Church-government and church-covenant discussed, in an answer of the elders of the severall churches in New-England to two and thirty questions, sent over to them by divers ministers in England, to declare their judgments therein. Together with an apologie of the said elders in New-England for church-covenant, sent over in answer to Master Bernard in the yeare 1639. As also in an answer to nine positions about church-government. And now published for the satisfaction of all who desire resolution in those points.
Mather, Richard, 1596-1669., Mather, Richard, 1596-1669. Apologie of the churches in New-England for church-covenant., Peters, Hugh, 1598-1660., Davenport, John, 1597-1670.

But yet there would not be such long narrations, of every one seve∣rally*as now are used, when men do enter into Church-Covenant, when each one makes a good long speech, in the profession of his Faith and Re∣pentance.

When the thing is certaine, as was shewed before, that they did* openly professe repentance, faith and obedience, it is not difference in the length or largenesse of their speeches in expressing of them∣selves, that can make any difference in the thing: Majus & minus non diversificant speciem. And we denie not but they might be briefer, because there was not such need they should be long in re∣gard of some difference betweene them and us, their time and ours: First there were the Apostles present to heare their confessi∣ons, and to judge thereof, who were men of very good discerning, and therefore briefer expressing of mens selves might suffice; whereas the best Christians, yea the best Ministers amongst us are not to be compared to the Apostles; and therefore as we need more time for study, and for preparation for our Sermons then they did: so likewise we need more time to heare, and try the soundnesse of mens repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet this we may adde withall, that if the Apostles and those primative Christians, men of such excellent discerning were sometimes deceived, and could not alwayes so discern, but that some Hypocrites would creep into the Church: as the example of Ananias and Saphira doth witnesse; how much more need is there, that the Churches of God in these dayes (being far inferiour to them) should be very watchfull and circumspect in Page  30 trying the spirituall estates of them that offer to come into the Church?

Secondly, their times also differed from ours: for their Christi∣anitie was a matter of reproach and danger of excommunication, Joh. 9. 22. of imprisonment, Act. 4. 3. and 5. 18. and the like. And therefore to see men now to make open profession of their faith in Christ Jesus, whose servants and disciples were so hated, and who himselfe but a while before was crucified, this was not an ordinarie matter: and therefore in words, men might be the briefer when they came to be received into the Church: But our times in New England do not persecute Christ, and Christians, and Christian Churches, but countenance them, and protect them; and there∣fore there is more need now to be more studious in examination of mens estates when they offer themselves for Church members: when the Jews were in favour, many of the people of the Land be∣came Jews, Esth. 8. 17.