Q. 9. What members are necessarily required for the right and lawfull constitution of a true politicke visible Church, to the which we may joyn in Gods worship.
IT is maintained by these of the Separation,*that the rightly constituted Church must consist of the Lords planting (as saith M. Barrow) all taught of God,* all plants of righteousnesse,* sons of Zion, precious stones, a redeemed people, a royall generation,*so the Guide to Zion. The true visible Church (say the Separatists) is a com∣pany of people called and separated from the world, by the word of God,* and ioyned together in a voluntary pro∣fession of the faith. So Separatists in their petit. Mr. Ainsworth,*M. Canne, the discovery of N. Light. For the clearing of the Question, we remit to the consideration of the Reader these distinctions.
- 1. Distinct. There be some Saints by externall cal∣ling, Page 93 but not chosen, some Saints by internall and effectuall calling, called and chosen of God.
- 2. Distinct. There be some members of a visible Church, who, de jure, by right and obligation should be such, there be other members of a visible Church, de facto; and in practise, who are such and such members.
- 3. Distinct. There is a morall obligation, and so all the members of a visible Church are obliged to bee Saints by effectuall calling, there is a physicall obli∣gation, and so that persons may be members of a visible Church as visible, it is not essentially required that they be effectually called.
- 4. Dist. If a true Church and a visible Church, as visi∣ble may not for a time be opposed by way of contradi∣ction, as a believing Church, and a non-believing Church, I remit to be considered, and shall God willing bee cleared.
- 5. Dist. It is one thing to be wicked and scandalous indeed and really; and another thing to be scanda∣lous juridicè, and in the Court of the Church and notarily.
- 6. Dist. A knowne and openly scandalous person and a well lustred and dyed Hypocrite are to be differenced in the Church
- 7. Dist. Let it be considered, if the preaching of the word be not in divers considerations. 1. A mean of consti∣tuting and making a visible Church. 2. A true note of a visible Church. 3. A meane of saving the believing Church, now visibly professing the Faith.
- 8. Dist. Let it be considered if the Magistrate and King may not compell men to the confessing and pro∣fessing of the faith, actu imperato, by an externall forcing power, and yet neither Magistrate nor Pa∣stour can compell to heart-believing, actu elicito, by an inward moving of the heart.
- 9. Let it be considered if a visible Church may not be a true Church by reason of some few sound belie∣vers Page 94 and sincere seekers of God, and that same whole body an infected lump and whoorish in respect of some visible professours, who are hypocrites and proud despi∣sers of the Lord.
- 10. Let it be considered if a Church may not be tear∣med by Gods Spirit an whoore, no Church, no Spouse, jure & merito & quod vocationem passivam, in respect of bad deserving and their not answering on their parts to the call of God, and yet that same Church remaine de facto, formaliter & quoad vo∣cationem Dei activam, formally and in regard of Gods part and his active vocation and calling the Spouse and bride of Christ. Hence our first Conclusion. The Saints by externall calling are the true matter of a visible Church.
1. The word (Ecclesia) the called of God, proveth this: For those are a true visible Church, where God hath set up a Candlestick, and whom God calleth to Repentance, Remission of sinnes and life eternall in Christ, because there bee a setled Ministery cal∣ling.
2. Because all to whom the Word is preached are called the visible Church, as all within the house are vessels of the house visibly, howbeeit there bee in the house, Vessels of Honour and vessels of disho∣nour.
3. So saith Ainsworth, this we hold, That Saints by calling are the only matter of a visible Church, yet with∣all we hold,*that many are called, but few chosen. So al∣so the kingdome of Heaven or visible Church is a draw net,* wherin are good and bad fishes, a barne-floore, wherin are chaffe and good wheat. See 1 Corinthians 1. 23. Collossians 1. 1, 2. Romans 1. 7. Philip. 1. 1. Math. 20. 16.
2. Conclusion,* All the members of the visible Church de jure, and by right, or by morall obligation ought to be Saints effectually called. 1. Because the comman∣dement of making to themselves a new heart, Ezech. 18. 31. Page 95and to be renewed in the spirit of their mind, Eph. 4. 23. Rom 12. 2. and to be holy, as he who hath called them is ho∣ly, 1 Pet. 1. 15, 16. It doth lay an obligation morall upon all within the visible Church. 2. Because the preached Gos∣pell is the grace of God appearing to all men teaching them to deny ungodlinesse, &c. Tit. 2. v. 11, 12.
3. Conclusion.* But, de facto, as the visible Church is in the field of the world, all the members of the visible Church are not effectually called, justified, sanctified, nei∣ther is it needfull by a phisicall obligation for the true nature and essence of a visible Church, that all the mem∣bers of it be inwardly called and sanctified, every pro∣fessor is obliged to beleeve,*else the wrath of God abideth on him, and he is condemned already. But to make a man a visible professor, and a member of the true visible Church as visible, saving faith is not essentially required, so as he should be no member of the Church visible, if he beleeve not.
That this may be right taken; observe that the visible Church falleth under a two-fold consideration. 1. In concreto, as a Church. 2. In abstracto, as visible. The vi∣sible Church considered in concreto, is a part of the uni∣versall, Catholike and unvisible Church which partaketh of the nature and essence of a true Church, and Christs misticall body, in which consideration we deny repro∣bates and unbelevers to be members of the visible Church. 1. Because there is no reall communion (what∣ever Bellarmine and Papists say on the contrary) betwixt righteousnesse and unrighteousnesse, light and darkenesse, the seed of the woman, and the seede of the Serpent, so as they can make up one true Church. 2. Because these who are not Christs, are not members of Christ, and so no part of his misticall body. 3. Because they are not bought with a price; nor his purchased flock in the blood of God, as Acts 20. the true Church is, nor builded upon a rock, as Mat. 16. 18. 4. Christ is not their Redeemer, head, High-priest, King and Saviour, and so neither are they his redeemed, his members, his people, Page 96 subjects and saved ones. 5. Because the promises made to the chos•n and beleevers, to give them a new heart, regeneration, sanctification, remission of sinnes are made to them only, and in Gods gratious intention, and not to reprobates. Whence I inferre these conclusions.
1. Sepera•ists arguments must be weake, for they all conclude that which we deny not, and no other thing, to wit, that haereticks, adulterers, forcerers, blasphe∣mers be no parts of Christs visible Church, as it is a Church. Yea we say that as the tree leg, and the eye of glasse, and the teeth of silver by art put in the body, are no members of the living body, so neither are these members of the true Church, and so much doe all our Divines, as Calvin, Beza, Junius, Whittaker, Tilen, Piscator, Pareus, Vrsine, Tr•l•atius, Sibrandus, Ame∣sius prove against Papists.
2. Preaching of the Gospell is called a note of the Church, and profession of faith a note of the Church both, the former is a no•e of the teaching Church or minsteriall Church called, Ecclesia docens. The latter is a note of the professing Church, who professeth the faith, which we may call Ecclesia utens, or Ecclesia pra∣cticè consideram.
3. Profession of the faith is thought to be true, either Subjectively. 2. Objectively. Or 3. Both Subjectively and Objectively. Profession subjectively is true when the professor doeth indeed professe and avow the truth, and doth not only seem to avow & professe the truth, and this is no note of a true Church, because it may be in hypocrites, who really goe to Church, really heare the word and partake of the Sacraments, but not sincerely. Profession true objectively is when the professor doth professe that faith which is indeed sound and orthodox. And this is a marke of the true teaching or ministeriall Church, and may be in a visible company of professors who for the time are not sincere beleevers. But a pro∣fession of the faith both objectively true and subjective∣ly is, when the object is orthodox and sound truth, and Page 97 the professor sincerely and gratiously, and with an ho∣nest heart beleeveth and professeth the truth, and this way profession of the truth is a true and essentiall note of a visible Church as it is a true Church and body of Christ, and so are our Divines to be expounded in this doctrine about the notes of the visible Church. But withall, the visible Church is to be considered in ab∣stracto, under the notion of visibility, and as visible, and as performing all the externall acts of professing, governing, hearing, preaching, praising, administrating the seales of the covenant, binding and loosing in the externall and visible court of Christ, and under this re∣duplication as obvious to mens eyes, and therefore in this notion all externall professors who are not mani∣festly and openly scandalous are to be reputed members of the true visible Church, and therefore this tearme, would be considered, a true visible Church. For the ad∣jective (true) may either be referred to the subject (Church) and so signifieth the true misticall body of Christ visibly, and with all sincerely professing the sound faith. Or it may be referred to the other ad∣jective (visible) and so it is no other but a company of professors visible to our senses, and so truely visible, whose members may be unsound and false professours: Then the question is, whither visible Saints 1. forsaking all knowne sinnes. 2. Doing all the knowne will of God. 3. Growing in grace,* (as saith Smith, and the discov. of N. Light.) be the only true matter of a right and law∣fully consistent visible Church and congregation; so as we are to joyne with no company of worshippers of God, but such visible Saints as these, and to acknow∣ledge no other society a true Church, whereto we are obliged to adjoyne our selves as members, save only such a s•ciety: Or is this sufficient for the nature, and right constitution of a true visible Church, that the company that we are to joyne our selves unto, as visible mem∣bers, have in it these true markes of a visible Church, The pure word of God purely preached, and the Sa∣craments Page 98 duely administred, with discipline according to Gods word, and withall a people externally pro∣fessing the fore-said faith, suppose they cannot give to us manifest tokens and evidences that they are effe∣ctually called, and partakers of the divine nature, and translated from death to life, and are elected, called and justified; This latter we hold as the truth of God; these of the Separation hold the former. Now we must care∣fully distinguish here what are to be distinguished; for there are many questions infolded here of divers natures: For 1. The question is if the society have the word, seales and right discipline, and they professe the truth, suppose their lives be wicked; whether they should not be answerable to that which they professe? I Answer. No doubt they ought to be answerable to their light, and obey the holy calling. 2. What if many of them leade a life contrary to that which they pro∣fesse, and yet the governours use not the rod of discipline to censure them: then whether should the members separate from that Church? They ought to separate, (say the Separatists,) They ought not to separate from the Church and worship, say we; they are to stay with their Mother, but to plead with her; and modestly and sea∣sonably say, that Archippus and others doe not fulfill their Ministry, which they have received of the Lord. 3. What if there be purity of doctrine, but extreame wickednesse, contrary to their doctrine; whether is that company a true Church or not? I answer, it is a true, visible and a teaching or right ministeriall Church, but for as farre as can be seene, not a holy, not a san∣ctified Church, and therefore must not be deserted and left. 4. What if the guides receive in as members of the Church, those who are knowne to be most scan∣dalous and wicked, and not such Saints as Paul wri∣teth unto at Rome, Corinth, Ephesus Colosse. Answ. The faults of the guides are not your faults who are private members, you are to keepe publike communion in the publike ordinances of Christ, but not to take part with Page 99their unfruitfull workes, but rather to reprove them. 5. What if the members of the Church can give no reall proofes that they are inwardly called, sanctified, and justified, and yet you see no scandalous out-breakings in them, to testifie the contrary. I answer, for as much as grace may be under many ashes, as a peece of gold amongst mountaines of earth: If they professe the sound faith, they are a true visible Church, and we are to acknow∣ledge them as such, and to joyne our selves as mem∣bers to such a society, or being already members, we are to remaine in that society, and not to separate from it in any sort.
The Separation doth complaine that in our Church are (as Ainsworth saith) swarmes of Atheists,*Idolaters, Papists, erronious and hereticall sectaries, witches, charmers, sorcerers,*theeves, adulterers, lyars, &c. The Gentiles en∣ter unto the temple of God, the holy things of God, the Sacraments indifferently communicated with cleane and un∣cleane, circumcised and uncircumcised: And amongst you are thousands who cannot tell how they shall be saved. So say others, as M. Barrow and Smith. Hence inferre they our Church is a false Church, not right constitute, no Spouse of Christ, no royall generation, not a people who hath Christ for King, Priest, and Prophet. We on the contrary hold this as our fourth conclusion, That how∣beit openly and grossely prophane wicked persons, as knowne atheists, and mockers of Religion, Idolaters, papists, heretickes, sorcerers, witches, theeves, adul∣terers, &c. are not to be keeped in the Church; but to be excommunicated, nor yet to be received into the Church as members thereof, untill they give eviden∣ces of their repentance: Yet we say that there is no∣thing required more as touching the essentiall proper∣ties, and nature of being members of a Church, as vi∣sible; but that they professe before men the faith, and desire the seales of the Covenant, and crave fellowship with the visible Church, which I prove:
1. From the manner of receiving members in the Page 100 Apostolike Church, where nothing is required but a professed willingnesse to receive the Gospell, howbeit they receive it not from their heart, Act. 2. 41. then they that gladly received his word (Peters word) were baptized, and the same day were added to the Church about three thousand soules, v. 45. And they sold their pos∣sessions and parted them to all men. Now amongst these glad receivers of the Gospell were Ananias and Saphira, ch. 4. v. 34, 35, 36, 37. chap. 6. v. 1, 2, 3. It is true they are all charged by Peter to repent, ere they be baptized, and added to the Church; but the Apostles require no more to make members of the visible Church, •ut 1. professed willing receiving of the word and this receiving expres∣sed by an outward act of selling their goods, which was but hypoc•isie in Ananias and Saphira, as the event declared; yet were Ananias and Saphira, for that time members of the Churches as truly visible, and their acts of electing and chusing a Pastor, and consenting to ex∣communicate scandalous persons in that time valid in Christs cout: Yea suppose Ananias had been a prea∣cher, his preaching and baptizing should have been valid, by grant of Separatists. Also there is no more required by the Church of Simon Magus, Act 8. v. 13. but beleeving historically at the sight of miracles, and he was baptized and received into the Church present∣ly. Now this beleeving was not seene to be saving faith to Peter and the Apostles, we know no wayes they had to know it, seeing they know not the heart, but what is said, v. 13. he continued with Philip, and wondred, which an hypocrite might doe, and he had been not long since an abhominable sorcerer, and usurped the honour of God like a sacrilegious robber of the Almighty of his glory, ver. 9, 10, 11. And the like we may see of De∣mas, who forsooke Paul, 2 Tim. 4. 10 and followed the present world: There was nothing to make him a mem∣ber of the visible Church then, but that for a while he followed Paul in his journeyes, and professed the faith. And the like must be said of Hymeneus and Alexander,Page 101 who for a time were members of the true Church, as it is visible, and a professing Church; and this was knowne onely by their profession; yet that they had but a bare profession is cleare, seeing afterward they made shipwracke of faith, 1 Tim. 1. 19, 20. Now our brethren cannot deny but all these might, and did ex∣ercise Ecclesiasticall Acts that were valid and ratified of God▪ yea of binding and loosing, and so nothing is required to make men members of a visible Church, but such an outward profession of faith as may befall, and hath been found in the fairest broidered and pa•∣mented hypocrites, who have been in the Apostolike Church. Also what more was in Judas, even after Christ had said (Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a Devill?) yet the eleven say not, Lord, discover him to us, that we may separate from him.
2. Argument.* If the visible Church planted and constituted lawfu•ly, be a draw-net, wherein are fishes of all sorts; and a house wherein are vessels of silver and gold; and also base vessels of brasse and wood; and a barne-floore wherein are wheat and a chaffe, then a Church is rightly constitute; howbeit there be in it beleevers and unbeleevers, and hypocrites, as mem∣bers thereof: And there is no more required to make members of the Church visible as visible, but that they be within the net, hearers of the word, within the house as vessels of brasse, within the barne-wals as chaffe, in likenesse and appearance like wheat: But the former is true,* and granted by Barrow, Mat 13. 47. 2 Tim. 2. 20, 21. Mat. 3. 12. Barrow saith, Hypocrites are ever in the Church, but it followeth not that the pro∣phane multitude for that should be admitted members without proofe of their faith. Answ. As the likenesse between the vessell of brasse, and the vessell of gold, and their being in one and the same Noblemans cu•∣table together, is sufficient to make the brazen vessell a part of the plenishing of the house: so the hypocrites Page 102 externall profession, and receiving the word, and re∣maining in the Church, as Ananias and Saphira, and Simon Magus his beleeving, his adhering to Philip, his desire of Baptisme maketh him a member of the visible Church, and the Church that these are in, is a truly and right constitute visible Church.
3. Argument.* If that Church be rightly constitute and a true Church, where the man without the wed∣ding garment commeth to the Marriage of the Kings sonne, that is, where multitudes were called, and doe heare the Word, and so come to the banquet of the Gospell, that are not chosen, and are destitute of the wedding garment of faith and Christs righteousnesse, and all these that are professed hearers of the word, and yet not sound beleevers. Then a professed and ex∣ternall use of the meanes (if no outward out-breakings of scandals be in them) maketh men members of the visible Church, and the Church is rightly constitute where these are; but the former is true, Mat. 22. v.•, 3. &c. v. 11, 12, 13. and this is a point most ordinary in every visible Assembly, where the word is prea∣ched, where some beleeve, and some are hardened, as in the parable of the sower, where the seed falleth upon good ground, and bringeth forth fruit, and also upon the way side, upon the rockie and thorny ground, and in the parable of the ten Virgins, to make them all the visible kingdome of heaven, there is no more required, but that all have l•mps, that is, a profession that they are the Bridegroomes men attending the wedding, and yet five of them wanteth oyle. And so when Christ preacheth and worketh miracles, some be∣leeve, and some beleeve not, Joh. 7. 31, 32, 33. Acts 2. 48, 49, 50. compared with Acts 5. 1, 2. 2 Cor. 15. 16.
4. Argument.*Israel was a right constituted Church. The covenanted people of God, an holy people to the Lord, chosen to be a peculiar people to himselfe, Deut. 14. 1, 2. Deut. 29, 10, 11, 12. a people on whom God set his love, Page 103Deut. 7. 7. So happy as none was like unto them, saved by the Lord the shield of their help, Deut. 33. 26, 27, 28, 29. a people with whom God would not •reake his oath, and Covenant made with Abraham, Judg. 2. 1. and their God, 1 King. 18. 36. 2 King. 9. 6. and he calleth them his people, Hos 6 Jer. 2. 13. married unto the Lord, Ier. 3. 14. and married for ever, Ier. 31. 36, 37. Ier. 32 40, 41. Hos 2. 19, 20. Isa. 50. 30. Psal. 80. 30, 31, 32, 33, &c. A people who had avowed the Lord to be their God, a people whom the Lord had avowed to be his pecu∣liar people, Deut. 26. 18, 19. A people with goodly tents, as the gardens by the rivers side, as the trees of Liba∣nus, that the Lord hath planted, Num. 24. 5, 6. A peo∣ple on whom the Lord looked upon, and behold their time was the time of love, over whom the Lord spread his skirts of love, to whom God sware a Covenant, and made them his, Ezech. 16, 6, 7, 8, 9. the Lords heritage, Ier. 12. 8. his pleasant sonne, and deare childe. Ier. 31. 20. his wel-beloved, Isa. 5. 1. And yet because of transgressions and the backsliders and revolters that wre amongst them, a perverse and crooked generation, Deut. 32. 5. at that same time had waxed fat and thicke, and lightly estee∣med the rocke of their salvation, v. 15. A people that had no eyes to see, nor eares to heare, nor a heart to perceive, to that day, Deut. 29. 4. spotted, but not as his children, Deut. 32. 5. a whorish people, v. 16, 17. Sodome and Go∣morrah, Deut 32. 32. Isa. 1. 10. an harlot city full of mur∣therers, drosse, not silver, wine and water, v. 21, 22. un∣circumcised in heart, Ier. 9. 26. to God no better then un∣circumcised Aethyopians, Egyptians, Philistines, and Sy∣rians, Amos 9 7. these that played the harlot with many lovers, in all the high-wayes, Ier. 3. 1▪ 2, 3. The Prophets prophesying falsly, the Priests bearing rule by their meanes, and the people loving to have it so, Ierem. 5. 31. The Princes wolves, evening wolves, Ezekiel 22. 27. What Apostasie was in Israel, yea in all, except Cal•b and Joshuah? What harlo∣trie with the Daughters of Moab? and Page 104 that vile Idoll Baal-peor? both immediately before, and immediately after the Spirit had called them, a blessed people, goodly plants, trees of the Lords planting, Numb. 24. as may be seen in the Chapters of that story, especially, cap. 25. Hence unanswerably it must follow, A Church visible is a rightly and law∣fully constitute Church, to the which we may joyne our selves as members, and yet it is a mixed multi∣tude of godly and prophane, circumcised and cleane, uncircumcised and uncleane. And Moses and the Pro∣phets knew Israel to be thus mixed and rebuked them, and yet tearmeth them a married people to the Lord, Jer. 3. 14.
5. Argument.*If the Church of the Jewes was a truly constitute visible Church, a Church that did wor∣ship a God they knew, and of whom was salvation, Joh. 4. 22. in Christs dayes, and had Moses chaire among them, and teachers on that chaire whom Christ comman∣ded to heare, and obey, Mat. 23 1, 2, 3. and was the Lords vineyard, Mat. 21. 33. and the Lords building, ver. 42. and had the Kingdome of God amongst them, ver. 43. and the Lords Priests whom Christ commanded to acknowledge and obey, Mat. 8. 4. and if the Lord coun∣tenanced their feasts, preached in the Temple, and their Synagogues, John 5. 1. John 7. 37. John 8. 2. Luke 4. 16, 17. and that daily, and yet there was in their Church Scribes and Pharisees, who perverted the Law of God, Mat. 5. 21. who made the Law of God of none effect with their traditions, Mat. 15. 6. and polluted all with will worship, Mark. 7. 6, 7, 8, &c. Master buil∣ders who rejected Christ the corner stone of the building, and slew the heire Christ to make the vineyard their owne, Mat. 21. v. 42. v. 38 killers of the Prophets, Mat. 23. 37. blinde guides who led the blind people in the ••tch. Christs own who would not receive him, Joh. 1. 12. if they slew the Lord of glory, Acts 5. 30. Acts 2. 36. Gods house made a house of merchandise, a den of theeves, John 2. 16. the Priesthood was bought and sold, Caiaphas was High-priest Page 105 that yeare: By Gods Law the High-Priest should have continued so all his life. All this being true, then a Church is a right constitute Church, where the cleane and uncleane are mixed.
6. The like I might prove of the Church of Co∣riath,*Galatia,* and Ephesus, Thyatira, Sardis, Laodicea. And the Separatists grant that hypocrites are often in the true visible Church, then the presence of wicked men in a visible Church marr•th not the constitution of a Church, onely Separatists would have a more ac∣curate tryall taken before persons were received in the Church, lest the uncircumcised enter into the temple of the Lord. But all the markes that we are to take before we receive members in the Church, or they also, is but an externall profession: And the Apostles tooke no markes in receiving Ananias and Saphira, Si∣mon Magus, Demas, Alexander, and Hymyneus, but onely an hypocriticall profession,* as Calvin hath well observed,* and after him Cameron. We have no certain∣ty of faith to know that this, or this man is a belee∣ver, that another man beleeveth and is saved is not the object of my faith. 2. Hence it followeth, that of a Congregation of forty professors, foure and twenty may be,* and often are but hypocrites; yet these foure a•d twenty, suppose twelve of them be the Pastor, Elders and Deacons, are truly parts of the Church as visible: Howbeit not parts of the Church as the Church, and as the true and mystciall body of Jesus Christ, and by this same reason all the fourty may be hypocrites for a time, because they are but men, who seeth not the heart, who did congregate this Church, and what is true of foure and twenty may befall fourty. I say (for a time) they may be all hy∣pocrites, or at the first constitution of the Church, but that all shall remaine so, I thinke is against the wisedome and gracious intention of God, who doth not set up a candle and candlesticke, but to seeke his owne lost money: And where he sendeth shepheards, Page 106 he hath there some lost sheep, because the preaching of the word is an essentiall note of a visible Church. Hence that Congregation of forty not yet converted is a true visible Church, I meane, a true teaching and Ministeriall Church in which are acts Pastorall of prea∣ching, baptizing, binding, and loosing that are valid and right Ecclesiastically: For Baptisme there admi∣nistrated was not to be repeated, and such a Church by the Ministery therein, is and may be converted to the saving faith of Christ: yea and Separatists would call such an independent Congregation. Hence 3. this must follow, that as to make one a Pastor, and to make twelve men Deacons and Elders, and so such as hath joynt power of the keyes, even by the grant of Separatists, with the rest of the Congregation, there is not faith in Christ required as an essentiall element, as I have proved from Mat. 7. 22. so to make these twelve members of a visible Congregation, Faith is not essentially required (suppose it be morally requi∣red) so by that same reason to make other twelve mem∣bers in that visible society in Christ, faith were not required, as to make Demas, Ananias, Saphira, Magus, Alexander, Hy•••cus and some moe of that kind a visible Church: There is no more required but that profession of faith which moved the Apostolike Church to make them members of a true Church visible: For what maketh formally a member of a Church visible, to wit, profession of the faith, that same maketh forty also members of a visible Church, and quae est ratio constitutiva partium, est etiam const•∣tutiva totius. That which formally constituteth a part, doth formally constitute the whole, where the whole is made of parts of the same nature, as what is essen∣tiall to make a quart of water, that is essentiall to make a whole sea of water, and every part of the visible Church is visible, and a visible professour, as visibility denominateth the whole, so doth it every part of the whole. And from this I inferre this fourth, That a Page 107 visible Church as visible, doth not essentially and neces∣sarily consist of believers; but only of professours of be∣liefe, so that a Church and a visible Church may be op∣posed by way of contradiction, as a number of believers, and a number of non-believers. For a Church essential∣ly is a number of believers and Christs mysticall body, els it is not a Church, that is, a number of persons effect∣ually called; for this cause I grant an Eldership of a congregation; a Synod Provinciall or Nationall are unproperly called a Church; and howbeit we list not to strive about names, we may grant our Gene∣ral assembly not to be properly called a National Church, but by a figure, for the believers of the Nation are proper∣ly the Nationall Church, I meane a mysticall believing Church.
5. Conclusion. The preaching of the Word and seals therof ordinarily setled in a visible society is the es∣sentiall note and marke of a true Church:* It is weak and vaine that Ainsworth, Robinson, Canne and Ma∣ster Smith say, The preaching of the Word is no essen∣tiall marke of the true Church, and why? Because for∣sooth, our Masters learned from Barrow to say; It is preached to the Reprobate to whom it is the •avour of death unto death, and it was preached to the scoffing A∣thenians by Paul Act. 17. and yet the Athenians were not a true Church. But we distinguish three things here.
There is 1. The single and occasionall preaching of the Word.
2. The setled preaching of the Word, the setling of the Candle-sticke and Kingdome to dwell amongst a people.
3. The preached Word, with the seales, especially the Sacrament of the Lords Supper. The single and occasionall preaching, or by concomitancy as to a peo∣ple unconverted and unbelievers, and so it is not an essentiall note of the true Church, but a meane to ga∣ther a Church to God, and this they proove, and no more, and so doe the Belgicke, Arminians and Socini∣ansPage 108 proove against our reformed Churches, that it is no marke of the Church;* so Episcopius, the Remon∣strants,* the Catechise of Raccovia and Socinus, but this is as if one would say: the colours and armes of such a King in warre are carried through the enemies fields,* as well as through the Kingsland;* therfore they are not the proper colours of such a King.
2. The setled preaching of the Word established and remaining in a Church, as the standing candle∣stick, the fixed kingdome of God is the essentiall mark of the true Church, and preached in Gods blessed de∣cree of Election only for, and to the chosen believers, and as it were in the bie to the prophane reprobates amongst them, and this they cannot be able to im∣proove. And it was M. Smiths vanity to say, the Refor∣med Churches have the Word,*as the thiefe hath the ho∣nest mans purse. Anabaptists reason just that way. See Calvin.
3. The preaching of the Word, and the seales of the setled covenant is a means of confirming those that are already converted: Neither is it much against us that the Word is preached to the reprobate; for the preaching of the Word is considered either in it selfe,* and actu primo, and so it is a mark of the visible Church.* Or. 2. As it is effectuall by the Spirit of Je∣sus, and actu secundo, and so it is an essentiall marke of the true Church and lively body of Christ, accor∣ding to that cited by Whittaker, Calvin, Willet, Pa∣raeus, Beza, Vrsine, Bucanus, and our Divines, John 1•.*My Sheepe heare my voyce. Hence observe a vile Doctrine of Separatists, holden also by Socinians and Arrainians, as Episcopius, the Belgicke Remonstrants, Socinus, the Raccovian Catechise, and •heophil. Nico∣laides, That all gifted persons may preach publikely,*and that there is no nec•ssity of c•lling of Pastors by the Pres∣bytery, so doe they teach, That there can be no lawfull Pastors now after the Apostacy of of Antichrist, till t•ere be a constitute Church of believers to choose them, or a Page 109 flocke to them to watch over. And therefore conversion is ordinarily wrought (say they) by private Christians, that have the gift to p•ophecy publikely, and yet are not Pastours; for private Christians doe gather the Church (say they) Pastours doe not ordinarily convert, they do only confirme the church of Saints already converted. A∣gainst which we say.* The new Testament of Christ telleth us of no officers to preach in Christs name, for the perfecting of the Saints, the worke of the Mi∣nistry, edifying of the body of Christ,* but Pastors and Doctors, Eph. 4. 11, 12.
2. None but such as have power of binding and loosing by the preaching of the Word,*Joh. 20.
3. Those to whom Christ giveth power of pub∣lick teaching,* to those he giveth power of Bapti∣zing, Mat. 28. 18, 19. and sendeth them as his Father sent him.
4. How shall they preach except they be sent?* Rom. 10. 14. Sending in the Apostolike Church was by praying and the laying on of the hands of the Pres∣bytery, 1 Tim. 4. 14.
5. There is nothing more ordinary then that Pa∣stors as Pastors,* and by vertue of their pastorall office convert soules.* 1. Faith is begotten by hearing a sent •reacher, Rom. 10. 14, 15. Ministers by whom we beleeve, 1 Cor. 3. 9. by them we receive the Spirit by the hearing of Faith, Gal: 3. 2. 2.*People are begotten over a•aine by them, as by spirituall fathers and mothers, 1 Cor. 4. 15. Gal: 4. 19. 3.* Pastors are the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, woo∣ers and under-suters to gaine the Brides consent, to marry the lovely Bridegroome Christ Jesus, Joh. 2. •9 2 Cor: 11. 2, 3. 4.* Their Word is the savour of life unto life unto some, and the savour of death unto death unto others, 2 Cor. 2. 16. They are to preach with all gentlenesse, waiting if God peradventure will give repentance to the gain-sayers, 2 Tim: 2. 24, 25, 26. 5.*They are Em∣bassadours in Christs steed, beseeching men to be recon•i∣led unto God, a Cor: 5. 20. 6.*The weapons of their Page 110 warfare are mighty through God to fling downe strong holds (of unbeliefe) to cast downe imaginatims, and e∣very high thing, that exalteth it selfe against the knowledge of God, and to bring unto captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, 2 Cor: 10. 4, 5. and so they are to pull men out of the hands of Satan. 7.* They are to seeke the Lords Sheep, Ezek. 34 4. Hence the object and matter that a Pastor is to worke on as a Pastor, is unbelievers, unborne men, gain-sayers, proud, disobedi∣ent, keeping strong holds against Christ: So the nature of the Pastors office is to open the eyes of the blinde, to turne them from darknesse to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgivenesse of sinnes, Act: 26. 18. and this evidently evinceth, that the visible and rightly constitute Church, where God hath erected a Ministery is a number of blinded sin∣ners in Satans power, and in the power of darknesse for the most part, while God by a Ministery delivers them, suppose they professe the Faith. It is also a Doctrine unknowne to the Word of God, that the Church of Christ is gathered and edified formally as a Church without Christs Ministers that are sent to gaine the consent of the Bride to marry the Bride∣groome Christ. It is also unknown to Scripture that Prophets are no Pastors, and have no power of the pastorall calling or s•ales of the Covenant, Should those bee the ordinary officers of Christ that gather sinners in to Christ, and convert to the Faith of Jesus men dead in sins and trespasses, who yet are neither Pastours nor Doctours sent by Christ and his Church.
6. Conclusion. Seeing then the Church hath no o∣ther marke and rule to looke unto, in the receiving in of members into a visible Church, but externall pro∣fession, which is no infallible marke of a true convert, the Church is rightly constitute, where all borne within the visible Church and professing the Faith are received, suppose many wicked persons be there. Page 111 Now seeing time, favour of men, prosperity accom∣panying the Gospell, bring many into the Church, so the Magistrate may compell men to adjoyn themselves to the true Church.
O saith,*Master Barrow, Ainsworth, Mr. Canne. The blast of the Kings horne can make no man a member of Christs body, that must be done willingly, and by the Spi∣rit of Christ, not by compulsion: The Magistrate (say they) can worke faith in none, he ought indeed to abo∣lish Idolatry, set up the true Worship of God, suppresse errours, cause the truth to be taught, yet he cannot constrain men to joyne to the Church.
I answer, This is a senslesse reason; for how doth the Magistrate abolish Idolatry, set up the true wor∣ship of God? It is, I hope, by externall force and power: For the Magistrate as the Magistrate doth no∣thing but by an externall coactive power. The Ma∣gistrate useth the sword, not reasons, preaching and counsell. Yea, this way he cannot abolish idolatry, nor erect the pure worship of God, for it is a worke of Gods Spirit and a willing worke, that a subject for∣sake Idols, and worship God purely at the command of a King, as it is the worke of God, that he believe in Christ, and joyn himselfe to the Church of true belie∣vers.
2. That a man by externall profession adjoyn himself to the true visible Church, is not a work of saving faith, as our Masters dreame, for Simon Magus and Ananias and Saphira a turned members of the visible Church upon as small motives, as the command of a King, upon the mo∣tive of gaine and honour, and were never a whit nearer Christ for all this.
3. The Magistrate cannot compell men to believe,* nor can the Minister by preaching, or the power of the keys doe it,* except Gods Spirit doe it, but as Junius•aith, he may compell men to professe beliefe, but not to believe, he may compell to the externall meanes, not to the end. 2. The Magistrate (as Voetius saith) may compell Page 112by remooving impediments, as idols and false teachers and authoritatively. 2. compell to the means. Now it shall be easie to answer their Objections, who wou•d prove that Saints are the onely matter of a rightly and lawful∣ly constitute visible church.*
First,*Master Barrow reasoneth against us thus, The materiall Temple from the very foundation was of choyse costly stones, the beames of choyse Cedars and Algum∣mim-trees, which typified the church of the new Testament, Isa. 54. 11. Behold I will lay thy stones with carbuncle and thy foundations with Saphirs, &c. Is•. 6. 17. for brasse I will bring gold, Isa. 35. 8. No Lyon, nor rave∣nous beast shall be in the mountaine of the Lord, but the redeemed of the Lord, Jer. 31. 34. They shall all know me from the least of them, to the greatest, in this moun∣taine there shall be no cockatrise, aspe, lyon, leopard un∣till they have left their poyson, Isaiah 11. 6. Answer first.
These places none (except Anabaptists) can apply according to the letter, to the Church independent of e∣very Parish, may not the Separatists, who •each that there is rotten timber in their visible Temple, and chalke stones, Lyons,* Wolves, Cockatrices, for saith Barrow, Ains∣worth, and all their side, there are always in the Church glorious Hypocrites; now such as Judas, Demas, Hyme∣neus, and such hypocrites are not precious stones, gold, taught of God, there is not a visible Church of a con∣gregation out of Heaven, where there is not a hypocrite and an unbeliever.
2. The place Isa. 54. and Jer: 31. is understood of the Catholick Church, with whom the covenant of grace is made, Isa. 54. 10. Jer: 31. 31. and this cove∣nant is not everlasting, nor an eternall covenant to any one Parish Church, yea, nor to a Nationall Church, nor to Corinth, Ephesus, Pergamus, all which particular Churches are fallen under horrible Idolatry,* and in those Mountains are Lyons and Leopards, and therfore as Mus∣culus, Calvin, Hierom, and the course of the Text clea∣reth Page 113 he is speaking of the begunne holinesse of the whole Church, of the redeemed under Christ, which is finally and fully accomplished in Heaven, for what use should there be of excommunication, and of the Pastors and Porters care to hold out, and cast out, by the Church censures, Lyons, Leopards, Cockatrices, if all, and every one in the Church be taught of God?
3. It is beside the Text to make the Temple of Jeru∣salem a type of a Parish congregation, it was a type of Christ, Iohn 2. 21. of every beleever, 1 Cor. 6. 19. and of the whole Catholike Church.
4. Where it is said, There shall be no ravenous beast in the Mountaine of the Lord, the Mountaine of the Lord is not taken litterally for Mount Sion, as if in every little Mountaine of a visible congregation, made up of so ma∣ny Saints, there were not a Iudas amongst them; But by the Mountaine of the Lord is meaned the Catholike Church, alluding to the visible Mount Sion, a type of the Church of Christ through all the earth.
2. They dispute thus:* God in all ages hath appointed, and made a separation of his people from the world, before the Law, under the Law, and now in the time of the Gospell, Gen. 4. 6. Exod. 6. 3. Levit. 20. 24. Ezech. 6. 11. Psal. 84. 10.
Answ. God hath made a separation of the Church from the wicked, but not such a separation, as there remai∣neth no mixture of hypocrites and unbeleevers in the Church. The Church was separated from Caines seede, yet was there Idolatry, defection and wickednesse: in the Church, till God charged Abraham to leave his country, and his fathers house. God separated his Israel from Egypt, but so that there was much Idolatry and wickednesse in Israel thus separated.
God may, and doth separate his owne from Egypt,〈◊〉 in Marriage and mixture with the Canaanites.〈…〉 that are born in the visible Church and professe 〈…〉 us, should not be received in the Church 〈…〉 be all taught of God, all precious stones, all Page 114 plants of righteousnesse: it followeth no way, but the contrary, therefore because they are unbeleevers under the power and chaines of Sathan, and ignorance, they are to be received in a communion with the Church, to be hearers of the word, that they may be all taught of God, and all made righteous plants.
3. They reason thus.* The wicked have not Christ for their head. So the guide to Zion.* A true visible Church (say the Separatists) is the Temple of the Lord, the body of Christ, a kingdome of Priests, a Church of Saints, the houshold and Kingdome of God. Yea saith Barrow, a people, chosen, redeemed Saints by calling, partakers of the most precious faith, and glorious hope, the humble, obe∣dient, loving Sheepe of Christ, a sheepe-fold watched by discipline, a garden well inclosed, here entreth no Cana∣nite, every vessell is holy.
Answ. 1. The body of Christ, a Kingdome of Priests and Saints, and these that are partakers of the holy faith, are the chosen of God, ordained for glory in his decree of election, and effectually called and justified; but the ad∣versaries say, that the visible Church is a company of Saints by calling, where (saith Ainsworth) there be many called, but few chosen, hence this argument will prove that none, no hypocrites can be in the visible Church, as a Church is indeed Christs body. Now the Church visible as a Church is indeed Christs body, a reyall Priest-hood, a chosen generation, but as visible, it is sufficient that the Church be a royall Priest-hood only in profession, and so possibly for a while, no royall Priest∣hood, no chosen generation, as I have observed before. But (say they) hypocrites are not indeed and really mem∣bers of the true visible Church, but only in reputation, as an eye of glasse, is not indeed a true part of the body.
I answer, then our adversaries give us no right de∣scription of the true naturall and lively members of the true visible Church, he that would give such a defini∣tion of a man as agreeth both to a living man, and to a pictured or painted man, were but a painted Logician.Page 115 For they acknowledge the true parts of a visible Church to be a chosen people, a royall generation, partakers of the holy faith, either they are really and in Gods esteem a chosen people, &c. And so we are at a point, there be none members of a visible Church, none ought to heare the word as members of the Church, none ought to preach, baptize, bind and loose with the rest of the Congregation, but these that are really chosen and ef∣fectually called, which cannot be said. Ainsworth then and M. Canne, and Smith doe but mocke us, when they say, The true matter of a true visible Church are Saints in profession, and in the judgement of charity, for that is not enough, they must be according to the Texts of Scripture alledged by Barrow, not onely in the judge∣ment of charity, but in Gods estimation, and in the judgement of verity, a chosen people, a royall generation. If the true matter of the true visible Church be a chosen ge∣neration and a royall Priest-hood only in profession, the pla∣ces cited will not help them; for Peter, 1 Pet. 2. writeth not to an independent Congregation, who are in pro∣fession only a chosen people; But he writeth to the Catholick Church, even to all the dispersed and sanctified, and regenerated in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bythinia, who were not only a chosen generation in profession, but also really and in Gods decree of election. Neither Peter nor Isaiah are of purpose to teach that in the independent Congregation of the New Testament there are none, but all righteous men, no stones (to speake with Isaiah) but Saphires and Carbuncles, no thornes and briers, but only the firre and the myrtle trees; no iron and brasse, but all gold and silver; no Cananite, no Lyon, no uncleane vessell, this they shall not find in the indepen∣dent Congregations of Separatists, nor can it be in the vi∣sible Church on earth, except they seeke the Anabaptists Church, a man in the Moone.
Page 116Answ. The wicked are forbidden to speake of Gods Law and his Covenant, in some case, so long as they hate to be reformed, but they are not simply forbidden; but hence it followeth not, that they should not be ordinary hearers of the word, but rather they are to be hearers, and so members of the visible Church, seing faith commeth by hearing. 2. From this argument is nothing conclu∣ded against us, for such adulterers, theeves and slanderers, as are forbidden to take Gods Law in their mouth, Psal. 50. are to be cast out of the Church, and the question is, if they be not cast out, if the Church for that be no true Church, that we should remaine in, they say it lea∣veth off to be a true visible Church: we deny.
5. There is (saith Ainsworth) proclaimed by God him∣selfe,* enmity and warre, betwixt the seede of the woman, and the seede of the Serpent;* and there is no communion nor fel∣lowship betwixt Christ and Beliall, light and darknesse. There∣fore the prophane and the godly cannot be mixed together in one visible society, as two contraries are not capeable of one and the same forme.
Answ. This will prove that which is not denyed, that the godly and ungodly cannot agree well together, sup∣pose the ungodly be latent hypocrites; for they have two contrary natures, as fire and water, and have two con∣trary fathers, God and Sathan, but that is not denyed. But hence it followeth not but that hypocrites and unbelee∣vers may be all their life in externall society with the wicked, and make up one true visible Church.
6. If the godly have a due right to the promises and seales of Gods covenant,* and his presence and blessings appertaine to them.*Mat. 28. 18, 19. 2 Cor. 6. 17. Levit. 26. 11, 12. Isa. 56. 20. Then no prophane persons can be received or retained in the visible Church with the godly; for this is, 1. To pro∣phane the holy things of God, which no beleever should suffer. 2. This is contrary to the nature of the covenant that offereth remission of sinnes only to the chosen and faithfull. 3. The godly shall become one body with the wicked, by having com∣munion with them. 1 Cor. 10. 16, 17. and so shall be Page 117 defiled, Haggai 2. 12. 1 Corin. 5. 6.
Answ. 1. This argument is injurious to Gods provi∣dence, who hath left no infallible meanes to keepe his owne Name and ordinances from prophanation, and his owne Church from being leavened and defiled with the uncleane. For Simon Magus, Annanias and Saphira, Demas, to whom the precious promises of the covenant were preached, and the seales conferred, could not be discerned to be hypocrites by any word of God, while the event of their out-breaking wickednesse declared them to be such, and so this should prove that God is not tender enough of the honour of his owne Name and ordinances, who should permit hypocrites to lurke in the visible Church, and heare the promises, and receive the seales of the covenant, and defile and pollute them, and Christs body the Church, for the godly by that Text are made one body, 1 Cor. 10. (if it be rightly expounded) with the latent hypocrites that come to the communion with them. 2. The promises and seales were not de∣filed to Christ and his Disciples, because Iudas did heare the word, and receive the seales of the word with them: The Word and Sacraments were not polluted to Paul, because Demas did communicate with him. 3. If some one private Christian know another to be an adulterer, he is to rebuke him privately, and not to tell the Church, but in case of obstinacie, and suppose the Church would not cast out the adulterer, yet is he not to private per∣sons an adulterer, while he be juridice, by two or three witnesses convicted before the Church, and all this while it is lawfull to communicate with him; for a a testimonie should not be received against any, but un∣der two witnesses. We are not made one body by eating that same supper with an unbeleever, except it be one visible body communicating in one visible bread. Christ and the Apostles were not made one body misticall with Iudas, by eating the Passeover together, but only one visible externall society which is not inconvenient.
7. They reason thus:* The leaper by the Law was not to Page 118 remaine in the campe, but behooved for so many dayes to be removed, and not re-admitted to come amongst the people of God, while he was cleansed; the uncircumcised must not be admitted to eat the Passeover, the uncleane and uncircum∣cised, the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the Heathen, the Moabites and Ammo∣rites were not suffered to enter into the Temple: And all these signified that no profane person should be mixed with the con∣gregation of beleevers.
I answer. The uncircumcised and the Heathen did sore-signifie the excommunicated, who are to be reputed as Heathen and Publicanes, Mat. 18. 17. and these are to be cast out of the Church being once sentenced and judged by the Church according to Christs order and Pauls; if the sinne be publicke, Math. 18. and 1 Tim: 5. 20. yet are they not to be debarred wholly from the society of the congregation, but they must not be counted as enemies, but admonished as Brethren, 2 Thes: 3. 15. the uncircum∣cised were not counted as brethren, yea excommunica∣tion is a meane to save the spirit in the day of the Lord, 1 Cor: 5. 5. and so he is under the Churches cure, as a sick son, and must heare the Word, and is to be as a Heathen, and yet not a Heathen indeed, but warned as a brother, and in some Church-communion with us.
8. They reason thus,* If the prophane be admitted as mem∣bers of the true visible Church, the true Church should not be distinguished from false Churches, contrary to the word of God, Psal. 84. 10. Cant: 1. 6, 7. Hos. 2, •9, 20. 2 Cor: 6. 15. Rev. 1. 11, 12, 20. compared with 17. 1, 5. but God hath differenced his true Church from all Synagogues of Satan, and humane societies, as a separated and sanctified people?
Answ. Gods courts, Psal. 84. 10. are differenced from the tents of wickednesse, The flocks of the companions, Cant: 1. 7. expounded to be the false Church, are differenced from the true Church, in that in the true Church are the Kidds fed beside the Shepheards tents, that is, the Word of God is purely preached in the true Church, and the mem∣bers Page 119 therof professe this Word, which is not done in the tents of wickednesse, and yet a Judas is often one of the Shepheards, and a Demas a follower of Paul and the Go∣spell, a member of this true Church visible.
2. Hos. 2. Israel is called not Gods wife, and God not her husband, not because Israel left off to be a true Church, de facto, and formally, as if upon Gods part he had given her a bill of divorcement, the contrary wherof is said, v. 6, 7. he will give her grace to returne to her first husband, and 19. he will marry her, and Jer: 13. 14. hee was married to backesliding▪ Israel, that had plaid the harlot with many lo∣vers, Jer. 3. 14. v. 1. but Isreal is called no wife, de jure, by her evill deservings, as a husband saith to his wife that hath plaid the harlot, you are not my wife, to wit, by law and right of deserving, for you have broken your Marriage-oath. Yet upon his part who hath not rent and cancelled the contract of marriage, nor put her out at doores with a written bill of divorcement, she is de facto and formally, still a wife, and so was God still in cove∣nant with Israel, and sent his Prophets to them, and they had circumcision amongst them, and God had there seven thousand that had not bowed their knee to Baal, and had not cast off his people whom he fore-knew, Rom. 11. 1, 2, 3, 4.
3. God is present and Christ also in the midst of the se∣ven candle-sticks, and walketh in his Church, and goeth not away, because these that digge downe his Altars and slay his Prophets, and so extinguish the candles, are in the visible Church, as is cleare, he walked in Ephesus be∣side his candle-stick, howbeit, they had fallen from their first-love, and in Pergamus, howbeit the doctrine of Ba∣l•am was there, and in Thyatira, howbeit, Jezabel the false Prophetesse was there seducing his people.