The former Discourse of Schism;
Shewing, the inconstancy of the
Dr. and the inconsistency of
his former and present
§. 1. Since my finishing of the former Discourse there came happily to my hands, a Book of the Learned Doctors, entitled, The duty of Pastors, and people distinguished, licensed, and highly commended, by the Reverend, and judicious Mr. Joseph Caryl, as, “Written with much clearnesse of judgment, and moderation of Spirit put forth in the year 1644. By comparing whereof, with this of his, of Schism, I perceive, that wise and judicious men are still but men, subject to mistakes; and therefore had need of some of the policy or prudence, of the five Apologists; not to be too peremptory in their new opinions, /218/ Apol. Narr. pag. 11. or wayes, not too presumptuous in despising others proceedings, but to reserve to themselves a latitude and to keep some casements open, to take in New light. This our Reverend Authour hath exemplified, to be necessary for himself, to make use of, as well as others of his present Independent way; or else he will be concluded, to contradict himself; and in many things to make good the Apostles Dictate, ???? ??????? ???????????. Jam. 1. 8. And yet, had he changed to the better, from errour to Truth the thing had been not only justly excusable, but truly commendable, and might have been salved by a Tract of Retractations (as must in sometime did) without any prejudice to his Reputation. But to run from opinion to opinion, from way to way, from truth to errour, (as many have done) not only to contrariety, but to contradiction also; and, take no notice of the difference of Judgment, and inconstancy of opinions and waies, is too palpable a discovery of an unsettled Spirit, that knows not where to fix. All the hope is that if these new Notions, & waies be really discovered, & ingenously by them acknowledged to be erroneous, they that can change from truth, to errour, may in Gods good time /219/ (which is very rare) change back again from errour to truth. Which wishing that the Dr. and his party may do; I shall only present to him, some few of his former thoughts to shew him how dissonant they are to his later undertakings.
§. 2. In this Tract, his main design is to discover, the distance between the Pastors and their people; that the sacred calling may retain its ancient dignity and the people of God not deprived of their Christian liberty. pag. 2. For in former times, he tell us, Some would have all Christians to be almost Ministers; others none but Ministers to be Gods Clergy: Those would give the people the Keyes; these use them to lock them out of the Church; The one ascribing to them primarily all Ecclesiastical power for the ruling of the Congregation, the other abridging them of spiritual duties, for the building up of their own souls; as though there were no habitable earth between the valley (I had almost said the pit) of Democraticall confusion, and the rock of Hierarchical tyranny. Who these parties were, needs no comment to declare, only it would be observed, whether our Author be not since fallen into that very pit of Democratical confusion, /220/ by flying from the rock of Hierarchical tyranny; I leave it to his consideration, Evident it is, that in a true Church-state, he sets out the limits of the people that they may not under a pretence of Christian Liberty, invade the dignity of the sacred calling of the Ministry. And much he grants to the people, both under the Law and Gospel, Alwaies provided that they abstain from fingring the Arke of medling with those things which were appropriated to the office of the Priests. p. 17. or of the Minister p. 46. except they can shew some extraordinary, call or case, for their so doing: p. 28. of which he thus delivers his opinion, and states the question; In cases extraordinary, it may perhaps be affirmed that every Christian is so far a Minister of the Gospel, as to teach and declare the faith to others, although he have no outward calling thereunto: but onely an immediate call from God. All I say (for the charge of his opinion) is, That he allows them this liberty now, in cases ordinary; as will appear hereafter.
§. 3. The question then will be in cases more than ordinary, when a Church is much degenerated, and corrupted, what may ordinary Christians do then to the /221/ Restauration of Religion? Concerning which, his judgment was (what ever it be now) thus delivered, and rested upon; That in a collapsed and corrupted state of the Chuch, when the ordinary Teachers are either utterly ignorant, and cannot, or negligent and will not perform their duty, Gifts in any one to be a Teacher, and consent in others, by him to be taught, are a sufficient warrant for the performance of it. pag. 15. That is, the duty of teaching or preaching. But more expressly p. 40. In such a case (of Apostacy in the Church) I conceive he may nay he ought to preach and publish the truths discovered to him; neither is any other outward call requisite to constitute him a Preacher of the Gospel than the consent of Gods people to be instructed by him. I shall only remember him, That as he spake this of a lay man in Italy, (for that is his instance) so he did not then take Rome to be no Church at all; as now he does; but a collapsed, and corrupted Church: but that by the way: That which I observe is 1. That he is not distinct enough in these Assertions; for if he mean, that in such a falling state of a Church; When it is ruinously declining, every one of Gods servants hath a sufficient warrant to help /222/ or prevent the fall; as a common duty of zeal and charity, p. 16. in a charitative way, is not denyed by any; Doing it as a charitable duty, not as out of necessary function; even as Priscilla (a woman) expounded unto Apollos the word of God, &c. pag. 50 f. Its the duty of every Christian (man or woman) to publish truths repeated to others that will hear him; as he speaks hereafter: But if he take it in an Authoritative way, as an act of the Keys, (as a Teacher or Preacher is taken under the Gospel for an Officer) then its certain, that Gifts, and the consent of people to be instructed by him is not sufficient warrant to make him a Preacher; And this appears, upon his own former principles: For being at that time a Presbyterian in judgement, (as we shall hear anon) he knew, as did then hold; that Ordination by the hands of the Presbytery was a requisite to make him a Preacher. But this he now declines, and hath renounced his Ordination; and requires now no more, but Gifts and peoples consent, to make a man a Minister. 2. And that not only in a collapsed or corrupted Church, where Teachers are either ignorant and cannot, or negligent and will not do their duty; but now, when neither of these can, without injury, be charged upon our Church-state, he required no more than /223/ Gifts and consent, to make a man a Preacher in Office. 3. Herein his discourse was dark and defective that he allows the people a liberty of preaching, or publishing the truths of the Gospel in such a case; but tells us not, whether such a Preacher be a compleat Minister as to the administration of other Ordinances as the Sacraments, (not one word of that) I suppose then he did not intend so much; but now (so is he changed) he allows some that were never ordained, and himself, who hath renounced his Ordination; not onely to preach the Gospel, but also to administer Sacraments as compleat Ministers, in the name of Christ. Let them fear and tremble, to hear one day those questions, By what authority do you these things? or who gave you this authority? It is a dreadful speech of his own, p. 16. Who ever doth any thing in anothers stead, not by expresse patent from him, is a plain Impostor. And yet, how many such Imposters, are there abroad, who take upon them, without commission from Christ, or Authority from the Church, not only to preach, but to baptize, and give the Lords Supper? I have heard a sad story of a young forward man, that did so, and fell /224/ into great perplexity of mind, for so doing, and as I remember, so dyed. Many such there are, who run before they are sent, having neither Gifts, nor consent of people; The Lord lay it to their hearts, and to the hearts of those that indulge them in it, as guilty of such usurpation, in them, and the great contempt of the sacred calling of the Ministry. Lastly, how ever it might be sufficient in an extraordinary state of a corrupted Church, to make a man a Minister, to have such Gifts and consent of the people; (which was all the Dr. then asserted) yet that those should be sufficient in an ordinary Reformed Church-state, is his real light and opinion; unless they can shew some extraordinary signs of such a call from God, which they cannot do: For he speaks rationally below, when he saies, It is certain enough, that God never sent any one extraordinarily, instructed only with ordinary Gifts and for an ordinary end. p. 34. But these his new Preachers, have no more than ordinary Gifts, (some of them not so much) wherein others are their equalls, if not Superiors; and the end is no more but ordinary the conversion of souls, and settling the Ordinances in purity: Then it follows, that these being /225/ not extraordinarily sent by God, nor ordinarily called by the Church, are no better than impostors, as he said afore.
§. 4. How long the Dr. hath been of that opinion, That the blessed Spirit of God, is essentially and personally in every true believer, I cannot tell, but he speaks suspiciously that way, as on p. 94, 95. and 236. of Schism; was noted above c. 7. p.21. so he speaks the same language here p. 21. with what difference we shall observe. Thus he saies, As in his Incarnation, Christ took upon him our flesh and blood, by the work of the Spirit; so in our Regeneration, he bestoweth on us, his flesh and blood, by the operation of the same Spirit: yea so strict in this latter union, which we have with Christ; that as the former is truly said to be an union of two natures into one person; so this, of many persons into one nature; for by it we are made partakers of the Divine nature, 2 Pet. 1. 4. becoming members of his body of his flesh, and of his bones, Eph. 5.30. We are so parts of him, of his mystical body, that He and we become thereby, as it were one Christ, 1 Cor. 12. 12. And the ground of this is, because the same Spirit is in /226/ him and us: In him indeed, dwelleth the fulness of it, when it is bestowed upon us only by measure; but yet it is still the same Spirit, and so makes us one with him; as the soul of man being one, makes the whole body with it, to be but one man. These things must be taken cum grano salis, or else they may prove insipid; if not worse: As 1. Christ took upon him our nature essentially; but he bestows his flesh and blood upon us spiritually and mystically. 2. The union of the two natures in Christ was proper and personal, into one person hypostatically, as the Soul and Body in us, make one man; But the union of many persons with Christ is not into one nature properly; but mystically into one person; we are members of his body, flesh, bones, but mystically; otherwise, the union of many persons into one nature, should be like that of Christs two natures, into one person hypostatically: And like unto the union of the three persons in the Trinity, into the same nature or essence, which is incomprehensible. 3. We are made parts of him, of his mystical body¸ that he and we become thereby, as it were (that is improperly and mystically) one Christ. 4. We are made partakers /227/ of the Divine nature, not essentially and personally, as Christ; but in its graces and operations: as generally, all Divines understand it; renewed by the Spirit, into that Divine Image, which we had by nature, but lost by the fall. 5. The same Spirit is indeed in Christ, and in us, but with this assigned difference, In him dwelleth the fulness of it, (fulness of grace and truth Joh. 1. 14.) it is bestowed on us in measure. 6. This same Spirit makes us one with him, that is, still mystically, not as the Soul of man being one, makes with the body one man; for that is hypostatically and personally one. The words thus expounded, and candyed, may passé for Orthodox; otherwise not to be admitted. But now in his Tract of Schism, he is declined into that Heterodox opinion, p. 94. of Schism. (so judged by most and best Divines) that the holy Spirit, dwells personally and essentially in us. For 1. he tells us, he cannot consent, that the Divine nature, given us, should be no more than the new creature. 2, That it is in the person of the Spirit, wherof we are by the promise made partakers, he is the Spirit of promise; pag. 95. and in the participation of the Divine nature consists the union of /228/ the Saints with Christ. 3. That the union of the head and members is the oneness of the Soul, whereby the whole is animated; and that which answers hereunto is the mystical body of Christ, in the animation of the whole by his Spirit. Now every body knows, that the soul is the form of a man, and the union of Soul and Body, is personal; So then must the union of Christ, and his body, the Church, be personal, as animated by the same Spirit, if the person of the Holy Spirit, be the Soul, that animates of the body of Christ. And so he saies it is, The form of the Church Catholick absolutely so called, is the unity with Christ, and in itself by the one Spirit whereby it is animated, p. 236. I shall not enter upon the contest at this time, (it being a ???????? to the main business) its enough to shew the difference of himself from himself, then and now.
§. 5. We now return (after this digression) to consider, with him, the evidences and signs, of an extraordinary vocation, which some of late pretend unto. There is only one thing briefly to be taken notice of, that is, Whether the Ministers of the Gospel are by the Scripture to be called Priests; which name some have arrogated /229/ and ascribed to the Clergy, Or which he affirms peremptorily, The name of Priests is no where in the Scripture attributed distinctly to the Ministers of the Gospel; Priests (and Prelates) are a sort of Church Officers, whom Christ never appointed, &c. p. 25. These were his then thoughts; and its like are so still; only I would desire to know, why he gives that name (its supposed in scorn) to the Ministers of our particular Congregations, calling them Parochial Priests; of Schism p. 235. I leave him to give, or others to guesse the reason of that Appellation, and so proceed, to what I name before.
§. 6. There are but three waies given by him to receive and be assured, that a man be extraordinarily called to the Teaching of others, or to be a Preacher; 1. By immediate Revelation. 2. By concurrence of Scripture Rules. 3. By some outward acts of providence. p. 30. Concerning which in general it may be said 1. That p. 28. he thus resolved; In cases extraordinary it may perhaps be affirmed, that every one, (that is allowed to teach or preach the Gospel) for such an undertaking, must have a warrant by an immediate call from /230/ God. But of all his three wayes named, only one of them is by immediate call from God; viz. that of immediate Revelation; such as the Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles had: the other, by Rules of Scripture; and Acts of providence, are but mediate calls, or warrants, and may be common to all Christians, as the case may be. 2. Before this, p. 15. and against p. 40. In such extraordinary cases of a corrupt Church, &c. no more is required, but Gifts in the man, and consent of the people; which latter is an outward call, and that by men; and the former, a call from God, inward indeed, but not immediate. These things do not well agree.
§. 7. But come to the particulars; The first way of extraordinary calling is immediate Revelation. This is specially in two cases, 1. Either the inchoation of some divine worke to be established amongst men, by a new revelation of Gods will; 2. Or a restauration of the same, when collapsed and corrupted by men. p. 33. The only question will be, Whether there be any revelation to be expected now, with respect to either of those. And he answers negatively to both: To the first thus, /231/ Nothing in such a way shall again take place, God having ultimatly revealed his mind, concerning his worship and our salvation &c. To the second thus, There being an infallible Rule, for the performance of it, making it fall within the duty and ability of men, partakers of an ordinary vocation, and instructed with ordinary Gifts, God doth not alwaies immediatly call men unto it. But grant that he doth not alwaies immediately call men to it (as oft he did, heretofore) it would have been resolved, Whether sometimes God do now immediately call men to the work of Restauration of Religion? To which he saies nothing: If he shall say, he does not, he contradicts himself, who said p. 28. In this case (of a corrupted Church) every one, for such an undertaking, must have a warrant by an immediate call from God, If he say he does sometimes immediately now call men to it; I would say, 1. This is needless (by his own grant) For there being an infallible rule, it falls within the duty and ability of men, partakers of an ordinary vocation, instructed with ordinary Gifts; as he newly said. 2. And then I would call for those signs and evidences /232/ required to assure the man himself, and others, of his immediateextraordinary vocation. These he makes to be a supernatural power, either in discerning of things present, as thoughts and words or things future as 1. Things contingent. 2. Speaking with Tongues, 3. Working of Miracles &c. p. 34. None of which being now to be found, (or expected) from our new Restorers of Reformers, p. 41. f. Who ever pretends unto it, not warranted by an evidence of one of those three ways, which God taketh in such proceedings, is but a pretender, an impostor, and to be rejected of all Gods people. who yet plead the Revelation of the Spirit, and take themselves extraordinarily called by God, to make new Churches upon the presence of a collapsed and corrupted state of this our Church; I say most of these being now to be found amongst them they prove themselves to be extraordinary imposters; and those that indulge and countenance them are accessary to their impostures. And whether our Authour himself, have not relinquished these former Orthodox principles (he now supposing an intercision of all Ordinances, and all true Church-state lost, as he seems to do, in his Tract of Schism, as was said above) whether, I say, he must not maintain and expect a new, immediate call from God to be necessary to the Restauration of a Church, I leave to all to judge; /233/ when they consider what is said above at Chap. 7. §. 10. And I proceed to the next,
§. 8. p. 37. The [2d.] way of an extraordinary call to preach the gospel is, by a concurrence of Scripture Rules; drawn either from expresse precepts or approved practise: The precepts of such as these. Luke 22. 32. When converted strengthen thy brethren James last. If any erre from the truth &c. Math. 5. 15: a candle is not to be put under a bushel, &c. Whence he infers; 1. There is a general obligation on all Christians, to promote the conversion and instruction of sinners, &c. 2. When any truth necessary is revealed to any out of the Word, not before known, he ought to have an uncontradicted liberty of declaring that truth, &c. 3. Truth revealed, carries with it an unmoveable persuasion of conscience, that it ought to be published. p. 38. To the first of these it may be said; This is not an immediate call (which he required above); but mediate by the word. Nor yet an extraordinary call, to some particular men, but an ordinary obligation on all Christians; Not only in extraordinary cases of a corrupted Church, but ordinary in the best /234/ Church: Nor lastly is this sufficient to make any man a Preacher; but only an instructer of others, common to all Christians, men, and women. To the second, it had need be cautioned well not only, because it may either be no truth, which he thinks so; or no necessary truth and so not fit to disturb the peace of a Church for it: but also, because upon this pretence of truth, every man must take uncontradicted liberty to speak in the Church: which will breed confusion. Himself therefore adds; Provided that he use such waies for that his declaration as the Church wherein he liveth if a right Church doth allow. But this in part contradicts his uncontradicted liberty; for if it be a necessary truth, no Church may hinder him: But then, the case is of a corrupted Church, which will not allow, but contradict that liberty; and what shall he then do? To the third I have only this to say; That a strong errour carries oft with it an unmoveable persuasion of conscience, (which is, in a sort obligatory) that it ought to be published to others. And so errour must have as much liberty as truth. However, all these Rules bind in ordinary as well as /235/ extraordinary cases of a Church; and give no authority to make a man a Preacher.
§. 9. The examples are of our Saviour himself, who preached in the Synagogues without any outward call; and of those Acts 8. 1. who being scattered, went every where preaching the word; so did Paul and Apollos, &c. p. 39. For our Saviour, his call was immediate and extrraordinary; So was Paul’s, an Apostle: Apollos was at first, no more a Preacher than Aquila and Priscilla, who instructed him in the way, as one Christian may do another: as for those Acts 8. 1. its made more than probable, by others, that they were Elders of the Church, and Preachers by Office: If some were not, they did no more, than any Christian man or woman may do, in such cases, and yet never be Preachers: And all this, in a reformed Church-state, ordinarily; and so not to the purpose.
§. 10. For he must remember, that he was to shew, what might make and justifie a lay-man to be a Preacher of the Gospel, in an extraordinary case, without an ordinary outward call from the Church; and required no more, but Gifts and consent of the people to be instructed by /236/ him, as above; Now these instances afore, though they had Gifts sufficient, preached the word, when they had not the consent of the people to hear or be instructed by them: and so must every one that hath the truth revealed, speak, whether they will hear or forbear. His main design is, to discover, what a man no Minister, may do when a Church is collapsed, or corrupted; the ordinary Ministers either so ignorant, they cannot, or so negligent they will not teach the truth, p. 15. And of such a state of a Church, he here puts the case p. 39 &c. Suppose a man living in the midst and height of Apostacy, when an universal darkness hath spread over the face of the Church as in Italy, (there the scene is laid though pointing at England) the Lord reveals some points of faith not known or disbelieved &c. I demand whether that man, without expecting any call from the fomenters of those errors may not preach and publish these truths to others, &c. p. 40. Truly, there is no difficulty in this case; I conceive he may, (if he have so much confidence) nay ought, if when and where he can find some that will hear him: But the question is, Whether this, ipso facto, /237/ makes him a Preacher in Office? A woman, a Christian amongst Iberians, may and did do as much as this; yet, I hope no Preacher of the Gospel, in the strict sense: yet had the Gifts to preach Christ, and a people willing to be instructed by her. And unless he take preaching in the larger sense, he cannot (could not then whatever now) say, No other outward call is requisite to constitute him a Preacher of the Gospel, than the consent of Gods people to be instructed by him. A Presbyterian (as he was then) cannot affirm this: unless he can suppose a time and place, where there is no ordination to be had; and that, but prima vice neither; thus the Presbyterians hold. Perhaps these principles of his then laid, might mislead others and himself, pretending to Gifts, and finding a people willing to be instructed by him, or them, to make a Schism in , and separation from our Churches; by gathering of a Church, because of some corruptions in ours; yea, this is evidence that he now proceeds upon those principles; that nothing is required to make a Minister, but, gifts and consent of people without any outward call of the Church, which we shall /238/ presently hear, he formerly required thereunto. And this made him so careless in stating the case of our first Reformers, Luther, Calvin, &c. as to say With this I was alwaies so well satisfied, that I ever deemed all curious disquisition after the outward vocation of our first Reformers, altogether needless. p. 41. But, by his leave, the cue of Luther was not (as he saies) exactly that which he laid down. For he is speaking of Lay-man, by that way to be constituted a Preacher or Minister; but Luther was a Minister ordained; (though with much corruption) and so had an outward call by a Church, to preach the Gospel in the truth and purity of it; and I believe our Authour, did then think him to be a Minister of Christ, but his present principles deny it. Luthers case, in regard of the corrupted state of the Church, and the zeal and spirit whereby he managed it, was extraordinary; but his call was ordinary, as an ordained Minister. 2. The people who fell off from Babylon, with him; were in Church-state (though corrupted) as baptized persons, and had a command to come out of Babylon; but the people that our Authour now gathers come rather out of Sick, & and have no /239/ call to separate from us, but rather a command not to separate. 3. Luther did not renounce his Ordination, in the Church of Rome, nor his people their Baptism; nor did our Authour formerly, think it requisite: but now he hath renounced his Ordination, and former Ministry; and upon his principle of gifts and consent of the people, made himself a Minister: and it is expected, that ere long, his people (if not himself) will renounce their Baptism, both of them standing, or falling together. And so I come to the last way.
§. 11. The third and last way of an extraordinary call to preach the Gospel, without an ordinary vocation, is by some act of providence. The instance is, of a Christian man cast by shipwrack or otherwise, amongst barbarous people, who receive him humanely: may he not, ought he not, to preach the Gospel unto them? and if he convert souls, may he not become a Pastour to those converted? non I hope, makes doubt of it.Ibid. But suppose a Christian woman, should be cast upon the same place, (as once among the Iberians) ought she not (by his former principles) to preach the Gospel to them? no doubt /240/ she ought: But if she convert souls there may she become for a Pastor to them? none, I hope, will say so: 2. But we have put him a case else-where of his own making: Suppose a Barbarian should find the Scripture, and be converted by it alone: he being converted, converts others: I ask now, may he become a Pastor to those converts? I hope he will not say he may, till he be baptized, nor can they make a Church till they be baptized: but who shall baptize either him or them, having no Minister there? This, while a Presbyterian he would not have granted, nor may now by his Independent principles deny, till he is turned Anabaptist. 3. We read of men in the primitive times (as well as that woman) who, being no Ministers, converted the Indians and Moors; but they neither durst be their Pastors nor baptize them, till they were ordained in the Christian Church, and sent to do it. Socrat. hist. l. 1. c. 15. 16 If consent of people and gifts would have constituted them Ministers, they needed not to have come home so many hundred miles, to fetch their Ordination: See but the difference between himself a Presbyterian, and now an Independent: but enough of that. /241/
§. 12. And that our Author was a Presbyterian formerly and that upon good deliberation, and strong resolution so to continue, we have his own acknowledgment, when thus he writes; The principles and rules of that Church Government, from which in the following assertion, I desire not to wander, is of that (to which I do, and allwaies in my poor judgement have adhered, since by Gods assistance I had engaged my self to the study of his word) which is commonly called Presbyterial, or Synodical, in opposition to Prelatical or Diocesan on the one side, and that which is commonly called independent, or Congregational on the other. Quantum mutatus ab illo! in his Tract of Schism.
§. 13. And this he discovered in the requisite, which Presbyterian Government holds forth, (in ordinary cases) to constitute a Minister: for thus he saies: For a publick formal, ministerial teaching two things are required in the Teacher. 1. Gifts from God. 2. Authority from the Church. p. 46. Whence I would inferr, 1. That consent or election of the people, is not sufficient to /242/ make a man a Minister, though well gifted; but an Authoritative act of the Church, is to passe upon him, (that is) Ordination by the hands of the Presbytery, according to his then principles. 2. That he is much changed (from what he was) in the Tract of Schism; where he requires, no more to constitute a Minister, than Gifts of teaching, and the peoples submiting to him: If any shall say, The Dr. by, Authority of the Church mean no more, but the election of Consent of the people of a Congregation: I would answer for him. I do not believe, that at that time he would or did equivocate with the world; but took it in the Presbyterian sense: though now he cries down Ordination, by Bishop or Presbytery, and hath renounced his own ordination. And is not this a great alteration, and a sign of much inconstancy?
§. 14. Having said very much in pleading the Liberty of private Christians, less they should surfet of it and presume too fare; he gives some wholesome Presbyterian Cautions, to bound them; pag. 48. First, The end why God bestoweth his gifts on any, is meerly that within the bounds of /243/ their own callings (in which they are circumscribed, 1 Cor. 7. 24) they should use them to his glory, and the edification of his Church. This was then his judgment; but now he can allow men, of any calling, if gifted, to violate those bounds, set by God himself, and to be Preachers of the Gospel, in ordinary cases; which some of the prime brethren of New England do reject & reprobate. Secondly, He required, That they do not under pretence of Christian liberty & freedom of conscience, cast away all brotherly amity, and cut themselves off from the communion of the Church: Christ hath not purchased a liberty for any, to rent his Body; they will prove at length to be no duties of piety, which break the sacred bonds of charity. Divinely spoken, and like a true Presbyterian: To cut themselves off, from the communion of the Church (which is separation) is to rent the body of Christ; and what is that but Schism? which is so much declamed against, in his book of Schism: And what liberty his people take, and he allows for separation from not ours, but any Church, is fully discoursed above: To separate from the /244/ communion of the Church, is also affirmed to be a breach of sacred charity; which is often denyed in the latter book. But yet more Presbyterian Doctrine, Men ought not, under a pretence of congregating themselves to serve God, separate from their brethren; neglecting the publick Assemblies, as was the manner of some rebuked by the Apostle, Heb. 10. 5. There be peculiar blessings, and transcendent priviledges, annexed to publick Assemblies, which accompany not private men to their recesses, &c. yet this is ordinarily done by most of the Independent way; and allowed, yea justified now by himself: That sense of the text, Heb. 10. 25. of neglecting the publick Assemblies (as the manner of many is) is now, otherwise glossed, and taken for Apostacy from the Faith: Of Schism, p. 74. And the event hath sadly proved, that private recesses are not accompanyed, with those peculiar blessings annexed to publick Assemblies, witness those errors heresies, blasphemies, prophanesses, which have followed private meetings.
§. 15. Another caution (and the third is) /245/ As the Ministry, so also ought the Ministers, to have that regard, respect and obedience, which is due to their labours, in that sacred calling: would we could not too frequently see, more puffed up with a conceit of their own gifts, into a contempt of the most learned and pious Pastors: those are spots in your Feasts of charity, &c. p. 49. This is so plain and evidently true, as if he that writ it, carried the sunne in his hand. And he did in a manner prophesie, when he said, Let not them, who despise a faithful Minister in publick, flatter themselves with hope of a blessing on their endeavours in private. Let them pretend what they will, they have not an equal respect unto all Gods Ordinances. No doubt he spake then of our Parochial Ministers, and Ministry, as a Ordinance of God; whom now he unministers, and despises both them and their Ordination, as we have heard above. Viderit ipse.
§. 16. It might be objected, against the peoples liberty of private Assembles; That this seems to favour licentious Conventicles, which in all places the Laws have condemned; and the Learned in all Ages have abhorred, as /250/ Seminaries of faction and Schism, in the Church. To this he answers, like a true Presbyterian; Under correction I conceive, that the Law layeth hold of none as peccant is such a kind, but onely those who have predeclared themselves to be opposers of the worship of God, in the publick Assembles of that Church wherein they live. Neither do I conceive, that they ought at all to be allowed the benefit of private meetings who wilfully abstain from the public Congregations, so long as the true worship of God is held forth in them. p. 51. Enough, enough: Now, what a case are all the Conventicles of Sectaries in? the very Seminaries of Schism & Faction; and besides, a sinke of errours heresies, & blasphemies. The only evasion will be one of these two, 1. That he spake this, (under correction) as not his peremptory judgement; And its likely he hath come under correction of his party, and done some kind of pennance, for this declaration; and it may be; his Latine Discourse, (he tells us of twice at least) as an answer to the Arguments of the Remonstrants and others, for such a liberty of prophecyings, as they term it, /247/ hath suffered strangling, upon his correction; for I hear not that it is in the Land of the living, (yea born or put forth) for if it were, it would condemn his own now allowance, and toleration of such Conventicles. That’s one. Or, 2. He must affirm, That the true worship of God, is not held forth in our Congregations; which, I hope, he will not dare to do; nor can be able to prove, if he do affirm it. What his performance in this kind, is, (to plead for his separation) we have seen above; and to how little satisfaction.
§. 17. There are two other Objections, which he answers well, as his then opinion was; I shall dispatch them in a word; 1. Men are apt to pride themselves in their Gifts, and so to encroach on the Priests office, and create themselves Pastors in separate Congregations; This we see done sufficiently now, by others and himself; What saies he to it? Offences will come, &c. but God fearing men will remember Korah; they that love their souls, will not suffer themselves to be carried away by self-conceit, so far as to help to overthrow /248/ the very constitution of any Church, by confusion; or the flourishing of it, by ignorance; both which would certainly follow such courses: p. 53. This needs no comment, nor confirmation; only it will need a Reply from himself, since he hath retracted this truth by him here delivered, by a contrary practise. The next Objection is no lesse true, and really exemplified in the present Conventicles. This may be a means for men to vent their own private fancies unto others, to foment and cherish errours in one another: to give false interpretations of the word, there being no way to prevent it. What saies he to this? For interpreting the word, I speak not, but applying of it being rightly interpreted: And for the rest, would to God, the complaints were not true, of those things, that have for divers years in this Church, been done publickly, &c. But to prevent this, the care rests on them whose sedulous endeavour should be, to reprove and convince false Doctrine, &c. That is, I suppose, the Ministers: This may do something in the publick but what’s this to men of private meetings, separating from the /29/ Church? They will not come to hear in publick; and he does not intend, that Ministers should attend those private meetings; that were to turn them into publick, as now they speak: How then shall we prevent their boldness, in interpreting Scripture, or their ignorance and folly in misapplying it? This answer is the most weak and defective; and how he will give a better in his New way, it rest upon him to consider, and give at his own leasure.
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