A discourse about civil government in a new plantation whose design is religion. Written many years since, by that Reverend and worthy Minister of the Gospel, John Cotton, B.D. ; And now published by some undertakers of a new plantation, for general direction and information.
Cotton, John, 1584-1652., Davenport, John, 1597-1670.
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Where all, or the most considerable part of free Planters profess their de|sire and purpose of ejoying, & securing to themselves and their Po|sterity, the pure and peaceable enjoyment of the Ordinances of Christ in Church-fellwship with his Peope, and have liberty to cast themselves into that Mould or Form of a Common-wealth, which shall appear to be best for them. Tending to prove the Ex|pediency and Necessiy in that case of intrusting free Burgesses whch are members of Churches gathered amongst them according to Christ, with the power f Chusing from among themselves Ma|gistrates, and men to whom the Managing of all Publick Civil Affairs of Importance is to be committed. And to vindicate the same from an Imputation of an Vnder-Power upon the Churches of Chrst, which hath been cast upon it through a Mistake of the true state of the Question.

Reverend Sir,

_THe Sparrow being now gone, and one dayes respite from publick Labours on the Lords-day falling to me in course, I have sought out your Writing, and have re|viewed it, and finde (as I formerly expressed to your self) that the Queston is mis-stated by you; and that the Arguments which you produce to prove that whch is not de|nied, are (in reference to this Question) spent in vain, as arrows are when they fall wide of the Marks they should hit, though they strike in a White which the Archer is not called to shoot at.

Page  4The terms wherein you state the Question, are these:

Whether the 〈◊〉 Power of 〈◊〉 Civil Magistrates 〈…〉 Church of Christ?

To omit all critical nquiries, in your thus stating the Question, I utterly dslke two things.

1. That you speak f Civl Mgisratendefinitely, and without 〈◊〉▪ under whch notion, all Magistrates in the world are in|cluded, 〈◊〉▪ and 〈◊〉▪ and 〈◊〉▪ as well as 〈◊〉. Now no man, I think, holdeth or imagneth, that a Chuch of Chrst hth power and right to chuse all Civil Magistrates through|out the World: For,

1 In some Countreys there is no Church of Christ, all the in|habitants being Heathen men and Idolaters; and amongst those who are called Christian, the number of the Churches of Christ will be found to be so small▪ and the Members of them so fw and mean, that it is impossible that the Right and Power of choosing Civil Magistrates in all places, should belong to the Chuches of Chrst

2. Nor have the Churches countenance of State in all Coun|treys, but are under Restraint and Persecution in some; as the Jews in Aegypt under Pha••oh, and in the Captivity in Babyl••, and the Christian Churches 300 years after Christ persecuted by Ro|man Emperours: and in these dayes those Reformed Churches sub ruce in Antwerp, and other Popish Countreys.

3. In some Countreys the Churches are indeed under the Pro|tection of Magistates, as Forreigners▪ permitted quietly to sit down under their Wings: but neither are the Members capable of Magstracy there, nor have they power of Voting in the choice of Magistrates: Such was that Church of Strangers gathered in Lon|don by Johannes Als, with allowance of State under the Broad Seal of England in Edw. 6. Such are the Dutch and French Chur|ches in England, and other Churches in the Netherlands at this day.

4. In some Countreys sundry Nations are so mingled, that they have severally an equal Right unto several parts of the Countrey, and therefoe though they live in the same general Countrey, yet they are governed by different Laws, and have several Magistrates Page  5 chsen by themselves severally neither of them being capable of Ma|gstacy in the others parts, nor having Right and Power o chusing Civil Magistrates there. Thus were the 〈◊〉 joyned with the Canaanite, that were left in Canaan unsubdued: and thus are the Eglsh planted in these parts of Americ, where sundry Nations of 〈◊〉 dwell near them, and are Proprietaries of the places which they inhabit. Now he that should affirm, that the Churches of Chrst, as such, have Right and Power of choosing Civl Magistrates in such laces, see eth to me more to need Phy|sick then Arguments, to recover him from his Errour.

2. The second thing that I dslike in your stating the Question, is, in that you make the Churches of Chrst to be the subject of this R••ht and Power of choosing Civil Magistrates. For 1. The Church so considered is a Spiritual Political Body, consisting of divers Mem|bers Male and Female, Bond and Free; sundry of which are not capable of Magistracy, not of Voting in the choice of Magistrates, inasmuch as none have that Right and Power but free Burgesses, among whom Women and Servants are not reckoned, though they may be, and are Church-members. 2. The Members of the Churches of Christ are considerable under a twofold respect an|swerable to the twofold man, which is in all the Members of the Church whilst they are in this world, the inward & the outward man.* Whereunto the onely wise God hath fitted and appointed two sorts of Administrations, Ecclesiastical and Civil. Hence they are ca|pable of a twofold Relation, and of Action and Power sutable to them both; viz. Civil and Spiritual, and accordingly must b ex|ercised about both in their seasons, without confounding those two different states, or destroying either of them, whilest what they transact in civil Affairs, is done by virtue of their civil Relation, their Church-state onely fitting them to do it according to God.

Now that the state of the Question may appear, I think it sea|sonable and necessary to premise a few Distinctions, to prevent all mistakes, if it may be.

First then, let us distinguish between the two Administrations or [distinction 1] Polties, Ecclesiastical and Civil, which men commonly call the Church, and Common-wealth. I incline rather to them who speak|ing of a Christian Communion, make the Communion to be the Page  6Genus, and the State Ecclesiastical and Civil to be the Species of it. For in a Christian Communion there ae tese dfferent Admini|strations or Polties or States, Ecclesistical & Civil: Ecclesiastical Administrations, are a Divine Order apoined to Believers for holy com|munion of holy things: Civil Administrations, are An Humane Order appointed by God to men for Civl Fellowship of humane things. Thus Junius defineth them; and maketh 1. Order the Genus of thm both. 2. God the Efficient and Author of them both. 3. Gods Glory 〈◊〉 last End of them both. 4. Man he common Subject of both. And so they agree very well in the General Nature, Efficien, End and Sub|ject; yet with difference in all. For,

1. Though both agree in this, that there is Order in their Ad|ministrations, yet with this diffeence, that the 〈…〉 the Church have not a Despotical▪ but Oeconomical Power onely, * being not Lords over Chists heritage, but stewards and ministers of Christ and of the Church; the Dominion and Law-giving Power being reser|ved to hrist alone, as he onely Head of the Chrch. But in the other State he hath given Lordly Power, Authority and Dominion unto men *.

2. Though both agree in this, that Man is the common Subject of the〈◊〉, yet with this difference, Man by Nature being a Rea|sonable and Sociable Creature, capable of Civil Order, is or may be the Subject of Civil Power and State: But Man by Grace called out of the world to fellowship with Jesus Christ, and with his People, is the onely Subject of Church-power; yet so, as the Out|ward man of Church-members is subject to the Civil Power in common wth other men, whilest their Inward man is the subject of Spiritual Order and Administrations.

3. Though they both agree in this, that God is the Efficient and Athor of them 〈◊〉, and that by Christ, yet not eadem ratione. For, God as the Creator and Governour of the world▪ is the Author of Civil Order and Administrations: But God as in Covenant with his People in Christ, is the Author of Church-Administrations. So likew••e Christ, as the Essential Word and Wisdome of God crea|ting and governing the World is the Efficient and Fountain of Civil Order & Adminstrations *: But as Mediator of the New Cove|nant, & Head of the Church*, he establisheth Ecclesiastical Order.

Page  74. Though they both agree in this, that they have the same last End. viz. The Glory f God, yet they differ in their next Ends; for the next End of Civil Order and Administrations, iThe Preservation of Humane Scieties in outward Honour, Justice and Peace: But the next Ends of Church Order and Administrations, are The Conver|sion, Edification, and Salvation of Souls, Pardon of Sin, Power against Sin, Peace with God. &c.

5. Hence ariseth another Difference about the Objects of these different States: for though both agree in this, that they have the common Welfae for their aime and scope; yet the things about whch the Civil Power is primarily conversant, are Bodies, 〈in non-Latin alphabet〉, 1 Cor. 6.4. or 〈in non-Latin alphabet〉, the things of this life, as Goods▪ Lands, Honour, the Liberties and Peace of the outward man. The things whereabout the Church Power is exercised, are 〈in non-Latin alphabet〉,*The things of God, as the Souls and Consciences of men, the Doctrine and Worship of God, the Communion of the Saints. Hence also 1. They have different Laws: 2 Different Officers 3. Diffe|rent Power, whereby to reduce men to Order, according to their different Objects and Ends. Now that a just harmony may be kept between these two different Orders and Administrations, two Ex|tremes must be avoided: 1. That they be not confounded▪ either by giving the Spiritual Power, which is proper to the Church, into the hand of the Civil Magistrate, as Erasus would have done in the matter of Excommunication. If any Magistrate should presume to thrust himself by hs Authority or otherwise, into a Work which properly belongs to a Church-Officer, let him remember what be|fell Saul and Vzz••• for so doing: or 2. By giving Civil Power to Church-Officers, who are called to attend onely to Spiritual mat|ters and the things of God, and therefore may not be dstracted from them by Secular intanglements. I say, Church-Officers, not Church-members; fr they (not being limited as the Officers are by God) are capable of two different imployments, suting with two dfferent 〈◊〉 in them, in different respects, as hath been said: and as they may lawfully be imployed about things of this lfe, so they are of all men fittest, being sanctified and dedicated to God to carry on all worldly and civil business to Gods ends, as we shall declare Page  8 in due time. But concerning Church-Officers I am able with Gods help to prove, that the devolving of Civl Power upon Pastors of Churches, (upon how specious pretences soever it began) gave that Rise to the Mn of Sn, which at last set his feet on the necks of te Princes of the Ea••h, yea, of the Empeours of the World. It was your mistake, when you too confidently affirmed, That the limiting of the Right and Powr of choosing Civil Oficers unto free Bur|gesses that are Members of Churches, brought that Tyranny into the Romish Church, which all the Churches of Crist complain of. It would well have become you to have better digested your own thoughts, before such words had passed through your lips; for you will never be able to produce any good Author that will confirm what you say. The truth is quite contrary; for that I may instance in Rome it self: Had Churches been rightly managed▪ when the most considerable part in that City embraced the Christian Faith, in the ceasing of the Ten Persecutions, that onely such as had been fit for the State, had been admitted into Church-fllowship, that they alone had had power, out of themselves to have chosen Ma|gstrates, such Magistrates would not have been chosn, as would have given their Power to the Pope; not would those Churches have suffered their Pastors to become Worldly Princes and Rulers, as the Pope and his Cardinals are; nor would they have given up the Power of the Church from the Church into the Officers hands, but would have called upon them to flfill their Ministry which they had rceived of the Lord; and if need were, would by the power of Christ have compelled them so to do: And then where had the Popes Supremacy been, which is made up of the Spoils of the Ecclesiastical and Civil State? but had by the course which now we plead for, been prevented.

2. The second Extreme to be avoided, is, That these two dif|ferent Orders and States, Ecclesiastical and Civil, be not set in op|position as contraries, that one should destroy the other, but as co|ordinate States in the same place reaching forth help mutually each to other, for the welfare of both, according to God: So that both Officers and Members of Churches be subject, in respect of the outward man, to the Civil Power of those who bear Rule in the Civil State according to God, and teach others so to do: And that Page  9 the Civil Magistrates and Officers, in regard of the inward man▪ subjct themselves Spiritually to the power of Chrst in Church-Ordinances, and by their Civil Power preserve the same in out|ward Peace and Purity; and this will best be attained, when the Pastor may say to the Magistrate, as Gregory Nazianzen wrote to the Magistrate of Nazianzum, 〈◊〉rem mei gregis esse sacri greges sacram ••em: I know thou art a sheep of my Flock, a holy sheep of a holy-Flock. Again, Cum Christo imperas, cum Christo etiam administras, ab eo est tibi gladius, 〈◊〉 narium à te puu•• ei qui dedit conservetur; that is, Thou rulest with Christ, and administrest to Christ; thou hast the Sword from him: let ths gift which thou hast received from him, be kept pure for him. And when the Civil Magistrate in his Church-state, answereth Ambrose his description of a good Emperour: Ipse Imperator bonus intra Ecclesiam, non su|pra Ecclesiam est. A good Magistrate is within the Church, not above it. Lastly, when according to Junius his description of the Power of the Christian Magistrate in Church-matters, be accounts it his duty to embrace in Fellowship with the whole Church, ut verum Christi & 〈◊〉 memorum the Laws given by God in the Church, and the means sanctified by him to nourish the inward man, and to protect and defend the same: [Tanquam Magistratus a Deo Ordina|tus] for, saith he, As he is a Christian, he is sancta oris de sancto Christi grege, (i. e. A holy sheep of Christ's holy flock. But as a Magistrate he is [Custos Ordinis vinde{que} publici:] that is, A preserver of publick order. Such were (besides the good Kings of Judah) Constantine, Theodosius, &c. in some measure, though very defective. So much shall serve to have been spoken concerning the first Di|stinction.

The second Distinction to be premised for clearing the true state [distinction 2] of the Question, is, [Inter Remp. constitutam & constituendan] Be|tween a Common-wealth already setled, and a Common-wealth yet to be setled, and wherein men are free to chuse what Form they shall judge best. For I conceive, when Paul exhorted the Romans to be •••ject to the higher Powers, who at that time were Heathen men, and Persecutors, he considered that Civil State as setled, and suted his Advice accordingly. But if he had been to Direct them about laying the Foundation of a Christian Common-wealth, he Page  10 would not have advised them to chuse such Governours as were out of the Church, but would have seriously forewarned them of the danger whereunto the Church would have been exposed thereby, and that unavoidably. And that this may not be thought a slight and uncertain conjecture, let us consider what advice he gave in like cases: Ye know, that writing to persons already Married he exhort|eth the believing wife to live wth the unbelieving husband;* yet the same Apostle directeth the same Church in case they were free to make their own choice, to avoid such matches: Be not unequally yoked (saith he) with Infidels;*for what fellowship hath righteousness with un|righteousnes? and what part hath the believer with the infidel? In like manner,* when Peter exhorted Christian Servants to be subject to their Masters wih all fear, not onely to the good and gentle, but also to the froward, he did accommodate his instruction to their present con|dition. But had he been to direct them in another state being free, to chuse what might be best for themselves, he would have expres|sed himself otherwise, as may appear by this. The same Spirit that inspired Peter thus to advise in this case, guided Paul further in a dif|ferent case:*Art thou called being a servant, (saith he) care not for it; but if thou maist be free, use it rather. And that if he had written to a company of Believers in a New Plantation, where the Founda|tions of the Church and Civil State, and the communion of both, was to be laid for many Generations to come, he would have advised them to take the same course which we plead for, may appear by his reproving the Church in Cointh, for carrying their differences before Heathen Magistrates to be judged by them, though he press them to be subject to their power:* Had the unbelieving Magistrates cited them to appear before their Judgement-seats, he taught them both by Precept and by his Example to submit. But when they were at li|berty to compose civil Differences among themselves, and yet they would voluntarily, and of their own accord, chuse to bring their cases before those that were without the Church, this he blameth in them; and that so farre as he demandeth why they do not rather suffe〈◊〉hen take such a course? plainly intimating, that men that profess the fear of God if they be free to make choice of their Civil Judges, (as in this New Plantation we are) they should rather chuse such as are Members of the Church for that purpose, Page  11 then others that are not in that estate. The same Rule holdeth by proportion in all things of like nature: for Parim par est ratio.

The third Dstincton to be premised for clearing the truth in this [distinction 3] Point, is between free Burgesses and free Inhabitants in a Civil Stte. Concerning whom, there must be had a different consideration. This dfference of People living under the same Civil jurisdiction, is held and observed in all Countreys, as well Heathen as others, as may at large be proved, if it were needful, out of te Histories of all Nations and Times; and the Experience of our Times, as well in our own Native Countrey, as in other places, confirmeth it. In all which, many are Inhabitants that are not Citizens, that are never likely to be numbred among 〈in non-Latin alphabet〉, or Rulers: An|swerably it is in the case now in question. So that when we urge, that Magistrates be chosen out of free Burgesses, and by them, and that those free Burgesses be chosen out of such as are Members of these Churches, we do not thereby go about to exclude those that are not in Church-Order, from any Civil Right or Liberty that is due unto them as Inhabitants and Planters, as if none should have Lots in due proportion with other men, nor the benefit of Justice under the Government where they live, but onely Church-members; (for this were indeed to have the Common-wealth swallowed up of the Church) but seeing there ever will be difference between the World and the Church in the same place, and that both men of the world are allowed of God the use and enjoyment of the help of Civil Government, for their quiet and comfortable subsistence in the world: and Church-members (though called out of the world into fellowship with Christ, yet) living in the world, having many worldly necessities and businesses in common with men of the world that lve among them, stand in need of the civil Power to right them against civil injuries, and to protect them in their right, and outward orderly use of their Spirituals, against those that are apt to be injurious to them in the one, or in the other respect; which be|ing without, are not under the Churches Power; and yet living within the Verge of the same Civil Jurisdiction, are under the Civil Power of the Magistrates. Hence it is, that we plead for this Or|der to be set in Civil Affairs, that such a course may be taken as may best secure to our selves and our posterities the faithful managing of Page  12 Civil Government for the common welfre of all as well in the Church as without; which will then most certainly be effected, when the pub|lick Trust and Power of these matters is committed to such men as are mst approved according to God; and these are Church-mem|bers *, a shall afterward, God asssting, be proved

[distinction 4] The fourth Distinction to be premised for clearing the truth, and to prevent mstakes in this Question, shall be between the Actions of Church-members. For some actions are done by them all▪ joyntly as a Spiritual Body, in reference to Spiritual ends; and some actions are done onely by some of the Body, in reference to Civil ends. Actons of the first sort, are said to be done by the Church of Christ, as a Church of Christ; such are Admission of members, and Excommunication of them according to Christ's order, and other actions of that kinde; but these fall not under our Question, which is wholly about the transaction of Civil Affairs: so that your whole Dispte wanteth a good ground, and your labour about it might well have been spared. Actions of the second sort, are of a larger extent, and reach to businesses of a Civil Nature, such as that Civil Judgement whereof Paul speaketh, 1 Cor. 6. 〈in non-Latin alphabet〉, in matters that concern this life, as the Lives, Goods, (and which is dearer to them then both) the Reputations of men, and their outward Liberty and Peace. Concerning which, Members fitly chosen out of the Church, and made free Burgesses, are fitter to judge and determine according to God, then other men, and that for weighty Reasons; some whereof are rendred by Paul in that Cha|pter, whereunto others may be added, when we shall argue that Point, the Lord helping us.

[distinction 5] The fifth Dstinction to be premised for the clearing of the truth in this Point, is between Places, where all, or the most considerable part of first and free Planters, profess their desire and purpose of entring into Church-fellowship according to Christ, and of enjoying in that State all the Ordinances in purity and peace, and of securing the same unto their posterity, so farre as men are able; and those Places where all or the most considerable part of the first and free Planters are otherwise minded, and profess the contrary. Our Question is of the first-sort, not of the se|cond. As for those of the second sort, if the major, or more consi|derable part among them, will be like Heathen men, without such Church-fellowship, as is according to Christ in all things, a Heathen Page  11 man or meer civil worldly Polititian, will be good enough to be their Magistrate; or if they desire to set up dolatry and Supestito, an I|dolatrous and superstitious Governor in the Civil State will best sute their ends; and so they may be said to their just reproof and shame, Like Priest, like People; and Like 〈◊〉, like People. Thus sometimes the Lord hath spoken against a licentus people concerning their pro|phets, He that will prophecy of wne and strong drink,*he shall be the pro|phet to this people. He that sometimes giveth such Gides in the Church to a people in his indignation, doth also sometimes give Magistrates & Rulers to a people in the Civil Staten his wrath, when men are for|saken of him, and given up more to affet outward fancy and vanity, then Gods Order: as when the people of Israel sought a King, without respect to the right Tribe, from whence by Gods order they ought to expect one, He gave them a King to his anger, and took him away in his wrath. In such case▪* what shall the people of God do that live in such a place? surely if God give them liberty and ability, they should attend to the voice of God, which hath said in a like case to his peo|ple, Arise and depart, this is not your rest;* and follow the steps of Christs flock to any place, where he causeth his flock to feed,*and lye down under a comfortable shadow at noon: As in Jeroboam's time, the Levites left their suburbs, and came to Judah and Jerusalm, and after them of all the Tribes of Israel, such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel, and strengthned the Kingdome of Judah, where Gods Ordinances both concerning Civil Government and Religious Worship were better observed. But if Divine Providence doth necessitate their stay and abode in such places, they are to pray for those in Authority,* that they may become such, as under whom they may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty; and to be subject to their Power, even in those things wherein they may not obey their Com|mands, nor seek their help, 1 Cor. 6.1, 2 til God shall give them liberty from that Yoke, either by removing them to those places where fitter Magistrates bear Rule in Civil matters, or by giving them opportunity of Chusing more sutable ones from among them|selves.

So much shall serve to have been spoken to the Distinctions, which having thus premised, we now proceed to declare the true state of the Question: which is as followeth.

Page  14*Q. Whether a new Plantation, where all or the most considerable part of free Planters profess their purpose and desire of securing to themselves and to their posterity, the pure and peaceable enjoyment of Christ's Ordinances; Whether, I say, such Planters are bound in laying the Foundations of Church and Civil State, to take order, that all the free Burgesses be such as are in fellowship of the Church or Churches which are, or may be gathered according to Christ; and that those free Burgesses have the only power of chusing from among themselves Civil Magistrates, and mn to be intrusted with transacting all publick Af|fairs of Importance, according to the rules and directions of Scripture?

I hold the Affirmative part of this Question upon this ground, that this course will most conduce to the good of both States; and by consequence to the common welfare of all, whereunto all men are bound principally to attend in laying the Foundation of a Common-wealth, lest Posterity rue the first Miscarriages, when it will be too late to redress them. They that are skilful in Architecture observe, that the breaking or yielding of a stone in the groundwork of a Building but the breadth of the back of a knife, will make a cleft of more then half a foot in the Fabrick aloft: So important (saith mine Author) are fundamental Errours. The Lord awaken us to look to it in time, and send us his Light and Truth to lead us into the safest wayes in these beginnings.

The Question being thus stated, I now proceed with Gods help to prove the Affirmative part: and thus I argue, to prove that the Form of Government which is described in the true stating of the Question is the best, and by consequence, that men that are free to chuse (as in new Planta|tions they are) ought to establish it in a Christian Common-wealth.

[argument 1] Theocratie, or to make the Lord God our Governour*, is the best Form of Government in a Christian Common-wealth, and which men that are free to chuse (as in new Plantations they are) ought to estb••sh. The Form of Government described in the true stating of the Question is Theocratie, or that wherein we make the Lord God our Governour. Therefore that Form of Government which is described in the true stating of the Question, is the best Form of Government in a Christian Common-wealth, and which men that are free to chuse (as in new Plantations they are) ought to establish. The Proposition is clear of it self. The Assumption I prove thus:

That Form of Government where 1. The people that have the power of Page  15 abusing their Governors are in Covenant with God* 2. Wherein the men chosen by them are godly men, and fted with a spirit of Government*: 3. In which the Laws they rule by are the Laws of God*: 4. Wherein Laws are executed, Inheritances allotted, and civil differences are composed, according to Gods appointment*: 5. In which men of God are consulted with in all hard cases, and in matters of Religion*, is the Form which was received and established among the people of Israel whil'st the Lord God was their Governour, as the places of Scripture alledged shew; and is the very same with that which we plead for, as will ap|pear to him that shall examine the true stating of the Question. The Conclusion follows necessarily.

That Form of Government which giveth unto Christ his due prehemi|nence, [argument 2] is the best Form of Government in a Christian Common-wealth, and which men that are free to chuse (as in new Plantations they are) ought to establish. The Form of Government described in the true stating of the Question, is that which giveth unto Christ his due preheminence. There|fore the Forms of Government which is described in the true stating of the Question, is the best Form of Government in a Christian Common-wealth, and which men that are free to chuse (as in new Plantations they are) ought to establish.

The Proposition is proved out of two places of Scripture, Col. 1.15. to 19. with Eph▪ 1▪ 21, 22. From which Texts it doth appear, that it is a prehemince due to Christ, that all things, and all Governments in the wo••d, should serve to Christs ends, for the welfare of the Church wheeof he is the Head. For 1. In relation to God, he hath this by Right o Primogeniture, as he is the first-born, and so Heir of all things, higher then the Kings of the earth. 2. In relation to the World it is said, All things were made by him, and for him, and do con|sist in hm, and therefore it is a preheminence due to him that they all serve him. 3. In relation to the Church, it is said, He hath made all things subject under his feel, and hath given him over all things to be Head of the Church, that in all things he might have the preheminence. And indeed that he upholdeth the Creatures, and the Order that is in them, it is for his Churches sake; when that is once compleat, the world shall soon be at an end. And if you reade the stories of the great Monarchies that have been and judge of them by Scripture-light, you will finde they stood or fell, according as God purposed Page  16 to make use of them about some service to be done about his Church. So that the onely considerable part for which the world standeth at this day, is the Church: and therefore it is a Prehemnence due to Christ, that his Headship over the Church should be exalted and ac|knowledged▪ and served by all. In which respect also the Title of The firt-born is given to the Members of the Church, and they are called The first-frits of his Creatures, to shw both their prehemi|nence above others, and that they are fittest to serve to Gods ends.

The Assumption (That the Form of Government described in the true stating of the Question, doth give unto Christ his due preheminence) will easily be granted by those that shall consider what Civil Magi|strates and Rulers in the Common wealth those are, who are fittest to serve to Christ's ends for the good and welfare of his Church; which will be evident from two places of Scripture: First, in Ps. 2.10, 11, 12 you have a description of those that are fitted to order Civil Affairs in their Magistracy to Christ's ends; they are such as are not onely wise and learned in matters of Religion but also do reduce their knowledge into practise: they Worship the Lord in fear; and not only so, but Kiss the Son, which was a solemn & outward Pro|fession of love*, and of Subjection*, and of Religious Worship*, and so fitly serveth to express their joyning themselves to the Church of Christ. Secondly, in Isa. 49.23. it is promised to the Church, that Kings and Queens shall be their nursing-fathers and nursing-mothers, and therefore it is added, They shall worship with their faces to the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; which is a proverbial expression of their voluntary humbling of themselves to Christ in his Ordinances, (taken from the manner of the Persians, in declaring their Subjection to their Emperour *, which the Apostle calls a voluntary submis|sion to the Gospel*, which is the spirit of the Members of the Chur|ches of Christ. And for this Reason it is▪ that the Lord, when he moulded a Communion among his own People, wherein all Civil Administrations should serve to holy ends, he described the men to whom that Trust should be committed, by certain Properties, which also qualified them for fellowship in Church-Ordinances, as Men of ability and power over their own affections*; secondly, fearing God, Truly Religious, Men of Courage, hating Covetousnss, men of Wisdom▪ men of understanding, and men known or approved of among the people Page  17 of God, & chosen by the Lord from among their Brethren, & not a stran|ger, which is no Brother: the most of which concurre to describe Church-members in a Church rightly gathered and ordered, who are also in respect of their union with Christ and fellowship toge|ther, called Brethren frequently in the New Testament, wherein the equity of that Rule is established to us. Object.*Christ will have his due Preheminence, though the Civil Rulers oppose him, and per|secute the Churches, as in Rome: Therefore it is not necessary that this course be taken in Civil Affairs to establish Christs Preheminence. Ans.* The Question is of a Christian Commonwealth that should wil|lingly subject themselves to Christ, not of a Heathen State that shall perforce be subdued unto Christ. It is concerning what Gods people being free should chuse, not what his enemies are compell'd unto.

That Form of Government wherein the best provision is made for the [argument 3] good both of the Church and of the Civil State, is the best Form of Go|vernment in a Christian Communion, and which men that are free to chuse (as in new Plantations they are) ought to establish. The Form of Govern|ment described in the true stating of the Question, is that wherein the best provision is made for the good both of the Church and Civil State. There|fore the Form of Government described in the true stating of the Q••stion, is the best Form of Government in a Christian Communion, and which men that are free to chuse (as in new Plantations they are) ought to establish. The Proposition (if need be) may be confirm|ed from the end of all Civil Government & Administrations which is the publick and common Good, whether Natural, as in the preservation of Life and Safety; or Moral, as Justice and Honesty in Humane Socie|ties; or Civil, as Peace, Liberty of Commerce; or Spiritual as to pro|tect the Church in Spiritual, though outward, Order and Administra|tions in peace & purity. And this last is principally to be attended unto, and therefore such as are intrusted with this care, are called The Mi|nisters of God, to note the principal end whereunto they serve, viz. The things wherein God is most directly and immediately honour|ed, which is in promoting man's Spiritual good, so farre as they are enabled by their Civil Power.

The Assumption (That the Form of Government in the Common-wealth which we plead for, is that wherein the best provision is made for the good both of the Church and of the Civil State) may appear by the Page  18 blessing of God which usually is upon the Communion, where the scouring of the Spiritual good of men, in the peace and purity of Gods Ordinances, is principally attended unto by all sorts as may be proved by the state of things in the Communion of Israel, whil'st the service of the Lord was with due care attended to all the dayes of Jo|shua,*and all the dayes of the Elders that over-lived Joshu, which had known all the works of the Lord which he had done for 〈◊〉. Many more places of Scripture might be alledged; but I will onely note Psal. 72. wherein all sorts of good are assured to the Common-wealth, wherein the fear of God, that is Matters of Religion are so regarded, as the preservation thereof to after ages is duely prvded for: which how can it be done, if the course described in the true stating of the Question be neglected by those that are free to cast the Common-wealth into what Mould they please?

*This Junius, a Learned and Godly man, and much exercised in State Affairs, as appears by the Story of his Life, saw clearly; and therefore speaking of the Consent and Harmony of the Church and Civil State in the concurrence of their several Administrations to the welfare of a Christian Common-wealth, he expresseth it by the conjunction of the Soul and Body in a Man; and concludeth, that Nothing will be of so much avail to the welfare of civil Administrations, as will the best Administrations of the Church giving attendance to the holy and just Communion of Saints, (ut ad parentem officiorum omni|um) as to the Parent of all Duties: and, that Nothing will so secure and strengthen Church Administrations, as that security (quam prae|bitura est justa pi Magistratus atque fidelis 〈in non-Latin alphabet〉) which the just Administrations of a godly and faithful Magistrate will afford. Now Pii & Fideles, Men that are godly and faithful, are such as are described in our stating of the Question. And having thus said, he breaks out into an affectionate Admiration of the Happiness of a Communion so ordered: Ecquid obsecro futurum est, si optima Eccle|sia, cum Republicâ optima colescat? O beatum populum, in quo uno ore, & uno animo, utra{que} administratio, ad sanctam communionem cum ci|vili Societate continendam, & augendam conspiraverit! Non minuit il|lam haec administratio, sed altera alteram stntem, confirmat, labantem, statuminat, collapsam erigit. Which I thus English: What I pray may be expected in future times, if the best Church, and the best Common-wealth Page  19 grew up together? Oh blessed people, among whom each Administration shall conspire with one mouth, and one minde, to conjoyn and advance the Communion of Saints with the Civil Society! One of these Administra|tions will not detract from the other, but each will confirm the other if it stand, and stay it if it be falling, and raise it up if it be fa•• down. And a little after he thus concludeth, Magistratum cui credita est civi|lis administratio non in Ecclesia so••m, sed etiam ex Ecclesia esse affirma|••us; We affirm, that the Magistrate to whom the Civil Administra|tion is committed, is or ought to be not onely in the Church, but also taken out of the Church. Thus Juniu thought, and taught, and published to the world. And indeed what is more equal, then that he who by Office is to be a Minister of God, should be chosen by and out of those who are by open Profession in the Church-estate, the Servants of the Lord and have more helps to know his Minde, and deep en|gagements to seek his Ends, and observe his Will, then other men? But if any be otherwise minded, let them shew some other course, wherein the publick good may be promoted according to God, with assurance of a blessing by virtue of the Promises.

The fourth Argument shall be taken out of 1 Cor 6. ver. 1, to 8. [argument 4] Whence I thus argue: That Form of Government wherein the power of Civil Administrations is denied unto unbelievers, and committed to the Saints, is the best Form of Government in a Christian Common-wealth, and which men hat are free to chuse (as in new Plantations they are) ought to establsh. The Form of Government described in the true stating of the Question, is that wherein the power f Civil Administrations is de|nied to unbelievers, and committed to the Saints. Therefore the Form of Government described in the true stating of the Qestion, is the best Form of Government in a Christian Communon, and which men that are free to chuse (as in new Plantations they are) ught to estblish. The Pro|position is evident from the Scripture alledged. For, the thing which Paul blameth in them, is not, that living under unbelieving Magi|strates, they submitted to their Civil Judicature when they were cited to appear before their Judgement-seats: but this be reproveth, that when they were free to chuse other Judge, (as in voluntary re|ferences they were) they would out of chice be judged under the unjust, and not under Saints. His Arguments against this are many and weighty. 1. From the danger of thus exalting unbelievers, Page  20 and abasing the Saints, in these words, Dare any of you having a mat|ter against another, be judged under the unjust, and not under the Saints? 2. From the quality of unbelieving Judges whom he calleth unjust, because they are destitute of the righteousness that is by Faith, and which is the Fountain of all true Moral Justice: and because they were ill-affected to Christians, and to the Church of Christ, and apt to vex them injuriously, if they had any business before them; and because though some men out of Christ may be found civilly honest, and morally just, as were also some Heathen men, yet you can have no assurance of their justice, seeing this is the genius and nature of all men out of Christ to be unrighteous. 3. From the property of Church-members, whom he calls Saints, that is, men consecrated to God and to his ends in all things; for so they are in their Church-estate, and by virtue of their Covenant are bound so to be: when as others are (or at least are not manifested to be otherwise according to Gods order) worldly-minded, or self-seekers, minding their own things, and not the things of Jesus Christ. The 4•h Argument is a majos, for he saith The Saints shal judge the world, and blames their igno|rance that question it: Know ye not that the Saints shall judge the world? and thence inferreth, that they should much more have judge|ment 〈in non-Latin alphabet〉in matters that concern this life▪ such are Humane Contracts, mens Goods▪ and Lives, and outward Liberties. The 5t Argument is from the Wisdom wherewith the Church of God is furnished for all Civil businesses: Is there not a wise man among you? as if he should say, It cannot be that more wisdome should be for transacting of businesses according to God in men that are out of the Church, then in those that are in the Church? howsoever much worldly wisdome is sometimes given to men of the world, yet not sufficient to reach Gods ends that is the Priviledge of Saints, they onely are wise as Serpent, the other men may be as subtile as Foxes. And seeing it is by Christ that Kngs reign, and Princes decree justice,* how can it be supposed that Christ, who is the Head of the Church, will furnish others with a Spirit of Wisdome and Govern|ment in Civil Matters, and deny it to the Church, Members of his own Body, whom he alone sanctifieth to his end?

The Assumption (That the Form of Government in te Common-wealth which we plead for, is that wherei the power of cvil Admini|strations Page  21 is denied to unbelievers, and committed to the Saints) is evident of it self. For whom doth the Apostle call Sants there, but Mem|bers of the Church? when he had said before, they were sanctified in Christ Jesus, Saints by calling.* Hence it is that he speaks of men esteemed in the Church, v. 4. and of men that can judge between Brethren, v. 5. which is a Title given to Church-members ordinarily in the New Testament.

If it be objected, He speaketh there of Church-members,*in opposi|tion to Infidels which persecuted the truth, not in opposition to mn that may fear God, and be accounted Believers, though they be not in Church-fellowship.

I Answer, The fear of God, and Faith of those men,* may be justly doubted, whose setled abode is in a place where Churches are gather'd and order'd according to Christ▪ and yet are not after a conveni|ent time joyned to them: For if in those times and places where the Name of Christ was a Reproach, men were no sooner converted, then they were added to the Church, and their being added to the Church, was made an evidence of their conversion; what may we think of those men who living in times and places where the Or|dinances of the Gospel may be enjoyed in purity, with peace in Church-fellowship, do yet live without the Church? 2. Though there be sundry degrees of distance from the Church, to be found among men that are out of Church fllowship, as the Heathen are further off then moral Christians, yet the same Spirit of unrighteous|ness and enmity against Christ, worketh and bears rule in an uncon|verted Christian, as doth in an unbaptized Heathen: He is unsancti|fied as the other is, and so unsutable to Gods ends in civil Admini|strations; and therefore it will not be safe, nor according to the Rule, that where a Church is gathered according to Christ, the Members should be neglected, and such men intrusted with mana|ging the Publick Affairs▪ as are not in fellowship with them.

The fifth Argument may be taken from the Nature and Power [argument 5] of Church-Order, which when it is managed according to Chrst's appointment, affordeth best security to a Christian State, for the faithful discharge of any Trust that shall be committed to those that are under it. Whence I thus argue: That Form of Government where|in the power of chusing from among themselves, men to be intrusted with Page  22 managing all publick Affairs of Importance, is committed to them who are furnished with the best helps for securing to a Christian State the faith|full discharge of such a Trust, is the best Form of Government in a Chri|stian Common-wealth, and which men that are free to chuse (as in new Plantations they are) ought to establish. The Form of Government de|scribed in the true stating of the Question is such. Theefore the Form of Government described in the true stating of the Question, is the best Form of Government in a Christian Common-wealth, and which men that are free to chuse (as in new Plantations they are) ought to establish. The Proposition is undeniable.

The Assumption (That the Form of Government which we plead for, is that wherein the power of chusing men to be intrusted with ma|naging of all publick Affairs of Importance, is committed to them who are furnished with the best helps for securing to a Christian State the faithful discharge of such a Trust) may be confirmed, by shewing what these Helps are; viz. 1. That the Members of the Church are Saints by calling,* i. e. men separated from the world, and the pollutions thereof, out of which they are called, and dedicated to God; as the first-born, and the first-fruits were; and they are qualified, by he spirit of wisdome and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and he fear of the Lord, in some measure through fel|lowship with Christ, to serve God and men in holiness and righeous|ness all the dayes of their lives. 2. That these Saints by calling being in Church-Order according to Christ's appointment, are in Cove|nant with God, and one with another whereby they are most strict|ly bound to do faithfully, whatsoever they do to God or men. 3. That by virtue of this Order, they are bound to mutual helpful|ness, in Watching over one another, Instructing, Admonishing, and Exhorting one another to prevent sin, or to recover such as are faln, or to encourage one another, and strengthen them in well-doing.

Thus are they bound in a threefold Cable unto all Faithfulness in all things to God and Man. The like assurance cannot be had in any other way, if this course be neglected.

[argument 6] The sixth Argument, with which I will conclude, that I may not weary you with Reading, as I have wearied my self with Witng) shall be taken from The Danger of devolving this Power upon those that ae not in Church-Order. From whence the Apostle would Page  23 have men to be affrighted:*Dare any of you having business against another, be judged under the unjust, and not under the Saints? The Danger therefore that is to be feared in reference to the Chrrch, is, The disturbance of the Churches Peace, when Power shall be put into their hands, who being of worldly spirits, hate he Saints and their Communion; and being of the seed of th Serpent,*are at enmity against the seed of the Woman; and being Satans instruments, who is the God f this World, are resisting and fighting against Christ his Kingdome and Government in the Church. 2. Adde hereunto, The Danger of corrupting Church Order, either by compelling them to receive into fellowship unsutable ones, or by imposing upon them Ordinances of men▪ and worldly Rudiments;* or by establish|ing Idolatrous Worship; or by strengthning Hereticks in subvert|ing the common Faith, as those Arrian Emperours, and Idoatrous Kings and States have done, of which we reade so many instances.

Secondly, the Danger to be feared in reference to the Civil State, is, 1. The raising of Factions to the disturbance of Publick Peace, whil'st some Magistrates out of the Church, watch their seasons to strengthen themselves against those that are in the Church, till they have wrought them out of Office and Power in the Civil State: and in the mean time, what other can be expected from such unequal mixture in State,* but that they should be as the toes of the feet of Ne|buchadnezzar's image, which were part of iron, and part of clay, they should be partly broken, and partly strong, and not comfortably joyn one with another, as iron cannot be mixed with clay. The second Danger to the Civil State, will be, A perverting of Justice by Magistrates of worldly spirits, through Bribery, respect of persons, unacquaintance with the Law of God, and injuriousness to the ser|vants of God. But I must break off, lest I grow too tedious. How easily might I adde the Consent of all Nations to this Truth in some proportion, who generally practise accordingly? In our Native Countrey, none are intrusted with managing of Publick Affairs, but Members of the Church of England, (as they call them.) In Holland, when the Arminian Party had many Burgomasters on their side, Grave Maurice came into divers of their Cities with Troops of Souldiers, by Order from the States Generall, and put those Arm|nian Magistrates out of Office, and caused them to chuse onely Page  24 such as were of the Dutch Churches. And in Rotendam (and I think it is so in other Towns) the Vrentsap (who are all of them of the Dutch Church, and free Burgers) do out of their own company chuse the Burgomaster, and other Magistrates and Officers. In all Popish Countreys and Plantations, they observe it strictly, to in|trust none with the managing of Publick Civil Affairs▪ but such as are Catholics (as they speak) and of the Roman Church. Yea, in Turkey it self, they are careful that none but a man devoted to Ma|homet bear publick Office. Yea, these very Indians that Worship the Devil, will not be under the Government of any Sagamores, but such as joyn with them in Observance of their Pawawes and Idolatries: That it seems to be a Principle imprinted in the mindes and hearts of all men in the equity of it, That such a Form of Go|vernment as best serveth to Establish their Religion, should by the con|sent of all be Established in the Civil State.

Other things I might adde, but I hope enough hath been said for Defence and Confirmation of what I have affirmed touching this matter. If you remain unsatisfied, I shall desire that you will pla|cidly, and lovingly, and impartially weigh the Grounds of my judgement, and communicate yours if any remain against it, in writing. For though much writing be wearisome unto me, yet I finde it the safer way for me Now the God of Peace and Truth lead us into all wayes of Peace and Truth, to the Praise of his Grace through the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. To whom be in all things the Preheminence, and Glory, and Praise. Amen.