but our brethren still doe confound the visible and invisible Church, which in nature * and essence are opposed by way of contradiction, if Augustine say right, multae oves extra visiblem Ecclesiam, & multi lupi intra. For the Church invisible as it is such and essentially, is not the Church visible; and the Church visible is not essentially invisi∣ble. But to returne to Robinson, if the regenerate cannot be ex∣communicated, they cannot fall into such grievous sinnes as in∣cest, murder, and contumacy to the Church, which deserveth excommunication. But this latter none can say but Novatians. Ergo, neither can the former be said. The major is undeniable, whosoever can, and may commit sins deserving excommunica∣tion, are to be excommunicated, as Christ saith, Matth. 18. 17. 18. and Paul, 1 Cor. 5. 4, 5. Now if the converted cannot fall into grievous sins against the Church, such as contumacy; neither can they fall into grievous sins against God, 2. By this doctrine no professors are to be excommunicated at all, for all within the visible Church are either converted or non-converted; the converted are not to be excommunicated, saith Robinson, be∣cause they are the true members of the Church, and of Christs body; now the non-converted far lesse can be excommunicated, because those cannot be cast out who are not within, as our bre∣thren teach. For they are the false matter of the Church, and no part of it, yea (and as our Authour saith,) have no measure of sincerity and truth; and therefore cannot be members of the Church. Now the Church (say our brethren) cannot judge those which are without, 1 Cor. 5. 12. 3 This opinion is just the opi∣nion of the Anabaptists, that the true members of the visible Church are onely regenerate persons, and they onely have the essence of the true membership, which is false; they are within Page 278 the visible Church, and truely within the net, and a part of the ground called the Kingdome of God, Matth. 13. 4. Though they be not members of the invisible Church of believers and the re∣deemed in Christ. 4. The Nicolaitans, Iezabel, the false Apostles, the spreaders of Balaams doctrine, Revel. 2. and those who offend in Christs Kingdome are all necessarily either not to be excom∣municated at all, or necessarily they are all unconverted, by Ro∣binsons doctrine, or all converted, by Mr. Coachmans way. And the Church then shall not bind and loose in Heaven, but clave errante, except they be all known certainly to be converted who are excommunicated, or certainly knowne not to be converted. But this were ridiculous; the object of excom∣munication by Christ is one which refuseth to heare the Church, whether he be converted, or not converted. 5. All our Di∣vines standing for the cerainty of the perseverance of the re∣generated, answer Papists and Arminians alledging for the apo∣stacy of the Saints, the example of the regenerated who may be excommunicated, that excommunication doth never evince that the person excommunicated is out of the state of grace, but onely that he hath fallen into a scandalous externall fact, which deser∣veth that he should be delivered to Satan, and that one may be a member of the visible Church and converted to God, who is ex∣communicated. Lastly, Robinsons arguments doe bewray great Ignorance in the doctrine of the true Church; to wit, that first it should follow, that if the Church excommunicate a converted person, it should destroy its own essence; for conversion is the essence of the invisible Church, not of the visible Church, and is not destroyed by excommunication. But the beleever is edified there∣by, for he is delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord; but that he is cut off from the visible Church is no more inconvenient, then to cut off a rotten apostume of excrescent carnosity of the body, which hurteth the physicall integrity of the body, but doth not take a∣way any part of the essence, so as it should not thereafter be a li∣ving body. His mixt argument hath a cry, but no force; It should follow that the member of Christs body (saith he) should be delivered to Satan; which is not inconvenient, for this is the Ordinance of Christ to save the mens spirit, and to teach him not to blasph•me, 1 Cor. 5. 5. 2 Tim. 1. 20. It were an inconvenience to deliver a Page 279 member of Christ to Satan morally, as 1 Cor. 6. 15. This is a sinfull deliverance, when one is given over to Satan, that Satan may worke in him as in his work-house, and as in a childe of disobedi∣ence, Ephes. 2. 2. a converted soule cannot thus be delivered to Satan, and this we abhor to write, no lesse then Robinson. But to deliver to Satan penally, as to a penall tortuter who worketh sorrow and feare in the conscience for sinne, to humble the offen∣der, and to save his spirit in the day of Christ, is neither horrour by word nor by writ, but the Word of God, 1 Cor. 5. 5.
Now to say something of the sorts and nature of excommuni∣cation. We acknowledge not what aNavarrus and bGregory say, That excommunication, whether just or unjust, is to be feared; for, the curse causl•sly doth not fall. The sentence is either given out, a jure, vel ab homine by the Law, or the persons. Secondly, it is either just or unjust. Thirdly, and that three wayes; Ex∣animo, good or ill zeal; secondly, Ex causa, a just or unjust cause; thirdly, Ex ordine, when order of Law is kept. An unjust sen∣tence is either valid or null. That which is invalid is either invalid through defect of the good minde of the excommuni∣cators, and this is not essentiall to the excommuncations vali∣ditie. That which is invalid this way onely, ligat, it bindeth in fo•o exteriore. But that which is u•just through want of a just cause, it onely bindeth from externall communion; but because Gods Ordinances are to be measured from their own nature, and the generall intention of the Catholike Church, and not from abuses and particular intentions of such excommunicators; therefore they doe not exclude from the generall Church-desires. The fourth Councell of Carthage,c as also dGerson saith, an unjust sentence neminem gravare debet; should affright no man. I see not a warrant for division of excommunication into penall and not penall excommunication. The ancients made some excommunication not penall, as the e fifth Councell of Carthage, and fConcilium Arelatense.gTurraconense,hConci∣lium Agathense. As if one should culpably absent himselfe from a Synod, erat privatus Episcoporum communione; He was for a space excommunicated from the communion of other Bishops. The Canonists i infer, that this excommunication was no Church∣censure; and kM. Antonius of Spalato defendeth them in this. Page 280 But since Christ for scandals appointed onely publike rebuking; or secondly, confessing; or thirdly, excommunication from the Church, not onely of Church guides, but of professing belee∣vers; l we see not how any are to be excommunicated from the fellowship of the Clergy, or Church-guides onely. For Christ ordained no such excommunication. and therefore wee are to repute this a popish device. Zosimusm saith Zancbius,nCelestinus,oHormisda and Pelagius 2. p did threaten to excommunicate Iohn of Constantinople from the communion of the Apostolike seat, and of all Bishops. Spalato his argument q for this sort of excommunication is, 2 Thessalonians 3. 15. which commandeth all Thessalonians to forbeare any fellow∣ship with such as obeyeth not the Apostles doctrine, and doth not infinuate any excommunication from the society of Church-guides onely. Nay, such an excommunication is not in Gods Word. Cajetanr calleth it excommunicatio claustralis, whereby some were interdicted the company of some other Church-orders. It is true, that in the ancient Church the ex∣communicated person was debarred from comming to the Church to heare divine Service. And Sylvester appointeth three degrees of excommunication; first, Debarring of the contumacious from entring into the Church; secondly, A suspending of them from communion with the Church; thirdly, An anathema or im∣precation by cursing them. So the fifth Synod under Symmachus appointed first that the contumacious should be deprived of the Communion; and if he should not repent, it was ordained, •• anathemate feriatur, that he should be cursed. So say diverse of the Schoolmen and Casuists, as sSoto,tPaludanus,uCa∣jetanus,xSylvester,yNavarrus, that it is not lawfull to heart service, or to be present at a Masse with an excommunicated person. But in the zfourth Councell of Carthage, as a Papists ac∣knowledge, no excommunicated person is debarred from hear∣ing the Word. But it is to bee observed carefully, that for the same reasons Papists think the excommunicated persons should heare Sermons and the Word preached, that our brethren say, Because preaching is an act of jurisdiction and authority, but not an act of order; and therefore preaching is not an act of Church-communion, but common to any who have not recei∣ved Page 281 orders, and may be performed, as the reading of the VVord by Deacons, and those who have Priest-hood or power to ad∣ministrate the Sacraments. And bInnocentius the third saith, Preaching is proper to Priests, who have received orders by no di∣vine Law.c Indeed Leo the first made a Law of it, for which cause dSuarez saith, That Christ in these words, Iohn 21. Feed m•sheep; and Matth. 28. Preach the Gospel; gave power of juris∣diction, but not of order onely: It is given commonly (saith he) to the Clergy to preach, and to Deacons, because decentius, it is more fi•ly and decently performed by them then by Laicks. Though it be true that two Cardinals,eToletus and fCajetanus be against Suarez in this, and say, that, Iohn 21. Peter is made the head and universall Pastor over sheep and lambs to feed and governe them. And gNavarrus saith, Preaching (soli sacerdotio insti∣tutione divina adjuncta est) is by divine institution proper to the Priesthood. Yet this excluding of them from comming into the Church, was from comming in to the holy place only where the Lords Supper was celebrated; and they stood at the Church doore where they might heare the VVord, and therefore were called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉hearers and murmurers, as hBa∣s•lius saith, and iField, Excommunication doth not wholly (saith he) cut off men from the visible Church, and his reason is good, because they may and often doeretaine, first, The professi∣on of pure truth; secondly, The character of Baptisme; third∣ly, They professe obedience to their Pastors; fourthly, They will not joyne to any other communion. And therefore to say with our Author k we dare not, to wit, That though the seed of faith may remaine in the excommunicated person; yet to the society of the faithfull joyned in a particular visible Church, they are not knit, but wholly cut off from their communion. Also, he is delivered unto Satan, and therefore wholly cut off from the communion of the Church; and so from the seals, he and his seed, as heathen and hea∣thens seed are. We condemne Novatians, because (as lCypri∣an saith) they denied mercy to the repenting excommunicated person, and because (as mSocrates said of them) God onely can forgive sins. And we condemne the Donatists, who would not (as nAugustine saith) receive into the Churches commmunion againe such as had delivered to persecuters the Bible and other holy things.Page 282 So we are to condemne these who are more rigorous toward such as are excommunicated, then Christ is: for Christ keepeth them, as sick children, within his visible Church, and useth Satan as the Physitians servant who boyleth Herbs and dresseth Drugs for them, while he by Gods permission, tormente•hthes spirit with the conscience of sinne. As when a child is sick (saith worthy oCartwright) the Father calleth a Colledge of physicians to consult about medicine, to be given to the child. So i• the contumacious person under the medicine of excommunica∣tion administred by the Church-presbytery. Now this wee cannot say of heathen and publicans.
And therefore pAugustine sayth excellently, excommuni∣cated persons non esse Ethnicos, sed tanquam ethnicos; are not heathen, but estemed as heathen. c. 6. and qChrysostome saith the same in sense. Yea, I gather this necessary distinction out of the Fathers: as ChrysostomerTheophylactussHilariust that they are not members of the visible Church actu pleno, in a full act, because they want externall communion with the Church, yet actu imperfecto, imperfectly they are members. A second distinction I collect from wIreneusxGregoriusyHieronim.zOptatusaAugustine, that they are ex∣clusi ab ecclesia quoad communionem, non ab ecclesia ipsa. They are excluded from the visible communion of the Church, rather then from the Church. A third distinction may be drawen from bEugeniuscChrysostomedGregor. Nazianz••, while they call Baptisme januam spiritualem, and lavacrum animae, the doore of our entry to the Church (for which cause papists, though fondly, place their Font at the Church-doore) as the Lavat•r of the soule. So as excommunicated persons are within the doore of the visible Church, though not admitted to the Kings Table. 4. The Schoolemen do allow to the excom∣municated persons, jus, non consortium; right, but not fellowsh •• 5. eTurr•cremaetafVega.gSotohCanus insin••• distinctionem inter partes & membra Ecclesiae visibilis, because of some externall communion that they have, as Teeth are parts of the body in a new borne Infant; but they are not members, but they deny them to be members because they are cut off. 6. iSuarez excellently, pr•vantur quoad communicationemcumPage 283al•s membris, non quoad esse membri. They are deprived acord∣ing to the act of communion with other members, not as if they ceased to be members; as a member which cannot receive nourishment is yet still a member.
Our Divines from Scripture make three degrees of excom∣munication. 1. A debarring from the Lords Supper, Mat. 5. 24. but it is not indeed a delivering to Satan or excommunication: this is called the lesser excommunication. 2. A delivering to Sa∣tan, the greater excommunication. 1 Cor. 5. 3. 4. of this we speake here especially. 3. Maran-atha in the Syriack an is utter cursing till Christs second comming.
3. Conclus. Wee hold the preaching of the word to be an essentia note of the visible Church. Our Brethren as k Mr. CoachmanlRobinsonm our present Author, deny that the profession or preaching of the Word is a true note of the visible Church. Because, Acts 17, Paul preached to the scoffing Athe∣nians, who were not for that a visible Church. 2. Papists have some of Gods Ordinances, and hereticks also, as baptisme; and the Old and New Testament as the Philistins had the Arke of God amongst them. 3. The word may be preached, where Christ is but gathering a Church, and so is a meane of gathering a Church, and therefore not an essentiall note of a gathered and con∣stituted Church. But herein our Brethren say no more against the Reformed Churches, then nStapleton; to wit, that truth of doctrine is no note of the Church, because it is not perpetu∣all and constant. 2. Truth of Doctrine concurs to give being to the Church and to the constitution of it. oBellarm. This note may be found in other societies and companies beside the Church, a• amongst Scismaticks and Hereticks. More of this please the Reader to see in pCosterusq in the Jesuite Gordonius, Huntlaeus. And this is the doctrine of Socinians, as may be seene in the Cathechisme of rRaccovias in Theo. Nicolaides, and tFrancis. Smalcius, and Arminians second both in their w confession: because they think with Socinians, that there is no ministery now necessary, and so publick preaching is not a note of the Church, especially since every gifted man may preach the Word. Socinus in his tractate De Ecclesiâ, and his Catechisme of Raccovia, saith. Notae evangelicorum nihil valent;Page 284'Doctrina pura est Ecclesiae natura & essentia quae dat ei esse, ad•ó∣que signum ejus esse non potest; cum signum ipsum, a re c•jus est signum, differre oporteat. But the truth is, the preaching of the Word hath diverse relations. 1. As the members of the visible Church are in fi•ri, in the way to be gathered, the Word preach∣ed and believed is a way of gathering a Church, Rom. 10. 14. 1 Cor. 1. 23. 1 Cor. 3. 5. Acts 16. 14. 2. That same word preach∣ed, believed, and outwardly professed is a signe of the visible Church. For where Gods pastors and shepheards are, there be flocks of redeemed ones, Cant. 1. 8. Iohn 10. 12, 13, 14. 3 The Word simply preached and professed in a setled way of a fixed ministery is a note of a ministeriall Church; this is cleare from Gods intention, for he sendeth it of purpose to save his own, as Rom. 10. 14. Acts 20. 28. For a man lighteth not a Candle in his house for nothing. So this word preached, as it is Gods Word, is not properly the forme and essence of the Church, but as believed and received, it is the forme of the Church invisible. 2. But to professe this word savingly, est signum Ecclesiae, non not A, it is a signe, that doth not infallibly notifie to us that such is for this time an invisible Church of redeemed ones: for I have not infallible certainty what one man, or what determinate number of men by name are true believers, profession may be∣guile me, as also the invisible Church (as such) is believed, and not knowen infallibly by any note or externall marke that in∣curreth into the senses. Neither is the preaching of the Word a note or infallible marke of the Church ministeriall to all, or in relation to Infidels; for the Word preached actu primo & ex naturâ suâ, essentially and of its own nature, is more knowen and more sensible then the Church: because the preached word is a Doctrine expounding what the true Church is, and we do not expound ignotum per ignotius, vel per aequè ignotum. Darknesse cannot let us see darknesse, or colours; only light doth reveale things. But the word preached in relation to un∣believers cannot be an infallible note of the Church, for to a blind man the morning as not a sensible marke that the sun is rising; nor is smoake to a dead man, a sensible marke of fire, because he hath no senses to discerne either. So to the infidell though the word as a sound, or in a literall evidence Page 285 be clearer then the Church, and in a confused knowledge he knoweth the one better than the other; yet is the true word, in respect of certaine knowledge and spirituall evidence, as darke to him as the Church: for he hath not Eares to heare, nor eyes to see any of the things of God, either the word preached, or the Church; and therefore the word is both by nature and to us, & naturâ & nobis, in respect of distinct knowledge, more knowen, but not simply as the word, actu primo, but actu se∣cundo, as it both striketh upon outward and inward senses and as i• revealeth and discovereth the things of God, according to that, 1 Cor. 14. 24. But if all prophecy, and there come one who is an unbeliever, and an unlearned, he is convinced of all and judged of all. v. 25. and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest, and so falling downe on his face, he will worship God and report that God is in you, of a truth. So here is Gods order how the word preach∣ed is a notifying marke discovering to an unbeliever the true Church. It I would poynt out one of the Kings Courtiers by this, that he hath a purple cloak and a blew scarf, if the man to whom I notifie the Courtier, do neither know what a purple garment is, nor what a blew scarf is, the marke shall be no marke to him: yet are these sufficient markes in their owne nature, if we suppose that no other Courtiers are in that manner apparelled. Therefore I would difference betwixt no∣tam notificantem & notam notificativam, a note that of its owne na∣ture doth make a thing knowen, or that which actually maketh a thing knowen to some.
The settled professed preaching of the Word is a note of the visible Church Ministeriall, and that there either is, or in Gods own time shall be some invisible Church of sanctified ones there. 1. Because, Deut. 4. 6 the hearing and doing of Gods Word maketh the Church of the Jewes a renowned and wise people in the fight of the Nations. 2. The preaching of the Word and administration of the Sacraments are proper to the Church and distinguish them from other Nations, Psal. 147. 19. Hee sheweth his word unto Iacob, and to Israel his statutes and his judg∣ments, 20. He hath not dealt so with any Nation. So Deut. 17. 29. 30 31 32. The Lords worship is so peculiar to his Church as it differenceth them from all others. So Esd. 2. 8. 3. Esa. 59. Page 286 last verse. 3. The Church is defined, Acts 2. 42. a company of these who professe truly, and continue in the Apostles doctrine and breaking of bread. 4. The planting and gathering of Churches is expounded to be teaching and baptizing, Mat. 28. 19. 20. 5. Christs sheep heare his voyce in his own sent shepheards, Joh. 10. 27. 28. 6 The Church is a company built upon the Doctrine of the Prophets and Apostles, Eph. 2. 20. 7 The Church is the pillar and ground of truth, 1 Tim. 3. 15. because the Church teacheth, professeth, and keepeth the truth. So aAugustinebTertulliancHierom.d and Chrysostome will have us to seeke the true Church by the true Word of God, and not by mens word. eRobinson objecteth first; Profession of the truth made by men of lewd conversation maketh them not the Church; because they deserve to be cast out of the Church, but by men visibly and externally holy, Mat. 3. 6. Acts 1. 38. Act. 2. 37, 38. 1 Cor. 15. 1. Mat. 10. 40. 41. Acts 8. 12, 13.
Answ. These and many other places do strongly prove our poynt; and especially, that the profession of Simon Magus who before God deserved to be cast out of the Church, Acts 8. is sufficient to make one a member of a visible Church. Yea but none deserve in foro Ecclesiae, in the Churches Court to becast out, but such as either confesse scandalous sins, or are contuma∣cious, or convicted judicially of the same before witnesses, other∣wayes the dearest to Christ, do legally before God deserve all to be cast out.
Robinson saith, The word in the Bible is no note of the true Church, but the Word believed and obeyed; for Papists have the Bible. AndfMr. Coachman saith, the Philistims had the Arke amongst them; and a Iesuit at a river side baptized with a skoop a thousand Indians; were they for that a true Church? and Papists, (saith ourgAuthour) have baptisme.
Ans. The like is objected by Socinus, Theoph. Nicolaides, Cattch. Raccoviensis, and by Anabaptists. But first we make not the word and materiall Bible, and naked seales the marks of the true invisi∣ble Church; we are now disputing about the markes of a visible Church. 2. We make not the naked presence of Word and Sa∣craments true markes of the Church; but a setled professed ere∣cted feeding by shepheards, feeding with knowledge, we make a Page 287 marke of the shepheards Tents; which way neither Philistines nor Indians have the Word of God: and for the Church of Rome; we cannot deny but she retaineth so much of the essence of a ministeriall Church, as maketh baptisme administrated by them to be true baptisme, that is, a valid seale, though she cannot 〈◊〉 be called a true ministeriall Church.
Other two questions here are shortly to be discussed, as belon∣ging to this purpose; as 1. whether discipline be a marke of the visible Church? Mr. Robinsonh saith, the power of censures is simply necessary for the being of the Church, sundry of our Divines affirm it is. So the i learned Professors of Leyden, and kUrsin with Pareus. Great lJunius saith, it is a note belonging to the Churches order, ad decorum, the mAugustine confession lea∣veth it out from amongst the notes, and so doth Calvinn and Whittakeruso make two notes onely, Word and Sacraments. Learned pBeza maketh onely the preaching of the Word a note, not excluding the other two. I thinke Distinctions may help the matter; 1. There is a power of discipline, and there is a care thereof. True Churches have a power given them of Christ, and this Robinson proveth, and no more; yet the care to exercise the power may be wanting in a true Church.
2. Distinct.Right discipline is not necessary for the essence of a visible Church. All our Divines condemne Anabaptists and Pelagians, who plead that righteous men onely, and such socie∣ties as have right discipline to be true Churches. 2. Novatians and Donatists came neere to them in this also, as we may see in qAugustine. So rRich. Field,sParker,tCartwright make it necessary to the wel-being of the Church; 1. Because it is not indifferent. 2. Because it is commanded in Gods word. 3. Discipline in the substantiall points is immutable. 4. It is ne∣cessary in respect of the end. And all this w the learned Par∣ker demonstrateth to be true. But it is not necessary simply to the being of it: as a City may be without walls, a Garden with∣out an hedge.
3. Distinct. The power and right to discipline is a propriety essentiall to the Church, and is not removed from it, till God remove the Candlesticke, and the Church cease to be a visible Church; but the exercise may be wanting and the Church a Page 288 true visible Church, from which we are not to separate.
4 Discipline is a necessary note and unseparable from a visi∣ble Church, whole, intire, and not lame and imperfect. But • Church may retaine the essence and being of a visible Church, and yet have no discipline in actuall use, or little, and though want of discipline doe leaven a Church, yet it doth not (as Ro∣binson saith) evert the nature thereof, and turne it into Babylon and a den of Dragons. Robinson will have prophanenesse and impiety by absolute necessity rooted out by discipline, but he is too hasty. Nay not by publique preaching of a sent Pastor, through abso∣lute, but onely through ordinary and conditionall necessity. You bind the Almighty too hard.
The other question is, if conversion of sinners be an ordinary effect of a publique and sent ministery? Our brethren in their an∣swer to the 32 Questions sent to them, deny this; but no marvell, seeing all conversion to them is done without the publique mi∣nistery by onely private Christians, and in this we see no necessity of a called ministery to convert men to Christ, which is the doctrine of Socinians and Anabaptists. So xChemnitius, so yGastius teacheth. The SocinianzTheo. Nicolaides, Luther erred, (saith he) when he asked from Muncerus his calling to preach, Muncerus was an Anabaptist. So aOstorodius in his in∣stitutions, and bRaddetius who objected the same that our brethren doe, that the whole beleevers be a royall Priesthood. But though we deny not, but some may be converted by the teaching and private conference of private Christians; yet the ordinary publique way is by the Word preached by a se•• Pastor, as is cleare, Rom. 10. 14. 1 Cor. 3. 5. Acts 9. 10. Acts 10. 5, 6, &c.