A survey of the Survey of that summe of church-discipline penned by Mr. Thomas Hooker ... wherein the way of the churches of N. England is now re-examined ...
Rutherford, Samuel, 1600?-1661.
Page  63

CHAP. XV.

Other arguments of M. H. and his answers are considered; as of the draw-net.

Mr. H. pag. 28, 29. to arg. 2. If the visible Church be a draw-net, where are fish and filth; a house where are vessels*of gold, and baser vessels of wood and brasse; then a rightly consti∣tuted Church there may be where are believers and hypocrites.

Ans. The argument is wholly yeilded, and the cause not touch∣ed, much lesse concluded, as may appeare by the state of the question in a right meaning.

Ans. 1. This argument may be wholely yielded, but is not my * argument; I referre the Reader to the place of my book where this is first propounded. The argument is much mistaken, and is not drawen from visible Churches, as they are de facto, and through abuse, though I speak to that also, which I am willing * to dispute with any who will defend M. H. in his survey. My argu∣ment is from visible Churches as they were at first planted and con∣stituted lawfully, and to all that read with any considerable atten∣tion, planted according, not to the permissive decree of God, according to which I tell M. Barrow, many hypocrites are de facto in the visible Church lawfully constitute; but according to * the revealed will of precept. Hence take the argument accor∣ding to my mind; if the visible kingdome and Church of Christ at both its first planting in fieri, and its after constitution in facto esse, consist not according to the decree, but even accor∣ding to the revealed and approving and commanding will of God, of good fish and of bad, and filth; and of vessels of honour and of dishonour: then the visible Church consisteth not of such Saints only as must be reall converts in the judgement of charity. But the former is true, M. H. might have known that I of purpose closed up this mouse-hole, non semel, not once, but * twenty times; the proposition is from the scope of the Parable, which, as worthy Calvin sayeth, that nikil novum &c. that our Saviour teacheth no new thing, but by a new similitude, the Page  64 same which he taught in the parable of the tares, only as Mr. Dickson hath judiciously observed. That hence the visible * Church in the way of gathering members, and manner of con∣stitution thereof is like a draw-net, taking in a I who professe subjection to Christ in his ordinances good and bad. To which as for the purpose, it is also most false, that the Lord tacit∣ly commands such Pastors as cast out the net of the preached Gospell, to fish no souls in a Pastorall Church-way, but these * who in their judgement of charity, savour of being with Iesus (as sayeth M. H. survey par. 1. c. 2. pag. 14, 15) and so are good fish and reall converts. Whereas the Lord commands Pastors not to look whether they be converted or not in their judge∣ment; leave that to God, and call in as many as ye find, Matth. 22. 9. Luk. 14. 17, 18, 23. Call in fools and simple ones, Prov. 9. 4. which indeed to M. Hooker is a sinne and a prophaning of the holy things of God. O saith M. H. Beware ye Pastorally call any, or preach to any Pastorally but such as in charity you judge converts; and these only and none other, sayeth M. Lckyer. As for the Parable of the tares, Let them grow untill harvest. Parus* (most judiciously) he forbids not to use discipline simply, but use it not so, with such rigor, or imprudently, when the wheat is in hazard to be plucked up, but use it not when the wheat may be hurted and rooted out. 2. The conceit of degenerated members to be tole∣rated for a while, will not help the matter; for the draw-net of the preached Gospel is to be cast out at the first admission of members, before the members be degenerated. 3. How shall our brethren make it out that the bad noteth the latent hypo∣crites only, that are not seen, because they are under the wa∣ter? but the bad noteth aswell the open hypocrites: and so did the Donatists answer Augustine, as our brethren doe; but Au∣gustine replyed that the Church is the barne-floore where the * wheat is hid and the chaffe seen. But, sure, the preachers are not to be led by their own judgement, who are really good, or really non converts and bad: for it is the command of Christ, that the bad, that is the non-converted be brought in, that they may be converted and keeped in (except the whole lump be in danger to be infected) that they may be made good.

Page  65 Mr. H. p. 29. The like may be said to the man who came with∣out the wedding garment, he carried it so cunningly that none per∣ceived*it but the Master.

Ans. Mr. H. must say, The servants judged him once to have a wedding garment, else they should not have invited him to come. Saith the Text that, or Mr. H. onely? If the former, then they sin who invite, and call externally any but such as have a wedding garment: So the Donatists said. 2. Mr. H. contradicts his own Book of Discipline expresly. The rest of my arguments are above vindicated.

Mr. H. p. 31. The examples of Solomon tolerating Idolatry,*of Asa breaking out into persecution, hurt Mr. R. cause, for then the openly scandalous may be received in.

Ans. These Kings obstinately persisting in such evils, are nei∣ther to be admitted, nor kept in: how far Solomon strayed is hard to determine. Amesius, after P. Martyr, teacheth, That * he neither worshipped Images, nor believed them to be God, nor brought them to the Temple. Augustine excuseth him, that he fell as Adam, to please his wives. Asa at his worst was fitter to be admitted a Member, than Magus at his best; nor can the time of Asa his continuing obstinately in these evils, be well known.

M. H. M. Ruthurfurd maintain, That such as are admitted must 1. Not be scandalous: 2. Must be baptized after the order of Christ: 3. They must, by their profession, notifie that they are true believers.

Ans. How they are not scandalous, how baptized in Christs order, and so must repent for their own personal comfort and salvation, is to be tried: Ergo, They must be to us real converts before they be admitted, is a feeble consequence. The third I never require before they be admitted Members: M. cannot reade that in my writings, but forged it of his own, as is an∣swered by me.

Mr. H. p. 32, 33. If I must not enter willingly into any un∣necessary Page  66 civil society, with such as have a shew of godliness, and*deny the power thereof, and such as are named brethren, but are idolatrous; far less should I enter into a spiritual society of faith with them.

Ans. What this reasoning meaneth, I know not. But 1. it is unlawful to you to enter your self a visible married Member of that Church, where one is to be admitted who is known to * be a scandalous hypocrite, as he is described 2 Tim. 3 1, 2, 3. Yea, suppose in all Churches you finde some scandalous, you are to joyn to some visible Church on earth.

But this is 1. Unlawful: for say that one would refuse to * marry any at all, because no woman on earth could satisfie his minde, hardly could that single life be lawful, if God give not the gift of continency. But say it were lawful to live single, and to marry none, because of such humorous impediments, yet it cannot be lawful to live out of all Church-fellowship, without all Church-ordinances, suppose you were in an Island where one onely Church is. 2. Suppose one be married, and fixedly joyned to such a Congregation, and divers Members turn like the Members of the Church of Sardis, divers become such as are 2 Tim. 3. 2. Lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, &c. the Apostle saith, We are to turn away from such: now the Elders and Flock re∣fuse to c•… them out. If that turning away 2 Tim. 3. be meant of separating from the Church, we must not turn away from them, except the Church to which we were married give us leave, which were strange. And it is like this is not Mr. Hookers sense; for he maketh it less free to turn away from a Church to which you are married, than not to joyn to it; as it is less free to the man to leave the wise to whom he is once mar∣ried, than not to marry: and so he makes the Church a Prison.

Page  67 As for the place 1 Cor. 5. he forbids intire conversing with the Excommunicate; Bullinger, he forbiddeth intimate fellow∣ship * with them. Mayer saith, it is the arguing of Anabaptists (which yet pious Mr. H. here followeth) We should not eat with them: Ergo, we should not joyn in Church duties with them. But Augustine citeth Cyprian, Because we see tares in the Church, yet let us not separate from the Church; for, saith Augustine, When the godly and the wicked partake of the same Sa∣crament, neither the cause nor the person is hurt. Entring in Church-fellowship, some one or other, though there be some scandalous persons tolerated and desended in all the Churches, is not voluntary, as to marry or not to marry, but a necessary Ordinance of God: for he lives as a heathen, in a condition of sinning, who is a Member of no visible Church.

Mr. H. These are not sufficient requisites in one to be a Mem∣ber, which may be in a drunkard, who is not to be a Member, but to be cast out; Ergo, to be kept out. But these three assigned by Mr. R. 1. To profess the Faith. 2. Eagerly to desire the Seals. 3. To desire Church-fellowship, counting it a disparagement not to be born again, if not admitted to the Sacraments, may agree to a drunkard.

Ans. For the ordinary drunkard, he is either born and ba∣ptized in the Church, or he is a Pagan and an ordinary drunk∣ard having these three. If the former be said, he is born a Mem∣ber of the Church, and so the question is concerning his casting out, not concerning his receiving in. I confess, I know not how Mr. H. could answer the question himself, concerning children born in their Church of Parents, Father, Mother, that are Church Members, though such live 60 or 70 years never baptized, and have these three requisites, and be free of gross scandals, they could not admit such to the Lords Supper. The Page  68 Ministers should have some extraordinary call of God to preach to such, as Paul had to go to preach in Macedonia, Act. 16. for by our Brethrens way they have no right, by way of Covenant, from the parents, but onely a providential right to preach the Gospel, which requires an extraordinary Apostolick cast.

As for the other, if the man be a born heathen, and shall come to get these three requisites, and profess as Magus did, he is to be received a Member: but if he hath not these three re∣quisites, for he lives in Sorcery, as Magus and Elymas, and op∣poseth the Gospel, the openly lying profession is scandalous; such a profession Mr. R. faith is not his requisites: If he be a Pagan, and continue in habitual drunkenness, he may be holden out while he gives evidences to others of amendment, and then he may be admitted to the outer court, as a heater; though a profession of faith, if not belied with worshipping of false gods, can hardly consist with Paganism.