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. IX.

Mr Hookers second Inference.

MIstakes in judgment and practice do not hinder men from be∣ing*visible saints.

Answ. It is too loosely spoken, without further explanation. All heresies that are works of the flesh, as Socinianisms, &c. are called mistakes in judgment; and this may infer toleration of all Religions, and that men corrupt in their judgment may be truly godly; wheras soundness in the faith is a special part of godliness, nor can a good conscience and a sound faith be separated; see Mr Gillespie, Miscellanie quest. chap. 12. pag. 142, 143. and con∣sider whether then most of the Sectaries of our time may not be members of visible Churches at least; such a weighty point in one word, should not have been determined, nor can it be a sound inference.

Page  38Third Inference.

The holding of the visible Churches in England to be true Chur∣ches (suppose it were an errour, as it is not) doth not hinder men*from being fit matter for a visible Church.

Answ. If it be no errour, to say that the Churches of Eng∣land are true Churches, then is it true; and why is it then unlaw∣ful to enter in Church-fellowship with them; the contrary of which Mr H. proveth par. 1. ch. 12. pag. 32, 33. 2. Why doth Mr H. teach that the seals ought not to be gven to Church-mem∣bers of old England of approved piety, except they be inchur∣ched their way: this saith that Mr H. holdeth that all that are not inchurched their way are no Church-members.

Whether Mr Rutherfurd doth unjustly mpute to Separatists that they hold that onely such as are effectually called, justified and sanctified, to be the onely matter of a rightly constituted Church.

Mr Hooker par. 1. ch. 2. pag. 20, 21, 22, &c. complaineth of Mr Rutherfurd that he dealeth not fairly and candidly with the brethren of the separation and others, and saith that they teach that onely internally justified ones are the matter of the true visible Church; and he alledgeth passages out of Mr Ainsworth and Mr Robinson, who though they speak in too narrow expres∣sions, yet mind no such thing; for then they should be all chosen and elected that are members of the visible Church; which in words they openly deny.

Answ. I am conscious to my self of nothing, but a fair and Christian dealing with these godly men against whom I writ, and all that Mr H. bringeth, citations from Mr Ains∣worth and Mr Robinson, I acknowledge in words saith the con∣trary of what I alledge, and I know it to be so; but is it any thing against pious moderation, that I prove that their argu∣ments contradict their conclusion? and that one place of M. Ro∣binson contradicteth another; is it against pious moderation that Chamier, Pareus, Iunius, Amesius, object to Bellarmine and to Papists (though I judge there be some difference in the matter) contradictions, that they writ things contrary to their Page  39 own grounds, and to things which they in open words peremporily*deny, as Mr Hooker speaketh, pag. 21, I confess if I make these contradictions not to appear, I wrong them either wilfully, which were in me wickedness; or if of ignorance, it is much weaknesse and more.

But 1. as Mr Hooker bringeth citations from Mr Answorth, Mr Robinson, why doth he not from his own writings bring the * like? for I alledge the same against his own way; for the way of the Churches of New England Sct. 3. ch. 3. pag. 56, 57. faith more then the brethren of the separation eve did say. The Lord Iesus is the head of the Church evn the visible Church, and the visible Church is the body of Christ Iesus, 1 Cor. 12. 12. the habitation of God by the Spirit; Ephes. 2. 22. the members of the visible. Church are said to be the temples of the holy Ghost, 1 Cor. 3. 16. espoused to Christ, as a chast virgin, 2 Cor. 11. 2. Sons and daughters of the Lord God almighty, 2 Cor. 6. 18. how can they be members of the body, or the spouse of Christ, &c. ex cept they in charitable disortion be (〈◊〉 indeed the holy Ghost descri∣beth them to be) Saints by calling? 1 Cor. 1. 2. and faithful bre∣thren, Gal. 1. 2. and that not by external profession, for these are too high styles for hypocrites, but in some measure of sincerity and truth.

Let that be answered; These who not onely in point of cha∣rity, and not onely in external profession, but in some measure of sincerity and truth must be the habitation of God by the Spi∣rit, the temple of the holy Ghost &c. or then they cannot be admitted members of the visible Church, must be internally ju∣stified, Page  40 sanctified, and chosen, before they can be members of * the Church visible; but such must all admitted members be, by these places cited by the Churches of N. England. M. H. or his defendants choose what they please, and answer, and I shall be cleared.

2. From this passage, by the way, observe another argument of the Church of N. England. ibid.

Such should be members admitted to the visible Church, as are exhorted to be followers of Paul as dear children, Ephes. 4. 1. so must the arguments be.

I assume; but all visible converts or non converts, all known drunkards, harlots, Atheists, &c. are exhorted to be followers of Paul, yea that exhortation obligeth all the known enemies of God in the visible Church, to be renewed in the spirit of their mind, to be converted from dumb idols to serve the living God, for all are ex∣horted to obey the whole Gospel, heare it, even the scoffing Athenians, Act. 17.

2. I argue from the fifth argument These cannot be judged fit matter for the visible Church, and con••iuting and edifying thereof, who are more fit for the ruine and destruction thereof; such as all hy∣pocrites who will leave their first love, and destroy the Church.

I assume, but all latent hypcrites, such as Iudas and Magus, as wel as open hypocrites, are more fit for the ruine and de∣struction of the Church, and will leave their first love.

If it be said that latent hypocrites appearing to us to be God∣ly and converts, may be judged (mistakingly and erroneously) to be fit materialls for the constituting and edifying of the Church, are men (1) made members of Christs body, and Christ made the head of Magus Iu as, not by Christs command so much as by mens erroneous judgment. (2 Then the visible Church hath all its ess•…nce and nature founded upon judgment that may erre, and upon no certain▪ rule of the word. (3) Then should the Apostles have taken more time, and advised more Page  41 maturely, before they made Magus, Ananias members of the vi∣sible Church.

3. All the arguments brought by M. Hooker and the way of the Churches of N. England and Separatists, doe conclude they must be really and internally sanctified, before they can be such members as are in the Church of Rome, Ephesus, &c. and M. Hooker putteth not a finger to them to answer these that I al∣ledged.

4. Let him answer that which M. Robinson hath pag. 97. all*the Churches that ever the Lord planted consisted of only good, as the Church of the Angels in heaven, and of mankind in paradise. God hath also the 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, God should directly crosse himself and his owne ends, and should receive into the visible covenant of grace, such as were out of the visible state 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, pag. 98. In planting of the first Church in the seed of the woman, there were only Saints with∣out any mixture; now all Churches are of one nature and essentiall constitution, and the first is the rule of the rest.

Ans. I now perceive that M. Hooker and his followers in this point defend M. Robinsin and the Separatists, as M. Hooker chap. 2. pag. 20, 21. but I must say these words (thus we have cleared the expressions of our brethren of the separation) must be an ow∣ning of their cause. *

Ans. But M. Hooker should also clear M. Hooker and his own from contradictions, as well as M. Robinson: for M. Ro∣binsons argument must be thus, or nothing.

Such as is the essentiall constitution of the first Church in pa∣radise, in Adam and Evah not yet fallen in sinne, and the Church of the Angels in heaven, before their fall, such must be the constitution of all our visible Churches now, for all Churches are of one nature and essentiall constitution, saith he. I assume.

But the Church in paradise, and of Angels before either of them fell, consisted of only such as were inwardly and effectu∣ally sanctified.

Ergo such must be the constitution of all our visible Churches Page  42 now, to wit, they must consist of only inwardly and effectually sanctified, and free of all sinne.

But the conclusion is absurd, for if so, our visible Churches must be as clean from sinne, as the Church of Angels and of our first parents were, when they were first created, and yet M. Robinson saith pag. 112. for we doubt not but the purest Church up∣on earth may consist of good and bad in Gods eye, of such as are truly sanctified and faithfull, and of such who only for a time, put on the outside and vizard of sanctity; so M. Robinson: the wit of man shall not clear these expressions from contradictions.

2. If it be not the approving and commanding will of God (for of that will given to men who planteth Churches, he must speak, or he speaketh nothing) that the wicked be admitted in∣to the Church, then it is not Gods will that Magus, Demas be admitted into the Church: but this latter is absurd, and con∣trary to both Mr. Robinson Iustif. of Separat. pag. 12. and to Mr. Hookers Survey, par. 1. ch. 2. pag. 23, 24. and contrary to the Scri∣pture, Act. 2. 38, 39, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46. compared with Act. 5. 1, 2. Act. 8. 12, 13, 14. Mat. 22. 8, 9, 10, 12. How is Mr. Robinson now cleared if it be said ay? but Mr. Robinson said, it is not Gods will that persons notoriously (or visibly wicked, should be admitted into the Church. He said not as you repeat his words, leaving out notoriously) It is not Gods will that persons*wicked should be admitted into the Church. I answer it, but this he must say, or he saith nothing at all. For 1. if it were Gods will that wicked persons should be admitted to the Church, then should he crosse himself and his own end, because wicked per∣sons doe no lesse crosse God and his end, the glory of his name, then the notoriously (and visibly) wicked; for both cause his name to be blasphemed, and the force of his argument cannot lie in the no∣toriety or visibility of crossing of Gods end, but in the very crossing of it in it self, see Mr. Ball.

3 Gods creating of the first visible Church of Angels and men without sinne, is not a binding and commanding rule to pa∣stors and to the Church to admit none to the visible Church, but such as God created members of the first visible Church free of all sinne, or because there is a standing obliging rule to Pastors and the Church, such as this (admit not in the Church of Christ Page  43 professed Pagans as members thereof) but to God there was no rule but his free will by which he created the first visible Church of only saints, without any mixture.

Mr. Robinson and Mr. Hooker both doe wildly misconceive (to say no more) the distinction of the Lord his discerning will*or his eternall purpose, and his commanding and revealed will, if they suppose (as their reasoning doth necessarily argue their mind to the judicious Reader) with Socinians and Arminians that every sinne is a crossing of the Lords end and purpose; and that; 2. God decrceth and intendeth many things that shall ne∣ver be; 3. that God may be frustrated of his ends and purposes, and misse the mark in his decrees, though they, I judge, be inno∣cent of any such heresie.

4. If by the will of God be here understood, the commanding will of God which forbiddeth sinne, and enjoyneth what is right, as Mr. Hooker and his, who approve of this constitution of the Separatists with Mr. Robinson, must doe, then must the Lord in commanding his pastors and Church to receive Iudas, Magus, as fit materialls of the visible Church, as Mr. Hocker teacheth pag. 23. expressely command sinne, which is blasphemy, because the holy Lord must command to receive into the visible covenant of grace, such as were out of the visible-state of grace; and such to be planted in his Church, for the glory of his name, as served for no o∣ther use then to cause his name to be blasphemed.