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Title: A Christian Directory - The Practical Works of Richard Baxter
Author: Richard, Baxter
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Christian Directory - The Practical Works of Richard Baxter" ***

Transcriber's Note:

The text of Part III of A Christian Directory (or, a sum of Practical
Theology and Cases of Conscience) has been transcribed from pages 547
to 736 of Volume I of Baxter's Practical Works, as lithographed from
the 1846 edition. Part III addresses church duties. A table of
contents has been inserted to assist the reader.

Small capitals have been rendered in full capitals. Italics are
indicated by _underscores_. Sidenotes refer to the following

The anchors for footnotes 119, 366 and 391 are missing. The first of
these has been inserted after consulting another edition of the text.
The reference in footnote 417 to the Book of Acts appears to be incorrect.

Inconsistencies in hyphenation, and apparent typographical errors,
have been corrected.





Table of Contents


        To the Reader.                                               547
     I. Of the worship of God in general.                            547
    II. Directions about the manner of worship, to avoid all
        corruptions, and false, unacceptable worshipping of God.     553
   III. Directions about the christian covenant with God,
        and baptism.                                                 559
    IV. Directions about the profession of our religion to others.   562
     V. Directions about vows and particular covenants with God.     564
    VI. Directions to the people concerning their internal and
        private duty to their pastors, and the improvement of
        their ministerial office and gifts.                          580
   VII. Directions for the discovery of the truth among contenders,
        and the escape of heresy and deceit.                         590
  VIII. Directions for the union and communion of saints, and the
        avoiding unpeaceableness and schism.                         595
    IX. How to behave ourselves in the public assemblies, and the
        worship there performed, and after them.                     616
     X. Directions about our communion with holy souls departed,
        and now with Christ.                                         618
    XI. Directions about our communion with the holy angels.         622

        To the Reader.                                               626
        Questions I to CLXXIV.                                       626


That this part and the next are imperfect, and so much only is written
as I might, and not as I would, I need not excuse to thee if thou know
me, and where and when I live. But some of that which is wanting, if
thou desire, thou mayst find, 1. In my "Universal Concord." 2. In my
"Christian Concord." 3. In our "Agreement for Catechising," and my
"Reformed Pastor." 4. In the "Reformed Liturgy," offered to the
commissioned bishops at the Savoy. Farewell.



That God is to be worshipped solemnly by man, is confessed by all that
acknowledge that there is a God.[1] But about the matter and manner of
his worship, there are no small dissensions and contentions in the
world. I am not now attempting a reconciliation of these contenders;
the sickness of men's minds and wills doth make that impossible to any
but God, which else were not only possible, but easy, the terms of
reconciliation being in themselves so plain and obvious as they are.
But it is directions to those that are willing to worship God aright,
which I am now to give.

_Direct._ I. Understand what it is to worship God aright, lest you
offer him vanity and sin for worship. The worshipping of God is the
direct acknowledging of his being and perfections to his honour.
Indirectly or consequentially he is acknowledged in every obediential
act by those that truly obey and serve him; and this is indirectly and
participatively to worship him; and therefore all things are holy to
the holy, because they are holy in the use of all, and Holiness to the
Lord is, as it were, written upon all that they possess or do (as they
are holy): but this is not the worship which we are here to speak of;
but that which is primarily and directly done to glorify him by the
acknowledgment of his excellencies. Thus God is worshipped either
inwardly by the soul alone, or also outwardly by the body expressing
the worship of the soul. For that which is done by the body alone,
without the concurrence of the heart, is not true worship, but a
hypocritical image or show of it, equivocally called worship.[2] The
inward worship of the heart alone, I have spoken of in the former
part. The outward or expressive worship, is simple or mixed: simple
when we only intend God's worship immediately in the action; and this
is found chiefly in praises and thanksgiving, which therefore are the
most pure and simple sort of expressive worship. Mixed worship is that
in which we join some other intention, for our own benefit in the
action; as in prayer, where we worship God by seeking to him for
mercy; and in reverent hearing or reading of his word, where we
worship him by a holy attendance upon his instructions and commands;
and in his sacraments, where we worship him by receiving and
acknowledging his benefits to our souls; and in oblations, where we
have respect also to the use of the thing offered; and in holy vows
and oaths, in which we acknowledge him our Lord and Judge. All these
are acts of divine worship, though mixed with other uses.

It is not only worshipping God, when our acknowledgments (by word or
deed) are directed immediately to himself; but also when we direct our
speech to others, if his praises be the subject of them, and they are
intended directly to his honour: such are many of David's psalms of
praise. But where God's honour is not the thing directly intended, it
is no direct worshipping of God, though all the same words be spoken
as by others.

_Direct._ II. Understand the true ends and reasons of our worshipping
God; lest you be deceived by the impious who take it to be all in
vain. When they have imagined some false reasons to themselves, they
judge it vain to worship God, because those reasons of it are vain.
And he that understandeth not the true reasons why he should worship
God, will not truly worship him, but be profane in neglecting it, or
hypocritical in dissembling, and heartless in performing it. The
reasons then are such as these.

1. The first ariseth from the use of all the world, and the nature of
the rational creature in special. The whole world is made and upheld
to be expressive and participative of the image and benefits of God.
God is most perfect and blessed in himself, and needeth not the world
to add to his felicity. But he made it to please his blessed will, as
a communicative good, by communication and appearance; that he might
have creatures to know him, and to be happy in his light; and those
creatures might have a fit representation or revelation of him that
they might know him. And man is specially endowed with reason and
utterance, that he might know his Creator appearing in his works, and
might communicate this knowledge, and express that glory of his Maker
with his tongue, which the inferior creatures express to him in their
being.[3] So that if God were not to be worshipped, the end of man's
faculties, and of all the creation, must be much frustrated. Man's
reason is given him that he may know his Maker; his will, and
affections, and executive powers are given him, that he may freely
love him and obey him; and his tongue is given him principally to
acknowledge him and praise him: whom should God's work be serviceable
to, but to him that made it?

2. As it is the natural use, so it is the highest honour of the
creature to worship and honour his Creator: is there a nobler or more
excellent object for our thoughts, affections, or expressions? And
nature, which desireth its own perfection, forbiddeth us to choose a
sordid, vile, dishonourable work, and to neglect the highest and most

3. The right worshipping of God doth powerfully tend to make us in our
measure like him, and so to sanctify and raise the soul, and to heal
it of its sinful distempers and imperfections. What can make us good
so effectually as our knowledge, and love, and communion with him that
is the chiefest good? Nay, what is goodness itself in the creature if
this be not? As nearness to the sun giveth light and heat, so
nearness to God is the way to make us wise and good; for the
contemplation of his perfections is the means to make us like him. The
worshippers of God do not exercise their bare understandings upon him
in barren speculations; but they exercise all their affections towards
him, and all the faculties of their souls, in the most practical and
serious manner, and therefore are likeliest to have the liveliest
impressions of God upon their hearts; and hence it is that the true
worshippers of God are really the wisest and the best of men, when
many that at a distance are employed in mere speculations about his
works and him, remain almost as vain and wicked as before, and
professing themselves wise, are (practically) fools, Rom. i. 21, 22.

4. The right worshipping of God, by bringing the heart into a
cleansed, holy, and obedient frame, doth prepare it to command the
body, and make us upright and regular in all the actions of our lives;
for the fruit will be like the tree; and as men are, so will they do.
He that honoureth not his God, is not like well to honour his parents
or his king: he that is not moved to it by his regard to God, is never
like to be universally and constantly just and faithful unto men.
Experience telleth us that it is the truest worshippers of God that
are truest and most conscionable in their dealings with their
neighbours: this windeth up the spring, and ordereth and strengtheneth
all the causes of a good conversation.

5. The right worshipping of God is the highest and most rational
delight of man. Though to a sick, corrupted soul it be unpleasant, as
food to a sick stomach, yet to a wise and holy soul there is nothing
so solidly and durably contentful. As it is God's damning sentence on
the wicked, to say, "Depart from me," Matt. xxv. 41; vii. 23, so holy
souls would lose their joys, and take themselves to be undone, if God
should bid them, "Depart from me; worship me, and love me, and praise
me no more." They would be weary of the world, were it not for God in
the world; and weary of their lives, if God were not their life.

6. The right worshipping of God prepareth us for heaven, where we are
to behold him, and love and worship him for ever. God bringeth not
unprepared souls to heaven: this life is the time that is purposely
given us for our preparation; as the apprenticeship is the time to
learn your trades. Heaven is a place of action and fruition, of
perfect knowledge, love, and praise: and the souls that will enjoy and
praise God there, must be disposed to it here; and therefore they must
be much employed in his worship.

7. And as it is in all these respects necessary as a means, so God
hath made it necessary by his command.[4] He hath made it our duty to
worship him constantly; and he knoweth the reason of his own commands.
"It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only
shalt thou serve," Matt. iv. 10. If God should command us nothing, how
is he our Governor and our God? and if he command us any thing, what
should he command us more fitly than to worship him? and he that will
not obey him in this, is not like to obey him well in any thing; for
there is nothing that he can with less show of reason except against;
seeing all the reason in the world must confess, that worship is most
due to God from his own creatures.

These reasons for the worship of God being undeniable, the objections
of the infidels and ungodly are unreasonable: as, _Object._ 1. That
our worship doth no good to God; for he hath no need of it. _Answ._
It pleaseth and honoureth him, as the making of the world, and the
happiness of man doth: doth it follow that there must be no world, nor
any man happy, because God hath no need of it, or no addition of
felicity by it? It is sufficient that it is necessary and good for us,
and pleasing unto God.

_Object._ 2. Proud men are unlikest unto God; and it is the proud that
love to be honoured and praised. _Answ._ Pride is the affecting of an
undue honour, or the undue affecting of that honour which is due.
Therefore it is that this affectation of honour in the creature is a
sin, because all honour is due to God, and none to the creature but
derivatively and subserviently. For a subject to affect any of the
honour of his king, is disloyalty; and to affect any of the honour of
his fellow-subjects is injustice: but God requireth nothing but what
is absolutely his due; and he hath commanded us, even towards men, to
give "fear and honour to whom they are due," Rom. xiii. 7.

_Direct._ III. Labour for the truest knowledge of the God whom you
worship. Let it not be said of you, as Christ said to the Samaritan
woman, John iv. 22, "Ye worship ye know not what;" nor as it is said
of the Athenians, whose altar was inscribed, "To the unknown God,"
Acts xvii. 23. You must know whom you worship; or else you cannot
worship him with the heart, nor worship him sincerely and acceptably,
though you were at never so great labour and cost: God hath no
"pleasure in the sacrifice of fools," Eccles. v. 1, 4. Though no man
know him perfectly, you must know him truly. And though God taketh not
every man for a blasphemer, and denier of his attributes, whom
contentious, peevish wranglers call so, because they consequentially
cross some espoused opinions of theirs; yet real misunderstanding of
God's nature and attributes is dangerous, and tendeth to corrupt his
worship by the corrupting of the worshippers. For such as you take God
to be, such worship you will offer him; for your worship is but the
honourable acknowledgment of his perfections; and mistakingly to
praise him for supposed imperfections, is to dishonour him and
dispraise him. If to know God be your eternal life, it must needs be
the life of all your worship. Take heed therefore of ignorance and
error about God.

_Direct._ IV. Understand the office of Jesus Christ as our great High
Priest, by whose mediation alone we must have access to God.[5]
Whether there should have been any priesthood for sacrifice or
intercession if there had been no sin, the Scripture telleth us not
expressly; but we have great reason to conjecture there would have
been none, because there would not have been any reasons for the
exercise of such an office. But since the fall, not only the
Scriptures, but the practice of the whole world, doth tell us that the
sinful people are unmeet immediately thus to come to God, but that
they must come by the mediation of the priest, as a sacrificer and
intercessor. So that either nature teacheth sinners the necessity of
some mediator, or the tradition of the church hath dispersed the
knowledge of it through the world: and certainly no other priest but
Christ can procure the acceptance of a sinful people upon his own
account; nor be an effectual mediator for them to God, unless in
subserviency to an effectual mediator who can procure us access and
acceptance for his own sake. For all other priests are sinners as well
as the people, and have as much need of a mediator for themselves. 1.
See therefore that you never appear before God, but as sinners, that
have offended him, and have deserved to be cast out of his favour for
ever, and such as are in absolute necessity of a mediator to procure
their access and acceptance with God: come not to God without the
sense of sin and misery. 2. See also that you come as those that have
a mediator in the presence of God; even Jesus our High Priest who
appeareth before God continually to make intercession for us: come
therefore with holy boldness, and confidence, and joy, having so sure
and powerful a Friend with God, the Beloved of the Father, whom he
heareth always.[6]

_Direct._ V. Look carefully to the state of thy soul, that thou bring
not an unholy heart to worship the most holy God. Come not in the love
of sin, nor in the hatred of holiness; for otherwise thou hatest God,
and art hated of him, as bringing that before him which he cannot but
hate. And it is easy to judge how unfit they are to worship God, that
hate him; and how unlike they are to be accepted by him whom he
hateth. Psal. v. 3-7, "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O
Lord: in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look
up: for thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness, neither
shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight;
thou hatest all the workers of iniquity.--Thou shalt destroy them that
speak leasing: the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man. But
as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercies,
and in thy fear will I worship towards thy holy temple." Psal. lxvi.
18, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me."
Psal. xv. 1, 2, "Who shall abide in God's tabernacle, but he that
walketh uprightly and worketh righteousness?" God will be sanctified
in them that come nigh him, Lev. x. 3; and are unsanctioned persons
fit for this? And can the unholy offer him holy worship? "The carnal
mind is enmity against God;" is it fit then to serve and honour him?
Rom. i. 7, 8. See 2 Cor. vi. 15-18. "Let him that nameth the name of
Christ depart from iniquity," 2 Tim. ii. 19. It is a purified,
peculiar, holy people that Christ hath redeemed to be the worshippers
of God, and as priests to "offer him acceptable sacrifice," Tit. ii.
14; 1 Pet. ii. 5, 9. If you will "receive the kingdom that cannot be
moved, you must have grace in your hearts to serve God acceptably with
reverence and godly fear; for our God is a consuming fire," Heb. xii.
28, 29. I know an ungodly person, as soon as he hath any repenting
thoughts, must express them in confession and prayer to God. But as no
prayers of an ungodly man are profitable to him, but those which are
acts of his penitent return towards God; so no worship of God hath a
promise of divine acceptance, but that which is performed by such as
sincerely return to God (and such are not ungodly). "The sacrifice of
the wicked is abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright
is his delight," Prov. xv. 8. I know the wicked must "seek the Lord
while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near;" but it
must be in "forsaking his way and thoughts, and turning to the Lord,"
Isa. lv. 6, 7. Simon Magus must first "repent of his wickedness," and
then pray that the thoughts of his heart may be forgiven him, Acts
viii. 22. O come not in thy unholy, carnal state to worship God,
unless it be as a penitent returner to him, to lament first thy sin
and misery, that thou mayst be sanctified and reconciled, and fit to
worship him.

_Direct._ VI. Yet take it not as sufficient that thou art in a state
of sanctification, but also particularly sanctify thyself to every
particular address to God in holy worship. Even the child of a king
will not go rudely in dirt and filthiness into his father's presence.
Who would not search his heart and life, and cleanse his soul from his
particular pollution, by renewed repentance and purposes of
reformation, before he venture to speak to God? Particular sins have
made sad breaches between God and his children, and made foul work in
souls that the blood of Christ had cleansed. Search therefore with
fear, lest there should be any reviving sin, or any hidden root of
bitterness, or any transgression which thou winkest at or wilfully
cherishest in thyself; that, if there be such, thou mayst bewail and
hate it, and not come to God as if he had laid by his hatred of sin.

_Direct._ VII. Whenever thou comest to worship God, labour to awaken
thy soul to a reverent apprehension of the presence, and greatness,
and holiness of his majesty, and to a serious apprehension of the
greatness and excellency of the holy work which thou takest in hand.
Remember with whom thou hast to do, Heb. iv. 13. To speak to God, is
another kind of work than to speak to the greatest prince on earth,
yea, or the greatest angel in heaven. Be holy, for the Lord your God
is holy. To sanctify the name of God, and come in holiness before him,
is to apprehend him as infinitely advanced above the whole creation,
and to come with hearts that are separated from common things to him,
and elevated above a common frame. A common frame in worship (such as
we have about our common business) is mere profaneness. If it be
common it is unclean. Look to your feet when you go to the house of
God, Eccl. v. 1. Put off the shoes of earthly, common, unhallowed
affections, whenever you tread on holy ground, that is, when you are
about holy work, and when you draw near the holy God. In reverent
adoration say as Jacob, "How dreadful is this place! this is none
other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven," Gen.
xxviii. 17. See Isa. vi. 1, 3, 5.

_Direct._ VIII. In the worship of God, remember your communion with
the holy angels, and with all the hosts of heaven.[7] You are the
servants of the same God, and though you are yet far below them, you
are doing that which tendeth towards their dignity; for you must be
equal with them. Your work is partly of the same kind with theirs: it
is the same holy Majesty that you admire and praise, though you see
him yet but as in a glass. And the angels are some of them present
with you, and see you, though you see not them: 1 Cor. xi. 10, you are
commanded to respect them in your behaviour in God's worship. If the
eye of faith were so far opened, as that in all your worshipping of
God, you saw the blessed companies of angels, though not in the same
place and manner with you, yet in the same worship and in communion
with you, admiring, magnifying, extolling, and praising the most
glorious God, and the glorified Redeemer, with flaming, fervent, holy
minds, it would sure do much to elevate your souls, and raise you up
to some imitation or resemblance of them.[8] You find that in God's
public worship, it is a great help to the soul, in holy cheerfulness
and fervour, to join with a full assembly of holy, fervent, cheerful
worshippers: and that it is very difficult to the best, to keep up
life and fervent cheerfulness in so small, or ignorant, or profane a
company, as where there is no considerable number to concur with us.
Oh then, what a raising help would it be, to praise God as within the
sight and hearing of the heavenly praises of the angelical choir! You
see how apt men are to be conformed to the company that they are in.
They that are among dancers, or gamesters, or tipplers, or filthy
talkers, or scorners, or railers, are apt to do as the company doth,
or at least to be the more disposed to it. And they that are among
saints, in holy worship or discourse, are apt to imitate them much
more than they would do in other company. And what likelier way is
there, to make you like angels in the worshipping of God, than to do
it as in the communion of the angels? and by faith to see and hear
them in the concert? The angels disdain not to study our studies, and
to learn "by the church the manifold wisdom of God," Eph. iii. 10; 1
Pet. i. 12. They are not so far from us, nor so strange to us and our
affairs, as that we should imagine ourselves to be out of their
communion. Though we may not worship them, Col. ii. 18, we must
worship as with them.

_Direct._ IX. Take special care to the matter of your worship, that it
be such as is agreeable to the will of God, to the holiness of his
nature, and the directions of his word; and such as hath a promise of
his acceptance. Offer him not the sacrifice of fools, who know not
that they do evil, and are adding to their sins, while they think they
are pleasing him. Bring no false fire unto his altars: let your zeal
of God be according to knowledge. For no zeal will make a corrupt,
unlawful kind of worship, to be acceptable unto God.[9]

_Direct._ X. See that you perform every part of worship to the proper
end to which it is appointed; both as to the ultimate, remote, and
nearest end. The end is essential to these relative duties. If you
intend not the right end, you make another thing of it: as the
preaching of a sermon to edify the church, or putting up a prayer to
procure God's blessings, is not the same thing as a stage-player's
profane repeating the same words in scorn of godliness, or an
hypocrite's using them for commodity or applause. The ultimate end of
all worship and all moral actions is the same, even the pleasing and
glorifying God, 1 Cor. x. 31; 2 Tim. ii. 4.[10] Besides which every
part of worship hath its proper, nearest end. These must not only be
distinctly known, but actually intended. It is God in Christ that a
holy worshipper thirsteth after and seeketh for in every part of
worship, either to know more of God, and of his will, and blessings;
or to have some more communion with him, or some further grace
communicated from him, to receive his pardoning, or cleansing, or
quickening, or confirming, or comforting, or exalting grace; to be
honoured or delighted in his holy service, or to make known his grace
and glory for the good of others, and the honour of his name.[11] Here
it is that God proclaimeth his name, as Exod. xxxiv. 6. The ordinances
of God's worship are like the tree in which Zaccheus climbed up (being
of himself too low) to have a sight of Christ. Here we come to learn
the will of God for our salvation; and must enter the assembly with
such resolutions as Cornelius and his company met, Acts x. 33, "We are
all here met to hear all things commanded thee of God:" and as Acts
ii. 37, and Acts xvi. 30, to learn what we must do to be saved. Hither
we come for that holy light, which may show us our sin, and show us
the grace which we have received, and show us the unspeakable love of
God, till we are humbled for sin, and lifted up by faith in Christ,
and can with Thomas, as it were, put our fingers into his wounds, and
say in assurance, "My Lord and my God:" and as Psal. xlviii. 14, "This
God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto
death." Here we do as it were with Mary sit at the feet of Jesus, to
hear his word, Luke x. 39, that fire from heaven may come down upon
our hearts, and we may say, "Did not our hearts burn within us while
he spake to us, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?" Luke xxiv.
32. Here we cry to him as the blind man, Mark x. 51, "Lord, that I may
receive my sight." We cry here to the watchmen, Cant. iii. 3, "Saw ye
him whom my soul loveth." Here we are in his "banqueting house," under
the "banner of his love," Cant. ii. 4. We have here the sealing and
quickenings of his Spirit, the mortification of our sin, the increase
of grace, and a prospect into eternal life, and a foresight of the
endless happiness there. See then that you come to the worship of God
with these intentions and expectations; that if God or conscience call
to you, (as God did sometime to Elias,) "What dost thou here?" you may
truly answer, I came to seek the Lord my God, and to learn his will
that I might do it. And that your sweet delights may make you say,
Psal. lxxxiv. 4, "Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, they will
be still praising thee." If thou come to the worship of God in mere
custom, or to make thy carnal heart believe that God will forgive thee
because thou so far servest him, or to quiet thy conscience with the
doing of a formal task of duty, or to be seen of men, or that thou
mayst not be thought ungodly, if these be thy ends, thou wilt speed
accordingly. A holy soul cannot live upon the air of man's applause,
nor upon the shell of ordinances, without God who is the kernel and
the life of all: it is the love of God that brings them thither, and
it is love that they are exercising there, and the end of love, even
the nearer approach of the soul to God, which they desire and intend.
Be sure then that these be the true and real intentions of thy heart.

[Sidenote: How to know that we have the right ends in worship.]

_Quest._ But how shall I know whether indeed it be God himself that I
am seeking, and that I perform his worship to the appointed ends?

_Answ._ In so great a business it is a shame to be unacquainted with
your intentions. If you take heed what you do, and look after your
hearts, you may know what you come for, and what is your business
there. But more particularly, you may discern it by these marks: 1. He
that hath right ends, and seeketh God, will labour to suit all his
duties to those ends, and will like that best which is best suited to
them; he will strive so to preach, and hear, and pray, not as tends
most to preferment or applause, but as tendeth most to please and
honour God, and to attain his grace; and he will love that sermon or
that prayer best, that is best fitted to bring up his soul to God, and
not that which tickleth a carnal ear. Mark what you fit the means to,
and you may perceive what is your end. 2. If it be God himself that
you seek after in his worship, you will not be satisfied without God:
it is not the doing of the task that will satisfy you, nor yet the
greatest praise of men, no not of the most godly men; but so far as
you have attained your end, in the cleansing, or quickening, or
strengthening of the soul, or getting somewhat nearer God, or pleasing
or honouring him, so far only you will be contented. 3. If God be your
end, you will be faithful in the use of that more private and
spiritual worship, where God is to be found, though no human applause
be there to be attained. 4. And you will love still the same
substantial, necessary truth and duty, which is to your souls as bread
and drink is to your bodies; when those that have carnal ends will be
looking after variety and change, and will be weary of the necessary
bread of life. By observing these things you may discern what are your
ends in worship.

And here I must not let go this necessary direction, till I have
driven on the reader with some more importunity to the serious
practice of it. It is lamentable to see, how many turn the worship of
God into vile hypocrisy, and dead formality; and offer God a carrion
for a sacrifice; and yet their consciences are so far from checking
them for this heinous sin, that they are much pleased and quieted by
it, as if they had deserved well of God, and proved themselves very
godly people, and by this sin had made him amends for the common sins
of their lives. Is it God himself, and his sanctifying grace, that
those men seek after in his worship, who hate his grace and scorn
sanctification, and can leave God to be enjoyed by others, if they may
but enjoy their fleshly pleasures, and riches, and honours in the
world? Even the haters of God and holiness are so blinded, as to
persuade themselves that in his worship they are truly seeking that
God and holiness which they hate. And oh what a deal of pains is many
a formal hypocrite at to little purpose; in spending many hours in
outside, heartless, lifeless worship, while they never thirsted after
God, nor after a holy conformity to him, communion with him, or
fruition of him, in all their lives![12] Oh what a deal of labour do
these Pharisees lose in bodily exercise which profiteth nothing, for
want of a right end in all that they do! because it is not God that
they seek: when "godliness is profitable to all things," 1 Tim. iv. 8.
And what is godliness but the soul's devotedness to God, and seeking
after him? We have much ado to bring some men from their diversions to
God's outward worship; but oh how much harder is it to bring the soul
unfeignedly to seek God in that worship where the body is present!
When David in the wilderness was driven from the sanctuary, he crieth
out in the bitterness of his soul, "As the hart panteth after the
water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God: my soul thirsteth
for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say
unto me, Where is thy God?" You see here that it was God himself that
David thirsted after in his worship. Alas! what is all the outward
pomp of worship, if God be not the end and life of all? Without him
how vain a thing would the words of prayer, and preaching, and the
administration of the sacraments be! It is not the dead letter, but
the quickening Spirit that maketh the dead in sin to live; that
convinceth or comforteth the soul; or maketh the worshipper holy or
happy. Nay, it is some aggravation of your misery, to be destitute of
true communion with God, while you seem to worship him; and to be far
from him in the heart, while you draw so near him with the lips; to
boast of the temple of the Lord, and be forsaken by the Lord of the
temple! That Capernaum shall be cast down to hell, that is but thus
lifted up to heaven; and it will be easier for Sodom in the day of
judgment, than for such as had the public ordinances without God.
David left the ark with Absalom at Jerusalem; but God was not with
Absalom but with David.[13] No marvel if such hypocrites grudge at all
that is costly in God's service; even the necessary maintenance of the
ministers; for if they have only the shell of ordinances without God,
it will scarce requite them for their cost. No marvel if they think
all their pains too much, when they take up with the chaff which is
scarcely worth their pains. No wonder if they find small pleasure in
God's service; for what pleasure is there in the husks or chaff, or in
a deaf nut? No wonder if they grow no better, no holier or stronger by
it; for what strength will chaff and shadows breed? No marvel if they
are quickly weary, and if a little of such religion seem enough, when
the life, and spirits, and strength, and sweetness is neglected. O
sinners, remember, that God desireth not yours but you, and all your
wealth and service is as nothing to him, if he have not yourselves
(when yet you are so little worth the having). Nay, how earnestly doth
he sue to have you! how dearly hath he bought you! he may challenge
you as his own. Answer this kindness of God aright; let no ordinance
nor any common mercy satisfy you, if you have not God himself. And to
encourage you let me further tell you,

1. If it be God himself that thou seekest in his worship (sincerely)
thou shalt find him: because thou hast chosen the better part, it
shall not be taken from thee.[14] Because thou hungerest and thirstest
after him thou shalt be satisfied. What joyful news is this to the
thirsty soul! 2. Thou art more welcome to God with these high desires;
this holy ambition and aspiring of love is only acceptable to him. If
all ordinances be nothing to thee without God, he will see that thou
understandest the true use of ordinances, and put down thy name among
his lovers, whom he cannot despise. He loveth not to see men debase
their souls, to feed on husks and chaff with hypocrites, any more than
to feed on filth and dirt, with sensualists and worldlings. As he
accepted Solomon's prayer because he asked not for little things, but
for great,[15] so he is very much pleased with the soul, that is
unsatisfied with all the world, and can be content with nothing lower
or worse than God himself. 3. Nay, because thou seekest God himself,
thou shalt have all things with him that are worth the having, Matt.
vi. 33; Rom. viii. 28. When hypocrites have but the carcass and
shadow, it is thou that shalt have the substantial food and joy. As
they that were with Paul when he was converted, did hear the voice but
saw no man, Acts ix. 7; so others shall hear the sound of the word,
and the name of God, but it is thou that shalt see him by faith that
is invisible, and feel the power and efficacy of all. Thou shalt hear
God speak to thee, when he that sitteth in the same seat with thee,
shall hear no more than the voice of man. It is he that seeketh after
God in his ordinances, that is religious in good sadness, and is
employed in a work, that is worthy of an immortal, rational soul. The
delights of ordinances as they are performed by man, will savour of
his imperfections, and taste of the instrument, and have a bitterness
often mixed with the sweet; when the delight that cometh from God
himself will be more pure. Ordinances are uncertain: you may have them
to-day, and lose them to-morrow! when God is everlasting, and
everlastingly to be enjoyed. O therefore take not up short of God, in
any of his worship, but before you set upon it, call up your souls to
mind the end, and tell them what you are going to do, that you miss
not of the end for want of seeking it. The devil will give
hypocritical worldlings leave to play them with the most excellent
ordinances, if he can but keep God out of sight, even as you will let
your children play them with a box of gold, as long as it is shut,
and they see not what is within.

_Direct._ XI. Be laborious with your hearts in all God's worship to
keep them employed on their duty; and be watchful over them, lest they
slug or wander.[16] Remember that it is heart work that you are
principally about. And therefore see that your hearts be all the while
at work. Take yourselves as idle when your hearts are idle. And if you
take not pains with them, how little pains will they take in duty! If
you watch them not, how quickly will they lie down, and forget what
they are doing, and fall asleep when you are in treaty with God! How
easily will they turn aside, and be thinking of impertinent vanities!
Watch therefore unto prayer and every duty, 1 Pet. iv. 7; 2 Tim. iv.

_Direct._ XII. Look up to heaven as that which all your duties tend
to, that from thence you may fetch your encouraging motives. Do all as
a means to life eternal; separate no duty from its reward and end. As
the traveller remembereth whither he is going all the way, and a
desired end doth make the foulest steps seem tolerable; so think in
every prayer you put up, and in every duty, that it is all for heaven.

_Direct._ XIII. Depend upon the Spirit of God for help. You cannot
seek God spiritually and acceptably without him. Think not that you
are sufficient to worship God aright without his help. Where this is
despised or neglected, you see what lamentable work is made by blind,
corrupted nature in God's service. Sensual wretches that have not the
Spirit, are fitter for any thing than to worship God.[17] "If he that
hath not the Spirit of Christ be none of his," Rom. viii. 9, then he
that pretends to worship God without the Spirit of Christ, can ill
think to be heard for the sake of Christ.

_Direct._ XIV. Look also to your tongues and the deportment of your
bodies, that the whole man may worship God in holiness as he
requireth. Pretend not your good meanings, nor the spirituality of
your worship, to excuse you from worshipping also with your bodies.
Your hearts must be first looked to; but your words and bodies must be
next looked to; and if you regard not these, it is hardly credible
that you regard your hearts. 1. Your words and gestures are the due
expression of your hearts; and the heart will desire to express itself
as it is. Many would express their hearts to be better than they are;
and therefore good expressions are oft to be suspected. But few would
express their hearts as worse than they are; and therefore bad
appearances do seldom lie. 2. Your words and actions are needful to
the due honouring of God. As evil words and actions do dishonour him,
and the unseemly, disorderly performance of his service, is very
injurious to such holy things; so your meet and comely words and
gestures are the external beauty of the worship which you perform; and
God should be served with the best. 3. Your words and gestures reflect
much on your own hearts. As acts tend to the increase of the habits;
so the external expressions tend to increase the internal affections,
whether they be good or evil. 4. Your words and gestures must be
regarded for the good of others, who see not your hearts, but by these
expressions. And where many have communion in worshipping God, such
acts of communion are of great regard.

[1] Qui totos dies precabantur et immolabant, ut sui liberi sibi
superstites essent, superstitiosi sunt appellati, quod nomen patuit
postea latius. Qui autem omnia, quæ ad cultum Deorum pertinerent,
diligenter retractarent, et tanquam relegerent, sunt dicti religiosi,
ex relegendo; ut elegantes ex eligendo, a diligendo diligentes, ex
intelligendo intelligentes. Superstitiosi et religiosi, alterum vitii
nomen, alterum laudis. Cicer. Nat. Deor. lib. ii. pag. 73, 74.

[2] If they that serve their God with mere words, and ceremony, and
mimical actions, were so served themselves, they might be silenced
with Aristippus's defence of his gallantry and sumptuous fare, Si
vituperandum, ait, hoc esset, in celebritatibus deorum profecto non
fieret. Laert. in Aristip. So Plato allowed drunkenness only in the
feasts of Bacchus.

[3] Read Mr. Herbert's Poem called "Providence."

[4] Psal. xlv. 11; lxvi. 4; lxxxvi. 9; xcv. 6; xcix. 5.

[5] Heb. viii. 3.

[6] Heb. vii. 27, 28; ix. 26, 28; x. 19-22, 13, 24; vi. 20; vii. 25,
26; Matt. xvii. 5; John xi. 42.

[7] Luke xx. 36; see Eccl. v. 5; Psal. cxxxviii. 1; Isa. vi. 2.

[8] See Mr. Ambrose's book of Communion with Angels; and Zanchy on the
same subject: and Mr. Lawrence's and Dr. Hammond's Annotat. on 1 Cor.

[9] Adulterium est, impium est, sacrilegium est, quodcunque humano
furore instituitur, ut dispositio Divina violetur. Cyprian. Eccl. v.
1, 2; Lev. x. 1-3; Rom. x. 2, 3.

[10] 1 Thess. ii. 4; Col. i. 10; John viii. 29; 1 Cor. vii. 32; Heb.
xi. 6; 1 John iii. 22.

[11] Psal. xlii.; lxxxiv.

[12] 2 Tim. iii. 5; 1 Tim. iv. 7.

[13] Isa. xxix. 13; Matt. xv. 8; xi. 23, 24; 2 Sam. xv. 25, 28, 29.

[14] Luke x. 42.

[15] 2 Chron. i. 10-12.

[16] Eph. vi. 18; Luke xxi. 36; Rev. iii. 3; Col. iv. 2; Matt. xiii.

[17] Jude 19.



The lamentable contentions that have arisen about the manner of God's
worship, and the cruelty, and blood, and divisions, and uncharitable
revilings which have thence followed, and also the necessary regard
that every christian must have to worship God according to his will,
do make it needful that I give you some directions in this case.

_Direct._ I. Be sure that you seriously and faithfully practise that
inward worship of God, in which the life of religion doth consist: as
to love him above all, to fear him, believe him, trust him, delight in
him, be zealous for him; and that your hearts be sanctified unto God,
and set upon heaven and holiness: for this will be an unspeakable help
to set you right in most controversies about the worshipping of
God.[18] Nothing hath so much filled the church with contentions, and
divisions, and cruelties about God's worship, as the agitating of
these controversies by unholy, unexperienced persons: when men that
hate a holy life, and holy persons, and the holiness of God himself,
must be they that dispute what manner of worship must be offered to
God by themselves and others, and when the controversies about God's
service are fallen into the hands of those that hate all serious
serving of him, you may easily know what work they will make of it. As
if sick men were to determine or dispute what meat and drink
themselves and all other men must live upon, and none must eat but by
their prescripts, most healthful men would think it hard to live in
such a country. As men are within, so will they incline to worship God
without. Outward worship is but the expression of inward worship; he
that hath a heart replenished with the love and fear of God, will be
apt to express it by such manner of worship, as doth most lively and
seriously express the love and fear of God. If the heart be a stranger
or an enemy to God, no marvel if such worship him accordingly. O could
we but help all contenders about worship to the inward light, and
life, and love, and experience of holy, serious christians, they would
find enough in themselves, and their experiences, to decide abundance
of controversies of this kind (though still there will be some, that
require also other helps to decide them.) It is very observable in all
times of the church, how in controversies about God's worship, the
generality of the godly, serious people, and the generality of the
ungodly and ludicrous worshippers, are ordinarily of differing
judgments! and what a stroke the temper of the soul hath in the
determination of such cases!

_Direct._ II. Be serious and diligent also in all those parts of the
outward worship of God that all sober christians are agreed in. For if
you be negligent and false in so much as you confess, your judgment
about the controverted part is not much to be regarded. God is not so
likely to direct profane ones and false-hearted hypocrites, and bless
them with a sound judgment in holy things, (where their lives show
that their practical judgments are corrupt,) as the sincere that obey
him in that which he revealeth to them. We are all agreed that God's
word must be your daily meditation and delight, Psal. i. 2; and that
you should "speak of it lying down and rising up, at home and
abroad," Deut. vi. 6-8; and that we must be constant, fervent, and
importunate in prayer, both in public and private, 1 Thess. v. 17;
Luke xviii. 1; James v. 16. Do you perform this much faithfully or
not? If you do, you may the more confidently expect that God should
further reveal his will to you, and resolve your doubts, and guide you
in the way that is pleasing to him. But if you omit the duty that all
are agreed on, and be unfaithful and negligent in what you know, how
unmeet are you to dispute about the controverted circumstances of
duty! To what purpose is it that you meddle in such controversies? Do
you do it wilfully to condemn yourselves before God, and shame
yourselves before men, by declaring the hypocrisy which aggravateth
your ungodliness? What a loathsome and pitiful thing is it, to hear a
man bitterly reproach those who differ from him in some circumstances
of worship, when he himself never seriously worshipped God at all!
when he meditateth not on the word of God, and instead of delighting
in it, maketh light of it, as if it little concerned him; and is
acquainted with no other prayer than a little customary lip-service!
Is such an ungodly neglecter of all the serious worship of God, a fit
person to fill the world with quarrels about the manner of his

_Direct._ III. Differ not in God's worship from the common sense of
the most faithful, godly christians, without great suspicion of your
own understandings, and a most diligent trial of the case. For if in
such practical cases the common sense of the faithful be against you,
it is to be suspected that the teaching of God's Spirit is against
you; for the Spirit of God doth principally teach his servants in the
matter of worship and obedience.

[Sidenote: The disadvantages of ungodly men in judging of holy

There are several errors that I am here warning you to avoid: 1. The
error of them that rather incline to the judgment of the ungodly
multitude, who never knew what it was to worship God in spirit and
truth. Consider the great disadvantages of these men to judge aright
in such a case. (1.) They must judge them without that teaching of the
Spirit, by which things spiritual are to be discerned, 1 Cor. ii. 13,
15. He that is blind in sin must judge of the mysteries of godliness.
(2.) They must judge quite contrary to their natures and inclinations,
or against the diseased habits of their wills: and if you call a
drunkard to judge of the evil of drunkenness, or a whoremonger to
judge of the evil of fornication, or a covetous, or a proud, or a
passionate man to judge of their several sins, how partial will they
be! And so will an ungodly man be in judging of the duties of
godliness. You set him to judge of that which he hateth. 3. You set
him to judge of that which he is unacquainted with: it is like he
never thoroughly studied it; but it is certain he never seriously
tried it, nor hath the experience of those, that have long made it a
great part of the business of their lives. And would you not sooner
take a man's judgment in physic, that hath made it the study and
practice of his life, than a sick man's that speaketh against that
which he never studied or practised, merely because his own stomach is
against it? Or will you not sooner take the judgment of an ancient
pilot about navigation, than one's that was never at sea? The
difference is as great in this present case.

2. And I speak this also to warn you of another error, that you prefer
not the judgment of a sect or party, or some few godly people, against
the common sense of the generality of the faithful; for the Spirit of
God is likelier to have forsaken a small part of godly people, than
the generality, in such particular opinions, which even good men may
be forsaken in: or if it be in greater things, it is more unreasonable
and more uncharitable for me to suspect that most that seem godly are
hypocrites and forsaken of God, than that a party or some few are so.

_Direct._ IV. Yet do not absolutely give up yourselves to the judgment
of any in the worshipping of God, but only use the advice of men in a
due subordination to the will of God, and the teaching of Jesus
Christ. Otherwise you will set man in the place of God, and will
reject Christ in his prophetical office, as much as using co-ordinate
mediators is a rejecting him in his priestly office. None must be
called master, but in subordination to Christ, because he is our
Master, Matt. xxiii. 8-10.

_Direct._ V. Condemn not all that in others, which you dare not do
yourselves; and practise not all that yourselves, which you dare not
condemn in others.[19] For you are more capable of judging in your own
cases, and bound to do it with more exactness and diligent inquiry,
than in the case of others. Ofttimes a rational doubt may necessitate
you to suspend your practice, as your belief or judgment is suspended;
when yet it will not allow you to condemn another whose judgment and
practice hath no such suspension. Only you may doubt whether he be in
the right, as you doubt as to yourself. And yet you may not therefore
venture to do all that you dare not condemn in him; for then you must
wilfully commit all the sins in the world, which your weakness shall
make a doubt or controversy of.

_Direct._ VI. Offer God no worship that is clearly contrary to his
nature and perfections, but such as is suited to him as he is revealed
to you in his word. Thus Christ teacheth us, to worship God as he is:
and thus God often calleth for holy worship, because he is holy.[20]
1. "God is a Spirit: therefore they that worship him, must worship him
in spirit and in truth;" (which Christ opposeth to mere external
ceremony or shadows;) "for the Father seeketh such to worship him,"
John iv. 23, 24. 2. God is incomprehensible, and infinitely distant
from us: therefore worship him with admiration, and make not either
visible or mental images of him, nor debase him by undue resemblance
of him to any of his creatures.[21] 3. God is omnipresent, and
therefore you may every where lift up holy hands to him, 1 Tim. ii. 8.
And you must always worship him as in his sight. 4. God is omniscient,
and knoweth your hearts, and therefore let your hearts be employed and
watched in his worship. 5. God is most wise, and therefore not to be
worshipped ludicrously with toys, as children are pleased with to
quiet them, but with wise and rational worship. 6. God is most great,
and therefore to be worshipped with the greatest reverence and
seriousness; and not presumptuously, with a careless mind, or
wandering thoughts, or rude expressions. 7. God is most good and
gracious, and therefore not to be worshipped with backwardness,
unwillingness, and weariness, but with great delight. 8. God is most
merciful in Christ, and therefore not to be worshipped despairingly,
but in joyful hope. 9. God is true and faithful, and therefore to be
worshipped believingly and confidently, and not in distrust and
unbelief. 10. God is most holy, and therefore to be worshipped by
holy persons, in a holy manner, and not by unholy hearts or lips, nor
in a common manner, as if we had to do but with a man. 11. He is the
Maker of your souls and bodies, and therefore to be worshipped both
with soul and body. 12. He is your Redeemer and Saviour, and therefore
to be worshipped by you as sinners in the humble sense of your sin and
misery, and as redeemed ones in the thankful sense of his mercy, and
all in order to your further cleansing, healing, and recovery. 13. He
is your Regenerator and Sanctifier, and therefore to be worshipped not
in the confidence of your natural sufficiency, but by the light, and
love, and life of the Holy Ghost. 14. He is your absolute Lord, and
the Owner of you and all you have, and therefore to be worshipped with
the absolute resignation of yourself and all, and honoured with your
substance, and not hypocritically, with exceptions and reserves. 15.
He is your sovereign King, and therefore to be worshipped according to
his laws, with an obedient kind of worship, and not after the
traditions of men, nor the will or wisdom of the flesh.[22] 16. He is
your heavenly Father, and therefore all these holy dispositions should
be summed up into the strongest love, and you should run to him with
the greatest readiness, and rest in him with the greatest joy, and
thirst after the full fruition of him with the greatest of your
desires, and press towards him for himself with the most fervent and
importunate suits. All these the very being and perfections of God
will teach you in his worship: and therefore if any controverted
worship be certainly contrary to any of these, it is certainly
unwarranted and unacceptable unto God.

_Direct._ VII. Pretend not to worship God by that which is
destructive, or contrary to the ends of worship. For the aptitude of
it as a means to its proper end, is essential to it. Now the ends of
worship are, 1. The honouring of God. 2. The edifying of ourselves in
holiness, and delighting our souls in the contemplation and praises of
his perfections. 3. The communicating this knowledge, holiness, and
delight to others, and the increase of his actual kingdom in the
world. (1.) Avoid then all that pretended worship which dishonoureth
God (not in the opinion of carnal men, that judge of him by their own
misguided imaginations, but according to the discovery of himself to
us in his works and word). Many travellers that have conversed with
the soberer heathen and Mahometan nations, tell us, that it is not the
least hinderance of their conversion, and cause of their contempt of
christianity, to see the christians that live about them, to worship
God so ignorantly, irrationally, and childishly, as many of them
do.[23] (2.) Affect most that manner of worship (_cæteris paribus_)
which tendeth most to your own right information, and holy resolutions
and affections, and to bring up your souls into nearer communion and
delight in God: and not that which tendeth to deceive, or flatter, or
divert you from him, nor to be in your ears as sounding brass, or a
tinkling cymbal, or as one that is playing you a lesson of music; and
tendeth not to make you better. (3.) Affect not that manner of worship
which is an enemy to knowledge, and tendeth to keep up ignorance in
the world: such as is a great part of the popish worship, especially
their reading the Scriptures to the people in an unknown tongue, and
celebrating their public prayers, and praises, and sacraments in an
unknown tongue, and their seldom preaching, and then teaching the
people to take up with a multitude of toyish ceremonies, instead of
knowledge and rational worship. Certainly that which is an enemy to
knowledge, is an enemy to all holiness and true obedience, and to the
ends of worship, and therefore is no acceptable worshipping of God.
(4.) Affect not that pretended worship which is of itself destructive
of true holiness: such as is the preaching of false doctrine, not
according to godliness, and the opposition and reproaching of a holy
life and worship, in the misapplication of true doctrine; and then
teaching poor souls to satisfy themselves with their mass, and mass
ceremonies, and an image of worship, instead of serious holiness,
which is opposed: Prov. xxiv. 24, "He that saith to the wicked, Thou
art righteous, him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him."
And if this be done as a worship of God, you may hence judge how
acceptable it will be: Isa. v. 20, "Woe unto them that call evil good,
and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" To make people
believe that holiness is but hypocrisy, or a needless thing, or that
the image of holiness is holiness itself, or that there is no great
difference between the godly and ungodly, doth all tend to men's
perdition, and to damn men by deceiving them, and to root out holiness
from the earth. See Ezek. xxii. 26; xliv. 23; Jer. xv. 19. "If thou
take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth,"
Mal. iii. 18; Psal. i.; xv. (5.) Affect not a dead and heartless way
of worship, which tendeth not to convince and waken the ungodly, nor
to make men serious as those that have to do with God.

_Direct._ VIII. Let the manner of your worshipping God be suited to
the matter that you have in hand. Remember that you are speaking
either to or of the eternal God; that you are employed about the
everlasting salvation of your own or others' souls; that all is high
and holy that you have to do: see then that the manner be answerable

_Direct._ IX. Offer God nothing as a part of worship which is a lie;
much less so gross a lie as to be disproved by the common senses and
reason of all the world. God needeth not our lie unto his glory.[24]
What worship then do papists offer him in their mass, who take it for
an article of their faith, that there is no bread or wine left after
the consecration, it being all transubstantiate into the very body and
blood of Christ? And when the certainty of all men's senses is
renounced, then all certainty of faith and all religion is renounced;
for all presuppose the certainty of sense.

_Direct._ X. Worship not God in a manner that is contrary to the true
nature, and order, and operations of a rational soul. I mean not to
the corrupted nature of man, but to nature as rational in itself
considered. As, 1. Let not your mere will and inclination overrule
your understandings; and say not as blind lovers do, I love this, but
I know not why; or children that eat unwholesome meat, because they
love it.[25] 2. Let not passion overtop your reason: worship God with
such a zeal as is according to knowledge. 3. Let not your tongues lead
your hearts, much less overgo them: words may indeed reflect upon the
heart, and warm it more; but that is but the secondary use: the first
is to be the expressions of the heart: you must not speak without or
against your hearts, (that is, falsely,) that by so speaking you may
better your hearts (and make the words true, that at first were not
true); unless it be when your words are but reading recitations or
narratives, and not spoken of yourselves. The heart was made to lead
the tongue, and the tongue to express it, and not to lead it.
Therefore speak not to God either the words of a parrot, which you do
not understand, or the words of a liar or hypocrite, which express not
the meaning, or desires, or feeling of your hearts: but first
understand and feel what you should speak, and then speak that which
you understand and feel.

_Quest._ How then can a prayer be lawful that is read or heard from a

_Answ._ There is in reading the eye, and in hearing the ear, that is
first to affect the heart, and then the tongue is to perform its
office. And though it be sudden, yet the passage to the heart is
first, and the passage from the heart is last: and the soul is quick,
and can quickly thus both receive and be affected and express itself.
And the case is the same in this, whether it be from a book, or from
the words of another without book: for the soul must do the same, as
quickly, in joining with another that speaketh before us, without a
book as with it.

[Sidenote: How far the Scripture is the law or rule of worship and
discipline, and how far not.]

_Direct._ XI. Understand well how far Christ hath given a law and a
rule for worship to his church in the holy Scriptures, and so far see
that you take it as a perfect rule, and swerve not from it by adding
or diminishing. This is a matter of great importance by reason of the
danger of erring on either side. 1. If you think that the Scripture
containeth not any law or rule of worship at all, or not so much as
indeed it doth, you will deny a principal part of the office of
Christ, as the King and Teacher of the church, and will accuse his
laws of insufficiency, and be tempted to worship him with a human kind
of worship, and to think yourselves at liberty to worship him
according to your own imaginations, or change his worship according to
the fashion of the age or the country where you are. And on the other
side, if you think that the Scripture is a law and rule of worship,
more particular than Christ intended it, you will involve yourselves
and others in endless scruples and controversies, and find fault with
that which is lawful and a duty, because you find it not particularly
in the Scripture: and therefore it is exceeding needful to understand
how far it is intended to be herein our law and rule, and how far not:
to handle this fully would be a digression, but I shall briefly answer

1. No doubt but Christ is the only universal Head and Lawgiver to his
church.[26] And that legislation is the first and principal part of
government: and therefore if he had made no laws for his church, he
were not the full governor of it. And therefore he that arrogateth
this power to himself to be lawgiver to the church universal (as such)
doth usurp the kingly office of Christ, and committeth treason against
his government; (unless he can prove that Christ hath delegated to him
this chief part of his government, which none can do;) there being no
universal lawgiver to the church but Christ, (whether pope or
council,) no law that is made by any mere man can be universally
obligatory. Therefore seeing the making of all universal laws doth
belong only to Christ, we may be sure that he hath perfectly done it;
and hath left nothing out of his laws that was fit to be there, nor
nothing at liberty that was fit to be determined and commanded.
Therefore whatsoever is of equal use or consideration to the universal
church, as it is to any one part of it, and to all times as it is to
any time of the church, should not be made a law by man to any part of
the church, if Christ have not made it a law to the whole: because
else they accuse him of being defective in his laws, and because all
his subjects are equally dependent on him as their King and Judge. And
no man must step into his throne pretending to amend his work which he
hath done amiss, or to make up any wants which the chief Lawgiver
should have made up.

2. These laws of Christ for the government of his church, are fully
contained in the holy Scriptures; for so much as is in nature, is
there also more plainly expressed than nature hath expressed it. All
is not Christ's law that is any way expressed in Scripture; but all
Christ's laws are expressed in the Scriptures; not written by himself,
but by his Spirit in his apostles, whom he appointed and sent to teach
all nations to observe whatever he commanded them, Matt. xxviii. 20:
who being thus commissioned and enabled fully by the Spirit to perform
it, are to be supposed to have perfectly executed their commission;
and to have taught whatsoever Christ commanded them, and no more as
from Christ: and therefore as they taught that present age by voice,
who could hear them, so they taught all ages after to the end of the
world by writing, because their voice was not by them to be heard.

3. So far then as the Scripture is a law and rule, it is a perfect
rule; but how far it is a law or rule, its own contents and
expressions must determine. As, (1.) It is certain that all the
internal worship of God (by love, fear, trust, desire, &c.) is
perfectly commanded in the Scriptures. (2.) The doctrine of Christ
which his ministers must read and preach is perfectly contained in the
Scriptures. (3.) The grand and constantly necessary points of order in
preaching, are there also expressed: as that the opening of men's
eyes, and the converting of them from the power of Satan to God, be
first endeavoured, and then their confirmation and further
edification, &c. (4.) Also that we humble ourselves before God in the
confession of our sins. (5.) And that we pray to God in the name of
Christ for mercy for ourselves and others. (6.) That we give God
thanks for his mercies to the church, ourselves, and others. (7.) That
we praise God in his excellencies manifested in his word and works of
creation and providence. (8.) That we do this by singing psalms with
holy joyfulness of heart. (9.) The matter and order of the ordinary
prayers and praises of christians is expressed in the Scripture (as
which parts are to have precedency in our estimation and desire, and
ordinarily in our expressions). (10.) Christ himself hath determined
that by baptizing them into the name of the Father, the Son, and the
Holy Ghost, men be solemnly entered into his covenant, and church, and
state of christianity. (11.) And he hath himself appointed that his
churches hold communion with him and among themselves, in the
eucharistical administration of the sacrament of his body and blood,
represented in the breaking, delivering, receiving, and eating the
consecrated bread, and in the pouring out, delivering, receiving, and
drinking the consecrated wine. (12.) And as for the mutable,
subservient circumstances, and external expressions, and actions, and
orders, which were not fit to be, in particular, the matter of a
universal law, but are fit in one place, or at one time, and not
another, for these he hath left both in nature and Scripture such
general laws, by which upon emergent occasions they may be determined;
and by particular providences he fitteth things, and persons, and
times, and places, so as that we may discern their agreeableness to
the descriptions in his general laws: as that all things be done
decently, in order, and to edification, and in charity, unity, and
peace. And he hath forbidden generally doing any thing undecently,
disorderly, to the hurt or destruction of our brethren, even the weak,
or to the division of the church.[27] (13.) And many things he hath
particularly forbidden in worship: as making to ourselves any graven
image, &c. and worshipping angels, &c.[28]

And as to the order and government of the church, (for I am willing to
despatch all here together,) this much is plainly determined in
Scripture: 1. That there be officers or ministers under Christ to be
the stated teachers of his people, and to baptize, and administer the
sacrament of his body and blood, and be the mouth and guide of the
people in public prayers, thanksgiving, and praises, and to bind the
impenitent and loose the penitent, and to be the directors of the
flocks according to the law of God, to life eternal; and their office
is described and determined by Christ. 2. It is required that
christians do ordinarily assemble together for God's public worship;
and be guided therein by these their pastors. 3. It is required that
besides the unfixed ministers, who employ themselves in converting
infidels, and in an itinerant service of the churches, there be also
stated, fixed ministers, having a special charge of each particular
church; and that they may know their own flocks, and from house to
house, and the people may know their own pastors that are over them in
the Lord, and honour them and obey them in all that they teach them
from the word of God for their salvation. 4. The ministers that
baptize are to judge of the capacity and fitness of those whom they
baptize; whether the adult that are admitted upon their personal
profession and covenanting, or infants that are admitted upon their
parents' profession and entering them into covenant. 5. The pastors
that administer the Lord's supper to their particular flocks, are to
discern or judge of the fitness of those persons whom they receive
newly into their charge, or whom they admit to communion in that
sacrament as members of their flock. 6. Every such pastor is also
personally to watch over all the members of his flock as far as he is
able; lest false teachers seduce them, or Satan get advantage of them,
or any corruption or root of bitterness spring up among them and
defile them. 7. It is the duty of the several members of the flock, if
a brother trespass against them, to tell him his faults between them
and him; and if he hear not, to take two or three, and if he hear not
them, to tell the church. 8. It is the pastor's duty to admonish the
unruly, and call them to repentance, and pray for their conversion. 9.
And it is the pastor's duty to declare the obstinately impenitent
uncapable of communion with the church, and to charge him to forbear
it, and the church to avoid him. 10. It is the people's duty to avoid
such accordingly, and have no familiarity with them, that they may be
ashamed; and with such, no, not to eat. 11. It is the pastor's duty to
absolve the penitent, declaring the remission of their sin, and
re-admitting to the communion of the saints. 12. It is the people's
duty to re-admit the absolved to their communion with joy, and to take
them as brethren in the Lord.[29] 13. Though every pastor hath a
general power to exercise his office in any part of the church, where
he shall be truly called to it; yet every pastor hath a special
obligation (and consequently a special power) to do it over the flock,
of which he hath received the special charge and oversight. 14. The
Lord's day is separated by God's appointment for the churches'
ordinary holy communion in God's worship under the conduct of these
their guides.[30] 15. And it is requisite that the several particular
churches do maintain as much agreement among themselves as their
capacity will allow them; and keep due synods and correspondences to
that end. Thus much of God's worship, and church order and government,
at least, is of divine institution, and determined by Scripture, and
not left to the will or liberty of man. Thus far the form of
government (at least) is of divine right.

But on the contrary, 1. About doctrine and worship; the Scripture is
no law in any of these following cases, but hath left them
undetermined. (1.) There are many natural truths which the Scripture
meddleth not with: as physics, metaphysics, logic, &c. (2.) Scripture
telleth not a minister what particular text or subject he shall preach
on this day or that. (3.) Nor what method his text or subject shall be
opened and handled in. (4.) Nor what day of the week besides the
Lord's day he shall preach, nor what hour on the Lord's day he shall
begin. (5.) Nor in what particular place the church shall meet. (6.)
Nor what particular sins we shall most confess; nor what personal
mercies we shall at this present time first ask; nor for what we shall
now most copiously give thanks: for special occasions must determine
all these. (7.) Nor what particular chapter we shall now read; nor
what particular psalm we shall now sing. (8.) Nor what particular
translation of the Scripture, or version of the Psalms, we shall now
use. Nor into what sections to distribute the Scripture, as we do by
chapters and verses. Nor whether the Bible shall be printed or
written, or in what characters, or how bound. (9.) Nor just by what
sign I shall express my consent to the truths or duties which I am
called to express consent to (besides the sacraments and ordinary
words). (10.) Nor whether I shall use written notes to help my memory
in preaching, or preach without. (11.) Nor whether I shall use a
writing or book in prayer, or pray without. (12.) Nor whether I shall
use the same words in preaching and prayer, or various new
expressions. (13.) Nor what utensils in holy administration I shall
use; as a temple or an ordinary house, a pulpit, a font, a table,
cups, cushions, and many such, which belong to the several parts of
worship. (14.) Nor in what particular gesture we shall preach, or
read, or hear. (15.) Nor what particular garments ministers or people
shall wear in time of worship. (16.) Nor what natural or artificial
helps to our natural faculties we shall use; as medicaments for the
voice, tunes, musical instruments, spectacles, hour-glasses: these and
such like are undetermined in Scripture, and are left to be determined
by human prudence, not as men please; but as means in order to the
proper end, according to the general laws of Christ.[31] For Scripture
is a general law for all such circumstances, but not a particular law.

So also for order and government, Scripture hath not particularly
determined, 1. What individual persons shall be the pastors of the
church. 2. Or of just how many persons the congregation shall consist.
3. Or how the pastors shall divide their work where there are many. 4.
Nor how many every church shall have. 5. Nor what particular people
shall be a pastor's special charge. 6. Nor what individual persons he
shall baptize, receive to communion, admonish, or absolve. 7. Nor in
what words most of these shall be expressed. 8. Nor what number of
pastors shall meet in synods, for the communion and agreement of
several churches, nor how oft, nor at what time or place, nor what
particular order shall be among them in their consultations; with many
such like.

When you thus understand how far Scripture is a law to you in the
worship of God, it will be the greatest direction to you, to keep you
both from disobeying God and your superiors; that you may neither
pretend obedience to man for your disobedience to God, nor pretend
obedience to God against your due obedience to your governors, as
those will do that think Scripture is a more particular rule than ever
Christ intended it: and it will prevent abundance of unnecessary
scruples, contentions, and divisions.

[Sidenote: What commands of God are not universal nor perpetual.]

_Direct._ XII. Observe well in Scripture the difference between
Christ's universal laws, (which bind all his subjects in all times and
places,) and those that are but local, personal, or alterable laws;
lest you think that you are bound to all that ever God bound any
others to. The universal laws and unalterable are those which result
from the foundation of the universal and unalterable nature of persons
and things, and those which God hath supernaturally revealed as
suitable constantly to all. The particular, local, or temporary laws
are those, which either resulted from a particular or alterable nature
of persons and things as mutually related, (as the law of nature bound
Adam's sons to marry their sisters, which bindeth others against it,)
or those which God supernaturally enacted only for some particular
people or person, or for the time. If you should mistake all the
Jewish laws for universal laws, (as to persons or duration,) into how
many errors would it lead you! So also if you mistake every personal
mandate sent by a prophet or apostle to a particular man, as obliging
all, you would make a snare of it. Every man is not to abstain from
vineyards and wine as the Rechabites were; nor every man to go forth
to preach in the garb as Christ sent the twelve and seventy disciples;
nor every man to administer or receive the Lord's supper in an upper
room of a house, in the evening, with eleven or twelve only, &c.; nor
every one to carry Paul's cloak and parchments, nor go up and down on
the messages which some were sent on. And here (in precepts about
worship) you must know what is the thing primarily intended in the
command, and what it is that is but a subservient means; for many laws
are universal and immutable as to the matter primarily intended, which
are but local and temporary as to the matter subservient and
secondarily intended. As the command of saluting one another with a
holy kiss, and using love-feasts in their sacred communion, primarily
intended the exercising and expressing holy love by such convenient
signs as were then in use, and suitable to those times; but that it be
done by those particular signs, was subservient, and a local,
alterable law; as appeareth, 1. In that it is actually laid down by
God's allowance. 2. In that in other places and times the same signs
have not the same signification and aptitude to that use at all, and
therefore would be no such expression of love; or else have also some
ill signification. So it was the first way of baptizing to dip them
over-head; which was fit in that hot country, which in colder
countries it would not be, as being destructive to health, and more
against modesty; therefore it is plain that it was but a local,
alterable law. The same is to be said of not eating things strangled,
and blood, which was occasioned by the offence of the Jews; and other
the like. This is the case in almost all precepts about the external
worshipping gestures: the thing that God commandeth universally is a
humble, reverent adoration of him by the mind and body. Now the
adoration of the mind is still the same; but the bodily expression
altereth according to the custom of countries: in most countries
kneeling or prostration are the expressions of greatest veneration and
submission: in some few countries it is more signified by sitting with
the face covered with their hands: in some it is signified best by
standing: kneeling is ordinarily most fit, because it is the most
common sign of humble reverence; but where it is not so, it is not
fit. The same we must say of other gestures, and of habits: the women
among the Corinthians were not to go uncovered because of the angels,
1 Cor. xi. 10, and yet in some places, where long hair or covering may
have a contrary signification, the case may be contrary. The very
fourth commandment, however it was a perpetual law as to the
proportion of time, yet was alterable as to the seventh day. Those
which I call universal laws, some call moral; but that is no term of
distinction, but signifieth the common nature of all laws, which are
for the governing of our manners. Some call them natural laws, and the
other positive: but the truth is, there are some laws of nature which
are universal, and some that are particular, as they are the result of
universal or particular nature: and there are some laws of nature that
are perpetual, which are the result of an unaltered foundation: and
there are some that are temporary, when it is some temporary,
alterable thing in nature from whence the duty doth result: so there
are some positive laws that are universal or unalterable, (during this
world,) and some that are local, particular, or temporary only.[32]

_Direct._ XIII. Remember that whatever duty you seem obliged to
perform, the obligation still supposeth that it is not naturally
impossible to you, and therefore you are bound to do it as well as you
can: and when other men's force, or your natural disability, hindereth
you from doing it as you would, you are not therefore disobliged from
doing it at all; but the total omission is worse than the defective
performance of it, as the defective performance is worse than the
doing of it more perfectly.[33] And in such a case the defects which
are utterly involuntary are none of yours imputatively at all, but
his that hindereth you (unless as some other sin might cause that). As
if I were in a country where I could have liberty to read and pray,
but not to preach, or to preach only once a month and no more; it is
my duty to do so much as I can do, as being much better than nothing,
and not to forbear all, because I cannot do all.

_Object._ But you must forbear no part of your duty? _Answ._ True: but
nothing is my duty which is naturally impossible for me to do. Either
I can do it, or I cannot: if I can, I must (supposing it a duty in all
other respects); but if I cannot, I am not bound to it.

_Object._ But it is not suffering that must deter you, for that is a
carnal reason: and your suffering may do more good than your
preaching. _Answ._ Suffering is considerable either as a pain to the
flesh, or as an irresistible hinderance of the work of the gospel: as
it is merely a pain to the flesh, I ought not to be deterred by it
from the work of God; but as it forcibly hindereth me from that work,
(as by imprisonment, death, cutting out the tongue, &c.) I may
lawfully foresee it, and by lawful means avoid it, when it is
sincerely for the work of Christ, and not for the saving of the flesh.
If Paul foresaw that the preaching of one more sermon at Damascus was
like to hinder his preaching any more, because the Jews watched the
gates day and night to kill him, it was Paul's duty to be let down by
the wall in a basket, and to escape, and preach elsewhere, Acts ix.
25. And when the christians could not safely meet publicly, they met
in secret, as John xix. 38; Acts xii. 12, &c. Whether Paul's suffering
at Damascus for preaching one more sermon, or his preaching more
elsewhere, was to be chosen, the interest of Christ and the gospel
must direct him to resolve: that which is best for the church, is to
be chosen.

_Direct._ XIV. Remember that no material duty is formally a duty at
all times: that which is a duty in its season, is no duty out of
season. Affirmative precepts bind not to all times (except only to
habits, or the secret intention of our ultimate end, so far as is
sufficient to animate and actuate the means, while we are waking and
have the use of reason). Praying and preaching, that are very great
duties, may be so unseasonably performed, as to be sins: if forbearing
a prayer, or sermon, or sacrament one day or month, be rationally like
to procure your help or liberty to do it afterward, when that once or
few times doing it were like to hinder you from doing it any more, it
would be your duty then to forbear it for that time (unless in some
extraordinary case): for even for the life of an ox or an ass, and for
mercy to men's bodies, the rest and holy work of a sabbath might be
interrupted; much more for the souls of many. Again I warn you, as you
must not pretend the interest of the end against a peremptory,
absolute command of God, so must you not easily conclude a command to
be absolute and peremptory to that which certainly contradicts the
end; nor easily take that for a duty, which certainly is no means to
that good which is the end of duty, or which is against it. Though yet
no seeming aptitude as a means, must make that seem a duty, which the
prohibition of God hath made a sin.

_Direct._ XV. It is ever unseasonable to perform a lesser duty of
worship, when a greater should be done; therefore it much concerneth
you to be able to discern, when two duties are inconsistent, which is
then the greater and to be preferred: in which the interest of the end
must much direct you; that being usually the greatest which hath the
greatest tendency to the greatest good.

_Direct._ XVI. Pretend not one part of God's worship against another,
when all, in their place and order, may be done. Set not preaching and
praying against each other; nor public and private worship against
each other; nor internal worship against external; but do all.

_Direct._ XVII. Let not an inordinate respect to man, or common
custom, be too strong a bias to pervert your judgments from the rule
of worship; nor yet any groundless prejudice make you distaste that
which is not to be disliked. The error on these two extremes doth fill
the world with corruption and contentions about the worship of God.
Among the papists, and Russians, and other ignorant sorts of
christians, abundance of corruptions are continued in God's worship by
the mere power of custom, tradition, and education; and all seemeth
right to which they have been long used: and hence the churches in
south, east, and west continue so long overspread with ignorance, and
refuse reformation.[34] And on the other side, mere prejudice makes
some so much distaste a prescribed form of prayer, or the way of
worship which they have not been used to, and which they have heard
some good men speak against, whose judgments they highliest esteemed,
that they have not room for sober, impartial reason to deliberate,
try, and judge. Factions have engaged most christians in the world
into several parties, whereby Satan hath got this great advantage,
that instead of worshipping God in love and concord, they lay out
their zeal in an envious, bitter, censorious, uncharitable reproaching
the manner of each other's worship. And because the interest of their
parties requireth this, they think the interest of the church and
cause of God requireth it; and that they do God service when they make
the religion of other men seem odious: whenas among most christians in
the world, the errors of their modes of worship are not so great as
the adverse parties represent them (except only the two great crimes
of the popish worship: 1. That it is not understood, and so is
soulless. 2. They worship bread as God himself, which I am not so able
as willing to excuse from being idolatry). Judge not in such cases by
passion, partiality, and prejudice.[35]

_Direct._ XVIII. Yet judge in all such controversies with that
reverence and charity which is due to the universal and the primitive
church. If you find any thing in God's worship which the primitive or
universal church agreed in, you may be sure that it is nothing but
what is consistent with acceptable worship; for God never rejected the
worship of the primitive or universal church. And it is not so much as
to be judged erroneous without great deliberation and very good proof.
We must be much more suspicious of our own understandings.

_Direct._ XIX. In circumstances and modes of worship not forbidden in
the word of God, affect not singularity, and do not easily differ from
the practice of the church in which you hold communion, nor from the
commands or directions of your lawful governors. It is true, if we are
forbidden with Daniel to pray, or with the apostles to speak any more
in the name of Christ, or are commanded as the three witnesses, Dan.
iii. to worship images, we must rather obey God than man;[36] and so
in case of any sin that is commanded us: but in case of mere different
modes, and circumstances, and order of worship, see that you give
authority and the consent of the church where you are their due.

_Direct._ XX. Look more to your own hearts than to the abilities of
the ministers, or the ceremonies or manner of the churches' worship in
such lesser things. It is heart-work and heaven-work that the sincere
believer comes about; and it is the corruption of his heart that is
the heaviest burden, which he groaneth under with the most passionate
complaints: a hungry soul, inflamed with love to God and man, and
tenderly sensible of the excellency of common truths and duties, would
make up many defects in the manner of public administration, and would
get nearer God in a defective, imperfect mode of worship, than others
can do with the greatest helps;[37] when hypocrites find so little
work with their hearts and heaven, that they are taken up about words,
and forms, and ceremonies, and external things, applauding their own
way, and condemning other men's, and serving Satan under pretence of
worshipping God.

[18] Read on this subject a small book which I have written, called
"Catholic Unity."

[19] See Rom. xiv. xv; 1 Cor. viii. 13.

[20] Lev. xix. 2; xx. 7; 1 Pet. i. 16.

[21] The second commandment. Cicero de Nat. Deor. lib. i. p. 46,
saith, that Possidonius believed that Epicurus thought there was no
God, but put a scorn upon him by describing him like a man, idle,
careless, &c. which he would not have done if he had thought there was
a God.

[22] Matt. xv. 2, 3, 6; Mark vii. 3-14; Col. ii. 8, 18, 22.

[23] But with the barbarous it is otherwise, saith Acosta the Jesuit,
p. 249. l. 2. Proderit quam plurimum ritus et signa et omnem externum
cultum diligenter curare. His quippe et delectantur et detinentur
homines animales (N. B.) donec paulatim aboleatur memoria et gustus
præteritorum. So Gr. Nyssen saith in vita Gr. Neocœs. that they
turned the pagans' festivals into festivals for the martyrs, to please
them the better. Which Beda and many others relate of the practice of
those times.

[24] Rom. iii. 7.

[25] Read Plutarch of Superstition.

[26] Isa. ii. 3; i. 10; xlii. 4; Mic. iv. 2; Heb iii. 2, 3, 5; x. 28:
Acts vii. 37, 38; iii. 23; Psal. xix. 7; Isa. v. 24.

[27] Rom. xiii. 9; Matt. xxii. 37; Isa. viii. 16, 20; Acts viii. 25;
xv. 35, 36; xxvi. 17, 18; 1 John i. 9; Neh. i. 6; Lev. xvi. 21; Phil.
iv. 6; Psal. l. 14; lxix. 30; c. 1, 2, 4; Eph. v. 19; Psal. ix. 11;
xcv. 1; Luke xi. 2, 3, &c.; Matt. xxviii. 19; 1 Cor. xi. 23-26, 28;
xiv. 5, 12, 26; 2 Cor. x. 8; xiii. 10; Rom. xv. 2; 1 Cor. xiv. 40;
Rom. xiv. 15, 20; 1 Cor. ix. 20-22; viii. 10; x. 19, 28; 2 Cor. vi.

[28] Second commandment, Col. ii. 18, &c.; 1 John v. 21; Rev. ii. 14.

[29] Matt. xxviii. 19: Rom. x. 7, 8; Acts xiv. 23; ii. 42; xx. 7, 28;
Eph. iv. 11, 14; Mal. ii. 7; Ezek. iii. 17, 21; 1 Cor. xii. 17, 28;
Col. i. 28; Acts xxvi. 18; 1 Thess. v. 12; Heb. xiii. 7, 17; Acts
viii. 37; ii. 37, 38; viii 20, 23; 1 Cor. x. 16; ix. 13, 14; Acts xx.;
2 Cor. ii. 11; Heb. xii. 15; Deut. x. 8; 2 Tim. iv. 1-3; Matt. xviii.
15-17; 2 Thess. iii.; 1 Cor. v. 11; 2 John 10, 11; Tit. iii. 10; 1
Cor. v. 3-8; Rom. xvi. 17; 1 Tim. v. 17; Luke x. 16; xii. 42; Acts
xiii. 23.

[30] Tit. i. 5, 9; 1 Tim. iii. 5; 1 Pet. v. 1-4; Rev. i. 10; Acts xx.
7; 1 Cor. xvi. 2.

[31] Of which I have spoken more fully in my Disput. 5. of Church
Government, p. 400, &c.

[32] See the advertisement before my book against Infidelity.

[33] See Mr. Truman's book of Natural and Moral Impotency.

[34] Majus fidei impedimentum ex inveterata consuetudine
proficiscitur: ubique consuetudo magnas vires habet; sed in barbaris
longe maximas: quippe ubi rationis est minimum, ibi consuetudo radices
profundissimas agit. In omni natura motio eo diuturnior ac
vehementior, quo magis est ad unum determinata. Jos. Acosta de Ind. l.
2. p. 249.

[35] See Bishop Jer. Taylor's late book against Popery.

[36] Acts iv. 17, 18; v. 28.

[37] Jam. iii. 15-17.



Though the first part of this book is little more than an explication
of the christian covenant with God, yet being here to speak of baptism
as a part of God's worship, it is needful that I briefly speak also of
the covenant itself.

_Direct._ I. It is a matter of great importance that you well
understand the nature of the christian covenant, what it is. I shall
therefore here briefly open the nature of it, and then speak of the
reasons of it; and then of the solemnizing it by baptism, and next of
our renewing it, and lastly of our keeping it.

[Sidenote: The covenant what.]

The christian covenant is a contract between God and man, through the
mediation of Jesus Christ, for the return and reconciliation of
sinners unto God, and their justification, adoption, sanctification,
and glorification by him, to his glory.

Here we must first consider, who are the parties in the covenant. 2.
What is the matter of the covenant on God's part. 3. What is the
matter on man's part. 4. What are the terms of it propounded on God's
part. 5. Where and how he doth express it. 6. What are the necessary
qualifications on man's part. 7. And what are the ends and benefits of

I. The parties are God and man: God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost on
the one part, and repenting, believing sinners on the other part. Man
is the party that needeth it; but God is the party that first offereth
it. Here note, 1. That God's part of the covenant is made universally
and conditionally with all mankind, (as to the tenor exacted,) and so
is in being before we were born. 2. That it is not the Father, Son,
and Holy Ghost, considered simply as persons in the Godhead; but as
related to man for the ends of the covenant. 3. That it is only
sinners that this covenant is made with, because the use of it is for
the restoration of those that broke a former covenant in Adam. It is a
covenant of reconciliation, and therefore supposeth an enmity
antecedent. 4. When I say that it is repenting and believing sinners
that are the party, I mean, (1.) That taking the covenant in its first
act, it is repentance and faith themselves that are the act, and are
our very covenanting. (2.) But taking the covenant in its external
expression, so it is a repenting, believing sinner that must take it,
it being but the expression of his repentance and faith, by an
explicit contract with God. 5. Note, that though God's covenant be by
one universal act, (of which more anon,) yet man's is to be made by
the several acts of the individual persons each one for himself, and
not by the acts of societies only.

II. The matter of the covenant on God's part is in general, that he
will be our God: more particularly, that God the Father will be our
reconciled God and Father in Jesus Christ; that God the Son will be
our Saviour; and God the Holy Ghost will be our Sanctifier. And the
relation of a God to us essentially containeth these three parts: 1.
That as on the title of creation and redemption he is our Owner, so he
doth take us as his own peculiar people. 2. That as he hath title to
be our absolute King or Governor, so he doth take us as his subjects.
3. That he will be our grand Benefactor and felicity, or our most
loving Father (which compriseth all the rest). And as he will be thus
related to us, so he will do for us all that these relations do
import. As, 1. He will do all that belongeth to a Creator for his
creature, in our preservation and supplies. 2. He will save us from
our sins, and from his wrath and hell. 3. And he will sanctify us to a
perfect conformity to our Head. Also, 1. He will use and defend us as
his own peculiar ones. 2. He will govern us by a law of grace and
righteousness. 3. He will make us fully happy in his love for ever.

III. The matter on man's part of the covenant is, 1. In respect of the
_terminus a quo_, that we will forsake the flesh, the world, and the
devil, as they are adverse to our relations and duties to God. 2. In
regard of the _terminus ad quem_, that we will take the Lord for our
God: and more particularly, 1. That we do take God the Father for our
reconciled Father in Jesus Christ, and do give up ourselves to him as
creatures to their Maker. 2. That we do take Jesus Christ for our
Redeemer, Saviour, and Mediator, as our High Priest, and Prophet, and
King, and do give up ourselves to him as his redeemed ones to be
reconciled to God, and saved by him. 3. That we do take the Holy Ghost
for our Regenerator and Sanctifier, and do give up ourselves to be
perfectly renewed and sanctified by him, and by his operations carried
on to God in his holy service. Also, 1. That we do take God for our
absolute Lord or Owner, and do give up ourselves to him as his own. 2.
That we take him for our universal, sovereign Governor, and do give up
ourselves unto him as his subjects. 3. That we do take him for our
most bountiful Benefactor, and loving Father, and felicity, and do
give up ourselves to him as his children, to seek him, and please him,
and perfectly to love him, delight in him, and enjoy him for ever in
heaven as our ultimate end. And in consenting to these relations, we
covenant to do the duties of them in sincerity.

IV. The terms or conditions which God requireth of man in his covenant
are, consent, and fidelity or performance: he first consenteth
conditionally, if we will consent; and he consenteth to be actually
our God, when we consent to be his people: so that as bare consent,
without any performance, doth found the relation between husband and
wife, master and servant, prince and people; but the sincere
performance of the duties of the relation which we consent to, are
needful afterward to continue the relation, and attain the benefits
and ends; so is it also between God and man. We are his children in
covenant as soon as we consent; but we shall not be glorified but on
condition of sincere performance and obedience.

V. God's covenant with man is nothing else but the universal promise
in the gospel; and (to the solemnization) the declaration, and
application, and solemn investiture or delivery by his authorized
ministers. 1. The gospel, as it relateth the matters of fact in and
about the work of our redemption, is a sacred history. 2. As it
containeth the terms on which God will be served, and commandeth us to
obey them for our salvation, it is called the law of Christ or grace.
3. As it containeth the promise of life and salvation conditionally
offered, it is called God's promise, and covenant (viz. on his part,
as it is proposed only). 4. When by our consent the condition is so
far performed, or the covenant accepted, then God's conditional,
universal promise or covenant, becometh actual and particular as to
the effect; and so the covenant becometh mutual between God and man:
as if a king make an act or law of pardon and oblivion to a nation of
rebels, saying, Whoever cometh in by such a day, and confesseth his
fault, and sueth out his pardon, and promiseth fidelity for the
future, shall be pardoned. This act is a law in one respect, and it is
a universal, conditional pardon of all those rebels; or a promise of
pardon; and an offer of pardon to all that it is revealed to: but it
is an actual pardon to those that come in, and conferreth on them the
benefits of the act as if they were named in it, and is their very
title to their pardon, of which their consent is the condition; and
the condition being performed, the pardon or collation of the benefit
becometh particular and actual, without any new act; it being the
sense of the law itself, or conditional grant, that so it should do.
So as to the reality of the internal covenant interest and benefits,
justification and adoption, it is ours by virtue of this universal
conditional covenant, when we perform the condition. But as to our
title _in foro ecclesiæ_, and the due solemnization and investiture,
it is made ours when God's minister applieth it to us in baptism by
his commission; as the rebel that was fundamentally pardoned by the
act of oblivion, must yet have his personal pardon delivered him by
the lord chancellor under the great seal. In this sense ministers are
the instruments of God, not only in declaring us to be pardoned, but
in delivering to us the pardon of our sins, and solemnly investing us
therein: as an attorney delivereth possession to one that before had
his fundamental title. Thus God entereth into covenant with man.

VI. The qualifications of absolute necessity to the validity of our
covenant with God _in foro interiori_, are these: 1. That we
understand what we do as to all the essentials of the covenant; for
_ignorantis non est consensus_. 2. That it be our own act, performed
by our natural or legal selves, that is, some one that hath power so
far to dispose of us (as parents have of their children). 3. That it
be deliberate, sober, and rational, done by one that is _compos
mentis_, in his wits, and not in drunkenness, madness, or
incogitancy.[38] 4. That it be seriously done with a real intention of
doing the thing, and not histrionically, ludicrously, or in jest. 5.
That it be done entirely as to all essential parts; for if we leave
out any essential part of the covenant, it is no sufficient consent
(as to consent that Christ shall be our Justifier, but not the Holy
Ghost our Sanctifier). 6. That it be a present consent to be presently
in covenant with God: for to consent that you will be his servants
to-morrow or hereafter, but not yet, is but to purpose to be in
covenant with him hereafter, and is no present covenanting with him.
7. Lastly, it must be a resolved and absolute consent, without any
open or secret exceptions or reserves.

VII. The fruits of the covenant which God reapeth, (though he need
nothing,) is the pleasing of his good and gracious will, in the
exercise of his love and mercy, and the praise and glory of his grace,
in his people's love and happiness for ever. The fruits or benefits
which accrue to man are unspeakable, and would require a volume
competently to open them: especially that God is our God, and Christ
our Saviour, Head, Intercessor, and Teacher, and the Holy Ghost is our
Sanctifier; and that God will regard us as his own, and will protect
us, preserve us, and provide for us, and will govern us, and be our
God and joy for ever; that he will pardon us, justify, and adopt us,
and glorify us with his Son in heaven.

_Direct._ II. When you thus understand well the nature of the
covenant, labour to understand the special reasons of it. The reasons
of the matter of the covenant you may see in the fruits and benefits
now mentioned. But I now speak of the reason of it as a covenant _in
genere_, and such a covenant _in specie_.

1. In general, God will have man to receive life or death as an
accepter and keeper, or a refuser or breaker, of his covenant, because
he will do it not only as a Benefactor, or absolute Lord, but also as
a Governor, and will make his covenant to be also his law, and his
promise and benefits to promote obedience; and because he will deal
with man as with a free agent, and not as with a brute that hath no
choosing and refusing power, conducted by reason: man's life and death
shall be in his own hands, and still depend upon his own will; though
God will secure his own dominion, interest, and ends, and put nothing
out of his own power by putting it into man's; nor have ever the less
his own will, by leaving man to his own will. God will at last, as a
righteous Judge, determine all the world to their final joy or
punishment, according to their own choice while they were in the
flesh, and according to what they have done in the body, whether it be
good or evil, Matt. xxv. Therefore he will deal with us on covenant

2. And he hath chosen to rule and judge men according to a covenant of
grace, by a Redeemer, and not according to a rigorous law of works,
that his goodness and mercy may be the fullier manifested to the sons
of men; and that it may be easier for men to love him, when they have
so wonderful demonstrations of his love; and so that their service
here, and their work and happiness hereafter, may consist of love, to
the glory of his goodness, and the pleasure of his love for ever.

[Sidenote: External baptism, what.]

_Direct._ III. Next understand rightly the nature, use, and end of
baptism. Baptism is to the mutual covenant between God and man, what
the solemnization of marriage is to them that do before consent; or
what the listing a soldier by giving him colours, and writing his
name, is to one that consented before to be a soldier.[39] In my
"Universal Concord," p. 29, 30, I have thus described it: Baptism is
a holy sacrament instituted by Christ, in which a person professing
the christian faith (or the infant of such) is baptized in water into
the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost, in signification and
solemnization of the holy covenant, in which as a penitent believer
(or the seed of such) he giveth up himself (or is by the parent given
up) to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, forsaking the devil, the
world, and the flesh, and is solemnly entered a visible member of
Christ and his church, a pardoned, regenerate child of God, and an
heir of heaven.

[Sidenote: Complete baptism, what it is.]

As the word baptism is taken for the mere administration or external
ordinance, so the internal covenanting or faith and repentance of the
(adult) person to be baptized, is no essential part of it, nor
requisite to the being of it; but only the profession of such a faith
and repentance, and the external entering of the covenant; but as
baptism is taken for the ordinance as performed in all its essential
parts, according to the true intent of Christ in his institution (that
is, in the first and proper meaning of the word); so the internal
covenanting of a penitent, sincere believer, is necessary to the being
of it. And indeed the word baptism is taken but equivocally or
analogically at most, when it is taken for the mere external
administration and action: for God doth not institute worship
ordinances for bodily motion only; when he speaketh to man, and
requireth worship of man, he speaketh to him as to a man, and
requireth human actions from him, even the work of the soul, and not
the words of a parrot, or the motion of a puppet. Therefore the word
baptism in the first and proper signification, doth take in the inward
actions of the heart, as well as the outward professions and actions.
And in this proper sense baptism is the mutual covenant between God
the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and a penitent believing sinner,
solemnized by the washing of water, in which as a sacrament of his own
appointment God doth engage himself to be the God and reconciled
Father, the Saviour and the Sanctifier, of the believer, and taketh
him for his reconciled child in Christ, and delivereth to him, by
solemn investiture, the pardon of all his sins, and title to the
mercies of this life and of that which is to come. What I say in this
description of a penitent believer, is also to be understood of the
children of such that are dedicated by them in baptism to God, who
thereupon have their portion in the same covenant of grace.

The word baptism is taken in the first sense when Simon Magus is said
to be baptized, Acts xxviii. And when we speak of it only in the
ecclesiastic sense, as it is true baptism _in foro ecclesiæ_; but it
is taken in the latter sense when it is spoken of as the complete
ordinance of God, in the sense of the institution, and as respecting
the proper ends of baptism, as pardon of sin and life eternal; and _in
foro cœli_.

In this full and proper sense it is taken by Christ when he saith,
Mark xvi. 16, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;" that
is, he that believeth, and is by baptism entered into the covenant of
God; and in this sense the ancients took it, when they affirmed that
all that were baptized were regenerated, pardoned, and made the
children of God. And in this sense it is most true, that he that is
baptized (that is, is a sincere covenanter) shall be saved if he die
in that condition that he is then in.[40] All that the minister
warrantably baptizeth, are sacramentally regenerate, and are _in foro
ecclesiæ_ members of Christ, and children of God, and heirs of heaven:
but it is only those that are sincerely delivered up in covenant to
God in Christ, that are spiritually and really regenerate, and are
such as shall be owned for members of Christ and children of God _in
foro cœli_. Therefore it is not unfit that the minister call the
baptized, regenerate and pardoned members of Christ, and children of
God, and heirs of heaven, supposing that _in foro ecclesiæ_ they were
the due subjects of baptism. But if the persons be such as ought not
to be baptized, the sin then is not in calling baptized persons
regenerate, but in baptizing those that ought not to have been
baptized, and to whom the seal of the covenant was not due.

None ought to be baptized but those that either personally deliver up
themselves in covenant to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
professing a true repentance, and faith, and consent to the covenant;
or else are thus delivered up, and dedicated, and entered into
covenant in their infancy, by those that, being christians themselves,
have so much interest in them and power of them, that their act may be
esteemed as the infants' act, and legally imputed to them as if
themselves had done it. If any others are unduly baptized, they have
hereby no title to the pardon of sin or life eternal, nor are they
taken by God to be in covenant, as having no way consented to it.

_Direct._ IV. When you enter a child into the christian covenant with
God, address yourselves to it as to one of the greatest works in the
world; as those that know the greatness of the benefit, of the duty,
and of the danger. The benefit to them that are sincere in the
covenant, is no less than to have the pardon of all our sins, and to
have God himself to be our God and Father, and Christ our Saviour, and
the Holy Ghost our Sanctifier, and to have title to the blessings of
this life and of that to come. And for the duty, how great a work it
is for a sinner to enter into so solemn a covenant with the God of
heaven, for reconciliation and newness of life, and for salvation! And
therefore if any should abuse God by hypocrisy, and take on them to
consent to the terms of the covenant, (for themselves, or their
children,) when indeed they do not, the danger of such profaneness and
abuse of God must needs be great. Do it therefore with that due
preparation, reverence, and seriousness, as beseemeth those that are
transacting a business of such unspeakable importance with God

_Direct._ V. Having been entered in your infancy into the covenant of
God by your parents, you must, at years of discretion, review the
covenant which by them you made, and renew it personally yourselves;
and this with as great seriousness and resolution as if you were now
first to enter and subscribe it, and as if your everlasting life or
death were to depend on the sincerity of your consent and performance.
For your infant baptismal covenanting will save none of you that live
to years of discretion, and do not as heartily own it in their own
persons, as if they had been now to be baptized. But this I pass by,
having said so much of it in my "Book of Confirmation."

[Sidenote: Of renewing the covenant oft.]

_Direct._ VI. Your covenant thus, 1. Made; 2. Solemnized by baptism;
3. And owned at age; must, 4. Be frequently renewed through the whole
course of your lives. As, (1.) Your first consent must be habitually
continued all your days; for if that ceaseth, your grace and title to
the benefits of God's covenant ceaseth. (2.) This covenant is
virtually renewed in every act of worship to God; for you speak to him
as your God in covenant, and offer yourselves to him as his covenanted
people. (3.) This covenant should be actually renewed frequently in
prayer and meditation, and other such acts of communion with God. (4.)
Especially when after a fall we beg the pardon of our sins, and the
mercies of the covenant, and on days of humiliation and thanksgiving,
and in great distresses, or exhilarating mercies. (5.) And the Lord's
supper is an ordinance instituted to this very end. It is no small
part of our christian diligence and watchfulness, to keep up and renew
our covenant consent.

_Direct._ VII. And as careful must you be to keep or perform your
covenant, as to enter it, and renew it; which is done, 1. By
continuing our consent; 2. By sincere obedience; 3. And by
perseverance. We do not (nor dare not) promise to obey perfectly, nor
promise to be as obedient as the higher and better sort of christians,
though we desire both; but to obey sincerely we must needs promise,
because we must needs perform it.

Obedience is sincere, 1. When the radical consent or subjection of the
heart to God in Christ is habitually and heartily continued. 2. When
God's interest in us is most predominant, and his authority and law
can do more with us, than any fleshly lust or worldly interest, or
than the authority, word, or persuasions of any man whosoever. 3. When
we unfeignedly desire to be perfect, and habitually and ordinarily
have a predominant love to all that is good, and a hatred to that
which is evil; and had rather do our duty than be excused from it, and
rather be saved from our sin than keep it.

_Direct._ VIII. While you sincerely consent unto the covenant, live by
faith upon the promised benefits of it, believing that God will make
good on his part all that he hath promised. Take it for your title to
pardon, sonship, and eternal life. O think what a mercy it is to have
God in covenant with you to be your God, your Father, Saviour,
Sanctifier, and felicity! And in this continually rejoice.

[38] Quis vero non doleat baptismo plerosque adultos initio passim et
nostro tempore non raro ante perfundi quam christianam catechesin vel
mediocriter teneant, neque an flagitiosæ et superstitiosæ vitæ
pœnitentia tangantur, neque vero id ipsum quod accipiunt, an velint
accipere, satis constet. Acosta, l. vi. c. 2. p. 520. Nisi petant et
instent, christianæ vitæ professione donandi non sunt. Idem. p. 521.
And again, While ignorant or wicked men do hasten any how, by right or
wrong, by guile or force, to make the barbarous people christians,
they do nothing else but make the gospel a scorn, and certainly
destroy the deserters of a rashly undertaken faith. Id. ibid. p. 522.

[39] See the "Reformed Liturgy," p. 68.

[40] Read the Propositions of the Synod in New England, and the
Defence of them against Mr. Davenport, about the subject of Baptism.



_Direct._ I. Understand first how great a duty the profession of true
religion is, that you may not think as some foolish people, that every
man should conceal his religion, or keep it to himself.[41] Observe
therefore these reasons following which require it.

1. Our tongues and bodies are made to exercise and show forth that
acknowledgment and adoration of God which is in our hearts. And as he
denieth God with the heart who doth not believe in him and worship him
in his heart, so he denieth God imputatively with his tongue and life,
who doth not profess and honour him with his tongue and life; and so
he is a practical atheist. Isa. xlv. 23-25, "I have sworn by myself,
the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not
return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
Surely shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and
strength--In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and
shall glory." So Phil. ii. 9-11, "Wherefore God also hath highly
exalted him, and given him a name above every name, that at the name
of Jesus every knee should bow--and that every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Isa. xliv.
5, "One shall say, I am the Lord's; and another shall call him by the
name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the
Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel."

2. The public assemblies, and worship of God, are purposely appointed
by him, that in them we might make open profession of our religion. He
that denieth profession, denieth the public faith and worship of the
church, and denieth baptism and the Lord's supper, which are
sacraments appointed for the solemn profession of our faith.

3. Our profession is needful to our glorifying God. Men see not our
hearts, nor know whether we believe in God or not, nor what we believe
of him, till they hear or see it in our profession and actions. Paul's
life and death was a profession of Christ, that in his "boldness
Christ might be magnified in his body," Phil. i. 20. Matt. v. 14-16,
"Ye are the light of the world: a city that is set on a hill cannot be
hid. Neither do men light a candle to put it under a bushel, but on a
candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house. Let
your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and
glorify your Father which is in heaven."

4. Our profession is the means of saving others: that which is secret,
is no means to profit them. They must see our good works that they may
glorify God, Phil. i. 12-14.

5. God hath required our open and bold profession of him, with the
strictest commands, and upon the greatest penalties. 1 Pet. v. 3,
"Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an
answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in
you with meekness and fear." Rom. x. 9, 10, "If thou shalt confess
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God
hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart
man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is
made unto salvation." Mark viii. 38, "Whosoever shall be ashamed of me
and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also
shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his
Father with the holy angels."[42]

_Direct._ II. Next, understand what it is in religion that you must
principally profess.[43] It is not every lesser truth, much less every
opinion of your own, in which you are confident that you are wiser
than your brethren. This is the meaning of Rom. xiv. 22, "Hast thou
faith? have it to thyself before God." By "faith" here is not meant
the substance of the christian belief, or any one necessary article of
it. But a belief of the indifferency of such things as Paul spake of,
in meats and drinks. If thou know these things to be lawful when thy
weak brother doth not, and so thou be wiser than he, thank God for thy
knowledge, and use it to thy own salvation; but do not proudly and
uncharitably contend for it, and use it uncharitably to the danger of
another's soul, much less to the wrong of the church and gospel, and
the hinderance of greater truths. 2 Tim. ii. 14, "Of these things put
them in remembrance," (that is, of the saints' hope in God's
faithfulness,) "charging them before the Lord that they strive not
about words to no profit, but the subverting of the hearers." Yet "for
the faith we must earnestly contend," Jude 2, 3. 2 Tim. ii. 23, 24,
"But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do
gender strife. And the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be
gentle to all men."

But that which is the chiefest matter of our profession is, The being
and perfections of God himself; his love to man, and power over him,
and man's subjection and obligations unto God; the person, and office,
and works, and benefits of our Redeemer, with all the duty that we owe
to him in perfect holiness, and all the hopes that we have in him; the
happiness of the saints, the odiousness of sin, and the misery of the
wicked. These, and such as these, are things that we are called to
profess; yet so as not to deny or renounce the smallest truth.

_Direct._ III. Understand also the manner how we must make profession
of religion. 1. There is a professing by words, and a professing by
actions. 2. There is a solemn profession by God's public ordinances,
and an occasional or privater profession by conference, or by our
conversations. And all these ways must religion be professed.

_Direct._ IV. Understand also the season of each sort of profession,
that you omit not the season, nor do it unseasonably. 1. Profession by
baptism, Lord's supper, and church assemblies, must be done in their
season, which the church guides are the conductors of. 2. Profession
by an innocent, blameless, obedient life is never out of season. 3.
Profession by private conference, and by occasional acts of piety,
must be when opportunity inviteth us, and they are likely to attain
their ends. 4. The whole frame of a believer's life should be so holy,
and heavenly, and mortified, and above the world, as may amount to a
serious profession that he liveth in confident hope of the life to
come, and may show the world the difference between a worldling and an
heir of heaven; between corrupted nature and true grace. The
professors of godliness must be a peculiar people, zealous of good
works, and adorned with them.[44]

_Direct._ V. Take special care that your profession be sincere, and
that you be yourselves as good as you profess to be. Otherwise, 1.
Your profession will condemn yourselves. 2. And it will dishonour the
truth which you deceitfully profess. There can scarce a greater injury
befall a good cause, than to have a bad and shameful patron to defend
it. Rom. ii. 3, "And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them
which do such things, and dost the same, that thou shalt escape the
judgment of God." Verse 23-25, "Thou that makest thy boast of the law,
through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is
blasphemed among the gentiles through you--."

_Direct._ VI. Let not your profession be so much of your own sincerity
as of God and his excellencies: boast not of yourselves, but of God
and Christ, and the promise, and the hope of true believers; and do it
to God's praise, and not for your own. Be sure that in all your
profession of religion, you be seeking honour to God, and not unto
yourselves. And then in this manner he that doubteth of his own
sincerity, yet may and must make profession of Christ and true
religion; when you cannot proclaim the uprightness of your own hearts,
you may boldly proclaim the excellencies of religion, and the
happiness of saints.

_Direct._ VII. Live upon God alone, and trust his all-sufficiency,
and abhor that pusillanimity and baseness of spirit which maketh men
afraid or ashamed openly to own the truth. Remember the example of
your Lord, who before Pontius Pilate "witnessed a good confession," 1
Tim. vi. 13; who came "for this end into the world, to bear witness to
the truth," John xviii. 37. Fear not the face of man, whose breath is
in his nostrils, and is perishing even while he is threatening.[45] If
thou believe not that Christ can secure thee from the rage of man,
thou believest not indeed in Christ. If thou believe not that heaven
will satisfy for all that by scorns or cruelties thou sufferest from
sinners, thou hast not indeed the hope of a believer. And no wonder if
thou profess not that which thou believest not. But if thou believe
that God is God, and Christ is Christ, and heaven is heaven, and the
gospel is true, thou hast enough in thy belief to secure thee against
all the scorns and cruelties of man, and to tell thee that Christ will
bear thy charges, in all that thou sufferest for his sake. Oh what
abundance are secretly convinced of the truth, and their consciences
bear witness to the wisdom of the saints, and a holy life; and yet
they dare not openly own and stand to the truth which they are
convinced of for fear of being mocked by the tongues of the profane,
or for fear of losing their places and preferments! O wretch, dost
thou not tremble when thou art ashamed of Christ, to think of the day
when he will be ashamed of thee? Then when he comes in glory none will
be ashamed of him! Then where is the tongue that mocked him and his
servants? Who then will deride his holy ways? Then that will be the
greatest glory, which thou art now ashamed of. Canst thou believe that
day, and yet hide thy profession, through cowardly fear or shame of
man? Is man so great, and is Christ no greater in thine eyes than so?
If he be not more regardable than man, believe not in him: if he be,
regard him more; and let not a worm be preferred before thy Saviour.

_Direct._ VIII. If any doubt arise, whether thou shouldest now make
particular profession of the truth, (as in the presence of scorners,
or when required by magistrates or others, &c.) let not the advice or
interest of the flesh have any hand at all in the resolving of the
case; but let it be wholly determined as the interest of Christ
requireth. Spare thyself when the interest of Christ requireth it; not
for thyself, but for him. But when his interest is most promoted by
thy suffering, rejoice that thou art any way capable of serving

_Direct._ IX. Though sometimes a particular profession of the faith
may be unseasonable, yet you must never make any profession of the
contrary, either by words or actions. Truth may be sometimes silenced,
but a lie may never be professed or approved.

_Direct._ X. If any that profess christianity reproach you for the
profession of holiness and diligence, convince them that they
hypocritically profess the same, and that holiness is essential to
christianity: open their baptismal covenant to them, and the Lord's
prayer, in which they daily pray that God's will may be done on earth
even as it is in heaven, which is more strictly than the best of us
can reach. The difference between them and you is but this, whether we
should be christians hypocritically in jest, or in good earnest.

[41] Nemo jam infamiam incutiat; nemo aliud existimet: quin nec fas
est ulli de sua religione mentiri. Ex eo enim quod aliud a se coli
dicit quam colit, et culturam et honorem in alterum transferendo, jam
non colit quod negavit: dicimus, et palam dicimus et vobis
torquentibus lacerati et cruenti vociferamur, Deum colimus per
Christum. Tertul. Apolog. c. 11.

[42] 2 Tim. ii. 12; Matt. x. 32, 33; Luke ix. 26.

[43] 1 Cor. viii. 1; 2 Cor. x. 8; Rom. xv. 2; 1 Tim. i. 4; Tit. iii.

[44] Tit. ii. 14; 1 Tim. ii. 10.

[45] The Arians under Valens, and the Vandals, still silenced the
orthodox preachers and forbad their meetings, and yet the people
adhered to their pastors and kept their meetings, while they could.
Sæpius prohibitum est ut sacerdotes vestri conventus minime
celebrarent, nec sua seditione animas subverterunt christianas.
Præcept. Hunner. in Victor. Utic. p. 414.

[46] Matt. x. 18, 23, 32, 33, 38, 39; xii. 14, 15; xiv. 13; John x.
39; Heb. xi. 27; Acts ix. 25.



_Tit. 1. Directions for the Right Making such Vows and Covenants._

[Sidenote: What a vow is.]

_Direct._ I. Understand the nature of a vow, and the use to which it
is appointed.

A vow is a promise made to God. 1. It is not a bare assertion or
negation. 2. It is not a mere pollicitation, or expression of the
purpose or resolution of the mind: for he that saith or meaneth no
more than, I am purposed or resolved to do this, may upon sufficient
reason do the contrary; for he may change his mind and resolution,
without any untruth or injury to any. 3. It is not a mere devoting of
a thing to God for the present by actual resignation. For the present
actual delivery of a thing to sacred uses is no promise for the
future: though we usually join them both together, yet _devovere_ may
be separated from _vovere_. 4. It must be therefore a promise, which
is, a voluntary obliging ones self to another _de futuro_ for some
good. 5. It is therefore implied that it be the act of a rational
creature, and of one that in that act hath some competent use of
reason, and not of a fool, or idiot, or mad-man, or a child that hath
not reason for such an act, no nor of a brain-sick or melancholy
person, who (though he be _cætera sanus_) is either delirant in that
business, or is irresistibly borne down and necessitated by his
disease to vow against the sober, deliberate conclusion of his reason
at other times, having at the time of vowing, reason enough to strive
against the act, but not self-government enough to restrain a
passionate, melancholy vow. 6. Whereas some casuists make deliberation
necessary, it must be understood that to the being of a vow so much
deliberation is requisite as may make it a rational human act, it must
be an act of reason; but for any further deliberation, it is necessary
only to the well-being, and not to the being of a vow, and without it
it is a rash vow, but not no vow.[47] 7. When we say, it must be a
voluntary act, the meaning is not that it must be totally and
absolutely voluntary, without any fear or threatening to induce us to
it; but only that it be really voluntary, that is, an act of choice,
by a free agent, that considering all things doth choose so to do. He
that hath a sword set to his breast, and doth swear or vow to save his
life, doth do it voluntarily, as choosing rather to do it than to die.
Man having free-will, may choose rather to die, than vow, if he think
best: his will may be moved by fear, but cannot be forced by any one,
or any means whatsoever. 8. When I say that a vow is a promise, I
imply that the matter of it is necessarily some real or supposed good;
to be good, or to do good, or not to do evil. Evil may be the matter
of an oath, but it is not properly a vow, if the matter be not
supposed good. 9. It is a promise made to God, that we are now
speaking of; whether the name of a vow belong to a promise made only
to man, is a question _de nomine_, which we need not stop at.

[Sidenote: The sorts of vows.]

A vow is either a simple promise to God, or a promise bound with an
oath or imprecation. Some would appropriate the name of a vow to this
last sort only, (when men swear they will do this or that,) which
indeed is the most formidable sort of vowing; but the true nature of a
vow is found also in a simple self-obliging promise.

[Sidenote: The use of vows.]

The true reason and use of vows is but for the more certain and
effectual performance of our duties: not to make new laws, and duties,
and religions for us, but to drive on the backward, lingering soul to
do its duty, and to break over difficulties and delays: that by
strengthening our bonds, and setting the danger before our eyes, we
may be excited to escape it.

[Sidenote: The obligation of vows.]

It is a great question, whether our own vows can add any new
obligation to that which before lay upon us from the command of God.
Amesius saith, (Cas. Consc. lib. iv. c. 16.) _Non additur proprie in
istis nova obligatio, neque augetur in se prior: sed magis agnoscitur
et recipitur a nobis: passive in istis æque fuimus antea obligati: sed
activa recognitione arctius nobis applicatur a nobismetipsis._ Others
commonly speak of an additional obligation; and indeed there is a
double obligation added by a vow, to that which God before had laid on
us, to the matter of that vow. Premising this distinction between
_obligatio imponentis_, a governing obligation, (which is the effect
of governing right or authority,) and _obligatio consentientis_, a
self-obliging by voluntary consent, (which is the effect of that
dominion which a rational free agent hath over his own actions,) I
say, 1. He that voweth doth oblige himself, who before was obliged by
God only; and that a man hath a power to oblige himself, is discerned
by the light of nature, and is the ground of the law of nations, and
of human converse: and though this is no divine obligation, yet it is
not therefore none at all. 2. But moreover he that voweth doth induce
upon himself a new divine obligation, by making himself the subject of
it. For example; God hath said, "Honour the Lord with thy substance:"
this command obligeth me to obey it whether I vow it or not. The same
God hath said, "Pay thy vows to the Most High," Psal. l. 14; and,
"When thou vowest a vow to God, defer not to pay it," Eccles. v. 4.
This layeth no obligation on me till I vow; but when I have vowed it
doth: so that now I am under a double divine obligation, (one to the
matter of the duty, and another to keep my vow,) and under a
self-obligation of my own vow: whence also a greater penalty will be
due if I now offend, than else would have been.

Hence you may see what to think of the common determination of
casuists concerning vows materially sinful, when they say, a man is
not obliged to keep them. It is only thus far true, that God obligeth
him not to do that particular thing which he voweth, for God had
before forbidden it, and he changeth not his laws upon man's rash
vowings; but yet there is a self-obligation which he laid upon himself
to do it: and this self-obligation to a sinful act, was itself a sin,
and to be repented of, and not performed; but it bringeth the person
under a double obligation to penalty, as a perjured person, even God's
obligation who bindeth the perjured to penalty, and the obligation of
his own consent to the punishment, if there was any oath or
imprecation in the vow. If it were true that such a person had brought
himself under no obligation at all, then he could not be properly
called perjured, nor punished as perjured; but he that sweareth and
voweth to do evil, (as the Jews to kill Paul,) though he ought not to
do the thing, (because God forbiddeth it,) yet he is a perjured person
for breaking his vow, and deserveth the penalty, not only of a rash
vower, but of one perjured. Thus error may make a man sinful and
miserable, though it cannot warrant him to sin.

_Direct._ II. Try well the matter of your vows, and venture not on
them till you are sure that they are not things forbidden: things
sinful or doubtful are not fit matter for a vow: in asserting,
subscribing, and witnessing, you should take care, that you know
assuredly that the matter be true, and venture not upon that which may
prove false; much more should you take care that you venture not
doubtingly in vows and oaths. They are matters to be handled with
dread and tenderness, and not to be played with, and rashly ventured
on, as if it were but the speaking of a common word: "Be not rash with
thy mouth, and let not thy heart be hasty to utter any thing before
God," Eccles. v. 2. It is a grievous snare that men are oft brought
into by ignorant and rash vows;[48] as the case of Jephthah, and
Herod, and many another tell us for our warning: an error in such
cases is much more safely and cheaply discerned before, than
afterwards. To have a rash vow or perjury to repent of, is to set a
bone in joint, or pull a thorn out of your very eye; and who would
choose such pain and smart? "Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh
to sin; neither say thou before the angel that it was an error:
wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of
thy hands," Eccles. v. 6. "It is a snare to the man who devoureth that
which is holy, and after vows to make inquiry," Prov. xx. 25. Be
careful and deliberate to prevent such snares.

_Direct._ III. Vow not in a passion: stay till the storm be over:
whether it be anger or desire, or whatever the passion be, delay and
deliberate before you vow; for when passion is up, the judgment is
upon great disadvantage. In your passion you are apt to be most
peremptory and confident when you are most deceived: if it be your
duty to vow, it will be your duty to-morrow when you are calm. If you
say, that duty must not be delayed, and that you must do it while the
Spirit moveth you: I answer, Was it not as much a duty before your
passion was kindled as now? It is no sinful delaying of so great a
duty, to stay till you have well proved whether it be of God. If it be
the Spirit of Christ that moveth you to it, he will be willing that
you deliberate and try it by that word which the same Spirit hath
indited to be your rule. God's Spirit worketh principally upon the
judgment and the will, by settled convictions, which will endure a
rational trial: it is liker to be your own spirit which worketh
principally on the passion, and will not endure the trial, nor come
into the light, John iii. 18, 19; Isa. viii. 20.

_Direct._ IV. Make not a vow of things indifferent and unnecessary: if
they be not good, in a true, comparing, practical judgment, which
considereth all accidents and circumstances, they are no fit matter
for a vow. Some say, things indifferent are the fittest matter both
for vows and human laws; but either they speak improperly or untruly,
and therefore dangerously at the best. If an idle word be a sin, then
an idle action is not a thing to be vowed, because it is not a thing
to be done, being as truly a sin as an idle word: and that which is
wholly indifferent is idle; for if it be good for any thing, it is
not wholly indifferent; and because it is antecedently useless, it is
consequently sinful to be done.

_Object._ I. But those that say things indifferent may be vowed, mean
not, things useless or unprofitable to any good end; but only those
things that are good and useful, but not commanded: such as are the
matter of God's counsels, and tend to man's perfection, as to vow
chastity, poverty, and absolute obedience.

_Answ._ There are no such things as are morally good, and not
commanded: this is the fiction of men that have a mind to accuse God's
laws and government of imperfection, and think sinful man can do
better than he is commanded, when none but Christ ever did so

_Quest._ I. What is moral goodness in any creature and subject, but a
conformity to his ruler's will expressed in his law? And if this
conformity be its very form and being, it cannot be that any thing
should be morally good that is not commanded.

_Quest._ II. Doth not the law of God command us to love him with all
our heart, and soul, and strength, and accordingly to serve him? And
is it possible to give him more than all; or can God come after and
counsel us to give him more than is possible?

_Quest._ III. Doth not the law of nature oblige us to serve God to the
utmost of our power? He that denieth it, is become unnatural, and must
deny God to be God, or deny himself to be his rational creature: for
nothing is more clear in nature, than that the creature who is
nothing, and hath nothing but from God, and is absolutely his own,
doth owe him all that he is able to do.

_Quest._ IV. Doth not Christ determine the case to his disciples, Luke
xvii. 10?

A middle between good and evil in morality is a contradiction: there
is no such thing; for good and evil are the whole of morality: without
these species there is no morality.

_Object._ II. It seems then you hold that there is nothing
indifferent, which is a paradox.

[Sidenote: Whether any things be indifferent?]

_Answ._ No such matter: there are thousands and millions of things
that are indifferent; but they are things natural only, and not things
moral. They are indifferent as to moral good and evil, because they
are neither; but they are not _indifferentia moralia_: the
indifferency is a negation of any morality in them _in genere_, as
well as of both the species of morality.[50] Whatsoever participateth
not of virtue or vice, and is not eligible or refusable by a moral
agent as such, hath no morality in it. There may be two words so equal
as it may be indifferent which you speak; and two eggs so equal, as
that it may be indifferent which you eat; but that is no more than to
say, the choosing of one before the other is not _actus moralis_:
there is no matter of morality in the choice.

_Object._ III. But if there may be things natural that are
indifferent, why not things moral?

_Answ._ As goodness is convertible with entity, there is no natural
being but is good: as goodness signifieth commodity, there is nothing
but is profitable or hurtful, and that is good to one that is hurtful
to another: but if it were not so, yet such goodness or badness is but
accidental to natural being; but moral goodness and badness is the
whole essence of morality.

_Object._ IV. But doth not the apostle say, "He that marrieth doth
well, and he that marrieth not doth better?" Therefore all is not sin
which is not best.

[Sidenote: Whether marrying be indifferent?]

_Answ._ The question put to the apostle to decide, was about marrying
or not marrying, as it belonged to all christians in general, and not
as it belonged to this or that individual person by some special
reason differently from others. And so in respect to the church in
general, the apostle determineth that there is no law binding them to
marry, or not to marry: for a law that is made for many must be suited
to what is common to those many. Now marriage being good for one and
not for another, is not made the matter of a common law, nor is it fit
to be so, and so far is left indifferent: but because that to most it
was rather a hinderance to good in those times of the church, than a
help, therefore for the present necessity, the apostle calleth
marrying "doing well," because it was not against any universal law,
and it was a state that was suitable to some; but he calls not
marrying "doing better," because it was then more ordinarily suited to
the ends of christianity. Now God maketh not a distinct law for every
individual person in the church; but one universal law for all: and
this being a thing variable according to the various cases of
individual persons, was unfit to be particularly determined by a
universal law. But if the question had been only of any one individual
person, then the decision would have been thus: though marrying is a
thing not directly commanded or forbidden, yet to some it is helpful
as to moral ends, to some it is hurtful, and to some it is so equal or
indifferent, that it is neither discernibly helpful nor hurtful; now
by the general laws or rules of Scripture to them that _consideratis
considerandis_ it is discernibly helpful, it is not indifferent, but a
duty; to them that it is discernibly hurtful, it is not indifferent,
but a sin; to them that it is neither discernibly helpful or hurtful
as to moral ends, it is indifferent, as being neither duty nor sin;
for it is not a thing of moral choice or nature at all. But the light
of nature telleth us that God hath not left it indifferent to men to
hinder themselves or to help themselves as to moral ends; else why
pray we, "Lead us not into temptation?" And marriage is so great a
help to some, and so great a hurt to others, that no man can say that
it is morally indifferent to all men in the world: and therefore that
being none of the apostle's meaning, it followeth that his meaning is
as aforesaid.

_Object._ V. But there are many things indifferent in themselves,
though not as clothed with all their accidents and circumstances: and
these actions being good in their accidents, may be the matter of a

_Answ._ True, but those actions are commanded duties, and not things
indifferent as so circumstantiated. It is very few actions in the
world that are made simply duties or sins, in their simple nature
without their circumstances and accidents: the commonest matter of all
God's laws, is actions or dispositions which are good or evil in their
circumstances and accidents. Therefore I conclude, things wholly
indifferent are not to be vowed.

_Direct._ V. It is not every duty that is the matter of a lawful vow.
Else you might have as many vows as duties: every good thought, and
word, and deed might have a vow. And then every sin which you commit
would be accompanied and aggravated with the guilt of perjury. And no
wise man would run his soul into such a snare. _Object._ But do we
not in baptism vow obedience to God? And doth not obedience contain
every particular duty? _Answ._ We vow sincere obedience, but not
perfect obedience. We do not vow that we will never sin, nor neglect a
duty (nor ought we to do so). So that as sincere obedience respecteth
every known duty as that which we shall practise in the bent of our
lives, but not in perfect constancy or degree, so far our vow in
baptism hath respect to all known duties, but no further.

_Direct._ VI. To make a vow lawful, besides the goodness of the thing
which we vow, there must be a rational, discernible probability, that
the act of vowing it will do more good than hurt; and this to a wise,
foreseeing judgment. For this vowing is not an ordinary worship to be
offered to God (except the baptismal vow, renewed in the Lord's supper
and at other seasons); but it is left as an extraordinary means, for
certain ends, which cannot by ordinary means be attained: and
therefore we must discern the season, by discerning the necessity or
usefulness of it. Swearing is a part of the service of God, but not of
his daily worship, nor frequently and rashly to be used, by any that
would not be held guilty of taking the name of God in vain: and so it
is in the case of vowing. Therefore he that will make a lawful vow,
must see beforehand, what is the probable benefit of it, and what is
the probable hurt or danger: and without this foresight it must be
rash, and cannot be lawful. And therefore no one can make a lawful
vow, but wise, foreseeing persons, and those that advise with such,
and are guided by them, if they be not such themselves; unless in a
case where God hath prescribed by his own determining commands (as in
the covenant of christianity). Therefore to one man the same vow may
be a sin, that to another may be a duty; because one may have more
reason for it, or necessity of it, and less danger by it, than
another. One man may foresee that vowing (in case where there is no
necessity) may insnare him either in perplexing doubts, or terrors,
which will make all his life after more irregular or uncomfortable.
Another man may discern that he is liable to no such danger.[51]

_Direct._ VII. No man should pretend danger or scruple against his
renewing the vow of christianity, or any one essential part of it;
viz. To take God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost for my God, and
Saviour, and Sanctifier, my Owner, Governor, and Father; renouncing
the devil, the world, and the flesh. Because there is an absolute
necessity, _præcepti et medii_, of performing this, and he that doth
it not shall certainly be damned; and therefore no worse matter can
stand up against it: he that denieth it, giveth up himself
despairingly to damnation. Yet I have heard many say, I dare not
promise to turn to God, and live a holy life, lest I break this
promise, and be worse than before. But dost thou not know, that it
must be both made and kept, if thou wilt be saved? Wilt thou choose to
be damned, for fear of worse? There is but one remedy for thy soul,
and all the hope of thy salvation lieth upon that alone. And wilt thou
refuse that one, for fear lest thou cast it up and die? when thou
shalt certainly die unless thou both take it, and keep it, and digest

_Direct._ VIII. About particular sins and duties, deliberate
resolutions are the ordinary means of governing our lives; and vows
must not be used where these will do the work without them. For
extraordinary means must not be used, when ordinary will serve the
turn. Nor must you needlessly draw a double guilt upon yourselves in
case of sinning. And in mutable or doubtful cases, a resolution may be
changed, when a vow cannot. Try therefore what deliberate resolutions
will do, with the help of other ordinary means, before you go any

_Direct._ IX. When ordinary resolutions and other helps will not serve
the turn, to engage the will to the forbearance of a known sin, or the
performance of a known duty, but temptations are so strong as to bear
down all, then it is seasonable to bind ourselves by a solemn vow, so
it be cautelously and deliberately done, and no greater danger like to
follow. In such a case of necessity, 1. You must deliberate on the
benefits and need. 2. You must foresee all the assaults that you are
like to have to tempt you to perjury, that they come not unexpected.
3. You must join the use of all other means for the keeping of your

_Direct._ X. Make not a law and religion to yourselves by your
voluntary vows, which God never made you by his authority; nor bind
yourselves for futurity to all that is a duty at present, where it is
possible that the change of things may change your duty. God is our
King and Governor, and not we ourselves: it is not we, but he, that
must give laws to us. We have work enough to do of his appointing; we
need not make more to ourselves, as if he had not given us enough.
Vows are not to make us new duties or religions, but to further us in
the obedience of that which our Lord hath imposed on us. It is a
self-condemning sin of foolish will-worshippers, to be busy in laying
more burdens on themselves, when they know they cannot do so much as
God requireth of them. Yea, some of them murmur at God's laws as too
strict, and at the observers of them as too precise, (though they come
far short of what is their duty,) and yet will be cutting out more
work for themselves.

And it is not enough that what you vow be your duty at the present,
but you must bind yourselves to it by vows no longer than it shall
remain your duty. It may be your duty at the present to live a single
life; but if you will vow therefore that you will never marry, you may
bind yourselves to that which may prove your sin: you know not what
alterations may befall you in your body or estate, that may invite you
to it. Are you sure that no change shall make it necessary to you? Or
will you presume to bind God himself by your vows, that he shall make
no such alteration? Or if you were never so confident of your own
unchangeableness, you know not what fond and violent affections
another may be possessed with, which may make an alteration in your
duty. At the present it may be your duty to live retiredly, and avoid
magistracy and public employments: but you may not vow it therefore
for continuance; for you know not but God may make such alterations,
as may make it so great and plain a duty, as without flat impiety or
cruelty, you cannot refuse. Perhaps at the present it may be your duty
to give half your yearly revenues to charitable and pious uses: but
you must not therefore vow it for continuance (without some special
cause to warrant it); for perhaps the next year it may be your duty to
give but a fourth or a tenth part, or none at all, according as the
providence of God shall dispose of your estate and you. Perhaps God
may impose a clear necessity on you, of using your estate some other

_Direct._ XI. If you be under government, you may not lawfully vow
without your governors' consent, to do any thing which you may not
lawfully do without their consent, in case you had not vowed it. For
that were, 1. Actually to disobey them at the present, by making a vow
without the direction and consent of your governors. 2. And thereby to
bind yourselves to disobey them for the future, by doing that without
them, which you should not do without them. But if it be a thing that
you may do, or must do, though your governors forbid you, then you may
vow it though they forbid you (if you have a call from the necessity
of the vow).

_Direct._ XII. If oaths be commanded us by usurpers that have no
authority to impose them, we must not take them in formal obedience to
their commands. For that were to own their usurpation and encourage
them in their sin. If we owe them no obedience in any thing, we must
not obey them in so great a thing: or if they have some authority over
us in other matters, but none in this, (as a constable hath no power
to give an oath,) we must not obey them in the point where they have
no authority. But yet it is possible that there may be other reasons
that may make it our duty to do it, though not as an act of formal
obedience: as I may take an oath when a thief or murderer requireth
it, not to obey him, but to save my life. And if any man command me to
do that which God commandeth me, I must do it, because God commandeth

_Direct._ XIII. If a lawful magistrate impose an oath or vow upon you,
before you take it you must consult with God, and know that it is not
against his will. God must be first obeyed in all things; but
especially in matters of so great moment, as vows and promises.

_Quest._ I. What if I be in doubt whether the oath or promise imposed
be lawful? must I take it, or not? If I take an oath which I judge
unlawful or false, I am a perjured or profane despiser of God: and if
a man must refuse all oaths or promises, which the magistrate
commandeth, if he do but doubt whether they be lawful, then government
and justice will be injured, while every man that hath ignorance
enough to make him dubious, shall refuse all oaths and promises of
allegiance, or for witness to the truth.

_Answ._ I. I shall tell you what others say first in the case of
doubting. Dr. Sanderson saith, Prælect. iii. sect. 10, p. 74, 75,
_Tertius casus est cum quis juramento pollicetur se facturum aliquid
in se fortassis licitum, quod tamen ipse putat esse illicitum. Ut
siquis ante hæc tempora admittendus ad beneficium (ut vocant)
ecclesiasticum, promisisset in publicis sacris observare omnes ritus
legibus ecclesiasticis imperatos; vestem scilicet lineam, crucis
signum ad sacrum fontem, ingeniculationem in percipiendis symbolis in
sacra cœna, et id genus alios; quos ipse tamen ex aliquo levi
prejudicio putaret esse superstitiosos et papisticos: quæritur in hoc
casu quæ sit obligatio? Pro Resp. dico tria: Dico_ 1. _Non posse tale
juramentum durante tali errore sine gravi peccato suscipi. Peccat enim
graviter qui contra conscientiam peccat, etsi erroneam. Judicium enim
intellectus cum sit unicuique proxima agendi regula; voluntas, si
judicium illud non sequatur, deficiens a regula sua, necesse est ut in
obliquum feratur. Tritum est illud, Qui facit contra conscientiam
ædificat ad gehennam. Sane qui jurat in id quod putat esse illicitum,
nihilominus juraturus esset, si esset revera illicitum: atque ita res
illa, ut ut alii licita, est tamen ipsi illicita: sententiam ferente
apostolo, Rom._ xiv. 14, _&c._ _Dico_ 2. _Tale juramentum non
obligare, &c._---- That is, The third case is, when a man promiseth
by oath that he will do a thing which in itself perhaps is lawful, but
he thinketh to be unlawful: as if one before these times being to be
admitted to an ecclesiastical benefice, (as they call it,) had
promised, that in public worship he would observe all the rites
commanded in the ecclesiastic laws, to wit, the surplice, the sign of
the cross at the sacred font, kneeling in the receiving of the symbols
in the holy supper, and others the like; which yet out of some light
prejudice, he thought to be superstitious and papistical. The question
is, what obligation there is in this case? For answer I say three
things: 1. I say that an oath, while such an error lasteth, cannot be
taken without grievous sin; for he grievously sinneth, who sinneth
against his conscience, although it be erroneous. For when the
judgment of the intellect is to every man the nearest rule of action,
it must be that the will is carried into obliquity, if it follow not
that judgment, as swerving from its rule. It is a common saying, He
that doth against his conscience, buildeth unto hell: verily he that
sweareth to that which he thinketh to be unlawful, would nevertheless
swear if it were indeed unlawful. And so the thing, though lawful to
another, is to him unlawful, the apostle passing the sentence, Rom.
xiv. 14, &c. 2. I say, that such an oath bindeth not, &c.---- Of the
obligation I shall speak anon;[52] but of the oath or promise, I think
the truth lieth here as followeth.

1. The question _de esse_ must first be resolved, before the question
of knowing or opinion. Either the thing is really lawful which is
doubted of, or denied, or it is not. If it be not, then it is a sin to
swear or promise to it; and here there is no case of error. But if it
be really lawful, and the vowing of it lawful, then the obligations
that lie upon this man are these, and in this order: (1.) To have a
humble suspicion of his own understanding. (2.) To search, and learn,
and use all means to discern it to be what it is. (3.) In the use of
these means to acknowledge the truth. (4.) And then to promise and
obey accordingly. Now this being his duty, and the order of his duty,
you cannot say that he is not obliged to any one part of it, though he
be obliged to do it all in this order, and therefore not to do the
last first, without the former: for though you question an hundred
times, What shall he do as long as he cannot see the truth? the law of
God is still the same; and his error doth not disoblige him: _Nemini
debetur commodum ex sua culpa_. So many of these acts as he omitteth,
so much he sinneth. It is his sin if he obey not the magistrate; and
it is his sin that he misjudgeth of the thing; and his sin that he
doth not follow the use of the means till he be informed. So that his
erring conscience entangleth him in a necessity of sinning; but
disobligeth him not at all from his obedience. 2. But yet this is
certain, that in such a case, he that will swear because man biddeth
him, when he taketh it to be false, is a perjured, profane despiser of
God; but he that forbeareth to swear for fear of sinning against God,
is guilty only of a pardonable, involuntary weakness.

_Direct._ XIV. Take heed lest the secret prevalency of carnal ends or
interest, and of fleshly wisdom, do bias your judgment, and make you
stretch your consciences to take those vows or promises, which
otherwise you would judge unlawful, and refuse. Never good cometh by
following the reasonings and interest of the flesh, even in smaller
matters; much less in cases of such great importance. Men think it
fitteth them at the present, and doth the business which they feel
most urgent; but it payeth them home with troubles and perplexities
at the last: it is but like a draught of cold water in a fever. You
have some present char to do, or some strait to pass through, in which
you think that such an oath, or promise, or profession would much
accommodate you; and therefore you venture on it, perhaps to your
perdition. It is a foolish course to cure the parts (yea, the more
ignoble parts) with the neglect and detriment of the whole: it is but
like those that cure the itch by anointing themselves with
quicksilver; which doth the char for them, and sendeth them after to
their graves, or casteth them into some far worse disease. Remember
how deceitful a thing the heart is, and how subtly such poison of
carnal ends will insinuate itself. Oh how many thousands hath this
undone! that before they are aware, have their wills first charmed and
inclined to the forbidden thing, and fain would have it to be lawful;
and then have brought themselves to believe it lawful, and so to
commit the sin; and next to defend it, and next to become the
champions of Satan, to fight his battles, and vilify and abuse them,
that by holy wisdom and tenderness have kept themselves from the

_Tit. 2. Directions against Perjury and Perfidiousness: Land for
keeping Vows and Oaths._

_Direct._ I. Be sure that you have just apprehension of the greatness
of the sin of perjury.[53] Were it seen of men in its proper shape, it
would more affright them from it than a sight of the devil himself
would do. I shall show it you in part in these particulars.

[Sidenote: The heinousness of perjury.]

1. It containeth a lie, and hath all the malignity in it which I
before showed to be in lying, with much more. 2. Perjury is a denial
or contempt of God. He that appealeth to his judgment by an oath, and
doth this in falsehood,[54] doth show that either he believeth not
that there is a God,[55] or that he believeth not that he is the
righteous Governor of the world, who will justly determine all the
causes that belong to his tribunal. The perjured person doth as it
were bid defiance to God, and setteth him at nought, as one that is
not able to be avenged on him. 3. Perjury is a calling for the
vengeance of God against yourselves. You invite God to plague you, as
if you bid him do his worst: you appeal to him for judgment in your
guilt, and you shall find that he will not hold you guiltless.
Imprecations against yourselves are implied in your oaths: he that
sweareth doth say in effect, Let God judge and punish me as a perjured
wretch, if I speak not the truth. And it is a dreadful thing to fall
into the hands of the living God, for vengeance is his and he will
recompence, Heb. x. 30, 31: and when he judgeth the wicked, "he is a
consuming fire," Heb. xii. 29. 4. Perjury and perfidiousness are sins
that leave the conscience no ease of an extenuation or excuse; but it
is so heinous a villany, that it is the seed of self-tormenting
desperation. Some sins conscience can make shift a while to hide, by
saying, It is a controversy; and, Many wise men are of another mind;
but perjury is a sin which heathens and infidels bear as free a
testimony against (in their way) as christians do. Some sins are
shifted off by saying, They are little ones. But[56] christians and
heathens are agreed that perjury is a sin almost as great as the devil
can teach his servants to commit. Saith Plutarch,[57] He that
deceiveth his enemy by an oath, doth confess thereby, that he feareth
his enemy, and despiseth God. Saith Cicero, The penalty of perjury is
destruction from God, and shame from man. Saith Q. Curtius,
Perfidiousness is a crime which no merits can mitigate. Read Cicero de
Offic. lib. iii. Saith Aristotle, He that will extenuate an oath, must
say, that those villanous wretches that think God seeth not, do think
also to go away with their perjury unpunished. In a word, the heathens
commonly take the revenge of perjury to belong in so special a manner
to the gods, that they conclude that man, and usually his posterity,
to be destinated to ruin, that is perjured and perfidious: insomuch
that it is written[58] of Agesilaus and many others, that when their
enemies were perjured, and broke their covenants, they took it for a
sign of victory, and the best prognostic of their success against
them. Plutarch recordeth this story of Clemens, that having made a
truce for seven days with the Argives, he set upon them, and killed
and took many of them in the night; and when he was charged with
perfidiousness, answered, I made not a truce with them for seven
nights, but for seven days. But the women fetched arms out of the
temples of the gods, and repulsed him with shame, and he ran mad, and
with his sword did mangle his own body, and died in a most hideous
manner. When conscience is awakened to see such a sin as perjury, no
wonder if such run mad, or hang themselves; as perfidious Ahithophel
and Judas did. No doubt but everlasting horror and desperation will be
the end of such, if true conversion do not prevent it. 5. It is a sin
that ruineth families and societies,[59] like fire that being kindled
in the thatch, never stoppeth till it have consumed all the house.
Though "the curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked, but he
blesseth the habitation of the just," Prov. iii. 33; yet among all the
wicked, there are few so commonly marked out with their families to
shame and ruin, as the perjured. Whatever nation is stigmatized with a
_fides Punica vel Græca_, with the brand of perjury, it is not only
their greatest infamy, but, like "Lord, have mercy on us" written on
your doors, a sign of a destroying plague within.[60] Saith Silius,

    Non illi domus aut conjux aut vita manebit
    Unquam expers luctus, lachrymæque: aget æquore semper
    Ac tellure premens; aget ægrum nocte dieque;
    Despecta ac violata fides--

Saith Claudian,

    In prolem dilatarunt perjuria patris,
    Et pœnam merito filius ore luit.--

So Tibullus,

    Ah miser: et siquis primo perjuria celat,
    Sera tamen tacitus pœna venit pedibus.

Saith Pausanias, The fraud that is committed by perjury, falleth upon
posterity. 6. Perjury and perfidiousness are virtually treason,
rebellion, and murder against kings and magistrates, and no more to
be favoured in a kingdom, by a king that loveth his life and safety,
than the plague in a city, or poison to the body. _Tristissimum et
domesticum regibus omnibus pharmacum, liberorum, amicorum et exercitus
perfidia_, saith Appian. What security have princes of their crowns,
or lives, where oaths and covenants seem not obligatory? There is then
nothing left but fear of punishment to restrain the violence of any
one that would do them mischief; and craft or strength will easily
break the bonds of fear. He that would dissolve the bond of oaths, and
teach men to make light of perjury, is no more to be endured in a
kingdom, than he that openly inviteth the subjects to kill their king,
or rise up in rebellion against him. If he that breaketh the least of
God's commands, and teacheth men so to do, shall be called least in
the kingdom of God, Matt. v. 19, then surely he that breaketh the
great commands by the most odious sin of perjury, and teacheth men so
to do, should neither be great, nor any thing, in the kingdoms of men.
7. Perjury is the poison of all societies, and of friendship, and of
human converse, and turneth all into a state of enmity, or hostility,
and teacheth all men to live together like foes. He that is not to be
believed when he sweareth, is never to be believed: and when oaths and
covenants signify nothing, and no man can believe another, what are
they but as so many foes to one another? How can there be any
relations of governors and subjects? of husband and wife? of master
and servants? or how can there be any trading or commerce, when there
is no trust? Perjury dissolveth all societies by loosening all the
bonds of association. Well might Dionys. Halic. lib. iii. say, The
perfidious are far worse than open enemies, and worthy of far greater
punishment. For a man may more easily avoid the ambushments of foes,
and repel their assaults, than escape the perfidiousness of seeming
friends. Saith Val. Max. lib. ix. c. 6, Perfidiousness is a hidden and
insnaring mischief; whose effectual force is in lying and deceiving:
its fruit consisteth in some horrid villany; which is ripe and sure
when it hath compassed cruelty with wicked hands; bringing as great
mischief to mankind, as fidelity bringeth good and safety. He that
teacheth the doctrine of perjury and perfidiousness, doth bid every
man shift for himself, and trust no more his friend or neighbour, but
all take heed of one another, as so many serpents or wild beasts.
Lions and bears may better be suffered to live loose among men, than
those that teach men to make light of oaths. 8. Thus also it
destroyeth personal love, and teacheth all men to be haters of each
other: for it can be no better when men become such hateful creatures
to each other, as not at all to be credited or sociably conversed
with. 9. Perjury and perfidiousness do proclaim men deplorate; and
stigmatize them with this character, that they are persons that will
stick at the committing of no kind of villany in the world, further
than their fleshly interest hindereth them. No charity bindeth a man
to think that he will make conscience of murder, rebellion, deceit,
adultery, or any imaginable wickedness, who maketh no conscience of
perjury and perfidiousness. Such a person alloweth you to judge that
if the temptation serve, he will do any thing that the devil bids
him: and that he is virtually a compound of all iniquity, and
prepared for every evil work. 10. Lastly, as perjury doth thus
dissolve societies, and turn mankind into enmity with each other, so
it would make the misery uncurable, by making even penitents
incredible. Who will believe him, even while he professeth to repent,
that hath showed that when he sweareth he is not to be believed? He
that dare forswear himself, dare lie when he pretendeth repentance for
his perjury. It must be some deeds that are more credible than words
and oaths, that must recover the credit of such a man's professions.
If perjury have violated any relations, it leaveth the breach almost
uncurable, because no professions of repentance or future fidelity can
be trusted. Thus I have partly showed you the malignity of perjury and

_Direct._ II. Be sure that you make no vow or covenant which God hath
forbidden you to keep. It is rash vowing and swearing which is the
common cause of perjury. You should, at the making of your vow, have
seen into the bottom of it, and foreseen all the evils that might
follow it, and the temptations which were like to draw you into
perjury. He is virtually perjured as soon as he hath sworn, who
sweareth to do that which he must not do; the preventive means are
here the best.

_Direct._ III. Be sure you take no oath or vow which you are not
sincerely resolved to perform.[61] They that swear or vow with a
secret reserve, that rather than they will be ruined by keeping it,
they will break it, are habitually and reputatively perjured persons,
even before they break it; besides that, they show a base,
hypocritical, profligate conscience, that can deliberately commit so
great a sin.

_Direct._ IV. See that all fleshly, worldly interest be fully subdued
to the interest of your souls, and to the will of God. He that at the
heart sets more by his body than his soul, and loveth his worldly
prosperity above God, will lie, or swear, or forswear, or do any thing
to save that carnal interest which he most valueth. He that is carnal
and worldly at the heart, is false at the heart; the religion of such
a hypocrite will give place to his temporal safety or commodity, and
will carry him no further than the way is fair. It is no wonder that a
proud man, or a worldling, will renounce both God and his true
felicity for the world, seeing indeed he taketh it for his god and his
felicity; even as a believer will renounce the world for God.[62]

_Direct._ V. Beware of inordinate fear of man, and of a distrustful
withdrawing of your heart from God. Else you will be carried to comply
with the will of man before the will of God, and to avoid the wrath of
man before the wrath of God. Read and fear that heavy curse, Jer.
xvii. 5, 6. God is unchangeable, and hath commanded you so far to
imitate him, as "If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to
bind his soul with a bond, he shall not break his word; he shall do
according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth," Numb. xxx. 2. But
man is mutable, and so is his interest and his affairs; and therefore
if you are the servants of men, you must swear one year, and forswear
it, or swear the contrary, the next: when their interest requireth it,
you must not be thought worthy to live among men, if you will not
promise or swear as they command you; and when their interest
altereth and requireth the contrary, you must hold all those bonds to
be but straws, and break them for their ends.

_Direct._ VI. Be sure that you lose not the fear of God, and the
tenderness of your consciences. When these are lost, your
understanding, and sense, and life are lost; and you will not stick at
the greatest wickedness; nor know when you have done it, what you did.
If faith see not God continually present, and foresee not the great
approaching day, perjury or any villany will seem tolerable, for
worldly ends: for when you look but to men's present case, you will
see that "the righteous and the wise, and their works, are in the
hands of God; no man knoweth love or hatred by all that is before
them. All things come alike to all; there is one event to the
righteous, and to the wicked; to the good, and to the clean, and to
the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not:
as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that
feareth an oath," Eccles. ix. 1, 2. But in the end, men "shall discern
between the righteous and the wicked," Mal. iii. 18. Therefore it is
the believing foresight of the end, that by preserving the fear of God
and tenderness of conscience, must save you from this, and all other
heinous sin.

_Direct._ VII. Be not bold and rash about such dreadful things as
vows. Run not as fearlessly upon them as if you were but going to your
dinner; the wrath of God is not to be jested with. _Usque ad aras_,
was the bounds even of a heathen's kindness to his friend. Meddle with
oaths with the greatest fear, and caution, and circumspection. It is
terrible here to find that you were mistaken, through any temerity, or
negligence, or secret seduction of a carnal interest.

_Direct._ VIII. Especially be very fearful of owning any public
doctrine, or doing any public act, which tendeth to harden others in
their perjury, or to encourage multitudes to commit the sin.[63] To be
forsworn yourselves is a dreadful case; but to teach whole nations or
churches to forswear themselves, or to plead for it, or justify it as
a lawful thing, is much more dreadful. And though you teach not or own
not perjury under the name of perjury, yet if first you will make
plain perjury to seem no perjury, that so you may justify it, it is
still a most inhuman, horrid act. God knoweth I insult not over the
papists, with a delight to make any christians odious! but with grief
I remember how lamentably they have abused our holy profession, while
not only their great doctors, but their approved general council at
the Lateran under Pope Innocent the Third, in the third canon hath
decreed that the pope may depose temporal lords from their dominions,
and give them unto others, and discharge their vassals from their
allegiance and fidelity, if they be heretics, or will not exterminate
heretics (even such as the holy men there condemned were, in the
pope's account). To declare to many christian nations, that it is
lawful to break their oaths and promises to their lawful lords and
rulers, or their vows to God, and to undertake, by defending or owning
this, to justify all those nations that shall be guilty of this
perjury and perfidiousness, oh what a horrid crime is this! what a
shame even unto human nature! and how great a wrong to the christian

_Direct._ IX. Understand and remember these following rules, to
acquaint you how far a vow is obligatory: which I shall give you for
the most part out of Dr. Sanderson, because his decisions of these
cases are now of best esteem.

_Rule_ I. The general rule laid down Numb. xxx. 2, 3, doth make a vow,
as such, to be obligatory, though the party should have a secret
equivocation or intent, that though he speak the words to deceive
another, yet he will not oblige himself. Such a reserve not to oblige
himself hindereth not the obligation, but proveth him a perfidious
hypocrite. Dr. Sanderson, p. 23, _Juramentum omne ex sua natura est
obligatorium: ita ut si quis juret non intendens se obligare,
nihilominus tamen suscipiendo juramentum ipso facto obligetur_: that
is, If he so far understand what he doth, as that his words may bear
the definition of an oath or vow; otherwise if he speak the words of
an oath in a strange language, thinking they signify something else,
or if he speak in his sleep, or deliration, or distraction, it is no
oath, and so not obligatory.

_Rule_ II. Those conditions are to be taken as intended in all oaths,
(whether expressed or no,) which the very nature of the thing doth
necessarily imply[64] (unless any be so brutish as to express the
contrary). And these are all reducible to two heads: 1. A natural,
and, 2. A moral impossibility. 1. Whoever sweareth to do any thing, or
give any thing, is supposed to mean, If I live; and if I be not
disabled in my body, faculties, estate; if God make it not impossible
to be, &c. For no man can be supposed to mean, I will do it whether
God will or not, and whether I live or not, and whether I be able or
not. 2. Whoever voweth or sweareth to do any thing, must be understood
to mean it, If no change of providence make it a sin; or if I find
not, contrary to my present supposition, that God forbiddeth it. For
no man that is a christian is to be supposed to mean when he voweth, I
will do this, though God forbid it, or though it prove to be a sin;
especially when men therefore vow it, because they take it to be a
duty. Now as that which is sinful is morally impossible, so there are
divers ways by which a thing may appear or become sinful to us. (1.)
When we find it forbidden directly in the word of God, which at first
we understood not. (2.) When the change of things doth make that a
sin, which before was a duty; of which may be given an hundred
instances; as when the change of a man's estate, of his opportunities,
of his liberty, of his parts and abilities, of objects, of customs, of
the laws of civil governors, doth change the very matter of his duty.

_Quest._ But will every change disoblige us? If not, what change must
it be? seeing casuists use to put it as a condition in general, _rebus
sic stantibus_. _Answ._ No: it is not every change of things that
disobligeth us from the bonds of a vow. For then vows were of no
considerable signification. But, 1. If the very matter that was vowed,
or about which the vow was, do cease, _cessante materia, cessat
obligatio_:[65] as if I promise to teach a pupil, I am disobliged when
he is dead. If I promise to pay so much money in gold, and the king
should forbid gold and change his coin, I am not obliged to it. 2.
_Cessante termino vel correlato, cessat obligatio_: If the party die
to whom I am bound, my personal obligation ceaseth. And so the
conjugal bond ceaseth at death, and civil bonds by civil death. 3.
_Cessante fine, cessat obligatio_: If the use and end wholly cease, my
obligation, which was only to that use and end, ceaseth. As if a
physician promise to give physic for nothing for the cure of the
plague, to all the poor of the city; when the plague ceaseth, his end,
and so his obligation, ceaseth. 4. _Cessante persona naturali relata,
cessat obligatio personalis_: When the natural person dieth, the
obligation ceaseth. I cannot be obliged to do that when I am dead,
which is proper to the living. The subject of the obligation ceasing,
the accidents must cease. 5. _Cessante relatione vel persona civili,
cessat obligatio talis, qua talis_: The obligation which lay on a
person in any relation merely as such, doth cease when that relation
ceaseth. A king is not bound to govern or protect his subjects if they
traitorously depose him, or if he cast them off, and take another
kingdom (as when Henry III. of France left the kingdom of Poland): nor
are subjects bound to allegiance and obedience to him that is not
indeed their king. A judge, or justice, or constable, or tutor, is no
longer bound by his oath to do the offices of these relations, than he
continueth in the relation. A divorced wife is not bound by her
conjugal vow to her husband as before, nor masters and servants, when
their relations cease; nor a soldier to his general by his military
sacrament, when the army is disbanded, or he is cashiered or

_Rule_ III. No vows or promises of our own can dissolve the obligation
laid upon us by the law of God. For we have no co-ordinate, much less
superior authority over ourselves; our self-obligations are but for
the furthering of our obedience.

_Rule_ IV. Therefore no vows can disoblige a man from any present
duty, nor justify him in the committing of any sin. Vows are to engage
us to God, and not against him: if the matter which we vow be evil, it
is a sin to vow it, and a sin to do it upon pretence of a vow. Sin is
no acceptable sacrifice to God.

_Rule_ V. If I vow that I will do some duty better, I am not thereby
disobliged from doing it at all, when I am disabled from doing it
better.[66] Suppose a magistrate, seeing much amiss in church and
commonwealth, doth vow a reformation, and vow against the abuses which
he findeth; if now the people's obstinacy and rebellion disable him to
perform that vow, it doth not follow that he must lay down his
sceptre, and cease to govern them at all, because he cannot do it as
he ought, if he were free. So if the pastors of any church do vow the
reformation of church abuses, in their places, if they be hindered by
their rulers, or by the people, it doth not follow that they must lay
down their callings, and not worship God publicly at all, because they
cannot do it as they would, and ought if they were free; as long as
they may worship him without committing any sin. God's first
obligation on me is to worship him, and the second for the manner, to
do it as near his order as I can: now if I cannot avoid the
imperfections of worship, though I vowed it, I must not therefore
avoid the worship itself (as long as corruptions destroy not the very
nature of it, and I am put myself upon no actual sin). For I was bound
to worship God before my vows, and in order of nature before my
obligation _de modo_: and my vow was made with an implied condition,
that the thing were possible and lawful: and when that ceaseth to be
possible or lawful which I vowed, I must, nevertheless, do that which
still remaineth possible and lawful. To give over God's solemn worship
with the church, is no reformation. To prefer no worship before
imperfect worship, is a greater deformation and corruption, than to
prefer imperfect worship before that which is more perfect. And to
prefer a worship imperfect in the manner, before no church worship at
all, is a greater reformation than to prefer a more perfect manner of
worship before a more imperfect and defective. To worship God decently
and in order, supposeth that he must be worshipped; and he that doth
not worship at all, doth not worship him decently. If a physician vow
that he will administer a certain effectual antidote to all his
patients that have the plague, and that he will not administer a
certain less effectual preparation, which some apothecaries, through
covetousness or carelessness, had brought into common use, to the
injury of the sick; his vow is to be interpreted with these
exceptions: I will do it if I can, without dishonesty or a greater
mischief: I will not administer the sophisticated antidote when I can
have better: I vow this for my patients' benefit, and not for their
destruction. Therefore if the sophisticated antidote is much better
than none, and may save men's lives, and the patients grow wilful and
will take no other, or authority forbid the use of any other, the
physician is neither bound to forsake his calling rather than use it,
nor to neglect the life of his patients (if their lives indeed lie
upon his care, and they may not be in some good hopes without him, and
the good of many require him not to neglect a few). But he must do
what he can, when he cannot do what he would, and only show that he
consenteth not to the sophistication.

_Rule_ VI. Though he that voweth a lawful thing, must be understood to
mean, if it continue possible and lawful; yet if he himself be the
culpable cause that afterwards it becometh impossible or unlawful, he
violateth his vow. He that voweth to give so much to the poor, and
after prodigally wasteth it, and hath it not to give, doth break his
vow; which he doth not if fire or thieves deprive him of it against
his will. He that voweth to preach the gospel, if he cut out his own
tongue, or culpably procure another to imprison, silence, or hinder
him, doth break his vow; which he did not if the hinderance were
involuntary and insuperable: consent doth make the impedition his own

_Rule_ VII. In the taking and keeping of oaths and vows we must deal
simply and openly without equivocation and deceit.[67] Psal. xxiv.
3-5, "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand
in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who
hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He
shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the
God of his salvation."

_Rule_ VIII. He that juggleth or stretcheth his conscience by
fraudulent shifts and interpretations afterwards, is as bad as he that
dissembleth in the taking of the oath. To break it by deceit, is as
bad as to take it in deceit. Psal. xv. 1, 4, "Lord, who shall abide in
thy tabernacle--he that sweareth to his own hurt and changeth not."
Saith Dr. Sanderson,[68] _Ista mihi aut non cogitare_, &c. "It seemeth
to me that the greater part of the men of these times either think
not of these things, or at least not seriously; who fear not, at large
and in express words, without going about, to swear to all that,
whatever it be, which is proposed to them by those that have power to
hurt them: yea, and they take themselves for the only wise men, and
not without some disdain deride the simplicity and needless fear of
those, that lest they hurt their consciences forsooth, do seek a knot
in a rush, and oppose the forms prescribed by those that have power to
prescribe them. And in the mean time they securely free themselves
from all crime and fear of perjury, and think they have looked well to
themselves and their consciences, if either when they swear, like
Jesuits, they can defend themselves by the help of some tacit
equivocation, or mental reservation, or subtle interpretation which is
strained and utterly alien from the words; or else after they have
sworn can find some thing to slip through, some cunning evasion, as a
wise remedy, by which they may so elude their oath, as that keeping
the words, the sense may by some sophism be eluded, and all the force
of it utterly enervated. The ancient christians knew not this
divinity, nor the sounder heathens this moral philosophy. For
otherwise saith Augustine, They are perjured, who keeping the words,
deceive the expectation of those they swear to: and otherwise saith
Cicero," &c. He goeth on to confirm it at large by argument.

_Rule_ IX. An oath is to be taken and interpreted strictly. Sanderson
saith,[69] _Juramenti obligatio est stricti juris_; that is, _non ut
excludat juris interpretationem æquitate temperatam; sed ut excludat
juris interpretationem gratia corruptam_: "not as excluding an
equitable interpretation, but as excluding an interpretation corrupted
by partiality:" that it be a just interpretation, between the extremes
of rigid, and favourable or partial; and in doubtful cases it is safer
to follow the strict, than the benign or favourable sense. It is
dangerous stretching and venturing too far in matters of so sacred a
nature, and of such great importance as vows and oaths.

_Rule_ X. In the exposition of such doubtful oaths and vows, 1. We
must specially watch against self-interest or commodity, that it
corrupt not our understandings. 2. And we must not take our oaths or
any part of them in such a sense, as a pious, prudent stander-by that
is impartial, and no whit interested in the business, cannot easily
find in the words themselves.[70]

_Rule_ XI. In doubtful cases the greatest danger must be most
carefully avoided, and the safer side preferred: but the danger of the
soul by perjury is the greatest, and therefore no bodily danger should
so carefully be avoided: and therefore an oath that in the common and
obvious sense seemeth unlawful should not be taken, unless there be
very full evidence that it hath another sense. Sand. p. 46, _Nititur
autem_, &c. This reason leaneth on that general and most useful rule,
that in doubtful cases we must follow the safer side: but it is safer
not to swear, where the words of the oath proposed, do seem according
to the common and obvious sense of the words to contain in them
something unlawful; than by a loose interpretation so to lenify them
for our own ends, that we may the more securely swear them. For it is
plain that such an oath may be refused without the peril of perjury;
but not that it can be taken without some danger or fear. The same
rule must guide us also in keeping vows.

_Rule_ XII. It is ordinarily resolved that imposed oaths must be kept
according to the sense of the imposer. See Sanders. p. 191, 192. But I
conceive that assertion must be more exactly opened and bounded. 1.
Where justice requireth that we have respect to the will or right of
the imposer, there the oath imposed must be taken in his sense; but
whether it must be kept in his sense is further to be considered. 2.
When I have done my best to understand the sense of the imposer in
taking the oath, and yet mistake it, and so take it (without fraud) in
another sense, the question then is somewhat hard, whether I must keep
it in the sense I took it in, or in his sense, which then I understood
not. If I must not keep it in my own sense, which I took it in, then
it would follow that I must keep another oath, and not that which I
took: for it is the sense that is the oath. And I never obliged myself
to any thing, but according to my own sense: and yet on the other
side, if every man may take oaths in their private sense, then oaths
will not attain their ends, nor be any security to the imposers.

In this case you must carefully distinguish between the formal
obligation of the oath or vow as such, and the obligation of justice
to my neighbour which is a consequent of my vow. And for the former I
conceive (with submission) that an oath or vow cannot bind me,
formally as such, in any sense but my own in which _bona fide_ I took
it. Because formally an oath cannot bind me which I never took: but I
never took that which I never meant, nor thought of; if you so define
an oath as to take in the sense, which is the soul of it.

But then in regard of the consequential obligation in point of justice
unto man, the question I think must be thus resolved: 1. We must
distinguish between a lawful imposer or contractor, and a violent
usurper or robber that injuriously compelleth us to swear. 2. Between
the obvious, usual sense of the words, and an unusual, forced sense.
3. Between a sincere, involuntary misunderstanding the imposer, and a
voluntary, fraudulent reservation or private sense. 4. Between one
that I owe something to antecedently, and one that I owe nothing to
but by the mere self-obligation of my vow. 5. Between an imposer that
is himself the culpable cause of my misunderstanding him, and one that
is not the cause, but my own weakness or negligence is the cause. 6.
Between a case where both senses may be kept, and a case where they
cannot, being inconsistent. Upon these distinctions, I thus resolve
the question.

_Prop._ I. If I fraudulently and wilfully take an oath in a sense of
my own, contrary to the sense of the imposer, and the common and just
sense of the words themselves, I am guilty of perfidiousness and
profaneness in the very taking of it.[71]

_Prop._ II. If it be long of my own culpable ignorance or negligence
that I misunderstood the imposer, I am not thereby disobliged from the
public sense.

_Prop._ III. When the imposer openly putteth a sense on the words
imposed contrary to the usual, obvious sense, I am to understand him
according to his own expression, and not to take the oath, as imposed
in any other sense.

_Prop._ IV. If the imposer refuse or neglect to tell me his sense any
otherwise than in the imposed words, I am to take and keep them
according to the obvious sense of the words, as they are commonly used
in the time and place which I live in.

_Prop._ V. If it be long of the imposer's obscurity, or refusing to
explain himself, or other culpable cause, that I mistook him, I am not
bound to keep my oath in his sense, as different from my own (unless
there be some other reason for it).

_Prop._ VI. If the imposer be a robber or usurper, or one that I owe
nothing to in justice, but what I oblige myself to by my oath, I am
not then bound at all to keep my oath in his sense, if my own sense
was according to the common use of the words.

_Prop._ VII. Though I may not lie to a robber or tyrant that unjustly
imposeth promises or oaths upon me, yet if he put an oath or promise
on me which is good and lawful in the proper, usual sense of the
words, though bad in his sense, (which is contrary to the plain
words,) whether I may take this to save my liberty or life, I leave to
the consideration of the judicious: that which may be said against it
is, that oaths must not be used indirectly and dissemblingly: that
which may be said for it is, 1. That I have no obligation to fit my
words to his personal, private sense. 2. That I deceive him not, but
only permit him to deceive himself, as long as it is he and not I that
misuseth the words. 3. That I am to have chief respect to the public
sense; and it is not his sense, but mine, that is the public sense. 4.
That the saving of a man's life or liberty is cause enough for the
taking a lawful oath.

_Prop._ VIII. In case I misunderstood the imposed oath through my own
default, I am bound to keep it in both senses, (my own and the
imposer's,) if both be consistent and lawful to be done. For I am
bound to it in my own sense, because it was formally my oath or vow
which I intended. And I am bound to it in his sense, because I have in
justice made the thing his due. As if the king command me to vow that
I will serve him in wars against the Turk; and I misunderstand him as
if he meant only to serve him with my purse; and so I make a vow with
this intent, to expend part of my estate to maintain that war; whereas
the true sense was that I should serve him with my person: in this
case, I see not but I am bound to both.

Indeed if it were a promise that obliged me only to the king, then I
am obliged no further and no longer than he will; for he can remit his
own right: but if by a vow I become obliged directly to God himself as
a party, then no man can remit his right, and I must perform my vow as
made to him.

_Rule_ XIII. If any impose an ambiguous oath, and refuse to explain
it, and require you only to swear in these words, and leave you to
your own sense, Dr. Sanderson thinketh that an honest man should
suspect some fraud in such an oath, and not take it at all till all
parties are agreed of the sense.[72] And I think he should not take it
at all, unless there be some other cause that maketh it his duty. But
if a lawful magistrate command it, or the interest of the church or
state require it, I see not but he may take it, on condition that in
the plain and proper sense of the words the oath be lawful, and that
he openly profess to take it only in that sense.

_Rule_ XIV. If any power should impose an oath, or vow, or promise,
which in the proper, usual sense were downright impious, or
blasphemous, or sinful, and yet bid me take it in what sense I
pleased, though I could take it in such a sense as might make it no
real consent to the impiety, yet it would be impious in the sense of
the world, and of such heinous consequence as will make it to be
unlawful. As if I must subscribe, or say, or swear these words, There
is no God; or, Scripture is untrue; though it is easy to use these or
any words in a good sense, if I may put what sense I will upon them,
yet the public sense of them is blasphemy; and I may not publicly
blaspheme, on pretence of a private right sense and intention.

_Rule_ XV. If the oath imposed be true in the strict and proper sense,
yet if that sense be not vulgarly known, nor sufficiently manifest to
be the imposer's sense, and if the words are false or blasphemous in
the vulgar sense of those that I have to do with, and that must
observe and make use of my example, I must not take such an oath,
without leave to make my sense as public as my oath. As if I were
commanded to swear, That God hath no foreknowledge, no knowledge, no
will, &c.; it were easy to prove that these terms are spoken primarily
of man, and that they are attributed to God but analogically or
metaphorically, and that God hath no such human acts _formaliter_, but
_eminenter_, and that _forma dat nomen_, and so that strictly it is
not knowledge and will in the primary, proper notion, that God hath at
all, but something infinitely higher, for which man hath no other
name. But though thus the words are true and justifiable in the
strictest, proper sense, yet are they unlawful, because they are
blasphemy in the vulgar sense: and he that speaks to the vulgar is
supposed to speak with the vulgar; unless he as publicly explain them.

_Rule_ XVI. If the supreme power should impose an oath or promise,
which in the ordinary, obvious sense were sinful, and an inferior
officer would bid me take it in what sense I pleased, I might not
therefore take it: because that such an officer hath no power to
interpret it himself; much less to allow me to take it in a private
sense. But if the lawgiver that imposeth it bid me take it in what
sense I will, and give me leave to make my sense as public as my oath,
I may take it, if the words be but dubious, and not apparently false
or sinful: (so there be no reason against it, _aliunde_, as from ill
consequents, &c.)

_Rule_ XVII. If any man will say in such a case, (when he thinketh
that the imposer's sense is bad,) I take not the same oath or
engagement which is imposed, but another in the same words, and I
suppose not inferior officers authorized to admit any interpretation,
but I look at them only as men that can actually execute or not
execute the laws upon me; and so I take a vow of my own according to
my own sense, though in their words, as a means of my avoiding their
severities: as this is a collusion in a very high and tender business,
so that person (if the public sense of the oath be sinful) must make
his professed sense as public as his oath or promise; it being no
small thing to do that which in the public sense is impious, and so to
be an example of perfidiousness to many.

_Rule_ XVIII. Though an oath imposed by a usurper or by violence is
not to be taken in formal obedience, nor at all, unless the greatness
of the benefit require it, yet being taken it is nevertheless
obligatory[73] (supposing nothing else do make it void). Man is a free
agent, and cannot be forced, though he may be frightened: if he swear
to a thief for the saving of his life, he voluntarily doth choose the
inconveniences of the oath, as a means to save his life. Therefore
being a voluntary act it is obligatory; else there should be no
obligation on us to suffer for Christ, but any thing might be sworn or
done to escape suffering: see of this Dr. Sanderson largely, Prælect.
iv. sect. 14-16. The imposition and the oath are different things: in
the imposition, a thief or tyrant is the party commanding, and I am
the party commanded; and his having no authority to command me, doth
nullify only his command, and maketh me not obliged to obey him, nor
to take it in any obedience to him; but yet if I do take it without
any authority obliging me, (as private oaths are taken,) it is still
an oath or vow, in which the parties are God and man; man vowing and
making himself a debtor to God; and God hath authority to require me
to keep my vows, when men have no authority to require me to make
them. All men confess that private vows bind; and the nullity of the
imposer's authority, maketh them but private vows. This case is easy,
and commonly agreed on.

_Rule_ XIX. If in a complex vow or promise there be many things which
prove materially unlawful, and one or more that are lawful, the
conjunction of the things unlawful doth not disoblige me from the vow
of doing the lawful part. Otherwise a man might make void all his vows
to God, and oaths and covenants with men, by putting in something that
is evil with the good; and so God, and the king, and our neighbours
would have their debts paid by our sin and injury done them on the

_Rule_ XX. If some part of that which you vowed become impossible,
that doth not disoblige you from so much as remaineth possible. As if
you vow allegiance to the king, and tyrants or disability hinder you
from serving him as subjects in some one particular way, you remain
still obliged to serve him by those other ways in which you are yet
capable to serve him. So if you had taken an oath against popery, to
preach against it, and reject the practice of it, and for ever
renounce it; this would not bind you from the common truths and duties
of christianity, which papists hold in common with all other
christians: nor could you preach against popery, if you were hindered
by imprisonment, banishment, or restraint; but you have still power to
forbear approving, consenting, subscribing, or practising their
errors; and this you are still bound to do.

_Rule_ XXI. Though you are not bound to do that of your vow which
changes have made impossible or unlawful, yet if another change make
them possible and lawful again, your obligation doth return afresh
(unless you made it with such limitation). It is not a temporary
cessation of the matter, or end, or correlate, that will perpetually
discharge you from your vow. If your wife be taken captive many years,
when she returneth, you are bound to the duties of a husband. If the
king be expelled by usurpers, you are bound at present to so much duty
as is possible, and to obey him as your actual governor when he
returneth. But in the case of servants and soldiers, and other
temporary relations, it is otherwise; for a removal may end the
relation itself. If you promise to preach the gospel, to medicate the
sick, to relieve the poor, to reform your families, &c. you are not
hereby obliged to do it while any unresistible impediment maketh it
impossible; but when the hinderance ceaseth, you are obliged to do it
again; the matter and your capacity being restored.

_Rule_ XXII. Therefore many a vow and promise may be lawfully
unperformed, which may not be renounced or disclaimed. When you are
taken captives you must forbear your duty to your king, your father,
your husband or wife, but you may not therefore renounce them, and
say, I have no obligation to them: no, not to the death; because they
are relations for life; and how improbable soever it may seem that you
should be returned to them, yet God can do it, and you must wait on

_Rule_ XXIII. A former vow or promise is not nullified by a latter
that contradicteth it.[74] Otherwise a man might disoblige himself at
his pleasure. Yet he that maketh contrary vows, obligeth himself to
contraries and impossibles; and bringeth a necessity of perjury on
himself, for not doing the things impossible which he vowed. And in
some cases a later promise to men may null a former, when we made the
former with the reserve of such a power or liberty, or are justly
supposed to have power, to recall a former promise: or when it is the
duty of a mutable relation which we vow, (as of a physician, a
schoolmaster, &c.) and by a later vow we change the relation itself
(which we may still lawfully change).

_Rule_ XXIV. The _actus jurandi_ must still be distinguished from the
_materia juramenti_; and it very often cometh to pass that the act of
swearing (or the oath as our act) is unlawfully done, and was a sin
from the beginning, and yet it is nevertheless obligatory as long as
the _res jurata_, the matter sworn, is lawful or necessary.[75] Dr.
Sanderson instanceth in Joshua's oath to the Gibeonites. The nature of
the thing is proof enough; for many a thing is sinfully done, for want
of a due call, or manner, or end, that yet is done, and is no nullity.
A man may sinfully enter upon the ministry, that yet is bound to do
the duty of a minister; and many marriages are sinful that are no

[Sidenote: What is the nullity of an oath.]

_Rule_ XXV. The nullity of an oath _ab initio_, is _quando realiter
vel reputative non juravimus_; when really or reputatively we did not
swear. The sinfulness of an oath is when we did swear really but
unlawfully as to the ground, or end, or matter, or manner, or
circumstances. Really that man did not swear, 1. Who spake not
(mentally nor orally) the words of an oath. 2. Who thought those words
had signified no such thing, and so had no intent to swear either
mentally or verbally. As if an Englishman be taught to use the words
of an oath in French, and made believe that they have a contrary
sense. 3. Who only narratively recited the words of an oath, as a
reporter or historian, without a real or professed intent of swearing.
Reputatively he did not swear, 1. Who spake the words of an oath in
his sleep, or in a deliration, distraction, madness, or such prevalent
melancholy as mastereth reason; when a man is not _compos mentis_, his
act is not _actus humanus_. (2.) When a man's hand is forcibly moved
by another against his will to subscribe the words of an oath or
covenant; for if it be totally involuntary it is not a moral act. But
words cannot be forced; for he that sweareth to save his life, doth do
it voluntarily to save his life. The will may be moved by fear, but
not forced. Yet the person that wrongfully frighteneth another into
consent, or to swear, hath no right to any benefit which he thought to
get by force or fraud; and so _in foro civili_ such promises, or
covenants, or oaths may _quoad effectum_ be reputatively null; and he
that by putting his sword to another man's breast doth compel him to
swear or subscribe and seal a deed of gift, may be judged to have no
right to it, but to be punishable for the force; but though this
covenant or promise be null _in foro humano_, because the person
cannot acquire a right by violence, yet the oath is not a nullity
before God; for when God is made a party, he hath a right which is
inviolable; and when he is appealed to or made a witness, his name
must not be taken in vain. 3. It is a nullity reputatively when the
person is naturally incapable of self-obligation, as in infancy, when
reason is not come to so much maturity as to be naturally capable of
such a work; I say naturally incapable, for the reasons following.

_Rule_ XXVI. We must distinguish between a natural incapacity of
vowing or swearing at all, and an incapacity of doing it lawfully; and
between a true nullity, and when the oath is only _quasi nullum_, or
as null _quoad effectum_, or such as I must not keep. There are many
real oaths and vows which must not be kept, and so far are _quasi
nulla_ as to the effecting of the thing vowed; but they are not simply
null; for they have the effect of making the man a sinner and
perjured. They are sinful vows, and therefore vows. A natural
incapacity proveth it no vow at all; but if I am naturally capable,
and only forbidden, (by God or man,) this maketh it not no vow, but a
sinful vow, of which some must be kept and some must not.

[Sidenote: Cases in which a vow must not be kept.]

In these following cases a real vow is _quasi nullum_, or must not be

1. In case the thing vowed (all things considered) be a thing which
God hath forbidden to be done; that is, in case it be a thing in
itself evil; but if the thing in itself be a duty, though there be
some inseparable sins which we shall be guilty of in the performance,
we must not therefore leave the duty itself undone which we have
vowed: as if I vow to praise God, and yet am sure that I cannot praise
him without a sinful defect of that love and delight in him which is
due, I must not therefore forbear to praise him; else we must cast off
all other duty, because we cannot do it without some sin. But yet,
though in case of unwilling infirmity, we must thus do the duty though
we are sure to sin in it, yet in case of any chosen, voluntary sin,
which we have an immediate power to avoid, we must rather forbear the
duty itself (vowed or not vowed) than commit such a sin; as if I vow
to preach the gospel, and am forcibly hindered unless I would
voluntarily tell one lie, or commit one sin wilfully for this liberty;
I ought rather never to preach the gospel; nor is it then a duty, but
become morally impossible to me; as if in France or Spain I may not
preach unless I would take Pope Pius's Trent confession or oath. Nay,
if those very defects of love, and wandering thoughts, which now
inseparably cleave to my best performances, were morally and
immediately in my power, and I could avoid them, I ought not
electively and by consent to commit them, for any liberty of duty, but
rather to forbear the duty itself as no duty to me when it cometh upon
such conditions; for then it is supposed that I could serve God better
without that duty, because I could love him more, &c.

Yet here is observable a great deal of difference between omissions
and commissions. A man may never commit a sin that good may come by
it, though he vowed the good; but a man may ofttimes omit that which
else would have been his duty, to do some good which he hath vowed;
for negative commands bind _semper et ad semper_; but the affirmative
do not (at least as to outward duty); therefore in case of necessity a
man may himself consent to the present omission of some good, for the
escaping of greater, unavoidable omissions another time, or for the
performing of a vow or greater duty which is to be preferred.

2. A vow is not to be kept, when the matter of it is unjust and
injurious to another (unless you have his consent): as if you vow to
give away another man's lands or goods, or to do him wrong by word or
deed; or if you vow to forbear to pay him his due, or to do that which
you owe him: as if a servant vow to forbear his master's work (unless
it be so small an injury as he can otherwise repair); or a husband, or
wife, or parents, or children, or prince, or subjects should vow to
deny their necessary duties to each other. Here man's right together
with God's law doth make it unjust to perform such vows.

3. A vow is as null or not to be kept, when the matter is something
that is morally or civilly out of our power to do: as if a servant, or
a child, or subject vow to do a thing, which he cannot do lawfully
without the consent of his superior: this vow is not simply null, for
it is a sinful vow (unless it was conditional). Every rational
creature is so far _sui juris_, as that his soul being immediately
subject to God, he is capable of obliging himself to God; and so his
vow is a real sinful vow, when he is not so far _sui juris_ as to be
capable of a lawful vowing, or doing the thing which he voweth. Such a
one is bound to endeavour to get his superior's consent, but not
without it to perform his vow; no, though the thing in itself be
lawful. For God having antecedently bound me to obey my superiors in
all lawful things, I cannot disoblige myself by my own vows.

Yet here are very great difficulties in this case, which causeth
difference among the learnedest, pious casuists. 1. If a governor have
beforehand made a law for that which I vow against, it is supposed by
many that my vow is not to be kept, (the thing being not against the
law of God,) because the first obligation holdeth. 2. Yet some think
that magistrates' penal laws binding but _aut ad obedientiam aut ad
pœnam_, to obedience or punishment, I am therefore obliged in
indifferent things to bear his penalty, and to keep my vow.[76] 3. But
if I first make an absolute vow in a thing indifferent, (as to drink
no wine, or to wear no silks, &c.) and the magistrate afterwards
command it me, some think I am bound to keep my vow; because though I
must obey the magistrate in all things lawful, yet my vow hath made
this particular thing to be to me unlawful, before the magistrate made
it a duty. 4. Though others think that even in this case the general
obligation to obey my superiors preventeth my obliging myself to any
particular which they may forbid in case I had not vowed it, or
against any particular which they may command. 5. Others distinguish
of things lawful or indifferent, and say that some of them are such as
become accidentally so useful or needful to the common good, the end
of government, that it is fit the magistrate make a law for it, and
the breaking of that law will be so hurtful, that my vow cannot bind
me to it, as being now no indifferent thing; but other indifferent
things they say belong not to the magistrate to determine of (as what
I shall eat or drink, whether I shall marry or not, what trade I shall
be of, how each artificer, tradesman, or professor of arts and
sciences shall do the business of his profession, &c.) And here the
magistrate they think cannot bind them against their vows, because
their power of themselves in such private cases is greater than his
power over them in those cases. All these I leave as so many questions
unfit for me to resolve in the midst of the contentions of the
learned. The great reasons that move on both sides you may easily
discern. 1. Those that think an oath in lawful things, obligeth not
contrary to the magistrate's antecedent or subsequent command, are
moved by this reason, That else subjects and children might by their
vows exempt themselves from obedience, and null God's command of
obeying our superiors. 2. Those that think a vow is obligatory against
a magistrate's command, are moved by this reason, Because else, say
they, a magistrate may at his pleasure dispense with all vows, except
in things commanded before by God: for he may come after and cross our
vows by his commands, which, against the pope's pretensions,
protestants have denied to be in the power of any mortal man. And God,
say they, hath the first right, which none can take away. I must not
be forward in determining where rulers are concerned; only to those
that may and must determine it, I add these further materials to be
considered of.

1. It is most necessary to the decision of this case, to understand
how far the inferior that voweth was _sui juris_, and had the power of
himself when he made the vow, as to the making of it, and how far he
is _sui juris_ as to the act which he hath vowed; and to that end to
know, in a case where there is some power over his act, both in his
superior and in himself, whether his own power, or his superior's, as
to that act, be the greater.

2. It is therefore needful to distinguish much between those acts that
are of private use and signification only, and those that
(antecedently to the ruler's command) are of public use and nature, or
such as the ruler is as much concerned in as the inferior.

3. It is needful to understand the true intent and sense of the
command of our superior; whether it be really his intent to bind
inferiors to break their vows, or whether they intend only to bind
those that are not so entangled and pre-engaged by a vow, with a tacit
exception of those that are.[77] And what is most just must be
presumed, unless the contrary be plain.

4. It must be discerned whether the commands of superiors intend any
further penalty than that which is affixed in their laws: as in our
penal laws about using bows and arrows, and about fishing, hunting,
&c.; whether it be intended that the offender be guilty of damnation,
or only that the threatened temporal penalty do satisfy the law; and
whether God bind us to any further penalty than the superior

5. The end of the laws of men must be distinguished from the words;
and a great difference must be put between those forbidden acts that
do no further harm than barely to cross the letter of the law, or will
of a superior, and those that cross the just end of the command or
law; and that either more or less, as it is more or less hurtful to
others, or against the common good: for then the matter will become
sinful in itself.

6. Whether perjury, or the unwilling violation of human laws, be the
greater sin, and which in a doubtful case should be most feared and
avoided, it is easy to discern.

_Rule_ XXVII. A vow may be consequently made null or void, 1. By
cessation of the matter, or any thing essential to it, (of which
before,) or by a dispensation or dissolution of it by God to whom we
are obliged. No doubt it is in God's power to disoblige a man from
his vow; but how he ever doth such a thing is all the doubt:
extraordinary revelations being ceased, there is this way yet
ordinary, viz. by bringing the matter which I vowed to do, under some
prohibition of a general law, by the changes of his providence.

_Rule_ XXVIII. As to the power of man to dispense with oaths and vows,
there is a great and most remarkable difference between those oaths
and vows where man is the only party that we are primarily bound to,
and God is only appealed to as witness or judge, as to the keeping of
my word to man; and those oaths or vows where God is also made (either
only or conjunct with man) the party to whom I primarily oblige
myself. For in the first case man can dispense with my oath or vow, by
remitting his own right, and releasing me from my promise; but in the
second case no created power can do it. As e. g. if I promise to pay a
man a sum of money, or to do him service, and swear that I will
perform it faithfully; if upon some after bargain or consideration he
release me of that promise, God releaseth me also, as the witnesses
and judge have nothing against a man, whom the creditor hath
discharged. But if I swear or vow that I will amend my life, or reform
my family of some great abuse, or that I will give so much to the
poor, or that I will give up myself to the work of the gospel, or that
I will never marry, or never drink wine, or never consent to popery or
error, &c.; no man can dispense with my vow, nor directly disoblige me
in any such case; because no man can give away God's right: all that
man can do in any such case is, to become an occasion of God's
disobliging me: if he can so change the case, or my condition, as to
bring me under some law of God, which commandeth me the contrary to my
vow, then God disobligeth me, or maketh it unlawful to keep that vow.
And here because a vow is commonly taken for such a promise to God, in
which we directly bind ourselves to him, therefore we say, that a vow
(thus strictly taken) cannot be dispensed with by man; though in the
sense aforesaid, an oath sometimes may.

The papists deal most perversely in this point of dispensing with
oaths and vows; for they give that power to the pope over all the
christian world, who is a usurper, and none of our governor, which
they deny to princes and parents that are our undoubted governors: the
pope may disoblige vassals from their oaths of allegiance to their
princes, (as the council of Lateran before cited,) but no king or
parent may disoblige a man from his oath to the pope: nay, if a child
vow a monastical life, and depart from his parents, they allow not the
parents to disoblige him.

_Rule_ XXIX. In the determining of controversies about the obligation
of oaths and vows, it is safest to mark what Scripture saith, and not
to presume, upon uncertain pretence of reason, to release ourselves,
where we are not sure that God releaseth us.

_Rule_ XXX. That observable chapter, Numb. xxx. about dispensations,
hath many things in it that are plain for the decision of divers great
and usual doubts; but many things which some do collect and conclude
as consequential or implied, are doubtful and controverted among the
most judicious expositors and casuists.

1. It is certain that this chapter speaketh not of a total nullity of
vows _ab initio_, but of a relaxation, or disannulling of them by
superiors. For, 1. Bare silence (which is no efficient cause) doth
prove them to be in force. 2. It is not said, She is bound, or not
bound; but, Her vow and bond shall stand, ver. 4, 7, 9, 11: or, shall
not stand, ver. 5, 12: and, He shall make it of none effect, ver. 8.
The Hebrew, ver. 5, signifieth, _Quia annihilavit pater ejus illud_.
And ver. 8, _Et si in die audire virum ejus, annihilaverit illud, et
infregerit vitam ejus_.[78]--3. It is expressly said, that she had
bound her soul before the dissolution. 4. It is said, The Lord shall
forgive her, ver. 5, 8, 12, which signifieth a relaxation of a former
bond. Or at the most, the parent's silence is a confirmation, and his
disowning it hindereth only the confirmation. So the Chaldee
paraphrase; the Samaritan and Arabic, _Non erunt confirmata_; the
Syriac, _Rata vel irrita erunt_.

2. It is certain that a father hath the power of relaxation here
mentioned as to an unmarried daughter, in her youth living in his
house, and a husband over his wife; for it is the express words of the

3. It is certain that this power extendeth to vows about all things in
which the inferior is not _sui juris_, but is under the superior's
care and oversight, and cannot perform it (in case there had been no
vow) without the superior's consent.

4. It is certain that it extendeth not only to matters concerning the
governors themselves, but concerning vows to God, as they are good or
hurtful to the inferiors.

5. It is certain that there are some vows so necessary and clearly for
the inferior's good, that in them he is _sui juris_, and no superior
can suspend his vows: as to have the Lord for his God; and not to
commit idolatry, murder, theft, &c. No superior can disoblige us here;
for the power of superiors is only for the inferior's indemnity and

6. It is certain that the superior's recall must be speedy or in time,
before silence can signify consent, and make a confirmation of the

7. It is certain that if the superior have once ratified it by silence
or consent, he cannot afterwards disannul it.

8. It is agreed, that if he awhile dissent and disannul it, and
afterwards both inferior and superior consent again, that it remaineth

9. It is agreed that the superior that can discharge the vow of the
inferior, cannot release himself from his own vows. If the pope could
release all men, who shall release him?

But in these points following there is no such certainty or agreement
of judgments, because the text seemeth silent about them, and men
conjecture variously as they are prepared. 1. It is uncertain whether
any but women may be released by virtue of this text: 1. Because the
text expressly distinguishing between a man and a woman doth first
say, _Si vir_----If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to
bind his soul with a bond, he shall not break his word; he shall do
according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth. And 2. Because
women are only instanced in, when Scripture usually speaketh of them
in the masculine gender, when it includeth both sexes, or extendeth it
to both. 3. And in the recapitulation in the end, it is said by way of
recital of the contents, ver. 16, "These are the statutes which the
Lord commanded Moses between a man and his wife; between the father
and his daughter--in her youth in her father's house:" as if he would
caution us against extending it any further. And though many good
expositors think that it extendeth equally to sons as to daughters,
in their minority, because there is a parity of reason, yet this is an
uncertain conjecture: 1. Because God seemeth by the expression to
bound the sense. 2. Because God acquainteth not man with all the
reasons of his laws. 3. Because there may be special reasons for an
indulgence to the weaker sex in such a weighty case. And though still
there is a probability it may extend to sons, it is good keeping to
certainties in matters of such dreadful importance as oaths and vows
to God.

2. It is uncertain whether this power of disannulling vows do belong
also to other superiors,[79] to princes, to inferior magistrates, to
pastors, masters, to commanders, as to their soldiers, as well as to
parents and husbands. Some think it doth, because there is, say they,
a parity of reason. Others think it is dangerous disannulling oaths
and vows upon pretences of parity of reason, when it is uncertain
whether we know all God's reasons: and they think there is not a
parity, and that it extendeth not to others. 1. Because parents and
husbands are so emphatically named in the contents in the end, ver.
16. 2. Because it had been as easy to God to name the rest. 3. Because
there is no instance in Scripture of the exercise of such a power,
when there was much occasion for it. 4. Because else vows signify no
more in a kingdom than the king please, and in an army than the
general and officers please, and among servants than the master
please; which is thought a dangerous doctrine. 5. Because there will
be an utter uncertainty when a vow bindeth and when it doth not to
almost all the people in the world; for one superior may contradict
it, and another or a hundred may be silent: the king and most of the
magistrates through distance will be silent, when a master, or a
justice, or a captain that is at hand may disannul it: one officer may
be for it, and another against it; a master or a pastor may be for it,
and the magistrate against it: and so perjury will become the most
controverted sin, and a matter of jest. 6. Because public magistrates,
and commanders, and pastors, have not the near and natural interest in
their inferiors as parents and husbands have in their children and
wives; and therefore parents have not only a restraining power, (as
husbands here also have,) but also a disposing power of the relation
of their infant children, and may enter them in baptism into the vow
and covenant of christianity, the will and act of the parents standing
for the child's till he come to age; but if you say that, upon a
parity of reason, all princes, and rulers, and pastors may do so with
all that are their inferiors, it will seem incredible to most
christians. 7. Because public magistrates are justly supposed to be so
distant from almost all their individual subjects, as not to be
capable of so speedy a disowning their personal vows. Whatever this
text doth, it is certain that other texts enough forbid covenants and
combinations against the persons, or power, or rights of our
governors, and not only against them, but without them, in cases where
our place and calling alloweth us not to act without them. But it is
certain that God, who commanded all Israel to be entered successively
into the covenant of circumcision with him, would not have held them
guiltless for refusing that covenant, if the prince had been against
it. And few divines think that a subject, or soldier, or servant, that
hath vowed to forbear wine, or feasting, or marriage, is discharged,
if his prince, or captain, or masters be against it. Jonathan and
David were under an oath of friendship, (called the Lord's oath, 2
Sam. xxi. 7). Saul as a parent could not discharge Jonathan, as being
a man at full age. Quære whether Saul as a king being against it, did
null the oath to David and Jonathan? No; the Scripture showeth the
contrary. 8. Because else that benefit which God extendeth only to a
weaker sort, would extend to any, the wisest and most learned persons
through the world, whose vows to God, even for the afflicting of their
own souls, may be nulled by the king or other superiors. Many such
reasons are urged in this case.

3. It is uncertain whether this chapter extend to assertory or
testimonial oaths (if not certain that it doth not): it speaketh but
of binding their souls to God, which is to offer or do something which
by error may prove prejudicial to them. But if a parent or husband
(much more a king or general) might nullify all the testimonial oaths
of their inferiors that are given in judgment, or discharge all their
subjects from the guilt of all the lies or false oaths which they
shall take, it would make a great change in the morality of the world.

4. It is not past all controversy how far this law is yet in force:
seeing the Mosaical law as such is abrogated; this can be now no
further in force than as it is the law of nature, or some way
confirmed or revived by Christ. The equity seemeth to be natural.

_Rule_ XXXI. It is certain that whoever this power of disannulling
vows belongeth to, and to whomsoever it may be given, that it
extendeth not to discharge us from the promise or vow of that which is
antecedently our necessary duty, by the law of God. Else they should
dispense with the law of God, when none but the lawgiver can relax or
dispense with his laws (unless it be one superior to the lawgiver):
therefore none can dispense with the laws of God. But I speak this but
of a duty necessary also as a means to our salvation, or the good of
others, or the honouring of God: for otherwise as to some smaller
things, the duty may be such as man cannot dispense with, and yet a
vow to do that duty may be unnecessary and sinful: as if I swear to
keep all the law of God, and never to sin, or never to think a sinful
thought; to do this is good, but to vow it is bad, because I may
foreknow that I shall break it.

_Rule_ XXXII. In some cases a vow may oblige you against that which
would have been your duty if you had not vowed, and to do that which
would else have been your sin: viz. if it be such a thing as is sin or
duty but by some lesser accident, which the accident of a vow may
preponderate or prevail against. As if you swear to give a penny to a
wandering beggar, or to one that needeth it not, which by all
circumstances would have been an unlawful misemploying of that which
should have been better used; yet it seemeth to me your duty to do it
when you have moved it. To cast away a cup of drink is a sin, if it be
causelessly; but if you vow to do it, it is hard to say that a man
should rather be perjured than cast away a cup of drink, or a penny,
or a pin. The Jesuits think it lawful to exercise the obedience of
their novices by bidding them sometimes cast a cup of wine into the
sink, or do some such action which causelessly done were sin: and
shall not a vow require it more strongly? Suppose it would be your
duty to pray or read at such or such an hour of the day (as being
fittest to your body and occasions); yet if you have (foolishly) vowed
against it, it seemeth to me to be your duty to put it off till
another time. For perjury is too great a thing to be yielded to on
every such small occasion. Dr. Sanderson[80] _ubi supra_ giveth this
instance: If there be a law that no citizen elected to it shall refuse
the office of a prætor; and he that doth refuse it shall be fined:
Caius sweareth that he will not bear the office: his oath is unlawful,
(and disobedience would have been his sin if he were free,) yet it
seems he is bound to pay his fine, and disobey the precept of the law,
rather than break his vow.

_Rule_ XXXIII. There are so great a number of sins and duties that are
such by accidents and circumstantial alterations, and some of these
greater and some less, that it is a matter of exceeding great
difficulty in morality to discern when they are indeed sins and duties
and when not, which must be by discerning the preponderancy of
accidents; and therefore it must be exceeding difficult to discern
when a vow shall weigh down any of these accidents, and when not.

_Rule_ XXXIV. The exceeding difficulty and frequency of such cases
maketh it necessary to those that have such entanglements of vows, to
have a very wise and faithful counsellor to help them better to
resolve their particular cases, upon the knowledge of every
circumstance, than any book or general rules can do, or any that are
not so perfectly acquainted with the case. And oh what great ability
is necessary in divines that are employed in such works!

_Rule_ XXXV. Thus also the case must be resolved whether an oath bind
that hindereth a greater good which I might do if I had not taken it.
In some cases it may bind: as if I swear to acquaint none with some
excellent medicine which I could not have known myself unless I had so
sworn; or in case that the breaking of the oath will do more hurt to
me or others than the good comes to which I omit:[81] or in case, all
things considered, the doing of that good _hic et nunc_ is not my
duty: see Dr. Sanderson of the difficulties here also, p. 78, 79.

_Rule_ XXXVI. No personal hurt or temporal loss is any sufficient
cause for the violation of an oath.[82] He that taketh a false oath,
or breaketh a promissory oath, for the saving of his life, or a
thousand men's lives, or for lands or riches, or crowns and kingdoms,
hath no considerable excuse for his perfidiousness and perjury, all
temporal things being such inconsiderable trifles in comparison of the
will and pleasure of God, and life everlasting: that which will not
justify a lie, will much less justify perjury.[83]

_Rule_ XXXVII. If the matter of an oath prove only a temptation to
sin, and not sin itself, it must be kept: but with the greater
vigilancy and resolution. As if a man have married a froward wife that
will be a temptation to him all his life, he is not disobliged from

_Rule_ XXXVIII. If the matter of an oath be such as maketh me directly
the tempter of myself or others, it is a sin, and not to be kept,
unless some greater good preponderate that evil. For though it be no
sin to be tempted, yet it is a sin to tempt: though it be no sin to
tempt by a necessary trial, (as a master may lay money before a
suspected servant to try whether he be a thief,) nor any sin to tempt
accidentally by the performance of a duty (as a holy life doth
accidentally tempt a malignant person to hatred and persecution); yet
it is a sin to be directly and needlessly a tempter of ourselves or
others unto sin; and therefore he that voweth it must not perform it.
As if you had vowed to persuade any to unchastity, intemperance,
error, rebellion, &c.

[Sidenote: Of accidental evil or temptation vowed.]

_Rule_ XXXIX. If the matter of an oath be such as accidentally layeth
so strong a temptation before men, (especially before a multitude,) as
that we may foresee it is exceeding likely to draw them into sin, when
there is no greater good to preponderate the evil of such a
temptation, it is a sin to do that thing, though in performance of a
vow. When actions are good or evil only by accident, then accidents
must be put in the balance against each other, and the weightiest must
preponderate. As in matter of temporal commodity or discommodity, it
is lawful to do that action which accidentally bringeth a smaller hurt
to one man, if it bring a greater good to many; or which hurteth a
private person to the great good of the commonwealth; but it is not
lawful to do that which clearly tendeth (though but by accident) to do
more hurt than good: as to sell powder and arms, when we foresee it
will be used against the king and kingdom; or to sell ratsbane, when
you foresee it is like to be used to poison men. Much more should the
salvation of many or one be preferred before our temporal commodity;
and therefore for a lesser good, we may not tempt men to evil, though
but accidentally: as he that liveth where there is but little need of
taverns or ale-houses, and the common use of them is for drunkenness,
it is unlawful for him there to sell ale or wine, unless he can keep
men from being drunk with it (as if they take it home with them, or be
unruly, he cannot). For thus to be a foreknowing tempter and occasion,
unnecessarily, is to be a moral cause. Two things will warrant a man
to do that which by accident tempteth or occasioneth other men to sin:
one is a command of God, when it is a duty which we do: the other is a
greater good to be attained by the action, which cannot be attained in
a less dangerous way. As in a country where there is so great a
necessity of ale-houses and taverns that the good that is done by them
is greater than the hurt is like to be, though some will be drunk; it
is lawful to use these trades, though some be hurt by it. It is lawful
to sell flesh, though some will be gluttonous; it is lawful to use
moderate, decent ornaments, though some vain minds will be tempted by
the sight to lust; as it is lawful to go to sea though some be
drowned. To act a comedy, or play at a lawful game, with all those
cautions, which may secure you that the good of it is like to be
greater than the hurt, is not unlawful: but to set up a common
play-house, or gaming-house, where we may foresee that the mischief
will be far greater than the good, (though the acts were lawful in
themselves,) this is but to play the devil's part, in laying snares
for souls: men are not thus to be ticed to hell and damned in sport,
though but accidentally, and though you vowed the act.

[Sidenote: Of scandal.]

_Rule_ XL. Thus also must the case of scandal be resolved:[84] as
scandal signifieth an action that occasioneth another to sin, or a
stumblingblock at which we foresee he is like to fall to the hurt of
his soul, (which is the sense that Christ and his apostles usually
take it in,) so it is the same case with this last handled, and needs
no other resolution: but as scandal signifieth (in the late abusive
sense) the mere displeasing of another, or occasioning him to censure
you for a sinner, so you must not break a vow to escape the censure or
displeasure of all the world. Otherwise pride would be still
producing perjury, and so two of the greatest sins would be

_Rule_ XLI. Though in the question about the obligation of an oath
that is taken ignorantly, or by deceit, there be great difficulties,
yet this much seemeth clear: 1. That he that is culpably ignorant is
more obliged by his vow or contract while he useth all the outward
form, than he that is inculpably ignorant. 2. That though the deceit
(as the force) of him that I swear to, do forfeit his right to what I
promise him, yet my oath or vow obligeth me to do or to give the
thing, having interested God himself in the cause. 3. That all such
errors of the essentials of an oath or vow as nullify it, (of which I
spake before,) or make the matter sinful, do infer a nullity in the
obligation (or that it must not be kept). But no smaller error (though
caused by deceit) doth disoblige.

The commonest doubt is, Whether an error about the very person that I
swear to, and this caused by his own deceit, do disoblige me? All
grant that I am obliged notwithstanding any circumstantial error (as
if I think a woman rich whom I marry, and she prove poor; or wise and
godly, and she prove foolish or ungodly: yea, if the error be about
any integral part; as if I think she had two eyes or legs, and she
have but one): and all grant that an error about an essential part,
that is, which is essential to the relation or thing vowed, (if
inculpable at least,) disobligeth: as if I took a man in marriage
thinking he had been a woman; or if I took a person for a pastor, a
physician, a counsellor, a pilot, that hath no tolerable ability or
skill in the essentials of any of those professions. But whether I am
bound if I swear to Thomas thinking it was John, or if I marry Leah
thinking she is Rachel, is the great doubt. And most casuists say I am
not: and therefore I dare not be bold to contradict them.[85] But I
much suspect that they fetched their decision from the lawyers; who
truly say, that _in foro civili_ it inferreth no obligation: but
whether it do not oblige me ethically, and _in foro conscientiæ et
cœli_, I much doubt,[86] 1. Because it seemeth the very case of
Joshua and the Israelites, who by the guile of the Gibeonites were
deceived into an _error personarum_, taking them to be other persons
than they were: and yet that this oath was obligatory, saith Dr.
Sanderson, is apparent, (1.) In the text itself, Josh. ix. 19. (2.) In
the miracle wrought for that victory which Joshua obtained in
defending the Gibeonites when the sun stood still, Josh. x. 8, 13.
(3.) In the severe revenge that was taken on the lives of Saul's
posterity for offering to violate it, 2 Sam. xxi. 2. 2. And this
seemeth to be the very case of Jacob, who took not himself disobliged
from Leah notwithstanding the mistake of the person through deceit.
And though the _concubitus_ was added to the contract, that obliged
most as it was the perfecting of the contract, which an oath doth as
strongly. 3. And the nature of the thing doth confirm my doubt;
because when I see the person before me there is the _individuum
determinatum_, in the _hæc homo_, and so all that is essential to my
vow is included in it: if I mistake the name, or the quality, or
birth, or relations of the person, yet my covenant is with this
determinate person that is present, though I be induced to it by a
false supposition that she is another. But this I leave to the
discussion of the judicious.

_Rule_ XLII. The question also is weighty and of frequent use, if a
man vow a thing as a duty in obedience to God and conscience, which he
would not have done if he had taken it to be no duty, and if he
afterwards find that it was no duty, is he obliged to keep this vow?
And the true answer is, that the discovery of his error doth only
discover the nullity of his obligation to make that vow, and to do the
thing antecedently to the vow; but if the thing be lawful, he is bound
to it by his vow notwithstanding the mistake which induced him to make

_Rule_ XLIII. Vows about trifles (not unlawful) must be kept though
they are sinfully made.[87] As if you vow to take up a straw, or to
forbear such a bit or sort of meat, or garment, &c. But to make such
is a great profanation of God's name, and a taking it in vain as
common swearers do.

_Rule_ XLIV. A general oath, though taken upon a particular occasion,
must be generally or strictly interpreted (unless there be special
reasons for a restraint, from the matter, end, or other evidence). As
if you are afraid that your son should marry such a woman, and
therefore swear him not to marry without your consent; he is bound
thereby neither to marry that woman nor any other. Or if your servant
haunt one particular ale-house, and you make him forswear all houses
in general, he must avoid all other. So Dr. Sanderson instanceth in
the oath of supremacy, p. 195.

_Rule_ XLV. He that voweth absolutely or implicitly to obey another in
all things, is bound to obey him in all lawful things, where neither
God, nor other superior or other person is injured; unless the nature
of the relation, or the ends or reasons of the oath, or something
else, infer a limitation as implied.

_Rule_ XLVI. Still distinguish between the falsehood in the words as
disagreeing to the thing sworn, and the falsehood of them as
disagreeing from the swearer's mind. The former is sometimes
excusable, but the latter never.

There are many other questions about oaths that belong more to the
chapter of contracts and justice between man and man; and thither I
refer them.

[47] Viris gravibus vehementer displicere animadverti, quod ab indis
testimonium jure-jurando exigitur, cum constet eos facillime pejerare,
utpote qui neque juramenti vim sentiant neque veritatis studio
tangantur, sed testimonium eo modo dicant, quo credunt. Judici
gratissimum fore, aut a primo suæ factionis homine edocti sunt. Hos
igitur jurare compellere et ipsis exitiosum propter perjuria, &c.
Acosta, p. 345.

[48] Vid. Sanderson de Juram. Prælect. vii. Sect. 14. Juramentum
oblatum reluctante vel dubitante conscientia non est suscipiendum: 1.
Quia quod non est ex fide peccatum est. 2. Quia jurandum est in
judicio: quod certe is non facit qui contra conscientiæ suæ judicium
facit, &c. ad finem.

[49] See the fourteenth Article of the church of England, against
voluntary works, over and above God's commandments, as impious.

[50] Stoici indifferentia distinguunt: 1. Ea quæ neque ad
fœlicitatem neque ad infœlicitatem conferunt, ut sunt divitiæ,
sanitas, vires, gloria, &c. Nam et sine his contingit fœlicem esse;
cum earum usus vel rectus fœlicitatis, vel pravus infœlicitatis,
author sit. 2. Quæ neque appetitum neque occasionem movent, ut pares
vel impares habere capillos, &c. Laert. in Zenone.

[51] Plutarch. Quest. Roman. 44. Why may not priests swear? Resp. Is
it because an oath put to free-born men, is as it were the rack and
torture offered them? For certain it is that the soul as well as the
body of the priest, ought to continue free, and not to be forced by
any torture. Or that we must not distrust them in small matters, who
are to be believed in great and divine things? Or because the peril of
perjury would reach in common to the whole commonwealth, if a wicked,
and ungodly, and forsworn person should have the charge and
superintendency of the prayers, vows, and sacrifices made in behalf of
the city? Page 866.

[52] See before, chap. iii. gr. direct. 10.

[53] See part i. chap. ix. tit. 2, 3.

[54] See Casaubon's Exercit. 202.

[55] Cotta in Cic. de Nat. Deor. l. 1. to prove that some hold there
is no God, saith, Quid de sacrilegis, de impiis, de perjuris dicemus,
si carbo, &c. putasset esse Deos, tam perjurus aut impius non fuisset,
p. 25, 26.

[56] One of Canutus's laws (26.) was, that perjured persons, with
sorcerers, idolaters, strumpets, breakers of wedlock, be banished the
realm: cited by Bilson of Subject. p. 202. How few would be left in
some lands if this were done!

[57] Plut. in Lysand. Cicer. de Leg. lib. iii. Curt. lib. vii. Arist.
Rhet. c. 17.

[58] Ælian. Vari. Hist. lib. xiv.

[59] Though as Moder. Polic. saith, Princ. 7, It is a huge advantage
that man hath in a credulous world, that can easily say and swear to
any thing: and yet so palliate his perjuries as to hide them from the
cognizance of the most. Gabionitarum irritum fœdus, calliditate
licet extortum, nonnullis intulisse exitium, &c. Gildas in Prolog.

[60] Haud amentum justitiæ est fides, i. e. dictorum conventorumque
constantia et veritas. Cicero.

[61] Lege distinctionem Grotii inter ἐπιορκεῖν et ψευδορκεῖν,
Annot. in Matt. v. 33. Modern Policy, (supposed Dr. Sandcroft's,)
Princ. 7. 1. We are ready to interpret the words too kindly,
especially if they be ambiguous; and it is hard to find terms so
positive, but they may be eluded indeed, or seem to us to be so, if we
be disposed. 2. Some are invited to illicit promises, _qua illicite_,
because they know them to be invalid. 3. Some are frighted into these
bonds by threats and losses, and temporal concernments, and then they
please themselves that they swear by duress, and so are disengaged. 4.
Some are oath-proof, &c.

[62] It is one of Solon's sayings in Laertius, p. 51, Probitarem
jure-jurando certiorem habe. What will not an atheistical impious
person say or swear, for advantage?

[63] Nunc nunc qui fœdera rumpit, Ditatur: Qui servat eget.

[64] See Dr. Sanders. p. 47, and 197.

[65] Cicero de Leg. lib. 1. proveth that right is founded in the law
of nature, more than in man's laws; else, saith he, men may make evil
good, and good evil, and make adultery, perjury, &c. just by making a
law for them.

[66] How often perjury hath ruined christian princes and states all
history doth testify. The ruin of the Roman empire by the Goths, was
by this means. Alaricus having leave to live quietly in France,
Stilico comes in perniciem Reipub. Gothos pertentans, dum eos insidiis
aggredi cuperet, belli summam Saulo pagano duci commisit: qui ipso
sacratissimo die Paschæ, Gothis nil tale suspicantibus, super eos
irruit, magnamque eorum partem prostravit. Nam primum perturbati
Gothi, ac propter religionem cedentes, demum arma corripiunt,
victoremque virtute potiori prosternunt exercitum: hinc in rabiem
furoris excitantur. Cœptum iter deferentes, Romam contendunt
petere, cuncta igne ferroque vastantes: nec mora; venientes urbem
capiunt, devastant, incendunt, &c. Paul. Diaconus, lib. 3.

[67] Sanders. p. 30, 31.

[68] Sanders. p. 32-41.

[69] Sanders. p. 41-44. Ubi de justo sensu ambigitur, longe satius est
et naturæ rei accommodatius, strictiore quam benigniore uti
interpretatione. ibid. p. 44.

[70] Sanders. p. 45.

[71] They were ill times that Abbas Uspergensis describeth Chron. p.
320. Ut omnis homo jam sit perjurus, et prædictis facinoribus
implicatus, ut vix excusari possit, quin sit in his, sicut populus,
sic et sacerdos: Oh that this calamity had ended with that age! Et. p.
321. Principes terrarum et barones, arte diabolica edocti, nec
curabant juramenta infringere, nec fidem violare, et jus omne

[72] Sand. p. 193. Cas. 48.

[73] Sanders. p. 122-133.

[74] Sanders. p. 50.

[75] Sanders. p. 55, 56. In quo casu locum habet quod vulgo dicitur,
Fieri non debet, factum valet: possumus ergo distinguere, juramentum
dici illicitum duobus modis. Vel respectu rei juratæ, vel respectu
actus jurandi: Juramentum illicitum respectu rei juratæ nullatenus
obligat: Juramentum illicitum respectu actus jurandi obligat, nisi
aliunde impediatur.

[76] Sanderson, p. 72, 73. Dico ordinarie quia fortassis possunt dari
casus in quibus juramentum quod videtur alicui legi communitatis aut
vocationis adversari, etsi non debuerit suscipi, susceptum tamen
potest obligare: ut e. g. in lege pœnali disjunctiva. See the
instances which he addeth. Joseph took an oath of the Israelites, to
carry his bones out of Egypt, Gen. l. 25. What if Pharaoh forbid them?
Are they acquit? The spies swore to Rahab, Josh. ii. 12, 18. Had they
been quit if the rulers had acquit them?

[77] Read of this at large, Amesii Cas. Cons. l. v. c. 5. qu. 4.

[78] And si infringendo infregerit ea vir ejus, v. 12. Vir ejus
infregit ea, v. 13.

[79] Dr. Sanderson, Prælect. 4. sect. 5. p. 104, 105, limiteth it to
De his rebus in quibus subest: in those same things in which one is
under another's government; adding, sect. 6, a double exception: Of
which one respecteth the person of the swearer, the other the consent
of the superior: the first is that As to the person of the swearer,
there is scarce any one that hath the use of reason that is so fully
under another's power, but that in some things he is _sui juris_, at
his own power: and there every one may do as pleases himself, without
consulting his superior, so as that by his own act, without his
superior's license, he may bind himself. 2. As to the consent of a
superior, A tacit consent, antecedent or consequent, sufficeth. Quasi
diceret, si dissensum suum vel uno die dissimulet, votum in perpetuum

[80] Sanderson, p. 73.

[81] Sanders. Præl. iii. sect. 12.

[82] Psal. xv. 4.

[83] Sanders. p. 80, 81.

[84] Sanders. p. 82.

[85] Ibid. p. 122.

[86] Sanders. p. 120, 121. This seemeth the case of Isaac in blessing
Jacob: the _error personæ_ caused by Jacob's own deceit did not
nullify the blessing, because it was fixed on the determinate person
that it was spoken to.

[87] Sanders. p. 84.



The people's internal and private duty to their pastors (which I may
treat of without an appearance of encroachment upon the work of the
canons, rubrics, and diocesans) I shall open to you in these
directions following.

_Direct._ I. Understand first the true ground, and nature, and reasons
of the ministerial office, or else you will not understand the
grounds, and nature, and reasons of your duty to them. The nature and
works of the ministerial office I have so plainly opened already that
I shall refer you to it to avoid repetition.[88] Here are two sorts of
reasons to be given you: 1. The reasons of the necessity of the
ministerial work. 2. Why certain persons must be separated to this
work, and it must not be left to all in common.

The necessity of the work itself appeareth in the very nature of it,
and enumeration of the parts of it.[89] Two sorts of ministers Christ
hath made use of for his church: the first sort was for the revelation
of some new law or doctrine, to be the church's rule of faith or life;
and these were to prove their authority and credibility by some divine
attestation, which was especially by miracles; and so Moses revealed
the law to the Jews, and (Christ and) the apostles revealed the
gospel. The second sort of ministers are appointed to guide the church
to salvation by opening and applying the rule thus already sealed and
delivered: and these, as they are to bring no new revelations or
doctrines of faith, or rule of life, so they need not bring any
miracle to prove their call or authority to the church; for they have
no power to deliver any new doctrine or gospel to the church, but only
that which is confirmed by miracles already. And it is impudence to
demand that the same gospel be proved by new miracles by every
minister that shall expound or preach it: that would make miracles to
be no miracles.

[Sidenote: The work of the ministry.]

The work of the ordinary ministry (such as the priests and teachers
were under the law, and ordinary pastors and teachers are under the
gospel) being only to gather and govern the churches, their work lay
in explaining and applying the word of God, and delivering his
sacraments, and now containeth these particulars following: 1. To
preach the gospel for the conversion of the unbelieving and ungodly
world. And that is done, partly by expounding the words by a
translation into a tongue which the hearers or readers understand; and
partly by opening the sense and matter.[90] 2. In this they are not
only teachers, but messengers sent from God the Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost, to charge, and command, and entreat men in his name to repent
and believe, and be reconciled to God; and in his name to offer them a
sealed pardon of all their sins, and title to eternal life.[91] 3.
Those that become the disciples of Christ, they are (as his stewards)
to receive into his house, as fellow-citizens of the saints, and of
the household of God; and as his commissioned officers, to solemnize
by baptism their entrance into the holy covenant, and to receive their
engagement to God, and to be the messengers of God's engagement unto
them, and by investiture to deliver them by that sacrament the pardon
of all their sin, and their title by adoption to eternal life; as a
house is delivered by the delivery of a key; or land, by a twig and
turf; or knighthood, by a sword or garter, &c. 4. These ministers are
to gather these converts into solemn assemblies and ordered churches,
for their solemn worshipping of God, and mutual edification,
communion, and safe proceeding in their christian course.[92] 5. They
are to be the stated teachers of the assemblies, by expounding and
applying that word which is fit to build them up. 6. They are to be
the guides of the congregation in public worship, and to stand between
them and Christ in things pertaining to God, as subservient to Christ
in his priestly office; and so both for the people, and also in their
names, to put up the public prayers and praises of the church to God.
7. It is their duty to administer to them, as in the name and stead of
Christ, his body and blood as broken and shed for them, and so in the
frequent renewals of the holy covenants, to subserve Christ
especially in his priestly office, to offer and deliver Christ and his
benefits to them, and to be their agent in offering themselves to God.
8. They are appointed to oversee and govern the church, in the public
ordering of the solemn worship of God, and in rebuking any that are
there disorderly, and seeing that all things be done to
edification.[93] 9. They are appointed as teachers for every
particular member of the church to have private and personal recourse
to, (as far as may be,) for the resolving of their weighty doubts, and
instruction in cases of difficulty and necessity, and for the settling
of their peace and comfort. 10. They are appointed as physicians under
Christ, to watch over all the individual members of their charge, and
take care that they be not infected with heresy, or corrupted by vice;
and to admonish the offenders, and reduce them into the way of truth
and holiness, and if they continue impenitent after public admonition,
to reject them from the communion of the church, and command the
church to avoid them. 11. They are as to bind over the impenitent to
answer their contumacy at the bar of Christ, so to absolve the
penitent, and comfort them, and require the church to re-admit them to
their communion. 12. They are appointed as stewards in the household
of Christ, to have a tender care of the very bodily welfare of their
flocks, so as to endeavour the supplying of their wants, and stirring
up the rich to relieve the poor, and faithfully (by themselves or the
deacons) to distribute what is intrusted with them for that use. 13.
They are especially to visit the sick, and when they are sent for, to
pray for them and with them, and to instruct them in their special
preparations for death, and confirm them against those last assaults.
14. They are appointed to be the public champions of the truth, to
defend it against all heretical and profane opposers, and thereby to
preserve the flock from being seduced. 15. They are appointed to be
(under Christ the Head) the nerves and ligaments of the several
churches, by which they are kept not only in vigour by communication
of nutriment, but also in concord, and such communion as they are
capable of, by the correspondencies, and consultations, and councils
of their pastors.[94] All these are the distinct and special uses to
which Christ hath appointed the office of the sacred ministry; which
having but named to you, I need to say no more to show you the
excellency, and necessity, and benefits of it.

Herein also the reasons are apparent, why Christ did institute this
sacred office. 1. Because it was meet his kingdom should have
officers, suited to his work in the administration of it. 2. It was
meet that they be men like ourselves, that we can familiarly converse
with. 3. The great necessity of his church required it, where the most
are weak, and insufficient to perform all these offices for
themselves; and cannot well subsist without the support of others. It
was meet therefore that the pastors were selected persons, wiser, and
holier, and stronger than the people, and fit for so great and
necessary a work. 4. It was requisite also to the order of the church;
for if it were like an army without officers, there would be nothing
but confusion, and neither order nor edification.

By this you may also see the nature and reasons of your obedience to
your pastors: as they are not appointed to govern you by force,[95]
but willingly, "not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind, not as
being lords over God's heritage, but as ensamples to the flock," 1
Pet. v. 1-3, so you must willingly and cheerfully obey them in their
work. As their government[96] is not by any bodily penalties or
mulcts, (for that is the magistrate's work and not theirs,) but a
government by the force of truth and love; so your obedience of them
consisteth in the loving and thankful reception of the truth which
they teach you, and the mercies which they offer you from Christ.

You see then that the reasons of your obedience are manifold. 1. Some
of them from God: he hath sent his messengers to you, and set his
officers over you; and Christ hath told you that he that heareth them
heareth him, and he that despiseth them despiseth him, and him that
sent him, Luke x. 16: he commandeth you to hear and obey them as his
officers. 2. From themselves: they have authority by their commission,
and they have ability in their qualifications, which require your
obedience and improvement. 3. From yourselves. Have you reason to obey
your natural parents on whom your livelihood in the world dependeth?
Have you reason to obey him that tendereth you a pardon from the king
when you are condemned? or that offereth you gold or riches in your
want? or that inviteth you to a feast in a time of famine? or that
offereth to defend and save you from your enemies? Much more have you
reason to obey Christ's ministers when they call you to repentance,
and offer you pardon of sin, and peace, and salvation, and eternal
life. Did you ever hear a man so mad or churlish, as to say to one
that offered him riches, or liberty, or life, I am not bound to obey
you; offer them to those that you have authority over? When the office
of the ministry is as well subservient to Christ as a Saviour and
Benefactor, as to Christ as your Teacher and your King, the very
nature of their work engageth you to obey them as you love yourselves.
If you were in hell, and Christ should send for you out, you would not
refuse to go, till the messenger had proved his authority. And when
you are the heirs of hell, condemned by the law, and going thither,
will you refuse to turn back, and yield to the offers and commands of
grace, till you have skill enough to read the minister's commission?

By this also you see, that the power of your pastors is not absolute,
nor coercive and lordly, but ministerial.[97] And though the papists
make a scorn of the word "minister," it is but in that pride, and
passion, and malice which maketh them speak against their knowledge:
for their pope himself calleth himself the servant of God's servants;
and Paul saith, 1 Cor. iv. 1, "Let a man so account of us as of the
ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God." 1 Cor.
iii. 5, "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom
ye believed?" 2 Cor. iii. 6, "Who made us able ministers of the new
testament." 2 Cor. vi. 4, "In all things approving ourselves as the
ministers of God." Even magistrates, yea, and angels, are not too good
to be called (and used as) the ministers of God for the good of his
servants, Rom. xiii. 3, 6; "and to minister for them who shall be
heirs of salvation," Heb. i. 7, 14. Yea, Christ himself is so called,
Rom. xv. 8. And therefore you have no more excuse for your
disobedience, than for refusing his help that would pull you out of
fire or water when you are perishing. You see here that your pastors
cannot command you what they list, nor how they list. They have
nothing to do with the magistrate's work; nor can they usurp the power
of a master over his servants, nor command you how to do your work and
worldly business (except in the morality of it). In the fifteen
particulars before mentioned their work and office doth consist, and
in those it is that you owe them a rational obedience.

_Direct._ II. Know your own pastors in particular: and know both what
you owe to a minister as a minister of Christ in common, and what you
owe him moreover as your pastor by special relation and charge.[98]
When any minister of Christ delivereth his word to you, he must be
heard as a minister of Christ, and not as a private man; but to your
own pastor you are bound in a particular relation, to an ordinary and
regular attendance upon his ministry in all the particulars before
mentioned that concern you. Your own bishop must in a special manner
be obeyed:

1. As one that laboureth among you, and is over you in the Lord, and
admonisheth you, and preacheth to you the word of God,[99] watching
for your souls as one that must give account, 1 Thess. v. 12; Heb.
xiii. 7, 17; and as one that ruleth well, and especially that
laboureth in the word and doctrine, 1 Tim. v. 17; "teaching you
publicly and from house to house, taking heed to himself, and to all
the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made him an overseer, not
ceasing to warn every one night and day with tears," Acts xx. 19, 20,
24, 28, 31, 33. "Preaching Christ, and warning every man, and teaching
every man in all wisdom, that he may present every man perfect in
Christ," Col. i. 28.

2. He is to be obeyed as the guide of the congregation in the
management of God's public worship. You must seriously and reverently
join with him every Lord's day at least in the public prayers and
praises of the church, and not ordinarily go from him to another.

3. You must receive from him or with him, the sacrament of the body
and blood of Christ: which of old was administered every Lord's day,
and that only in the church where the bishop was, that is, in every
church of the faithful: for, as Ignatius most observably saith,[100]
ἓν θυσιαστήριον πάσῃ τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, καὶ εἷς ἐπίσκοπος ἅμα τῷ πρεσβυτερίῳ,
BISHOP, WITH THE PRESBYTERY and DEACONS.--So in his Epist. ad Magnes.
Come all as one, to the temple of God, as to one altar, as to one
Jesus Christ. And saith Tertullian,[101] _Eucharistæ Sacramentum--nec
de aliorum manu quam præsidentium sumimus_: We take not the sacrament
of the eucharist from the hand of any but the president.

4. You must have recourse to him especially for the resolution of your
weighty doubts, in private.[102]

5. You must hear your bishops and repent, when in meekness and love
they convince and admonish you against your sins, and not resist the
word of God which they powerfully and patiently lay home to your
consciences, nor put them with grief to cut you off, as impenitent in
scandalous sins, from the communion of the church.

6. You must, after any scandalous sin which hath brought you under the
censure of the church, go humble yourselves by penitent confession,
and crave absolution and restoration to the communion of the church.

7. Your public church alms should ordinarily be deposited into the
bishop's hands, who relieveth the orphans and widows, and is the
curator or guardian to all absolutely that are in want, saith Ignatius
to Polycarp, cited by Dr. Hammond on 1 Cor. xii. 28.[103]

8. You must send for him in your sickness to pray with you and advise
you. See Dr. Hammond on James v. 14. And on 1 Cor. xii. 28, he saith,
Polycarp himself speaking of the elders or bishops saith, They visit
and take care of all that are sick, not neglecting the widows, the
orphans, or the poor. And Dr. Hammond on James v. 14, showeth out of
antiquity,[104] that One part of the bishop's office is set down, that
they are those that visit all the sick. Not but that a stranger may be
made use of also; but ordinarily and especially your own bishop must
be sent for; because as you are his special charge, and he "watcheth
for your souls as one that must give account," Heb. xiii. 17, so it is
supposed that he is better acquainted with your spiritual state and
life than others are, and therefore in less danger of wronging you by
mistake and misapplications; for it is supposed that you have
acquainted him with your personal condition in your health, having
taken him as your ordinary counsellor for your souls, and that he hath
acquainted himself with your condition, and confirmed you, and watched
over you by name, as Ignatius to Polycarp bishop of Smyrna saith,[105]
_Sæpe congregationes fiant: ex nomine omnes quære: servos et ancillas
ne despicias_, as bishop Usher's old Latin translation hath it: Let
congregations be often held; inquire after all by name: despise not
servants and maids. The bishop took notice of every servant and maid
by name; and he had opportunity to see whether they were in the

9. You must use him as your leader or champion against all heretics,
infidels, and subtle adversaries of the truth, with whom you are
unable to contend yourselves, that your bishops may clear up and
defend the cause of Christ and righteousness, and by irresistible
evidence, stop the mouths of all gainsayers.[106] It is for your own
benefit, and not for theirs, that you are required in all these works
of their office to use them and readily obey them. And what hurt can
it do you to obey them in any of these?

_Direct._ III. Understand how it is that Christ doth authorize and
send forth his ministers, lest wolves and deceivers should either
obtrude themselves upon you as your lawful pastors, or should alienate
you from those that God hath set over you, by puzzling you in subtle
questioning or disputing against their call. Not only Paul's warnings,
Acts xx. 30, and 2 Tim. iii. 6, but lamentable experience, telleth us
what an eager desire there is in proud and self-conceited men, to
obtrude themselves as teachers and pastors on the churches, to creep
into houses and lead people captive, and draw away disciples after
them, and say (and perhaps think) that others are deceivers, and none
are the true teachers indeed but they. And the first part of the art
and work of wolves, is to separate you from your pastors, and catch up
the stragglers that are thus separated. The malice, and slanders, and
lies, and railing of hirelings and deceivers, and all the powers of
hell, are principally poured out on the faithful pastors and leaders
of the flocks. The principal work of the Jesuits against you, is to
make you believe that your pastors are no true pastors, but uncalled
private persons, and mere usurpers: and the reason must be, because
they have not an ordination of bishops successively from the apostles
without interruption.[107] I confess if our interruptions had been
half as lamentable as theirs, (by their schisms, and variety of popes
at once; and popes accused, or condemned by general councils, for
heretics; and their variety of ways of electing popes, and their
incapacities by simony, usurpation, &c.) I should think at least that
our ancestors had cause to have questioned the calling of some that
were then over them. But I will help you in a few words to discern the
juggling of these deceivers, by showing you the truth concerning the
way of Christ's giving his commission to the ministers that are truly
called, and the needlessness of the proof of an uninterrupted
succession of regular ordination, to your reception of your pastors
and their ministrations.

The ministerial commission is contained in, and conveyed by, the law
of Christ, which is the charter of the church, and every true bishop
or pastor hath his power from Christ, and not at all from the
efficient conveyance of any mortal man: even as kings have their power
not from man, but from God himself; but with this difference, that in
the church Christ hath immediately determined of the species of church
offices, but in the civil government, only of the genus (absolutely
and immediately).[108] You cannot have a plainer illustration, than by
considering how mayors, and bailiffs, and constables are annually made
in corporations: the king by his charter saith, that every year at a
certain time the free-men or burgesses shall meet, and choose one to
be their mayor, and the steward or town-clerk shall give him his oath,
and thus or thus he shall be invested in his place, and this shall be
his power and work, and no other. So the king by his law appointeth
that constables and churchwardens shall be chosen in every parish.
Now let our two questions be here decided: 1. Who is it that giveth
these officers their power? 2. Whether an uninterrupted succession of
such officers through all generations since the enacting of that law,
be necessary to the validity of the present officer's authority? To
the first, It is certain that it is the king by his law or charter
that giveth the officers their power; and that the corporations and
parishes do not give it them by electing or investing them; yea,
though the king hath made such election and investiture to be in a
sort his instrument in the conveying it, it is but as the opening of
the door to let them in, _sine quo non_; but it doth not make the
instruments to be at all the givers of the power, nor were they the
receiving or containing mediate causes of it. The king never gave them
the power which the officers receive, either to use, or to give; but
only makes the electors his instruments to determine of the person
that shall receive the power immediately from the law or charter; and
the investers he maketh his instruments of solemnizing the tradition
and admission: which if the law or charter make absolutely necessary
_ad esse officii_, it will be so; but if it make it necessary only _ad
melius esse_, or but for order and regular admittance when no
necessity hindereth it, the necessity will be no more. And to the
second question, It is plain that the law, which is the _fundamentum
juris_, remaining still the same, if a parish omit for divers years to
choose any constable or churchwarden, yet the next time they do choose
one according to law, the law doth authorize him, nevertheless, though
there was an interruption or vacancy so long; and so in corporations
(unless the law or charter say the contrary): so is it in the present
case. 1. It is the established law of Christ, which describeth the
office, determineth of the degree and kind of power, and granteth or
conveyeth it, when the person is determined of by the electors and
ordainers, though by ordination the delivery and admission is
regularly to be solemnized; which actions are of just so much
necessity as that law hath made them, and no more. 2. And if there
were never so long an interruption or vacancy, he that afterward
entereth lawfully, so as to want nothing which the law of Christ hath
made necessary to the being of the office, doth receive his power
nevertheless immediately from the law of Christ. And Bellarmine
himself saith, that it is not necessary to the people, and to the
validity of sacraments and offices to them, to know that their pastors
be truly called or ordained: and if it be not necessary to the
validity of sacraments, it is not necessary to the validity of
ordination. And W. Johnson[109] confesseth to me that consecration is
not absolutely necessary _ad esse officii_ to the pope himself: no,
nor any one sort of electors in his election, p. 133. And in his Repl.
Term. Expl. p. 45, he saith, Neither papal nor episcopal jurisdiction
(as all the learned know) depends of episcopal or papal ordination:
nor was there ever interruptions of successions in episcopal
jurisdiction in any see, for want of that alone, that is necessary for
consecrating others validly, and not for jurisdiction over them. You
see then how little sincerity is in these men's disputations, when
they would persuade you to reject your lawful pastors as no true
ministers of Christ, for want of their ordination or succession.

_Direct._ IV. Though the sacraments and other ministerial offices are
valid, when a minister is qualified (in his abilities and call) but
with so much as is essential to the office, though he be defective in
degree of parts and faithfulness, and have personal faults which prove
his own destruction; yet so great is the difference between a holy,
heavenly, learned, judicious, experienced, skilful, zealous,
laborious, faithful minister, and an ignorant, ungodly, idle,
unskilful one, and so highly should every wise man value the best
means and advantages to his eternal happiness, that he should use all
lawful means in his power to enjoy and live under such an able, godly,
powerful ministry, though he part with his worldly wealth and pleasure
to attain it.[110] I know no evil must be done for the attainment of
the greatest helps; (for we cannot expect that God should bless a
sinful course, or that our sin should tend to the saving of our
souls;) and I know God can bless the weakest means, when they are such
as he appointeth us to use; and can teach us by angels when he denieth
us the help of men: but Scripture, reason, and experience tell us,
that ordinarily he worketh morally by means, and fitteth the means to
the work which he will do by them: and as he doth not use to light men
by a clod or stone, but by a candle, nor by a rotten post or glow-worm
so much as by a torch or luminary; so he doth not use to work as much
by an ignorant, drunken, idle person, who despiseth the God, the
heaven, the Christ, the Spirit, the grace, the sacred word which he
preacheth, and vilifieth both his own and other men's souls, as he
doth by an able and compassionate minister. And the soul is of so much
more worth than the body, and eternal things than temporal, that a
little commodity to the soul in order to the securing of our
salvation, must be preferred before a great deal of worldly riches: he
that knoweth what his soul, his Saviour, and heaven is worth, will not
easily sit down contented, under such a dark, and dull, and starving
minister, as he feeleth he can but little profit by, if better may be
had on lawful terms. He that feeleth no difference between the
ministry of these two sorts of men, it is because he is a stranger to
the work of the gospel on the soul: and "if the gospel (in its truth,
or worth, or use) be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, the god of
this world having blinded their minds."[111] It must be no small
matter that must satisfy a serious christian to cast his soul upon any
hurtful or dangerous disadvantage. Though Daniel and his companions
may live well on pulse, yea, and Ezekiel upon bread baked with dung,
when God will have it so, yet no wise man will choose such a diet:
especially if his diseases require the exactest diet, or his weakness
the most restorative, and all too little; which, alas, is the common
case. Yet this caution you must here take with you, 1. That you
pretend not your own benefit, to the common loss or hurt of others. 2.
And that you consider as well where you may do most good, as where you
may get most; for the way of greatest service, is the way of greatest

[Sidenote: The order and credit of ministerial teaching the doctrine
of salvation.]

_Direct._ V. Understand what sort and measure of belief it is that you
owe to your teachers, that so your incredulity hinder not your faith
in Christ, nor your over-much credulity betray you to heresy, nor make
you the servants of men, contrary to Matt. xxiii. 8-10; Eph. iv. 13; 2
Cor. i. 24; Acts xx. 30. We see on one side how many poor souls are
cheated into schism and dangerous errors, by forsaking their teachers
and refusing their necessary help, and all upon this pretence, that
they must not make men the lords of their faith, nor pin their faith
on the minister's sleeve, nor take their religion upon trust. And on
the other side we see among the papists, and in every sect, what
lamentable work is made by an over-much credulity and implicit belief
of ambitious, worldly, factious, proud, and erroneous guides. That you
may escape both these extremes, you must observe the truth of these
conclusions following, which show you what it is that your teachers
have to reveal unto you, and in what order, and how far the several
particulars are, or are not to be taken upon their words.

And first, as a preparative, it is presupposed, (1.) That you find
yourself ignorant, and one that needeth a teacher; for if you think
you know all that you need to know already, you are like a full bottle
that will hold no more. (2.) It is presupposed that you take the man
that you learn of to be wiser than yourself, and fit to teach you;
either because fame or other men's reports have told you so, (as the
woman, John iv. drew the Samaritans to Christ,) or because his own
profession of skill doth make you think so (as you will hearken to him
that professeth to be able to teach you any art or science); or else
because your present hearing his discourse doth convince you of his
wisdom; by one of these means you are brought to think that he is one
that you may learn of, and is fit for you to hear (so that here is no
need that first you take him to be infallible, or that you know which
is the true church, as the papists say). These are supposed.

[Sidenote: To know yourself.]

The doctrines which he is to teach you are these, and in this method
to be taught. 1. He will teach you the natural knowledge of yourself;
that being a man, you are a rational, free agent, made by another for
his will and use, and by him to be ruled in order to your ultimate
end, being wholly his, and at his disposal.

[Sidenote: To know God and holiness.]

2. He will next teach you that there is a God that made you, and what
he is, and what relation he standeth in to you, and you to him, as
your Creator, your Owner, your Ruler, and your Benefactor, and your
End: and what duty you owe him in these relations, to submit to him,
and resign yourselves to him as his own, to be obedient to all his
laws, and to love him and delight in him; and this with all your
heart, and soul, and might; even to serve him with all the powers of
your soul and body, and with your estates and all his blessings.

[Sidenote: To know the life to come.]

3. He will next teach you that this God hath made your souls immortal,
and that there is a life after this where everlasting happiness or
misery will be your part, and where the great rewards and punishments
are executed by the Judge of all the world as men have behaved
themselves in this present life. That your end and happiness is not
here, but in the life to come, and that this life is the way and time
of preparation, in which everlasting happiness is won or lost.

Thus far he needeth no supernatural proof of what he saith; but can
prove it all to you from the light of nature: and these things you are
not primarily to receive of him as a testifier by mere believing him;
but as a teacher, by learning of him the evidences by which you may by
degrees come to know these things yourselves.

Yet it is supposed that all along you give him so much credit as the
difference between his knowledge and yours doth require, so far as it
appeareth to you; as you will hear a physician, a lawyer, a
philosopher, or any man, with reverence, while he discourseth of the
matters of his own profession; as confessing his judgment to be better
than yours, and therefore more suspecting your own apprehensions than
his. Not but that the truth may compel you to discern it, though you
should come with no such reverence or respect to him; but then you
cast yourself upon much disadvantage irrationally; and this human
belief of him is but a medium to your learning, and so to the
knowledge of the matter; so that you do not stop and rest in his
authority or credibility, but only use it in order to your discovery
of that evidence which you rest in, which as a teacher he acquaints
you with.

These things being thus far revealed by natural light, are (usually)
at first apprehended by natural reason, not so as presently to put or
prove the soul in a state of saving grace; but so as to awaken it to
make further inquiry; and so when the soul is come so far as to see
the same truths by supernatural grace in the supernatural revelation
of the holy Scriptures, then they become more effectual and saving,
which before were known preparatorily; and so the same truths are then
both the objects of knowledge and of faith.

[Sidenote: To know that Christ, faith, repentance, and obedience, is
the way to it.]

4. Having acquainted you with man's ultimate end and happiness in the
life to come, the next thing to be taught you by the ministers of
Christ, is, that Christ as our Saviour, and faith, and repentance,
and sincere obedience to be performed by us through his grace, is the
way to heaven, or the means by which we must attain this end. Though
the knowledge of the preacher's wisdom, piety, and credibility remove
some impediments which would make the receiving of this the more
difficult to you, yet you are not to take it barely on his word, as a
point of human faith; but you are to call for his proof of it, that
you may see better reasons than his affirmations for the entertainment
of it.

[Sidenote: To know that this is true because God hath revealed it; or
it is his word.]

5. The proof that he will give you is in these two propositions: 1.
God's revelations are all true. 2. This is one of God's revelations:
this is an argument, Whatsoever God saith is true: but this God saith,
therefore this is true. The first proposition you are not to take upon
the trust of his word, but to learn of him as a teacher to know it in
its proper evidence; for it is the formal object of your faith: the
veracity of God is first known to you, by the same evidence and means
as you know that there is a God; and then it is by the force of this
that you believe the particular truths which are the material object
of faith. And the second proposition, that God hath revealed this, is
orderly to be first proved, and so received upon its proper evidence;
and not taken merely upon your teacher's word: yet if you do believe
him by a human faith as a man that is likely to know what he saith,
and this in order to a divine faith, it will not hinder, but help your
divine faith and salvation; and is indeed no more than is your duty.

Here note, 1. That primarily these two great principles of faith, God
is true, and this is God's revelation, are not themselves _credenda_,
the material objects of divine faith, but of knowledge. 2. That yet
the result of both is _de fide_, matter of faith. 3. And the same
principles are secondarily _de fide_, as it is that there is a God.
For though they are first to be known by natural evidence, yet when
the Scripture is opened to us, we shall find them there revealed; and
so the same thing may be the object both of knowledge and of faith. 4.
And faith itself is a sort of knowledge; for though human faith have
that uncertainty in its premises, (for the most part,) as forbiddeth
us to say, (properly,) I know this to be true, because such a man said
it; yet divine faith hath that certainty which may make it an
excellent sort of knowledge; as I have proved copiously elsewhere. In
believing man we argue thus, Whatsoever so wise and honest a man
saith, is credible, that is, most likely to be true: but this he
saith; therefore, &c. But in believing God we argue thus, Whatever God
saith is credible, that is, as infallible truth: but this God saith;
therefore, &c. So that the word credible, signifieth not the same
thing in the two arguments; nor are divine faith and human faith the

[Sidenote: To know that the gospel is his word.]

6. The next thing that the preacher hath to teach you, is the proof of
the aforesaid minor proposition (for the major was proved in the proof
of a Deity); and that is thus: The gospel which Christ and his
apostles first preached, and is now delivered in the sacred
Scriptures, is the word, or infallible revelation, of God: but this
doctrine, that Christ, with faith, and repentance, and obedience on
our parts, are the way to life eternal, is the gospel which Christ and
his apostles first preached, &c.; therefore it is the word of God. For
the minor you need not take your teacher's word, if you can read; for
you may see it in the Bible (of which more anon): but the major is
that which all men desire to be assured of, That the gospel is God's
word. And for that, though a belief of your teacher is a help and
good preparatory, yet you are not there to stop, but to use him as a
teacher to show you the truth of it in the proofs: or else you must
take any thing for God's word, which your teacher affirmeth to be
such. And the proof which he will give you, must be some divine
attestation which may be showed to those whom we would convince.

[Sidenote: The Divine attestation of the gospel.]

7. The divine attestation, which he is next to show you, hath many
parts, that it may be complete and satisfactory. 1. God's antecedent
testimony. 2. His inherent or impressed testimony. 3. His adherent,
concomitant testimony. 4. His subsequent testimony. 1. God's
antecedent testimony by which he attested the gospel, is the train of
promises, prophecies, types, and the preparing ministry of John, which
all foretold Christ, and were fulfilled in him. 2. God's impressed
testimony is that image and superscription of God, (in his governing
wisdom, holiness, and love,) which is inimitably engraven on the
gospel; as an image upon a seal, which is thereby made the instrument
to imprint the same on other things. Thus as the sun, the gospel
shineth, and proveth itself by its proper light. 3. The concomitant
attestation of God, is that of multitudes of certain, uncontrolled
miracles, done by Christ and his apostles, which proved the approving
hand of God, and oblige all rational creatures to believe a testimony
so confirmed to them. Among these, Christ's own resurrection and
ascension, and the gifts of his apostles, are the chief. 4. The
subsequent attestation of God is, the power and efficacy of the
gospel, in calling and sanctifying unto Christ a peculiar people,
zealous of good works, and directing and confirming them against all
temptations and torments to the end; producing that same image of God
on the souls of his elect, which is (more perfectly) engraven on the
world itself; making such changes, and gathering such a people unto
God, as no other doctrine ever did. And all these four attestations
are but one, even the Holy Spirit, who is become the great witness of
Christ and his gospel in the world: viz. 1. The Spirit of prophecy is
the antecedent attestation. 2. The holy image which the Spirit hath
printed on the gospel itself, is the inherent evidence. 3. The
miracles of the Spirit, is the concomitant attestation or evidence. 4.
And the sanctifying work of the Spirit is the subsequent attestation,
renewed and accompanying it to the end of the world. So that the
argument runs thus, That doctrine which hath this witness of the Holy
Ghost, antecedently in such prophecies, inherently bearing his image
so inimitably, accompanied by so many certain, uncontrolled miracles,
and followed and attended with such matchless success in the
sanctification of the body of Christ, is fully attested by God to be
his own: but such is the doctrine of the gospel; therefore, &c. The
major you are not to take upon trust from your teachers, though your
esteem of their judgment may the better dispose you to learn; but you
are to discern the evidences of truth which is apparent in it. For he
that denieth this, must by force of argument be driven to deny, 1.
Either that God is the Governor of the world; or that he is the
supreme, but say he is controlled by another. 2. Or that he is good
and true; and must affirm that he either governeth the world by mere
deceits, and undiscernible lies, or that he hath given up the power to
some one that so governeth it: all which is but to affirm that there
is no God (which is supposed to be proved before).

[Sidenote: To know the matters of fact subservient to our faith.]

8. There now remaineth nothing to be taught you, as to prove the truth
of the gospel, but only those matters of fact which are contained and
supposed in the minor of the two last arguments: and they are these
particulars. 1. That there were such persons as Christ and his
apostles, and such a gospel preached by them. 2. That such miracles
were done by them, as are supposed. 3. That both doctrine and miracles
were committed to writing by them, in the Scriptures, for the
certainer preserving them to the church's use.[112] 4. That churches
were planted, and souls converted and confirmed by them in the first
ages, many of whom did seal them with their blood. 5. That there have
been a succession of such churches as have adhered to this Christ and
gospel. 6. That this which we call the Bible is that very book
containing those sacred writings afore-mentioned. 7. That it hath been
still copied out and preserved without any such depravation or
corruption as might frustrate its ends. 8. That the copies are such
out of which we have them translated, and which we show. 9. That they
are so truly translated as to have no such corruptions or mistakes, as
to frustrate their ends, or make them unapt for the work they were
appointed to. 10. That these particular words are indeed here written
which we read; and these particular doctrines containing the
essentials of christianity, together with the rest of the material
objects of faith.

All these ten particulars are matters of fact that are merely
subservient to the constituting principles of our faith, but yet very
needful to be known. Now the question is, How these must be known and
received by us so as not to invalidate our faith? and how far our
teachers must be here believed? And first it is very useful to us to
inquire, How so many of these matters of fact as were then existent
were known to the first christians? As how knew they in those days
that there were such persons as Christ and his apostles? that they
preached such doctrines, and spake such languages, and did such works,
and that they wrote such books, and sent such epistles to the
churches, and that churches were hereby converted and confirmed, and
martyrs sealed this with their blood, &c.? It is easy to tell how they
were certain of all these; even by their own eyes, and ears, and
sensible observation, as we know that there are Englishmen live in
England; and those that were remoter from some of the matters of fact,
knew them by such report of those that did see them, as those among us
that never saw the king, or court, or his restoration, do know that
such a thing there was, and such a person there is. Thus they knew it

From whence I note, 1. That in those days it was not necessary to the
being of true faith, that any supernatural testimony of the Spirit, or
any other sort of proof, than their very senses and reason, should
acquaint them with those matters of fact which they were eye-witnesses
of. 2. That credible report or history was then the means for any one
that saw not a matter of fact, to know as much as they that saw it. 3.
That therefore this is now the way also of producing faith. Some
things we have yet sight and sense for; as that such Bibles and such
churches are existent; that such holy effects this doctrine hath upon
the soul (which we see in others by the fruits, and after feel in
ourselves): the rest we must know by history, tradition, or report.

And in the reception of these historical passages note further, 1.
That human belief is here a naturally necessary means to acquaint us
with the matter of our divine belief. 2. That there are various
degrees of this belief, and some need more of it by far than others,
according to the various degrees of their ignorance:[113] as he that
cannot read himself, must know by human belief (in great part) that
the preacher readeth truly, or that such words indeed are in the
gospel as he saith are there; but a literate person may know this by
his eye-sight, and not take it upon trust. So he that understandeth
not Hebrew and Greek, must take it upon trust that the Scripture is
truly translated; but another that understandeth those tongues, may
see it with his eyes. 3. History being the proper means to know
matters of fact that are done in times past, and out of our sight, the
same industry that is necessary to a thorough acquaintance with other
history, is necessary to the same acquaintance with this. 4. That the
common beginning of receiving all such historical truths is first by
believing our teachers so far as becometh learners, and in the mean
time going on to learn till we come to know as much as they, and upon
the same historical evidence as they. 5. That if any man be here
necessitated to take more than others upon the trust or belief of
their teachers, it is long of their ignorance: and therefore if such
cry out against their taking things on trust, it is like a mad-man's
raving against them that would order him; or as if one should reproach
a nurse for feeding infants, and not letting them feed themselves.
_Oportet discentem credere._ He that will not believe his teacher will
never learn. If a child will not believe his master that tells him
which are the letters, the vowels, and consonants, and what is their
power, and what they spell, and what every word signifieth in the
language which he is teaching him, will he be ever the better for his
teaching? 6. That he that knoweth these historical matters no
otherwise than by the belief of his particular teacher, may
nevertheless have a divine and saving faith; for though he believe by
a human faith that these things were done, that this is the same book,
&c., yet he believeth the gospel itself (thus brought to his
knowledge) because God is true that hath attested it. Even as it was a
saving faith in Mary and Martha, that knew by their eyes and ears, and
not only by belief, that Lazarus was raised, and that Christ preached
thus and thus to them; but believed his doctrine to be true, because
of God's veracity who attested it. 7. That it is the great wisdom and
mercy of God to his weak and ignorant people, to provide them teachers
to acquaint them with these things, and to vouchsafe them such a help
to their salvation, as to make it a standing office in his church to
the end of the world, that the infants and ignorant might not be cast
off, but have fathers, and nurses, and teachers to take care of them.
8. But especially mark, that yet these infants have much disadvantage
in comparison of others, that know all these matters of fact by the
same convincing evidence as their teachers; and that he that followeth
on to learn it as he ought, may come to prove these subservient
matters of fact, by such a concurrence of evidences, as amounteth to
an infallibility or moral certainty, beyond mere human faith as such:
as e. g. an illiterate person that hath it but from others, may be
certain that it is indeed a Bible which is ordinarily read and
preached to him; and that it is so truly translated as to be a
sufficient rule of faith and life, having no mistake which must hazard
a man's salvation; because the Bible in the original tongues is so
commonly to be had, and so many among us understand it, and there is
among them so great a contrariety of judgments and interests, that it
is not possible but many would detect such a public lie, if any should
deal falsely in so weighty and evident a case. There is a moral
certainty (equal to a natural) that some actions will not be done by
whole countries, which every individual person hath power and natural
liberty to do: as e. g. there is no man in the kingdom but may
possibly kill himself, or may fast to-morrow, or may lie in bed many
days together; and yet it is certain, that all the people in England
will do none of these: so it is possible that any single person may
lie even in a palpable public case, as to pretend that this is a Bible
when it is some other book, or that this is the same book that was
received from the apostles by the churches of that age, when it is not
it, &c.; but for all the country, and all the world that are competent
witnesses, to agree to do this, is a mere impossibility, I mean such a
thing as cannot be done without a miracle, yea, a universal miracle.
And more than so, it is impossible that God should do a miracle to
accomplish such a universal wickedness and deceit; whereas it is
possible that natural causes by a miracle may be turned out of course,
where there is nothing in the nature of God against it (as that the
sun should stand still, &c.). We have a certainty that there was a
Julius Cæsar, a William the Conqueror, an Aristotle, a Cicero, an
Augustine, a Chrysostom, and that the laws and statutes of the land
were really enacted by the kings and parliaments whose names they
bear; because the natural and civil interests of so many thousands
that are able to detect it, could never be reconciled here to a
deceit. When judges and counsellors, kings and nobles, and plaintiffs
and defendants, utter enemies, are all agreed in it, it is more
certain to a single person than if he had seen the passing of them
with his eyes. So in our case, when an office was established in the
church, to read and preach this gospel in the assemblies; and when all
the congregations took it as the charter of their salvation, and the
rule of their faith and life; and when these pastors and churches were
dispersed over all the christian world, who thus worshipped God from
day to day; and all sects and enemies were ready to have detected a
falsification or deceit; it is here as impossible for such a kind of
history, or tradition, or testimony to be false, in such material
points of fact, as for one man's senses to deceive him, and much more.

Thus I have at once showed you the true order of the preaching, and
proofs, and receiving of the several matters of religion, and how and
into what our faith must be resolved; and how far your teachers are to
be believed. And here you must especially observe two things: 1. That
there can be no danger in this resolution of faith, of derogating
either from the work of the Holy Ghost, or the Scriptures'
self-evidence, or any other cause whatever; because we ascribe nothing
to history or tradition which was ascribed to any of these causes by
the first christians; but only put our reception by tradition,
instead of their reception immediately by sense: our receiving by
infallible history, is but in the place of their receiving by sight;
and not in the place of self-evidence of Scripture, or any testimony
or teaching of the Spirit. The method is exactly laid down, Heb. ii.
3, 4, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation; which at
the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by
them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs
and wonders, and divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost,
according to his own will?" Here is the sum of what I have been

2. Observe also the great difference between us and the papists in
this controversy of using tradition in the resolution of our faith. 1.
They decide the main question in gross by tradition, viz. Whether the
Scripture be the word of God? But we only decide the questions about
history or matters of fact by it, which are subservient to the other.
2. The tradition which most of them plead, is nothing but the
authoritative judgment of the successive pastors of the church in a
general council confirmed by the pope; and as another faction among
them saith, The reception of the whole church, both laity and clergy;
and this church must be only the Roman faction. But the tradition
which we plead is the concurrent testimony of friends and foes,
orthodox and heretics; and of all the churches throughout the world,
both Greek and Latin, Ethiopian, Armenian, protestants, &c. And this
testimony we plead, not merely as a human testimony, much less as such
as is credible chiefly for the mere power (real or pretended) of the
testifiers; but as such as by a concurrence of testimonies and
circumstances hath (besides the teachers' authority) the evidences of
infallible moral certainty, in the very history; as we have of the
statutes of the realm.

_Direct._ VI. Understand what kind and measure of obedience it is that
you owe your lawful pastors, that you neither prove schismatical and
unruly, nor yet have a hand in setting up idols and usurpations in the
church. This you may learn from the foregoing description of the
pastor's work. The kind of your obedience is commensurate to the kind
of his office and work. You are not to obey your pastors, as civil
magistrates that bear the sword; nor as physicians, to tell you what
you must do for your health; nor as artificers, to command you how to
plough, and sow, and trade, &c. (except in the morality of these); but
it is as your teachers and guides in matters of salvation that you
must obey them.[114] And that not as prophets or lawgivers to the
church; but as the stated officers of Christ, to open and apply the
laws that he hath given, and determine of such circumstances as are
subservient thereunto. Not as those that have dominion of your faith,
or may preach another gospel, or contradict any truth of God, which by
Scripture or nature he hath revealed, or can dispense with any duty
which he hath commanded; but as those that have all their power from
God, and for God and your salvation, and the good of other men's
souls; to edification only, and not to destruction: particular cases I
here purposely forbear.

_Direct._ VII. Be sure that you look on them as the officers of Christ
in all that they do as such; and see not only their natural, but
their ecclesiastical persons, that through them you may have to do
with God. Especially in preaching, and administering the sacraments,
and binding the impenitent, and absolving the penitent, and comforting
the sad and humbled souls. All the holiness, and life, and power of
your spiritual converse with them consisteth in your seeing and
conversing with God in them, and using them as his messengers or
officers, that deliver his message and do his work, and not their own.
If you disobey them in his work, it is God that you disobey; and if
they teach you his word, or deliver you Christ and his benefits in the
sacraments, it is Christ himself that doth it by them as his
instruments, so far as they do it according to his commission and his
will. This observing Christ in their teaching will possess you with
due reverence and care, and cause you to do it as a holy work; and to
see Christ in them, delivering and sealing his covenant to you, will
very much increase your joy; when man as man is but a shadow.

_Direct._ VIII. Make use of their help in private, and not in public
only: as the use of a physician is not only to read a lecture of
physic to his patients, but to be ready to direct every person
according to their particular case (there being such variety of
temperatures, diseases, and accidents, that in dangerous cases the
direction of the judicious is needful in the application); so here, it
is not the least of the pastoral work, to oversee the individuals, and
to give them personally such particular advice as their case
requireth. Never expect that all thy books, or sermons, or prayers, or
meditations should serve thy turn without the counsel of thy pastors,
in greater cases; for that were but to devise how to prove God's
officers needless to his church. If thou be an ignorant or unconverted
sinner, go to the minister, and ask him, what thou must do to be
saved? and resolve to follow his sound advice. If thou be in doubt of
any weighty point of faith or godliness, or assaulted perilously by
any adversary, or need his advice for thy settled peace, thy assurance
of pardon and salvation, and thy preparation for death; go ask counsel
of thy pastors, and receive their help with readiness and
thankfulness: or if thou live where there is none that is able and
willing thus to help thee, remove to them that are such, if lawfully
thou canst.

_Direct._ IX. Assist you pastors in the work of God, by the duties of
your places which tend thereto: labour by your holy, serious
conference, to instruct the ignorant, and convince the unbelieving,
and convert the ungodly, and strengthen the weak, with whom you have
fit opportunity for such work. Labour by your holy examples, by love,
and concord, and meekness, and sobriety, and contempt of the world,
and a heavenly life, to "shine as lights in the midst of a dark and
crooked generation." Preach all of you, by the examples of your
blameless, humble, holy lives. Oh how abundantly would this course
promote the success of the public preaching of the gospel! If you
would cause those men to see the glory and power of the gospel in your
holy and heavenly lives, who cannot see it in itself: then many that
would not be won by the word, might be won without it (to seek after
it at least) by your conversations.[115] Thus all must preach and be
helpers of the ministers of Christ.

_Direct._ X. Forsake not your faithful pastors to follow deceivers;
but adhere to them who spend and are spent for you; defend their
innocency against false accusers; and refuse them not such maintenance
as is needful to their entire giving up themselves to that holy work
to which they are devoted.[116] Read and study well Eph. iv. 13-15;
Acts xx. 30. It is for your sakes that your faithful pastors are
singled out in the world to bear the slanders and contradictions of
the wicked; and to lead the way in the fiery trial. If they would
forsake you, and that sacred truth and duty that is needful to your
salvation, and sell you up into the hands of cruel and deceitful men,
it were as easy for them to have the applause of men, and the
prosperity of the world, as others: it is perfidious ingratitude to
forsake them in trial, that must lose their lives and all the world,
rather than forsake you or betray your souls; or to grudge them food
and raiment that lay by the gainful employments of the world, that
they may attend continually on the service of your souls.

[88] Disput. ii. of Church Government, chap. i. and Universal Concord.

[89] Of the difference between fixed and unfixed ministers, see my
Disput. ii. iii. of Church Government, and Jos. Acosta lib. v. c. 21,
22, de Missionibus.

[90] Rom. x. 7, 14; Mark xvi. 15; Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.

[91] 2 Cor. v. 19-21; Acts xxvi. 17, 18; Eph. ii. 19; Acts ii. 37-40.

[92] Tit. i. 7; 1 Cor. iv. 1, 2; Matt. xxviii. 19, 20; Acts xx. 32; 1
Cor. iii. 11, 12.

[93] Acts xiv. 23; 2 Tim. ii. 2; Acts xiii. 3; ii. 41, 42; vi. 2; xx.
7, 28; 1 Tim. v. 17; Titus i. 5; Acts xx. 30, 31; Col. i. 28; Eph. iv.
11, 42; Mal. ii. 7; 1 Tim. v. 17.

[94] 1 Cor. xiv. 16, 26; Acts xx. 7, 36; James v. 14; Acts vi. 4; ii.
42; Phil. i. 4; Neh. xi. 24; xi. 17; 1 Cor. xi. 24; x. 16; Heb. vii.
7; Tit. ii. 15; i. 9, 11; 1 Tim. v. 19; iii. 5; Tit. iii. 10; Matt.
xviii. 17, 18; 1 Cor. v. 4, 11, 13; Eph. iv. 13, 14; Acts xv.

[95] Princes may force their subjects by the temporal sword which they
bear: bishops may not force their flock with any corporal or external
violence. Bilson, Christ. Subjection, p. 525.

[96] Dr. Hammond Annot. q. d. The bishops of your several churches, I
exhort--Take care of your several churches, and govern them, not as
secular rulers, by force, but as pastors do their sheep, by calling
and going before them, that so they may follow of their own accord. If
you would know the true nature and extent of the bishop's work and
office, read carefully the said Dr. Hammond's Paraphrase on Acts xx.
20, 28; Heb. xiii. 7, 17; 1 Tim. v. 17; 1 Thess. v. 12; Heb. xiii.;
Annot. a. Tit. iii. 10; 1 Cor. xii. 28; Annot. e. Jam. v. 14; Annot.
Acts xi. 30; Annot. b. Acts xiv. 23.

[97] Chrysost. cited by Bilson. p. 525. But if any man wander from the
right path of the christian faith, the pastor must use great pains,
care, and patience. For he may not be forced, nor constrained with
terror, but only persuaded to return entirely to the truth.----A
bishop cannot cure men with such authority as a shepherd doth his
sheep.--For of all men christian bishops may least correct the faults
of men by force, p. 526. Matt. xx. 26; Mark x. 43. See Psal. ciii. 21;
civ. 4; Isa. xvi. 6; Jer. xxxiii. 21; Joel i. 9, 13; ii. 17; 2 Cor.
xi. 23; Acts xxvi. 26; Rom. xv. 16; Eph. iii. 7; Col. i. 23, 25; 1
Tim. iv. 6; 1 Thess. iii. 2; Col. i. 7.

[98] Functiones in ecclesia perpetuæ sunt duæ, Presbyterorum et
Diaconorum: Presbyteros voco cum omni ecclesia veteri eos, qui
ecclesiam pascunt verbi prædicatione, sacramentis et clavibus; quæ
jure divino sunt individua. Grotius de Imperio, p. 267. c. 10.

[99] Bishop Jer. Taylor of Repentance, Pref. "I am sure we cannot give
account of souls of which we have no notice."

[100] Ignat. Epis. ad Philad. Vid. Mead's Disc. of Churches, p. 48-50.

[101] Tertull. de Coron. Milit. c. 3.

[102] It is very observable that Acosta saith, l. vi. c. 12, that they
found it an old custom among the Indians to confess their sins to the
priests before the gospel came thither.

[103] See more in Dr. Hammond, ibid.

[104] Vid. Canon. Apost. 5. 32. Et Concil. Antioch. c. 5. Et Concil.
Carthag. 4. Can. 35.

[105] Vid. Just. Mart. Apol. 2. Vid. Tertul. Apol. c. 39.

[106] I hope all this will tell you what a bishop indeed is.

[107] Grot. de Imp. p. 273. Pastorum est ordinare pastores. Neque id
officium eis competit, qua hujus aut illius ecclesiæ pastores sunt,
sed qua ministri ecclesiæ catholicæ.

[108] See in Grotius de Imper. sum. potest. p. 269. The necessary
distinction of, 1. Ipsa facultas prædicandi sacramenta et claves
administrandi, quod Mandatum vocat. 2. Applicatio hujus facultatis ad
certam personam, viz. Ordinatio. 3. Applicatio hujus personæ ad certum
cœtum et locum, viz. Electio. 4. Illud quo certa persona in certo
loco ministerium suum exercet publico præsidio ac publica authoritate,
viz. Confirmatio, p. 273. Constat muneris institutionem a Deo esse;
ordinationem a pastoribus, confirmationem publicam a summa potestate.
So that the doubt is only about election. Which yet must be
differenced from consent.

[109] See my Disput. with him of the Successive Visibility of the
Church, p. 336.

[110] Cyprian. Epis. 68. Plebs obsequens præceptis dominicis a
peccatore præposito separare se debet. Which Grotius de Imper. p. 230,
citing saith, Jubentur enim singuli, multo magis universi, cavere
prophetas falsos, alienum pastorem fugere, ab iis declinare qui
dissidia faciunt et offensas contra doctrinam. 2. Imperatur fidelibus
familiarem eorum consuetudinem declinare, qui fratres, &c. 2 Cor. v.;
Rom. xvi. 17; John x.; 2 Tim. iii. 6; 2 Thess. iii. 6, 14; 2 Cor. iv.
3, 4.

[111] Satan or their own worldly advantages, saith Dr. Hammond. Dan.
i. 12, 13; Ezek. iv. 12, 15. Read c. iii. Acosta excellently rebuking
the negligence of their priests that taught the Indians the catechism
idly, and without explication, or calling them to account about the
sense, and then laid all the fault on the blockishness of the people,
when Tota catechizendi ratio erat umbratilis, et ludicræ similis: ego
vero (inquit) si homines ingenio acerrimo, et discendi percupidi tales
præceptores nacti essent, nihil aliud quam ut duplo ignoratiores
evaderent, doceri isto modo arbitrarer. Olim in symbolo addiscendo et
intelligendo, mysteriisque fidei agnoscendis viri ingenio præstantes
et literatura celebres, diu in catechumenorum ordine tenebantur, cum
ecclesiastica disciplina vigeret; neque ante ad fidei sacramentum
admittebantur, quam multas ab episcopo de symbolo conciones audissent,
diu et multum cum catechista contulissent; post quas omnes curas et
meditationes, magnum erat si recta sentirent, consentanea
responderent, &c. And he addeth, p. 360, Equidem sic opinor, neque ab
ea opinione avelli unquam potero, quin pessimo præceptori omnes esse
auditores hebetes credam. A bad teacher hath always bad scholars. Even
in the Roman church how little their authority can do against
profaneness and negligence, the same Acosta showeth, l. 6. c. 2. p.
519. Cum in provinciali concilio Limensi ab omnibus Peruensibus
episcopis cæterisque gravibus viris ad ea vitia emendenda multum operæ
et studii collatum sit, atque edita extent egregia decreta de
reformatione permulta, nihil tamen amplius perfectum est, quam si ab
otiosis nautis de republica moderanda consultatum esset. Bonific.
Mogunt. Ep. iii. mentioneth it as the error of a new-sprung sect, that
heinous sinners even so continuing may be priests. And Ep. lxxiii. it
is said, No man may be made a priest, that hath sinned mortally after
baptism, and, Si iis qui tam in episcopatu vel presbyterio positus
mortale peccatum aliquod admiserit, non debet offerre panes Domino,
quanto magis patienter retrahat se ab hoc non tam honore quam onere,
et aliorum locum qui digni sunt non ambiat occupare. Qui enim in
erudiendis et instituendis ad virtutem populis præest, necesse est, ut
in omnibus sanctus sit, et in nullo reprehensibilis habeatur. Qui enim
aliquem de peccato arguit, ipse a peccato debet esse immunis. Auct.
Bib. Pat. Tom. ii. p. 81. If there were somewhat too much strictness
in the ancient exclusion of them that heinously sinned after baptism
from the priesthood, let us not be as much too loose.

[112] Est enim mirabilis quædam continuatio seriesque rerum, ut alia
ex alia nexa, et omnes inter se aptæ colligatæque videantur. Cic. De
Natur. Deor. pag. 6.

[113] By all this it is easy to gather whether a pastor may do his
work _per alium_. Saith Grotius de Imp. p. 290, 291, Nam illud quod
quis per alium facit per se facere videtur ad eas duntaxat pertinet
actiones quarum causa efficiens proxima a jure indefinita est. Yet
people should labour after such maturity and stedfastness, that they
might be able to stand if their pastors be dead or taken from them by
persecution, yea, or forsake the truth themselves. Victor. Utic. saith
of the people in Africa when their pastors were banished, and others
might not be ordained in their steads: Inter hæc tamen Dei populus in
fide consistens, ut examina apum cereas ædificantia mansiones,
crescendo melleis fidei claviculis firmabatur. Quanto magis
affligebantur, tanto magis multiplicabantur. Victor. p. 382.

[114] We may not offer any violence, but only persuade: we have not so
great authority given us by the laws, as to repress offenders; and if
it were lawful for us so to do, we have no use of any such violent
power: for that Christ crowneth them which abstain from sin, not of a
forced, but of a willing mind and purpose. Chrys. citante Bilson of
Subjection, p. 526. Et ibid. ex Hilar. If this violence were used for
the true faith, the doctrine of bishops would be against it: God
needeth no forced service. He requireth no constrained confession. I
cannot receive any man but him that is willing: I cannot give ear, but
to him that entreateth, &c. Ita et Origen. ibid. citat. 2 Cor. i. 24;
Gal. i. 7, 8; 2 Cor. x. 8; xiii. 10.

[115] Acts xviii. 24, 26, 27; Rom. xvi. 3; John iii. 8; Eph. iv. 29; 1
Pet. iv. 11; Phil. ii. 15; Matt. v. 16; 1 Pet. iii. 1, 2; 2 Pet. iii.
11: 1 Pet. i. 15, 16; ii. 12; Heb. iii. 13; Heb. x. 24.

[116] 1 Thess. v. 12, 13; 2 Tim. ii. 10; 2 Cor. iv. 15; 1 Thess. iii.
9; i. 5; Matt. xxvi. 56; 2 Tim. iv. 16; Gal. vi. 6, 10; 1 Cor. ix.;
Col. i. 24.



Though truth be naturally the object of man's understanding, to which
it hath a certain inclination, and though it be a delightful thing to
know the truth;[117] yet that which is saving meeteth with so much
opposition in the flesh, and in the world, that while it is applauded
in the general, it is resisted and rejected in particulars; and yet
while the use of holy truth is hated and obstinately cast away, the
name and the barren profession of it is made the matter of the
glorying of hypocrites, and the occasion of reproaching dissenters as
heretics, and the world is filled with bloody persecutions, and
inhuman, implacable enmities and divisions, by a wonderful zeal for
the name of truth, even by those men that will rather venture on
damnation, than they will obey the truth which they so contend for.
Multitudes of men have tormented or murdered others as heretics, who
themselves must be tormented in hell for not being christians. It
concerneth us therefore to deal very wisely and cautelously in this

_Direct._ I. Take heed lest there be any carnal interest or lust which
maketh you unwilling to receive the truth, or inclineth you to error,
that it may serve that interest or lust. It is no small number of men
that are strangers or enemies to the truth, not because they cannot
attain the knowledge of it, but because they would not have it to be
truth. And men of great learning and natural parts are frequently thus
deceived and led into error by a naughty, carnal, biassed heart;
either because that error is the vulgar opinion, and necessary to
maintain their popular reputation, and avoid reproach; or because it
is the way of men in power, and necessary to their preferment and
greatness in the world; or because the truth is contrary to their
fleshly lusts and pleasures, or contrary to their honour and worldly
interest, and would hazard their reputations or their lives. How loth
is a sensual, ungodly man to believe that "without holiness none shall
see God," and that he "that is in Christ is a new creature, and that
if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his, and
that if they live after the flesh they shall die!"[118] How loth is
the ambitious minister to believe that the way of Christ's service
lieth not in worldly pomp, or ease, or pleasures; but in taking up the
cross and following Christ in self-denial, and in being as the servant
of all, in the unwearied performance of careful oversight and
compassionate exhortations unto all the flock! Let a controversy be
raised about any of these points, and the mind of lazy, ambitious men
doth presently fall in with that part which gratifieth their fleshly
lusts, and excuseth them from that toilsome way of duty which they
already hate. The secret lusts and vices of a false, hypocritical
heart, are the commonest and the powerfulest arguments for error; and
such men are glad, that great men or learned men will give so much
ease to their consciences, and shelter to their reputations, as to
countenance, or make a controversy at least of that which their lusts
desire to be true. Above all therefore see that you come not to
inquire after truth with an unsanctified heart, and unmortified lusts,
which are a bias to your minds, and make you warp from the truth which
you inquire after; for if the carnal mind neither is nor can be
subject to the law of God, you may easily perceive that it will be
loth to believe it; when in so doing they believe their own
condemnation. An honest, sanctified heart is fittest to entertain the

_Direct._ II. Seek after the truth for the love of truth, and love it
especially for its special use, as it formeth the heart and life to
the image and will of God; and not for the fanciful delight of
knowing; much less for carnal, worldly ends.[119] No means are used at
all as means, where the end is not first determined of. And to do the
same thing materially to another end, is not indeed to do the same;
for thereby it is made another thing. Your physician will come to you
if you seek to him as a physician; but not if you send to him to mend
your shoes. So if you seek knowledge for the true ends of knowledge,
to fill your hearts with the love of God, and guide your lives in
holiness and righteousness, God is engaged to help you in the search.
But if you seek it only for to please your pride or fancy, no wonder
if you miss of it; and it is no great matter whether you find it or
not, for any good it is like to do you. Every truth of God is
appointed to be his instrument, to do some holy work upon your heart:
let the love of holiness be it that maketh you search after truth, and
then you may expect that God should be your teacher.

_Direct._ III. Seek after truth without too great or too small regard
to the judgment of others; neither contemn them, nor be captivated to
them. Use the help of the wise; but give not up your reason absolutely
to any. Engage not yourselves in a party, so as to espouse their
errors, or implicitly to believe whatever they say; for this breedeth
in you a secret desire to please your party, and interesteth you in
their dividing interest, and maketh you betray the truth to be
accounted orthodox by those you value.[120]

_Direct._ IV. Take heed of pride, which will make you dote upon your
own conceits, and cause you to slight the weightiest reasons that are
brought by others, for your conviction. And if once you have espoused
an error, it will engage all your wit, and zeal, and diligence to
maintain it; it will make you uncharitable and furious against all
that cross you in your way; and so make you either persecutors, (if
you stand on the higher ground,) or sect leaders, or church dividers,
and turbulent and censorious, if you are on the lower ground. There is
very great reason in Paul's advice for the choice of a bishop, 1 Tim.
iii. 6, "Not a novice; lest being lifted up with pride he fall into
the condemnation of the devil." It is no more wonder to see a proud
man erroneous, and in the confidence of his own understanding, to rage
against all that tell him he is mistaken, than to hear a drunken man
boasting of his wit, to the increase of his shame.

_Direct._ V. Take heed of slothfulness, and impatience in searching
after truth, and think not to find it in difficult cases, without both
hard and patient studies, and ripeness of understanding to enable you
therein; and suspect all opinions which are the offspring of idleness
and ease, whatever divine illumination they may pretend (except as you
take them from others upon trust (in a slothful way) who attained them
by diligent studies). For God that hath called men to labour, doth use
to give his blessing to the laborious. And he that hath said by his
Spirit, 1 Tim. iv. 15, "Meditate upon these things; give thyself
wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all," doth
accordingly cause those men to profit, who seek it in this laborious
way of his appointment; and he that hath said, "The desire of the
slothful killeth him," doth not use to bless the slothful with his
teachings. He that will say to him in judgment, "Thou wicked and
slothful servant," will not encourage the slothfulness which he
condemneth.[121] "My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my
commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom,
and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou criest after
knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest
her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt
thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God:
for the Lord giveth wisdom," Prov. ii. 1-6. Mark here to whom God
giveth wisdom: all the godly are taught of God; but mark here how it
is that he teacheth them. Not while they scorn at studies and
universities, and look that their knowledge should cost them nothing,
or that the Spirit should be instead of serious studies, or that their
understandings should discern what is true or false at the first
appearance; but while they think no pains or patience too great to
learn the truth in the school of Christ.

_Direct._ VI. Keep out passion from your disputes, and in the
management of all your controversies in religion. For though passion
be useful both antecedently to the resolution of the will, and
consequently to the effectual execution of its resolutions, yet it is
commonly a very great seducer of the understanding, and strangely
blindeth and perverteth the judgment;[122] so that a passionate man is
seldom so far from the truth, as when he is most confident he is
defending it. When passion hath done boiling, and the heart is
cooled, and leaveth the judgment to do its work without any clamour or
disturbance, it is strange to see how things will appear to you to be
quite of another tendency and reason, than in your passion you
esteemed them.

_Direct._ VII. Keep up a sense of the evil and danger of both
extremes; and be not so wholly intent upon the avoiding of one
extreme, as to be fearless of the other. The narrow minds of
unexperienced men are hardly brought to look on both sides them, and
to be duly sensible of the danger of both extremes; but while they are
taken up only with the hating and opposing one sort of errors, they
forget those on the other side. And usually the sin or error which we
observe not, is more dangerous to us than that which we do observe (if
the wind of temptation set that way).

_Direct._ VIII. When you detect any ancient error or corruption,
inquire into its original; and see whether reformation consist not
rather in a restitution of the primitive state, than in an extirpation
of the whole. Even in popery itself there are many errors and ill
customs, which are but the corruption of some weighty truth, and the
degenerating of some duty of God's appointment; and to reduce all, in
such cases, to the primitive verity, is the way of wise and true
reformation; and not to throw away that which is God's, because it is
fallen into the dirt of human depravation. But in cases where all is
bad, there all must be rejected.

_Direct._ IX. Pretend not to truth and orthodoxness against christian
love and peace; and so follow truth, as that you lose not love and
peace by it; "as much as in you lieth, live peaceably with all men,"
Rom. xii. 18. Charity is the end of truth, 1 Cor. xiii. and it is a
mad use of means, to use them against the end. Make sure of the
sincerity of your charity, and hold it fast; and then no error that
you hold will be destructive to you: but if you know more than others,
and use your knowledge to the weakening of your love, you are but (as
our first parents) deceived and destroyed by a desire of fleshly,
uneffectual knowledge. Such "knowledge puffeth up, but charity
edifieth," 1 Cor. viii. 1. To contend for truth, to the loss of love
in yourselves, and the destruction of it among others, is but to choke
yourselves with excellent food, and to imitate that orthodox, catholic
physician, that gloried that he killed his patients _secundem artem_,
by the most accurate method and excellent rules of art that men could
die by.

_Direct._ X. Pretend no truth against the power and practice of
godliness.[123] For this also is its proper end; if it be not truth
that is according to godliness, it is no truth worthy our seeking or
contending for. And if it be contrary to godliness in itself, it is no
truth at all; therefore if it be used against godliness, it is used
contrary to the ends of truth. Those men that suppress or hinder the
means of knowledge, and holiness, and concord, and edification, under
pretence of securing, defending, or propagating the orthodox belief,
will find one day, that God will give them as little thanks for their
blind, preposterous zeal for truth, as a tender father would do to a
physician, that killed his children because they distasted or spit out
his medicines. It is usually a pitiful defence of truth that is made
by the enemies of godliness.

_More near and particular Directions against Error._

_Direct._ I. Begin at the greatest, most evident, certain, and
necessary truths, and so proceed orderly to the knowledge of the less,
by the help of these:[124] as you climb by the body of the tree unto
the branches. If you begin at those truths, which spring out of
greater common truths, and know not the premises, while you plead for
the conclusion, you abuse your reason, and lose the truth and your
labour both: for there is no way to the branches but by ascending from
the stock. The principles well laid, must be your help to all your
following knowledge.

_Direct._ II. The two first things which you are to learn are, what
man is, and what God is: the nature and relation of the two parties,
is the first thing to be known in order to the knowledge of the
covenant itself, and all following transactions between God and
man.[125] One error here will introduce abundance. A thousand other
points of natural philosophy you may safely be ignorant of; but if you
know not what man is, what reason is, what natural free-will is, and
what the inferior sensitive faculties are, as to their uses, it will
lay you open to innumerable errors. In the nature of man, you must see
the foundation of his relations unto God: and if you know not those
great relations, the duties of which must take up all our lives, you
may easily foresee the consequents of such ignorance or error. So if
you know not what God is, and what his relations to us are, so far as
is necessary to our living in the duties of those relations, the
consequents of your ignorance will be sad. If learned men be but
perverted in their apprehensions of some one attribute of God, (as
those that think his goodness is nothing but his benignity, or
proneness to do good, or that he is a necessary agent, doing good _ad
ultimum posse_, &c.) what abundance of horrid and impious consequents
will follow!

_Direct._ III. Having soundly understood both these and other
principles of religion, try all the subsequent truths hereby, and
receive nothing as truth that is certainly inconsistent with any of
these principles.[126] Even principles that are not of sense, may be
disputed till they are well received; and with those that have not
received them: but afterwards they are not to be called in question;
for then you would never proceed nor build higher, if you will stand
questioning all your grounds. Indeed no truth is inconsistent with any
other truth: but yet when two dark or doubtful points are compared
together, it is hard to know which of them to reject. But here it is
easy; nothing that contradicteth the true nature of God or man, or any
principle, must be held.

_Direct._ IV. Believe nothing which certainly contradicteth the end of
all religion. If it be of a natural or necessary tendency to
ungodliness, against the love of God, or against a holy and heavenly
mind and conversation, it cannot be truth, whatever it pretend.

_Direct._ V. Be sure to distinguish well betwixt revealed and
unrevealed things: and before you dispute any question, search first
whether the resolution be revealed or not: and if it be not, lay it
by; and take it as part of your necessary submission, to be ignorant
of what God would have you ignorant, as it is part of your obedience
to labour to know what God would have you know. And when some things
unrevealed are mixed in the controversy, take out those and lay them
by, before you go any further, and see that the resolution of the rest
be not laid upon them, nor twisted with them, to entangle the whole in
uncertainty or confusion.[127] Thus God instructed Job, by convincing
him of his ignorance, and showing him how many things were past his
knowledge.[128] Thus Christ instructed Nicodemus about the work of
regeneration, so as to let him know that though the necessity of it
must be known, yet the manner of the Spirit's accesses to the soul
cannot be known, John iii. 7, 8. And Paul in his discourse of election
takes notice of the unsearchable depths, and the creature's unfitness
to dispute with God, Rom. ix. When you find any disputes about
predetermination or predestination resolved into such points as these:
Whether God do by physical, premoving influx, or by concourse, or by
moral operation _ut finis_, determine or specify moral acts of man?
Whether a positive decree _quoad actum_ be necessary to the negation
of effects (as that such a one shall not have grace given him, or be
converted or saved; that all the millions of possible persons, names,
and things shall not be future)? What understanding, will, or power
are formally in God? How he knoweth future contingents? with a hundred
such like; then remember that you make use of this rule, and say with
Moses, Deut. xxix. 29, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God,
but those things that are revealed unto us and to our children for
ever, that we may do all the words of his law." There are many rare,
profound discoveries much gloried of by the masters of several sects,
of which you may know the sentence of the Holy Ghost, by that
instance, Col. ii. 18, "Let no man beguile you of your reward, in a
voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those
things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind."
Reverently withdraw from things that are unrevealed, and dispute them

_Direct._ VI. Be a careful and accurate (though not a vain)
distinguisher; and suffer not ambiguity and confusion to deceive you.
Suspect every word in your question, and anatomize it, and agree upon
the sense of all your common terms, before you dispute with any
adversary. It is not only in many words, but in one word or syllable
that so much ambiguity and confusion may be contained, as may make a
long dispute to be but a vain and ridiculous wrangling.[129] Is it not
a ridiculous business to hear men dispute many hours about the _cur
credis_, and into what faith is to be resolved; and in the end come to
understand, that by cur one of them speaks of the _principium_ or
_causa veritatis_, and the other of the _principium patefactionis_, or
the _evidentia veritatis_, or some other cause? And when one speaks of
the resolution of his faith as into the formal object, and another
into the subservient testimony or means, or into the proofs of divine
attestation, or many other causes? Or to hear men dispute, Whether
Christ died for all; when by "for" one man meaneth "for the benefit of
all," and another means "in the place or stead of all, or for the sins
of all as the procuring cause, &c.?" Yet here is but a syllable to
contain this confusion! What a tedious thing is it to read long
disputes between many papists and protestants, about justification,
while by justification one meaneth one thing, and another meaneth
quite another thing! He that cannot force every word to make a plain
confession of its proper signification, that the thing intended may be
truly discerned in the word, he will but deceive himself and others,
with a wordy, insignificant dispute.

_Direct._ VII. Therefore be specially suspicious of metaphors; as
being all but ambiguities till an explication hath fixed or determined
the sense. It is a noisome thing to hear some dispute upon an
unexplained metaphorical word, when neither of them have enucleated
the sense, and when there are proper words enow.

_Direct._ VIII. Take special notice of what kind of beings your
inquiry or disputation is, and let your terms be adapted and
interpreted according to the kind of beings you dispute of. As if you
be inquiring into the nature of any grace, as faith, repentance,
obedience, &c. remember that it is _in genere moris_, a moral act; and
therefore the terms are not to be understood as if you disputed about
mere physical acts, which are considered but _in genere entis_. For
that object which must essentiate one moral act, containeth many
physical particles, which will make up many physical acts.[130] If you
take such a man for your king, your commander, your master, your
physician, &c. if you should at the bar, when you are questioned for
unfaithfulness, dispute upon the word take, whether it be an act of
the fantasy, or sense, or intellect, or will, &c. would you not be
justly laughed at? So when you ask, What act faith or repentance is?
which contain many particular physical acts. When you dispute of
divinity, policy, law, war, &c. you must not use the same terms in the
same sense, as when you dispute of physics, or metaphysics.

_Direct._ IX. Be sure in all your disputes that you still keep
distinguished before your eyes, the order of being, and the order of
knowing: that the questions _de esse_ lying undetermined in your way,
do not frustrate all your dispute about the question _de cognoscere_.
As in the question, Whether a man should do such or such a thing, when
he thinketh that it is God's command? How far conscience must be
obeyed? It must first be determined _de esse_, whether indeed the
thing be commanded or lawful, or not? before the case can be
determined about the obligation that followeth my apprehension. For,
whatever my conscience or opinion say of it, the thing either is
lawful or it is not: if it be lawful, or a duty, the case is soon
decided; but if it be not lawful, the error of my conscience altereth
not God's law, nor will it make it lawful unto me. I am bound first to
know and then to do what God revealeth and commandedeth; and this I
shall be bound to, whatever I imagine to the contrary; and to lay by
the error which is against it.

_Direct._ X. Be sure when you first enter upon an inquiry or dispute,
that you well discover how much of the controversy is verbal _de
nomine_, and how much is material _de re_;[131] and that you suffer
not your adversary to go on upon a false supposition, that the
controversy is _de re_, when it is but _de nomine_. The difference
between names and things is so wide, that you would think no
reasonable man should confound them: and yet so heedless in this point
are ordinary disputers, that it is a usual thing to make a great deal
of stir about a controversy before they discern whether it be _de
nomine_ or _de re_. Many a hot and long dispute I have heard, which
was managed as about the very heart of some material cause, (as about
man's power to do good, or about the sufficiency of grace, or about
justification, &c.) when the whole contest between the disputers was
only or principally _de nomine_, and neither of them seemed to take
notice of it. Be sure as soon as you peruse the terms of your
question, to sift this thoroughly, and dispute verbal controversies
but as verbal, and not as real and material. We have real differences
enow: we need not make them seem more by such a blind or heedless
manner of disputing.[132]

_Direct._ XI. Suffer not a rambling mind in study, nor a rambling
talker in disputes, to interrupt your orderly procedure, and divert
you from your argument before you bring it to the natural issue. But
deceiving sophisters, and giddy-headed praters, will be violent to
start another game, and spoil the chase of the point before you: but
hold them to it, or take them to be unworthy to be disputed with, and
let them go (except it be where the weakness of the auditors requireth
you to follow them in their wild-goose chace). You do but lose time in
such rambling studies or disputes.

_Direct._ XII. Be cautelous of admitting false suppositions; or at
least of admitting any inference that dependeth upon them. In some
cases a supposition of that which is false may be made, while it no
way tends to infer the truth of it; but nothing must be built upon
that falsehood, as intimating it to be a truth. False suppositions
cunningly and secretly worked into arguments, are very ordinary
instruments of deceit.

_Direct._ XIII. Plead not uncertainties against certainties: but make
certain points the measure to try the uncertain by. Reduce not things
proved and sure to those that are doubtful and justly controverted;
but reduce points disputable to those that are past doubt.

_Direct._ XIV. Plead not the darker texts of Scripture against those
that are more plain and clear, nor a few texts against many that are
as plain; for that which is interpreted against the most plain and
frequent expressions of the same Scripture is certainly

_Direct._ XV. Take not obscure prophecies for precepts. The obscurity
is enough to make you cautelous how you venture yourself in the
practice of that which you understand not: but if there were no
obscurity, yet prophecies are no warrant to you to fulfil them; no,
though they be for the church's good. Predictions tell you but _de
eventu_ what will come to pass, but warrant not you to bring it to
pass. God's prophecies are ofttimes fulfilled by the wickedest men and
the wickedest means: as by the Jews in killing Christ, and Pharaoh in
refusing to let Israel go, and Jehu in punishing the house of Ahab.
Yet many self-conceited persons think that they can fetch that out of
the revelations or the prophecies of Daniel, that will justify very
horrid crimes, while they use wicked means to fulfil God's prophecies.

_Direct._ XVI. Be very cautelous in what cases you take men's practice
or example to be instead of precept, in the sacred Scriptures. In one
case a practice or example is obligatory to us as a precept; and that
is, when God doth give men a commission to establish the form or
orders of his church and worship, (as he did to Moses and to the
apostles,) and promiseth them his Spirit to lead them into all truth,
in the matters which he employeth them in: here God is engaged to keep
them from miscarrying; for if they should, his work would be ill done,
his church would be ill constituted and framed, and his servants
unavoidably deceived. The apostles were authorized to constitute
church officers and orders for continuance; and the Scripture, which
is written for a great part historically, acquaints us what they did
(as well as what they said and wrote) in the building of the church,
in obedience to their commission (at least in declaring to the world
what Christ had first appointed). And thus if their practice were not
obligatory to us, their words also might be avoided by the same
pretences. And on this ground (at least) the Lord's day is easily
proved to be of divine appointment and obligation. Only we must see
that we carefully distinguish between both the words and practice of
the apostles which were upon a particular and temporary occasion (and
obligation) from those that were upon a universal or permanent ground.

_Direct._ XVII. Be very cautelous what conclusions you raise from any
mere works of Providence. For the bold and blind exposition of these,
hath led abundance into most heinous sins: no providence is instead of
a law to us; but sometimes and ofttimes Providence changeth the matter
of our duty, and so occasioneth the change of our obligations (as when
the husband dieth, the wife is disobliged, &c.) But men of worldly
dispositions do so over-value worldly things, that from them they
venture to take the measure of God's love and hatred, and of the
causes which he approveth or disapproveth in the world. And the wisdom
of God doth seem on purpose, to cause such wonderful, unexpected
mutations in the affairs of men, as shall shame the principles or
spirits of these men, and manifest their giddiness and mutability to
their confusion. One year they say, This is sure the cause of God, or
else he would never own it as he doth; another year they say, If this
had been God's cause he would never have so disowned it: just as the
barbarians judged of Paul when the viper seized on his hand. And thus
God is judged by them to own or disown by his prospering or
afflicting, more than by his word.

_Direct._ XVIII. In controversies which much depend on the sincerity
or experience of godly men, take heed that you affect not singularity,
and depart not from the common sense of the godly. For the workings of
God's Spirit are better judged of by the ordinary tenor of them, than
by some (real or supposed) case that is extraordinary.

_Direct._ XIX. In controversies which most depend on the testimony of
antiquity, depart not from the judgment of the ancients. They that
stood within view of the days of the apostles could better tell what
they did, and what a condition they left the churches in, than we can
do. To appeal to the ancients in every cause, even in those where the
later christians do excel them, is but to be fools in reverence of our
forefathers' wisdom. But in points of history, or any thing in which
they had the advantage of their posterity, their testimony is to be

_Direct._ XX. In controversies which depend on the experience of
particular christians or of the church, regard most the judgment of
the most experienced, and prefer the judgment of the later ages of the
church before the judgment of less experienced ages (except the
apostolical age, that had the greater help of the Spirit). An
ancient, experienced christian or divine is more to be regarded in
many points, which require experience, than many of the younger sort,
that are yet more zealous and of quicker understanding and expression
than the elder. So those that we call the fathers or ancients were
indeed in the younger ages of the church, and we that are fallen into
the later and more experienced age, have all the helps of the wisdom
and experience of the ages that were before us: and therefore God will
require at our hands an account of these greater talents which we have
received! As it were unexcusable now in a physician that hath the help
of such voluminous institutions, observations, and experiments of
former ages, to know no more than those former times that had no such
helps; so would it be as unexcusable for this present age of the
church to be no wiser than those former ages. When Aquinas, Scotus,
Ariminensis, and other schoolmen, delivered the doctrine of
christianity to the church in a dress so far different from Ignatius,
Irenæus, Tertullian, Cyprian, or any of those former ages, they
certainly thought that they had attained to a far greater excellency
and accurateness in the knowledge of divinity than those their
ancestors had attained: and whatever they swear in the Trent oath, of
not expounding any Scripture otherwise than the fathers do, I doubt
not but Suarez, and Vasquez, and others of their modern schoolmen,
thought so too, and would have been loth to be accounted wise in the
measure only of those ancients.[133] The later and elder ages of the
church have had abundant experience, e. g. of the tendency of ambition
and papal aspirings and usurpations; of the mischiefs of composing and
imposing the popish missals and numerous ceremonies, and of their
implicit faith, and their concealment of the Scriptures from the
vulgar, and many such points; and if we are never the wiser for all
this experience, we are the more unexcusable; and may be judged as the
neglecters of our greater helps.

_Direct._ XXI. In controversies which depend most upon skill in the
languages, philosophy, or other parts of common learning, prefer the
judgment of a few that are the most learned in those matters, before
the judgment of the most ancient, or the most godly, or of the
greatest numbers, even whole churches, that are unlearned. In this
case neither numbers, nor antiquity, nor godliness will serve turn:
but as one clear eye will see further than ten thousand that are
purblind, so one Jerom or Origen may judge better of a translation, or
the grammatical sense of a text, than a hundred of the other fathers
could. One man that understandeth a language is fitter to judge of it,
than a whole nation that understand it not. One philosopher is fitter
to judge of a philosophical question, than a thousand illiterate
persons. Every man is most to be regarded in the matters which he is
best acquainted with.

_Direct._ XXII. In controversies of great difficulty, where divines
themselves are disagreed, and a clear and piercing wit is necessary,
regard more the judgment of a few acute, judicious, well-studied
divines, that are well versed in those controversies, than of a
multitude of dull and common wits that think to carry it by the
reputation of their number.[133] It is too certainly attested by
experience, that judicious men are very few, and that the multitude of
the injudicious that have not wit enough to understand them, nor
humility enough to confess it, and to learn of them, have yet pride
and arrogancy enough to contradict them, and often malice enough to
vilify them. In such differences it is not only a sign of a wise man
to be content with the approbation of a few, but also to have but few
approvers (except where the injudicious do implicitly believe those
few that are judicious). Commonly a very few that are wiser than the
multitude, are fain to stand by, and compassionate not only the world
but the church, and see the disease, and the easy remedy, and all in
vain; while they are but neglected or despised by the rest, that will
not be made wiser by them.

_Direct._ XXIII. In all contentions hold close to that which all sides
are agreed in; there is so much agreed on, even between the papists
and the protestants, as would certainly save them all, if all of them
did sincerely believe, love, and practise it; for they all confess
that the whole canonical Scripture is true. Therefore be more studious
sincerely to hold and improve those common truths which they all
profess, than to oppose the particular opinions of any, further than
that common truth requireth it. See that the articles of the common
creed which all profess, be unfeignedly believed by you; and that the
petitions in the Lord's prayer be sincerely and earnestly put up to
God; and that the ten commandments be heartily and entirely obeyed;
and then no error or difference will be damning to you.

_Direct._ XXIV. Take nothing as necessary to salvation in point of
faith, nor as universally necessary in point of practice, which the
universal church in every age since Christ did not receive. For if any
thing be necessary to salvation which the church received not in every
age, then the church itself of that age could not be saved; and then
the church was indeed no church; for Christ is the Saviour of his
body. But certainly Christ had in every age a church of saved ones,
who openly professed all that was of common necessity to salvation. An
opinion may be true which accuseth the generality in the church of
some error or imperfection; for it is most certain that the church on
earth is composed of none (that have the use of reason) but erring and
imperfect members; but no opinion can be true that condemneth all the
church to hell, in any one age; for the Head and Husband of the church
must be her Judge.

_Direct._ XXV. Be not borne down by the censoriousness of any, to
overrun your own understanding and the truth, and to comply with them
in their errors and extremes;[134] but hold to the truth and keep your
station: Jer. xv. 19, "Let them return unto thee, but return thou not
unto them." It is too usual for the younger and more injudicious sort
of christians to be most zealous about some little opinions,
ceremonies, and words, and to censure all those that differ from them,
with such bitter censures, (as ungodly, false-hearted, &c.) that
hereupon some of the more judicious forsake the truth and simplicity
of the gospel, to comply with these censurers merely to escape them
(or, as some say, that they may keep an interest in them to do them
good): but such carnal compliances, though with the most zealous men,
will bring nothing home at last but repentance and shame: truth, which
is the means of the good of souls, must not be betrayed as for the
good of souls.

_Direct._ XXVI. Doubt not of well-proved truths, for every difficulty
that appeareth against them. There is scarce any truth in the world so
plain, but in your own thoughts, or in the cavils of a wrangling wit,
there may such difficulties be raised as you can hardly answer: and
there is scarce any thing so evident, that some will not dispute
against. You see that even the learnedest Jesuits, and all the clergy
of the Roman kingdom, will not stick to dispute all the world (if they
could) out of the belief of all their senses, while they maintain that
bread is not bread, and wine is not wine. And yet, how many princes,
lords, and rulers follow them, and many millions of the people;
because they are not able to confute them. If they had said that a man
is no man, but a worm, Psal. xxii. 6, they might in reason have
expected as much belief.

_Direct._ XXVII. Abuse not your own knowledge by subjecting it to your
carnal interest or sensuality. He that will sin against his
conscience, and will not obey the knowledge which he hath, doth
deserve to be given over to blindness and deceit, and to lose even
that which he hath, and to be forsaken till he believe and defend a
lie:[135] "that all they might be damned who obeyed not the truth, but
had pleasure in unrighteousness," 2 Thess. ii. 10-12. God will not
hold him guiltless who debaseth his sacred truth so far, as to make it
stoop to his commodity and lust; where he is a teacher he will be a
king, and sendeth his truth as the instrument of his government, and
not as a slave or pander to the flesh. He that will "do God's will
shall know it," John vii. 17; but the carnal mind that cannot be
subject to God's law, is unfit to receive it, because it is
spiritually discerned, Rom. viii. 7; 1 Cor. ii. 14.

[117] Nitebatur Socrates summi ingenii acumine, non tam illos ex
sententia refellere, quam ipse quid verum esset invenire. Laert. in

[118] Heb. xii. 14. 2 Cor. v. 17; Rom. viii. 9, 13.

[119] Socrates de ethice, et in officinis, et in publico quotidie
philosophans, ea potius inquirenda hortabatur, quæ mores instruerent,
et quorum usus nobis domi esset necessarius. Laert. in Socrat.

[120] Non tam auctoritatis in disputando, quam rationis momenta
quærenda sunt, Cic. Nat. Deo. p. 6. Obest plerumque iis, qui discere
volunt, auctoritas eorum, qui se docere profitentur. Desinunt enim
suum judicium adhibere: id habent ratum, quod ab eo, quem probant,
judicatum vident. Ibid. p. 7.

[121] Prov. xxiv. 30; xxi. 25; Matt. xxv. 26.

[122] Quæ duæ virtutes in disputatore primæ sunt, eas ambas in Hubero
deprehendi, patientiam adversarium prolixe sua explicantem audiendi,
et lenitatem etiam aspere dicta perferendi, inq. Scultetus post. disp.
Curric. p. 33.

[123] 1 Tim. vi. 3; Tit. i. 1; 1 Tim. iv. 7, 8; vi. 5, 6, 11; 2 Pet.
i. 3; iii. 11.

[124] See chap. ii. direct. 3.

[125] Ut Deum noris, etsi ignores et locum et faciem, sic animum tibi
tuum notum esse oportet, etiam si ignores et locum et formam. Cicero
1. Tuscul.

[126] Nulla erga Deos pietas est, nisi honesta de numine deorum ac
mente opinio sit. Cicero pro Planc.

[127] Non ii sumus quibus nihil verum esse videatur; sed ii qui
omnibus veris falsæ quædam adjuncta esse dicamus, tanta similitudine
ut, &c. Cic. de Nat. Deor. p. 7.

[128] Job xxxviii-xli.

[129] See my preface before the second part of the Saints' Rest, edit.
3, &c. A man of judgment shall hear ignorant men differ, and know that
they mean one thing. And yet they themselves will never agree. L.
Bacon, Ess. 3.

[130] As I have showed in my Dispute of Saving Faith with Dr. Barlow,
and of Justification.

[131] Non ex verbis res, sed ex rebus verba esse inquirenda, ait
Myson. in Laert. p. 70. Bas. 1 Edit.

[132] It is a noble work that Mr. Le Blanck of Sedan is about to this
purpose, stating more exactly than hath yet been done all the
controversies between us and the papists: which how excellently he is
like to perform I easily conjecture by the Disputes of his upon
Justification, &c. which I have seen.

[133] Satis triumphat veritas si apud paucos bonosque accepta: nec
indoles ejus est placere multis. Lipsius.

[134] Thus Peter and Barnabas erred, Gal. ii.

[135] Matt. xxv. 29; Rom. xiv. 22.



The peace and concord of believers is a thing that almost all those
plead for, who call themselves believers; and yet a thing that almost
all men hinder and resist while they commend it.[136] The discord and
divisions of believers, are as commonly spoken against, and by the
same men, as commonly fomented. The few that are sincere (both rulers
and private men) desire concord and hate divisions in love to holiness
which is promoted by it, and in love to the church, and good of souls,
and the honour of religion and the glory of God; and the few of those
that are experienced, wise, judicious persons, do choose the means
that is fittest to attain these ends, and do prudently and constantly
prosecute them accordingly; but these being in the world as a spoonful
of fresh water cast into the sea, or a spoonful of water cast into the
flames of a house on fire, no wonder if the brinish sea be not
sweetened by them, nor the consuming, raging fire quenched by them.
The other rulers of the world and of the churches, are for concord and
against division, because this tendeth to the quieting of the people
under them, and the making of men submissive and obedient to their
wills, and so to confirm their dignities, dominions, and
interests.[137] And all men that are not holy, being predominantly
selfish, they would all be themselves the centre of that union, and
bond of that concord which they desire: and they would have it
accomplished upon such terms and by such means as are most agreeable
to their principles and ends; in which there are almost as many minds
as men: so that among all the commenders of unity and concord, there
are none that take the way to attain it, but those that would centre
it all in God, and seek it upon his terms, and in his way. The rest
are all tearing unity and peace in pieces, while they commend it, and
they fight against it while they seek it; every man seeking it for
himself, and upon his own terms, and in his own way; which are so
various and inconsistent, that east and west may sooner meet than

Yet must the sons of God be still the sons of peace, and continue
their prayers and endeavours for unity, how small soever be the hopes
of their success: "If it be possible, as much as in us lieth, we must
live peaceably with all men," Rom. xii. 18. So far must they be from
being guilty of any schisms or unlawful divisions of the church, that
they must make it a great part of their care and work to preserve the
unity and peace of christians. In this therefore I shall next direct

_Direct._ I. Understand first wherein the unity of christians and
churches doth consist: or else you will neither know how to preserve
it, nor when you violate it.[138] Christians are said to be united to
Christ, when they are entered into covenant with him, and are become
his disciples, his subjects, and the members of his (political) body.
They are united to one another when they are united to Christ their
common Head, and when they have that spirit, that faith, that love,
which is communicated to every living member of the body. This union
is not the making of many to be one christian, but of many christians
to be one church; which is considerable either as to its internal
life, or its external order and profession. In the former respect the
bonds of our union are, 1. The heart covenant (or faith). 2. And the
Spirit: the consent of Christ and of ourselves concurring, doth make
the match or marriage between us; and the Spirit communicated from him
to us is as the nerves or ligaments of the body, or rather as the
spirits which pass through all. The union of the church considered
visibly in its outward policy, is either that of the whole church, or
of the particular churches within themselves, or of divers particular
churches accidentally united. 1. The union of the whole is essential,
integral, or accidental. The essential union is that relation of a
head and members, which is between Christ and all the visible members
of his church: the foundation of it is the mutual covenant between
Christ and them, considered on their part as made externally, whether
sincerely or not: this is usually done in baptism, and is the chiefest
act of their profession of the faith. Thus the baptismal covenant doth
constitute us members of the visible church. The integral and
accidental union I pass by now. 2. Besides this union of the universal
church with Christ the universal Head, there is in all particular
organized churches, a subordinate union, (1.) Between the pastor and
the flock. (2.) Between the people one towards another;[139] which
consisteth in these their special relations to each other. 3. And
there is an accidental union of many particular churches: as when they
are united under one civil government; or consociated by their pastors
in one synod or council. These are the several sorts of church union.

_Direct._ II. Understand also wherein the communion of christians and
churches doth consist; that you may know what it is that you must hold
to. In the universal church your internal communion with Christ
consisteth in his communication of his Spirit and grace, his word and
mercies unto you; and in your returns of love, and thanks, and
obedience unto him; and in your seeking to him, depending on him, and
receivings from him: your internal communion with the church or
saints, consisteth in mutual love, and other consequent affections,
and in praying for and doing good to one another as yourselves,
according to your abilities and opportunities. Your external communion
with Christ and with most of the church in heaven and earth, is not
mutually visible and local; for it is but a small number comparatively
that we ever see; but it consisteth in Christ's visible communication
of his word, his officers, and his ordinances and mercies unto you,
and in your visible learning and reception of them, and obedience to
him, and expressions of your love and gratitude towards him. Your
external communion with the universal church, consisteth in the
prayers of the church for you, and your prayers for the church; in
your holding the same faith, and professing to love and worship the
same God, and Saviour, and Sanctifier, in the same holy ordinances, in
order to the same eternal end.

Your external communion in the same particular congregations,
consisteth in your assembling together to hear the preaching of God's
word, and to receive the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ,
and pray and praise God, and to help each other in knowledge and
holiness, and walk together in the fear of the Lord.

Your communion with other neighbour churches, lieth in praying for and
counselling each other, and keeping such correspondencies as shall be
found necessary to maintain that love, and peace, and holiness which
all are bound to seek, according to your abilities and opportunities.

Note here, that communion is one thing, and subjection is another. It
is not your subjection to other churches that is required to your
communion with them. The churches that Paul wrote to at Rome, Corinth,
Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, &c. had communion together according to
their capacities in that distance; but they were not subject one to
another, any otherwise than as all are commanded to be subject to each
other in humility, 1 Pet. v. 5. The church of Rome now accuseth all
the christians in the world of separating from their communion, unless
they will take them for their rulers, and obey them as the mistress
church: but Paul speaketh not one syllable to any of the churches of
any such thing, as their obedience to the church of Rome. To your own
pastors you owe subjection statedly as well as communion; and to other
pastors of the churches of Christ (fixed or unfixed) you owe a
temporary subjection so far as you are called to make use of them (as
sick persons do to another physician, when the physician of the
hospital is out of the way): but one church is not the ruler of
another, or any one of all the rest, by any appointment of the King of
the church.

_Direct._ III. By the help of what is already said, you are next
distinctly to understand how far you are bound to union or communion
with any other church or person, and what distance, separation, or
division is a sin, and what is not: that so you may neither
causelessly trouble yourselves with scruples, nor trouble the church
by sinful schism.

[Sidenote: What unity is among all christians.]

I. There must be a union among all churches and christians in these
particulars. 1. They have all but one God. 2. And one Head and
Saviour, Jesus Christ. 3. And one Sanctifier, the Holy Ghost. 4. And
one ultimate end and hope, even the fruition of God in heaven. 5. And
one gospel to teach them the knowledge of Christ, and contain the
promise of their salvation. 6. And one kind of faith that is wrought
hereby. 7. And one and the same covenant (of which baptism is the
seal) in which they are engaged to God. 8. And the same instrumental
founders of our faith, under Jesus Christ, even the prophets and
apostles. 9. And all members of the same universal body. 10. And all
have the same new nature and holy disposition, and the same holy
affections, in loving God and holiness, and hating sin. 11. They all
own, as to the essential parts, the same law of God, as the rule of
their faith and life, even the sacred canonical Scriptures. 12. Every
member hath a love to the whole, and to each other, especially to the
more excellent and useful members; and an inclination to holy
communion with each other. 13. They have all a propensity to the same
holy means and employment, as prayer, learning the word of God, and
doing good to others.[140] All these things the true living members of
the church have in sincerity, and the rest have in profession.

[Sidenote: What diversity will be in the church.]

II. There will be still a diversity among the churches and particular
christians in these following points, without any dissolution of the
fore-described unity. 1. They will not be of the same age or standing
in Christ; but some babes, some young men, and some fathers. 2. They
will not have the same degrees of strength, of knowledge, and of
holiness: some will have need to be fed with milk, and be unskilful in
the word of righteousness. 3. They will differ in the kind and measure
of their gifts: some will excel in one kind, and some in another, and
some in none at all. 4. They will differ in their natural temper,
which will make some to be more hot and some more mild, some more
quick and some more dull, some of more regulated wits and some more
scattered and confused. 5. They will differ in spiritual health and
soundness: one will be more orthodox and another more erroneous; one
will have a better appetite to the wholesome word than others that are
inclining to novelties and vain janglings; one will walk more
blamelessly than another; some are full of joy and peace, and others
full of grief and trouble. 6. They differ much in usefulness and
service to the body: some are pillars to support the rest, and some
are burdensome and troublers of the church. 7. It is the will of
Christ that they differ in office and employment: some being pastors
and teachers to the rest. 8. There may be much difference in the
manner of their worshipping God; some observing days and difference of
meats and drinks, and forms and other ceremonies, which others observe
not: and several churches may have several modes. 9. These differences
may possibly, by the temptation of Satan, arise to vehement
contentions; and not only to the censuring and despising of each
other, but to the rejecting of each other from the communion of the
several churches, and forbidding one another to preach the gospel, and
the banishing or imprisoning one another, as Constantine himself did
banish Athanasius, and as Chrysostom and many another have felt. 10.
Hence it followeth that as in the visible church some are the members
of Christ, and some are indeed the children of the devil, some shall
be saved and some be damned, even with the sorest damnation, (the
greatest difference in the world to come being betwixt the visible
members of the church,) so among the godly and sincere themselves they
are not all alike amiable or happy, but they shall differ in glory as
they do in grace.[141] All these differences there have been, are, and
will be in the church, notwithstanding its unity in other things.

[Sidenote: Schism what, and of how many sorts.]

III. The word schism cometh from σχίζω, _disseco_, _lacero_, and
signifieth any sinful division among christians. Some papists (as
Johnson) will have nothing called schism, but a dividing oneself from
the catholic church: others maintain that there is nothing in
Scripture called schism, but making divisions in particular
churches.[142] The truth is, (obvious in the thing itself,) that there
are several sorts of schism or division. 1. There is a causing
divisions in a particular church, when yet no party divideth from that
church, much less from the universal. Thus Paul blameth the divisions
that were among the Corinthians, while one said, I am of Paul, and
another, I am of Apollos, &c. 1 Cor. iii. 3. And 1 Cor. xi. 18, "I
hear that there be divisions among you:" not that they separated from
each other's communion, but held a disorderly communion. Such
divisions he vehemently dissuadeth them from, 1 Cor. i. 10. And thus
he persuadeth the Romans, (xvi. 17,) to "mark them which cause
divisions and offences among them, contrary to the doctrine which they
had learned, and avoid them;" which it seems therefore were not such
as had avoided the church first. He that causeth differences of
judgment and practice, and contendings in the church, doth cause
divisions, though none separate from the church.

2. And if this be a fault, it must be a greater fault to cause
divisions from, as well as in, a particular church, which a man may do
that separateth not from it himself: as if he persuade others to
separate, or if he sow those tares of error which cause it, or if he
causelessly excommunicate or cast them out.

3. And then it must be as great a sin to make a causeless separation
from the church that you are in yourself, which is another sort of
schism. If you may not divide in the church, nor divide others from
the church, then you may not causelessly divide the common from it

4. And it is yet a greater schism, when you divide not only from that
one church, but from many, because they concur in opinion with that
one (which is the common way of dividers).

5. And it is yet a greater schism, when whole churches separate from
each other, and renounce due communion with each other without just
cause: as the Greeks, Latins, and protestants in their present
distance, must some of them (whoever it is) be found guilty.

6. And yet it is a greater schism than this, when churches do not only
separate from each other causelessly, but also unchurch each other,
and endeavour to cut off each other from the church universal, by
denying each other to be true churches of Christ. It is a more
grievous schism to withdraw from a true church as no church, than as a
corrupt church; that is, to cut off a church from Christ, and the
church catholic, than to abstain from communion with it as a
scandalous or offending church.

7. It is yet, _cæteris paribus_, a higher degree of schism to divide
yourselves (a person or a church) from the universal church without
just cause, though you separate from it but _secundum quid_, in some
accidental respect where unity is needful (for where unity is not
required, there disunion is no sin): yet such a person that is
separate but _secundum quid_, from something accidental, or integral,
but not essential to the catholic church, is still a catholic
christian, though he sin.

[Sidenote: A heretic and apostate what.]

8. But as for the highest degree of all, viz. to separate from the
universal church _simpliciter_, or in some essential respect, this is
done by nothing but by heresy or apostasy. However the papists make
men believe that schismatics that are neither heretics nor apostates,
do separate themselves wholly or simply from the catholic church, this
is a mere figment of their brains. For he that separateth not from the
church in any thing essential to it, doth not truly and simply
separate from the church, but _secundum quid_, from something
separable from the church. But whatever is essential to the church is
necessary to salvation; and he that separateth from it upon the
account of his denying any thing necessary to salvation, is a heretic
or apostate: that is, if he do it, as denying some one (or more)
essential point of faith or religion, while he pretendeth to hold all
the rest, he is a heretic: if he deny the whole christian faith, he is
a flat apostate: and these are more than to be schismatics.

The word heresy also is variously taken by ecclesiastic writers.
Austin will have heresy to be an inveterate schism: Jerom maketh it to
be some perverse opinion: some call every schism which gathereth a
separated party from the rest, by the name of heresy; some call it a
heresy if there be a perilous error though without any schism; some
call it a heresy only when schism is made, and a party separated upon
the account of some perilous error. Some say this error must be
damnable, that is, in the essentials of religion; and some say, it is
enough if it be but dangerous. Among all these, the commonest sense of
a heretic is, one that obstinately erreth in some essential point, and
divideth from the communion of other christians upon that account. And
so Paræus and many protestants take heresy for the species, and schism
for the genus. All schism is not heresy; but all heresy, say they, is
schism. Remember that all this is but a controversy _de nomine_, and
therefore of small moment.

[Sidenote: Who are true schismatics.]

By this that I have said you may perceive who they be that are guilty
of church divisions: As, 1. The sparks of it are kindled, when proud
and self-conceited persons are brain-sick in the fond estimation of
their own opinions, and heart-sick by a feverish zeal for the
propagating of them. Ignorant souls think that every change of their
opinions is made by such an accession of heavenly light, that if they
should not bestir them to make all of the same mind, they should be
betrayers of the truth, and do the world unspeakable wrong. When they
measure and censure men as they receive or reject their peculiar
discoveries or conceits, schism is in the egg.

2. The fire is blown up, when men are desirous to have a party follow
them and cry them up, and thereupon are busy in persuading others to
be of their mind, and do speak "perverse things to draw away disciples
after them," Acts xx. 30; and when they would be counted the masters
of a party.

3. The flames break forth, when by this means the same church, or
divers churches, do fall into several parties burning in zeal against
each other, abating charity, censuring and condemning one another,
backbiting and reviling each other, through envy and strife;[143] when
they look strangely at one another, as being on several sides, as if
they were not children of the same Father, nor members of the same
body; or as if Christ were divided, one being of Paul, and another of
Apollos, and another of Cephas, and every one of a faction, letting
out their thoughts in jealousies and evil surmises of each other;
perverting the words and actions of each to an ugly sense, and
snatching occasions to represent one another as fools or odious to the
hearers, as if you should plainly say, I pray you hate or despise
these people whom I hate and despise. This is the core of the
plague-sore; it is schism in the bud.

4. When people in the same church do gather into private meetings, not
under the guidance of their pastors, to edify one another in holy
exercises in love and peace, but in opposition to their lawful
pastors, or to one another, to propagate their singular opinions, and
increase their parties, and speak against those that are not on their
side; schism is then ready to bring forth and multiply, and the swarm
is ready to come forth and be gone.

5. When these people actually depart, and renounce or forsake the
communion of the church, and cast off their faithful pastors, and draw
into a separated body by themselves, and choose them pastors and call
themselves a church, and all without any just, sufficient cause: when
thus churches are gathered out of churches, before the old ones are
dissolved, or they have any warrant to depart; when thus pastor is set
up against pastor, church against church, and altar against altar;
this is schism ripe and fruitful; the swarm is gone, and hived in
another place.

6. If now the neighbour churches, by their pastors in their synods,
shall in compassion seek to reclaim these stragglers, and they justify
their unjust separation, and contemn the counsel of the churches and
ministers of Christ; this is a confirmed, obstinate schism.

7. If they shall also judge that church to be no church from which
they separated, and so cut off a part of the body of Christ by an
unrighteous censure, and condemn the innocent, and usurp authority
over their guides; this is disobedience and uncharitableness with

8. If they shall also condemn and unchurch all the other churches that
are not of their mind and way, and renounce communion with them all,
and so condemn unjustly a great part of the body of Christ on earth,
this is to add fury and rebellion to an uncharitable schism. And if to
cover their sin, they shall unjustly charge these churches which they
reject, with heresy or wickedness, they do but multiply their crimes
by such extenuations.

9. If the opinion that all this ado is made for, be a damning error,
against some essential point of the true religion, then it is heresy
as well as schism.

10. If this separation from the church be made in defence of an
ungodly life, against the discipline of the church; if a wicked sort
of men shall withdraw from the church to avoid the disgrace of
confession or excommunication; and shall first cast off the church,
lest the church should proceed to cast out them; and so they separate
that they may have none to govern and trouble them but themselves;
this is a profane, rebellious schism. This is the common course of
schism when it groweth towards the height.

11. Besides all these, there is yet a more pernicious way of schism,
which the church or court of Rome is guilty of: they make new articles
of faith, and new points of religion, and a new worship--of God, shall
I say, or of bread as if it were a god? And all these they put into a
law, and impose them on all the other churches; yea, they put them
into an oath, and require men to swear that without any doubting they
believe them to be true: they pretend to have authority for all this,
as Rome is the mistress of all other churches. They set up a new
universal head, as an essential part of the catholic church, and so
found or feign a new kind of catholic church: and he that will not
obey them in all this, they renounce communion with him; and to hide
this horrid, notorious schism, they call all schismatics that are not
thus subjected to them.

12. And to advance their schism to the height, as far as arrogance can
aspire, they not only refuse communion with those from whom they
separate, but condemn them as no pastors, no churches, no christians,
that are not subject to them in this their usurpation; and they, that
are but about the third or fourth part (at most) of the christian
world, do condemn the body of Christ to hell (even all the rest)
because they are not subjects of the pope.

Besides all this criminal, odious schism, of imposers or separaters,
there is a degree of schism or unjust division, which may be the
infirmity of a good and peaceable person. As if a humble, tender
christian should mistakingly think it unlawful to do some action, that
is imposed upon all that will hold communion with that particular
church (such as Paul speaketh of Rom. xiv. if they had been imposed);
and if he, suspecting his own understanding, do use all means to know
the truth, and yet still continueth in his mistake; if this christian
do forbear all reviling of his superiors, and censuring those that
differ from him, and drawing others to his opinion, but yet dare not
join with the church in that which he taketh to be a sin, this is a
sinful sort of withdrawing, because it is upon mistake; but yet it is
but a pardonable infirmity, consistent with integrity and the favour
of God.

[Sidenote: What separation is a duty.]

IV. In these cases following separation is our duty and not a sin.
1. The church's separation from the unbelieving world is a necessary
duty: for what is a church, but a society dedicated or sanctified to
God, by separation from the rest of the world? 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18,
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the
Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and
will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters,
saith the Lord Almighty." The church is a holy people, and therefore a
separated people.[144]

2. If a church apostatize and forsake the faith, or if they turn
notoriously heretical, denying openly any one essential article of the
faith, and this not only by an undiscerned consequence, but directly
in express terms or sense, it is our duty to deny to hold communion
with such apostates or heretics; for it is their separating from
Christ that is the sinful separation, and maketh it necessary to us to
separate from them. But this is no excuse to any church or person,
that shall falsely accuse any other church or person of heresy,
(because of some forced or disowned consequences of his doctrine,) and
then separate from them when they have thus injured them by their
calumnies or censures.

3. We are not bound to own that as a church which maketh not a visible
profession of faith and holiness; that is, if the pastors and a
sufficient number of the flock make not this profession. For as the
pastor and flock are the constituent parts of the church, politically
considered, so profession of faith and holiness is the essential
qualification of the members. If either pastors or people want this
profession, it is no political church; but if the people profess true
religion, and have no pastors, it is a community of believers, or a
church unorganized, and as such to be acknowledged.

4. If any shall unlawfully constitute a new political church form, by
making new constitutive officers to be its visible head, which Christ
never appointed, we are not to hold communion with the church in its
devised form or polity; though we may hold communion with the members
of it considered as christians and members of the universal church.
Mark well, that I do not say that every new devised officer
disobligeth us from such communion, but such as I describe; which I
shall fullier open.

[Sidenote: Whether any form of church government be of divine
appointment; and whether man may appoint any other?]

_Quest._ May not men place new officers in the church; and new forms
of government which God never instituted? Or is there any form and
officers of divine institution?

_Answ._ Though I answered this before, I shall here briefly answer it
again. 1. There are some sorts of officers that are essential to the
polity, or church form, and some that are only needful to the
well-being of it, and some that are only accidental. 2. There is a
church form of God's own institution, and there is a superadded human
polity, or form. There are two sorts of churches, or church forms, of
God's own institution. The first is the universal church considered
politically as headed by Jesus Christ: this is so of divine
appointment, as that it is an article of our creed. Here if any man
devise and superinduce another head of the universal church, which God
never appointed, though he pretend to hold his sovereignty from Christ
and under him, it is treason against the sovereignty of Christ, as
setting up a universal government or sovereign in his church without
his authority and consent. Thus the pope is the usurping head of a
rebellion against Christ, and in that sense by protestants called
antichrist; and he is guilty of the rebellion that subscribeth to or
owneth his usurpation, or sweareth to him as his governor, though he
promise to obey him but _in licitis et honestis_; because it is not
lawful or honest to consent to a usurper's government. If a usurper
should traitorously, without the king's consent, proclaim himself
vice-king of Ireland or Scotland, and falsely say that he hath the
king's authority, when the king disclaimeth him, he that should
voluntarily swear obedience to him in things lawful and honest, doth
voluntarily own his usurpation and treason. And it is not the
lawfulness and honesty of the matter which will warrant us to own the
usurpation of the commander.[145] And secondly, there is another
subordinate church form of Christ's institution; that is, particular
churches consisting of pastors and people conjoined for personal
communion in God's worship. These are to the universal church, as
particular corporations are to a kingdom, even such parts of it as
have a distinct subordinate polity of their own: it is no city or
corporation, if they have not their mayors, bailiffs, or other chief
officers, subject to the king, as governors of the people under him:
and it is no particular church, in a political sense, but only a
community, if they have not their pastors to be under Christ, their
spiritual conductors in the matters of salvation; as there is no
school which is not constituted of teacher and scholars. That
particular organized political churches are of Christ's institution,
(by his Spirit in the apostles,) is undeniable. Acts xiv. 23, "They
ordained them elders in every church." Tit. i. 5, "Ordain elders in
every city, as I commanded thee." Acts xx. 17, "He sent to Ephesus and
called the elders of the church." Ver. 28, "Take heed to yourselves
and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you
overseers, to feed the church of God." So 1 Thess. v. 12, 13; Heb.
xiii. 7, 17, 24, &c. 1 Cor. vii. 23, "If the whole church be come
together into one place," &c. Thus far it is no question but church
forms and government is of divine appointment; and man can no more
alter this, or set up such other, without God's consent, than a
subject can alter or make corporations without the king's consent. 3.
But besides these two sorts of divine institution, there are other
allowable associations which some call churches. God hath required
these particular churches to hold such communion as they are capable
of, for promoting the common ends of christianity; and prudence is
left to determine of the times, and places, and manner of their
pastors' assemblies, councils, and correspondencies according to God's
general rules. If any will call these councils, or the associations
engaged for special correspondencies, by the name of churches, I will
not trouble any with a strife about the name. In this case, so far as
men have power to make that association or combination which they call
a church, so also if they make officers suited to its ends, not
encroaching upon the churches or officers of Christ's own institution,
I am none of those that will contend against them; nor will this allow
us to deny communion with them. And in those churches which Christ
himself hath instituted, there are officers that make but for the
integrity, and not for the political essence of the church: as
deacons, and all pastors or presbyters more than one. For it is not
essential to it to have any deacons, or many pastors. As to this sort
of officers, Christ hath appointed them, and it is not in man's power
to alter his institution, nor to set up any such like in co-ordination
with these: but yet if they should do so, as long as the true
essentials of the church remain, I am not to deny communion with that
church, so I own not this corruption. 4. But there are also as
circumstantial employments about God's worship, so officers to do
those employments, which men may lawfully institute: as clerks,
churchwardens, door-keepers, ringers, &c. It is not the adding of
these that is any sin. By this time you may see plainly both how far
churches, officers, and church government is _jure divino_, and how
far man may or may not add or alter, and what I meant in my
proposition, viz. That if men introduce a new universal head to the
church catholic, or a new head to particular churches, instead of that
of Christ's institution, this is, _in sensu politico_, to make new
species of churches, and destroy those that Christ hath instituted
(for the _pars gubernans_ and _pars gubernata_ are the essential
constituents of a church). And with such a church, as such, in specie,
I must have no communion (which is our case with the papal church);
though with the material parts of that church, as members of Christ, I
may hold communion still.

5. If particular members are guilty of obstinate impenitency in true
heresy, or ungodliness, or any scandalous crime, the church may and
must remove such from her communion; for it is the communion of
saints. And the offender is the cause of this separation.

6. If a whole church be guilty of some notorious, scandalous sin, and
refuse with obstinacy to repent and reform, when admonished by
neighbour churches, or if that church do thus defend such a sin in any
of her members, so as openly to own it; other churches may refuse
communion with her, till she repent and be reformed. Or if they see
cause to hold communion with her in other respects, yet in this they
must have none.[146]

7. If any church will admit none to her personal communion, but those
that will take some false oath, or subscribe any untruth, or tell a
lie, though that church do think it to be true, (as the Trent oath
which their priests all swear,) it is not lawful to do any such
unlawful thing to obtain communion with that church: and he that
refuseth in this case to commit this sin, is no way guilty of the
separation, but is commendable for being true to God.[147] And though
the case may be sad to be deprived of the liberty of public worship,
and the benefits of public communion with that church, yet sin is
worse, and obedience is better than sacrifice.[148] God will not be
served with sin, nor accept the sacrifice of a disobedient fool,
Eccles. v. 1, 2. Nor must we lie to glorify him, nor do evil that good
may come by it: just is the damnation of such servers of God, Rom. i.
7, 8. All public worship is rather to be omitted, than any one sin
committed to enjoy it (though neither should be done where it is
possible to do better). It is not so unwise to think to feed a man
with poisons, as to think to serve God acceptably by sin.

8. If any one church would ambitiously usurp a governing power over
others, (as Rome doth over the world,) it is no unwarrantable
separation to refuse the government of that usurping church. We may
hold communion with them as christians, and yet refuse to be their
subjects. And therefore it is a proud and ignorant complaint of the
church of Rome, that the protestants separate from them as to
communion, because they will not take them for their governors.

9. If any by violence will banish or cast out the true bishops or
pastors of the church, and set up usurpers in their stead, (as in the
Arians' persecution it was commonly done,) it is no culpable
separation, but laudable, and a duty, for the people to own their
relation to their true pastors, and deny communion with the usurpers:
as the people of the eastern churches did commonly refuse communion
with the intruding bishops, even to the death, telling the civil
rulers, that they had bishops of their own, to whom they would adhere.

10. If a true church will obstinately deny her members the use of any
one ordinance of God, as preaching or reading Scripture, or prayer, or
praise, or discipline, while it retaineth all the rest, though we may
not separate from this church as no church, (which yet in the case of
total rejection of prayer or praise, is very questionable at least,)
yet if we have opportunity, we must remove our local communion to a
more edifying church, that useth all the public ordinances of God:
unless the public good forbid, or some great impediment or contrary
duty be our excuse.

11. If a true church will not cast out any impenitent, notorious,
scandalous sinner, though I am not to separate from the church, yet I
am bound to avoid private familiarity with such a person, that he may
be ashamed, and that I partake not of his sin.[149]

12. As the church hath diversity of members, some more holy, and some
less, and some of whose sincerity we have small hope, some that are
more honourable, and some less, some that walk blamelessly, and some
that work iniquity; so ministers and private members are bound to
difference between them accordingly, and to honour and love some far
above others, whom yet we may not excommunicate; and this is no sinful

13. If the church that I live and communicate with, do hold any
tolerable error, I may differ therein from the church, without a
culpable separation. Union with the church may be continued with all
the diversities before mentioned, direct. iii.

14. In case of persecution in one church or city, when the servants of
Christ do fly to another, (having no special reason to forbid it,)
this is no sinful separation, Matt. x. 23.

15. If the public service of the church require a minister or private
christian to remove to another church, if it be done deliberately and
upon good advice, it is no sinful separation.

16. If a lawful prince or magistrate command us to remove our
habitation, or command a minister from one church to another, when it
is not notoriously to the detriment of the common interest of
religion, it is no sinful separation to obey the magistrate.

17. If a poor christian that hath a due and tender care of his
salvation, do find that under one minister his soul declineth and
groweth dead, and under another that is more sound, and clear, and
lively, he is much edified to a holy and heavenly frame and life, and
if hereupon, preferring his salvation before all things, he remove to
that church and minister where he is most edified, without unchurching
the other by his censures, this is no sinful separation, but a
preferring the one thing needful before all.

18. If one part of the church have leisure, opportunity, cause, and
earnest desires to meet oftener for the edifying of their souls, and
redeeming their time, than the poorer, labouring, or careless and less
zealous part will meet, in any fit place, under the oversight and
conduct of their pastors, and not in opposition to the more public,
full assemblies, as they did, Acts xii. 12, to pray for Peter at the
house of Mary, "where many were gathered together praying;" and Acts
x. 1, &c. this is no sinful separation.

19. If a man's own outward affairs require him to remove his
habitation from one city or country to another, and there be no
greater matter to prohibit it, he may lawfully remove his local
communion from the church that he before lived with, to that which
resideth in the place he goeth to. For with distant churches and
christians I can have none but mental communion, or by distant means
(as writing, messengers, &c.); it is only with present christians that
I can have local, personal communion.

20. It is possible in some cases that a man may live long without
local, personal communion with any christians or church at all, and
yet not be guilty of sinful separation. As the king's ambassador or
agent in a land of infidels, or some traveller, merchants, factors, or
such as go to convert the infidels, or those that are banished or
imprisoned. In all these twenty cases, some kind of separation may be

21. One more I may add, which is, when the temples are so small, and
the congregations so great, that there is no room to hear and join in
the public worship; or when the church is so excessively great, as to
be uncapable of the proper ends of the society; in this case to divide
or withdraw, is no sinful separation. When one hive will not hold the
bees, the swarm must seek themselves another, without the injury of
the rest.

By all this you may perceive, that sinful separation is first in a
censorious, uncharitable mind, condemning churches, ministers, and
worship causelessly, as unfit for them to have communion with. And
secondly, it is in the personal separation which is made in pursuance
of this censure: but not in any local removal that is made on other
lawful grounds.

_Direct._ IV. Understand and consider well the reasons why Christ so
frequently and earnestly presseth concord on his church, and why he so
vehemently forbiddeth divisions. Observe how much the Scripture
speaketh to this purpose, and upon what weighty reasons. Here are four
things distinctly to be represented to your serious consideration. 1.
How many, plain, and urgent are the texts that speak for unity, and
condemn division. 2. The great benefits of concord. 3. And the
mischiefs of discord and divisions in the church. 4. And the
aggravations of the sin.

I. A true christian, that hateth fornication, drunkenness, lying,
perjury, because they are forbidden in the word of God, will hate
divisions also when he well observeth how frequently and vehemently
they are forbidden, and concord highly commended and commanded. John
xvii. 21-23, "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me,
and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may
believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I
have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them,
and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the
world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou
hast loved me." Here you see, that the unity of the saints must be a
special means to convince the infidel world of the truth of
christianity, and to prove God's special love to his church, and also
to accomplish their own perfection. 1 Cor. i. 10, "Now I beseech you,
brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the
same thing, and that there be no divisions (or schisms) among you; but
that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same
judgment. For it hath been declared to me of you, my brethren,--that
there are contentions among you." 1 Cor. iii. 3, "For ye are yet
carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, (zeal,) and strife,
and divisions, (or parties, or factions,) are ye not carnal, and walk
as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul, and another, I am of
Apollos, are ye not carnal?" Phil. ii. 1-4, "If there be any
consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of
the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be
like-minded, having the same love, of one accord, of one mind. Let
nothing be done through strife or vain-glory, but in lowliness of mind
let each esteem others better than themselves." Rom. xvi. 17, 18, "Now
I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions (or parties)
and offences, (or scandals,) contrary to the doctrine which ye have
learned, and avoid them." Abundance more such texts may be

[Sidenote: The benefits of concord.]

II. The great benefits of the concord of christians are these
following. 1. It is necessary to the very life of the church and its
several members, that they be all one body. As their union with Christ
the head and principle of their life is principally necessary, so
unity among themselves is secondarily necessary, for the conveyance
and reception of that life which floweth to all from Christ. For
though the head be the fountain of life, yet the nerves and other
parts must convey that life unto the members; and if any member be cut
off or separated from the body, it is separated also from the head,
and perisheth. Mark well those words of the apostle, Eph. iv. 3-16,
"Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope
of your calling: one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father
of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto
every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of
Christ.--And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some,
evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the
saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of
Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, unto the measure of the
stature of the fulness of Christ: that--speaking the truth in love, we
may grow up into him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ;
from whom the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by every
joint of supply, according to the effectual working in the measure of
every part, maketh increase of the body to the edifying of itself in
love." See here how the church's unity is necessary to its life and
increase, and to the due nutrition of all the parts.

2. The unity of the church, and the concord of believers, is necessary
to its strength and safety; for Christ also strengtheneth as well as
quickeneth them by suitable means. Woe to him that is alone! but in
the army of the Lord of hosts we may safely march on, when stragglers
are catched up or killed by the weakest enemy. A threefold cord is not
easily broken. Enemies both spiritual and corporal are deterred from
assaulting the church or any of its members, while they see us walk in
our military unity and order. In this posture every man is a blessing
and defence unto his neighbour. As every soldier hath the benefit of
all the conduct, wisdom, and valour of the whole army, while he
keepeth in his place; so every weak christian hath the use and benefit
of all the learning, the wisdom, and gifts of the church, while he
keepeth his station, and walketh orderly in the church. The hand, the
eye, the ear, the foot, and every member of the body, is as ready to
help or serve the whole, and every other particular member, as itself;
but if it be cut off, it is neither helpful, nor to be helped. Oh what
mercy is it for every christian, that is unable to help himself, to
have the help of all the church of God! their directions, their
exhortations, their love, their prayer, their liberality and
compassion, according to their several abilities and opportunities! as
infants and sick persons have the help of all the rest of the family
that are in health.

3. Unity and concord, as they proceed from love, so they greatly
cherish and increase love; even as the laying of the wood or coals
together is necessary to the making of the fire, which the separating
of them will put out.[152] Holy concord cherisheth holy converse and
communion; and holy communion powerfully kindleth holy love. When the
servants of Christ do see in each other the lustre of his graces, and
hear from each other the heavenly language which floweth from a divine
and heavenly mind, this potently kindleth their affections to each
other, and maketh them close with those as the sons of God, in whom
they find so much of God; yea, it causeth them to love God himself in
others, with a reverent, admiring, and transcendent love, when others,
at the best, can love them but as men. Concord is the womb and soil of
love, although it be first its progeny. In quietness and peace the
voice of peace is most regarded.

4. Unity and concord is the church's beauty: it maketh us amiable even
to the eye of nature, and venerable and terrible even to the eye of
malice. A concord in sin is no more honour, than it is for conquered
men to go together in multitudes to prison or captivity; or for beasts
to go by droves unto the slaughter. But to see the churches of Christ
with one heart and soul acknowledging their Maker and Redeemer, and
singing his praise as with one voice, and living together in love and
concord, as those that have one principle, one rule, one nature, one
work, one interest, and hope, and end, this is the truly beauteous
symmetry, and delectable harmony. Psal. cxxxiii. "Behold how good and
how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like
the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard,
even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garment. As
the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descendeth upon the mountains
of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for
evermore." The translators well put this as the contents of this
psalm, "The benefit of the communion of saints."

5. The concord of believers doth greatly conduce to the successes of
the ministry, and propagation of the gospel, and the conviction of
unbelievers, and the conversion and salvation of ungodly souls. When
Christ prayeth for the unity of his disciples, he redoubled this
argument from the effect or end, "that the world may believe that thou
hast sent me;" and "that the world may know that thou hast sent me,
and hast loved them," &c. John xvii. 21, 23. Would this make the world
believe that Christ was sent of God? Yes, undoubtedly if all
christians were reduced to a holy concord, it would do more to win the
heathen world, than all other means can do without it. It is the
divisions and the wickedness of professed christians, that maketh
christianity so contemned by the Mahometans, and other infidels of the
world; and it is the holy concord of christians that would convince
and draw them home to Christ. Love, and peace, and concord are such
virtues, as all the world is forced to applaud, notwithstanding
nature's enmity to good. When the first christian church "were all
with one accord in one place, and continued daily with one accord in
the temple, and breaking bread from house to house partook of food
with gladness and singleness of heart," and when "the multitude of
believers were of one heart and of one soul," Acts ii. 1, 46; iv. 32,
then did "God send upon them the Holy Ghost, and then were three
thousand converted at a sermon," Acts ii. 41; and with "great power
gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and
great grace was upon them all," Acts iv. 33.

[Sidenote: How our concord would promote the conversion of infidels.]

Our concord in religion hath all these advantages for the converting
of unbelievers and ungodly men. 1. It is a sign that there is a
constraining evidence of truth in that gospel which doth convince so
many; a concurrent satisfaction and yielding to the truth, is a
powerful testimony for it. 2. They see then that religion is not a
matter of worldly policy and design, when so many men of contrary
interests do embrace it. 3. And they see it is not the fruit of
melancholy constitutions, when so many men of various temperatures
entertain it. 4. They may see that the gospel hath power to conquer
that self-love and self-interest which is the most potent thing in
vitiated nature: otherwise it could never make so many unite in God as
their common interest and end. 5. They may see that the gospel and
Spirit of Christ are stronger than the devil and all the allurements
of the flesh and world, when they can make so many agree in the
renouncing of all earthly vanities, for the hopes of everlasting life.
6. They will see that the design and doctrine of christianity are good
and excellent, beseeming God, and desirable to man; when they see that
they produce so good effects, as the love, and unity, and concord of
mankind. 7. And it is an exceeding great and powerful help to the
conversion of the world in this respect, because it is a thing so
conspicuous in their sight, and so intelligible to them, and so
approved by them. They are little wrought on by the doctrine of Christ
alone, because it is visible or audible but to few, and understood by
fewer, and containeth many things which nature doth distaste; but the
holy concord of believers is a thing that they are more able to
discern and judge of, and do more generally approve. The holy concord
of christians must be the conversion of the unbelieving world, if God
have so great a mercy for the world; which is a consideration that
should not only deter us from divisions, but make us zealously study
and labour with all our interest and might, for the healing of the
lamentable divisions among christians, if we have the hearts of
christians, and any sense of the interest of Christ.

6. The concord of christians doth greatly conduce to the ease and
peace of particular believers. The very exercise of love to one
another doth sweeten all our lives and duties; we sail towards heaven
in a pleasant calm, with wind and tide, when we live in love and peace
together. How easy doth it make the work of godliness! How light a
burden doth religion seem, when we are all as of one heart and soul!

7. Lastly, consider whether this be not the likest state to heaven,
and therefore have not in it the most of christian excellency and
perfection? In heaven there is no discord, but a perfect consort of
glorified spirits, harmoniously loving and praising their Creator. And
if heaven be desirable, holy concord on earth is next desirable.

[Sidenote: The mischiefs of division.]

III. On the contrary, consider well of the mischiefs of divisions. 1.
It is the killing of the church, (as much as lieth in the dividers,)
or the wounding it at least. Christ's body is one, and it is sensible;
and therefore dividing it tendeth directly to the destroying it, and
at least will cause its smart and pain. To reform the church by
dividing it, is no wiser than to cut out the liver, or spleen, or
gall, to cleanse them from the filth that doth obstruct them, and
hinder them in their office; you may indeed thus cleanse them, but it
will be a mortal cure. As he that should divide the kingdom into two
kingdoms dissolveth the old kingdom, or part of it at least, to erect
two new ones; so he that would divide the catholic church into two,
must thereby destroy it, if he could succeed; or destroy that part
which divideth itself from the rest. Can a member live that is cut off
from the body, or a branch that is separated from the tree?

[Sidenote: Whether papists or protestants are schismatics.]

_Quest._ O but, say the Romanists, why then do you cut off yourselves
from us? the division is made by you, and we are the church, and you
are dead till you return to us. How will you know which part is the
church, when a division is once made? _Answ._ Are you the church? Are
you the only christians in the world? The church is, all christians
united in Christ their Head. You traitorously set up a new usurping
head; and proclaim yourselves to be the whole church, and condemn all
that are not subjects to your new head: we keep our station, and
disclaim his usurpation, and deny subjection to you, and tell you that
as you are the subjects of the pope, you are none of the church of
Christ at all; from this treasonable conspiracy we withdraw ourselves;
but as you are the subjects of Christ we never divided from you, nor
denied you our communion.[153] Let reason judge now who are the
dividers. And is it not easy to know which is the church in the
division? It is all those that are still united unto Christ: if you or
we be divided from Christ and from christians that are his body, we
are then none of the church; but if we are not divided from Christ, we
are of the church still: if part of a tree (though the far greater
part) be cut off or separated from the rest, it is that part (how
small soever) that still groweth with the root that is the living
tree. The Indian fig tree, and some other trees, have branches that
take root when they touch the ground: if now you ask me whether the
branches springing from the second root, are members of the first
tree, I answer, 1. The rest that have no new root are more undoubtedly
members of it. 2. If any branches are separated from the first tree,
and grow upon the new root alone, the case is out of doubt. 3. But if
yet they are by continuation joined to both, that root which they
receive their nutriment most from, is it which they most belong to.
Suppose a tyrant counterfeit a commission from the king to be
vice-king in Ireland, and proclaim all them to be traitors that
receive him not; the king disclaimeth him, the wisest subjects
renounce him, and the rest obey him but so as to profess they do it
because they believe him to be commissioned by the king. Let the
question be now, who are the dividers in Ireland? and who are the
king's truest subjects? and what head it is that denominateth the
kingdom? and who are the traitors? This is your case.

2. Divisions are the deformities of the church. Cut off a nose, or
pluck out an eye, or dismember either a man or a picture, and see
whether you have not deformed it. Ask any compassionate christian, ask
any insulting enemy, whether our divisions be not our deformity and
shame, the lamentation of friends, and the scorn of enemies?

3. The church's divisions are not our own dishonour alone, but the
injurious dishonour of Christ, and religion, and the gospel. The world
thinketh that Christ is an impotent king, that cannot keep his kingdom
at unity in itself, when he hath himself told us, that "every kingdom
divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or
house divided against itself shall not stand," Matt. xii. 25. They
think the gospel tendeth to division, and is a doctrine of dissension,
when they see divisions and dissensions procured by it; they impute
all the faults of the subjects to the King, and think that Christ was
confused in his legislation, and knew not what to teach or command,
because men are confounded in their opinions or practices, and know
not what to think or do. If men misunderstand the law of Christ, and
one saith, This is the sense, and another saith, That is the sense,
they are ready to think that Christ spake nonsense, or understood not
himself, because the ignorant understand him not: who is there that
converseth with the ungodly of the world, that heareth not by their
reproach and scorns how much God and religion are dishonoured by the
divisions of religious people?

4. And thus also our divisions do lamentably hinder the progress of
the gospel, and the conversion and salvation of the ungodly world:
they think they have small encouragement to be of your religion, while
your divisions seem to tell them, that you know not what religion to
be of yourselves. Whatever Satan or wicked men would say against
religion to discourage the ungodly from it, the same will exasperated
persons in these divisions say against each other's way; and when
every one of you condemneth another, how should the consciences of the
ungodly persuade them to accept salvation in any of those ways, which
you thus condemn? Doubtless the divisions of the christian world have
done more to hinder the conversion of infidels, and keep the heathen
and Mahometan world in their damnable ignorance and delusions, than
all our power is able to undo; and have produced such desolations of
the church of Christ, and such a plentiful harvest and kingdom for the
devil, as every tender christian heart is bound to lament with tears
of bitterness. If it must be that such offences shall come, yet woe to
those by whom they come!

5. Divisions lay open the churches of Christ, not only to the scorn,
but to the malice, will, and fury of their enemies. A kingdom or house
divided cannot stand, Matt. xii. 25. Where hath the church been
destroyed, or religion rooted out, in any nation of the earth, but
divisions had a principal hand in the effect? Oh what desolations have
they made among the flocks of Christ! As Seneca and others opened
their veins and bled to death, when Nero or such other tyrants did
send them their commands to die; even so have many churches done by
their divisions, to the gratifying of Satan, the enemy of souls.

6. Divisions among christians do greatly hinder the edification of the
members of the church; while they are possessed with envyings and
distaste of one another, they lose all the benefit of each other's
gifts, and of that holy communion which they should have with one
another.[154] And they are possessed with that zeal and wisdom, which
James calleth earthly, sensual, and devilish, which corrupteth all
their affections, and turneth their food to the nourishment of their
disease, and maketh their very worshipping of God to become the
increase of their sin. Where divisions and contentions are, the
members that should grow up in humility, meekness, self-denial,
holiness, and love, do grow in pride, and perverse disputings, and
passionate strivings, and envious wranglings; the Spirit of God
departeth from them, and an evil spirit of malice and vexation taketh
place; though, in their passion, they know not what spirit they are
of: whereas if they be of one mind, and live in peace, the God of love
and peace will be with them. What lamentable instances of this
calamity have we in many of the sectaries of this present time;
especially in the people called quakers, that while they pretend to
the greatest austerities, do grow up to such a measure of sour pride,
and uncharitable contempt of others, and especially of all superiors,
and hellish railing against the holiest ministers and people, as we
have scarce known or ever read of.

[Sidenote: The Greek word is zeal.]

7. These divisions fill the church with sin, even with sins of a most
odious nature. They introduce a swarm of errors, while it becomes the
mode for every one to have a doctrine of his own, and to have
something to say in religion which may make him notable. "Of your own
selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away
disciples after them," Acts xx. 30. They cherish pride, and malice,
and belying others, (the three great sins of the devil,) as naturally
as dead flesh breedeth worms; they destroy impartial, christian love,
as naturally as bleeding doth consume our vital heat and moisture.
What wickedness is it that they will not cherish? In a word, the
Scripture telleth us that "where envying and strife is, there is
confusion, and every evil work." (And is not this a lamentable way of
reformation of some imaginary or lesser evils?)

8. These divisions are the grief of honest spectators, and cause the
sorrows of those that are guilty of them. They make all their duties
uneasy to them, and turn their religion into a bitter, unpleasant,
wrangling toil; like oxen in the yoke that strive against each other,
when they should draw in order and equality. What a grievous life is
it to husband and wife, or any in the family, if they live in discord?
So is it to the members of the church. When once men take the kingdom
of God to consist of meats, or drinks, or ceremonies, which consisteth
in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, and turn to
strive about unedifying questions, they turn from all the sweetness of

9. Sects and divisions lead directly to apostasy from the faith.
Nothing is more in the design of Satan, than to confound men so with
variety of religions, that they may think there is no certainty in
any; that so both the ignorant spectators may think all religion is
but fancy and deceit, and the contenders themselves wheel about from
sect to sect, till they come to the point where they first set out,
and to be at last deliberately of no religion, who at first were of
none for want of deliberation. And it is no small success that Satan
hath had by this temptation.

10. The divisions of christians do oft proceed to shake states and
kingdoms, having a lamentable influence upon the civil peace; and this
stirreth up princes' jealousies against them, and to the use of those
severities, which the suffering party takes for persecution; yea, and
Turks, and all princes that are enemies to reformation and holiness,
do justify themselves in their cruelest persecutions, when they see
the divisions of christians, and the troubles of states that have
followed thereupon. If christians, and protestants in special, did
live in that unity, peace, and order as their Lord and Ruler
requireth them to do, the consciences of persecutors would even worry
and torment them, and make their lives a hell on earth, for their
cruelty against so excellent a sort of men; but now when they see them
all in confusions, and see the troubles that follow hereupon, and hear
them reviling one another, they think they may destroy them as the
troublers of the earth, and their consciences scarce accuse them for

[Sidenote: The aggravations of schism.]

IV. It is necessary also for your true understanding the malignity of
this sin, that you take notice of the aggravations of it, especially
as to us. 1. It is a sin against so many, and clear, and vehement
words of the Holy Ghost, (which I have partly before recited,) that it
is therefore utterly without excuse: whoredoms, and treasons, and
perjury are not oftener forbidden in the gospel than this.

2. It is contrary to the design of Christ in our redemption; which was
to reconcile us all to God, and unite and centre us all in him: "To
gather together in one the children of God that are scattered abroad,"
John xi. 52. "To gather together in one all things in Christ," Eph. i.
10. "To make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace," Eph.
ii. 15. And shall we join with Satan the divider and destroyer,
against Christ the reconciler, in the very design of his redemption?

3. It is contrary to the design of the Spirit of grace, and contrary
to the very nature of christianity itself. "By one Spirit we are all
baptized into one body--and have all been made to drink into one
Spirit," 1 Cor. xii. 13. "As there is one body and one Spirit, so it
is our charge to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,"
Eph. iv. 3, 4. The new nature of christians doth consist in love, and
desireth the communion of saints as such; and therefore the command of
this special love is called the new commandment, John xvii. 21; xiii.
34; xv. 12, 17. And they are said to be taught of God to love one
another, 1 Thess. iv. 9. As self-preservation is the chief principle
in the natural body, which causeth it to abhor the wounding or
amputation of its members, and to avoid division as destruction,
except when a gangrened member must be cut off, for the saving of the
body; so it is also with the mystical body of Christ. He is senseless
and graceless that abhorreth not church wounds.

4. These divisions are sins against the nearest bonds of our high
relations to each other:[156] "We are brethren, and should there be
any strife among us?" Gen. xiii. 8. "We are all the children of God by
faith in Christ Jesus," Gal. iii. 26. We are the fellow-members of the
body of Christ; and should we tear his body, and separate his members,
and cut his flesh, and break his bones? Eph. v. 23, 30. "For as the
body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one
body being many, are one body, so also is Christ," 1 Cor. xii. 12. "As
we have many members in one body--so we being many are one body in
Christ; and every one members one of another," Rom. xii. 4, 5. He that
woundeth or dismembereth your own bodies, shall scarce be taken for
your friend; and are you Christ's friends, when you dismember or wound
his body?[157] Is it lovely to see the children or servants in your
family together by the ears? Are civil wars for the safety of a
kingdom? Or doth that tend to the honour of the children of God, which
is the shame of common men? Or is that the safety of his kingdom,
which is the ruin of all others? "We are all fellow-citizens with the
saints, and of the household of God," Eph. ii. 19. "We are God's
building," 1 Cor. iii. 9. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God;
and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the
temple of God, him shall God destroy: for the temple of God is holy,
which temple ye are," 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17. Will he destroy the
defilers, and will he love the dividers and destroyers? If it be so
great a sin to go to law unnecessarily with our brethren, or to wrong
them, 1 Cor. vi. 8, what is it to disown them, and cast them off? And
if they that salute and love only their brethren, and not also their
enemies, are not the children of God, Matt. v. 47, what are they that
separate from and condemn even their brethren?

5. Church dividers either would divide Christ himself between them, or
else would rob him of a great part of his inheritance: and neither of
these is a little sin. If you make several bodies, you would have
several heads; and is Christ divided? saith the apostle, 1 Cor. i. 13.
Will you make him a sect-master? He will be your common head as
christians; but he will be no head of your sects and parties. (I will
not name them.) Or would you tear out of the hands of Christ any part
of his possessions? Will he cut them off, because you cut them off?
Will he separate them from himself, because you separate from them, or
separate them from you? Will he give them a bill of divorce, whenever
you are pleased to lay any odious accusation against them? Who shall
condemn them, when it is he that justifieth them? Who shall separate
them from the love of God? Can your censure or separation do it, when
neither life, nor death, nor any creature can do it? Rom. viii. 33,
&c. Hath he not told you, that "he will give them eternal life, and
they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of his
hand?" John x. 28. Will he lose his jewels, because you cast them away
as dirt? He suffered more for souls than you, and better knoweth the
worth of souls! And do you think that he will forget so dear a
purchase? or take it well that you rob him of that which he hath
bought so dearly? Will you give the members and inheritance of Christ
to the devil, and say, They are Satan's, and none of Christ's? "Who
art thou that judgest another man's servant?"

6. Church dividers are guilty of self-ignorance, and pride, and great
unthankfulness against that God that beareth with so much in them, who
so censoriously cast off their brethren. Wert thou ever humbled for
thy sin? Dost thou know who thou art, and what thou carriest about
thee, and how much thou offendest God thyself? If thou do, surely thou
wilt judge tenderly of thy brethren, as knowing what a tender hand
thou needest, and what mercy thou hast found from God. Can he cruelly
judge his brethren to hell upon his petty differences, who is sensible
how the gracious hand of his Redeemer did so lately snatch him from
the brink of hell? Can he be forward to condemn his brethren, that
hath been so lately and mercifully saved himself?

7. Church dividers are the most successful servants of the devil,
being enemies to Christ in his family and livery. They gratify Satan,
and all the enemies of the church, and do the very work that he would
have them do, more effectually than open enemies could do it. As
mutineers in an army may do more to destroy it, than the power of the

8. It is a sin that contradicteth all God's ordinances and means of
grace; which are purposely to procure and maintain the unity of his
church. The word and baptism is to gather them into one body, and the
Lord's supper to signify and maintain their concord, as being one
bread, and one body, 1 Cor. x. 17. And all the communion of the church
is to express and to maintain this concord. The use of the ministry is
much to this end, to be the bonds and joints of this unity of
believers, Eph. iv. 13, 14, 16. All these are contemned and frustrated
by dividers.

9. Church division is a sin (especially to us) against as great and
lamentable experiences as almost any sin can be. About sixteen hundred
years the church hath smarted by it. In many countries where the
gospel prospered, and churches flourished, division hath turned all
into desolation, and delivered them up to the curse of Mahometanism
and infidelity. The contentions between Constantinople and Rome, the
eastern and the western churches, have shaken the christian interest
upon earth, and delivered up much of the christian world to tyranny
and blindness, and given advantage to the papacy to captivate and
corrupt much of the rest, by pretending itself to be the centre of
unity. Oh what glorious churches, where the learned writers of those
ages once lived, are now extinct, and the places turned to the worship
of the devil and a deceiver, through the ambition and contentions of
the bishops, that should have been the bonds of their unity and peace!
But doth England need to look back into history, or look abroad in
foreign lands, for instances of the sad effects of discord? Is there
any one, good or bad, in this age, that hath spent his days in such a
sleep, as not to know what divisions have done, when they have made
such ruins in church and state, and kindled such consuming flames, and
raised so many sects and parties, and filled so many hearts with
uncharitable rancour, and so many mouths with slanders and revilings,
and turned so many prayers into sin, by poisoning them with pride and
factious oppositions, and hath let out streams of blood and fury over
all the land? He that maketh light of the divisions of christians in
these kingdoms, or loveth not those that speak against them, doth show
himself to be so impenitent in them, as to be one of those terrible
effects of them, that should be a pillar of salt to warn after-ages to
take heed.

10. Yea, this is a heinous aggravation of this sin, that commonly it
is justified, and not repented of, by those that do commit it. When a
drunkard or a whoremonger will confess his sin, a church divider will
stand to it and defend it; and woe to them that call evil good, and
good evil! Impenitency is a terrible aggravation of sin.

11. And it is yet the more heinous, in that it is commonly fathered
upon God. If a drunkard or whoremonger should say, God commandeth me
to do it, and I serve God by it, would you not think this a horrid
aggravation? When did you ever know a sect or party, how contrary
soever among themselves, but they all pretended God's authority, and
entitled him to their sin, and called it his service, and censured
others as ungodly, or less godly, that would not do as bad as they?
St. James is put to confute them that thought this wisdom was from
above, and so did glory in their sin, and lie against the truth, when
their wisdom was from beneath, and no better than earthly, sensual,
and devilish. For the "wisdom from above, is first pure, then
peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy," &c. James
iii. 17.

12. Church divisions are unlike to our heavenly state, and in some
regard worse than the kingdom of the devil, for he would not destroy
it by dividing it against itself, Matt. xii. 26. Oh what a blessed
harmony of united holy souls, will there be in the heavenly Jerusalem,
where we hope to dwell for ever! There will be no discords, envyings,
sidings, or contendings, one being of this party, and another of that;
but in the unity of perfect love, that world of spirits with joyful
praise will magnify their Creator. And is a snarling envy or jarring
discord the likely way to such an end? Is the church of Christ a Babel
of confusion? Should they be divided, party against party, here, that
must be one in perfect love for ever?[158] Shall they here be
condemning each other, as none of the children of the Most High, who
there must live in sweetest concord? If there be shame in heaven, you
will be ashamed to meet those in the delights of glory, and see them
entertained by the Lord of love, whom you reviled and cast out of the
church or your communion, causelessly, on earth.

Remember now that schism, and making parties and divisions in the
church, is not so small a sin as many take it for: it is the
accounting it a duty, and a part of holiness, which is the greatest
cause that it prospereth in the world; and it will never be reformed
till men have right apprehensions of the evil of it. Why is it that
sober people are so far and free from the sins of swearing,
drunkenness, fornication, and lasciviousness, but because these sins
are under so odious a character, as helpeth them easily to perceive
the evil of them. And till church divisions be rightly apprehended, as
whoredom, and swearing, and drunkenness are, they will never be well
cured. Imprint therefore on your minds the true character of them,
which I have here laid down, and look abroad upon the effects, and
then you will fear this confounding sin, as much as a consuming

[Sidenote: Two hinderances of our true apprehensions of schism.]

The two great causes that keep divisions from being hated as they
ought, are, 1. A charitable respect to the good that is in church
dividers, carrying us to overlook the evil of the sin; judging of it
by the persons that commit it, and thinking that nothing should seem
odious that is theirs, because many of them are in other respects of
blameless, pious conversations. And indeed every christian must so
prudently reprehend the mistakes and faults of pious men, as not to
asperse the piety which is conjunct; and therefore not to make their
persons odious, but to give the person all his just commendations for
his piety, while we oppose and aggravate his sin; because Christ
himself so distinguisheth between the good and the evil, and the
person and the sin, and loveth his own for their good while he hateth
their evil; and so must we; and because it is the grand design of
Satan, by the faults of the godly to make their persons hated first,
and their piety next, and so to banish religion from the world; and
every friend of Christ must show himself an enemy to this design of
Satan. But yet the sin must be disowned and opposed, while the person
is loved according to his worth. Christ will give no thanks for such
love to his children, as cherisheth their church-destroying sins.
There is no greater enemy to sin than Christ, though there be no
greater friend to souls. Godliness was never intended to be a fortress
for iniquity; or a battery for the devil to mount his cannons on
against the church; nor for a blind to cover the powder-mines of hell.
Satan never opposeth truth, and godliness, and unity so dangerously,
as when he can make religious men his instruments. Remember therefore
that all men are vanity, and God's interest and honour must not be
sacrificed to theirs, nor the Most Holy be abused, in reverence to the
holiest of sinful men.

The other great hinderance of our due apprehension of the sinfulness
of divisions, is our too deep sense of our sufferings by superiors,
and our looking so much at the evil of persecutions, as not to look at
the danger of the contrary extreme. Thus under the papacy, the people
of Germany at Luther's reformation were so deeply sensible of the
papal cruelties, that they thought by how many ways soever men fled
from such bloody persecutors, they were very excusable. And while men
were all taken up in decrying the Roman idolatry, corruptions, and
cruelties, they never feared the danger of their own divisions till
they smarted by them. And this was once the case of many good people
here in England, who so much hated the wickedness of the profane and
the haters of godliness, that they had no apprehensions of the evil of
divisions among themselves: and because so many profane ones were wont
to call sober, godly people, schismatics and factious, therefore the
very names began with many to grow into credit, as if they had been of
good signification, and there had been really no such sin as schism
and faction to be feared: till God permitted this sin to break in upon
us with such fury, as had almost turned us into a Babel, and a
desolation. And I am persuaded God did purposely permit it, to teach
his people more sensibly to know the evil of that sin by the effects,
which they would not know by other means: and to let them see when
they had reviled and ruined each other, that there is that in
themselves which they should be more afraid of, than of any enemy

_Direct._ V. Own not any cause which is an enemy to love; and pretend
neither truth, nor holiness, nor unity, nor order, nor any thing
against it.[159] The spirit of love is that one vital spirit which
doth animate all the saints. The increase of love is the powerful
balsam that healeth all the church's wounds; though loveless, lifeless
physicians think that all these wounds must be healed by the sword.
And indeed the weapon-salve is now become the proper cure. It is the
sword that must be medicated, that the wounds made by it may be
healed. The decays of love are the church's dissolution; which first
causeth scissures and separations, and in process crumbleth us all to
dust: and therefore the pastors of the church are the fittest
instruments for the cure, who are the messengers of love, and whose
government is paternal, and hurteth not the body; but is only a
government of love, and exercised by all the means of love. All
christians in the world confess that love is the very life and
perfection of all grace, and the end of all our other duties, and that
which maketh us like to God; and that if love dwelleth in us, God
dwelleth in us; and that it will be the everlasting grace, and the
work of heaven, and the happiness of souls; and that it is the
excellent way, and the character of saints, and the new commandment.
And all this being so, it is most certain that no way is the way of
God, which is not the way of love; and therefore what specious
pretences soever they may have, and one may cry up truth, and another
holiness, and another order, and another unity itself, to justify
their envyings, hatred, cruelties, it is most certain that all such
pretences are satanical deceits.[160] And if they bite and devour one
another, they are not like the sheep of Christ, but shall be devoured
one of another, Gal. v. 15. "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour:
therefore love is the fulfilling of the law," Rom. xiii. 10. When
papists that show their love to men's souls by racking their bodies,
and frying them in the fire, can make them apprehensive of the
excellency of that kind of love, they may use it to the healing of the
church. In the mean time as their religion is, such is their concord,
while all those are called members of their union, and professors of
their religion, who must be burnt to ashes if they say the contrary.
They that give God an image and carcass of religion, are thus content
with the image and carcass of a church for the exercise of it. And if
there were nothing else but this to detect the sinfulness of the sect
of quakers, and many more, it is enough to satisfy any sober man, that
it cannot be the way of God. God is not the author of that spirit and
way which tends to wrath, emulation, hatred, railing, and the
extinction of christian love, to all save their own sect and party.
Remember, as you love your souls, that you shun all ways that are
destructive to universal christian love.

_Direct._ VI. Make nothing necessary to the unity of the church, or
the communion of christians, which God hath not made necessary, or
directed you to make so.[161] By this one folly, the papists are
become the most notorious schismatics on earth; even by making new
articles of faith, and new parts of worship, and imposing them on all
christians, to be sworn, subscribed, professed, or practised, so as
that no man shall be accounted a catholic, or have communion with
them, (or with the universal church, if they could hinder it,) that
will not follow them in all their novelties. They that would subscribe
to all the Scriptures, and to all the ancient creeds of the church,
and would do any thing that Christ and his apostles have enjoined, and
go every step of that way to heaven that Peter and Paul went, as far
as they are able, yet if they will go no further, and believe no more,
(yea, if they will not go against some of this,) must be condemned,
cast out, and called schismatics by these notorious schismatics. If he
hold to Christ the universal Head of the church, and will not be
subject or sworn to the pope, the usurping head, he shall be taken as
cut off from Christ. And there is no certainty among these men what
measure of faith, and worship, and obedience to them, shall be judged
necessary to constitute a church member: for as that which served in
the apostles' days, and the following ages, will not serve now, nor
the subscribing to all the other pretended councils until then will
not serve without subscribing to the creed or council of Trent; so
nobody can tell, what new faith, or worship, or test of christianity,
the next council (if the world see any more) may require: and how many
thousand that are Trent catholics now, may be judged heretics or
schismatics then, if they will not shut their eyes, and follow them
any whither, and change their religion as oft as the papal interest
requireth a change. Of this Chillingworth, Hales, and Dr. H. More have
spoken plainly.[162] If the pope had imposed but one lie to be
subscribed, or one sin to be done, and said "All nations and persons
that do not this, are no christians, or shall have no communion with
the church," the man that refuseth that imposed lie or sin, is
guiltless of the schism, and doth but obey God, and save his soul; and
the usurper that imposeth them, will be found the heinous schismatic
before God, and the cause of all those divisions of the church. And so
if any private sectary shall feign an opinion or practice of his own
to be necessary to salvation or church communion, and shall refuse
communion with those that are not of his mind and way, it is he, and
not they, that is the cause of the uncharitable separation.

_Direct._ VII. Pray against the usurpations or intrusions of impious,
carnal, ambitious, covetous pastors into the churches of Christ.[163]
For one wicked man in the place of a pastor, may do more to the
increase of a schism or faction, than many private men can do. And
carnal men have carnal minds and carnal interests, which are both
unreconcilable to the spiritual, holy mind and interest; for the
"carnal mind is enmity against God, and is not subject to his law, nor
can be," Rom. viii. 7. "And they that are in the flesh cannot please
God," ver. 8. And you may easily conceive what work will be made in
the ship, when an enemy of the owner hath subtilly possessed himself
of the pilot's place! He will charge all that are faithful as
mutineers, because they resist him when he would carry all away. And
if an enemy of Christ shall get to be governor of one of his regiments
or garrisons, all that are not traitors shall be called traitors, and
cashiered, that they hinder not the treason which he intendeth. And
"as then he that was born after the flesh, persecuted him that was
born after the Spirit, even so it is now: but what saith the
Scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son," &c. Gal. iv. 29, 30.
It is not the sacred office of the ministry, nor the profession of the
same religion, that will cure the enmity of a carnal heart, against
both holiness and the holy seed. The whole business of the world from
age to age is but the management of that war, proclaimed at sin's
first entrance into the world, between the seed of the woman and the
serpent, Gen. iii. 15; and none of the serpent's seed are more cruel
or more successful, than those of them that creep into the armies of
Christ; and especially that get the conduct of his regiments.[164]
Neither brotherhood nor unity of professed religion, would hold the
hands of malignant Cain from murdering his brother Abel. The same
religion, and father, and family reconciled not scoffing Ishmael to
Isaac, or profane Esau to his brother Jacob. The family of Christ, and
an apostle's office, did not keep Judas from being a traitor to his
Lord. If carnal men invade the ministry, they take the way of ease,
and honour, and worldly wealth, and strive for dominion, and who shall
be the greatest, and care not how great their power and jurisdiction
are, nor how little their profitable work is; and their endeavour is
to fit all matters of worship and discipline to their ambitious,
covetous ends; and the spiritual worshipper shall be the object of
their hate: and is it any wonder if the churches of Christ be torn by
schism, and betrayed to profaneness, where there are such unhappy

_Direct._ VIII. In a special manner, take heed of pride; suspect it
and subdue it in yourselves, and do what you can to bring it into
disgrace with others.[166] "Only by pride cometh contention," Prov.
xiii. 10. I never yet saw one schism made, in which pride conjunct
with ignorance was not the cause: nor ever did I know one person
forward in a schism, (to my remembrance,) but pride was discernibly
his disease. I do not here intend (as the papists) to charge all with
schism or pride, that renounce not their understandings, and choose
not to give up themselves to a bestial subjection to usurpers or their
pastors: he that thinks it enough that his teacher hath reason and be
a man, instead of himself, and so thinketh it enough that his teacher
be a christian and religious; must be also content that his teacher
alone be saved: (but then he must not be the teacher of such a damning
way:) but by pride I mean a plain overvaluing of his own
understanding, and conceits and reasonings, quite above all the
evidences of their worth, and an undervaluing and contempt of the
judgments and reasonings of far wiser men, that had evidence enough to
have evinced his folly and error to a sober and impartial man.
Undoubtedly it is the pride of priests and people, that hath so
lamentably in all ages torn the church. He that readeth the histories
of schisms and church confusions, and marketh the effects which this
age hath showed, will no more doubt whether pride were the cause, than
whether it was the wind that blew down trees and houses, when he seeth
them one way overturned by multitudes, where the tempest came with
greatest force. Therefore a bishop must be "no novice, lest being
lifted up with pride (ἵνα μὴ τυφωθεὶς) he fall into the
condemnation of the devil," 1 Tim. iii. 6. And if such stars fall from
heaven, no wonder if they bring many down headlong with them. Humble
souls dwell most at home, and think themselves unworthy of the
communion of their brethren, and are most quarrelsome against their
own corruptions. "They do nothing in strife and vain-glory, but in
lowliness of mind each one esteemeth other better than themselves,"
Phil. ii. 2, 3; and "judge not lest they be judged," Matt. vi. 1. And
is it likely such should be dividers of the church? But proud men must
either be great and domineer, and as Diotrephes, 3 John 9, 10, love to
have the pre-eminence, and cast the brethren out of the church, and
prate against their faithfullest pastors with malicious words; or else
must be noted for their supposed excellencies, and set up themselves,
and speak perverse things, to draw away disciples after them, Acts xx.
30; and think the brethren unworthy of their communion, and esteem all
others below themselves; and, as the church of Rome, confound
communion and subjection, and think none fit for their communion that
obey them not, or comply not with their opinion and will. There is no
hope of concord where pride hath power to prevail.

_Direct._ IX. Take heed of singularity, and narrowness of mind, and
unacquaintedness with the former and present state of the church and
world. Men that are bred up in a corner, and never read nor heard of
the common condition of the church or world, are easily misled into
schism, through ignorance of those matters of fact that would preserve
them. Abundance of this sort of honest people that I have known, have
known so little beyond the town or country where they lived, that they
have thought they were very catholic in their communion, because they
had one or two congregations, and divided not among themselves. But
for the avoiding of schism, 1. Look (with pity) on the unbelieving
world, and consider that christians of all sorts are but a sixth part
of the whole earth. And then, 2. Consider of this sixth part how small
a part the reformed churches are. And if you be willing to leave
Christ any church at all, perhaps you will be loth to separate yet
into a narrower party, which is no more to all the world, than one of
your cottages is to the whole kingdom. And is this all the kingdom on
earth that you will ascribe to Christ? Is the King of the church, the
King only of your little party? Though his flock be but a little
flock, make it not next to none; as if he came into the world on so
low a design as the gathering of your sect only. The less his flock
is, the more sinful it is to rob him of it, and make it lesser than it
is. It is a little flock, if it contained all the christians,
protestants, Greeks, Armenians, Abassines, and papists on the earth.
Be singular and separate from the unbelieving world, and spare not;
and be singular in holiness from profane and nominal hypocritical
christians; but affect not to be singular in opinion or practice, or
separated in communion, from the universal church, or generality of
sound believers: or if you forsake some common error, yet hold still
the common love and communion with all the faithful, according to your
opportunities. 3. And it will be very useful when you are tempted to
separate from any church for the defectiveness of its manner of
worship, to inquire how God is worshipped in all the churches on
earth, and then consider, whether if you lived among them you would
forsake communion with them all, for such defects (while you are not
forced to justify or approve them).[167] 4. And it is very useful to
read church history, and to understand what heresies have been in
times past, and what havoc schisms have caused among christians: for
if this much had been known by well meaning persons in our days, we
should not have seen those same opinions applauded as new light, which
were long ago exploded as old heresies: nor should we have seen many
honest people, taking that same course to reform the church now, and
advance the gospel, which in so many ages and nations hath heretofore
destroyed the church, and cast out the gospel. A narrow soul, that
taketh all Christ's interest in the world, to lie in a few of their
separated meetings, and shutteth up all the church in a nutshell, must
needs be guilty of the foulest schisms. It is a catholic spirit and
catholic principles, loving a christian as a christian, abhorring the
very names of sects and parties as the church's wounds, that must make
a catholic indeed.

_Direct._ X. Understand well the true difference between the visible
church and the world, lest you should think that you are bound to
separate as much from a corrupted church as from the world. It is not
true faith, but the profession of true faith, that maketh a man fit to
be acknowledged a member of the visible church. If this profession be
unsound, and accompanied with a vicious life, it is the sin and misery
of such a hypocrite, but it doth not presently put him as far
unrelated to you, as if he were an infidel without the church! If you
ask what advantage have such unsound church members? I answer with the
apostle, Rom. iii. 1, 2, "Much every way, chiefly because unto them
are committed the oracles of God." Chap. ix. 4, "To them pertaineth
the adoption and the glory and covenants, and the giving of the law,
and the service of God, and the promises." Till the church find cause
to cast them out, they have the external privileges of its communion.
It hath made abundance to incur the guilt of sinful separation to
misunderstand those texts of Scripture that call christians to
separate from heathens, infidels, and idolaters: as 2 Cor. vi. 17,
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the
Lord," &c. The text speaketh only of separating from the world who are
infidels and idolaters, and no members of the church; and ignorant
people ordinarily expound it, as if it were meant of separating from
the church because of the ungodly that are members of it: but that God
that knew why he called his people to separate from the world, doth
never call them to separate from the church universal, nor from any
particular church by a mental separation so as to unchurch them. We
read of many loathsome corruptions in the churches of Corinth,
Galatia, Laodicea, &c.; but yet no command to separate from them. So
many abuse Rev. xviii. 4, "Come out of her, my people;" as if God
commanded them to come out of a true church because of its corruptions
or imperfections, because he calleth them out of Babylon! It is true,
you must partake with no church in their sins, but you may partake
with any church in their holy profession and worship, so far as you
can do it without partaking with them in their sins.

_Direct._ XI. Understand what it is that maketh you partakers of the
sins of a church, or any member of it, lest you think you are bound to
separate from them in good, as well as in evil. Many fly from the
public assemblies, lest they partake of the sins of those that are
there present. Certainly nothing but consent (direct or indirect) can
make their faults to become yours. And therefore nothing which
signifieth not some such consent should be on that account avoided. 1.
If you by word, or subscription, or furtherance, own any man's sin,
you directly consent to it. 2. If you neglect any duty which lieth
upon you for the cure of his sin, you indirectly consent; for you
consent that he shall rather continue in his sin, than you will do
your part to help him out of it. Consider therefore how far you are
bound to reprove any sin, or to use any other means for the
reformation of it, whether it be in the pastor or the people; and if
you neglect any such means, your way is to reform your own neglect,
and do your duty, and not to separate from the church, before you have
done your duty to reform it. But if you have done all that is your
part, then the sin is none of yours, though you remain there present.

[Sidenote: Whether presence be not a consent to sin.]

It is a turbulent fancy and disquieting error of some people, to think
that their presence in the assembly, and continuance with the church,
doth make them guilty of the personal faults of those they join with:
if so, who would ever join with any assembly in the world? _Quest._
But what if they be gross and scandalous sinners that are members of
the church? _Answ._ If you be wanting in your duty to reform it, it is
your sin; but if bare presence made their sins to be ours, it would
also make all the sins of the assembly ours; but no word of God doth
intimate any such thing. Paul never told the churches of Galatia and
Corinth so, that had so many defiled members. _Quest._ But what if
they are sins committed in the open assembly, even by the minister
himself in his praying, preaching, and other administrations? and what
if all this be imposed on him by a law, and so I am certain beforehand
that I must join with that which is unwarrantable in God's worship?
_Answ._ The next direction containeth those distinctions that are
necessary to the answer of this.

_Direct._ XII. Distinguish carefully, 1. Between a minister's personal
faults and his ministerial faults. 2. Between his tolerable weaknesses
and his intolerable insufficiencies. 3. And between the work of the
minister and of the congregation. And then you will see your doubt
resolved in these following propositions.

1. A minister's personal faults (as swearing, lying, drunkenness, &c.)
may damn himself, and must be matter of lamentation to the church, and
they must do their best to reform them, or to get a better pastor by
any lawful means.[168] But in case they cannot, his sin is none of
theirs, nor doth it make his administration null or ineffectual; nor
will it allow you to separate from the worship which he administereth.
Though many of the priests were wicked men, the godly Jews were not
thereby disobliged from God's public worship, or sacrifices which were
to be offered by their hands. Otherwise how sad a case were the church
in, that must answer for the sins which they never committed, nor
could reform. But no Scripture chargeth this upon them.

2. It is not all ministerial faults that will allow you to separate
from or disown a minister; but only those that prove him or his
ministration utterly intolerable.[169] Such are, 1. An utter
insufficiency in knowledge or utterance for the necessary parts of the
ministerial work: as if he be not able to teach the necessary points
of the christian religion, nor to administer the sacraments and other
parts of public worship. 2. If he set himself to oppose the very ends
of his ministry, and preach down godliness, or any part of it that is
of necessity to salvation: for then he doth the devil's work, in
seeking the damnation of souls, and so maketh himself the devil's
minister, and is not the minister of Christ: for the end is essential
to the relation. Herein I include a preacher of heresy that doth
preach up any damning error, and preach down any necessary saving
truth; that is, that preacheth such error as subverteth either faith
or godliness, and doth more harm in the church than good. 3. If he so
deprave God's public worship as to destroy the substance of it, and
make it unacceptable, and offer up a public false worship to God,
which he disowneth in the very matter of it. As if he put up blasphemy
for praise and prayer, or commit idolatry, or set up new sacraments,
and guide the people thus in public worship. As the papist priests do
that adore bread with divine worship, and pray to the dead, and offer
real sacrifices for them, &c.: such worship is not to be joined in. 4.
Or if they impose any actual sin upon the people: as in their responds
to speak any falsehood, or to adore the bread, or the like: these
faults discharge us from being present with such pastors at such
worship. But besides these there are many ministerial faults which
warrant not our separation. As, 1. The internal vices of the pastor's
mind though manifested in their ministration: as some tolerable errors
of judgment, or envy and pettish opposition to others. "Some indeed
preach Christ of envy and strife, and some of good will: the one
preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add
affliction to my bonds; but the other of love," &c. Phil. i. 15. Here
is an odious vice in the public ministry, even an endeavour to
increase the sufferings of the apostle; yet it was lawful to hear such
preachers; though not to prefer them before better. Most sects among
christians are possessed with a tang of envy and uncharitableness
against dissenters, which useth to break forth in their preaching and
praying: and yet it is lawful to join with such. 2. It is not unlawful
to join with a minister that hath many defects and infirmities in his
ministration or manner of worship: as if he preach with some
ignorance, disorder, unfit expressions or gestures, unmeet
repetitions; or if he do the like in prayer, or in the sacraments,
putting something last that should be first, and leaving out something
that should be said, or praying coldly and formally. These and such
like are faults which we should do our best to reform; and we should
not prefer such a ministry before a better; but it is lawful and a
duty to join with such, when we have no better. For all men are
imperfect, and therefore the manner of worship as performed by them
will be imperfect. Imperfect men cannot be perfect in their
ministrations: we must join with a defective and imperfect mode of
worship, or join with none on earth: and we must perform such or none
ourselves. Which of you dare say that in your private prayers, you
have no disorder, vain repetitions, flatness, or defects? 3. It is not
unlawful to join with a minister that hath some material error or
untruth in his preaching or praying, so be it we be not called to
approve it, or make it ours, and so it be not pernicious and
destructive to the ends of his ministry. For all men have some error,
and they that have them may be expected sometimes to vent them. And
it is not our presence that is any signification of our consent to
their mistakes. If we run away from all that vent any untruth or
mistake in public or private worship, we shall scarce know what church
or person we may hold communion with: the reason of this followeth.

3. The sense of the church, and all its members, is to be judged of by
their public professions, and not by such words of a minister which
are his own, and never had their consent. I am by profession a
christian, and the Scripture is the professed rule of my religion; and
when I go to the assemblies, I profess to worship God according to
that rule: I profess myself a hearer of a minister of the gospel, that
is to preach the word of God, and that hath promised in his
ordination, out of the holy Scriptures to instruct the people
committed to his charge, and to teach nothing (as required of
necessity to eternal salvation) but that which he shall be persuaded
may be concluded and proved by the Scripture. This he professed when
he was ordained, and I profess by my presence, only to hear such a
preacher of the gospel, and worship God with him in those ordinances
of worship, which God hath appointed. Now if this man shall drop in
any mistake in preaching, or modify his prayers or administrations
amiss, and do his part weakly and disorderly, the hearers are no way
guilty of it by their presence. For if I must run away from God's
public worship because of men's misperformance, 1. I should join with
none on earth; for a small sin may no more be wilfully done or owned
than a greater. 2. And then another man's weakness may disoblige me
and discharge me from my duty. To order and word his prayers and
preaching aright, is part of the minister's own work, and not the
people's; and if he do it well, it is no commendation to me that am
present, but to himself; and therefore if he do it amiss, it is no
fault of mine or dispraise to me, but to himself. If the
common-council of London, or the court of aldermen, agree to petition
the king for the renewing of their charter, and commit the expressing
of their request to their recorder, in their presence; if he petition
for something else instead of that which he was intrusted with, and so
betray them in the substance of his business, they are openly to
contradict him and disown his treachery or mistake; but if he deliver
the same petition which he undertook with stammering, disorder,
defectiveness, and perhaps some mixture of untruths in his additional
reasons and discourse, this is his failing in the personal performance
of his duty, and no way imputable to them that sent him, and are
present with him, though (in modesty) they are silent and speak not to
disown it; for how can it be their fault that a man is wanting in his
personal sufficiency and duty (unless it be that they choose not a
better). And whether he speak _ex tempore_ or more deliberately, in a
written form or without, in words that other men taught him or wrote
for him, or in words of his own devising, it altereth not their case.

[Sidenote: Of imposed defective liturgies.]

_Object._ But if a man fail through weakness in his own performance, I
know not of that beforehand; but if his faulty manner of praying be
prescribed and imposed on him by a law, then I know it beforehand, and
therefore am guilty of it.

_Answ._ To avoid confusion, fix upon that which you think is the thing
sinful. 1. Either it is because the prayers are defective and faulty.
2. Or because they are imposed. 3. Or because you know the fault
beforehand. But none of all these can prove your joining with them
sinful. 1. Not because they are faulty; for you may join with as
faulty prayers, you confess, if not imposed.[170] 2. Not because
imposed, (1.) Because that is an extenuation, and not an aggravation:
for it proveth the minister less voluntary of the two than those are
that do it without any command, though the error of their own
judgments (as most erroneous persons will). (2.) Because (though
lawful things oft become unlawful when superiors forbid them, yet) no
reason can be given why a lawful thing should become unlawful, because
a lawful superior doth command it. Else superiors might take away all
our christian liberty, and make all things unlawful to us by
commanding them. You would take it for a wild conceit in your children
or servants, if they say, when you bid them learn a catechism, or use
a form of prayer, It was lawful to us till you commanded us to do it;
but because you bid us do it, it is unlawful. If it be a duty to obey
governors in all lawful things, then it is not a sin to obey them. 3.
And it is not your knowing beforehand that maketh it unlawful: for, 1.
I know in general beforehand, that all imperfect men will do
imperfectly; and though I know not the particular, that maketh it
never the lawfuller, if foreknowledge itself did make it unlawful. 2.
If you know that e. g. an antinomian or some mistaken preacher would
constantly drop some words for his error in prayer or preaching, that
will not make it unlawful in your own judgment for you to join, if it
be not a flat heresy. 3. It is another man's error or fault that you
foreknow, and not your own; and therefore foreknowledge maketh it not
your own. 4. God himself doth as an universal cause of nature concur
with men in those acts which he foreknoweth they will sinfully do; and
yet God is not to be judged either an author or approver of the sin
because of such concurrence and foreknowledge: therefore our
foreknowledge maketh us no approvers, or guilty of the failings of any
in their sacred ministrations, unless there be some other guilt. If
you say that it is no one of these that maketh it unlawful, but all
together, you must give us a distinct argument to prove that the
concurrence of these three will prove that unlawful, which cannot be
proved so by any of them alone, for your affirmation must not serve
the turn; and when we know your argument, I doubt not but it may be
answered. One thing I still confess may make any defective worship to
be unlawful to you; and that is, when you prefer it before better, and
may (without a greater inconvenience) enjoy an abler ministry, and
purer administration, but will not.

_Object._ But he that sitteth by in silence, in the posture as the
rest of the congregation, seemeth to consent to all that is said and
done: and we must avoid all appearance of evil.

_Answ._ The appearance of evil which is evil indeed, must be always
avoided; but that appearance of evil which is indeed good, must not be
avoided. We must not forsake our duty lest we seem to sin: that were
but to prefer hypocrisy before sincerity, and to avoid appearances
more than realities. The omission of a duty is a real sin; and that
must not be done to avoid a seeming sin. And whom doth it appear so
to? If it appear evil to the blind or prejudiced, it is their eyes
that must be cured; but if it appear so to the wise, then it is like
it is evil indeed: for a wise man should not judge that to be evil
that is not. But I confess that in a case that is altogether
indifferent, even the mistakes of the ignorant may oblige us to
forbear: but the worship of God must not be so forborne. It is an
irrational fancy to think that you must be uncivil, by contradicting,
or covering your heads, or doing something offensive to the
congregation, when any thing is said or done which you disallow. Your
presence signifieth your consent to all that you profess, even to
worship God according to his word, and not to all the human
imperfections that are there expressed.

_Direct._ XIII. Distinguish carefully between your personal private
duties, and the duty of the pastor or church with which you must
concur. And do not think, that if the church or pastor do not their
duty, that you are bound to do it for them. To cast out an obstinate,
impenitent sinner by sentence from the communion of the church, is the
pastor's or church's duty, and not yours, unless in concurrence or
subserviency to the church. Therefore if it be not done, inquire
whether you did your duty towards it: if you did, the sin is none of
yours; for it is not in your power to cast out all that are unworthy
from the church. But private familiarity is in your power to refuse;
and with such know not to eat.

_Direct._ XIV. Take the measure of your accidental duties more from
the good or hurt of the church, or of many, than from the immediate
good or hurt that cometh to yourself. You are not to take that for the
station of your duty, which you feel to be most to the commodity of
your souls; but that in which you may do God most service. If the
service of God for the good of many, require you to stay with a weaker
minister, and defective administrations, you will find in the end that
this was not only the place of your duty, but also of your benefit:
for your life is in God's hands, and all your comforts; and that is
the best way to your peace and happiness, in which you are most
pleasing unto God, and have his promise of most acceptance and grace.
I know the least advantage to the soul must be preferred before all
earthly riches; but not before the public good. Yea, that way will
prove most advantageous to us, in which we exercise most obedience.

_Direct._ XV. Take heed of suffering prejudice and fancy to go for
reason, and raise in your minds unjustifiable distastes of any way or
mode of worship. It is wonderful to see what fancy and prejudice can
do! Get once a hard opinion of a thing, and your judgments will make
light of all that is said for it, and will see nothing that should
reconcile you to it. Partiality will carry you away from equity and
truth. Abundance of things appear now false and evil, to men that once
imagine them to be so, which would seem harmless, if not laudable, if
they were tried by a mind that is clear from prejudice.

_Direct._ XVI. Judge not of doctrines and worship by persons, but
rather of persons by their doctrine and worship (together with their
lives). The world is all prone to be carried by respect to persons. I
confess where any thing is to be taken upon trust, we must rather
trust the intelligent, experienced, honest, and credible, than the
ignorant and incredible; but where the word of God must be our rule,
it is perverse to judge of things by the persons that hold them or
oppose them: sometimes a bad man may be in the right, and a good man
in the wrong. Try the way of the worst men before you reject it (in
disputable things). And try the opinions and way of the best and
wisest before you venture to receive them.

_Direct._ XVII. Enslave not yourselves to any party of men, so as to
be over-desirous to please them, nor over-fearful of their censure.
Have a respect to all the rest of the world as well as them. Most men
that once engage themselves in a party, do think their honour and
interest is involved with them, and that they stand or fall with the
favour of their party, and therefore make them (before they are
aware) the masters of their consciences.

_Direct._ XVIII. Regard more the judgment of aged, ripe, experienced
men, that have seen the fruits of the various courses of professors of
religion, than of the young, unripe, unexperienced, hot-headed sort.
Zeal is of great use to execute the resolutions of a well-informed
man: and the zeal of others is very useful to warm the hearts of such
as do converse with them. But when it comes to matter of judgment
once, to decide a case of difficulty, aged experience hath far the
advantage; and in no cases more, than in those where peace and concord
are concerned, where rash, hot-headed youth is very prone to
precipitant courses, which must be afterwards repented of.

_Direct._ XIX. When fervent, self-conceited people would carry down
all by censoriousness and passion, it is time for the pastors and the
aged and riper sort of christians openly to rebuke them, and appear
against them, and stand their ground, and not to comply with the
misguided sort to escape their censures. Nothing hath more caused
schisms in the church (except the pride and ambition of the clergy)
than that the riper and more judicious sort of people, together with
the ministers themselves, have been so loth to lie under the bitter
censures of the unexperienced, younger, hotter sort; and to avoid such
censures and keep in with them, they have followed those whom they
should have led, and have been drawn quite beyond their own
understandings. God hath made wisdom to be the guide of the church,
and zeal to follow and diligently execute the commands of wisdom. Let
ignorant, well meaning people censure you as bitterly as they please,
yet keep your ground, and be not so proud or weak as to prefer their
good esteem before their benefit, and before the pleasing of God. Sin
not against your knowledge to escape the censure of the ignorant. If
you do, God will make those men your scourges whom you so much
overvalued: and they shall prove to their spiritual fathers as
cockered children (like Absalom) do to their natural fathers, and
perhaps be the breaking of your hearts. But if the pastors and the
riper, experienced christians will stand their ground, and stick
together, and rebuke the exorbitancies of the censorious younger ones,
they will maintain the credit of the gospel, and keep the truth, and
the church's peace, and the hotspurs will in time either repent and be
sober, or be shamed and disabled to do much hurt.

_Direct._ XX. Take heed how you let loose your zeal against the
pastors of the church, lest you bring their persons and next their
office into contempt, and so break the bonds of the church's unity and
peace. There is no more hope of maintaining the church's unity and
concord without the ministry, than of keeping the strength or unity of
the members without the nerves. If these nerves be weak or labour of a
convulsion or other disease, it is curing and strengthening them, and
not the cutting them asunder, that must prove to the welfare and
safety of the body. Meddle with the faults of the ministry only so far
as tendeth to a cure, of them or of the church, but not to bring them
into disgrace, and weaken their interest in the people, and disable
them from doing good. Abhor that proud, rebellious spirit, that is
prone to set up itself against the officers of Christ, and under
pretence of greater wisdom or holiness, to bring their guides into
contempt; and is picking quarrels with them behind their back, to make
them a scorn or odious to the hearers. Indeed a minister of Satan that
doth more harm in the church than good, must be so detected as may
best disable him from doing harm. But he that doth more good than
hurt, must so be dissuaded from the hurt as not to be disabled from
the good. "My brethren, be not many masters, (or teachers,) knowing
that ye shall receive the greater condemnation," James iii. 1.

_Direct._ XXI. Look more with an eye of charity on what is good in
others and their worship of God, than with an eye of malice to carp at
what appeareth evil. Some men have such distempered eyes, that they
can see almost nothing but faultiness in any thing of another party
which they look at; envy and faction make them carp at every word and
every gesture: and they make no conscience of aggravating every
failing, and making idolatry of every mistake in worship, and making
heresy or blasphemy of every mistake in judgment, and making apostasy
of every fall; nay, perhaps the truth itself shall have no better a
representation. As Dr. H. More well noteth, It would do much more good
in the world, if all parties were forwarder to find out and commend
what is good in the doctrine and worship of all that differ from them.
This would win them to hearken to reforming advice, and would keep up
the credit of the common truths and duties of religion in the world,
when this envious snarling at all that others do, doth tend to bring
the world to atheism, and banish all reverence of religion, together
with christian charity, from the earth.

_Direct._ XXII. Keep not strange to those from whom you differ, but be
acquainted with them, and placidly hear what they have to say for
themselves: or else converse with them in christian love in all those
duties in which you are agreed, and this (if you never talk of your
differences) will do much to reconcile you in all the rest.[171] It is
the common way of division, uncharitableness, yea, and cruelty at
last, to receive hard reports of those that differ from us behind
their backs, and to believe and aggravate all, and proceed to
detraction and contention at a distance, and in the dark, and never be
familiarly acquainted with them at all. There is something in the
apprehension of places, and persons, and things, by the eye-sight,
which no reports are able to match: and so there is that satisfaction
about men by familiar acquaintance, which we cannot attain by hearsay
from any, how judicious soever. All factions commonly converse
together, and seek no familiar converse with others, but believe them
to be any thing that is naught, and then report them to be so, before
they ever knew the persons of whom they speak. I am persuaded this is
one of the greatest feeders of enmity, uncharitableness, contention,
and slanders in the world. I speak it upon great observation and
experience, I have seldom heard any man bitterly oppose the servants
of Christ, but either grossly wicked, or those that never had much
acquaintance with them; and I see commonly, how bitter soever men were
before, when once they converse together, and grow acquainted, they
are more reconciled. The reason is, partly because they find less evil
and more good in one another than before they did believe to be in
them; and partly because uncharitableness and malice, being an ugly
monster, is bolder at a distance, but ashamed of itself before your
face: and therefore the pens of the champions of malice are usually
more bitter than their tongues when they speak to you face to face. Of
all the furious adversaries that have raged against me in the latter
part of my life, I remember not one enemy that I have, or ever had,
that was ever familiar or acquainted with me; and I have myself heard
ill reports of many, which by personal acquaintance I have found to be
all false. Keep together, and either silence your differences, or
gently debate them; yea, rather chide it out, then withdraw asunder.
Familiarity feedeth love and unity.

_Direct._ XXIII. Whenever you look at any corruption in the church,
look also at the contrary extreme, and see and avoid the danger of one
as well as of the other. Be sure every error and church corruption
hath its extreme, and if you do not see it, and the danger of it, you
are the liker to run into it. Look well on both sides if you would be

_Direct._ XXIV. Worship God yourselves in the purest manner, and under
the most edifying ministry that lawfully you can attain; but be not
too forward to condemn others that reach not to your measure, or
attain not so much happiness; and deny not personal communion
sometimes, with churches that are more blemished, and less fit for
communion. And when you cannot join locally with them, let them have
the communion of your hearts, in faith and charity, and prayer for
each other. I fear not here openly to tell the world, that if I were
turned loose to my own liberty, I would ordinarily worship God in that
manner that I thought most pure and agreeable to his will and word;
but I would sometimes go to the churches of other christians, that
were fit for christian communion, if there were such about me;
sometimes to the independents, sometimes to the moderate anabaptists,
sometimes to such as had a liturgy as faulty as that of the Greek or
the Ethiopian churches; to show by my practice, what communion my
heart hath with them all.

_Direct._ XXV. Take heed that you interest not religion or the church
in civil differences.[172] This error hath divided and ruined many
famous churches, and most injuriously made the holy truth and worship
of God to be a reproach and infamy among selfish, partial, carnal men.
When princes and states fall out among themselves, they will needs
draw the ministers to their sides, and then one side will certainly
condemn them, and call them all that self-interest and malice can
invent; and commonly when the controversy is only in point of law or
politics, it is religion that bears the blame of all: and the
differences of lawyers and statesmen must be charged upon divines,
that the devil may be able to make them useless, as to the good of all
that party that is against them, and may make religion itself be
called rebellion. And oh that God would maintain the peace of
kingdoms; and kings and subjects were all lovers of peace, the rather
because the differences in states do cause so commonly divisions in
the church. It would make a man wonder (and a lover of history to
lament) to observe in the differences between the pope and Henry the
fourth, and other emperors, how the historians are divided, one half
commending him that the other half condemneth; and how the bishops and
churches were one half for the pope, and the other for the emperor;
and one half still accounted rebels or schismatics by the other,
though they were all of one religion. It is more to ruin the church,
than kingdoms, that Satan laboureth so much to kindle wars, and breed
civil differences in the world; and therefore let him that loveth the
church's peace, be an obedient subject, and an enemy of sedition, and
a lover and defender of the civil peace and government in the place
that God hath set him in: for this is pleasing unto God.

I know there are some, that with too bloody and calamitous success,
have in most ages given other kind of directions for the extirpation
of error, heresy, and schism, than I have here given:[173] but God
hath still caused the most wise, and holy, and charitable, and
experienced christians to bear their testimony against them. And he
hath ever caused their way of cruelty to turn to their own shame: and
though (like treasons and robberies) it seem for the time present to
serve their turn, it is bitterness in the end, and leaveth a stinking
memorial of their names and actions to posterity. And the treatises of
reconcilers, (such as our Halls, Ushers, Bergius, Burroughs, and many
other,) by the delectable savour of unity and charity, are sweet and
acceptable to prudent and peaceable persons, though usually
unsuccessful with the violent that needed them.

Besides the forecited witness of Sir Francis Bacon, &c. I will here
add one of the most ancient, and one or two of this age, whom the
contrary-minded do mention with the greatest honour. Justin Martyr,
Dial. cum Tryph. doth at large give his judgment, that a judaizing
christian, who thinketh it best to be circumcised and keep the law of
Moses, be suffered in his opinion and practice, and admitted to the
communion and privileges of the church, and loved as one that may be
saved in that way, so be it he do not make it his business to persuade
others to his way, and teach it as necessary to salvation or
communion; for such he doth condemn.

King James by the pen of Is. Casaubon telleth Cardinal du Perron, that
"His Majesty thinketh, that for concord there is no nearer way, than
diligently to separate things necessary from the unnecessary, and to
bestow all our labour that we may agree in the things necessary, and
that in things unnecessary there may be place given for christian
liberty. The king calleth these things simply necessary, which either
the word of God expressly commandeth to be believed or done, or which
the ancient church did gather from the word of God by necessary

Grotius Annot. in Matt. xiii. 41, is so full and large upon it, that I
must entreat the reader to peruse his own words; where by arguments
and authority he vehemently rebuketh the spirit of fury, cruelty, and
uncharitableness, which under pretence of government, discipline, and
zeal, denieth that liberty and forbearance, even to heretics and
offenders, (much more when to the faithful ministers of Christ,) which
human frailty hath made necessary, and Christ hath commanded his
servants to grant. Concluding, _Ubi solitudinem fecerant, pacem
appellabant_ (as Tertul.). _Et his omnibus obtendi solet studium
divini nominis; sed plerumque obtendi tantum. Nam Deus dedignatur
coacta servitia; nec placere illi potest quod vi humana exprimitur.
Reipsa solent qui id faciunt non nomini divino, sed suis honoribus,
suis commodis et tranquillitati consulere; quod scit ille qui mentes
introspicit. Atque ita fit, ut lolium evellatur cum tritico,
innocentes cum nocentibus: immo ut triticum sæpe sumatur pro lolio:
non enim tam bene agitur cum rebus humanis, ut semper meliora pluribus
aut validioribus placeant: sed ut in grege taurus, ita inter homines,
qui viribus est editior, imbecilliorem cædit: et iidem sæpe quæ pati
se quærebantur, mox in alios audent.--Lege cætera._

Again, I entreat those that would escape the sin of schism, to read
seriously the foresaid Treatises of peacemakers; especially Bishop
Hall's "Peacemaker;" Bishop Usher's "Sermon on Ephes. iv. 3;" and Mr.
Jeremy Burroughs' "Irenicum:" to which I may add Mr. Stillingfleet's
"Irenicum," for the hot contenders about church government; though I
believe all the substance of church order to be of divine institution:
and Jac. Acontii "Stratag. Satanæ."

And it must be carefully noted, that one way by which Satan tempteth
men into church divisions, is by an over-vehement zeal against
dividers; and so he would draw the rulers of the world, under pretence
of a zeal for unity and peace, to raise persecutions against all that
are guilty of any excess of scrupulosity about church communion, or of
any principles or practices which a little swerve from true
catholicism: and so by the cruelty of their penalties, silencing
ministers, and vexing the people, they much increase the divisions
which they would heal: for when Satan cannot do his work barefaced and
directly, he useth to be the forwardest in seeming to do good, and to
take part with Christ, and truth, and godliness; and then his way is
to over-do: he will be over-orthodox, and over-godly, and
over-peaceable, that he hug the church and truth to death, by his too
hard embracements. As in families and neighbourhoods, some cross words
must be passed over if we would have peace; and he that for every
provoking, unpeaceable word of another, will raise a storm, shall be
himself the most unpeaceable: so is it in the church; he that cannot
bear with the weaknesses of the younger sort of christians, who are
too much inclined by their zeal against sin, to dividing ways, but
will presently let fly at them as schismatics, and make them odious,
and excommunicate or punish them according to his wrath, shall
increase the zeal and the number of dividers, and prove himself the
greatest divider.

And by this violence and destroying zeal of orthodox rulers, against
the real faults and infirmities of some separating, well meaning men,
a far greater number of heterodox rulers are encouraged to persecute
the most learned, sober, and peaceable ministers, and the most godly
and faithful of their subjects, who dare not conform to all their
unrighteous edicts, and ecclesiastical laws, in things forbidden by
the law of Christ: and all this is done upon pretence of promoting
unity and peace, and suppressing heresy and schism. And so persecution
becometh the devil's engine to keep out the gospel and godliness from
the infidel world, and to keep them under in the christian world.

_Sed tamen sive illud (Origenis de Redemptione futura diabolorum)
error est, ut ego sentio; sive hæresis ut putatur, non solum reprimi
non potuit multis animadversionibus sacerdotum, sed nequaquam tam late
se potuisset effundere, nisi contentione crevisset_: inquit
Posthumianus in Sulp. Severi Dialog. i.

_Sed non fuit animus ibi consistere, ubi recens fraternæ cladis
fervebat invidia. Nam etsi fortasse videantur parere episcopis
debuisse, non ob hanc tamen causam multitudinem tantam sub Christi
confessione viventem, præsertim ab episcopis oportuisset affligi._ Id.
ibid. speaking of the bishops provoking the secular power to afflict
the monks of Alexandria for defending Origen.

When the emperor Constantius would by violence force the orthodox to
hold communion with the Arians, he did but make the breach the wider.
Read Lucifer Calaritanus _de non conveniendo cum hæreticis_ (in
Biblioth. Patr. tom. ix. p. 1045, &c.). The emperor saith, that the
orthodox were enemies to peace, and unity, and brotherly love, and
that he was resolved to have unity and peace in his dominions:
therefore he imprisoned the orthodox and banished them. _Propterea
odis nos, quia concilium vestrum malignantium execremur; propterea in
exilio sumus; propterea in carcere necamur; propterea nobis solis
prohibetur conspectus; idcirco reclusi in tenebras custodimur ingenti
custodia: hujus rei causa nullus ad nos visendos admittitur hominum;
quia videlicet noluerimus vobiscum impiis sacrilegis ullam scelerum
vestrorum habere societatem._ Ibid. p. 1050. Which stirred up this
bishop in particular to go too far from free communion even with the
penitent Arians, and heap up more scriptures against that communion
which the emperor commanded, than any had done before. _Nobis dicebas,
Pacem volo fieri; et in corde tuo manens adversarius religionis
nostræ, cogitabat per te facere nos idololatras, &c._ p. 1051.
_Consilia vestra contra suam prolata ecclesiam reprobat Deus: nec enim
potest odire populum suum, hæreditatem suam, et amare vos filios
pestilentiæ, vos persecutores servorum suorum: dixisti, Facite pacem
cum episcopis sectæ meæ Arrianis, et estote in unum; et dicit Dei
Spiritus, vias impiorum noli exequi, neque æmuleris viam iniquorum.
&c.----Dulce quibusdam videtur, quo tibi regi in amicitias jungantur
suscipiendo hæresin tuam: sed amarius felle sensuri cum tecum in
perpetuum cœperint in perpetua gehenna sentire, qui tecum esse
deligerunt, tunc dicturi, Væ nobis, qui Constantium Imperatorem Deo
præposuerimus._ Abundance more he writeth to prove that the emperor
being a heretic, they must have no communion with him or his bishops.
And when the emperor complained hereupon, that they wronged and
dishonoured him whom they should honour, the said Lucifer wrote his
next book, _de non parcendo in Deum delinquentibus_; which beginneth,
_Superatum te, Imperator, a Dei servis ex omni cum conspexisses parte,
dixisti passum te ac pati a nobis contra monita sacrarum Scripturarum
contumeliam: dicis nos insolentes extitisse, circa te quem honorari
decuerit. Si quisquam Dei cultorum pepercit apostatis, sint vera quæ
dicis de nobis_; and so he heapeth up as many texts for rough dealing
with offending kings; I give this one instance to show the fruits of
violence, as pretended for peace and unity.

Of the persecutions of the faithful in most ages, even by professed
christians themselves, and God's disowning that spirit of cruelty by
his special providences, all church history maketh mention: and how
the names of such persecuting hypocrites have stunk in the nostrils of
all sober men when their tragedy was fully acted and understood.
Especially the poor churches called Waldenses, Picards, and
Albigenses, have felt the grievousest effects of this tyranny, and yet
have the testimony of the best and wisest men, to have been the purest
and the nearest to the apostolic simplicity in all the world; and the
memory of their enemies and persecutors is an abhorrence to the sons
of charity and peace. Read Lasitius and Commenius of their discipline,
and Bishop Usher de Eccles. succes. et statu. I will recite one
notable passage mentioned by Thuanus and Commenius, the one Hist. lib.
xxxvi. the other de bono Unit. et Ord. Discipl. p. 59. Maximilian,
that good and moderate emperor, being one day in the coach with Joh.
Crato only, (his chief physician and a learned protestant), lamenting
the divisions of christians, asked Crato, which sort he thought came
nearest to the apostolic simplicity: he answered, He thought that
honour belonged to the brethren called Picards. The emperor said, He
thought so too: which Crato acquainting them with, encouraged them to
dedicate to him a book of part of their devotions; for the year before
God had thus marvellously saved him from having a hand in their blood.
Joachimus a Nova Domo, chancellor of Bohemia, went to Vienna, and
gave the emperor no rest, till he had procured him to subscribe a
mandate for the reviving of a former persecuting mandate against them:
having got his commission, and passing just out of the gates of
Vienna, as he was upon the bridge over the Danubius, the bridge brake
under him, and he and all his retinue fell into that great and
terrible water; and all were drowned except six horsemen, and one
young nobleman, who, seeing his lord in the waves, catched hold of his
gold chain, and held him till some fishermen came in boats, but found
him dead, and his box with the commission sunk past recovery. This
nobleman who survived, was sensible of God's judgment, and turned to
the brethren in religion, and the mandate was no further prosecuted.
(Such another story Bishop Usher was wont to tell how Ireland was
saved from persecution in Queen Mary's days.)

But it is the most heinous cruelty, when, as in Daniel's case, there
are laws of impiety or iniquity, made of purpose to entrap the
innocent, by them that confess, We shall find no fault against this
Daniel, except it be concerning the law of his God: and then men must
be taken in these spiders' webs, and accused as schismatical, or what
the contrivers please. And especially when it is real holiness which
is hated, and order, unity, concord, peace, or obedience to our
pastors, is made the pretence, for the malicious oppression of it.
Gildas and Salvian have told church governors of this at large: and
many of the persecuted protestants have more largely told the Roman
clergy of it.

It is a smart complaint of him that wrote the Epist. de malus
Doctoribus, ascribed to Pope Sixtus III. _Hujus doctrinæ causa (pro
sanctitate scilicet) paucos amicos conquirunt, et plures inimicos,
necesse est enim eos qui peccatorum vitia condemnant, tantos habere
contrarios, quantos exercere vitia delectat: inde est etiam quod
iniquis et impiis factionibus opprimuntur: quod criminibus falsis
appetuntur, quod hæresis etiam perfunduntur infamia: quod hic omnis
inimicorum suorum sermo ab ipsorum sumit obtrectatione materiam. Sed
quid mirum ut flagitiosis hæresis videatur doctrina justitiæ? Quibus
tamen hæresis? Ipsorum secretum patet tantum inimicis, cum si fides
dictis inesset, amici illud potius scire potuissent, &c._

The cause is, saith Prosper de vit. Contempl. lib. i. cap. 20. et ex
eo Hilitgarius Camarac. lib. v. cap. 19. _Sed nos præsentibus
delectati, dum in hac vita commoda nostra et honores inquirimus, non
ut meliores sed ut ditiores, non ut sanctiores, sed ut honoratiores
simus, cæteris festinamus. Nec gregem Domini qui nobis pascendus,
tuendusque commissus est, sed nostras voluntates, dominationem,
divitias, et cætera blandimenta carnaliter cogitamus. Pastores dici
volumus, nec tamen esse contendimus. Officii non vitamus laborem,
appetimus dignitatem; immundorum spirituum feras a grege dilacerando
non pellimus; et quod eis remanserat, ipsi consumimus: quando
peccantes divites vel potentes non solum non arguimus, sed etiam
veneramur; ne nobis aut munera solita offensi non dirigant, aut
obsequia desiderata subducant: ac sic muneribus eorum et obsequiis
capti, immo per hæc illis addicti, loqui eis de peccato suo aut
de futuro judicio formidamus; ad hoc tantum potentes effecti, ut nobis
in subjectos dominationem tyrannicam vindicemus; non ut afflictos
contra violentiam potentum qui in eos ferarum more sæviunt,
defendamus. Inde est quod tam a potentibus hujus mundi, quam a nobis,
quod pejus est, nonnulli graviter fatigati deperiunt, quos se de manu
nostra Dominus requisiturum terribiliter comminatur_----

Sulp. Severus also toucheth the sore when he saith, Hist. lib. ii.
_Certatim gloriosa in certamina ruebatur, multoque avidius tum
martyria gloriosis mortibus quærebantur, quam nunc episcopatus pravis
ambitionibus appetuntur._

But when he saith, ibid. after Constantine's delivery of the church,
_Neque ulterius persecutionem fore credimus, nisi eam quam sub fine
jam sæculi antichristus exercebit_, either he was grossly mistaken, or
else those are the instruments of antichrist that are not thought so.

It is a most notable instance to our purpose which Severus ends his
history with, of the mischievous zeal of orthodox Ithacius and Idacius
against Priscillian and his gnostics; and worthy of the study of the
prelates of the church: _Idacius sine modo et ultra quam oportuit
Istantium sociosque ejus lacessens, facem nascenti incendio subdidit:
ut exasperaverit malos potius quam compresserit_. In sum, they got the
magistrate to interpose and banish the gnostics, who quickly learned,
by bribing court officers, to turn the emperor against the orthodox
for themselves; till the zeal of Idacius and Ithacius grew so hot as
to accuse even the best men, yea, St. Martin himself, of favouring the
gnostics: and at last got another tyrannical emperor to put
Priscillian and many other gnostics to death, though they withdrew
from the accusation, as tending to their own confusion. And Severus
saith, _Certe Ithacium nihil pensi, nihil sancti habuisse definio:
fuit enim audax, loquax, impudens, sumptuosus, veneri et gulæ plurimum
impertiens. Hic stultitiæ eo usque processerat, ut omnes etiam sanctos
viros, quibus aut studium inerat iectionis, aut propositum erat
certare jejuniis, tanquam Priscilliani socios et discipulos, in crimen
arcesseret. Ausus etiam miser est, Martino episcopo, viro plane
apostolis conferendo, palam objectare hæresis infamiam:----quia non
desinebat increpare Ithacium, ut ab accusatione desisteret._ And when
the leaders were put to death, the heresy increased more, and honoured
Priscillian as a martyr, and reproached the orthodox as wicked
persecutors: and the end was, that the church was filled by it with
divisions and manifold mischiefs, and all the most godly made the
common scorn. _Inter hæc plebs Dei et optimus quisque, probro atque
ludibrio habebatur._ They are the last words of Severus's History; and
changing the names are calculated for another meridian, and for later

[136] Of this subject I have written already, 1. My "Universal
Concord." 2. My "Catholic Unity." 3. Of the "True Catholic Church." 4.
My "Christian Concord."

[137] Read over Sir Francis Bacon's third Essay; and Hales of Schism.

[138] In veste Christi varietas sit; scissura non sit. They be two
things, unity and uniformity. Lord Bacon, Essay iii.

[139] 1 Thess. v. 12, 13.

[140] Gal. iii. 20; iv. 5, 6; Eph. iv. 5; 1 Cor. xii. 12, 13; 1 Pet.
i. 16; Eph. iv. 11-13; ii. 20, 21, 19; 1 John iii. 11, 14, 23; Psal.
cxxii. 2; 1 Pet. ii. 1, 2; John iii. 6; Heb. x. 25; 1 Cor. x. 16, 17;
Rom. xii. 1; Eph. ii. 10, 11.

[141] 1 John ii. 12-14; Heb. v. 11-13; Matt. xvii. 2; xiii. 31; Rom.
xiv. 1, 2, 21; xv. 1; 1 Cor. viii. 7, 10, 12; ix. 22; Acts xx. 35;
Luke i. 6; Phil. ii. 15; Gal. ii. 9, 11, 13, 14; 1 Thess. v. 4; 1 Cor.
iii. 1, 4, 5; Eph. iv. 11, 12,13; Rom. xiv.; xv.; Col. ii. 18, 22;
Phil. ii. 20, 21; 1 Cor. xii. 22, 24; 1 Sam. ii. 30; Matt. xxiii. 11;
Luke xxii. 26; Matt. xx. 23; Luke xx. 30; Matt. xix. 30; xx. 16.

[142] The true placing the bonds of unity importeth exceedingly. Which
will be done if the points fundamental, and of substance in religion,
were truly discerned and distinguished from points not merely of
faith, but of opinion, order, or good intention. This is a thing that
may seem to many a matter trivial, and done already; but if it were
done less partially it would be embraced more generally. L. Bacon,
Essay iii.

[143] James iii. 13-17.

[144] 1 Pet. ii. 5, 7, 9. Leg. Grotium de Imp. p. 230, 231.

[145] Leg. Grotium de Imp. p. 223, 226.

[146] But not denying her to be a church, unless she cast off some
essential part; but so disowning her as in 2 Thess. iii.

[147] Where any church retaining the purity of doctrine doth require
the owning of and conforming to any unlawful or suspected practice,
men may lawfully deny conformity to and communion with that church in
such things, without incurring the guilt of schism. Mr. Stillingfleet.
Iren. p. 117.

[148] 1 Sam. xv. 22; Prov. xv. 8.

[149] 2 John x. 11; 2 Tim. iii. 5; Rom. xvi. 17; 1 Cor. v. 11.

[150] Matt. xiii. 41, 30; Jer. xv. 19; 1 Cor. xii. 23, 24.

[151] See Rom. xiv. throughout; Rom. xv. 12, 5-7; Eph. iv. 4-7; 1 Pet.
iii. 6; 1 Cor. xii. throughout; Phil. iii. 15, 16; Acts ii. 1, 46; iv.
32; Rom. xii. 4, 5; Psal. cxxxiii; 1 Cor. viii; 1 Tim. i. 4; James

[152] Peace containeth infinite blessings: it strengtheneth faith: it
kindleth charity. The outward peace of the church distilleth into
peace of conscience: and it turneth the writing and reading of
controversies into treatises of mortification and devotion. Against
procuring unity by sanguinary persecutions, see Lord Bacon, Essay iii.
Surely there is no better way to stop the rising of new sects and
schisms, than to reform abuses, to compound the smaller differences,
to proceed mildly, and not with sanguinary persecutions, and rather to
take off the principal authors by winning and advancing them, than to
enrage them by violence and bitterness. Lord Bacon in his Essay lviii.
_Ira hominis non implet justitiam Dei._ And it was a notable
observation of a wise father, that those which held and persuaded
pressure of consciences, were commonly interested therein themselves
for their own ends. Id. Essay iii. p. 19.

[153] Concil. Tolet. 4. c. 16. 28. q. 1. Ca. Judæi qui--allow
separation from a Jewish husband, if after admonition he will not be a
christian: and so doth Acosta and his Concil. Limens. l. 6. c. 21, and
other Jesuits, and allow the marrying of another: and sure the
conjugal bond is faster than that of a pastor and his flock: may not a
man then change his pastor when his soul is in apparent hazard?

[154] Eph. iv. 16; 1 Tim. i. 4; Rom. xv. 19; Acts ix. 31.

[155] Rom. xiv. 17; 1 Tim. i. 4.

[156] Rom. viii. 16; ix. 26; 1 John v. 2.

[157] Quicquid ad multitudinem vergit, antipathiam continet; et quanto
magis multitudo augetur, tanto et antipathia: quicquid vero ad
unitatem tendit, sympathiam habet; et quanti magis ad unitatem
accedit, tanto pariori sympathia augetur. Paul Scaliger, Epist. Cath.
lib. iii. p. 176.

[158] Eph. xiv. 13-16.

[159] Phil. i. 9; 1 Thess. iv. 9; Col. ii. 2; 1 Thess. iii. 12; Phil.
ii. 12; Lev. xviii. 9; 1 Pet. i. 22; 1 Thess. v. 3; Rom. xii. 9, 10; 2
Tim. i. 7; Heb. x. 24; 1 Cor. xii. 31; Gal. v. 6, 13.

[160] 1 John iv. 7, 8; John xiii. 35; James iii. 15; 1 John iv. 16;
Gal. v. 19-22; 2 Cor. xiii. 11; 1 Tim. vi. 11; Gal. v. 14; 1 Cor.
xiii; Eph. iv. 2, 15, 16; Col. i. 4.

[161] See Mr. Stillingfleet, Iren. p. 119, 120. Bilson for christian
subjection, p. 525.

[162] Dr. H. More saith, Myst. Redempt. p. 495. l. 10. c. 2. There is
scarce any church in christendom at this day that doth not obtrude,
not only falsehood, but such falsehoods that will appear to any free
spirit pure contradictions and impossibilities; and that with the same
gravity, authority, and importunity, that they do the holy oracles of
God. Now the consequents of this must needs be sad; For what knowing
and conscientious man, but will be driven off, if he cannot assert the
truth, without open asserting of a gross lie? Id. p. 526. And as for
opinions, though some may be better than other some, yet none should
exclude from the fullest enjoyments of either private or public
rights; supposing there be no venom of the persecutive spirit mingled
with them; but every one that professeth the faith of Christ, and
believeth the Scriptures in the historical sense, &c. See Hales of
Schism, p. 8.

[163] In ecclesiis plus certaminum gignunt verba hominum quam Dei;
magisque pugnatur fere de Apolline, Petro, et Paulo, quam de Christo:
retine divina: relinque humana. Bucholcer.

[164] Poetæ nunquam perturbarunt respublicas: oratores non raro.

[165] Acosta, l. vi. c. 23. p. 579. Nothing so much hurteth this
church as a rabble of hirelings and self-seekers: for what can natural
men, that scarce have the Spirit, do in the cause of God? A few in
number that are excellent in virtue, will more promote the work of
God.--But they that come hither being humble, and lovers of souls,
taking Christ for their pattern, and bearing in their bodies his cross
and death, shall most certainly find heavenly treasures, and
inestimable delights. But when will this be? When men cease to be men,
and to savour the things of men; and to seek and gape after the things
of men. With men this is utterly impossible; but with God all things
are possible: Because this is hard in the eyes of this people, shall
it therefore be hard in my eyes, saith the Lord? Zech. viii. 6. pag.
580. I may say to some ministers that cry out of the schismatical
disobedience of the people, as Acosta doth to those that cried out of
the Indians' dulness and wickedness. It is long of the teachers. Deal
with them in all possible love and tenderness, away with covetousness,
lordliness, and cruelty; give them the example of an upright life,
open to them the way of truth, and teach them according to their
capacity, and diligently hold on in this way, whoever thou art that
art a minister of the gospel, and (saith he) as ever I hope to enjoy
thee, O Lord Jesu Christ, I am persuaded the harvest will he plentiful
and joyful. Lib. iv. p. 433, et passim. But (saith he) we quickly
cease our labours, and must presently have hasty and plenteous fruit.
But the kingdom of God is not such: verily, it is not such, but, as
Christ hath told us, like seed cast into the earth, which groweth up
by degrees we know not how, p. 433, 434. Jerom's case is many
another's: Concivit odia perditorum: oderunt eum hæretici, quia eos
impugnare non desinit: oderunt clerici, quia vitam eorum insectatur et
crimina. Sed plane eum boni omnes admirantur et diligunt. Posthumianus
in Sulp. Severi Dialog. 1. And Dial. 2. Martinus in medio cœtu et
conversatione populorum, inter clericos dissidentes, inter episcopos
sævientes, cum fere quotidianis scandalis hinc atque inde premeretur,
inexpugnabili tamen adversus omnia virtute fundatus stetit.--Nec tamen
huic crimini miscebo populares, soli illum clerici, soli nesciunt
sacerdotes, nec immerito: nosse illum invidi noluerunt: quia si
virtutes illius nossent, suorum vitia cognovissent.

[166] How the Jesuits have hereby distracted the church, read Mariana,
et Archiepisc. Pragensis Censur. de Bull. Jesuit. et Dan. Hospital. ad
Reges, &c. Aug. Ardinghelli Paradoxa Jesuitica. Galindus, Giraldus,
&c. Arcana Jesuit.

[167] That God above that knoweth the heart, doth discern that frail
men in some of their contradictions intend the same thing, and
accepteth both. L. Verul. Essay iii. p. 15.

[168] Saith Cleanthes (in Laert.) The Peripateticks are like letters
that sound well, but hear not themselves.

[169] Yet I excuse not impiety or insufficiency in ministers. It was
one of Solon's laws, Qui nequitia ac flagitiis insignis est,
tribunali, publicisque suggestis arcendus est. And Gildas saith to the
ungodly pastors of Britain, Apparet ergo eum qui vos sacerdotes sciens
ex corde dicit, non esse eximium christianum.--Quomodo vos aliquid
solvetis, ut sit solutum in cœlis, a cœlo ob scelera adempti? et
immanium peccatorum funibus compediti? Qua ratione aliquid in terra
ligabitis, quod supra mundum etiam ligetur, propter vosmet ipsos qui
ita ligati iniquitatibus in hoc mundo tenemini, ut in cœlos nunquam
ascendatis, sed in infausta tartari ergastula, non conversi in hac
vita ad dominum, decidatis, Fol. ult. O inimici Dei, et non
sacerdotes! O licitatores malorum, et non pontifices! Traditores, et
non sanctorum apostolorum successores; impugnatores, et non Christi
ministri.--p. 571. Impres. Basil.

[170] Pii hominis est facere quod potest, etiamsi non faciat hoc quod
est eligibilius. Bucholtz.

[171] Prince Frederick of Monpelgard being instructed into a distaste
of the reformed protestants, when he had been at Geneva and Helvetia,
was wont to say, Genevæ et in Helvetia vidi multa de quibus nihil,
pauca eorum de quibus sæpe audivi: ut Tossanus ad Pezelium referente
Sculteto in Curric. p. 26.

[172] Since the writing of this, I have published a book called "The
cure of Church Divisions," and a "Defence of it:" which handle these
things more fully.

[173] Beda Hist. Eccles. lib. i. c. 26. Didicerat enim (Rex Edilburth)
et a doctoribus, auctoribusque suæ salutis, servitium, Christi
voluntarium, non coactitium debere esse.



I have purposely given such particular directions in part ii. on this
subject, and written so many books about it,[174] and said so much
also in the Cases of Conscience, that I shall here only cast in a few
common directions, lest the reader think I make a balk.

_Direct._ I. Let your preparations in secret and in your family on the
beginning of the Lord's days, be such as conduce to fit you for the
public worship.[175] Run not to church as ungodly people do, with a
carnal heart, that never sought God before you went, nor considered
what you go about; as if all your religion were to make up the number
of the auditors; and you thought God must not be worshipped and obeyed
at home, but only in the church. God may in mercy meet with an
unprepared heart, and open his eyes and heart, and save him; but he
hath made no promise of it to any such. He that goeth to worship that
God at church, whom he forgetteth and despiseth in his heart and
house, may expect to be despised by him. O consider what it is for a
sinner that must shortly die, to go with the servants of God to
worship him; to pray for his salvation, and to hear what God hath to
say to him by his minister, for the life of his immortal soul!

_Direct._ II. Enter not into the holy assembly either superstitiously
or unreverently. Not as if the bending of the knee, and mumbling over
a few words with a careless, ignorant mind, and spending an hour there
as carelessly, would save your souls: nor yet as if the relation which
the worship, the worshippers, and the dedicated place have unto God,
deserved not a special honour and regard. Though God be ever with us,
every where; yet every time, and place, and person, and business is
not equally related to God. And holiness is no unfit attribution, for
that company or that place, which is related to God, though but by the
lawful separation and dedication of man. To be uncovered in those
countries where uncovering signifieth reverence, is very well becoming
a reverent soul; except when the danger of cold forbids it. It is an
unhappy effect of our contentions, that many that seem most reverent
and holy, in their high regard of holy things, do yet carry themselves
with more unreverent deportment, than those that themselves account
profane. God is the God of soul and body, and must be worshipped by
both; and while they are united, the actions of one are helpful to the
other, as well as due and decent.

_Direct._ III. If you can, come at the beginning, that you may show
your attendance upon God, and your esteem of all his worship.
Especially in our assemblies, where so great a part of the duty, (as
confession, praises, reading the Scriptures,) are all at the
beginning. And it is meet that you thereby show that you prefer public
worship before private, and that needless businesses keep you not

_Direct._ IV. If you are free, and can do it lawfully, choose the most
able, holy teacher that you can have, and be not indifferent whom you
hear. For oh how great is the difference; and how bad are our hearts;
and how great our necessity of the clearest doctrine, and the
liveliest helps! Nor be you indifferent what manner of people you join
with, nor what manner of worship is there performed; but in all choose
the best when you are free. But where you are not free, or can have no
better, refuse not to make use of weaker teachers, or to communicate
with faulty congregations in a defective, faulty manner of worship,
sobeit you are not compelled to sin. And think not that all the faults
of the prayers, or communicants, are imputed to all that join with
them in that worship. For then we should join with none in all the

_Direct._ V. When the minister is weak, be the more watchful against
prejudice and sluggishness of heart, lest you lose all. Mark that word
of God which he readeth to you, and reverence, and love, and lay up
that. It was the law, read and meditated on, which David saith the
godly do delight in.[176] The sacred Scriptures are not so obscure and
useless as the papists do pretend, but convert the soul, and are able
to make us wise unto salvation. Christ went ordinarily to the
synagogues, where even bad men did read Moses and the prophets every
sabbath day. There are thousands that cannot read themselves, who must
come to the assembly to hear that word read, which they cannot read or
hear at home. Every sentence of Scripture hath a divine excellency,
and therefore had we nothing but the reading of it, and that by a bad
man, a holy soul may profit by it.

_Direct._ VI. Mind not so much the case of others present as
yourselves; and think not so much how bad such and such a one is, and
unworthy to be there, as how bad you are yourselves, and unworthy of
communion with the people of the Lord, and what a mercy it is that you
have admittance, and are not cast out from those holy opportunities.

_Direct._ VII. Take heed of a peevish, quarrelsome humour, that
disposeth you to carp at all that is said and done, and to find fault
with every mode and circumstance, and to affect a causeless
singularity, as thinking that your own ways, and words, and orders,
are far more excellent than other men's: think ill of nothing out of a
quarrelsome disposition, but only as evidence constraineth you to
dissent. And then remember that we are all imperfect, and faulty men
must needs perform a faulty worship, if any, for it cannot be better
than the agent.

_Direct._ VIII. When you meet with a word in a sermon or prayer, which
you do not like, let it not stop you, and hinder your fervent and
peaceable proceeding in the rest; as if you must not join in that
which is good, if there be any faulty mixture in it. But go on in that
which you approve, and thank God that pardoneth the infirmities of
others as well as your own.

_Direct._ IX. Conform yourselves to all the lawful gestures and
customs of the church with which you join. You come not hither proudly
to show the congregation, that you are wiser in the circumstances of
worship than they, nor needlessly to differ from them, much less to
harden men into a scorn of strictness, by seeing you place religion in
singularities in lawful and indifferent things. But you come to
exercise love, peace, and concord, and with one mind and mouth to
glorify God. Stand when the church standeth; sit when the church
sitteth; kneel when the church kneeleth, in cases where God doth not
forbid it.

_Direct._ X. Take heed of a customary, formal, senseless heart, that
tolerateth itself from day to day, to do holy things in a common
manner, and with a common, dull, and careless mind: for that is to
profane them. Call in your thoughts when they attempt to wander; stir
up your hearts when you feel them dull. Remember what you are about,
and with whom it is that you have to do, and that you tread on the
dust of them who had such opportunities before you which are now all
gone, and so will yours. You hear and pray for more than your lives;
therefore do it not as in jest or as asleep.

_Direct._ XI. Do all in faith and hope. Believe what you may get of
God in prayer, and by an obedient hearing of his word. Would you not
go cheerfully to the king, if he had promised you to grant whatever
you ask? Hath not God promised you more than kings can give you? Oh it
is an unbelieving and a despairing heart, that turneth all into dead
formality! Did you but hope that God would do all that for you which
he hath told you he will do, and that you might get more by prayer
than by your trades, or projects, or all your friends, you would go to
God with more earnestness and more delight.

_Direct._ XII. Apply all the word of God to yourselves according to
its usefulness. Ask as you go, How doth this concern me? this
reproof, this mark, this counsel, this comfort, this exhortation, this
direction? Remember as much as you can, but especially the most
practical, useful parts. Get it home so deep upon your hearts, that it
may not easily slide away. Root it by close application as you go,
that affection may constrain you to remember it.

_Direct._ XIII. Above all, resolve to obey what God shall make known
to be his will; take heed lest any wilful sin should escape the power
of the word; and should ordinarily go away with you as it came.
Careless hearing and careless living tend most dangerously to a
hardened heart and a forsaken state. If you regard iniquity in your
heart, God will not hear your prayers. The sacrifice of the wicked is
abominable to him. The foolish shall not stand in his sight, he hateth
all the workers of iniquity.[177] He that turneth away his ear from
hearing (that is, obeying) the law, even his prayer is abominable. To
the wicked saith God, What hast thou to do to take my covenant into
thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction, and hast cast my words
behind thee? Obedience is better than sacrifice. He that nameth the
name of Christ must depart from iniquity, or else God will not find
his mark upon him, nor take him to be one of his. Christ's sheep know
his voice and follow him, and to them he will give eternal life. But
if you had preached or done miracles in his name, he will say to you,
"Depart from me, I know you not," if ye be workers of iniquity. Look
therefore to your foot (to your heart and life) when you go to the
house of God, and be more ready to hear (his law that must govern you,
that you may know his will and do it) than to offer the sacrifice of
fools, (that is, disobedient sinners,) that think by sacrifices and
outside worship to get pardon for an unholy life, and to reconcile God
to them in their sins, not knowing that thus they add sin to sin.[178]
If you seek God daily, and delight to know his ways, as a nation that
did righteousness and forsook not the ordinance of their God; if you
ask of him the ordinances of justice, (sound doctrine, regular
worship, strict discipline,) and take delight in approaching to God;
if you humble your souls with frequent fasts; and yet live in a course
of wilful disobedience, you labour in vain, and aggravate your sins,
and preachers had need to lift up their voices and be louder trumpets
to tell you of your sins, than to other men.[179] But if ye will wash
you, and make you clean, and put away the evil of your doings, cease
to do evil, learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed,
&c.; you may then come with boldness and confidence unto God.
Otherwise to what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices? your
oblations will be vain, and your incense abominable. If ye be willing
and obedient, you shall be blessed; but if ye refuse and rebel you
shall be destroyed, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.[180] If
you do well shall you not be accepted? but if ye do evil, sin lieth at
the door. Let your profession be never so great, and your parts and
expressions never so seraphical, sin is a reproach to any people; and
if you would hide yourselves from justice in the purest church, among
the holiest people, and the most numerous and longest prayers, be sure
that your sin will find you out.[181] Your secret lust, your covetous
over-reaching, your secret gluttony or tippling, much more your
crimson sins, will surely find you out.[182]

Alas! what then will those miscreants do, whose sins are scarlet,
bloody persecutions, under pretence of promoting unity, and obedience,
and the catholic church, while the cloak or cover of it is but the
thin, transparent spider-web of human traditions, and numerous
ceremonies, and childish complimenting with God; and when they have
nothing but the prayers of a long liturgy, to cover the effects of
their earthly, sensual, and diabolical zeal and wisdom, (as St. James
calls it, chap. iii. 15, 16,) and to concoct the widows' houses which
they devour, and to put a reverence upon the office and work, which
they labour all the week to render reproachful, by a sensual,
luxurious, idle life, and by perfidious making merchandise of

As ever you care what becometh of your souls, take heed lest sin grow
bold under prayers, and grow familiar and contemptuous of sermons and
holy speeches, and lest you keep a custom of religious exercises and
wilful sins. For oh, how doth this harden now, and wound hereafter! He
is the best hearer, that is the holiest liver, and faithfullest

_Direct._ XIV. Be not a bare hearer of the prayers of the pastor,
whether it be by liturgy or without. For that is but hypocrisy, and a
sin of omission; you come not thither only to hear prayers, but to
pray; and kneeling is not praying; but it is a profession that you
pray. And will you be prayerless even in the house of prayer, and when
you profess and seem to pray, and so add hypocrisy to impiety? I fear
many that seem religious, and would have those kept from the sacrament
that pray not in their families, do very ordinarily tolerate
themselves in this gross omission, and mocking of God, and are
prayerless themselves even when they seem to pray.

_Direct._ XV. Stir up your hearts in an especial manner to the
greatest alacrity and joy, in speaking and singing the praises of God.
The Lord's day is a day of joy and thanksgiving, and the praises of
God are the highest and holiest employment upon earth. And if ever you
should do any thing with all your might, and with a joyful and
triumphing frame of soul, it is this. Be glad that you may join with
the sacred assemblies, in heart and voice, in so heavenly a work. And
do not as some humoursome, peevish persons (that know not the danger
of that proud disease) fall to quarrelling with David's Psalms, as
unsuitable to some of the hearers, or to nauseate every failing in the
metre, so as to turn so holy a duty into neglect or scorn; (for alas!
such there are near me where I dwell;) nor let prejudice against
melody, or church music (if you dwell where it is used) possess you
with a splenetic disgust of that which should be your most joyful
work. And if you know how much the incorporate soul must make use of
the body in harmony, and in the joyful praises of Jehovah, do not then
quarrel with lawful helps, because they are sensible and corporeal.

_Direct._ XVI. Be very considerate and serious in sacramental
renewings of your covenant with God.[184] O think what great things
you come thither to receive! And think what a holy work you have to
do! And think what a life it is that you must promise! So solemn a
covenanting with God, and of so great importance, requireth a most
holy, reverent, and serious frame of soul. But yet let not the
unwarrantable differencing this ordinance from God's praises and the
rest, seduce you into the common errors of the times: I mean, 1. Of
those that hence are brought to think that the sacrament should never
be received without a preparatory day of humiliation, above the
preparation for an ordinary Lord's day's work. 2. And therefore
receive it seldom; whereas the primitive churches never spent a Lord's
day together without it. 3. Those that turn it into a perplexing,
terrifying thing, for fear of being unprepared, when it should be
their greatest comfort, and when they are not so perplexed about their
unpreparedness to any other duty. 4. Those that make so great a
difference betwixt this and church prayers, praises, and other church
worship, as that they take this sacrament only for the proper work and
privilege of church members; and thereupon turn it into an occasion of
our great contentions and divisions, while they fly from sacramental
communion with others, more than from communion in the other church
worship. Oh what hath our subtle enemy done against the love, peace,
and unity of christians, especially in England, under pretence of
sacramental purity!

_Direct._ XVII. Perform all your worship to God, as in heart-communion
with all Christ's churches upon earth; even those that are faulty,
though not with their faults. Though you can be present but with one,
yet consent as present in spirit with all, and separate not in heart
from any one, any further than they separate from Christ.

_Direct._ XVIII. Accordingly let the interest of the church of Christ
be very much upon your heart, and pray as hard for it as for yourself.

_Direct._ XIX. Yea, remember in all, what relation you have to the
heavenly society and choir, and think how they worship God in heaven,
that you may strive to imitate them in your degree. Of which more

_Direct._ XX. Let your whole course of life after, savour of a church
frame; live as the servants of that God whom you worship, and as ever
before him. Live in the love of those christians with whom you have
communion, and do not quarrel with them at home; nor despise, nor
persecute them with whom you join in the worshipping of God. And do
not needlessly open the weaknesses of the minister to prejudice others
against him and the worship. And be not religious at the church alone,
for then you are not truly religious at all.

[174] See my "Treatise of the Lord's Day," and my "Cure of Church

[175] Eccl. v. 1-4; 1 Pet. ii. 1, 2; Prov. i. 20, to the end.

[176] Psal. i. 2, 3; xii. 6, 7; xix. 7-9.

[177] Acts x. 33; 1 Sam. iii. 9, 10; Prov. viii. 34; Ezek. xxxiii. 4;
Psal. lxvi. 18; v. 5.

[178] Dan. iv. 27; Prov. x. 29; xxviii. 9; Psal. l. 16-18; cxxv. 5; 1
Sam. xv. 22; 2 Tim. ii. 19; Matt. vii. 23; Luke xiii. 27; John x. 3,
4, 27; Eccles. v. 1-4.

[179] Isa. lviii. 1-3.

[180] Isa. i. 10-20.

[181] Gen. iv. 7; Prov. xiv. 34; Numb. xxxii. 23.

[182] James i. 22; Rom. ii. 13.

[183] Ezek. vii. 19; Jer. vii. 23; xi. 4, 7; xxvi. 13; Matt. xxiii.
14; Mark xii. 40; Exod. vi. 30; Deut. vii. 12; xi. 13; xiii. 18; xv.
5; xxvi. 17; xxviii. 1; Psal. lxxi. 8-12.

[184] See Mr. Rawlet's Book of Sacramental Covenanting.



The oversight and neglect of our duty concerning the souls of the
blessed, now with Christ, doth much harden the papists in their
erroneous excesses here about.[185] And if we will ever reduce them,
or rightly confute them, it must be by a judicious asserting of the
truth, and observing so much with them as is our duty, and commending
that in them which is to be commended, and not by running away from
truth and duty that we may get far enough from them and error: for
error is an ill way of confuting error. The practical truth lieth in
these following precepts.

_Direct._ I. Remember that the departed souls in heaven are part, and
the noblest part, of the body of Christ and family of God, of which
you are inferior members; and therefore that you owe them greater
love and honour, than you owe to any saints on earth. "The whole
family in heaven and earth is named of Christ," Ephes. iii. 15. Those
are the happiest and noblest parts, that are most pure and perfect,
and dwell in the highest and most glorious habitations, nearest unto
Christ, yea, with him. If holiness be lovely, the most holy are the
most lovely; we have many obligations therefore, to love them more
than the saints on earth: they are more excellent and amiable, and
Christ loveth them more. And if any be honourable, it must especially
be those spirits that are of greatest excellencies and perfections,
and advanced to the greatest glory and nearness to their Lord. Make
conscience therefore of this as your duty, not only to love and honour
blessed souls, but to love and honour them more than those that are
yet on earth. And as every duty is attended with benefit, so we shall
find this exceeding benefit in the performance of this duty, that it
will incline our hearts to be the more heavenly, and draw up our
desires to the society which we so much love and honour.

_Direct._ II. Remember that it is a part of the life of faith, to see
by it the heavenly society of the blessed, and a part of your heavenly
conversation, to have frequent, serious, and delightful thoughts of
those crowned souls that are with Christ.[186] Otherwise God would
never have given us such descriptions of the heavenly Jerusalem, and
told us so much of the hosts of God that must inhabit it for ever;
that must come from the "east and from the west, and sit down with
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God." When it is said that
our conversation (πολίτευμα) is in heaven, Phil. iii. 20, the
meaning extendeth both to our relation, privileges, and converse: we
are denizens or citizens of the heavenly society; and our title to
their happiness is our highest privilege and honour; and therefore our
daily business is there, and our sweetest and most serious converse is
with Christ and all those blessed spirits. Whatever we are doing here,
our eye and heart should still be there: for we look not at the
temporal things which are seen, but at the eternal things which are
not seen, 2 Cor. iv. 18. A wise christian that hath forsaken the
kingdom of darkness, will be desirous to know what the kingdom of Christ
is into which he is translated, and who are his fellow-subjects, and
what are their several ranks and dignities, so far as tendeth to his
congruous converse with them all. And how should it affect us to find
that "we are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living
God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written
in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men
made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant!" Heb.
xii. 22-24. Live then as the members of this society, and exclude not
the chief members from your thoughts and converse: though our local,
visible communion be only with these rural, inferior inhabitants, and
not with the courtiers of the King of heaven, yet our mental communion
may be much with them. If our home and treasure be there with them,
our hearts will be there also, Matt. vi. 21.

_Direct._ III. It is the will of God that the memory of the saints be
honoured on earth when they are dead. It is some part of his favour
which he hath promised to them. Prov. x. 7, "The memory of the just is
blessed; but the name of the wicked shall rot." Matt. xxvi. 13,
"Verily I say unto you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in
the whole world, there shall also this that this woman hath done, be
told for a memorial of her." The history of the Scripture recordeth
the lives of the saints to their perpetual honour. And God will have
it so also for the sake of his abused servants upon earth, that they
may see that the slanders of malicious tongues shall not be able to
obscure the glory of his grace, and that the lies of the ungodly
prevail but for a moment. And God will have it so for the sake of the
ungodly, that they may be ashamed of their malicious enmity and lies
against the godly, while they perceive that the departed saints do
leave behind them a surviving testimony of their sanctity and
innocency, sufficient to confound the venomous calumnies of the
serpent's seed. Yea, God will have the names of his eminent servants
to be honoured upon earth, for the honour of their Head, and of his
grace and gospel; so that while malice would cast dishonour upon
Christ; from the meanness and failings of his servants that are alive,
the memory of the dead (who were once as much despised and slandered)
shall rise up against them to his honour and their shame. And it is
very observable how God constraineth the bitter enemies of holiness to
bear this testimony for the honour of holiness against themselves!
that many who are the cruelest persecutors and murderers of the living
saints, do honour the dead even to excess.[187] How zealous are the
papists for the multitude of their holidays, and the honouring of
their names and relics, and pretending many miracles to be wrought by
a very touch of their shrines or bones, whilst they revile and murder
those that imitate them, and deprive temporal lords of their dominions
that will not exterminate them. Yea, while they burn the living
saints, they make it part of their crime or heresy, that they honour
not the days and relics of the dead, so much as they; to show us that
the things that have been shall be, and that wickedness is the same in
all generations. Matt. xxiii. 29-33, "Woe unto you, scribes and
Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and
garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in
the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in
the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves
that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up
then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of
vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" I know that neither
did the Pharisees, nor do the papists, believe that those whom they
murdered were saints, but deceivers and heretics, and the troublers of
the world; but if charity be the grace most necessary to salvation,
then sure it will not keep any man from damnation, that he had malice
and uncharitableness sufficient to persuade him, that the members of
Christ were children of the devil. But thus God will force even the
persecutors and haters of his saints to honour them. And if he
constrain his enemies to it, his servants should not be backward to do
it according to his will.

_Direct._ IV. Only such honour must be given to departed saints, as
subserveth the honour of God; and nothing must be ascribed to them
that is his prerogative. All that of God which was communicated to
them and appeared in them, must be acknowledged; but so that God must
still be acknowledged the spring of all; and no honour given
ultimately to them; but it is God in them that we must behold and
love, admire and honour.

_Direct._ V. The honour of the saints departed must be only such as
tendeth to the promoting of holiness among the living. It is a most
horrid aggravation of those men's sins, who make their honouring of
the saints departed a cover for their hating and persecuting their
followers; or that make it an engine for the carrying on some base
design. Some make it a device for the advancing of their parties and
peculiar opinions. The papists make it a very great means for the
maintaining the usurped power of the pope, giving him the power of
canonizing saints, and assuring the world what souls are in heaven. A
pope that by the testimony of a general council (as Joh. 23. Eugenius,
&c.) is a heretic, and a wicked wretch, and never like to come to
heaven himself, can assure the world of a very large catalogue of
persons that are there. And he that by the papists is confessed
fallible in matters of fact, pretendeth to know so certainly who were
saints, as to appoint them holidays, and command the church to pray to
them. And he that teacheth men that they cannot be certain themselves
of their salvation, pretendeth when they are dead that he is certain
that they are saved. To pretend the veneration of saints for such
carnal, ambitious designs, and cheats, and cruelties, is a sin unfit
for any that mentioneth a saint. So is it when men pretend that saints
are some rare, extraordinary persons among the living members of the
church;[188] to make men believe that honouring them will serve
instead of imitating them; and that all are not saints that go to
heaven. God forbid, say they, that none but holy persons should be
saved; we confess it is good to be saints, and they are the chief in
heaven; but we hope those that are no saints may be saved for all
that. But God saith, "that without holiness none shall see him," Heb.
xii. 14. Heaven is the inheritance of none but saints, Acts xxvi. 18;
Col. i. 12. He that extolleth saints to make men believe that those
that are no saints may be saved, doth serve the devil by honouring the
saints. The same I may say of those that give them divine honour,
ascribing to each a power to hear and help all throughout the world
that put up prayers to them.

_Direct._ VI. Look up to the blessedness of departed souls, as members
of the same body, rejoicing with them, and praising God that hath so
exalted them. This is the benefit of holy love and christian unity,
that it maketh our brethren's happiness to be unto us, in a manner, as
if it were our own. 1 Cor. xii. 25, 26, "That there should be no
schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care one
for another--that if one member be honoured all the members rejoice
with it." So far as selfishness is overcome, and turned into the
uniting love of saints, so far are all the joys of the blessed souls
in heaven become the joys of all that truly love them upon earth. How
happy then is the state of all true believers, that have so many to
rejoice with! Deny not God that thanks for the saving of so many
souls, which you would not deny him, if he saved but your friends,
estates, or lives. Especially when afflictions or temptations would
deprive you of the joy which you should have in God's mercies to
yourselves, then comfort yourselves with the remembrance of your
brethren's joy. What an incongruous, indecent thing is it for that man
to pine away in sorrows upon earth, who hath so many thousand friends
in heaven, in joy and blessedness, whose joys should all be to him as
his own.

_Direct._ VII. When you feel a cooling of your love to God, or of your
zeal, or reverence, or other graces, think then of the temper of those
holy souls, that see his glory! O think, with what fervour do they
love their God! with what transporting sweetness do they delight in
him! with what reverence do they all behold him! And am not I his
servant, and a member of his family, as well as they? Shall I be like
the strangers of this frozen world, when I should be like my
fellow-citizens above? As it will dispose a man to weep to see the
tears and grief of others; and as it will dispose a man to mirth and
joy to see the mirth and joy of others; so is it a potent help to
raise the soul to the love of God, and delight in his service, to
think believingly of the love and delight of such a world of blessed

_Direct._ VIII. When you draw near to God in his holy worship,
remember that you are part of the same society with those blessed
spirits that are praising him in perfection. Remember that you are
members of the same choir, and your part must go to make up the
melody; and therefore you should be as little discordant from them as
possibly you can. The quality of those that we join with in God's
service, is apt either to dull or quicken us, to depress or elevate
us; and we move heavenward most easily and swiftly in that company
which is going thither on the swiftest pace. A believing thought that
we are worshipping God in concert with the heavenly choir, and of the
high and holy raptures of those spirits, in the continual praise of
their great Creator, is an excellent means to warm and quicken us, and
raise us as near their holy frame, as here on earth may be expected.

_Direct._ IX. When you would possess your hearts with a lively sense
of the odiousness of sin, and would resist all temptations which would
draw you to it, think then how the blessed souls with God do judge of
sin, and how they would entertain such a temptation, if the motion
were made to them! What think they of covetousness, pride, or lust?
What think they of malice, cruelty, or lying? How would they entertain
it, if lands and lordships, pleasure or preferment, were offered them
to entice their hearts from God? Would they venture upon damnation for
a whore, or for their games, or to please their appetites? Do they set
as light by God and their salvation as the ungodly world doth? O with
what scorn and holy indignation would they refuse a world, if it were
offered them instead of God! with what detestation would they reject
the motion to any sin!

_Direct._ X. When you would revive in your minds a right apprehension
and estimation of all earthly things, as riches, and honours, and
greatness, and command, and full provisions for the flesh, bethink you
then how the blessed souls with Christ esteem them. How little do they
set by all those things that worldlings make so great a stir for, and
for which they sell their God and their salvation! How contemptible
are crowns and kingdoms in their eyes! Their judgment is more like to
God's than ours is. Luke xvi. 15, "That which is highly esteemed among
men is abomination in the sight of God." All the world would not hire
a saint in heaven to tell one lie, or take the name of God in vain, or
to forget God, or be estranged from him for one hour.

_Direct._ XI. When you see the godly under the contempt of sinners
here, accounted as the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all
things,[189] defamed, reviled, hated, and persecuted, look up then to
the saints with Christ, and think how they are esteemed and used. And
when you would truly know what a believer is, think not how they are
esteemed and used by men, but how they are esteemed and used by
Christ. Judge not of them by their short afflictions, nor by their
meanness in the flesh, but by their endless happiness and their glory
above. Look up to the home and world of saints, if you would know what
saints are, and not to the few, scattered, imperfect passengers in
this world, that are not worthy of them, Heb. xi. 38.

_Direct._ XII. When you are tempted to think meanly of the kingdom of
Christ, as if his flock were so small, and poor, and sinful as to be
inconsiderable, look up to the world of blessed souls which dwell
above. And there you shall see no such paucity, or imperfections, or
blemishes, as here below. The subjects there are such as dishonour not
their King. Christ's kingdom is not of this world, John xviii. 36. If
you would know it in its glory, look up to the world where it is
glorious. If when you hear men contemn the kingdom of the saints of
Christ, and at the same time did but see (as Stephen did) a glimpse
into that kingdom, and all the glory of the blessed there, what
thoughts would you have of the words which did dishonour it?

_Direct._ XIII. When you hear sinners boast of the wisdom or numbers
of their party, and appealing to the learned or great ones of the
world, look up to the blessed souls with Christ, and ask whether they
are not more wise and numerous than all the sinners upon earth. The
greatest doctors are ignorant and unlearned in comparison of the
meanest soul with Christ: the greatest monarchs are but worms in
comparison of the glorified spirits with God. If they say to you, Are
you wiser than so many and so wise and learned men? ask them, Are you,
or all the ungodly, wiser than all the blessed souls with Christ? Let
the wiser party carry it.

_Direct._ XIV. When you are tempted to be weary of a holy life, or to
think all your labour is vain, look up to the blessed souls with
Christ, and there you will see the end of holiness. There you will see
that of all the labour of your lives, there is none that you are so
sure to gain by; and that in "due time you shall reap, if you faint
not: and if you sow to the Spirit, of the Spirit you shall reap
everlasting life," Gal. vi. 8, 9; and that when you have "done the
will of God," if you "have but patience, you shall inherit the
promise," Heb. x. 36. Ask yourselves, whether any of those blessed
souls repent now of the holiness of their lives on earth? or their
mortifying the flesh, and denying themselves the delights of sin?

_Direct._ XV. When you are tempted to turn back in the day of trial,
and to forsake Christ or his cause when persecution ariseth, then look
to the blessed souls above, and see what is the end of suffering for
the sake of Christ and righteousness. To foresee the great reward in
heaven, will convince you that instead of being terrified by
sufferings, you should "rejoice and be exceeding glad," Matt. v. 11,
12. Are you to lie in prison, or to burn in the flames? so did many
thousands that are now in heaven. And do you think that they repent it
now? Ignatius, Polycarp, Cyprian, and many such holy men, were once
used as hardly as you are now, and put to death by cruel men. Rogers,
Bradford, Hooper, Glover, and multitudes with them, were once in
prison and burnt in the flames; but where are they now, and what is
the end of all their pains? Now whether do you think the case of
Bonner or Bradford to be best? Now had you rather be Gardiner or
Philpot? Now which think you doth most repent, the poor Waldenses that
were murdered by thousands, or the popes and persecutors that murdered

_Direct._ XVI. When you are dismayed under the burden of your sins,
the greatness of your corruptions, the weakness of your graces, the
imperfection of your duties, look up to the blessed souls with Christ,
and remember that all those glorified spirits were once in flesh as
you now are, and once they lay at the feet of God, in tears, and
groans, and cries, as you do: they were once fain to cry out of the
burden of their sins, and mourn under the weakness of their graces, as
you now do. They were once as much clogged with flesh as you are; and
once as low in doubts and fears, and bruised under the sense of God's
displeasure. They once were as violently assaulted with temptations,
and had the same corruptions to lament and strive against as you have.
They were once as much afflicted by God and man; but is there any of
the smart of this remaining?

_Direct._ XVII. When you are deterred from the presence of the
dreadful God, and think he will not accept such worms as you, look up
to the blessed souls with Christ; and remember how many millions of
your brethren are there accepted to greater familiarity than that
which you here desire. Remember that those souls were once as dark and
distant from God, and unworthy of his acceptance, as you now are. A
fearful child receiveth boldness, to see his brethren in his father's

_Direct._ XVIII. When you are afraid of Satan lest he should prevail
against you and devour you, look up to the blessed souls with Christ;
and see how many millions are there safely landed, that once were in
as dangerous a station as you are. Through many tribulations and
temptations they are arrived at the heavenly rest: Satan once did his
worst against them: they were tossed on the seas of this tempestuous
world; but they were kept by the power of God, through faith unto
salvation, and so may you.

_Direct._ XIX. When you would duly value all your present means and
mercies, and see whither they tend, look up then to the souls with
Christ, and see whither the like mercy hath conducted them. The
poorest cottage and the hardest fare are great mercies, as they tend
to endless blessedness. This now and heaven after, is great, though
the thing in itself be never so small. Heaven puts the value and
signification upon all your mercies. The wicked make ciphers of their
greatest blessings, by separating them in their esteem and use, from
God and heaven, which is the measure of their estimate.

_Direct._ XX. When you see divisions among believers, and hear one for
this party, and another for that, and hear them bitterly censuring
each other, look up then to the saints with Christ, and think what
perfect love, and peace, and concord is among them. Consider how
unlike our factions and schisms are to their fervent love and unity;
and how unlike our jarring strifes and quarrels are to their
harmonious praise of God. Remember in what work it is that they are so
happily united, even love and praise incessant to Jehovah: and then
think, whether it would not unite the saints on earth, to lay by their
contendings for the pre-eminence in knowledge, (covered with the
gilded name of zeal for the truth of God,) and to employ themselves in
love and praise, and to show their emulation here, in striving who
shall love God and each other with the more pure heart and fervent
love, 1 Pet. i. 22, and who shall praise him with the most heavenly
alacrity and delight. Consider whether this work of blessed souls be
not like to be more desirable and excellent, than the work of
self-conceited, wrangling sophisters. And whether there be any danger
of falling into sects and factions, or falling out by emulations or
contentions, while we make this work of love and praise the matter of
our religious converse. And consider whether almost all the schisms
that ever vexed the church of God, did not arise, either by the
pastors striving "who should be the greatest," Luke xxii. 24, 26, or
by the rising up of some sciolist or gnostic, proudly pretending to
know more than others, and to vindicate or bring to light some
excellent truth which others know not, or oppose. And when you see the
hot contendings of each party, about their pretended orthodoxness or
wisdom, (which James iii. is purposely written against,) remember how
the concord of those blessed souls doth shame this work, and should
make it odious to the heirs of heaven.

_Direct._ XXI. When you are afraid of death, or would find more
willingness to die, look up to the blessed souls with Christ, and
think that you are but to pass that way, which all those souls have
gone before you; and to go from a world of enmity and vanity, to the
company of all those blessed spirits. And is not their blessed state
more desirable than such a vain, vexatious life as this? There is no
malice, nor slandering, nor cruel persecuting; no uncharitable
censures, contentions, or divisions; no ignorance, nor unbelief, nor
strangeness unto God; nothing but holy, amiable, and delightful. Join
yourselves daily to that celestial society: suppose yourselves
spectators of their order, purity, and glory, and auditors of their
harmonious praises of Jehovah. Live by faith in a daily familiarity
with them: say not that you want company or are alone, when you may
walk in the streets of the heavenly Jerusalem, and there converse with
the prophets and apostles, and all the glorious hosts of heaven.
Converse thus with them in your life, and it will overcome the fear of
death, and make you long to be there with them: like one that stands
by the river side, and seeth his friends on the further side, in a
place of pleasure, while his enemies are pursuing him at his back, how
gladly would he be over with them! And it will imbolden him to venture
on the passage, which all they have safely passed before him. Thus
death will be to us as the Red sea, to pass us safe to the land of
promise, while our pursuers are there overthrown and perish. We should
not be so strange to the world above, if we thus by faith conversed
with the blessed ones.

_Direct._ XXII. When you are over-much troubled for the death of your
godly friends, look up to that world of blessed souls, to which they
are translated, and think whether it be not better for them to be
there than here; and whether you are not bound by the law of love, to
rejoice with them that are thus exalted. Had we but a sight of the
world that they are in, and the company that they are gone to, we
should be less displeased with the will of God, in disposing of his
own into so glorious a state.

All these improvements may be made by a believer, of his daily
converse with the souls above. This is the communion with them which
we must hold on earth: not by praying to them, which God hath never
encouraged us to do; nor by praying for them (for though it be lawful
to pray for the resurrection of their bodies, and the perfecting of
their blessedness thereby, yet it being a thing of absolute certainty
as the day of judgment is, we must be very cautelous in the manner of
our doing this lawful act; it being a thing that their happiness doth
not at all depend on, and a thing which will-worshippers have showed
themselves so forward to abuse, by stepping further into that which is
unlawful; as the horrid abuses of the names, and days, and shrines,
and relics, of real or supposed saints, in the papal kingdom, sadly
testifieth). But the necessary part of our communion with the saints
in heaven, being of so great importance to the church on earth, I
commend it to the due consideration of the faithful, whether our
forgetfulness of it is not to be much repented of, and whether it be
not a work to be more seriously minded for the time to come.

And I must confess I know not why it should be thought unlawful to
celebrate the memorial of the life or martyrdom of any extraordinary
servant of God, by an anniversary solemnity, on a set appropriate day:
it is but to keep the thankful remembrance of God's mercy to the
church; and sure the life and death of such is not the smallest of the
church's mercies here on earth. If it be lawful on November the fifth
to celebrate the memorial of our deliverance from the powder-plot, I
know not why it should be thought unlawful to do the like in this case
also: provided, 1. That it be not terminated in the honour of a saint,
but of the God of saints, for giving so great a mercy to his church.
2. That it be not to honour a saint merely as a saint, but to some
extraordinary eminent saints: otherwise all that go to heaven must
have festivals kept in remembrance of them; and so we might have a
million for a day. 3. That it be not made equal with the Lord's day,
but kept in such a subordination to that day, as the life or death of
saints is of inferior and subordinate respect to the work of Christ in
man's redemption. 4. And if it be kept in a spiritual manner, to
invite men to imitate the holiness of the saints, and the constancy of
the martyrs, and not to encourage sensuality and sloth.

[185] I have said more of this since, in my "Life of Faith."

[186] Heb. xi. 1.

[187] Concil. Later. sub Innoc. III. Can. 3.

[188] Rom. i. 7; 1 Cor. i. 2; xiv. 33; Eph. i. 8; ii. 19; iv. 12; v.
3; Rom. xv. 25, 26.

[189] 1 Cor. iv. 12, 13: Lam. iii. 45.



_Direct._ I. Be satisfied in knowing so much of angels as God in
nature and Scripture hath revealed; but presume not to inquire
further, much less to determine of unrevealed things. That there are
angels, and that they are holy spirits, is past dispute; but what
number they are, and of how many worlds, and of what orders and
different dignities and degrees, and when they were created, and what
locality belongeth to them, and how far they excel or differ from the
souls of men, these and many other such unnecessary questions, neither
nature nor Scripture will teach us how infallibly to resolve. Almost
all the heretics in the first ages of the church, did make their
doctrines of angels the first and chief part of their heresies;
arrogantly intruding into unrevealed things, and boasting of their
acquaintance with the orders and inhabitants of the higher world.
These being risen in the apostles' days, occasioned Paul to say, Col.
ii. 18, "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary
humility, and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which
he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind."

_Direct._ II. Understand so much of the ministry of angels as God hath
revealed, and so far take notice of your communion with them; but
affect not any other sort of communion.[190]

I shall here show how much of the ministry of angels is revealed to us
in Scripture.

1. It is part of the appointed work of angels, to be ministering
spirits for the heirs of salvation, Heb. i. 14.[191] Not ministers or
servants of the godly, but ministers of God for the godly: as the
shepherd is not a servant of the sheep, but for the sheep. It is not
an accidental or occasional work which they do extraordinarily; but it
is their undertaken office to which they are sent forth. And this
their ministry is about the ordinary concernments of our lives, and
not only about some great or unusual cases or exigents, Psal. xxxiv.
6, 7; xci. 11, 12.

2. It is not some, but all the angels that are appointed by God to
this ministration. "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth,"
&c. Heb. i. 1, 4. Mark here, that if you inquire whether God have any
higher spirits, that are not employed in so low an office, but govern
these angels, or if you inquire whether only this world be the angels'
charge, or whether they have many other worlds also (of viators) to
take care of; neither nature nor Scripture doth give you the
determination of any of these questions; and therefore you must leave
them as unrevealed things (with abundance more with which the old
heretics, and the popish schoolmen, have diverted men's minds from
plain and necessary things). But that all the angels minister for us,
are the express words of Scripture.

3. The work of this office is not left promiscuously among them, but
several angels have their several works and charge; therefore
Scripture telleth us of some sent on one message, and some on
another;[192] and tells us that the meanest of Christ's members on
earth have their angels before God in heaven: "I say unto you, that in
heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in
heaven," Matt. xviii. 10. Whether each true believer hath one or more
angels? and whether one angel look to more than one believer? are
questions which God hath not resolved us of, either in nature or
Scripture; but that each true christian hath his angel, is here
asserted by our Lord.

4. In this office of ministration they are servants of Christ as the
Head of the church, and the Mediator between God and man, to promote
the ends of his superior office in man's redemption.[193] Matt.
xxviii. 18, "All power is given to me in heaven and earth;" John xiii.
3. Eph. i. 20-22, "And set him at his right hand in the celestials,
far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and
every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that
which is to come, and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him
to be head over all things to the church." Rev. xxiii. 16, "I Jesus
have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the
churches."[194] Whether the angels were appointed about the service of
Adam in innocency; or only began their office with Christ the Mediator
as his ministers, is a thing that God hath not revealed; but that they
serve under Christ for his church is plain.

5. This care of the angels for us is exercised throughout our lives,
for the saving of us from all our dangers, and delivering us out of
all our troubles.[195] Psal. xxxiv. 6, 7, "This poor man cried, and
the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles: the angel
of the Lord encampeth about them that fear him, and delivereth them."
Psal. xci. 11, 12, "For he shall give his angels charge over thee to
keep thee in all thy ways: they shall bear thee up in their hand, lest
thou dash thy foot against a stone." In all our ways, (that are
good,) and in every step we tread, we have the care and ministry of
tutelar angels. They are our ordinary defence and guard.

6. In all this ministry they perfectly obey the will of God,[196] and
do nothing but by his command, Psal. ciii. 10; Zech. i. 8, 10; Matt.
xviii. 10, being his messengers to man.

7. Much of their work is to oppose the malice of evil spirits that
seek our heart, and to defend us from them;[197] against whom they are
engaged under Christ in daily war or conflict, Rev. xii. 7, 9; Psal.
lxi. 17; lxxviii. 49; Matt. iv. 11.

8. In this their ministration they are ordered into different degrees
of superiority and inferiority,[198] and are not equal among
themselves, 1 Thess. iv. 16; Jude 9; Dan. x. 13, 20, 21; Eph. i. 21;
Col. ii. 10; Eph. iii. 10; vi. 12; Col. i. 16; Zech. iv. 10; Rev. iv.
5; v. 6.

9. Angels are employed not only about our bodies, but our souls, by
furthering the means of our salvation: they preached the gospel
themselves, (as they delivered the law,[199]) Luke ii. 9, 10; i. 11,
&c.; Heb. ii. 2; Gal. iii. 19; Acts x. 4; Dan. vii. 16; viii. 15-17;
ix. 21, 22; Luke i. 29; ii. 19. Especially they deliver particular
messages, which suppose the sufficiency of the laws of Christ, and
only help to the obedience of it.

10. They are sometimes God's instruments to confirm, and warn, and
comfort, and excite the soul, and to work upon the mind, and will, and
affections:[200] that they do this persuasively, and have as much
access and power to do us good, as Satan hath to do us evil, is very
clear. Good angels have as much power and access to the soul, to move
to duty, as devils have to tempt to sin. As God hath sent them oft
upon monitory and consolatory messages to his servants in visible
shapes, so doth he send them on the like messages invisibly, Judg. v.
23; Matt. i. 20; Psal. civ. 4; Luke xxii. 43, an angel from heaven is
sent to strengthen Christ himself in his agony.

11. They persecute and chase the enemies of the church, and sometimes
destroy them: as Psal. xxxv. 5, 6; 2 Kings xix. 35; Isa. xxxvii. 36;
and hinder them from doing hurt, Numb. xxii. 24.

12. They are a convoy for the departing souls of the godly, to bring
them to the place of their felicity, Luke xvi. 22, though how they do
it we cannot understand.

13. They are the attendants of Christ at his coming to judgment, and
his ministers to gather his elect, and sever the wicked from the just,
in order to their endless punishment or joy. 1 Thess. iv. 16, "The
Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of
the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall
rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up,"
&c. Matt. xiii. 41, 42, 49, "The Son of man shall send forth his
angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all offences or
scandals, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a
furnace of fire. At the end of the world, the angels shall come forth,
and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the
furnace of fire," &c.[201]

_Direct._ III. Understand our near affinity or relation to the angels,
and how they and we are concerned in each others' condition and
affairs. As to our nature our immortal souls are kin or like unto the
angels, though our bodies are but like the brutes. Those souls that
are created after the image of God, in their very natural essence, (as
rational and free agents,) besides his moral image of sanctity, Gen.
ix. 6, may well be said to be like the angels: "He made us a little
lower than the angels," Psal. viii. 5. And God hath made us their
charge and care; and therefore no doubt hath given them a special love
unto us, to fit them to the due performance of their trust. As
ministers have a special paternal love to their flocks, and as
christians are to have a special love to one another to enable and
engage them to the duties appointed them by God towards each other; so
these excellent spirits have no doubt a far purer and greater love, to
the image of God upon the saints, and to the saints for the image and
sake of God, than the dearest friends and holiest persons on earth can
have. For they are more holy, and they are more perfectly conformed to
the mind of God, and they love God himself more perfectly than we, and
therefore for his sake do love his people much more perfectly than we.
And therefore they are more to be loved by us than any mortals are;
both because they are more excellent, pure, and amiable, and because
they have more love to us. Moreover the angels are servants of the
same God, and members of the same society which we belong to. They are
the inhabitants of the heavenly Jerusalem, of which we are heirs: they
have possession, and we have title, and shall in time possess it. We
are called to much of the same employment with them; we must love the
same God, and glorify him by obedience, thanks, and praise, and so do
they. Therefore they are ministers for our good, and rejoice in the
success of their labours, as the ministers of Christ on earth do, Heb.
i. 14. There is not a sinner converted, but it is the angels' joy,
Luke xv. 10, which showeth us how much they attend that work. "We are
come to mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly
Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels," &c. Heb. xii. 22-24. They are
especially present and attendant on us in our holy assemblies and
services of God; and therefore we are admonished to reverence their
presence, and do nothing before them that is sinful or unseemly, 1
Cor. xi. 10; Eccles. v. 6. The presence of God, and the Lord Jesus
Christ, and the elect angels, must continually awe us into exact
obedience, 1 Tim. v. 21. With the church they pry into the mystery of
the dispensations of the Spirit to the church, 1 Pet. i. 12. And so
"by the church," that is, by God's dealings with the church, is "made
known the manifold wisdom of God," even to these "heavenly
principalities and powers," Eph. iii. 10. In conclusion, Christ
telleth us that in our state of blessedness we shall "be equal to the
angels," Luke xx. 36, and so shall live with them for ever.

_Direct._ IV. When your thoughts of heaven are staggering or strange,
and when you are tempted to doubt whether indeed there is such a life
of glory for the saints, it may be a great help to your faith, to
think of the world of angels that already do possess it. That there
are such excellent and happy inhabitants of the superior orbs, besides
what Scripture saith, even reason will strongly persuade any rational
man: 1. When we consider that sea, and land, and air, and all places
of this lower, baser part of the world, are replenished with
inhabitants suitable to their natures; and therefore that the
incomparably more great and excellent orbs and regions should all be
uninhabited, is irrational to imagine. 2. And as we see the rational
creatures are made to govern the brutes in this inferior world, so
reason telleth us it is improbable that the higher reason of the
inhabitants of the higher regions should have no hand in the
government of man. And yet God hath further condescended to satisfy us
herein, by some unquestionable apparitions of good angels, and many
more of evil spirits, which puts the matter past all doubt, that there
are inhabitants of the unseen world. And when we know that such there
are, it maketh it the more easy to us to believe that such we may be,
either numbered with the happy or unhappy spirits, considering the
affinity which there is between the nature of our souls and them: to
conquer senseless Sadducism is a good step to the conquest of
irreligiousness; he that is well persuaded that there are angels and
spirits, is much better prepared than a Sadducee to believe the
immortality of the soul: and because the infinite distance between God
and man, is apt to make the thoughts of our approaching his glory
either dubious or very terrible, the remembrance of those myriads of
blessed spirits that dwell now in the presence of that glory, doth
much imbolden and confirm our thoughts; as he that would be afraid
whether he should have access to and acceptance with the king, would
be much encouraged if he saw a multitude as mean as himself, or not
much unlike him, to be familiar attendants on him. I must confess such
is my own weakness, that I find a frequent need of remembering the
holy hosts of saints and angels, that are with God, to imbolden my
soul, and make the thoughts of heaven more familiar and sweet, by
abating my strangeness, amazedness, and fears; and thus far to make
them the media (that I say not the mediators) of my thoughts, in their
approaches to the most high and holy God (though the remembrance of
Christ the true Mediator is my chief encouragement). Especially when
we consider how fervently those holy spirits do love every holy person
upon earth, and so that all those that dwell with God, are dearer
friends to us, than our fathers or mothers here on earth are, (as is
briefly proved before,) this will imbolden us yet much more.

_Direct._ V. Make use of the thoughts of the angelical hosts, when you
would see the glory and majesty of Christ. If you think it a small
matter that he is the Head of the church on earth, a handful of people
contemned by the satanical party of the world, yet think what it is to
be "Head over all things, far above all principality, and power, and
might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this
world, but also in that which is to come," (that is, gave him a power,
dignity, and name, greater than any power, dignity, or name of men or
angels,) "and hath put all things under his feet," Eph. i. 21-23.
"Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance
obtained a more excellent name than they;" of him it is said, "Let all
the angels of God worship him," Heb. i. 4, 6. Read the whole chapter.
Our Head is the Lord of all these hosts.

_Direct._ VI. Make use of the remembrance of the glorious angels, to
acquaint you with the dignity of human nature, and the special dignity
of the servants of God, and so to raise up your hearts in thankfulness
to your Creator and Redeemer who hath thus advanced you.[202] 1. What
a dignity is it that these holy angels should be all ministering
spirits sent for our good! that they should love us, and concern
themselves so much for us, as to rejoice in heaven at our conversion!
"Lord, what is man, that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man
that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the
angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour," Psal. viii. 4, 5.
2. But yet it is a higher declaration of our dignity, that we should
in heaven be equal with them, and so be numbered into their society,
and join with them everlastingly in the praise of our Creator. 3. And
it is yet a greater honour to us, that our natures are assumed into
union of person with the Son of God, and so advanced above the angels.
"For he took not on him the nature of angels, but the seed of
Abraham:" nor hath he put the world to come in subjection to the
angels, Heb. ii. 5, 16. This is the Lord's doing, and it is wondrous
in our eyes.

_Direct._ VII. When you would admire the works of God and his
government, look specially to the angels' part. If God would be
glorified in his works, then especially in the most glorious parts: if
he take delight to work by instruments, and to communicate such
excellency and honour to them as may conduce to the honour of the
principal cause, we must not overlook their excellency and honour,
unless we will deny God the honour which is due to him. As he that
will see the excellent workmanship of a watch or any other engine,
must not overlook the chiefest parts, nor their operation on the rest;
so he that will see the excellent order of the works and government of
God, must not overlook the angels, nor their offices in the
government, and preservation of the inferior creatures, so far as God
hath revealed it unto us. We spoil the music if we leave out these
strings. It is a great part of the glory of the works of God, that all
the parts in heaven and earth are so admirably conjoined and jointed
as they are; and each in their places contribute to the beauty and
harmony of the whole.

_Direct._ VIII. When you would be apprehensive of the excellency of
love and humility, and exact obedience to the will of God, look up to
the angels, and see the lustre of all these virtues as they shine in
them. How perfectly do they love God and all his saints! even the
weakest and meanest of the members of Christ! With what humility do
they condescend to minister for the heirs of salvation! how readily
and perfectly do they obey their Maker![203] Though our chiefest
pattern is Christ himself, who came nearer to us, and appeared in
flesh, to give us the example of all such duties, yet under him the
example of angels is also to be observed, and with pleasure to be
imitated. And ask the enemies of holiness, who urge you with the
examples of the great and learned, whether they are wiser than all the
angels of God?

_Direct._ IX. When you are tempted to desire any inordinate communion
with angels, as visibly appearing or affecting your senses, or to give
them any part of the office or honour of Jesus Christ, then think how
suitable that office is to your safety and benefit which God hath
assigned them, and how much they themselves abhor aspiring to, or
usurpation of, the office or honour of their Lord: and consider how
much more suitable to your benefit this spiritual ministration of the
angels is, than if they appeared to us in bodily shapes.[204] In this
spiritual communion they act according to their spiritual nature,
without deceit; and they serve us without any terrible appearances;
and without any danger of drawing us to sensitive, gross
apprehensions of them, or enticing us to an unmeet adhesion to them,
or honouring of them: whereas if they appeared to us in visible
shapes, we might easily be affrighted, confounded, and left in doubt,
whether they were good angels indeed or not. It is our communion with
God himself that is our happiness; and communion with angels or
saints, is desirable but in order unto this: that kind of communion
with angels therefore is the best, which most advanceth us to
communion with God; and that reception of his mercy by instruments is
best, which least endangereth our inordinate adhesion to the
instruments, and our neglect of God. We know not so well as God, what
way is best and safest for us: as it is dangerous desiring to mend his
word by any fancies of our own, which we suppose more fit; so it is
dangerous to desire to amend his government, and providence, and
order, and to think that another way than that which in nature he hath
stated and appointed, is more to our benefit. It is dangerous wishing
God to go out of his way, and to deal with us, and conduct us in
by-ways of our own; in which we are ourselves unskilled, and of which
we little know the issue.

_Direct._ X. When you are apt to be terrified with the fear of devils,
think then of the guard of angels, and how much greater strength is
for you than against you. Though God be our only fundamental security,
and our chiefest confidence must be in him, yet experience telleth us
how apt we are to look to instruments, and to be affected as second
causes do appear to make for us or against us; therefore when
appearing dangers terrify us, appearing or secondary helps should be
observed to comfort and encourage us.

_Direct._ XI. Labour to answer the great and holy love of angels with
such great and holy love to them, as may help you against your
unwillingness to die, and make you long for the company of them whom
you so much love. And when death seemeth terrible to you because the
world to come seems strange, remember that you are going to the
society of those angels, that rejoiced in your conversion, and
ministered for you here on earth, and are ready to convoy your souls
to Christ.[205] Though the thoughts of God and our blessed Mediator
should be the only final object to attract our love, and make us long
to be in heaven, yet under Christ, the love and company of saints and
angels must be thought on to further our desires and delight: for even
in heaven God will not so be all to us, as to use no creature for our
comfort; otherwise the glorified humanity of Christ would be no means
of our comfort there; and the heavenly Jerusalem would not then have
been set out to us by its created excellencies, as it is Rev. xxi.
xxii.; nor would it be any comfort to us in the kingdom of God that we
shall be with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Luke xiii. 28; Matt. viii.

_Direct._ XII. Pray for the protection and help of angels, as part of
the benefits procured for the saints by Christ; and be thankful for it
as a privilege of believers, excelling all the dignities of the
ungodly. And walk with a reverence of their presence, especially in
the worshipping of God. It is not fit such a mercy should be
undervalued or unthankfully received: nor that so ordinary a means of
our preservation should be overlooked, and not be sought of God by
prayer. But the way to keep the love of angels, is to keep up the love
of God; and the way to please them, is to please him; for his will is

_Direct._ XIII. In all the worship you perform to God, remember that
you join with the angels of heaven, and bear your part to make up the
concert. Do it therefore with that holiness, and reverence, and
affection, as remembering not only to whom you speak, but also what
companions you have; and let there not be too great a discord either
in your hearts or praises. O think with what lively, joyful minds they
praise their glorious Creator; and how unwearied they are in their
most blessed work! And labour to be like them in love and praise, that
you may come to be equal with them in their glory, Luke xx. 36.

[190] Angelorum vocabulum nomen est officii, non naturæ: nam sancti
illi cœlestis patriæ spiritus, semper sunt spiritus, sed semper
vocari angeli non possunt. Gregor.

[191] Dan. iv. 13; Gen. xxxii. 1, 2; Exod. xxxii. 2; Dan. vi. 22; Acts
xii. 7, 11; 1 Kings xix. 5, 6.

[192] Luke i. 13, 18, 19, 26, 28; ii. 10, 13, 21; Acts x. 7, 22; xii.
8, 9; Dan. iii. 28; vi. 22; Gen. xxiv. 40.

[193] 1 Pet. iii. 22; Matt. xxvi. 53.

[194] Rev. i. 1.

[195] 2 Kings vi. 17.

[196] Dan. iv. 35.

[197] 1 Kings xxii. 19-22; 1 Thess. ii. 18.

[198] Luke i. 19, 26.

[199] Acts vii. 53.

[200] Acts xxvii. 24; Luke i. 13, 30; ii. 10; Dan. x. 12; 2 Kings vi.
16; Gen. xvi. 9, 10; Numb. xxii. 32.

[201] 2 Thess. i. 7, 8; Mark viii. 38; Matt. xxv. 31.

[202] Magna dignitas fidelium animarum ut unaquæque habeat ab ortu
nativitatis in custodiam sui angelum deputatum: imo plures. Hieron.
Luke xx. 36.

[203] Heb. i. 14; Psal. ciii. 20, 21.

[204] Timet angelus adorari ab humana natura, quam videt in Deo
sublimatam. Gregor.

[205] Simus devoti, simus grati tantis custodibus: redamemus eos
quantum possumus, quantum debemus effectuose, &c. Bernard. Væ nobis si
quando provocati sancti angeli peccatis et negligentiis, indignos nos
judicaverint præsentia et visitatione sua, &c. Cavenda est nobis eorum
offensa, et in his maxime exercendum, quibus eos novimus oblectari:
hæc autem placent eis quæ in nobis invenire delectat, ut est
sobrietas, castitas, &c. In quovis angulo reverentiam exhibe angelo,
ne audeas illo presente, quod me vidente non auderes. Bernard.



I have something to say to thee of the number of these cases, somewhat
of the order, and somewhat of the manner of handling and resolving
them. I. That they are so many is because there are really so many
difficulties which all men are not able to resolve. That they are no
more, is partly because I could not remember then any more that were
necessarily to be handled, and I was not willing to increase so great
a book with things unnecessary.

II. As to the order, I have some reasons for the order of most of
them, which would be too tedious to open to you. But some of them are
placed out of order, because, 1. I could not remember them in due
place. 2. And great haste allowed me not time to transpose them. If
you say that in such a work I should take time, I answer, You are no
competent judges, unless you knew me and the rest of my work, and the
likelihood that my time will be but short. They that had rather take
my writings with such defects which are the effects of haste, than
have none of them, may use them, and the rest are free to despise them
and neglect them. Two or three questions about the Scripture, I would
have put nearer the beginning if I could have time; but seeing I
cannot, it is easy for you to transpose them in the reading.

III. The resolution of these cases so much avoideth all the extremes,
that I look they should be displeasing to all that vast number of
christians, who involve themselves in the opinions and interests of
their several sects as such, and that hold the faith of our Lord Jesus
Christ with respect of persons. But there will be still a certain
number of truly catholic, impartial readers, whose favourable
acceptance I confidently prognosticate; and who, being out of the
dust, and noise, and passions of contending sides and parties, and
their interests, will see a self-evidencing light in those solutions,
which are put off here briefly, without the pomp of formal
argumentation, or persuading oratory. The Eternal Light revealeth
himself to us, by Christ who is the Light of the world, and by the
illumination of the Spirit and word of light; that we may walk in the
light, as the children of light, till we come to the world of glorious
everlasting light. And what other defect soever our knowledge have, if
any man hath knowledge enough to kindle in him the love of God, the
same is known of him, and therefore is beloved by him, and shall be
blessed with and in him for ever, 1 Cor. viii. 1-3.

Quest. I. _How to know which is the true church, among all pretenders,
that a christian's conscience may be quiet in his relation and

I have written so much of this already in four books, (viz. one
called, "The Safe Religion," another called, "A Key for Catholics,"
another called, "The Visibility of the Church," another called, "A
true Catholic, and the Catholic Church described,") that I shall say
now but a little, and yet enough to an impartial, considerate reader.

The terms must first be opened. 1. By a church is meant a society of
christians as such. And it is sometimes taken narrowly, for the body
or members as distinct from the head, as the word kingdom is taken for
the subjects only as distinct from the king; and sometimes more fully
and properly for the whole political society, as constituted of its
head and body, or the _pars imperans et pars subdita_.

2. The word church thus taken, signifieth sometimes the universal
church called catholic, which consisteth of Christ and his body
politic, or mystical; and sometimes some part only of the universal
church. And so it is taken either for a subordinate, political part,
or for a community, or a part considered as consociate, but not
political; or as many particular, political churches agreeing and
holding concord and communion without any common head, save the
universal Head.

3. Such political churches are either of divine constitution and
policy, or only of human.

2. By christians, I mean such as profess the essentials of the
christian religion. For we speak of the church as visible.

3. By true, may be meant, either reality of essence, opposite to that
which is not really a church in this univocal acception; or else sound
and orthodox, in the integrals, as opposite to erroneous and defiled
with much enormity. And now I thus decide that question.

_Prop._ I. The true catholic church consisteth of Christ the Head, and
all christians as his body, or the members. As the kingdom consisteth
of the king and his subjects.[206]

_Prop._ II. As all the sincere heart-covenanters make up the church as
regenerate, and mystical or invisible; so all that are christened,
that is, baptized, and profess consent to all the essentials of the
baptismal covenant, not having apostatized, nor being by lawful power
excommunicated, are christians, and make up the church as

_Prop._ III. Therefore there is but one universal church, because it
containeth all christians; and so leaveth out none to be the matter of

_Prop._ IV. It is not ignorance or error about the mere integrals of
christianity, which maketh them no christians who hold the essentials,
that is, the baptismal covenant.[209]

_Prop._ V. That the baptismal covenant might be rightly understood and
professed, the churches have still used the creed as the explication
of the covenant, in point of faith; and taken it for the symbol of the
christian belief. And no further profession of faith was or is to be
required, as necessary to the being of christianity.[210]

_Prop._ VI. If proud usurpers or censurers take on them to
excommunicate, or unchristian, or unchurch others, without authority
and cause, this maketh them not to be no christians, or no churches,
that are so used.[211]

_Prop._ VII. Therefore to know which is the true catholic or universal
church, is but to know who are baptized, professed christians.[212]

_Prop._ VIII. The reformed churches, the Lutherans, the Abassines, the
Coptics, the Syrians, the Armenians, the Jacobites, the Georgians, the
Maronites, the Greeks, the Moscovites, and the Romanists, do all
receive baptism in all its visible essentials, and profess all the
essentials of the christian religion, though not with the same

_Prop._ IX. He that denieth any one essential part, in itself, is so a
heretic as to be no christian, nor true member of the church, if it be
justly proved or notorious: that is, none ought to take him for a
visible christian, who know the proof of his denying that essential
part of christianity, or to whom it is notorious.[214]

_Prop._ X. He that holdeth the essentials primarily, and with them
holdeth some error which by unseen consequence subverteth some
essential point, but holdeth the essentials so much faster, that he
would forsake his error if he saw the inconsistence, is a christian
notwithstanding; and if the name heretic be applicable to him, it is
but in such a sense, as is consistent with christianity.[215]

_Prop._ XI. He that is judged a heretic and no christian justly by
others, must be lawfully cited, and heard plead his cause, and be
judged upon sufficient proof, and not unheard, or upon rash

_Prop._ XII. Christianity and heresy being personal qualities, and no
where found but in individuals, nor one man guilty of another's error,
it followeth that it is single persons upon personal guilt that must
be judged.[217]

_Prop._ XIII. Any man may judge another to be a christian or heretic,
by a private judgment of discerning, or the reason which guideth all
human actions; but only church rulers may judge him by that public
judgment, which giveth or denieth him his public privileges and

_Prop._ XIV. If by notorious injustice church rulers condemn
christians as no christians, though they may thereby deny them
communion with those public assemblies which they govern, yet do they
not oblige the people to take such injured persons for no christians.
Else they might oblige all to believe a lie, to consent to malicious
injuries, and might disoblige the people from truth, righteousness,
and charity.[219]

_Prop._ XV. There is no one natural or collective head and governor of
all the churches in the world (the universal church) but Jesus Christ;
and therefore there is none that by such governing power, can
excommunicate any man out of the universal church; and such usurpation
would be treason against Christ, whose prerogative it is.[220]

_Prop._ XVI. Yet he that deserveth to be excommunicated from one
church, deserveth to be excommunicated by and from all, if it be upon
a cause common to all; or that nullifieth his christianity.[221]

_Prop._ XVII. And where neighbour churches are consociate and live in
order and concord, he that is orderly excommunicate from one church,
and it be notified to the rest, should not be taken into the communion
of any of the rest, till he be cleared, or become fit for their
communion.[222] But this obligation ariseth but from the concord of
consociate churches, and not from the power of one over the rest; and
it cannot reach all the world, where the person cometh not, nor was
ever known; but only to those who through neighbourhood are capable of
just notice, and of giving or denying communion to that person.

_Prop._ XVIII. From all this it is clear, that it is not either
papists alone, or Greeks alone, or protestants alone, or any party of
christians, who are the universal church, seeing that church
containeth all christians.[223] And that reviling others (yea, whole
nations) as heretics, schismatics, and no christians or churches, will
no more prove the revilers to be the only church or christians, than
want of love will prove a man to be one of Christ's disciples, who by
love are known to all men to be his.

_Prop._ XIX. It is therefore the shameful language of distracted men,
to cry out against other christian nations, It is not you, but we that
are the catholic or universal church. And our shameful controversy,
which of them is the catholic, is no wiser than to question, Whether
it be this house or that which is the street? Or this street or that
which is the city? Or whether it be the kitchen, or the hall, or the
parlour which is the house? Or the hand, or foot, or eye which is the
man? O when will God bring distracting teachers to repentance, and
distracted people to their wits?[224]

_Prop._ XX. There is great difference in the purity or soundness of
the several parts of the universal church; some being more orthodox
and holy, and some defiled with so many errors and sins, as to make it
difficult to discern whether they do not deny the very essentials.[225]

_Prop._ XXI. The reformed churches are the soundest and purest that we
know in the world, and therefore their privilege exceeding great,
though they are not all the universal church.

_Prop._ XXII. Particular churches consisting of lawful pastors and
christian people associated for personal communion in worship and holy
living, are societies or true churches of Christ's institution, and
the chief parts of the universal church; as cities and corporations
are of the kingdom.[226]

_Prop._ XXIII. There are thousands of these in the world, and a man
may be saved in one, as well as in another; only the purest give him
the best advantages for his salvation; and therefore should be
preferred by all that are wise and love their souls, so far as they
are free to choose their communion.

_Prop._ XXIV. The case then being easily resolved, (which is the true
church?) viz. All christians as christians are the catholic or
universal church;[227] and all congregations afore described, of true
pastors and christians, being particular true churches, differing only
in degrees of purity, he is to be suspected as a designing deceiver
and troubler of the world, that pretending to be a learned man and a
teacher, doth still perplex the consciences of the ignorant with this
frivolous question, and would muddy and obscure this clear state of
the case, lest the people should rest in the discerned truth.

_Prop._ XXV. The papal church as such, being no true church of
Christ's institution, (of which by itself anon,) it followeth that a
papist as a papist is no member of the church of Christ, that is, no
christian.[228] But yet, whether the same person may not be a papist
and a christian, and so a member of the catholic church, we shall anon

_Prop._ XXVI. There are many things which make up the fitness and
desirableness of that particular church, which we should prefer or
choose for our ordinary personal communion:[229] as, 1. That it be the
church of that place where we dwell; if the place be so happy as to
have no divided churches, that it be the sole church there; however,
that it be so near as to be fit for our communion. 2. That it be a
church which holdeth communion with other neighbour churches, and is
not singular or divided from them; or at least not from the generality
of the churches of Christ; nor differeth in any great matters from
those that are most pure. 3. That it be under the reputation of
soundness with the other churches aforesaid, and not under the scandal
of heresy, schism, or gross corruption among those that live
about.[230] 4. That it be under the countenance and encouraging favour
of the christian magistrate. 5. That it be the same church of which
the rest of the family which we are of be members; that husband and
wife, parents and children, masters and servants, be not of several
churches. 6. That the pastors be able teachers, prudent guides, and
of holy lives, and diligent in their office. 7. That the pastors be
regularly called to their office. 8. That the members be intelligent,
peaceable, and of holy, temperate, and righteous lives. But when all
these cannot be had together, we must choose that church which hath
those qualifications which are most needful, and bear with tolerable
imperfections. The most needful are the first, second, and sixth of
these qualifications.

_Prop._ XXVII. He that is free, should choose that church which is the
fittest for his own edification; that is, the best pastors, people,
and administrations.

_Prop._ XXVIII. A man's freedom is many ways restrained herein. As, 1.
When it will tend to a greater public hurt, by disorder, ill example,
division, discouragement, &c. 2. When superiors forbid it; as
husbands, parents, masters, magistrates. 3. By some scandal. 4. By the
distance or inconvenience of our dwelling. 5. By differences of
judgment, and other causes of contention in the said churches; and
many other ways.[231]

_Prop._ XXIX. A free man who removeth from one church to another for
his edification, is not therefore a separatist or schismatic; but it
must not be done by one that is not free, but upon such necessity as
freeth him.

_Prop._ XXX. It is schism or sinful separation to separate from, 1. A
true church as no true church. 2. From lawful worship and communion,
as lawful; but of this more in its proper place.

[206] 1 Cor. xi. 3; xii. 12; Eph. i. 22, 23; 1 Cor. vi. 15; xii. 27.

[207] Eph. iv. 4, 5; Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.

[208] Eph. iv. 4, 5; 1 Cor. xii. 12; Mark xvi. 16.

[209] Rom. xiv. 1, 6, 7; xv. 1, 3, 4.

[210] 1 Cor. xv. 1, 2, &c.; Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.

[211] Rom. xiv. 3, 4.

[212] Rom. vi. 1, 2, &c.

[213] Eph. iv. 4, 5.

[214] Tit. iii. 10; 3 John.

[215] James iii. 2; Phil. iii. 15, 16; Heb. v. 1, 2.

[216] Tit. iii. 10; Matt. xviii. 15.

[217] Ezek. xviii. 17; Gen. xviii. 23-25.

[218] 1 Cor. x. 15; Acts i. 19; 1 Cor. v. 3-5; xi. 3.

[219] Matt. v. 11, 12; John xvi. 2.

[220] 1 Cor. xii. 27-29; Eph. iv. 5-7; 1 Cor. i. 12, 13; iii. 22, 23;
Eph. v. 23; iv. 15; Col. i. 18; ii. 19.

[221] 3 John.

[222] Eph. v. 11; 1 Cor. v. 11.

[223] 1 Cor. xii. 12; John xiii. 35; 1 Cor. xiii. 1, 2, &c.

[224] 1 Cor. xii. 12; vi. 17; x. 17; Eph. iv. 3, &c.

[225] Gal. iv. 11, 12.

[226] Rev. iii. 8-12; ii. 10, 11; Acts xiv. 22; Tit. i. 5; Rom. xvi.
4, 16; 1 Cor. vii. 17; xi. 16; xiv. 33, 44; 2 Thess. i. 4; Rev. ii.

[227] 1 Cor. i. 13; Rom. xvi. 17; Acts xx. 30.

[228] Acts ii. 44; 1 Cor. i. 10; 1 Thess. v. 12, 13.

[229] Heb. x. 25; 1 Tim. iii. 7; 3 John 12.

[230] Acts xvi. 32, 34; x. 2, 22; xviii. 8; Col. iv. 15.

[231] Of these things I have said so much in my "Cure of Church
divisions," and in the "Defence" of it, and in the end of my "Reas. of
Christ. Relig." Consect. i. and ii. that I pass them over here with
the more brevity.

Quest. II. _Whether we must esteem the church of Rome a true church?
And in what sense some divines affirm it, and some deny it._

Want of some easy distinguishing hath made that seem a controversy
here, which is so plain, that it can hardly be any at all to
protestants, if the question had been but truly stated.[232]

Remember therefore that by a church is meant, not a mere company of
christians, any how related to each other; but a society consisting of
an ecclesiastical head and body, such as we call a political society.
2. And that we speak not of an accidental head (such as the king is,
because he governeth them _suo modo_ by the sword); for that is not an
essential constitutive part; but of a constitutive ecclesiastical head
and body. 3. That the question is not, Whether the church of Rome be a
part of the church, but whether it be a true church? And now I answer,

1. To affirm the church of Rome to be the catholic or universal
church, is more than to affirm it to be a true catholic church, that
is, a true part of the catholic church: and is as much as to say that
it is the whole and only church, and that there is no other; which is
odious falsehood and usurpation, and slander against all other

2. The church of Rome is so called in the question, as it is a policy
or church in a general sense; and the meaning of the question is,
Whether it be a divine, or a human or diabolical policy; a lawful

3. The church of Rome is considered, 1. Formally, as a church or
policy. 2. Materially, as the singular persons are qualified. It is
the form that denominateth. Therefore the question must be taken of
the Roman policy, or of the church of Rome as such; that is, as it is
one ruler pretending to be the vicarious, constitutive, governing head
of all Christ's visible church on earth, and the body which owneth him
in this relation.

4. Therefore I conclude (and so do all protestants) that this policy
or church of Rome is no true church of Christ's instituting or
approbation, but a human, sinful policy, formed by the temptation of
Satan, the prince of pride, deceit, and darkness. The proof of which
is the matter of whole loads of protestant writings. And indeed the
proof of their policy being incumbent on themselves, they fail in it,
and are still fain to fly to pretended, false tradition for proof, in
which the sophisters know that either they must be judges themselves,
and it must go for truth because they say it; or else that if they can
carry the controversy into a thicket or wood of fathers and church
history, at least they can confound the ignorant, and evade
themselves. Of this see my "Disput. with Johnson," and my "Key for
Catholics," &c.

5. The bishop of the English papists, Smith called bishop of
Chalcedon, in his Survey, c. v. saith, "To us it sufficeth that the
bishop of Rome is St. Peter's successor; and this all the fathers
testify, and all the catholic church believeth; but whether it be
_jure divino_ or _humano_, is no point of faith." The like hath
Davenport,[233] called Fransc. a Sancta Clara more largely. By this
let the reader judge whether we need more words to prove their church
to be such as Christ never instituted, when the belief of their divine
right is no part of their own faith.

6. If the church of Rome in its formal policy be but of human
institution, it is, 1. Unnecessary to salvation. 2. Unlawful; because
they that first instituted it had no authority so to do, and were
usurpers. For either the makers of it were themselves a church or no
church. If no church, they could not lawfully make a church. Infidels
or heathens are not to be our church makers. If a church, then there
was a church before the church of Rome, and that of another form. And
if that former form were of Christ's institution, man might not change
it; if not, who made that form? and so on.

7. Our divines therefore that say that the church of Rome is a true
church, though corrupt, do not speak of it formally as to the papal
policy or headship, but materially. 1. That all papists that are
visible christians are visible parts of the universal church. 2. That
their particular congregations considered abstractedly from the Roman
headship may be true particular churches, though corrupt; which yet
being the only difficulty shall be the matter of our next inquiry.

[232] See Mr. Barton's and Bp. Hall's contest hereabouts.

[233] System. Fidei.

Quest. III. _Whether we must take the Romish clergy for true ministers
of Christ? And whether their baptism and ordination be nullities?_

I join these two distinct questions together for brevity.

I. As true signifieth regularly called, so they are commonly irregular
and not true ministers. But as true signifieth real opposed to a
nullity, so it is now to be further considered.

The doubt lieth either of the sufficiency of his call, or of somewhat
that is supposed to destroy it by contradiction or redundancy. 1.
Whether he want any thing of absolute necessity to the office, who is
called in the church of Rome? or, 2. Whether there be any thing in his
office or entrance, which nullifieth or invalidateth that which else
would be sufficient?

For the first doubt, it is not agreed on among papists or protestants
what is of necessity to the being of the office. Some think real
godliness in the person is necessary; but most think not. Some think
that visible, that is, seeming professed godliness, not disproved by
mortal sin, is necessary; and some think not. Some think the people's
election is necessary, and that ordination is but _ad bene esse_; and
some think ordination necessary _ad esse_, and election _ad bene
esse_, or not at all; and some think both necessary _ad esse_, and
some neither. Some think the election of the people is necessary, and
some think only their consent is necessary, though after election by
others; some think it must be the consent of all the flock, or near
all; and some only of the major part; and some of the better part,
though the minor. Some think the ordination of a diocesan bishop
necessary _ad esse_, and some not. Some think the truth of the
ordainers' calling, or power, to be necessary to the validity of his
ordination, and some not. Some think the number of two, or three, or
more ordainers to be necessary, and some not. Some think it necessary
to the validity of the ministry that it come down from the apostles by
an uninterrupted succession of truly ordained bishops, and some think
not. Some few think that the magistrates' command or licence is
necessary, and only it, and most deny both. Johnson, alias Terret, the
papist, in his Disputation against me, maintaineth that consecration
is not necessary _ad esse_, nor any one way of election, by these or
those, but only the church's reception upon such an election as may
give them notice, and which may be different, according to different
times, places, and other circumstances.

In the midst of these confusions, what is to be held? I have opened
the case as fully and plainly as I can, in my second "Disput. of
Church Government," about ordination, to which I must refer the
reader: only here briefly touching upon the sum.

1. There are some personal qualifications necessary to the being of
the office, (of which anon,) and some only to the well-being.[234]

2. The efficient conveying cause of power or office, is God's will
signified in his own established law; in which he determineth that
such persons so called shall receive from him such power, and be
obliged to such office administrations.[235]

3. Any providence of God which infallibly or satisfactorily notifieth
to the church, who these persons are, that receive such power from
God, doth oblige them to submit to them as so empowered.

4. God's ordinary established way of regular designation of the
person, is by the church's consent, and the senior pastor's

5. By these actions they are not the proper donors or efficients of
the power, or office given, but the consent of the people and the
ordination do determine of the recipient, and so are regularly _causa
sine qua non_ of his reception. And the ordination is moreover a
solemn investiture in the office, as when a servant is sent by
delivering a key to deliver possession of a house, by his master's
consent, to him that had before the owner's grant; and so it
ceremoniously entereth him into visible possession; like the
solemnizing of marriage, or the listing of a soldier, &c.

6. The people's consent (before or after) is not only by institution,
but naturally necessary, that a man become a pastor to those persons
(for no man can learn, obey, &c. without consent): but it is not of
necessity to the being of the ministry in general, or in the first
instant: a man without it may be authorized as a minister to go preach
the gospel for conversion, and baptize and gather churches, though not
to be their stated pastor.

7. When death, distance, corruption, heresy, or malignity of pastors
within reach, maketh it impossible to have ordination, God's choice of
the person may be notified without it: as by, 1. Eminent
qualifications. 2. The people's real necessities. 3. And the removal
of impediments, and a concurrence of inviting opportunities and
advantages. 4. And sometimes the people's desire. 5. And sometimes the
magistrate's commission or consent; which though not absolutely
necessary in themselves, yet may serve to design the person and invest
him, when the ordinary way faileth; which is all that is left to man
to do, to the conveyance of the power.

The case being thus stated, as to what is necessary to give the power
or office, we may next inquire whether any papist priest have such
power, by such means.

And, 1. We have sufficient reason to judge that many of them have all
the personal qualifications which are essentially necessary. 2. Many
among them have the consent of a sober christian people (of which more
anon). And Mr. Jacob, who was against bishops and their ordination,
proveth at large, that by election or consent of the people alone, a
man may be a true pastor, either without such ordination, or
notwithstanding both the vanity and error of it. 3. Many of them have
ordination by able and sober bishops; if that also be necessary. 4. In
that ordination, they are invested in all that is essential to the
pastoral office.

So that I see not that their calling is a nullity through defect of
any thing of absolute necessity to its being and validity; though it
be many ways irregular and sinful.

II. We are next therefore to inquire whether any contradicting
additions make null that which else would be no nullity. And this is
the great difficulty. For as we accuse not their religion for having
too little, but too much, so this is our chief doubt about their

And, 1. It is doubted, as to the office itself, whether a mass priest
be a true minister, as having another work to do, even to make his
Maker, and to give Christ's real flesh with his hands to the people;
and to preach the unsound doctrines of their church; and these seem to
be essential parts of his function.

The case is very bad and sad; but that which I said about the heresies
or errors which may consist with christianity, when they overthrow it
but by an undiscerned consequence, must be here also considered. The
prime part of their office is that (as to the essentials) which Christ
ordained: this they receive, and to this they sew a filthy rag of
man's devising; but if they knew this to be inconsistent with
christianity or the essentials of the ministry, we may well presume
(of many of them) they would not receive it. Therefore as an error
which consequentially contradicteth some essential article of faith,
nullifieth not his christianity who first and fastest holdeth the
faith, and would cast away the error if he saw the contradiction, (as
Davenant, Morton, and Hall have showed, Epist. Conciliat.) so is it to
be said as to practical error in the present case. They are their
grievous errors and sins, but, for aught I see, do not nullify their
office to the church. As a mass priest, he is no minister of Christ
(as an anabaptist is not as a re-baptizer, nor a separatist as a
separater, nor an antinomian, or any erroneous person, as a preacher
of that error); but as a christian pastor ordained to preach the
gospel, baptize, administer the Lord's supper, pray, praise God, guide
the church, he may be.

The same answer serveth to the objection as it extendeth to the
erroneous doctrines which they preach, which are but by consequence
against the essentials of religion.

2. But it is a greater doubt, Whether any power of the ministry can be
conveyed by antichrist, or from him? and whether God will own any of
antichrist's administrations? Therefore seeing they profess themselves
to have no office but what they receive from the pope, and Christ
disowning his usurpation, the same man cannot be the minister of
Christ and antichrist; as the same man cannot be an officer in the
king's army and his enemies'.

But this will have the same solution as the former. If this antichrist
were the open, professed enemy to Christ, then all this were true:
because their corrupt additions would not by dark consequences, but so
directly contain the denial of christianity or the true ministry, that
it were not possible to hold both. But (as our divines commonly note)
antichrist is to sit in the temple of God, and the pope's treason is
under pretence of the greatest service and friendship to Christ,
making himself his vicar-general without his commission. So they that
receive power from him, do think him to be Christ's vicar indeed, and
so renounce not Christ, but profess their first and chief relation to
be to him, and dependence on him, and that they would have nothing to
do with the pope, if they knew him to be against Christ. And some of
them write, that the power or office is immediately from Christ, and
that the pope, ordainers, and electors do but design the person that
shall receive it (because else they know not what to say of the
election and consecration of the pope himself, who hath no superior).
And the Spanish bishops in the council of Trent held so close to this,
that the rest were fain to leave it undetermined; so that it is no
part of their religion, but a doubtful opinion, Whether the power of
bishops be derived from the pope, though they be governed by him?

But as to the other, the case seemeth like this: if a subject in
Ireland usurp the lieutenancy, and tell all the people that he hath
the king's commission to be his lieutenant, and command all to submit
to him, and receive their places from him, and obey him; and the king
declareth him a traitor, (antecedently only by the description of his
laws,) and maketh it the duty of the subjects to renounce him; those
now that know the king's will, and yet adhere to the usurper, though
they know that the king is against it, are traitors with him: but
those from whom he keepeth the knowledge of the laws, and who for want
of full information believe him to be really the king's lieutenant,
(and specially living where all believe it,) but yet would renounce
him if they knew that he had not the king's commission; these are the
king's subjects, though in ignorance they obey a usurper. And on this
account it is that Archbishop Usher concluded, that an ignorant papist
might be saved, but the learned hardly. But when the learned, through
the disadvantages of their education, are under the same ignorance,
being learned but on one side but to their greater seduction, the case
may be the same.

The same man therefore may receive an office from Christ, who yet
ignorantly submitteth to the pope, and receiveth corrupt additions
from him.

But suppose I be mistaken in all this, yet to come to the second

III. Whether baptism and ordination given by them be nullities? I
answer, no; on a further account, 1. Because that the ministry which
is a nullity to the receiver, (that is, God will punish him as a
usurper,) may yet perform those ministerial acts which are no
nullities to the church.[236] Else how confused a case would all
churches be in! For it is hard ever to know whether ministers have all
things essential to their office. Suppose a man be ignorant, or a
heretic against some essential article of faith; or suppose that he
feigned orders of ordination when he had none; or that he was ordained
by such as really had no power to do it; or suppose he pretended the
consent of the majority of the people, when really the greater part
were for another: if all this be unknown, his baptizing and other
administrations are not thereby made nullities to the church, though
they be sins in him. The reason is, because that the church shall not
suffer, nor lose her right for another man's sin! When the fault is
not theirs, the loss and punishment shall not be theirs. He that is
found in possession of the place, performeth valid administration to
them that know not his usurpation, and are not guilty of it. Otherwise
we should never have done re-baptizing, nor know easily when we
receive any valid administrations, while we are so disagreed about the
necessaries of the office and call; and when it is so hard in all
things to judge of the call of all other men.

2. And as the papists say, that a private man or woman may baptize in
extremity, so many learned protestants think, that though a private
man's baptism be a sin, yet it is no nullity, though he were known to
be no minister.

And what is said of baptism, to avoid tediousness, you may suppose
said of ordination, which will carry the first case far, as to the
validity of the ministry received by papists' ordination, as well as
of baptism and visible christianity received by them. For my part, God
used Parson's "Book of Resolution corrected," so much to my good, and
I have known so many eminent christians, and some ministers, converted
by it, that I am glad that I hear none make a controversy of it,
whether the conversion, faith, or love to God be valid, which we
receive by the books or means of any papist?

[234] Eph. iv. 6-11.

[235] Matt, xxviii. 11, 20; Tit. i. 5; Acts xx. 28; xiv. 23; 1 Pet. v.

[236] Matt. vii. 23-25; Phil. i. 15-17; Mark ix. 40.

Quest. IV. _Whether it be necessary to believe that the pope is the

It is one question, whether he be antichrist? and another, whether it
be necessary to believe it? To the first I say, 1. There are many
antichrists: and we must remove the ambiguity of the name, before we
can resolve the question. If by antichrist be meant, one that usurps
the office of a universal vicar of Christ, and constituting and
governing head of the whole visible church, and hereby layeth the
ground of schisms, and contentions, and bloodshed in the world, and
would rob Christ of all his members, who are not of the pope's
kingdom, and that formeth a multifarious ministry for this service,
and corrupteth much of the doctrine, worship, and discipline of the
church, in this sense no doubt but the pope is antichrist.

But if by antichrist be meant him particularly described in the
Apocalypse and Thessalonians, then the controversy _de re_, is about
the exposition of those dark prophecies. Of which I can say no more
but this, 1. That if the pope be not he, he had ill luck to be so like
him. 2. That Dr. More's moral arguments, and Bishop Downham's and many
others' expository arguments, are such as I cannot answer. 3. But yet
my skill is not so great in interpreting those obscure prophecies, as
that I can say, I am sure that it is the pope that they speak of, and
that Lyra, learned Zanchy, and others that think it is Mahomet, or
others that otherwise interpret them, were mistaken.

II. But to the second question, I more boldly say, 1. That every one
that indeed knoweth this to be the sense of those texts, is bound to
believe it.

2. But that God, who hath not made it of necessity to salvation to
understand many hundred plainer texts, nor absolutely to understand
more than the articles and fundamentals of our religion, hath much
less made it necessary to salvation to understand the darkest

3. And that as the suspicion should make all christians cautelous what
they receive from Rome, so the obscurity should make all christians
take heed, that they draw from it no consequences destructive to love,
or order, or any truth, or christian duty. And this is the advice I
give to all.

Quest. V. _Whether we must hold that a papist may be saved?_

This question may be resolved easily from what is said before.

1. A papist as a papist, that is, by popery, will never be saved, no
more than a man's life by a leprosy.

2. If a papist be saved, he must be saved against, and from popery,
either by turning from the opinion, and then he is no papist, or by
preserving his heart from the power of his own opinions.[237] And the
same we may say of every error and sin. He that is saved, must be
saved from it, at least from the power of it on the heart, and from
the guilt of it by forgiveness.

3. Every one that is a true, sincere christian in faith, love, and
true obedience, shall be saved, what error soever he hold that doth
consist with these.

4. As many antinomians and other erroneous persons, do hold things
which by consequence subvert christianity; and yet not seeing the
inconsistence, do hold christianity first and faster, in heart and
sincere practice, and would renounce their error if they saw the
inconsistence, so is it with many papists. And that which they hold
first, and fastest, and practically, doth save them from the power,
operations, and poison of their own opinions: as an antidote or the
strength of nature may save a man from a small quantity of poison.

5. Moreover we have cause to judge that there are millions among the
papists, corrupted with many of their lesser errors, who yet hold not
their greater; that believe not that none are christians but the
pope's subjects, and that Christ's kingdom and the pope's are of the
same extent, or that he can remit men's pains in another world, or
that the bread and wine are no bread and wine, or that men merit of
God in point of commutative justice, or that we must adore or worship
the bread, or yet the cross or image itself, &c. or that consent to
abundance of the clergy's tyrannical usurpations and abuses: and so
being not properly papists, may be saved, if a papist might not. And
we the less know how many or few among them are really of the clergy's
religion and mind, because by terror they restrain men from
manifesting their judgment, and compel them to comply in outward

6. But as fewer that have leprosies, or plagues, or that take poison,
escape, than of other men, so we have great cause to believe, that
much fewer papists are saved, than such as escape their errors. And
therefore all that love their souls should avoid them.

7. And the trick of the papists who persuade people that theirs is the
safest religion, because we say that a papist may be saved, and they
say that a protestant cannot, is so palpable a cheat, that it should
rather deter men from their way. For God is love; and he that dwelleth
in love dwelleth in God; and all men must know us to be Christ's
disciples, by loving one another; and he that saith he loveth God, and
loveth not his brother, is a liar; and charity believeth all things
credible. That religion is likest to be of God which is most
charitable, and not that which is most uncharitable, and malicious,
and like to Satan.

To conclude, no man shall be saved for being no papist, much less for
being a papist. And all that are truly holy, heavenly, humble lovers
of God, and of those that are his servants, shall be saved. But how
many such are among the papists, God only knoweth who is their Judge.

       *       *       *       *       *

The questions whether the Greeks, Abassines, Nestorians, Eutychians,
antinomians, anabaptists, &c. may be saved, must be all resolved as
this of the papists, allowing for the different degrees of their
corruption. And therefore I must desire the reader to take up with
this answer for all, and excuse me from unnecessary repetition.

As for such disputers as my antagonist Mr. Johnson, who insisteth on
that of Tit. iii. 10, "A man that is an heretic--is condemned of
himself;" when he hath proved that the word heretic hath but one
signification, I will say as he doth. Till then, if he will try who
shall be damned by bare equivocal words, without the definition, let
him take his course, for I will be none of his imitators.

[237] Vid. Hun. Eccl. Rom. non est christiana: et Perkins. A papist
cannot go beyond a reprobate.

Quest. VI. _Whether those that are in the church of Rome, are bound to
separate from it? And whether it be lawful to go to their mass or
other worship?_

These two also for brevity I join together.

I. To the first, we must distinguish of separation: 1. It is one thing
to judge that evil which is evil, and separate from it in judgment. 2.
It is another thing to express this by forbearing to subscribe, swear,
or otherwise approve that evil. 3. And another thing to forbear
communion with them in the mass and image worship, and gross or known
sins. 4. And another thing to forbear all communion with them, even as
to baptism and other lawful things. 5. And another thing to use some
open detestations or protestations against them.

2. And we must distinguish much of persons, whether they be ministers
or people, free or bound, as wives, children, &c. And now I answer,

1. There is no question but it is a duty to judge all that evil which
is evil among the papists or any other.

2. It is the duty of all to forbear subscribing, swearing to, or
otherwise approving evil.

3. It is the duty of all mass priests to renounce that part of their
calling, and not to administer their mass, or any other unlawful

4. It is the duty of all private christians to forbear communion in
the mass, because it is a kind of idolatry, while they worship apiece
of bread as God; as also image worship, and all other parts of their
religion, in which they are put upon sin themselves, or that which is
notorious scandal and symbolizing with them in their bread worship, or
rather corruptions of the substance of God's ordinances.

5. It is their duty who have fit opportunity, (when it is like to do
more good than harm,) to protest against the papal corruptions where
they are, and to declare their detestation of them.

6. It is the duty of those that have children to be baptized or
catechised, to make use of more lawful and sound ministers, when they
may be had, rather than of a papist priest.

7. But in case they cannot remove, or enjoy better, I think it is
lawful, 1. To let such baptize their children, rather than leave them
unbaptized. 2. To let their children be taught by them to read, or in
arts and sciences, or the catechism, and common principles of
religion, so they will mix no dangerous errors. 3. And to hear those
of them preach, who preach soundly and piously (such as were Gerrhard,
Zutphaniensis, Thaulerus, Ferus, and many more). 4. And to read such
good books as these now mentioned have written. 5. And to join with
them in such prayers as are sound and pious, so they go no further.

8. And wives, children, and such other as are bound, and cannot
lawfully remove, may stay among them, and take up with these helps,
dealing faithfully in abstaining from the rest.

II. The second question is answered in this. Only I add, that it is
one thing to be present as Elias was, in a way of opposition to them;
or as disputants are, that open their errors; or as a wise man may go
to hear or see what they do, without compliance, as we read their
books; and it is another thing to join with them in their sinful
worship, or scandalously to encourage them in it by seeming so to do.
See Calv. contr. Nicod. &c.

Quest. VII. _Whether the true calling of the minister by ordination or
election, &c. be necessary to the essence of the church?_

By a church here we mean a political society of christians, and not
any assembly or community. And no doubt pastor and flock are the
constitutive parts of such a church; and where either of them are
notoriously wanting, it is notorious that there is no true church.
Therefore all the doubt is, whether such parts of his call be
necessary to the being of the ministry, or not? And here we must
conclude, that the word ministry and church are ambiguous. By a
minister or pastor is meant, either one that God so far owneth as to
accept and justify his administrations as for himself, even his own
good and salvation; or one whose administrations God will own, accept,
and bless to the people.

I. In the former sense, 1. He is no true minister that wanteth the
essential qualifications of a minister, viz. that hath not, (1.) The
understanding and belief of all the essential articles of faith,
without heresy. (2.) Tolerable ability to teach these to the people,
and perform the other essentials of his office. (3.) Sincere
godliness, to do all this in love and obedience to God as his servant,
in order to life eternal. 2. And he is thus no true pastor as to God's
acceptance of himself, who hath not a lawful calling; that is, (1.)
Ordination, when it may be had. (2.) The consent or reception of that
church of which he pretendeth to be pastor, which is still necessary,
and must be had, if ordination cannot.

II. But in the second sense, he is a pastor so far as that God will
own his administrations as to the people's good, who, 1. Hath
possession. 2. And seemeth to them to have necessary qualifications,
and a lawful call, though it prove otherwise, so be it, it be not
through their wilful fault, that he is culpable, or they mistaken in
him. If he be not a true believer, but an infidel, or heretic, he is
no minister as to himself, that is, God will use him as a usurper that
hath no title:[238] but if he profess to be a believer when he is not,
he is a true pastor visibly to the people; otherwise they could never
know when they have a pastor: even as real faith makes a real
christian, and professed faith makes a visible christian, so is it as
to the ministry. If he seem to understand the articles of faith, and
do not, or if he seem to have due ordination when he hath not, if he
be upon this mistake accepted by the people, he is a true visible
pastor as to them, that is, as to their duty and benefit, though not
as to himself. Yea, the people's consent to his entrance is not
necessary _ad esse_, nor to his relation neither, so far as to justify
himself, but to his administrations and to his relation, so far as
their own right and benefit are interested in it. So that two things
are necessary to such a visible pastor as shall perform valid
administrations to the church: 1. Seeming necessary qualifications and
calling to it. 2. Possession, by the people's reception or consent to
his administrations and relation so far as to their benefit.

And, III. Thus also we must distinguish of the word church. It is, 1.
Such an entire christian society as hath a minister or pastor whose
office is valid as to himself and them; or it is such a society only
as hath a pastor whose office is valid to them but not to himself. Let
us not confound the question _de re_ and _de nomine_. These societies
differ as is said. Both may fitly be called true churches.

As it is with a kingdom which hath a rightful prince, and one that
hath a usurper, so it is here. 1. If it have a rightful king accepted,
it is a kingdom in the fullest sense. 2. If it have a usurper accepted
as king, it is a kingdom, but faulty. 3. If the usurper be only so far
accepted as that the people consent not to his entrance, no, nor his
relation so as to justify his title, but wish him cast out if they
could procure it; but yet consent to receive that protection and
justice which is their own due from the possessor, and consent to his
relation only thus far, this is a kingdom truly, but more defective or
maimed than the first. 4. But if the people do not so much as receive
him, nor submit to his administrations, he is but a conqueror, and not
a king, and it is (in respect to him) no kingdom (though in respect to
some other that hath title and consent, without actual possession of
the administration, it may be a kingdom). And this is the true and
plain solution of this question, which want of distinction doth

[238] Acts i. 17; Matt. vii. 23.

Quest. VIII. _Whether sincere faith and godliness be necessary to the
being of the ministry? And whether it be lawful to hear a wicked man,
or take the sacrament from him, or take him for a minister?_

This question receiveth the very same solution with the last
foregoing, and therefore I need not say much more to it.

I. The first part is too oft resolved mistakingly on both extremes.
Some absolutely saying that godliness or faith is not necessary to the
being of the ministry; and some that it is necessary. Whereas the true
solution is as aforesaid; sincere faith and godliness are necessary to
make a man a minister so far as that God will own and justify him as
sent by himself, as to his own duty and benefit: for he cannot be
internally and heartily a christian pastor that is no christian, nor a
minister of God who is not godly, that is, is not truly resigned to
God, obeyeth him not and loveth him not as God. But yet the reality
of these are not necessary to make him a visible pastor, as to the
people's duty and benefit.

2. But the profession of true faith and godliness is necessary so far,
as that without it the people ought not to take him for a visible
minister (as the profession of christianity is to a visible

3. And in their choice they ought to prefer him _cæteris paribus_,
whose profession is most credible.

_Object._ That which maketh a minister is gifts and a calling, which
are distinct from grace and real christianity. _Answ._ Every minister
is a christian, though every christian be not a minister or pastor:
therefore he that is a visible pastor must visibly or in profession
have both.

_Object._ But a man may be a christian, without saving grace or
godliness. _Answ._ As much as he may be godly without godliness. That
is, he may be visibly a christian and godly, without sincere faith or
godliness, but not without the profession of both. It is not possible
that the profession of christianity in the essentials, can be without
the profession of godliness; for it includeth it.

II. To the other question I answer, 1. A man that professeth
infidelity or impiety, yea, that professeth not faith and godliness,
is not to be taken for a minister, or heard as such.

2. Every one that professeth to stand to his baptismal covenant
professeth faith and godliness.

3. He that by a vicious life or bad application of doctrine
contradicteth his profession, is to be lawfully accused of it, and
heard speak for himself, and to be cast out by true church justice,
and not by the private censure of a private person.

4. Till this be done, though a particular private member of the church
be not bound to think that the minister is worthy, nor that the church
which suffereth and receiveth him doth well, yet they are bound to
judge him one who by the church's reception is in possession, and
therefore a visible pastor, and to submit to his public
administrations; because it is not in a private man's power, but the
church's, to determine who shall be the pastor.

5. But if the case be past controversy and notorious, that the man is
not only scandalous, and weak, and dull, and negligent, but also
either, 1. Intolerably unable; 2. Or an infidel, or gross heretic; 3.
Or certainly ungodly; a private man should admonish the church and
him, and in case that they proceed in impenitency, should remove
himself to a better church and ministry. And the church itself should
disown such a man, and commit their souls to one that is fitter for
the trust.

6. And that church or person who needlessly owneth such a pastor, or
preferreth him before a fitter, doth thereby harden him in his
usurpation, and is guilty of the hurt of the people's souls, and of
his own, and of the dishonour done to God.

Quest. IX. _Whether the people are bound to receive or consent to an
ungodly, intolerable, heretical pastor, yea, or one far less fit and
worthy than a competitor, if the magistrate command it, or the bishop
impose him?_

For the deciding of this, take these propositions.

1. The magistrate is authorized by God to govern ministers and
churches, according to the orders and laws of Christ (and not against
them); but not to ordain or degrade, nor to make ministers or unmake
them, nor to deprive the church of the liberty settled on it by the
laws of Christ.

2. The bishops or ordainers are authorized by Christ to judge of the
fitness of the person to the office in general, and solemnly to invest
him in it, but not to deprive the people of their freedom, and
exercise of the natural care of their own salvation, or of any liberty
given them by Christ.

3. The people's liberty in choosing or consenting to their own
pastors, to whom they must commit the care of their souls, is partly
founded in nature, (it being they that must have the benefit or loss,
and no man being authorized to damn or hazard men's souls, at least
against their wills,) and partly settled by Scripture, and continued
in the church above a thousand years after Christ, at least in very
many parts of it.[239] See Blondel's "Full Proof de jure plebis in
regim. Eccles." Hildebertus Cænoman. (alias Turonensis) even in his
time showeth, that though the clergy were to lead, and the people to
follow, yet no man was to be made a bishop, or put upon the people,
without their own consent: Epist. 12. Bibl. Pet. to. iii. p. 179.
Filesacus will direct you to more such testimonies. But the thing is
past controversy. I need not cite to the learned the commonly cited
testimony of Cyprian, _Plebs maximam habet potestatem indignos
recusandi, &c._ And indeed in the nature of the thing it cannot be:
for though you may drench a mad-man's body by force, when you give him
physic, you cannot so drench men's souls, nor cure them against their

4. Not that the people's consent is necessary to the general office of
a gospel minister, to preach and baptize; but only to the
appropriation or relation of a minister to themselves; that is, to the
being of a pastor of a particular church as such, but not of a
minister of Christ as such.

5. A man's soul is of so great value above all the favour of man, or
treasures of this world, that no man should be indifferent to what
man's care he doth commit it; nor should he hazard it upon the danger
of everlasting misery, for fear of displeasing man, or being accused
of schism or disorder.

6. There is as great difference between an able, learned, judicious,
orthodox, godly, diligent, lively teacher, and an ignorant, heretical,
ungodly, dull, and slothful man, as there is between a skilful and an
ignorant pilot at sea; or between an able, experienced, faithful
physician, and an ignorant, rash, and treacherous one, as to the
saving men's lives. And he that would not take a sot or an empiric for
his physician, who were like to kill him, and refuse the counsel of an
able physician, in obedience to a magistrate or bishop, hath as little
reason to do the like by his soul; nor should he set less by that than
by his life.[240] And if Paul said, We have this power for edification
and not for destruction, we may say so of all magistrates and bishops.
Sober divines have lately showed their error who teach men that they
must be ready to submit to damnation if God require it, or to suppose
that his glory and our salvation are separable ends; because damnation
is a thing which nature necessitateth man not to desire or intend! And
shall we ascribe more to a magistrate than to God? and say that we
must cast our souls on a likelihood of damnation to keep order and in
obedience to man? No man can be saved without knowledge and holiness:
an ignorant, dead, ungodly minister is far less likely to help us to
knowledge and holiness, than an able, holy man. To say God can work by
the unfittest instrument is nothing to the purpose; till you prove
that God would have us take him for his instrument, and that he useth
equally to work by such, as well as by the fit and worthy, or that we
expect wonders from God, and that ordinarily without tempting him!
yea, when such a usurper of the ministry is like to damn himself, as
well as the people.

And here to lenify the minds of Ithacian prelates towards those that
seek their own edification, in such a case as this, or that refuse
unworthy pastors of their imposing, I will entreat them to censure
those near them no more sharply than they do the persons in these
following instances. Yea, if a separatist go too far, use him no more
uncharitably, than you would do these men.

(1.) Gildas Brit. is called Sapiens, and our eldest writer; and yet he
calleth the multitude of the lewd British clergy whom he reprehendeth
in his "Acris Correptio," traitors and no priests; and concludeth
seriously, that he that calleth them priests, is not _eximius
christianus_, any excellent christian. Yet those few that were pious
he excepteth and commendeth. Shall he account them no priests, for
their sinfulness, and will you force others, not only to call them
priests, but to commit their souls to such men's conduct? when Christ
hath said, "If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the
ditch?" and Paul, "Take heed unto thyself and unto thy doctrine; for
in so doing, thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear

The second is our second (and first English) historian, Beda, and in
him the famous Johannes Episc. Hagulstadensis Eccles. who, as he
reporteth, wrought very great miracles, as Eccles. Hist. lib. v. cap.
2-5, is to be read. This man had one Herebaldus in his clergy, after
an abbot; who himself told Beda as followeth:--That this Johannes Ep.
cured him miraculously of a perilous hurt, taken by disobedient
horsemanship; and when he recovered, he asked him, whether he were
sure that he was baptized? who answered, That he knew it past doubt,
and named the presbyter that baptized him. The bishop answered him, If
thou wast baptized by that priest, thou wast not rightly baptized: for
I know him, and that when he was ordained presbyter, he was so dull of
wit, that he could not learn the ministry of catechising and
baptizing. Wherefore I commanded him altogether to give over the
presumption of this ministry, which he could not altogether fulfil.
And having thus said, he himself took care to catechise me the same
hour; and--being cured--_vitali etiam unda perfusus sum_, I was

I commend not this example of re-baptizing, the rather because it
seems the priest was not deposed till after he had baptized
Herebaldus: but if he went so far as to re-baptize, and account the
baptism a nullity, which was done by an unable, insufficient
presbyter, though rightly ordained, judge but as favourably of men
that avoid such presbyters in our age.

The third instance shall be that of Cyprian, and all the worthy
bishops in the councils of Carthage in his time, who re-baptized those
baptized by heretics. And consider withal that in those times many
were called heretics whom we call but schismatics, that drew disciples
after them into separated bodies and parties, speaking perverse
things, though not contrary to the very essentials of religion, Acts
xx. 30. I justify not their opinion: but if so many holy bishops
counted the very baptism of such a nullity, be not too severe and
censorious against those that go not at all so far from an
insufficient, or ungodly, or grossly scandalous man, for the mere
preservation of their own souls.

To these I will add the saying of one of the honester sort of Jesuits,
Acosta; and in him of an ancienter than he: lib. iv. c. 1. p. 354. de
reb. Indic. He extolleth the words of Dionysius Epist. viii. ad
Demoph. which are, _Si igitur quæ illuminat sacerdotum est sancta
distinctio, proculdubio ille a sacerdotali ordine et virtute omnino
prolapsus est, qui illuminans non est, multoque sane magis qui neque
illuminatus est. Atque mihi quidem videtur audax nimium hujusmodi est,
si sacerdotalia munia sibi assumit; neque metuit, neque veretur ea quæ
sunt divina præter meritum persequi; putatque ea latere Deum, quorum
sibi ipse conscius sit; et se Deum fallere existimat, quem falso
nomine appellat patrem; audetque scelestas blasphemias suas (neque
enim preces dixerim) sacris aris inferre; easque super signa illa
divina, ad Christi similitudinem dicere. Non est iste sacerdos; non
est; sed infestus, atrox, dolosus, illusor sui, et lupus in dominicam
gregem ovina pelle armatus. His plura aut majora de evangelici
ministerii et culmine et præcipitio qui expectat, cuique ad
resipiscendum non ista sufficiunt, infatuatum se juxta Domini
sententiam, et nullo unquam sale saliri posse demonstrat._ I will not
English it, lest those take encouragement by it who are bent to the
other extreme.

7. Yet it will be a great offence, if any censorious, self-conceited
person shall on this pretence set up his judgment of men's parts, to
the contempt of authority, or to the vilifying of worthy men; and
especially if he thereby make a stir and schism in the church, instead
of seeking his own edification.

8. Yea, if a minister be weaker, yea, and colder and worse than
another, yet if his ministry be competently fitted to edification, he
that cannot leave him and go to a better, without apparent hurt to the
church, and the souls of others, by division, or exasperating rulers,
or breaking family order, or violating relative duties, must take
himself to be at present denied the greater helps that others have,
and may trust God in the use of those weaker means, to accept and
bless him; because he is in the station where he hath set him. This
case therefore must be resolved by a prudent comparing of the good or
hurt which is like to follow, and of the accidents or circumstances
whence that must be discerned.

[239] In the time of the Arian emperors the churches refused the
bishops whom the emperors imposed on them, and stuck to their own
orthodox bishops; especially at Alexandria and Cæsarea, after the
greatest urgency for their obedience.

[240] Matt. xvi. 26; Prov. x. 32; xix. 8; Luke xii. 4.

[241] Matt. xv. 14; 1 Tim. iv. 6, 16; Matt. xvi. 6; xxiv. 4. Mark iv.
24; Luke viii. 18; Matt. xxiii. 16.

Quest. X. _What if the magistrate command the people to receive one
pastor, and the bishops or ordainers another, which of them must be

1. The magistrate, and not the bishop or people, (unless under him,)
hath the power and disposal of the circumstantials or accidents of the
church; I mean of the temple, the pulpit, the tithes, &c.[242] And he
is to determine what ministers are fit either for his own countenance
or toleration, and what not. In these therefore he is to be obeyed
before the bishops or others.

2. If a pope or prelate of a foreign church, or any that hath no
lawful jurisdiction or government over the church that wanteth a
pastor, shall command them to receive one, their command is null, and
to be contemned.

3. Neither magistrate nor bishop, as is said, may deny the church or
people any liberty which God in nature, or Christ in the gospel, hath
settled on them, as to the reception of their proper pastors.

4. No bishop, but only the magistrate, can compel by the sword the
obedience of his commands.

5. If one of them command the reception of a worthy person, and the
other of an intolerable one, the former must prevail, because of
obedience to Christ, and care of our souls.

6. But if the persons be equal, or both fit, the magistrate is to be
obeyed, if he be peremptory in his commands, and decide the case in
order to the peace or protection of the church; both because it is a
lawful thing, and because else he will permit no other.

7. And the rather because the magistrate's power is more past
controversy, than, whether any bishop, pastor, or synod, can any
further than by counsel and persuasion, oblige the people to receive a

[242] See more of this after.

Quest. XI. _Whether an uninterrupted succession either of right
ordination or of conveyance by jurisdiction, be necessary to the being
of the ministry, or of a true church?_

The papists have hitherto insisted on the necessity of successive
right ordination; but Voetius _de desperata Causa Papatus_ hath in
this so handled them, and confuted Jansenius, as hath indeed showed
the desperateness of that cause: and they perceive that the papacy
itself cannot be upheld by that way; and therefore Johnson, alias
Terret, in his rejoinder against me, now concludeth, that it is not
for want of a successive consecration that they condemn the church of
England, but for want of true jurisdiction, because other bishops had
title to the places whilst they were put in; and that successive
consecration (which we take to include ordination) is not necessary to
the being of ministry or church. And it is most certain to any man
acquainted in church history, that their popes have had a succession
of neither. Their way of election hath been frequently changed,
sometimes being by the people, sometimes by the clergy, sometimes by
the emperors, and lastly by the cardinals alone. Ordination they have
sometimes wanted, and a layman been chosen; and oft the ordination
hath been by such as had no power according to their own laws. And
frequent intercisions have been made, sometimes by many years'
vacancy, when they had no church (and so there was none on earth, if
the pope be the constitutive head) for want of a pope: sometimes by
long schisms, when of two or three popes, no one could be known to
have more right than another, nor did they otherwise carry it, than by
power at last: sometimes by the utter incapacity of the possessors,
some being laymen, some heretics and infidels, so judged by councils
at Rome, Constance, Basil; and Eugenius the fourth continued after he
was so censured, and condemned, and deposed by the general council. I
have proved all this at large elsewhere.

And he that will not be cheated with a bare sound of words, but will
ask them, whether by a succession of jurisdiction, they mean
efficient, conveying jurisdiction in the causers of his call, or
received jurisdiction in the office received, will find that they do
but hide their desperate cause in confusion and an insignificant
noise. For they maintain that none on earth have an efficient
jurisdiction in making popes. For the former pope doth not make his
successor; and both electors, ordainers, and consecrators, yea, and
the people receiving, they hold to be subjects of the pope when made,
and therefore make him not by jurisdiction giving him the power.
Therefore Johnson tells me, that Christ only, and not man, doth give
the power, and they must needs hold that men have nothing to do but
design the person recipient by election and reception, and to invest
him ceremonially in the possession. So that no efficient jurisdiction
is here used at all by man. And for received jurisdiction, 1. No one
questioneth but when that office is received which is essentially
governing, he that receiveth it receiveth a governing power, or else
he did not receive the office. If the question be only, whether the
office of a bishop be an office of jurisdiction, or contain
essentially a governing power, they make no question of this
themselves. So that the noise of successive jurisdiction is vanished
into nothing. 2. And with them that deny any jurisdiction to belong to
presbyters, this will be nothing as to their case, who have nothing
but orders to receive.

They have nothing of sense left them to say but this, That though the
efficient jurisdiction which maketh popes be only in Christ, because
no men are their superiors, yet bishops and presbyters who have
superiors, cannot receive their power but by an efficient power of
man, which must come down by uninterrupted succession.

_Answ._ 1. And so if ever the papal office have an intercision, (as I
have proved it hath had as to lawful popes,) the whole catholic church
is nullified; and it is impossible to give it a new being, but by a
new pope.

But the best is, that by their doctrine indeed they need not to plead
for an uninterrupted succession either of popes, bishops, or
presbyters, but that they think it a useful cheat to perplex all that
are not their subjects. For if the papacy were extinct a hundred
years, Christ is still alive; and seeing it is no matter _ad esse_ who
be the electors or consecraters, so it be but made known conveniently
to the people, and men only elect and receive the person, and Christ
only giveth the power, (by his stated law,) what hindereth after the
longest extinction or intercision, but that somebody, or some sort of
person, may choose a pope again, and so Christ make him pope? And thus
the catholic church may die and live again by a new creation, many
times over.

And when the pope hath a resurrection after the longest intercision,
so may all the bishops and priests in the world, because a new pope
can make new bishops, and new bishops can make new priests. And where
then is there any show of necessity of an uninterrupted succession of
any of them? All that will follow is, that the particular churches die
till a resurrection; and so doth the whole church on earth every time
the pope dieth, till another be made, if he be the constitutive head.

2. But as they say that Christ only efficiently giveth the power to
the pope, so say we to the bishops or pastors of the church. For there
is no act of Christ's collation to be proved, but the Scripture law or
grant: and if that standing law give power to the pope, when men have
but designed the person, the same law will do the same to bishops or
pastors; for it establisheth their office in the same sort. Or rather
in truth there is no word, that giveth power to any such officer as a
universal head or pope, but the law for the pastoral office is

And what the Spanish bishops at Trent thought of the Divine right of
the bishop's office, I need not mention.

I shall therefore thus truly resolve the question.

1. In all ordinations and elections, man doth but first choose the
recipient person. 2. And ceremoniously and ministerially invest him in
the possession when God hath given him the power; but the efficient
collation or grant of the power is done only by Christ, by the
instrumentality of his law or institution. As when the king by a
charter saith, Whoever the city shall choose, shall be their mayor,
and have such and such power, and be invested in it by the recorder or
steward: here the person elected receiveth all his power from the king
by his charter, (which is a standing efficient, conveying it to the
capable chosen person,) and not from the choosers or recorder; only
the last is as a servant to deliver possession. So is it in this case.

2. The regular way of entrance appointed by Christ to make a person
capable, is the said election and ordination. And for order sake where
that may be had, the unordained are not to be received as pastors.

3. If any get possession, by false, pretended ordination or mission,
and be received by the church. I have before told you that he is a
pastor as to the church's use and benefit, though not to his own. And
so the church is not extinct by every fraudulent usurpation or
mistake, and so not by want of a true ordination or mission.

4. If the way of regular ordination fail, God may otherwise (by the
church's necessity, and the notorious aptitude of the person) notify
his will to the church, what person they shall receive; (as if a
layman were cast on the Indian shore and converted thousands, who
could have no ordination;) and upon the people's reception or consent,
that man will be a true pastor.

And seeing the papists in the conclusion (as Johnson _ubi supra_) are
fain to cast all their cause on the church's reception of the pope,
they cannot deny reasonably but _ad esse_ the church's reception may
serve also for another officer; and indeed much better than for a
pope. For, 1. The universal church is so great, that no man can know
when the greater part receiveth him, and when not, except in some
notorious declarations. 2. And it is now known, that the far greater
part of the universal church (the Greeks, Armenians, Abassines,
Coptics, protestants, &c.) do not receive the Roman head. 3. And when
one part of Europe received one pope, and another part another pope,
for above forty years together, who could tell which of the parties
was to be accounted the church? It was not then known, and is not
known yet to this day; and no papist can prove it, who affirmeth it.

As a church, e. g. Constantinople, may be gathered, or _oriri de novo_
where there is none before, so may it be restored where it is extinct.
And possibly a layman (as Frumentius and Edesius in the Indies) may be
the instrument of men's conversion. And if so, they may by consent
become their pastors, when regular ordination cannot be had.

I have said more of this in my "Disputations of Church Government,"
disp. ii. The truth is, the pretence of a necessity of uninterrupted,
successive ordination, mission, or jurisdictional collation _ad esse_,
to the being of ministry or church, is but a cheat of men that have an
interest of their own which requireth such a plea, when they may
easily know, that it would overthrow themselves.

Quest. XII. _Whether there be, or ever was, such a thing in the world,
as one catholic church, constituted by any head besides or under

The greatest and first controversy between us and the papists, is not
what man or politic person is the head of the whole visible church;
but, whether there be any such head at all, either personal, or
collective, monarchical, aristocratical, or democratical under Christ,
of his appointment or allowance? or any such thing as a catholic
church so headed or constituted? Which they affirm and we deny. That
neither pope nor general council is such a head, I have proved so
fully in my "Key for Catholics" and other books, that I will not here
stay to make repetition of it. That the pope is no such head, we may
take for granted, 1. Because they bring no proof of it, whatever they
vainly pretend. 2. Because our divines have copiously disproved it, to
whom I refer you. 3. Because the universal church never received such
a head, as I have proved against Johnson. 4. And whether it be the
pope, their bishop of Chalcedon, _ubi supra_, et Sancta Clara,
"System. Fid." say is not _de fide_.

That a council is no such head I have largely proved as aforesaid,
part ii. "Key for Catholics." And, 1. The use of it being but for
concord proveth it. 2. Most papists confess it. 3. Else there should
be seldom any church in the world for want of a head, yea, never any.

For I have proved there and to Johnson, that there never was a true
general council of the universal church; but only imperial councils of
the churches under one emperor's power, and those that having been
under it, had been used to such councils; and that it is not a thing
ever to be attempted or expected, as being unlawful and morally

[243] See also my "Reasons of Christian Religion," Cons. ii. of the
interest of the church.

Quest. XIII. _Whether there be such a thing as a visible catholic
church? And what it is?_

The ancients differently used the terms, a catholic church, and, the
catholic church. By the first they meant any particular church which
was part of the universal; by the second they meant the universal
church itself.[244] And this is it that we now mean. And I answer
affirmatively, there is a visible universal church, not only as a
community, or as a kingdom distinct from the king, but as a political

2. This church is the universality of baptized visible christians
headed by Jesus Christ himself.[245]

There is this, and there is no other upon earth. The papists say, that
this is no visible church because the Head is not visible.

I answer, 1. It is not necessary that he be seen, but visible: and is
not Christ a visible person?

2. This church consisteth of two parts, the triumphant part in glory,
and the militant part; and Christ is not only visible but seen by the
triumphant part: as the king is not seen by the ten-thousandth part of
his kingdoms, but by his courtiers and those about him, and yet he is
king of all.

3. Christ was seen on earth for above thirty years; and the kingdom
may be called visible, in that the King was once visible on earth, and
is now visible in heaven: as if the king would show himself to his
people but one year together in all his life.

4. It ill becometh the papists of any men, to say that Christ is not
visible, who make him, see him, taste him, handle him, eat him, drink
him, digest him in every church, in every mass throughout the year,
and throughout the world; and this not as divided, but as whole

_Object._ But this is not _quatenus_ regent.

_Answ._ If you see him that is regent, and see his laws and gospel
which are his governing instruments, together with his ministers who
are his officers, it is enough to denominate his kingdom visible.

5. The church might be fitly denominated visible _secundum quid_, if
Christ himself were invisible; because the politic body is visible,
the dispersed officers, assemblies, and laws are visible. But sure all
these together may well serve for the denomination.

[244] 1 Cor. xii. 12, and throughout.

[245] Eph. iv. 1, 5-7, 16.

Quest. XIV. _What is it that maketh a visible member of the universal
church? And who are to be accounted such?_

1. Baptism maketh a visible member of the universal church; and the
baptized (as to entrance, unless they go out again) are to be
accounted such.[246]

2. By baptism we mean, open devotion or dedication to God by the
baptismal covenant, in which the adult for themselves, and parents for
their infants, do profess consent to the covenant of grace; which
includeth a belief of all the essential articles of the faith, and a
resolution for sincere obedience; and a consent to the relations
between God and us, viz. that he be our reconciled Father, our
Saviour, and our Sanctifier.

3. The continuance of this consent is necessary to the continuance of
our visible membership.

4. He that through ignorance, or incapacity for want of water, or a
minister, is not baptized, and yet is solemnly or notoriously
dedicated and devoted to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in the
same covenant, though without the outward sign, and professeth openly
the same religion, is a visible christian, though not by a complete
and regular visibility; as a soldier not listed nor taking his
colours, or a marriage not regularly solemnized, &c.

5. He that forsaketh his covenant by apostasy, or is totally and duly
excommunicated, ceaseth to be a visible member of the church.

[246] Matt. xxviii. 19; Mark xvi. 16.

Quest. XV. _Whether besides the profession of christianity, either
testimony or evidence of conversion, or practical godliness, be
necessary to prove a man a member of the universal visible church?_

1. As the Mediator is the way to the Father, sent to recover us to
God, so christianity includeth godliness; and he professeth not
christianity, who professeth not godliness.[247]

2. He that professeth the baptismal covenant, professeth christianity,
and godliness, and true conversion. And therefore cannot be rejected
for want of a profession of conversion or godliness.

3. But he that is justly suspected not to understand his own
profession, but to speak general words, without the sense, may and
ought to be examined by him that is to baptize him; and therefore
though the apostles among the Jews who had been bred up among the
oracles of God, did justly presume of so much understanding, as that
they baptized men the same day that they professed to believe in
Christ; yet when they baptized converted gentiles, we have reason to
think, that they first received a particular account of their
converts, that they understood the three essential articles of the
covenant.[248] 1. Because the creed is fitted to that use, and hath
been ever used thereunto by the churches, as by tradition from the
apostles' practice. 2. Because the church in all ages, as far as
church history leadeth us upward, hath used catechising before
baptizing; yea, and to keep men as catechumens some time for
preparation. 3. Because common experience telleth us, that multitudes
can say the creed that understand it not.

If any yet urge the apostles' example, I will grant that it obligeth
us when the case is the like (and I will not fly to any conceit of
their heart-searching, or discerning men's sincerity). When you bring
us to a people that before were the visible church of God, and were
all their lifetime trained up in the knowledge of God, of sin, of
duty, of the promised Messiah, according to all the law and prophets,
and want nothing, but to know the Son and the Holy Ghost, that this
Jesus is the Christ, who will reconcile us to God, and give us the
sanctifying Spirit, then we will also baptize men the same day that
they profess to believe in Jesus Christ, and in the Father as
reconciled by him, and the Holy Ghost as given by him. But if we have
those to deal with who know not God, or sin, or misery, or Scripture
prophecies, no nor natural verities, we know no proof that the
apostles so hastily baptized such.

Of this I have largely spoken in my "Treatise of Confirmation."

4. It is not necessary to a man's baptism and first church membership,
that he give any testimony of an antecedent godly life; because it is
repentance and future obedience professed that is his title; and we
must not keep men from covenanting, till we first see whether they
will keep the covenant which they are to make. For covenanting goeth
before covenant keeping: and it is any, the most impious sinner, who
repenteth, that is to be washed and justified as soon as he becometh a

5. Yet if any that professeth faith and repentance, should commit
whoredom, drunkenness, murder, blasphemy, or any mortal sin, before he
is baptized, we have reason to make a stop of that man's baptism,
because he contradicteth his own profession, and giveth us cause to
take it for hypocritical, till he give us better evidence that he is
penitent indeed.[249]

6. Heart covenanting maketh an invisible church member, and verbal
covenanting and baptism make a visible church member. And he that
maketh a profession of christianity, so far as to declare that he
believeth all the articles of the creed particularly and
understandingly, (with some tolerable understanding, though not
distinct enough and full,) and that he openly devoteth himself to God
the Father, Son, and Spirit, in the vow and covenant of baptism, doth
produce a sufficient title to the relation of a christian and church
member; and no minister may reject him, for want of telling when, and
by what arguments, means, order, or degrees he was converted.

7. They that forsake these terms of church entrance, left us by Christ
and his apostles, and used by all the churches in the world, and
reject those that show the title of such a profession, for want of
something more, and set up other, stricter terms of their own, as
necessary to discover men's conversion and sincerity, are guilty of
church tyranny against men, and usurpation against Christ; and of
making engines to divide the churches, seeing there will never be
agreement on any human devised terms, but some will be of one side,
and some of another, when they forsake the terms of Christ.

8. Yet if the pastor shall see cause upon suspicion of hypocrisy, _ad
melius esse_, to put divers questions to one man more than to another,
and to desire further satisfaction, the catechumens ought in
conscience to answer him, and endeavour his satisfaction. For a
minister is not tied up to speak only such or such words to the
penitent; and he that should say, I will answer you no further than to
repeat the creed, doth give a man reason to suppose him either
ignorant or proud, and to suspend the reception of him, though not to
deny it. But still _ad esse_ no terms must be imposed as necessary on
the church, but what the Holy Ghost by the apostles hath established.

[247] John xiv. 6; 1 Tim. iii. 16; vi. 3, 11; 2 Pet. i. 3.

[248] Acts ii. 38, 39.

[249] Cor. vi. 9, 10; Tit. iii. 3-5; Eph. ii. 1-3; Acts ii. 37, 38.

Quest. XVI. _What is necessary to a man's reception into membership in
a particular church, over and above this foresaid title? whether any
other trials, or covenant, or what?_

1. A particular church is a regular part of the universal, as a city
of a kingdom, or a troop of an army.

2. Every man that is a member of the particular church, is a member of
the universal; but every one that is a member of the universal church,
is not a member of a particular.

3. Every particular church hath its own particular pastor, (one or
more,) and its own particular place or bounds of habitation or
residence; therefore he that will be a member of a particular church,
1. Must cohabit, or live in a proximity capable of communion. 2. And
must consent to be a member of that particular church, and to be under
the guidance of its particular pastor, in their office work. For he
cannot be made a member without his own consent and will; nor can he
be a member, that subjecteth not himself to the governor or guide.

4. He therefore that will intrude into their communion and privileges
without expressing his consent beforehand to be a member, and to
submit to the pastoral oversight, is to be taken for an invader.

5. But no other personal qualification is to be exacted of him as
necessary, but that he be a member of the church universal. As he is
not to be baptized again, so neither to give again all that account of
his faith and repentance particularly which he gave at baptism; much
less any higher proofs of his sincerity; but if he continue in the
covenant and church state which he was baptized into, he is capable
thereby of reception into any particular church upon particular
consent. Nor is there any Scripture proof of any new examinations
about their conversion or sincerity, at their removals or entrance
into a particular church.

6. But yet because he is not now looked on only as a covenant maker,
as he was at baptism, but also as a covenant keeper or performer,
therefore if any can prove that he is false to his baptismal covenant,
by apostasy, heresy, or a wicked life, he is to be refused till he be
absolved upon his renewed repentance.

7. He that oft professeth to repent, and by oft revolting into mortal
sin, (that is, sin which showeth a state of death,) doth show that he
was not sincere, must afterward show his repentance by actual
amendment, before he can say, it is his due to be believed.

8. Whether you will call this consent to particular church relation
and duty, by the name of a covenant or not, is but _lis de nomine_: it
is more than mutual consent that is necessary to be expressed; and
mutual consent expressed may be called a covenant.

9. _Ad melius esse_, the more express the consent or covenant is, the
better: for in so great matters men should know what they do, and deal
above-board: especially when experience telleth us, that ignorance and
imagery is ready to eat out the heart of religion in almost all the
churches in the world. But yet _ad esse_ churches must see that they
feign or make no more covenants necessary than God hath made; because
human, unnecessary inventions have so long distracted and laid waste
the churches of Christ.

10. The pastor's consent must concur with the persons to be received:
for it must be mutual consent; and as none can be a member, so none
may be a pastor, against his will.[250] And though he be under
Christ's laws what persons to receive, and is not arbitrary to do what
he list, yet he is the guide of the church, and the discerner of his
own duty. And a pastor may have reasons to refuse to take a man into
his particular charge, without rejecting him as unworthy. Perhaps he
may already have more in number than he can well take care of. And
other such reasons may fall out.

11. In those countries where the magistrate's laws and common consent,
do take every qualified person for a member of that church where his
habitation is, (called a parish,) and to which he ordinarily
resorteth, the pastor that undertaketh that charge, doth thereby seem
to consent to be pastor to all such persons in that parish. And there
cohabitation and ordinary conjunction with the church, may go for a
signification of consent, and instead of more particular contract or
covenant, by virtue of the exposition of the said laws and customs.
Yet so, that a man is not therefore to be taken for a member of the
church merely because he liveth in the parish; for so atheists,
infidels, heretics, and papists may do; but because he is, 1. A
parishioner, 2. Qualified, 3. Joining with the church, and actually
submitting to the ministry.

12. Where there is this much only, it is a sinful slander to say that
such a parish is no true church of Christ; however there may be many
desirable orders wanting to its better being. Who hath the power of
trying and receiving we shall show anon.

[250] Matt. xxviii. 19, 20; Heb. xiii. 7, 17; 1 Thess. v. 12, 13; 1
Tim. v. 17.

Quest. XVII. _Wherein doth the ministerial office essentially

The office of the sacred ministry is a mixed relation (not a
simple).[251] I. As the minister is related to Christ, he is his
servant or minister by office; that is, one commissioned by him for
that sacred work: where there is, 1. The commission itself (which is
not particular, but general, in a general law, applicable to each
singular person when qualified). 2. The determination of the
individual person who is to receive it: which consisteth in the call,
which I have opened before and therefore repeat not. Only note again,
1. That by virtue of the general commission or institution of the
office in specie, the power is conveyed from Christ to the individual
person, and that the church (electors or ordainers) are not the
donors, authorizers, or obligers, but only instruments of designing an
apt recipient, and delivering him possession. 2. That by virtue of
this institution, charter, or law commission, it is that the acts of a
man seemingly or visibly called, are valid to the church, though
really he were not ordained or truly called, but deceived them by
hypocritical intrusion.[252]

2. The causation or efficiency of Christ in the making any one a
minister, is, 1. Dispositive, making him a qualified, fit recipient;
2. Then applying the general commission to him, or giving him the
function itself.[253]

1. The dispositive acts of Christ are, 1. Giving him competent
knowledge for a minister. 2. Giving him competent goodness; that is,
love to God, truth, and souls, and willingness for the work. 3. Giving
him competent power and abilities for execution, which is principally
in utterance; and so qualifying his intellect, will, and executive

2. The immediate conveyance or act of collation, is, 1. An obligation
laid on the person to do the work. 2. Authority given him to warrant
him, and to oblige others; that is, a _jus docendi, gubernandi,

3. The form of the relation is denominated, 1. From the reception of
these efficiencies in general. 2. From the subordination which hereby
they are placed in to Christ, as their relation is denominated _a

1. Formally the office consisteth in, 1. An obligation to do the work
of the office. 2. Authority to do it, and to oblige others to submit
to it.

2. These make up an office which being denominated also from the
_terminus_, is considered, 1. As to the nearest term, which is the
work to be done. 2. The remote, which is the object of that work.

The work is, 1. Teaching: 2. Ruling: 3. Worshipping.[255] And so it is
essentially An obligation and power of ministerial teaching, ruling,
and worshipping God.

2. As to the object it is, 1. The world to be converted. 2. The
converted to be baptized, and congregated or ordered into particular
societies (so far as may be). 3. The baptized and congregate to be,
(1.) Taught; (2.) Ruled; (3.) Guided in worship.[256]

From all which resulteth an office which is ministerially subordinate
to Christ, 1. The Prophet or Teacher; 2. The Ruler; 3. The High Priest
and Lover of his church; and it may be aptly called both a teaching
ministry, a ruling ministry, (not by the sword, but by the word,) and
a priesthood or priestly ministry.[257]

II. As the pastor is related to the church, he is, 1. A constitutive
part of particular political churches. 2. He is Christ's minister for
the church and for Christ; that is, to teach, rule, and worship with
the church. He is above the church, and greater than it, as to order
and power, and not the minister of the church as the efficient of the
ministry: but he is less and worse than the church finally and
materially; and is finally the church's minister, as the physician is
the patient's physician; not made a physician by him, but chosen and
used as his physician for his cure: so that to speak properly, he is
not from them, but for them. He is Christ's minister for their good;
as the shepherd is his master's servant, for his flock, and so finally
only the servant of the sheep.[258]

The whole uncontrovertible work of the office is laid down in my small
book called "Universal Concord," to which I must refer you.

[251] John xx. 21; xiii. 20; Luke x. 3; Rom. x. 15; Acts xx. 28.

[252] Phil. i. 15-17; Matt. vii. 22; Rom. xv. 14.

[253] Eph. iv. 7, 8; 2 Tim. ii. 2; i. 5, 7; Eph. vi. 19; Col. iv. 3; 2
Cor. x. 4, 5.

[254] Tit. i. 2; 2 Cor. viii. 6; 1 Cor. iv. 1, 2; Tit. i. 7.

[255] 2 Tim. 2; iii. 2; iv. 11; vi. 2, 3; 1 Thess. v. 12, 13.

[256] Heb. xiii. 7, 17; Acts vi. 4; ix. 40; xx. 36; Mal. ii. 7; Heb.
x. 11.

[257] Rev. i. 6; v. 10; xx. 6; 1 Pet. ii. 5, 6.

[258] Rom. i. 1; Col. iv. 12; 2 Pet. i. 1; 1 Cor. iv. 1, 2; iii. 5; 2
Cor. iii. 6; xi. 4; xi. 23; Matt. xxix. 45, 46, 48; 1 Cor. ix. 19.

Quest. XVIII. _Whether the people's choice or consent is necessary to
the office of a minister in his first work, as he is to convert
infidels, and baptize them? And whether this be a work of office? And
what call is necessary to it?_

I conjoin these three distinct questions for expedition.

1. That it is part of the minister's office work to teach, convert,
and baptize men, to bring them out of the world into the church, is
undeniable; 1. In Christ's express commission, Matt. xxviii. 19, 20,
"Go, disciple me all nations, baptizing them--" 2. In the execution of
this commission.

2. That this was not peculiar to the apostles or their age is proved,
1. Because not an extraordinary work, like miracles, &c. but the first
great business of the gospel and ministry in the world. 2. Because
others as well as the apostles did it in that age, and ever since. 3.
Because the promise is annexed to the office thus described, "I am
with you always to the end of the world." Or if you translate it
"age," it is the age of the church of the Messiah incarnate, which is
all one. 4. Because it was a small part of the world comparatively
that heard the gospel in the apostles' days.[259] And the far greatest
part of the world is without it at this day, when yet God our Saviour
would have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the
truth. 5. Even where the gospel hath long continued, for the most part
there are many still that are in infidelity. And so great a work is
not left without an appointed suitable means for its performance: and
if an office was necessary for it in the first age, it is not credible
that it is left to private men's charity ever since. 6. Especially
considering that private men are to be supposed insufficient; (1.)
Because they are not educated purposely for it, but usually for
something else. (2.) Because that they have other callings to take
them up. (3.) Because they have no special obligation. And that which
is no man's peculiar work, is usually left undone by all.

II. The people's call or consent is not necessary to a minister's
reception of his office in general, nor for this part of his work in
special; but only to his pastoral relation to themselves.

1. It is so in other functions that are exercised by skill. The
patients or people make not a man a physician or lawyer, but only
choose what physician shall be their physician, and what lawyer shall
be their counsellor.

2. If the people's call or consent be necessary, it is either the
infidels' or the church's. Not the infidels to whom he is to preach:
for, 1. He is authorized to preach to them (as the apostles were)
before he goeth to them. 2. Their consent is but a natural consequent
requisite for the reception and success of their teaching, but not to
the authority which is prerequisite. 3. Infidels cannot do so much
towards the making of a minister of Christ. 4. Else Christ would have
few such ministers. 5. If it be infidels, either all or some? If some,
why those rather than others? Or is a man made a minister by every
infidel auditory that heareth him?

2. Nor is it christian people that must do this much to the making of
a general minister: for, 1. They have no such power given for it, in
nature or the word of God. 2. They are generally unqualified and
unable for such a work. 3. They are no where obliged to it, nor can
fitly leave their callings for it; much less to get the abilities
necessary to judge. 4. Which of the people have this power? Is it any
of them, or any church of private men? or some one more than the rest?
Neither one nor all can lay any claim to it. There is some reason why
this congregation rather than another should choose their own pastors;
but there is no reason (nor Scripture) that this congregation choose a
minister to convert the world.

III. I conclude therefore that the call of a minister in general doth
consist, 1. Dispositively in the due qualifications and enablement of
the person. 2. And the necessity of the people, with opportunity, is a
providential part of the call. 3. And the ordainers are the orderly
electors and determiners of the person that shall receive the power
from Christ.

1. For this is part of the power of the keys or church government. 2.
And Paul giveth this direction for exercising of this power to
Timothy, which showeth the ordinary way of calling; 2 Tim. ii. 2, "And
the things which thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same
commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others
also."[260] Acts xiii. 1-3, "There were in the church at Antioch
certain prophets--As they ministered to the Lord, the Holy Ghost said,
Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called
them; and when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on
them, they sent them away. And they being sent forth by the Holy
Ghost, departed." In this (whether it be called an ordination, or
rather a mission) there is somewhat ordinary, (that it be by men in
office,) and somewhat extraordinary (that it be by a special
inspiration of the Holy Ghost).

And Timothy received his gifts and office by the imposition of the
hands of Paul and of the presbytery. 1 Tim. iv. 14; 2 Tim. i. 6, 1
Tim. v. 22, "Lay hands suddenly on no man."

These instances make the case the clearer, 1. Because it is certain
that all the governing power which is given by Christ to the church
under the name of the keys, is given to the pastors. 2. Because there
are no other competitors to lay a reasonable claim to it.

[259] Rom. x. 15, 16.

[260] 1 Tim. iii. 6, 7; Tit. i. 5, 6.

Quest. XIX. _Wherein consistent the power and nature of ordination?
And to whom doth it belong? And is it an act of jurisdiction? And is
imposition of hands necessary in it?_

I. This is resolved on the by before. 1. Ordination performeth two
things: (1.) The designation, election, or determination of the person
who shall receive the office. (2.) The ministerial investiture of him
in that office; which is a ceremonial delivery of possession; as a
servant doth deliver possession of a house by delivering him the key,
who hath before received the power or right from the owner.

2. The office delivered by this election and investiture, is the
sacred ministerial office in general to be after exercised according
to particular calls and opportunities; as Christ called the apostles,
and the Spirit called the ordinary general teachers of those times;
such as Barnabas, Silas, Silvanus, Timothy, Epaphroditus, Apollos, &c.
And as is before cited, 2 Tim. ii. 2. As a man is made in general a
licensed physician, lawyer, &c.

3. This ordination is _ordinis gratia_, necessary to order; and
therefore so far necessary as order is necessary; which is ordinarily,
when the greater interest of the substantial duty, or of the thing
ordered, is not against it. As Christ determined the case of sabbath
keeping, and not eating the shewbread. As the sabbath was made for
man, and not man for the sabbath, and the end is to be preferred
before the separable means; so ordination was instituted for order,
and order for the thing ordered, and for the work of the gospel, and
the good of souls, and not the gospel and men's souls for that order.
Therefore when, 1. The death; 2. Distance; 3. Or malignity of the
ordainers depriveth a man of ordination, these three substitutes may
notify to him the will of God, that he is by him a person called to
that office: 1. Fitness for the works, in understanding, willingness,
and ability; 2. The necessity of souls; 3. Opportunity.

II. The power of ordaining belongeth not, 1. To magistrates; 2. Or to
private men, either single or as the body of a church; but, 3. To the
senior pastors of the church (whether bishops or presbyters of a
distinct order, the reader must not expect that I here determine).

For, 1. The power is by Christ given to them, as is before proved; and
in Tit. i. 5.

2. None else are ordinarily able to discern aright the abilities of a
man for the sacred ministry. The people may discern a profitable
moving preacher, but whether he understand the Scripture, or the
substance of religion, or be sound in the faith and not heretical,
and delude them not with a form of well-uttered words, they are not
ordinarily able to judge.

3. None else are fit to attend this work, but pastors who are
separated to the sacred office.[261] It requireth more time to get
fitness for it, and then to perform it faithfully, than either
magistrates or people can ordinarily bestow.

4. The power is no where given by Christ to magistrates or people.

5. It hath been exercised by pastors or church officers only, both in
and ever since the apostles' days, in all the churches of the world.
And we have no reason to think that the church hath been gathered from
the beginning till now, by so great an error, as a wrong conveyance of
the ministerial power.

III. The word jurisdiction as applied to the church officers, is no
Scripture word, and in the common sense soundeth too big, as
signifying more power than the servants of all must claim; for there
is "one Lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy."[262] But in a
more moderate sense it may be tolerated; as jurisdiction signifieth in
particular, 1. Legislation; 2. Or judicial process or sentence; 3. Or
the execution of such a sentence, strictly taken; so ordination is no
part of jurisdiction. But as jurisdiction signifieth the same with the
power of government, _jus regendi_ in general; so ordination is an act
of jurisdiction. As the placing or choosing of inferior officers may
belong to the steward of a family, or as the calling or authorizing of
physicians belongeth to the college of physicians, and the authorizing
of lawyers to the judges' society, or the authorizing of doctors in
philosophy to the society of philosophers or to particular rulers.
Where note, that in the three last instances, the learning or fitness
of the said persons or societies, is but their _dispositio vel
aptitudo ad potestatem exercendam_; but the actual power of conveying
authority to others, or designing the recipient person, is received
from the supreme power of the land, and so is properly an act of
authority, here called jurisdiction.

So that the common distinguishing of ordination from jurisdiction or
government, as if they were _tota specie_ different, is unsound.

IV. Imposition of hands was a sign, (like the kiss of peace, and the
anointing of persons, and like our kneeling in prayer, &c.) which
having first somewhat in their nature to invite men to the use, was
become a common significant sign, of a superior's benediction of an
inferior, in those times and countries. And so was here applied
ordinarily for its antecedent significancy and aptitude to this use;
and was not purposely instituted, nor had its significancy newly given
it by institution; and so was not like a sacrament necessarily and
perpetually affixed to ordination.

Therefore we must conclude, 1. That imposition of hands in ordination
is a decent, apt, significant sign, not to be scrupled by any, nor to
be omitted without necessity, as being of Scripture, ancient, and
common use.

2. But yet that it is not essential to ordination; which may be valid
by any fit designation and separation of the person. And therefore if
it be omitted, it nullifieth not the action. And if the ordainers did
it by letters to a man a thousand miles off, it would be valid: and
some persons of old were ordained when they were absent.

V. I add as to the need of ordination, 1. That without this key, the
office and church doors would be cast open, and every heretic or
self-conceited person intrude.

2. It is a sign of a proud, unworthy person, that will judge himself
fit for so great a work, and intrude upon such a conceit, when he may
have the judgment of the pastors, and avoideth it.[263]

3. Those that so do, should no more be taken for ministers by the
people, than any should go for christians that are not baptized, or
for married persons whose marriage is not solemnized.

[261] Acts xiii. 2; Rom. i. 1; 1 Tim. iv. 15.

[262] Isa. xxxiii. 22; Jam. iv. 12.

[263] Acts xiii. 2; Heb. v. 4, 10.

Quest. XX. _Is ordination necessary to make a man a pastor of a
particular church as such? And is he to be made a general minister and
a particular church elder or pastor at once, and by one ordination?_

I have proved that a man may be made a minister in general, yea, and
sent to exercise it in converting infidels, and baptizing them, before
ever he is the pastor of any particular church. To which I add, that
in this general ministry, he is a pastor in the universal church, as a
licensed physician that hath no hospital or charge, is a physician in
the kingdom.

And, 1. As baptism is as such our entrance into the universal church,
and not into a particular; so is ordination to a minister an entrance
only on the ministry as such.

2. Yet a man may at once be made a minister in general, and the pastor
of this or that church in particular: and in kingdoms wholly
inchurched and christian, it is usually fittest so to do; lest many
being ordained _sine titulo_, idleness and poverty of supernumeraries,
should corrupt and dishonour the ministry: which was the cause of the
old canons in this case.

3. But when a man is thus called to both at once, it is not all done
by ordination as such; but his complicate relation proceedeth from a
complication of causes. As he is a minister, it is by ordination. And
as he is the pastor of this people, it is by the conjunct causes of
appropriation: which are, 1. Necessarily the people's consent. 2.
Regularly, the pastor's approbation and recommendation, and reception
of the person into their communion. 3. And sometimes the magistrate
may do much to oblige the people to consent.

4. But when a man is made a minister in general before, he needeth no
proper ordination to fix him in a particular charge; but only an
approbation, recommendation, particular investiture, and reception.
For else a man must be oft ordained, even as oft as he removeth. But
yet imposition of hands may fitly be used in this particular
investiture, though it be no proper ordination, that is, no collation
of the office of a minister in general, but the fixing of one that was
a minister before.

Quest. XXI. _May a man be oft or twice ordained?_

It is supposed, that we play not with an ambiguous word, that we
remember what ordination is. And then you will see cause to
distinguish, 1. Between entire, true ordination, and the external act,
or words, or ceremony only. 2. Between one that was truly ordained
before, and one that was not. And so I answer,

1. He that seemed ordained, and indeed was not, is not re-ordained
when he is after-ordained.

2. It is needful therefore to know the essentials of ordination, from
the integrals and accidentals.

3. He that was truly ordained before, may in some cases receive again
the repetition of the bare words and outward ceremonies of ordination
(as imposition of hands). Where I will, I. Tell you in what cases. II.

I. 1. In case there wanted sufficient witnesses of his ordination; and
so the church hath not sufficient means of notice or satisfaction,
that ever he was ordained indeed: or if the witnesses die before the
notification. Whether the church should take his word or not, in such
a case, is none of my question, but, Whether he should submit to the
repetition if they will not.

2. Especially in a time and place (which I have known) when written
and sealed orders are often counterfeited, and so the church called to
extraordinary care.

3. Or if the church or magistrate be guilty of some causeless,
culpable incredulity, and will not believe it was done till they see
it done again.

4. Or in case that some real or supposed integral (though not
essential) part was omitted, or is by the church or magistrate
supposed to be omitted; and they will not permit or receive the
minister to exercise his office, unless he repeat the whole action
again, and make up that defect.

5. Or if the person himself do think that his ordination was
insufficient, and cannot exercise his ministry to the satisfaction of
his own conscience, till the defect be repaired.

In these cases (and perhaps such others) the outward action may be

II. The reasons are, 1. Because this is not a being twice ordained.
For the word ordination, signifieth a moral action, and not a physical
only; as the word marriage doth, &c. And it essentially includeth the
new dedication and designation to the sacred office, by a kind of
covenant between the dedicated person and Christ to whom he is
consecrated and devoted. And the external words are but a part, and a
part only as significant of the action of the mind. Now the oft
expressing of the same mental dedication doth not make it to be as
many distinct dedications. For, 1. If the liturgy or the person's
words were tautological, or at the ordination should say the same
thing often over and over, or for confirmation should say often that
which else might be said but once, this doth not make it an often or
multiplied ordination: it was but one love which Peter expressed, when
Christ made him say thrice, that he loved him; nor was it a threefold
ordination which Christ used, when he said thrice to him, "Feed my
lambs and sheep."

2. And if thrice saying it that hour make it not three ordinations,
neither will thrice saying it at more hours, days, or months, or years
distance, in some cases; for the time maketh not the ordinations to be
many; it is but one moral action. But the common error ariseth from
the custom of calling the outward action alone by the name of the
whole moral action (which is ordinarily done to the like deceit in the
case of the baptismal covenant, and the Lord's supper).

3. The common judgment and custom of the world confirmeth what I say.
If persons that are married should for want of witness or due
solemnity be forced to say and do the outward action all over again,
it is by no wise man taken in the proper, moral, full sense, for a
second marriage, but for one marriage twice uttered.

And if you should in witness-bearing be put to your oath, and the
magistrate that was absent should say, Reach him the book again, I did
not hear him swear, the doing it twice is not morally two witnessings
or oaths, but one only twice physically uttered.

If you bind your son apprentice, or if you make any indentures or
contract, and the writings being lost or faulty, you write, and sign,
and seal them all again, this is not morally another contract, but
the same done better, or again recorded. And so it is plainly in this

4. But re-ordination morally and properly so called, is unlawful: for,
(1.) It is (or implieth) a lie, viz. that we were not truly dedicated
and separated to this office before.

(2.) It is a sacrilegious renunciation of our former dedication to
God: whereas the ministerial dedication and covenant is for life, and
not for a trial; which is the meaning of the indelible character,
which is a perpetual relation and obligation.

(3.) It is a taking the name of God in vain; thus to do and undo, and
do again; and to promise and renounce, and promise again, and to
pretend to receive a power which we had before.

(4.) It tendeth to great confusions in the church; as to make the
people doubt of their baptism, or all the ministerial administrations
of such as are re-ordained, while they acted by the first ordination.

(5.) It hath ever been condemned in the churches of Christ, as the
canons called the apostles', and the church's constant practice,

5. Though the bare repetition of the outward action and words be not
re-ordination, yet he that on any of the forementioned occasions is
put to repeat the said words and actions, is obliged so to do it, as
that it may not seem to be a re-ordination, and so be a scandal to the
church. Or if it outwardly seem so by the action, he is bound to
declare that it is no such thing, for the counterpoising that
appearance of evil.

6. When the ordainers, or the common estimation of the church, do take
the repetition of the words and action for a re-ordination, though the
receiver so intend it not, yet it may become unlawful to him by this
accident, because he scandalizeth and hardeneth the erroneous, by
doing or receiving that which is interpretative re-ordination.

7. Especially when the ordainers shall require this repetition on
notoriously wicked grounds, and so put that sense on the action by
their own doctrines and demands: as for instance,

(1.) If heretics should (as the Arians) say that we are no ministers,
because we are not of their heresy, or ordained by such as they.

(2.) If the pope or any proud papal usurpers shall say, You are no
ministers of Christ, except we ordain you; and so do it to establish a
traitorous, usurped regiment in the church; it is not lawful to serve
such a usurpation. As if cardinals or archbishops should say, None are
true ministers but those that we ordain; or councils or synods of
bishops or presbyters should say, None are true ministers but those
that we ordain; or if one presbyter or one bishop without authority
would thus make himself master of the rest, or of other churches, and
say, You are no ministers unless I ordain you; we may not promote such
tyranny and usurpation.

(3.) If magistrates would usurp the power of the keys, in
ecclesiastical ordination, and say that none but they have power to
ordain, we may not encourage such pretences by repetition of the words
and action.

(4.) If they would make something necessary to ordination which is
not, as if it were a false oath, or false subscription or profession,
or some unlawful ceremony, (as if it were anointing, wearing horns, or
any the like,) and say, You are no ministers without these, and
therefore you must be re-ordained to receive them.

(5.) Yea, if they declare our former ministry causelessly to be null,
and say, You are no ministers till you are ordained again, and so
publicly put this sense upon our action, that we take it as
re-ordination; all these accidents make the repetition of the words
and actions to be unlawful, unless when greater accidents notoriously

_Quest._ But if such church tyrants should have so great power, as
that without their repetition of ordination on those terms, the
ministry might not be exercised, is it lawful so to take it in a case
of such necessity?

_Answ._ 1. Every seeming necessity to you, is not a necessity to the
church. 2. Either you may publicly declare a contrary sense in your
receiving their new orders or not.

1. If you may not as publicly declare that you renounce not your
former ministry and dedication to God in that office, as the ordainers
declare their sense of the nullity of it, so that your open
declaration may free you from the guilt of seeming consent, I conceive
it is a sinful compliance with their sin. 2. Yea, if you may so
declare it, yet if there be no necessity of your ministerial liberty
in that place, I think you may not take it on such terms. As, (1.) If
there be worthy men enough to supply the church's wants there without
you. (2.) And if you may serve God successfully in a persecuted state,
though to the suffering of your flesh. (3.) Or if your imprisonment
for preaching be like to be as serviceable to the church and gospel as
your continued preaching on those scandalous terms. (4.) Or if you may
remove and preach in another country.

8. When any such case doth fall out, in which the repetition of the
outward action and words is lawful, it is not lawful to mix any false
and scandalous expressions: as if we were required to say falsely, I
accept this ordination as confessing myself no minister of Christ till
now: or any such like.

9. In a word, a peaceable christian may do much as to the mere outward
action and submission, for obedience, peace, order, or satisfaction to
his own or other men's consciences. But, (1.) He may do nothing for
good ends which is false and injurious to the church.[264] (2.) And he
may not do that which otherwise were lawful, when it is for evil ends,
or tendeth to more hurt than good; as to promote heresy, or church
tyranny and usurpation, whether in pope, prelates, presbyters, or

[264] 1 Thess. v. 22; Gal. ii. 4, 5, 14.

Quest. XXII. _How many ordainers are necessary to the validity of
ordination by God's institution? whether one or more?_

My question is not of the ancient canons, or any human laws or
customs, for those are easily known; but of divine right. Now either
God hath determined the case as to the number of ordainers necessary,
or not. If not, either he hath given the church some general rule to
determine it by, or not. If not, then the number is not any part of
the divine order or law; and then, if we suppose that he hath
determined the case as to the ordaining office and not to the number,
then it will follow that one may serve. The truth I think may be thus

1. There is _Ordo officialis primarius_, and _Ordo ordinis, vel
exercitii, vel secundarius_; an order of office primary, and an
order of exercise secondary, in the church. As to the first, the order
of office, God hath determined that the ordaining officers, and no
others, shall ordain officers, or give orders. And having not
determined whether one or more, it followeth that the ordination of
one sole lawful ordainer is no nullity on that account because it is
but one, unless somewhat else nullify it.

2. God hath given general rules to the ordainers for the due exercise
of their office, though he have not determined of any set number. Such
as are these: that all things be done in judgment, truth, love,
concord, to the church's edification, unity, and peace, &c.

3. According to these general laws, sometimes the ordination of one
sole ordainer, may not only be valid but regular; as when there are no
other to concur, or none whose concurrence is needful to any of the
aforesaid ends. And sometimes the concurrence of many is needful, (1.)
To the receiver's satisfaction. (2.) To the church's or people's
satisfaction. (3.) To the concord of pastors, and of neighbour
churches, &c. And in such cases such consent or concourse is the
regular way.

4. Where there are many neighbour pastors and churches so near, as
that he that is ordained in one of them, is like oft to pass and
preach, and officiate _obiter_ in others, and so other churches must
have some communion with him, it is meetest that there be a
concurrence in the ordination.

5. The ordainer is certainly a superior to the person that cometh to
be ordained while he is a private man; and therefore so far his
ordination is (as is said) an act of jurisdiction in the large sense,
that is, of government; but whether he be necessarily his superior
after he is ordained, hath too long been a controversy. It is certain
that the papists confess, that the pope is ordained such by no
superior; and it is not necessary that a bishop be ordained by one or
more of any superior order (or jurisdiction either). And though the
Italian papists hold that a superior papal jurisdiction must needs be
the secondary fountain of the ordaining power, though the ordainer
himself be but of the same order; yet protestants hold no such thing.
And all acknowledge that as imposition of hands on a layman to make
him a minister of Christ or an officer, is a kind of official
generation,[265] so the ordained as a junior in office, is as it were
a son to the ordainer, as the convert is said to be peculiarly to his
converter; and that a proportionable honour is still to be given him.
But whether he that ordaineth a presbyter, and not he that ordaineth
or consecrateth a bishop, must needs be of a superior order or office,
is a question which the reader must not expect me here to meddle with.

[265] Ejusdem speciei vel inferioris: How then is the pope ordained or

Quest. XXIII. _What if one bishop ordain a minister, and three, or
many, or all the rest protest against it, and declare him no minister,
or degrade him; is he to be received as a true minister or not?_

Supposing that the person want no necessary personal qualification for
the office, there are two things more in question; 1. His office,
whether he be a minister. 2. His regularity, whether he came regularly
to it; and also his comparative relation, whether this man or another
is to be preferred. I answer therefore,

1. If the person be utterly incapable, the one bishop, or the many
whosoever taketh him for incapable, is for the truth sake to be
believed and obeyed.

2. If the man be excellently qualified, and his ministry greatly
necessary to the church, whoever would deprive the church of him, be
it the one or the many, is to be disobeyed, and the ordainers

_Object._ But who shall judge? _Answ._ The _esse_ is before the
_scire_; the thing is first true or false before I judge it to be so;
and therefore whoever judgeth falsely in a case so notorious and
weighty, as that the welfare of the church and souls is
(_consideratis considerandis_) injured and hazarded by his error, is
not to be believed nor obeyed on pretence of order; because all
christians have _judicium discretionis_, a discerning judgment.

3. But if the case be not thus to be determined by the person's
notorious qualifications, then either it is, 1. The man ordained. 2.
Or the people that the case is debated by, whether they should take
him for a minister. 3. Or the neighbour ministers.

1. The person himself is, _cæteris paribus_, more to regard the
judgment of many concordant bishops, than of one singular bishop; and
therefore is not to take orders from a singular bishop, when the
generality of the wise and faithful are against it; unless he be sure
that it is some notorious faction or error that perverteth them, and
that there be notorious necessity of his labour.

2. The auditors are either infidels to be converted, (and these will
take no man upon any of their authorities,) or else christians
converted. These are either of the particular charge of the singular
bishop who ordaineth, or not; if they be, then _pro tempore_ for
order's sake, they owe him a peculiar obedience, till some further
process or discovery disoblige them, (though the most be on the other
side). But yet they may be still bound in reason most to suspect the
judgment of their singular bishop, while for order's sake they submit
to it. But if they are not of his flock, then, I suppose the judgment
and act of many is to prevail so much against the act of a single and
singular person, as that both neighbour ministers and people are to
disown such an ordained person as unfit for their communion under the
notion of a minister (because communion of churches is maintained by
the concord of pastors). But whether the ordained man's ministry be,
by their contradictory declaration or degradation, made an absolute
nullity, to himself and those that submit to him, neither I will
determine, nor should any other strangers to the particular case; for
if he be rejected or degraded without such cause and proof as may
satisfy other sober persons, he hath wrong; but if he be so degraded,
on proved sufficient cause, to them that it is known to, he giveth the
degraders the advantage.[266]

And as, 1. All particular members are to be obedient to their proper

2. And all particular churches are to hold correspondency and
communion according to their capacity. So must men act in this and
such like cases respectively according to the laws of obedience to
their pastor, and of concord of the churches.

[266] Eph. iv. 3; 1 Cor. xii; Rom. xiv. 17, 19; 1 Cor. xiv. 33; 1
Thess. v. 12, 13; Phil. ii. 1-3; Eph. iv. 15, 16; 1 Cor. i. 10.

Quest. XXIV. _Hath one bishop power by divine right to ordain,
degrade, or govern, or excommunicate, or absolve, in another's diocess
or church, either by his consent, or against it? And doth a minister
that officiateth in another's church, act as a pastor, and their
pastor, or as a private man? And doth the ministerial office cease
when a man removeth from his flock?_

I thrust these questions all together for their affinity, and for

1. Every true minister of Christ, bishop or pastor, is related to the
universal church by stronger obligations than to his particular
charge; as the whole is better than the parts, and its welfare to be

2. He that is no pastor of a particular church, may be a pastor in the
universal, obliged as a consecrated person to endeavour its good, by
the works of his office, as he hath a particular opportunity and call.

3. Yet he that hath a particular charge is especially and nearlier
related and obliged to that charge or church, than to any other part
of the universal (though not than to the whole); and consequently hath
a peculiar authority, where he hath a peculiar obligation and work.

4. He that is (without degrading) removed from a particular church,
doth not cease to be a general minister and pastor related to the
universal church; as a physician put out of an hospital charge, is a
physician still. And therefore he needeth no new ordination, but only
a special designation to his next particular charge.

5. No man is the bishop of a diocess as to the measure of ground, or
the place, by divine right, that is, by any particular law or
determination of God; but only a bishop of the church or people: for
your office essentially containeth a relation to the people, but
accidentally only to the place.

6. Yet natural convenience, and God's general laws of order and
edification, do make it usually (but not always) best, and therefore a
duty, to distinguish churches by the people's habitation: not taking a
man for a member _eo nomine_, because he liveth on that ground; but
for order's sake taking none for members that live not on that ground,
and not intruding causelessly into each other's bounds.

7. He that by the call or consent of a neighbour pastor and people
doth officiate (by preaching, sacraments, excommunication, or
absolution) in another's special charge for a day, or week, or month,
or more, without a fixed relation to that flock, doth neither
officiate as a layman, nor yet unlawfully or irregularly; but, 1. As a
minister of Christ in the church universal. 2. And as the pastor of
that church for the present time only, though not statedly; even as a
physician called to help another in his hospital, or to supply his
place for the time, doth perform his work, 1. As a licensed physician.
2. And as the physician of that patient or hospital for that time,
though not statedly.

8. No man is to intrude into another's charge without a call; much
less to claim a particular stated oversight and authority. For though
he be not a usurper as to the office in general, he is a usurper as to
that particular flock. It is no error in ordination to say, Take thou
authority to preach the word of God, and administer the holy
sacraments, when thou shalt be thereto lawfully called; that is, when
thou hast a particular call to the exercise, and to a fixed charge, as
thou hast now a call to the office in general.

9. Yet every bishop or pastor by his relation to the church universal,
and to mankind, and the interest of Christ, is bound not only as a
christian, but as a pastor, to do his best for the common good; and
not to cast wholly out of his care a particular church, because
another hath the oversight of it. Therefore if a heretic get in, or
the church fall to heresy, or any pernicious error or sin, the
neighbour pastors are bound both by the law of nature and their
office, to interpose their counsel as ministers of Christ, and to
prefer the substance before pretended order, and to seek to recover
the people's souls, though it be against their proper pastor's will.
And in such a case of necessity, they may ordain, degrade,
excommunicate, and absolve in another's charge, as if it were a

10. Moreover it is one thing to excommunicate a man out of a
particular church, and another thing for many associated churches or
neighbours to renounce communion with him. The special pastors of
particular churches, having the government of those churches, are the
special governing judges, who shall or shall not have communion as a
member in their churches; but the neighbour pastors of other churches
have the power of judging with whom they and their own flocks will or
will not hold communion. As e. g. Athanasius may as governor of his
flock declare any Arian member excommunicate, and require his flock to
have no communion with him. And all the neighbour pastors (though they
excommunicate not the same man as his special governors, yet) may
declare to all their flocks, that if that man come among them, they
will have no communion with him, and that at distance they renounce
that distant communion which is proper to christians one with another,
and take him for none of the church of Christ.[267]

[267] 1 Cor. v.; Tit. iii. 10; 2 Thess. iii. 6, 14; 2 John 10; Rev.
ii. 14, 15, 20.

Quest. XXV. _Whether canons be laws? and pastors have a legislative

All men are not agreed what a law is, that is, what is to be taken for
the proper sense of that word. Some will have the name confined to
such common laws as are stated, durable rules for the subject's
actions: and some will extend it also to personal, temporary, verbal
precepts and mandates, such as parents and masters use daily to the
children and servants of their families. And of the first sort, some
will confine the name laws to those acts of sovereignty which are
about the common matters of the kingdom, or which no inferior officer
may make: and others will extend it to those orders which by the
sovereign's charter, a corporation, or college, or school may make for
the subregulation of their particular societies and affairs.

I have declared my own opinion _de nomine_ fully elsewhere, 1. That
the definition of a law in the proper, general sense, is to be a sign
or signification of the reason and will of the rector as such, to his
subjects as such, instituting or antecedently determining what shall
be due from them, and to them; _Jus efficiendo_, regularly making

2. That these laws are many more ways diversified and distinguished,
(from the efficient, sign, subjects, matter, end, &c.) than is meet
for us here to enumerate. It is sufficient now to say, 1. That stated
regular laws, as distinct from temporary mandates and proclamations.
2. And laws for kingdoms and other commonwealths, in regard of laws
for persons, schools, families, &c. 3. And laws made by the supreme
power, as distinct from those made by the derived authority of
colleges, corporations, &c. called by-laws or orders (for I will here
say nothing of parents and pastors, whose authority is directly or
immediately from the efficiency of nature in one, and divine
institution in the other, and not derived efficiently from the
magistrate or any man). 4. That laws about great, substantial matters,
distinct from those about little and mutable circumstances, &c. I say
the first sort, as distinct from the second, are laws so called by
excellency above other laws. But that the rest are univocally to be
called laws, according to the best definition of the law _in genere_.
But if any man will speak otherwise, let him remember that it is yet
but _lis de nomine_, and that he may use his liberty, and I will use
mine. Now to the question.

1. Canons made by virtue of the pastoral office and God's general laws
(in nature or Scripture) for regulating it, are a sort of laws to the
subjects or flocks of those pastors.

2. Canons made by the votes of the laity of the church, or private
part of that society as private, are no laws at all, but agreements;
because they are not acts of any governing power.

3. Canons made by civil rulers about the circumstantials of the
church, belonging to their office, as orderers of such things, are
laws, and may be urged by moderate and meet civil or corporal
penalties, and no otherwise.

4. Canons made by princes or inferior magistrates, are no laws purely
and formally ecclesiastical, which are essentially acts of pastoral
power; but only materially ecclesiastical, and formally magistratical.

5. No church officers as such, (much less the people,) can make laws
with a co-active or coercive sanction; that is, to be enforced by
their authority with the sword or any corporal penalty, mulct, or
force; this being the sole privilege of secular powers, civil, or
economical, or scholastic.

6. There is no obligation ariseth to the subject for particular
obedience of any law, which is evidently against the laws of God (in
nature or holy Scripture).

7. They are no laws which pastors make to people out of their power:
as the popes, &c.

8. There is no power on earth under Christ, that hath authority to
make universal laws; to bind the whole church on all the earth; or all
mankind. Because there is no universal sovereign, civil or spiritual,
personal or collective.

9. Therefore it is no schism, but loyalty to Christ, to renounce or
separate from such a society of usurpation; nor any disobedience or
rebellion, to deny them obedience.

10. Pastors may and must be obeyed in things lawful as magistrates, if
the king make them magistrates: though I think it unmeet for them to
accept a magistracy with the sword, except in case of some rare

11. If pope, patriarchs, or pastors shall usurp any of the king's
authority, loyalty to Christ and him, and the love of the church and
state, oblige us to take part with Christ and the king against such
usurpation, but only by lawful means, in the compass of our proper
place and calling.

12. The canons made by the councils of many churches, have a double
nature: as they are made for the people and the subjects of the
pastors, they are a sort of laws; that is, they oblige by the derived
authority of the pastors; because the pastors of several churches do
not lose any of their power by their assembling, but exercise it with
the greater advantage of concord. But as they are made only to oblige
the present or absent pastors who separatedly are of equal office
power, so they are no laws, except in an equivocal sense, but only
agreements or contracts.[268] So Bishop Usher professed his judgment
to be; and before him the council of Carthage in Cyprian's time; but
it needs no proof, any more than that a convention of kings may make
no laws to bind the kings of England, but contracts only.

13. But yet we are _aliunde_ obliged even by God, to keep these
agreements in things lawful, for the church's peace and concord, when
greater contrary reasons, _a fine_, do not disoblige us. For when God
saith, You shall keep peace and concord, and keep lawful covenants,
the canons afford us the minor, But these are lawful contracts or
agreements, and means of the church's peace and concord; therefore
(saith God's law) you shall observe them. So though the contracts (as
of husband and wife, buyer and seller, &c.) be not laws, yet that is a
law of God which bindeth us to keep them.

14. Seeing that even the obliging commands of pastors may not by them
be enforced by the sword, but work by the power of divine authority or
commission manifested, and by holy reason and love, therefore it is
most modest and fit for pastors (who must not lord it over God's
heritage, but be examples to all[269]) to take the lower name of
authoritative directions and persuasions, rather than of laws;
especially in a time when papal usurpation maketh such ruinating use
of that name, and civil magistrates use to take it in the nobler and
narrower sense.

The questions, 1. If one pastor make orders for his church, and the
multitudes or synods be against them; which must be obeyed, you may
gather from what is said before of ordination. And, 2. What are the
particulars proper, materially, to the magistrate's decision, and what
to the pastor's? I here pass by.

[268] Grotius de imperio sum. pot. circ. sacr. most solidly resolveth
this question.

[269] 1 Pet. v. 2, 3; 2 Cor. i. 24.

Quest. XXVI. _Whether church canons, or pastors' directive
determinations of matters pertinent to their office, do bind the
conscience? and what accidents will disoblige the people? you may
gather before in the same case about magistrates' laws, in the
political directions: as also by an impartial transferring the case to
the precepts of parents and schoolmasters to children; without respect
to their power of the rod (or supposing that they had none such)._

Quest. XXVII. _What are Christ's appointed means of the unity and
concord of the universal church, and consequently of its preservation,
if there be no human universal head and governor of it upon earth? And
if Christ have instituted none such, whether prudence and the law of
nature oblige not the church to set up and maintain a universal
ecclesiastical monarchy or aristocracy; seeing that which is every
man's work, is as no man's, and omitted by all?_

I. To the first question I must refer you in part to two small,
popular, yet satisfactory Tractates,[270] written long ago, that I do
not one thing too oft. Briefly now,

1. The unity of the universal church, is founded in and maintained by
their common relation to Christ the head (as the kingdom in its
relation to the king).

2. A concord in degrees of goodness, and in integrals and accidentals
of christianity, will never be obtained on earth, where the church is
still imperfect; and perfect holiness and wisdom are necessary to
perfect harmony and concord, Phil. iii. 12-14.

3. Experience hath long taught the church, if it will learn, that the
claim of a papal headship and government over the church universal,
hath been the famous incendiary and hinderer of concord in the
christian world.

4. The means to attain such a measure of concord and harmony which is
to be hoped for, or endeavoured upon earth, I have so distinctly,
fully, and yet briefly described (with the contrary impediments) in my
treatise of the "Reasons of Christian Religion," part vii. chap. 14.
p. 470, 471, in about two leaves, that I will not recite them. If you
say, you are not bound to read the books which I refer you to; I
answer, Nor this.

II. To the latter question I answer, To set up such an universal head
on the supposition of natural reasons and human policy is, 1. To cross
Christ's institution, and the laws of the Holy Ghost, as hath been
long proved by protestants from the Scripture.

2. It is treason against Christ's sovereign office to usurp such a
vicegerency without his commission.

3. It is against the notorious light of nature, which telleth us of
the natural incapacity of mortal man, to be such a universal governor
through the world.

4. It is to sin against long and dreadful common experience, and to
keep in that fire that hath destroyed emperors, kings, and kingdoms,
and set the churches, pastors, and christian world in those divisions,
which are the great and serviceable work of Satan, and the impediment
of the church's increase, purity, and peace, and the notorious shame
of the christian profession in the eyes of the infidel world.

And if so many hundred years' sad experience will not answer them that
say, If the pope were a good man, he might unite us all, I conclude
that such deserve to be deceived, 2 Thess. ii. 10-12.

[270] "Catholic unity," and "the True Catholic and Church described."

Quest. XXVIII. _Who is the judge of controversies in the church? 1.
About the exposition of the Scripture, and doctrinal points in
themselves: 2. About either heresies or wicked practices, as they are
charged on the persons who are accused of them; that is, 1.
Antecedently to our practice, by way of regulation; 2. Or
consequently, by judicial sentence (and execution) on offenders._

I have answered this question so oft, that I can persuade myself to no
more than this short, yet clear solution.

The papists used to cheat poor, unlearned persons that cannot justly
discern things that differ, by puzzling them with this confused,
ambiguous question. Some things they cunningly and falsely take for
granted, as that there is such a thing on earth as a political,
universal church, headed by any mortal governor. Some things they
shuffle together in equivocal words. They confound, 1. Public judgment
of decision, and private judgment of discerning. 2. The magistrate's
judgment of church-controversies, and the pastor's, and the several
cases, and ends, and effects of their several judgments. 3.
Church-judgment as directive to a particular church, and as a means of
the concord of several churches. Which being but distinguished, a few
words will serve to clear the difficulty.

1. As there is no universal human church, (constituted or governed by
a mortal head,) so there is no power set up by Christ to be a
universal judge of either sort of controversies, by decisive judicial
sentence, nor any universal civil monarch of the world.

2. The public, governing, decisive judgment, obliging others,
belongeth to public persons, or officers of God, and not to any
private man.[271]

3. The public decision of doubts or controversies about faith itself,
or the true sense of God's word and laws, as obliging the whole church
on earth to believe that decision, or not gainsay it, because of the
infallibility or governing authority of the deciders, belongeth to
none but Jesus Christ; because, as is said, he hath made no universal
governor, nor infallible expositor.[272] It belongeth to the lawgiver
only to make such a universally obliging exposition of his own laws.

4. True bishops or pastors in their own particular churches are
authorized teachers and guides, in expounding the laws and word of
Christ; and the people are bound as learners to reverence their
teaching, and not contradict it without true cause; yea, and to
believe them _fide humana_, in things pertinent to their office: for
_oportet discentem credere_.

5. No such pastors are to be absolutely believed, nor in any case of
notorious error or heresy, where the word of God is discerned to be
against them.

6. For all the people as reasonable creatures, have a judgment of
private discerning to judge what they must receive as truth, and to
discern their own duty, by the help of the word of God, and of their

7. The same power of governing judgment lawful synods have over their
several flocks, as a pastor over his own, but with greater advantage.

8. The power of judging in many consociate churches, who is to be
taken into communion as orthodox, and who to be refused by those
churches as heretics, _in specie_, that is, what doctrine they will
judge sound or unsound, as it is _judicium discernendi_, belongeth to
every one of the council singly: as it is a judgment obliging
themselves by contract, (and not of governing each other,) it is in
the contracters and consenters; and for peace and order usually in the
major vote; but with the limitations before expressed.

9. Every true christian believeth all the essentials of christianity,
with a divine faith, and not by a mere human belief of his teachers,
though by their help and teaching his faith is generated, and
confirmed, and preserved. Therefore no essential article of
christianity is left to any obliging decision of any church, but only
to a subservient obliging teaching: as whether there be a God, a
Christ, a heaven, a hell, an immortality of souls? Whether God be to
be believed, loved, feared, obeyed before man? Whether the Scripture
be God's word, and true? Whether those that contradict it are to be
believed therein? Whether pastors, assemblies, public worship,
baptism, sacrament of the Lord's supper, be divine institutions? And
the same I may say of any known word of God: no mortals may judge in
_partem utramlibet_, but the pastors are only authorized teachers and
helpers of the people's faith. (And so they be partly to one another.)

10. If the pope, or his council, were the infallible or the governing
expositors of all God's laws and Scriptures, 1. God would have enabled
them to do it by a universal commentary which all men should be
obliged to believe, or at least not to contradict. For there is no
authority and obligation given to men (yea, to so many successively)
to do that (for the needful decision of controversies) which they
never have ability given them to do. For that were to oblige them to
things impossible. 2. And the pope and his council would be the most
treacherous miscreants on earth, that in so many hundred years, would
never write such an infallible nor governing commentary, to end the
differences of the christian world. Indeed they have judged (with
others) against Arius, that Christ is true God, and one with the
Father in substance, &c. But if they had said the contrary, must we
have taken it for God's truth, or have believed them?

11. To judge who, for heresy or scandal, shall be punished by the
sword, belongeth to none but the magistrate in his own dominions: as
to judge who shall have communion or be excommunicated from the
church, belongeth, as aforesaid, to the pastors. And the said
magistrate hath first as a man his own judgment of discerning what is
heresy, and who of his subjects are guilty of it, in order to his
public governing judgment.

12. The civil, supreme ruler may antecedently exercise this judgment
of discerning (by the teaching of their proper teachers) in order to
his consequent sentences on offenders; and so in his laws may tell the
subjects, what doctrines and practices he will either tolerate or
punish. And thus may the church pastors do in their canons to their
several flocks, in relation to communion or non-communion.

13. He that will condemn particular persons as heretics or offenders,
must allow them to speak for themselves, and hear the proofs, and give
them that which justice requireth, &c. And if the pope can do so at
the antipodes, and in all the world, either _per se_, or _per alium_,
without giving that other his essential claimed power, let him prove
it by better experience than we have had.

14. As the prime and sole universal legislation belongeth to Jesus
Christ, so the final judgment, universal and particular, belongeth to
him, which only will end all controversies, and from which there is no

[271] Eph. iv. 7, 13-16; 1 Cor. xii. 28, 29; Acts xv. 17.

[272] See my "Key for Catholics."

Quest. XXIX. _Whether a parent's power over his children, or a pastor
or many pastors or bishops over the same children, as parts of their
flock, be greater, or more obliging in matters of religion and public

This being touched on somewhere else, I only now say, That if the case
were my own, I would, 1. Labour to know their different powers, as to
the matter commanded, and obey each in that which is proper to its

2. If I were young and ignorant, natural necessity, and natural
obligation together, would give my parents with whom I lived such an
advantage above the minister (whom I seldom see or understand) as
would determine the case _de eventu_, and much _de jure_.

3. If my parents command me to hear a teacher who is against
ceremonies or certain forms, and to hear none that are for them,
natural necessity here also (ordinarily) would make it my duty first
to hear and obey my parents; and in many other cases, till I came to
understand the greater power of the pastors, in their own place and

4. But when I come to church, or know that the judgment of all
concordant godly pastors condemneth such a thing as damnable heresy or
sin, which my father commandeth me to receive and profess, I would
more believe and follow the judgment of the pastors and churches.

Quest. XXX. _May an office teacher or pastor be at once in a stated
relation of a pastor and a disciple to some other pastor?_

1. That Timothy was still Paul's son in point of learning, and his
disciple, and so that under apostles the same persons might be stated
in both relations at once, seemeth evident in Scripture.

2. But the same that is a pastor is not at once a mere layman.

3. That men in the same office may so differ in age, experience, and
degrees of knowledge, as that young pastors may, and often ought, many
years to continue, not only in occasional reception of their help, but
also in an ordinary stated way of receiving it, and so be related to
them as their ordinary teachers, by such gradual advantages, is past
all doubt. And that all juniors and novices owe a certain reverence
and audience, and some obedience, to the elder and wiser.

4. But this is not to be a disciple to him as in lower order or
office, but as of lower gifts and grace.

5. It is lawful and very good for the church, that some ordained
persons continue long as pupils to their tutors in schools or
academies (e. g. to learn the holy languages, if they have them not,
&c.) But this is a relation left to voluntary contractors.

6. In the ancient churches the particular churches had one bishop,
and some presbyters and deacons, usually of much lower parts, who
lived all together (single or chaste) in the bishop's or church house,
which was as a college, where he daily edified them by doctrine and

7. The controversy about different orders by divine institution,
belongeth not to me here to meddle with: but as to the natural and
acquired imparity of age and gifts, and the unspeakable benefit to the
juniors and the churches, that it is desirable that there were such a
way of their education and edification, I take to be discernible to
any that are impartial and judicious.

Ambrose was at once a teacher and a learner, Beda, Eccl. Hist.
mentioneth one in England, that was at once a pastor and disciple. And
in Scotland some that became bishops were still to be under the
government of the abbot of their monasteries according to their first
devotion, though the abbot was but a presbyter.

8. Whether a settled, private church member may not at once continue
his very formal relation to the pastor of that church, and yet be of
the same order with him in another church, as their pastor, at the
same time, (as he may in case of necessity continue his apprenticeship
or civil service,) is a case that I will not determine. But he that
denieth it, must prove his opinion (or affirmation of its
unlawfulness) by sufficient evidence from Scripture or nature; which
is hard.

Quest. XXXI. _Who hath the power of making church canons?_

This is sufficiently resolved before. 1. The magistrate only hath the
power of making such canons or laws for church matters as shall be
enforced by the sword.

2. Every pastor hath power to make canons for his own congregation;
that is, to determine what hour or at what place they shall meet; what
translation of Scripture, or version of Psalms, shall be used in his
church; what chapter shall be read; what psalm shall be sung, &c.:
except the magistrate contradict him, and determine it otherwise, in
such points as are not proper to the ministerial office.

3. Councils or assemblies of pastors have the power of making such
canons for many churches, as shall be laws to the people, and
agreements to themselves.

4. None have power to make church laws or canons about any thing,
save, (1.) To put God's own laws in execution. (2.) To determine to
that end, of such circumstances as God hath left undetermined in his

5. Canon-making under pretence of order and concord, hath done a great
deal of mischief to the churches; whilst clergymen have grown up from
agreements, to tyrannical usurpations and impositions, and from
concord about needful accidents of worship, to frame new worship
ordinances, and to force them on all others: but especially, (1.) By
encroaching on the power of kings, and telling them that they are
bound in conscience to put all their canons into execution by force.
(2.) And by laying the union of the churches and the communion of
christians upon things needless and doubtful, yea, and at last on many
sinful things; whereby the churches have been most effectually
divided, and the christian world set together by the ears; and
schisms, yea, and wars have been raised: and these maladies cannot
possibly be healed, till the tormenting, tearing engines be broken and
cast away, and the voluminous canons of numerous councils (which
themselves also are matter of undeterminable controversy) be turned
into the primitive simplicity; and a few necessary things made the
terms of concord. Doubtless if every pastor were left wholly to
himself for the ordering of worship circumstances and accidents in his
own church, without any common canons, save the Scriptures, and the
laws of the land, there would have been much less division, than that
is, which these numerous canons of all the councils, obtruded on the
church, have made.

Quest. XXXII. _Doth baptism as such enter the baptized into the
universal church, or into a particular church, or both? And is baptism
the particular church covenant as such?_

_Answ._ 1. Baptism as such doth enter us into the universal church,
and into it alone; and is no particular church covenant, but the
solemnizing of the great christian covenant of grace, between God, and
a believer and his seed.

For, (1.) There is not essentially any mention of a particular church
in it.

(2.) A man may be baptized by a general unfixed minister, who is not
the pastor of any particular church:[273] and he may be baptized in
solitude, where there is no particular church. The eunuch, Acts viii.
was not baptized into any particular church.

(3.) Baptism doth but make us christians, but a man may be a christian
who is no member of any particular church.

(4.) Otherwise baptism should oblige us necessarily to a man, and be a
covenant between the baptized and the pastor and church into which he
is baptized: but it is only our covenant with Christ.

(5.) We may frequently change our particular church relation, without
being baptized again. But we never change our relation to the church
which we are baptized into, unless by apostasy.

2. Yet the same person at the same time that he is baptized may be
entered into the universal church, and into a particular; and
ordinarily it ought to be so where it can be had.

3. And the covenant which we make in baptism with Christ, doth oblige
us to obey him, and consequently to use his instituted means, and so
to hear his ministers, and hold due communion with his churches.

4. But this doth no more enter us into a particular church, than into
a particular family. For we as well oblige ourselves to obey him in
family relations as in church relations.

5. When the baptized therefore is at once entered into the universal
and particular church, it is done by a double consent to the double
relation. By baptism he professeth his consent to be a member of
Christ and his universal church; and additionally he consenteth to be
guided by that particular pastor in that particular church; which is
another covenant or consent.

[273] Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.

Quest. XXXIII. _Whether infants should be baptized, I have answered
long ago in a treatise on that subject. Also what infants should be
baptized? and who have right to sacraments? and whether hypocrites are
univocally or equivocally christians and church members? I have
resolved in my "Disput. of Right to Sacraments."_

Quest. XXXIV. _Whether an unbaptized person who yet maketh a public
profession of christianity, be a member of the visible church? And so
of the infants of believers unbaptized._

_Answ._ 1. Such persons have a certain imperfect, irregular kind of
profession, and so of membership; their visibility or visible
christianity is not such as Christ hath appointed. As those that are
married, but not by legal celebration, and as those that in cases of
necessity are ministers without ordination; so are such christians as
Constantine and many of old without baptism.

2. Such persons ordinarily are not to be admitted to the rights and
communion of the visible church, because we must know Christ's sheep
by his own mark; but yet they are so far visible christians, as that
we may be persuaded nevertheless of their salvation. As to visible
communion, they have but a remote and incomplete _jus ad rem_, and no
_jus ad re_, or legal investiture and possession.

3. The same is the case of unbaptized infants of believers, because
they are not of the church merely as they are their natural seed; but
because it is supposed that a person himself devoted to God, doth also
devote his children to God: therefore not nature only, but this
supposition arising from the true nature of his own dedication to God,
is the reason why believers' children have their right to baptism:
therefore till he hath actually devoted them to God in baptism, they
are not legally members of the visible church, but only in _fieri_ and
imperfectly, as is said. Of which more anon.

Quest. XXXV. _Is it certain by the word of God that all infants
baptized, and dying before actual sin, are undoubtedly saved; or what
infants may we say so of?_

_Answ._ I. 1. We must distinguish between certainty objective and
subjective; or plainlier, the reality or truth of the thing, and the
certain apprehension of it.[274]

2. And this certainty of apprehension, sometimes signifieth only the
truth of that apprehension, when a man indeed is not deceived, or more
usually that clearness of apprehension joined with truth, which fully
quieteth the mind and excludeth doubting.

3. We must distinguish of infants as baptized lawfully upon just
title, or unlawfully without title.

4. And also of title before God, which maketh a lawful claim and
reception at his bar; and title before the church, which maketh only
the administration lawful before God, and the reception lawful only
_in foro ecclesia_, or _externo_.

5. The word baptism signifieth either the external part only,
consisting in the words and outward action, or the internal
covenanting of the heart also.

6. And that internal covenant is either sincere, which giveth right to
the benefits of God's covenant, or only partial, reserved, and
unsound, such as is common to hypocrites.

_Conclus._ 1. God hath been pleased to speak so little in Scripture of
the case of infants, that modest men will use the words certainly and
undoubtedly, about their case, with very great caution. And many great
divines have maintained that their very baptism itself, cannot be
certainly and undoubtedly proved by the word of God, but by tradition;
though I have endeavoured to prove the contrary in a special Treatise
on that point.

2. No man can tell what is objectively certain or revealed in God's
word, who hath not subjective certainty or knowledge of it.

3. A man's apprehension may be true, when it is but a wavering
opinion, with the greatest doubtfulness. Therefore we do not usually
by a certain apprehension, mean only a true apprehension, but a clear
and quieting one.

4. It is possible to baptize infants unlawfully, or without any right,
so that their reception and baptizing shall be a great sin, as is the
misapplying of other ordinances. For instance: one in America, where
there is neither church to receive them, nor christian parents, nor
sponsors, may take up the Indians' children and baptize them against
the parents' wills: or if the parents consent to have their children
outwardly baptized, and not themselves, as not knowing what baptizing
meaneth, or desire it only for outward advantages to their children;
or if they offer them to be baptized only in open derision and scorn
of Christ; such children have no right to be received. And many other
instances nearer may be given.

5. It is possible the person may have no authority at all from Christ
who doth baptize them. And Christ's part in reception of the person,
and collation and investiture in his benefits, must be done by his
commission, or else how can we say that Christ doth it? But open
infidels, women, children, mad-men, scorners, may do it that have none
of his commission.

6. That all infants baptized without title or right by misapplication,
and so dying, are not undoubtedly saved, nor any word of God doth
certainly say so, we have reason to believe on these following

1. Because we can find no such text, nor could ever prevail with them
that say so, to show us such an ascertaining word of God.

2. Because else gross sin would certainly be the way to salvation. For
such misapplication of baptism, by the demanders at least, would
certainly be gross sin, as well as misapplying the Lord's supper.

3. Because it is clean contrary to the tenor of the new covenant,
which promiseth salvation to none but penitent believers and their
seed: what God may do for others unknown to us, we have nothing to do
with; but his covenant hath made no other promise that I can find; and
we are certain of no man's salvation by baptism, to whom God never
made a promise of it. If by the children of the faithful, be meant not
only their natural seed, but the adopted or bought also, of which they
are true proprietors, yet that is nothing to all others.

4. To add to God's words, especially to his very promise or covenant,
is so terrible a presumption, as we dare not be guilty of.

5. Because this tieth grace or salvation so to the outward washing of
the body, or _opus operatum_, as is contrary to the nature of God's
ordinances, and to the tenor of Scripture, and the judgment of the
protestant divines.

6. Because this would make a strange disparity between the two
sacraments of the same covenant of grace: when a man receiveth the
Lord's supper unworthily, (in scorn, in drunkenness, or impenitency,)
much more without any right, (as infidels,) he doth eat and drink
damnation or judgment to himself, and maketh his sin greater;
therefore he that gets a child baptized unworthily and without right,
doth not therefore infallibly procure his salvation.

7. Because the apostle saith, 1 Cor. vii. 14, "Else were your children
unclean, but now are they holy;" and the Scripture giveth this
privilege to the children of the faithful above others: whereas the
contrary opinion levelleth them with the seed of infidels and
heathens, as if these had right to salvation by mere baptism, as well
as the others.

8. Because else it would be the greatest act of charity in the world,
to send soldiers to catch up all heathens' and infidels' children, and
baptize them; which no christians ever yet thought their duty. Yea,
it would be too strong a temptation to them to kill them when they had
done, that they might be all undoubtedly saved.

_Object._ But that were to do evil that good might come by it. _Answ._
But God is not to be dishonoured as to be supposed to make such laws,
as shall forbid men the greatest good in the world, and then to tempt
them by the greatness of the benefit to take it to be no evil: as if
he said, If soldiers would go take up a million of heathens' children
and baptize them, it will put them into an undoubted state of
salvation; but yet I forbid them doing it: and if they presently kill
them, lest they sin after, they shall undoubtedly be saved; but yet I
forbid them doing it. I need not aggravate this temptation to them
that know the power of the law of nature, which is the law of love and
good works, and how God that is most good is pleased in our doing
good. Though he tried Abraham's obedience once, as if he should have
killed his son, yet he stopped him before the execution. And doth he
ordinarily exercise men's obedience, by forbidding them to save the
souls of others, when it is easily in their power? especially when
with the adult the greatest labour and powerfullest preaching, is
frequently so frustrate, that not one of many is converted by it?

9. Because else God should deal with unaccountable disparity with
infants and the adult in the same ordinance of baptism. It is certain
that all adult persons baptized, if they died immediately, should not
be saved; even none that had no right to the covenant and to baptism;
such as infidels, heathens, impenitent persons, hypocrites, that have
not true repentance and faith. And why should baptism save an infant
without title, any more than the adult without title? I still suppose
that some infants have no title, and that now I speak of them alone.

_Object._ But the church giveth them all right by receiving them.

_Answ._ This is to be further examined anon. If you mean a particular
church, perhaps they are baptized into none such. Baptism as such is a
reception only into the universal church, as in the eunuch's case,
Acts viii. appeareth. If you mean the universal church, it may be but
one single ignorant man in an infidel country that baptizeth, and he
is not the universal church! yea, perhaps is not a lawfully called
minister of that church! However, this is but to say, that baptism
giveth right to baptism; for this receiving is nothing but baptizing.
But there must be a right to this reception, if baptism be a
distinguishing ordinance, and all the world have not right to it.
Christ saith, Matt. xxviii. 19, "Disciple me all nations, baptizing
them--:" they must be initially made disciples first, by consent, and
then be invested in the visible state of christianity by baptism.

10. If the children of heathens have right to baptism, and salvation
thereby, it is either, 1. As they are men, and all have right; or, 2.
Because the parents give them right; 3. Or because remote ancestors
give them right; 4. Or because the universal church gives them right;
5. Or because a particular church gives them right; 6. Or because the
sponsors give them right; 7. Or the magistrate; 8. Or the baptizer.
But it is none of all these, as shall anon be proved.

11. But as to the second question, I answer, 1. It will help us to
understand the case the better, if we prepare the way by opening the
case of the adult, because in Scripture times, they were the most
famous subjects of baptism. And it is certain of such, 1. That every
one outwardly baptized is not in a state of salvation. That no
hypocrite that is not a true penitent believer is in such a state. 2.
That every true penitent believer is before God in a state of
salvation, as soon as he is such; and before the church as soon as he
is baptized. 3. That we are not to use the word baptism as a physical
term only, but as a moral, theological term. Because words (as in law,
physic, &c.) are to be understood according to the art or science in
which they are treated of. And baptism taken theologically doth as
essentially include the will's consent or heart covenanting with God,
as matrimony includeth marriage consent, and as a man containeth the
soul as well as the body. And thus it is certain that all truly
baptized persons are in a state of salvation; that is, all that
sincerely consent to the baptismal covenant when they profess consent
by baptism (but not hypocrites). 4. And in this sense all the ancient
pastors of the churches did concur that baptism did wash away all sin,
and put the baptized into a present right to life eternal: as he that
examineth their writings will perceive: not the outward washing and
words alone, but when the inward and outward parts concur, or when by
true faith and repentance the receiver hath right to the covenant of
God. 5. In this sense it is no unfit language to imitate the fathers,
and to say that the truly baptized are in a state of justification,
adoption, and salvation, unless when men's misunderstanding maketh it
unsafe. 6. The sober papists themselves say the same thing, and when
they have said that even _ex opere operato_ baptism saveth, they add,
that it is only the meet receiver; that is, the penitent believer, and
no other of the adult. So that hitherto there is no difference.

2. Now let us by this try the case of infants; concerning which there
are all these several opinions among divines.

(1.) Some think that all infants (baptized or not) are saved from
hell, and positive punishment, but are not brought to heaven, as being
not capable of such joys.

(2.) Some think that all infants (dying such) are saved as others are,
by actual felicity in heaven, though in a lower degree. Both these
sorts suppose that Christ's death saveth all that reject it not, and
that infants reject it not.

(3.) Some think that all unbaptized infants do suffer the _pœnam
damni_, and are shut out of heaven and happiness, but not sensibly
punished or cast into hell. For this Jansenius hath wrote a treatise;
and many other papists think so.

(4.) Some think that all the children of sincere believers dying in
infancy are saved, (that is, glorified,) whether baptized or not; and
no others.

(5.) Some think that God hath not at all revealed what he will do with
any infants.

(6.) Some think that he hath promised salvation as aforesaid to
believers and their seed, but hath not at all revealed to us what he
will do with all the rest.

(7.) Some think that only the baptized children of true believers are
certainly (by promise) saved.

(8.) Some think that all the adopted and bought children of true
christians, as well as the natural, are saved (if baptized, say some;
or if not, say others).

(9.) Some think that elect infants are saved, and no other, but no man
can know who those are. And of these, 1. Some deny infant baptism. 2.
Most say that they are to be baptized, and that thereby the non-elect
are only received into the visible church and its privileges, but not
to any promise or certainty of justification, or a state of salvation.

(10.) Some think that all that are baptized by the dedication of
christian sponsors are saved.

(11.) Some think that all that the pastor dedicateth to God are saved
(because so dedicated by him, say some; or because baptized _ex opere
operato_, say others). And so all baptized infants are in a state of

(12.) Some think that this is to be limited to all that have right to
baptism _coram Deo_; which some think the church's reception giveth
them, of which anon.

(13.) And some think it is to be limited to those that have right
_coram ecclesia_, or are rightfully baptized _ex parte ministrantis_,
where some make the magistrate's command sufficient, and some the
bishop's, and some the baptizer's will.

Of the title to baptism I shall speak anon. Of the salvation of
infants, it is too tedious to confute all that I dissent from: not
presuming in such darkness and diversity of opinions to be peremptory,
nor to say, I am certain by the word of God who are undoubtedly saved,
nor yet to deny the undoubted certainty of wiser men, who may know
that which such as I do doubt of, but submitting what I say to the
judgment of the church of God and my superiors, I humbly lay down my
own thoughts as followeth.

1. I think that there can no promise or proof be produced that all
unbaptized infants are saved, either from the _pœna damni_ or
_sensus_, or both.

2. I think that no man can prove that all unbaptized infants are
damned, or denied heaven. Nay, I think I can prove a promise of the

3. All that are rightfully baptized _in foro externo_ are visible
church members, and have ecclesiastical right to the privileges of the
visible church.

4. I think Christ never instituted baptism for collation of these
outward privileges alone, unless as on supposition that persons
culpably fail of the better ends.

5. I think baptism is a solemn mutual contract or covenant between
Christ and the baptized person. And that it is but one covenant, even
the covenant of grace which is the sum of the gospel, which is sealed
and received in baptism; and that this covenant essentially containeth
our saving relation to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and our
pardon, justification, and adoption or right to life everlasting; and
that God never made any distinct covenant of outward privileges alone,
to be sealed by baptism. But that outward mercies are the second and
lesser gift of the same covenant which giveth first the great and
saving blessings.

6. And therefore that whoever hath right before God, to claim and
receive baptism, hath right also to the benefits of the covenant of
God, and that is, to salvation; though I say not so of every one that
hath such right before the church, as that God doth require the
minister to baptize him. For by right before God, or _in foro
cœli_, I mean such a right as will justify the claim before God
immediately, the person being one whom he commandeth in that present
state to claim and receive baptism. For many a one hath no such right
before God to claim or receive it, when yet the minister hath right to
give it them if they do claim it.

The case stands thus. God saith in his covenant, He that believeth
shall be saved, and ought to be baptized, to profess that belief, and
be invested in the benefits of the covenant; and he that professeth to
believe, (whether he do or not,) is by the church to be taken for a
visible believer, and by baptism to be received into the visible
church. Here God calleth none but true believers (and their seed) to
be baptized, nor maketh an actual promise or covenant with any other;
and so I say that none other have right _in foro cœli_. But yet the
church knoweth not men's hearts, and must take a serious profession
for a credible sign of the faith professed, and for that outward title
upon which it is a duty of the pastor to baptize the claimer.[275] So
that the most malignant, scornful hypocrite, that maketh a seemingly
serious profession, hath right _coram ecclesia_, but not _coram Deo_,
save in this sense, that God would have the minister baptize him. But
this I have largelier opened in my "Disputations of Right to

7. I think therefore that all the children of true christians, do by
baptism receive a public investiture by God's appointment into a state
of remission, adoption, and right to salvation at the present; though
I dare not say that I am undoubtedly certain of it, as knowing how
much is said against it. But I say as the synod of Dort, art. 1. That
believing parents have no cause to doubt of the salvation of their
children that die in infancy, before they commit actual sin; that is,
not to trouble themselves with fears about it.

The reasons that move me to be of this judgment (though not without
doubting and hesitancy) are these; 1. Because whoever hath right to
the present investiture, delivery, and possession of the first and
great benefits of God's covenant made with man in baptism, hath right
to pardon, and adoption, and everlasting life: but the infants of true
christians have right to the present investiture, delivery and
possession of the first and great benefits of God's covenant made with
man in baptism; therefore they have right to pardon and everlasting

Either infants are in the same covenant (that is, are subjects of the
same promise of God) with their believing parents, or in some other
covenant, or in no covenant. If they be under no covenant, (or
promise,) or under some other promise or covenant only, and not the
same, they are not to be baptized. For baptism is a mutual
covenanting; where the minister by Christ's commission in his name
acteth his part, and the believer his own and his infant's part: and
God hath but one covenant, which is to be made, sealed, and delivered
in baptism. Baptism is not an equivocal word, so as to signify divers
covenants of God.

_Object._ But the same covenant of God hath divers sorts of benefits;
the special God giveth to the sincere, and the common to the common
and hypocritical receiver.

_Answ._ 1. God indeed requireth the minister to take profession for
the visible church title; and so it being the minister's duty so far
to believe a liar, and to receive dissemblers who had no right to lay
that claim, you may say that God indirectly and improperly giveth them
church privileges: but properly, that is, by his promise or covenant
deed or gift, he giveth them nothing at all; for his covenant is one
and undivided in its action, though it give several benefits, and
though providence may give one and not another, yet the covenant
giveth all or none. God saith that godliness hath the promise of this
life and of that to come; but he never said (that I know of) to the
hypocrite or unsound believer, I promise or give right to common

2. But suppose it were otherwise, yet either the children of true
believers have the true condition of right to the special blessings of
the covenant, or they have not the condition of any at all. For there
can no more be required of an infant, as to any special blessings of
the covenant, than that he be the child of believing parents, and by
them dedicated to God. Either this condition entitleth them to all the
covenant promises which the adult believer is entitled to, (as far as
their natures are capable,) or it entitleth them to none at all; nor
are they to be baptized; for God hath in Scripture instituted but one
baptism, (to profess one faith,) and that one is ever for the
remission of sins:[277] "He that believeth and is baptized shall be
saved," Mark xvi. 16.

3. Or if all the rest were granted you, yet it would follow that all
infants in the world, even of true believers, are left out of God's
covenant of grace, that is, the covenant or promise of pardon and
life; and are only taken into the covenant of church privileges. And
so, 1. You will make two covenants, (which you denied,) and not only
two sorts of benefits of one covenant. 2. And two species of baptism;
while all infants in the world are only under a covenant of outward
privileges, and have no baptism, but the seal of that covenant, while
believers have the covenant, promise, and seal of pardon and life.

2. And this is my second reason; because then we have no promise or
certainty, or ground of faith, for the pardon and salvation of any
individual infants in the world. And so parents are left to little
comfort for their children. And if there be no promise there is no
faith of it, nor any baptism to seal it; and so we still make
antipædobaptism unavoidable. For who dare set God's seal to such as
have no promise? or pretend to invest any in a near and saving
relation to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, (which is the very
nature of baptism,) when God hath given no such commission?

_Object._ Yes: baptism and the covenant of special promises are for
all the elect, though we know not who they are.

_Answ._ 1. I deny not God's eternal, antecedent election; but I deny
that the Scripture ever mentioneth his pardoning or glorifying any,
upon the account of election only, without certain spiritual
conditions, which may be given as the reason of the difference in
judgment. God may freely give the gospel to whom he will, and also
faith or the first grace by the gospel, without any previous condition
in man, but according to his free election only: but he giveth pardon
and heaven as a rector by his equal laws and judgment; and always
rendereth a reason of the difference, from the qualifications of man.

2. And if this were as you say, it would still overthrow infant
baptism. For either we must baptize all indifferently, or none, or
else know how to make a difference. All must not be baptized
indifferently: and election is a secret thing to us, and by it no
minister in the world can tell whom to baptize: therefore he must
baptize none, if there be no other differencing note to know them by.

_Object._ God hath more elect ones among the infants of true believers
than among others: and therefore they are all to be baptized.

_Answ._ 1. It will be hard to prove that much (that he hath more) if
there be no promise to them all as such. 2. If he have more, yet no
man knoweth how many, and whether the elect be one of ten, twenty,
forty, or a hundred, in comparison of the non-elect; for Scripture
tells it not. So that no minister of a church is sure that any one
infant that he ever baptized is elect. 3. And God hath given no such
rule for sealing and delivering his covenant with the benefits as to
cast it hap hazard among all, because it is possible or probable it
may belong to some.

_Object._ You have no certainty what adult professor is sincere, nor
to which of them the special benefits belong; no, not of any one in a
church. And yet because there is a probability that among many there
are some sincere, you baptize them all. Take then the birth privilege
but as equal to the profession of the adult.

_Answ._ This partly satisfied me sometimes: but I cannot forget that a
visible, false, or hypocritical profession is not the condition of
God's own covenant of grace, nor that which he requireth in us, to
make us partakers of his covenant benefits; nay, he never at all
commandeth it; but only commandeth that profession of consent, which
followeth the real consent of the heart:[278] he that condemneth
lying, maketh it neither the condition of our church membership, as
his gift by promise, nor yet our duty.

And mark well, that it is a professed consent to the whole covenant
that God requireth, as the condition of our true right to any part or
benefit of it. He that shall only say, I consent to be a visible
church member, doth thereby acquire no right to that membership; no,
not _in foro ecclesiæ_, but he must also profess that he consenteth to
have God for his God, and Christ for his Lord and Saviour, and the
Holy Spirit for his Sanctifier. So that he must be a liar, or a sound
believer, that maketh this profession.

But for an infant to be born of true believers, and sincerely by them
dedicated in covenant to God, is all the condition that ever God
required to an infant-title to his covenant; and it is not the failure
of the true condition as a false profession is.

Indeed if the proposition were thus laid, it would hold good: As we
know not who sincerely covenanteth for himself, and yet we must
baptize all that soberly profess it; so we know not who doth sincerely
covenant for his infant, and yet must baptize all whom the parents
bring with such a profession, for themselves and them.

But if the sincere dedication of a sound believer, shall be accounted
but equal to the lying profession of the adult, which is neither
commanded, nor hath any promise, then infants are not in the covenant
of grace, nor is the sincerest dedication to God either commanded or
hath any promise.

If I were but sure that the profession of the adult for himself were
sincere, I were sure that he were in a state of grace. And if I am not
sure of the same concerning the parent's dedication of his infant, I
must conclude that this is not a condition of the same covenant, and
therefore that he is not in the same covenant (or conditional promise
of God) unless there be some other condition required in him or for
him; but there is no other that can be devised.

_Object._ Election is the condition.

_Answ._ Election is God's act and not man's; and therefore may be an
antecedent, but no condition required of us. And man is not called to
make profession that he is elected, as he is to make profession of his
faith and consent to the covenant. And God only knoweth who are his by
election, and therefore God only can baptize on this account.

And what is the probability which the objecters mean, that many of the
infants of the faithful are elected? Either it is a promise, or but a
prediction; if no promise, it is not to be sealed by baptism; if a
promise, it is absolute or conditional. If any absolute promise, as, I
will save many children of believers, 1. This terminateth not on any
singular person, as baptism doth, and, 2. It is not the absolute
promise that baptism is appointed by Christ to seal. This is apparent
in Mark xvi. 16, and in the case of the adult. And it is not one
covenant which is sealed to the adult by baptism, and another to
infants. Else baptism also should not be the same. But if it be any
conditional covenant, what is it, and what is the condition?

And what is it that baptism giveth to the seed of believers, if they
be not justified by it from original sin? You will not say, that it
conveyeth inherent sanctifying grace, no not into all the elect
themselves, which many are many years after without. And you cannot
say, that it sealeth to them any promise, so much as of visible church
privileges; for God may suffer them presently to be made janizaries,
and violently taken from their parents, and become strangers and
despisers of church privileges, as is ordinary with the Greek's
children among the Turks. Now God either promised such church
privileges absolutely, or conditionally, or not at all. Not
absolutely, for then they would possess them. If conditionally, what
is the condition? If not at all, what promise then doth baptism seal
to such, and what benefit doth it secure? God hath instituted no
baptism, which is a mere present delivery of possession of a church
state, without sealing any promise at all. True baptism first sealeth
the promise, and then delivereth possession of some benefits.

Yea, indeed outward church privileges are such uncertain blessings of
the promise, that as they are but secondary, so they are but
secondarily given and sealed, so that no man should ever be baptized,
if these were all that were in the promise.[279] The holiest person
may be cast into a wilderness, and deprived of all visible church
communion; and doth God then break his promise with him? Certainly no.
It is therefore our saving relations to God the Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost, which the promise giveth, and baptism sealeth; and other things
but subordinately and uncertainly as they are means to these. So then
it is plain, that believers' infants have a promise of salvation, or
no promise at all, which baptism was instituted to seal.

I have said so much more of this in my Appendix to the "Treatise of
Infant Baptism," to Mr. Bedford, in defence of Dr. Davenant's
judgment, as that I must refer the reader thither.

8. I think it very probable that this ascertaining promise belongeth
not only to the natural seed of believers, but to all whom they have a
true power and right to dedicate in covenant to God; which seemeth to
be all that are properly their own, whether adopted or bought; but
there is more darkness and doubt about this than the former, because
the Scripture hath said less of it.

9. I am not able to prove, nor see any probable reason for it, that
any but sound believers have such a promise for their children, nor
that any hypocrite shall certainly save his child, if he do but
dedicate him to God in baptism. For, 1. I find no promise in Scripture
made to such. 2. He that doth not sincerely believe himself, nor
consent to God's covenant, cannot sincerely believe for his child, nor
consent for him. 3. And that faith which will not save the owner, as
being not the condition of the promise, cannot save another. Much more
might be said of this. I confess that the church is to receive the
children of hypocrites as well as themselves; and their baptism is
valid _in foro externo ecclesiæ_, and is not to be reiterated. But it
goeth no further for his child, than for himself.

10. Therefore I think that all that are rightfully baptized by the
minister, that is, baptized so as that it is well done of him, are not
certainly saved by baptism, unless they be also rightfully baptized,
in regard of their right to claim and receive it. Let them that are
able to prove more do it, for I am not able.

11. Whereas some misinterpret the words of the old rubric of
confirmation in the English liturgy, as if it spake of all that are
baptized, whether they had right or not, the words themselves may
serve to rectify that mistake, "And that no man shall think any
detriment shall come to children by deferring of their confirmation,
he shall know for truth, that it is certain by God's word, that
children being baptized have all things necessary for their salvation,
and be undoubtedly saved." Where it is plain that they mean, they have
all things necessary _ex parte ecclesiæ_, or all God's applying
ordinances necessary, though they should die unconfirmed, supposing
that they have all things necessary to just baptism on their own part.
Which is but what the ancients were wont to say of the baptized adult;
but they never meant that the infidel, and hypocrite, and impenitent
person was in a state of life, because he was baptized; but that all
that truly consent to the covenant, and signify this by being
baptized, are saved. So the church of England saith, that they receive
no detriment by delaying confirmation; but it never said, that they
receive no detriment by their parents' or sponsors' infidelity and
hypocrisy, or by their want of true right _coram Deo_ to be baptized.

12. But yet before these questions (either of them) be taken as
resolved by me, I must first take in some other questions which are
concerned in the same cause; as,

[274] Since the writing of this, there is come forth an excellent book
for Infant Baptism by Mr. Joseph Whiston, in which the grounds of my
present solutions are notably cleared.

[275] Mark xvi. 16; Acts ii. 37, 38; xxii. 16; 1 Cor. vi. 11; Tit.
iii. 3, 5, 6; Heb. x. 22; Eph. v. 26; Rom. vi. 1, 4; Col. ii. 12; 1
Pet. iii. 21, 22; Eph. iv. 5; Acts viii. 12, 13, 16, 36, 38; ix. 18;
xvi. 15, 33; xix. 5; Gal. iii. 27.

[276] Acts ii. 39; Gal. iii. 22, 29; 1 Tim. iv. 8; Eph. ii. 12; 2 Tim.
i. 1; Heb. iv. 1; vi. 17; ix. 15; x. 36; viii. 6; 2 Pet i. 4, 5.

[277] Acts ii. 38; xxvi. 18; Luke xxiv. 47.

[278] Rom. x. 9; Acts viii. 37.

[279] Matt. vi. 33; Rom. viii. 28, 32, &c.

Quest. XXXVI. _What is meant by this speech, that believers and their
seed are in the covenant of God; which giveth them right to baptism?_

_Answ._ Though this was opened on thee by before I add, 1. The meaning
is not that they are in that absolute promise of the first and all
following grace, supposed ordinarily to be made of the elect, (as such
unknown,) viz. I will give them faith, repentance, conversion,
justification, and salvation, and all the conditions of the
conditional promise, without any condition on their part, which many
take to be the meaning of, I will take the hard heart out of them, &c.
For, 1. This promise is not now to be first performed to the adult who
repent and believe already; and no other are to be baptized at age. If
that absolute promise be sealed by baptism, either it must be so
sealed as a promise before it be performed, or after; if before,
either to all, because some are elect, or only to some that are elect.
Not to all; for it is not common to infidels. Not to some as elect;
for, 1. They are unknown. 2. If they were known, they are yet supposed
to be infidels. Not after performance, for then it is too late.

2. The meaning is not only that the conditional covenant of grace is
made and offered to them; for so it may be said of heathens and
infidels, and all the world that hear the gospel.

But, 1. The covenant meant is indeed this conditional covenant only,
Mark xvi. 16, "He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved."

2. To be in this covenant is, to be a consenting believer, and so to
be one that hath by inward heart consent the true conditions of right
to the benefits of the covenant, and is thereby prepared solemnly by
baptism to profess this consent, and to receive an investiture and
seal of God's part, by his minister given in his name.

3. Infants are thus in covenant with their parents, because
reputatively their parents' wills are theirs, to dispose of them for
their good. And therefore they consent by their parents, who consent
for them.

Quest. XXXVII. _Are believers' children certainly in covenant before
their baptism, and thereby in a state of salvation? or not till they
are baptized?_

_Answ._ Distinguish between, 1. Heart-covenanting and mouth
covenanting. 2. Between being in covenant before God, and visibly
before the church.

1. No person is to be baptized at age, whose inward heart consent
before professed, giveth him not right to baptism. Therefore all the
adult must be in covenant, that is, consent on their part to the
covenant, before they are baptized.

2. Therefore it is so with the seed of the faithful, who must consent
by their parents, before they have right; otherwise all should have
right, and their baptism be essentially another baptism, as sealing
some other covenant, or none.

3. If there be no promise made to the seed of the faithful more than
to others, they have no right more than others to baptism or
salvation. But if there be a promise made to them as the seed of
believers, then are they as such within that promise, that is,
performers of its conditions by their parents, and have right to the

4. If the heart consent or faith of the adult, do put themselves into
a state of salvation, before their baptism, then it doth so by their
children; but, &c.--

5. But this right to salvation in parents and children upon heart
consent before baptism, is only before God. For the church taketh no
cognizance of secret heart transactions; but a man then only
consenteth in the judgment of the church, when he openly professeth
it, and desireth to signify it by being baptized.

6. And even before God, there is a _necessitas præcepti_ obliging us
to open baptism after heart consent; and he that heartily consenteth,
cannot refuse God's way of uttering it, unless either through
ignorance he know it not to be his duty, (for himself and his child,)
or through want of ability or opportunity cannot have it. So that
while a man is unbaptized, somewhat is wanting to the completeness of
his right to the benefits of the covenant, viz. A reception of
investiture and possession in God's appointed way; though it be not
such a want, as shall frustrate the salvation of those that did truly
consent in heart.

7. I take it therefore for certain, that the children of true
believers consent to the covenant by their parents, and are as
certainly saved if they die before baptism, as after; though those
that despise baptism, when they know it to be a duty, cannot be
thought indeed to believe or consent for their children or themselves.

Quest. XXXVIII. _Is infants' title to baptism and the covenant
benefits given them by God in his promise, upon any proper moral
condition, or only upon the condition of their natural relation, that
they be the seed of the faithful?_

_Answ._ That which is called a mere natural condition is properly in
law sense no condition at all; nor doth make a contract or promise to
be called conditional in a moral sense. But it is matters of morality,
and not of physics only, that we are treating of; and therefore we
must take the terms in a moral sense. For a physical condition is
either past, or present, or future, or not future; if it be past or
present, the proposition may indeed be hypothetical, but it is no such
conditional promise as we are speaking of; for instance, if you say,
If thou wast born in such a city, or if thy name be John, I will give
thee so much. These are the words of an uncertain promiser; but the
promise is already either equivalent to an absolute gift, or null. So
if the physical condition be _de futuro_, e. g. If thou be alive
to-morrow, I will give thee this or that; or if the sun shine
to-morrow, &c. This indeed suspendeth the gift or event; but not upon
any moral being which is in the power of the receiver, but upon a
natural contingency or uncertainty. And God hath no such conditional
covenants or promises to be sealed by baptism. He saith not, If thou
be the child of such or such a man, thou shalt be saved, as his
natural offspring only. If the papists that accuse us for holding that
the mere natural progeny of believers are saved as such, did well
understand our doctrine, they would perceive that in this we differ
not from the understanding sort among them, or at least, that their
accusations run upon a mistake.

I told you before that there are three things distinctly to be
considered in the title of infants to baptism and salvation. 1. By
what right the parent covenanteth for his child. 2. What right the
child hath to baptism. 3. What right he hath to the benefits of the
covenant sealed and delivered in baptism?

To the first, two things concur to the title of the parent to covenant
in the name of his child. One is his natural interest in him; the
child being his own is at his disposal. The other is God's gracious
will and consent that it shall be so; that the parent's will shall be
as the child's for his good, till he come at age to have a will of his

To the second, the child's right to baptism is not merely his natural
or his birth relation from such parents, but it is in two degrees, as
followeth: 1. He hath a virtual right, on condition of his parent's
faith: the reason is, because that a believer's consent and
self-dedication to God doth virtually contain in it a dedication with
himself of all that is his: and it is a contradiction to say that a
man truly dedicateth himself to God, and not all that he hath, and
that he truly consenteth to the covenant for himself and not for his
child, if he understand that God will accept it. 2. His actual title
condition is his parent's (or owner's) actual consent to enter him
into God's covenant, and his actual mental dedication of his child to
God, which is his title before God, and the profession of it is his
title before the church. So that it is not a mere physical but a moral
title condition, which an infant hath to baptism, that is, his
parent's consent to dedicate him to God.

3. And to the third, his title condition to the benefits of baptism
hath two degrees: 1. That he be really dedicated to God by the heart
consent of his parent as aforesaid. And, 2. That his parent express
this by the solemn engaging him to God in baptism; the first being
necessary as a means _sine qua non_, and the second being necessary as
a duty without which he sinneth, (when it is possible,) and as a means
_coram ecclesia_ to the privileges of the visible church.

The sum of all is, that our mere natural interest in our children is
not their title condition to baptism or to salvation, but only that
presupposed state which enableth us by God's consent to covenant for
them; but their title condition to baptism and salvation, is our
covenanting for them, or voluntary dedicating them to God; which we
do, 1. Virtually, when we dedicate ourselves, and all that we have or
shall have. 2. Actually, when our hearts consent particularly for
them, and actually devote them to God, before baptism. 3.
Sacramentally, when we express this in our solemn baptismal
covenanting and dedication.

Consider exactly of this again; and if you loathe distinguishing,
confess ingenuously that you loathe the truth, or the necessary means
of knowing it.

Quest. XXXIX. _What is the true meaning of sponsors,_ patrimi, _or
godfathers as we call them? And is it lawful to make use of them?_

_Answ._ I. To the first question; all men have not the same thoughts
either of their original, or of their present use.

1. Some think that they were sponsors or sureties for the parents
rather than the child at first; and that when many in times of
persecution, heresy, and apostasy, did baptize their children this
month or year, and the next month or year apostatize and deny Christ
themselves, that the sponsors were only credible christians witnessing
that they believed that the parents were credible, firm believers, and
not like to apostatize. 2. Others think that they were undertakers,
that if the parents did apostatize or die, they would see to the
christian education of the child themselves. 3. Others think that they
did both these together; (which is my opinion;) viz. that they
witnessed the probability of the parents' fidelity; but promised that
if they should either apostatize or die, they would see that the
children were piously educated. 4. Others think that they were
absolute undertakers that the children should be piously educated,
whether the parents died or apostatized or not; so that they went
joint undertakers with the parents in their lifetime. 5. And I have
lately met with some that maintain that the godfathers and godmothers
become proprietors, and adopt the child, and take him for their own,
and that this is the sense of the church of England. But I believe
them not for these reasons.

1. There is no such word in the liturgy, doctrine, or canons of the
church of England: and that is not to be feigned and fathered on them,
which they never said.

2. It would be against the law of nature to force all parents to give
the sole propriety, or joint propriety, in their children to others.
Nature hath given the propriety to themselves, and we cannot rob them
of it.

3. It would be heinously injurious to the children of noble and
learned persons, if they must be forced to give them up to the
propriety and education of others, even of such as perhaps are lower
and more unfit for it than themselves.

4. It would be more heinously injurious to all godfathers and
godmothers, who must all make other men's children their own, and
therefore must use them as their own.

5. It would keep most children unbaptized; because if it were once
understood that they must take them as their own, few would be
sponsors to the children of the poor, for fear of keeping them; and
few but the ignorant that know not what they do, would be sponsors for
any, because of the greatness of the charge, and their averseness to
adopt the children of others.

6. It would make great confusion in the state, while all men were
bound to exchange children with another.

7. I never knew one man or woman that was a godfather or godmother on
such terms, nor that took the child to be their own: and if such a
one should be found among ten thousand, that is no rule to discern the
judgment of the church by.

8. And in confirmation the godfather and godmother is expressly said
to be for this use, to be witnesses that the party is confirmed.

9. And in the priest's speech to the adult that come for baptism, in
the office of baptism of those of riper years, it is the persons
themselves that are to promise and covenant for themselves, and the
godfathers and godmothers are only called "these your witnesses." And
if they be but witnesses to the adult, it is like they are not
adopters of infants.

II. Those that doubt of the lawfulness of using sponsors for their
children, do it on these two accounts: 1. As supposing it unlawful to
make so promiscuous an adoption of children, or of choosing another to
be a covenanter for the child instead of the parent, to whom it
belongeth; or to commit their children to another's either propriety,
or education, or formal promise of that which belongeth to education,
when they never mean to perform it, nor can do. 2. Because they take
it for an adding to the ordinance of God, a thing which Scripture
never mentioneth. To which I answer,

1. I grant it unlawful to suppose another to be the parent or
proprietor that is not; or to suppose him to have that power and
interest in your child which he hath not; or to desire him to
undertake what he cannot perform, and which neither he nor you intend
he shall perform; I grant that you are not bound to alienate the
propriety of your children, nor to take in another to be joint
proprietors; nor to put out your children to the godfather's
education. So that if you will misunderstand the use of sponsors, then
indeed you will make them unlawful to be so used.

But if you take them but as the ancient churches did, for such as do
attest the parents' fidelity, (in their persuasion,) and do promise
first to mind you of your duty, and next to take care of the
children's pious education if you die, I know no reason you have to
scruple this much.

Yea more, it is in your own power to agree with the godfathers, that
they shall represent your own persons, and speak and promise what they
do, as your deputies only, in your names. And what have you against
this? Suppose you were sick, lame, imprisoned, or banished, would you
not have your child baptized? And how should that be done, but by your
deputing another to represent you in entering him into covenant with

_Object._ But when the churchmen mean another thing, this is but to
juggle with the world.

_Answ._ How can you prove that the authority that made or imposed the
liturgy, meant any other thing? And other individuals are not the
masters of your sense. Yea, and if the imposers had meant ill, in a
thing that may be done well, you may discharge your conscience by
doing it well, and making a sufficient profession of your better

2. And then it will be no sinful addition to God's ordinance, to
determine of a lawful circumstance, which he hath left to human
prudence: as to choose a meet deputy, witness, or sponsor, who
promiseth nothing but what is meet.

Quest. XL. _On whose account or right is it that the infant hath title
to baptism and its benefits? Is it on the parents', ancestors',
sponsors', the church's, the minister's, the magistrate's, or his

_Answ._ The titles are very various that are pretended; let us examine
them all.

I. I cannot think that a magistrate's command to baptize an infant,
giveth him right, 1. Because there is no proof of the validity of such
a title. 2. Because the magistrate can command no such thing if it be
against God's word, as this is, which would level the case of the seed
of heathens and believers. And I know but few of that opinion.

II. I do not think that the minister as such giveth title to the
infant: for, 1. He is no proprietor. 2. He can show no such power or
grant from God. 3. He must baptize none but those that antecedently
have right. 4. Else he also might level all, and take in heathen's
children with believers'. 5. Nor is this pretended to by many, that I
know of.

III. I cannot think that it is a particular church that must give this
right, or perform the condition of it. For, 1. Baptism (as is
aforesaid) as such, doth only make a christian, and a member of the
universal church, and not of any particular church. And, 2. The church
is not the proprietor of the child. 3. No Scripture commission can be
showed for such a power. Where hath God said, All that any particular
church will receive, shall have right to baptism? 4. By what act must
the church give this right? If by baptizing him; the question is of
his antecedent right. If by willing that he be baptized; (1.) If they
will that one be baptized that hath no right to it, their will is
sinful, and therefore unfit to give him right. (2.) And the baptizing
minister hath more power than a thousand or ten thousand private men,
to judge who is to be baptized. 5. Else a church might save all
heathen children that they can but baptize, and so level infidels' and
christians' seed. 6. It is not the church in general, but some one
person, that must educate the child: therefore the church cannot so
much as promise for its education: the church hath nothing to do with
those that are without, but only with her own; and heathen's children
are not her own, nor exposed to her occupation.

IV. I believe not that it is the universal church that giveth the
infant title to baptism: for, 1. He that giveth title to the covenant
and baptism, doth it as a performer of the moral condition of that
title. But God hath no where made the church's faith to be the
condition of baptism or salvation, either to infidels or their seed.
2. Because the universal church is a body that cannot be consulted
with to give their vote and consent: nor have they any deputies to do
it by. For there is no universal, visible governor: and if you will
pretend every priest to be commissioned to act and judge in the name
of the universal church, you will want proof, and that is before
confuted. 3. If all have right that the universal church offereth up
to God, or any minister or bishop be counted its deputy or agent to
that end, it is in the power of that minister (as is said) to level
all, and to baptize and save all; which is contrary to the word of

V. I believe that godfathers as such, being no adopters or
proprietors, are not the performers of the condition of salvation for
the infant, nor give him right to be baptized. 1. Because he is not
their own, and therefore their will or act cannot go for his; because
there is no word of God for it that all shall be baptized or saved
that any christians will be sponsors for. God's church blessings are
not tied to such inventions, that were not in being when God's laws
were made. Where there is no promise or word, there is no faith. 3. No
sponsors are so much as lawful (as is showed before) who are not
owners or their deputies, or mere secondary subservient parties, who
suppose the principal covenanting party. 4. And as to the infant's
salvation, the sponsors may (too oft) be ignorant infidels and
hypocrites themselves, that have no true faith for themselves; and
therefore not enough to save another. 5. And it were strange if God
should make no promise to a wicked parent for his own child, and yet
should promise to save by baptism all that some wicked and hypocrite
godfathers will offer him. And that thus the seed of heathens and
christians should be levelled, and yet an ignorant, bold undertaker to
carry away the privilege of saving persons from them both. All this is
but men's unproved imaginations. He that never commandeth godfathers,
but forbiddeth the usurping sort, and only alloweth human prudence to
use the lawful sort, did never put the souls of all children,
christians and heathens, into their hands (any more than into the
hands of the priest that baptizeth them).

VI. I do not find that remote ancestors that are dead, or that are not
proprietors of the children, are the performers of the condition by
which they have right to baptism or salvation. 1. Because God hath put
that power and work in the hands of others, even the parents, which
they cannot nullify. 2. Because the promise of mercy to thousands is
on supposition that the successors make no intercision. 3. Else the
threatenings to the seed of the wicked would signify nothing, nor
would any in the world be excluded from right, but all be levelled;
because Noah was the common father of mankind: and if you lay it on
dead ancestors, you have no rule where to stop till you come to Noah.

VII. I conclude therefore that it is, clearly, the immediate parents,
(both or one,) and probably any true domestic owner of the child, who
hath the power to choose or refuse for him, and so to enter him into
covenant with God, and so by consent to perform the conditions of his
right. For, 1. Abundance of promises are made to the faithful and
their seed, of which I have spoken at large in my book "Of Infant
Baptism." And besides the punishment of Adam's sin, there is scarce a
parent infamous for sin in Scripture, but his posterity falleth under
the punishment, as for a secondary, original sin or guilt. As the case
of Cain, Ham, the Sodomites, the Amalekites, the Jews, Achan, Gehazi,
&c. show. And 1 Cor. vii. 14, it is expressly said, "Else were your
children unclean, but now are they holy" (of the sense of which I have
spoke as aforecited).

_Object._ But if owners may serve, one may buy multitudes, and a king
or lord of slaves, whose own the people are, may cause them all to be
baptized and saved.

_Answ._ 1. Remember that I say, that the christian parent's right is
clear, but I take the other as more dark; for it is principally
grounded on Abraham and the Israelites circumcising their children
born to them in the house or bought with money: and how far the parity
of reason here will reach is hard to know. All that I say is, that I
will not deny it, because _favores sunt ampliandi_. 2. If such a
prince be a hypocrite, and not a sincere christian himself, his faith
or consent cannot save others, that cannot save himself. 3. It is such
a propriety as is conjunct with a divine concession only that giveth
this power of consenting for an infant: now we find clear proof of
God's concession to natural parents, and probable proof of his
concession of it to domestic owners, but no further that I know
of.[280] For, (1.) It is an act of God's love to the child for the
parent's sake; and therefore to such children as we are supposed to
have a special nearness to, and love for. (2.) And it is a consent and
covenanting which he calls for, which obligeth the promiser to
consequent pious education, which is a domestic act. (3.) They are
comprised in the name of parents, which those that adopt them and
educate them may be called. (4.) And the infants are their children,
not their slaves. But now, if the emperor of Muscovy, Indostan, &c.
had the propriety in all his people as slaves, this would not imitate
paternal interest and love, but tyranny, nor could he be their
domestic educater. Therefore I must limit it to a pro-parent, or
domestic, educating proprietor.

[280] Deut. xxix. 10-13.

Quest. XLI. _Are they really baptized who are baptized according to
the English liturgy and canons, where the parent seemeth excluded, and
those to consent for the infant who have no power to do it?_

_Answ._ I find some puzzled with this doubt, Whether all our infants'
baptism be not a mere nullity: for, say they, the outward washing
without covenanting with God, is no more baptism, than the body or
corpse is a man. The covenant is the chief essential part of baptism.
And he that was never entered into covenant with God was never
baptized. But infants according to the liturgy, are not entered into
covenant with God, which they would prove thus: they that neither ever
covenanted by themselves, or by any authorized person for them, were
never entered into covenant with God (for that is no act of theirs
which is done by a stranger that hath no power to do it); but,
&c.--That they did it not themselves is undeniable: that they did it
not by any person empowered by God to do it for them they prove, 1.
Because godfathers are the persons by whom the infant is said to
promise; but godfathers have no power from God, (1.) Not by nature.
(2.) Not by Scripture. 2. Because the parents are not only not
included as covenanters, but positively excluded, (1.) In that the
whole office of covenanting for the child from first to last is laid
on others. (2.) In that the twenty-ninth canon saith, "No parent shall
be urged to be present; nor admitted to answer as godfather for his
own child:" by which the parent that hath the power is excluded:
therefore our children are all unbaptized.

To all this I answer, 1. That the parent's consent is supposed, though
he be absent. 2. That the parent is not required to be absent, but
only not to be urged to be present; but he may if he will. 3. That the
reason of that canon seems to be their jealousy, lest any would
exclude godfathers. 4. While the church hath no where declared what
person the sponsors bear, nor any further what they are to do, than to
speak the covenanting words, and promise to see to the pious education
of the child, the parents may agree that the godfathers shall do all
this as their deputies, primarily, and in their steads, and
secondarily as friends that promise their assistance. 5. While parents
really consent, it is not their silence that nullifieth the covenant.
6. All parents are supposed and required to be themselves the choosers
of the sponsors or sureties, and also to give notice to the minister
beforehand: by which it appeareth that their consent is presupposed.
And though my own judgment be, that they should be the principal
covenanters for the child expressly, yet the want of that expressness,
will not make us unbaptized persons.

Quest. XLII. _But the great question is, How the Holy Ghost is given
to infants in baptism? And whether all the children of true christians
have inward sanctifying grace? or whether they can be said to be
justified, and to be in a state of salvation, that are not inherently
sanctified? And whether any fall from this infant state of salvation?_

_Answ._ Of all these great difficulties I have said what I know, in my
"Appendix to Infant Baptism," to Mr. Bradford and Dr. Ward, and of
Bishop Davenant's judgment. And I confess that my judgment agreeth
more in this with Davenant's than any others, saving that he doth not
so much appropriate the benefits of baptism to the children of sincere
believers as I do. And though by a letter in pleading Davenant's
cause, I was the occasion of good Mr. Gataker's printing of his answer
to him, yet I am still most inclined to his judgment; not that all the
baptized, but that all the baptized seed of true christians, are
pardoned, justified, adopted, and have a title to the Spirit and

But the difficulties in this case are so great, as drive away most who
do not equally perceive the greater inconveniences which we must
choose, if this opinion be forsaken: that is, that all infants must be
taken to be out of the covenant of God, and to have no promise of
salvation. Whereas surely the law of grace as well as the covenant of
works included all the seed in their capacity.

1. To the first of these questions, I answer, 1. As all true
believers, so all their infants do receive initially by the promise,
and by way of obsignation and sacramental investiture in baptism, a
_jus relationis_, a right of peculiar relation to all the three
persons in the blessed Trinity: as to God, as their reconciled,
adopting Father; and to Jesus Christ, as their Redeemer and actual
Head and Justifier; so also to the Holy Ghost, as their Regenerator
and Sanctifier.[281] This right and relation adhereth to them, and is
given them in order to future actual operation and communion: as a
marriage covenant giveth the relation and right to one another, in
order to the subsequent communion and duties of a married life; and as
he that sweareth allegiance to a king, or is listed into an army, or
is entered into a school, receiveth the right and relation, and is so
correlated, as obligeth to the mutual subsequent offices of each, and
giveth right to many particular benefits. By this right and relation,
God is his own God and Father; Christ is his own Head and Saviour; and
the Holy Spirit is his own Sanctifier, without asserting what
operations are already wrought on his soul, but only to what future
ends and uses these relations are. Now as these rights and relations
are given immediately, so those benefits which are relative, and the
infant immediately capable of them, are presently given by way of
communion: he hath presently the pardon of original sin, by virtue of
the sacrifice, merit, and intercession of Christ. He hath a state of
adoption, and right to divine protection, provision, and church
communion according to his natural capacity, and right to everlasting

2. It must be carefully noted, that the relative union between Christ
the Mediator and the baptized persons, is that which in baptism is
first given in order of nature, and that the rest do flow from this.
The covenant and baptism deliver the covenanter, 1. From divine
displicency by reconciliation with the Father: 2. From legal penalties
by justification by the Son: 3. From sin itself by the operations of
the Holy Ghost. But it is Christ as our Mediator-Head, that is first
given us in relative union; and then, 1. The Father loveth us with
complacency as in the Son, and for the sake of his first Beloved. 2.
And the Spirit which is given us in relation is first the Spirit of
Christ our Head, and not first inherent in us; so that by union with
our Head, that Spirit is next united to us, both relatively, and as
radically inherent in the human nature of our Lord, to whom
we are united.[282] As the nerves and animal spirits which are to
operate in all the body, are radically only in the head, from whence
they flow into and operate on the members as there is need (though
there may be obstructions); so the Spirit dwelleth in the human nature
of our Head, and there it can never be lost; and it is not necessary
that it dwell in us by way of radication, but by way of influence and

These things are distinctly and clearly understood but by very few;
and we are all much in the dark about them. But I think, (however
doctrinally we may speak better,) that most christians are habituated
to this perilous misapprehension, (which is partly against
Christianity itself,) that the Spirit floweth immediately from the
divine nature of the Father and the Son (as to the authoritative or
potestative conveyance) unto our souls. And we forget that it is first
given to Christ in his glorified humanity as our Head, and radicated
in Him; and that it is the office of this glorified Head, to send or
communicate to all his members from himself, that Spirit which must
operate in them as they have need.

This is plain in many texts of Scripture. Rom. viii. 32, "He that
spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how shall he not
also with him freely give us all things?" (when he giveth him
particularly to us).

1 John v. 11, 12, "And this is the record that God hath given us
eternal life, and this life is in his Son; he that hath the Son hath
the life, and he that hath not the Son hath not the life."

Rom. viii. 9, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is
none of his."

Eph. i. 22, 23, "And gave him to be the Head over all things to the
church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in

John xv. 26, "The Advocate or Comforter whom I will send unto you from
the Father," &c.

John xvi. 7, "If I depart, I will send him unto you."

John xiv. 26, "The Comforter, whom the Father will send in my name."

Gal. iv. 6, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit
of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father."

Gal. ii. 20, "I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." (I know
that is true of his living in us objectively and finally, but that
seemeth not to be all.)

Col. iii. 3, 4, "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in
God; when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also
appear with him in glory." I know that in verse 3, by life is meant
felicity or glory; but not only; as appeareth by verse 4, where Christ
is called our life.

Matt. xxviii. 18, "All power is given unto me in heaven and earth."
ver. 20, "I am with you always." John xiii. 3, "The Father hath given
all things into his hands."

John xvii. 2, 3, "Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he
should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him; and this
is life eternal, to know thee," &c.

John v. 21, "The Son quickeneth whom he will:" ver. 26, "For as the
Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life
in himself."

John vi. 27, "Labour for that meat which endureth to everlasting life,
which the Son of man shall give unto you, for him hath God the Father
sealed." Ver. 33, "He giveth life unto the world." Ver. 54-57, "Whoso
eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life----dwelleth
in me and I in him----my flesh is meat indeed----As the living Father
hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me, even he
shall live by me." Ver. 63, "It is the Spirit that quickeneth: the
flesh profiteth nothing."

John vii. 39, "This spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe in
him should receive." John iii. 34, "God giveth not the Spirit to him
by measure."

1 Cor. vi. 17, "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit."

2 Cor. iii. 17, "The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the
Lord is, there is liberty."

Phil. i. 19, "Through the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ."

John xv. 4, 5, "Abide in me and I in you: as the branch cannot bear
fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye
abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me
and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me (or,
out of me, or, severed from me) ye can do nothing."

I will add no more: all this is proof enough that the Spirit is not
given radically or immediately from God to any believer, but to
Christ, and so derivatively from him to us. Not that the divine nature
in the third person is subject to the human nature in Christ; but that
God hath made it the office of our Mediator's glorified humanity, to
be the cistern that shall first receive the waters of life, and convey
them by the pipes of his appointed means to all the offices of his
house: or to be the head of the animal spirits, and by nerves to
convey them to all the members.

3. We are much in the dark concerning the degree of infants' glory;
and therefore we can as little know, what degree of grace is necessary
to prepare them for their glory.

4. It is certain that infants before they are glorified, shall have
all that grace that is prerequisite to their preparation and fruition.

5. No sanctified person on earth is in an immediate capacity for
glory; because their sin and imperfection must be done away, which is
done at the dissolution of soul and body. The very accession of the
soul to God doth perfect it.

6. Infants have no actual faith, or hope, or love to God to exercise;
and therefore need not the influence of the Spirit of Christ to
exercise them.

7. We are all so very much in the dark, as to the clear and distinct
apprehension of the true nature of original inherent pravity or sin,
that we must needs be as much ignorant of the true nature of that
inherent sanctity or righteousness, which is its contrary or cure.
Learned Illiricus thought it was a substance, which he hath in his
"Clavis" pleaded for at large. Others call it a habit; others a nature
or natural inclination, and a privation of a natural inclination to
God. Others call it an indisposition of the mind and will to holy
truth and goodness, and an ill disposition of them to error and evil.
Others call it only the inordinate lust of the sensitive faculties,
with a debility of reason and will to resist it. And whilst the nature
of the soul itself and its faculties, are so much unknown to itself,
the nature of original pravity and righteousness must needs be very
much unknown.

8. Though an infant be a distinct natural person from his parents, yet
is he not actually a distinct person morally, as being not a moral
agent, and so not capable of moral actions good or evil. Therefore his
parents' will goeth for his.

9. His first acceptance into the complacential love of God, (as
distinct from his love of benevolence,) is not for any inherent
holiness in himself; but, (1.) As the child of a believing parent who
hath dedicated him to Christ; and, (2.) As a member of Christ, in whom
he is well pleased.

10. Therefore God can complacentially as well as benevolently love an
infant in Christ, who only believeth and repenteth by the parents, and
not by himself, and is not yet supposed to have the Spirit of

11. For the Spirit of sanctification is not the presupposed condition
of his acceptance into covenant with God, but a gift of the covenant
of God itself, following both the condition on our part, and our right
to be covenanters, or to God's promise upon that condition.

12. So the adult themselves have the operation of the Spirit by which
they believe and repent, by which they come to have their right to
God's part in the covenant of baptism (for this is antecedent to their
baptism); but they have not the gift of the Spirit, which is called in
Scripture the "Spirit of sanctification, and of power, love, and a
sound mind," and is the benefit given by the covenant of baptism, till
afterward; because they must be in that covenant before it can be made
good to them.[283] And their faith or consent is their infant's right
also, antecedent to the covenant gift.

13. There is therefore some notable difference between that work of
the Spirit by which we first repent and believe, and so have our title
to the promise of the Spirit, and that gift of the Spirit which is
promised to believers; which is not only the Spirit of miracles, given
in the first times, but some notable degree of love to our reconciled
Father, suitable to the grace and gospel of redemption and
reconciliation, and is called the "Spirit of Christ," and the "Spirit
of adoption,"[284] which the apostles themselves seem not to have
received till Christ's ascension. And this seemeth to be not only
different from the gifts of the Spirit common to hypocrites and the
unbelievers, but also from the special gift of the Spirit which maketh
men believers. So that Mr. Tho. Hooker saith trulier than once I
understood, that vocation is a special grace of the Spirit, distinct
from common grace on the one side, and from sanctification on the
other side. Whether it be the same degree of the Spirit which the
faithful had before Christ's incarnation, which causeth men first to
believe distinct from the higher following degree, I leave to inquiry;
but the certainest distinction is from the different effects.

14. Though an infant cannot be either disposed to a holy life, or fit
for glory immediately, without an inward holiness of his own, yet by
what is said it seemeth plain, that merely on the account of the
condition performed by the parent, and of his union relatively with
Christ thereupon, and his title to God's promise on these grounds, he
may be said to be in a state of salvation; that is, to have the pardon
of his original sin, deliverance from hell, (in right,) adoption, and
a right to the needful operations of the Holy Ghost, as given to him
in Christ, who is the first receiver of the Spirit.

15. But when and in what sort and degree Christ giveth the actual
operations of the Spirit to all covenanted infants, it is wonderfully
hard for us to know. But this much seemeth clear, 1. That Christ may
when he please work on the soul of an infant to change its
disposition, before it come to the use of reason. 2. That Christ and
his Spirit as in covenant with infants, are ready to give all
necessary assistance to infants for their inherent sanctification, in
the use of those means, and on those further conditions, on which we
must wait for it and expect it.[285] For the Holy Ghost is not so
engaged to us in our covenant or baptism, as to be obliged presently
to give us all the grace that we want; but only to give it us on
certain further conditions, and in the use of certain means. But
because this leads me up to another question, I will suspend the rest
of the answer to this till that be handled. Only I must answer this

_Object._ It is contrary to the holy nature of God, complacentially to
love an unsanctified infant, that is yet in his original corruption
unchanged, and he justifieth none relatively from the guilt of sin,
whom he doth not at once inherently sanctify.

_Answ._ 1. God's complacential love respecteth every one as he is; for
it is goodness only that he so loveth. Therefore he so loveth not
those that either actually or habitually love not him, under any false
supposition that they do love him when they do not. His love therefore
to the adult and infants differeth as the objects differ. But there is
this lovely in such infants; 1. That they are the children of
believing, sanctified parents; 2. That they are by his covenant
relatively united to Christ, and so are lovely as his members; 3. That
they are pardoned all their original sin; 4. That they are set in the
way to actual love and holiness; being thus dedicated to God.

2. All imperfect saints are sinners; and all sinners are as such
abhorred of God, whose pure eyes cannot behold iniquity. As then it
will stand with his purity to accept and love the adult upon their
first believing, before their further sanctification, and
notwithstanding the remnant of their sins, so may it do also to accept
their infants through Christ upon their dedication.

3. As the actual sin imputed to infants was Adam's, and their parents'
only by act, and not their own, it is no wonder if upon their parents'
faith and repentance, Christ wash and justify them from that guilt
which arose only from another's act.

4. And then the inherent pravity was the effect of that act of their
ancestors, which is forgiven them. And this pravity or inherent,
original sin may two ways be said to be mortified radically, or
virtually, or inceptively before any inherent change in them: 1. In
that it is mortified in their parents from whom they derived it, who
have the power of choosing for them; and, 2. In that they are by
covenant ingrafted into Christ, and so related to the cause of their
future sanctification; yea, 3. In that also they are by covenant and
their parents' promise, engaged to use those means which Christ hath
appointed for sanctification.[286]

5. And it must be remembered that as this is but an inceptive,
preparatory change, so the very pardon of the inherent vitiosity is
not perfect, (as I have elsewhere largely proved,) however some
papists and protestants deny it. While sin remaineth, sin and
corruption is still indwelling, besides all the unremoved penalties of
it, the very being of it proveth it to be so far unpardoned, in that
it is not yet abolished, and the continuance of it being not its
smallest punishment, as permitted, and the Spirit not given so far as
to cure it. Imperfect pardon may consist with a present right both to
further sanctification by the Spirit, and so to heaven.

_Object._ Christ's body hath no unholy members.

_Answ._ 1. 1 Cor. vii. 14, "Now are your children holy." They are not
wholly unholy who have all the fore-described holiness. 2. As infants
in nature want memory and actual reason, and yet initially are men;
so, as Christ's members, they may want actual and habitual faith and
love, and yet initially be sanctified, by their union with him and his
Spirit, and their parents' dedication, and be in the way for more, as
they grow fit; and be christians and saints _in fieri_, or initially
only, as they are men.

[281] Matt. xxviii. 19, 20; 1 Cor. xii. 12, 13; Eph. iv. 4, 5.

[282] The Spirit is not given radically or immediately to any
christian, but to Christ our Head alone, and from him to us.

[283] Acts xxvi. 8; 2 Tim. iv. 7; Rom. viii. 30; Gal. iv. 6.

[284] Rom. viii. 9, 16, 26.

[285] Mr. Whiston, p. 60, showeth, That even the promises of a new
heart, &c. Ezek. xxxvi. xxxvii. &c. though they may run in the
external tenor of them absolutely, yet are not absolutely absolute,
but have a subordinate condition, and that is, that the parties
concerned in them do faithfully use the means appointed of God in a
subserviency to his working in or bestowing on them the good promised.

[286] God's being a God to any individual person doth require and
presuppose that they do for the present, supposing them capable, or
for the future as soon as capable, take God in Christ as their God.
Ibid. p. 61.

Quest. XLIII. _Is the right of the baptized (infants or adult) to the
sanctifying operations of the Holy Ghost, now absolute, or suspended
on further conditions? And are the parents' further duties for their
children such conditions of their children's reception of the actual
assistances of the Spirit? Or are children's own actions such
conditions? And may apostate parents forfeit the covenant benefits to
their baptized infants or not?_

_Answ._ The question is great and difficult, and few dare meddle with
it. And almost all infant cases are to us obscure.

I. 1. It is certain that it is the parents' great duty to bring up
their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

2. It is certain that God hath appointed this to be the means of their
actual knowledge, faith, and holiness.[287]

3. And God doth not appoint such means unnecessarily or in vain: nor
may we ordinarily expect his grace but in the use of the means of
grace, which he hath appointed us to use.

4. It is certain that God's receiving the children of the faithful, is
an act of God's love to the parents as well as the children, and
promised as a part of his blessing on themselves.

5. It is certain that these parents hold their own mercies upon the
condition of their own continued fidelity: and (let their apostasy be
on other reasons never so impossible, or not future, yet) the promise
of continuance and consummation of the personal felicity of the
greatest saint on earth, is still conditional, upon the condition of
his persevering fidelity.

6. Even before children are capable of instruction, there are certain
duties imposed by God on the parents for their sanctification; viz. 1.
That the parents pray earnestly and believingly for them. 2. That they
themselves so live towards God as may invite him still to bless their
children for their sakes, as he did Abraham's, and usually did to the
faithful's seed.[288]

7. It is certain that the church ever required parents, not only to
enter their children into the covenant, and so to leave them, but to
do their after duty for their good, and to pray for them, and educate
them according to their covenant.

8. It is plain that if there were none to promise so to educate them,
the church would not baptize them. And God himself, who allowed the
Israelites, and still alloweth us to bring our children into his
covenant, doth it on this supposition, that we promise also to go on
to do our duty for them, and that we actually do it.

9. All this set together maketh it plain, 1. That God never promiseth
the adult in baptism, though true believers, that he will work in them
all graces further by his sanctifying Spirit, let them never so much
neglect or resist him; or that he will absolutely see that they never
shall resist him: nor that the Spirit shall still help them, though
they neglect all his means; or that he will keep them from neglecting
the means (election may secure this to the elect as such; but the
baptismal covenant as such, secureth it not to the baptized, nor to
believers as such). 2. And consequently that infants are in covenant
with the Holy Ghost still conditionally as their parents are; and that
the meaning of it is that the Holy Ghost as your Sanctifier will
afford you all necessary help, in the use of those means which he hath
appointed you to receive his help in.[289]

_Object._ Infants have no means to use.

_Answ._ While infants stand on their parents' account, or wills, the
parents have means to use for the continuance of their grace, as well
as for the beginning of it.

10. Therefore I cannot see but that if a believer should apostatize,
(whether any do so is not the question) and his infant not to be made
another's child, he forfeiteth the benefits of the covenant to his
infant. But if the propriety in the infant be transferred to another,
it may alter the case.

11. And how dangerously parents may make partial forfeitures of the
Spirit's assistance to their children, and operations on them, by
their own sinful lives, and neglect of prayer, and of prudent and holy
education, even in particular acts, I fear many believing parents
never well considered.

12. Yet is not this forfeiture such as obligeth God to deny his
Spirit; for he may do with his own, as a free benefactor, as he list;
and may have mercy freely, beyond his promise, (though not against his
word,) on whom he will have mercy. But I say that he that considereth
the woeful unfaithfulness and neglect of most parents, even the
religious, in the great work of holy educating their children, may
take the blame of their ungodliness on themselves, and not lay it on
Christ or the Spirit who was in covenant with them as their
Sanctifier, seeing he promised but conditionally to give them the
sanctifying heavenly influences of his life, light, and love, in their
just use of his appointed means, according to their abilities.[290]

13. Also as soon as children come to a little use of reason, they
stand conjunctly on their parents' wills and on their own. As their
parents are bound to teach and rule them, so they are bound to learn
of them and be ruled by them for their good. And though every sin of a
parent or a child be not a total forfeiture of grace, yet both their
notable actual sins may justly be punished, with a denial of some
further help of the Spirit which they grieve and quench.

II. And now I may seasonably answer the former question, whether
infants' baptismal saving grace may be lost, of which I must for the
most that is to be said refer the reader to Davenant (in Mr. Bedford's
book) on this subject, and to Dr. Samuel Ward joined with it, (though
Mr. Gataker's answers are very learned and considerable,) and to my
small book called "My Judgment of Perseverance."

Augustine, who first rose up for the doctrine of perseverance, against
its adversaries, carried it no higher than to all the elect as such,
and not at all to all the sanctified; but oft affirmeth that some that
were justified, sanctified, and love God, and are in a state of
salvation, are not elect, and fall away; but since the reformation,
great reasons have been brought to carry it further to all the truly
sanctified; of which cause Zanchius was one of the first learned and
zealous patrons, that with great diligence in long disputations
maintained it. All that I have now to say is, that I had rather with
Davenant believe that the fore-described infant state of salvation,
which came by the parents, may be lost by the parents and the
children, (though such a sanctified, renewed nature in holy habits of
love as the adult have be never lost,) than believe that no infants
are in the covenant of grace and to be baptized.

_Object._ But the child once in possession shall not be punished for
the parents' sin.

_Answ._ 1. This point is not commonly well understood. I have by me a
large disputation proving from the current of Scripture, a secondary
original sin, besides that from Adam, and a secondary punishment
ordinarily inflicted on children for their parents' sins, besides the
common punishment of the world for the first sin. 2. But the thing in
question is but a loss of that benefit which they received and hold
only by another. It is not so properly called a punishment for
another's sin, as a non-deliverance, or a non-continuance of their
deliverance, which they were to receive on the condition of another's

_Object._ But the church retaineth them as her members, and so their
right is not lost by the fault or apostasy of the parents.

_Answ._ 1. Lost it is one way or other, with multitudes of true
christians' children, who never show any signs of grace, and prove
sometimes the worst of men. And God breaketh not his covenant.

2. How doth the church keep the Greeks' children that are made

3. No man stayeth in the church without title. If the church or any
christians take them as their own, that is another matter. I will not
now stay to discuss the question, whether apostates' baptized infants
be still church members? But what I have said of their right before
God, seemeth plain.

4. And mark, that on whomsoever you build an infant's right, you may
as well say, that he may suffer for other men's default; for if you
build it on the magistrate, the minister, the church, the godfathers,
any of them may fail; they may deny him baptism itself; they may fail
in his education; shall he suffer then for want of baptism or good
education when it is their faults? Whoever a child or a man is to
receive a benefit by, the failing of that person may deprive him of
that benefit. More objections I must pretermit, to avoid prolixity.

[287] Eph. vi. 4, 5; Col. iii. 21; Gen. xviii. 19; Deut. vi. 6-8; xi.

[288] Second commandment. Prov. xx. 7.

[289] The Holy Ghost is promised in baptism to give the child grace in
his parents' and his own faithful use of the appointed means.

[290] Mr. Whiston, p. 53. As Abraham as a single person in the
covenant was to accept of and perform the conditions of the
covenant--so as a parent he had something of duty incumbent on him
with reference to his (immediate) seed; and as his faithful
performance of that duty incumbent on him in his single capacity, so
his performing that duty incumbent on him as a parent in reference to
his seed, was absolutely necessary in order to his enjoying the good
promised, with reference to himself and his seed: proved Gen. xvii. 1;
xviii. 19. He proveth that the promise is conditional, and that as to
the continuance of the covenant state the conditions are, 1. The
parent's upright life. 2. His duty to his children well done. 3. The
children's own duty as they are capable.

Quest. XLIV. _Doth baptism always oblige us at the present, and give
grace at the present? And is the grace which is not given till long
after, given by baptism: or an effect of baptism?_

_Answ._ I add this case for two reasons: 1. To open their pernicious
error who think that a covenant or promise made by us to God, only for
a future, distant duty, (as to repent and believe before we die,) is
all that is essential to our baptismal covenanting. 2. To open the
ordinary saying of many divines, who say, that baptism worketh not
always at the present, but sometimes only long afterward. The truth I
think may be thus expressed.

1. It is not baptism, if there be not the profession of a present
belief, a present consent, and a present dedition, or resignation, or
dedication of the person to God, by the adult for themselves, and by
parents for their infants. He that only saith, I promise to believe,
repent, and obey only at twenty or thirty years of age, is not morally
baptized; for it is another covenant of his own which he would make,
which God accepteth not.

2. It is not only a future, but a present relation to God, as his own,
his subjects, his children by redemption, to which the baptized person
doth consent.

3. It is a present correlation, and not a future only, to which God
consenteth on his part, to be their Father, Saviour, and Sanctifier,
their Owner peculiarly, their Ruler graciously, and their chief
Benefactor, and Felicity, and End.

4. It is not only a future but a present remission of sin, and
adoption and right to temporal and eternal mercies, which God giveth
to true consenters by his covenant and baptism.

5. But those mercies which we are not at that present capable of, are
not to be given at the present, but afterward when we are capable; as
the particular assistances of the Spirit, necessary upon all future
particular occasions, &c.; the pardon of future sins; actual
glorification, &c.[291]

6. And the duties which are to be performed only for the future, we
must promise at present to perform only for the future, in their
season, to our lives' end. Therefore we cannot promise that infants
shall believe, obey, or love God, till they are naturally capable of
doing it.

7. If any hypocrite do not indeed repent, believe, or consent when he
is baptized, or baptizeth his child, he so far faileth in the covenant
professed; and so much of baptism is undone; and God doth not enter
into the present covenant relations to him, as being incapable

8. If this person afterwards repent and believe, it is a doing of the
same thing which was omitted in baptism, and a making of the same
covenant; but not as a part of his baptism itself, which is long past.

9. Nor is he hereupon to be re-baptized; because the external part was
done before, and is not to be twice done; but the internal part which
was omitted, is now to be done, not as a part of baptism, (old or
new,) but as a part of penitence, for his omission.

_Object._ If covenanting be a part of baptism, then this person, whose
covenant is never a part of his baptism, doth live and die unbaptized.

_Answ._ As baptism signifieth only the external ordinance, heart
covenanting is no part of it, but the profession of it is; and if
there was no profession of faith made, by word or sign, the person is
unbaptized. But as baptism signifieth the internal part with the
external, so he will be no baptized person while he liveth; that is,
one that in baptism did truly consent, and receive the spiritual
relations to God; but he will have the same thing in another way of
God's appointment.

10. When this person is after sanctified, it is by God's performance
of the same covenant in specie, which baptism is made to seal, that
God doth pardon, justify, and adopt him; but this is not by his past
baptism as a cause, but by after grace and absolution. The same
covenant doth it, but not baptism; because indeed the covenant or
promise saith, Whenever thou believest and repentest, I will forgive
thee; but baptism saith, Because thou now believest, I do forgive
thee, and wash away thy sin; and maketh present application.

11. So if an infant or adult person live without grace, and at age be
ungodly, his baptismal covenant is violated; and his after conversion
(or faith and repentance) is neither the fulfilling of God's covenant,
nor of his baptism neither. The reason is, because though pardon and
adoption be given by that conditional covenant of grace which baptism
sealeth, yet so is not that first grace of faith and repentance which
is the condition of pardon and adoption, and the title to baptism
itself. Else infidels should have right to baptism, and thereby to
faith and repentance. But these are only the free gifts of God to the
elect, and the fulfilling of some absolute predictions concerning the
calling of the elect, and the fulfilling of God's will or covenant to
Christ the Mediator, that "He shall see the travail of his soul and be
satisfied," and possess those that are given him by the Father.

12. But when the condition of the covenant is at first performed by
the parent for the infant, and this covenant never broken on this
child's behalf, (notwithstanding sins of infirmity,) in this case the
first actual faith and repentance of children as they grow up, is from
God's fulfilling of his baptismal covenant with them. The reason is,
because that God in that covenant did give them a right of relation to
the Holy Spirit in Christ their Head, as their Sanctifier, to operate
on them as they are capable. But if they first prove apostates and be
after converted, God is disobliged (yea, to hypocrites never was
obliged) as to the engagement made by him in baptism; and doth now, 1.
Freely give them faith and repentance as a benefactor to his elect,
and then, 2. As a covenanter give them pardon and adoption, &c.

13. So to the adult, that truly made the baptismal covenant and never
apostatized from it, all the grace that God giveth them through their
lives, is his fulfilling of his promises made to them, and sealed by
baptism, and a fruit of their baptism. But to hypocrites and apostates
it is otherwise, as is before explained.

[291] Rom. vi. 1, 4, 6, 7, &c.

[292] Acts viii. 37, 38; xiii. 20-23.

Quest. XLV. _What is a proper violation of our baptismal covenant?_

_Answ._ Note well, that there is a wide difference between these
questions, 1. When doth a man miss of, or lose, his present part in
the covenant or promise of God in the gospel?[293] (This is as long as
he is impenitent, an unbeliever and refuser.) 2. When doth a man
totally lose his part and hope in that promise or covenant of God, so
as to be liable to all the penalty of it? (That is only by final
impenitence, unbelief and refusal, when life is ended.) 3. And when
doth a man violate his own covenant or promise made to God in baptism?
Which is our present question. To which I answer,

1. This promise hath parts essential and parts integral: we promise
not both these parts alike, nor on the same terms; though both be
promised. The essential parts, are our essential duties of
christianity, (faith, love, repentance in the essential parts,) &c.
The integrals are the integral duties of Christianity.[294]

2. He that performeth not the essential duties is an apostate, or

3. He that performeth not the integral duties is a sinner, not only
against the law of nature, and Christ's precepts, but his own promise;
(and in this sense we all confess our breach of covenant with Christ;)
but he is no apostate, hypocrite, or out of covenant.

[293] John iii. 16-18, 36; i. 11-13.

[294] 2 Pet. ii. 20-23; Heb. vi. 2, 4-8; x. 26-28; 1 John i. 9, 10;
James iii. 2, 3.

Quest. XLVI. _May not baptism in some cases be repeated? And when?_

_Answ._ 1. You must distinguish between baptism, taken morally, or
only physically. 2. Between baptism morally, as it is a church or
visible covenant, and as a heart covenant. 3. Between real baptism,
and seeming baptism, which is a nullity. 4. Between certain reception
of baptism, and that which is uncertain or justly doubted of. And so I

1. Real and certain baptism as a visible church ordinance may not be
repeated; though the heart covenant was wanting; and though it wanted
not only decent modes, but integral parts.

2. But in these cases baptism may be used where it seemed to have been
received before.

1. When the person made no profession of the christian faith (nor his
parents for him, if an infant). 2. If that profession notoriously
wanted an essential part; as if he only professed to believe in God
the Father, and not in the Son, or the Holy Ghost. 3. If the minister
only baptized him into the name of the Father, or Son, or left out any
essential part. 4. If the person or ministry only contracted for a
distant futurity, (as, I will be a christian when I am old, &c.) and
not for the present; which is not to be christened, but only to
promise to be christened hereafter. 5. If all application of water (or
any watery element) was omitted, which is the external sign. 6. Of the
baptizer's power I shall speak anon. 7. If the church or the person
himself have just cause of doubting, whether he was truly baptized or
not, to do it again, with hypothetical expressions, If thou art not
baptized, I baptize thee; yea, or simply while that is understood, is
lawful, and fit. And it is not to be twice baptized morally, but only
physically, as I have fully opened in the question of re-ordination,
to which I must refer the reader.

3. And I confess I make little doubt but that those in Acts xix. were
re-baptized, notwithstanding the witty evasion invented by Phil.
Marnixius Aldegondus, and Beza's improvement of it, and the now common
reception of that interpretation.[295]

For, 1. A new and forced exposition which no reader dreameth of till
it be put into his head, is usually to be suspected, lest art deceive

[Sidenote: Whether it were re-baptizing.]

2. The omission of the Holy Ghost is an essential defect, and maketh
baptism specifically another thing; and he were now to be re-baptized
who should be so baptized.

3. Whatever some say in heat against the papists, John's baptism and
our christian baptism are so specifically distinct also, that he that
had now but John's were to be yet baptized: the person of the Messiah
himself being not determinately put into John's baptism as such. Nor
can it be supposed that all the Jews that John baptized, were baptized
into the profession of faith in this numerical person Jesus, but only
to an unknown Saviour undetermined: however he pointed to Christ in
the hearing of some of his disciples. We must not run from plain
truth in peevishness or opposition to papists or any other men.

4. The fifth verse would not be true of John's baptism, as the history
showeth, that "when John's hearers heard this, they were baptized into
the name of the Lord Jesus." This is contrary to the text that
recordeth it.

5. In the fourth verse, the words "that is, on Christ Jesus" are
plainly Paul's expository words of John's, and not John's words. John
baptized them "into the name of the Messiah that should come after
him," which indeed, saith Paul, was Christ Jesus, though not then
personally determined by John.

6. The connexion of the fourth, fifth, and sixth verses puts all out
of doubt. 1. In the fourth verse the last words are Paul's, "that is,
on Christ Jesus." 2. In the next words, verse 4, "When they heard
this, they were baptized," &c. must refer to the last words, or to his
that was speaking to them. 3. Verse 6, the pronoun "them," "when Paul
had laid his hands on them," plainly referreth to them last spoken of,
verse 5, which therefore were not John's hearers as such. 4. And the
words, "they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus," are
plainly distinctive from John's baptism. Saith Grotius, _Sic accepere
Latinus, Syrus, Arabs, et Veteres omnes ante Marnixium (ut verba
Lucæ)_. Yet I say not so hardly of John's baptism, as Tertullian on
this text, (de Baptis.) _Adeo postea in Actis apostolorum invenimus,
quoniam qui Johannis baptismum habebant, non accepissent Spiritum
Sanctum, quem ne auditu quidam noverant: ergo non erat cœleste,
quod cœlestia non exhibebat._ See Dr. Hammond in loc.

[295] Of Acts xix. 1-5.

Quest. XLVII. _Is baptism by laymen or women lawful in cases of
necessity? Or are they nullities, and the person to be re-baptized._

_Answ._ I. I know some of the ancients allowed it in necessity. But I
know no such necessity that can be: for, 1. God hath expressly made it
a part of the ministerial office by commission, Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.
2. He hath no where given to any other either command to oblige them
to do it or commission to authorize them, or promise to bless and
accept them in it, or threatening if they omit it. 3. He oft severely
punisheth such as invade the sacred function, or usurp any part of it.
4. Therefore it is a sin in the doer, and then there can be no
necessity of it in such a case in the receiver. 5. He that is in
covenant by open, professed consent, wants nothing necessary to his
salvation, either _necessitate medii vel præcepti_, when it cannot be
had in a lawful way.

II. As to the nullity, I will not determine so controverted a point
any further than to say, 1. That if the layman had the counterfeit
orders of a minister, and had possession of the place, and were taken
for one, his deceit deprived not the receiver of his right, nor made
it his sin, and I should not re-baptize him, if after discovered.

2. But if he were in no possession, or pretence of the office, I would
be baptized again, if it were my case; because I should fear that what
is done in Christ's name by one that notoriously had no authority from
him to do it, is not owned by Christ as his deed, and so is a nullity.
As if a deceiver go in my name to make bargains for me.

3. And if any that had after discovered a minister to be indeed no
minister that baptized him, should doubt of the validity, and for
certainty have it done again by an authorized minister, I would not
discommend him: nor would I account it morally twice baptizing, but a
physical repeating of that act which morally is but one (as I
explained before of re-ordination).

Therefore if one that was a gross heretic in the very essentials, or
an infidel, or one that had not knowledge and parts essentially
necessary to the ministry, baptize one, (in right words,) I would not
blame him that for certainty would have an authorized person to do it;
especially if he was notoriously such a one when he did it. Let those
that are angry with this resolution be as fair to me as they will be
to Venerable Bede, and that great miracle-working bishop John, whom in
his ecclesiastical history he reporteth to baptize a man again in
England, merely because the priest that did it was so dull, ignorant,
and insufficient as in John's judgment to be uncapable of the office,
and therefore had been by him forbidden to use it, though the person
baptized (at age) knew not this:[296] viz. Herebaldus, ut Bed. l. v.
c. 6.

[296] Of which before.

Quest. XLVIII. _May anabaptists, that have no other error, be
permitted in church communion?_

_Answ._ Yes: and tolerated in their own practice also: for, 1. They
agree with us in all points absolutely necessary to communion.

2. The ancient christians had liberty either to baptize, or to let
them stay till age, as they thought best; and therefore Tertullian and
Nazianzen speak against haste; and Augustine and many children of
christian parents were baptized at age.

3. The controversy is of so great difficulty, that if in all such
cases none that differ be tolerated, we may not live together in the
world or church, but endlessly excommunicate or persecute one another.

4. Such sober antipædobaptists will consent, to profess openly, that
they do devote their children to God according to all the power or
duty which they can find communicated or laid upon them in the word of
God; and that if they believed that God would accept them into his
covenant upon their dedication, they would willingly do it. And that
actually they do offer them to God according to their power, and
promise to bring them up in his way. And who can force men's wills to
choose aright for themselves or others?

Quest. XLIX. _May one offer his child to be baptized, with the sign of
the cross, or the use of chrism, the white garment, milk and honey, or
exorcism, as among the Lutherans, who taketh these to be unlawful

_Answ._ I am not now to meddle with the question, whether they be
lawful? but to this question I answer,

1. He that judgeth them unlawful, must first do his best to be certain
whether they be so or not.

2. If so, he must never approve of them, or consent to them.

3. He must not offer his child to be so baptized, when, _cætesris
paribus_, he may have it done in a better manner on lawful terms.

4. But when he cannot lawfully have better, he may and must offer his
child to them that will so baptize him, rather than to worse, or none
at all: because baptism is God's ordinance and his privilege, and the
sin is the minister's, and not his. Another man's sinful mode will not
justify the neglect of our duty; else we might not join in any prayer
or sacrament in which the minister modally sinneth; that is, with

5. The milk and honey, white garment and chrism, are so ancient
(called by Epiphanius and others the traditions and customs of the
universal church) that the original of them is not known. And he that
then would not be so baptized, must not have been baptized at all.

6. But in this case he that bringeth his child to baptism, should make
known, that it is baptism only that he desireth; and that he disowneth
and disalloweth the manner which he accounteth sinful: and then he is
no consenter to it.

7. But where law, scandal, or great inconveniences forbid him, he is
not to make this profession openly in the congregation, but in that
prudent manner which beseemeth a sober, peaceable person; whether to
the minister in private, or to his neighbours in converse; it being
easy among neighbours to make known a man's dissent, without a
disorderly troubling of the church, or violating the laws of
obedience, civility, and peace.

8. But he must not, 1. Either offer his child to baptism, where the
ordinance is essentially corrupted, or worse than none. 2. Or where he
cannot be admitted without an actual sin of his own; as by false
professions, subscriptions, &c. For we must not do evil for good ends.

Quest. L. _Whence came the ancient universal custom of anointing at
baptism, and putting on a white garment, and tasting milk and honey?
And whether they are lawful to us?_

_Answ._ 1. We must remember that the signification of these was not by
a new institution of theirs, but by former custom of the countries
where they lived.[297] As, (1.) Anointing in Judea was like bathing at
Rome: it was taken in those scorching countries for a wholesome, and
easing, and comforting thing; and therefore used to refresh the weary
limbs of travellers, and to comfort the sick.

(2.) And it was the long accustomed ceremony also used on officers
accounted sacred, kings and priests, who were anointed at their
entrance and investiture.

(3.) White clothing and purple were then and there taken for the
noblest attire;[298] not appropriated to sacred things and persons;
but as scarlet lately in England, the garb only of great men. On which
account, not as a sacred vestment, but as an honourable clothing, when
the bishops began to be advanced, they were allowed to wear white
clothing, not only when they officiated, but at other times.

(4.) The milk and honey were there highly esteemed for food, and
accounted the character of the land of promise.[299]

2. Hereupon by application the churches used these signs in the sacred
ordinance of baptism: not by new institution of the signification, I
say, but by application of the old well-known signification.

3. As natural signs are commonly allowed to be applied to holy things,
so signs whose signification is of old and commonly stated and well
known by agreement or custom, do seem in this not to be different from
natural signs. Such are all words, as signs of our minds; no word
signifying any thing naturally, but by agreement or custom only. And
such is kneeling in prayer, and being uncovered, and many the like:
about some of which Paul appealeth to the custom of the churches of

4. It is most probable that these two things together brought in
anointing: (1.) The common use of anointing then, in both the foresaid
cases (common refreshment and sacred investiture). (2.) And the
mistake of all those Scripture texts, which command or mention
anointing metaphorical: as 1 John ii. 27, "The anointing which you
have received--teacheth you all things." Ezek. xvi. 9, "I washed thee,
I anointed thee with oil," &c. Psal. cv. 15; 1 Chron. xvi. 22, "Touch
not mine anointed." Rev. iii. 18.[301]

And withal reading that we are made kings and priests to God, and a
royal priesthood, they thought this might be signified by the usual
honorary signs of such, as well as by words to be called such. So that
they took it as if, in our age, the baptized should be set in a chair
of state, and sumptuously apparelled, and a feast made to solemnize
it, as they do at weddings, and the baptized person set at the upper
end, &c. which are significant actions and ceremonies; but they
intended them not as new sacraments, or any part of the sacrament, but
as a pompous celebration of the sacrament by such additional
ceremonial accidents.

5. And you must remember that they lived among infidels, where their
profession was made the common scorn, which tempted them by such
ostentation and pomp to seek to make it honourable, and to show that
they so accounted it, and to encourage those who were discourageable
by the scorn. On which account also they used the cross, and the
memorials of the martyrs.

6. Yet some, yea, many afterwards did seem to take the anointing for a
sacramental action. When they read that the laying on of hands was the
sign of giving the Holy Ghost, as distinct from baptism, and that the
Spirit is called in Scripture the anointing, they joined both
together, and made that which they now called the sacrament of

7. Whether the anointing, milk and honey, and the white garment, were
then sinful in themselves to the users, I determine not. But certainly
they proved very ill by accident, whilst at this door those numerous
and unlawful ceremonies have entered, which have so troubled the
churches, and corrupted religion; and among the papists, Greeks,
Armenians, Abassines, and many others, have made the sauce to become
the meat, and the lace to go for clothing, and turned too much of
God's worship into imagery, shadows, and pompous shows.

[297] Psal. xxiii. 5; xcii. 10; Luke vii. 46; Matt. vi. 17; Amos vi.
6; Psal. lxxxix. 20; Lev. xvi. 32; Luke xvi.

[298] Rev. iii. 4, 5, "They shall walk with me in white."

[299] Jam. v. 14; Mark vi. 13.

[300] 1 Cor. xi. 16.

[301] Rev. i. 6; v. 10; xx. 6; 1 Pet. ii. 5, 9.

Quest. LI. _Whether it be necessary that they that are baptized in
infancy, do solemnly at age renew and own their baptismal covenant,
before they have right to the state and privileges of adult members?
And if they do not, whether they are to be numbered with christians or

_Answ._ 1. Church membership is the same thing in infants and in the

2. Infants are naturally uncapable of doing all that in baptism which
the adult must do; as to understand, profess, &c. themselves.

3. The baptism of the adult, being the most complete, because of the
maturity of the receivers, is made the standing pattern in Scripture;
for God formeth his ordinances to the most perfect ordinary receivers.

4. Though an infant be devoted acceptably to God by his parent's will,
yet when he is at age it must be done by his own will.

5. Therefore a bare infant title ceaseth when we come to age, and the
person's title ceaseth, unless it be renewed by himself, or his own
consent. The reason is, because the conditions of his infant title
then cease: for his parent's will shall go for his no longer.

6. Regularly and _ad bene esse_ the transition out of the state of
infant membership into the state of adult membership should be very
solemn; and by an understanding, personal owning of the baptismal

7. There needeth no other proof of this, than, 1. That God in
Scripture never gave adult persons title to this covenant, but by
their own personal consent; and at the first institution of baptism,
both went together, (personal profession and baptism,) because the
receivers were adult. 2. And that infants are capable of baptism, but
not of personal profession. 3. Therefore though they are not to repeat
baptism, which was done before, yet they are bound to make that
profession at age which they never made before.

8. Where this solemn owning of their covenant cannot be had, (by
reason of church corruptions, and magistrates' prohibition,) there the
person's ordinary joining with the church, in the public profession
and worship, is to be taken for an owning it.

9. He that being baptized in infancy, doth no way at full age own his
baptismal covenant, is to be taken for an apostate: 1. Because his
infant title ceaseth. 2. And he notoriously violateth his covenant. 3.
Because he can be no adult christian that no way owneth Christ.

10. But this is to be understood of those that have opportunity; for
one in a wilderness among heathens only, cannot join in public
worship, nor give testimony of his christianity to the church.

11. Though the sacrament of the Lord's supper be appointed for the
renewing of our covenant at age, yet is it not the first owning of the
covenant, by the aged: for that sacrament belongeth neither to infants
nor infidels; and he that claimeth it, must be an adult church member
or christian; which those are not, who at full age no way ever owned
their baptismal covenant, nor made any personal profession of

But of this I have written purposely in a "Treatise of Confirmation"
long ago.

[302] See the proofs of all in my "Treatise of Confirmation."

Quest. LII. _Whether the universal church consist only of particular
churches and their members?_

_Answ._ No: particular churches are the most regular parts of the
universal church, but not the whole; no more than cities and
corporations be all the kingdom. 1. Some may be, as the eunuch,
baptized before they can come to any particular church; or as Paul,
before they can be received.[303]

2. Some may live where church tyranny hindereth them, by sinful
impositions; as all that live among the papists.

3. Some may live in times of doubting, distraction, and confusion, and
not know what church ordinarily to join with, and may providently go
promiscuously to many, and keep in an unfixed state for a time.

4. Some may be wives, children, or servants, who may be violently

5. Some may live where no particular churches are; as merchants and
ambassadors among Mahometans and heathens.

[303] Acts viii. 37, &c.; ix. 17-20, 26-28.

Quest. LIII. _Must the pastor first call the church, and aggregate
them to himself, or the church first congregate themselves, and then
choose the pastor?_

_Answ._ 1. The pastors are in order of nature, if not in time, first
ministers of Christ in general, before they are related to a
particular charge.

2. As such ministers, they first make men fit to be congregate, and
tell them their duty therein.

3. But it is a matter variable and indifferent, whether the minister
first say, All that will join with me, and submit to me as their
pastor, shall be my particular charge; or the people before
congregated do call a man to be their pastor.

Quest. LIV. _Wherein doth a particular church of Christ's institution
differ from a consociation of many churches?_

_Answ._ 1. In that such particular church is a company of christians
associated for personal immediate communion in God's worship and in
holy living; whereas consociations of churches are combined for
mediate distinct communion, or by delegates, or representatives (as in

2. Such a particular church is constituted of one or more pastors with
the people, officiating in the sacred ministry among them, in
doctrine, worship, and discipline, in order to the said personal
communion. But a consociation of churches hath no particular head as
such, of divine institution, to constitute and govern them as one. In
Ignatius's time every particular church was characterized or known by
two marks of unity: 1. One altar (that is, one place of assembling for
holy communion). 2. One bishop with the presbyters and deacons: and
two altars and two bishops proved two churches.

3. A particular church under one bishop or the same pastors, is a
political, holy society; but a combination of many churches
consociate, is not so, but only, 1. Either a community agreeing to
live in concord, as neighbour kingdoms may. 2. Or else a human policy
or society, and not of divine immediate institution. So that if this
consociation of churches be called a church, it must be either
equivocally or in a human sense.

[304] Acts ii. 1, 24, 44, 46; iv. 32; v. 12; 1 Thess. v. 12, 13; 1
Cor. xiv. 19, 23, 24, 28, 35; Acts xiv. 23; Titus i. 5; Acts xi. 26;
James ii. 2.

Quest. LV. _Whether a particular church may consist of more assemblies
than one? or must needs meet all in one place?_

_Answ._ 1. The true distinguishing note of a particular church is,
that they be associated for holy communion in worship and holy living,
not by delegates, nor distantly only, by owning the same faith, and
loving one another, as we may do with those at the antipodes; but
personally in presence.

2. Therefore they must necessarily be so near, as to be capable of
personal, present communion.[305]

3. And it is most convenient that they be no more than can ordinarily
meet in the same assembly, at least for sacramental communion.

4. But yet they may meet in many places or assemblies, as chapels, or
oratories, or other subordinate meetings, which are appointed to
supply the necessity of the weak and aged, and them that cannot travel
far. And in times of persecution, when the church dare not at all meet
in one place, they may make up several smaller meetings, under several
pastors of the same church. But they should come all together as oft
as they can.

5. And it is to be considered that all the persons of a family can
seldom go to the assembly at one time, especially when they live far
off. Therefore if a church place would receive but ten thousand, yet
twenty thousand might be members, while half meet one day and half
another (or another part of the day).

6. Two congregations distinctly associated for personal worship, under
distinct pastors, or having statedly (as Ignatius speaketh) two
bishops and two altars, are two particular churches, and can no
otherwise be one church, than as that may be called one which is a
consociation of divers.

[305] 1 Cor. xiv. 19, 23; Acts xi. 26, &c. as before cited.

Quest. LVI. _Is any form of church government of divine institution?_

_Answ._ Yea: there are two essentially different policies or forms of
church government of Christ's own institution, never to be altered by
man. 1. The form of the universal church, as headed by Christ himself;
which all christians own as they are christians in their baptism.

2. Particular churches, which are headed by their particular bishops
or pastors, and are parts of the universal, as a troop is of an army,
or a city of a kingdom.

Here it is of divine institution, 1. That there be holy assemblies for
the public worship of God.

2. That these assemblies be societies, constituted of the people with
their pastors, who are to them as captains to their troops under the
general, or as mayors to cities under the king.[306]

3. That these pastors have the power of the keys, or the special
guidance and governance (by the word, not by the sword) of their own
particular charge, in the matters of faith, worship, and holy living;
and that the flocks obey them. And when all this is _jure divino_, why
should any say, that no form of government is _jure divino_?

3. Moreover it is of divine appointment, that these churches hold the
nearest concord, and help each other as much as they can; whether by
synods, or other meet ways of correspondency. And though this be not a
distinct government, it is a distinct mode of governing.

_Object._ But that there be pastors with fixed churches or assemblies
is not of the law of nature.

_Answ._ 1. Hath Christ no law but the law of nature? Wherein then
differ the christian religion and the heathenish? 2. Suppose but
Christ to be Christ, and man to be what he is, and nature itself will
tell us that this is the fittest way for ordering the worship of God.
For nature saith, God must be solemnly and ordinarily worshipped, and
that qualified persons should be the official guides in the
performance, and that people who need such conduct and private
oversight besides, should where they live have their own stated

_Object._ But particular congregations are not _de primaria intentione
divina_: for if the whole world could join together in the public
worship of God, no doubt that would be properly a church. But
particular congregations are only accidental, in reference to God's
intention of having a church, because of the impossibility of all
men's joining together for ordinances, &c.

_Answ._ 1. The question with me is not whether they be of primary
intention, but whether stated churches headed with their proper
bishops or pastors be not of God's institution in the Scripture?

2. This objection confirmeth it, and not denieth it. For, 1. It
confesseth that there is a necessity of joining for God's worship: 2.
And an impossibility that all the world should so join: 3. But if the
whole world could so join, it would be properly a church. So that it
confesseth that to be a society joined for God's public worship, is to
be properly a church. And we confess all this: if all the world could
be one family, they might have one master; or one kingdom, they might
have one king. But when it is confessed, that, 1. A natural
impossibility of a universal assembly necessitateth more particular
assemblies; 2. And that Christ hath instituted such actually in his
word, what more can a considerate man require?

3. I do not understand this distinction, _de primaria intentione
divina_, and accidental, &c. The primary intention is properly of the
ultimate end only: and no man thinketh that a law _de mediis_, of the
means, is no law, or that God hath made no laws _de mediis_: for
Christ as a mediator is a means. But suppose it be limited to the
matter of church laws; if this be the meaning of it, that it is not
the principal means, but a subordinate means, or that it is not
instituted only _propter finem ultimum_, no more than _propter se_,
but also in order to a higher thing as its immediate end, we make no
question of that. Assemblies are not only that there may be
assemblies; but for the worship and offices there performed: and those
for man; and all for God. But what of all this? Hath God made no laws
for subordinate means? No christian denieth it.

Therefore the learned and judicious disputer of this point declareth
himself for what I say, when he saith, I engage not in the
controversy, Whether a particular congregation be the first political
church or no? it sufficeth for my purpose, that there are other
churches besides.--The thing in question is, Whether there be no other
church but such particular congregations? Where it seemeth granted
that such particular churches are of divine institution; and for other
churches I shall say more anon. In the mean time note, that the
question is but _de nomine_ here, whether the name church be fit for
other societies, and not _de re_.[307]

But lest any should grow to the boldness to deny that Christ hath
instituted christian stated societies, consisting of pastors and
flocks, associate for personal communion in public worship and holy
living; (which is my definition of a particular church, as not so
confined to one assembly, but that it may be in divers, and yet not
consisting of divers such distinct stated assemblies with their
distinct pastors, nor of such as can have no personal communion, but
only by delegates;) I prove it thus from the word of God.

(1.) The apostles were commissioned by Christ to deliver his commands
to all the churches, and settle them according to his will, John xx.
21; Matt. xxviii. 19, 20, &c.

(2.) These commissioned persons had the promise of an infallible
Spirit for the due performance of their work, John xvi. 13-15; xv. 26;
xiv. 26; Matt, xxviii. 20.

(3.) These apostles, wherever the success of the gospel prepared them
materials, did settle christian stated societies, consisting of
pastors or elders with their flocks, associated for personal communion
in public worship and holy living. These settled churches they gave
orders to for their direction, and preservation, and reformation:
these they took the chief care of themselves, and exhorted their
elders to fidelity in their work. They gave command that none should
forsake such assemblies; and they so fully describe them, as that they
cannot easily be misunderstood. All this is proved, Acts xiv. 23;
Titus i. 5; Rom. xvi. 1; 1 Cor. xi. 18, 20, 22, 26; xiv. 4, 5, 12, 19,
23, 28, 33, 34; Col. iv. 16; Acts xi. 26; xiii. 1; 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2;
Acts xiv. 27; xv. 3, to omit many more. Here are proofs enow that such
particular churches were _de facto_ settled by the apostles. Heb. x.
25, "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together." So James ii.
2, they are called synagogues.

2. It is confessed that there is a natural necessity of such stated
churches or assemblies, supposing but the institution of the worship
itself which is there performed; and if so, then we may that the law
of nature itself doth partly require them.

(1.) It is of the law of nature, that God be publicly worshipped, as
most expositors of the fourth commandment do confess.

(2.) It is of the law of nature that the people be taught to know God
and their duty, by such as are able and fit to teach them.

(3.) The law of nature requireth, that man being a sociable creature,
and conjunction working strongest affections, we should use our
sociableness in the greatest matters, and by conjunction help the zeal
of our prayers and praises of God.

(4.) God's institution of public preaching, prayer and praise, are
scarce denied by any christians.

(5) None of these can be publicly done but by assembling.

(6.) No assembly can suffice for these without a minister of Christ;
because it is only his office to be the ordinary teacher, and to go
before the people in prayer and praise, and to administer the Lord's
supper, which without a minister may not be celebrated, because
Christ's part cannot be otherwise performed, than by some one in his
name, and by his warrant to deliver his sealed covenant to the
receivers, and to invest them visibly in the benefits of it, and
receive them that offer themselves in covenant to him.

(7.) It is also a ministerial duty to instruct the people personally,
and to watch over them at other times, Acts xx. 20, 28. And to be
examples of the flock, 1 Pet. v. 1-3. To have the rule over the
people, and labour among them, and admonish them, 1 Thess. v. 12; Heb.
xiii. 7, 17; 1 Tim. v. 17. To exercise holy discipline among them,
Titus iii. 10; Matt. xviii. 17, 18; 1 Cor. v. To visit the sick and
pray over them, James v. 14. Yea, to take care of the poor. See Dr.
Hammond on 1 Cor. xii. 28. And all this cannot possibly be well done
by uncertain, transient ministers, but only by a resident, stated
pastor, no more than transient strangers can rule all our families, or
all the christian kingdoms of the world.

(8.) And as this cannot be done but by stated pastors, so neither on
transient persons ordinarily; for who can teach them that are here
to-day and gone to-morrow? When the pastor should proceed from day to
day in adding one instruction to another, the hearers will be gone,
and new ones in their place. And how can vigilancy and discipline be
exercised on such transient persons, whose faults and cases will be
unknown? Or how can they mutually help each other? And seeing most in
the world have fixed habitations, if they have not also fixed church
relations, they must leave their habitations and wander, or else have
no church communion at all.

(9.) And as this necessity of fixed pastors and flocks is confessed,
so that such _de facto_ were ordinarily settled by the apostles, is
before proved, if any Scriptures may pass for proof.

The institution and settlement then of particular worshipping churches
is out of doubt. And so that two forms of church government are _jure
divino_, the universal church form, and the particular.

[Sidenote: Reasons for a larger episcopacy.]

4. Besides this, in the apostles' days there were under Christ in the
church universal, many general officers that had the care of gathering
and overseeing churches up and down, and were fixed by stated relation
unto none. Such were the apostles, evangelists, and many of their
helpers in their days. And most christian churches think that though
the apostolical extraordinary gifts, privileges, and offices cease,
yet government being an ordinary part of their work, the same form of
government which Christ and the Holy Ghost did settle in the first
age, were settled for all following ages, though not with the same
extraordinary gifts and adjuncts. Because, 1. We read of the settling
of that form, (viz. general officers as well as particular,) but we
never read of any abolition, discharge, or cessation of the
institution. 2. Because if we affirm a cessation without proof, we
seem to accuse God of mutability, as settling one form of government
for one age only, and no longer. 3. And we leave room for audacious
wits accordingly to question other gospel institutions, as pastors,
sacraments, &c. and to say that they were but for one age. 4. It was
general officers that Christ promised to be with to the end of the
world, Matt. xxviii. 20.

Now either this will hold true or not. If not, then this general
ministry is to be numbered with the human additions to be next treated
of. If it do, then here is another part of the form of government
proved to be of divine institution. I say not, another church, (for I
find nothing called a church in the New Testament, but the universal
church and the particular,) but another part of the government of both
churches, universal and particular; because such general officers are
so in the universal, as to have a general oversight of the particular;
as an army is headed only by the general himself, and a regiment by
the colonel, and a troop by the captain: but the general officers of
the army (the lieutenants-general, the majors-general, &c.) are under
the lord-general in and over the army, and have a general oversight of
the particular bodies (regiments and troops). Now if this be the
instituted form of Christ's church government, that he himself rule
absolutely as general, and that he hath some general officers under
him, (not any one having a charge of the whole, but in the whole
unfixedly, or as they voluntarily part their provinces,) and that each
particular church have its own proper pastor, (one or more,) then who
can say, that no form of church government is of divine appointment or

_Object._ But the question is only whether any sole form be of God's
commanding? And whether another may not have as much said for it as

_Answ._ Either you mean another instead of this, as a competitor, or,
another part conjunct with these parts.

1. If the first be your sense, then you have two works to do. 1. To
prove that these before mentioned were mutable institutions, or that
they were settled but disjunctively with some other, and that the
choice was left indifferent to men. 2. To prove the institution of
your other form (which you suppose left with this to men's free

But I have already proved, that both the general and particular church
form are settled for continuance as unchangeable ordinances of God. I
suppose you doubt not of the continuance of Christ's supremacy, and
so of the universal form: and if you will prove that church assemblies
with their pastors may cease, and some other way supply the room, you
must be strange and singular undertakers. The other two parts of the
government (by general officers, and by consociation of churches) are
more disputed; but it is the circumstances of the last only that is
controverted, and not the thing; and for the other I shall now add
nothing to what I have said elsewhere.[308]

2. But if you only mean that another part of the form may be _jure
divino_ as well as this, that will but prove still that some form is
_jure divino_.

But, 3. If you mean that God having instituted the forms now proved,
hath left man at liberty to add more of his own, I shall now come to
examine that case also.

[306] Eph. i. 22, 23; v. 25, 26, &c.; iv. 4-6, 16; Heb. x. 25; 1 Cor.
xiv.; Acts xiv. 23; Titus i. 5; 1 Tim. v. 17; 1 Thess. v. 12, 13; 1
Tim. iii. 3-6; 1 Pet. v. 1-3; Acts xx. 28; Phil. i. 1, 2.

[307] Dr. Stillingfleet's Iren. p. 154. so p. 173. By church here I
mean not a particular congregation, &c. So he granteth that, 1. The
universal church, 2. Particular congregations, are of divine
institution; one _ex intentione primaria_, and the other, as he calls
it, accidentally, but yet of natural necessity.

[308] Disput. of Church Gov. disp. 3.

Quest. LVII. _Whether any forms of churches, and church government, or
any new church officers, may lawfully be invented and made by man?_

_Answ._ To remove ambiguities, 1. By the word forms may be meant
either that relative form of such aggregate bodies which is their
essence, and denominateth them essentially; or only some accidental
mode which denominateth them but accidentally.

2. By churches is meant either holy societies related by the
foundation of a divine institution; or else societies related by
accident, or by human contract only.

3. By church government is meant, either that government formally
ecclesiastical, which constituteth a church, of Christ's making; or
else some government about the matters of the church, which is
formally either magistratical or human, (by contract,) &c.

4. So by church officers are meant, either such as are accounted
essential to a church in the pure christian sense; or integral at
least (as deacons); or else such as are accounted but accidental to
it, and essential only to the human form. And so I answer,

1. As there are some things _circa sacra_, or accidents of God's
special church worship, which are left to human prudence to determine
of, so the same human prudence may determine who shall do them. As, e.
g. Who shall repair the buildings of the church; the windows, the
bells, the pulpits, the tables, &c.; who shall keep the clock; who
shall keep the cups, cloths, and other utensils; who shall be the
porter, the keeper of the books, &c.; who shall call the people to
church, or ring the bells, or give them notice of church assemblies;
who shall make the bread for the sacrament, or provide wine, or bring
water for baptism; who shall make the graves, and bury the dead, or
attend marriages, or baptizings, &c.; who shall set the tune of the
psalm, or use the church music (if there be any); who shall summon any
of the people on any just occasion to come to their pastors; or who
shall summon the pastors to any synod, or lawful assembly, and give
them notice of the time and place; when they are to meet, who shall be
called first, and who second; who shall sit highest, and who lowest;
who shall take the votes, or moderate or guide the disputations of the
assembly; who shall be the scribe, and record what is done; who shall
send abroad their agreements, and who shall be the church messenger to
carry them. The agents of such circumstantials maybe chosen by the
magistrate, or by the churches, or pastors, as is most convenient.
Though I doubt not but in the beginning the deacons were mere servants
to the pastors, to do as much of such circumstantial work as they
were able; of which serving at tables, and looking to the poor, and
carrying bread and wine to the absent, &c. were but parts; and all
went under the name of ministering to the pastors or churches. And
therefore they seem to be such an accidental office, appointed by the
apostles, on such common reasons, as magistrates or churches might
have appointed them, if they had not.

2. If one will call all or many of these, church officers, and another
will not, it is but a strife about names, which one will use more
largely and the other more narrowly or strictly.

3. If magistrates by authority, or the churches by agreement, shall
distribute the country for conveniency into parishes, (not making all
to be church members that dwell in those precincts, but determining
that all persons that are fit in those proximities, and they only,
shall be members of that particular church,) and then shall denominate
the church from this accident of place, it is but what is left to
their discretion.

4. And if the said magistrates or churches shall divide a kingdom into
provinces, and say, that whereas God commandeth us the use of
correspondencies, mutual advice, and synods, for the due help,
concord, and communion of churches, and all things must be done in
order and to edification; therefore we determine that so many churches
shall make up such a synod, and the churches of such a district shall
make up another synod, and so shall be specially related to each other
for concord as advisers, all this is but the prudent determining of
church circumstances or accidents left to man.

5. And if they shall appoint that either a magistrate or one pastor
shall be for order's sake the appointer of the times and places of
meeting, or the president of the synod, to regulate and order
proceedings, and keep peace, as is aforesaid, it is but an accident of
the sacred work which man may determine of. Therefore a layman may be
such a president or regulator.

6. And if they will call this man by the name of a church governor,
who doth but a common part therein, and from thence will call this
association or province by the name of a church, which is but a
company of churches associated for concord and counsel, the name
maketh it not another thing than it is without that name; and the name
may be lawful or unlawful as times and probable consequents make it
fit or unfit as to use.

7. So much of church matters as is left to the magistrate's
government, may be under monarchy, aristocracy, or democracy, and
under such subordinate officers as the supreme ruler shall appoint.

8. And if the magistrate will make assemblies or councils of pastors,
to be his councils, and require them frequently to meet to advise him
in the performance of his own trust and work about religion and the
church, he may accordingly distribute them into provinces for that
use, or order such circumstances as he please.

9. And if a province of churches be called one church, because it is
under one magistrate, or a nation of churches called a national
church, because it is under one king, or many kingdoms or an empire
called one catholic church, because they are all under one emperor; it
must be confessed that this question is but _de nomine_, and not _de

And further, 1. That in sacred things that which is of divine and
primary institution is the _famosius analogatum_, and not that which
is but formed by man. 2. That when such an ambiguous word is used
without explication or explicating circumstances, it is to be taken
for the _famosius analogatum_. 3. That in this case the word church or
church form is certainly ambiguous and not univocal. 4. That a
national, imperial, or provincial church as headed by a king, emperor,
magistrate, or any head of man's appointment, is another thing from a
church of Christ's institution; and is but an accident or adjunct of
it: and the head of the human form, if called the head of the church
of Christ, is but an accidental head, and not constitutive. And if
Christ's churches be denominated from such a head, they are
denominated but from an accident, as a man may be denominated clothed
or unclothed, clothed gorgeously or sordidly, a neighbour to this man
or that, &c. It is no formal denomination of a church in the first
acception, as it signifieth the _famosius analogatum_; though
otherwise many kind of societies may be called _ecclesiæ_ or
_cœtus_: but divines should not love confusion.

10. It seemeth to me that the first distribution of churches in the
Roman empire, into patriarchal, primates, metropolitical, provincial,
diocesan, were only the determination of such adjuncts or extrinsic
things, partly by the emperors, and partly by the church's consent
upon the emperor's permission; and so that these new church
governments were partly magistratical, or by power derived from the
emperors, and partly mere agreements or contracts by degrees
degenerating into governments; and so the new forms and names are all
but accidental, of adjuncts of the true christian churches. And though
I cannot prove it unlawful to make such adjunctive or extrinsic
constitutions, forms, and names, considering the matter simply itself,
yet by accident these accidents have proved such to the true churches,
as the accident of sickness is to the body, and have been the causes
of the divisions, wars, rebellions, ruins, and confusions of the
christian world. 1. As they have served the covetousness and ambition
of carnal men. 2. And have enabled them to oppress simplicity and
sincerity. 3. And because princes have not exercised their own power
themselves, nor committed it to lay officers, but to churchmen. 4.
Whereby the extrinsic government hath so degenerated, and obscured the
intrinsic, and been confounded with it, that both going under the
equivocal name of ecclesiastical government, few churches have had the
happiness to see them practically distinct.[309] Nay, few divines do
clearly in their controversy distinguish them. (Though Marsilius
Patavinus and some few more have formerly given them very fair light,
yet hath it been but slenderly improved.)

11. There seemeth to me no readier and directer way, to reduce the
churches to holy concord, and true reformation, than for the princes
and magistrates who are the extrinsic rulers, to re-assume their own,
and to distinguish openly and practically between the properly
priestly or pastoral intrinsic office, and their extrinsic part, and
to strip the pastors of all that is not intrinsically their own (it
being enough for them, and things so heterogeneous not well consisting
in one person): and then when the people know what is claimed as from
the magistrate only, it will take off most of their scruples as to
subjection and consent.

12. No mortal man may abrogate or take down the pastoral office, and
the intrinsic, real power thereof, and the church form which is
constituted thereby; seeing God hath instituted them for perpetuity on

13. But whether one church shall have one pastor or many is not at all
of the form of a particular church; but it is of the integrity or
gradual perfection of such churches as need many, to have many, and to
others not so: not that it is left merely to the will of man, but it
is to be varied as natural necessity and cause requireth.

14. The nature of the intrinsic office or power (anon to be described)
is most necessary to be understood as distinct from the power of
magistrates, by them that would truly understand this. The number of
governors in a civil state make that which is called a variety of
forms of commonwealths, monarchy, aristocracy, or democracy: because
commanding power is the thing which is there most notably exercised,
and primarily magnified. And a wiser and better man, yea, a thousand,
must stand by as subjects, for want of authority or true power; which
can be but in one supreme, either natural or political person; because
it cannot consist in the exercise with self-contradiction. If one be
for war, and another for peace, &c. there is no rule. Therefore the
many must be one collective or political person, and must consent or
go by the major vote, or they cannot govern. But that which is called
government in priests or ministers, is of another nature; it is but a
secondary subservient branch of their office: the first parts are
teaching and guiding the people, as their priests, to God in public
worship: and they govern them by teaching, and in order to further
teaching and worshipping God; and that not by might, but by reason and
love. Of which more anon. Therefore if a sacred congregation be taught
and conducted in public worship, and so governed as conduceth
hereunto, whether by one, two, or many, it no more altereth the form
of the church, than it doth the form of a school, when a small one
hath one schoolmaster, and a great one four: or of an hospital, when a
small one hath one physician, and a great one many; seeing that
teaching in the one, and healing in the other, is the main
denominating work, to which government is but subservient in the most
notable acts of it.

15. No mortal man may take on him to make another church, or another
office for the church, as a divine thing, on the same grounds, and of
the same nature pretendedly as Christ hath made those already made.
The case of adding new church officers or forms of churches, is the
same with that of making new worship ordinances for God, and
accordingly to be determined (which I have largely opened in its
place). Accidents may be added. Substantials of like pretended nature
may not be added; because it is a usurping of Christ's power, without
derivation by any proved commission; and an accusing of him, as having
done his own work imperfectly.

16. Indeed no man can here make a new church officer of this intrinsic
sort, without making him new work, which is to make new doctrine, or
new worship (which are forbidden): for to do God's work already made
belongs to the office already instituted. If every king will make his
own officers, or authorize the greater to make the less, none must
presume to make Christ officers and churches without his commission.

17. No man must make any office, church, or ordinance, which is
corruptive or destructive, or contrary or injurious to the offices,
churches, and ordinances which Christ himself hath made. This
Bellarmin confesseth, and therefore I suppose protestants will not
deny it. Those human officers which usurp the work of Christ's own
officers, and take it out of their hands, do malignantly fight against
Christ's institutions: and while they pretend that it is but
preserving and not corrupting or opposing additions which they make,
and yet with these words in their mouths, do either give Christ's
officers' work to others, or hinder and oppress his officers
themselves, and by their new church forms undermine or openly destroy
the old, by this expression of their enmity they confute themselves.

18. This hath been the unhappy case of the Roman frame of church
innovations, as you may observe in the particulars of its degeneracy.

(1.) Councils were called general or œcumenical in respect to one
empire only; and they thence grew to extend the name to the whole
world; when they may as well say, that Constantine, Martian, &c. were
emperors of the whole world, seeing by their authority they were

(2.) These councils at first were the emperor's councils called to
direct him what to settle in church orders by his own power; but they
were turned to claim an imposing authority of their own to command the
churches as by commission from God.

(3.) These councils at first were only for counsel, or for agreement
by way of contract or mutual consent to the particular bishops; but
they degenerated into a form of government, and claimed a ruling and
commanding power.

(4.) The patriarchs, primates and metropolitans, at first claimed but
a power about circumstantials extrinsical to the pastoral office, such
as is the timing and placing of councils, the sitting above others,
&c. And the exercise of some part of the magistrate's power committed
to them, that is, the deposing of other bishops or pastors from their
station of such liberty and countenance as the magistrate may grant or
deny as there is cause. But in time they degenerated to claim the
spiritual power of the keys, over the other bishops, in point of
ordination, excommunication, absolution.

(5.) These patriarchs, primates, and metropolitans, at first claimed
their extrinsic power but from man, that is, either the consent and
agreement of the churches, or the grant of the emperors: but in time
they grew to claim it as of divine or apostolical appointment, and as

(6.) At first they were taken only for adjuncts, ornaments, supports,
or conveniences to the churches: but afterwards they pretended to be
integral parts of the church universal, and at last the pope would
needs be an essential part; and his cardinals must claim the power of
the church universal in being the choosers of a universal head, or a
king priest and teacher for all the christians of the world.

(7.) At first laymen (now called chancellors, &c.) were only the
bishops' counsellors, or officers to the magistrate or them, in
performing the extrinsical work about church adjuncts, which a layman
might do: but at last they came to exercise the intrinsic power of the
keys in excommunications and absolutions, &c.

(8.) At first a number of particular churches consociated with their
several bishops, were taken to be a community or company of true
churches prudentially cantonized or distributed and consociated for
concord; but after they grew to be esteemed proper political
societies, or churches of divine appointment, if not the _ecclesia
minimæ_, having turned the particular churches into oratories or
chapels, destroying Ignatius's character of one church, To every
church there is one altar, and one bishop with his presbyters and
deacons. Abundance more such instances may be given.

_Object._ Wherever we find the notion of a church particular, there
must be government in that church; and why a national society
incorporated into one civil government, joining into the profession
of christianity, and having a right thereby to participate of gospel
ordinances, in the convenient distributions of them in the particular
congregations, should not be called a church, I confess I can see no

_Answ._ 1. Here observe, that the question is only of the name,
(whether it may be called a church,) and not of the thing (whether all
the churches in a kingdom may be under one king, which no sober man

2. Names are at men's disposal much; but I confess I had rather the
name had been used no otherwise, or for no other societies, than
Scripture useth it. My reasons are, (1.) Because when Christ hath
appropriated or specially applied one name to the sacred societies of
his institution, it seemeth somewhat bold to make that name common to
other societies. (2.) Because it tendeth to confusion, misunderstanding,
and to cherish errors and controversies in the churches, when all
names shall be made common or ambiguous, and holy things shall not be
allowed any name proper to themselves, nor any thing can be known by a
bare name without a description. If the name of Christ himself should
be used of every anointed king, it would seem not a little thus
injurious to him. If the name, Bible, Scripture, preachers, &c. be
made common to all that the notation of the names may extend to, it
will introduce the aforesaid inconveniences; so how shall we in common
talk distinguish between sacred societies of divine institution and of
human if you will allow us no peculiar name, but make that common
which Christ hath chosen?

3. And that the name is here used equivocally is manifest. For the
body political is informed and denominated from the _pars imperans_,
the governing part or head: therefore as a head of divine institution,
authorized for the spiritual or pastoral work, denominateth the
society accordingly; so a civil head can make but a civil society, and
a head of man's making, but a human society. It is certain that Christ
hath appointed the episcopal or pastoral office, and their work, and
consequently episcopal or pastoral churches; and it is certain that a
king is no constitutive part of one of these churches, but accidental;
and therefore that he is an accidental head to a pastoral church as
such, to which the pastor is essential.

Therefore if you will needs call both these societies churches, you
must distinguish them into pastoral churches, and regal churches, or
magistratical churches; for the word national, notifieth not the
government which is the constitutive part; and may be used of
consociated churches, though under many civil governors (as in the
Saxon Heptarchy).

So that our question is much like this, Whether all the grammar
schools in England as under one king may be called one national
school? _Answ._ Not without unfitness, and inconveniences; but rather
than breed any quarrel, they may call them so that please: but, 1.
They must confess that a particular school is the _famosius
significatum_. 2. That the king is king of schools, but not a
schoolmaster, nor a constitutive part of a school. 3. That if you will
needs denominate them from the regent part, as one, you must call them
all one royal school, if you will leave the well-known sense of words
for such uncouth phrases. But give us leave to call the body which is
essentiated by a king, by the name of a kingdom only, though it have
in it many schools, academies, colleges, cities, churches, which they
that please may call all one royal school, academy, college, city, and
church, if they love confusion.

4. Christianity giveth men right to communion in particular churches,
when they also make known their christianity to the bishops of those
churches, and are received (as stated or transient) members by mutual
consent; but not otherwise; nor doth mere regal government give any
subject right to church communion, except by a church you mean a

_Object._ A particular church then I would describe thus, It is a
society of men joined together in the visible profession of the true
faith, having a right to, and enjoying among them, the ordinances of
the gospel.

_Answ._ 1. When you tell us by your description what you will mean by
a particular church, we may understand your denomination; but yet
while it is unusual, you must not expect that other men so use the
word. Had you called your description a definition, I would have asked
you, 1. Whether by a society, you mean not strictly a political
society constituted by a _pars gubernans, et gubernata_? If not, it is
no church save equivocally. If so, should not the _pars regens_ which
is constitutive have been put in? If private men join together, &c. it
makes but a community. 2. A right to gospel ordinances is supposed,
but need not be in the definition. 3. The enjoying of them, is not
essential to a church. The relation may continue, when the enjoyment
is a long time hindered. 4. Among them is a very ambiguous word; is it
among them in the same place; or in the same country or kingdom; or in
the same world? If you difference and define them not, by relation to
the same bishops or pastors, and by intended personal holy communion,
your description confoundeth the universal church, as well as the
national, with a particular church; for the whole christian world, is
a society of men joining together in the visible profession of the
true faith, having a right to, and enjoying among them, the ordinances
of the gospel.

_Object._ A nation joining in the profession of christianity is a true
church of God; whence it evidently followeth, that there must be a
form of ecclesiastical government over a nation as a church, as well
as of civil government over it, as a society governed by the same
laws.--For every society must have its government belonging to it as
such a society; and the same reason that makes government necessary in
any particular congregation, will make it necessary for all the
particular congregations, joining together in one visible society, as
a particular national church, for the unity and peace of that church
ought much more to be looked after than any one particular
congregation, &c.

_Answ._ 1. From one absurdity many follow: our controversy before was
but of the name: if an accidental royal or civil head may equivocally
denominate an ecclesiastical society, and we grant you the use of an
equivocal name, (or rather the abuse,) you will grow too hard upon us,
if thence you will gather a necessity of a real ecclesiastical policy,
besides the civil. Names abused infer not the things signified by an
univocal term.

2. You must first prove the form of government, and thence infer the
denomination, and not, contrarily, first beg the name, and then infer
the government.

3. If yet by a form of ecclesiastical government, you meant nothing
but the king's extrinsic government, which you may as well call also a
form of school government, of college government, &c. we would grant
you all. But if I can understand you, you now speak of ecclesiastical
government as distinct from that. And then,

4. You are now grown up from a may be, to a must be, and necessity;
and a greater necessity of one national ecclesiastical government,
than of a particular church government; which being undeniably of
Christ's institution, (by the Holy Ghost in the apostles,) you do not
make all forms to be indifferent, or deny this to be _jure divino_.
What! necessary and more necessary than that which is _jure divino_,
and yet indifferent and not _jure divino_? If you say, It is necessary
only on supposition that there be a national church: I answer, But
your reasons evidently infer that it is also necessary that there be
such a national church where it may be had; though you deny the
necessity of monarchical government by one high priest in it. But I
know you call not this a form of government, unless as determinately
managed by one, many or most. But why a national spiritual policy as
distinct from congregational, may not be called a form of government,
as well as one man is distinct from two, over the same people, I see
not: but this is at your liberty. But your necessity of such a
national regimen is a matter of greater moment.

In these three senses I confess a national church. 1. As all the
christians in a nation are under one civil church governor. 2. As they
are consociated for concord, and meet in synods or hold
correspondences. 3. As they are all a part of the universal church,
cohabiting in one nation. But all these are equivocal uses of the word
church; the denomination being taken in the first from an accident; in
the second the name of a policy being given to a community agreeing
for concord; in the third the name of the whole is given to a small
integral part.

But the necessity of any other church, headed by your ecclesiastical,
national governor, personal or collective, monarchical,
aristocratical, or democratical, I utterly deny, and find not a word
of proof which I think I have any need to furnish the reader with an
answer to.

5. And your judgment in this is downright against the constitution,
canons, and judgment of the national church of England; for that they
use the word in the senses allowed by me, and not in yours, is proved,
(1.) From the visible constitution, in which there is (besides the
king) no distinct ecclesiastical head. For the archbishop of
Canterbury is not the proper governor of the archbishop of York and
his province.

(2.) From the canons. Can. cxxxix. "A national synod is the church
representative; whosoever shall affirm that the sacred synod of this
nation, in the name of Christ and by the king's authority assembled,
is not the true church of England by representation, let him be
excommunicated," &c. So that the synod is but the representative
church; and therefore not the political head of the church: whether it
be the laity, or the whole clergy, or both, which they represent,
representation of those that are no national head, maketh them not a
national head.

(3.) From the ordinary judgment of episcopal divines, (maintained by
Bishop Bilson and many others at large, against the papists,) that all
bishops _jure divino_ are equal and independent, further than human
laws, or agreements, or difference of gifts may difference them, or as
they are bound to consociation for concord.

6. How shall I deny not only the lawfulness, but the necessity of such
a papacy as really was in the Roman empire, on your grounds? I have
proved against W. Johnson that the pope was then actually but the head
of the imperial churches, and not of all the world. And if there must
be one national ecclesiastical head under one king, why not one also
in one empire? Or whether it be one monarch, or a collective person,
it is still one political person which is now in question. (Either a
ruling pope, or a ruling aristocracy or democracy, which is not the
great matter in controversy.)

7. And why will not the same argument carry it also, for one universal
visible head of all the churches in the world? at least as lawful? at
least as far as human capacity and converse will allow? And who shall
choose this universal head? And who can lay so fair a claim to it as
the pope? And if the form be indifferent, why may not the churches, by
consent at least, set up one man as well as many? Whether you carry it
to an imperial church, or a papal, to a patriarchal, or provincial, or
national, till you have proved it to be of divine institution, (and
particular churches to be unnecessary, alterable, and of human
institution,) I shall never grant you that it is to be preferred
before that which is unquestionably of God. For though I easily grant
that all the churches of a nation, empire, or the world, are to be
more esteemed and carefully preserved, than one bishop's or pastor's
particular church; yet I will not grant you that your human policy is
more necessary to the safety of all these churches than the divine.
For the safety of these churches may be better preserved by God's
three great means, (1. The polity of particular churches with the
conduct of their present faithful bishops or pastors. 2. The loving
consociation of neighbour churches for concord. 3. The protection and
countenance of magistrates,) without any new church form, (or
national, or imperial, or universal pastor,) than with it.

Nay, when that sort of usurpation hath been the very engine of
dividing, corrupting, and undoing the christian churches above a
thousand years, we are not easily persuaded now, that it is yet either
necessary or desirable.

8. But the best and easiest way to discern how far the making new
churches or church offices is lawful or unlawful, is by trying it by
the quality of their office work. For it is the work which giveth us
the description of the office; and the office of the ruling part,
which giveth us the definition of the church, which that office

The work which the new human officer is to do, is either, 1. The same
which God hath already appointed bishops or pastors to do, or at least
the unfixed ministers in the universal church. 2. Or it is such as he
hath appointed magistrates to do. 3. Or it is such as belongeth to
private and laymen. 4. Or it is somewhat different from all these.

1. If it be of the first sort, it is a contradiction. For men that are
by office appointed to do the same work which ministers are already
appointed to do, are not a new office, but ministers indeed, such as
Christ hath instituted: for the office is nothing but an obligation
and authority to do the work.

2. If it be the same work which belongeth to the magistrate, then it
is no new office, for they are magistrates.

3. If it be that which belongeth to private men, by God's appointment,
they cannot disoblige themselves by transferring it to a new officer.

4. If it be none of all these, what is it? I doubt it may prove some
needless or rather sinful work, which God committed to none of these
three sorts, and therefore unfit to make a church office of. Unless it
be such as I before described and granted. (1.) I confess that the
magistrate may make new inferior officers, to do his own part (as
church justices, churchwardens, &c.) (2.) I grant that the people may
make an office for the better doing of some parts of their own work:
they may make collectors, door-keepers, artists by office, to keep the
clock, and bells, and church buildings, &c. if the magistrates leave
it to them.

(3.) I grant that the bishops or pastors may do some circumstances of
their work by human officers; as to facilitate their concord in
synods, by choosing one to preside, to choose time and place, to send
messengers to take votes, to moderate disputes, to record agreements,
&c. as aforesaid; and these circumstantials are the things that
officers may be made for.

But the very modes and circumstances which are part of the work to
which every bishop or pastor is obliged, he cannot commit to another;
as to choose his text, subject, method, words, &c. These are parts of
his own work; though concord in these is the work of many.

Now what is the work besides all these that we must have new churches
and offices made for? Is it to govern all these bishops and churches?
How? By the word or by the sword? If by the sword, the magistrate is
to do it; if by the word, (or spiritual authority,) either God hath
made such an office as archbishops or general bishops over many, or he
hath not: if he have, we need no new human office for it, God having
provided for it already; if not, but God hath left all bishops
independent, and to learn of one another, as equal in office, and
unequal only in gifts, then either such an office is fit and
necessary, or not. If it be, you accuse God of omission in not
appointing a bishop over bishops as well as a bishop of the lowest
order. If not, then by what reason or power will you make new needless
officers in the church? when Cyprian and his Carthage council so
vehemently disclaimed being _Episcopi Episcoporum_?

19. I would fain know whether those new-made churches of human and not
of divine fabrication, (whether universal, (or papal,) patriarchal,
provincial, &c.) were made by former churches, or by no churches. If
by no churches, then either by other societies or by single persons:
if by other societies, by what power do they make new churches to
Christ, who are themselves no churches? If by single persons, either
they are before church members, or not; if not, how can those make new
churches that be not so much as members of churches, without a
commission from Christ? But if either former churches or their members
made these new churches, then, (1.) It followeth that there were
another sort of churches before these new or human churches. And if
so, either those other that made these were themselves made of God or
not. And so the question will run up till you bring it either to some
church of God's making which made these other, or some person
commissioned to do it. If you say the first, then he that will confess
that there is a species of churches of Christ's institution, and a
species not of his institution, must prefer the former, and must well
prove the power of making the latter. And so they must do, if they say
that it was done by particular persons that were no particular church
members. For if Christ commissioned them to settle any one species of
churches, those are to be esteemed settled by Christ. (2.) But if you
say that Christ left them to vary the species of churches as they saw
cause, and so on to the end of the world, 1. You must well prove it.
2. It is before disproved (unless you take the word church

20. Lastly, all christians are satisfied of Christ's authority; and
therefore in that they can agree: but so they are not of any human
church maker's authority; and therefore in that there will never be an
agreement: therefore such new churches, and ecclesiastical
governments, will be but (as they ever have been) the engines of
division and ruin in the churches; and the species of God's making,
with the mutability of mutable adjuncts and circumstances, will best
preserve the church's peace.

But if the true nature of pastoral or ecclesiastical government were
well understood, it would put an end to all these controversies. Which
may be mostly gathered from what is said before. To which I will add
this little following.

Quest. _Wherein consisteth the true nature of pastoral church

_Answ._ 1. Not in any use of the sword, or corporal force.

2. Not in a power to contradict God's word.

3. Not in a power co-ordinate with Christ's, to do his proper work, or
that which hath the same grounds, reasons, and nature.

4. Not in an unquestionable empire, to command things which none must
presume to examine, or judge of by a discerning judgment, whether they
be forbidden by God or not.

5. Not now in making a new word of God, or new articles of faith, or
new universal laws, for the whole church.

6. Not in any thing which derogates from the true power of
magistrates, or parents, or masters.

But, 1. It is a ministerial power, of a messenger or servant, who hath
a commission to deliver his master's commands and exhortations.[310]

2. As it is over the laity or flocks, it is a power in the sacred
assemblies to teach the people by office, and to be their priests or
guides in holy worship;[311] and to rule the worship actions for the
time, length, method, and orderly performance of them.[312]

3. As to particular persons, it is the power of the church keys, which
is, 1. To judge who is meet to be by baptism taken into the church. 2.
To reprove, exhort, and instruct those that by vice or ignorance, in
order to repentance, or knowledge, or confirmation, do need the
pastoral help.[313] 3. To judge who is to be forbidden church
communion as impenitent; or at least, with whom that church must be
forbidden to communicate. 4. To judge who is meet for absolution as a
penitent. 5. To deliver men personally a sealed pardon from Christ in
his two sacraments. 6. To visit the sick, and comfort the sad, and
resolve the doubting, and help the poor. This is the true church
government, which is like a philosopher's or schoolmaster's in his
school among volunteers, supposing them to have no power of the rod or
violence, but only to take in or put out of their schools: and what
need is there of a universal, patriarchal, or national head, to do any
of this work, which is but the government of a personal teacher and
conductor; and which worketh only on the conscience?

4. But besides this there is a necessity of agreeing in the right
management of this work; which needeth no new head, but only the
consultations of the several bishops or pastors, and the magistrate's
civil rule, or extrinsic episcopacy (as Constantine called it).

5. And besides this there is need to ordain pastors and bishops in the
church. And this is not done by any force neither; but, 1. By judging
what men are fit; 2. By persuading the people to consent and receive
them; and, 3. By investing them by a delivery of possession by the
imposition of hands. Now for all this, there needs no human species of
bishops or churches to be made.

6. Besides this there is need of some oversight of these pastors and
ministers and fixed bishops when they are made; and of some general
care of pastors and people, if they decline to heresies, errors,
vices, or lukewarmness: but for this, 1. When magistrates have done
their part; 2. And neighbour ministers to one another; 3. And the
consociated bishops to the particular ones; 4. And unfixed ministers
have done their parts in the places where occasionally they come; if
moreover any general pastors or archbishops are necessary, to rebuke,
direct, and persuade the bishops or their flocks, by messengers,
epistles, or in presence, no doubt but God hath appointed such as the
successors of the apostles, evangelists, and other general ministers
of those first times. But if no such thing be appointed by Christ, we
may be sure it is not necessary nor best.

If it were but considered that the ruling power in the church is so
inseparable from the teaching power, that it is exercised by teaching
and only by God's word, (either generally or personally applied,) and
that upon none but those that willingly and by consent receive it, it
would quiet the world about these matters. And oh that once
magistrates would take the sword wholly to themselves, and leave
church power to work only by its proper strength and virtue, and then
all things would fall into joint again; though the Ithacians would be

[309] Which tempteth the Erastians to deny and pull down both
together, because they find one in the pastor's hands which belongeth
to the magistrate, and we do not teach them to untwist and separate

[310] 1 Cor. iv. 1, 2.

[311] 1 Pet. v. 1-3; Matt, xxviii. 19, 20.

[312] 1 Thess. v. 12, 13.

[313] 2 Tim. iv. 1-3, 5.

Quest. LVIII. _Whether any part of the proper pastoral or episcopal
power may be given or deputed to a layman, or to one of any other
office, or the proper work may be performed by such?_

_Answ._ 1. Such extrinsical, or circumstantial, or accidental actions
as are afore-mentioned may be done by deputies or others (as calling
the church together, summoning offenders, recording actions, &c.)

2. The proper episcopal or pastoral work or office cannot be deputed,
in whole or part, any other way than by communication, which is, by
ordination, or making another to be of the same office. For if it may
be done by a layman, or one that is not of the same order and office,
then it is not to be called any proper part of the pastoral or
episcopal office: if a layman may baptize, or administer the sacrament
of Christ's body and blood, or may ordain, or excommunicate,
(ecclesiastically,) or absolve, merely because a bishop authorizeth or
biddeth him, then, 1. What need Christ have made an office work of it,
and persons be devoted and consecrated to it?

2. And why may not the people's election and the king's commission
serve to enable a layman to do it? For if commanding only be proper to
the bishop or pastor, and executing be common to laymen, it is certain
that the king may command all bishops and pastors to do their office
work; and therefore he may command a layman to do that which a bishop
may command him to do.

3. And is it not a contradiction to say that a man is a layman or of
another order, who is authorized by a bishop to do a bishop's work or
office? when as the office itself is nothing (as is oft said) but an
obligation and authority to do the work. If therefore a bishop
authorize and oblige any other man to do the proper work of a bishop
or pastor, (to ordain, to baptize, to give the sacrament of the
eucharist, to excommunicate, to absolve, &c.) he thereby maketh that
man a bishop or a pastor, whatever he call him.

_Object._ But doth not a bishop preach _per alios_, to all his
diocess? and give them the sacraments _per alios_, &c.?

_Answ._ Let not the phrase be made the controversy instead of the
matter. Those other persons are either ministers of Christ, or laymen.
If laymen, their actions are unlawful. If ministers, they are
commissioned officers of Christ themselves, and it is the work of
their own office which they do, and it is they that shall have the
reward or punishment. But if preaching to all these churches, or
giving to all these persons in a thousand parishes the sacraments, &c.
were the bishops' or archbishops' work, that is, which they are
obliged to do, then they would sin in not doing it. But if they are
the governors only of those that are obliged to do it, and are not
obliged to do it themselves, then governing the doers of it is only
their work; and therefore it is but equivocally said that the work is
theirs, which others and not they are obliged to do; and that they do
their work _per alios_, when they do but govern those others in doing
their own work.

Of this read the Lord Bacon's "Considerations," and Grotius "de Imper.
summ. Potest. circa Sacra," who soundly resolve the case, against
doing the pastoral work _per alium_.

Quest. LIX. _May a layman preach or expound the Scriptures? Or what of
this is proper to the pastor's office?_

_Answ._ 1. No doubt but there is some preaching or teaching and
expounding which a layman may use. So did Origen; so did Constantine;
so may a king, or judge on the bench; so may a parent to his children,
and a master to his family, and a schoolmaster or tutor to his

2. It is not any one method or sermon fashion which is proper to a
minister and forbidden to a layman; that method which is most meet to
the matter and hearers, may be used by one as well as by the other.

3. It is not the mere publicness of the teaching, which must tell us
what is unlawful for a layman. For writing and printing are the most
public ways of teaching; and these no man taketh to be forbidden the
laity. Scaliger, Casaubon, Grotius, Erasmus, Constantine, King James,
the Lord Bacon, and abundance more laymen, have done the church great
service by their writings. And judges on the bench speak oft
theologically to many.

But that which is proper to the ministers or pastors of the church is,
1. To make a stated office of it, and to be separated, set apart,
devoted, or consecrated and appropriated to this sacred work; and not
to do it occasionally only, or sometimes, or on the by; but as their
calling and the employment of their lives.

2. To do it as called and commissioned ministers of Christ, who have a
special nunciative and teaching authority committed to them; and
therefore are in a special manner to be heard, according to their
special authority.

3. To be the stated teachers of particular churches, as their pastors
and guides (though they may sometimes permit a layman when there is
cause to teach them _pro tempore_). These three are proper to the
ministerial and pastoral office.

But for the regulating of laymen's teaching, 1. They must statedly
keep in their families, or within their proper bounds.

2. They must not presume to go beyond their abilities, especially in
matters dark and difficult.

3. They must not thrust themselves without a just call and need into
public or numerous meetings as teachers, nor do that which savoureth
of pride or ostentation, or which tendeth to cherish those vices in

4. They must not live or preach, as from under the government of the
church pastors; but being members of their flocks, must do all as
under their lawful oversight and guidance: much less must they proudly
and schismatically set up themselves against their lawful pastors, and
bring them into contempt to get themselves reputation, and to draw
away disciples after them.[314]

5. Times and places must be greatly distinguished. In infidel or
grossly ignorant countries, where through the want of preachers there
is a true necessity, men may go much further than in countries where
teachers and knowledge do abound.

[314] Acts xx. 30; Heb. xiii. 7, 17, 24; 1 Thess. v. 12, 13; 1 Tim. v.

Quest. LX. _What is the true sense of the distinction of pastoral
power, in foro interiore et exteriore, rightly used?_

_Answ._ 1. Not as if the pastors had any power of the sword or outward
force, or of men's bodies or estates immediately: for all the pastoral
power is immediately on the soul, and but secondarily on the body, so
far as the persuaded soul will move it. Reason and love, and the
authority of a messenger of Christ, are all the power by which bishops
or pastors as such can work, _in foro interiore vel exteriore_; they
rule the body but by ruling the soul.

2. But the true use of the distinction is only to serve instead of the
usual distinction of public and personal obligation. It is one thing
to satisfy a man's private conscience about his own personal case or
matters; and another thing to oblige the whole church, or a particular
person, of his duty as a member of the society to the rest. When the
pastor absolveth a penitent person, _in foro interiore_, that is, in
his own conscience, he delivereth him a discharge in the name of
Christ on condition he be truly penitent; else not. But _in foro
exteriore_ he actually and absolutely restoreth him to his visible
state of church communion. The rest of the members perhaps may justly
think this man unlike to prove a true penitent; and then _in foro
interiore_ they are not bound to believe him certainly penitent or
pardoned by God; but _in foro exteriore_ that he is restored to church
communion, and that for order's sake they are bound to hold communion
with him, they are bound (internally) to believe. So that it comes
near the sense of the distinction of the secret judgment (of God and
conscience) and church judgment.

Quest. LXI. _In what sense is it true that some say, that the
magistrate only hath the external government of the church, and the
pastors the internal?_

_Answ._ 1. Not as external and internal are opposed in the nature of
the action. For the voice of the pastor in preaching is external, as
well as the king's.

2. Not as they are opposed in the manner of reception. For the ears of
the auditors are external recipients from the preacher as well as from
the king.

3. Not as distinguishing the parts that are to obey, the duties
commanded, and the sins forbidden, as if the king ruled the body only
and the pastor the soul. For the soul is bound to obey the king, or
else the body could not be bound to obey him; unless by cords. And the
body must obey the preacher as well as the soul. Murder, drunkenness,
swearing, lying, and such other external vices, are under the pastor's
power to forbid in Christ's name, as well as the king's.

4. Not as if all the external parts or actions of religion were
exempted from the pastor's power. For preaching, praying, reading,
sacraments, church assemblies, are external parts of religion, and
under the pastor's care.

But in two respects the external power is only the king's or civil
magistrate's. 1. As it is denominated from the sword, or mulcts, or
corporal penalties, which is the external means of execution; though
in this respect the distinction were far more intelligibly expressed
by, The government by the sword, and by the sacred word.[315]

2. But the principal sense of their distinction is the same with
Constantine's, who distinguished of a bishop without and within; or of
our common distinction of intrinsic and extrinsic government. And
though internal and external have the same signification, use maketh
intrinsic and extrinsic more intelligible. And by internal is meant
that power which intrinsically belongeth to the pastor's office as
instituted by Christ; and so is intrinsical to the pastorship and the
church (as preaching, praying, sacraments, the keys of admission and
exclusion, ordination, &c.). And by external is meant, that which is
extrinsical to the pastorship and the church; which princes have
sometimes granted them, but Christ hath made no part of their office.
In this sense the assertion is good, and clear, and necessary; that
the disposal of all things _circa sacra_, all accidents and
circumstances whatsoever, which by Christ's institution are not
intrinsical to the pastorship and church, but extrinsical, do belong
to the power of kings and magistrates.

[315] As Bishop Bilson of Obed. useth still to distinguish them; with
many others. See B. Carlton of Jurisdiction.

Quest. LXII. _Is the trial, judgment, or consent of the laity
necessary to the admittance of a member into the universal or
particular church?_

_Answ._ 1. It is the pastor's office to bear and exercise the keys of
Christ's church; therefore by office he is to receive those that come
in; and consequently to be the trier and judge of their fitness.

2. It belongeth to the same office which is to baptize, to judge who
is to be baptized; otherwise ministers should not be rational judges
of their own actions, but the executioners of other men's judgment. It
is more the judging who is to be baptized, which the minister's office
consisteth in, than in the bare doing of the outward act of baptizing.

3. He that must be the ordinary judge in church admissions, is
supposed to have both ability and leisure to make him fit; and
authority and obligation to do the work.

4. The ordinary body of the laity have none of all these four
qualifications, much less all. 1. They are not ordinarily able, so to
examine a man's faith and resolution with judgment and skill, as may
neither tend to the wrong of himself nor of the church; for it is
great skill that is required thereunto. 2. They have not ordinarily
leisure from their proper callings and labours, to wait on such a work
as it must be waited on, especially in populous places. 3. They are
not therefore obliged to do that which they cannot be supposed to have
ability or leisure for. 4. And where they have not the other three,
they can have no authority to do it.

5. It is therefore as great a crime for the laity to usurp the
pastor's office in this matter, as in preaching, baptizing, or other
parts of it.

6. And though pride often blind men (both people and pastors) so as to
make them overlook the burden and look only at the authority and
honour; yet is it indeed an intolerable injury to the laity, if any
would lay such a burden on them which they cannot bear, and
consequently, would make them responsible for the omissions or
misdoing of it, to Christ their Judge.

7. There is not so much as any fair pretence for the laity having
power to judge who shall be received into the universal church; for
who of the laity should have this power? Not all, nor the major vote
of the church; for who ever sought the votes of all the christians in
the world, before he baptized a man? Not any one particular church or
persons above the rest; for they have no right to show for it, more
than the rest.

8. It is not in the power of the laity to keep a man out of their own
particular church communion, whom the pastor receiveth; because, as is
said, it is his office to judge and bear the keys.

9. Therefore, if it be ill done, and an unworthy person be admitted,
the consciences of the people need not accuse themselves of it, or be
disturbed, because it is none of their employment.

10. Yet the liberty of the church or people, must be distinguished
from their governing power, and their executing duty, from the power
of judging. And so, 1. The people are to be guided by the pastors as
volunteers, and not by violence: and therefore it is the pastor's
duty, in all doubtful cases, to give the people all necessary
satisfaction, by giving them the reasons of his doings, that they may
understandingly and quietly obey and submit. 2. And in case the people
discern any notable appearance of danger, by introducing heretics and
grossly impious men to corrupt the church, and by subverting the order
of Christ, they may go to their pastors to desire satisfaction in the
case. 3. And if by open proof or notoriety it be certain, that by
ignorance, fraud, or negligence, the pastors thus corrupt the church,
the people may seek their due remedy from other pastors and
magistrates. 4. And they may protest their own dissent from such
proceedings. 5. And in case of extremity, may cast off heretical, and
impious, and intolerable pastors, and commit their souls to the
conduct of fitter men; as the churches did against the Arian bishops,
and as Cyprian declareth it his people's duty to do; as is

[316] John xx. 21-23; xxi. 15-17; Matt. xxviii. 19, 20; 1 Cor. iv. 1,
21; Tim. v. 17; Heb. xiii. 7, 17; 1 Cor. v. 3-6, 11; 2 Thess. iii. 6,
10, 14; Tit. iii. 10; 2 John; Mark xiii. 9, 23, 33; Mark iv. 24; Matt,
vii. 15, 16; xvi. 6, 11, 12; Mark xii. 38; viii. 15; Phil. ii. 2, 3;
Col. ii. 8; 1 Pet. iii. 17; Matt. xxiv. 4.

Quest. LXIII. _What power have the people in church censures and

_Answ._ This is here adjoined, because it requireth but little more
than the foregoing answer. 1. As it is the pastor's office to judge
who is to be received, so also to judge who is to be excluded.

2. But the execution of his sentence belongeth to the people as well
as to himself. It is they that either hold communion with the person,
or avoid him.[317]

3. Therefore though ordinarily they must acquiesce in the pastor's
judgment, yet if he grossly offend against the law of God, and would
bring them, e. g. to communion with heretics and openly impious, and
excommunicate the orthodox and godly, they may seek their remedy as

[317] 1 Cor. v. 3, 6, 11; 2 John; Tit. iii. 10.

Quest. LXIV. _What is the people's remedy in case of the pastor's

_Answ._ This also is here annexed for despatch, as being almost
sufficiently answered already.

It must be supposed that all church disorders and mal-administrations
cannot be expected to be remedied; but many while we are sinners and
imperfect must be borne.

1. The first remedy is to speak submissively to the pastor of his
faults, and to say to Archippus, "Take heed to the ministry which thou
hast received."[318] And if he hear not more privately, for the people
more openly to warn and entreat him; not as his governors, but as
christians that have reason to regard Christ's interest and their own,
and have charity to desire his reformation.

2. The next remedy is, to consult with the neighbour pastors of other
churches, that they may admonish him; not as his governors, but as
neighbour pastors.[319]

3. The next remedy is to seek redress from those governors that have
the power to correct or cast out the intolerable.

4. The last remedy is that of Cyprian, to desert such intolerable

But in all this, the people must be sure that they proceed not
proudly, ignorantly, erroneously, passionately, factiously,
disorderly, or rashly.

[318] Col. iv. 17.

[319] Acts xv.

Quest. LXV. _May one be a pastor or a member of a particular church,
who liveth so far from it, as to be uncapable of personal communion
with them?_

_Answ._ The name is taken from the relation; and the relation is
founded in capacity, right, and obligation to actual communion,
duties, and privileges: 1. He that is so statedly distant is uncapable
statedly of communion, and therefore uncapable of the relation and

2. He that is but for a time accidentally so distant, is but for that
time uncapable of communion with them; and therefore retaineth
capacity, right, and obligation statedly for the future, but not for
the present exercise. Therefore he retaineth the relation and name, in
respect to his future intended exercise; but not in so plenary a
sense, as he that is capable of present communion.

3. It is not the length or shortness of the time of absence that
wholly cutteth off or continueth the relation and name, but the
probability or improbability of a seasonable accession. For if a man
be removed but a day, with a purpose to return no more, his relation
ceaseth. And if a man be long purposing and probably like to return,
and by sickness or otherwise be hindered, it doth not wholly end his

4. If the delay be so long as either maketh the return improbable, or
as necessitated the church to have another statedly in the pastor's
place, where they can have but one, and so the people by taking
another, consent (though with grief) to quit their relation and title
to the former, there the relation is at an end.

5. It is a delusory formality of some, that call themselves members of
a separated (or other) church, from which they most ordinarily and
statedly live at an utter distance, and yet take themselves to be no
members of the church where they live, and usually join with: and all
because they covenanted with one and not with the other.

Quest. LXVI. _If a man be injuriously suspended or excommunicated by
the pastor or people, which way shall he have remedy?_

_Ans._ As is aforesaid in case of mal-administration; 1. By
admonishing the pastor or those that wrong him. 2. By consulting
neighbour pastors, that they may admonish him. 3. By the help of
rulers, where such are, and the church's good forbids it not. 4. In
case of extremity, by removing to a church that will not so injure
you. And what needs there any more, save patience?

Quest. LXVII. _Doth presence always make us guilty of the errors or
faults of the pastor in God's worship, or of the church? Or in what
cases are we guilty?_

_Answ._ 1. If it always made us guilty, no man could join with any
pastor or church in the world, without being a wilful sinner. Because
no man worshippeth God without sin, in matter or manner, omission or

2. If it never made us guilty, it would be lawful to join with
Mahometans and bread-worshippers, &c.

3. Therefore the following decision of the question, In what cases it
is a duty or a sin to separate, doth decide this case also. For when
separation is no duty, but a sin, there our presence in the worship is
no sin; but when separation is a duty, there our presence is a sin.

4. Especially in these two cases our presence is a sin: 1. When the
very assembly and worship is so bad as God will not accept, but
judgeth the substance of it for a sin. 2. In case we ourselves be put
upon any sin in communion, or as a previous condition of our communion
(as to make some false profession, or to declare our consent to other
men's sin, or to commit corporal, visible, reputative idolatry, or the
like). But the pastor and church shall answer for their own faults,
and not we, when we have cause to be present, and make them not ours
by any sinful action of our own.

Quest. LXVIII. _Is it lawful to communicate in the sacrament with
wicked men?_

_Answ._ The answer may be gathered from what is said before.

1. If they be so wicked for number, and flagitiousness, and notoriety,
as that it is our duty to forsake the church, then to communicate with
them is a sin. Therefore the after-resolution of the just causes of
separation must be perused. As if a church were so far defiled with
heresy, or open impiety, that it were justified by the major vote, and
bore down faith and godliness, and the society were become uncapable
of the ends of church association and communion: in this and other
cases it must be deserted.

2. If we do not perform our own duty to remove unlawful communions,
(whether it be by admonition of the offender or pastor, or whatever is
proved really our duty,) the omission of that duty is our sin.

3. But if we sin not by omitting our own duty, it will be no sin of
ours to communicate with the church, where scandalous sinners or
heretics are permitted. The pastor's and delinquent's sins are not

4. Yea, if we do not omit our own duty in order to the remedy, that
will justify us in denying communion with the church while wicked men
are there. But it will rather aggravate our sin, to omit one duty
first, and thence fetch occasion to omit another.

Quest. LXIX. _Have all the members of the church right to the Lord's
table? And is suspension lawful?_

Of this see the defence of the synod's propositions in New England. I

1. You must distinguish between a fundamental right of state, and an
immediate right of present possession; or if you will, between a right
duly to receive the sacrament, and a right to immediate reception
simply considered.

2. You must distinguish between a questioned, controverted right, and
an unquestioned right; and so you must conclude as followeth.

(1.) Every church member (at least adult) as such, hath the
fundamental right of stated relation, or a right duly to receive the
sacrament; that is, to receive it understandingly and seriously at
those seasons when by the pastors it is administered.

(2.) But if upon faults or accusations, this right be duly questioned
in the church, it is become a controverted right; and the possession
or admission may, by the bishops or pastors of the church, be
suspended, if they see cause, while it is under trial, till a just

3. Though infants are true members, yet the want of natural capacity
duly to receive maketh it unlawful to give them the sacrament, because
it is to be given only to receivers, and receiving is more than eating
and drinking; it is consenting to the covenant, which is the real
receiving in a moral sense, or at least consent professed. So that
they want not a state of right, as to their relation, but a natural
capacity to receive.

4. Persons at age who want not the right of a stated relation, may
have such actual natural and moral indispositions, as may also make
them for that time unmeet to receive. As sickness, infection, a
journey, persecution, scattering the church, a prison. And (morally)
1. Want of necessary knowledge of the nature of the sacrament (which
by the negligence of pastors or parents may be the case of some that
are but newly past their childhood). 2. Some heinous sin, of which the
sinner hath not so far repented, as to be yet ready to receive a
sealed pardon, or which is so scandalous in the church, as that in
public respects the person is yet unfit for its privileges. 3. Such
sins or accusations of sin, as make the person's church title justly
controverted, and his communion suspended, till the case be decided.
4. Such fears of unworthy receiving, as were like to hurt and distract
the person, if he should receive till he were better satisfied. These
make a man uncapable of present reception, and so are a bar to his
plenary right: they have still right to receive in a due manner; but
being yet uncapable of that due receiving, they have not a plenary
right to the thing.

5. The same may be said of other parts of our duty and privileges. A
man may have a relative, habitual, or stated right to praise God, and
give him thanks for his justification, sanctification, and adoption,
and to godly conference, to exercises of humiliation, &c. who yet for
want of present actual preparation, may be uncapable, and so want a
plenary right.

6. The understanding of the double preparation necessary, doth most
clearly help us to understand this case. A man that is in an
unregenerate state, must be visibly cured of that state, (of utter
ignorance, unbelief, ungodliness,) before he can be a member of the
church, and lay a claim to its privileges. But when that is done,
besides this general preparation, a particular preparation also to
each duty is necessary to the right doing of it. A man must understand
what he goeth about, and must consider of it, and come with some
suitable affections. A man may have right to go a journey, that wants
a horse; or may have a horse that is not saddled: he that hath clothes
must put them on, before he is fit to come into company: he that hath
right to write, may want a pen, or have a bad one: having of gracious
habits, may need the addition of bringing them into such acts as are
suitable to the work in hand.

Quest. LXX. _Is there any such thing in the church, as a rank or
classis, or species of church members at age, who are not to be
admitted to the Lord's table, but only to hearing the word and prayer,
between infant members, and adult confirmed ones?_

_Answ._ Some have excogitated such a classis, or species, or order,
for convenience, as a prudent, necessary thing; because to admit all
to the Lord's table they think dangerous on one side; and to cast all
that are unfit for it out of the church, they think dangerous on the
other side, and that which the people would not bear. Therefore to
preserve the reverence of the sacrament, and to preserve their own and
the church's peace, they have contrived this middle way or rank. And
indeed the controversy seemeth to be more about the title (whether it
may be called a middle order of mere learners and worshippers) than
about the matter. I have occasionally written more of it than I can
here stay to recite; and the accurate handling of it requireth more
words than I will here use. This breviate therefore shall be all.

1. It is certain that such catechumens as are in mere preparation to
faith, repentance, and baptism, are no church members or christians at
all; and so in none of these ranks.

2. Baptism is the only ordinary regular door of entrance into the
visible church; and no man (unless in extraordinary cases) is to be
taken for a church member or visible christian till baptized.

Two objections are brought against this. 1. The infants of christians
are church members as such, before baptism, and so are believers. They
are baptized because members, and not members by baptism.

[Sidenote: What makes a visible member?]

_Answ._ This case hath no difficulty. 1. A believer as such, is a
member of Christ and the church invisible, but not of the visible
church, till he be an orderly professor of that belief. And this
profession is not left to every man's will how it shall be made, but
Christ hath prescribed and instituted a certain way and manner of
profession, which shall be the only ordinary symbol or badge, by which
the church shall know visible members; and that is baptism. Indeed
when baptism cannot be had, an open profession without it may serve;
for sacraments are made for man, and not man for sacraments. But when
it may be had, it is Christ's appointed symbol, _tessera_, and church
door. And till a person be baptized, he is but irregularly and
initially a professor; as an embryo in the womb is a man; or as a
covenant before the writing, sealing, and delivering is initially a
covenant; or as persons privately contracted without solemn matrimony
are married; or as a man is a minister upon election and trial before
ordination: he hath only, in all these cases, the beginning of a
title, which is not complete; nor at all sufficient _in foro
ecclesiæ_, to make a man visibly and legally a married man, a
minister, and so here a christian. For Christ hath chosen his own
visible badge, by which his church members must be known.

2. And the same is to be said of the infant title of the children of
believers; they have but an initial right before baptism, and not the
badge of visible christians. For there are three distinct gradations
to make up their visible Christianity. 1. Because they are their own,
(and as it were parts of themselves,) therefore believers have power
and obligation to dedicate their children in covenant with God. 2.
Because every believer is himself dedicated to God, with all that is
his own, (according to his capacity,) therefore a believer's child is
supposed to be virtually (not actually) dedicated to God in his own
dedication or covenant, as soon as his child hath a being. 3. Being
thus virtually and implicitly first dedicated, he is after actually
and regularly dedicated in baptism, and sacramentally receiveth the
badge of the church; and this maketh him a visible member or
christian, to which the two first were but introductory, as conception
is to human nativity.

_Object._ But the seed of believers as such are in the covenant; and
therefore church members.

_Answ._ The word covenant here is ambiguous; either it signifieth
God's law of grace, or prescribed terms for salvation, with his
immediate offer of the benefits to accepters, called the single
covenant of God; or it signifieth this with man's consent, called the
mutual covenant, where both parties covenant. In the former sense, the
covenant only offereth church membership, but maketh no man a church
member, till consent. It is but God's conditional promise, "If thou
believe thou shalt be saved," &c. If thou give up thyself and children
to me, I will be your God, and you shall be my people. But it is only
the mutual covenant that maketh a christian or church member.

_Object._ The promise is to us and our children as ours.

_Answ._ That is, that you and your children dedicated to God, shall be
received into covenant; but not otherwise. Believing is not only bare
assenting, but consenting to the covenant, and delivering up
yourselves to Christ; and if you do not consent that your child shall
be in the covenant, and deliver him to God also, you cannot expect
acceptance of him, against your wills; nor indeed are you to be taken
for true believers yourselves, if you dedicate not yourselves to him,
and all that are in your power.

_Object._ This offer or conditional covenant belongeth also to

_Answ._ The offer is to them, but they accept it not. But every
believer accepteth it for himself, and his, or devoteth to God himself
and his children when he shall have them; and by that virtual
dedication or consent, his children are virtually in the mutual
covenant; and actually upon actual consent and dedication.

_Object._ But it is profession, and not baptism, that makes a visible

_Answ._ That is answered before: it is profession by baptism; for
baptism is that peculiar act of profession, which God hath chosen to
this use, when a person is absolutely devoted, resigned, and engaged
to God in a solemn sacrament, this is our regular initiating
profession; and it is but an irregular embryo of a profession, which
goeth before baptism ordinarily.

_Prop. 3._ The time of infant membership, in which we stand in
covenant by our parents' consent, cannot be determined by duration,
but by the insufficiency of reason, through immaturity of age, (or
continuing idiots,) to choose for oneself.

_Prop. 4._ It is not necessary that the doctrine of the Lord's supper
be taught catechumens before baptism; nor was it usual with the
ancients so to do (though it may very well be done.)

_Prop. 5._ It is needful that the nature of the Lord's supper be
taught all the baptized before they receive it, (as was opened
before,) else they must do they know not what.

_Prop. 6._ Though the sacrament of the Lord's supper seal not another,
but the same covenant that baptism sealeth; yet are there some
further truths therein expressed, and some more particular exercises
of faith in Christ's sacrifice, and coming, &c. and of hope, and love,
and gratitude, &c. requisite. Therefore the same qualifications which
will serve for baptism, justification, and adoption, and salvation,
are not enough for the right use of church communion in the Lord's
supper, the one being the sacrament of initiation and our new birth;
the other of our confirmation, exercise, and growth in grace.

7. Whether persons be baptized in infancy or at age, if they do not
before understand these higher mysteries, they must stay from the
exercise of them till they understand them; and so with most there
must be a space of time between their baptism and fuller communion.

8. But the same that we say of the Lord's supper must be said of other
parts of worship; singing psalms, praise, thanksgivings, &c. men must
learn them, before they can practise them; and usually these as
eucharistical acts concur with the Lord's supper.

9. Whether you will call men in this state, church members of a middle
rank and order, between the baptized and the communicants, is but a
_lis de nomine_, a verbal controversy. It is granted that such a
middle sort of men there are in the church.

10. It is to be maintained that these are in a state of salvation,
even before they thus communicate. And that they are not kept away for
want of a stated relation title, but of an immediate capacity, as is

11. There is no necessity, but upon such unfitness, that there should
be one day's time between baptism and the sacrament of the Lord's
supper: nor is it desirable; for if the baptized understand those
mysteries the first day they may communicate in them.

12. Therefore as men are prepared, some may suddenly communicate, and
some stay longer.

13. When persons are at age, if pastors, parents, and themselves be
not grossly negligent, they may and ought to learn these things in a
very little time; so that they need not be settled in a lower learning
state for any considerable time, unless their own negligence be the

14. And in order to their learning, they have right to be spectators
and auditors at the eucharist, and not to be driven away with the
catechumens, as if they had no right to be there. For it is a thing
best taught by the practice to beholders.

15. But if any shall by scandal or gross neglect of piety, and not
only by ignorance, give cause of questioning their title, and
suspending their possession of those sacred privileges, these are to
be reckoned in another rank, even among those whose title to church
membership itself becometh controverted, and must undergo a trial in
the church.

And this much I think may serve to resolve this considerable question.

Quest. LXXI. _Whether a form of prayer be lawful?_

_Answ._ I have said so much of this and some following questions in
many books already, that to avoid repetition, I shall say very little

The question must be out of question with all christians:

1. Because the Scripture itself hath many forms of prayer; which
therefore cannot be unlawful.

_Object._ They were lawful then, but not now.

_Answ._ He that saith so, must prove where God hath since forbidden
them. Which can never be.

_Object._ They may lawfully be read in Scripture for instruction, but
not used as prayers.

_Answ._ They were used as prayers then, and are never since forbidden:
yea, John and Christ did teach their disciples to pray, and Christ
thus prefaceth his form, "When ye pray, say"----

2. All things must be done to edification: but to use a form of prayer
is for the edification of many persons, at least those that cannot
otherwise do so well; therefore those persons must use a form. Full
experience doth prove the minor, and nothing but strangeness to men
can contradict it.

Quest. LXXII. _Are forms of prayer or preaching in the church lawful?_

_Answ._ Yes: most ministers study the methodical form of their sermons
before they preach them; and many write the very words, or study them:
and so most sermons are a form. And sure it is as lawful to think
beforehand what to say in praying as in preaching.[320]

1. That which God hath not forbidden is lawful; but God hath not
forbidden ministers to study their sermons or prayers, either for
matter, method, or words, and so to make them many ways a form.

2. That which God prescribed is lawful (if he reverse it not): but God
prescribed public forms of prayer; as the titles and matter of many of
the Psalms prove, which were daily used in the Jewish synagogues.

_Object._ Psalms being to be sung, are more than prayers.

_Answ._ They were prayers, though more. They are called prayers, and
for the matter many of them were no more than prayers, but only for
the measures of words: nor was their singing like ours now, but liker
to our saying. And there are many other prayers recorded in the

3. And all the churches of Christ at least these thirteen or fourteen
hundred years have taken public forms for lawful; which is not to be
gainsayed without proof.

[320] God gave forms of preaching to Moses and the prophets: see a
large form of prayer for all true people, Deut. xxvi. 13-15. And so
elsewhere there are many.

Quest. LXXIII. _Are public forms of man's devising or composing

_Answ._ Yes: 1. The ministers afore-mentioned throughout the christian
world, do devise and compose the form of their own sermons and
prayers: and that maketh them not unlawful. 2. And whoever speaketh
_ex tempore_, his words are a form when he speaketh them, though not a
premeditated form. 3. And when Scripture so vehemently commandeth us
to search, meditate, study the Scriptures, and take heed unto
ourselves and unto doctrine, &c. what a person is that who will
condemn prayer or preaching, only because we beforehand studied or
considered what to say! as if God abhorred diligence and the use of
reason. Men are not tied (now) from thinking beforehand what to say to
the judge at the bar for estate or life, or what to say on an
embassage, or to a king, or any man that we converse with. And where
are we forbidden to forethink what to say to God? Must the people take
heed how they hear, and look to their foot when they go into the house
of God? and must not we take heed what we speak, and look to our words
that they be fit and decent?

_Object._ Forms are images of prayer and preaching, forbidden in the
second commandment?

_Answ._ Prove it, and add not to the word of God. 1. The Scripture and
God's servants, even Christ himself, had broken the second
commandment, when they used or prescribed forms. 2. Forms are no more
images than extemporate words are, as they signify our minds. Are all
the catechisms, printed and written sermons and prayers, images or
idols? all forms that parents teach their children? O charge not such
untruths on God; and invent not falsehoods of his word, while you cry
down man's inventions.

Quest. LXXIV. _Is it lawful to impose forms on the congregation or the
people in public worship?_

Yes, and more than lawful; it is the pastor's duty so to do. For
whether he forethink what to pray or not, his prayer is to them a form
of words; and they are bound in all the lawful parts, to concur with
him in spirit or desire, and to say Amen. So that every minister by
office is daily to impose a form of prayer on all the people in the
congregation. Only some men impose the same form many times over, or
every day, and others impose every day a new one.

Quest. LXXV. _Is it lawful to use forms composed by man, and imposed
not only on the people, but on the pastors of the churches?_

_Answ._ The question concerneth not the lawfulness of imposing, but of
using forms imposed. And, 1. It is not lawful to use them merely on
that account because they are imposed or commanded, without some
greater reason of the unlawfulness. For else it would be unlawful for
any other to use imposed forms; as for a scholar or child, if the
master or parent impose them, or for the congregation when the pastor
imposeth them, which is not true.

2. The using of imposed forms may by other accidents be sometimes good
and sometimes evil, as the accidents are that make it so.

1. These accidents may make it evil: (1.) When the form is bad for
matter or manner, and we voluntarily prefer it before that which is
better, being willing of the imposition. (2.) When we do it to gratify
our slothfulness, or to cover our wilful ignorance and disability.
(3.) When we voluntarily obey and strengthen any unlawful, usurping
pastors or powers that impose it without authority, and so encourage
church tyranny. (4.) When we choose a singular form, imposed by some
singular pastor, and avoid that which the rest of the churches agree
in, at a time when it may tend to division and offence. (5.) When the
weakness and offence of the congregation is such, that they will not
join with us in the imposed form, and so by using it, we drive them
from all public worship or divide them.

2. And in the following circumstances the using of an imposed form is
lawful and a duty: (1.) When the minister is so weak that he cannot
pray well without one, nor compose so good a one himself. (2.) Or when
the errors or great weakness of the generality of ministers is such,
as that they usually corrupt or spoil God's worship by their own
manner of praying, and no better are to be had; and thereupon the wise
and faithful pastors and magistrates shall impose one sound and apt
liturgy to avoid error and division in such a distempered time; and
the ablest cannot be left at liberty without the relaxing of the rest.
(3.) When it is a means of the concord of the churches, and no
hinderance to our other prayers. (4.) When our hearers will not join
with us if we use them not (for error and weakness must be borne with
on one side, as well as on the other). (5.) When obedience to just
authority requireth it, and no command of Christ is crossed by it.
(6.) When the imposition is so severe that we must so worship God
publicly, or not at all; and so all God's public worship will be shut
out of that congregation, country, or nation, unless we will use
imposed prayers. (7.) In a word, when the good consequences of
obedience, union, avoiding offence, liberty for God's public worship
and preaching the gospel, &c. are greater than the bad consequences
which are like to follow the using of such forms: the preponderating
accidents must prevail. (8.) And if a man's own judgment and
conscience cannot be satisfied, to do God's work comfortably and
quietly any other way, it may go far in the determination. And the
common good of many churches must still be preferred before a less.

Quest. LXXVI. _Doth not the calling of a minister so consist in the
exercise of his own ministerial gifts, that he may not officiate
without them, nor make use of other men's gifts instead of them?_

_Answ._ 1. The office of the ministry is an obligation and authority
to do the ministerial work, by those personal, competent abilities
which God hath given us.

2. This obligation to use our own abilities, forbiddeth us not to make
use of the helps, gifts, and abilities of others; either to promote
our own abilities and habits, or to further us in the act or the
exercise of them. For, 1. There is no such prohibition in Scripture.
2. All men are insufficient for themselves; and nature and Scripture
require them to use the best help they can get from others. 3. God's
service must be done in the best manner we can. But many ministers
cannot do it so well (_consideratis considerandis_) without other
men's help as with it.

3. We may use other men's gifts to help us, 1. For matter; 2. Method;
3. Words; and so for a threefold form, of preaching or prayer.

4. He that useth a Scripture form of matter, method, or words, useth
his own abilities no more, than if he used a form out of another book.
But it is lawful to use a Scripture form; therefore it is lawful so
far to take in assistance in the use of our own abilities.

5. He that useth a form useth his own abilities also (not only perhaps
at other times, but) in the use of it. He useth his understanding to
discern the true sense and aptitude of the words which he useth: he
useth his holy desires in putting up those prayers to God; and his
other graces, as he doth in other prayers. He useth his utterance in
the apt and decent speaking of them.

6. A minister is not always bound to use his own gifts to the utmost
that he can, and other men's as little as he can. For, 1. There is no
such command from God. 2. All things must be done to the church's
edification: but sometimes the greater use of another man's gifts, and
the less use of his own, may be to the church's greater edification.

Instances of the lawful use of other men's gifts are such as these.

1. For matter, an abler minister may tell a young man what subjects
are fittest for him in preaching and prayer; and what is the sense of
the Scriptures which he is to open; and what is the true solution of
several doubts and cases. A minister that is young, raw, or ignorant,
(yea, the best,) may be a learner while he is a teacher: but he that
is a learner maketh use so far of the gifts of others. And indeed all
teachers in the world make use of the gifts of others; for all teach
what they learn from others.

2. For method; it is lawful to learn that as well as matter from
another. Christ taught his disciples a method of prayer; and other men
may open that method to us. All tutors teach their pupils method as
well as matter; for method is needful to the due understanding and
using of the matter. A method of divinity, a method of preaching, and
a method of praying may be taught a preacher by word, and may be
written or printed for his use.

3. For words, 1. There is no more prohibition in God's word, against
learning or using another man's words, than his method or matter.
Therefore it is not unlawful. 2. A tutor or senior minister may teach
the Scripture words to a pupil or junior minister; yea, and may set
them together and compose him a sermon or prayer out of Scripture in
its words. (For he that may use an ill-composed Scripture form of his
own gathering, may use a well-composed form of another's). 3. All the
books in our libraries are forms of words; and it is lawful sure to
use some of all those words which we read; or else our books would be
a snare and limitation to our language. 4. All preachers ordinarily
use citations, testimonies, &c. in other men's words. 5. All ministers
use psalms in the metre of other men's composing (and usually imposing
too). And there is no more prohibition against using other men's words
in a prayer, than in a psalm. 6. Almost all ministers use other men's
gifts and form of words, in reading the Scriptures, in their vulgar
tongues: for God did not write them by his apostles and prophets in
English, French, Dutch, &c. but in Hebrew, Chaldee, and Greek;
therefore the wording them in English, &c. is a human form of words:
and few ministers think they are bound to translate all the Bible
themselves, lest they use other men's words or abilities. 7. If a
young minister that can pray but weakly, hear more apt expressions and
sentences in another minister's prayers, than his own are, he may
afterward make use of those sentences and expressions. And if of one
sentence, why not of two or ten, when God hath not forbidden it? So
also in preaching. 8. It is lawful to read another man's epistles or
sermons in the church, as the primitive churches did by Clement's and
some others. 9. An imposition may be so severe, that we shall not use
our own words, unless we will use some of other men's. 10. All
churches almost in the world, have consented in the use of creeds,
confessions, and prayers, and psalms, in the words of others.

But yet, 1. No minister must on these pretences stifle his own gifts,
and grow negligent; 2. Nor consent to church tyranny or papal
usurpations; 3. Nor do that which tendeth to eat out seriousness in
the worship of God, and turn all into dead imagery or formality.

Quest. _Is it lawful to read a prayer in the church?_

_Answ._ 1. That which is not forbidden is lawful: but to read a prayer
is not forbidden (as such, though by accident it may).

2. The prayers in the Scripture psalms, were usually read in the
Jewish synagogues lawfully; for they were written to that end, and
were indeed the Jewish liturgy. Therefore to read a prayer is not

3. He that hath a weak memory may read his own sermon notes; therefore
he may read his prayers.

4. I add as to this case and the former together; that, 1. Christ did
usually frequent the Jewish synagogues.

2. That in those synagogues there were forms of prayer, and that
ordinarily read, at least Scripture forms: and if either the Jewish
rabbins (cited by Scaliger, Selden in Eutych. Alexandr. &c.,) or the
strongest probability may be credited, there were also human forms.
For who can imagine that those Pharisees should have no human forms,
(1.) Who are so much accused of formality, and following traditions:
(2.) And used long and frequent prayers: but if indeed they had no
such forms, then long and frequent extemporate prayers are not so
great a sign of the Spirit's gifts as is imagined, when such Pharisees
abounded in them. But there is little probability but that they used
both ways.

3. That Christ did not separate from the synagogues for such prayers'

4. Yea, that we never read that Christ meddled in the controversy, it
being then no controversy; nor that he once reproved such forms, or
reading them, or ever called the Jews to repent of them.

If you say, his general reproof of traditions was enough: I answer, 1.
Even traditions he reproved not as such, but as set before, or against
the commands of God. 2. He named many of their particular traditions
and corruptions, Matt. xv. xxiii. &c. and yet never named this. 3. His
being usually present at their assemblies, and so joining with them in
their worship, would be such an appearance of his approbation, as
would make it needful to express his disallowance of it, if indeed he
thought it sinful. So that whoever impartially considereth all this,
that he joined with them, that he particularly reproved other
corruptions, and that he never said any thing at all against forms or
reading prayers, that is recorded, will sure be moderate in his
judgment of such indifferent things, if he know what moderation is.

Quest. LXXVII. _Is it lawful to pray in the church without a
prescribed or premeditated form of words?_

_Answ._ There are so few sober and serious christians that ever made a
doubt of this, that I will not bestow many words to prove it.

1. That which is not forbidden is lawful. But church prayer without a
premeditated or prescribed form of words is not forbidden (by God);
therefore (as to God's laws) it is not unlawful.

2. To express holy desires understandingly, orderly, seriously, and in
apt expressions, is lawful praying. But all this may be done without a
set form of words; therefore to pray without a set form of words may
be lawful.

3. The consent of the universal church, and the experience of godly
men, are arguments so strong, as are not to be made light of.

4. To which Scripture instances may be added.

Quest. LXXVIII. _Whether are set forms of words, or free praying
without them, the better way? And what are the commodities and
incommodities of each way?_

_Answ._ I will first answer the latter question, because the former
dependeth on it.

1. The commodities of a set form of words, and the discommodities of
free praying, are these following.

1. In a time of dangerous heresy which hath infected the pastors, a
set form of prescribed words tendeth to keep the church, and the
consciences of the joiners, from such infection, offence, and guilt.

2. When ministers are so weak as to dishonour God's worship by their
unapt, and slovenly, and unsound expressions, prescribed or set forms
which are well composed, are some preservative and cure. When free
praying leaveth the church under this inconvenience.

3. When ministers by faction, passion, or corrupt interests, are apt
to put these vices into their prayers, to the injury of others, and of
the cause and church of God, free praying cherisheth this, or giveth
it opportunity, which set forms do restrain.

4. Concordant set forms do serve for the exactest concord in the
churches, that all at once may speak the same things.

5. They are needful to some weak ministers that cannot do so well
without them.

6. They somewhat prevent the laying of the reputation of religious
worship upon the minister's abilities: when in free praying, the
honour and comfort varieth with the various degrees of pastoral
abilities; in one place it is excellently well done, in another but
dryly, and coldly, and meanly, in another erroneously, unedifyingly,
if not dishonourably, tending to the contempt of holy things: whereas
in the way of set liturgies, though the ablest (at that time) doth no
better, yet the weakest doth (for words) as well, and all alike.

7. And, if proud, weak men have not the composing and imposing of it,
all know that words drawn up by study, upon sober premeditation and
consultation, have a greater advantage, to be exact and apt, than
those that were never thought on till we are speaking them.

8. The very fear of doing amiss, disturbeth some unready men, and
maketh them do all the rest the worse.

9. The auditors know beforehand, whether that which they are to join
in be sound or unsound, having time to try it.

10. And they can more readily put in their consent to what is spoken,
and make the prayer their own, when they know beforehand what it is,
than they can do when they know not before they hear it; it being hard
to the duller sort of hearers, to concur with an understanding and
consent as quick as the speaker's words are. Not but that this may be
done, but not without great difficulty in the duller sort.

11. And it tendeth to avoid the pride and self-deceit of many, who
think they are good christians, and have the spirit of grace and
supplication, because by learning and use they can speak many hours in
variety of expressions in prayer; which is a dangerous mistake.

I. The commodities of free extemporate prayers, and the discommodity
of prescribed or set forms, are these following.

1. It becometh an advantage to some proud men who think themselves
wiser than all the rest, to obtrude their compositions, that none may
be thought wise enough, or fit to speak to God, but in their words;
and so introduce church tyranny.

2. It may become a hinderance to able, worthy ministers that can do

3. It may become a dividing snare to the churches, that cannot all
agree and consent in such human impositions.

4. It may become an advantage to heretics when they can but get into
power (as the Arians of old) to corrupt all the churches and public
worship; and thus the papists have corrupted the churches by the mass.

5. It may become an engine or occasion of persecution, and silencing
all those ministers that cannot consent to such impositions.

6. It may become a means of depraving the ministry, and bringing them
to a common idleness and ignorance (if other things alike concur). For
when men perceive that no greater abilities are used and required,
they will commonly labour for and get no greater, and so will be
unable to pray without their forms of words.

7. And by this means christian religion may decay and grow into
contempt; for though it be desirable that its own worth should keep up
its reputation and success, yet it never hitherto was so kept up
without the assistance of God's eminent gifts and graces in his
ministers; but wherever there hath been a learned, able, holy,
zealous, diligent ministry, religion usually hath flourished; and
wherever there hath been an ignorant, vicious, cold, idle, negligent,
and reproached ministry, religion usually hath died and been
reproached. And we have now no reason to look for that which never
was, and that God should take a new course in the world.

And the opinion of imposing forms of prayer, may draw on the opinion
of imposing forms of preaching as much, and of restraining free
preaching as much as free praying, as we see in Muscovy. And then when
nothing but bare reading is required, nothing more will be ordinarily
sought; and so the ministry will be the scorn of the people.

9. And it will be a shameful and uncomfortable failing, when a
minister is not able on variety of occasions, to vary his prayers
accordingly; and when he cannot go any further than his book or
lesson; it being as impossible to make prayers just fitted to all
occasions which will fall out, as to make sermons fit for all, or, as
they say, to make a coat for the moon; and the people will contemn the
ministers when they perceive this great deficiency.

10. And it is a great difficulty to many ministers to learn and say a
form without book; so that they that can all day speak what they know,
can scarce recite a form of words one quarter of an hour, the memory
more depending upon the body and its temper, than the exercise of the
understanding doth. He that is tied just to these words and no other,
is put upon double difficulties (like him that on height must walk on
a narrow plank, where the fear of falling will make him fall); but he
that may express the just desires of his soul in what words occur that
are apt and decent, is like one that hath a field to walk in: for my
own part, it is easier to me to pray or preach six hours in freedom,
about things which I understand, than to pray or preach the tenth part
of an hour in the fetters of a form of words which I must not vary.
And so the necessity of a book coming in, doth bring down the
reputation of the minister's abilities in the people's eyes.

11. But the grand incommodity, greater than all the rest, is, that it
usually occasioneth carelessness, deadness, formality, and heartless
lip-labour in our prayers to God; whilst the free way of present
prayer tendeth to excite our cogitations to consider what we say. And
it is not only the multitude of dead-hearted hypocrites in the church
that are thus tempted to persevere in their lip-labour and hypocrisy,
and to draw near to God with their lips when their hearts are far from
him, and are gratified in their self-deceit, whilst parrot-like they
speak the words which they regard not, and their tongues do overgo
their hearts; but even better men are greatly tempted to dead
remissness: I mean both the speakers and the hearers; for, (1.) It is
natural to man's mind to have a slothful weariness as well as his
body; and to do no more than he findeth a necessity of doing; and
though God's presence alone should suffice to engage all the powers of
our souls, yet sad experience telleth us, that God's eye and man's
together will do more with almost all men, than one alone. And
therefore no men's thoughts are so accurately governed as their words.
Therefore when a minister knoweth beforehand that, as to man's
approbation, he hath no more to do but to read that which he seeth
before him, he is apt to let his thoughts fly abroad, and his
affections lie down, because no man taketh account of these; but in
extemporate diversified prayer, a man cannot do it without an
excitation of his understanding to think (to the utmost) what to say;
and an excitation of his affections, to speak with life, or else the
hearers will perceive his coldness. And though all this may be
counterfeit and hypocritically affected, yet it is a great help to
seriousness and sincerity to have the faculties all awake; and it is a
great help to awaken them to be under such a constant necessity even
from man. As those that are apt to sleep at prayer, will do it less
when they know men observe them, than at another time.

(2.) And both to speaker and hearers, human frailty maketh it hard to
be equally affected with the same thing spoken a hundred times, as we
are at first when it is new, and when it is clothed in comely variety
of expressions. As the same book affecteth us not at the twentieth
reading as it did at the first. Say not, it is a dishonourable
weakness to be thus carried by the novelty of things or words; for
though that be true, it is a dishonour common to all mankind, and a
disease which is your own, and which God alloweth us all lawful means
to cure, and to correct the unhappy effects while it is uncured.

12. Lastly, set forms serve unworthy men to hide their unworthiness
by, and to be the matter of a controversy in which they may vent their
envy against them that are abler and holier than themselves.

III. Having now truly showed you the commodities and incommodities of
both the ways, for the other question, Which of them is the best? I
must give you but some rules to answer it yourselves.

1. That is best which hath most and greatest commodities, and fewest
and least discommodities.

2. For neither of them is forbidden, in itself considered, nor evil,
but by accident.

3. One may have more commodities and the other more discommodities in
one country and age than in another, and with some persons than with

4. Sober christians should be very backward in such cases to quarrel
with the churches where they live or come, but humbly submit to them
in lawful things, though they think them inconvenient; because it is
not they that are the governors and judges.

5. The commands of authority and the concord of the churches may weigh
down many lighter accidents.

6. I crave leave to profess that my own judgment is, that somewhat of
both ways joined together will best obviate the incommodities of both.
To have so much wholesome, methodical, unquestionable forms as near as
may be in Scripture phrase, as is necessary to avoid the inconvenience
of a total exclusion of forms, and to the attainment of their
desirable ends; and to have so much withal of freedom in prayer, as is
necessary to its ends, and to avoid the deadness, formality, and other
incommodities of forms alone. Though by this opinion I cross the
conceits of prejudiced men on both extremes, I think I cross not the
judgment of the church of England, which alloweth free prayers in the
pulpit, and at the visitation of the sick; and I cross not the opinion
of any ancient church that ever I read of, nor of the fathers and
pastors whose works are come to our hands; nor yet of Luther,
Melancthon, Bucer, Zuinglius, Calvin, Beza, Zanchius, and the rest of
our famous reformers; nor yet of the famous nonconformists of England,
Cartwright, Hildersham, Greenham, Perkins, Bain, Amesius, &c. and I
less fear erring in all this company, than with those on either of the

[321] I have a manuscript of Mr. Cartwright's in which, having fully
proved the falsehood of Sutliff's suspicion that he was acquainted
with Hacket's project, he answereth his charge, as if he were against
forms of prayer, that all the years that he lived at Middleburg and
Antwerp, he constantly used the same form before sermon, and mostly
after sermon, and also did read prayers in the church; and that since
he seldom concluded but with the Lord's prayer.

Quest. LXXIX. _Is it lawful to forbear the preaching of some truths,
upon man's prohibition, that I may have liberty to preach the rest;
yea, and to promise beforehand to forbear them? Or to do it for the
church's peace?_

_Answ._ 1. Some truths are of so great moment and necessity, that
without them you cannot preach the gospel in a saving sort. These you
may not forbear, nor promise to forbear.

2. Some truths are such as God at that time doth call men eminently to
publish and receive (as against some heresy when it is at the very
height, or the church in greatest danger of it); or concerning some
duty which God then specially calleth men to perform (as the duty of
loyalty just in the time of a perilous rebellion, &c.) Such preaching
being a duty, must not be forborne, when it cannot be performed upon
lawful terms.

3. But some truths are controverted among good men; and some are of a
lower nature and usefulness: and concerning these I further say,

(1.) That you may not renounce them or deny them, nor subscribe to the
smallest untruth for liberty to preach the greatest truth.

(2.) But you may for the time that the church's benefit requireth it,
both forbear to preach them, and promise to forbear, both for the
church's peace, and for that liberty to preach the gospel, which you
cannot otherwise obtain. The reasons are,

1. Because it is not a duty to preach them at that time; for no duty
is a duty at all times: affirmative precepts bind not _ad semper_,
because man cannot always do them.

2. It is a sin to prefer a lesser truth or good before a greater. You
cannot speak all things at once. When you have all done, some, yea, a
thousand must be by you omitted. Therefore the less should be omitted
rather than the greater.

3. You have your office to the church's edification. Preaching is made
for man, and not man for preaching. But the church's edification
requireth you rather to preach the gospel, than that opinion or point
which you are required to forbear. Without this the hearers may be
saved, but not without the gospel.

And what a man may do and must do, he may on good occasion promise to

He that thinketh diocesans, or liturgies, or ceremonies unlawful, and
yet cannot have leave to preach the gospel (in time of need) unless he
will forbear, and promise to forbear to preach against them, may and
ought so to do and promise, rather than not to preach the gospel.

_Object._ But if men imprison or hinder me from preaching, that is
their fault; but if I voluntarily forbear any duty, it is my own

_Answ._ 1. It is to forbear a sin, and not a duty at that time; it is
no more a duty than reading, or singing, or praying at sermon time. 2.
When you are in prison, or know in all probability you shall be there,
though by other men's fault, it is your own fault if you will deny a
lawful means to avoid it: for your not preaching the gospel is then
your own sin, as well as other men's; and theirs excuseth not yours.

Quest. LXXX. _May or must a minister silenced, or forbid to preach the
gospel, go on still to preach it, against the law?_

_Answ._ Distinguish between, 1. Just silencing, and unjust. 2.
Necessary preaching, and unnecessary.

1. Some men are justly forbidden to preach the gospel: as, 1. Those
that are utterly unable, and do worse than nothing when they do it. 2.
Those that are heretics and subvert the essentials of christianity or
godliness. 3. Those that are so impious and malignant, that they turn
all against the practice of that religion which they profess; in a
word, all that do (directly) more hurt than good.

2. In some places there are so many able preachers, that some
tolerable men may be spared, if not accounted supernumeraries; and the
church will not suffer by their silence. But in other countries either
the preachers are so few, or so bad, or the people so very ignorant,
and hardened, and ungodly, or so great a number that are in deep
necessity, that the need of preaching is undeniable. And so I

1. That he that is justly silenced, and is unfit to preach, is bound
to forbear.

2. He that is silenced by just power, though unjustly, in a country
that needeth not his preaching, must forbear there, and if he can must
go into another country where he may be more serviceable.

3. Magistrates may not ecclesiastically ordain ministers or degrade
them, but only either give them liberty, or deny it them as there is

4. Magistrates are not the fountain of the ministerial office, as the
sovereign is of all the civil power of inferior magistrates; but both
offices are immediately from God.

5. Magistrates have not power from God to forbid men to preach in all
cases, nor as they please, but justly only and according to God's

6. Men be not made ministers of Christ only _pro tempore_ or on trial,
to go off again if they dislike it; but are absolutely dedicated to
God, and take their lot for better and for worse; which maketh the
Romanists say, that ordination is a sacrament (and so it may be aptly
called); and that we receive an indelible character, that is, an
obligation during life, unless God himself disable us.

7. As we are nearlier devoted and related to God, than church lands,
goods, and temples are, so the sacrilege of alienating a consecrated
person unjustly, is greater and more unquestionable than the sacrilege
of alienating consecrated houses, lands, or things. And therefore no
minister may sacrilegiously alienate himself from God and his
undertaken office and work.

8. We must do any lawful thing to procure the magistrate's licence to
preach in his dominions.

9. All men silenced or forbidden by magistrates to preach, are not
thereby obliged or warranted to forbear. For, 1. The apostles
expressly determine it, Acts iv. 19, "Whether it be better to hearken
to God rather than to you, judge ye." 2. Christ oft foretold his
servants, that they must preach against the will of rulers, and suffer
by them. 3. The apostles and ordinary ministers also for 300 years
after Christ did generally preach against the magistrate's will,
throughout the Roman empire and the world. 4. The orthodox bishops
commonly took themselves bound to preach when Arian or other heretical
emperors forbad them. 5. A moral duty of stated necessity to the
church and men's salvation is not subjected to the will of men for
order's sake: for order is for the thing ordered and for the end.
Magistrates cannot dispense with us, for not loving our neighbours, or
not showing mercy to the poor, or saving the lives of the needy in
famine and distress. Else they that at last shall hear, "I was hungry
and ye fed me not, I was naked and ye clothed me not, I was in prison
and ye visited me not," might oft say, Our parents, masters, or
magistrates forbad us. Yet a lesser moral duty may be forbidden by the
magistrate for the sake of a greater, because then it is no duty
indeed, and may be forborne if he forbid it not; as to save one man's
life, if it would prove the death of a multitude; or to save one man's
house on fire, if so doing would fire many. Therefore,

10. It is lawful and a duty to forbear some certain time or number of
sermons, prayers, or sacraments, &c. when either the present use of
them would apparently procure more hurt than good, or when the
forbearance were like to procure more good than the doing of them; for
they are all for our edification, and are made for man, and not man
for them (though for God). As if forbearing this day would procure me
liberty for many days' service afterward, &c.

11. It is not lawful at the command of man to forsake or forbear our
calling and duty, when it is to be judged necessary to the honour of
God, to the good of the church, and of men's souls; that is, when as
in Daniel's case, Dan. vi. our religion itself and our owning the true
God, doth seem suspended by the suspense of our duty; or when the
multitude of ignorant, hardened, ungodly souls, and the want of fit
men for number and quality, doth put it past controversy, that our
work is greatly necessary.

12. Those that are not immediately called by Christ as were the
apostles, but by men, being yet statedly obliged to the death when
they are called, may truly say as Paul, "Necessity is laid upon me,
and woe be to me if I preach not the gospel."[322]

13. Papists and protestants concur in this judgment. Papists will
preach when the law forbids them; and the judgment of protestants is,
among others, by Bishop Bilson of Subjection, and Bishop Andrews,
Tortur. Tort. plainly so asserted.

14. But all that are bound to preach, are not bound to do it to the
same number, nor in the same manner; as they have not the same
opportunity and call. Whether it shall be, in this place or that, to
more or fewer, at this hour or that, are not determined in Scripture,
nor alike to all.

15. The temples, tithes, and such adjuncts of worship and ministry,
are at the magistrate's disposal, and must not be invaded against his

16. Where any are obliged to preach in a forbidden, discountenanced
state, they must study to do it with such prudence, caution,
peaceableness, and obedience in all the lawful circumstantials, as may
tend to maintain peace and the honour of magistracy, and to avoid
temptations to sedition, and unruly passions.

[322] Matt, xxviii. 20; Rom. x. 14; 1 Cor. ix. 16; Acts v. 42; x. 42;
2 Tim. iv. 1, 2; Acts viii. 4, 12; xv. 35.

Quest. LXXXI. _May we lawfully keep the Lord's day as a fast?_

_Answ._ Not ordinarily; because God hath made it a day of
thanksgiving; and we must not pervert it from the use to which it was
appointed by God. But in case of extraordinary necessity, it may be
done: as, 1. In case that some great judgment call us so suddenly to
humiliation and fasting, as that it cannot be deferred to the next day
(as some sudden invasion, fire, sickness, &c.) 2. In case by
persecution the church be denied liberty to meet on any other day, in
a time when public fasting and prayer is a duty. 3. In case the people
be so poor, or servants, children, and wives be so hardly restrained,
that they cannot meet at any other time. It is lawful in such cases,
because positives give way to moral or natural duties, _cæteris
paribus_, and lesser duties unto greater: the sabbath is made for man,
and not man for the sabbath.[323]

[323] Luke vi. 5; xiii. 15; Mark ii. 27.

Quest. LXXXII. _How should the Lord's day be spent in the main?_

_Answ._ I have so far opened that in the family directions, that I
will now only say, 1. That eucharistical worship is the great work of
the day; and that it should be kept as a day of public thanksgiving
for the whole work of redemption, especially for the resurrection of
our Lord.[324]

2. And therefore the celebration of the sacrament of the Lord's supper
was always a chief part of its observation in the primitive churches:
not merely for the sacrament's sake; but because with it was still
joined all the laudatory and thanksgiving worship. And it was the
pastor's work so to pray, and praise God, and preach to the people, as
tendeth most to possess their souls with the liveliest sense of the
love of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the communion of the
Holy Spirit, on the account of our redemption.

3. Though confession of sin and humiliation must not be the chief work
of the day, yet it may and must come in, as in due subordination to
the chief. 1. Because there are usually many persons present, who are
members only of the visible church, and are not fit for the laudatory
and rejoicing part. 2. Because while we are in the flesh, our
salvation is imperfect, and so are we; and much sin still remaineth,
which must be a grief and burden to believers: and therefore while sin
is mixed with grace, repentance and sorrow must be mixed with our
thanksgivings, and we must "rejoice with trembling." And though we
"receive a kingdom which cannot be moved," yet must our "acceptable
service of God be with reverence and godly fear, because our God is a
consuming fire."[325] 3. Our sin and misery being that which we are
saved from, doth enter the definition of our salvation. And without
the sense of them, we can never know aright what mercy is, nor ever be
truly glad and thankful. But yet take heed that this subordinate duty
be not pretended, for the neglecting of that thanksgiving which is the
work of the day.

[324] Psal. xcii. 1-5; cxviii. 1-3, 15, 19, 23, 24, 27-29; Acts xx. 7,
9; Rev. i. 10; Acts xxiv. 14, 25, 26, &c.; Psal. xvi. 7-10; 1 Cor.
xvi. 1, 2.

[325] Psal. ii. 9-11; Heb. xii. 28, 29.

Quest. LXXXIII. _May the people bear a vocal part in worship, or do
any more than say, Amen?_

_Answ._ Yes:[326] the people should say Amen; that is, openly signify
their consent. But the meaning is not that they must do no more, nor
otherwise express their consent saving by that single word. For, 1.
There is no scripture which forbiddeth more. 2. The people bear an
equal part in singing the psalms; which are prayer, and praise, and
instruction. 3. If they may do so in the psalms in metre, there can no
reason be given but they may lawfully do so in the psalms in prose;
for saying them and singing them are but modes of utterance; both are
the speaking of prayer and praise to God: and the ancient singing was
liker our saying, than to our tunes, as most judge. 4. The primitive
christians were so full of the zeal and love of Christ, that they
would have taken it for an injury and a quenching of the Spirit, to
have been wholly restrained from bearing their part in the praises of
the church. 5. The use of the tongue keepeth awake the mind, and
stirreth up God's graces in his servants. 6. It was the decay of zeal
in the people that first shut out responses; while they kept up the
ancient zeal, they were inclined to take their part vocally in their
worship; and this was seconded by the pride and usurpation of some
priests thereupon, who thought the people of God too profane to speak
in the assemblies, and meddle so much with holy things.

Yet the very remembrance of former zeal, caused most churches to
retain many of the words of their predecessors, even when they lost
the life and spirit which should animate them. And so the same words
came into the liturgies, and were used by too many customarily, and in
formality, which their ancestors had used in the fervour of their

6. And if it were not that a dead-hearted, formal people, by speaking
the responses carelessly and hypocritically, do bring them into
disgrace with many that see the necessity of seriousness, I think few
good people would be against them now. If all the serious, zealous
christians in the assembly speak the same words in a serious manner,
there will appear nothing in them that should give offence. If in the
fulness of their hearts, the people should break out into such words
of prayer, or confession, or praise, it would be taken for an
extraordinary pang of zeal; and were it unusual, it would take
exceedingly. But the better any thing is, the more loathsome it
appeareth when it is mortified by hypocrisy and dead formality, and
turned into a mockery, or an affected, scenical act. But it is here
the duty of every christian to labour to restore the life and spirit
to the words, that they may again be used in a serious and holy manner
as heretofore.

7. Those that would have private men pray and prophesy in public, as
warranted by 1 Cor. xiv. "Ye may all speak," &c. do much contradict
themselves, if they say also that a layman may say nothing but Amen.

8. The people were all to say Amen in Deut. xxvii. 15, 16, 18-20, &c.
And yet they oftentimes said more. As Exod. xix. 8, in as solemn an
assembly as any of ours, when God himself gave Moses a sermon (in a
form of words) to preach to the people, and Moses had repeated it as
from the Lord, (it being the narrative of his mercies, the command of
obedience, and the promises of his great blessings upon that
condition,) "all the people answered together and said, All that the
Lord hath spoken we will do." The like was done again, Exod. xxiv. 3,
and Deut. v. 27. And lest you should think either that the assembly
was not as solemn as ours, or that it was not well done of the people
to say more than Amen, God himself who was present declared his
approbation, even of the words, when the speakers' hearts were not so
sincere in speaking them as they ought: ver. 28, 29, "And the Lord
heard the voice of your words when you spake unto me, and the Lord
said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people--They
have well said all that they have spoken. O that there were such a
heart in them--."

_Object._ But this is but a speech to Moses, and not to God.

_Answ._ I will recite to you a form of prayer which the people
themselves were to make publicly to God: Deut. xxvi. 13-15, "Then
shalt thou say before the Lord thy God, I have brought away the
hallowed things out of my house, and also have given them unto the
Levite and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow,
according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have
not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them. I
have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken away ought
thereof for any unclean use, nor given ought thereof for the dead; but
I have hearkened to the voice of the Lord my God, and have done
according to all that thou hast commanded me. Look down from thy holy
habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land
which thou hast given us, as thou swarest unto our fathers, a land
that floweth with milk and honey." Is not here a full form of prayer
to be used by all the people? And remember that Joseph and Mary, and
Christ himself, were under this law, and that you never read that
Christ found fault with the people's speech, nor spake a word to
restrain it in his churches.

In Lev. ix. 24, "When all the people saw the glory of the Lord, and
the fire that came out from it, and consumed the burnt offering, they
shouted and fell on their faces;" which was an acclamation more than
bare amen.

2 Kings xxiii. 2, 3, "King Josiah went up into the house of the Lord,
and all the men of Judah, &c. and the priests and the prophets, and
all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all
the words of the book of the covenant. And the king stood by a pillar,
and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to
keep his commandments, &c. with all their heart, and all their soul,
&c. And all the people stood to the covenant." Where, as a king is the
speaker, it is like that the people used some words to express their

1 Chron. xvi. 35, 36, when David delivered a psalm for a form of
praise: in which it is said to the people, ver. 35, "And say ye, Save
us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us
from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory
in thy praise. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for ever and ever.
All the people said, Amen, and praised the Lord." Where it is like
that their praising the Lord was more than their amen.

And it is a command, Psal. lxvii. 3, 5, "Let all the people praise
thee, O God, let all the people praise thee." And he that will limit
this to single persons, or say that it must not be vocally in the
church, or it must be only in metre and never in prose, or only in
tunes and not without, must prove it, lest he be proved an adder to
God's word.

But it would be tedious to recite all the repeated sentences in the
Psalms, which are commonly supposed to be the responses of the people,
or repeated by them. And in Rev. xiv. 2, 3, the voice as "of many
waters and as of a great thunder, and the voice of harpers harping
with their harps, who sung a new song before the throne and before the
four beasts and the elders, a song which none could learn but the
hundred forty and four thousand which were redeemed from the earth,
which were not defiled with women, who were virgins and followed the
Lamb," &c. doth seem very plainly to be spoken of the praises of all
the saints. Chap. xvii. 15, by waters is meant people, multitudes, &c.
And chap. xix. 5-8, there is expressly recited a form of praise for
all the people: "A voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our
God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the
voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying,
Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad, and
rejoice, and give honour to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is
come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her it was
granted," &c.

And indeed he that hath styled all his people "priests to God, and a
holy and royal priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable
to God by Jesus Christ, and to show forth the praises (τὰς ἀρετὰς,
the virtues) of him that hath called us out of darkness into his
marvellous light," doth seem not to take them for so profane a
generation, as to be prohibited from speaking to God in public any
otherwise than by the mouth of a priest.

And it seemeth to be more allowed (and not less) under the gospel,
than under the law; because then the people, as under guilt, were kept
at a greater distance from God, and must speak to him more by a priest
that was a type of Christ our Intercessor.[327] But now we are brought
nigh, and reconciled to God, and have the spirit of sons, and may go
by Christ alone unto the Father. And therefore though it be true that
ministers yet are sub-intercessors under Christ our High Priest, yet
they are rarely called priests, but described more in the New
Testament by other parts of their office.

_Object._ But the people's responses make a confused noise in the
assemblies, not intelligible.

_Answ._ All things are ill done, that are done by ill men that
carnally and formally slubber it over: but if the best and holiest
people would unanimously set themselves to do it, as they do in
singing psalms, so that they did not only stand by to be the hearers
of others, it would be done more orderly and spiritually, as well as
singing is.

[326] 1 Cor. xiv.; Psal. cl.; lxxxi. 2, 3; xcviii. 5; xciv. 1-3, &c.;
cv. 2, 7, &c.; cxlv. throughout; Col. iii. 16.

[327] Numb. i. 54; iii. 10, 31; Exod. xx.; Heb. iv. 16, 17; Eph. ii.
13; Heb. xii. 18, 21-23.

Quest. LXXXIV. _Is it not a sin for our clerks to make themselves the
mouth of the people, who are no ordained ministers of Christ?_

_Answ._ 1. In those places where ordained deacons do it, this
objection hath no place. 2. The clerks are not appointed to be the
mouth of the people, but only each clerk is one of the people
commanded to do that which all should do, lest it should be wholly
left undone. If all the congregation will speak all that the clerk
doth, it will answer the primary desire of the church governors, who
bid the people do it; but if they that will not do it themselves,
shall pretend that the clerk doth usurp the ministry, because he
ceaseth not as well as they; they might as well say so by a few that
should sing psalms in the church, when the rest are against it and
forbear. May not a man do his duty in singing or saying, when you
refuse yours, without pretending to be your mouth, or usurping the

Quest. LXXXV. _Are repetitions of the same words in church prayers,

_Answ._ 1. It is not lawful to affect them as the heathens, who think
they shall be heard for their battology, or saying over the same
words, as if God were moved by them, as by a charm.[328] 2. Nor is it
lawful to do that which hath a strong appearance of such a conceit,
and thereby to make God's worship ridiculous and contemptible; as the
papists in their psalters, and prayer books, repeating over the name
of Jesus, and Mary, so oft together as maketh it seem a ludicrous

But, 1. It is lawful to speak the same words from fulness and
fervency of zeal; 2. And when we are afraid to give over lest we have
not yet prevailed with God. 3. And in God's solemn praises (sung or
said) a word or sentence oft repeated sometimes hath an elegancy, and
affecting decency; and therefore it is so often used in the Psalms;
yea, and in many Scripture prayers. 4. In such cases, to bring a
serious urgency of spirit to the repeated words, and not to quarrel
with the repetitions, is the duty of one that joineth with true
christian assemblies, as a son of piety and peace.[329]

[328] Matt. vi. 18.

[329] Psal. cxxxvi.; cvii, 8, 13, 21, &c.

Quest. LXXXVI. _Is it lawful to bow at the naming of Jesus?_

_Answ._ The question either respecteth the person of Jesus, named by
any of his names, or else this name Jesus only. And that either simply
in itself considered; or else comparatively, as excluding, or not
including, other names.

1. That the person of Jesus is to be bowed to, I never knew a
christian deny.

2. That we may lawfully express our reverence by bowing, when the
names, God, Jehovah, Jesus Christ, &c. are uttered, I have met with
few christians who deny, nor know I any reason to deny it.

3. Had I been fit to have prescribed directions to other ministers or
churches, I would not have persuaded, much less commanded, them to bow
at the name of Jesus, any more than at the name of God, Jehovah,
Christ, &c. for many reasons which the reader may imagine, though I
will not now mention them.

4. But if I live and join in a church where it is commanded and
peremptorily urged to bow at the name of Jesus, and where my not doing
it would be divisive, scandalous, or offensive, I will bow at the name
of God, Jehovah, Jesus, Christ, Lord, &c. one as well as the other;
seeing it is not bowing at Christ's name that I scruple, but the
consequents of seeming to distinguish and prefer that name alone
before all the rest.[330]

[330] Mic. vi. 6; Jer. xxiii. 27; Isa. lii. 5, 6; xxix. 24; xlii. 8,
9; Psal. ii. 10, 11; Phil. ii. 2, 9-12; Psal. xxxiv. 3; lxvi. 2;
lxviii. 4; lxxii. 19; lxxvi. 1, 2; xcvi. 2; c. 4; cxi. 9; cxlviii. 13;
cxlix. 3; Isa. ix. 6, 7; xii. 4; Psal. cxxxviii. 2, 3; Rev. xv. 4; 1
Chron. xxix. 20; 2 Chron. xxix. 30.

Quest. LXXXVII. _Is it lawful to stand up at the gospel as we are

_Answ._ 1. Had I been a prescriber to others myself, I should not have
required the church to stand up at the reading of one part of a
chapter by the name of the gospel, and not at the same words when the
whole chapter is read.

2. But if I live where rulers peremptorily command it, (I suppose not
forbidding us to stand up at the gospel read in chapters, but
selecting this as an instance of their signified consent to the
gospel, who will do no more,) I would obey them rather than give
offence, by standing up at the reading of the chapters and all; which
I suppose will be no violation of their laws.

Quest. LXXXVIII. _Is it lawful to kneel when the decalogue is read?_

_Answ._ 1. If I lived in a church that mistook the commandments for
prayers, as many ignorant people do, I would not so harden them in
that error. 2. And if I knew that many of the people present are of
that mind, I had rather do nothing that might scandalize or harden
them in it.

But, 1. That the thing in itself is lawful, is past doubt: as we may
kneel to the king when we hear him or speak to him; so it is lawful to
kneel to God, when we read a chapter or hear it read, and specially
the decalogue so terribly delivered, and written by his own finger in
stone. 2. And if it be peremptorily commanded, and the omission would
be offensive, I would use it though mistaking persons are present,
(1.) Because I cannot disobey, and also differ from the whole
assembly, without a greater hurt and scandal, than seeming to harden
that mistaking person. (2.) And because I could and would by other
means remove that person's danger, as from me, by making him know that
it is no prayer. (3.) And the rather in our times, because we can get
the minister in the pulpit publicly to tell the people the contrary.
(4.) And in catechising it is his appointed duty so to do. (5.) And we
find that the same old silly people who took the commandments for a
prayer, took the creed to be so too; when yet none kneeled at the
creed; by which it appeareth that it is not kneeling which deceived

Quest. LXXXIX. _What gestures are fittest in all the public worship?_

_Answ._ 1. The customs of several countries, putting several
significations on gestures, much varieth the case.

2. We must not lightly differ from the customs of the churches where
we live in such a thing.

3. According to the present state of our churches, and the
signification of gestures, and the necessities of men's bodies, all
considered, I like best, (1.) To kneel in prayer and confession of sin
(unless it be in crowded congregations where there is not room). (2.)
To stand up in actions of mere praise to God, that is, at the singing
and reading of the psalms of praise, and at the other hymns. (3.) To
sit at the hearing of the word read and preached (because the body
hath a necessity of some rest).

4. Had I my choice, I would receive the Lord's supper sitting; but
where I have not, I will use the gesture which the church useth. And
it is to be noted that the church of England requireth the communicant
only to receive it kneeling; but not to eat or drink it kneeling when
they have received it. The ancient churches took it for a universal
custom, established by many general councils, (and continued many
hundred years,) that no churches should kneel in any act of adoration
upon any Lord's day in the year, or any week day between Easter and
Whitsuntide; but only stand all the time. But because the weariness of
the body is apt to draw the mind into consent, and make God's service
burdensome to us, it seemeth a sufficient compliance with their custom
and the reasons of it, if we stand up only in acts of praise (and at
the profession of our assent to the christian faith and

5. And because there is so great a difference between the auditors in
most assemblies, some being weak and not able to stand long, &c.
therefore it is utterly unmeet to be too rigorous in urging a
uniformity of gesture, or for any to be too censorious of other men
for a gesture.

[331] 1 Chron. xvii. 16; 2 Sam. vii. 17.

Quest. XC. _What if the pastor and church cannot agree about singing
psalms, or what version or translation to use, or time or place of
meeting, &c.?_

[Sidenote: I meddle not here with the magistrate's part.]

_Answ._ 1. It is the office of the pastor to be the guide and ruler in
such things, (when the magistrate interposeth not,) and the people
should obey him. 2. But if the pastor injure the church by his
misguidance and mal-administration, he ought to amend and give them
satisfaction; and if he do not, they have their remedy before
mentioned. 3. And if the people be obstinate in disobedience upon
causeless quarrels, the pastor must first labour to convince them by
reason and love, and his authority; and if no means will bring them to
submission, he must consider whether it be better as to the public
good of the church of Christ that he comply with them, and suffer
them, or that he depart and go to a more tractable people; and
accordingly he is to do. For they cannot continue together in
communion if one yield not to the other: usually or ofttimes it will
be better to leave such an obdurate, self-willed people, lest they be
hardened by yielding to them in their sin, and others encouraged in
the like by their example; and their own experience may at last
convince them, and make them yield to better things, as Geneva did
when they revoked Calvin. But sometimes the public good requireth that
the pastor give place to the people's folly, and stay among them, and
rather yield to that which is not best, (so it be otherwise lawful,)
as a worse translation, a worse version, liturgy, order, time, place,
&c. than quite forsake them. And he that is in the right, may in that
case yield to him that is in the wrong, in point of practice.

Quest. XCI. _What if the pastor excommunicate a man, and the people
will not forbear his communion, as thinking him unjustly

_Answ._ 1. Either the pastor or the people are in the error. 2. Either
the person is a dangerous heretic, or grossly wicked, or not. 3.
Either the people do own the error or sin, for which he is
excommunicated, or only judge the person not guilty. 4. The pastor's
and the people's part in the execution must be distinguished. And so I

1. That if the pastor err and wrong the people, he must repent and
give them satisfaction; but if it be their error and obstinacy, then,
2. If the pastor foreknow that the people will dissent, in some small
dispensable cases he may forbear to excommunicate one that deserveth
it; or if he know it after, that they will not forbear communion with
the person, he may go on in his office, and be satisfied that he hath
discharged his own duty, and leave them under the guilt of their own
faults. 3. But if it be an intolerable wickedness or heresy, (as
Arianism, Socinianism, &c.) and the people own the error or sin as
well as the person, the pastor is then to admonish them also, and by
all means to endeavour to bring them to repentance; and if they remain
impenitent to renounce communion with them and desert them. 4. But if
they own not the crime, but only think the person injured, the pastor
must give them the proof for their satisfaction; and if they remain
unsatisfied, he may proceed in his office as before.

Quest. XCII. _May a whole church, or the greater part, be

_Answ._ 1. To excommunicate is by ministerial authority to pronounce
the person unmeet for christian communion, as being under the guilt of
impenitence in heinous sin; and to charge the church to forbear
communion with him, and avoid him, and to bind him over to the bar of

2. The pastor of a particular church may pronounce all the church
uncapable of christian communion and salvation till they repent, e. g.
If they should all be impenitent Arians, Socinians, blasphemers, &c.
for he hath authority, and they deserve it. But he hath no church that
he is pastor of, whom he can command to avoid them. 3. The neighbour
pastors of the churches about them, may, upon full proof, declare to
their own churches, that such a neighbour church that is fallen to
Arianism, &c. is unmeet for christian communion and to be owned as a
church of Christ; and therefore charge their flocks not to own them,
nor to have occasional communion with their members when they come
among them. For there is authority, and a meet object, and necessity
for so doing; and therefore it may be done. 4. But a single pastor of
another church may not usurp authority over any neighbour church, to
judge them and excommunicate them, where he hath neither call nor full
proof, as not having had opportunity to admonish them all, and try
their repentance.[332] Therefore the pope's excommunications are
rather to be contemned, than regarded. 5. Yet if many churches turn
heretics notoriously, one single neighbour pastor may renounce their
communion, and require his flock for to avoid them all. 6. And a
pastor may as lawfully excommunicate the major part of his church, by
charging the minor part to avoid them, as he may do the minor part;
except that accidentally the inconveniences of a division may be so
great, as to make it better to forbear; and so it may oft fall out
also, if it were the minor part.

[332] 2 John 10, 11; 3 John 9, 10; Rev. ii. 5, 16; iii. 5, 6, 15.

Quest. XCIII. _What if a church have two pastors, and one
excommunicate a man, and the other absolve him, what shall the church
and the dissenter do?_

_Answ._ It was such cases that made the churches of old choose
bishops, and ever have but one bishop in one church. But, 1. He that
is in the wrong is first bound to repent and yield to the other. 2. If
he will not, the other in a tolerable ordinary case may for peace give
way to him, though not consent to his injurious dealing. 3. In a
dubious case they should both forbear proceeding till the case be
cleared. 4. In most cases, each party should act according to his own
judgment, if the counsel of neighbour pastors be not able to reconcile
them. And the people may follow their own judgments, and forbear
obeying either of them formally till they agree.

Quest. XCIV. _For what sins may a man be denied communion, or
excommunicated? Whether for impenitence in every little sin; or for
great sin without impenitence?_

_Answ._ 1. I have showed before that there is a suspension which is
but a forbearance of giving a man the sacrament, which is only upon an
accusation till his cause be tried; and an innocent person may be
falsely accused, and so tried.

2. Some sins may be of so heinous scandal, that if the person repent
of them this day, his absolution and reception may be delayed till the
scandal be removed. 1. Because the public good is to be preferred
before any man's personal good. 2. And the churches, or enemies about,
cannot so suddenly know of a man's repentance. If they hear of a man's
murder, perjury, or adultery to-day, and hear that he is absolved
to-morrow, they will think that the church consisteth of such, or that
it maketh very light of sin. Therefore the ancient churches delayed
and imposed penances, partly to avoid such scandal. 3. And partly
because that some sins are so heinous, that a sudden profession is not
a sufficient evidence of repentance, unless there be also some
evidence of contrition.

3. But ordinarily no man ought to be excommunicated for any sin
whatsoever, unless impenitence be added to the sin.[333] Because he is
first to be admonished to repent, Matt. xviii. 15, 16; Tit. iii. 10.
And repentance is the gospel condition of pardon to believers.

4. A man is not to be excommunicated for every sin which he repenteth
not of. Because, 1. Else all men should be excommunicated. For there
are in all men some errors about sin and duty, and so some sins which
men cannot yet perceive to be sin. 2. And ministers are not
infallible, and may take that for a sin which is no sin, and so should
excommunicate the innocent. 3. And daily unavoidable infirmities,
though repented of, yet awaken not the soul sometimes to a notable
contrition; nor are they fit matter for the church's admonition.[334]
A man is not to be called openly to repentance before the church for
every idle word, or hour.

4. Therefore to excommunication these two must concur: 1. A
heinousness in the sin. 2. Impenitence after due admonition and

[333] Luke xiii. 3, 5; Acts ii. 37-39, &c.

[334] Gal. vi. 1-4; James iii. 1-3.

Quest. XCV. _Must the pastors examine the people before the

_Answ._ 1. Regularly they should have sufficient notice after they
come to age that they own their baptismal covenant, and that they have
that due understanding of the sacrament and the sacramental work, and
such a christian profession as is necessary to a due participation.

2. But this is fitliest done at their solemn transition out of their
infant church state into their adult: and it is not necessarily to be
done every time they come to the Lord's table (unless the person
desire help for his own benefit); but only once, before their first
communicating: if it be the satisfaction of the pastor or church that
is intended by it.

Quest. XCVI. _Is the sacrament of the Lord's supper a converting

_Answ._ You must distinguish, 1. Between the conversion of infidels
without the church, and of hypocrites within it. 2. Between the
primary and the secondary intention of the institutor. 3. Between the
primary duty of the receiver, and the event. And so I conclude,

1. That God did not command ministers to give infidels the Lord's
supper to convert them to christianity.

2. He requireth us to give it to none but those that profess
themselves converted from infidelity and a state of wickedness, and to
none that profess not true saving faith and repentance.

3. God never commanded or allowed any infidel to demand or receive it
to his conversion.

4. God commandeth the pastors of the church to deliver it to
hypocrites, (who at the heart are infidels, or impenitent and
ungodly,) if they profess faith and repentance, and desire or require

5. There is much in the nature of the sacrament, which tendeth to the
conversion of a hypocrite.

6. And God often blesseth it to the conversion of hypocrites; so that
it may thence be said to be his secondary intention.

7. But yet he that knoweth himself to be a mere hypocrite, or void of
saving faith and repentance, should not come first and immediately to
the sacrament, to be converted by it; but should first so long hear,
read, meditate, and pray, till he repent and believe, and his heart
consent to the covenant of God; and then he should come with penitent
contrition, and solemnly renew his covenant in this sacrament, and
there receive a sealed pardon.

[335] Luke x