Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Rule of the Saints 1 Certain Queries Presented by many Christian People (1649) a - Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents
Return to Title Page for Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
The Rule of the Saints 1 Certain Queries Presented by many Christian People (1649) a - Arthur Sutherland Pigott Woodhouse, Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents 
Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents, selected and edited with an Introduction A.S.P. Woodhouse, foreword by A.D. Lindsay (University of Chicago Press, 1951).
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
To his Excellency, Thomas Lord Fairfax, Lord General of the Army, and to the General Council of War: * * *
And because the great design of God in the falls and overthrows of worldly powers that have opposed the kingdom of his Son, is by making Christ’s foes his footstool to lift up him on high, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named in this world, that he may be Prince of the kings of the earth, and all nations may serve and obey him, as you shall quickly see if you make the scriptures your counsellors. . . .1
Therefore our daily prayer shall be for yourselves and your noble Army, that you may never stumble at the stumbling stone, nor take that honour to yourselves, that is due to Christ, nor be instrumental for the setting up of a mere natural and worldly government, like that of heathen Rome and Athens (as too many late overtures have caused us to fear), whereby the public interest of Jesus Christ will be utterly banished the kingdom in the conclusion. But that you (whom God hath honoured so highly as to begin the great work of smiting the image on the feet) may show yourselves thankful to him that hath given you victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, may honour his Son, and comfort his Saints, in whom he reigns spiritually, and by whom he will reign visibly over all nations of the world, as these scriptures declare, with others: Dan. 2. 44, 55; and 7. 22, 27; Mic. 5. 4, 5, 6; Rev. 2. 26, 27; and 5. 9, 10; and 12. 9, 10, 11.
To which end we humbly crave, that yourselves would take into your serious and grave consideration and debate, the particulars in the papers herewith humbly offered to you, and also present them to the Honourable Parliament, that they may be improved so far as found agreeable to the will and word of God; which done, we doubt not but God shall have much glory, the godly party shall be comforted, natural men (enjoying their estates) will be at rest also and much satisfied; and this commonwealth will be exalted to be both an habitation of justice and mountain of holiness, even such a people as God will bless (Jer. 31. 23). * * *
1st Query: Whether there is not a kingdom and dominion of the Church, or of Christ and the Saints, to be expected upon earth? Dan. 7. 27, and 2. 44; Isa. 2. 2, 3, and 60. 12, &c. Rev. 11. 15; Rev. 5. 10.
2nd Q[uery]: Whether this kingdom (though more spiritual in the administration thereof, yet) be not external and visible in the world, yea, extend not to all persons and things universally? Isa. 60. 12, 14; Zech. 14. 16, 17; 1 Cor. 6. 2, 3; Eph. 1. 21, 22.
For this end consider: 1. How this fifth kingdom or monarchy comes in the place of the fourth, visibly succeeding it; 2. How the main scope of the prophecies is to show the outward visible administration of the government of the world, under the several kingdoms successively, as under the first three monarchies, then under the fourth (by the Roman emperors first, then by Antichrist and the ten horns), and then how the Church comes to have the outward and visible government of the world (see Daniel and Revelation).
3rd Q[uery]: Whether this kingdom is not proper to Christ as Mediator, specifically distinct from the essential kingdom of God, and from all worldly kingdoms, and so to be administered by such laws and officers as Christ (as Mediator) hath appointed in his kingdom, and therefore not set up when magistrates become Christian, seeing they rule not then as Christian, nor as Christ’s officers, nor by his law, but as worldly governors; the magistrates being officers set up by God in that essential kingdom, not in this mediatory kingdom of Christ?
4th Q[uery]: Whether the kingdoms of the world and powers thereof, as kings, yea parliaments also, and magistrates (so far as appertains to the present worldly constitution of them) must not be put down, before this kingdom can be erected? 1 Cor. 15. 24, 25; Dan. 2. 35, 44, 45.
1st Object[ion]: But these powers are not inconsistent with the kingdom of Christ. Both may stand together. Kings shall be thy nursing fathers.
R[eply]: The persons betrusted with these powers may befriend it. Such as rule in the kingdoms of the world may be subjects of Christ. But the question here is of the government itself, which relates to the great image (Dan. 2), and so must be broken down.
2nd Obj[ection]: But worldly government, as worldly or civil, appertains not to the fourth monarchy, nor to the image, but as opposing Christ’s kingdom.
1st R[eply]: The ten toes, horns or kingdoms, are parts of the image.
2nd: They oppose Christ’s kingdom as worldly or civil, because they let it (not to speak now of other opposition) as the Roman heathen empire letted Antichrist (2 Thess. 2. 7).
5th Q[uery]: Whether this be not the time (or near upon it) of putting down that worldly government, and erecting this new kingdom?
For this end consider: This kingdom is to succeed the fourth monarchy immediately, the first part whereof, the heathenish empire, is long since expired, and the second part, the Antichristian empire, is about the expiration, the time allotted (1,260 years) being about to finish.
Obj[ection]: But Christ saith, My kingdom is not of this world. How then can it now be expected?
R[eply]: But he doth not say, It shall not be upon the earth, nor while the earth remains (see the contrary, Rev. 5. 10). But world is taken for the time of continuance of that worldly government: the world is put for the Roman monarchy (Luke 2. 1). When the fifth monarchy begins, shall be those new heavens and new earth spoken of (Heb. 2. 5). The Church is called the world to come (as some expound that place, 2 Esdras 6. 9). Esau is the ending of the old world, and Jacob the beginning of the new. That is, the reign of the wicked, Esau’s progeny, terminates the old world; and the reign of Jacob, of the Saints (to whom the promise of dominion is made), begins the new world.
6th Q[uery]: Whether the kingdom is not to be set up without hands (Dan. 2. 45), without human power and authority (Zech. 4. 6), but by the Spirit of Christ, calling and gathering people into less families, churches and corporations, till they thus multiply exceedingly? Thus all worldly political kingdoms arise and grow; and thus the spiritual kingdom of the Church.
7th Q[uery]: Whether these churches and corporations, thus gathered and multiplied exceedingly, shall not join together in general assemblies and church-parliaments, choosing and delegating such officers of Christ, and representatives of the churches, as may rule nations and kingdoms; and so the kingdoms of the world be the churches?
This kingdom must either be monarchical, as when Christ the Head and King appears visibly, or parliamentary, as in the meantime, when Christ’s officers and the churches’ representatives rule.
The Brief Resolution of the Queries
(1) There is a kingdom and dominion which the Church is to exercise on the earth. (2) That extends to all persons and things universally, which is to be externally and visibly administered, (3) by such laws and officers as Jesus Christ our Mediator hath appointed in his kingdom. (4) It shall put down all worldly rule and authority (so far as relates to the worldly constitution thereof), though in the hands of Christians; (5) and is to be expected about this time we live in. (6) This kingdom shall not be erected by human power and authority, but Christ by his Spirit shall call and gather a people, and form them into several less families, churches, and corporations; and when they are multiplied, (7) they shall rule the world by general assemblies, or church-parliaments, of such officers of Christ, and representatives of the churches, as they shall choose and delegate; which they shall do till Christ come in person.
Q[uery]: What then is the present interest of the Saints and people of God?
R[eply]: To associate together into several church-societies and corporations (according to the Congregational way), till being increased and multiplied, they may combine into general assemblies or church-parliaments (according to the Presbyterian way); and then shall God give them authority and rule over the nations and kingdoms of the world.
For the present to lay aside all differences and divisions amongst themselves, and combine together against the Antichristian powers of the world (Rev. 15. 2, &c.), whom they may expect to combine against them universally (Rev. 17. 13, 14).
An Humble Advice concerning the Government of the Kingdom, according to the former Platform or Model
[1.] That you would stir up godly ministers and people throughout the kingdom, to associate or incorporate into church-societies (as is before expressed) and grant them your special favour, provision, and protection; so shall you be the Saints’ nursing fathers.
2. That you would please to satisfy the godly dissenting brethren, both of Presbytery and Independency, by such ways and means as your wisdoms shall find out, how both their interests may meet herein, that so they may concur with one heart in the work.
3. That sister-churches oversee such incorporations and embodyings, that only such as be of approved godliness may have the right hand of fellowship given to them.
4. That such churches, where more of them are thus collected and embodied in any division, circuit, province, &c., may choose and send out some delegates, members, officers, to meet in one session, lesser parliament, presbytery, or assembly, for ordering all such affairs as there occur, according to the Word, if appertaining alone to that division.
5. That all such churches, and the members thereof, have voices in elections of such as are to sit in general assemblies or church-parliaments (so often as occasion is); and those elected, to sit there as Christ’s officers and the churches’ representatives, and to determine all things by the Word, as that law that God will exalt alone and make honourable.
6. That you take special care to send out and encourage godly preachers, that may go into the rest of the kingdom to preach the Gospel, that so, when others are converted and the Son of God makes them free, they may enjoy the former freedoms with the rest of the Saints.
Additional Considerations for the Improvement of the former Model
1. Consider whether it be not a far greater honour for parliaments, magistrates, &c., to rule as Christ’s officers and the churches’ representatives than as officers of a worldly kingdom and representatives of a mere natural and worldly people?
2. What right or claim mere natural and worldly men have to rule and government, that want a sanctified claim to the least outward blessings?
3. How can the kingdom be the Saints’ when the ungodly are electors, and elected to govern?
4. Whether it be not a straitening of the Church’s power, to limit it only to spiritual matters?
5. We expect new heavens and a new earth, according to his promise. How then can it be lawful to patch up the old worldly government, especially being lapsed, for its maladministration, according to its own natural principles?
6. Whether to repair the broken image that the stone hath smitten upon the feet, be not to fall upon the stone?
7. Whether all powers falling upon that stone have not deserved to be broken in pieces?
8. What a sin it would be to set up the dim light of nature for our law, when God hath given the light of the scriptures, a better law.
9. How unbeseeming it were for the followers of the Lamb to comply in the least with the powers of the world in setting up their worldly kingdoms.
10. How dangerous it is to keep out Christ from his throne when he hath exalted you and given you an opportunity to exalt him.
11. What facility appears in settling the kingdom in the hands of the Saints, and difficulty to settle it any other way1 and not destroy the interest of the Saints.
12. What advantage of reconciling the godly this way, and suppressing the enemies of godliness for ever.
These, and many other considerations of like nature hereby hinted, we humbly offer to your wisdoms, desiring the assistance of God’s Spirit in all your counsels for the improvement of them.
LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE
 See also Collier’s sermon, Appendix, pp. 390-6.
 Cited as representative examples: Psalms 2. 9-12; 72; 93; 110. 1-6; Isa. 2. 11-12; 11. 4-5; 32. 1-2; 52. 13-15; 53. 12; Jer. 33. 15-17; Ezek. 34. 22-4; Dan. 2. 34-5, 44-5; 7. 26-7; Mic. 5. 4-6; Zech. 9. 10; Luke 1. 32-3; Rev. 1. 5, &c.; 17. 14; Phil. 2. 9-11; Eph. 1. 20-2.
 As subscriptions, &c. [This brief marginal note refers to, and repudiates, the method of settlement by an Agreement of the People.]
[241. (a)]Certain Qværes humbly presented in way of petition, By many Christian people dispersed abroad throughout the county of Norfolk and city of Norwich, to the serious and grave consideration and debate of his Excellency the Lord General and of the General Councel of War. * * * Together with an humble advice for the settling of the kingdom, according to such a model hinted therein, offered as the sence of many Christians, who conceive themselves ingaged (as by their prayers, so) by their councels, to help on the present work of God. . . . London, Printed for Giles Calvert . . . 1648 [Feb. 19, 1649].