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David M. Hart, Tracts on Liberty by the Levellers and their Critics Vol. 2 (1644-1645) [2015]

Lf1542 02 figure 001
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1645 04 08 overton mrpersecution tp300
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David M. Hart, Tracts on Liberty by the Levellers and their Critics (1638-1660), 7 vols. Edited by David M. Hart and Ross Kenyon (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2015). Vol. 2 (1644-1645). http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2598

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About this Title:

A collection of 12 pamphlets from 1644-1645 including works by Thomas Goodwin, Richard Overton, Henry Robinson, William Walwyn, John Goodwin, and John Lilburne.

Images of the original title pages of the pamphlets as well as additional publishing information from the George Thomason Tract Collection for this title can be found here.

Every effort has been made to transcribe these 17th century political tracts as accurately as possible. They have been checked against facsimile copies of the originals which in many cases were of very poor quality. Some of the problems the coders and editors encountered were the vagaries of 17th century spelling, the faint print of the text in marginal notes and in long quotes in Latin, and the sometimes casual approach to the typesetting of the text. The result has been files with thousands of illegible words and characters (volume 4 (1647) had over 2,000). We have marked illegible words or characters in the text with the statement [Editor: illegible word]. Sometimes, when it has been impossible to decipher the text (especially in marginalia) we have have indicated this with the following statement: “The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it.” We have made no attempt to modernize the spelling but we have corrected some obvious errors such as transposed, upside down, or missing characters.

For more information about the titles and authors in this collection, see:

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The text is in the public domain.

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Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [2-001]
  • TRACTS ON LIBERTY BY THE LEVELLERS AND THEIR CRITICS
  • (1638-1659),
  • 7 VOLUMES (LIBERTY FUND, 2010).
  • VOLUME 2: 1644-1645.
lf1542-02_figure_001.jpg

[The Liberty of the Freeborne English-Man, Conferred on him by the house of lords. June 1646. John Lilburne. His age 23. Year 1641. Made by G. Glo. “Gaze not upon this shaddow that is vaine, But rather raise thy thoughts a higher straine, To GOD (I meane) who set this young man free, And in like straits, can eke (also) deliver thee. Yea though the lords have him in bonds againe LORD of lords will his just cause maintaine.”]

Edition: current; Page: [2-002]
  • ENGLANDS LAMENTABLE SLAVERIE
  • Proceeding from the Arbitrarie will, severitie, and
  • Injustices of Kings, Negligence, corruption, and unfaithfulnesse
  • of Parliaments, Covetousnesse, ambition, and
  • variablenesse of Priests, and simplicitie, carelessnesse, and
  • cowardlinesse of People.
  • Which slaverie, with the Remedie may be easily observed.

By the scope of a modest & smooth Letter, written by a true Lover of his Countrey and a faithful friend to that Worthy Instrument of Englands Freedome, Lieuten.

Collonell Lilburn, now unjustly imprisoned in Newgate.

Being committed first, by Order and Vote of Parliament without cause shewed, and then secondly for refusing to answer some Interrogatories to their Committee of Examinations, Contrarie to

  • 1. The Great Charter of England.
  • 2. The very words of the Petition of right.
  • 3. The Act made this present Parliament; for the abolishing the Star Chamber.
  • 4. The Solemne Protestation of this Kingdom.
  • 5. And to the great Vow and Covenant for uniting the two Kingdomes together.

[William Walwyn] (11 October, 1645).

Edition: current; Page: [2-003]

Table of Contents

Edition: current; Page: [2-006]
Thomas Goodwin
Goodwin, Thomas
3 January 1644
1.

2.1 Thomas Goodwin, Philip Nye, Sidrach Simpson, Jeremiah Burroughes, and William Bridge, An Apologetical Narration, humbly submitted to the Honourable House of Parliament (3 January 1644).

  • AN
  • Apologeticall Narration,
  • HUMBLY SUBMITTED
  • TO THE
  • HONOURABLE HOUSES
  • OF
  • PARLIAMENT.
  • BY
  • Tho: Goodwin,
  • Philip Nye,
  • Sidrach Simpson,
  • Jer: Burroughes,
  • William Bridge.
  • LONDON,
  • Printed for Robert Dawlman.
  • M. DC. XLIII.
Edition: current; Page: [2-007]

TO THE READER

THis Apologeticall Narration of our Reverend and deare Brethren the learned Authors of it, ’tis so full of peaceablenesse, modesty, and candour; and withall, at this time so seasonably needfull, as well towards the vindication of the Protestant party in generall, from the aspersions of Incommunicablenesse within it selfe, and Incompatiblenesse with Magistracy; as of themselves in particular, both against misreportings from without, & some possible mistakings from within too: That however for mine own part I have appeared on, and doe still encline to the Presbyteriall way of Church Government, yet doe I think it every way fit for the Presse.

Charles Herle.
Edition: current; Page: [2-008]

OUR eares have been of late so filled with a sudden and unexpected noyse of confused exclamations, (though not so expresly directed against us in particular, yet in the interpretation of the most, reflecting on us) that awakened thereby, we are enforced to anticipate a little that discovery of our selves which otherwise we resolved to have left to Time and Experience of our wayes and spirits, the truest Discoverers and surest Judges of all men and their actions.

And now we shall begin to make some appearance into publique light, unto whose view and judgements should we (that have hitherto laine under so dark a cloud of manifold mis-apprehensions) at first present our selves, but the Supreame Judicatory of this Kingdome, which is and hath been in all times the most just and severe Tribunall Edition: current; Page: [2-009] for guiltinesse to appeare before, much more to dare to appeale unto; and yet withall the most sacred refuge and Asylum for mistaken and mis-judged innocence?

The most, if not all of us, had ten years since (some more, some lesse) severall setled Stations in the Ministery, in places of publique use in the Church, not unknown to many of your selves; but the sinful evill of those corruptions in the publique worship and government of this Church, which all doe now so generally acknowledge and decrie, took hold upon our consciences long before some others of our brethren; And then how impossible it was to continue in those times our service and standings, all mens apprehensions will readily acquit us.

Neither at the first did we see or look further then the dark part, the evill of those superstitions adjoyned to the worship of God, which have been the common stumbling block and offence of many thousand tender consciences, both in our own and our neighbour Churches, ever since the first Reformation of Religion: which yet was enough to deprive us of the publique exercise of our Ministeries, and together therewith (as the watchfulnesse of those times grew) of our personall participation in some ordinances; and further exposed us either to personall violence and persecution, or an exile to avoid it: Which latter we did the rather choose, that so the use and exercise of our Ministeries (for which we were borne and live) might not be wholly lost, nor our selves remain Edition: current; Page: [2-010] debarred from the enjoyment of the Ordinances of Christ, which we account our birth-right, and best portion in this life.

This being our condition, we were cast upon a farther necessity of enquiring into and viewing the light part, the positive part of Church-worship and Government; And to that end to search out what were the first Apostolique directions, pattern and examples of those Primitive Churches recorded in the New Testament, as that sacred pillar of fire to guide us. And in this enquirie, we lookt upon the word of Christ as impartially, and unprejudicedly, as men made of flesh and blood are like to doe in any juncture of time that may fall out; the places we went to, the condition we were in, the company we went forth with, affording no temptation to byas us any way, but leaving us as freely to be guided by that light and touch Gods Spirit should by the Word vouchsafe our consciences, as the Needle toucht with the Load-stone is in the Compasse: And we had (of all men) the greatest reason to be true to our own consciences in what we should embrace, seeing it was for our consciences that we were deprived at once of what ever was dear to us. We had no new Common-wealths to rear, to frame Church-government unto, whereof any one piece might stand in the others light, to cause the least variation by us from the Primitive pattern; We had no State-ends or Politicall interests to comply with; No Kingdoms in our eye to subdue unto our mould; (which yet will be coexistent with the peace of any form of Civil Government Edition: current; Page: [2-011] on earth) No preferment or worldly respects to shape our opinions for: We had nothing else to doe but simply and singly to consider how to worship God acceptably, and so most according to his word.

We were not engaged by Education or otherwise to any other of the Reformed Churches; And although we consulted with reverence what they hold forth both in their writings and practice, yet we could not but suppose that they might not see into all things about worship and government, their intentions being most spent (as also of our first Reformers in England) upon the Reformation in Doctrine, in which they had a most happy hand: And we had with many others observed, that although the exercise of that Government had been accompanied with more peace, yet the Practicall part, the power of godlinesse and the profession thereof, with difference from carnall and formall Christians, had not been advanced and held forth among them, as in this our owne Island, as themselves have generally acknowledged. We had the advantage of all that light which the conflicts of our owne Divines (the good old Non-conformists) had struck forth in their times; And the draughts of Discipline which they had drawn; which we sound not in all things the very same with the practises of the Reformed Churches; And what they had written came much more commended to us, not onely because they were our own, but because sealed with their manifold and bitter sufferings. We had likewise the fatall miscarriages and shipwracks Edition: current; Page: [2-012] of the Separation (whom ye call Brownists) as Land-marks to fore-warn us of those rocks and shelves they ran upon; which also did put us upon an enquiry into the principles that might be the causes of their divisions. Last of all, we had the recent and later example of the wayes and practices (and those improved to a better Edition and greater refinement, by all the fore-mentioned helps) of those multitudes of godly men of our own Nation, almost to the number of another Nation, and among them some as holy and judicious Divines as this Kingdome hath bred; whose sincerity in their way hath been testified before all the world, and wil be unto all generations to come, by the greatest undertaking (but that of our father Abraham out of his own countrey, and his seed after him) a transplanting themselves many thousand miles distance, and that by sea, into a Wildernes, meerly to worship God more purely, whither to allure them there could be no other invitement. And yet we still stood as unengaged spectators, free to examine and consider what truth is to be found in and amongst all these, (all which we look upon as Reformed Churches) and this nakedly according to the word; We resolved not to take up our Religion by or from any partie, and yet to approve and hold fast whatsoever is good in any, though never so much differing from us, yea opposite unto us.

And for our own congregations, we meane of England (in which thorough the grace of Christ we were converted, and exercised our Ministeries long, Edition: current; Page: [2-013] to the conversion of many others) We have this sincere profession to make before God and all the world, that all that conscience of the defilements we conceived to cleave to the true worship of God in them, or of the unwarranted power in Church Governours exercised therein, did never work in any of us any other thought, much lesse opinion, but that multitudes of the assemblies and parochiall congregations thereof, were the true Churches and Body of Christ, and the Ministery thereof a true Ministery: Much lesse did it ever enter into our hearts to judge them Antichristian; we saw and cannot but see that by the same reason the Churches abroad in Scotland, Holland, &c. (though more reformed) yet for their mixture must be in like manner judged no Churches also, which to imagine or conceive, is and hath ever been an horrour to our thoughts. Yea we alwayes have professed, & that in these times when the Churches of England were the most, either actually overspread with defilements, or in the greatest danger thereof, and when our selves had least, yea no hopes of ever so much as visiting our own land again in peace and safety to our persons; that we both did and would hold a communion with them as the Churches of Christ. And besides this profession, as a reall testimony thereof, some of us after we, actually, were in this way of communion, baptized our children in Parishionall congregations, and (as we had occasion) did offer to receive into the communion of the Lords Supper with us, some (whom we knew godly that come to visit us when we were Edition: current; Page: [2-014] in our exile) upon that relation, fellowship, and commembership they held in their parish Churches in England, they professing themselves to be members thereof, and belonging thereunto. What we have since our returne publiquely and avowedly made declaration of to this purpose,Mr. Cheynett. Rise & growth of Socinianisine. many hundreds can witnesse, and some of our brethren in their printed bookes candidly do testify for us.

And as we alwayes held this respect unto our own Churches in this Kingdome, so we received and were entertained with the like from those reformed Churches abroad, among whom we were cast to live, we both mutually gave and received the right hand of fellowship, which they on their parts abundantly manifested by the very same characters and testimonies of difference which are proper to their own Orthodoxe Churches, and whereby they use to distinguish them from all those sects (which they tollerate, but not own) and all the assemblies of them (which yet now we are here some would needs ranke us with) granting to some of us their own Churches, or publique places for worship, to assemble in, where themselves met for the worship of God at differing houres the same day: As likewise the priviledge of ringing a publique Bell to call unto our meetings: which we mention because it is amongst them made the great signall of difference between their own allowed Churches and all other assemblies, unto whom it is strictly prohibited and forbidden, as Guiciardine hath long since observed: And others of us found such acceptance with them, that in testimony thereof Edition: current; Page: [2-015] they allowed a full and liberall maintenance annually for our Ministers, yea and constantly also Wine for our Communions. And then we again on our parts, not onely held all brotherly correspondency with their Divines, but received also some of the members of their Churches (who desired to communicate with us) unto communion in the Sacraments and other ordinances, by virtue of their relation of membership retained in those Churches.

Now for the way & practices of our Churches, we give this briefe and generall account. Our publique worship was made up of no other parts then the worship of all other reformed Churches doth consist of. As, publique and solemne prayers for Kings and all in authority, &c. the reading the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament; Exposition of them as occasion was; and constant preaching of the word; the administration of the two Sacraments, Baptisme to infants, and the Lords Supper; singing of Psalmes; collections for the poor, &c. every Lords day. For Officers and publique Rulers in the Church, we set up no other but the very same which the reformed Churches judge necessary and sufficient, and as instituted by Christ and his Apostles for the perpetuall government of his Church, that is, Pastors, Teachers, Ruling Elders, (with us not lay but Ecclesiastique persons separated to that service) and Deacons. And for the matter of governement and censures of the Church, we had nor executed any other but what all acknowledge, Edition: current; Page: [2-016] namely, Admonition, and Excommunication upon obstinacie and impenitencie, (which we blesse God we never exercised.) This latter we judged should be put in execution, for no other kind of sins then may evidently be presumed to be perpetrated against the parties known light; as whether it be a sin in manners and conversation, such as is committed against the light of nature, or the common received practices of Christianity, professed in all the Churches of Christ; or if in opinions, then such, as are likewise contrary to the received principles of Christianity, and the power of godlinesse, professed by the party himselfe, and universally acknowledged in all the rest of the churches, and no other sins to be the subject of that dreadful sentence.

And for our directions in these or what ever else requisite to the manage of them, we had these three Principles more especially in our eye, to guide and steere our practice by.

First, the supreame rule without us, was the Primitive patterne and example of the churches erected by the Apostles. Our consciences were possessed with that reverence and adoration of the fulnesse of the Scriptures, that there is therein a compleat sufficiencie, as to make the man of God perfect, so also to make the Churches of God perfect, (meere circumstances we except, or what rules the law of nature doth in common dictate) if the directions and examples therein delivered were fully known and followed. And although we cannot professe that sufficiency of knowledge as to be Edition: current; Page: [2-017] able to lay forth all those rules therein which may meet with all cases and emergencies that may or sometimes did fal out amongst us, or that may give satisfaction unto all Queres possible to be put unto us; yet we found principles enough, not onely fundamentall and essential to the being of a Church, but superstructory also for the wel-being of it, and those to us cleare and certaine, and such as might well serve to preserve our Churches in peace and from offence, and would comfortably guide us to heaven in a safe way: And the observation of so many of those particulars to be laid forth in the Word, became to us a more certaine evidence and cleare confirmation that there were the like rules and ruled cases for all occasions whatsoever, if we were able to discerne them. And for all such cases wherein we saw not a cleare resolution from Scripture, example, or direction, wee stil professedly suspended, untill God should give us further light, not daring to èeke out what was defective in our light in matters Divine with humane prudence, (the fatall errour to Reformation) lest by sowing any piece of the old garment unto the new, we should make the rent worse; we having this promise of grace for our encouragement in this, which in our publique Assemblies was often for our comfort mentioned, that in thus doing the will of God we should know more.

A second Principle we carryed along with us in all our resolutions, was, Not to make our present judgement and practice a binding law unto our selves for the future, which we in like manner made Edition: current; Page: [2-018] continuall profession of upon all occasions. We had too great an instance of our own frailty in the former way of our conformity; and therefore in a jealousie of our selves, we kept this reserve, (which we made open and constant professions of) to alter and retract (though not lightly) what ever should be discovered to be taken up out of a mis-understanding of the rule: Which Principle wee wish were (next to that most supreame, namely, to be in all things guided by the perfect wil of God) enacted as the most sacred law of all other, in the midst of all other Laws and Canons Ecclesiastical in Christian States and Churches throughout the world.

Thirdly, we are able to hold forth this true and just Apologie unto the world, That in the matters of greatest moment and controversie, we stil chose to practice safely, and so, as we had reason to judge that all sorts, or the most of all the Churches did acknowledge warrantable, although they make additaments thereunto.

For instance: Whereas one great controversie of these times is about the qualification of the Members of Churches, and the promiscuous receiving and mixture of good and bad; Therein we chose the better part, and to be sure, received in none but such as all the Churches in the world would by the balance of the Sanctuary acknowledge faithful. And yet in this we are able to make this true and just profession also, That the Rules which we gave up our judgements unto, to judge those vve received in amongst us by, vvere of that latitude Edition: current; Page: [2-019] as would take in any member of Christ, the meanest, in whom there may be supposed to be the least of Christ, and indeed such and no other as all the godly in this Kingdome carry in their bosomes to judge others by. We took measure of no mans holinesse by his opinion, whether concurring with us, or adverse unto us; And Churches made up of such, we were sure no Protestant could but approve of, (as touching the members of it) to be a true Church, with which communion might be held. Againe, concerning the great ordinance of Publique Prayer and the Lyturgie of the Church, whereas there is this great controversie upon it about the lawfulnesse of set formes prescribed; we practiced (without condemning others) what all sides doe allow, and themselves doe practice also, that the publique Prayers in our Assemblies should be framed by the meditations and study of our own Ministers, out of their own gifts, (the fruits of Christs Ascension) as well as their Sermons use to be. This vve vvere sure all allowed of, though they superadded the other. So likewise for the government and discipline in the Churches, however the practice of the Reformed Churches is in greater matters to govern each particular congregation by a combined Presbyterie of the Elders of several congregations united in one for government; yet so, as in their judgements they allow, especially in some cases, a particular congregation, an entire and compleat power of jurisdiction to be exercised by the Elders thereof within it selfe; Yea and our own Master Cartwright, holy Baynes, and other old Edition: current; Page: [2-020] Non-conformists, place the power of Excommunication in the Eldership of each particular Church with the consent of the Church, untill they do miscarry, and then indeed they subject them to such Presbyterial and Provincial Assemblies as the proper refuge for appeales and for compounding of differences amongst Churches; which combination of Churches others of them therefore call Ecclesiæ ortæ, but particular congregations Ecclesiæ primæ, as wherein firstly the power and priviledg of a Church is to be exercised. And vvithall vve could not but imagine, that the first Churches planted by the Apostles, were ordinarily of no more in one city at first then might make up one entire congregation, ruled by their own Elders, that also preached to them; for that in every city where they came, the number of converts did or should arise to such a multitude as to make several and sundry congregations, or that the Apostles should stay the setting up of any Churches at all, until they rose to such a numerous multiplication as might make such a Presbyterial combination, we did not imagine. We found also those Non-conformists (that wrote against the Episcopal Government) in their Answer to the Arguments used for Episcopal Government over many Churches, brought from the instances of the multitude of Beleevers at Jerusalem, and other places and cities, mentioned in the New Testament, to assert that it could not be infallibly proved that any of those vve reade of in the Acts and elsewhere; vvere yet so numerous, as necessarily to exceed the limits of one particular congregation Edition: current; Page: [2-021] in those first times. We found it also granted by them all, that there should be several Elders in every congregation, who had power over them in the Lord; and we judged that all those precepts, obey your Elders, and them that are over you, were (to be sure, and all grant it) meant of the Pastours and Teachers, and other Elders that were set over them in each particular congregation respectively, and to be as certainly the intendment of the holy Ghost, as in those like commands, Wives obey your owne husbands, Servants your own governours, to be meant of their several Families respectively.

We could not therefore but judge it a safe and an allowed way to retaine the government of our severall congregations for matter of discipline within themselves, to be exercised by their own Elders, whereof we had (for the most part of the time we were abroad) three at least in each congregation, whom we were subject to: yet not clayming to our selves an independent power in every congregation, to give account or be subject to none others, but onely a ful and entire power compleat within our selves, until we should be challenged to erre grosly; such as Corporations enjoy, who have the power and priviledge to passe sentence for life & death within themselves, and yet are accountable to the State they live in. But that it should be the institution of Christ or his Apostles, that the combination of the Elders of many Churches should be the first compleat and entire seat of Church power over each congregation so combined; or that they could challenge and assume Edition: current; Page: [2-022] that authority over those Churches they feed and teach not ordinarily by virtue of those fore-mentioned Apostolicall precepts, was to us a question, and judged to be an additament unto the other, which therefore rested on those that allowed us what we practised, over and above, to make evident and demonstrate (and certainly of all other the challenge of all spiritual power from Christ had need have a cleare pattent to shew for it) Yea wee appeale further unto them that have read bookes, whether untill those latter wrytings of the two reverend and learned Divines of Scotland set forth after our return, nor much more then two yeeres since, and others of no elder date from Holland, and one of our own Divines more lately written with much learning and ingenuity; there hath been much settly and directly or with strength insisted on to prove that governement; and although assert and inculcate it they do as their opinions, yet the full strength and streame of our Non-conformists wrytings and others are spent rather in arguments against, & for the overthrowing the Episcopall government, and the corruptions that cleave to our worship, and in maintayning those severall Officers in Churches which Christ hath instituted in stead thereof (in which we fully agree with them) then in the proofe of a combined classicall Presbyteriall government as it is authoritatively practised in the most reformed Churches.

And whereas the common prejudice and exception laid into all mens thoughts against us and our opinions is, that in such a congregationall governement Edition: current; Page: [2-023] thus entire within it self, there is no allowed sufficient remedy for miscarriages, though never so grosse; no reliefe for wrongful sentences or persons injured thereby; no roome for complaints: no powerful or effectual means to reduce a Church or Churches that fal into heresie, schisme, &c. but every one is left and may take liberty without controule to do what is good in their own eyes; we have (through the good providence of God upon us) from the avowed declarations of our judgements among our Churches mutually during our exile, and that also confirmed by the most solemne instance of our practice, wherewith to vindicate our selves and way in this particular; which upon no other occasion we should ever have made thus publique.

God so ordered it that a scandall and offence fell out between those very Churches whilst living in this banishment (whereof we our selves, that write these things, were then the Ministers) one of our Churches having unhappily deposed one of their Ministers, the other judged it not onely as too suddaine an act (having proceeded in a matter of so great moment without consulting their sister Churches, as was publiquely professed we should have done in such cases of concernement) but also in the proceedings thereof as too severe, and not managed according to the rules laid down in the word. In this case our Churches did mutually and universally acknowledge and submit to this as a sacred and undoubted principle and supreame law to be observed among all Churches, that as by Edition: current; Page: [2-024] virtue of that Apostolical command, Churches as wel as particular men are bound to give no offence neither to Iew nor Gentile, nor the Churches of God they live amongst. So that in all cases of such offence or difference, by the obligation of the common law of communion of Churches, & for the vindication of the glory of Christ, which in common they hold forth, the church or churches chalenged to offend or differ, are to submit themselves (upon the challenge of the offence or complaint of the person wronged) to the most full & open tryall & examination by other neighbour Churches offended thereat, of what ever hath given the offence: And further, that by the virtue of the same and like law of not partaking in other mens sins, the Churches offended may & ought upon the impenitency of those Churches, persisting in their errour and miscarriage to pronounce that heavy sentence, against them, of with-drawing and renouncing all Christian communion with them until they do repent; And further to declare and protest this, with the causes thereof, to all other Churches of Christ, that they may do the like.

And what further authority, or proceedings purely Ecclesiasticall, of one, or many sister Churches towards another whole Church, or Churches offending, either the Scriptures doe hold forth, or can rationally be put in execution (without the Magistrates interposing a power of another nature, unto which we upon his particular cognisance, and examination of such causes, professe ever to submit, and also to be most vvilling to have recourse unto) for our parts vve savv not then, nor do yet see. And Edition: current; Page: [2-025] likewise we did then suppose, and doe yet, that this principle of submission of Churches that miscarry unto other Churches offended, together with this other, that it is a command from Christ enjoyned to Churches that are finally offended to denounce such a sentence of Non-communion and withdrawing from them whilst impenitent, as unworthy to hold forth the name of Christ, (these principles being received and generally acknowledged by the Churches of Christ to be a mutuall duty, as strictly enjoyned them by Christ as any other) that these would be as effectuall means (through the blessing of Christ) to awe and preserve Churches and their Elders in their duties, as that other of claime to an authoritative power Ecclesiastical to Excommunicate other Churches or their Elders offending; For if the one be compared with the other, in a meere Ecclesiastial notion, That of Excommunication pretended hath but this more in it, That it is a delivering of whole Churches and their Elders offending unto Satan, (for which we know no warrant in the Scriptures, that Churches should have such a power over other Churches) And then as for the binding obligation both of the one way & the other, it can be supposed to lye but in these 2. things; First, in a warrant and injunction given by Christ to his Churches, to put either the one or the other into execution; and 2. that mens consciences be accordingly taken there with, so as to subject themselves whether unto the one way or the other: For suppose that other principle of an authoritative power in the greater part of Churches Edition: current; Page: [2-026] combined to excommunicate other Churches, &c. to be the ordinance of God, yet unlesse it doe take hold of mens consciences, and be received amongst all Churches, the offending Churches will sleight all such Excommunications as much, as they may be supposed to doe our way of protestation and sentence of Non-communion. On the other side, let this way of ours be but as strongly entertained, as that which is the way and command of Christ, and upon all occasions be heedfully put in execution, it will awe mens consciences as much, and produce the same effects. And if the Magistrates power (to which we give as much, and (as we think) more, then the principles of the Presbiteriall government will suffer them to yeeld) doe but assist and back the sentence of other Churches denouncing this Non-communion against Churches miscarrying, according to the nature of the crime, as they judge meet, and as they would the sentence of Churches excommunicating other Churches in such cases, upon their own particular judgement of the cause; then, without all controversie this our way of Church proceeding wil be every way as effectuall as their other can be supposed to be; and we are sure, more brotherly and more suited to that liberty and equality Christ hath endowed his Churches with. But without the Magistrates interposing their authority, their way of proceeding will be as ineffectuall as ours; and more lyable to contempt, by how much it is pretended to be more authoritative; and to inflict a more dreadful punishment, which carnall spirits are seldome sensible of. This for our judgements.

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And for a reall evidence and demonstration both that this was then, our judgements, as likewise for an instance of the effectuall successe of such a course held by Churches in such cases, our own practice, and the blessing of God thereon, may plead and testifie for us to all the world. The manage of this transaction in briefe was this.

That Church which (with others) was most scandalized, did by letters declare their offence, requiring of the Church (supposed to be) offending, in the name and for the vindication of the honour of Christ, and the releeving the party wronged, to yeeld a full and publique hearing before all the Churches of our Nation, or any other whomsoever, offended, of what they could give in charge against their proceedings in that deposition of their Minister, and to subject themselves to an open tryall and review of all those forepassed carriages that concerned that particular; which they most cheerfully and readily (according to the fore-mentioned principles) submitted unto, in a place, and state where no outward violence or any other externall authority either civil or ecclesiasticall would have enforced them thereunto: And accordingly the Ministers of the Church offended with other two Gentlemen, of much worth, wisdom and piety, members thereof, were sent as Messengers from that Church; and at the introduction and entrance into that solemne assembly (the solemnity of which hath left as deep an impression upon our hearts of Christs dreadfull presence as ever any we have been present at,) it was openly and publiquely professed Edition: current; Page: [2-028] in a speech that was the preface to that discussion, to this effect, “That it was the most to be abhorred maxime that any Religion hath ever made profession of, and therefore of all other the most contradictory and dishonourable unto that of Christianity, that a single and particular society of men professing the name of Christ, and pretending to be endowed with a power from Christ to judge them that are of the same body and society within themselves, should further arrogate unto themselves an exemption from giving account or being censurable by any other, either Christian Magistrate above them, or neighbour Churches about them. So far were our judgements from that independent liberty that is imputed to us, then, when we had least dependency on this kingdom, or so much as hopes ever to abide therein in peace. And for the issue and successe of this agitation, after there had been for many dayes as judiciary and full a charge, tryall, and deposition of witnesses openly afore all commers of all sorts, as can be expected in any Court where Authority enjoyns it, that Church, which had offended, did as publiquely acknowledge their sinfull aberration in it, restored their Minister to his place again, and ordered a solemn day of fasting to humble themselves afore God and men, for their sinfull carriage in it; and the party also which had been deposed did acknowledge to that Church wherein he had likewise sinned.

Thus we have rendred some smal account of those, the saddest days of our pilgrimage on earth, wherein Edition: current; Page: [2-029] although we enjoyed God, yet besides many other miseries (the companions of banishment) we lost some friends and companions, our fellow labourers in the Gospel, as precious men as this earth beares any, through the distemper of the place, and our selves came hardly off that service with our healths, yea lives.

When it pleased God to bring us his poor Exiles back again in these revolutions of the times, as also of the condition of this kingdom, into our own land, (the pouring forth of manifold prayers and teares for the prosperity whereof, had been no small part of that publique worship we offered up to God in a strange land;) we found the judgement of many of our godly learned brethren in the Ministery (that desired a general reformation) to differ from ours in some things, wherein we do professedly judge the Calvinian Reformed Churches of the first reformation from out of Popery, to stand in need of a further reformation themselves; And it may without prejudice to them, or the imputation of Schisme in us from them, be thought, that they comming new out of Popery (as well as England) and the founders of that reformation not having Apostolique infallibility, might not be fully perfect the first day. Yea and it may hopefully be conceived, that God in his secret, yet wise and gratious dispensation, had left England more unreformed as touching the outward form, both of worship & Church government, then the neighbour Churches were, having yet powerfully continued a constant conflict and contention Edition: current; Page: [2-030] for a further Reformation for these fourescore yeers; during which time he had likewise in stead thereof blessed them with the spiritual light (and that encreasing) of the power of Religion in the Practique part of it, shining brighter and clearer then in the neighbour Churches, as having in his infinite mercy on purpose reserved and provided some better thing for this Nation when it should come to be reformed, that the other Churches might not be made perfect without it, as the Apostle speaks.

We found also (which was as great an affiction to us as our former troubles and banishment) our opinions and wayes (wherein we might seem to differ) environed about with a cloud of mistakes and misapprehensions, and our persons with reproaches, Besides other calumnies, as of schisme, &c. (which yet must either relate to a differing from the former Ecclesiastical Government of this Church established, and then who is not involved in it as well as we? or to that constitution and government that is yet to come; and untill that be agreed on, established and declared, and actually exist, there can be no guilt or imputation of Schime from it) That proud and insolent title of Independencie was affixed unto us, as our claime; the very sound of which conveys to all mens apprehensions the challenge of an exemption of all Churches from all subjection and dependance, or rather a trumpet of defiance against what ever Power, Spirituall or Civill; which we doe abhor and detest: Or else the odious name of Brownisme, together with all their opinions as they have stated and maintained Edition: current; Page: [2-031] them, must needs be owned by us: Although upon the very first declaring our judgements in the chief and fundamental point of all Church discipline, and likewise since, it hath been acknowledged that we differ much from them. And wee did then, and doe here publiquely professe, we beleeve the truth to lye and consist in a middle way betwixt that which is falsly charged on us, Brownisme; and that which is the contention of these times, the authoritative Presbyteriall Government in all the subordinations and proceedings of it.

And had we been led in our former wayes, and our removall out of this Kingdome by any such spirit of faction and division, or of pride and singularity, (which are the usual grounds of all Schisme) we had since our returns again during this intermisticall season, tentations, yea provocations enough to have drawn forth such a spirit; having manifold advantages to make and encrease a partie, which we have not in the least attempted. We found the spirits of the people of this Kingdome that professe or pretend to the power of godlinesse (they finding themselves to be so much at liberty, and new come out of bondage) ready to take any impressions, and to be cast into any mould that hath but the appearance of a stricter way. And we found that many of those mists that had gathered about us, or were rather cast upon our persons in our absence, began by our presence againe, and the blessing of God upon us, in a great measure to scatter and vanish, without speaking a word for our selves or Cause.

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But through the grace of Christ, our spirits are and have been so remote from such dispositions & aymes, that on the contrary we call God and men to witnes our constant forbearance, either to publish our opinions by preaching (although we had the Pulpits free) or to print any thing of our owne or others for the vindication of our selves (although the Presses were more free then the Pulpits) or to act for our selves or way; although we have been from the first provoked unto all these all sorts of wayes, both by the common mis-understandings and mis-representations of our opinions and practises, together with incitements to this State not to allow us the peaceable practises of our Consciences, which the Reformed Churches abroad allowed us, and these edged with calumnies and reproaches cast upon our persons in print; and all these heightned with this further prejudice and provocation, that this our silence was interpreted, that we were either ashamed of our opinions, or able to say little for them; when as on the other side (besides all other advantages) Books have been written by men of much worth, learning, and authority, with moderation and strength, to prepossesse the peoples minds against what are supposed our Tenets. But we knew and considered that it was the second blow that makes the quarrell, and that the beginning of strife would have been as the breaking in of waters; and the sad and conscientious apprehension of the danger of rending and dividing the godly Protestant party in this Kingdome that were desirous of Reformation, and of making severall Edition: current; Page: [2-033] interests among them in a time when there was an absolute necessity of their neerest union and conjunction, and all little enough to effect that Reformation intended, and so long contended for, against a common adversary that had both present possession to plead for it selfe, power to support it, and had enjoyed a long continued settlement which had rooted it in the hearts of men; And this seconded by the instant and continuall advices and conjurements of many Honourable, wise, and godly Personages of both Houses of Parliament, to forbeare what might any way be like to occasion or augment this unhappy difference; They having also by their Declarations to His Majesty professed their endeavour and desire to unite the Protestant partie in this Kingdome, that agree in Fundamentall Truths against Popery and other Heresies, and to have that respect to tender consciences as might prevent oppressions and inconveniences which had formerly been; Together with that strict engagement willingly entred into by us for these common ends, with the rest of our brethren of the Ministery, (which though made to continue but ad placitum, yet hath been sacred to us.) And above all, the due respect we have had to the peaceable and orderly Reformation of this Church and State; the hopefull expectation we have been entertained with of an happy latitude and agreement by means of this Assembly, and the wisdome of this Parliament: The conscience and consideration of all these, and the weight of each, have hitherto had more power with us to this deepe silence and forbearance, then Edition: current; Page: [2-034] all our own interests have any way prevailed with us to occasion the least disturbance amongst the people. We have and are yet resolved to beare all this with a quiet and a strong patience, (in the strength of which we now speak, or rather sigh forth this little) referring the vindication of our persons to God, and a further experience of us by men; and the declaration of our judgements, and what we conceive to be his truth therein, to the due and orderly agitation of this Assembly whereof both Houses were pleased to make us Members.

And whereas our silence upon all the forementioned grounds (for which we know we can never lose esteeme with good and wise men) hath been by the ill interpretation of some, imputed either to our consciousnesse of the badnesse and weaknesse of our Cause, or to our unability to maintain what we assert in difference from others, or answer what hath been written by others, wee shall (with all modesty) onely present this to all mens apprehensions in confutation of it. That what ever the truth and justnesse of our Cause may prove to be, or how slender our abilities to defend it, yet wee pretend at least to so much wisdome, that wee would never have reserved our selves for, but rather by all wayes have declined this Theatre, of all other, the most judicious and severe, an Assembly of so many able, learned, and grave Divines, where much of the piety, wisdome, and learning of two Kingdomes are met in one, honoured and assisted with the presence of the Worthies of both Houses at all debates (as often as they please to vouchsafe Edition: current; Page: [2-035] their presence) as the Stage whereon first wee would bring forth into publique view our Tenets (if false and counterfet) together with our own folly and weaknesse: We would much rather have chosen to have been venting them to the multitude, apt to be seduced, (which we have had these three yeers opportunity to have done.) But in a conscientious regard had to the orderly and peaceable way of searching out truths, and reforming the Churches of Christ, we have adventured our selves upon this way of God, wisely assumed by the prudence of the State; And therein also upon all sorts of disadvantages (which we could not but foresee) both of number, abilities of learning, Authority, the streame of publique interest; Trusting God both with our selves and his own truth, as he shall be pleased to manage it by us.

Moreover, if in all matters of Doctrine, we were not as Orthodoxe in our judgements as our brethren themselves, we would never have exposed our selves to this tryall and hazard of discovery in this Assembly, the mixture of whose spirits, the quick-sightednes of whose judgements (intent enough upon us) and variety of debates about all sorts of controversies a foot in these times of contradiction, are such, as would be sure soon to find us out if we nourished any monsters or Serpents of opinions lurking in our bosomes. And if we had carryed it so, as that hitherto such errours were not aforehand open to the view and judgement of all, yet sitting here (unlesse we would be silent, which we have not been) we could not long be hid. But it is Edition: current; Page: [2-036] sufficiently known that in all points of doctrine, (which hitherto in the review and examination of the Articles of our Church, or upon other occasions have been gone thorough) our judgements have still concurred with the greatest part of our brethren, neither do we know wherein we have dissented. And in matters of Discipline (which we are now upon) when our judgements cannot in all things concur with others (as indeed not others all, in all things amongst themselves) yet we are so farre from holding up the differences that occur, or making the breaches greater or wider, that we endeavour upon all such occasions to grant and yeeld (as all may see and cannot but testifie for us) to the utmost latitude of our light and consciences; professing it to be as high a point of Religion and conscience readily to own, yea fall down before whatsoever is truth in the hands of those that differ, yea thought they should be enemies unto us, as much as earnestly to contend for & hold fast those truths wherein we should be found dissenting from them; and this as in relation to peace, so also as a just due to truth and goodnes, even to approve it & acknowledge it to the utmost graine of it, though mingled with what is opposite unto us. And further when matters by discussion are brought to the smallest dissent that may be, we have hitherto been found to be no backward urgers unto a temper (not onely in things that have concerned our own consciences, but when of others also) such as may suit and tend to union as well as searching out of truth; judging this to be as great and usefull an end of Synods Edition: current; Page: [2-037] and Assemblies, as a curious and exact discussion of all sorts of lesser differences with binding Determinations of truth one way.

And thus we have nakedly and with all simplicity rendred a cleare and true account of our wayes and spirits hitherto; Which we made choice of now at first to make our selves known by, rather then by a more exact and Scholastique relation of our judgements in the points of difference about Church government; reserving that unto the more proper season and opportunity of this Assembly, and that liberty given by both Honourable Houses in matters of dissent; or as necessity shall after require, to a more publique way of stating and asserting of them. In the meane time from this briefe historicall relation of our practices, there may a true estimate be taken of our opinions in difference, which being instanced in, and set out by practices, is the most reall and least collusive way, and carries its own evidence with it. All which we have taken the boldnes together with our selves humbly to lay at the feet of your wisdom and piety; Beseeching you to look upon us under no other Notion, or character, then as those, who if we cannot assume to have been no way furtherers of that reformation you intend, yet who have been no way hinderers thereof, or disturbers of the publique peace; and who in our judgements about the present work of this age, the reformation of worship and discipline, do differ as little from the Reformed Churches, and our Brethren, yea far lesse, then they do from what themselves were three yeers past, or then the Edition: current; Page: [2-038] generallity of this kingdom from it self of late. And withall to consider us as those, who in these former times, for many yeers suffered even to exile, for what the kingdom it self now suffers in the endeavour to cast out; and who in these present times, and since the change of them, have endured (that which to our spirits is no lesse grievous) the opposition and reproach of good men, even to the threatning of another banishment, and have been through the grace of God upon us, the same men in both, in the midst of these varieties; And finally, as those that do pursue no other interest or designe but a subsistance (be it the poorest and meanest) in our own land (where we have and may do further service, & which is our birth-right as we are men) with the enjoyment of the ordinances of Christ (which are our portion as we are Christians) with the allowance of a latitude to some lesser differences with peaceablenesse, as not knowing where else with safety, health, and livelyhood, to set our feet on earth.

Tho: Goodwin,} {Jer: Burroughes,
Philip Nye,} {
Sidrach Simpson} {William Bridge.
FINIS.
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Richard Overton
Overton, Richard
19 January 1644
2.

2.2 Richard Overton Mans mortalitie: or, A treatise wherein ’tis proved, both Theologically and Philosophically, that whole Man (as a rationall creature) is a compound wholly mortall (19 January 1644)

  • MANS
  • MORTALITIE:
  • OR,
  • A TREATISE Wherein ’tis proved, both Theologically and Philosophically,
  • that whole Man (as a rationall Creature) is a
  • Compound wholly mortall, contrary to that
  • common distinction of Soule and Body: And that the
  • present going of the Soule into Heaven or Hell is a
  • meer Fiction: And that at the Resurrection is
  • the beginning of our immortality, and
  • then Actual Condemnation, and
  • Salvation, and not before.
  • With all doubts and Objections Answered, and resolved,
  • both by Scripture and Reason; discovering the multitude of
  • Blasphemies, and Absurdities that arise from the
  • fancie of the Soule.
  • Also divers other Mysteries, as, of Heaven, Hell, Christs humane
  • residence, the extent of the Resurrection, the New Creation, &c.
  • opened, and presented to the tryall of better judgments.
  • By R.O.
  • That which be falleth the sons of men, befallesth beasts; even one thing befalleth
  • them all: and as one dyeth the other; yea they have all one breath, so that man
  • hath no preheminence above a beast; for all is vanity. Ecclesiastes 3.19.
  • AMSTERDAM,
  • Printed by John Canne. Anno Dom. 1644.
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To the Reader.

Judicious Reader,

Thy serious perusall, but the scorne and derision of the multitude hereof is my expectation: Startle not thou, be patient, read, ponder, and Berean like try whether these things be so or no: If any thing in it be worth thy owning, take it, it is thine as well as mine, and I have my end, thy benefit: I wish it well to all, but I feare it will be a Parable to most; however, I have unbosom’d my duty, freely as I have received, I give it freely to the World; it is my faith, as I beleeve, so have I spoken. I expect an Answer; if it be such as will not hold tryall, it is likely I shall vindicate my selfe; but if by force of Argument it shall convince, I shall be ready and free thankfully to embrace it, and renounce my errour, whether it be in part or in whole, though in the maine I am nothing jealous, had I therein doubted, my weaknesse had not been thus visible to the World. Whereas in severall places scattered through the Booke, the use of the word Soule may seeme to some, to imply that, which I deny; let such know, it is for Argument sake, not intending in the least any selfe distinct Being by it. Thus desiring my endeavours may have a faire and equall tryall by Scripture and sollid Reason, I commit thee to the blessing of God in the perusall thereof, and rest

Thine in the love of the Truth, R. O.
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  • To his worthy friend the Author upon his Booke.

    • The Hell-hatch’d Doctrine of th’immortall Soule
    • Discovered, makes the hungry Furies houle,
    • And teare their snakey haire with griefe appal’d,
    • To see their Errour-leading Doctrine quail’d,
    • Hell undermin’d, and Purgatory blowne
    • Up in the aire, and all the spirits flowne,
    • Pluto undone, thus forced for to yeeld
    • The frightned Soules from the Elizian Field.
    • And squallid Charon now may leave his Trade,
    • To see all Soules made subject to the spade,
    • And Cerberus his dismall fate deplore,
    • To thinke that he shall scare the Soules no more.
    • But joy’d at this, Minerva she doth run
    • T’imbrace her Nurse Child great Apollo’s Son:
    • The Heavens triumph i’th’wane of th’World to see
    • Such light break out on its Posteritie:
    • They sue Mnesichole, and so doe I
    • To register this Mans Mortalitie.
    • N.C.
    • Would you a young Man see for to controule
    • The Antient, sure you’d think he had no soul.
    • But God hath promised, and still reveales
    • To Babes, what he from prudent men conceales.
    • Heavens blesse thee Man, for bringing that to light,
    • Which Envy raked up i’th’dust for spight:
    • And may thy Booke be as a passing Bell
    • To dying Man to toll his fatall knell.
    • S.R.
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CHAP. I.: Of Mans Creation, Fall, Restitution and Resurrection, how they disprove the opinion of the soul, imagining the better part of Man immortall: And proveth him (quatenus homo) wholly mortall.

To omit tedious introductory Circumstances, which are as commonly uselesse as prolix: Observe: That when God had moulded, formed, and compleatly proportionated Adam of the Dust of the ground, he breathed in his face the breath of Lives, and Man became a living Soul: Gen. 2-7. That is, he gave that life-lesse Body a communicative rationall Faculty or property of life, in his kind: And so it became a living creature, or compleate ἀνθρωπος of whom was the Woman, both innocent and free from sin, and so from Death and mortality: For the wages of Sin is Death, Rom. 6.23. 1 Cor. 15.56. Thus Man was gloriously immortall, yet no longer a Creature incorruptible, then during innocent: For (Gen. 2.17.) God said, of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evill thou shalt not eate of it, for in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely dye: that is, thy immortality shall be changed for mortality: Immortall Adam shall be made mortall, not a part of thee, but Thou shalt surely dye, even whole man, without the least exception of any, the worst or nobest part of him, unlesse God had a mentall reservation; but even the same Thou that livest, Thou shalt surely dye: that must dye wherein was life: then surely if he had an immortall Soul, which is the life of the body, that must be made mortall. The result of all which, is this:

That what of Adam was immortall through Innocency, was to be mortalized by Transgression:

But whole Adam (quatenus Animal rationale) was in Innocency immortall:

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Ergo, all, and every part, even whole Man was lyable to Death by Sin: And so consequently, if Adam had then such an indefinable thing in him, and of him, without which he was not Man, (as is vulgarly supposed, but simply maintained by the Church of Rome, England &c.) as an Angelical Spirit, that neither could, nor can be subject to mortality: Then he had that he had not: which made him be what he was not: he sinned with that, with which he could not; which made him Fall when he did not: which Bo-peepe is impossible: For if Adam was mortalized, and That not, It was no part of him, this they must confesse, or else the other followes.

This being thus cleared, and proved from Adams Creation and Innocency: let us proceed to his Fall, Restitution, and Resurrection, who eating of the forbidden fruit, (whose nature was, as was supposed by Nemesius the Philosopher, to mortalize him, as Mala insana are to destroy and reduce rationality to madnesse) God fulfilled his threatned Curse upon him, saying, (Gen. 3.19.) In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eate bread, till thou returne unto the Ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for Dust thou art, and unto Dust thou shalt returne. Here he is plainly disrobed of all his immortality, he must to Dust, without the least mention of any Being thereafter, either of part or whole; till this Promise of Christ, The seed of the woman shall breake the Serpents Head, which is not compleated till the Resurrection: for then, and not before, Mans immortality is in Actuall Being, whose beatitude and infelicity comes through Faith and infidelity. So that Death reduceth this productio Entis ex Non-ente ad Non-entem, returnes Man to what he was before he was; that is, not to Be: Psal. 115. 17. the Dead prayse not the Lord, neither they that go down into silence: And Psal. 146.4. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to the Earth, in that very Day his thoughts perish. (see more pag. 5. 6. 7. 8.) But the Resurrection restoreth this non-ented Entitie to an everlasting Being, 1 Cor. 15.42. It is sowne in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.

Thus Mortality is derivated to all Adams posterity: The first Man (quatenus homo) is of the Earth earthly, as is the earthly, such are they that are earth: (1 Cor. 15.47.48.) But the Earth of which Man is, is corruptible, and shall be burnt up with fire: 2 Pet. 3.10. Therefore whole Man is corruptible: for as in Adam all dye, (1 Cor. 15.22) even so in Christ shall all be made alive; what fell in Adam shall be raised by Christ; what was mortalized by the earthly Man shall be immortalized by the Heavenly man: wherefore All, not a Edition: current; Page: [2-044] part of Man was mortalized by Adam; or else onely the fallen part must be redeemed, and not the whole man: for no more of man then fell was redeemed, and if the body only fell, and his formall part (his soul) continued immortall, then that part of man (his body only) was purchased, not his constitutive or better part, his Soul: So that the bodies only of the Reprobate according to this fancy shall be damned: for nothing of Adam, but what fell of Adam, can be made lyable to condemnation; and what of him stood, shall stand, as well as the Angels that never fell: But in Christ we are compleate, Coll. 2.10. Therefore in Adam totally fallen.

Further: If Adams fall was not a compleat change of his whole manhood, from immortality to absolute mortality of the whole; then in the day that he did eate (the forbidden Fruit,) He did not surely dye; for He implyes his Manhood; (and my very Opposites confesse the Soul the very Essence and Being of Manhood:) and [in the Day] and [surely dye] imply, Execution as well as Transgression to be then; for both have equally relation to the Day: In the Day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely dye: so as well may we say, he did not eat, as did not dye That Day.

And if nothing dyed, that is, became mortall, but his Body; then fthat dyed, and his Soul lived; that is, must be as it was at first, before God breathed life into it; that is, a dead corps, and indeed was never other, if the Soul were a distinct Being of it self, and all life in itself, and the Body but an Instrument to it, whereby it performeth all motion and action (as Nemesius on Mans Nature p. 266. with others maintaine:) And thus it must needs follow, that this Death threatned was a meer Scar-crow, even nothing at all; for He, that is, his constitutive part (his Soul) continued immortall, and unchanged, and used his body instrumentally, as it did before the Transgression: and if it be Answered; it became sinfull and subject to sin, and so of finall Condemnation in Hell at the length. I Reply; That before he sinned he was subject to sin, or else he could not have sinned, for quicquid est in actu, prius fuit in potentia; and if the wages of sin be death, then he must be of necessity subject to death the effect, as well as sin the cause at the same time: And so consequently, the Souls possibility of sinning being producted into Actuall sin, the Soul must have its wages, Actuall mortality. Further, if the Soules Death be onely that of Hell; then the principall or efficient cause deepest in the Transgression was lesse punished, then the instrumentall, the Body being but the Edition: current; Page: [2-045] Souls instrument whereby it acts and moves: as if a Magistrate should hang the Hatchet, and spare the Man that beate a mans braines out with it: and so the Soul suffer the last death and scape the first: which is as preposterous, as, if this Death should be received before this Life. Moreover: Condemnation in Hell is not properly, but remotely the reward of Adams Fall; For properly Condemnation is the wages of Infidelity, or unbeleife in Christ, as Salvation is of Beleife: So that none can be condemned into Hell; but such as are actually guilty of refusing of Christ, because immortality or the Resurrection cannot be by Propagation or Succession, as mortality from Adam to his Issue; and so the Child though temporally, yet shall it not eternally be punished for his Fathers sin, but his Condemnation shall be of himself.

Having thus from the Creation, Fall, Restitution, and Resurrection laid a ground-worke for this mortality, let us see how it commensurates with the universality of Scripture and Reason.

CHAP. II.: Scriptures to prove this Mortality.

JOB 4. 19, 21. How much lesse on them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth, doth not their excellencie which is in them goe away? they die even without Wisdome.

Job 14.1.2. Man that is born of a woman is of few daiies, and full of trouble, he commeth up like a flower, and is cut downe; he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not: (and ver. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11 & 12.) For there is hope of a Tree, if it be cut downe, that it will sprout againe; and that the under-branch thereof will not cease: though the root thereof wax old in the ground, and the stock thereof drie in the earth; Yet through the sent of water it will bud, and bring forth branches like a plant. But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters faile from the sea, and the flood decayeth and dryeth up: So man Iyeth downe and riseth not, till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake out of their sleep.

Psal. 103.15.16. As for man, his dayes are as grasse, as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth; for the wind passeth over it, and it is gone, and the place thereof shall know it no more.

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From these two places compared we may see that man (not his flesh only, for that makes not man; but flesh and spirit sensu conjuncto make Man) is not as a Tree, when he is cut downe, whose spirit liveth, and sprouteth forth, and continueth: but as the flowre of the field, (not the stalke, but the bare flowre) which totally fadeth and perisheth: Therefore Man is wholly mortall: He shall die, and the Son of Man shall be made as grasse, Isa. 51.12.

2 Cor. 5.1.2.3.4. there our Being after death is called A building of an house not made with hands, eternall in the heavens: with this the Apostle desires to be clothed: and what it is he defines, viz. mortalitie swallowed up of life: whence it is most evident, that all his hope of future life was grounded upon the Resurrection, and that his hope was altogether grounded thereon, he confirmes, 1 Cor. 15. arguing, If Christ be not risen, the dead should not rise: and (ver. 18.) They which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished, and (ver. 14.) Then is our faith also in vaine; whose end (1 Pet. 1.9.) is the salvation of our soules. How should then all be in vaine, if our soules as soone as breath is out of the body enter into glory and salvation? For by that, though there were no Resurrection of the flesh, we should receive the end of our Faith, the Salvation Of our Soules: Nay further, he maketh all our hope to be in this life, if there be no Resurrection; for ver. 19. having shown the evils that follow the denyall of the Resurrection, saith; if in this life onely we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable, whence plainly appeares, that the deniall of the Resurrection confines all our hopes within this life, and so all our sufferings, persecutions, prayers, faith, &c. were to no purpose: which could not be by this Soulary fancy of present reward of beatitude after this life.

1 King. 2.2. David saith to Solomon, I go the way of all the earth: that is, as all the earth must see corruption, so must he; and if his Soul were part of him, yea, himself, So Must it; else should he not go the way of all the earth.

And the expression in Josh. 2.13. Deliver our lives from death, importeth absolute mortality: for if Death be not dissolution of life, or its depravation, how can it be said to suffer death? not by a bodily seperation, for that is but as the laying down of a burthen, wherewith it was clogged and tyred, whereby it is made more lively ten thousand times; (as my Opposites confesse;) and so, can no more be said to be dead, then a Porter when he is disburthened of his Load.

Job. 34.15. All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turne again unto dust.

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Eccl. 3.19. That which befalleth the Sons of Men befalleth Beasts; even one thing befalleth them; as one dyeth, so dyeth the other: they have all one breath, so that they have no preheminence above a Beast: for all is vanity.

Wherefore if their Breath be all one, then God breathed no other Breath, (that is, life or soul,) into Man, then he gave to Beasts: So that if Man be Fallen, and the Beasts be cursed for his sake, Man must be equally mortall with them.

II Tim. 4.8. I have fought a good fight, I have finisht my course, I have kept the faith, henceforth there is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousnesse, which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at THAT DAY, and not to me only, but to all them that love his appearing. Here from the finishing of his course a Crown being laid up, (which is even the same which Peter Epist. 1. cap. 1.9. maketh the end of our, faith, the Salvation of our soules) to be given at THAT DAY, concludes an intermission to him and us till then.

1 Tim. 6.14.16. Keep this Commandement untill the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who only hath immortality dwelling in light, which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see.

Whence appeareth, that none ever entred into Heaven since the Creation: And it is in vaine for my Opposites to say it is meant of the corpulent matter only, for they make the Soul the very manhood: and none that enter therein, enter by halfes and peecemeal: and this is confirmed by Joh. 3.13. And no man hath ascended into Heaven, but he that came down from Heaven, even the Son of man, which is in Heaven.

Psal. 6.5. For in death there is no remembrance of thee, in the grave who shall give thee thanks?

Psal. 88.11.12. Shall thy loving kindnesse be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulnesse in destruction? shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousnesse in the Land otforge fullnesse?

Isa. 38.18.19. For the grave cannot praise thee death cannot celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the Father to the Children shall make known thy truth.

Hence it is plain that during this Death Man is voyd of actuall Being: for had he then an incorruptible or present actuall Being in glory; he should be more capable of the praise and remembrance of the Lord, then he was before he died.

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Job. 3. from the 11. to 20. Why died I not from the wombe? &c. for now should I have lyen still, and been quiet, I should have slept, and then I should have been at rest; as a hidden untimely birth, I had not been, as Infants that never saw light: there the Prisoners rest together, they heare not the voyce of the Oppressour.

Hence followeth, that during this Death there is no more present Being to man, then to an hidden abortive Embrio in this life; and no more capability, then light to unborne Infants; nor more oppression or torment, then where there is none to oppresse: which is to say, He absolutely IS NOT: Answerable to that of Jacob, me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, Gen. 4.2-36.

Job. 4.17.19.20.21. Whose foundation is in the dust, they perish for ever: that is, cease to Be till the Resurrection.

Luke 20.37.38. Now that the dead are raised &c. relating to Exod. 3.6. I am the God of Abraham, &c. From whence Christ proveth the resurrection: But if Abraham, Isaac, &c. had then lived in their soules, it had been no Argument to prove the resurrection; for he had been the God of living soules Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, though there had been no resurrection. Besides, he saith all live unto him: and this saying is ascribed unto the dead: therefore, as well may we argue from thence, that they lived in their bodies, as say, they were dead in body, but alive in soul unto God: for it is impossible to be potentially and actually living at the same time.

Psal. 89.48. What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.

Act. I. 31. He seeing this before, spake of the Resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in Hell, neither his flesh did see corruption: whence is cleare, that spirit, life, breath, or soul are subject to the grave, as well as body or flesh; for Christs soul as well as his flesh was in Hel, that is, the grave or bonds of death: so that he wholy and thoroughly died for us.

Eccl. 4.1.2.3. doth shew, that the living suffer oppression, but to the dead is none: and cap. 9.4.5. they know not any thing; for a living Dog is better than a dead Lion: therefore, Psal. 146.2 David saith, I will sing prayses unto my God while I have any being; implying that in death there is none: And Jam. 4.14. Our life is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. And Rev. 16.3. every living soul in the Sea dyed: and cap. 20.4.5. dead soules lived again. And Psal. 39.5 man at Edition: current; Page: [2-049] his best estate is altogether vanity; compared with Rom. 8. 19. the creature was made subject to vanity; that is corruption, all which declare mans totall death. And Act. 23.6. & 24.21. & 26.6.7. most clearly shew that all hope of future life and Being is in the Resurrection.

Thus much of Scripture, now to Naturall Reason.

CHAP. III.: Naturall Reasons to prove it: with Objections Answered.

If we will rationally argue concerning the Soul, it is necessary to define what that is, to which it is ascribed: But since it is defined by some one way, by some another way, I shall produce some Opinions about it; and then bring the most rationall to tryall, omitting the more frivolous: viz.

The Stoicks held it A certaine blast hot and fierie: or the vitall spirit of the blood: The Cretians, Blood: Gallen, a certaine exhalation of the purest blood: Zeno, Cleanthes, Antipater, and Possiodonius, a hot complexion, or corporeall quality diffused through the whole body: Democritus, Fire, and his opinion was, the round Attomes being incorporated by aire and fire doe make up the Soule: Pythagoras, opinionated it a Number moving of it selfe: Plato, a substance to be conceived in the mind, that received motion from it selfe, according to number and Harmonic: Aristotle, the first continual motion of a body naturall, haying in it those instrumentall parts, wherein was possibility of life: Dinarchus, an Harmonic of the four Elements: Nernesius divides it into Phantasie, judgment, Memorie: Aristotle in his Physicks, into vegetative, sensitive, motive, appetetive, intellective: And Ambrose Parey, pag. 895. saith, the soule is the inward Entelechia, or the primative cause of all motions and functions both naturall and animall, and the true Forme of a man: It seeth, heareth, smelleth, toucheth, tasteth, imagineth, judgeth, &c. And more exactly pag. 83. lib. 3. Cap. i. he saith, the soule is commonly distinguished into three Faculties: Animall, Vitall, Naturall: The Animall, into Principall, Sensetive, Motive: The Principall, into Imaginative, (seated in the upper part of the braine) Reasonable, (the middle part of the braine,) Memorative, (Cerebellum) or after-braine. The Sensetive, into Seeing, (the eyes) Hearing, (the Edition: current; Page: [2-050] eares) Smelling, (the nose) Tasting, (the tongue, pallat) Touching, (the body). The Motive, into Progressive, (legs) Apprehensive, (hands.)

The Vitall, into Dilative, or parts for respiration, (weason, lungs) Concoctive, or parts for vitall motion, (heart and arteries, understood by the Pulsificke Facultie.

The Naturall, into Nutrative, Active, Generative: which three are performed by the help of the Attractive, (the gullet) Retentive, (lower passage or the stomack) Concoctive, (body of the ventricle) Assimulative, (three small guts) Expulsive, (three great guts.)

Augustine and Athanasius say, it is a substance created, a spirit intelligent, invisible, immortall, incorporeall like the Angels.

And there be several Opinions of its Body: Lucippus and Hipparchus say, it hath a fierie Body: Critias and Anaxemines, Woolnor and others an aeriall body: Hesiod, an earthly: Epicurius, fierie and airie: Zenophon, watry and earthly: Drone, a middle betwixt the spirit and the body: Didimus and Origen, a third substance.

Divers other conceptions and fancies there be, to uphold this ridiculous invention of the Soule traducted from the Heathens, who by the Book of Nature understood an immortality after Death; but through their ignorance how, or which way; this invention (reported to be Platoes) was occasioned, and begat a generall beliefe: and so they, and after them the Christians have thus strained their wits to such miserable shifts, to define what it is, but neither conclude any certainty, or give satisfaction therein. Yet since it is generally concluded to be in man, and of man; but what, where, or how no man knowes, though such severall opinions be, if but examined: Ile pitch upon those which afford most conceptory definition: that is, that of Aristotle, Nemesius, or Ambrose Parey, which make the Soule to be all the internall and externall Faculties of Man joyntly considered: or Man Anatomized: and thereto Reply thus.

All the Faculties of Man (sensu diviso or conjuncto) are all, and each of them mortall; as well those that are peculiar to man, as those that are common to Beasts: and if all those, with his corpulent matter compleating Man, be proved mortall; then the invention of the Soule upon that ground vanisheth: which I thus prove.

All elementary compositions or Temperatures are mortall, and transitory: Edition: current; Page: [2-051] But Mans Faculties a minore ad majus are Temperatures: Ergo, Mortall.

The Minor is thus proved.

That which is subject to intention and remission is a Temperature:

But all Mans Faculties, yea those of Reason, Consideration Science, &c. all that distinguish Man from a Beast, are augmented by Learning, Education, &c. lessened by Negligence, Idlenesse, &c. and quite nullified by Madnesse: Ergo.

That those Faculties are Temperatures, I further prove thus:

A Temperature is a Quality; and a Quality may be in the Subject, or absent from it, without the destruction of the same subject.

But Reason, Understanding, &c. may be absent from the Body their Subject, and yet the Body living: as, in mad men, and persons in the Falling-sickness; and none will deny they are men at that same time:

Ergo.

Object. Qualities of the Body are subject to sense: But Understanding, &c. subject to none: Ergo.

Answ. A hot and drie braine is quick-witted, which by moisture and coldnesse is altered: and so we are disposed according to the present constitution of our Bodies.

If this suffice not, I adde: that, an effect is by passion from the cause, as motion cannot be without passion from that which moveth: for take away the cause, and the motion ceaseth: tolle causam tollitur effectus: Therefore quicknesse of wit cannot be without passion from heat and drynesse: for over-power that hot and dry braine with moisture and coldnesse, as may be with Opium, and the hotnesse and drynesse thereof ceaseth, and dulnesse followeth.

Further, even from my Opposites Assertions I prove this Soul they so talk on, to be elementall, as Woolnor and others, who ascribe unto it an Aeriall Body: For whatsoever is Aeriall is elementall, else could it not be Aeriall:

Ergo, this Soule is elementall, and so finite. If this immortall spirit have an Aeriall Body; I wonder what would become of it, if a living man were closed up in a Vessell, which were so sollid every Edition: current; Page: [2-052] where, that the Aire could not possibly evacuate, and there the man dye; either it must perish with the man, or else remaine there, through which there is no passage for its Aeriall Body: So that he so martyred hath an ill-favoured Paradice for his Soul.

And further, experience tels us, If the former Brain-pan be hurt, the Senses are hindred, but the Cogitation remaineth sound.

If onely the Middle-pan be harmed, the Cogitation is maimed; but the Seat of Sense keeps all the five Senses whole: If any hurt befall both to the Former and Middle-pan, both Sense and Cogitation decay.

If the Hinder-pan be disordered only, the Memorie alone, and neither Sense nor Cogitation receive harme.

So that in veritie, Man is but a creature whose severall parts and members are endowed with proper natures or Faculties, each subservient to other, to make him a living Rationall Creature; whose degrees or excellencies of naturall Faculties make him in his kind more excellent then the Beasts: So that though Parey and others doe so excellently set forth his severall endowments or properties of his severall members, it doth not follow, that those Faculties together are a Being of themselves immortall: For as the members cannot be perfect members without them, so they cannot be faculties without their members; and separation cannot be without destruction of both: As attraction or heat is the property of fire, which cannot be, if fire cease; nor fire be, if it cease: and as well may we say the heat of the fire continueth, after the fire is dead out, as those Faculties when their Body is dead: for spoyle one, spoyle both; kill one, kill both; this is in that, and that is in this: The Forme is so in the Matter, and the Matter so in the Forme; as thereby, and not else, is an Existence, or Humane Entity; And their Being is in this Union, and their Union is in this Being: So that, take away Forme, and Matter ceaseth; take away Matter and Forme ceaseth: destructio unius est interitum alterius. The Forme is the Forme of the Matter, and the Matter the Matter of the Forme; neither of them selves but each by other, and both together make one Being; therefore if one Be by the other, and thereby Both together; then one cannot consist without the other, but must Both perish together: For nothing can consist without that, by which it is.

But suppose on the contrary, one could consist without the other, as they say the Soul can without the Body; then one may be generated without the other, Soul without Body, and so according Edition: current; Page: [2-053] to their preposterous precepts, it is not unnaturall for a Woman to bring forth a Spirit, that hath neither flesh, blood nor bones, instead of a Child.

Or if one Be without the other, as Forme without Matter: Masse concepted, without the Facultie conceptive: then should all corpulent Substances be as infinite as God, without beginning, and Be of themselves, and themselves Gods: But I hope all grant both impossible: Therefore they must as well end together as begin together; and begin together as end together. Moreover, experience further tels us, that they neither can Be, nor consist without other: For if Nature be deprived more, or lesse in her work of conception of her due, (her Formes or conceptions being by her powers Formative or conceptive, or her Formed Faculties by her Facultive Formes) her Effect is accordingly: If membrally impedited, a membrall impediment; if totally impedited, a totall frustration; of Matter and Forme, in Both: For he that is born without any member, hath neither Forme nor Faculty thereof at all: or with any membrall imperfection, that part hath not its perfection either of Forme or Faculty: so commeth it that some are borne Fooles, and never can be wise: Therefore their originall Being must be together. And that their ultimate end is together, we see, that the Eye is no Eye without the Sight: and Sight no Sight without the Eye: and so of all the other Senses and Faculties e minore ad majus. Wherefore, membral perfection is not so much in shape as in virtue; and virtuall perfection not so much in Masse as in due proportion, and both joyntly make naturall perfection, which is the gift of God, or natures generall instinct: So, as one can by no meanes be without the other, so one cannot subsist without the other: For could there be a Facultive substance (as that of the Soul is made) without its body; then a man might live when his head were cut off; yea, were his whole body quite burnt and consumed away, except his GREAT TOE; he, even his Soul might as well live in his GREAT TOE, as before in his whole Masse; yea, better in that, then without all, as they childishly suppose.

Therefore, they may as well say, the Popes Soul is in his GREAT TOE when men kisse it, as say, the Soul liveth, when the Body dieth.

Further, this Facultive Gift, or Natures endowment can no more be said to be a subsistent living Spirit, without its Receptacle, then the Sun-beames without the Sun, which are the gift or property of the Sun, But the Being of this communication must be Edition: current; Page: [2-054] in the Subject, as levitie in the Fire, ponderositie in the Earth: And though the natures of things be immediate communications of Gods Power to Nature, yet disjunctively those communications are no Entities, without God be so many severall Beings; for in that sence they are not communications but absolute Beings of themselves; for betwixt Faculty and Subject is a Relation to communication, as betwixt Father and Son to Fatherhood; neither without other, nor it without both: and to say notwithstanding, as this fancy of the Soul importeth, that there may be a Facultive Substance without its Subject; then Natures severall Faculties must not be the severall communications of One Being, but so many absolute irrelative Beings of themselves: So that this Doctrine of the Soul implyeth, no God; if a God, so many severall Gods as Faculties: and if but ONE then it chops that ONE smaller then hearbs to the pot: Therefore Faculty ceaseth with its Subject, or with the Subject God gathereth to himself the power, and yet his power no more by retraction, then lesse before by communication; and so but One Being, in whom all things are, or one Ens Entium.

Moreover, those severall Faculties cannot be united or comprehended in one body, but by the severall members of the same body; for we see, if the member decay, the faculty decayes: Therefore their unite substance must be terminated membrally in the body: And if it were possible they could subsist seperated from their members; then in that seperation their Being could not be conjunct or unite, for want of that which tyed them together, the severall members: And so, if any Being, so many severall Beings as severall Faculties: if any Soul, so many severall Soules: a Phantasticke Soul, a Rationall Soul, a Memorative Soul, a Seeing Soul, a Hearing Soul, a Smelling Soul, a Tasting Soul, a Touching Soul, with divers other Souls of all sorts, and sizes: as, saving your presence, an Evacuating Soul, &c.

And further, that those Faculties are thus in their Subjects, and are not without them, (as accidens non est nisi in subjecto) we see, that they increase and grow with their Subjects, and perfect together: For a Child is totally proportionated (as Adam when Godformed him of the Earth) before the vitall Faculty be actuall, (as Parey saith) and the Rationall requireth a due processe of time after birth, before it be ripe to bring forth the fruit of Rationality, & as its Subject groweth and ripeneth, so it increaseth and Perfecteth: for it is impossible, that the thing which is not actual Edition: current; Page: [2-055] in it self, should have a second thing actuall in it; and Rationality in an Infant, is no more in it, then a Chickin in the egge, only in posse: therefore a Child cannot possibly ratiocinate, before it be actually Rationall; which cannot be before Organnicall perfection: For Reason cannot Be, and not shew it self; shew it self and not Be; for its Being is its Rationality, and its Rationality its Being: therefore as its Organs are potentiall, it is potentiall; and as its Organs are weake and imperfect, it is weak and imperfect; and as they are perfect, it is perfect: Therefore Faculties increase with their Subjects, and if increase, they must decrease.

Anatomize Man, Take a view of all his Lineaments and Dimensions, of all his members and Faculties, and consider their state severally, and all are transitory, even all that goeth to the Subject Man is corruptible, and himself but a Bundle of corruption, or curious Masse of vicisitudes. If all of Man that goeth to his Manhood be mortall, where then, or what is this immortall thing the Soul they talke of? we have examined all his parts and faculties, and find even all mortall: It is not sure his prima materia though ingenerable, incorruptible, insensible, indefinite, &c. Nor his Forma prima, that principle which first gives Essence to a naturall Body; the first Active principle, informing and figurating the First Matter, sui appetentem; for both are generall to the whole Creation, whose Efficient Cause is onely immediately God himself, by whose power all things that are made shall be returned to that of which they were made, their Materia prima, or created matter: So that, (as Solomon saith,) Man hath no preheminence above a Beast, even one thing befalleth them.

What Reason is there now, that Mans Faculties in a higher Degree, should be an immortall Spirit, more then a Beasts in a lower degree? but both elementary and finite.

Further, if it be not unnaturall that Seeing, Hearing, &c. should be producted by an Elementary operation, as none deny in the propagation of Beasts: why is not the rationall facultie in Man as naturall in Man, and may as well be producted elementarily by Man, as the other by Beasts, and be as actually mortall? If this suffice not, observe; Substantia non recipit majus aut minus, a Giant is no more a man then a Dwarfe: there may be a graduall distinction, and yet no Essentiall difference; Degrees of Faculties in severall persons, and yet the Faculties the same, and of one nature, though not equally excellent: and the Degree doth not make a Facultie more a Facultie, or lesse a Facultie: Therefore, if Edition: current; Page: [2-056] the said Faculties in an inferiour Degree be elementary, so must they in a superiour: But in Brutes, whom none deny to be wholly mortall, and all their Faculties elementary, have our most noble parts and Faculties scattered amongst them, though in an inferiour degree: As Ambrose Parey saith, (Lib. 2. cap. I.) If we will diligently search into their nature, we shall observe the impressions of many virtues: as, of Magnanimity, Prudence, Fortitude, Clemency, Docility, Love, Carefulnesse, Providence; yea, Knowledge, Understanding, Memory, &c. is common to all Brutes; the Affections and Passions of the Mind, all his Qualities good and bad, and every Facultie he hath is to be found more or lesse amongst them: And Parey further saith, They are of quicke sense, observant of the Rites of Friendship and Chastity, they submit themselves to the Discipline of Man, they have taught Man many things, &c.

The Hare is eminent for Memory, the Dog for Apprehension and Fidelity, the Serpent for Wisdome, the Fox for Subtiltie, the Dove for Chastity and Innocency, the Elephant for Docility, Modesty, and Gratitude. Plinie saith, he commeth near the understanding of a man, that they worship the Moon and Stars: Plutarch, that they worship the Sun rising. The Ape is eminent for Imitation and Understanding, the Turtle for Love, the Crocodile for Deceit, the Lambe for Patience, the Waspe for Anger, &c. and for his Five Senses he is by them exceld.

  • Aper auditu nos vincit, Aranea tactu,
  • Vultur odoratu, Linx visu, Simia gustu.

Thus Man in sensu diviso, is to be found amongst the other Creatures, and in him alone those severall Faculties are eminent sensu conjuncto, and so only capable of God: Therfore those Faculties being elementary in an inferiour Degree, in an inferiour Creature, why may they not be elementary in a superiour Degree in a superiour Creature?

Now from all, this followeth, that if in man be an immortall spirit, then divers other Creatures have the like, though not in the same Degree; for if Degree therein should make or mar the thing it selfe, then some would have no more Soules then Beasts, and some lesse: as Mad-men; and Fooles no more; and Infants lesse. If it be the Rationall Facultie, then all men are borne without Soules, and some die before they had Soules, as Infants; and some Edition: current; Page: [2-057] after their Soules are gone, as Mad-men that live and perish in their madnesse; and some would be borne, live, and die without Soules, as Fooles; and some would have Soules but by fits and jumps, as Drunkards, persons with the Falling-Sicknesse, &c. nay all of us spend a great part of our dayes without our Soules, for while we are in sound sleep our Rationality ceaseth pro tempore: Thus this Immortall Spirit goes and comes as occasion serves.

CHAP. IIII.: Objections from Naturall Reasons Answered.

Because I have onely met with one or two in this kind, I shall give a glance upon them, and passe to those Objections which are extorted from Scripture, which are various.

Object. Wooln. pag- 324. If the Soul be compounded of the Elements, it will not follow, that it must needs be mortall; because Corruption and Death comes not onely, nor so much from Propagation or Composition, as from divine Malediction: for the wages of sin is death: Without which even Adams Body should have been immortall as well as his Soul.

To which I answer. The Soule (by his owne grounds) was chiefly, the body but instrumentally in the Transgression: And so, if the wages of sin be death, the Soule was under the divine Malediction as well as the Body: so that it (if such a thing be) lost its supernaturality and immortality, as well as the body: Therefore, if by this Rule the Souls Immortality may be pleaded, much more may the Bodies.

I should (according to the import of the Title of this Chapter) have produced more Objections in this kind: but finding Naturall Reason silent therein, I Answer such silent ones with silence. Needs must Reason be silent in the defence of this fancie, since it cannot define what that is, to which this immortality is ascribed: Yet some beyond all Reason to uphold this ignote endlesse entitie, say, that though it cannot be defined what it is, yet it followeth not that it is not: as we cannot define what God is, yet it followeth not that there is no God: And so it mattereth not whether it be the Rationall Facultie, or no; or what it is, so long as it is.

To this I Answer, That this is to make no distinction betwixt Reason and Madnesse; As if we were bound to beleeve that, for Edition: current; Page: [2-058] which there is no sense nor reason; so might we beleeve there were ten thousand Gods, yea blocks and stones were Gods sufficient to save: But we find in Scripture and in Nature sufficient to convince our Reasons that there is but one God, and he that one whom we worship, though our Reasons are not able fully to comprehend him; so much of him wee know, as our Reasons is able to containe: whereas for this immortall spirit, there is not so much of it declared as may convince Reason what it is, or that it is; and to beleeve that it is, because we cannot know what it is, shall be no Article of my Beliefe.

Thus proved from Scripture and Reason, let us proceed to the Resolution of what from Scripture shall be obtruded.

CHAP. V.: Objections extorted from Scripture Answered.

Object. 1. Therefore we are alwayes confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: we are confident I say, and willing rather, to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord, 2 Cor. 5.6.8.

Whence is inferred a present injoyment of Glory immediately after death.

I Answer, that both the foregoing and subsequent matter deny such an Interpretation, or Consequence: for before, wishing to be clothed with our House from Heaven, on which is this expression of being present with the Lord, he expounds, that his meaning is thereby, that mortality might be swallowed up of life, or as he saith, I Cor. 15.53. -that this corruptible (man) might put on incorruption, and this mortall put on immortality: And the following matter of them words, being laid down as the reason or ground why he so spake, prove, that by his [presence with the Lord,] he meant nothing else, but his state after the Resurrection: for saith he, we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one, &c. ver. 1.

Obj. 2. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better; neverthelesse, to abide in the flesh is much needfull for you, Phil. 1.23.24

I Answer: this is of the same nature, therefore must have the same Interpretation: for Paul did not preach one thing to the Philippians, Edition: current; Page: [2-059] and the contrary to the Corinthians. Besides, such manner of expressions are not contradictory to this mortality; for though there be long time to the Living till the Resurrection, there is none to the Dead: for from Adams death to his Resurrection at the end of the World, will be to him, as the twinkling of an eye to the Living; yea, the twinkling of an eye to the living, is more time, then a thousand, yea ten thousand yeares is to the dead: For Being onely commensurates with Time, or length of dayes; not to Be cannot possibly be capable thereof: So, that the Livings tedious anniversary expectation of the Resurrection, and end of their faith; is not a twinkling to the grave: the Livings Future is the Deads Present: Therefore, it is well figurated in Scripture by sleep, as slept with his fathers, I King. 11.43-falne asleep in Christ, 1 Cor. 15.18. &c. not that it is so long a time to the dead, but that in nature there is nothing so represents death, or non-being, as sleep: So that this may take away all carnall security; for who would not watch and pray over night, that knowes he must die in the morning? live well and be wary to day, that must rise and answer to morrow; beleeve to day, that would not be damned, but saved to morrow: This administers comfort to the righteous, but terrour to the wicked.

Object. 3. And it came to passe as her soule was in departing, Gen. 35.18. Ergo, there is such a thing as the Soule, which continueth its Being after death.

Answ. No such matter; for the sense of the words is, as she was dying, or life a departing, for the following words say she dyed; which could not be, if her soule (her constitutive part) lived still, no more then a man can be said to lose his hand, when he loses a finger.

Object. 4. And he stretched himselfe upon the Child three times, and cryed unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, pray thee, let this Childs soule come into him againe: And the Lord heard his voice, and the soule of the Child came into him again, and he revived. 1 King. 17.21.22. And Job 14.22. it is said, his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soule within him shall mourne.

Ergo, there is such a thing as the soule.

Ans. If it be meant life or breath, whose Being is consistent and terminated in a corpulent union: For, by that of the Child, is meant his breath or life, the thing that his corpulent matter wanted; as ver. 17. implyeth, which saith, his sicknesse was so sore, that there was no breath left in him: Therefore, that which was gone, Edition: current; Page: [2-060] was prayed for, his breath or life, as his Answer further proveth, which was, and it revived.

And by Soul in that of Job is meant, his conscience; whose seat is in the reasonable and memorative Faculties. Therefore, the use of the word Soule in those places, doe not prove such a thing in man as is supposed: For in Scripture it is variously used upon various occasions. It is put for the stomack Prov. 27.7. for the eyes, Jer. 13.17. for the heart, 1 Sam. 18. for God, Prov. 19.16. Heb. 10.38. Jer. 14.19. for the dead body, Psal. 16.10. for the whole man, Levit. 7.19. & 5.1. Acts 7.14. Num. 15.30. Rom. 13.1. Gen. 12.5. & 46. Act. 2.41. 1 Pet. 3.20. for breath, Act. 20.10. for life, Isa. 53.12.

Therefore, from those places those parts may as well be proved so many Soules, or Spirits of immortality, as from those where it is put for Breath or Life, its Being be proved, or such an immortall existence to be in the body.

Object. 5. For which cause we faint not; for though our outward man perish, yet the inward is renewed day by day.

Ergo, there is soule and body in man.

Answ. It is not said, Though our flesh perish, yet our soules is renewed; then ’twere something to little purpose, but it is said, our outward man, which compared with what is meant by inward man, must needs be whole man; for by inward man is meant faith or work of grace, (Rom. 1.17. & 14.8. & 8.1. 2 Cor. 5.1 7.) which is no part of naturall man: so that without it or its renewing we are men perfect, as well as with it.

Object. 6. Who knoweth the spirit of man, that goeth upward; and the spirit of a beast that goeth downward to the earth? Wherefore man hath a soule that goeth presently to Heaven, but the beasts to the earth.

Answ. It cannot beare that sense; for immediately before he saith, their breath is all one, there is no difference, as the one dyeth so dyeth the other, and goeth to one place, the dust: Therefore, if the beasts be reversed into the elements, so must mans. The meaning I take to be thus, that such a wonderfull thing is the breath of a man, that breatheth upward, and the breath of a beast that breatheth downward, (for Spirit signifieth breath) according to that of Ovid:

  • Pronaque cum spectent animalia cœtera terram
  • Os Homini sublime dedit, cœclumque videre
  • Jussit, & erectos ad sidera tollere vultus.
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that its Faculty how it is, is past finding out: for Art in all her imitations could never touch that secret with her pensill.

Object. 7. Feare not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soule, but rather feare him, who is able to destroy both soule and body in hell.

Answ. This carryes the face indeed of the soules immortality: but if the interpretation must be confined to that sence, it overthrowes the current of the whole Scriptures: Wherefore, my opinion of it is, that by [not able to kill the soul] is meant, (as Luke hath it, C. 12 4) have no more that they can do: that is, though they have power over this life, which is sowen in corruption, they have none over that which is raysed in incorruption, But rather feare him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell; that, (as Luke hath it,) after he hath killed, hath power to cast into Hell. This doth not set forth any immortality before the Resurrection, but shewes, that onely that is in Gods hand, and he onely able to touch it, that is, cast it into Hell. That this must be so expounded, I further prove from the non-entity of Hell; for there can be no casting into Hell, before Hell be, which though it be ordained of old, Isa. 30.33. it is but in posse, not in esse till the Resurrection: For satisfaction, it is convenient to declare what we mean by Hell: for Hell is diversly used in Scripture: It is put for the grave, Psal. 16.10. & 55.15. Isa. 14.15 - for the Whale in which Jonah was, Jon. 2.2. for Sathans Kingdom leading to Hell, Mat. 16.18. for Satan, or his malignant spirits, Jam. 3.6. for the place of the damned, Mat. 5.29. & 10.28. Luke 12.5. & 16.23. 2 Pet. 2.4. and this last, [the place of the damned] is that which we meane by Hell: and it is likewise variously called: as, outer darknesse, Mat. 22.13. & 23.33. wrath to come, 1 Thes. 1.10. & 5.9. Chaines of darknesse, 2 Pet. 2.4. Jude 6. eternall fire, Jude 7. second death, Rev. 20.6. bottomlesse pit, Rev. 9.2. the place of torment, Rev. 14.10. & 20.10. Lake of fire, Rev. 19.20. & 21.8. everlasting punishment, Mat. 25.41.46. blacknesse and darknessefor ever, Jude 13. Those severall expressions are generally taken to set forth the end of the Reprobate, or the execution of Gods wrath upon them: Therefore, if none of the formentioned places that Hell is put for, save that of the place of the damned, be taken for Hell, then most of those severall expressions suite with it: but the expressions in generall grant no immediate execution after this death, but imply the contrary, as we may see, if we examine them.

First, in Mat. 22.13. where it is called outer darknesse, and Edition: current; Page: [2-062] 23.v.33. damnation of Hell, cornpared with cap. 25.41. where, it is said, Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, depart from me yee cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the Divel and his Angels: to this adde 2 Cor. 5.10. For we must all appeare before the judgment Seate of Christ, that everyone may receive the things done in the flesh, whether good or evil: and to these adde 1 Thes. 1.10. & 5.9. where it is called, wrath to come: which thus compared shew plainely, it is to come; else execution must go before judgment, which in a Common-wealth would be ridiculous injustice, as first to hang men, and then judge them. At the day of judgment we all must receive our reward according to our deeds good or bad, THEN shall he say unto them on his left hand &c. and not before THEN: for it cannot be twice received: therefore, it is fitly called wrath to come; and the very divels confirme this themselves, Mat. 8.29. art thou come to torment us before the time? which proveth plainly, that the time of their torment was not come: and if the Divel cannot be believed, God further cleares it, 2 Pet. 2.4. For if he spared not the Angels that sinned, but cast them down to Hell, and delivered them into Chaines of darkenesse, to be reserved unto judgment. And Jude 6. The Angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting Chaines, unto the Judgment of the great day: in both which places it is said, they are reserved unto judgment: and Iude ver. 7. to the Reprobate is reserved the blacknesse of darkenesse for ever: and to this adde Rev. 20.10.11.12.13.14.15. which clearly shew, that at the day of Judgement both Divels and Reprobate together shall be cast into the Lake of fire: Therefore, if reserved for both till then, Ile be bold to say, it shall not be till, nor before then.

Moreover, Rev. 19.20. it is said, the beast and the false Prophet and them that worshipped his image were cast alive into the lake of fire and brimstone: and C.20.10. And the Devil that deceived them, was cast into the Lake: and this v.6 & 14. is called the second death: therefore, this casting into the Lake must be after the Fall of Antichrist, and after he hath done deceiving; and not before; for if he be there now, he hath done deceiving; for once there, it is impossible he should deceive: but that he hath not, there is more witnesses, then stars in the Skie, or sands in the Sea; our innumerable sinnes, whole just reward is the second death.

If it be Questioned, where then the Divels are?

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Observe, they are but Creatures, and such as are fallen from their Heavenly mansions; therefore, within the Sublunary compasse, so that as the Earth is the proper place for ponderous and grosse bodies: and the Devils being more subtile and aiereal may be referred to the air; and not without ground from Scripture: for Ephef.2.2. the Devil is called the Prince of the power of the aire: so that their casting into Hell, must be the aire: and Hell may as well be put for the aire in those places, as in other for the grave, &c. their prison, or place of custody, as the grave to the dead. And Rev. 12.9. tis said, he was cast into the earth, and his Angels &c.

This premised, Hell and Damnation not yet; well might ignorance straine it self into such incertaine conceits about the place of it’s Being, and it not as yet: Some have feigned it in Mount Etna, some in the Element of Fire, which is betwixt the upper region of the Aire and the Globe of the Moon; some to be in the Caves of the Earth, and Conduits of the Sea; some only in the Sea, as Archer in his Personall raigne of Christ mentions, because the Divels were cast into the Swine, which ran violently down a steep place into the Sea, Mar. 5.13. surely, they might as wel say, they have Milstones about their necks, because it is also said, better a milstone were tyed about his neck, and he cast into the bottome of the Sea: for the one followeth no more then the other: Some say, it is in the earth equally so far distant from the surface, as Heaven is above it: as Phillips, &c. and this he labours to confirme with Scripture: as, Pro. 15.24. The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from Hell beneath. and Phil. 2.10. That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in Earth, and things under the Earth: i.e. in Hell saith he. And Luke 16. The rich man saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosome: And Ezck. 31.18. Yet shalt thou be brought down with the Trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the Earth.

But those and such like places which literally seem to import Hell, conclude the thing no more, then other literall expressions prove God to have corpulent eyes, cares, hands, &c. but are expressions after the manner of men, to shew the gradation of condition betwixt the wicked and the righteous, the one the extreamest debasement, the other the extreamest exaltation, which could not be better figurated to sence, then by Heaven and Earth.

And in particular thus: The first, as Pro. 15.24. is litterall or figurative, which interpretation can neither be canonicall nor rationall; for thereby wise men must not tread upon the ground, Edition: current; Page: [2-064] but must walk upon the Aire, or upon the water, as Christ and Peter upon the Sea, (Mat. 14.25.29.) and there only the way of life: for it saith, their way is above. For the second; as, Phil. 2.10. that is both propheticall and figurative, to shew how in processe of time all Degrees shall subject to Christ: Angels, Men, Beasts, Devils, and Death, whose Degrees is thus literally expressed to sence by Heaven, Earth, under the Earth; or Angels that are highest in dignity, and so cœlestiall; Men and sublunars the midle, and so terrestriall; Divels and Death the lowest, and so subterrestriall.

The third, as Luke 16. is parabolicall: (of which more anon) and it seemes by this, if Hell be so deep in the Earth, the Damned have wonderfull good eyes, to see through the earths grosse body, and the Heavens 12. Spheares into the Coplum Empyreum, to spy Lazarus in Abrahams bosome; or else Heaven must be there too, even in the centure of the Earth: this is the consequence of such parabollicall Arguments. And the 4th. or last, as Ezek. 31.18. is a kin to those: for it is but to shew, how that Pharaoh in the height of his pride and fury was brought to confusion, which in the 15.v. is expressed by, In the day when he went down into the grave, and v. 14. unto death, to the nether parts of the earth, to the pit; and v. 17. into Hell: all which shew but the sudden death and utter confusion of Pharaoh and his Army: and at the utmost, Hell here can be put for death, or the grave, and not for any such place of torment.

There is yet an other Opinion of the place of Hell, which is the best that ever I heard or read of, and that is (according to Archers judgment) the Earth reduced to its prima materia or created matter, which he saith cannot be consumed, and there shall the Damned be cast: But least I should dive further in the inquisition of the place then my Commission will reach, Ile leave it to the wofull experience of the damned at the day of judgment.

Object. 8. such a one caught up into the third Heavens: how that he was caught up into Paradice, 2 Cor. 12.2.4. there Paradice is put for the third Heavens: And to this compare Christs Answer to the theife upon the Crosse: This day, thou shalt be with me in Paradice: Therefore, Paradice is the third Heavens, the place for the souls of the righteous, whither the Theifes soul went that day.

Answ. First, Christ was not there that day himself; for his humanity was three dayes and three nights in the grave after his death.

2ly, His whole humanity (soul and body as ’tis called) suffered death, as it was necessary, for if his body only suffered, what Edition: current; Page: [2-065] should our souls have done for a Redeemer? (of this more hereafter) so that the saying of the prophet is fulfilled: Psal. 16.10. For thou wilt not leave my soul in Hell, (i.e. his manhood in the grave) nor suffer thine holy One to see corruption: i.e. or there to putrifie.

3ly, if so; then the souls of the righteous have an earthly fading habitation, for the 12. Spheares are as the earth is a meer elementall condensation; and at the Day of the Lord the Heavens shall passe away with a great noyse, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat: 2 Pet. 3.10. But their habitation is of a better and enduring substance, Heb. 10.34. eternall, 2 Cor. 5.1. an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, 1 Pet. 1.4. whereas, this makes it mortall, corruptible, and fading: so that, the soul changeth but one corruptible earthly mansion for an other, that shall fleet away, and no more place shall be found for it, Rev. 20.10. and 21.1.

4ly, Christ was the first fruits of them that slept, and thereby (as he tould his Disciples) he went to prepare a place for them in his Fathers house.

Therefore, if it were then to prepare, it was not then in esse, there could be none in, before it self was in Being: so that if Abraham, Isaac, &c. as soon as they died, entred presently therein, it is as if we should be actually in a House before the House be built, or enjoy the Purchase before the Price be paid, or Possession had.

I may (and not without ground) positively affirme, that the place of Glory for the dead Saints is not yet: and shall not actually Be till the dissolution of those Heavens and this earth, according to that of Isaiah 65.17. For behold I create New Heavens and a New Earth, and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. Chap. 66. the New Heavens and the New earth shall remaine before me saith the Lord. And 2 Pet. 3.13. tis said, we look for New Heavens and a New Earth, (after the dissolution of the old ver. 12.) wherein dwelleth righteousnesse. And John after he had revealed the end and finall dissolution of the world, and the judgment of the quick and dead; saith, And I saw a New Heaven, and a New Earth; for the first Heaven and the first Earth were passed away, and there was no more Sea. And ver 2.3.&c. And I saw the holy City, &c. Whence is observable, that Isaiah, Peter, and John with one consent in probation that they did not meane any state in this world, expresly conclude the dissolution of those Heavens & this earth, before their prophesie be fulfilled. Edition: current; Page: [2-066] 2ly, that they are not the same with those, they stile them New, to distinguish them from the old. 3ly, that they intend no renovation of the old, Isaiah maketh them a work of Creation: [I create New Heavens &c.] 4ly, to confirme it further, Isaiah declareth their eternity, [the New Heavens and the New Earth shall continue before me saith the Lord] 5ly, Peter maketh them pure and undefiled: [wherein dwelleth righteousnesse] And into this New Earth John saw the holy City, New Jerusalem comming down from God out of Heaven, (ver. 2.) and heard a voyce out of Heaven, saying, Behold, the Tabernacle of God with men, and he will dwell with them. ver. 3. and ver. 27. there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth: whence it is most certaine, that it shall never be defiled with sin, for the glory of God shall lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof, ver. 23. and they shall raigne for ever and ever. cap. 22.5. 6ly, there shall be no teares, no death, nor sorrow, nor any more paine: for the former things are passed away. cap. 21.4. none of all which is computable with the state of this world: but if compared with those places which speake of the state of glory or habitation for the Saints that sleep in Christ, after this life: as, 1 Pet. 1.4. where it is made an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away. and Heb. 10.34. it is called an enduring substance: and cap. 11.14. it is called a Countrey, and ver. 15. an heavenly Countrey: which so answer and correspond with this New Creation, that thereto only it is computable: therefore, they must needs be one and the same; and that they are, the prophesies themselves do witnesse, as, Rev. 21.24. the Nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of it: and cap. 22.5. there they shall raigne for ever and for ever: and Peter makes it the end of their faith, saying, we according to his promise look for new Heavens &c. and further to confirme it, compare Rev. 7.14.15.16.17. with cap. 20.1.2.3.4. and you shall find, that it shall be the reward of those that come out of tribulation &c. Therefore, this is the inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled &c. the purchased possession, Ephe. 1.14. the World to come, ver. 21. the reward and end of our faith. This being thus, it is impossible, that any should injoy that for the present, which is yet to create: So that the Thiefe is found a World too short of this Paradice.

Object. Peter saith, it is reserved in Heaven.

To that and such like expressions I Answer, that the word Heaven being fittest to expresse the highnesse of its degree, and Edition: current; Page: [2-067] exaltation of its glory to sence, is used for no other end: so that the meaning is, reserved in highest dignity: for Heaven in Scripture is oftentimes used, to expresse the height and dignity of a thing, as, Isa. 14.12.

Object. Isaiah, there shall be no more thence an Infant of dayes, nor an old man that hath filled his dayes: for the Child shall dye an hundred yeares old, &c.

Answ. That, if this be expounded by Johns Revelation, it cannot admit of an interpretation sutable to the state of this world: for he saith, there shall be no death there, cap. 21.4. and before he sheweth, that Death (the last enemy that shall be destroyed) was cast into the Lake: Therefore, it is impossible there should be any death there. So that those expressions of Isaiah are metaphoricall, to expresse the durance of their state, which John revealeth, to be for ever and ever, cap. 22.5. Some indeed attribute this of Isaiah to the Thousand years of Christs Raigne in the Gospels glory, which commeth betwixt the Fall of the Beast and the wars of Gog and Magog; to which though it should relate, yet that double cord of Peter and John is sufficient to confirm the thing, both without contradiction plainly and expresly affirming this New Creation to be after the destruction of the old.

Object. For Christ is not entred into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven it selfe now to appeare in the presence of God for us, Heb. 9.24.

Answ. If the subject or matter in hand of that place be observed, the obscurity or seeming contradiction hereto will vanish: the subject thereof is, the state of the two Covenants or Testaments; the Old and the New: the first worldly and carnall, the other heavenly and spiritual; the first the shadow, the second the substance; the first had a worldly Sanctuary, a Tabernacle made, with carnall Ordinances, patterns of heavenly things to come; which in this very place is called holy places made with hands, which were figures of the true, into which Christ entred not, but into heaven it selfe; that is, the Holyest of all, which was not made manifest while the first Tabernacle was standing, Ver. 8.12. which in this place is expressed by the title of heaven it selfe, not intending the place of glory for the dead Saints, or his locall ascension into any superiour materiall place, but respecting his Mediation or Offering of himselfe, whereby now (and for ever) to appeare in the presence of God for us: as ver. 25. & 26. further evidence.

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Firstly, by the third heavens and Paradise in 2 Cor. 12.2.4. is meant nothing else but such a rapture as Daniel, Paul, John, &c. were in, when the Lord appeared to them in Visions, to declare wonderfull things unto them; for he that was thus caught up, heard unspeakable words, which was not lawfull for man to utter, ver. 4. And for Paradise in the other place, [To day shalt thou be with me in Paradise] If it be taken of any condition to be in that present day, it must be the same he was in himselfe; for he was to be with him, and that was at rest, where the wicked cease from troubling, Job 3. 17. where the prisoners rest together, and hear not the voice of the oppressour, ver. 18. If not to respect the present day, or any condition therein, (as is most probable) then it must be meant, (as the Malefactour desired) when he was in his Kingdome, which could not be before his Resurrection: therefore, the Malefactour could enjoy no such soulary beatitude, as from hence is supposed, and that before he had received this Kingdome himselfe; but must receive the Paradise as Christ did, by a totall Resurrection: wherefore it may well be he was one of the Saints that rose again soone after Christs Resurrection, Mat. 27.53.

Object. 9. By faith Enoch was translated, &c. Heb. 11.5. And Elijah went up by a whirl-wind into heaven, 2 King. 2.11.12.

Answ. This no way helpeth the fancie of the soule to a Paradise, but rather wholly confounds the conceit; for Elijah left his mantle, not his body behind, when he ascended the fierie charriot, and Enoch was wholly taken up by God, both translated or changed, and therefore, said, not to see death, because they did not sleep in their change: for in Scripture we reade of a threefold gradation in death; the one sleeping in corruption, which is generall, another sleeping but not seeing corruption, as Christs, the last a sudden change, as Paul saith, Behold, I shew you a mysterie, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, &c. and such as this, was that of Enoch and Elijah; and this may beare the title of death too, for as the other is a mediate, this is an immediate change, both end, and meet in one period, mortality swallowed up of life. And whereas before I affirme, that none ever except Christ ascended into heaven since the Creation, I mean of those that slept, of whom he was the first fruits, 1. Cor. 15.20.

Now that I may not seem to any, to contradict what before I affirmed concerning the New Heavens and the New Earth, as if I should make this place into which they ascended, to be the place Edition: current; Page: [2-069] intended for the Saints generally at the Resurrection, and so overthrow my former assertions, I shall shew the difference, which if considered, will remove the obscurity: For before, the place intended for the Saints, was cleerly proved incoruptible, and everlasting, whereas the place into which they ascended, is corruptible, and shall passe away, and its place no more be found; for the Scripture is plaine, they ascended into Heaven, and as plaine the Heavens shall be consumed with fire: But may be, it is supposed, that Christ and the rest passed the limits of the Creation, or that the Heavens, except that where he is, shall be dissolved.

To which I Answer, that the Scripture makes no such distinction or difference, but saitb, the Heavens shall melt away; or import any thing by Heaven’ in those places which speak even of Christs Ascension, then the same, or part of the same meant by Heavens in other places which speak of the dissolution.

Further, Reason tels us, that he must be within the compasse of the Creation, for there is no beyond, without it place or being is impossible; Humanity though glorifyed is but a Creature, and why not then within the Creation as well as the Angels, creatures as glorious as glorified humanity? (Luke 20.36.) if a Creature, therefore within the Creation, else could it not be a Creature, his glorification alters not his Creatureship; and the Scripture saith, Heaven must contain him till the restitution of all things, Act. 3.21. and every Continent implyeth a certaine place, and every place must be materiall, for non datur vacuum, and every matter must imply creation, else it could not be: therefore he is within the Creation. Moreover, his Humanity not being ubiquitorie, that is, every where at once, he must be in the creation, and in some certaine place of the creation.

Now seeing Heaven in Scripture is frequently used, to expresse height or excellencie of degree or dignity of a thing, (as Isa. 14.12. Heb. 6.4. Mat. 6.32. John 3.12. Ephes. 2.& 3.10.) and he ascended upward from the Earth into some part of the coelestiall bodies above, Act. 1.10. therefore, without doubt he must be in the most excellent, glorious, and heavenly part thereof, which is the SUN, the most excellent piece of the whole Creation, the Epitome of Gods power, conveyour of life, growth, strength, and being to every Creature under Heaven, it may be with other things, but nothing without it, the brightnesse whereof we are not able to behold at the farthest distance, and according to the famous Copernichus and Tycho Braheus, it is highest in station to the Edition: current; Page: [2-070] whole Creation: And it is called by the Learned, Cor Coeli, Anima & Oculus mundi, Planetarum & Fixarum Choragus, Author generationis: Fitly therefore may it be called the Right hand of God, by which through Christ in him we live, move, and have our being; for it is that which reflecteth the brightnesse, glory and power of the Creatour upon the Creatures mortall; his glory must of necessity be the light, else light could not be, therefore it must be by reflection, else would it be too glorious for mortall eyes, we could not see it and live: hee hath drawne a veile (the body of the Sun) before our eyes, that we may stand in his shadow and live; for this light is but his shadow, which the Sun as a glasse casteth upon the Creatures, it fills the Moon, Stars, and all Sublunars with as much of his glory as they are able to contain; Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of his wings: for with him is the fountaine of life, and in his light we shall see light, Psal. 36.7.9. yea, such glory is he of, that his shadow is our light, we can see him but in part, a glimpse of his glory filleth our eyes, yea the whole world with light, he is light, and in him is no darknesse: therefore light must come from him, or else all would be darke, nay were he not, there never could be Hell, or outer darknesse; for its being commeth by withdrawing both of shadow and substance of his glory, a great gulfe shall be betwixt it and the place of the Saints, that is, there shall be such a condense interposition, as nothing shall be to reflect the brightnesse of his glory upon it, so that it is impossible for them to find the light, and for the Saints to fall into the dark. If Gods glory be not light, but true light a created matter, then at the dissolution true light shall be dissolved for ever, and no more place found for it: so in the New Jerusalem there shall be no light, but the Saints as well as the Divels shall be in continuall darknesse: for there shall be no new light created for it, implyed in these words, it shall have no need of the Sun nor Moon, but the glory of God shall inlighten it, (and that which inlightneth must needs be light) and the Lamb is the light thereof; and he shall be the same he is now, yesterday and to day the samefor ever, Heb. 13.8. Therefore this inlightning glory, or glorious light that he dwelleth in now, shall be the light then, discovered naked without reflection, they being enabled to receive it, their corruption having put on incorruption. If God be not true light, the Creation could not be consumed with fire; for if fire be matter created, fire must be burnt with fire, but that is impossible: therefore, Gods glory or light must be this consuming fire, and not Edition: current; Page: [2-071] without reason, for hold a Burning-glasse against the light of the Sun, and the contracted light meeting with a grosse body, causeth it to burne: the reason why any thing burneth, is by the combustable grossenes of the body the which contracted light meeteth with, whereon it feeds, the corruption whereof consumeth or vanisheth before the purity of the light; for that which we call by the word, fire, is nothing but contracted light, whose nature is not to burne, but the heat and burning commeth from the grossenes of the matter it meets, therefore is it, that a Sea-cole fire is hotter then one of wood, the coale hotter then the flame: So when the true light is displayed, or light appeareth naked, that is, when Christ appeareth naked, that is, when Christ commeth to Judgment, clothed with honour and majesty, covered with light as with a garment, Psal. 104.1.2 (inlightned with the glory of the Deity,) it will be to the Creation a consuming fire; else might we behold him and live: but our corruption is not able to stand in his light; for no sooner shall we behold it, but we shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye: and then shall we be enabled, as Job hath it, in his light to see light; Therefore was it, that the Lord put Moses in the clift of a rocke while his glory passed by; because his face (or naked glory) was not to be seen, but his back parts (or glory through a vaile) no man being able to see it naked and live, Exod. 33.20.21.22.23. If God were not light, there could be neither Sun, Moon, nor Stars to give light, or any light be in the world; yea the world could never have been, or could there be any God, or any thing: for if God be not light, he must be darknesse: now darknesse is no being, or can give being to any thing, it’s but a depravation of light; is not cannot be, or give being: Therefore, to say God is not light, is to say, he is not, or any Creation ever was or is: so that light is from everlasting to everlasting: As this formed light, or inlightning shaddow is now the Authour of motion, generation, and subsistance; so in the beginning the substance or true light was the beginner, and by it all beings had their beginnings: Wherefore, God being true light, it followeth, true light is no creature, or could be created, except God did create himself. And further, that he is light, the miraculous discovery of himself in visions by light doth evidence: as, his appearance to Moses in a flame of fire, Exod. 3.2. and Ezek. 10.4. his filling the Court with the brightnesse of his glory, his appearance to Peter in a light, which shined in the prison, Act. 12.7. and to Paul in a great light, which shone round about him. Further, day after day, and night after night, declare Edition: current; Page: [2-072] that he is light, for what is outer darknesse but deprivation of his presence? so the absence of the Sunlight manifests it a deprivation in some measure of his presence, the shaddow of his glory, or reflected light; because then is the fittest time for conjuration or dealing with Divels, raising of Spirits, or the like, according to Cornelius Agrippa; their power being greatest at the farthest distance of his glory, Diabolicall apparitions, or Walkes of Devils in divers places, are then only frequent, and the greater this deprivation is, the more formidable, uncough, and terrible it is, as a dayly shaddow, or type of eternall night, or outer darkness. And when Christ both God and Man was in the depth of his passion, the Sun was darkened, that he cried out, my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? as if his presence in that Eclipse had quite left him: which plainly implyes, that God is light, and darknesse the absence of his glory, the which the more it is, the greater is the darknesse.

Object. God said, let there be light, and there was light: Ergo, light was created.

Answ. If that place be compared to what is ascribed to the fourth dayes work, and it will be found no other, as the body of the Sun, which was to cast the shadow of his brightnesse for light upon the earth, and so time distinguished into day and night by its presence and absence: in which sence light may be said to be made, and so shall have an end, this shadow or his back parts we behold, but not the substance, his face, or true light, which by mortality cannot be seen, Exod. 33.20. that is impossible. Now seeing it is cleare, that God is the true light which lightneth the world, and every one that commeth therein, and this glory chiefly in the Sun, the Moderatour and upholder of the whole Creation. Therefore, there must Christ be, or else he sitteth not at the right hand of God in all things, or hath immortality dwelling in light, the which no man can approach. As for the Coelum Empyreum which the Astronomers have invented for his residence, I know no better ground they have for it, then such as Dromodotus the Philosopher in Pedantius had to prove there was Divels: Sunt Antipodes: Ergo Dœmones. Sunt Cœli: Ergo Cœlum Empyreum.

Object. 10. Then shall the dust returne to the earth, as it was, and the spirit shall returne to God who gave it. Eccles. 12.7.

Answ. By spirit cannot be meant such a thing as the soul, except all soules go to God, and none to the Devil: for it is indifferently spoken of all: but by spirit is meant life, which hath various Edition: current; Page: [2-073] expressions in Scripture: it is the will of God, that dust shal be made man, and live, and it is done, and he liveth; and his will that it shall dye, and it dyeth, or returneth to what it was: he withdraweth his communicated power, and man ceaseth, [the spirit shall returne] the communication, power, or faculty of life shall cease, [to God that gave it] in him that communicated, or gave it, in whom we live, move and have our being: no otherwise mans spirit (or life) returneth to God that gave it: he taketh away the breath and the creatures dye, and returne to their dust, Psal. 104.29. for the life of man is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. Jam. 4.14.

Object. 11. And they stoned Steven, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus receive my Spirit. Act. 7.59.

Answ. This is a commendation of his life or being into the hands of God, in whom with Christ our lives are hid, Col. 3.3. as a full assurance of his hope and faith in the Resurrection, that when Christ who is our life, should appeare, he also might appeare with him in glory: For God is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him, Luke.20.38. And thus, and no otherwise, was his spirit commended, or returned to him that gave it, whose spirit goeth forth, and we are renewed, Psal. 104.30. answerable to that of the two Witnesses, into whom the spirit of life from God, after they had lien dead three dayes and an halfe, entered into them, and they stood upon their feet.

Object. 12. God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Gen. 2.7. Ergo man hath an immortal soul.

Answ. Then so is the soul of a Beast; for Solomon saith, their breath is all one, Eccl. 3.19. and David reckoning up the creatures, and man amongst them, saith indifferently of them all, God hideth his face, and they are troubled, he taketh away their breath, they dye, and returne to their dust, Psal. 104.29. and this is further amplified in Gen. 1.30. to every thing in the Earth wherein there is a living soul &c. and cap. 7.21.22. all flesh dyed, in whose nostrils was the breath of life: and Num. 31.28. all which make no difference betwixt them, but as the one dyeth, so dyeth the other, and man hath no preheminence above a beast: For what man is he that liveth, and shall not see death, or deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah. Psal. 89.48.

Object. 13. And it came to passe the Beggar dyed, and was carried by Angels into Abrahams bosome &c. Luke 16. from the 22. to the end.

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Answ. There was never such a man as Dives or Lazarus, or ever such a thing happened, no more then Jothams Trees did walke and talke. Jud. 9.8. but was a Parable, to prove, that nothing is more effectuall for conversion then the ordinary preaching of the Word by the ministration of the servants of God: Further, the consequence concerning the soul is but drawn from the literall sence, in which sence I shall deny it canonicall Scripture; for it makes in that sence more for bodies then the souls present being in Heaven or Hell, ver. 23.24. and maketh Abraham the Father of the Damned, ver. 24.25.27.30. and ver. 22. Dives dyed and was buried; and yet v. 23. he lift up his eyes being in torment, and seeth Abraham &c. and v. 25. he cryed for Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger to coole his tongue; which in the literall sence thus applycated, must needs be contradictory, unlesse his eyes, tongue, and Lazarus finger was not buried, or their souls had corporeall corpulent members, which to conceit is ridiculous: Therefore, from this place the Resurrection of the body before the day of judgment (even as soon as a man is buried) may better be proved, then such a present soularie enterance into Heaven or Hell.

Object. 14. By which also he went, and preached to them in prison.

Answ. [By which] that is, by that whereby he was quickened, or raised from the dead; his divine nature, the God-head; as the foregoing words (whereon the sence of those depend) doth evidence, ver. 18. Christ once suffered &c. death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit, (ver. 19.) by which also he went &c. So that he went and preached by that, whereby he was quickened or raised: Therefore, the preaching, here meant, was not by that which was raised: but by that which did raise; which was ministerially, as the following words further evidence, shewing to whom he preached, even those which were disobedient in the dayes of Noah, on whom the long suffering of God waited while the Arke was a preparing: those were the spirits here meant, the wicked of those dayes, which are now in prison, that is, dead or imprisoned in the Elements. Here the grave or death is called a prison, as indeed it is, for therein all that dye are reserved in the chaines of death (the Elements) not to be delivered till Judgement Rev.20.13. according to Job. 3.18. there the prisoners rest together.

Object. 15. Therefore gloryfie God in your body, and in your spirit. 1 Cor. 6.20.

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Answ. Before, he calleth the body the Temple of the holy Ghost, ver. 19. and ver. 15. the members of Christ; which needs must be the whole man, and not his bare carcase, for in death who can praise the Lord? in it can be no habitation for the holy Ghost, and therein were they to glorifie God: to make Christ the head of such members, were to make God, the God of the dead and not of the living: therefore, by body and spirit, is meant whole man, aiming at a thorough and perfect sanctification, as well in that which respecteth thought, [the spirit] as in that which respecteth action, [the body:] inwardly to glorifie God, as well as outwardly to flee fornication, &c.

Object. 16. I saw under the Altar the soules of them that were slaine for the word of God, &c. and they cried with a loud voyce, &c. Revel. 6.10.11.

Answ. They were such souls as lay under the Altar slaine, or sacrificed, or as ver. 11. hath it, were killed; these therefore being dead soules, or martyred Saints, their cry must be as the cry of the blood of Abel: And the like vision of dead Saints confirmes it, as Cap. 20. v. 4.5. And I saw the soules of them that were beheaded for the witnesse of Jesus, and they lived, and raigned with Christ a thousand yeares: but the rest of the dead lived not again till &c. whence it is plaine, that he beheld the Resurrection, or restoration of life unto dead soules, even of them that were beheaded, but the rest lay dead, or lived not again till &c.

Thus much of illegitimate Objections from Scripture: Now to the probation hereof from Procreation or Generation, and as near as I can to resolve all occurrent Objections thereon, that shall confront.

CHAP. VI.: Of procreation, how from thence this Mortallity is proved.

It is supposed (as I conceive) by none, that what naturally proceedeth from Man simply by the course of nature, can be immortall, but must first tast of mortality: And therefore there are two sorts of Opinions to maintaine this Heathenish Invention about the soul, whereon its immortality is grounded, which I shall chiefly encounter: the one, that it is created, and infused at the conception, and so only Gods work. The other, that it is concepted Edition: current; Page: [2-076] by the woman through the concurrence of the seed of both sexes, but not simply by the course of nature, but by the supernaturall and extraordinary assistance or efficacy of God in conception more then in other creatures: and so partly mans, and partly Gods work. But that I may utterly demolish the structure of this Invention, I shall turne up the foundation of each kind in its place: But first I shall speak a word or two in generall of Procreation it self.

That whole man is generated by man, observe: That as the whole Tree is potentially in the seed, and actually in time springeth from it: or as many graines of wheat are in one graine virtually, and perfectly actuall in time: so in the seed of mankind, is whole man potentially, and wholly actuall in time; or all Adams succession, which in time are propagated, were wholly in him, life and limbs, or as it is more common, soule and body. So that whatsoever in time is actuall by procreation, it was at first potentially wholly in its originall.

Further, Generatum sequitur naturam generantis (He begat a sonne in his own image, Gen. 5.3.) is not onely philosophically, but Theologically true, Mat. 7.16. Job. 4.14. Therefore, mortall Adam must beget mortall children in his owne likenesse, soule and body, except the soule was no part of his likenesse: For that which is immortall cannot generatively proceed from that which is mortall, as Christ saith, that which is borne of the flesh is (as it selfe is, corruptible, mutable) flesh, John 3.6. so then by this mortall flesh, cannot be generated an immortall spirit, or soule that can subsist by it selfe dissolved from the flesh; for if it should, in that act it should goe beyond it selfe, which is impossible; and thereby more should be done by man and woman in generation, then God did or could doe in the Creation; for he neither did, or could create any thing greater, purer, or more excellent of nature then himselfe, and such as could subsist without him: But if this doctrine be true, (as Woolner in his Originall of the soul averreth) fleshly man by a fleshly generation, or mixture of the seed of both Sexes doth beget or conceive something greater, purer, and more excellent then himselfe, an immortall substance, an Angelicall entitie, the Soule, that can subsist without the flesh by which it is; which is as fire without light, earth without heavinesse, grosnesse, &c. should be, by which they are: and further, the Effect to be prior dignitate, precedent to the Cause, as if a man because a creature, should be before his Creator: But if it be Replyed, that the soule is generated Edition: current; Page: [2-077] by the soule, as the body by the body. I Answer, then there must be He soules and She soules: for without Sexes is no generation.

But now to the first sort, who say it is by infusion, or as the saying is, Creando infunditur, & infundendo creatur.

To which I Answer, that in conception there is corruption or marring, according to the proverb, corruptio unius est generatio alterius: so that if it be by conceiving or creating infused, and by infusion concepted or created, that is as much to say, it is made in the marring, and mard in the making: or, infused in the marring, and mard in the infusion: whence followeth, that it is neither conceived, created, nor infused; neither made, nor mard: but must be, if it be, no man knowes what, or how; whether an Angel, a Beast, or a Monster, any thing, or nothing: Riddle me, riddle me what’s this? a Soule, a Soule! Creando infunditur, & infundendo creatur!

Secondly, if the Soule be a creature infused, then Christ did not take the whole manhood from the seed of the woman, but worse then a bare brutish body, a dead carcase: But Christ was made of the seed of the woman according to the flesh, Rom. 1.3. Act. 2.30. and was as we are, sinne excepted, Heb. 4.15. and this our Image he received wholly from the woman: Therefore receiving his whole humanitie from her, the soule can be no infused creature.

3. That which brake the Serpents head was Christs humanity: But the seed of the woman brake the Serpents head: Ergo.

4. If we consist of soule and body, and are not men without both, and receive not our soules from him, but are daily created: Then Adam is the father of no man. 2. Christ cannot be the Son of man, and so no Saviour, because thereby his manhood, constitutive part, even that which should make him man, could not be by the seed of the woman. 4. So a man is as much a father of fleas and lice, which receive their matter from him, as of his children. 5. Whereas God blessed man, and bid him, as the rest of the creatures in their kind, fill the Earth in his kind with men: then he commanded him to doe more then he had given him power for: And so to content nature, and supply her imbecility to obey, is forced to a daily creation. 6. Then God finished not the Creation in sixe dayes, but rested before hee had done creating.

Fourthly, If the soule be infused, it must be at the conception, or after the conception: if at the conception, then every abortive conception hath an immortall spirit in it, and must rise againe: If after, then there is growth before there is life, which is impossible; Edition: current; Page: [2-078] for the soule is made the vegetive as well as the motive, sensitive or rationall part: and if this immortall spirit be something else, then we are not conceived perfect men, and as we are conceived, so are we borne, trees, brutes, or I know not what, and afterwards are made men, if we be men at all: and so Infants that dye in the wombe, or in the birth are little better then trees, and worse then beasts.

Fiftly, if the soule be not generated with the body, but a creature infused into a dead body, for they say, the soule is forma formans that giveth life, and motion to the body: Then it is lawfull to be a Nigromancer: for Nigromancie is nothing but putting a spirit into a dead body, and so it is but an imitation of God, and God the onely Nigromancer, and all the men in the world but Nigromantick Apparitions, whose spirits when they have done the work for which they were put into the bodies, desert them, as other conjured Ghosts doe.

Sixtly, It is granted that the body considered meerly sensitive cannot sinne, and that the body is but an instrument, or as the pen in the band of a Writer, to the Soule, whereby it acts and moves: Therefore, if the Soule come immediately from God, or there be an immediate work of his in its production; then of necessity, that immortall thing, and not our mortall flesh, is Author of all sinne, and it onely prone to all sinne, and not the flesh, no more then a conduite though a meet instrument to convey water is the author, or fount of water, or prone to spring: And so Gods immediate hand is the cause of all sin, that man had better been without this soul; for it must needs be some damnable wicked spirit, or some Devil that God puts in him; for such as the fruit is, such must the tree be: but the fruit is damnably wicked: Therefore, the Soul must be some damnable wicked thing: No marvell then if Reprobates must needs sin and be damned, since God infuses such a malignant Soul, that councels them with Jobs wife to curse God and dye, yea such a one as wholy works out their condemnation: This is as if a man should break his horses legs and then knocke out his brains for halting. If it be said the soul comes pure from God, and it is the body that corrupteth it. I Answer, that this to excuse God one way, makes him like the tyrant Mezentius, that bound living men to dead bodyes, till the putrefaction and corruption of the stinking corps had killed them. Besides, the mind may sin without the Action of the body, but not the body without the mind, for a man may covet in his mind, and not act with his body, and yet sin; but Edition: current; Page: [2-079] if he do with his body, and not consent with his mind, he sinneth not: as for example, a man may accidentally and ignorantly kill a man by a blow, which was never intended or aimed at him, and yet he not guilty of murther: but if he intend it in his mind, though he never do it, he is guilty: Therefore the body may be made sinfull by the soul, but not the soul by the body.

Now to the other kind, who say, that this supernaturall work by nature, is effected by Gods speciall supernaturall assistance, operating or applicated to this naturall aptitude, in whose mutuall concurrence this immortall substance is concepted, and in conception united to the flesh, the whole in the whole, and the whole in every part.

To which I Answer, that there is no more speciall supernaturall efficiency from God in mans procreation then in other creatures, but that speciall gift or naturall instinct to every kind of creature given in the Creation to produce its kind, whether vegetative, sensitive, or rationall, Gen. 1.25. 1 Cor. 15.38. for the gift or blessing is all one and the same, and alike unto all according to their kinds, as appears, Gen. 1.22. God blessed the Fowles and Fish, saying, Be fruitfull and multiply, and fill the waters in the Seas, and let the Fowles multiply in the earth: And verse 28. the selfe same he speaks of man and woman, And God blessed them, and said unto them, Be fruitfull, and replenish the earth: and by this blessing, or Natures generall instinct equally unto all, men and all other creatures continue their multiplications and procreations: So that the Fowles, Fish, &c. have as great and speciall assistance as Man in their conceptions and procreations, equally mediate and naturall: Therefore if by Mans conception an Angelicall immortall Soul is producted, so likewise is there the like in other creatures. The result of all which is this, that as Fish, Birds, and Beasts each in their kind procreate their kind without any transcendency of nature: So man in his kind begets man, corruptible man begets nothing but what is corruptible, not halfe mortall, halfe immortall, halfe Angel, halfe man; but compleat man totally mortall: for through mortall organs immortality cannot be conveyed, or therein possibly reside.

If it be scrupled, that this destroyeth the hope of our faith. I Answer, It doth but remove it from a false principle to a true, from a deceitfull fancie to an infallible object, the Resurrection: For though I ascribe nothing actually to nature, but corruption; yet potentially I ascribe incorruption: as to the kernill of an Apple a Edition: current; Page: [2-080] Tree may not actually, yet potentially be ascribed: So I grant, that Nature produceth the Seed, to which when she hath done her elementary work, even all that shee can doe, and in all things transient finished her course, even from that corrupted seed Christ supernaturally raiseth an incorruptible body, 1 Cor. 15.36. Thou foole, that which thou sowest is not quickned, except it die, it is sowne in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sowne a naturall body, it is raised a spirituall body: Therefore nothing of Man can be immortall, but what first hath seen corruption. So that, if that which is made the better and most excellent part of Man, without which he is NO MAN (as is held) titled the Soul, shall not see corruption, it shall not participate of the immortallity purchased by Christ, but must needs perish except there be Ens extra Deum, as that strange invented Entitie must needs be, and so consequently, NO MAN shall be saved: And as before it incur’d this Absurdity, that the Soules of the damned shall not perish, but stand as well as the Stative Angels: So by this, the Soules both of the righteous and wicked shall for ever cease, and never be immortallized at the Resurrection: And thence the denyall both of Resurrection, Condemnation, and Salvation, Heaven and Hell, God and Christ is inavoydable: After rusheth in the Epicurean Blasphemy, Let us eat, and drinke, for to morrow we die: And so, so many bellyes, so many Gods, and no other.

It is objected, That the rarenesse of conception argues a supernaturall immediate assistance essentiall, without which the soul cannot be.

Answ. That commeth by a naturall defect, and not by the withholding of Gods immediate hand, else he should have a speciall and immediate hand in Adultery: And so Whoremongers and Adulterers sets God a work to create Souls for their Bastards, which is to make God a slave to their lusts.

Further, it is objected, That God hath from eternity decreed concerning man above all creatures, both who should come into the world, and at what time: Therefore, accordingly he must have a work in mans conception above other creatures.

Answ. No such thing followeth, for time and number may be appoynted, and yet the due course of nature proceed, as well without as with an immediate assistance, towards man in his kind, as in Beasts in their kind.

Moreover, Woolner in his Treatise on the Soul pag. 115. saith, That the more spirituall parts, and chiefly the Soul is (but partly Edition: current; Page: [2-081] mediately, partly immediately) conceived at the first instant, or union of the seed of both Sexes: For by it (pag. 127. he saith,) the corporeall parts are prepared and perfected: Therefore, it must of necessity be at the first instant, or else no conception: And pag. 129. That all Soules, as well of Beasts, as of men are essentially as perfect at the first instant of conception as ever afterwards, And pag. 97. he saith, The Soul can live without the body, and cannot be corrupted by it.

Answ. That then it followeth, If a woman miscarry immediately after that very instant, that the Soul of that Effluction or unshapen deformed peece of congealed blood being immortal, must needs continue its immortality, and that Effluction as well as perfect bodies, shall be raised againe, for if degrees of corporall perfection hinder, then those that are borne imperfect, as without legs, arms, or hands, or any other member, as divers are, they shall never be raised and so out of the compasse of Christs and though it should be granted, that Christs death is denyed an Embrio, yet that soules immortality cannot be nullified, for immortality once begun, must never have an end, and he saith, it cannot suffer with the flesh: therefore, if not with the whole masse of mans corpulency growne to its full perfection, much lesse with an Embrio, that is ten times lesse imperfect and invalid; for he saith, it is as perfect at the first instant as ever afterwards: therefore, it must be saved or damned (if there be any for others) but no man knowes how or which way, except it can be proved, Christ dyed for bare soules, soules without bodies, which will puzzle the cunningest soule that ever was made in the marring, and mard in the making.

Further it is objected, Creatures propagated out of kind, as by buggery; as, Apes, Satyres, &c. are supposed, are not endowed with reasonable soules: Ergo, soules are created immediately, or however of necessity, Gods superficient power is joyned to the propagation thereof.

Answ. As I will not altogether confidently affirme they have rationall soules, so will I not altogether deny it: For in Man it is some organicall deficiency more or lesse, that is the cause, that some men are lesse rationall then others; for some have abundance of wisdome, and some are meere fooles: and in children, whose Organs are not come to perfection, there is not so much as there is in an Ape: This premised, why in some measure as far as by those improper Organs can be expressed, may they not be Edition: current; Page: [2-082] rationall, though not in the same degree as is capable of God, as well as Infants who are as uncapable pro tempore as Apes? But perchance, it will be replyed, that then Christ dyed for Apes, as well as for Infants. I Answer, Christ dyed not for the rationall part separated from the materiall, nor the materiall from the rationall, if there should be such buggery births, or if by that unnaturall course they should meet in one, (which is impossible, for the blessing of procreating any thing in its kind, is to the kind) for that neither, but for the naturall production by the conjunction of both Sexes legitimate from Adam, and not such unnaturall by-blowes: As for births out of kind, they come within the compasse of the Curse, and cannot any wayes claim priviledge in the Restoration, but must expect with Thornes, Bryars, and all manner of Vermin, and Filth which breedeth on corruption, to be done away, when mortality is swallowed up of life. For all other Creatures as well as Man shall be raised and delivered from death at the Resurrection: my Reasons and grounds for it be these. First, that otherwise the curse in Adam would extend further then the blessing in Christ, contrary to the Scriptures: For as in Adam all dye, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor. 15.22. For the wages of sinne is death, but the gift of God is eternall life through Jesus Christ our Lord, Rom. 6.23. Therefore, Death comming upon all the Creatures by the sinne of Adam, no death being before sinne, life shall come upon all by Christ. Secondly, the beasts were not given Man to eate in the Innocencie, but to all flesh wherein was the breath of life, was given the greene herbe for meat: Therefore, the death of the beasts, &c. was part of the Curse, and so to be done away by Christ. Thirdly, if the other Creatures doe not rise againe, then Christ shall not conquer Death, but when it is said, O Death where is thy sting, O grave where is thy victory? it will be answered in Beasts, because they are still captivated under its bondage: But as by one man death entered into the world, Ro. 5.12. and by man came death, by man shal come resurrection from death, and the last Enemy that shall be destroyed is death, and death shall be swallowed up in victory, 1 Cor. 15.21.54. Therefore death shall not retaine them, but they must be delivered out of its jawes. Fourthly, those ensuing Scriptures doe clearly prove it: Col. 1.15. to the 23. All things were created by him and for him, whether they be things in Earth, or things in Heaven: and be not removed away from the hope of the Gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature under Edition: current; Page: [2-083] heaven: And Mar. 16.15. Go ye into all the world, & preach the Gospel to every creature: that is, Glad tydings, life and Resurrection from the bondage of corruption to every Creature by Christ: therefore, is he said to be the First borne of every Creature, the First that’s borne, or raised from the Dead: so that those whereof he is the First, must follow, that is every creature, else could he not be the First borne from the Dead of them all. And Rev. 21.5. after the dissolution of all things he saith, Behold, I make all things New: And Psa. 104. David reckoning up Men, Cattel &c. saith, thou takest away their breath, and they dye, thou sendest forth thy spirit, and renewest the face of the earth: and Psal. 102. speaking of the Heavens, saith, as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: and Isa. saith, in the New earth the Wolf and the Lamb shall feed together, and the Lion shall eat straw like a Bullock: and Paul saith, Rom. 8.19.20.21. The expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God: for the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope: because the Creature it selfe also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God: For we know that the whole Creation groaneth, and traveleth in Paine till now. Therefore the Gospel or Glad Tydings is unto all, all are under hope, and all things, men, beasts, &c. shall be made new, or restored at the Resurrection, and so Death shall be swallowed up in victory, and mortallity of life, or Death having given up her dead, shall be cast into the Lake, Rev. 20.13.15. Thus much by the by: Now to our matter in hand.

But be it granted, that those births are not endowed with reasonable soules, yet doth it not follow, that God createth immediately the soule, or immediately assisteth nature in its production more then the body: for this is an instance out of kind, therefore cannot expect the blessing of the kind, but be as it selfe is, unnaturall and cursed: for to the kind is required Sexes of the kind, and thereto God hath given the blessing to beget its kind, as well for man to beget perfect man, as for the beasts to beget perfect beasts; so that whatsoever is borne of man naturally, is man, though one be ennobled with more excellencies then another. A borne Foole would have been a better instance; for if to them rationall Soules were denyed, it might be thought, Nature naturally begetteth meere irrationall, brutish, inhumane bodies, and rationality, or humanity is a meer supernaturall work. To Edition: current; Page: [2-084] prevent such a cavill, I Answer, that by the Soularies ground there can be no borne fooles, Infants new borne, yea an Embrio should be as actually rationall as men of ripenesse of yeares; for they say, the soul is rationality it self, and that rationality is no more of the body, then inke is from the pen, and the soul is absolutely perfect at the first instant, yea it is forma formans: therefore, naturam expellas, furca licet usque recurres; it is made action, which cannot but appeare, for all action is apparant, and they say it is an immortall spirit, therefore cannot cease, and if not cease, it must shew it self: Now why are not Infants then as rationall as others? nay, let me ask one Question, If this endlesse soul be forma formans, the maker of our bodys, why have we not endlesse bodyes? for omne tale generat tale, every like brings forth its like; so then, if one be immortall the other must be immortall. Secondly, I Answer, that though some are fooles from their birth, yet it doth not follow, that Gods immediate hand is required to mans procreation, but rather the contrary: for imperfections in a thing argue the mediate generation thereof; because no imperfection of any kind can come immediately from the hand of God: imperfections are accidentall, or from the curse: therefore not of creation, but of procreation.

Now seeing all this while we have had to do with this immortall Soul, we cannot find, or the Soularies tell what it is, such likewise is its residence; for if we ask where it is? they flap us i’th mouth with a Ridle, tota in toto, & tota in qualibet parte, the whole in the whole, and the whole in every part: that is, the whole immortall Soul in the whole body, and the whole Soul wholy in every part of the body. To which I Answer, that this extends immortality or impossibility of death to the body: for if immortality be in every part, then no part of man from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot can be excepted; so we are all Soul all over, and every part a whole Soul immortall: So that it must either be held to be ubiquitory, which is an Attribute peculiar to God; or else multiplicable by a corpulent division: and so, were a man minced into Atomes, cut into innumerable bits, there would be so many innumerable whole Souls, else could it not be wholy in every part.

Monstrum horrendum, ingens; cui quot sunt corpore crines, Tot vigiles Animae supter, mirabile dictu! And thus the Ridle is unfolded.

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CHAP. VII.: Testimonies of Scripture to prove that whole man is generated, and propagated by Nature.

That this is true secundum acturn naturæ, observe the sence of those ensewing Scriptures: viz.

Gen. 1.17.18. compared with the 22.ver. where man and beast have an equall blessing and charge to propagate their like.

Eccl. 3.19. There is no distinction betwixt them, &c.

Gen. 17.7. I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed after thee. Here by seed must be meant persons and not bare carcasses: else he had been the God of dead clots, and not of living soules.

Gen. 46.26. All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt which came out of his loynes, &c.

Job. 31.15. Did not he that made me in the wombe make him? and did not one fashion us in the wombe? Ergo, if his soul were immediately created, so was his body; for he, that is, his Entite, person, even all that went to make him man was formed and shapen in the. womb, both Epithites for procreation and not for creation.

Job. 10.10.11.12. Hast thou not poured me out as milke, and curdled me like cheese? thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinnues, thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. Here Job sets forth exactly the manner of mans procreation, from the act of generation even to his breathing: First, poured out as milke, that is, the seminary evacuation of both Sexes in conjunction: then curdled me like cheese; that is the changing of that to a grosser matter, congealed blood: then clothed me with flesh and skin: that is, the incarnation of that condensed blood: then fenced me with bones and sinnues; that is, that carnate matter was formed into humane shape, and grew into members: then grantedst me life: that is, began to breath: whence observe, that in ascribing the whole work to God, he doth ascribe it to one kind only, and not partly mediate, partly immediate; for he ascribeth even the evacuation of seed in carnall copulation, and the conception of flesh and bones in as high a measure, (yea, to take away all cavil rather a greater,) as he doth his life; poured, clothed, and fenced imply a more absolute act then granting, which is but a sufferance, permission, or assenting: therefore, his conception was meerly Edition: current; Page: [2-086] and wholy naturall: according to that of David, Psal. 51.5. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. And to this adde that of Zach. 12.1. The Lord formeth the spirit of man within him. Whence it is clear, that whole man flesh and spirit is a second act, formed in the wombe; otherwise flesh as well as spirit must be created, which all deny.

Gen. 5.3. Adam begat a son in his own likenesse.

Psal. 139.15.16. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in a secret place, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the Earth: thine eyes did see my masse: yet being imperfect, and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet was none of them: whence is evident, that his whole Person was an act of nature in his mothers wombe or secret place; what of him was in the Book of Gods providence, he declareth, was made (not created) in a secret place, to wit, his substance or Masse, all that went to the subject man, and I hope the Soularies will not blot his Soul out of the Book of Gods providence, or say it was no part of him.

Luke 1.31. Thou shalt conceive in thy wombe and bring forth a son: whence observe, that what she was to bring forth, she was to conceive, to wit a son; and none will deny, Christ was borne compleat man, in all things as we are, sin excepted: And if any scruple arise from Rom. 1.3. He was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, I Answer. That it is a distinction of his manhood from his godhead, as all Interpreters agree.

Gen. 4.1. She conceived and bare Cain: see the like cap. 38.3.4.5. Judg. 13.3.5.7. And Job 3.3. There is a man child conceived. And Gen. 17.6. And Kings shall come out of thee. ver. 20. twelve Princes shall he beget. And Judg. 8.30. Gideon had 70. Sons out of his body begotten. And Num. 5. Then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed. and Heb. 11.11. compared with Gen. 17.8. and such like, plainly shew mans procreation wholy naturall.

Joh. 3.6. That which is borne of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is borne of the spirit, is spirit: Here is the naturall birth by nature, and the spirituall birth by grace declared each in his kind, the one a meer naturall, the other a supernaturall work: It is therefore inavoydably true, otherwise the Soul cannot be saved; for what is not borne again cannot be saved, as the immediate words testifie, except a man be borne again, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God: So then, the soul as well as the body is born, Edition: current; Page: [2-087] that is, proceeds from the flesh, except we be born without it: Wherefore, they are no more twaine, but one flesh.

Thus having found Mans Foundation to be wholy in the Dust, from thence taken, and thither to returne: Let this then be the use of all: That man hath not wherewith at all to boast no more then of dirt under his feet, but is provoked wholy out of himself, to cast himself wholy on Jesus Christ with whom in God our lives are hid, that when he who is our life shall appeare, he might also with him appeare in glory, to whom be the honour of our immortality for ever, and for ever.

Amen.

FINIS.
Edition: current; Page: [2-088]
Henry Robinson
Robinson, Henry
24 March 1644
3.

2.3 Henry Robinson Liberty of Conscience: Or the Sole means to obtaine Peace and Truth (24 March 1644).

  • LIBERTY
  • OF
  • CONSCIENCE:
  • OR THE
  • Sole means to obtaine Peace and Truth.
  • Not onely reconciling His MAJESTY
  • with His Subjects, but all Christian States
  • and princes to one another, with the freest
  • passage for the GOSPEL.
  • Very seasonable and necessary in these
  • distracted times, when most men are weary of
  • War, and cannot finde the way to Peace.
  • Printed in the Yeare 1643.
Edition: current; Page: [2-089]

To every Christian Reader that seeks Truth as well as Peace.

Beloved in Christ Jesus:

LEt not the seeming noveltie of opinions deter thee from searching out the Truth, and be assured that Gods people, as well as worldlings have their times to fish in troubled waters; wherefore before thou proceed on with this Discourse, promise me, I beseech thee, to read it out; and if thou then repent thee of thy paines, let me but know so much, and I shall willingly take upon me a double penance for thy satisfaction and amends.

I am not ignorant that the lawfulnesse of newtrality is much controverted both in policie and conscience, but men of moderation which endeavour to qualifie or decline the precipice of extreams, ought not to be accounted newtralls or luke-warme: Such then (as I presume) will no more be of opinion, that all on the Kings side are Papists or Popishly affected, then that all on the Parliaments are Brownists, Anabaptists, or thereunto inclined; nor all that are at Oxford enemies of God and godly men, or all at London to take up Arms only for good of either; but that there are on both sides great numbers, though not equall, which wish sincerely and mean well, notwithstanding there may have been many weaknesses, infirmities & errours expressed by them; for, the presence and influence of both the Armies I conceive but much alike conducing to make the people really good or bad, though they must outwardly comply with both, so long as they are neare them and have any thing to lose, and do not yet perceive, but that such Members of the Lords and Commons House, are much the same, notwithstanding their passing to and fro between London and Oxford.

But the London Pamphlets querie, whether Papists are likely to settle the Protestant Religion? And Aulicus seeming no lesse scrupulous, askes whether Brownists or Anabaptists will? But if a third should resolve them both, and say, that the Protestant Religion hath not been in England these eighty years, he might run the hazard to be thought a libeller, and yet it may chance be found so, if we examine what it is, whence it came, whether it be not confined amongst the Lutherans, and how much we differ from it, though we still retain the name: But what matters it, whether we be called Protestants or otherwise? or is truth and propriety the worse, because we endeavour, or attaine them by the helpe of Papists and of Brownists? or may not Papists and Brownists as lawfully serve their King and Countrey, as those thundering legions of Primitive Christians did the Heathen Emperours? The King saies he took up defensive Arms; and both Houses of Parliament averre that they did so: The Parliament party fear that if the King prevail, though his Majesty himselfe be not Popishly affected, the Bishops would be established, and by their jurisdiction, suppresse all such as did not conforme both to their discipline and doctrine: On the other side, the Kings party is Edition: current; Page: [2-090] in as great a fear, that if the Parliaments side should get the upper hand, though they do not establish Brownisme or Anabaptisme, yet they would settle a Presbytery, which may as much abridge them the Liberty of Conscience, as they themselves have been abridged under Episcopacie heretofore; in which respect, each party for the present, pretends to grant such a liberty as shall be sutable and complying with tender consciences, but neither dare yeeld unto, or trust the other: In such a case as this, is there no remedy? Hath God left us quite destitute of meanes to stop so great a gap to prevent the totall ruine and desolation of three Nations, not without the greatest scandall and offence which ever befell the Reformed Protestant Religion? The feare is equall and extream on both sides, though either of them is like enough to say, the others fear is but imaginary, yet both of them, since they say so, and cannot be disproved, are to be treated and proceeded with, alike: To this the King addes, and saies, that besides sundry demonstrations of His grace and favour, I have granted a perpetuall Parliament, and if ever that should have an end, they have still a trienniall Parliament to perpetuity, which of themselves only transcend all the grants that ever my Predecessours made unto their Subjects: and notwithstanding all this, they attempt my life, and take away my Revenues, Royalty, and Religion too, if it were possible: On the contrary, the two Houses of Parliament in their severall Remonstrances have informed his Majesty, how through predominancie of evill counsellours the Subjects liberties have had severall great breaches made upon them, innovations of Doctrine and Discipline in their Religion, and they are really and totally possessed, that by the same, and such like evill counsellours which are likely to succeed, their whole priviledges and propriety will be forced from them, and the profession of the true Protestant Religion utterly abolished; assuring his Majesty notwithstanding, that if he will be pleased to returne unto his great Councell, cause delinquents to be brought to triall, and settle the Militia of the Kingdome in such persons as both Houses may confide in, there shall be no failing on their parts to make him a glorious Prince, beloved at home, feared abroad, and enlarge his Revenues beyond all his Predecessours; but not finding how to qualifie the diffidence which each hath of the other, both sides have strengthned themselves, brought severall Armies into the field, fought some pitcht battells, and had so many skirmishes and encounters, as, besides the firing of whole Townes, deflouring of Virgins, committing rapes, rapines, and a thousand other villanies, hath been the death perhaps of above a hundred thousand soules in England only, then which, what could possibly befall more offensive unto God, or damageable to the State? Surely both parties should be desirous of composing such a difference, which in so high a nature and degree, is totally destructive unto both? But alas! the jealousies are such, that neither dare well offer, or entertain a Treaty, lest the other should make advantage of it; & yet a King cannot be said to deal too great a measure of love unto his people, nor subjects to out-doe their duty unto their King; nor the sword be said or thought properly or justly to have a capacity and power of settling true Religion; or Christians of all ranks and conditions whatsoever, more glorifie the King Edition: current; Page: [2-091] of Kings, then in renouncing all earthly interests and advantages, rather then his great Name should be evill spoken of, or the bloud of his dearest Saints to be spilt upon the ground, and yet we cannot possibly imagine, without the greatest scandall of our owne charity, and offence unto the weaker brethren, but that some of them have already dyed on either side, God of his infinite mercy direct them both, that neither of them come short or be found guilty in either.

Another of the London queries is, Whether if Religion, and the State be in imminent danger of an Oxford party, both Houses of Parliament, and so great a portion as adheres unto them, may not defend themselves by Armes? and since Aulicus seems to be as much afraid that both Religion, Laws, and Priviledges of Parliament are equally endangered by the London Apprentices, and those that went to Westminster, some will thinke it best to answer both in one, and say, necessity hath no law, it is above all law, and though there be neither Act of Parliament, Ordinance of both Houses, or so much as a bare order of either, necessity will notwithstanding sufficiently warrant & instruct the people, as certainly and lawfully, though not so readily, to defend themselves from ruine and destruction; grant then that the danger be imminent, the necessity is implied therein, and all the rest will follow: This is a truth, though such a one as must be justly ballanced, and tenderly made use of; it is no doctrine of libertinisme, though libertines should abuse it, and for a curbe to such as would flie out on either side: If all fortifications throughout the Kingdome were once demolished, it would be to little purpose for a King to require more of the Subjects then the Laws permit, and they had willingnesse to performe; or for the representatives to engage the Kingdome farther then they that chose them, shall unanimously approve thereof: And since the strength and power is naturally in the people, as God doubtlesse allowes thereof, that they might have a possibility to shelter themselves against the extremities of tyranny in what government soever; so will none truly conscientious, easily take occasion hereby to deny subjection to the Powers: It is not sufficient to say there is imminent danger and necessity, both God and man must see it is so, and unlesse we be both wise & conscientious in the mangage of it, slanders by and others, the Saints of all neighbouring States and Nations will judge otherwise thereof hereafter, what ever we our selves declare therein at present: what would the King or Parliament gaine thereby, if either of them did prevaile by sword? in such case the conquered party must be still kept under by a martiall law and power, which would so long continue grievous to them both, untill the whole Kingdome be weary of it, and joyntly agree to cast the yoke from off them; so that unlesse the conditions be free, just and equall in apprehension of them both, Prerogative continued unto the King, Priviledges to both Houses of Parliament, and Liberties unto the Subject, we cannot expect a during peace, much lesse a Reformation of what is amisse either in Civill or Ecclesiasticall affaires, nor Gods blessing upon any of them.

Having thus heard what is alledged, and tryed and prepared our consciences on both sides let us thinke upon a Treaty, and rather then be without it, the wars Edition: current; Page: [2-092] may still be prosecuted, as if there were no Treaty? And because it may seem that the King and Parliament doe not confide in one another, I wish with all meeknesse and submission that they may both consider whether it is not necessary that some such middle way be thought on, as neither of them remaine at the meer power and mercy of the other, and yet it would not be good to divide the Kingdom again into a Heptarchie, or more, or fewer portions, but if it should be thought fitting towards the compassing a speedier disbanding of the Souldiers and demolishing all Inland works, whereby the Countrey is not only plundered of what they have at present, but absolutely discouraged to till the ground, and nourish cattell, lest both stocke and fruit be taken from them afterwards; that in this interim only, each of them may have a rationall security and safeguard against the others attempt, whilest the bloud which hath been so long boyling, be growne cold againe, and every one of us better fitted and disposed to imbrace each other more cordially, that in such case, and for such purpose only, certaine garrisons for a short time may still remaine in some of the Sea-Ports as both King and Parliament shall approve of.

For more facilitating of so good a worke, give me leave to premise these few things: 1. That the King being but one, cannot possibly overmatch the Subjects, unlesse they will themselves, and therefore the Houses of Parliament may with lesse danger treat him more like a King. 2. The King being sole disposer of his owne, may better resolve to forgoe the present enjoyment of some small part thereof a while, when He shall finde that God will trie Him, in calling for it to purchase His owne peace, and three Kingdomes welfare, which both Houses cannot comply in, unlesse the major part be willing. 3. Though the generall good of all his Subjects ought rather to oversway a King, then all his owne interests in the Kingdome, yet since it is more harsh to Royall flesh and bloud (borne to rule and governe others) to renounce their owne just rights, much more to deliver up unto the adverse party, all such as have adhered to Him; so may the Parliament expresse much Noblenesse and Wisdome in being tender of pressing Him with so great a tryall. 4. That though either side conceive the Propositions which shall be made unequall, and little hopes of bettering them for the present; yet I presume the difference will not be so great, but both of them may expect security therein at time of need; and in case either side should take advantage, and break out again, a good cause and conscience with a lesse Army, may more hopefully expect assistance from God to overcome a greater. 5. If Armes being laid downe on both sides, the King through importunity of evill counsellours should refuse to passe any other Acts for redresse of sundry grievances which the Subjects yet lye under, both Houses have the same liberty to withold their consent in such other Acts as were for the Kings advantage, and I humbly propound whether it may not appeare upon enquiry, that (concerning civill interests) the Subjects, for the present, stand in lesse need of new Acts to be passed in their favour then the King does of Subsidies, His Majesty being no little indebted, His charge so much encreased, and His revenue lessened. 6. If evill Counsellers or Courtiers should returne againe to innovate Edition: current; Page: [2-093] either in Church or State, they cannot have the boldnesse or power to worke such mischiefe, but a trieniall Parliament will easily be able to make them weary of it. And lastly, That it cannot be for the good of King and People, that the three estates in Parliament, though Armes were quite laid downe, should stand severely upon the priviledge of their negative respective voyces, but necessarily must comply with one another to make their mutuall happinesse compleat.

And because I am verily perswaded that one great reason which moved God to permit these Kingdomes to be thus divided, and engaged in a civill War, was the generall obstinacie and aversenesse of most men of all ranks and qualities in each Nation, to tollerate, and beare with tender consciences, and different opinions of their brethren, unlesse they were thereunto so far necessitated, that without it, there must inevitably ensue on both sides a totall ruine and destruction, which is full neare, the present wofull condition that all three, so lately flourishing Kingdomes, are now plunged into, God of his great mercy vouchsafe effectually to shew them their deliverance: in this respect, as also in that I cannot thinke, that God hath suffered so much bloudshed, either to establish the Kings Prerogative, or the Priviledge of Parliament only, but that He hath yet a far greater worke of his own to bring about, I humbly conceive that Liberty of Conscience may deservedly require to be first treated on, what, and how far forth it may and ought to be permitted; which being throughly debated, and agreed on by both sides as the first Article, to be forthwith ratified by the three estates in Parliament, all the rest will doubtlesse follow more willingly and sweetly.

If a man will raile against the high Commission Court, or in a seditious manner revile Episcopacie or Presbytery, he shall not want multitudes to countenance and cry him up, but such as in a Christian way, goe about with meeknesse to discover, and desire the spring head may be reformed, the unwarrantable power of both witheld, from whence the spirituall wickednesses arise, and without which, though we should chance be eased a while by change, upon the abolishing of Prelacie, yet the milde and gentle interregnum, would prove so much more cruell to us afterwards, when a succeeding government, having the selfe same corrupting principles with Episcopacie, and knowing its own strength, shall, contrary to Pauls doctrine, 2 Cor. 1. 24. assume againe the dominion of our consciences, after we had tasted the sweetnesse of Christian liberty, and slattered our selves with the continuance of it; such I say, may run the hazard to be accounted presumptuous, turbulent, or innovaters, so dim sighted are most men in the mystery of godlinesse, and so inclinable to be transported with carnall wisdome and security: It is not the imperiousnesse of Episcopacie, Presbytery, or a Classis in what degree of comparison soever they shall ranke themselves, which can scourge men into a spirituall Temple fit for the Holy Ghost to dwell in, no meanes so much conducing thereunto as a fatherly reproving, a brotherly admonishing, and a most patheticall beseeching one another, like that of St. Paul the aged, Philem. 9. in the bowels and tenderest compassion of Jesus Christ, which how seldome it hath been practised by either of them in respect of what Edition: current; Page: [2-094] they ought, and how little fruit we see thereof, I desire no wayes to aggravate, but mention only, (God is my record) not so much for their sorrow, as amendment, having just cause to pray that I may finde repentance for my share thereof, which is not with the least.

Let both the Oxford and London party consider duly, whether to be persecuted be not a signe of the true Church, since Paul saies, 2 Tim. 3. 12. All that will live godly must suffer persecution, and consequently though we had not one word more in all the Bible to this purpose, whether that government be not likeliest to be such as Christ intended to rule his people by, whom he calls his Sheep his Lambes, Joh. 21. 15. 16. no creatures of prey, which most respects, and bears with tender consciences? and since all governments may degenerate into tyranny, though for the present, all things were settled according to either of their desires, whether notwithstanding they ought not to wish, and even in meer policie endeavour that there might be a tolleration of weake consciences, lest through the vicissitude and wheeling about of time, their owne consciences might come againe to be oppressed hereafter: for Salomon saies, Ec. 1. 9. There is no new thing under the sun, and the thing which hath been, is that which shall be done againe hereafter: and the generall applause and confidence which Episcopacie had so lately of its owne strength in this Kingdome, should be a warning for all other governments not to subject themselves through presumption of their power and party unto the like downfall and destruction: and such as have either felt or understood the spirituall bondage which this Kingdome hath twice suffered in time of Popery and Prelacie by reason of their coercive jurisdiction, unlesse they be both earnest with God and man, that the same be not given unto any other government, will bring upon their owne soules, the miscarriage of all such as perish through the tyranny which it will infallibly fall into and exercise hereafter; it was not their Popery or Prelacie (that was to themselves) which so much oppressed us, as their power, otherwise, the persons of such which still remained in the same Popish and Prelaticall opinions, ought to have been rather proceeded against, and not that power to be arraigned and condemned both of spirituall and corporall rape and murder in Prelacie, which was so soone after to be again enthroned in Presbytery: I humbly querie what it might be that moved both Houses of Parliament to vote and prepare a Bill against Episcopacie, or that prevailed with the Estates of Scotland to declare it Antichristian; if it were only an abusing of such power as was given to the Church, and might possibly have been well imployed, then may a Reformation or punishing of such Bishops as abused it, redresse our grievances, and the government still remaine established; but if it were the great Diana, Act. 19. 24, 28. that strumpet and Idol which is common to them all, that plenepotentiary jurisdiction to administer or passe sentence against their brethren in person or estate, by vertue of a coercive discipline and dominion, how can it safely be given unto any other government, since that both Popular and Aristocraticall with all others, are as infallibly, though not equally subject to tyrannize, as the Papall or Episcopall? And Whereas it is said that Presbytery disclaimes coercive power to Edition: current; Page: [2-095] be in the Church, but about it only to be imployed by the Civill Magistrate in behalfe and benefit of the Church, I would faine be informed, whether the Civill Magistrate be Judge when it is fitting to imploy such power for behoofe of the Church; and if he be, whether then the Civill Magistrate be not above the Church, and every member and the whole Church lyable to correction though they offend not in their owne opinions; and if the Civill Magistrate may not move therein untill the Church or Presbytery require, whether such may not be said the Churches using of the Civill sword in a more superlative and sovereigne way, little differing from what they practise in the Papacie, which is first to degrade and disrobe all Ecclesiasticall persons, and so deliver up, both them and all others that shall be found guilty unto the Civill Magistrate, which may not refuse to see the execution done.

And because it may be objected that many places of Scripture herein alledged, may as well seem to speake for a tolleration of Popery, and my selfe therein to plead for it, let such be pleased to rest satisfied, that though I cannot for the present make full discovery in the word of God, why, or how Papists should be forced by fines and other penalties to be of our Religion, yet I take not upon me to be spokesman for a tolleration of theirs, by reason of their Idolatry; but my humble desires are prostrated unto the King and Parliament that all other Christians who are now reproached under the name of Puritans, Separatists or Nonconformists of what kind soever, who are so far from being suspected, that they must needs be acknowledged the greatest enemies to Idolatry, may enjoy such peace and freedome, as will permit them to keep alwayes a good conscience both before God and man, Act. 24. 16. And that they would vouchsafe, out of the love they beare to Gods Cause and People, to take into further consideration, that if as Reformed Protestants, we may not suffer Papists and Turks to make profession of their Religion amongst us, in a qualified and more moderate manner, as in some parts of Germany, where they have Churches, but are not permitted their publicke Processions, or open exposing of the Sacrament, as they call it, which no Protestants can walke the streets about, without being subject to be scandalized thereat, how far, in such case, it may be found agreeable to the Word of God, for Protestants to transplant themselves by Colonies, or as particular Marchants to goe and live in Turky, or in Italy and Spaine especially, where, though they were not troubled with the Inquisition, though they were not forced to Church, which they frequent notwithstanding to prevent the danger of it, though they might enjoy their owne Religion quietly, whether they may for this respect live in Italy and Spaine, where they cannot chuse but see (and must likewise seem to countenance by putting off of hats, setting out lights, adorning with pictures, hangings, or otherwise that part of their houses where the Procession passes, sometimes with corporall kneeling, and seldome without bowing) even at their owne windows, and in the streets as they walke about their businesse, the superstitious pageantrie of their wil-worship, and Idolatry, which is the condition of all our Merchants and Travellers that go amongst them.

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And whereas many will not sticke to say, that such are luke-warme or of no Religion, who delude a tolleration of so many? I answer, That it is the freedome of their owne conscience which they desire, not to be indifferently of any Religion, or prophanely of none at all, but that they might enjoy alwayes peaceably that Religion, which they have examined and sound to be the true one, and not be subject to a change so often as the Civill State, or those of the highest Court shall please to vary; for since they are chosen anew so often as a Parliament is called, they may every time be of different, if not of opposite opinions and religions; and far more is it to be feared, that such will be found carelesse, if not negligent, in the choice of their Religion, as little troubling themselves to trie the spirits whether they be of God or no, 1 John 4. 1. or examine the opinions and doctrines which are taught, receive them currantly, what ever they be, so they come sealed and delivered by authority of State.

It hath more then once come into my thoughts, what might move the wisdome of God, to leave the Scriptures so liable to the diversities of interpretations, which in regard it favoured more of curiosity then edifying, I purposely forbore to ruminate thereon; however at the same instant, it came into my minde as not altogether impossible, that God might be so pleased, to make men more diligent and inquisitive to search after truth, and conscientious in imbracing it with fear and troubling, Phil. 2. 12. after which manner we are required to work out our salvation: In this respect, the very Law of Moses consisting in a dead letter, which the Divil himselfe could scarce controvert or pick a quarrell with, did not render the Jews so scrupulous and conscionable, as the Gospel doth Christians; and even amongst all those that professe Christianity, I conceive it may easily be observed, that such as study the variety of opinions, and trie the spirits out of a zeale to truth, choosing their Religion by their owne judgements, though erronious, are yet more jealous of Gods worship, and conscionable towards men. Shall men so far distrust themselves to feare they may be misted into a false religion or opinion, because they have liberty to make profession of the truth? or can a man be in a better condition then he can with himselfe to be? are we the more acceptable to God because we will not be of the true Religion, unlesse we be forced thereto? or are we the more excusable in being of the false; because we are willing to be compelled into it? is the tyranny of the body so grievous to us, and are we in love with spirituall bondage? To be of a Religion because it is countenanced by the law in that Countrey where thou livest, or because most men are of the same, is no good reason; it is not a hundred yeares since Popery was established by law in England, and may be so againe for all that we can tell, most part of Europe still being Papists: Dear Reader, search, examine thine owne heart, and consider whether it may not be found in the last day, that many men have taken up that Religion which was with most importunity thrust upon them, rather then they would take paines to make triall of it: Oh, but some will say it is presumption to be wiser then a Synod or a State; consider againe, I beseech thee in the feare of God, who is more arrogant and presumptuous, he that seeketh to enjoy his owne conscience peaceably, only admonishing and informing such as run erronious wayes with all humility and love, or those that imperiously, and will they nill they, constraine others to make profession of such opinions as they themselves are of? and yet there is no medium between an implicite faith, and that which a mans owne judgement and understanding leads him to.

But some will still object and say, what shall be done to those that are obstinately malignant, and maliciously perverse in their owne opinions? I answer, That as in the Parable it is said, If they bear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be perswaded, though one rose from the dead, Luke 16. 31. So if informing, exhorting, and such fair means, or others which are Scripture proofe, doe not prevaile with such as are led into false opinions, harsh and compulsive, or other which are unwarrantable cannot, and therefore to charge a man that he is wilfully blinde, and will not see the truth, if he submit himselfe to heare and read what shall be lawfully required of him in that behalfe, is the most uncivill, unreasonable, and unchristianlike offence that words know how to utter, and flatly against all reason, ordinary policie, & Scripture, to endeavour or think that the mysticall Body of our Saviour may possibly be built up after Edition: current; Page: [2-097] such a manner, as it should alwayes remaine in continuall fear and power of men to pull it downe againe; and though we should suppose, that this very man who is thus reproached, had yeelded and complied in whatsoever could have been expected from him, yet it was impossible for him to be in heart of this or that opinion, to beleeve this or that doctrine of truth, untill God had touched his heart, and called him thereunto, till when they ought still in meeknesse to instruct even those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledgement of truth, 2 Tim. 2. 25. as appears more largely in the following Discourses. We say that Church Papists are most dangerous, and hypocrites the worit of men, what ground have we then, or how can we excuse our provoking them to goe to Church, or tempting them to be such by so many severall waies? that may be lawfull to one who thinks so, which to another would be sin, because he doubts thereof: have we not learned that eating of meats only was sin in some good Christians, 1 Cor. 8. 10, 11. when others might freely eat thereof without any guiltinesse at all? how much more may the same case happen in points of discipline or doctrine, wherein the worship of God is more highly interessed and concerned.

I confesse my selfe much inferiour to the taske I have undertook, and should in no sort have presumed upon it, had I not apprehended my selfe to be called thereunto, through the silence of so many who were abundantly better qualified to undergoe it; however I doubt not but God will be so far forth pleased to second my weak endeavours, as sundry well disposed souls may be provoked to light their torches at these sparkles, and prosecute it with more advantages for this cause am I moved to make them publick, not for any private respect or interest of mine own, further then they are involved in the generall; for if at any time I stood in need of liberty and freedome in mine own particular, I am not such a stranger to forreigne Countries, both of severall climates and professions, but that I can finde the way thither againe to purchase my enlargement.

I know I have not observed the symmetrie and rules of Architecture in contriving so large a Portall for so small a Fabrick, however, before I take my leave, let me advertise thee, that I plead not against, but for liberty, and that the best of all liberties, the Liberty of Conscience; not for, but against imprisoning, fining, or formenting, of all others the most tyrannicall, for matters meerly of Religion; not for, but against the shedding bloud, Christian bloud, Protestant bloud of the most conscientious Christians, Gods dearest Saints, the Lords inheritance, for whose salvation only our Saviour shed his owne most precious bloud. Dear Reader, let but the thought hereof prevail with thee to demurre a little, and consider, whether this controversie, about liberty or bondage, life and death both temporall and spirituall, though heretofore seldome thought on, be not worth debating; Nulla unquam de morte hominis constatie longe: disclaime all carnall wisdome which knew not what to counsell thee; renounce thine owne self will and wishes, that foolishly have wished and willed so many things unduly, as had not God withold them from thee, must needs have been thy finall ruine: And now at last, fit and prepare thy minde to receive in such further light and truth, as the Blessed Spirit shall please to visit thee withall, and rest assured, that God who now stands looking out for such labourers, wil in some degree and measure according to thy readinesse, make thee an instrument of a sanctified peace and reformation, where with three Kingdomes are now in travell, to his owne glory, and thy eternall happinesse: Which God of his infinite goodnesse bestow upon thee, and all such as in sincerity seek Peace and Truth: Amen.

Besides mispointing, the Errata are many, and some of them very grosse, in which respect the Reader will doubtlesse finde the benefit thereof, if before he proceed any further he resolve to rectifie these that fellow, viz. Page 4. line 17. for perish, read persist. ibid. p. l. 35. take. p. 6. l. 13. ingenuous. ib. p. l. 38. Barbery p. 9. l. 12. many times. p. 10. l. 20 persist. p. 12. l. 22. whence. p. 14. l. 26. those. p. 18. l. 33. ingenuous. p. 20. l. 5. doubting. p. 22. l. 14. make. p. 24. l. 39. one on. p. 21 l. 32. expressely. ib. p. l. 4 1. these. p. 29. l. 3. cannot possibly. p. 30. l. 29. with. p. 32. l. 13. make. p. 33. l. 11. apprehended. p. 47. l. 15. from though he write, to the end of l. 17. must come in at l. 20. after Bez. p. 49. l. 22. extraordinarily ib. p. l. 29. us. ib. p. l. 38. principles. p. 50. l. 12. your. ib. p. l. 27. as is yet. p. 51. l. 41. rather than. p. 55. l. 20. have not. p. 56. l. 6. principles.

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Liberty of Conscience: Or, The only means to obtain Peace and Truth.

THE Sword, Pestilence, and Famine, are the three most dreadfull scourges wherewith God uses to chastise a stubborne People; and although that Sinne be the only generall cause to pull downe vengeance, and God ordinarily makes use of naturall meanes to convey it upon us in what kinde soever; yet in the former, man appeares to be a more principall and immediate instrument, then in the two latter, and doubtlesse by Gods permission, hath a greater liberty and power to beginne, and put an end to it, which was the cause that the Sword onely hath destroyed far more without comparison, then Famine and pestilence together: wherefore when David found himselfe in a strait by the three propositions of Sword, Pestilence and Famina, which God made unto him as a punishment for numbring of the people, knowing full well the cruelties of man,1 Chron. 2. chose to fall into the hand of God, who therefore sent the Pestilence upon Israell, which in this respect besides others may justly be thought the more mercifull of all three, and by consequence of what was said, it will follow, that such as have the keeping of the Sword, with power to draw and put it up again, must be accountable for all the blondshed: Had Kings no other thornes about their Crownes, doubtlesse this one if duly thought on, would keep them circumspect and watchfull in every action, the least whereof, though insensibly, conduces somewhat towards Peace or Warfare.

Warres, and rumours of warres have ever beene, and are at present throughout the world; but since Princes became Christians, it may have been observed, how Christendome a spot of ground only, hath continually been the Cock-pit, & all the world besides but as a breathing place; however we ought not for this cause to be forward in justifying Wars the more, but rather make search and strict enquiry whence it comes to passe, that Christians are so plunged therein, since they of all other people can justifie it least.

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I know there may be a just War, but what I am now to say, is meant only against that which is unjust, and so desire it may be understood, whereof I doe the more presume because no Warre but hath much evill as the effect thereof; and however for such as do begin a War, we may charitably conceive of both sides, that they apprehend it to be lawfull, yet if we examine standers by, and heare what all that are not interessed doe judge thereof, we shall finde them generally condemning both sides, though one perhaps in a greater measure than another.

St. Paul sayes, that covetousnesse is the root of all evill, and Warre which is the greatest of those evills, questionlesse was never yet without a coveting; however, because that neither coveting, nor such other motives as are the reall and originall causes of taking up of Armes, have not for the most part beene found, or thought sufficient to prevaile, or beare sway enough with all such as are to be required to contribute largely for the maintenance thereof; I say, it may most commonly be observed, that whatsoever were the reall, though more secret ground of War. Religion was still pretended to be the principall, or at least endeavoured to be made seem so far forth hazarded and engaged in the quarrell, that no man might adventure to call in question the lawfulnesse thereof, or seem backward in supplying without palpable scandall and suspition of luke-warmnesse in Religion: I need not bring examples for proofe hereof, every mans own acquaintance in Histories will furnish himselfe abundantly.

But in regard that Religion, though perhaps it seldome was the primary and sole cause of making War (in that I thinke few have been so conscientious, yet such as some Casuists conceive, were but a misgrounded conscience in respect of an offensive War) hath notwithstanding been, and still is the most powerfull meanes and stratagem to countenance and continue it, whereby that which ought to be most deare and sacred, becomes a pander to satisfie our lusts, the consideration whereof, the shedding so much Christian bloud, the obstructing of the Gospels propagation, the miserable devastation of whole Countries, with infinite perpetrating and multiplication of most enormous and execrable villanies, have moved me to consider with my selfe, which way Religion might be vindicated and redeemed from this abuse, the grand meanes of fomenting Wars discovered, the main jealousies prevented which Edition: current; Page: [2-100] Princes pretend to have of one another, or King and people amongst themselves, towards accommodation of the present Wars, and cutting off occasion from such as otherwise might spring up againe hereafter.

Whether Religion have been the reall cause of so much War in Christendome, or so pretended only, makes all one to what I have in hand, which is to prove in this Discourse, by Gods assistance, how a man ought not to be persecuted for conscience sake, as will appeare by the inconsistencie thereof with sundry Scriptures following, which being once concluded on, and put in practice, will make an open way for the free passage of the Gospel, quite cut off the greatest jealousies and feares which perplex the mindes of Princes, States and People, when they suppose or but alleadge an endangering of their Religion, and consequently the likeliest course of reducing all Christian Countries to peace amongst themselves, and friendly intercourse with one another.

St. Paul saith, You are bought with a price,1 Cor. 7. 2. 25, 24. be ye not the servants of men: this must be meant for matters of this world, or else of that which is to come; about subjection of the body in civill affaires, or subjection of the soule in spirituall; but it cannot be understood for matters of the body, or of this world, because it would then contradict other places of Scripture,Rom. 1. 3. 1. which command all to be subject unto higher Powers, servants to their masters,1 Pet. 7. 13. wives to their husbands, and the like; in which respect,Eph. 5. 21. 6. 5. as also from the coherence with the words aforegoing,1 Pet. 2. 8. it appeares necessarily to be understood, that we must not be subject concerning our Religion,Col. 3. 22. matters of conscience or touching the soule, to be of this or that Religion, because we are commanded by King or State, for though it be the true Religion which we professe, yet if we were forced to it, it will doe us little good, nor be ever a whit available, for God accepts only of willing service, such as we performe of our owne free election, not by compulsion.

Neither is the objection good,Object. that though men be forced into the true Religion at first without any liking of their owne, yet afterwards it falls out that such approve of it, and will not bee brought to change nor alter, which must needs be acceptable to God: For first,Answ. the compelling of a man to any thing against his owne conscience, especially in matters of faith, is a doing evill, which God forbids, that good may come of it,Rom. 3. 8. : 14. 23. and therefore we cannot Edition: current; Page: [2-101] expect that he should prosper, so bad a meanes to produce so good effect, as that people at first constrained to make profession of the true Religion, should afterwards prove sincere and true beleevers, by vertue of those coercive powers which were meerly unwarrantable and sinfull, but for such as doe so continue, it is to be attributed to some other meanes whereby they became convinced of the truth, or more secret call of God, which would in due time have found out, and brought them home into his sheepfold without the helpe of a tyranous inquisition.

This is more evident if we consider the multitudes of people and whole Nations which live and dye in the Religion they were borne, with equall constancie and security, though their faith and tenets be diametrically opposite to one another; and for those that happen to be thus of the true Religion, because borne in it, though it be the true one, and that they will not be brought to change, yet for most part they can give no better reason of their faith, then those that are in the wrong, and perish as obstinately, for they tooke not their Religion upon choice or triall, neither do they continue it upon judgement, never having searched or tried the Scriptures, as we are commanded; and indeed they may well say,Ir. 1 3. 5. h. 4. 1. 1. 8. to what purpose shall we examine our selves, as St. Paul saith, whether we be in the faith or no? to what end, Try the spirits whether they be of God? or, Search the Scriptures, whether the doctrine taught us now be the same which the Apostles left us? when we may not professe the Religion we apprehend to be the only true one, but are forced to make profession of that only which the State shall thinke fit, and declare to be such.

Nay, in that St. Paul sayes, Trie the spirits whether they bee of God or no; and tells them plainly, that if any man thinke himselfe to be something, then he is nothing, that he deceiveth himselfe, and that every man should therefore prove his owne worke, and that then he shall have rejoycing in himselfe alone, and not in another, for every man shall beare his owne burthen, Gal. 6. 3, 4. 5. And to the Thessalonians he saies, Prove all things, and hold fast that which is good, 1 Thess. 5. 21. Do not such thwart and resist these Scriptures, who take upon them to assigne and stint men unto certaine spirits, as though they could be saved by the faith and knowledge of others, with expresse peremptory commands to receive them for the true Spirit of God, without any triall or examination? and indeed it is better to take up a Edition: current; Page: [2-102] Religion without triall upon adventure, then having examined and found it Antichristian or erronious, submit unto it notwithstanding; but certainly if well examined, this will appeare not a bare adding or taking from the word of God, but a flat opposition, and giving the lie, as I may terme it, unto the Scriptures, for whom a heavier judgement is preparing, if such a one were possible,Rev. 22. 1 then that which is denounced in the Revelation.

What if the Prince and Peeres should change Religion, must they be subject also to persecution? I know not how they can be well secured so long as such Statutes are in force, for in that they concerne matters of Religion, if they binde at all, they binde most of all: But what if a King and Parliament should repeale all Acts against the Papists, and passe others of the same tenour against all Protestants, must we therefore all turne Papists? If that Religion must be received and forced upon the consciences of people, which by a major part is voted to be the true one, I know no remedy but that we may be lyable againe hereafter to change as often as those that lived in the Reignes of Henry 8. Edward 6. Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth.

My humble desires therefore are that we may not procrastinate any longer the preventing so great a misery, as the world cannot possibly torment us with a greater, not through confidence of a present prevailing party, or such other assurance as carnall policie and wisdome doe only furnish us withall; the Bishops condition may be sufficient item to us in this behalfe, who, notwithstanding so many suffered by them, had within lesse then five yeares since greater multitudes of abettors within this Kingdome, then ever any kinde of Church government in likelihood will find hereafter; it is necessary therefore to proceed upon a sure foundation, by passing an act against persecution for Religion, which besides the agreeablenesse with Scripture, all degrees of people having once tasted the sweetnesse of it, will never suffer themselves to be bereaved thereof againe, and by that means become a sure establisher of the generall peace of the Kingdome, and dispose every one more willingly to submit to higher powers, though to some prejudice of his propriety when he apprehends himself certain to enjoy the Liberty of his Conscience.

But may we not any longer be subject unto men?1 Cor. 7. 2. Surely then in whatsoever sense it be meant, we must be subject unto Christ, Edition: current; Page: [2-103] his yoke is easie;Matth. 11.3 cd and we must not live lawlesse as we our selves list, but persecution imposes a heavier yoke of subjection upon the Conscience, then any Prince or Tyrant in the world doth upon the body of his Subjects: And although every soule must be subject to higher Powers in civill matters, yet there are degrees of subjection and relations in a Common-wealth whereby one is bound to yeeld more or lesse subjection, obedience, respect, and honour, according to the respective Lawes and ranke wherein he stands; and yet in most Countries every Subject from the highest to the lowest hath a kinde of freedome, and possibility of quitting himselfe from the most toilsome and inferiour vassalage, if he be a man of abilities or wealth; but that Law which imposes on the Conscience,Note. serves all alike, save that the most ingenious and conscientious are most afflicted with it, and so long as it is in force, a good Conscience hath no meanes either to evade it or dispence with it.

But how fruitlesse a course it is to force men to conformity in a Religion they have no liking of, will appeare by the small successe it wrought on Papists here in England, many whereof went to Church when they were strictly lookt too, stopping their eares with wooll because they would not heare at all, or heare with an intention to beleeve the contrary; or else like Protestant Merchants and travellers in Italy and Spaine, which ordinarily goe to Masse and Vespers, to avoid suspition of the Inquisition, but because their hearts joyn not in the Church devotions, they purposely send their eyes a gadding after beauty, whilest many, too too many, by custome assume so great a liberty, as if the eye could not sin in one respect, whilest the heart consented not in another, or rather as if God would pardon them the lust of the eye, so long as they were not Popish in their hearts.

But more remarkable it is in the Moores of Spaine and Jewes of Portugal, some whereof dissembled Popery in their successive generations some hundreds of yeares together, untill the Moores being discovered in such multitudes, as that the King not thinking it safe to retaine them longer in so slavish a captivity of the Conscience, nor able to give them a tolleration without the Popes dispencing, commanded them to be gone, and accordingly about the yeare 1606. they conveyed themselves into Barbaria and Turkey, with such a stocke of Christian crafts and pollicie, as not only the Edition: current; Page: [2-104] Pirates, but those whole Nations are much advantaged and improved, to the no lesse shame than detriment of Christianity: Oh let not the like befall England, with her manufactors, but I feare it is almost too late to wish so, for so many thousands of them being already gone, are able to teach all the world, unlesse both they be suddenly recalled, and others encouraged to continue by a Liberty of Conscience.

And for the Jewes in Portugall, the Inquisition used alwaies to be full of them, seldome without foure hundred or five hundred together, and though most of them will not scruple, and many of them chuse rather to marry with such as really are Christians, that they may with more security play the hypocrites, yet by such as live amongst them it is observed, that though from one generation to another, they have matched into Christian families, yet they reserve and instill their Jewish principles so subtilly into their offspring, as the children though they have remaining in them not above one two and thirtieth part of a Jew, are notwithstanding knowne by infallible presumptions to be Jewes in heart, though outwardly they make profession otherwise.

In the Gospel according to St. John, Jesus answered,John 1 My Kingdome is not of this world, if my Kingdome were of this world, then would my servants fight that I should not be delivered up to the Jewes. What can be more opposite unto the intentions and proceedings of our Saviour, who rather than resist chose to suffer persecution unto death, than these that persecute others unto death? If Christs Kingdome be not of this world, but if it be mysticall and spirituall, then must it necessarily be erected by powerfull preaching of the Word, and by the Spirit: When Peter smote off the high Priest servants eare in defence of his Master,Matth. 52. our Saviour bids him put up his sword, and instead of commending him and his zeal in rescuing the sacred Person of our blessed Saviour, saies, All they that take the sword shall perish by the sword:Eph. 6:1 And St. Paul exhorts the Ephesians to be strong, but in the Lord, and in the power of his might, not brandishing the sword of civill Magistrates, but to take the helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: and in another place he sayes, that Faith comes by hearing,Rom. 11 and how shall they beleeve in him they have not heard? and how shall they heare without a preacher? And yet if it had been as good a way, Paul would doubtlesse have taught it them, by saying, how shall they beleeve Edition: current; Page: [2-105] unlesse you tell them? and how shall they know what is to bee beleeved, unlesse you impose it upon them? But this was none of Pauls Doctrine; both our Saviour and his Apostles not only taught and practised, but sealed the contrary with their bloud.

The Spaniards are blamed, and that justly, by all other Nations for having massacred so many millions of West-Indians in their owne Country, under pretence of Religion, though it be evident, it was only that they might the easier rifle them of their gold and silver, and so it is in all persecutions pretended for Conscience sake; for did we but a little consider with our selves, we would easily conclude, that few have been yet so mad to put people to death meerly for Religion sake; I know that many in passion, rage and fury, will say it is pity such Hereticks should live, but when such men are in a calme mood,Rom. 12. 1. if another Nathan, like him that came to David, should say unto them, there is such a neighbour of mine charitable to the poore, upright in his dealing, courteous in his behaviour, meek and lowly minded, loyall to his Sovereigne, true to his Country, chusing rather to suffer than offer injuries, beloved of all that knew him, and never so much as tainted with suspition of any thing blame-worthy, till of late being accused as a Separatist for seducing the Kings liege people unto his owne Religion: the Jury finding him guilty, he is condemned to dye; will not a tender hearted Christian be ready to reply, it is pity such a one should dye? and though the Law condemne him, the King is mercifull, and doubtlesse would reprieve him if he knew he had been loyall to his Country, and committed no other sinne then endeavouring by argument from Scripture to bring others of his owne Religion: now though most men, or every good man would be loth that a conscientious Christian should be put to death for doing nothing but what he is bound in conscience, the winning Proselites to his cause, his religion, which amongst so many different sorts of Christians; he thinks to be the right, and himselfe no lesse obliged to publish it,34. 17. 10. then Peter and John, who when they were commanded by the Magistrate not to speake or teach in the name of Jesus, answered, We cannot but speake the things which we have seen and heard: And when our Saviour sent out his Apostles,tth. 10. 17. he said unto them, What I tell you in darknesse, speake ye in light, and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the house tops, and feare not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soule: Now Edition: current; Page: [2-106] though Christians generally will not acknowledge that they put any to death meerly for Conscience sake, yet so long as there is a Law where-unto such as differ from us in religion, or any point thereof shal be more lyable then ourselves; as the Jewes, when they could not resist and gainsay the spirit wherewith Steven spake, stirred up the people, suborned and set up false witnesses to accuse him, Acts 6. 11. 13. So, amongst us there will not be wanting one or other who for some private interest and by-respect, will finde out one to accuse, others to witnesse, a Jury to give verdict and make guilty, a Judge to pronounce the sentence, and at last finde meanes to keep the King from reprieving, all of them thus conspiring to put him to death by the advantage of such a Law, whereas really it was not his Religion which they so much regarded, and they may cleerly say they put him not to death for his Religion, but it was their owne respective private benefit and ends which corrupted them to compasse his distruction by force and colour of such a Law.

But why? what reason which is Scripture proofe can be given, why a particular Gentleman should be put out of a Mannor whereof he hath the propriety by inheritance or purchase, more than a whole Nation, a Nation of Infidells and Pagans for Religion sake?Obj. Perhaps it may be said, the State hath enacted a Law whereby this Gentlemans whole revenue or part of it becomes forfeited, because he is not of the true Religion; whereto I answer, That Popery was enacted to be the true Religion in Queen Maries dayes,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. and that which Protestants professe in Queen Elizabeths, yet they could not be both the true Religion, however the Subject was not suffered to say so much of either, so long as they had a Parliament protection; but doubtlesse all just Laws have their grounds and rule in Scripture, and more exactly such as concerne Religion, which is the unum necessarium: and if a Pagan Nation may not be invaded in their teritories, because they will not be of our Religion, nor a neighbouring Christian people differing from us in some opinions, why should a particular man have his only lambe,2 Sarr. 4. his pittance taken from him for refusing only to be of a religion, or of an opinion which would absolute damne him because he doubts,Rom. 23. so long as he lives peaceably, and gives unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsars?

In Genesis we finde that Hamor and Sechem told the men of their City that Jacob and his children were peaceable, and therefore moved that they might dwell in the land and trade therein; but when Simeon and Levi had treacherously slaine Hamor, Sechem, and all their males, whilst they were sore after their late circumcision, though it was in revenge that Sechem had first defiled their sister Dinah, yet Jacob reproved them greatly, Edition: current; Page: [2-107] saying ye have troubled me, and made me to stinke amongst the inhabitants, Gen. 34. 2. 21. 25. 30. So when the Protestant Princes made intercession to the Emperours of Germany, or Kings of France in behalfe of such as professed the reformed Religion: nay, when any Christian Prince made meanes to Turke or Persian that their subjects might live within their jurisdictions enjoying Liberty of Conscience, doe we thinke they used any other arguments then that such Christians were peaceable harmlesse men, medled not with the State or Government, and desired only that they might be permitted to recide there, and enjoy the freedome of their Conscience, where they had their revenues, friends, or best meanes to get a livelihood? they moved not that such poore Christians might not be persecuted because they were of the true Religion, for every man thinkes his owne to be the truest, and though he take advice of never so many, will not let another be finall judge thereof; for Turkes have as much reason to persecute Christians, as Christians have to persecute Turkes; but for Christians to persecute one another, and yet blame one another for the same persecution; how can they chuse but thinke St. Pauls reprehension was not so sutable to the Romans, as themselves? and how can they expect to avoid Gods judgements mentioned in the Text, so long as they perish so wilfully, condemning others for what they doe themselves? the words are these; Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest, for wherein thou judgest another thou condemnest thy selfe,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. for thou that judgest doest the same things: And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which doe such things, and doest the same, that thou shall escape the judgement? Might not St. Paul if he were now living say, Thou Protestant, sayest thou a man [a Calvinist] should not persecute, and doest thou the same? Thou Calvinist, sayest thou a man [a Protestant] should not persecute, and doest thou the same? Since it is most true, that they must mutually justifie, or mutually condemne each other, and though it will be by both sides alleadged, that none are put to death amongst them meerly for Religion sake, I feare me, it may be found upon due scrutiny, how many have dyed on both sides, as well for exercising their owne Religion, as seeking to convert others; and in regard that both Calvinists,9. Lutherans, and all others of the reformed Religion have received and acknowledged our Saviours command to love their neighbours as themselves, and doe to others as they would be done to, and thinke they are no lesse bound then St. Peter, when he was converted, to convert his brethren,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. and this being a doctrine and point of Faith, which all reformed Christians make profession of, such of them as have been imprisoned, fined, banished, or put to death, for no other cause but Edition: current; Page: [2-108] what this point of their faith obliged them to, cannot be said otherwise then to have beene thus persecuted meerly for Religion sake: And there is this more of aggravation, that for the most part these fierce and persecuting Christians esteem each other in a damnable condition so long as they perish and dye therein, and yet either of them being by the other condemned to death shall have his pardon, if he become a convert, which is a destroying of the spirit that the flesh may be saved, just opposite to St. Pauls doctrine, but if he refuse, they proceed to execution, which according to their owne opinion sends them irrevocably to hell, whereas in Christian charity they ought rather to reprieve them, that there might be a possibility of their conversion: and were we not besotted with most supine carelessenes or ignorance, wee should not chuse but see that persecuting and putting to death the body of such as differ from us in religion or opinion, cannot possibly be out of charity to their soules, but must needs acknowledge that either we are guilty of their perishing both body and soule, if they dye in such opinions, or else condemne our selves on the other side for putting them to death, because they were of such a religion or opinion as accompained them to heaven:1 If St. Paul to the Corinthians prescribes all Christians a way of proceeding against sinners for destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus; and if hee tels Timothy that a servant of the Lord must not strive,2 but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meeknesse instructing those that oppose themselves,2. if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledgement of the truth, and that they may recover themselves out of the snares of the Divell: what art thou, O Christian, who contradicting the Holy Ghost in these places of Scripture, thus puttest Christians to death after such a manner, and in such a time, as that according to the faith whereof thou thy selfe makest profession, the spirit of such Christians cannot possibly be saved, but must inevitably be damned in the day of our Lord Jesus? consider of it, I beseech thee in the feare of God, and be humbled, endeavouring to redeem thine owne misdoing by the grace of God, in earnestly petitioning his divine Goodnesse to dispose the King and Parliament for repealing some lawes, and enacting others, whereby the people may be free hereafter from so dangerous a temptation, as this power and colour of persecuting others for Religion sake leads them unto.

But I must not yet leave St. Paul without making a little more use of so bright a light, who reproving the Corinthians in that they suffered such as committed fornication to live amongst them, though absent by virtue of his Apostleship, judged such offenders to be taken from Edition: current; Page: [2-109] them,1 Cor. 5. 3, 4, 5. and by the same authority commanded the Church of Corinth to put it in execution, & that when they came together in the name of the Lord Jesus, they should deliver such a one unto Sathan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus: Now either this delivering up to Sathan was a present putting to death with a blasphemous inference, that the sudden putting to death is a saving of the soul, or else it is only some Ecclesiasticall and Christian censure whereby the sinner might have liberty to survive for the mortifying of his body and destroying all fleshly lusts that the soule might escape in the dreadfull day of judgement, so that such as put the body to death, as much as in them lyes,Note. dam the soul, quite opposite to St. Pauls intention, who prescribed another way of justice with his expresse reason for it, That the soule might be saved; wherefore they may well be reproved and reprehended in his owne words to the Romans,Rom. 2. 4. Despisest thou the riches of the goodnesse and forbearance and long suffering, not knowing that the goodnesse of God leadeth thee to repentance?1 Cor. 3. 6 And whereas in other places, he saies, We are by Christ made able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the Spirit, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life: unlesse in this, and such other Scriptures, it be understood that the Gospel dispences ordinarily with the letter of the Law, to mitigate and qualifie temporall punishments of the body,Exod. 21. 12. 15. 17. Liv. 20. 10 and 24. 17 21. Num. 35. 16. & seq. Object. as well as to free us from eternall torments of the soule; I doe not finde where Christian people and Commonwealths take power of sparing such offenders which by the expresse letter of the Law were commanded to be put to death.

But some will say, if men be suffered to preach such grosse erronious doctrines, the number of Hereticks would quickly be so great, that true Beleevers might be swallowed up by them, as good corne which is choaked many times through abundance of tares and weeds; whereto I answer,Answ. That we should do that only which is commanded and warrantable, relying upon Gods providence concerning the event, he spares not these erronious Beleevers or Hereticks that they might seduce and pervert the faithfull,Joh. 24. 24 for that is impossible, but that the faithfull might in his due time reduce the misbeleevers unto the truth, who if they should be taken off presently, would for all we can expect have perished in their sinnes:1 Cor. 7. And as St. Paul taught the Corinthians, If a brother have a wife that beleeveth not,2. 14. 16. and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away, for the unbeleeving wife is sanctified by the beleeving husband, and what knowest thou O husband, whether thou shalt save thy wife? Surely this text may be well applied to the whole Church which is the Spouse of Christ, and such as finally cut off the least inferiour member by persecution, be so much more justly censured and condemned by it.

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Our Saviour having sent his messengers to a village of the Samaritanes to make ready for him,Luke 9, 32. & 109. the people of the village refused to receive them, which when James and John saw, they desired to bring downe fire from heaven to consume them as Eliah did, but our Saviour rebuked them, saying, ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of, for the Sonne of man is not come to destroy mens lives, but to save them; I wish this Scripture were well considered on by all that make profession of the Gospel.

The Inquisitors of these dayes have no better ground for their strict proceedings,Exod. 34. 13. then the Old Testament which expressely commanded Idolatry to be rooted out, their Altars to be pulled downe, and groves wherein they worshipped false gods, to be destroyed;Deut. 7. 5. & 12. 3. there have we also the example of Eliah, who consumed the two Captaines with their fifties,2 King 18 4. which were sent from the Idolatrous King Ahaziah: the Disciples John and James, it seems, were then of the same mind in this respect,Mich. 5. 14 & if they could have had their owne wills,2 King. 1. 1. would have caused fire from heaven to have rained upon the opposers of the New Testament as Eliah had done upon the Idolatrous and disobedient of the Old,Matth. 11. 29. but our Saviour who was very meeknesse, reproved them for not knowing what manner of spirit they were of, as if he should have said, you must not have the spirit of persecuters, but such a spirit as those which are to be persecuted have need of;Matth. 10. 23, 24, 25. and for this cause he had before taught them a lesson of preparation, saying, When they persecute you in this City, flye ye into another, the disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord: If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub2 Tim. 3. 12. how much more shall they call them of his houshold? And for the destruction of the groves which had beene made to commit Idolatry in, if it concerne Protestant Reformers to do the like under the Gospel, we should not finde many Churches in England which could escape; but whether they be all to be pulled down, or why one more then another, I leave it to such as have already delivered their opinions to make them good, wishing them to remember that in St. Pauls judgement,1 Cor. 8. & 10. cap. a good Christian might have eaten of those meats which had been consecrated to their Idolls, provided it were no scandall to a weak beleever.

And although this lesson was so quite contrary to the dispositions of John and James ambitious when they reasoned amongst themselves who should be the greatest,Luke 9. 46. that they might in liklihood be the more enabled to persecute and punish others, as appeared afterwards by this rash and unadvised motion of theirs, yet the reprehension in both respects sunck so deep into their eares, that the Disciples never exercised greatnesse amongst themselves, nor persecution or compulsion towards others, much lesse prescribed it to be practised by their successors, and in Edition: current; Page: [2-111] pursuance thereof,10. St. Paul advised, or rather required the Corinthians, and in them all Christians, that they give no offence; neither to the Iewes nor to the Gentiles,1. nor to the Church of God, and to the Colossians he saies, walke in wisdome to them that are without: Now what can be more against the rules of wisdome, then endeavouring to bring into the true Church such as are without by a rigorous way of persecution? we see by daily experience that men are by nothing so much obliged and engaged, as by courtesie and affable proceedings, these both win and keep the heart fast, whilst violence and constraint can at best, but prevaile upon the body, the soule even in that instant so much more alienated, as the body and outward man was forced to play the hypocrite and yeeld obedience.

What possibility is there of converting Papists, Jewes, Turkes, or Infidels to the Faith upon such grounds as most Christians hold at present? It is generally and truly agreed on, that we ought not to invade their Countries to dispossesse them of it, or their meanes, because they refuse to imbrace Christianity, and I have scarce so much as heard of any Protestants, or others of the reformed Religion (may it be spoken for their humbling and amendment) that ever employed themselves to compasse their conversion meerly for Conscience sake; few of them have means to come to us, and if they had, how can we thinke they would be willing if they knew they might not live amongst us, without being forced to a new Religion, before their reason and understandings were convinced in the truth thereof? and for the same respects, as also in that the Christians in their new Plantations seek more after the wealth of the Country, then propagating of the Gospel, the neighbouring people of these parts hate the very name of Christians, make such opposition against them as they are able, and at last, when they have no other remedy, flye further off, not one of a thousand desiring their society or acquaintance: can any thing be more contrary to walking in wisdome towards a people, then to practice such courses as make themselves odious and hatefull, that they cannot get to be admitted into their company?1. 5. St. Paul having writ unto the Corinthians that they should not accompany with fornicators,1. lest they might mistake him, he explanes it to them afterwards, that it was not his meaning that they should altogether forbeare to keep company with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous or extortioners, or with Idolaters, for then they must needs go out of the world, but if a brother were such a one, they should not so much as eat with him; from hence I conceive may be inferred, that if the Disciples of Christ had had a civill power to force a way for the Gospel, yet they thought it Edition: current; Page: [2-112] either not lawfull or not expedient to imploy such meanes, because they forbore to make use of milder, for though they might not eat with a professor, a brother which was a notorious wilfull sinner, yet such as were without, though they were covetous, fornicators, extortioners, and Idolaters to boot, they might eat and keep company with them by St. Pauls permission, when they might as well have avoided it in them as in their owne brethren;The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. and whereas Idolatry and other execrable sinnes were then so rife with all men, that St. Paul was forced to say in effect, that it was not possible to live, and not keep company with such sinners, yet he said not that such as would altogether avoid their company, must send such sinners out of the world, or out of the Country by persecution, which the Inquisitors of these times practise, but insinuates, that in case the world were so full of notorious sinners and misbeleevers, as that a true Beleever could not live in the world without conversing with them, and that God would not permit his people to converse with them, that then the true Beleevers themselves should rather goe out of the world, then send such notorious sinners and misbeleevers out of the world in the midst of their sinnes by persecuting them to death, which I much desire were well reflected on, as also that passage of St. Johns Gospel in the prayer which our Saviour makes unto his Father in behalfe of his sheep the true Beleevers,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keepe them from the evill: from whence it may likewise be inferred, that if the true Beleevers could not be kept from the sinne and evill of the world, in such case they ought rather to pray that God would be pleased to take themselves out of the world, then to desire that notorious sinners or misbeleevers were taken out of the world in their sins, whereas so long as they live there is hopes of their repentance.

Our Saviour when he sent forth his Disciples,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. gave them charge to preach the Gospel freely as they had received it freely, and that if they came amongst such as would not receive or heare them, they should depart thence shaking off the dust from their feet as a testimony against them, which is farre from a commission to plant the Gospel with fire and sword, or other waies of persecution, which are practised in these dayes; and Saint Marke in his relation thereof makes the commission to be given them, in these words, Goe ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel unto every creature, he that beleeveth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that beleeveth not shall be damned: Now though it be not to be meant so litterally and precisely that they should preach the Gospel to irrationall creatures, yet the sense and meaning of every creature is so cleare, that none which were capable to receive the word, should be barred by persecution from Edition: current; Page: [2-113] hearing of it preached; and whereas our Saviour saith, he that beleeveth not shall be damned, had his intention beene, that such as beleeved not should be compelled thereto, doubtlesse he would have said so in expresse words upon this occasion, rather then denounce their damnation, before he had first countenanced this so efficacious a way, as some alleadge,Object. for to prevent it.

To say the Apostles had then no civill power, and therefore they used it not, is not to the purpose, for if coercive power had been requisite,Answ. our Saviour when he sent them forth could as easily have ordered them to make use of it (in which case the Magistrate must have contributed his assistance) as to say, heale the sicke, clense leapers, raise the dead, and cast out divels, and although miracles were now quite ceased, yet it followes not that the civill sword is given to the Church to cleer the Gospels passage, for God will have no wayes or meanes made use of, but such as he himselfe prescribed with expresse order only (not to persecute but) to depart from such as would not heare it; and what command finde we in the word of God which warrants us to imprison, fine, banish, or put to death any one especially amongst Christians for difference of opinion in Religion? many I know are so indulgent to be contented that every man might enjoy his own Conscience quietly, but would not suffer them to, have the free exercise of it, to discourse or publish their opinions unto others, but hereof I finde no ground in Scripture; St. Paul sayes, 1 Cor. 9. 16. A command is laid upon me, and wo is unto me if I preach not the Gospel; and our Saviour said unto St. Peter, Acts 22. 32. When thou art converted strengthen thy brethren: So that the same God which commands me to trie the spirits, requires of me also that when I have found the truth, I should not withold it like a candle under a bushell,Marke 4. 21. but teach it unto others.

Yea but some will say,Object. God requires you to teach the Truth but you teach Heresie instead thereof, and therefore you ought to be persecuted; my answer is,Answ. That I apprehend it to be the truth, and doe but discharge my conscience, though it be erronious, desiring to see the warrant for persecuting such as teach or publish erronious doctrines, which they in their owne opinion thought had been found: St. Paul in the name of the whole Ministery said, 2 Cor. 5. 20. We are Ambassadours for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christs stead, be ye reconciled to God: And in another place, 2 Cor. 10. 1. 3. 4. I Paul my selfe beseech you by the blacknesse and gentlenesse of Christ, for though we walke in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnall, but mighty through God to the pulling downe of strong holds : So that Paul did war, but not according to the flesh, he did not imprison, Edition: current; Page: [2-114] fine, nor cut off eares, his weapons were only spirituall, the power and might of Jesus Christ; gentle exhortation and friendly admonition was the only meanes the Apostles practised, which prevailed then so mightily, and ought for that very reason to be still continued, especially since we cannot pretend any other commission but what they had, unlesse we will also seem to have had an other Gospel.

I presume no Protestant will deny, but that we are bound to endeavour the conversion of Papists, Jewes, Turkes, Pagans, Hereticks, with all Infidels & misbeleevers unto the only true and saving faith in Jesus Christ, this taske how little soever it be practised and thought on, will one day lye heavy upon all Christians, who are no lesse obliged thereto in their respective callings,Matth. 23. 19. then the Apostles were to preach the Gospel unto all Nations, as was said immediately before: But as it is said in the Parable, Mark 3. 27. That before one can enter into a strong mans house and spoile his goods, he must first binde the strong man: So before you can prevaile and reduce a Turk or Papist to the true reformed Religion, you must first convince him in the errours of his owne, by the evidence of Scripture, and by the power of the Holy Ghost, and this must be done by word of mouth, by writing or by both, as I rather conceive; first, by word of mouth, in that the Apostles were expressely ordered to go and teach all Nations, which necessarily inferres their presence; and secondly, by writing, that it may be better dispersed, and more freely enjoyed at all times, places and opportunities, besides, that controversies and businesses of intricacie, are far better and more methodically stated and explaned in writing or in Print, then can possibly be delivered by word of mouth: The Poet said,

Qui volet ingenio cedere rarus erit:

But farre more rarely shall you finde a man to give preheminence in point of his Religion, each thinking his owne to be the truest; this combat therefore must be fought out upon eaven ground, on equall termes, neither side must expect to have greater liberty of speech, writing, Printing, or whatsoever else, then the other:Object. But it will be again objected, that if such a tolleration as this be granted, the whole Kingdome will be quickly pestered with a greater confusion then that of Babel; to which I answer,Answ. That the confusion will not be such as is so much imagined and feared, though it may seem greater at first then afterwards, when every man hath associated himselfe with such as are of his owne opinion; and I crave leave to aske, if it be not a far greater confusion both before God and man, and of more dangerous consequence to the State, and their owne soules, for a thousand men and women of ten severall religions or opinions to assemble together every Edition: current; Page: [2-115] Sunday in a Parish Church for feare of imprisonment, fines, banishment and worse, or else that the same thousand men and women being permitted freely,Object. may meet in a peaceable manner at ten severall places according to their respective differing opinions and religion: But you will say that all these thousand men and women were good Protestants, before this licentiousnesse of being what they would, was granted them:Answ. I answer, That they could not possibly be good Protestants, but either were hypocrites and time servers, or else that they had hapned by chance, or rather by course of the Country into a meer formall profession of the Protestant Religion, whereof they were not able to render a reason if it had been demanded, & though they should have stil continued as visible members of the true Protestant Church, and participated in the outward means, their actions would have been never the more accepted of the Lord whilest they had lived, nor their persons at the day of judgement.

Secondly though this confusion were yet greater then you imagine, I desire to be informed, how it may be prevented without a far worse inconvenience; first, in that I finde no expresse warrant, and lesse then expresse will not be enough to abridge any man the exercise of his Religion, which makes him sinne against his owne Conscience, and so is a doing of evill at least, that good may come of it, Rom. 3. 8. And secondly, because you are commanded to teach all Nations, which is impossible, unlesse you could goe and live amongst them, which you cannot reasonably imagine or conceive, that people of different religions & opinions will permit you to remaine amongst them who hold tenets, that when you have converted a considerable number, you may if you see possibility of strength to compasse it by force of fire and sword, compell the rest to be of the same Religion, much lesse will they come unto you for the same reasons, as also in that you will not permit them within your jurisdiction to make profession of their Religion, whereof they have as good opinion as you can possibly have of yours, and though perhaps they might be contented (not that they are doubtfull of their owne, but in hopes it may be to make a Proselite of you, or out of an ingenibus disposition and desire to comply with you, who seem so solicitous of their salvation) to hear what you alledge, why they should become good Protestants, yet you cannot in reason expect, or in equity require, that they should not have as ample priviledge as your selfe, to deliver their mindes freely both in speech and writing.

We know that in most Kingdoms there are severall Courts of Justice, which having different priviledges and jurisdictions, when any man hath cause to commence a suite he first informes himselfe in which he Edition: current; Page: [2-116] may likeliest finde greatest favour of equity and justice, but if his adversary gaine advantage, and force him to a triall in such a Court, as according to the constitution thereof, he could not have so favourable triall as in another, the party thus agrieved forthwith appeals from that where he was overthrowne unto another, never resting or submitting, if it may be otherwise avoided, untill he apprehend himselfe, to have been equally proceeded with; and yet the triall of Religion must still be more precise and equitable, in that it must be voluntary on both sides.

Suppose then that a man have a controversie with another about land, houses, money, merchandise, or what ever earthly luggage else, of a considerable valuation, is any so simple as to think that such a one even whilest he is confident of his owne right and title, will give it up unto his adversary upon entreaty, menacies, or compulsion, and that willingly? Is it not then a greater absurdity and incongruity of sense to thinke that a man should rest contented willingly to be forced against his will? nay is it not a meer impossibility, as absolute as the subsistance of contrarieties? can a man in one & the same respect, about the self same thing, and at same time too, be both willing and yet unwilling? can he at same time think he hath just cause to keep possession of such land or moveables, and yet think he ought to render up possession of them? how much more tenacious may we justly presume every man to be of his religion, which he thinks to be the only true one? and how much more backward and unwilling will every one be that makes conscience to part from his faith, whereby he expects not some momentary profit and advantage, but his wel-being and salvation unto eternity? And if being confident in mine owne Religion, I cannot possibly be brought to thinke otherwise by force, what ever violence make me professe outwardly to the contrary, then will it be necessary to proceed by fair meanes, that all reasons and inducements being aledged with equall liberty and freedome on both sides, the whole controversie may be fully stated and understood to the self-conviction of heresie and errour, which if other Nations of different Religions may not be permitted, and by that means freely declare and expresse the grounds whereon they built their faith, how false soever they be, they cannot possibly be convinced thereof, but will be so much more hardned in their opinions, conceiving them the sounder, by how much you restrain the publishing thereof, and when they see you intend to persecute them, denying an equall and indifferent triall, they will be gone again with a far more prejudiciall conceit of the Protestant Religion then they had before, if you detaine them perforce, you do contrary to St. Pauls Edition: current; Page: [2-117] doctrine, 1 Cor. 7. 15. who gave order that even the unbeleeving wife might depart, if she would depart, and besides afright all such as hear of it, from ever comming to you afterwards.

Thus does it appeare most evidently,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. that if you will continue your rules and maximes of persecution, besides the unwarrantablenesse thereof, you cannot reasonably conceive a possibility to discharge our Saviours aforesaid Commission, with sundry other Scriptures for teachching of all Nations.

Besides, we finde how amongst other directions which our Saviour gave his seventy Disciples at their mission, Luke 10 5. 6. He bids them, That into whatsoever house they enter, they first say, Peace be to that house, and that if the son of peace be there, their peace shall rest upon it, if not, it shall returne to them againe:The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. and by this instruction surely we may observe, our Saviour did not intend, that his Disciples whilest they went about preaching the Gospel should crie Peace, Peace, that they might more securely instill into their Proselites a doctrine of war and persecution, and such Christian States and Churches as do since practise it, go quite opposite to that command of our Saviours, and his Disciples practise, wherein we are so much more inexcusable, in that he declared himselfe so plainly, that his meaning was, the Doctrine of Peace should be proffered to all,10. and that if they and it were not received, Their peace should returne to them againe,16. 11 and they only shake of the dust from their feet as a witnesse against them at the day of judgement; as if he had said so on purpose,19. 5. lest they meeting with such as would not receive them and their peace, should be to seek what further course to take, and thinke their labour lost, unlesse they had compelled them to receive both whether they would or no.

But notwithstanding our Saviours charging his Apostles to teach all Nations, Matth. 28. 19. And St. Pauls saying, Rom. 10. 17. That faith commeth by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; requiring Timothy to be instant in season and out of season, 2 Tim. 4. 2. The Inquisitors are ready to say with the young man in the Gospel, Matth. 19. 20. All these things have we done:The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. We have preached and such will not heare us, some that heare will not beleeve us, and such as beleeve us, will not live accordingly, what shall we do with such? I answer, this is no more then St. Paul foretold, when he said, 2 Tim. 2. 3, 4, 5. The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their owne lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching eares, and they shall turne away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables, but watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, doe the work of an Evangelist, make full proofe of thy ministery: Y. 2. Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and Edition: current; Page: [2-118] doctrine: This aversenesse to the saving truth which St. Paul prophesied of, was not so much to be discovered in the time of Timothy, as afterwards in succeeding ages; and St. Pauls directions in that behalfe to be applied to all Ministers successively: To the Romans he saith, Rom. 10. 14. concerning his brethren the Jews, How shall they beleeve in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they heare without a Preacher? But if he had lived in these dayes, Paul himselfe must have been taught to say, Do you expect they should goe to Church unlesse you whip them thither? and how shall they beleeve unlesse you beat it into them? This had been as easie for St. Paul to have prescribed in those times had it been but as good doctrine, however the practise of some Christian Countries is so contrary to it, that more care and watchfulnesse is used, that Inquisitors be circumspect and diligent to require conformity of the outward man, then that the word be sincerely taught, or the Sacraments administred according to their due simplicity and purity, to the comfort and edifying of the inward man; these may make a great shew and bravery for the present, surpassing in number like the Nationall Church of the Jews when it was most populous, but being such spurious Christians chiefly as are begot by their illegall Inquisition, and not nourished by the sincere milke of the word, 1 Pet. 2. 2. they are never like to grow up and encrease in godlinesse untill they become perfect men in Christ Jesus.

St. Paul writing to the Romans about meats which were lawfull to be eaten, by such as beleeved they might eat them, prescribes notwithstanding to forbeare, rather then offend a weake brother, but withall sayes, Rom. 14. 22, 23. Happy is he that condemneth not himselfe in that thing which he alloweth, and he that doubteth is damned if he eateth, because he eateth not of faith, for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. And in the same Chapter, vers. 5. he saies, One man esteemeth one day above another, and another esteemeth every day alike, let every man be fully perswaded in his owne minde; according to which doctrine, a mans owne conscience was both primarily and lastly to be resolved fully before he eat or dranke, whether he keep holy-daies or no, and not the Inquisition house or Bishops court:The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. If eating with a doubting conscience only be sinne, what is it in such as eat contrary to their conscience? how much greater sin is it in such as goe to Church, or are present at worshipping of God in such a manner as they themselves hold to be flat Idolatry; and then how comparatively greater is their sin that force others to doe that which damnes themselves, so much against their owne wills and dispositions? But perhaps it will be objected, that they are not forced, but may chuse whether they will come to Church or no, so they pay one Edition: current; Page: [2-119] third part of their revenues or some easier fine:Answ. To which I answer, That such fines, imprisonment, or lesser punishments whatsoever are justly to be accounted force, and that in the highest nature, when a man will rather resolve to hazard the losse of his own soule in going to Church with a double conscience, according to his owne tenets and opinion, then to submit to the said fines, imprisonment or other punishments; I need say no more then such going to Church is not of faith, but of feare, and faith comes by hearing, not by frighting.

But it will be againe objected,Object. That the Apostles had no power on authority from the civill Magistrate to render men obedient unto their doctrine in a compulsive way, otherwise they would in likelihood have made use of it, there being no such probable meanes under heaven as such imagine, to settle an uniformity, as sining, imprisoning, banishing, cutting off eares,Answ. and heads too, if they see fit; whereto I answer, That the Apostles preaching, baptizing, and doing miracles, were all contrary to the authority and expresse commands of civill Magistrates, and if they had had but equall warrant from their Master, having gained such multitudes of converts as our Saviour was fain to feed miraculously at one time, about five thousand of them, all men, besides women and children; at another time foure thousand men, besides women and children, Matth. 14. 24. and 15. 38. And in the Acts it is said, Act. 2. 41. That through Peters preaching, three thousand soules were added to them in one day, we cannot justly thinke but having once gained so many Proselites,Luke 3. and amongst those were souldiers, to take leaders and commanders off,12. 14. they had through their numbers both means and reason, rather to encourage them in adventuring to settle,Act. 10. in the former part. or at least to lay some ground-worke of their coercive discipline, then with such boldnesse at first to travell from place to place, from one City to another, preaching Christ Jesus undauntedly, when there was not so much as one to countenance and backe them against the civill Magistrate, or persecution of the common people.

Why did the Apostles baptise or teach in the name of Jesus, being expressely commanded by the civill Magistrate to the contrary? this disobedience and offending of the higher powers had beene a sin in them, unlesse our Saviour had given them expresse commission to teach all Nations, and if coercive power had been as warrantable, and more likely means to propagate the Gospel, the Apostles were as much to blame in that they did not use it, as they should have been if they had not preached the Gospel at all; for Christ that commanded them the end, must needs understand the means thereto conducing to be comprehended in the same commission; neither could they be said to want Edition: current; Page: [2-120] power for putting the meanes in execution, so long as they had the gift of working miracles: which doubtlesse they also practised so often as they had the divine Oracle for warrant; and of this nature was Peters punishing. Ananias and Sapphira a with sudden death,Acts 5. 5 10. because they had dedicated a certain possession unto the Lord, and afterwards sought to rob his Saints of part thereof: Paul likewise, Chap. 13. 11. struck Elimas the sorcerer blinde, because he sought to turn away Paulus Sergius the Deputy his heart from the faith [Editor: illegible word]. And his delivering of Himeneus and Alexander unto Sathan that they might learne not to blaspheme, 1 Tim. 1. 20. I suppose may be understood in the same manner. Our Saviour having occasion to make use of an Asse that the Prophesie in Zachariah might be fulfilled, Zach. 9. 9. sent two of his Disciples to the village Belphage to fetch one, giving them no other instructions, but that if any body said ought unto them, they should reply, That the Lord had need of it, Matth. 21. 3. Even so might the Apostles have done when they had met with obstinate people that would not receive their Gospel (especially the Jews which the Roman Magistrate in likelihood regarded little whether they were Jews or Christians) it had been but sending for a Centurian, or other officer of justice with a little ticket, that Domino opus est, no body should have been able to resist their will; as it is said in the Romans, Rom. 9. 19. the proudest Pharaoh must have submitted, and all his Subjects been willing to assist,Matth. 26. 53. besides legions of Angels which would have been in readinesse if God had pleased to warrant them in such a course.

And whereas in the Scripture before alledged, it is said, Acts 2. 41. That three thousand soules were added to the Church that day; the Text declares also, that they which gladly received the word were baptised,Note. insinuating that they which doe not willingly receive the word, ought not to be baptised, much lesse be forceibly baptised, or being first baptised in their infancie when good hopes were conceived of them, be afterwards compelled to receive the word, and participate in the ordinances when their unwillingnesse is so well known, and this to be the case of all such Christians as are forced into a Religion: But how many souls soever were added to the Church at Peters preaching, Acts 2. 47. and whereas it is said, That the Lord added daily to the Church such as should be saved, it cannot be said so in such Countries where the Inquisition ruleth, or people are forced to goe to Church upon penalties how small soever, there is neither adding to the Church, not falling from, they are one and all, all of the Church, or all out of the Church, and which of the two is likeliest I am sorry to consider.

What people under heaven can boast of an outward unity, and so Edition: current; Page: [2-121] generall a uniformity as the Papists at this day, most eminently glorious if it were to be contemplated according to humane wisdome, or beheld with the eye of flesh? But do not Protestant Writers affirme of them, that they would fall into as many peeces and opinions amongst themselves, as all other Christians have in the whole world besides, if the yoke of their Inquisition bondage were but broken? Nay do not all Protestants conclude that even such a hodge podge of uniformity cannot be compassed without an Ecclesiasticall Sovereignty? and that this Ecclesiasticall Sovereignty hath such inbred corruptions and temptations in it selfe as breeds a propensity, little lesse then unavoidably degenerating into tyranny? and that tyranny over the minde to be seventy seven times worse, then that which civill Magistrates exercise upon the body or estate? nay must it not needs follow by consequence undeniable, that if there were as good ground in Scripture for spirituall Sovereignty as there is for temporall, that this spirituall Sovereignty ought to be reduced to Monarchy, as the best and only government to settle uniformity? and would not this Pope and spirituall Monarch upon the same grounds have a better claim and title to all the world, because ecclesiasticall and spirituall forsooth, then any King or Emperour hath to his owne Dominions? All these grosse absurdities (which we so much condemne in the Pope of Rome, for the mystery of iniquity aimes at no lesse then all the world, their ground-worke and proceedings conclude as much, though yet it speakes not plaine) will inevitably follow the endeavouring to settle a uniformity in the Church, or such tenets as require a necessity of coercive power to be executed on the body or estate in matters meerly of Religion.

Let all Church governments be but brought to a triall, see what the Pope can say, Episcopacie, Presbyterie, or any other that stands for compulsive jurisdiction over goods or person, and though they mince it never so finely, speake never so fairly, and each of them have not really in it selfe an equall proportion of inbred putrifaction, tending unto spirituall tyranny, yet if they be well examined, though in their negatives one may condemn the other, for their affirmatives whatsoever shall be alledged by any one will be acknowledged the doctrine and principles of all the rest, and each of them for the matter, though not equally, upon most palpable consequence be found tending and endeavouring a command and dominion over the faith and consciences of men, which St. Paul disclaimed, 2. Cor. 1. 24. And when James and John the sons of Zebedee desired to sit on our Saviours right hand, and the other on his left in glory, he told them, That the Princes of the Gentiles doe exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority Edition: current; Page: [2-122] over them, but it shall not be so among you: And when he was desired only to speake a powerfull word for execution of civill jurisdiction, that an inheritance might be devided rightly betwixt two brothers, he reprehends the party, saying, Man, who made me a judge or devider over you, Luke 12. 13, 14. And if the Apostles, and their lawfull successors in the Ministery, may not exercise dominion nor authority, what ever their minds were, their persecution would want a sting, Mat. 20. 25, 26.

God will not have men persecuted for matter of Religion, lest under colour thereof, the persecuting of his dearest Saints should seeme more justifiable: But you will say, why does he then permit the civill Magistrates to put men to death, by which proceeding innocent and guiltlesse persons have often suffered? I answer, how it is true that through the iniquity of some Countries Lawes, and malice or corruption of wicked people, innocent and simple men have too too often been condemned and put to death: But first, it is obvious to every ones capacity, how the crimes and offences for which men suffer under civill Magistrates, are by most Nations concurrently agreed upon to deserve death. Secondly, such delinquencies are more easily to be proved against the malefactors, and in matters of difficulty, as to discover whether a woman had committed adultery, the Lord had appointed a miraculous way of triall, and called it The law of jealousies, Exod. 5. 12. which was, that if the spirit of jealousie had possessed the husband, the Priest giving the wife a bitter water to drinke (in such manner as is related in the Story) her thigh should rot, and belly burst if she were guilty, but do her no hurt at all in case of innocencie; from whence may be inferred, that the putting any man to death, or punishing by civill Magistrates without undeniable proofe and witnesses, cannot be justified or excused without a miracle; how much more in matters of Religion, where there is no law of Gods making that commands it, and seldome righteous testimonies that can be produced to prove it? Thirdly, it lay in the malefactors power not to have committed such crimes and outrages; and last of all, civill Magistrates have the Scripture for a rule what delinquents they may put to death, and how far they may proceed in fining: but for matter of Religion it is quite otherwise; for first, no man is of opinion that another deserves to be persecuted and put to death, only, because he is of the same Religion which himselfe is of, since therein he should condemne himselfe: Secondly, if a man will himselfe, you cannot tell what Religion he is of, because whatever he is driven to make profession of, it is the heart that in this respect, either justifies or condemnes: Thirdly, though a man would use all the means which can be prescribed him, and should even himselfe be contented, Edition: current; Page: [2-123] and desire that such a Religion were the true one, yet it is not in his power to thinke so, and consequently to be of the same in heart, untill his reason and understanding be convinced thereof: And last of all, there is no warrant for persecution in the Scripture, if there were, we might boldly say, fiat justitia ruat Coelum, God will beare us out in whatsoever we do by his commandement, and as severe an account will he require at the dreadfull day of judgement, for all such fining, imprisoning, mutilating, and putting to death, especially of his Saints, and other conscientious people, as have been practised without it.

We are bid in the Scripture to come out of the world,3. 4. and separate our selves from the wicked,6. lest we partake of their judgements, and the like; but instead of conforming hereunto, such as will not enter into Covenant, such as will not goe to Church and receive the Communion with us, we endeavour to compell them to it by pecuniary or corporall punishments, which is as much as possible to withstand and hinder such a separation: for instead of preaching unto the true Beleevers, according unto St. Pauls doctrine, that they should separate themselves, and not communicate with notorious sinners, we quite contrary turne our speech and power too, towards Papists, Blasphemers, Traitors, and the mixt multitude in generall, forcing them and the true Beleevers to assemble and communicate together, to have one Faith, one Baptisme, one Church, and whether it may involve us in one doome, I leave to others to determine, and at present only advertise, that, from hence arises a double inconvenience, one to our selves by communicating with Atheists, Papists, Traitors, Blasphemers and Reprobates of all sorts, from whom we are commanded by St. Pauls Epistle to Timothy, 2 Tim. 3. 5. to turne away, whilest we notwithstanding force them whether they will or no, to joyne with us in the most sacred Ordinances of God: the other inconvenience is to those that are so forced, by making of them hypocrites and time-servers, so much worse then they were before, or as our Saviour saith, Matth. 23. 15. Two times more the children of the divell, when perhaps what they would have done of their owne good will, though erronious, might have been in part excused by ignorance, and a good intention, as St. Paul did when he persecuted the Church of God, 1 Tim. 1. 13. and so far are we from building up the mysticall body of Christ by compelling the personall presence of Papists, and such like, at our spirituall exercises, that it only hardens them so much more, and alienates their mindes so much futher from being wrought upon, by such arguments as are alledged from reason or from Scripture.

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The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it.In a Sermon preached before the House of Commons the 27. of December, 1643. I finde these words. It feareth me that a great part of the people of this land are still fond of a formall service, and a proud Prelacie; and yet the Covenant which apparently professes a finall extirpation of them both, had found such acceptance, that I beleeve there is scarce one man in a hundred throughout all London but hath subscribed to it; however I am fully of the same opinion, and verily conceive that from the carriage and effect of this businesse only, it may cleerly he observed, how easily multitudes of men will permit ship wracke to be made of their soules, and consequently how incongruous and dangerous a way of proceeding it is, to joyne profit or preferment, hopes or feares, threats or force to worke upon the conscience; for although the Covenant hath passed thus currantly, I finde notwithstanding by discourse that the greatest part of people are little weaned from the present Service Booke, and wish better to Episcopacie a little reformed, I meane the rigour of it only, with some small supersfuities of the Lordlinesse, and that it should still remain Diocesan, rather then Presbyteriall, or any other Church government whatsoever; but for such as hold with independencie how their stomacks can throughly digest the Covenant, I cannot any wayes imagine.

I know that much is said and done in many places in behalfe of uniformity, a Nationall Church and Covenant; which things indeed carry a great shew of wisdome in wil-worship, as the Apostle saith, Col. 3. 23. were it not that our Saviour told us. That in vaine they worship him, teaching for doctrines, the commandements of men, Matth. 15. 9.

But wherefore such labouring in vaine, and striving against the streame to obtaine a superficies, and false lustre of a Nationall Church? Doe we thinke that Gods salvation is also Nationall? Surely if the seven thousand which never bowed knee to Baal, had been in a body, Eliah would have knowne them better;1 K 19. we see indeed that they have all the face or shew of Mahumetans in Turkie, Papists in Spaine, and Lutherans in Germany, but this is the worke of man and not of God; and though the power of flesh is such to keep the purity and saving knowledge of the Gospel from them, they will be sure enough to rise up in judgement, and with their uncircumcised hearts, and law of nature, condemne the tyranny of those that kept it from them. And they allege also the great reformations wrought by Ataxerxes, Ezra 7. 23. (and other good Kings under the the Law) who said, Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven; and many still crie out aloud upon a reformation of Religion, or building up the mysticall Temple under the Gospel, after the Edition: current; Page: [2-125] same manner by fire and sword,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. never remembring, that there was expresse order and direction from God himselfe concerning every thing about the first Temple, not a pin excepted, whereas many of latter times, out of greater eagernesse to have the worke done, then care and consideration to the well doing, have put their owne commandment afoot instead of Gods, requiring judgement to be executed speedily upon them that disobeyed, whether it were to death or to banishment, to consiscation of goods or imprisonment, with as much confidence, as though the Prophet Ezra had purposely recorded it, not so much that God might be glorified in Artaxerxes great carefulnesse, and just commands for beautifying of his Temple, as to countenance their owne wil-worship and inventions.

But did God ever say to any Christian people as he did to Abraham, Gen. 17. 8. I will give unto thee and thy seed thy neighbours Country, whose inhabitants were without the Covenant of workes, for an everlasting possession? How much lesse does God give thee the confiscation of thy brothers estate, whom thou wilt perhaps acknowledge to be within, and canst not possibly prove to be without the covenant of Grace, because he differs from thee in opinion, or some cases of conscience only? Did God ever say to Christians as he did to Abraham, v. 14. The uncircumcised man-childe shall be cut off from his people? If Christians have any command equivolent hereunto, why is it not impartially put in execution? If they have not, who shall answer for such as have beene persecuted or put to death without it? But as whatsoever God hath commanded should be punctually done; so what God hath not commanded, ought not to be done: the adding to in Deuteronomy, Deut. 12. 32. and Johns Revelation, Rev. 22. 18. is as much forbidden, as the taking from it; and Salomon sayes, Prov. 30. 6. Adde thou not unto the words of God, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found liar. I am confident it cannot be denied, but that the endeavouring and practice of coercive power to sway the conscience in any kinde, is for the most part either expressively, or by undeniable consequence quite contrary to the principall intention and letter throughout the whole Scripture, in which respect if there were some few texts or passages which might seem to colour it, yet they ought to be so much more deliberately considered and pondered on for the honour we owe to Gods truth, and charity to our neghbour.

In Matthews Gospel cap. 28. 20. it is said, Teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; But I doe not finde persecution to have been expressely commanded in any place of the Gospel: and whereas some would infer it from the words,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. Let all things be done Edition: current; Page: [2-126] decently and in order, as by the coherence with the whole Chapter it appeares plainly to relate only unto the orderly proceeding & behaviour in their assemblies or publick meetings; so it possibly cannot be made appear from hence, that there is, or ought to be a power to persecute or put to death, for then this conclusion would follow, that the Church of Corinth had commission given them to put a man to death only for indecencie, or for having done any thing which was unseemly or out of order; but this would be both a great absurdity, injustice and blasphemy to affirme: againe, Let all things be done decently and in order cannot possibly signifie, or imply a power or order of fining, imprisoning, and putting to death, unlesse you will say, that the Apostles, Disciples, and all Christian Churches, especially that of Corinth had the same power, and then you must either say that there was no delinquencie to proceed against in a coercive way, which is notoriously false, or else you must condemn them all, because they did not practise it at any time; for as the precept or command was given to the Church and Saints of Corinth, so Pauls meaning and intention must needs be, that they of all others should observe and practise it fully and punctually in all things that it might have been a president to others: and lastly, that the commission of decencie and order in all things was given unto the Church of Corinth, is plaine,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. since the whole Epistle is directed to them particularly, and by name, but it was written for instruction, and concerned equally all the Disciples & Churches of Christ, both then living, and us, as S. Paul saies, On whom the ends of the world are come: now it is grosse and preposterous to think or say, that Paul gave the Church of Corinth such commission, that is, an order or authority to use coercive power for the better prevailing that all things might be done decently and in order, because he knew they wanted, and could not have the assistance of the civill Magistrate thereunto; and if the coercive was not intended to them, much lesse to future Churches, who have only received the same commission after so many reversions, and can not pretend that the words thereof should have a different or larger signification in our favour, then was meant unto the Corinthians, unto whom it was immediately directed; and we may well presume that if it had signified a compulsive or Lordly jurisdiction, to have been put in execution by Christian Churches or Common-wealths in after ages, which cannot be because of so many absurd consequences which follow thereupon, yet dato & non concesso, in such case I say, the Apostles and primitive Christians, though they themselves had wanted coercive meanes and power, would not withstanding infallibly have left some ground or warrant inserted in the letter of the Gospel, to be conveyed Edition: current; Page: [2-127] successively unto posterity, for their better direction in a businesse of such concernment, and so great obscurity in that sense which is objected; but if the point be intricate or dubious, the safest way is to proceed no further then we have a precept or president of our Saviour or his Apostles to warrant us, especially in matters of so high a nature, as are the worship and service of God Almighty, the Discipline of his House, and tender consciences of his dearest Saints.

In the Gospel we meet with Bishops,1 Tim. 3. 12. 4. 14. a Presbytery, Elders, Deacons, Apostles, Evangelists, Disciples, Prophets, strange tongues, and Interpreters of tongues, Elders that rule well, and labour in the Ministery, some to take care of poore widowes,Tit. 1. 5. others for exhortation, Pastors, Teachers for perfecting of the Saints, for the worke of the Ministery, for the edifying of the body of Christ untill we all come in the unity of the faith,1 Tim. 3. 8 5. 1 7. as St. Paul sayes: But what spirit of truth doe we ever meet with which saies that any of these were given for the corporall imprisoning, banishing, or putting to death the body of Christ,Act 6. beginning. which are his Saints, as of latter times too too often hath beene practised? where finde wee in the Gospel order or authority to convent, accuse and arraigne men with power of life and death for matters of religion or opinion only? this is but traditionall,Luke 10. 1 23. and far short from being Cannonicall and Christian; it is true we finde here a precept for endeavouring to accomplish a unity of faith in the Saints,1 Cor. 12. 10. or the Saints in the unity of faith, but this was neither universall nor nationall unity, as appeares afterwards,Eph 4. 11, 12, 13. where he sayes unto the same Ephesians, Walke not as other Gentiles walke in the vanity of their mindes, much lesse was any constraint or compulsion ordered or intended to be used,Rom. 12. 8 for then both they and all other Christian Churches had been bound to make all others walke with them in unity of faith, or to walke unto the gallowes;Verse 17. and the Apostles admonition in such case would have been both more proper and effectuall which the Ephesians, as such Church commanders pretend, if he had said, Walke not as other Gentiles, who because they will not walke with you in unity of Religion, and uniformity of discipline, are deservedly compelled to walke unto the gallowes.

Hath it not often been instilled into the eares of Princes, as Haman the great favourite did unto King Ahasuerus concerning the Jewes Gods people, who were then afflicted in captivity, and so abjectly contemptible, that they could not possibly be dangerous to the State? and yet proud Haman, Esther. 3. 8, 9. &c. only because a consciencious Mordecai was scrupulous and could not bow and doe reverence to him as the King commanded, informed his Majesty that there was a certaine people scattered abroad, and dispersed into all Provinces of his Kingdome, Edition: current; Page: [2-128] whose lawes were divers from all people, neither kept they the Kings lawes, and therefore it was not for the Kings profit to suffer them; in which respect, if it pleased his Majesty that letters might be writ for their destruction, he promised to pay ten thousand talents of silver into the Kings treasurie; hereupon the King consented to the Edict, that all of them men, women and children should be massacred, and for Hamans good counsell, remitted the ten thousand talents of silver, and gave him the poore Jews to boot, to be murdered in such a manner as his cruelty could best contrive: Oh how often hath this wicked advice of Haman been practised upon Gods best people in all parts of Christendome? for there are Puritanes both in Spaine and Italy, in greater numbers then ever appeared in England before this present Parliament, and permitted to meet and walke peaceably up and downe the streets together, more numerous then ever yet. I saw in London, may it, in Gods time, be spoken to the greater humbling, then shame of this Nation and all Protestants besides.

But how often thinke we may it have been suggested unto our Gracious Sovereignes, and insinuated unto the people, how disserviceable and dangerous the Puritanes were unto the State? surely not seldome, or else they would never have reduced so many thousands of them into a necessity of leaving the Land, and carry with them their gifts, arts, and manufactures into other Countries, to the greatest detriment of this Common-wealth, and yet far greater losse and judgement unto Gods Church in England: But what hath been the end of the grand Politicians and Persecuters? may it not be observed, that like Haman who was hanged on the gallowes, which he himselfe had caused to be set up for Mordecai, so many, nay, very many of the greatest that ever yet appeared enemies unto Gods people, have been taken in their own nets, and felt those penalties and proceedings, which they first invented and practised upon others? And as that villanons designe of Hamans, Est. 8. 8. through Gods providence proved so much more successefull unto the Jewes; in like manner may the sun-shine of Gods love have beene seene to breake out still more bright and comfortable towards such as in all times have been reproached for Puritanes, I may not say for any deserts or works of theirs, but through Gods most gracious providence, which as Mordecai foretold to Esther, cap. 4. 14. hath wrought enlargement and deliverance to them, though they perhaps may be said to have endeavoured it, not without many weaknesses and failings.

But since God both can and will finish his owne great work of Reformation in spight of all opposition,1 Cor. 10. 12. Let such as thinke they stand take heed lest they fall,Note. and may it be far from any of Gods good servants to Edition: current; Page: [2-129] imagine that God delivered them out of persecution to the end they might be inabled to persecute their brethren:The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. Persecution is a sinne, a signe of the Church malignant, and no degree thereof dispensable by Popery, Episcopacie, or Presbytery, neither may God be thought to be the author of it, or countenance it further then he doth other sinnes by barely permitting them in wrath and judgement to chastise and scourge a sinfull people, the whole Kingdome did acknowledge it whilest Popery domineered, the greatest part are weary of it in Prelacie; O let Presbytery be forewarned thereby, and know that they have the same temptation which was common to both the other Governments,5. 10. and wherein they miscarried. The Jewes came out with swords and staves to apprehend our Saviour, but God never blessed them in it, nor sanctified them since to bring men in, and made profession of the Gospel. Let all the reasons, grounds and principles for a coercive power and discipline in matter of Religion be produced, and it will most evidently appeare how Presbytery cannot possibly alledge more, or better then what the Papacie and Prelacie first brought to light, all having the self same inbred matter and corruption in them, which infallibly, though not with equal posting, inclines them naturally to degenerate into tyranny & persecution, and the work which they all fight against,5. 39. being of God, cannot possibly be overthrowne, but will notwithstanding be brought about to the greater misery and confusion of all such, who if they would make strickt enquiry with an upright heart into the nature of such government, could not likely chuse, having felt or understood the bondage which this Kingdome hath already twice suffered under it, but see the malignant poyson and putrifaction which is bred and lyes lurking within the bowells thereof, and be weary of it; yet I forbeare to judge, and in all meeknesse beseech that they would be as backwards in judging others.

The Italians have a Proverbe that whosoever goes beyond his commission must run the hazard of it for his owne account; but for such who have no commission at all, and yet take away the liberty, livelihood, limbs and lives of their Christian brethren, and that for meere matter of conscience only, cannot amount to lesse then the shedding of innocent blould, that crying sinne, for which the Jewes remain still scattered upon the face of the earth untill this day: But have the Jews been thus afflicted for putting Christ to death, and a few of Gods Prophets only,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. how excessive then will be the torments of such Christian States which have persecuted and put to death thousands of Christians for every single soule which was executed by the Jews, and that principally because such Christians differed from them onely in opinion, Edition: current; Page: [2-130] when if they had been Turkes or Pagans they might likely have escaped? But you will say perhaps, that the Jews put Christ to death the ransome and Saviour of the whole world : I answer, That they knew him not to be Christ, and that the Jewes had then better grounds and warrant to put a blasphemer to death, and such they accounted Jesus,Lev. 16. then Christians have now: Secondly, I answer. That when Joseph perceived that his brethren were troubled in minde and grieved for having sold him into slavery, making himselfe knowne,Must 65. bid them not be grieved or angry with themselves,Gen. 3. 5. for that God had sent him before into Egypt to preserve their lives: and our Saviour after they had laid hands on him,Must 53, 5. and apprehending him, for the comfort no doubt of repentant Jewes, was pleased so say, That if he had prayed, his Father could have given him more then twelve legions of Angels, but then the Scriptures would not have been fulfilled, that it must be so, and that all was done that the Scriptures, of the Prophets might be fulfilled. In John we finde that therefore they could not beleeve because Esaias saith, He hath blinded their eyes, Joh. 12. 39. 40. And whereas the same Evangelist saith, 1 John 4. 20. He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how shall he love God whom he hath not seen: So the Jews, though they saw Jesus and crucified him, yet they knew him not to be God, and by Johns way of arguing, were so much more to be excused, and the sinne of Christians aggravated, who doe not only know their brethren, but many times acknowledge that they setting aside the difference of opinion, have more eminent gifts and abilities then themselves, and yet will not forbeare to perplex and persecute them, and according to the principles which many of them hold and practise, had they been living in our Saviours dayes,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. they would have been far likelier to have crucified him, then were the Jews themselves: And who can resolve me, whether the penitent thiefe was not once guilty, and actually consenting unto Christs death? or whether such Christians as come short in nothing, but that they have not Christ on earth in their power, will not be one day found guilty of crucifying him againe, though they could not act it upon his person: besides the Saints are coheires with Christ, they are his beloved ones, his glory, his Spouse, nay they are his body, they are Christ himselfe, they are all Anointed of the Lord, and we are forbid to touch them: Oh let us not be longer guilty of persecuting the least of them: And whereas Saint Paul exhorted the Hebrewes that they should not be forgetfull to entertaine strangers, because some thereby had entertained Angels unawares; I humbly wish all Christian people would, in the feare of God, consider, whether in putting their Christian brethren to death for matters of conscience & Religion only, they do not run a thousand times greater Edition: current; Page: [2-131] hazard to spill the innocent bloud of Gods chosen people,Heb. 12. 23. his first born, whose names are written in heaven, and that it be imputed to them to have crucified the Lord himselfe againe, far more wilfully then the Jewes, because we crucifie him in his Saints,Matth. 25. 40. 45. our brethren, whom we have both seen and knowne.

It is said in the Acts, Act. 18. 12, 13, 14, 16. that when Gallio was Deputy of Achaiæ, the Jewes made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgement seat, saying, This fellow perwadeth men to worship God contrary to the Law, but Gallio answered the Jews, and told them, if it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdnesse, he would have done as equity required, and herewith drove them from the judgement seat: now though no doubt but God guided this proceeding of Gallio, that Paul might have the better opportunity to preach the Gospel, so is Gallio his judgement more remarkable, who at such a time and instant, as God had over him a speciall, and more then ordinary providence could say, (though it is likely that he regarded alike the Jewish and the Christian Religion,Note. yet we who are under the Gospel may especially learne it from him) that the worshiping of God in a different manner, though contrary to an established civill Law, according as men finde themselves bound in conscience, which must not he wavering or doubting, ought not to be interpreted or accounted as wicked lewdnesse, or a matter of wrong to those that were of another opinion, much lesse be punished as such.

The passage of Gamaliel, Act. cap. 5. and what he said to disswade the Jewes from persecuting the Apostles to death, is no lesse worth our serious consideration: The Apostles having cured and converted multitudes of people, vers.18. the high Priest and all that were with him being full of indignation, laid hands on the Apostles and put them into prison, but the Lord who never forsakes those that trust in him, sent an Angel and brought them out againe; the Apostles according as the Angel bid them, went into the Temple to teach the word of life, which when the Jewes understood, they caused them to be apprehended and brought before the Councell that they might be put to death: The Jewes having finished their accusations, and the Apostles answered what God inspired them with for their owne defence, Gamaliel one of the Councell, a Pharisie, a great Doctor of the Law, and in reputation among the people, having commanded the Apostles to withdraw, said unto them, vers. 35. Ye men of Israel, take heed to your selves what ye intend to doe concerning these men, and having given examples of Theudas, and Judas who for a while drawing much people to them, were afterwards dispersed, exhorted them to let the Apostles alone, saying, v. 38. 39. Edition: current; Page: [2-132] If this counsell or this worke be of God, ye cannot overthrew it, lest happily ye be found even to fight against God; and the Jewes agreed with him: I know that most men now adayes, either reflect little upon these Scriptures, or account both Gamaliel and Gallio to have plaid the worldly polititians in this businesse, and not being fervent in their owne Religion,Object. tooke care only to quiet the people for the present, alledging, that we must not live like those that say,Answ. let the world goe how it list, nor expect that God will relieve us when we lye still in the ditch, and cry God helpe us only;Riv. 3. 11 but I desire such to consider, that as the luke-warm are so distastefull unto God, that he hath declared himselfe to spue them out;Rom. 10. 2. so he hath also said, that men many times have a zeale without knowledge, and that the wrath of man workes not the righteousnesse of God,Jam. 2. 19. 20. for which cause James exhorts them to be slow to wrath.

Gamaliel and Gallio are not to be looked upon barely as polititians, who in that respect might be biased, & carried awry through their own private interest, or that of State, but their reason should be truly valued by men of moderate temper, not without zeale, the more the better so it be according to knowledge,Rom. 10. 2. but I mean such men as are not engaged to the contrary opinion: Gamaliels great argument was,Note. that the Jewes should forbeare to persecute the Apostles, because they ran a hazard of fighting against God, and this was no bare jealousie or phansie of Gamaliels, but a most sacred truth; for we finde that our Saviour told Paul before he was converted, that he persecuted him, whilest he held the garments of those that stoned Steven, and haled the Saints both men and women up and downe before Magistrates and into prison, Act. 9. 4. 5. and 22. and 23. chap. And it is yet further to be observed that these advices and counsells of Gallio and Gamaliel, were not only grounded upon policie, reason and Religion, but were in favour of the Apostles, and recorded by the Spirit of God, with the liberty and successe which ensued thereon in the Apostles freer preaching of the Gospell, which in a kinde of silent manner tells us they were guided by an especiall providence to become instruments of procuring Liberty of Conscience unto the Apostles, and remaine an example for all Christians to grant the like to one another.

Will it not be acknowledged that the Bishops in Queene Maries dayes, and since, persecuted many Christians, and therein resisted Christ instead of setting him up upon his throne? Yea some will say,Object. but they were Papists in Q. Maries dayes, and Episcopacie is Antichristian, but Presbyterie or some other government may be jure divino, and will only suppresse Heresies, and settle a uniformity in the Church of Christ:Answ. I answer, that the Bishops in Queen Maries dayes, and since, whether Edition: current; Page: [2-133] Papists or others, did then say as much, and with equall confidence in defence of their coercive proceedings for preventing Schismes, and establishing uniformity, and that they had Gods word to backe them in it, and though I am fully assured, that God hath been pleased to discover unto us since, a greater measure of his truth then ever, yet if a Presbytery, or other Ecclesiasticall government shall silence or persecute in whatsoever manner, such Christians as are conscientious, pious in their actions, zealous for God, and painfull in propagating of the Gospel, though they differ in opinion, and hold some points contrary to the current of the times, but are obedient to higher powers in civil matters that such should be persecuted whether by Presbyteriall or other government, I never yet heard other reason for it then what Antichrist himselfe alledged so long since, nor doe see any other likelihood from the politick constitution of this State, much lesse can finde evidence in Scripture, but it may run the hazard, that future times, when God shall please to enlighten us yet further, will acknowledge it to be erronious, that it will appear in the last day to have been a fighting against God, and persecuting of Christ, or at least a resisting and quenching of the Spirit and gifts of God, which are acknowledged to be in such men so silenced and opposed.

St. Paul in his Epistle to the Corinthians tells them, 1 Cor. 12. in the beginning, There are diversities of gifts, but one Spirit, one Lord, one God; to one, he saies, is given the word of wisdom, to an other the word of knowledge; to one faith, to an other the gift of healing; to one the gift of miracles, to an other prophesie; to one discerning of spirits, to an other divers kinds of tongues, and to an other the interpretation of tongues, but all these work by one and the selfe same Spirit: And though all these are gifts of the Spirit, and that there is not any one of these but a man may have it, and be a reprobate, for even of faith Paul himself saies, 1 Cor. 13. 2. though he had it in such a degree as he could remove mountaines, if he had not charity withall, he were nothing, yet it is said in the 7 verse of the 12 Chaper, That the manifestation of the Spirit in the diversity of gifts, is given to profit with, that is for the profit and benefit of the Church to which these gifts were to be communicated: now if all these gifts are from God, and if God gave them that they might be improved or dispenced unto all Nations; nay, since in the third verse of the same Chapter, it is revealed unto us, that no man can so much as say, That Jesus is the Lord but by the holy Ghost:Note. how can it be denied, but that the silencing or persecuting of any man that hath but one or more of these gifts in him, because he wants some others, or hath not all, is not a plaine suppressing of the Holy Ghost? which though given in a smaller measure (like him Edition: current; Page: [2-134] that had but one talent in the Gospel,Matth. 25. and was condemned to utter darknesse for not imploying it) or if it had extended only to the saying that Jesus is the Lord, were all given to profit by, and would doubtlesse effectually prove profitable, if they were not unwarrantably quenched.

Suppose I were of the faith generally professed in New England, and had a brother of the Presbyteriall Discipline in Scotland, who loving me as himselfe, desired nothing so much as to conforme me to his own opinion, I that am no whit inferiour to him in affection, that I may bee the better able to give account of my owne faith, free from the least doubting, but prepared to imbrace any truth which to me remains yet unrevealed, after I have tried it by the touchstone of Gods word; and made use of such other helpes as God hath given me, that I may be the stronger setled, and not seem obstinate in my opinion, but especially hoping hereby, as St. Paul, Rom. 9. 22. whilest he became all things to all men, to convince my brother in the errour of his wayes, I render my selfe complying upon his request, to heare or read whatsoever can bee said in the defence of Presbytery: Now when I have used all those lawfull meanes which he prescribed me, or could thinke any wayes available to reduce a man to that opinion, and tell him notwithstanding, that I finde not the least scruple or ground of doubting in that faith which before I made profession of; my brother, who sees no greater errour or weaknesse in me then in himselfe, hath nothing else to except against me, knowes that I cannot be of what religion or opinion I will my selfe, untill I be fully convinced about the truth thereof, and that a bare doubting in point of conscience, would bring damnation on me, can, I say, my brother Presbyter in such a case, upon good ground or reason, thinke I ought to be silenced or persecuted in any manner? Can there be a Law according to Gods word to punish me for what lay not in my power to remedy, nor may with a safe conscience be dissembled? But it will be said,Object. that this plyablenesse and readinesse to receive such truth as shall be discovered; may be counterfet and hypocriticall, and that such as Scripture and reason doe not convince, are wilfully obstinate, or in state of reprobation, though they know it not themselves: To this I answer,Answ. That though it be said of the Jewes, This people is waxed grosse,Act. 28. 27 and their eares are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and heare with their eares, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heale them, yet it was not meant that every one of that Nation was hardned,Luke 6. 43, 44. or of any particular person that he could be a distinguished from the rest, nay it is plaine, there are no signes or tokens Edition: current; Page: [2-135] given us infallibly to know an obstinate or reprobate heart by, for though it be said,Act 22. A good tree doth not bring forth had fruit, & you shall know the tree by the fruit, and that of thornes men do not gather figs, nor of bramble bushes grapes; yet we know that Paul persecuted, & was a blasphemer to the last,Joh. 6. 44. even till he was vocally called by Christ from heaven; and the same Christ when he was on earth said, No man can come unto me except the Father draw him, and therefore we have expresse order to judge nothing before the time,1 Cor. 4. 5. untill the Lord come who will bring to light the hidden things of darknesse; and St. Paul saies, Rom. 14. 4. Who are thou that judgest an other mans servant, to his owne master he standeth or falleth, yea he shall be upheld, for God is able to make him stand?

We finde in Matthew, Matth. 17. 5. that the Apostles heard a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, heare ye him: And our Saviour bid them tell no body thereof till he was risen again from the dead: whence we may be informed, that Hear ye him, was not said so much to the Apostles themselves, as to all Christians in their generations to the end of the world; for if that vision, and that doctrine of Heare ye Christ, be not to be taught till after our Saviour be risen from the dead, after which time he had but a few dayes to spend amongst them on earth, then must it follow, That it is Christ still that speaks to us in his Gospel,Matth: 28. 18. and by the Ministers of his Gospel, the power which the Ministers of the Church have, is the power of Christ, who is the head of the Church, and though Christ as he is God, hath power equall with God, and all power was given unto him in Heaven and in Earth;Joh. 18. 36 yet as he said his Kingdom was not of this world, so neither may the Church imploy the power of the world, or use such coercive meanes in the government of his Kingdome, as men be forced to performe outward obedience for feare, and doe what they doe for the Church or civill powers sake, and not for Christs, like unto those people who are led to worship the Divell, lest he should doe them hurt.

And as in a politicke State, it is not safe to suffer a penny to be taken or forced from any man in an illegall way; so much lesse may an Ecclesiasticall government and power, or the Church of Christ extend their jurisdiction beyond the expresse and precise warrant of the Scripture Law, for Christs power being unlimited as he was God and Man, whosoever layes claim there unto to exercise it according to any other rule, subjects himself to the greatest temptation of becomming a boundlesse Tyrant, and the people to be enthralled by the most arbitrary and wretched tyranny and vassallage of any under heaven: 1. Because they that take upon them this supremacie of expounding Scripture Edition: current; Page: [2-136] whether in doctrine or discipline must say in effect, or infer by their proceedings, that their dictates are the infallible truths of God, otherwise men will be apt to think they had as good beleeve their own: Secondly, that it is infallibly Gods wil to have those dictates of theirs to be forced upon mens consciences: and thirdly, that they are infallibly called thereunto, & guided by Gods Spirit to see them executed; all which are the darling reasons and tenets of the Papacie to uphold the spirituall Scepter, greater they cannot be, the very Power and Spirit of God himselfe, as they pretend, and lesse would not be colour enough to force the people to receive them: Now I shall leave it to every understanding Christian to thinke and judge,Note. whether such as exercise the same dominion and power over the conscience which the Pope does, and not give the same, or as good a reason for it, may not be thought greater tyrants and usurpers in requiring such obedience and implicite faith to their owne abilities and strength, which the Pope is so modest as to acknowledge only due to an infallibility, and that infallibility to be from God?

In civill affaires we see by experience that every man most commonly understands best his owne businesse, and such as doe not, but rely upon the managing and foresight of others, be they of what calling or condition soever, in a few yeares run out at heels, to the utter undoing of themselves and whole families; besides we should thinke it a most grosse solecisme, and extravagant course in any State which did make Laws and Statutes, that the Subject might not goe about and dispatch his worldly businesse, save in one generall prescript forme and manner, as a thing most irrationall and inequitable, because it cannot possibly be sutable to the infinite occasions and interests of a Kingdome, or lesser people: Nay, why are not all Arts and Sciences thus manacled, if Divinity may be so much improved thereby? why have not each of them their respective theses, positions, and conclusions limited and assigned them? why are Physitians permitted to make experiments,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. and kill men after what fashion they please? Surely this kinde of Inquisition, Government and Discipline, should first have practised upon other Arts and Sciences, without daring to tamper with Theologie and Conscience, before it had proceeded master of all the rest: Besides, as our Saviour in the Parable, where the more early labourers murmured that the latter commers should have equall reward with them, said, Is it not lawfull for me to do what I will with mine own? So we know that every man is desirous to doe with his owne as he thinks good himselfe,Ver. 13. (especially when others receive no wrong thereby, as in the said Parable) and if it thrive not in his owne way, he may thanke himselfe, and will like better Edition: current; Page: [2-137] of it, and be content with what he does himselfe though it prove ill not so, if others have the manage and ordering of it against his own desire: but in spirituall matters it holdeth much stronger, and concernes men to be more circumspect and warie, as the good or ill thereof readeth unto eternity: wherefore since it is as possible for them or him to erre,4. who take upon them to conduct me to heaven, as I my selfe, since it is granted that I must give account, repent and beleeve for my selfe, and cannot doe either by proxie;2. since no man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the same man which is within him; since my salvation ought to be more deare unto my selfe then to any else; since if I miscarry through mine owne choice and will, I shall easier acknowledge my destruction to be from my selfe, and declare Gods judgements to be just; If I perish by mine own folly, tis the losse of one, but if misled by others, we all fall into the ditch together, with an aggravation of our condemnation, to me that relyed finally upon others in a businesse of the greatest concernment that possibly could befall me, without other possibility or assurance of doing well, than by an implicite faith; and to them that tooke upon them to be guide and pilote unto others in a coercive way especially, when they knew not how to save themselves. For all these respects, and infinite others which might be heaped up, I desire every Christian heart, in the feare of God, to consider, and revolve in his saddest and most retired thoughts, whether it be not a much safer way in spirituall affaires, for every particular man to understand his owne estate betwixt God and himselfe, and manage his own busines; whether it be not a greater infringement of Christian libertie and proprietie, to have burdens and impositions layd upon the conscience, whereby a poore soule lives in hatefull bondage upon earth, and subjects it selfe unto perpetuall torments in hell hereafter, without a meanes or possibility to helpe himselfe, though he be sensible of the miserable state and condition wherein he is, or apprehend the inevitable destruction whereto they lead him?

If the redeeming civill rights and priviledges which hath made this present Parliament so deare, be acceptable in so high a nature as to engage the Kingdome in a war for their defence; how much more will the Liberty of Conscience, which transcends the other, as far as spirituall liberty does temporall, engage it still further at their devotions? The civill Lawes permit Subjects to defend their estates with Swords and Guns; but what kinde of Laws are those which expose men naked, to have their Religion and Consciences assaulted? The civility of the French Nation is such, that in regard the Protestants, though they have a liberty of profession, being most commonly fewer in number Edition: current; Page: [2-138] in what ever company they happen, lest the Protestants should therewith be adash’d as wanting courage, and not enjoy an equall liberty and freedome of conversation with the Papists; in this respect, they are so temperate and discreet, that it is held an unseemly and uncivill part, for a Papist to aske an other what Religion he is of; whereas in England it is ordinary with Protestants, to reproach one another with the nick-name of Puritan or Separatist, Presbyterian or Independent, even those which we cannot but acknowledge to be conscientious and jealous of offending God in any thing, and that which renders us inexcusable, is, that many times when we cannot colourably fix any of these distinctions upon a man, who differs from us in opinion, or discourse only, we are so apt to terme him malignant or Popishly affected, though never any Law was yet made to declare them such.

It is usuall with gamesters to say they had rather lose their own money, then that others’ should lose it for them; and surely if we took as much delight in saving our soules, as gamesters doe in losing of their money, we would quickly chuse to hazard the losse of our owne souls ourselves, rather then forgoe the present joy and comfort of endeavouring the salvation of them by our owne, and not by an implicite faith.

Parents or such as beare affection, when God pleases to call their friends or children out of this world by sicknesse, have great contentment, that they were neare at hand to send for the Physitians, and provide such remedies, as if God had pleased, were likeliest to prevail for their recovery; how much more then will it encrease the miseries of the damned, when they shall thinke and see how foolish and sottish they have been, to take no care or thought of making their salvation sure, by trying of the spirits, and searching whether they were in the truth or no? How will children curse their parents, servants their masters, and whole Nations the State and Government wherein they were borne and bred,1 The 21. which instead of teaching them to prove all things and hold fast that which is good, have brought them up in blinde devotion, and superstitious idolizing of whatsoever their ancestors or themselves beleeved, saying, they ought to be wise unto sobriety, and not preferre their owne studies or judgements, before the Acts and Cannons of Synods and whole Kingdomes? It is true that Christ promised he would send the Spirit which should lead them into all truth,Joh. 11. 13. and that where two or three be gathered together in his name he will be in the midst of them; from whence, and such like Scriptures it will follow, that a Church,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. Synod or Councell cannot erre in fundamentalls, no more then an elect Christian fall finally from grace, so long as such a Synod, or Church keeps Edition: current; Page: [2-139] close unto the Scriptures, and herein all Christians agree, and joyne in one confession, that the Bible is the very truth and word of God, but when a Protestant Synod or Papall Councell shall goe further, and Paraphrase, make Inferences, Consequences, Conclusions, Canons, and the like; or say, this is the genuine, full and only sense and meaning of such a Text, and not as their respective adversaries object, herein they are both, though not equally, in a possibility of erring, and cannot be infallibly sure of truth, but as each of them is apt to abound in their own sense, thinking their peculiar exposition truest, and cannot chuse but be swayed therewith, so ought they equally, to leave all such as differ from them, as large a liberty and freedome to enjoy their owne opinions; for though the Members of one Synod may be more learned, wise, and outwardly conscientious, and zealous in Religion then another, yet these are no infallible grounds, and tokens of Gods greater illumination and presence with one, then with the other, and though a third and more superiour Synod, should see that one of the two former is in an errour, and advise them that they shall do well to assent unto the other, yet this Synod which hath two to one against it selfe, neither may, nor can forsake their owne opinions, upon the bare authority of the other two, before they see cleare evidence in Scripture, whereby their owne reason findes it selfe convinced: And since in that text according to John the Evangelist afore mentioned, where it is said, cap. 16. 13, 14, 15. The Spirit shall lead them into all truth; it appears, that, that truth is no other, then what the blessed Spirit had heard and received of Christs, then much lesse may frail mankinde whether assembled in a Synod, or otherwise, thinke any thing of their owne addition, or but varied in the least tittle, to be infallible, or of equall authority with Scripture: nay, since neither Christ, nor his Disciples thought good to force men to receive their Gospel, how much more presumptuous is it in men of the same passions and infirmities with others, to impose Cannons and resolutions upon the consciences of their brethren?

Christ said unto his Disciples, Matth. 7. 6. Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast your pearles before swine lest they trample them under their feet: and when a woman of Canaan besought him, unto whom upon the third motion, he answered, cap. 15. 26, 28. O woman great is thy faith; yet upon her first and second deprecation, she could obtaine no better answer, then, It is not meet to take the childrens bread, and cast it unto dogs: And in Davids Psalmes, Psal. 50 16, 17. God said unto the wicked, What hast thou to doe to take my Covenant into thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behinde thee? Yet these Persecutors and Inquisitors, which compell others to communion with Edition: current; Page: [2-140] them, doe not barely prostitute the sacred Ordinances of God, by affable enticing and alluring a mixt multitude to abuse them, but far more unnaturally, and with greater impiety, because spirituall, then those of Sodome tempt, provoke and force them by so many severall wayes, to ravish and deflowre the Church their spirituall Mother, and dearest Spouse of Christ: Nay, suppose Christ Jesus himselfe should come againe personally, and live amongst us upon earth, I would very faine be assured, how he might be free of being persecuted, and crucified againe, according to the principalls of such government, if he should either worke miracles, or teach, or speake any thing besides the rule of mans inventions, or above the capacity of our fraile and carnall apprehensions.

It is acknowledged that St. Paul sayes, Rom. 13. 1. Let every soule be subject unto the higher powers; but this only is meant in civill matters, and not such as may concerne the inward governing and reglement of the soul, or affect the conscience with remorse and guiltinesse; for first, we finde in severall other texts, that if the difference be between Gods prerogative, and the powers on earth, It is better to obey God then man;Act. 5. 2 and that Paul meant no lesse, appears clearly in the same Chaper, where he sayes Rom. 13. 5. Ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake, which cannot possibly succeed, if they commanded any thing contrary to conscience, or the divine Supremacy, unto which only, as it is acknowledged even by the light of Nature, the conscience is primarily subject, and not unto any other Law or Court, without expresse warrant and dispensation. Secondly, though we must be subject unto all Powers, because the Powers and Ministers are of God, yet we are not bound to be subject to any of them, farther then their known respective powers extend, for the power which is assumed beyond their bounds is not of God, and so the reason which Paul urges, why we must be obedient falls to ground, I meane in respect of active obedience, and for passive, especially towards those that are supreme, I refer the Reader to such as have so lately argued it so largely.

I desire not to seem as thinking that Christians may live as they list, for when Paul told the Galatians, Gal. 5. 13. that they were called unto liberty, he bid them withall, not use it for an occasion to the flesh; or that government is ever a whit the lesse necessary in any Church, State, or Common-wealth, for even a Corporation, or family cannot well subsist without it: but it may not be imagined, that God did not prescribe and leave expresse warrant, how he would have his owne house governed. Paul tells Timothy that he wrote those things unto him, hoping to come in person shortly, but in case he tarried longer that Edition: current; Page: [2-141] Timothy might know how he ought to behave himselfe in the house of God, 1 Tim. 2. 14. and as Paul thought these directions enough, and Timothy might not goe beyond commission, so neither may we imploy any other means, or instruments to uphold Christs government or houshold, then such as were by him prescribed, which St. Paul sayes, 2 Cor. 10. 4, 5. are only Spirituall, but mighty through God to the pulling downe of strong holds, casting downe imaginations, and every high thing which exalteth it selfe against the knowledge of God; and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ: And he said to the Ephesians, Put on the armour of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the divell, for we wrestle not against flesh and bloud, but against the rulers of darknesse of this world, against spirituall wickednesse in high places, Eph. 6. 11, 12. The armour prescribed by him was only spirituall, and therefore their enemies cannot be imagined otherwise then spirituall. But if civill powers, or others, have authority in matters of Religion, then their commands and Laws in that respect, must be as absolute, as in any other, and ought equally to be obeyed, which would ingage the whole Kingdome still to the Discipline of the Common-Prayer-Book, and government of Episcopacy which for the present stand established by sundry Acts of Parliament unrepealed; and all Puritans, Non-conformists or Protestant separatists of what sort soever, are as subject to persecution as any Papists, which appears by the respective Acts themselves in that behalfe, 2. and 3. Edw. 6. cap. 5. and 6. Edw. 6. cap. 1. 1. Eliz. cap. 2. And if Subjects may say that Episcopacie and the Service-Booke are Antichristian, contrary to the word of God, and may be their own judges in that respect, what hinders but they may say so too concerning Presbytery, or any other government? Wherefore there remaines no medium, either a Liberty of Conscience must be permitted us to enjoy our owne opinions in matters of Religion, or else there is a necessity of being liable and subject against Conscience, whensoever the civill powers which surely are no more infallible then Ecclesiasticall, shall happen to enact or stablish any thing else, lesse consonant and agreeing to the word of God.

And whereas the 15. Chapter of the Acts is commonly alledged, from whence they deduce the authority and use of Synods, with a supremacie of power in matters Ecclesiasticall, I say that whatsoever is pretended from thence in behalfe of Synods, Papists have long since said the same, and far more in favour of their Generall Councells, but that there is no ground at all in that place, neither for Synods, or Generall Councells, in that way which is pretended by either of them, besides sundry others, will manifestly appeare by these few reasons: Edition: current; Page: [2-142] First, because Paul and Barnabas with the others sent from Antioch, did not appeare as Commissioners or Representatives at the consultation of Jerusalem,Act. 15. 4. 5. jointly to consult with the Apostles and Elders about the matter in question, but only made relation of their message, as bare messengers. 2. The Text it selfe saies, they should go to Jerusalem unto the Apostles and Elders about this question,Vers. 2. and not unto a Synod. Thirdly, the Apostles and Elders of Jerusalem only, came together to consider of the businesse, as appeares by collating vers. 6. with vers. 2. and 4. the multitude which were then present,Vers. 12. being perhaps standers by, as I may so say, or rather the Brethren also, who if they did consult in v. 23. they were the Brethren of Jerusalem, the naming whereof evidences more plainly, that there were no others who consulted. Fourthly, Syria and Cilicia had no Commissioners there, for if they had, they would have been named as well as Paul and Barnabas, when the Apostles, Elders and Brethren of Jerusalem wrote their letters,Vers. 23. and the decree should have been published in the name of the Commissioners, and Representatives of Antioch, Syria, Cilicia, and all others that did consult, as well as of the Apostles, Elders, and Brethren of Jerusalem, had they been all assembled in a Synod, and so much more would it have obliged their respective Churches, whom they represented: But perhaps it may be not improbably conjectured that Paul and Barnabas as they passed from Antioch through Cilicia and Syria, understanding that the Churches there were no lesse disquieted with the same false doctrines, of their own accords informed the Apostles, Elders and Brethren of Jerusalem so much at some more private season, whereupon they joyned them together in their Christian care, and directed their letters joyntly to all the Gentiles of Antioch, Syria and Cilicia, because it was equally available to them all, though the question was only moved by those of Antioch. Fifthly, the Apostles and Elders answer of Jerusalem does not imply any necessity of those other Churches submission unto their determination, otherwise then infallibly inspired men, as appears by ver. 28. Sixtly, the result of the Assembly, was not published, nor the letters wrote as from a Synod, but in the name of the Church of Jerusalem to the Churches of Antioch, Syria and Cilicia; for it saies vers. 22. It pleased the Apostles and Elders with the whole Church to send chosen men, &c. and vers. 23. The Apostles and Elders and Brethren send greeting, whereas had they been assembled in Pontificalibus or as a Synod, they would never have termed themselves by the denomination of a Church: And seventhly, they imposed not their decrees with Anathema’s, or upon the Churches utmost perill of fire and sword, besides whatsoever was then decreed by that pretended Synod, Edition: current; Page: [2-143] was only that Christians should abstaine from meats offered unto Idols, from bloud,Vers. 27. things strangled and from fornication; with an expresse preamble,Vers. 28. That it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and them not to lay any greater burden then those necessary things, but the meat offered unto Idolls was quickly dispenced with,1 Cor. 8. 8. and 10. Chap. and for bloud and things strangled, we take liberty unto our selves; but if Synods and civill Magistrates would raise no further impositions, for matters of Religion, nor impose other penalties then are there specified, it would not be so burdensome, or so slavish a bondage to Gods Saints, and most conscientious Christians, as they have been faine to prevent by flight, or live under, to the great vexation of their soules, and perhaps not altogether without a doubting conscience.

But why doe not Synods begin all their decrees, with, It pleaseth the Holy Ghost and us? &c. this me thinks is more plausible and easier to be beleeved, then the forcing of their decrees and votes upon others can be digested; for if any man tell me, he is sometime miraculously inspired, I have no infallible means to disprove him, though it were false, and sometimes I may see just inducements to beleeve him, but I cannot possibly beleeve what he propounds unto me, contrary to mine owne reason and understanding; and yet though the Apostles, Elders, and Church of Christ in Jerusalem, were immediately inspired, and spake in the Holy Ghosts name, yet they fixed not to their decrees any other conjuration or threatnings,Act 15. 29 then, If you doe these things, you shall doe well.

Gregory Nazienzen could say that he never saw good end of Generall Councells;Nazienz. ad Preco. Epist. 55. Grotii [Editor: illegible word] cap. 6, p. 108. and Hugo Grotius in these latter times, both eminent for learning, and a friend to the Church Government of the united Provinces, does not withstanding affirm, that he could never understand how Synods can prove a singular remedy for reconciling differences in Religion: and indeed as it may easily be observed, that Generall Councells and Synods, have seldome had good successe, so for the most part, it may easily appeare, that there could not much better be expected, for commonly the choice of such as were sent thither, was factious or siding at the least, and the whole proceedings accordingly, they sought rather to decide matters by a major part of voyces, then by mature debating and arguing of the question, they did take advantages as well for alledging their owne reasons, as concealing, or over-shadowing the reasons of such as were of contrary opinions, that they might not be heard, debated, or throughly understood, and being in all respects watchfull, how they might with craft and subtilty circumvent, and over reach one another, to compasse their private interests, or indirect ends, Edition: current; Page: [2-144] which the respective parties that sent them thither did principally aime at, amongst other stratagems and pollicies, it hath not been the least to lay hold of such times and seasons, to make their motions or forbeare, when such, or such were present or absent, which might best further or hinder, by seconding or contradicting of their arguments.

But by Histories and Records of what passed betwixt all the Protestant Nations almost, since the Reformation, it appears plainly, that though in some Countries, and at some times, when certaine hot spirits were predominant, there hath been for a spirt, very bitter persecuting of Protestants for difference in Religion, yet their opinions and intentions when considerately resolved were still settled for Liberty of Conscience; and Calvin tells us,Instit. lib. 4. cap. 11. sect. 3. That the holy Bishops [of ancient times] did not exercise their authority in fining, imprisoning, and civill punishments, and for his owne judgement in this particular, he saies,Ibid. sect. 16. Though he write a whole tract about punishing of Heretickes, yet he could not chuse but acknowledge so much truth in a few lines only as confutes the whole Treatise, where he tells us, That as the Church hath no power of forcing of its owne, so neither may it require such of civill Magistrates, to imploy it in a coercive way: And Beza, God never gave power to man for imposing Lawes upon the Conscience, nor can endure that any body besides himselfe should beare sway or dominion over the mindes of men, de Hæret. à Civil. Magist. puniendis. The States of the united Provinces, when they first began to free themselves from the Spanish tyranny, declared, That they took not up Armes for matter of Religion, as appears by letters which the States of Holland at that time wrote unto those of Amsterdam, quoted by Hugo Grotius in his Apologie, of those that governed Holland,Cap. 2. 24. and the neighbouring Nations in 1618. for then Amsterdam, and severall other chiefe Townes were absolutely Popish for matter of Religion; and yet all those Provinces and severall Townes did unanimously agree, that, though they joyned their force against the Spaniard and common enemy, for redemption and maintenance of their priviledges and immunities, yet the liberty and freedome of Conscience should be reserved to all, and each of them respectively: The Protestants of Switzerland and Germany have published to the same purpose in their Confessions and Manifesto’s, and even of latter yeares, when the Synod of Dort was first thought on to be assembled, most of the States and Townes declared themselves before hand, that it was not their intentions that the said Synod should oblige them unto any thing that was not agreeable to their laws and government, which, as I said before, had abundantly established and ratified a Liberty of Conscience to Edition: current; Page: [2-145] every particular person that inhabited amongst them: And though upon the determination of the same Synod, in the point of Predestination against Arminians, there ensued suddenly in some few places by the instigation of a most violent party, seconded by the Prince, a fierce persecution and banishment of divers Ministers and others which were of that opinion, with a totall silencing and inhibiting them to preach, yet they were quickly restored againe, and have now their places of publicke meetings, and greater liberty then ever, and that in Amsterdam and Utreckt, where they had suffered most, to the very change and alteration of their government, as may be seen more at large in Grotius his Apologie: But the States of Frisia in July 1622. put out a severe edict which is to be seen in Print, that none of the Dort Synod decrees should be put in execution throughout their jurisdiction, untill they were by themselves, in their owne Courts and Magistrates approved on; and in fine, I doe not finde so much as any one place, or City throughout the united Provinces, where any one decree which that Synod passed, is at present coercively enforced upon the inhabitants in any kinde; but contrarywise it is well knowne to all, how they permit people of all Religions to live amongst them, and though they have continuall wars with Spain, and Papists in some Towns amongst them have more liberty then in others, yet every where their freedome is great, and though in some places they are one fourth or one halfe part Papists, yet doe not the States subject themselves to be terrified or troubled with jealousies or other plots and treacheries then in punishing the authours at such times as they happen to be discovered; I wish it were well weighed, whether the great liberty and freedome of the Gospel which they permit, That Christ be preached whether through contention or of goodwill,18. as Paul desired, and rejoyced at, may not be a great meanes to prevaile with God Almighty thus to prosper them although they may otherwise have failings and weaknesses, which worldly and carnall policies are most apt to bee overtaken with.

If the whole manner of Gods worship were revealed unto us, or any State or Church, and that such a Church or State could be certaine to be in the present possession, and practise of the whole truth, without any mixture of superstition and Idolatry, then would there be far more colour and ground for erecting an Inquisition Office, or Spirituall Court to bring a Nation, a Countrey, or all Christendome unto a uniformity both of Discipline and Doctrine, but this appeares plainly to be otherwise in both respects: First, no Church can possibly be sure to be without a mixture of errour and superstition, in that it is necessary Edition: current; Page: [2-146] there should be heresies, that they which are approved might be made manifest,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. and besides we are foretold that there shall be false Christs and false Prophets, and for that cause we are commanded to trie the Spirits whether they be of God or no: Then secondly, God is pleased only to discover the Gospel to us by peecemeals, as we become worthy and capable of the mysteries and truth thereof, which our Saviour testifies in John, John 16. 12, 13. I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot beare them now, howbeit when the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth: Now though the Spirit which is the Holy Ghost be come, and is with his Saints unto the end of the world, teaching and instructing them in so many wholesome truths, as are sufficient for their salvation, yet most evident it is that God still discovers new truths or a greater measure of the same truths by obedience, unto which he intends to bring unto salvation such as are then living, or to be borne hereafter; and this appeares further from St. Pauls words to the Corinthians, where he saies, We know but in part, and when I was a childe I spake as a childe, understood and thought as a childe, but when I became a man, I put away childish things, 1 Cor. 13. 9. 11. Strong meat belongeth to men that are of a full age, Heb. 5. 13. In another place, Who is sufficient for these things? And I have sed you with milke and not with meat, for hitherto yee were not able to beare it, neither yet are ye able, for ye are yet carnall: And of himselfe though he were extraordinary and miraculously gifted out of a sanctified zeale magnifying himselfe unto the Philipians, he saies, Not as though I were already perfect, but forgetting these things which are behinde, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I presse towards the marke, &c. Phil. 13. 12, 13. 14. Besides, if all Christians were equally enlightned, and had the same measure and strength of faith and knowledge, it would have been needlesse for the Apostle to exhort as to beare with one another, there would have been no occasion for such as are strong to comport the weak, nor all in generall to bear one anothers burden, which is required of us as the fulfilling of the Law of Christ, Rom. 15. 1. Gal. 6. 2. But the same cause which made the Corinthians incapable of meat, such further truths and mysteries as St. Paul had to discover unto them, resides in us doubtlesse, and that in as great a measure, which is carnality, and consequently witholds Gods Spirit from revealing a great part of his blessed will unto us, otherwise then as we grow lesse carnally minded, and more spirituall.

And whereas it will be said by some,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. that they have all the principalls and fundamentalls of Religion revealed unto them, whereby they may be wise unto salvation, which is as much as they are obliged to, and desire no more: I crave leave to answer such with another question or Edition: current; Page: [2-147] two, and aske, Doe you not sometimes pray, that Gods will may be done on earth, as it is in heaven? And are you qualified to do your part thereof? Are you perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect? Is the same minde in you which is in Christ Jesus? Unlesse you have attained to this perfection, according to the measure and fulnesse of Christ Jesus, there is yet a part, which unlesse you use all possible meanes to arrive to, though I cannot tell you when, or whether you shall or no, I see no ground whereby you may be sure, as yet, to have that full proportion, either of truth or knowledge, which you ought to have; much lesse how you can reasonably excuse the obstructing, as much as in you lyes, the free passage of the Gospell, the limiting and stinting of all spirituall gifts, with the quenching of Gods blessed Spirit, all which are sent for the farther instruction and illumination.

Paul tells the same Corinthians, 1 Cor. 2. 14. That the naturall man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishnesse unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned: And our Saviour told Peter, Matth 16. 17. That flesh and bloud had not revealed it unto him, but his Father which was in heaven: And St. Peter exhorts them to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Pet. 3. 18. All which are undeniable arguments, that though a Christian live never so long, yet he both may, and ought still to grow from grace to grace,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. and from knowledge to knowledge, continually ayming, and endeavouring, untill he arrive to a perfect man according to the measure of stature and fulnesse of Christ, in both which respects an inquisition or persecution for matters of Religion may not be tollerated: First, because it would as much as in us lyes, still withold such saving truth and knowledge as yet undiscovered, and unto which we are to attaine by degrees only, for not any of them but at first sight and hearing, is accounted heresie to most men, and much adoe there is before we will imbrace it: And secondly, in that persecution for Religion, would render us altogether incapable of ever purging and reforming our selves from such erronious doctrines and superstitions, as are amongst us for the present, and what would this be otherwise then a meer forme of godlinesse, but denying the power thereof, from which Timothy was ordered to turne away? 2 Tim. 3. 5. 7. But as was said before, Matth. 5. 48. our Saviour commands us to be perfect even as our heavenly Father is perfect; and in that forme of prayer which he taught us, cap. 6. 10. we were ordered to make request, That Gods will may be done in earth as it is in heaven, unto which height of godlinesse we may be sure not to be arrived, being still so much further off, as we apprehend our selves to have attained it, forbearing to presse forwards, as St. Paul said to the Edition: current; Page: [2-148] Philipians, Phil. 3. 14. 15. I presse towards the marke for the price of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus: let us therefore as many as be perfect be thus minded, and if in any thing you be otherwise minded God shall reveale even this unto you: And S. Peter in his first Epistle generall, exhorts those Christians, As new borne babes to desire the sincere milke of the word that they may grow thereby, not that they should thinke themselves to have attained either unto a perfection and fulnesse of knowledge, or purity of profession, both which must be supposed, or else the ground-worke and foundation whereon they build their Inquisition house for setling a uniformity, is so much more unwarrantable and unfound.

The Parable of our Saviour, Matth. 13. 29, 30. wherein he forbids the pulling up the tares lest they pull up the good wheat with them, and commands, That both tares and wheat be let grow together till harvest, seems to me a full argument that the State should not be forwards in putting any to death, save such as are expressely warranted by the word of God, but this place makes especially against persecution for matters of Religion; for though every body can distinguish tares from corne, yet it is not so with heresies and errours in point of Doctrine; besides, the outward man may so conforme himselfe if he will, as that it is impossible for the world to finde him out, because they cannot arrive to the heart, and what ever externall meanes may be used, they worke only upon the body, and cannot reach the soule: But persecution for Religion does not only contradict the Scripture, but is contrary to common sense and reason, as will appeare if you consider, that, although we say proverbially, facile credimus, quod libenter volumus; yet a man of himselfe cannot possibly beleeve what he himselfe desires to beleeve, before his judgement and understanding be convinced, so that unlesse it be a good argument, to prevaile upon a mans judgement and understanding, to say, beleeve this or that point of doctrine upon penalty of losing your ears, or the like, it must needs be extravagant and unjust to practise it: let us not then goe against our owne reason, and the Scripture where it is said, That though Paul plant, and Apollo water, it is God that gives encrease: And our Saviour tells us, That no man can come to him except the Father draw him, that it is the Spirit which quickneth,1 Joh. 63. and that the flesh profiteth nothing.

There is yet another place of Scripture which speakes more plainly, letting all Inquisitors and Persecutors know, that though they had the spirit of divination and discerning, wherewith they could be certaine to have discovered such as preach the Gospell out of strife and envie, and not sincerely, yet they are not to silence them, but be glad that the Gospel be preached in a weake and erronious manner, then not at all, Edition: current; Page: [2-149] for even as a man that holds fast with his hands, if his feet slip, will recover himselfe againe, so if Christ the foundation be kept, though for the present they may preach and teach many a false doctrine, yet wee may be certaine that all rotten unsound superstructures and erronious tenets shall fall downe in Gods good time and season, whilest the foundation remaines sure for ever: He that hath given us Christ, will with him,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. but at his owne good pleasure give us all things; Paul thought this was a good argument, and so far bare with all mens infirmities, that as he sayes of himselfe to the end he might have opportunity to preach the Gospel, he became all things to all men, that by all meanes he might save some, unto the Jews as a Jew that he might gaine the Jews, to them that are under the Law, as under the Law, and to them that were without Law, as without Law, that he might gaine both; and lest you might thinke him a libertine in all this, and without Law to God, he tells you he was all this while under the Law to Christ, and doubtlesse did him no small service in thus complying: But that you may guesse in what manner and how far forth he had been indulgent at such other times, the relation whereof we doe not finde recorded, take what he saies unto the Philippians, Phil 1. 16, 17, 18, 19. Some preach Christ even of envy and strife, and some also upon good will, the one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to adde affliction to my bonds, but the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the Gospel: what then? notwithstanding every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached, and I therein doe rejoyce, yea and will rejoyce, for I know that this shall turne to my salvation through your prayers, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Yea will some say great shame it were if we should not rejoyce that Christ be truly preached in what manner soever; but such as we silence and persecute though they confesse and preach Christ in words, yet they hold certaine erronious tenets which strike at the foundation, and overthrow Christianity: I desire such to remember those Scriptures which say,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. that, whosoever is borne of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin because he is borne of God: Whosoever beleeveth in him shall not perish but have eternall life: And whosoever shall confesse that Jesus is the Sonne of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God: Now as we know that David though he committed adultery and murder, was borne of God notwithstanding this text, because it means only that God imputes not sinne unto them that are borne of God; so he that beleeveth in God, and confesseth that Jesus is the Son of God, though he do together with this foundation, hold certain points which may seem to crosse it, and be in a great degree erronious, but contrary Edition: current; Page: [2-150] to his owne intention, it is both very possible and probable, that such a one notwithstanding shall not perish, but God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

In the very Bible we finde severall texts and passages which seem to thwart and contradict themselves, yet we are certaine, that the whole Scripture being the inspiration of one, and the sime blessed Spirit, cannot but be at unity within it selfe, and all good Christians are fully assured thereof, though they be not able sometimes to make it appeare so to their weake and carnall understandings; and in such cases we have the example of St. Paul, Rom. 11. 13. the great Apostle of the Gentiles, who though he testified of himselfe, that he gave his judgement as one that had obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithfull,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. and thought that he also had the Spirit of God, yet having waded into the mystery of Predestination, so far as his owne reason could arive, burst out into a most devout admiration, O the depth of the riches both of the wisdome and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are his judgements, and his wayes past finding out.

In S. Pauls Epistle to the Romans, chap. 3. 28. it is said, Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law: And St. James saith, James 2. 24. Ye see then how that by workes a man is justified, and not by faith only: Now as we are fully assured that these two Scriptures though they differ so much litterally, are notwithstanding not only in their owne being reconcileable, but even in our shallow capacities and apprehensions: And as God had good cause why he counted Paul faithfull and put him into the Ministery,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. who was before a blasphemer and persecuter: So we may safely thinke, that God can much more (after the manner of men be it spoken) tell how to prosper their endeavours, and bring unto salvation, such as beleeve in him, and confesse Jesus to be the Son of God, for his word and promise are engaged and cannot be frustrated through their weaknesses and unsoundnesse in some points of Discipline, Doctrine, or of both: But it will be objected, why should such be suffered to preach Christ, who withall mix unsound doctrine, since there may be teachers enough besides, who are all orthodox and unquestionable? I answer, That this is not the true state of the case, for that the Puritans or other conscientious Christians hold their owne teachers to be the soundest, and if they be silenced, conceive they are bound, without power of dispencing with themselves to heare none at all, rather then such with whom they cannot possibly joyne or be present without a doubting and condemning conscience; so that at the very best this can be but a pulling up of good wheat together with the tares, which as was said before, our Saviour would not Edition: current; Page: [2-151] have so much as hazarded and endangered; or a doing evill that good may come of it, which is as absolutely forbidden.

I will therefore forbeare to make any further application of Pauls rejoycing so Christ were preached in whatsoever manner, but beseech with meeknesse all such as read it, to pause a little and consider, that since Paul rejoyced in whatsoever way that Christ was preached, whether of contention, envy, pretence, or in truth, how inexcusable will all those be that persecute or silence such as preach him in any other maner then they themselves prescribe, whereby many eminent abilities and gifts have been smothered and lost: To the same purpose is that place in St. Markes Gospel, where John in the name of the Apostles tells our Saviour, saying, Master, we saw one casting out divells in thy name, and he followeth not us, and we forbad him because he followeth not us, but Jesus said, forbid him not, for there is no man which shall doe a miracle in my name that can lightly speake evill of me, he that is not against us, is on our part, Marke 9. 38, 39, 40.

Paul tells the Hebrewes,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. how He that despised Moses law dyed without mercy under two or three witnesses; and askes them, how much sorer punishment they supposed such should be thought worthy of, who have trodden under foot the Son of God, and counted the bloud of the Covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, which is a plain evidence, that though such as live under the Gospel, and neglect or despise the means of comming to the knowledge, or yet speake against the truth thereof, deserve greater punishment then those that violated the law of Moses, which was certaine death in the mouth of two or three witnesses, yet he saies not that it ought to be so under the Gospel; but though he aggravate the crime as far more heynous under the Gospel, yet he declines to say they should be punished corporally in this life, and plainly insinuates that it must be left untill the day of judgement, as appeares by the coherence with the words which follow, where he brings the Lord in,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. saying, Vengeance is mine, and I will recompence it: and againe, The Lord shall judge his people: It is a fearfull thing to fall into the hands of the living God: And this is yet more manifest, if we consider that there had been thousands of those which thus rejected and violated the Gospel which then had not been punished with death according to the law of Moses, and yet Paul for all this did not blame those Christians for omitting to doe corporall execution on them, or leave any order that the civill Magistrate should afterwards have such power when they became Christian: And if Paul tells Titus that a Bishop must not be soone angry, nor a striker; and Peter bids the Elders take the oversight of Gods flocke, not being Lords over Gods heritage, but as ensamples Edition: current; Page: [2-152] to the flocke; how shall a Presbyter that is a striker, or that Lords it over the flocke of Christ be justified? or how can he be said to be lesse then a striker, that passes sentence of condemnation to banishment, imprisonment, and death, or not to Lord it over the flock of Christ, that imposes laws upon their consciences?

But did these persecuters of God and good men consider, that to be persecuted, is a mark and signe of the true Church, and consequently to persecute, an infallible character of unsound Christians and the Church malignant, in charity we ought to thinke they might likely be reclaimed, I shall therefore intreat them for their owne direction to call to minde, what St. Paul saith to the Galathians, viz. Now we Brethren as Isaac was, are the children of promise,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. but as then he that was borne after the flesh persecuted him that was borne after the Spirit, even so it is now: This text declares how the true Church and true Beleevers are children of the promise, figured out in Abel, Isaac and Jacob, persecuted by Cain, Ismael, Esau, and their posterity, children of the bond-woman, teaching us in expresse words, that as those which persecuted in the Old Testament were not the Elect or children of the promise, so now the best servants of God were persecuted under the Gospel; which will yet appeare more plainly to such as have their understanding darkned, if they reflect likewise upon these other Scriptures: He that loveth not his brother is not of God, for this is the message that we heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain, who was of the wicked one, and slew his brother: and wherefore slew he him? because his works were evill, and his brothers righteous: And our Saviour told his Disciples, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves; ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoyce.

But if the practise of persecution for difference in matters of Religion were a signe of the true Church, then that Church were likeliest to be the truest Church that did most persecute others, which I beleeve will be denied by all Protestants, or else they must condemne themselves, in suffering the Papists to go beyond them in persecuting others: and secondly, if persecution were a note of the true Church, it would instigate and encourage all States and Churches to double and encrease their persecutions, untill each of them had attained to the most exquisite degrees and height of cruelty and tyranny.

Againe, though persecution for conscience sake be never so much practised, it is condemned by all men in every body but themselves, for who is there that blames himself for persecuting others, or who would be contented to be persecuted himselfe? and so far is persecution from propagating of the Gospel, that nothing in humane appearance can Edition: current; Page: [2-153] possibly hinder it so much, for the Papists having got the upper hand and greatest portion of the Christian world into their power by vigour of their persecution, hinder the blessed Gospel from being truly taught in the simplicity and purity thereof; and as it is well knowne, that the best Churches have been in errours,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. sometimes able to digest milke only, not capable of strong meat, so by the rules and principalls of persecution, it were impossible to grow stronger, or come into the light of truth againe, because that according to such discipline, such as teach any new truth, or but a further measure of former truths should be persecuted, as it happened unto Paul and the other Apostles and Disciples, under the calumnie of sedition, heresie, blasphemy, or innovation, for Paul himselfe was reduced to say, I worship God after the manner which they call heresie: And whereas some will object, that the Churches in the Primitive times were weake as being newly planted, but that Christians now adaies have attained to a larger measure of strength and knowledge in the truth, I dare not subscribe thereunto, and for whatever failings, errours and false doctrines such men shall prove to have been found in the Churches of Rome, Corinth, Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, Galatia, or any of the rest during the Apostles times, when through weaknesse and carnality they were said to have need of milke, it will full easily appeare, that, as the infallibility of the Apostles, their diversity and preheminencie of gifts, and miracles which they wrought, were far more efficacious means then at any time were since enjoyed: so none of our Protestant Churches at present, especially Nationall, but will justifie the Primitive, in our owne greater errours, both for Discipline and Doctrine: It is true that if liberty be given for men to teach what they will, there will appeare more false Teachers then ever, yet it were better that many false doctrines were published, especially with a good intention and out of weaknesse only, then that one sound truth should be forcibly smothered or wilfully concealed; and by the incongruities and absurdities which accompany erroneous and unfound doctrines, the truth appears still more glorious, and wins others to the love thereof.

Neither is this complying with weake consciences, or the tollerating of severall opinions, any other sort of Libertinisme, then what Paul practised,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. when he suffered all things lest he should hinder the Gospel, and was made all things to all, that he might save some, at which very time hee professed himself notwithstanding to live not without law to God, but under law to Christ: And Peter tells us, We must live as free, but not using our liberty for a cloak of maliciousnesse, but as the servants of God, 1 Pet. 2. 16. And if you demand whether Hereticks then may not be reclaimed? Edition: current; Page: [2-154] I answer, That you both may, and ought to endeavour their reclaiming, not by compulsive courses, but with brotherly and Christian admonition and instructions, by evidence of Scripture in demonstration of the Spirit, and such other peaceable and quiet wayes as are warrantable by the Word of God: but for such as say, we have tried all faire means, and none but coercive will prevaile; if they had order to make use of them, how can they be sure that forcible means would have better successe? and how much more blameable are they that use them, when they neither have commission, nor assurance that they shall prevaile?

Our Saviour told his Disciples, That if they were of the world,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. the world would love his owne, but he had chosen them out of the world, and therefore the world hated them, and lest this should not prove a sufficient item to them and us, St. Paul tells us plainly, How all that will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution: whereto that we may be the better induced, our Saviour in his Sermon on the Mount, amongst other blessings pronounces this unto them, Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evill against you falsely for my sake, rejoyce and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted they the Prophets which were before you: And lest such poor distressed Christians should be to seek, how to behave themselves in so great a temptation and distresse, the blessed Spirit of God by St. Paul to the Romans instructs us, to blesse such as persecute us, so that in these and many other Scriptures, we have the practise of persecution given us as a sign to know the Church malignant by; and to be persecuted as a love token, and most peculiar livery of Jesus Christ to distinguish true from false beleevers.

And if it be objected,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. that then there must be no true Church amongst Christians, and that all of them doe persecute one another more or lesse, it wil notwithstanding follow, that such Christian States and Churches as persecute most, are most corrupted, and though I could hope for their sakes which still retaine it with lesse rigour, that every smaller degree of persecuting Christians which differ from them in opinion, may not hinder such to be true Christians, though imperfect and failing in this particular, yet my earnest desires are, that all such as are causers, counsellours or instruments promoting, or not endeavouring and disswading persecution, will seriously consider with themselves, whether, the thus persecuting one another by Christian Churches which differ in opinions, though it should not hinder them from being true Churches, yet if it may not be found, at least, an errour and exceeding great blemish in them all, even those that use it seldomest and in milder manner, expressely forbidden in so many places of Scripture, and continually declamed against by the whole proceedings of our Blessed Saviour, his Apostles, and most conscientious Edition: current; Page: [2-155] and truly mortified Christians, famous for greatest piety and devotion in their respective generations.

Joh. 3. 19, 20, 21.St. John saies, That light is come into the world, and men loved darknesse rather then light because their deeds were evill, for every one that doth evill, hateth light, neither commeth to the light lest his deeds should be reproved, but he that doth the truth commeth to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God: Methinkes we may well resemble the true professours of Jesus Christ, to those that seek the light, that the truth which they teach may be made manifest; and contrarywise such to be false prophets and hypocrites, that hate the light lest their beloved errours and counterfeit doctrines should be discovered, reproved and forsaken: Indeed many a man hath been over confident, and delivered up his body to be burnt in a bad cause, but this should make such as have a good one, to gather so much more courage to themselves, and not decline any lawfull triall or disputation, whereby falshood would be vanquished, and the light of truth shine out, so much more amiable and bright, as before it had greater opposition.

In the ordinary course of the world betwixt two which are at law together, when either of them uses meanes to prolong the suit, and prevent what possibly he can the comming to a judgement, may we not say, and that justly too, that such a man hath a bad cause, or else that he hath not all his proofes and evidences in readinesse, especially if we suppose that he knew he had a Judge who both understood his cause fully, and would infallibly do him justice? surely the same may be said and that more warrantably concerning Religion, and differences in opinion about any point thereof.

Confidence and boldnesse prevaile sometimes, and that not a little even in a bad cause,Act. 4. 13. but never fail when they maintaine a good one; we may see it in the Acts that both Peter and John, with the cause of Jesus Christ sped the better for their boldnesse, which when the Scribes, Elders, Annas, and all high Priests kindred saw, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled, and took knowledge that they had been with Jesus, And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it; and how wonderfully the cause prospered hereupon appears in that fourth Chapter to the Acts,Eph. 3. 12. which is well worth reading out, and cannot by a heart truly sanctified be passed over without great admiration: St. Paul confirmes it unto the Ephesians,Phil. 3. 19. 20. 25. saying, That through faith in Jesus Christ we have boldnesse and accesse with confidence: And to the Philippians he hath yet a fuller expression, where he sayes, I know according to my earnest expectation, and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldnesse, as Edition: current; Page: [2-156] alwaies, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or death, and having this confidence I know that I shall abide and continue with you all, for your furtherance and joy of faith: Surely as all true Beleevers have the same good cause and Gospel, so can they not possibly fare worse if they had but such a faith and confidence as Pauls was:Jim. 2. 20. Now true and lively faith cannot be without works, and the most eminent and glorious worke of all, is to seek the propagation of it, in such means and manner as are most warrantable, and likeliest by the precept and president of our only wise Saviour, and his blessed Apostles to prove successefull: Oh, let us not then defer the practise of it any longer! doe we suspect that errour should vanquish truth? this is so vaine that no man will confesse so much, but for their full conviction if they were so conceited, let them take notice what St. Paul saith to the Corinthians,2 Cor. 13. 8. We cannot do any thing against the truth but for the truth; we may plot, contrive and endeavour whatsoever our owne depraved natures will suggest us to against it, but great is the power of truth, and it will prevaile at last: or doe we then feare that the true professours may fall from their former stedfastnesse? it is true that some which once made profession of the truth may fall from that profession, but such, though they make profession of the truth, yet were they never true professours,1 Joh. 2. 19. as St. John saies in his first Epistle, They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us, but they went out, that they might be made manifest, that they were not all of us: And doubtlesse it were much to be desired, and all justifiable meanes to be imployed, whereby hypocrites, and such as are not true at heart, might be best moved to discover themselves of their owne accord, for then the people of God might be kept from falling into many a sin through their ill example, and avoid many a temporall judgement and affliction for holding fellowship and communion with them; but blessed be God this is the worst that can befall them, neither divells nor the deepest wiles of wicked reprobates can possibly deceive the true Professours Gods Elect.Mat. 24. 24. Our Saviour hath passed his word, That not one of these little ones shall perish, Mat. 18. 4. And my sheep heare my voyce, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternall life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand, John 10. 27, 28. And Paul saies, We are persecuted, but not forsaken, cast down, but not destroyed, 2 Cor. 4. 9. And he told Timothy That the foundation of God standeth sure. having this seale, that the Lord knoweth them that are his, 2 Tim. 2, 19.

But since heresies must needs be,Cap. 1. 87. though a woe betide the authours of them, how much more may we well thinke should there be a Liberty of Conscience? since the authors instead of woe, may be certain of a blessing, Edition: current; Page: [2-157] and nothing can more manifest the truth, when all such as for feare of imprisoning, sining, corporall punishment, or any worldly prerogative had heretofore made profession thereof, would now appear in their own colours, and follow the false calls of their more false teachers, leaving truth to herselfe, and such only as did imbrace her in true sincerity of heart: and yet this is not all the benefit which would accrue hereby, the greatest and best part is still behinde; for as in the Primitive times, when Scribes,Note. Pharises, and all the learned Doctors both Jews and Gentiles, disputed and opposed the truth with more liberty and freedome, it became then much more famous and prevailing, untill the mystery of iniquity undertooke the protecting of it by the Civill Sword, which if it were but sheathed againe,Joh. 3. 8. and the Blessed Spirit, which bloweth where it listeth, not resisted, we might even in these dayes with Gods assistance, expect to see victorious trophees, and multitudes of Christians set at liberty,Object. and redeemed out of Babylon to the speedier downfall of Antichrist.

But some will say that the learned and wisest men have alwaies been and are still of opinion, that it is no good policie to suffer so many severall Religions to be publickly professed in one and the same Kingdome and jurisdiction, because that though many men may be able with Scripture to defend their owne Religion, and others perhaps stedfast and obstinate enough in their opinions what ever they be, yet if contrary tenets may be debated freely, and made profession of without controle, some numbers more or lesse amongst such multitudes of people, either by importunity, worldly advantages, or in that their ignorance or little knowledge in spirituall matters, is not able to withstand the arguments which are urged against them,Answ. must needs be seduced and led away from the Religion established by Law: Whereto I answer, That the advice of wise and learned men if they be otherwise also as well qualified, is to be far preferred before that of ignorant and lesse wise, but such whose affections and carnall lusts are mortified, and whose guifts are sanctified, these mens counsells ought to take place before the deepest Polititians of State, or grand Rabbies of the Law or Gospel: worldly wisdome and humane learning are both usefull and expedient, when they concur with Scripture,Joh. 7. 48. not against it: It was the argument of the Jews against our Saviour and his Apostles, That the Scribes, Pharises and great ones beleeved not on him; the Papists urged the like, that all the learned Doctors and profoundest schollars throughout the Christian world were of their opinion against Luther and the first Reformers, and although we all acknowledge of how little account and force this argument was then, yet is it now as much stood upon, and altogether as weakly grounded, even by the greatest part of Reformed Churches, against such as yet strive for, Edition: current; Page: [2-158] and endeavour only a further Reformation: surely if such would but consider of what low condition and meane estate the Apostles were,Act. 4. 12. they would never think the worse of truth,Matth. 4. 18. 21. because it was held out unto them by men of most inferiour ranke and quality, this would make such as are Scripture wise to thinke the better of it, for who are likeliest to have spiritualll things discovered to them, then such as are spirituall themselves? and who likeliest to be spirituall, then such as are poore, base and abject both in the eyes of others and their owne opinions? Surely St. Paul speaks plaine to this purpose when he saies,1 Cor. 1. 26, 27, 28. Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and base things of the world, and things which are despised hath God chosen:Ver. 20. And againe, where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of the world? hath not God made foolish the wisdome of this world? And to the Corinthians he gives a reason why God made use of men of such low ranke and esteem in the world, to be the chiefest instruments of propagating the Gospel, when he sayes, We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellencie of the power may be of God, and not of us, 2 Cor. 4. 7. And in another place he saies, Christ sent me to preach the Gospel, not with wisdome of words, lest the crosse of Christ should be made of none effect, 1 Cor. 1. 17. If these passages of Scripture with sundry others were seriously considered, by a minde prepared to submit to Gods good will and pleasure what ever it were, when it should be discovered unto him, such a soule would not be swayd, and led away with any carnall priviledges or worldly circumstances how plausible soever,Eccles. 1. 2. 14. since all such are but vanity and vexation of spirit, as the wise man assures us: evidence of Scripture is that only which ought to be our guide in what we do or say, our supreame rule or touchstone to make triall of what we heare or see, according whereunto if we proceed, whatsoever be alledged to the contrary, we may cleerly finde, That persecution for matters of Religion does plainly crosse so many places of Scripture, murders so many of Gods Saints, and so much hinders the propagation of the Gospel, as no other erronious tenet or heresie whatsoever: for if the Gospel had but a free passage, and the true Professours liberty to teach and publish it, this only as a sovereigne remedy and counterpoyson, would prevaile against all heresies, unlesse you will grant that errour may possibly vanquish truth: and though our owne fond fancies should suggest never so many inconveniences to ensue thereon, we ought to rest satisfied with so great a manifestation of Gods revealed will, no waies attempting any thing, or cleaving to such opinions, which either directly, or by rationall consequence and induction may hinder the preaching of the Gospel to all Nations.

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If Kings or States may lawfully enact a Religion, or settle any point of faith to be beleeved and practised by force and virtue of a new law, then ought all subjects to be conformable thereunto, and so become lyable to change and alter their Religion, so often as the State and chiefest Councell of the Land shall deem just and requisite;Note. for as our predecessours could not make a law to binde their successours irrevocably, or longer then they pleased themselves in civill matters, much lesse in what concerns the Conscience; so neither can we that are now living engage our posterity in any act, but what they may repeal at pleasure, with the same liberty and power by which it was made, since the whole Kingdome being a body politicke indowed with a supremacie, cannot have greater or lesse power over it selfe at one time then another; wherefore since it is our duty to think very reverently of Laws and Acts when once established by the highest Court, yet if we consider that they themselves doe not assume infallibility, that both they, Synods, and chiefe Generall Councells have thought it expedient and just to repeal, alter, and sometimes enact Laws, concerning Discipline and Doctrine quite contrary to their predecessours, by which means a people in their life time have been compelled to change Religion twice or thrice: my humblest desires beg leave to prostrate themselves in meeknesse and most submissive manner unto the three estates in Parliament, That all former acts which countenance persecution for matters of Religion may be repealed, and Liberty of Conscience which is the greatest liberty the Gospel brings, restored, lest whilest the prevailing party of Protestants in England think it lawfull to force other Protestants, because lesse in number, and differing from them in opinion, to change Religion; God in justice permit Papists to doe the like with Protestants in Ireland, as well for our sins as their owne, to the further desolation of both Kingdomes.

FINIS.
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William Walwyn
Walwyn, William
June or July 1644
4.

2.4 [William Walwyn], The Compassionate Samaritane Unbinding The Conscience (June or July 1644).

  • THE
  • Compassionate
  • SAMARITANE
  • Unbinding
  • The Conscience, and powring Oyle into
  • the wounds which have beene made upon
  • the Separation: recommending their
  • future welfare to the serious thoughts and
  • carefull endeavors of all who love the
  • peace and unity of Commonwealths men,
  • or desire the unanimous prosecution
  • of the Common Enemie, or who
  • follow our Savious rule, to do
  • unto others, what they would have others do unto them.
  • The Second Edition, corrected, and
  • enlarged.
  • Printed in the Yeare 1644.
Edition: current; Page: [2-161]

Si populus vult decipi, decipiatur.

To him that reads.

If after this, when all the guiles, That have misled you, and the wiles

Are manifested cleare as day, So that you must say, these are they: You yet will be befoold, you may, Errours have some excuse, when they’r not knowne, But being known once, wilfulnesse has none.

To the Commons of England

To you whom the People have chosen for the managing of their affaires, I present this necessary Treatise without boldnesse and without feare: for I am well assured, that as it is mine, and every man’s duty, to furnish You with what we conceive will advanse the Common good, or bring ease and comfort to any sort of men that deserve well of their Countrey (as You cannot but know the Seperation doe, if You consider with what charge and hazard, Edition: current; Page: [2-162] with what willingnes and activity they have furthered the Reformation so happily begun) so likewise it is, Your duty, to heare and put in execution, whatsoever to Your judgments shall appeare conducing to those good ends and purposes. I recommend here to Your view the oppressed Conscience, and the despised Separation: They have been much wounded (I believe every body can say by whom) and the people have passed by without compassion or regard, though they themselves must necessarily partake in their sufferings There are none left, to play the good Samaritanes part but Your selves, who as You have power; will, (I make no question) be willing too, when You have once well considered the matter, which this small Treatise will put You in mind to doe. It is not supposed, that You (who have so long spent Your time in recovering the Commons Liberties of England, should in Conclusion turne the Common into Particular; let the insinuations and suggestions of some in the Synod, be what they will, I make no question, but You will see both through and beyond them; and will never be swayed from a good conscience to maintaine particular mens Interests.

In the beginning of Your Session, when our Divines (as they would have us call them) wrote freely against the Bishops, & the Bishops made complaint to You for redresse; some of You made answer, that there was no remedy, for as much as the Presse was to be open and free for all in time of Parliament: I shall make bold as a Common of England to lay claime to that priviledge, being assured that I write nothing scandalous, or dangerous to the State, (which is justly and upon good grounds prohibited by Your Ordinance to that effect) only I humbly desire You to consider whether more was not got from You by that Ordinance then You intended, and that though it was purposed by You to restrain the venting and dispersing of the Kings writings and his Agents, yet it hath by reason of the qualifications of the Licensers wrought a wrong way, and stopt the mouthes of good men, who must either not write at all, or no more then is sutable to the judgments and interests of the Licencers. The Seperation (I guesse) would have tooke it for better dealing, if the Divines had in expresse tearmes obtained of You an Ordinance for suppression of all Anabaptisticall, Brownisticall, or Independant writings; then to have their mouthes stopt so subtlely, so insensibly, and their just Liberty in time of Parliament taken from them unawares. There can be no greater Argument, that the Divines Edition: current; Page: [2-163] intend not well, then their taking uncough, and mysterious, subtile wayes to effect their ends; even such as far better become Polititians, then Ministers.

It is high time O Commons of England, to put an End to the sufferings of the Seperation, who have for many yeares been the object of all kind of tyranny, Papisticall, Prelaticall, and Regall: The first Foundation of honor, and respect was certainly from publike service and protection of the distressed: Make it Your worke, and assure Your selves, you will find not only the universall love of all good men accompaning You, but a quiet and cheerfull Conscience, which is above all honour and riches, Others may weary themselves in plots and contrivances to advance selfe-ends and interests, to the peoples damage and molestations; sadnesse and distraction will be their companions for it. But make it Your businesse, Ye chosen men of England according to the trust reposed in You to protect the Innocent, to judg their cause impartially, to circumvent men in their wicked endeavours; and so You will become the beloved of God, the beloved of good men.

Liberty of Conscience Asserted,

And the Separatist vindicated.

Having heretofore met with an Apologeticall Narration of Thomas Goodwin, Philip Nye, Sydrach Sympson, Jeremy Burroughs, William Bridge; I did with gladnesse of heart undertake the reading thereof, expecting therein to find such generall reasons for justification of themselves, to the world, as would have justified all the Separation, and so have removed by one discourse those prejudices and misapprehensions, which even good men have of that harmelesse and well meaning sort of people: But finding contrary to that expectation that their Apologie therin for them selves and their Toleration was grounded rather upon a Remonstrance of the nearnesse between them and the Presbyterian, being one in Doctrine with them, and very little differing from them in Discipline, how they had been tolerated by other Presbyter Churches, and indulgd with greater priviledges, then the Separatist, how they differed from the Separatist, and had cautiously avoyded those roks and shelves against which the Separatist had split themselves, confirming by these words, the peoples disesteem of Separatists, suggesting by Edition: current; Page: [2-164] that phrase of theirs, as if there were amongst the Separatists some dangerous by-pathes or opinions, which they warily shund, though no mention be made what they are, which is the worst sort of calumny.

Finding to my hearts greife the Seperatist thus left in the lurch, and likely to be exposed to greater dangers then ever by the endeavours of these men, my heart abounded with greife, knowing the Innocency of their intentions, and honesty of their lives, that they are necessarily enforced to be of the mind they are, upon long examination of their owne tenents that they desire nothing more then that they should be publikely and impartially reasoned, knowing likewise their affection to the Commonwealth, their forwardnes of assistance in purse and person, knowing their Meetings to be so innocent, so far from confederacy or counterplots (though they are very sensible of the sad and perplexed condition that they are in) that they have not yet so much as spoke ought in their owne defence, but trusting to the goodnesse of God, the equity of the Parliament, the simplicity and integrity of their owne wayes, doe quietly enjoy themselves and their worship, let what will be brewing against them, being resolved like Hester to doe their dutyes, and if in doing thereof they perish, they perish: Me thinkes every man is bound in conscience to speak and doe what he can in the behaife of such a harmelesse people as these: what though you are no Separatist (as I my selfe am none) the love of God appeares most in doing good for others: that love which aimes only at it selfe; those endeavours which would procure liberty only to them selves, can at best be called but selfe love and selfe respects: ’Tis common freedome every man ought to aime at, which is every mans peculiar right so far as ’tis not prejudicall to the Common: Now because little can be done in their behalfe, unlesse Liberty of Conscience be allowed for every man, or sort of men to worship God in that way, and performe Christs Ordinances in that manner as shall appear to them most agreeable to Gods Word, and no man be punished or discountenanced by Authority for his Opinion, unlesse it be dangerous to the State: I have endeavoured in this Discourse to make appeare by the best reason I have, that every man ought to have Liberty of Conscience of what Opinion soever, with the caution above named: In doing whereof, I have upon occasion removed all prejudices that the people have concerning the Separatist, and vindicated them from those false Edition: current; Page: [2-165] aspertions that are usually cast upon them to make them odious; wherein, my end, I make account, will evidently appeare, to be the peace and union of all, and to beget this judgement in the People and Parliament, that ’tis the principall interest of the Commonwealth, that Authority should have equall respect, and afford protection to all peaceable good men alike, notwithstanding their difference of opinion, that all men may be encouraged to be alike serviceable thereunto; liberty of Conscience is to be allowed every man for these following reasons

1. Reason. Because of what judgment soever a man is, he cannot chuse but be of that judgement, that is so evident in it selfe, that I suppose it will be granted by all, whatsoever a mans reason doth conclude to be true or false, to be agreeabe or disagreabe to Gods Word, that same to that man is his opinion or judgement, and so man is by his own reason necessitated to be of that mind he is, now where there is a necessity there ought to be no punishment, for punishment is the recompence of voluntary actions, therfore no man ought to be punished for his judgment.

Objection. But it will be Objected, That the Separatists are a rash, heady People, and not so much concluded by their Reason, as their Fancie, that they have their Enthusiasms, and Revelations, which no body knowes what to make off, and that if they were a people that examined things rationally, the Argument would hold good for them.

Ans. That I suppose this to be the Argument not of the present, but of the loose witted times before the Parliament, where some politike Bishop, or Dr. Ignorant University man, or knave Poet would endeavour by such a suggestion to the people to misguide their credulous hearts into hatred of those good men, who they knew to be the constant enemies to their delusions: but let all men now have other thoughts, and assure themselves that the Brownist and Anabaptist are rationall examiners of those things they hold for truth, milde discourseres, and able to give an account of what they beleive; they who are unsatisfied in that particular, may, if they please to visite their private Congregations which are open to all commers, have further satisfaction; perhaps here and there amongst them may be a man that out of his zeale and earnestnes for that which he esteemes truth, may outrune his understanding, & shew many weaknesses in his discourse, I would the like frailty and inabilities were not to be found in many of us; Edition: current; Page: [2-166] but if the slips and wanderings of a few, and those the weakest, be an Argument sufficient to discountenance the Separation, and worke them out of the worlds favour, I pray God the same Argument may never be made use of against us; amongst whom, many, and they not esteemed the weakest neither, would give great advantages that way: In the mean time I wish with all my heart we could all put on the spirit of meeknes, and rather endeavour to rectifie by argument and perswation one anothers infirmities, then upbraid the owners of them with a visible rejoycing that such things are slipt from them to their disadvantage.

One Custome they have amongst them which doth make even the generality of them able arguers in defence of their way, and that is either an use of objecting against any thing delivered amongst them, or proposing any doubt, whereof any desires to be resolved, which is done in a very orderly manner, by which meanes the weakest becomes in a short time much improved, and every one able to give an account of their Tenets, (not relying upon their Pastors, as most men in our congregations doe) which may serve to remove the objection, and put us to consider, whether the like custome be not wanting amongst us.

2. Reas. The uncertainty of knowledg in this life: no man, nor no sort of men can presume of an unerring spirit: ’Tis knowne that the Fathers, Generall Councells, Nationall Assemblies, Synods, and Parliaments in their times have been most grosly mistaken: and though the present times be wiser then the former, being much freed from superstition, and taking a larger liberty to themselves of examining all things, yet since there remaines a possibility of errour, notwithstanding never so great presumptions of the contrary, one sort of men are not to compell another, since this hazard is run thereby, that he who is in an errour, may be the constrainer of him who is in the truth.

Ob. But unity and uniformity in Religion is to be aimed at, and confusion above all things to be avoyded, by Toleration new Opinions will every day breake forth, and to the scandall of the Nation, we shall become a very monster in matters of Religion, one part being Presbyter, another Anabaptist, Brownist another, and a fourth an Independent, and so divers according to the diversity of opinions that are already, or may be broached hereafter.

Ans. I answer, that in truth this objection appeares specious at the first glosse, and therfore is very moving upon the people, which the Bishops well knew, whose it was, and taken up as the Edition: current; Page: [2-167] fairest pretence for the suppression of those, who it is to be feared, will prove the suppressors. For answer whereunto I averre, that a compulsion is of all wayes the most unlikely to beget unity of mind, and uniformity in practice, which experience will make evident. For,

The Fines, Imprisonments, Pillories, &c. used by the Bishops as meanes to unite, rather confirmed men in their judgments, and beget the abomination and odium which these times have cast upon the Hierarchie, being in the worst kind tyrannicall, as endeavouring by the punishment of the person, the bowing and subjecting of the Conscience. And if it be it instanced, that some there were that turned with the wind, and were terrified by feare of punishment into a compliance. I answer, that such men are so farre from being examples to be followed, that they may more justly be condemned for weather-cokes fit (to be set up for men to know which way blowes the wind) of favour delicacy, ease and preferment.

Secondly, The conscience being subject only to reason (either that which is indeed, or seems to him which hears it to be so) can only be convinced or perswaded thereby, force makes it runne backe, and strugle; it is the nature of every man to be of any judgment rather then his that forces. ’Tis to be presumed, that ’tis upon some good grounds of reason that a man is of that Judgement whereof he is. Wouldest thou have him be of thine? Shew him thy grounds, and let them both worke, and see which will get the victory in his understanding. Thus possibly he may change his mind, and be of one judgment with thee: but if you will use Club Law, instead of convincing and uniting, you arme men with prejudice against you, to conclude that you have no assurance of truth in you, for then you would make use of that, and presume of the efficacy thereof, and not fight with weapons which you (doe or at least should) know not to be the weapons of truth. But I feare there is something more in it: I cannot thinke that the Bishops in their times used so many stratagems of vexation and cruelty against good people, to gaine them to be of their mind, they could not be ignorant that they set the Nonconformists of all sorts thereby at an irreconcilable hatred against them. No, there end rather was this. They had consulted who were opposite to their designes, and finding the Puritane and Sectary so to be, their interest was by all possible meanes to suppresse them, that so they might without opposition trample Edition: current; Page: [2-168] upon the people. And therefore in these times men should consider what they doe. For if they who have the publique countenance doe beare themselves after the same manner towards the Anabaptists and Brownists, or whatsoever other sect there is, or may be, that cannot comply with them in judgement or practice (as by their beginnings we feare they will) what can we judge of them but that their ends and intentions are the same with the Bishops? For by their fruits (saith our Saviour) ye shall know them: we may be deceived by words their turnings and contextures are so infinite, that they may be framed so, as to make the worst seeme good. The actions of men are the best rules for others to judge them by. Now upon view of the actions of the Divines that are now in favour, men doe speake very strangly, some say the tyrannie over conscience that was exercised by the Bishops, is like to be continued by the Presbiters: that the oppressours are only changed, but the oppression not likely to be removed. Others say, that the Anabaptist and Brownist are like to find harder masters, for that the Bishops made the punishment of them a matter of sport and profit to themselves, and reserved their punishments to be diversions of the peoples mindes from taking too much notice of their intrenchments upon the lawes and common liberty, suffering their societies notwithstanding to remaine, though so low and dejected that they were past feare of them. But the Presbiters, as it is conceived, will be more violent, as slaves usually are when they become masters: and thus talke not onely the Anabaptist and Brownist and Antinomian (being chiefly in danger) but other the most moderate ingenious men, that are not swayed by the Divines interest.

They say too, that as it is not just, so neither is it politike, that in the beginnings and first rise, when the Divines are but laying the foundation of their greatnesse, wealth, and sway over the peoples consciences, and twisting their interest insensibly with the Parliaments, that in the infancy of their tyrannie they should carry themselves so high and presumptuous as they doe over other men, shewes that their wisedome here comes somewhat short of the Serpents, or else that they are so impatient at the not compliance of other men, that they break, out even against their owne interest. Nay some say further, that they did well indeed in being so zealous against the Bishops, those Drones and Caterpillers of the Commonwealth, in making deservedly odious to the people their oppressive Courts, Fines, Censures, and Edition: current; Page: [2-169] Imprisonments. But they begin to fear that some bad ends of their owne were aimed at herein, and not so much the liberty of the people, as that they might get up into the Chaire and become to them instead of a Lord Bishop, a ruling Presbytery, which they feare will bring in more rigidnesse and austerity, no lesse ambition and domination then the former. And the reason they have to feare, is, because our Divines have not dealt clearely with us in many particulars, but continue certaine interests of the Bishops, which they find advantagious to advance their honour & esteeme with the people and have entered already into many of their steps, which in them at first they did seem so much to abominate. That the interest only of the Bishop in particular, and of that sort of Prelates is exploded, but the generall interests of the Clergie, whereby another Prelacy may be erected, and the mystery of the Divines maintained in credit amongst the people, is still with all art and industry preserved. I will take the paines both to tell you what those generall interests are, and what in reason may be said against them.

I. Their first interest is to preserve amongst the people the distinction concerning Government of Ecclesiasticall and Civill, though upon consideration it will be found that two Governments in one Common-wealth hath ever been, and will ever prove inconsistent with the peoples safety: The end of Government being to promote virtue, restraine vice, and to maintaine to each particular his owne, one sort of Government which we call the Civill, either is sufficient, or by the wisedome of the Parliament may be made sufficient for these ends. At the beginning of this Parliament it was confessed, that it was both too burdensome for the Divines, and too hazardous for the State, that they should bee trusted with any thing of Government, their preaching and instructing the people being, if well discharged, sufficient to take up the whole man. But the times change, and the men with them; the designe is feasible, and it must now againe be thought necessary that the Divines should have a stroake in the Government, and therefore that distinction is againe maintained, which being taken up at first by proud Church-men for ambitious ends, is still continued for ends though not in every thing the same, yet differing (I feare me) rather in the degrees than nature of them, we cannot tell what else to thinke of it, but that finding our Divines aiming at authority and jurisdiction, have judged it most politicke to gaine a preheminence, Edition: current; Page: [2-170] (lesse stately and pompous, but) altogether as imperious and awfull over men as the former, which because it is not so garish outwardly as the Bishops, they may presume will therefore be the easier admitted, and prove of longer continuance.

II. The second interest of the Divine, is to preserve amongst the people the distinction of Clergie and Laity, though not now in those termes, because they have been unhappily discovered. The Scriptures so evidently makeing the people Gods Clergy by way of distinction from the Ministers, I Pet. 5. 3. but never the Ministers by way of distinction from the people. And then for Laity, a people (as the word signifies) I hope the Ministers are such as well as any others. Well, the distinction by words is not so materiall, as a reall distinction with their interest is to preserve. They would not have us to thinke that a Minister comes to be so, as an other man comes to be a Merchant, Bookeseller, Taylor, &c. either by disposall of him by his friends in his education, or by his owne making choyce to be of such a Trade; no, there must be something spirituall in the business, a Jure Divino must be brought in, and a succession from the Apostles, and even as some would have us thinke Kings to be annoynted of God, because the Israelitish Kings were by his command, so we are made to beleive, that beccause the Apostles were ordained by God to be Teacheers of the people, and endued with guifts for that end; that therefore there is a like divine, though secret ordination from God in making of our Ministers, and spirituall guifts & qualifications thereunto: Because otherwise, if the people did not beleive so, they would examine all that was said, and not take things upon trust from the Ministers, as if whatsoever they spake, God spake in them: they would then try all things, and what they found to be truth, they would embrace as from God, for God is the Authour of truth; what they found to be otherwise, they would reject, and then for the most part they might spare their notings and repetions too, unlesse the more to discover the groundlesnesse of the doctrine, and the giddinesse of the Divinity which they generally heare. They would then handle their Ministers familiarly, as they doe one an other, shaking off that timorousnesse and awe which they have of the Divines, with which they are ignorantly brought up. He that bade us try all things, and hold fast that which was good, did suppose that men have faculties and abilities wherewithall to try all things, or else the counsell had beene given in vaine. And therefore however Edition: current; Page: [2-171] the Minister may by reason of his continuall exercise in preaching, and discoursing, by his daily study, and reading, by his skill in Arts and Languages, by the conceit of the esteeme he hath with a great part of admiring people (in whom is truly fulfilled the prophecie of St. Paul, 2 Tim. 4.3.4.) presume it easie to possesse us, that they are more divine then other men (as they style themselves) yet if the people would but take boldnes to themselves and not distrust their owne understandings, they would soon find that use and experience is the only difference, and that all necessary knowledge is easie to be had, and by themselves acquirable: and that it is the Ministers interest, their living depending thereupon, to frame long methods and bodies of Divinity, full of doubts and disputes, which indeed are made of purpose difficult to attaine unto, that their hearers may be alwyes learning, and never come to the knowledg of the truth, begetting disquiet and unsetlednesse of mind, continuall controversies, sadnesse, and many times desperation: All which makes for them, for that upon all occasions men have recourse to them for comfort and satisfaction, which how weake and short soever it be in it selfe, must be currant, because from them: the Keyes of the Church (a prerogative which our Saviour gave to his Apostles,) they arrogate to themselves, a new Authority they make mention of in their Sermons, which they call Ministerial (though no such thing belongs to them, nor is yet setled upon them, nor I hope ever will be) thus their interest is to make of themselves a peculiar Tribe, of a nearer relation to God then other men: His more immediate Servants the Labourers in his Vineyard, the Co-workers with him, and all other titles they claime, given in Scripture to the Apostles, though neither for their abilities, much lesse for their vertues or conversations, or in any other respect can be due unto them.

III. The third interest is to perswade the people, that the Scriptures though we have them in our owne tongue, are not yet to be understood by us without their helpe and interpretation, so that in effect we are in the same condition with those we have so long pitied, that are forbid to have the Scripturs in their own tongue: for ’tis all one not to have them in our own tongue, and to be made beleive, that we cannot understand them though we have them in our owne. Is the Cabinet open to us, and doe we yet want a Key? has so much labour been spent? so many Translations extant, and are we yet to seeke? Let us argue a little Edition: current; Page: [2-172] with them: either the Scriptures are not rightly Translated, or they are: If they are not, why have wee not beene told so all this while? why have wee beene cheated into errours? If they are rightly Translated, why should not Englishmen understand them? The Idiomes and properties of the Hebrew, and Greeke Languages, which some say, cannot word for word be exprest in English, might all this while have beene Translated into as many English words as will carry the sence thereof. There is nothing in the Hebrew or Greeke but may be exprest in English, though not just in so many words (which is not materiall) so that it must be contest, that either we have not beene fairly dealt withall hitherto in the conveyance of the Scripture, (a thing which few dare suspect) or else the Scriptures are as well to be understood by us, as by any Linguist whatsoever.

Well, notwithstanding all this how evident soever it be, a great part of us, people doe beleeve just as they would have us, and therefore silly men (as we are) in case of doubt to them we goe to be resolved: and hereby is maintained the necessity and excellency of learning, and the Languages, and so of Universities, and a supposall that the arts likewise are of necessity to a Divine: seven yeares at least are allotted for the attaining thereof, to fit and dispose men for the study of Divinity, the Arts being, as they say, handmaids and preparations to Theologie. But I heare wise men suspect all this, and say, that the Divines of what sort soever, have other ends in urging all these things to be of necessity.

First, they have hereby made it a difficult thing to be a Minister, and so have engrossed the trade to them selves, and left al other men by reason of their other professions in an incapacity of being such in their sense.

And therefore, Secondly, if any doe take upon them their profession without University breeding and skill in the Arts and Languages (how knowing a man so ever he be otherwise) they have fastened such an odium in the hearts of most of the people against him, that a theif or murderer cannot be more out of their favour then he. Thirdly, they being furnished with these Arts and Languages, have a mighty advantage over all such as have them not, & are admirers therof, (as most men are) so that hereby they become masters of all discourses, and can presently stop the peoples mouthes, that put them too hard to it, by telling them that it is not for Lay-men to be too confident, being no schollers, & ignorant of the Originall; That the Originall hath it Edition: current; Page: [2-173] otherwise then our Translations: And thus they keep al in a mystery, that they only may bee the Oracles to dispence what, & how they please: so that this third interest is of much concernment to them.

I know what the scruple of most men wil be, in reading of this last particular; almost all wil be the Divines Advocate for Learning, & have him in great hate & derision, that is an enemy thereto. For as Diana was, so is Learning those Crafts-mens living & the peoples goddesse. However, I will make no Apologie for my selfe, but desire, that every man would give his reason scope, boldly to examine, what it is, what good the World receives from it, whether the most learned, or unlearned men have been the troublers of the World. How presumptions and confident the learned Scribes, Priests, and Doctors of the Law were, that they best understood the Scriptures: How the poore and unlearned Fishermen and Tent-makers were made choyce of for Christs Disciples and Apostles, before any of them: How in processe of time they that tooke upon them to be Ministers, when they had acquired to themselves the mysterie of Arts and Learning, & confounded thereby the cleare streames of the Scripture, and perverted the true Gospell of Jesus Christ, and by politicke Glosses, and Comments introduced an other Gospell sutable to the covetous, ambitious, and persecuting spirit of the Clergie (which their esteeme with the people made authentick) they then began to scorne the simplicity and meanesse of the Apostles, to call that the Infancy of the Church, and to engrosse great Livings, Lordships, Territories and Dominions; to embroyle States in warres, to supplant one an other and divert the people from the prosecution of their owne interest, (which is their safety and libertie) to maintaine their quarrells, and erect that Governement the then rising part of them could agree upon. So that the Preists and Ministers of Christendome (though others have the name) yet they are indeed the Lords and leaders thereof, as at present by Englands sad experience may evidently appeare: For I would have all wise men consider, whether the party who are now in armes to make us slaves, consists not cheifly of such as have had esteeme for the most learned Arts men in the Kingdome; or of others, (who if not learned themselves) are admirers of such as are. Yea, to examine whence most of the warres of Christendome have sprung, and whether these artificiall Clergie men have not been the cheife causers and still are the Edition: current; Page: [2-174] grand Incendiaries of our present miseries which threaten our utter ruine, and although the Episcopall Clergie pretend to strive for the Regall Prerogative on the one side, and the Presbiterian Prelacy for Reformation, and the Liberty of the Subject on the other side; yet both of these mainely intend their owne respective profits, and advancements; so that which side soever prevaile (if such may have their wills, both aiming at their own greatnesse and Dominion over the consciences of their Brethren) extreamest miserie, and basest kind of slavery will unavoydably follow; whilst each of them by all slye insinuations and cunning contrivances seeke to obtaine authority to compell the whole Nation to be subject to their doubtfull, yea groundlesse determinations, which of all other is the greatest and worst sort of oppression and tyranny. The people may, if they please, dote upon that which ever hath been, and will be their destruction: It would be more safe for them (I am sure) to distinguish of Knowledge, and to reject what is uselesse (as most of that which hath hitherto borne the name of learning, will upon impartiall examination prove to be) and esteeme that only which is evidently usefull to the people; to account better of them that having no by-ends or respects, have studied the Scriptures for their owne and others information, and doe impart the same to the people out of a desire of their good, for nothing, (as the Anabaptists doe to their Congregations) than of such men as use all meanes to augment their tythes and profits, who being rich and abundantly provided for, yet exact them from poore people, even such whose very bellies can hardly spare it; whose necessities ought to be releeved by them, and not the fruite of their labours so unreasonably wrested from them, as oft it is, and the same so superfluously spent, or so covetously hoarded up, as for the most part is knowne to be. When they commend Learning, it is not for Learnings sake, but their owne; her esteeme gets them their Livings and preferments; and therefore she is to be kept up, or their Trade will goe downe. Have a care therefore O yee Clergie, as you esteem your honour and preferment, your profit and observance, that you keep this Diana of yours high in the peoples esteem: Rouze up your selves, and imagine some new wayes to quicken the admiration of this your Goddesse; for I can assure you, mens eyes begin to open, they find that she is not so beautifull as she once seemed to be; that her lustre is not naturall, but painted and artificiall: Bestirre your selves, or your Diana will Edition: current; Page: [2-175] downe. But why should I excite you, who I know are too industrious in the preservation of your owne interests.

Divers other interests they have plied, as to make themselves the only publike speakers, by which meanes whome, and what they please they openly condemne, cry up, or cry downe, what makes for or against themselves: There they brand men with the name of Hereticks, and fasten what errours they thinke are most hatefull to the people, upon those men they purpose to make odious: There they confute all opinions, and boldly they may doe it, for as much as no liberty of reply or vindication in publike is allowed to any, though never so much scandalized by them. And that men may not vindicate themselves by writing, their next interest is to be Masters of the Presse, of which they are lately become by an Ordinance for licensing of Bookes, which being intended by the Parliament for a good & necessary end (namely) the prohibition of all Bookes dangerous or scandalous to the State, is become by meanes of the Licencers (who are Divines and intend their owne interest) most serviceable to themselves (scandalous Books being still disperst) in the stopping of honest mens writings, that nothing may come to the Worlds view but what they please, unlesse men will runne the hazard of imprisonment, (as I now doe) so that in publike they may speake what they will, write what they wil, they may abuse whom they will, and nothing can be said against them: well may they presume of making themselves Masters of the people having these foundations laid, and the people generally willing to beleive they are good. I might proceed, to shew what usage wise men expect from their Government, being once establisht how rigid and austere some thinke they will prove, countenancing no recreations but what themselves are addicted to: how covetous others deem them, observing that they have more regard to the Benefice then the people, and doe usually change and shift upon proffer of a better Parsonage. Some say that they are a people sicke of the Pharises disease, they love to sit upermost at feasts, & to be reverenced in publike places, that their respects towards men are as they are rich and beneficiall to them, and that a pore man can hardly obtaine a visite, though at the time when the world conceives there is greatest necessity of it: that they hover about dying men for their Fee, and hope of Legacy, & many other things are commonly talked of them, which because I suspect to be true I will set myself hereafter more narrowly to observe.

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The Objection wereupon all this (I hope) necessary digression is built, was that men may be compelled (though against conscience) to what the Synod or present Ministery shall conclude to be good, and agreable to Gods Word, because unity and uniformity in the Church is to be endeavoured. To which I further

Ans. Answer, That to force men against their mind and judgment, to beleeive what other men conclude to be true, would prove such tyranny as the wicked Procrustes (mentioned by Plutarch) practised, who would fit all men to one Bed, by stretching them out that were too short, and by cutting them shorter that were too long. If we beleive as the Synod would have us, what is this but to be brought into their miserable condition that must beleive as the Church beleives, and so become, as said an honest man, not the Disciples of Christ, but of the Synod?

3. Reas. The third Reason for Liberty of Conscience is grounded upon these foundations, that whatsoever is not of faith is sin, and that every man ought to be fully perswaded of the truenesse of that way wherein he serveth the Lord: upon which grounds I thus argue, To compell me against my conscience, is to compell me against what I beleive to be true, and so against my faith; now whatsoever is not of faith is sin; To compell me therefore against my conscience, is to compell me to doe that which is sinfull: for though the thing may be in it selfe good, yet if it doe not appeare to be so to my conscience, the practice thereof in me is sinfull, which therefore I ought not to be compelled unto.

Againe I am counselled by the Apostle to be perswaded in my owne mind of the truth of that way wherin I serve the Lord; I am not therefore to be compelled to worship God in such a way, of the justnesse whereof I am not yet perswaded, much lesse in such a way as is against my mind.

Ob. Nothing is more dangerous to a State, espeacially in these times, than division and disturbance by severall wayes of Brethren which have encreased our miseries, and therefore to avoyde division they who wil not of their own accords comply, are for the quiet of the state to be compelled and punished.

Ans. I Answer, that it is verily thought that the harshnesse only of this proposition hinders that it is not yet put in execution, till time & cunning have fitted it for the people; for we are told in the last consideration tending to diswade from further Edition: current; Page: [2-177] gathering of Churches, that suffering is like to be the portion of such as shall judge the right rule not to be delivered to them. A man would thinke that those people that so lately were the sufferers, the noyse of whose exclamations against such courses, is scarce yet out of the peoples cares, that they should not so soone thinke of being the Tyrants. But to the Objection I answer, that the diversity of mens judgments is not the occasion of division, because the word division hath reference to a falling off from the Common cause. Now, though the provocations and incitements, against the Brownists, and Anabaptists and some of the Independents have beene many, yet their affections to the Publike weale are so hearty in them, and grounded upon such sound principles of reason, that no assay of the Synod can make them cease to love and assist their Countrey; and it is more then evident by the prosperity of our neighbours in Holland, that the severall wayes of our brethren in matters of Religion hinder not, but that they may live peaceably one amongst an other, and the Spaniard will witnesse for them that they unite sufficiently in the defence of their common liberties and opposition of their common enemies: Besides, its very materiall to consider, that it hath ever been the practice of those that are countenanced by Authority to endeavor the suppresion of those that are not: who is therefore in the fault? the quiet Separatist, who being perswaded in his conscience of the truth of that way he desires to serve the Lord in, peeceably goes on to do his duty as he thinkes himselfe bound to doe, or they who out of a lordly disposition care not what injury they doe to others, though to the hazard of the Common-wealth, to advance themselves and their government, they defame the Separation in their writings and Sermons, bid their proselites beware of them, as of a dangerous and factious people, stoppe their mouthes, keep the Presse from them, provoake them by all wayes possible, and then like the crafty Politian cry out upon them as the causers of division.

I heare some men say, that it concernes the Minister so to doe, because his living (depending upon his tythes and guifts) is the greater, the more rich and numerous his audience is; and therefore the Separatists are not to be suffered, who they find by experience draw many people after them, and though not the devout honourable women, nor the cheife men of the City, yet many whose number might much encrease the yearly revennue of the Minister, and therefore you must thinke it has concerned them to Edition: current; Page: [2-178] meet together, and to say amongst themselves, Sirs, you know that by this our craft we have our wealth: moreover ye se & hear, that not alone at London, but in most parts of the Kingdom these Separatists have perswaded & turned away much people, saying that our Ministry is no true Ministry, our Church, no true Church, our Doctrine in many things erronious, that our succession from the Apostles is but a pretended thing, & as we our selves do derive it descended for many 100. yeares through the detestable Papacy & Romish Ministry, so that if these men be suffered our game, and the magnificence of the Ministery, wich not England only, but all Christendome doth highly magnifie and reverence, would quickly downe:

For what other reason then this can be imagined, why the Separation should bee the eye-sore of our Ministers? It cannot be instanced in one particular whereby the Common-wealth receives prejudice from them: And then for the charge of Separating, for their making a Scisme, which is endeavoured, to be cast so heavily upon them:

I answer, That by reason of the Church of Romes corruptions, the Church of England did long since make a Scisme from the Church of Rome, for which cause likewise many of the present Ministers in lieu of the Antichristian domineering Bishops thought it no robbery to make scisme from England; and even this Idolizing Synod, which though not yet upon her Throne, sticks not to let her clients see she sayes in her heart; Behold I sit a queen, I am no widdow, and shall see no sorrow, Rev. 18.7. May not I say this, Reverend Synod: if to be proceeded against by such carnall sandy principles, such humane ordinances, by which the Separatists stand prejudiced, be legally found, to have made the greatest and most transcendent scisme which England ever knew or heard of, since the Papistrie was discarded; If then the Separation have gon a little further, and not only with the Bishops separated from Rome, with the Ministers from the Bishops but by reason of some corruptions still remaining among the Ministers, are by their consciences necessitated to separate from them likewise: In all these separations there was difference in judgment; the Bishops differ in some things from Rome, our Ministers from the Bishops, and amongst themselves too, which differences by the Scriptures they cannot determine, as appeareth both by their writings and preachings, wherein with much vehemency they urge the same against other; of little force then Edition: current; Page: [2-179] will the major vote of a Synod be for the determining thereof, having so lately most notoriously discovered themselves to be men-pleasers and temporisers, by crying downe the things which but yesterday they so highly magnified in their Pulpits, and also practised with much devotion (at least seemingly) and having withall their owne interests so much concerned therein (as is before in part declared.) And further, knowing that the same persons themselves, and their Tenets, (as well as the opinions of Independents, Brownists, and Anababtists, whom they oppose) doe stand condemned not by the major vote of divers Synods only, but by many generall Counsells also, (who are accounted to represent the whole Church upon Earth) no whit inferiour to them either in Arts or Learning, or any other qualification: Let it be then no wonder, nor so much as seem blameable hereafter, that the Separatists should differ in some Opinions from this present Synod, since the Ministers therein no little differ amongst them selves, much more than yet appeares, and will do so, while Sun and Moon endures untill we have courage and strength enough to abandon all private interests and advantages.

All times have produced men of severall wayes, and I beleive no man thinkes there will be an agreement of judgement as longe as this World lasts: If ever there be, in all probability it must proceed from the power and efficacie of Truth, not from constraint.

Objection. An assembly of Divines, men that have imployed all their time in the study of Religion, are more likely to find out the truth, then other men, that have not so spent their time; who being now consulting, what Doctrines, and what Discipline is most agreeable to the Word of God, it is but meet that all men should waite their leasure, till it be manifest what they shall produce.

Answ. To this objection I say first, That they being now in consultation, not for themselves, but as they say, for the whole people; it is but reasonable that they should publish to the world whatsoever is in debate amongst them, and invite every man to give them their best light and information, that so they may heare all voyces, and not conclude ought against mens judgments before it be heard what they can say for themselves: This might peradventure be a meanes to find out all truth, and settle things so as that every man might be satisfied. You will say, that they consider of all objections amongst themselves. I reply, that is not Edition: current; Page: [2-180] sufficient, for ’tis a knowne case men are generally partiall to themselves and their owne judgments, urging the weakest objections, and that but slightly: and it can give no satisfaction to men to have their causes pleaded by their Adversaries.

Secondly, how palpable soever it appeare, that an Assembly of Divines are more likely to find out truth then other men; yet it is to be considered, that it will puzzle any man to instance when they did so. Besides, grant it be more probable, yet it may be otherwise, and ’tis well knowne hath proved so. The Liturgie was by universall consent approved, and by the Parliaments Authority authorised, particular men being for these many yeares averse to it, and separating from the publike Congregations because of it: it now appeares who were in the right. How confident soever therefore the Divines (as they style them selves) are that they shall find out the right rule; yet since it may be, and hitherto hath been otherwise, it is but meet that they should decree only for themselves and such as are of their owne mind, and allow Christian Liberty to all their Brethren to follow that way which shall seem to them most agreable to truth.

Ob. But we are told in the Divines Considerations that all men must wait, otherwise the Parliament are like to be provoaked.

Answ. I marry Sir, this is a good strongue Argument, and speakes home to us: I cannot blame the Separatists now for crying out, they feare your Club more then your Reason. I see what they might expect, if the sword and authority were in your hand, your nine Considerations informes me, wherin are these two suppositions. First, that the right rule may not be delivered us: And secondly, that then men may be called to suffer. It is a wonder to observe the wretched condition of man, and his foule ingratitude: Is it so long since the yoakes were broaken off these mens necks, that they forget the burthen & injustice of them, or that assistance they had from their separatist Brethren in breaking those yoakes, that now so soone as they are got into reputation, they should suppose a time of suffering for their brethren for doing what to them appeares to be their duty! Regard O God, since man is become thus forgetfull, take thy distressed Servants, the Separatists into thine owne protection: Thou O Lord, that are the Judge of all the Earth, put into the hearts of the Parliament to doe right in this cause, and to suffer those afflicted people no longer to endure reproach or molestation for doing of their duties.

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Ob. But some may say, I beat the Aire all this while, there is no purpose in the Divines to force the conscience, they are sufficiently informed that, the conscience cannot be forced, being in no wise subject to compulsion, only it concemes them they say to prevent the grouth and encrease of errours, which cannot otherwise be done but by punishing those that are the authors and maintainers of them, that so truth only may flourish, and the Gospell with the Ordinances according to the true institution of them, be maintained and practised by all the people of the Nation.

Answ. I answer, that though it were certaine that what they esteeme truth were so indeed, and that the true Gospell and Ordinances were in every part and circumstance of them that which they judge them to be: however, though they are earnestly to endeavour by argument and perswation to reduce all men to the same beleife and practice with themselves, yet those that cannot be thereunto perswaded, they ought not by any meanes to punish, for the first and third Reasons afore given. But then for the assurance of the Divines that their conclusions and Articles are certainly true, if it be built upon certaine foundations, they need not avoyde the combate with any sort of men of what opinion soever: Truth was not used to feare, or to seeke shifts or stratagems for its advancement! I should rather thinke that they who are assured of her should desire that all mens mouthes should be open, that so errour may discover its foulnes and trueth become more glorious by a victorious conquest after a fight in open field; they shunne the battell that doubt their strength. Wise men are at a stand to see that whilest the Presse was open no man undertooke the Anabaptists, and that now their adversaries have bound their hands they begin to buffet them; what can they doe else but necessarily suspect that our Divines have not the truth, nor by any evidence thereof are able to make good their owne standings or practices. To stop mens mouths or punish men for speaking their mindes, was profitable indeed, and necessarie for the Bishopes who had proposed to themselves such endes as could endure no discourse upon them, and framed such constitutions, ceremonies and doctrines, as must be received without scanning, or else would appeare empty and groundlesse. But that the reforming Clergy, that pretend to have truth in its simplicity, and the Gospell in its purity, and seeme to abominate all by-endes or respects, should yet take the same course of prohibitions Edition: current; Page: [2-182] with the Bishops, locke up the Presse, and then vent themselves in a furious and (evidently) scandalizing way, as in their late preachings and Pamphlets against the Anabaptists, will make, I beleeve, all wise men suspect that either they doubt their owne tenets, or know some grosse errours amongst themselves, which yet their interests and professions engage them to maintaine. To say they goe not about to compell the conscience, which is uncapable of compulsion, but will only punish the person, is as if they were sportfull in their cruelty, and shewes as if it proceeded from men setled, and long practised in tyranny, I could wish for Christianity sake they had more wisedome then to play with mens afflictions: I professe unto you, did I still dote upon the persons and seeming holynesse of our Ministers (as I have done) such carriage as this I thinke would open mine eyes, and make me see they are not the men they seeme to be, that in so short a time can grow so wanton with their owne estate and preheminence, as to gibe and scoffe at their brethrens miseries. Is it not a shame to our profession, and scandall to our cause, that well affected men, reall, and irreconcileable enemies to tyranny, and our common Adversaries, should be necessitatd to leave their native Country, because they can hope nothing from you, our Divines, but to be imprisoned or punished for exercising their consciences, though by their helpe you should be setled in your liberties, I cannot tell what else to make of this for my part, but that you had rather be slaves to the King, and hazard the freedome of the whole Nation, then that these men should have freedome with you; yee may flatter your selves, that yee are rich in spirituall graces, and presume that you are in the right, and have found out the truth of the Gospell and Ordinances, but so long as yee want the maine evidences thereof. Love and lowlinesse of mind, so long as yee propose dominion and the sway over your Brethren, which our Saviour said his followers should not doe, Matth. 20. 25. 26. Marke 10. 42. you must give men that are unwilling to be deceived leave to thinke that yee have yet but the forme and shew of Religion, but want the inward sweetnesse and most excellent fruites and effects thereof; I could wish I had no occasion for speaking thus much, but when sores begin to fester, they must not be nourished and swathed, but lanc’d and corraciv’d, ’tis no time to hide and excuse mens imperfections, when they strive to take roote for perpetuity. Were it in mine own cause, I could not speak so much, but in behalfe of such a harmelesse Edition: current; Page: [2-183] people as I have found those of the Separation to be, after much inquiry and examination of their Tenets, and practice, I thinke my selfe bound in conscience to breke silence and become their advocate.

Ob. There is one Objection more against the Anabaptists in particular, and that is, that they allow not of Civill government and therefore not to be tolerated because they hold an opinion directly destructive to the Common-wealth.

Ans. Who saies they hold this opinion? why the Divines commonly in their Pulpits, and what ground have they for their so saying? They find it in bookes that they who have written of them affirme that they maintaine this opinion. But how if the societies of Anabaptists in this Kingdome are most Zealous and rationall defenders of our Government? as to my knowledge they are, and that experience can testifie for them, that noe men have more forwardly and constantly then they assisted the Parliament against those that would disolve our free govemement, and bring in tyranny; how is it true then that the Anabaptists hold such an opinion? O then they tell us that our Anabaptists are no Anabaptists: To what purpose then doe they exclaime against Anabaptists that have been of that opinion? (as they say) (though for my part I beleeve neither them, nor the books that tells them so) when they cannot but know, if they know any thing, that the Anabaptists which now are, be not of that opinion; why for this end and purpose, they resolve to make the Anabaptists odious to the people, and nothing they thinke will sooner doe it, then by making the people beleeve that they are the harbourers of such an opinion as would dissolve all societie, and bring into confusion the state.

Now this they speake of the Anabaptists in generall, knowing that the people will apply it to the Anabaptists in England, concerning whom how true it is you may judge by that which followes.

The Anabaptists opinion concerning Government is, that the world being growne so vitious, and corrupt as it is, there can possibly be no living for honest men without Government: That the end of making Government, is the Peoples quiet and safety, and that whatsoever doth not conduce thereto is tyranny or oppression & not government. That the Government of England is of all others that they know the most excellent, the people by their chosen men, being the makers & reformers therof: That Edition: current; Page: [2-184] therein the Parliament is the supreme power, and that the King is accountable to them for the not performance of his Office, as all other Officers of the Common-wealth are: That the Parliament only are the makers and alterers of Lawes for the regulation and ordering of the people: That of right they are to be called by those Lawes they have made in that behalfe, and to dissolve when they themselves see good: that it is not at the Kings wil or pleasure to signe or refuse those Bills the Parliament shall passe, but that he is of duty to signe them: That all great Officers and Majestrates of the Kingdome are to be chosen by them: That the King is to have his personall abode neer the Parliament, that they may have free conference with him at pleasure touching the former discharge of his Office, or the present state of the Commonwealth: That to Parliaments alone belong the disposall of Shipping, Forts, Magazines, and all other the Kingdomes strengths, both by Sea & Land: The making of peace & war, the pressing of souldiers, the raising of monie for the preserving or regaining the safety or freedome of the people, which for any other person to doe, is treasonable. These grounds & principles of our government they knowing, could not but see the exorbitances of the King, & whereto al his lawles courses & designes tended, & therefore have not ignorantly (as perhaps others) but upon these grounds assisted the Parliament, and will doe till the last.

Judge by this then whether these men hold an opinion against government, or at what wretchlesse passe those men are that would make the people beleive they doe.

I might insist here upon a Booke called The Confutation of Anabaptists lately set forth, which saies, They are absolute and professed enemies to the essentiall Being of Civill Government, but I find people so little regard the Booke, it being so full of nonsence, and in this particular so evidently contrary to truth, and the experience of every man, that lookes abroad, and knowes any thing of the Anabaptists; that it will be but losse of time to take notice of it, only it were worth observation to see how easily it obtained an Imprimatur, and how open the Presse is to any thing true or false, sence or non-sence, that tends to the Anabaptists scandall or disgrace.

In the beginning of the Parliament a Booke was published, called the History of the Anabaptists in High and Low Germany, the aime whereof was by fastning odious errours and feigned Edition: current; Page: [2-185] mutenies upon the Anabaptists to deter this present Parliament in their Reformation of Bishops, for feare, as the booke saies, least they who now cry out for Christs rule, strike not so much at the misrule of Episcopacy, as quarrell at all rules, so that what course was taken by the Bishops and their friends to hinder the Reformation of that Hierarchie, namely, the affrighting the Reformers by airy and imaginary consequences, the same are used by our Divines to prevent a through Reformation: of many erroures, and mistakes in our Clergie, which they exceedingly feare, and therefore they have, and doe continue early and late to render the Anabaptists as odious to the people as their wits and inventions can make them. But as the Bishops then failed of their ends by the wisedome of the Parliament; so I trust the present endeavoures of our Divines in striving to raise themselves upon their Brethrens disgrace and ruine, will by the continued courage and prudence of the Parliament prove vaine and fruitlesse.

They who echo the Kings words and take the Bishops course (I will not say have the Kings ends but) so farre doe the Kings worke.

The King, I confesse, has reason to cry out upon the Anabaptists, because he knowes them to be enemies not of Government, but oppression in Government, and all those who intend to oppresse in any manner, ought, if they will be true to themselves to doe so too; for the Anabaptists are oppressions enemies, whoever be the oppressours.

And whereas they say, they find in Bookes, that the Anabaptists are enemies to all Government, it were well if they would consider who wrote those Bookes: it may be they were written either by mistake, or for the same end that they repeate them. We can shew you books too, that say the Parliament are Brownists & Anabaptists; And past all question, if the King should thrive in this unnaturall warre, this Parl. should in their Court Histories, not only be called Anabaptists, but branded also to all posterity with that opinion faisly and maliciously fathered upon the Anabaptists, That they were enemies to Government, and went about to bring all into confusion, little credite therefore is to given to Bookes in matter of obloquie and scandall: but the men, and their judgments in the times they live, are to be considered: And then I am confident it will appeare, that the Anabaptists be of well affected mindes: and peaceable dispositions, meriting a Edition: current; Page: [2-186] faire respect from the State, and may well challenge amongst others, the quiet enjoyment of themselves as they are men, and the ordinances of Christ as they are Christians.

I will adde one thing more to the Brownists and Anabaptists glory; that in the times of the Bishops domineering, when many of the Presbyterians complyed, some to the very top of Wrens Conformity, and preached for those things they now pretend cheifly to reforme, and the Independants fled to places where they might live at ease, and enjoy their hundred pounds a yeare, without danger; the Brownist and Anabaptist endured the heate and brunt of persecution, and notwithstanding the severall wayes of vexing them, continued doing their duties, counting it the glory of a Christian to endure tribulation for the name of Christ: And the times altering the Presbyterian soon comes about, and the Independant comes over, to be leaders in the Reformation, when forgetting the constancie and integrity of those who bore the heat and burden of the day, they hold the same heavy hand over them, that their fathers the Bishops did. And as the Brownists & Anabaptists affection to the common good of all, was then firme, & able to endure the triall of persecution, so hath it in these present searching times continued constant & unshaken, notwithstanding the many almost unsufferable Injuries & provocations of the Divines on the one side, & the faire promises & frequent invitations of the King on the other; so that had any ends of their owne beene aimed at, they could not have continued such resolved & immoveable enemies of Tyranny, & freinds to their country: I beleeve if we would suppose other men to be in their Condition, we could hardly expect the like even & upright carriage from them, amidst so many stormes and temptations surrounding them. I hope all good men will take all that hath been said into consideration, especially the Parliament who I presume are most ingenuous and impartiall of all others and whom it cheifly concernes, they being called and trusted to vindicate and preserve the peoples liberties in generall, and not to enthrall the Consciences, Persons, or Estates of any of them unto a pregmaticall pretended Clergy, whether Episcopall, Presbiteriall, or any other whatsoever. The greatest glory of authority is to protect the distressed; and for those that are Judges in other mens causes to beare themselves as if the afflicted mens cases were their owne; observing that divine rule of our Saviour, Whatsoever yee would that men should doe unto you, Edition: current; Page: [2-187] even so doe yee to them And if to the Parl. it shall appeare for the reasons given or other better reasons they can suggest to themselves, that it is most unjust, and much more unchristian, that any man should be compelled against his conscience to a way he approves not of, I doubt not but they will be pleased for Gods glory, and union sake and likewise for these good mens sake, which for the present it principally concernes, at least for their owne sakes (for who knowes how soone this may be his owne case) speedily to stop all proceedings that tends thereunto: and for the future provide, that as well particular or private Congregations, as publike, may have publike protection, so that upon a penalty no injury or offence be offered either to them from others, or by them to others. That all Statutes against the Separatists be reviewed, and repealed, especially that of the 35. of Eliz. That the Presse may be free for any man, that writes nothing scandalous or dangerous to the State. That so this Parliament may prove themselves loving Fathers to all sorts of good men, bearing equall respect to all, according to the trust reposed in them, and so inviting an equall affection and assistance from all: that after Ages may report of them, they did all these things, not because of the importunity of the people, or to please a party, but from the reason and justnesse of them, which did more sway with them, than a Petition subscribed with Twenty thousand hands could have done.

FINIS
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William Walwyn
Walwyn, William
29 July 1644
5.

2.5 [William Walwyn], Good Counsell to All those that heartily desire the glory of God, the freedome of the Commonwealth, and the good of all vertuous men. (29 July 1644).

  • GOOD COUNSELL TO ALL
  • those that heartily desire the glory of God, the freedome of the Commonwealth, and
  • the good of all vertuous men.
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You are most earnestly intreated to take notice, and to be warned of a most pestilent and dangerous designe lately practised by some hellish Polititians, tending to the dividing of the honest party amongst themselves, thereby to weaken them, and to give advantages to the Common Enemies.

The ground of their designe is, The difference of judgement in matters of Religion amongst conscientious well minded people, occasion being taken from thence to make them not only to despise and hate one another, but as odious to the generality of good men as are theeves, murderers and harlots.

The means they use to promote their designe, is principally to broach some grosse and foolish errours; and then to father them on all those that are called Anabaptists, Antinomians, Brownists, Separatists or Independents:

Perswading and possessing the people:

First, concerning the Anabaptists, That they hold all government in the Commonweale to bee unlawfull; which you are to know is most pernicious delusion, for they approve of, and doe submit unto all government that is agreed on by common consent in Parliament; and disapprove only of arbitrary and tyrannicall government, usurpations and exorbitances in Magistrates and Officers; and have disbursed their monies and hazarded their lives as freely for their just government, and liberties of this Nation, as any condition of men whatsoever.

Secondly, That the Antinomians doe hold, that a Beleever may live as he list! even in all licentiousnesse: which is most grossely false: there being no Scripture more frequent in their mouthes then this, namely. The love of God bringing salvation to all men hath appeared, teaching us to deny all ungodlinesse and worldly lusts, and to live righteously and godly, and soberly in this present world.

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Thirdly, That the Brownists, Separation and Independents doe hold that all other Protestants are in a damnable condition, who doe hold fellowship, Church society, and communion with grossely, vitious and wicked persons: which also is most notoriously false: for they doe not so judge of any; but doe judge that themselves having (to their apprehensions) grounds in Scripture, proving the unlawfulnesse of such mixt communions, may not, nor dare not so communicate: And as concerning others they judge (as themselves would be judged) that they exercise their Religion in that way which appeareth to them most agreeable to the Word of God.

When these sowers of division have possest the people, that these and the like absurdities are held by them: Then they advise them to flye from them as from Serpents, and not to heare them or discourse with them, as they tender the safety of their souls; & make them glad & rejoyce when they heare any of them are imprisoned or silenced; or their bookes (though slightly and absurdly) answered: and when they heare that many of them are forsaking the Kingdome, and betaking themselves to the West-Indies and other places for Liberty of their Consciences (as void of all remorse) they cry out, Let them goe, a good riddance, it will never bee well in England (say they) so long as these Sects are permitted to live amongst us; nor untill the Parliament do set up one expresse way for exercise of Religion, and compell all men to submit thereunto, and most severely to punish all such as will not.

But you will finde that this is the very voice of Prelacie, and the authours thereof to bee the very same in heart, what ever they are in deaths and outside—And that it is not the voyce of the Apostles, who required that every man should be fully perswaded in his owne minde of the lawfulnesse of that way wherein he served the Lord; and that upon such a ground as no authority on earth can ever dispence withall, namely, That whatsoever is not of faith (or full assurance of minde) is sin.

Our Saviour Christ did not use the Sadduces in so unkinde a manner, and yet they held more dangerous opinions then any that are accused in our times; for they beleeved that there was no resurrection, and that there was neither Angell nor Spirit; though they came to him in a kinde of insolent confidence in these their opinions, which he knew sufficiently. He, neverthelesse both heard and answered them gently; he did not revile them with reproachfull language, telling them that they were not worthy to live in a Edition: current; Page: [2-191] Commonwealth; nor did he warne others to discourse with them; hee did not command their persons to be imprisoned, nor declare their lives to be forfeited: It is likely they lived quietly, and (in all civill respects) according to the loves of the Country, and were honester men then the Scribes and Pharisees who were hypocrites: and so, as the true authour of his Apostles doctrine, he allowed them to be fully perswaded in their owne mindes, using no meanes but argument and perswasion to alter or controle their judgements: He knew that men might live peaceably and lovingly together, though they differ in judgement one from another: Himselfe was composed of love, and esteemed nothing so pretious as love; His servant and Apostle Paul was of the same minde also, affirming that though hee had all faith and al knowledge, and understood all mysteries, though he could speak with the tongues of men and of Angels, and have not love, he is nothing, a meere sounding brasse or tinckling symball: he desires that those who are strong in the faith, should beare with those that are weak, adviseth him that eateth that hee should not condemne him that eateth not: where one observed a day to the Lord, and others not (though a matter of great moment) yet he alloweth every one to be fully perswaded in his owne minde: Now if our Saviour and his Apostle, that could infallibly determine what was truth, and what was error, did neverthelesse allow every man to bee fully perswaded in his owne minde, and did not command any man upon their authority to doe any thing against judgement and conscience—What spirit are they of, whose Ministers are they, that would have all men compelled to submit to their probabilities and doubtfull determinations?

The Apostle perswadeth those whom he instructed to try all things: These allow not things to be compared, they take liberty to speake what they please in publike against opinions and judgements, under what nick-names they thinke fittest to make them odious, and write and Print, and licence the same, wresting and misapplying the Scriptures to prove their false assertions; but stop all mens mouthes from speaking, and prohibit the Printing of any thing that might be produced in way of defence and vindication; and if any thing bee attempted, spoken or published without authority or licence, Pursuivants, fines and imprisonments, are sure to wait the Authors, Printers and publishers.

And though experience of all times under Popery and Prelacie, have proved this a vaine way to bring all men to be of one Edition: current; Page: [2-192] minde, yet these men are not yet made wiser by the folly of others, but suffer themselves to be outwitted by the devillish policies of those that put them on in those compulsive and restrictive courses, as knowing it to be the only meanes to obstruct the truth, to multiply opinions, and cause divisions, without which they know they should in vaine attempt the bondage or destruction of the honest party.

Be you therefore wise in time, and speedily and freely unite your selves to those your brethren, though reproached with never so many nick-names, and use all lawfull meanes for their ease and freedome, and for protection from reproach, injury or violence, that they may be encouraged to abide in, and returne unto this our distressed country, and to contribute their utmost assistance to free the same from the bloudy intentions of the common enemies, and give them assurance of a comfortable freedome of conscience when a happy end shall be given to these wofull times: you cannot deny but that they are to bee trusted in any imployment equall to any condition of men, not one of them having proved false hearted or treacherous in any publike employment: sticke you therefore close to them, they will most certainly sticke close to you; which if you doe, all the Popish and malignant party in the world will not be able to circumvent you: but if you suffer your selves to be so grossely deluded as to despise or renounce their assistance and association, you shall soone perceive your selves to be over-growne with malignants (the taking of a Covenant will not change a blackamore) your bondage will be speedy and certaine: The ground upon which you renounce them is so unjust and contrary to the word of God, that God cannot prosper you; you have therefore no choice at all; but if you joyne not; you perish: Your destruction is of your selves, (complaine of none else) your pride and disdaine of them will be your mine.

Thus have you the faithfull advice of him who is neither Anabaptist, Antinomian, Brownist, Separatist or Independent: But of one that upon good ground (as he conceiveth) holdeth fellowship and communion with the Parochiall congregations, who observing with a sad heart the manifold distractions and divisions amongst his brethren about difference of judgement in matters of Religion; and finding the same fomented and made use of to the destruction of the common freedome of his deare Country: He could not forbeare to give warning thereof to all Edition: current; Page: [2-193] sorts of well-affected persons, hoping that they will labour to informe themselves more truly of the opinions and dispositions of those their too much despised Brethren; and (as himselfe hath done) resolve henceforward to joyne heart and hand with them in all offices of love and mutuall assistance of the Commonwealth.

FINIS
Edition: current; Page: [2-194]
John Goodwin
Goodwin, John
2 September 1644
6.

2.6 John Goodwin, Theomachia; Or the Grand Imprudence of men running the hazard of Fighting Against God (2 September 1644).

  • THEOMACHIA;
  • OR
  • THE GRAND IMPRUDENCE
  • of men running the hazard of
  • FIGHTING AGAINST GOD,
  • In suppressing any Way, Doctrine, or
  • Practice, concerning which they know not
  • certainly whether it be from God or no.
  • Being the substance of two Sermons,
  • Preached in Colemanstreet, upon occasion of the
  • late disaster sustain’d in the West.
  • With some necessary Enlargements thereunto.
  • The second time Imprinted.
  • HEB. 10.31.
  • It is a feareful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
  • MAT. 21.44.
  • Whosoever shall fall on (or, stumble at) this stone, shall be broken into pieces.
  • Imprimatur. John Bachiler.
  • London;
  • Printed for Henry Overton, and are to be sold at his Shop entering into Popes-head-Alley
  • out of Lumbard-street.
  • 1644.
Edition: current; Page: [2-195]

To The Reader

Reader;

WE have an English saying, that the burnt childe dreads the fire. I have oft been cast into the fire of mens zealous indignations, by an unclean spirit of calumny and slander; Some have reported, that I deny justification by Christ, i. that the Sun is up at noon-day; Others, that I deny the immortalitie of the soule, i. that I murthered my father and my mother; Others, that I have preached against the Parliament and Assembly, I. that I am out of my wits, and weary of my present life, and carelesse of that which is to come; Others yet againe, that sometimes I stood for Presbytery, but am now fallen to Independency; particularly, that I both preach and practise non-conformity to a letter of mine written some yeers since to Mr. T. G. that is, that once I was so wise as to think that six and seven made just nineteene; but now am become so weake, as to judge they onely make thirteene, and no more. I perceive there are more Sons of Belial, then those that witnessed against Naboth, that he blasphemed God and the King.1 King. 21. 10. But having no vineyard to accommodate any man, I cannot easily conceive, what men and their tongues meane to be still up in such unchristian contestations with me; except this be it; Because I speak the truth, and men are not able to beare it; therefore they resolve (it seems) to make me speak such untruths, that I my selfe shall not be able to beare. I confesse, I doe not much dread this fire, made of the tongues of asps and vipers, not because I have not been sufficiently burnt by it, but partly because I have been a long time accustomed to such burnings, and have found them rather purifying, then consuming: partly, because the great Apostle informs me, that the way by which he passed into his glory, was through honour, and dishonour,2 Cor. 6. 8. through good report, and evill report. Yet neverthelesse, I had rather give an account of mine own words, then of other mens pretending to be mine; and so to keep out of the fire, as far as the peace and safety of my own soule and other mens, will suffer me. And this is the true account (Reader) of the publishing Edition: current; Page: [2-196] of these Sermons, which (haply) had not been an action so necessary otherwise. Understanding that the foule spirit, which hath for severall yeers haunted my ministery, was beginning to practise upon these Sermons also, I thought it the safer course of the two, to put my selfe into the hands of the Truth (which yet perhaps will not much befriend me neither, in the thoughts and hearts of men, though with God, I am certain, it will) then to expose both it and my selfe to be rent and torne by him. What good, or hurt, they will or are like to doe, now they are gotten abroad, is not easie, either for thee, or me, so much as to conjecture. Be it in this, as God and men shall agree. When the danger of the disease runs high, there is little hope but onely in that physicke, whereof there is some feare. We are under a bondage of much misery,Joh. 8. 32. and it is onely the Truth (as our Saviour saith) that can make us free: and yet such is our condition and misery, that there is cause to feare, lest the Truth, which onely is able to make us free, should increase our bondage and misery, by being rejected and opposed by us, when it comes in love and mercy to visit us, and to blesse us out of our misery. For this end I was borne (as our Saviour saith of himselfe, Joh. 18. [Editor: illegible word]) that I should beare witnesse to the truth, not to the opinions or apprehensions of men. In which respect I know I am like to have the harder quarter and service in the world; but God hath made me a lover of men in such a degree, that I can willingly consecrate my selfe unto their service, through any sufferings from them. If this world faile me, I know God hath prepared another for a reserve, which will stand by me, and will not faile. Reader, take my prayers along with thee, and an honest heart of thine own; and so passe on to the Sermons before thee; doubtlesse they will either strengthen thy hand in the way thou art in, or guide thy feet into a way thou art not in, or at least qualifie thy spirit with Christian patience and respects towards such a way.

Thine with an upright and
single heart in Christ Jesus,
John Goodvvin.
Edition: current; Page: [2-197]

Acts 5. 38.

And now I say unto you, Refraine your selves from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsell or worke be of men, it will come to nought; but if it be of God, yee cannot destroy it, lest yee be found even fighters against God.

WHen the Children of Israel, in the progresse of their Warres upon the Canaanites, wherein God had promised to be with them, and to give them successe, and that a man of their enemies should not be able to stand against them: notwithstanding they fought under the protection of many such promises as these, yet met with a disaster and losse, thirty six of them being slaine by the men of Ai, and the rest of the partie ingaged in that service put to rout, and chased by their enemies: God himselfe upon the great dejection and solemne humiliation of the Elders of Israel, and Joshua their Generall, was pleased to make knowne unto him by speciall revelation, what root of bitternesse Edition: current; Page: [2-198] it was that brought forth this fruit of death, what sin by name it was amongst them, that had separated between him and them in their late sad miscarriage, yea, and would separate still, to their further and greater misery, except they took a course to make an atonement for themselves, by purging and clensing themselves from it. Onely the discovery or finding out of the person that had committed the sin, was put upon Joshua and the people; wherein yet againe they were directed by God to such a method or means for this discovery, that God himselfe may be said too to have discovered even the sinner also. For he it was, that by a speciall directing hand of his providence, caused the lot to fall upon Achan, who was the man that in taking the excommunicate thing, had sin’d that great and speciall provocation, which was fallen in this gust of wrath from Heaven upon the people. These things you shall finde related more at large Josh. 7. From which passages by the way (amongst many other very observable) you may take knowledge of these three things.

First, That when God is at any time ingaged, and his hand in (as we use to say) shewing mercy and doing good to his people, he is seldome or never wont to change or alter the tenour of his present dispensations, to break off the course of his grace by suffering evill to come upon them, but upon some speciall discontent taken, from some speciall sin or other, one or more, committed by them.

Secondly, That sometimes the sin of one or of some few, in a great societie or body of people, in the provocation or guilt of it, redounds and runs over to the involving and defiling of the whole societie, and rendring all the members thereof obnoxious to the displeasure of God.

Thirdly, That the best, if not the onely way for the people of God, being under the disfavour of God, and stroke of his displeasure, to make atonement for themselves, and to recover his favour, is to make diligent search and strict inquiry, what that sin by name should be, which hath turned away the heart of their God from them, and accordingly to remove it.

My Brethren, the case of the Children of Israel upon their losse neere unto the Citie of Ai, is our condition and case at this day; save onely that the hand of God hath been laid heavier upon us, Edition: current; Page: [2-199] then it was upon them, in that breach. God had begun to doe great and gracious things for us, yea he had gon on for a good space together, treading and trampling downe the strength of our Enemies under us apace; insomuch, that wee began to take our Harps down from the willow trees, on which we had hung them, to prepare our selves to sing the song of Moses, the man of God: but loe on the suddaine wee are smitten back againe into the places of Dragons, and the God of our lives hath covered us with the shadow of Death. That vision of peace and good things which was let downe from heaven unto us, and was come so neere us, that wee began to arise, thinking none other but to fall to and eate presently; is now againe taken up from us into the heavens, and we have lost the sight of it. The best art and wisdome we can use to open the heavens over us, and cause them to deliver downe that treasure againe to us, to heale our present wound, if it be not deadly, is to make as narrow a search, as strict an inquiry, as we can, what that particular and speciall sin or provocation amongst us is, the chastisement whereof is now upon us, and which hath brought the rod of this indignation upon our backs. If God himselfe would please by speciall revelation to make knowne what this sin is, as he did unto Joshua and the people of Israel, satisfaction in this point were at hand, nor should we need to abide the various and conjecturall discourses of men, Ministers or others, about the matter: But having perfected that standing Revelation of himselfe, the Scriptures, he refraines revelations extraordinary, and leaves his people to consult with these Oracles of his for resolution, in all such cases of Question and difficulty as this; onely promising the gracious assistance and guidance of his Spirit unto those that shall aske it of him, and not lay stumbling blocks in their way otherwise, to direct them in such dark and dubious inquiries as these. And one speciall end (I concelve) aymed at by that Authority, which hath set apart this day for a solemne humiliation of our selves before God, was, that Ministers and people should joyne together in fervent prayer and supplication unto God, that the one may be directed to make a true and unpartiall discovery of this sinne, and the other judge of the discovery being made accordingly: that so the troubler of Israel being found out, execution may be done, and God pacified. In consideration whereof it is, Edition: current; Page: [2-200] that I made choice of the Scripture read unto you, upon the present occasion; Conceiving that very sin to be there described, yea, and expressed by name, (though somewhat more generall) which hath occasioned the said interruption of late made in our hopefull proceedings, yea, and which in all likelihood wrought against us formerly, both in that blow which was reached us from heaven, in that as strange, as sorrowfull a defeat at Newark, and otherwise; but was not then knowne or considered of. The Lord grant that yet at last it may enter into all our hearts to conceive aright, and to consider of it, lest it brings forth yet againe like bitter fruits, yea, and magnifies it selfe at last in our utter ruine and destruction.

But let us addresse unto the words; and in them consider, first, their relation and coherence in the Context, and then their sense and meaning. For the former; the words are part of a speech made by one Gamaliel (as he is called ver. 34.) a Pharisee, and Doctor of the Law, in an Assembly or Councell at Jerusalem. The Councell (as appeares ver. 21. &c.) was called, about the Apostles, their Doctrine and proceedings; the chiefe designe and intendment of it, was to consider and resolve what course to take with them, how to suppresse both them and their Doctrine, being both looked upon as prejudiciall to their personall and private interests, both of honour and profit, in that State and Nation; and as likely to carry away the hearts and affections of much people from them. When they had sent for Peter and the other Apostles by a Captain with his Officers, to appeare before the Councell, the Prolocutor or chiefe Priest, charged them after this manner; ver. 28. Did not we straitly command you, that you should not teach in this Name? and yee have filled Jerusalem with your Doctrine, &c. When Peter and the other Apostles, standing stiffe to their tackling, had made their answer, fully justifying what they had done, and given a brief accompt of that Doctrine about which they were questioned, and of their calling to preach and beare witnesse of the same unto the world; it is said (ver. 33.) that the Councell, seeing them upon those terms, hearing them speake at such a rate, burst in sunder for anger (as the former translation) or (as the latter hath it) were cut at the heart, and took counsell how to slay them. What? would they not submit to the Authority and advice of such a Reverend, Edition: current; Page: [2-201] learned, and pious Assembly as that? Did they thinke themselves wiser then they? would they preach a Doctrine that should asperse them, and bring them out of credit and request with the people? Such men as they were not meet to be tolerated in the State, nor yet to live; and therefore they would fall upon some course, how to free themselves, the State and Nation of them, and that must be in no lighter way, with no lower hand, then death it selfe, they must die for it. This (it seems) was the sense and resolution of the generality of the Assembly, untill one of them, (that Gamaliel we speake of) a man of a better temper and deeper reach then his fellowes, excited to speak, and assisted in speciall manner by God in speaking, by a grave Speech tending to moderation, qualified their spirits in part, and brought them to accept of somewhat a lighter atonement from the Apostles, for their supposed sin, then their lives would have amounted unto. For their spirits were so full of bitterness and indignation against them, that notwithstanding all that Gamaliel could say, they were resolved to have their peniworths of them, (as we use to say) to ease themselves on them so far, as to cause them to be beaten, and withall, severely to charge them the second time, to give over preaching their erroneous and dangerous Doctrine, to speak no more in the Name of Jesus, ver. 40. What the tenor of Gamaliels Speech was, from the beginning to the end of it, you may read, beginning at ver. 35. untill the end of 39. Men of Israel, take heed to your selves, what you doe to these men; as if he should have said, Yee will but run a needlesse hazard of bringing evill, or ruine upon your selves, by attempting any thing for the present, in a way of violence against these men; implying, that men had need take heed how they ingage themselves to suppresse, molest, or destroy any generation or sort of men whatsoever, untill they have a clear and expresse warrant from heaven for the execution. To perswade them not to be too precipitate or forward in any course of violence against the Apostles, he declares to them by a double instance (well known unto themselves) that if they be seducers and evill men, and so worthy to be destroyed, God himselfe would in a short time, reveale his wrath from heaven against them, and bring them and their work to ruine. For thus he had done both formerly by one Theudas, and more lately by Judas of Galilee; who projecting great matters for themselves, Edition: current; Page: [2-202] without any warrant or authority from God, though they went on, and seem’d for a while to prosper in their way, drawing great numbers of people after them, were yet, both they and all their complices and followers, by a speciall hand of God scattered and brought to nought. Upon the mention of these two memorable examples of Divine justice against Seducers and Deceivers, he infers as followeth in the words read unto you.

And now I say unto you, Refraine from these men, and let them alone, &c.

This for the coherence.

For the sense of the words (briefly) Refrain from, [Editor: illegible Greek words], that is, stand, or keep off from them, depart from them, go yee your way, and let them go their way; [Editor: illegible Greek words], let them alone, or suffer them, that is, (as some understand it) do not only forbeare persecuting of them your selves by your authority, but be no occasion that the Roman power any wayes interposeth to molest them: do not betray them into the hand of violence otherwise; or else the doubling of the caution, may import the weightinesse of the matter in his apprehension that speaketh. However, by this double Caution or Item he gives unto them, not to have any thing to do (for the present) with the Apostles, in any way of molestation, he discovers an utter aversenesse in him to such proceedings. Wherefore he gives this reason further.

For if this counsell or work be of men, it will come to nought] i. If the design which these men drive, with the method, course and means whereby they carry it on, hath no better foundation to bear it up, but either their own wisdomes, interest, and authority, or some other mens, [Editor: illegible Greek words], it will be dissolved, or come to nought, it will soon discover its originall by its end, if it were taken out of the dust, to dust it will return; and they that are ingaged in it, will fall and sink with it. But if it be from God] i. If it be countenanced or authorized by God, if he be the Founder of it; Yee cannot destroy or dissolve it, lest, &c. i. you must not, or you ought not, to attempt any thing against it to destroy or dissolve it, because by such an attempt as this, you will do no better then fight against God. Yee cannot] viz. lawfully, or wisely, or upon any good ground. There is a double impotency, or impossibility often mentioned in Scripture; the one we may call naturall, or physicall, the other morall. Edition: current; Page: [2-203] With the first kinde of impossibility, things are said to be unpossible, when there wants a naturall or executive principle of strength or power in any kind to do them: with the latter, that is said to be unpossible for a man to do, for the doing wherof he hath no ground or warrant either in the Word of God, or in reason or equity, though he hath never so much naturall strength or power to do it. Of this latter kind, the Apostle Paul speaketh, 2 Cor. 13. 8. where he saith, that hee could do nothing against the truth, but for the truth; meaning, that he had no ground or warrant, either from God, or otherwise, to do any such thing. So again, 1 Cor. 10. 21. Yee cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of the Devill; i. yee cannot do it lawfully; or with any congruity either to the principles of Christianity, or of sound reason. Of this kind of impotency or impossibility, that common saying in the Civill Law speaketh, Id tantum possumus, quod jure possumus. Of the other kind, we have many instances also; I spake to thy Disciples to cast him out, but they could not (Mar. 9. 18.) i. they wanted an executive principle or power; whereby to do it: otherwise it was lawfull enough for them to have done it. So again, Mar. 6. 19. and Mar. 2. 4. besides many other.

Destroy or dissolve it] i. do or attempt any thing to destroy it. Not only the endevours and attempts, but even the purposes and intents of doing things, are often in Scripture expressed by words, which properly signifie the doing or effecting the things themselves. Many good works (saith our Saviour, Joh. 10. 32) have I shewed you from my Father: for which of these works do you stone me? i. do you intend, or go about to stone me? for they had not yet actually stoned him. Thus Heb. 11. 17. Abraham is twice said to have offered up his son Isaac, because he was fully intended, and had attempted to offer him. Besides many the like: So here, you cannot destroy it, i. you ought not, you cannot with reason go about or attempt the destroying of it.—Lest you be found even fighters against God; meaning, that in case the Doctrine and way of those men, against whom they were incensed, should be from God, and they nevertheless seek to destroy them, they would by such a course dash themselves against such a stone as would break them to pieces; they would be found even to fight against God. That causall particle, [Editor: illegible Greek words], lest, doth not alwayes note a hazard, or uncertainty of an Edition: current; Page: [2-204] effect or consequent; but many times signifies as much as [Editor: illegible Greek words], ut non, and is us’d as well to signifie the dependance as well of a certain and necessary, as of a contingent effect, upon its cause:* So here, you cannot destroy it, lest you be found, &c. i. if you attempt to destroy it, you will be found, &c.

Be found] The word [Editor: illegible Greek words]; to be found, in such a construction as this, oft notes the unexpectednesse of somewhat befalling a person, whether in respect of his own, or other mens expectations. Thus it is said of the Virgin Mary, that before Joseph and she came together, [Editor: illegible Greek words], shee was FOUND with child, meaning, beyond, or contrary to expectation. So Luk. 9. 36. whereas Moses and Elias were immediately before the voyce from heaven, taken notice of by the Apostles to have been present with Christ upon the Mount, as soone as ever the voyce was past, it is said of him,[Editor: illegible Greek words], he was found alone, to imply that Moses and Elias were withdrawn before the Apostles were aware, or thought of it. To passe by other instances for this importance of the word; it is said of Babylon the Great (Rev. 18. 24.) that in her was found ([Editor: illegible Greek words]) the bloud of the Prophets, and of the Saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth; meaning, that whereas this City had till now thought her self the most religious City under heaven, the Mother and Patronesse of Prophets and Saints, an enemy onely unto Heretiques and persons hatefull unto God; now when God came to call her to an account, and to enter into judgement with her, contrary to her expectation and opinion of her self, she was discovered and evicted to have been the most cruell and bloudy enemy that ever Prophets or Saints had, yea, and further, a principall Actresse in the slaughter of many millions otherwise. So Gamaliel, expressing himselfe thus to the Councell, lest you be FOUND even fighters against God; gives them to understand, that how holy, wise, or just soever they might seeme in their own eyes, yea, and might think themselves the furthest of any men under heaven from practising or fighting against God, yet if they went on with their present intentions and resolutions against the men they had now before them, they might fall into this heavie guilt and condemnation, when they thought least of it. The heavinesse of which guilt is further implyed, in that emphaticall particle [Editor: illegible Greek words], even, even fighters against God; which particle of speech in such constructions as this, is intensive in an Edition: current; Page: [2-205] high degree, and still imports somewhat very remarkable in what is joyned with it. In such an importance as this, you shall find it used, Matth. 12. 8. for the son of man is Lord, [Editor: illegible Greek words], even of the Sabbath; meaning, that this was a very transcendent Lordship indeed, and such as was incompatible unto any, but unto him who need count it no robbery to be equall with God. So Mar. 13. 22. and elsewhere. Thus Gamaliel admonishing his Colleagues, to consider well what they did, lest they should be found EVEN fighters against God; plainly intimates unto you, that this is one of the worst stones in the world to stumble at, and that no improvidence or inconsiderateness whatsoever besides, is like to make any such breach upon the comfort and peace of the Creature, as for men to ingage themselves in any such action or course, wherein they shall be found fighters against God.

[Editor: illegible Greek words], Fighters against God]. Every act of sin, especially with knowledge and consent of will, is, (in a sense) a fighting against God: but that sin which Gamaliel here intends in his expression of fighting against God, is a sin of an higher nature then ordinary, as appeares by the particle [Editor: illegible Greek words] even, joyn’d with it, and formerly opened. Therefore by fighting against God (in this place) must needs be meant some high and peremptory action or ingagement of the creature, wherein it opposeth God in some speciall or remarkable design, which hee seeketh either to set on foot, or else to carry on in the world, whether the opposer knowes it to be a design of God’s or no. And thus the Propagating of that Doctrine, which the Apostles preached, being a design of God, the opposition of the councell against it, especially with so high an hand as the crushing or slaying of the Apostles, who were appointed by God to publish it, would have been, was, and would have been very properly, a fighting against God.

The words explain’d, are matter ready prepared for Doctrine and Observation. Only one word (by the way) for Answer to that Question; What authority, weight, or credit, is to be given to that which Gamaliel delivers in this Speech of his to the Councell? Whether may we build upon every thing, or any thing, spoken by him, as authorized by God?

I answer;

1. That there is little question to be made, but that the Spirit Edition: current; Page: [2-206] of the man, was in speciall manner touch’d and stirr’d up by the Spirit of God, to interpose in the behalfe of the Apostles, as he did; as the spirit of Nicodemus (another branch of the same root) formerly had been, to stand up and speake in the behalfe of Christ, Joh. 7. 51.

2. The principall end and scope of what he spake, being the rescuing of the Apostles from the bloudy Counsells of those who had concluded their death, and were consulting about the execution; plainly sheweth, that there was more of God then ordinary in the thing, especially if we consider further, that he who thus inexpectedly appeared with shield and buckler for the Apostles defence, was of that sect or generation of men, who generally hated and opposed the Doctrine of Christ with more inveterate and viperous malignitie of spirit, then any other.

3. Evident it is, 1. that the intent, end, and scope of Gamaliel in this speech to the Councell, being the bringing of the Apostles from the bloudy rage and violence of men, was good, and agreeable to the will and word of God. And 2. as evident likewise it is, that the speech it selfe, in the whole carriage, and in all the passages of it, is duly, and with all exactnesse of wisdome and prudence, proportioned to the end, and tends in a direct and regular way to effect it. Now whatsoever directly and regularly tends to the effecting of that which is good, must needs be good, and consequently from God. That which is good may occasionally and by some collaterall influence of Providence, be brought to passe, by means that are evill; but in a regular and direct way, it can onely be produced by that which is good. There is no more friendship or fellowship naturally, between good ends and ill means, then is between light and darknesse, Christ and Belial. But

4. (and lastly) There being nothing in all this speech (excepting onely the historicall instances,Interim or aculi instar nobis esse debet, quòd Dei cõsilia nullis hominũ viribus impedere posse, humana vero suá sponte collavi disc [Editor: illegible word] Gual. [Editor: illegible word] 37. in Act. 37. in Act. the truth of which, it seems, was generally knowne among the Jews, and is attested by Josephus their great Historian) but what is fully consonant with the word of God, (unquestionably so acknowledged) elsewhere, the credit and authority of it, for matter of truth, is one and the same with those other Scriptures corresponding with it. What we here learne (saith Gualter upon the place) should be unto us as an Oracle, viz. that the counsells of God are not to be defeated or hindred by any Edition: current; Page: [2-207] strength of man; but for the counsells of men, they fall, and sink, and come to nothing of themselves.

In the words, there be these six ensuing Points of Doctrine, faire and large, besides many others of a more collaterall and illative observation.

First, From those words, ver. 38. And now I say unto you, Refraine from these men, and let them alone: for, &c. Observe, that it is a point of much wisdome to forbeare the oppression, or suppression of such persons, Doctrines, and wayes, which men have any reasonable cause at all to judge or thinke, that they are, or may be, from God.

Secondly, From those doubtfull expressions of so great a Doctor of the Law, and one that knew how to measure and estimate the Authoritie and weight of a Councell-determination, and besides can no wayes be suspected of any disaffection or preiudicatenesse against such Authoritie, from those doubtfull expressions (I say) of this man, If this counsell or work be of men, &c. And againe, If it be of God, &c. Observe, That the determination of a Councell, or of the major part of a Councell against a way, Doctrine, or practice, is no demonstrative or sufficient proofe for any wise man to rest or build upon, that such a way, Doctrine, or practice, are not from God. The whole Councell, as you heard, this one man excepted, had peremptorily concluded the Doctrine and practice of the Apostles, to be, not from God, but from men, and thereupon were in high consultation to suppresse them, and that by death; yet all this did not satisfie Gamaliel in point of judgement or conscience, he was still but where he was, doubtfull and in suspence with himselfe about the businesse.

Thirdly, From that clause, If this counsell or work be from men, it will come to nought] Observe, that every invention, contrivance, way, or device of man, especially in things either appertaining or pretending to appertaine unto God, in matters of Religion, will in time weare out into nothing and be dissolved.

Fourthly, From the Connexion or dependance between the former and latter parts of ver. 39. But if it be from God, yee cannot destroy it, lest, &c. Observe, That for any man, or men, to attempt the suppression of any Doctrine, way, or practise that is from God, is to fight against God himselfe.

Fiftly, From that significant phrase or expression, of being Edition: current; Page: [2-208] FOVND fighters against God, ver. 39. Observe, that many, who possibly for the present may conceive and thinke, and that with much confidence, that they fight for God, when the truth comes to an unpartiall and perfect scanning, will be found to have fought against him.

Sixtly, (and lastly) From the importance and weight of that emphaticall particle, even, in the last clause, Lest yee be found EVEN fighters against God; Observe, that fighting against God, is a most dangerous posture or ingagement, for a creature to be taken or found in by God at any time. The dread and terror of such a misprision as this, is the base and ground-work upon which Gamaliel builds the fabrick of that important counsell and advice, which he gives unto his fellows, thoroughout his discourse or speech made unto them.

We shall for the present (passing by all the rest) pitch upon that Doctrine mentioned in the fourth place, the tenor and effect whereof was this; That for any man to endeavour or attempt the suppression of any Doctrine, practice, or way, which is from God, is to fight against God himselfe.

For the sense and true import of the Doctrine, I shall need to adde little beyond what was said, in explication of the words; here we briefly shewed what was meant by fighting against God. I now onely adde this, (which is somewhat more particular) that it is not every degree or kind of opposing a way, Doctrine, or designe of God, which either the text, or the Doctrine calleth a fighting against God; but onely such an opposing which is peremptory, and carried on with an high hand, so that those Agents or Instruments of God, which he hath anointed to hold forth that way, Doctrine, or Designe of his in the world, are not suffered to execute their Commission, but are countermanded either by the Authoritie or over-bearing strength and power of men. It is one thing to oppose, or contend against a Doctrine or way of God, per modum Doctoris, as when a Minister through a mistake or weaknesse of judgement, pleads for Baal against God, preacheth error up, and truth downe, which may befall the best and faithfullest of men: another, to doe it per modum Judicis, as when men will assume an Authoritative power, whether Ecclesiastique or Civill, to suppresse or silence the publishing, practising, arguing, or debating of such wayes or Doctrines, with the judgements and consciences Edition: current; Page: [2-209] of men. It is true, even this kind of opposing them, is sometimes incident to men otherwise upright in the maine before God: but the children of this contention and contestation against their Maker, must expect to be taught more wisdome and reverence towards him, with briars and thornes. If men fight against God after any such manner as this, upon such termes as if they were Gods too, this will ingage him to take up armes also in his own defence, and provoke him to fight against those, who fight against him. This for opening the Doctrine.

For the confirmation of the truth of it, wee shall not need to cause many Scriptures to labour: the word will be sufficiently established in the mouth of two or three of these Witnesses.Psal. 2. 1, 233. Why doe the Heathen rage, (saith David) and the people imagine a vaine thing? The Kings of the Earth set themselves, and the Rulers take counsell together against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us, &c. Those expressions, of raging, setting themselves, taking counsell together against the Lord and his Anointed, amount every whit as much as to a fighting against the Lord. And what was it, that the Heathen, people, Kings, and Rulers of the Earth, did, or attempted to doe against the Lord and against his Anointed; (meaning Christ) Was it any thing else but to quench that fire, which Christ (as himselfe saith) came to kindle, to suppresse the Gospel, to cut off those wayes of righteousnesse and holinesse from the knowledge and practise of men, which are therein recommended and held forth unto the world? These are the bands, which they set themselves thus to cut asunder, and the cords, which, if it had been possible, they would have cast from them. Saul, Saul, (saith the Lord Christ from Heaven unto him, as he was travailing towards Damascus) Why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest, &c. Act. 9. 4, 5. To persecute Christ (and consequenly, God himselfe, who is in Christ, 2 Cor. 5.) imports every whit as much, as to fight against Christ, and somewhat more. But why is Saul here charged with persecuting Christ? What course of hostilitie did he run or practice against him? It is said (ver. 2.) that he desired Letters of the high Priest to Damascus to the Synagogues, that if he found any of this WAY, whether they were men, or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Whereby it appears, Edition: current; Page: [2-210] that the precise opposition against Christ, upon which Saul was arrested from Heaven (as we heard) under the termes of persecuting him, was his attempting with so high and bloudy an hand, to destroy out of the world that WAY of worshipping & serving God, which Christ in his Gospel recommends unto, and chargeth upon the world. Men and women were not the precise and formall object of his hatred and persecution, but that way of Christ in the Gospel, which they maintained, practised, and taught, who were persecuted by him. If he could have told how otherwise to have gotten this WAY out of their hearts, tongues, and lives, and consequently out of the world, then by molesting, vexing, and persecuting them, it is not like that he would have proceeded against them, with so rough and cruell an hand. It is said (Revel. 12. 7.) That there was warre in Heaven; Michael and his Angels fought against the Dragon; and the Dragon fought, and his Angels. Whether Michael in this Scripture be Christ himself, (as ancient Interpreters generally carried it) or some prime Angel appointed by Christ, to be as a Generall or Head to his Saints and servants, in those warres and fiery conflicts, wherein they were for a long time engaged against Satan, and his bloudy Agents in the Roman Empire, (as some later Expositors conceive) is not much materiall. But it is here expresly said, that the Dragon and his Angels, that is, the Devill and his Instruments, ignorant and bloud-thirsty-men, fought, viz. against Michael and his Angels, i. against Christ himselfe in those appointed by him to hold forth the way and Gospel of his Kingdome unto the world. But why, or how are they said to have fought against Christ? What was their ingagement or attempt against him? Questionlesse nothing else but the extirpation and ejection of the Doctrine and Way of his Gospel out of the world, by the torments, slaughter and ruine of those who professed them, and by this profession, gave them a speciall subsistence and beeing in the world. For that rule, Doctrine, or way, which is not practised or professed in the world, languisheth, and is little better then dead. I adde but one Scripture more, and then I have done with the proofe of the Point, in this kind. Then cometh the end (saith the Apostle, 1 Cor. 15. 24.) when he (i. Christ) shall have delivered up the Kingdome to God even the Father, when he shall have put downe all rule, and all authoritie and power. Why the end should not Edition: current; Page: [2-211] be, untill Christ hath put downe all rule, and all authoritie and power, i. all kinds of rule, Authoritie and power; this reason is rendred, ver. 25. For he must reigne, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. I demand, why should all rule, all Authoritie and power, as well Ecclesiasticall as Civill, be looked upon, as enemies unto Christ? What is the enmity or hostilitie they exercise against him? Doubtlesse no lawfull rule, Authoritie, or power, are enemies to Christ, either in their nature or institution, but are confederate with him. It is their degeneration in their exercise and actings, that renders them of an hostile interpretation to him. There is none of them all but is apt ever and anon to be fighting against him, and that by some peremptory and stiffe opposing and suppressing some way, Doctrine, or practise of his, where they have to doe. And this is the quarrell which the Lord Christ hath to the whole fraternitie or association of them; for this he counts them his enemies.

The reasons of the point, which we shall briefly touch, are three:Reason 1.

First, He that attempts or seeks by an high hand to suppress any Doctrine, Way or Practice which is from God, may well be conceived and said to fight against God, because he opposeth, and that with vehemence and might, the will of God, and that in a very considerable act, motion, or desire of it. There is no Way, Doctrine, or Practice, which is from God, but his will stands strongly bent for the propagation and spreading of it in the world.Luk. 12. 49. I am come (saith Christ) to send (or, cast) fire on the earth: and what WILL I, (or, what is my desire, as the former translation had it) if it be already kindled? meaning, that his desire to see the Gospel on foot, to see it well taken, and sufficiently rooted in the world, was so great, that when he once saw it, he cared not how soon he left the world. So Luke 22. 15. And he said unto them, With desire have I desired to eat this passeover with you, before I suffer: meaning that he even longed to erect and found that great Ordinance of the Supper, for the use and benefit of the world in after times, before he left the world. Many other Scriptures there are that speak this over and over, viz. that the heart and soul of God are firmly and deeply set within him, to have such Wayes, Doctrines and Ordinances as come from him, published, maintained, preached, and held forth unto the world. Therefore they who ingage themselves with all their strength, and all their might, to resist Edition: current; Page: [2-212] this will of his in the accomplishment of it, what do they else but fight against him?

Secondly,Reason 2. Hee that magnifies himself to suppresse, quash, or keep down any way, Practice or Counsell which is from God, proportionably opposeth the glory of God, and doth what in him lies, to keep God from being magnified in the hearts and lives of men, at least as far as that Way, Practice or Counsell which hee seeks to suppress, tends to such a magnification of him. And will this, being weighed in the ballance of the Sanctuary, be found any whit lighter, then a fighting against God? Certain it is, that God hath (as it were) a stock of glory in the hand of every Way, Doctrine and Practice, which he recommends unto the world; yea, in all and every of these, he hath a peculiar designe for the exaltation of his Name. The beauty of the Lord is said to be seen, or to be beheld in the Wayes and Ordinances of his House, or Temple. Psal. 27. 4. There is no way or truth of God, but carries an impression in it of some lineament or other of the glory and loveliness of his face. So again, Psal. 67. The Prophet having (ver. 1.) petitioned that at the hand of God, which (ver. 2.) might make his way to be known on earth, &c. he breaks out (ver. 3.) in this propheticall strain, Let the people praise thee, O God, let all the people praise thee; clearly implying, that the way of God being published, and made known to the world, is that which increaseth the Revenues of the throne of Heaven, raiseth and procureth new contributions of praise and glory from men unto God. So then he that shall rise up to oppose the God of Heaven in any of those methods, counsels or projections of his, whereby he projects the exaltation and advancement of his own great Name and Glory in the world, may in as proper a sense, as the phrase lightly will bear, be said to fight against God; especially, if we consider but this one thing further: that Gods glory is his darling, his unica, his only one, (as David cal’d his life, Eripe à gladio animam meam, à cane unicam meam, Ps. 22. 21.) it is the only life which he lives in the world; it is the only apple that his soul careth to eat of, out of that great Orchard which he hath planted (I mean the world.) Therefore doubtless, he that shall oppose him in his gathering of this fruit, hath the greater sin.

Reason 3.Thirdly, (and lastly) there is in every thing that proceeds or derives Edition: current; Page: [2-213] its originall or being from another, somewhat of the nature, property, or spirit of that, from which it takes this rise or spring of its being: there is somewhat of the father in the childe, of the root in the fruit and in the branches, &c. In like manner, in every Way, Doctrine or Practice which is from God, there is somewhat of God himself. The very substance, frame and constitution of them, at least that which is operative, quickning and spirituall in them, what is it but a kinde of heavenly composition, the ingredients whereof are the holiness, wisdome, mercy, goodness and bounty of God? and what are these, and every of them, but God himself? Every Ordinance or Way of God, is (as it were) a benigne constellation of these stars unto the world; out of the midst of which he gives a gracious aspect of himself, and communicates those sweet and rich influences of himselfe, light, and life, and strength, and peace, and joy, unto the world. It is said, (1 King. 19. 11.) that the Lord neither was in the strong wind that rent the mountains, nor yet in the earthquake that followed it, nor in the fire that came after that; but after these there came a still voyce, wherein it is implied, that the Lord was. The meaning is, that God had neither prepared or intended, either the wind, earthquake or fire, by, or out of which to impart himself unto his Prophet Elijah; he had only prepared and sanctified the still and soft voyce for such a purpose as this; and therefore he is expresly denyed to have been in any other, and consequently supposed to have been in this. In such a sense or manner as God was in this still voyce, he is in every Way, Doctrine, and Ordinance of his; in, by, and out of all and every of these, he communicates and imparts himself graciously unto the world. Therefore whosoever shall fight against any of these, by seeking to supplant, suppress, or keep them down, that they may not run and be glorified in the world, what do they else, let this work and course of theirs be truly interpreted, but fight against God himself?

We have done with the Reasons of the Doctrine; we shall conclude with somewhat by way of use and application.

First, by way of Instruction: If to attempt the suppression or keeping down, any Way, Doctrine, or Practice which is from God, be of no less concernment, of no safer interprepation then a fighting against God, then certainly it is the greatest imprudence Edition: current; Page: [2-214] or improvidence under heaven, for any man, or rank of men whatsoever, to appear, especially in any high-handed opposition or contestation against any Way, Doctrine, or Practice whatsoever, untill they have proof upon proof, demonstration upon demonstration, evidence upon evidence; yea, all the security that men in an ordinary way (at least) are capable of, that such Wayes or Doctrines only pretend unto God as the Author them, and that in truth, they are not at all from him, but either from men, or of a baser parentage. For what do men by such a practice and ingagement of themselves as this, but run an apparent hazard, of dashing their foot against that stone, at which Paul stumbled, (when time was) yea, and without the highest hand of mercy that was ever lift up to save a mortall man, had been utterly broken to pieces by it?Acts 9. It is a hard thing for thee (saith the Lord by a voyce from heaven to him) [Editor: illegible Greek words], to kick or dash thy self against sharp goads or nails, made of Steel or Iron, (for so the word signifies) meaning, that his undertaking, or setting himself with such violence, to suppress that Way which Christ had a purpose to advance and set up in the world, was an enterprise of the sorest and most grievous consequence and portendance to him, in the nature of it, that ever he could have lift up either heart, or head, or hand unto. Who ever hath been fierce against him (saith Job, speaking of God) and hath prospered? Job 9. 4. He that is fierce against any Way or Doctrine which is from God, makes a covenant with sorrow and trouble, which is like to stand. And (to make the best of such a doubtfull and blind ingagement) put the case that that Way or Doctrine, which men shall prosecute with so much violence and fiercenesse of spirit, shall in conclusion be found to have been mistaken, erroneous, and not from God: yet,

1. In this case men shall but offer the sacrifice of fooles, a kinde of sacrifice, wherewith God is not delighted. The Athenians worshipped the true God, as appeares by those words of the Apostle unto them, Act. 17. 23. Whom yee then ignorantly worship, him shew I unto you;Rom. 10. 1. and yet were Idolaters notwithstanding. The same Apostle bears record unto his Country-men the Jews, That they had the zeale of God; but this zeale of theirs not being according to knowledge, in the prosecution of it, they neither pleased God, and were contrary to all men, forbidding the Apostles to preach unto the Gentiles, that Edition: current; Page: [2-215] they might be saved, to fulfill their sins alwayes; because wrath was come upon them to the uttermost, 1 Thes. 2. 15, 16. The beast under the Law, though it were a first-born, yet was not to be sanctified or offered unto the Lord, if it were either lame, or blind, Deut. 15. 19. 21. Nor was any man, though of Aarons seed, admitted to serve at the Altar, that had any blemish or imperfection of blindnesse on him, Levit. 21. 17, 18. God regards no mans zeale without knowledge, though it should pitch and fasten upon things never so agreeable unto his Will: nor doth he care that his enemies themselves should be destroyed, but upon lawfull triall and conviction.

Secondly, whatsoever Doctrine or Way is recommended and tendered unto men in the Name of God, whether either the one or the other be from God or no, yet he expects from men (as well he may) that reverence and regard unto that great Name of his, wherein such things are brought and tendered unto them, that they should be diligently considered, and due proofe and examination made, whether they be from him, or no, before they be rejected, and much more before opposed. And certainly men do but pollute and prophane that ever-blessed Name of God, by making refuse, yea, abomination (as many do) of such things as are brought unto them in that Name, before they know upon any considerable grounds or terms of knowledge, whether the things be indeed from God or no; yea, though the things thus rejected, should at last be found worthy of no better entertainment, as having no agreement with God or his Word. The event or issue in this case, though it should fall out to be the best for such men, will very little ease or qualifie their sin. Shall not that wicked tyrant and enemy of God, Eglon, Rise up in judgement, and condemne that generation of men we now speak of, who, when Ehud only signified that he had a message from God unto him, did not presently reject the message before he knew it, or fall foul upon the Messenger, but (as the Texth saith, Judg. 2. 20.) arose up from his Throne, addressing himself in that deportment of Reverence to receive it?

Thirdly, (and lastly) It is extreme madnesse in men, to run the hazard we speak of, I mean, of fighting against God, in seeking to suppress such wayes or courses as they are not able to demonstrate, but that they are Wayes of God indeed, because, in case they be not the Wayes of God, he himself will give testimony from Heaven against Edition: current; Page: [2-216] them in due time, hee will suppresse and scatter them, and bring them to nought; and then there will be no danger for men to reject and abhorre them. Dearely beloved (saith the Apostle, Rom. 12. 19.) avenge not your selves, but give place unto wrath, i. unto the wrath of God, whose just avenging hand is lift up against those that wrong you, and deal unjustly with you, and is ready to smite for your sakes; as it followeth: For it is written, Vengeance is mine: I will repay, saith the Lord. It were great folly in any man, to expose himself to the just offence and displeasure of God, by seeking to right himselfe in an angry and revengefull manner upon him, whom he certainly knowes hath injur’d him, God himself being ready with the stroke of justice to do him right, and to avenge him on his adversary, though he himself should be patient and sit still. But it would be a point yet of seven-times greater folly then so, for a man to fall foul in a way of revenge upon an imaginary adversary, and who (at most) can only be supposed or suspected to have done him wrong, considering that God who is an infallible discerner and Judge of injuries and wrongs, and with all a just Avenger of all such things, will shortly appeare for his full vindication, in case he hath been wronged indeed. Nor hath any man cause in this case to feare, lest; whilest the grasse grows, the steed should starve, (as the Proverb is) I mean, that the person injured, whether really, or in supposition only, should suffer losse, by possessing his soul in patience, untill the day of Divine recompence and vengeance shall come. For God certainly will give full and ample consideration for all forbearance and long suffering of men, wherein, and whereby the rights of his Throne are tendered and maintained. It were no lesse then an exaltation of folly in any man, to expose his own life to the stroke of justice, by assaulting the life of a malefactor whilest he is going to execution.

Again, secondly, (by way of Instruction) If to attempt the destruction or suppression of any Doctrine, or Way, which is from God in so high and peremptory a manner, as was formerly expressed, be a fighting against God; take we knowledge from hence also, what sin by name in all likelihood (at least) and with highest pregnancy of conjecture, it is, which ever and anon thus separates between God and us, which still troubles our proceedings, and makes the Sun of our peace to go so often backwards in the Edition: current; Page: [2-217] Heavens thereof. Is there not a fighting against God amongst us, as well as a fighting for him? And do wee not pull down by the one, what we build up by the other? Are not the hearts, and the heads, and the hands of far the greatest part of men amongst us, ingaged, and that to the highest of all bitternesse, hatred, and enmity, against that Way of ordering the things of Gods worship, and of governing his Churches and Saints, which hath been, and still is, held forth in his Name unto this Nation, by some Ambassadors and Messengers of his, of a very choyce anointing, and indued with strength from on high, (many of them) as it were on purpose to stand by some such Way or counsell of God, untill it had throughly taken the hearts, and judgements, and consciences of men; besides many thousands more, and those (for the most part) of the best and choycest servants of God amongst us? Is not this WAY blasphemed and spoken against; yea, is not the destruction and ruine of it, with the grinding of the faces and breaking of the bones, with the suppression and crushing of those that hold it forth unto us, consulted, studied, and attempted by some that would be thought Pillars and prime men in the House and Temple of God? And have they not a great vote of the generality of people, who know little of God, or his Wayes, concurring with them, to strengthen their hand herein? May we not say of this WAY, as the Jews sometime said unto Paul, concerning the Doctrine of Christ which he preached, with those that professed it;Act. 28. 22. We know that this Sect is everywhere spoken against? Act. 28. 22. So then in case it ever shall appear, or be found to be a WAY of God, we are in a Præmunire for the present, and have forfeited our peace, help and comfort in God, as touching deliverance from our present dangers and miseries, by this our fighting against him. I presume you will all readily acknowledge and confesse, that if there be such a sin ruling and raigning amongst us, as fighting against God, this of all other, is like to be the Achan, the Troubler of our Israel; that betrays our armies, our faithfull and valiant men into the hands of their and our enemies, and that makes us ever and anon, retrograde in our motions and tendencies towards rest and peace.Job 9. 4. Who ever hath hardened himself against him (saith Job, as wee heard before) and prospered? If this be but granted, it is enough to demonstrate our case and condition to be very dangerous and doubtfull, at the best: Edition: current; Page: [2-218] For whether that WAY we speak of, which is so generally troden and trampled upon like clay and mire in the streets, as well by the foot of ignorance and prophanenesse, as of learning and better accomplishment, be the WAY of God, or no; most certaine it is, that all the wit, wisdome, parts, learning, judgement, that have encountered and opposed it hitherto, have not been able by any demonstrative or concluding proof, to overthrow that title or claim which it maketh unto God as the Author and Founder of it. Therefore unto me it is a thing of the saddest consideration under heaven, and of more grievous portendance unto us, then any thing else, (as far as I am able to discern) that we should hang the great weight of the peace and safety of a whole Nation, all our hopes and expectations of help and assistance from God in our greatest extremities, upon the brittle pin of so doubtfull a disputation, as that which is maintained, and yet depending, between the one WAY and the other. For in case that WAY against which the spirits of men are so generally and fiercely bent, shall at last be found to be the Way of God, we are all this while look’d upon from heaven as fighters against God, and so have as good as given hostages to our enemies, that wee never mean to prosper, or do any great thing against them. Whereas, if men would but follow Gamaliels counsel in the Text, and refrain themselves for a season from laying either violent hands, or tongues upon this Way, untill God had either untied, or cut the knot, till he had given sentence against it, the doubtfulnesse of the disputation, need not, would not be prejudiciall in the least, either to our present proceedings, or future peace: and men do but make themselves wise above that which is written; yea, above that which is either Reason or Faith, to think, or speak otherwise.

If it be objected, that Reformation suffers and loseth time, because that Way is not yet hedg’d up with thornes, but men are suffered to walk in it.

I answer, First, If the Way be one of those VVayes which call God Father; Reformation indeed suffers, and loseth time, but not because this way is not hedg’d up with thorns, but because it is not laid more open, because it is not repaired and made more passable by the favour and countenance of men in place, whether Ministers or others; that so the people of God, whose hearts are towards it, may walk therein without feare.

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2. That reformation (so called) which is the apple of so many eyes, and the joy of so many hearts, needs suffer nothing, nor lose an hours time, though the Way we speak of, be occupied in peace by those, whose feet by the light of Gods Word and Spirit (at least as they conceive) are guided into it. For what doth the poor Flie sitting on the top of the wheel to hinder the Waggoner from driving on his way? If the residue of the Nation be subjected to this Reformation, the Nation it self may be said to be reformed (according to such a denomination, as this Reformation will afford) notwithstanding such a number of persons (comparatively so inconsiderable, I mean, as touching their* number) as adhere to this Way, be not concluded in it. During the regency of Prelaticall extravagancy, there were many Non-conformists; yea, severall Congregations of people in the Land, who openly disclaimed and protested against that government; and yet the Nation was look’d upon as Episcopally reformed, notwithstanding. The irregularity of the mountains and valleys in the surface of the earth, troubles no mans opinion concerning the perfect roundnesse of it, because it is swallowed up into victory by the vastnesse of the globe. John saith, that this whole world lieth in wickednesse,1 Joh. 5. 19. notwithstanding a remnant who were born of God. The gleanings of Independency (so called) will not hinder the vintage of Presbytery.

3. If a complete Nationall Reformation be indeed the Garland or Crown that is contended for, let but Presbytery bestir her self, and act her part within her Jurisdiction, with as much diligence, wisdome and faithfulness, as the Congregationall Way will undertake to act hers amongst her Proselytes; and there will not be the least occasion to feare, but that the whole and entire body of the Nation will shine with the beauty and lustre of a perfect Reformation. If this Way shall be found tardy, or loose, and not to keep pace with her sister in carrying on the work of Reformation, even her enemies themselves being Judges, let her suffer; yea, let her with her children be cast out of doors. Therefore it is but a frivolous and putid slander cast upon her, when she is charged with enmity to Reformation: But,

4. (And lastly) I would gladly know, what, or what manner of Reformation can reasonably be expected, or hoped for, without her. Such a Reformation, as that whereby that Angel Edition: current; Page: [2-220] of darknesse, Satan is reformed,2 Cor. 11. 14. when he is transformed into an Angel of light (as the Apostle speaketh) is no reformation of desires: open loosenesse and prophanenesse reformed into Pharasaicall hypocrisie, brings in little to Religion. For what saith our Saviour of such a Reformation as this? Verily I say unto you, that Publicans and Harlots go before you into the Kingdome of God.Matth. 21. 31. If then such a Reformation as this should take place, it is much to be feared, that when the Genealogie of it shall be sought, it will be found to be of the house and linage of that Reformation, which the Scribes and Pharisees attempted in the world,Matth. 23. 15. when they compassed Sea and Land to make one Proselyte; and when he was made, they made him twofold more a childe of hell, then he was before; yea, then they were themselves; Or, what is the Reformation, wherein the Way wee speak of, cannot be admitttd to have either part or fellowship? Will it take the members of an Harlot, and make them the members of Christ, whether either Christ, or such members themselves, will or no? Or will it undertake to reconcile darknesse with light, to settle a communion betwixt Christ and Belial, to throw down the partition wall, and make the Wildernesse of the world the Garden of God, the Church and the world enter-commoners? Or what is the glory or greatnesse of the design of it, that the Congregationall Way is counted unworthy to be so much as a stander by, and to behold it? Will it lift up its hand, to quash and crush, to break the hearts and bones of the one half of the most religiously affected, and best conscienced people in the Land, for trading in Apes and Peacocks, for holding some erroneous opinions (perhaps erroneously so called) as if it self were the Lord of infallibility, and had a non esse errare settled by God, as an inheritance upon it? I professe ingenuously, that when I put my self into a posture of the greatest indulgency I am able, to consider of the reformation so much spoken of, and even conflict with my spirit, to forme and cast the possible effects and fruits of it to the greatest advantage, I am not able to apprehend any thing desireable likely to come of it, either in respect of a civill, or religious accommodation unto the Nation, above what might be expected, and that upon terms of a far more promising hope, from the other Way which indureth so much contradiction from men. But I apparently foresee many inconveniences, and those not of a light or contemptible importance Edition: current; Page: [2-221] likely to attend it, for which no place would be found in the other Way. Particularly, it is to me in stead of all arguments and demonstrations, that no Reformation is according to the minde of God and of Jesus Christ, which is destructive to the edification of the Saints, and directly impeding their growth in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. And whether such a Reformation (if yet it be lawfull so to call it) which injoynes the Saints to sit under, and hold themselves to such Pastors, with whom their hearts cannot close in that relation with any tolerable satisfaction, nor yet are capable of his Ministery, or any edification by it, be not under that condemnation, I leave to men that have not sold themselves under partialitie, to judge and determine.

If it be said, but men shall have libertie to choose what Pastor they please, and to sit under what Ministery they desire, if they will but choose their dwellings accordingly. I answer:

1. There may be (and I beleeve are) many of a rich anoynting from God for the work of the Ministery, and much desired by a considerable number of godly persons, in Pastorall relation, who must say their consciences nay, to accept of a Parochiall charge. In this case the change of a mans house will doe nothing towards the blessing of his soule; if such a Reformation, as most mens thoughts run upon, should be established.

2. All the dwellings within the Parochiall line, relating to the Pastor that is desired, may be fill’d with Inhabitants already; and so there is no place, or possibility (at least for the present) for him whose soule longeth after that Pastor, to enjoy him: and when, or whether ever whilest he liveth, the door now shut against him will be open, no man knoweth.

3. Many times the situation and conveniency of a mans present dwelling for trade, imployment, &c. is such, that he cannot remove, but at the perill of his estate, and ruining himselfe and his whole family. And how they, who shall compell men, either to sacrifice their peace, comfort, and subsistence in this present world, or else run the hazard of losing a subsistence in that which is to come, will answer it either before the righteous God, or reasonable men, is above my apprehension.

4. This liberty of choosing Pastors only by choosing houses, is so conditioned, that it smiles only upon the rich, (and that but somewhat Edition: current; Page: [2-222] faintly neither) but frowns upon the poor; and so is partiall, and therefore not Christian. He that hath enough of that, which (as Solomon saith) answers all things,Eccles. 10. 19. may probably be able to accommodate himself within the precincts of what parish he pleaseth, in point of dwelling; as either by buying out some Inhabitant, or by purchasing ground, and building upon it, or the like; but the case of the poor man is many times such, that he cannot tell where to finde another hole in all the world to hide his head in, besides that wherein it is hid already. So that this liberty of choosing a Pastor, being nothing else, if plainly interpreted, but onely a liberty of choosing such or such a Parish determinately to dwell in, is little better then a meer collusion, in respect of those that are poor, and (indeed) rather an upbraiding of them with their poverty, then any gratification of them with a liberty.

5. (And lastly) such a liberty as this we now speak of, were it more valueable then it is, no gratuity, benefit or blessing of that Reformation so importunely demanded and pressed for by many, being nothing else, but what was every mans permission and enjoyment under the iron rod of Episcopall tyranny. I am more beholding to every man that comes neer me, for not taking away my life, then I am to any Reformation whatsoever, for giving me liberty to choose my Pastor upon such terms. This for answer in full to that undue charge against the Congregationall Way, wherein it was attainded of inconsistency with, and enmitie against Reformation.

The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it.A second objection levled against it, and all sufferance of it, by those that are adversaries to it, is, that if it be permitted quietly to walk up and down amongst us, and not be suppressed, it will soon make the Land unquiet, fill the Land with troubles, tumults, divisions, distractions, dissentions, discontents, confusions, in City, in Countrey, in relations, in families, and where not? To this also I answer.

1. That peremptorinesse and height of confidence in an accuser, is no signe at all of reality or truth in the accusation. Wee know (say the Jews concerning Christ) that this man is a sinner,John 9. 24. Joh. 9. 24. And again, Joh. 8. 48. Say wee not well, that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a Devill? And yet for all their knowledge, and confidence of well-speaking, the Lord Christ was never the more either a Sinner, Edition: current; Page: [2-223] or a Samaritan, or had a Devill. The Way we speak of is never the neerer the guilt of those things that are charged upon it, because her accusers bewray so little tendernesse or hesitancy in drawing up their charge.

2. Nor is the tragicall dresse or pointed stile of an accusation any demonstrative proof of a guilt commensurable thereunto; no, nor yet of any proportion or degree of guilt at all. Want of crime and delinquency, either in things or persons, which are accused, many times makes a greater noyse in the accusation, then a reality or fulnesse of guilt would do. Innocency hath begotten the rankest and fiercest accusations that ever were managed by the tongues or pens of men.Psal. 62. 4 Thou lovest all devouring words (said David) O thou deceitfull (or, false) tongue. They that accuse either upon knowledge or feare of little or no guilt in the accused, still labour to lay on accusation enough, lest nothing otherwise should be beleeved by the Judge. That mount of accusation which is raised so high against the Way we now maintain, doth not at all prove that there is any thing in it that deserves battery.

3. There is no substantiall reason at all can be given, why this Way should occasion troubles, divisions, discontents, or the like, above the rate of that other Way, which so much magnifies it selfe against it; except (haply) this, that it hath more of God and Christ in it, then that other: and then it is no marvell if it be more offensive, and troublesome to the world. But suppose both equally interessed in this, I affirm and undertake to demonstrate, that in the nature, frame, and constitution of it otherwise, it is every whit as gentle, sweet, complying and accommodating, and no whit more threatning or portending troubles or distractions, then the other; yea, that in all such considerations as these, it hath the preheminence: For,

1. It seeketh not, it attempteth not the molestation, harm, or disturbance of any sort of men that are contrary-minded to it; it thinketh no evill, it speaketh no evill of such: if it conceives them upright and faithfull with God and Jesus Christ, it imbraceth them with all love, tendernesse and honour, as partakers of like precious faith with it self; and nothing doubts, but that they serve and worship God with as much sincerity and singlenesse of heart, and are accordingly accepted by him in their Way, as it selfe.

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2. If God should please to give it favour in the eyes, and interest in the hearts of the powers of this world, it thinks it very un-Christian and unworthy, to arme it selfe with this interest, to fight against the peace of the consciences of other men. If any of this Way have miscarried in any of these particulars, they have done it as men, and not as children of this Way; the principles of their Way taught them better things. And why, or how a Way, baptized into no worse, or harder spirit then this, should come to be arraigned, as a troubler of State, or strife-maker, a dissention-breeder amongst men, except it be by a spirit of contention and strife indeed, is to me a thing incomprehensible. Neverthelesse, it is no new thing, that both the wayes and servants of God should be charged with such crimes and demerits, not onely whereof they are wholly innocent and free, but which have a speciall contrariety to some such grace or vertue, wherein they have a remarkable and choice preheminence above others. Thus Joseph, the great mirrour of chastity, was accused of Adultery, Gen. 39. Moses, the meekest man upon earth, of ambition, and self-assuming, Numb. 16. Elijah of being the troubler of Israel, 1 King. 18. who was the Chariot and Horse-men of Israel, to defend it, 2 King. 2. The Lord Christ himselfe, in whom the God-head dwelt bodily, of having a Devill, Joh. 8. and so of being an enemy unto Cesar, when as it was, and is he, by whom Kings reign; with many the like. Therefore however it may seem strange that a Way of God, which is eminenly set, strongly bent, and (in a manner) every wayes calculated for peace, should suffer in the tongues and thoughts of men as a disturber of States, and sower of dissentions amongst men, yet is there nothing in this, but what hath been acted, and that over and over upon the Theatre of the world formerly.

If it be here replied and said; Yea, but experience riseth up, and confirms the truth of that accusation and charge against the Way you speak of, which you would wipe off; this shews and proves against all deniall and exception, that where your Way is entertained, Congregations are torn, families rent, relations distanced and divided, &c.

I answer, first, that Aristotle long since observed, that [Editor: illegible Greek words], was a very frequent Paralogisme or mistake amongst men, nothing is more ordinary then for men to range consequents and Edition: current; Page: [2-225] effects under one & the same notion, especially where the disproportion of causality is not very notorious and broad. A man in reason can hardly think, that any man, compos mentis, (as we use to say) should be so defective or weak in his intellectualls, as to think that the building of Tenderton Steeple, should be the cause of Goodwins Sands, only because these sands were never known to be before the building of that Steeple; yet old Mr. Latimer relates the Story in one of his Sermons, and improves it to very good purpose: By such a form of arguing as this, Judas his betraying his Master, should have been the effect of the womans powring out that box of oyntment upon his head, mentioned Mat. 26. 7. For he never betrayed him untill this oyntment was powred out upon him; and immediately after, he did. The Way we speak of, is never the more any cause of troubles, dissentions, or divisions, because troubles, dissentions and divisions, many times follow upon the embracement and entertainment of it.

2. If troubles or divisions were the proper effects of this Way, then the more, and more generally it were taken up and practised in a familie, Citie, or Countrey, the more troubles and divisions there would be. Effects are still found in proportion to their causes, where nothing interposeth to hinder it. But where it is generally assented and submitted unto, whether in families, relations, or otherwise, there is as much unitie, love, and peace, (as touching matter of government) as where Presbyterie hath its highest throne. Therefore the reason why troubles and divisions sometimes accompany it, is not because it is intertained, but because it is not intertained sufficiently, or with that generalitie of consent, which is desireable.

3. When troubles and divisions are occasioned in relations, families, Congregations, &c. by the meeting together of two opposite wayes, why should the one way be still burthened and charged with the occasion of such troubles, and the other acquitted, there being no ground or reason at all, why either that which is acquitted, should be judged more innocent; or that which is charged, more obnoxious or peccant, in this kind. Nay,

4. If matters were duly and fairely examined between the two Combatants in this case, the Way we plead for, would be found via lactea, the candid, harmlesse, and peaceable way and her corrivall Edition: current; Page: [2-226] or competitresse, via sanguinea, the trouble and strife-making way.Prov. 13. 10. Onely by pride (saith Solomon) cometh contention. Surely that way which commandeth homage and subjection unto her from all her fellowes, and threatens to breake them all in pieces like a potters vessell with a rod of iron, if they will not bow, and deny themselves for her sake, is the way of pride, and so of contention, (according to Solomons Logique) not that which is gentle, and easie to be entreated by all others, claiming no superioritie or jurisdiction over any. If there be any clashing or unkindnesse between the two wayes, Independency (so called) and Presbyterie, when they meet together, either in a relation, familie, &c. the very complexion of the latter bewrayes that to be still the foundresse of the quarrell. To me it is a wonder of the first magnitude, how men come to have so much ground of hope as to set their foot upon, of composing differences and distractions, of setling peace and love throughout the Nation, by exalting one way of Discipline, of Church-Government, for the treading downe and trampling underfoot all others.Esa. 9. 21. If Ephraim be against Manasseh, is it any wayes like but that Manasseh will be against Ephraim? And God himselfe prophecying of Ishmael,Gen. 16. told his mother, that he would be a wild man: and that his hand should be against every man; and every mans hand against him. Undoubtedly that way, whose hand shall be against every way, will find that the hand of every way will be against it: and then what manner of peace can reasonably be expected under the predominancy of such a way? That way which shall be able to out-reason, not that which shall out-clubbe all other wayes, will at last exalt unitie, and be it selfe exalted by gathering in all other wayes unto it.Prov. 12, 27. Solomon tells us, that all that is taken in hunting, is not alwayes roasted;Prov. 20. 21. and that an inheritance may be hastily gotten, and yet the end thereof not be blessed:Hab 2. 12. and the Prophet Habakkuk denounceth a woe against him that shall build a towne with bloud. But,

5. I would gladly know what the plaintiffe in the objection means, by distractions, rents, divisions, in relations, families, Congregations, &c. If he means onely this, that the father goes to heare one Minister in one place, and the son another Minister, in another, and that some within the same parochiall line goe to this Minister, or are members of this Church, others to another Minister, and are members of another Church, and the like, &c. I answer, Edition: current; Page: [2-227] That in this case, I know no more occasion, (at least no more necessitie) of any distraction, rent, or division, then when the father being free of one Company, as suppose of Merchant-taylors; shall still upon occasion of the meeting of this Company, repaire to the hall belonging to it; and the son being free of another, as perhaps of the company of Grocers, shall upon the like occasion repaire to the hall appertaining to them. Who knows not that the members of all the severall Companies in London, dwell scatteringly and promiscuously up and downe the Citie, with the greatest irregularitie of intermixture that lightly can be, and without any observation of their relations to their respective Companies, sundry members of twenty severall Companies (it may be) inhabiting within one and the same parish; and yet without any complaint or inconvenience of rents, distractions, or divisions? Or if by rents, distractions, and divisions, he means distances or alienations in affections; nor can these with any face of reason be charged upon that way, whose cause we plead; because it is a maine principle and maxime in this way, to hold terms of love and Christian correspondence, with all persons of what judgement soever in point of Government, if they be godly, as well as with her owne children (as hath in effect been argued formerly.) But in this case the Roman proverb (it seems) must be verified; Æmilius fecit, plectitur Rutilius. Or 3. (and lastly) if by rents, distractions, &c. he means, the shaking or troubling of mens judgements, raising doubts or scruples in mens consciences concerning the way they went peaceably in before: I answer, 1. That if they were built upon sure and cleere foundations in their former way, there is not the least ground or reason why they should be troubled or shaken in their judgements, because they see another way acted and practised by others: or 2. if they were but at peradventure in their former way, and it was not the knowledge, but the ignorance of the truth, that both put them into it, and kept them in it, they have no cause to complaine of being awakened out of so sinfull and dangerous a sleep, though it were never so sweet and pleasing to them. But,

6. (and lastly) Suppose that all which the objection chargeth upon the way we speake for, be granted for truth, that where this Way comes and is entertained, Congregations are torne, families rent, relations distanced, &c. Yet this maketh much more for it, then against Edition: current; Page: [2-228] it; because such figures and characters as these, are the knowne impressions of the Gospel upon the world, where it comes in power,Luk. 12. 51. &c. and is entertained in truth. Thinke yee (saith our Saviour) that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, nay, but rather debate. For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father: the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother: the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. Nor is it to be conceived that these divisions in relations and families, foretold by Christ, as the common and ordinary effects and consequents of the Gospel (for in different respects they may be either) are to be limited onely to such either relations or families, wherein the ground or occasion of the division should be, the receiving of the Gospel in the maine truth and substance of it by the one partie, the other partie absolutely rejecting it, as if they were onely to take place in such cases as this; but they are to be extended to such both families and relations also, where some particular and speciall points or truths of the Gospel are intertained by one partie, and rejected by another, though both agree as well in the beliefe, as in the Profession of the Gospel in the generall. Experience shews that rents & divisions take place in both, as well, yea, and that with as much heat and distemper of affection, in the latter case and upon the latter occasion, as in the former. Now if the question in this latter case be, Whether the occasion of the division be rather to be imputed to the truth held and practised by the one partie, or to the error held and practised in opposition to the truth, by the other: The answer is, that where all were before bound up in unitie and peace, by a common band of error, there the occasion of the division must needs be imputed unto the truth comming amongst them. Therefore were it granted, that the way so much contested against, did indeed occasion, rents, divisions, distractions, in relations, in families, in Congregations where it comes, this would rather turne unto it for a testimony, and assert its originall from God, then otherwise: The Gospel it selfe works no otherwise then thus, where it is preached and intertained. And as Aristotle supposeth, that in case any piece or fragment were broken off from the maine body of the Heavens, it would move circularly, Edition: current; Page: [2-229] according to the naturall motion of the maine body; in like manner any particular opinion or practise which moves, acts, and works, according to the manner and tenor of that motion, acting, and working, which are genuine and proper to the Gospel, is so much the more likely to be a parcell or branch of the Gospel: but however, such a moving, acting, and working as this, can with no semblance or colour of reason, be drawn into any contrary interpretation, or be made an argument of the nonconformitie of it unto the truth.

A third objection against that way whose condemnation outruns her triall day and way, in the world, is; that it opens a doore to all errors, heresies, and unsound opinions, yea to all loosenesse and prophanenesse, and consequently it cannot but be a thing displeasing unto God, and so prejudiciall to the peace and safetie of the Nation, if it should be tolerated, or practised amongst us. But to these things also full and clear answers are not wanting. For,

First, it being certain that error cannot be healed or suppressed but by the manifestation of the truth, as darknesse cannot be destroyed or removed but by the shining of the light; that way which affords the greatest advantages and the best incouragements unto men, both for the searching out, and bringing forth into light the truth being found, must needs be so farre from opening doores unto errors, heresies, unsound opinions, &c. that it steers the most advantagious and hopefull course that lightly can be taken, for the evicting, and consequently for the suppression of them. I need not adde, that it is the congregationall way (and this onely amongst all its fellows) that rejoyceth in the method of this warfare and advance, against those enemies of God, and Religion, errors and heresies. And,

Secondly, for the way sir-named Presbyterian, which conjures all mens gifts, parts, and industrie into a synodicall circle, and suffers them onely to dance there, as it may possibly shut the doores against some errors and heresies, which were not like to stay long, in case they should enter under the other way; so it is in every whit as much possibilitie and danger, of shutting the doore upon, and compelling such errors and heresies as are alreadie gotten in, and otherwise have a mind to be gone, to stay Edition: current; Page: [2-230] by it, and so to infest and annoy the truth, and peace of the Churches of Christ, against their wils. But,

Thirdly, I would gladly learn of the sons of this objection, how, which way, or in what respect the way so much objected against, commits this folly-deed of opening a doore unto errors and heresies. Certain I am, first, that this way hates both the one and the other with as perfect an hatred, as her competitresse doth. Secondly, I fully beleeve, that this way is as diligent, faithfull, and industrious to slay these enemies of Christ by the sword of the Spirit, (which is in speciall manner consecrated for such executions) as the other way. Thirdly, if the error be dangerous, amounting to, or neer an heresie, after two or three admonitions (that is, according to her warrant from Heaven) she casts it out of the line of her communication, unto him who cast it in (I mean, Satan.) If to hate errors and heresies, to preach with all diligence and faithfulnesse against errors and heresies, to excommunicate errors and heresies, be to open a doore unto error and heresies, then must the adversaries of the way whereof we speak, be justified in their accusation of her: otherwise they speak at the utmost perill of their reputations, when they lay such things to her charge.

If it be here replyed and said; Yea, but all this notwithstanding, the way you plead for, is but feeble-handed, for the suppression of errors and heresies; because these, though hated, preach’d against, and cast out of the Church by excommunication, may yet live and gather head again in the world, except error and errant be further restrained by a secular hand, and heresie and heretique put to silence together in the grave. And this, which is the most, if not the onely effectuall means to preserve the wheat from those tares, the way of your desires exerciseth not, nor yet approveth.

I answer: first, we presume that Prisons and Swords are no Church-officers, nor any appurtenances to any Ecclesiastique authority in what form of Government soever.

Secondly, we suppose that the Lord Christ so far tendered the spirituall safety and peace of his Churches, as to leave them sufficiently furnished, and every wayes appointed with internall provisions, for the effectuall procurement and preservation of Edition: current; Page: [2-231] them, without any concurrence of any heterogeneall or externall power, Especially considering, that he fore-saw, that these Churches of his, for the space of three hundred yeers together, and somewhat more (during which terme he knew likewise that they would continue in their greatest puritie, and perfection of love and loyaltie towards him) were not like to have any accommodation at all in this kind from any secular or civill power.

Thirdly, though the Churches of Christ, during this period of time wherein they had no comportance with any secular arm for their preservation either in this or any other kind, were not wholly free from errors and heresies; yet did they quit and defend themselves against the danger spreading and troublesomenesse of them upon better terms, and with farre better successe, then they were able to do afterwards, when they had an arme of flesh and a sword in it, to assist them. Note this.

Fourthly, if persons delivered up unto Satan by the Church, whether for Error, Heresie, or other crime, were presently to be cut off by the secular Sword, all opportunitie for the effectuall and saving work of that ordinance of Christ upon the persons so delivered up, would be cut off also. The Apostle, 1 Corinth. 5. 5. expresly affirms the end of Excommunication or delivering up unto Satan, to be the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Josus. And 1 Tim. 1. 20. he saith, that he had delivered Hymeneus and Alexander unto Satan, that they might learn not to blaspheme. Now as naturall medicines and physicall receits, must have a time to work, before they can in an ordinarie course of providence produce their most proper and desired effects; in like manner the ordinances and means which the Lord Christ hath graciously appointed for the everlasting salvation of the precious souls of men, must, according to the nature and condition of their respective workings, and the tenor of Gods providence observed for the time of his falling in with them to make them effectuall, have their full and just allowance of time given and permitted unto them, to work upon men effectually. And whosoever shall limit or straiten the providence of God, in this kind, by any hasty or violent taking away a soul from under the influence and working of any ordinance of Christ appointed for his salvation, before the blessed work of Edition: current; Page: [2-232] Repentance be accomplished in him, will be arraigned before the tribunall of the living God, as accessarie to the blood of that soul, except he can shew a better warrant from God for such an action, then I know any. And God himself having no where prescribed or limited any determinate or set time, within which he intends to make the sentence of Excommunication after the passing of it by the Church, effectuall to the saving of the soul, or otherwise never to do it, I conceive it can be no lesse then an act of high presumption in any man to undertake any such prescription or limitation. As God by the voice of the Gospel calls some at the third and sixth houre; so he cals others at the ninth,Matth. 20. 6. and some at the eleventh houre: and why may he not work savingly, by the sentence of Excommunication with as much libertie, and difference in respect of time? And this sentence being the last and utmost means which God is like to afford a poore hardened, impenitent soul for the eternall peace and salvation of it, how can it but be conceived an act most unworthy of Christian bowels, to cut him off from this also whilst God is pleased to spare him? If it be here objected and said, But if an heretique be suffered to live, he is in danger of infecting others, and destroying them eternally I answer: first, so is a drunkard, a fornicatour, a swearer, a covetous person, with the like; the lives of all these kinds of sinners are of as dangerous a consequence in respect of infecting, yea and of destroying the souls of others, as the life of an heretique is: and yet no man (I presume) judgeth this a sufficient ground why such men should be punished with death. Secondly, as for those that are within the Church, they are not capable of any communion or commerce with an Heretique that is cast out by Excommunication, and so are not in danger of being infected by him: and for those that are without, these are infected already with a disease every whit as mortall, as any heresie, I mean unbelief. So that infection which heresie, will not much impaire the estates or conditions of these. Thirdly, (and lastly) the truth is, that an Heretique being dead (especially if punished with death for his opinion sake) speaketh in his surviving heresie with every whit as much authoritie, and consequently with every whit as much danger of infecting others therewith, as he could do if he were alive, if not with more. And so,

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Fifthly, (and lastly) concerning other civill means for the suppression and restraint of those spirituall evils, errors, heresies, &c. as imprisonment, banishment, interdictions, finings, &c. both reason and experience concurre in this demonstration, that such fetters as these put upon the feet of errors and heresies to secure and keep them under, still have prov’d (and are like to prove no other, but) wings whereby they raise themselves the higher in the thoughts and minds of men, and gain an opportunitie of a further and ranker propagation of themselves in the world. It was an observation of Tacitus long since, that punitis ingeniis gliscit authoritas; To punish men of parts and wit, is to cast a spirit of Authoritie upon them, and to make their reputation glowe. Men of ordinarie capacitie, and vulgar apprehension, are and ever will be inclinable to think, that men of wisdome and worth will never expose themselves to sufferings, but for that which is weightie, and which hath more in it, then every man seeth. And besides, men of better breed, may easily be swayed by such a principle as this, that wise men, whilest they have the advantage and odds of their adversaries in reason, will never renounce or disclaim this so honourable an advantage by calling in the more ignoble assistance of horn and hoof to their aid. It is true, when Christ was handled with this rough hand we speak of, that piece of prophecie was verified; I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered; but ordinarily the smiting of the Shepherd or head of any Sect or error, is the gathering together, yea the multiplication and increase, of his sheep. But

Fourthly (to the main objection last propounded) whereas the innocent way is condemned as opening a doore to all loosenesse and prophanenesse, she may justly take up Davids complaint, and say, Cruell witnesses did rise up: they laid to my charge things that I knew not. Psal. 35. 11. The very truth is, that this way, above all her fellows, is so farre from holding any intelligence or correspondence with loosenesse and prophanenesse, that her face is set to advance righteousnesse and true holinesse in all her quarters. Her heart runs parallel with Davids heart in those his meditations and vows, Psal. 101. 3, 4. &c. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn Edition: current; Page: [2-234] aside: it shall not cleave to me. I will not know a wicked person. Who so privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high looke, and a proud heart, will I not suffer. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithfull of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, shall serve me. He that worketh deceit, shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarrie in my sight. I will early destroy all the wicked of the land: that I may cut off all wicked doers from the Citie of the Lord, This is such a draught and copie of Reformation as the Way we speak of (mutatis mutandis) emulates, and aspires unto. If David in those resolutions and practises mentioned, opened a doore to loosenesse and prophanenesse, then cannot she excuse her selfe from part and fellowship with him, in that sin.

It it be replyed and said; but this way taketh care for none in point of holinesse, but her own: she suffereth all the world about her to lie in wickednesse, and to sleep in death, without looking after them, or taking any pitie or compassion on them. To this also we answer in one word:

That she doth as tenderly, as affectionately desire and pray for, yea and with as much diligence and faithfulnesse, yea and prudence of endevour otherwise, and likelihood of successe, attempts and seeks the salvation of those that sit in darknesse, and in the shadow of death, as any other way can do. It is true, she doth not judge it any wayes conducing towards the quickning of those that are dead in sins and trespasses, to put them into a conceit that they are living stones (whilest they are yet dead) by putting them into the building of the spirituall temple of God: she knows no such method or means of converting souls unto God,1 Cor. 11. 29. as this. Nor doth shee willingly suffer any man to eat and drink damnation unto himself, to further him in his salvation. Nor doth she make faith of apparent unbelief in parents, by baptizing their children, as any wayes accommodating the souls either of the one, or of the other. Therefore if shee declines such things as these, it cannot be argued from hence (except either ignorance, or a worse Logician, makes the syllogisme) that therefore she neglects or casts off all care of seeking the salvation of others; but onely this, that she thinks it no point either of wisdome or charitie to expose her selfe to the displeasure of God, by doing Edition: current; Page: [2-235] that, which is more like to expose others also to the same stroke, then any wayes to comfort or relieve them. But whatsoever she can reasonably conceive or judge to be a means any wayes likely to save a soul from death, to translate men from darknesse unto life, she girds her self to minister unto the world both farre and neer, in every such thing: She cordially prayes for the conversion of the unconverted, she mourns over them, she causes her light to shine before them, she bears their burthens, she intreats them gently, she feeds their hungry, and cloatheth their naked (as she is able) she recompenceth evill for evill unto none of them, with all such exemplarities of life and conversation, which are sanctified, and appointed by God for the winning of those without the Word, who refuse to obey it. 1 Pet. 3. 1. And besides all this, (that which is the first-born means of conversion) she preacheth the Gospel with as much diligence, and faithfulnesse, and power, and with as much libertie and freedome unto all to partake with her in this her ministration, as any other way whatsoever: yea, as readie and forward she is as any other, to contribute her proportion to the full, whether in counsell, purse, or otherwise, for the surnishing of all the candlesticks in the land with burning and shining lights, I mean for the erecting and setting up a faithfull preaching Ministery throughout the Land, yea if it were possible, throughout the whole world. Therefore

Fifthly, (and lastly, to the main objection) whereas this way with the permission and sufferance of it, is burthened with this jealousie and fear, that it is so highly displeasing unto God, that he is not like to turn in mercie unto the Nation, untill it be removed, and all the factors for it taken away. I answer.

First, that this jealousie and fear is of the same inspiration, with that wherewith Rabshakeh of old, sought to possesse the heart of the good King Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that so upon the discouragement they might be the more willing to compound for their City. But if thou say to me,Isa. 36. 7. we trust in the Lord our God; is it not he whose high places, and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, ye shall worship before this altar? That which Hezekiah had done (in destroying Idolatry) with great acceptation in the sight of God, and which consequently was in it self a pledge and confirmation Edition: current; Page: [2-236] unto him and his people that God was and would be with them to save them and their Citie out of Rabshakeh hand, this doth this deceived ambitious man contrive into an argument of jealousie and fear unto them, that God was offended with them; and so represents their hope and confidence, in the shape of diffidence and deep discouragement unto them. He that perswaded the woman,Gen. 3. 5. that God knew how that in the day wherein they should eat of the tree in the middest of the garden, their eyes should be opened, and they be like gods, &c. hath (it seems) possest many amongst us with this semblable apprehension, that from the day wherein they shall destroy that way we speak of out of the Land, and suppresse all those that walk in it, God will be gracious unto them, and remember their iniquities no more; as if to sacrifice the children in the Fathers sight, were the onely means of making atonement with him. But

Secondly, how doth this carrie any shew or shadow of reason or truth in it, that God should turn away his face from a State or Nation, for not hating his people, or for refusing to persecute his anointed ones? God sometimes said, That Nation whom they shall serve, I will iudge. Gen. 15. 14. Is his mind so far altered in this point, that now he should say, the Nation who shall give them libertie, I will iudge? The generall rule of restraint which God hath charged upon States, Kingdoms, and Nations, is this: Touch not mine anointed,Psal. 105. 15. and do my Prophets no harm: and hath he any where made Independencie (so called) an exception from this rule? or hath he any where made Presbyterie a distinguishing character of such of his anointed ones, who must not be touch’d, from others of them, who may be crush’d, and whose bones may be broken? Surely circumcision and uncircumcision differed as much, as Presbyterie and Independencie can do: yet the Apostle tels us, Gal. 6. 15. that in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. If Independents be new creatures, and born of God, their Brethren need not fear any displeasure or anger from their Father, for suffering them to dwell in peace by them in the same Land; but have cause to rejoyce in such their neighbourhood and societie, as being pillars of the same strength with themselves, to support the State and Nation wherein they dwell. But

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Thirdly, (and lastly) when mens table becomes a snare unto them,Psal. 69. 22. and their welfare a trap,Ver. 25. it is a signe that God is about to bow down their backs, if not to make their habitations desolate. When the Jews began to reason after this manner, (and to act accordingly) If we let him thus alone, all men will beleeve on him: and then the Romanes shall come, and take away both our place and nation;Ioh. 11. 48. it was a presage, that the Romanes indeed would come, and take away both: which they did not many yeers after. Make the heart of this people fat (saith the Lord by his Prophet, concerning the same people) and make their eares heavie, and shut their eyes,Isa. 6. 10. lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their eares, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. I say no more in this, but onely pray with all mine heart, and with all my soul, that the people of this Kingdom, may see with their eyes, and hear with their eares, and understand with their hearts, that they may convert, and be healed. The Heathens were wont to say, Jupiter, quos vult perdere, dementat.

Another objection leavied against the Way is this: If this way be let alone, and suffered to take place, it will still undermine the credit and comfort, of many worthy and conscientious Ministers in the land. For as fast as they, through the blessing of God upon their faithfull labours in the work of the Ministery, shall convert souls unto God; this Way will allure them away from them unto it self; whereby their hand must needs be enfeebled and discouraged to their work. But to this also I answer.

First, that if that way of Government and worship, wherein those good Ministers shall walk, who are supposed to convert people unto God, be indeed and in truth the way of God, there is little ground or cause of fear, that any other way should separate between them and their converted ones. For first, the verie grace of conversion, being dispensed unto these by their hand, is a great and solemne ingagement upon them, to love and honour them above others. Secondly, the person being dearly lov’d, and highly honour’d, gives credit and interest both in the judgements and affections of those who do so love and honour, to all his matters, as well of opinion as practise; at least is compleat Edition: current; Page: [2-238] armour of proof against any prejudice in respect of either. Thirdly, when men and women are converted unto God, they are endued with a principle of a neerer and more inward sympathie and compliance with all the wayes of God, then they had before. So that there is more cause for Ministers to fear the withdrawing of their people from them before their conversion, then after, in case the way of worship and government which they imbrace, be of God. For in this case and supposition, unconverted ones have no inward sutablenesse of soul, to incline them to love or delight in this way, and consequently their hearts must needs sit loose (if they stand not in opposition) to it: but those that are converted, are baptized into such a spirit, which is apt to comport and correspond with it. Again

Secondly, if the hearts of men and women upon their conversion unto God, are so generally found (for otherwise there is no place for the jealousie, which is the ground of the objection) to stand in propension to this way, is not this an argument, if not demonstrative, yet of a very high importance to evince, that this way is of a truth the Way of God? I will wait on thy Name (saith David) for it is good before thy Saints;Psal. 52. 9. or, because thy Saints like it well (as another translation reads.) So that this great Prophet and King thought the generall approbation and concurrence of the Saints, sufficiently assertive of the acceptablenes of a way or practise, in the sight of God.

Thirdly, those Ministers who have the spirit of this glory cast upon them by God, to beget sons and daughters unto him by the Gospel, have no cause to envie the line and measure of those who receive them from their hand, upon such terms. That which our Saviour spake in another case, is every whit as considerably true in this:Act. 20. 39. viz. that it is a more blessed thing to give, then to receive: And the Apostle Paul makes no other account, but that his relation of a spirituall Father unto the Corinths, his begetting of them by the Gospel, was much more honourable unto him, then the relation of an Instructor, or builder up, was, or would be unto others.1 Cor. 4. 15. For though you have ten thousand Instructors in Christ, (saith he) yet have ye not many Fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel. And else-where he counts it a master-piece in the spirituall building, to lay the foundation. Edition: current; Page: [2-239] According to the grace of God which is given to me,1 Cor. 3. 10. as a wise master-builder I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. So then, planting being more Apostolicall then watering (it was Paul that planted, and but Apollos that watered, 1 Cor. 3. 6.) and laying the foundations of life and immortalitie in men, of a more honourable interpretation, then the building of them up in their Faith; the Ministers so much tendered in the objection, have not the least colour for any such grievance or complaint, as is there presented on their behalf; indeed and in realitie of truth no more, then the Apostles themselves had, for complaining against such Ministers and Pastors, who fed those flocks of Christ which they had first converted unto him.Hebr. 7. 7. And without all contradiction (saith the Apostle) the lesser is blessed, but never envied, of the greater.

Fourthly (and lastly) the gracious and bountifull God hath so laid it in this counsell and decree, that, though the saying be true, which our Saviour taketh notice of, Joh. 4. 37. That one soweth, and another reapeth yet both he that soweth, and he that reapeth, should reioyce together. ver. 36. So that as Abigail told David,1 Sam. 25. 30, 31. that when the Lord should have done unto him all the good which he had promised him, it would be no grief unto him, nor offence of mind, that he had not shed blood causelesse, or avenged himself; no more will it be the least occasion of uncomfortablenesse or complaint unto Ministers, who have been faithfull unto God, and brought home soul unto him,Dan. 12. 3. when they shall shine like stars in the firmament of Haven, that some of the children of their labours departed from under their hand when time was, to seek pasture and soul-accommodations else-where.

Another objection seeming to war with an high hand against the way hitherto protected, is this: Can that in reason be thought to be the way of God, which seemeth so onely in the eyes of a few inconsiderable, and (for the most part) illiterate persons; and not rather that, which triumpheth in the vote and suffrage of a Reverend, learned, pious and frequent Assembly; yea and further hath the approbation of many wise and worthy persons in full concurrence with it? Do not wise men see more then those that are weak, and many, then few? I answer,

First, that Solomon returned, and saw under the Sun,Eoclcs.9.11. that the Edition: current; Page: [2-240] race is not to the swift, nor the battell to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but that time and chance happeneth unto them all; meaning, that God still reserves a liberty to himself to interpose, and to carry the issues and events of things against all advantages and likelihoods of second causes, when and where and as oft as he pleaseth.2 Cor. 14. 11. And therefore as King Asa in his cry unto the Lord his God, said, It is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: in like manner it is but of one and the same consideration with God, to blesse the world with the Revelation of truth, whether it be by few, or by many, by those that are learned, or those that are look’d upon as men of small understanding. Nay,

Secondly, if we consult with the tenor of Gods providence and dispensations in this kind, our information or answer will be according to the tenor of our Saviours gratulation (being now in kind of rapture or exultation of spirit) unto his Father: I thank thee,Luk. 10. 21. O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou best bid those things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight. Though God be at libertie, to make the first discovery, or communication of the light of his Truth, unto the world, by greater numbers of men, and those learned and in high esteeme for wisdome, as by Councels, Synods, and Conventions of men eminent in their qualifications, as well as by one or fewer, and these under no great observation for either; yet by the more frequent experience of all ages it appeareth, that he taketh pleasure in this latter way, rather then in the former. Doubtlesse it was not without some very considerable ground and reason, that that ancient and learned Father* Gregorie Nazianzene should say, that he never saw good end, or desirable successe of any Councell; or that they procur’d any decrease, but rather increase of evils. Yea and adds: that the pertinacious contentions, and inordinate desires of domineering or bearing rule, were such; as words could not expresse. Him (saith the Apostle) God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly: not unto all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even unto us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.Act. 10. 40. 41 Mary a woman, had both the first revelation Edition: current; Page: [2-241] made unto her of Christs rising againe from the dead, and also the first enterview and sight of him after he was risen. Joh. 20. 12. 14. The Scripture takes speciall notice of Lots departure from Abraham, before God was pleased to make that excellent discovery of himselfe unto him, spoken of, Gen. 13. 14, 15, &c. Yea, most of those revelations of himselfe, which he was graciously pleas’d to impart unto his ancient Church of the Jewes, were not imparted unto them by their Synedrion or Great Councell, but by particular men; who likewise usually (if not alwayes) received their inspirations from God, in their greatest privacie and sequestration; yea, and that (if the observation of the Rabbins will hold in that behalfe) whilst they were yong. That light of Evangelicall truth, wherein the Reformed Churches reioyce at this day, yea, and triumph over Antichristian darkness, did not break out of the clouds of Councels and Synods unto them, but God caused it to shine upon them, from scattered and single starres, as Luther, Calvin, Zuinglius, Martyr, &c. God never took any pleasure to cumber his arme with flesh and bloud, when he meant to doe any great thing for his Church by it. Wee find him once complaining right out, that the people were too many for him,Judg. 7. 2. to give deliverance or victory by; but we never heard of any complaint from him that they were too few. And why may we not think, but that God may as well say within himselfe, that there are too many learned and wise men in a great Councell, for him to reveale truth, or to give victory against error by? The reason of this kind of dispensation is obvious; and therefore I forbeare (for the present) to insist upon it.

3. As a presuming confidence of a mans leggs, is a signe of such a time or chance (in Solomons phrase) wherein the race shall not be to the swift; and so the challenging a victorie, as it were of course, because we have chariots, and horses, and vast multitudes of men, expert in warre above our enemies, is a presage seldome failing, that the battell will not be to the strong: in like manner when Synods and Councels shall beare themselves inordinately upon their numbers and multitudes, upon their wisdome, learning, and pietie, and because of these, shall (upon the matter) challenge an infallibilitie (for what doe they lesse, when they command all mens judgements and consciences to bow downe at the feet of their determinations?) this is little lesse then an authorized ground of Divination, that they will miscarry, and that God will not honour Edition: current; Page: [2-242] them, with the discovery of any of his Truth unto the world. A Synod or Councell, though of men never so conscientious and learned, though never so both frequent and fervent in fasting and prayer before God, that shall assemble and meet together upon such terms, I meane so as either to expect, but especially peremptorily to conclude, before hand, that all men shall make Faith and practise of their decisions, or else be censur’d, and made to suffer like evill doers;Ezek. 14. 3. doe in this set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquitie before their face: and consequently devest themselves of that capacitie, wherein they should be meet to enquire of the Lord. Should I be enquired of at all by them? (saith God himselfe Ezek. 14. 3. of such) Indeed where greater numbers of men, accomplished with grace, and parts of learning, shall assemble together with humilitie and meeknesse, and for ends proportioned to the line and sphere of men, as viz. candidly and unpartially to argue and debate, and so to finde out the Truth in things appertaining unto God, onely with an intent and desire to be helpers of the Saints joy, by making rough things plain, and things that were hard,2 Cor. 1. 24. easie, and dark things, lightsome, and not to exercise a dominion over their Faith (as the Apostle speaketh) by an authoritative commanding them out of their present judgement, what ever it be, to doe homage to the results of their debates, whether they see light and truth in them or no; they may expect a speciall presence of God with them, and the Churches of God about them, may comfortably waite for somewhat more of the minde of Christ from them,Prov. 24. 6. then they knew. In the multitude of such Counsellors, there may be safetie, as Solomon speaketh. I would gladly beleeve, if I could find where to set the sole of the foot of such a Faith, that Councels and Synods are wont to meet upon such terms: which if they doe not, I am (almost) as farre out of hope of having the joy of my Faith holpen or increased by them, as I am of gathering grapes from thornes, or figgs of thistles. And therefore,

4. (and lastly) Whereas the objection urgeth, that wise men are like to see more then those that are weake, and many, then few: I answer, That this is not alwayes found true, no not in natural, civill or artificiall things, wherein notwithstanding there is usually a greater regularitie and uniformitie in the actings and workings of second causes; much lesse is it alwayes true in matters belonging Edition: current; Page: [2-243] unto God; wherein himselfe more frequently interposeth by his prerogative, and ordereth the tenor and course of occurrences and effects, besides the proportion of second causes, by the good pleasure of his will. All the great and rare inventions of the world, which either former, or latter ages have brought to light, were not the issues or results either of the thoughts or studies of the wisest or learnedest of men, nor yet of the consultations or communications of the greatest numbers or multitudes of men: but the wise Disposer of all things, according to his owne good pleasure and will, cast this honour upon particular and single men, (for the most part) and those not alwayes of the most learned or profound, as by many instances might readily be evicted, if it were necessary. And Solomon reports unto us a case,Eccles. 9. 15. wherein one poore man by his wisdome delivered a Citie out of imminent danger; which (it seems) all the rest of the Inhabitants did not see or apprehend how to doe. Yea, in Councels themselves, or greater assemblies of men, it is usually seene that some one, or few, either of predominant parts, or authoritie amongst them, sway and steere all the proceedings, and act the judgements and affections of the rest, though conscientious and learned to a degree. So that upon the matter, and just accompt, the resolutions of Councels and Synods themselves, are but the fruits or puttings-forth of the learning, and judgement, of a very few men; and whether these be alwayes of the most conscientious, I had rather others should consider, then I determine.

The last objection designed for present examination, is this: that the intent and project of this way, is ambitious, high, and dangerous, that it affecteth a Dictatorship Ecclesiasticall, a power of Law-giving, that it undermines Civill or Parliamentary Authoritie, &c. But to this also we answer (omitting what was formerly said, concerning extravagant height of accusations and charges, and the slender probabilitie of truth in them: as likewise concerning the speciall disposition of God in ordering the malice or ill will of those that are enemies, either to his people or wayes, still to shoote the arrowes of their accusations against their breast-plate of righteousnesse, where it is strongest and least penetrable.)

1. That there is not the least colour, no, nor the least colour of a colour, to charge any ambitious or Dictator-like designe upon this Way. The reason is, because the most essentiall, intrinsecall, Edition: current; Page: [2-244] and fundamentall principles of it, stand diametrally bent against all dictatoring, and law-giving by men, in the things of God. The Sunne may with as much, or more reason be suspected of consulting darknesse against the world, as this Way of meditating or projecting any Authoritative greatnesse unto it self in this kinde. Indeed, when it degenerates from it self, and passeth into another kind, there may be some danger and fear of this Way; as there is that Honey should turn into choler, when the native property of it is altered by the stomack. A Congregationall man become a Classique, may as soon as another make a Son of such a designe as is specified in the objection.

2. If the Way wee speak of, should be so contradictory to her self, as to desire or project such a Kingdome, as she stands charged with in the Objection; yet should not the world have the least cause to fear her prosecutions or executions in this kinde. If the Lamb in the fold should threaten or project the slaughter and destruction of all the Lions in the Wildernesse, had these ever the more cause to be afraid of her? The kingdomes and powers of this world, need not fear either the numbers or power of the Saints, for taking away their crowns, or breaking the scepters of their rule and government, untill the world that now is be translated into that which is to come. And therefore,

3. Whereas this Way is further arrested by the Objection, for a Pioner and underminer of Magistracy, or Parliamentary Authority; I answer, that there is no more in this Way to undermine or endanger any Civill Authority or Power whatsoever, then there was in Daniels heart to prejudice the life and honour of the King,Dan. 6. 10. 22. when hee prayed three times a day, (contrary to the Kings commandement) or then was in Pauls Doctrine of Justification by Faith to make voyd the writings of Moses, or the Law; whereby indeed he did establish it (as himself affirmeth, Rom. 3. 31.) though the Jewes apprehended, and charged him with the contrary. And doubtlesse the learned Gentleman, who undertakes the unmasking of Independency,Independency examined, unmask’d, &c. (which never wore any) is in an utter mistake, not only of the intentions of the two Brethren of this Way (who ever they were) whose words he citeth, p. 3. of his late Examination; but also of the rationall and Grammaticall construction and import of the words. For whereas they say, that a man may as well bring a clean thing out of an unclean, as make a spirituall extraction Edition: current; Page: [2-245] out of a secular root, the Gentleman will needs interpret, that they make both Parliament and Assembly secular and unclean; whereas by the tenor and carriage of the whole passage, it is as clear as the Sun, that in neither of these expressions they reflect either upon the one, or the other; no, nor yet in those following words, wherein they affirm, that it will be demonstratively prov’d (against their adversary, who makes the Law of the State the first and most considerable band or tye upon men, for their submission to his Church-government) that he resolves the government of the Churches of Christ (in the last resolution of it) into the humors, wills and pleasures of the world, yea, of the vilest and most unworthy of men. And therefore, whereas upon his citation of these words, his demand is, Brethren, bona verba quæso, the Brethren upon his interpretation of them, have far more reason to make this request unto him; Brother, bonam glossam quæ sumus. The words are good, if the interpretation did but answer. For doubtlesse the Brethren in the mentioned period and expressions, reflected only upon the generality of the people in the Land, who according to the Lawes of the Land; yea, according to the principles of all reason and equity, have the right of nominating persons into the places of Parliamentary trust and power; but have no Authority or power from Christ to nominate or appoint, who shall be the men that shall order the affairs of Christs Kingdome, or institute the government of his Churches. These, and especially the ignorant and irreligious part of them (which they that know any thing concerning the generality of the Kingdome for matters of Religion, must needs know to be far the greater part in every place) are that secular root, out of which the Brethren conceive an impossibility, that a spirituall extraction should be made, that is, that a legitimate Ecclesiastique power should according to the minde of Christ, or any precept or president of Scripture, be by them conferred upon any man: and this impossibility conceived by them, they only illustrate and declare by that parallel expression in Job, Who can bring a cleane thing out of an uncleane? When they imply, that men unworthy, and strangers to the power of godlinesse and matters of Religion, have the right and power of conferring Parliamentary trust and power, upon persons chosen by them hereinto, they reflect not the least touch of prejudice or disparagement upon the persons honoured with that choyce: First, because there is no other way, no, nor is there any conveniency or lawfulnesse of any way whereby to ascend the height of the interest and honour, but such a choyce: And secondly, the votes and voyces of such men being carried upon persons of honour, worth and Religion, demonstrates that there was so much the more of God in their election; Edition: current; Page: [2-246] which is so far from diminishing their honour in the least, that it adds double and treble unto it. But to hold that the persons so elected, as hath been said, have a power by vertue of such nomination or election, to enact Laws and Statutes in matters of Religion, and to order under mulcts and penalties, how men shall worship and serve God; as it is a means to awaken the eye of jealousie upon them, and so is seven times more destructive unto, and undermining, not only of their power, but of their honour, peace, and safety also, then any thing that is found in the Way so ill intreated; so is it the setling of a power upon the electors of such persons, I mean, upon the promiscuous multitude of the Land, a greater power then ever Jesus Christ himself had, at least then ever he exercised. For as dare Regem argues a greater power then esse Regem, as hee that buildeth an house, hath more honour then the house, Heb. 3. 3. So to nominate and appoint who shall have power to umpire in matters of conscience and of God, to determine what shall be preached, and what not, what shall be believed, and what not, is a branch of a greater root of power, then the exercise of the power that is committed unto others in this behalf. Now though Jesus Christ had a power, and was authorized by God to be a Law-giver himself unto his Churches and Saints, in their spirituall Republique; yet it is hard to prove that ever he invested any other with such a power. His Apostles themselves were no Lords over the Faith of the Saints; nor had they any power or authority to impose any thing upon men, as necessary, either to be believed or practised, but what they had in expresse commission and charge from Jesus Christ himself to impose upon such terms. So that notwithstanding that severe & angry contestation of the fore-mentioned Gentleman against the two Brethren with their fellows, Is this your so much boasted of preaching, writing, fighting for the rights & priviledges of Parliament? whereby he thinks to dash both them and that their boasting together out of countenance; though they boast neither little nor much of any thing; boasting is their charge, not their crime; they only say, and that with modesty yet, blessed be God, they are able to maintain and make good that their boasting (if it must needs be so called) in the sight of God and Angels, and men, and Devils, and whatsoever besides is named, not only in this world, but in that also which is to come. And though he hath done like himself, and (I speak it to his honour) far above the line of many others, in vindicating the rights and priviledges of Parliament; yet (absit verbo invidia) I am very confident, that there are thousands of that Way and judgement, against which his pen riseth up with so much indignation, who rateably, and according to their means and opportunities, have quitted themselves upon equall Edition: current; Page: [2-247] terms of honour, love, and faithfulnesse, towards those honourable Houses, with himself.

4. (And lastly) It were no task of much labour or difficulty, to demonstrate that the Way, in the defence whereof we have thus far appeared, is so far from carrying any malignity, or seed of danger in it to the State, or persons invested with civill power, that it is of a manifest and rich compliance both with the one and the other.Matth. 22. 21. He that commanded to give unto Cesar the things that are Cesars, and unto God the things that are Gods: did Cesar as much (if not more) service, in the latter command, as in the former. Silver and gold, wood and stone, never got any thing by having an artificiall deity bestowed upon them, and being worshiped, but only a meer proximity to destruction. They that should only have said unto Herod, that he had spoken like a sober and well advised man, might have shewed as much affection to him, yea, and honoured him upon better terms, then they that shouted,Act 12. 22. It’s the voyce of a God, and not of a man. There is no foundation so sure and precious to build the honour, peace and safety of Cesar upon, as a stone duly pitched for a land-mark between God and him. But if there be a question or difficult case between God and Cesar, whether such and such things belong unto the one, or unto the other, they will be found the best and faithfullest Counsellors unto Cesar, who shall advise him rather to surrender unto, then to claim a doubtfull right or priviledge from God. The Way we speak of is so ingenuous, loyall and true-hearted to men in place of civill authority and power, that it teacheth her sons to expose themselves unto their displeasure, for the procurement of their good; which even the heathen themselves have attested for one of the best and least questionable signs of true friendship and love.

To these answers of objections, I thought to have added some positive arguments, whereby the Way, now little more then only defended, might have gained the honour of a more perfect conformity to the Will and Word of God, then (perhaps) hath been discovered or seen hitherto. Yet I cannot but think, that the vailes of the principall objections which covered the face of it, being rent and torn, the beauty and brightnesse of it must needs shine forth in the eyes of all those who have not sacrificed unto partiality.

To close with a word of exhortation. The premises considered, as we love the things of our peace, and desire the speedy dispersion and scattering of that dark and black cloud still hanging and hovering over our heads, and threatning more fiery storms & tempests of desolation and blood upon us, and to see the heavens cleering up, and looking like Crystall or Saphire over us, as we desire to see those terrible swarms of Edition: current; Page: [2-248] Locusts and Caterpillars, which now devour and eat up our good land daily, swept away and carried by a strong west wind into the midst of the sea, that so we may be fed again, with the ancient heritage of our fathers, I mean plenty, safety, and peace; if there be any bowels, any compassions in us towards our nation, (so far spent & wasted with misery) towards our cities and habitations, towards our friends, towards our selves, towards any thing which is dear either to the one, or to the other; let us be exhorted to take heed of fighting against God; let it be the first-born of religious advisements and cautions to us, not to be fierce, no, nor so much as to lift up an hard thought against Doctrine or Way claiming origination and descent from God, till wee have security upon security, conditions as clear as the noon-day, that they are but counterfeits and pretenders only, and stand in no relation at all, but that of enmity and opposition unto God. Particularly, let us be tender above all tenderness, to act to the value of the least hair of our heads in any way of bitterness or blood, against that Way of governing the Churches of Christ, which hath by so many good hands been presented unto us as most agreeable unto the Word and Will of God, untill we see the condemnation of it written with a beam of the Sun, by the finger of God himself; untill he hath disclaimed or renounced it from heaven, either by giving such wisdome unto men whereby to detect the error and vanity of it, or else hath quite rased it out of the fleshly tables of the hearts of his Saints, and distrest servants. The motion and matter is of a most serious and formidable importance; therefore let me exhort you yet once more, to beware of men, (as our Saviour adviseth, in a case of lesse consequence) to take heed, that no man, either through passionate exclamations and outcries, or through any faire or flourishing pretences whatsoever, draw your foot into this snare, ingage you in any such warfare, wherein, for ought you know, you shall fight against God. If your judgements stand off from the cause wee speak of, for the present, and you can see nothing of God in it; you may please to consider, that this was the case of many thousands amongst you, in whom there is much of God, and in whose heart is this Way,Phil. 3. 15. as a Way of his. If they be deceived in imbracing it, God will shew mercy unto them in revealing the truth unto them in due time. But if you shall be deceived in the violence and fury of your fighting against it, is it not much to be feared, that you will be intangled with the guilt of such a sin,Isa. 22. 14. which shall not be purged from you till yee die?

FINIS.
Edition: current; Page: [2-249]
John Lilburne
Lilburne, John
7 January 1645
7.

2.7 John Lilburne, A Copy of a Letter (7 January 1645).

  • A COPIE
  • OF A
  • LETTER,
  • Written by John Lilburne Lieut. Collonell. To Mr. William Prinne Esq.
  • (UPON THE COMING OUT OF HIS LAST BOOKE,
  • intitled Truth triumphing over Falshood, Antiquity over Novelty)
  • In which he laies down five Propositions, which he desires
  • to discusse with the said Mr. Prinne.
Edition: current; Page: [2-250]
John Lilburne
Lilburne, John
7. Jan. 1645
London,
William Prinne
Prinne, William
Sir,

YOU and I have both been Sufferers, by the hands of the Prelates, the common and open Enemies of Christs Kingdome; and the eyes of the people of God are therefore the more upon us, and are subject with lesse jealousie to receive those things that come from us for truth, not immitating the noble Bereans, who dayly searched the Scripture, to see whether those things they heard, were according thereunto or no, Acts 17.11. the Law and the Testimony of Christ being the streight Rule, by which we are to walke especially in matters of worship, and whosoever he be that practices and speakes not according to this Rule, it is because there is no light of truth in him, Esa. 8. 20. I have seen some of your late writings, Edition: current; Page: [2-251] which a little diving into, I have found them full of bitter and unsavoury Language against the poore Saints of God, and the unspotted wais of Jesus Christ, and find nary a Confidence very great but you. Arguments very weake and unsound having received a Talent from the Lord, I conceived my selfe bound in Conscience to imploy it, and lay it out for my Masters best advantage) and I was determined some weekes since, to have writ you a few lines in a publique way, and to have told you, you are not knowing the Scriptures. Math. 22. 29. (but being that you, and the Blacke-Coates in the Synod, have not dealt fairly with your Antagonists in stopping the Presse against us, while things are in debate, yea robbing us of our Liberty (as we are Subjects) in time of freedome, when the Parliament is sitting, who are sufficiently able to punish that man (whatsoever he be) that shall abuse his penne. So that whill we are with the hazard of our dearest lives, fighting for the Subjects Liberty, we are brought into Egiptian bonds in this and other particulars by the Blacke-Coates, who I am affraid, will prove more cruell Taskmasters then their dear fathers the Bishops: who Cowardly sit at home, in my apprehension, for no other and but to breed faction and division amongst the well affected to the Parliament, promoting thereby their owne interest, which is Lazines, Pride, Covetousnes and Domination, endevouring to lay lower then the dust a generation of men whom they falsely call Sectaryes, that have in the uprightnesse of their hearts without Synodianlike ends, ventred all they have in the world for the good of the Parliament, and the Common-wealth of England, and who may bid defiance to all their Adversaries that brand them with unfaithfulnes. so that by means of which, I have not been able that way yet, to accomplish my earnest desire: and truly it argues no manhood nor valour in you nor the Blacke-Coates, by force to throw us downe and ty our hands, & then to fall upon us to beat and buffet us, for if you had not beene men that had been affraid of your cause, you would have been willing to have fought and contended with us upon even ground and equall termes, namely that the Presse might be as open for us as for you, and as it was at the beginning of this Parliament, which I conceive the Parliament did of purpose, that so the freeborne English Edition: current; Page: [2-252] Subjects might enjoy their Liberty and Priviledge, which the Bishops had learned of the Spanish Inquisition to rob them of, by looking it up under the Key of an Imrpimatur, in whose tyrannicall stops the Synod treades, so that you and they thinke you may raile at us cum privilegio, and ranke us amongst the worst and basest of men, as rooters up of Parliaments and disturbers of States and Common welthes, and so thinke to carry it away without controule, but it may be you will be mistaken, for though wee cannot print so fast as you, we can speake and lay downe as strong Arguments for our selves, as you can for your selves, and therefore being desirous to try a fall with you, though one of your friends not long since told me, there was as great disproportion betwixt you and me, to write upon controverting the things of God, as there is betwixt a tall Ceder and a litle shrub: unto which I replyed, goe you, and tell the tall Ceder, the litle Shrub will have about with him: And therefore, that I may be as good as my word, I send you these ensuing Propositions, upon which I will dispute with you, hand to hand before any Auditory in and about the City of London when and where you will chuse, giving me foure or five dayes warning before hand.

First, That the Ordinances, Lawes, Rights and Ceremonies of the Church of the Jewes were types and figures, which were only to last and endure till the coming of Christ, which he by his death did abolish, Gen. 49. 10. John 19. 30. Acts 15. 24. 29. & 21. 21: 28. Heb. 7. 11: 12. & 10. 1. and he himselfe with his Institutions in the New Testament are the Antitypes of them, Acts 3. 22. Heb. 1. 8. & 6. 20. & 7. 17. 18. 19. & 8. 1. 2. 6. & 9. 11. 12.

Secondly, That Jesus Christ being appoynted by God his Father to be Mediatore hath a Kingdome given into him, Dan. 2. 13. 14. Mat. 2. 2. & 28. 18. Luke 1. 32. 33. Heb. 1. 8. which he hath erected, and set up in the world, [Editor: illegible word] his [Editor: illegible word] where visibly and spiritually he governeth, ruleth and dwelleth, [Editor: illegible word] 2. 6. 22. 27. 28: and 46. 4: and 48. 1. [Editor: illegible word] & 132. Esa. [Editor: illegible word] 6.9 - & 33. 23. and according to that trust Edition: current; Page: [2-253] the Father hath reposed in him Acts 3. 22. 23. he hath been faithfull to every thing requred of him, Heb. 3. 25. compared with Exod. 39.43. and unto this his visible Kingdome by his last Will and Testment he hath bequeathed perfect and compleate Lawes, which are unalterable and unchangable, in all times, ages and places by any of the sonnes of men, Acts 1. 3. 2 Thes. 2. 15. 1 Tim. 6: 13. 14. 20. 2 Tim 3. 15. 16. 17. Heb. 10. 28. 29. & 12: 25.

Thirdly, that the matter, forme, Loves, Warship, Ordinances and Administrations of this Kingdome are not carnall, nor of thir world, but all and every one of them spirituall, John. 4. 22. 23. & 18. 36. Act. 1. 15. & 2. 41. 47. & 11. 23. 24. Rom. 1. 7. 1 Cor. 1. 2. & ch. 5: 2 Cor. 2. 6. 7. 8.

Fourthly, that no Parliament, Councell, Synod, Emperour, King, nor Majestrate hath any spirituall Authrity, or jurisdiction over this Kingdome, or the Subjects thereof, Mat. 20. 25. 27. 1 Cor. 4. 5. Ephes. 1. 21. 22. 23. and 5. 24. 25. Col. 4. 17. 1 Pet. 6. 5. 3. Rev. 17. 1 7.

Fiftly, that to persecute for conscience is not of nor from God, but of and from the Divell, and Anrichrist, Es 1. 2. 3. 4. & 11. 6: 7:9. Micah. 4. 2. 3. Luke 9. 54. 55, 2 Cor. 10. 4. 1 Tim. 1. 20. Rev. 13. 2. 4. 15. 16. 17.

Sir, In your last Booke that you put out, you spend a great deale of paines in citing old dusty Authours, to prove that Kings, Councels, Synods and States have for so many hundred yeares medled with matters of Religion, I grant you they have; but I demand of you, by what Right, or by what Authority out of the Word of God they have so done? Hath God the Father, or Jesus Christ his Son given them any allowance in this? Or have they not hereby rather fulfilled the Prophesies of the Scripture, which saith, (Rev. 17. 17.) that the Kings of the Earth shall give their power unto the Beast, till the Word of God be fulfilled, which they have done in assisting the Pope, to joyne the Ecclesiasticall and Civill State together, making the golden Lawes of Christ, to depend upon the lead in Lawes of man; yea, upon such Lawes, as was just sutable to their tyrannicall lusts, and which might the most advance their wicked ends and designes, and in the doing of this, they have set up a perfect Antichrist against Gods Christ: yea, England is not free from this; for though King Henry the eight did shake of the Popes Supremacy, yet by the advice of the Edition: current; Page: [2-254] Clergie, the sworne enemies of Jesus Christ, he assumed the same, calling himselfe Head in all causes Ecclesiasticall and Civill, and so though he justed out the Pope, he set himselfe in the Throne of Christ, and his Successours have done the fame, for opposing of which, the Saints that were burnt in Queen Maries dayes have not only smarted, but also those that were hanged and murdered in Prisons in Queen Elizabeths dayes, and those that were banished and destroyed in King James his dayes, and my selfe and many others, that have suffvred worse then death in King Charles his dayes, and this is the great Contrversie, that God contends with the whole Earth for, and for which God will make the greatest of Princes and States to tast a Cup of trembling, yea, and to drinke the dregs of his fury and wrath; for he will give people and Nations for his Saints, Esa. 4. 3. 3. 4. 14. And if England drinke yet deeper of this Cup, amongst other causes, they may thanke Mr. Prinne for it who hath incited them to wage war with the King of Saints, (and his redeemed ones) who will dash all the Nations of the Earth in peeces in being revenged of them, for that which they have done unto them already in this particular, Rev. 18. ch. & 19. 1. 2. For Sir, let me tell you, it is the incommunicable Prerogative of Jesus Christ alone to be King of his Saints, and Law-giver to his Church and people, and to raigne in the soules and consciences of his chosen ones, it being too high a throne for all the creatures in the world to raigne in; and therefore, were your eyes but open, it would make you quake and trouble to consider what you have done, in endeavouring to set the Potentates of the Earth together by the eares with Christ (who is to rule all Nations, Rev. 12. 5.) to plucke his Crowne from his head, his Scepter out of his hand, and his Person out of his Throne of State, that his Father hath given him to raigne gloriously in.

Oh Sir! consider the time is not long, before Jesus Christ will come againe in glory tryumphantly, and say it out of his own mouth before the eyes of the Sonnes of men, bring those mine enemies before me, that will not have me to rule over them, that I may stay them, Luke 19. 17.

Sir, If your Positions be true, that there is no rule left in the world, how we may worship God, but that Kings and States may set up what Edition: current; Page: [2-255] Religion they please; or may mould it to the maners of their people; [Editor: illegible word] Queen Mary did justifiably in burning the Saints in her dayes that would not stoope and submit to that Religion she and her Parliament had set up: Truly, had I not seen your name to your Bookes, I should rather have judged them a Papists or a Jesuites then Mr. Prinnes and without doubt the Pope when he sees them will Cannonize you for a Saint, for throwing downe his enemie Christ, who you say hath been lesse faithfull then Moses, and so had need of the Pope, or some others to supply what he hath been deficient in; Surely you have given away your ears, & suffered as a busie body in opposing the King and the Prelates; without all doubt, all is not gold that glisters; for were you not a man, that had more then truth to looke after, namely your owne ends and particular interest, which I am afraid you strive more to set up then a publike good, you should rather importuned the Parliament, to have continued their favours and respects to that people, that cannot prostrate their consciences to mans devises though never so great and famous; (and who yet with their bodies and estates to the ulmost of their power, yea and divers of them beyond their abilities) have done the Parliament as sinceare, upright, faithfull and good service as either your selfe or any generation of men in England whatsoever they be) then to enforce them to destroy them: But truly the Son of God, and his saints (those beloved Jewels of his) are but a litle beholden to you, that will not suffer his ransomed ones to enjoy the Liberty of their Conscience to serve their Lord and King, that hath bought them with his owne blood, [are you not in this as cruell a Taskmaster as Pharoh] nor to have footing in the Land of their Nativity, though Christ himselfe hath given them a true right to all things present in this world, and all things in that is to come, 1 Cor. 2. 21. 22. 23. and they themselves (many thousand of them) have endeavoured more then your selfe to redeem their native Countrey from bondage and slavery with their dearest blood: And therefore I say, the Lord judge betwixt you and us in this particular.

Sir, It may be instead of satisfying my desire, you’ll run and complaine to the Parliament; and presse them upon their Covenant to take vengance upon me, if you doe I weigh it not; for I blesse God Edition: current; Page: [2-256] I am fitted to doe, or suffer whatsoever the Parliament shall impose upon me, but if you do, take those two along with you.

First, That I am not against the Parliament setting up a State-Government for such a Church as they shall thinke fit, to make the generality of the Land members of, for I for my part leave them to themselves, to doe what they shall thinke good, so that they leave my conscience free to to the Law and Will of my Lord and King.

Secondly, If you put them in mind of their Govenant, tell them, I thinke they have sworne to root out all Popery, and herefore have lately abolished the Common Prayer (that great Idoll) but yet have established Tythes, &c. the very root and support of popery, which I humbly conceive, is contradiction to their Covenant, and which wil be a greater snaire then the Common Prayer to many of the pretious consciences of Gods people, whose duty is in my judgement, to dye in a prison before they act or stoop unto so dishonourable a thing as this is to their Lord and Master, as to maintaine the Blacke-coates with Tythes, whom they looke upon as the professed enemies of their Annoynted Christ, he that pays Tythes, is bound to the whole Law of Tythes, in which there was a Lambe to be brought for a Sin-offering, which is abolished; also he that was to take Tythes, was one that was to offer sacrifice dayly for sin, which if any do so now it is to deny Christ come in the flesh, and to be the alone sacrifice for sin by his death, and so overthrow all our comfort, joy and hope. So desiring to receive your Answer to the things I propound to you, I rest

Yours more then you are the Truthes
JOHN LILBURNE.
FINIS.
Edition: current; Page: [2-257]
William Walwyn
Walwyn, William
6 February 1645
8.

2.8 [William Walwyn], A Helpe to the right understanding of a Discourse concerning Independency (6 February 1645).

  • A Helpe to the right understanding of a
  • DISCOURSE
  • CONCERNING
  • INDEPENDENCY.
  • Lately published by
  • WILLIAM PRYN
  • OF
  • Lincolnes Inne, Esquire.
  • PROV. 12. 13.
  • The evill man is snared by the wickednesse of his lips, but the just man shall come
  • out of adversity.
  • Printed Anno Dom.
  • 1644.
Edition: current; Page: [2-258]

A helpe to the right understanding of a Discourse concerning INDEPENDENCY, &c.

As it is a very great benefit to the world when wise and considerate men, suffer for maintenance of a just cause: so also it proveth often-times very prejudiciall to a Nation, when rash inconsiderate men, wise only in their owne strong conceits, doe suffer though for a cause as just as common freedome it selfe: because suffering winneth reputation to the person that suffereth, whereby his sayings, opinions, and writings carry authority with them: and though never so much blended with slightnesse, arrogance, impurity, violence, error, and want of charity: yet make they deep impression in the minds of many well meaning people, and sway them to the like, or dislike of things: not as they are really good, or palpably evill in themselves, but according to the glosse, or dirt, that such men through ignorance, impatience, or malice cast upon them.

For instance whereof, I am somewhat troubled that I must alledge Mr. William Pryn, who to his great commendation in the late arbitrary times suffered for the maintenance of the just liberties of his Country: but in a great example of late it is too sadly proved that he that did the greatest service, may live to doe the greatest mischiefe: and I am fully instructed, That only perseverance in well-doing, is praise-worthy: and therefore I conceive I may without Edition: current; Page: [2-259] breach of charity, be as bold with him as with any other man whatsoever: that others may learne by me to respect good men no longer then they continue so.

Of late he is fallen upon so unhappy a subject (The difference of judgement in matters of Religion) and hath so totally engaged himselfe therein that even men who have formerly had him in great repute for integrity, begin to doubt his ends; supposing that he strikes in with the rising party in hope to raise himselfe with them, and by them; and that he is carried away with that infirmity unto which men of his tribe have been much subject.

Others there are that conceive he is defective only in his understanding, and easily out-witted, and wrought to doe that, which he intended not to do, charitably hoping by his endeavours in the argument of Church government that he really intended the reconciling of all parties, and that he hath unhappily wrought a contrary effect, and made the division greater, through his want of judgement, and naturally passionate weaknesse: inconsiderately engaging, and (being engaged) and prosecuting with violence: and they argue it to be so, from his publishing Romes master-piece; and the Archbishops Diary; intending, no doubt, to blazon the vilenesse of that Arch Incendiary to the world; whereas to an advised Reader, it will be evident that the first is framed of purpose to lay the designe of all our troubles upon the Papists; and make the Archbishop such an enemy thereunto, as that they plotted to take away his life; as if Satan were divided against Satan; and his Diary is so subtilly contrived, as that among those from whom he expecteth honour, it cannot faile to worke most powerfully thereunto, so great are his good workes therein expressed, so large are his pious intentions, so watchfull over his wayes, so seldome offending, so penitent after offences, so devout in prayer, so learned and patheticall in his expressions; that to any that are but tainted with the least Prelaticall superstition, he will appeare a Saint, if not equall to Noah, Lot and David, yet full parallel with the most holy Primitive Fathers; especially when they shall consider that these his works were published by his greatest enemy, which was the Archbishops Master-piece indeed, being both written of purpose to be published in their best season, and by a person that should most advantage the deceit: if it had not been so, they had easily been fiend or concealed, past his finding: no man can thinke the Bishop so impolitick, as after so long imprisonment, not to be warned concerning his notes.

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Others judge him to be much of the Archbishops spirit, his late adversary, and feare that if he had equall power to that he once had, he would exceed him in cruelty of persecution; and their reason is, because he is so violently busie already, egging and inciting the Parliament, like their evill Genius, to acts of tyranny against a people he knows innocent: how much more would he rage against them had he that command of censure, fine, pillory, imprisonment and banishment, which the Archbishop unjustly usurped; especially since his rage against them has so exceeded all bounds of modesty already, as to affirme that their writings are destructive to the very being of Parliaments, and as bad or worse then the Popish Gunpowder-plot, and to tearme their honest and submisse demeanours, Insolencies, unparalleled publicke violations and impeachments of the rights and priviledges of Parliament, and of the tranquility and safety of our Church and State. I am at stand Methinks, and cannot but grieve within my selfe to consider how full swolne with bitter malice, yea and the very poyson of Aspes, that breast must needs be from whence proceeds such malevolent and scandalous speeches, yet so grossely untrue and unsutable to the spirits of the Independents.

Men likewise say that this must needs proceed from spleene: for if he were a really conscientious man he would first pull the beame out of his own eye, as he is a Lawyer, and examine his owne wayes in the course of his practise, or set out something to set out the unlawfulnesse of tythes, as learned Mr. Selden hath done. Mr. Pryn professeth the true Christian Religion, and that most zealously, yet continueth to take fees for pleading mens causes, a thing that the vertuous men amongst the very heathens accounted base, and would doe it gratis: and what fees taketh he? no lesse then treble the vaine of what is taken by pleaders in Popish Countries; but he taketh as little as any man of his calling, and no more but what is lawfull for him to take: therein, say they, consists the misery of the Common-wealth, with all other the extreame abuses of our Laws, the very way of the ending of controversies, being so totally pernicious and full of vexation: that were he truly conscientious for the good of the whole Nation, as he pretendeth, he would have laid open to the Parliament, how improper it is that our Laws should be writen in an un-knowne language, that a plaine man cannot understand so much as a Writ without the helpe of Councell; how Edition: current; Page: [2-261] prejudiciall it is that for ending a controversie, men must travell Terme after Terme from all quarters of the Land to London, tiring their persons and spirits, wasting their estates, and beggering their families; tending to nothing but the vexation of the people, and enriching of Lawyers; with a little labour had he been so vertuously disposed, he could have discovered the corrupt originall thereof, and have layed open all the absurdities therein, and shewed the disagreement thereof to the rules of Christianity: he-could also have shewed to the Parliament what of our Lawes themselves are unnecessary, what are prejudiciall to good men, and have moved for reducing all to an agreement with Christianity: were he (say they) truly pious, and could deny himselfe, this he would have done, though he had thereby made himselfe equall to men of low degree, both in estate, food, and rayment: yea though for his livelihood hee had beene constrained to have laboured with his hands, &c. This indeed had beene a proper worke for him a Christian Lawyer in a time of Reformation: What needed he to have meddled against the Independent and Separation, there being so many learned Divines (as hee himselfe esteemes them) sitting in Councell so neare the Parliament, which shewes him to bee too officious?

And as concerning Church-Government: If hee had really intended the good of the Nation, and the weale of all peaceable minded men, he would have had in minde such considerations as these.

The Parliament are now upon setling the affaires of the Church, a thing of a very nice and dainty nature, especially being undertaken in a time of a homebred Warre: If it be not very advisedly and cautiously done, it may soone divide the wel-affected party within it selfe, then which nothing can be more pernitious and destructive: already I have seene some that have laid downe Armes, and many withdraw their persons and estates into forreigne parts, for no other cause but for being disturbed or discouraged in exercising of their consciences in matters of Religion: And it was but thus in the Prelaticall time. I finde by my selfe, that Christians cannot live, though they should enjoy all naturall freedome and content, where they are not free to worship God in a way of Religion: And I finde also by my selfe that Christians cannot worship God in any way but what agreeth with their understandings and consciences; and although I may be at liberty to worship God according to that way which the Edition: current; Page: [2-262] Parliament shall set up for a generall rule to the whole Nation; yet if I were not perswaded that I might lawfully submit thereunto, all the torments in the World should not enforce mee: and this I finde to bee the case of many conscientious people, very well affected to the Parliament and to common freedome: Men that have spent their estates, and hazarded their lives as freely in defence of just Government, as any men whatsoever; and whether they are under the names of Anabaptists, Brownists, Separation, Independents, or Antinomies; wee have had all their most affectionate helpe in throwing down Episcopacy and arbitrary government: men they are that still remaine in most opposition to the Popish and malignant parties, somewhat we must doe for the ease of these our brethren, it must not be in the settlement of our Reformation that they remaine under the same restraint or molestation for their consciences as they were in the Prelaticall time; we must doe as we would be done unto: if any sort of them were greater in number then we, and had authority to countenance them, we should esteem it hard measure, to be restrained from exercising our Religion according to our consciences, or to be compelled by fines, imprisonments, or other punishments, to worship contrary to our consciences, we must beare with one anothers infirmities; no condition of men in our dayes have an infallibility of judgment: every one ought to be fully perswaded in his owne minde of the lawfulnesse of the way wherein he serveth God; if one man observe a day to the Lord, and others not; and both out of conscience to God, both are allowed by the Apostle; and the one is not to molest, no not to despise or condemne, Rom. 14. v. 3. much lesse compell the other to his judgement, because whatsoever is not of faith or full assurance of minde is sin: had Mr. Pryn debated thus with himselfe, he had shewed himselfe a true Disciple of Christ and his Apostle: differing opinions would not then have appeared such abominable, damnable things in his sight: The dealing of our Saviour with those most erronious Sadduces, would have come into his mind, they beleeved that there was neither Angell nor Spirit, and that there was no resurrection: Opinions as contrary to the current of the then Interpreters, as any in our time, and yet they professed it openly, as appeareth by their attempting our Saviour, and were as unreproved of him as of authority; he resolves their question by an answer which removed that absurdity which they thought impossible: briefly telling them, Edition: current; Page: [2-263] That they neither marry nor are married, but as the Angels of God in heaven; using them gently, without threats or reproaches.

If Mr. Pryn had thought of this Subject, with such like considerations, he would soone have seen, That the people of a Nation in chusing of a Parliament cannot confer more then that power which was justly in themselves: the plain rule being this: That which a man may not voluntarily binde himselfe to doe, or to forbear to doe, without sinne: That he cannot entrust or refer unto the ordering of any other: Whatsoever (be it Parliament, Generall Councels, or Nationall Assemblies:) But all things concerning the worship and service of God, and of that nature; that a man cannot without wilfull sin, either binde himselfe to doe any thing therein contrary to his understanding and conscience: nor to forbeare to doe that which his understanding and conscience bindes him to performe: therefore no man can refer matters of Religion to any others regulation. And what cannot be given, cannot be received: and then as a particular man cannot be robbed of that which he never had; so neither can a Parliament, or any other just Authority be violated in, or deprived of a power which cannot be entrusted unto them.

That Emperours, and Kings, and Popes, have assumed an absolute power over Nations in matters of Religion, need not to have beene so laboriously proved; nor that Councels and Parliaments have done the like: the matter is what they have done of right: who knowes not that all these have erred as often as they did so: our present Parliament have greater light then any former, and propose to themselves to abandon what ever former Parliaments have either assumed, or done upon mis-information: and have not yet declared themselves to dissent from the fore recited rule: and then Mr. Pryn may consider, whether he hath not extreamly mispent his time, and with much uncharitablenesse injured that faithfull servant of God, and sincere lover of his Country, Mr. John Goodwin, a man that to my knowledge, and to the knowledge of many, values neither life nor livelihood, could he therewith, or with losse thereof, purchase a peaceable liberty to his Country, or a just Parliamentary government; so far is he, or that other worthy man Mr. Burton; or any Independent, Anabaptist, Brownist, or any of the Separation now extant, from deserving either those slight, but arrogant expressions of his in his said Epistle, telling the honourable Parliament, That he knows not what evill Genius, and Pithagorian Metempsychosis, the Edition: current; Page: [2-264] Antiparliamentary soules formerly dwelling in our defunct Prelats earthly Tabernacles, are transmigrated into, and revived into a new generation of men (started up of late amongst us) commonly knowne by the name of Independents: such bombast inck-horne tearmes, savouring so much of a meer pedanticke, as ill beseemeth his relation to that supream power of Parliament: And thogh those Independents, for the most part are such by his owne acknowledgement, whose affections and actions have demonstrated them to be reall and cordiall to the Parliament and Church of England, for which (saith he) and for their piety they are to be highly honoured, yet hath not he so much charity as to shew any inclination that they should be relieved in their just desire of Christian liberty; but prosecutes all those their severall judgements, as derogatory and destructive unto Parliament and Church in their Anarchicall and Antiparliamentary positions; for which, and for their late gathering of Independent Churches, contrary to Parliamentary injunctions (which were never seen) they are he sayes, to be justly blamed as great Disturbers of our publicke peace and unity: these his great words make a great noise, I confesse: a man that did not converse amongst these people, may easily be induced to believe them to be very dangerous. Mr. Pryn is of great credit with many in authority, and how far he hath therein done them wrong, his owne conscience will one day tell him to his cost.

If Mr. Pryn were a stranger to the Separation, and unacquainted with the innocency of their wayes and intentions, I might charitably judge him to plead for the persecution of Gods people ignorantly, as St. Paul did: but since he cannot but know that they are both in affection and action reall and cordiall to the Parliament, as himselfe confesses, and hath found them for his owne particular compassionate in his sufferings, and liberally assistant to him in his miseries: I professe, I can make no other construction of his so violent pleading for persecution, and incensing the Parliament against a People he knowes harmlesse, and modest and reasonable in their desires whose utmost end is only not to be molested in their serving of God: I can make no other construction of it, I say, that engagement to the Divines, and some interest of his owne hath begot a hardnesse over his heart, and clouded that noble courage and common spirit which did possesse him. If he wanted information, I would labour with him, but since I cannot doubt but that he hath sufficient Edition: current; Page: [2-265] of that, I will leave him till the truth and excellency of that freedome against which he fights, till the sincerity and uprightnesse of the Separation which he delivers up to the sword, in these words, Immedicabile uninus ense recidendum est, make him one day appeare even to his present admirers, the man he is indeed.

In the meanetime, I turne to the people, and desire them to enquire after the Separation, and have full knowledge of them: they will then finde they are extreamly misunderstood by authority, and all others that apprehend them to be any other then a quiet harmlesse people, no way dangerous or troublesome to humane society: I have found them to be an ingenious enquiring people, and charitable both in their censures of others, and due regard to the poore. I am become their advocate, out of no engagement or relation to them, I professe, more then what my knowledge of their sincerity and true affection to their Country hath begotten in me.

Mr. Goodwin, I need not speak much of, he is a man so well knowne, that Mr. Pryns so rigid urging of his expressions upon him, as he hath too largely and spleenishly done in his Epistle, making so unsavoury and utterly disproportioned comparisons betwixt him, and the malignant Prelats, and Antiparliamentary Cavaliers, that a man that knows the antipathy betweene them cannot but stand amazed thereat; and necessarily conclude that something hath blinded not only the light of Mr. Pryns conscience, but of his understanding also, and then after a most unchristian application, his sentence is in these dismall old Antichristian and Prelaticall tearms; if they will not be reclaimed, fiat justitia, better some should suffer then all perish: but happy it is, that the power of Parliament is not in Mr. Pryn: if it were (in the minde he is now in) ’tis much to be doubted, his part would differ little from Bonners or Gardiners in Queen Maries dayes: but blessed be God, it is otherwise; nor will that just Authority I presume be moved either with his fierce exclamations, or incomparable flatteries to doe any thing contrary to right reason and true Christianity: nor is there indeed (the fore mentioned rule holding) any cause why that supreme Authority should be offended: for all sorts of Independents, whether Anabaptists or Brownists, or Antinomians, or any other doe all agree, that in all Civill and Military causes and affaires, they have an absolute supreme power: And if they shall conceive it just and necessary for the State to propose one way of worship for a Edition: current; Page: [2-266] generall rule throughout the Land, and shall ingratiate the same by an exemption from all offence and scandall of weake consciences as far as is possible: The Independents, &c. have nothing to oppose against their wisdomes: and if the publicke way should be such as should agree with any of their judgments and consciences, they would most readily joyne in fellowship therein: but if their judgements and consciences should not be fully satisfied concerning the same, then whatsoever is not of faith is sinne; and they cannot but disjoyne: and in such a case, all good men that know them will shew themselves true Christians indeed, in becomming humble suters to the Parliament, that as for convenience to the State they propose one generall publicke way: so for the ease of tender consciences, and for avoyding of sinne either in compelling of worship contrary to conscience, or in restraint of consciencious worship: they would be pleased to allow unto all men (that through difference of judgement could not joyne with the publicke congregations) the free and undisturbed exercise of their consciences in private congregations.

And if they should be pleased so to doe; it is but what is agreeable to common equity and true Christian liberty: It hath beene the wisdome of all judicious Patriots to frame such laws and government as all peaceable well minded people might delight to live under; binding from all things palpably vitious by the greatest punishments, and proposing of rewards and incouragements to all publicke vertue: but in things wherein every man ought to be fully perswaded in his particular minde of the lawfulnesse or unlawfulnesse thereof; there to leave every man to the guidance of his owne judgement; and where this rule is observed, there all things flourish, for thither will resort all sorts of ingenious free borne minds: such Commonwealths abound with all things either necessary or delightfull, and which is the chiefe support of all: such a government aboundeth with wise men, and with the generall affections of the people: for where the government equally respecteth the good and peace of all sorts of virtuous men, without respect of their different judgments in matters of Religion: there all sorts of judgements cannot but love the government, and esteem nothing too pretious to spend in defence thereof.

Who can live where he hath not the freedome of his minde, and exercise of his conscience? looke upon those Governments that deny this liberty, and observe the envyings and repinings that are Edition: current; Page: [2-267] amongst them, and how can it be otherwise, when as if a man advance in knowledge above what the State alloweth, he can no longer live freely, or without disturbance exercise his conscience? what follows then? why he takes his estate, and trade, and family, and removes where he may freely enjoy his minde, and exercise his conscience: and as this hath been the sad condition of this Nation to its extreame lesse divers wayes: so Mr. Pryn would have it continued for ought by his writings can bee discovered; nor is he any whit troubled in spirit to see at this day of Jubile, and of Reformation unto all just liberty: thousands of well-affected persons at their wits end, not knowing where to set their foot, for want of encouragement in the cause of conscience.

I but, sayes Mr. Pryn, our Covenant bindes us to maintaine an absolute Ecclesiastick power in the Parliament: it bindes us to maintaine their undoubted rights, power, priviledges: but Mr. Pryn must ever beare in minde, that what the people cannot entrust that they cannot have; which will answer all objections of that nature.

As for our Brethren of Scotland: there is no doubt, but they are sad observers of all the distempers and misunderstandings that are amongst us, and would be most glad that the wisdome of Parliament would minister a speedy remedy; although therein they should somewhat vary from their way of Church Government; as well knowing there can be no greater advantage given to our common Enemy, then the continuance of these our divisions and disaffections.

And where Mr. Pryn may suppose all liberty of this kinde, would tend to the encreasing of erronious opinions, and disturbance to the State; I beleeve he is mistaken; for let any mans experience witnesse whether freedome of discourse be not the readiest way both to give and receive satisfaction in all things.

And as for disturbance to the State: admit any mans judgement be so misinformed, as to beleeve there is no sinne; if this man now upon this government should take away another mans goods, or commit murder or adultery; the Law is open, and he is to be punished as a malefactor, and so for all crimes that any mans judgement may mislead him unto.

And truly you are to consider in reading his great Book (improperly entituled, Truth triumphing over falshood) that he acknowledges them to bee but nocturnall lucubrations, distracted subitane collections; and if you truly weigh them you will finde Edition: current; Page: [2-268] them very light, and little better compacted then meere dreams, or such fumes as men use to have betwixt sleeping and waking: and when you have viewed all those many sheets, consider them as in one, and it will resemble Saint Peters vision, a mixt multitude of unclean testimonies raked out of the serpentine dens of meer tyrannous Princes, Antichristian and Machivillian Councells, erronious Parliaments, and bloudy persecuting Councells and Convocations, which he hath produced, to be perswaders and controlers in these times of pure Reformation. Certainly if a man were not in a deep Lethargy, such a masse of so grosse excrements could not passe from him without offence to his owne nostrill; if it be his case, hee that scracheth him most, and handles him most roughly, is his best friend, there being no other remedy; when he is recovered and broad awake hee will thanke his Physitian: in the meane time thus much is presented to his admirers, to preserve them from that malevolent infection, unto which his writings and reputation of former sufferings might subject them unto; and this by one who is no more obliged to any Independent, Anabaptist, Brownist, Separation, or Antinomian, then Mr. Pryn himseife; but hath taken paines to know them somewhat better, and cannot but love them for their sincere love to our dear Country, to the just liberties thereof, and to our just Parliamentary Government: most heartily wishing them their just desires and a peacefull life amongst us: That they might be encouraged to joyne heart and hand with us, in prosecution of the common Enemies, of our common liberties, knowing no reason why I should not love and assist every person that loves his Country unfeignedly, and endeavours to promote the good and freedome thereof, though of different judgement with me in matters of Religion; in which case I am not to judge or controle him, nor he me: and I heartily wish all true lovers of their Country were in this minde: and when they are so, then the miseries of this Nation will soon be ended, and untill then, they will continue, as is too much to be feared: I could heartily wish that what is here written, might worke a good alteration in Mr. Pryn but when I remember the story. That a certain Lawyer came to our Saviour, tempting him; I fear it is in respect of himself, but washing of a Blackamoore: self deniall, is too hard a lesson for him; and if so, you shall have him in some bitter reply instantly; for though he cannot out-reason men, yet if he can but out-write his opposers, he claps his wings and crows victoria, that Edition: current; Page: [2-269] he hath silenced them all. Truly for writing much, I verily believe that he out-does any man in ‘England, which is no commodity at all to a State or the Truth, and then considering what free liberty he hath to Print whatsoever he writeth, discreet men will consider what a great advantage he hath therein, and will not deem it want of ability in his opposers, though they doe not see him presently answered to their full satisfaction; and yet I am confident his great Booke will be suddenly answered throughly: but if Mr. Pryn would deale upon equall tearmes, and use meanes that the Presse may be open for all Subjects, but for six moneths next comming free from the bonds of Licencers; if Mr. Pryn be not so silenced, as that all his former and late books doe not under sell browne paper; let me be henceforward esteemed as vaine a boaster, as now I esteem him: for his opposers, as in the justnesse of this cause they cannot regard his spleene; so nothing would be more welcome to them then his love, and change of minde, whereof some doe not dispaire: however, I end with his owne words, more justly applyed fiat justitia; better it is that he undergoe this my plaine dealing, then that either the Readers of his bookes should be seduced, or so many innocent well-affected persons be so grossely abused by him.

FINIS
Edition: current; Page: [2-270]
Richard Overton
Overton, Richard
8 April 1645
9.

2.9 [Richard Overton], The Araignment of Mr. Persecution (8 April 1645).

  • The
  • Araignment
  • OF Mr.
  • PERSECUTION.
  • Presented to the
  • CONSIDERATION OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS,
  • and to all the COMMON PEOPLE of England.
  • WHEREIN HE IS INDICTED, ARAIGNED, CONVICTED, AND
  • Condemned of enmity against God, and all Goodness, of Treasons, Rebellion,
  • Bloodshed, etc. and sent to the place of Execution.
  • In the prosecution whereof, the Jesuiticall Designes, and secret Encroachments of
  • his Defendants, Sir SYMON SYNOD and the JOHN of all Sir JOHNS,
  • Sir JOHN PRESBITER, upon the Liberty of the
  • Subject is detected and laid open.
  • By Yongue MARTIN MAR-PRIEST, Son
  • to old MARTIN the Metrapolitane.
  • This is Licenced, and printed according to Holy Order, but not Entered into the
  • Stationers Monopole.
  • Angliae MARTINIS disce favere tuis.
  • EUROPE.
  • Printed by MARTIN CLAW CLERGIE, Printer to the Reverend
  • Assembly of Divines and are to be should at his Shop in Toleration
  • Street, at the Signe of the Subjects Liberty, right
  • opposite to Persecuting Court. 1645.
Edition: current; Page: [2-271]
Martin Marpreist
Marpreist, Martin

TO THE REVEREND LEARNED THE PROLOcutor, Assessors, the Commissioners of the Church of Scotland, and the rest of the venerable Assembly of Divines, now sitting in holy Convocation at Westminster.

Reverend Sirs,

According to my duty at your divine entreaty, I have reduced those pious instructions received from you, into such a pleasing forme, as I hope, shall not only affect, but abundantly edefie the people of this Kingdome under your holy Iurisdiction; for considering your spirituall care over them, and how your time hath been taken up wholy in the procurement of that sacred Ordinance for Tythes, wysely thought on before the Directory, for he is an Infidell and denyeth the faith, that doth not provide for his family: your late humble Advice digested into severall Assertions: your sore travill and paine you have daly ever since your holy Convocation undergon, to bring to birth his Holynesse, Sir IOHN PRESBYTER; and other your toylesome endeavours for the Honour of your holy cloth, I have therefore more willingly become your Iovrneman to ease your Burthen in this your toylesome time of Deformation; and having thus prepared my endeavoures, fit for the publike vew, I am emboldned to Dedicate them unto your divine protection, not doubting of the sacred imposition of your hands upon them, to sanctifie them unto the people, as, truly Presbyterean, that comeing forth with your Classicall Authority, they may obtaine a reverent estimation with them. And seeing I have made such a happy beginning, I doubt not of an answerable encouragement from you to proceed as I have begun, but a small matter will please MARTIN, if you sanctifie him with the Benedicite of a Cornelian Benefice of 400. l. per annum, to knocke downe the Anabaptists, Brownists, &c. with your thumping, humping, Presbyterean, Classicall CLUB, that shall suffice pro tempore, and withall to gratifie him with the Deane of Pauls House that’s but a sinall matter, it will become his worship very well for the present, and afterwards you may doe, as it shall seem best to your divine wisedomes according to his best deservings therein; he is a singular man in such a busines, and wants nothing but preferment; you doe not thinke, neither doth it enter into your hearts, how reverend Yongue MARTIN can thunder-thump the Pulpit, O, he can staer most devoutly, raile and bawle most fervently, storme most tempestiously even till he foame at mouth most precisely; Oh how he can spetter’t out! O these cursed Anabaptists, these wicked Brownists, these Heretickes, these Scismatickes, these Sectaries; O MARTIN hath it at his fingers end, he's an University man, skild in the Tongues and Sciences, and can sophisticate any Text, O he is excellent at false Glosses, and Scholastike Interpretations, he can wrest the Scriptures most neatly, tell the people it is thus and thus in the Originall, an excellent man to make a Presbyter! and O Bretheren, if MARTIN thus delude the people & Edition: current; Page: [2-272] thrash those Hereticks in hope sure MARTIN shall be partaker of his hope, you will not muzle the oxe that treadeth out your corne; no, MARTIN hath better esteeme of the Assembly, he doth not once suppose, that like Bell's Assembly of Preists they’l devoure all themselves, and leave nothing for MARTIN, but it is no matter, MARTIN will be content with hard meats rather then desert the service of such an holy, such a reverend Assembly, such a Quagmire of croaking skip-jacke Presbyters, such is his zeale and pious affection to the Cause, he is resolved to worke with his owne hands rather then be troublesome: Thus committing his endeavoures to your learned Consultations, pious Debates, and sacred Conclusions, he rests in expectation of his Reward,

Yours humbly devoated in all Synoddicall,
Classicall, Consistoreall, or Predicatory
Function, till death us depart,
Yongue MARTIN MARPREIST, Son to old MARTIN the Metrapolitane.
  • To his Freind the Authour upon his Booke.

  • ’T was boldly ventured to set upon
  • This foule blacke Feind, mad PERSECVTION,
  • Pluto’s Grand Agent, whom the world beside,
  • Durst not but fawne upon, thou’st tane, and try’d:
  • Thy paines sure have been great, to seeke him out,
  • Thou hast encompast Europe all about,
  • The Sottish, English, Irish Climates too,
  • Thou hast trac’d’ore, to see what things they doe:
  • What was the cause that so much blood was shed
  • In all those places? Why rents and sad divisions
  • In Kingdomes once made happy? now the visions
  • Of woefull ruine; Spectacles for time,
  • To write destructions everlasting line.
  • Thanke then Yongue MARTIN for his love and care,
  • T’impart to thee, who these proud actours are,
  • And let him have thy prayers, so thou shalt be,
  • As much belov’d of virteous men as he.
  • A. B.
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Die Saturni, Apr. 6. 1645.

It is Decreed, and Ordained by the reverend Assembly of Divines now assembled in holy Convocation, that Dr. Burgesse, and Mr. Edwards doe returne thankes unto the worthy Authour of this Treatise, intituled, The Araignement of Persecution, for his pious endevoures, and vigilant care he hath taken therein, at the intreaty of this Synod: And it is further Ordained, that they doe desire him to print and publish the said Treatise forthwith, and that it be commended to the people, as a divine Hand-Maide to the right understanding of the Directory: And it is yet further Decreed and Ordained, that none shall presume to print or reprint the said Treatise, but whome he shall authorize under his own hand writing till this most Holy Synod shall take furuther Order.

Henry Roborough, {Scribes.
Adoniran Byfeild, {Scribes.
I appoynt my Cozen MARTIN CLAW-CLERGIE,
Printer to the reverend Assembly of Divines, and none else
to Print this Treatise.
Yongue MARTIN MAR-PREIST.
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THE ARAIGNEMENT OF PERSECUTION.

A Certaine dreadfull, and severe Gentleman by name, Gods-vengance, of the Towne of Impartiallity, in the County of Iust-judgment, having a long time through the daily perswations of his Kinsman, Mr. Long-sufferance (an honest peaceable Gentleman, unwilling his enemie should perish) forborne to proceed against the great Enemie and Incendiary of mankind, Mr. Persecation, according to his iniquity, at length taking occasion at his Kinsmans abused patience, forthwith procures a warrant from the Lord Cheife Iustice, Peace-with-all-men, for the Constable, Mr. Reward-of-tyranny, to attach him; who takes with him two approved men of the Parish, old Mr. Woefull-experience, and honest Mr. Sound-judgment; and making strict search and inquiry after him from Religion to Religion, found him at length amongst the Papists, under the name of Mr. Spanish-Inquisition; but the subtile Fox no sooner perceived their Authority, but shrunke out of his Roman Papall Robe, and presently turned Protestant, clad with an English Episcopall habit, under the name of Mr. High-Commission, but Constable Reward-of-Tyranny, with old Woefull-Experience, and honest Sound-Iudgement being acquainted with his trikes, made after him, whereat he cast of his Laune sleeves, Hoode, Typpit, &c. and forthwith, least all Trades should saile, became a zealous Covenanter, in the godly shape of a Presbyter, changing his name into Classicall Presbytrie (a new cheat to cosen the world,) and then Scholer like, as if it had been for a goodly fat Benefice, in the twinkling of an eye jumpt out of Scotland into England, and turn’d a reverend Synodian, disguis’d with a Sylogisticall pair of Britches (saving your presence) in Bocardo, and snatching a Rhetoricall Cassok he girt up his loynes with a Sophisticall Girdle, and ran into the wildernesse of Tropes, and Figures, and there they had lost him, had it not been for the Spirits Teaching, by whose direction they trac’d him through the various windings, subtile by-Pathes, secret tracts, and cunning Meanders the evening wolves, Edition: current; Page: [2-275] wild Boares and Beasts of the Forrest in the briery thickets of Rhetoricall Glosses, Sophistications, and scholastick Interpretations had made, but being fit to lay hands on him, the cunning Hocus Pocus vanish’d out of their sight, and presently takes Sanctuary, for lookeing about for him, Behold, he was doing his busines (Sr. Reverence) in the Pulpit, thumping it devoutly, and most furiously like the Son of Thunder he ratlid the Anabaptists, Brouwnists, &c. letting his bolts (which according to the Proverbe were soone shot) fly at randome against them: but thinking to apprehend him, he skipt from them, from Pulpit to Pulpit, from Vniversity to Vniversity, from Colledge to Colledge, even through all the Pulpits, Vniversities, and Colledges in Christendome, and then he hied him from Parsonage to Parsonage, where the Parsons Wifes had thought to have hid him amongst the Heards of Tyth Pigges, flockes of chickings geese, &c. but that failing, he ran as if he had been wild through the Gleabe Land, and skipt over into a Tyth Cocke, and thought all had been cocke sure; but perceiving they espy’d him, up starts the Fox, and presently fast by the Synod he caught hold on the Altar, but fearing least he should be made a burnt Offering he vanished into 12. Articles, but that businesse not thriving, the next sight that was made of him, was in a petitionary garbe in the behalfe of the London Ministers: And a thousand other trickes, that I cannot reckon, he had; but one above all the rest I must not forget, which was the master peece of all the rest; for to bloke up all passages, stop all mouthes, and fortifie himselfe round, he turn’d reverend Imprimatur: and here the pursuers were at a stand, for all was as fast as the Divel and the Presbyters could make it, they sought to Authority to open the Presse, and still the Pres-byters (as their custome is) were in the way, that nothing could be done: Well, no good was to be done in publike, they then goe to it privately, and to worke a deliverance, fell into dangrous labour, and at length brought forth the villaine into publike vew, and notwithstanding all his trickes detected, apprehended, and caried him to Iustice Reason, who having examined the Malefactour, sets downe his Examination, and binds over Gods-vengance to prosecute the Malefactour at the next Assizes, and finding him not baylable, makes his Mittimus for the Constable to commit him to the Goale, there to be kept in safe custody without Bayle or Manuprise till the next Goale delivery.

Now for the better understanding of this Araignment this ensuing Catalogue of the names of the severall Officers of the Court is here annexed.

The Court of Assizes held at the Araignment of Persecution. 1645.

Lord Parliament The Iudge
Iustice { Reason} Iustices the Peace.
{ Humanity
{ Conformity
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Sir Charles-Royall-Prerogative. { The Kings Sergeant.
Sir Peter-protestant. { The Kings Arturney.
Sir Iohn-Equity { High-Sherriffe.
Mr. Obedience. { Under Sherriffe.
Clarke. Cryer.
Mr. { Soveraingnty-of-Christ.{ Grand Inquest.
{ Power-of-Parliaments.
{ Vnity-of-Kingdomes.
{ Nationall Strength.
{ Setled-Peace.
{ Humaine-Society.
{ Vnited-Provinces.
{ Desolate-Germany.
{ Blood-of-Princes.
{ Publike-Good.
{ Nationall-Wealth.
{ Civill-Government.
{ Domesticke-Miseries.
Mr. { Creation. { Innocent-blood.{ Iury of life and death.
{ Gospel. { Good-samaritane.
{ Politique-power. { Trueth-and-peace.
{ State-pollicy. { Orphan.
{ National-loyalty. { Light-of-nature.
{ Liberty-of-Subject. { Day-of-judgement.
Mr. PERSECUTION. { Prisoner.
Mr. Gods-Vengence. { Prosecutour.
Gaffar { Christian{ Evidences.
{ Martyrs
{ Liberty-of-Conscience.
Sir Symon Synod and Sir Iohn Presbyter. Defendants.

A neuw Iury for Life and Death endeavoured by Sir Symon Synod.

Mr. { Satan. { Rude-multitude.{ Sir Symons Iury men.
{ Antichrist. { Sr. Iohn Presbiter.
{ Spanish-Inquisition. { Scotch-government.
{ Counsell-of-Trent. { False-prophets.
{ High-commission. { Eccles-Supremacy.
{ Assembly-of-Divines. { Pontificall-Revenue.
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THus (Reader) the Court being compleat, for thy more speedy progression through the matter intended, suppose the transaction of many passages in these Assizes here in this Relation omitted, as needlesse the repetition; the Essentialls thereof being so tedious (to the impatient Reader, yet not unnecessary and uselesse (I hope) to the diligent peruser) for wherein without prejudice to our present matter, an omission may be, my silence for formality sake gives place to a supposition thereof, otherwise I shall transgresse upon the Readers Patience. Thus then the Grand Inquest (the matter being thus far brought) fall into debate.

1. Mr. Soveraignenity of Christ Gentlemen, our Lord of Lords, and King of Kings, whose Image and expresse prerogative I am, hath by the price of his blood, constituted himselfe sole Head and King for ever over the Consciences of men, and therefore he chargeth his Housholders, the Kings of the Earth, to let the Tares and the Wheat grow together in the Field of the World untill the Harvest the Day of judgement, therefore this Malefactour Persecution, in my Iudgement, being in his Inclinations and Actions altogether averse thereto, is an Arch-traitour to the Prerogative Royall of Iesus Christ over the Consciences of men, and therefore Lawfully and Iustly charged with this Bill.

2. Mr. Power of Parliaments. My verdict (Mr. Foreman) is, that Persecution for Conscience is Inconsistant with the Soveraignity of Kingdomes, for it divideth their Powers one against another, and in themselves occasioneth murmurings, grutchings, and repinings, which in time breake forth into Conspiracies, Rebellions, Insurrections, &c. as well to the prejudice of Soveraignity, as to the ruine of the Subject; and which is more, the tendency, operation, and end of Persecution, is to reduce the Power of Kingdomes and Parliaments from themselves into the hands and disposall of the Pontificall Clergie, according to the divilish Decree of Pope Paul 4. con. Trent. lib. 5. p. 409. So that there can be no security for the Power of Majestracy, where Ecclesiasticke usurpation is predominant; for the greater their Power is, the lesse powerfull is Majestracy: wherefore I must needs consent to the equity of this Byll.

3. Mr. Vnity-of-Kingdomes. Mr. Foreman, should I relate how through the divilish polecy and cruelty of this Persecution for conscience I have been banished from betwixt Kingdomes, States, and Provinces to their utter destruction in one an others ruine, I should be unhappily too troublesome: wherefore in short, my verdict is concurrant with yours.

4. Mr. Nationall-strength. Mr. Foreman, I conceive that you cannot be unsensible that the Nationall strength of Kingdomes & People consists in the generall peace, as severall members wisely compacted in the naturall skin of one politike body: wherefore, to foster this Malefactor amongst a people, is to render the strength of a Kingdome to ruine, for he is a constant sower of division, Edition: current; Page: [2-278] emulation, hatred, &c. amongst them: So that my verdict is not any wayes dissenting from your judgment.

Mr. Setled-Peace. Mr. Foreman, By reason of Persecution for conscience, I can find no absolute acceptance in any Kingdome or Nation troughout Christendome. For he so poysoneth all Nationall Pacifications, Leagues and Covenants, that their peace changeth with their Religion; so that their peace cannot be truly setled whererefore my verdict is concurrant.

6. Mr. Humaine Society. Mr. Foreman, My verdict is, what by experience you have all found, that he hath not only set Kingdomes at variance, but even father against son, and son against father, one friend against an other, and embrewes them in one an others blood, to the destruction of all humaine society: wherefore, I conceive this Charge against him is according to equity.

7. Mr. Blood-of-Princes. Mr. Foreman, The blood of Kings, Rulers, and Governours; the Treasons, Designes, and Conspiracies against their persons, whereof History is full, and whereto our Age is not wanting, occasioned by Persecution, enforces my verdict in approbation of the Byll against him.

7. Mr. Vnited-Provinces. Mr. Foreman, Whosoever readeth the History of the Vnited Provinces, and considereth their wonderfull preservation, flourishing state and prosperity they enjoy, notwithstanding their waging of continuall warre with a forraigne Enemie, may clearly perceive, the great mercy of God upon a Nation and people, that in tender to the consciences one of an other, exclude, banish, and extirpate Persecution out of their Territories: wherefore I likewise consent to the equity of the Byll given in against him.

8. Mr. Desolate-Germany. Mr. Foreman, Those that doubt of the truth of this Byll, let them but looke upon the Germaine desolations, depopulations, warre, famine, and pestilence occasioned through papall supremacy over our consciences, & he may receive full satisfaction of the equity of this Byll.

9. Mr. Publique-good. Mr. Foreman, that which is destructive to the publique good is Treasonable, and not to be suffered in a Common-wealth, because it striketh at the Root and Foundation of Magistracy, whose proper end is, that all may lead a Quiet and Peaceable life under the publique Protection. But this Fellow, Pesecution, diverteth the publique good from the Generality to this or that Sort, to this or that prevailing Faction: so that where, or in what State soever he is Predominate, there is an impossibility of an equall enjoyment of the publique good, but even the better sort, such as stand for the good of others as well as their owne, and have hazarded their lives for the publique good against the common Enemy, as Anabaptists, Brownists, &c. are by him deprived of the publique Liberty and Freedome of the Subject, for which they have engaged Estate and Life. Therefore Mr. Foreman, my Verdict upon the Bill is BILLA VERA.

10. Mr. Nationall-wealth. Mr. Foreman, that which is the Ruine of Nationall Edition: current; Page: [2-279] Wealth is destructive to the very Being and continuance of Nations, Kingdomes, and States: for it bringeth Devastation and Depopulation thereof, and so not to be suffered. But this Persecution for Conscience stirreth up Wares and Bloodshed, in Nations, Kingdomes, and States, which consumeth their Wealth, devoureth their Fruit, burneth and destroyeth their Cities, Townes, and Villages, and throweth all into a Wildernesse. Therefore Mr. Foreman you have my consent to the verity of this Byll.

Foreman.

Gentlemen, we have spent much time, and our verdict is expected, if you (12.) Mr. Civill-Government, and Mr. (13.) Domesticke-Miseries, be agreed with us in your verdict, there remaineth nothing, but the endorsment hereof with Billa-Vera.

Ambo.

Wee are agreed with you.

This past, the Grand Iury give in their verdict or Inditement endorsed with Billa Vera, whereby the Malefactor Persecution is made a lawfull prisoner, to be brought forth to the Barre, and to be put upon the Jury of life and death.

Whereupon the Clarcke (the mouth of the Court) commands the Goaler to set forth Persecution to the Barre.

The Goaler sets forth Persecution to the Barre.

The Indictment

Clar.

Persecution, Hold up thy Hand, and heare thy Indictment. Persecution, Thou standest Indicted in this County of Iust-Iudgment by the name of Persecution, late of the Towne of Tyranny, in the County of Martyrdome, by Gods-Vengance, of the Towne of Impartiallity, in the County of Iust-Iudgment, That thou art an enemy to God and all goodnesse, a Traytor to Kings and Princes, their persons, Crownes and Dignities divider of them one against an other, and of Kingdomes and people in themselves, and that thou art guilty of the warre and bloodshed at present in this Land, yea almost of all the blood of the whole earth from the blood of righteous Abell unto the blood of these present times, contrary to the peace of our Soveraigne Lord the King, his crowne and dignity: How saist thou Persecution, art thou guilty of this Treason, Rebellion and bloodshed in manner and forme is thou standest Indicted, or not guilty?

Pris.

Not guitly.

Clar.

By whom wilst thou be tryed?

Pris.

By God and my Countrey.

Then an Impanell being returned, the Clarke saith,

You good men that are Impanneled between our Soveraigne Lord the King, and the prisoner at the Barre, answer to your names at the first call upon paine and perill that may fall thereon.

They all answer to their names.

Clar.

Cryer, make Proclamation. Creyer o———yes———If any man can informe my Lord the Kings Iustices, the Kings Sergeant, or the Kings Edition: current; Page: [2-280] Atturney before this Inquest be taken, between our Soveraigne Lord the King, and the prisoner at the Barre, let them come forth and they shalbe heard; for the prisoner stands at the Barre upon his deliverance.

Clar.

You the prisoner that is called to the Bar, these men which you have heard called, and personally appeare, shall passe between our Soveraigne Lord the King and you, upon tryall of your life and death, if you will challenge them, or any of them, you must speake unto them or any of them as they come to the Booke to be sworne, before they be sworne.

Prisoner.

My Lord, let me humbly crave liberty to Challenge this Iury, who though my Lord in all probability they be honest Gentlemen, yet my breeding, education, nature and course of life is not so well known unto them, as unto divers other Gentlemen (of worth and quality) here present, indifferent men, of far more esteem in the world, more able to discerne my cause, & the evidence mine accusars shall bring: Besides my Lord, these men of the Iury are men possest with an inveterate hatred and malice against me, and are parties in my Indictment; for together with the Grand Inquest they conspired together against me, and provoaked Gods-Vengance to prosecute against me: now for me to be tryed by mine accusars and mortall enemies, I hope your Lordship cannot conceive it equall or legall: wherefore my Lord, I beseech you have mercy upon me, consider the blood of the innocent, least it be a prey to the malice of envy, and let more indifferent men be chosen.

Iudge.

Persecution, I much wonder at thy impudence in excepting against such a Iury, yet so far as in equity I may I am willing for justice sake, to grant the utmost the Law affords.

Prisoner.

I humbly thanke your Lordship, the Lord blesse your Honour, and I beseech your Honour for the assistance of Sir Symon Synod.

Iudge.

Well then let Sir Symon be cal’d into the Court.

Clarke.

Call Sir Symon Synod.

Crier.

Sir Symon Synod, come into the Court.

Iudge.

Sir Symon, if you can further his Majesties service, in the proposall of others in the roome of those Persecution doth except against to Mr. Sherriffe to be impanneled, you are commanded.

Sir Symon Synod.

My Lord, since it is your Lordships pleasure with the consent of this Honourable Bench, that I shall be serviceable to him Edition: current; Page: [2-281] I shall most willingly propose to his consideration persons of sufficient worth and estimation in the World, that are not prejudiciall to the Person of the Prisoner, neither are parties in his accusation, indifferent men, acquainted with his life and conversation, able to discerne the evidence, that shall be brought in against him, men whom I shall commend unto your Lordships acceptance for soundnesse of judgement, and singular Piety in the cause of the Clergy, this being a matter which concernes them in an high nature wherefore by your Lordships favour I shall propose those if no better can be procured) to wit, Mr. Satan, Mr. Antichrist, Mr. Spanish Inquisition Mr. Councell-of-Trent, Mr. High-Commission, Mr. Assembly of Divines, Mr. Rude Multitude, Sr. Iohn Presbyter, mine only son, Mr. Scotch Government, Mr. False-Prophets, Mr. Ecclesiasticall-Supremacy, Mr. Pontificall Revenue: These never failed the designes of the Clergy, who in all Ages have endevoured the Advancement of the Church of God, the Tribe of Levi: wherefore this being a Case that concernes their Advancement, which above all things in the world is to be endevoured, I am emboldned to propound them unto Mr. Sheriffe, for the Triall of this Prisoner.

Iudge.

Sr. Simon, this is a strange Iury you propose.

Justice Reason.

My Lord; it is according to the nature of the Clergy, can you expect Grapes of Thornes, or Figges of Thistles? if you shall but according to Reason consider of their Waies and Pretences, which indeed beare a specious shew, you shall find them no better then ravening Woolves in Sheepes Cloathing.

Iustice Humanity.

My Lord, it cannot stand with Humanity, much lesse with Legall Equity, that a Case which concernes the generall good of mankind should be refer’d to the Verdict of such an humane Iury.

Kings Ser.

My Lord there be divers of them whom Royall Prerogative hath called in to his Assistance, and at this day I conceive maketh use of them for the Establishing the Liberty of the Subject and the Protestant Religion, so that for my part I cannot see how all of them can be condemned.

Kings Attorn.

My Lord, a great part of them are Props to the Protestant Religion.

Justice Reason.

My Lord, what though Royall Prerogative and the Protestant Religion should be founded upon them? must they therefore be concluded Authentick? non sequitur: and for the Liberty of the Subject, though they may be used as a Glosse; yet Reason will tell you, that they are as directly opposite to it, as the Zenith is to the Antipodes.

Iudge.

Sr. Simon, I cannot in Equity permit such unworthy Persons to be on the Iury only Mr. Assembly of Divines, Sr. Iohn Presbyter and Mr. Schotch governement are commanded to attend the Court, for the service of the King, if occasion be.

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Then the former Iury being sworne, &c. the Goaler is commanded to set forth PERSECUTION to the Barre.

Clar.

PERSECUTION, hold up thy hand: Looke upon him Masters of the Iury, hearken to his cause, You shall understand, that he stands indicted in this County of Iust judgment, by the name of PERSECUTION, &c. Upon this Indictment he hath beene Arraigned, and thereto hath pleaded not guilty, and for his tryall hath put himselfe upon God and the Countrey, which Countrey are you: your Charge is to enquire whether he be guilty of this Treason, murder, &c. in manner and forme as he stands Indicted, or not guilty: And heare your Evidence.

Crier.

If any man can give Evidence, or can say any thing against the Prisoner, let him come forth, for the Prisoner stands upon his deliverance.

Clar. call. { Gods-Vengance.Crier { Gods-Vengance. { here.
{ Gaffar. Christian. { Gaffar Christian { here.
{ Gaffar. Martyrs. { Gaffar Martyrs. { here.
{ Gaffar. Lib. Cons. { Gaffar Lib. Cons.
come forth & prosecute, or you forfeite your Recognisance. { I cannot get in my Lord Sir Symon keeps me out. O! murder, murther, my Lord.
Iudge.

What is the matter?

Lib. Cons.

My Lord, Sir Symon Synod is like to pull out my troate with the revenous Clawes of an Assembly, and Mr. Scotch-Government was fit to stab me with his Scotch dagger, and the Iohn of all Sr. Iohns, Sr. Iohn Presbyter with his Classicall Club would beat out my braines: For my Lord, they are affraid I should come into your Honours presence, least I should find entertainment in this Kingdome, and so Mr. Pontificall-Revenue turne Seperate from the Church of Engeland.

Crier.

Peace there, every man keep silence upon paine of imprisonment: make way there for Liberty-of-Conscience; Jemmy put up thy dagger; Sir Symon goe parre your nalles; Sir Iohn, away with your Club, that Liberty-of-Conscience may come into the Court.

The Witnesses being come in, they are sworne every one according to their knowledge to give in a true Evidence for the King against the Prisoner at the Barre.

Clar.

Gods-Vengance, stand up, what can you say for the King against the Prisoner at the Bar?

GODS-VENGANCE

My Lord, I have from the beginning diligently observed the Nature and inclinations of this Prisoner, ever to have been so averse to God and all goodnesse, that his Action in all Nations, Kingdomes and States, Edition: current; Page: [2-283] amongst Societyes and people, have been in direct Enmity to the end of Christs comming: for he came not to destroy mens Lives, but to save them, Luk. 19. 56. Ioh. 3. 17. But this fellow PERSECVTION, destroyeth both Life Temporall and Spirituall: he wasteth mens Estates, the more Godly and upright they are, the more cruell, raging and hatefull he is against them, he bringeth Misery, Poverty and Beggery on their Wives and Children: yea my Lord, this Savage Blood thirsty Wretch Hangeth, Burneth, Stoneth, Tortureth, Saweth a sunder, Casteth into the fiery Fornace, into the Lions Denne, Teareth in peeces with Wild Horses, Plucketh out the eyes, Roasteth quicke, Bureth alive, Plucketh out the Tongues, Imprisoneth, Scourgeth, Revileth, Curseth, yea, with Bell, Booke and Candle, Belyeth, Cutteth the Eares, Slitteh the Nose, Manacles the Hands, Gaggeth the Mouthes, Whippeth, Pilloreth, Banisheth into remote Islands, makes them fly by whole Shipfulls into Wild Desarts, Stigmatizeth some, and sometimes maketh such (so Stigmatized) when the wind turnes, to Stigmatize their freinds with Reproaches, Calumnies, Oppression of Conscience, &c. Deprives them of the Communication of their Freinds, of all Releife, of Pen, Inke and Paper, Seperates Man and Wife, Deprives Parents of their Children and Children of their Parents, Imprisoneth men only for the discharge of a good Conscience, Stoppeth Presses, whereby men cannot make their just defence, Suffers nothing to be Licensed, Printed, Preached, or otherwise published, but what himselfe alloweth, and having thus bound the hands and stopt the mouthes of all good men, then he comes forth in Print against them like an Armed man, and furiously assalts them, Exults and Exalts himselfe over them, Feigneth Arguments for them, and then like a Valiant Champion gives them a conquering Answere, and thus puts them to flight, and pursues them with Revilings, Scandalls, Forgeries, and Opprobrious Nick-names, as Antinomians, Anabaptists, Brownists, Independents, Scismatiques, Herctiques &c. Thus he dealeth with the Godly party: Yea, he forceth Millions to make Shipwracke of a good Conscience, who for feare of such inhumanity deny the Lord that bought them, to their finall condemnation. Oh! therefore (my Lord) if there be any Bowells of Mercy, any tender Compassion in you! pitty the destitute, the Afflicted, the tormented, who wander about in Sheepskinnes and in Goateskinnes in desarts and in mountaines, in Dens and in Caves of the Earth, of whom the World is not worthy.

Secondly, my Lord, he maketh a Nation guilty of all the righteous blood spilt upon the Earth, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zacharias, and of all that are slayen upon the Earth; for it is all innocent blood that is shed in that case, purchased by the blood of Iesus Christ, who came not to destroy, but to save mens lives; and therefore would have all taught in all Nations, that all might be perswaded to the obedience of the truth, that Edition: current; Page: [2-284] all might be saved: Therefore to kill the unbeleever, as, Turke, Pagan, Iew, &c. is to slay such as Christ would have to live to repent, which must needs be Murder in the highest Nature: And cursed is he that shall slay an Innocent Person, and all the people shall say, Amen, Deut. 29. 25. The Land that sheddeth Innocent Blood, Innocent blood shall be upon it. Deut. 19. 10. and Innocent Blood the Lord will not pardon. 2 Kings 24. 4.

Thirdly, my Lord, he occasioneth Treasons, Conspiracies, Rebellions, Warres, Forreigne and Domesticke, in all Nations and Kingdomes in the Earth, He divideth Prince against Prince, Kingdome against Kingdome, & Kingdomes in themselves, Breedeth and begetteth a Nationall hatred betwixt Prince and People, and amongst themselves: he setteth Neighbour against Neighbeur, Yea Father against Sonne, and Sonne against Father, he breaketh the bonds of Peace and Freindship Nationall and Domesticke, Inrageth and Filleth the wholl Earth with blood and Violence: for what at this day is the Reason the Protestants seeke the Blood of the Papists? but because the Papists seeke theirs? they hate & persecute the Papists, because the Papists hate and persecute them: they would extirpate and roote out the Papists, because the Papists would doe the like to them. And on the other side, the Papists plot and conspire against the Protestants, because the Protestants will not suffer them to live amongst them, but Banish, Imprison, Hang, Draw, Quarter, and set up the Limbs of some of them (in open defiance to the God of heaven and earth) upon the Gates of the City, who though unhappily they be found Traitors to the Publique Peace and Politique Government, yet Nature might teach them to bury their Limbs, An Eye for an Eye, a Tooth for a Tooth, Blood for Blood, saith God: but now Blood cannot satisfie Inhumane cruelty: If this be Canonicall, Let me have old Tobits Apocripha, who hazarded his life to bury the dead.

Where two stand at Enmity, there must needs be Mastery, or else no safety: When one knoweth the other is his mortall Enemy, he will use all the Means, Strenght and Pollicy that he can to subdue him. This enrageth to all manner of Tyranny and bloodshed, setteth one Kingdome against another, because each knoweth and taketh each other for his deadly Enemy: Their faith being built upon this rotten & devouring principle of forcing the consciences one of another. But if the Papist knew the Protestant, the Protestant the papist to love another: & would not molest or in the least injure one another for their Conscience, but live peaceably & quietly one by another; bearing one with another, and so of all Religions: What man would lift up his hand against his Neighbour? This could not but conduce to a generall true setled Peace, to the wholl World. And in a short time, the Enmity of Heart betweene the Papist & Protestant &c. would be quite worne out: Why should we hate and destroy one another? are we not all the Creatures Edition: current; Page: [2-285] of one God? redeemed by one Lord Jesus Christ? this should provoke us to Love and peace one towards another. If God have revealed more Light of the Gospell to one then to another, shall the more knowing trample the ignorant under his feet? we should carry our selves loving and meeke one towards another, with Patience perswading and exhorting the contrary minded, proving if at any time God will turne their bearts, by this meanes the great Incendiary of the World, an inforced enraged Conscience, would be at rest. What is more neere and deere then our Consciences? if that be enraged who can appease it? if that be satisfied, what Content, Joy or Peace like unto it? or what more mild more Gentle or Loving? Therefore how render ought we to be in Cases of Conscience? it is a Lion if enraged, a Lamb if appeased: it is all Honey or all Gall, enraged it is like the Wild Bore of the Forrest, pleased, it is like the Dove from the Arcke: no greater Freind, no greater Foe.

It is beter therefore for Kingdomes to set the Conscience free as in Holland, Polonia, Transylvania, &c. and be at Peace in themselves, the to bind and enforce it and be Rent in themselves with Emulations, Heart burnings, Conspiracies, Rebellions, &c. If this Fiery Spirit were allaied, This ignorant Zeall of forcing all to believe as we believe, extinct: Nationall Feares, Ielousies, and Hatred would cease betwix. Nation and Nation, people and people: for as this violent Implacable Spirit suggesteth Feares and Ielousies betwixt one Conscience-forcing King and an other: Kingdome and Kingdome: Nation and Nation: so it forceth them to draw their swords, and stand in continuall Defiance and Defence for feare of mutuall Invasion. Yea under a false Opinion of advancing Gods glory: by forcing others to their faith, they invade, assault and murther one an other, and yet both (deluded by this Seducer) thinke they doe God good servicee, when alas it is all innocent blood that is shed: What was the maine cause so many Nations have been rent and divided in themselves, and one against an other, and in their divisions devoured one an other of late dayes? What occasioned the revolt of the Germaine Princes, from the House of Austrea, of the Neitherlanders from the King of Spaine, the bloody Missery in France? And amongst our selves, what occasioned the rising of the Scots, the Rebellion in Ireland, and those bloody divisions in England, but this divelish Spirit of binding the conscience? One would compell the other to their faith, and force them from their owne, and that will not be borne, they had rather dye, then deny their faith; and therefore is it, that a considerable party rebelleth, and in that Rebellion wallow in one an others blood, burne and destroy all before them, and yet both (as they suppose) fight the Lords battell, while indeed the Divell beareth the greatest share, whose servants they are in that Quarrell one as well as the other. Doth not the Holy Ghost make it a speciall Marke of Antichrist to force all both great and small, &c. and is it not the cause of the Womans flight into the Wildernes Edition: current; Page: [2-286] from the presence of the Dragon; the scattering of the Church into Desarts and secret places; the Death of the two Witnesses, and wearing out of the Saints of the most High? How cometh the Woman on the scarlet coloured Beast drunke with the blood of the Saints, and with the blood of the Martyrs of Iesus, and all the blood of the Earth to be found in her, but by this divelish Spirit, even the Spirit of Divels, which goeth forth unto the Kings of the Earth, and of the whole world to provoke them to warre against the Saints; I meane, this binding of conscience, and forceing conformity, though never so much against knowledge and perswation of heart, which at this day is so hotly endeavoured preached, and pleaded for by the proud, Prelaticall Presbytrie of this Land, who by their subtile insinuations and secret delusions endeavour the infusion thereof into the hearts of their Rulers, and to beget it as a principle of faith in the multitude: Should they possesse a Parliament and Kingdome with this Spirit, that Parliament and Kingdom cannot expect peace and safety to continue; the fire may be smothered for a time, but it will breake out at last, as this Kingdome hath already found by woefull experience, the blood of its Nobles and Commons, &c. whereof my Lord, this infernall Feind (here araigned before your Honor, a Traitor to his Majesties Crown and Dignity, the priviledges of Parliament, Rights, and Lib. of the Subject) is the cause: Yea my Lord, he is Iakce on both sides, it was he that occasioned the feares and jealousies betwixt his Majesty and the two Houses of Parliament, and unhappily drew them into the Feild of Blood, neither party would be oppressed in Conscience, or deprived of their Religion; this was one halfe of the Quarrell, and publikely prosessed the main, though it may be Monarchie was the other halfe; and my Lord, he seduced the King into the North, and provoaked your Lordship unto Armes, and hath continued to this day firmely on both sides, so that fall which side it will, he concludes to be Conquerer, and be established absolute Monarke, for he so deports himselfe betwixt you both, that both may persecute, and hitherto he hath too much prevailed with your Lordship: Therefore my Lord, if this vile Incendiary (here happily detected and araigned) be not cut off from betwixt you, there is no hopes of peace, till the sword (and it may be famine, and pestilence too) wrestle it out to a Conquest on one side; and when all is done, yet peace will not, nor can possibly long endure; for where Persecution is, there will be heart burnings, envyings emulations, and murmurings, which at length will breake out into Commotions, Conspiracies, Insurrections and Rebellions. And thus my Lord, I give place to what shall be further evidenced by the Witnesses.

Clar.

GAFFAR CHRISTIAN stand up, what can you say for the King against the Prisoner at the Barre?

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CHRISTIAN.

My Lord, I have knowne this man by woofull Experience, well nigh 1644 yeares: and my brethren of old, the Prophets, bare witnesse against him unto the day of my Nativity, that he was in their times the most Pestilent Enemy to Mankind, to God and all Goodnesse, that ever was borne into the World: and my Lord, I am able to prove his continuance in that cursed Condition even unto this day: so that he hath lived and scaped the hands of Iustice above 5660. yeares, and all his dayes hath been a Murderer and Butcher of good men, yet scarce any consider it.

Secondly, my Lord, this Prisoner, PERSECUTION for Conscience, maketh the Gospel of none effect, instead of Sincerity he setteth up Hypocricy, instead of the Feare of God, he setteth up the Terrour of men: instead of the Simplicity of the Word, he setteth up the Vsurpation of the Sword: for my Lord, the compelling of men against their Consciences, enforceth such Inconveniences and Impieties inevitably: Yea my Lord, of such a Divelish Spirit is this Enemy of, as he exalteth himselfe against the Mercy of God in Christ toward the sonnes of men, to the very prevention thereof to Multitudes, and the tumbling of them headlong without remorse to the Divell: for they that are blind, they that are Tares, who knowes but they may see, may become Wheate heereafter: but if they be cut off, (as this mercilesse Inhumane Mescreant useth) for their blindnesse, how shall they see? for (Isa. 38. 19.) The Grave cannot praise thee, they that goe down into the Pit cannot hope for thy Truth. Blasphemers may hareafter become faithfull Witnesses of Christ, Act. 3. 3. & 9. 5. 6. Idolaters, true Worshippers, no people of God, the people of God, as the Corinthians, 1. Cor. 6. 9. & some come at the first, third, sixt, & some not till the eleventh houre, Mat. 20. 6. but should those that are in their sins till the 11. houre be cut off because they came no sooner: they should have been prevented from conversion, or coming at all, as godly King Edward moved by his bloody Bishops, to the burning of a godly Woman called Ioan Butcher (Fox Act. Mon. p. 148. 4.) answered, will you have me send her quicke to the Divell in her errours. This is the service this PERSECVTION doth, instead of building he destroyeth, instead of saving he damneth, under the colours of Christ he fighteth for the Divell his Master.

Thirdly my Lord, his nature is at direct emnity against the very command Christ gave unto the Apostles in the Generall Commission: Goe teach all Nations, &c. Mat. 28. 19. where teaching, not violent compulsion is constituted, and once for ever ordained the meanes and only way for conversion to the faith of Iesus in all Nations: Now compulsion and perswation all know are directly opposite, as much as to will and to nill; So that the command of the one by the Authority of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, is a flat denyall of the Edition: current; Page: [2-288] other by the same Authority: For here (ver. 19. 20.) by full power of that Authority, Teaching is commanded; as, teach all Nations, &c. teaching them to observe all things, what ever I have commanded, &c. Therefore, all violence, as by menaces. threates, imprisonments, bodily punishments, spoyling of goods, and such like cruelties of this tyrant, is condemned in all Nations as a meanes for no Nation in the administration of the Gospell.

Fourthly, my Lord, this Adversaries practice, and the Discipline of this old, envious, malignant wretch here justly araigned before your Honour, is quite contrary to the Apostles in their Administration of the Gospell; for they did never suggest, or stirre up any Prince, or Majestrate, (in whose hand is the compulsive civill power,) to force such by violence of penall Lawes, Edicts, Ordinances, Imprisonments, or the like, as would not suject unto their Gospel: but on the contrary, gave up themselves to scorgins, imprisonments, stoning, &c. which this Enemie occasioned against them, for the promulgation thereof: And the worst that they did, or were commanded to doe, to such as would not receive the Gospell, was but to shake of the dust from their feete, Mat. 10. 14. Luke 10. 11. Acts 13. 51. which was nothing so ill, as this Feind’s fire and faggot, burning, hanging, stoning, scorging, imprisoning, &c. whose nature hath ever been & is alwayes versant in such cruelties; and yet my Lord, this spawne of Satan, this malitious Hypocrite, doth all under the vizour of Religion, his woolfeish nature is never seen abroad, but in sheeps clothing, in nomine Domini he perpetrates all his villany: So that my Lord, he is a most dangerous inveterate Antichrist, and Arch-traytour to his Majesty (the King of Kings) his royall Crowne and Dignity, and an invadour and destroyer of the just Liberties, the lives and fortunes of his Majesties leige people.

Fiftly, my Lord, it is against the Law of Charity, not to doe as we would be done unto: He that hangs a Iew, because he will not be a Christian, would be loath a Iew should reward him in the same kind, because he will not be a Iew, though in equity he deserve it, for innocend blood requireth blood. Yea my Lord, to force men and women against their consciences is worse then to ravish the bodies of women and Maides against their wills: Yea, it is beyond the Turkish cruelty, for though the Turkes force the bodies of Christians and Strangers to slavery, yet they let their conscience goe free: But our late Idol blood-sucking Bishops, and after them our ravenous Presbiters, as towardly younge Cubbes forbeare not to force the consciences of their friends and neighbours, and imprison them for walking after the light God hath given them; And my Lord, it is this Malefactour which rendereth them so guilty: Yea my Lord, this Foule Spirit breathed into them at their Consacration is not yet cast out of them, which like a roaring Lion seeketh whome it may devoure: So that if your Lordships justice doe not speedely interpose the bloody resolves and Edition: current; Page: [2-289] villanous intents of our new upstart frisking Presbyters, we shall be all devoured by those greedy Synodian Cormorants, which if you suffer, Woe then to your Lordship in the latter Day, for be assured, that all the miseries, tortures, and torments they inflict upon us, will not only rise up in judgment against them, but even against your Lordship.

Sixtly my Lord, he usurpeth that to himselfe, which Christ hath referred to the Last Day, to wit, to judge them that reject him, for Iohn 12. 47. 48. If any man hear my words and before not, I judge him not, for I came not to judge the World, but to save the World: he that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him, the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him at the last day. And 1. Cor. 4. 5. Iudge nothing before the time untill the Lord come. And Mat. 7. 1. 2. Iudge not least yee be judged, for with what judgement yee judge, yee shall be judged &c. and to these adde Isa. 11. 4. Therefore no man upon paine of judgement, must presume to judge any in respect of Christ or his words, but must referre it to the last day, whose word shall judge him, and not Fire and Faggot, Hanging and Quartering, Imprisoning &c. such are incompetent Iudges, for to this end Christ both died and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living. Let us not therfore judge one another any more, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling Blocke as an occasion of fall in his brothers way: for, Who art thou that judgest another mans servant? to his owne master he standeth or falleth. Rom. 14. 4. We are not equall Iudges one over another in matters of Faith, Who is it that shall condemne? it is Christ that dyed: What is he that shall dare to execute Vengeance for unbeleefe? He that is innocent let him throw the first stone. The Assembly (surely) will not plead Innocence, and if not, why are they so hasty to throw? Surely, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. Yet Mr. Calamy a man but newly Metamorphosed by a figure which we Rhetoricians call METONOMIA BENEFICII from Episcopallity to Presbytery: upon demand what they would doe with Anabaptists, Antinomians &c. tells us, That they will not meddle with their Consciences, but with their Bodyes and Estates. Truly if this be the drift, they are even leapt out of the Frying pan into the Fire. If they be fallen, this is not to restore them with the Spirit of meeknes. But my Lord, Iustice upon this Malefactour would cure the Synodians of that Disease, for Patience per force is a Medicine for a madde Dogge. And thus my Lord, your Honour hath my Testimony of this Malefactour.

Clar.

GAFFAR MARTYRS, What can you say for the King against the Prisoner at the Barre?

MARTYRS.

My Lord, Had not my life been hid in Iesus Christ, who is God of the living, Edition: current; Page: [2-290] and not of the dead, for though dead in the grave, yet I live unto him, to be raised and revived at the last day; or could the arme of flesh supresse the cry of blood, my witnesse would have beene disinabled: for this Malefactour PERSECUTION persecuted me even to the death; so that my voyce is no other then the cry of blood, even of the Prophets and Martyrs of Iesus, that you heare; for my Lord, such hath been his cruelty to me to suppresse my Testimony against him while I was living, that all the tortures and torment wit and malice could invent, he with his blood-thirsty Clergy devised against, and executed upon me, whereby I was most baberously murthered; so that my Lord, I have no other voyce left me, then that of blood, spilt for the Word of God and the testimony of Iesus, crying with a loud voyce, how long O Lord holy and true dost thou not avenge our blood? I could enlarge my selfe into a Sea of blood against him, discover him drunken with the blood of the Saints and Martyres of Iesus: yea my Lord, Articles of all manner of impiety against God, and all goodnesse, Treasons, Rebellions, &c. I could exhibite against him, but my faithfull brother, that pore despised CHRISTIAN, hath most justly witnessed abundantly against him: And there is yet an other faithfull Witnesse to give in his Evidence, Gaffar LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE, who I know, is thoroughly furnished with matters of highest concernement against him, to whose just Evidence I shall give place.

Clar.

Gaffar LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE, what can you say for the King against the Prisoner at the Barre?

Prisoner.

My Lord, before he proceed, be pleased to heare the just exceptions, Sir Symon Synod and Sir Iohn Presbyter after their so long and serious consultation have devised and contrived, why his Testimony should not be heard, as an unfit Witnesse in such a case as this.

Iustice Reas.

My Lord, if Baal be God, let him plead for himselfe.

Iudge.

And reason good: For the judgment of this Court is not to be swayed by favour, affection, humour of multitudes, or the like, but by Reason and equity it selfe: Wherefore for the more free and just proceding herein this Court Ordaineth and Proclameth freedome for both sides, one as well as the other, whether Presbyterian Tormentours or Independant Sufferers to give in their groundes and reasones to the Sentence of this Court, whether LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE be tollerable, and his Evidence to be received. Wherefore Sir Symon, if you have any thing why this mans witnesse may be disinabled, you have liberty to speake.

Sir SYMON SYNOD.

My Lord, this fellow LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE, is a Free-willer, a loose Libertine, one that opens a gate to all manner of prophanes, in what Countrey Edition: current; Page: [2-291] or State soever he gets entertainement, a man of all Religions and of no Religion, a compound of all heresies, scisme, and faction; a pestelent enemie to Nationall Conformity, our late Solemne League and Covenant, a Tratour to your late sacred and blessed Ordinance for Tythes, a worke of Superarrogation, a Confuter of our mighty Champions Mr. Prinne, Edwards, &c. He is for no Reformation, but strives to frustrate all my endeavours, and the pious ends of the rest of my holy brethren of the Tribe of Levi, for the advancement of the Church of God, the Clergie of the Land, with ecclesiasticall Revenue, and power coercive to curbe opposition, and force Reformation to Presbyterian Governement: yea my Lord, this is he that would reduce the Nationall Reformation of this Kingdome, so much endeavoured by your ne Lordship, even to open loosensse, every man to be of what Religion he list, every mecannicke illiterate fellow to turne Preacher, and be as good as their Minister, no distinction made betwixt the Clergie and the Laity, our Canonicall Coates, Girdle: long Cloakes and Blacke Gownes made a dirision, a taunt, and a curse, as ominous as Lawne sleeves and as hatefull as a Miter, our holy Tythes, as of Lambe, Pigge, Goose, &c. be turned unto voluntary Contribution, oh insufferable sacraledge! from the good will of the people good Lord preserve us yea my Lord the upper hand in publike places, (the Clergies delight) as, in streets, at feasts, &c. be deny’d us, the reverent estimation of our Coate be past either Cap, Congue, Cur’tsey, no difference betwixt the Black Cassaocke and the Louthren Iacket, and all our goodly fat Benefices turnd to the labour of our hands (alas my Lord, we were never brought up to labour, we cannot digge, and to begge we are asham’d) our delusions, false Glosses, Sophistications, and godly prerences be detected, and divulged, and so all things that are dainty and goodly to depart from us: alas, alas my Lord! this will undoe the Clergie quite, we may leave our Callings, and learne new Trades, if we turne Coblers, Tinckers, and Weavers we may chance get constant worke, is not, now and then a job of preaching amongst the people; Consider my Lord, it will put out the two eyes of the Kingdome: Much more I could say, but I shall give way to my Son Sir Iohn, who by your Lordships favour shall further informe this Court in the defence of this Prisoner.

Iudge.

Well Sir Symon, this being a busines of high concernment, either what you or your Sir Iohn, or what any man else can say in the behalfe of his Majesty concerning the Prisoner, this Court freely permitteth, yea commandeth Information thereof.

Clar.

Call Sir Iohn Presbyter, sonne to Sir Symon.

I. Reas.

Magus.

Crier.

Sir Iohn Presbyter sonne to Sir Symon come into the Court.

Iudge.

Sir Iohn your Father hath informed us, that you have, matter of exception against LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE, if you have, the mercy of the Court permitteth the Prisoner the benefit thereof.

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Sir IOHN PRESBYTER.

My Lord, My Reasons against LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE, why both himselfe and his Evidence is to be rejected, are these.

1. Because I suppose it must needs be granted,Edwards Antipol. pag. 280. that the Majestrate is custos ac vindex utruisque Tabulæ, (as is confessed by all Orthodox Divines) that the care of Religion belongs to him: And because Austin and other Divines on Psal. 2. 10. 11. and on Deut. 17. 19. give unto Magestrates that power. Ergo.

[I. Reas. States-men must weare Bells about their neckes, because antient Divines say, Kings are but Packe-horses to the Clergie.]

2. Because in this Kingdome the Reformation in Worship, Government,pag. 281. &c. which shalbe setled and established by your Lordship is judged and taken for granted by you to be according to the mind of Christ; else why hath your Lordship called so many able, godly, and learned Divines (of us) to consult with for that purpose? and why else will you establish it, if there be any other more agreable to the Word? Ergo.

[I Reas. The Synod is guided by the Holy Ghost sent in a Cloake-bag from Scotland, as of old from Rome to the Councell of Trent, Concil. Trent. lib. 6. p. 497.

3. Because it is against the solemne League and Covenant for Reformation, taken by the Parliament and Kingdome of England and Scotland,pag. 282. & 283. and so cannot be condescended to in England without the breach of that Oath and Covenant: So that all Apollogie and motion for Toleration comes too late, the dore is shut against it, the Kingdomes hands are bound, so that if a Toleration were not in it selfe unlawfull, and against the duty of the Majestrate, yet now because of the Oath and Covenant ’tis unlawfull; so that whatsoever might have been granted before, cannot be now, least the Kingdome should be guilty before God of Covenant breaking. Ergo.

[I. Reas. Because the Assembly hath sadled the Parliament, it is unlawfull for the Presbyters to goe a foote. Ergo, Persecution was unlawfull when the Priests were persecuted, but now it is lawfull they persecute. Ergo, Toleration was lawfull, and the duty of the Majestrate when the power was in the hands of the Bishops, but now the Presbyters are crowding into S. Peters Chaire, the Parliament is bound to compell all men to the Decrees of the Assembly, as that impudent, and desperate Incendiary Mr. Edwards boldly and openly affirmeth, an Assertion able to divide the Kingdome in twenty peeces.]

4. Because it is against the greatest lights in the Church both antient and moderne, as Augustine, Ambrose, Calvine, Phillip Melancton, Zinchius,pag. 281. Musculus, Bullinger, likewise the judgement of the Devines of New England are Edition: current; Page: [2-293] against the Toleration of any Church Governement and way but one, they will not suffer Brownists, Anabaptists, &c. Mr. Cotton the greatest Divine in New England, and a pretious man, is against Toleration, and holds that men may be punished for their Consciences, as will appeare by his Letter to Mr. Williams. Ergo.

[I. Reas. Presbyterian Governement is unlawfull, because Mr. Cotton condemnes it in his Booke intituled, The Keyes of the Kingdome of Heaven.]

5. Because at this time for want of setled Governement,pag. 289. people being left to so great liberty, multitudes are fallen, and doe daily to Antinomianisme, Anabaptisme, Independancy, yea to deny the Immortality of the soule: Ergo,

[I. Reas. One Anabaptist, Independant, or the like, that can render a Reason for what he holds, is better then seaven Presbyters that conclude from such bald Promises., Prov. 26. 16.] [Here the Authour of that Booke, instituted Mans Mortality, desires Mr. Edwards with those that are so invective against it in their Pulpits that they would cease their railing at it there, and come forth in Print against it; for the thing being so rare, so litle questioned, and the contrary so generally concluded as a principle of faith, any bumbast stuffe will passe there for authentike with the people without tryall, but if it be put forth to publike vew, it must expect an encounter by one or other, and therein the Authour of that Booke observeth the policie of his Presbyterian Adversaries to maintaine their repute with the people, in being so hasty in the Pulpit and so slow to the Presse]

6. Independants,pag. ibid. and all kind of Sectaries as long as they have their liberty, snuffe up the wind, and will not hearken to any way whereby they may receive satisfaction, but if once the Majestrate declares, and by Lawes concludes one way of Church Worship, it may be they will heare reason. Ergo,

[I. Reas. It seemes the Presbyters till then can rendor them none, for the reason and force of that Argument lies in take him Goaler. Ergo, If once the Majestrate declares, and by Lawes concludes all the fat Benefices of the Kingdome upon Independancie, then it may be the Presbyters will heare reason and turne Independants.]

7. Independancie hath ever been from the first to the last,pag. 294. a Fountaine of evill, roote of bitternes, divisions, &c. as the Histories of the Anabaptists (the highest forme of Independancy, and Church way) declare, in respect of the evils they fell into, and the mischeifes they brought upon Germany, and how God cursed and scattered them. Ergo,

[I. Reas. If the King conquer, the Parliament wilbe Traytours to posterity by Cronicle; for who writ the Histories of the Anabaptists but their Enemies?]

8. My Lord,pag. 297. because the Presbyterian way hath been countenanced from Heaven, and blessed from sorts of sects, &c. and that for almost an hundered yeares: Ergo,

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[I. Reas. Both Papall and Episcopall is better then Presbyterian, for they are, and have been more uniforme, and have continued many hundred yeares longer then Presbyterian, and were long before Presbytrie was thought on: for alas, it was but a shift at a pinch the Divell made, when neither of the other would serve his turne; and so came up Presbytrie, but what good the Divell will have out I know not; for who knowes the lucke of a lousie Curre, he may prove a good Dog?]

9. My Lord,Pag. 302. If Toleration of Government though not of Doctrine should be granted, then the simple Anabaptists, and that simple sort called Dippers will come in too, saying, that Baptisme at such an age, and Baptizing in Rivers by Dipping are but matters of order and time: Ergo,

[I. Reas. He that desembleth hatred with lying lips, and he that inventeth slander is a foole, Pro. 10. 18.]

Wherefore I humbly beseech your Lordship,pag. 303. seriously to consider the depth of Satan in this Designe, of Toleration, how this is now his last Plot and Designe, and by it would undermine and frustrate the whole worke of Reformation, ’tis his Master peece for England. I am confident if the Divell had his choyce, whether the Hierarche, Ceremonies,pag. 304. and Liturgie should be established in this Kingdome, or a Toleration granted, he would chuse and preferre a Toleration before them.

[I. Human. That is of Presbyterian Compulsion, because Episcopall in England is worne out of Date: Mr. Edwards knowes the Divell is not so simple, to chuse Hierarchie, Ceremonies, &c. where their deceit is detected, hated, and rejected, it seemes has better acquainted with him then so, the next time he writes, we shall have more of the Divels mind, but it is likely he’ll have finished his Designe first, and then it may be, Mr. Edwards will tell us, that the Divell is better perswaded of Presbytrie (his last shift) then ever he was of Episcopacie, he will be so serviceable to him therein, for if Mr. Edwards and the Divell be not deceived, be intends with it to devoure, breake in peeces, and stampe the residue the Hierarchie hath left under his feete, so to weare out the Saints of the most High.]

And thus my Lord, you have my Reasons, why this fellow LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE is not to have admittance within the verge of this Kingdom, much lesse to enter thus into the bowels of this Court to give in Evidence, to be proceeded on upon the life and death of this holy man, Mr. PERSECVTION.

Lib. Cons.

My Lord, Sir Iohn’s a pritty forward child, that can pratle thus before he have his teeth; thy say he hath been breeding of teeth ever since the the Assembly were in consulation; surely they’ll be huge, long, boarish tuskes when they come out; should your Lordship but cause his mouth to be opened, you might see great iron teeth lie in his gummes, ready to cut, he wants nothing but a Parliament Corall to whet them with all: Edition: current; Page: [2-295] but my Lord, were he mine, I would knock out his braines with an Independant Hammer, to prevent the groweth of such teeth, for Daniell tels us the nature of great iron teeth. Nou whereas my Lord, he excepteth against my witnesse, I humbly conceive, the equity of this Cours cannot receive his exception against me in the justification of this Butcher and murtherer of good men, seeing himselfe is a mercilesse in humane Butcher, the son of a Butcher, yea my Lord, his Grand-father and Great-Grand-father were Butchers; for whereas my Lord, he hath acquired the name of Sir Iohn Presbyter, in truth he is a Priest, the son of a Bishop, Grand-child to the Pope, and the Divell is his Great-Grand-father, all murtherers and Butchers of Gods people. Therefore good my Lord let not mine Evidence be thus unjustly disinabled.

Iudge.

LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE, you are sworne for the King, to give in your Evidence in his Majesties behalfe against the Prisoner at the Bar; and the challenge against you being such as may be dispenc’d with, you are to proceed in your Evidence.

LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE.

My Lord, To what the former Evidence have testified I shall with brevity adde, that this Malefactour PERSECUTION destroyeth the Innocent with the wicked, contrary to the command of Christ, Mat. 13. 30. let the tares and the wheat grow together untill the harvest, from which Parable appeareth, that the Kingdome of heaven or Christs Government over the whole world doth strictly charge his servants, the Kings and Rulers of the Earth (for by him Kings raigne) to suffer tares; Turckes, Jewes, Pagans, and Infidels, as wel as Christians to grow or live together in the Feild of the World, their Dominions untill the Day of harvest, or desolution of all things, and not plucke them up, because they are Tares, Turckes, Iewes, Pagans, &c. least they plucke up such as may become as the Pillars of Solomon in the House of God, even glorious witnesses of Jesus Christ: What greater Rebellion therefore can there be by those Servants to the Housholder, then to plucke up the tares from the wheat? As their office brings all under their Dominions, so it is to preserve all in their Dominions, that tares and wheate, Infidell and Beleever may grow and live peaceably together in civill cohabration, commerce, &c. in their Dominions untill the Harvest, or end or all things, when the Lord of the Harvest shal seperate the tares from the wheat, with come yee blessed, goe yee cursed, &c.

Secondly my Lord, he depriveth the Iewes (as much as in him lieth) of their deliverance according to the Covenant God made with their Fathers from this their Captivity, notwithstanding the wrath of the Lord threatned against them, that shall evill entreat them therein, Zach. 2. 8. Esa. 54. 15. 17. Edition: current; Page: [2-296] cap. 15. 22. 23. for my Lord, he hath made the name of a Iew as hatefull as Iudas; yea, his nature is not to leave a man of them to pisse against the wall. Now my Lord, though the Iewes are led captive by the Gentiles under the time of the Gospell, and though the naturall branches are broaken off, and the Heathen grafted in, yet still they are beloved for their Fathers sakes Rom. 11. 28. and are not to be persecuted for their infidelity, for he that toucheth them, toucheth the apple of Gods eye: What though they are stumbled? shall we boast our selves against them? God forbid; for if wee that are wild by nature be grafted contrary to nature into the good Olive Tree, how much more shall they which are naturall branches be grafted into their owne Olive Tree againe? Therefore the Apostle would not have us ignorant of this Mystery, that blindnesse in part is hapned to Israel untill the fulnesse of the Gentiles be come in, and all Israel shalbe saved, Rom. 11. 25. 26. compated to Isa. 49. 22. 23. Deut. 30. 1. 2. 4. 5. Amos 9. 14. 15. Now what hindereth their salvation and deliverance so much as persecution, for they are even led captive by PERSECUTION, and made slaves to him even to this day? And how shal they beleive, if they shal have no time given them to beleive? this divelish Spirit gives them not a minute, he will not suffer a Jew to live amongst the Christians, or come neare him: what hopes then is there the Iewes should be converted, where this Tyrant is in force? Shall we that have receive vantage by their rejection, thus recompence them with tyranny? our Lord whome they slew, would not have them slayen, but they are beloved of him, and himselfe will be their Deliverer, Rom. 11. 26. 27. 28. yet this Incendiary hath caused our Kings, and our Rulers, our Bishops and our preists not to suffer a Iew by authority to live amongst them; how then can we complaine of the vengance that is at this time upon us & our children, that have been so cruel, so hatefull, so bloody minded to them and their children? we have given them the cup of Trembling, surely we must tast of the dregges: Hearken therefore no longer to those which teach this bloody doctrine of persecution, for neither they, their preachings, fastings, weepings, long prayers, &c. can deliver in the day of distresse, as long as ye persecute Behold, yee fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the Presbyterian fist of wickednesse; but this is the Fast which the Lord hath chosen, to undoe the heavy burthen, and to let the oppressed goo free, and that yee breake every yoake.

Thirdly my Lord, He is a murtherer of Kings and Princes, &c. for the murthering of heriticke Princes is the naturall brat of this divelish Spirit; for from this ground, that the contrary minded are to be forced, the Papists justifie the murthering of Hereticks, making all Heretickes which seperate from them; for that Religion that is bottomed on this principle that all must he forced, will they, nill they, where it cannot force, must murther: so cometh it to passe, so many Kings have been murthered, by the Papists, because casting of the Romish yoake, they free themselves from their power of forcing, therefore the Edition: current; Page: [2-297] Papists to make good their courcive principle, betake themselves privately to murther such Princes, to prevent a countermanding power, and keep all in their catholicke subjection; so that such as would have all forced, where they cannot force, is to be feared, will privately murther: Therefore it is dangerous for a King, to trust his person with such men, for if the King should change his Religion, to one opposite to theirs, who knowes, those men will not doe as their principle leads them, even murther their Prince; but on the contrary, that Religion that is grounded on the principle of meekenesse, patience, and long sufferance, instructing the contrary minded, and utterly contesting against all compulsion, cannot in the least measure administer any feare or danger unto Princes of their persons, be of what Religion they will, for be they of any Religion or of no Religion, for matter of violence it is all one to the Spirit of meekenesse, for its nature is only to perswade, not to compell; if by faire meanes it cannot prevaile, it hath done, committing the issue to God.

Fourthly my Lord, He is an utter enemy to all spirituall knowledge, a hinderer of its encrease and groweth; for no man knoweth but in part, and what wee know, we receive it by degrees, now a litle, and then a litle; he that knowes the most, was once as ignorant as he that knowes the least; nay, is it not frequent amongst us, that the thing that we judged heresie we now beleive is orthodox; now can such thinke themselves were worthy to beene persecuted in, and for that their ignorance? they cannot sure be of that mind; such therefore cannot condemne, imprison, or hang the ignorant, or such as discover or oppose their ignorance, but in that they condemne themselves, sinne against nature and their own knowledge: The twelve at Ephesus that had not so much as heard whether there were a Holy Ghost or no, if they had been so evilly used by Paul when he heard it, how should they spake with tongues, and prophesied? yet we see how common a thing it is, if we know not, nor beleive so much as the multitude knoweth or beleiveth, or the Doctrine of the Presbyterean Church requireth, we must be persecuted; and if our knowledge goe beyond them, that we protest against their errours, and labour to informe them better, we must tast of the same sauce too, so that wee must know nor beleive neither more nor lesse then they, but must beleive just as they beleive, or else be persecuted; as if a Statute should be enacted, that an Image should be made, and all that were higher or lower then the Image should be hanged: By this we may see, what an unreasonable thing it is evilly to entreat such as we judge ignorant and erroneous, or all to be erronious and heriticall that we understand not our selves: What shall we say then of such Ministers, that of rationall creatures would teach us to be thus unreasonable? their end is destruction, their belly their God, they serve the Parliament but for their owne bellyes, and by good words and faire speeches deceive the simple: These uphold the accursed Doctrine of Persecution, least liberty of Edition: current; Page: [2-298] printing, writing, teaching, should discover their deceipts, and they be dis-inherited of their Fathers Inheritance; their intents are plaine to him that hath but halfe an eye to see, they’l not doe much, only change the title, before it was Episcopal Prelacy, it shall be now but Preistly or Presbyterian Prelacy, so that, he that lives but a small time shall surely see a Presbyter as fat as ever was a Bishop; those are enemies to all knowledge, that is either too short or beyond their bellyes, therefore is it, that all heads must be made even with the Presbyters, none higher nor none lower, just as tall, and no taller, he that is too short must be stretched out, and he that is too long must be pared even, least they should misse of their Prayers, give us this day our dayly tythes, that the Germaine proverbe might be fulfilled, phophen geizegkeite, Gottes barmehartzegkite, were bis in ebekeite, the coveteousnesse of the Preists and the mercy of God endure for ever; I would exhort them to be otherwise minded, but that I know, venter non habet aures, the belly hath no cares.

Pris.

My Lord, I beseech you heare me after this tedious Accusation, it is false and malitious, as by sound reason, and Personages of Honour I shall clearly evidence: First my Lord, as for GODS VENGANCE my Prosecutour, both the Iuries, with divers others, together with the witnesses, enforced him to prosecute me, and I know not by what pretence they procured GODS VENGANCE against me; for my Lord, I am innocent, and ever have been from my Cradle from such and so hainous accusation, as is laid to my charge: And for that fellow, that pretends he hath knowne me since the comeing of Christ, he is a man of no reputation, without habitation, a beggerly fellow, a runagate, a loose fellow, he stayes in no place, keeps no hospitallity, blaspheameth that most divine, Liviticall, ever to adored Ordinance for Tythes, and counteth it as an unholy thing, paies none where he lives, but sharkes here and there, where he can shufle in his head, runnes from house to house, to delude simple women, who are ever learning, and never learned; and where as he saith, his name is CHRISTIAN, his name is not CHRISTIAN, neither is he of the generation of Christianity, but a most factious dissembling Anabaptist, a Tubpreacher, and no Christian, as Sir Symon, Sir Iohn, and divers other reverend, and honourable persons here present can witnesse: As for Gaffar Martyrs, he is as a sounding brasse and tinckling Cymball, who though he giveth up his body to be burnt, himselfe is but a castaway, and this I am able to make good unto your Honour, by the most grave, and solid judgment of all the reverend Divines, the Clergie of Christendome: Therefore my Lord, it much mattereth not, what his Evidence is, it being but the malice of an Hereticke: And as for LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE, Sir Symon, and that blessed babe, his Sonne Sir Iohn, (sanctified from his mothers wombe, the Synodian Whore of Babylon,) hath informed your Honour of the unworthynesse of his witnesse. My Lord, I desire Sir Symon may speake in my defence.

Sir Symon.

My Lord, this Gentleman here arraigned, is altogether innocent Edition: current; Page: [2-299] from this accusation, I have had antient familiarity with him, a dayly society hath past betwixt us, and I never could find any such thing in him, and my Lord, here is Mr. Pontificall Revenue, Mr. Ecclesiasticall Supremacy, Mr. Nationall Confirmity, Mr. Rude Multitude, Mr. Scotch Government, and mine only Sonne, Sir Iohn Presbyter, all to witnes his innocency from this Accusation: And if your Lordship make any scruple hereof, that learned Gentleman, Iustas Conformity, of Lincolns Inne Esq. can thoroughly resolve you, both by Scripture Texts, Presidents of all sorts, and the constant interrupted practises, examples, of the most eminent Emperours, Princes, Councels, Parliaments, &c.

Lib. Cons.

My Lord, the Defendant smels of a fat benefice; see, see, his pockets are full of Presbyterian Steeples, the Spires sticke under his Girdle: ha, ha, hah; instead of Weather-cocks, every Spire hath got a Blacke Boxe upon it, and in it the pure and immaculate Ordinance for Tythes, Oblations, &c. Sure shortly, instead of Moses and Aaron, and the Two Tables, we shall have Sir Symon, and Sir Iohn holding the late solemne League and Covenant, and that demure, spotlesse, pritty, lovely, sacred, divine, devout, and holy Ordinance for Tythes (the Two Tables of our new Presbyterian Gospell) painted upon all the Churches in England. Oh brave Sir Symon, the Bels in your pocket chime all in while ours chime all-out: I pray you give us a Funerall Homile for your friend here before he depart, here’s twenty shillings for your paines, you know’t is sacraledge to bring downe the price, As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Crier.

Make way there for the Iurie.

The Iurie withdraw, and thus fall into debate about their verdict.

Creation. Gentlemen, from the Evidence of the Witnesses against PERSECUTION, I clearely perceive, that he is of so divelish and unnaturall disposition, as is not compatible with the workes of the Creation, all creaturs of a kind associate, feed, and converse together, there is a publicke freedome of all kinds amongst themselves, the Oxe, the Asse, the Sheep, and all sorts of Cattell; the Dove, the Sparrow, and all kinds of Birds have a State harmony, a publike Toleration, generall Concord and unity among themselves in their severall kinds: but this Malefactour as from the Witnesses is evident, unnaturallizes man-kind above all kinds of Creatures, that where he rules, no peace publike, or private; no freedome, rights, or liberty either civil or spirituall; no society, cohabitation, or concord Nationall nor Domesticke can possibly be amongst men, but envying, hatred, emulation, banishment, &c. Wherefore, from the consideration hereof, and of what the Witnesses have given in, to me he appeareth guilty, what say you Mr. Gospell?

Gosp.

Mr. Foreman, Whereas it is by Sir Iohn and such like urged, that the Kings of the Gentiles have equall power with the Kings of Israel of old: understand, that their supremacy was but for a time, untill Shiloh came, and no Edition: current; Page: [2-300] longer, to whome then the gathering of the people should be; he came to take away the First, that he might establish the Second, being made Mediatour of a better Covenant, established on better promises, the forgivenesse of sinnes, and the guift of eternall life: But he that despised Moses Laws, dyed without mercy under two or three witnesses. The old Covenant was over the Old man, and its Condemnation or punishment was over the Old man, to wit, this corruptable fallen State of Mortallity, and therefore they executed death upon the transgressors thereof. The New Covenant is over the New man, to wit, the Spirit that shall be raised out of this corruptable at the Resurrection; therefore hath it the promise of forgivinesse of sins, and eternall life; the penalty of that, temporall death, the death of the Old or earthly man in this life; the penalty of this, everlasting death, the death of the New or spirituall man in the life to come; wee are New Creatures or New men now but by faith, not actuall till the Resurrection, we are to live as if we were raised againe, for the condition of the Gospell is not to us, as the Condition of Innocency was to Adam, a Condition in this present State of this present State, as his was to him, to wit, the Condition of immortallity in immortallity; but ours a condition in present mortallity of future immortallity: so is it, that mortallity being swallowed up of life, we are presently under the end of its Condition, Salvation, or Condemnation. Therefore as the Resurrection cannot possibly be but by Christ, so the penalty cannot possibly be by other; it is out of the Spear of this world, therefore out of the power of the Princes of this world, as they cannot be Mediatours of the New Testament, so they cannot be punishers therein; Therefore to punish the Offenders therein, is to attempt the Throne of Christ, and usurpe (as much as in them lieth) his Mediatourship: Therefore hath he referred the contemners of his Gospell untill the Iudgment of the Last Day. And for that in Isaiah 49. 23. And Kings shall be thy nursing Fathers, and Queens thy nursing Mothers: it is a Prophesie of the deliverance of the Iewes from their Captivity, to whom Kings and Queens shall be assistant in their returne to the Land of their Forefathers, as ver. 19. 22. 23. 26. &c. witnesse.

Politicke Power.

Mr. Foreman, Salvus populi, the safety of the people, is the Soveraigne Law, or fundamentall constitution of Civill Government: therefore though Majestracy hath been corrupted and abused, (as appeareth by our Evidence) to the terrour of the most virteous, conscientious, well-minded men, and the maintenance and protection of the wicked; so that it hath been perverted from the generall good if all sorts, sects, and societies of people, unto this or that sort or sect; yet this evill in Majestracy is to be cut off, ne pars sincera trahatur. And Mr. Foreman, it appears by our Evidence, that PERSECUTION is the originall of the disease, therefore to be cut off, least the whole politique body perish: For where Persecution is, what dissentions, mutinies, tumults, insurrections, uproares, and divisions; what conspiracies, Edition: current; Page: [2-301] Treasons and Rebellions; what bloodshed, cruelty, and inhumanity hath been by our Evidence declared, the which by our owne experience we find verified in divers Kingdomes, States, and Provinces: for doe we not see, betwixt the Catholicke Cause and the True Protestant Religion (so cal') the Christian world is embrewed with blood, destroying and devouring one an other: the dashing of those two imperious, ambitious, insolent Religions, the Papall and Protestant together besides what it hath done to the House of Austrea, &c. hath split the Dominions of this politique body asunder, that they wallow in one an others vitall blood, burning, destroying, and ruinating all before them; how many Townes, Villages, and sumpteous buildings have been burnt? what Tillage and Meddowes laid wast, and how many thousands of innocent soules have been slayen in Ireland contrary to the end and foundation of politique Government? and doth not England tast even the dregges of this Cup, yea swallow it downe with greedynes, that we are even drunke with one an others blood, enraged with madnesse, cruelties, &c. without all hopes of peace till one of these persecuting Religions have devoured the other.

Mr. State-policie.

Mr. Foreman, though from Rome, the spirit of Persecution is conveyed into most sects of Religion, and is dayly found to the shame of Religion among such as are or would be counted religious, and most States, and Kingdomes being rent with such persecuting Religions, therefore the Kingdoms of Christendome have judged the Toleration of divers Sects inconsistent with State policy; yet Politians would they consider, need not in curing one mischiefe run upon a greater; for such good and wholesome meanes might be provided, as in a small time this violent spirit might be worne out, the next generation be of a better temper, and length Persecution to be as rare as now common, and a more placable peaceable spirit consiliated among the generality of men: And seeing this impatient, violent, ambitious spirit is so dangerous to Civill Societies, their freindship & unity, so destructive to publike peace and safety: It is therefore necessary, that Kings and all Governours, whose Office is, that all may lead a peaceable and quiet life under them, should in policy to the generall good, see to the securing of their Dominions from this factious spirit, by such whole some strict Lawes as may best conduce to the suppression thereof, as of Treason, Rebellion, or the like; for all are Traytours and Rebels in their hearts to the publike peace, and generall good of humaine societies, salut populi, the peoples safety, (which our State counteth the supreame Law) which are of a persecuting spirit; for it is in direct opposition to that Law; And who more guilty then the Papist and the Protestant, when one is too mighty for the other, the Papist stronger then the Protestant, the Protestans stronger then the Papist, the stronger is so ambitious and fiery zealous for his owne cause, especially the Papist, that one place is too hot for them both, and the Protestant as he is a persecutour of the Papist, so as well as the Papist, is he a Edition: current; Page: [2-302] Persecutour of Anabaptists, Brownists, Antinominians, Independants, &c. but they persecute none, but seeke the generall good, peace, and safety of all Sorts, Sects, and Societies of people, yea even of their Enemies; so that as Papists are Enemies and Traytours to the safety of all Sorts, Sects, and Societies, so are the Protestants, considered in this persecuting capacity, both persecuting; therefore in this sense their Religions are both trayterous, desperate, and dangerous to the Publike Good: Therefore it ought to be the care of those Kingdomes and States where those persecuting Religions are, to purge those Religions of this malignant persecuting spirit, this trayterous-disposition, for Religions may be absolute, yea the Protestant more truley Protestant, if cured of this pestilentiall disease of persecution, for indeed persecution is no part of Religion, but a meer spirit of Treason insensibly insinuated, and distill’d into Religions by Popes, Bishops and Preists; so that ignorantly the members of those Religions are made Traytours to their owne Rights and Liberties, and so enslaved to the trayterous designes of the Clergie, the very roote of Treason; for indeed the Teachers of Persecution are the Archest Iesuiticall Traytours of all, whether Papist, Protestant &c. such as Mr. Edwards, who most impudently and trayterously saith in his Antipologie, that the Parliament is bound in duty, to compell all men to the Decrees of the Assembly.

Mr. Polit. Power.

Mr. State-policy, I commend your policy herein, for indeed Mr. Edwards in so saying, is a Traytour to politique power: But I pray you proceed.

Mr. State-Policie.

Well then, as all are borne subjects to their Kings, so are Kings to see, that all may have their Birthright, Liberty, and Priviledge of Subjects, that all may be kept in the generall Bond of peace, of what sort of sect soever, for as Lucius Lavinius said to King Iames, all the different members being wrapt up in the skine of one constitution, need no stronger obligement, to uphold the whole then their owne interest: Therefore, were the devouring principle of persecution weeded out from betwixt all Religion, they might all enjoy their publike safety to the generall enlargement and strengthning of politike power, for the strength of the King lies in the multitude of people, so that it is most consonant to State policy to include all, rather then deprive any of publike protection.

M. Nationall-Loyalty.

Mr. Foreman, this is a matter of great weight, that we have in hand, therefore not sleightly, but seriously to be weighed, and deliberately examined both from our owne knowledge and experience, as from the just Evidence given in by the Witnesses, (for I conceive, this prisoner is antiently knowne to us all) that wee may be better enabled Edition: current; Page: [2-303] to give in our verdict, wherefore having something to say of antient experience, I shall first desire Mr. State-Policie, since he hath given us an hint of wholesome meanes that might be used, to prevent and suppresse this turbulent rebellious Spirit of Persecution, that he would declare what further he hath in his thoughts thereon.

Mr. State-Polic.

That which in it selfe is wicked, neither honourable to God, allowed by him, nor profitable to man, but dangerous and destructive to common safety and peace, falleth under the Sword of the Majestracy, and the Majestrate may lawfully use such meanes as shall best secure the publike peace from the evill thereof: Now since the generality of the people are possessed with this Evill Spirit, infused, nourished, and preserved in their hearts by Popes, Bishops, Preists, and (at present in the Land) by the trayterous Synod, called the Assembly of Divines, who labour with might and maine to establish and setle this trayterous spirit in the Land; and further, since all by compulsion are to be forced to the Civill peace and publike unity, and all are to be defended and preserved under the publike freedome, one as well as an other; therefore to this end the Majestrate ought to bind all Religions, that no Religion have power over other, that all in the Generall have Toleration, and none in particular be offensive; for the Papist may be a Papist, the Protestant a Protestant without the power of Compulsion, the deprivation thereof is no wayes injurious to their Religion; as a man that hath a when, or a bunch that growes upon any member, may be a perfect man, and that a perfect member without it: Therefore to this end a Nationall Covenant would not be inconsiderable, to engage all in this publike freedome, that as all should be sharers in it, so all should be defenders of it. That no Protestant Minister or others should teach privately or publikely, either by preaching, writing, or conference any thing contradictory or distructive thereto. That no man upbraid, reproach, scoffe, deride, threaten, or doe any violence to any for his Religion, and such like: And that this be continued from Generation to Generation under such and such penalties as the State shall thinke fit; so that in a small time, if the Governours would hearken to the feare of the Lord, this oppression of conscience, which is now made State-Policie (condemned by the God of mercy and all mercifull men) would waxe out of date, and be cast out as abominable to God, and destructive to mankind: Then their feares and jealousies one of an other, which puts them in a continuall posture of war both offensive and defensive would be at an end; their Controversies would be of an other kind, faire and equall Disputes, and it is better and farre cheaper to provide words for Argumentation, then instruments of war for blowes and bloodshed, and would conduce I am sure more to the common good and safety; the one doth encrease knowledge, the other nothing but rage and revenge: by reasoning those that are ignorant would shortly see, how they and their Edition: current; Page: [2-304] Fore-fathers have been cheated of the Tenth of their encrease, fool’d, and nurs’d up in blindnesse by Bishops, Priests, &c. meerly to uphold their greatnesse, stuffe and cram their ungodly guts, that it is become a Proverbe, as fat as a Bishop, and how soone, if PERSECUTION be acquited, it may be verified on the Presbyters, I leave that to the issue, only I wish the people to try things themselves, and not trust too much to their Lippes, for their Lippes are Cozen Germaine to their Teeth, and this is most certain, they all speake through the Teeth.

Mr. Nation. Loyal.

Mr. Foreman, according to the Evidence we have received, and result of our consultation hitherto, he is guilty ipso facto of what is laid to his charge; and for mine owne part, I know that Toleration is not against Nationall Loyalty, but my well stand with Nationall peace, as by divers antient and moderne Examples I can make it appeare. Abraham lived among the Canaanites and Perizzites, Gen. 13. 7. & 16. 3. againe he sojourned in Egypt, Gen. 12. 10. after in Gerar, where King Abimelech bid him dwell where it pleased him, cap. 20. &c. 21. 23. 24. afterwards among the Hittites, cap. 23. Lot lived in Sodom, Isaack also dwelt in Gerar, yet contrary to the King and his Subjects, cap. 20. Iacob lived 20. yeares with his Uncle Laban in one house, yet different in Religion, Gen. 31. 30. 33. the Children of Israell lived 430. yeares in Egypt, Exod. 12. 40. afterwards were caried away to Babylon, where they remained 70. yeares, all which times they differed in Religion, yet no danger to the State: Sampson lived among the Philistines, Lot in the Land of Vz, yet their Religion though different was not disturbant to the State: And in the time of Christ, when Israell was captive to the Romans, lived divers Sects of Religions, Herodians, Scribes, and Pharises, Sadduces and Libertines such as denyed the Resurrection, and Samaritanes the common Religion of the Iewes, the Christian and Apostolick Religion, all which differed from the common Religion of the State; which in all probability was the worship of Diana, whome all the world almost then worshipped, Act. 19. 20. yet all these lived under the Government of Cæsar, not any wayes injurious to his Crowne and Dignity, or disturbant to the peace of his Government: but when Persecution arose, then the State was troubled by tumults, uproares, &c. And how doth Toleration injure the State of Holland, Poland, Trasilvania, &c. their Weales, States, and Citties are well and peaceably governed, divers Religions are in their Provinces, yet all have one harmony in matters of State, all united and engaged in the generall safety, peace, and tranquillity of their severall Kingdoms, States, and Provinces, wherein they so freely enjoy their severall safeties, protection and freedomes.

Mr. Liberty-of-Subject.

Mr. Foreman, besides what I have received from the Witnesses, of my own experience I know, that if PERSECUTION be not executed, the Liberty of the Subject (now in controversie) cannot be setled in this Land; for the Anabaptists, Brownists, Independants, &c. true and faithfull Edition: current; Page: [2-305] Subjects to the State, that stood to the publike cause, when the Priests & such like scurrelous vermine, durst scarce be seen in it, but Iesuitically caried themselves in an equall ballance betwixt both, that though the King had conquered, yet most of them would have kept their Benefices, a wise generation! I say, these more noble spirited men, that freely spend their lives, fortunes, and estates for the Liberty of the Subject, and that from the most noble and rationall principle, the Common Good and not for selfe respect, neither those of them which survive, nor the succeders in their faith shall enjoy this Liberty, their just Birth-right, but be wholy deprived thereof, and the purchase of their Blood be ceas’d and devoured by those Presbyterian Horse lecches, and confined to such blood-thirsty Cattle, which is directly opposite to the just Liberty of the Subject.

Mr. Compas. Sam.

Mr. Foreman, I have beheld the innocency of their intentions, and honesty of their lives, (to wit of Anabaptists, Brownists, &c.) their affections to the Common-wealth, their forwardnes of assistance in purse and person, knowing their Meetings to be so innocent, so far from confederacy or counterplots (pag. 3.) and yet their persons so hated, contemned, and belyed, such wounds made upon their consciences, that my heart aboundeth with greife, that their miserie should be thus passed by, their wounds so wide and deepe, and no oyle of mercy powred in: so that me thinkes, everie man is bound in conscience, to speake and doe what he can in the behalfe of such an harmeles people as these. (pap. 4.) Therefore, Mr. Foreman, being privy to the truth of the Evidence against PERSECUTION, the sole causer of their wounds and miserie, I conclude him, an enemie against God and all goodnesse, &c. and that he is guilty of the Indictment.

Mr. Truth-&-Peace.

Mr. Foreman, much I could say against the Prisoner, to witnesse the verity of the Indictment, but for brevity sake I shall referre you to the discovery I have made of his Impiety, Treason, Blood-shed, &c. in that Booke intituled, The Bloody Tenent, and I commend unto you, and to the necessary perusall of the COMMONNS and nobles of England, that most famous peece, called, The Compassionate Samaritane, as a most exact modell of rationality.

Mr. Light-of-Nature.

Mr. Foreman, whereas Sir Symon in the defence of PERSECUTION saith, that LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE opens a gate to all manner of prophanesse, loosenesse, &c. the Light of Nature might teach him, that Toleration is no Approbation, or the suffering of Religions a warrant to be of no Religion, much lesse to publike prophanesse; for this comes within the compasse of that which Nature teaches the most ignorant, therefore within the reach of publike restraint, according to the Lawes of common modesty and civility, which Nature hath written in the hearts of all men naturally: Such publike Transgressions that are uncivill, unnaturall, and unbecomeing humaine society, as open prophanesse and loosenesse fall under the restraint, and correction of the Magestrate, whose power is over the things of Nature, those Edition: current; Page: [2-306] being offences of that kind: As the Majestrate is to maintaine the publicke peace, and all civill societies therein, so is it preserve publike modesty, comlines, and civillity, that there may be a generall comely demeanour as rationall creatures, so their carriage and publicke demeanours are to be rationall regular, and comely, and not openly licentious, prophane, and blasphemous, contrary to common sense, reason, and humanity.

Mr. Creation.

Gentlemen, we have spent much time, and our Verdict is expected, and the case is so evident and plaine, that I thinke what is done may suffice, if you Mr. Orphan, and Mr. Day of Iudgement be agreed with us in your Verdict, let us give it in: what say you?

Ambo.

We are agreed; guilty, guilty.

Crier.

A Verdict: Make way there for the Iurie.

Iudge.

PERSECUTION, hold up thy hand: Masters of the Iurie, looke upon the Prisoner, is he guilty of this Treason, Rebellion, Bloodshed, &c. in manner and forme as he stands indicted, or not guilty.

Foreman.

GUILTY my Lord.

Iudge.

PERSECUTION, thou hast heard the hainous Accusation, that hath been proved against thee, and the verdict the Iurie have given in upon thee, what canst thou say for thy selfe, to award the sencence of death from passing against thee?

Pers.

My Lord, the Iurie have not dealt honestly in their verdict, wherefore I appeale from them to the Assembly of Divines, for a tryall of their honesty in this verdict.

Iudge.

PERSECUTION, indeed thou stand’est need of a Long Cloak to cover thy knaverie; but there is no appeale from this Court, they are no Sanctuary of refuge in this case, neither can I conceive such worthy Gentlemen should perjure themselves, yet if thou hast any thing else to say, to award the Sentence of death, speake for thy selfe.

Pers.

I thanke your Honour, the Lord blesse your Honour: My Lord, I am so terrified in my selfe at the apprehension of death that I am not in case to speake for my selfe: I beseech your Lordship, that Sir Symon may speake in my behalfe.

Sir Sym.

My Lord, The enemies of our peace in this matter have dealt very subtilly, and most trayterously against the reverend Assembly of the faithfull, the Clergie, to divide them from your Lordships protection, to destroy and hinder the worke of Reformation, &c. for my Lord, this man here indicted by the name of PERSECUTION, is none of the man; for here is Mr. Nationall Conformity, Mr. Pontificall Revenue, Mr. Ecclesiasticall Supremacy, Personages of Honour, and eminencie through out whole Christendome, to testifie with me, that this Prisoner hath ever endeavoured to purge the Church of God from Heresie, Scisme, and all manner of irregular exorbitant courses, and laboured for the peace of the Church, Edition: current; Page: [2-307] that we may lead, a lazie and an easie life without God, and the people in the feare of the Clergie. Indeed my Lord, he was once of the Church of Rome, and thereupon generally branded by the name of PERSECUTION; but my Lord, for the hundred yeares and upward he hath been of the true Protestant Religion, even from the time of Luthar, and at this present en-devoureth with us the good of the Church in its restitution to Prelaticall Presbytrie: And upon his seperation from Rome with Luthar, he utterly renounced the nicke-name of PERSECUTION, and though unhappily through Jesuiticall suggestions & delusions he was too frequent in the Spanish Inquisition, and of late by Episcopall sophistications intised to officiate in the High Commission; yet my Lord, he was ever in himselfe an honest Reformer, and indeed his true name is Present Reformation, he was borne not long after the Primative times, but his nature and inclinations by evill Instruments have been so much abus’d, that he had even lost his name, and being nicke-named when he was yongue, and through long continuance of time, forgot his name, that indeed he answerd a long time to the name of PERSECUTION, but his true and proper name is Persent Reformation, which by Interpretation, is, Presbyterian Government: Wherefore my Lord, I beseech you consider the subtilty of this malignant hereticall faction, who have procured the apprehension and indictment of this Present Reformation under the odious name of PERSECUTION, thereby at once to make your Honor both ruine your selfe, and the Presbytrie of the Kingdom: therefore my Lord, whether the Iurie have dealt honestly in their Verdict, your Honour by this may esily discerne.

Iudge.

PERSECUTION, what sayest thou to this? Is thy name Present Reformation?

Pers.

Yes my Lord, and my name is according to my naturall disposition.

Iudge.

Who gave you that name?

I. Reas.

My Lord, his God-fathers and God-mothers in his Baptisme, wherein he was made a member of the Assembly, and an Inheritor of the Kingdome of Antichrist.

Iudge.

His God-fathers, and God-mothers? who are your God-fathers, and your God-mothers?

Pers.

My Lord, Mr. Ecclesiasticall-Supremacy, and Mr. Scotch-Government are my God-fathers, Mr. State-Ambition, and Mr. Church-Revenue are my God-mothers, and I was sprinkled into the Assembly of Divines at the takeing of the late solemn-League and Covenant.

I. Reas.

My Lord, he is at this time Primate and Metrapolitane over all the Ecclesiast Courts of Tyranny in the world, the Spanish Inquisition, the High Commission and now our Divines have sprinkled his federall Holynesse into their Assembly, and hereupon chang’d his name from PERSECUTION, and Anabaptis’d him Present Reformation.

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Iudg.

’Tis strange, that at the makeing of the late solemne League and Covenant bloodthirsty PERSECUTION should be Anabaptized Present Reformation; then here’s a Designe of blood in the Covenant, if under the name of Reformation the Clergie have infused the trayterous bloodthirsty spirit of Persecution into it.

I. Human.

My Lord, there was never any Nationall or Provinciall Synod, but strengthned the hands of PERSECVTION, and that under the vizor of Religion.

I. Reas.

And my Lord, Sir Symon, and Sir Iohn’s agitation for PERSECUTION, is on purpose, to save this villaine, to cut their throats, that hazard, and spend their lives and fortunes for Us, and for the State of the Kingdome, such as have been faithfull in the publike Service, never tainted with Treason, or doubledealing, though the Kings negotiation with large promises have attempted it, even such cheifly, as they brand with the names of Anabaptists, Brownists, &c. those notwithstanding, they would have depriv’d of the liberty of the subject, yea of the liberty of their lives; and the sole cause hereof is, because they labour to informe your L. with rationall principles, and are zealous inquirers into the Gospel, from thence discovering the iniquity of the pontificall Clergie, and (labouring for the common good) communicate their understandings to the benefit of others, which prooving prejuditiall to the wicked ends of the Clergy, they labour with opprobrious names, lyes and slanders to make such odious, the better accomplish their ends, and in this Designe they have plaid their parts, for should PERSECUTION be put to death, the whole Clergy feare to be undone, as their exceptions against LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE did manifest; they are afraid of the mercy of the people, they cannot endure to serve only for Conscience, their tongues are even with their bellyes, pinch their guts, and spoyle the Preists, shut your hand, and there is a generall silence, you may be Anabaptist, Brouwnist, or what you will, if the matter be brought to that passe: This is that they feare my Lord, Therefore, would they have their hands strengthned with PERSECVTION, to prevent it let who will perish, if they stand. Moreover, my Lord, those very men which plead for PERSECUTION, are the same, even this man, Sir John, is the very man, that in the dayes of the Bishops complained, and contested against PERSECUTION, used all possible meanes to be delivered out of his Episcopall Pawes, endevoured to cast him out of the High Commission; but as soone as these underling Divines are from under their Episcopall Task-masters, and beginning to encroach upon your Lordships power, presently take this notorious bloody Traitour, PERSECUTION, stript by your Lordship of his High Commission habit, and out of their zeale dresse him in a divine Synodicallgarbe, and chang his name from PERSECUTION, and cristen him Reformation; so to engage your Lordship, and the Kingdomes of England and Scotland in blood, to settle and establish bloody Persecution by Covenant over the Consciences of Edition: current; Page: [2-309] honest and faithfull men unto the State, under the speacious and godly pretence of Reformation, as Mr. Edwards one of their Champions manifests, who is so impudent, as to assert, that your Lordship is bound to compell all men to the Decrees of the Synod, (ascribing to them, as the Papists to the Pope) an infallible unerring spirit, 2nd openly proclaimes, that Toleration of such honest faithfull Subjects, as Anabaptists, Brownists, Independants, Antinomians, &c. to be indirect opposition to the Covenant, and though before they might have beene lawfully tolerated, yet now they cannot under breach of the Covenant: Consider My Lord, is not this Jesuiticall subtilty, most desperate and secret delusion, that by this Covenant they would engage your Lordship, either to be a Covenant breaker, or else infringe the Liberty of the Subject entrusted by the Common people in your hands, one of these is inavoydable, and yet all under the coulour of Reformation, the true Protestant Religion, the cause of God, and I know not what; what in nomine Domini perpetrant omni malum; so that it is most certaine, that this fellow, whose name Sir Symon feigneth to be Reformation, is absolute PERSECVTION, so that had these Reformers but as much power as Queen Maryes Clergie, their Reformation would conclude in fire and faggot.

Judge.

Oh insufferable Assembly! I see ’tis dangerous for a State to pin their faith upon the sleive of the Clergie.

I. Reas.

Further my Lord, whereas others are impoverished, spend their estates, engage and loose their lives in this Quarrell, they are enriched, and advanced by it, save their purses and persons, cram and fill their greedy guts too filthy to be caried to a Beare, heape up wealth to themselves, and give not a penny, while others (against whom they exclaime) venture and expend all, yea my Lord, this great gorbelly’d Idoll, called the Assembly of Divines, is not ashamed in this time of State necessity, to guzle up and devoure dayly more at an ordinary meale, then would make a Feast for Bell and the Dragon, for besides all their fat Benefices, forsooth they must have their foure shillings a peece by the day, for sitting in constollidation; and poore men when they had fil’d all Benefices with good Trencher-men of their owne Presbyterean Tribe, they move your Lordship, that all Ministers may be wholy freed from all manner of Taxations, that now the Trade of a Presbyter is the best Trade in England, all are taxed, and it goes free; poore men that have not bread to still the cry of their children, must either pay or goe in person to the wars, while those devouring Church-lubbers live at case, feed on dainties, neither pay nor goe themselves but preach out our very hearts, they make it a case of conscience to give all, but wise men the'l give none: let the sicke, the lame and maimed Souldiers, and those that that have lost their limbs, and beg in the streets, let women that have lost their husbands, let parents that have lost their children, let children that have lost their parents, and let all that have or suffer oppression and misery, in and for the publike cause consider this, and be no longer Edition: current; Page: [2-310] riden and jayded by Clergy Masters; but to give the Divell his due, one thing to their commendations I have observed, that they are so zealously affected with the honour of their cloth, that ’t were pitty to disroabe them of their Cassoke garbe to be led in a string from Westminster to Allgate in Leatherne Jackets, and Mattokes on their shoulders; and my Lord, though some thinke they would do the State more good in Leatheren Jackets and Mattokes then in long Cloakes and Cassokes, yet me thinks, they would doe the State better service with their Canonicall Girdles, were the knot ty’d in the right place.

Iudge.

Sir Symon, we convocated the Assembly to consult with about matters of Religion, not arrogating to our selves, or ascribing to them a Spirit of infallability, considering that we are but Parliament men, not Gods, therefore we made tryall of their advice, but for them hereupon to arogate Supremacy over the State and people, lay claime to an unerring spirit, and perswade us, (as Edwards in his Antipol. saith) that we take it for granted, that the conclusions of their Debates, Controversies, and Consulations are according to the mind of Christ, because We cal’d them together, and hereupon to compell all men to their Decrees, is most impudent presumption, and popish arrogance; We did not suppresse the High Commission, to subject Our Selves to an Assembly, race out Episcopall to set up Presbyterian Prelacy, for what more Prelaticall, what more exorbitant then such presumption, tis a meere Monopole of the Spirit Sir Symon: you have so plaid the Iesuites, as it seemes, We have only put downe the men, not the Function; caught the shaddow, and let goe the substance: while We were suppressing Primates, Metrapalitanes, Arch-Bishops, Bishops, Ecclesiasticall Courts, Canons, Injunctions, Decrees, &c. you have so subtilly carried the businesse, as it seemes, Primacy, Metrapolitanisme, Prelacy, &c. shrunke into the Presbytry, and our High Commission turn’d into an Assembly of Divines; We out of Our good intentions cast out this Evill Spirit thence, and it entred it seemes, into these Swine, who thus headlong run upon their own destruction, (the Divell hath brought his hogges to a faire Market) arrogating an infallability, and a supremacy over Us, and the people, condemning PERSECUTION, when, they were persecuted, but commending & approving it, if they may persecute: Truly Sir Symon, you have out run the Constable, your ambition is a little too swift for your policie: What breath out threatnings, menaces, and persecutions openly, before you have power to persecute! sure you were not in your wits; when they were vented.

I. Human.

My Lord, they have set even till they’r run mad, you might do well to adjorne them to Bedlam; for my Lord, they are raging mad; to have the innocent blood of the Anabaptists, Brownists, Independants, &c.

I. Reas.

My Lord, they have over studdied themselves, and crack’d their wits in finding out a Religion for us; poore men they have been mightily puzled about it, it hath cost them the consumption of many fat Pigge, Chicken, Edition: current; Page: [2-311] capon, &c. the infusion of many a cup of sacke, to bring it to birth, and after such dolerous pangs, and bitter throwes for almost these two yeares, who would have thought, they should be delivered of such a ridiculous vermine, called, a Presbyter; parturiunt montes, nascitur ridiculus mus. And now my Lord, after this mountanous delivery, they are at their wits end, what dressing to put it out in, all the Taylours in the Kingdome are not able to content them, what to doe they know not, and now the matters worse then ever it was, they had thought to have shewne the world it in the godly shape of Reformation, but upon examination, ’tis found to be PERSECVTION, a sad event! there is no way now, but Bedlam for our Doctours, it may chance to chastize them into their wits againe, and then upon their second thoughts, it may be, they’l be thinke themselves, to put a Blew Bonnet upon ’t, and then ’t will passe from England to Scotland, and from Scotland to England againe without Question or controule.

Iudge.

Sir Symon, We blesse God, that hath put it into the hearts of those honest godly people, (though publikely despised and hated) those faithfull freinds and lovers of the Parliament and Kingdome, whome you nicke-name Anabaptists, Brownists, Independants, &c. to discover and detect unto us the Iesuiticall and Trayterous Designes of the Synod with the hazard of their Libertis, and for ought they know of their lives and fortunes; for should they not ventured themselves in the discovery of such a subtile generation, Who should have been kept ignorant through their zealous pretences, and had there been a mountaine more of their villany, it seemes they would have covered it with a vaile of teares, Fastings, affected prayers, and the like, from Our discerning.

I. Reas.

It is an approved truth, that such as are called Anabaptists, Brownists, &c. have in all Ages ventured, yea given up their lives, to enforme Kings, Kingdomes, Parliaments, and States in things that concerne their peace, and the glory of God, which though condemned at first, afterwards have proved no other; yea such as your Lordships Predecessours have condemned by penall Lawes, Statutes, &c. which now your Lordship through the mercy of God find otherwise, and it is we that reape the benefit of their blood in the suppression of Episcopall Iurisdiction, High Commission, &c. not they; for their sufferings, and their testimony have detected and informed us of their unlawnesse, it being their custome my Lord, to weare out the Mysterie of Iniquity with their blood: And now my Lord, we that have received vantage by their bitter sufferings, shall we baost our selves against them? it were ungratude to God, and inhumanity to them.

Iudge.

True: We find by dayly experience, that the Seperates are not such as ground their religion on selfe ends, for like Salamanders in the fire, they live in the heare of Persecution, they spare not their lives, to witnesse the innocencie of their Cause, the fire of Persecution cannot consume, but enflames them towards their God and the Truth; the menacing of Kings and Governours, Edition: current; Page: [2-312] and cruelties of their greatest Adversaries hinders not their testimony; this we find, when ever they are convented before Us, even to our astonishment; and we further find, it is not their owne good alone that they aime at, but the generall good of all men, that all (one as well as an other) may lead an honest and a quiet life under Our Protection, and We have (to our benefit) found the blessing of God upon their endeavours, as the hopefull and glorious successe in the Conquest of Yorke, which envie and malice it selfe cannot deny, was instrumentally archeived by their valour and fidelity: Wherefore in justice to their uprightnesse, and faithfulnes to that trust reposed in Us for the publike Good; the Liberty and property of the Subject, We may not deny them the benefit of Subjects, but as they are faithfull parties in the generall venture, so to be heriditatory to the generall purchase, having as just a Right thereto by the price of their blood as Our Selves, for that which is purchased by blood, all the purchasers have an equall right to the thing purchased.

I. Reas.

My Lord, but our Dessembly Doctours teach otherwise, yet I think if your Lordship should settle Anabaptistrie or the like, even that which they now persecute and threaten, preach and pray against, and forewarne the people off, as hereticall and damnable, provided you should endouw it with goodly fat Benefices, and sanctifie it with the hallowed Ordinance for Tythes, Offerings, Oblations, &c. questionlesse the generallity of those Persecutours of Anabaptists would have the wit to turne Anabaptists, for their Religion is moved upon the Wheele of the State; when the State was for Bishops, then they were for Bishops, and were very Canonicall Surplisse men, Altar bewers, and the like, (and the precisest sort those that are now our most zealous Presbyters) did then so comply and conforme to Episcopall superstition, is they kept their Benefices, (except here and there one of the honester sort,) while the honest Separate (counting nothing too deare for his God) did openly resist and witnesse against it, even to imprisonments, deprivation of goods, &c. But our temporizing Doctours, our State Protestant Ministers are not so simple to swime against the streame, they are wiser in their generation, for they know most wealth goes that way, as long as your Ordinance is laden with Tythes, Offerings and Oblations, they’l be sure to give fire; but should the State deprive their Religion of all Ecclesiasticall Revenue, of Personages, Tythes, &c. yea, should it be their very Presbyterie they so aime at that they should so impoverish, certainly we should have more Parishes then Presbyters, more Steeples then Doctours; then they would no be so hot for Presbytry, so zealous to persecute its opposers, I would your Lordship would make tryall, call in but your Ordinance for Tythes, and turne them to the good will of people, and then — a tythe Pigge will be sold for a penny.

Iudge.

Well notwithstanding the Doctrine and subtilty our Divines we cannot deale so unworthely with those honest men, but must by the grace of God, being by them better in formed, proceed to Sentence against this Malefactour according to the just Verdict of the Iurie.

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PERSECUTION fals upon his knees.

Pers. Good my Lord, have mercy upon me, I beseech your Honour even for the Clergies sake, have mercy upon me; consider my Lord, that in my death is their ruine, it will be the greatest inroad upon the Divines of Christendome, that ever was made. Oh!

I beseech you my Lord, by the Mysterie of their holy Convocation, by their agony, and bloody sweate, by their Crosse and Passion at my shamefull approaching death and buriall, Good Lord deliver me.

By their glorious Resurrection, and Ascention from the Pulpit above the State: By the coming of the Holy Ghost to them in Cloake Bagge from Scotland, Good Lord deliver me.

By the late solemne League and Covenant: By the 400. and 50. l. for the Copy of their Directory: By all the fat Benefices, and goodly Revenues of the Clergie, Good Lord deliver me.

By the Apocripha writings and non sense Arguments of Mr. Edwards: By the distracted thoughts and subitaine apprehensions of Mr. Prinne: By the Designes of the Clergie: By their fained teares: By their hypocrisie: By their false Glosses, Interpretations, and Sophistications, Good Lord deliver me.

By the Advance of the mickle Armie into the South: By the late innocent and undefiled Ordinance for Tythes: By all that is neare and deare unto the Clergie, the pompe and glorie of this world, Good Lord deliver me.

Iudge.

PERSECUTION, what would’st thou have? here’s no place of mercy for thee, the Vengance of God cannot be dispens’d with, thou art not in the High Commission, nor before the Assembly, this is a Court where justice must take place.

Pers.

Oh my Lord, I beseech your Lordship for the mercy of this honourable Bench: My Lord, I am a Clergie man, and beseech your Honour for the benefit of my Clergie: I have been of all the Universities of Christendom, have taken all their Degrees, proceeded through all Ecclesiasticall Orders and Functions, and my Lord, at present am under the Holy Order of Presbytrie, and I hope a Presbyter shall find favour in your eyes: Wherefore I beseech you my Lord, that I may have the benefit of Degration.

Iudge.

PERSECUTION, be contented, you shall be sent to the place of Degradation.

Pers.

Oh Good my Lord, let not a Presbyter come to so shamefull an end, I beseech this Honourable Bench, that I may be repreeved but as long as the Synod and Presbytrie endure.

Iudge.

No PERSECUTION, such is thy Treason, Rebillion, &c. as cannot be dispensed with.

Pers.

Oh my Lord, a psalme of mercy, I beseech your Honour, a psalme of mercy.

Edition: current; Page: [2-314]
Iudge.

No PERSECUTION, no; prepare to heare thy Sentence. Hereupon this ensuinge Letter was privately conveyed to Iustice Conformity.

Symon Synod
Synod, Symon
Iohn Presbyter
Presbyter, Iohn

To the right worshipfull Iustice Conformity, all blessing and benediction from his Holynesse Sir SYMON, and his Son Sir IOHN.

Right worshipfull,

These are to adjure you, as you will Answer it before US, at the great and dreadfull DAY of OUR Classicall exaltation above all persons in the Kingdome, that you forthwith sollicite my Lord, to suspend his Sentence but till the advance of the mickle Armie into the South, for then we feare not the procurement of his plenary pardon; and for your encouragement herein last night my Son Iacke and I went into our Presbyterian ware-house, and have taken a list of all the Instruments of torture and torment already prepared for our Designe: to wit, triple knotty corded whips, Gagges, Pillories, Stockes Sharpe Knifes, Pincers, hot burning Irons, Halters, Gallowes, Gybbets, Rackes, Spits, Fire-forkes, Gridirons, Axes, Sawes Fleshhookes, firery Furnaces, hot Ovens, boyling Caldrons, Fire and Faggot, close Prisons, darke and noysome Dungeons, Fetters, Manacles, all in abundance, most bloody and cruell Executioners, terrible and divilish Tormentours as, Presbyterian Hangmen, Goalers, &c. besides multitudes of Synodean Tyranies newly invented, not yet discovered to the people, such as never either by Pope, Bishop, or their adherents were devised: and though we have prepared those Divelish Instruments, yet we shall not be so indiscreet, to rush them in all on a suddaine; no we shall observe the temper of the people, the course of times, make a graduall progression, now a little, and then a little, and alwayes a most godly and holy pretence to usher in a damnable and wicked designe; if in the poising a businesse wee find it so heavy, that neither Synod, Divill, nor Presbyter can lift, we’ll suspend the matter, and insensibly prepare the people for the entertainment thereof, which by our vaine-glorious fasting, hypocriticall teares, prayers, and sophisticall Sermons we shall easily doe: And for your further encouragement understand; there are of certaine, from a late Consistorie of Divels dispatched seaven soule Spirits a peece for every Presbyter throughout England, to attend them in their Parochiall Iurisdiction: so that a Presbyter shall be seaven times worse then a Bishop, for it is intended, he shall be more fearce and cruell then his fellowes, therefore Woe, Woe unto those Anabaptists, Brownists, &c. those cursed Heretickes, for those presbyterian Feinds expect but the word of command, to devoure them up: But Mr. William, all this will come to nothing, if this Prisoner be put to death, you see those Sectaries have had such freedome of speech that my Son Iacke and I can doe no good; now, there being not such a considerable person in this County as your self to prevaile, WEE therefore charge you, as you hope to be a Iudge, faile not at this dead lift for your Eires; indeed he’s in your debt, but he vowes by your fiat justitia, that if you prevaile, he’ll provide you a paire of better and longer, then ever you had: Edition: current; Page: [2-315] Hereof faile not, and we shall not be backward to answer your deserts, when, WE and the parliament, shall be Commenced by

Your intire Freinds, Sir SYMON SYNOD, and Sir IOHN PRESBYTER.

I. Conformity. My Lord, were your Lordship but rightly informed concerning this Prisoner under the name of Mr. PERSECUTION, what he is, and from whence he came, your Honour would lesse wonder at his severall evations and dilatory pleaes, to award the Sentence of death, for were he guilty, what would not a man doe for his life? skin for skin, and all that a man hath will be give for his life, but such is his innocency, that the proceedings against him have been altogether upon false grounds; for whereas by the Evidence he is asserted to be born soon after the time of Innocency, and by them standeth charged with all the Innocent blood spilt upon the whole earth: I shall by your Lordships favour upon good grounds make it apeare, to be otherwise, for my Lord, this prisoner is not yet above an 100 yeares of age, being borne in Geneva, of very good Lutheran and Calvenish parentage, about the yeare 1544. where he was very well educated and instructed both in the Tongues and Liberall Sciences; and upon a certaine time going to Sea, he was by a great wind raised by Belzebub the Prince of Divels blowne into Scotland: And being so neare us, forth of his zeale and pious affection to reforme the Church of the Episcopall Prelacy to Presbyterian, he occasioned the rising of the Scots as one man to oppose that power, against which ever since he hath contested, and he lately advanced with their mickle Armie to the Leagure before Yorke, and for all this, he received many an affront by Cromwels scismaticall Brigade, and from thence taking his journey through Derby, Stafferd, Coventry, and Cambridge, where performing much good service he came to London, since whose coming, old Grand Mr. PERSECUTION, charged in the Indictment and convicted by the Iurie, was happily and timely executed uppon Tower Hill, by all which it appeareth, that the Witnesses that have given in Testimony against this prisoner, the Gentleman at the Bar, have greatly abused him, your Lordship, and the Iurie, he not being the person charged, and consequently innocent of the crimes laid to his charge, he being indeed as reall an adversary to Old Mr. PERSECVTION, as any Gentleman of this whole County; hereof if your Lordship make any doubt, I beseech you; that a Farrier may be called into the Court, who may make a perfect discovery to your Lordship of his age, by opening his mouth and vewing his Teeth, whose yongue, small, Presbyterean Pegges have no proportion betwixt the Great Twangs, and Boarish Tuskes of Old Mr. PERSECVTION: And besides this my Lord, to testifie what I have said, to be authenticke, there are hundreds in the mickle Arnue, whose absence have occasioned this his inability to justifie Edition: current; Page: [2-316] and cleare himselfe; but if your Lordship please but to adjourne the busines but till their mickle Advance into the South, the matter shall be made cleare unto your Honour, for then we make no question to awe and crush those Hereticall false witnesses, and advance Presbytry to its super Prelaticall Throne of CLASSICALL SVPREMACY, and though at first it be but jure Humane, a little fire and faggot will quickly Commence it jure divino.

I. Reas. My Lord, I am much afraid of a Conspiracy betwixt Sir Symon, and Sir Iohn Presbyter with Iustice Conformity, whome like an Ignoramus they have perswaded into their Combination, how to delude your Lordship, thereby to deliver PERSECVTION from the justice of this Court; You may easily perceave, how they would pinch your Lordships Nose with a paire of Scotch-Spectacles, and fixe a paire of long Synodian Eares unto your Lordships head, that your Lordship might see nothing but Blew Caps, heare nothing but Synodian Thunder; but I hope your Honour is throughly sensible hereof; yet least your Lordships Innocency, and honest endeavoures for the generall and equall Rights and Liberties of the Common People, should be circumvented and perverted by their policie, I shall (hoping my plaine dealing meerly (I call God to witnesse) out of unfeigned love unto your Honour, and the common Good of all the Common People shall not be recompensed with your High Displeasure) present the cunning insinuations and subtile fictions of Iustas Conformity in their true shape; for whereas he saith, that this present Prisoner is not the person indicted, and convicted of Treason, Rebellion &c. this being but a yongue man, the other very old, I can assure your Lordship, that he is herein meerly delusive, for the man is the very same, only through the advise of Sir IOHN he hath made use of a Presbyterian Barber, who hath shaven from his head, his old deformed Tresses, cropt of his haire above the eares after the halfe moon fashion, taught him the Presbyterian posture of his eyes, plaistered up the wrinkles of his bended brow with Scotch morter, whereby he hath acquired a more smooth Synodian countenance, but in a small time if he be let alone, he’l be as terrible and frighfull as ever; for his pritty small Pegges that he speakes off, your L. is therein mis-informed; for the Farrier that searched his mouth, was a Presbyterean Horse Doctour, prepared on purpose by yongue Sir IOHN for that very end, who discovered to your L. only the upper part of his fore teeth, whereas were his mouth but searched by an Independant Farrier, he would discover besides those in the hinderpart of his Classicall Iawes, his Great Iron Fangs, as great and terrible as there in spoaken of by Daniell cap. 7. 7. And as for the good service in those Enmity mentioned that he performed in his Roade from Scotland, seemes it was soo good, that the Prisoners there care for no more of his prison: Edition: current; Page: [2-317] for if he mumble us thus with his yongue small Presbyterian Pegges, what bloody massacrie, what cruell crushing of bones, rending tearing and devouring of flesh, must we expect, if your Lordship permit him the use of his dreadfull devouring Tuskes, his huge monsterous iron Fangs, but I hope your Lordship will first grant him the favour of an Independant Tooth-drawer, and then wee shall not greatly feare his Gummes: And concerning the Mickle Armie, my Lord, you may perceive how they would bind your hands from the execution of justice by the force of Armes, as though the wisedome of this Court were to be inslaved to such sinister respects; my Lord, it is highly deregatory to your Honour, and here are sufficient English Evidence, to prove this old seducer, to be PERSECUTION himselfe, as hath been manifest before your Honour; let not the people be thus deprived of justice, they did not in chusing your Lordship to this place, wherein you are, intend the makeing of themselves slaves in any the least kind, to Synods, Sir Iohns, force of armes, or the like, or to put themselves at so vast a distance, as to make their addresses to you, as to some Dietie, but in their chusing of you, authorised and entrusted you, to vindicate and preserve their native and just Liberties in generall, yea, and common to them with your selfe: therefore you cannot without betraing this Trust, by any coersive power subject any of their consciences, persons, or estates to any Ecclesiasticall Iurisdiction whatsoever: And now seeing this vile person at the Barre hath been legally indicted, araigned, and convicted, and thereby found an Arch-enemie and Traytour to the peoples common Liberty and Safety, Iudgement and Execution ought forthwith to passe upon him accordingly, that this Hypocriticall Pharisie, this blood-thirsty Catisse, this long Gown’d Mountebanke with his spirituall delusions may no longer cheate the world, as he hath done.

Hereupon the Court preceedeth to Iudgment.

Iudge.

Make Proclamation.

Crier.

O—yes, every man keep silence, &c.

Iudge.

With much patience this Court hath heard the severall pleaes betwixt PERSECUTION, and LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE urged on both sides; having seriously weighed the same in the Ballance of equity, hath found PERSECUTION and his Abettours with all their Pleas too light, even meere subtile, airie, and empty delusions: It is therefore the Sentence of this Court concerning Sir Symon, and Sir Iohn Presbyter, who have thus Iesuitically endeavoured to pervert the justice of this Court by their false, their subtile, and Trayterous suggestions in the behalf of this notorious bloody Malefactour PERSECUTION, that Sir SIMON be committed close Prisoner to King Henry the eight, is Chappell, there to be kept in Parliamentory safe Edition: current; Page: [2-318] custody, till the GREAT ASSISES, held in the first yeare of the RAIGNE of our Soveraigne Lord CHRIST, (when the Kingdom, and the greatnes of the Kingdome under the whole Heaven shallbe given to the Saints of the most High) there, and then to be Araigned with the rest of his Holy Tribe, whether Vniversall, Nationall, Provinciall, or Consistoriall Counsels, or Synods whatsoever, before his Highnesse the KING OF KINGS, and LORD OF LORDS.

I. Reas.

And my Lord, in the meane time to keep his Holinesse in action, I beseech your Honour, that he may Synodicate a full Resolution to these ensuing Queries.

1. Whether it doth not as much conduce to the Subjects Liberty still to be subjected to Episcopall usurpation, as to be given over to Presbyterian cruelty?

2. Whether it would not been more profitable for the Kingdome of England, to have forthwith hired a Coach and twelve Horses to have set a Directory from Scotland, then to have spent the learned consultations, pious debates, and sacred conclusions of such an holy, such a reverend, such an heavenly, such a godly, such a learned, such a pious, such a grave, such a wise, such a sollid, such a discreete, such a spirituall, such an evangelicall, such an infallible, such a venerable, such a super celestiall Quire of Angels, such a superlative Assembly of Divines for almost these two yeares space, after the profuse and vast expence of above fourty thousand pounds, besides their goodly fat Benefices, upon their devouring Guts, for an English DIRECTORY of worship equivolent to the Scotch DIRECTORY?

3. Whether this Directory standing in so many thousands to fumble it together, and the Copy sould at 400. and 50. l. be not of more value then the Writinges of the Prophets and Apostles.

4. Whether St. Peters Chaire doth not becomme a Presbyter, as well as a Bishop?

5. Whether the late divine Ordinance for Tythes, Offerings, Oblations, and Conventions be not better Gospell, and in all Presbyterian wisedome to be preferred and provided before the Directory for the worship of God?

  • O Cives, Cives, quærenda pecunia primum,
  • Virtus post nummos.
Iudge.

And as for Sir IOHN PRESBYTER, this Court hath Voted him to the uncleane, filthy, impious, unholy, darke, and worldly Dungeon, called, IVRE HVMANO there with Arch-Bishops, Bishops, &c. the Grand-Presbyters, his Fore-fathers, to be fast bound with the Majesteriall Chaines of humaine Lawes, Ordinances, Edicts, &c. and in them to be kept in safe custody till the aforesaid great Assises, in the Raigne of our Soveraigne Lord Christ, there, and then to be brought forth to the Tyrall of that Great and terrible DAY. Now to the Prisoner.

PERSECUTION, hould up thy hand: Thou hast been Indicted, Edition: current; Page: [2-319] and Araigned of emnity against God and all goodnes, of Treasons, Rebellion, Bloodshed, &c. and for thy tryall hast put thy selfe upon thy Countrey, which Countrey have found thee guilty, and to award the Sentence of death, from passing upon thee, thou hast had the liberty this Court in justice could permit, to make thy defence: we have heard thine allegations, evasions, the Reasons and Pleaes of thy Defendants, to whom was given all freedome of Defence could be desired, also We have heard the distracted jubitaine mediation of J. Conformity in thy behalfe, yet notwithstanding all that can be made for thee, thy guilt is so palpably apparant and grosse, that all the subtilety, craft, and policy thou and thy Consederates can devise, cannot obscure thee from the eye of justice: for this Court upon thy tryall, hath found out thy villany, Treason, and Bloodshed, and how thou art guilty of all that is laid to thy charge: Therefore the Sentence of this Court is, that thou shalt returne to the place from whence thou camest, to wit, the noysome, and filthy CAGE of every uncleane and hatefull Bird, the CLERGIE of Christendome, there to be fast bound with Inquisition, Synoddicall, Classicall, Preist bitter-all Chaines untill the Appearing of that Great and terrible Iudge of the whole Earth, who shall take thee alive, with Sir SYMON, and his Son Sir IOHN, and cast thee with them and their Confederates into the LAKE of fire and brimstone, where the Beast and the False Prophet are, there to be tormented day and night for ever, and ever.

Rev. 19. 1. 2. 3. And after these things I heard a great voyce of much people in Heaven, saying, Allelujah: salvation and glory, honour and power, unto the Lord our God:

For true and righteous are his judgments, for he hath judged the Great Whore, which did corrupt the Earth with her Fornication, and avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. Again they said, Allelujah: And her smoak rose up for ever and ever.

The POSTSCRIPT.

Least the honest innocent Intentions of Yongue MARTIN should receive some Synoddicall misconstruction, he desires to be his owne Interpreter concerning some passages, and for the rest he leaves to the fate of the publicke censure. Now whereas his Licence may seem to be an immitation of an Order of Parliament, it is only to shew the ostentation, pride, and vaine glory of the boasting Presbyters. And where he ascribeth many Epithites, as, divine, holy, &c. to the Ordinance for Tythes, they are not intended in derision to the Parliament, or to any of their Lawes, Statutes, or Ordinances whatsoever, but are used in the sense of Presbyterian acceptation, and of the reverend estimation they would perswade us of that above any other whatsoever. And the use of the late League and Covenant, is likewise only in the Presbyterian sense, simply respecting that Tribe, according to Edwards Interpretation thereof. Honest MARTIN would not be mistaken, he is no enemie to the unity of the two Kingdomes in Civill League and peace, but it is his hearts desire and prayers that not only they, but that all the Nations of the Earth were so in themselves and one with another. And for the Advance of the Scots, that is used only to shew, how those Presbyterian Iesuites would make that, which the two Kingdomes intend for the common good, to be perverted only to the Advance of their Persecuting Faction: And this MARTIN proclaimes to be his own genuine meaning.

FINIS.
Edition: current; Page: [2-320]
John Lilburne
Lilburne, John
8 October 1645
10.

2.10 [John Lilburne], Englands Birth-Right Justified Against all Arbitrary Usurpation, whether Regall or Parliamentary, or under what Vizor soever (8 October 1645).

  • ENGLANDS BIRTH-RIGHT
  • Justified Against
  • all Arbitrary Usurpation, whether REGALL or
  • PARLIAMENTARY, or under what Vizor soever.
  • With divers Queries, Observations and grievances of the People,
  • declaring this Parliaments present Proceedings to be directly
  • contrary to those fundamentall Principles, whereby their Actions at
  • first were justifyable against the King, in their present Illegall
  • dealings with those that have sent their best Friends,
  • Advancers and Preservers: And in other things of high
  • concernment to the Freedom of all the Free-born
  • People of England;
  • By a Well-wisher to the just cause for which Lieutenant Col.
  • JOHN LILBURNE is unjustly imprisoned
  • in New-gate.
Edition: current; Page: [2-321]

In the 150. page of the Booke called, An exact Collection of the Parliaments Remonstrances, Declarations, &c. published by speciall Order of the House of Commons, March 24. 1642. we find there a Question answered, fit for all men to take notice of in these sad times; which followeth.

Quest. NOw in our extreame distractions, when forraigne forces threaten, and probably are invited, and a malignant and Popis