Ievves in America, or, Probabilities that the Americans are of that race. With the removall of some contrary reasonings, and earnest desires for effectuall endeavours to make them Christian.
Thorowgood, Thomas, d. ca. 1669.
Page  81

CHAP. VI.

THere is another in jaculation that hath gone cur∣rent among many, that the Puritane of old and New-England is Antimonarchicall, the former is sufficiently cleared by that Bishop, who hath left this testimony, aPresbyterio lis est cum Episcopis, cum Re∣ge nulla est, or if that be not enough, King Iamesb in this is an irrefragable Assertor, The Puritans do not decline the oath of Supremacy, but daily take it, never refused it; and the same supremacy is defended by cCalvin himselfe. And in New-England Mr. Williamsd seemed in other things to be extravagant, yet thus he writes to this point: For the Government of the Common-wealth from the King, as supreme, to the inferiour and subordinate Magistrates, my heart is on them, as once Deborah spake: and as the Governours and assistants doe themselves take the oath of Allegi∣ance, * so they have power by their Charter to give the same to all that shall at any time passe to them, or inha∣bite with them; But, Tempora mutantur, and it may be tis with them, as with us, & nos mutamur in illis. And tis further said, that their Ecclesiastique govern∣ment, is not onely opposite to the ancient Episcopacy of the land, but to the discipline of the other Reformed Churches, even that which the Covenant calleth for: it may be worth our consideration, that as there was a time when forraigners reformed were not so opposite to our Bishops, but those Divines e thought well of them, willingly-gave to them Titles of Reverend Fa∣thers, Page  82 and Illustrious Lords; and in their publique convenings, f spake of that Government with good respect, and the valedictory Epistle of Mr. Cotton, to the then Bishop of Lincoln, full of respective expressi∣ons, is yet to be seen, So the Bishops then were not such Antipresbyterians, Caecus sit, saith g Bishop Andrewes to P. Moulin a Presbyter, qui non videat stantes sine ea Ecclesias, ferreus sit, quisalutem cis neget, nos non sumus illi ferrei, Let him be blind that seeth not Churches consistent without such an Hierarchy, let him be accounted iron-hearted that shall deny them to be in a way of salvation, we are not such iron-hearted men, yea and severall reformed Congregations of se∣verall Nations have not onely been tollerated, but much refreshed under the Bishops of London, Norwich, Winchester, &c. These times have widened all differences every where, even among such as are or should be one in covenant; how are disaffections increased, divisions heightened, which have not only wofully abated christi∣an love, but miserably augmented iniquities of all sorts? many being scrupulously curious about mint and annis, having little respect in the meane time to faith, righte∣ousnesse, and the more weighty things of the law; and here may be taken up the lamentation of Erasmush, bemoaning himselfe exceedingly, that he had in bookes cryed up, libertatem spiritus, liberty of the spirit, which I thinke this age would call liberty of conscience, I wished thus saith hee, a diminution of humane ceremo∣nies, to that end, that divine truths and godlinesse might be enlarged, Nunc sic excutiuntur illae, ut pro liber∣tate spiritus succedat effraenis carnis licentia, and he doth justly call it carnall licenciousnesse, for the Spirit of our God, Gal. 5. 20. names contentions, seditions, Page  83 heresies, &c. workes of the flesh, which being but lately sowne, have strangely growne up and multiplyed, so that a forraigne penne hath to Englands shame printed it thus to the world, iAnglia his quatuor annis facta est colluvies, & lerna omnium errorum, ac sectarum, nulla à condito orbe provincia tam parvo spatio tot monstrosas hae∣reses protulit atque haec, Episcoporum tempora intra sexagin∣ta annos non nisi quatuor sectas protulerunt, & eas plerun∣que in obscuro latentes, &c. For I had rather bewaile than reveale the nakednesse of the Nation, I had rather stirre up my owne soule and others to piety, and peace, oh, when will men lay aside all bitternesse, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evill speaking, with all malice; and instead thereof be kinde one to another, tender-hearted, for∣giving one another, as God for Christs sake forgave you, Ephes. 4. 32. I wish there were a law to forbid all needlesse disputes, I wish that it and those other seve∣rall lawes were put in execution impartially, so that all men by all meanes were provoked to godlinesse, that would preserve from every error, for God is faithfull that hath promised, If any man will doe the Fathers will, he shall know the doctrine whether it be of God, Joh. 7. 17. Hearty endeavours for holinesse in our owne persons, and those related to us, would take away the occasions of many unkind controversies, for the Kingdome of God is not meate or drinke, this or that government, or any such externalls, no further then they serve to promote righ∣teousnesse and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, Rom. 14. 17. and this is the best way to shew our obedience unto Christ, for hee that in these things serveth Christ is ac∣ceptable to God, and approved of men. ver. 18. When our Countreymen planted themselves first in Ameri∣ca, the name of Independency was not knowne; hee Page  84 indeed that lately hath wrote k of the state of the Churches in England, drawes so the scheme that our Novangles are thus become Independents, but with the epithete of orthodox.

    Schema sectarum recentium, Puritani
  • Presbyteriani,
    • Angli.
    • Scoti.
  • Erastiani, sive Colemaniani.
  • Independentes, sive Congregationales.
    • Orthodoxi Novo-Anglici, Londinenses.
    • Pseudo-Inde∣pendentes, si∣ve Fanatici.
      • Anabaptistae, Quaerentes, Antinomi, & mille alii.

And for our Novangles it cannot be denyed, but ma∣ny of them well approve the Ecclesiastique government of the Reformed Churches, as of old, communi Presby∣terorum consilio Ecclesiae regebantur, they desire it were * so now; and some of them in New England are ama∣zed at the manner of our gathering of Churches here: thus one writeth l that had bin a long time a Pastor among them; What more ungodly sacrilege, or man∣stealing can there be than to purloine from godly Mini∣sters the first borne of their fervent prayers, and faith∣full Page  85 preachings, the leven of their flocks, the encou∣ragement of their soules, the crowne of their labours, their Epistle to heaven? If men will needs gather Churches out of the world as they say, let them first plough the world, and sow it, and reape it with their owne hands, & the Lord give them a liberall harvest. He is a very hard man that will reape where he hath not sowed, and gather where he hath not strowed, Mat. 24. 25. and if I mistake not, such kind of unkind and hard dealing was practised here in England even in popish times, what meanes else that Canon among the Saxon Councells m, Vt sacerdotes aliorum parochianos ad se non alliciant, how like this lookes to that I leave to the judgement of others, but these be the words of that rule, Let no Pres∣byter perswade the saithfull of the Parish of another Presbyter to come to his Church, leaving his owne, and take to himselfe those tithes; but let every one bee content with his owne Church and people, and by no meanes doe that to another, which he would not should be done to himselfe, according to that Evangelicall saying, Whatsoever yee would that men should doe unto you, doe yee the same to them; but whosoever shall walke contrary to this rule, let him know hee shall either lose his degree, or for a long time be de∣tained in prison. I shall by and by speake more to this on their behalfe, now adde onely, that as many in New England approve of the discipline of the other Churches Reformed, and some of them sufficiently dis∣like the way and manner of our Church gathering here, so all of them have now seen by experience the necessity of Synods: For in their great storm of late that was so like to wracke all, the meanes to settle it was as strange as the disease, so he writes that was an eye, and eate witnes, Page  86 They that heretofore slighted Synods, and accoun∣ted of them as humane inventions, and the blemish of * those Reformed Churches that made use of them, are now for the preservation of themselves enforced to make use of that meanes which in time of peace they did slight and contemne; the Synod, saith he, being assembled, much time was spent in ventilating and emptying of private passions, but afterwards it went on and determi∣ned with such good successe, that in token thereof, hee saith, wee keepe a solemne day of thanksgiving, as there was cause, and the two men most different in o∣pinion, were selected for the publike exercise, wherein they behaved themselves to admiration, the Acts and conclusions of the Synod, &c. I would further aske, if the Independent government, so farre as it is congre∣gationall, be not as rigidly Presbyterian as any; sure I am, unkinde they are not to the other Presbyterians, Mr Winslow is an irrefragable testis herein, who menti∣ons some there that are in that way, and knowne to be so, yet never had the least molestation or disturbance, but * have and finde as good respect from Magistrates, and people, as other Elders in the congregationall way; yea divers Gentlemen of Scotland, that groaned under the late pressures of that Nation, wrote into New Eng∣land to know whether they might freely be suffered to exercise their Presbyteriall government, and it was an∣swered affirmatively they might; and yet further none of them here or there, that continue true to their first principles, differ at all in fundamentalls and doctrine from the other Presbyterians, and tis not unlike, but when God shall enlarge their borders, they will finde it needfull to approach yet neerer to the way of other Reformed Churches in their discipline: And there is Page  87 of themselves, that upon observation of their former very great danger, have left their judgement, with which I will conclude this Chapter: An excellent * way they have, meaning their Ecclesiastique govern∣ment, if Pastors and people would ever be of one opi∣nion, but when they shall come to be divided into as many opinions, as they are bodies, what will the se∣quell be? and I see little probability of subsistence, where Independency yeelds matter of divisions, but no meanes to compound them.