- A Just and Necessary Apology.
- Chapter I.: Of the Largeness of Churches.
- Chapter II.: Of the Administration of Baptism.
- Chapter III.: Of Written Liturgies.
- Chapter IV.: Of the Ecclesiastical Presbytery.
- Chapter V.: Of Holy Days.
- Chapter VI.: Of the Celebration of Marriage By the Pastors of the Church.
- Chapter VII.: Of the Sanctification of the Lord's Day.
- Chapter VIII.: Of the Exercise of Prophecy.
- Chapter IX.: Of Temples.
- Chapter X.: Of Things Indifferent.
- Chapter XI.: Of Civil Magistrates.
- Chapter XII.: Of the Church of England,
- Notice Respecting the Two Letters.
- On Religious Communion
- The Preface.
- Chapter I.: Of Private Communion.
- Chapter II.: Of Public Communion.
- Chapter III.: Of Flight In Persecution.
- Chapter IV.: The Outward Baptism Received In England Is Lawfully Retained.
- Chapter V.: Of the Baptism of Infants.
- Chapter VI.: A Survey of the Confession of Faith Published In Certain Conclusions By the Remainders of Mr. Smyth's Company After His Death. *
- The People’s Plea For the Exercise of Prophecy
- An Answer to the Arguments Laid Down By Mr. John Yates, Preacher In Norwich , to Prove Ordinary Prophecy In Public, Out of Office, Unlawful; Answered By John Robinson.
- A Treatise On the Lawfulness of Hearing Ministers In the Church of England
- On the Lawfulness of Hearing the Ministers of the Church of England. By John Robinson.
- A Letter to the Congregational Church In London
- An Appeal On Truth's Behalf.
- To Our Beloved, the Elders and Church At Amsterdam , Grace and Peace From God the Giver Thereof, and In Him Our Salutations .
- An Answer to a Censorius People
- Letter By Rev. Joseph Hall, B.d., Rector of Halstead, Called By Mr. Robinson “a Censorious Epistle.”
- An Answer to “a Censorious Epistle.”
- A Catechism
- An Appendix to Mr. Perkins’ Six Principles of Christian Religion.
- No I.: The Church In Southwark.
- No. II.: The Exiles and Their Churches In Holland.
- Chronological Index of Mr. Robinson's Works.
- Index of Subjects.
- Index of Authors Referred to Or Quoted, With Occasional Brief Notices of Their Works and Lives.
- Index of Important Texts of Scripture Illustrated Or Quoted.
THE TWO LETTERS.
The Preface to the Treatise on “Religious Communion,” following these Letters, refers to a scurrilous book published in 1612, by persons who had formerly been in connexion with the Separatists at Amsterdam, but who had either been excommunicated, or had abandoned their former connexions, and had returned to the English Church. The title of their joint production is, “The Prophane Schism of the Brownists, or Separatists, with the impiety, dissensions, lewd and abominable vices of that impure sect; discovered by Christopher Lawne, Clement Saunders, and Robert Bulward, lately returned into the bosom of the Church of England from the company of Mr. Johnson. 1612.”
The title indicates the character of the book, and awakens suspicions as to the credibility of the authors. Mr. Robinson's allusions to the parties, as well as Mr. Clyfton's reply in his work entitled, “An Advertisement concerning a book, lately published by Christopher Lawne and others, against the exiled Church at Amsterdam, by Richard Clyfton, Teacher of the same Church, 1612,” shows that they were by no means trustworthy. Their extreme eagerness to destroy the reputation of their former friends defeats its object, and betrays only the malignity of their spirit.
While, however, the testimony of Lawne is, in general, more than suspicious, there can be little doubt respecting the authenticity of the following letters, which, it would appear, had been surreptitiously printed, or clandestinely obtained, and afterwards copied and circulated. Mr. Robinson states in the Preface, p. 96, that these Letters, with a third, which Dr. Ames published as a rejoinder, were printed “without his consent, privity, or suspicion of such dealing.” He regarded them as private, and intended only for his correspondent and himself.
The “learned Amesius” was a distinguished Puritan in England; but in consequence of the persecuting proceedings of Archbishop Bancroft, he fled to Holland, in 1610, and became minister of the English Church at the Hague. On Abbott's succeeding to the Archiepiscopal See, he wrote to the English Ambassador, in 1612, to get Ames removed from his charge. This being effected, the same influence was exerted to prevent his appointment as Divinity Professor at the University of Leyden. The States of Friesland, however, appointed him to the Theological Chair at the University of Franeker, where he continued, discharging his professional duties with distinguished and growing success, for nearly twelve years. His health failing, he retired to Rotterdam, and became co-pastor with the Rev. Hugh Peters, over the Independent Church in that town. He did not long survive the change, and was buried November 14th, 1633.
It is not stated in what year the “Letters” were written; but, as they were extant when Lawne published his “Profane Schism,” in 1612, they were doubtless written in 1611, while Dr. Ames was Minister of the English Church at the Hague, which office he was compelled to resign in 1612. The correspondence, therefore, took place three years before Robinson published his Treatise on “Communion.”
The insertion of the Letters in this part of the volume has been deemed desirable, as they form, an important introduction to the “Religious Communion;” and without the study of which, certain parts both of the preface and the first part of that work cannot be well understood.
What influence the correspondence with Dr. Ames had on Mr. Robinson's mind does not appear; but it is evident, on comparing the letters and the work on “Communion,” that a considerable modification had taken place in his views on the subject. Dr. Ames in his letters strenuously contends against Mr. Robinson's supposed uncharitable-ness in not holding “private communion” with “members of the true visible church,” who belonged to the “Assemblies,” or the English Church—while the parties to whom Mr. Robinson refers in the treatise, objected to his supposed latitudinarianism in holding private and occasional fellow ship with pious persons belonging a national ecclesiastical establishment.
In the earlier period of his separation Mr. Robinson was more “rigid” in his notions respecting church-fellowship and discipline; but his charity expanded as his years increased, and he delighted to recognise as brethren, all who followed Christ sincerely and devoutly, though they might not feel it to be their duty to leave their church connexions and unite themselves with the Separatists.
“Letters that passed betwixt M. Ames and M. Robinson touching the bitterness of the Separation.” Copied from Lawne's “Profane Schism,” chap. viii. pp. 47–51.
“One point of schism which Mr. Gilgate objected unto Mr. Ainsworth was, for their separation in private from those particular persons, which might be discerned to be true visible Christians even by their own confession. This point, because it is further discussed in divers arguments and writings betwixt Master Ames and Master Robinson, we have thought it meet to publish them as they came unto our hands, because they serve much for the declaration and manifestation of their schism herein.”
letter of rev. wm. ames to mr. robinson.
Sir,—I do not desire to multiply many letters, nor many words in this one letter. I will pass by, therefore, your censure. Your manner of Separation also I omit, whether it be like or dislike to that of the first reformed churches, for you have irons enough in the fire about that question. Neither will I trouble you about my associates here, whom you deem evil of, though they be unknown unto you: only that one point which containeth indeed the very bitterness of Separation, I would desire you again to consider of, as you do me: viz. “Whether there be not a visible communion even out of a visible church.” These reasons seem to evince it.
- 1.Whomsoever I can rightly discern to have communion with Jesus Christ, with him may I have visible communion: the reason is, because that from visible descrying of that inward communion, doth necessarily follow external communion. Neither can other sufficient reason be given, why we should communicate with visible churches, but only because we visibly discern that they have communion with Christ: Now “quatenus ipsum et de omni convertuntur.” But we may discern (even by your confession) of some, out of a visible church that they have communion with Christ: Ergo,
- 2.That which is lawful for them to do which are no members of a visible church, that is lawful for others to join with them in: for that which is no sin in the principal is none in the accessory, “ceteris paribus.” And it cannot be simply unfawful to join in any action that is lawful, “quatenus tails;” but it is lawful for Christians converted, even be fore they join in any church (perhaps wanting knowledge of the true constitution, perhaps opportunity) to worship God. Therefore,
- 3.It is necessary, that before the covenant-making (which you hold to be the form of a church) they that are to make it, should join together in prayer for direction, assistance, and blessing, yet they are not a church until after: therefore, it is not only lawful, but necessary also that there be a communion out of a visible church. You may easily conceive the form and force of this argument. If you answer that they are a church in desire, that is to forsake your position: for desire to be, doth imply that as yet they are not: “A velle ad esse non sequitur ratio.” I will not be further tedious unto you. Fare you well.
Your loving frend,
letter of mr. robinson to mr. ames.
Sir,—Because I do understand by many, that you mar-Tel I answer not your reasons, having had your writing so long in my hands, I thought good to return you a brief answer. Your reasons to prove visible communion out of a visible church follow; though that be not the question between you and me, but whether “we which are or deem ourselves to be of a visible church, may lawfully communicate with such as be of no church”?
I deny that external communion doth necessarily flow from the discerning of inward communion with Christ, which is your first reason: for then I have external communion with the angels and faithful departed this life. External communion is a matter of external relation and order, under which men out of the church are not. The order set by Christ and his apostles is, that such as receive the Word and are to be saved, Acts ii. 41–47, join themselves forthwith unto the church, and a large remnant it is of the confusions which Antichrist hath brought into the world, that men fearing God should remain out of the true church.
For the further clearing of these things,
If an innocent person (in mine absence) be excommunicated from the church, upon the testimony of two or three, yet will I for order's sake (and so am bound) forbear communion with him till I have manifested his innocency to the church. On the other side, though I know some great wickedness by a brother, which he denies, and I cannot prove, I must still for order's sake keep communion with him in the church, till God discover him. It is evident, therefore, that, in cases, I am both to forbear communion with a godly man, till we be orderly joined together; and to keep communion with a wicked man till we be orderly disjoined.
Add unto these things, that upon this ground, I may also lawfully admit one out of the church, to the Lord's Supper, to the choice of officers, censuring of offenders, and all other exercise of external communion; if by the judgment of charity, I deem him holy in his person. And how can I deny him one part of external communion, to whom I afford another, but I make a schism in the communion of saints? and this also may serve for answer to the latter part of your proof touching visible churches; for they have not only internal communion with Christ, but external also in the order which he hath set. For which we stand and for the want of which alone, we withdraw ourselves, as we do in this case, not daring to break Christ's order for men's disorder.
The sum of the second argument, is, that because it is lawful for some such as are not yet members of a true church to pray, therefore, others of a church may join with them in prayer.
I do first answer, that men in a church are bound to and from many things, wherein men not in the church may use more liberty, and upon the same ground you might soundly argue thus: Because two or three persons excommunicated upon false testimony, may pray together, and, therefore, the brethren of the church may forthwith pray with them; though prayer be in itself a lawful thing, and they holy in their persons that perform it, yet it is unlawfully performed out of the church, in which men ought to be and therein to use it. So that although there be neither “Vitium personæ nec vitium rei,” yet there is “Vitium ordinis, et relationis:” and this external religious order and relation is the church order; and religious communion, a work, doth presuppose religious union of persons.
Touching men joining in prayer, before they enter covenant, and so before they be in a church, whence you do take your third argument: I do answer, first, for that there is not the like reason of them and us, which are, or take ourselves to be in the order of an established church: they then break no order, though we should. Secondly, Such persons are joined in will and purpose, at the least, the which is accepted as the deed; 2 Cor. viii. 12; though the outward ceremony be not as yet performed. So is Abraham said to have offered up Isaac, Heb. xi. 17; and Priscilla and Aquila to have laid down their own necks for Paul's life; Rom. xv. 3, 4; which notwithstanding, they did only in will and purpose. Your axiom, “A velle ad esse non sequitur ratio” hath his use especially “in rebus natwalibus.” But the urging of it thus absolutely in matters of religion, tends to deprive the church of her greatest spiritual comfort.
Lastly, Consider the covenant “in concreto” and prayer is a part thereof. And when men are so met, with a purpose to unite, and do begin prayer for the sanctification of it; they are in the door coming into the house, and not without. The Jews were not to have religious communion with persons uncircumcised: and yet, I doubt not, hut when a godly proselyte was to he circumcised, they might lawfully join with him for the sanctification of the ordinance.
I cease further to trouble you, and do heartily salute you in the Lord God, wishing you from him all prosperity, and in him resting.
Leyden, this second of the week,
Your loving friend,
Dr. Ames published a rejoinder to this letter, hut Mr. Robinson did not reply again, judging his friend's arguments inconclusive and not requiring refutation.