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.

CHAP. VIII.

Mr. Hookers first inference, that Church-fellowship doth presuppose men to be visible Saints, but doth not make them such, discussed.

THat men are first converted visibly before they be Church∣members is a grosse mistake, it leaneth on this, That the Church which Christ hath in his Gospel instituted, to which he hath committed the keyes of his Kingdome, the power of binding and loo∣sing, the tables and seals, is a company of Saints, a combination of godly faithfull men. So the Church of N. England. From this it * must follow that there is an instituted visible Church void of Pastors, which converteth souls before there be pastors, and so there must be Sons and daughters before there be Fathers and Pastors to beget them to God, as Ministeriall Fathers; and * they must be fed before they have Pastors to feed them, and if they be converted before they be in Church-fellowship, and Pastors must be nurse-Fathers to feed and confirm these who were born before their father had being. The contrary where∣of Paul of the formed Church of the Galathians, that he did travel in birth till Christ be formed in them, Gal. 4. 15. and when he wrote the Epistle to the Corinthians, they were framed a visible Church, and many not yet reconciled to God; and yet in that case he saith, 1 Cor. 4. 15. Though ye have ten thousand instructers in Christ, y•• have ye not many fathers, for in Christ Iesus have I begotten you through the Gospel. Now that he begat them all and every one, and made, them visible con∣verts, Page  32 before he was their Church-Father, or they in Church∣fellowship, * where is it sayed or dreamed, by any colour of truth? yea 2 Cor. 5. 20, now then we are ambassadours for Christ, at though God did beseech you by us, we pray you be reconciled to God, ergo this supposeth some state of non-reconciliation in many Church members, Rom. 12. 2. be not conforme to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. Ephes. 4. 22. that ye put off concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitfull lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, Coloss. 3. 8. now lay you aside all these. 16. putting on the new man: all which and the like places directed to visible converts, must all be exponed without exception, of second conversion and of reiterating of conversion and reconci∣liation of these that are already converted and reconciled, which no Scripture can perswade; and by the like order, the chil∣dren must be born and vsibly converted, before they were in the wombe of their visible mother who conceived and bare them, contrary to 1 Cor. 3. 15. nor can the mother be any thing but a nurse, nor any other in regard of bringing forth, but a * barren mother, which bringeth not forth twinnes, contrary to Cant. 4. 2. Isai. 54. 1, 2, 3.

2. The Scripture holdeth forth their pastors as pastors are sent to open the eyes of the blind, to turn them from darknesse to light, and from the power of Sathan unto God, that they may receive for∣givenesse of sinnes, Act. 26. 18. yea and the Scripture teacheth that we receive the spirit by the hearing of faith from pastors, as sent and in office, such as were the officed prophets, whose feet were pleasant upon the mountaines, as is clear, Rom, 10. 14, 15. compared with Isai. 52. 7. Nah. 1. 15.

3. If many be brought in to the visible Church and the house of wisdome, who are fooles and serving the world, as Math. 22. 8, 9. Prov. 9. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. upon Gods revealed intention and the aime and design of pastors, that they may be converted, and perfected by the work of the ministery, then are they not supposed to be converted before they be brought in to the vi∣sible Church; for God cannot intend that they be converted and regenerate of new, if their conversion and regenerati∣on go before any such intention; but the former is true 1. from Page  33 the nature of the visible Church, the office-house of wisdome, in which God intendeth to make fooles wise unto salvation. 2. From the preaching of the Law and Gospel, the onely means of conversion, whereas if all be presupposed to be converted, be∣fore * they come into the house of Wisdome, and the supper of the King, they should from pastors heare no doctrine of Law humiliation to fit them for Christ, but pastors should speak to them all as to converts, as to broken reeds, and to sheep that di∣scernt the voice of Christ, as to temples of the Holy Ghost, as to persons regenerated, justified, predestinated to life and to glo•… ry; yea, and if a pastor preach to any of the flock as known now to be yet in th state of nature; that preaching is not by any command of God given to him as a pastor. Nor. 3. from the revealed intention and command of God layed upon the Pa∣stors and Ministers, whose aime is to endeavour the conversion of all, to espouse them to Christ, to have them put off the old man, to have them rise from the dead, and that the Gospel be not hid to them, nor the savour of death unto death, as it is to many in the visible Church, 2 Cor. 4. 3, 4. 2 Cor. 2. 14, 15, 16. Ioh. 12. 37, 38, 39. by M. H. his way.

M. Hookeer par. 1. c. 2, p. 31. Answer the proposition faileth. These who are converts in the Iudgment of charity, may yet, in Gods intention, be brought in to the Church, that they may be truly converted.

Ans. M. Hooker leaveth out the chief word, wherein stan∣deth * the force of my argument, he speaketh nothing of Gods revealed intention and command to call in fooles that they may be made wise, and he frameth his answer, as if I had argued from the bare intention and hidden decree of God. But I find that M. Hooker utterly mistaketh the distinction of Gods decree, and of his approving will, and therefore he taketh for one and the same, the decree or intention of God (from which I bring not my argument) and the revealed intention of God, or his com∣manding will: the ignorance of which is a stumbling to Armi∣nians, and Socinians, and to M. Hooker, who, as we shall har, go∣eth on with them, but I judge it one mistake in judgment in that godly man, but no hereticall spirit, and therefore his defenders and followers would take heed to it. For I grant all that M. Hoo∣kerPage  34 answereth, but it is to no purpose, and quite beside the mark, and leaveth the argument untuitched (which is too ordinary to that pious man) for no doubt God in his decree and secret in∣tention may intend, by the Ministery of his servants, the true and reall conversion of many hypocrites, such as are no lesse unconverted, then Magus and Demas; for he hath mercy, on whom he will, Rom. 9. 17. but according to this way, these who are converts in the judgment of charity (he should say only converts in that judgment) are not according to Gods revealed inten∣ion and approving will or command taken in by Pastors, that they may be really converted: for God giveth, in no sort, this command to pastors in his revealed intention. See that ye admit no fooles to wisdomes table or within wisdomes house, but such only as you believe in charity are reall converts, and both called and cho∣sen, contrary to Prov. 9. 1, 2, 3, 4. Math. 22. 8, 9, 14. Ergo by my revealed intention and command you are not to intend their conver∣sion, but to presuppose that they were already converted: other∣wayes, if the Lord by his revealed intention and command will have such hypocrits who are but nominall saints, brought in that they may be truly converted, there must follow two con∣tradictory intentions revealed in God: for the Lords command to Pastors is (I command you to preach to these who are converts in*the judgment of charity, that upon my intention, they may be truly converted: And also I command you, my pastors, preach to no Church members, that upon my intention, they may be converted, because you are not to preach to any as pastors, but to such as ye know are already converted, according to my revealed intention and will. M. Hooker seeing this addeth.

But if M. Rutherfurd mean that the Church doeth of purpose*receive them into the Church to be converted, then it is crosse to his owne tenet, and a person may be received to the seales of the cove∣nant, who doeth not notifie that he hath faith, nay the Church may receive them to the seales, whom she knoweth hath no right to the seales, for she knoweth they are not invisible members, which in M. Rutherfurds judgment only giveth them right.

Ans. It is not crosse to my tenet, that a person, such as De∣mas and Magus may be received to the seales, and yet they doe not notifie they have saving faith and internall conversion, for Page  35 my tenet is that the Church can only judge of visible walking and profession in point of admission or not admission to seales, and in that point the Church hath nothing to doe to judge whether they have faith saving or not, none can partake sa∣vingly of the seales for their owne personall salvation and with∣out sinne, but these only who have saving faith, but the Church may admit without sinne multitudes, who eat and drink their own damnation, 1 Cor. 11. 26, 27. and yet passe no sentence of signes notifyng faith or no faith, internall conversion or no in∣ternall conversion upon them.

2 M. Hooker knoweth that M. R. differenceth between be∣ing admitted to the visible Church, and to the seales, and yet be repeateth my tenet, as if I confounded these, because he confoundeth them himselfe. Whereas M. H. sayeth ergo.

3 The Church may receive to the seales whom she knoweth hath no right Ecclesiasticall to them: it followeth not; for upon the Churches part, the right is good to conferre the seales, upon the knowledge of notifying signes, but of signes in order to conversion or not conversion, that is the place of the master Christ to Judge, not of servants, in this case before they be ad∣mitted members. But that the Church may admit to the seales whom she knoweth not whether they have right internall for their owne personall salvation, that I teach, and can make good from Scripture, Act. 8. 13 Math. 22. 12. 1 Cor. 11. 26, 27, 30. now I say, that its the place of Christ, not of servants to judge of the conversion or not conversion of members, not because men may, in no sort, judge of the conversion of or non conver∣sion of others; for in these cases we may judge of the conversion of others. 1. in order to speak to their spirituall state, as con∣verts, or not, Act. 17. 22. 1 Cor. 3. 1. (2) in the cases of duties of love, suppose we erre upon the matter, as Math. 10. 42. 1 Joh. 3. 14. (3) these that try intrants to the Ministery are to judge authoritatively whether they be converts to them or not, 1 Tim. 3. 10. 2 Tim. 2. 2. but to judge so before their admission wants warrant of Scripture: Pastors as pastors converted none, yea according to the command of Christ are to intend to con∣vert none at all, by M. H. his way.

Page  36 4. Where M. R. teacheth, that to be invisible members gi∣veth onely right to the seales, I know not.

5. I teach indeed that the Church may of purpose receive in to the visible Church, who are known members of the Catho∣lick visible Church, and manifestly gracious, upon a purpose, that they may, in a particular congregation, be confirmed not converted. But that is nothing to our point, but M. Hooker holdeth that pastors as pastors are called of God to convert no Church-members, for they presuppose they were before con∣verted: hence I say.

  • 1. Pastors doe either as pastors called of God preach to Church-members, to convert them?
  • 2. Or then as pastors called of God, they doe not preach to Church-members, to convert them. This contradiction is inevitable.

If the former be said. I gaine the point, and M. Hooker must yeild the cause.

If the latter be said.

Then must pastors as pastors called of God preach to Church-members, as some other officers, either as ruling Elders, which confoundeth the preaching Elder, and the not preaching Elder, contrary to the 1 Cor. 12. 28. 1 Tim. 5. 17. or (2) as Doctors, which again confoundeth the teaching, and the exhorting El∣der; contrary to Rom. 12. 7, 8. Ephes. 4. 11. or (3) as Deacons, which is popish: for deacons serve tables, but attend not to word and prayer, Act. 6. 2, 3, 4. or they preach to them, as private Christians, and unofficed persons, upon an intention to con∣vert Church-members: for if only they preach as pastors to confirme them, not to convert them, they doe not fulfill their Ministery which they have received of the Lord, in all poits, as they should, Colos. 4 17. then they use not the word as pastors, for all uses, for reproofe, for correction, for instruction, for righte∣ousnesse, 2 Tim. 3. 16. nor doe they as pastors, preach in season and out of season, by reproving, rebuking, exhorting. (2) Then must all pastorall feeding formally be in confirming only, not in feeding, nor begetting to Christ, nor in restoring the lost, nor in bringing againe the driven away, nor in all these five points, Ezek. 35. 4. which are ascribed to Christ, who feedeth in his sent pa∣stors, ver. 15. 16. Micah 5. ver. 4. nor in delivering the sheep Page  37 from the Lion and the wild beasts. Now this distinctions should be proved from the word of truth. 2. Then Pastors as watch∣men give not warning of the sword, and of dying in sin, as Ezech. 3. 16, 17, 18, 19 20. Ezech. 33. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, &c. but as unofficed men, and private Christians. But that, way all the citizens of the city shall be made watchmen, which the Prophet Ezechiel and Ieremiah condemn, Ierem. 23. Ezech. 33. But it may be said, if Pastors as Pastors must instruct gain-sayers of the truth, as 2 Tim. 2. 25. then may gain-sayers of the truth be Church-members; but the latter is absurd.

Answ. It followeth not, this onely followeth, Pastors may instruct gain-sayers and unconverted men, and intend their con∣version in a Church-way, by preaching and otherwayes, viz. as pastors, but if these gain-sayers were Pagans and visible op∣posing Jews, they are not Church-members, nor can they be admitted while they remain such.