Page [unnumbered] A SHORT STORY Of the Rise, Reign, and Ruin of the Antinomians, Familists, and Libertines That Infected the CHURCHES Of New-England: And how they were Confuted by The Assembly of Ministers there: As also of the Magistrates proceedings in Court against them. Together with God's strange Remarkable Judge∣ments from Heaven upon some of the Chief Fomenters of these Opinions; And the Lamentable Death of Mrs. Hutchison. Very fit for these Times; here being the same Errors amongst us, and Acted by the same Spirit. Published at the Instant Request of Sundry, by one that was an Eye and Ear-witness of the carriage of Matters there.
Ephes. 4. 14.
Be no more Children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of Do∣ctrine, by the slight of Men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.
Beware, lest ye being led away with the error of the Wicked, re fall from your own stedfastness,
2 Pet. 3. 17.
London, Printed for Tho. Parkhurst, at the Bible and three Crowns at the lower end of Cheapside, near Mercer's Chappel, 1692
To the Reader.
I Meeting with this Book, newly come forth of the Press, and being earnestly pressed by divers to perfect it, by laying down the Order and Sense of this Story, (which in the Book is omitted) Though for mine own part, I was more slow unto it; (not as if I think it contains a∣ny thing but Truth; but) because the Names of some parties, that acted in our Troubles, that have, since that time, (I hope) repented, and so God having pardoned their Sins in Heaven, I should have been loth to have revived them on Earth; But considering that their Names are already in Print without any act of mine, and that the necessity of the times call for it, and it's requisite that Gods great Works should be made known; I therefore, in a strait of time, (not having had many hours,) have drawn up this following Preface, and prefixed hereunto, with some Additions to the Conclusion of the Book. I commend thy self and this to the Blessing of God.
AFter we had escaped the cruel hands of persecuting Prelates, and the dangers at Sea, and had pretty well out-grown our Wilder∣ness Troubles in our first Plantings in New-England; And when our Common-wealth began to be founded, and our Churches sweet∣ly setled in Peace, (God abounding to us in more happy enjoyments then we could have expected:) Lest we should now grow secure, our wise God (who seldom suffers his own, in this their wearisome Pilgrimage, to be long without trouble) sent a new Storm after us, which proved the forest trial that ever befel us since we left our Native Soil.
Which was this, that some going thither from hence, full fraught with many unsound and loose Opinions, after a time, began to open their Packs, and freely vent their Wares to any that would be their Customers; Multi∣tudes of Men and Women, Church-members and others, having tasted of their Commodities, were eager after them, and were streight infected be∣fore they were aware, and some being tainted conveyed the Infection to o∣thers: and thus that Plague first began amongst us, that had not the wis∣dom and faithfulness of him, that watcheth over his Vineyard night and day, by the beams of his Light and Grace, cleared and purged the Air, cer∣tainly we had not been able to have breathed there comfortably much longer.
Our discourse of them shall tend to shew,
- 1. What these Opinions were.
- 2. How they spread so fast, and prevailed so suddenly.
- 3. How they did rage and reign when they had once gotten head.
- 4. How they fell and were ruined, when they were at highest.
The Opinions, (some of them) were such as these; I say, some of them, to give but a tast, for afterwards you shall see a litter of Fourscore and eleven of their brats hung up against the Sun, besides many new ones of Mistriss Hutchinsons; all which they hatched and dandled; As,
- 1. That the Law, and the Preaching of it, is of no use at all, to drive a Man to Christ.
- 2. That a Man is united to Christ, and justified without faith: yea, from e∣ternity.
- 3. That Faith is not a receiving of Christ, but a Man's discerning that he hath received him already.
- 4. That a Man is united to Christ onely by the work of the Spirit upon him, without any act of his.
- Page [unnumbered] 5. That a Man is never effectually Christ's, till he hath assurance.
- 6. This assurance is onely from the witness of the Spirit.
- 7. This witness of the Spirit is meerly immediate, without any respect to the word, or any concurrence with it.
- 8. When a Man hath once this witness, he never doubts more.
- 9. To question my assurance, though I fall into Murther or Adultery, proves that I never had true assurance.
- 10. Sanctification can be no evidence of a Mans good Estate.
- 11. No comfort can he had from any conditional Promise.
- 12. Poverty in Spirit (to which Christ pronounceth blessedness, Mat. 5. 3.) is onely this, to see I have no grace at all.
- 13. To see I have no grace in me, will give me comfort; but to take comfort from sight of grace, is legal.
- 14. An hypocrite may have Adam's graces that he had in Innocency.
- 15. The graces of Saints and Hypocrites differ not.
- 16. All graces are in Christ, as in the Subject, and none in us, so that Christ believes, Christ loves, &c.
- 17. Christ is the New Creature.
- 18. God loves a Man never the better for any holiness in him, and nevertheless, be he never so unholy.
- 19. Sin in a Child of God must never trouble him.
- 20. Trouble in Conscience for sins of Commission, or for neglect of du∣ties, shews a Man to be under a Covenant of VVorks.
- 21. All Covenants to God expressed in works are legal works.
- 22. A Christian is not bound to the Law as a rule of his conversation.
- 23. A Christian is not bound to Pray except the Spirit moves him.
- 24. A Minister that hath not this (new) light, is not able to edifie o∣thers that have it.
- 25. The whole letter of the Scripture is a Covenant of works.
- 26. No Christian must be prest to duties of holiness.
- 27. No Christian must be exhorted to faith, love, and prayer, &c. ex∣cept we know he hath the Spirit.
- 28. A Man may have all graces, and yet want Christ.
- 29. All a Believer's activity is onely to act sin.
Now these, most of them, being so gross, one would wonder how they should spread so fast and suddenly amongst a people so religious and well taught.
For declaring of this be pleased to attend two things.
Page [unnumbered] 1. The nature of the Opinions themselves, which open such a fair and easie way to Heaven, that men may pass without difficulty. For, if a man need not be troubled by the Law, before Faith, but may step to Christ so easily; and then if his faith be no going out of himself to take Christ, but only a discerning that Christ is his own already, and is only an act of the Spirit upon him, no act of his own done by him; and if he, for his part, must see nothing in himself, have nothing, do nothing, only he is to stand still and wait for Christ to do all for him. and then if after faith, the Law no rule to walk by, no Sorrow or Repentance for sin; he must not be pressed to duties, and need never pray, unless moved by the Spirit: And if he falls into sin, he is never the more disliked of God, nor his condition never the worse. And for his assu∣rance, it being given him by the Spirit, he must never let it go, but abide in the height of comfort, tho' he falls into the grossest sins that he can. Then their way to life was made easie, if so, no marvel so many like of it.
And this is the very reason, besides the novelty of it, that this kind of Do∣ctrine takes so well here in London, and other parts of the Kingdom, and that you see so many dance after this pipe, running after such and such, crowd∣ing the Churches and filling the doors and windows, even such carnal and vile persons (many of them) as care not to hear any other godly Ministers, but only their Leaders. Oh it pleaseth nature well to have Heaven and their lusts too.
2. Consider their slights they used in somenting their Opinions, some of which I will set down: as
I. They laboured much to acquaint themselves with as many, as possibly they could, that so they might have the better opportunity to communicate their new light unto them.
II. Being once acquainted with them, they would strangely labour to insi∣nuate themselves into their affections, by loving salutes, humble carriage, kind invitements, friendly visits, and so they would win upon men, and steal into their bosoms before they were aware. Yea, assoon as any new-comers (especial∣ly, men of note, worth and activity, fit instruments to advance their design) were landed, they would be sure to welcome them, shew them all courtesie, and offer them room in their own houses, or of some of their own Sect, and having gotten them into their Web, they could easily poyson them by degrees; It was rare for any man thus hooked in, to escape their Leaven.
III. (Because such men as would seduce others, had need be some way emi∣nent) they would appear very humble, holy, and spiritual Christians, and full of Christ; they would deny themselves far, speak excellently, pray with such Page [unnumbered] soul-ravishing expressions and affections, that a stranger that loved goodness, could not but love and admire them, and so be the more easily drawn after them; looking upon them as men and women as likely to know the secrets of Christ, and bosom-counsels of his Spirits, as any other.
And this Opinion of them was the more lifted up through the simplicity and weakness of their followers, who would, in admiration of them, tell o∣thers, that since the Apostles time, they were perswaded, none ever received so much light from God, as such and such had done, naming their Leaders.
4. As they would lift up themselves, so also their Opinions, by guilding them over with specious terms of Free-grace, Glorious-light, Gospel-truths, as holding forth naked Christ: and this took much with simple honest hearts that loved Christ, especiaily with new converts, who were lately in bondage un∣der sin and wrath, and had newly tasted the sweetness of free-grace; being now in their first love to Christ, they were exceeding glad to embrace any thing, that might further advance Christ and free grace; and so drank them in readily.
5. If they met with Christians that were full of doubts and fears about their conditions, (as many tender and godly hearts there were) they would tell them they had never taken a right course for comfort, but had gone on (as they were led) in a legal way of evidencing their good estate by Sanctification, and ga∣zing after qualifications in themselves, and would shew them from their own experience, that themselves for a long time, were befool'd even as they are now, in poring upon graces in themselves, and while they did so they never prosper∣ed; but were driven to pull all that building down, and lay better and safer foundations in free-grace; and then would tell them of this Gospel-way we speak of, how they might come to such a setled peace that they might never doubt more, tho' they should see no grace at all in themselves: & so (as it is said of the Harlots dealing with the young man, Pr. 7. 21.) with much fair speech they caused them to yield, with the flattering of their lips they forced them.
6. They commonly labour'd to work first upon women, being (as they concei∣ved) the weaker to resist; the more flexible, tender, and ready to yield: and if once they could winde in them, they hoped by them, as by an Eve, to catch their Husbands also, which indeed often proved too true amongst us there.
7. As soon as they had thus wrought in themselves, and a good conceit of their Opinions, by all these ways of subtilty, into the hearts of people; nextly, they strongly endeavour'd with all the craft they could, to undermine the good Opinion of their Ministers, and their Doctrine, and to work them clean out of their affections, telling them they were sorry that their Teachers Page [unnumbered] had so mis-bed them, and train'd them up under a Covenant of works, and that themselves never having been taught of God, it is no wonder they did no bet∣ter teach them the Truth, and how they may sit till dooms-day under their le∣gal Sermons, and never see light; and withal sometimes casting aspersions on their persons, and practice, as well as their doctrine, to bring them quite out of esteem with them. And this they did so effectually, that many declined the hearing of them, tho' they were members of their Churches, and others that did hear, were so filled with prejudice that they profited not, but studied how to object against them, and censure their doctrine, which (whilst they stood right) were wont to make their hearts to melt and tremble.
Yea, some that had been begotten to Christ by some of their faithful labours in this Land, for whom they could have laid down their lives, and not being able to bear their absence, follow'd after them thither to New-England, to injoy their labours; yet these falling acquainted with those Seducers, were suddenly so alter'd in their affections towards those their spiritual Fathers, that they would neither hear them, nor willingly come in their company, professing they had never received any good from them.
8. They would not, till they knew men well, open the whole mystery of their new Religion to them, but this was ever their method, to drop a little at once into their followers as they were capable, and never would administer their Physick. till they had first given good preparatives to make it work, and then stronger and stronger potions, as they found the patient able to bear.
9. They would in company now and then let fall some of their most plau∣sible errors, as a bait let down to catch withal; now if any began to nibble at the bait, they would angle still, and never give over till they had caught them; but if any should espy the naked hook, and so see their danger, and pro∣fess against the Opinions, then you should have them fairly retreat, and say, Nay, mistake me not, for I do mean even as you do, you and I are both of one mind in substance, and differ only in words: By this kind of Iesuitical deal∣ing, they did not only keep their credit with them, as men that held nothing but the truth; but gained this also, viz. that when afterwards, they should hear men taxed for holding errors, they would be ready to defend them, and say, (out of their simplicity of heart) Such men hold nothing but truth, for I my self judged of them, as you do, but when I heard them explain them∣selves, they and I were both one: By this Machivilian policy, these deluders wrere reputed sound in their judgments, and so were able to do the more hurt, and were longer undetected.
Page [unnumbered] 10. What men they saw eminent in the Country, and of most Esteem in the Hearts of the people, they would be sure still, to father their Opinions upon them, and say, I hold nothing but what I had from such and such a man, whereas their Iudgments and Expressions also were in truth far differing from theirs upon point of tryal, but if it came to pass, that they were brought face to face to make it good, (as sometimes they have been) they would winde out with some evasion or other, or else say, I understood him so: for it was so frequent with them to have many dark shadows and colours to cover their O∣pinions and Expressions withal, that it was a wonderful hard matter to take them tardy, or to know the bottom of what they said or sealed.
11. But the last and worst of all, which most suddenly diffused the Ve∣nom of these Opinions into the very Veins and Vitals of the People in the Country, was Mistress Hutchinsons double weekly lecture, which she kept under a pretence of repeating Sermons, to which resorted sundry of Boston, and other Towns about, to the number of fifty, sixty, or eighty at once; where after she had repeated the Sermon, she would make her comment upon it, vent her mischievous Opinions as she pleased, and wreathed the Scriptures to her own purpose; where the custom was for her Scholars to propound questions, and she (gravely sitting in the chair) did make answers thereunto. The great respect she had at first in the hearts of all, and her profitable and so∣ber carriage of matters, for a time, made this her practice less suspected by the godly magistrates, and Elders of the Church there, so that it was winked at for a time, (though afterward reproved by the Assembly, and called into Court but it held so long, until she had spread her leaven so far, that had not providence prevented, it had proved the Canker of our Peace, and ruine of our Comforts.
By all these means and cunning slights they used, it came about that those Errors were so soon conveyed, before we were aware, not only into the Church of Boston, where most of these seducers lived, but also into almost all the parts of the Country round about.
These Opinions being thus spread, and grown to their full ripeness and la∣titude, through the nimbleness and activity of their fomenters, began now to lift up their heads full high, to stare us in the face, and to confront all that opposed them.
And that which added vigour and boldness to them was this, that now by this time they had some of all sorts, and quality, in all places to defend and Page [unnumbered] Patronise them; some of the Magistrates, some Gentlemen, some Scholars, and Men of Learning, some Burgesses of our General Court, some of our Cap∣tains and Souldiers, some chief Men in Towns, and some Men eminent for Religion, Parts, and Wit. So that wheresoever the case of the Opinions came in agitation, there wanted not Patrons to stand up to plead for them, and if a∣ny of the Opinionists were complained of in the Courts for their Misdemea∣nors, or brought before the Churches for Conviction or Censure, still, some or other of that party would not onely suspend, giving their Vote against them, but would labour to justifie them, side with them, and protest against any Sen∣tence that should pass upon them, and so be ready, not onely to harden the De∣linquent against all means of conviction, but to raise a Mutiny, if the major part should carry it against them; So in Town-meetings, Military-trainings, and all other Societies, yea, almost in every Family, it was hard, if that some or other were not ready to rise up in defence of them, even as of the apple of their own eye.
Now, oh their boldness, pride, insolency, alienations from their old and dearest Friends, the disturbances, divisions, contentions they raised amongst us, both in Church and State, and in Families, setting Division betwixt Hus∣band and Wife!
Oh the sore Censures against all sorts that opposed them, and the contempt they cast upon our godly Magistrates, Churches, Ministers, and all that were set over them, when they stood in their way!
Now the faithful Ministers of Christ must have dung cast on their fa∣ces, and be no better than legal Preachers, Baal's-Priests, Popish Factors, Scribes, Pharisees, and Opposers of Christ himself.
Now they must be pointed at, as it were with the finger, and reproached by name, Such a Church Officer is an ignorant Man, and knows not Christ; such an one is under a Covenant of Works; such a Pastor is a Proud Man, and would make a good Persecuter; such a Teacher is grossly Popish; so that through these reproaches, occasion was given to Men to abhor the Offerings of the Lord.
Now, one of them in a Solemn Convention of Ministers, dared to say to their Faces, that they did not Preach the Covenant of Free-Grace, and that they themselves had not the Seal of the Spirit, &c.
Now, after our Sermons were ended at our publick Lectures, you might have seen half a dozen Pistols discharged at the face of the Preacher, (I mean) so many objections made by the Opinionists in the open Assembly Page [unnumbered] against our Doctrine delivered if it suited not their new fancies, to the mar∣vellous weakning of holy truths delivered, (what in them lay) in the hearts of all the weaker sort; and this done not once and away, but from day to day after our Sermons; yea, they would come when they heard a Minister was up∣on such a Point, as was like to strike at their Opinions, with a purpose to oppose him to his face.
Now, you might have seen many of the Opinionists rising up, and contemp∣tuously turning their backs upon the faithful Pastors of that Church, and go∣ing forth from the Assembly when he began to Pray or Preach.
Now, you might have read Epistles of defiance and challenge, written to some Ministers after their Sermons, to cross and contradict truths by them delivered, and to maintain their own way.
Now, might one have frequently heard, both in Court and Church-meet∣ings where they were dealt withal, about their opinions, and exorbitant car∣riages, such bold and menacing expressions as these.
This I hold, and will hold to my death, and will maintain it with my blood. And if I cannot be heard here, I must be forced to take some other course.
They said moreover what they would do against us (biting their words in) when such and such opportunities should be offered to them, as they daily ex∣pected. Insomuch that we had great cause to have feared the extremity of danger from them, in case power had been in their hands.
Now, you might have heard one of them Preaching a most dangerous Ser∣mon in a great Assembly; when he divided the whole Country into two ranks, some (that were of his opinion) under a Covenant of Grace, and those were friends to Christ; others under a Covenant of Works, whom they might know by this, if they evidence their good estate by their Sanctification: those were (said he) enemies to Christ, Herods, Pilates, Scribes and Pharisees, yea, Antichrists; and advised all under a Covenant of Grace, to look upon them as such, and did, with great zeal, stimulate them to deal with them as they would with such: And withal alledging the Story of Moses that killed the Egyptian, barely left it so: I mention not this or any thing, in the least de∣gree, to reflect upon this Man, or any other; for God hath long since opened his eyes (I hope) But to shew what racket these opinions did make there, and will any where else where they get an head.
Now, might you have seen open contempt cast upon the face of the whole general Court in subtile words to this very effect. That the Magi∣strates Page [unnumbered] were Ahabs, Amaziahs, Scribes and Pharisees, Enemies to Christ, led by Satan, that old Enemy of Free-Grace, and that it were better that a Milstone were hung about their necks, and they were drowned in the Sea, than they should censure one of their Iudgment, which they were now about to do.
Another of them you might have seen so audaciously insolent, and high∣flown in Spirit and Speech, that she bad the Court of Magistrates (when they were about to censure her for her pernicious carriages) Take heed what they did to her, for she knew by an infallible revelation, that for this act which they were about to pass against her, God would ruin them, their Posterity, and that whole Common-wealth.
By a little taste of a few passages instead of multitudes here presented, you may see what an heighth they were grown unto, in a short time; and what a spirit of Pride, Insolency, contempt of Authority, Division, Sedition, they were acted by: It was a wonder of mercy that they had not set our Common-wealth and Churches on a fire and consumed us all therein.
They being mounted to this heighth, and carried with such a strong hand (as you have heard,) and seeing a spirit of Pride, Subtilty, Malice, and Con∣tempt of all men, that were not of their minds, breathing in them (our hearts sadded, and our spirits tyred) we sighed and groaned to Heaven, we humbled our Souls by Prayer and Fasting that the Lord would find out and bless some means and ways for the cure of this sore, and deliver his Truth and our selves from this heavy bondage. Which (when his own time was come) he heark∣ned unto, and in infinite Mercy looked upon our Sorrows, and did in a wonderful manner, beyond all Expectation free us by these means fol∣lowing.
1. He stirred up all the Ministers Spirits in the Country to preach against those Errors and Practices, that so much pestered the Country, to inform, to confute, to rebuke, &c. thereby to cure those that were diseased already, and to give Antidotes to the rest, to preserve them from infection. And tho' this Or∣dinance went not without its appointed effect, in the latter respect, yet we found it not so effectual for the driving away of this infection, as we desi∣red, for they (most of them) hardned their faces, and bent their wits how to op∣pose, and confirm themselves in their way.
2. We spent much Time and Strength in conference with them, some∣times in private before the Elders only, sometimes in our publick Congre∣gation for all comers; many, very many hours and half days together we Page [unnumbered] spent therein to see if any means might prevail; we gave them free leave, with all lenity and patience, to lay down what they could say for their O∣pinions, and answered them, from point to point, and then brought clear arguments from evident Scriptures against them, and put them to answer us even until they were oftentimes brought to be either silent, or driven to deny common Principles, or shuffle off plain Scripture; and yet (such was their pride and hardness of heart that) they would not yield to the Truth, but did tell us they would take time to consider of our Arguments, and in the mean space meeting with some of their Abetters, strengthened themselves again in their old way, that when we dealt with them next time, we found them further off than before, so that our hopes began to languish of reducing them by private means.
3. Then we had an Assembly of all the Ministers and learned Men in the whole Country, which held for three weeks together at Cambridge (then called New-Town) Mr. Hooker, and Mr. Bulkley (alias Buckley) being chosen Moderators, or Prolocutors, the Magistrates sitting present all that time, as hearers, and speakers also when they saw fit: a liberty also was given to any of the Country to come in and hear, (it being appointed, in great part, for the satisfaction of the people) and a place was appointed for all the Opi∣nionists to come in, and take liberty of Speech, (only due order observed) as much as any of our selves had, and as freely.
The first week we spent in confuting the loose Opinions that we gathered up in the Country, the summ of which is set down, pag. 1. &c. The other fortnight we spent in a plain Syllogistical Dispute, (ad vulgus as much as might be) gathered up nine of the chiefest Points, (on which the rest depen∣ded) and disputed of them all in order, pro & con. In the forenoons we framed our arguments, and in the afternoons produced them in publick and next day the Adversary gave in their Answers, and produced also their argu∣ments on the same questions; then we answered them, and replyed also upon them the next day. These Disputes are not mentioned at all in the following Discourse, happily, because of the swelling of the book. God was much present with his Servants, Truth began to get ground, and the adverse party to be at a stand, but after discourse amongst themselves, still they hardned one ano∣ther, yet the work of the Assembly (through Gods blessing) gained much on the hearers, that were indifferent, to strengthen them, and on many wavering, to settle them: the Error of the Opinions and wilfulness of their Maintainer's, laid stark naked.
Page [unnumbered] 4. Then after this mean was tried, and the Magistrates saw that nei∣ther our Preaching, Conference, nor yet our Assembly meeting did effect the cure, but that, still, after conference had together, the Leaders put such life into the rest, that they all went on in their former course, not only to disturb the Churches, but miserably interrupt the Civil Peace, and that they threw contempt both upon Courts and Churches, and began now to raise Sedition amongst us, to the indangering of the Common-wealth; Hereupon for these grounds named, (and not for their Opinions, as themselves falsely repor∣ted, and as our godly Magistrates have been much traduced here in England) for these reasons (I say) being civil disturbances, the Magistrate convents them, (as it plainly appears, pag. 28, 29. of this Book) and censures them; some were disfranchised, others fined, the incurable amongst them ba∣nished.
This was another mean of their subduing some of the Leaders being down, and oth•…rs gone, the rest were weakned, but yet they (for all this) strongly held up their heads many a day after.
5. Then God himself was pleased to step in with his casting voice, and bring in his own vote and suffrage from Heaven by testifying his displeasure against their opinions and practices, as clearly as if he had pointed with his finger, in causing the two Fomenting Women in the time of the height of the opinions to produce out of their Wombs, as before they had out of their brains, such Monstrous births, as no Chronicle (I think) hardly ever recorded the like. Mistriss Dier brought forth her birth of a woman child, a fish, a beast, and a fowl, all woven together in one, and without an head, as pag. 44, describes, to which I refer the Reader.
Mistriss Hutchison being big with Child, and growing towards the time of her labour, as other women do, she brought forth not one, (as Mistris Dier did) but (which was more strange to amazement) thirty monstrous births or thereabouts, at once; some of them bigger, some lesser, some of one shape, some of another; few of any perfect shape, none at all of them (as far as I could ever learn) of humane shape.
These things are so strange, that I am almost loth to be the reporter of them, lest I should seem to feign a new story, and not to relate an old one, but I have learned otherwise (blessed be his name) than to delude the world with untruths.
And these things are so well known in New-England, that they have been made use of in publick, by the reverend Teacher of Boston, and testified Page [unnumbered] by so many Letters to Friends here, that the things are past Que∣stion.
And see how the wisdom of God sitted this judgment to her sin every way, for look as she had vented mishapen opinions, so she must bring forth deformed Monsters; and as about thirty opinions in number, so many mon∣sters; and as those were publick, and not in a corner mentioned, so this is now come to be known and famous over all these Churches, and a great part of the World.
And though he that runs may read their sin in these judgments; yet, be∣hold the desperate and stupendious hardness of heart in these persons and their followers, who were so far from seeing the finger of God in all these dreadful passages, that they turned all from themselves upon the faithful ser∣vants of God that laboured to reclaim them, saying,
This is for you, ye legalists, that your eyes might be farther blinded, by God's hand upon us, in your legal ways, and stumble and fall, and in the end break your necks into hell, if ye imbrace not the Truth.
Now I am upon Mistris Hutchison's Story, I will digress a little to give you a farther tast of her spirit, viz. After she was gone from us to the Island, the Church of Boston sent unto her four of their Members, (men of a lovely and winning spirit, as most likely to prevail) to see if they could convince and reduce her, according to 2 Thess. 3. 13. When they came first unto her, she asked from whom they came, and what was their business? They answer∣ed, We are come in the name of the Lord Iesus, from the Church of Christ at Boston, to labour to convince you of, &c—At that word she (being filled with as much disdain in her countenance, as bitterness in her spirit) repli∣ed, What, from the Church at Boston? I know no such Church, neither will I own it, call it the Whore and Strumpet of Boston, no Church of Christ: so they said no more, seeing her so desperate, but returned. Behold the spirit of error, to what a pass it drives a Man!
This loud-speaking Providence from heaven in the monsters, did much a∣waken many of their followers (especially the tenderer sort) to attend God's meaning therein; and made them at such a stand, that they dared not slight so manifest a sign from heaven, that from that time we found many of their ears boared (as they had good cause) to attend to Counsel, but others yet fol∣lowed them.
6. The last stroke that slew the opinions, was the falling away of their Leaders.
Page [unnumbered] 1. Into more hideous and soul-destroying Delusions, which rain (indeed) all Religion, as, that the Souls of men are mortal like the beasts.
That there is no such thing as inherent Righteousness.
That these Bodies of ours shall not rise again.
That their own revelations of particular Events were as infallible as the Scripture, &c.
2. They also grew (many of them) very loose and degenerate in their pra∣ctices (for these opinions will certainly produce a filthy life by degrees;) As no prayer in their Families, no Sabbath, insufferable pride, frequ•…nt and hide∣ous lying; divers of them being proved guilty; some of five, other of ten gross lies; another falling into a lie, God smote him in the very act, that he sunk down into a deep swound, and being by hot waters recover'd, and com∣ing to himself, said, Oh God, thou mightst have struck me dead, as Ana∣nias and Saphira, for I have maintained a lie. Mistress Hutchison and o∣thers cast out of the Church for lying, and some guilty of fouler sins than all these, which I here name not.
These things exceedingly amazed their followers, (especially such as were led after them in the simplicity of their hearts, as many were) and now they began to see that they were deluded by them.
A great while they did not believe that Mistress Hutchison and some others did hold such things as they were taxed for, but when themselves heard her defending her twenty nine cursed Opinions in Boston Church, and there falling into fearful lying, with an impudent fore-head in the o∣pen Assembly, then they believed what before they could not, and were asha∣med before God and men, that ever they were so led aside from the Lord and his Truth, and the godly Counsel of their faithful Ministers, by such an Impostor as she was.
Now no man could lay more upon them, than they would upon themselves, in their acknowledgment.
Many after this came unto us, who before flew from us, with such desires as those in Act. 2. Men and Brethren, what shall we do? and did willingly take shame to themselves in the open Assemblies by confessing (some of them with many tears) how they had given offence to the Lord and his People, by departing from the Truth, and being led by a Spirit of Error, their alie∣nation from their brethren in their affections, and their crooked and per∣verse walking in contempt of Authority, slighting the Churches, and despising the Counsel of their godly Teachers.
Page [unnumbered] Now they would freely discover the slights the Adversaries had used to undermine them by, and steal away their Eyes from the Truth and their Brethren, which before (whilst their Eyes were seal'd) they could not see. And the fruit of this was great Praise to the Lord, who had thus wonderfully wrought matters about; Gladness in all our Hearts and Faces, and Expressions of our renewed Affections by receiving them again into our Bosoms, and from that time untill now have walked (according to their renewed Covenants) humbly and lovingly amongst us, holding forth Truth and Peace with Power.
But for the rest, which (notwithstanding all these means of Conviction from Heaven and Earth, and the Example of their seduced Brethrens return) yet stood obdurate, yea more hardned (us we had cause to fear) than before; we convented those of them that were Members before the Churches, and yet laboured once and again to convince them, not only of their Errors, but also of sundry exorbitant Practices which they had fal∣len into; as manifest Pride, contempt of Authority, neglecting to hear the Church, and lying, &c. but after no means prevailed, we were dri∣ven with sad hearts to give them up to Satan. Yet not simply for their Opinions (for which I find we have been slanderously traduced) but the chiefest cause of their Censure was their Miscarriages (as have been said) persisted in with great obstinacy.
The persons cast out of the Churches, were about nine or ten, as far as I can remember; who, for a space, continued very hard and impenitent, but afterward some of them were received into fellowship again, upon their Repentance.
These persons cast out, and the rest of the Ring-leaders that had received sentence of Banishment, with many others infected by them, that were nei∣ther censured in Court, nor in Churches, went all together out of our Iurisdiction and Precinct into an Island called Read-Island, (sirnamed by some, the Island of Errors) and there they live to this day, most of them; but in great strife and contention in the civil Estate, and other∣wise; hatching and multiplying new Opinions, and cannot agree, but are miserably divided into sundry Sects and Factions.
But Mistress Hutchison being weary of the Island, or rather, the Island weary of her, departed from thence with all her Family, her Daughter, and her Children, to live under the Dutch, near a place Page [unnumbered] called by Sea-men, and in the Map, Hell-Gate. (And now I am come to the last Act of her Tragedy, a most heavy stroak upon her self and hers, as I received it very lately from a godly Hand in New-England.) There the Indians set upon them, and slew her, and all her family; her Daughter, and her Daughters Husband, and all their Children, save one that escaped; (her own Husband being dead before;) a dreadful Blow. Some write that the Indians did burn her to death with fire, her House and all the rest named that belonged to her; but I am not able to affirm by what kind of death they slew her, but slain it seems she is, according to all Reports. I never heard that the Indians in those parts did ever before this, commit the like Outrage upon any one family, or families; and therefore Gods hand is the more apparently seen herein, to pick out this woful woman, to make her, and those belonging to her, an unheard-of hea∣vy Example of their Cruelty above others.
Thus the Lord heard our Groans to Heaven, and freed us from this great and sore Affliction, which first was small, like Elias's Cloud; but after spread the Heavens; and hath (through great Mercy) given the Churches rest from this disturbance ever since; that we know none that lifts up his head to disturb our sweet Peace, in any of the Churches of Christ among us; blessed for ever be his Name.
I bow my knees to the God of Truth and Peace, to grant these Churches as full a riddance from the same, or like Opinions, which do destroy his Truth, and disturb their Peace.
I think it fit to add a comfortable Passage of News from those parts written to me very lately by a faithful hand, which as it affected mine own Heart, so it may do many others, viz. That two Sagamores, (or Indian Princes) with all their Men, Women and Children, have volun∣tarily submitted themselves to the Will and Law of our God, with expres∣sed desires to be taught the same; and have for that end, put themselves under our Government and Protection, even in the same manner, as any of the English are: which morning-peep of Mercy to them (saith he) is a great means to awaken the Spirit of Prayer and Faith for them in all the Churches.
A Catalogue of such Erroneous Opinions as were found to have been brought into New-England, and spread under hand there, as they were condemned by an As∣sembly of the Churches, at New-Town, Aug. 30. 1637.
1. IN the Conversion of a sinner, which is saving and gracious, the Faculties of the Soul, and Workings thereof, in things pertain∣ing to God, are destroyed and made to cease.
1. This is contrary to the Scripture, which speaketh of the Faculties of the Soul, (as the Understanding and the Will) not as destroyed in Conversion, but as changed, Luke 24 45. Christ is said to have opened their Understandings: Ioh. 21. 18. Peter is said to be led whither he would not, therefore he had a Will. Again, to destroy the Facul∣ties of the Soul, is to destroy the Immortality of the Soul.
Error 2. Instead of them, the Holy Ghost doth come and take place, and doth all the works of those natures, as the faculties of the human nature of Christ do.
Confutation 2. This is contrary to Scripture, which speaketh of God, as san∣ctifying our Souls and Spirits, 1 Thess. 5. 23. purging our Consciences, Heb. 9. 14. refreshing our Memories, Ioh. 14. 26.
Error 3. That the love which is said to remain, when Faith and Hope cease, is the Holy Ghost.
Confutation 3. This is contrary to the Scriptures, which put an express dif∣ference between the Holy Ghost, and Love, 2 Cor. 6. 6. And if our love were the Holy Ghost, we cannot be said to love God at all; or if we did, it was, because we were personally united to the Holy Ghost.
Error 4, 5. That those that be in Christ, are not under the Law, and com∣mands of the word, as the rule of Life. Alias, that the Will of God in the Word, or Directions thereof, are not the Rule whereunto Christians are bound to con∣form themselves, to live thereafter.
Confutation 4, 5. This is contrary to the Scriptures, which direct us to the Law, and to the Testimony, Esa. 8. 20. which also speaks of Christians, as not being without Law to God, but under the Law to Christ, 1 Cor. 9. 22.
Error 6. The Example of Christ's Life, is not a pattern according to | which men ought to act,
Page 2Confutation 6. This position (those actions of Christ excepted which he did as God, or as a Mediator, God and man, or on special occasions, which concern not us) is unsound, being contrary to the Scripture, wherein the example of Christs life is propounded to Christians, as a Pattern of Imitation, both by Christ and his Apostles, Mat. 11. 29. Learn of me, for I am meek, &c. 1 Cor. 11. 1. Be ye followers of me, as I am of Christ, Ephes. 5. 2. Walk in love, as Christ hath loved us, 1 Pet. 2. 21. Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps, 1 Joh. 2. 26. He that saith he abideth in him, ought so to walk, even as he hath walked.
Error 7. The new Creature, or the new Man mentioned in the Gospel, is not meant of Grace, but of Christ.
Confutation 7. The false-hood of this Proposition appeareth from the Scrip∣tures, which first propound Christ and the new Creature, as distinct one from another, 2 Cor. 5. 17. If any man be in Christ, he is a new Creature. Secondly, The new Man is opposed to the old Man, the old man is meant of Lusts and Vices, and not of Adams person, Ephes. 2. 22, 24. Therefore the new Man is meant of graces and vertues, and not of the person of Christ, Col. 3. 9, 10. Thirdly, the new man is expresly said to consist in Righteousness and true Holiness, Ephes. 4. 25. and to be renewed in Knowledge, Col. 3. 10. which are Graces, and not Christ.
Error 8. By love, 1 Corinth. 13. 13. and by the armour mentioned, Ephes. 6. are meant Christ.
Confutation 8. This position is near of kin to the former; but, secondly, the opposite, 1 Cor. 13. meaneth that love which he exhorteth Christians to bear one towards another, which if it were meant of Christ, he might be said to exhort them to bear Christ one to another, as well as to love one another. 2. Faith and Hope there mentioned, have Christ for their object; and if by love be meant Christ, he had put no more in the latter word, than in the two former. 3. And besides, it may as well be said, Faith in love, as Faith in Christ, and Hope in love, as Hope in Christ, if that were the meaning. And by armour, Ephes. 6. cannot be meant Christ. First, Because two parts of that armour are Faith and Hope, whereof the Scriptures make Christ the Object: Col. 1. 5. Beholding the stedfastness of your Faith in Christ, 1 Cor. 15. 19. If in this life only we had hope in Christ, &c. Now these Graces, and the Object of them cannot be the same, Secondly, A person ar∣med with that Armour, may be said to be a sincere, righteous, patient Christian, but if by the armour be meant Christ, such predication should have been de∣stroyed, and you might more properly say, a Christified Christian.
Error 9. The whole letter of the Scripture holds for a Covenant of Works.
Confutation 9. This position is unsound, and contrary to the constant tenor of the Gospel, a main part of the Scriptures which in the letter thereof holds not forth a Covenant of works, but of Grace, as appeareth, Ioh. 3. 16. 1. Tim. 1. 15. Mat. 11. 28. Heb. 8. 10, 11. 12.Page 3
Error 10. That God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, may give themselves to the Soul, and the Soul may have true Union with Christ, true Remission of sins, true Marriage and Fellowship, true Sanctification from the Blood of Christ, and yet be an Hypocrite.
Confutation 10. The word [true] being taken in the sense of the Scriptures; this also crosseth the doctrine of Ephes. 4. 24. where Righteousness and true Holiness are made proper to him, that hath heard and learned the truth, as it is in Jesus.
Error 11. As Christ was once made flesh, so he is now first made flesh in us, ere we be carried to perfection.
Confutation 11. Christ was once made flesh, Ioh. 1. 14. no other incarnation is recorded, and therefore not to be believed.
Error 12. Now in the Covenant of Works, a Legalist may attain the same Righteousness for truth, which Adam had in Innocency before the Fall.
Confutation 12. He that can attain Adams Righteousness in sincerity, hath his sin truly mortified, but that no Legalist can have, because true Mortification is wrought by the Covenant of Grace, Rom. 6. 14. Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the Law, but under Grace.
Error 13. That there is a new birth under the Covenant of Works, to such a kind of Righteousness, as before is mentioned, from which the Soul must be again converted, before it can be made partaker of Gods Kingdom.
Confutation 13. This is contrary to Tit. 3. 4. where the new birth is made a fruit of Gods love towards man in Christ; of any new birth besides this, the Scripture speaketh not. It is also contrary to 2 Cor. 3. where it is made the work of the Spirit, (that is, the Gospel) opposed to the letter (that is, to the Law) to give life; the new birth brings forth the new creature, and the new creature argueth our being in Christ, 2 Cor. 5. 17. It is true indeed, Gods Children that are born again, must be converted again, as Mat. 18. 3. but that conversion is not from that grace which they have received, but from the corruption that still remains.
Error 14. That Christ works in the regenerate, as in those that are dead, and not as in those that are alive, or the regenerate after Conversion are altogether dead to spiritual Acts.
Confutation 14. This is contrary to Rom. 6. 11. Ye are alive unto God, in Jesus Christ, Ephes. 2. 1, 5. He hath quickned us, 1 Pet. 2. 5. Living stones, Gal. 2. 20. The life that I now live.
Error 15. There is no inherent Righteousness in the Saints, or Grace, and Gra∣ces are not in the Souls of Believers, but in Christ only.
Confutation 15. This is contrary to 2 Tim. 1. 5. The unfeigned Faith that dwelt in thee, and dwelt first in thy Grandmoother, 2 Pet. 1. 4. Parta∣kers of the Divine Nature; which cannot be, but by inherent Righte∣ousness, 2 Tim. 1. 6. Stir up the Grace of God which is in thee, Iohn 1. 16. Of his Fulness, we all receive Grace for Grace: but if there be no Grace in Page 4 us, we receive nothing from his Fulness, 2 Cor. 4. 16. Our inward man is re∣newed day by day, Rom. 12. 2. with Ephes. 4. 24. we are changed or re∣newed.
Error 16. There is no difference between the Graces of Hypocrites and Be∣lievers, in the kinds of them.
Confutation 16. If this be true, then Hypocrites are wise, humble, merciful, pure, &c. and so shall see God, Mat. 5. 8. but they are called fools, Mat. 7. 26. Mat. 25. 1, 2, 3. neither shall they see God, Mat. 24. 51. Mat. 13. 20, 21, 22, 23. Heb. 6. 7, 8, 9. the difference of the grounds, argueth the difference in the kinds of Graces.
Error 17. True poverty of spirit, doth kill and take away the sight of Grace.
Confutation 17. This is contrary to Mark 9. 24. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief: if this were so, then poverty of spirit should binder Thankfulness; and so one Grace should hinder another, and the Graces of the Spirit should hinder the work of the Spirit, and cross the end why he is given to us, 1 Cor. 2. 12.
Error 18. The Spirit doth work in Hypocrites, by Gifts and Graces, but in Gods Children immediately.
Confutation 18. This is contrary to Nehem. 5. 15. So did I because of the fear of the Lord: Heb. 11. 17. Noah moved with fear, prepared an Ark.
Error 19. That all Graces, even in the truly regenerate, are mortal and fading.
Confutation 19. This is contrary to Ioh. 4. 14. they are Graces which flow from a Fountain which springeth up to Eternal Life; and therefore not fading, Ier. 31. 39, 40.
Error 20. That to call into question, whether God be my dear Father, after or upon the commission of some hainous sins, (as Murther, Incest, &c.) doth prove a man to be in the Covenant of works.
Confutation 20. It being supposed that the doubting here spoken of, is not that of final despair, or the like; but only that the Position denieth a possi∣bility of all doubting to a man under a Covenant of Grace, this is contrary to Scripture, which speaketh of God's people under a Covenant of Grace, in these or other Cases, exercised with sweet Doubtings and Questions: David was a justifi'd man, (for his sins were pardoned, 2 Sam. 12. 12, 13.) yet his Bones waxed old, through his roaring all the day long, and the heaviness of Gods hand was upon him night and day, and the turning of his moisture into the drought of Summer, Psal. 32. 3, 4. and Gods breaking his Bones by with-holding from him the joy of his Salvation, Psal 51 8. shew that he was exercised with sweet Doubts and Questions at least, as this Position speaketh of; and the like may be gathered out of Psal. 77. 3, 4. where the holy Man Asaph, mentioneth himself, being troubled when he remembred God, and that he was so trou∣bled, he could not speak nor sleep, and expostulateth with God; Will the Lord cast off for ever? And will he be favourable no more? And ver. 6, 7, 8, 9. Page 5 These shew that he had at least sweet doubts, as the Position mentioneth, and yet he was not thereby proved to be under a Covenant of works; for he doth afterward confess this to be his infirmity, vers. 10. and receiveth the Comfort of former Experiences, in former days, and his songs in the nights, and of Gods former works, vers. 5, 6. 10, 11, 12. and he resumeth his claim of his right in God by vertue of his Covenant, verse 13.
Error 21. To be justified by Faith, is to be justified by Works.
Confutation 21. If Faith, in this position be considered not simply as a work, but in relation to its Object, this is contrary to the Scripture, that so appropria∣teth Justification to Faith; as it denieth it to Works, setting Faith and Works in opposition one against another in the point of Justification, as Rom. 3. 27. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what Law? By the Law of works? No, but by the Law of Faith; and ver. 28. We conclude, that a man is justified by Faith, without the works of the Law, and chap. 4. 16. Therefore it is by Faith, that it may be by grace, compared with vers. 4. To him that worketh is the Reward reckoned, not of grace, but of debt.
Error 22. None are to be exhorted to believe, but such whom we know to be the Elect of God, or to have his Spirit in them effectually.
Confutation 22. This is contrary to the Scriptures, which maketh the Com∣mission which Christ gave his Disciples, in these words, Go, Preach the Gospel to every Creature; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, Mark 16. 15, 16. where the latter words imply an Exhortation to believe, and the former words direct, that this should not only be spoken to men known to be Elected, or only to men effectually called, but to every creature; The Scripture also tel∣leth us, that the Apostles, in all places, called upon men to repent and believe the Gospel, which they might not have done, had this position been true.
Error 23. We must not pray for gifts and graces, but only for Christ.
Confutation 23. This is contrary to Scripture which teacheth us to pray for Wisdom, Iam. 1. 5. and for every grace bestowed by vertue of the new Covenant, Ezek. 36. 37. as acknowledging every good gift, and every perfect giving is from above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights. The whole 119. Psalm, besides innumerable Texts of Scripture, doth abundantly confute this, by shewing that the servants of God have been taught by the spirit of God to pray for every gift and grace needful for them, and not only for Christ.
Error 24. He that hath the Seal of the Spirit, may certainly judge of any per∣son, whether he be Elected or no.
Confutation 24. This is contrary to Deut. 29, 29. Secret things belong to God; and such is Election of men not yet called.
Error 25. A man may have all graces and poverty of spirit, and yet want Christ.
Confutation 25. This is contrary to Mat. 5. 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: but without Christ none can be blessed, Ephes. 4. 22, 24. he that hath Rightoousness and true Holiness, hath learned the truth, as it is in Jesus, and therefore hath Christ.Page 6
Error 26. The Faith that justifieth us is in Christ, and never had any actual Being out of Christ.
Confutation 26. This is contrary to Scripture, Luke 17. 5. Lord increase our Faith, Ergo, Faith was in them, 2 Tim. 1. 6. Faith is said to dwell in such and such persons, therefore Faith was in them, Isa. 64. 7. No man stirs up himself to lay hold upon thee.
Error 27. It is incompatible to the Covenant of Grace, to joyn Faith thereunto.
Confutation 27. This is contrary to Mark 16. 16. Preach the Gospel, He that believeth shall be saved, Rom 4. 3. Abraham believed, and it was accounted to him for Righteousness, and Abraham is a pattern to all under the Covenant of Grace, Rom. 4. 24.
Error 28. To affirm there must be Faith on mans part to receive the Cove∣nant, is to undermine Christ.
Confutation 28. First, Faith is requir'd on mans part to receive the Covenant of Grace, according to these Scriptures, Ioh. 1. 12. To as many as received him, even to them that believed on his Name, Mark 16. 16. He that believeth shall be saved. Secondly, to affirm there must be Faith on mans part to receive Christ, is not to undermine Christ, but to exalt him, according to these Scriptures, Ioh. 3. 33. He that believeth, hath put to his Seal that God is True; and so honours Gods Truth, which cannot undermine Christ; Rom. 4. 20. But was strong in the Faith; giving Glory to God, &c.
Error 29. An Hypocrite may have these two witnesses, 1 Ioh. 5. 5. that is to say, the Water and Blood.
Confutation 29. No Hypocrite can have these two witnesses, Water and Blood, that is, true Justification and Sanctification, for then he should be saved, according to these Scriptures, Rom. 8. 30. 2 Thes. 2. 13. Acts 26, 18.
Error 30. If any thing may be concluded from the Water and Blood, it is ra∣ther Damnation, than Salvation.
Confutation 30. This is contrary to the Scripture last mentioned.
Error 31. Such as see any Grace of God in themselves, before they have the assurance of Gods Love sealed to them, are not to be received Members of Churches.
Confutation 31. This is contrary to Acts 8. 37, 38. where the Eunuch saw his Faith only, and yet was presently baptized; and therefore by the same ground might be admitted.
Error 32. After the revelation of the Spirit, neither Devil nor Sin can make the Soul to doubt.
Confutation 32. This position savours of Error, else Asaph had not the revelati∣on of the Spirit, seeing he doubted, (Psal. 73. 13.) whether he had not cleansed his heart in vain, and that God had forgotten to be gracious; then also Faith should be perfect, which was never found, no not in our Father Abraham.
Error 33. To act by vertue of, or in obedience to a command is legal.
Page 9Confutation 33. So is it also Evangelical, the Mystery of the Gospel is said to be revealed for the obedience of Faith, Rom. 16. 25. Also the Lord Jesus is said to be the author of Salvation to all that obey him, Heb. 5. 9. If we love Christ, we are to keep his Commandments, Joh. 14. 29.
Error 34. We are not to Pray against all sin, because the old Man is in us, and must be; And why should we Pray against that which cannot be avoided?
Confutation 34. This is contrary to 1 Thess. 5. 23. 1 Cor. 13. 7.
Error 35. The efficacy of Christ's death is to kill all activity of Graces in his Members, that he might act all in all.
Confutation 35. This is contrary to Rom. 6. 4. Our old man is crucified wit•… him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that we should not serve sin: contrary also to Heb. 4. 14. That he might through death destroy him, &c. and 1 Ioh. 3. 8. Whence we infer, that if Christ came to destroy the body of sin, to destroy the Devil, to dissolve the Works of the Devil, then not to kill his own graces, which are the works of his own Spirit.
Error 36. All the activity of a Believer, is to act to sin.
Confutation 36. Contrary to Rom. 7. 15. as also to Gal. 5. 17. The Spirit lusteth against the Flesh.
Error 37. We are compleatly united to Christ, before, or without any Faith wrought in us by the Spirit.
Confutation 37. The term [united] being understood of that spiritual relati∣on of men unto Christ, whereby they come to have life and right to all other blessings in Christ, 1 Joh. 5. 12. He that hath the Son hath life: And the term [compleatly] implying a presence of all those bands and ligaments and means, as are required in the Word, or are any ways necessary to the making up of the union, we now conceive this assertion to be erroneous, contrary to Scripture, that either expresly mentioneth Faith when it speaketh of this union, Ephes. 3. 17. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by Faith, Gal. 2. 20. Christ liveth in me by Faith; or ever implyeth it in those phrases that do express union; as coming to Christ, Iohn 6. 35. and eating and drinking Christ, vers. 47. compared with v. 54. having the Son, 1 Iohn 5. 12. and receiving Christ, Iohn 1. 12. and Marriage unto Christ, Ephes. 5. 32. if there be no dwelling of Christ in us, no coming to him, no receiving him, no eating nor drinking him, no be∣ing married to him before and without Faith; but the former is true, therefore also the latter.
Error 38. There can be no true closing with Christ in a promise that hath a qualification or condition expressed.
Confutation 38. This opinion we conceive erroneous, contrary to Esay 55 1, 2. Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters. Mat. 11. 28. Come to me all ye that are weary and heavy laden. John 7. 37. If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink, Revel. 22. 17. Let him that is athirst come. Mark 1. 15. Repent and believe the Gospel: if the word indefinitely be sanctified, for Page 10 the begetting of Faith, if the Gospel it self be laid down in a conditional promise, if the Apostles and Prophets, and Christ himself, have laid hold upon such Promi∣sea to help to Union, and closing with himself, then there may be a true closing with Christ, in a Promise that hath a qualification or condition expressed.
Error 39. The due search and knowledge of the holy Scripture, is not a safe and sure way of searching and finding Christ.
Confutation 39. This is contrary to express words of Scripture, Joh. 5. 39. Search the Scriptures, for they testifie of me, Act. 10, 43. To him give all the Pro∣phets witness, Rom. 3. 21. The righteousness of God witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, Esay 8. 20. To the Law and to the Testimony, Act. 17. 11. The Bereans were more noble, in that they searched the Scriptures daily. If the Pro∣phets give witness to Christ, if his righteousness be witnessed by Law and Pro∣phets, and that they be noble that daily search the Scriptures, and that Christ so far alloweth their Testimony of him, that the Scripture saith, there is no light, but in and according to them, then the due searching and knowledge of Scriptures, is a safe way to search Christ; but the former is true, and there∣fore also the latter.
Error 40. There is a testimony of the Spirit and voice unto the Soul, meerly immediate, without any respect unto, or concurrence with the Word.
Confutation 40. This immediate revelation without concurrence with the word, doth not onely countenance but confirm that opinion of Enthusiasme, justly refused by all the Churches, as being contrary to the perfection of the Scriptures, and perfection of God's wisdom therein: That which is not revealed in the Scripture, (which is objectum adaequatum fidei) is not to be believed: but that there is any such revelation, without concurrence with the Word, is no where revealed in the Scripture, Ergo. 1 Cor. 4. 16. Presume not above that which is written. Again, if there be any immediate Revelation with∣out concurrence of the Word, then it cannot be tried by the Word, but we are bid to try the Spirits. To the Law and Testimony, Esa. 8. 20. To try all things, 1 Thes. 5. 21. So the Bereans, Acts 17. 11. and the Rule of Trial is the Word, Ioh. 5. 39.
Error 41. There be distinct seasons of the workings of the several persons; so the Soul may be said to be so long under the Fathers, and not the Sons, and so long under the Sons Work, and not the Spirits.
Confutation 41. This expression is not according to the pattern of wholsome words, which teacheth a joint-concurrence of all the persons, working in every work that is wrought; so that we cannot say, the Father works so long, and the Son works not, because the same work at the same time is common to them both, and to all the Three Persons, as the Father draws, Ioh. 6. 44. so the Son sends his Spirit to convince, and thereby draws, Ioh. 16. 7, 8.
Error 42. There is no assurance true or right, unless it be without fear and doubting.
Page 11Confutation 42. This is contrary to Scripture, the Penman of Psal. 77. had true assurance, v. 6. And yet he had doubts and fears of God's eternal mercy, ver. 7, 8, 9. The best Faith is imperfect, and admits infirmity, v. 10. 1 Cor. 13. 10, 11, 12. Where there is flesh that doth fight against every Grace, and act thereof, and is contrary to it, there can be no Grace perfect, Ergo, doubting may stand with assurance, Gal. 5. 17.
Error 43. The Spirit acts most in the Saints, when they endeavour least.
Confutation 43. Reserving the special seasons of God's preventing Grace to his own pleasure; In the ordinary constant course of his dispensation, the more we endeavour, the more assistance and help we find from him, Prov. 2. 3, 4, 5. He that seeks and digs for wisdom as for treasure, shall find it, Hos. 6. 3. 2 Chron. 15. 2. The Lord is with you, while you are with him: If by endeavour be meant the use of lawful means and ordinances commanded by God to seek and find him in, then is it contrary to Mat. 7. 7. Ask, seek, knock, &c.
Error 44. No created work can be a manifest sign of God's love.
Confutation 44. If created works, flowing from union with Christ, be inclu∣ded, it is against Iohn's Epistles, and many Scriptures, which make keeping the Commandments; love to the Brethren, &c. evidences of a good estate, so con∣sequently of God's love.
Error 45. Nothing but Christ is an evidence of my good estate.
Confutation 45. If here Christ manifesting himself in works of holiness, be excluded; and nothing but Christ nakedly revealing himself to Faith, be made an evidence, it is against the former Scriptures.
Error 46. It is no sin in a Believer not to see his Grace, except he be wilfully blind.
Confutation 46. This is contrary to the Scripture, which makes every trans∣gression of the Law sin, though wilfulness be not annexed; and this crosseth the work of the Spirit which sheweth us the things that are given us of God; 1 Cor. 2. 12. and crosseth also that command, 2 Cor. 13. 5. Prove your Faith, and therefore we ought to see it.
Error 47. The seal of the Spirit is limited onely to the immediate witness of the Spirit, and doth never witness to any work of Grace, or to any conclusion by a Syllogism.
Confutation 47. This is contrary to Rom. 8. 16. to that which our Spirit bears witness, to that the Spirit of God bears witness, for they bear a joint witness, as the words will have it; but our spirits bear witness to a work of grace; name∣ly, that Believers are the children of God, Ergo.
Error 48. That conditional Promises are legal.
Confutation 48. Contrary to Ioh. 3. 16. Mat. 5. 3, &c.
Error 49. We are not bound to keep a constant course of Prayer in our Fa∣milies, or privately, unless the Spirit stir us up thereunto.
Confutation 49. This is contrary to Ephes. 6. 18. 1 Thess. 5. 17.Page 12
Error 50. It is poverty of spirit, when we have grace, yet to see we have no grace in our selves.
Confutation 50. The weak Believer, Mark 9. 24. was poor in spirit, yet saw his own Faith weak, though it were. Peter, when he was brought to po∣verty of spirit by the bitter experience of his pride, he saw the true love he had unto Christ, and appealed to him therein, Iohn 21. 15. Paul was less than the least of all Saints in his own eyes, therefore poor in spirit, yet saw the grace of God, by which he was that he was, and did what he did, and was truly nothing in his own eyes, when he had spoken of the best things he had received and done, Ephes. 3. 18. If it be poverty of the spirit to see no grace in our selves, then should poverty of spirit cross the office of the Spirit, which is to reveal unto us, and make us to see what God gives us, 1 Cor. 2. 9, 10, 11, 12. then it should make us sin, or cross the will of God, which is, that we should not be ignorant of the gracious workings of Christ in us from the power of his Death and Re∣surrection, Rom. 6. 3. Know ye not, &c. then would it destroy a great duty of Christian thankfulness, in, and for all the good things which God vouchsafeth us, 1 Thess. 5. 18.
Error 51. The Soul need not to go out to Christ for fresh supply, but it is acted by the spirit inhabiting.
Confutation 51. Though we have the spirit acting and inhabiting us, this hin∣ders not, but I may and need go out to Christ for fresh supply of grace, John 1. 16. Of whose fulness we have all received, and grace for grace; 2 Cor. 12. 8. Paul sought thrice to Christ for fresh supply; Heb. 12. 2. Look unto Christ the Au∣thor and Finisher of our Faith.
We must look up to the Hills from whence cometh our help, Ephes. 4. 16. By whom all the Body receiveth increase, and to the edifying of it self.
Error 52. It is legal to say, we act in the strength of Christ.
Confutation 52. This is contrary to the Scriptures, the Gospel bids us be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, Ephes. 6. 10. and be strong in the grace that is in Christ Iesus, 2 Tim. 2. 1. and Paul saith, I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me, Phil. 4. 13. and that was not legal strength.
Error 53. No Minister can teach one that is anointed by the Spirit of Christ, more than he knows already, unless it be in some circumstances.
Confutation 53. This is also contrary to Scripture, 2 Cor. 1. It is God that establisheth us with you, &c. Ephes. 1. 13. and 4. 12, 14. The Corinthians and Ephesians were anointed and sealed, and yet were taught more of Paul in his E∣pistles than onely in some circumstances.
Error 54. No Minister can be an instrument to convey more of Christ unto another, than he by his own experience hath come unto.
Confutation 54. This is contrary to Ephes. 4. 11, 12. the weakest Minister may edifie the strongest Christian which hath more experience than himself.
Error 55. A man may have true Faith of dependance, and yet not be justified.
Page 13Confutation 55. This is contrary to the Scripture, Act. 13. 39. All believers are justified; but they that have true Faith of dependance are believers, therefore justified.
Error 56. A Man is not effectually converted, till he hath full assurance.
Confutation 56. This is cross to the Scripture, Esa. 5. 10. wherein we see that a Man may truly fear God (therefore truly converted) and yet walk in darkness, without clear evidence, or full assurance.
Error 57. To take delight in the holy service of God, is to go a Whoring from God.
Confutation 57. No Scripture commands us to go a Whoring from God, but first, the Scripture commands us to delight in the Service of God, Psal. 100. 2. Serve the Lord with gladness, Esa. 58. 13. Thou shalt call the Sabbath thy delight; Ergo. Secondly, God loves not such as go a whoring from him, Psal. 73. ult. But God loves a chearful server of God, 2 Cor. 8. Therefore such as serve him cheerfully, do not thereby go a whoring from him.
Error 58. To help my Faith, and comfort my Conscience in evil hours, from former experience of God's Grace in me, is not a way of Grace.
Confutation 58. What the Saints have done, and found true comfort in, that is a way of Grace; but they did help their Faith, and comfort their Conscience from former evidences of God's Grace in them, Psal. 77. 5, 6, 11. I considered the days of old, and called to Remembrance my Songs in the night; and by this raised he up his Faith, as the latter part of this Psalm sheweth; and this was in evil hours, ver. 2, 3. 2 Cor. 1. 12. This is our rejoicing, that in simplicity and godly pureness, we have had our conversation; and this was in sad hours, v. 4, 5, 8, 9, 10. Iob 35. 10. None saith, Where is God that made me, which giveth Songs in the night? here the not attending to former consolation, is counted a sinful neglect.
Error 59. A Man may not be exhorted to any duty, because he hath no power to do it.
Confutation 59. This is contrary to Phil. 2. 12, 13. Work out your salvation, &c. For it is God that worketh in you both the will and the d•…ed, Ephes. 5. 14. A∣wake thou that sleepest, so 1 Cor. 15. ult.
Error 60. A Man may not prove his Election by his Vocation, but his Vo∣cation by his Election.
Confutation 60. This is contrary to 1 Thess. 2. 4. Knowing your election, be∣cause our Gospel came unto you, not in word onely, but in power, 2 Thess. 2. 13, 14. God hath elected you to life, through Sanctification of the Spirit, whereunto he hath called you by our Gospel.
Error 61. All Doctrines, Revelations and Spirits, must be tried by Christ the Word, rather than by the Word of Christ.
Confutation 61. This assertion of it extends to exclude the Word; we conceive it contrary to Esa. 8. 20. Iohn 5. 39. Acts 17. 11. also to Iohn 4. 1, 2. Try the spirits, every spirit that confesseth that Iesus Christ is come in the flesh, &c. Page 14 where Spirits and Doctrines confessing that Christ is come in the Flesh, are made distinct from Christ.
Error 62. It is a dangerous thing to close with Christ in a Promise.
Confutation 62. This is contrary to Ioh. 3. 16. Act. 10. 43. Esa. 55. 1, 2. Mat. 11. 28. Ioh. 7. 37. If Christ in these places invite Men to come unto him, and bids them incline and hearken, and tells them their Souls shall live, and they shall drink and be refreshed by him, and by these Promises incourageth them to close with him, then it is no dangerous thing to close with him in a Promise, it is no danger to obey a command of God: but we are commanded to believe the Gospel, Mark 1. 15. the Promise being a part of the Gospel.
Error 63. No better is the evidence from the two Witnesses of Water and Blood, mentioned 1 Ioh. 5. 6, 7, 8. than Mount Calvary, and the Souldi∣ers that shed Christ's Blood, and these might have drunk of it; poor Evi∣dences.
Confutation 63. Then what God hath ordained or made an Evidence, is no better than what he hath not made; then Christ loseth his end in coming by Wa∣ter and Blood, v. 6. then the Spirit should agree no better with the Witness of Water and Blood, then it doth with Mount Calvary, and the Souldiers: but the spirit doth agree with the Water and the Blood, and not with the other, 1 Ioh. 5. 7. These three agree in one.
Error 64. A Man must take no notice of his sin, nor of his repentance for his sin.
Confutation 64. This is contrary to David, whose sin was ever before him, Psal. 51. he considered his ways (and the evil of them) that he might turn his feet to God's Testimonies, Psal. 119. 59. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, &c. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, 1 Joh. 1. 8, 9. 10. Iob took notice of sin, and of his Repentance, I abhor my self and repent in dust and ashes, Job 42. 6. David seeth, and saith, I am sorry for my sins, Psal. 28. 38. Solomon's Penitent must know the Plague in his heart, that is, his sin, and the punishment thereof, 1 Kings 8. 38.
Error 65. The Church in admitting Members, is not to look to holiness of life, or testimony of the same.
Confutation 65. This is contrary to Rom. 1. 7. and the Inscriptions of divers Epistles, being directed to Saints, and Saints by calling; and 1 Cor. 14. 33. Churches of the Saints, Acts 2. the Members there were said to repent before they were admitted, and 1 Cor. 5. the incestuous person should not then have been cast out for want of Holiness, and Paul could not be received into Com∣munion without Testimony, Act. 9. 26.
Error 66. To lay the Brethren under a Covenant of Works, hurts not, but tends to much good, to make Men look the better to their evidences.
Confutation 66. If that be done ungroundedly, it is contrary to Esa. 5. 20. where woe is pronounced to such as call good evil, &c. and, Ezek. 13. 22. that Page 15 make such hearts sad, as the Lord would not have sadded; and it is against the rule of the Covenant, 1 Cor. 13. besides, it may trench upon the Devil's Office, in accusing the Brethren, and then it will be good to tell untruth, good to break House and Church-Communion, then good to break nearest Relations, then good to bite one another, and good to offend the little ones, Mat. 18.
Error 67. A Man cannot evidence his Iustification by his Sanctification, but he must needs build upon his Sanctification, and trust to it.
Confutation 67. First, this is contrary to 1 Iohn 3. 18, 19. where the Holy Ghost saith, That by unfeigned and hearty love we may have assurance; and yet neither there, nor any where else, would have us trust to our Sanctification; so vers. 7. He that doth righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Secondly, If poverty of spirit, which emptieth us of all confidence in our selves, may evidence a Man's Iustification, without trusting to it, then may Sanctification without trust∣ing to it; but the former is true, therefore also the latter. Thirdly, If it be an or∣dinance of God to evidence our Iustification by our Sanctification, then we may do this without trusting to it; but that is apparent from 2 Pet. 1. 10. Ergo.
Error 68. Faith justifies an Unbeliever, that is, that Faith that is in Christ justi∣fieth me that have no Faith in my self.
Confutation 68. This is contrary to Hab. 2. 4. For if the Just shall live by his Faith, then that Faith that justifies, is not in Christ. So Iohn 3. ult. He that believeth not, the wrath of God abideth on him: It is not another's Faith will save me.
Error 69. Though a Man can prove a gracious work in himself, and Christ to be the Author of it, if thereby he will prove Christ to be his, this is but a sandy foundation.
Confutation 69. This is contrary to these Scriptures, Iohn 14. 21. and 28. He that keepeth my Commandments, is he that loveth me, and he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father; and I will love him, and will shew my self unto him, 1 John 3. 14. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the Brethren: And 1 John 5. 12. He that hath the Son hath life: there∣fore he that can prove that he hath spiritual life, may assure himself that he hath Christ.
Error 70. Frequency, or Length of Holy Duties, or trouble of Conscience for neglect thereof, are all signs of one under a Covenant of Works.
Confutation 70. This is contrary to these Scriptures, 1 Cor. 15. 58. Be abun∣dant always in the work of the Lord: If the Faithful in Christ Jesus be command∣ed to abound always in the work of the Lord, that is, Holy Duties, then fre∣quency in Holy Duties, is no sign of one under a Covenant of Works: but the former is true, therefore also the latter; as also 1 Thess. 4. 17, 18. Psal. 55. 17. Evening and morning, and noon will I pray and make a noise, and he will hear me; and elsewhere, Seven times a day do I praise thee, Psalm 119. 146. Psal. 1. 2. So also contrary is the third branch to these Scriptures, 2 Cor. 7. 8. 11. Page 16 the Corinthians were troubled in Conscience, and sorrowed that they had neg∣lected the holy duties of Church-Censure towards the incestuous person; and Esa. 64. 7. and 8. Cant. 5. 2. Rom. 7. 19. I do not the good I would; which he lamenteth and complaineth of.
Error 71. The immediate revelation of my good estate, without any respect to the Scriptures, is as clear to me, as the voice of God from heaven to Paul.
Confutation 71. This is contrary to Iohn 14. 26. He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, &c. Whence we reason thus. If the Spirit reveal nothing without concurrence of the Word, then this revelation of the Spirit, without respect to the Word, is not clear, nor to be trusted: but the Spirit doth reveal nothing, but with respect to the Word, for Iohn 14. 26. If the office of the Spirit be to Teach, and to bring to remembrance the things that Christ hath Taught us, Esay 8. 20. Whatever Spirit speaks not according to this Word, there is no light there.
Error 72. It is a Fundamental, and Soul-damning Error, to make Sanctificati∣on an evidence of Justification.
Confutation 72. This is contrary to these Scriptures, Rom. 8. 1. They that walk after the Spirit, are freed from condemnation, and are in Christ, and so Ju∣stified: So 1 Iohn 3. 10. in this are the children of God known, &c.
Error 73. Christ's work of Grace can no more distinguish between an Hypo∣crite and a Saint, then the Rain that falls from Heaven, between the Just and the Unjust.
Confutation 73. This proposition being general, includes all gracious Works, and being so taken, is contradicted in the Parable of the Sower, Mat. 13. 20, 21, 22. where the good ground is distinguished from the stony by this, that it brings forth fruit with patience, so Hebr. 6. 9. there is something better in the Saints, than those common gifts which are found in Hypocrites.
Error 74. All verbal Covenants, or Covenants expressed in words, as Church Covenants, Vows, &c. are Covenants of Works, and such as strike Men off from Christ.
Confutation 74 First. This is contrary to Scripture, Esay 44. 5. One shall say, I am the Lord's, and another shall call himself by the name of the God of Iacob: Rom. 10. 10. With the mouth confession is made to salvation. Secondly, Con∣trary to Reason, for then the Covenant of Grace is made a Covenant of Works, by the Writing, Reading and Preaching of the same, for they are verbal expres∣sions of the Covenant on God's part, as Church-Covenants verbally express our closing herewith.
Error 75. The Spirit giveth such full and clear evidence of my good estate, that I have no need to be tried by the fruits of Sanctification, this were to light a Candle to the Sun.
Confutation 75. This opinion taken in this sense, that after the Spirit hath testified a Man's good estate, the person need not to be tried by the fruit of sancti∣fication, Page 17 is contrary to the scope of the whole first Epistle of Saint Iohn, where variety of arguments are propounded to all Believers in common, 1 Iohn 5. 13. to distinguish the persons of Believers from Unbelievers; the water is annexed to the Spirit and blood, 1 Iohn 5. 8.
Error 76. The Devil and Nature may be cause of a gracious Work.
Confutation 76. The words are unsavoury, and the position unsound, for ta∣king [gracious] according to the language of the Scripture, gracious words, Luke 4. 22. Let your speech be gracious: gracious words are such as issue from the saving Grace of Christ's Spirit in-dwelling in the Soul, which neither the Devil nor Nature is able to produce; for Christ professeth, John 15. 3, 4. With∣out me ye can do nothing: nothing truly gracious John 3. Whatever is born of the flesh, is flesh; And Rom. 7. 18. In my flesh dwells no good, (truly spiritual and gracious) Gen. 6. 5. Every imagination of the thoughts of a Man's heart is evil, and that continually: Besides, the Devil is that evil and wicked one, onely wickedness, an adversary to God's grace and glory; that which is con∣trary to corrupt nature, and the hellish nature of Satan, and above the power of both, they cannot be the causes of gracious works.
Error 77. Sanctification is so far from evidencing a good estate, that it dar∣kens it rather; and a Man may more clearly see Christ, when he seeth no Sancti∣fication, than when he doth; the darker my Sanctification is, the brighter is my Justification.
Confutation 77. This is contrary to the Scripture of Truth, which rather gi∣veth the name of light to Sanctification and Holiness, and even for this use, to clear our Justification, 1 Iohn 1. 6, 7. For the Holy Ghost concludes, as from a clear and infallible promise, and proposition, that if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, then doth the blood of Christ cleanse us from all sin; meaning, that then and thereby it appeareth that it is done: as by the contrary, unholiness, and unholy walking is like darkness, which obscureth all the goodly presumption, flourishes, and hopes of an unregenerate Man, vers. 6. For this purpose, 1 Ioh. 5. 8. The water of Sanctification is made a witness; now the nature of a witness is not to darken and obscure matters in question, but to clear them; and Psal. 51. 10, 11, 12. when David saw his heart so unclean, and his spirit so altogether out of order, his Justification was not then brighter, for then he should have had the joy of his salvation more full, and not so to sink, as that he begs it might be restored to him, as implying, that his joy for the present was wanting to him.
Error 78. God hath given six witnesses, three in Heaven, and three in Earth, to beget and build justifying Faith upon.
Confutation 78. This expression answers not the pattern of wholsom words, for if this position be taken thus, God hath given all these six witnesses both to beget and also to build Justifying Faith upon, it is contrary to Scrip∣ture, for God hath not given all these six witnesses to beget Justifying Faith, be∣cause the water of Sanctification, which is one of the six, doth not go before Page 18 justifying Faith, but followeth after it, for our hearts are justified by Faith, Act. 15. 9.
Error 79. If a Member of a Church be unsatisfied with any thing in the Church, if he express his offence, whether he hath used all means to convince the Church or no, he •…y depart.
Confutation 79. Contrary to the rule of our Saviour, Matth. 18. If thy Bro∣ther effend▪ (convictingly) admonish; whence it is evident, that in our carriage towards a private Brother, we must convince him, before admonish him, much less separate from him. Therefore our carriage towards the whole Church must upon greater reason be with like prudence, and tenderness; whence the argu∣ment follows thus. An offence taken before conviction, will not bear an admo∣nition, much less Separation from a Brother or Church; but the offence in the question propounded is such, Ergo.
Error 80. If a Man think he may edifie better in another Congregation, than in his own, that is ground enough to depart ordinarily, from Word, Seals, Fastings, Feastings, and all Administrations in his own Church, notwithstanding the offence of the Church, often manifested to him for so doing.
Confutation 80. It is contrary to the condition and station of a Member of the Body in which he stands, 1 Cor. 12, 27. A Member must not put it self from the Body upon its own thoughts; as the admission of a Member was by the con∣sent of the whole, so likewise must his dismission be. It is contrary also to the duty of a Member, Ephes. 4. 16. there must be an effectual working in every part for the edification of the whole, which this departure from the administra∣tion of all the holy Ordinances in the Church will necessarily hinder. It is con∣trary also to the good of the whole Church, and the rule which the Lord hath appointed for the preservation thereof, 1 Cor. 14. 33. God is not the author of Confusion, and therefore not of this practice which will certainly bring it; for if one Member, upon these his imaginations, may depart, Why may not ten, yea twenty, yea an hundred? Why may not the Pastor, upon such grounds, leave his People, as well as they him, considering the Tie is equal on both parts?
Error 81. Where Faith is held forth by the Ministery, as the condition of the Covenant of Grace on Man's part, as also evidencing Justification by Sanctifica∣tion, and the activity of Faith, in that Church there is not sufficient bread.
Confutation 81. This position seemeth to deny Faith to be a condition at all, or at all active, and so if condition in this place signifie a qualification in Man wrought by the Holy Ghost, without which the Promises do not belong to Men, this is contrary to Scripture, for Iohn 6. 48. Christ is the bread of life; and yet in the same Chapter, Faith is held out as a condition of the Covenant by the Mi∣nistery of Christ himself; and the activity of it is held forth in these words, Verily I say unto you, Unless ye eat the flesh, and drink the blood of the Son of Man, you have no life in you; and who so eateth, &c. As for the lawfulness of evi∣dencing Page 19 Justification by Sanctification (if it be understood of that Sanctificati∣on which is by Faith in Christ) it is contrary to the intent of the whole Epistle of Iohn, besides many other places of Scripture, which yet hold forth bread suffi∣cient (if by sufficient is meant that D•…ctrin, which in its right use is wholsom and good food) for it was written th•… their joy might be full; yet the eviden∣cing of Justification by Sanctification is expresly held forth, chap. 1. vers 7. where he saith, If we walk in the light, as Christ is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Iesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin: by walking in the light, in opposition to walking in darkness spoken of before, vers. 6. San∣ctification is evidently meant, and this is expresly noted to be an evidence of our good condition, when it is said, If we so walk, the blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin.
Error 82. A Minister must not Pray nor Preach against any Error, unless he declare in the open congregation, upon any Members inquiry, the Names of them that hold them.
Confutation 82. This is contrary to Scriptures, which teach Ministers to Pray and Preach against all errors by whomsoever they be held, when it calleth them Watchmen and Stewards, in whom faithfulness is required in all administrations: yet withal it enjoyneth them, if a Brother sin not openly, to admonish him in se∣cret, first between them two alone, and afterward in the presence of two or three witnesses, and after that (and not before) to bring the matter to the Church, Mat. 18. 15, 16, 17.
Unsavoury Speeches Confuted.
These that follow were judged by the Assembly aforesaid, as unsafe speeches.
1. TO say that we are justified by Faith, is an unsafe Speech, we must say, we are Iustified by Christ.
Answer 1. False, for the constant language of the Scripture is not unsafe; but we are justified by Faith, is the constant language of the Scripture, Rom. 5. 1. being justified by faith; the righteousness of faith, Rom. 10. 31, 32. Righteous∣ness by Faith, Phil. 3. 9, 10.
2. The distinct phrase of the Scripture used in distinguishing Legal and E∣vangelical righteousness is no unsafe speech; but such is this, Rom. 9. 31, 32. Israel found not righteousness, because they sought it of the Law, and not of, or by Faith, so Rom. 10. 5, 6. The Righteousness of Faith, saith thus, &c. The Apostle makes these two so directly opposite, as membra dividentia, or contrary species, that there is no danger one should be taken for another, but that it's so safe, as that he that affirms the one denies the other: yea, in the most exact ex∣pression that ever Paul made, to exclude whatsoever might be unsafe towards a Page 20 Man's justification, you have this phrase, yea twice in the same verse, Phil. 3. 5. Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through the Faith of Christ; And again, The righteousness which is of God by Faith (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) Ergo, it is no unsafe speech, yea, it must be said on the contrary from those grounds, that to say a Man is justified before Faith, or without Faith, is un∣safe, as contrary to the language of the Scriptures.
And for the second part, that we must say, we are justified by Christ, it is true so far, as that it cannot be denied, nor is it unfound or unsafe at all so to speak, but if it mean a must of necessity always, or onely so to speak, as it is here set in opposition to the phrase of being justified by Faith, then it is utterly false, for as much as the Scripture leads us along in the way of other expressions or∣dinarily, and the Apostle gives us the truth of doctrine and soundness of phrase together, Rom. 10. 3. Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
2. To evidence justification by sanctification, or graces, savours of Rome.
Answer. Not so, 1. Rome acknowledgeth not justification in our common sense, Scil. by righteousness imputed. 2. Rome denies evidencing of our justifi∣cation and peace with God, and teacheth Doctrine of doubting, and professeth that a Man cannot know what God will do with him for life or death, unless by special revelation, which is not ordinary: but if they mean old Rome, or Paul's Rome, to which he Wrote, it's true, that it savours of the Doctrine that they received, as appeareth, Rom. 8. 28. All things co-work for good (the evil of eve∣ry evil being taken away, which is a point of justification, and this is propound∣ed under the evidence of the love of God) to them that love him, because, Rom. 8. 2, 9, 13, 14. the evidencing of our being in Christ, freedom from condem∣nation and adoption, is prosecuted by arguments from sanctification, as by ha∣ving the spirit, being led by the spirit, walking after the spirit, mortifying the deeds of the flesh by the spirit: and if hereto were added the Doctrine of Sr. Iohn, so abundant this way in his first Epistle (whereof I have already made mention) I doubt not, but it was the Faith of the Church of Rome that then was, so that the speech is unsavoury, and casting a foul aspersion on a good thing expressed in the Scriptures, but as for the point it self, that is included, we refer it to it's place, to be discussed, when it is rightly stated.
3. If I be holy, I am never the better accepted of God; if I be unholy, I am ne∣ver the worse; this I am sure of, he that hath elected me must save me.
Answ. These words savour very ill, and relish of a careless and ungracious spirit, for howsoever we grant that our acceptation unto justification is always in and through Christ the same in God's account, yet this expression imports, that though a Man's conversation be never so holy and gracious, yet he can expect never the more manifestation of God's kindness and love to him, contrary to Psal. 50. ult. To him that orders his conversation aright, I will shew the salvation of God; and Iohn 14. 21. It implies Secondly, that though a Man's conversa∣tion Page 21 be never so vile and sensual, yet he need not fear nor expect any farther ex∣pression of God's displeasure and anger to break forth against him, or withdraw∣ings of his favour from him, contrary to Psal. 51. 8, 11, 12. where God breaks David's bones for his sin; and Ionah 2. 4. Ionah was as one cast out of God's presence; and 2 Chron. 15. 2. If you forsake him he will forsake you: And, in a word, it imports, as if God neither loved righteousness, nor ha∣ted wickedness, contrary to Psal. 45. 6, 7. and did take no delight in the Obe∣dience of his People, contrary to Psal. 147. 11. The Lord delighteth in those that fear him, &c. As concerning the last clause, He that hath elected me must save me: it is true, the foundation of God's election remaineth sure, yet it is as true, that whom he chuseth, he purposeth to bring to Salvation, through Sanctifi∣cation of the Spirit, 2 Thes. 2. 13.
4. If Christ will let me sin, let him look to it, upon his honour be it.
Answ. This resorts the Lord's words upon himself, Prov. 4. 22, 24. Keep thine heart, &c. Ponder thy Paths, &c. and therefore no less blasphemous, and is contrary to the professed practice of David, Psal. 18. 23. I was upright before him, and kept my self from mine iniquity: The latter clause puts the cause of God's dishonour upon himself, no less blasphemous than the former, and contrary to Rom. 2. 23. where the dishonouring of God is laid upon themselves.
5. Here is a great stir about graces, and looking to hearts, but give me Christ, I seek not for graces, but for Christ; I seek not for promises, but for Christ; I seek not for Sanctification, but for Christ; tell not me of meditation and duties, but tell me of Christ.
Answ. 1. This speech seemeth to make a flat opposition between Christ and his graces, contrary to that in Joh. 1. 16. Of his fulness we all received, and grace for grace; and between Christ and his Promises, contrary to Gal. 3. 13, 14. Christ was made a curse, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit; and, Luk. 1. 70. with 74. And betwixt Christ and all holy duties, contrary to Tit. 2. 14. and therefore hold forth expressions not agreeing to wholsome Do∣ctrine.
6. A living Faith, that hath living fruits, may grow from the living Law.
Answ. This whole speech is utterly cross to the sound form of Words requi∣red, 2 Tim. 1. 13. Hold fast the form of sound words, 1. That a Hypocrite may have a living Law, is contrary to Iam. 2. 17. where the hypocrites faith is called a dead Faith. 2. That a hypocrite may bring forth living fruit, is contrary to that, Heb. 9. 14. 3. That all this grows from a living law, contrary to 2 Cor. 3. 6. where the Law is called a killing Letter, and to Gal. 3. 21. If there had been a law which could have given life, &c.
7. I may know I am Christ's, not because I do crucisie the lusts of the flesh, but because I do not crucifie them, but believe in Christ that crucifieth my lusts for me.
Answ. 1. The phrase is contrary to the Scripture language, Gal. 5. 24. They that are Christ's, have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 2. It sa∣vours Page 22 of the flesh, for these three things may seem to be expressed in it. 1. If Scripture makes not opposite, but subordinate, Rom. 8. 13. I through the Spirit crucifie the flesh. 2. That if I do not crucifie my lusts, then there is an open and free way of looking to Christ, contrary to the Scripture, Mat. 5. 8. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God, both in boldness of Faith here, and frui∣tion hereafter, 2 Tim. 2. 19. Let every one that names the Lord Iesus, depart from iniquity. 3. That believing in Christ may ease me from endeavouring to crucifie my lusts in my own person; which is so gross, that it needs no more con∣futation than to name it. 4. The safe sense that may be possibly intended in such a speech, is this, If I crucifie the flesh in my own strength, it is no safe E∣vidence of my being in Christ; but if renouncing my self, I crucifie the flesh in the strength of Christ, applying his death by Faith, it is a safe evidence of my being in Christ: but this sense conveighed in these words, is to conveigh whole∣some doctrine in an unwholsome Channel, and a darkening and losing the truth in an unsavoury expression.
8. Peter more leaned to a Covenant of works than Paul, Paul's Doctrine was more for free-grace than Peters.
Answ. To oppose these persons and the doctrine of these two Apostles of Christ, who were guided by one and the same Spirit in Preaching and penning thereof, (2 Pet. 1. 21. Holy Men of God spake as they were moved by the Ho∣ly Ghost, 2 Tim. 3. 16. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God) in such a point as the Covenant of works and grace, is little less than Blasphemy.
9. If Christ be my Sanctification, what need I look to any thing in myself, to evi∣dence my Iustification?
Answ. This position is therefore unsound, because it holds forth Christ to be my Sanctification, so as that I need not look to any inherent holiness in my self; whereas Christ is therefore said to be our Sanctification, because he works San∣ctification in us, and we daily ought to grow up in him, by receiving new supply and increase of grace from his fulness, according to 2 Pet. 3. 18. Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Iesus Christ.
The Proceedings of the General Court holden at New-Town, in the Massachusets in New-England, Octob. 2. 1637. Against Mr. Wheelwright, and other Erroneous and Seditious Per∣sons, for their Disturbances of the Publick Peace.
ALthough the Assembly of the Churches had confuted and condemned most of those New Opinions which were sprung up amongst us, and Mr. Cot∣ton had in publick view consented with the rest, yet the Leaders in those Erro∣neous ways would not give in, but stood still to maintain their New Light, which they had boasted of, and that the difference was still as wide as before, viz. as great as between Heaven and Hell: Mr. Wheelwright also continued his Preach∣ing after his former manner, and Mistriss Hutchison her wonted Meetings and Exercises, and much offence was still given by her, and others, in going out of the Ordinary Assemblies, when Mr. Wil. began any exercise; and some of the Messengers of the Church of Boston had contemptuously withdrawn themselves from the General Assembly, with professed dislike of their proceedings, and ma∣ny Evidences brake forth of their discontented and turbulent spirits; it was con∣ceived by the Magistrates, and others of the Countrey, that the means which had been used proving uneffectual, the case was now desperate, and the last remedy was to be applied, and that without farther delay, lest it should be attempted too late, when fitter opportunity might be offered for their advantage, as they had boasted, and did certainly expect upon the return of some of their chief supporters, who by a special providence were now absent from them: And for this end the General Court being assembled in the ordinary course, it was de∣termined to begin with these Troublers of our Peace, and to suppress them by the Civil Authority, whereunto there was a fair occasion offered upon a Seditious Writing, which had been delivered into the Court in March, when Mr. Wheel. was convict of Sedition, &c. under the hands of more than Threescore of them, and Intituled, A Remonstrance, or Petition; the Contents whereof were as fol∣loweth:
We whose Names are under-written (have diligently observed this honou∣red Courts proceedings against our dear and reverend Brother in Christ, Mr. Wheel. now under censure of the Court for the Truth of Christ) we do humbly beseech this Honourable Court, to accept this Remonstrance and Petition of ours, in all due submission tendred to your Worships.
For first, whereas our beloved Brother Mr. Wheel. is censured for contempt, by the greater part of this honoured Court, we desire your Worships to con∣sider the sincere intention of our Brother to promote your end in the day of Page 24 Fast, for whereas we do perceive your principal intention the day of fast looked chiefly at the publick Peace of the Churches, our Reverend Brother did to his best strength, and as the Lord assisted him, labour to promote your end, and there∣fore endeavoured to draw us nearer unto Christ, the head of our union, that so we might be established in Peace, which we conceive to be the true way, sancti∣fied of God, to obtain your end, and therefore deserves no such censure as we conceive.
Secondly, Whereas our dear Brother is censured of Sedition, we beseech your Worships to consider, that either the person condemned must be culpable of some Seditious Fact, or his Doctrin must be Seditious, or must breed Sedition in the hearts of his hearers, or else we know not upon what grounds he should be Censured. Now to the first, we have not heard any that have witnessed against our Brother for any Seditious Fact. Secondly, neither was the Doctrine it self, being no other but the very expressions of the Holy Ghost himself, and therefore cannot justly be branded with Sedition. Thirdly, if you look at the effects of his Doctrine upon the hearers, it hath not stirred up Sedition in us, not so much as by accident; we have not drawn the Sword, as sometimes Peter did rashly, neither have we rescued our innocent Brother, as sometimes the Israelites did Ionathan, and yet they did not Seditiously. The Covenant of Free grace held forth by our Brother, hath taught us rather to become humble Suppliants to your Worships, and if we should not prevail, we would rather with patience give our cheeks to the smiters. Since therefore the Teacher, the Doctrine, and the Hear∣ers be most free from Sedition (as we conceive) we humbly beseech you in the Name of the Lord Iesus Christ, your Judge and ours, and for the honour of this Court, and the proceedings thereof, that you will be pleased either to make it appear to us, and to all the World, to whom the knowledge of all these things will come, wherein the Sedition lies, or else acquit our Brother of such a Cen∣sure.
Farther, we beseech you, remember the old method of Satan, the ancient Enemy of Free grace, in all ages of the Churches, who hath raised up such Calumnies a∣gainst the faithful Prophets of God, Eliah was called the troubler of Israel, 1 King. 18. 17, 18 Amos was charged for conspiracy, Amos 7. 10. Paul was counted a Pestilent Fellow, or mover of Sedition, and a Ring-leader of a Sect, Acts 24. 5. and Christ himself, as well as Paul, was charged to be a Teacher of New Do∣ctrine, Mark 1. 27. Acts 17. 19. Now we beseech you consider, whether that old Serpent work not after his old method, even in our days.
Farther, we beseech you, consider the danger of medling against the Prophets of God, Psal. 105. 14, 15. for what ye do unto them, the Lord Jesus takes as done unto himself; if you hurt any of his Members, the head is very sensi∣ble of it: for so saith the Lord of Hosts, He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye, Zech. 2. 8. And better a Mill-stone were hanged about our necks, and that we were cast into the Sea, than that we should offend any of these little ones which believe on him, Mat. 18. 6.
Page 25 And lastly, we beseech you consider, how you should stand in relation to us, as nursing Fathers, which give us incouragement to promote our humble requests to you, or else we would say with the Prophet, Isa. 22. 4. Look from me, that I may weep bitterly; Labour not to comfort me, &c. or as Ier. 9. 2. Oh that I had in the Wilderness a lodging-place of a way-faring man. And thus have we made known our Griefs and Desires to your Worships, and leave them upon Record with the Lord and with you, knowing that if we should receive repulse from you, with the Lord we shall find Grace.
Amongst others who had subscribed to this Writing, William Aspinwall was one, and being returned for one of the Deputies of Boston, it was propounded in the Court, whether he was fit to be received a Member of the Court, ha∣ving subscribed to the said Writing, which was so much to the Dishonour and Contempt thereof, &c. Whereupon he was demanded if he would justifie the matter contained in the said Writing: which when he had peremptorily affirm∣ed by the vote of the Court he was presently dismissed: Whereupon Mr. Cog∣shall, another of the Deputies of Boston, who had not subscribed to the said Writing, being then a Deputy of the Court, spake very boldly to the Court, and told them, that seeing they had put out Mr. Aspinwall for that matter, they were best make one work of all, for as for himself, though his hand were not to the Petition, yet he did approve of it, and his hand was to a Protestation, which was to the same effect; Whereupon the Court dismissed him also, and sent word to Boston to chuse two new Deputies; then Mr. Coddington the third De∣puty, moved the Court (by order from the Town of Boston) that the former censure against Mr. VVheelwright might be reversed, and that the Order made against receiving such as should not be allowed by the Magistrates might be repealed; whereby the Court perceived their obstinate Resolution in maintain∣ing this Faction, and thereupon gave Order he should be sent for; and for the Law, the Answer was, that whereas a Declaration had been made of the E∣quity of that Law, and that specially for the satisfaction of those of Boston, and an Answer had been published by some of them, wherein much Reproach and Slander had been cast upon the Court, to which a Reply had been made a∣bove six weeks since, but was kept in upon expectation that the late Assembly would have had some good eff•…ct, in clearing the points in Controversie, and re∣conciling the minds of the adverse party, but they continuing obstinate and irre∣concileable, it was thought fit the whole Proceedings about the Law should be brought forth; and accordingly the next day, the Declaration, the Answer, and the Reply, were all brought to the Court, and there openly read; which gave such satisfaction to those which were present, as no man ought to object, and some that were of the adverse party, and had taken offence at the Law, did openly acknowledge themselves fully satisfied.
When the Warrant came to the Town of Boston, they assembled together and agreed (the greater part of them) to send the same Deputies which the Page 26 Court have rejected, pretending that it was their liberty, and those were the a∣blest men, &c. but Mr. Cotton coming amongst them, and perceiving their rash and contemptuous Behaviour, by his Wisdom diverted them from that course; so they chose two other, but one of them they knew would be rejected, because his Hand was also to the seditious Writing, as it fell out, for he refusing to ac∣knowledge his fault in it, was also dismissed, and a new Warrant sent for ano∣ther to be chosen, which they never made any return of, but that Contempt the Court let pass.
When Mr. Wheelwright appeared, it was declared to him, that whereas he was long since convicted of sedition and contempt of Authority, and time had been giv∣en him from Court to Court, to come to the knowledge of his offence, the Court thought it now time to know how his mind stood, whether he would acknow∣ledge his Offence, or abide the Sentence of the Court? His Answer was to this effect, That he had committed no Sedition nor Contempt, he had delivered no∣thing but the truth of Christ, and for the application of his Doctrine, it was by others, and not by him, &c.
To which it was answered by the Court, that they had not censured his Do∣ctrine, but left it as it was; but his Application, by which he laid the Magistrates, and the Ministers and most of the People of God in these Churches, under a Co∣venant of Works, and thereupon declared them to be Enemies to Christ, and Antichrists, and such Enemies as Herod and Pilate; and the Scribes and Pharisees, &c. perswading the people to look at them, and deal with them as such, and that he described them so, as all men might know who he meant, as well as if he had named the parties; for he was present in the Court a little before, when both Magistrates and Ministers did openly profess their Judgment in that point, and that they did walk in such a way of evidencing Justification by Sanctificati∣on, &c. as he held forth to be a Covenant of Works.
Secondly, The fruits of that Sermon of Mr. Wheelwrights, together with the Declaration of his Judgment in that point both before and since, have decla∣red it to tend to Sedition: for whereas before he broached his Opinions, there was a peaceable and comely Order in all Affairs in the Churches, and Civil State, &c. now the difference which he hath raised amongst men, by a false distin∣ction of a Covenant of Grace and a Covenant of Works; whereby one party is looked at as friends to Christ, and the other as his Enemies, &c. all things are turned upside down amongst us. As first, in the Church, he that will not renounce his Sanctification, and wait for an immediate Revelation of the Spi∣rit, cannot be admitted, be he never so godly; he that is already in the Church, that will not do the same, and acknowledge this new Light, and say as they say, is presently noted, and under esteemed, as favouring of a Cove∣nant of Works; thence it spreads into the Families, and sets divisions between Husband and wife, and other Relations there, till the weaker give place to the stronger, otherwise it turns to open Contention; it is come also into Civil and Page 27 publick Affairs, and hath bred great Disturbance there, as appeared in the late Expedition against the P•…quids; for whereas in former Expeditions the Town of Boston was as forward as any others to send of their choice Members, and a grea∣ter number th•… other Town•…, in the time of the former Governour, now in this last service they sent not a Member, but one or two whom they cared not to be rid of, and but a few others, and those of the most refuse sort, and that in such a careless manner, as gave great discouragement to the Service, not one man of that side accompanying their Pastor, when he was sent by the joint consent of the Court, and all the Elders upon that Expedition, not so much as bidding him farewel; what was the reason of this difference? Why, nothing but this, Mr. Wheelwright had taught them that the former Governour, and some of the Magistrates then were friends of Christ and Free-Grace, but the present were Enemies, &c. An∣tichrists, Persecutors: What was the reason that the former Governour never stirred out, but attended by the Sergeants, with Halberts or Carbines; but this present Governour neglected? Why, the people were taught to look at this, at an Enemy to Christ, &c. The same difference hath been observed in Town Lots, Rates, and in neighbour Meetings, and almost in all Affairs, whereby it is apparent what disturbance the seditious Application of Mr. Wheelwright hath wrought among us; therefore as the Apostle saith, I would they were cut off that trouble you; and as Cain, Hagar and Ishmael, were expressed as troublers of the families, (which were then as common-wealths) so Justice requires, and the neces∣sity of the Peace calls for it, that such disturbers should be put out from amongst us, seeing it is one of their Tenents, that it is not possible their Opinions, and ex∣ternal Peace, can stand together; and that the difference between them and us is (as they say) as wide as between Heaven and Hell.
Further the Court declared what means had been used, to convince him, and to reduce him into the right way, as first at the Court, when he was convict of his Offence, the Ministers being called together, did labour by many sound Arguments, both in publick and private, to convince him of his Error and Sin, but he contemptuously slighted whatsoever they or the Magistrates said to him in that behalf; and since that much pains had been taken with him, both by Conference and Writing, not only privately, but also by the late Assembly of the Churches, wherein his erroneous Opinions, which were the ground-work of his seditious Sermon were clearly confuted, and himself put to silence, yet he obstinately persisted in justification of his erroneous Opinions; and besides, there was an Apology written in defence of the Proceedings of the Court against him, which though it were kept in for a time, in expectation of a Remonstrance, which some of his party were in hand with, for justification of his Sermon, yet it was long since published, and without question he hath seen it: besides, the Court hath used much patience towards him from time to time, admonishing him of his danger, and waiting for his Repentance, in stead whereof he hath threatned us with an Appeal, and urged us to proceed: To this Mr. Wheelwright replyed, that Page 28 he would, by the help of God, make good his doctrines, and frees them from all the Arguments which had been brought against them in the late Assembly, and de∣nyed that he had seen the Apology, but confessed that he might have seen it if he would. This was observed as an argument of the pride of his spirit, and wilful neglect of all the means of Light in that he would not vouchsafe to read a very brief Writing, and such as so much concerned him.
Although the Cause was now ready for Sentence, yet night being come, the Court arose, and enjoyned him to appear the next morning.
The next morning he appeared, but long after the hour appointed; the Court demanded what he had to alledge, why Sentence should not proceed a∣gainst him: He answered, that there was no Sedition or Contempt proved against him, and whereas he was charged to have set forth the Magistrates and Ministers, as Enemies to Christ, &c. he desir'd it might be shewed him in what page or leaf of his Sermon, he had so said of them; The Court answer'd, that he who de∣signs a man by such Circumstances, as do note him out to common Intendments, doth as much as if he named the party: when Paul spake of those of the Circum∣cision, it was as certain whom he meant, as if he named the Iews; when in Bo∣hemia they spake of differences between men, sub una & sub utraque, it was all one as to have said Papists and Protestants; so of the Monstrants and Remonstrants: for by the means of him and his followers, all the people of God in this Coun∣trey were under the distinction of men, under the Covenant of Grace, and men un∣der a Covenant of works. Mr. VVheelw. alledged a place in Mat.•…1. where Christ speaking against the Scribes and Pharisees, no advantage could they take against him, because he did not name them: but it was answer'd, they did not spare him for that cause, for then they would have taken their advantage at other times, when he did name them. One or two of the Deputies spake in his defence, but it was to so little purpose (being only more out of affection to the party, than true judgment of the state of the cause) that the Court had little regard of it. Mr. VVheelwright being demanded if he had ought else to speak, said that there was a double Fallacy in the charge laid upon him. 1. In that the troubles of the Civil State were imputed to him, but as it was by accident, as it is usual in preaching of the Gospel. 2. That it was not his Sermon that was the cause of them, but the Lord Jesus Christ. To which the Court answer'd, that it was ap∣parent he was the Instrument of our Troubles, he must prove them to be by such accident, and till then the Blame must rest upon himself, for we know Christ would not own them, being out of his way. After these and many other speeches had passed, the Court declaring him guilty for troubling the Civil Peace, both for his seditious Sermon, and for his corrupt and dangerous Opinions, and for his contemptuous Behaviour in divers Courts formerly, and now obstinately main∣taining and justifying his said Errors and Offences, and for that he refused to depart voluntarily from us, which the Court had now offered him, and in a manner perswaded him unto; Seeing it was apparent unto him, from that of Page 29 our Saviour, Matth. that we could not continue together without the ruine of the whole, he was sentenced to be disfranchised and banished our Jurisdiction, and to be put in safe custody, except he should give sufficient Security to depart before the end of March: upon this, he appealed to the King's Majesty, but the Court told him an Appeal did not lie in this case, for the King having given us an Authority by his Grant under his Great Seal of England to hear and deter∣mine all causes without any Reservation, we were not to admit of any such Ap∣peals for any such subordinate State, either in Ireland, or Scotland, or other pla∣ces; and if an Appeal should lie in one case, it might be challenged in all, and then there would be no use of Government among us, neither did an Appeal lie from any Court in any County or Corporation in England, but if a party will remove his cause to any of the King's higher Courts, he must bring the King's Writ for it; neither did he tender any Appeal, nor call any Witnesses, nor de∣sired any Act to be entred of it: then he was demanded if he would give Secu∣rity for his quiet departure; which he refusing to do, he was committed to the custody of the Marshal. The next morning he bethought himself better, and offered to give security, alledging that he did not conceive the day before, that a Sentence of Banishment was pronounced against him; he also suffered to relin∣quish his Appeal, and said he would accept of a simple Banishment; The Court answer'd him, that for his Appeal, he might do as he pleased, and for his depar∣ture, he should have the liberty the Court had offered him, provided he should not preach in the mean time; but that he would not yield unto; so in the end the Court gave him leave to go home, upon his promise, that if he were not de∣parted out of this Jurisdiction within fourteen days, he would render himself at the house of Mr. Stanton one of the Magistrates, there to abide as a Prisoner, till the Court should dispose of him.
THe next who was called, was Mr. Iohn Cogshall, one of the Deacons of Boston, upon his appearance the Court declared that the cause why they had sent for him, was partly by occasion of his Speeches and Behaviour in this Court the other day, and partly for some light miscarriages at other times, and that they did look at him, as one that had a principal Hand in all our late Disturbances of our publick Peace. The first things we do charge you with, is your justify∣ing a Writing called a Remonstrance or Petition, but indeed a seditious Libel, and that when Mr. Asp. was questioned by the Court about it, you stood up uncalled, and justified the same, saying to this effect: that if the Court meant to dismiss him for that it was best to make but one work of all, for though your self had not your Hand to the Petition, yet you did approve thereof, and your Hand was to the Protestation, which was to the same effect; whereupon you being also dismissed, used clamorous and unbeseeming Speeches, to the Court at your departure, whereby we take you to be of the same mind with Page 30 those who made the Petition, and therefore liable to the same punishment; upon this the Petition was openly read, and liberty was granted to him to answer for himself. His first answer was, that what he then spake, he spake as a Member of the Court: to which it was answer'd again, that 1. He was no Member of the Court stan∣ding upon Tryal whether to be allowed or rejected, at such a time as he utter∣ed most of those speeches. 2. Admit he were, yet it is no priviledge of a Member to reproach or affront the whole Court, it is Licentiousness, and no Liberty, when a man may speak what he list; for he was reminded of some words he uttered at his going forth of the Court, to this effect, that we had censured the Truth of Christ, and that it was the greatest stroak that ever was given to Free-Grace.
To which he answer'd, That his words were mistaken; for he said that he would pray that our Eyes might be opened to see what we did, for he thought it the great∣est stroak that ever was given to N. E. for he did believe that Mr. Wheelwright did hold forth the Truth. He was further charged, that at the Court, after the day of Elections, he complained of Injury, that the Petition which was tendered, was not presently read before they went to Election.
To which being answer'd, That it was not then seasonable, and against the Or∣der of that day, but the Court were then ready to hear it, if it were tendered; whereupon he turned his back upon the Court, and used menacing speeches to this effect. That since they could not be heard then, they would take another course. To which he answer'd (confessing he spake over hastily at that time) that his words were only these, Then we must do what God shall direct us. He was further charged that he should say, that half the people that were in Church-Covenant in N. E. were under a Covenant of Works; this he did not deny, but said, he proved it by the Parable of the ten Virgins, Mat. 15. Af∣ter these and many other Speeches had passed between the Court and himself; by which it plainly appeared, that he had been a very busie instrument in oc∣casioning of our publick Disturbances, and his justifying of Mr. Wheelwrights Sermon, and the Petition or Remonstrance being seditious Writings, a Mo∣tion was made for his Banishment, but he pretended that there was nothing could be laid to his Charge, but matter of different opinion, and that he knew not one Example in Scripture, that a man was banished for his Judg∣ment: It was answer'd, that if he had kept his Judgment to himself, so as the publick Peace had not been troubled or endangered by it, we should have left him to himself, for we do not challenge power over mens Consciences, but when seditious Speeches and Practices discover such a corrupt Conscience, it is our duty to use Authority to reform both. But though a great part of the Court did encline to a motion for his Banishment; yet because his Speech and Behavi∣our at present were more modest and submiss, than formerly they had been, and for that he excused his former Intemperances by his much employment and publick businesses, it was thought fit to deliver him from that Temptation, so he was only sentenced to be disfranchised, with admonition no more to occa∣sion Page 31 any disturbance of the publick Peace, either by speech, or otherwise, upon pain of Banishment and further censure.
THE next who was called, was Mr. William Aspin, to whom the Court said, that his case was in a manner the same with Master Cogshals, his Hand was to the Petition, he had justified Master Wheelwright's Sermon, and had condem∣ned the Court, and therefore what could he say, why the Court should not pro∣ceed to Sentence? For he had been present and heard what was said to Master Cogshall to have convinced him of his fault, and therefore it would be needless to repeat any thing. To this he answer'd, and confessed the Petition, and that his Heart was to it, as well as his Hand; and that that for which Mr. Wheel∣wright was censured, was for nothing but the Truth of Christ, and desired to know what we could lay to his Charge therein. The Court told him, that he being a Member of this Civil Body, and going contrary to his Relation and Oath, to stop the course of Justice in countenancing seditious Persons and Practices against the Face of Authority, this made him to be a seditious Person. He answered, he did but prefer an Humble Petition, which he could not do, but he must inti∣mate some cause why, and that Mephibosheth in his Petition did imply as much of Davids unjust Sentence against him as was in this Petition. The Court reply∣ed that he was ill advised to bring that Example for his Justification which makes clearly against him, for Mephibosheth doth not charge David with any injustice, not so much as by Implication, but excuseth himself, and layeth all the blame upon his Servant. Then he alledged the Petition of Esther to Abasuerus; but neither would that serve his turn, for she petitioned for her life, &c. without charging the King with Injustice. He still fled to this Plea, that it is lawful for Subjects to petition; the Court answered that this was no Petition, but a se∣ditious Libel, the mis-naming of a thing doth not alter the nature of it: besides, they called it in the first place a Remonstrance, which implies that they pretended Interest, and is in the nature of it a Plea, which challengeth a right of a party: be∣sides, they give peremptory Judgment in the cause, and that directly opposite to the Judgment of the Court; the Court declared Mr. Wheelwright guilty, they proclaim him innocent, the Court judged his Speech to be false and seditious, they affirmed it to be the Truth of Christ, and the very words of the Holy Ghost, which is apparently untrue, if not blasphemous. Further in pretending their moderation, they put Arguments in the peoples minds to invite them to violence, by bringing the Example of Peter drawing his Sword, wherein they blame not his Fact, but his Rashness; And that of the People rescuing Ionathan, which to make the more effectual, they say that it was not seditious.
Lastly, It was great arrogance of any private man thus openly to advance his own Judgment of the Court, therefore it will appear to their Posterity as a Brand of Infamy, upon these erroneous Opinions, that those who maintained Page 32 them were not censured for their Judgment, but for seditious Practices: He further pleaded, that no Petition can be made in such a case, but something may be mistaken through misprision as trenching upon Authority, the Court answer'd, that if they had only petitioned the Court to remit this Censure, or had desired respite for further considerations, or leave to propound their doubts, there could have been no danger of being mistaken. Besides there was no need of such haste in petitioning, seeing the Sentence was not given, but deferring to the next Court, Master VVheelwright••j•…yned only to appear there. The Court then being about to give S•…ntence, Mast•…Aspin desired the Court to shew a Rule in Scripture for Banishment; the court answered as before, that Hagar and Ishmael were banished for disturbance: he replied that if a Father give a Ch•… a Portion, and sent him forth, it was not B•…nishment: but it was answered, the Scripture calls it a casting out, not a sending forth; and one said further that he was a Child worthy of such a Portion.
Then the Sentence of the Court was for his dis-franchisemnnt and banishment, and time given him to the last of March upon Security for his departure then, which he presently tendered, and so was dismissed. The Court intended only to have dis-franchised him, as they had done Mr. Cogshall, but his Behaviour was so contemptuous, and his Speeches so peremptory, that occasioned a fur∣ther aggravation, and it appeared afterward to be by an over-ruling Hand of God, for the next day it was discovered, that he was the man that did frame the Pe∣tition, and drew many to subscribe to it, and some had their names put to it without their knowledge, and in his first draught there were other passages so foul, as he was forced to put them out, and yet many had not subscribed, but upon his promise that it should not be delivered without advice of Mr. Cotton, which was never done.
AFter these, two of the Serjeants of Boston were called, VVilliam Baulston and Ed Hutchison, these both had their Hands to the Petition, and just•…fied the same; VVill. Baulston told the Court, that he knew that if such a Petition had been made in any other place in the world, there would have been no fault found with it. The other told the Court, (turning himself in a scornful manner) that if they took away his Estate, they must keep his Wi•…e and Children; for which he was presently committed to the Offi•…r. The Court reasoned a good while with them both, but they were peremptory, and would acknowledge no failing, and be∣cause of their contemptuous Sp•…eches, and for that they w•…re known to be very busie persons, and such as had offered Contempt to the Magistrates, for that they were not of their Opinion, they were dis-franchised and fined, VVill Baulston Twenty Pounds, Ed. H•…tchison Fourty Pounds.
The next morning Ed. Hutchison acknowledged his fault in his misbehaviour in the face of the Court, and so was released of his Imprisonment, but both were disabled from bearing any publick Office.
ANother day were called four more of the Principal stirring Men, who had subscribed to the Petition, Thomas Marshal the Ferry-man, who justified the Petition so far, that he would not acknowledge any fault; yet he answered more modestly th•…n the former, therefore he was not sined, but dis-franchised, and put out of his place. Dynely, and Dyer had little to say for themselves, but persisting in their justification, they were also dis-franchised: likewise Rich. Grid∣ly, an honest poor Man, but very apt to meddle in publick affairs, beyond his calling or skill, (which indeed was the fault of them all, and of many others in the Countrey) mean condition, and weak parts, having nothing to say, but that he could find no fault, &c. was dis-franchised.
ALL these (except Mr. Wheelwright) were but young branches, sprung out of an old root, the Court had now to do with the Head of all this Faction, (Dux faemina facti) a Woman had been the breeder and nourisher of all these di∣stempers, one Mistriss Hutchison, the Wife of Mr. William Hutchison of Boston (a very honest and peaceable Man, of good estate) and the daughter of Mr. Mar∣vary, sometimes a Preacher in Lincolnshire, after of London, a Woman of a haugh∣ty and fierce carriage, of a nimble wit and active spirit, and a very voluble tongue, more bold than a Man, though in understanding and judgment, inferi∣our to many Women. This Woman had learned her skill in England, and had discovered some of her Opinions in the Ship, as she came over, which had caused some jealousie of her, which gave occasion of some delay of her admission, when she first desired fellowship with the Church of Boston, but she cunningly dissem∣bled and coloured her opinions, as she soon got over that Block, and was admit∣ted into the Church, then she began to go to work, and being a Woman very helpful in the times of Child-birth, and other occasions of •…dily infirmities, and well furnished with means for those purposes, she easily insinuated her self into the affections of many, and the rather, because she was much inquisitive of them about their Spiritual Estates, and in discovering to them the danger they were in, by trusting to common Gifts and Graces, without any such wit∣ness of the Spirit, as the Scriptures holds out for a full evidence; whereby ma∣ny were convinced that they had gone on in a Covenant of Works, and were much humbled thereby, and brought to inquire more after the Lord Jesus Christ, without whom all their gifts and graces, all their contributions, &c. would prove but legal, and would vanish: all this was well, and suited with the publick Ministery, which went along in the same way, and all the faithful im∣braced it, and blessed God for the good success that appeared from this discovery. But when she had thus prepared the way by such wholsome truths, then she begins to set forth her own stuff, and taught, that no Sanctifica∣tion was any evidence of a good estate, except their justification were first Page 34 cleared up to them by the immediate witness of the Spirit, and that to see any work of grace, (either faith or repentance, &c.) before this immediate witness, was a Covenant of works: whereupon many good souls, that had been of long approved godliness, were brought to renounce all the Work of Grace in them, and to wait for this immediate revelation: then sprung up also that O∣pinion of the in-dwelling of the Person of the Holy Ghost, and of Union with Christ, and Justification before Faith, and a denying of any gifts or graces, or inherent qualifications, and that Christ was all, did all, and that the Soul re∣mained always as a dead O•…gan: and other of those gross errours, which were condemned in the late Assembly, and whereof divers had been quashed by the publick Ministry; but the main and bottom of all, which tended to quench all endeavour, and to bring to a dependance upon an immediate witness of the Spirit, without sight of any gift or grace, this stuck fast, and prevailed so, as it began to be opposed, and she being questioned by some, who mar∣velled that such Opinions should spread so fast, she made Answer, That where∣ever she came, they must and they should spread. And indeed it was a wonder upon what a sudden the whole Church of Boston (some few excepted) were become her New-Converts, and infected with her Opinions, and many also out of the Church, and of other Churches also, yea, many prophane persons be∣came of her Opinion, for it was a very easie, and acceptable way to Hea∣ven, to see nothing, to have nothing, but wait for Christ to do all; so that after she had thus prevailed, and had drawn some of eminent place and parts to her party (whereof some profited so well, as in a few Months they out-went their Teacher) then she kept Open-House for all comers, and set up Two Le∣cture-days in the Week, when they usually met at her house, Threescore or Fourscore persons; the Pretence was to Repeat Sermons, but when that was done, she would Comment upon the Doctrines, and Interpret all passages at her pleasure, and Expound dark places of Scripture; so as whatsoever the Let∣ter held forth (for this was one of her Tenents, That the whole Scripture in the Letter of it held forth nothing but a Covenant of Works) she would be sure to make it serve her turn, for the confirming of her main Principles, whereof this was another, That the darker our Sanctification is, the clearer is our Iusti∣fication; And indeed most of her New Tenents tended to slothfulness, and quench all endeavour in the Creature: And now was there no speech so much in use, as of vilifying Sanc•…ification, and all for advancing Christ and Free-grace; and the whole Pedegree of the Covenant of Works was set forth with all its Complements, beginning at Cain, If thou dost well, shalt thou not be accepted? Then it is explained and ratified at Mount Sinai, and delivered in the Two Tables, and after sprinkled with the Blood of Christ, Exod. 24. and so carry∣ed on in the Letter of the Scripture, till it be compleat, as the Covenant of Grace by the Spirit, seals Forgiveness of Sins, one of the venters whereon Christ begets Children, &c. and in the end, Wherefore is all this adoe, but that Page 35 having a more cleanly way, to lay all that opposed her (being near all the Elders, and most of the faithful Christians in this Countrey) under a Covenant of Works, she might with the more credit, disclose and advance her Master-piece of immediate revela•…ons, under the fair pretence of the Covenant of Free-Grace? wherein she had not failed of her aim, to the utter subversion both of Churches and Civil state, if the most wise and merciful providence of the Lord had not prevented it, by keeping so many of the Magistrates, and Elders, free from the in∣fection: for upon the countenance which it took from some eminent persons, her opinions began to hold up their heads, in Church Assemblies, and in the Court of Justice, so as it was held a matter of offence to speak any thing against them in either Assembly: thence sprang all that trouble to the Pastour of Boston, for his free and faithful Speech in the Court, though required and approved: thence took Mr. Wheelwright courage to inveigh in his Sermon against Men in a Covenant of Work (as he placed them) and to proclaim them all enemies to Christ, Scribes and Pharisees, &c. whereas before he was wont to teach in a plain and gentle stile, and though he would sometimes glaunce upon these Opini∣ons, yet it was modestly and reservedly, not in such a peremptory and censorious manner, as he did then and after; for they made full account the day had been theirs: But blessed be the Lord, the snare is broken, and we are delivered; and this Woman, who was the Root of all these Troubles, stands now before the seat of Justice, to be rooted out of her station, by the hand of Authority guided by the Finger of Divine Providence, as the Sequel will shew.
When she appeared, the Court spake to her to this effect.
Mrs. Hutchinson, You are called hither as one of those who have had a great share in the causes of our publick disturbances, partly by those Erroneous Opini∣ons which you have broached and divulged amongst us, and maintaining them, partly by countenancing and incouraging such as have sowed Seditions amongst us, partly by casting reproach upon the faithful Ministers of this Countrey, and upon their Ministry, and so weaken their hands in the work of the Lord, and raising prejudice against them, in the hearts of their People, and partly by maintaining Weekly and Publick Meetings in your House, to the offence of all the Countrey, and the detriment of many Families, and still up∣holding the same, since such Meetings were clearly Condemned in the late Ge∣neral Assembly.
Now the end of your sending for, is, that either upon sight of your Errours, and other Offences, you may be brought to acknowledge and reform the same, or otherwise that we may take such course with you, as you may trouble us no far∣ther.
We do desire therefore to know of you, whether you will justifie and maintain what is laid to your charge or not?
I am called here to answer to such things as are laid to my charge; name one of them.
Have you countenanced, or will you justifie those Seditious practises which have been censured here in this Court?
Do you ask me upon point of Conscience?
No, your conscience you may keep to your self, but if in this cause you shall countenance and incourage these that thus transgress the Law, you must be called in question for it, and that is not for your Conscience, but for your pra∣ctice.
What Law have they transgressed; the Law of God?
Yes, the Fifth Commandment, which commands us to honour Father and Mother, which includes all in authority, but these seditious practices of theirs, have cast reproach and dishonour upon the Fathers of the Common-wealth.
Do I entertain, or maintain them in their actions, wherein they stand against any thing that God hath appointed?
Yes, you have justified Mr. Wheelwright his Sermon, for which you know he was convict of Sedition, and you have likewise countenanced and encouraged those that had their hands to the Petition.
I deny it, I am to obey you onely in the Lord.
You cannot deny but you had your hand in the Petition.
Put case I do fear the Lord, and my Parent do not, May not I enter∣tain one that fears the Lord, because my Father will not let me? I may put ho∣nour upon him as a Child of God.
That is nothing to the purpose, but we cannot stand to dispute causes with you now; What say you to your weekly publick Meetings? Can you show a warrant for them?
I will shew you how I took it up, there were such meetings in use be∣fore I came, and because I went to none of them, this was the special reason of my taking up this course, we began it but with five or six, and though it grew to more in future time, yet being tolerated at the first, I knew not why it might not continue.
There were private Meetings indeed, and are still in many places, of some few neighbours, but not so publick and frequent as yours, and are of use for in∣crease of love, and mutual edification, but yours are of another nature, if they had been such as yours, they had been evil, and therefore no good warrant to justifie yours; but answer by what authority or rule you uphold them.
By Tit. 2. where the elder women are to teach the younger.
So we allow you to do, as the Apostle there means, privately, and upon occasion, but that gives no warrant of such set Meetings for that purpose; and be∣sides, you take upon you to teach many that are elder than your self, neither do you teach them that which the Apostle commands, viz. to keep at home.
Will you please to give me a rule against it, and I will yield?
You must have a rule for it, or else you cannot do it in faith, yet you have a plain rule against it; I permit not a Woman to teach.
That is meant of teaching Men.
If a Man in distress of Conscience, or other temptation, &c. should come and ask your counsel in private, might you not teach him?
Then it is clear, that it is not meant of teaching Men, but of teaching in publick.
It is said, I will pour out my spirit upon your Daughters, and they shall Prophesie, &c. If God give me a gift of Prophesie, I may use it.
First, The Apostle applies that Prophesie unto those extraordinary times, and the gifts of Miracles and Tongues, were common to many, as well as the gift of Prophesie. Secondly, In teaching your children, you exercise your gift of Prophesie, and that within your calling.
I teach not in a publick Congregation; the Men of Berea are commen∣ded for examining Paul's Doctrine: we do no more but Read the Notes of our Teachers Sermons, and then reason of them by searching the Scriptures.
You are gone from the nature of your Meeting, to the kind of exercise, we will follow you in this, and shew you your offence in them, for you do not as the Bereans, search the Scriptures for their confirming in the truths delivered, but you open your Teachers Points, and declare his meaning, and Correct wherein you think he hath failed, &c. and by this means you abase the Honour and Au∣thority of the Publick Ministery, and advance your own Gifts, as if he could not deliver his Matter so clearly to the hearers capacity as your self.
Prove that, that any body doth that.
Yes, you are the Woman of most note, and of best abilities, and if some other take upon them the like, it is by your teaching and example, but you shew not in all this, by what authority you take upon you to be such a publick instru∣cter: (after she had stood a short time, the Court gave her leave to sit down, for her countenance discovered some bodily infirmity,)
Here is my authority, Aquila and Priscilla, took upon them to instruct Apollo more perfectly, yet he was a Man of good parts, but they being better in∣structed, might teach him.
See how your argument stan•…, Priscilla with her husband took Apollo home to instruct him privately, therefore Mistriss Hutchison, without her Husband, might teach sixty or eighty.
I call them not, but if they come to me, I may instruct them.
Yet you shew us not a rule.
I have given you two places of Scripture.
But neither of them will suit y•…ur practice.
Must I shew my Name written therein?
You must shew that which must be equivalent, seeing your Ministery is publick, you would have them receive your instruction, as coming from such an Ordinance.
They must not take it as it comes from me, but as it comes from the Lord Jesus Christ; and if I took upon me a publick Ministery, I should break a rule, but not in exercising a gift of Prophesie, and I would see a rule to turn a∣way them that come to me.
It is your exercise which draws them, and by occasion thereof, many Families are neglected, and much time lost, and a great damage comes to the Common-wealth thereby, which we that are betrusted with, as the Fathers of the Common-wealth, are not to suffer. Divers other Speeches passed to and fro about this matter, the issue was, that not being able to bring any rule to justifie this her disordered course, she said she walked by the rule of the Apostle, Gal. which she called the rule of the New Creature, but what rule that was, she would not, or she could not tell, neither would she consent to lay down her Meet∣ings, except Authority did put them down, and then she might be subject to Au∣thority.
Then the Court laid to her charge, the reproach she had cast upon the Mini∣sters, and Ministry in this Country, saying, That none of them did Preach the Covenant of Free Grace, but Mr. Cotton, and that they have not the Seal of the Spirit, and so were not able Ministers of the New Testament: She denied the words, but they were affirmed by divers of the Ministers, being desired by the Court to be present for that end. The matter was thus; It being reported a∣broad, That Mistriss Hutchison did flight them and their Ministery in their com∣mon talk, as if they did Preach nothing but a Covenant of Works, because they pressed much for faith and love, &c. without holding forth such an immediate witness of the Spirit as she pretended, they advised with Master Cotton about it, and a Meeting was appointed at his House, and she being sent for, and demand∣ed the reason why she had used such Speeches, at first she would not acknowledge them; but being told that they could prove them by witnesses, and perswaded to deal freely and truly therein, She said, That the fear of Man was a Snare, and therefore she was glad she had this opportunity to open her Mind, and thereupon she told them, that there was a wide difference betwixt Master Cotton's Ministery and theirs, and that they could not hold forth a Covenant of Free Grace, because they had not the Seal of the Spirit, and that they were not able Ministers of the New Testament.
It was near night, so the Court brake up, and she was injoyned to appear a∣gain the next Morning. When she appeared the next day, she objected, that the Ministers had spoken in their own cause, and that they ought not to be In∣formers and Witnesses both, and required that they might be Sworn to what they had spoken: To which the Court answered, That if it were needful, an Oath should be given them: but because the whole Court (in a manner Man by Man) did declare themselves to be fully satisfied of the truth of their testimonies, they being 6 or 7 Men of long approved Godliness, and Sincerity in their course, and for that it was also generally observed, that those of her party did look Page 39 at their Ministery (for the most part) as a way of the Covenant of Works, and one had been punished about half a year before, for reporting the like of them. The Court did pause a while at it, whereupon she said, That she had Mr. Wilson's Notes of that Conference, which were otherwise than they had related: the Court wi•…led her to shew them, but her Answer was, She had left them at home: where∣upon Mr. Wilson (with the leave of the Court) said, That if she brought forth his Notes, they should find written at the foot of them, That he had not written down all that was spoken, but being ofen interrupted, he had omitted divers pas∣sages; then she appealed to Mr. Cotton, who being called, and desired to de∣clare what he remembred of her Speeches, said, That he remembred onely that which took impression on him, for he was much grieved that she should make such comparison between him and his Brethren, but yet he took her meaning to be onely of a gradual difference, when she said, that they did not hold forth a Covenant of Free Grace, as he did, for she likened them to Christ's Disciples, and their Ministery, before his Ascension, and before the Holy Ghost was come down upon them; and when she was asked by some of them, Why they could not Preach a Covenant of Free-grace? She made Answer, Because they had not the Seal of the Spirit: Upon this the Court wished her to consider, that Mr. Cotton did in a manner agree with the testimony of the rest of the Elders: and as he remembred, onely so much as at present took most impression on him, so the rest of the Elders had reason to remember some other passages, which he might not hear, or not so much observe as they whom it so nearly and properly concerned: All this would not satisfie Mistriss Hutchison, but she still called to have them Sworn; whereupon the Court being weary of the clamour, and that all mouths might be stopped, required three of the Ministers to take an Oath, and thereupon they confirmed their former testimony.
Upon this she began to speak her mind, and to tell of the manner of God's dealing with her, and how he revealed himself to her, and made her know what she had to do: The Governour perceiving whereabout she went, interrup∣ted her, and would have kept her to the matter in hand, but seeing her very unwilling to be taken off, he permitted her to proceed. Her Speech was to this effect.
When I was in Old England, I was much troubled at the Constitution of the Churches there, so far, as I was ready to have joyned to the Separation, where∣upon I set apart a day for humiliation by my self, to se•…k direction from God, and then did God discover unto me the unfaithfulness of the Churches, and the danger of them, and that none of those Ministers could Preach the Lord Jesus aright, for he had brought to my mind, that in 1 Iohn 4. 3. Every spi∣rit that confesseth not, that Iesus Christ is come in the flesh is the Spirit of Antichrist; I marvelled what this should mean, for I knew that neither Pro∣testants nor Papists did deny that Christ was come in the flesh; And are the Page 40 Turks then the onely Antichrists? Now I had none to open the Scripture to me, but the Lord, he must be the Prophet, then he brought to my mind another Scripture, He that denies the Testament, denies the death of the Testator; from whence the Lord did let me see, that every one that did not Preach the New-Co∣venant, denies the death of the Testator: then it was revealed to me that the Mi∣nisters of England were these Antichrists, but I knew not how to bear this, I did in my heart rise up against it, then I begged of the Lord that this Atheism might not be in my heart: after I had begged this light, a twelve moneth together, at last he let me see how I did oppose Christ Jesus, and he revealed to me that place in Esa. 46. 12, 13. and from thence shewed me the Atheism of my own heart, and how I did turn in upon a Covenant of Works, and did oppose Christ Jesus; from which time the Lord did discover to me all sorts of Ministers, and how they taught, and to know what voice I heard, which was the voice of Moses, which of Iohn Baptist, and which of Christ; the voice of my beloved, from the voice of strangers; and thenceforth I was the more careful whom I heard, for after our Teacher Mr. Cotton, and my brother Wheelwright were put down, there was none in England that I durst hear. Then it pleased God to reveal himself to me in that of Esa. 30. 20. Though the Lord give thee the bread of adversity, &c. yet thine eyes shall see thy Teachers; after this the Lord carrying Mr. Cotton to New-England (at which I was much troubled) it was revealed to me, that I must go thither also, and that there I should be pers•…cuted, and suffer much trouble. I will give you another Scripture, Jer. 46. Fear not Iacob my servant, for I am with thee; I will make a full end of all the Nations, &c. Then the Lord did reveal himself to me, sitting upon a Throne of Justice, and all the World appearing before him, and though I must come to New England, yet I must not fear nor be dismaied. The Lord brought another Scripture to me, Esa. 89. The Lord spake this to me with a strong hand, and instructed me, that I should not walk in the way of this People, &c. I will give you one place more, which the Lord brought to me by immediate Revelations, and that doth concern you all; it is in Dan. 6. When the Presidents and Princes could find nothing against him, because he was faithful, they sought matter against him concerning the Law of his God, to cast him into the Lions den; so it was revealed to me, that they should plot against me, but the Lord bid me not to fear, for he that delivered Daniel, and the Three Children, his hand was not shortened. And see this Scripture fulfilled this day in mine eyes, there∣fore take heed what ye go about to do unto me, for you have no power over my body, neither can you do me any harm, for I am in the hands of the Eternal Je∣hovah my Saviour, I am at his appointment, the bounds of my habitation are cast in Heaven, no farther do I esteem of any mortal Man, than creatures in his hand; I fear none but the great Jehovah, which hath foretold me of these things; and I do verily believe that he will deliver me out of your hands, therefore take heed how you proceed against me; for I know that for this you go about to do to me, God will ruin you and your Posterity, and this whole State.
Page 41 When she had thus vented her Mind, the Court demanded of her, how she expected to be delivered, whether by Miracle as Daniel was? to which she An∣swered, Yes, by Miracle, as Dainiel was: Being farther demanded, How she did know that it was God that did reveal these things to her, and not Satan? She Answered; How did Abraham know that it was the Voice of God, when he commanded him to Sacrifice his Son?
Mr. Cotton being present, and desired by the Court to deliver his Judgment about Mistriss Hutchison her Revelations, answered; There be two sorts of Reve∣lations, some are without and besides Scripture; those I look at as Satanical, and tending to much danger; other are such as the Apostle speaks of, Ephes. 1. where he prayeth for a spirit of Revelation to be given them, those are never dispensed but according to the word of God; though the word Revelation be uncouth, yet in Scripture-sense I think it not lawful so to express it, and whenever it comes, it comes with the Ministery of the Word. Being again de∣sired to express himself particularly concerning her Revelations, he demanded of her (by the leave of the Court) Whether by a Miracle she doth mean a Work beyond the power of Nature, or onely above common Providence? for if (as you say) you expect deliverance from this Court, beyond the power of Nature, then I should suspect such a Revelation to be false. To this she answered, You know when it comes, God doth not describe the way. Mr. Cotton asked her again, Whether (when she said she should be delivered) she meant a delive∣rance from the Sentence of the Court, or from the Calamity of it? She answer∣ed, yea, from the Calamity of it. Mistriss Hutchison having thus freely and fully discovered her self, the Court and all the rest of the Assembly (except those of her own Party) did observe a special Providence of God, that (while she went about to cover such offences as were laid to her Charge, by putting mat∣ters upon proof, and then quarrelling with the Evidence) her own Mouth should deliver her into the power of the Court, as Guilty of that which all sus∣pected her for, but were not furnished with proof sufficient to proceed against her; for here she hath manifested, that her Opinions and Practice have been the cause of all our Disturbances, and that she walked by such a rule as cannot stand with the Peace of any State; for such Bottomless Revelations, as either came without any word, or without the sense of the Word, (which was framed to Humane capacity) if they be allowed in one thing, must be admitted a rule in all things; for they being above Reason and Scripture, they are not subject to control: Again, she hath given a Reason why she hath so much slighted the Faithful Ministers of Christ here, Why? It was Revealed to her long since in England, that all the Pack of them were Antichristians, so as she durst hear none of them, after Mr. Cotton and Mr. Wheelwright were once gone; for they could not Preach Christ and the New-Covenant (as she affirms,) Why, but they did Preach somewhat, and if they could not hold forth Christ in a Covenant of Free-grace, then must they needs hold him forth in a Covenant Page 42 of works; then are they not able Ministers of the New Testament, nor sealed by the Spirit; for the servants of God, who are come over into New England, do not think themselves more spiritual than other of their brethren whom they have left behind, nor that they can or do hold forth the Lord Jesus Christ in their Ministry, more truly than he was held forth in England, and seeing their Ministery was a most precious sweet savour to all the Saints before she came hither, it is easie to discern from what sink that ill vapour hath risen, which hath made so many of her seduced party to loath now the smell of those flow∣ers which they were wont to find sweetness in: yet this is not all (though it be too too vile) she can fetch a Revelation that shall reach the Magistrates and the whole Court, and the succeeding Generations, and she hath Scripture for it also; Daniel must be a Type of Mistriss Hutchison, the Lions Den of the Court of Justice, and the Presidents and Princes of the reverend Elders here, and all must sort to this conclusion, she must be delivered by Miracle, and all we must be ruined; See the Impudent boldness of a Proud Dame, that Athaliah-like makes havock of all that stand in the way of her ambitious spirit; she had boasted before that her Opinions must prevail, neither could she endure a stop in her way, as appeared once upon a slight occasion, when her reputation being a little touched upon mistake, yet so carried, as she could not get the party upon that advantage which she expected, she vented her Impatience with so fierce Speech and Countenance, as one would hardly have guessed her to have been an Antitype of Daniel, but rather of the Lions after they were let loose. The like appeared in her, when she could not have her will against her faithful Pastor for his opposing her Opinions, as she apprehended; so as neither Reason, nor Scripture, nor the Judgment and Example of such as she reverenced, could ap∣pease her displeasure. So that the Court did clearly discern, where the Foun∣tain was of all our Distempers, and the Tragedy of Munster (to such as had read it) gave just occasion to fear the danger we were in, seeing (by the judg∣ment of Luther writing of those troublous times) we had not to do with so simple a Devil, as managed that business, and therefore he had the less fear of him; but Satan seemed to have Commission now to use his utmost cunning to undermine the Kingdom of Christ here (as the same Luther foretold, he would do, when he should enterprize any such innovation under the clear light of the Gospel,) so as the like hath not been known in former ages, that ever so many wise, sober, and well grounded Christians, should so suddenly be seduced by the means of a Woman, to stick so fast to her, even in some things wherein the whole current of Scripture goeth against them, and that notwithstanding that her Opinions and Practice have been so gross in some Particulars, as their knowledge and sincerity would not suffer them to approve, yet such interest hath she gotten in their hearts, as they seek Cloaks to cover the nakedness of such deformities, as in the mean time they are ashamed to be∣hold.
Page 43 The Court saw now an inevitable necessity to rid her away, except we would be guilty, not onely of our own ruine, but also of the Gospel: so in the end the Sentence of Banishment was pronounced against her, and she was committed to the Marshal, till the Court should dispose of her.
Another day, Captain Iohn Underhill was sent for, and being charged with joyning in the said Petition, acknowledged the same, professing that he could see no fault in it: being demanded a Rule by which he might take so much upon him, as publickly to contradict the Sentence of the Court, &c. he alledged the example of Ioab his rough Speech to David, when he retired himself for Absalom's death, and that David did not reprove him for it. To this the Court answered.
First, That Ioab was then in the matters of his own Calling, and being Ge∣neral of the Army, had liberty, by his Place, to give advice to the King in cau∣ses of that nature, but when he failed in the manner of his Speech, therein he is not to be excused, and therefore not to be followed.
Secondly, Ioab did not contradict or reprove any Judicial Sentence of the King, but onely an inordinate Passion.
Thirdly, He was occasioned by an urgent necessity of the safety of the King and State.
Fourthly, That which he spake was in private, for the King had withdrawn himself.
Fifthly, It appears that David did take it as a great miscarriage, for he pre∣sently displaced him.
Again, in our cause, the Captain was but a private Man, and had no calling to deal in the Affairs of the Court, therefore no warrant from hence. He insisted much upon the liberty which all States do allow to Military Officers, for free Speech, &c. and that himself had spoken sometimes as freely to Count Nas∣saw.
But it was answered, We are not to look at what some do tolerate, but what is lawful, and there may be a reason of State, to connive at that disorder at some season, which may not with honour and safety be permitted at another.
Being farther demanded, how they came so many of them, to be so suddenly agreed in so weighty and doubtful a case? He Answered, That many of them being present when Mr. Wheelwright was convict of Sedition, they were sore grieved at it, and suddenly rushing out of the Court, a strange motion came into all their Minds, so as they said (in a manner altogether) Come let us Petition; and for his part, from that time to this, his Conscience which then led him to it, will not suffer him to retract it.
The Court pittied him much, and were grieved at his obstinacy, that when all his Arguments were taken away, he had no defence left, he would yet main∣tain a bad cause by the light of a deluded Conscience; and withal they took notice how these ungrounded revelations began to work, and what dangerous consequences were like to follow of them, when so many persons upon such a Page 44 sudden motion had no scruple to enterprize such a Seditious action, nor can be brought by any light of Reason or Scripture, to see their errour; so the Court (when they saw no other remedy) dis-franchised him, and discharged him of his place, but allowed him his Quarters Means.
There were divers who were not present when that sudden Motion, or Reve∣lation first set the Petition on foot, but were drawn in after, who soon found their error, and did as freely acknowledge it, and desired to have their names put out of it, which was easily granted, and their offence, with a Loving Admonition, remitted.
It had been observed a good time since, that some of the Leaders of this Facti∣on (by occasion of new Disciples, being inquisitive about their Tenents) would let fall these Answers, I have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now; and there is a great light to break forth, if Men do not resist it, and you shall see the bottom hereafter; and one of them reproved the rest, telling them, that they had spoiled their cause, by being over hasty, and too open, &c. And now it began to appear, what their meaning were, for after Mistriss Hutchison had discovered the Secret, by her Speech in the Court, then others opened their Minds, and professedly maintained these Enthusiasms as the Oracles of God. And that such revelations as Abraham had to kill his Son, and as Paul had in the Ship, and when he was caught up into the third heaven, &c. were ordinary, so that Mr. Cotton took notice of the danger of them, and publickly confuted them in diverse Sermons. Among other like passages there was one that fell out at Mr. Wheelw. his farewel to those whom he used to Preach unto at the Mount.
One of his own Scholars told him openly, That he had Preached Antichri∣stianism, and had set up a Christ against a Christ; the same party maintain∣ed immediate Revelations, without any word at all, saying, that the free Pro∣mises were onely for those under the Law, but we are to look for all our assu∣rance by immediate Revelation; and that in the New Testament there are no signs, no not our Baptism, for the Baptism of Water is of no use to us when once we are Baptized with the Holy Ghost: he said also, That a Man might be adopted and not justified, and that every New Creature is as a dead lump, not acting at all, but as Christ acts in him; and denyed all Inherent Righteous∣ness; and that the Commandments were a dead Letter. These things were so gross, as Mr. Wheelwright could not but contradict him; yet he did it so Tenderly, as might well discover his near agreement in the Points, though his wisdom served him to be more reserved till a fitter season; for that poor Man being newly come on to the profession of Religion, must needs learn those Points of M•…. Wheelw. or draw them as necessary consequents from some of his Tenents: And it is frequently found to be an effect of all unsound and unsafe do∣ctrines, that still the Scholar goes a step farther than his Teacher. So it hath pro∣ved in former times, Luther, and no doubt many of those who did imbrace his Errors, in the first Edition of them, yet lived and died in the true Faith of Page 45 Christ, but the succeeding Generations (inheriting those erroneous Tenents, which they had drawn from their Godly Forefathers, but not their godliness) proved Hereticks and Schismaticks to this day. So it hath been in the Churches of Rome, and others, and so we may justly fear in these Churches in New-England, howsoever that many that now adhere to these Familistical Opinions, are indeed truly godly, and (no doubt) shall persevere so to the end, yet the next generation, which shall be trained up under such Doctrines, will be in great dan∣ger to prove plain Familists and Schismaticks. This discovery of a new rule of practice by immediate Revelations, and the consideration of such dangerous con∣sequences, which have and might follow thereof, occasioned the Court to disarm all such of that Party, as had their hands to the Petition, and some others, who had openly defended the same, except they should give satisfaction to the Magi∣strates therein; which some presently did, others made a great question about it, for bringing in their arms, but they were too weak to stand it out.
Thus it pleased the Lord to hear the Prayers of his afflicted People (whose Souls had wept in secret for the reproach that was cast upon the Churches of the Lord Jesus in this Countrey, by occasion of the Divisions which were grown amongst us, through the vanity of some weak minds, which cannot seriously af∣fect any thing long, except it be offered them under some renewed shape) and by the care and endeavour of the wise and faithful Ministers of the Churches, assisted by the Civil Authority to discover this Master-piece of the old-Serpent, and to break the brood by scattering the Leaders, under whose conduct he had prepared such Ambushment, as in all reason would soon have driven Christ and Gospel out of New-England (though to the ruine of the instruments them∣selves, as well as others) and to the re-possessing of Satan in his ancient King∣dom; It is the Lord's Work, and it is marvellous in our eyes. Mr. Wheel. is now gone to Pascal, Mistriss Hutchison is confined in a private House, till the season of the year shall be fit for her departure, some of those whom God hath left to be most strongly deluded, are preparing to follow them, and we hope the Lord will open the eyes of the rest, and perswade them to joyn again with their sometime dear and most beloved brethren, that Peace and Truth may a∣gain flourish in New-England, Amen.
After the Court had thus proceeded, some of the Churches dealt with such of their Members as were found guilty of these erroneous and seditious practices, the Church at Roxbury (after much pains and patience to reduce them) Excom∣municated five or six; and the Church of Boston, by the sollicitation of some of the Elders of the other Churches, proceeded against Mistriss Hutchison, the manner and issue whereof is set down in the next.
AT Boston in New-England, upon the 17th day of Octob. 1637. the wife of one William Dyer, sometimes a Citizen and Millener of London, a very proper Page 46 and comely young Woman, was delivered of a large Woman Child, it was still∣born, about two Months before her time, the Child having life a few hours be∣fore the delivery, but so Monstrous and Mis-shapen, as the like hath scarce been heard of: it had no Head, but a Face, which stood so low upon the Breast, as the Ears (which were like an Apes) grew upon the Shoulders.
The Eyes stood far out, so did the Mouth; the Nose was hooking upward, the Breast and Back was full of sharp prickles, like a Thornback; the Navel and all the Belly with the distinction of the Sex, were, where the lower part of the Back and Hips should have been, and those back-parts were on the side the Face stood.
The Arms and Hands, with the Thighs and Legs, were as other Childrens, but instead of Toes, it had upon each Foot Three Claws, with Talons like a young Fowl.
Upon the Back, above the Belly, it had two great Holes, like Mouths, and in each of them stuck out a piece of Flesh.
It had no Forehead, but in the place thereof, above the Eyes, Four Horns, whereof two were above an Inch long, hard and sharp, the other two were somewhat shorter.
Many things were observable in the Birth and Discovery of this Monster.
- 1. The Father and Mother were of the highest form of our refined Familists, and very active in maintaining their party, and in reproaching some of the El∣ders, and others, who did oppose those Errors.
- 2. The Midwife, one Hawkins Wife of St. Ives, was notorious for familia∣rity with the Devil, and now a prime Familist.
- 3. This Monster was concealed by Three Persons above five Months.
- 4. The occasion of concealing it was very strange, for most of the Women who were present at the Womans Travail, were suddenly taken with such a vi∣olent Vomiting, and Purging, without eating or drinking of any thing, as they were forced to go home; others had their Children taken with Convulsi∣ons, (which they had not before, nor since) and so were sent for home, so as none were left at the time of the Birth, but the Midwife and two other, whereof one fell asleep.
- 5. At such time as the Child died (which was about two hours before the Birth) the Bed wherein the Mother lay, shook so violently, as all which were in the Room perceived it.
- 6. The After-birth wherein the Child was, had Prickles on the inside like those on the Childs Brest.
- 7. The Manner of the Discovery was very strange also, for it was that very day Mistriss Hutchison was cast out of the Church for her Monstrous Errours, and Notorious Falsehood; for being Commanded to depart the Assembly, Mistriss Dyer accompanied her, which a Stranger observing, asked another, What Wo∣manPage 47that was? the other Answered, It was the Women who had the Monster: which one of the Church of Boston hearing, enquired about it from one to ano∣ther, and at length came to Mistriss Hutchison, with one of the Elders of the Church, to whom she revealed the truth of the thing in general onely; this com∣ing to the Governours ear, he called another of the Magistrates, and sent for the Midwife, and (in the presence of the Elder, to whom Mistriss Hutchison had revealed it) they examined her, who, at first, confessed, it was a Monstrous Birth, but concealed the Horns and Claws, and some other parts, till being straitly char∣ged, and told it should be taken up, and viewed, then she confessed all: yet for farther assurance, the Child was taken up, and though it were much corrupted, yet the Horns and Claws, and holes in the Back, and some Scales, &c. were found and seen of above a Hundred Persons.
- 8. The Father of this Monster, having been forth of the Town about a Month, and coming home just at this time, was upon the Lord's day (by an unexpected occasion) called before the Church for some of his Monstrous Opini∣ons; As that Christ and the Church together are the New Creature; There is no Inherent Righteousness in Christians; Adam was not made after God's I∣mage, &c. which he openly maintained, yet with such shuffling, and equivoca∣ting, as he came under Admonition, &c.
A brief Apology in defence of the Ge∣neral Proceedings of the Court, holden at Boston the Ninth day of the First Moneth, 1636. against Mr. I. Wheelwright a Member there, by occasion of a Sermon delivered there in the same Congrega∣tion.
FOrasmuch as some of the Members of the Court (both of the Magistrates and Deputies) did dissent from the major part, in the judgement of the cause of Mr. Wheelwright, and divers others have since censured the pro∣ceedings against him as unjust, or (at best) over hasty, for maintaining of which Censures, many untruths are like to be spread abroad, whereby the most equal Judges may be in danger of prejudice; and so the honour not of the Court only, but also of the trial and justice it self may be blemished: It is thought needful to make this publick Declaration of all the proceedings, with the reasons and grounds thereof, so far as concerneth the clearing of the Justice of the Court. As for such passages as fell by occasion, and are too large to be here inserted, such as desire to know them, may receive satisfaction from three or four of Boston (be∣ing Mr. Wheelwright his special friends) who took all by Characters (we doubt not) will give a true report thereof; As for such as have taken offence, that the cause was not first referred to the Church, we desire them to consider these rea∣sons.
1. This case was not matter of Conscience, but of a civil nature, and there∣fore most proper for this Court to take Cognizance of, and the rather for the special contempt which had been offered to the Court therein, and which the Church could not judge of. 2. In some cases of religious nature, as mani∣fest heresie, notorious blasphemy, &c. the Civil power may proceed, Ecclesia inconsulta, and that by the judgment of all the Ministers. 3. It had been a vain thing to refer a cause to the judgment of those who had openly de∣clared their prejudice therein, both in the Court and otherwise, as by two Petitions under the hands of most of them, delivered into the Court on his be∣half, did plainly appear. 4. The heat of contention and uncharitable cen∣sures which began to overspread the Countrey, and that chiefly by occasion of that Sermon, and the like miscarriages, did require that the Civil Power Page 49 should speedily allay that heat, and bear witness against all seditious courses, ten∣ding to the overthrow of Truth and Peace amongst us, and this only by way of entrance to the matter which now followeth.
In the beginning of the Court, the Deputies upon the Fame of a Sermon deliver∣ed by Mr. Wheelwright (upon the first day) which was supposed to tend to sedition, and disturbance of the publick Peace, desired that he might be sent for, which the Court ass•…nting unto, one of the Magistrates (his special friend) undertook to give him notice thereof, and accordingly at the next meeting he was in the Town. ready to appear, when he should be called for, which was not till two or three days after, and then he was sent for (not by the Marshal, as the usual man∣ner is; but) by one of the Deputies his intimate friend, upon his appearance he was made acquainted with the cause why he was sent for, viz. To satisfie the Court about some passages in his Sermon, which seemed to be offensive, and therewith a copy of it was produced, and he was demanded whether he would own it, whereupon he drew forth another copy which he delivered into the Court, as a true copy, (for the substance of it) so he was dismissed very gently, and desired to be ready when he should be called for again.
The next day he was again sent for by the former Messenger: About this time a Petition was delivered into the Court, under the hands of above forty persons, being most of the Church of Boston, (being none of the Petitions before mention∣ed which were delivered after) to this effect, that as free-men they might be ad∣mitted to be present in the Court in causes of Judicature, and that the Court would declare whether they might proceed in cases of Conscience, without referring them first to the Church. To this the Court answered on the backside of the Petiti∣on, that they did conceive the Petition was without just ground, for the first part of it, the Court had never used any privacy in judicial Proceedings, but in preparation thereto by way of Examination of the party, &c. they might and would use their liberty, as they should see cause; and for the other part of the Petition, when any matter of Conscience should come before them, they would advise what were fit to be done in it.
When Mr Wheelwright came in, the Court was private, and then they told him they had considered of his Sermon, and were desirous to ask him some questions which might •…nd to clear his meaning, about such passages therein as seemed offensive; he demanded whether he were sent for as an innocent per∣son, or as guilty? It was answered neither, but as suspected only; Then he demanded who were his Accusers? It was answered, his Sermon; (which was there in Court) being acknowledged by himself they might thereupon pro∣ceed, ex officio: at this word great exception was taken, as if the Court inten∣ded the course of the High Commission, &c. It was answered that the word ex Officio was very safe and proper, signifying no more but the Authority or Duty of the Court: and that there was no cause of Offence, seeing th•… Court did not examine him by any compulsory means, as by Oath, Imprisonment, Page 50 or the like, but only desired him for better satisfaction to answer some questions, but he still refused, yet at last through perswasion of some of his friends, he seem∣ed content; The question then put to him was, whether before his Sermon he did not know, that most of the Ministers in this Jurisdiction did teach that Do∣ctrine which he in his Sermon called a Covenant of Works; to this he said, he did not desire to answer, and thereupon some cryed out, that the Court went a∣bout to ensnare him, and to make him to accuse himself; and that this question was not about the matter of his Sermon, &c. Upon this he refused to answer any further, so he was dismissed till the afternoon; the reason why the Court deman∣ded that question of him, was not to draw matter from himself whereupon to proceed against him, neither was there any need, for upon a conference of the Ministers not long before there had been a large dispute between some of them and himself about that point of evidencing Justification by Sanctification; so as the Court might soon have convinced him by Witnesses, if they had intended to proceed against him upon that ground.
In the afternoon he was sent for again in the same manner as before, and the Ministers also being in the Town, and come hither to confer together for further discovery of the ground of the differences which were in the Countrey about the Covenant of Grace, &c. they were desired to be present also at the Court, to bear witness of the Proceedings in the case, and to give their Advice as the Court (upon occasion) should require: so the doors being set open for all that would to come in (and there was a great Assembly) and Mr. Wheelwright be∣ing willed to sit down by the Ministers, his Sermon was produced, and many passages thereof were read to him, which for the better understanding we have di∣gested into this order following.
He therein describeth two Covenants, the Covenant of Grace, and the Co∣venant of Works; the Covenant of Grace he described to be, when in the point of Justification, and the knowledge of this our Justification by Faith, there is no∣thing revealed but Christ Jesus; but if men think to be saved, because they see some works of Sanctification in themselves, as hungring and thirsting, &c. this is a Covenant of works; if men have revealed to them some work of Righteous∣ness, as love to the brethren, &c. and hereupon come to be assured that they are in a good Estate, this is not the assurance of Faith, for Faith hath Christ revealed for the object, therefore if the assurance of a mans Justification be by Faith, as a Work, it is not Gospel.
Having thus described those who go under a Covenant of Works, he pro∣nounceth them to be Enemies to Christ, to be Antichrists, to be flesh opposed to spi∣rit; such as will certainly persecute those who hold forth the Truth, and the ways of Grace, he resembleth them to the Philistines, who stop up with the earth of their own Inventions, the Wells of true Believers; he resembleth them also to Herod, who would have killed Christ so soon as he was born, and to He∣rod and Pilate who did kill Christ when he came once to shew forth himself, Page 51 and would have kept him eternally in the Grave; he further describeth them out of the second Psalm, to be the people of God, as the Iews were, and such as would take away the true Christ, and put in false Christs, to deceive if it were possible the very Elect; he also describeth them by that in Cant. 10. 6. they make the Children of Grace, keepers of the Vineyard, they make them travel un∣der the burden of the Covenant of Works, which doth cause Christ many times from them. He cometh after to an use of Exhortation, wherein he stirreth up all those of his side to a spiritual Combat, to prepare for battle, and come out and fight against the Enemies of the Lord; (those under a Covenant of works) he shews whom he meaneth thus to excite, alluding to David's valiant Men, to Ba∣ruch, Deborah, Iael, and all the men of Israel, and bind them hereunto under the curse of Meroz; He further exhorteth them to stand upon their guard, &c. by al∣luding to the 600 valiant Men, who kept watch about the Bed of Solomon, a type of Christ; then he incourageth those of his side against such difficulties as might be objected; as 1. If the Enemies shall oppose the way of God, they must lay the more load upon them, and kill them with the word of the Lord, and there he al∣ludeth to those places which speak of giving the Saints power over Nations, bind∣ing Kings in Chains, and of threshing Instruments with Teeth, and foretels their flight by that in Esa. 21. 15. They shall flee from the Sword, &c.
2. Though the Enemies under a Covenant of Works be many and strong, (as he confesseth they are) yet they ought not to fear, for the battle is the Lords, this he inforceth by that in Iosh. 23. 10. One of you shall chase a thousand, and that of Ionathan and his Armour bearer.
3. Against tenderness of heart which they might have towards such under a Covenant of works, as are exceeding holy and strict in their way, he animateth his party by perswading them, that such are the greatest Enemies to Christ; this he seeks to illustrate by resembling such in their zeal, to Paul when he was a Perse∣cutor, and in their Devotion to those who expelled Paul and Barnabas out of An∣tioch. He taketh it for granted, that these Holy Men trust in their Righteousness, and that it thrusteth out the Righteousness of Christ, and so concludes and fore∣tels from Ezek. 33. They shall die, and their Righteousness is accursed, yet they transform themselves (saith he) into Angels of Light.
4. That his party might not fear lest he should break the rule of Meekness, &c. he bringeth in the Example of Stephen, Act. 7. 58. and the Example of Christ, Ioh. 8. 44. and Mat. 23. 23.
5. To those who might fear, lest this strife should cause a combustion in Church and Common-wealth, he answers and tells them plainly it will do so, but yet to uphold their hearts, he arms them with the Prediction of Christ, Luk. 12. 49. and tells them that it is the desire of the Saints, that that fire were kindled, and with that in Esa. 9. 5. which he interprets of Michael and the Angels, and with that in Mal. 4. 2. and by that in the Revelation, the Whore must be burnt.
Page 52 6. He arms them against persecution, by exhorting them not to love their lives unto the death, but be willing to be killed like sheep, seeing it is impossible to hold forth the Truth of God with external peace and quietness: This he inforceth by the Example of Sampson, who slew more at his death than in his life.
These passages of his Sermon being openly read Master Wheelwright did ac∣knowledge and justifie the same, and being demanded (either then or before) whe∣ther by those under a Covenant of works he did mean any of the Ministers and other Christians in those Churches, he answer'd, that if he were shewed any that walked in such a way, as he had described to be a Covenant of Works, them he did mean. Here divers speeches passed up and down, whereof there was no spe∣cial notice taken, as not material to the purpose in hand.
The Court proceeded also to examine some witnesses about another Sermon of his, whereat much offence had also been taken, and not without cause, (as appear∣ed to the Court) for in that he seemed to scare men, not only from legal Righte∣ousness, but even from Faith and Repentance, as if that also were a way of the Covenant of works; but this being matter of doctrine, the Court passed it by for the present, only they (and the Ministers present, divers of them) declared their grief to see such Opinions risen in the Countrey of so dangerous Consequence, and so directly crossing the Scope of the Gospel, (as was conceived) and it was retorted upon him, which he in his Sermon chargeth his adverse party with, (tho' uncharitably and untruly) when he saith they would take away the True Christ, that to make good such a Doctrine as he held forth (to common intendment) must needs call for a new Christ, and a new Gospel, for sure the old would not own or justifie it.
Then the Court propounded a question to the Ministers, which (because they desired time of consideration to make answer unto) was given them in writing upon the outside of Master Wheelwrights Sermon in these words; Whether by that which you have heard concerning Mr. Wheelwrights Sermon, and that which was witnessed concerning him, ye do conceive that the Ministers in this Country do walk in, and teach such a way of Salvation, and evidencing thereof, as he describeth, and accounteth to be a Covenant of works? To this question (being a∣gain called for into the Court the next morning) they returned an affirmative answer, in the very words of the question, adding withal, that they would not be understood, that their doctrine and Master VVheelwrights about Justifi∣cation and Salvation, and evidencing thereof, did differ in all things, but on∣ly in the point presented, and debated now in Court, and that of this their answer they were ready to give reasons when the Court should demand them, and that to this they consented, except their Brother the Teacher of Boston: After this (by leave of the Court) the Ministers all spake one by one in order, some more largely, laying open by solid Arguments, and notorious Examples, the great dangers that the Churches and Civil State were fallen into, by the differences which were grown amongst us in matters of Religion, offering Page 53 themselves withal to imploy all their studies to effect a Reconciliation, shewing also their desires that Mr. VVheelwright would be with them, when they should meet for this purpose, and blaming his former strangeness as a possible occasion of these differences of Judgment. Others spake more briefly, but consented with the former; and all of them (as they had occasion to speak to Mr. VVheelw. or to make mention of him) used him with all humanity and respect; what his carriage was towards them again, those who were present may judge, as they saw cause.
The matters objected against Mr. VVheel being recollected, and put to the vote, the opinion of the Court was, that he had run into Sedition and Contempt of the Civil Authority, which accordingly was recorded to the same effect, and he was injoyned to appear at the next general Court to abide their further Sentence herein. And whereas motion was made of injoyning him silence in the mean time, the Ministers were desired to deliver their Advice what the Court might do in such a case: Their Answer was, that they could not give a clear resolution of the question at the present, but for Mr. VVheel. they desired that the Court would rather refer him to the Church of B. to deal with him for that matter; which accordingly was done, and so he was dismissed: Such of the Magistrates and Deputies, as had not concurred with the major part in the Vote, (some of them) moved that the dissent might be recorded, (but it was denyed) as a course never used in this or any such Court. Afterward they tendered a Protestation, which was also refused, because therein they had justifi'd Mr. VVheel. as a faithful Mini∣ster of the Lord Jesus, and condemned the Court for undue proceeding; but this was offered them, that if they would write down the words of the record, and subscribe their dissent, without laying such Aspersion upon the Court, it should be received.
Although the simple Narration of these Proceedings might be sufficient to justifie the Court in what they have done, especially with these of this Jurisdicti∣on, who have taken notice of the passages in the general Court in Decem. last, yet for satisfaction of others to whom this case may be otherwise presented, by Fame or Misreport, we will set down some Grounds and Reasons thereof, some where∣of were expressed in the Court, and others (tho' not publickly insisted upon, yet) well conceived by some, as further motives to lead their judgments to do as they did.
And, 1. It is to be observed, that the noted differences in point of Religion in the Churches here, are about the Covenant of Works, in opposition to the Cove∣nant of Grace; in clearing whereof much dispute hath been, whether Sanctifi∣cation be any evidence of Justification.
2. That before Mr. VVheel. came into this Country (which is not yet two years since) there was no strife (at least in publick observation) about that point.
3. That he did know (as himself confessed) that divers of the Ministers here were not of his Judgment in those points, and that the publishing of them Page 54 would cause disturbance in the Country, and yet he would never confer with the Ministers about them, that thereby he might have gained them to his opinion, (if it had been the truth) or at least have manifested some care of the publick Peace, which he rather seemed to slight, when being demanded in the Court a Reason of such his failing, he answer'd that he ought not to consult with flesh and blood, about the publishing of that Truth which he had received from God.
4. It was well known to him that the Magistrates and Deputies were very sensible of those differences, and studious of pacifying such minds as began to be warm and apt to contention about them, and for this end at the said Court in December, (where these differences and alienations of mind through rash cen∣sures, &c. were sadly complained of) they had called in the Ministers, and (Mr. Wheel. being present) had desired their advice for discovery of such dangers, as did threaten us hereby, and their help for preventing thereof; and it was then thought needful, to appoint a solemn day of humiliation (as for other occasions more remote, so especially) for this which more nearly concerned us, and at this time this very point of evidencing Justification by Sanctification set into some debate, and Mr. Wheel. being present spake nothing, though he well discerned that the Judg∣ment of most of the Magistrates and near all the Ministers closed with the af∣firmative.
5. That upon the said fast (Mr. Wheel. being desired by the Church to exercise as a private Brother, by way of Prophecy) when Mr. Cotton teaching in the after∣noon out of Isa. 58. 4. had shewed that it was not a fit work for a day of Fast, to move strife and debate, to provoke to contention, &c. but by all means to labour pacification and reconciliation, and therein had bestowed much time, and many forcible arguments, yet Mr. Wheel. speaking after him, taught as is here before mentioned, wholly omitting those particular occasions which the Court intended, nay rather reproving them, in teaching that the only cause of Fasting, was the absence of Christ, &c. and so notwithstanding the occasion of the day, Mr. Cot∣tons Example, the intent of the Court for procuring peace, he stirred up the people to contention, and that with more than ordinary vehemency. Now if any man will equally weigh the proceedings of the Court and these observations together, we hope it will appear that Mr. Wheelwright was justly convicted of Sedition and Contempt of Authority, and such as have not leisure or will to compare them together, may only read that which here followeth, and receive satisfaction there∣by, carrying this along with them, that the acts of Authority holding forth the face, and stamp of a divine Sentence, should not be less regarded than the acti∣ons of any private brother, which a good man will view on all four sides before he judge them to be evil.
Sedition and Contempt are laid to his Charge.
Sedition doth properly signifie a going aside to make a party, and is rightly described by the Poet, (for it is lawful to fetch the meaning of words from Page 55 human Authority) In magno populo cum saepe coorta est seditio saevitabque; animis, &c. whence it it doth appear that when the minds of the people being assembled are kindled or made fierce upon some sudden occasion, so as they fall to take part one against another, this is Sedition; for when that furor, which doth arma ministra∣re, is once kindled, the Sedition is begun, though it come not to its perfection, till faces & saxa volant: Tully saith, Seditionem esse dissensionem omnium inter se, cum •…unt alii in aliud, when the people dissent in opinion and go several ways,
Isidore saith, Seditiosus est, qui dissensionem animorum facit & discordias gignit. He that sets mens minds at difference, and begets strife: And if we look into the Scripture, we shall find examples of sedition agreeing to these descriptions. The up∣rore mov'd by Demetrius, Act. 19. was sedition, yet he neither took up arms, nor perswaded others so to do, but only induced the minds of the people, and made them fierce against the Apostles, by telling them they were enemies to Diana of the Ephesians. Korah and his company moved a most dangerous sedition, yet they did not stir up the people to fight, only they went apart, and drew others to them a∣gainst Moses and Aaron; here was nothing but words, and that by a Levite, who might speak by his place, but it cost more than words before it was pacified. Now in our present case, did not Mr. Wheel. make sides when he proclaimed all to be under a Covenant of works, who did not follow him (step by step) in his de∣scription of the Covenant of Grace? Did he not make himself a party on the o∣ther side, by often using these and the like words, We, Us? Did he not labour to heat the minds of the people, and to make them fierce against those of that side, which he opposed (and whereof he knew that most of the Magistrates and Mini∣sters had declared themselves) when with the greatest fervency of spirit and voice, he proclaims them Antichrists, Enemies, Philistines, Herod, Pilate, persecuting Jews, and stirred them up on his part to fight with them, to lay load on them, to burn them, to thresh them, and to bind them in chains and fetters, to kill them and vex their hearts, and that under the pain of the Curse of Meroz? Tantaene animis coelestibus irae? Would one think that any heavenly Spirit could have breathed so much anger, when an Angel would have given milder language to the Devil him∣self? And all this without vouchsafing one argument to convince these Enemies of their evil way, or one word of Admonition or Advice to themselves, to draw them out of danger. But it is objected, that he expressed his meaning to be of a spiritual fighting and killing, &c. with the Sword of the Spirit only. It is granted he did so, yet his Instances of Illustration, or rather Inforcement, were of another nature, as of Moses killing the Egyptian in defence of his Brother; Sampson losing his life with the Philistines, the fight of Ionathan and his Armour-bearer, and of Davids Worthies, Baruc and Iael, &c. these obtained their Victories with Swords and Hammers, &c. And such are no spiritual Weapons, so that if his intent were not to stir up to open Force and Arms (neither do we suspect him of any such purpose, otherwise than by consequence) yet his reading and experi∣ence Page 56 might have told him, how dangerous it is to heat Peoples affections against their opposites, a mind inflamed with indignation (among some People) would have been more apt to have drawn their Swords by the authority of the examples he held forth for the incouragement, than to have been kept to Spiritual Wea∣pons, by the restraining without cautions; such as cannot dispute for Christ with Stephen, will be ready to draw their Swords for him, like Peter; for furor arma mi∣nistrat, like him who when he could not by any Sentence in the Bible confute an Heretick, could make use of the whole book to break his head; we might hold forth instances more than enough. The Wars in Germany for these hundred years arose from dissentions in Religion, and though in the beginning of the con∣tention, they drew out onely the Sword of the Spirit, yet it was soon changed into a Sword of Steel; So was it among the Consederate Cantons of Helvetia, which were so many Towns as nearly combined together, as ours here; so was it also in the Netherlands between the Orthodox and the Arminians; so hath it been be∣tween the Calvinists and Lutherans: In every place we find that the contentions began first by disputations and Sermons, and when the minds of the people were once set on fire by reproachful Terms of incendiary Spirits, they soon set to blows, and had always a tragical and bloody issue; And to clear this objection, Mr. Wheel. professed before-hand, what he looked for, viz. that his Doctrine would cause combustions even in the Common-wealth, as well as in the Chur∣ches, which he could not have feared if he had supposed (as in Charity he well might) that those who were set over the People here in both States, were indeed true Christians; yea, he not only confesseth his expectation, but his earnest desire also of such combustions and disturbances, when he saith, that it is the Saints de∣sire to have the fire kindled, as if he were come among Turks or Papists, and not among the Churches of Christ, amongst whom Paul laboured to quench all fire of contention, but with the Corinthians, Romans, and Galatians, and wished that those were cut off who troubled them, setting a mark upon such as made di∣vision, and a note of a carnal mind: therefore this objection will not save him, his offence is yet without excuse, he did intend to trouble our peace, and he hath effected it; therefore it was a contempt of that authority which required every Man to study Peace and Truth, and therefore it was a seditious contempt, in that he stirred up others to joyn in the disturbance of that Peace, which he was bound by Solemn Oath to preserve.
But here he puts in a plea, that he did take the onely right way for Peace, by holding out the Lord Jesus Christ in the Covenant of Free Grace, for without Christ there is no peace, but get Christ and we have all.
To this we reply, first, We would demand of him what he accounts a hol∣ding forth a Covenant of Grace? for, saving that he saith, this is a Covenant of Grace, that is a Covenant of Works, no Man can discern any such thing by his proofs, for there is not any one argument in his Sermon, to convince the judgment that so it is, and if we search the Scripture, we find in the Old Page 57 Testament, Ier. 31. the Covenant of Grace to be this, I will write my Law in their hearts, or, I will be their God, &c. and in the new Testament we find, He that believes in the Lord Iesus Christ, shall be saved, and that it is of Faith, that it might be of Grace; but other Covenant of Grace than these, or to the same effect, are not in our Bibles.
Again, Tho' it be true, that get Christ and we have all in some respect, yet we must remember him of what he said with the same breath, that Truth and ex∣ternal Peace cannot possibly stand together, how then would he have us believe, that such a holding forth Christ should bring the desired Peace? This is some what like the Jewish Corban, I will give to God, and he shall help my Parents; or, as when a poor man stands in need of such relief, as I might give him, instead there of I pray to God to bless him, and tell him that the blessing of God maketh rich; or, as I give a Lawyer a Fee to plead my cause, and to procure me Justice, and when the day of hearing comes, he makes a long Speech in commending the ju∣stice of the King, and perswading me to get his favour, because he is the fountain of Justice; This is to reprove the wisdom of God, by looking that the supreme and first cause should produce all effects, without the use of subordinate and nearer cau∣ses and means; so a Man should live out his full time by God's decree onely, with∣out meat or medicine; this plea therefore will not hold, let us hear another.
It is objected, that the Magistrates may not appoint a Messenger of God, what he should teach: admit so much, yet he may limit him what he may not teach, If he forbid him to teach Heresie or Sedition, &c. he incurs as well a contempt in teaching that which he was forbidden, as sins in teaching that which is evil. Besides, every truth is not seasonable at all times, Christ tells his Disciples, That he had many things to teach them, but they could not bear them then, Joh. 16. 12. and God giveth his Prophets the Tongue of the Learned, that they may know how to speak a word in season, Isa. 50. 40. and if for every thing there be a season, then for every Doctrine, Eccles. 3. 1. The abolishing of the Ceremonial Law was a Truth which the Apostles were to teach, yet there was a season when Paul did refrain it, Acts 21. 24. and the same Paul would not circumcise Titus, though he did Timothy, so the difference of per∣sons and places, made a difference in the season of the Doctrine: and if Mr. Wheelwright had looked upon the words which followed in the Text, Matth. 9. 16, 17. he might have learned, that such a Sermon would as ill suit the season, as old Bottles do new Wine, and by that in Esay before-mentioned, he might have had known the Spirit of God doth teach his Servants to discern of seasons, as well as of truths; for if there be such a point in wisdom as Men call discretion, sure Religion (which maketh truly wise) doth not deprive the Ser∣vants of God of the right use thereof. When Paul was to deal with the Sorcerer, who did oppose his Doctrine, Acts 13. he calls him the Child of the Devil, &c. but when he answered Festus, (who told him he was mad, and rejected his Doctrine also) he useth him gently, and with terms of ho∣nourable Page 58 respect. Tho' Stephen calls the Jews stiff-necked, and of uncircumcised hearts, &c, as knowing them to be malitious and obstinate Enemies to Christ, yet Paul directs Timothy (being to deal with such as were not past hope, tho' they did oppose his Doctrine for the present) not to strive, but to use all gentleness, in∣structing them with meekness, &c. 2. Tim. 2. The Prophet Elisha when he speaks to Iehoram very roughly, as one not worthy to be looked at, yet he shews a dif∣ferent respect of Iehosaphat, tho' he were then out of his way, and under a sin, for which he had been formerly reproved, 2 King. 3. Christ himself, tho' he sharply reproveth the Pharisees, &c. yet he instructeth Nicodemus gently, when he objected against his Doctrine, and that somewhat rudely, Ioh. 3. The A∣postles would not forbear to Preach Christ, tho' Rulers forbad them. Act. 3. yet another Prophet forbare at another season at the command of King Amasia, 2 Chron. 25. so we see that this Plea of Mr. VVheelwright is as weak as the former, and will not excuse him from Contempt.
If it be yet objected, that his Sermon was not at all for Contention, seeing he raised and pressed an use of brotherly love; we grant he did so, but it was ejusdem farinae, a Loaf of the same leaven with the other, for he applyeth it to those of his own party, to perswade them to hold together, and help one another against those of the other party, whom he setteth forth as their opposites, and encoura∣geth them thereby by the Example of Moses, who in love to his brother killed the Egyptian.
A further objection hath been made against the proceedings of the Court, as if Mr. Wheelwright had not a lawful Tryal, as not being put upon a Jury of freemen. But the answer to this is easie, it being well known to all such as have understan∣ding of matters of this nature, that such Courts as have power to make and ab∣rogate Laws, are tyed to no other Orders, but their own, and to no other Rule but Truth and Justice, and why thrice twelve men sitting, as Judges in a Court, should be more subject to partiality than twelve such called as a Jury to the Bar, let others judge.
Now if some shall gather from that which is here before mentioned, viz. that every Truth is not seasonable at all times, if we shall grant that what Master VVheelright delivered was Truth, we must desire him to take only so much as we granted, viz. by way of Supposition only; for letting pass (as we said) such Points as were meerly doctrinal, and not ripe for the Court (de∣pending as yet in Examination among the Elders) we may safely deny that those Speeches were Truths, which the Court censured for Contempt and Sediti∣on, for a Brother may fall so far into Disobedience to the Gospel, as there may be cause to separate from him, and to put him to Shame, and yet he is not to be accounted an Enemy, 2 Thess. 3. Therefore when Mr. VVheelwright pro∣nounced such (taking them at the worst he could make them) to be Ene∣mies, &c. it was not according to the Truth of the Gospel. Again, to incense and heat mens minds against their Brethren, before he had convinced or ad∣monished Page 59 them, as being in an estate of Enmity, &c. is not to be termed any Truth of the Gospel; so likewise to bring extraordinary Examples for ordinary Rules, as of Iohn 8. 44. to incite his party to the like practise against such whose hearts they cannot judge of, as Christ could of theirs to whom he spake, is as far from the Rule prescribed to ordinary Ministers, 2 Tim. 2. 25. and to all Chri∣stians, Gal. 6. 1. and Iam. 3. 17. as that Example of Elijah (by which the Apo∣stles would have called for fire from Heaven upon the Samaritans) was different from the Spirit whereof they were: so to resemble such among us, as profess their Faith in Christ only, &c. and are in Church-fellowship, and walk inoffensively, submitting to all the Lords Ordinances in Church and Common-wealth, to re∣semble such to branded Reprobates, and Arch-Enemies of Christ, such as Herod, &c. we suppose hath no warrant of Truth. We might instance in o∣ther like passages, as his ordinary inciting to spiritual Combats, by examples of bodily Fight, and bloody Victories, (being very unsuitable) but these may suf∣fice to prove that all he spake was not true, and by this is the offence more ag∣gravated, for if it were Seditious only in the manner, it must needs be much worse, when the matter it self also was untrue.
But if any shall yet pretend want of Satisfaction, by all that hath been produ∣ced, (for indeed it is beyond reason, how far prejudice hath prevailed to capti∣vate some Judgments, otherwise godly and wise) and shall object further, that his Doctrine, &c. were general, and so could not be intended of any particular persons, we desire such, first to remember what application Mr. VVhe. made of the same in the open Court, viz. That he did intend all such as walked in such a way. Then again, let the c•…se be put in a reversed Frame, some other had then taught, that all such as deny that Sanctification (as it is held by the other party) is a good evidence of Justification, and that say or have their Assurance by Faith, as a work of God in them, have it in the way of the Gospel, that these were Enemies to Christ, &c. Persecutors of the way of Grace, &c. and should have stirred up others against them, with like Arguments, and Vehemency, as Mr. VVheelwright did, there is no doubt but Mr. VVheel. and others of his opinion, would soon have pointed out those who must necessarily have been intended by it; for it is well known that some proper Adjunct, or some noted Circumstance may design a particular person or company, as well as names, so Christ points out Iu∣das by the sop, Paul the Jews, by those of the Circumcision, and the Antichrist, by That man of sin, &c.
But we meet yet with another objection, viz. that disturbance of unity is not Sedition, except it also lead to the hurt of Utility.
To this we answer, first, that if it tend immediately to such hurt; we deny the Truth of the Proposition,; for if in the time of Famine, a man should stir up the people to fetch Corn out of the houses of such as had it to spare, this were to an immediate publick Good, yet it were Sedition. If Ieremy (when he taught the Jews, that they ought to set free their Hebrew Servants) had also Page 60 incited the servants to free themselves, this had not been free from Sedition, yet it had not been against publick utility; But they alledge the examples of Ie∣hojadah, who caused a disturbance, yet without Sedition; we Answer, that case was very unlike to ours, for Iehojadah being High Priest, was also Protector of the true King, and so Chief Governour of the Civil State, and Athaliah being a meet Usurper, he did no other, then if a lawful King should assemble his Sub∣jects to apprehend a Rebel; and though a Prince or Governour may raise a par∣ty to suppress or withstand publick enemies, or other evils, yet it doth not follow, that a private Man, or a Minister of the Gospel may do the like: we read, Nehem. 5. 7. that he raised a great Assembly against those who did oppress their brethren, but we read not that Ezra did so, upon the disorders which he com∣plained of, and yet that which he did, in assembling of the People, for redress, &c. was by authority and counsel of the Nobles, Ezr. 10. 8.
2. That this course of Mr. Wheelw. did tend directly to the great hinderance of publick utility: for when Brethren shall look one at another as enemies and persecutors, &c. and when people shall look at their Rulers and Ministers as such, and as those who go about to take Christ and Salvation from them, How shall they join together in any publick Service? How shall they cohabit and trade together? How hardly will they submit to such Over-seers? How will it hinder all affairs in Courts, in Towns, in Families, in Vessels at Sea, &c. and what can more threaten the dissolution and ruine of Church and Common-wealth? Lastly, if it be alledged that such warlike terms are used by Christ and his Apostles in a Spiritual sense, we deny it not, but we desire that the usu∣al manner of their applying them may also be considered, for Paul saith, 1 Cor. 9. So fight I, &c. I beat down my body, &c. 1 Tim. 6. 12. Fight the good fight of Faith, lay hold on eternal life, and 1 Pet. 2. 11. and Iam. 4. 1. there is speech of the fight of our lusts, and Ephes. 6. 11. he bids them put on Armour, but it is to resist the Devil, not flesh and blood, not to fight against their Brethren, toward whom he forbids all bitterness and clamour, &c. Ephes. 4. And when he speaks of Spiritual Weapons, 2 Cor. 10. he doth not draw them out against the persons of brethren, but against high thoughts and imaginati∣ons, &c. And if Mr. Wheelwright had found out any such among us, and plant∣ed his battery against them by sound Arguments, he had followed our Aposto∣lick rule; Christ indeed threatneth to fight against the Nicholaitans with the Sword of his Mouth, and if Mr. Wheelwright had known any such here, as cer∣tainly as Christ knew those, he might have been justified by the example, other∣wise not.
Therefore to conclude, seeing there be of those who dissent from Mr. Wheel∣wright his Doctrines, who have denied themselves for the love of Christ as far as he hath done, and will be ready, (by God's grace) to do and suffer for the sake of Christ, and the honour of free-Grace, as much as himself; for such to be publickly defamed, and held forth as Enemies to the Lord Jesus, and persecutors Page 61 like Herod and Pilate, and the uncircumcised Heathen, &c. cannot proceed from a charitable Mind, nor doth it savour of an Apostolick, Gospel-like, Brotherly Spirit.
Mistriss Hutchison being banished and confined, till the season of the year might be fit, and safe for her departure; she thought it now needless to conceal her self any longer, neither would Satan lose the opportunity of making choice of so fit an instrument, so long as any hope remained to attain his mischievous end in darkening the saving truth of the Lord Jesus, and disturbing the peace of his Churches. Therefore she began now to discover all her mind to such as came to her, so that her opinions came abroad, and began to take place among her old dis∣ciples, and now some of them raised up questions about the Immortality of the Soul, about the Resurrection, about the Morality of the Sabbath, and divers o∣thers, which the Elders finding to begin to appear in some of their Churches, they took much pains (both in publick and private) to suppress; and following the scent from one to another, the root of all was found to be in Mistriss Hutchison; whereupon they resorted to her many times, labouring to convince her, but in vain; yet they resorted to her still, to the end they might either reclaim her from her errors, or that they might bear witness against them if occasion were: For in a Meeting of the Magistrates and Elders, about suppressing these new-sprung errors, the Elders of Boston had declared their readiness to deal with Mistriss Hutchi∣son in a Church-way, if they had sufficient testimony: for though she had main∣tained some of them sometimes before them, yet they thought it not so orderly to come in as Witnesses; whereupon other of the Elders, and others, collecting what they had heard from her own Mouth at several times, drew them into several heads, and sent them to the Church of Boston, whereupon the Church (with leave of the Magistrates, because she was a prisoner) sent for her to appear upon a Lecture-day, being the 15th of the first Moneth, and though she were at her▪ own house in the Town, yet she came not into the Assembly till the Sermon and Prayer were ended, (pretending Bodily infirmity) when she was come, one of the Ruling Elders called her forth before the Assembly, (which was very great from all the parts of the Country) and telling her the cause why the Church had called her, read the several heads, which were as followeth.
- 1. That the Souls of all Men (in regard of generation) are mortal like the Beasts, Eccles. 3. 18.
- 2. That in regard of Christ's purchase, they are immortal, so that Christ hath purchased the Souls of the wicked to eternal pain, and the Souls of the elect to eternal peace.
- 3. Those who are united to Christ, have, in this life, new bodies, and Two bodies, 1 Cor. 6. 19. she knows not how Jesus Christ should be united to these our fleshly Bodies.
- 4. Those who have union with Christ, shall not rise with the same fleshly bo∣dies, 1 Cor. 15. 44.
- Page 62 5. And that the resurrection mentioned there, and in Ioh. 5 28. is not meant of the resurrection of the body, but of our union here and after this life.
- 6. That there are no created graces in the Saints after their union with Christ, but before there are, for Christ takes them out of their hands into his own.
- 7. There are no created graces in the humane nature of Christ, but he was only acted by the power of the God-head.
- 8. The Image of God wherein Adam was made, she could see no Scripture to warrant that it consisted in holiness, but conceived it to be in that he was made like to Christ's Manhood.
- 9. She had no Scripture to warrant that Christ's Manhood is now in Heaven, but the body of Christ is his Church.
- 10. We are united to Christ with the same union, that his humanity on earth was with the Deity, Ioh. 17. 21.
- 11. She conceived the Disciples before Christ his death were not converted, Matth. 18. 3.
- 12. There is no evidence to be had of our good estate, either from absolute or conditional promises.
- 13. The Law is no rule of life to a Christian.
- 14. There is no Kingdom of Heaven in Scripture, but only Christ.
- 15. There is first engraffing into Christ before union, from which a Man might fall away.
- 16. The first thing God reveals to assure us is our election.
- 17. That Abraham was not in a saving estate till the 22 oh. of Gen. when he offered Isaac, and saving the firmness of God's election, he might have perished notwithstanding any work of grace that was wrought in him till then.
- 18. That union to Christ is not by Faith.
- 19. That all commands in the word are Law, and are not a way of life, and the command of Faith is a Law, and therefore killeth; she supposed it to be a Law, from Rom. 3. 27.
- 20. That there is no Faith of God's elect but assurance, there is no Faith of dependance but such as an hypocrite may have and fall away from, proved Ioh. 15. for by that she said they are in Christ, but Christ is not in them.
- 21. That an hypocrite may have Adam's righteousness and perish, and by that righteousness he is bound to the Law, but in union with Christ, Christ comes into the Man, and he retains the Seed, and dieth, and then all manner of grace in himself, but all in Christ.
- 22. There is no such thing as inherent righteousness.
- 23. We are not bound to the Law, no not as a rule of Life.
- 24. We are dead to all acts in Spiritual things, and are onely acted by Christ.
- 25. Not being bound to the Law, it is not transgression against the Law to sin Page 63 or break it, because our sins they are inward and Spiritual, and so are exceeding sinful, and onely are against Christ.
- 26. Sanctification can be no evidence at all of our good estate.
- 27. That her particular revelations about future events are as infallible as a∣ny part of Scripture, and that she is bound as much to believe them, as the Scrip∣ture, for the same Holy Ghost is the Author of them both.
- 28. That so far as a Man is in union with Christ, he can do no duties per∣fectly, and without the Communion of the unregenerate part with the regene∣rate.
- 29. That such exhortations as these, to work out our Salvation with fear, to make our calling and election sure, &c. are spoken onely to such, as are under a Covenant of Works.
All which she did acknowledge she had spoken (for a Copy of them had been sent to her divers days before, and the witnesses hands subscribed, so as she saw it was in vain to deny them) then she asked. By what rule such an Elder could come to her pretending to desire light, and indeed to intrap her, to which the same El∣der answered, That he had been twice with her, and that he told her indeed at St. Ives, that he had been troubled at some of her Speeches in the Court, wherein he did desire to see light for the ground and meaning of them; but he professed in the presence of the Lord, that he came not to intrap her, but in compassion to her Soul, to help her out of those Snares of the Devil, wherein he saw she was intangled, and that before his departure from her, he did bear Witness against her Opi∣nions, and against her Spirit, and did leave it sadly upon her from the Word of God: Then presently she grew into passion against her Pastor for his Speech against her at the Court, after the Sentence was passed, which he gave a full Answer unto, shewing his zeal against her errors, whereupon she asked for what error she had been banished, professing withal, that she held none of these things she was now charged with, before her Imprisonment; (supposing that whatsoever should be found amiss, would be imputed to that; but it was answered, as the truth was, That she was not put to durance, but onely a favourable confinement, so as all of her family, and divers others, resorted to her at their pleasure.) But this allega∣tion was then proved false, (and at her next convention more fully) for there were divers present, who did know she spake untruth. Her Answer being demand∣ed to the first Articles, she maintained her assertion, That the Souls were mortal, &c. alledging the place in the Eccles. cited in the Article, and some other Scrip∣tures nothing to the purpose, she insisted much upon that in Gen. 1. In the day thou eatest, &c. thou shalt die, she could not see how a Soul could be immortal∣ly miserable, though it might be eternally miserable, neither could she distin∣guish between the Soul and the Life; and though she were pressed by many Scriptures and reasons alledged by the Elders of the same, and other Churches, so as she could not give any Answer to them, yet she stood to her Opinion, till at length a stranger being desired to speak to the point, and he opening to her the Page 64 difference between the Soul and the Life, the first being a Spiritual substance, and the other the union of that with the body; she then confessed she saw more light than before, and so with some difficulty was brought to confess her Errour in that point. Wherein was to be observed, that though he spake to very good purpose, and so clearly convinced her as she could not gain-say, yet it was evi∣dent she was convinced before, but she could not give the honour of it to her own Pastor or Teacher, nor to any of the other Elders, whom she had so much slighted.
Then they proceeded to the third, fourth, and fifth Articles, about the body and the resurrection of the old, which she maintained according to the Articles, and though she were not able to give any reasonable answer to the many places of the Scripture, and other arguments which were brought to convince her, yet she still persisted in her error, giving froward Speeches to some that spake to her; as when one of the Elders used this Argument, that if the Resurrection were onely our union with Christ, then all that are united, are the children of the resurrecti∣on, and therefore are neither to marry, nor to give in marriage, and so by conse∣quence, there ought to be community of women; she told him, that he spake like the Pharisees, who said, that Christ had a Devil, because that Abraham was dead, and the Prophets, and yet he had said, that those that eat his flesh, should never die, not taking the speech in the true meaning, so did he (said she) who brought that argument, for it is said there, they should be like the Angels, &c. The El∣ders of Boston finding her thus obstinate, propounded to the Church for an Admo∣nition to be given her, to which all the Church consented, except two of her Sons, who because they persisted to defend her, were under admonition also. Mr. Cotton gave the admonition, and first to her Sons, laying it sadly upon them, that they would give such way to their natural affection, as for preserving her ho∣nour, they should make a breach upon the honour of Christ, and upon their Covenant with the Church, and withal tear the very bowels of their Soul, by hardning her in her sin: In this admonition to her, first, he remembred her of the good way she was in at her first coming, in helping to discover to divers, the false bottom they stood upon, in trusting to legal works without Christ; then he shewed her, how by falling into these gross and fundamental errors, she had lost the honour of her former service, and done more wrong to Christ and his Church, than formerly she had done good, and so laid her sin to her conscience with much zeal and solemnity; he admonished her also of the height of spirit; then he spake to the Sisters of the Church, and advised them to take heed of her Opinions, and to with-hold all countenance and respects from her, lest they should harden her in her sin: so she was dismissed, and appointed to appear again that day sevennight.
The Court had ordered that she should return to Roxbury again, but upon intimation that her spirit began to fall, she was permitted to remain at Mr. Cotton's House (where Davenport was also kept) who before her next appearing, Page 57 did both take much pains with her, and prevailed so far that she did acknowledge her Error in all the Articles (except the last) and accordingly she wrote down her Answers to them all, when the day came, and she was called forth, and the Articles read again to her, she delivered in her Answers in writing, which were also read, and being then willing to speak to the Congregation for their further satisfaction, she did acknowledge that she had greatly erred, and that God had left her to her self herein, because she had so much under-valued his Ordinan∣ces, both in slighting the Magistrates at the Court, and also the Elders of the Church, and confessed that when she was at the Court, she looked only at such failings as she apprehended in the Magistrates Proceedings, without having re∣gard to the place they were in, and that the Speeches she then used about her Revelations were rash, and without ground, she desired the Prayers of the Church for her.
Thus far she went on well, and the Assembly conceived hope of her Re∣pentance, but in her Answers to the several Articles, she gave no Satisfaction, because in diverse of them she answered by Circumlocutions, and seemed to lay all the faults in her Expressions, which occasioned some of the Elders to desire she might express her self more clearly, and for that ever she was demanded a∣bout the Article, whether she were not, or had not been of that judgment, that there is no inherent Righteousness in the Saints, but those Gifts and Gra∣ces which are ascribed to them that are only in Christ as the Subject? to which she answered, that she was never of that Judgment, howsoever by her Expres∣sions she might seem to be so; and this she affirmed with such Confidence as bred great astonishment in many, who had known the contrary, and diverse al∣ledged her own Sayings and Reasonings, both before her Confinement and since, which did manifest to all that were present, that she knew that she spake un∣truth, for it was proved that she had alledged that in Isaiah 53. By his know∣ledge shall my righteous Servant justifie many; which she had maintained to be meant of a knowledge in Christ, and not in us; so likewise that in Galatians, I live by the Faith of the Son of God, which she said was the Faith of Christ, and not any Faith inherent in us; also, that she had maintained, that Christ is our Sanctification in the same sort that he is our Justification, and that she had said, that she would not pray for Grace, but for Christ, and that (when she had been pressed with diverse Scriptures, which spake of washing and creating a new Heart, and writing the Law in the Heart, &c.) she had denyed, that they did mean any Sanctification in us: There were diverse women also with whom she had dealt about the same point, who (if their Modesty had not restrained them) would have born witness against her herein, (as themselves after confessed) wherefore the Elders pressed her very earnestly to remember her self, and not to stand so obstinately to maintain so manifest an untruth, but she was deaf of that Ear, and would not acknowledge that she had been at any time of that judgment, howsoever her Expressions were; Then Mr. Cotton told Page 60 the Assembly, that whereas she had been formerly dealt with for matter of Do∣ctrine, he had (according to the duty of his place being the Teacher of that Church) proceeded against unto Admonition, but now the case being altered, and she being in question for maintaining of untruth, which is matter of manners, he must leave the business to the Pastor, Mr. VVilson to go on with her, but withal declared his judgment in the case from that in Rev. 22. that such as make and maintain a lye, ought to be cast out of the Church; and whereas two or three pleaded that she might first have a second admonition, according to that in Titus 3. 10. he answered that that was only for such as erred in point of Doctrine, but such as shall notoriously offend in matter of Conversation, ought to be presently cast out, as he proved by Ananias and Saphira, and the incestuous Corinthian; (and as appears by that of Simon Magus) and for her own part tho' she heard this moved in her behalf, that she might have a further respite, yet she her self never desired it: so the Pastor went on, and propounding it to the Church, to know whether they were all agreed, that she should be cast out, and a full Consent ap∣pearing (after the usual manner) by their silence, after a convenient pause he proceeded, and denounced the Sentence of Excommunication against her, and she was commanded to depart out of the Assembly. In her going forth, one standing at the door, said, The Lord sanctifie this unto you, to whom she made answer, The Lord judgeth not as man judgeth, better to be cast out of the Church than to deny Christ.
Thus it hath pleased the Lord to have compassion on his poor Churches here, and to discover, this great Impostor, an instrument of Satan so fitted and trained to his Service for interrupting the passage of his Kingdom in this part of the world, and poysoning the Churches here planted, as no story records the like of a wo∣man, since that mentioned in the Revelation; it would make a large volume to lay down all passages, I will only observe some few, which were obvious to all that know her course.
1. Her Entrance. 2. Her Progress. 3. Her Downfal.
1. The Foundation she laid, was (or rather seemed to be) Christ and Free-Grace.
2. Rule she pretended to walk by, was only the Scripture.
3. The light to discern this Rule, was only the Holy Ghost.
4. The persons she conversed with were (for the most part) Christians in Church-Covenant.
5. Her ordinary talk was about the things of the Kingdom of God.
6. Her usual Conversation was in the way of Righteousness and Kindness.
Thus she entred and made up the first act of her course.
2. In her progress I observe,
First, Her Success, she had in a short time insinuated her self into the Hearts of much of the people (yea of many of the most wise and godly) who grew into so Page 61 reverent an Esteem of her Godliness, and spiritual Gifts, as they looked at her as a Prophetess, raised up of God for some great work now at hand, as the calling of the Jews, &c. so as she had more resort to her for counsel about matter of Con∣science, and clearing up mens Spiritual Estates, than any Minister (I might say all the Elders) in the Country.
Secondly, Pride and Arrogancy of her Spirit.
1. In framing a new way of Conversation and evidencing thereof, carried along in the distinction between the Covenant of works, which she would have no o∣therwise differenced, but by an immediate Revelation of the Spirit.
2. In despising all (both Elders and Christians) who went not her way, and laying them under a Covenant of works.
3. In taking upon her infallibly to know the election of others, so as she would say, that if she had but one half hours talk with a man, she would tell whether he were elect or not.
4. Her impatience of opposition, which appears in divers passages before.
Thirdly, Her Skill and Cunning to devise.
1. In that she still pretended she was of Mr. Cottons Judgment in all things.
2. In covering her Errors by doubtful Expressions.
3. In shadowing the true end, and abuse of her weekly meetings under the name of repeating Mr. Cottons Sermons.
4 In her method of practice to bring the Conscience under a false Terror, by working that an argument of a Covenant of works, which no Christian can have comfort without, viz. of Sanctification, or Qualifications, (as she termed it.)
5. In her confident profession of her own good Estate, and the clearness and comfort of it, obtained in the same way of waiting for immediate Revelation which she held out to others.
3. In her downfal there may be observed the Lords Faithfulness in honouring and justifying his own Ordinances.
2. In that he made her to clear the justice of the Court, by confessing the va∣nity of her Revelations, &c. and her sin in despising his Ministers.
2. In that the Judgment and Sentence of the Church hath concurred with that of the Court in her rejection, so that she is cast out of both as an unworthy member of either.
3. The Justice of God in giving her up to those delusions, and to that impu∣dency in venting and maintaining them, as should bring her under that censure which (not long before) she had indeavoured and expected to have brought up∣on some other, who opposed her proceedings.
4. That she who was in such esteem in the Church for Soundness of Judgment and Sincerity of Heart (but a few months before) should now come under Ad∣monition for many foul and fundamental Errors, and after be cast out for noto∣rious Lying.
Page 64 5. That she who was wont to be so confident of her Spiritual Good Estate, and ready (undesired) to hold it forth to others, (being pressed now at her last appearance before the Church to give some proof of it) should be wholly silent in that matter.
6. Whereas upon the Sentence of the Court against her, she boasted highly of her Sufferings for Christ, &c. it was noted by one of the Elders (who bare witness against her Errors) that the Spirit of Glory promised in Pet. to those who suffer for well-doing, did not come upon her, but a Spirit of delusion, and damnable. Error, which as it had possessed her before, so it became more effectual and evi∣dent by her Sufferings.
7. Here is to be seen the presence of God in his Ordinances, when they are faithfully attended according to his holy Will, although not free from human In∣firmities: This American Iesabel kept her strength and reputation, even among the people of God, till the hand of Civil Justice laid hold on her, and then she be∣gan evidently to decline, and the Faithful to be freed from her Forgeries; and now in this last act, when she might have expected (as most likely she did) by her seeming repentance of her Errors, and confessing her undervaluing of the Ordinan∣ces of Magistracy and Ministry, to have redeemed her reputation in point of sin∣cerity, and yet have made good all her former work, and kept open a back door to have returned to her vomit again, by her paraphrastical retractions, and denying any change in her judgment, yet such was the presence and blessing of God in his own Ordinance, that this Subtilty of Satan was discovered to her utter shame and confusion, and to the setting at liberty of many godly hearts, that had been cap∣tivated by her to that day; and that Church which by her means was brought under much Infamy, and near to dissolution, was hereby sweetly repaired, and a hopeful way of Establishment, and her dissembled Repentance clear detected, God giving her up since the Sentence of Excommunication, to that hardness of heart, as she is not affected with any Remorse, but glories in it, and fears not the Vengeance of God, which she lies under, as if God did work contrary to his own word, and loosed from Heaven what his Church had bound upon earth.