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Title: A Vindication of the Presbyteriall-Government and Ministry
Author: Assembly, Elders of the London Provinciall, Ministers
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Vindication of the Presbyteriall-Government and Ministry" ***

Transcriber's Note

The text includes a large number of marginal notes that are printed in
small font and are sometimes unclear. They have been converted into
footnotes or (if they comprise general descriptions of a passage) into
sidenotes. A footnote may refer to the following, rather than
preceding, word or phrase. If so the footnote anchor has been
positioned accordingly.

Many of the paragraphs are numbered according to a complex scheme.
Only on one page are they indented. While the numbering has been
retained the indenting has been removed.

Apparent typographical errors, and inconsistencies in hyphenation,
have been corrected. Superscripts and one word in spaced-out text have
been rendered in ordinary font. Small capitals have been converted to
ordinary capitals. Italics are indicated by _underscores_.

Greek accents are often unclear and (apart from rough-breathing marks)
have been omitted.

The error noted at the end of the text has been incorporated.





With an Exhortation, to all the Ministers, Elders, and People, within
the Bounds of the Province of LONDON, whether joyning with Us, or
separating from Us.

_Published, By the Ministers, and Elders, met together in a
Provinciall Assembly_, Novemb. 2d. 1649.

Wherein, amongst other things, these ensuing particulars are contained:

  1. _That there is a Church-Government, by_ Divine Right.
  2. _That the_ Magistrate, _is not the_ Fountain _of_
  3. _That the_ Presbyterial-Government, _is by_ Divine Right.
  4. _The_ Inconveniencies _of the_ Congregationall-_way_.
  5. _That the_ Ruling-Elder _is by_ Divine Right.
  6. _That it is the will of_ Jesus Christ, _that all sorts of persons
     should give an account of their_ Faith, _to the_ Minister, _and_
     Elders, _before admission to the_ Lords Supper; _together with_
     Answers, _to the usuall_ Objections _made against it_.
  7. Directions _to the_ Elders _for the right managing of their_ Office.
  8. Directions _to such as are admitted to the_ Lords Supper, _for the
     right sanctifying of_ Gods Name, _in that_ Ordinance, & _for their
     carriage one towards another_.
  9. Rules _to preserve_ People, _from the_ Errours _of these_ Times.
 10. _That_ Separation _from our_ Churches, _is justly charged with_
 11. _That_ Ministers _formerly ordained by_ Bishops, _need no new_
 12. _The Necessity and usefulness of_ Catechizing.

Licensed, Entred, and Printed according to Order.

_London_, Printed for _C. Meredith_, at the _Crane_ in _Pauls_
Church-yard, 1650.


_It hath been the chief stratagem of the adversaries of the Church, in
all Ages, to erect a_ throne _for themselves, in the hearts of people,
by casting reproaches and slanders upon the_ Doctrine, Government,
_and_ Godly Ministers _of_ Jesus Christ. _In the old Testament, when
the Jewes came first out of_ Babylon, _and began to build the second
Temple of_ Jerusalem, _their enemies most falsly, and maliciously,
suggested to King_ Artaxerxes, [1]That the City of Jerusalem, was a
rebellious City, and hurtful unto Kings and Provinces, and that they
had moved sedition within the same, of old time, _&c._ _And thereby
caused the work of the house of God, to cease for many years. And in
the New Testament, when the Holy Ghost came down from Heaven in a most
miraculous manner, for the_ solemn inauguration of Christian Religion;
_and when the Apostles were filled with the_ Holy Spirit, _even then,
they were charged to be_ full of new wine. _And in after-times, the
slanderous accusations of the_ Heathen _Idolaters against the_
Christians, _are observed to have been one of the chiefest causes of
the_ ten bloudy Persecutions, _raised up against them by the_ Romane
Emperours. _And this was that which forced the Godly-learned of those
days, to write_ Apologies, _in defence of_ Christians, and Christian

_To come neerer to our own times; when the Protestant Religion began
to be re-established (after the bloudy times of Queen_ Mary) _it was
loaded with so many infamous lyes, and malicious falsities, That_
Reverend and learned Jewell, _was compelled to write an_ Apologie[3]
_for it; for which, he will be famous in the Churches, to all
Posterity. And even in our dayes, when it pleased God, out of his
infinite goodness, to lay a_ foundation _of a glorious_ Reformation in
Church-Discipline, _in this Kingdom, and to raise up the hearts of
many_ Godly Ministers, _and others, to contribute their utmost help
for the perfecting of it, Then did a Generation of men rise up, who
made it their great design to pour out flouds of reproaches, and
calumnies, upon both Government, and Ministers. First, they represent
the Government unto the people, as_ absolutely destructive _unto the_
civill State, _to the_ liberties _both of their soules and bodies, and
as unsufferable in a_ free Kingdom. _And then the_ Ministers _that
assert it, as men that seek to ingross_ all power _into their own
hands, as the chief_ Incendiaries _of Church and State, and as the
causes of all the miseries, that have of late years come upon the
three Kingdoms._

_And therefore, We,_ Ministers and Elders _met together, by the
Authority of Parliament, in the Provincial Assembly of the Province
of_ London, _considering with our selves, what way we might be
serviceable in this great work of_ Reformation, _have thought it our
duties to wipe off those_ foul aspersions, _that are cast upon it, and
upon those who have been active for it; and to dispel the mists and
fogs, which have so long darkened the glorious Sun-shine of this
blessed Reformation._

_And because we also find, that there are many, who doubt, whether
there be any particular_ Church-government _prescribed in the Word;
and if so, whether it be the_ Presbyterial, _or_ Congregationall. _And
others that question the lawfulness of_ Ruling-Elders, _and of their
joynt power, with the_ Minister, _to examine those that are admitted
to the Sacrament of the Lords Supper; Therefore, we have also thought
it most necessary for us to search into the Word, and to deliver our
judgments in all these particulars._

_And further, because we observe with grief of heart, that sin and
iniquity abounds, and many separate from our Congregations, and run
head-long into heretical, and soul-damning opinions; And those that do
joyn with us in the_ Presbyteriall Government, _both Ministers,
Elders, and People, meet with many discouragements, and may (possibly)
grow faint, and weary and neglective of their duties: Therefore, We
have also thought our selves obliged, to our_ Vindication, _to adde
an_ Exhortation, _unto all Ministers, Elders, and People, within the
bounds of our Province, whether joyning with us, or separating from

_The work (we acknowledge) is very weighty, and difficult; and the
times wherein we live, are very perillous, in which men are made_
Offenders for a word; _Provincial Assemblies (as now constituted) are
new, and strange with us, weak in power, and of no repute with many;
suspected by some, as likely to prove prejudiciall to the Kingdom; and
by others, to the liberty of Congregations. And the judgments and
consciences of most people, are so prepossessed with prejudices and
self-interest, as that we cannot but expect, that this_ our first
expression of our selves, _will meet with much opposition, and
contradiction. Some will not vouchsafe to read it; Others will read
it, and contemn it; Others will mock and scoff at it. But our comfort
is, the Testimony of our Consciences. That the grounds of this our
present undertaking, are neither_ pragmaticalness of spirit, _nor to_
vent _our own_ spleen, _in aspersing others; nor_ affectation of
domination _over others; nor to blow the Trumpet to new troubles. But
our ends and ayms, herein, sincerely are_, That the truths of Christ
may be vindicated, the Government of the Lord Jesus advanced, the
power of Godliness exalted, the credit of the Godly Ministry repaired,
the unity of the Spirit gained, and kept in the bond of peace, That
our Congregations may be purged, purity of Ordinances promoted,
divisions healed, breaches made up, stumbling blocks removed; That
those who stand may be established, the weak & feeble strengthened,
the seduced may be converted from the errour of their wayes and
repent, to the acknowledgment of the truth; That languishing gifts and
graces, may be quickened and increased; That a through Reformation
(according to our solemn Covenant) may be really endeavoured; That no
means of edification, may by Us be neglected; That we may keep our
selves pure from the bloud of all men: That the Kingdome of our Lord
and Saviour may be inlarged, and God in all things glorified.

_We confess, it is hardly possible, to wipe off the dirt cast upon us,
but some of it will necessarily light upon those that cast it; (and it
is fit, that they, that unjustly besmear others, should have their own
filthiness impartially discovered) yet notwithstanding, we have
purposely avoided, as much as may be, all personall reflections, and
have waved the answering of some objections made against us, lest in
answering to them, we should give occasion, to those that seek
occasion. And we doubt not (however others may be transported with
passion, or prejudice) but this endeavour of ours, which so much
concerns the preservation of Religion, Truth, Godliness, and Ministry
from ruine and destruction, will be acceptable, to all sober, and
unbyassed Christians._

_We shall begin with our_ Vindication, _and therein first assert
Church-Government, by Divine Right; and then clear up the_
Presbyteriall Government, _and_ Ministry; _and represent them unto
you, in their native colours; and afterwards proceed to our_


The externall Government and Discipline of _Christ_, (though it be not
necessary to the being, yet it) is absolutely necessary to the
well-being of a Church: So necessary, as that we cannot but be deeply
affected with grief and sorrow, when we consider how long the through
setling of it hath been delayed, (notwithstanding the Covenant we have
taken, with hands lifted up to heaven, to endeavor a reformation in
point of Discipline) and cannot but conceive it to be one chief reason
of all the miseries that are now upon us; because those that have been
in Authority amongst us, have laboured to build their own houses, and
have suffered the house of God to lye waste. If _Nehemiah_ sate down
and wept, and mourned certain days, because the _wall of Jerusalem was
broken down_, &c. Much more have we cause to mourn, that the _wall of
Zion is not yet reared up_; for as a _City without walls_, _a Sea
without banks_, _a vineyard without a hedge_, so is a Church without
Discipline, and he that shall consider the multitude of Heresies and
Blasphemies, the abundance of iniquities and abominations, that have
crowded into the Church, whilest this wall hath been unbuilt, and this
hedge unmade; cannot but take up the lamentation of _David_[4], though
with a little difference,----_Why hast thou suffered thy Vineyard to
be without a hedge, so that all they which do passe by pluck her. The
Boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild Beasts of the field
devour it. Return, we beseech thee, O Lord of Hosts; look down from
Heaven, and behold and visit this Vine, and the Vineyard which thy
right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for
thy self_, &c. And likewise to pray the prayer of the same Prophet in
another place[5], _Do good in thy good pleasure to Zion, and build
thou the walls of Jerusalem_.

The differences, we confess, about this wall, are very many, and so
many, as that it would require a large Volume to treat of them; and it
cannot be denyed, but these differences have been the great apple of
strife for these many years: And although it be our design (as we have
said) to heal and make up the breaches of this wofully divided Church,
and not to widen and increase them; yet notwithstanding, we cannot
without prejudice to the truth, to our selves, and to our respective
Congregations, but give the world some short account of _two opinions_
about Church-Government.

There are some, that although they have taken a _Covenant_, to
endeavour the Reformation of the _Church_ in Discipline, according to
the _Word_, yet are not afraid to say; That there is _no particular
Church-Government_ set down in the _Word_; that the _Christian
Magistrate_ is the _Fountain_ of all _Church-power_, and that to
assert a _jus divinum_ of _Church-Government_, is _destructive_ to all
political Government. Now though this Opinion prevail much
with _State-Divines_, and with Christians that study _worldly-policy_,
more then _Scripture simplicity_; And though it be likely (if God
prevent not) to swallow up in a short time, all other Opinions about
_Church Government_: And though the asserting of a _jus divinum_ in
_Church-Discipline_, be with some men, _the only heresie not to be
tolerated_, and more hated, then the _abomination of desolation_,
standing in the holy place, was by the Jews; yet notwithstanding, we
hold it our duties, especially in these times, to make it known to
all our respective Congregations.

1. _That Jesus Christ, as King and Head of his Church, hath appointed
a particular Government in his Church._

2. _That the Christian Magistrate, is not the originall of Church
Government._ Which two particulars, we shall endeavour with great
brevity and perspicuity, to make out unto all unprejudiced Christians.
And first.

1. _That there is a particular Church-Government by divine right_: not
that we think, that every _circumstance_ in _Church Government_ is set
down precisely in the _Word_, or is of _divine right_ in a strict
sence: But this we say, That the _substantials and essentials_, are
recorded particularly in the Word by Christ, the King of his Church,
and are unalterable by any State whatsoever; And that the
_circumstantials_ are set down under generall rules, sufficient for
the ordering of them; and that therefore, even they also in a large
sence may be said to be of a _divine right_. Now this we shall
endeavour to prove by these ensuing Arguments.

1. _From the fulness, and sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures._ The
_Apostle Paul_ saith, that his first Epistle to _Timothy_[6], was
written, _To teach him how to behave himself in the house of God,
which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of
truth_. And in his second Epistle[7] he tels us; _That the holy
Scriptures are able to make the man of God perfect, throughly
furnished unto all good works_. Now to know how to govern the Church,
is one of the great works that belong to the Minister: And therefore,
to say, that this is not recorded in Scripture, is to make the holy
Scripture a rule _defective, and ineffectuall for the end for which it
was written_, and to cast a very great _reproach and dishonour upon
it_. And surely, if some substantiall parts of Church-Government, are
exprest in the Word (as few will deny) then (as we conceive) all of
them of necessity must be expressed, or else the Word should not be
able to attain its end; which to affirm, is no small errour: And for
our parts, we cannot conceive any reason to induce us to believe, that
the _Holy Ghost_ should set down in the Word, some of the
_substantials of Church-Goverment_, as binding and unalterable unto
the end of the World, and leave other things as _substantiall_ as
they, _arbitrary and alterable_, according to the will and pleasure of
the _Christian Magistrate_.

2. _From the excellency of the Kingly Office of Jesus Christ_; For
_Christ Jesus_ is the only _King_ of his Church, governing it not only
inwardly, and invisibly, by the working of his Spirit; but outwardly
also, and visibly, as it is a visible, politicall, and ministeriall
body, in which he hath appointed his own proper [8]_Ambassadors_,
[9]_Assemblies_, [10]_Lawes_, [11]_Ordinances_, and [12]_Censures_, to
be administred in his name, and according to his own way. As a King of
this politicall and ministeriall Church, he _breathed on his
Disciples, and said, Receive the Holy Ghost, whose sins ye remit, they
are remitted unto them; and whose sins ye retain, they are retained_.
As a King of this visible Church, he said unto his Apostles, _All
power is given to me in Heaven, and in Earth; Go ye therefore, and
teach all Nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo I am with you alway, even unto
the end of the world_. As a King of the same Church, he gave gifts to
men, when he ascended up to heaven, [13]_some to be Apostles, some
Prophets, and some Evangelists, and some Pastors and Teachers_. As a
King, he now sits at Gods right hand, and is made Head over all things
to his Church; which Church is called the house of God; and who should
appoint Orders for the Government of the House, but the _Lord of the
house_? And to say, that he hath not ordained how his house should be
governed, is [14]to make the Master less faithfull in his own house,
then his Servant _Moses_ was; which Church is _Christs Vineyard_,
_Christs Garden_, and can we think Christ so negligent, as not to
appoint a hedge to fence his Vineyard, and a wall to preserve his
Garden? which Church is a spirituall _Republique_. And shall we deny
that to _Christ_ in the Government of his Kingdome, which we grant
unto all Earthly _Monarchs_? Shall we say, That Christ hath ordained
no Laws, by which his Kingdome shall be governed; no Censures, by
which his rebellious subjects shall be punished; no Officers to
dispence those censures? This is a high defamation to Jesus Christ,
and his _Kingly Office_.

3. _From the immediate, and proper end of Church Government_, which is
not only matter of order and decency, but spiritual and supernatural,
being appointed for the [15]_Edification of the body of Christ in
grace unto glory_; and more particularly, for the _gaining of an
offending brother unto repentance, and for the saving of his soul in
the day of the Lord Jesus_. Now this is a certain rule, _whatsoever
hath a spiritual efficacy, must of necessity have a divine originall_;
_humane institutions_ can but produce humane effects: And therefore,
seeing Church Government is designed for divine and supernaturall
ends, it must of necessity, plead its originall from God himself.

4. We argue from an enumeration of the substantials of
Church-Government. The Word of God declares unto us, That there are
_Church-officers_, and who they are, _viz._, [16]_Pastors and
Teachers_, [17]_Ruling-Elders, and_ [18]_Deacons_; And how they are to
be [19]_qualified_ for, and [20]_externally called_ unto their
respective Offices, together with all the Ministerial duties in those
Offices, by them to be performed respectively; as [21]_publike
prayer_, the _Ministry of the Word_, [22]_by reading and_
[23]_preaching_, the [24]blessing of the people in the name of the
Lord, [25]_Administration of the Sacraments_, [26]_Censures_ and
[27]distribution of Alms. The Scripture also tells us of a [28]Church,
consisting of no more then can conveniently meet in one place to
partake in all the Ordinances of publike Worship: and of [29]a Church
consisting of divers congregations. The Scripture also speaks of
[30]Synods, with Ecclesiasticall Authority, together with the
[31]subordination of the lesser, to the greater, and appeals
thereunto. Now all these are the substantials of Church Government,
and are sufficiently set down in the Word, as may partly appear by the
quotations in the Margent, and shall further appear by what we shall
say afterwards. And more then these, and such as are necessarily
included in these, are not (as we humbly conceive) substantials in the
outward Government of the Church. The rest are circumstantialls, for
which Christ hath given general rules sufficient to direct the Church
in the ordering of them, and from which therefore she may not depart.
These rules are set down, 1 Cor. 14.26, 40. _Let all things be done
unto edifying, decently and in order_, 1 Cor. 10.31, 32. _Do all to
the glory of God_, &c. Rom. 14.19. _Let us therefore follow after the
things that make for peace_, &c.

The second thing, which with the like brevity and perspicuity, we
shall endeavour to evidence unto you, is, _That the Christian
Magistrate, is not the Fountain and Origin of Church-Government_. The
former assertion, gave unto _God_, the things which were _Gods_; and
this doth not at all take away from _Cæsar_, the things that are
_Cæsars_: For we freely acknowledg, that _Magistracy_ is an
_Ordinance of God_, appointed for the great good of mankind; so that,
whoever are enemies to _Magistracy_, are enemies to _mankind_, and
[32]to the _revealed Will of God_. We desire to hold up the honour and
greatness, the power and authority of lawful Magistracy, against
Papists, Anabaptists, and all others, that despise dominion, and speak
evil of dignities. We say, that the Magistrate is, in a civil notion,
the supream Governor in all causes Ecclesiastical; the [33]keeper of
both tables; [34]the nursing father of the Church: [35]that it belongs
to him, by his Political power, to reform the Church, when corrupted;
to preserve it, when reformed; to suppresse blasphemy, idolatry,
heresie, schisme, and prophanenesse, and whatsoever is contrary to
godlinesse and sound doctrine; that the people under him, may lead a
quiet life, in all godlinesse and honesty. [36]That he is sent of God
for the punishment of evil doers (amongst which, are heretiques, as
well as others, and therefore called evil workers; and heresies, evil
deeds, _Phil._ 3.2. 2 ep. _Joh._ ver. 11.) and for the praise of them
that do well. That he is the [37]_Bishop of those things that are
without the Church; as_ Constantine _stiled himself_. That to him
belongs to punish Church-Officers, with civil punishments, when they
abuse their power; and to give protection to the publique exercise of
Church-Government, within his dominions.

But yet, notwithstanding all this, we affirm, That though the
Magistrate be a _nursing father_ of the _Church_, yet he is not the
_begetting father_; That the _Magistrate_, as a _Magistrate_, is no
_Church-Officer_, neither are the keyes of the Kingdom of heaven
committed unto him. Neither did Christ ever say to the _Kings of the
Earth; whose sins you remit, shall be remitted; and whose sins you
retain, shall be retained; and whatsoever you shall binde on earth,
shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose on earth,
shall be loosed in heaven._ Neither is the offended brother directed
to tell the civil Magistrate, but to tell the Church. Neither doth it
belong to him to preach the Word, or to administer the Sacraments.
Neither is he, as a Magistrate, seated by Christ in his Church, but is
to be subject to the Church in all spiritual things, as a member
thereof. Neither is it in his power to appoint what Government he
please in the Church; no more then what Religion he please. And this
we prove:

1. Because _Jesus Christ_ (as hath been already shewed) hath appointed
a _particular Church-Government in his Word_, to be observed by all
Kingdoms and States immutably, and unalterably, for the substantials
of it.

2. Because the _Church of Christ had a Government within it self for
300 years before it had a Christian Magistrate_. The Scripture tells
us, that the Church, in the Apostles dayes, had power to meet for
ordering Church-affairs, for excommunicating scandalous offenders, and
obstinate heretiques. And this power was not derived to them, from the
_Magistrate_, being then Heathen; nor were they Traytors and Rebels
against the State, in challenging this power. And when the
_Magistrate_, afterwards, became Christian, the Church did not lose
that power which it had before, when he was heathen. For the truth is,
when a _heathen Magistrate becomes a Christian, he doth not acquire
more Authority over the Church of Christ, then he had before, no more
then a heathen husband converted, doth over his wife, which he
married, when unconverted_. A Magistrate, by becoming Christian, is
better inabled to do service to Christ, and his right is sanctified to
him; but his _Authority_ is no greater then it was before.

3. Because the power of the Magistrate, in reference to the power of
the Church, is not _privative_ of the Churches power, but _cumulative_
and _additional_. For if it were otherwise, then the condition of the
Church should be worse under a _Constantine_, then under a _Nero_;
under a _Christian Magistrate_, then under a _Heathen_; which is
contrary to all those Scriptures, which tell us [38]what glorious
advantages the Church should have, by the Magistrates becoming
Christian; and that the Magistrate shall bring honour and glory to the
new _Jerusalem_, and not take away that power that properly belongs to
the new _Jerusalem_.

4. Because that this assertion, denyeth an _intrinsecall power_ to the
Church, to preserve it self in unity, to purge out spiritual
defilements, and to take care for its own preservation against
_Church-destroying enemies, and iniquities_; which makes the
happinesse of the Church wholly to depend upon the civil Magistrate;
and is contrary, not only to the nature of the Church[39], but of all
other _societies_, which have a _power_ within themselves, of
_self-preservation_; and is contrary to the experience of former ages,
which tell us, _That the Church of Christ did flourish more in truth
and holinesse_, (though not in wealth and honours,) _whilest it was
under Heathen persecuting Emperours, then afterwards_. From the
Apostles, even unto the dregs of our time, the Church of Christ, both
in its infancy and fuller growth, increased by persecutions, and was
crowned by Martyrdoms: But after it had Christian Princes, indeed it
was greater in power and riches, but lesse in piety, saith

5. Because that this opinion, _That the Magistrate is the Fountain of
all Church-power, derives upon the Christian Magistrate most of that
power, which the Pope did formerly most unjustly and tyrannically
usurp over the Churches of Jesus Christ_; and thereby makes the
Christian Magistrate to become a _Political Pope_, and sets up a
_civil Antichrist_ instead of a spiritual, for one great part of
_Antichristianisme_ consisteth in the Popes making himself to be the
_Original of all spiritual jurisdiction_.

And thus we have given you a short account of the first opinion; and
we do beseech you, in the Name of our _Lord Jesus Christ_, that you
would weigh what we have said, in the ballance of the Sanctuary; &
that you would look upon Church-Government, as an Ordinance of God,
flowing unto you in the bloud of Christ, and as part of his _Kingly
Office_; That you would allow of no _Church-officers_, or _Offices_,
that have not a _divine stamp_ upon them, accounting them guilty of a
_spiritual Præmunire_, that will undertake an office in the Church, if
there cannot be shewed a _Scripture-warrant_ for it; and that you
would submit unto it for conscience sake.

The second opinion, is of those, that will confesse a _particular
Church-Government by divine right_; but say, that this is not the
_Presbyteriall_, but the Government commonly called _Independent_, or
_Congregationall_: the truth is, There are four kinds of
Church-Government which lay claim to a _jus divinum_; The _Papal_,
_Prelatical_, _Independent_, and _Presbyterial_. The first of them was
banished out of this Kingdom, by King Hen. the 8. The second of them,
as it was used and practised in this land, is abjured by our Covenant.
The great debate of these late years, hath been about the
_Presbyterial_, and _Independent Government_. And though we do not
intend at this time, to enter into a large dispute; yet we earnestly
desire our Brethren, that differ from us only in point of
Church-Government, to consider the wofull mischiefs, that have come
upon the Churches of Christ in _England_, by their dividing, and
separating from us: And that whilest we have been _disputing_ what is
that _Government_ which Christ hath appointed in his _Word_, there are
a prevailing party risen up, that will have no _Government_ at all to
be found in the _Word_: whilest we have been so long _debating_ about
the _hedge_, the wild Beasts have got in, and made spoyl of the
_Vineyard it self_: Whilest we have been building the wall, others
have been _plucking down the house_: Whilest we have been consulting
about the _Garment of Christ_, others have taken advantage to deny the
_Divinity of Christ_: Whilest we have been so tediously contending
about _Reforming of Churches_, _Ordination of Ministers_; and _purity
of Ordinances_, there are men risen up, that deny all _Ministry,
Ordinances, and Churches_. And indeed, there is scarce any fundamental
Doctrine in Christian Religion, but is now, not only called in
question, but openly denyed by some, or other. And therefore, we do
exhort our _Brethren_, in the name of our _Lord Jesus Christ_, that
they would sadly lay to heart the unexpressible calamities, which are
brought upon our Churches, by their dividing from us; and that they
would study, for the time to come, all wayes of _Union and
Accommodation_: And for our parts, we do here profess to all the
World, that we are, have alwayes been, and through the grace of God,
shall ever be willing to study to find out any _Scripture way_,
wherein we may _unite_ together with them, for the preservation of the
_Truths of Jesus Christ_, the prevention of a _toleration of Heresies
and Blasphemies_, and for the healing of the great _scandal_ that is
given to _weak Christians, and wicked men_, by our unhappy
_differences and divisions_.

As for the _Presbyterial Government_ it self, we may justly say of
it, as the Jews did upon another occasion, [41]_we know that every
where it is spoken against_; and that men deal with it, and Us that
profess it, as the _old persecutors_ dealt with the _Christians_; when
they put them into _Bear-skins_, and then baited them with dogs; and
as the _Papists_ dealt with _John Hus_[42], when they _pinned a paper,
with the picture of red Devils, upon his head, and then exposed him to
the laughter of the people_. Some say, That it is a _lordly,
Domineering government_; and that if we had our wills, we would _lord_
it over the people of Christ, more then ever the _Prelates_ did; and
instead of one Bishop in a Diocess, we should have many hundreds.
Others say, that it is a Tyrannical and cruel government, and if it
were once established, it would fine and imprison all that would not
yeeld to it. Others, that we require an Arbitrary power, and challenge
an illimited jurisdiction. Others, that we have a design to free our
selves from being under the power of the civil Magistrate. Others,
that this government doth rob the Congregational Churches of their
power and liberty, no lesse then Prelacy did, so that the Church in
removing of Prelacy, changed not _Dominium_, but _Dominum_. Others,
that we seek for _unity_, but neglect _purity_. Others accuse us, that
we contend too earnestly for _purity_, because we will not admit men
to the Sacrament, before they give an account to the Minister and
Elders of their fitness thereunto. Others accuse us, for stamping a
_jus divinum_ upon our government; and others on the contrary, declaim
against us, because we do not assert a _jus divinum_, but depend upon
a _jus humanum_; depend more upon an _Ordinance of Parliament_ for our
establishment, then an _Ordinance of God_. Others exclaim against us,
that we are now become the only _troublers of Israel_, and the only
_hinderers_ of a _blessed and glorious Reformation_; That we are
_pestilent fellowes_, _movers of sedition among the people_, causers
of the first war between _King and Parliament_, and of all the murders
and blood-shedings, that have been in the Nation for these many years;
That we were the Authors and abettors of that violence that was
offered to the Parliament, _July 6. 1647_. That the Ministers of
_London_ are Pulpit-Incendiaries, and have separated their consecrated
lungs, for Bellows, to blow up the fire of a second War the last year;
that they were the bringers in of that numerous Army out of
_Scotland_, to invade the _Parliament_ and _Army_ of _England_: Others
say, that we are Apostatized from our principles, and are turned
_Malignants_, that we that were once the great _Parliament Assertors_,
are now become the only _Parliament-Opposers_. Lastly, that the
_Presbyterian Ministers_ seek their own private ease and interest, and
not the things of Jesus Christ; That they are notorious hypocrites,
_Baals_ Priests, limbs of Antichrist. And that the only reason why
they dislike, and expresse an unsatisfiednesse with these times, and
the alterations therein made, is, because they fear, that their great
_Diana of tythes will be pulled down, and that their gains will be
lesse, and their pains greater; and that they cannot lord it over
their people, as they hoped to have done_.

These are the _Bear-skins_ in which we are put from day to day; these
are the _red Devils_ that are pinned upon us, to render our persons,
_Ministry_, and _Government_ odious unto the people. But our comfort
is, that these accusations are meer calumnies and slanders, and that
there is not the least shadow of reality or truth in them. And it is
an evident token to us, that _God hath some great work for us to do,
because he suffers the red dragon to pour out such floods of
reproaches upon us_; and that our _government is of Divine Original,
because it is so much opposed_, and that by all sorts of men, and that
in contrary ways: some opposing it, because it seeks so much after
_purity of ordinances_; others, because it seeks it not enough: some,
because it layeth claim so much to a _jus divinum_; Others, _because
not enough_.

We well remember, and are therein much comforted, what _Tertullian_
saith; _That that religion must needs be good which Nero persecuted_;
and what _Spanhemius that late learned Professor of Leyden_, in his
history of the original, and progress of the Anabaptists of _Germany_,
tells us, [43]_That when God raised up Luther, Melancthon, Zuinglius,
and divers other Worthies, to be the Reformers of his Church; At the
same time, the enemy of mankind raised up the Anabaptists, to be the
disturbers of his Church. That Thomas Muntzer their great
Antesignanus, when he could not get Luther to joyn with him, but on
the contrary was rebuked by him, and earnestly admonished not to
disturb the publique peace, &c. He began to rise up, and thunder
against Luther himself, crying out, that Luther was as much in fault,
as the Pope of Rome; that it was true, the work of reformation was
somewhat furthered by him, but left still infected with much leaven;
yea that Luther was worse then the Pope, for that he had published
only a carnall Gospel._ And afterwards, When _Luther_, _Melancthon_,
_Zuinglius_, _Bullinger_, _Menius_, _Regius_, and others, began, by
writing, to defend both their own, and the cause of the Church of God,
and to wipe off the blot that was cast as well upon themselves as upon
the Gospel, by these Anabaptists; _Muntzer_ and his confederates were
the more enraged against them, crying out, _That Luther, and those of
his party, favoured nothing but the flesh, vaunting indeed, that they
had cut off some of the leaves of Antichrist, but the tree, and the
roots remained still untouched, which must also be cut down, and which
cut down they would. And because they could finde nothing in the
written Word, to defend their errours, and the tumults which they
raised, they fly to revelations, and inspirations &c. Hereupon every
Fish-monger begins to boast of the spirit, feign revelations after the
example of Storch and Muntzer; The Pulpit is open to every Cobler or
Tinker. They scoffed at the publique Sermons of the reformed,
inveighed against the Lutherane Faith, as being void of good works,
&c. Muntzer, the chiefe trumpet of these uproars, proclaims openly,
that he was raised up by the command of God, for the punishment of
wicked Princes, and altering of Politick government. His usual
subscription to his letters was_, Thomas Muntzer, _the servant of God
against the ungodly_. What was the fatal end of this _Muntzer_, and of
_Iohn Becold_ the Taylor of _Leyden_, and of the rest of that crew;
what prodigious opinions they held, he that will, may read them in the
forementioned Author. There are two reasons have moved us to cite this
story: First, to shew, _That it is not unusual with God, when he
raiseth up men faithful in their generation to reform his Church_, to
give way to the enemy of mankind, for the trial of his people, to
raise up some men even amongst the Reformers themselves, that by
spreading of errours and Heresies, and State-disturbing opinions,
should endeavour to obstruct the Reformation so happily begun.
Secondly, that in _times of Reformation_, it hath alwayes been the
practice of the Ring-leaders of Errours and Heresies, to inveigh more
bitterly, and write more railingly against the Reformers of the
Church, and the Reformation by them indeavoured, then against the
common adversary, both of themselves, of the Reformers, and of the
Reformation. And this is our lot and portion at this day.

But yet, notwithstanding all this, we hope, that if this
_Presbyteriall Government_, so much opposed both by _Malignants, and
Sectaries of all sorts_, were once presented unto our congregations in
its true and native colours, it would be embraced by all that fear
God amongst us; and that we might say of it, as once it was said of
_Socrates_, _That all that knew him, loved him; and the reason why any
did not love him, was only because they did not know him_. And we
likewise hope, that if we shall fully answer the accusations that are
brought against us, in the bitter and lying pamphlets of this
licentious age, that then our persons also shall stand right in the
hearts and consciences of all that truly fear God within this
Kingdome. Give us leave, therefore to undertake these two things.

First, _To represent the Presbyteriall-Government before you, in its
true beauty and excellency_.

Secondly, _To vindicate our persons from the slanders and cruell
reproaches that are cast upon them_.

1. For the _Vindication of our Government_, and therein the
undeceiving of our people, who look upon it; as it is misrepresented
unto them, by those that are enemies unto Us, Them, and the
Government, we shall offer briefly these ensuing particulars.

1. That the _Presbyteriall-Government_ is a Government that hath been
the fruit of the prayers of many thousands of godly people in
_England_, in Queen _Elizabeth's_, and King _Iames_ his dayes: There
were many knowing Christians, and faithfull Ministers, that made it
their frequent prayer, that God would reform _England_ in Discipline,
as he had done in Doctrine; and the Discipline then they prayed for,
and many suffered for, was the _Presbyterian_; as appears by the books
written in those days[44]. _And shall we now despise that mercy that
comes swimming to us in the prayers of so many thousand Saints?_

2. Though the Presbyterian-Government (for the practice of it) be new
and strange to us in _England_, yet it is not new.

First, To the Churches of Christ in other Countries: For most of those
places that did thrust out the Popish Religion, and Government, did
receive in the Protestant Religion, and Presbyterial-Government. It is
not new to the Protestant Reformed Churches in _France_, _Scotland_,
_Netherlands_, and _Geneva_, and divers other places, who have had
comfortable experience of this Government, and have enjoyed a great
deal of liberty, verity, piety, unity, and prosperity under it: And
(which we desire all our respective Congregations seriously to
consider) therefore it is (as we humbly conceive) that the framers of
our _National Covenant_ did put in these words, _And the example of
the best Reformed Churches_, into the first Article of the Covenant,
that thereby they might hint unto us, what that Government was, which
is neerest the Word, even that which is now practised in the best
Reformed Churches.

2. _To the Word of God_; but is there to be found in all the
_substantials_ of it, as we have briefly shewed already, and some of
our own _Brethren Ministers_ of this City, have made to appear at
large, in a Book, entituled, _The divine Right of the Presbyterial
Government_. We shall speak a little more to three of the
forementioned _Substantials of Church-Government_: And shall prove,

1. _That the Scripture holds forth a Church, consisting of divers

2. _Synods with Ecclesiastical Authority._

3. _Subordination of Congregations unto Synods, together with Appeals

1. _That the Scripture holds forth a Church consisting of divers
Congregations._ Such a Church was

The _Church of Jerusalem_; as appears,

1. By the _Multitude of Believers_, both before, and after the
dispersion (mentioned, _Act._ 8.1.) _Act._ 2.41, 46, 47. _Act._ 4.4.
_Act._ 5.14. _Act._ 6.1, 7. _Act._ 9.31._ Act._ 12.24. _Act._ 21.20.

2. By the many _Apostles_, and other _Preachers_ in the _Church_ of
_Jerusalem_: If there were but one Congregation there, each Apostle
preached but seldom, which will not consist with _Act._ 6.2.

3. The _diversity of Languages_ amongst the Believers, mentioned both
in the second and sixt Chapters of the _Acts_, doth argue more
Congregations then one in that Church.

All which, are fully and largely handled by the _Reverend Assembly of
Divines_ in a book of theirs, printed by Authority of Parliament.

2. _That the Scripture speaks of Synods with Ecclesiastical
Authority_, this is evident from _Act._ 15. in which Chapter, two
things are to be observed:

1. _That the Apostles in that Meeting, did not act as Apostles with
infallible authority, but as Elders, in such a way as makes that
Meeting, a pattern for ordinary Synods._

For the proof of this, we offer these reasons.

1. Because _Paul_ and _Barnabas_ did willingly submit to be sent from
_Antioch_ to _Jerusalem_, which they needed not have done (one of them
at least being an Apostle) nor could have done, had they acted as
Apostles, and not as Members, for that time, of the _Presbytery of
Antioch_, _Act._ 15.2.

2. Because _Paul_ and _Barnabas_ were sent not only to the Apostles at
_Jerusalem_, but to the Apostles and Elders, which at that time were
not a few (the Believers in _Jerusalem_ being many thousands) which
proves, that they sent not unto the _Apostles as extraordinary and
infallible_ (for then what need the advice of the Elders?) but as
wise and holy Guides of the Church, who might not only relieve them by
some wise counsel, but also _set a president_ unto succeeding Ages,
how _Errours and Dissentions_ in the Church might be removed and
healed; as Mr. _Cotton_ observes, in his book of the _Keyes_, &c. pag.

[Sidenote: Mr. _Cotton_ of the _Keyes_.]

3. Because in the Synod, the Apostles did not determine the thing in
question, by _Apostolical Authority_, from immediate revelation, but
assembled together with the Elders to consider of the matter, _Act._
15.6. and a Multitude of the Brethren together with them, _Act._
15.12, 22, 23. And there the question was stated, and debated from
Scripture in an ordinary way. _Peter_ proves it by the _witnesse of
the Spirit to his Ministry, in_ Cornelius _his Family, Paul_ and
_Barnabas_ by the like effect of their Ministry amongst the Gentiles.
_James_ confirmed the same by the testimony of the Prophets; with
which, the whole Synod being satisfied, they determine of a judicial
sentence, and of a way to publish it by letters and messages.

4. Because the Decrees of the Synod are put forth in the name, _not
only of the Apostles, but of the Apostles and Elders_, _Act._ 15.22, 23.
_Act._ 16.4. _Act._ 21.25.

The second thing to be observed in that Chapter, is,

_That the Apostles and Elders did put forth Acts of Ecclesiasticall
Authority in that Synod._ This appears plainly from _Act._ 15.28. _to
lay no other burden_. To bind burdens, is an _act of the binding power
of the Keyes_. And it appears likewise from _Act._ 16.4. where mention
is made of _Decrees ordained by the Apostles & Elders_. And it is
observeable, that wheresoever δογμα, is used in the _New Testament_,
it is put either for _Decrees_ or _Laws_, and so frequently by the
_Septuagint in the old Testament_, as is abundantly proved by the
Reverend _Assembly of Divines_, in their answer to the Reasons of the
Dissenting-Brethren, against the instance of the Church of
_Jerusalem_, pag. 66.

3. That the Scripture holds forth a subordination of Congregations
unto Synods, together with Appeals thereunto. To prove this, we will
bring two places: The first is _Deut._ 17.8. to 12. together with
2 _Chron._ 19.8, 10, 11. Out of which two places, compared together,
we gather these two conclusions:

1. _That the Jews had two supream Judicatories in Jerusalem_; the one
_Ecclesiasticall_, for the _matters of the Lord_; the other _civill_,
for the _matters of the King_. This appears by _Deut._ 17. ver. 8.
where we have a distinction of causes; some _forensicall_ between
_blood_ and _blood_, belonging to the civil _Judicatory_; some
ceremonial, between stroak, and stroak; that is, (as not only
_Hierome_, but the Chaldy and Septuagint read the words, and as
appears by the frequent use of the word in that sense, _Levit._ 13.
and elsewhere,) between leprosie, and leprosie, belonging to the
cognizance of the Ecclesiastical Judicatory. And in the 12 verse,
these two Judicatories are distinguished, by the disjunctive _Or_; _And
the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the
Priest_, (that standeth to minister before the Lord thy God,) _or unto
the Judge_, &c. This further appears, by 2 _Chr._ 19.8, 10, 11. In
which we have clear mention; first of two sorts of Judges, the
_Levites and Priests, and chief of the Fathers_, vers. 8. secondly, of
two sorts of causes, some _spirituall and Ecclesiasticall_, called the
_judgment of the Lord_, ver. 8. and the _matters of the Lord_, ver.
11. others civill, as _between blood and blood_, ver. 10. And thirdly,
of two _Presidents_; _Amariah_ the chief _Priest_, in all _matters of
the Lord_; and _Zebadiah_ the Ruler of the house of _Judah_, in all
the _matters of the King_. And this distinction between the civil and
Ecclesiastical Judicatory, is the opinion of many Orthodox & learned
Authors, which are cited by Mr. _Gelaspy_, _Aarons_ rod blossom, cap.
3. pag. 8. where this conclusion is largely and learnedly debated &

2. _That there was a subordination in the Jewish Church, of the
Synagogues, in all hard and difficult controversies, and in all the
matters of the Lord, unto the Ecclesiastical Judicatory at Jerusalem,
and appeals thereunto_; this appears evidently, _Deut._ 17.8, 9.
2 Chron. 19.8, 10.

Now that this _Subordination_, together with _appeals_, did not belong
to the _Jewish Church_, as _Jewish_ only, but as it was an
_Ecclesiastical Republique_, is evident. For though the _high Priest_,
amongst the Jews, was a _type of Christ_, yet these _gradual
Judicatories_, wherein the _aggrieved party did appeal, from the
lesser to the greater; (that against the very light of nature, the
adverse party might not be the sole Judge and party too, in his own
cause) were not in any kind ceremonial or typicall_.

_Appeals_, (saith Dr. _Whitaker_,) _they are of divine and natural
light, and certainly very necessary in every necessity, because of the
iniquity and ignorance of Judges_, Whit. Contr. 4. de Romano Pontific.
lib. 4. cap. 2. And generally, all _Protestant Writers_ against
appeals to the Pope, acknowledge yet, their necessary usefulness to a
_Synod_. So did that renowned Martyr _Cranmer_, the form of whose
appeal to a Council, three several times urged by him, with much
instance, we have recorded by Mr. _Foxe_ at large, Acts and Monuments.

And indeed, if the _benefit of appeals, and consociation of Churches_,
should not be as free to us, as to the _Jews_, how much _more
defective & improvident_ were the _Gospel_, then the _Law_, contrary
to all _ancient Prophesies of Gospel-Communion_? How were _our Saviour
King of Peace and Righteousnesse_, should he have ordained now under
the _Gospel_ such a _government_, as by making _Parties sole Judges_,
were neither _righteous, nor peaceable_? what _Judaicall type or
ceremony_, can there be in this communion and mutual assistance in
government, which God (as by his Word, so) by the very light of
nature, teacheth all societies whatsoever, whether Common-Wealth,
Armies, Universities, or Navies? &c. as learnedly Mr. _Herle_, in his
Independency, &c.

The second place is Matth. 18.15, 16, 17, 18. which text, by a _parity
of reason_, proves a _subordination of Congregations unto Synods_. For
there is the same relation between _Church and Church_, as between_
brother and brother_; and if a _brother_ offending is _subordinate_
unto a _particular Congregation_; then by a _like reason_, an
_offending Congregation_ is _subordinate_ unto _greater Assemblies_.
And the reason of it is, because the _grounds_, _reasons_, and _ends_
of _subordination_, are the same in both. _That God might be
glorified, the offendor shamed, humbled, reduced, and sin not suffered
to rest upon him. That others may be preserved from contagion, and
made to fear. That scandal and pollution of the Ordinances, may be
prevented, or removed._ All which argue as strongly and fully for
_subordination of an offending Congregation to superiour and greater
Assemblies, as of an offending brother to a particular Congregation_:
And the truth is, whosoever denyes the subordination of a Congregation
unto a Synod, together with appeals thereunto, doth in plain tearms
affirm these three things,

1. _That the Government of Christ in his Church under the New
Testament, is a Government directly contrary to the very light of
nature making the same men parties, and finall Judges in their own

2. _That the Government of the Church in the Old Testament, was more
equal and just, then under the New._

3. _That Jesus Christ hath in his Government appointed no effectual
remedy to heal the scandals of an offending Congregation, or at least,
a more effectual remedy to redresse an offending Brother, then an
offending Congregation._ All which are great _derogations_, and
_disparagements_ to the _Kingly Office and Government of Jesus
Christ_. And thus we have shewed that the Presbyterial Government is
not new to the Word of God, as some falsly object. We proceed to
justifie it in other particulars.

3. The Presbyterial Government _challengeth no power over mens bodies
or estates_. It medleth not in civil affairs, or with inflicting civil
mulcts, or corporal punishments. It is a government _purely
spirituall_, dispensing the Keyes of the _Kingdom of heaven_, not of
earth; and how then can it be cruel and tyrannical, in fineing and
imprisoning mens persons, as was objected?

4. It is not a _Government_ that hath _Lordships_ and great _Revenues_
annexed to it, as the Prelatical had. It is not _gainful_ and
_profitable_, but _burdensome_ and _troublesome_: What do the ruling
Elders gain by their office, but reproach and contempt? And is not the
condition of the teaching Elder worse, in regard of maintenance, since
he ingaged in this discipline, then ever it was? This is a government
that hath no outward advantages to induce men to accept of it. _It is
conscience_, and (as we hope) _pure conscience_, that ingageth any in
it, and _therefore it is, that it hath so few friends, because there
are so few that are truly conscientious_.

5. It is not a _Domineering Hierarchicall magisteriall Government,
that lords it over peoples consciences, requiring subjection to the
decrees of it, with blind and slavish obedience_. But it is a
_Stewardship_, a _Ministry_, a painful and laborious service. We say,
That all the determinations, even of Nationall Synods, are to be
obeyed no further, then they agree with the Word of God. And that a
Synod is _Judex judicandus_. That Congregations are to examine with
the judgment of discretion, what is sent to them from Synods. There is
_no more obedience required to the Decrees of a Nationall Synod, then
the Independents claim to the decrees of a particular Congregation_.

6. It is not an _Arbitrary illimited Government, but bounded and
limited_: 1. _By the Word of God_; for in this Government, everything
is to be administred according to the pattern in the Mount. We desire
none to follow, but where the Word goeth before. 2. _By the civill
Magistrate_, in regard of the exercise of it. For we acknowledg our
selves (as we have said) accountable to the civill Magistrate, to
punish us with civil mulcts, if we abuse our power.

7. It is not a _Government, that doth rob and spoyl particular
Congregations of their just power and priviledges, but helps and
strengthens them_. For it is not (as the Prelatical was)
_extrinsecall_ to the severall Congregations; (which had no vote in
the government, nor consent to it, but were sufferers only of it, and
under it:) Neither doth it assume to it self the _sole power of
Ordination and jurisdiction_: (as the Prelatical likewise did, and in
this, was lordly and tyrannical over all particular Congregations in
each Diocess:) But it is _intrinsecall to the Congregation_,
consisting of the Pastors and Elders of every Congregation, governing
one another by their own Officers: For we hold (which few of our
Adversaries will understand or consider) _That all Congregations are
equal_. No one Congregation over another. _That all Ministers are
equall_, No one Minister, by divine right, over another.

[Sidenote: That which concerns all, must be managed by all.]

We hold no _Mother-Church_, on which all other Churches should depend.
But our Government, so far as it is distinct from the Congregational,
consisteth of _divers Sister-Churches, combined by mutuall
concernment, and governing one another in matters of mutuall
concernment, by the common agreement of Pastors and Elders_, according
to that Golden Rule, _Quod omnes tangit, ab omnibus tractari debet_.
In the Presbyterial Government every Congregation hath a voyce, by
the Pastors and Elders thereof, and so is governed by a _power
intrinsecall to it self, which cannot in its own nature be
tyrannicall_. Though there is no power in the world so just, but by
abuse may prove tyrannicall.

To illustrate this by a simile. _The Presbyterial Government is like
the Government of the_ City _by the_ Common-councell, _wherein there
are_ Common-Councell-men _sent from every_ Ward, _to judg and
determine of matters, that concern the good of the whole_ City; _which
certainly in its own nature, cannot be prejudicall to the severall_
Wards, _but every helpfull and commodious; whereas the_
Prelatical-Government, _was just as if the City should be governed
by a_ High-Commission _chosen of_ Forreiners; _and the_
Independent-Government _is just as if every_ Ward _should undertake to
govern it self, divided from one another, and not at all to be under
the power and authority of the_ Common-councell.

Adde besides this, the _Presbyteriall-Government_ doth give unto
people of particular Congregations all that is by Christ left them.

1. We allow unto every Congregation a particular Eldership, where it
may be had.

2. We impose upon no Congregation a Minister against whom they can
give a rationall dissent.

3. We allow the Congregationall Eldership to judg in all matters which
concern that particular Church; and to keep from the Sacrament of the
Lords Supper, all those whom they finde to be ignorant or scandalous.

4. In the _great Censure of Excommunication_, we say, That it ought
not to be _executed against the consent of that particular
Congregation, to which the party to be excommunicated belongs_. And in
all other matters of importance, the Presbyterian-Government hath
great respect to that Congregation which is particularly concerned
therein. And therefore, it is so far from _robbing_, that it is a
great _Pillar to uphold and support Congregational Government_; as for

1. When a particular Congregation is destitute of a Minister, then the
Neighbour-Ministers of the Classis help what in them lies to make up
that defect, by sending supply in the mean time, and afterwards by
joyning in the ordination of another.

2. When there is an insufficient Eldership, then the Classical
Presbytery contributes light and strength.

3. When an Eldership proves Heretical, then the Classical Presbytery
helps to convince them of their Heresies, which the people are not
able ordinarily to do, and thereby to preserve the Congregation from
spiritual contagion.

4. When any member is wronged by the Eldership, the Classis, or Synod,
contributes ayd and relief, as will appear further in the next

8. The Presbyterial-Government _is so far from being tyrannical, as
that it is the greatest remedy against Church-tyranny, because it is
as a city of refuge for all those that are oppressed in
their particular Congregations, to fly unto_. For under the
Congregational-Government, when a brother is (as he conceives) wronged
by the major part of the Church of which he is a member, he is for
ever lock't up, and hath no authoritative way to relieve himself.
(Indeed, he hath moral wayes, by advice and counsel, which are
altogether insufficient;) But the Presbyterian-Government is a _Zoar_,
and an _Ark_ for the wronged party to fly unto, from the Particular
Congregation, to a Classical, Provinciall, or National Assembly. Give
us leave to shew you the difference by this example: Suppose in the
civil Government every Corporation should plead a _power independent_
from a _Parliament_, and challenge to be unaccountable, would not
this make as many _Parliaments_, as _Corporations_? And if any member
should be wronged by the major part of the Corporation to which he
belongs, were he not left without remedy? And if these Corporations
should cry down the _Parliaments_ power over them as tyrannical, would
it not be said, that this is therefore only done, that they themselves
might become petty Tyrants? So is it here;

The _Congregationall Government_ is a _Spiritual Corporation_
independent from all other _Ecclesiasticall Assemblies_ in point
of _Church-power_. As the _Pope_ claims a power over all
_Church-Assemblies_, so this claims an exemption from the power of all
_Church-Assemblies_, and cryeth down all _Classical_, _Provinciall_,
or _Nationall-Assemblies_ with power, as tyrannical; but is not this,
that in the mean time it may become absolute, and as it were a petty

There are in the Congregational Government these six great defects,
besides many others which we could name.

1. There is (as hath been said) no _authoritative way to relieve a
Brother oppressed by the major part of his Congregation_, which
granted, would make the Government of Christ in the _New Testament_,
to be inferiour to the _Jewish Government_, in which they had the
liberty of Appeals. And also to be against the _light of right
reason_, in making the same men to be parties and judges in their own
cause, (as hath been formerly shewed.)

2. There is no _authoritative way_ to heal the major part of a
Congregation, when it falls into fundamental errours, which is a great
disparagement to the Government of Jesus Christ, and reflects deeply
upon the wisdome and care of the great King of his Church. _For it
makes Christ to provide a more efficatious remedy to cure an erring
member, (to wit, by the great Ordinance of excommunication,) then an
erring Church._

3. There is no _Authoritative way_ to keep out pluralities of
Religions. For if the whole _power_ of Church-Government be in the
_Congregation-Independently_, then let a Congregation set up what
Religion they think fit, there is no _Authoritative Church-remedy_
left to hinder them.

4. There is no _Authoritative way for unity and uniformity in
Church-administrations_, which doth inevitably lay stumbling blocks
before weak Christians, and holds them in suspence, not knowing to
what Congregation to joyn, because they see such different wayes of
administration of Ordinances.

5. There is no _relief when a Congregation is destitute of a Minister,
in point of Ordination_, but the succeeding Minister is left to be
examined and ordained by the people of the Congregation that chose
him. And so also when a Congregation becomes hereticall, and in other
such cases.

6. _If any of their Ministers preach out of their own Congregation, he
preacheth only as a gifted brother_; neither can he, (as we conceive)
according to their own Principles, administer the Sacraments out of
his own Congregation, or perform any other act of office. Although we
believe some of them do so, contrary to their own principles herein.

9. _That the Presbyteriall Government is a Government that tends not
at all to the destruction of any, but for the good and edification of
all._ There are three chief ends of this Government.

1. _To keep the Churches of Christ in unity amongst themselves._

2. _To keep them in purity and holinesse; it is_ Christs _Fan, to
purge his floor; and his Beesom to sweep out of his house every thing
that offends_.

3. _To keep them in verity, it is_ Christs Weeding-hook _to weed out
heresies_; and therefore King _James_ (though no great friend to this
Government) would often say, that it was _Malleus hæreticorum_, a
Hammer to beat down Heresies: And we find, that wheresoever it is set
up in strength, there the Churches are kept in unity, verity, and
purity; and that (which is very observeable) where this Government
hath once got possession, it hath for ever after kept out Popery and
all Popish Innovations. The Prelatical Government with all its
Lordships and Revenues annexed, as it was managed of late years in
_England_, was an in-let to Popery, and it had _tantùmnon_ brought it
in. But _wheresoever the_ Presbyterian-Government _is setled, there
Popery, root and branch, is plucked up and destroyed, and that without
any hope of recovery_.

[Sidenote: _Object._]

But it will be objected, that notwithstanding all that hath been said
to render the Presbyterial Government amiable and acceptable; yet
there are two great Mountains which do lye in the way which do hinder,
and (as some say) will for ever hinder people from submitting unto it:
The one is,

1. _Because it sets up a new officer in the_ Church, _which is a meer
humane_ Creature, having no authority from the Word of God, nor was
ever heard of in the Church of Christ, till _Calvin_'s time, & that is

2. _Because it requireth all, of all sorts, to come to the_ Minister
_and these_ Lay-Elders _to be examined, before they can be admitted to
the_ Sacrament _of the_ Lords Supper.

[Sidenote: _Answer._]

We cannot deny, but that these two objections are great _Remora_'s to
the Government, and do hinder the general receiving of it, and
therefore we shall be a little the larger in answering of them.

For the first of them, we do here freely confesse, that if we were of
opinion, as some are, that the Ruling-Elder hath no foundation in the
Word of God, but is a meer humane Ordinance brought into the Church
only in a prudential way; we should heartily desire the utter
abolition of him: For we are not ignorant, that the Ruling Prelate was
brought into the Church upon the same account, for the avoiding of
Schism and Division, and afterwards proved the great Author and
Fomenter of Schism and Division. And if we should decline the Ruling
Prelate, and take in the Ruling Elder upon the same prudential
grounds, it were just with God to make him as mischievous to the
Church, as ever the Ruling Prelate was: And therefore let us consider
what may be said out of the Word of God, for the justification of this
so much _decryed Officer_: Yet first we cannot but take notice that
the name of _Lay-Elder_ was affixed to this Officer by way of reproach
and scorn, by the adversaries of him, and that it ought not to be
continued. For though it be evident by Scripture[45], that there is a
great difference betwixt the Ministry usually called the Clergy, and
the people commonly called the Laity: yet its also as manifest, that
the Scripture[46] distinguisheth them not by the names of Clergy and
Laity; forasmuch as all Gods people are therein stiled the Lords
Clergy, or Inheritance, and the Lord is called their Inheritance. And
when persons are duly chosen from amongst the people to be Governours
in the Church, as such, they are no longer Lay-men, but Ecclesiastical
persons. And therefore we profess a dislike of the name Lay-Elder,
and conceive they ought to be called either governours in the Church,
1 _Cor._ 12.23. or Ruling-Elders, as 1 Tim. 5.17. not because their
Office is to rule alone (for the Teaching-Elder is a Ruler also,
_Heb._ 13.17. 1 _Thess._ 5.12.) but because their Office is only to
rule.[47] Now concerning these Ruling-Elders, we confess, that they
are Officers somewhat new and strange to the Church of _England_; yet
not new nor strange to the Word of God, nor to the Primitive times,
nor (as all know) to the _Reformed Churches_.

First, they are _not new nor strange to the Word of God, neither in
the Old Testament, nor in the New_. The Jews in the _Old Testament_,
had two sorts of _Elders_; _Elders of the Priests_, and _Elders of the
people_, suitable to our _teaching and Ruling-Elders_; as appears,
_Jer._ 19.1. And these _Elders_ of the people did sit and vote with
the Priests and Levites in all their Ecclesiasticall Consistories, and
that by divine appointment. That they were _constituent_ members of
the great _Sanhedrim_, appears, 2 _Chron._ 19.8. where we reade, _That
some of the chief of the Fathers were joyned with the Priests, to
judge in the matters if the Lord_. And howsoever, many things among
the Jews after the captivity, did decline to disorder and confusion;
yet we finde even in the dayes of Christ, and his Apostles, That the
Elders of the people still sate and voyced in the Councell with the
Priests, according to the ancient form, as is clear from _Matth._
26.57, 59. _Matth._ 27.1, 12. _Matth._ 16.21. _Matth._ 21.23. _Mar._
14.43. _Luk._ 22.66. and _Saravia_ himself,[48] who disputeth so much
against _Ruling Elders_, acknowledgeth thus much: _I finde indeed_,
(saith he) _Elders in the Assembly of the Priests of the old
Synagogue, which were not Priests; and their suffrages and authority
in all Judgments, were equal with the suffrages of the Priests_. But
he adds; That these Elders of the people were civill Magistrates;
which is a poor shift, directly against many Scriptures, which
contradistinguish these _Elders_ from the civil _Magistrate_; as
appears; _Act._ 4.5. _Judg._ 8.14. _Deut._ 5.23. _Josh._ 8.33.
2 _King._ 10.15. _Ezra_ 10.14. And though it were possible, that some
of them might be civill Magistrates, as some _Elders_ amongst Us, are
Justices of the Peace: Yet they did not sit under that capacity, in
the Ecclesiastical _Sanhedrim_, but as Ecclesiastical Elders.

And that the Jews also had _Elders of the people_, sitting and voting
in their inferiour Consistories, appears (as we humbly conceive) from
_Act._ 13.15. _Act._ 18.8, 17. _Mar._ 5.22. In which places, we read
of the Rulers of the Synagogue, who were neither Priests nor Levites,
and yet were Rulers in Church-matters, and had power, together with
the Priests, of casting men out of the Synagogue, and of ordering
Synagogue-worship, _Joh._ 12.42. _Act._ 13.15.

Now this _Association_ of the _Elders of the people, with the Priest,
in the Jewish Church-Government, was by divine appointment_; for Moses
first instituted it, and afterwards _Jehosaphat_ restored it,
according as they were directed by God, Num. 11.16. 2 Chron. 19.8. And
it did belong to the _Jewish Church_, not as it was Jewish, but as it
was a Church, and therefore belongeth to the Christian Church, as well
as Jewish. _For whatsoever agreeth to a Church, as a Church; agreeth
to every Church._ There was nothing Judaical or typical in this
institution, but it was founded upon the light of nature, and right
reason, which is alike in all ages.

But leaving the Old Testament, let us consider what may be said for
the divine right of the _Ruling-Elder_, out of the New Testament. For
this purpose, we have already produced three places, which we shall
now briefly open; and shew how the Ruling Elder is proved out of them.
The places are, 1 _Cor._ 12.28. _Rom._ 12.7, 8. 1 _Tim._ 5.17.

The first place is, 1 _Cor._ 12.28. _And God hath set some in the
Church, first, Apostles; secondarily, Prophets; thirdly, Teachers;
After that, Miracles; then gifts of healing, helps, governments,
diversities of tongues_; Where we have an enumeration of sundry
Officers of the Church; and amongst others, there are _Helps_,
_Governments_. By _Helps_, are meant _Deacons_; (as not only our
_Reformed_ Divines, but _Chrysostome_, and _Estius_, and others
observe,[49]) and by _Governments_, are meant the _Ruling-Elder_,
which that it may the better appear, we will propound, and prove these
six things.

1. That by _Governments_, are meant _men exercising Government_, the
_Abstract_ put for the _Concrete_. The intent of the _Apostle_, is not
to speak of _offices_ distinct from _persons_, but of _persons
exercising offices_. This appears first, by the beginning of the
verse, _God hath set some in his Church_; this relates to persons, not
unto offices. Secondly, by the 29. and 30. verses, where the Apostle
speaks _concretively_, of those things which he had spoken before
_abstractively_. _Are all workers of miracles? have all the gifts of
healing? do all speak with tongues_, &c? and so by consequence, _Are
all helpers, are all Governours?_ And therefore it is, that the
Syriack instead of _helps, Governments_, reads it _helpers,

2. That the _Governour_ here meant, must needs be a
_Church-Governour_; for it is expresly said, that he is seated in the
Church, and therefore the civil Magistrate cannot be meant by this
Governour, as some would have it; partly, because this is quite
besides the whole intent and scope of the Chapter, treating meerly
upon _spirituall Church-matters_, not at all of secular civil matters;
and partly, because the Magistrate, as such, is not placed by God in
the _Church_, but in the _Common-Wealth_: and partly, because the
Apostle writes of such Governours, that had at that time actual
existence in the Church; and neither then, nor divers hundred years
after, were there any _Christian Magistrates_.

3. That this _Church-Governour_ is seated by God in his Church; It is
a _plant of Gods own planting_, and therefore shall stand firme,
maugre all opposition. For it is expresly said, _God hath set some in
his Church, first Apostles_, &c. _then helps, then Governments_.

4. That this Church-Governour thus seated by God in his Churches, not
only a _Church-member_, but a _Church-Officer_. For though it be a
question amongst the learned, whether some of the persons here named,
as the _workers of miracles_, and those that had the _gift of healing,
and of tongues_, were seated by God, as officers in the Church, and
not rather, only as eminent members indued with these eminent gifts;
yet it is most certain, that whosoever is seated by God in his Church,
as a _Church Governour_, must needs be a _Church officer_; for the
nature of the gift, doth necessarily imply an office. The Greek
word[51] for Governments, is a metaphor from _Pilots_, or
_Ship-masters_, governing their ships; (hence the Master of a ship is
called Κυβερνητης, a Governour, _Jam._ 3.4.) and it notes such
officers, as sit at the stern of the vessel of the Church, to govern
and guide it in spirituals, according to the will and mind of Christ,
which is the direct office of our _Ruling-Elder_.

5. This Church-Governour thus seated by God in his Church as a
Church-officer, is an _ordinary and perpetuall officer in his Church_.
Indeed, here is mention made of Officers extraordinary, as Apostles,
Prophets; and of gifts extraordinary, as the gift of miracles,
healing, and of tongues; but here is also mention made of ordinary
Officers, perpetually to abide, as _Teachers_, _Helpers_, and the
_Church-Governour, or Ruling-Elder_. And that this Officer is ordinary
and perpetual, appears from the perpetual necessity of him in the
Church; for a Church without government, is as a ship without a Pilot,
as a Kingdom without a Magistrate, and a world without a Sun.

6. That this Church-Governour thus seated by God in his Church, as a
perpetual Officer, is an officer _contradistinguished in the Text from
the_ Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, _and all other_ Officers _in the_
Church. This appears; 1. By the Apostles manner of expressing these
officers in an _enumerative_ form; _First, Apostles; Secondarily,
Prophets; Thirdly, Teachers; After that, miracles, then gifts of
healing_, &c. 2. By the recapitulation, vers. 29, 30. _Are all
Apostles? Are all Prophets? Are all Teachers? Are all workers of
miracles?_ &c. 3. By the scope of the whole Chapter, which is to set
down different gifts and offices in different subjects; It is said,
ver. 8, 9. _To one is given by the Spirit, the word of wisdom; to
another the word of knowledg by the same Spirit; to another, faith_,
&c. And for this purpose, the Apostle draweth a simile from the
members of mans body: As there are different members in mans body, and
every member hath its different office, and every member stands in
need one of another; the Eye cannot say to the Hand, I have no need of
thee; nor again, the head to the foot, I have no need of thee, &c. So
it is in the Church ministerial, which is the body of Christ. God hath
set different Officers in his Church; some ordinary and perpetual;
some extraordinary and temporary: And these different Officers have
different Offices, some to teach, others to distribute to the poor
Saints, others to govern. Are all Teachers? are all Deacons? are all
Church-Governours? and these have all need one of another. The Teacher
cannot say to the Deacon, I have no need of thee; nor to the Church
Governour, I have no need of thee: But if all these Offices were in
the Pastor alone, and only, then might he truly say to the Deacon and
Ruling-Elder, I have no need of thee. But now God hath so set the
members in his body which is his Church, that every member stands in
need one of anothers help and support.

[Sidenote: _Object._]

If it be objected, that the Apostles had all these offices and gifts
here mentioned, eminently seated in them, for they were Prophets,
Teachers, Workers of Miracles; and therefore why may not all these be
understood of one and the same person?

[Sidenote: _Answ._]

Though it be true, that the Apostles had eminently all these; yet it
is as true, that there are many here named, which had but one of these
gifts formally seated in them: And it is also apparent, that some of
the persons here named were distinct Officers in the Church, as the
Prophet, and the Teacher. Though the Apostles were Prophets and
Teachers, yet the Prophet & the Teacher were Officers distinct from
the Apostles; and by a parity of Reason, so were the Governors from
the Apostle, Prophet, and Teacher; the scope of the Apostle being (as
hath been said) to set out distinct Offices in distinct Officers: are
all Apostles? are all Prophets? are all Teachers? The sum of what we
have said from this Scripture, then, is this, _That God hath seated
some men in his Church which have a gift and office to govern, which
are neither Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, nor Pastors; and therefore
they are Ruling-Elders_, which is the Officer which we are enquiring

Now this Interpretation which we have given, is not only the
interpretation of Reformed Divines, both _Lutherane_ and _Calvinists_,
but of the ancient Fathers, and even the Papists themselves, as
appears by the quotations in the Margent.[52]

The second text is, _Rom._ 12.6, 7, 8. _Having then gifts differing
according to the grace given, whether Prophesie, let us prophesie
according to the proportion of Faith; or Ministry, let us wait on our
Ministring; or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on
exhortation. He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity. He that
ruleth, with diligence. He that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness._ In
which words, we have a perfect enumeration of all the ordinary Offices
of the Church. These offices are reduced, first, to two general heads,
_Prophesie_ and _Ministry_, and are therefore set down in the
_Abstract_. By _Prophesie_ is meant the faculty of right
understanding, interpreting, and expounding the Scriptures. Ministry
comprehends all other employments in the Church. Then these generals
are subdivided into the special offices contained under them, and are
therefore put down in the concrete. Under _Prophesie_ are contained,
1. _He that teacheth_, that is, the Doctor or Teacher. 2. _He that
exhorteth, i. e._ the Pastor. Under _Ministry_ are comprized, 1. _He
that giveth_, that is, the Deacon. 2. _He that ruleth_, that is, the
Ruling Elder. 3. _He that sheweth mercy_, which [53]Office pertained
unto them, who in those days had care of the sick: So that in these
words, we have the _Ruling-Elder_ plainly set down, and
_contra_-distinguished from the _teaching_ and _exhorting Elder_ (as
appears by the distributive particles, ειτε ὁ διδασκων, ειτε ὁ
παρακαλων, _Whether he that teacheth_; _Whether he that exhorteth_;
_Whether he that ruleth_, &c.) And here likewise we have the divine
institution of the Ruling-Elder, for so the words hold forth. _Having
then gifts differing according to the grace that is given unto us_;
and thus also in the third verse, _according as God hath dealt to
every man_, &c. This officer is the gift of Gods free grace to the
Church, for the good of it.

Against this Exposition of the Text, it is objected by those that
oppose the divine right of the Ruling-Elder, that the Apostle speaks,
in these words, not of several offices in several persons, but of
severall Gifts in one and the same person; for he saith, _having then
Gifts differing according_, &c. But we answer:

1. That the word _Gift_ is often in Scripture taken for _Office_; as
_Eph._ 4.8, 11. _When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive,
and gave gifts unto men_; and v. 11. _He sheweth what these gifts
were, some to be Apostles, some Evangelists_, &c.

2. That the Apostle in the _Protasis_ speaks not of severall Gifts,
but of severall Offices, and these not in the same, but in several
members, _v._ 4. _As we have many members in one body, and all members
have not the same office._ And therefore the _apodosis_ must also be
understood not only of _severall gifts_, but of _severall Offices_,
and these in _several subjects_. And this further appears by the very
similitude which the Apostle here useth, which is the same he used,
1 _Cor._ 12. from the body natural, wherein there are many distinct
members, and every member hath its distinct Office; and so it is in
the Church of Christ.

3. These gifts here mentioned, and the waiting upon them, do
necessarily imply an Office in whomsoever they are; and therefore they
are set down emphatically with an Article, ειτε ὁ διδασκων ὁ
προισταμενος. He that hath the gift of teaching, and exhorting, and
ruling, and waiteth upon this gift, what is he but a Teacher, Pastor,
and Ruling-Elder? And this must either be granted, or else we must
open a door for all members of the Church, even women, not only to
preach and teach, but to rule also, and to wait upon preaching and
ruling: This truth is so clear, as that the Papists themselves being
convinced of it, do say[54] upon this text, that the Apostle here
first speaks of gifts in general; and secondly, applyeth these gifts
to Ecclesiastical Officers, v. 6. and afterwards directs his
exhortation to all Christians in general.

The third text for the divine right of the _Ruling-Elder_, is,
1 _Tim._ 5.17. _Let the Elders that rule well be counted worthy of
double honour, especially they who labour in the Word and Doctrine._
For the understanding of which words, we will lay down this rule, That
every text of Scripture is to be interpreted according to the literall
and grammatical construction; unless it be contrary to the analogie of
Faith, or the rule of Life, or the circumstances of the Text:
otherwise, we shall make a nose of wax of the Scriptures, and draw
_quidlibet ex quolibet_. Now according to the _Grammatical
construction_, here are plainly held forth _two sorts of Elders_; the
one, _onely ruling_; and the other, _also labouring in Word and
Doctrine_. Give us leave to give you the true analysis of the words.

1. Here is a _Genus_, a general, and that is _Elders_.

2. Two distinct species, or kinds of Elders, _Those that rule well_,
and _those that labour in word and doctrine_; as Pastor and Doctor.

3. Here we have two participles, expressing these two kinds of Elders,
_Ruling_, _Labouring_, the first do only rule, the second do also
labour in Word and Doctrine.

4. Here are two distinct Articles, distinctly annexed to these two
participles, ὁι προεστωτες, ὁι κοπιωντες. They that rule, They that

5. Here is an _eminent discretive particle_, set betwixt these two
kinds of Elders; these two participles, these two Articles evidently
distinguishing one from the other, _viz._ μαλιστα _especially they
that labour_, &c. And wheresoever this word μαλιστα is used in the
New Testament, it is used, to distinguish thing from thing, or person
from person; as _Gal._ 6.10. _Phil._ 4.22. 1 _Tim._ 5.8. 1 _Tim._
4.10. _Tit._ 1.10. 2 _Tim._ 4.13. 2 _Pet._ 2.20. _Act._ 20.38. In all
which places, the word [_especially_] is used as a discretive particle,
to distinguish one thing from another, or one person from another; and
therefore being applyed here to persons, must necessarily distinguish
person from person, officer from officer. It is absurd to say, (saith
Dr. _Whitaker_,[55]) that this text is to be understood of one and the
same Elder. If a man should say, _All the Students in the University
are worthy of double honour, especially, They that are Professors of
Divinity; He must necessarily understand it of two sorts of Students_.
Or if a man should say, _All Gentlemen that do service for the Kingdom
in their Counties, are worthy of double honour, especially they that
do service in the Parliament; this must needs be understood of
different persons_. We are not ignorant, that Archbishop _Whitgift_,
Bishop _King_, Bishop _Bilson_, Bishop _Downame_, & others, labour to
fasten divers other interpretations upon these words, which would be
over-tedious here to rehearse. Only thus much we crave leave to say,
which we desire may be seriously weighed; That all other senses that
are given of these words, are either such as are disagreeing from the
literall and Grammatical construction, or such as fall into one of
these two absurdities, either to maintain a _non-preaching Ministry_,
or a _lazy-preaching Ministry_ to deserve double honour. Archbishop
[56]_Whitgift_ by the Elder that rules well, understands a Reader that
is not a Preacher. [57]Dr. _King_, a Bishop ruling, and not preaching;
which is to say, that a non-preaching Minister deserves double honour.
Dr. _Bilson_ [58]saith, that the words are to be understood of two
sorts of Elders, and that the meaning is, That the Elder that rules
well, and preacheth, is worthy of double honour, especially they that
labour, that is, _that preach abundantly_, that do κοπιαν, labour as
a Waterman at his Oar; which is as much as if he had said, that a
_lazy Minister_, or a _seldome-preaching Minister, deserves double
honour_. For all Preachers are in Scripture required κοπιαν, _to
labour abundantly, 1 Thess._ 5.11. _1 Cor._ 3.8. where the same word
is used that is here expressed. If the Apostle had meant to have
distinguished them by their extraordinary labour, he would rather have
said, μοχθουντες, then κοπιωντες, for other-where he useth μοχθος, as
a degree of painful labour, above κοπος, which is put for common
labour, _Rom._ 16.12.[59] Dr. _Downame_ and others, interpret the
words of one and the same Elder, thus, The Elders that rule well, are
worthy of double honour, especially they that labour; that is, (say
they) _especially they labouring, or especially because they labour_.
And so they make their labouring, to be the chief cause of their
double honour. But this interpretation is against the literal meaning,
for the Greek is not ει κοπιωσιν, _if they labour_, but μαλιστα ὁι
κοπιωντες, _especially they that labour_. Here is a participle with an
Article, and a _discretive particle_, which can never be rightly and
literally translated _causatively_. And therefore we conclude,
together with our Reformed Divines[60], that this text according to
the proper and Grammatical construction of it, doth hold forth unto
all unprejudiced Christians, a Ruling Elder, distinct from a teaching
Elder, which is the thing we undertook to prove.

Besides these three Scriptures thus expounded, we shall briefly offer
one more; and that is, Matth. 18.17. where the offended Brother is bid
_to tell the Church_, &c. In which words, the whole power of
excommunication is placed by Christ in the _Church_. The great
question is, what is meant by Church? Here we take for granted: 1.
That by Church, is not meant the civil Magistrate, as _Erastus_ fondly
imagineth; for this is utterly contrary to the purpose of Christ, and
the aym of that discipline here recommended to be used, which is the
_gaining of our brother unto repentance_; whereas the aym of the civil
Magistrate, is not the spiritual good properly and formally of the
offender, but the publique good of the Common-Wealth. And besides, it
is a language unknown in Scripture, to call the Magistrate the Church;
and it is an exposition purposely invented, to overthrow all
Ecclesiastical government.

2. That by Church, is meant _primarily and especially_ the particular
Congregation; we do not say _onely_, but firstly and especially. Hence
we argue; If the power of Excommunication be placed in the particular
Church, then either in the Minister alone, or in the Minister and
whole Congregation, or in the Minister and Elders chosen by the

But not in the Minister alone, who being but one man, can no more be
called a Church, then one man can be called many, or a member called a
body. For one person cannot be called a Church, (saith _Bellarmine_
himself[61],) seeing the Church is the people and Kingdome of God. It
is certain, that the Church here spoken of, is a certain number met
together; for it is said, _Where two or three are gathered together_,

Nor in the Minister and whole Congregation; for God who is the God of
order, not of confusion, hath never committed the exercise of
Ecclesiasticall jurisdiction, to a promiscuous multitude; the
Scripture[62] divides a Congregation into Rulers and Saints, into
Governours, and governed; and if all be Governours, who will be left
to be governed? And besides, if the collective body of a Church be the
Governours, then women and servants must govern as well as others.

And therefore we conclude, that by Church, must needs be meant, the
Minister and Ruling-Elders, which are the Officers we are enquiring

And this is no new interpretation, but agreed unto by ancient and
modern Writers. _Chrysostome_ saith[63], by Church, is meant the
προεστωτες, _the Rulers of the Church_, Camer.[64] _the Colledg of
Presbyters_; others, the _Ecclesiacall Senate_. These are called a
Church, for four Reasons:

1. Because it is usual in the Old Testament, (to which our Saviour
here alludeth, as appears by the words Publican and Heathen,) to call
the Assembly of Princes and Elders a Church, Numb. 35.12, 24, 25. with
Deut. 1.16. 1 Chron. 13.2, 3. with 28.1, 2. & 29.1, 6. Deut. 31.28, 30.
1 King. 8.1, 2, 55. Num. 5.2. compared with Levit. 13.15.

2. Because they manage Church affaires in the name of Christ, and of
the Church, and are servants of the Church, as well as of Christ.

3. Because they are, as it were, the eyes and ears of the Church; and
therefore as the body is said to see or hear, when as the eyes and
eares alone do see and hear; so the Church is said to see, hear, and
act, that which this _Senate Ecclesiasticall_ doth see, hear, and act.

4. Because they represent the Church; and it is a common form of
speech, to give the name of that which is represented, to that which
represents it; as we say, that to be done by the whole Kingdome, which
is done by a full and free Parliament. Hence we might further argue:

_If the Colledge of Presbyters represent the Church, then it must be
made up of Ruling-Elders, as well as Ministers._ For Ministers alone
cannot represent the Church; the Church consisting not of Ministers
alone, but of Ministers and people, who are part of the Church as well
as Ministers, and are so called, _Act._ 15.3, 4.

This is all we shall say, for the Scriptural part.

[Sidenote: Episcopacy by Divine right.]

As for the _Primitive times of the Church_, we should have wholly
waved the mention of any thing about them, were it not for the base
calumnies & reproaches which the Prelatical party cast upon the
Ruling-Elder, in saying, That it is _the new fangled device of Calvin
at Geneva_; and never known in the Church of Christ before his dayes.
There is a Bishop that _makes offer to forfeit his life to justice,
and his reputation to shame, if any man living can shew, that ever
there was a Ruling-Elder in the Christian world, till_ Farell _and_
Viret _first created them_. But he hath been abundantly answered by
_Smectymnuus_, insomuch, that whereas in his Episcopacy by Divine
Right, he boldly averreth, that the name of the Elders of the Church,
comprehendeth none but preachers, [65]and that therefore none but they
may be called _Seniores Ecclesiæ, Elders of the Church_; though some
others haply may have the title of _Seniores populi, Elders of the
people_, because of their _civill Authority_. Yet notwithstanding
afterward, the same Bishop in his [66]reply to _Smectymnuus_
acknowledgeth, that besides _Pastors and Doctors_, and besides
_Magistrates and Elders of the City_, there are to be found in
Antiquity, _Seniores Ecclesiastici, Ecclesiastical Elders_ also; only
he alledgeth, they were but as our Church-Wardens, or rather, as our
vestry-men; whereas in truth, _They were Judges in Ecclesiasticall
controversies_, and did assist the Pastor in ruling and governing the
Church; witnesse that famous place in [67]_Ambrose_, which testifies,
_that both in the Jewish and in the Christian Church, there were
these Ecclesiasticall Rulers_. This is also the judgment of
[68]_Tertullian_, [69]_Origen_, [70]_Basil_, [71]_Optatus_,
[72]_Hierome_, [73]_Augustine_, [74]_Gregory_ the great, and divers
others cited by _Justellus_ in his Annotations in _Can. Eccl.
Affricanæ_, and by _Voetius_, and by _Smectymnuus_, and by the Author
of the _Assertion of the Scotch Discipline_, some of which are
rehearsed in the Margent. We will conclude this Discourse, with the
confession of Archbishop _Whitgift_, a great Writer against the
Presbyterial-Government; _I know (saith he) that in the Primitive
Church, they had in every Church Seniors, to whom the Government of
the Church was committed, but that was before there was any Christian
Prince or Magistrate_.

And therefore, let not our respective Congregations suffer themselves
to be abused any longer with a false belief, that the _Ruling-Elder_
is a new device, and an _Officer_ never known in the _Church of God_,
nor _Word of God_. For we have sufficiently (as we conceive) proved it
to be warranted by the Word, and to have been of use in the purer
times of the Church.

Three things we shall desire to adde, as a conclusion of this

1. _That there are prints of the Ruling-Elder remaining amongst us
even at this day_; for as the _Overseers_ of every Parish, have a
_resemblance of the Deacon_; so the _Church-warden_ hath some
_foot-steps_ of our _Ruling-Elder_; though we must needs confess, that
this _Office hath been much abused_; and we could desire it might be
laid aside, and the true _Scripture-Ruling-Elder_ set up in his place.

2. That the Prelatical Divines, [75]which are such great adversaries
to the _Ruling-Elder_, do yet notwithstanding, hold and prove, that
men of abilities which are not Ministers, are to be admitted into
_Generall Councels_; because that in the Synod of _Jerusalem_, not
only the _Apostles_, but _Elders_ and _Brethren_ did sit and vote,
because this was practised in the _Old Testament_; and because that
this was practised in the Councels held afterwards in the Church of
Christ, as appears out of _Eusebius_, _Sozomen_ and _Theodoret_, and
by the subscriptions of those Councels done by men, not Ministers, as
well as others.

Hence we might argue;

_If other men, besides Ministers, are by Gods word, even in the
judgment of the Prelaticall Divines, to be admitted into the greatest
Assemblies, and Councels of the Church, much more are they by the same
right to be admitted into particular Congregations, to sit and vote
with the Minister in the Government of the Church._

3. Adde thirdly, that even in the Bishops days, for these many hundred
years, there have been _Ruling-Elders_ in the Church; for the
_Chancellours_, _Commissaries_, _Officials_, and such others, were all
of them _Governours of the Church_, and had the _power of suspension
and excommunication_; and yet were few of them, if any, _Ministers of
the Word_: And it seems to us, to be a great _curse of God_, that
lyeth upon mens spirits, that could willingly submit to _Chancellours_
& _Commissaries_, who did nothing else but _pick their purses, and
tyrannize over their bodies and estates_, and yet will not submit unto
the _Ruling-Elder_ now established, who _seeks no other interest, but
the interest of Christ, and medleth not with mens bodies or estates,
and desireth nothing but to be helpfull to the Ministers of Christ, to
keep their Congregations in unity, piety, and verity_. This is all we
shall say, in answer to the first Objection.

The second grand Objection against the _Presbyteriall-Government_, is,
that it requires all, of all sorts, to come to the _Minister_ and
_Elders_ to be examined, before they can be admitted to the Sacrament
of the Lords Supper, which is (as some ignorantly say) to bring in
auricular confession again into the Church, to bring the people of God
into a spirituall slavery and bondage unto the Eldership, and which is
an usurpation more then prelaticall, and a tyrannicall domineering
over mens consciences, and hath no footing in the Word; for the
Scripture saith, _Let a man examine himself, and so let him eate_, &c.
It is not said, _Let him first be examined by the Ministers and
Elders_: the Scripture addes, _He that eats and drinks unworthily,
eats and drinks damnation to himself_, not to the Eldership. And why
then must a man submit himself unto the examination of the Eldership?
and how come the Eldership to be guilty of another mans unworthy
receiving? It is further added by some, that for their parts, they
will willingly come before the Minister, and submit to his
examination, but they will rather for ever be without the Sacrament,
then submit to come before the _Lay-Elder_, for whom, they see no
warrant in the Word of God: Others say, that they will freely yield
that the _younger sort_, that never have received the Sacrament,
should present themselves to the _Eldership_ to be catechized, and
instructed, and fitted for the Sacrament; but they will never yield,
that old men and women, that heretofore have divers times received,
should now in their old age be required to come, to be examined not
only by their Minister, but by the Elders also, who oftentimes are
very unfit for that Office: Others adde, that though some Ministers
rigidly keep all from the Sacrament, that will not come before the
Elderships; yet there are others, that are _Presbyterians, and have
Elders chosen, that act without them_, and will receive us to the
Sacrament without comming before them. These, and such like
Objections, are brought against this way of Examination, that is so
happily begun amongst us. Now that we might satisfie these Objections,
and make good our practice out of the Word of God, we shall briefly do
these four things.

1. _We will declare what our practice is in this particular._

2. _We will prove, that he that will come to the Sacrament, ought
first to submit to examination._

3. _That the power to examine, belongs not to the Minister alone, nor
to the Minister with the whole Church, but to the Minister and

4. _We will answer the Objections, that are brought against this way
of examination by the Minister and Elders._

For the first of these, we say;

First, That the _Presbyterial-Government_, doth not precisely &
peremptorily require of those that come to the Sacrament, that they
should first be examined by questions and answers, but if any man or
woman shall make a good profession of their Faith in a continued
discourse, without being _asked any questions_, it will be as well
accepted, as if they were examined by particular questions.

Secondly, that this _examination_ or _profession_ is not required
every time men come to _the Sacrament_, but only _at their first

3. That he that is duly admitted into compleat _Church-fellowship in
the Presbyterian-way_, is not only by vertue of his first admission,
freed from all _after-examination_ (unless it be when he falls into
any scandalous transgression) in the Congregation, to which he
belongs; but he is inabled by a certificate from his Eldership, to
receive the Sacrament in any Church of the Christian world of the same
constitution, without any new examination.

Fourthly, that the reason why ancient men and women, and others, that
have formerly under the _Prelatical Government_ been admitted to the
Sacrament, are now required to submit to examination, before they can
be again admitted, doth not _proceed from the nature of the
Presbyterian Government, but chiefly from the neglect of the
Prelaticall_: For it is so evident, that it cannot be denyed, that
under the former Government, men and women of all sorts, though never
so ignorant or scandalous, were in most places admitted promiscuously
to the Sacrament without any examination. Now this grievous disorder,
and great iniquity in the Prelatical Government, is the principal
cause of all the trouble we meet withal in ours; and we desire
earnestly our people to distinguish with us, between a Church
deformed, and reformed. If the Churches of God in _England_ were once
so reformed, that there were an orderly admission, by examination or
profession, unto the Lords Table by the Eldership; then we should
require none to come to examination, but such only as never yet
communicated, whom we would endeavour to train up in knowledge, by
catechizing, and by Gods blessing, make fit in time, to be partakers
of such heavenly mysteries. But now because our Churches, through want
of Discipline, are deformed, & all sorts have been sinfully admitted
without tryal: Hence it is, that we are forced, even out of tender
regard to the souls of old people, and to free our selves from the
guilt of their sins, and out of desire to keep the Sacrament from
prophanation, to examine even aged people (many of whom we find very
ignorant) and all sorts as have been formerly admitted (many of whom
we find to be very unworthy) that so we may bring our Congregations
into Gospel-order. This we say, _we are absolutely necessitated to do
upon conscientious grounds, which we cannot recede from, though we
find it very prejudiciall to our selves, and to our Government_. But
in the mean time, we desire our respective Congregations to consider,
that this is a necessity, that the iniquity of former times hath
brought upon us; and that it doth not flow from the principles of our
Government, but only from the negligence and sinfulness of Prelatical

The second thing propounded, is to prove, that he that will come to
the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, ought first to submit to
examination, and tryal, as it hath been formerly explained: For this
purpose, we will lay down these three Propositions.

1. _It is the Will of Jesus Christ, that no grosly ignorant, or
scandalous person should come to the Sacrament._

2. _That it is the Will of Jesus Christ, that those who are grosly
ignorant, or scandalous, should be kept from the Sacrament (if they
offer to come) by the Officers of the Church._

3. _That it is the Will of Jesus Christ, that Church-Governours have
some sufficient way to find out who are such ignorant and scandalous
persons, that they may be kept away._

[Sidenote: 1. Proposition.]

_That it is the Will of Jesus Christ, that no grosly ignorant, or
scandalous person, should come to the Sacrament._

1. No _grosly ignorant person_, because the Scripture saith, _that a
man must first examine himself, and so eat of that bread, and drink of
that cup_; and it likewise saith, that he that will come to the
Sacrament must be one that _discerneth the Lords body_; otherwise he
_eats and drinks damnation to himself_; and it adds, that we are to do
this _in remembrance of Christ_, and thereby to _shew forth the Lords
death till he come_. And therefore a man that is grosly ignorant, and
is not able to examine himself, nor to discern the Lords body, nor to
remember Christ; nor understands what it is to shew forth the Lords
death, ought not to come to the Sacrament, no more then a baptized
Infant, who is therefore not to partake of this Ordinance, because of
his want of knowledge.

2. No _scandalous person_: This is evidenced from the words of the
Apostle, _Let a man examine himself, & so let him eat_, &c. from which
words we gather two things:

1. That he that would come to the Sacrament, _must examine himself_;
which examination ought to be according to the nature of the Ordinance
of the Lords Supper, _viz._

1. In general; whether he be worthy to come, or no; (not with a
_worthinesse of merit_, but of _Evangelical suitablenesse_.)

2. In particular:

1. Whether he have _true Faith in Christ_, without which, he cannot
worthily eat this bread, and drink this cup.

2. Whether he _truly repent for sin, and from sin_. For he that comes
in any sin unrepented of, comes unclean, and so pollutes the

3. Whether he be [76]_truly united by love to Jesus Christ, and his
members_; without which, he cannot enjoy communion with them in that

2. That he who upon due examination, can find none of these
qualifications, should not presume to come, which appears:

1. By the Apostolical command, _But let a man examine himself, and so
let him eat; so_, and _not otherwise_.

2. By the sin which he commits, in _being guilty of the body and blood
of Christ_, vers. 27.

3. By the _Danger_ he incurres to himself, in _eating and drinking his
own damnation_, vers. 29.

2. From the nature of the Sacrament.

1. It is the _table of the Lord, and the Lords Supper_; and
consequently the friends, and not the enemies of Christ, are thereto

2. It is an ordinance, wherein we publiquely profess communion with
Christ and his mystical body, & if he that comes, be by sin disjoyned
from Christ, he is guilty of a _sacrilegious lye against him and his
Church_, whilest he professeth himself to be a _friend_, and is
_really an enemy_.

3. It is (according to the nature of all Sacraments,) [77]a sealing
Ordinance, as is intimated in those remarkable sacramental phrases,
_This is my body, this is my blood_, denoting not only a bare
sacramental signification, but also a spiritual obsignation and
exhibition of Christs body and blood, to a worthy receiver. Now a seal
supposeth a writing to which it is annext, or else it is a meer
nullity; and certainly Christ never intended to have his Seal put to
a blank or counterfeit writing.

4. It is an ordinance appointed for the nourishment of those who are
spiritually alive, Christs body & blood being therein conveyed under
the Elements of bread & wine; which they only can eat and drink,
[78]who are alive by Faith, and not they that are dead in trespasses &

5. It is the _New Testament in the blood of Christ_, that is, _a
confirmation of the New Testament_, and of all the promises and
priviledges thereof in the blood of Christ, which belong not at all to
wicked men, [79]_Godlinesse having the promises of this life, and that
which is to come_.

By all which it appears, that it is the Will of Christ, that no
scandalous person should come to the Lords table.

[Sidenote: 2. Proposition.]

_That it is the Will of Jesus Christ, that those who are grosly
ignorant, or scandalously wicked, should be kept from the Sacrament,
(if they offer to come,) by Church-Officers._

And this is evident:

1. _From the power given to Church-Officers for that purpose._

2. _From the evill consequents that will otherwise ensue._

1. That such a power is given to Church-Officers, appears,

Not onely

From the proportionable practice of Church-Officers under the Old
Testament, who kept the charge of the holy things of God, and were
appointed [80]to see that none who were unclean in any thing, or
uncircumcised in flesh, or in heart, should enter into the Temple, to
partake of the holy things of God, and [81]had a power to put
difference between holy and unholy, which power was not meerly
_doctrinall_ or _declarative_, _but decisive, binding_, and
_juridicall_, so far, as that according to their sentence, men were to
be admitted, or excluded. That there was a power in the Old Testament
to keep men from the Sacrament of the Passeover, for morall
wickednesse, _vide Aarons_ rod blossoming, lib. 1. cap. 9, 10, &c.

But also,

From that power of Government, and _key of Discipline_, committed by
Jesus Christ, to Church-Officers, under the New Testament. For Christ
hath given to them the keys of the Kingdom of heaven, which imply not
only a key of doctrine, but of discipline, and that both to _keep out
such as Christ would not have received in, and to shut out such as
Christ would not have to continue in_; The use of a key being for both
these purposes. For shutting out those that should not be continued
in, as is granted on all hands from divers Scriptures[82]. And
consequently, for _keeping out those that should not be received in_,
there being the same reason of both. _For to what purpose should such
be received in, as are by Christs command immediately to be cast out

2. That divers ill consequences will otherwise ensue, if grosly
ignorant, and scandalous persons be not kept away, is plain.

1. _Church-Governours should be very unfaithfull Stewards of the
Mysteries of Christ, and perverters of his Ordinance._ If a Steward to
whom his Lord hath committed his goods to be carefully distributed, to
such as are honest, faithfull, and diligent in his field or Vineyard,
shall not only admit of _Loyterers_, and such as by their evill
example discourage others, but also shall give to such the bread and
wages which belongs to them who are faithfull and industrious, should
he not be accounted a very unjust and unfaithfull Steward, and an
abuser of his trust?

2. _They should be guilty of polluting and prophaning the_ Sacrament.
If a Minister should give this Sacrament to an Infant, or to a
Mad-man, or to a meer fool; or to a Swine, or a Dog, would not all men
say this were a horrible prophanation thereof? _Shall it then seem a
small prophanation to give it unto one who is as ignorant as an
Infant, and walloweth as a Swine in the mire of sin and uncleanness?_

3. _They should express a great deal of cruelty and inhumanity to the
soul of him to whom they give the Sacrament_; because they give it to
one who will eat and drink his own damnation.

4. _They will hereby make themselves accessary to his sin of unworthy
receiving_; For it is a certain Rule in Divinity; [83]_He that suffers
a man to commit sin, when it is in his power to hinder him, is
accessory to the sin that that man commits_; as appears by the
[84]example of _Eli_: And therefore, if the Officers of the Church
that are deputed by Christ to keep grosly ignorant, or scandalous,
from the Sacrament, shall yet notwithstanding suffer them to come, and
can hinder them, but will not, they themselves become guilty of his

5. _They do hereby grieve the Godly, that are members of the same
Congregation, and as much as in them lies, they pollute & defile the
whole Congregation: For know you not_, saith the Apostle, _that a
little Leaven leaveneth the whole lump?_

6. Adde lastly, that hereby they bring down the _judgments of God upon
the Congregation_; according to that text, 1 Cor. 11.30. _For this
cause many are sick._

From all this, we argue thus; If Church-Officers under the Old
Testament had an authoritative power to separate between the holy and
prophane; and if under the New Testament they have a power to keep out
from the Sacrament, such as are grosly ignorant, or scandalously
wicked; and if it be the Will of Christ, that the Officers of the
Church should be faithful Stewards of the Mysteries of Christ, that
they should not pervert, nor pollute his Ordinance; that they should
not be cruel to the souls of their Brethren, or be partakers of other
mens sins, that they should not grieve the Godly, nor bring guilt and
judgment upon the Congregation of which they are Officers: Then it is
the Will of Christ, that they should not give the Sacrament to such,
who are grosly ignorant, and scandalously wicked.

[Sidenote: 3. Proposition.]

_That it is the Will_ of Christ, _that_ Church-Governours _have some
sufficient way to discover who are such ignorant and scandalous
persons, that they may be kept away_.

This followeth clearly from the two former Proportions. For if it be
the Will of Christ, that no grosly ignorant, or scandalous person
should come to the Sacrament; and if they offer to come, should be
kept back by Church-Officers; then it follows, That they must have
sufficient way to detect who are ignorant and scandalous. _For Christ
never wills any end, but he wills also all necessary and sufficient
mean, conducing to that end._

Now what sufficient means can be propounded or imagined, for detection
of ignorant or scandalous persons, but by examination before these
Church-Officers; examination, we say, of the persons themselves in
case of ignorance, and of witnesses also in the case of scandal. For
though in some particular cases for private satisfaction, private
conference with the Minister alone may sufficiently discover the
knowledge or ignorance of persons, yet in this common case, for
publique satisfaction touching the fitness of persons for the Lords
Supper, no lesse then a publike and judicial examination before the
Eldership can be sufficient; inasmuch as an authoritative act of
admitting, or refusing the persons so examined, depends thereupon.

To illustrate this;

If a man by his last Will and Testament, should leave unto the Master
and Fellows of a Colledge in trust a sum of money; to be distributed
to hopeful poor schollars, such as were well verst in the learned Arts
and Tongues: Would it not hence follow?

1. That those _Trustees_ have a power granted them by the Will, to
examine those that come to desire that Legacie.

2. That if any refuse to be examined, or upon examination be found
insufficiently qualified, they have authority to refuse them.

3. That the most sufficient, proper, and satisfactory way, is not to
trust to Reports or Testimonials, but to examine the persons
themselves that sue for such a Legacie: So in the present case, Jesus
Christ hath left as a Legacie, the _Sacrament of his Body and Bloud_,
and hath left the Church-Officers in trust with it, and hath said in
his Will, That no grosly ignorant, or scandalous person ought to come
to partake thereof; and if any come, that he be debarred from it by
those Church-Officers. Hence it followeth inevitably.

1. _That those in trust have power to examine such as desire to
partake of this_ Legacie, _whether they be of sufficient knowledg, and
of good conversation, or no_. 2. _That they have power to refuse all
such as either refuse to be examined, or upon examination, are found
insufficient._ 3. _That if the Church Officers would give up their
account with joy at the great day of judgment, they ought not to rest
satisfied with private Reports or Informations of others; but to
examine the persons themselves, that thereby they may faithfully
discharge their trust in a matter of so great concernment_; And that
they that will have the Sacrament, according to the will of Christ,
ought first to submit themselves to such examination.

Besides this that hath been said, to prove that those that would come
to the Sacrament ought first to submit to examination; We shall
further offer these following Arguments.

1. We argue from that general exhortation of the Apostle, 1 _Pet._
3.15. _But sanctifie the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready alwayes
to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope
that is in you, with meekness and fear._

Now if Christians are bound to give an account of their Faith and hope
to every one that asketh them, _yea even to heathen Persecutors_: how
much more ought they to do it to the Officers of the Church?
especially at such a time, when they desire to be admitted to an
_Ordinance_ that is not common to all sorts of Christians, but
peculiar to such as are indued with knowledg, and of an unblameable
life and conversation.

2. _From that power that Jesus Christ hath seated in his Church, of
examining such as are by the Will of Christ to be excommunicated from
the Sacrament._ That there is a power of examining, in order to
excommunication, appears from Matth. 18.16, 17. and from Revel. 2.2.
where Christ commends [85]the Angel of the Church of _Ephesus_, _because
he could not bear them which were evill, and had tryed them who said,
they were Apostles, and were not, and had found them lyars_. This
trying was not only _charitative_, and _fraternall_, but
_authoritative_ and _judiciall_. For it was an act of the Angel of the
Church; which Angel is not to be understood individually, [86]but
collectively, for all the Angels in _Ephesus_. And that there were
more Angels then one in _Ephesus_, appears from _Act._ 20.17. (The
like may be said of the Angel of the Church of _Smyrna_, _Pergamus_,
_Thyatira_, &c. for Christ speaks unto each Angel in the plural
number, Rev. 2.10, 13, 14.)

From hence we argue, _If Iesus Christ hath given power
Authoritatively, to examine such as are to be cast out from the
Sacrament, then he hath also given power to examine such as are to be
received in_. For there is the same reason of both. And as the power
of excommunication would be wholly useless and frustraneous, if there
were not a power of examination precedent thereunto; so would the
power of keeping such as are grosly ignorant or scandalous, from the
Sacrament, be utterly in vain, and of no benefit to the Church of
Christ, if the power of examination should be denyed unto it. And
certainly, whosoever is an enemy to this power, must be forced to
grant, that it is the _Will of Iesus Christ_, that all sorts of
people, though never so wicked, though actually drunk, though fooles,
though Turks, Iews, or Heathen, are to be admitted to the Sacrament,
if they come unto it.

_For if there be no divine right of Examination, or of rejection, how
dare any Church or State assume a power of making rules for keeping
any persons from the Sacrament?_ should they make rules for keeping
ignorant and scandalous persons from the hearing of the Word, would it
not be accounted a sin of an high nature? And is it not as great a sin
to keep any from the Sacrament, if Christ hath left no power for the
doing of it? is not this to be wise above what is written? And
therefore let us either admit all sorts to the Sacrament, without any
distinction of persons, and thereby become guilty of the body and
blood of Christ, and accessary to the sins of those that come
unworthily; (as hath been said, and formerly proved,) or else let us
diligently and conscientiously examine all of all sorts, that desire
to be made partakers of this distinguishing ordinance.

3. From the titles that are given to the Officers of the Church, and
from the duty that God requires at their hands. The Officers of the
Church are called _Rulers_ and _Governours_, & such as are _over their
people in the Lord_. And it is their duty _to watch over the souls of
their people, as such as must give an account for them into God_. Now
it is all the reason in the world, that they that must _give an
account to God for their people, should take an account of their
people_; and that they that _watch over their souls, should know the
state of their souls_. And that they that are _Governours, Rulers,
and Overseers, should teach, instruct, try and examine those over whom
they rule and govern_.[87]

[Sidenote: Quest.]

But you will say, who are these _Rulers and Governours_, by whom we
are to be examined?

[Sidenote: _Answ._]

The Answer to this, will lead us to the third thing propounded; and
that is to prove,

[Sidenote: The 3. Particular.]

_That the power of examining those that desire to be admitted to the
Lords Supper, belongs not to the Minister alone, nor to the Minister
with the whole Church, but to the Minister & Ruling Elders._

1. _Not to the Minister alone._ Indeed there is an examination, which
belongs only to the teaching-Elder, and that is [88]a catechizing of
his people in publique, by questions and answers; and this is part of
the key of doctrine.

[Sidenote: _Non uni, sed unitati._]

But the _examination_ that we are now treating of, belongs to
_Discipline and Government_; for it is not only a naked examination,
but an _authoritative determining whether the party examined shall be
detained from the_ Sacrament, _or admitted_; which is formally an act
of Church-Government, and therefore belongs not to the Minister alone,
but to all those whom Christ hath made Church-Governours, also: of
which sort are the Ruling-Elders, as hath been sufficiently proved.
The power of Discipline is given by Christ, not to one Elder, but to
the united company of Elders: and for one Minister alone to assume
this power unto himself, it is to make himself the Church; it is to
make himself a Congregational Pope; it is a bringing in of a Power
into the Church, that would have some resemblance (as was objected) to
auricular confession.

Now there are two things we are very confident of;

1. That when the Parliament gave their allowance to the Presbyterial
Government, if they had put the whole juridical power of the Church
into the hands of the Minister alone, they that now seem so willing to
come to be examined by the Minister without his Elders, would have
more bitterly declaimed against that way, then now they do against
this: For this indeed were to make every Minister a Prelate in his
Congregation; and (as we now said) to bring in that which hath some
resemblance to _auricular confession_.

2. That it is as warrantable by the Word of God, for one Minister to
assume the whole power unto himself alone, of suspending persons from
the Sacrament, who have been duly admitted thereunto (which is a
graduall excommunication) as it is to assume the whole power of
admitting unto the Sacrament; for _contrariorum eadem est ratio_. And
oh that our Brethren in the Ministry, that take this power unto
themselves, would seriously consider what is here said.

Secondly, the power cannot be placed in the whole Church collectively
taken; for then it should be also in children and servants. The
Scripture makes an exact distinction between Rulers, and Ruled; and we
are very well assured, that if this power were seated in the Minister
and whole Congregation, that they that are now so unwilling to come
before the Minister and Elders, would be much more unwilling to come
before the Minister, and whole Congregation. And therefore we
conclude, That this power of examining, and receiving unto the
Sacrament such are fit, and detaining such as are found to be grosly
ignorant, and visibly wicked must needs belong to the Minister,
assisted with the Elders, chosen out from amongst the rest of the
Congregation: For if the Elders are Rulers, and Governours, seated by
God in his Church, (as hath been abundantly proved) then it will
undeniably follow, _That whatsoever is properly an act of Government,
must belong to them as well as the Minister_. And who can deny, but
that the power of admitting unto, or detaining from the Sacrament, is
an act of Government? and therefore it doth by divine right belong to
the Elders, as well as to the Minister. But yet here we must carefully
distinguish between the _act of examination_, and the judgment given
upon the person examined. The managing of the Examination, is the
proper act of the teaching Elder; It is he that is to pray for a
blessing; It is he, that is for order sake to ask the questions. But
as for the _determining_, whether the party examined be fit or no to
receive, this is an act of power and government, and belongs not to
the Minister alone, but to the Eldership. And it is a very great
wonder unto us, that people should profess so much dis-satisfaction
and dislike, in coming before the Ruling-Elders whereas they cannot
but take notice,

1. _That the Elders are such, as they themselves have, or might have

2. _They are chosen for the relief and benefit of the Congregation._
That so the Minister might not be _sole judge_ of those that are to
come to the Sacrament, but might have others joyned with him, to see
that he doth nothing out of envy, malice, pride, or partiality, but
that all things be managed for the good and edification of them, for
whose sake they are chosen: which two particulars, if our people did
seriously consider, they would quickly be perswaded to a hearty and an
unanimous submission unto this ordinance of Jesus Christ.

There remains the fourth thing yet behind, which is an answering of
the objections that are brought against this way of examination by
Minister and Elders. But this, and divers other considerable things,
which we shall propound, to perswade people unto a cheerful obedience
to this part of Church-Reformation, so comfortably begun in many
Congregations in this Kingdome; We shall leave, till we come to that
part of this discourse, which we call, The EXHORTATION; to which we
refer the Candid Reader, that desires further satisfaction.

And thus we have given you a short survey of the nature of the
Presbyterial Government; together with an answer to the most material
objections against it: which we have done only for this end, that so
(as we have said) we might undeceive those, who look upon it as lordly
and tyrannical; and by these bug-bears, are scared from submitting to
it. And we beseech our several Congregations, to judge of it, as it is
here represented, and to be willing to come under the yoke of it,
which is light and easie, (being the yoke of Christ) and which will in
a short time make our Congregations (if received into them) glorious
for their unity, verity, and piety.

We are not ignorant, that it hath many Adversaries. The obstinately
ignorant hates it, because it will not suffer him to go blindfold to
hell. The prophane person hates it, because it will not suffer him to
eat and drink his own damnation, by unworthy coming to the Sacrament.
The Heretique hates it, because after two or three admonitions, it
rejects him. The Jesuite hates it, because it is an invincible bulwark
to keep out Popery. The Schismatique, because the main design of it,
is to make all the Saints to be of one lip, one heart, and one way.
And above all, the Devil hates it, because if rightly managed, it will
in a short time blow up his kingdome.

But notwithstanding all these great and potent enemies, our comfort
is, That this Government is the Government of Jesus Christ, who is the
King of his Church, and hath given unto us the keyes of his Kingdom,
hath promised to be with us, to protect and defend us to the end of
the world; upon whose shoulders the government is laid; & though we be
utterly unable, yet he that was able to bear the wrath of God upon his
shoulders, is able to bear up this Government against the wrath of
man. For this end and purpose, all power in heaven and earth is given
unto him; and he is now sitting at the right hand of God, for the more
effectual exercising thereof: and will there remain, till he hath made
all his enemies his foot-stool. Whose priviledge it is, to rule in the
midst of his enemies: And will one day say, Those mine enemies, which
would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them
before me. _Be wise now therefore, O ye Kings, be instructed ye Judges
of the Earth; serve the Lord with fear, and rejoyce with trembling.
Kisse the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his
wrath is kindled but a little; blessed are all they that put their
trust in him._

       *       *       *       *       *

There remains the second particular yet behind; and that is the
_Vindication of our persons_, (especially of such amongst us, who are
teaching Elders,) from the slanders and cruel reproaches that are cast
upon us; which we shall undertake, not so much for our own, as for our
peoples sake, lest hereby our Ministry should be rendred useless and
ineffectual; for (as [89]_Austine_ saith) _though a Ministers good
conscience is sufficient for himself, yet his good name is necessary
for his people_: who ordinarily dis-esteem the Doctrine of him, whose
person they dis-esteem. We thank God, we can say with the Apostle,
with us, _It is a very small thing that we should be judged of mans
judgment: He that judgeth us is the Lord._ We remember what the
Apostle tells us in that little Book of Martyrs, of divers Saints,
whose _shoe-latchets we are not worthy to untye; who endured cruell
mockings, yea moreover bonds and imprisonments, they were stoned, they
were sawn assunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword_, &c. _of
whom the world was not worthy_, and yet even they were not _thought
worthy to live in the world_. And therefore we can with the more
willingness, suffer our selves to be the _But_ of every mans malice,
and the subject of every dayes Pamphlet. We read, that even _Elias_
himself was called the _troubler of Israel_, by him who was the chief
_troubler thereof_. And that Saint _Paul_, who was wrapt up into the
third heaven, was accused by _Tertullus_, to be _a Pestilent fellow,
and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world_. And
that the Primitive Confessors and Martyrs, famous for the holiness of
their lives, were charged before the Heathen Emperors, to be the
vildest of men; to be first murderers, and then eaters of their own
children; to be guilty of incestuous marriages, and in their private
meetings to commit uncleanness. And their Religion also was
represented, as the cause of all the Earthquakes, famines, plagues,
and other miseries of those times.[90]

We have formerly made mention of the reproaches which the
_Anabaptists_ of _Germany_ cast upon _Luther_; and we might adde the
horrible and prodigious lies & slanders raised by the _Arians_ against
_Athanasius_, that great Champion of Jesus Christ, and the hideous and
strange reports, and bitter invectives of _Michael Servetus_ and
_Bolseck_, against _Calvin_. But that which doth quiet our spirits,
more then all this, is, the consideration of Christ Jesus himself, who
when he was here upon Earth, was accused to be an _Enemy to_ Cæsar, _a
friend to_ Publicans _and_ Sinners, _a Glutton and a Wine-bibber_,
&c. _It is enough for the_ Disciple _that he be as his_ Master, _and
the_ Servant _as his_ Lord; _if they have called the Master of the
house_ Belzebub; _how much more shall they call them of his Houshold?_

As for the particular accusations that are charged upon us, they are,
we confess, very many, and very great; and if to be accused, were
sufficient to make us guilty, we were of all men most miserable. But
we hope it may be said of us, as it was once of _Cato_, _That as he
was 32. times accused, so he was 32. times cleared and absolved_. And
we trust, that the Lord will in due time, dispell all these thick
mists and fogs which our adversaries have raised up against us, and
bring forth at last our _Righteousnesse as the light, and our judgment
as the noon day_. And we do here profess before the great God, that in
all the great changes that have bin lately made amongst us, it hath
been our great endeavour to keep our selves unchanged, making the
_unchangeable Word_ our _Rule_, and the _unchangeable God_ our _Rock_.
And we are confident, that no man will account us _Apostatized from
our principles_, but such as are in a great measure _Apostatized from
their own professions_. There are some men that _Proteus_-like, can
transform them into all shapes, for their own advantage, according to
the times wherein they live; and _Camelion-like_, can change
themselves into any colour but white, can turn any thing, but what
they should be. And because we cannot change our consciences with the
times, as some do; therefore, and therefore only, are we counted
_Changlings_. It is just with such men, as with men in a ship at Sea,
that will not be perswaded, but that the shore they pass by moves, and
not the ship wherein they are. As for Us, we are, and hope (through
Gods grace) ever shall be fixt and immoveable in our first
principles. We were not the causers of the first War, between King and
Parliament; but were called by the Parliament to their assistance: and
the ground of our ingaging with them was, _The Propositions and Orders
of the Lords, and Commons in Parl. Jun. 10. 1642._ for bringing in of
mony and plate, &c. wherein they assured us, that whatever should be
brought in thereupon, should not at all be employed upon any other
occasion, _Then to maintain the Protestant Religion, the Kings
authority and his person, in his Royall Dignity; the free course of
justice; the Laws of the Land, the peace of the Kingdom; and the
Priviledges of Parliament, against any force which shall oppose them._
And in this we were daily confirmed & incouraged more and more, by
their many subsequent Declarations and Protestations, which we held
our selves bound to believe, knowing many of them godly and
conscientious men, of publique Spirits, zealously promoting the good
both of Church and State. The War we ingaged in by Authority of
Parliament, was only defensive, (which not only [91]Bishop _Bilson_,
and [92]Bishop _Bedell_, but divers others of the Prelatical way hold
to be just and warrantable.) We never opposed the King further, then
He opposed His own Laws: Our aym in all that great Undertaking (as the
great Heart-searcher knows) was to _secure Religion, to preserve the
Government of the Kingdom, and to remove the Wicked from before the
King, that his Throne might be established in Righteousness_.

And this Act of ours, was not at all contrary to the _Oath_ of
_Allegeance_ which we have taken; because the intent of that Oath can
be no other, then to oblige to obey the King, according to the Laws of
the Kingdome; and to our knowledg, we never disobeyed the King in his
legall and political capacity; though we confess we did, and by the
Law were allowed to deny obedience unto him in his personall capacity,
when it did cross his legall. And therefore they that charge us so
deeply, and reiterate their charge by their multiplyed Pamphlets,
_That we Ministers are the cause of all the Murders and Blood
sheddings of these late years, and other horrid practices which we
forbear to mention, have the greater sin_.

But our comfort is, the witness of our Consciences, and the integrity
of our Carriages; and we doubt not but we can truly appeal, as
_David_, did when he was accused for seeking the life of _Saul_. _The
Lord judg between them and us, and plead our cause, and deliver us out
of the hands of these cruell and unreasonable accusers._ This is all
we shall return in answer to the first War; As for the second War, we
profess, we stand amazed at the impudency of that man[93], who is not
afraid, even against his own conscience (we fear) to say of the
Presbyterian Ministers, _That they did separate their consecrated
Lungs, for Bellows to blow up the Coals amongst the People this last
Summer; That they were the Ghostly Fathers of all or the greatest part
of those Anti-Parliamentary Barabasses, who so lately commenced
Masters of Mis-rule in_ Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Essex, Wales, &c. _That
in stead of lifting up their voyces like Trumpets, to cause the People
to know their abominations, they lift them up like Trumpets, to
prepare them to commit abominations, &c._ That Tumults, Insurrections,
and Rebellions of the People against Authority, _in order to the
advancement of High Presbytery, seem lawfull, yea, and commendable
practices unto many of them_. To all which, and Multitudes of such
like cruel invectives, we return the answer of the Archangel, _Jude_ 9.
_The Lord rebuke thee._ It is well known to all that are not wilfully
and maliciously blind, what help the Presbyterian Ministers and People
did contribute towards the quenching of those flames; and that in all
probability, the Army had been utterly destroyed, had not the
Presbyterian Forces in _Lancashire_, _Suffolk_, _Essex_, and in divers
other places (incouraged by the Ministers) come in timously, and
vigorously to their assistance. And the time was, when this was
ingenuously acknowledged by one of the chiefest of the Army, though
the forementioned Pamphleter, possessed with prejudice against us,
will not remember any such thing; and though some of us be like to be
dealt withall by way of recompence, just as _M. Tullius Cicero_ was,
who had his head cut off by _Popilius Lænas_, whose head he had saved
from cutting off; or as _Constans_, the Son of _Constantine_ the great
was served, who was kil'd by one _Magnentius_, whose life he had
formerly preserved.[94] And what the Ministers of _London_ in
particular did in this kind, is well known to all unprejudiced
Citizens. We did not abet (as we are falsly accused) but abhor and
detest, that _horrid violence offered to the Parliament, upon that
fatall Munday_, July 6. 1647. We have always been, and still are
friends to the _Priviledges of Parliament, according to our Covenant_.
And for this very cause it is, even because we will not break the
priviledges of Parliament, that we suffer so deeply from these kind of
men at this day. Although we could (if recriminations were good
answers) put them in mind of Pamphlets, not a few, written by them,
and those of their way, _in justification of as horrid acts of
violence offered to the Parliament_. When the Scottish Army came last
into _England_, (though we are shamefully traduced, as if we had
encouraged and invited them to come in,) yet our consciences do
witness with us, and our _Auditors_ can testifie for us, that we did
unanimously oppose them, as men that pretended the _Covenant_, but
acted quite contrary unto it. We profess, that in conscience we are
bound, and in practice we shall endeavour to obey _lawfull Authority
in all lawfull things_; and when we cannot actively obey, we shall be
ready _passively to submit_. If our hearts deceive us not, we have no
design but the _glory of God_, _no interest like that of Religion_. We
desire more to _sow spiritualls_, then _reap temporalls_. And that
Christ and his Gospel, may be exalted, though upon our ruines. Pardon
us, that we become fools in glorifying, for ye have compelled us. We
hunt not after tythes, and great Livings, but seek the salvation of
our peoples souls; and had our enemies a window into our hearts, they
would finde these our professions to be true and unfeigned. And yet we
must crave leave to tell these men, _That the design of taking away
Tythes from the Ministry, was first invented by that cursed Apostate_
Julian, _who (as Mr._ Stock _that Reverend, pious, and painfull
Preacher hath observed[95],) by this means is noted, more to have
overthrown the Church, then all the Persecuting Emperours before him.
Because they took away Presbyters, and their Martyrs blood was the
seed of the Church, but he took away Presbyterium, the Ministry it
self, in withdrawing the maintenance from the Church, and so overthrew
the Worship of God._ As for our way of preaching, though we are far
from justifying any _indiscreet and passionate expressions_, yet we
conceive it to be very hard measure, to have our integrity arraigned
and condemned for humane infirmities. And we hope we may, without
boasting, say thus much; That the _setled Ministry of England_ was
never more _censured, molested, impoverished and yet never more pious,
peaceable, and painfull_. And that our condition in this juncture of
affaires, is just like that of the _Romane, That had a suit commenced
against him, because he did not receive the sword of his enemy far
enough into his bowels_. And that therefore it is that some men
rail against us, because we will not break our _Oaths and Covenants_,
and will not _serve the times_, but _serve the Lord_. It is a great
refreshing to us, to consider the wise dispensation of God, in
ordering the affaires of this Kingdome, so, as he hath thereby
discovered the hidden hypocrisie and cousenage of many men, unto those
who otherwise would not have believed it. And we earnestly intreat
these men to consider, as in the sight of God, before whose dreadfull
judgment Seat, both we and they must shortly give an account of all
things done in these our mortall bodies; Whether in that dreadful day
it will appear a _righteous thing_, If those who have cryed down
_Persecution so much_, should now themselves become the _greatest
Persecutors_. And if they who have formerly abhorred others, as men
transported with an _Antichristian spirit_, but for a bare suspition,
that if they got power into their hands, they would prove _cruell and
tyrannicall to poor tender consciences_, should now actually attempt
to do that themselves, the which upon bare suspition, they did condemn
in others: And if any who have accused others for seeking great
Offices, and places of gain and preferment, should now manifest
themselves to be none of the least self-seekers. Alas! who knows, or
can discern the deceitfulness of our hearts? and that if we give way
upon meer outward occurrences, to change our principles, but that upon
further changes, the Righteous Lord may leave us to Satans stronger
delusions, to transport us further, then at present can come in our
hearts to imagine; that so after all the glorious beginnings in the
Spirit, we should fearfully Apostatize, and end in the flesh. For our
parts, we tremble to think of those formidable Judgments of our
Righteous God. And our prayer to God is, that he would keep us sincere
in all changes, and that he would plead our cause for us. And our
_rejoycing, is the testimony of our consciences, that in simplicity
and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdome, but by the grace of
God, we have had our conversation in the world_. It is the integrity
of our consciences, that carries us above all the reproaches and
slanders that are cast upon us: and that makes us go on in doing our
duties, maugre all opposition; and to commit the maintaining of his
own cause, and the cleering of our callings and persons unto the Lord,
who judgeth righteously.

[1] Ezra 4.15, 24.

[2] _Justini Martyris Apologia. Tertul. Apol._

[3] _Juell. Apolog._

[4] Psal. 80.12, 13, 14, 15.

[5] Psal. 51.18.

[6] 1 Tim. 3.15.

[7] 2 Tim. 3.16, 17. Psal. 19.7.

[8] 2 Cor. 5.20. Eph. 4.11.

[9] Matth. 18.20.

[10] Iam. 4.12. Isa. 33.22.

[11] Matth. 28.19. 1 Cor. 11.23. &c.

[12] 1 Cor. 5. Ioh. 20.21, 22, 23. Matth. 28.18, 19, 20.

[13] Eph. 4.11. Eph. 1.22. 1 Tim. 3.15.

[14] Heb. 3.2, 3. Ha. 5.1, 7. Cant. 4.16, 6.2. Eph. 2.12.

[15] Eph. 4.12. Matth. 18.15. 1 Cor. 5.5.

[16] Eph. 4.11.

[17] 1 Tim. 5.17. 1 Cor. 12.28. and Rom. 12.6, 7, 8.

[18] Act. 6.5, 6. Phil. 1.1. and 1 Tim. 3.8.

[19] 1 Tim. 3.2. to 13. &c. Act. 6.3.

[20] Act. 6.5, 6. 1 Tim. 3.10. Act. 13.1, 2, 3. and 14.23.
1 Tim. 5.22. and 4.14.

[21] Act. 6.4.

[22] Act. 15.21. Act. 13.15.

[23] Matth. 16.19. 2 Tim. 4.1, 2.

[24] Numb. 6.23. Luk. 24.50. 2 Cor. 13.14.

[25] Matth. 28.19, 20. Mat. 26.26. to 31. 1 Cor. 11.23.

[26] Tit. 3.10. 2 Thess. 3.14, 15. Mat. 18.15. to 21. 1 Cor. 5.3. and
2 Cor. 2.6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

[27] Act. 4.35 and 6.1, 2, 3. Act. 11.29, 30. Rom. 12.8.

[28] 1 Cor. 14.34. Rom. 16.1.

[29] Act. 2.41, 47. Act. 5.4. Act. 6.1. Act. 21.20.

[30] Act. 15.

[31] Deut. 17. to the 12. Mat. 18.15, 16, 17, 18.

[32] 2 Pet. 2.10.

[33] Deut. 17.18, 19. & cap. 31.9. Josh. 1.7, 8.1. 2 King. 11.12.

[34] Isa. 49.23.

[35] Ezr. 7.26, 27. 1 Pet. 2.14. compared with Gal. 5.19, 20. & Phil.
3.2. & 2 ep. Joh. 10. 2 Chron. 15. & 2 Chron. 17.6. 2 Chron. 19.3.
2 Chron. 29. 2 Chron. 33.15, 16. 2 Chron. 34.31, 32, 33. Nehem. 13.15
_ad finem_. Dan. 3.29. 1 Tim. 2.2. Rev. 17.16, 17.

[36] 1 Pet. 2.14. Rom. 13.3, 4.

[37] Επισκοπος των εξο της εκκλησιας, _Euseb. vit. Constant._ cap. 24.

[38] Isa. 49.22. Psal. 72.10, 11. Isa. 60.10. Rev. 21.24.

[39] 1 Cor. 5.12.

[40] _Ab Apostolis usque ad nostri temporis fecem, Ecclesia Christi
nata & Adulta persecutionibus crevit, Martyriis coronata est; et
postquam ad Christianos Principes venit, potentiâ quidem & divitiis
major, sed virtutibus minor facta est._ Hieron. tom. 1. in vitâ

[41] Act. 28.22.

[42] Act. & Mon.

[43] _Spanhemius_ in a Book, called _Englands warning, by Germanies
woe_; or, An Historicall Narration of the Anabaptists in _Germany_,

[44] By Mr. _Carthwright_, against Archb. _Whitgift_. Mr. _Vdal_. Mr.
_Hildersham_. Mr. _Traverse_, &c.

[45] Heb. 13.17, 24.

[46] 1 Pet. 5.3. Ier. 10.16.

[47] _Non quia soli, sed quia solùm præsunt._

[48] _De divers. grad. Minist. Evang._ cap. 11, p. 108.

[49] _Calvin. in locum. Chrysostom._ upon 1 Cor. 12.28. _Estius_ upon
1 Cor 12.28.

[50] [Syriac: two words] ומעדרנא ומדברנא.

[51] Κυβερνησειζ.

[52] _Gerhardus de Ministerio Ecclesiastico_, Calvin. _in locum_, P.
Martyr, _in locum_. Beza _in locum_. Piscator _in locum_. Ambros. _in
locum_. Chrys. _in locum_. Salmer. _in locum, Septimo loco ponit
gubernatores, id est, eos qui præsunt aliis, & gubernant, plebemque in
officio continent. Et Ecclesia Christi habet suam politiam, & cum
Pastor per se omnia præstare non posset, adjungebantur ille duo
Presbyteri, de quibus dixit_, Qui bene præsunt Presbyteri, duplici
honore digni habeantur, maxime qui laborant in verbo & doctrina; _Qui
una cum Pastore deliberabant de Ecclesiæ cura, & instauratione: qui
etiam fidei atque honestæ vitæ consortes erant_.

[53] Estius _in_ Rom. 12. _Aliis placet etiam hac parte speciale
quoddam charisma sive officium significari, & misereri dicatur is qui
ab Ecclesia curandis miseris, potissimum ægrotis, præfectus est,
iisque præbet obsequia; velut etiam hodie fit in nosocomiis; qui
sensus haudquaquam improbabilis est._

[54] _Cornelius à Lapide_, in Rom. 12.6, 7, 8.

[55] _Whitak. in prælectionibus suis, ut refert in refutatione Dounami
Sheervodius_, cited by the Author of Altare Damascen. cap. 12. pag.
925, 926.

[56] Whitgift against Carthwright.

[57] In a Sermon of his in print.

[58] _De perpetua Eccl. gubernat._

[59] 2 Cor. 11.27. 1 Thess. 2.9.

[60] Beza in 1 Tim. 5.17. Piscator in locum. Calvin. in loc.

[61] _Non enim una persona potest dici Ecclesia cum Ecclesia sit
populus & Regnum Dei._

[62] Heb. 13.17, 24.

[63] _Chrys._ upon Matth. 18.

[64] _Camer. de Ecclesia_, upon Matth. 18.

[65] pag. 208, 209, 221.

[66] pag. 146.

[67] _unde & Synagoga, & postea Ecclesia Seniores habuit, quorum sine
consilio nihil agebatur in Ecclesia; quod qua negligentiâ obsoleverit
nescio, nisi forte Doctorum desidiâ, aut magis superbiâ, dum soli
volunt aliquid videri_, Ambros. in 1 Tim. 5.

[68] _Præsident probati quique Seniores honorem istum non pretio sed
testimonio adepti._ Tertull. Apolog. cap. 39.

[69] _Nonnulli præpositi sunt qui in vitam & mores eorum qui
admittuntur inquirant, ut qui turpia committant iis communi cœtu
interdicant, qui vero ab istis abhorrent, ex animo complexi meliores
quotidie reddant_, Orig. lib. 3. _Contra Celsum_.

[70] Basil in Psalm 33. _Ubi quatuor gradus Ministrorum constituit,
quod scilicet alii sint in Ecclesia instar oculorum, ut Seniores; alii
instar linguæ, ut Pastores; alii tanquam manus, ut Diaconi_, &c.

[71] Optatus lib. 1. _advers. Parmen._ mentioning a persecution, that
did for a while scatter the Church, saith, _Erant Ecclesiæ ex auro &
argento quam plurima ornamenta, nec defodere terræ, nec secum portare
poterat, quare fidelibus Ecclesiæ Senioribus commendavit_.
_Albaspinæus_ that learned Antiquary upon that place acknowledged,
That besides the Clergy, there were certain of the Elders of the
people, men of approved life, that did tend the affaires of the
Church, of whom this place is to be understood.

[72] _Et nos habemus in Ecclesia Senatum nostrum, cœtum Presbyterorum;
cum ergo inter cœtera etiam senes Judea perdiderit quomodo poterit
habere concilium, quod proprie Seniorum est?_ Hier. _in_ Is. 3.2.

[73] Aug. writing in his 137. Epistle to those of his own Church,
directs his Epistle, _Dilectissimis Patribus, Clero, senioribus, &
universæ plebi Ecclesiæ Hipponensis_.

So again. Aug. lib. 3. _contra Cresconium_, cap. 56. _Peregrinus
Presbyter, & Seniores Ecclesiæ Musticanæ regionis._

Again, Sermo. 19. _de verbis Domini. Cum ob errorem aliquem a
Senioribus arguuntur & imputantur alicui de illis, cur ebrius fuerit?_

Again, _Epistola Synodalis Concilii Carbarsussitani apud eundem_, Aug.
_enar. in_ Psalm 36. _Necesse nos fuerit Primiani causam quem plebs
sancta Carthaginensis Ecclesiæ Episcopum fuerat in oculis Dei sortita,
Seniorum literis ejusdem Ecclesiæ postulantibus audire atque

[74] Gregor. Magnus. _lib._ 11. _ep._ 19. _Si quid de quocunque
Clerico ad aures tuas pervenerit, quod te juste possit offendere,
facile non credas, sed præsentibus Ecclesiæ tuæ Senioribus diligenter
est perscrutanda veritas, & tunc si qualitas rei poposcet, Canonica
districtio culpam feriat delinquentis._ We should have added before,
that _in actis purgationis Cæciliani & Fælicis_; We read _Episcopi,
Presbyteri, Diaconi, Seniores_. Again, _Clerici & Seniores Cirthensium_.
Sundry Letters were produced and read in the conference: one directed,
_Clero & Senioribus_: another, _Clericis & Senioribus_. The Letter of
_Purpurius_ to _Sylvanus_, speaketh thus, _Adhibete conclericos, &
Seniores plebis Ecclesiasticos viros, & inquirant diligenter quæ sint
istæ dissensiones_.

[75] Sutlivius _de Concil. ab_ 1. _cap._ 8 saith, that among the Jews
_Seniores tribuum_, the Elders of the Tribes did sit with the Priests
in judging controversies of the Law of God. Hence he argues against
_Bellarmine_, that so it ought to be in the christian Church also,
because the priviledge of christians is no less then the priviledg of
the Jewes.

[76] 1 Cor. 10.16, 17.

[77] Rom. 4.11.

[78] Joh. 6.63.

[79] 1 Tim. 4.8.

[80] 2 Chr. 23.19. Ezek. 44.7, 8.

[81] Levit. 10.10. Ezek. 22.26.

[82] 1 Cor. 5.13. Rev. 2.14, 15, 20. Tit. 3.10.

[83] Levit. 19.17.

[84] 1 Sam. 2.

[85] _Zelum singularem laudat in tuenda disciplina Ecclesiæ, quod
vitiis in cœtu grassantibus se fortiter opposuerit, scandalosos
censuris debitis correxerit, vel Ecclesiæ communione ejecerit. Ita
enim præcepit Christus & Apostolus, & viguerunt censuræ in primitiva
Ecclesia magno bono_, Pareus in locum.

[86] That the Church of _Ephesus_, is not Individually, but
collectively to be taken, _vide Smectymnuum_.

[87] 1 Cor. 12.28. 1 Tim. 5.17. 1 Thess. 5.12. Heb. 13.17.

[88] Gal. 6.6. where the word κατηχουμενος properly signifieth a
teaching by questions and answers.

[89] _Mihi quidem sufficit conscientia mea, vobis autem necessaria est
fama mea._ Aug. ad fratr. in Eremo.

[90] Tertullian. Apologet.

[91] In his Book of Christian subjection, _&c._

[92] In his letters to _Wadesworth_.

[93] _J.G._

[94] Pezelii mellificium historicum, pars 2. pag. 268.

[95] _M. Stock_ upon Malachy, cap. 3.


Having thus in few words, vindicated both our Government and our
Persons, we conceive it necessary to subjoyn an Exhortation unto all
the Ministers, and Elders, and people, that are within the Province;
which we shall branch into these ensuing particulars:

1. We shall direct our speech _unto the Ministers and Ruling Elders,
that have accepted of, and do act according to the Rules of the
Presbyterian Government, as they are conjoyned in one and the same

2. _Unto those of our respective Congregations, that submit unto the
Government, and are admitted unto the Sacrament of the body and blood
of Christ, in the Presbyterian way._

3. _Unto those that live within the bounds of the Province, and have
not yet submitted to the Government, nor are admitted to the
Sacrament, in the Presbyteriall way._

1. We shall direct our speech unto the Ministers and Ruling-Elders,
that have accepted of, and do act according to the Rules of the
Presbyterian Government, as they are conjoyned in one and the same

That which we have to say unto them, is,

To perswade them to be _faithfull in the discharge of the great trust
committed unto them_. To be a _Ruler in Gods house_, as it is a place
of _great honour_, so also of _great trust_; and he that hath this
trust committed unto him, ought to be one of a thousand. It is a good
saying of an Heathen, _Magistratus virum indicat_, Magistracy will try
a man what he is, so will this office you. Such are the mountains of
opposition you are like to meet withall; such is the courage you must
put on; such is the wisdome and piety you must be cloathed withall,
that we may truly say with the Apostle, _Who is sufficient for these
things?_ As _Tacitus_ saith of _Galba_, that he was _Capax imperii,
nisi imperasset_, thought very fit to have been an _Emperour_, had he
not been an _Emperour_; so there are many that have been thought fit
to be _Elders_, till they were made _Elders_. Many that seemed very
good, when private Christians; when advanced into places of trust,
have proved very wicked. To have the _body and blood of Christ
Sacramentall in your custody_; To be made _Keepers of Christs
Vineyard_, and _watchmen over his flock_; To have the _keyes of the
Kingdom of Heaven_ committed unto you: This is not only a great
honour, but a great burden. And therefore it must be your exceeding
great care, so to behave your selves in the Church of God, which is
his house, that you may give up your account with joy at that great
day. For this purpose we Exhort you;

1. That you would labour to discharge your Office with care and
diligence, according to the advice of the Apostle, [96]_Let him that
Ruleth, Rule with diligence_. The Apostle foresaw how negligent Elders
would be, in the trust committed unto them; and therefore he chose to
lay this speciall injunction upon them. You must not suffer the key of
discipline to rust for want of using, but must remember, that the life
of discipline is in the execution; and that the _unprofitable servant
was cast into Hell, not for abusing; but for not improving of his

2. That you would study to Rule with all humility and Self-denyal,
[97]not as lording it over Gods heritage, but as being examples to the
flock, remembring the saying of our blessed Saviour, [98]_The Kings of
the Gentiles exercise Lordship; And they that exercise authority upon
them, are called Benefactors: But ye shall not be so. But he that is
greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief_,
(or, as it is in the Greek[99], he that Ruleth,) _as he that serveth_.
You must not be as _Diotrephes_ who loved to have the _Preheminence_;
not as the _Pharisees, [100]who loved the uppermost roomes at feasts,
and the chief seats in the Synagogue_.

3. That you would labour to Rule the Church of God with all
_peaceablenesse_, and _quietness_; doing nothing out of contention,
envy, or malice; but all out of pure love, with the spirit of meekness
and patience. That the people may read love and gentleness written
upon all your admonitions and censures. [101]_For the servant of the
Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach,
patient, in all meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if
God peradventure will give them repentance, to the acknowledgment of
the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of
the Devill, who are taken captive by him at his will._ Famous is
the saying of our Saviour, _Have salt in your selves, and peace one
with another_. By _salt_, is meant (as _Chemnitius_ and others
observe,) _sincere doctrine and discipline_ whereby the people of God
are seasoned, and kept from the putrefaction of sin and errour; this
_salt_ is so to be sprinkled, as that if it be possible, it may have
peace joyned with it. _Have salt in your selves, and peace one with
another._ There are that think, that sincere discipline and peace
cannot stand together, but they are confuted by Christs own words. The
readiest way to have true peace one with another, is to have salt
within our selves. There are indeed, some Congregations, that have
this salt, without this peace; which is a misery to be exceedingly
bewailed. There are others which have _peace_ without this _salt_, but
this _peace_ is a wicked _peace_; a peace with sin and errour, which
will end in damnation. But blessed and happy are those Congregations,
that have _salt in themselves, and true Christian peace one with
another_. A Church-Officer must not be a _bramble_, rending and
tearing the people committed to his charge, but as a _fig tree_,
_vine_, and _olive tree_, refreshing them with his _fatnesse,
swetnesse, and fruitfulnesse_.

4. That you would labour to make your Congregations pure, as well as
peaceable; following after piety, as much as verity and unity. That
all your people under your charge, may be visible Saints at least. It
is the great complaint that some take up against the _Presbyteriall
Government_, that it studieth unity and truth, but neglecteth holiness
and purity. And therefore we beseech you Brethren, by our Lord Jesus
Christ, who is called _the holy One_, that you would labour to free
the Government from this scandal. If there be any under your
inspection grosly ignorant, or of scandalous life and conversation,
you ought not to admit him to the Sacrament; for if you do, you are
accessary to his sin of unworthy receiving; you are instrumentall to
the damnation of his soul, you pollute the ordinance; you offend the
godly amongst you; you render the Government obnoxious to just
exception; and you bring down the heavy judgments of God upon the
Congregation. If there be any that after admission prove scandalous,
you are to admonish him; and if he continue obstinate, you are _to put
away from among your selves that wicked person_, to purge out the _old
leaven_, that you may be a _new lump_. And this you are to do:

1. _For the Churches sake_; that the Church in which you are Rulers,
may not be infected; _for know you not, that a little leaven leaveneth
the whole lump?_

2. _For the sinners sake_; you must deliver such a one _unto Satan_,
for the _destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the
day of the Lord Jesus_.

3. _For Christs sake_, that his name may not be dishonoured, and that
he may not be forced to depart from your Assemblies.

4. _For the Ordinances sake_, that they may not be polluted.

5. _For your own sakes_, that you may not be damned for other mens

Oh that our words might take impression upon all your hearts, that are
Ministers and Elders within the Province! what a glorious thing were
it, if it might be said of all our Congregations, that they are not
only _true_, but _pure Churches, and Churches united in love, and in
the truth_? How would this tend to the honour of Jesus Christ, the
King of his Church? How would this make him delight to dwell in the
midst of you? How would this stop the mouthes of Anabaptists,
Brownists, and Independents? How would the blood of Jesus Christ be
preserved from prophanation, and the wicked in time gained to
repentance, and the blessing of God be upon us, together with peace
and plenty in all our dwellings?

We beseech you once more, by the blood of Jesus Christ, which was shed
for your souls, that you would not prostitute it to open sinners, but
use all possible means to make your Congregations more and more pure.
For this purpose, consider, what the Directory for Church-Government,
advisedly and religiously requireth of you, namely, _That where there
are many Ruling-Officers in a particular Congregation, some of them do
more especially attend the inspection of one part, some of another, as
may be most convenient. And some of them are, at fit times, to visit
the several families for their spiritual good._ And for the better
inabling you to do these things, we exhort you further:

5. That you would labour to abound more and more in all _knowledge_,
and _soundnesse of judgement_, _and in all manner of godly
conversation_; for he that would be fit to _purge_ Gods house of
ignorance and scandal, must first _purge_ himself of ignorance and
scandal. _Church-purification_ and reformation, must begin in
_self-purification_ and reformation. He that will reprove sin in
others, must be free from that sin himself; otherwise it will be said,
_Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and
then thou shalt see clearly, to cast out the moat out of thy brothers
eye_. And he must be free from all other scandalous sins also;
otherwise men will be ready to say, This man reproveth me for
drunkenness, but he himself is covetous; he reproveth me for swearing,
but he himself will lie. And therefore our prayer to God for you is,
[102]_That you may be filled with the fruits of Righteousness, which
are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God, that your
love may abound yet more and more, in knowledge, and in all judgment;
that ye may approve the things that are excellent: That ye may be
sincere, and without offence, till the day of Christ_. For you are
appointed by Christ to convince gain-sayers, and therefore you had
need to let the Word of God dwell in you richly, in all wisdom,
especially in these dayes, wherein there are many unruly and vain
talkers, and deceivers, whose mouthes must be stopped; who subvert
whole houses, teaching things they ought not, for filthy lucres sake.
You are appointed by Christ, to be examples to the flock. And that
which is but a little sin in others, will be a great one in you. Your
sins are not sins, but monsters: You are like _Looking-glasses_,
according to which, others dresse themselves; you are like pictures in
a glass-window, every little blemish will be quickly seen in you: Your
lives are looked upon as _Presidents_, your examples, as _Rules_: And
therefore you ought to be _exemplarily holy_, or else you shall
receive the _greater condemnation_.

6. That you would labour to be _good in all your relations_, good
_Parents_, good _Masters_, good _Husbands_, dwelling with your wives
according to knowledge, as being heires together of the grace of life,
that your prayers be not hindered: _For if a man know not how to rule
his own house, how shall he take care of the Church of God?_ How shall
he be a good Ruling Elder, that doth not rule well his own house,
_having his children in subjection with all gravity_? How can he
perswade others to set up the worship of God in their families, that
hath none in his own? And therefore, that you may rule the better in
Gods Church, you must make your _houses_ as it were _little Churches_.

7. That you would labour to be men of _publique spirits_, seeking the
things of Christ before, and more then your own; mourning more for the
miseries of the Church, then your own; and rejoycing more in the
prosperity of _Sion_, then your own.

A Church-Officer must be like old _Eli_, who was more troubled at the
losse of the _Ark_, then the death of his two sons. And like the
Psalmist, that bewailed more the _burning of Gods house_, then his
own; and the desolation of _Gods Church_, then of the _Kingdome_.[103]

8. That you would labour to be of a _liberall and free spirit, feeding
the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not
by constraint, but willingly, not for filthy lucre, but of a ready
mind_. A Covetous _Judas_ will betray Jesus Christ for thirty pieces
of silver, and sell a good conscience for a messe of pottage; and be
prodigal of the blood of Christ, rather then lose his trading.

9. That you would labour to be of a _courageous and resolute spirit,
valiant for the truth and cause of God_; as _Luther_ was, who alone
opposed a world of Enemies; and as _Athanasius_, who was both as an
_Adamant_, and a _Loadstone_, in his private converse[104]; he was
very courteous and affable, drawing all men to him, even as a
Loadstone doth iron; but in the cause of God, and of his truth, he was
_unmoveable_, and _unconquerable_ as an Adamant. There is nothing will
cause you sooner to apostatize from your Principles, and from your
practices, then base fear of men. This made even _Peter deny Christ_;
and _David_, run to the _Philistines_, & _Abraham_, to dissemble. The
Wise man saith, _The fear of man bringeth a snare, but who so putteth
his trust in the Lord, shall be safe._ Our prayer to God for you, is,
That the [105]_Lord would speak unto you with a strong hand; and
instruct you, that you may not walk in the way of this people, saying
a Confederacy unto those unto whom this people shall say a
Confederacy; nor fear their fear: but sanctifie the Lord of hosts in
your hearts, and make him your fear and your dread_. And you have a
most blessed promise added, That _Jesus Christ will be unto you for a
Sanctuary_, to protect and defend you in the day of your greatest
fears and dangers.

10. That you would labour to be of a _tender spirit_, tender of the
honour of God, of the blood of Christ Sacramental, of the souls of the
people committed to your charge, of the truths and Government of
Christ. A Church-Officer must not be a _Gallio_, not caring what
becomes of Religion, and the interest of Christ. Nor a luke-warm
_Laodicean_, neither hot nor cold, lest he be spewed out of the mouth
of Christ. But he must be a _Josiah_, whose commendation was this,
that his _heart was tender_, a _David_, _whose eyes ran down with
rivers of tears, because men kept not the law_: a _Jeremiah_, who
wished, that _his head were waters, and his eyes a fountain of tears,
that he might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of his

11. That you would _persevere_ and _continue_ in the great trust
committed unto you, not deserting, nor neglecting the duty thereof,
for any present discouragements whatsoever; remembring what out
Saviour saith, _He that hath put his hand to the plough, and looketh
back, is not fit for the Kingdome of Heaven_.

We cannot deny, but there are many things to dishearten you, and make
you grow faint and weary, _viz._ your own insufficiency to so great a
work; the untractablenesse, and unperswadeablenesse of many among the
people to submit unto the Government; The small beginnings of
reformation in Church-Government unto which we have yet attained, and
especially the little countenance that it finds with many, from whom
it might most justly be expected. Yet notwithstanding, we hope, that
that God which hath stirred you up to help to lay the first stone in
this building, will not suffer you to leave the work, till the _head
stone_ be brought forth with shoutings, crying, _grace, grace unto
it_. For this purpose, we desire you earnestly to consider with us;

1. That the Authority by which you act, is divine. For the office not
only of a teaching, but also of a Ruling Elder, is founded upon the
Word of God, as hath been already shewed.

2. That the Government which you have entred upon, is not a Government
of mans framing, but the Government of Jesus Christ; who as King and
Head of his Church, hath appointed you your work, and hath promised,
[106]_That where two or three of you are gathered together in his
name, there to be in the midst of you_, to protect, direct, sanctifie,
support, and comfort you. This Christ is [107]_that stone cut out of
the mountain without hands, that will destroy all the Kingdomes that
oppose him and his Government, and will himself become a great
mountain, filling the whole earth_. The time is shortly coming, when
the _Kingdomes of this world shall become the Kingdoms of our Lord,
and of his Christ_; when the [108]_mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be
axalted above the hills, and people shall flow unto it: And many
Nations shall say, Come and let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord,
and to the house of the God of_ Jacob, _and he will teach us his
wayes, and we will walk in his pathes. And that Nation and Kingdome,
that will not serve the Lord Christ, shall perish yea those Nations
shall be utterly wasted._

3. The reward you shall have for the faithfull continuance in your
office, [109]is not from men, (though you deserve, and ought to have
even from men double honour, and are to be had in high esteem from
your work sake,) but from God, who hath promised to give you a
[110]_crown of glory, that fadeth not away, when the chiefe Shepherd
shall appear_; which promise is applicable, not only to the teaching,
but Ruling Elder; the Apostle speaking there of Elders indefinitely,
without restriction or limitation.

4. The strength by which you act, is the strength of Christ; and
though in your selves you be insufficient for so great a work, (_for
who is sufficient for these things_) yet _by Christ that strengthens
you, you are able to do all things_. God never calls a man to any
employment, but he giveth a competent ability thereunto; and is angry
with those that pretend insufficiency for that Office to which he
calls them, as appears by the example of _Moses_, _Exod._ 3.10, 11,
13, 14.

5. Consider what great things God hath brought to pass with weak
instruments. _Moses_ a shepherd was the deliverer of the Israelites
out of _Egypt_; and a great part of the World was converted by a few
Fisher-men. God delights to convey grace by contemptible Elements; as
Water, Bread, and Wine, and to manifest his great power in mans great
weakness, that so all the glory may redound to him alone.

6. That the greatest undertakings in the Church, have met with
greatest difficulties and oppositions. [111]_Jerusalem_ was built
again even in troublous times. _Tobia_ and _Sanballat_, and all their
Adherents set themselves against it, both with scorns, false
informations, and acts of violence, yet the work went on and
prospered: and though it had very many years interruption, yet at last
God raised up the spirit of _Haggai_, _Zecheriah_, and of
_Zerubbabel_ and _Joshua_, and the work was suddainly finished. _Who
art thou O great Mountain before_ Zerubbabel_? thou shalt become a
plain_, &c. Oppositions should rather quicken, then cool activity.

7. That the greatest affairs and achievements are wont at first to
have but small beginnings, like the Prophet _Elias_ cloud. The repair
of the Temple and of the City of _Jerusalem_ was so small at first, as
that the enemies mockt, and said[112]; _Even that which they build, if
a Fox go up, he shall break down their stone wall._ And _Iudah_ her
self said[113], _The strength of the bearers of the burden is decayed,
and there is much rubbish, so as we are not able to build the wall._
And yet notwithstanding God saith[114], _Who hath despised the day of
small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the
hand of_ Zerubbabel. _The hand of_ Zerubbabel _laid the foundation of
this house, his hand shalt also finish it, not by might, nor by power,
but by my Spirit, saith the Lord[115]._

8. Consider, _who_, and of what _carriage_ the most of those are that
oppose this Government, and upon what grounds they are against it, and
it will adde a singular testimony to the goodness of it, and incourage
you the rather to stand for it, seeing so many erroneous,
superstitious, hereticall, leud and licentious persons of all sorts,
are so violent against it.

9. If God countenance the Government, it is the less matter if it want
the countenance of man. Let not the faultinesse of others, discourage
Gods faithfull Ones from their trust and duty: The fewer stand for it,
the more reason there is that we should. _The Lord of Hosts is with
us, the God of Jacob is our refuge_: And therefore let us not fear
what man can do unto us, for there are more with us, then against us.

10. God hath the hearts of all men in his hands, and he can in an
instant raise up a _Cyrus_ to appear for his People, and his Cause;
he can raise up _Zerubbabels_, _Nehemiah's_, and _Ezrah's_; he can,
and he will raise up Kings to be the nursing Fathers, and Queens the
nursing Mothers of his Church; he can turn the hearts of people, and
make them willing to submit their necks to the yoak of the Lord; and
he hath promised, _that in the day of his power, the people shall be

11. Lastly, consider _what great things God hath done already for us_;
and if he had meant to have destroyed us, he would not have done all
this for us: He hath broken the iron yoak of Prelacy, removed
superstitious Ceremonies, and Service-book, established a more pure
way of Ordination of Ministers, and of worshipping of God, and there
are hopefull beginnings of this Government in many of our
Congregations; and we doubt not, but that God, who hath been the
Author, will be the Finisher of this mighty Work.

Let the consideration of these particulars exceedingly affect you, and
stir you up to persevere, & hold out in that great office you have
undertaken, in nothing being terrified or discouraged, but trusting in
the great God, who never faileth those that put their trust in him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Our second Exhortation is unto _those of our respective Congregations,
that submit unto the Government, and are admitted unto the Sacrament
of the body and bloud of Christ, in the_ Presbyterian way; That we are
to exhort you unto, is,

1. That as you are Saints outwardly, and such who live (as we hope)
unblameably in the eyes of the world; so you would labour to be Saints
inwardly, approving not only your wayes unto men, but your hearts and
consciences unto the heart-searching God. And for this purpose, we
perswade you, [116]_to wash not only your hands, but your hearts, from
all iniquity, and not to suffer vain thoughts to lodge within you; To
put away the evill of your doings from before Gods eyes; [117]To be
Jews inwardly circumcised with the circumcision of the heart, in the_
Spirit, _not in the_ Letter, _whose praise is not of Man, but of God_;
To labour more to be _good_, then to seem to be _good_; to be more
ashamed to be _evill_, then to be known to be _evill_; to strive more
to get your sins _cured_, then _covered_; and to be not _gilded_, but
_golden Christians_. Alas! what will it avail you, to be esteemed by
your Minister and Elders reall Saints, when the Lord who is your
Judge, knows you to be but painted Sepulchres: What will it profit you
to have our _Euge_ and approbation, when you have the _Apage_ and
disallowance of God, and all his holy Angels? And therefore our prayer
to God for you is, that he would make you not only nominall, but reall
Christians; not only Saints by profession, but by conversation; not
only morally and formally, but Spiritually and Theologically good,
having your persons, principles, and aims holy, as well as your
actions. _He and he only is a right Christian, whose person is united
to Christ by a lively Faith; and whose nature is elevated by the_
Spirit of Regeneration, _and whose principles, practices, and aims,
are divine and supernatural._

Secondly, as it is your great honour and priviledg to be admitted to
the Sacrament, when others by reason of ignorance or scandal are
refused; so it must be your great care, to come _worthily_; and so to
demean your selves, that you may be made partakers of the graces &
consolations of this heavenly banquet; And for this end, we think it
our dutie to propound certain necessary directions to you, for the
right ordering of your Sacramental approaches; and to perswade you by
the mercies of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the diligent and
conscientious practice of these following particulars.

1. Not to rest contented with the examination of your Minister and
Elders, but chiefly and especially to examine your selves, and so to
eat of that bread, and drink of that cup: To examine your selves,
whether you be in Christ or no, whether You do truly repent; whether
You do hunger and thirst after Christ in the Sacrament; whether You
have an unfeigned love to God, and Your Neighbour, manifested by an
impartial respect unto all the Commandements and Ordinances of Christ:
For though we may and ought to admit you upon the profession of these
graces; yet Christ will not bid You welcome, unless You have them in
truth and sinceritie. And though we cannot discern who are hypocrites,
and who are sincere amongst You; yet he that can distinguish between
star and star, can and will distinguish between a true Saint, and a
formal Hypocrite: and therefore labour to be such, indeed and in
truth, as You seem to Us, to be in _word and profession._

Secondly, As not to come without preparation and examination; so also
_not to trust to your preparation and examination_. Sacraments do not
work as Physick, whether men sleep or wake, _ex opere operato_, by
vertue inherent in them; but _ex opere operantis, according to the
disposition and qualification of the party that partakes of them_. If
the party be not qualified according to the tenour of the Covenant of
grace, he eats and drinks damnation to himself, and not salvation; and
when he hath done all he can by grace received, to prepare himself;
yet he must not relie upon his preparation, for this were to make an
Idol of it, and set up dutie in the room of Christ. Excellent is that
saying of _Austine_[118], _He that stands upon his own strength, shall
never stand_; and of _Bernard_[119], _That man labours in vain, that
doth not labour resting upon Christ and his merits_; and therefore we
exhort You, after all your care of preparation, to renounce it as to
the point of confidence, and _to come to Christ in the strength and
confidence of Christ alone_.

3. Not be satisfied in the bare bringing of the forementioned graces
with you to the Sacrament, but to labour according to the advice of
the Apostle[120], _to stir up the gift of God that is in you_. The
Greek is, _to blow up_, and cause the grace of God within us to
kindle. Fire, as long as it lyeth raked up in the Embers, will give no
heat; a man may die with cold, for all such a fire. Grace, as long as
it lyeth dead in the habite, will not avail a man at the Sacrament.
And therefore, that you may be worthy receivers, you must take pains
to blow up the grace of God that is in you. You must arise and trim
your _spirituall lamps_, (as the _wise Virgins_ did,) that so you may
be fit to meet with your _Bridegroom_. You must _brighten_ your
_spirituall armour_, & gird up the loins of your mind; You must not
only have, but put on your _wedding garment_, and come to this
heavenly feast apparrelled in all your spiritual ornaments. For it is
a certain truth, that not only a wicked man, that wants grace, but a
childe of God that hath true grace, may receive the Sacrament
unworthily; though he cannot come unworthily as the wicked do, out of
a total want of grace, yet he may come unworthily out of grosse
negligence, and sinful carelesness, in not exciting and stirring up,
and improving the grace of God that is in him.[121] For not to _use
grace_, and not to _have grace_, in this case, do little differ in
Gods account. And therefore, if you would be worthy guests at this
Supper, you must not only have a _true_ Faith, but a _fit_ Faith; not
only a true repentance, but a _fit_ repentance; you must not only have
grace, but act grace; you must set your _Faith_ on work, to feed upon
that blessed Sacramentall promise, _Take, eat, this is my body which
is broken for you; This is my blood which is shed for you_. And you
must labour to make strong and particular applications of Christ to
your souls, and to believe, that as verily as you eat the Bread, and
drink the Wine, so verily you are made partakers of Christs body and
blood, to your everlasting happiness. And so likewise you must act
repentance, love, thankfullness, and obedience, according to the
direction of the Word of God.

4. _To do all that you do at the Sacrament, in remembrance of Christ._
For this is the main design of Christ, in appointing this Ordinance,
that it might be a _Love-token_ from Christ alwaies by us, and an
effectual means to keep his death in perpetual remembrance, that it
might be a lively picture of Christ crucified; and he that will
receive aright, must be eying this Picture while he is at the
Sacrament; and the more he minds it, the more he will admire it: The
Angels[122] [123]_stoop down_ to _look_ upon Christ incarnate, and it
is the happiness of heaven to have Christ alwaies before them; and it
is our happiness on earth, that we have such a blessed commemoration
of Christ crucified: As Christ is all in all, in all Creatures, in all
Relations, in all Conditions, and in all Ordinances; so more
especially in this: For the Elements of Bread and Wine are not
appointed for natural ends and purposes, but Christ is all in all in
them: They are Representations, Commemorations, Obsignations, and
Exhibitions of Jesus Christ. You must labour with the Eye of Faith to
see Christs name written upon the Bread and Wine, and you must read
Christ in every Sacramental action: when You behold the Bread and Wine
consecrated; You must remember how Jesus Christ was set apart by his
Father, from all Eternity, to be the Redeemer of his People: And when
the Minister breaks the bread, You must remember the great sufferings
that Jesus Christ endured for Your sins; and when You take the Bread,
and drink the Wine, you must do this in remembrance of Christ; You
must believe, that now Christ giveth himself to be Your nourishment,
and your Comforter unto eternal life; and you must labour by a lively
Faith, to take him as your Lord and Saviour, and to cry out with
_Thomas_ in the highest degree (if it be possible) of rejoycing, _My
God, and my Lord_: [124]And when you eat the Bread, and drink the
Wine, you must remember, that Christ _is the living Bread that came
down from Heaven, and that whosoever eats of this Bread, shall live
for ever: and that whosoever eateth the flesh of Christ, and drinketh
his blood, dwelleth in Christ, and Christ in him_. And you must
endeavour to receive Soul-nourishment from Christ, as your bodies do
by the bread you eat; and as the bread is turned into your substance,
so to be made more and more one with Christ by faith: that having a
reall, though spirituall union with him, You may have a happy interest
and communion in all his purchases. This is the life of the _Holy
Sacrament_, without which, all is but a dead and empty Ceremonie. But
we adde further, That this remembrance of Christ must not be barely
_notionall_, _doctrinall_, and _historicall_, but it must be also
_practicall_, _experimentall_, and _applicative_; it must produce
these and such like blessed effects and operations in your hearts.

1. You must so remember Christ, as to find power coming out of Christ
Sacramental, to break your hearts for all the sins you have committed
against him. Christ is presented in the Sacrament as a broken Christ;
his body broken, and his bloud poured out: and the very breaking of
the bread understandingly looked upon, is a forcible argument to break
your hearts. Was Jesus Christ rent and torn in pieces for you, and
shall it not break you hearts, that you should sin against him? Was he
crucified for you, and will you crucifie him by your sins? And
besides, the breaking of the bread is not only ordained to be a
motive unto brokenness of heart for sin, but also in the right use to
effect that which it doth move unto.

2. You must so remember Christ Sacramentall, as to find power coming
out of Christ, to subdue all your sins and iniquities; as the diseased
woman felt vertue coming out of Christ, to cure her bloody Issue; so
there is power in an _applicative and fiduciall remembrance_ of Christ
at the Sacrament, to heal all the sinfull issues of our souls. There
is no sin so strong, but it is conquerable by a power derived from
Christ crucified.

3. This is to remember Christ aright at the Sacrament, when you never
cease remembring him, till your hearts be brought into a thankfull
frame to God, for Christ and for his ineffable blessings and mercies
exhibited in the Sacrament to a worthy receiver. And therefore it is
called an _Eucharist_, or a feast of thanksgiving. It is as _Justin
Martyr_ saith, [125]_food made up all of thanksgiving_. It is a
custome in Colledges and houses founded by the bounty of great men, to
have a _feastivall commemoration_ of the bounties of their
Benefactors. The Sacrament is a _commemoration day_ of your great
Benefactor Iesus Christ, wherein you are to remember all those things
which he suffered for you; and the proper duty of the day is

4. You must not leave off remembring Christ Sacramental, till your
hearts be inflamed with an ardent love to Jesus Christ; for he is set
forth in this Sacrament, in all the endearing expressions, as a
crucified Christ, as pouring out his blood for us. Now it is an
excellent expression of _Bernard_: [126]_The more vile Christ made
himself for us, the more dear he ought to be unto us._ You must never
leave meditating of his love, [127]_till he be as fast fixed in your
hearts, as he was upon the Cross_.

5. You must so remember Christ, as to be willing to do and suffer any
thing for that Christ, that hath done and suffered so much for you;
till you can say with _David_, _What shall I render for all his
blessings towards me?_ till you can say with _Thomas_, _Come, let us go
dye with him_; and we add, _for him_: till with the Apostle, you can
rejoyce to be _counted worthy to be whipt for his names sake_. And can
with _Ignatius_ that blessed Martyr, [128]call your iron chains, not
_bonds_, but _Ornaments_, and _Spirituall Pearls_; till you can say,
as _Judg._ 8.22. _Rule thou over us_, &c. _for thou hast delivered us
from the hand of Midian_. There is nothing hard to that Christian,
that doth rightly remember Christ Sacramental.

6. You must continue in remembring Christ in the Sacrament, till your
hearts be wrought up to a _through contempt of the world, and all
worldly things_. Christ instituted the Sacrament when he was going out
of the world; and when he was crucifying, the whole world was in
darkness and obscurity: and he is propounded in the Sacrament, as a
_persecuted, broken, crucified Christ, despising, & being despised of
the world_. And if you do practically remember the Sacrament of his
death, you will finde vertue coming out thereof, to make you dead to
the world, and all worldly things. The Sacrament is called by the
Ancients, [129]_a feast for Eagles, not for Dawes_; and therefore it
was a phrase ordinarily used in the administration of this Sacrament,
_Lift up your hearts to heaven where Christ is_.

7. Cease not remembring Christ, till you be made partakers of the rare
grace of _humility_. Of all the graces that Christ picks out, in which
he would have Christians to imitate him in, _humility_ is one of the
chiefest, _Matth._ 11.29. _Learn of me, for I am humble_, &c. And
Christ in the Sacrament is presented, as _humbling himself_ to the
death of the Cross, for our sakes. And what a shame is it, to remember
an humble Christ, with a proud heart? The practicall remembrance of
the humility of _Christ Sacramental_, when sanctified, is mighty in
operation, to tame the pride of our hearts.

8. You must not fail to remember Christ in the Sacrament, till by
faith you have _applyed Christ, as your Christ_: Till you can say with
_Paul_, _Gal._ 2.20. _Who loved me, and gave himself for me._
Propriety in Christ, is that which sweetens all. For what are you the
better _for Christ_, if he be not your _Christ_? The Divels and damned
in Hell may remember Christ, but not with comfort, because they cannot
remember him, but as their enemy. But you must so remember Christ, as
to make him yours, by an _appropriating Faith_.

[Sidenote: Quest.]

But how shall we be inabled thus to apply Christ?

[Sidenote: _Answ._]

This is done, by studying the free tender that is made of Christ in
the Covenant of grace, which is expressed, _Isai._ 55.1. _Revel._
22.17. Jesus Christ is that brazen Serpent lifted up upon the Cross,
on purpose, that whosoever looks up to him, shall be healed; and
whosoever receives him as his Lord and Saviour, _should not perish,
but have everlasting life_. You must study the _freeness_, _fulness_,
and _particularity_ of the offer of Christ; and pray unto that Christ,
who bids you believe, to give you to believe. And truly there cannot
be a greater discourtesie to Jesus Christ, then to doubt of his love
towards you, while ye are receiving the pledges of his love. For
herein hath [130]_God commended his love toward us, in that while we
were yet sinners, Christ dyed for us_. What can Christ do more to
manifest his love, or to perswade us of his love he bears to us? Much
more might be said to this purpose, but we leave these things to be
amplified by the Ministry of your faithful Pastors. And we proceed to
give you further directions, for the right managing of your
Sacramental addresses.

5. In the fifth place, we exhort you to consider the Sacrament, under
a four-fold Notion:

1. As it is a _spirituall medicine_ to cure the remainders of your

2. As it is _spirituall food_ to strengthen your weak graces.

3. As it is a _spiritual Cordial_ to comfort your distressed

4. As it is a _strong obligation_ and forcible engagement to all acts
of thankfulness and obedience unto Jesus Christ.

Now if you would get the benefit and comfort of the Sacrament, you
must when you come to it, carry these four considerations in your
mind; and labour to draw out good from the Sacrament, according to
each of them.

1. You must consider what sin it is, that is most unsubdued, and
unmortified in you; you must use the Sacrament as a _medicine_ made of
Christs body and blood, to heal that sin.

2. You must consider, what _grace_ is most weak in you; and you must
come to the Sacrament, as to food appointed on purpose to strengthen
weak grace.

3. You must consider what _doubt_ it is, that doth most obstruct your
full assurance of salvation; and you must come to the Sacrament, as to
a cheering Cordial, made for this very end, to revive your fainting
spirit. It is also a _sealing Ordinance_ to seal up the love of God in
Christ, and to be as a _golden clasp_ to fasten you to Christ, and
Christ to you: And in which Christ doth often go from man to man, with
his _privy seals_, and his _hidden manna_ of heavenly consolation.

4. You must consider how apt you are to start from God, and his just
Commands, and therefore you must at the Sacrament _renew your
Covenant_ with GOD, and binde your selves afresh unto GOD, in the
strength of Christ, to be his more faithful servants afterwards, then
ever you were before.

And hereby likewise you may know when you come from the Sacrament,
whether you have received worthily, or no: For if you finde these
Effects from the Sacrament, that it hath been _Medicinall,
corroborative, comforting, and obliging_: If you find your sins more
mortified, your graces more strengthened, your souls more comforted,
and your hearts more engaged unto God in obedience; You may certainly
conclude, that you are worthy Receivers. Nay we adde, for the comfort
of _weak Christians_, if you find any one of these Effects. For
sometimes Christ lets out himself in the Sacrament in a way of
_Comfort_; sometimes he hides, as it were, his face, and sends us home
more _inlarged_ in our _desires_ after him; sometimes he _kisses his
children with the kisses of his lips_, and gives them to eat of his
_hidden Manna_; sometimes he sends them home inlarged with _godly
sorrow_, for want of his imbraces. His dispensations are various. But
if you finde his presence in any one of these waies, You are worthy

6. To endeavour, that your [131]_eyes may affect your hearts_, when
you are at the Sacrament. For as Christ in the Ministery of his Word,
preacheth to the ear; and by the ear conveyeth himself into the heart:
so in the Sacrament he preacheth to the eye; and by the eye, conveyeth
himself into the heart. And therefore it is well called a _visible
Sermon_. Take heed, lest the Devil steal away the benefit & comfort of
it out of your hearts, by a wanton or wandring eye. And when you find
your hearts deaded, and your meditations begin to flag and grow dry,
fasten your eyes upon the Sacramental Elements, and Sacramental
actions. Consider the bread broken, and the wine poured forth, and
_let your eye affect your heart_; and never leave looking upon them,
till Christ be pleased to look upon you, as he did upon _Peter_, and
then your hearts will be affected indeed, as his was.

7. To take heed of passing _rash censures_ upon those that are
admitted to the Sacrament, together with your selves; say not such a
man is unworthy, but say rather with the Centurion, [132]_Lord I am
not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof, wherefore neither
thought I myself worthy to come unto thee_; say as _John Baptist_
of Christ, _I am not worthy to untye thy shooe-latchet_, much lesse to
sit with thee at thy table; say not that such a one is a Dog, and not
fit to eat childrens bread, but say rather of thy self, as
_Mephibosheth_ doth, [133]_What am I? that thou shouldest look upon
such a dead dog_, &c. The nature of man is very apt (as one saith)
[134]_to use spectacles, rather then looking-glasses_; spectacles, to
behold other mens faults, rather then looking-glasses to behold our
own. But we hope better things of you. Remember, that when the
Disciples were at the Passeover with Christ, and Christ told them,
that one of them should betray him; They did not passe harsh sentences
one upon another, but every one suspected himself, rather then his
fellow-Apostle, and said, _Master, Is it I?_ Be not offended at thy
brothers wickednesse, which thou art not sure on, but at thine own
unthankfulnesse, which thou art sure is very great.

8. When you are gone from the Sacrament, you must labour to walk in
the _strength of that food_, (as _Elias_ did of his) _till you come to
the mount of God_. As you have been made partakers of an Ordinance, to
which others are not admitted, so you must endeavour to live more
self-denyingly, more heavenly mindedly, more holily and righteously,
then they do, that are not admitted. [135]_You must love your enemies;
blesse them that curse you; do good to them that hate you, and pray
for them that do despitefully use you, and persecute you. For if you
love them that love you, what reward have you? Do not even the
Publicanes the same? And if you salute your Brethren only, what do ye
more then others? Do not even the Publicanes so?_ You are admitted to
an Ordinance, that is not common to all, but peculiar to Saints, and
therefore your lives must have something peculiar in them, which no
wicked man can have. You must believe and repent after such a manner,
as no _Reprobate_ can do; You must pray in your families with more
life and zeal then others; you must be more just & faithful in your
dealings then others; and have more faith, and hope, and love to God.
In a word, You must so carry and demean your selves in all your words
and actions, as that you may be a credit and an ornament, and not a
scandal to the Congregation, of which you are members. [136]_Walking
worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being faithfull unto every good
work, and increasing in the knowledge of God: Strengthened with all
might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and
long-suffering with joyfulnesse_. And this we pray[137], _That your
love may abound yet more and more, in knowledge, and in all judgment:
That ye may approve the things that are excellent, that ye may be
sincere and without offence till the day of Christ: Being filled with
the fruits of Righteousnesse, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory
and praise of God_.

We have been larger, then we thought, in these particulars about the
Sacrament, out of a holy jealousie which we have over you, (which we
doubt not but you will pardon in us) fearing lest after your first
admission to this Ordinance, you should grow remiss and careless,
satisfying your consciences with the naked approbation that your
Minister and Elders give of your knowledg and conversation; and in the
mean time, neglecting to get the benefit and comfort of this
Ordinance, and to thrive, and increase in knowledg and holiness
proportionably to the expectation of God, and your godly officers.

We shall be briefer in what we have further to say unto you.

3. In the third place we exhort you, to [138]_Obey those that rule
over you, and submit your selves, for they, watch for your soules, as
they that must give an account, that they may do it with joy, and not
with grief; for that is unprofitable for you_. [139]_And we beseech
you, Brethren, know them which labour amongst you, and are over you in
the Lord, and admonish you, and esteem them very highly in love for
their works sake, and be at peace amongst your selves._ And remember,
[140]_That the Elders that rule well, are worthy of double honour,
especially they that labour in the Word and Doctrine_. For the
Scripture saith, _Thou shalt not muzzel the oxe that treadeth out the
corn_, and _the labourer is worthy of his reward_. And it likewise
saith, [141]_Let him that is taught in the word, communicate unto him
that teacheth in all good things_. And further, [142]_Do ye not know,
that they which minister about holy things, live of the things of the
Temple; and they which wait at the Altar, are partakers with the
Altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the
Gospell, should live of the Gospel.----If we have sowen unto you
spirituall things, is it a great matter, if we reap your carnal
things?_ This we write, not to shame you, but to intreat you to give
liberall and honourable maintenance to your godly Ministers, that they
may not only be [143]_lovers of hospitality_, but also inabled to
exercise it: lest God in anger to you, drive your Ministers into
corners, and take both your estates, and your Ministers from you; so
as you shall neither have Ministers to give maintenance to, nor
estates to maintain Ministers.

4. To perform all those offices which are required of you, as you are
Members of a particular Congregation. For this purpose we exhort you
brethren, to [144]_comfort your selves together, and edifie one
another, even as you also do; to warn them that are unruly, comfort
the feeble minded, support the weak, be patient towards all men: And
see that none render evill for evill unto any man, but ever follow
that which is good, both among your selves, and towards all men, &c.
[145]Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdome,
teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms and Hymnes, and
spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
[146]Let no man seek his own, but every man anothers wealth; and
[147]let every one of you please his neighbour for his good, to
edification; for even Christ pleased not himself; but as it is
written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee, fell on me.
[148]Let nothing be done through strife, or vain-glory; but in
lowliness of minde, let each esteem other better then themselves._ Now
though we are far from thinking, (as some do,) that you are bound to
perform these duties only to those to whom you are united in
Church-fellowship, (for if you ought to pluck your neighbours ox and
horse out of a ditch, and to relieve his body, when in want, though
not of the same Congregation with you, much more ought you to extend
acts of spirituall mercy (such as these are) to their souls; and this
you are bound unto by communion of natures, communion of Saints,
communion of Churches; and by that Royal law of love, which commands
us to love our neighbour as our selves,) yet notwithstanding we
conceive that you are more especially tyed by your Congregational
relation, to perform these duties to those that are of your own

And therefore we further perswade you, _to watch over one another, to
bear the burdens one of another, and so fulfill the Law of Christ. To
consider one another, to provoke unto love and good works, not
forsaking the assembling of your selves together, as the manner of
some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as you see
the day approaching_. And we likewise desire you not to neglect
private meetings together for holy conference and prayer; that hereby
you may be better acquainted one with another, and be mutual helps one
to another in spirituall things. We think that speech of _Cain_
unbefitting the mouth of any Christian; _Am I my brothers keeper?_ And
though we believe, that none ought to take the Office of a Minister,
but he that is elected and ordained thereunto, yet we believe also,
_that it is the duty of all private Christians, in a brotherly way,
out of the common bond of charity, to build up one another in their
most holy Faith_. And therefore let those [149]_that fear the Lord,
speak often one to another_, especially in these evil daies: _and
strive together for the Faith of the Gospel, standing fast in one
spirit with one mind_. For it seemeth to us to be very unchristian,
that they especially, that have chosen one and the same Minister, and
wait constantly upon his Ministry, and that break bread together,
should live together like Heathens and Publicanes: at as great a
strangeness one from another, as if they lived many miles asunder. And
that Drunkards and Adulterers should meet together to dishonor God,
and to encourage one another in wickednesse; and you should not
assemble your selves together, to honour God, to strengthen and edifie
one another, and to confirm one another in the truth. Only be careful
in your meetings, to take heed of [150]_doting about questions, and
strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railing, evill
surmises, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute
of the truth_. And [151]_avoid all foolish and unlearned Questions,
for they are vain and unprofitable, and gender nothing but strife_;
But help one another in that _one thing necessary_, how to _grow up in
Christ_; how to _make your calling and election sure_; how to _thrive
under Ordinances_; to be _faithfull under Relations_, to adorn the
Gospel you profess; how to advance the power of godliness in your
several spheres; and to be more spiritually serviceable unto God in
your generations, and such like.

And we further exhort you, that if any Brother in the Congregation
walk _disorderly_ and _scandalously_, that you would carefully
remember, It is your duty, first, _to tell him privately_; (and not to
tell it to Others, to his and the Churches disgrace, as the manner of
some is,) The text is plain, _Go and tell him his fault betwixt him
and thee alone_; and if he shall hear thee, thou _hast gained thy
Brother_. But if he will not hear thee, _then take with thee one or
two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word may
be established_. And if he shall neglect to hear them, _tell it to the
Church_. And consider, we beseech you, that the most part of
Sacramental reformation, begins with your performing of this dutie.
For how can the Elders judicially take notice of any scandall, till it
be brought unto them, in the way of Christ, by you that are
Church-Members? There is great complaint amongst well-affected people,
of _Sacramental pollutions_; and many thereupon, though groundlesly,
separate from our Congregations. But if things were rightly
considered, it would appear, that the people themselves are the chief
causes of this pollution; for you are the _first wheel_ of this part
of reformation, and if you neglect your part, how can we discharge
ours? And therefore we intreat you, even for Christs sake, as ever you
desire to keep your selves pure from the sin of those that receive
unworthily, and from being Authors of the prophanation of the
Sacrament, faithfully to discharge this your dutie. And we shall (by
the help of God) be exactly careful of ours, that so the Lord may
delight to dwell in the midst of us.

5. _To labour to keep your selves free from the Errours, Heresies, and
Blasphemies of these Times._ For it is evident to every impartial
Observer, that false teachers, evil men, and seducers are gone abroad
amongst us; subverting of Souls and overthrowing the Faith of some;
speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them;
subverting whole Housholds, teaching things they ought not for filthy
lucres sake; creeping into houses, and leading captive silly women,
laden with divers lusts; and by good words, and fair speeches,
deceiving the hearts of the simple; yea, by slight and cunning
craftiness, lying in wait to deceive (if it were possible) the very
Elect; and not only privily; but now openly and avowedly bringing in
damnable Heresies, denying the Lord that bought them. The _Divine
Authority_ of the Scriptures is oppugned, the _Deity of Christ
opposed_, and his _Holy Spirit_ blasphemed, the Doctrine of the
_Blessed Trinity_ questioned, the _Holy God_ made the _Author of sin_
and sinfulnesse, _Universall Redemption_ preached, and the ends of
Christs death evacuated, _Free-will_ by nature to do _good_
maintained, the _mortallity_ of the _Soul_ affirmed; the _Use of the
Morall Law of God_, the _Observation of the Christian Sabbath_, the
_very calling and Function of the Ministry_, the _very being of a
Church_ amongst Us, and all _the Ordinances of Christ_, are slighted
and rejected. These, and too many more such _monstrous Opinions_ in
the very spring-time of _Reformation_ do so multiply amongst vs, that
the _tares_ are like to _overgrow the Wheat_, if God prevent not. And
that which aggravates the evil of these things is, That _London_
should be guilty of such _Apostacy_ from the truth. _London_! which
hast had able and faithful Ministers of the Word preaching to thee;
that hast been so miraculously preserved from the Sword, Famine, and
Pestilence these last Years, yet have Heresies been hatched and
nourished up under _thy wings_; and from thee have they been spread
all the Kingdom over. How many in this City have turned away their
ears from the truth, faithfully preached by their _Pastors_; and being
turned unto fables, have already followed the pernicious waies of
Seducers, whereby the way of truth is evil spoken on! How is _Religion
degenerated_ into vain janglings, and the _power of Godlinesse_ eaten
up by perverse disputings! And that which should fill Us with more
grief and astonishment is, That this inundation of Errours and
Heresies hath increased upon Us, after such _prayers_, _preachings_,
_disputes_, and _testimonies_ against them; after a _Covenant_
solemnly sworn to _God_, with hands lifted up to heaven, for the
extirpation of them; and after a solemn Fast commanded by Authority,
and observed throughout the whole _Kingdom_, for our humiliation for
them. And yet (with grief of heart we mention it) those Errours which
in the Prelates time were but a few, are now many: Those that of late
crept into corners, now out-face the Sun: Those which the _Godly_
abhor'd from their hearts, are now vented as _new and glorious
truths_: Nay, to such a degree of _Apostacie_ are some arrived, being
waxen worse and worse, that they are labouring for an _odious
tolleration_ of all those _abominable opinions_, as can shroud
themselves under the name of Christian Religion.

Wherefore, in the Name of Jesus Christ, we warn you all to take heed
of these _Impostors_ and _Seducers_; and to keep close to those _good_
and _old_ principles of Christianitie, which you have suck't in at
_your first conversion, out of the Word_, from your godly Ministers:
And seeing ye know these things before, _beware lest you also being
led away with the errour of the wicked, fall from your own
stedfastnesse; But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and
Saviour_ Jesus Christ; _to him be glory, both now and for ever_,
Amen. Oh how happy were it, if it might be said of all You that submit
to the Presbyterian Government; as once of the _Godly_ in _Sardis_.
[152]_There are a few names even in_ London, _that have not defiled
their Garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are
worthy._ Which that you may the better be inabled to do, We beseech
You Brethren, in the words of the Apostle, [153]_To mark them which
cause divisions and offences, contrary to the Doctrine which ye have
learned, and avoid them, for they that are such, serve not our Lord_
Jesus Christ, _but their own belly_. Observe here, that you are not
only required to avoid their _Doctrines_, but their _persons_. And so
likewise the same Apostle, [154]_If any man teach otherwise, and
consent not to wholsome words, even the words of our Lord_ Jesus
Christ, _and to the Doctrine which is according to Godlinesse, he is
proud, knowing nothing_, &c. _From such withdraw thyself._ It is your
dutie, not onely to keep your selves from the Heresies of these times;
but, that you may be preserved from the Heresies, you must keep your
selves, and all under your charge, from such as spread them, and from
their meeting-places. For he that without a just cause goeth into a
_Pesthouse_, may thank himself, if he get the plague. And he that runs
headily into temptation, _hath no promise from God to be delivered
out_. The Apostle _John_ refused to tarry in the same _Bath with
Cerinthus_; and he commands us in his second Epistle, _If there come
any unto you, and bring not this Doctrine, receive him not into your
house, neither bid him God speed; for he that biddeth him God-speed,
is partaker of his evil deeds._

Take heed how you touch pitch, lest you be defiled; And remember, we
have faithfully discharged our consciences to you, in this particular;
And that you may be farther instructed against the Errors and
Heresies of these times, We will propound a few _Antidotes_ and
_Preservatives_ unto you, under these general Rules following.

1. Whatsoever Doctrine is _contrary to Godlinesse_, and opens a door
to Libertinism and Prophaneness, you must reject it as _Soul-poyson_.
Such are Doctrines against the _Sabbath_, _Family-duties_, and
_publique Ordinances_: Such is the Doctrine of an _Universall
tolleration_ of all Religions. The Doctrine of the Gospel, is a
Doctrine [155]_according to Godliness_; It is a _Mysterie of
Godliness_; _It teacheth to deny all ungodlinesse and worldly lusts,
and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world_.

2. You must reject all such Doctrines, as hold forth a _strictnesse
above what is written_. Papists teach many strict Doctrines, of
self-whippings, and voluntary povertie, vows of continency, and many
such like; but the Apostle gives you an _Antidote_ against them,
_Col._ 2.18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. And so also our blessed Saviour,
_Matth._ 15.1. to the 10. Devout people are much taken with Doctrines
that carry a shew of strictness, and of much purity; but you must not
be wise above what is written; You must be _Candidates_ of a
_Canonicall_, not an _Apocryphal_ strictness; And therefore when you
are taught, that whosoever will enter into _Church-fellowship_, must
first take a _Church-Covenant_; and that whosoever will be admitted
unto the _Lords Supper_, must not only be free from ignorance and
scandal, but he must have other, and more strict qualifications; you
must enquire what word they have for these assertions; and where _God
hath not a mouth to speak, you must not have an ear to hear, nor an
heart to believe_.

3. Whatsoever Doctrine tendeth to the _lifting up of nature
corrupted_, to the _exalting of unsanctified Reason_, and giveth _free
will in supernaturall things to a man unconverted, is a Doctrine
contrary to the Gospell_. For this is one chief aym of _Pauls_
Epistles, to shew, [156]_That by nature we are dead in sins and
trespasses, and that the naturall man receiveth not the things of the
spirit of God, for they are foolishnesse unto him; neither can he know
them, because they are spiritually discerned_, and that [157]_the
carnall mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the Law
of God, neither indeed can be_. This Rule will preserve you against
all _Arminian Tenets_. For this is the main difference between the
Doctrine of the Gospel, and the Arminians. The Gospel makes _free
grace_ put the distinction between the Elect and Reprobate; and the
Arminians _Free-will_.

4. All Doctrines that set up our own Righteousness, whether of
_Morality_, or _Sanctification_, in the room of Christs Righteousness;
That place good works in the throne of Christ, are Doctrines of
Antichrist, and not of Christ. For the Gospel teacheth us, [158]that
all our best works are imperfect, and that we are justified, not by
our own inherent Righteousness, but by the Righteousness of Christ
only, made ours by Faith: this Rule will keep you from much of the
_poyson of Popery_.

5. All Doctrines that do set up Christ and his Righteousness, as to
decry all works of Sanctification, and to deny them to be fruits and
evidences of our justification, are to be avoided and abhorred. For
[159]the Scripture makes sanctification an evidence of Justification,
and commandeth all Believers to maintain good works. This Rule will
preserve you against most of the Errors of the Antinomians.

6. That Doctrine _that lesseneth the priviledges of Believers under
the New Testament, and maketh their Infants in a worse condition, then
they were in under the Old Testament, cannot be the Doctrine of the
Gospel_. For the Gospel tells you, [160]that Jesus Christ was made a
Surety of a better Testament, and that the new Covenant is a better
Covenant; established upon better promises. This Rule will preserve
you from the poyson of Anabaptism. For if the children of the Jews
were circumcised, and the children of Christians should not be
baptized, either it must be granted, that circumcision was of no
benefit to the Jewish children, which is contrary to _Rom._ 3.1, 2. or
it must be granted, that the children of the Jews had greater
priviledges then the children of Christians.

7. That Doctrine that cryeth up _Purity to the ruine of Unity, is
contrary to the Doctrine of the Gospel_. For the Gospel calleth for
unity, as well as purity, 1 _Cor._ 1.10. _Phil._ 2.1, 2. _Eph._ 4.3,
4, 5, 6. And Christ prayed for the unity of his Church, as well as the
Holiness, _Joh._ 17.21, 22. and it is prophesied of the times of the
Gospel, That in those daies, God will give his people, _one heart, and
one way, and to serve him with one consent_, _Jer._ 32.29. _Zeph._
3.9. This Rule will teach you what to judg of the Congregational-way:
For certainly that Government that carrieth in the front of it _A
tolleration of different Religions_, and is not sufficient to keep the
body of Christ in unity and purity, is not the Government of Christ.

8. Whatsoever Doctrine is contrary to the Rule of Faith, or to any
duty required in the ten Commandements, or to any Petition of the
Lords prayer, is not a Doctrine of Christ, and therefore to be

We might add many more Rules, but we forbear, lest we should be
over-tedious. Our prayer to God for you is, That you may be fix't, not
falling Stars, in the Firmament of his Church; _Not children tossed to
and fro, and carried about with every wind of Doctrine_; Not Reeds
shaken with every wind, but firm Pillars in his house. Wherefore,
Beloved Brethren, _Stand fast and immoveable, alwayes abounding in the
Work of the Lord; Forasmuch as you know, that your labour is not in
vain in the Lord_.

But now, because he that would keep himself from the Errour of the
times, must also keep himself from the sins of the times: (For it is
sin that makes God give us up to errour, 2 _Thess._ 2.10, 11. and it
is sin that makes a man like a _piece of wax_, ready to receive the
impression of any errour. The women in _Timothie_ were first laden
with divers lusts, before they were led away captive to divers
errours; and whosoever puts away a good confidence, will quickly
_concerning Faith make ship wrack_, as we are told, 1 _Tim._ 1.19.)
Therefore we are necessitated to inlarge our Exhortation to you in one
particular more; which though it be the last, yet it is not the least
of those things which we have to say unto you, and that is,

6. To exhort you, or rather to require and charge you, _to keep your
selves unspotted_, not only from the errors and heresies, (as before)
but also _from the sins and iniquities of the times wherein you live_.
We say, _unspotted_, and so doth the Apostle, _Jam._ 1.27. It is not
enough for you to keep your selves from being _bemired and besmeared_,
but you must labour to keep your _Garments_ so white, as not to have
the least _spot of defilement_ from the persons or places where you
live. The Apostle tells us, That [161]_in the last daies perillous
times shall come_: _For men should be lovers of their own selves,
covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to Parents,
unthankfull, unholy, without naturall affection, truce-breakers, false
Accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Traytors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more then lovers of
God; having a form of Godlinesse, but denying the power thereof._
Those words, _having a form of Godlinesse_, must be understood, απο
κοινου, and referred to all the other sins. And the meaning is, That
men would be _self-lovers_, having a form of godlinesse,
_truce-breakers_, having a form of godliness, _truce-breakers_, having
a form of godlinesse, _Traytors and false accusers_, having a form of
godlinesse, _&c_. They should cover all their ungodlinesse, under the
specious form of Godliness: Such are the times in which we live, of
which we may truly say, There were never fewer, and yet never more
Saints; never more nominal, never fewer real Saints; Never more
self-seekers, and yet never more that pretended to seek the interest
of Christ. We are an _hypocritall Nation_, _the people of Gods wrath_;
_We have broken the Covenant of our God, even that Covenant, which in
the day of our distress and fear, we made with hands lifted up to
heaven. We are apostatized from our Principles and practices; We
contemn the pretious ordinances, despise and abuse the Godly
Ministers; We break the Sabbaths, hate the very name of Reformation,
and scorn to submit to the sweet yoke of Christ and his Government; We
are proud, secure, lyars, swearers, and forswearers, Murderers,
drunkards, Adulterers, and oppressors: We have not learned
Righteousnesse, but unrighteousness, by all the Judgements of God; We
are worse and worse by all our deliverances; We have spilt the blood
of Christ in the Sacrament, by our unworthy receiving_, and therefore
it hath been just with God to spill our blood. It would be too long to
reckon up all the particular sins of Magistrates, Ministers,
Husbands, wives, Fathers, Children, Masters, and Servants; neither is
it the design of this Discourse. We may truly say with the Prophet,
[162]_Ah sinful Nation, a people laden with iniquity; a seed of evill
doers, children that are corrupters, that have forsaken the Lord, that
have provoked the holy One of Israel unto anger; that are gone away
backward: Why should we be smitten any longer? we will revolt more and
more, the whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint; from the
sole of the foot, even unto the head, there if no soundness in us, but
wounds and bruises, and putrified sores_, &c.

Wherefore dearly beloved, we do most earnestly beseech you, in the
bowels of Jesus Christ, that you would be deeply sensible of, and
humbled for these evills that do so much abound in the midst of us,
for which the Earth mourns, and the Heavens are black over us. _Oh let
your souls weep in secret, and your eyes weep sore, and run down with
tears, and sigh to the breaking of your loyns, yea to the breaking of
your hearts with godly sorrow, which may work in you repentance, never
to be repented of._ Mourn more for the sins that have brought these
miseries upon us, then for the miseries our sins have brought; more,
for burdening God with sin, then for being burdened with plagues; more
for your hard hearts, then these hard times.

And we further intreat everie one of you, to put _away the iniquity
that is in his hand_; _to know every man the plague that is in his own
heart_; _to search and try his waies, and to turn unto the Lord his
God_; _to cease to do evill, and to learn to do well_: to be tender of
the oathes which he hath taken, or which may be offered unto him to
take; to keep close to his _Covenant_; to prize the Ordinances,
Reverence Godly Ministers, sanctifie the Sabbaths, to hate hypocrisie
and self seeking, to receive the love of the truth, lest God give him
over to believe lyes. Not to trust to his own understanding, lest God
blind his understanding. To practise the _truths_ he doth know, that
God may reveal unto him the _truths_ he doth not know; not to heap to
himself teachers, having _itching ears_, lest he _turn away his ears
from the truth, and be turned unto fables_; not to have the faith of
our Lord Jesus Christ, in respect of persons, imbracing the Doctrine
for the persons sake, and not the person for the Doctrines sake. To
seek after the truth, for the truths sake, with uprightness of heart,
and not for outward respects, lest God answer thee according to the
Idols thou hast in thy heart. To labour to be more and more grounded
in the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ; to study catechisme more
diligently, and so to be led on to perfection, that he may not alwayes
be a babe, unskilfull in the word of Righteousness, but by reason of
use, may have his senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

In a word, we once more beseech you all that are admitted to our
Sacraments, that your _conversation may be as becometh the Gospell of
Christ_; and as you have given up your names unto Christ by
profession, so give up your hearts to him, by universall, sincere, and
constant obedience: _And let every one that nameth the name of Christ,
depart from iniquity._

       *       *       *       *       *

Our third and last Exhortation is unto all those _that live within the
bounds of the Province, and have not yet submitted to the Government,
nor are admitted to the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ in
the_ Presbyterian way: These may be reduced into two ranks:

1. Such as separate from our Churches.

2. Such as continue still with us, but do not joyn in the Sacrament.

The first of these admit of so many _divisions_, and _subdivisions_,
and are so contrary not only to us, but one to another, as that we are
hardly able to rank them into order; and yet for method sake, we will
divide them into two sorts:

1. _Such as separate from us, only for matter of Government._

2. _Such as separate from us, for matter of doctrine also._

1. _Such as separate from us, only for matter of Government._ To these
we have spoken already in our Vindication; We now think fit to add one
thing more;

And that is, To beseech and intreat you, as Brethren, to consider,
what a sin it is, to separate from Churches, which you your selves
acknowledg to be true Churches of Jesus Christ; and that, while they
are endeavouring more and more after a reformation according to the
Word; and to set up Churches of another constitution; Is not this to
set up Church against Church? and as the Ancients were wont to express
it, _Altar against Altar_? And whereas you should rather joyn with us,
and put to your helping hand to reform the Nation, and to bring our
Churches into the order of the Gospel; do you not rather weaken our
hands, by dividing from us, and dividing of us; and thereby
obstructing and hindering the glorious work of Reformation? For what
with the Prelatical on the one hand, that will not come up to a
Scripture-Reformation; and with you on the other, that will not joyn
with us whilest we are endeavouring after a Scripture-Reformation, The
building of Gods house ceaseth, in most parts of the Kingdome; and
instead of a Reformation, we see nothing but deformation and
desolation. If we be the _Church of Christ, and Christ holdeth
communion with us, Why do you separate from us? If we be of the body
of Christ, do not they that separate from the body, separate from
the head also?_ We are loath to speak any thing, that may offend you;
yet we intreat you to consider, That if the Apostle calls those
divisions of the Church of _Corinth_, wherein Christians did not
separate into divers formed Congregations of several communion in the
Sacrament of the Lords Supper, _Schismes_, 1 _Cor._ 1.10. May not your
_secession_ from us, and _profession_ that you cannot joyn with Us as
members, and setting up Congregations of another communion be more
properly called _schisme_? The Greek word for _Schism_ signifies
_rending_; and sure it is, that you rend your selves from Us, and not,
_as from Churches the same rule_, but _as Churches differing in the
rule_, with a dislike of Us, and a protestation, that You cannot joyn
with Us as fixed members without sin; You hear Us preach, not as
persons in Office, but as gifted men only; and some of you refuse to
hear us preach at all: You renounce all _Church communion_ with us as
members; and not only so, but you invite our people from Us, by
telling them, _That they cannot continue with us without sin_: You
gather Churches out of our Churches, and You set up Churches in an
opposite way to our Churches; and all this you do voluntarily, (not
separated, but separating, _non fugati, sed fugitivi_) and
unwarrantably, not having any sufficient cause for it; and
notwithstanding all this, yet you acknowledge Us to be the true
Churches of Jesus Christ, and Churches with which Christ holds
communion. May we not therefore most justly charge you as guilty in
making a Schism in the Body of Christ?

We are far from thinking, that every difference in Judgment, or every
separation from a Church, maketh a Schism; for it is not the
Separation, but the Cause, that makes the Schismatick. The
Godly-learned say, [163]_That every unjust, and rash separation from a
true Church_, (that is, when there is no just cause, or at least no
sufficient cause of the separation) is a schism. And that there is
[164]a negative and positive schism, the former is, when men do
peaceably and quietly draw from communion with a Church, not making a
head against that Church from which they are departed: the other is,
when persons so withdrawing, do consociate & draw themselves into a
distinct and opposite Bodie, seting up a Church against a Church (as
you do;) which _Camero_ cals _A schism by way of eminencie_, & further
tels us, that there are [165]four causes that make a separation from a
Church, lawful.

1. When they that separate, are grievously and intollerably

2. When the Church they separate from, is heretical.

3. When it is Idolatrical.

4. When it is the Seat of Antichrist. And where none of these four are
to be found, there the separation is insufficient and schismatical.
Now we are fully assured, that none of these four causes can be
justly charged upon our Congregations. And therefore you must not be
displeased with us, but with your selves, if we blame you as guilty of
a positive Schism.

There are two things will be objected against what is here said.

[Sidenote: _Object._ 1.]

That you are forced to separate from Us, because of those sinfull
mixtures that are tolerated amongst Us; That our Congregations are
miscellaneous companies of all gatherings, without any due separation
of the wheat from the chaff: that all sorts are admitted even to
Sacramental communion. And that therefore you ought to come out from
amongst Us, that you be not made partakers of our sins.

We answer,

[Sidenote: _Answ._ 1.]

1. That this charge, if understood of those Congregations, that are
reformed according to the rules of the Presbyterial Government, is
most untrue and unrighteous. It is sufficiently known what we suffer
in our estates, and in our outward peace and quiet, because we will
not allow of sinful mixtures in our Churches. The Lord that observes
our particular carriages knows, that we study purity of members, as
well as purity of Ordinances, and verity of doctrine. And though we
dare not make separation from a true Church, by departing from it, as
you do; yet we do make a separation in a true Church, by purging and
reforming it, which you do not do. The rule of the Assembly for the
Church-members, is very full: _That they must be visible Saints, such
as being of age, do professe Faith in Christ, and obedience unto
Christ, according to the rules of Faith and life, taught by Christ and
his Apostles._ Doth not the Scripture require more then this? why then
will ye separate from us for sinfull mixtures, when we are purging
out sinfull mixtures? when God is coming towards us, why will you run
away from us? When God is building us up, why are you so active in
pulling us down? Are we not coming out of the Wildernesse, and will
you now forsake us? It is not many years since the ship of this Church
was sinking into Popery, and then some of you separated from it into
other parts of the world. And when of late years, there was hope
through the mercy of God, of saving the ship, you returned back; and
instead of helping to save her, you presently began to separate from
her; and whilest we were pumping to preserve the ship, your practices
have occasioned & made many leaks in it. This is a sad thing, and if
rightly apprehended, must sit sadly upon the spirits of some.

[Sidenote: _Answ._ 2.]

Suppose there were some sinfull mixtures at our Sacraments, yet we
conceive, this is not a sufficient ground of a negative, much lesse of
a positive separation. [166]The learned Author forementioned tells us,
that _corruption in manners crept into a Church, is not sufficient
cause of separation from it_. This he proves from Matth. 23.2, 3. and
he also gives this reason for it; Because _in what Church soever,
there purity of Doctrine, there God hath his Church, though
overwhelmed with scandalls. And therefore whosoever separates from
such an Assembly, separates from that place where God hath his Church,
which is rash and unwarrantable._

The Church of _Corinth_ had such a profane mixture at their Sacrament,
as we believe few (if any) of our Congregations can be charged withal.
And yet the Apostle doth not perswade thy godly party to separate,
much less to gather a Church out of a Church. There were many godly
and learned Non-conformists of this last age, that were perswaded in
their consciences, that they could not hold communion with the Church
of _England_, in receiving the Sacrament kneeling, without sin, yet
did they not separate from her. Indeed, in that particular act they
withdrew, but yet so, as that they held communion with her in the
rest, being far from a negative, much more from a positive separation.
Nay some of them, even then when our Churches were full of sinfull
mixtures, with great zeal and learning, defended them so far, as to
[167]write against those that did separate from them. He that will
never communicate with any Church, till every thing that offendeth be
removed out of it, must tarry till the great day of judgment, when
(and not till then) [168]_Christ will send forth his Angels, to gather
out of his Kingdome every thing that offendeth, and them that do
iniquity._ _Musculus_ tells us of a [169]_Schwenkfeldian_ at
_Augusta_, whom he asked, when he had _received the Sacrament_; he
answered, _not these twelve years_: He asked him the reason; he
answered, _Because he could not finde a Church which was inwardly and
outwardly adorned fit for a spouse of Christ, and that he would defer
receiving the Sacrament, till he could finde such a one_. This man
never did receive: No more will any of his opinion. We speak not of
these things, to justifie the negligence and wickedness of
Church-Officers, in suffering these prophane mixtures; we have already
proved it to be their duty, to keep all visibly-wicked persons from
the Sacrament, and have given divers arguments to perswade them
thereunto. We have likewise shewed it to be the duty of private
members, to do what in them lyes, for the removing of scandalls out
of the Church. If a brother offend them, they are not to separate from
him, (for this is not the way of Christ, to _gain_, but to _destroy_
his soul,) but they are to tell him of it privately, and in an orderly
way to bring it to the Church. And when they have done their duty,
they have freed their own souls, and may safely and comfortably
communicate in that Church, without sin.

[Sidenote: _Object._ 2.]

Though we do separate from you, yet we cannot stand charged with
_Schisme_, because the nature of Schisme consisteth in an open breach
of Christian love; and is such a separation, which is joyned with a
condemnation of those Churches from which they separate, as false
Churches, which we are far from.

[Sidenote: _Answ._]

We grant, that to make up the formality of a _Schismatick_, there must
be added uncharitableness; as to make up the formality of an
_Heretique_, there must be added _obstinacy_. But yet as he that
denyeth a fundamental Article of Faith, is guilty of heresie, though
he add not _obstinacy_ thereunto to make him an heretique; so he that
doth _unwarrantably_ separate from a true Church, is truly guilty of
_Schisme_, though he add not _uncharitableness_ thereunto, to
denominate him a compleat Schismatique.

A Reverend Brother of your own, calleth [170]_Brownisme_, _a bitter root
of rigid separation_. And we beseech you, with the spirit of meekness,
to consider what bitter fruits have sprung from your more moderate
separation: what great and wofull breaches have been made upon the
blessed grace of charity: what harsh and rigid censures some of you
have passed upon our persons and government; calling us _Lordly, and
Prelaticall_; and it, _Tyrannical and prejudicial to civill States_,
on purpose, to make us, and it odious, and thereby to render your
persons and way the more amiable to the people. And that which is more
then this, Are there not some of you, that choose rather to joyn with
Anabaptists, and Episcopal men, then with us? And that will give
letters dimissory to your members, to depart from you to the Churches
of the Anabaptists? and at the same time, deny them to such as desire
them, for to joyn with Churches of our communion? Is not this to
separate with an open breach of Christian Charity? We charge not these
things upon all of you, but only upon some, whose names we forbear to
mention. And for our parts, we do here profess, That it is and shall
be our great care, to study _purity and charity_, as well as _verity
and unity_; and _purity of members_ according to the Word, as well as
of _Ordinances_.

We abhor an over rigid urging of uniformity in circumstantiall things.
And are far from the cruelty of that Gyant, _who laid upon a bed all
he took; and those who were too long, he cut them even with his bed;
and such as were too short, he stretched out to the length of it_. God
hath not made all men of a length, nor height. Mens parts, gifts,
graces differ; and if there should be no forbearance in matters of
inferior alloy, all the world would be perpetually quarrelling. If you
would fully know our judgments herein, we will present them in these
two Propositions:

1. That it is the duty of all Christians, to study to enjoy the
Ordinances of Christ in unity, and uniformity, as far as it is
possible; for the Scripture calls [171]to unity and uniformity, as
well as to purity and verity: and surely, it is not impossible to
obtain this so much desired unity and uniformity, because that God
hath promised, that his children shall serve him with [172]_one
heart, and with one way, and with one shoulder_. And that in the days
of the Gospel, _There shall be one Lord, and his name one._ And Christ
hath prayed, [173]_That we may be all one, as the Father is in him,
and he in the Father._ And he adds a most prevalent reasons, _that the
world may believe that thou hast sent me_. Nothing hinders the
propagation of the Gospel, so much as the divisions and separations of
Gospel-Professors. If then it be Gods promise, and Christs prayer, it
is certainly a thing possible to be obtained, and a duty incumbent
upon all true Christians, to labour after.

2. That is their duty to hold communion together, as one Church, in
what they agree; and in this way of union mutually to tolerate and
bear with one another in lesser differences. And here that golden Rule
of the Apostle takes place, [174]_Let us therefore as many as be
perfect, be thus minded; and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded,
God shall reveal even this unto you: Neverthelesse whereto we have
already attained, Let us walk by the same Rule, let us mind the same
thing._ This was the practice of the primitive Christians.

All such who professed Christianity, held Communion together, as one
Church, notwithstanding the difference of Judgements in lesser things,
and much corruption in conversation.

We beseech you therefore Brethren, that you would endeavour to keep
the _Unity of the spirit in the bond of peace; for there is one Body
and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your Calling; one
Lord, one Faith, and one Baptisme; one God and Father of all, who is
above all, and through all, and in you all._

For our parts, we do here manifest our willingness, (as we have
already said) to accommodate with you according to the Word, in a way
of union; And (such of us as are Ministers,) to preach up, and to
practise a mutual forbearance and toleration in all things, _that may
consist with the fundamentalls of Religion, with the power of
Godlinesse, and with that peace which Christ hath established in his
Church_, but to make ruptures in the body of Christ, and to divide
Church from Church, and to set up Church against Church, and to gather
Churches out of true Churches: And because we differ in some things,
therefore to hold Church-communion in Nothing; this we think hath no
warrant out of the Word of God, and will introduce all manner of
confusion in Churches and Families; and not only disturb, but in a
little time destroy the power of Godlinesse, purity of Religion, peace
of Christians, and set open a wide gap to bring in Atheisme, Popery,
Heresie, and all manner of wickednesse: We will therefore conclude
with that description that Doctor _Ames_ gives of the sinfulnesse and
mischievousnesse of Schisme, lib. 5. cap. 12.[175]

Schisme, properly so called, is a most grievous sin;

1. Because it is _against charity towards our Neighbour_, &c.

2. Because it is _against the Edification of him who makes the
separation, in that he deprives himself Communion in spirituall good_.

3. _Because it is against the honour of Christ, in that, at much as in
it lyeth, it takes away the Unity of his mysticall body._

4. _It makes way unto Heresie, and separation from Christ._ And
therefore it is a sin by all good men to be abhorred.

[Sidenote: Second sort of Separatists.]

2. The second sort are such, as _separate from our Churches, as false
Churches_; And from our _Ministry, as Antichristian_: and differ from
us not only in Discipline, but in Doctrine also. We purpose not to
undertake a particular confutation of your Errours.

Four things only we have to say:

1. To beseech you to consider, whether you did not receive the _work
of Conversion from sin unto God, which ye presume to be wrought in you
first of all, in these publique assemblies, from which you now
separate?_ And if once you found Christ walking amongst us, How is it
that you do now leave us? Do you not therein leave Christ also? Are we
lesse, and not rather more reformed then we were? If the presence of
Christ, both of his power and grace, be with us, why will you deny us
your presence? Are ye holier and wiser then Christ? Is not this an
evident token that we are true Churches, and have a true Ministry,
because we have the seal of our Ministry, even the conversion of many
sons and daughters unto God? Doth not the Apostle from this very
ground, [176]argue the truth of his Apostleship? Is it not apparent,
that our Ministers are sent by God, Because their Embassage is made
successfull by God, for the good of souls? Did you ever read of true
conversion ordinarily in a false Church? Will the Lord concur with
those Ministers whom he sends not? Doth not the Prophet seem to say
the quite contrary, _Ier._ 23.33. And therefore either renounce your
conversion, or be converted from that great sin of separating from us.

2. To consider, whether there was not a time, _when ye could have
plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to those Ministers,
whose eyes you would now pluck out, and whom now you hate, and think
you do God good service, in reviling and persecuting them._ How is
it, that you are thus altered and changed? _Are they become your
enemies, because they tell you the truth?_ You will Reply, It is
because they are _Ministers Ordained by Antichristian Bishops_; and
therefore before they have renounced their false Ministry, we cannot
with a safe conscience hear them, nor expect a blessing from their
Ministry. This Reply is, we confess, a great stumbling block to many
godly people, in this Kingdome; for satisfaction to it, we offer these

1. Many of you that make this Reply, hold, _That the Election of the
people is by Gods Word sufficient to make a man a true Minister
without Ordination._

Now it is certain, that many publique Ministers have been chosen by
the free and full consent of their Congregations; and most of them
have had an after consent, which was sufficient to make _Leah_ _Jacobs_
wife[177], and why not (to use your own words) to marry a man to a
people; and therefore according to your own judgments, all such are
lawfull Ministers. For sinfull superadditions do not nullifie divine

2. Some of you, that besides Election, require Ordination for the
making of a Minister, yet say, that this Ordination must be by the
people of the Congregation; and thus are your Ministers ordained.

Now we finde neither precept nor president for this in all the
Scripture; we finde [178]_Ordination by the laying on of the hands of
the Presbytery_, but never of the laying on of the hands of the
people. We finde [179]the Apostles, _Timothy_ and _Titus_, _Ordaining_,
but never the people _Ordaining_; and for private persons to assume
the power of Ordination (that is, a power to send men to preach the
Gospel, and administer the Sacraments) is a sin like unto the sin of
_Uzzah_, and of _Corah_, and his company. Therefore we say to you, as
Christ doth, _Matth._ 6. _First pluck the beam out of thine own eye, and
then_, &c. First justifie the Ordination of your own Ministers by
private persons, and then you will see better, to find fault with the
Ordination of our Ministers.

3. We distinguish between a defective Ministry, and a false Ministry,
as we do between a man that is lame or blind, and a man that is but
the picture of a man. We do not deny, but that the way of Ministers
entring into the Ministry by the Bishops, had many defects in it, for
which they ought to be humbled: But we add, that notwithstanding all
the accidental corruptions, yet it is not substantially and
essentially corrupted: As it is with Baptism in the Popish Church; all
Orthodox Divines account it valid, though mingled with much dross,
because the party baptized, is _baptized in the name of the Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost_. And therefore, when a Papist turns Protestant,
he is not baptized again, because the substance of Baptisme is
preserved in Popery under many defects. The like, and much more, may
be said for the _Ordination of our Ministers by Bishops_: It is lawful
and valid for the substance of it, though mingled with many
circumstantial defects.

And this appears,

1. Because when they were ordained, _they were designed to no other
Office, but to preach the Word, and administer the Sacraments;
according to the Will of Christ._

2. Because since their Ordination, _God hath sealed the truth of their
Ministry_ (as hath been said) _by his blessing upon it_. If they be
_Antichristian Ministers_, how is your _conversion Christian_?

3. Because they were ordained by Bishops, not as Lord Bishops, or as
_a superiour Order by divine Right above a Presbyter_; but as they
were _Presbyters_. For the understanding of which, you must know,

1. That by Scripture, a Bishop and Presbyter is all one, as appears by
_Act._ 10.27, 28. _Tit._ 1.5, 6, 7, 8. _Phil._ 1.1. 1 _Tim._ 3.1, 2, &c.
1 _Pet._ 5.1, 2. and by what is said by the Authors quoted in the

2. _That the Lordly Dignities of Bishops were meer civill additaments
annexed to their Bishopricks by Kingly favour._

3. That this Opinion, that _Bishops are a [181]superiour Order of
Ministry, by Divine Right above a Presbyter, is a late upstart
Opinion, contrary to antiquity_, as appears by the Authors quoted in
the Margent.

4. That the Laws of this Realm do account nothing _divine_ in a
Bishop, but his being a Presbyter; and therefore the Parliament in
their _Ordinance for Ordination_, tels us, _That they did ordain as
Presbyters, not as Bishops, much lesse as Lord Bishops_.

As for their usurpation of the sole power of Jurisdiction, together
with their Lordly Titles & Dignities, and Dependances, we have
renounced them in our _Solemn League and Covenant_: But we never did,
nor never shall renounce them as _Presbyters_, which by the consent of
all sides, are by _Divine Right_.

We shall add one thing more,

4. That Ministers do not receive their Ministry from the People, or
Bishops, but immediatly from Jesus Christ: For they are Ministers and
Embassadors of Christ, not of the People: Indeed they are Embassadors
for the good of the People, but not Embassadors of the People: All
that the people or Bishop doth, is but to _choose_ and _ordain_ a man;
but it is Christ that gives him his _power and authority_; As when a
wife _chooseth a husband_, and a Town a Mayor; the Town doth not
give the Mayor, nor the wife the husband, the power they have; but the
_Laws of God_, the one and of _Man_, the other: So it is here, It is
Christ that gives the Office, and the Call to the Ministry; They are
his _Servants_, and in his _Name_ execute their function. It is he
that fits them with ability for their work; the people they consent,
and the _Bishop as a Presbyter, with other Presbyters, ordain him_;
which though it had many Corruptions mingled with it, when the
_Bishop_ was in all his pomp and Lordliness, yet for the substance of
it, it was lawful & warrantable, and _therefore cannot without sin be
renounced and abjured_.

3. In the third place we exhort you to consider, _whether since you
have forsaken our Congregations, you have not fallen into such strange
opinions, and those of so high a nature, as that if any man should
have told you seven years ago, that you would have one time or another
fall into them, you would have said to him, as_ Hazael _did to the
Prophet; Am I a dog, that I should do this?_ Who would ever have
thought, that you that did once sigh, mourn, and bitterly complain,
_That a Chappell was permitted to the Queen to hear Masse in, should
now plead for a toleration of Popery, and all manner of Errours and
Heresies? That you that did once flock to our Churches as Doves to the
windows, should now not only forsake ours, but all Churches of
whatever constitution; That you that did once so much prize Christ,
and his holy Scriptures, should now (some of you at least) deny the
Divinity of Christ, and his holy Scriptures?_ But this is no great
wonder, for the Apostle hath foretold it, [182]_That evill men and
seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived_; and
that _they will increase unto more ungodliness, and their word will
eat as doth a Canker_, &c. _Errour_ is of an incroaching nature; as
the _little Theef_ openeth the _door_ oftentimes to the _great Theef_
so a little _errour_ paves a cause-way to a greater: The _Popish
superstition_ at first grew secretly, the _tares_ were hidden under
the _corn_; but in a little while the _tares_ grew up, so as no _corn_
could be seen: Images, at first were brought into the Church _only for
an historicall use_; afterwards, to stir up _devotion_, at last, they
came to be _worshipped_: Let the Serpent but winde in his head, & he
will quickly bring in his whole body: Your _first errour_ was in
_separating from our Churches_, from which _Christ doth not separate_.
Here the _Serpent got in his head_, & no wonder his whole body
_followed_; he that saith _yea_ to the Devil in a little, shall not
say _nay_ when he please: He that tumbleth down the _Hill of Error_,
will never leave tumbling, till he comes to the _bottome_. First you
deny our Ministers to be true Ministers, and our Ordinances to be true
Ordinances; and then God, as a just Judge, gives you over, in a little
time, to deny all _Ministers and Ordinances_, and then to be _above
all Ministers and Ordinances_; and at last, to be above Christ
himself, and not to stand in need of his _mediation to God the
Father_. First you deny _Baptisme of Infants_, and then after,
_Baptisme of water_: In a word, First you _run away from us_, and then
for the most part turn _Independents_, then _Antinomians_, then
_Anabaptists_ then _Arminians_, then some of you _Socinians_,
_Antiscripturists_, _Anti-Trinitarians_, still waxing worse and worse,
deceiving and being deceived, & in the conclusion, meer _Atheists_.

Suffer us therefore to speak to you in the words of Christ, to the
Church of _Ephesus_. Rev. 2.5. _Remember from whence you are faln, and
repent, and do your first works_, &c. Repent of all your
Soul-destroying _Errours_, and return to the Churches from which ye
have most unjustly separated, for fear, lest _God as a just Judge_,
because you would not receive the love of the truth that you might be
saved, should still give you over to strong delusions, that ye should
believe a lye, _That all they might be damned, who believed not the
truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousnesse_: And this makes way to
the fourth thing we have to say to you; and that is,

4. To beseech you to consider, _Whether since you forsook our
Congregations, you are not much decayed in the power of Godliness_,
whether you have not lost your first love to Godly Ministers,
Gospel-Ordinances, Fastings, reading the Word, private & Family
prayers, and Communion of Saints; whether you are not grown more
censorious, self-conceited, headie, high-minded, treacherous, fierce,
despisers of those that are good, and lovers of pleasure more then
lovers of God; whether Duties to God and Man have not been more
neglected, Sabbaths more prophaned, Families worse governed; the
publique welfare of Church and State have not been less minded,
whether prophaneness, or prophane Ones, have not been more indulged;
and whether you be not sensibly and dangerously apostatized from that
close and humble walking with God, which formerly some of you did so
much labour after: For the truth is, _Corruption in the Judgment, will
quickly bring corruption in the conversation_. Our actions are guided
by our apprehensions; and if our apprehensions be _erroneous_, our
_actions_ will quickly be tainted with wickednesse; And therefore it
is very observeable, [183]_That in the old Law, when the Leprosie was
in the head, the Priest was not only to pronounce the man unclean, but
utterly unclean_: For Leprosie in the head, will quickly beget a
Leprosie in the whole man: As the Sun is to the World; so is the
Understanding to Man: If the Sun be dark, all the world is in
darknesse; and if the light that is in thee (saith Christ) be
darkness, _How great is that darkness?_ We wonder not at the
_looseness_ of your practices, when we consider the _looseness_ of
your principles: _For Doctrines contrary to Godliness, must needs
bring forth a conversation contrary to the Gospell._ And this is an
evident token to us, that the _New-Lights_ (as they are called) which
you hold forth to the world, proceed not from the _Father of Lights_,
but the _Prince of Darkness_, because they lead men into the _Works of

Therefore seeing that since your departure from us, you have wofully
back-slidden from God, and are visibly decaid in Holiness and
Righteousness, Our Exhortation to you is, that you would return to
your first Principles; for then it was better with you, then now; And
our prayer to God for you is, _That he would give you repentance to
the acknowledging of the truth; and that you may recover your selves
out of the snare of the Devill, who are taken captive by his will._

Having finished that we had to say to those that separate from our
Church, we now go on to speak a few words to those that _continue with
us still, and that wait upon the publique Ministry, but do not yet
joyn with us, in partaking of the Sacrament of the Lords Supper_.
These we shall divide into three ranks.

1. Such as are _young people_, not yet sufficiently instructed in the
grounds of Religion.

2. Such as are _grown in years_, and come to our Churches, but yet are
scandalous in life and conversation.

3. Such as live, for ought we know, unblameably, but yet refuse to
come to the Sacrament in the Presbyterian way.

1. Such as are _young people_, and not yet sufficiently instructed in
the grounds of Religion; Our Exhortation to you is, _That you would
remember your Creator in the days of your Youth_; the word in the
Hebrew[184] is, in the choyce of thy dayes: The time of Youth is the
Golden Age; and grace in Youth, is like a Jewel in a gold-ring. The
time of Youth, it is the _Seasoning Age_: A Vessell will of a long
time retain the savour of that liquor that it is first seasoned
withall; _Teach a child_ (saith Solomon) _the trade of his way, and he
will not depart from it when he is old_. The time of Youth is the
chiefe time you have to _work for heaven_. Old age is a time to _spend
grace_; but Youth is the time to get it: Old Age is the time to _reap_
the fruit of holiness, but Youth is the time to _sow_ the seed of it:
And it is a time, that of all times God doth most require, and most
delight in. It is observed by one, that Christ [185]_loved his
youngest Disciple best_: And by Another, that Christ was _wonderfully
delighted_ with that _Hosanna_ that the children sang unto him, Mat.
21.16. [186]_The childrens Hosanna pleased him no less then the mens
Hallelujahs; Suffer little children to come unto me_, saith Christ,
_for to them belongeth the Kingdome of God._ In the Old Testament God
hath manifested a great deal of love to young people; He chose _Abel_,
the younger, _Shem_, the younger, _Abraham_, the younger, _Jacob_, the
younger; young _Samuel_, and young _David_, and young _Josiah_: And
therefore let young men, especially, be exhorted to begin betimes, to
bear the yoak of the Lord; _Seek ye first the Kingdome of God, and his
Righteousness_; first, _before_ any thing else; and first, _more_ then
any other thing. Say not, (O say not!) I am a young man, and therefore
may plead for liberty to do what I list, till I come of riper years:
But remember, _That Jesus Christ shed his blood for thee when he
was 8. dayes old_; and took thee into his Family by _Baptisme_, _when
thou didst hang upon thy mothers Breast_; Thou art (it may be) a young
man, but a Baptized young-man; A Young-man consecrated and dedicated
to God; And it is not only sin, but sacriledg and perjury, to
_impropriate that that is dedicated to God, to the service of the
Devill_. Remember the wrath manifested from Heaven _against the 42.
children_ that mocked _Elisha_; And remember further, That young
people must dye, as well as old: _There are Skulls in Golgotha, of all
sizes_; and young people have _immortall souls_, and must appear at
the great day of Judgment, as well as _old_; Young people are by
nature _children of wrath, heires of hell_; and therefore this is thy
first work (_O young man_) to get out of the Root of Abomination, into
the Root of Acceptation; out of the old _Adam_ into the new _Adam_; &
before this be done, (though thou shouldst spend thy time in gathering
up Pearls and Jewels,) thou art an undone creature.

For the better effecting of this, we exhort you, to attend diligently
to the publike Preaching of the Word, and willingly and cheerfully to
submit to be catechized and instructed by your _Parents, Masters, and
Ministers_. The Scripture divideth a Congregation, into him that
_catechizeth_, and those that are _catechized_, saying, [187]_Let them
that are taught_, or (as it is in the Greek) _Catechized, communicate
to him that teacheth_ (or _catechizeth_) _them in all good things_. In
the Primitive times, when any Heathen man was converted to
Christianity, he was first a _catechumenus_, before he was admitted
either to _Baptisme_, or the _Lords Supper_. And _Egesippus_
testifies, [188]_that by the diligent instruction of the Church, there
was no known Common-Wealth in any part of the World, inhabited, but
within fourty years after Christs passion, received a great shaking of
Heathenish Religion._ There are in Christian Religion, _fundamentalls_
and _superstructions_. The _fundamentalls_ are the vitals of
Christianity: These are comprized in many of our _English_
Catechismes. Amongst all others, we do more especially commend the
_greater and lesser Catechismes made by the Reverend Assembly of
Divines_, _and published to be used in all Churches in_ England _and_
Wales, _by Authority of Parliament_. These we exhort you, not only to
read, but to learn. And to invite you thereunto, we further declare;

That the study of the Catechisme, is a singular help for the _right
understanding_ of the Scriptures: (For the Catechisme is nothing else,
but a Methodical Extract out of the Bible, of the fundamentals of
Christian Religion;) And it is also very useful to make you understand
what your _Ministers preach to you_; And to keep you from the
_Errours_ and _Heresies of these times_ to prepare you to give a
distinct and perfect account of your Faith to the Minister and Elders.
For one great Reason why men do so pervert the Scriptures to their own
destruction, and run wilde into so many errors and heresies, and are
so unable to give a particular and distinct account to the Minister
and Elders, is for want of the study of the Catechisme. As a ship
_without ballast_ is tossed about with every wave and wind; so is a
_man without the study of the Catechisme_, carried about with every
wind of vain doctrine. As a _house_ without a foundation will quickly
fall, so will a Christian that is not well verst in the fundamentals
of Religion. As Children grow _crooked_, that are not well looked to
at first; so many run into _crooked opinions_, because not well

And therefore we earnestly beseech and intreat all Parents, and
Masters of Families, that they would make conscience of this great
duty of catechizing their children and servants. And oh that the Lord
would make our words to take impression upon your hearts. In the Old
Testament God commands Parents to _teach diligently their children_.
The word in the Hebrew[189] is, to _whet the Law_ upon their children.
The fourth Commandement is directed not to children, and servants, but
to Parents and Masters; And they are there commanded, not only _in
their own persons_, to keep the Sabbath; but to see that their
_children and servants do it also_. It is not, _Thou, or thy son, or
thy daughter; But thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter_. It doth not
say, (as _Zanchy_ well observes[190],) _Remember thou to keep holy the
Sabbath day, and to perswade thy children and servants to keep it
holy_: But _remember thou to keep it holy, and thy son, and thy
servant_, implying thereby, _that it is the Duty of the Master and
Father, to compell his servant and children to the keeping of the
Sabbath day_. For doing of this, God exceedingly extols _Abraham_,
Gen. 18.19. _I know that he will command his children, and his
household after him, that they keep the wayes of the Lord_: upon which
words, a learned Divine wrote thus; [191]_Abraham did not leave his
children and servants to their own genius, their own counsels, their
own lusts, though it is certain, divers of them would have thanked him
for such a liberty; for they had been nursed up in superstition and
idolatry, as_ Abraham _was, and might have pretended, that they were
not satisfied in point of conscience. But_ Abraham _knew how to
distinguish between liberty of conscience, and liberty of lust, and
therefore would not allow them such a liberty as would have enticed
them into the worst kinde of bondage._ The New Testament also calls
upon Parents, not only to bring up their children, but to
[192]_nurture them up in instruction and admonition of the Lord_. Old
_Eli_ was _grievously punished_ for neglect of this duty: And let his
severe chastisement be as a _warning-piece_ to all Fathers and
Masters; And let them know, _That if their children and servants
perish for want of instruction, through their negligence, their blood
will be required at their hands._

And if Parents and Masters, much more ought Ministers to be very
conscientious in the diligent discharge of this duty. Our Saviour
Christ layeth an express command upon them, not only _to feed the
sheep_, _but also the lambs of Christ_. It is no disparagement to a
_Peter_, to be a _feeder of Christs lambs_. Oh that Ministers would
unanimously and universally set to this duty! We commend it to them,
as a most _Soveraign Antidote_, to preserve their Congregations from
the errours of these times. It is reported of _Julian_, that amongst
other subtile plots he used for the rooting out of Christian Religion;
One was the _suppression of all Christian Schools_, and places of
catechizing. [193]And as one saith, _If he had not been as a Cloud
that soon passeth away, it had been to be feared, lest within a short
time he had overshadowed all Religion._ For when Catechizing was taken
from the Church, it was presently all overspread with ignorance. And
it is further added by the same Author, That the Papists themselves
acknowledg, that all the advantage the Protestants got of them in the
beginning of Reformation, was by their catechizing; because they began
sooner to catechize, then they did. And it is to be feared, saith he,
if ever the Papists get once again advantage of Us, it will be by
their exacter catechizing, then ours. And therefore, if ever you would
prevent the further _corruption_ of mens Judgments, and secure them
from the infection of _errour_, and preserve Religion from ruine. We
exhort you in the bowels of our Lord Jesus Christ, to practise this
duty; and intreat our people with all readiness and constancie, to
submit unto this Ordinance of God, which with so much publique
prejudice, hath been so long neglected.

And to perswade people thereunto, let them consider further,

1. If Ministers are bound to catechize; then people are bound to be

2. That they are baptized, and thereby consecrated unto Christ, and
obliged by promise, to give up themselves unto instruction.

3. That ignorance, though it be not the greatest, yet it is a most
dangerous sin: All sin is wrapt up in ignorance, as a child in
swadling clouts. The Scripture saith, [194]_That Christ will come in
flaming fire to render vengeance upon all those that know him not_,

It makes the _ignorance of God_ to be the cause of all sin, 1 _Sam._
2.12. 1 _Joh._ 2.4. _Eph._ 4.19. And _David_ prayeth unto God,
[195]_To pour out his wrath upon the heathen that know him not_; how
much more upon the Christians that know him not? As toads and Serpents
grow in dark and dirty sellars: so all sin and wickednesse in an
ignorant and blind soul. Now there is no ordinary way for young people
to gain the knowledge of God, but by _Catechizing_.

4. That the time of youth is the _golden Age_, the _seasoning age_,
and a time in which men are apt to receive abiding impressions of
evil, or good. And if they can learn to say to _Elisha_, _Bald-pate_,
why should they be unwilling to learn to sing to Christ, _Hosanna_?

5. That it is not so great a shame for young people to be ignorant, as
to be wilful and obstinate in ignorance. And if they refuse to be
_Catechised_, they shall perish in their ignorance; but the _Minister_
is free from the blood of their souls.

The second sort are such _as live within the bounds of our Province,
and come to our Congregations, and yet are wicked and prophane, and
such, as if they should come to be examined by the Minister and
Elders, would not be received to the Sacrament_. These are Christians
in _name_, but they are a shame to the _name_, and bear it (as
_Urijah_ did a letter to _Joab_) _for their ruine and destruction_. We
beseech and intreat them to consider, what a sinful and cursed
condition it is to live ungodlily and unrighteously under the
abundance of Gospel-Ordinances.

First, what a _sinful condition_ it is; For,

1. It is as much as in them lyes, a frustrating of the great love of
Christ in dying for them: For, therefore Christ dyed, _that they which
live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which
dyed for them, and rose again_, 2 Cor. 5.13.

2. It is a frustrating of the gracious design of God, in sending the
Gospel to them; for one chief errand of the Gospel, is to _teach us to
deny ungodlinesse and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously,
and godly in this present world_, Tit. 2.12.

3. It is not only to sin against the _light of nature_, but against
the _light of the Gospel_.

4. Not only against the _creating and preserving mercies of God_, but
against the _heart-blood mercy_ of Jesus Christ.

5. It is a sin of _horrible ingratitude and unthankfulness_; a sin
that makes God himself to stand, as it were, amazed, that any man
should be so wicked, as to be guilty of it, _Isai._ 1.2. _Jer._ 2.11,

6. It is a sin that will make us speechlesse, and unexcusable at the
great day, _Joh._ 15.22.

7. It is a sin that renders a Christian worse then the very bruit
creatures, _Isa._ 1.3. And in this one sense, worse then the Devills
themselves, because the Devills never refused so great salvation.

2. Consider what a cursed condition this is: For,

1. It is a _spirituall plague_, which is so much greater then a
corporal, by how much the Soul is better then the Body.

2. It is a sign not only of Gods Fatherly, but revengeful displeasure,
_a brand of reprobation, and the high-way to damnation_.

3. It renders a man utterly uncapable (as such) of the Sacrament of
the body and bloud of Christ; for Christ ordained the Sacrament for
his friends, not for his enemies; to increase, not beget grace; for
those that are visible Saints, not for those that are visibly wicked.

4. It brings _Personall, Congregationall_, and _Nationall Judgments_,
Luk. 13.5. Isa. 5.

5. It makes a Christians condition at the day of Judgment more
intolerable, then the condition of _Sodom and Gomorrah_. It makes the
Gospel it self to be the chiefest inditement against him; and the
hottest place in Hell to be his portion for ever, and ever.

Oh that the Lord would give hearts to these men to meditate on these
things! and to repent of all their swearing, cursing, lying,
drunkenness, fornication, adultery, Sabbath-breaking, and such like
abominations! And let them not be offended with us, (as most of them
are) for not admitting them to the Sacrament; but rather offended with
their sins, that make them uncapable, as such, of the Sacrament. Let
not them cry out against us, but against themselves; and study to be
revenged, not of their Ministers and Elders, but of their sins, and
themselves. The Lord knows, that it is meer love to the Lord Jesus
Christ, and tender pity and compassion to their and our own souls,
that forceth us to deny them this Ordinance; lest we should be
instrumental to their eating and drinking their own damnation, and
accessary to their unworthy receiving, and to the prophanation of the
Sacrament; _Let not our pity, love, and care to them, breed hatred
against us, in them._ And why should they desire to partake in these
holy mysteries, whose hearts and lives are so full of unholinesse? why
should they that want spirituall life, desire to eat of spirituall
food? What should men spiritually dead, do at a spiritual feast? why
should they desire to eat that bread, which will certainly, as long
as they continue in this condition, be the bread of death, not of
life; and to drink that cup, which will certainly be a cup, not of
salvation, but of damnation! Let our counsel be acceptable to you;
_First wash you, make ye clean, put away the evill of your doings from
before Gods eyes, cease to do evill, learn to do well_; and then come
and see whether we will not receive you heartily and joyfully to the
Sacrament. _First wash your hands in innocency, and then you will be
fit to compasse the Lords Altar._ First get _spirituall life, and then
come and eat spirituall food_. First get to be a friend and Disciple
of Christ; and then not only We, but Christ himself, will bid you
welcome, and make you partakers of all the benefits and comforts of
the blessed Sacrament.

The third and last sort, _are such as come to our Congregation, and
live_ (for ought we know) _unblameably_; and yet refuse to joyn with
Us in the Sacrament upon this account, because they will not come to
be examined by the Minister and Elders. This (as we find by woful
experience) is the great mountain that lyeth in the way, and hindereth
the free passage of the Presbyterial-Government; and therefore we have
taken some pains in our Vindication for the removing of it; we have

1. That the Ruling-Elder (which is the Officer so much opposed) hath a
Divine Warrant.

2. It is the Will of Jesus Christ, that they that come to the
Sacrament, should first submit themselves to Examination; and not only
so, but to _Examination by Minister and Elders_.

3. What this Examination is, which is required, and how often it is

4. The reason why ancient men and women, that have formerly under the
Prelatical Government been admitted to the Sacrament, are required to
submit unto Examination, before they can be again admitted; It
remains, That we give Answers to the Objections that are brought
against this way of Examination; but before we do this, we will first
offer certain Reasons and Motives (besides those already named) to
perswade every one of our respective Congregations, as well old, as
young, rich as poor, freely and cheerfully to submit unto it.

[Sidenote: Motive 1.]

The first _Motive_, is _from the evident necessity of it, especially
now, while we are reforming the promiscuous admission of all sorts of
people to the Lords Table, formerly so scandalous_.

And this appears; because,

1. Without this, how can _ignorant persons_ (_unfit to communicate_)
be detected? what other ordinary and regular course can be imagined,
to discover who are insufficient in regard of their want of knowledge?
And it is most certain, that there are many ignorant persons, old, as
well as young, rich, as well as poor, in the most knowing
Congregations; and many times, those whom we suppose _to be very
skilful in the word of Righteousnesse_, upon _Examination_ are found
to be _babes in knowledge_.

2. Without this course, multitudes of ignorant persons, both old and
young, will intrude themselves, who by reason of their ignorance,
being not able to discern the Lords body, must needs _eat and drink
Judgment to themselves, and become guilty of the body and blood of
Christ_, 1 Cor. 11.27, 29.

3. Without this, how shall Ministers and Elders ever come truly to
know the _spiritual state_ of their Congregation, that they may watch
over them in the Lord?

4. Unless every one of the Congregation give an account of their
Faith to the Eldership, as well as any one, the people will be
extreamly apt to object unto the _Minister and Elders_,
partial-dealing in this particular, which is contrary to that heavy
charge of the Apostle, [196]_I charge thee before God, and the Lord
Jesus Christ, and the Elect Angels, that thou observe these things,
without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality._
And it will breed _discontents_ and _animosities_ in the people
against the Eldership, and great _divisions_ and _dissentions_ among

5. This course should be submitted to by the most intelligent and
knowing Christians in a Congregation, that by their _good example_,
and _professed subjection_ to the Government of Christ, those that
have not so great a measure of knowledge, and so have more need to
come, may more readily and effectually be perswaded to do the same.

6. Finally, how can the _Ministers and Elders_, intrusted by God with
the _Oversight of their flock_, keep themselves pure from the sin of
those Persons, who through ignorance cannot chuse but prophane the
Lords Supper; unless by this means, they use their best endeavors to
finde out where ignorance is, and to remove it: And it is their duty
to _keep themselves pure_, _and not to be partakers of other mens

[Sidenote: Motive 2.]

The second motive, is from the _great profit and benefit that will
redound to our respective Congregations, from this practice, prudently
and faithfully undertaken, and universally submitted unto_. For,

1. Hereby the whole Congregation, in all the members of it, shall
receive much advantage and edification, whilest those that are
_knowing_, shall be encouraged, and those that are _weaker_ in
understanding, further strengthened in knowledg; and those that are
_ignorant_, put into a way of gaining knowledge, and so be prepared to
partake of the Ordinance of the Lords Supper, more conscionably; and
more comfortably discern the Lords body, which is done by _knowledge_;
as well as by _Faith_, 1 _Cor._ 11.29.

2. Hereby the great offence of promiscuous, or mixt communion, will be
prevented, which hath been heretofore, and is to this day, a great
grief to the godly, both Ministers and people: and which hath been,
and is daily objected against us, by them that separate from our
Churches, as the ground why they are necessitated to depart from us;
and are still discouraged from returning to us.

3. Hereby a _good foundation_ will be laid, of carrying on that _reall
reformation_ which we have _covenanted for_, both in Congregations,
families, and particular persons; _growth in knowledge_ being a great
means to further _our growth in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ_,
2 Pet. 3.18.

4. Hereby those uncomfortable and disorderly fractions and divisions
among the members of our severall Congregations, (some refusing to
submit to all orders, while others christianly submit themselves,) wil
in good measure be _cured_, and our Congregations to the _glory of
God_, and the comfort of _Minister_, _and Elders_, be reduced to a
sweet Harmonious _unity and uniformity_, not only in judgment, but in
practice, both thinking and doing the same thing; which were a
_Gospel-blessing_ much to be desired, as a fruit of that Ancient
Promise, _Jer._ 32.39.

[Sidenote: Motive 3.]

The third Motive is from the _Mischiefs that will inevitably ensue
upon the neglect of this practice_. For hereby,

1. _Ignorant persons_ shall go on in their ignorance undiscovered,

2. The _Lords Supper_ in many Congregations will be wholly disused, or
miserably prophaned. 3. Particular Congregations will be filled with
distractions and discontents, whilest a great part among them refuse
to walk orderly. 4. The _Ministers and Elders_, who sincerely tender
the spiritual welfare of their Congregations will be much
_discouraged_ and _discomforted_.

5. The _Work of Reformation_, and particularly the growth of people in
knowledg and the grace of Jesus Christ, will extreamly be obstructed
and hindered; _and whosoever shall be any cause or occasion thereof,
will but uncomfortably answer it unto Jesus Christ_.

[Sidenote: Motive 4.]

The fourth Motive, is from the _weaknesse and insuffiency_ of the
objections that are brought against this practice; To which we shall
now (God assisting us) return _distinct_, and we hope, _satisfactory_

The Objections are:

[Sidenote: _Object._ 1.]

Many who are well inclined, object their own _timorousness_: And have
_jealousies_ that the Minister will propound such hard and unusual
questions, as they shall not on a sudden be able to answer.

[Sidenote: _Answ._ 1.]

The Questions to be propounded by the Eldership to persons, before
they come to the Lords Table, are for the substance of them contained
in the _Ordinance of Parliament_, of the 20th of _October_, 1643. the
particulars thereof being the _fundamentalls of Religion_, contained
usually in most _Catechismes_, which persons of the meanest capacity
ought to understand.

2. We doubt not but the _Ministers with the Elders_, will make it
their serious Endeavours, to deal with all persons in all _Prudence,
meeknesse, tendernesse, and love_, as the condition of those that come
before them shall require; They being not insensible of their own
_weaknesse_, will take heed of Discouraging the meanest, or Quenching
the smoaking flax, well knowing, _That they are not to Lord it over
Gods heritage, but to promote their growth, and to be Helpers of their

[Sidenote: _Object._ 2.]

Why may not people be now admitted to the Sacrament, without
examination, as well as before the Elders were chosen?

[Sidenote: _Answ._ 2.]

Because; 1. Before Elders were chosen, and the foundation of
Church-Government begun to be laid, the Church of _England_ was in
_point of Church Government_ in an unreformed condition: But now
(blessed be God) in a way of Reformation. And we have in our
_Nationall Covenant_, _sworn to endeavour a reformation in
Church-Government, according to the Word of God_. In pursuance of that
Covenant, there are many Ordinances of Parliament, to require it; and
accordingly it is practised in many Congregations; and _shall we still
persist in our old unreformed way?_

2. The _Promiscuous admission_ of all sorts of Persons heretofore
without examination tended much to the _Prophanation of the Lords
Supper_, and was a great _scandall_ in our Church, _Hazarded_ the
souls of thousands, _occasioned_ separations from our Churches,
brought the judgments of God upon the _Kingdome_, and was no small
griefe to godly Ministers, &c. But now God having provided a further
Remedy, we ought not only, not to _oppose it_, but to _submit_ to it,
with all readiness and thankfulness.

[Sidenote: _Object._ 3.]

Will you have the _Ancient men of a Congregation, that have for divers
years been partakers of the Sacrament, come now in their Old Age to be
Examined; will you have Noblemen, and Rich men, and Aldermen_, &c.

[Sidenote: _Answ._ 1.]

We have formerly declared, That the Presbyteriall Government doth not
precisely require of those that come to the Sacrament, _That they
should first be Examined by Questions and Answers: But if any man
shall make a good profession of his Faith, in a continued discourse,
without being asked any Questions, it will be accepted, as well as if
they were Examined by particular Questions._

2. We have likewise shewed the Reason why Ancient men and women, that
have formerly been admitted, are required to submit to Examination,
before they can be again admitted, &c. We have intreated you, to
distinguish between a _Church-reforming in Discipline, and reformed_:
When a Church is once reformed, and members admitted by Examination of
the Eldership, there will never be any necessity of coming afterwards
to Ministers and Elders, for re-admission; (unless it be in case of
excommunication.) But in a Church reforming, as ours is, when all
sorts have formerly been admitted, without any Distinction, then _Old
men_ must be willing to give an account, as well as _young men_, and
_rich men_, as well as _poor_: Because,

1. Old men and rich men are found to be _ignorant_, and to prophane
the Sacrament, as well as _young men_, and _poor men_.

2. In Gospell-administrations God is no respecter of persons; neither
must his Officers be, if they would be found faithfull in their
places; _It is not gray hairs, nor silken coats; but knowledg, faith,
repentance, love and thankefulness, will qualifie a man for the

3. If old men and rich men are more gracious and knowing, then others,
their good examples will be mighty incouragements, to draw on the
younger, and poorer sort. And wherein can _Noblemen, and Richmen,
express their thankfulness to God, for his distinguishing mercies
towards them, better, then in becoming patterns and presidents to
others, in their ready obedience to the will of Christ_, in this

[Sidenote: _Object._ 4.]

We are willing to come to the _Minister alone_, to be examined; But we
will never come before the _Ruling-Elders_.

[Sidenote: _Answ._ 1.]

The Office of the _Ruling Elders_, as they are distinct from _teaching
Elders_, is grounded upon Scripture; and is not an invention of man,
but an _Ordinance of Christ_, (as we have shewed,) and therefore to be
submitted unto.

2. Admission of members to the Sacrament, is an act of
Church-Government, and therefore belongs to the Elders, as well as the
Minister: (as we have likewise shewed.) _Church-Government is not
committed by Christ unto Ministers severally, but, to Ministers and
Elders joyntly_, Matth. 10.17. 1 Cor. 12.28. 1 Tim. 5.17. 1 Thess.
5.12. Act. 15.6. Act. 20.17, 28. And therefore in conscience, people
ought to submit to the Ministers and Elders.

3. This is a Practice according to the example of the _best reformed
Churches_, wherein Elders are joyned with Ministers in this

4. To devolve this work upon one Minister alone, as it is sinful, so
it will prove very _prejudicial_, both to Minister and People: For in
some places _Ministers_ may not be so faithful and Prudentiall as they
ought to be, and may, through pride, covetousness, partiality, or
rashness, keep from the Sacrament, or admit to the Sacrament, whom
Christ would not have admitted, or kept away. And in other places,
where _Ministers_ are more _wise_, and _humble_, and _faithfull_, if
they should assume the power of Examination, without _Elders_
assisting of them, they will be wofully _mis-reported_ and scandalized
by those that come before them, or by others, that are disaffected to
them; For if such horrid and base reports are already raised about the
Questions propounded by the Minister and Elders, when they sit
together; (as by sad experience these wicked dayes of ours will
witnesse:) what will not ungodly men be afraid to report, when the
Minister alone shall ingross this power?

5. We have formerly shewed, that these Elders whom you so much oppose,
are such _as you either have, or might have chosen; and they were
chosen for the relief and benefit or the Congregation, that so the
Minister might not be sole judge of those that come to the Sacrament,
but might have others joyned with him, to see that he doth nothing out
of envy, malice, pride, or partiality; but that all things may be
managed for the good and edification of those for whose sake they are
chosen_: And therefore it is a wonder to us, to hear men speak so much
against _Ruling-Elders_, when they are purposely chosen for their _own
relief and benefit_.

6. We have also formerly shewed, that when the Parliament gave their
allowance to the Presbyterial Government, if they had put the whole
_juridical power_ of the Church, into the hands of one Minister alone,
they that now seem so willing to come to be examined by the Minister,
without his Elders, would have more bitterly declaimed against that
way, then now they do against this: For this indeed were to make every
Minister a _Prelate_ in his Congregation; and to bring in that, which
hath some Resemblance to _Auricular confession_.

[Sidenote: _Object._ 5.]

Though some _Ministers rigidly keep all from the Sacrament, that will
not come before the Eldership; yet there are others that are
Presbyterians, and have Elders chosen, that examine without them, and
will receive us to the Sacrament, without coming before them._

In answer to this,

[Sidenote: _Answ._]

1. We doubt whether there be any _Ministers_ of the Presbyterian
judgment, that do thus practise.

2. If there be any such, we conceive that herein they act not only
contrary to an _Ordinance of Parliament_, but to an _Ordinance of
Christ_, who hath given the power of Discipline, not to _one
Minister_, (as we have said) but to an _united company of Presbyters_
And for one Minister to assume this power unto himself, is (as we have
also declared) _to make himself the whole Church; It is to build up
what he hath destroyed, and to usurp the Prelaticall power of sole
jurisdiction, in his Congregation._ For he doth not only assume a
Pastoral power of instructing those that are to come to the Sacrament,
but an Authoritative power of admitting to, & keeping from the
Sacrament; which is to take to himself an authority that Christ hath
never given him. And we desire these Ministers to consider what we
have formerly delivered, _That it is as warrantable by the Word of God
for one Minister to assume the whole power of suspending persons
from the Sacrament, who have been duly admitted thereunto, as it is to
assume the whole power of admitting to the Sacrament_, &c. And further
we beseech and intreat them (if there be any such,) to consider what
an offence they give in this particular, to all their Brethren in the
Ministry; and what an argument they put into the mouthes of those that
are disaffected to the government; and in the fear of God to forsake
this way and course, lest while they think _to build with us, they be
found to be destroyers, both of the Presbyterian Government and
Ministry, and to open a wide door to Sacramental Prophanation_.

[Sidenote: _Object._ 6.]

Doth not the Scripture say, _Let a man examine himself, and so let him
eat?_ &c. but it no where saith, Let a man be examined by the Minister
and Elders.

[Sidenote: _Answ._]

1. The text speaks of those that were formerly admited in a due way to
the Sacrament; and of such it is only required, that they should
_examine themselves_: For the Examining of those amongst us that have
formerly bin admitted, is occasioned by the great Church deformation
that hath been amongst us; which being once healed, there will not be
again that need afterwards of _Church-Examination._

2. The Apostles words are not to be understood _restrictively and
exclusively_. For he doth not say, Let a man examine himself _only_,
But let a man _Examine himself_, that is, Let him _especially examine
himself_. Take a parallel text, Rom. 14.12. _So then every one of us
shall give an account of himself to God_; which text is not to be
understood exclusively; For it is certain, that Ministers must give an
account to God, not only of themselves, but also for their people; And
Parents and Masters, for their children, and servants; so it is here,
Let a man examine himself: This doth not exclude the duty of a
father, in examining his children; or of a Master, Minister, or Elder,
in examining those under his Charge: But it teacheth us, That we must
not rest in, nor trust to the Examination of our Father, Master,
Minister, or Elders, but likewise examine our selves: _If a childe, or
servant should say unto his father, or master, when he is examined
about his knowledge, or faith, The Scripture bids me examine my self,
and therefore I will not be examined by you. Would not this be
accounted a great affront, and an unnsufferable abuse to the holy
Scriptures?_ and yet just so do they reason & argue, that from this
Scripture, would exempt themselves from all examination by Minister &
Elders. And so likewise when Christ saith, Matth, 7.1. _Judge not,
that you be not judged_: He that should interpret that text
_exclusively_, of all kind of judging; would overthrow all Magistracy.
But it is to be understood only, as excluding private and rash
judging, (when a man judgeth his Brother, and hath no calling to judge
him, not a just cause:) so it is here; This text excludes all private
Christians from examining others; but to say, that it excludes all men
in office and place in the Church, and in the family, would at once
destroy all Church-Government, and all family-government.

3. We might add, that those that are most ready to pretend, that it is
needless to give an account before the Minister and Elders, because
they are to _examine themselves_, it is to be feared, are as
regardless of examining themselves, as unwilling to give an account to
the Eldership.

[Sidenote: _Object._ 7.]

Doth not the Scripture also say, _whosoever eateth and drinketh
unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself_? It is not said,
to the Eldership.

[Sidenote: _Answ._]

That text is not to be understood _exclusively_, unless it relate to
close hypocrites: An _hypocrite_ eats and drinks damnation to himself
only, but if it relates to those that are _grosly ignorant and
scandalous_, it cannot be understood exclusively. For when a man that
is grosly ignorant and scandalous, receives the Sacrament, he not only
eats and drinks judgment to himself, but the _guilt of the sin lyeth
upon all those that knew of it, and did not do their duty for the
hindering of it_, as we have formerly shewed.

[Sidenote: _Object._ 8.]

There are many _Elders_ that are very ignorant, and fiter rather to be
_examined_, then to _examine_; and that propound unbeseeming and
absurd questions.

[Sidenote: _Answ._]

The ignorance of some Elders doth no more prejudice the office of an
Elder, then the ignorance of some Physitians, or Ministers, doth the
calling of Ministers and Physitians: If ignorant Elders be chosen, the
fault is not in the Office, but in the Choosers.

2. This objection cannot be justly made against the Ruling-Elders
within this Province; we hope we may say without boasting, that they
are very knowing, and very godly; and we are confident, that all the
reports that are vented concerning absurd and unbeseeming questions,
&c. are meer lyes and falsities. In all such meetings, the Minister is
the Moderator, and he onely propounds the questions; the Elders sit by
and judge.

3. In those Parishes where there are none sufficiently qualified to be
Elders, the Presbyterian Government doth not require them to chuse
Elders, but Orders, _That all such Parishes should be under the
immediate care, inspection, and government of the Classical

[Sidenote: _Object._ 9.]

It is not enough for a _Minister to forewarn his people of the danger
of unworthy coming to the Lords Supper; and if they will
notwithstanding the warning, come unworthily, is not the Minister

It is not enough for a father to tell his child, that he must not
drink such a cup of poyson, and yet afterwards (when he seeth his
child very greedy of it) to give it him; especially, when he knoweth
that it will certainly poyson him. It was not enough for old _Eli_ to
admonish his Sons; but because he did not use his power, in hindring
them, he is reproved, as accessary to their sins.

[Sidenote: _Object._ 10.]

I have _lived thus long, and never yet was examined, and certainly I
will not now begin in my old age, I will rather never receive the
Sacrament at all_.

[Sidenote: _Answ._]

Old Customes are no good principles to build upon; these are times of

2. Consider thine own spiritual wants, and what need thou hast of this
blessed Ordinance; and remember what the servant of _Naaman_ said unto
him, _If the Prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou
not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith, Wash and be
clean?_ So give Us leave to say to you, _If Christ had commanded you
to do some great thing, would you not have done it, rather then be
deprived of this Ordinance? how much rather when he saith to thee
only, Come and give an account of thy Faith before the Eldership, and
thou shalt be made partaker of this Heavenly banquet?_

[Sidenote: _Object._ 11.]

But I have made a Vow, that I will never come before the Elders.

[Sidenote: _Answ._]

This Vow is rash and sinful, a bond of iniquity; and therefore by
keeping of it, you become guilty of a double sin: the Eldership is an
Ordinance of Christ (as we have shewed) and therefore not to be vowed

[Sidenote: _Object._ 12.]

I am every way able to examine my self, and none knows what is in my
heart; and therefore I will venture upon my own private examination.

[Sidenote: _Answ._]

How is it, that thou art unwilling to venture thy estate, without
first advising with a Lawyer: and wilt advise with Physitians about
thy bodily health; but wilt venture thy soul at the Sacrament, upon
thine own head, without taking the advice of Minister and Elders; _Is
thy soul less precious to thee, then thy body, or thy estate?_
Besides, if thou hast knowledg, why wilt thou not come to examination;
if no knowledg, why wilt thou refuse the way & means to get knowledg?
the truth is, the true ground why some men do oppose this way, is

1. Out of ignorance and pride, because they are impatient to have
their ignorance discovered:

2. Or else, Secondly, it is from a prophane spirit of opposition; not
onely against Church-Government, and all good order; but against all
the wayes of Christ. But let such persons consider;

1. That it is far better to have their ignorance cured, then covered:
Ignorance covered will make us go blindfold to Hell; But Ignorance
cured, will make us go with open eyes to Heaven.

2. That Christ accounts them his enemies, that will not have him to
[197]_reign over them_, and will destroy them as his enemies.

3. To hate Instruction and Reformation, is a certain sign of
wickedness, which God abhors.

4. All the opposition that carnal and rebellious spirits have against
Christ and his wayes, will in the end, prove kicking against the
pricks, and most pernicious to their own Souls.

And thus we have answered all those objections, that are usually
brought against this way of Examination, and herein (as we hope) have
given abundant satisfaction to all those that are willing to receive
it. And we have likewise finished our Exhortation. As for the successe
of it, we leave it wholy to God; as having learn't, that _duty is
ours_, but _success is Gods_. When _Paul_ had finished his Sermon at
[198]_Athens, some mocked; and others said, we will hear thee again
of this matter. Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed, &c._
We doubt not but there are many within the Province; whose hearts _the
Lord will open, to attend to what is here said_. Our desire is to do
good unto all, even unto those that are our greatest adversaries; and
not _to be overcome of evil, but to overcome evil with good_. If they
mock at us (as they did at _Paul_) yet surely, [199]_Our Judgment is
with the Lord, and our work with our God; He that is filthy, let him
be filthy still; and he that is unjust, let him be unjust still_: But
we hope better things of you, that have submitted to the
Presbyterian-Government. For whom we pray, [200]_That the God of
peace, that brought again from the dead our_ Lord Jesus Christ, _that
great Shepherd of his sheep, through the bloud of the everlasting_
Covenant, _would make you perfect in every good work, to do his Will;
working in you, that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through_
Jesus Christ; _to whom be glory, for ever and ever_, Amen.

[96] Rom. 12.8.

[97] 1 Pet. 5.

[98] Luk. 22.25, 26.

[99] ἡγουμενος.

[100] Matth. 23.7, 8, 9, 10, 11.

[101] 2 Tim. 2.24, 25, 26.

[102] Phil. 1.

[103] Psal. 74. & 137.

[104] _unus homo, solus totius orbis impetum sustinuit._

[105] Isai. 8.11, 12, 13, 14.

[106] Matth. 18.20.

[107] Dan. 2.35, 45.

[108] Micah 4.1, 2.

[109] Isai. 61.12. 1 Tim. 5.17. 1 Thes. 5.13.

[110] 1 Pet. 5.4.

[111] Dan. 9.25.

[112] Neh. 4.3, 4.

[113] Neh. 4.10.

[114] Zech. 4.10.

[115] and Zech. 4.9. 6.8.

[116] Jer. 4.14. Isai. 1.16.

[117] Rom. 2.29.

[118] _In te stas, & non stas._

[119] _Frustra nititur qui non innititur._

[120] 2 Tim. 1.6.

[121] _Manducatio Indignorum, & Manducatio Indigna._ Alsted.

[122] 1 Pet. 1.12.

[123] επιθνμουςιν αγγελοι παρακυψαι.

[124] Joh. 6.51. and 56.

[125] τροϕη ευχαριστηθεισα.

[126] _Quantò pro nobis vilior, tantò nobis charior._

[127] _Donec totus fixus in Corde qui totus fixus in cruce._

[128] _Non vincula sed ornamenta, & spirituales Margaritæ_, quoted by
_Nyc. Vedelius_, in his Epistle before his Commentary upon _Ignatius_.

[129] _Festum Aquilarum, non Graculorum_.

[130] Rom. 5.8.

[131] Lam. 3.

[132] Luk. 7.6, 7.

[133] 2 Sam. 9.

[134] _Utimur perspecillis magis quàm speculis._ Senec.

[135] Matth. 5.44, 45, 46.

[136] Col. 1.10, 11.

[137] Phil. 1.9, 10, 11.

[138] Heb. 13.17.

[139] 1 Thess. 5.12.

[140] 1 Tim. 5.17, 18.

[141] Gal. 6.6.

[142] 1 Cor. 9.13, 14.

[143] Φιλοξενοι. Tit. 1.8.

[144] 1 Thess. 5.11, 14, 15.

[145] Col. 3.1, 6.

[146] 1 Cor. 10.24.

[147] Rom. 15.2, 3.

[148] Phil. 2.3.

[149] Mal. 3.16.

[150] 1 Tim. 6.4, 5.

[151] 2 Tim. 2.23.

[152] Rev. 3.4.

[153] Rom. 16.17.

[154] 1 Tim. 6.3, 4, 5.

[155] Tit. 1. 1 Tim 3.16. Tit. 2.12.

[156] Eph. 2.1. 1 Cor. 2.14.

[157] Rom. 8.7.

[158] Gal. 5.17. Rom. 7.18, 19, 23, 24. Isa. 64.6. Rom. 3.28. Phil.
3.9. 2 Cor. 5.21.

[159] Rom. 8.1, 13. 1 Joh. 3.14. Eph. 2.16. Titus 3.16. 1 Thess. 4.3.
Heb. 12.14.

[160] Heb. 7.22. Heb. 8.6.

[161] 2 Tim. 3.1, 2, &c.

[162] Isai. 1.5, 6.

[163] _Schisma, ni fallor, est eadem opinantem, & eodem ritu utentem
solo Congregationis delectari dissidio, & Schismaticos facit non
diversa fides, sed communionis disrupta societas_, Aug. contra
Faustum. lib. 20. cap 3.

_Schisma dicitur a scindendo, & est scissio, separatio, disjunctio,
aut dissolutio unionis illius, quæ debet inter Christianos observari.
Quia autem hæc Scissio maximè perficitur, & apparet in debitâ
communione Ecclesiasticâ recusandâ, idcirco illa separatio per
appropriationem singularem, rectè vocatur Schisma._ Ames. cas. consc.
lib. 5. cap 12.

_Schisma est secessio in religionis negotio, vel temeraria, vel
injusta, sive facta sit, sive continuata_, Camero, de Eccles. tom 1.
pag 396.

[164] _Schisma aliud est, ut loquuntur in scholis, negativum, aliud
positivum. Negativum vocamus, quod non exit in cœtum & societatem
aliquam religiosam, sed simpliciter secessio est, & subductio; cum non
instituitur Ecclesia, facto schismate &c. Positivum tum fit, cum
instituitur Ecclesia, hoc est, cum fit consociatio quædam, quæ legibus
Ecclesiasticis, & Dei verbo atque Sacramentorum administratione utitur
separatim: quod quadam formulâ desumptâ ex Scriptura dicitur struere
altare adversus altare, hoc est, quod Schisma Antonomasticωs dicitur,
&_ κατ' εξοχην, _&c._ Camero de Schismate, pag. 402.

[165] _Temeritas secessionis deprehenditur, ut loquuntur, a
posteriori, si ejus occasio levis sit: erit autem levis, nisi vel
inciderit gravis & intolerabilis persecutio, vel ille cœtus unde
fit secessio laboret hæresi, aut verò deditus fit Idololatriæ._
Camero, pag. 399. And afterwards, pag. 405. _Quarta verò causa (cujus
non meminimus supra, quia versabamur in thesi, hic vero meminimus,
quia ventum est ad hypothesim) si agnitus fuerit Antichristus._

[166] _Etiam secessio fit temerè, cum fit ob morum corruptelas;
quorsum illud Christi pertinet_, Sedent in Cathedra Mosis, facite
quæcunque dixerint vobis. _Cujus rei hæc est ratio, quòd ubicunque
viget puritas doctrinæ, Deum in eo cœtu necessse est habere
Ecclesiam, tametsi obrutam penè multitudine scandalorum. Itaque qui
secessionem faciunt ab ejusmodi cœtu, haud dubiè inde secedunt ubi
Deus colligit Ecclesiam._ Camero, pag. 400.

[167] _Mr. Carthwright. Mr. Dod. M. Hildersham. Mr. Bradshaw. Mr.

[168] Matth. 13.9.

[169] _Musculus_ on 1 Cor. 11.

[170] _Thomas Goodwin_, in his Sermon upon _Zech._ 4.

[171] 1 Cor. 1.10. Phil. 2.1, 2. Eph. 4.3, 4, 5, 6.

[172] Jer. 32.39. Zeph. 3.9. Zach. 14.9.

[173] Joh. 17.21.

[174] Phil. 3.15, 16.

[175] _Schisma propriè dictum est peccatum gravissimum_:

1 _Quia adversatur charitati erga proximum, & privat eum spirituali

2 _Adversatur ædificationi illius qui facit separationem, quatenus
privat semetipsum Communione in bono spirituali_.

3 _Adversatur Christo, quatenus unitatem corporis ejus mystici suo modo

4 _Viam facit ad hæresin & separationem à Christo_.

[176] 1 Cor 9.2.

[177] _Subsequens consensus_ Jacobi _in_ Leam, _fecit eos conjuges_.
Pareus, _&c._

[178] 1 Tim. 4.14.

[179] Act. 14.23. 1 Tim. 5.22. Tit. 1.5.

[180] Smectymnuus. _The answer of Mr._ Marshal, _Mr._ Vines, _Mr._
Caryl, _Mr._ Seaman, returned to the late King, in the Treaty at the
Isle of Wight.

[181] Ambros. in cap. 4. ad Ephes. & in 1 Tim. 3. Hier. in Tit. 1. &
ad Euagrium. Aug. epist. 19. Chrys. in 1 Tim. 3.

[182] 2 Tim. 3.13. 2.16, 17.

[183] Levit. 13, 14.

[184] Eccl. 12.1. בחרותיך.

[185] _Discipulum minimum Iesus amavit plurimùm_, Hieron.

[186] _Non minus placet Deo_ Hosanna _puerorum, quàm Hallelujah
virorum, Dr._ Andrews _in his Preface to the Command._

[187] Gal. 6.6.

[188] Quoted by Dr. Andrewes, in his Preface to the Com.

[189] Deut. 6.7. ושננתם.

[190] Zanch. in 4. præceptum.

[191] Mr. _Cheynell_ in a Sermon before the House of Commons.

[192] Ephes. 6. εκτρεφειν.

[193] Dr. _Andrews_ in the forementioned Preface.

[194] 2 Thess. 1.8.

[195] Psal. 79.6.

[196] 1 Tim. 5.21.

[197] Luk. 19.14, 27.

[198] Act. 17.32, 34.

[199] Isa. 49.4.

[200] Heb. 13.19, 20.

Subscribed in the Name, and by the Appointment of the Assembly,

 _George Walker_, Moderator.
 _Arthur Jackson_,  }
 _Edmund Calamy_,   } Assessors.

 _Roger Drake_, Scriba.
 _Elidad Blackwell_, Scriba.


Reader, be pleased to read in page 111. line 23. _And let every one_, &c.

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