- 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.
PREFATORY NOTICE BY THE EDITOR.
Of the authenticity of this Epistle there can be no doubt, though published, it would seem, anonymously. Its history is as follows:—
The Rev. Joseph Hall, B.D., then Rector of Halstead, but afterwards Bishop of Norwich, published a Letter, in 1608, the year of Mr. Robinson's departure to Amsterdam, addressed to “Mr. Smyth and Mr. Rob(inson), Ringleaders of the late Separation at Amsterdam.” The Letter bears no date, but must have been written at the time referred to, inasmuch as Hall's Reply to the “Answer” was published in 1610; in the “Dedication” of which Reply, “To our gracious and blessed Mother, the Church of England,” he states, “that no less than a year and half is past, Rev. Dear and holy Mother, since I wrote a loving monitory Letter to two of thine unworthy sons, which I heard were fled from thee in person, in affection, and somewhat in opinion; supposing them yet thine, in the main substance, though in circumstances their own.”
That Mr. Robinson was the Author of the “Answer” is placed beyond doubt, from the fact that Mr. Hall states in the “Dedication,” that since he wrote the Epistle, “one of them,” referring to Mr. Smyth, who had in the meantime become an Anti-psedobaptist, “hath washed off thy font water as unclean; and hath written desperately both against thee and his own fellows.” In the “Apology,” he addresses Mr. Robinson: “I wrote not to you alone: what is become of your partner, yea, your guide? Woe is me! he hath renounced our Christendom with our church, and hath washed off his former water with new; and now condemns you all for not separating further, no less than we condemn you for separating so far.” And in the closing paragraphs of the “Apology,” Mr. Hall explicitly alludes to Mr. Robinson by name.
Mr. Robinson must have received the “Censorious Epistle” shortly after his arrival at Amsterdam, in 1608, and replied to it immediately. Hall's Reply is long and elaborate, and must have occupied considerable time in its composition; but was published in 1610, thus furnishing internal evidence as to the date of Robinson's “Answer” being 1608, before he left Amsterdam for Leyden.
No separately published copy of Mr. Robinson's “Answer” has been found, but is, it is presumed, carefully and accurately reprinted in Hall's Reply to the “Answer,” entitled, “A common Apologie of the Church of England, against the unjust challenges of the over-just sect, commonly called Brownists: wherein the grounds and defences of the Separation are largely discussed; occasioned by a late Pamphlet, published under the name of ‘An Answer to a Censorious Epistle,’ which the reader shall finde in the margent.” By J. H. 4to., London, 1610.
As the title-page indicates, the “Answer” is copied into the “Apologie,” and forms the text-book of the Author's criticisms and animadversions.
As Mr. Robinson follows the order of the “Censorious Epistle,” and adapts his replies to the paragraphs successively, without quoting them verbatim, the Letter itself is reprinted before the “Answer,” that the subjects in dispute may be the better understood by the reader; and that the differences of opinion between Mr. Hall and Mr. Robinson, respecting the spirit and language of the “Censorious Epistle” may be seen, a few lines are transcribed from Mr. Hall's “Apologie.” Mr. Robinson's opinion will be learned from his “Answer,” which his clerical antagonist calls “a stomachful pamphlet”:—
“There was no gall in my pen, no insultation: I wrote to you as brethren, and wished you companions. There was more danger of flattery in my style, than bitterness. My opposition was not too vehement, but too slight and slender: so, strong champions blame their adversary for striking too early. You might have forborne this fault; it was my favour, that I did not my worst: you are worthy of more weight, that complain of ease.
“The discourse that I rolled down upon you was weak and weightless: you shall well find this was my lenity, not my impotence. The fault hereof is partly in your expectation, not in my letter. I meant but a short epistle; you looked belike for a volume or nothing.
“I meant only a general monition; you looked for a solid prosecution of particulars. It is not for you to give tasks to others’ pens. By what law must we write nothing but large scholastical discourses, such tomes as yours? May we not touch your sore, unless we will lance and search it? I was not enough your enemy; forgive me this error, and you shall smart more.”
Mr. Robinson did not reply to Mr. Hall's “Common Apology,” judging it a needless task; and characterizing it as being “stuffed with popish principles,” and “as being as much and more immediately against the Reformists and their cause, in the main, as against us and ours.”
LETTER BY REV. JOSEPH HALL, B.D., RECTOR
OF HALSTEAD, CALLED BY MR. ROBINSON
“A CENSORIOUS EPISTLE.”
to mr. smyth and mr. rob(inson,) ringleaders of the late separation at amsterdam.
Setting forth their injury done to the Church, the Injustice of their Cause, and Fearfulness of their Offence. Censuring and advising them.
We hear of your separation, and mourn; yet not so much for you, as for your wrong.
You could not do a greater injury to your mother, than to flee from her. Say, she were poor, ragged, weak; say, she were deformed; yet she is not infectious; or, if she were, yet she is yours.
This were cause enough for you, to lament her, to pray for her, to labour for her redress; not to avoid her. This unnaturalness is shameful; and more heinous in you, who are reported not parties in this evil, but authors. Your flight is not so much, as your misguidance.
Plead not: this fault is past excuse: if we all should follow you, this were the way of a church, as you plead, imperfect, to make no church; and of a remedy, to make a disease. Still the fruit of our charity to you, is besides our grief, pity. Your zeal of truth hath misled you, and you, others; a zeal, if honest, yet blindfolded, and led by self-will. Oh, that you loved peace, but half so well as truth, then, this breach had never been; and you that are yet brethren, had been still companions.
“Go out of Babylon,” you say: “the voice, not of schism, but of holiness.” Know you where you are? Look about you, I beseech you; look behind you; and see if we have not left it upon our backs. She herself feels, and sees, that she is abandoned: and complains to all the world that we have not only forsaken, but spoiled her; and yet you say, “Come out of Babylon.” And except you will be willingly blind, you may see the heaps of her altars, the ashes of her idols, the ruins of her monuments, the condemnation of her errors, the revenge of her abominations.
And are we yet in Babylon? Is Babylon yet amongst us? Where are the main buildings of that accursed city? those high and proud towers of their universal hierarchy, infallible judgment, dispensation with laws of God, and sins of men; disposition of kingdoms; deposition of princes; parting stakes with God in our conversion, through freedom of will; in our salvation, through the merit of our works? Where are those rotten heaps (rotten, not through age, but corruption) of transubstantiating of bread, adoring of images, multitude of sacraments, power of indulgences, necessity of confessions, profit of pilgrimages, constrained and approved ignorance, unknown devotions? Where are those deep vaults, if not mines, of penances and purgatories, whatsoever hath been devised by those popelings, whether profitable or glorious, against the Lord and his Christ? Are they not all rased and buried in the dust? Hath not the majesty of her gods, like as was done to Mythra and Serapis, been long ago offered to the public laughter of the vulgar? What is this, but to go, yea, to run, if not to fly, out of Babylon?
But as every man is a hearty patron of his own actions, and it is a desperate cause that hath no plea, you allege our consorting in ceremonies, and say, still we tarry in the suburbs. Grant that these were as ill as an enemy can make them, or can pretend them: you are deceived, if you think the walls of Babylon stand upon ceremonies. Substantial errors are both her foundation and frame. These ritual observances are not so much as tile and reed; rather like to some fane upon the roof, for ornament, more than use; not parts of the building, but not necessary appendances. If you take them otherwise, you wrong the church: if thus, and yet depart, you wrong it and yourself: as if you would have persuaded righteous Lot not to stay in Zoar, because it was so near Sodom. I fear, if you had seen the money-changers in the temple, however you would have prayed, or taught there: Christ did it, not forsaking the place, but scourging the offenders. And this is the valour of Christian teachers to oppose abuses, not to run away from them. Where shall you not thus find Babylon? Would you have run from Geneva because of her wafers? or from Corinth, for her disordered love-feasts?
Either run out of the world, or your flight is in vain. If experience of change teach you not that you shall find your Babylon everywhere, return not. Compare the place you have left with that you have chosen; let not fear of seeming to repent over-soon make you partial. Lo! there a common harbour of all opinions, of all heresies, if not a mixture: here, you drew in the free, and clear air of the gospel, without that odious composition of Judaism, Arianism, Anabaptism: there, you live in the stench of these, and more. You are unworthy of pity, if you will approve your misery. Say, if you can, that the Church of England (if she were not yours) is not a heaven to Amsterdam. How is it, then, that our gnats are harder to swallow than their camels? and that, while all Christendom magnifies our happiness, and applauds it, your handful alone so detests our enormities that you despise our graces?
See whether in this you make not God a loser. The thank of all his favours is lost, because you want more: and, in the meantime, who gains by this sequestration, but Rome and hell? How do they insult in this advantage, that our mother's own children condemn her for unclean, that we are daily weakened by our divisions, that the rude multitude hath so palpable a motive to distrust us. Sure, you intended it not: but if you had been their hired agent, you could not have done our enemies greater service.
The God of heaven open your eyes, that you may see the injustice of that zeal which hath transported you; and turn your heart to an endeavour of all Christian satisfaction: otherwise, your souls shall find too late, that it had been a thousand times better to swallow a ceremony, than to rend a church; yea, that even whoredoms and murders shall abide an easier answer than separation.
I have done, if only I have advised you of that fearful threatening of the wise man: “The eye that mocketh his father, and despiseth the government of his mother, the ravens of the river shall pick it out, and the young eagles eat it.” Prov. xxx. 17.