The chiefe of the Praelats agree with the Presbyterians about the divine right of Church discipline.
THE Warners challenge in this chapter is that we man∣taine our discipline by a Iure divino, and for this he spe∣wes out upon us a sea of such rhetorick, as much better be∣seemed. Ans. Mercurius Aulicus then either a Warner or a praelate. In this challenge he is as unhappy as in the rest, it is for a matter wherein the most of his owne Brethren (though our Adversaries) yet fully agree with us that the discipline of the Church is truely by divine right, * and that Jesus Christ holds out in scripture the substantials of that Governement whereby he will have his house to be ruled to the worlds end; leaving the circumstantials to be determi∣ned by the judicatories of the Church according to the ge∣nerall rules, which are clear also in the word for matters of that nature. In this neither Papists nor the learndest of the Praelats find any fault with us; yet our Warner must spend a whole Chapter upon it.
It is true as we observed before the elder Praelats of Eng∣land in Edwards & Elizabeths dayes, as the Erastians now, did mantaine that no particular Governement of the Church was jure divino, and if this be the Warners mind, it were ingenuity in him to speake it out loud, and to endeavour Page 49to perswade his friends about the King of the truth of this te∣net, he was never imployed about a better and more seaso∣nable service: for if the discipline of the Church be but hu∣mano jure then Episcopacy is keeped up upon no conscience, conscience being bottomed only upon a divine right, so Epis∣copacy wanting that bottom may well be laid aside at this time by the King for any thing that concernes conscience since no command of God nor warrant from scripture tyes him to keep it up. This truely seemes to be the maine ground whereupon the whole discourse of this Chapter is builded. Is it tolerable that such truthes should be concealed by our Warners against their conscience, when the speaking of them out might be so advantagious to the King and all his Kingdomes, how ever wee with all the reformed Churches doe beleeve in our heart the divine right of Synods and Pres∣byteries, and for no possible inconvenient can be forced to deny or passe from this part of truth, yet the Warner heere joynes with the elder Praelats who till Warner Banckrofts ad∣vancement to the sea of Canterburry did unanimously deny Episcopacy to be of divine right, and by consequent affir∣med it to be moveable, and so lawfull to be laid aside by princes, when so ever they found it expedient for their af∣faires to be quyte of it, why does not the warner and his Brethren speake plainly their thoughts in his Majesties eares? why do they longer dissemble their conscience, only for the satisfaction of their ambition, greed, and revenge? sundry of the Praelaticall divines come yet further to joyne fully with Erastus in denying not only Episcopacy and all other particular formes of Church government to be of di∣vine institution, but in avowing that no governement in the Church at all is to be imagined, but such as is a part of the civill power of the Magistrat. The Warner in the Chapter and in diverse other parts of his booke seemes to agree with Page 50this judgment: and upon this ground if he had ingenuity he would offer his helping hand to untie the bonds of the Kings conscience, if heere it were straytened, by demonstrating from this his principle, that very safely without any offence to God and nothing doubting for conscience sake, his Majestie might lay aside Episcopacy and set up the Presby∣tery so fully as is required in all his dominions though not upon a divine right which the Presbyterians beleeve, yet upon Erastus royall right which the Warner here and else∣where avouches.
What the Warner puts heere again upon the Presbyterie, * the usurpation of the temporall sword in what indirect rela∣tion so ever, its probation in the former chapter was found so weake and naughty, that the repetition of it is for no use: only wee marke that the Warner will have the Presbitery to be an absolute papacy, for no other purpose but to vent his desire of revenge against the Presbyterians, who gave in a challenge against the Praelats, especially the late Canterbu∣rians, among whom Doctor Bramble was one of some note, to which none of them have returned to this howre an an∣swer; that their principles unavoidably did bring backe the pope. For a Patriarch over all the westerne Churches, and among all the Patriarches of the whole Catholick Church a primacy in the Roman, flowes cleerly out of the fountaine of Episcopacy, according to the avowed doctrine of the En∣glish praelats: who yet are more liberall to the pope in gran∣ting him beside his spirituall super-inspection of the whole Catholick Church, all his temporall jurisdictions also in the patrimony of St. Peter, and all his other faire principalities within and without Italy. There is no ceremony in Rome that these men stick upon: for of all the superstitious and idolatrous ceremonies of Rome, their images and altars and adorations before them are incomparably the worst; yet Page 51the Warners friends without any recantation we have heard of, avow them all; even an adoration of and to the altar it selfe. As for the doctrines of Rome what points are worse then these which that party have avowed in expresse tear∣mes, a corporall presence of Christs body upon the Altar the Tridentine justification, free-will, finall apostacy of the Saints: when no other thing can be answered to this our sore challenge, it is good to put us off with a Squib that the Presbyterie is as absolute papacy as ever was in Rome.
The Presbyterian position which the Warner heere offers not to dispute but to laugh at, that Christ as King of his Church according to his royall office and Scepter hes ap∣pointed the office bearers and lawes of the house, is accorded to by the most and sharpest of our adversaries, whether En∣glish or Romish, as their owne tenet: howbeit such foolish consequences, that all acts of Synods must be Christs Lawes, &c. neither they nor wee doe acknowledge.
His declamations against the novelty of the Presbyterie in the ordinary stile of the Jesuites against Protestants, * and of the pagan Philosophers against the Christians of old, who will regarde: our plea for the Praesbyterie is, that it is scriptu∣rall; if so; it is auncient enough: if not; let it be abolished. But it were good, that heer also the Warner and his friends would be ingenuous, to speake out their minds of Episcopa∣cy. Why have they all so long deceived the King, in assu∣ring him that English Episcopacy was wel warranted both by Scripture and antiquity. Be it so (which yet is very false) that something of a Bishop distinct from a Presbyter had any footing in Scripture, yet can they be so impudent, as to af∣firme, that an English Bishop in his very flesh and blood, in his substantiall limbs was ever knowne in the World till the pope was become Antichrist? A Bishop by virtue of his of∣fice a Lord in Parliament, voycing in all acts of State, and Page 52exercising the place of a high Thesaurer, of a Chancelor, or what ever civill charge the favour of a Prince did put upon him; a Bishop with sole power of ordination and jurisdicti∣on, with out any Presbytery; a Bishop exercising no ju∣risdiction himselfe in any part of his dioces, but devolving the exercise of that power wholly upon his officials & Com∣missaries; a Bishop ordaining Presbyters himselfe alone, or with the fashionall assistance of any two Presbyters, who chaunce to be neare; a Bishop the only Pastor of the whole dioces, and yet not bound to feed any flock, either by word or Sacrament, or governement, but having a free liberty to devolve all that service upon others, and himself to wayte at court so many yeares as he shall think fit. This is our En∣glish Bishop not only in practise but in law, and so was hee defended by the great disputants for praelacy in England.
But now let the Warner speake out, * if any such treasure can more be defended or was ever knowne in scripture, or seen in any Christian Church for 800. yeares and above, af∣ter the death of Christ. I take it indeed, to be conscience, that forces now at last the best of our Court-divines to devest their Bishop of all civill imployment in Parliament court or Kingdome, in denying his solitarines in ordination, in re∣moving his officiall and Commissary courts, in taking away all his arches, Arch-Bishops, Arch-Deacons, deane and Chapter and all the, &c. in erecting Presbyteries for all ordinations and spirituall jurisdiction. It is good that conscience moves our adversaries at last to come this farre towards us: butwhy will they not yet come nearer, to acknow∣ledge that by these their to lately recanted errours they did to long trouble the world; and that the little which yet they desire to keepe of a Bishop is nothing lesse then that English Bishop but a new creature of their own devising ne∣ver known in England which his Majestie in no honnour is Page 53obliged to mantaine for any respect either to the lawes or customes of England, and least of all, for conscience?
While the Warner with such confidence avowes, * that no text of Scripture can be alleadged against Episcopacy, which may not with more reason be applyed against the Presbytery; behold I offer him here some few, casting them in a couple of arguments, which according to his great pro∣mises, I wish, he would answer at his leasure.
First I doe reason from Ephesians 4.11: all the officers that Christ has appointed in his Church for the Ministry of the word, are either Apostles, Evangelists, Prophets, Pastors or Doctors: but Bishops are none of these fyve: Ergo they are none of the officers appointed by Christ for the Mi∣nistry of the word. The Major is not wonte to be questio∣ned: the minor thus I prove; Bishops are not Apostles, E∣vangelists, nor prophets: for its confessed, all these were extraordinary and temporary officers: but Bishops (say yow) are ordinary and perpetuall: our adversaries pitch upon the fourth, alleadging the Episcopall office to be pastorall; but I prove the Bishop no Pastor thus; no Pastor is superior to o∣ther Pastors in any spirituall power: but according to our ad∣versary, a Bishop is superior to all the Pastors of his dioces in the power of ordination and jurisdiction. Ergo. The doubt heer is only of the Major, which I prove Argumento à pari∣bus: no Apostle is superior to an Apostle, nor an Evange∣lists to an Evangelist, nor prophet to a prophet nor a Doc∣tour to a Doctour in any spirituall power according to scrip∣ture. Ergo no Pastor to a Pastor. Againe I reason from 1. Tim. 4.14. Math: 18.15. 1. Cor. 184.108.40.206, What taks the power of ordination and jurisdiction from Bishops, destroyes Bishops: as the removall of the soule kills the man, and the denyall of the forme takes away the subject; so the power of ordination and jurisdiction the essentiall forme, whereby the Page 54Bishop is constitute and distinguished from the Presbyter and every other Church officer, being removed from him, he must perish: but the quoted places take away cleerly these powers from the Bishop: for the first puts the power of or∣dination in the Presbytery, and a Bishop is not a Presbytery; the second puts the power of jurisdiction in the Church; and the third in a company of men which meet together: but the Bishop is not the Church nor a company of men met toge∣ther: for these be many, and he is but one persone.
When the Doctors learning he; satisfied us in these two, he shall receave more scripturall arguments against Episco∣pacy. * But why doe wee expect answers from these men, when after so long time (for all their boasts of learning and their visible leasure) none of their party hes hade the cou∣rage, to offer one word of answer to the Scriptures and Fa∣thers, which in great plenty Mr. Parker and Mr. Didoclave of old, and of late that mitacle of learning most noble So∣mais, and that Magazin of antiquity Mr. Blondel have prin∣ted against them?
What in the end of the Chapter the Warner addes of our trouble at King James his fiftie and five questions 1596, and of our yeelding the bucklers without any opposition till the late unhappy troubles; we answer that in this as every where else the Warner proclaines his great and certaine knowledge of our Ecclesiastick story: the troubles of the Scots divines at that time were very small, for the matter of these questi∣ons, all which they did answer so roundly, that ther was no more speach of them therafter by the propounders: but the manner and time of these questions did indeed perplex good men, to see Erastian and Prelaticall counsellors so farr to prevaile with our King, as to make him by captious questi∣ons carpe at these parts of Church-discipline, which by sta∣tuts of Parliament and acts of Assemblyes were fully establi∣shed.Page 55
Our Church at that time was far from yeelding to Episco∣pacy: * great trouble indeed by some wicked States-men was then brought upon the persones of the most able and faithfull Ministers, but our land was so far from receiving of Bishops at that time, that the question was not so much as proposed to them for many yeares thereafter, it was in Ann. 1606 that the English Praelats did move the King by great violence to cast many of the best and most learned Preachers of Scotland out of their charges, and in Ann. 1610, that a kind of Epis∣copacy was set up in the corrupt assembly of Glasgow; under which the Church of Scotland did heavily groane till the yeare 1637, when their burdens was so much increased by the English praelaticall Tax-masters, that all was shaken of together, and divine justice did so closly follow at the heeles, that oppressing praelacy of England as to the great joy of the long oppressed Scotes, that evill root and all its branches was cast out of Britaine, where wee trust, no shadow of it shall ever againe be seen.