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Part III.: OF ACHRISTIAN COMMON-WEALTH. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1909 ed) 
Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909).
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OF ACHRISTIAN COMMON-WEALTH.
Of the Principles ofChristian Politiques.
The Word of God delivered by Prophets is the main principle of Christian Politiques. I have derived the Rights of Soveraigne Power, and the duty of Subjects hitherto, from the Principles of Nature onely; such as Experience has found true, or Consent (concerning the use of words) has made so; that is to say, from the nature of Men, known to us by Experience, and from Definitions (of such words as are Essentiall to all Politicall reasoning) universally agreed on. But in that I am next to handle, which is the Nature and Rights of a ChristianCommon-wealth, whereof there dependeth much upon Supernaturall Revelations of the Will of God; the ground of my Discourse must be, not only the Naturall Word of God, but also the Propheticall.
Yet is not naturall Reason to be renounced. Neverthelesse, we are not to renounce our Senses, and Experience; nor (that which is the undoubted Word of God) our naturall Reason. For they are the talents which he hath put into our hands to negotiate, till the coming again of our blessed Saviour; and therefore not to be folded up in the Napkin of an Implicite Faith, but employed in the purchase of Justice, Peace, and true Religion. For though there be many things in Gods Word above Reason; that is to say, which cannot by naturall reason be either demonstrated, or confuted; yet there is nothing contrary to it; but when it seemeth so, the fault is either in our unskilfull Interpretation, or erroneous Ratiocination.
Therefore, when any thing therein written is too hard for our examination, wee are bidden to captivate our understanding to the Words; and not to labour in sifting out a Philosophicall truth by Logick, of such mysteries as are not comprehensible, nor fall under any rule of naturall science. For it is with the mysteries of our Religion, as with wholsome pills for the sick, which swallowed whole, have the vertue to cure; but chewed, are for the most part cast up again without effect.
But by the Captivity of our Understanding, is not meant a Submission of theWhat it is to captivate the Understanding. Intellectuall faculty, to the Opinion of any other man; but of the Will to Obedience, where obedience is due. For Sense, Memory, Understanding, Reason, and Opinion are not in our power to change; but alwaies, and necessarily such, as the things we see, hear, and consider suggest unto us; and therefore are not effects of our Will, but our Will of them. We then Captivate our Understanding and Reason, when we forbear contradiction; when we so speak, as (by lawfull Authority) we are commanded; and when we live accordingly; which in sum, is Trust, and Faith reposed in him that speaketh, though the mind be incapable of any Notion at all from the words spoken.
When God speaketh to man, it must be either immediately;How God speaketh to men. or by mediation of another man, to whom he had formerly spoken by himself immediately. How God speaketh to a man immediately, may be understood by those well enough, to whom he hath so spoken; but how the same should be understood by another, is hard, if not impossible to know. For if a man pretend to me, that God hath spoken to him supernaturally, and immediately, and I make doubt of it, I cannot easily perceive what argument he can produce, to oblige me to beleeve it. It is true, that if he be my Soveraign, he may oblige me to obedience, so, as not by act or word to declare I beleeve him not; but not to think any otherwise then my reason perswades me. But if one that hath not such authority over me, shall pretend the same, there is nothing that exacteth either beleefe, or obedience.
For to say that God hath spoken to him in the Holy Scripture, is not to say God hath spoken to him immediately, but by mediation of the Prophets, or of the Apostles, or of the Church, in such manner as he speaks to all other Christian men. To say he hath spoken to him in a Dream, is no more then to say he dreamed that God spake to him; which is not of force to win beleef from any man, that knows dreams are for the most part naturall, and may proceed from former thoughts; and such dreams as that, from selfe conceit, and foolish arrogance, and false opinion of a mans own godlinesse, or other vertue, by which he thinks he hath merited the favour of extraordinary Revelation. To say he hath seen a Vision, or heard a Voice, is to say, that he hath dreamed between sleeping and waking: for in such manner a man doth many times naturally take his dream for a vision, as not having well observed his own slumbering. To say he speaks by supernaturall Inspiration, is to say he finds an ardent desire to speak, or some strong opinion of himself, for which hee can alledge no naturall and sufficient reason. So that though God Almighty can speak to a man, by Dreams, Visions, Voice, and Inspiration; yet he obliges no man to beleeve he hath so done to him that pretends it; who (being a man) may erre, and (which is more) may lie.
By what marks Prophets are known. 1 Kings 22. How then can he, to whom God hath never revealed his Wil immediately (saving by the way of natural reason) know when he is to obey, or not to obey his Word, delivered by him, that sayes he is a Prophet? Of 400 Prophets, of whom the K. of Israel asked counsel, concerning the warre he made against Ramoth Gilead, only1 Kings 13.Micaiah was a true one. The Prophet that was sent to prophecy against the Altar set up by Jeroboam, though a true Prophet, and that by two miracles done in his presence appears to be a Prophet sent from God, was yet deceived by another old Prophet, that perswaded him as from the mouth of God, to eat and drink with him. If one Prophet deceive another, what certainty is there of knowing the will of God, by other way than that of Reason? To which I answer out of the Holy Scripture, that there be two marks, by which together, not asunder, a true Prophet is to be known. One is the doing of miracles; the other is the not teaching any other Religion than that which is already established. Asunder (I say) neither of these is sufficient. If a Prophet rise amongst you, or a Dreamer of dreams, and shall pretend the doingDeut. 13. v. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.of a miracle, and the miracle come to passe; if he say, Let us follow strange Gods, which thou hast not known, thou shalt not hearken to him, &c. But that Prophet and Dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he hath spoken to you to Revolt from the Lord your God. In which words two things are to be observed; First, that God wil not have miracles alone serve for arguments, to approve the Prophets calling; but (as it is in the third verse) for an experiment of the constancy of our adherence to himself. For the works of the Egyptian Sorcerers, though not so great as those of Moses, yet were great miracles. Secondly, that how great soever the miracle be, yet if it tend to stir up revolt against the King, or him that governeth by the Kings authority, he that doth such miracle, is not to be considered otherwise than as sent to make triall of their allegiance. For these words, revolt from the Lord your God, are in this place equivalent to revolt from your King. For they had made God their King by pact at the foot of Mount Sinai; who ruled them by Moses only; for he only spake with God, and from time to time declared Gods Commandements to the people. In like manner, after our Saviour Christ had made his Disciples acknowledge him for the Messiah, (that is to say, for Gods anointed, whom the nation of the Jews daily expected for their King, but refused when he came,) he omitted not to advertise them of the danger of miracles. There shall arise (saith he) false Christs,Mat. 24. 24.nd false Prophets, and shall doe great wonders and miracles, even to the seducing (if it were possible) of the very Elect. By which it appears, that false Prophets may have the power of miracles; yet are wee not to take their doctrin for Gods Word. St. Paul says further to the Galatians,Gal. 1. 8. that if himself, or an Angell from heaven preach another Gospel to them, than he had preached, let him be accursed. That Gospel was, that Christ was King; so that all preaching against the power of the King received, in consequence to these words, is by St. Paul accursed. For his speech is addressed to those, who by his preaching had already received Jesus for the Christ, that is to say, for King of the Jews.
The marks of a Prophet in the old law, Miracles, and Doctrine conformable to the law. And as Miracles, without preaching that Doctrine which God hath established; so preaching the true Doctrine, without the doing of Miracles, is an unsufficient argument of immediate Revelation. For if a man that teacheth not false Doctrine, should pretend to bee a Prophet without shewing any Miracle, he is never the more to bee regarded for his pretence, as is evident by Deut. 18. v. 21, 22. If thou say in thy heart, How shall we know that the Word (of the Prophet) is not that which the Lord hath spoken. When the Prophet shall have spoken in the name of the Lord, that which shall not come to passe, that’s the word which the Lord hath not spoken, but the Prophet has spoken it out of the pride of his own heart, fear him not. But a man may here again ask, When the Prophet hath foretold a thing, how shal we know whether it will come to passe or not? For he may foretel it as a thing to arrive after a certain long time, longer then the time of mans life; or indefinitely, that it will come to passe one time or other: in which case this mark of a Prophet is unusefull; and therefore the miracles that oblige us to beleeve a Prophet, ought to be confirmed by an immediate, or a not long deferr’ event. So that it is manifest, that the teaching of the Religion which God hath established, and the shewing of a present Miracle, joined together, were the only marks whereby the Scripture would have a true Prophet, that is to say, immediate Revelation to be acknowledged; neither of them being singly sufficient to oblige any other man to regard what he saith.
Miracles ceasing, Prophets cease, and the Scripture supplies their place. Seeing therefore Miracles now cease, we have no sign left, whereby to acknowledge the pretended Revelations, or Inspirations of any private man; nor obligation to give ear to any Doctrine, farther than it is conformable to the Holy Scriptures, which since the time of our Saviour, supply the place, and sufficiently recompense the want of all other Prophecy; and from which, by wise and learned interpretation, and carefull ratiocination, all rules and precepts necessary to the knowledge of our duty both to God and man, without Enthusiasme, or supernaturall Inspiration, may easily be deduced. And this Scripture is it, out of which I am to take the Principles of my Discourse, concerning the Rights of those that are the Supream Governors on earth, of Christian Common-wealths; and of the duty of Christian Subjects towards their Soveraigns. And to that end, I shall speak in the next Chapter, of the Books, Writers, Scope and Authority of the Bible.
Of the Number, Antiquity, Scope, Authority, and Interpreters of the Books of HolyScripture.
By the Books of Holy Scripture, are understoodOf the Books of Holy Scripture. those, which ought to be the Canon, that is to say, the Rules of Christian life. And because all Rules of life, which men are in conscience bound to observe, are Laws; the question of the Scripture, is the question of what is Law throughout all Christendome, both Naturall, and Civill. For though it be not determined in Scripture, what Laws every Christian King shall constitute in his own Dominions; yet it is determined what laws he shall not constitute. Seeing therefore I have already proved, that Soveraigns in their own Dominions are the sole Legislators; those Books only are Canonicall, that is, Law, in every nation, which are established for such by the Soveraign Authority. It is true, that God is the Soveraign of all Soveraigns; and therefore, when he speaks to any Subject, he ought to be obeyed, whatsoever any earthly Potentate command to the contrary. But the question is not of obedience to God, but of when, and what God hath said; which to Subjects that have no supernaturall revelation, cannot be known, but by that naturall reason, which guided them, for the obtaining of Peace and Justice, to obey the authority of their severall Common-wealths; that is to say, of their lawfull Soveraigns. According to this obligation, I can acknowledge no other Books of the Old Testament, to be Holy Scripture, but those which have been commanded to be acknowledged for such, by the Authority of the Church of England. What Books these are, is sufficiently known, without a Catalogue of them here; and they are the same that are acknowledged by St. Jerome, who holdeth the rest, namely, the Wisdome of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Judith, Tobias, the first and the second of Maccabees, (though he had seen the first in Hebrew) and the third and fourth of Esdras, for Apocrypha. Of the Canonicall, Josephus a learned Jew, that wrote in the time of the Emperour Domitian, reckoneth twenty two, making the number agree with the Hebrew Alphabet. St. Jerome does the same, though they reckon them in different manner. For Josephus numbers five Books of Moses, thirteen of Prophets, that writ the History of their own times (which how it agrees with the Prophets writings contained in the Bible wee shall see hereafter), and four of Hymnes and Morall Precepts. But St. Jerome reckons five Books of Moses, eight of Prophets, and nine of other Holy writ, which he calls of Hagiographa. The Septuagint, who were 70. learned men of the Jews, sent for by Ptolemy King of Egypt, to translate the Jewish law, out of the Hebrew into the Greek, have left us no other for holy Scripture in the Greek tongue, but the same that are received in the Church of England.
As for the Books of the New Testament, they are equally acknowledged for Canon by all Christian Churches, and by all Sects of Christians, that admit any Books at all for Canonicall.
Their Antiquity. Who were the originall writers of the severall Books of Holy Scripture, has not been made evident by any sufficient testimony of other History, (which is the only proof of matter of fact); nor can be by any arguments of naturall Reason: for Reason serves only to convince the truth (not of fact, but) of consequence. The light therefore that must guide us in this question, must be that which is held out unto us from the Bookes themselves: And this light, though it shew us not the writer of every book, yet it is not unusefull to give us knowledge of the time, wherein they were written.
And first, for the Pentateuch, it is not argument enough that they were written by Moses, because they are called the five Books of Moses; no more than these titles, The Book of Joshua, the Book of Judges, the Book of Ruth, and the Books of the Kings, are arguments sufficient to prove, that they were written by Joshua, by the Judges, by Ruth, and by the Kings. For in titles of Books, the subject is marked, as often as the writer. The History of Livy, denotes the Writer; but the History of Scanderbeg, is denominated from the subject. We read in the last Chapter of Deuteronomie, ver. 6.The Pentateuch not written by Moses. concerning the sepulcher of Moses, that no man knoweth of his sepulcher to this day, that is, to the day wherein those words were written. It is therefore manifest, that those words were written after his interrement. For it were a strange interpretation, to say Moses spake of his own sepulcher (though by Prophecy), that it was not found to that day, wherein he was yet living. But it may perhaps be alledged, that the last Chapter only, not the whole Pentateuch, was written by some other man, but the rest not: Let us therefore consider that which we find in the Book of Genesis, chap. 12. ver. 6. And Abraham passed through the land to the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh, and the Canaanite was then in the land; which must needs bee the words of one that wrote when the Canaanite was not in the land; and consequently, not of Moses, who dyed before he came into it. Likewise Numbers 21. ver. 14. the Writer citeth another more ancient Book, Entituled, The Book of the Warres of the Lord, wherein were registred the Acts of Moses, at the Red-sea, and at the brook of Arnon. It is therefore sufficiently evident, that the five Books of Moses were written after his time, though how long after it be not so manifest.
But though Moses did not compile those Books entirely, and in the form we have them; yet he wrote all that which hee is there said to have written: as for example, the Volume of the Law, which is contained, as it seemeth, in the 11 of Deuteronomie, and the following Chapters to the 27. which was also commanded to be written on stones, in their entry into the land of Canaan. And this did Moses himself write, andDeut. 31. 9. eliver to the Priests and Elders of Israel, to be read every seventh year to all Israel, at their assembling in the feast of Tabernacles. And this is that Law which God commanded, that their Kings (when they should have established that form of Government) should take a copyDeut. 31. 26. of from the Priests and Levites; and which Moses commanded the Priests and Levites to lay in the side of the Arke; and the same which having been lost,2 King. 22. 8. & 23, 1, 2, 3. as long time after found again by Hilkiah, and sent to King Josias, who causing it to be read to the People, renewed the Covenant between God and them.
The Book of Joshua written after his time. That the Book of Joshua was also written long after the time of Joshua, may be gathered out of many places of the Book it self. Joshua had set up twelve stones in the middest of Jordan, for a monument of their assage; of which the Writer saith thus, They are there unto this day; for unto this day, is a phraseJosh. 4. 9 that signifieth time past, beyond the memory of man. In like manner, upon the saying of the Lord, that he had rolled off from the people the Reproach of Egypt, the Writer saith.Josh. 5. 9.The place is called Gilgal unto this day; which to have said in the time of Joshua had been improper. So also the name of the Valley of Achor, from the trouble thatJosh. 7. 26.Achan raised in the Camp, the Writer saith, remaineth unto this day; which must needs bee therefore long after the time of Joshua. Arguments of this kind there be many other; as Josh. 8. 29. 13.13. 14. 14. 15. 63.
The Booke of Judges and Ruth written long after the Captivity. The same is manifest by like arguments of the Book of Judges, chap. 1. 21, 26. 6.24. 10.4. 15. 19. 17. 6. and Ruth 1. 1. but especially Judg. 18. 30. where it is said, that Jonathan and his sonnes were Priests to the Tribe of Dan, untill the day of the captivity of the land.
The like of the Bookes of Samuel. That the Books of Samuel were also written after his own time, there are the like arguments, 1 Sam. 5. 5. 7. 13, 15. 27. 6. & 30. 25. where, after David had adjudged equall part of the spoiles, to them that guarded the Ammunition, with them that fought, the Writer saith, He made it a Statute and an Ordinance to Israel2 Sam. 6. 4.to this day. Again, when David (displeased, that the Lord had slain Uzzah, for putting out his hand to sustain the Ark,) called the place Perez-Uzzah, the Writer saith, it is called so to this day: the time therefore of the writing of that Book, must be long after the time of the fact; that is, long after the time of David.
As for the two Books of the Kings, and the two BooksThe Books of the Kings, and the Chronicles. of the Chronicles, besides the places which mention such monuments, as the Writer saith, remained till his own days; such as are I Kings 9.13. 9.21. 10. 12. 12. 19. 2 Kings 2. 22. 8. 22. 10.27. 14. 7. 16. 6. 17. 23. 17.34. 17. 41. 1 Chron. 4. 41. 5.26. It is argument sufficient they were written after the captivity in Babylon, that the History of them is continued till that time. For the Facts Registred are alwaies more ancient than the Register; and much more ancient than such Books as make mention of, and quote the Register; as these Books doe in divers places, referring the Reader to the Chronicles of the Kings of Juda, to the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel, to the Books of the Prophet Samuel, of the Prophet Nathan, of the Prophet Ahijah; to the Vision of Jehdo, to the Books of the Prophet Serveiah, and of the Prophet Addo.
The Books of Esdras and Nehemiah were written certainly after their return from captivity; because theirErra and Nehemiah. return, the re-edification of the walls and houses of Jerusalem, the renovation of the Covenant, and ordination of their policy are therein contained.
The History of Queen Esther is of the time of theEsther. Captivity; and therefore the Writer must have been of the same time, or after it.
The Book of Job hath no mark in it of the time whereinJob. it was written: and though it appear sufficiently (Ezekiel 14. 14. and James 5. 11.) that he was no fained person; yet the Book it self seemeth not to be a History, but a Treatise concerning a question in ancient time much disputed, why wicked men have often prospered in this world, and good men have been afflicted; and it is the more probable, because from the beginning, to the third verse of the third chapter, where the complaint of Job beginneth, the Hebrew is (as St. Jerome testifies) in prose; and from thence to the sixt verse of the last chapter in Hexameter Verses; and the rest of that chapter again in prose. So that the dispute is all in verse; and the prose is added, but as a Preface in the beginning, and an Epilogue in the end. But Verse is no usuall stile of such, as either are themselves in great pain, as Job; or of such as come to comfort them, as his friends; but in Philosophy, especially morall Philosophy, in ancient time frequent.
The Psalter. The Psalmes were written the most part by David, for the use of the Quire. To these are added some Songs of Moses, and other holy men; and some of them after the return from the Captivity, as the 137. and the 126. whereby it is manifest that the Psalter was compiled, and put into the form it now hath, after the return of the Jews from Babylon.
The Proverbs. The Proverbs, being a Collection of wise and godly Sayings, partly of Solomon, partly of Agur the son of Jakeh, and partly of the Mother of King Lemuel, cannot probably be thought to have been collected by Solomon, rather then by Agur, or the Mother of Lemuel; and that, though the sentences be theirs, yet the collection or compiling them into this one Book, was the work of some other godly man, that lived after them all.
Ecclesiastes and the Canticles. The Books of Ecclesiastes and the Canticles have nothing that was not Solomons, except it be the Titles, or Inscriptions. For The Words of the Preacher, the Son of David, King in Jerusalem; and, The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s, seem to have been made for distinctions sake, then, when the Books of Scripture were gathered into one body of the Law; to the end, that not the Doctrine only, but the Authors also might be extant.
The Prophets. If the Prophets, the most ancient, are Sophoniah, Jonas, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah and Michaiah, who lived in the time of Amaziah, and Azariah, otherwise Ozias, Kings of Judah. But the Book of Jonas is not properly a Register of his Prophecy, (for that is contained in these few words, Fourty dayes and Ninivy shall be destroyed,) but a History or Narration of his frowardnesse and disputing Gods commandements; so that there is small probability he should be the Author, seeing he is the subject of it. But the Book of Amos is his Prophecy.
Jeremiah, Abdias, Nahum, and Habakkuk prophecyed in the time of Josiah.
Ezekiel, Daniel, Aggeus, and Zacharias, in the Captivity.
When Joel and Malachi prophecyed, is not evident by their Writings. But considering the Inscriptions, or Titles of their Books, it is manifest enough, that the whole Scripture of the Old Testament, was set forth in the form we have it, after the return of the Jews from their Captivity in Babylon, and before the time of Ptolemœus Philadelphus, that caused it to bee translated into Greek by seventy men, which were sent him out of Judea for that purpose. And if the Books of Apocrypha (which are recommended to us by the Church, though not for Canonicall, yet for profitable Books for our instruction) may in this point be credited, the Scripture was set forth in the form wee have it in, by Esdras; as may appear by that which he himself saith, in the second book, chapt. 14. verse 21, 22, &c. where speaking to God, he saith thus, Thy law is burnt; therefore no man knoweth the things which thou hast done, or the works that are to begin. But if I have found Grace before thee, send down the holy Spirit into me, and I shall write all that hath been done in the world, since the beginning, which were written in they Law, that men may find thy path, and that they which will live in the later days, may live. And verse 45. And it came to passe when the forty dayes were fulfilled, that the Highest spake, saying, The first that thou hast written, publish openly, that the worthy and unworthy may read it; but keep the seventy last, that thou mayst deliver them onely to such as be wise among the people. And thus much concerning the time of the writing of the Bookes of the Old Testament.
The Writers of the New Testament lived all in lesseThe New Testament. then an age after Christs Ascension, and had all of them seen our Saviour, or been his Disciples, except St. Paul, and St. Luke; and consequently whatsoever was written by them, is as ancient as the time of the Apostles. But the time wherein the Books of the New Testament were received, and acknowledged by the Church to be of their writing, is not altogether so ancient. For, as the Bookes of the Old Testament are derived to us, from no higher time then that of Esdras, who by the direction of Gods Spirit retrived them, when they were lost: Those of the New Testament, of which the copies were not many, nor could easily be all in any one private mans hand, cannot bee derived from a higher time, than that wherein the Governours of the Church collected, approved, and recommended them to us, as the writings of those Apostles and Disciples; under whose names they go. The first enumeration of all the Bookes, both of the Old, and New Testament, is in the Canons of the Apostles, supposed to be collected by Clement the first (after St. Peter) Bishop of Rome. But because that is but supposed, and by many questioned, the Councell of Laodicea is the first we know, that recommended the Bible to the then Christian Churches, for the Writings of the Prophets and Apostles: and this Councell was held in the 364. yeer after Christ. At which time, though ambition had so far prevailed on the great Doctors of the Church, as no more to esteem Emperours, though Christian, for the Shepherds of the people, but for Sheep; and Emperours not Christian, for Wolves; and endeavoured to passe their Doctrine, not for Counsell, and Information, as Preachers; but for Laws, as absolute Governours; and thought such frauds as tended to make the people the more obedient to Christian Doctrine, to be pious; yet I am perswaded they did not therefore falsifie the Scriptures, though the copies of the Books of the New Testament, were in the hands only of the Ecclesiasticks; because if they had had an intention so to doe, they would surely have made them more favorable to their power over Christian Princes, and Civill Soveraignty, than they are. I see not therefore any reason to doubt, but that the Old, and New Testament, as we have them now, are the true Registers of those things, which were done and said by the Prophets, and Apostles. And so perhaps are some of those Books which are called Apocrypha, if left out of the Canon, not for inconformity of Doctrine with the rest, but only because they are not found in the Hebrew. For after the conquest of Asia by Alexander the Great, there were few learned Jews, that were not perfect in the Greek tongue. For the seventy Interpreters that converted the Bible into Greek, were all of them Hebrews; and we have extant the works of Philo and Josephus both Jews, written by them eloquently in Greek. But it is not the Writer, but the authority of the Church, that maketh a Book Canonicall. And although these Books wereTheir Scope. written by divers men, yet it is manifest the Writers were all indued with one and the same Spirit, in that they conspire to one and the same end, which is the setting forth of the Rights of the Kingdome of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. For the Book of Genesis, deriveth the Genealogy of Gods people, from the creation of the World, to the going into Egypt: the other four Books of Moses, contain the Election of God for their King, and the Laws which hee prescribed for their Government: The Books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, and Samuel, to the time of Saul, describe the acts of Gods people, till the time they cast off Gods yoke, and called for a King, after the manner of their neighbour nations: The rest of the History of the Old Testament, derives the succession of the line of David, to the Captivity, out of which line was to spring the restorer of the Kingdome of God, even our blessed Saviour God the Son, whose coming was foretold in the Bookes of the Prophets, after whom the Evangelists writt his life, and actions, and his claim to the Kingdome, whilst he lived on earth: and lastly, the Acts, and Epistles of the Apostles, declare the coming of God, the Holy Ghost, and the Authority he left with them, and their successors, for the direction of the Jews, and for the invitation of the Gentiles. In summe, the Histories and the Prophecies of the old Testament, and the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament, have had one and the same scope, to convert men to the obedience of God; 1. in Moses, and the Priests; 2. in the man Christ; and 3. in the Apostles and the successors to Apostolicall power. For these three at several times did represent the person of God: Moses, and his successors the High Priests, and Kings of Judah, in the Old Testament:Christ himself, in the time he lived on earth: and the Apostles, and their successors, from the day of Pentecost (when the Holy Ghost descended on them) to this day.
The question of the Authority of the Scriptures stated. It is a question much disputed between the divers sects of Christian Religion, From whence the Scriptures derive their Authority; which question is also propounded sometimes in other terms, as, How wee know them to be the Word of God, or, Why we beleeve them to be so: And the difficulty of resolving it, ariseth chiefly from the impropernesse of the words wherein the question it self is couched. For it is beleeved on all hands, that the first and originall Author of them is God; and consequently the question disputed, is not that. Again, it is manifest, that none can know they are Gods Word, (though all true Christians beleeve it,) but those to whom God himself hath revealed it supernaturally; and therefore the question is not rightly moved, of our Knowledge of it. Lastly, when the question is propounded of our Beleefe; because some are moved to beleeve for one, and others for other reasons, there can be rendred no one generall answer for them all. The question truly stated is, By what Authority they are made Law.
Their Authority and Interpretation. As far as they differ not from the Laws of Nature, there is no doubt, but they are the Law of God, and carry their Authority with them, legible to all men that have the use of naturall reason: but this is no other Authority, then that of all other Morall Doctrine consonant to Reason; the Dictates whereof are Laws, not made, but Eternall.
If they be made Law by God himselfe, they are of the nature of written Law, which are Laws to them only to whom God hath so sufficiently published them, as no man can excuse himself, by saying, he knew not they were his.
He therefore, to whom God hath not supernaturally revealed, that they are his, nor that those that published them, were sent by him, is not obliged to obey them, by any Authority, but his, whose Commands have already the force of Laws; that is to say, by any other Authority, then that of the Common-wealth, residing in the Soveraign, who only has the Legislative power. Again, if it be not the Legislative Authority of the Common-wealth, that giveth them the force of Laws, it must bee some other Authority derived from God, either private, or publique: if private, it obliges onely him, to whom in particular God hath been pleased to reveale it. For if every man should be obliged, to take for Gods Law, what particular men, on pretence of private Inspiration, or Revelation, should obtrude upon him, (in such a number of men, that out of pride, and ignorance, take their own Dreams, and extravagant Fancies, and Madnesse, for testimonies of Gods Spirit; or out of ambition, pretend to such Divine testimonies, falsely, and contrary to their own consciences,) it were impossible that any Divine Law should be acknowledged. If publique, it is the Authority of the Common-wealth, or of the Church. But the Church, if it be one person, is the same thing with a Common-wealth of Christians; called a Common-wealth, because it consisteth of men united in one person, their Soveraign; and a Church, because it consisteth in Christian men, united in one Christian Soveraign. But if the Church be not one person, then it hath no authority at all; it can neither command, nor doe any action at all; nor is capable of having any power, or right to any thing; nor has any Will, Reason, nor Voice; for all these qualities are personall. Now if the whole number of Christians be not contained in one Common-wealth, they are not one person; nor is there an Universall Church that hath any authority over them; and there fore the Scriptures are not made Laws, by the Universall Church: or if it bee one Common-wealth, then all Christian Monarchs, and States are private persons, and subject to bee judged, deposed, and punished by an Universall Soveraigne of all Christendome. So that the question of the Authority of the Scriptures, is reduced to this, Whether Christian Kings, and the Soveraigne Assemblies in Christian Common-wealths, be absolute in their own Territories, immediately under God; or subject to one Vicar of Christ, constituted over the Universall Church; to bee judged, condemned, deposed, and put to death, as hee shall think expedient, or necessary for the common good.
Which question cannot bee resolved, without a more particular consideration of the Kingdome of God; from whence also, wee are to judge of the Authority of Interpreting the Scripture. For, whosoever hath a lawfull power over any Writing, to make it Law, hath the power also to approve, or disapprove the interpretation of the same.
Of the Signification ofSpirit, Angel, andInspirationin the Books of Holy Scripture.
Body and Spirit how taken in the Scripture.Seeing the foundation of all true Ratiocination, is the constant Signification of words; which in the Doctrine following, dependeth not (as in naturall science) on the Will of the Writer, nor (as in common conversation) on vulgar use, but on the sense they carry in the Scripture; It is necessary, before I proceed any further, to determine, out of the Bible, the meaning of such words, as by their ambiguity, may render what I am to inferre upon them, obscure, or disputable. I will begin with the words Body, and Spirit, which in the language of the Schools are termed, Substances, Corporeall, and Incorporeall.
The Word Body, in the most generall acceptation, signifieth that which filleth, or occupyeth some certain room, or imagined place; and dependeth not on the imagination, but is a reall part of that we call the Universe. For the Universe, being the Aggregate of all Bodies, there is no reall part thereof that is not also Body; nor any thing properly a Body, that is not also part of (that Aggregate of all Bodies) the Universe. The same also, because Bodies are subject to change, that is to say, to variety of apparence to the sense of living creatures, is called Substance, that is to say, Subject, to various accidents; as sometimes to be Moved, some-times to stand Still; and to seem to our senses sometimes Hot, sometimes Cold, sometimes of one Colour, Smel, Tast, or Sound, sometimes of another. And this diversity of Seeming, (produced by the diversity of the operation of bodies, on the organs of our sense) we attribute to alterations of the Bodies that operate, & call them Accidents of those Bodies. And according to this acceptation of the word, Substance and Body, signifie the same thing; and therefore Substance incorporeall are words, which when they are joined together, destroy one another, as if a man should say, an Incorporeall Body.
But in the sense of common people, not all the Universe is called Body, but only such parts thereof as they can discern by the sense of Feeling, to resist their force, or by the sense of their Eyes, to hinder them from a farther prospect. Therefore in the common language of men, Aire, and aeriall substances, use not to be taken for Bodies, but (as often as men are sensible of their effects) are called Wind, or Breath, or (because the same are called in the Latine Spiritus) Spirits; as when they call that aeriall substance, which in the body of any living creature, gives it life and motion, Vitall and Animall spirits. But for those Idols of the brain, which represent Bodies to us, where they are not, as in a Looking-glasse, in a Dream, or to a Distempered brain waking, they are (as the Apostle saith generally of all Idols) nothing; Nothing at all, I say, there where they seem to bee; and in the brain it self, nothing but tumult, proceeding either from the action of the objects, or from the disorderly agitation of the Organs of our Sense. And men, that are otherwise imployed, then to search into their causes, know not of themselves, what to call them; and may therefore easily be perswaded, by those whose knowledge they much reverence, some to call them Bodies, and think them made of aire compacted by a power supernaturall, because the sight judges them corporeall; and some to call them Spirits, because the sense of Touch discerneth nothing in the place where they appear, to resist their fingers: So that the proper signification of Spirit in common speech, is either a subtile, fluid, and invisible Body, or a Ghost, or other Idol or Phantasme of the Imagination. But for metaphoricall significations, there be many: for sometimes it is taken for Disposition or Inclination of the mind; as when for the disposition to controwl the sayings of other men, we say, a spirit of contradiction; For a disposition to uncleannesse, an unclean spirit; for perversenesse, a froward spirit; for sullennesse, a dumb spirit, and for inclination to godlinesse, and Gods service, the Spirit of God: sometimes for any eminent ability, or extraordinary passion, or disease of the mind, as when great wisdome is called the spirit of wisdome; and mad men are said to be possessed with a spirit.
Other signification of Spirit I find no where any; and where none of these can satisfie the sense of that word in Scripture, the place falleth not under humane Understanding; and our Faith therein consisteth not in our Opinion, but in our Submission; as in all places where God is said to be a Spirit; or where by the Spirit of God, is meant God himselfe. For the nature of God is incomprehensible; that is to say, we understand nothing of what he is, but only that he is; and therefore the Attributes we give him, are not to tell one another, what he is, nor to signifie our opinion of his Nature, but our desire to honour him with such names as we conceive most honorable amongst our selves.
The Spirit of God taken in the Scripture sometimes for a Wind, or Breath.Gen. 1. 2. The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the Waters. Here if by the Spirit of God be meant God himself, then is Motion attributed to God, and consequently Place, which are intelligible only of Bodies, and not of substances incorporeall; and so the place is above our understanding, that can conceive nothing moved that changes not place, or that has not dimension; and whatsoever has dimension, is Body. But the meaning of those words is best understood by the like place, Gen. 8. 1. Where when the earth was covered with Waters, as in the beginning, God intending to abate them, and again to discover the dry land, useth the like words, I will bring my Spirit upon the Earth, and the waters shall be diminished: in which place by Spirit is understood a Wind, (that is an Aire or Spirit moved,) which might be called (as in the former place) the Spirit of God, because it was Gods work.
Gen. 41. 38. Pharaoh calleth the Wisdome of Joseph,Secondly, for extraordinary gifts of the Understanding. the Spirit of God. For Joseph having advised him to look out a wise and discreet man, and to set him over the land of Egypt, he saith thus, Can we find such a man as this is, in whom is the Spirit of God? And Exod. 28. 3. Thou shalt speak(saith God) to all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the Spirit of Wisdome, to make Aaron Garments, to consecrate him. Where extraordinary Understanding, though but in making Garments, as being the Gift of God, is called the Spirit of God. The same is found again, Exod. 31. 3, 4, 5, 6. and 35. 31. And Isaiah 11. 2, 3. where the Prophet speaking of the Messiah, saith, The Spirit of the Lord shall abide upon him, the Spirit of wisdome and understanding, the Spirit of counsell, and fortitude; and the Spirit of the fear of the Lord. Where manifestly is meant, not so many Ghosts, but so many eminent graces that God would give him.
In the Book of Judges, an extraordinary Zeal, andThirdly, for extraordinary Affections. Courage in the defence of Gods people, is called the Spirit of God; as when it excited Othoniel, Gideon, Jephtha, and Samson to deliver them from servitude, Judg. 3. 10. 6. 34. 11. 29. 13. 25. 14. 6, 19. And of Saul, upon the newes of the insolence of the Ammonites towards the men of Jabesh Gilead, it is said (1 Sam. 11. 6.) that The Spirit of God came upon Saul, and his Anger (or, as it is in the Latine, his Fury) was kindled greatly. Where it is not probable was meant a Ghost, but an extraordinary Zeal to punish the cruelty of the Ammonites. In like manner by the Spirit of God, that came upon Saul, when hee was amongst the Prophets that praised God in Songs, and Musick(1 Sam. 19. 20.) is to be understood, not a Ghost, but an unexpected and sudden zeal to join with them in their devotion.
The false Prophet Zedekiah, saith to Micaiah (1 KingsFourthly, for the gift of Prediction by Dreams and Visions. 22. 24.) Which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak to thee? Which cannot be understood of a Ghost; for Micaiah declared before the Kings of Israel and Judah, the event of the battle, as from a Vision, and not as from a Spirit, speaking in him.
In the same manner it appeareth, in the Books of the Prophets, that though they spake by the Spirit of God, that is to say, by a speciall grace of Prediction; yet their knowledge of the future, was not by a Ghost within them, but by some supernaturall Dream or Vision.
Gen. 2. 7. It is said, God made man of the dust of theFiftly, for Life.Earth, and breathed into his nostrills (spiraculum vitæ) the breath of life, and man was made a living soul. There the breath of life inspired by God, signifies no more, but that God gave him life; And (Job 27. 3.) as long as the Spirit of God is in my nostrils; is no more then to say, as long as I live. So in Ezek. 1. 20. the Spirit of life was in the wheels, is equivalent to, the wheels were alive. And (Ezek. 2. 30.) the Spirit entred into me, and set me on my feet, that is, I recovered my vitall strength; not that any Ghost, or incorporeall substance entred into; and possessed his body.
Sixtly, for a subordination to authority. In the 11 chap. of Numbers. verse 17. I will take (saith God) of the Spirit, which is upon thee, and will put it upon them, and they shall bear the burthen of the people withthee; that is, upon the seventy Elders: whereupon two of the seventy are said to prophecy in the campe; of whom some complained, and Joshua desired Moses to forbid them; which Moses would not doe. Whereby it appears; that Joshua knew not they had received authority so to do, and prophecyed according to the mind of Moses, that is to say, by a Spirit, or Authority subordinate to his own.
In the like sense we read (Deut. 34. 9.) that Joshua was full of the Spirit of wisdome, because Moses had laid his hands upon him: that is, because he was ordained by Moses, to prosecute the work hee had himselfe begun, (namely, the bringing of Gods people into the promised land), but prevented by death, could not finish.
In the like sense it is said, (Rom. 8. 9.) If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his: not meaning thereby the Ghost of Christ, but a submission to his Doctrine. As also (1 John 4. 2.) Hereby you shall know the Spirit of God; Every Spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God; by which is meant the Spirit of unfained Christianity, or submission to that main Article of Christian faith, that Jesus is the Christ; which cannot be interpreted of a Ghost.
Likewise these words (Luke 4. 1.) And Jesus full of the Holy Ghost (that is, as it is exprest, Mat. 4. 1. and Mar. 1. 12. of the Holy Spirit,) may be understood, for Zeal to doe the work for which hee was sent by God the Father: but to interpret it of a Ghost, is to say, that God himselfe (for so our Saviour was,) was filled with God; which is very unproper, and unsignificant. How we came to translate Spirits, by the word Ghosts, which signifieth nothing, neither in heaven, nor earth, but the Imaginary inhabitants of mans brain, I examine not: but this I say, the word Spirit in the text signifieth no such thing; but either properly a reall substance, or Metaphorically, some extraordinary ability or affection of the Mind, or of the Body.
The Disciples of Christ, seeing him walking upon theSeventhly, for Aeriall Bodies. sea, (Mat. 14. 26. and Marke 6. 49.) supposed him to be a Spirit, meaning thereby an Aeriall Body, and not a Phantasme: for it is said, they all saw him; which cannot be understood of the delusions of the brain, (which are not common to many at once, as visible Bodies are; but singular, because of the differences of Fancies), but of Bodies only. In like manner, where he was taken for a Spirit, by the same Apostles (Luke 24. 3, 7.): So also (Acts 12. 15.) when St. Peter was delivered out of Prison, it would not be beleeved; but when the Maid said he was at the dore, they said it was his Angel; by which must be meant a corporeall substance, or we must say, the Disciples themselves did follow the common opinion of both Jews and Gentiles, that some such apparitions were not Imaginary, but Reall; and such as needed not the fancy of man for their Existence: These the Jews called Spirits, and Angels, Good or Bad; as the Greeks called the same by the name of Dæmons. And some such apparitions may be reall, and substantiall; that is to say, subtile Bodies, which God can form by the same power, by which he formed all things, and make use of, as of Ministers, and Messengers (that is to say, Angels) to declare his will, and execute the same when he pleaseth, in extraordinary and supernaturall manner. But when hee hath so formed them they are Substances, endued with dimensions, and take up roome, and can be moved from place to place, which is peculiar to Bodies; and therefore are not Ghosts incorporeall, that is to say, Ghosts that are in no place; that is to say, that are no where; that is to say, that seeming to be somewhat, are nothing. But if Corporeall be taken in the most vulgar manner, for such Substances as are perceptible by our externall Senses; then is Substance Incorporeall, a thing not Imaginary, but Reall; namely, a thin Substance, Invisible, but that hath the same dimensions that are in grosser Bodies.
Angel what. By the name of Angel, is signified generally, a Messenger; and most often, a Messenger of God: And by a Messenger of God, is signified, any thing that makes known his extraordinary Presence; that is to say, the extraordinary manifestation of his power, especially by a Dream, or Vision.
Concerning the creation of Angels, there is nothing delivered in the Scriptures. That they are Spirits, is often repeated: but by the name of Spirit, is signified both in Scripture, and vulgarly, both amongst Jews, and Gentiles, sometimes thin Bodies; as the Aire, the Wind, the Spirits Vitall, and Animall, of living creatures; and sometimes the Images that rise in the fancy in Dreams, and Visions; which are not reall Substances, nor last any longer then the Dream, or Vision they appear in; which Apparitions, though no reall Substances, but Accidents of the brain; yet when God raiseth them supernaturally, to signifie his Will, they are not unproperly termed Gods Messengers, that is to say, his Angels.
And as the Gentiles did vulgarly conceive the Imagery of the brain, for things really subsistent without them, and not dependent on the fancy; and out of them framed their opinions of Dœmons, Good and Evill; which because they seemed to subsist really, they called Substances; and because they could not feel them with their hands, Incorporeall: so also the Jews upon the same ground, without any thing in the Old Testament that constrained them thereunto, had generally an opinion, (except the sect of the Sadduces,) that those apparitions (which it pleased God sometimes to produce in the fancie of men, for his own service, and therefore called them his Angels) were substances, not dependent on the fancy, but permanent creatures of God; whereof those which they thought were good to them, they esteemed the Angels of God, and those they thought would hurt them, they called Evill Angels, or Evill Spirits; such as was the Spirit of Python, and the Spirits of Mad-men, of Lunatiques, and Epileptiques: For they esteemed such as were troubled with such diseases, Dæmoniaques.
But if we consider the places of the Old Testament where Angels are mentioned, we shall find, that in most of them, there can nothing else be understood by the word Angel, but some image raised (supernaturally) in the fancy, to signifie the presence of God in the execution of some supernaturall work; and therefore in the rest, where their nature is not exprest, it may be understood in the same manner.
For we read Gen. 16. that the same apparition is called, not onely an Angel, but God; where that which (verse 7.) is called the Angel of the Lord, in the tenth verse, saith to Agar, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly; that is, speaketh in the person of God. Neither was this apparition a Fancy figured, but a Voice. By which it is manifest, that Angel signifieth there, nothing but God himself, that caused Agar supernaturally to apprehend a voice from heaven; or rather, nothing else but a Voice supernaturall, testifying Gods speciall presence there. Why therefore may not the Angels that appeared to Lot, and are called Gen. 19. 13. Men; and to whom, though they were two, Lot speaketh (ver. 18.) as but to one, and that one, as God, (for the words are, Lot said unto them, Oh not so my Lord) be understood of images of men, supernaturally formed in the Fancy; as well as before by Angel was understood a fancyed Voice? When the Angel called to Abraham out of heaven, to stay his hand (Gen. 22. 11.) from slaying Isaac, there was no Apparition, but a Voice; which neverthelesse was called properly enough a Messenger, or Angel of God, because it declared Gods will supernaturally, and saves the labour of supposing any permanent Ghosts. The Angels which Jacob saw on the Ladder of Heaven (Gen. 28. 12.) were a Vision of his sleep; therefore onely Fancy, and a Dream; yet being supernaturall, and signs of Gods speciall presence, those apparitions are not improperly called Angels. The same is to be understood (Gen. 31. 11.) where Jacob saith thus, The Angel of the Lord appeared to mee in my sleep. For an apparition made to a man in his sleep, is that which all men call a Dreame, whether such Dreame be naturall, or super-naturall: and that which there Jacob calleth an Angel, was God himselfe; for the same Angel saith (verse 13.) I am the God of Bethel.
Also (Exod. 14. 9.) the Angel that went before the Army of Israel to the Red Sea, and then came behind it, is (verse 19.) the Lord himself; and he appeared not in the form of a beautifull man, but in form (by day) of a pillar of cloud, and (by night) in form of a pillar of fire; and yet this Pillar was all the apparition, and Angel promised to Moses (Exod. 14. 9.) for the Armies guide: For this cloudy pillar, is said, to have descended, and stood at the dore of the Tabernacle, and to have talked with Moses.
There you see Motion, and Speech, which are commonly attributed to Angels, attributed to a Cloud, because the Cloud served as a sign of Gods presence; and was no lesse an Angel, then if it had had the form of a Man, or Child of never so great beauty; or Wings, as usually they are painted, for the false instruction of common people. For it is not the shape; but their use, that makes them Angels. But their use is to be significations of Gods presence in supernaturall operations; As when Moses (Exod. 33. 14.) had desired God to goe along with the Campe, (as he had done alwaies before the making of the Golden Calfe,) God did not answer, I will goe, nor I will send an Angell in my stead; but thus, my presence shall goe with thee.
To mention all the places of the Old Testament where the name of Angel is found, would be too long. Therefore to comprehend them all at once, I say, there is no text in that part of the Old Testament, which the Church of England holdeth for Canonicall, from which we can conclude, there is, or hath been created, any permanent thing (understood by the name of Spirit or Angel,) that hath not quantity; and that may not be, by the understanding divided; that is to say, considered by parts; so as one part may bee in one place, and the next part in the next place to it; and, in summe, which is not (taking Body for that, which is some what, or some where) Corporeall; but in every place, the sense will bear the interpretation of Angel, for Messenger; as John Baptist is called an Angel, and Christ the Angel of the Covenant; and as (according to the same Analogy) the Dove, and the Fiery Tongues, in that they were signes of Gods speciall presence, might also be called Angels. Though we find in Daniel two names of Angels, Gabriel, and Michael; yet it is cleer out of the text it selfe, (Dan. 12. 1.) that by Michael is meant Christ, not as an Angel, but as a Prince: and that Gabriel (as the like apparitions made to other holy men in their sleep) was nothing but a supernaturall phantasme, by which it seemed to Daniel, in his dream, that two Saints being in talke, one of them said to the other, Gabriel, let us make this man understand his Vision: For God needeth not, to distinguish his Celestiall servants by names, which are usefull onely to the short memories of Mortalls. Nor in the New Testament is there any place, out of which it can be proved, that Angels (except when they are put for such men, as God hath made the Messengers, and Ministers of his word, or works) are things permanent, and withall incorporeall. That they are permanent, may bee gathered from the words of our Saviour himselfe, (Mat. 25. 41.) where he saith, it shall be said to the wicked in the last day, Go ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels: which place is manifest for the permanence of Evill Angels, (unlesse wee might think the name of Devill and his Angels may be understood of the Churches Adversaries and their Ministers;) but then it is repugnant to their Immateriality; because Everlasting fire is no punishment to impatible substances, such as are all things Incorporeall. Angels therefore are not thence proved to be Incorporeall. In like manner where St. Paul sayes (1 Cor. 6. 3.) Know ye not that wee shall judge the Angels? And (2 Pet. 2. 4.) For if God spared not the Angels that sinned, but cast them down into hell. And (Jude 1, 6.) And the Angels that kept not their first estate, but left their owne habitation, hee hath reserved in everlasting chaines under darknesse unto the Judgment of the last day; though it prove the Permanence of Angelicall nature, it confirmeth also their Materiality. And (Mat. 22. 30.) In the resurrection men doe neither marry, nor give in marriage, but are as the Angels of God in heaven: but in the resurrection men shall be Permanent, and not Incorporeall; so therefore also are the Angels.
There be divers other places out of which may be drawn the like conclusion. To men that understand the signification of these words, Substance, and Incorporeall; as Incorporeall is taken not for subtile body but for not Body, they imply a contradiction: insomuch as to say, an Angel, or Spirit is (in that sense) an Incorporeall Substance, is to say in effect, there is no Angel nor Spirit at all. Considering therefore the signification of the word Angel in the Old Testament, and the nature of Dreams and Visions that happen to men by the ordinary way of Nature; I was enclined to this opinion, that Angels were nothing but supernaturall apparitions of the Fancy, raised by the speciall and extraordinary operation of God, thereby to make his presence and commandements known to mankind, and chiefly to his own people. But the many places of the New Testament, and our Saviours own words, and in such texts, wherein is no suspicion of corruption of the Scripture, have extorted from my feeble Reason, an acknowledgment, and beleef, that there be also Angels substantiall, and permanent. But to beleeve they be in no place, that is to say, no where, that is to say, nothing, as they (though indirectly) say, that will have them Incorporeall, cannot by Scripture bee evinced.
Inspiration what. In the signification of the word Spirit, dependeth that of the word Inspiration; which must either be taken properly; and then it is nothing but the blowing into a man some thin and subtile aire, or wind, in such manner as a man filleth a bladder with his breath; or if Spirits be not corporeall, but have their existence only in the fancy, it is nothing but the blowing in of a Phantasme; which is improper to say, and impossible; for Phantasmes are not, but only seem to be somewhat. That word therefore is used in the Scripture metaphorically onely: As (Gen. 2. 7.) where it is said, that God inspired into man the breath of life, no more is meant, then that God gave unto him vitall motion. For we are not to think that God made first a living breath, and then blew it into Adam after he was made, whether that breath were reall, or seeming; but only as it is (Acts 17. 25.) that he gave him life, and breath; that is, made him a living creature. And where it is said (2 Tim. 3. 16.) all Scripture is given by Inspiration from God, speaking there of the Scripture of the Old Testament, it is an easie metaphor, to signifie, that God enclined the spirit or mind of those Writers, to write that which should be usefull, in teaching, reproving, correcting, and instructing men in the way of righteous living. But where St. Peter (2 Pet. 1. 21.) saith, that Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but the holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, by the Holy Spirit, is meant the voice of God in a Dream, or Vision supernaturall, which is not Inspiration: Nor when our Saviour breathing on his Disciples, said, Receive the Holy Spirit, was that Breath the Spirit, but a sign of the spirituall graces he gave unto them. And though it be said of many, and of our Saviour himself, that he was full of the Holy Spirit; yet that Fulnesse is not to be understood for Infusion of the substance of God, but for accumulation of his gifts, such as are the gift of sanctity of life, of tongues, and the like, whether attained supernaturally, or by study and industry; for in all cases they are the gifts of God. So likewise where God sayes (Joel 2. 28.) I will powre out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your Sons and your Daughters shall prophecy, your Old men shall dream Dreams, and your Young men shall see Visions, wee are not to understand it in the proper sense, as if his Spirit were like water, subject to effusion, or infusion; but as if God had promised to give them Propheticall Dreams, and Visions. For the proper use of the word infused, in speaking of the graces of God, is an abuse of it; for those graces are Vertues, not Bodies to be carryed hither and thither, and to be powred into men, as into barrels.
In the same manner, to take Inspiration in the proper sense, or to say that Good Spirits entred into men to make them prophecy, or Evill Spirits into those that became Phrenetique, Lunatique, or Epileptique, is not to take the word in the sense of the Scripture; for the Spirit there is taken for the power of God, working by causes to us unknown. As also (Acts 2. 2.) the wind, that is there said to fill the house wherein the Apostles were assembled on the day of Pentecost, is not to be understood for the Holy Spirit, which is the Deity it self; but for an Externall sign of Gods speciall working on their hearts, to effect in them the internall graces, and holy vertues hee thought requisite for the performance of their Apostleship.
Of the Signification in Scripture ofKingdome Of God, ofHoly, SACRED, andSacrament.
The Kingdom of God taken by Divines Metaphorically, but in the Scriptures properly.TheKingdome of God in the Writings of Divines, and specially in Sermons, and Treatises of Devotion, is taken most commonly for Eternall Felicity, after this life, in the Highest Heaven, which they also call the Kingdome of Glory; and sometimes for (the earnest of that felicity) Sanctification, which they terme the Kingdome of Grace; but never for the Monarchy, that is to say, the Soveraign Power of God over any Subjects acquired by their own consent, which is the proper signification of Kingdome.
To the contrary, I find the Kingdome ofGod, to signifie in most places of Scripture, a Kingdome properly so named, constituted by the Votes of the People of Israel in peculiar manner; wherein they chose God for their King by Covenant made with him, upon Gods promising them the possession of the land of Canaan; and but seldom metaphorically; and then it is taken for Dominion over sinne; (and only in the New Testament;) because such a Dominion as that, every Subject shall have in the Kingdome of God, and without prejudice to the Soveraign.
From the very Creation, God not only reigned over all men naturally by his might; but also had peculiar Subjects, whom he commanded by a Voice, as one man speaketh to another. In which manner he reigned over Adam, and gave him commandement to abstaine from the tree of cognizance of Good and Evill; which when he obeyed not, but tasting thereof, took upon him to be as God, judging between Good and Evill, not by his Creators commandement, but by his own sense, his punishment was a privation of the estate of Eternall life, wherein God had at first created him: And afterwards God punished his posterity, for their vices, all but eight persons, with an universall deluge; And in these eight did consist the then Kingdom of God.
After this, it pleased God to speak to Abraham,The originall of the Kingdome of God. and (Gen. 17. 7, 8.) to make a Covenant with him in these words, I will establish my Covenant between me, and thee, and thy seed after thee in their generations, for an everlasting Covenant, to be a God to thee, and to thy seed after thee; And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession. In this Covenant Abraham promiseth for himselfe and his posterity to obey as God, the Lord that spake to him: and God on his part promiseth to Abraham the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession. And for a memoriall, and a token of this Covenant, he ordaineth (verse 11.) the Sacrament of Circumcision. This is it which is called the Old Covenant, or Testament; and containeth a Contract between God and Abraham; by which Abraham obligeth himself, and his posterity, in a peculiar manner to be subject to Gods positive Law; for to the Law Morall he was obliged before, as by an Oath of Allegiance. And though the name of King be not yet given to God, nor of Kingdome to Abraham and his seed; yet the thing is the same; namely, an Institution by pact, of Gods peculiar Soveraignty over the seed of Abraham; which in the renewing of the same Covenant by Moses, at Mount Sinai, is expressely called a peculiar Kingdome of God over the Jews: and it is of Abraham (not of Moses) St. Paul saith (Rom. 4. 11.) that he is the Father of the Faithfull; that is, of those that are loyall, and doe not violate their Allegiance sworn to God, then by Circumcision, and afterwards in the New Covenant by Baptisme.
That the Kingdome of God is properly his Civill Soveraignty over a peculiar people by pact. This Covenant, at the Foot of Mount Sinai, was renewed by Moses (Exod. 19. 5.) where the Lord commandeth Moses to speak to the people in this manner, If you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my Covenant, then yee shall be a peculiar people to me, for all the Earth is mine; And yee shall be unto me a Sacerdotall Kingdome, and an holy Nation. For a Peculiar people, the vulgar Latine hath, Peculium de cunctis populis: the English Translation made in the beginning of the Reign of King James, hath, a Peculiar treasure unto me above all Nations; and the Geneva French, the most precious Jewel of all Nations. But the truest Translation is the first, because it is confirmed by St. Paul himself (Tit. 2. 14.) where he saith, alluding to that place, that our blessed Saviour gave himself for us, that he might purifie us to himself, a peculiar (that is, an extraordinary) people: for the word is in the Greek περιούσιος which is opposed commonly to the word ἐπιούσιος: and as this signifieth ordinary, quotidian, or (as in the Lords Prayer) of daily use; so the other signifieth that which is overplus, and stored up, and enjoyed in a speciall manner; which the Latines call Peculium: and this meaning of the place is confirmed by the reason God rendereth of it, which followeth immediately, in that he addeth, For all the Earth is mine, as if he should say, All the Nations of the world are mine; but it is not so that you are mine, but in a speciall manner: For they are all mine, by reason of my Power; but you shall be mine, by your own Consent, and Covenant; which is an addition to his ordinary title, to all nations.
The same is again confirmed in expresse words in the same text, Yee shall be to me a Sacerdotall Kingdome, and an holy Nation. The Vulgar Latine hath it, Regnum Sacerdotale, to which agreeth the Translation of that place (1 Pet. 2. 9.) Sacerdotium Regale, a Regal Priesthood; as also the Institution it self, by which no man might enter into the Sanctum Sanctorum, that is to say, no man might enquire Gods will immediately of God himselfe, but onely the High Priest. The English Translation before mentioned, following that of Geneva, has, a Kingdom of Priests; which is either meant of the succession of one High Priest after another, or else it accordeth not with St. Peter, nor with the exercise of the High priesthood: For there was never any but the High priest onely, that was to informe the People of Gods Will; nor any Convocation of Priests ever allowed to enter into the Sanctum Sanctorum.
Again, the title of a Holy Nation confirmes the same: for Holy signifies, that which is Gods by speciall, not by generall Right. All the Earth (as is said in the text) is Gods; but all the Earth is not called Holy, but that onely which is set apart for his especiall service, as was the Nation of the Jews. It is therefore manifest enough by this one place, that by the Kingdome of God, is properly meant a Common-wealth, instituted (by the consent of those which were to be subject thereto) for their Civill Government, and the regulating of their behaviour, not onely towards God their King, but also towards one another in point of justice, and towards other Nations both in peace and warre; which properly was a Kingdome, wherein God was King, and the High priest was to be (after the death of Moses) his sole Viceroy, or Lieutenant.
But there be many other places that clearly prove the same. As first (1 Sam. 8. 7.) when the Elders of Israel (grieved with the corruption of the Sons of Samuel) demanded a King, Samuel displeased there-with, prayed unto the Lord; and the Lord answering said unto him, Hearken unto the voice of the People, for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. Out of which it is evident, that God himself was then their King; and Samuel did not command the people, but only delivered to them that which God from time to time appointed him.
Again, (1 Sam. 12. 12.) where Samuel saith to the People, When yee saw that Nahash King of the Children of Ammon came against you, ye said unto me, Nay, but a King shall reign over us, when the Lord your God was your King: It is manifest that God was their King, and governed the Civill State of their Common-wealth.
And after the Israelites had rejected God, the Prophets did foretell his restitution; as (Isaiah 24. 23.) Then the Moon shall be confounded, and the Sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem; where he speaketh expressely of his Reign in Zion, and Jerusalem; that is, on Earth. And (Micah 4. 7.) And the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion: This Mount Zion is in Jerusalem upon the Earth. And (Ezek. 20. 33.) As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and a stretched out arme, and with fury powred out, I wil rule over you; and (verse 37.) I will cause you to passe under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the Covenant; that is, I will reign over you, and make you to stand to that Covenant which you made with me by Moses, and brake in your rebellion against me in the days of Samuel, and in your election of another King.
And in the New Testament, the Angel Gabriel saith of our Saviour (Luke 1. 32, 33.) He shall be great, and be called the Son of the most High, and the Lord shallgive him the throne of his Father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his King dome there shall be no end. This is also a Kingdome upon Earth; for the claim whereof, as an enemy to Cæsar, he was put to death; the title of his crosse, was, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews; hee was crowned in scorn with a crown of Thornes; and for the proclaiming of him, it is said of the Disciples (Acts 17. 7.) That they did all of them contrary to the decrees of Cæsar, saying there was another King, one Jesus. The Kingdome therefore of God, is a reail, not a metaphoricall Kingdome; and so taken, not onely in the Old Testament, but the New; when we say, For thine is the Kingdome, the Power, and Glory, it is to be understood of Gods Kingdome, by force of our Covenant, not by the Right of Gods Power; for such a Kingdome God alwaies hath; so that it were superfluous to say in our prayer, Thy Kingdome come, unlesse it be meant of the Restauration of that Kingdome of God by Christ, which by revolt of the Israelites had been interrupted in the election of Saul. Nor had it been proper to say, The Kingdome of Heaven is at hand; or to pray, Thy Kingdome come, if it had still continued.
There be so many other places that confirm this interpretation, that it were a wonder there is no greater notice taken of it, but that it gives too much light to Christian Kings to see their right of Ecclesiasticall Government. This they have observed, that in stead of a Sacerdotall Kingdome, translate, a Kingdome of Priests: for they may as well translate a Royall Priesthood, (as it is in St. Peter) into a Priesthood of Kings. And whereas, for a peculiar people, they put a pretious jewel, or treasure, a man might as well call the speciall Regiment, or Company of a Generall, the Generalls pretious Jewel, or his Treasure.
In short, the Kingdome of God is a Civill Kingdome; which consisted, first in the obligation of the people of Israel to those Laws, which Moses should bring unto them from Mount Sinai; and which afterwards the High Priest for the time being, should deliver to them from before the Cherubins in the Sanctum Sanctorum; and which Kingdome having been cast off, in the election of Saul, the Prophets foretold, should be restored by Christ; and the Restauration whereof we daily pray for, when we say in the Lords Prayer, Thy Kingdome come; and the Right whereof we acknowledge, when we adde, For thine is the Kingdome, the Power, and Glory, for ever, and ever, Amen; and the Proclaiming whereof, was the Preaching of the Apostles; and to which men are prepared, by the Teachers of the Gospel; to embrace which Gospel, (that is to say, to promise obedience to Gods government) is, to bee in the Kingdome of Grace, because God hath gratis given to such the power to bee the Subjects (that is, Children of God hereafter, when Christ shall come in Majesty to judge the world, and actually to govern his owne people, which is called the Kingdome of Glory. If the Kingdome of God (called also the Kingdome of Heaven, from the gloriousnesse, and admirable height of that throne) were not a Kingdome which God by his Lieutenants, or Vicars, who deliver his Commandements to the people, did exercise on Earth; there would not have been so much contention, and warre, about who it is, by whom God speaketh to us; neither would many Priests have troubled themselves with Spiritual Jurisdiction, nor any King have denied it them.
Holy what. Out of this literall interpretation of the Kingdome of God, ariseth also the true interpretation of the word Holy. For it is a word, which in Gods Kingdome answereth to that, which men in their Kingdomes use to call Publique, or the Kings.
The King of any Countrey is the Publique Person, or Representative of all his own Subjects. And God the King of Israel was the Holy one of Israel. The Nation which is subject to one earthly Soveraign, is the Nation of that Soveraign, that is, of the Publique Person. So the Jews, who were Gods Nation, were called (Exod. 19. 6.) a Holy Nation. For by Holy, is alwaies understood, either God himselfe, or that which is Gods in propriety; as by Publique, is alwaies meant either the Person of the Common-wealth it self, or something that is so the Common-wealths, as no private person can claim any propriety therein.
Therefore the Sabbath (Gods day) is a Holy day; the Temple, (Gods house) a Holy house; Sacrifices, Tithes, and Offerings (Gods tribute) Holy duties; Priests, Prophets, and anointed Kings, under Christ (Gods Ministers) Holy men; the Cœlestiall ministring Spirits (Gods Messengers) Holy Angels; and the like: and wheresoever the word Holy is taken properly, there is still something signified of Propriety, gotten by consent. In saying Hallowed be thy name, we do but pray to God for grace to keep the first Commandement, of having no other Gods but him. Mankind is Gods Nation in propriety: but the Jews only were a Holy Nation. Why, but because they became his Propriety by covenant?
And the word Profane, is usually taken in the Scripture for the same with Common; and consequently their contraries, Holy, and Proper, in the Kingdome of God must be the same also. But figuratively, those men also are called Holy, that led such godly lives, as if they had forsaken all worldly designs, and wholly devoted, and given themselves to God. In the proper sense, that which is made HolySacred what. by Gods appropriating or separating it to his own use, is said to be sanctified by God, as the Seventh day in the fourth Commandement; and as the Elect in the New Testament were said to bee sanctified, when they were endued with the Spirit of godlinesse. And that which is made Holy by the dedication of men, and given to God, so as to be used onely in his publique service, is called also Sacred, and said to be consecrated, as Temples, and other Houses of Publique Prayer, and their Utensils, Priests, and Ministers, Victimes, Offerings, and the externall matter of Sacraments.
Of Holinesse there be degrees: for of those thingsDegrees of Sanctity. that are set apart for the service of God, there may bee some set apart again, for a neerer and more especial service. The whole Nation of the Israelites were a people Holy to God; yet the tribe of Levi was amongst the Israelites a Holy tribe; and amongst the Levites, the Priests were yet more Holy; and amongst the Priests, the High Priest was the most Holy. So the Land of Judea was the Holy Land; but the Holy City wherein God was to be worshipped, was more Holy; and again, the Temple more Holy than the City; and the Sanctum Sanctorum more Holy than the rest of the Temple.
A Sacrament, is a separation of some visible thingSacrament. from common use; and a consecration of it to Gods service, for a sign, either of our admission into the Kingdome of God, to be of the number of his peculiar people, or for a Commemoration of the same. In the Old Testament, the sign of Admission was Circumcision; in the New Testament, Baptisme. The Commemoration of it in the Old Testament, was the Eating (at a certaine time, which was Anniversary) of the Paschall Lamb; by which they were put in mind of the night wherein they were delivered out of their bondage in Egypt; and in the New Testament, the celebrating of the Lords Supper; by which, we are put in mind, of our deliverance from the bondage of sin, by our Blessed Saviours death upon the crosse. The Sacraments of Admission, are but once to be used, because there needs but one Admission; but because we have need of being often put in mind of our deliverance, and of our Alleagance, the Sacraments of Commemoration have need to be reiterated. And these are the principall Sacraments, and as it were the solemne oathes we make of our Alleageance. There be also other Consecrations, that may be called Sacraments, as the word implyeth onely Consecration to Gods service; but as it implies an oath, or promise of Alleageance to God, there were no other in the Old Testament, but Circumcision, and the Passeover; nor are there any other in the New Testament, but Baptisme, and the Lords Supper.
Of theWord of God, and ofProphets.
Word what.When there is mention of the Word of God, or of Man, it doth not signifie a part of Speech, such as Grammarians call a Nown, or a Verb, or any simple voice, without a contexture with other words to make it significative; but a perfect Speech or Discourse, whereby the speaker affirmeth, denieth, commandeth, promiseth, threatneth, wisheth, or interrogateth. In which sense it is not Vocabulum, that signifies a Word; but Sermo, (in Greek λόγος) that is, some Speech, Discourse, or Saying.
Again, if we say the Word of God, or of Man, it mayThe words spoken by God, and concerning God, both are called Gods Word in Scripture. bee understood sometimes of the Speaker, (as the words that God hath spoken, or that a Man hath spoken: In which sense, when we say, the Gospel of St. Matthew, we understand St. Matthew to be the Writer of it: and sometimes of the Subject: In which sense, when we read in the Bible, The words of the days of the Kings of Israel, or Judah, ‘tis meant, that the acts that were done in those days, were the Subject of those Words; And in the Greek, which (in the Scripture) retaineth many Hebraismes, by the Word of God is oftentimes meant, not that which is spoken by God, but concerning God, and his government; that is to say, the Doctrine of Religion: Insomuch, as it is all one, to say λόγος Θεο and Theologia; which is, that Doctrine which wee usually call Divinity, as is manifest by the places following [Acts 13. 46.] Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you, but seeing you put it from you, and judge your selves unworthy of everlasting life, loe, we turn to the Gentiles. That which is here called the Word of God, was the Doctrine of Christian Religion; as it appears evidently by that which goes before. And [Acts 5. 20.] where it is said to the Apostles by an Angel, Go stand and speak in the Temple, all the Words of this life; by the Words of this life, is meant, the Doctrine of the Gospel; as is evident by what they did in the Temple, and is expressed in the last verse of the same Chap. Daily in the Temple, and in every house they ceased not to teach and preach Christ Jesus: In which place it is manifest, that Jesus Christ was the subject of this Word of life; or (which is all one) the subject of the Words of this life eternall, that our Saviour offered them. So [Acts 15. 7.] the Word of God, is called the Word of the Gospel, because it containeth the Doctrine of the Kingdome of Christ; and the same Word [Rom. 10. 8, 9.] is called the Word of Faith; that is, as is there expressed, the Doctrine of Christ come, and raised from the dead. Also[Mat. 13. 19.] When any one heareth the Word of the Kingdome; that is, the Doctrine of the Kingdome taught by Christ. Again, the same Word, is said [Acts 12. 24.] to grow and to be multiplyed; which to understand of the Evangelicall Doctrine is easie, but of the Voice, or Speech of God, hard and strange. In the same sense the Doctrine of Devils, signifieth not the Words of any Devill, but the Doctrine of Heathen1 Tim. 4. 1. men concerning Dæmons, and those Phantasms which they worshipped as Gods.
Considering these two significations of the Word ofGod, as it is taken in Scripture, it is manifest in this later sense (where it is taken for the Doctrine of Christian Religion,) that the whole Scripture is the Word of God: but in the former sense not so. For example, though these words, I am the Lord thy God, &c. to the end of the Ten Commandements, were spoken by God to Moses; yet the Preface, God spake these words and said, is to be understood for the Words of him that wrote the holy History. The Word of God, as it is taken for that which he hath spoken, isThe Word of God metaphorically used, first, for the Decrees and Power of God. nderstood sometimes Properly, sometimes Metaphorically. Properly, as the words, he hath spoken to his Prophets: Metaphorically, for his Wisdome, Power, and eternall Decree, in making the world; in which sense, those Fiats, Let their be light, Let there be a firmament, Let us make man, &c. [Gen. 1.] are the Word of God. And in the same sense it is said [John 1. 3.] All things were made by it, and without it was nothing made that was made: And [Heb. 1. 3.] He upholdeth all things by the Word of his Power; that is, by the Power of his Word; that is, by his Power: and [Heb. 11. 3.] The worlds were framed by the Word of God; and many other places to the same sense: As also amongst the Latines, the name of Fate, which signifieth properly The word spoken, is taken in the same sense.
Secondly, for the effect of his Word. Secondly, for the effect of his Word; that is to say, for the thing it self, which by his Word is Affirmed, Commanded, Threatned, or Promised; as [Psalm 105. 19.] where Joseph is said to have been kept in prison, till his Word was come; that is, till that was come to passe which he had [Gen. 40. 13.] foretold to Pharaohs Butler, concerning his being restored to his office: for there by his word was come, is meant, the thing it self was come to passe. So also [1 King. 18. 36.] Elijah saith to God, I have done all these thy Words, in stead of I have done all these things at thy Word, or commandement: and [Jer. 17. 15.] Where is the Word of the Lord, is put for, Where is the Evill he threatned: And [Ezek. 12. 28.] There shall none of my Words be prolonged any more: by words are understood those things, which God promised to his people. And in the New Testament [Mat. 24. 35.] heaven and earth shal pass away, but my Words shal not pass away; that is, there is nothing that I have promised or foretold, that shall not come to passe. And in this sense it is, that St. John the Evangelist, and, I think, St. John onely calleth our Saviour himself as in the flesh the Word of God [as Joh. 1. 14.] the Word was made Flesh; that is to say, the Word, or Promise that Christ should come into the world; who in the beginning was with God; that is to say, it was in the purpose of God the Father, to send God the Son into the world, to enlighten men in the way of Eternall life; but it was not till then put in execution, and actually incarnate; So that our Saviour is there called the Word, not because he was the promise, but the thing promised. They that taking occasion from this place, doe commonly call him the Verbe of God, do but render the text more obscure. They might as well term him the Nown of God: for as by Nown, so also by Verbe, men understand nothing but a part of speech, a voice, a sound, that neither affirms, nor denies, nor commands, nor promiseth, nor is any substance corporeall, or spirituall; and therefore it cannot be said to bee either God, or Man; whereas our Saviour is both. And this Word which St. John in his Gospel saith was with God, is [in his 1 Epistle, verse 1.] called the Word of life; and [verse 2.] the Eternall life, which was with the Father: so that he can be in no other sense called the Word, then in that, wherein he is called Eternall life; that is, he that hath procured us Eternall life, by his comming in the flesh. So also [Apocalypse 19. 13.] the Apostle speaking of Christ, clothed in a garment dipt in bloud, faith; his name is the Word of God; which is to be understood, as if he had said his name had been, He that was come according to the purpose of God from the beginning, and according to his Word and promises delivered by the Prophets. So that there is nothing here of the Incarnation of a Word, but of the Incarnation of God the Son,Acts 1. 4. Luke 24. 49. herefore called the Word, because his Incarnation was the Performance of the Promise; In like manner as the Holy Ghost is called the Promise.
Thirdly, for the words of reason and equity. There are also places of the Scripture, where, by the Word of God, is signified such Words as are consonant to reason, and equity, though spoken sometimes neither by Prophet, nor by a holy man. For Pharaoh Necho was an Idolater; yet his Words to the good King Josiah, in which he advised him by Messengers, not to oppose him in his march against Carchemish, are said to have proceeded from the mouth of God; and that Josiah not hearkning to them, was slain in the battle; as is to be read 2 Chron. 35. vers. 21, 22, 23. It is true, that as the same History is related in the first Book of Esdras, not Pharaoh, but Jeremiah spake these words to Josiah, from the mouth of the Lord. But wee are to give credit to the Canonicall Scripture, whatsoever be written in the Apocrypha.
The Word of God, is then also to be taken for the Dictates of reason, and equity, when the same is said in the Scriptures to bee written in mans heart; as Psalm 36. 31. Jerem. 31. 33. Deut. 30. 11, 14. and many other like places.
Divers acceptions of the word Prophet. The name of Prophet, signifieth in Scripture sometimes Prolocutor; that is, he that speaketh from God to Man, or from man to God: And sometimes Prœdictor, or a foreteller of things to come: And sometimes one that speaketh incoherently, as men that are distracted. It is most frequently used in the sense of speaking from God to the People. So Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others were Prophets. And in this sense the High Priest was a Prophet, for he only went into the Sanctum Sanctorum, to enquire of God; and was to declare his answer to the people. And therefore when Caiphas said, it was expedient that one man should die for the people, St. John saith [chap. 11. 51.] that He spake not this of himselfe, but being High Priest that year, he prophesied that one man should dye for the nation. Also they that in Christian Congregations taught the people [1 Cor. 14. 3.] are said to Prophecy. In the like sense it is, that God saith to Moses [Exod. 4. 16.] concerning Aaron, He shall be thy Spokes-man to the People; and he shall be to thee a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God: that which here is Spokes-man, is [chap. 7. 1.] interpreted Prophet; See (saith God) I have made thee a God to Pharaoh, and Aaron thy Brother shall be thy Prophet. In the sense of speaking from man to God Abraham is called a Prophet [Genes. 20. 7.] where God in a Dream speaketh to Abimelech in this manner, Now therefore restore the man his wife, for he is a Prophet, and shall pray for thee; whereby may be also gathered, that the name of Prophet may be given, not unproperly to them that in Christian Churches, have a Calling to say publique prayers for the Congregation. In the same sense, the Prophets that came down from the High place (or Hill of God) with a Psaltery, and a Tabret, and a Pipe, and a Harp [1 Sam. 10. 5, 6.] and [vers. 10.] Saul amongst them, are said to Prophecy, in that they praised God, in that manner publiquely. In the like sense, is Miriam [Exod. 15. 20.] called a Prophetesse. So is it also to be taken [1 Cor. 11. 4, 5.] where St. Paul saith, Every man that prayeth or prophecyeth with his head covered, &c. and every woman that prayeth or prophecyeth with her head uncovered: For Prophecy in that place, signifieth no more, but praising God in Psalmes, and Holy Songs; which women might doe in the Church, though it were not lawfull for them to speak to the Congregation. And in this signification it is, that the Poets of the Heathen, that composed Hymnes and other sorts of Poems in the honor of their Gods, were called Vates (Prophets) as is well enough known by all that are versed in the Books of the Gentiles, and as is evident [Tit. 1. 12.] where St. Paul saith of the Cretians, that a Prophet of their owne said, they were Liars; not that St. Paul held their Poets for Prophets, but acknowledgeth that the word Prophet was commonly used to signifie them that celebrated the honour of God in Verse.
Prædiction of future contingents, not alwaies Prophecy. When by Prophecy is meant Prædiction, or foretelling of future Contigents; not only they were Prophets, who were Gods Spokes-men, and foretold those things to others, which God had foretold to them; but also all those Impostors, that pretend by the helpe of familiar spirits, or by superstitious divination of events past, from false causes, to foretell the like events in time to come: of which (as I have declared already in the 12. chapter of this Discourse) there be many kinds, who gain in the opinion of the common sort of men, a greater reputation of Prophecy, by one casuall event that may bee but wrested to their purpose, than can be lost again by never so many failings. Prophecy is not an Art, nor (when it is taken for Prædiction) a constant Vocation; but an extraordinary, and temporary Employment from God, most often of Good men, but sometimes also of the Wicked. The woman of Endor, who is said to have had a familiar spirit, and thereby to have raised a Phantasme of Samuel, and foretold Saul his death, was not therefore a Prophetesse; for neither had she any science, whereby she could raise such a Phantasme; nor does it appear that God commanded the raising of it; but onely guided that Imposture to be a means of Sauls terror and discouragement; and by consequent, of the discomfiture, by which he fell. And for Incoherent Speech, it was amongst the Gentiles taken for one sort of Prophecy, because the Prophets of their Oracles, intoxicated with a spirit, or vapor from the cave of the Pythian Oracle at Delphi, were for the time really mad, and spake like madmen; of whose loose words a sense might be made to fit any event, in such sort, as all bodies are said to be made of Materia prima. In the Scripture I find it also so taken [1 Sam. 18. 10.] in these words, And the Evill spirit came upon Saul, and he Prophecyed in the midst of the house.
The manner how God hath spoken to the Prophets. And although there be so many significations in Scripture of the word Prophet; yet is that the most frequent, in which it is taken for him, to whom God speaketh immediately, that which the Prophet is to say from him, to some other man, or to the people. And hereupon a question may be asked, in what manner God speaketh to such a Prophet. Can it (may some say) be properly said, that God hath voice and language, when it cannot be properly said, he hath a tongue, or other organs, as a man? The Prophet David argueth thus, Shall he that made the eye, not see? or he that made the ear, not hear? But this may be spoken, not (as usually) to signifie Gods nature, but to signifie our intention to honor him. For to see, and hear, are Honorable Attributes, and may be given to God, to declare (as far as our capacity can conceive) his Almighty power. But if it were to be taken in the strict, and proper sense, one might argue from his making of all other parts of mans body, that he had also the same use of them which we have; which would be many of them so uncomely, as it would be the greatest contumely in the world to ascribe them to him. Therefore we are to interpret Gods speaking to men immediately, for that way (whatsoever it be), by which God makes them understand his will: And the wayes whereby he doth this, are many; and to be sought onely in the Holy Scripture: where though many times it be said, that God spake to this, and that person, without declaring in what manner; yet there be again many places, that deliver also the signes by which they were to acknowledge his presence, and commandement; and by these may be understood, how he spake to many of the rest.
In what manner God spake to Adam, and Eve,To the Extraordinary Prophets of the Old Testament he spake by Dreams, or Visions. and Cain, and Noah, is not expressed; nor how he spake to Abraham, till such time as he came out of his own countrey to Sichem in the land of Canaan; and then [Gen. 12. 7.] God is said to have appeared to him. So there is one way, whereby God made his presence manifest; that is, by an Apparition, or Vision. And again, [Gen. 15. 1.] The Word of the Lord came to Abraham in a Vision; that is to say, somewhat, as a sign of Gods presence, appeared as Gods Messenger, to speak to him. Again, the Lord appeared to Abraham [Gen. 18. 1.] by an apparition of three Angels; and to Abimelech [Gen. 20. 3.] in a dream: To Lot [Gen. 19. 1.] by an apparition of two Angels: And to Hagar [Gen. 21. 17.] by the apparition of one Angel: And to Abraham again [Gen. 22. 11.] by the apparition of a voice from heaven: And [Gen. 26. 24.] to Isaac in the night; (that is, in his sleep, or by dream): And to Jacob [Gen. 18. 12.] in a dream; that is to say (as are the words of the text) Jacob dreamed that he saw a ladder, &c. And [Gen. 32. 1.] in a Vision of Angels: And to Moses [Exod. 3. 2.] in the apparition of a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: And after the time of Moses, (where the manner how God spake immediately to man in the Old Testament, is expressed) hee spake alwaies by a Vision, or by a Dream; as to Gideon, Samuel, Eliah, Elisha, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the rest of the Prophets; and often in the New Testament, as to Joseph, to St. Peter, to St. Paul, and to St. John the Evangelist in the Apocalypse.
Onely to Moses hee spake in a more extraordinary manner in Mount Sinai, and in the Tabernacle; and to the High Priest in the Tabernacle, and in the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Temple. But Moses, and after him the High Priests were Prophets of a more eminent place, and degree in Gods favour; And God himself in express words declareth, that to other Prophets hee spake in Dreams and Visions, but to his servant Moses, in such manner as a man speaketh to his friend. The words are these [Numb. 12. 6, 7, 8.] If there be a Prophet among you, I the Lord will make my self known to him in a Vision, and will speak unto him in a Dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithfull in all my house; with him I will speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold. And [Exod. 33. 11.] The Lord spake to Moses face to face, as a man speaketh to his friend. And yet this speaking of God to Moses, was by mediation of an Angel, or Angels, as appears expressely, Acts 7. ver. 35. and 53. and Gal. 3. 19. and was therefore a Vision, though a more cleer Vision than was given to other Prophets, And conformable hereunto, where God saith (Deut. 13. 1.) If there arise amongst you a Prophet, or Dreamer of Dreams, the later word is but the interpretation of the former. And [Joel 2. 28.] Your sons and your daughters shall Prophecy; your old men shall dream Dreams, and your young men shall see Visions: where again, the word Prophecy is expounded by Dream, and Vision. And in the same manner it was, that God spake to Solomon, promising him Wisdome, Riches, and Honor; for the text saith, [1 Kings 3. 15.] And Solomon awoak, and behold it was a Dream: So that generally the Prophets extraordinary in the Old Testament took notice of the Word of God no otherwise, than from their Dreams, or Visions; that is to say, from the imaginations which they had in their sleep, or in an Extasie: which imaginations in every true Prophet were supernaturall; but in false Prophets were either naturall, or feigned.
The same Prophets were neverthelesse said to speak by the Spirit; as [Zach. 7. 12.] where the Prophet speaking of the Jewes, saith, They made their hearts hard as A damant, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of Hosts hath sent in his Spirit by the former Prophets. By which it is manifest, that speaking by the Spirit, or Inspiration, was not a particular manner of Gods speaking, different from Vision, when they that were said to speak by the Spirit, were extraordinary Prophets, such as for every new message, were to have a particular Commission, or (which is all one) a new Dream, or Vision.
Of Prophets, that were so by a perpetuall Calling inTo Prophets of perpetuall Calling, and Supreme, God spake in the Old Testament from the Mercy Seat, in a manner not expressed in the Scripture. the Old Testament, some were supreme, and some subordinate: Supreme were first Moses; and after him the High Priests, every one for his time, as long as the Priesthood was Royall; and after the people of the Jews, had rejected God, that he should no more reign over them, those Kings which submitted themselves to Gods government, were also his chief Prophets; and the High Priests office became Ministeriall. And when God was to be consulted, they put on the holy vestments, and enquired of the Lord, as the King commanded them, and were deprived of their office, when the King thought fit. For King Saul [1 Sam. 13. 9.] commanded the burnt offering to be brought, and [1 Sam. 14. 18.] he commands the Priest to bring the Ark neer him; and [ver. 19.] again to let it alone, because he saw an advantage upon his enemies. And in the same chapter Saul asketh counsell of God. In like manner King David, after his being anointed, though before he had possession of the Kingdome, is said to enquire of the Lord [1 Sam. 23. 2.] whether he should fight against the Philistines at Keilah; and [verse 10.] David commandeth the Priest to bring him the Ephod, to enquire whether he should stay in Keilah, or not. And King Solomon [1 Kings 2. 27.] took the Priesthood from Abiathar, and gave it [verse 35.] to Zadoc. Therefore Moses, and the High Priests, and the pious Kings, who enquired of God on all extraordinary occasions, how they were to carry themselves, or what event they were to have, were all Soveraign Prophets. But in what manner God spake unto them, is not manifest. To say that when Moses went up to God in Mount Sinai, it was a Dream, or Vision, such as other Prophets had, is contrary to that distinction which God made between Moses, and other Prophets, Numb. 12. 6, 7, 8. To say God spake or appeared as he is in his own nature, is to deny his Infinitenesse, Invisibility, Incomprehensibility. To say he spake by Inspiration, or Infusion of the Holy Spirit, as the Holy Spirit signifieth the Deity, is to make Moses equall with Christ, in whom onely the Godhead [as St. Paul speaketh Col. 2. 9.] dwelleth bodily. And lastly, to say he spake by the Holy Spirit, as it signifieth the graces, or gifts of the Holy Spirit, is to attribute nothing to him supernaturall. For God disposeth men to Piety, Justice, Mercy, Truth, Faith, and all manner of Vertue, both Morall, and Intellectuall, by doctrine, example, and by severall occasions, naturall, and ordinary.
And as these ways cannot be applyed to God, in his speaking to Moses, at Mount Sinai; so also, they cannot be applyed to him, in his speaking to the High Priests, from the Mercy-Seat. Therefore in what manner God spake to those Soveraign Prophets of the Old Testament, whose office it was to enquire of him, is not intelligible. In the time of the New Testament, there was no Soveraign Prophet, but our Saviour; who was both God that spake, and the Prophet to whom he spake.
To Prophets of perpetuall Calling, but subordinate, God spake by the Spirit. To subordinate Prophets of perpetuall Calling, I find not any place that proveth God spake to them supernaturally; but onely in such manner, as naturally he inclineth men to Piety, to Beleef, to Righteousnesse, and to other vertues all other Christian men. Which way, though it consist in Constitution, Instruction, Education, and the occasions and invitements men have to Christian vertues; yet it is truly attributed to the operation of the Spirit of God, or Holy Spirit, (which we in our language call the Holy Ghost): For there is no good inclination, that is not of the operation of God. But these operations are not alwaies supernaturall. When therefore a Prophet is said to speak in the Spirit, or by the Spirit of God, we are to understand no more, but that he speaks according to Gods will, declared by the supreme Prophet. For the most common acceptation of the word Spirit, is in the signification of a mans intention, mind, or disposition.
In the time of Moses, there were seventy men besides himself, that Prophecyed in the Campe of the Israelites. In what manner God spake to them, is declared in the 11 of Numbers, verse 25. The Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto Moses, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and gave it to the seventy Elders. And it came to passe, when the Spirit rested upon them, they Prophecyed, and did not cease. By which it is manifest, first, that their Prophecying to the people, was subservient, and subordinate to the Prophecying of Moses; for that God took of the Spirit of Moses, to put upon them; so that they Prophecyed as Moses would have them: otherwise they had not been suffered to Prophecy at all. For there was [verse 27.] a complaint made against them to Moses; and Joshua would have Moses to have forbidden them; which he did not, but said to Joshua, Bee not jealous in my behalf. Secondly, that the Spirit of God in that place, signifieth nothing but the Mind and Disposition to obey, and assist Moses in the administration of the Government. For if it were meant they had the substantiall Spirit of God; that is, the Divine nature, inspired into them, then they had it in no lesse manner then Christ himself, in whom onely the Spirit of God dwelt bodily. It is meant therefore of the Gift and Grace of God, that guided them to co-operate with Moses; from whom their Spirit was derived. And it appeareth [verse 16.] that, they were such as Moses himself should appoint for Elders and Officers of the People: For the words are, Gather unto me seventy men, whom thou knowest to be Elders and Officers of the people: where, thou knowest, is the same with thou appointest, or hast appointed to be such. For we are told before [Exod. 18.] that Moses following the counsell of Jethro his Father-in-law, did appoint Judges, and Officers over the people, such as feared God; and of these, were those Seventy, whom God by putting upon them Moses spirit, inclined to aid Moses in the Administration of the Kingdome: and in this sense the Spirit of God is said [1 Sam. 16. 13, 14.] presently upon the anointing of David, to have come upon David, and left Saul; God giving his graces to him he chose to govern his people, and taking them away from him, he rejected. So that by the Spirit is meant Inclination to Gods service; and not any supernaturall Revelation.
God sometimes also spake by Lots. God spake also many times by the event of Lots; which were ordered by such as he had put in Authority over his people. So wee read that God manifested by the Lots which Saul caused to be drawn [1 Sam. 14. 43.] the fault that Jonathan had committed, in eating a honey-comb, contrary to the oath taken by the people. And (Josh. 18. 10.] God divided the land of Canaan amongst the Israelite, by the lots that Joshua did cast before the Lord in Shiloh. In the same manner it seemeth to be, that God discovered [Joshua 7. 16, &c.] the crime of Achan. And these are the wayes whereby God declared his Will in the Old Testament.
All which ways he used also in the New Testament. To the Virgin Mary, by a Vision of an Angel: To Joseph in a Dream: again to Paul in the way to Damascus in a Vision of our Saviour: and to Peter in the Vision of a sheet let down from heaven, with divers sorts of flesh, of clean, and unclean beasts; and in prison, by Vision of an Angel: And to all the Apostles, and Writers of the New Testament, by the graces of his Spirit; and to the Apostles again (at the choosing of Matthias in the place of Judas Iscariot) by lot.
Every man ought to examine the probability of a pretended Prophets Calling. Seeing then all Prophecy supposeth Vision, or Dream, (which two, when they be naturall, are the same,) or some especiall gift of God, so rarely observed in mankind, as to be admired where observed; And seeing as well such gifts, as the most extraordinary Dreams, and Visions, may proceed from God, not onely by his supernaturall, and immediate, but also by his naturall operation, and by mediation of second causes; there is need of Reason and Judgment to discern between naturall, and supernaturall Gifts, and between naturall, and supernaturall Visions, or Dreams. And consequently men had need to be very circumspect, and wary, in obeying the voice of man, that pretending himself to be a Prophet, requires us to obey God in that way, which he in Gods name telleth us to be the way to happinesse. For he that pretends to teach men the way of so great felicity, pretends to govern them; that is to say, to rule, and reign over them; which is a thing, that all men naturally desire, and is therefore worthy to be suspected of Ambition and Imposture; and consequently, ought to be examined, and tryed by every man, before hee yeeld them obedience; unlesse he have yeelded it them already, in the institution of a Common-wealth; as when the Prophet is the Civill Soveraign, or by the Civil Soveraign Authorized. And if this examination of Prophets, and Spirits, were not allowed to every one of the people, it had been to no purpose, to set out the marks, by which every man might be able, to distinguish between those, whom they ought, and those whom they ought not to follow. Seeing therefore such marks are set out (Deut. 13. 1, &c.] to know a Prophet by; and [1 John 4. 1. &c.] to know a Spirit by: and seeing there is so much Prophecying in the Old Testament; and so much Preaching in the New Testament against Prophets; and so much greater a number ordinarily of false Prophets, then of true; every one is to beware of obeying their directions, at their own perill. And first, that there were many more false then true Prophets, appears by this, that when Ahab [I Kings 12.] consulted four hundred Prophets, they were all false Impostors, but onely one Michaiah. And a little before the time of the Captivity, the Prophets were generally lyars. The Prophets (saith the Lord by Jeremy, cha. 14, verse 14.) prophecy Lies in my name. I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, nor spake unto them, they prophecy to you a false Vision, a thing of naught; and the deceit of their heart. In so much as God commanded the People by the mouth of the Prophet Jeremiah [chap. 23. 16.] not to obey them. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, hearken not unto the words of the Prophets, that prophecy to you. They make you vain, they speak a Vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord.
All prophecy but of the Soveraign Prophet is to be examined by every Subject. Seeing then there was in the time of the Old Testament, such quarrells amongst the Visionary Prophets, one contesting with another, and asking, When departed the Spirit from me, to go to thee? as between Michaiah, and the rest of the four hundred; and such giving of the Lye to one another, (as in Jerem. 14. 14.) and such controversies in the New Testament at this day, amongst the Spirituall Prophets: Every man then was, and now is bound to make use of his Naturall Reason, to apply to all Prophecy those Rules which God hath given us, to discern the true from the false. Of which Rules, in the Old Testament, one was, conformable doctrine to that which Moses the Soveraign Prophet had taught them; and the other the miraculous power of foretelling what God would bring to passe, as I have already shewn out of Deut. 13. I. &c. And in the New Testament there was but one onely mark; and that was the preaching of this Doctrine, That Jesus is the Christ, that is, the King of the Jews, promised in the Old Testament. Whosoever denyed that Article, he was a false Prophet, whatsoever miracles he might seem to work; and he that taught it was a true Prophet. For St. John [I Epist. 4. 2, &c.] speaking expressely of the means to examine Spirits, whether they be of God, or not; after he had told them that there would arise false Prophets, saith thus, Hereby know ye the Spirit of God. Every Spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God; that is, is approved and allowed as a Prophet of God: not that he is a godly man, or one of the Elect, for this, that he confesseth, professeth, or preacheth Jesus to be the Christ; but for that he is a Prophet avowed. For God sometimes speaketh by Prophets, whose persons he hath not accepted; as he did by Baalam; and as he foretold Saul of his death, by the Witch of Endor. Again in the next verse, Every Spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of Christ. And this is the Spirit of Antichrist. So that the Rule is perfect on both sides; that he is a true Prophet, which preacheth the Messiah already come, in the person of Jesus; and he a false one that denyeth him come, and looketh for him in some future Impostor, that shall take upon him that honour falsely, whom the Apostle there properly calleth Antichrist. Every man therefore ought to consider who is the Soveraign Prophet; that is to say, who it is, that is Gods Vicegerent on Earth; and hath next under God, the Authority of Governing Christian men; and to observe for a Rule, that Doctrine, which in the name of God, hee hath commanded to bee taught; and thereby to examine and try out the truth of those Doctrines, which pretended Prophets with miracle, or without, shall at any time advance: and if they find it contrary to that Rule, to doe as they did, that came to Moses, and complained that there were some that Prop[h]ecyed in the Campe, whose Authority so to doe they doubted of; and leave to the Soveraign, as they did to Moses to uphold, or to forbid them, as hee should see cause; and if hee disavow them, then no more to obey their voice; or if he approve them, then to obey them, as men to whom God hath given a part of the Spirit of their Soveraigne. For when Christian men, take not their Christian Soveraign, for Gods Prophet; they must either take their owne Dreames, for the Prophecy they mean to bee governed by, and the tumour of their own hearts for the Spirit of God; or they must suffer themselves to bee lead by some strange Prince; or by some of their fellow subjects, that can bewitch them, by slaunder of the government, into rebellion, without other miracle to confirm their calling, then sometimes an extraordinary successe, and Impunity; and by this means destroying all laws, both divine, and humane, reduce all Order, Government, and Society, to the first Chaos of Violence, and Civill warre.
OfMiracles, and their Use.
A Miracle is a work that causeth Admiration.ByMiracles are signified the Admirable works of God: & therefore they are also called Wonders. And because they are for the most part, done, for a signification of his commandement, in such occasions, as without them, men are apt to doubt, (following their private naturall reasoning,) what he hath commanded, and what not, they are commonly in Holy Scripture, called Signes, in the same sense, as they are called by the Latines, Ostenta, and Portenta, from shewing, and foresignifying that, which the Almighty is about to bring to passe.
And must therefore be rare, and where of there is no naturall cause known. To understand therefore what is a Miracle, we must first understand what works they are, which men wonder at, and call Admirable. And there be but two things. which make men wonder at any event: The one is, if it be strange, that is to say, such, as the like of it hath never, or very rarely been produced: The other is, if when it is produced, we cannot imagine it to have been done by naturall means, but onely by the immediate hand of God. But when wee see some possible, naturall cause of it, how rarely soever the like has been done; or if the like have been often done, how impossible soever it be to imagine a naturall means thereof, we no more wonder, nor esteem it for a Miracle.
Therefore, if a Horse, or Cow should speak, it were a Miracle; because both the thing is strange, & the naturall cause difficult to imagin: So also were it, to see a strange deviation of nature, in the production of some new shape of a living creature. But when a man, or other Animal, engenders his like, though we know no more how this is done, than the other; yet because ‘tis usuall, it is no Miracle. In like manner, if a man be metamorphosed into a stone, or into a pillar, it is a Miracle; because strange: but if a peece of wood be so changed; because we see it often, it is no Miracle: and yet we know no more, by what operation of God, the one is brought to passe, than the other.
The first Rainbow that was seen in the world, was a Miracle, because the first; and consequently strange; and served for a sign from God, placed in heaven, to assure his people, there should be no more an universall destruction of the world by Water. But at this day, because they are frequent, they are not Miracles, neither to them that know their naturall causes, nor to them who know them not. Again, there be many rare works produced by the Art of man: yet when we know they are done; because thereby wee know also the means how they are done, we count them not for Miracles, because not wrought by the immediate hand of God, but by mediation of humane Industry.
Furthermore, seeing Admiration and Wonder, is consequentThat which seemeth a Miracle to one man, may seem otherwise to another. to the knowledge and experience, wherewith men are endued, some more, some lesse; it followeth, that the same thing, may be a Miracle to one, and not to another. And thence it is, that ignorant, and superstitious men make great Wonders of those works, which other men, knowing to proceed from Nature, (which is not the immediate, but the ordinary work of God,) admire not at all: As when Ecclipses of the Sun and Moon have been taken for supernaturall works, by the common people; when neverthelesse, there were others, could from their naturall causes, have foretold the very hour they should arrive: Or, as when a man, by confederacy, and secret intelligence, getting knowledge of the private actions of an ignorant, unwary man, thereby tells him, what he has done in former time; it seems to him a Miraculous thing; but amongst wise, and cautelous men, such Miracles as those, cannot easily be done.
Again, it belongeth to the nature of a Miracle, that itThe End of Miracles. be wrought for the procuring of credit to Gods Messengers, Ministers, and Prophets, that thereby men may know, they are called, sent, and employed by God, and thereby be the better inclined to obey them. And therefore, though the creation of the world, and after that the destruction of all living creatures in the universall deluge, were admirable works; yet because they were not done to procure credit to any Prophet, or other Minister of God, they use not to be called Miracles. For how admirable soever any work be, the Admiration consisteth not in that it could be done, because men naturally beleeve the Almighty can doe all things, but because he does it at the Prayer, or Word of a man. But the works of God in Egypt, by the hand of Moses, were properly Miracles; because they were done with intention to make the people of Israel beleeve, that Moses came unto them, not out of any design of his owne interest, but as sent from God. Therefore after God had commanded him to deliver the Israelites from the Egyptian bondage, when he said They will not beleeve me, but will say, the Lord hath not appeared unto me, God gave him power, to turn the Rod he had in his hand into a Serpent, and again to return it into a Rod; and by putting his hand into his bosome, to make it leprous; and again by pulling it out to make it whole, to make the Children of Israel beleeve (as it is verse 5.) that the God of their Fathers had appeared unto him: And if that were not enough, he gave him power to turn their waters into bloud. And when hee had done theseExo. 4. 1, &c. Miracles before the people, it is said (verse 41.) that they beleeved him. Neverthelesse, for fear of Pharaoh, they durst not yet obey him. Therefore the other works which were done to plague Pharaoh, and the Egyptians, tended all to make the Israelites beleeve in Moses, and were properly Miracles. In like manner if we consider all the Miracles done by the hand of Moses, and all the rest of the Prophets, till the Captivity; and those of our Saviour, and his Apostles afterward; we shall find, their end was alwaies to beget, or confirm beleefe, that they came not of their own motion, but were sent by God. Wee may further observe in Scripture, that the end of Miracles, was to beget beleef, not universally in all men, elect, and reprobate; but in the elect only; that is to say, in such as God had determined should become his Subjects. For those miraculous plagues of Egypt, had not for end, the conversion of Pharaoh; For God had told Moses before, that he would harden the heart of Pharaoh, that he should not let the people goe: And when he let them goe at last, not the Miracles perswaded him, but the plagues forced him to it. So also of our Saviour, it is written, (Mat. 13. 58.) that he wrought not many Miracles in his own countrey, because of their unbeleef; and (in Marke 6. 5.) in stead of, he wrought not many, it is, he could work none. It was not because he wanted power; which to say, were blasphemy against God; nor that the end of Miracles was not to convert incredulous men to Christ; for the end of all the Miracles of Moses, of the Prophets, of our Saviour, and of his Apostles was to adde men to the Church; but it was, because the end of their Miracles, was to adde to the Church (not all men, but) such as should be saved; that is to say, such as God had elected. Seeing therefore our Saviour was sent from his Father, hee could not use his power in the conversion of those, whom his Father had rejected. They that expounding this place of St. Marke, say, that this word, Hee could not, is put for, He would not, do it without example in the Greek tongue, (where Would not, is put sometimes for Could not, in things inanimate, that have no will; but Could not, for Would not, never,) and thereby lay a stumbling block before weak Christians; as if Christ could doe no Miracles, but amongst the credulous.
From that which I have here set down, of the nature, and use of a Miracle, we may define it thus, AMiracle, is a work of God, (besides his operation by the way of Nature, ordained in the Creation,) done, for the making manifest to his elect, the mission of an extraordinary Minister for their salvation.
And from this definition, we may inferre; First, that inThe definition of a Miracle all Miracles, the work done, is not the effect of any vertue in the Prophet; because it is the effect of the immediate hand of God; that is to say, God hath done it, without using the Prophet therein, as a subordinate cause.
Secondly, that no Devil, Angel, or other created Spirit, can do a Miracle. For it must either be by vertue of some naturall science, or by Incantation, that is, vertue of words. For if the Inchanters do it by their own power independent, there is some power that proceedeth not from God; which all men deny: and if they doe it by power given them, then is the work not from the immediate hand of God, but naturall, and consequently no Miracle.
There be some texts of Scripture, that seem to attribute the power of working wonders (equall to some of those immediate Miracles, wrought by God himself,) to certain Arts of Magick, and Incantation. As for example, when we read that after the Rod of Moses being cast on theExod. 7. 11. round became a Serpent, the Magicians of Egypt did the like by their Enchantments; and that after Moses had turned the waters of the Egyptian Streams, Rivers, Ponds,Exod. 7. 22. nd Pooles of water into blood, the Magicians of Egypt did so likewise, with their Enchantments; and that after Moses had by the power of God brought frogs upon theExod. 8. 7. and, the Magicians also did so with their Enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt; will not a man be apt to attribute Miracles to Enchantments; that is to say, to the efficacy of the sound of Words; and think the same very well proved out of this, and other such places? and yet there is no place of Scripture that telleth us what an Enchantment is. If therefore Enchantment be not, as many think it, a working of strange effects by spells, and words; but Imposture, and delusion, wrought by ordinary means; and so far from supernaturall, as the Impostors need not the study so much as of naturall causes, but the ordinary ignorance, stupidity, and superstition of mankind, to doe them; those texts that seem to countenance the power of Magick, Witchcraft, and Enchantment, must needs have another sense, than at first sight they seem to bear.
That men are apt to be deceived by false Miracles. For it is evident enough, that Words have no effect, but on those that understand them; and then they have no other, but to signifie the intentions, or passions of them that speak; and thereby produce, hope, fear, or other passions, or conceptions in the hearer. Therefore when a Rod seemeth a Serpent, or the Waters Bloud, or any other Miracle seemeth done by Enchantment; if it be not to the edification of Gods people, not the Rod, nor the Water, nor any other thing is enchanted; that is to say, wrought upon by the Words, but the Spectator. So that all the Miracle consisteth in this, that the Enchanter has deceived a man; which is no Miracle, but a very easie matter to doe.
For such is the ignorance, and aptitude to error generally of all men, but especially of them that have not much knowledge of naturall causes, and of the nature, and interests of men; as by innumerable and easie tricks to be abused. What opinion of miraculous power, before it was known there was a Science of the course of the Stars, might a man have gained, that should have told the people, This hour, or day the Sun should be darkned? A Juggler by the handling of his goblets, and other trinkets, if it were not now ordinarily practised, would be thought to do his wonders by the power at least of the Devil. A man that hath practised to speak by drawing in of his breath, (which kind of men in antient time were called Ventriloqui,) and so make the weaknesse of his voice seem to proceed, not from the weak impulsion of the organs of Speech, but from distance of place, is able to make very many men beleeve it is a voice from Heaven, whatsoever he please to tell them. And for a crafty man, that hath enquired into the secrets, and familiar confessions that one man ordinarily maketh to another of his actions and adventures past, to tell them him again is no hard matter; and yet there be many, that by such means as that, obtain the reputation of being Conjurers. But it is too long a businesse, to reckon up the severall sorts of those men, which the Greeks called Thaumaturgi, that is to say, workers of things wonderfull; and yet these do all they do, by their own single dexterity. But if we looke upon the Impostures wrought by Confederacy, there is nothing how impossible soever to be done, that is impossible to bee beleeved. For two men conspiring, one to seem lame, the other to cure him with a charme, will deceive many: but many conspiring, one to seem lame, another so to cure him, and all the rest to bear witnesse; will deceive many more.
In this aptitude of mankind, to give too hasty beleefeCautions against the Imposture of Miracles. to pretended Miracles, there can be no better, nor I think any other caution, then that which God hath prescribed, first by Moses, (as I have said before in the precedent chapter,) in the beginning of the 13. and end of the 18. of Deuteronomy; That wee take not any for Prophets, that teach any other Religion, then that which Gods Lieutenant, (which at that time was Moses,) hath established; nor any, (though he teach the same Religion,) whose Prædiction we doe not see come to passe. Moses therefore in his time, and Aaron, and his successors in their times, and the Soveraign Governour of Gods people, next under God himself, that is to say, the Head of the Church in all times, are to be consulted, what doctrine he hath established, before wee give credit to a pretended Miracle, or Prophet. And when that is done, the thing they pretend to be a Miracle, we must both see it done, and use all means possible to consider, whether it be really done; and not onely so, but whether it be such, as no man can do the like by his naturall power, but that it requires the immediate hand of God. And in this also we must have recourse to Gods Lieutenant; to whom in all doubtfull cases, wee have submitted our private judgments. For example; if a man pretend, that after certain words spoken over a peece of bread, that presently God hath made it not bread, but a God, or a man, or both, and neverthelesse it looketh still as like bread as ever it did; there is no reason for any man to think it really done; nor consequently to fear him, till he enquire of God, by his Vicar, or Lieutenant, whether it be done, or not. If he say not, then followeth that which Moses saith, (Deut. 18. 22) he hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shall not fear him. If he say ‘tis done, then he is not to contradict it. So also if wee see not, but onely hear tell of a Miracle, we are to consult the Lawful Church; that is to say, the lawful Head thereof, how far we are to give credit to the relators of it. And this is chiefly the case of men, that in these days live under Christian Soveraigns. For in these times, I do not know one man, that ever saw any such wondrous work, done by the charm, or at the word, or prayer of a man, that a man endued but with a mediocrity of reason, would think supernaturall: and the question is no more, whether what wee see done, be a Miracle; whether the Miracle we hear, or read of, were a reall work, and not the Act of a tongue, or pen; but in plain terms, whether the report be true, or a lye. In which question we are not every one, to make our own private Reason, or Conscience, but the Publique Reason, that is, the reason of Gods Supreme Lieutenant, Judge; and indeed we have made him Judge already, if wee have given him a Soveraign power, to doe all that is necessary for our peace and defence. A private man has alwaies the liberty, (because thought is free,) to beleeve, or not beleeve in his heart, those acts that have been given out for Miracles, according as he shall see, what benefit can accrew by mens belief, to those that pretend, or countenance them, and thereby conjecture, whether they be Miracles, or Lies. But when it comes to confession of that faith, the Private Reason must submit to the Publique; that is to say, to Gods Lieutenant. But who is this Lieutenant of God, and Head of the Church, shall be considered in its proper place hereafter.
Of the Signification in Scripture ofEternall Life, Hell, Salvation, The World to come, andRedemption.
The maintenance of Civill Society, depending on Justice; and Justice on the power of Life and Death, and other lesse Rewards and Punishments, residing in them that have the Soveraignty of the Common-wealth; It is impossible a Common-wealth should stand, where any other than the Soveraign, hath a power of giving greater rewards than Life; and of inflicting greater punishments, than Death. Now seeing Eternall life is a greater reward, than the life present; and Eternall torment a greater punishment than the death of Nature; It is a thing worthy to be well considered, of all men that desire (by obeying Authority) to avoid the calamities of Confusion, and Civill war, what is meant in holy Scripture, by Life Eternall, and Torment Eternall; and for what offences, and against whom committed, men are to be Eternally tormented; and for what actions, they are to obtain Eternall life.
The place of Adams Eternity if he had not sinned, had been the terrestiall Paradise. And first we find, that Adam was created in such a condition of life, as had he not broken the commandement of God, he had enjoyed it in the Paradise of Eden Everlastingly. For there was the Tree of life; whereof he was so long allowed to eat, as he should forbear to eat of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evill; which was not allowed him. And therefore as soon as he had eaten of it, God thrust him out of Paradise, lest he should put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and live for ever. By which it seemeth to me, (with submission neverthelesse both in this, and in all questions, whereof the determination dependeth on the Scriptures, to the interpretation of the Bible authorized by the Common-wealth, whose Subject I am,) that Adam if he had notGen. 3. 22. sinned, had had an Eternall Life on Earth: and that Mortality entred upon himself, and his posterity, by his first Sin. Not that actuall Death then entred; for Adam then could never have had children; whereas he lived long after, and saw a numerous posterity ere he dyed. But where it is said, In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die, it must needs bee meant of his Mortality, and certitude of death. Seeing then Eternall life was lost by Adams forfeiture, in committing sin, he that should cancell that forfeiture was to recover thereby, that Life again. Now Jesus Christ hath satisfied for the sins of all that beleeve in him; and therefore recovered to all beleevers, that EternallLife, which was lost by the sin of Adam. And in this sense it is, that the comparison of St. Paul holdeth (Rom. 5. 18, 19.) As by the offence of one, Judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousnesse of one, the free gift came upon all men to Justification of Life. Which is again (1 Cor. 15. 21, 22.) more perspicuously delivered in these words, For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Texts concerning the place of Life Eternall, for Beleevers. Concerning the place wherein men shall enjoy that Eternall Life, which Christ hath obtained for them, the texts next before alledged seem to make it on Earth. For if as in Adam, all die, that is, have forfeited Paradise, and Eternall Life on Earth, even so in Christ all shall bee made alive; then all men shall be made to live on Earth; for else the comparison were not proper. Hereunto seemeth to agree that of the Psalmist, (Psal. 133. 3.) Upon Zion God commanded the blessing, even Life for evermore: for Zion, is in Jerusalem, upon Earth: as also that of S. Joh. (Rev. 2. 7.) To him that overcommeth I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. This was the tree of Adams Eternall life; but his life was to have been on Earth. The same seemeth to be confirmed again by St. Joh. (Rev. 21. 2.) where he saith, I John saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a Bride adorned for her husband: and again v. 10. to the same effect: As if he should say, the new Jerusalem, the Paradise of God, at the coming again of Christ, should come down to Gods people from Heaven, and not they goe up to it from Earth. And this differs nothing from that, which the two men in white clothing (that is, the two Angels) said to the Apostles, that were looking upon Christ ascending (Acts I. II.) This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him go up into Heaven. Which soundeth as if they had said, he should come down to govern them under his Father, Eternally here; and not take them up to govern them in Heaven; and is conformable to the Restauration of the Kingdom of God, instituted under Moses; which was a Political government of the Jews on Earth. Again, that saying of our Saviour (Mat. 22. 30.) that in the Resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the Angels of God in heaven, is a description of an Eternall Life, resembling that which we lost in Adam in the point of Marriage. For seeing Adam, and Eve, if they had not sinned, had lived on Earth Eternally, in their individuall persons; it is manifest, they should not continually have procreated their kind. For if Immortals should have generated, as Mankind doth now; the Earth in a small time, would not have been able to afford them place to stand on. The Jews that asked our Saviour the question, whose wife the woman that had married many brothers, should be, in the resurrection, knew not what were the consequences of Life Eternall: and therefore our Saviour puts them in mind of this consequence of Immortality; that there shal be no Generation, and consequently no marriage, no more than there is Marriage, or generation among the Angels. The comparison between that Eternall life which Adam lost, and our Saviour by his Victory over death hath recovered; holdeth also in this, that as Adam lost Eternall Life by his sin, and yet lived after it for a time; so the faithful Christian hath recovered Eternal Life by Christs passion, though he die a natural death, and remaine dead for a time; namely, till the Resurrection. For as Death is reckoned from the Condemnation of Adam, not from the Execution; so Life is reckoned from the Absolution, not from the Resurrection of them that are elected in Christ.
Ascension into heaven. That the place wherein men are to live Eternally, after the Resurrection, is the Heavens, meaning by Heaven, those parts of the world, which are the most remote from Earth, as where the stars are, or above the stars, in another Higher Heaven, called Cœlum Empyreum, (whereof there is no mention in Scripture, nor ground in Reason) is not easily to be drawn from any text that I can find. By the Kingdome of Heaven, is meant the Kingdom of the King that dwelleth in Heaven; and his Kingdome was the people of Israel, whom he ruled by the Prophets his Lieutenants, first Moses, and after him Eleazar, and the Soveraign Priests, till in the days of Samuel they rebelled, and would have a mortall man for their King, after the manner of other Nations. And when our Saviour Christ, by the preaching of his Ministers, shall have perswaded the Jews to return, and called the Gentiles to his obedience, then shall there be a new Kingdom of Heaven; because our King shall then be God, whose throne is Heaven; without any necessity evident in the Scripture, that man shall ascend to his happinesse any higher than Gods footstool, the Earth. On the contrary, we find written (Joh. 3. 13.) that no man hath ascended into Heaven, but he that came down from Heaven, even the Son of man, that is in Heaven. Where I observe by the way, that these words are not, as those which go immediately before, the words of our Saviour, but of St. John himself; for Christ was then not in Heaven, but upon the Earth. The like is said of David (Acts 2. 34.) where St. Peter, to prove the Ascension of Christ, using the words of the Psalmist, (Psal. 16. 10.) Thou wilt not leave my soule in Hell, nor suffer thine Holy one to see corruption, saith, they were spoken (not of David, but) of Christ; and to prove it, addeth this Reason, For David is not ascended into Heaven. But to this a man may easily answer, and say, that though their bodies were not to ascend till the generall day of Judgment, yet their souls were in Heaven as soon as they were departed from their bodies; which also seemeth to be confirmed by the words of our Saviour (Luke 20. 37, 38.) who proving the Resurrection out of the words of Moses, saith thus, That the dead are raised, even Moses shewed, at the bush, when he calleth the Lord, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the Dead, but of the Living; for they all live to him. But if these words be to be understood only of the Immortality of the Soul, they prove not at all that which our Saviour intended to prove, which was the Resurrection of the Body, that is to say, the Immortality of the Man. Therefore our Saviour meaneth, that those Patriarchs were Immortall; not by a property consequent to the essence, and nature of mankind; but by the will of God, that was pleased of his mere grace, to bestow Eternall life upon the faithfull. And though at that time the Patriarchs and many other faithfull men were dead, yet as it is in the text, they lived to God; that is, they were written in the Book of Life with them that were absolved of their sinnes, and ordained to Life eternall at the Resurrection. That the Soul of man is in its own nature Eternall, and a living Creature independent on the body; or that any meer man is Immortall, otherwise than by the Resurrection in the last day, (except Enos and Elias,) is a doctrine not apparent in Scripture. The whole 14. Chapter of Job, which is the speech not of his friends, but of himselfe, is a complaint of this Mortality of Nature; and yet no contradiction of the Immortality at the Resurrection. There is hope of a tree (saith hee verse 7.) if it be cast down, Though the root thereof wax old, and the stock thereof die in the ground, yet when it senteth the water it will bud, and bring forth boughes like a Plant. But man dyeth, and wasteth away, yea, man giveth up the Ghost, and where is he? and (verse 12.) man lyeth down, and riseth not, till the heavens be no more. But when is it, that the heavens shall be no more? St. Peter tells us, that it is at the generall Resurrection. For in his 2. Epistle, 3. Chapter, and 7 verse, he saith, that the Heavens and the Earth that are now, are reserved unto fire against the day of Judgment, and perdition of ungodly men, and (verse 12.) looking for, and hasting to the comming of God, wherein the Heavens shall be on fire, and shall be dissolved, and the Elements shall melt with fervent heat. Neverthelesse, we according to the promise look for new Heavens, and a new Earth, wherein dwelleth righteousnesse. Therefore where Job saith, man riseth not till the Heavens be no more; it is all one, as if he had said, the Immortall Life (and Soule and Life in the Scripture, do usually signifie the same thing) beginneth not in man, till the Resurrection, and day of Judgement; and hath for cause, not his specificall nature, and generation; but the Promise. For St. Peter saies not, Wee look for new heavens, and a new earth, (from Nature,) but from Promise.
Lastly, seeing it hath been already proved out of divers evident places of Scripture, in the 35. chapter of this book, that the Kingdom of God is a Civil Common-wealth, where God himself is Soveraign, by vertue first of the Olà, and since of the New Covenant, wherein he reigneth by his Vicar, or Lieutenant; the same places do therefore also prove, that after the comming again of our Saviour in his Majesty, and glory, to reign actually, and Eternally; the Kingdom of God is to be on Earth. But because this doctrine (though proved out of places of Scripture not few, nor obscure) will appear to most men a novelty; I doe but propound it; maintaining nothing in this, or any other paradox of Religion; but attending the end of that dispute of the sword, concerning the Authority, (not yet amongst my Countreymen decided,) by which all sorts of doctrine are to bee approved, or rejected; and whose commands, both in speech, and writing, (whatsoever be the opinions of private men) must by all men, that mean to be protected by their Laws, be obeyed. For the points of doctrine concerning the Kingdome [of] God, have so great influence on the Kingdome of Man, as not to be determined, but by them, that under God have the Soveraign Power.
As the Kingdome of God, and Eternal Life, so alsoThe place after Judgment, of those who were never in the Kingdome of God, or having been in, are cast out. Gods Enemies, and their Torments after Judgment, appear by the Scripture, to have their place on Earth. The name of the place, where all men remain till the Resurrection, that were either buryed, or swallowed up of the Earth, is usually called in Scripture, by words that signifie under ground; which the Latines read generally Infernus, and Injeri, and the Greeks άδης; that is to say, a place where men cannot see; and containeth as well the Grave, as any other deeper place. But for the place of the damned after the Resurrection, it is not determined, neither in the Old, nor New Testament, by any note of situation; but onely by the company: as that it shall bee, where such wicked men were, as God in former times in extraordinary, and miraculous manner, had destroyed from off the face of the Earth: As for example, that they are in Inferno, in Tartarus,Tartarus. or in the bottomelesse pit; because Corah, Dathan, and Abirom, were swallowed up alive into the earth. Not that the Writers of the Scripture would have us beleeve, there could be in the globe of the Earth, which is not only finite, but also (compared to the height of the Stars) of no considerable magnitude, a pit without a bottome; that is, a hole of infinite depth, such as the Greeks in their Dæmonologie (that is to say, in their doctrine concerning Dæmons,) and after them the Romans called Tartarus; of which Virgill sayes,
for that is a thing the proportion of Earth to Heaven cannot bear: but that wee should beleeve them there, indefinitely, where those men are, on whom God inflicted that Exemplary punnishment.
The congregation of Giants. Again, because those mighty men of the Earth, that lived in the time of Noah, before the floud, (which the Greeks called Heroes, and the Scripture Giants, and both say, were begotten, by copulation of the children of God, with the children of men,) were for their wicked life destroyed by the generall deluge; the place of the Damned, is therefore also sometimes marked out, by the company of those deceased Giants; as Proverbs 21. 16. The man that wandreth out of the way of understanding, shall remain in the congregation of the Giants, and Job 26. 5. Behold the Giants groan under water, and they that dwell with them. Here the place of the Damned, is under the water. And Isaiah 14. 9. Hell is troubled how to meet thee, (that is, the King of Babylon) and will displace the Giants for thee: and here again the place of the Damned, (if the sense be literall,) is to be under water.
Lake of Fire. Thirdly, because the Cities of Sodom, and Gomorrah, by the extraordinary wrath of God, were consumed for their wickednesse with Fire and Brimstone, and together with them the countrey about made a stinking bituminous Lake: the place of the Damned is sometimes expressed by Fire, and a Fiery Lake: as in the Apocalypse ch. 21. 8. But the timorous, incredulous, and abominable, and Murderers, and Whoremongers, and Sorcerers, and Idolaters, and all Lyars, shall have their part in the Lake that burneth with Fire, and Brimstone; which is the second Death. So that it is manifest, that Hell Fire, which is here expressed by Metaphor, from the reall Fire of Sodome, signifieth not any certain kind, or place of Torment; but is to be taken indefinitely, for Destruction, as it is in the 20. Chapter, at the 14. verse; where it is said, that Death and Hell were cast into the Lake of Fire; that is to say, were abolished, and destroyed; as if after the day of Judgment, there shall be no more Dying. nor no more going into Hell; that is, no more going to Hades (from which word perhaps our word Hell is derived,) which is the same with no more Dying.
Utter Darknesse. Fourthly, from the Plague of Darknesse inflicted on the Egyptians, of which it is written (Exod. 10. 23.) They saw not one another, neither rose any man from his place for three days; but all the Children of Israel had light in their dwellings; the place of the wicked after Judgment, is called Utter Darknesse, or (as it is in the originall) Darknesse without. And so it is expressed (Mat. 22. 13.) where the King commandeth his Servants, to bind hand and foot the man that had not on his Wedding garment, and to cast him out, εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον Externall darknesse, or Darknesse without: which though translated Utter darknesse, does not signifie how great, but where that darknesse is to be; namely, without the habitation of Gods Elect.
Lastly, whereas there was a place neer Jerusalem,Gehenna, and Tophet. called the Valley of the Children of Hinnon; in a part whereof, called Tophet, the Jews had committed most grievous Idolatry, sacrificing their children to the Idol Moloch; and wherein also God had afflicted his enemies with most grievous punishments; and wherein Josias had burnt the Priests of Moloch upon their own Altars, as appeareth at large in the 2 of Kings chap. 23. the place served afterwards, to receive the filth, and garbage which was carried thither, out of the City; and there used to be fires made, from time to time, to purifie the aire, and take away the stench of Carrion. From this abominable place, the Jews used ever after to call the place of the Damned, by the name of Gehenna, or Valley of Hinnon. And this Gehenna, is that word, which is usually now translated Hell; and from the fires from time to time there burning, we have the notion of Everlasting, and Unquenchable Fire.
Seeing now there is none, that so interprets the Scripture,Of the literall sense of the Scripture concerning Hell. as that after the day of Judgment, the wicked are all Eternally to be punished in the Valley of Hinnon; or that they shall so rise again, as to be ever after under ground, or under water; or that after the Resurrection, they shall no more see one another; nor stir from one place to another; it followeth, me thinks, very necessarily, that that which is thus said concerning Hell Fire, is spoken metaphorically; and that therefore there is a proper sense to bee enquired after, (for of all Metaphors there is some reall ground, that may be expressed in proper words) both of the Place of Hell, and the nature of Hellish Torments, and Tormentors.
And first for the Tormenters, wee have their nature,Satan, Devill, not Proper names, but Appellatives. and properties, exactly and properly delivered by the names of, The Enemy, or Satan; The Accuser, or Diabolus; The Destroyer, or Abaddon. Which significant names, Satan, Devill, Abaddon, set not forth to us any Individuall person, as proper names use to doe; but onely an office, or quality; and are therefore Appellatives; which ought not to have been left untranslated, as they are, in the Latine, and Modern Bibles; because thereby they seem to be the proper names of Dæmons; and men are the more easily seduced to beleeve the doctrine of Devills; which at that time was the Religion of the Gentiles, and contrary to that of Moses, and of Christ.
And because by the Enemy, the Accuser, and Destroyer, is meant, the Enemy of them that shall be in the Kingdome of God; therefore if the Kingdome of God after the Resurrection, bee upon the Earth, (as in the former Chapter I have shewn by Scripture it seems to be,) The Enemy, and his Kingdome must be on Earth also. For so also was it, in the time before the Jews had deposed God. For Gods Kingdome was in Palestine; and the Nations round about, were the Kingdomes of the Enemy; and consequently by Satan, is meant any Earthly Enemy of the Church.
Torments of Hell. The Torments of Hell, are expressed sometimes, by weeping, and gnashing of teeth, as Mat. 8. 12. Sometimes, by the worm of Conscience; as Isa. 66. 24. and Mark 9. 44, 46, 48: sometimes, by Fire, as in the place now quoted, where the worm dyeth not, and the fire is not quenched, and many places beside: sometimes by shame, and contempt, as Dan. 12. 2. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the Earth, shall awake; some to Everlasting life; and some to shame, and everlasting contempt. All which places design metaphorically a grief, and discontent of mind, from the sight of that Eternal felicity in others, which they themselves through their own incredulity, and disobedience have lost. And because such felicity in others, is not sensible but by comparison with their own actuall miseries; it followeth that they are to suffer such bodily paines, and calamities, as are incident to those, who not onely live under evill and cruell Governours, but have also for Enemy, the Eternall King of the Saints, God Almighty. And amongst these bodily paines, is to be reckoned also to every one of the wicked a second Death. For though the Scripture bee clear for an universall Resurrection; yet wee do not read, that to any of the Reprobate is promised an Eternall life. For whereas St. Paul (1 Cor. 15. 42. 43.) to the question concerning what bodies men shall rise with again, saith, that the body is sown in corruption, and is raised in incorruption; It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weaknesse, it is raised in power; Glory and Power cannot be applyed to the bodies of the wicked: Nor can the name of Second Death, bee applyed to those that can never die but once: And although in Metaphoricall speech, a Calamitous life Everlasting, may bee called an Everlasting Death yet it cannot well be understood of a Second Death. The fire prepared for the wicked, is an Everlasting Fire: that is to say, the estate wherein no man can be without torture, both of body and mind, after the Resurrection, shall endure for ever; and in that sense the Fire shall be unquenchable, and the torments Everlasting: but it cannot thence be inferred, that hee who shall be cast into that fire, or be tormented with those torments, shall endure, and resist them so, as to be eternally burnt, and tortured, and yet never be destroyed, nor die. And though there be many places that affirm Everlasting Fire, and Torments (into which men may be cast successively one after another for ever; yet I find none that affirm there shall bee an Eternall Life therein of any individuall person; but to the contrary, an Everlasting Death, which is the Second Death: For after Death, and the Grave shall have deliveredApol. 20. 13, 14.up the dead which were in them, and every man be judged according to his works; Death and the Grave shall also be cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the Second Death. Whereby it is evident, that there is to bee a Second Death of every one that shall bee condemned at the day of Judgement, after which hee shall die no more.
The Joyes of Life Eternall, and Salvation the same thing. The joyes of Life Eternall, are in Scripture comprehended all under the name of Salvation, or being saved. To be saved, is to be secured, either respectively, against speciall Evills, or absolutely, against all Evill, comprehending Want, Sicknesse, and Death it self. And because man was created in a condition Immortall, not ubject to corruption, and consequently to nothing that tendeth to the dissolution of his nature; and fell from that happinesse by the sin of Adam; it followeth, that to be saved from Sin, is to be saved from all the Evill, and Calamities that Sinne hath brought upon us.Salvation from Sin, and from Misery, all one. And therefore in the Holy Scripture, Remission of Sinne, and Salvation from Death and Misery, is the same thing, as it appears by the words of our Saviour, who having cured a man sick of the Palsey, by saying, (Mat. 9. 2.) Son be of good cheer, thy Sins be forgiven thee; and knowing that the Scribes took for blasphemy, that a man should pretend to forgive Sins, asked them (v. 5.) whether it were easier to say, Thy Sinnes be forgiven thee, or, Arise and walk; signifying thereby, that it was all one, as to the saving of the sick, to say, Thy Sins are forgiven, and Arise and walk; and that he used that form of speech, onely to shew he had power to forgive Sins. And it is besides evident in reason, that since Death and Misery, were the punishments of Sin, the discharge of Sinne, must also be a discharge of Death and Misery; that is to say, Salvation absolute, such as the faithfull are to enjoy after the day of Judgment, by the power, and favour of Jesus Christ, who for that cause is called our Saviour.
Concerning Particular Salvations, such as are understood, 1 Sam. 14. 39. as the Lord liveth that saveth Israel, that is, from their temporary enemies, and 2 Sam. 22. 4. Thou art my Saviour, thou savest me from violence; and 2 Kings 13. 5. God gave the Israelites a Saviour, and so they were delivered from the hand of the Assyrians, and the like, I need say nothing; there being neither difficulty, nor interest, to corrupt the interpretation of texts of that kind.
The Place of Eternail Salvation. But concerning the Generall Salvation, because it must be in the Kingdome of Heaven, there is great difficulty concerning the Place. On one side, by Kingdome (which is an estate ordained by men for their perpetuall security against enemies, and want) it seemeth that this Salvation should be on Earth. For by Salvation is set forth unto us, a glorious Reign of our King, by Conquest; not a safety by Escape: and therefore there where we look for Salvation, we must look also for Triumph; and before Triumph, for Victory; and before Victory, for Battell; which cannot well be supposed, shall be in Heaven. But how good soever this reason may be, I will not trust to it, without very evident places of Scripture. The state of Salvation is described at large, Isaiah 33. ver. 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.
Look upon Zion, the City of our solemnities; thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.
But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers, and streams; wherein shall goe no Gally with oares; neither shall gallant ship passe thereby.
For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King, he will save us.
Thy tacklings are loosed; they could not well strengthen their mast; they could not spread the sail: then is the prey of a great spoil divided; the lame take the prey.
And the Inhabitant shall not say, I am sicke; the people that shall dwell therein shall be forgiven their Iniquity.
In which words wee have the place from whence Salvation is to proceed, Jerusalem, a quiet habitation; the Eternity of it, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down, &c. The Saviour of it, the Lord, their Judge, their Lawgiver, their King, he will save us; the Salvation, the Lord shall be to them as a broad mote of swift waters, &c. the condition of their Enemies, their tacklings are loose, their masts weak, the lame shal take the spoil of them. The condition of the Saved, The Inhabitant shal not say, I am sick: And lastly, all this is comprehended in Forgivenesse of sin, The people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity. By which it is evident, that Salvation shall be on Earth, then, when God shall reign, (at the coming again of Christ) in Jerusalem; and from Jerusalem shall proceed the Salvation of the Gentiles that shall be received into Gods Kingdome: as is also more expressely declared by the same Prophet, Chap. 65. 20, 21. And they (that is, the Gentiles who had any Jew in bondage) shall bring all your brethren, for an offering to the Lord, out of all nations, upon horses, and in charets, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain, Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the Children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessell into the House of the Lord. And I will also take of them for Priests and for Levites, saith the Lord: Whereby it is manifest, that the chief seat of Gods Kingdome (which is the Place, from whence the Salvation of us that were Gentiles, shall proceed) shall be Jerusalem: And the same is also confirmed by our Saviour, in his discourse with the woman of Samaria, concerning the place of Gods worship; to whom he saith, John 4. 22. that the Samaritans worshipped they knew not what, but the Jews worship what they knew, For Salvation is of the Jews (ex Judæis, that is, begins at the Jews): as if he should say, you worship God, but know not by whom he wil save you, as we doe, that know it shall be by one of the tribe of Judah, a Jew, not a Samaritan. And therefore also the woman not impertinently answered him again, We know the Messias shall come. So that which our Saviour saith, Salvation is from the Jews, is the same that Paul sayes (Rom. 1. 16, 17.) The Gospel is the power of God to Salvation to every one that beleeveth: To the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousnesse of God revealed from faith to faith; from the faith of the Jew, to the faith of the Gentile. In the like sense the Prophet Joel describing the day of Judgment, (chap 2. 30, 31.) that God would shew wonders in heaven, and in earth, bloud, and fire, and pillars of smoak. The Sun should be turned to darknesse, and the Moon into bloud, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come, he addeth verse 32. and it shall come to passe, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. For in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem shall be Salvation. And Obadiah verse 17. saith the same, Upon Mount Zion shall be Deliverance; and there shall be holinesse, and the house of Jacob shall possesse their possessions, that is, the possessions of the Heathen, which possessions he expresseth more particularly in the following verses, by the mount of Esau, the Land of the Philistines, the fields of Ephraim, of Samaria, Gilead, and the Cities of the South, and concludes with these words, the Kingdom shall be the Lords. All these places are for Salvation, and the Kingdome of God (after the day of Judgement) upon Earth. On the other side, I have not found any text that can probably be drawn, to prove any Ascension of the Saints into Heaven; that is to say, into any Cœlum Empyreum, or other ætheriall Region; saving that it is called the Kingdome of Heaven: which name it may have, because God, that was King of the Jews, governed them by his commands, sent to Moses by Angels from Heaven; and after their revolt, sent his Son from Heaven, to reduce them to their obedience; and shall send him thence again, to rule both them, and all other faithfull men, from the day of Judgment, Everlastingly: or from that, that the Throne of this our Great King is in Heaven; whereas the Earth is but his Footstoole. But that the Subjects of God should have any place as high as his Throne, or higher than his Footstoole, it seemeth not sutable to the dignity of a King, nor can I find any evident text for it in holy Scripture.
From this that hath been said of the Kingdom of God, and of Salvation, it is not hard to interpret what is meant by the World to come. There are three worlds mentioned in Scripture, the Old World, the Present World, and the World to come. Of the first, St. Peter speaks,2 Pet. 2. 5.If God spared not the Old World, but saved Noah the eighth person, a Preacher of righteousnesse, bringing the flood upon the world of the ungodly, &c. So the first World, was from Adam to the generall Flood. Of the present World, our Saviour speaks (John 18. 36.) My Kingdome is not of this World. For he came onely to teach men the way of Salvation, and to renew the Kingdome of his Father, by his doctrine. Of the World to come, St. Peter2 Pet. 3. 13. speaks, Neverthelesse we according to his promise look for new Heavens, and a new Earth. This is that World, wherein Christ coming down from Heaven, in the clouds, with great power, and glory, shall send his Angels, and shall gather together his elect, from the four winds, and from the uttermost parts of the Earth, and thence forth reign over them, (under his Father) Everlastingly.
Redemption.Salvation of a sinner, supposeth a precedent Redemption; for he that is once guilty of Sin, is obnoxious to the Penalty of the same; and must pay (or some other or him) such Ransome, as he that is offended, and has him in his power, shall require. And seeing the person offended, is Almighty God, in whose power are all things; such Ransome is to be paid before Salvation can be acquired, as God hath been pleased to require. By this Ransome, is not intended a satisfaction for Sin, equivalent to the Offence, which no sinner for himselfe, nor righteous man can ever be able to make for another: The dammage a man does to another, he may make amends for by restitution, or recompence, but sin cannot be taken away by recompence; for that were to make the liberty to sin, a thing vendible. But sins may bee pardoned to the repentant, either gratis, or upon such penalty, as God is pleased to accept. That which God usually accepted in the Old Testament, was some Sacrifice, or Oblation. To forgive sin is not an act of Injustice, though the punishment have been threatned. Even amongst men, though the promise of Good, bind the promiser; yet threats, that is to say, promises of Evill, bind them not; much lesse shall they bind God, who is infinitely more merciful then men. Our Saviour Christ therefore to Redeem us, did not in that sense satisfie for the Sins of men, as that his Death, of its own vertue, could make it unjust in God to punish sinners with Eternall death; but did make that Sacrifice, and Oblation of himself, at his first coming, which God was pleased to require, for the Salvation at his second coming, of such as in the mean time should repent, and beleeve in him. And though this act of our Redemption, be not alwaies in Scripture called a Sacrifice, and Oblation, but sometimes a Price; yet by Price we are not to understand any thing, by the value whereof, he could claim right to a pardon for us, from his offended Father; but that Price which God the Father was pleased in mercy to demand.
Of the signification in Scripture of the wordChurch.
The word Church, (Ecclesia) signifieth in the BooksChurch the Lords house. of Holy Scripture divers things. Sometimes (though not often) it is taken for Gods House, that is to say, for a Temple, wherein Christians assemble to perform holy duties publiquely; as, I Cor. 14. ver. 34. Let your women keep silence in the Churches: but this is Metaphorically put, for the Congregation there assembled; and hath been since used for the Edifice it self, to distinguish between the Temples of Christians, and Idolaters. The Temple of Jerusalem was Gods house, and the House of Prayer; and so is any Edifice dedicated by Christians to the worship of Christ, Christs house: and therefore the Greek Fathers call it Κνριακὴ The Lords house; and thence, in our language it came to be called Kyrke, and Church.
Church (when not taken for a House) signifieth the same that Ecclesia signified in the Grecian Common-wealths;Ecclesia properly what. that is to say, a Congregation, or an Assembly of Citizens, called forth, to hear the Magistrate speak unto them; and which in the Common-wealth of Rome was called Concio, as he that spake was called Ecclesiastes, and Concionator. And when they were called forth by lawfull Authority, it was Ecclesia legitima, aLawfullActs 19. 39.Church, έννομος But when they were excited by tumultuous, and seditious clamor, then it was a confused Church, Εκκλησία σνγκεχνμίνη.
It is taken also sometimes for the men that have right to be of the Congregation, though not actually assembled; that is to say, for the whole multitude of Christian men, how far soever they be dispersed: as (Act. 8. 3.) where it is said, that Saul made havock of the Church: And in this sense is Christ said to be Head of the Church. And sometimes for a certain part of Christians, as (Col. 4. 15.) Salute the Church that is in his house. Sometimes also for the Elect onely; as (Ephes. 5. 27.) A Glorious Church, without spot, or wrinkle, holy, and without blemish; which is meant of the Church triumphant, or, Church to come. Sometimes, for a Congregation assembled, of professors of Christianity, whether their profession be true, or counterfeit, as it is understood, Mat. 18. 17. where it is said, Tell it to the Church, and if hee neglect to hear the Church, let him be to thee as a Gentile, or Publican.
In what sense the Church is one Person. And in this last sense only it is that the Church can be taken for one Person; that is to say, that it can be said to have power to will, to pronounce, to command, to be obeyed, to make laws, or to doe any other action whatsoever; For without authority from a lawfull Congregation, whatsoever act be done in a concourse of people, it is the particular act of every one of those that were present, and gave their aid to the performance of it; and not the act of them all in grosse, as of one body; much lesse the act of them that were absent, or that being present, were not willing it should be done. AccordingChurch defined. o this sense, I define a Church to be, A company of men professing Christian Religion, united in the person of one Soveraign; at whose command they ought to assemble, and without whose authority they ought not to assemble. And because in all Common-wealths, that Assembly, which is without warrant from the Civil Soveraign, is unlawful; that Church also, which is assembled in any Common-wealth, that hath forbidden them to assemble, is an unlawfull Assembly.
A Christian Common-wealth, and a Church all one. It followeth also, that there is on Earth, no such universall Church, as all Christians are bound to obey; because there is no power on Earth, to which all other Common-wealths are subject: There are Christians, in the Dominions of severall Princes and States; but every one of them is subject to that Common-wealth, whereof he is himself a member; and consequently, cannot be subject to the commands of any other Person. And therefore a Church, such a one as is capable to Command, to Judge, Absolve, Condemn, or do any other act, is the same thing with a Civil Common-wealth, consisting of Christian men; and is called a Civill State, for that the subjects of it are Men; and a Church, for that the subjects thereof are Christians. Temporall and Spirituall Government, are but two words brought into the world, to make men see double, and mistake their Lawfull Soveraign. It is true, that the bodies of the faithfull, after the Resurrection, shall be not onely Spirituall, but Eternall: but in this life they are grosse, and corruptible. There is therefore no other Government in this life, neither of State, nor Religion, but Temporall; nor teaching of any doctrine, lawfull to any Subject, which the Governour both of the State, and of the Religion, forbiddeth to be taught: And that Governor must be one; or else there must needs follow Faction, and Civil war in the Common-wealth, between the Church and State; between Spiritualists, and Temporalists; between the Sword of Justice, and the Shield of Faith; and (which is more) in every Christian mans own brest, between the Christian, and the Man. The Doctors of the Church, are called Pastors; so also are Civill Soveraignes: But if Pastors be not subordinate one to another, so as that there may bee one chief Pastor, men will be taught contrary Doctrines, whereof both may be, and one must be false. Who that one chief Pastor is, according to the law of Nature, hath been already shewn; namely, that it is the Civill Soveraign: And to whom the Scripture hath assigned that Office, we shall see in the Chapters following.
Of theRightsof the Kingdome of God, in Abraham, Moses, the High Priests, and the Kings of Judah.
The Father of the Faithfull, and first in the KingdomeThe Soveraign Rights of Abraham. of God by Covenant, was Abraham. For with him was the Covenant first made; wherein he obliged himself, and his seed after him, to acknowledge and obey the commands of God; not onely such, as he could take notice of, (as Morall Laws,) by the light of Nature; but also such, as God should in speciall manner deliver to him by Dreams, and Visions. For as to the Morall law, they were already obliged, and needed not have been contracted withall, by promise of the Land of Canaan. Nor was there any Contract, that could adde to, or strengthen the Obligation, by which both they, and all men else were bound naturally to obey God Almighty: And therefore the Covenant which Abraham made with God, was to take for the Commandement of God, that which in the name of God was commanded him, in a Dream, or Vision; and to deliver it to his family, and cause them to observe the same.
In this Contract of God with Abraham, wee may observe three points of important consequence in the government of Gods people. First, that at the making of this Covenant, God spake onely to Abraham, and therefore contracted not with any of his family, or seed, otherwise then as their wills (which make the essence of all Covenants) were before the Contract involved in the will of Abraham; who was therefore supposed to have had a lawfull power, to make them perform all that he covenanted for them. According whereunto (Gen. 18. 18, 19.) God saith, All the Nations of the Earth shall be blessed in him, For I know him that he will command his children and his houshold after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord. From whence may be concluded this first point, that they to whom God hath not spoken immediately, are to receive the positive commandements of God, from their Soveraign; as the family and seed ofAbraham had the sole power of ordering the Religion of his own people. braham did from Abraham their Father, and Lord, and Civill Soveraign. And consequently in every Common-wealth, they who have no supernaturall Revelation to the contrary, ought to obey the laws of their own Soveraign, in the externall acts and profession of Religion. As for the inward thought, and beleef of men, which humane Governours can take no notice of, (for God onely knoweth the heart) they are not voluntary, nor the effect of the laws, but of the unrevealed will, and of the power of God; and consequently fall not under obligation.
No pretence of Private Spirit against the Religion of Abraham. From whence proceedeth another point, that it was not unlawfull for Abraham, when any of his Subjects should pretend Private Vision, or Spirit, or other Revelation from God, for the countenancing of any doctrine which Abraham should forbid, or when they followed, or adhered to any such pretender, to punish them; and consequently that it is lawfull now for the Soveraign to punish any man that shall oppose his Private Spirit against the Laws: For hee hath the same place in the Common-wealth, that Abraham had in his own Family.
There ariseth also from the same, a third point; thatAbraham sole Judge, and Interpreter of what God spake. as none but Abraham in his family, so none but the Soveraign in a Christian Common-wealth, can take notice what is, or what is not the Word of God. For God spake onely to Abraham; and it was he onely, that was able to know what God said, and to interpret the same to his family: And therefore also, they that have the place of Abraham in a Common-wealth, are the onely Interpreters of what God hath spoken.
The same Covenant was renewed with Isaac; andThe authority of Moses whereon grounded. afterwards with Jacob; but afterwards no more, till the Israelites were freed from the Egyptians, and arrived at the Foot of Mount Sinai: and then it was renewed by Moses (as I have said before, chap. 35.) in such manner, as they became from that time forward the Peculiar Kingdome of God; whose Lieutenant was Moses, for his owne time: and the succession to that office was setled upon Aaron, and his heirs after him, to bee to God a Sacerdotall Kingdome for ever.
By this constitution, a Kingdome is acquired to God. But seeing Moses had no authority to govern the Israelites, as a successor to the right of Abraham, because he could not claim it by inheritance; it appeareth not as yet, that the people were obliged to take him for Gods Lieutenant, longer than they beleeved that God spake unto him. And therefore his authority (notwithstanding the Covenant they made with God) depended yet merely upon the opinion they had of his Sanctity, and of the reality of his Conferences with God, and the verity of his Miracles; which opinion coming to change, they were no more obliged to take any thing for the law of God, which he propounded to them in Gods name. We are therefore to consider, what other ground there was, of their obligation to obey him. For it could not be the commandement of God that could oblige them; because God spake not to them immediately, but by the mediation of Moses himself: And our Saviour saith of himself, If I bearJohn 5. 31.witnesse of my self, my witnesse is not true; much lesse if Moses bear witnesse of himselfe, (especially in a claim of Kingly power over Gods people) ought his testimony to be received. His authority therefore, as the authority of all other Princes, must be grounded on the Consent of the People, and their Promise to obey him. And so it was: For the people (Exod. 20. 18.) when they saw theThunderings, and the Lightnings, and the noyse of the Trumpet, and the mountaine smoaking, removed, and stood a far off. And they said unto Moses, speak thou with us, and we will hear, but let not God speak with us lest we die. Here was their promise of obedience; and by this it was they obliged themselves to obey whatsoever he should deliver unto them for the Commandement of God.
Moses was (under God) Soveraign of the Jews, all his own time, though Aaron had the Priesthood. And notwithstanding the Covenant constituteth a Sacerdotall Kingdome, that is to say, a Kingdome hereditary to Aaron; yet that is to be understood of the succession, after Moses should bee dead. For whosoever ordereth, and establisheth the Policy, as first founder of a Common-wealth (be it Monarchy, Aristocracy, or Democracy) must needs have Soveraign Power over the people all the while he is doing of it. And that Moses had that power all his own time, is evidently affirmed in the Scripture. First, in the text last before cited, because the people promised obedience, not to Aaron but to him. Secondly, (Exod. 24. 1, 2.) And God said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the Elders of Israel. And Moses alone shall come neer the Lord, but they shall not come nigh, neither shall the people goe up with him. By which it is plain, that Moses who was alone called up to God, (and not Aaron, nor the other Priests, nor the Seventy Elders, nor the People who were forbidden to come up) was alone he, that represented to the Israelites the Person of God; that is to say, was their sole Soveraign under God. And though afterwards it be said (verse 9.) Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the Elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel, and there was under his feet, as it were a paved work of a saphire stone, &c. yet this was not till after Moses had been with God before, and had brought to the people the words which God had said to him. He onely went for the businesse of the people; the others, as the Nobles of his retinue, were admitted for honour to that speciall grace, which was not allowed to the people; which was, (as in the verse after appeareth) to see God and live. God laid not his hand upon them, they saw God, and did eat and drink (that is, did live), but did not carry any commandement from him to the people. Again, it is every where said, The Lord spake unto Moses, as in all other occasions of Government; so also in the ordering of the Ceremonies of Religion, contained in the 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31 Chapters of Exodus, and throughout Leviticus: to Aaron seldome. The Calfe that Aaron made, Moses threw into the fire. Lastly, the question of the Authority of Aaron, by occasion of his and Miriams mutiny against Moses, was (Numbers 12.) judged by God himself for Moses. So also in the question between Moses, and the People, who had the Right of Governing the People, when Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, and two hundred and fifty Princes of the Assembly gathered themselves together (Numb. 16. 3.) against Moses, and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are Holy, every one of them, and the Lord is amongst them, why lift up your selves above the congregation of the Lord? God caused the Earth to swallow Corah, Dathan, and Abiram with their wives and children alive, and consumed those two hundred and fifty Princes with fire. Therefore neither Aaron, nor the People, nor any Aristocracy of the chief Princes of the People, but Moses alone had next under God the Soveraignty over the Israelites: And that not onely in causes of Civill Policy, but also of Religion: For Moses onely spake with God, and therefore onely could tell the People, what it was that God required at their hands. No man upon pain of death might be so presumptuous as to approach the Mountain where God talked with Moses. Thou shalt set bounds (saith the Lord, Exod. 19. 12.) to the people round about, and say, Take heed to your selves that you goe not up into the Mount, or touch the border of it; whosoever toucheth the Mount shall surely be put to death. And again (verse 21.) Goe down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze. Out of which we may conclude, that whosoever in a Christian Common-wealth holdeth the place of Moses, is the sole Messenger of God, and Interpreter of his Commandements. And according hereunto, no man ought in the interpretation of the Scripture to proceed further then the bounds which are set by their severall Soveraigns. For the Scriptures since God now speaketh in them, are the Mount Sinai; the bounds whereof are the Laws of them that represent Gods Person on Earth. To look upon them, and therein to behold the wondrous works of God, and learn to fear him is allowed; but to interpret them; that is, to pry into what God saith to him whom he appointeth to govern under him, and make themselves Judges whether he govern as God commandeth him, or not, is to transgresse the bounds God hath set us, and to gaze upon God irreverently.
All spirits were subordinate to the spirit of Moses. There was no Prophet in the time of Moses, nor pretender to the Spirit of God, but such as Moses had approved, and Authorized. For there were in his time but Seventy men, that are said to Prophecy by the Spirit of God, and these were of all Moses his election; concerning whom God said to Moses (Numb. 11. 16.) Gather to mee Seventy of the Elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the Elders of the People. To these God imparted his Spirit; but it was not a different Spirit from that of Moses; for it is said (verse 25.) God came down in a cloud, and took of the Spirit that was upon Moses, and gave it to the Seventy Elders. But as I have shewn before (chap. 36.) by Spirit, is understood the Mind; so that the sense of the place is no other than this, that God endued them with a mind conformable, and subordinate to that of Moses, that they might Prophecy, that is to say, speak to the people in Gods name, in such manner, as to set forward (as Ministers of Moses, and by his authority) such doctrine as was agreeable to Moses his doctrine. For they were but Ministers; and when two of them Prophecyed in the Camp, it was thought a new and unlawfull thing; and as it is in the 27. and 28. verses of the same Chapter, they were accused of it, and Joshua advised Moses to forbid them, as not knowing that it was by Moses his Spirit that they Prophecyed. By which it is manifest, that no Subject ought to pretend to Prophecy, or to the Spirit, in opposition to the doctrine established by him, whom God hath set in the place of Moses.
Aaron being dead, and after him also Moses, theAfter Moses the Soveraignty was in the High Priest. Kingdome, as being a Sacerdotall Kingdome, descended by vertue of the Covenant, to Aarons Son, Eleazar the High Priest: And God declared him (next under himself) for Soveraign, at the same time that he appointed Joshua for the Generall of their Army. For thus God saith expressely (Numb. 27. 21.) concerning Joshua; He shall stand before Eleazar the Priest, who shall ask counsell for him, before the Lord, at his word shall they goe out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the Children of Israel with him: Therefore the Supreme Power of making War and Peace, was in the Priest. The Supreme Power of Judicature belonged also to the High Priest: For the Book of the Law was in their keeping; and the Priests and Levites onely, were the subordinate Judges in causes Civill, as appears in Deut. 17. 8, 9, 10. And for the manner of Gods worship, there was never doubt made, but that the High Priest till the time of Saul, had the Supreme Authority. Therefore the Civill and Ecclesiasticall Power were both joined together in one and the same person, the High Priest; and ought to bee so, in whosoever governeth by Divine Right; that is, by Authority immediate from God.
After the death of Joshua, till the time of Saul, theOf the Soveraign power between the time of Joshua and of Saul. time between is noted frequently in the Book of Judges, that there was in those dayes no King in Israel; and sometimes with this addition, that every man did that which was right in his own eyes. By which is to bee understood, that where it is said, there was no King, is meant, there was no Soveraign Power in Israel. And so it was, if we consider the Act, and Exercise of such power. For after the death of Joshua, & Eleazar, there arose another generation (Judges 2. 10.) that knew not the Lord, nor the works which he had done for Israel, but did evill in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim. And the Jews had that quality which St. Paul noteth, to look for a sign, not onely before they would submit themselves to the government of Moses, but also after they had obliged themselves by their submission. Whereas Signs, and Miracles had for End to procure Faith, not to keep men from violating it, when they have once given it; for to that men are obliged by the law of Nature. But if we consider not the Exercise, but the Right of Governing, the Soveraign power was still in the High Priest. Therefore whatsoever obedience was yeelded to any of the Judges (who were men chosen by God extraordinarily, to save his rebellious subjects out of the hands of the enemy,) it cannot bee drawn into argument against the Right the High Priest had to the Soveraign Power, in all matters, both of Policy and Religion. And neither the Judges, nor Samuel himselfe had an ordinary, but extraordinary calling to the Government; and were obeyed by the Israelites, not out of duty, but out of reverence to their favour with God, appearing in their wisdome, courage, or felicity. Hitherto therefore the Right of Regulating both the Policy, and the Religion, were inseparable.
To the Judges, succeeded Kings: And whereas before,Of the Rights of the Kings of Israel. all authority, both in Religion, and Policy, was in the High Priest; so now it was all in the King. For the Soveraignty over the people, which was before, not onely by vertue of the Divine Power, but also by a particular pact of the Israelites in God, and next under him, in the High Priest, as his Vicegerent on earth, was cast off by the People, with the consent of God himselfe. For when they said to Samuel (1 Sam. 8. 5.) make us a King to judge us, like all the Nations, they signified that they would no more bee governed by the commands that should bee laid upon them by the Priest, in the name of God; but by one that should command them in the same manner that all other nations were commanded; and consequently in deposing the High Priest of Royall authority, they deposed that peculiar Government of God. And yet God consented to it, saying to Samuel (verse 7.) Hearken unto the voice of the People, in all that they shall say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected mee, that I should not reign over them. Having therefore rejected God, in whose Right the Priests governed, there was no authority left to the Priests, but such as the King was pleased to allow them; which was more, or lesse, according as the Kings were good, or evill. And for the Government of Civill affaires, it is manifest, it was all in the hands of the King. For in the same Chapter, verse 20. They say they will be like all the Nations; that their King shall be their Judge, and goe before them, and fight their battells; that is, he shall have the whole authority, both in Peace and War. In which is contained also the ordering of Religion: for there was no other Word of God in that time, by which to regulate Religion, but the Law of Moses, which was their Civill Law. Besides, we read (1 Kings 2. 27.) that Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being Priest before the Lord: He had therefore authority over the High Priest, as over any other Subject; which is a great mark of Supremacy in Religion. And we read also (1 Kings 8.) that hee dedicated the Temple; that he blessed the People; and that he himselfe in person made that excellent prayer, used in the Consecrations of all Churches, and houses of Prayer; which is another great mark of Supremacy in Religion. Again, we read (2 Kings 22.) that when there was question concerning the Book of the Law found in the Temple, the same was not decided by the High Priest, but Josiah sent both him, and others to enquire concerning it, of Hulda, the Prophetesse; which is another mark of the Supremacy in Religion. Lastly, wee read (1 Chron. 26. 30.) that David made Hashabiah and his brethren, Hebronites, Officers of Israel among them Westward, in all businesse of the Lord, and in the service of the King. Likewise (verse 32.) that hee made other Hebronites, rulers over the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the halfe tribe of Manasseh (these were the rest of Israel that dwelt beyond Jordan) for every matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the King. Is not this full Power, both temporall and spirituall, as they call it, that would divide it? To conclude; from the first institution of Gods Kingdome, to the Captivity, the Supremacy of Religion, was in the same hand with that of the Civill Soveraignty; and the Priests office after the election of Saul, was not Magisteriall, but Ministeriall.
The practice of Supremacy in Religion, was not in the time of the Kings, according to the Right thereof. Notwithstanding the government both in Policy and Religion, were joined, first in the High Priests, and afterwards in the Kings, so far forth as concerned the Right; yet it appeareth by the same Holy History, that the people understood it not; but there being amongst them a great part, and probably the greatest part, that no longer than they saw great miracles, or (which is equivalent to a miracle) great abilities, or great felicity in the enterprises of their Governours, gave sufficient credit, either to the fame of Moses, or to the Colloquies between God and the Priests; they took occasion as oft as their Governours displeased them, by blaming sometimes the Policy, sometimes the Religion, to change the Government, or revolt from their Obedience at their pleasure: And from thence proceeded from time to time the civill troubles, divisions, and calamities of the Nation. As for example, after the death of Eleazar and Joshua, the next generation which had not seen the wonders of God, but were left to their own weak reason, not knowing themselves obliged by the Covenant of a Sacerdotall Kingdome, regarded no more the Commandement of the Priest, nor any law of Moses, but did every man that which was right in his own eyes; and obeyed in Civill affairs, such men, as from time to time they thought able to deliver them from the neighbour Nations that oppressed them; and consulted not with God (as they ought to doe,) but with such men, or women, as they guessed to bee Prophets by their Prædictions of things to come; and though they had an Idol in their Chappel, yet if they had a Levite for their Chaplain, they made account they worshipped the God of Israel.
And afterwards when they demanded a King, after the manner of the nations; yet it was not with a design to depart from the worship of God their King; but despairing of the justice of the sons of Samuel, they would have a King to judg them in Civill actions; but not that they would allow their King to change the Religion which they thought was recommended to them by Moses. So that they alwaies kept in store a pretext, either of Justice, or Religion, to discharge them selves of their obedience, whensoever they had hope to prevaile. Samuel was displeased with the people, for that they desired a King, (for God was their King already, and Samuel had but an authority under him); yet did Samuel, when Saul observed not his counsell, in destroying Agag as God had commanded, anoint another King, namely, David, to take the succession from his heirs. Rehoboam was no Idolater; but when the people thought him an Oppressor; that Civil pretence carried from him ten Tribes to Jeroboam an Idolater. And generally through the whole History of the Kings, as well of Judah, as of Israel, there were Prophets that alwaies controlled the Kings, for transgressing the Religion; and sometimes also for Errours of State; as2 Chro. 19. 2. Jehosaphat was reproved by the Prophet Jehu, for aiding the King of Israel against the Syrians; and Hezekiah, by Isaiah, for shewing his treasures to the Ambassadors of Babylon. By all which it appeareth, that though the power both of State and Religion were in the Kings; yet none of them were uncontrolled in the use of it, but such as were gracious for their own naturall abilities, or felicities. So that from the practise of those times, there can no argument be drawn, that the Right of Supremacy in Religion was not in the Kings, unlesse we place it in the Prophets; and conclude, that because Hezekiah praying to the Lord before the Cherubins, was not answered from thence, nor then, but afterwards by the Prophet Isaiah, therefore Isaiah was supreme Head of the Church; or because Josiah consulted Hulda the Prophetesse, concerning the Book of the Law, that therefore neither he, nor the High Priest, but Hulda the Prophetesse had the Supreme authority in matter of Religion; which I thinke is not the opinion of any Doctor.
During the Captivity, the Jews had no Common-wealthAfter the Captivit, the Jews had no setled Common wealth. at all: And after their return, though they renewed their Covenant with God, yet there was no promise made of obedience, neither to Esdras, nor to any other: And presently after they became subjects to the Greeks (from whose Customes, and Dæmonology, and from the doctrine of the Cabalists, their Religion became much corrupted): In such sort as nothing can be gathered from their confusion, both in State and Religion, concerning the Supremacy in either. And therefore so far forth as concerneth the Old Testament, we may conclude, that whosoever had the Soveraignty of the Commonwealth amongst the Jews, the same had also the Supreme Authority in matter of Gods externall worship; and represented Gods Person; that is the person of God the Father; though he were not called by the name of Father, till such time as he sent into the world his Son Jesus Christ, to redeem mankind from their sins, and bring them into his Everlasting Kingdome, to be saved for evermore. Of which we are to speak in the Chapter following.
Of theOfficeof ourBlessed Saviour.
Three parts of the Office of Christ.We find in Holy Scripture three parts of the Office of the Messiah: The first of a Redeemer, or Saviour: The second of a Pastor, Counsellor, or Teacher, that is, of a Prophet sent from God, to convert such as God hath elected to Salvation: The third of a King, an eternall King, but under his Father, as Moses and the High Priests were in their severall times. And to these three parts are correspondent three times. For our Redemption he wrought at his first coming, by the Sacrifice, wherein he offered up himself for our sinnes upon the Crosse: our Conversion he wrought partly then in his own Person; and partly worketh now by his Ministers; and will continue to work till his coming again. And after his coming again, shall begin that his glorious Reign over his elect, which is to last eternally.
His Office as a Redeemer. To the Office of a Redeemer, that is, of one that payeth the Ransome of Sin, (which Ransome is Death,) it appertaineth, that he was Sacrificed, and thereby bare upon his own head, and carryed away from us our iniquities, in such sort as God had required. Not that the death of one man, though without sinne, can satisfie for the offences of all men, in the rigour of Justice, but in the Mercy of God, that ordained such Sacrifices for sin, as he was pleased in his mercy to accept. In the Old Law (as we may read, Leviticus the 16.) the Lord required, that there should every year once, bee made an Atonement for the Sins of all Israel, both Priests, and others; for the doing whereof, Aaron alone was to sacrifice for himself and the Priests a young Bullock; and for the rest of the people, he was to receive from them two young Goates, of which he was to sacrifice one; but as for the other, which was the Scape Goat, he was to lay his hands on the head thereof, and by a confession of the iniquities of the people, to lay them all on that head, and then by some opportune man, to cause the Goat to be led into the wildernesse, and there to escape, and carry away with him the iniquities of the people. As the Sacrifice of the one Goat was a sufficient (because an acceptable) price for the Ransome of all Israel; so the death of the Messiah, is a sufficient price, for the Sins of all mankind, because there was no more required. Our Saviour Christs sufferings seem to be here figured, as cleerly, as in the oblation of Isaac, or in any other type of him in the Old Testament: He was both the sacrificed Goat, and the Scape Goat; Hee was oppressed, and he was afflicted (Esay 53. 7.); he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep is dumbe before the shearer, so opened he not hismouth: Here he is the sacrificed Goat. He hath born our Griefs, (ver. 4.) and carried our sorrows: And again, (ver. 6.) the Lord hath laid upon him the iniquities of us all: And so he is the Scape Goat. He was cut off from the land of the living (ver. 8.) for the transgression of my People: There again he is the sacrificed Goat. And again, (ver. 11.) he shall bear their sins: Hee is the Scape Goat. Thus is the Lamb of God equivalent to both those Goates; sacrificed, in that he dyed; and escaping, in his Resurrection; being raised opportunely by his Father, and removed from the habitation of men in his Ascension.
For as much therefore, as he that redeemeth, hath noChrists Kingdome not of this world. title to the thing redeemed, before the Redemption, and Ransome paid; and this Ransome was the Death of the Redeemer; it is manifest, that our Saviour (as man) was not King of those that he Redeemed, before hee suffered death; that is, during that time hee conversed bodily on the Earth. I say, he was not then King in present, by vertue of the Pact, which the faithfull make with him in Baptisme: Neverthelesse, by the renewing of their Pact with God in Baptisme, they were obliged to obey him for King, (under his Father) whensoever he should be pleased to take the Kingdome upon him. According whereunto, our Saviour himself expressely saith, (John 18. 36.) My Kingdome is not of this world. Now seeing the Scripture maketh mention but of two worlds; this that is now, and shall remain to the day of Judgment, (which is therefore also called, the last day;) and that which shall bee after the day of Judgement, when there shall bee a new Heaven, and a new Earth; the Kingdome of Christ is not to begin till the generall Resurrection. And that is it which our Saviour saith, (Mat. 16. 27.) The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his Angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. To reward every man according to his works, is to execute the Office of a King; and this is not to be till he come in the glory of his Father, with his Angells. When our Saviour saith, (Mat. 23. 2.) The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses seat; All therefore whatsoever they bid you doe, that observe and doe; hee declareth plainly, that hee ascribeth Kingly Power, for that time, not to himselfe, but to them. And so hee doth also, where he saith, (Luke 12. 14.) Who made mee a Judge, or Divider over you? And (John 12. 47.) I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. And yet our Saviour came into this world that hee might bee a King, and a Judge in the world to come: For hee was the Messiah, that is, the Christ, that is, the Anointed Priest, and the Soveraign Prophet of God; that is to say, he was to have all the power that was in Moses the Prophet, in the High Priests that succeeded Moses, and in the Kings that succeeded the Priests. And St. John saies expressely (chap. 5. ver. 22.) The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son. And this is not repugnant to that other place, I came not tojudge the world: for this is spoken of the world present, the other of the world to come; as also where it is said, that at the second coming of Christ, (Mat. 19. 28.) Yee that have followed me in the Regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his Glory, yee shall also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
If then Christ whilest hee was on Earth, had no KingdomeThe End of Christs coming was to renew the Covenant of the Kingdome of God, and to perswade the Elect to imbrace it, which was the second part of his Office. in this world, to what end was his first coming? It was to restore unto God, by a new Covenant, the Kingdom, which being his by the Old Covenant, had been cut off by the rebellion of the Israelites in the election of Saul. Which to doe, he was to preach unto them, that he was the Messiah, that is, the King promised to them by the Prophets; and to offer himselfe in sacrifice for the sinnes of them that should by faith submit themselves thereto; and in case the nation generally should refuse him, to call to his obedience such as should beleeve in him amongst the Gentiles. So that there are two parts of our Saviours Office during his aboad upon the Earth: One to Proclaim himself the Christ; and another by Teaching, and by working of Miracles, to perswade, and prepare men to live so, as to be worthy of the Immortality Beleevers were to enjoy, at such time as he should come in majesty, to take possession of his Fathers Kingdome. And therefore it is, that the time of his preaching, is often by himself called the Regeneration; which is not properly a Kingdome, and thereby a warrant to deny obedience to the Magistrates that then were, (for hee commanded to obey those that sate then in Moses chaire, and to pay tribute to Cæsar; but onely an earnest of the Kingdome of God that was to come, to those to whom God had given the grace to be his disciples, and to beleeve in him; For which cause the Godly are said to bee already in the Kingdome of Grace, as naturalized in that heavenly Kingdome.
Hitherto therefore there is nothing done, or taught byThe preaching of Christ not contrary to the then law of the Jews, nor of Cæsar. Christ, that tendeth to the diminution of the Civill Right of the Jewes, or of Cæsar. For as touching the Common-wealth which then was amongst the Jews, both they that bare rule amongst them, and they that were governed, did all expect the Messiah, and Kingdome of God; which they could not have done if their Laws had forbidden him (when he came) to manifest, and declare himself. Seeing therefore he did nothing, but by Preaching, and Miracles go about to prove himselfe to be that Messiah, hee did therein nothing against their laws. The Kingdome hee claimed was to bee in another world: He taught all men to obey in the mean time them that sate in Moses seat: He allowed them to give Cæsar his tribute, and refused to take upon himselfe to be a Judg. How then could his words, or actions bee seditious, or tend to the overthrow of their then Civill Government? But God having determined his sacrifice, for the reduction of his elect to their former covenanted obedience, for the means, whereby he would bring the same to effect, made use of their malice, and ingratitude. Nor was it contrary to the laws of Cæsar. For though Pilate himself (to gratifie the Jews) delivered him to be crucified; yet before he did so, he pronounced openly, that he found no fault in him: And put for title of his condemnation, not as the Jews required, that he pretended to bee King; but simply, That hee was King of the Jews; and notwithstanding their clamour, refused to alter it; saying, What I have written, I have written.
The third part of his Office was to be King (under his Father) of the Elect. As for the third part of his Office, which was to be King, I have already shewn that his Kingdome was not to begin till the Resurrection. But then he shall be King, not onely as God, in which sense he is King already, and ever shall be, of all the Earth, in vertue of his omnipotence; but also peculiarly of his own Elect, by vertue of the pact they make with him in their Baptisme. And therefore it is, that our Saviour saith (Mat. 19. 28.) that his Apostles should sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel, When the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory: whereby he signified that he should reign then in his humane nature; and (Mat. 16. 27.) The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his Angels, and then he shall reward every man according to his works. The same we may read, Marke 13. 26. and 14. 62. and more expressely for the time, Luke 22. 29, 30. I appoint unto you a Kingdome, as my Father hath appointed to mee, that you may eat and drink at my table in my Kingdome, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. By which it is manifest, that the Kingdome of Christ appointed to him by his Father, is not to be before the Son of Man shall come in Glory, and make his Apostles Judges of the twelve tribes of Israel. But a man may here ask, seeing there is no marriage in the Kingdome of Heaven, whether men shall then eat, and drink; what eating therefore is meant in this place? This is expounded by our Saviour (John 6. 27.) where he saith, Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give you. So that by eating at Christs table, is meant the eating of the Tree of Life; that is to say, the enjoying of Immortality, in the Kingdome of the Son of Man. By which places, and many more, it is evident, that our Saviours Kingdome is to bee exercised by him in his humane nature.
Again, he is to be King then, no otherwise than asChrists authority in the Kingdome of God subordinate to that of his Father. subordinate, or Vicegerent of God the Father, as Moses was in the wildernesse; and as the High Priests were before the reign of Saul: and as the Kings were after it. For it is one of the Prophecies concerning Christ, that he should be like (in Office) to Moses: I will raise them up a Prophet (saith the Lord, Deut. 18. 18.) from amongst their Brethren like unto thee, and will put my words into his mouth, and this similitude with Moses, is also apparent in the actions of our Saviour himself, whilest he was conversant on Earth. For as Moses chose twelve Princes of the tribes, to govern under him; so did our Saviour choose twelve Apostles, who shall sit on twelve thrones, and judge the twelve tribes of Israel: And as Moses authorized Seventy Elders, to receive the Spirit of God, and to Prophecy to the people, that is, (as I have said before,) to speak unto them in the name of God; so our Saviour also ordained seventy Disciples, to preach his Kingdome, and Salvation to all Nations. And as when a complaint was made to Moses, against those of the Seventy that prophecyed in the camp of Israel, he justified them in it, as being subservient therein to his government; so also our Saviour, when St. John complained to him of a certain man that cast out Devills in his name, justified him therein, saying, (Luke 9. 50.) Forbid him not, for hee that is not against us, is on our part.
Again, our Saviour resembled Moses in the institution of Sacraments, both of Admission into the Kingdome of God, and of Commemoration of his deliverance of his Elect from their miserable condition. As the Children of Israel had for Sacrament of their Reception into the Kingdome of God, before the time of Moses, the rite of Circumcision, which rite having been omitted in the Wildernesse, was again restored as soon as they came into the land of Promise; so also the Jews, before the coming of our Saviour, had a rite of Baptizing, that is, of washing with water all those that being Gentiles, embraced the God of Israel. This rite St. John the Baptist used in the reception of all them that gave their names to the Christ, whom hee preached to bee already come into the world; and our Saviour instituted the same for a Sacrament to be taken by all that beleeved in him. From what cause the rite of Baptisme first proceeded, is not expressed formally in the Scripture; but it may be probably thought to be an imitation of the law of Moses, concerning Leprousie; wherein the Leprous man was commanded to be kept out of the campe of Israel for a certain time; after which time being judged by the Priest to be clean, hee was admitted into the campe after a solemne Washing. And this may therefore bee a type of the Washing in Baptisme; wherein such men as are cleansed of the Leprousie of Sin by Faith, are received into the Church with the solemnity of Baptisme. There is another conjecture drawn from the Ceremonies of the Gentiles, in a certain case that rarely happens; and that is, when a man that was thought dead, chanced to recover, other men made scruple to converse with him, as they would doe to converse with a Ghost, unlesse hee were received again into the number of men, by Washing, as Children new born were washed from the uncleannesse of their nativity, which was a kind of new birth. This ceremony of the Greeks, in the time that Judæa was under the Dominion of Alexander, and the Greeks his successors, may probably enough have crept into the Religion of the Jews. But seeing it is not likely our Saviour would countenance a Heathen rite, it is most likely it proceeded from the Legall Ceremony of Washing after Leprosie. And for the other Sacrament, of eating the Paschall Lambe, it is manifestly imitated in the Sacrament of the Lords Supper; in which the Breaking of the Bread, and the pouring out of the Wine, do keep in memory our deliverance from the Misery of Sin, by Christs Passion, as the eating of the Paschall Lambe, kept in memory the deliverance of the Jewes out of the Bondage of Egypt. Seeing therefore the authority of Moses was but subordinate, and hee but a Lieutenant to God; it followeth, that Christ, whose authority, as man, was to bee like that of Moses, was no more but subordinate to the authority of his Father. The same is more expressely signified, by that that hee teacheth us to pray, Our Father, Let thy Kingdome come; and, For thine is the Kingdome, the Power, and the Glory; and by that it is said, that Hee shall come in the Glory of his Father; and by that which St. Paul saith, (1 Cor. 15. 24.) then cometh the end, when hee shall have delivered up the Kingdome to God, even the Father; and by many other most expresse places.
Our Saviour therefore, both in Teaching, and Reigning,One and the same God is the Person represented by Moses, and by Christ. representeth (as Moses did) the Person of God; which God from that time forward, but not before, is called the Father; and being still one and the same substance, is one Person as represented by Moses, and another Person as represented by his Sonne the Christ. For Person being a relative to a Representer, it is consequent to plurality of Representers, that there bee a plurality of Persons, though of one and the same Substance.
Of Power Ecclesiasticall.
For the understanding of PowerEcclesiasticall, what, and in whom it is, we are to distinguish the time from the Ascension of our Saviour, into two parts; one before the Conversion of Kings, and men endued with Soveraign Civill Power; the other after their Conversion. For it was long after the Ascension, before any King, or Civill Soveraign embraced, and publiquely allowed the teaching of Christian Religion.
Of the Holy Spirit that fel on the Apostles. And for the time between, it is manifest, that the Power Ecclesiasticall, was in the Apostles; and after them in such as were by them ordained to Preach the Gospell, and to convert men to Christianity, and to direct them that were converted in the way of Salvation; and after these the Power was delivered again to others by these ordained, and this was done by Imposition of hands upon such as were ordained; by which was signified the giving of the Holy Spirit, or Spirit of God, to those whom they ordained Ministers of God, to advance his Kingdome. So that Imposition of hands, was nothing else but the Seal of their Commission to Preach Christ, and teach his Doctrine; and the giving of the Holy Ghost by that ceremony of Imposition of hands, was an imitation of that which Moses did. For Moses used the same ceremony to his Minister Joshua, as wee read Deuteronomy 34. ver. 9. And Joshua the Son of Nun was full of the Spirit of Wisdome; for Moses had laid his hands upon him. Our Saviour therefore between his Resurrection, and Ascension, gave his Spirit to the Apostles; first, by Breathing on them, and saying, (John 20. 22.) Receive yee the Holy Spirit; and after his Ascension (Acts 2. 2, 3.) by sending down upon them, a mighty wind, and Cloven tongues of fire; and not by Imposition of hands; as neither did God lay his hands on Moses: and his Apostles afterward, transmitted the same Spirit by Imposition of hands, as Moses did to Joshua. So that it is manifest hereby, in whom the Power Ecclesiasticall continually remained, in those first times, where there was not any Christian Common-wealth; namely, in them that received the same from the Apostles, by successive laying on of hands.
Of the Trinity. Here wee have the Person of God born now the third time. For as Moses, and the High Priests, were Gods Representative in the Old Testament; and our Saviour himselfe as Man, during his abode on earth: So the Holy Ghost, that is to say, the Apostles, and their successors, in the Office of Preaching, and Teaching, that had received the Holy Spirit, have Represented him ever since. But a Person, (as I have shewn before, chapt. 13.) is he that is Represented, as often as hee is Represented; and therefore God, who has been Represented (that is, Personated) thrice, may properly enough be said to be three Persons; though neither the word Person, nor Trinity be ascribed to him in the Bible. St. John indeed (1 Epist. 5. 7.) saith, There be three that bear witnesse in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these Three are One: But this disagreeth not, but accordeth fitly with three Persons in the proper signification of Persons; which is, that which is Represented by another. For so God the Father, as Represented by Moses, is one Person; and as Represented by his Sonne, another Person; and as Represented by the Apostles, and by the Doctors that taught by authority from them derived, is a third Person; and yet every Person here, is the Person of one and the same God. But a man may here ask, what it was whereof these three bare witnesse. St. John therefore tells us (verse II.) that they bear witnesse, that God hath given us eternall life in his Son. Again, if it should bee asked, wherein that testimony appeareth, the Answer is easie; for he hath testified the same by the miracles he wrought, first by Moses; secondly, by his Son himself; and lastly by his Apostles that had received the Holy Spirit; all which in their times Represented the Person of God; and either prophecyed, or preached Jesus Christ. And as for the Apostles, it was the character of the Apostleship, in the twelve first and great Apostles, to bear Witnesse of his Resurrection; as appeareth expressely (Acts 1. ver. 21, 22.) where St. Peter, when a new Apostle was to be chosen in the place of Judas Iscariot, useth these words, Of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out amongst us, beginning at the Baptisme of John, unto that same day that hee was taken up from us, must one bee ordained to be a Witnesse with us of his Resurrection: which words interpret the bearing of Witnesse, mentioned by St. John. There is in the same place mentioned another Trinity of Witnesses in Earth. For (ver. 8.) he saith, there are three that bear Witnesse in Earth, the Spirit, and the Water, and the Bloud; and these three agree in one: that is to say, the graces of Gods Spirit, and the two Sacraments, Baptisme, and the Lords Supper, which all agree in one Testimony, to assure the consciences of beleevers, of eternall life; of which Testimony he saith (verse 10.) He that beleeveth on the Son of man hath the Witnesse in himself. In this Trinity on Earth, the Unity is not of the thing; for the Spirit, the Water, and the Bloud, are not the same substance, though they give the same testimony: But in the Trinity of Heaven, the Persons are the persons of one and the same God, though Represented in three different times and occasions. To conclude, the doctrine of the Trinity, as far as can be gathered directly from the Scripture, is in substance this; that God who is alwaies One and the same, was the Person Represented by Moses; the Person Represented by his Son Incarnate; and the Person Represented by the Apostles. As Represented by the Apostles, the Holy Spirit by which they spake, is God; As Represented by his Son (that was God and Man), the Son is that God; As represented by Moses, and the High Priests, the Father, that is to say, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is that God: From whence we may gather the reason why those names Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the signification of the Godhead, are never used in the Old Testament: For they are Persons, that is, they have their names from Representing; which could not be, till divers men had Represented Gods Person in ruling, or in directing under him.
Thus wee see how the Power Ecclesiasticall was left by our Saviour to the Apostles; and how they were (to the end they might the better exercise that Power,) endued with the Holy Spirit, which is therefore called sometime in the New Testament Paracletus which signifieth an Assister, or one called to for helpe, though it bee commonly translated a Comforter. Let us now consider the Power it selfe, what it was, and over whom.
The Power Ecclesiasticall is but the power to tonch. Cardinall Bellarmine in his third generall Controversie, hath handled a great many questions concerning the Ecclesiasticall Power of the Pope of Rome; and begins with this, Whether it ought to be Monarchicall, Aristocraticall, or Democraticall. All which sorts of Power, are Soveraign, and Coercive. If now it should appear, that there is no Coercive Power left them by our Saviour; but onely a Power to proclaim the Kingdom of Christ, and to perswade men to submit themselves thereunto; and by precepts and good counsell, to teach them that have submitted, what they are to do, that they may be received into the Kingdom of God when it comes; and that the Apostles, and other Ministers of the Gospel, are our Schoolemasters, and not our Commanders, and their Precepts not Laws, but wholesome Counsells; then were all that dispute in vain.
I have shewn already (in the last Chapter,) that theAn argument thereof, the Power of Christ himself: Kingdome of Christ is not of this world: therefore neither can his Ministers (unless they be Kings,) require obedience in his name. For if the Supreme King, have not his Regall Power in this world; by what authority can obedience be required to his Officers? As my Father sent me, (so saith our Saviour) I send you. But our Saviour was sent to perswade the Jews to return to, and to invite the Gentiles, to receive the Kingdome of his Father, and not to reign in Majesty, no not, as his Fathers Lieutenant, till the day of Judgment.
The time between the Ascension, and the generallFrom the name of Regeneration: Resurrection, is called, not a Reigning, but a Regeneration; that is, a Preparation of men for the second and glorious coming of Christ, at the day of Judgment; as appeareth by the words of our Saviour, Mat. 19. 28. You that have followed me in the Regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, you shallalso sit upon twelve Thrones; And of St. Paul (Ephes. 6. 15.) Having your feet shod with the Preparation of the Gospell of Peace.
And is compared by our Saviour, to Fishing; that is,From the comparison of it, with Fishing, Leaven, Seed. to winning men to obedience, not by Coercion, and Punishing; but by Perswasion: and therefore he said not to his Apostles, hee would make them so many Nimrods, Hunters of men; but Fishers of men. It is compared also to Leaven; to Sowing of Seed, and to the Multiplication of a grain of Mustard-seed; by all which Compulsion is excluded; and consequently there can in that time be no actual Reigning. The work of Christs Ministers, is Evangelization; that is, a Proclamation of Christ, and a preparation for his second comming; as the Evangelization of John Baptist, was a preparation to his first coming.
From the nature of Faith: Again, the Office of Christs Ministers in this world, is to make men Beleeve, and have Faith in Christ: But Faith hath no relation to, nor dependence at all upon Compulsion, or Commandement; but onely upon certainty, or probability of Arguments drawn from Reason, or from something men beleeve already. Therefore the Ministers of Christ in this world, have no Power by that title, to Punish any man for not Beleeving, or for Contradicting what they say; they have I say no Power by that title of Christs Ministers, to Punish such: but if they have Soveraign Civill Power, by politick institution, then they may indeed lawfully Punish any Contradiction to their laws whatsoever: And St. Paul, of himselfe and2 Cor. 1. 24. ther the then Preachers of the Gospell, saith in expresse words, Wee have no Dominion over your Faith, but are Helpers of your Joy.
From the Authority Christ hath left to Civill Princes. Another Argument, that the Ministers of Christ in this present world have no right of Commanding, may be drawn from the lawfull Authority which Christ hath left to all Princes, as well Christians, as Infidels. St. Paul saith (Col. 3. 20.) Children obey your Parents in all things; for this is well pleasing to the Lord. And ver. 22. Servants obey in all things your Masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singlenesse of heart, as fearing the Lord: This is spoken to them whose Masters were Infidells; and yet they are bidden to obey them in all things. And again, concerning obedience to Princes. (Rom. 13. the first 6. verses) exhorting to be subject to the Higher Powers, he saith, that all Power is ordained of God; and that we ought to be subject to them, not onely for fear of incurring their wrath, but also for conscience sake. And St. Peter, (1 Epist. chap. 2. ver. 13, 14, 15.) Submit your selves to every Ordinance of Man, for the Lords sake, whether it bee to the King, as Supreme, or unto Governours, as to them that be sent by him for the punishment of evill doers, and for the praise of them that doe well; for so is the will of God. And again St. Paul (Tit. 3. 1.) Put men in mind to be subject to Principalities, and Powers, and to obey Magistrates. These Princes, and Powers, whereof St. Peter, and St. Paul here speak, were all Infidels; much more therefore we are to obey those Christians, whom God hath ordained to have Soveraign Power over us. How then can wee be obliged to obey any Minister of Christ, if he should command us to doe any thing contrary to the Command of the King, or other Soveraign Representant of the Common-wealth, whereof we are members, and by whom we look to be protected? It is therefore manifest, that Christ hath not left to his Ministers in this world, unlesse they be also endued with Civill Authority, any authority to Command other men.
But what (may some object) if a King, orWhat Christians may do to avoid persecution. a Senate, or other Soveraign Person forbid us to beleeve in Christ? To this I answer, that such forbidding is of no effect; because Beleef, and Unbeleef never follow mens Commands. Faith is a gift of God, which Man can neither give, nor take away by promise of rewards, or menaces of torture. And if it be further asked, What if wee bee commanded by our lawfull Prince, to say with our tongue, wee beleeve not; must we obey such command? Profession with the tongue is but an externall thing, and no more then any other gesture whereby we signifie our obedience; and wherein a Christian, holding firmely in his heart the Faith of Christ, hath the same liberty which the Prophet Elisha allowed to Naaman the Syrian. Naaman was converted in his heart to the God of Israel; For hee saith (2 Kings 5. 17.) Thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering, nor sacrifice unto other Gods but unto the Lord. In this thing the Lord pardon thy servant, that when my Master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand; and I bow my selfe in the house of Rimmon; when I bow my selfe in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy servant in this thing. This the Prophet approved, and bid him Goe in peace. Here Naaman beleeved in his heart; but by bowing before the Idol Rimmon, he denyed the true God in effect, as much as if he had done it with his lips. But then what shall we answer to our Saviours saying, Whosoever denyeth me before men, I will deny him before my Father which is in Heaven? This we may say, that whatsoever a subject, as Naaman was, is compelled to in obedience to his Soveraign, and doth it not in order to his own mind, but in order to the laws of his country, that action is not his, but his Soveraigns; nor is it he that in this case denyeth Christ before men, but his Governour, and the law of his countrey. If any man shall accuse this doctrine, as repugnant to true, and unfeigned Christianity; I ask him, in case there should be a subject in any Christian Common-wealth, that should be inwardly in his heart of the Mahometan Religion, whether if his Soveraign command him to bee present at the divine service of the Christian Church, and that on pain of death, he think that Mahometan obliged in conscience to suffer death for that cause, rather than to obey that command of his lawfull Prince. If he say, he ought rather to suffer death, then he authorizeth all private men, to disobey their Princes, in maintenance of their Religion, true, or false: if he say, he ought to bee obedient, then he alloweth to himself, that which hee denyeth to another, contrary to the words of our Saviour, Whatsoever you would that men should doe unto you, that doe yee unto them; and contrary to the Law of Nature, (which is the indubitable everlasting Law of God) Do not to another, that which thou wouldest not he should doe unto thee.
Of Martyrs. But what then shall we say of all those Martyrs we read of in the History of the Church, that they have needlessely cast away their lives? For answer hereunto, we are to distinguish the persons that have been for that cause put to death; whereof some have received a Calling to preach, and professe the Kingdome of Christ openly; others have had no such Calling, nor more has been required of them than their owne faith. The former sort, if they have been put to death, for bearing witnesse to this point, that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, were true Martyrs; For a Martyr is, (to give the true definition of the word) a Witnesse of the Resurrection of Jesus the Messiah; which none can be but those that conversed with him on earth, and saw him after he was risen: For a Witnesse must have seen what he testifieth, or else his testimony is not good. And that none but such, can properly be called Martyrs of Christ, is manifest out of the words of St. Peter, Act. 1. 21, 22. Wherefore of these men which have companyed with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out amongst us, beginning from the Baptisme of John unto that same day hee was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a Martyr (that is a Witnesse) with us of his Resurrection: Where we may observe, that he which is to bee a Witnesse of the truth of the Resurrection of Christ, that is to say, of the truth of this fundamentall article of Christian Religion, that Jesus was the Christ, must be some Disciple that conversed with him, and saw him before, and after his Resurrection; and consequently must be one of his originall Disciples: whereas they which were not so, can Witnesse no more, but that their antecessors said it, and are therefore but Witnesses of other mens testimony; and are but second Martyrs, or Martyrs of Christs Witnesses.
He, that to maintain every doctrine which he himself draweth out of the History of our Saviours life, and of the Acts, or Epistles of the Apostles; or which he beleeveth upon the authority of a private man, wil oppose the Laws and Authority of the Civill State, is very far from being a Martyr of Christ, or a Martyr of his Martyrs. ‘Tis one Article onely, which to die for, meriteth so honorable a name; and that Article is this, that Jesus is the Christ; that is to say, He that hath redeemed us, and shall come again to give us salvation, and eternall life in his glorious Kingdome. To die for every tenet that serveth the ambition, or profit of the Clergy, is not required; nor is it the Death of the Witnesse, but the Testimony it self that makes the Martyr: for the word signifieth nothing else, but the man that beareth Witnesse, whether he be put to death for his testimony, or not.
Also he that is not sent to preach this fundamentall article, but taketh it upon him of his private authority, though he be a Witnesse, and consequently a Martyr, either primary of Christ, or secundary of his Apostles, Disciples, or their Successors; yet is he not obliged to suffer death for that cause; because being not called thereto, tis not required at his hands; nor ought hee to complain, if he loseth the reward he expecteth from those that never set him on work. None therefore can be a Martyr, neither of the first, nor second degree, that have not a warrant to preach Christ come in the flesh; that is to say, none, but such as are sent to the conversion of Infidels. For no man is a Witnesse to him that already beleeveth, and therefore needs no Witnesse; but to them that deny, or doubt, or have not heard it. Christ sent his Apostles, and his Seventy Disciples, with authority to preach; he sent not all that beleeved: And he sent them to unbeleevers; I send you (saith he) as sheep amongst wolves; not as sheep to other sheep.
Argument from the points of their Commission. Lastly, the points of their Commission, as they are expressely set down in the Gospel, contain none of them any authority over the Congregation.
To Preach. We have first (Mat. 10.) that the twelve Apostles were sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and commanded to Preach, that the Kingdome of God was at hand. Now Preaching in the originall, is that act, which a Crier, Herald, or other Officer useth to doe publiquely in Proclaiming of a King. But a Crier hath not right to Command any man. And (Luke 10. 2.) the seventy Disciples are sent out, as Labourers, not as Lords of the Harvest; and are bidden (verse 9.) to say, The Kingdome of God is come nigh unto you; and by Kingdom here is meant, not the Kingdome of Grace, but the Kingdome of Glory; for they are bidden to denounce it (ver. 11.) to those Cities which shall not receive them, as a threatning, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodome, than for such a City. And (Mat. 20. 28.) our Saviour telleth his Disciples, that sought Priority of place, their Office was to minister, even as the Son of man came, not to be ministred unto, but to minister. Preachers therefore have not Magisteriall, but Ministeriall power: Bee not called Masters, (saith our Saviour, Mat. 23. 10.) for one is your Master, even Christ.
And Teach. Another point of their Commission, is, to Teach all nations; as it is in Mat. 28. 19. or as in St. Mark 16. 15. Goe into all the world, and Preach the Gospel to every creature. Teaching therefore, and Preaching is the same thing. For they that Proclaim the comming of a King, must withall make known by what right he commeth, if they mean men shall submit themselves unto him: As St. Paul did to the Jews of Thessalonica, when three Sabbath dayes he reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening, and alledging that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead, and that this Jesus is Christ. But to teach out of the Old Testament that Jesus was Christ, (that is to say, King,) and risen from the dead, is not to say, that men are bound after they beleeve it, to obey those that tell them so, against the laws, and commands of their Soveraigns; but that they shall doe wisely, to expect the coming of Christ hereafter, in Patience, and Faith, with Obedience to their present Magistrates.
Another point of their Commission, is to Baptize, inTo Baptize:the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. What is Baptisme? Dipping into water. But what is it to Dip a man into the water in the name of any thing? The meaning of these words of Baptisme is this. He that is Baptized, is Dipped or Washed, as a sign of becomming a new man, and a loyall subject to that God, whose Person was represented in old time by Moses, and the High Priests, when he reigned over the Jews; and to Jesus Christ, his Sonne, God, and Man, that hath redeemed us, and shall in his humane nature Represent his Fathers Person in his eternall Kingdome after the Resurrection; and to acknowledge the Doctrine of the Apostles, who assisted by the Spirit of the Father, and of the Son, were left for guides to bring us into that Kingdome, to be the onely, and assured way thereunto. This, being our promise in Baptisme; and the Authority of Earthly Soveraigns being not to be put down till the day of Judgment; (for that is expressely affirmed by S. Paul 1 Cor. 15, 22, 23, 24, where he saith, As in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive. But every man in his owne order, Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christs, at his comming; Then commeth the end, when he shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father, when he shall have put down all Rule, and all Authority and Power) it is manifest, that we do not in Baptisme constitute over us another authority, by which our externall actions are to bee governed in this life; but promise to take the doctrine of the Apostles for our direction in the way to life eternall.
And to Forgive, and Retain Sinnes. The Power of Remission, and Retention of Sinnes, called also the Power of Loosing, and Binding, and sometimes the Keyes of the Kingdome of Heaven, is a consequence of the Authority to Baptize, or refuse to Baptize. For Baptisme is the Sacrament of Allegeance, of them that are to be received into the Kingdome of God; that is to say, into Eternall life; that is to say, to Remission of Sin: For as Eternall life was lost by the Committing, so it is recovered by the Remitting of mens Sins. The end of Baptisme is Remission of Sins: and therefore St. Peter, when they that were converted by his Sermon on the day of Pentecost, asked what they were to doe, advised them to repent, and be Baptized in the name of Jesus, for the Remission of Sins. And therefore seeing to Baptize is to declare the Reception of men into Gods Kingdome; and to refuse to Baptize is to declare their Exclusion; it followeth, that the Power to declare them Cast out, or Retained in it, was given to the same Apostles, and their Substitutes, and Successors. And therefore after our Saviour had breathed upon them, saying, (John 20. 22.) Receive the Holy Ghost, hee addeth in the next verse, Whose soever Sins ye Remit, they are Remitted unto them; and whose soever Sins ye Retain, they are Retained. By which words, is not granted an Authority to Forgive, or Retain Sins, simply and absolutely, as God Forgiveth or Retaineth them, who knoweth the Heart of man, and truth of his Penitence and Conversion; but conditionally, to the Penitent: And this Forgivenesse, or Absolution, in case the absolved have but a feigned Repentance, is thereby without other act, or sentence of the Absolvent, made void, and hath no effect at all to Salvation, but on the contrary, to the Aggravation of his Sin. Therefore the Apostles, and their Successors, are to follow but the outward marks of Repentance; which appearing, they have no Authority to deny Absolution; and if they appeare not, they have no authority to Absolve. The same also is to be observed in Baptisme: for to a converted Jew, or Gentile, the Apostles had not the Power to deny Baptisme; nor to grant it to the Un-penitent. But seeing no man is able to discern the truth of another mans Repentance, further than by externall marks, taken from his words, and actions, which are subject to hypocrisie; another question will arise, Who it is that is constituted Judge of those marks. And this question is decided by our Saviour himself; If thy Brother (saith he) shal trespasseMat. 18. 15, 16, 17.against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee, and him alone; 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. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the Church; but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an Heathen man, and a Publican. By which it is manifest, that the Judgment concerning the truth of Repentance, belonged not to any one Man, but to the Church, that is, to the Assembly of the Faithfull, or to them that have authority to bee their Representant. But besides the Judgment, there is necessary also the pronouncing of Sentence: And this belonged alwaies to the Apostle, or some Pastor of the Church, as Prolocutor; and of this our Saviour speaketh in the 18 verse, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven. And conformable hereunto was the practise of St. Paul (1 Cor. 5. 3, 4, & 5.) where he saith, For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have determined already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed; In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such a one to Satan; that is to say, to cast him out of the Church, as a man whose Sins are not Forgiven. Paul here pronounceth the Sentence; but the Assembly was first to hear the Cause, (for St. Paul was absent;) and by consequence to condemn him. But in the same chapter (ver. 11, 12.) the Judgment in such a case is more expressely attributed to the Assembly: But now I have written unto you, not to keep company, if any man that is called a Brother be a Fornicator, &c. with such a one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judg them that are without? Do not ye judg them that are within? The Sentence therefore by which a man was put out of the Church, was pronounced by the Apostle, or Pastor; but the Judgment concerning the merit of the cause, was in the Church; that is to say, (as the times were before the conversion of Kings, and men that had Soveraign Authority in the Common-wealth,) the Assembly of the Christians dwelling in the same City; as in Corinth, in the Assembly of the Christians of Corinth.
Of Excommunication. This part of the Power of the Keyes, by which men were thrust out from the Kingdom of God, is that which is called Excommunication; and to excommunicate, is in the Originall, ᾀποσννάγωγον ποιι̑ν to cast out of the Synagogue; that is, out of the place of Divine service; a word drawn from the custome of the Jews, to cast out of their Synagogues, such as they thought in manners, or doctrine, contagious, as Lepers were by the Law of Moses separated from the congregation of Israel, till such time as they should be by the Priest pronounced clean.
The use of Excommunication without Civill Power, The Use and Effect of Excommunication, whilest it was not yet strengthened with the Civill Power, was no more, than that they, who were not Excommunicate, were to avoid the company of them that were. It was not enough to repute them as Heathen, that never had been Christians; for with such they might eate, and drink; which with Excommunicate persons they might not do; as appeareth by the words of St. Paul, (1 Cor. 5. ver. 9, 10, &c.) where he telleth them, he had formerly forbidden them to company with Fornicators; but (because that could not bee without going out of the world,) he restrained it to such Fornicators, and otherwise vicious persons, as were of the brethren; with such a one (he saith) they ought not to keep company, no not to eat. And this is no more than our Saviour saith (Mat. 18. 17.) Let him be to thee as a Heathen, and as a Publican. For Publicans (which signifieth Farmers, and Receivers of the revenue of the Common-wealth) were so hated, and detested by the Jews that were to pay it, as that Publican and Sinner were taken amongst them for the same thing: Insomuch, as when our Saviour accepted the invitation of Zacchœus a Publican; though it were to Convert him, yet it was objected to him as a Crime. And therefore, when our Saviour, to Heathen, added Publican, he did forbid them to eat with a man Excommunicate.
As for keeping them out of their Synagogues, or places of Assembly, they had no Power to do it, but that of the owner of the place, whether he were Christian, or Heathen. And because all places are by right, in the Dominion of the Common-wealth; as well hee that was Excommunicated, as hee that never was Baptized, might enter into them by Commission from the Civill Magistrate; as PaulActs 9. 2. before his conversion entred into their Synagogues at Damascus, to apprehend Christians, men and women, and to carry them bound to Jerusalem, by Commission from the High Priest.
By which it appears, that upon a Christian, thatOf no effect upon an Apostate. should become an Apostate, in a place where the Civill Power did persecute, or not assist the Church, the effect of Excommunication had nothing in it, neither of dammage in this world, nor of terrour: Not of terrour, because of their unbeleef; nor of dammage, because they returned thereby into the favour of the world; and in the world to come, were to be in no worse estate, then they which never had beleeved. The dammage redounded rather to the Church, by provocation of them they cast out, to a freer execution of their malice.
Excommunication therefore had its effect onely uponBut upon the faithfull only. those, that beleeved that Jesus Christ was to come again in Glory, to reign over, and to judge both the quick, and the dead, and should therefore refuse entrance into his Kingdom, to those whose Sins were Retained; that is, to those that were Excommunicated by the Church. And thence it is that St. Paul calleth Excommunication, a delivery of the Excommunicate person to Satan. For without the Kingdom of Christ, all other Kingdomes after Judgment, are comprehended in the Kingdome of Satan. This is it that the faithfull stood in fear of, as long as they stood Excommunicate, that is to say, in an estate wherein their sins were not Forgiven. Whereby wee may understand, that Excommunication in the time that Christian Religion was not authorized by the Civill Power, was used onely for a correction of manners, not of errours in opinion: for it is a punishment, whereof none could be sensible but such as beleeved, and expected the coming again of our Saviour to judge the world; and they who so beleeved, needed no other opinion, but onely uprightnesse of life, to be saved.
For what fault lyeth Excommunication. There lyeth Excommunication for Injustice; as (Mat. 18.) If thy Brother offend thee, tell it him privately; then with Witnesses; lastly, tell the Church; and then if he obey not, Let him be to thee as an Heathen man, and a Publican. And there lieth Excommunication for a Scandalous Life, as (1 Cor. 5. 11.) If any man that is called a Brother, be a Fornicator, or Covetous, or an Idolater, or a Drunkard, or an Extortioner, with such a one yee are not to eat. But to Excommunicate a man that held this foundation, that Jesus was the Christ, for difference of opinion in other points, by which that Foundation was not destroyed, there appeareth no authority in the Scripture, nor example in the Apostles. There is indeed in St. Paul (Titus 3. 10.) a text that seemeth to be to the contrary. A man that is an Hœretique, after the first and second admonition, reject. For an Hœretique, is he, that being a member of the Church, teacheth neverthelesse some private opinion, which the Church has forbidden: and such a one, S. Paul adviseth Titus, after the first, and second admonition, to Reject. But to Reject (in this place) is not to Excommunicate the Man; But to give over admonishing him, to let him alone, to set by disputing with him, as one that is to be convinced onely by himselfe. The same Apostle saith (2 Tim. 2. 23.) Foolish and unlearned questions avoid: The word Avoid in this place, and Reject in the former, is the same in the Originall, παραιτο: but Foolish questions may bee set by without Excommunication. And again, (Tit. 3. 9.) Avoid Foolish questions, where the Originall περιίστασο, (set them by) is equivalent to the former word Reject. There is no other place that can so much as colourably be drawn, to countenance the Casting out of the Church faithfull men, such as beleeved the foundation, onely for a singular superstructure of their own, proceeding perhaps from a good & pious conscience. But on the contrary, all such places as command avoiding such disputes, are written for a Lesson to Pastors, (such as Timothy and Titus were) not to make new Articles of Faith, by determining every small controversie, which oblige men to a needlesse burthen of Conscience, or provoke them to break the union of the Church. Which Lesson the Apostles themselves observed well. S. Peter, and S. Paul, though their controversie were great, (as we may read in Gal. 2. 11.) yet they did not cast one another out of the Church. Neverthelesse, during the Apostles times, there were other Pastors that observed it not; As Diotrephes (3 John 9. &c.) who cast out of the Church, such as S. John himself thought fit to be received into it, out of a pride he took in Præeminence; so early it was, that Vain-glory, and Ambition had found entrance into the Church of Christ.
That a man be liable to Excommunication, there beOf persons liable to Excommunication. many conditions requisite; as First, that he be a member of some Commonalty, that is to say, of some lawfull Assembly, that is to say, of some Christian Church, that hath power to judge of the cause for which hee is to bee Excommunicated. For where there is no Community, there can bee no Excommunication; nor where there is no power to Judge, can there bee any power to give Sentence.
From hence it followeth, that one Church cannot be Excommunicated by another: For either they have equall power to Excommunicate each other, in which case Excommunication is not Discipline, nor an act of Authority, but Schisme, and Dissolution of charity; or one is so subordinate to the other, as that they both have but one voice, and then they be but one Church; and the part Excommunicated, is no more a Church, but a dissolute number of individuall persons.
And because the sentence of Excommunication, importeth an advice, not to keep company, nor so much as to eat with him that is Excommunicate, if a Soveraign Prince, or Assembly bee Excommunicate, the sentence is of no effect. For all Subjects are bound to be in the company and presence of their own Soveraign (when he requireth it) by the law of Nature; nor can they lawfully either expell him from any place of his own Dominion, whether profane or holy; nor go out of his Dominion, without his leave; much lesse (if he call them to that honour,) refuse to eat with him. And as to other Princes and States, because they are not parts of one and the same congregation, they need not any other sentence to keep them from keeping company with the State Excommunicate: for the very Institution, as it uniteth many men into one Community; so it dissociateth one Community from another: so that Excommunication is not needfull for keeping Kings and States asunder; nor has any further effect then is in the nature of Policy it selfe; unlesse it be to instigate Princes to warre upon one another.
Nor is the Excommunication of a Christian Subject, that obeyeth the laws of his own Soveraign, whether Christian, or Heathen, of any effect. For if he beleeve that Jesus is the Christ, he hath the Spirit of God, (1 Joh. 4. 1.) and God dwelleth in him, and he in God, (1 Joh. 4. 15.) But hee that hath the Spirit of God; hee that dwelleth in God; hee in whom God dwelleth, can receive no harm by the Excommunication of men. Therefore, he that beleeveth Jesus to be the Christ, is free from all the dangers threatned to persons Excommunicate. He that beleeveth it not, is no Christian. Therefore a true and unfeigned Christian is not liable to Excommunication: Nor he also that is a professed Christian, till his Hypocrisy appear in his Manners, that is, till his behaviour bee contrary to the law of his Soveraign, which is the rule of Manners, and which Christ and his Apostles have commanded us to be subject to. For the Church cannot judge of Manners but by externall Actions, which Actions can never bee unlawfull, but when they are against the Law of the Common-wealth.
If a mans Father, or Mother, or Master bee Excommunicate, yet are not the Children forbidden to keep them Company, nor to Eat with them; for that were (for the most part) to oblige them not to eat at all, for want of means to get food; and to authorise them to disobey their Parents, and Masters, contrary to the Precept of the Apostles.
In summe, the Power of Excommunication cannot be extended further than to the end for which the Apostles and Pastors of the Church have their Commission from our Saviour; which is not to rule by Command and Coaction, but by Teaching and Direction of men in the way of Salvation in the world to come. And as a Master in any Science, may abandon his Scholar, when hee obstinately neglecteth the practise of his rules; but not accuse him of Injustice, because he was never bound to obey him: so a Teacher of Christian doctrine may abandon his Disciples that obstinately continue in an unchristian life; but he cannot say, they doe him wrong, because they are not obliged to obey him: For to a Teacher that shall so complain, may be applyed the Answer of God to Samuel in the like place, They have1 Sam. 8.not rejected thee, but mee. Excommunication therefore when it wanteth the assistance of the Civill Power, as it doth, when a Christian State, or Prince is Excommunicate by a forain Authority, is without effect; and consequently ought to be without terrour. The name of Fulmen Excommunicationis (that is, the Thunderbolt of Excommunication) proceeded from an imagination of the Bishop of Rome, which first used it, that he was King of Kings, as the Heathen made Jupiter King of the Gods; and assigned him in their Poems, and Pictures, a Thunderbolt, wherewith to subdue, and punish the Giants, that should dare to deny his power: Which imagination was grounded on two errours; one, that the Kingdome of Christ is of this world, contrary to our Saviours owne words, My Kingdome is not of this world; the other, that hee is Christs Vicar, not onely over his owne Subjects, but over all the Christians of the World; whereof there is no ground in Scripture, and the contrary shall bee proved in its due place.
St. Paul coming to Thessalonica, where was a SynagogueOf the Interpreter of the Scriptures before Civil Soveraigns became Christians. of the Jews, (Acts 17. 2, 3.) As his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath dayes reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, Opening and alledging, that Christ must needs have suffered and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus whom he preached was the Christ. The Scriptures here mentioned were the Scriptures of the Jews, that is, the Old Testament. The men, to whom he was to prove that Jesus was the Christ, and risen again from the dead, were also Jews, and did beleeve already, that they were the Word of God. Hereupon (as it is verse 4.) some of them beleeved, and (as it is in the 5. ver.) some beleeved not. What was the reason, when they all beleeved the Scripture, that they did not all beleeve alike; but that some approved, others disapproved the Interpretation of St. Paul that cited them; and every one Interpreted them to himself? It was this; S. Paul came to them without any Legall Commission, and in the manner of one that would not Command, but Perswade; which he must needs do, either by Miracles, as Moses did to the Israelites in Egypt, that they might see his Authority in Gods works; or by Reasoning from the already received Scripture, that they might see the truth of his doctrine in Gods Word. But whosoever perswadeth by reasoning from principles written, maketh him to whom hee speaketh Judge, both of the meaning of those principles, and also of the force of his inferences upon them. If these Jews of Thessalonica were not, who else was the Judge of what S. Paul alledged out of Scripture? If S. Paul, what needed he to quote any places to prove his doctrine? It had been enough to have said, I find it so in Scripture, that is to say, in your Laws, of which I am Interpreter, as sent by Christ. The Interpreter therefore of the Scripture, to whose Interpretation the Jews of Thessalonica were bound to stand, could be none: every one might beleeve, or not beleeve, according as the Allegations seemed to himselfe to be agreeable, or not agreeable to the meaning of the places alledged. And generally in all cases of the world, hee that pretendeth any proofe, maketh Judge of his proofe him to whom he addresseth his speech. And as to the case of the Jews in particular, they were bound by expresse words (Deut. 17.) to receive the determination of all hard questions, from the Priests and Judges of Israel for the time being. But this is to bee understood of the Jews that were yet unconverted.
For the conversion of the Gentiles, there was no use of alledging the Scriptures, which they beleeved not. The Apostles therefore laboured by Reason to confute their Idolatry; and that done, to perswade them to the faith of Christ, by their testimony of his Life, and Resurrection. So that there could not yet bee any controversie concerning the authority to Interpret Scripture; seeing no man was obliged during his infidelity, to follow any mans Interpretation of any Scripture, except his Soveraigns Interpretation of the Law of his countrey.
Let us now consider the Conversion it self, and see what there was therein, that could be cause of such an obligation. Men were converted to no other thing then to the Beleef of that which the Apostles preached: And the Apostles preached nothing, but that Jesus was the Christ, that is to say, the King that was to save them, and reign over them eternally in the world to come; and consequently that hee was not dead, but risen again from the dead, and gone up into Heaven, and should come again one day to judg the world, (which also should rise again to be judged,) and reward every man according to his works. None of them preached that himselfe, or any other Apostle was such an Interpreter of the Scripture, as all that became Christians, ought to take their Interpretation for Law. For to Interpret the Laws, is part of the Administration of a present Kingdome; which the Apostles had not. They prayed then, and all other Pastors ever since, Let thy Kingdome come; and exhorted their Converts to obey their then Ethnique Princes. The New Testament was not yet published in one Body. Every of the Evangelists was Interpreter of his own Gospel; and every Apostle of his own Epistle; And of the Old Testament, our Saviour himselfe saith to the Jews (John 5. 39.) Search the Scriptures; for in them yee thinke to have eternall life, and they are they that testifie of me. If hee had not meant they should Interpret them, hee would not have bidden them take thence the proof of his being the Christ: he would either have Interpreted them himselfe, or referred them to the Interpretation of the Priests.
When a difficulty arose, the Apostles and Elders of the Church assembled themselves together, and determined what should bee preached, and taught, and how they should Interpret the Scriptures to the People; but took not from the People the liberty to read, and Interpret them to themselves. The Apostles sent divers Letters to the Churches, and other Writings for their instruction; which had been in vain, if they had not allowed them to Interpret, that is, to consider the meaning of them. And as it was in the Apostles time, it must be till such time as there should be Pastors, that could authorise an Interpreter, whose Interpretation should generally be stood to: But that could not be till Kings were Pastors, or Pastors Kings.
Of the Power to make Scripture Law. There be two senses, wherein a Writing may be said to be Canonicall; for Canon, signifieth a Rule; and a Rule is a Precept, by which a man is guided, and directed in any action whatsoever. Such Precepts, though given by a Teacher to his Disciple, or a Counsellor to his friend, without power to Compell him to observe them, are neverthelesse Canons; because they are Rules: But when they are given by one, whom he that receiveth them is bound to obey, then are those Canons, not onely Rules, but Laws: The question therefore here, is of the Power to make the Scriptures (which are the Rules of Christian Faith) Laws.
Of the Ten Commandements. That part of the Scripture, which was first Law, was the Ten Commandements, written in two Tables of Stone, and delivered by | God himselfe to Moses; and by Moses made known to the people. Before that time there was no written Law of God, who as yet having not chosen any people to bee his peculiar Kingdome, had given no Law to men, but the Law of Nature, that is to say, the Precepts of Naturall Reason, written in every mans own heart. Of these two Tables, the first containeth the law of Soveraignty; 1. That they should not obey, nor honour the Gods of other Nations, in these words, Non habebis Deos alienos coram me, that is, Thou shalt not have for Gods, the Gods that other Nations worship; but onely me: whereby they were forbidden to obey, or honor, as their King and Governour, any other God, than him that spake unto them then by Moses, and afterwards by the High Priest. 2. That they should not make any Image to represent him; that is to say, they were not to choose to themselves, neither in heaven, nor in earth, any Representative of their own fancying, but obey Moses and Aaron, whom he had appointed to that office. 3. That they should not take the Name of God in vain; that is, they should not speak rashly of their King, nor dispute his Right, nor the commissions of Moses and Aaron, his Lieutenants. 4. That they should every Seventh day abstain from their ordinary labour, and employ that time in doing him Publique Honor. The second Table containeth the Duty of one man towards another, as To honor Parents; Not to kill; Not to Commit Adultery; Not to steale; Not to corrupt Judgment by false witnesse; and finally, Not so much as to designe in their heart the doing of any injury one to another. The question now is, Who it was that gave to these written Tables the obligatory force of Lawes. There is no doubt but they were made Laws by God himselfe: But because a Law obliges not, nor is Law to any, but to them that acknowledge it to be the act of the Soveraign; how could the people of Israel that were forbidden to approach the Mountain to hear what God said to Moses, be obliged to obedience to all those laws which Moses propounded to them? Some of them were indeed the Laws of Nature, as all the Second Table; and therefore to be acknowledged for Gods Laws; not to the Israelites alone, but to all people: But of those that were peculiar to the Israelites, as those of the first Table, the question remains; saving that they had obliged themselves, presently after the propounding of them, to obey Moses, in these words (Exod. 20. 19.) Speak thou to us, and we will hear thee; but let not God speak to us, lest we dye. It was therefore onely Moses then, and after him the High Priest, whom (by Moses) God declared should administer this his peculiar Kingdome, that had on Earth, the power to make this short Scripture of the Decalogue to bee Law in the Common-wealth of Israel. But Moses, and Aaron, and the succeeding High Priests were the Civill Soveraigns. Therefore hitherto, the Canonizing, or making of the Scripture Law, belonged to the Civill Soveraigne.
Of the Judiciall, and Leviticall Law. The Judiciall Law, that is to say, the Laws that God prescribed to the Magistrates of Israel, for the rule of their administration of Justice, and of the Sentences, or Judgments they should pronounce, in Pleas between man and man; and the Leviticall Law, that is to say, the rule that God prescribed touching the Rites and Ceremonies of the Priests and Levites, were all delivered to them by Moses onely; and therefore also became Lawes, by vertue of the same promise of obedience to Moses. Whether these laws were then written, or not written, but dictated to the People by Moses (after his forty dayes being with God in the Mount) by word of mouth, is not expressed in the Text; but they were all positive Laws, and equivalent to holy Scripture, and made Canonicall by Moses the Civill Soveraign.
The Second Law. After the Israelites were come into the Plains of Moab over against Jericho, and ready to enter into the land of Promise, Moses to the former Laws added divers others; which therefore are called Deuteronomy; that is, Second Laws. And are (as it is written, Deut. 29. 1.) The words of a Covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Children of Israel, besides the Covenant which he made with them in Horeb. For having explained those former Laws, in the beginning of the Book of Deuteronomy, he addeth others, that begin at the 12. Cha. and continue to the end of the 26. of the same Book. This Law (Deut. 27. 1.) they were commanded to write upon great stones playstered over, at their passing over Jordan: This Law also was written by Moses himself in a Book; and delivered into the hands of the Priests, and to the Elders of Israel. (Deut. 31. 9.) and commanded (ve. 26.) to be put in the side of the Arke; for in the Ark it selfe was nothing but the Ten Commandements. This was the Law, which Moses (Deuteronomy 17. 18.) commanded the Kings of Israel should keep a copie of: And this is the Law, which having been long time lost, was found again in the Temple in the time of Josiah, and by his authority received for the Law of God. But both Moses at the writing, and Josiah at the recovery thereof, had both of them the Civill Soveraignty. Hitherto therefore the Power of making Scripture Canonicall, was in the Civill Soveraign.
Besides this Book of the Law, there was no other Book, from the time of Moses, till after the Captivity, received amongst the Jews for the Law of God. For the Prophets (except a few) lived in the time of the Captivity it selfe; and the rest lived but a little before it; and were so far from having their Prophecies generally received for Laws, as that their persons were persecuted, partly by false Prophets, and partly by the Kings which were seduced by them. And this Book it self, which was confirmed by Josiah for the Law of God, and with it all the History of the Works of God, was lost in the Captivity and sack of the City of Jerusalem, as appears by that of 2 Esdras 14. 21. Thy Law is burnt; therefore no man knoweth the things that are done of thee, or the works that shall begin. And before the Captivity, between the time when the Law was lost, (which is not mentioned in the Scripture, but may probably be thought to be the time of Rehoboam, when ** I Kings 14. 26. Shishak King of Egypt took the spoile of the Temple,) and the time of Josiah, when it was found againe, they had no written Word of God, but ruled according to their own discretion, or by the direction of such, as each of them esteemed Prophets.
From hence we may inferre, that the Scriptures of theThe Old Testament when made Canonicall. Old Testament, which we have at this day, were not Canonicall, nor a Law unto the Jews, till the renovation of their Covenant with God at their return from the Captivity, and restauration of their Common-wealth under Esdras. But from that time forward they were accounted the Law of the Jews, and for such translated into Greek by Seventy Elders of Judæa, and put into the Library of Ptolemy at Alexandria, and approved for the Word of God. Now seeing Esdras was the High Priest, and the High Priest was their Civill Soveraigne, it is manifest, that the Scriptures were never made Laws, but by the Soveraign Civill Power.
The New Testament began to be Canonicall under Christian Soveraigns. By the Writings of the Fathers that lived in the time before the Christian Religion was received, and authorized by Constantine the Emperour, we may find, that the Books wee now have of the New Testament, were held by the Christians of that time (except a few, in respect of whose paucity the rest were called the Catholique Church, and others Hæretiques) for the dictates of the Holy Ghost; and consequently for the Canon, or Rule of Faith: such was the reverence and opinion they had of their Teachers; as generally the reverence that the Disciples bear to their first Masters, in all manner of doctrine they receive from them, is not small. Therefore there is no doubt, but when S. Paul wrote to the Churches he had converted; or any other Apostle, or Disciple of Christ, to those which had then embraced Christ, they received those their Writings for the true Christian Doctrine. But in that time, when not the Power and Authority of the Teacher, but the Faith of the Hearer caused them to receive it, it was not the Apostles that made their own Writings Canonicall, but every Convert made them so to himself.
But the question here, is not what any Christian made a Law, or Canon to himself, (which he might again reject, by the same right he received it;) but what was so made a Canon to them, as without injustice they could not doe any thing contrary thereunto. That the New Testament should in this sense be Canonicall, that is to say, a Law in any place where the Law of the Commonwealth had not made it so, is contrary to the nature of a Law. For a Law, (as hath been already shewn) is the Commandement of that Man, or Assembly, to whom we have given Soveraign Authority, to make such Rules for the direction of our actions, as hee shall think fit; and to punish us, when we doe any thing contrary to the same. When therefore any other man shall offer unto us any other Rules, which the Soveraign Ruler hath not prescribed, they are but Counsell, and Advice; which, whether good, or bad, hee that is counselled, may without injustice refuse to observe; and when contrary to the Laws already established, without injustice cannot observe, how good soever he conceiveth it to be. I say, he cannot in this case observe the same in his actions, nor in his discourse with other men; though he may without blame beleeve his private Teachers, and wish he had the liberty to practise their advice; and that it were publiquely received for Law. For internall Faith is in its own nature invisible, and consequently exempted from all humane jurisdiction; whereas the words, and actions that proceed from it, as breaches of our Civill obedience, are injustice both before God and Man. Seeing then our Saviour hath denyed his Kingdome to be in this world, seeing he hath said, he came not to judge, but to save the world, he hath not subjected us to other Laws than those of the Common-wealth; that is, the Jews to the Law of Moses, (which he saith (Mat. 5.) he came not to destroy, but to fulfill,) and other Nations to the Laws of their severall Soveraigns, and all men to the Laws of Nature; the observing whereof, both he himselfe, and his Apostles have in their teaching recommended to us, as a necessary condition of being admitted by him in the last day into his eternall Kingdome, wherein shall be Protection, and Life everlasting. Seeing then our Saviour, and his Apostles, left not new Laws to oblige us in this world, but new Doctrine to prepare us for the next; the Books of the New Testament, which containe that Doctrine, untill obedience to them was commanded, by them that God had given power to on earth to be Legislators, were not obligatory Canons, that is, Laws, but onely good, and safe advice, for the direction of sinners in the way to salvation, which every man might take, and refuse at his owne perill, without injustice.
Again, our Saviour Christs Commission to his Apostles, and Disciples, was to Proclaim his Kingdome (not present, but) to come; and to Teach all Nations; and to Baptize them that should beleeve; and to enter into the houses of them that should receive them; and where they were not received, to shake off the dust of their feet against them; but not to call for fire from heaven to destroy them, nor to compell them to obedience by the Sword. In all which there is nothing of Power, but of Perswasion. He sent them out as Sheep unto Wolves, not as Kings to their Subjects. They had not in Commission to make Laws; but to obey, and teach obedience to Laws made; and consequently they could not make their Writings obligatory Canons, without the help of the Soveraign Civill Power. And therefore the Scripture of the New Testament is there only Law, where the lawfull Civill Power hath made it so. And there also the King, or Soveraign, maketh it a Law to himself; by which he subjecteth himselfe, not to the Doctor, or Apostle that converted him, but to God himself, and his Son Jesus Christ, as immediately as did the Apostles themselves.
Of the Power of Councells to make the Scriptures Law./John 3. 36./John 3. 18. That which may seem to give the New Testament, in respect of those that have embraced Christian Doctrine, the force of Laws, in the times, and places of persecution, is the decrees they made amongst themselves in their Synods. For we read (Acts 15. 28.) the stile of the Councell of the Apostles, the Elders, and the whole Church, in this manner, It seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burthen than these necessary things, &c. which is a stile that signifieth a Power to lay a burthen on them that had received their Doctrine. Now to lay a burden on another, seemeth the same that to oblige; and therefore the Acts of that Councell were Laws to the then Christians. Neverthelesse, they were no more Laws than are these other Precepts, Repent; Be Baptized; Keep the Commandements; Beleeve the Gospel; Come unto me; Sell all that thou hast; Give it to the poor; and, Follow me; which are not Commands, but Invitations, and Callings of men to Christianity, like that of Esay 55. 1. Ho, every man that thirsteth, come yee to the waters, come, and buy wine and milke without money. For first, the Apostles power was no other than that of our Saviour, to invite men to embrace the Kingdome of God; which they themselves acknowledged for a Kingdome (not present, but) to come; and they that have no Kingdome, can make no Laws. And secondly, if their Acts of Councell, were Laws, they could not without sin be disobeyed. But we read not any where, that they who received not the Doctrine of Christ, did therein sin; but that they died in their sins; that is, that their sins against the Laws to which they owed obedience, were not pardoned. And those Laws were the Laws of Nature, and the Civill Laws of the State, whereto every Christian man had by pact submitted himself. And therefore by the Burthen, which the Apostles might lay on such as they had converted, are not to be understood Laws, but Conditions, proposed to those that sought Salvation; which they might accept, or refuse at their own perill, without a new sin, though not without the hazard of being condemned, and excluded out of the Kingdome of God for their sins past. And therefore of Infidels, S. John saith not, the wrath of God shall come upon them, but the wrath of God remaineth upon them; and not that they shall be condemned; but that they are condemned already. Nor can it be conceived, that the benefit of Faith, is Remission of sins, unlesse we conceive withall, that the dammage of Infidelity, is the Retention of the same sins.
But to what end is it (may some man aske), that the Apostles, and other Pastors of the Church, after their time, should meet together, to agree upon what Doctrine should be taught, both for Faith and Manners, if no man were obliged to observe their Decrees? To this may be answered, that the Apostles, and Elders of that Councell, were obliged even by their entrance into it, to teach the Doctrine therein concluded, and decreed to be taught, so far forth, as no precedent Law, to which they were obliged to yeeld obedience, was to the contrary; but not that all other Christians should be obliged to observe, what they taught. For though they might deliberate what each of them should teach; yet they could not deliberate what others should do, unless their Assembly had had a Legislative Power; which none could have but Civil Soveraigns. For though God be the Soveraign of all the world, we are not bound to take for his Law, whatsoever is propounded by every man in his name; nor any thing contrary to the Civill Law, which God hath expressely commanded us to obey.
Seeing then the Acts of Councell of the Apostles, were then no Laws, but Counsells; much lesse are Laws the Acts of any other Doctors, or Councells since, if assembled without the Authority of the Civil Soveraign. And consequently, the Books of the New Testament, though most perfect Rules of Christian Doctrine, could not be made Laws by any other authority then that of Kings, or Soveraign Assemblies.
The first Councell, that made the Scriptures we now have, Canon, is not extant: For that Collection of the Canons of the Apostles, attributed to Clemens, the first Bishop of Rome after S. Peter, is subject to question: For though the Canonicall books bee there reckoned up; yet these words, Sint vobis omnibus Clericis & Laicis Libri venerandi, &c. containe a distinction of Clergy, and Laity, that was not in use so neer St. Peters time. The first Councell for setling the Canonicall Scripture, that is extant, is that of Laodicea, Can. 59. which forbids the reading of other Books then those in the Churches; which is a Mandate that is not addressed to every Christian, but to those onely that had authority to read any thing publiquely in the Church; that is, to Ecclesiastiques onely.
Of the Right of constituting Ecclesiasticall Officers in the time of the Apostles. If Ecclesiasticall Officers in the time of the Apostles, some were Magisteriall, some Ministeriall. Magisteriall were the Offices of preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to Infidels; of administring the Sacraments, and Divine Service; and of teaching the Rules of Faith and Manners to those that were converted. Ministeriall was the Office of Deacons, that is, of them that were appointed to the administration of the secular necessities of the Church, at such time as they lived upon a common stock of mony, raised out of the voluntary contributions of the faithfull.
Amongst the Officers Magisteriall, the first, and principall were the Apostles; whereof there were at first but twelve; and these were chosen and constituted by our Saviour himselfe; and their Office was not onely to Preach, Teach, and Baptize, but also to be Martyrs, (Witnesses of our Saviours Resurrection.) This Testimony, was the specificall, and essentiall mark; whereby the Apostleship was distinguished from other Magistracy Ecclesiasticall; as being necessary for an Apostle, either to have seen our Saviour after his Resurrection, or to have conversed with him before, and seen his works, and other arguments of his Divinity, whereby they might be taken for sufficient Witnesses. And therefore at the election of a new Apostle in the place of Judas Iscariot, S. Peter saith (Acts 1. 21, 22.) Of these men that have companyed with us, all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the Baptisme of John unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a Witnesse with us of his Resurrection: where, by this word must, is implyed a necessary property of an Apostle, to have companyed with the first and prime Apostles in the time that our Saviour manifested himself in the flesh.
The first Apostle, of those which were not constitutedMatthias made Apostle by the Congregation. by Christ in the time he was upon the Earth, was Matthias, chosen in this manner: There were assembled together in Jerusalem about 120 Christians (Acts 1. 15.) These appointed two, Joseph the Just, and Matthias (ver. 23.) and caused lots to be drawn; and (ver. 26.) the Lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbred with the Apostles. So that here we see the ordination of this Apostle, was the act of the Congregation, and not of St. Peter, nor of the eleven, otherwise then as Members of the Assembly.
After him there was never any other Apostle ordained,Paul and Barnabas made Apostles by the Church of Antioch. but Paul and Barnabas; which was done (as we read Acts 13. 1, 2, 3.) in this manner. There were in the Church that was at Antioch, certaine Prophets, and Teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen; which had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministred unto the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate mee Barnabas, and Saul for the worke whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted, and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
By which it is manifest, that though they were called by the Holy Ghost, their Calling was declared unto them, and their Mission authorized by the particular Church of Antioch. And that this their calling was to the Apostleship, is apparent by that, that they are both called (Acts 14. 14.) Apostles: And that it was by vertue of this act of the Church of Antioch, that they were Apostles, S. Paul declareth plainly (Rom. 1. 1.) in that hee useth the word, which the Holy Ghost used at his calling: For hee stileth himself, An Apostle separated unto the Gospel of God; alluding to the words of the Holy Ghost, Separate me Barnabas and Saul, &c. But seeing the work of an Apostle, was to be a Witnesse of the Resurrection of Christ, a man may here aske, how S. Paul, that conversed not with our Saviour before his passion, could know he was risen. To which is easily answered, that our Saviour himself appeared to him in the way to Damascus, from Heaven, after his Ascension; and chose him for a vessell to bear his name before the Gentiles, and Kings, and Children of Israel; and consequently (having seen the Lord after his passion) was a competent Witnesse of his Resurrection: And as for Barnabas, he was a Disciple before the Passion. It is therefore evident that Paul, and Barnabas were Apostles; and yet chosen, and authorized (not by the first Apostles alone, but) by the Church of Antioch; as Matthias was chosen, and authorized by the Church of Jerusalem.
What Offices in the Church are Magisteriall.Bishop, a word formed in our language, out of the Greek Episcopus, signifieth an Overseer, or Superintendent of any businesse, and particularly a Pastor, or Shepherd; and thence by metaphor was taken, not only amongst the Jews that were originally Shepherds, but also amongst the Heathen, to signifie the Office of a King, or any other Ruler, or Guide of People, whether he ruled by Laws, or Doctrine. And so the Apostles were the first Christian Bishops, instituted by Christ himselfe: in which sense the Apostleship of Judas is called (Acts 1. 20.) his Bishoprick. And afterwards, when there were constituted Elders in the Christian Churches, with charge to guide Christs flock by their doctrine, and advice; these Elders were also called Bishops. Timothy was an Elder (which word Elder, in the New Testament is a name of Office, as well as of Age;) yet he was also a Bishop. And Bishops were then content with the Title of Elders. Nay S. John himselfe, the Apostle beloved of our Lord, beginneth his Second Epistle with these words, The Elder to the Elect Lady. By which it is evident, that Bishop, Pastor, Elder, Doctor, that is to say, Teacher, were but so many divers names of the same Office in the time of the Apostles. For there was then no government by Coercion, but only by Doctrine, and Perswading. The Kingdome of God was yet to come, in a new world; so that there could be no authority to compell in any Church, till the Common-wealth had embraced the Christian Faith; and consequently no diversity of Authority, though there were diversity of Employments.
Besides these Magisteriall employments in the Church; namely, Apostles, Bishops, Elders, Pastors, and Doctors, whose calling was to proclaim Christ to the Jews, and Infidels, and to direct, and teach those that beleeved we read in the New Testament of no other. For by the names of Evangelists and Prophets, is not signified any Office, but severall Gifts, by which severall men were profitable to the Church: as Evangelists, by writing the life and acts of our Saviour; such as were S. Matthew and S. John Apostles, and S. Marke and S. Luke Disciples, and whosoever else wrote of that subject, (as S. Thomas, and S. Barnabas are said to have done, though the Church have not received the Books that have gone under their names:) and as Prophets, by the gift of interpreting the Old Testament; and sometimes by declaring their speciall Revelations to the Church. For neither these gifts, nor the gifts of Languages, nor the gift of Casting out Devils, or of Curing other diseases, nor any thing else did make an Officer in the Church, save onely the due calling and election to the charge of Teaching.
As the Apostles, Matthias, Paul, and Barnabas, wereOrdination of Teachers. not made by our Saviour himself, but were elected by the Church, that is, by the Assembly of Christians; namely, Matthias by the Church of Jerusalem, and Paul, and Barnabas by the Church of Antioch; so were also the Presbyters, and Pastors in other Cities, elected by the Churches of those Cities. For proof whereof, let us consider, first, how S. Paul proceeded in the Ordination of Presbyters, in the Cities where he had converted men to the Christian Faith, immediately after he and Barnabas had received their Apostleship. We read (Acts 14. 23.) that they ordained Elders in every Church; which at first sight may be taken for an Argument, that they themselves chose, and gave them their authority: But if we consider the Originall text, it will be manifest, that they were authorized, and chosen by the Assembly of the Christians of each City. For the words there are, χειροτονήσαντες ᾀντο+̂ις πρεσβντέρονς κατ ἐκκλησίαν that is, When they had Ordained them Elders by the Holding up of Hands in every Congregation. Now it is well enough known, that in all those Cities, the manner of choosing Magistrates, and Officers, was by plurality of suffrages; and (because the ordinary way of distinguishing the Affirmative Votes from the Negatives, was by Holding up of Hands) to ordain an Officer in any of the Cities, was no more but to bring the people together, to elect them by plurality of Votes, whether it were by plurality of elevated hands, or by plurality of voices, or plurality of balls, or beans, or small stones, of which every man cast in one, into a vessell marked for the Affirmative, or Negative; for divers Cities had divers customes in that point. It was therefore the Assembly that elected their own Elders: the Apostles were onely Presidents of the Assembly to call them together for such Election, and to pronounce them Elected, and to give them the benediction, which now is called Consecration. And for this cause they that were Presidents of the Assemblies, as (in the absence of the Apostles) the Elders were, were called προεστω̑τες and in Latin Antistites; which words signifie the Principall Person of the Assembly, whose office was to number the Votes, and to declare thereby who was chosen; and where the Votes were equall, to decide the matter in question, by adding his own; which is the Office of a President in Councell. And (because all the Churches had their Presbyters ordained in the same manner,) where the word is Constitute, (as Titus 1. 5.) ίνα καταστήσης κατὰ πόλιν πρεσβντέρονς For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest constitute Elders in every City, we are to understand the same thing; namely, that hee should call the faithfull together, and ordain them Presbyters by plurality of suffrages. It had been a strange thing, if in a Town, where men perhaps had never seen any Magistrate otherwise chosen then by an Assembly, those of the Town becomming Christians, should so much as have thought on any other way of Election of their Teachers, and Guides, that is to say, of their Presbyters, (otherwise called Bishops,) then this of plurality of suffrages, intimated by S. Paul (Acts 14. 23.) in the word χειροτονήσαντες: Nor was there ever any choosing of Bishops, (before the Emperors found it necessary to regulate them in order to the keeping of the peace amongst them,) but by the Assemblies of the Christians in every severall Town.
The same is also confirmed by the continuall practise even to this day, in the Election of the Bishops of Rome. For if the Bishop of any place, had the right of choosing another, to the succession of the Pastorall Office, in any City, at such time as he went from thence, to plant the same in another place; much more had he had the Right, to appoint his successour in that place, in which he last resided and dyed: And we find not, that ever any Bishop of Rome appointed his successor. For they were a long time chosen by the People, as we may see by the sedition raised about the Election, between Damasus, and Ursicinus; which Ammianus Marcellinus saith was so great, that Juventius the Præfect, unable to keep the peace between them, was forced to goe out of the City; and that there were above an hundred men found dead upon that occasion in the Church it self. And though they afterwards were chosen, first, by the whole Clergy of Rome, and afterwards by the Cardinalls; yet never any was appointed to the succession by his predecessor. If therefore they pretended no right to appoint their own successors, I think I may reasonably conclude, they had no right to appoint the successors of other Bishops, without receiving some new power; which none could take from the Church to bestow on them, but such as had a lawfull authority, not onely to Teach, but to Command the Church; which none could doe, but the Civill Soveraign.
Ministers of the Church what: The word Minister in the Originall Διάκονος, signifieth one that voluntarily doth the businesse of another man; and differeth from a Servant onely in this, that Servants are obliged by their condition, to what is commanded them; whereas Ministers are obliged onely by their undertaking, and bound therefore to no more than that they have undertaken: So that both they that teach the Word of God, and they that administer the secular affairs of the Church, are both Ministers, but they are Ministers of different Persons. For the Pastors of the Church, called (Acts 6. 4.) The Ministers of the Word, are Ministers of Christ, whose Word it is: But the Ministery of a Deacon, which is called (verse 2. of the same Chapter) Serving of Tables, is a service done to the Church, or Congregation: So that neither any one man, nor the whole Church, could ever of their Pastor say, he was their Minister; but of a Deacon, whether the charge he undertook were to serve tables, or distribute maintenance to the Christians, when they lived in each City on a common stock, or upon collections, as in the first times, or to take a care of the House of Prayer, or of the Revenue, or other worldly businesse of the Church, the whole Congregation might properly call him their Minister.
For their employment, as Deacons, was to serve the Congregation; though upon occasion they omitted not to Preach the Gospel, and maintain the Doctrine of Christ, every one according to his gifts, as S. Steven did; and both to Preach, and Baptize, as Philip did: For that Philip, which (Act. 8. 5.) Preached the Gospell at Samaria, and (verse 38.) Baptized the Eunuch, was Philip the Deacon, not Philip the Apostle. For it is manifest (verse 1.) that when Philip preached in Samaria, the Apostles were at Jerusalem, and (verse 14.) when they heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, sent Peter and John to them; by imposition of whose hands, they that were Baptized, (verse 15.) received (which before by the Baptisme of Philip they had not received) the Holy Ghost. For it was necessary for the conferring of the Holy Ghost, that their Baptisme should be administred, or confirmed by a Minister of the Word, not by a Minister of the Church. And therefore to confirm the Baptisme of those that Philip the Deacon had Baptized, the Apostles sent out of their own number from Jerusalem to Samaria, Peter, and John; who conferred on them that before were but Baptized, those graces that were signs of the Holy Spirit, which at that time did accompany all true Beleevers; which what they were may be understood by that which S. Marke saith (chap. 16. 17.) These signes follow them that beleeve in my Name; they shall cast out Devills; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up Serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. This to doe, was it that Philip could not give; but the Apostles could, and (as appears by this place) effectually did to every man that truly beleeved; and was by a Minister of Christ himself Baptized: which power either Christs Ministers in this age cannot conferre, or else there are very few true Beleevers, or Christ hath very few Ministers.
That the first Deacons were chosen, not by the Apostles,And how chosen. but by a Congregation of the Disciples; that is, of Christian men of all sorts, is manifest out of Acts 6. where we read that the Twelve, after the number of Disciples was multiplyed, called them together, and having told them, that it was not fit that the Apostles should leave the Word of God, and serve tables, said unto them (verse 3.) Brethren looke you out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost, and of Wisdome, whom we may appoint over this businesse. Here it is manifest, that though the Apostles declared them elected; yet the Congregation chose them; which also, (verse the fift) is more expressely said, where it is written, that the saying pleased the multitude, and they chose seven, &c.
Under the Old Testament, the Tribe of Levi wereOf Ecclesiasticall Revenue, under the Law of Moses. onely capable of the Priesthood, and other inferiour Offices of the Church. The land was divided amongst the other Tribes (Levi excepted,) which by the subdivision of the Tribe of Joseph, into Ephraim and Manasses, were still twelve. To the Tribe of Levi were assigned certain Cities for their habitation, with the suburbs for their cattell: but for their portion, they were to have the tenth of the fruits of the land of their Brethren. Again, the Priests for their maintenance had the tenth of that tenth, together with part of the oblations, and sacrifices. For God had said to Aaron (Numb. 18. 20.) Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part amongst them, I am thy part, and thine inheritance amongst the Children of Israel. For God being then King, and having constituted the Tribe of Levi to be his Publique Ministers, he allowed them for their maintenance, the Publique revenue, that is to say, the part that God had reserved to himself; which were Tythes, and Offerings: and that is it which is meant, where God saith, I am thine inheritance. And therefore to the Levites might not unfitly be attributed the name of Clergy from Κλη̑ρος, which signifieth Lot, or Inheritance; not that they were heirs of the Kingdome of God, more than other; but that Gods inheritance, was their maintenance. Now seeing in this time God himself was their King, and Moses, Aaron, and the succeeding High Priests were his Lieutenants; it is manifest, that the Right of Tythes, and Offerings was constituted by the Civill Power.
After their rejection of God in the demanding of a King, they enjoyed still the same revenue; but the Right thereof was derived from that, that the Kings did never take it from them: for the Publique Revenue was at the disposing of him that was the Publique Person; and that (till the Captivity) was the King. And again, after the return from the Captivity, they paid their Tythes as before to the Priest. Hitherto therefore Church Livings were determined by the Civill Soveraign.
In our Saviours time, and after. If the maintenance of our Saviour, and his Apostles, we read onely they had a Purse, (which was carried by Judas Iscariot;) and, that of the Apostles, such as were Fishermen, did sometimes use their trade; and that when our Saviour sent the Twelve Apostles to Preach,Mat. 10. 9, 10. e forbad them to carry Gold, and Silver, and Brasse in their purses, for that the workman is worthy of his hire: By which it is probable, their ordinary maintenance was not unsuitable to their employment; for their employment was (ver. 8.) freely to give, because they had freely received; and their maintenance was the free gift of those that beleeved the good tyding they carryed about of the coming of the Messiah their Saviour. To which we may adde, that which was contributed out of gratitude; by such as our Saviour had healed of diseases; of which are mentioned Certain women (Luke 8. 2, 3.) which had been healed of evill spirits and infirmities; Mary Magdalen, out of whom went seven Devills; and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herods Steward; and Susanna, and many others, which ministred unto him of their substance.
After our Saviours Ascension, the Christians of every City lived in Common,**Acts, 4. 34. upon the mony which was made of the sale of their lands and possessions, and laid down at the feet of the Apostles, of good will, not of duty; for whilest the Land remained (saith S. Peter to Ananias Acts 5. 4.) was it not thine? and after it was sold, was it not in thy power? which sheweth he needed not have saved his land, nor his money by lying, as not being bound to contribute any thing at all, unlesse he had pleased. And as in the time of the Apostles, so also all the time downward, till after Constantine the Great, we shall find, that the maintenance of the Bishops, and Pastors of the Christian Church, was nothing but the voluntary contribution of them that had embraced their Doctrine. There was yet no mention of Tythes: but such was in the time of Constantine, and his Sons, the affection of Christians to their Pastors, as Ammianus Marcellinus saith (describing the sedition of Damasus and Ursicinus about the Bishopricke,) that it was worth their contention, in that the Bishops of those times by the liberality of their flock, and especially of Matrons, lived splendidly, were carryed in Coaches, and were sumptuous in their fare and apparell.
But here may some ask, whether the Pastor were thenThe Ministers of the Gospel lived on the Benevolence of their flocks./1 Cor. 9. 13. bound to live upon voluntary contribution, as upon almes, For who (saith S. Paul 1 Cor. 9. 7.) goeth to war at his own charges? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milke of the flock? And again, Doe ye not know that they which minister about holy things, live of the things of the Temple; and they which wait at the Altar, partake with the Altar; that is to say, have part of that which is offered at the Altar for their maintenance? And then he concludeth, Even so hath the Lord appointed, that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel. From which place may be inferred indeed, that the Pastors of the Church ought to be maintained by their flocks; but not that the Pastors were to determine, either the quantity, or the kind of their own allowance, and be (as it were) their own Carvers. Their allowance must needs therefore be determined, either by the gratitude, and liberality of every particular man of their flock, or by the whole Congregation. By the whole Congregation it could not be, because their Acts were then no Laws: Therefore the maintenance of Pastors, before Emperours and Civill Soveraigns had made Laws to settle it, was nothing but Benevolence. They that served at the Altar lived on what was offered. So may the Pastors also take what is offered them by their flock; but not exact what is not offered. In what Court should they sue for it, who had no Tribunalls? Or if they had Arbitrators amongst themselves, who should execute their Judgments, when they had no power to arme their Officers? It remaineth therefore, that there could be no certaine maintenance assigned to any Pastors of the Church, but by the whole Congregation; and then onely, when their Decrees should have the force (not onely of Canons, but also) of Laws; which Laws could not be made, but by Emperours, Kings, or other Civill Soveraignes. The Right of Tythes in Moses Law, could not be applyed to the then Ministers of the Gospell; because Moses and the High Priests were the Civill Soveraigns of the people under God, whose Kingdom amongst the Jews was present; whereas the Kingdome of God by Christ is yet to come.
Hitherto hath been shewn what the Pastors of the Church are; what are the points of their Commission (as that they were to Preach, to Teach, to Baptize, to be Presidents in their severall Congregations;) what is Ecclesiasticall Censure, viz. Excommunication, that is to say, in those places where Christianity was forbidden by the Civill Laws, a putting of themselves out of the company of the Excommunicate, and where Christianity was by the Civill Law commanded, a putting the Excommunicate out of the Congregations of Christians; who elected the Pastors and Ministers of the Church, (that it was, the Congregation); who consecrated and blessed them, (that it was the Pastor); what was their due revenue, (that it was none but their own possessions, and their own labour, and the voluntary contributions of devout and gratefull Christians). We are to consider now, what Office in the Church those persons have, who being Civill Soveraignes, have embraced also the Christian Faith.
And first, we are to remember, that the Right ofThat the Civill Soveraign being a Christian hath the Right of appointing Pastors. Judging what Doctrines are fit for Peace, and to be taught the Subjects, is in all Common-wealths inseparably annexed (as hath been already proved cha. 18.) to the Soveraign Power Civill, whether it be in one Man, or in one Assembly of men. For it is evident to the meanest capacity, that mens actions are derived from the opinions they have of the Good, or Evill, which from those actions redound unto themselves; and consequently, men that are once possessed of an opinion, that their obedience to the Soveraign Power, will bee more hurtfull to them, than their disobedience, will disobey the Laws, and thereby overthrow the Common-wealth, and introduce confusion, and Civill war; for the avoiding whereof, all Civill Government was ordained. And therefore in all Common-wealths of the Heathen, the Soveraigns have had the name of Pastors of the People, because there was no Subject that could lawfully Teach the people, but by their permission and authority.
This Right of the Heathen Kings, cannot bee thought taken from them by their conversion to the Faith of Christ; who never ordained, that Kings for beleeving in him, should be deposed, that is, subjected to any but himself, or (which is all one) be deprived of the power necessary for the conservation of Peace amongst their Subjects, and for their defence against foraign Enemies. And therefore Christian Kings are still the Supreme Pastors of their people, and have power to ordain what Pastors they please, to teach the Church, that is, to teach the People committed to their charge.
Again, let the right of choosing them be (as before the conversion of Kings) in the Church, for so it was in the time of the Apostles themselves (as hath been shewn already in this chapter); even so also the Right will be in the Civill Soveraign, Christian. For in that he is a Christian, he allowes the Teaching; and in that he is the Soveraign (which is as much as to say, the Church by Representation,) the Teachers hee elects, are elected by the Church. And when an Assembly of Christians choose their Pastor in a Christian Common-wealth, it is the Soveraign that electeth him, because tis done by his Authority; In the same manner, as when a Town choose their Maior, it is the act of him that hath the Soveraign Power: For every act done, is the act of him, without whose consent it is invalid. And therefore whatsoever examples may be drawn out of History, concerning the Election of Pastors, by the People, or by the Clergy, they are no arguments against the Right of any Civill Soveraign, because they that elected them did it by his Authority.
Seeing then in every Christian Common-wealth, the Civill Soveraign is the Supreme Pastor, to whose charge the whole flock of his Subjects is committed, and consequently that it is by his authority, that all other Pastors are made, and have power to teach, and performe all other Pastorall offices; it followeth also, that it is from the Civill Soveraign, that all other Pastors derive their right of Teaching, Preaching, and other functions pertaining to that Office; and that they are but his Ministers; in the same manner as the Magistrates of Towns, Judges in Courts of Justice, and Commanders of Armies, are all but Ministers of him that is the Magistrates of the whole Common-wealth, Judge of all Causes, and Commander of the whole Militia, which is alwaies the Civill Soveraign. And the reason hereof, is not because they that Teach, but because they that are to Learn, are his Subjects. For let it be supposed, that a Christian King commit the Authority of Ordaining Pastors in his Dominions to another King, (as divers Christian Kings allow that power to the Pope;) he doth not thereby constitute a Pastor over himself, nor a Soveraign Pastor over his People; for that were to deprive himself of the Civill Power; which depending on the opinion men have of their Duty to him, and the fear they have of Punishment in another world, would depend also on the skill, and loyalty of Doctors, who are no lesse subject, not only to Ambition, but also to Ignorance, than any other sort of men. So that where a stranger hath authority to appoint Teachers, it is given him by the Soveraign in whose Dominions he teacheth. Christian Doctors are our Schoolmasters to Christianity; But Kings are Fathers of Families, and may receive Schoolmasters for their Subjects from the recommendation of a stranger, but not from the command; especially when the ill teaching them shall redound to the great and manifest profit of him that recommends them: nor can they be obliged to retain them, longer than it is for the Publique good; the care of which they stand so long charged withall, as they retain any other essentiall Right of the Soveraignty.
If a man therefore should ask a Pastor, in the executionThe Pastorall Authority of Soveraigns only is de Jure Divino, that of other Pastors is Jure Civill. of his Office, as the chief Priests and Elders of the people (Mat. 21. 23.) asked our Saviour, By what authority dost thou these things, and who gave thee this authority: he can make no other just Answer, but that he doth it by the Authority of the Common-wealth, given him by the King, or Assembly that representeth it. All Pastors, except the Supreme, execute their charges in the Right, that is by the Authority of the Civill Soveraign, that is, Jure Civili. But the King, and every other Soveraign, executeth his Office of Supreme Pastor, by immediate Authority from God, that is to say, in Gods Right, or Jure Divino. And therefore none but Kings can put into their Titles (a mark of their submission to God onely) Dei gratiâ Rex, &c. Bishops ought to say in the beginning of their Mandates, By the favour of the Kings Majesty, Bishop of such a Diocesse; or as Civill Ministers, In his Majesties Name. For in saying, Divinâ providentiâ, which is the same with Dei gratiâ, though disguised, they deny to have received their authority from the Civill State; and sliely slip off the Collar of their Civill Subjection, contrary to the unity and defence of the Common-wealth.
Christian Kings have Power to execute all manner of Pastoral function. But if every Christian Soveraign be the Supreme Pastor of his own Subjects, it seemeth that he hath also the Authority, not only to Preach (which perhaps no man will deny;) but also to Baptize, and to Administer the Sacrament of the Lords Supper; and to Consecrate both Temples, and Pastors to Gods service; which most men deny; partly because they use not to do it; and partly because the Administration of Sacraments, and Consecration of Persons, and Places to holy uses, requireth the Imposition of such mens hands, as by the like Imposition successively from the time of the Apostles have been ordained to the like Ministery. For proof therefore that Christian Kings have power to Baptize, and to Consecrate, I am to render a reason, both why they use not to doe it, and how, without the ordinary ceremony of Imposition of hands, they are made capable of doing it, when they will.
There is no doubt but any King, in case he were skilfull in the Sciences, might by the same Right of his Office, read Lectures of them himself, by which he authorizeth others to read them in the Universities. Neverthelesse, because the care of the summe of the businesse of the Common-wealth taketh up his whole time, it were not convenient for him to apply himself in Person to that particular. A King may also if he please, sit in Judgment, to hear and determine all manner of Causes, as well as give others authority to doe it in his name; but that the charge that lyeth upon him of Command and Government, constrain him to bee continually at the Helm, and to commit the Ministeriall Offices to others under him. In the like manner our Saviour (who surely had power to Baptize) Baptized none ** John 4. 2. himselfe, but sent his Apostles and Disciples to Baptize. So also S. Paul, by the necessity of Preaching in divers and far distant places, Baptized few: Amongst all the Corinthians he Baptized only ** 1 Cor. 1. 14, 16.Crispus, Cajus, and Stephanus; and the reason was, because his principall harge was to Preach. Whereby it is manifest, that the greater Charge, (such as is the Government of the Church,) is a dispensation for the lesse. The reason therefore why Christian Kings use not to Baptize, ** 1 Cor. 1. 17. is evident, and the same, for which at this day there are few Baptized by Bishops, and by the Pope fewer.
And as concerning Imposition of Hands, whether it be needfull, for the authorizing of a King to Baptize, and Consecrate, we may consider thus.
Imposition of Hands, was a most ancient publique ceremony amongst the Jews, by which was designed, and made certain, the person, or other thing intended in a mans prayer, blessing, sacrifice, consecration, condemnation, or other speech. So Jacob in blessing the children of Joseph (Gen. 48. 14.) Laid his right Hand on Ephraim the younger, and his left Hand on Manasseh the first born; and this he did wittingly (though they were so presented to him by Joseph, as he was forced in doing it to stretch out his arms acrosse) to design to whom he intended the greater blessing. So also in the sacrificing of the Burnt offering, Aaron is commanded [Exod. 29. 10.] to Lay his Hands on the head of the bullock; and [ver. 15.] to Lay his Hand on the head of the ramme. The same is also said again, Levit. 1. 4. & 8. 14. Likewise Moses when he ordained Joshua to be Captain of the Israelites, that is, consecrated him to Gods service, [Numb. 27. 23.] Laid his Hands upon him, and gave him his Charge, designing, and rendring certain, who it was they were to obey in war. And in the consecration of the Levites [Numb. 8. 10.] God commanded that the Children of Israel should Put their Hands upon the Levites. And in the condemnation of him that had blasphemed the Lord [Levit. 24. 14.] God commanded that all that heard him should Lay their Hands on his head, and that all the Congregation should stone him. And why should they only that heard him, Lay their Hands upon him, and not rather a Priest, Levite, or other Minister of Justice, but that none else were able to design, and demonstrate to the eyes of the Congregation, who it was that had blasphemed, and ought to die? And to design a man, or any other thing, by the Hand to the Eye, is lesse subject to mistake, than when it is done to the Eare by a Name.
And so much was this ceremony observed, that in blessing the whole Congregation at once, which cannot be done by Laying on of Hands, yet Aaron [Levit. 9. 22.] did lift up his Hand towards the people when he blessed them. And we read also of the like ceremony of Consecration of Temples amongst the Heathen, as that the Priest laid his Hands on some post of the Temple, all the while he was uttering the words of Consecration. So naturall it is to design any individuall thing, rather by the Hand, to assure the Eyes, than by Words to inform the Eare in matters of Gods Publique service.
This ceremony was not therefore new in our Saviours time. For Jairus [Mark 5. 23.] whose daughter was sick, besought our Saviour (not to heal her, but) to Lay his Hands upon her, that shee might bee healed. And [Matth. 19. 13.] they brought unto him little children, that hee should Put his Hands on them, and Pray.
According to this ancient Rite, the Apostles, and Presbyters, and the Presbytery it self, Laid Hands on them whom they ordained Pastors, and withall prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost; and that not only once, but sometimes oftner, when a new occasion was presented: but the end was still the same, namely a punctuall, and religious designation of the person, ordained either to the Pastorall Charge in general, or to a particular Mission: so [Act. 6. 6.] The Apostles Prayed, and Laid their Hands on the seven Deacons; which was done, not to give them the Holy Ghost, (for they were full of the Holy Ghost before they were chosen, as appeareth immediately before, verse 3.) but to design them to that Office. And after Philip the Deacon had converted certain persons in Samaria, Peter and John went down [Act 8. 17.] and Laid their Hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And not only an Apostle, but a Presbyter had this power: For S. Paul adviseth Timothy [1 Tim. 5. 22.] Lay Hands suddenly on no man; that is, designe no man rashly to the Office of a Pastor. The whole Presbytery Laid their Hands on Timothy, as we read 1 Tim. 4. 14. but this is to be understood, as that some did it by the appointment of the Presbytery, and most likely their προεστὼς, or Prolocutor, which it may be was St. Paul himself. For in his 2 Epist. to Tim. ver. 6. he saith to him. Stirre up the gift of God which is in thee, by the Laying on of my Hands: where note by the way, that by the Holy Ghost, is not meant the third Person in the Trinity, but the Gifts necessary to the Pastorall Office. We read also, that St. Paul had Imposition of Hands twice; once from Ananias at Damascus [Acts 9. 17, 18.] at the time of his Baptisme; and again [Acts 13. 3.] at Antioch, when he was first sent out to Preach. The use then of this ceremony considered in the Ordination of Pastors, was to design the Person to whom they gave such Power. But if there had been then any Christian, that had had the Power of Teaching before; the Baptizing of him, that is, the making him a Christian, had given him no new Power, but had onely caused him to preach true Doctrine, that is, to use his Power aright; and therefore the Imposition of Hands had been unnecessary; Baptisme it selfe had been sufficient. But every Soveraign, before Christianity, had the power of Teaching, and Ordaining Teachers; and therefore Christianity gave them no new Right, but only directed them in the way of teaching Truth; and consequently they needed no Imposition of Hands (besides that which is done in Baptisme) to authorize them to exercise any part of the Pastorall Function, as namely, to Baptize, and Consecrate. And in the Old Testament, though the Priest only had right to Consecrate, during the time that the Soveraignty was in the High Priest; yet it was not so when the Soveraignty was in the King: For we read [1 Kings 8.] That Solomon Blessed the People, Consecrated the Temple, and pronounced that Publique Prayer, which is the pattern now for Consecration of all Christian Churches, and Chappels: whereby it appears, he had not only the right of Ecclesiasticall Government; but also of exercising Ecclesiasticall Functions.
The Civill Soveraigne if a Christian, is head of the Church in his own Dominions. From this consolidation of the Right Politique, and Ecclesiastique in Christian Soveraigns, it is evident, they have all manner of Power over their Subjects, that can be given to man, for the government of mens externall actions, both in Policy, and Religion; and may make such Laws, as themselves shall judge fittest, for the government of their own Subjects, both as they are the Common-wealth, and as they are the Church: for both State, and Church are the same men.
If they please therefore, they may (as many Christian Kings now doe) commit the government of their Subjects in matters of Religion to the Pope; but then the Pope is in that point Subordinate to them, and exerciseth that Charge in anothers Dominion Jure Civili, in the Right of the Civill Soveraign; not Jure Divino, in Gods Right; and may therefore be discharged of that Office, when the Soveraign for the good of his Subjects shall think it necessary. They may also if they please, commit the care of Religion to one Supreme Pastor, or to an Assembly of Pastors; and give them what power over the Church, or one over another, they think most convenient; and what titles of honor, as of Bishops, Archbishops, Priests, or Presbyters, they will; and make such Laws for their maintenance, either by Tithes, or otherwise, as they please, so they doe it out of a sincere conscience, of which God onely is the Judge. It is the Civill Soveraign, that is to appoint Judges, and Interpreters of the Canonicall Scriptures; for it is he that maketh them Laws. It is he also that giveth strength to Excommunications; which but for such Laws and Punishments, as may humble obstinate Libertines, and reduce them to union with the rest of the Church, would bee contemned. In summe, he hath the Supreme Power in all causes, as well Ecclesiasticall, as Civill, as far as concerneth actions, and words, for those onely are known, and may be accused; and of that which cannot be accused, there is no Judg at all, but God, that knoweth the heart. And these Rights are incident to all Soveraigns, whether Monarchs, or Assemblies: for they that are the Representants of a Christian People, are Representants of the Church: for a Church, and a Common-wealth of Christian People, are the same thing.
Cardinal Bellarmines Books De Summo Pontifice considered. Though this that I have here said, and in other places of this Book, seem cleer enough for the asserting of the Supreme Ecclesiasticall Power to Christian Soveraigns; yet because the Pope of Romes challenge to that Power universally, hath been maintained chiefly, and I think as strongly as is possible, by Cardinall Bellarmine, in his Controversie De Summo Pontifice; I have thought it necessary, as briefly as I can, to examine the grounds, and strength of his Discourse.
Of five Books he hath written of this subject, the firstThe first book. containeth three Questions: One, Which is simply the best government, Monarchy, Aristocracy, or Democracy; and concludeth for neither, but for a government mixt of all three: Another, which of these is the best Government of the Church; and concludeth for the mixt, but which should most participate of Monarchy: The third, whether in this mixt Monarchy, St. Peter had the place of Monarch. Concerning his first Conclusion, I have already sufficiently proved (chapt. 18.) that all Governments, which men are bound to obey, are Simple, and Absolute. In Monarchy there is but One Man Supreme; and all other men that have any kind of Power in the State, have it by his Commission, during his pleasure; and execute it in his name: And in Aristocracy, and Democracy, but One Supreme Assembly, with the same Power that in Monarchy belongeth to the Monarch, which is not a Mixt, but an Absolute Soveraignty. And of the three sorts, which is the best, is not to be disputed, where any one of them is already established; but the present ought alwaies to be preferred, maintained, and accounted best; because it is against both the Law of Nature, and the Divine positive Law, to doe any thing tending to the subversion thereof. Besides, it maketh nothing to the Power of any Pastor, (unlesse he have the Civill Soveraignty,) what kind of Government is the best; because their Calling is not to govern men by Commandement, but to teach them, and perswade them by Arguments, and leave it to them to consider, whether they shall embrace, or reject the Doctrine taught. For Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy, do mark out unto us three sorts of Soveraigns, not of Pastors; or, as we may say, three sorts of Masters of Families, not three sorts of Schoolmasters for their children.
And therefore the second Conclusion, concerning the best form of Government of the Church, is nothing to the question of the Popes Power without his own Dominions: For in all other Common-wealths his Power (if hee have any at all) is that of the Schoolmaster onely, and not of the Master of the Family.
For the third Conclusion, which is, that St. Peter was Monarch of the Church, he bringeth for his chiefe argument the place of S. Matth. (chap. 16. 18, 19.) Thou art Peter, And upon this rock I will build my Church, &c. And I will give thee the keyes of Heaven; whatsoever thou shalt bind on Earth, shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on Earth, shall be loosed in Heaven. Which place well considered, proveth no more, but that the Church of Christ hath for foundation one onely Article; namely, that which Peter in the name of all the Apostles professing, gave occasion to our Saviour to speak the words here cited; which that wee may cleerly understand, we are to consider, that our Saviour preached by himself, by John Baptist, and by his Apostles, nothing but this Article of Faith, that he was the Christ; all other Articles requiring faith no otherwise, than as founded on that. John began first, (Mat. 3. 2.) preaching only this, The Kingdome of God is at hand. Then our Saviour himself (Mat. 4. 17.) preached the same: And to his Twelve Apostles, when he gave them their Commission (Mat. 10. 7.) there is no mention of preaching any other Article but that. This was the fundamentall Article, that is the Foundation of the Churches Faith. Afterwards the Apostles being returned to him, he asketh them all, (Mat. 16. 13.) not Peter onely, Who men said he was; and they answered, that some said he was John the Baptist, some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the Prophets: Then (ver. 15.) he asked them all again, (not Peter onely) Whom say yee that I am? Therefore S. Peter answered (for them all) Thou art Christ, the Son of the Living God; which I said is the Foundation of the Faith of the whole Church; from which our Saviour takes the occasion of saying, Upon this stone I will build my Church: By which it is manifest, that by the Foundation-Stone of the Church, was meant the Fundamentall Article of the Churches Faith. But why then (will some object) doth our Saviour interpose these words, Thou art Peter? If the originall of this text had been rigidly translated, the reason would easily have appeared: We are therefore to consider, that the Apostle Simon, was surnamed Stone, (which is the signification of the Syriacke word Cephas, and of the Greek word Petrus). Our Saviour therefore after the confession of that Fundamentall Article, alluding to his name, said (as if it were in English) thus, Thou art Stone, and upon this Stone I will build my Church: which is as much as to say, this Article, that I am the Christ, is the Foundation of all the Faith I require in those that are to bee members of my Church: Neither is this allusion to a name, an unusuall thing in common speech: But it had been a strange, and obscure speech, if our Saviour intending to build his Church on the Person of S. Peter, had said, thou art a Stone, and upon this Stone I will build my Church, when it was so obvious without ambiguity to have said, I will build my Church on thee; and yet there had been still the same allusion to his name.
And for the following words, I will give thee the Keyes of Heaven, &c. it is no more than what our Saviour gave also to all the rest of his Disciples [Matth. 18. 18.] Whatsoever yee shall bind on Earth, shall be bound in Heaven. And whatsoever ye shall loose on Earth, shall be loosed in Heaven. But howsoever this be interpreted, there is no doubt but the Power here granted belongs to all Supreme Pastors; such as are all Christian Civill Soveraignes in their own Dominions. In so much, as if St. Peter, or our Saviour himself had converted any of them to beleeve him, and to acknowledge his Kingdome; yet because his Kingdome is not of this world, he had left the supreme care of converting his subjects to none but him; or else hee must have deprived him of the Soveraignty, to which the Right of Teaching is inseparably annexed. And thus much in refutation of his first Book, wherein hee would prove St. Peter to have been the Monarch Universall of the Church, that is to say, of all the Christians in the world.
The second Book hath two Conclusions: One,The second Book. that S. Peter was Bishop of Rome, and there dyed: The other, that the Popes of Rome are his Successors. Both which have been disputed by others. But supposing them true; yet if by Bishop of Rome, bee understood either the Monarch of the Church, or the Supreme Pastor of it; not Silvester, but Constantine (who was the first Christian Emperour) was that Bishop; and as Constantine, so all other Christian Emperors were of Right supreme Bishops of the Roman Empire; I say of the Roman Empire, not of all Christendome: For other Christian Soveraigns had the same Right in their severall Territories, as to an Office essentially adhærent to their Soveraignty. Which shall serve for answer to his second Book.
In the third Book, he handleth the question whetherThe third Book. the Pope be Antichrist. For my part, I see no argument that proves he is so, in that sense the Scripture useth the name: nor will I take any argument from the quality of Antichrist, to contradict the Authority he exerciseth, or hath heretofore exercised in the Dominions of any other Prince, or State.
It is evident that the Prophets of the Old Testament foretold, and the Jews expected a Messiah, that is, a Christ, that should re-establish amongst them the kingdom of God, which had been rejected by them in the time of Samuel, when they required a King after the manner of other Nations. This expectation of theirs, made them obnoxious to the Imposture of all such, as had both the ambition to attempt the attaining of the Kingdome, and the art to deceive the People by counterfeit miracles, by hypocriticall life, or by orations and doctrine plausible. Our Saviour therefore, and his Apostles forewarned men of False Prophets, and of False Christs. False Christs, are such as pretend to be the Christ, but are not, and are called properly Antichrists, in such sense, as when there happeneth a Schisme in the Church by the election of two Popes, the one calleth the other Antipapa, or the false Pope. And therefore Antichrist in the proper signification hath two essentiall marks; One, that he denyeth Jesus to be Christ; and another that he professeth himselfe to bee Christ. The first Mark is set down by S. John in his 1 Epist. 4. ch. 3. ver. Every Spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God; And this is the Spirit of Antichrist. The other Mark is expressed in the words of our Saviour, (Mat. 24. 5.) Many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and again, If any man shall say unto you, Loe, here is Christ, there is Christ, beleeve it not. And therefore Antichrist must be a False Christ, that is, some one of them that shall pretend themselves to be Christ. And out of these two Marks, to deny Jesus to be the Christ, and to affirm himselfe to be the Christ, it followeth, that he must also be an Adversary of Jesus the true Christ, which is another usuall signification of the word Antichrist. But of these many Antichrists, there is one speciall one, ὀΑντίχριστος The Antichrist, or Antichrist definitely, as one certaine person; not indefinitely an Antichrist. Now seeing the Pope of Rome, neither pretendeth himself, nor denyeth Jesus to bee the Christ, I perceive not how he can be called Antichrist; by which word is not meant, one that falsely pretendeth to be His Lieutenant, or Vicar generall, but to be Hee. There is also some Mark of the time of this speciall Antichrist, as (Mat. 24, 15.) when that abominable Destroyer, spoken of by Daniel, ** Dan. 9. 27. shall stand in the Holy place, and such tribulation as was not since the beginning of the world, nor ever shall be again, insomuch as if it were to last long, (ver. 22.) no flesh could be saved; but for the elects sake those days shall be shortened (made fewer). But that tribulation is not yet come; for it is to be followed immediately (ver. 29.) by a darkening of the Sun and Moon, a falling of the Stars, a concussion of the Heavens, and the glorious coming again of our Saviour in the cloudes. And therefore The Antichrist is not yet come; whereas, many Popes are both come and gone. It is true, the Pope in taking upon him to give Laws to all Christian Kings, and Nations, usurpeth a Kingdome in this world, which Christ took not on him: but he doth it not as Christ, but as for Christ, wherein there is nothing of The Antichrist.
In the fourth Book, to prove the Pope to be theThe fourth Book. supreme Judg in all questions of Faith and Manners, (which is as much as to be the absolute Monarch of all Christians in the world,) he bringeth three Propositions: The first, that his Judgments are Infallible: The second, that he can make very Laws, and punish those that observe them not: The third, that our Saviour conferred all Jurisdiction Ecclesiasticall on the Pope of Rome.
Texts for the Infallibility of the Popes Judgement in points of Faith. For the Infallibility of his Judgments, he alledgeth the Scriptures: and first, that of Luke 22. 31. Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired you that hee may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith faile not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy Brethren. This, according to Bellarmines exposition, is, that Christ gave here to Simon Peter two priviledges: one, that neither his Faith should fail, nor the Faith of any of his successors: the other, that neither he, nor any of his successors should ever define any point concerning Faith, or Manners erroneously, or contrary to the definition of a former Pope: Which is a strange, and very much strained interpretation. But he that with attention readeth that chapter, shall find there is no place in the whole Scripture, that maketh more against the Popes Authority, than this very place. The Priests and Scribes seeking to kill our Saviour at the Passeover, and Judas possessed with a resolution to betray him, and the day of killing the Passeover being come, our Saviour celebrated the same with his Apostles, which he said, till the Kingdome of God was come hee would doe no more; and withall told them, that one of them was to betray him: Hereupon they questioned, which of them it should be; and withall (seeing the next Passeover their Master would celebrate should be when he was King) entred into a contention, who should then be the greatest man. Our Saviour therefore told them, that the Kings of the Nations had Dominion over their Subjects, and are called by a name (in Hebrew) that signifies Bountifull; but I cannot be so to you, you must endeavour to serve one another; I ordain you a Kingdome, but it is such as my Father hath ordained mee; a Kingdome that I am now to purchase with my blood, and not to possesse till my second coming; then yee shall eat and drink at my Table, and sit on Thrones, judging the twelve Tribes of Israel: And then addressing himself to St. Peter, he saith, Simon, Simon, Satan seeks by suggesting a present domination, to weaken your faith of the future; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith shall not fail; Thou therefore (Note this,) being converted, and understanding my Kingdome as of another world, confirm the same faith in thy Brethren: To which S. Peter answered (as one that no more expected any authority in this world) Lord I am ready to goe with thee, not onely to Prison, butto Death. Whereby it is manifest, S. Peter had not onely no jurisdiction given him in this world, but a charge to teach all the other Apostles, that they also should have none. And for the Infallibility of St. Peters sentence definitive in matter of Faith, there is no more to be attributed to it out of this Text, than that Peter should continue in the beleef of this point, namely, that Christ should come again, and possesse the Kingdome at the day of Judgement; which was not given by this Text to all his Successors; for wee see they claime it in the World that now is.
The second place is that of Matth. 16. Thou art Peter, and upon this rocke I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. By which (as I have already shewn in this chapter) is proved no more, than that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the confession of Peter, which gave occasion to that speech; namely this, that Jesus is Christ the Sonne of God.
The third Text is John 21. ver. 16, 17. Feed my sheep; which contains no more but a Commission of Teaching: And if we grant the rest of the Apostles to be contained in that name of Sheep; then it is the supreme Power of Teaching: but it was onely for the time that there were no Christian Soveraigns already possessed of that Supremacy. But I have already proved, that Christian Soveraignes are in their owne Dominions the supreme Pastors, and instituted thereto, by vertue of their being Baptized, though without other Imposition of Hands. For such Imposition being a Ceremony of designing the person, is needlesse, when hee is already designed to the Power of Teaching what Doctrine he will, by his institution to an Absolute Power over his Subjects For as I have proved before, Soveraigns are supreme Teachers (in generall) by their Office; and therefore oblige themselves (by their Baptisme) to teach the Doctrine of Christ: And when they suffer others to teach their people, they doe it at the perill of their own souls; for it is at the hands of the Heads of Families that God will require the account of the instruction of his Children and Servants. It is of Abraham himself, not of a hireling, that God saith (Gen. 18. 19.) I know him that he will command his Children, and his houshold after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, and do justice and judgement.
The fourth place is that of Exod. 28. 30. Thou shalt put in the Breastplate of Judgment, the Urim and the Thummin: which hee saith is interpreted by the Septuagint δήλωσιν καὶ ᾀλήθειαν, that is, Evidence and Truth: And thence concludeth, God had given Evidence, and Truth, (which is almost Infallibility,) to the High Priest. But be it Evidence and Truth it selfe that was given; or be it but Admonition to the Priest to endeavour to inform himself cleerly, and give judgment uprightly; yet in that it was given to the High Priest, it was given to the Civill Soveraign: For such next under God was the High Priest in the Common-wealth of Israel; and is an argument for Evidence and Truth, that is, for the Ecclesiasticall Supremacy of Civill Soveraigns over their own Subjects, against the pretended Power of the Pope. These are all the Texts hee bringeth for the Infallibility of the Judgement of the Pope, in point of Faith.
Texts for the same in point of Manners. For the Infallibility of his Judgment concerning Manners, hee bringeth one Text, which is that of John 16. 13. When the Spirit of truth is come, hee will lead you into all truth: where (saith he) by all truth, is meant, at least, all truth necessary to salvation. But with this mitigation, he attributeth no more Infallibility to the Pope, than to any man that professeth Christianity, and is not to be damned: For if any man erre in any point, wherein not to erre is necessary to Salvation, it is impossible he should be saved; for that onely is necessary to Salvation, without which to be saved is impossible. What points these are, I shall declare out of the Scripture in the Chapter following. In this place I say no more, but that though it were granted, the Pope could not possibly teach any error at all, yet doth not this entitle him to any Jurisdiction in the Dominions of another Prince, unlesse we shall also say, a man is obliged in conscience to set on work upon all occasions the best workman, even then also when he hath formerly promised his work to another.
Besides the Text, he argueth from Reason, thus. If the Pope could erre in necessaries, then Christ hath not sufficiently provided for the Churches Salvation; because he hath commanded her to follow the Popes directions. But this Reason is invalid, unlesse he shew when, and where Christ commanded that, or took at all any notice of a Pope: Nay granting whatsoever was given to S. Peter, was given to the Pope; yet seeing there is in the Scripture no command to any man to obey St. Peter, no man can bee just, that obeyeth him, when his commands are contrary to those of his lawfull Soveraign.
Lastly, it hath not been declared by the Church, nor by the Pope himselfe, that he is the Civill Soveraign of all the Christians in the world; and therefore all Christians are not bound to acknowledge his Jurisdiction in point of Manners. For the Civill Soveraignty, and supreme Judicature in controversies of Manners, are the same thing: And the Makers of Civill Laws, are not onely Declarers, but also Makers of the justice, and injustice of actions; there being nothing in mens Manners that makes them righteous, or unrighteous, but their conformity with the Law of the Soveraign. And therefore when the Pope challengeth Supremacy in controversies of Manners, hee teacheth men to disobey the Civill Soveraign; which is an erroneous Doctrine, contrary to the many precepts of our Saviour and his Apostles, delivered to us in the Scripture.
To prove the Pope has Power to make Laws, he alledgeth many places; as first, Deut. 17. 12. The man that will doe presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the Priest, (that standeth to Minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the Judge,) even that man shall die, and thou shalt put away the evill from Israel. For answer whereunto, we are to remember that the High Priest (next and immediately under God) was the Civill Soveraign; and all Judges were to be constituted by him. The words alledged sound therefore thus. The man that will presume to disobey the Civill Soveraign for the time being, or any of his Officers in the execution of their places, that man shall die, &c. which is cleerly for the Civill Soveraignty, against the Universall power of the Pope.
Secondly, he alledgeth that of Matth. 16. Whatsoever yee shall bind, &c. and interpreteth it for such binding as is attributed (Matth. 23. 4.) to the Scribes and Pharisees, They bind heavy burthens, and grievous to be born, and lay them on mens shoulders; by which is meant (he sayes) Making of Laws; and concludes thence, that the Pope can make Laws. But this also maketh onely for the Legislative power of Civill Soveraigns: For the Scribes, and Pharisees sat in Moses Chaire, but Moses next under God was Soveraign of the People of Israel: and therefore our Saviour commanded them to doe all that they should say, but not all that they should do. That is, to obey their Laws, but not follow their Example.
The third place, is John 21. 16. Feed my sheep; which is not a Power to make Laws, but a command to Teach. Making Laws belongs to the Lord of the Family; who by his owne discretion chooseth his Chaplain, as also a Schoolmaster to Teach his children.
The fourth place John 20. 21. is against him. The words are, As my Father sent me, so send I you. But our Saviour was sent to Redeem (by his Death) such as should Beleeve; and by his own, and his Apostles preaching to prepare them for their entrance into his Kingdome; which he himself saith, is not of this world, and hath taught us to pray for the coming of it hereafter, though hee refused (Acts 1. 6, 7.) to tell his Apostles when it should come; and in which, when it comes, the twelve Apostles shall sit on twelve Thrones (every one perhaps as high as that of St. Peter) to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. Seeing then God the Father sent not our Saviour to make Laws in this present world, wee may conclude from the Text, that neither did our Saviour send S. Peter to make Laws here, but to perswade men to expect his second comming with a stedfast faith; and in the mean time, if Subjects, to obey their Princes; and if Princes, both to beleeve it themselves, and to do their best to make their Subjects doe the same; which is the Office of a Bishop. Therefore this place maketh most strongly for the joining of the Ecclesiasticall Supremacy to the Civill Soveraignty, contrary to that which Cardinall Bellarmine alledgeth it for.
The fift place is Acts 15. 28. It hath seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden, than these necessary things, that yee abstaine from meats offered to Idols, and from bloud, and from things strangled, and from fornication. Here hee notes the word Laying of burdens for the Legislative Power. But who is there, that reading this Text, can say, this stile of the Apostles may not as properly be used in giving Counsell, as in making Laws? The stile of a Law is, We command: But, We think good, is the ordinary stile of them, that but give Advice; and they lay a Burthen that give Advice, though it bee conditionall, that is, if they to whom they give it, will attain their ends: And such is the Burthen, of abstaining from things strangled, and from bloud; not absolute, but in case they will not erre. I have shewn before (chap. 25.) that Law, is distinguished from Counsell, in this, that the reason of a Law, is taken from the designe, and benefit of him that prescribeth it; but the reason of a Counsell, from the designe, and benefit of him, to whom the Counsell is given. But here, the Apostles aime onely at the benefit of the converted Gentiles, namely their Salvation; not at their own benefit; for having done their endeavour, they shall have their reward, whether they be obeyed, or not. And therefore the Acts of this Councell, were not Laws, but Counsells.
The sixt place is that of Rom. 13. Let every Soul be subject to the Higher Powers, for there is no Power but of God; which is meant, he saith not onely of Secular, but also of Ecclesiasticall Princes. To which I answer, first, that there are no Ecclesiasticall Princes but those that are also Civill Soveraignes; and their Principalities exceed not the compasse of their Civill Soveraignty; without those bounds though they may be received for Doctors, they cannot be acknowledged for Princes. For if the Apostle had meant, we should be subject both to our own Princes, and also to the Pope, he had taught us a doctrine, which Christ himself hath told us is impossible, namely, to serve two Masters. And though the Apostle say in another place, I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpnesse, according to the Power which the Lord hath given me; it is not, that he challenged a Power either to put to death, imprison, banish, whip, or fine any of them, which are Punishments; but onely to Excommunicate, which (without the Civil Power) is no more but a leaving of their company, and having no more to doe with them, than with a Heathen man, or a Publican; which in many occasions might be a greater pain to the Excommunicant, than to the Excommunicate.
The seventh place is 1 Cor. 4. 21. Shall I come unto you with a Rod, or in love, and the spirit of lenity? But here again, it is not the Power of a Magistrate to punish offenders, that is meant by a Rod; but onely the Power of Excommunication, which is not in its owne nature a Punishment, but onely a Denouncing of punishment, that Christ shall inflict, when he shall be in possession of his Kingdome, at the day of Judgment. Nor then also shall it bee properly a Punishment, as upon a Subject that hath broken the Law; but a Revenge, as upon an Enemy, or Revolter, that denyeth the Right of our Saviour to the Kingdome: And therefore this proveth not the Legislative Power of any Bishop, that has not also the Civill Power.
The eighth place is, Timothy 3. 2. A Bishop must be the husband but of one wife, vigilant, sober, &c. which he saith was a Law. I thought that none could make a Law in the Church, but the Monarch of the Church, St. Peter. But suppose this Precept made by the authority of St. Peter; yet I see no reason why to call it a Law, rather than an Advice, seeing Timothy was not a Subject, but a Disciple of S. Paul; nor the flock under the charge of Timothy, his Subjects in the Kingdome, but his Scholars in the Schoole of Christ: If all the Precepts he giveth Timothy, be Laws, why is not this also a Law, Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy healths sake? And why are not also the Precepts of good Physitians, so many Laws? but that it is not the Imperative manner of speaking, but an absolute Subjection to a Person, that maketh his Precepts Laws.
In like manner, the ninth place, 1 Tim. 5. 19. Against an Elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three Witnesses, is a wise Precept, but not a Law.
The tenth place is, Luke 10. 16. He that heareth you, heareth mee; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me. And there is no doubt, but he that despiseth the Counsell of those that are sent by Christ, despiseth the Counsell of Christ himself. But who are those now that are sent by Christ, but such as are ordained Pastors by lawfull Authority? and who are lawfully ordained, that are not ordained by the Soveraign Pastor? and who is ordained by the Soveraign Pastor in a Christian Common-wealth, that is not ordained by the authority of the Soveraign thereof? Out of this place therefore it followeth, that he which heareth his Soveraign being a Christian, heareth Christ; and hee that despiseth the Doctrine which his King being a Christian, authorizeth, despiseth the Doctrine of Christ (which is not that which Bellarmine intendeth here to prove, but the contrary). But all this is nothing to a Law. Nay more, a Christian King, as a Pastor, and Teacher of his Subjects, makes not thereby his Doctrines Laws. He cannot oblige men to beleeve; though as a Civill Soveraign he may make Laws suitable to his Doctrine, which may oblige men to certain actions, and sometimes to such as they would not otherwise do, and which he ought not to command; and yet when they are commanded, they are Laws; and the externall actions done in obedience to them, without the inward approbation, are the actions of the Soveraign, and not of the Subject, which is in that case but as an instrument, without any motion of his owne at all; because God hath commanded to obey them.
The eleventh, is every place, where the Apostle for Counsell, putteth some word, by which men use to signifie Command; or calleth the following of his Counsell, by the name of Obedience. And therefore they are alledged out of 1 Cor. 11. 2. I commend you for keeping my Precepts as I delivered them to you. The Greek is, I commend you for keeping those things I delivered to you, as I delivered them. Which is far from signifying that they were Laws, or any thing else, but good Counsell. And that of 1 Thess. 4. 2. You know what commandements we gave you: where the Greek word is παραγγελίας ἐδώκαμεν equivalent to παρεδώκαμεν what wee delivered to you, as in the place next before alledged, which does not prove the Traditions of the Apostles, to be any more than Counsells; though as is said in the 8 verse, he that despiseth them, despiseth not man, but God: For our Saviour himself came not to Judge, that is, to be King in this world; but to Sacrifice himself for Sinners, and leave Doctors in his Church, to lead, not to drive men to Christ, who never accepteth forced actions, (which is all the Law produceth,) but the inward conversion of the heart; which is not the work of Laws, but of Counsell, and Doctrine.
And that of 2 Thess. 3. 14. If any man Obey not our word by this Epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may bee ashamed: where from the word Obey, he would inferre, that this Epistle was a Law to the Thessalonians. The Epistles of the Emperours were indeed Laws. If therefore the Epistle of S. Paul were also a Law, they were to obey two Masters. But the word Obey, as it is in the Greek πακούει signifieth hearkning to, or putting in practice, not onley that which is Commanded by him that has right to punish, but also that which is delivered in a way of Counsell for our good; and therefore St. Paul does not bid kill him that disobeys, nor beat, nor imprison, nor amerce him, which Legislators may all do; but avoid his company, that he may bee ashamed: whereby it is evident, it was not the Empire of an Apostle, but his Reputation amongst the Faithfull, which the Christians stood in awe of.
The last place is that of Heb. 13. 17. Obey your Leaders, and submit your selves to them, for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account: And here also is intended by Obedience, a following of their Counsell: For the reason of our Obedience, is not drawn from the will and command of our Pastors, but from our own benefit, as being the Salvation of our Souls they watch for, and not for the Exaltation of their own Power, and Authority. If it were meant here, that all they teach were Laws, then not onely the Pope, but every Pastor in his Parish should have Legislative Power. Again, they that are bound to obey, their Pastors, have no power to examine their commands. What then shall wee say to St. John who bids us (1 Epist. chap. 4. ver. 1.) Not to beleeve every Spirit, but to try the Spirits whether they are of God, because many false Prophets are gone out into the world? It is therefore manifest, that wee may dispute the Doctrine of our Pastors; but no man can dispute a Law. The Commands of Civill Soveraigns are on all sides granted to be Laws: if any else can make a Law besides himselfe, all Common-wealth, and consequently all Peace, and Justice must cease; which is contrary to all Laws, both Divine and Humane. Nothing therefore can be drawn from these, or any other places of Scripture, to prove the Decrees of the Pope, where he has not also the Civill Soveraignty, to be Laws.
The last point hee would prove, is this, That our Saviour Christ has committed Ecclesiasticall JurisdictionThe question of Superiority between the Pope and other Bishops.immediately to none but the Pope. Wherein he handleth not the Question of Supremacy between the Pope and Christian Kings, but between the Pope and other Bishops. And first, he sayes it is agreed, that the Jurisdiction of Bishops, is at least in the generall de Jure Divino, that is, in the Right of God; for which he alledges S. Paul, Ephes. 4. 11. where hee sayes, that Christ after his Ascension into heaven, gave gifts to men, some Apostles, some Prophets, and some Evangelists, and some Pastors, and some Teachers: And thence inferres, they have indeed their Jurisdiction in Gods Right; but will not grant they have it immediately from God, but derived through the Pope. But if a man may be said to have his Jurisdiction de Jure Divino, and yet not immediately; what lawfull Jurisdiction, though but Civill, is there in a Christian Common-wealth, that is not also de Jure Divino? For Christian Kings have their Civill Power from God immediately; and the Magistrates under him exercise their severall charges in vertue of his Commission; wherein that which they doe, is no lesse de Jure Divino mediato, than that which the Bishops doe, in vertue of the Popes Ordination. All lawfull Power is of God, immediately in the Supreme Governour, and mediately in those that have Authority under him: So that either hee must grant every Constable in the State to hold his Office in the Right of God; or he must not hold that any Bishop holds his so, besides the Pope himselfe.
But this whole Dispute, whether Christ left the Jurisdiction to the Pope onely, or to other Bishops also, if considered out of those places where the Pope has the Civill Soveraignty, is a contention de lana Caprina: For none of them (where they are not Soveraigns) has any Jurisdiction at all. For Jurisdiction is the Power of hearing and determining Causes between man and man; and can belong to none, but him that hath the Power to prescribe the Rules of Right and Wrong; that is, to make Laws; and with the Sword of Justice to compell men to obey his Decisions, pronounced either by himself, or by the Judges he ordaineth thereunto; which none can lawfully do, but the Civill Soveraign.
Therefore when he alledgeth out of the 6 of Luke, that our Saviour called his Disciples together, and chose twelve of them which he named Apostles, he proveth that he Elected them (all, except Matthias, Paul and Barnabas,) and gave them Power and Command to Preach, but not to Judge of Causes between man and man: for that is a Power which he refused to take upon himselfe, saying, Who made me a Judge, or a Divider, amongst you? and in another place, My Kingdome is not of this world. But hee that hath not the Power to hear, and determine Causes between man and man, cannot be said to have any Jurisdiction at all. And yet this hinders not, but that our Saviour gave them Power to Preach and Baptize in all parts of the world, supposing they were not by their own lawfull Soveraign forbidden: For to our own Soveraigns Christ himself, and his Apostles, have in sundry places expressely commanded us in all things to be obedient.
The arguments by which he would prove, that Bishops receive their Jurisdiction from the Pope (seeing the Pope in the Dominions of other Princes hath no Jurisdiction himself,) are all in vain. Yet because they prove, on the contrary, that all Bishops receive Jurisdiction when they have it from their Civill Soveraigns, I will not omit the recitall of them.
The first, is from Numbers 11. where Moses not being able alone to undergoe the whole burthen of administring the affairs of the People of Israel, God commanded him to choose Seventy Elders, and took part of the spirit of Moses, to put it upon those Seventy Elders: by which is understood, not that God weakned the spirit of Moses, for that had not eased him at all; but that they had all of them their authority from him; wherein he doth truly, and ingenuously interpret that place. But seeing Moses had the entire Soveraignty in the Commonwealth of the Jews, it is manifest, that it is thereby signified, that they had their Authority from the Civill Soveraign: and therefore that place proveth, that Bishops in every Christian Common-wealth have their Authority from the Civill Soveraign; and from the Pope in his own Territories only, and not in the Territories of any other State.
The second argument, is from the nature of Monarchy; wherein all Authority is in one Man, and in others by derivation from him: But the Government of the Church, he says, is Monarchicall. This also makes for Christian Monarchs. For they are really Monarchs of their own people; that is, of their own Church (for the Church is the same thing with a Christian people;) whereas the Power of the Pope, though hee were S. Peter, is neither Monarchy, nor hath any thing of Archicall, nor Craticall, but onely of Didacticall; For God accepteth not a forced, but a willing obedience.
The third, is, from that the Sea of S. Peter is called by S. Cyprian, the Head, the Source, the Roote, the Sun, from whence the Authority of Bishops is derived. But by the Law of Nature (which is a better Principle of Right and Wrong, than the word of any Doctor that is but a man) the Civill Soveraign in every Common-wealth, is the Head, the Source, the Root, and the Sun, from which all Jurisdiction is derived. And therefore the Jurisdiction of Bishops, is derived from the Civill Soveraign.
The fourth, is taken from the Inequality of their Jurisdictions: For if God (saith he) had given it them immediately, he had given aswell Equality of Jurisdiction, as of Order: But wee see, some are Bishops but of [one] Town, some of a hundred Towns, and some of many whole Provinces; which differences were not determined by the command of God; their Jurisdiction therefore is not of God, but of Man; and one has a greater, another a lesse, as it pleaseth the Prince of the Church. Which argument, if he had proved before, that the Pope had had an Universall Jurisdiction over all Christians, had been for his purpose. But seeing that hath not been proved, and that it is notoriously known, the large Jurisdiction of the Pope was given him by those that had it, that is, by the Emperours of Rome, (for the Patriarch of Constantinople, upon the same title, namely, of being Bishop of the Capitall City of the Empire, and Seat of the Emperour, claimed to be equall to him,) it followeth, that all other Bishops have their Jurisdiction from the Soveraigns of the place wherein they exercise the same: And as for that cause they have not their Authority de Jure Divino; so neither hath the Pope his de Jure Divino, except onely where hee is also the Civill Soveraign.
His fift argument is this, If Bishops have their Jurisdiction immediately from God, the Pope could not take it from them, for he can doe nothing contrary to Gods ordination; And this consequence is good, and well proved. But (saith he) the Pope can do this, and has done it. This also is granted, so he doe it in his own Dominions, or in the Dominions of any other Prince that hath given him that Power; but not universally, in Right of the Popedome: For that power belongeth to every Christian Soveraign, within the bounds of his owne Empire, and is inseparable from the Soveraignty. Before the People of Israel had (by the commandment of God to Samuel) set over themselves a King, after the manner of other Nations, the High Priest had the Civill Government; and none but he could make, nor depose an inferiour Priest: But that Power was afterwards in the King, as may be proved by this same argument of Bellarmine; For if the Priest (be he the High Priest or any other) had his Jurisdiction immediately from God, then the King could not take it from him; for he could doe nothing contrary to Gods ordinance: But it is certain, that King Solomon (1 Kings 2. 26.) deprived Abiathar the High Priest of his Office, and placed Zadok (verse 35.) in his room. Kings therefore may in the like manner Ordaine, and Deprive Bishops, as they shall thinke fit, for the well governing of their Subjects.
His sixth argument is this, If Bishops have their Jurisdiction de Jure Divino (that is, immediately from God,) they that maintaine it, should bring some Word of God to prove it: But they can bring none. The argument is good; I have therefore nothing to say against it. But it is an argument no lesse good, to prove the Pope himself to have no Jurisdiction in the Dominion of any other Prince.
Lastly, hee bringeth for argument, the testimony of two Popes, Innocent, and Leo; and I doubt not but hee might have alledged, with as good reason, the testimonies of all the Popes almost since S. Peter: For considering the love of Power naturally implanted in mankind, whosoever were made Pope, he would be tempted to uphold the same opinion. Neverthelesse, they should therein but doe, as Innocent, and Leo did, bear witnesse of themselves, and therefore their witnesse should not be good.
In the fift Book he hath four Conclusions. The first is, That the Pope is not Lord of all the world:Of the Popes Temporall Power. The second, That the Pope is not Lord of all the Christian world: The third, That the Pope (without his owne Territory) has not any Temporall Jurisdiction DIRECTLY: These three Conclusions are easily granted. The fourth is, That the Pope has (in the Dominions of other Princes) the Supreme Temporall Power INDIRECTLY: which is denyed; unlesse hee mean by Indirectly, that he has gotten it by Indirect means; then is that also granted. But I understand, that when he saith he hath it Indirectly, he means, that such Temporall Jurisdiction belongeth to him of Right, but that this Right is but a Consequence of his Pastorall Authority, the which he could not exercise, unlesse he have the other with it: And therefore to the Pastorall Power (which he calls Spirituall) the Supreme Power Civill is necessarily annexed; and that thereby hee hath a Right to change Kingdomes, giving them to one, and taking them from another, when he shall think it conduces to the Salvation of Souls.
Before I come to consider the Arguments by which hee would prove this Doctrine, it will not bee amisse to lay open the Consequences of it; that Princes, and States, that have the Civill Soveraignty in their severall Common-wealths, may bethink themselves, whether it bee convenient for them, and conducing to the good of their Subjects, of whom they are to give an account at the day of Judgment, to admit the same.
When it is said, the Pope hath not (in the Territories of other States) the Supreme Civill Power Directly; we are to understand, he doth not challenge it, as other Civill Soveraigns doe, from the originall submission thereto of those that are to be governed. For it is evident, and has already been sufficiently in this Treatise demonstrated, that the Right of all Soveraigns, is derived originally from the consent of every one of those that are to bee governed; whether they that choose him, doe it for their common defence against an Enemy, as when they agree amongst themselves to appoint a Man, or an Assembly of men to protect them; or whether they doe it, to save their lives, by submission to a conquering Enemy. The Pope therefore, when he disclaimeth the Supreme Civill Power over other States Directly, denyeth no more, but that his Right cometh to him by that way; He ceaseth not for all that, to claime it another way; and that is, (without the consent of them that are to be governed) by a Right given him by God, (which hee calleth Indirectly,) in his Assumption to the Papacy. But by what way soever he pretend, the Power is the same; and he may (if it bee granted to be his Right) depose Princes and States, as often as it is for the Salvation of Soules, that is, as often as he will; for he claimeth also the Sole Power to Judge, whether it be to the Salvation of mens Souls, or not. And this is the Doctrine, not onely that Bellarmine here, and many other Doctors teach in their Sermons and Books, but also that some Councells have decreed, and the Popes have accordingly, when the occasion hath served them, put in practise. For the fourth Councell of Lateran held under Pope Innocent the third, (in the third Chap. De Hæreticis,) hath this Canon. If a King at the Popes admonition, doe not purge his Kingdome of Hæretiques, and being Excommunicate for the same, make not satisfaction within a yeer, his Subjects are absolved of their Obedience. And the practise hereof hath been seen on divers occasions; as in the Deposing of Chilperique, King of France; in the Translation of the Roman Empire to Charlemaine; in the Oppression of John King of England; in Transferring the Kingdome of Navarre; and of late years, in the League against Henry the third of France, and in many more occurrences. I think there be few Princes that consider not this as Injust, and Inconvenient; but I wish they would all resolve to be Kings, or Subjects. Men cannot serve two Masters: They ought therefore to ease them, either by holding the Reins of Government wholly in their own hands; or by wholly delivering them into the hands of the Pope; that such men as are willing to be obedient, may be protected in their obedience. For this distinction of Temporall, and Spirituall Power is but words. Power is as really divided, and as dangerously to all purposes, by sharing with another Indirect Power, as with a Direct one. But to come now to his Arguments.
The first is this, The Civill Power is subject to the Spirituall: Therefore he that hath the Supreme Power Spirituall, hath right to command Temporall Princes, and dispose of their Temporalls in order to the Spirituall. As for the distinction of Temporall, and Spirituall, let us consider in what sense it may be said intelligibly, that the Temporall, or Civill Power is subject to the Spirituall. There be but two ways that those words can be made sense. For when wee say, one Power is subject to another Power, the meaning either is, that he which hath the one, is subject to him that hath the other; or that the one Power is to the other, as the means to the end. For wee cannot understand, that one Power hath Power over another Power; or that one Power can have Right or Command over another: For Subjection, Command, Right, and Power are accidents, not of Powers, but of Persons: One Power may be subordinate to another, as the art of a Sadler, to the art of a Rider. If then it bee granted, that the Civill Government be ordained as a means to bring us to a Spirituall felicity; yet it does not follow, that if a King have the Civill Power, and the Pope the Spirituall, that therefore the King is bound to obey the Pope, more then every Sadler is bound to obey every Rider. Therefore as from Subordination of an Art, cannot be inferred the Subjection of the Professor; so from the Subordination of a Government, cannot be inferred the Subjection of the Governor. When therefore he saith, the Civill Power is Subject to the Spirituall, his meaning is, that the Civill Soveraign, is Subject to the Spirituall Soveraign. And the Argument stands thus, The Civil Soveraign, is subject to the Spirituall; Therefore the Spirituall Prince may commandTemporall Princes. Where the Conclusion is the same, with the Antecedent he should have proved. But to prove it, he alledgeth first, this reason, Kings and Popes, Clergy and Laity make but one Common-wealth; that is to say, but one Church: And in all Bodies the Members depend one upon another: But things Spirituall depend not of things Temporall: Therefore Temporall depend on Spirituall. And therefore are Subject to them. In which Argumentation there be two grosse errours: one is, that all Christian Kings, Popes, Clergy, and all other Christian men, make but one Common-wealth: For it is evident that France is one Common-wealth, Spain another, and Venice a third, &c. And these consist of Christians; and therefore also are severall Bodies of Christians; that is to say, severall Churches: And their severall Soveraigns Represent them, whereby they are capable of commanding and obeying, of doing and suffering, as a naturall man; which no Generall or Universall Church is, till it have a Representant; which it hath not on Earth: for if it had, there is no doubt but that all Christendome were one Common-wealth, whose Soveraign were that Representant, both in things Spirituall and Temporall: And the Pope, to make himself this Representant, wanteth three things that our Saviour hath not given him, to Command, and to Judge, and to Punish, otherwise than (by Excommunication) to run from those that will not Learn of him: For though the Pope were Christs onely Vicar, yet he cannot exercise his government, till our Saviours second coming: And then also it is not the Pope, but St. Peter himselfe, with the other Apostles, that are to be Judges of the world.
The other errour in this his first Argument is, that he sayes, the Members of every Common-wealth, as of a naturall Body, depend one of another: It is true, they cohære together; but they depend onely on the Soveraign, which is the Soul of the Common-wealth; which failing, the Common-wealth is dissolved into a Civill war, no one man so much as cohæring to another, for want of a common Dependence on a known Soveraign; Just as the Members of the naturall Body dissolve into Earth, for want of a Soul to hold them together. Therefore there is nothing in this similitude, from whence to inferre a dependance of the Laity on the Clergy, or of the Temporall Officers on the Spirituall; but of both on the Civill Soveraign; which ought indeed to direct his Civill commands to the Salvation of Souls; but is not therefore subject to any but God himselfe. And thus you see the laboured fallacy of the first Argument, to deceive such men as distinguish not between the Subordination of Actions in the way to the End; and the Subjection of Persons one to another in the administration of the Means. For to every End, the Means are determined by Nature, or by God himselfe supernaturally: but the Power to make men use the Means, is in every nation resigned (by the Law of Nature, which forbiddeth men to violate their Faith given) to the Civill Soveraign.
His second Argument is this, Every Common-wealth, (because it is supposed to be perfect and sufficient in it self,) may command any other Common-wealth, not subject to it, and force it to change the administration of the Government; nay depose the Prince, and set another in his room, if it cannot otherwise defend it selfe against the injuries he goes about to doe them: much more may a Spirituall Common-wealth command a Temporall one to change the administration of their Government, and may depose Princes, and institute others, when they cannot otherwise defend the Spirituall Good.
That a Common-wealth, to defend it selfe against injuries, may lawfully doe all that he hath here said, is very true; and hath already in that which hath gone before been sufficiently demonstrated. And if it were also true, that there is now in this world a Spirituall Common-wealth, distinct from a Civill Common-wealth, then might the Prince thereof, upon injury done him, or upon want of caution that injury be not done him in time to come, repaire, and secure himself by Warre; which is in summe, deposing, killing, or subduing, or doing any act of Hostility. But by the same reason, it would be no lesse lawfull for a Civill Soveraign, upon the like injuries done, or feared, to make warre upon the Spirituall Soveraign; which I beleeve is more than Cardinall Bellarmine would have inferred from his own proposition.
But Spirituall Common-wealth there is none in this world: for it is the same thing with the Kingdome of Christ; which he himselfe saith, is not of this world; but shall be in the next world, at the Resurrection, when they that have lived justly, and beleeved that he was the Christ, shall (though they died Naturall bodies) rise Spirituall bodies; and then it is, that our Saviour shall judge the world, and conquer his Adversaries, and make a Spirituall Common-wealth. In the mean time, seeing there are no men on earth, whose bodies are Spirituall; there can be no Spirituall Common-wealth amongst men that are yet in the flesh; unlesse wee call Preachers, that have Commission to Teach, and prepare men for their reception into the Kingdome of Christ at the Resurrection, a Common-wealth; which I have proved already to bee none.
The third Argument is this; It is not lawfull for Christians to tolerate an Infidel, or Hœreticall King, in case he endeavour to draw them to his Hœresie, or Infidelity. But to judge whether a King draw his subjects to Hœresie, or not, belongeth to the Pope. Therefore hath the Pope Right, to determine whether the Prince be to be deposed, or not deposed.
To this I answer, that both these assertions are false. For Christians, (or men of what Religion soever,) if they tolerate not their King, whatsoever law hee maketh, though it bee concerning Religion, doe violate their faith, contrary to the Divine Law, both Naturall and Positive: Nor is there any Judge of Hæresie amongst Subjects, but their owne Civill Soveraign: For Hœresie is nothing else, but a private opinion, obstinately maintained, contrary to the opinion which the Publique Person (that is to say, the Representant of the Common-wealth) hath commanded to bee taught. By which it is manifest, that an opinion publiquely appointed to bee taught, cannot be Hæresie; nor the Soveraign Princes that authorize them, Hæretiques. For Hæretiques are none but private men, that stubbornly defend some Doctrine, prohibited by their lawfull Soveraigns.
But to prove that Christians are not to tolerate Infidell, or Hæreticall Kings, he alledgeth a place in Deut. 17. where God forbiddeth the Jews, when they shall set a King over themselves, to choose a stranger: And from thence inferreth, that it is unlawfull for a Christian, to choose a King, that is not a Christian. And ‘tis true, that he that is a Christian, that is, hee that hath already obliged himself to receive our Saviour when he shall come, for his King, shal tempt God too much in choosing for King in this world, one that hee knoweth will endeavour, both by terrour, and perswasion to make him violate his faith. But, it is (saith hee) the same danger, to choose one that is not a Christian, for King, and not to depose him, when hee is chosen. To this I say, the question is not of the danger of not deposing; but of the Justice of deposing him. To choose him, may in some cases bee unjust; but to depose him, when he is chosen, is in no case Just. For it is alwaies violation of faith, and consequently against the Law of Nature, which is the eternall Law of God. Nor doe wee read, that any such Doctrine was accounted Christian in the time of the Apostles; nor in the time of the Romane Emperours, till the Popes had the Civill Soveraignty of Rome. But to this he hath replyed, that the Christians of old, deposed not Nero, nor Dioclesian, nor Julian, nor Valens an Arrian, for this cause onely, that they wanted Temporall forces. Perhaps so. But did our Saviour, who for calling for, might have had twelve Legions of immortall, invulnerable Angels to assist him, want forces to depose Cœsar, or at least Pilate, that unjustly, without finding fault in him, delivered him to the Jews to bee crucified? Or if the Apostles wanted Temporall forces to depose Nero, was it therefore necessary for them in their Epistles to the new made Christians, to teach them (as they did) to obey the Powers constituted over them, (whereof Nero in that time was one,) and that they ought to obey them, not for fear of their wrath, but for conscience sake? Shall we say they did not onely obey, but also teach what they meant not, for want of strength? It is not therefore for want of strength, but for conscience sake, that Christians are to tolerate their Heathen Princes, or Princes (for I cannot call any one whose Doctrine is the Publique Doctrine, an Hæretique) that authorize the teaching of an Errour. And whereas for the Temporall Power of the Pope, he alledgeth further, that St. Paul (1 Cor. 6.) appointed Judges under the Heathen Princes of those times, such as were not ordained by those Princes; it is not true. For St. Paul does but advise them, to take some of their Brethren to compound their differences, as Arbitrators, rather than to goe to law one with another before the Heathen Judges; which is a wholsome Precept, and full of Charity, fit to be practised also in the best Christian Common-wealths. And for the danger that may arise to Religion, by the Subjects tolerating of an Heathen, or an Erring Prince, it is a point, of which a Subject is no competent Judge; or if bee bee, the Popes Temporall Subjects may judge also of the Popes Doctrine. For every Christian Prince, as I have formerly proved, is no lesse Supreme Pastor of his own Subjects, than the Pope of his.
The fourth Argument, is taken from the Baptisme of Kings; wherein, that they may be made Christians they submit their Scepters to Christ; and promise to keep, and defend the Christian Faith. This is true; for Christian Kings are no more but Christs Subjects: but they may, for all that, bee the Popes Fellowes; for they are Supreme Pastors of their own Subjects; and the Pope is no more but King, and Pastor, even in Rome it selfe.
The fifth Argument, is drawn from the words spoken by our Saviour, Feed my sheep; by which was given all Power necessary for a Pastor; as the Power to chase away Wolves, such as are Hæretiques; the Power to shut up Rammes, if they be mad, or push at the other Sheep with their Hornes, such as are Evill (though Christian) Kings; and Power to give the Flock convenient food: From whence hee inferreth, that St. Peter had these three Powers given him by Christ. To which I answer, that the last of these Powers, is no more than the Power, or rather Command to Teach. For the first, which is to chase away Wolves, that is, Hæretiques, the place hee quoteth is (Matth. 7. 15.) Beware of false Prophets which come to you in Sheeps clothing, but inwardly are ravening Wolves. But neither are Hæretiques false Prophets, or at all Prophets: nor (admitting Hæretiques for the Wolves there meant,) were the Apostles commanded to kill them, or if they were Kings, to depose them; but to beware of, fly, and avoid them: nor was it to St. Peter, nor to any of the Apostles, but to the multitude of the Jews that followed him into the mountain, men for the most part not yet converted, that hee gave this Counsell, to Beware of false Prophets: which therefore if it conferre a Power of chasing away Kings, was given, not onely to private men; but to men that were not at all Christians. And as to the Power of Separating, and Shutting up of furious Rammes, (by which hee meaneth Christian Kings that refuse to submit themselves to the Roman Pastor,) our Saviour refused to take upon him that Power in this world himself, but advised to let the Corn and Tares grow up together till the day of Judgment: much lesse did hee give it to St. Peter, or can S. Peter give it to the Popes. St. Peter, and all other Pastors, are bidden to esteem those Christians that disobey the Church, that is, (that disobey the Christian Soveraigne) as Heathen men, and as Publicans. Seeing then men challenge to the Pope no authority over Heathen Princes, they ought to challenge none over those that are to bee esteemed as Heathen.
But from the Power to Teach onely, hee inferreth also a Coercive Power in the Pope, over Kings. The Pastor (saith he) must give his flock convenient food: Therefore the Pope may, and ought to compell Kings to doe their duty. Out of which it followeth, that the Pope, as Pastor of Christian men, is King of Kings: which all Christian Kings ought indeed either to Confesse, or else they ought to take upon themselves the Supreme Pastorall Charge, every one in his own Dominion.
His sixth, and last Argument, is from Examples. To which I answer, first, that Examples prove nothing: Secondly, that the Examples he alledgeth make not so much as a probability of Right. The fact of Jehoiada, in Killing Athaliah (2 Kings 11.) was either by the Authority of King Joash, or it was a horrible Crime in the High Priest, which (ever after the election of King Saul) was a mere Subject. The fact of St. Ambrose, in Excommunicating Theodosius the Emperour, (if it were true hee did so,) was a Capitall Crime. And for the Popes, Gregory 1. Greg. 2. Zachary, and Leo 3. their Judgments are void, as given in their own Cause; and the Acts done by them conformably to this Doctrine, are the greatest Crimes (especially that of Zachary) that are incident to Humane Nature. And thus much of Power Ecclesiasticall; wherein I had been more briefe, forbearing to examine these Arguments of Bellarmine, if they had been his, as a Private man, and not as the Champion of the Papacy, against all other Christian Princes, and States.
Of what isNecessaryfor a Mans Reception into the Kingdome of Heaven.
The most frequent prætext of Sedition, and CivillThe difficulty of obeying God and Man both at once, Warre, in Christian Common-wealths hath a long time proceeded from a difficulty, not yet sufficiently resolved, of obeying at once, both God, and Man, then when their Commandements are one contrary to the other. It is manifest enough, that when a man receiveth two contrary Commands, and knows that one of them is Gods, he ought to obey that, and not the other, though it be the command even of his lawfull Soveraign (whether a Monarch, or a soveraign Assembly,) or the command of his Father. The difficulty therefore consisteth in this; that men when they are commanded in the name of God, know not in divers Cases, whether the command be from God, or whether he that commandeth, doe but abuse Gods name for some private ends of his own. For as there were in the Church of the Jews, many false Prophets, that sought reputation with the people, by feigned Dreams, and Visions; so there have been in all times in the Church of Christ, false Teachers, that seek reputation with the people, by phantasticall and false Doctrines; and by such reputation (as is the nature of Ambition,) to govern them for their private benefit.
But this difficulty of obeying both God, and the CivillIs none to them that distinguish between what is, and what is not Necessary to Salvation. Soveraign on earth, to those that can distinguish between what is Necessary, and what is not Necessary for their Reception into the Kingdome of God, is of no moment. For if the command of the Civill Soveraign bee such, as that it may be obeyed, without the forfeiture of life Eternall; not to obey it is unjust; and the precept of the Apostle takes place; Servants obey your Masters in all things; and, Children obey your Parents in all things; and the precept of our Saviour, The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses Chaire, All therefore they shall say, that observe, and doe. But if the command be such, as cannot be obeyed, without being damned to Eternall Death, then it were madnesse to obey it, and the Counsell of our Saviour takes place, (Mat. 10. 28.) Fear not those that kill the body, but cannot kill the soule. All men therefore that would avoid, both the punishments that are to be in this world inflicted, for disobedience to their earthly Soveraign, and those that shall be inflicted in the world to come for disobedience to God, have need be taught to distinguish well between what is, and what is not Necessary to Eternall Salvation.
All that is Necessaryto Salvatian, is contained inAll that is Necessary to Salvation is contained in Faith and Obedience. two Vertues, Faith in Christ, and Obedience to Laws. The latter of these, if it were perfect, were enough to us. But because wee are all guilty of disobedience to Gods Law, not onely originally in Adam, but also actually by our own transgressions, there is required at our hands now, not onely Obedience for the rest of our time, but also a Remission of sins for the time past; which Remission is the reward of our Faith in Christ. That nothing else is Necessarily required to Salvation, is manifest from this, that the Kingdome of Heaven is shut to none but to Sinners; that is to say, to the disobedient, or transgressors of the Law; nor to them, in case they Repent, and Beleeve all the Articles of Christian Faith, Necessary to Salvation.
What Obedience is Necessary; The Obedience required at our hands by God, that accepteth in all our actions the Will for the Deed, is a serious Endeavour to Obey him; and is called also by all such names as signifie that Endeavour. And therefore Obedience, is sometimes called by the names of Charity, and Love, because they imply a Will to Obey; and our Saviour himself maketh our Love to God, and to one another, a Fulfilling of the whole Law: and sometimes by the name of Righteousnesse; for Righteousnesse is but the will to give to every one his owne, that is to say, the will to obey the Laws: and sometimes by the name of Repentance; because to Repent, implyeth a turning away from sinne, which is the same, with the return of the will to Obedience. Whosoever therefore unfeignedly desireth to fulfill the Commandements of God, or repenteth him truely of his transgressions, or that loveth God with all his heart, and his neighbor as himself, hath all the Obedience Necessary to his Reception into the Kingdom of God: For if God should require perfect Innocence, there could no flesh be saved.
But what Commandements are those that God hathAnd to what Laws. given us? Are all those Laws which were given to the Jews by the hand of Moses, the Commandements of God? If they bee, why are not Christians taught to Obey them? If they be not, what others are so, besides the Law of Nature? For our Saviour Christ hath not given us new Laws, but Counsell to observe those wee are subject to that is to say, the Laws of Nature, and the Laws of our severall Soveraigns: Nor did he make any new Law to the Jews in his Sermon on the Mount, but onely expounded the Laws of Moses, to which they were subject before. The Laws of God therefore are none but the Laws of Nature, whereof the principall is, that we should not violate our Faith, that is, a commandement to obey our Civill Soveraigns, which wee constituted over us, by mutuall pact one with another. And this Law of God, that commandeth Obedience to the Law Civill, commandeth by consequence Obedience to all the Precepts of the Bible; which (as I have proved in the precedent Chapter) is there onely Law, where the Civill Soveraign hath made it so; and in other places but Counsell; which a man at his own perill, may without injustice refuse to obey.
Knowing now what is the Obedience Necessary to Salvation, and to whom it is due; we are to considerIn the Faith of a Christian, who is the Person beleeved. next concerning Faith, whom, and why we beleeve; and what are the Articles, or Points necessarily to be beleeved by them that shall be saved. And first, for the Person whom we beleeve, because it is impossible to beleeve any Person, before we know what he saith, it is necessary he be one that wee have heard speak. The Person therefore, whom Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and the Prophets beleeved, was God himself, that spake unto them supernaturally: And the Person, whom the Apostles and Disciples that conversed with Christ beleeved, was our Saviour himself. But of them, to whom neither God the Father, nor our Saviour ever spake, it cannot be said, that the Person whom they beleeved, was God. They beleeved the Apostles, and after them the Pastors and Doctors of the Church, that recommended to their faith the History of the Old and New Testament: so that the Faith of Christians ever since our Saviours time, hath had for foundation, first, the reputation of their Pastors, and afterward, the authority of those that made the Old and New Testament to be received for the Rule of Faith; which none could do but Christian Soveraignes; who are therefore the Supreme Pastors, and the onely Persons, whom Christians now hear speak from God; except such as God speaketh to, in these days supernaturally. But because there be many false Prophets gone out into the world, other men are to examine such Spirits (as St. John adviseth us, 1 Epistle, Chap. 4. ver. 1.) whether they be of God, or not. And therefore, seeing the Examination of Doctrines belongeth to the Supreme Pastor, the Person which all they that have no speciall revelation are to beleeve, is (in every Common-wealth) the Supreme Pastor, that is to say, the Civill Soveraigne.
The causes of Christian Faith. The causes why men beleeve any Christian Doctrine, are various: For Faith is the gift of God; and he worketh it in each severall man, by such wayes, as it seemeth good unto himself. The most ordinary immediate cause of our beleef, concerning any point of Christian Faith, is, that wee beleeve the Bible to be the Word of God. But why wee beleeve the Bible to be the Word of God, is much disputed, as all questions must needs bee, that are not well stated. For they make not the question to be, Why we Beleeve it, but, How wee Know it; as if Beleeving and Knowing were all one. And thence while one side ground their Knowledge upon the Infallibility of the Church, and the other side, on the Testimony of the Private Spirit, neither side concludeth what it pretends. For how shall a man know the Infallibility of the Church, but by knowing first the Infallibility of the Scripture? Or how shall a man know his own Private spirit to be other than a beleef, grounded upon the Authority, and Arguments of his Teachers; or upon a Presumption of his own Gifts? Besides, there is nothing in the Scripture, from which can be inferred the Infallibility of the Church: much lesse, of any particular Church; and least of all, the Infallibility of any particular man.
It is manifest therefore, that Christian men doe not know, but onely beleeve the Scripture to be the Word ofFaith comes by Hearing. God; and that the means of making them beleeve which God is pleased to afford men ordinarily, is according to the way of Nature, that is to say, from their Teachers. It is the Doctrine of St. Paul concerning Christian Faith in generall, (Rom. 10. 17.) Faith cometh by Hearing, that is, by Hearing our lawfull Pastors. He saith also (ver. 14, 15. of the same Chapter) How shall they beleeve in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a Preacher? and how shall they Preach, except they be sent? Whereby it is evident, that the ordinary cause of beleeving that the Scriptures are the Word of God, is the same with the cause of the beleeving of all other Articles of our Faith, namely, the Hearing of those that are by the Law allowed and appointed to Teach us, as our Parents in their Houses, and our Pastors in the Churches: Which also is made more manifest by experience. For what other cause can there bee assigned, why in Christian Common-wealths all men either beleeve, or at least professe the Scripture to bee the Word of God, and in other Common-wealths scarce any; but that in Christian Common-wealths they are taught it from their infancy; and in other places they are taught otherwise?
But if Teaching be the cause of Faith, why doe not all beleeve? It is certain therefore that Faith is the gift of God, and hee giveth it to whom he will. Neverthelesse, because to them to whom he giveth it, he giveth it by the means of Teachers, the immediate cause of Faith is Hearing. In a School, where many are taught, and some profit, others profit not, the cause of learning in them that profit, is the Master; yet it cannot be thence inferred, that learning is not the gift of God. All good things proceed from God; yet cannot all that have them, say they are Inspired; for that implies a gift supernaturall, and the immediate hand of God; which he that pretends to, pretends to be a Prophet, and is subject to the examination of the Church.
But whether men Know, or Beleeve, or Grant the Scriptures to be the Word of God; if out of such places of them, as are without obscurity, I shall shew what Articles of Faith are necessary, and onely necessary for Salvation, those men must needs Know, Beleeve, or Grant the same.
The onely Necessary Article of Christian Faith; The (Unum Necessarium) Onely Article of Faith, which the Scripture maketh simply Necessary to Salvation, is this, that Jesus is theChrist. By the name of Christ, is understood the King, which God had before promised by the Prophets of the Old Testament, to send into the world, to reign (over the Jews, and over such of other nations as should beleeve in him) under himself eternally; and to give them that eternall life, which was lost by the sin of Adam. Which when I have proved out of Scripture, I will further shew when, and in what sense some other Articles may bee also called Necessary.
For Proof that the Beleef of this Article, Jesus is theProved from the Scope of the Evangelists:Christ, is all the Faith required to Salvation, my first Argument shall bee from the Scope of the Evangelists; which was by the description of the life of our Saviour, to establish that one Article, Jesus is the Christ. The summe of St. Matthews Gospell is this, That Jesus was of the stock of David; Born of a Virgin; which are the Marks of the true Christ: That the Magi came to worship him as King of the Jews: That Herod for the same cause sought to kill him: That John Baptist proclaimed him: That he preached by himselfe, and his Apostles that he was that King: That he taught the Law, not as a Scribe, but as a man of Authority: That he cured diseases by his Word onely, and did many other Miracles, which were foretold the Christ should doe: That he was saluted King when hee entred into Jerusalem: That he fore-warned them to beware of all others that should pretend to be Christ: That he was taken, accused, and put to death, for saying, hee was King: That the cause of his condemnation written on the Crosse, was Jesus ofNazareth, theKing of theJewes. All which tend to no other end than this, that men should beleeve, that Jesus is the Christ. Such therefore was the Scope of St. Matthews Gospel. But the Scope of all the Evangelists (as may appear by reading them) was the same. Therefore the Scope of the whole Gospell, was the establishing of that onely Article. And St. John expressely makes it his conclusion, John 20. 31. These things are written, that you may know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
My second Argument is taken from the Subject of theFrom the Sermons of the Apostles: Sermons of the Apostles, both whilest our Saviour lived on earth, and after his Ascension. The Apostles in our Saviours time were sent, Luke 9. 2. to Preach the Kingdome of God: For neither there, nor Mat. 10. 7. giveth he any Commission to them, other than this, As ye go, Preach, saying, the Kingdome of Heaven is at hand; that is, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the King which was to come. That their Preaching also after his ascension was the same, is manifest out of Acts 17. 6. They drew (saith St. Luke) Jason and certain Brethren unto the Rulers of the City, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also, whom Jason hath received. And these all do contrary to the Decrees of Cœsar, saying, that there is another King, one Jesus: And out of the 2. & 3. verses of the same Chapter, where it is said, that St. Paul as his manner was, went in unto them; and three Sabbath dayes reasoned with them out of the Scriptures; opening and alledging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen againe from the dead, and that this Jesus (whom hee preached) is Christ.
The third Argument is, from those places of Scripture,From the easinesse of the Doctrine: by which all the Faith required to Salvation is declared to be Easie. For if an inward assent of the mind to all the Doctrines concerning Christian Faith now taught, (whereof the greatest part are disputed,) were necessary to Salvation, there would be nothing in the world so hard, as to be a Christian. The Thief upon the Crosse though repenting, could not have been saved for saying,Lord remember me when thou commest into thy Kingdome; by which he testified no beleefe of any other Article, but this, That Jesus was the King. Nor could it bee said (as it is Mat. 11. 30.) that Christs yoke is Easy, and his burthen Light: Nor that Little Children beleeve in him, as it is Matth. 18. 6. Nor could St. Paul have said (1 Cor. 1. 21.) It pleased God by the Foolishnesse of preaching, to save them that beleeve: Nor could St. Paul himself have been saved, much lesse have been so great a Doctor of the Church so suddenly, that never perhaps thought of Transubstantiation, nor Purgatory, nor many other Articles now obtruded.
From formall and cleer texts. The fourth Argument is taken from places expresse, and such as receive no controversie of Interpretation; as first, John 5. 39. Search the Scriptures, for in them yee thinke yee have eternall life; and they are they that testifie of mee. Our Saviour here speaketh of the Scriptures onely of the Old Testament; for the Jews at that time could not search the Scriptures of the New Testament, which were not written. But the Old Testament hath nothing of Christ, but the Markes by which men might know him when hee came; as that he should descend from David; be born at Bethlem, and of a Virgin; doe great Miracles, and the like. Therefore to beleeve that this Jesus was He, was sufficient to eternall life: but more than sufficient is not Necessary; and consequently no other Article is required. Again, (John 11. 26.) Whosoever liveth and beleeveth in mee, shall not die eternally, Therefore to beleeve in Christ, is faith sufficient to eternall life; and consequently no more faith than that is Necessary, But to beleeve in Jesus, and to beleeve that Jesus is the Christ, is all one, as appeareth in the verses immediately following. For when our Saviour (verse 26.) had said to Martha, Beleevest thou this? she answereth (verse 27.) Yea Lord, I beleeve that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world: Therefore this Article alone is faith sufficient to life eternall; and more than sufficient is not Necessary. Thirdly, John 20. 31. These things are written that yee might beleeve, That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that beleeving yee might have life through his name. There, to beleeve that Jesus is the Christ, is faith sufficient to the obtaining of life; and therefore no other Article is Necessary. Fourthly, 1 John 4. 2. Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God. And 1 Joh. 5. 1. Whosoever beleeveth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. And verse 5. Who is hee that overcommeth the world, but he that beleeveth that Jesus is the Son of God? Fiftly, Act. 8. ver. 36, 37. See (saith the Eunuch) here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou beleevest with all thy heart thou mayst. And hee answered and said, I beleeve that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Therefore this Article beleeved, Jesus is the Christ, is sufficient to Baptisme, that is to say, to our Reception into the Kingdome of God, and by consequence; onely Necessary. And generally in all places where our Saviour saith to any man, Thy faith hath saved thee, the cause he saith it, is some Confession, which directly, or by consequence, implyeth a beleef, that Jesus is the Christ.
The last Argument is from the places, where thisFrom that it is the Foundation of all other Articles. Article is made the Foundation of Faith: For he that holdeth the Foundation shall bee saved. Which places are first, Mat. 24. 23. If any man shall say unto you, Loe, here is Christ, or there, beleeve it not, for there shall arise false Christs, and false Prophets, and shall shew great signes and wonders, &c. Here wee see, this Article Jesus is the Christ, must bee held, though hee that shall teach the contrary should doe great miracles. The second place is, Gal. 1. 8. Though we, or an Angell from Heaven preach any other Gospell unto you, than that wee have preached unto you, let him bee accursed. But the Gospell which Paul, and the other Apostles, preached, was onely this Article, that Jesus is the Christ: Therefore for the Beleef of this Article, we are to reject the Authority of an Angell from heaven; much more of any mortall man, if he teach the contrary. This is therefore the Fundamentall Article of Christian Faith. A third place is, 1 Joh. 4. 1. Beloved, beleeve not every spirit. Hereby yee shall know the Spirit of God; every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God. By which it is evident, that this Article, is the measure, and rule, by which to estimate, and examine all other Articles; and is therefore onely Fundamentall. A fourth is, Matt. 16. 18. where after St. Peter had professed this Article, saying to our Saviour, Thou art Christ the Son of the living God, Our Saviour answered, Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church: from whence I inferre, that this Article is that, on which all other Doctrines of the Church are built, as on their Foundation. A fift is (1 Cor. 3. ver. 11, 12, &c.) Other Foundation can no man lay, than that which is laid, Jesus is the Christ. Now if any man build upon this Foundation, Gold, Silver, pretious Stones, Wood, Hay, Stubble; Every mans work shall be made manifest; For the Day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire, and the fire shall try every mans work, of what sort it is. If any mans work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward: If any mans work shall bee burnt, he shall suffer losse; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire. Which words, being partly plain and easie to understand, and partly allegoricall and difficult; out of that which is plain, may be inferred, that Pastors that teach this Foundation, that Jesus is the Christ, though they draw from it false consequences, (which all men are sometimes subject to,) they may neverthelesse bee saved; much more that they may bee saved, who being no Pastors, but Hearers, beleeve that which is by their lawfull Pastors taught them. Therefore the beleef of this Article is sufficient; and by consequence, there is no other Article of Faith Necessarily required to Salvation.
Now for the part which is Allegoricall, as That the fire shall try every mans work, and that They shall be saved, but so as by fire, or through fire, (for the originall is διὰπνρὸς) it maketh nothing against this conclusion which I have drawn from the other words, that are plain. Neverthelesse, because upon this place there hath been an argument taken, to prove the fire of Purgatory, I will also here offer you my conjecture concerning the meaning of this triall of Doctrines, and saving of men as by Fire. The Apostle here seemeth to allude to the words of the Prophet Zachary, Ch. 13. 8, 9. who speaking of the Restauration of the Kingdome of God, saith thus, Two parts therein shall be cut off, and die, but the third shall be left therein; And I will bring the third part through the Fire, and will refine them as Silver is refined, and will try them as Gold is tryed; they shall call on the name of the Lord, and I will hear them. The day of Judgment, is the day of the Restauration of the Kingdome of God; and at that day it is, that St. Peter tells us ** 2 Pet. 3. v. 7, 10, 12. shall be the Confiagration of the world, wherein the wicked shall perish; but the remnant which God will save, shall passe through that Fire, unhurt, and be therein (as Silver and Gold are refined by the fire from their drosse) tryed, and refined from their Idolatry, and be made to call upon the name of the true God. Alluding whereto St. Paul here saith, That the Day (that is, the Day of Judgment, the Great Day of our Saviours comming to restore the Kingdome of God in Israel) shall try every mans doctrine, by Judging, which are Gold, Silver, Pretious Stones, Wood, Hay, Stubble; And then they that have built false Consequences on the true Foundation, shall see their Doctrines condemned; neverthelesse they themselves shall be saved, and passe unhurt through this universall Fire, and live eternally, to call upon the name of the true and onely God. In which sense there is nothing that accordeth not with the rest of Holy Scripture, or any glimpse of the fire of Purgatory.
But a man may here aske, whether it bee not as necessaryIn what sense other Articles may be called Necessary. to Salvation, to beleeve, that God is Omnipotent; Creator of the world; that Jesus Christ is risen; and that all men else shall rise again from the dead at the last day; as to beleeve, that Jesus is the Christ. To which I answer, they are; and so are many more Articles: but they are such, as are contained in this one, and may be deduced from it, with more, or lesse difficulty. For who is there that does not see, that they who beleeve Jesus to be the Son of the God of Israel, and that the Israelites had for God the Omnipotent Creator of all things, doe therein also beleeve, that God is the Omnipotent Creator of all things? Or how can a man beleeve, that Jesus is the King that shall reign eternally, unlesse hee beleeve him also risen again from the dead? For a dead man cannot exercise the Office of a King. In summe, he that holdeth this Foundation, Jesus is the Christ, holdeth Expressely all that hee seeth rightly deduced from it, and Implicitely all that is consequent thereunto, though he have not skill enough to discern the consequence. And therefore it holdeth still good, that the beleef of this one Article is sufficient faith to obtaine remission of sinnes to the Penitent, and consequently to bring them into the Kingdome of Heaven.
That Faith, and Obedience are both of them Necessary to Salvation. Now that I have shewn, that all the Obedience required to Salvation, consisteth in the will to obey the Law of God, that is to say, in Repentance; and all the Faith required to the same, is comprehended in the beleef of this Article Jesus is the Christ; I will further alledge those places of the Gospell, that prove, that all that is Necessary to Salvation is contained in both these joined together. The men to whom St. Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, next after the Ascension of our Saviour, asked him, and the rest of the Apostles, saying, (Act. 2. 37.) Men and Brethren what shall we doe? To whom St. Peter answered (in the next verse) Repent, and be Baptized every one of you, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Therefore Repentance, and Baptisme, that is, beleeving that Jesus is the Christ, is all that is Necessary to Salvation. Again, our Saviour being asked by a certain Ruler, (Luke 18. 18.) What shall I doe to inherite eternall life? Answered (verse 20.) Thou knowest the Commandements, Doe not commit Adultery, Doe not Kill, Doe not Steal, Doe not bear false witnesse, Honor thy Father, and thy Mother: which when he said he had observed, our Saviour added, Sell all thou hast, give it to the Poor, and come and follow me: which was as much as to say, Relye on me that am the King: Therefore to fulfill the Law, and to beleeve that Jesus is the King, is all that is required to bring a man to eternall life. Thirdly, St. Paul saith (Rom. 1. 17.) The Just shall live by Faith; not every one, but the Just; therefore Faith and Justice (that is, the will to be Just, or Repentance) are all that is Necessary to life eternall. And (Mark 1. 15.) our Saviour preached, saying, The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand, Repent and Beleeve the Evangile, that is, the Good news that the Christ was come. Therefore to Repent, and to Beleeve that Jesus is the Christ, is all that is required to Salvation.
What each of them contributes thereunto. Seeing then it is Necessary that Faith, and Obedience (implyed in the word Repentance) do both concurre to our Salvation; the question by which of the two we are Justified, is impertinently disputed. Neverthelesse, it will not be impertinent, to make manifest in what manner each of them contributes thereunto; and in what sense it is said, that we are to be Justified by the one, and by the other. And first, if by Righteousnesse be understood the Justice of the Works themselves, there is no man that can be saved; for there is none that hath not transgressed the Law of God. And therefore when wee are said to be Justified by Works, it is to be understood of the Will, which God doth alwaies accept for the Work it selfe, as well in good, as in evill men. And in this sense onely it is, that a man is called Just, or Unjust; and that his Justice Justifies him, that is, gives him the title, in Gods acceptation, of Just; and renders him capable of living by his Faith, which before he was not. So that Justice Justifies in that sense, in which toJustifie, is the same that to Denominate a man Just; and not in the signification of discharging the Law; whereby the punishment of his sins should be unjust.
But a man is then also said to be Justified, when his Plea, though in it selfe unsufficient, is accepted; as when we Plead our Will, our Endeavour to fulfill the Law, and Repent us of our failings, and God accepteth it for the Performance it selfe: And because God accepteth not the Will for the Deed, but onely in the Faithfull; it is therefore Faith that makes good our Plea; and in this sense it is, that Faith onely Justifies: So that Faith and Obedience are both Necessary to Salvation; yet in severall senses each of them is said to Justifie.
Having thus shewn what is Necessary to Salvation;Obedience to God and to the Civill Soveraign not inconsistent, whether Christian, it is not hard to reconcile our Obedience to God, with our Obedience to the Civill Soveraign; who is either Christian, or Infidel. If he bee a Christian, he alloweth the beleefe of this Article, that Jesus is the Christ; and of all the Articles that are contained in, or are by evident consequence deduced from it: which is all the Faith Necessary to Salvation. And because he is a Soveraign, he requireth Obedience to all his owne, that is, to all the Civill Laws; in which also are contained all the Laws of Nature, that is, all the Laws of God: for besides the Laws of Nature, and the Laws of the Church, which are part of the Civill Law, (for the Church that can make Laws is the Common-wealth,) there bee no other Laws Divine. Whosoever therefore obeyeth his Christian Soveraign, is not thereby hindred, neither from beleeving, nor from obeying God. But suppose that a Christian King should from this Foundation Jesus is the Christ, draw some false consequences, that is to say, make some superstructions of Hay, or Stubble, and command the teaching of the same; yet seeing St. Paul says, he shal be saved; much more shall he be saved, that teacheth them by his command; and much more yet, he that teaches not, but onely beleeves his lawfull Teacher. And in case a Subject be forbidden by the Civill Soveraign to professe some of those his opinions, upon what just ground can he disobey? Christian Kings may erre in deducing a Consequence, but who shall Judge? Shall a private man Judge, when the question is of his own obedience? or shall any man Judg but he that is appointed thereto by the Church, that is, by the Civill Soveraign that representeth it? or if the Pope, or an Apostle Judge, may he not erre in deducing of a consequence? did not one of the two, St. Peter, or St. Paul erre in a superstructure, when St. Paul withstood St. Peter to his face? There can therefore be no contradiction between the Laws of God, and the Laws of a Christian Common-wealth.
Or Infidel. And when the Civill Soveraign is an Infidel, every one of his own Subjects that resisteth him, sinneth against the Laws of God (for such as are the Laws of Nature,) and rejecteth the counsell of the Apostles, that admonisheth all Christians to obey their Princes, and all Children and Servants to obey their Parents, and Masters, in all things. And for their Faith, it is internall, and invisible; They have the licence that Naaman had, and need not put themselves into danger for it. But if they do, they ought to expect their reward in Heaven, and not complain of their Lawfull Soveraign; much lesse make warre upon him. For he that is not glad of any just occasion of Martyrdome, has not the faith he professeth, but pretends it onely, to set some colour upon his own contumacy. But what Infidel King is so unreasonable, as knowing he has a Subject, that waiteth for the second comming of Christ, after the present world shall bee burnt, and intendeth then to obey him (which is the intent of beleeving that Jesus is the Christ,) and in the mean time thinketh himself bound to obey the Laws of that Infidel King, (which all Christians are obliged in conscience to doe,) to put to death, or to persecute such a Subject?
And thus much shall suffice, concerning the Kingdome of God, and Policy Ecclesiasticall. Wherein I pretend not to advance any Position of my own, but onely to shew what are the Consequences that seem to me deducible from the Principles of Christian Politiques, (which are the holy Scriptures,) in confirmation of the Power of Civill Soveraigns, and the Duty of their Subjects. And in the allegation of Scripture, I have endeavoured to avoid such texts as are of obscure, or controverted Interpretation; and to alledge none, but in such sense as is most plain, and agreeable to the harmony and scope of the whole Bible; which was written for the reestablishment of the Kingdome of God in Christ. For it is not the bare Words, but the Scope of the writer that giveth the true light, by which any writing is to bee interpreted; and they that insist upon single Texts, without considering the main Designe, can derive no thing from them cleerly; but rather by casting atomes of Scripture, as dust before mens eyes, make every thing more obscure than it is; an ordinary artifice of those that seek not the truth, but their own advantage.