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.

This Church-Covenant is a late devise, and was not known in anci∣ent*time, and therefore is to be rejected.

First, True Antiquitie is that of the Scriptures. Now sith* Church Covenant is warranted by the Scripture, as hath been Page  33 shewed before in this discourse, it cannot be charged to want true Antiquitie. When the Papists are wont to charge the doctrine of Protestants with Novelty, and such as was never heard of before Luther, the Orthodoxe are wont to answer, that if the doctrine do not agree with the Scripture, then let it be condemned for No∣veltie; and if it do, it is warranted by the best Antiquitie, even the testimonie of God himself who is the Antient of dayes: Our Faith, faith Doctor White, is in all points the same that is con∣tained in the Scripture, and so consequently of the same Anti∣quitie: and therefore all they that say it came up but of late, must first prove it contrary to the Word of God, or else hold their peace. White, Way, 44. 1. And the same we say in this particular of the Church-Covenant.

Secondly, And yet they that search the Stories and Writers of the times and ages next after the Apostles, may find some testi∣monie of Church-Covenant in those dayes: For instance, Justine Martyr in his Apol. 2. makes mention of three things which were required of all that were admitted into the Church as members, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that is regeneration, and soundnesse in the Faith, and a promise to walke in obedience to the Gospel. And generally this was the practise of all those times, that never any man was admitted to Baptisme, nor his children neither, but they put him to answer three questions, Abrenuntios? whereto he answered, Abrenuntio. Credis? whereto his answer was, Credo: and Spondes? to which he answered, Spondes. So that here was an open declaration of his Repentance from dead works, and of the soundnesse of his Faith, in the two first particulars, and an open binding himself by covenant or promise to walke according to the Gospel, in the third. But much needs not to be said in this point, unto them that do acknowledge Scripture Antiquitie to be sufficient, though after times should be found to swerve from the Rules and Patterns that are therein contained.