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Tracts on Liberty by the Levellers and their Critics Vol. 2 (1644-1645) (2nd ed)

Tracts on Liberty by the Levellers and their Critics, Volume 2 (1644–45)
(2nd. revised and enlarged Edition)

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Revised: 25 May, 2018. [26 titles: 12 from 1st edition corrected; 5 elsewhere in OLL previously corrected; 9 new titles (8 still uncorrected)]

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Table of Contents

Tracts from 1644-1645 (Volume 2)

T.32 (8.18) Anon., A Dialogue betwixt a Horse of Warre and a Mill-Horse (2 January, 1644).

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ID Number

T.32 [1644.01.02] (8.18) Anon., A Dialogue betwixt a Horse of Warre and a Mill-Horse (2 January, 1644).

Full title

Anon., A Dialogue betwixt a Horse of Warre, and a Mill-Horse; Wherein the content and safety of an humble and painfull life, is preferred above all the Noyse, the Tumults, and Trophies of the Warre. Full of harmelesse Mirth, and variety.
London, Printed by Bernard Alsop, and published according to order, 1643.

 

Estimated date of publication

2 January, 1644.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 303; Thomason E. 80. (5.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

A discourse between the Cavalliers Warre Horse, and the Country-mans Mill-Horse.

Cav. hors.

WEll met old Mill-Horse or indeed an Asse,

I must instruct thee before we doe passe

How to live bravely; look on me and view

My Bridle and my Saddle faire and new;

Warre doth exalt me, and by it I get

Honour, while that my picture is forth set

Cut out in Brasse, while on my back I beare

Some Noble Earle or valiant Cavallier.

Come therefore to the Wars, and doe not still

Subject thy selfe to beare Sacks to the Mill.

Mil-hors.

Despite me not thou Cavalliers War-Horse

For thouogh to live I take an idle course,

Yet for the common-wealth I alwayes stand,

And am imploy’d for it, though I’m nam’d

A Mill-Horse, I am free and seem not under

Malignants that doe townes and houses plunder.

Transported on thy back, while thou must be

Valse guilty of their wrong, and injurie.

Done to their country, while without just cause,

Thou fightest for the King against the Lawes.

Against Religion, Parliament and all,

And least the Pope and Bishops downe would fall.

Thou art expos’d to battle, but no thanks,

Thou bast at all when thou dost break the Ranks

Of our stout Muskettiers, whose bullets flye

In showres, as in the fight at Newbery,

And force thee to retreat with wounds, or lame,

Is this the glory of thy halting fame.

Whereof thou dost so bragge [Editor: illegible word] beside thy fault

Of fighting for them who have alwayes fought,

Against the common-wealth, is such a sin,

That doth stick closer to thee then thy skin,

What though upon my back I carry sacks;

Thy meat is plunderd out of barnes and stacks;

While thou dost feed on stolen Dates and Hay

The wronged Farmers curse the strength away

Of all thy Diet, often wishing that

Diseases may consume thy ill-got fat.

Therefore recant and never more appeare

In field a Champion for the Cavallier;

Let not his spurre nor false fame prick thee on

To fight in unjust warres as thou hast done.

Cav. hors.

Fame is not what I aime at, but the knowne

Right of the King, the trumpet that is blowne

Unto the Battell doth not give me more

Courage, then what I had in him before,

As if we did partake of more then sense

And farre exceeded mans intelligence,

In stooping unto Kings, and doe prove thus

Our selves descended from Bucephalus,

That Horse who did no loyall duty lack

But kneeling downe received on his back

Great Alexander, while men kick and fling

Against the power of so good a King

As time hath blest us with, O let this force

A change in thee who art a dull Mill-horse.

Thou art no Papist being without merit,

Nor zealous Brownist, for thou dost want spirit.

But with a Halter ty’d to block or pale,

Dost pennance, while thy master drinks his Ale

In some poore Village; such a poore thing are thou

Who Gentry scorne, beare till thy ribs doe bow

Burthens of corne or meale, while that Kings are

My Royall Masters both in Peace and Warre.

Mil-hors.

Boast not of happy fortune, since time brings

A change to setled States and greatest Kings,

England was happy; peace and plenty too

Did make their rich abode here, but now view

The alteration, Warrs hath brought in woe.

And sad destruction doth this land o’flown

Now thou art proud, but if this warre in peace

Should land thy high ambition would then cease;

Thy strength and courage would find no regard,

Thy plundering service should get no reward,

Although in warrs thou trample down and kill

Thy foe in age thou shalt beare sacks to Mill

As I doe now, and when thy skinne is grizzle

Groan underneath thy burthen, fart, and fizzle

Like an old horse, a souldier of the Kings,

“All imploy’d valour sad repentance brings,

When thou art lame, and wounded in a fight

Not knowing whether thou dost wrong or right,

Or what is the true ground of this sad warre

Where King and subjects both ingaged are;

Both doe pretend the justnesse of their cause.

One for Religion, Liberty, and Lawes;

Doth stand, while that the King doth strive again

His Right and due Prerogative to maintaine;

The king keeps close to this, while subjects be

Growne mad to eclipse the sonne of Majestie

By enterposing differences; how canst thou judge

Where the fault is: both at each other grudge,

I know that this discourse is farre too high

For us, yet now to talke of Majesty;

In boldest manner is a common thing

While every cobler will condemn a King,

And be so politick in their discourse.

Yet know no more then I a poore Mill-horse;

Who for the common-wealth doe stand and goe,

Would every commonwealths man did doe so.

Cav hors.

Mill-horse in this thy space and speech agree

Both wanting spirit dull and tedious bee;

The King and commonwealth are vexed theames

Writ on by many; prethee think on Beanes

And Oates well ground, what need hast thou to care

How the deplored commonwealth doth fare;

For policy this rule in mind doth keep,

“Laugh when thou hast made others grieve and weep

What care we how the State of things doe goe?

“While thou art well, let others feele the woe.

If I have store of provender I care not,

Let Cavalliers full plunder on and spare not,

When Ockingham was burned I stood by

And like each widdowes wept at ne’re an eye,

When the town burnt a fellow said in leather

“He lov’d to see a good fire in cold weather;

And with the simple clowne I doe say still

“If I doe well I care not who doth ill;

For with the Cavalliers I keep one course,

And have no more Religion then a Horse,

I care not for the Liberty nor Lawes.

Nor priviledge of Subjects, nor the cause,

Let us stand well affected to good Oates,

While that the ship of State and Kingdome floates

On bloody waves, the staved rack shall be

Crammeed with hey, a commonwealth to me.

Mill-hors.

Alasse I pitty thee thou great war-horse

Who art like Cavalliers without remorse:

The sad affliction which the Kingdome feeles,

Regarding not, thou caste it at thy heeles

And so dost prove that horses have no braine

Or if they have they little wit containe.

Unto the Kingdomes tale thy prick eares lend

Whose griefe I will describe, and right defend.

Cav-hors.

Thou defend right, thy right to the high way

Is lost, as sure as thou dost live by hey,

In telling of a tale without all doubt

Thou needs must stumble, and wilt soon run out

Of breath and sense, good Mill-horse, therefore prethee

Leave tales, there are too many tales already,

That weekly flye with more lies without faile

Then there be haires within a horses taile;

And if the writers angry be I wish,

You would the Cavalliers horse arse both kisse,

Not as the Miller thy back doth kisse with whip,

But as a Lover doth his Mistresse sip;

For know the Cavalliers brave warlick horse

Scornes vulgar Jades, and bids them kisse his arse.

Mill-hors.

Thou pamperd Jade that liv’st> by plunderd oates

My skin’s as good as thine and worth ten groates,

Though slow of foot, I come of a good kind,

Of Racers, gotten by the boistrous wind

When the mare turned her back side in the mouth

Of Boreas, being Northerne breed not South.

The Millers horse before the warres began,

Would take the way of Lord or Gentleman;

And when Peace shall Malignants keep in aw,,

I shall see thee in Cauch or Dung-cart draw,

Cav. hors.

I scorne thy motion, after this sad Warre,

Perhaps I may draw in some Coach or Carre;

And which doth grieve me, Cavaliers most high-born

I may be forced to draw on to Tiburne:

In time of Peace my blood shall not be spilt,

But like to Noble Beere, shall run at Tilt.

In Peace I serve for Triumphs, more then that

I shall be made a Bishop, and grow fat,

As Archey said, when Bishops rul’d ’twas worse,

That had no more Religion then a Horse.

But thou shalt weare thy selfe out, and be still

An everlasting Drudge unto some Mill.

Mil-hors.

No matter, I wil spend my life and health,

Both for my Country and the common-wealth,

And it is Prince-like (if well understood)

To be ill-spoken off for doing good,

And if a horse may shew his good intent,

Some Asses raile thus at the Parliament.

Scorn is a burthen laid on good men still.

Which they must beare, as I do Sackes to Mill:

But thou delighted to bear trumpets rattle.

An animall rushing into lawlesse battle;

If thou couldst think of those are slain and dead,

Thy skin would blush, and all thy haires look red

With blood of men, but I do with for peace,

On that condition Dogs might eate thy flesh.

Then should the Mil-horse meat both fetch and bring.

Towns brew good Ale, and drink healthe to the King.

Cav. hors.

Base Mill-horse have I broke my bridle, where

I was tyed by my Master Cavaliere

To come and prattle with thee, and doest thou

Wish Dogs might eat my flesh? I scorn thee now.

My angry sense a great desire now feeles.

To kick thee into manners with my heeles.

But for the present I will curb my will.

If thou wilt tell me some newes from the mill.

Mil-hors.

If thou wilt tell me newes from Camp & Court,

Ile tell thee Mill-newes that shall make thee sport.

Cav. hors.

If Country news thou wilt relate and shew me,

Halters of love shall binde me fast unto thee,

Mil-hors.

It chanced that I carried a young Maid

To Mill, and was to stumble much afraid,

She rid in handsome manner on my back,

And seem’d more heavie then the long meale sacke

On which she sate, when she alighted, I

Perceiv’d her belly was grown plump and high;

I carried many others, and all were

Gotten with childe still by the Cavaleer,

So that this newes for truth I may set downe,

There’s scarce a Maid left in a Market towne;

An woman old with Mufler on her chin,

Did tell the Miller she had plundered been

Thrice by the Cavaliers, and they had taken.

Her featherbeds, her brasse, and all her bacon,

And she her daughter Bridget that would wed

Clodes sonne was plundered of her maidenhead,

Besides I heare your Cavaliers doe still,

Drinke sacke like water that runs from the Mill;

We heare of Irish Rebels comming over,

Which was a plot that I dare not discover.

And that the malignant Army of the King,

Into this Land blinde Popery would bring.

Cav. hors.

Peace, peace, I see thou dost know nothing now,

Thy fleeting jests I cannot well allow;

And there are Mercuriés abroad that will,

Tell better news then a horse of the Mill;

But I will answer thee, and tell thee thus,

Thou lyest as bad as ere did Aulicus.

Who though he writ Court-newes ile tell you what,

Heele lye as fast as both of us can trot.

You tell of Maydens that have been beguild,

And by the Cavaleers are got with childe,

And hast not thou when thou wast fat and idle,

Often times broke thy halter and thy bridle,

And rambled over hedge and ditch to come,

Unto some Mare, whom thou hast quickly wonne

To thy desire, and leapt her in the place,

Of dull Mill-horses to beget a race;

While that the Cavaliers when they do fall

To worke, will get a race of souldiers all.

It had been newes whereas I would have smilde,

If the maids had got the Cavalliers with childe.

Mill-hors.

I ramble over hedge, thou meanst indeed

The Cavalliers, who were compelt’d with speed

Both over hedge and ditch away to flye.

When they were lately beat at Newbery.

The Proverb to be true is prov’d by thee>

That servants like unto their masters bee;

Those plundering devills on thy back doe ride,

Have fill’d thee with a pamper’d spirit of pride,

And thou hast eaten so much Popish Dates,

That in thy belly thou hast got three Popes;

The great Grand-father of that race did come

That bore Pope Joane in triumph through Rome

I beare to Mill of corne a plump long sack.

Thou carried a great Pluto on thy back.

Oh Cavallier, and who can then abide thee.

When that malignant Fooles and Knaves doe ride thee.

From town to town, and plunder where they come,

The country is by Cavalliers undone.

And these thy masters are, who fight and kill

And seek the blood of Protestants to spill;

For thus the newes abroad both alwayes runns,

That the Kings forces are in horse most strong.

Whereby it doth appeare the war-horse are

Guilty of blood-shed, in this cruell war

And yet the Cavalliers horse as I beare

At Kenton field beshit themselves for feare.

And the Cavalliers being kill’d, they run about

The field to seek another master out,

Therefore love war, and have of wounds thy fill.

While I in Peace doe walk unto the Mill;

I will be alwayes true unto my selfe,

And love the Kingdome and the Commonwealth.

Cav. hors.

Mill-horse, because thou shew’st thy railing wits

Ile give thee a round answer with some kicks,

Which Ile bestow upon thee, but I am undone,

Yonder my master Cavallier doth come

To fetch me back, and Yonder too I see

The Miller comming for to take up thee;

If thou lik’st not my discourse very well,

Mill-horse take up my taile, and so farwell.

FINIS.

 


 

T.33 (2.1) Thomas Goodwin, Philip Nye, Sidrach Simpson, Jeremiah Burroughes, and William Bridge, An Apologetical Narration (3 January 1644).

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Bibliographical Information

ID Number

T.33 [1644.01.03] (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).

Full title

Thomas Goodwin, Philip Nye, Sidrach Simpson, Jeremiah Burroughes, and William Bridge, An Apologetical 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, MDCXLIII (1643).

 

Estimated date of publication

3 January 1644.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 304; Thomason E. 80. (7.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

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.

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 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 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 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 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, 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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 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 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 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 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.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

 


 

T.34 (2.2) Richard Overton, Mans Mortalitie (19 January 1644).

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T.34 [1644.01.19] (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).

Full title

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, 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 befalleth the sons of men, befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them all: as the one dyeth, so 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.

The pamphlet contains the following parts:

  1. To his worthy friend the Author upon his Booke (2 poems)
  2. Mans mortalitie

 

Estimated date of publication

19 January 1644

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 306; Thomason E. 29. (16.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

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.
  • 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.

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:

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 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 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.

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.

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.

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 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 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: 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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, 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.

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 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?

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, 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 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. 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 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.

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 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 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 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 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 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.

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.

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 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 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; 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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 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, 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.

 


 

T.35 (2.3) Henry Robinson, Liberty of Conscience (24 March 1644).

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T.35 [1644.03.24] (2.3) Henry Robinson, Liberty of Conscience: Or the Sole means to obtaine Peace and Truth (24 March 1644).

Full title

Henry Robinson, 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.

The pamphlet contains the following parts:

  1. To every Christian Reader that seeks Truth as well as Peace
  2. Liberty of Conscience: Or, The only means to obtain Peace and Truth

 

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24 March 1644

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TT1, p. 316; Thomason E. 39. (1.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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 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.

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.

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 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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, 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 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 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.

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 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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.

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 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 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 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, 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 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, 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 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. 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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: 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, 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, 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 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 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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 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? 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 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 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, 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, 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.

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.

 


 

T.36 (8.19) Philip Hunton, A Vindication of the Treatise of Monarchy (26 March, 1644).

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T.36 [1644.03.26] (8.19) Philip Hunton, A Vindication of the Treatise of Monarchy (26 March, 1644).

Full title

Philip Hunton, A Vindication of the Treatise of Monarchy, Containing an Answer to Dr Fernes Reply; Also, A more full Discovery of three maine Points;
1. The Ordinance of God in supremacie.
2. The Nature and Kinds of Limitation.
3. The Causes and Meanes of Limitation in Governments.
Done by the authour of the former Treatise.

London, Printed by G. M. for Iohn Bellamy, and are to be sould at his Shop at the Signe of the three Golden-Lyons in Cornehill neare the Royall-Exchange, M. DC. XLIV.

 

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26 March, 1644.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 316; Thomason E. 39. (12.)

Editor’s Introduction

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Text of Pamphlet

A VINDICATION OF THE Treatise of Monarchie.

The Preface.

PErusing with a sad heart and conscience, desirous of Information the Papers made publike by the Defenders of both sides in this wofull division; I found divers of them running out into irreconcileable extreames: among which this Resolver, the Authour of the fuller Answer, and the Divines pleading for Defensive Armes were the chief. In which I conceived there were passages contrary to all true policie, and the particular Frame of this State. Hereon a desire of allaying mens spirits, and reducing them to a moderate compliance in one Truth induced me to a composing of that Treatise, In which how farre I have attained my ayme, I leave it to the world to judge.

But it fals out with me, as it did with Moses endeavouring to set at one his contentious Brethren, I have hard words and censures laid on me for my labour. This Doctour tels me, I have sowne seeds of sedition, opened a way to Rebellion, and termes me an engaged man. But to whom I am engaged, unlesse to Truth, I know not: Engaged indeed I am to defend the Kings Supremacie against one part by my Oath of Allegiance: and engaged to defend the Priviledges of Parliament, and lawfull Liberties of the Subject, against the other part, by my Protestation: beyond these I know none, and perhaps if this censurer knew my condition, he would acknowledge as much. No, those men are rather engaged, whom, ayming at &illegible; and a dominion over their fellow-Presbyters, it much concernes to prove the Power of Kings unlimited, that so they may be able to satisfie their unlimited desires, and uphold them in a boundlesse jurisdiction over the consciences of men; but for this Doctor, I know him not, I judge him not.

Then, for Sedition and Rebellion, The searcher of all hearts knowes how farre they were from being the scope of that discourse, rather it was an utmost assay of appeasment, by shewing the way to a discreet moderation. These Masters of controversie take a right course to subvert the Kingdom by disputing men into a degree of Opposition beyond all Attonement, for as I am perswaded the high spirit of Kings will rather incurre the worst hazzard then submit to such termes, as to be Vniversis minores, that is, subject to their Subjects, common servants and Officers of their Kingdomes, tyed up to an absolute necessity of assenting to the Determinations and Votes of the States: So I am as consident, that these two British Nations, yea very many now being in his Majesties Armies, will spend their last bloud rather then come downe to this Doctors termes, sc. a meere passive non resistence of subversive instruments of Arbitrarie commands, a simple morall liberty, which the basest slaves in the Turks gallies enjoy, because it cannot be taken from them.

For my part, I doe not reckon my life and liberty worth so much pleading for; but the libertie of my Country is deare to me: The established Government is deare to me, because in it is bound up Religion, the publicke Good, yea the very Title of the King to this Crowne. These I plead for against a man, who by his unconscionable resolves of Conscience, hath done what by a pen can be done, to dissolve them: who in three whole books hath undertaken the Patronage of Subverters of Religion, Laws and Government: and thinks it worth his pains if he can procure them an irresistibilitie.

I thought I had weighed out Truth to both sorts with so even a ballance in that Treatise, that none had any cause to complaine. But, I see, this man must have all goe his owne way: He hath a high designe, no lesse then a full conquest of all States; To bind the Consciences and hands of Nations, and deliver them up to the Executioner to inflict on them the capitall doom of subversion, if at any time the supreme Magistrate please to give the word. To this purpose having made some animadversions on scattered passages of my Book. He is pleased to publish them under the stile of a Reply; I may well call it a negative Reply. He denies what I have asserted; and layes downe his owne contradictorie Notions, and that is all; no Scripture nor Reason, but what is fully answered in my former: It is so hollow a discourse, that an ordinary eye may see through it, without the light of any further Answer; yet because he gives me occasion of fuller illustration, and justifying my supposals; and discovering the vanity of his, I have made him this Return, in which I have to my knowledge, left unanswered no passage of moment which concernes me, in his Reply; other parts of it have I left untouched for them to whom they belong.

And now with prostrate humility I beseech that sacred Authoritie, which here againe, is made the matter of this dispute, not to impute iniquity unto me presuming, for Truth and Conscience sake, to make inquiries into it. The Sun-beames strike not dead the poor Mathematician, who standing on this molehill, assaies by his instruments to take the dimensions of that glorious bodie. Yea the great God of Power permits men without the guilt of sin, to search into his Perfections, and to set, not positive, yet negative bounds to Omnipotence it selfe. Let not then his Vicegerent be incensed to disdain, if we search into the limits of his Power. I envie not it’s extent, let it be as large as Truth and Law can stretch it: And my dutie binds me to beleeve that he would not have it larger. Princes require a reasonable subjection, and that is best performed where the nature and measure of Power is best knowne: which to find out is all the drift of my former and this Treatise, unto which now we will passe over.

The Contents of the severall Chapters and Sections.

  • Chap. 1.  THE Case mis-proposed by the Doctor in his Resolution, Sect. 1. His uncharitable rash Censures. His Intents in this Reply come not home to the Case in question, Sect. 2. How far Scripture proofe is to be expected in these Cases, Sect. 3.
  • Chap. 2.  In the Question of Resistance the Doctors Distinction of Times and Persons is vaine. How farre Resistance is asserted by me in this and the former Treatise.
  • Chap. 3.  The Doctor and other of his sort abuse Scripture in this Question, Sect. 1. Scripture warranting this resistance: but having not a word against it. The Doctor in words professing against Absolutenesse, but indeed pleading for it, Sect. 2. Government not only from God: but subordinately from the people, Sect. 3. Irresistiblenesse a Consequent of Absolutenesse. Limited Monarchie is in the very Power, Sect. 4. Mixture must be in the very Power. The Doctors strange and sencelesse conceit of Mixture, Sect. 5. Conquest gives no mor all title before consent, Sect. 6.
  • Chap. 4.  The Doctors vaine and false supposals about Gods Ordinance in Soveraignty. It doth not exclude Limitation of Power, Sect. 1. His false supposals about the Nature and Quality of Limitation, Sect. 2. His false supposals about the Causes and Meanes of Limitation, Sect. 3.
  • Chap. 5.  The Soveraignty of this Kingdome Limited in the very Power, and from its first Originall. The vanity of the Doctors three Titles by Conquest, Sect. 1. Arguments for Limitation and Mixture vindicated, Sect. 2. Seven Queries concerning this Government; Sect. 3.
  • Chap. 6.  The stating of the Question of Resistance asserted. The Appeale ad conscientiam generis humani, in the utmost contention vindicated, Sect. 1. His arguments against Reservation of Power of Resistance, are answered, Sect. 2.
  • Chap. 7.  The vanity of his conceit about jus Regis. His deceitfull citing of Calvin. The Government of the Kingdome of Israel proved absolute, Sect. 1. Instances for Resistance out of the Old Testament justified, Sect. 2.
  • Chap. 8.  The Text, Rom. 13. nothing concernes this Resistance. His unjust charging of me in this Question. His slighting of Doctor Bilson, and other Divines. Resistance of exceeding Acts, no Resistance of the Power, Sect. 1. Emperours of Rome in S. Pauls time proved absolute, Sect. 2.
  • Chap. 9.  His nine Reasons against Resistance answered, Sect. 1. The five reasons for Resistance made good, Sect. 2. The Doctor recedes from his first Assertions, And yeilds us the Question. No evils follow this Resistance; but many its deniall, Sect. 2. The Conclusion of the whole, Sect. 3.

A VINDICATION OF THE Treatise of Monarchie. OR. An Answer to Dr FERNES Reply.

Chap. I.

An Answer to the first Section of his Reply.

Sect. 1.THE first Section containes his Preface, where p. 2. He taxes me, that I looke not with a single eye on what he hath written, misconstruing it many times: but whether I have so done or no, it will be manifest in the sequell. Then more then once, he censures me for being engaged. What engagements I have, appeares before in my Preface: But, I set up my rest upon a groundlesse fancie of such a mixture and constitution of this Monarchy, &c. Whose supposals are groundlesse fancies, his or mine, I doubt not will fully appeare in this ensuing discourse. Neither had I any other purpose to which I have sitted that Treatise then the simple finding out of truth, God knowes how ever the Doctor pleaseth to censure the purposes of my heart, Viewing this Resolvers discourse, for the satisfaction of my conscience, I found it confused, and not approaching the Case which now troubles the world: Men enquire about the Lawfulnesse of Resistance of Instruments: He answers concerning Resistance of the King: Men demand, Whether Resistance of subversive Instruments be the Resistance of Gods Ordidinance forbidden, Rom. 13. He supposeth that which is the Question; and makes that the ground of his Resolve which is the sole thing at which the conscience scruples. This put me on a Discourse of Monarchy, that so by a distinct considering of the grounds of true Policie, I might both satisfie my selfe and others: and not suffer mens consciences, seriously desiring sound information to be either puzled or misled by so confuse and indirect a Resolution. Yet something there is which he likes in me, that is, as much as serves his own turne. I doe with much ingenuity disclaime, and with no lesse reason confuse severall Assertions of other Writers, &c. in p. 2. Would he could as well have seen my confutation of his, as of other errours: What I have said against him, as it proceeds from the same impartiall spirit, so it containes the same truth; as, I doubt not, the judicious Reader will discerne. But yet I hold the ground on which their Absurd assertions are raised, sc. that the Mixture is in the Supremacie of Power, only I give the King, apicem potestatis, the top or excellency of Power, that is, the King is the crown or top of the head, &c. Thus is he pleased to jeere me, but how justly, it will hereafter appeare. And whereas I place the Authority of determining the last controversies in a mixt Government, not in the two Houses, this he commends in me: but that I doe not ascribe it to the King; This he exclaimes against, as a ready way to confusion, but why, and how it is so, he tells us not; only promiseth to speake of it more below, but where that below is, I cannot find.

Sect. 2.After he hath thus touched upon those things which he is pleased to tax in my Treatise. He proceeds, p. 4. to shew us what his intent was of first undertaking and now proceeding in this Argument. Well: let us heare what it was. The intent of his first Treatise was to resolve the Consciences of misled people, touching the unlawfulnesse of Armes now taken up against the King. He erres in his proposing of the very Case. I believe he knowes no conscience misled touching this matter: The Case which he should have resolved, if he had done any thing, was touching the unlawfulnesse of Armes now taken up against subverting instruments of the Government of the Kingdome; and that the resisting of these is a Resisting of the King; No wonder if he who shootes at a wrong marke looseth all his arrowes. This wrong proposing and prosecuting of so weighty a case (which I doubt was purposely done) set me first on work in this businesse. Heare then the case more simply proposed: and I refer me to the consciences of men, whether I come not neerer the truth of it, then this proponent hath done. The Houses declare Religion and established Government to be in apparent danger, by meanes of some subversive Counsellours and Instruments about the King. This being supposed, they proceed according to Vote to the Ordinance and execution of the Militia, so to resist and apprehend those Counsellours and Instruments from whom they had declared the danger to spring. This put on the Doctor to his first booke, to resolve the consciences of men, that it was unlawfull: Now see what course he tels us he took to resolve men in this case. He undertakes to make good two Assertions. 1. Were the King so seduced, it were not safe to beare part in the resistance of Armes now used against him. 2. That the case is not so, as they suppose, but rather apparently contrary. In the proofe of these two, he spends his whole book. Concerning the latter I intend no controversie with the Doctor: Would he could make it cleare to the satisfaction of the consciences of all men; that were the way indeed not only to satisfie mens consciences, but to calme the Kingdome into a blessed peace. But the Doctor is but slight in that part; and sayes nothing, but what, as appeares in the Debate in the end of my Treatise, may soone be answered out of the Declarations of the Houses, and the fresh memory of past occurrents: And in this reply he hath not so much as touched upon that Chapt. of my book: But that which in his first Tract he mainely, and in this Reply he solely labours to make good is the first Assertion, which is a universall one, and worthy to be examined in all Ages and Governments, whatsoever becomes of this present contention in this Kingdome. Now concerning that Thesis, in my Treatise of Monarchy I have affirmed and confirmed two things. 1. That if he could make it good, yet it were nothing to the businesse he hath undertook; which is to satisfie the conscience concerning the Unlawfulnesse of Resisting Instruments, not the King, of which hee hath spoken very little or nothing at all. 2. That if he could prove that in some Kingdomes where the will of the King is the peoples Law, Resistance of Instruments were unlawfull, if actuated by the Soveraignes will: Yet in Legall and Limited Governments, it doth not follow to be true: yet this he must make good, if in our present case he satisfie mens consciences as he undertakes. These two are the summe of my Answer to the Doctor in that Treatise, and if in this Reply he doth any thing, he must speake to these points. Something he hath here spoken concerning the Ordinance of God in Supremacy, Of Cases of Resistance; of Kinds of Monarchy, of the Constitution of this Monarchy; but how truly and satisfactorily, it is my part to examine, and let the world judge.

But as if he had already cleared the matter, he proceeds to give sentence before the cause be heard: And doubts not to call the contrary Resolution a Blaspheming of God and the King, p. 4. I answer, If there be any which will defend the lawfulnesse of taking Armes against the King, and in any case to resist the Powers. They crosse the evident truth of Scripture, and I condemne them: Yet me thinks the Doctor deales somewhat severely with them, to call them Blasphemers of God, for every errour about the word is not Blasphemie; but a wilfull and obstinate speaking evill of the things of God. Likewise concerning a King, if it be true that he be seduced; then it is no blasphemie, which alwayes is a falshood. If it be false, yet it is inhumane to call it a blaspheming, when it imputes nothing to him, but to be seduced, which the best and most innocent Prince may be; sure, if it be a blaspheming, it is of the Counsellours and seducers, for to them the evill is imputed.

Then p. 6. He comes to speake of what he intends in this present booke: sc. that he will cleare this point, That the Doctrine teaching that subjects may take Armes against their Soveraigne for the defence of Religion and Liberties, when in danger of subversion, is destitute of Scripture and true reason. As I said, still he drives at a vaine scope; to prove that which none denies: Let him prove, that in our Kingdome, Resistance of subversive instruments is a taking Armes against their Soveraigne, and he does the work; else he proves in vaine. But let us see how in the processe of this booke, that will be cleared which none doth deny. First upon examination of places of Scripture it will appeare, that Gods people were continually under Kings which they might not resist, &c. What then? must it needs follow, that all other people must too? But whether the word containes any thing against Resistance, and how far, we shall enquire in the processe of this dispute. Secondly, Upon the examination of Reason, it will appeare how inconsistent such a Power of Resistance in subjects is with Government, &c. Indeed he will make appeare a great matter; would he would speake something to the Question, and not proceed so indistinctly; I hope in the processe of his book he will come neerer to the businesse then here he promiseth, or else all our labour will be to little purpose.

Sect. 3.After he hath told us what great matters we are to expect in his booke; he complaints how much his expectation hath been deceived by his Adversaries. He confesses, They have great appearance of Reason raised on Aristotles grounds or principles; so that at first sight it seemed unreasonable that subjects should be left without this remedy. If he speake all this of Resistance of their soveraigne, sure it seemes not at all unreasonable, but agreeable to all reason that subjects should be without this remedy: It is directly against the word and all sound reason, that a people lifting up a Person above themselves, and by sacred Covenant giving him a Power above themselves, should afterward on any pretence assume a power of Resisting that person and power, and violate their own Covenant and Oath of due subjection. But if that Person be invested with a limited Power: and he proceed to acts of meere arbitrarinesse without the limits of that Power conferred on him: Then it is all the reason in the world, that the Limiting States should exercise an effectuall restraining Power by resisting instruments of such arbitrary and subversive acts, and we have not a sillable of Scripture contradicting it. But if it seemed so unreasonable to the Doctor, that subjects should be without this remedy; why doth he contradict Reason in a businesse within its compasse? He tells you, He found Reason presently checked with that saying of our Saviour, Mat. 10. 25. It is enough for the Disciple that he be as his Master. And was this all the check your Reason had? It is a very weake Reason which would yeeld to such a check. What? is every Christian bound for his outward state to be in no better case then Christ was? If he were pleased to be borne under an absolute Government, to be of low and poore condition, doth this impose a necessity on all to be no freer, no richer then he was? A man would think his Reason were not only checked, but broken, which should so argue. Let it be proved that by the providence of God we are brought forth under such a Government as our Master was, then will we hold our selves bound by his example, to abide quietly in that condition we are borne to; but if God, as he hath dispensed to many a richer estate then Christ was pleased to have, so hath to us a freer Government; then the Apostle adviseth us to use it rather, and not to be trisled out of it, by a shew of our Masters example, in a case in which it binds no man.

But in what hath his Adversaries so much deceived his expectation? He expected expresse Scripture, but he finds them altogether fayling; only their faith and perswasion is resolved into an appearance of reason raised upon Aristotles grounds and principles. p. 6. Mr Hooker might have taught him that the intent of the Scripture is to deliver us credenda; but in matters within the compasse of Reason, it is enough if we have evident reason for it, Scriptura non contradicente: and I am consident the Scripture hath not a tittle against such a Resistence as I doe maintaine; and we have reason enough for it. The Scripture was not given to prescribe frames of Policie, which are various according to the disposition of people; Generall Rules there are for Government, which being observed, Particulars, which fall under no setled Rule, are left to reason and the positive Lawes of Nations to determine. Yet we are not wholy destitute of warrant from Scripture, as the Doctor affirmes, but are better furnished then he, as it will appeare in the sequell. If Buchaman, and Junius Brutus, or any else have raised any doctrines on Aristotles grounds which will not consist with Gods Ordinance set downe in Scripture concerning Authority, I am not bound to make good other mens excesses: This Replier knowes, that as I repudiate his Assertions tending to the ruine of all Liberties of States: So I hold it unlawfull to use any force against the person, or Authority of the Supreame, even in the most Legall and limited Monarchy. Therefore he doth me exceeding wrong in the close of his first Section, to say, that, I agree with the rest to use what force they can against such a Monarch for suppressing of his tyranny, &c. All I say is, that Force may be used; but neither against the Person nor Authority of the Monarch, which in all Governments of that nature are to be held sacred and inviolate.


Chap. II.

An answer to the second Section concerning Cases of Resistence.

I Could have wished, that if it had pleased this Doctor to reply any thing, he would have followed the steps of my Treatise; but sith he intends no full returne, but doth only catch at here and there a passage, without observing any order, I will frame my Answer to the course of his Reply; and cleare the parcels of my book as I find them assaulted in my reading of his. The Title of this Section being Cases of Resistence, the first part of it is spent about such Cases as are put by the Divines who plead for Defensive armes. At length, p. 9. 10. He comes to the alone Case in which I defend Resistence, in the p. 51. of my Tract, where I put the Question of Persons misimployed to serve the illegall destructive commands of the Prince. And I affirm in such case, and of such Persons Forceable Resistance to be lawfull by the two Estates of Parliament. This I prove by five Arguments, which here the Doctor doth not touch, but referres them to the p. 93. of this Reply. Only here he gives us a Magisteriall determination without any proofe at all. But let us heare his Resolution upon the case. He dares not openly to pronounce it unlawfull: but distinguishes of Persons and Times, as if he would yeeld it lawfull in some, but not in others; Certes, if for any, then for the two Estates; if any, then Instruments of subversion: if simply none, why doth he with so great cantele distinguish. Well, audiamus distinguentem? If by those misimployed persons be understood the Commanders and Souldiers of the Kings Armies, I cannot see (nor any man els, I think) but that the resisting of them by a contrary Militia, is a resisting of the King, and unlawfull, p. 9. I answer, I cannot see, nor any man else, I think, why Commanders and Souldiers should have a priviledge of subverting States and Governments more then other men: Can the Royall Power extend to give them an irresistibility, and not to others? Certes, if others may be resisted, much rather Commanders and Souldiers, because there is greater danger of subversion from them then from others: Their being Commanders and Souldiers makes them more dangerous, but not more priviledged: But, he nor none else can see, how such can be resisted, but it must be aresisting of the King, and unlawfull. Perhaps he is mistaken in others, they may have clearer eyes then he hath: In the p. 52. of my Treatise, I have made it luce clarius, that in a Legall Monarchy it is not a Resisting of the King. Then he proceedeth to another sort of men which I hope may be resisted. But if by those misimployed persons be understood other instruments of oppression in times of peace, before it come to Armes. What of these, may such be resisted? Here he resolves very cautelously and timorously, after many words, p. 10. without prejudice to other assertions of his of other resistance, He conceives it not unreasonable to say, First, if private men be sodainely assaulted, and life imminently endangered, and no meanes of avoiding by flight, then is personall defence lawfull, for such sodaine assault carries no pretence of authority with it. What is this to the matter? we enquire not of resisting assulants carrying no pretence of authority with them; but of subverters of Government warranted by the Kings will; and carrying pretence of Authority, though they have none. Secondly, If they come with pretence of Authority, there may be seeking redressement above from Authority, but if that may not be had, yet no resistance. And who then minding to kill or rob, may not make a pretence of Authority, that to be may effect his mischiefe without repugnance? But yet the Doctor will give us a little more, The Ministers of Power in each County, and the Houses of Parliament also (for with him they be equall) may at first stay, restraine, and commit such misimployed instruments, and so represent the matter againe to the King. But is not this to resist them? No; he tells us, this is not to resist. No? if misimployed instruments may be staid restrained, and imprisoned, sure they may be resisted: Else what if they should choose, and will not be committed; The Parliament must not lay hands on them to compell them; for so there may chance to be fight, and slaughter in the apprehension; and then the Doctor would call it Resistance I think. But suppose the Houses of Parliament doe commit such persons and represent the matter to the King, and a King should be so obstinate as to persist in the maintenance of those illegall courses, and to that end imploy the Militia, it is neither Legall nor Reasonable, they should pursue the opposition to the setting up of a contrary Militia or Power, p. 11. Here we see the upshot of the English freedome, and priviledge of Parliament. This is that which I said; These men overturne all liberties, The result of their doctrine destroyes all policies, reducing them all to that which is arbitrary: If the King should set Souldiers to destroy Lawes and Parliaments, They may (if they be able) stay their hands till they goe to the King, and know whether it be indeed his will and pleasure to have them destroyed or no; If he say, Yea; then they must returne and submit to the vilest instruments of subversion, and not lift up a hand to resist them. But let us see, on what weighty reason the Doctor builds this fatall Resolution. This were a contestation of Power with him whose Ministers they are, a levying of warre, an opposing of Armies against Armies. Sure this man doth much abhorre a Civill Warre: I cannot blame him: but yet we may buy an immunity too deare, at the prize of a subversion of Religion, Laws and Government, which is the case in dispute. This were to choose to be killed, rather then to fight: To have a State subverted, rather then disturbed by a warre to prevent it. I grant, There must be no contestation of Power with him whose Ministers they are: But this is the point to be proved, that in this case, it is so: I utterly denie the Royall Power in our State can be communicated to subverting Instruments: And I doe in vaine expect, while the Doctor prooves that, which every where he supposeth: For he builds all on this foundation, sc. That Gods Ordinance is an Absolute unlimited Power, investing the whole will of the Supreame, and cannot be determined in the exercise, but onely morally; the vanitie of which conceit will appeare hereafter, yet note here in the close, that while he pretends a detestation of Civill Warre, he could doe nothing more to foment it, then by defending such Positions of intolerable servitude: Did not such rigid Counsellours of the King of Israel cause the greatest Rent and Civill Warre that ever was made in any Kingdome?


Chap. III.

An Answer to the third Section which concerns severall kinds of Monarchy.

Sect. 1.IN my opinion it had been fitter to have treated first of severall kinds of Monarchy; and then of Cases of Resistance; for the subject in which should precede the Question whereof, in all methodicall proceeding. Here againe in the first place, this Replier would make his Reader believe that penury of Scripture-proofe put me upon distinguishing of severall kinds of Monarchy, That so I might lay all the defence of Resistance upon Reason drawne from the severall condition of Monarchies, p. 11. I have sufficiently before discovered my intention in that Treatise. The Resistence which I defend hath as much proofe from Scripture, as a matter of that nature need to have. Then he abuses me, as finding fault with Divines, that pleading for absolutenesse of Monarchicall Power in this Kingdome bring proofes from places of Scripture, p. 12. I complaine not of all Divines, but some, such as this Resolver is: Some, and that but of late yeares; and that but in this kingdome, where such doctrines are the rode to preferments: nor doe I blame them for bringing proofes for subjection, and against Resistance from places of Scripture, as he calumniates me; but I blame their grosse perverting of Scripture; bringing prohibitions of Resistance of Powers against them who condemne it as much as themselves; And of violating the Lords annointed against them who hold them as sacred and inviolate, yea on more solid grounds then themselves doe. And their fraudulent reasoning from one kind of government to another, as if all Politicall provisions of States for their Liberties did make no variation in the case; but that still they were in the same State, as the people subject to the most absolute vassallage.

Sect. 2.But because he boasts so much of setling mens Consciences on warrant from Scripture, that he expects command or allowance of Resistance from Scripture, p. 6. That his Adversaries resolve all their faith and perswasion on an appearance of Reason drawne from Aristotles grounds, ib. and here that I observe there is but little pretence from Scripture for Resistance; and thus would perswade men, as if he had all Scripture for him; we nothing but a few huskes of reason for us: Let him not thinke to carry it thus away with vaunts and big words: I will professe here once for all. He hath not a sillable of Scripture or right reason to satisfie the conscience with in this controversie: If it please this Doctor, let us joyne issue upon it, and put the whole case on this point. The Question betweene us is, Whether in a limited Monarchie, Resistance of subversive Instruments be unlawfull. He affirmes, I denie. He undertakes to satisfie mens consciences that it is unlawfull: bringing not one Text of Scripture, which speakes to the point: Something he brings to proove it unlawfull to resist the Ordinance of God: that the Magistrate which is supreame under God is above all Resistance, p. 84. He doth great matters; who doubts of these things: Then p. 84. he accumulates nine Arguments, but all so non concluding, that ninescore of them will not make one found proving Reason of the point in question, as it will appeare when we come to consider them. On the other side we have both to settle mens consciences on. 1. Examples of Scripture, sc. The peoples rescue of Jonathan: Davids armie against the cut-throats of Saul; that is, subversive Instruments: These being particular men, and in an absolute Monarchie proove the point the more strongly, so strongly that the Doctor is saine to flie to that ordinary evasion, of an extraordinarie priviledge. Besides all those places which prove it lawfull to resist private men, seeking to subvert Lawes and Religion, and the publike good; sith in a limited State they are but private men, though backed with a Commission from the Kings will and pleasure. 2. Then for Reason; I have set downe five, p. 53. all unanswerably concluding the point in Question, as I doubt not the considerate Reader will acknowledge.

He professes, p. 12. That it was never his intent to plead for absolutenesse of Power in the King, if by absolutenesse of Power be meant a Power of Arbitrary Command. What his intent is I know not, but he hath fully done the thing, or I have no understanding to see when a thing is done. In the precedent Section, he resolves all cases into the Arbitrium Regis, the meere pleasure of the King: allowing the Houses of Parliament only a power of staying the hands of destroyers, till it be expressely knowne whether it be the Kings pleasure they shall be destroyed: And I am confident the meanest apprehension will discerne, that they who make the Monarchs sole Will the last judge of all controversies: and simply deny in the last case of subversion, all Power of Resistance of Instruments, even to the supreame Courts of Law and justice, doe without any controversie, resolve all government into an Arbitrarie Absolutenesse. He adds, We allow a distinction of Monarchies and admit the Government of Kingdomes to be of divers kinds, and acknowledge a legall restraint upon the Power of the Monarch in this Kingdome. Verba datis, rem negatis; you allow indeed a kind of distinction of Monarchies, but all within the compasse of Absolute: A legall restraint you seeme to acknowledge; but such an one as resolves into the Arbitrary Will of the Monarch, as I have made it appeare in my former Treatise; and you will never be able to wipe off by this, or any other Reply. Then he promises that in this Booke certaine points will appeare to be truth, agreeable to Scripture and Reason: sc. That Government is not the invention of man, but the institution of God: That Governours have their Power not from the people, but from God: That Governing Power is one and the same in all supreames, and can only be limited in the exercise. And that where a Prince stands supreme, and next to God above all the people, there the Subiects may not take armes and make forceable resistance for any exorbitances. These severall Propositions how farre they contain Truth, and how far not, I shall in the sequell make appear.

After these great promises, he proceeds, p. 13.Sect. 3. to speake somewhat of the Originall of Governing Power: and accuseth me as if I seemed to affirme it to be from God; but in the processe of my booke, he finds me deriving it indeed from the people. I perceiving two contrary opinions concerning the Originall of Government, did in that Treatise endeavour to reconcile them, and to shew in what sence both are true. To that end, as there is manifest, p. 4. I distinguished 3 things. ‘It’s constitution;’ It’s Limitation to one kind. ‘It’s determination to one individuall Person and Family. The first of these I did affirme to be from God: The two latter from Men, and then concluded, In these things we have Doctour Fernes consent. Let us see what exceptions he can take at this peaceable assay of Reconcilement. In the processe of my Discourse he findes me deriving is from the people. What then? Doe I denie it thereby to be from God? as if Subordinates did exclude one another. God hath ordained that Powers should be: People by vertue of that Ordinance give them existence in this or that kind and subiect. The Doctor acknowledges all this, but not in my sence, p. 14. He grants the Designation of the Person, and the Limitation of the Power to severall kinds to be from the consent of the People. I say no more; why doe we not then agree? The plaine truth is, The Doctor will not have Limitation of Power to be at all from the people, what ever he pretends: How then the Limitation of the Power to severall kinds is from the people, as the Doctor yeelds, I cannot tell. Is not Limitation of it into kinds, Limitation of the Power it selfe? But he is possessed that my sound sence is another sence from his; what other he doth not shew: but it is another which he likes not. Why? Because sometimes I say, the people reserve a Power to oppose or displace the Magistrate: Sometime they divest themselves of all superiority. ’Tis true, I say so, but withall I say, that when they reserve such a Power, they constitute no Monarchy. Is it not so, in the highest Ministers of Power in Aristocracies and Democracies? What can he say against so apparent a Truth? 2. I call them, p. 63. Architectonicall Powers. This he derides and saies, This is the riddle of this Governing Power originally in the people. They are Architectonicall Powers, but build upon foundations laid in the aire, p. 14, Then he gives his reason, For before Government established they have not any politique Power, whereby a Command may be laid upon others, but only a naturall power of private resistance. This is false, that they have onely a naturall power of private Resistance. They have indeed no formall politique power, for we speake of a people free from all government; but they have a virtuall radicall power, by publike consent and contract to constitute this or that for me of Government, and resigne up themselves to a condition of subjection on Termes and after a form of their owne constitution; so the Athenians, Lacedemonians and Romans of old having expelled their Kings: and the United Provinces, with others of latter times have done: This is that which I called Architectonicall Power; and the Replier vainly carpes at the name, when he cannot denie the thing. But I know what he aimes at in all this, sc. That Gods Ordinance is an absolute boundlesse Power in all Supremes, uncapable of any limitation, but in the exercise.Sect. 4. Of which folly afterwards.

At length He takes a nearer view of the Formes of Monarchie, spoken of by me, and makes a few observations upon such particulars as him pleaseth, p. 14. Let us follow his steps. First, for Absolute Monarchie, whereas I say it is, when Soveraignty is so fully in one, that it hath no limitation under God, but the Monarches owne will. He approves my description; but threatens to remember it below, p. 15. Let him doe so; and make his best advantage of it, only here he cannot forbeare one note, that then it is not the deniall of resistance which makes a Monarch absolute; but the deniall of a law to bound his Will. I doe grant it; but with all I say, that it is necessariò consequutivum, though it be not constitutivum: for sith a Monarch which is obsolute hath no Law to bound his Will; but his very Will is the Subjects Law, then every act of his Will is Gods Ordinance, and so by consequence it is unresistible. Also, p. 15. He allowes it, when I say, A limited Monarch is he who hath a Law besides his owne Will for the measure of his power. But yet he dislikes that I say, He must be limited in the Power it selfe, and not only in the exercise; and I added a reason, for an Absolute Monarch may stint himselfe in the exercise of his Power, and yet remaine absolute. What saies he to this? True, if such a Monarch limit himself and reserve a Power to vary,—but if he fix a Law with promise not to varie, then in those cases he is limited. Note the fraud of this Replier, he alters his terms and puts things as opposite which are not so: He should say, if he limit himselfe, and reserve a power to varie; then he is absolute; but if he limit himselfe and reserve no Power to varie (for then the opposition is direct) then he is limited. But in stead of saying (and reserve no power to varie) he saies, but [if he promise not to vary] I say that promise not to vary, if it be a simple promise of not varying, it doth not make him limited in his Power, any more then morally, and so every Absolute Monarch is limited. I affirme still, it is Limitation of the Power it selfe, not barely of the exercise, which constitutes a Limited Monarch: for Monarchy is a state of Power, and therefore it’s specificative distinction must be from something which distinguisheth Powers, and not the exercise of Powers; but this is enough proved in the 5c page of that Treatise.

Secondly, he blames me for that I suppose a Limited Monarch must be radically, that is, originally invested with such a measure of limited Power, and that limited, ab externo, and not from the free determination of his owne Will. Here he adds originally of his owne; that so he might seeme to finde a contradiction, when I afterward say, that it may be done by originall constitution, or by after condescent; but yet he confesseth, I have a salve, when I make it such a condescent, as is equivalent to an Originall Constitution, because amounting to a change of Title, and are solution in the Monarch to be subjected to, no other way. I make no salve, nor doe I need any; he who weighes the Uniformity of Truth in that Treatise will see it needs no salves: Onely I distinguish those things which are in their natures distinct, which if the Doctour had done, this Contention either had not been begun, or would soon have an end: Who sees not that a Promise, whereby a Monarch may bind himselfe may either be with a limitation of the bond of subjection, or without: And that this makes a reall difference; for in this the Government remaines the same, because the Dutie of subjection received no variation; but in that there is for so much a Transitus into a limited condition. But these things cannot be more fully and clearly expressed then they are in the page 13. of that Treatise. But he answers, Where there is such a change of Title, it is done at once, and by expresse and notorious resignation of former Power; but it is not necessary that an absolute Monarch should come to a limited Condition after that manner, I say, if he will passe into a limited condition, it is necessary there be a limitation of his Power, else he is not truly limited: But that all such limitation be done at once and by notorious resignation, it is not necessary, as will appeare afterward where this matter of Limitation is more distinctly handled.

Sect. 5.His next complaint is against something I have in the page 25. sc. That in a mixed Government (if it be of three) the Soveraign Power must be in all three originally, and from fundamentall constitution. He judges this not necessary, p. 17. and he gives a wonderfull Reason: For as Limitation may be only of the exercise of the Power, and not of the Power it selfe; so mixture is in regard of Persons ioyned to the Monarch for certain acts and purposes; but that they should have any share in the Soveraign power, the nature of Monarchy will not admit. 1. Just so; for as a Monarchy is not limited unlesse there be a limitation of Power, for Monarchy is a Power; so a Monarchy cannot be mixed, unlesse there be a mixture of Powers, for Monarchy is a Power; and to say a mixt Monarchy, and yet the Power not mixt, is to speake contradictories. 2. If the mixture be not of divers concurrent Powers; wherof is it? He tells us, of the Monarch and certaine other Persons joyned with him for certaine acts and purposes. These joyned Persons, have they any concurring Power to doe those acts for which they are joyned? If not; then the adjoyning is futulous and vaine, and the Power of Monarchy is mixed of a Person having Power, and of others having no Power to doe that for which they are joyned. You will say, They have Power, but not distinct from that of the Monarch: that is, they have none; for in mixture, if it be not distinct, it is none at all. Againe if they have any, it must be distinct, for subordinate it cannot be; if the Acts to which they concurre be supreme Acts, unlesse we should be so absurd as to say, They may concurre to supreme Acts, by a subordinate Power. But let us see, what a maine Reason he hath for averring a conceit subject to such absurdities. Such a mixture would make severall independent powers in the same State or Kingdome, which is most absurd. I grant it is absurd, if he speake of severall complete independent powers; but to affirme severall incomplete independent powers concurring to make up one integrall mixt power, it is no absurdity at all for so it is, in all Aristocracies and Democracies, and must be acknowledged in all mixed States, where the supremacie is not wholy in the hands of one person. Yet here we doe not so make them independent, but that we give a large predominancie to One, as, in nature, in all mixed bodies there is, as I have at large explained my selfe in the next Section, if the Doctor had been at leasure to have taken notice of it. I yeild to that which he sayes, p. 17. that it is not necessary the Mixture should be so Originall, but that it may also come afterwards by condescent: It matters not, so it be originall, that is, radicall: of Powers, and not of meere Acts: And indeed, there cannot be a mixture of Acts, unlesse it be also of Powers: for Acts are from Powers: and where Powers are subordinate, there can be no mixture in their Acts; the Acts of causes subordinate, are also subordinate, and not coordinate and mixed. But I there brought two Arguments to prove that in a Mixed Government, the Concurrents must have independent and distinct Powers. Let us see how he answers them. 1. Because else it would be no mixture, but a derivation of Power, which is seen in the most simple Monarchy. He answers, that derivation of Power is either upon substitute Officers supplying the absence of the Monarch in the execution of Power: and this is in the most simple Monarchy. Or else upon Persons whose concurrence and consent is required to certaine Acts of Monarchicall Power; and this makes a mixture, though they have no share in the Power it selfe, p. 17. I answer, 1. Absence or presence of the Monarch; whether they Act for him, or with him, varies not the case, If the Power they work by be derived from him, then it is his Power, and so constitutes no Mixture. 2. As if in the most simple Monarchy, the Soveraigne doth mannage the ardua imperij, the weightiest matters of State alone; and not by consent of his Counsell; without whom he is morally bound, (that is, on the sinne of rashnesse) not to transact them, and that is all, which the Doctor yeilds to the Houses of Parliament, sc. that the King is morally bound to their concurrence and consent in certaine Acts. This is nothing but the shadow of a Mixture; If the Power of Acting be so in one, that, if he please, he may doe those Acts without the concurrence of those adjunct Persons, though he ought not, it is no Mixture, because the Power is simple and One; and mixed Acts cannot flow from one simple Power. This the Doctor sees, and therefore sayes, If this Authour will not call this a Mixture, we cannot help it, p. 18. We doe not enquire of Names, but of things; nor whether it make a difference in Government or no; We treat of a Mixt Governement: and, I think, no man of common sense will affirme, that a Government can be really mixed, and yet the Power be simple. 2. Because the End of Mixture (which is Effectuall Limitation) cannot be had by a derivate Power. He answers; Though a Derivate Power cannot set new bounds to the Soveraigne Power, yet may it stand to keep in a legall way those bounds which the soveraigne Power hath set to it selfe. Observe, He dares not to say, They may keep: but only stand to keep; nor stand neither, but by advice; that is morally: If he will exceed those bounds, the Act is valid, and hath all its Authority without them: Only he sins, if he doe so; because he hath promised he would not doe it without them: Here’s excellent Limitation and Confinement from exorbitancies: A bare promise, without such adoe, in constituting States and Mixtures, would be altogether as good a bounds; but of this we shall have more occasion to speake afterward.

Sect. 6.In the close of this Section he turnes back to the p. 21. of my book, and hath somewhat to say to my Assertions about Monarchy by conquest. There first I say, If the invasion be made upon pretence of Title, and the pretender doth prevaile, it is not Conquest properly, but a Vindication of a Title: and then the Government is such as the Title is by which he claimed. He tells us, He sees no injustice in it, if such a one having prevailed should use such a people as a Conquerour, p. 19. The Lord keep us from this mans justice. What; No injustice? If the Pretenders Title allowed by a great part of the people, he by their aide subdues the rest, shall he for their labour crush them into servitude, and use the power of a Conquerour, without injustice? 2. Suppose the people not convinced of the right of his Title make at first some opposition; but yet the pretence of his Title, and apprehension that he seekes no more power then his Title imports, work a yeilding disposition in them, so that they withstand not so universally, nor so long as they might have done; but at length submit to him on his pretended termes: were it not high injustice to take advantage on such a people, and having them under hatches to desert those termes on which they yeilded, and use the full right of a Conquerour: This was Englands case with Duke William. But the maine thing which sticks by him is something I have delivered, p. 23. It is an uncontrolable truth in policie, that the consent of the people, either by themselves or their Ancestours, is the only meane in ordinary providence, by which soveraignty is conferred upon any person or family. Against this he is very angry; and opposeth it in many words; but to my Argument from the Morall bond of subjection, he sayes nothing at all. He termes it good policie, but bad divinity, p. 20. And sets up an Antiposition, that when the invading Prince has perfectly subdued a people (there being no heyre to whom they are bound) and hath setled and constituted a frame of Government, then providence doth sufficiently discover it selfe, and such a people ought to submit and take this Prince as set over them by the hand of providence. As if these two were contrary: I say, They are not bound untill they consent: He sayes, in such a case they are bound to consent, because then providence discovers it selfe: And he brings Calvin at large to prove that which none denies: I grant a people (not preobliged,) fully overcome should much sin against Gods providence by obstinacie, if on a meere will, they consent not to reasonable termes of subjection: But this I say, There is no morall obligation to Authority, before that consent bind them: Conquest may be an Antecedent cause; but the immediate and formall cause is only the consent of the people; which he cannot say against; for that must be morall, and not meerely violent. The call of providence challengeth a contented submission, if there be no reason hindring it; but if a precedent Oath or some other sound reason intervene, then it is no call requiring submission: Neither can the fullest conquest make a people debtors, but they remaine free from any morall bond; for the providence of God being of it selfe externall, can induce no morall state; but that providence which on one discovery calls to a submission: on a like discovery may free them againe, if nothing else come between, to render them morally bound: A Travellour, by the providence of God shut up into the hands of a Robber, hath his life and protection promised him in his journey, if he will promise to pay him so much money: I say, this Travailor should sin against his own life, and the providence of God, offering him those termes, if obstinately he refuse submission: Yet no man will say he owes the robber so much money, because he hath him at his mercy, untill he by promise make himselfe a debtor: Thus have I made good that maxime of mine to be an uncontrouleable Truth, good Policie, and good Divinity too; mangre all the Doctor hath or can say against it.


Chap. IV.

Wherein the vanity and falshood of the supposals whereon the Doctor hath built all his discourses is made appeare.

Sect. 1.AFter a scattered gleaning of passages in the former Sections, the Doctor undertakes the two great Questions. 1. Of the Constitution of this Monarchy, in his Sect. 4. 2. Of Resistence, in the remainder of his book. Which two, we should now immediately pursue; but that another work more conducent to the ending of this contention will for a while divert me.

Errour in the search of controverted truths doth more often arise from the judgement, then from the reason: Men doe more offend in laying false grounds; then in deducing false inferences from true grounds; This I have observed in the Doctors bookes: He truly argues, but from false principles; and then the superstructure must needs be answerable, so that, overthrow his foundations, and then all his building will of it selfe ruine into apparent falshood. I confesse he every where sayes the same of my Grounds, on which I have built that Treatise: He cals them false and groundlesse supposals, and fancies, and what else he pleaseth: I will therefore make him a Ayre offer: Let us make a short work of it: let us joyne issue upon our supposals, on which both our discourses are built.

This Doctors supposals which he scarce ever makes shew to prove and on which he hath built his Resolves and Discourses I doubt not to call unsound and false: and doe professe the contrary to be my grounds whose truth I will maintaine. His may be reduced to foure heads. 1. Concerning the Ordinance of God in Soveraignty. 2. Concerning the Nature and Quality of Limitation. 3. The Meanes and causes of Limitation. 4. The Constitution of this Monarchy. And according to this order we will take them into examination.

Of Gods ordinance in supremacie.First, Of the Ordinance of God in Magistracy, He proceeds on two false principles. 1. That the Governing power is one and the same which God gives and settles upon the person that is supreme, p. 13. that is, it is absolute and unlimited in the power it selfe; and may be limited only in the exercise thereof, p. 17. 2. Which followes from the former, that Consent of people may be the meane of designing the person, and yeilding subjection to him, who else could not challenge it more then an other man; also a meane of limiting that power in the exercise of it; but not the measure of the power it selfe, which in such a measure is given of God to all Soveraignes, p. 41. so then;Question proposed. let this be the Question, Whether it be Gods Ordinance that Governing power in all Soveraignes be one unlimited thing; and can receive no measure from the people? The Doctor affirmes it; and p. 84. tells us he hath often insinuated it; but he should once directly prove it, if he be able, so he might have prescribed to the whole controversie; for if he can make this good, in vaine doe we enquire about the constitution of this Monarchy; or the lawfulnesse of resistance of subversive instruments of the Princes will. Doth he think a covert insinuation would serve the turne to impose such an Assertion, which frustrates the intent of mankind in framing limitations of Governing power; and captives all into an absolute passive subjection to the vilest instruments of the will of him who is supreme. In all his reply I find but two places which have any shew of proofe of this overhold Assertion. One is p. 14. Before Government established the people have not any power of a community or politick power whereby a command may be laid upon others; but only a naturall power of private resistance. The other is p. 42. The people have not of themselves out of Government, the maine power, the power of life and death, how then can they give it either for Government, or reserve it for Resistance? Here be weake foundations to build such an Assertion, and three such insulting books on. What a nothing this is, I shall make appeare anon.

Question stated.Now I hold the Negative of this Question; and doubt not to approve it firme truth: To that end, first I will premise such things as we agree in, that so the point in question may the more distinctly appeare. Which I apprehend are or may be these. 1. That Governing power is originally from Gods Ordinance. 2. That it being so, is unresistible in its whole latitude, in all the acts which flow from it. This the Apostle is cleare for, Rom. 13. and for no more, that I know. Also that this is true as well in Limited as Absolute Governments; v. g. In absolute Monarchy, where Authority doth invest the whole will; the Monarch is unresistible in all the acts of his reasonable will; because all are acts flowing from Gods Ordinance. So in limited Monarchy, where Authority doth not simply invest the will of a Monarch, but so far forth as it is regulated by such a law, the Monarch is unresistible in all the acts of his will which are according to that law; because they are acts flowing from Gods Ordinance: Yea though either of these doe limit himselfe in the exercise of his power, no way thereby diminishing the fulnesse of his power; and afterward exceed those limits, yet he is unresistible, and to be subjected to actively in lawfull things, and passively in unlawfull: my reason is, because even those acts, notwithstanding limitation, flow from Gods Ordinance of Authority, which remaines the same, and not lessened by such limitation. 3. This governing power is ordinarily conveyed to persons by publick consent, which is a point made good in my former Treatise, and in the former chapter hereof. 4. That this publick consent is not only a meane, but hath a causall influence in conveying Authority to persons. 5. That men working by such consent as second causes, doe necessarily convey such Authority, as God hath ordained; so that, if it can be proved either by Scripture or sound reason, that it is Gods ordinance, that supremacie should be unlimited, and as large as all the acts of his will which hath it, then whatever men capitulate about limitation of it, is vaine, so that the Doctor need prove only that point; and for my part I will give him the cause. 6. Limitation of Power may be either of Acts, when Power is conveyed to Persons to doe certaine Acts of Power; but not all. Or else of Manner of working; when Power is conveyed to doe all Acts of Authority, but according to such a prescribed Rule. Now I grant the former cannot be in the conveyance of Soveraigne Power, an inferiour Officer may be limited by commission to certaine acts of Power; and have no Authority to do other Acts of power; but when Soveraignty is conveyed, and the Person is set up next to God, above all the people, as the Doctour saith. He must have an unlimited Power in respect of Acts of Government: for Gods Ordinance is not onely that there should be Power for such an end; sc. a Peaceable life in godlinesse and honestie; but sufficiencie of Power for the attainment of that end: So that all Power of doing any Act needfull for that end, must be in him who is supreme, and the comprehensive Head of Power to inferiour Magistrates. So that all the Question truly stated is about the other sort of Limitation, sc. Whether Soveraigne Power be so unlimited in its Rule of Acting, that it investeth the whole Reasonable Will of him who hath it: So that all the acts which proceed from him who hath it according to the rule of his owne Reason, be potestative, and from Gods Ordinance.

Question determined.Secondly, having thus punctually stated the Question, the Determination must proceed in a double way, sc. 1. In simple Governments. 2. In mixed Governments. I do maintain the Negative in both: and my proof shall be formed accordingly.

Assert. 1.First then, In simple Government, Power is not one Unlimited thing in the supreme: But may be limited in the very being and root of it. 1. The cause or meane by which alone it is conveyed,Reas. 1. if it bestow or convey only a limited Power, then it is limited in the very Being of it. For there can be no more then is conveyed: Now we know, the people by their publike act of consent and compact, may either bind themselves to a full subjection to the Monarchs Will guided by his owne Reason; or by some constituted rule or law set him to governe by; which latter if they doe, then is his Authority radically limited: For they owing no more subjection; He can have no farther Power. 2. If soveraignty may be so limited,Reas. 1. that Active Obedience is not due to the commands which exceed those limits, but may lawfully be denied to them (as the Doctour acknowledges it may, p. 16.) Then it may be limited in the Power it selfe: For in such case the Power exceeds not the limitation; for if the exceeding Acts were potestative, we owe Active subjection to them, in as much as they are the Ordinance of God, to which in omnibus non prohibitis, Active subjection is due.Reas. 3. 3. If Power in the supreme be such, that it cannot be limited, then either because it is Gods Ordinance; or else because it is supreme: but its being Gods Ordinance hinders not; for we see, Rom. 23. All Powers as well supreme, as subordinate are Gods Ordinance, yet subordinate Powers may be limited, not only in the Rule of &illegible; but in the kind of Acts; as none can denie. Neither its being supreme doth hinder its limitablenesse; indeed, as before it hinders it from being capable of confinement, in the kind of Acts: but in the measure or rule of working, it doth not hinder, in as much as a Soveraigne Power may as well attaine its end, by being confined to another Law from without, as by the Law of its own Reason, if not much better; also we no where finde Gods Word making any difference or giving power to confine subordinate Powers; but forbidding it of Soveraignes, 4.Reas. 4. That is to be granted, which denied makes all Soveraignes arbitrary, and of equall Power; but to affirme that Power is one, unlimited, and investing all the Acts of the Soveraignes Will doth so, for then is soveraignty arbitrary, not when it hath no morall bounds, for then none were or could be arbitrary; but when Power is so fully in one that every Act of his Arbitrium or Will is Potestative and soveraigne.Reas. 5. 5. I have the judgement of all the Reformed Churches and Divines in Germany, France, Belgia, Scotland, on my part; who have both allowed and actually used forceable Resistance against subversive Instruments of their Soveraignes Will; yea our owne famous Princes Elizabeth, James, and our present Soveraigne, both by edicts, and Assistance have justified the same: which they would not have done, had they been perswaded of such an unlimited Ordinance of God investing all the Acts of the Will of him who is supreme. So that by all this it appears that the Doctors conceit of such an unlimited Ordinance of God, which he brings not a tittle of Gods word to prove, is a meere chimera and groundlesse conceit.

Object.Now the onely difficulty, which I can thinke on, is this. Gods Ordinance in soveraignty, as before, is not onely Power to such an end: but sufficiencie of Power to the assecution of that end: now a limited Power seemeth not to be sufficient for the end of Government, because there are two Powers necessary to the end of Government, sc. Power of making and authentique Interpreting of Laws, which are not consistent with a Limitation of Power.

Sol.I answer: It is true of Limitation in respect of Acts; and therefore I averre, that such a Limitation cannot be where Power is supreme: but for Limitation to a Rule and defined way of Working, I cannot see how it with-stands the end of Government: So that supposing Power of making and Interpreting Laws be necessary to the end of Government, yet that they be Absolutely resident in him who is supreme, sc. To make Lawes and Interprete Lawes authoritatively without being bound to follow any Light or Rule therin, but his owne Reason is not necessary to the end of Government: In these Acts a regulated Power is enough in the most simple State, sc. a Power to make now Lawes, if any be needfull; and Interpreting the old, if ambiguous, according to the Rule of the former established Laws; and by the advise of his learned Counsell and Judges of his supreme Courts of Justice. We see in matters spirituall, there is no Legislative Power resident, to ordain or give authentique sence in matters de side, yet the Church stands well enough; one standing Rule of Scripture being sufficient with a ministeriall Interpretation: So it is probable a State might, by a complete standing Rule of Law, and a Ministeriall Power of Interpretation, were there no Legislative Power resident in any Supreme Magistrate thereof.

Assert. 2.But the matter is farre more cleare in a mixed Government; so that were it necessary in a simple Government, that the Supreme should be unlimited in his Power, yet in a Mixed (which is enough for us in this Kingdome) evidently it is not so: And to make this appeare, I will lay downe three grounds. 1. Such a Government may be established that the supreme Power may be placed in many persons, either of the same, or divers condition, that is, in a mixed Subject: else all formes were unlawfull except simple Monarchie. 2. If this supreame Power be inequally placed in these Persons or States of men; so that a reall sublimity and Principality be given to one, then the denomination may be taken from that Principall: and so it is a Monarchy, or Aristocracy, or Democracy mixed in the Power it selfe; however it pleaseth this Replier to deride it, with the top, or Crowne of the head: of which more hereafter. 3. Where the Supremacy of power is thus in many, although all taken together have an unlimited Power, as in ours, yet neither of them severall by himselfe hath, or can have; for it is a contradiction, that it be resident in many, and yet unlimitedly in One.

Now to those two shewes of Argument, which in the beginning I produced out of this Reply, I say, before Government be established it is true the people have no formall Politique Power of Life and Death; yet they have a seminall; that is, every one for himselfe, his family and posterity hath a power of resigning up their naturall liberty, to be governed by One, or many; after this or that forme as they shall judge fittest. God ordaining that Powers should be to such an end, hath thereby legitimated and ratified any Consent or Contract which people may make of parting with their liberty and giving Magistrates a common Power over them to that end. And Gods not prescribing any Rule or Measure of Power by his Ordinance of Authority, hath left it in the peoples liberty, to resigne up themselves according to such Rule and Termes, as they judge fittest, so it be such as the end of his Ordinance may be attained thereby. Thus although by it selfe, and excluding Gods Ordinance they have no immediate Power to lay a command on others, nor Power of life and death, yet in vertue of Gods Ordinance their common consent and contract is sufficient to set up such a Power which is endowed with a sufficiency of Command for Government and the end of Government over those which have, each man for himselfe and his, set it up. So although second Causes have no Power by themselves to produce their effects; yet working in vertue of the first Cause they have Power to produce effects, sometimes farre beyond their own Measure. Therefore I desire this Doctour either to bring some Ordinance of God expressely forbidding to set any bounds or Rule of Power upon the Will of the Magistrate; or else let him suffer Man-kind to use their Right in resigoing up that liberty which God and nature hath given them upon such termes and conditions as they apprehend best for their own good: and the due end of Government.

Summe.In the close of this Question, I will lay downe three Conclusions concerning the Ordinance of God, and the Nature of Soveraigntie.

Conclus. 1.1. God hath ordained that in Societies of Men there should be a Politike Power, for a peaceable and godly life: This Ordinance hath put a Seminall Power in all the Societies of Men, sc. a Liberty and Power by common Consent to resigne up themselves and theirs to one Supreame; thereby constituting a common Politique Power.

Conclus. 2.2. God in his Ordinance for Government having not determined any kind or forme of Power; hath left it to the libertie of Societies of men to choose to which kind they will resigne up themselves, either to a supreme regulated in the Acts of his Will by his owne Reason, as in absolute Government; or to one regulated by a Common Reason or Law constituted by publike consent, as in Limited.

Conclus. 3.3. God in his Ordinance for Government having not determined the subject of this Power, hath left it to the choice of Societies to invest with this Soveraigntie, either one Person or many, and those either of the same, or divers sorts and rankes of men; Whence arise simple or mixed Governments, and this is the Architectonicall Power left in societies before they are engaged in a Government, which the Doctour doth so causlesly deride: Here is the summe of what I do averre concerning Gods Ordinance in Soveraigntie, which I challenge the Doctour or any else to gain-say.

Sect. 2.The second sort of the Doctors false supposals respect the Nature and Quality of Limitation, where also I observe that he proceeds on two false and fallacious Principles, sc. 1. He every where confounds Morall and Civill or Legall Limitation,Of nature and Quality of Limitation. so p. 18. 93. 39. 2. That Soveraignty is capable onely of a morall Limitation, p. 39, 42., So that if any other be in any State ordained, He cannot beleeve but such a condition is unlawfull, and unreasonable against the Order of Government. p. 39. If the nature of Limitation be well knowne, it will appeare that the Doctor hath done very inconsiderately, or rather very fraudulently (for he hath obscured the Truth much by it) in confounding morall and Civill Limitation. We will therefore consider the nature of Limitation something more accurately then I have done in my former Treatise; for it will be a great light to the whole controversie.

Pos. 1.First, We must consider a distinction of Power, which is either, A simple Power of Willing or Doing, which is in every Morall Agent, 2. A Power of Authoritative and obligatorie Willing or Doing; so that an act of it, whether a Will of Command or Censure expressed, hath in it a binding power to subjection, this is that which we call Magistracy, of whose Limitation now we treat.

2.Secondly, concerning Limitation; we must know that it induceth an absolute necessity of not producing any Act beyond those Limits. For a Power having bounds beyond which it can exceed, if it please, though with difficulty, it is not properly limited, but hindred.

3.Thirdly, This necessity of not exceeding those bounds is such as the bounds themselves are; so that it is ever true, That a Power in What Way it is limited cannot exceed those limits.

4.Fourthly, There are of this Power but two sorts of Limits, sc. 1. Morall, and 2. Civill or Politique. Of which two we must distinctly consider.Of Moral limits. 1. Morall Limits is the Morall Will or Law of God; and a Power is said to be limited by this, not when it cannot produce any Act at all: but when it cannot morally produce it, that is, without sin. For the supervening of a morall bond, doth not take away the Power of doing, but of right or sinlesse doing: v. g. in Naturall Powers. Gods prohibition of eating Swines flesh, did not take away from the Jew the naturall Power of eating it; but the power of sinlesse eating it. So in Civill power a prohibition of God comming upon it, doth not take away the Power of Civill and Authoritative Doing; but of lawfull, or sinlesse doing. And hence it followes, 1. That Morall Limitation is only of the Exercise of Power; not of the power it selfe: for the power is not thereby taken away, but remaines equally extense and able to all its acts, as it was before; only now it cannot put forth it selfe unto certaine Acts without sinne, which it could before: Thus an Absolute Monarch who hath a power of doing, as extense as his Reasonable Will, promises to doe but this, or in this manner: now he is morally bound, by vertue of this promise; and cannot without sinne doe otherwise: yet if he doe, his Commanding Power is the same, and its act binding to the Subject. And so it is proportionably in Legall Governments. Cyprian Bishop of Carthage hath by the Canons a power of judging Ecclesiasticall causes committed to him: He resolves and promises to doe nothing of moment herein, but by the consent of his Clergie, now he is morally bound: and if afterward he doe a thing by himselfe without their consent, he sins: yet no man will say his Episcopall power is lessened; or the act he so doth, is canonically invalid, and not obligatorie. 2. Yea it followes also that it is not properly a Limitation of the Exercise of power neither: for by a morall bond, the Power is not so bound up, but that it can exercise it selfe, and that validly too, though not without sinne, as appeares before. 3. Also that it is no detraction from Absolutenesse of Power; nor is it sufficient to make a distinction of it into Absolute and Limited. For, 1. It causes no reall Limitation of power, either in the nature, or exercise of it. 2. It is not distinctive, being to be found in the most absolute power under heaven,Legall Limits. all being bounded by Gods Law, the Law of Equity, and many promises by themselves made.

2. Civill or Legall Limits cause a Civill and Legall definement of Authority, so that, its exceeding acts are not Legall and binding, that is, are non Authoritative: for as a Morall bond induces a necessity of consinement in esse morali; so a Civill and Legall bond doth in esse legali & obligatorio. Hence follows, 1. It is these Legall and civill bounds which constitute a Government in a limited condition, not those morall; for this is distinctive and is never found in an absolute Governement, for there the Soveraigne by promise or Oath binding himselfe to a stated course doth put no Law civill upon his power, or the exercise of it; for though he sinne in exceeding afterwards, yet his acts are truely Legall and Authoritative. 2. This induceth a reall Limitation of power, neither can it be only of exercise; for sith it brings an illegality and unauthoritativenesse on acts exceeding, that is, makes them none in esse civili & politico, it is a limitation of Power it selfe; for when a Power can produce no potentiall acts beyond such limits, then it is limited in the very being. 3. Acts exceeding politique and legall Limitation, being not Legall nor authoritative in that State can give no authoritie to the Instruments, and therefore they may be resisted without resistance or violation of Authoritie. Whereas it is otherwise in Acts exceeding morall Limitation; for being authoritative, they authorize the Instrument, and give him an unresistance.

In summe: Limitation morall and civill or legall doe differ in three main particulars.

Conclus. 1.1. Morall, sith it is no politique or Authoritative Act, makes no reall detraction either in power or exercise of it, and therefore agrees with the most absolute Government: whereas Legall, being a politique and authoritative Act makes a reall diminution; and so is the ratio formalis, or distinctive conceit constituting Limited government; nor can be found in absolute.

Conclus. 2.2. Hence, Exceeding Acts notwithstanding morall limitation are authoritative, proceed from Gods Ordinance, and challenge subjection: but they are otherwise which exceed a legall limitation.

Conclus. 3.3. Exceeding Acts in morall limitation being authoritative have the Sword or compelling power annexed to them, which may not be resisted: but in Legall, being not authoritative, they have not the sword or compelling power annexed, and therefore may be resisted in their Instruments: I will illustrate all this by a familiar instance. In our Government, a Iudge hath a Commission to heare and determine Causes according to the Verdict of twelve men. Here is a Power limited in the very being, that is Legally and Civilly. This Iudge useth indirect meanes to corrupt the Iurie to bring in an unjust Verdict; but judgeth as his Commission binds him according to their Verdict: Here is a morall exceeding, yet the Act of judgement is Authoritative, because according to his Commission, and must not be resisted. Againe, He passeth sentence in another cause expressely against the Verdict of the Iury, in an arbitrary way. Here is a Legall exceeding, and the sentence is non authoritative. He having no such Power committed to him, the sentence can have no binding power in it. Hereby it appeares how without any ground of Truth, the former supposals are.

Sect. 3.Thirdly concerning the Causes and Meanes of Limitation the Doctors supposals are, 1. That Radicall Limitation, that is, of the Power it selfe requires an expresse and notorious act, it must be done in the beginning and at once. p. 15. 24. 39. 2. That a Prince may so limit himselfe, as not to require to be actively subjected to, and yet be limited only in the exercise, not in the power it selfe,Causes & meanes of Limitation. p. 16. 3. That no Limitation by after condescent, is of the Power it selfe, p. 28. this being a consequent from the first. Now that the falshood of these and the like grounds every where scattered in his bookes may appeare; Let us a little more diligently handle the Causes and Meanes of Limitation, which, as before, being twofold, Morall and Civill; We will begin with Morall. 1.Causes of Moral Limitation. Now the Formall cause of a meere Morall Limitation, is that which morally bounds or makes sinfull any act of Power. We are therefore to enquire what it is which can doe that. And this is, 1. Principally the Morall Law of God forbidding such an exercise of Power. This is an universall, perpetuall and invincible Limitation of all power of Government, either absolute or legall, yea of all Active Power of reasonable creatures. 2. There is another meane of Limitation morall, sc. a Promise, Oath or positive constitution, whereby a Prince puts a bond upon himselfe, making that now sinfull to be done, which before was not so. This also induces a morall Limitation, as well in absolute as legall Governments; as if an Absolute Monarch promise to follow such a Rule, which hath a Power to use any which his reason shall dictate. Or if a Legall promise to abridge himselfe in a course, in which the Law hath left him indeterminate: in this respect, they come under a morall limitation. But concerning this positive meane we must note. 1. This promise, how solemne soever it be, must be a simple bond: It must extend to no diminution of power, or discharge from duty of subjection; for then it is not meerely morall, it makes the exceeding act not only sinfull, but non obliging: whereas it is the note of a meere morall bond, that it extends not to any lessening of Authority, or discharge of duty: as if a Captaine take his enemy prisoner; he to save his life sweares him a full vassalage afterward, his Master promises to command him only such services, never absolving him from his former bond of absolute slavery: here is a morall bond; yet still a full debt of subjection in case the Master should breake his word, and put him on other employment. 2. If the matter be more throughly looked into, this positive meane of limitation is either none at all; or else addes nothing to the former, of the morall law of God: For in such promise or Oath whereby a Governour limits himselfe there is an expresse or tacite condition, if it conduce to the end of Government, the glory of God, and publick good: For if such Oath or bond hinder the end of Government, it is eo nomine, unlawfull and invalid; but if conduce to it, then it was no more, then was virtually required of him before by the morall Law; this promise or Oath being but a more solemne profession and protestation to doe that which before implicitely he was bound morally unto. Thus we see all that Doctor speakes of Morall and irrevocable limitation by promise and oath comes to nothing in the issue: so that this being granted that the Monarchs power in this State were only Morally limited in the Doctors sense; We are as much under and owe as much subjection as the captive slave to his Master; and all our Laws and Statutes being but morall limitations of this second sort, are not so much as morall limitations any farther then the Prince sees them conduce to the end of Government, if any seem to stand in his way, and hinder him therein, he is no longer bound to it; but may account it an ill made promise or Oath which is better broke then kept. 2.Causes of Legall limitation. Of the Causes and Meanes of Civill and legall limitation, whereby not only the exercise, but the power it selfe is confined. 1. The formall cause hereof is the limitation of the duty of subjection in the people: The duty of subjection is the originall of the power of Authority. People by becomming debtors of subjection doe set up Authority; and by stinting and terminating the duty of subjection doe put bounds and termes to the power of commanding. 2. Let us see then by what meanes the duty of subjection may be terminated. I conceive it may be done two wayes. 1. At first, when a people resigning up themselves to a state of subjection doe it not absolutely, but impose only a limited bond on themselves; for if they impose no more duty: the Governour can assume no more power. Now this may be done, not only by positive, expresse and notorious act, as the Doctor speakes; but also by a negative; a meere not imposing of an absolute bond of duty on themselves is enough: so that if it cannot be proved either by records of the first institution, or present obligation that a people have put themselves into a state of absolute subjection, then it is to be held but limited: For whatsoever is ours by the law of nature, cannot be taken from us but by some positive act done by our selves or Ancestors: Thus in private men; Liberty which is mine by nature, none can take from me, unlesse he can bring a title or right whereby it became his, and I his servant. Nor am I any farther his servant, then he can bring proofe of his right. The same is true of a society of men. In this case it belongs to the challenger, and not to the defendent to bring his positive notorious act for proofe of his title, and measure of his title: So that the Doctors demand is unreasonable, who standing for a full right in our Government, puts on the peoples part to bring evidence that they have not. Rather it is just, that he should bring some positive and notorious act wherein it appeares that this people have fully resigned up their liberty to an absolute Government; or make it appeare that it is Gods ordinance that where ever a people doe constitute a soveraigne power, they must make an absolute resignation of their liberty. 2. By after-condescent, for this may be a meane of civill limitation, unlesse any will imagine that a people once putting themselves into absolute subjection, are irrevocably so. And thus a Monarch becomes limited, when the promise or Oath he limits himselfe by, is not simple, but amounts either expressely or equivalently to a relaxation of the bond of subjection: whether it proceed from meere grace, or conscience, of equity, or by Petition, or importunity of the people, it matters not what was the ground of it, if it carry with it a relaxation of the dutie of subjection, it is a meane of civill limitation, in the very root of power; for power can be no larger in the Prince, then duty of subjection is in the people; for these two have a necessary dependence, and relation of equality either to other. Thus if a Monarch, taking advantage of force of armes, impose a new Oath of full subjection on his people, who before were but legally bound; and prevaile so farre, that the whole or major part of his people doe take it for themselves and theirs, here is a chang of Government from Legall into Absolute, an enlargement of power: so on the contrary. And for this matter we need looke no farther, then the Nationall Oath, or Established Lawes; for if they bind the people to an absolute subjection; such is the power; and though it have morall, yet it hath no legall limitation: And so on the contrary if they bind only to a subjection according to the Law; the Government is limited in the very power of it. Hence it appeares to be false which the Doctor hath, p. 16. that a Monarch may so tye himselfe as to require not to be subjected to but according to such Lawes, and yet not be civilly limited, in his very power; for if he so far require not to be subjected to, that he untye the bond of subjection beyond those Lawes; then is his Authority limited, and can proceed no farther; neither are the instruments of his will exceeding those lawes, authorized, but private persons, and resistible: And also false, which he sayes, p. 28. That limitation by condescent cannot be radicall. Now if enquiry be made concerning the simplicity of antient formes of assuming into soveraignty, as when the people are said to make one King; to endue him indefinitely with Kingly power; not confining his Government by any expresse limitations. Ans. I conceive in such case to know how far a people are bound by such an indefinite contract, these things are to be looked into. 1. If the intent of the people can be discovered in such a constitution, for if it can, doubtlesse the contract binds so far, and no farther. Thus Lyra concludes concerning the request of the people of Israel for a King, that it is to be understood of an Absolute King, by that clause in the petition, 1 Sam. 8. 5. a King to judge us like all the Nations, for all those Easterne Nations having Absolute Monarchs, they desiring to be governed like them; must be conceived to intend such a government. 2. If there be no expression of their intention: then a light concerning it must be borrowed for circumstances; sc. the kind of government whereunto they have been formerly accustomed; or that of the Nation from which they proceeded: And thus the Saxons giving Kingly state to their Captaines in this Land, cannot in reason be interpreted to intend any other, then that whereunto they were accustomed, and which was the forme of the Nation whence they came. This Rule is ever to be kept as well in publike, as in private contracts of that simple indefinite forme, that they are to be construed, as far as may be, in fovour of the granter.


Chap. V.

An Answer to the Sect. 4. concerning the Constitution of this Monarchy.

Sect. 1.A Fourth sort of the Doctors supposals are concerning the Constitution of this Monarchy, which in words he granteth to be limited and mixed, but comming to explaine himselfe, he makes such a limitation of it and such a mixture as is indeed none at all, being to be found in the most Absolute and simple governments in the world: for he every where supposeth it limited only morally in the exercise, not in the power: And so mixed, that there is but one simple power; a mixture made of one simple principle, such a one as never was heard of in the world before. And this he delivers on his bare word, never bringing any proofe of it, thinking it enough if he can except against that which I have set downe concerning these things in my Treatise. Among other Assertions which I have there about the state of this Government: there are two which this Replyer doth oppose. One is p. 31. That the soveraignty of our Kings is radically and fundamentally limited: which I have made good by five Arguments, and added a solution to the two chiefe which may be made against it. The other is, p. 39. That the Authority of this Land is of a compounded and mixed nature in the very root and constitution of it. This I have confirmed by three Reasons; and have answered three Objections which may be made against it. Now I desire the Reader impartially to weigh what I have there said; and to compare it with this Doctors Reply; and then judge whether those truths stand not firme against all that is brought to infringe them. But let us see what he opposeth. He proceedes not in any orderly course, to set downe his Antitheses and prove them; and to give Answer to what I have brought on the contrary; but first spends some time in considering what this Government was in its Originall; as if it must needs remaine still such as it was at first; and could not receive any alterations, and graduall accomplishment in processe of time. And then he sets on my Arguments, but how feebly we shall easily discover.

Here the first thing I did tax in the Doctors booke, was that he affirmed things contradictory: for he tells us he is against Absolute power in our Kings; and arbitrary Government: And yet he also affirmes, that our Kings hold by right of conquest, yea of three conquests. And that the Houses of Parliament are more subject to our Kings, then the Senate of Rome was to their Emperours. Also that the finall judgement is in One. Now how these so openly contradictorie Assertions can stand together he doth not shew us. Only he challengeth my ingenuity, if either he proposed this as a conclusion to be proved, that our Kings are absolute, p. 21. Neither doe I affirme that he did: Only I say, he holds things contradictory; that he holds such grounds which make all Kings absolute, sc. that no supreme is or can be more then morally limited. Indeed he speakes much of limitation morall; of limitation in the exercise of power; this makes a great noise of limitation, but indeed are but meere vailes to cover over Absolutenesse, and make it the more passable, which he is ashamed to propose to the world in expresse termes. Suppose he did not mention those conquests to win an arbitrary power to the King. Yet sure in affirming more then once, that he hath such a right, he doth as much as if he said he may use an arbitrary power if he will; for if he hath a right of Conquest, he hath an Arbitrary right, by the Doctors own confession, p. 22. and if he hath a right of Arbitrarinesse, it is his lenity he doth not use it. In the Answer to the first Argument which I brought for the Absolutenesse of our Kings (which was that They hold by conquest, and therefore are Absolute.) I do not say, the Doctor drawes such a conclusion: No; but he layes down the Antecedent; and then any body else may draw out the conclusion.

Originall of this Monarchy.I fetch not the root of succession, so farre backe as the Saxons, as this Replier traduces, to cut off advantages which may be made from the Normans entrance, p. 22. But because himselfe began there to make up a Trinity of Conquests: This drew me on that discourse of the Originall of this Monarchy; nor that the cause had any need of it; for it is his work to prove the Government absolute, if he will have it so; also suppose it were as absolute as the Norman Conquest, by him improved can make it; yet that hinders not, but that it may become really and radically limited afterward, by condescent, as appeares in the former chapter. Concerning the Saxon entrance, I said it was not a conquest, sc. properly and simply, but an expulsion. He answers, This is neither true, nor greatly materiall, p. 22. I say, it is both true and materiall: It is true; for all the Britaines which retained their name and Nation, were they many or few, were expelled into Wales: All the rest in gentem, leges, nomen, linquamq, vincentium concesserunt; as himselfe cites for me out of Mr Cambden. And it is very materiall; for if they which only remained here in gentem & leges vincentium concesserunt; Then the Conquerers, as I said, kept their old firme of Government; the Saxons came not into the condition of the conquered Brittaines; but they into the old liberty of the Saxons. Hereupon grew there a necessity of inquiry into the Government of the Nation, before they came hither; that so we might know what a one they established here; and brought the remaining Brittaines into. And a record of more unquestionable authority then Tacitus I could not imagine; nor a more expresse testimony for a limited forme in the very potestas of it; of which sort he affirmes the Governement of all the Germane Nations was. How ever the Doctor is pleased to call it a conjecture, a dreame and uncertainty; No, the expresse testimony of such an Authour is not so: Rather that probability of these Saxons not being then a people of Germany, but did afterward breake out of the Cimbrica chersonesus, is so; which himselfe dares call no more then a probability. I say, 1. It is a greater probability, that they were a people of Germany before they came in hither; for the Angli which accompanied them in that invasion, were questionles Germanes, and reckoned by Tacitus among that people, doubtlesse they were neighbours in habitation which were joyned in that voyage and conquest. 2. Suppose the matter were not cleare of the Saxons, yet is it of the Angli which gave denomination to the Land and people, who no doubt retained their Laws and Government, sayes Cambden; which was limited in the very royall power saith Tacitus. But this Doctor would make men believe, as if I endeavoured to deduce the very Modell of our present Government from that Saxon ingresse: Whereas all that I ayme at, is to make it appeare that in semine, in the rude beginnings it is so ancient; and shall affirme the limited power of the English Kings, and liberty of the subjects to have been from thence continued till now, unlesse he can bring some better proofes of its interruption, and induction of an unlimited power, then as yet he hath. Also to shew that the Doctors Tenure by Conquest is vaine in the first of the Three, for the Saxons gave none such to their Princes, but kept their Lawes, and came not under the Title of a conquered people. Next, the Doctor censures my delineation of the present platforme of our Government, p. 44. (for it is nothing with him for advantage to skip over 9. or 10. Pages) that so he might make a shew as if I set down that modell as derived from the Saxons out of Germany; and so spends neere two pages in this unreasonable way of traducing me; Whereas he cannot be ignorant, that in many places, yea at present is forced to confesse, p. 24. that I acknowledge our Government came up to this exactnesse and full height by degrees and in continuance of time; but indeed he had nothing else to say against that Description of this platforme or any one of those 6. Supposals of which it consists; and therefore when he had fained as if I had derived it from the beginning of the Saxon Government in this Land, he calls it a phansie, against the credit of all Histories and Chronicles, p. 24. and so lets it goe. Let the Reader judge, whether I doe not there apparently set it down as a description of our now existent Frame of Government: And whether any thing therein is not according to past historie, and present experience: Yea I challenge the Doctor to except against the least part of it, as not so: if he cannot, he doth wrong so to miscall and deride it. After this Excursion, he returnes back to the 36. page of my Book, and the proper businesse of that Chapt. which was his three Titles by Conquest. I looked that after his first, he should have made good his second Conquest, sc. the Danish, and made good what he had said, that our Kings hold by that too, as one of the three. But not a word of that for shame: He passes p. 26. to the Norman entrance: And to prove that William held this Land by conquest, he cites out of Mr Cambden that in victorie quasi Tropheum, he disposed of the Lands of the Conquered, changed their &illegible; abrogated what English Lawes and customes he pleased, &c. Indeed when he had gotten full possession, he did what he pleased; but sactum non probat jus. I have proved, and the Doctor hath not gain-said, 1. That his Title by which he claimed was a successive and Legall Title. 2. That this Title got the favour of a great party, and was a maine Meane facilitating his acquirie. 3. That he was inaugurated by virtue of that Title. 4. After he had gotten the Kingdome, though he did many things arbitrarily, yet he setled himselfe and his successours in the state of Legall Monarches, as the Doctor confesses, p. 27. What then is become of his Triple Tenure by Conquest; when heres not one can be made good; when it comes to a due scanning? That of Mr Cambden, that the Kings of this Land have Potestatem supremum, & merum imperium, is no more then that of the Statute which the Doctor speakes of, p. 47. that it is an Empire governed by one supreme head, which we acknowledge; for that merum imperium must be understood in a moderate sense; else it sayes more then the Doctor himselfe professes to own: Though Mr Cambdens judgement in this case is not of the authority of a proofe.

Sect. 2.Then he passes to my Arguments, p. 28. But, by the way, let me tell him, I brought 5. Arguments to prove this Government limited, and 3. to prove it mixed: and it had been meet he should have brought somewhat, beside his bare word,My Arguments for Limitation and Mixture vindicated. to prove it limited only in the exercise, that is, Absolute in the power; but he brings no proofe, because he had none: Yet perhaps though he had not wherwithall to confirm his own, yet he hath to demolish my Assertions: Let us see therefore his solutions of my Arguments. But before we come to weigh them, because he tells us p. 28. it were an Argument sit for a skilfull Lawyer to labour in, and slights my endeavour because I bring not History and Antiquity, but doe goe about to reason him into a beliefe of those Assertions, Let me premise something concerning that course of proving them. 1. The work of bringing History and Antiquity doth belong to him who affirmes such a Title of Power in our Kings; Let him shew how and when it was conveyed to them: He which challenges a right to that which was once undoubtedly mine, must prove his right and he can have no more then he can bring evidence for. 2. On his desant, if I undertake a needlesse office to prove my Negative, there are but two wayes imaginable to doe it, one is by records of histories setting out the first constitution of a state, and the Termes on which &illegible; people resigned up their liberty to a subjection. So in the Antient Romane State, the Venetian, the late Belgik Union, and others which have at once, visibly and lately been composed, it is likely that way might be taken. The other is by demonstrative collections drawn from the institution of the present composure of a State. Thus alone is it possible to discerne and prove the constitution of a Government which springs not up at once, but by unseen degrees and moments, whose fundamentall constitutive acts stand upon no record. This is the condition of most Governments in the world which have sprung from small, rude and unknown beginnings. And of this in particular. For 1, A limitation of Royall Power was brought hither by the Saxons and Angli our Ancestours, hath been proved. This was, as those times were, very rude and unpolished, it is likely such as Captaines in Armies have, who can doe nothing of moment without the advise and consent of the Counsell of warre. 2. This Limitation of Power and Libertie received some more formall and setled bounds afterwards by customes and Lawes before the Conquest, as appeares by the Common Lawes, which are, as it were, the basis and foundation of this Government, the Statute Lawes being but after superstructives; These Common Lawes did not grow up at once, but by degrees, and were unwritten Customes and Usages gaining authority by unknowne prescription, above all written Lawes; and were afterward committed to writing by men skilfull in the Lawes. 3. At length, and after the Conquest it was perfected to this Parliamentarie Forme; and even this being at first but rude, grew to this exactnesse by length of Time, and infinite Contentions. This latter way only being left us; that I took, and the Doctour hath no cause to despise it. For when a thing of present State is made evident by Reason drawne for palpable experience of it’s present composure, it is madnesse to denie it to be so, because I cannot tell when it began to be so: Yea when the Question is of present state, it is a surer way to find out the Truth, then by records of its Originall constitution: For in time the Frame of a State may receive reall variations from what it was at first, as the Romane State, and most others have done; for the contracts of men are at pleasure alterable; and an argument drawne from Monuments of first coalition, would then be fallacious.

Well; be the way never so justifiable, which I have taken, yet the Doctor dares pronounce my Arguments insufficient to cleare what I have undertaken. Tis easie to pronounce it; let us see how he makes good his sentence. I proceeded distinctly first to lay down my Arguments proving Limitation, p. 31. Then those which proove Mixture, p. 40. He mingles them together: And to my first, third, fourth and fift proving Limitation, Answers that They prove only limitation in the exercise of power, p. 28. Why so? Neither the Denomination of Liege, nor any prescription can make us believe, that the Limitations of power had any other beginning then voluntary condescent. As if a Government by voluntarie condescent might not receive a radicall Limitation. But it lies on him to proove, it was by such condescent; if he can bring no record for it, it must in justice be held originall, and ab initio. Those two denominations of Leige Soveraigne: And Liege people doe prove the very Soveraignty and Subiection Legall; but that is not so which hath only a morall Limitation; the denominations argue the bond ’twixt them to be Legall: And when Subjects have such a Libertie by custome and Law, that they owe no farther subjection, then (when, or how ever they came by it) yet the very power of the Monarch is limited, as we heard in the former Chapter, unlesse any will put a vaine power in the Prince, to which no Subjection is due; but of this enough there. Then he passeth to my Reasons proving mixture, which are three, p. 40. of my Treatise. The first is, That it is confessedly mixed of a Monarchie, Aristocracie and Democracie, therefore radically, and in the very Power. He answers, It is not necessarie the mixture should be in the Power: but it is sufficient if there be a concurrence of Persons whose consent is required to the exercise of Power, p. 29. Thus he answers to the conclusion; but sayes nothing to the Antecedent. 1. And indeed if it be mixed of these three, his answer is against common-sense; that a mixture of Monarchie, Aristocracie and Democracie should be satisfied by annexion of persons to the Monarch, having meere consent: for these are names of Power of Government; for Aristocracie and Democracie are Powers not Persons, as well as Monarchie: therefore a composition of these three must be all of Powers. 2. And indeed this chimera of a mixture in the exercise of Power, is plaine non-sense. For a mixture in the Acts or Exercise supposeth a mixture in the principles of Action, that is in the very Powers: A mixt Act proceeding from a simple Power is such stuffe that I never heard before. Now if a mixture in Acts argues a mixture in Powers: These Powers must be coordinate and supreme: for subordinates make no mixture; also Powers concurrent to supreme Acts, such as Legislation is confessed to be, cannot be but supreme Powers. Neither can any man living cleare that passage which he speaks of p. 45. from pure non-sense, sc. This coordination is but to some Act or Exercise of the Supreme Power, not in the power it selfe: For Concurse to an Act, implies a Power of Concurrence: and Concurse to a supreme Act, argues a supreme Power; for an inferiour Power cannot afford a coordinate concurrence to a supreme Act. So that his Over-seers were not mistaken when they checked him for that passage, and said, He granted a coordination of Subjects with his Majestie in the supreme Power. But here he brings a ponderous Reason, so often before urged. If the mixture be in the Supremacie of Power, how can the King be the Only supreme and Head. He cannot salve it with his Apex potestatis, unlesse the King must be the Crowne or Top of the Head onely; for they also must be our Head and our Soveraignes, if they be mixed in the Supremacie of Power, p. 29. Here I answer once for all to this so frequent an injection. 1. That the Titles of Head and Supreme are fully satisfied by this, that he is the sole Principle and fountaine from whence the execution of all Law and Justice flowes to his people by inferiour Officers and Courts, all whose Authoritie is derivatively from him as its head. 2. That these Titles in proper construction import only Utmost chiefty, nor doe they agree to any kind of right in the fundamentall and radicall Powers of a Kingdome; but to the principall and transcendent Interest: Another may have a right in the supreme Power, yet not be supreme, nor Head: because not having a supremacie in that Power: So it is in the Colledges, the Fellowes have a fundamentall interest in the power of Government, yet that hinders not, but that the Title of Head and Chiefe is given to him who is Governour; will the Doctour jest at it, and say they be Heads and Supremes too, and the Warden or Master is but the crowne or top of the head. Also in the naturall bodie, from whence the Memphor of Head is borrowed, are three Fundamentall and radicall powers seituate in the three Principall parts: yet none will say, the Heart and Liver are Heads too, because they partake the supreme Powers of nature. Let not the Doctour therefore straine a Memphor so farre as to make himselfe merry with it. Let him really answer my Arguments by which I prove a radicall Limitation and mixture. Let him answer; is not the Legislative Power the supreame? Have not the Houses an Authoritative concurrence and Influx into that businesse? If he avoyd a punctuall answer hereto by carping at words, he will prove himselfe a ridiculous Argumentatour while he seekes to make others seeme so.

My second Argument for radicall mixture, is from the Legislative Power being in all three. He answers, That Phrase is satisfied and explained by that concurrence and consent in the exercise of supreame Power. It seemes that invention of his must serve all turnes. Is a Legislative Power satisfied by a bare powerlesse consent? I demand: is that Consent causall and Authoritative; or meerly Consiliarie and unauthoritative? And whereas I prove that they have an enacting Authority by that received and set clause in the beginning of Acts; Be it enacted by the Kings most excellent Majestie, and the Authoritie of the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament. He tels us a Vote and Power of assenting is a great Authority, p. 29. I enquire not how great it is: I aske whether that be all; whether that clause, which as expressely as words can, ascribes an enacting Authority to them, be satisfied by such a Power of Assenting? He sees it doth not, and therefore tels us of a former phrase which ran thus: The King by the advise and assent of the Prelates, Earls and Barons, and at the instance and request of the Commonaltie hath ordained, &c. Suppose anciently some statutes runne under that forme: that advise and instance, must be understood of an Authoritative and exacting advice and instance; as the latter formes explaine it: for it is equall that the latter expound the former; and not the contrary, as the Doctor would perversly have it, especially considering the Doctors Exposition cannot stand with the latter; but mine agrees very well with the former. But how bold is this man, when during so many yeares and Parliaments, both Kings and States by this received Forme, have acknowledged and established a concurrent enacting Authoritie in all three, yet he dares argue and oppose so expresse and confessed a truth? But in this answer, he discovers a great deale of superficialnes, in granting the Houses a Power of consenting to the establishment of laws; and yet denie them a Legislative, enacting Power: for such a Power of consenting (if it be necessary) is indeed a Power of enacting; for though in transeunt Acts one may stand by and consent to the doing, and yet not be Efficient; yet in imminent Acts which are done, per &illegible; volitionem, by a meere expression of the Will, A concurrence in consenting, and a concurrence in doing is one and the same thing: Now Legislation is an imminent Act, consisting in a meer expression of an Authoritative Will.

My third Argument for Mixture, was from it’s end, which was Restraint from excesse. 1. He grants such a Restraint, but morall and legall, not forceable, p. 30. I answer, He deceitfully confounds morall and legall, as I shewed before. 2. The End of Mixture in a State, is that there may be a power of restreyning more then sufficient (as his Majestie expresses it) but the Doctors meere morall power, is very insufficient; It limits not the Power at all; nor the Exercise properly, no more then an Oath, or Promise without it, would doe: that is, makes it sinne to exceed. But of this before. But here, which is very rare, He doth not onely denie, but give a reason of it. If the fundamentall Constitution had intended them such a Power, it would not have left a power in the Monarch to call, or dissolve them, which would make this power of theirs altogether ineffectuall, p. 30. This Reason seemes to have some weight in it, I will therefore, the more seriously consider it. 1. Whatever strength it hath had in it; now it hath none, because that power of dissolving is now by Law suspended, for this Parliament; and after it, a necessity by Law imposed of reducing that Power of Calling Parliaments, into Act, every Three yeares. 2. Neither was it true before these Acts, that such a Power was left in the Monarch at pleasure to use or not; for it was by ancient Law determined how often they should be convocated. 3. But being granted that this Power is simply and fully in the Monarch, yet I denie, that hence it followes, that it would make that Power of the Houses altogether ineffectuall; because that de facto, though it hath been in the Monarch so long, yet it never hath made it voyd; but they have exercised a limiting Power, as Histories relate, enough yea and sometimes too much, over the Monarch, notwithstanding his Power of calling and dissolving them. Thus in the Colledges, the Fellowes have an effectuall, and more then morall limiting Power, though the Governour hath the Power of calling and dissolving their meetings. And anciently the prime Patriarch had the power of Calling and dissolving generall Councels, yet they had a Power of limiting, yea of Censuring him for exorbitances for all that. The Reason is, because many things fall out oft in a Government, inducing such necessities on the Monarch, that he for their supply will choose to reduce such power into act of Calling, and suspend such power of dissolving, although he know those States will use their Limiting Power in reducing such exorbitances, and punishing those dearest instruments which have been used in them. This the Constitutors of this Frame preconsidering might put in the Monarch this Power, and yet intend to the other States a Legall and effectuall power of restraining his exorbitancies, by using Force, not against him, but it’s procurers and Instruments. Thus we see, there is no need of entring on that dispute, Whether this Power of calling and dissolving the Houses &illegible; placed in the Monarch, as all his other are, not absolutely, but with limitation of necessary reducing it into act, on the last exigencies of the Kingdome.

After this he returns to my other Arguments for limitation; One of which, drawne from radicall Mixture, he fully omits; but now having showed the invalidity of his exceptions against my arguments for it, I have given force to this argument for Limitation, drawne therefrom. That which he sets on last is my first for Limitation in the very Power: sc. the Kings owne expresse confession: That the Law is the measure of his power: That the Powers which he hath are vested in him by Law. p. 31. of my Tract. And, as if this were hot more then he could answer, the Doctor addes a third &illegible; in which he ascribes to the Houses a power more then sufficient to restraine his Excesses, p. 30. Here are Authorities as punctuall and expresso as can be imagined. Yet the Doctor resolving not to be reasoned into a beliefe of these things, out faces all this evidence; and to that end frames three Answers such as they are. 1. He sayes, His Majestie had few of his learned Counsell about him. 2. His gracious expressions ought not to be drawne out to his disadvantage. 3. All that can be gathered from them doth not come up to these Conclusions, p. 31. In the two first he openly enough taxeth his Majestie or unadvised expressions, excusing it from absence of his learned Counsellours (you may soone imagine whom he meanes) Thus disparaging the Kings judgement and all then about him; and tels us we must not be unjust to let those sayings on the racke; that is, we must not tuke them in their plaine meaning; but on this mans wrested and sencelesse interpretation: What due not these men dare doe and say? Before we heard him correcting the expressions of all Moderne Parliaments, teaching us to reforme them by the old. Here the King and his &illegible; setting out in such a time Declarations to all his Subjects to &illegible; them about the nature and extent of his Royall Power: He compares those serious expresses to Trayant sudden and excessive speech: He will correct Kings, Counsels, Parliaments and all, but he will have his way: To him they must come to learne how to speake, and what powers they have. But let us heare his Doctorall Exposition of his Majesties expresses. Hee sayes, The Law is the measure of his Power: Wee must understand his meaning to be that his power is bounded by Law: but it doth not follow, that his power wherein it is not &illegible; by Law is not absolute and full, p. 31. Here is profound interpreting. If his Power &illegible; limited by Law? is there any part of it not limited by Law? If the Law be the measure of it, sure it is even with it; for the measure is equall in extent with the thing measured: Thus he &illegible; interprets against the direct meaning of the Text: But he doth not &illegible; how that can be understood, when no faith, His powers are vested in him by Law, if the Law be a limitation only of exercise: Nor how their Restraining power is more then sufficient; if it be only morall; which, how unsufficient a restraint for exorbitance it is, every &illegible; experience can though testifie. I admire a man who pretends to conscience and judgement should take such liberty of interpreting. Certaine if those Reasons and Testimonies doe not clearly &illegible; &illegible; limited and mined Constitution of this Monarchy I shall despair of ever proving any thing by way of Argument any more.

Sect. 3.I had an intent to have subnexed other Arguments to make good those Assertions: but I see it is to no purpose, for he is resolved not to be reasoned into them:7 Queries concerning this Governement. He can denie all as failing &illegible; in the &illegible; or Consequent, p. 32. The Power of this Kingdome he must have unlimited: He will give no Reason for it; nor heare no Reason against it. Yet, fath he professeth himselfe a Resolver of Conscience, Let me therfore be so bold as to propose certaine Cases to him. 1. Why in the late Oath proposed to be taken by all his Majesties Subjects the Power of enacting Statutes is sworne to be joyntly in the Kings Majestie, Lords and Commons in Parliament. Certes the Doctor writ this Reply before that Oath was printed in Oxford, or else he did not consider of it. He cannot say, I hope there were but few of his counsell about him when that was framed: if the Doctor hath taken it, He hath for sworne this passage of his Reply; and sworne them a joynt enacting power. 2. Why we are enjoyned to sweare that we doe beleeve that the Subjects of England are not obliged by any Act made either by the Kings Majestie solely, or the Houses solely, &c. Sure the Doctor hath abjured his other Assertion of the unlimited Power of the King, if he hath taken this Oath; for if Power be solely his, then an Act made by him solely is obliging: If they be not obligaturie, they are not Authoritative; and so the mixture and limitation is in the Authority it self. Here is no place left for his distinction of Active and Passion subiection. For 1. Will any thinke that the intent is to sweare men to be bound not to doe, but to suffer? 2. The Beliefe of a non-Obligation &illegible; in differently and as fully concerning the sole Acts of the King, &illegible; the Houses but I beleeve the Doctour will not say we are obliged to passive subiection to the sole Acts of the Houses. 3. I would know if the States doe limit onely morally, what they doe, which is not done without them. A Promise and Oath do limit morally without them. He will say they may admonish him; and denie their &illegible; and so &illegible; his Acts invalid: He meanes still morally invalid; and so would they be without them. 4. Suppose the Monarch minded to establish a Law, which he judges needfull; and the States being averse, he enacts it without them; Is it not a Law? It hath all the Legislative authoritis in it. He will say it is not duly made. 1. I grant it: but yet it is a Law, for it hath all the Power of a Law. 2. But is it not duly made? Why, the power of last decision is the King alone: Suppose he define that the Intent of his Predecessours in granting this consenting power to the Houses had no intent to hinder, but further themselves in establishing good lawes; and therefore now they not concurring by assent to this needfull Act, He ought not to be hindred, but may lawfully doe it without them. He is the last Judge in this case; and it must be held ever lawfully enacted. So that in the result here is left to these States by the Doctors grounds neither Civill nor Morall Limitation, but at pleasure. 5. If Limitation in our Government exempt Subjects from a necessity of active Subjection; but not from passive; How is it that our Lawes doe not only determine what the Monarch shall command, but also what he shall inflict: what shall be accounted Rebellion, what Felonie, &c. and what not; also what he shall inflict for this crime, and that crime, and what not? Sith the Lawes limiting what he shall command, doe limit our necessity of active Subiection; it will follow, that the Lawes limiting what he shall inflict, doe limit our necessity of passive Subiection. Here’s no evasion by saying the Laws do limit him morally what he shall inflict, and if he inflict beyond Law, he sinnes in it; but we must suffer: for the Doctor acknowledges, that the Lawes defining what he shall command doe so limit our active subjection, that we have a simple exemption from any necessity of Doing; and therefore also the Laws defining what he shall inflict, doe so limit our passive subjection, that we have a simple exemption from any necessity of suffering, beyond those Limitations; for also, if they did not free us from passive subjection, it were unlawfull not only to resist, but also to avoid suffering even by flight. 6. When the liberties of magna Charta, and other grants have been gotten and preserved, and recovered at the rate of so much trouble, sute, expence and blond, whither by all that adoe was intended only a morall liberty, definement in the Monarch, and not also of the power it selfe; only that he might not lawfully exorbitate from established Lawes, and not also that he might have no Authority or Power to exorbitate at all? Sure this was their aime, for the former he could not doe before. 7. The Law granting a writ of Rebellion against him who refuseth to obey the sentence of the Judge, thought he have an expresse Act of the Kings will to warrant him: doth it not suppose those exceeding and extrajudiciall Acts of the Kings will to be unauthoritative, and unable to priviledge a man from Resistance?

If the Doctor by his faculty can resolve these Cases, He will doe much in way of satisfaction of my conscience; but if he cannot they will prove so many convincing arguments that the Power of the Monarch in this Frame is not unlimited.

Now having made good my Assertions, I expected another worke; sc. an Examination of his Reasons for unlimitednesse, and simplicity of Monarchicall Power, but he is not guilty of my fault, he doth not goe so much as to reason us into a beliefe of it. He doth in vaine expresse a desire hee hath that some skilfull Lawyers or Divines would helpe him at this dead sift; yet he is like to goe alone in this wild untroden path of defending an unresistiblenesse on such supposals: shall we think any Divine will second him, in justifying his unwritten fancie about Gods Ordinance necessarily investing all the acts of his will, who is supreme? Or any sound Lawyer will overthrow the grounds of his Profession, that the Royall Right, Authority and Government of this Realme is both founded on, and measured by the Laws thereof. Yea it is very remarkeable, that his Majestie in all the Declarations and Expresses which I have seen, doth not once touch upon this way, sc. a challenge of such a latitude of Authority as can preserve destructive instruments from force; but condemnes the now Resistance, by solemne protestations of innocency, and intention of governing by the known Laws.


Chap. VI.

An Answer to his 5. Sect. of Resistance in Relation to severall kinds of Monarchy.

Sect. 1.THE residue of his Book is spent about the Question of Resistance; I might well spare the labour of any farther Answer; for now having so apparently made good these two Assertions. 1. That soveraignty may be limited in the very power. 2. That defacte, it is so in this Government, every one may discerne the necessary truth of these inserences, 1. That in this Government, the exceeding Acts of the Princes will, being out of the compasse of his Authority, can not authorize their Instruments. 2. That hereon Resistance of them is no other then of private men, not of Authority, or Gods Ordinance. But because the Doctors chiefe confidence is in this part of his discourse, and he is large in it, I will therefore goe on in my work, and will briefly make appeare that his Reasons are infirme, and his Authorities impertinent, and his Answers very insufficient: for having been so large in making good my supposals, and overthrowing his, I may the more contract my selfe in this remaining businesse. In this Section he proposeth two things. 1. To consider how I state the point of Resistance in the kinds of Governments. 2. To prove that Limitation and Mixture in government doe not imply a forceable constraining Power in subjects, p. 39. I will follow him in both.

My stating the Question &illegible;He begins with a charitable censure of my stating the Question, and sayes he finds it to be in away that lies very open to Rebellion, p. 33. Let the Reader judge: I am sure, his Resolves and Determinations are not in a way to destroy all liberty, and make all Governments Arbitrary, but directly doe it. Then for my maintaining the Person of the Monarch in all Formes to be above the reach of Force, he approves it; yet sayes I allow subjects to raise Armies, to give battle to those that are about him as his guard. He wrongs me, I say not his guard but subversive seducers and instruments: Those which he called cutthroates in his first booke; now he repents he gave that hard name to his clients, whom he pleades so hard to save harmelesse, and makes them amends with the stile of a Guard. A guard which bring him into greater danger then all his enemies; who bring him into battell to save themselves, where Ordnance and Musket can put no difference: No; They use him as their guard. If harme befall him, which God avert, the guilt and punishment will fall on them who are so prodigall of hazarding his sacred Person, not on those who could desire nothing more then his security, by absence from a multitude, who by undertaking the subversion of Religion and Lawes (for that is the Doctors supposition) bring themselves in danger of condigne destruction.

Then he proceeds to Resistance in an Absolute State. Where I affirme, If such a Monarch should seeke the destruction of the whole Community, his instruments of such inhumanity may be resisted. He dares not deny it; but would know what I doe meane by the whole community. I meane the whole simely, or the whole interpretatively; that is, the greater part; and therefore his exception of the Jewes in the Kingdome of Abasuerus, or the Templers in the Westerne Kingdomes, is not to the purpose: but the instance which I bring of the Law-Countries, comes home: for they were the whole community; but the Replier corrupts it, when he saith the Spanish King intended the extirpation of the Protestants only, p. 34. For he intended not only theirs, but of all, Papists and else, which would not admit the introduction of an Arbitrary Government, and the subversion of their liberties, as the histories thereof make plaine. Here in this 34. page, the Doctor shewes a bad mind: Taking occasion to excuse the Rebels in Ireland, as if they might justifie themselves on these grounds; and intimating a falshood, as if the Parliament did intend their extirpation, hereby declaring how ill he likes any effectuall course for the rooting out of Popery out of the Kingdomes. Indeed, he sayes, he pleads not for them, but yet he doth it. He finds out arguments for them; and shews them a way, both how to excuse themselves, and accuse the Parliament; and to call a resolution of cleansing that Iland from Popery, an extirpation of their Nation. He sayes, the example of David proves not this, being but a particular Man. I say, it proves it the more strongly, as shall appeare. Then if a particular mans life be invaded without any plea of reason, I suppose it hard to deny him the liberty of positive resistance of agents; and prove it by the instance of the peoples rescue of Jonathan; and Davids of himselfe; where the peoples Oath; and Davids Army, with his enquiry at Keilab doe prove a serious and reall purpose of Resistance, let the Doctor say what he please to the contrary; so that these examples come home to justifie resistance in such case, even in an Absolute Monarchy; for here are particular men, in an absolute Monarchy, assaulted without plea of reason; for that Jonathan, who had wrought such a deliverance, should die, for tasting in his ignorance a little honey, there was no colour of reason; the Kings rash oath was none. And that David should be put to death, whom Saul himselfe oft with his own mouth professed innocent, and absolved, was as much without plea of reason: so that here I need not flie to the Doctors shift of an extraordinary case, as he tells me I must, p. 35. I acknowledge no extraordinary case in these examples: Take them in their due extent, and they justifie no more then I have asserted; and so much they doe. In my 5. Assertion, p. 12. Of submitting States, Liberties and Persons to the will if an Absolute Monarch carrying any plea of reason; He faults my Order, and tells me, it should have been first. It seems this mans eye can spie small faults; but why first, he doth not say. I think in stating of the question of resistance I may as well begin with the Affirmative, and shew first when it may be used, and then when it ought not; as on the contrary; but he will make a fault, where he finds none. But what sayes he to the Assertion? He grants it; but dislikes the limitation, so it carry plea or shew of reason: and sayes here the way is open enough to rebellion, p. 36. No opener then himselfe makes it, p. 10. This is usuall with him, when he dislikes a thing: He can speak no lesse words then Rebellion. But why sayes he so? Every man will be ready to think there is no reason nor equity in the will of the Monarch when he is oppressed by him. He may well enough, if hee be oppressed: but yet there may be a plea and colour of equity even for an Act of Oppression; and in an Absolute Monarchy it will little availe a man though he think there is no reason for it: for he must not be his own judge; nor hath he any outward judge to appeale to; but the Reasonable will of the Monarch himselfe; if he submit to its determination, there is no feare of Rebellion; if not, I have done with him, in such a Government. Of Saules censure of Jonathan and David I have spoken already and made it appeare it had no plea of reason, was not the act of a reasonable will; and therefore I may hold their examples ordinary, without impeachment of this Assertion.

Then he proceeds to Resistance in limited and mixed Rules, p. 36. Concerning which I said, p. 17. If the exorbitances be of lesse moment they ought to be borne, and p. 18. If mortall and destructive neither can be otherwise redressed, then prevention by Resistance may be used. Here first he challengeth my ingenuity, for words spoken in my 49. page. He said Sect. 1. of his first booke, We may and ought to deny obedience to such commands of the Prince at are unlawfull by the Law of God; yea by the established lawes of the Land. I censured this speech, that it is more then should be said, sure, a hainous fault in me: I say more; he hath said more then should be said, by all these three bookes, in which he sayes that which dissolves all frames of Government into arbitrary, overthrowes all effectuall limitation of Power; and sure that is more then should be said. And for that particular clause; Is it not more? He speakes without restriction: Doth joyne things unlawfull by the law of God, and things unlawfull by the lawes of the Land: And puts the same may and ought to both; if the affirmation must be understood universally of one, how can it be understood otherwise of the other: It cannot be excused from the censure of a confused and unwary speech. He passeth, p. 37. to the Question, Who shall be the ultime judge of subversive exorbitancies. He would know who? I have told him my opinion hereof at large in that Tract: Here I would faine know his; but he would rather carp at mine, then give his own. When I say there can be no Authoritative judge to determine it. He commends my ingenuity, p. 37. but I doe not only say it, but at large doe prove it, there p. 67. as well against him, as against those others; why doth he not undertake that Question against me, if he hath any mind to it. He much dislikes when I say, p. 18. The fundamentall Lawes must judge in every mans conscience. This is, sayes he, a ready way to anarchy and confusion, p. 37. I referre not this case to the consciences of men as to an Authoritative Judge, but a morall principle of discerning Right: And who can deny unto man such a liberty to conceive of right according to the light he hath from the fundamentals of a State? Let the judicious reade what I have said here-about, p. 67. of that Tract; and let him then tell how that Question can be otherwise determined, unlesse he overthrow Monarchy, by giving a finall judgement to the States; or all Liberty, if he give it to the Monarch; and supposing the Ayme at subversion be evident to mens consciences, can we deny them a naturall power of judging according to that evidence; or liberty of assisting the wronged? So when I say the wronged side must make it evident to every mans conscience: also the appeale must be to the Community, as if there were no Government; and as every man is convinced in conscience he is bound to give assistance, p. 29. of my Tract: He calls this good stuffe, p. 37. Why? because I say, the people are at liberty as if there were no Government; and this appeale is disadvantagious to the Monarch; for they will be more ready to believe their representative: This would in the consequence be dangerous, the high way to confusion, p. 38. Answ. 1. I say, not simply, that people are at liberty, as if there were no Government; but in this particular Question; bound still, as before, in all besides. 2. He takes me as if by Community I meant only the Commons; when I expresse it by genils humanum, especially of that Kingdome. 3. He censures the Reason of Man-kind of partiality towards their Representatives. Not so; for in so great a Question Wisemen cannot be blinded: Honest men will goe according to their conscience, and Reasonoble men according to evidence, and will see it concernes them as well to avoid Anarchy by aiding a wronged Monarch; as Tyranny by aiding an oppressed State. But sith this Replicant is so bitter an enveigher against an Appeale ad conscientiom generis humani, in this last case so uncapeable of an Authoritative decision: 1. Let him consider on what foundation God hath built Monarchy and all other powers, but on the consciences of men, Rom 13. 2. Let him weigh whether, when he hath said all he can say, such an appeale be avoidable. For, 1. If a controversie arise between the King and a particular person or place; the King shall Judge it in his Courts by his Judges, and the sentence shall be executed by the force and armes of his other subjects. 2. If it be between Him and the Representatives of his whole Kingdome, and supreme Court of Judicature in which the Acts and Persons of all other Courts and Judges are to be judged. The King cannot judge this in his other Courts and by his Judges; nor yet by himselfe; for a King out of his Courts cannot judge in a Legall Government, especially the acts of his supreme Court. But be it so: suppose the Doctor and I should agree in this, that the King by himselfe is the ultime Judge of Controversies: Yet it is very like those States with whom the Contention is, will not yeild him so, to judge against them, in his own cause. But suppose they doe not submit to his determination: He will say, then they sin, and rebell against him. Well, let it be granted; yet submit they doe not: I demand in this case, what course the King hath to make effectuall his sentence? It must be by force of armes, by the sword: but of whom? Either the peoples whose representatives they are; or other mens: but what shall bind them to afford their Force to make good his sentence? It must be their conscience of his right: Thus when all is done and said, To the consciences of Men must his appeall be; and to them must he make evident his right, in this extreme contention. Yea this man in a controversie of the like nature, is compelled to acknowledge as much: For the Pleaders put the case; If a King be distracted, I may adde, if his Title be dubious, &c. The Doctors answer is, if it be cleare that a King is so, &c. p. 8. but who shall determine this If? must not self-evidence in the consciences of Men? This is all the judiciall power the Doctour can referre us to in these cases. Lastly, He would know what power there is in a Community to make resistance; and answers himselfe, A Parliamentary and Legall; not Military and Forcible, p. 38. Thus he speakes of these as contradistinct, when they are subordinate, Forcible being subservient to Legall to make it valid and effectuall, which else were meerely morall and ineffectuall; but this is one of his supposals whose vanity I have before discovered: And p. 51. of my Treatise, in a full dispute have I proved the Parliaments power in resisting destructive instruments; which I doubt not, will appeare cleare, notwithstanding any thing said in this Reply. But that is very strange which he affirmes, p. 39. That if they use a Legall restraining power, the Monarch cannot alter the established frame. Sure, by cannot, he understands fallaciously, as he useth to doe, a morall cannot, that is, not without sin; which is a poor small cannot now adays: if he mean indeed cannot, that is, is not able, it is against reason, by his grounds; for what is not he able to doe, whose lowest, most desperate instrument of pleasure is unresistible? Let him remember where he said, p. 19. A forcible consent cannot be wanting to a Conquerour, and a Conquerours power is no more then unresistible. Nay; I am senselesse on the Doctors grounds, if he cannot lawfully; for suppose he be pleased to make it a Question, whether he were not better governe by the Civill-Law, as more conducent to Gods glory, and the end of Government. He is by Law the last judge of this Question, if he determine it best: then he may lawfully doe it.

Sect. 1.Now we are come to the second part of this Section: in which he undertakes the proofe of this Assertion,His Arguments against power of resistance reserved, answered. that Limitations and Mixtures in Monarchy doe not imply a forcible constraining power in subjects for the preventing of dissolution, but only a Legall, p. 39. Answ. He failes in the very proposall of his Assertion in three points. 1. He proposeth it of Limitation in generall; whereas I grant it of that which is only in exercise; affirming it only of that which is of the power it selfe. 2. He sayes, Forcible constraining power in subjects, when he should have specified against subversive instruments, for I grant it of the Monarch himselfe. 3. He opposeth forcible to Legall, when it should be opposed only to meere Morall, not to Legall, as before. Now let us weigh his Arguments. First, Such a power must be in them by reservation, and then it must be expresse in the constitution of the Government and Covenant, or else by implication. I will answer distinctly concerning this Reservation of power of forcible Resistance. 1. There is a Reservation of liberty, or power of not being subject neither actively nor passively to the exceeding Acts of the Monarchs will: This is by implication, for what they did not resigne up, they did reserve. 2. A power of Authoritative judging and resisting the Monarch thus exceeding. This neither expressely nor implicitly is reserved; not because it is unlawfull, as the Doctor imagins, but contradictory to the very institution of a Monarchy, and so, under that intention, impossible. 3. A power of forcible resistance of subversive instruments. This by the Authority of the Law, is, not reserved, but expressely commited, not only to the Houses of Parliament, but all interiour Courts; for the Law, whose execution the King committeth unto them, commands them not only to resist, but punish its violaters, much more its subverters, without exceptions of Persons, or respect of their number, or ground and reason why they doe it, whether with or against the Kings private and absolute will or Warrant: supposing such men to be without warrant. And this power of judging all violators and subverters of Laws being committed to them, includes a power of imploying the force or Armes of the County, or whole Kingdome, if need be, to make good the sentence of the Law against them; This power being a necessary attendant to the former. And they who have the power of judging by Commission, have the power of force by implication. To his five Arguments therefore by which he proves this power not reserved by implication; I briefly Answer. 1. Limitation cannot infer it, &c. Answer, Limitation in exercise only doth not: but in the power it selfe doth infer it, as I have often shewed. 2. The inconveniencies of exorbitancie cannot infer it. Answer, They doe not infer it of themselves, for they are the same in absolute Rule: but supposing a people mind in their Frame effectually to prevent those inconveniencies, that doth infer it. 3. The consent and intention of the people, choosing a Monarch cannot infer it, because it is not the measure of the power it selfe. Answer, I have before proved the contrary, and made the Doctors supposall appeare a groundlesse falshood concerning unlimited power by Gods ordinance. 4. The intention of the people in procuring Limitations of power cannot infer it. Answer, If the peoples intention in it, be a greater security from oppression then in an absolute Government they can have, or a meere morall limitation can give them; then it doth inferre it. 5. If the Architects did intend such a forceable power to these &illegible; they would not have left it in his power to dissolve them, p. 42. This hath had its full satisfaction before. These are poore infirme arguments, as the reader cannot but see, yet he ends in a triumph. Therefore I conclude here as I premised in the second Section, where the Prince stands supreme, &c. there Subjects may not by force of armes resist, though he be exorbitant, &c. p. 43. ’Tis true he concludes as he promised, but he hath riot proved, as he promised; nor as we expected; For here is nothing, but that which fals to the ground with his supposals on which they are built; and which I have demolished in the 4th Chapter.


Chap. VII.

An Answer to the 7th Section of his Replie, of places of Scripture out of the old Testament.

Sect. 1.HIs sixt Section doth wholly concerne the Author of the fuller Answer, which I passe over, because I am chargeable for no more then is my owne. And come to his seventh which containes an Examination of places alledged in this Question out of the old Testament. Where he begins confidently that there is no warrant for Resistance, p. 56. and he yeelds two Reasons why. 1. Because the Institution of that Kingdom was such as doth plainly exclude Resistance. 2. Because the Prophets never call for it. Ans. I grant it doth exclude it, as farre as in an absolute Monarchie it may be excluded; and therefore there is no need of answering his Arguments. But yet let us consider them sith he is so large in them.

To shew us the Institution of that Kingdome he brings, 1. Sam. 8. 11. Where he sayes we have it. For Samuel is commanded, v. 9. To tell the people (Jus Regis:) Now this jus Regis he makes a great matter of, and tels us it implies not a Right of doing such unjust Acts, but a securitie from Resistance and force, if he does them, p. 56.

Ans. 1. It is no prejudice to the cause I defend, if I should grant all he would worke out of this Text; for it prooves no farther then of that particular Kingdome, inducing no necessitie that all others must have the same Institution. Also that which he concludes is but a securitie for the Person of the Prince from force if he doe such unjust Acts: which we grant him not only in that, but all Monarchies, even the most limited.

2. If he have any further reach, and would conclude out of it a generall binding Ordinance of security from Resistance extending even to subversive Instruments of Will. The world will wonder at him for such an audicious conclusion from such premises. And we will look a &illegible; nearer to what he sayes. All is grounded on his Interpretation of Jus Regis. Which he seeks to confirme by Calvins Authority.

First, for his Interpretation, I say the Originall words in this place are not to be translated jus Regis, the Right of the King. Because 1. There is another more fit signification of them: the words are משפטהמלו now the word פשפט being applied to unjust Acts, as here it is ought not to be rendred jus, but mos, not Right, but manner, as appeares by another place answerable to this, 1 Sam. 27. 11. וכה משפטו speaking of Davids roving, This will be his manner, ’t were ridiculous to render it, this will be his right or priviledge. This our last interpreters knowing, did willingly depart from the Vulgar Latine; whose Authour either ignorantly or inconsiderately did render it jus Regis; which this Doctour for his advantage doth here make so much of. 2. That rendring of it, cannot be justified by any other Text of Scripture; for whersoever it is rendred Jus, it imports a morall Right; not a priviledge or securitie in ill doing. I challenge any skilfull in that tongue to bring one place where it is or can be so rendred.

Then for Calvins Authority. I answer. 1. What if Calvin or any other deceived by the vulgar Latine, or ignorance of the extent of the Originall word, have rendred it ill; must that be a prescription to others who know a better? 2. Neither doth Calvin, though he follow the Latine and render it jus, meane such a jus as the Doctour doth, sc. An absolute immunity, or security from Resistance: but onely from private men. For after he hath in all those passages, which the Doctour cites, exempted Kings from violence, truly and piously urging patience in Subjects under the injuries of their Princes, at length Instit. l. 4. c. 10. (the same out of the which the Doctor brings his proofes) num. 31. He explaines himselfe, De privatis hominibus semper loquor, that all is to be taken of private men; not of the States of a Kingdome, in their publike meetings: never discerning of such a universall immunitie, as the Doctour would put upon him to maintaine. And here I challenge not the Ingenuity, but the Conscience of this Replier, who cites Calvin at large in the former place, as agreeing with him in this case of Resistance, when he cannot be ignorant of the contrary, and therefore conceales his following words in the 31. num. Where he expressely teaches the same Truth which I have asserted in my Treatise. Heare him speaking his judgement, De privatie hominibus semper loquor: Nam si qui nunc sunt populares magistratus ad moderandum Regum libidinem constituti (quales olim erant, qui Lacedemonijs regibus oppositi erant, Ephori, aut Romanis Consulibus, Tribuni plebis; aut Atheniensium Senatui, Demarchi; & qua etiam forte potestate (ut nunc res habent) funguntur in singulis regnis tres ordines, cum primarios conventui peragunt) adeo illos fenocienti Regum licentiæ pro officio intercedere non veto, ut si Regibus impotenter grassantibus, & humili plebeculæ insultantibus conniveant, corum dissimulationem nefaria perfidia non carere assirmem, quia populi libertatem cui se, Dei ordinatione, Tutores positos norunt, fraudulenter produnt. He is cleare, that the Estates in Parliament, not only may, but are Gods ordinance for it, and are bound to resist, and not suffer the destruction of liberties, by exorbitating Princes; so that I may justly retort the Doctors words, p. 57. There can be nothing spoken more plainly for the power of resistance in the Houses of Parliament then this.

Then for his other reason from the 18. verse, Ye shall cry out in that day, and the Lord will not heare you. As in my Treatise I called it inconsequent; so also now: He is a good Logician which can draw his conclusion out of those premises. But he blames me, p. 58. for saying it was an absolute Monarchy, and cannot see how it can be so, according to my description of absoluteness. Why not? In Absolute Monarchy, there are no limits but the Monarchs own will; but these had a fixed judiciall Law, p. 59. I answer, That judiciall Law was no limits of their power; but of the exercise only; for the non observance of it by the King did not amount to an untying of the bond of subjection in the people. The Judiciall Laws being from God, not from any contract of the people, were in the same nature to that people, and for the time, with the Morall Laws; and in the same manner did limit their Kings, and no otherwise. But for the Absolutenesse of that Monarchy, here Lyra (more faithfully cited, then he did Calvin above) Constitutio Regis juxta potestatem sibiconcessum est duplex.Lyra, in 1 Sam. 8. 1. Plena & &illegible; absoluta, prout legiste de Imperatore dicere solent. 2. Cum potestate &illegible; Now sayes he, the people sinned, not simply in asking a King; but in asking a King of the first sort, to judge them as the Nations, that is, absolutely. He is expresse. 1. That limitation of power makes a limited Monarch. 2. That Israel desiring such a Government as the adjacent Nations, desired an absolute Monarch. And indeed as the definement of the morall Law doth not disparage the Absolutenesse of the Monarch, because it is from God, not the people; so did not their judiciall, for the same reason.

Sect. 1.Next he comes to the peoples rescue of Jonathan, p. 60. He may give their resolute Oath what names pleaseth him, a loving importunate violence, a souldierly boldnesse, or the like; it was a peremptory expression of no lesse then an intent of resistance, in case there had been need. Then for Davids purpose in having armed men about him; He says it was only to secure his person against the cut-throates of Saul, that is, against his private Emissaries. But who sees not a large difference betweene securing a mans selfe from private Emissaries, and appearing in the field with Armies against the Armies of the Prince, p. 61. Answer, 1. It is against reason, that he should retaine an Army of 600. valiant Souldiers, yea a great Army, like the Host of God, 1 Chron. 12. 22. to secure himselfe meerely against private Emissaries. 2. Let us grant him that there is a difference between securing against private Emissaries, and the open Army: yet if he grant it lawfull to use force against one, he grants the cause by it, of all; for a warrant from an act of the Kings will is as valid to secure a few Emissaries, as a whole Army: and Gods Ordinance in one man, is no more resistible, then in a multitude. Then for Davids intent to keep Keylah against Saul, it is so evident, by the history; that I will say no more about it; but doe refer him to that which the Pleaders for defensive Armes say about it. The Doctor seeks divers evasions, to get out of the reach of this example; but doth not satisfie himselfe, much lesse others, and therefore adds the fourth on which he must rest when all is said, That Davids example was extraordinary: Hereon he brings some things in him which were extraordinary; We grunt it in many things; but we deny it in this. If the Doctor will prove him to have a speciall priviledge to resist Gods ordinance in his Soveraign, more then other men; he must bring the grait and warrant for it: otherwise David must come under the common condition for this matter: He himselfe acknowledges he had none for violating the person of his Prince; and sure then he had none for violating the Authority of his Prince, conferred on private Emissaries, it they had any. But in his p. 65. He layes hard at me, and challengeth not only my Reason for calling this a shufling Answer, but also my ingenuity, who confesse the people in that Government might not resist; and yet doe urge these examples for Resistance. Answer, 1. For my Reason: I have made it appeare I have reason to call it so; is it not a meere evasion, to affirme in him an extraordinary priviledge, and can bring no word, not warrant for it? 2. For my ingenuity it is without cause challenged by him; for from the lawfullnesse of Resistance of unreasonable Acts of will, in an absolute Monarchy, where Reason is the Princes law; I may a sortiori conclude the lawfulnesse of resisting of instruments of illegall Acts in a limited Monarchy, where the Law of the Land is the Princes Law and bounds.


Chap. VIII.

The 8. Section concerning Resistance forbidden, Rom. 13. answered.

Sect. 1.NOw we are come to his principall strength against Resistance out of Rom. 13. From whence nothing can be collected against any Resistance, but that which is of the Powers, of the Ordinance: but that which I defend is of neither of them, therefore I have no cause to feare his inferences from that Text. Now supposing the truth which I have made good, that in a limited State the limitation is of the Power it selfe, and not only of the exercise; it &illegible; evidently that in such a State resistance of destructive instruments, is neither of Power nor Gods Ordinance. I might therefore well omit that which at large here he speakes of Resistance of the Powers. The first part of the Section is spent in replying to the Exceptions of the Reverend Divines. The first thing I find which concernes me is, p. 77. I will therefore begin with him there. Where he accuseth me that in my 59, 64, and 66. page of that Treatise, I grant, they might not resist in that Monarchy; but affirme that subjects may in this; and he brings me in giving two Reasons for it. 1. Because Religion was then no part of the Lawes, but here it is. 2. Because that was an Absolute Monarchy, this a Limited and mixed, p. 77. But may I not here challenge both the ingennity and conscience of this Replyer. Did I ever grant that Gods Ordinance of Power might be resisted here; or give my Reasons for so unreasonable an Assertion? It would be tedious to repeate here, what I have said there. Let the Reader see; if he please. I will recite the summe. 1. The Doctor affirmed, that in the Apostles time the Senate of Rome might challenge more then our Parliaments can now, I denied it, and gave my reason, sc. That State was then devolved into a Monarchy by Conquest, &c. of this the Doctor speakes not a word, perhaps he is now ashamed of that comparison. 2. He said, there was greater cause of Resistance then, than now. I answered. There was then no cause at all: Not for Religion, being then, no part of the Law: Not Liberties; because then that was past, the Government changed; and an Oath taken of absolute subjection. Have I by these things granted a liberty of Resistance of Gods Ordinance to this people; and deny it to those? No; Neither They, nor We; not that enslaved Senate; nor our free Parliaments, no cause, no priviledge can justifie this. Yea I ascribe more to Gods Ordinance of Power, then He: He sayes that in a limited &illegible; we owe only passive subjection to exceeding commands of a Prince by promise limiting himselfe in the use of his power. I say; though he sin in exceeding such promise; yet we owe him also Active obedience in such commands which Gods Law forbids us not to be Active in. Neither doe I bring Doctor Bilsons testimony to prove that Religion was then no part of the Law, as he affirmes I doe, p. 77. But sure he neither heeded what I had written, nor what himselfe wrote. I laid down an Assertion that Gods Ordinance of which St Paul speakes, is the Power and the Person of him which is supremely invested with that Power; and for this did I bring Dr Bilson; who, explaining the Power there forbidden to be resisted, sayes it is the Princes will not against his Lawes; but agreeing to his Lawes. Here he serves Dr Bilson and other Divines, as before the King, and the Parliaments, teaches them a meaning contrary to their words: They meane such states as may by the knowne Laws use forceable restraint: No such meaning of his words: He makes no distinction of states; but expounds the Text in question, speaking of Gods Ordinance in generall, in all Rulers: He knowes it well enough; and therefore addes, They were willing to excuse as much as might be those motions of the Protestants in France and the Low-Countries; but had they lived now, they would have spoken more cautelously. That is, They spake rashly, wronged the truth, and reached their consciences to excuse the commotions and rebellions of those dayes. This is like a Doctor. But he likes the Homilie better then them all, that speakes home, he sayes; but what, he speakes not, nor doe I answer. But he will any the force of this exception, because I professe, with Mr Burrowes, against Resisting of Authority though abused: And with Dr Bilson, admit of resisting the Princes will against the Lawes: The is fast and loose, sayes he. How so? In limited Monarchies, where the Prince hath no Authority beyond the Law: there an act beyond the Law is unauthoritative and metrely private; so that it is no abusing of Authority; but an exceeding of Authority. Authority abused to undue acting of matters within its compasse, Mr Burrowes speakes of, and that must not be resisted. But the Princes will acting against his Law, that is matters without the compasse of Authority is not Gods ordinance, sayes Dr Bilson, and so may be rested in its instruments. I still say, let him prove such acts to proceed from Authority, I will disclaime Resistance of their instruments, either the meanest Constable in the Land, or Souldier in the army. But how cloudes he this truth which is cleare as the day? 1. In that Government under which the Apostle lived, men might not resist, though the Powers commanded contrary to Law, as oft they did: Not under the Arrian Emperours, though religion was then a part of the law, p. 78. Answer, 1. Dr Abbot that learned Bishop of Sarum was of another judgement; Demonstrat. Antichrist, c. 7. In that Government he doth distinguish the Christians carriage according to the distinction of times. At first before Religion was established by Law, cadebantur, non cadebant, but after Constantines time when it was established by Law. Cadebant, non cadebantur. 2. We may grant it in that Government, because it was absolute, and the Laws were to the Prince but morall limitations of exercise: And, as I have often acknowledged, Acts of the Princes will, exceeding such limitation, are potestative, and must not be resisted: but it will not follow that therefore they are so, in governments where the Laws are limitations of the power it selfe, and exceeding acts are not potestative. Sure in those times, as patient as the Christians were, under their persecutours, if their Religion and persons had been assaulted without Authority, they would have made Resistance: And this is all we affirme. 2. He makes two inquiries. 1. Whether the first Parliament in Qu. Elizabeths regine might have resisted her endeavours to change the established Religion? Answer, They had sinned in withstanding the introduction of truth, and the Abolition of Falshood; yet civilly and legally they might have done it: and abrogate a Law without the States she could not. But, blessed he God there was no such opposition; but a joynt consent of all three Legislative Powers. 2. How can the putting down of Episcopall Government, he now justified which stands by Law? Answer: It cannot, unlesse there be a confluence of the consent of all &illegible; nor doe I believe it is intended without the Kings consent, Unlesse their constant doctrine and practise to overthrow the liberties, and Government of this Kingdome into Arbitrarines doe prove them in all their sort subversive, and inconsistent with its safe being: Let therefore the Doctour and the rest of them looke how they continue to maintain such destructive Doctrins: for they will sooner remove themselves out of this Church, then the Subjects out of their ancient and just Liberties.

Sect. 2.At length let us see what he sayes against the absolute condition of the Romane Emperours. His other exception is, they were absolute Monarches, and therefore not to be resisted, p. 79. Ans. He doth me manifest injury: See my Treatise, I no where so argue; nor have I any need; for I equally affirm it of limited, as of absolute power, that they ought not to be resisted; for they are equally Gods Ordinance, wch extends to the powers that are: Neither have I any need of that distinction to satisfie the Apostles Text: I asserted not the absolutenesse of the Imperiall authoritie for any such reason: but against his false affirmation, That that Senate in St Pauls time, might challenge more then our great Councell can now. Here is apparent il dealing. But what can he oppose to what I said about the absolutenes of those Roman Emperours? 1. It cannot be cleared that they were de jure absolute. An. Yes, it can; according to the Doctors own grounds;Seneca. &illegible; &illegible; Marcian. for, 1. There was a full Conquest made by Julius Cæsar in that fatall battell against Pompey not only of him; but in and with him, of the whole Senate, for in eo prima acies senatus suit, says Seneca. And the strugling remainders of the free Senate were again vanquished in that battle of Octavius against Casslus and Brutus. From that time all being prostrate to his Will.Annal. l. 1. s. 1. 2. There was a submission to an Absolute yoake, Romæ ruere in servitium Consules, Patres, Eques, says Tacitus: yea the Senate was so forward to it, that Tiberius was wont to say, as oft as he went out of the Court,Ib. l. 3. s. 11. O homines ad servitutem natos! 3. There was also an establishment of this subjection by an Oath: for the Senate and Armies were brought under the same bond; and all this before St Pauls conversion. That which he brings out of latter Authours, p. 80, of the Lex regia, quâ populus principi omne suum imperium & potestatem contulit: and his conjectures of it’s not being before Vespasians time, is not worth a looking into: It was a formall complement of flattery to give that to him in words, which he had in power and Use so many yeares before. Also that of their forbearing the Diadem and Title of King, being contented only with the of Prince, was but the putting on a &illegible; &illegible; upon a rough government. Vnder that smooth Title the people and Senate were held as much under, as the grand seigneur or Persian now hold their Vassals. But they did perquam aiu magnam potestatis partem cum senatu communicare, p. 80. They did so; I was their indulgence,Annal. l. 1. s. 1. or rather policie to impart it. It is affirmed, not by uncertaine Collections of late Authors; but by Tacitus, who is instar ommum in this businesse; of Augustus the first and best of them all, Posito Triumviri nomine, consulem se sirens, insurgere paulatim, munia Magistratuum, senatus, Legum inse trahere;l. 3. s. 10. and of Tiberius, that imaginem antiquitatis senatui præbebat. They conveyed their will through the old channell of the Senate, that it might relish the better with the people; yet at pleasure did what they listed, by them, and against them. 2. He sayes, The Apostle in his reason against Resistance hath no respect to the absolute or limited condition of these Roman Emperours. Nor doe I say, he hath: the Reason he urgeth is the Ordinance of God, which is true without distinction of the whole latitude of Power. 3. A limited condition doth no more inferre a lawfullnesse of resistance for exorbitances, then an Absolute, p. 82. I say no, that it doth; no condition can inferre a lawfulnesse of Resistance of the Power, though abused; but here is the priviledge of a people under a limited Monarch, his exceeding Acts are not abuses of Power; but simply non potestative; and therefore their Agents may be resisted, without resisting the power; which is not so in an absolute Rule; if there were no priviledge, why did men trouble themselves in constituting Limitations, and Mixtures in a State: In a word, unlesse he can prove Power in all Limited States, to be illimited: and all the Acts of Well in the supreme to flow from Gods Ordinance: He labours in vain from that text, or any else to conclude against Resistance of subversive Instruments in a mixed Government.


Chap. IX.

His ninth Section Answered: the Reasons against Resistance satisfied: and those for Resistance vindicated.

Sect. 1.WE are now come to his last Section: In examination of which it will appeare that he hath as little Reason as Scripture against that Resistance which I have asserted in my Treatise. Herein he doth two things. 1. Brings his Reasons against Resistance. 2. Endeavours to answer those which I brought for it. But for more evident proceeding about both, we must distinctly call to mind the Question, of what it is. 1. It is of Resistance in this state; that is, a state which I have proved to be limited and mixed to the very power it selfe. 2. It is only of Resistance of destructive Instruments: Therefore if his Reasons doe not reach to such a Resistance, they are not to the purpose.

Now against Resistance the Doctour brings no fewer then nine Reasons; In his first booke he had only five, here he hath made up in number, what they wanted in weight. I will in few words answer them distinctly, for many need not. 1. His first is from the wisdom of God putting his people under Kings, without power of Resistance; this should be to us instead of a most forceable Reason, p. 84. Answ. Well it may be instead of one; but it is not one. For 1. It was their desire to be under an Absolute Government, as their neighbour Countries were; and they offended God in it, as Lyra observes; therefore he giving them such a King as they desired; did not in his wisdome intend a binding forme for all people: I thinke the Doctour will not affirme he did. 2. If he meane Resistance of their Prince his Authority and person, I grant they were so put under; and so are we, and all that are put under Monarches; but if he mean the Acts of the Princes will which were not Authoritative; I do denie it, and the former alledged instances prove they were not: and that is all I affirme in other Monarchies.

2. The word of God gives no direction for it. The Prophets call not to the Elders for it: The new Testament commends patience in suffering for well-doing. Answ. 1. In Civill matters negative reasonings from Scripture are not proving. 2. The word gives proving and imitable examples for it, as before: and indeed the Scripture doth every way justifie resistance of cut-throats and private destructive Assaulters of Laws and Liberties, who have no Authority derived to them; and I defend no other.

3. The Apostle forbids Resistance of the Powers, not from any compact of the people, but from the Ordinance of God. ’Tis true: for no compact of people could establish an unresistible Power without the Ordinance of God. I acknowledge the Apostles ground for it: and therefore allow no resistance where there is Gods Ordinance to secure them, not for any abuse.

4. To be supreme and next to God implies a security from Resistance, p. 85. I grant all; His Person, his Power is hereby secured: I condemn all rising up against the King: but instruments of subversion, have nothing of the King in them: not his person nor Authoritie is risen up against in them. For his conceits about jus Regis I have said enough above. Neither doe I give to the Houses the power of the Lacedemonian Ephori. They had an Authority over the very person of the King: which the Houses claime not. I give them no more then Calvin doth to the three Estates in their generall meetings. The Doctor well knowes what I will answer him; which he seeks to evade, 1. By affirming that the Resisting of Instruments acting by his Power, which he hath committed to them, is a resisting of him, p. 86. ’Tis true, it is so; but we speake of instruments, which act not by his power, that is, his Authoritie; but by his will in a course exceeding the Limitation of his Authority. Could he prove that a limited Prince could commit Power to doe acts without the bounds of his Power, the Question were answered, els he beggs it, but answers it not. 2. He would desire me to look again upon the two Assertions of the Reverend Divines which I reject: He cannot conceive, how I can rotuine my owne Assertion, and reject theirs. The Doctour hath a great mind to pick some contradiction in me; but still failes in his endeavour. In good earnest, doth he speake really, when he sayes, he cannot conceive, &c. Well, let us looke againe on the two Assertions which I reject in them. 1. Governours who under pretence of Authoritie from Gods Ordinance disturbe the quiet and godly life, are farre from being Gods Ordinance in so doing. 2. This tyrannie not being Gods Ordinance, they which resist it even with armes, resist not the Ordinance of God. Doe I defend any Assertions equivalent to these. Rather I assert in that Treatise, and here also the contrary. 1. Governours whither in absolute or limited States, keeping within the measure of their power, may disturbe the quiet and godly life, and yet be Gods Ordinance in that act, though crossing the end of Gods Ordinance in it. 2. Powers though abused, yet being Gods Ordinance, they which resist even in abusive acts of it, resist the Ordinance of God. Is here no difference? Cannot I retaine this Assertion, that exceeding Acts in limited Monarchie are not Gods Ordinance, and may in instruments be resisted: And yet reject theirs, who maintain resistance of Governours themselves, in all acts of abused power? He makes no difference between Acts exceeding bounds of power: and Acts of abused power: but of this more then enough before. 3. But he will answer more particularly, so he had need. What is it? He that beares the sword, that is, has the supreme Power, gives Commission to under-Ministers for Justice; and to other Officers for the Militia: If therefore the Resistance of those though abusing their Power, be a resistance of the Power; so it is also of these. Answ. I grant all: for it proceeds only of Ministers abusing Power committed to them: not of Excesses of Power. I will retort it. Like as if when the supreme gives Commission of Justice to a Judge; and he exceeding unto Acts without the compasse of his Commission is but a private man in those Acts and may be resisted: so if Commission of Armes be given to a Generall, &c.

5. Subjection is due to a Prince, and the contrary forbidden without distinction of a good and bad Prince. I grant it, and give the reason, because they are Gods Ordinance: but the Question is of instruments of exceeding Acts, in which they are not Gods Ordinance.

6. Good reason that he which hath the supreme Trust, should have the greatest securitie, p. 87. Answ. It is so; and so we grant him: for he hath a full security from all violence for both Person and Authoritis, what ever exorbitance he breakes out unto. The people have not so: Every Subject being under the penalty of the Law for it’s transgressions. But the Doctor forgets his Clients, He is not arguing for securitie of Soveraignes; but Subiects, if they may be so called, which endeavour to subvert lawes and governments. But may we not also say, as it is good reason the supreme should have the greatest securitie; so the people also should have some securitie; and not be exposed like bruit beasts to the savage lusts of every instrument of cruelty: having only this to comfort them, that they sin in so doing? and so they doe, which with cruelty destroy even the bruit creatures.

7. From the end and benefits of Government, for the enioying of which, it is good reason we should beare with the exorbitances. Still he speakes good reason; but nothing to the purpose; for we dispute not of exorbitances of them who have the power; but of them who have no power for what they doe. In exorbitances of lesser nature, their will may secure instruments; but it is against reason that the benefits we have by their Government should cause us to be are with them who would destroy their laws and government, for of such is the Question. I wonder here againe he brings Calvin, when he cannot but know that he is expressely for power of Resistance in the Houses: and no doubt P. Martyr, and the rest follow Calvin in this.

8. Power of Resistance in Subiects would be a remedie worse then the disease, and more subversive of a Suite, then if it wore left without it, p. 92. Why would it be so? It would be a continuall Seminary of jealousies Twixt Prince and people, and confusion through the continuance of the mischiefes of Warre. Concerning this Argument of his, see p. 60. of my Treatise, where it is fully satisfied. 1. Who will believe the power of Resisting destructive instruments, should be more destructive, then to let them alone without Resistance? 2. Suppose by abuse of this power those evils should happen (for it so &illegible; out to the best physicke, where the nocumentous humours are prevailing) yet this is but by accident: such Power per se and of its owne nature tends to the preventing of subversion. On the contrary by woefull experience, this Doctrine of the unresistiblenesse of such men, hath nursed up a brood of audacious projectours, and where it is taught, a state will never be without them. Whereas, if the Truth were knowne it would restaine the spirits of wicked men from &illegible; and State subversion. Neither can any thing be more mischievous, then to teach an impunitie for projectours, and Agents of mischiefe: and he hath not the reason of a man who argues otherwise. 3. Neither can this doctrine, as the Replier tradoces it, extend to the Aeposing of Princes, or the deminishing of their Authority, for it concornes only their Instruments, not their Persons; their Absolute, extra-legall Will; not their Authority. And for iealousies, they will be more bred by that Doctrine which gives the Prince a Power to undoe the &illegible; then by that which terminates both; and gives neither a power to subvert the other; Danger is the nurse of jealousie: that which takes away power of hurting takes away Danger; and so removes iealousies: but indeed such which have a plot of breaking up the hedge of Government, and tringing lawlesse powers into a State, care not for having such a Power in those Houses whom it would cause them to feare, and looke on with continuall jealousies. The Homily of Rebellion is in vaine cited against that which is no rebellion.

9. The last and weakest of all is that of the hearts of Kings being in Gods hands, Prov 21. 1. and that of Gods Covenant with David and his seed, a Chron. 6. 16. & 7. 17. How the Doctor can draw hence a conclusion against Resistance of subversive instruments, I cannot imagine. Sure if these Texts had any proving force in them, they had not been brought so late: Rather their place had been in the former Section, where in the close he saies, He chose onely to insist on those Texts which we sit to be are argument but here he hath broke his word, yet he is excusable, for he had no better.

Sect. 1.At length he comes to my Arguments brought for Resistance. If they be not more concluding then his, would they had never seen the light, nor come to the eye of any judicious man. Let us see what he hath to say to them.

1. That Resistance is lawfull which is no Resistance of the Ordinance of God; but this of subversive instruments is not, being neither of the Person nor Authority of the Prince. He sayes, He hath propased and answered this above under his third and fourth Reasons. And there I doubt not but the invaliditie of his Answer doth plainly appeare.

2. Without this Power of Resistance all limitation of Government is vaine; and all formes resolve into that which is arbitrary. He tels me, My Argument is inconsequent by my owne description of Absolute Monarchie: so that the restraint of a limited Monarch is Legall and Morall, not forceable and Military, p. 93. I answer, I describe limited and Absolute Monarchie not by Force; but the having or not having abounds of Will; but how absurd it is when the distinctive conceit in the definition of a limited Monarch, is a Law terminating his will to take it of a morall terminating, which is common to all, not only Monarches but men? Especially sith I explaine my selfe so fully afterwards, as I doe, there p. 7. in the three degrees of absolutenesse. But I have above enough discovered the fraud and falshood of his confounding of Legall and morall Limitation: and have prooved that to give a Limited Monarch only a morall Limitation, is to resolve all into Absolute and Arbitrary, for the most absolute under heaven hath morall limitation.

3. Such Power is due to a publique State for its preservation which is allowed to a particular person. He answers, this is not universally true. Why not? a State is more worthy, and comprehends a multitude of particular men: doth number detract from their priviledge? He would seeme to have reason for his deniall: A private man hath by the law of nature power of selfe-preservation against the force of another private man; yet is this power yeelded up in regard of Civill Power, and not to be used against persons indued with such power, p. 94. 1. He still speakes Truth; but not to the Question: which is not of persons indued with civill power; but such as we have proved to have no power; grant them endued with power, neither a particular man: or a whole Community must resist them: but having none, it is much more allowable in a publique state, then a particular person. 2. He speakes of a power yeelded up, as if in all governments the people doe simply yeeld up all power of Resistance into a full subjection unto all Acts of the Princes will: Whereas we have prooved, that in limited Governments it is not so: but to the Princes Will measured and regulated by a Law; and therefore they have that power still, in respect of all instruments of acts of Will not so regulated.

But it is observable, that p. 95. the Doctour is beaten off from his owne grounds, and yeelds up in the Close of his booke a full Victory to Truth. Which will appeare if we looke backe to his first booke, and Sect. 1. where he proposeth the Question in his own termes, whither if a King be bent or seduced to subvert Religion, Laws and Liberties, Subjects may take up armes and resist. He undertakes to maintaine the Negative; and here was the beginning of the controversie. Now see in this Replie how he is sunck and stollen off from that which he undertooke to defend; and upon the matter grants us the Cause. Por, 1. By bent or seduced to subvert, he tels us, he means not a purpose of the mind, but doing many Acts arbitrarily tending to subuersion; as if he would yeeld, that (supposing him bent, that is purposing and intending it in his mind and course) he might be resisted. 2. Nay, by [bent to subvert] he does not meane so much as Acts subversive; but onely Acts tending to subversion of themselves; for the frame of government and Lawes cannot be subverted without the consent of the two Houses. So that now the Question is rather, Whither subversion be possible by such instruments; then whether their Resistance be lawfull: Sure it were pitty to disturbe them by Resistance in an impossible worke: Let them run on rather till they see their owne vanity and folly: but suppose they should bring it to passe; then it would be too late to come to this Doctor and tell him, he was deceived, and did deceive. Certainly those great Polititians who have had this &illegible; managing so many yeares, are not of his mind. Yea, suppose it cannot be done without the consent of the Houses; yet the Doctour can tell us in another case, that where there is an unresistible power, Consent cannot long be wanting. What then; will he yeeld us a power of Resistance, if we can proove such a designe possible?

Here also because the Doctor sayes this liberty which I allow a State for its preservation, sends rather to its subversion, p. 94. and every where calumniates me as an inducer of confusion, and Anarchie, and my Assertions as opening a way to Rebellion. It concernes me effectually to vindicate my selfe, and the truth which I maintaine from these aspersions; and make it appeare that the power of Resistance I defend is not a remedy worse then the disease of subversion. Which I can doe no better way, then by a positive setting downe the naked truth which I averre in this and the former Treatise; and shew how it shuts up every way to these evills which he layes uncharitably to my charge. 1. I assert no forceable Resistance in any case but subversive and extreme. 2. Subversive and extreme cases respect either particular men; or the whole state and Government. For particular men even in extreme cases of state or life, I allow no publike Resistance: but appeale if it may be had; or if not, yet no publike Resistance: for whether the wrong be done him by inferiour or superiour Magistrates, either it is. 1. Under forme and course of Law, and power committed them; and then to resist, is to resist the power. 2. Or without all forme and course of Law and power committed to them: and then a man values his state and life too high, to make publike resistance, and bring on the state a generall disturbance for his private good, and sins, though not against Gods ordinance of Power, in this case, yet against the publike peace and weale. For the whole state or government, and the last cases of its subversion, of which the Doctor puts the Question. 1. I condemne all force used against the Person of the supreme, or his Power and Authority in any inferiour Ministers thereof. 2. I averre not publike forceable resistance of Ministers of acts of will which are only actuall invasions, or excesses of limitation; and not such as plainly argue a bent of subversion, and apparent danger thereof, if prevention be not used: so that the Doctor goes from the Question, and comes home to me, when he sayes here that he speakes only of the former sort. 3. I affirme not force in this utmost case to be assumed by private men against destructive instruments of the Princes will: as if any man were warranted on his own imagination of publike danger to raise forces for prevention. But the Courts of Justice, and especially the supreme Court, to whom the conservation of Government and Law is committed, and a Power not only to resist, but also censure and punish its violaters, much more its subverters without regard of number or warrant, (The Law supposing no warrant can be in such case) This is the power of Resistance which I have asserted: and it this be inducing of civill warre, or a way to subversion and Rebellion: It is a warre raised by defenders of Law, against subverters of Law: A Rebellion raised by Magistrates having Authority, against instruments of arbitrarinesse having no authority: A resistance tending to subversion, but of none but subverters. ’Tis good reason then, it seemes, if destroyers grow to the number and strength of an Army, for Magistrates to let them alone, and not raise armes to suppresse them, lest they open a way to confusion and bring on the miseries of a civill Warre. This is the Doctors preservative Doctrine, and my contrary is destructive. 4. I argued from the end of the institution of the Houses, and their interest in making Laws, and preserving the frame. He sayes this is grounded on my false supposall of their being joyned with the King in the very soveraigne power, p. 96. Answer, I have justified that supposall; and manifested his strange boldnesse in denying it against the Kings, and so many Parliaments direct affirmations; and desire the reader to take notice, that this is Calvins argument for Resistance, in the place above recited, how ever the Doctor doth make so light of it.

5. From the power of inferiour Courts to punish violaters of Law, though pretending a warrant of the Kings will for it. He sayes this Argument is inconsequent to prove power of raysing Armies to oppose the Forces of their Soveraigne. He hastens to a conclusion, and weighs not much what he answers. I say it concludes inevitably: for if the Kings warrant to violate Law, will not priviledge one from force of justice, then not a hundred, not an Army of violaters. Their multitude makes the danger greater, and the Kingdome more unhappy; not Malefactors more priviledged. The forces of the Soveraigne in truth, are the Forces raised to defend his Government; not those which are raised to subvert it. They are his, which have his Authoritative will; not those which have only his arbitrary. If ever Reasons did demonstrate a truth, I am confident these five have made good, The power of the estates in Parliament to resist subversive instruments, be they more or fewer.

Sect. 3.Thus have I traced this Author through his Reply; and whether I have not sufficiently vindicated my Treatise from it, I referre my selfe to the conscience of every one who hath the understanding of a judicious man; and the impartiality of a just man. In my cap. 8. is a moderate debate of the present contention; and divers Petitions tending to pacification if it had been possible: but he toucheth not on that chapt. His discourse shewes him to have nothing to doe with Moderation; nor doth desire Peace, but on the termes of a full dedition into the hands of subversive instruments. I have done with him: He resolved, I Answered. He hath replyed. I have returned on it. I am even with him; and in truth above him, I am sure. Now I desire to spin out this contention no longer. Yet if he, or any else please to rejoyne, I wish he would save himselfe, and me a labour: to let alone the booke; and deale only with the 4th, and 5th Chapters concerning the Doctors supposals; if he can make good them; and invalidate mine, as much as in me lieth, I will yeild him the cause: but I judge it impossible, if I know what is impossible. The God of spirits allay the spirits of men from this extreme opposition: And give such a issue to these wofull warrs, that the scepter of Christ, the Gospell of Peace may be fully submitted to and maintained by a King enjoying inviolate his due soveraignty; and a People their due and lawfull liberties, Amen.

Phil. 4. 5.

Let your moderation be known unto all men: The Lord is at hand.

FINIS.


 


 

T.37 (2.4) [William Walwyn], The Compassionate Samaritane Unbinding The Conscience (June or July 1644).

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Check this edition??? 2.10. (2.4.) [William Walwyn], The Compassionate Samaritane (5 January 1645).

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[William Walwyn], 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.

 

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2nd ed. 5 January 1645

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TT1, p. 355; Thomason E. 1202. (1.)

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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, 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 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 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 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; 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 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 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 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, (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 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 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 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 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 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.

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 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 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 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 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.

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 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 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 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 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 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, 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

 


 

 

T.266 John Milton, Of Education (June, 1644).

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T.266 [1644.06] John Milton, Of Education (June, 1644).

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June, 1644

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Editor’s Introduction

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The text can also be found at: The Prose Works of John Milton: With a Biographical Introduction by Rufus Wilmot Griswold. In Two Volumes (Philadelphia: John W. Moore, 1847). Vol. 1: </titles/milton-the-prose-works-of-john-milton-vol-1#lf0233-01_head_044>

Text of Pamphlet

OF EDUCATION.

TO MASTER SAMUEL HARTLIB.

Master Hartlib,—I am long since persuaded, that to say or do aught worth memory and imitation, no purpose or respect should sooner move us than simply the love of God, and of mankind. Nevertheless, to write now the reforming of education, though it be one of the greatest and noblest designs that can be thought on, and for the want whereof this nation perishes; I had not yet at this time been induced, but by your earnest entreaties and serious conjurements; as having my mind for the present half diverted in the pursuance of some other assertions, the knowledge and the use of which cannot but be a great furtherance both to the enlargement of truth, and honest living with much more peace. Nor should the laws of any private friendship have prevailed with me to divide thus, or transpose my former thoughts, but that I see those aims, those actions, which have won you with me the esteem of a person sent hither by some good providence from a far country to be the occasion and incitement of great good to this island. And, as I hear, you have obtained the same repute with men of most approved wisdom, and some of the highest authority among us; not to mention the learned correspondence which you hold in foreign parts, and the extraordinary pains and diligence, which you have used in this matter both here and beyond the seas; either by the definite will of God so ruling, or the peculiar sway of nature, which also is God’s working. Neither can I think that so reputed and so valued as you are, you would to the forfeit Edition: current; Page: [159] of your own discerning ability, impose upon me an unfit and overponderous argument; but that the satisfaction, which you profess to have received from those incidental discourses which we have wandered into, hath pressed and almost constrained you into a persuasion, that what you require from me in this point, I neither ought nor can in conscience defer beyond this time both of so much need at once, and so much opportunity to try what God hath determined. I will not resist therefore whatever it is, either of divine or human obligement, that you lay upon me; but will forthwith set down in writing, as you request me, that voluntary idea, which hath long in silence presented itself to me, of a better education, in extent and comprehension far more large, and yet of time far shorter, and of attainment far more certain, than hath been yet in practice. Brief I shall endeavour to be; for that which I have to say, assuredly this nation hath extreme need should be done sooner than spoken. To tell you therefore what I have benefited herein among old renowned authors, I shall spare; and to search what many modern Januas and Didactics, more than ever I shall read, have projected, my inclination leads me not. But if you can accept of these few observations which have flowered off, and are as it were the burnishing of many studious and contemplative years altogether spent in the search of religious and civil knowledge, and such as pleased you so well in the relating, I here give you them to dispose of.

The end then of learning is to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him, as we may the nearest by possessing our souls of true virtue, which being united to the heavenly grace of faith, makes up the highest perfection. But because our understanding cannot in this body found itself but on sensible things, nor arrive so clearly to the knowledge of God and things invisible, as by orderly conning over the visible and inferior creature, the same method is necessarily to be followed in all discreet teaching. And seeing every nation affords not experience and tradition enough for all kind of learning, therefore we are chiefly taught the languages of those people who have at any time been most industrious after wisdom; so that language is but the instrument conveying to us things useful to be known. And though a linguist should pride himself to have all the tongues that Babel cleft the world into, yet if he have not studied the solid things in them as well as the words and lexicons, he were nothing so much to be esteemed a learned man, as any yeoman or tradesman competently wise in his mother dialect only. Hence appear the many mistakes which have made learning generally so unpleasing and so unsuccessful; first, we do amiss to spend seven or eight years merely in scraping together so much miserable Latin and Greek, as might be learned otherwise easily and delightfully in one year. And that which casts our proficiency therein so much behind, is our time lost partly in too oft idle vacancies given both to schools and universities; partly in a preposterous exaction, forcing the empty wits of children to compose themes, verses, and orations, which are the acts of ripest judgment, and the final work of a head filled by long reading and observing, with elegant maxims and copious invention. These are not matters to be wrung from poor striplings, like blood out of the nose, or the plucking of untimely fruit; besides the ill habit which they get of wretched barbarizing against the Latin and Greek idiom, with their untutored Anglicisms, odious to be read, yet not to be avoided without a well-continued and judicious conversing among pure authors digested, which they scarce taste: whereas, if after some preparatory grounds of speech by their certain forms got into memory, they were led to the praxis thereof in Edition: current; Page: [160] some chosen short book lessoned thoroughly to them, they might then forthwith proceed to learn the substance of good things, and arts in due order, which would bring the whole language quickly into their power. This I take to be the most rational and most profitable way of learning languages, and whereby we may best hope to give account to God of our youth spent herein. And for the usual method of teaching arts, I deem it to be an old error of universities, not yet well recovered from the scholastic grossness of barbarous ages, that instead of beginning with arts most easy, (and those be such as are most obvious to the sense,) they present their young unmatriculated novices at first coming with the most intellective abstractions of logic and metaphysics; so that they having but newly left those grammatic flats and shallows where they stuck unreasonably to learn a few words with lamentable construction, and now on the sudden transported under another climate to be tossed and turmoiled with their unballasted wits in fathomless and unquiet deeps of controversy, do for the most part grow into hatred and contempt of learning, mocked and deluded all this while with ragged notions and babblements, while they expected worthy and delightful knowledge; till poverty or youthful years call them importunately their several ways, and hasten them with the sway of friends either to an ambitious and mercenary, or ignorantly zealous divinity; some allured to the trade of law, grounding their purposes not on the prudent and heavenly contemplation of justice and equity, which was never taught them, but on the promising and pleasing thoughts of litigious terms, fat contentions, and flowing fees; others betake them to state affairs, with souls so unprincipled in virtue and true generous breeding, that flattery and courtshifts and tyrannous aphorisms appear to them the highest points of wisdom; instilling their barren hearts with a conscientious slavery; if, as I rather think, it be not feigned. Others, lastly, of a more delicious and airy spirit, retire themselves (knowing no better) to the enjoyments of ease and luxury, living out their days in feast and jollity; which indeed is the wisest and the safest course of all these, unless they were with more integrity undertaken. *And these are the errors, and these are the fruits of mispending our prime youth at the schools and universities as we do, either in learning mere words, or such things chiefly as were better unlearned.

I shall detain you now no longer in the demonstration of what we should not do, but straight conduct you to a hill-side, where I will point you out the right path of a virtuous and noble education; laborious indeed at the first ascent, but else so smooth, so green, so full of goodly prospect, and melodious sounds on every side, that the harp of Orpheus was not more charming. I doubt not but ye shall have more ado to drive our dullest and laziest youth, our stocks and stubs, from the infinite desire of such a happy nurture, than we have now to hale and drag our choicest and hopefullest wits to that asinine feast of sowthistles and brambles, which is commonly set before them as all the food and entertainment of their tenderest and most docible age. I call therefore a complete and generous education, that which fits a man to perform justly, skilfully, and magnanimously all the offices, both private and public, of peace and war. And how all this may be done between twelve and one-and-twenty, less time than is now bestowed in pure trifling at grammar and sophistry, is to be thus ordered.

First, to find out a spacious house and ground about it fit for an academy, and big enough to lodge a hundred and fifty persons, whereof twenty or thereabout may be attendants, all under the government of one, who shall Edition: current; Page: [161] be thought of desert sufficient, and ability either to do all, or wisely to direct and oversee it done. This place should be at once both school and university, not needing a remove to any other house of scholarship, except it be some peculiar college of law, or physic, where they mean to be practitioners; but as for those general studies which take up all our time from Lilly to commencing, as they term it, master of art, it should be absolute. After this pattern, as many edifices may be converted to this use as shall be needful in every city throughout this land, which would tend much to the increase of learning and civility every where. This number, less or more thus collected, to the convenience of a foot company, or interchangeably two troops of cavalry, should divide their day’s work into three parts as it lies orderly; their studies, their exercise, and their diet.

For their studies; first, they should begin with the chief and necessary rules of some good grammar, either that now used, or any better; and while this is doing, their speech is to be fashioned to a distinct and clear pronunciation, as near as may be to the Italian, especially in the vowels. For we Englishmen being far northerly, do not open our mouths in the cold air wide enough to grace a southern tongue; but are observed by all other nations to speak exceeding close and inward; so that to smatter Latin with an English mouth, is as ill a hearing as law French. Next, to make them expert in the usefullest points of grammar; and withal to season them and win them early to the love of virtue and true labour, ere any flattering seducement or vain principle seize them wandering, some easy and delightful book of education would be read to them; whereof the Greeks have store, as Cebes, Plutarch, and other Socratic discourses. But in Latin we have none of classic authority extant, except the two or three first books of Quintilian, and some select pieces elsewhere. But here the main skill and groundwork will be, to temper them such lectures and explanations upon every opportunity, as may lead and draw them in willing obedience, enflamed with the study of learning, and the admiration of virtue; stirred up with high hopes of living to be brave men, and worthy patriots, dear to God, and famous to all ages. That they may despise and scorn all their childish and ill-taught qualities, to delight in manly and liberal exercises; which he who hath the art and proper eloquence to catch them with, what with mild and effectual persuasions, and what with the intimation of some fear, if need be, but chiefly by his own example, might in a short space gain them to an incredible diligence and courage; infusing into their young breasts such an ingenuous and noble ardor, as would not fail to make many of them renowned and matchless men. At the same time, some other hour of the day, might be taught them the rules of arithmetic, and soon after the elements of geometry, even playing, as the old manner was. After evening repast, till bedtime, their thoughts would be best taken up in the easy grounds of religion, and the story of Scripture. The next step would be to the authors of agriculture, Cato, Varro, and Columella, for the matter is most easy; and if the language be difficult, so much the better, it is not a difficulty above their years. And here will be an occasion of inciting, and enabling them hereafter to improve the tillage of their country, to recover the bad soil, and to remedy the waste that is made of good; for this was one of Hercules’s praises. Ere half these authors be read (which will soon be with plying hard and daily) they cannot choose but be masters of any ordinary prose. So that it will be then seasonable for them to learn in any modern author the use of the globes, and all the maps; first with the old names, and then with the new; or they might be then capable to read any compendious method of natural philosophy. And at the same time might Edition: current; Page: [162] be entering into the Greek tongue, after the same manner as was before prescribed in the Latin; whereby the difficulties of grammar being soon overcome, all the historical physiology of Aristotle and Theophrastus are open before them, and, as I may say, under contribution. The like access will be to Vitruvius, to Seneca’s natural questions, to Mela, Celsus, Pliny, or Solinus. And having thus passed the principles of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and geography, with a general compact of physics, they may descend in mathematics to the instrumental science of trigonometry, and from thence to fortification, architecture, enginery, or navigation. And in natural philosophy they may proceed leisurely from the history of meteors, minerals, plants, and living creatures, as far as anatomy. Then also in course might be read to them out of some not tedious writer the institution of physic; that they may know the tempers, the humours, the seasons, and how to manage a crudity; which he who can wisely and timely do, is not only a great physician to himself and to his friends, but also may at some time or other save an army by this frugal and expenseless means only; and not let the healthy and stout bodies of young men rot away under him for want of this discipline; which is a great pity, and no less a shame to the commander. To set forward all these proceedings in nature and mathematics, what hinders but that they may procure, as oft as shall be needful, the helpful experiences of hunters, fowlers, fishermen, shepherds, gardeners, apothecaries; and in the other sciences, architects, engineers, mariners, anatomists; who doubtless would be ready, some for reward, and some to favour such a hopeful seminary. And this will give them such a real tincture of natural knowledge, as they shall never forget, but daily augment with delight. Then also those poets which are now counted most hard, will be both facile and pleasant, Orpheus, Hesiod, Theocritus, Aratus, Nicander, Oppian, Dionysius, and in Latin, Lucretius, Manilius, and the rural part of Virgil.

By this time, years, and good general precepts, will have furnished them more distinctly with that act of reason which in ethics is called Proairesis; that they may with some judgment contemplate upon moral good and evil. Then will be required a special reinforcement of constant and sound indoctrinating to set them right and firm, instructing them more amply in the knowledge of virtue and the hatred of vice; while their young and pliant affections are led through all the moral works of Plato, Xenophon, Cicero, Plutarch, Laertius, and those Locrian remnants; but still to be reduced in their nightward studies wherewith they close the day’s work, under the determinate sentence of David or Solomon, or the evangels and apostolic Scriptures. Being perfect in the knowledge of personal duty, they may then begin the study of œconomics. And either now or before this, they may have easily learned at any odd hour the Italian tongue. And soon after, but with wariness and good antidote, it would be wholesome enough to let them taste some choice comedies, Greek, Latin or Italian; those tragedies also, that treat of household matters, as Trachiniæ, Alcestis, and the like. The next removal must be to the study of politics; to know the beginning, end, and reasons of political societies; that they may not in a dangerous fit of the commonwealth be such poor, shaken, uncertain reeds, of such a tottering conscience, as many of our great counsellors have lately shown themselves, but stedfast pillars of the state. After this, they are to dive into the grounds of law, and legal justice; delivered first and with best warrant by Moses; and as far as human prudence can be trusted, in those extolled remains of Grecian law-givers, Lycurgus, Solon, Zaleucus, Charondas, and thence to all the Roman edicts and tables with their Justinian; and so down to the Saxon and common Edition: current; Page: [163] laws of England, and the statutes. Sundays also and every evening may be now understandingly spent in the highest matters of theology, and church-history ancient and modern; and ere this time the Hebrew tongue at a set hour might have been gained, that the Scriptures may be now read in their own original; whereto it would be no impossibility to add the Chaldee, and the Syrian dialect. When all these employments are well conquered, then will the choice histories, heroic poems, and attic tragedies of stateliest and most regal argument, with all the famous political orations, offer themselves; which if they were not only read, but some of them got by memory, and solemnly pronounced with right accent and grace, as might be taught, would endue them even with the spirit and vigour of Demosthenes or Cicero, Euripides or Sophocles. And now lastly will be the time to read them with those organic arts, which enable men to discourse and write perspicuously, elegantly, and according to the fitted style of lofty, mean, or lowly. Logic, therefore, so much as is useful, is to be referred to this due place with all her well-couched heads and topics, until it be time to open her contracted palm into a graceful and ornate rhetoric taught out of the rule of Plato, Aristotle, Phalereus, Cicero, Hermogenes, Longinus. To which poetry would be made subsequent, or indeed rather precedent, as being less subtile and fine, but more simple, sensuous, and passionate. I mean not here the prosody of a verse, which they could not but have hit on before among the rudiments of grammar; but that sublime art which in Aristotle’s poetics, in Horace, and the Italian commentaries of Castlevetro, Tasso, Mazzoni, and others, teaches what the laws are of a true epic poem, what of a dramatic, what of a lyric, what decorum is, which is the grand masterpiece to observe. This would make them soon perceive what despicable creatures our common rhymers and play-writers be; and show them what religious, what glorious and magnificent use might be made of poetry, both in divine and human things. From hence, and not till now, will be the right season of forming them to be able writers and composers in every excellent matter, when they shall be thus fraught with an universal insight into things. Or whether they be to speak in parliament or council, honour and attention would be waiting on their lips. There would then also appear in pulpits other visages, other gestures, and stuff otherwise wrought than what we now sit under, ofttimes to as great a trial of our patience as any other that they preach to us. These are the studies wherein our noble and our gentle youth ought to bestow their time in a disciplinary way from twelve to one-and-twenty; unless they rely more upon their ancestors dead than upon themselves living. In which methodical course it is so supposed they must proceed by the steady pace of learning onward, as at convenient times, for memory’s sake, to retire back into the middle ward, and sometimes into the rear of what they have been taught, until they have confirmed and solidly united the whole body of their perfected knowledge, like the last embattling of a Roman legion. Now will be worth the seeing, what exercises and recreations may best agree, and become these studies.

THEIR EXERCISE.

The course of study hitherto briefly described is, what I can guess by reading, likest to those ancient and famous schools of Pythagoras, Plato, Isocrates, Aristotle, and such others, out of which were bred such a number of renowned philosophers, orators, historians, poets, and princes all Edition: current; Page: [164] over Greece, Italy, and Asia, besides the flourishing studies of Cyrene and Alexandria. But herein it shall exceed them, and supply a defect as great as that which Plato noted in the commonwealth of Sparta; whereas that city trained up their youth most for war, and these in their academies and Lycæum all for the gown, this institution of breeding which I here delineate shall be equally good both for peace and war. Therefore about an hour and a half ere they eat at noon should be allowed them for exercise, and due rest afterwards; but the time for this may be enlarged at pleasure, according as their rising in the morning shall be early. The exercise which I commend first, is the exact use of their weapon, to guard, and to strike safely with edge or point; this will keep them healthy, nimble, strong, and well in breath, is also the likeliest means to make them grow large and tall, and to inspire them with a gallant and fearless courage, which being tempered with seasonable lectures and precepts to them of true fortitude and patience, will turn into a native and heroic valour, and make them hate the cowardice of doing wrong. They must be also practised in all the locks and gripes of wrestling, wherein Englishmen were wont to excel, as need may often be in fight to tug, to grapple, and to close. And this perhaps will be enough, wherein to prove and heat their single strength. The interim of unsweating themselves regularly, and convenient rest before meat, may both with profit and delight be taken up in recreating and composing their travailed spirits with the solemn and divine harmonies of music heard or learned; either whilst the skilful organist plies his grave and fancied descant in lofty fugues, or the whole symphony with artful and unimaginable touches adorn and grace the well-studied chords of some choice composer; sometimes the lute or soft organ stop waiting on elegant voices, either to religious, martial, or civil ditties; which, if wise men and prophets be not extremely out, have a great power over dispositions and manners, to smooth and make them gentle from rustic harshness and distempered passions. The like also would not be unexpedient after meat, to assist and cherish nature in her first concoction, and send their minds back to study in good tune and satisfaction. Where having followed it close under vigilant eyes, till about two hours before supper, they are by a sudden alarum or watchword, to be called out to their military motions, under sky or covert, according to the season, as was the Roman wont; first on foot, then as their age permits, on horseback, to all the art of cavalry; that having in sport, but with much exactness and daily muster, served out the rudiments of their soldiership, in all the skill of embattling, marching, encamping, fortifying, besieging, and battering with all the helps of ancient and modern stratagems, tactics, and warlike maxims, they may as it were out of a long war come forth renowned and perfect commanders in the service of their country. They would not then, if they were trusted with fair and hopeful armies, suffer them for want of just and wise discipline to shed away from about them like sick feathers, though they be never so oft supplied; they would not suffer their empty and unrecruitable colonels of twenty men in a company, to quaff out, or convey into secret hoards, the wages of a delusive list, and a miserable remnant; yet in the mean while to be overmastered with a score or two of drunkards, the only soldiery left about them, or else to comply with all rapines and violences. No certainly, if they knew aught of that knowledge that belongs to good men or good governors, they would not suffer these things. But to return to our own institute; besides these constant exercises at home, there is another opportunity of gaining experience to be won from pleasure itself abroad; in those vernal seasons of the year when the air is calm and pleasant, Edition: current; Page: [165] it were an injury and sullenness against nature, not to go out and see her riches, and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth. I should not therefore be a persuader to them of studying much then, after two or three years that they have well laid their grounds, but to ride out in companies with prudent and staid guides to all the quarters of the land; learning and observing all places of strength, all commodities of building and of soil, for towns and tillage, harbours and ports for trade. Sometimes taking sea as far as to our navy, to learn there also what they can in the practical knowledge of sailing and of sea-fight. These ways would try all their peculiar gifts of nature, and if there were any secret excellence among them would fetch it out, and give it fair opportunities to advance itself by, which could not but mightily redound to the good of this nation, and bring into fashion again those old admired virtues and excellencies with far more advantage now in this purity of Christian knowledge. Nor shall we then need the monsieurs of Paris to take our hopeful youth into their slight and prodigal custodies, and send them over back again transformed into mimics, apes, and kickshows. But if they desire to see other countries at three or four and twenty years of age, not to learn principles, but to enlarge experience, and make wise observation, they will by that time be such as shall deserve the regard and honour of all men where they pass, and the society and friendship of those in all places who are best and most eminent. And perhaps, then other nations will be glad to visit us for their breeding, or else to imitate us in their own country.

Now lastly for their diet there cannot be much to say, save only that it would be best in the same house; for much time else would be lost abroad, and many ill habits got; and that it should be plain, healthful, and moderate, I suppose is out of controversy. Thus, Mr. Hartlib, you have a general view in writing, as your desire was, of that, which at several times I had discoursed with you concerning the best and noblest way of education; not beginning as some have done from the cradle, which yet might be worth many considerations, if brevity had not been my scope; many other circumstances also I could have mentioned, but this, to such as have the worth in them to make trial, for light and direction may be enough. Only I believe that this is not a bow for every man to shoot in, that counts himself a teacher; but will require sinews almost equal to those which Homer gave Ulysses; yet I am withal persuaded that it may prove much more easy in the assay, than it now seems at distance, and much more illustrious; howbeit, not more difficult than I imagine, and that imagination presents me with nothing but very happy, and very possible according to best wishes; if God have so decreed, and this age have spirit and capacity enough to apprehend.

 


 

T.267 John Milton, The Judgement of Martin Bucer Concerning Divorce (July, 1644).

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T.267 [1644.07] John Milton, The Judgement of Martin Bucer Concerning Divorce (July, 1644).

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July, 1644.

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The text can also be found in The Prose Works of John Milton: With a Biographical Introduction by Rufus Wilmot Griswold. In Two Volumes (Philadelphia: John W. Moore, 1847). Vol. 1: </titles/milton-the-prose-works-of-john-milton-vol-1#lf0233-01_head_091>

Text of Pamphlet

THE JUDGMENT OF MARTIN BUCER CONCERNING DIVORCE.

TO THE PARLIAMENT OF ENGLAND.

John iii. 10. “Art thou a teacher of Israel, and knowest not these things?”

PUBLISHED BY AUTHORITY.

TESTIMONIES OF THE HIGH APPROBATION WHICH LEARNED MEN HAVE GIVEN OF MARTIN BUCER.

Simon Grinæus, 1533.

Among all the Germans, I give the palm to Bucer, for excellence in the Scriptures. Melancthon in human learning is wondrous fluent; but greater knowledge in the Scripture I attribute to Bucer, and speak it unfeignedly.

John Calvin, 1539.

Martin Bucer, a most faithful doctor of the church of Christ, besides his rare learning, and copious knowledge of many things, besides his clearness of wit, much reading, and other many and various virtues, wherein he is almost by none now living excelled, hath few equals, and excels most; Edition: current; Page: [257] hath this praise peculiar to himself, that none in this age hath used exacter diligence in the exposition of Scripture.

And a little beneath.

Bucer is more large than to be read by overbusied men, and too high to be easily understood by unattentive men, and of a low capacity.

Sir John Cheek, Tutor to King Edward VI.—1551.

We have lost our master, than whom the world scarce held a greater, whether we consider his knowledge of true religion, or his integrity and innocence of life, or his incessant study of holy things, or his matchless labour of promoting piety, or his authority and amplitude of teaching, or whatever else was praise-worthy and glorious in him. Script. Anglican. pag. 864.

John Sturmius of Strasburgh.

No man can be ignorant what a great and constant opinion and estimation of Bucer there is in Italy, France, and England. Whence the saying of Quintilian hath oft come to my mind, that he hath well profited in eloquence whom Cicero pleases. The same say I of Bucer, that he hath made no small progress in divinity, whom Bucer pleases; for in his volumes, which he wrote very many, there is the plain impression to be discerned of many great virtues, of diligence, of charity, of truth, of acuteness, of judgment, of learning. Wherein he hath a certain proper kind of writing, whereby he doth not only teach the reader, but affects him with the sweetness of his sentences, and with the manner of his arguing, which is so teaching, and so logical, that it may be perceived how learnedly he separates probable reasons from necessary, how forcibly he confirms what he has to prove, how subtilely he refutes, not with sharpness but with truth.

Theodore Beza, on the Portraiture of M. Bucer.

This is that countenance of Bucer, the mirror of mildness tempered with gravity; to whom the city of Strasburgh owes the reformation of her church. Whose singular learning, and eminent zeal, joined with excellent wisdom, both his learned books and public disputations in the general diets of the empire shall witness to all ages. Him the German persecution drove into England; where, honourably entertained by Edward the VIth, he was for two years chief professor of divinity in Cambridge, with greatest frequency and applause of all learned and pious men until his death, 1551. Bezæ Icones.

Mr. Fox’s Book of Martyrs, Vol. iii. p. 763.

Bucer, what by writing, but chiefly by reading and preaching openly, wherein, being painful in the word of God, he never spared himself, nor regarded health, brought all men into such an admiration of him, that neither his friends could sufficiently praise him, nor his enemies in any point find fault with his singular life and sincere doctrine. A most certain token whereof may be his sumptuous burial at Cambridge, solemnized with so great an assistance of all the university, that it was not possible to devise more to the setting out and amplifying of the same.

Dr. Pern, the Popish Vice-chancellor of Cambridge, his adversary.

Cardinal Pool, about the fourth year of Queen Mary, intending to reduce the university of Cambridge to popery again, thought no way so effectual, as to cause the bones of Martin Bucer and Paulus Fagius, which had been Edition: current; Page: [258] four years in the grave, to be taken up and burnt openly with their books, as knowing that those two worthy men had been of greatest moment to the reformation of that place from popery, and had left such powerful seeds of their doctrine behind them, as would never die, unless the men themselves were digged up, and openly condemned for heretics by the university itself. This was put in execution, and Doctor Pern, vice-chancellor, appointed to preach against Bucer: who, among other things, laid to his charge the opinions which he held of the marriage of priests, of divorcement, and of usury. But immediately after his sermon, or somewhat before, as the Book of Martyrs for a truth relates, vol. iii. p. 770, the said Doctor Pern smiting himself on the breast, and in manner weeping, wished with all his heart, that God would grant his soul might then presently depart, and remain with Bucer’s; for he knew his life was such, that if any man’s soul were worthy of heaven, he thought Bucer’s in special to be most worthy. Histor. de Combust. Buceri et Fagii.

Acworth, the University-orator.

Soon after that Queen Elizabeth came to the crown, this condemnation of Bucer and Fagius by the cardinal and his doctors was solemnly repealed by the university; and the memory of those two famous men celebrated in an oration by Acworth, the University-orator, which is yet extant in the Book of Martyrs, vol. iii. p. 773, and in Latin, Scripta Anglican. p. 936.

Nicholas Carre, a learned man; Walter Haddon, master of the requests to Queen Elizabeth; Matthew Parker, afterwards primate of England; with other eminent men, in their funeral orations and sermons, express abundantly how great a man Martin Bucer was; what an incredible loss England sustained in his death; and that with him died the hope of a perfect reformation for that age. Ibid.

Jacobus Verheiden of Grave, in his eulogies of famous divines.

Though the name of Martin Luther be famous, yet thou, Martin Bucer, for piety, learning, labour, care, vigilance, and writing, are not to be held inferior to Luther. Bucer was a singular instrument of God, so was Luther. By the death of this most learned and most faithful man, the church of Christ sustained a heavy loss, as Calvin witnesseth; and they who are studious of Calvin are not ignorant how much he ascribes to Bucer; for thus he writes in a letter to Viretus: “What a manifold loss befel the church of God in the death of Bucer, as oft as I call to mind, I feel my heart almost rent asunder.”

Peter Martyr Epist. to Conradus Hubertus.

He is dead, who hath overcome in many battles of the Lord. God lent us for a time this our father, and our teacher, never enough praised. Death hath divided me from a most unanimous friend, one truly according to mine own heart. My mind is overpressed with grief, insomuch that I have not power to write more. I bid thee in Christ farewell, and wish thou mayst be able to bear the loss of Bucer better than I can bear it.

Testimonies given by learned men to Paulus Fagius, who held the same opinion with Martin Bucer concerning divorce.

Paulus Fagius, born in the Palatinate, became most skilful in the Hebrew tongue. Being called to the ministry at Isna, he published many ancient and profitable Hebrew books, being aided in the expenses by a senator of that city, as Origen sometime was by a certain rich man called Edition: current; Page: [259] Ambrosius. At length invited to Strasburgh, he there famously discharged the office of a teacher; until the same persecution drove him and Bucer into England, where he was preferred to a professor’s place in Cambridge, and soon after died. Bezæ Icones.

Melchior Adamus writes his life among the famous German divines.

Sleidan and Huanus mention him with honour in their history: and Verheiden in his eulogies.

TO THE PARLIAMENT.

The Book which, among other great and high points of reformation, contains as a principal part thereof, this treatise here presented, supreme court of parliament! was, by the famous author Martin Bucer, dedicated to Edward the VI.: whose incomparable youth doubtless had brought forth to the church of England such a glorious manhood, had his life reached it, as would have left in the affairs of religion nothing without an excellent pattern for us now to follow. But since the secret purpose of divine appointment hath reserved no less perhaps than the just half of such a sacred work to be accomplished in this age, and principally, as we trust, by your successful wisdom and authority, religious lords and commons! what wonder if I seek no other, to whose exactest judgment and review I may commend these last and worthiest labours of this renowned teacher; whom living all the pious nobility of those reforming times, your truest and bestimitated ancestors, reverenced and admired. Nor was he wanting to a recompense as great as was himself; when both at many times before, and especially among his last sighs and prayers, testifying his dear and fatherly affection to the church and realm of England, he sincerely wished in the hearing of many devout men, “that what he had in his last book written to King Edward concerning discipline might have place in this kingdom. His hope was then, that no calamity, no confusion, or deformity would happen to the commonwealth; but otherwise he feared, lest in the midst of all this ardency to know God, yet by the neglect of discipline, our good endeavours would not succeed.”* These remarkable words of so godly and so eminent a man at his death, as they are related by a sufficient and well-known witness, who heard them, and inserted by Thuanus into his grave and serious history; so ought they to be chiefly considered by that nation, for whose sake they were uttered, and more especially by that general council, which represents the body of that nation. If therefore the book, or this part thereof, for necessary causes be now revived and recommended to the use of this undisciplined age; it hence appears, that these reasons have not erred in the choice of a fit patronage for a discourse of such importance. But why the whole tractate is not here brought entire, but this matter of divorcement selected in particular, to prevent the full speed of some misinterpreter, I hasten to disclose. First, it will be soon manifest to them who know what wise men should know, that the constitution and reformation of a commonwealth, if Ezra and Nehemiah did not misreform, is like a building, to begin orderly from the foundation thereof, which is marriage and the family, to set right first whatever is amiss therein. How can there else grow up a race of warrantable men, while the house and home that breeds them is troubled and disquieted under a bondage Edition: current; Page: [260] not of God’s constraining, with a natureless constraint, (if his most righteous judgments may be our rule,) but laid upon us imperiously in the worst and weakest ages of knowledge, by a canonical tyranny of stupid and malicious monks? who having rashly vowed themselves to a single life, which they could not undergo, invented new fetters to throw on matrimony, that the world thereby waxing more dissolute, they also in a general looseness might sin with more favour. Next, there being yet among many such a strange iniquity and perverseness against all necessary divorce, while they will needs expound the words of our Saviour, not duly by comparing other places, as they must do in the resolving of a hundred other scriptures, but by persisting deafly in the abrupt and papistical way of a literal apprehension against the direct analogy of sense, reason, law, and gospel; it therefore may well seem more than time, to apply the sound and holy persuasions of this apostolic man to that part in us, which is not yet fully dispossessed of an error as absurd, as most that we deplore in our blindest adversaries; and to let his authority and unanswerable reasons be vulgarly known, that either his name, or the force of his doctrine, may work a wholesome effect. Lastly, I find it clear to be the author’s intention, that this point of divorcement should be held and received as a most necessary and prime part of discipline in every Christian government. And therefore having reduced his model of reformation to fourteen heads, he bestows almost as much time about this one point of divorce, as about all the rest; which also was the judgment of his heirs and learned friends in Germany, best acquainted with his meaning; who first published this his book by Oporinus at Basil, (a city for learning and constancy in the true faith honourable among the first,) added a special note in the title, “that there the reader should find the doctrine of divorce handled so solidly, and so fully, as scarce the like in any writer of that age:” and with this particular commendation they doubted not to dedicate the book, as a most profitable and exquisite discourse, to Christian the IIId, a worthy and pious king of Denmark, as the author himself had done before to our Edward the VIth. Yet did not Bucer in that volume only declare what his constant opinion was herein, but also in his comment upon Matthew, written at Strasburgh divers years before, he treats distinctly and copiously the same argument in three several places; touches it also upon the 7th to the Romans, and promises the same solution more largely upon the first to the Corinthians, omitting no occasion to weed out this last and deepest mischief of the canon law, sown into the opinions of modern men, against the laws and practice both of God’s chosen people, and the best primitive times. Wherein his faithfulness and powerful evidence prevailed so far with all the church of Strasburgh, that they published this doctrine of divorce as an article of their confession, after they had taught so eight and twenty years, through all those times, when that city flourished, and excelled most, both in religion, learning, and government, under those first restorers of the gospel there, Zelius, Hedio, Capito, Fagius, and those who incomparably then governed the commonwealth, Ferrerus and Sturmius. If therefore God in the former age found out a servant, and by whom he had converted and reformed many a city, by him thought good to restore the most needful doctrine of divorce from rigorous and harmful mistakes on the right hand; it can be no strange thing, if in this age he stir up by whatsoever means whom it pleases him, to take in hand and maintain the same assertion. Certainly if it be in man’s discerning to sever providence from chance, I could allege many instances, wherein there would appear cause to esteem of me no other than a passive instrument under some power and Edition: current; Page: [261] counsel higher and better than can be human, working to a general good in the whole course of this matter. For that I owe no light or leading received from any man in the discovery of this truth, what time I first undertook it in “the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce,” and had only the infallible grounds of Scripture to be my guide, He who tries the inmost heart, and saw with what severe industry and examination of myself I set down every period, will be my witness. When I had almost finished the first edition, I chanced to read in the notes of Hugo Grotius upon the 5th of Matthew, whom I straight understood inclining to reasonable terms in this controversy: and something he whispered rather than disputed about the law of charity, and the true end of wedlock. Glad therefore of such an able assistant, however at much distance, I resolved at length to put off into this wild and calumnious world. For God, it seems, intended to prove me, whether I durst alone take up a rightful cause against a world of disesteem, and found I durst. My name I did not publish, as not willing it should sway the reader either for me or against me. But when I was told that the style, which what it ails to be so soon distinguishable I cannot tell, was known by most men, and that some of the clergy began to inveigh and exclaim on what I was credibly informed they had not read; I took it then for my proper season, both to show them a name that could easily contemn such an indiscreet kind of censure, and to reinforce the question with a more accurate diligence: that if any of them would be so good as to leave railing, and to let us hear so much of his learning and Christian wisdom, as will be strictly demanded of him in his answering to this problem, care was had he should not spend his preparations against a nameless pamphlet. By this time I had learned that Paulus Fagius, one of the chief divines in Germany, sent for by Frederic the Palatine, to reform his dominion, and after that invited hither in King Edward’s days, to be a professor of divinity in Cambridge, was of the same opinion touching divorce, which these men so lavishly traduced in me. What I found, I inserted where fittest place was, thinking sure they would respect so grave an author, at least to the moderating of their odious inferences. And having now perfected a second edition, I referred the judging thereof to your high and impartial sentence, honoured lords and commons! For I was confident, if any thing generous, any thing noble, and above the multitude, were left yet in the spirit of England; it could be no where sooner found, and no where sooner understood, than in that house of justice and true liberty, where ye sit in council. Nor doth the event hitherto, for some reasons which I shall not here deliver, fail me of what I conceived so highly. Nevertheless, being far otherwise dealt with by some, of whose profession and supposed knowledge I had better hope, and esteemed the deviser of a new and pernicious paradox; I felt no difference within me from that peace and firmness of mind, which is of nearest kin to patience and contentment: both for that I knew I had divulged a truth linked inseparably with the most fundamental rules of Christianity, to stand or fall together, and was not uninformed, that divers learned and judicious men testified their daily approbation of the book. Yet at length it hath pleased God, who had already given me satisfaction in myself, to afford me now a means whereby I may be fully justified also in the eyes of men.

When the book had been now the second time set forth well-nigh three months, as I best remember, I then first came to hear that Martin Bucer had written much concerning divorce: whom, earnestly turning over, I soon perceived, but not without amazement, in the same opinion, confirmed with the same reasons which in that published book, without the help or imitation Edition: current; Page: [262] of any precedent writer, I had laboured out, and laid together. Not but that there is some difference in the handling, in the order, and the number of arguments, but still agreeing in the same conclusion. So as I may justly gratulate mine own mind with due acknowledgment of assistance from above, which led me, not as a learner, but as a collateral teacher, to a sympathy of judgment with no less a man than Martin Bucer. And he, if our things here below arrive him where he is, does not repent him to see that point of knowledge, which he first and with an unchecked freedom preached to those more knowing times of England, now found so necessary, though what he admonished were lost out of our memory; yet that God doth now again create the same doctrine in another unwritten table, and raises it up immediately out of his pure oracle to the convincement of a perverse age, eager in the reformation of names and ceremonies, but in realities as traditional and as ignorant as their forefathers. I would ask now the foremost of my profound accusers, whether they dare affirm that to be licentious, new, and dangerous, which Martin Bucer so often and so urgently avouched to be most lawful, most necessary, and most Christian, without the least blemish to his good name, among all the worthy men of that age, and since, who testify so highly of him? If they dare, they must then set up an arrogance of their own against all those churches and saints who honoured him without this exception: if they dare not, how can they now make that licentious doctrine in another, which was never blamed or confuted in Bucer, or in Fagius? The truth is, there will be due to them for this their unadvised rashness the best donative that can be given them; I mean, a round reproof; now that where they thought to be most magisterial, they have displayed their own want, both of reading, and of judgment. First, to be so unacquainted in the writings of Bucer, which are so obvious and so useful in their own faculty; next, to be so caught in a prejudicating weakness, as to condemn that for lewd, which (whether they knew or not) these elect servants of Christ commended for lawful; and for new that which was taught by these almost the first and greatest authors of reformation, who were never taxed for so teaching; and dedicated without scruple to a royal pair of the first reforming kings in Christendom, and confessed in the public confession of a most orthodoxical church and state in Germany. This is also another fault which I must tell them; that they have stood now almost this whole year clamouring afar off, while the book hath been twice printed, twice brought up, and never once vouchsafed a friendly conference with the author, who would be glad and thankful to be shown an error, either by private dispute, or public answer, and could retract, as well as wise men before him; might also be worth their gaining, as one who heretofore hath done good service to the church by their own confession. Or if he be obstinate, their confutation would have rendered him without excuse, and reclaimed others of no mean parts, who incline to his opinion.

But now their work is more than doubled; and how they will hold up their heads against the sudden aspect of these two great and reverend saints, whom they have defamed, how they will make good the censuring of that, for a novelty of license, which Bucer constantly taught to be a pure and holy law of Christ’s kingdom, let them advise. For against these my adversaries, who, before the examining of a propounded truth in a fit time of reformation, have had the conscience to oppose naught else but their blind reproaches and surmises, that a single innocence might not be oppressed and overborne by a crew of mouths, for the restoring of a law and doctrine falsely and unlearnedly reputed new and scandalous; God, that I may ever magnify and record this his goodness, hath unexpectedly raised up as it were Edition: current; Page: [263] from the dead more than one famous light of the first reformation, to bear witness with me, and to do me honour in that very thing, wherein these men thought to have blotted me; and hath given them the proof of a capacity, which they despised, running equal, and authentic with some of their chiefest masters unthought of, and in a point of sagest moment. However, if we know at all when to ascribe the occurrences of this life to the work of a special Providence, as nothing is more usual in the talk of good men, what can be more like to a special Providence of God, than in the first reformation of England, that this question of divorce, as a main thing to be restored to just freedom, was written, and seriously commended to Edward the VIth, by a man called from another country to be the instructor of our nation; and now in this present renewing of the church and commonwealth, which we pray may be more lasting, that the same question should be again treated and presented to this parliament, by one enabled to use the same reasons without the least sight or knowledge of what was done before? It were no trespass, lords and commons! though something of less note were attributed to the ordering of a heavenly power; this question therefore of such prime concernment both to Christian and civil welfare, in such an extraordinary manner, not recovered, but plainly twice born to these latter ages, as from a divine hand I tender to your acceptance, and most considerate thoughts. Think not that God raised up in vain a man of greatest authority in the church, to tell a trivial and licentious tale in the ears of that good prince, and to bequeath it as his last will and testament, nay rather as the testament and royal law of Christ, to this nation; or that it should of itself, after so many years, as it were in a new field where it was never sown, grow up again as a vicious plant in the mind of another, who had spoke honestest things to the nation; though he knew not that what his youth then reasoned without a pattern had been heard already, and well allowed from the gravity and worth of Martin Bucer: till meeting with the envy of men ignorant in their own undertaken calling, God directed him to the forgotten writings of this faithful evangelist, to be his defence and warrant against the gross imputation of broaching license. Ye are now in the glorious way to high virtue, and matchless deeds, trusted with a most inestimable trust, the asserting of our just liberties. Ye have a nation that expects now, and from mighty sufferings aspires to be the example of all Christendom to a perfectest reforming. Dare to be as great, as ample, and as eminent in the fair progress of your noble designs, as the full and goodly stature of truth and excellence itself; as unlimited by petty precedents and copies, as your unquestionable calling from Heaven gives ye power to be. What are all our public immunities and privileges worth, and how shall it be judged, that we fight for them with minds worthy to enjoy them, if we suffer ourselves in the mean while not to understand the most important freedom, that God and nature hath given us in the family; which no wise nation ever wanted, till the popery and superstition of some former ages attempted to remove and alter divine and most prudent laws for human and most imprudent canons: whereby good men in the best portion of their lives, and in that ordinance of God which entitles them from the beginning to most just and requisite contentments, are compelled to civil indignities, which by the law of Moses bad men were not compelled to? Be not bound about, and straitened in the spacious wisdom of your free spirits, by the scanty and unadequate and inconsistent principles of such as condemn others for adhering to traditions, and are themselves the prostrate worshippers of custom; and of such a tradition as they can deduce from no antiquity, but from the rudest and thickest barbarism of antichristian times.

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But why do I anticipate the more acceptable and prevailing voice of learned Bucer himself, the pastor of nations? And O that I could set him living before ye in that doctrinal chair, where once the learnedest of England thought it no disparagement to sit at his feet! He would be such a pilot, and such a father to ye, as ye would soon find the difference of his hand and skill upon the helm of reformation. Nor do I forget that faithful associate of his labours, Paulus Fagius; for these their great names and merits, how precious soever, God hath now joined with me necessarily, in the good or evil report of this doctrine, which I leave with you. It was written to a religious king of this land; written earnestly as a main matter wherein this kingdom needed a reform, if it purposed to be the kingdon of Christ: written by him, who if any, since the days of Luther, merits to be counted the apostle of the church: whose unwearied pains and watching for our sakes, as they spent him quickly here among us, so did they, during the shortness of his life, incredibly promote the gospel throughout this realm. The authority, the learning, the godliness of this man consulted with, is able to outbalance all that the lightness of a vulgar opposition can bring to counterpoise. I leave him also as my complete surety and testimonial, if truth be not the best witness to itself, that what I formerly presented to your reading on this subject, was good, and just, and honest, not licentious. Not that I have now more confidence by the addition of these great authors to my party: for what I wrote was not my opinion, but my knowledge; even then when I could trace no footstep in the way I went: nor that I think to win upon your apprehensions with numbers and with names, rather than with reasons; yet certainly the worst of my detractors will not except against so good a bail of my integrity and judgment, as now appears for me. They must else put in the fame of Bucer and of Fagius, as my accomplices and confederates into the same indictment; they must dig up the good name of these prime worthies, (if their names could be ever buried,) they must dig them up and brand them as the papists did their bodies; and those their pure unblamable spirits, which live not only in heaven, but in their writings, they must attaint with new attaintures, which no protestant ever before aspersed them with. Or if perhaps we may obtain to get our appeachment new drawn a writ of error, not of libertinism, that those two principal readers of reformation may not now come to be sued in a bill of license, to the scandal of our church; the brief result will be, that for the error, if their own works be not thought sufficient to defend them, their lives yet, who will be ready, in a fair and Christianly discussive way, to debate and sift this matter to the utmost ounce of learning and religion, in him that shall lay it as an error, either upon Martin Bucer, or any other of his opinion. If this be not enough to qualify my traducers, and that they think it more for the wisdom of their virulence, not to recant the injuries they have bespoke me, I shall not, for much more disturbance than they can bring me, intermit the prosecution of those thoughts, which may render me best serviceable, either to this age, or, if it so happen, to posterity; following the fair path, which your illustrious exploits, honoured lords and commons! against the breast of tyranny have opened; and depending so on your happy successes in the hopes that I have conceived either of myself, or of the nation, as must needs conclude me one who most affectionately wishes and awaits the prosperous issue of your noble and valorous counsels.

John Milton.
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THE JUDGMENT OF MARTIN BUCER TOUCHING DIVORCE:

CHAPTER XV.

The seventh law of the sanctifying and ordering of marriage. That the ordering of marriage belongs to the civil power. That the popes have evaded by fraud and force the ordering of marriage.

Besides these things, Christ our king, and his churches, require from your sacred majesty, that you would take upon you the just care of marriages. For it is unspeakable how many good consciences are hereby entangled, afflicted, and in danger, because there are no just laws, no speedy way constituted according to God’s word, touching this holy society and fountain of mankind. For seeing matrimony is a civil thing, men, that they may rightly contract, inviolably keep, and not without extreme necessity dissolve marriage, are not only to be taught by the doctrine and discipline of the church, but also are to be acquitted, aided, and compelled by laws and judicature of the commonwealth. Which thing pious emperors acknowledging, and therein framing themselves to the law of nations, gave laws both of contracting and preserving, and also where an unhappy need required, of divorcing marriages. As may be seen in the code of Justinian, the 5th book, from the beginning through twenty-four titles. And in the authentic of Justinian the 22d, and some others.

But the Antichrists of Rome, to get the imperial power into their own hands, first by fraudulent persuasion, afterwards by force, drew to themselves the whole authority of determining and judging as well in matrimonial causes, as in most other matters. Therefore it hath been long believed, that the care and government thereof doth not belong to the civil magistrate. Yet where the gospel of Christ is received, the laws of Antichrist should be rejected. If therefore kings and governors take not this care, by the power of law and justice, to provide that marriages be piously contracted, religiously kept, and lawfully dissolved, if need require, who sees not what confusion and trouble is brought upon this holy society; and what a rack is prepared, even for many of the best consciences, while they have no certain laws to follow, no justice to implore, if any intolerable thing happen? And how much it concerns the honour and safety of the commonwealth, that marriages, according to the will of Christ, be made, maintained, and not without just cause dissolved, who understands not? For unless that first and holiest society of man and woman be purely constituted, that household discipline may be upheld by them according to God’s law, how can we expect a race of good men? Let your majesty therefore know, that this is your duty, and in the first place, to reassume to yourself the just ordering of matrimony, and by firm laws to establish and defend the religion of this Edition: current; Page: [266] first and divine society among men, as all wise lawgivers of old, and Christian emperors, have carefully done.

The two next chapters, because they chiefly treat about the degrees of consanguinity and affinity, I omit; only setting down a passage or two concerning the judicial laws of Moses, how fit they be for Christians to imitate rather than any other.

CHAPTER XVII.,

towards the end.

I confess that we, being free in Christ, are not bound to the civil laws of Moses in every circumstance; yet seeing no laws can be more honest, just, and wholesome, than those which God himself gave, who is eternal wisdom and goodness, I see not why Christians, in things which no less appertain to them, ought not to follow the laws of God, rather than of any men. We are not to use circumcision, sacrifice, and those bodily washings prescribed to the Jews; yet by these things we may rightly learn, with what purity and devotion both baptism and the Lord’s supper should be administered and received. How much more is it our duty to observe diligently what the Lord hath commanded, and taught by the examples of his people concerning marriage, whereof we have the use no less than they!

And because this same worthy author hath another passage to this purpose, in his comment upon Matthew, chap. v. 19, I here insert it from p. 46.

Since we have need of civil laws, and the power of punishing, it will be wisest not to contemn those given by Moses; but seriously rather to consider what the meaning of God was in them, what he chiefly required, and how much it might be to the good of every nation, if they would borrow thence their manner of governing the commonwealth; yet freely all things and with the Spirit of Christ. For what Solon, or Plato, or Aristotle, what lawyers or Cæars could make better laws than God? And it is no light argument, that many magistrates at this day do not enough acknowledge the kingdom of Christ, though they would seem most Christian, in that they govern their states by laws so diverse from those of Moses.

The 18th chapter I only mention as determining a thing not here in question, that marriage without consent of parents ought not to be held good; yet with this qualification fit to be known.

That if parents admit not the honest desires of their children, but shall persist to abuse the power they have over them; they are to be mollified by admonitions, entreaties, and persuasions, first of their friends and kindred, next of the church-elders. Whom if still the hard parents refuse to hear, then ought the magistrate to interpose his power: lest any by the evil mind of their parents be detained from marriage longer than is meet, or forced to an unworthy match: in which case the Roman laws also provided. C. de Nupt. l. 11, 13, 26.

CHAPTER XIX.

Whether it may be permitted to revoke the promise of marriage.

Here ariseth another question concerning contracts, when they ought to be unchangeable? for religious emperors decreed, that the contract was not indissoluble, until the spouse were brought home, and the solemnities performed. They thought it a thing unworthy of divine and human equity, and the due consideration of man’s infirmity in deliberating and determining, when space is given to renounce other contracts of much less moment, which are not yet confirmed before the magistrate, to deny that to the most weighty contract of marriage, which requires the greatest care and consultation. Edition: current; Page: [267] Yet lest such a covenant should be broken for no just cause, and to the injury of that person to whom marriage was promised, they decreed a fine, that he who denied marriage to whom he had promised, and for some cause not approved by the judges, should pay the double of that pledge which was given at making sure, or as much as the judge should pronounce might satisfy the damage, or the hinderance of either party. It being most certain, that ofttimes after contract just and honest causes of departing from promise come to be known and found out, it cannot be other than the duty of pious princes, to give men the same liberty of unpromising in these cases, as pious emperors granted: especially where there is only a promise, and not carnal knowledge. And as there is no true marriage between them, who agree not in true consent of mind; so it will be the part of godly magistrates, to procure that no matrimony be among their subjects, but what is knit with love and consent. And though your majesty be not bound to the imperial laws, yet it is the duty of a Christian king, to embrace and follow whatever he knows to be any where piously and justly constituted, and to be honest, just, and well-pleasing to his people. But why in God’s law and the examples of his saints nothing hereof is read, no marvel; seeing his ancient people had power, yea a precept, that whoso could not bend his mind to the true love of his wife, should give her a bill of divorce, and send her from him, though after carnal knowledge and long dwelling together. This is enough to authorize a godly prince in that indulgence which he gives to the changing of a contract; both because it is certainly the invention of Antichrist, that the promise of marriage de præsenti, as they call it, should be indissoluble, and because it should be a prince’s care, that matrimony be so joined, as God ordained; which is, that every one should love his wife with such a love as Adam expressed to Eve: so as we may hope, that they who marry may become one flesh, and one also in the Lord.

CHAPTER XX.

Concerns only the celebration of marriage.

CHAPTER XXI.

The means of preserving marriage holy and pure.

Now since there ought not to be less care, that marriage be religiously kept, than that it be piously and deliberately contracted, it will be meet, that to every church be ordained certain grave and godly men, who may have this care upon them, to observe whether the husband bear himself wisely toward the wife, loving, and inciting her to all piety, and the other duties of this life; and whether the wife be subject to her husband, and study to be truly a meet help to him, as first to all godliness, so to every other use of life. And if they shall find each to other failing of their duty, or the one long absent from the other without just and urgent cause, or giving suspicion of irreligious and impure life, or of living in manifest wickedness, let it be admonished them in time. And if their authority be contemned, let the names of such contemners be brought to the magistrate, who may use punishment to compel such violators of marriage to their duty, that they may abstain from all probable suspicion of transgressing: and if they admit of suspected company, the magistrate is to forbid them; whom they not therein obeying, are to be punished as adulterers, according to the law of Justinian, Authent. 117. For if holy wedlock, the fountain Edition: current; Page: [268] and seminary of good subjects, be not vigilantly preserved from all blots and disturbances, what can be hoped, as I said before, of the springing up of good men, and a right reformation of the commonwealth? We know it is not enough for Christians to abstain from foul deeds, but from the appearance and suspicion thereof.

CHAPTER XXII.

Of lawful divorce, what the ancient churches have thought.

Now we shall speak about that dissolving of matrimony, which may be approved in the sight of God, if any grievous necessity require. In which thing the Roman antichrist have knit many a pernicious entanglement to distressed consciences; for that they might here also exalt themselves above God, as if they would be wiser and chaster than God himself is; for no cause, honest or necessary, will they permit a final divorce: in the mean while, whoredoms and adulteries, and worse things than these, not only tolerating in themselves and others, but cherishing and throwing men headlong into these evils. For although they also disjoin married persons from board and bed, that is, from all conjugal society and communion, and this not only for adultery, but for ill usage, and matrimonial duties denied; yet they forbid those thus parted, to join in wedlock with others: but, as I said before, any dishonest associating they permit. And they pronounce the bond of marriage to remain between those whom they have thus separated. As if the bond of marriage, God so teaching and pronouncing, were not such a league as binds the married couple to all society of life, and communion in divine and human things; and so associated keeps them. Something indeed out of the later fathers they may pretend for this their tyranny, especially out of Austria and some others, who were much taken with a preposterous admiration of single life; yet though these fathers, from the words of Christ not rightly understood, taught that it was unlawful to marry again, while the former wife lived, whatever cause there had been either of desertion or divorce; yet if we mark the custom of the church, and the common judgment which both in their times and afterward prevailed, we shall perceive, that neither these fathers did ever cast out of the church any one for marrying after a divorce, approved by the imperial laws.

Nor only the first Christian emperors, but the latter also, even to Justinian and after him, did grant for certain causes approved by judges, to make a true divorce; which made and confirmed by law, it might be lawful to marry again; which if it could not have been done without displeasing Christ and his church, surely it would not have been granted by Christian emperors, nor had the fathers then winked at those doings in the emperors. Hence ye may see that Jerome also, though zealous of single life more than enough, and such a condemner of second marriage, though after the death of either party, yet, forced by plain equity, defended Fabiola, a noble matron of Rome, who, having refused her husband for just causes, was married to another. For that the sending of a divorce to her husband was not blameworthy, he affirms because the man was heinously vicious; and that if an adulterer’s wife may be discarded, an adulterous husband is not to be kept. But that she married again, while yet her husband was alive; he defends in that the apostle hath said, “It is better to marry than to burn;” and that young widows should marry, for such was Fabiola, and could not remain in widowhood.

But some one will object, that Jerome there adds, “Neither did she Edition: current; Page: [269] know the vigour of the gospel, wherein all cause of marrying is debarred from women, while their husbands live; and again, while she avoided many wounds of Satan, she received one ere she was aware.” But let the equal reader mind also what went before; “Because,” saith he, soon after the beginning, “there is a rock and storm of slanderers opposed before her, I will not praise her converted, unless I first absolve her guilty.” For why does he call them slanderers, who accused Fabiola of marrying again, if he did not judge it a matter of Christian equity and charity, to pass by and pardon that fact, though in his own opinion he held it a fault? And what can this mean, “I will not praise her, unless I first absolve her?” For how could he absolve her, but by proving that Fabiola, neither in rejecting her vicious husband, nor in marrying another, had committed such a sin, as could be justly condemned? Nay, he proves both by evident reason, and clear testimonies of Scripture, that she avoided sin.

This is also hence understood, that Jerome by the vigour of the gospel, meant that height and perfection of our Saviour’s precept, which might be remitted to those that burn; for he adds, “But if she be accused in that she remained not unmarried, I shall confess the fault, so I may relate the necessity.” If then he acknowledged a necessity, as he did, because she was young, and could not live in widowhood, certainly he could not impute her second marriage to her much blame: but when he excuses her out of the word of God, does he not openly declare his thoughts, that the second marriage of Fabiola was permitted her by the Holy Ghost himself, for the necessity which he suffered, and to shun the danger of fornication, though she went somewhat aside from the vigour of the gospel? But if any urge, that Fabiola did public penance for her second marriage, which was not imposed but for great faults; it is answered, she was not enjoined to this penance, but did it of her own accord, “and not till after her second husband’s death.” As in the time of Cyprian, we read that many were wont to do voluntary penance for small faults, which were not liable to excommunication.

CHAPTER XXIII.

That marriage was granted by the ancient fathers, even after the vow of single life.

I omit his testimonies out of Cyprian, Gellasius, Epiphanes, contented only to relate what he thence collects to the present purpose.

Some will say, perhaps, wherefore all this concerning marriage after vow of single life, whenas the question was of marriage after divorce? For this reason, that they whom it so much moves, because some of the fathers thought marriage after any kind of divorce to be condemned of our Saviour, may see that this conclusion follows not. The fathers thought all marriage after divorce, to be forbidden of our Saviour, therefore they thought such marriage was not to be tolerated in a Christian. For the same fathers judged it forbidden to marry after vow; yet such marriages they neither dissolved nor excommunicated: for these words of our Saviour, and of the Holy Ghost, stood in their way; “All cannot receive this saying, but they to whom it is given. Every one hath his proper gift from God, one after this manner, another after that. It is better to marry than to burn. I will that younger widows marry;” and the like.

So there are many canons and laws extant, whereby priests, if they married, were removed from their office; yet is it not read that their marriage was dissolved, as the papists now-a-days do, or that they were excommunicated, Edition: current; Page: [270] nay, expressly they might communicate as laymen. If the consideration of human infirmity, and those testimonies of divine scripture which grant marriage to every one that wants it, persuaded those fathers to bear themselves so humanely toward them who had married with breach of vow to God, as they believed, and with divorce of that marriage wherein they were in a manner joined to God; who doubts, but that the same fathers held the like humanity was to be afforded to those, who, after divorce and faith broken with men, as they thought, entered into a second marriage? For among such are also found no less weak, and no less burning.

CHAPTER XXIV.

Who of the ancient fathers have granted marriage after divorce.

This is clear both by what hath been said, and by that which Origen relates of certain bishops in his time, Homil. 7, in Matt. “I know some,” saith he, “which are over churches, who, without Scripture, have permitted the wife to marry while her former husband lived. And did this against Scripture, which saith, the wife is bound to her husband so long as he lives; and she shall be called an adulteress, if, her husband living, she take another man; yet did they not permit this without cause, perhaps for the infirmity of such as had not continence, they permitted evil to avoid worse.” Ye see Origen and the doctors of his age, not without all cause, permitted women after divorce to marry, though their former husbands were living; yet writes that they permitted against Scripture. But what cause could they have to do so, unless they thought our Saviour in his precepts of divorce had so forbidden, as willing to remit such perfection to his weaker ones, cast into danger of worse faults?

The same thought Leo, bishop of Rome, Ep. 85, to the African bishops of Mauritania Cæsariensis, wherein complaining of a certain priest, who divorcing his wife, or being divorced by her, as other copies have it, had married another, neither dissolves the matrimony, nor excommunicates him, only unpriests him. The fathers therefore, as we see, did not simply and wholly condemn marriage after divorce.

But as for me, this remitting of our Saviour’s precepts, which these ancients allow to the infirm in marrying after vow and divorce, I can in no ways admit; for whatsoever plainly consents not with the commandment, cannot, I am certain, be permitted, or suffered in any Christian: for heaven and earth shall pass away, but not a tittle from the commandments of God among them who expect life eternal. Let us therefore consider, and weigh the words of our Lord concerning marriage and divorce, which he pronounced both by himself, and by his apostle, and let us compare them with other oracles of God; for whatsoever is contrary to these, I shall not persuade the least tolerating thereof. But if it can be taught to agree with the word of God, yea to be commanded, that most men may have permission given them to divorce and marry again, I must prefer the authority of God’s word before the opinion of fathers and doctors, as they themselves teach.

CHAPTER XXV.

The words of our Lord, and of the Holy Ghost, by the Apostle Paul concerning divorce, are explained. The 1st Axiom, that Christ could not condemn of adultery, that which he once commanded.

But the words of our Lord, and of the Holy Ghost, out of which Austin and some others of the fathers think it concluded, that our Saviour forbids marriage after any divorce, are these; Matt. v. 31, 32, “It hath been Edition: current; Page: [271] said,” &c.: and Matt. xix. 7, “They say unto him, why did Moses then command,” &c.: and Mark x., and Luke xvi., Rom. vii. 1, 2, 3, 1 Cor. vii. 10, 11. Hence therefore they conclude, that all marriage after divorce is called adultery; which to commit, being no ways to be tolerated in any Christian, they think it follows, that second marriage is in no case to be permitted either to the divorcer, or to the divorced.

But that it may be more fully and plainly perceived what force is in this kind of reasoning, it will be the best course, to lay down certain grounds whereof no Christian can doubt the truth. First, it is a wickedness to suspect, that our Saviour branded that for adultery, which himself, in his own law which he came to fulfil, and not to dissolve, did not only permit, but also command; for by him, the only mediator, was the whole law of God given. But that by this law of God marriage was permitted after any divorce, is certain by Deut. xxiv. 1.

CHAPTER XXVI.

That God in his law did not only grant, but also commanded divorce to certain men.

Deut. xxiv. 1, “When a man hath taken a wife,” &c. But in Mal. ii. 15, 16, is read the Lord’s command to put her away whom a man hates, in these words: “Take heed to your spirit, and let none deal injuriously against the wife of his youth. If he hate, let him put away, saith the Lord God of Israel. And he shall hide thy violence with his garment,” that marries her divorced by thee, “saith the Lord of hosts; but take heed to your spirit, and do no injury.” By these testimonies of the divine law, we see, that the Lord did not only permit, but also expressly and earnestly commanded his people, by whom he would that all holiness and faith of marriage covenant should be observed, that he, who could not induce his mind to love his wife with a true conjugal love, might dismiss her, that she might marry to another.

CHAPTER XXVII.

That what the Lord permitted and commanded to his ancient people concerning divorce belongs also to Christians.

Now what the Lord permitted to his first-born people, that certainly he could not forbid to his own among the Gentiles, whom he made coheirs, and into one body with his people; nor could he ever permit, much less command, aught that was not good for them, at least so used as he commanded. For being God, he is not changed as man. Which thing who seriously considers, how can he imagine that God would make that wicked to them that believe, and serve him under grace, which he granted and commanded to them that served him under the law? Whenas the same causes require the same permission. And who that knows but human matters, and loves the truth, will deny that many marriages hang as ill together now, as ever they did among the Jews? So that such marriages are liker to torments than true marriages. As therefore the Lord doth always succour and help the oppressed, so he would ever have it provided for injured husbands and wives, that under pretence of the marriage bond, they be not sold to perpetual vexations, instead of the loving and comfortable marriage duties. And lastly, as God doth always detest hypocrisy and fraud, so neither doth he approve, that among his people that should be counted marriage, wherein none of those duties remain, whereby the league of wedlock is chiefly preserved. What inconsiderate neglect then of God’s Edition: current; Page: [272] law is this, that I may not call it worse, to hold that Christ our Lord would not grant the same remedies both of divorce and second marriage to the weak, or to the evil, if they will needs have it so, but especially to the innocent and wronged; whenas the same urgent causes remain as before, when the discipline of the church and magistrate hath tried what may be tried?

CHAPTER XXVIII.

That our Lord Christ intended not to make new laws of marriage and divorce, or of any civil matters. Axiom 2.

It is agreed by all who determine of the kingdom and offices of Christ by the Holy Scriptures, as all godly men ought to do, that our Saviour upon earth took not on him either to give new laws in civil affairs, or to change the old. But it is certain, that matrimony and divorce are civil things. Which the Christian emperors knowing, gave conjugal laws, and reserved the administration of them to their own courts; which no true ancient bishop ever condemned.

Our Saviour came to preach repentance and remission: seeing therefore those, who put away their wives without any just cause, were not touched with conscience of the sin, through misunderstanding of the law, he recalled them to a right interpretation, and taught, that the woman in the beginning was so joined to the man, that there should be a perpetual union both in body and spirit: where this is not, the matrimony is already broke, before there be yet any divorce made, or second marriage.

CHAPTER XXIX.

That it is wicked to strain the words of Christ beyond their purpose.

This is his third Axiom, whereof there needs no explication here.

CHAPTER XXX.

That all places of Scripture about the same thing are to be joined, and compared, to avoid contradictions. Axiom 4.

This he demonstrates at large out of sundry places in the gospel, and principally by that precept against swearing,* which, compared with many places of the law and prophets, is a flat contradiction of them all, if we follow superstitiously the letter. Then having repeated briefly his four axioms, he thus proceeds:

These things thus preadmonished, let us inquire what the undoubted meaning is of our Saviour’s words, and inquire according to the rule which is observed by all learned and good men in their expositions; that praying first to God, who is the only opener of our hearts, we may first with fear and reverence consider well the words of our Saviour touching this question. Next, that we may compare them with all other places of Scripture treating of this matter, to see how they consent with our Saviour’s words, and those of his apostle.

CHAPTER XXXI.

This chapter disputes against Austin and the papists, who deny second marriage even to them who divorce in case of adultery; which because it is not controverted among true protestants, but that the innocent person is easily allowed to marry, I spare the translating.

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CHAPTER XXXII.

That a manifest adulteress ought to be divorced, and cannot lawfully be retained in marriage by any true Christian.

This though he prove sufficiently, yet I let pass, because this question was not handled in the Doctrine and Dicipline of Divorce; to which book I bring so much of this treatise as runs parallel.

CHAPTER XXXIII.

That adultery is to be punished with death.

This chapter also I omit for the reason last alleged.

CHAPTER XXXIV.

That it is lawful for a wife to leave an adulterer and to marry another husband.

This is generally granted, and therefore excuses me the writing out.

CHAPTER XXXV.

Places in the writings of the apostle Paul, touching divorce, explained.

Let us consider the answers of the Lord given by the apostle severally. Concerning the first, which is Rom. vii. 1, “Know ye not brethren, for I speak to them that know the law, &c. ver. 2, The woman is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth.” Here it is certain, that the Holy Ghost had no purpose to determine aught of marriage, or divorce, but only to bring an example from the common and ordinary law of wedlock, to show, that as no covenant holds either party being dead, so now that we are not bound to the law, but to Christ our Lord, seeing that through him we are dead to sin, and to the law; and so joined to Christ, that we may bring forth fruit in him from a willing godliness, and not by the compulsion of law, whereby our sins are more excited, and become more violent. What therefore the Holy Spirit here speaks of matrimony cannot be extended beyond the general rule.

Besides, it is manifest that the apostle did allege the law of wedlock, as it was delivered to the Jews; for, saith he, “I speak to them that know the law.” They knew no law of God, but that by Moses, which plainly grants divorce for several reasons. It cannot therefore be said, that the apostle cited this general example out of the law, to abolish the several exceptions of that law, which God himself granted by giving authority to divorce.

Next, when the apostle brings an example out of God’s law concerning man and wife, it must be necessary, that we understand such for man and wife, as are so indeed according to the same law of God; that is, who are so disposed, as that they are both willing and able to perform the necessary duties of marriage; not those who under a false title of marriage, keep themselves mutually bound to injuries and disgraces; for such twain are nothing less than lawful man and wife.

The like answer is to be given to all other places both of the gospel and the apostle, that whatever exception may be proved out of God’s law, be not excluded from those places. For the Spirit of God doth not condemn things formerly granted and allowed, where there is like cause and reason. Hence Ambrose, upon that place, 1 Cor. vii. 15, “A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases,” thus expounds; “The reverence of Edition: current; Page: [274] marriage is not due to him who abhors the author of marriage; nor is that marriage ratified, which is without devotion to God: he sins not therefore, who is put away for God’s cause, though he join himself to another. For the dishonour of the Creator dissolves the right of matrimony to him who is deserted, that he be not accused, though marrying to another. The faith of wedlock is not to be kept with him who departs, that he might not hear the God of Christians to be the author of wedlock. For if Ezra caused the misbelieveing wives and husbands to be divorced, that God might be appeased, and not offended, though they took others of their own faith, how much more shall it be free, if the misbeliever depart, to marry one of our own religion. For this is not to be counted matrimony, which is against the law of God.”

Two things are here to be observed toward the following discourse, which truth itself and the force of God’s word hath drawn from this holy man. For those words are very large, “Matrimony is not ratified, without devotion to God.” And “the dishonour of the Creator dissolves the right of matrimony.” For devotion is far off, and dishonour is done to God by all who persist in any wickedness and heinous crime.

CHAPTER XXXVI.

That although it seem in the Gospel, as if our Saviour granted divorce only for adultery, yet in very deed he granted it for other causes also.

Now is to be dealt with this question, whether it be lawful to divorce and marry again for other causes besides adultery, since our Saviour expressed that only? To this question, if we retain our principles already laid, and must acknowledge it to be a cursed blasphemy, if we say that the words of God do contradict one another, of necessity we must confess, that our Lord did grant divorce, and marriage after that, for other causes besides adultery, notwithstanding what he said in Matthew. For first, they who consider but only that place, 1 Cor. vii. which treats of believers and misbelievers matched together, must of force confess, that our Lord granted just divorce and second marriage in the cause of desertion, which is other than the cause of fornication. And if there be one other cause found lawful, then is it most true, that divorce was granted not only for fornication.

Next, it cannot be doubted, as I showed before by them to whom it is given to know God and his judgments out of his own word, but that, what means of peace and safety God ever granted and ordained to his elected people, the same he grants and ordains to men of all ages, who have equally need of the same remedies. And who, that is but a knowing man, dares say there be not husbands and wives now to be found in such a hardness of heart, that they will not perform either conjugal affection, or any requisite duty thereof, though it be most deserved at their hands?

Neither can any one defer to confess, but that God, whose property it is to judge the cause of them that suffer injury, hath provided for innocent and honest persons wedded, how they might free themselves by lawful means of divorce, from the bondage and iniquity of those who are falsely termed their husbands or their wives. This is clear out of Deut. xxiv. 1; Malachi, ii.; Matt. xix. 1; 1 Cor. vii.; and out of those principles, which the Scripture every where teaches, that God changes not his mind, dissents not from himself, is no accepter of persons; but allows the same remedies to all men oppressed with the same necessities and infirmities; yea, requires that we should use them. This he will easily perceive, who considers these things in the Spirit of the Lord.

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Lastly, it is most certain, that the Lord hath commanded us to obey the civil laws, every one of his own commonwealth, if they be not against the laws of God.

CHAPTER XXXVII.

For what causes divorce is permitted by the civil law ex l. Consensu Codic. de Repudiis.

It is also manifest, that the law of Theodosius and Valentinian, which begins “Consensu,” &c. touching divorce, and many other decrees of pious emperors agreeing herewith, are not contrary to the word of God; and therefore may be recalled into use by any Christian prince or commonwealth; nay, ought to be with due respect had to every nation: for whatsoever is equal and just, that in every thing is to be sought and used by Christians. Hence it is plain, that divorce is granted by divine approbation, both to husbands and to wives, if either party can convict the other of these following offences before the magistrate.

If the husband can prove the wife to be an adulteress, a witch, a murderess; to have bought or sold to slavery any one free born; to have violated sepulchres, committed sacrilege, favoured thieves and robbers, desirous of feasting with strangers, the husband not knowing, or not willing; if she lodge forth without a just and probable cause, or frequent theatres and sights, he forbidding; if she be privy with those that plot against the state, or if she deal falsely, or offer blows. And if the wife can prove her husband guilty of any those forenamed crimes, and frequent the company of lewd women in her sight; or if he beat her, she had the like liberty to quit herself; with this difference, that the man after divorce might forthwith marry again; the woman not till a year after lest she might chance to have conceived.

CHAPTER XXXVIII.

An exposition of those places wherein God declares the nature of holy wedlock.

Now to the end it may be seen, that this agrees with the divine law, the first institution of marriage is to be considered, and those texts in which God established the joining of male and female, and described the duties of them both. When God had determined to make woman, and give her as a wife to man, he spake thus, Gen. ii. 18, “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a help meet for him. And Adam said,” but in the Spirit of God, v. 23, 24, “This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh: Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh.”

To this first institution did Christ recall his own; when answering the Pharisees, he condemned the license of unlawful divorce. He taught therefore by his example, that we, according to this first institution, and what God hath spoken thereof, ought to determine what kind of covenant marriage is; how to be kept, and how far; and lastly, for what causes to be dissolved. To which decrees of God these also are to be joined which the Holy Ghost hath taught by his apostle, that neither the husband nor the wife “hath power of their own body, but mutually each of either’s.” That “the husband shall love the wife as his own body, yea, as Christ loves his church; and that the wife ought to be subject to her husband, as the church is to Christ.”

By these things the nature of holy wedlock is certainly known; whereof if Edition: current; Page: [276] only one be wanting in both or either party, and that either by obstinate malevolence, or too deep inbred weakness of mind, or lastly, through incurable impotence of body, it cannot then be said, that the covenant of matrimony holds good between such; if we mean that covenant, which God instituted and called marriage, and that whereof only it must be understood that our Saviour said, “Those whom God hath joined, let no man separate.”

And hence is concluded, that matrimony requires continual cohabitation and living together, unless the calling of God be otherwise evident; which union if the parties themselves disjoin, either by mutual consent, or one against the other’s will depart, the marriage is then broken. Wherein the papists, as in other things, oppose themselves against God; while they separate for many causes from bed and board, and yet will have the bond of matrimony remain, as if this covenant could be other than the conjunction and communion not only of bed and board, but of all other loving and helpful duties. This we may see in these words; “I will make him a help meet for him; bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh: for this cause shall be leave father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh.” By which words who discerns not, that God requires of them both so to live together, and to be united not only in body but in mind also, with such an affection as none may be dearer and more ardent among all the relations of mankind, nor of more efficacy to the mutual offices of love and loyalty? They must communicate and consent in all things both divine and human, which have any moment to well and happy living. The wife must honour and obey her husband, as the church honours and obeys Christ her head. The husband must love and cherish his wife, as Christ his church. Thus they must be to each other, if they will be true man and wife in the sight of God, whom certainly the churches ought to follow in their judgment. Now the proper and ultimate end of marriage is not copulation, or children, for then there was not true matrimony between Joseph and Mary the mother of Christ, nor between many holy persons more; but the full and proper and main end of marriage is the communicating of all duties, both divine and human, each to other with utmost benevolence and affection.

CHAPTER XXXIX.

The properties of a true and Christian marriage more distinctly repeated.

By which definition we may know, that God esteems and reckons upon these four necessary properties to be in every true marriage. 1. That they should live together, unless the calling of God require otherwise for a time. 2. That they should love one another to the height of dearness, and that in the Lord, and in the communion of true religion. 3. That the husband bear himself as the head and preserver of his wife, instructing her to all godliness and integrity of life; that the wife also be to her husband a help, according to her place, especially furthering him in the true worship of God, and next in all the occasions of civil life. And 4. That they defraud not each other of conjugal benevolence, as the apostle commands, 1 Cor. vii. Hence it follows, according to the sentence of God, which all Christians ought to be ruled by, that between those who, either through obstinacy, or helpless inability, cannot or will not perform these repeated duties, between those there can be no true matrimony, nor ought they to be counted man and wife.

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CHAPTER XL.

Whether those crimes recited, chap. xxxvii., out of the civil law, dissolve matrimony in God’s account.

Now if a husband or wife be found guilty of any of those crimes, which by the law “consensu” are made causes of divorce, it is manifest, that such a man cannot be the head and preserver of his wife, nor such a woman be a meet help to her husband, as the divine law in true wedlock requires; for these faults are punished either by death, or deportation, or extreme infamy, which are directly opposite to the covenant of marriage. If they deserve death, as adultery and the like, doubtless God would not that any should live in wedlock with them whom he would not have to live at all. Or if it be not death, but the incurring of notorious infamy, certain it is neither just, nor expedient, nor meet, that an honest man should be coupled with an infamous woman, nor an honest matron with an infamous man. The wise Roman princes had so great a regard to the equal honour of either wedded person, that they counted those marriages of no force, which were made between the one of good repute, and the other of evil note. How much more will all honest regard of Christian expedience and comeliness beseem and concern those who are set free and dignified in Christ, than it could the Roman senate, or their sons, for whom that law was provided?

And this all godly men will soon apprehend, that he who ought to be the head and preserver not only of his wife, but also of his children and family, as Christ is of his church, had need be one of honest name: so likewise the wife, which is to be the meet help of an honest and good man, the mother of an honest offspring and family, the glory of the man, even as the man is the glory of Christ, should not be tainted with ignominy; as neither of them can avoid to be, having been justly appeached of those forenamed crimes; and therefore cannot be worthy to hold their place in a Christian family: yea, they themselves turn out themselves and dissolve that holy covenant. And they who are true brethern and sisters in the Lord are no more in bondage to such violators of marriage.

But here the patrons of wickedness and dissolvers of Christian discipline will object, that it is the part of man and wife to bear one another’s cross, whether in calamity, or infamy, that they may gain each other, if not to a good name, yet to repentance and amendment. But they who thus object, seek the impunity of wickedness, and the favour of wicked men, not the duties of true charity; which prefers public honesty before private interest, and had rather the remedies of wholesome punishment appointed by God should be in use, than that by remissness the license of evil doing should increase. For if they who, by committing such offences, have made void the holy knot of marriage, be capable of repentance, they will be sooner moved when due punishment is executed on them, than when it is remitted.

We must ever beware, lest, in contriving what will be best for the soul’s health of delinquents, we make ourselves wiser and discreeter than God. He that religiously weighs his oracles concerning marriage, cannot doubt that they who have committed the foresaid transgressions, have lost the right of matrimony, and are unworthy to hold their dignity in an honest and Christian family.

But if any husband or wife see such signs of repentance in their transgressor, as that they doubt not to regain them by continuing with them, and partaking of their miseries and attaintures, they may be left to their own Edition: current; Page: [278] hopes, and their own mind; saving ever the right of church and commonwealth, that it receive no scandal by the neglect of due severity, and their children no harm by this invitation to license, and want of good education.

From all these considerations, if they be thought on, as in the presence of God, and out of his word, any one may perceive who desires to determine of these things by the Scripture, that those causes of lawful divorce, which the most religious emperors Theodosius and Valentinian set forth in the forecited place, are according to the law of God, and the prime institution of marriage; and were still more and more straitened, as the church and state of the empire still more and more corrupted and degenerated. Therefore pious princes and commonwealths both may and ought establish them again, if they have a mind to restore the honour, sanctity, and religion of holy wedlock to their people, and disentangle many consciences from a miserable and perilous condition, to a chaste and honest life.

To those recited causes wherefore a wife might send a divorce to her husband, Justinian added four more, Constit. 117; and four more, for which a man might put away his wife. Three other causes were added in the Code “de repudiis, l. Jubemus.” All which causes are so clearly contrary to the first intent of marriage that they plainly dissolve it. I set them not down, being easy to be found in the body of the civil law.

It was permitted also by Christian emperors, that they who would divorce by mutual consent, might, without impediment. Or if there were any difficulty at all in it, the law expresses the reason, that it was only in favour of the children; so that if there were none, the law of those godly emperors made no other difficulty of a divorce by consent. Or if any were minded without consent of the other to divorce, and without those causes which have been named, the Christian emperors laid no other punishment upon them, than that the husband wrongfully divorcing his wife should give back her dowry, and the use of that which was called “Donatio propter nuptias;” or if there were no dowry nor no donation, that he should then give her the fourth part of his goods. The like penalty was inflicted on the wife departing without just cause. But that they who were once married should be compelled to remain so ever against their wills, was not exacted. Wherein those pious princes followed the law of God in Deut. xxiv. 1, and his express charge by the prophet Malachi, to dismiss from him the wife whom the hates. For God never meant in marriage to give to man a perpetual torment instead of a meet help. Neither can God approve, that to the violation of this holy league (which is violated as soon as true affection ceases and is lost) should be added murder, which is already committed by either of them who resolvedly hates the other, as I showed out of 1 John iii. 15, “Whoso hateth his brother, is a murderer.”

CHAPTER XLI.

Whether the husband or wife deserted may marry to another.

The wife’s desertion of her husband the Christian emperors plainly decreed to be a just cause of divorce, whenas they granted him the right thereof, if she had but lain out one night against his will without probable cause. But of the man deserting his wife they did not so determine: yet if we look into the word of God, we shall find, that he who though but for a year, without just cause, forsakes his wife, and neither provides for her maintenance, nor signifies his purpose of returning, and good will towards her, whenas he may, hath forfeited his right in her so forsaken. For the Edition: current; Page: [279] Spirit of God speaks plainly, that both man and wife have such power over one another’s person, as that they cannot deprive each other of living together, but by consent, and for a time.

Hither may be added, that the Holy Spirit grants desertion to be a cause of divorce, in those answers given to the Corinthians concerning a brother or sister deserted by a misbeliever. “If he depart, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases.” In which words, who sees not the Holy Ghost openly pronounced, that the party without cause deserted, is not bound for another’s wilful desertion, to abstain from marriage, if he have need thereof?

But some will say, that this is spoken of a misbeliever departing. But I beseech ye, doth not he reject the faith of Christ in his deeds, who rashly breaks the holy covenant of wedlock instituted by God? And besides this, the Holy Spirit does not make the misbelieving of him who departs, but the departing of him who disbelieves, to be the just cause of freedom to the brother or sister.

Since therefore it will be agreed among Christians, that they who depart from wedlock without just cause, do not only deny the faith of matrimony, but of Christ also, whatever they profess with their mouths; it is but reason to conclude, that the party deserted is not bound in case of causeless desertion, but that he may lawfully seek another consort, if it be needful to him, toward a pure and blameless conversation.

CHAPTER XLII.

The impotence of body, leprosy, madness, &c. are just causes of divorce.

Of this, because it was not disputed in the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, him that would know further, I commend to the Latin original.

CHAPTER XLIII.

That to grant divorce for all the causes which have been hitherto brought, disagrees not from the words of Christ, naming only the cause of adultery.

Now we must see how these things can stand with the words of our Saviour, who seems directly to forbid all divorce except it be for adultery. To the understanding whereof, we must ever remember this: That in the words of our Saviour there can be no contrariety: That his words and answers are not to be stretched beyond the question proposed: That our Saviour did not there purpose to treat of all the causes for which it might be lawful to divorce and marry again; for then that in the Corinthians of marrying again without guilt of adultery could not be added. That it is not good for that man to be alone, who hath not the special gift from above. That it is good for every such one to be married, that he may shun fornication.

With regard to these principles, let us see what our Lord answered to the tempting Pharisees about divorce, and second marriage, and how far his answer doth extend.

First, no man who is not very contentious will deny, that the Pharisees asked our Lord whether it were lawful to put away such a wife, as was truly, and according to God’s law, to be counted a wife; that is, such a one as would dwell with her husband, and both would and could perform the necessary duties of wedlock tolerably. But she who will not dwell with her husband is not put away by him, but goes of herself: and she who denies to be a meet help, or to be so hath made herself unfit by open misdemeanors, or through incurable impotencies cannot be able, is not by Edition: current; Page: [280] the law of God to be esteemed a wife; as hath been shown both from the first institution, and other places of Scripture. Neither certainly would the Pharisees propound a question concerning such an unconjugal wife; for their depravation of the law had brought them to that pass, as to think a man had right to put away his wife for any cause, though never so slight. Since, therefore, it is manifest, that Christ answered the Pharisees concerning a fit and meet wife according to the law of God, whom he forbid to divorce for any cause but fornication; who sees not that it is a wickedness so to wrest and extend that answer of his, as if it forbad to divorce her who hath already forsaken, or hath lost the place and dignity of a wife, by deserved infamy, or hath undertaken to be that which she hath not natural ability to be?

This truth is so powerful, that it hath moved the papists to grant their kind of divorce for other causes besides adultery, as for ill usage, and the not performing of conjugal duty; and to separate from bed and board for these causes, which is as much divorce as they grant for adultery.

But some perhaps will object, that though it be yielded that our Lord granted divorce not only for adultery, yet it is not certain that he permitted marriage after divorce, unless for that only cause. I answer, first, that the sentence of divorce and second marriage is one and the same. So that when the right of divorce is evinced to belong not only to the cause of fornication, the power of second marriage is also proved to be not limited to that cause only; and that most evidently whenas the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. vii. so frees the deserted party from bondage, as that he may not only send a just divorce in case of desertion, but may seek another marriage.

Lastly, seeing God will not that any should live in danger of fornication and utter ruin for the default of another, and hath commanded the husband to send away with a bill of divorce her whom he could not love; it is impossible that the charge of adultery should belong to him who for lawful causes divorces and marries, or to her who marries after she hath been unjustly rejected, or to him who receives her without all fraud to the former wedlock. For this were a horrid blasphemy against God, so to interpret his words, as to make him dissent from himself; for who sees not a flat contradiction in this, to enthral blameless men and women to miseries and injuries, under a false and soothing title of marriage, and yet to declare by his apostle, that a brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases? No less do these two things conflict with themselves, to enforce the innocent and faultless to endure the pain and misery of another’s perverseness, or else to live in unavoidable temptation; and to affirm elsewhere that he lays on no man the burden of another man’s sin, nor doth constrain any man to the endangering of his soul.

CHAPTER XLIV.

That to those also who are justly divorced, second marriage ought to be permitted.

This, although it will be proved, yet because it concerns only the offender, I leave him to search out his own charter, himself, in the author.

CHAPTER XLV.

That some persons are so ordained to marriage, as that they cannot obtain the gift of continence, no not by earnest prayer; and that therein every one is to be left to his own judgment and conscience, and not to have a burden laid upon him by any other.

Edition: current; Page: [281]

CHAPTER XLVI.

The words of the apostle concerning the praise of single life unfolded.

These two chapters not so immediately debating the right of divorce, I choose rather not to insert.

CHAPTER XLVII.

The conclusion of this treatise.

These things, most renowned king, I have brought together, both to explain for what causes the unhappy, but sometimes most necessary help of divorce ought to be granted, according to God’s word, by princes and rulers; as also to explain how the words of Christ do consent with such a grant. I have been large indeed both in handling those oracles of God, and in laying down those certain principles, which he who will know what the mind of God is in this matter, must ever think on and remember. But if we consider what mist and obscurity hath been poured out by Antichrist upon this question, and how deep this pernicious contempt of wedlock, and admiration of single life, even in those who are not called thereto, hath sunk into many men’s persuasions; I fear lest all that hath been said be hardly enough to persuade such, that they would cease at length to make themselves wiser and holier than God himself, in being so severe to grant lawful marriage, and so easy to connive at all, not only whoredoms but deflowerings and adulteries: whenas, among the people of God, no whoredom was to be tolerated.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to destroy the works of Satan, sent down his Spirit upon all Christians, and principally upon Christian governors both in church and commonwealth, (for of the clear judgment of your royal majesty I nothing doubt, revolving the Scripture so often as ye do,) that they may acknowledge how much they provoke the anger of God against us, whenas all kind of unchastity is tolerated, fornications and adulteries winked at; but holy and honourable wedlock is oft withheld by the mere persuasion of Antichrist, from such as without this remedy cannot preserve themselves from damnation! For none who hath but a spark of honesty will deny, that princes and states ought to use diligence toward the maintaining of pure and honest life among all men, without which all justice, all fear of God, and true religion decays.

And who knows not, that chastity and pureness of life can never be restored, or continued in the commonwealth, unless it be first established in private houses, from whence the whole breed of men is to come forth? To effect this, no wise man can doubt, that it is necessary for princes and magistrates first with severity to punish whoredom and adultery; next to see that marriages be lawfully contracted, and in the Lord; then that they be faithfully kept; and lastly, when that unhappiness urges, that they be lawfully dissolved, and other marriage granted, according as the law of God, and of nature, and the constitutions of pious princes have decreed; as I have shown both by evident authorities of Scripture, together with the writings of the ancient fathers, and other testimonies. Only the Lord grant that we may learn to prefer his ever just and saving word, before the comments of Antichrist, too deeply rooted in many, and the false blasphemous exposition of our Saviour’s words. Amen.

Edition: current; Page: [282]

A POSTSCRIPT.

Thus far Martin Bucer: whom, where I might without injury to either part of the cause, I deny not to have epitomized; in the rest observing a well-warranted rule, not to give an inventory of so many words, but to weigh their force. I could have added that eloquent and right Christian discourse, written by Erasmus on this argument, not disagreeing in effect from Bucer. But this, I hope, will be enough to excuse me with the mere Englishman, to be no forger of new and loose opinions. Others may read him in his own phrase on the first to the Corinthians, and ease me who never could delight in long citations, much less in whole traductions; whether it be natural disposition or education in me, or that my mother bore me a speaker of what God made mine own, and not a translator. There be others also whom I could reckon up, of no mean account in the church, (and Peter Martyr among the first,) who are more than half our own in this controversy. But this is a providence not to be slighted, that as Bucer wrote this tractate of divorce in England and for England, so Erasmus professes he begun here among us the same subject, especially out of compassion, for the need he saw this nation had of some charitable redress herein; and seriously exhorts others to use their best industry in the clearing of this point, wherein custom hath a greater sway than verity. That, therefore, which came into the mind of these two admired strangers to do for England, and in a touch of highest prudence, which they took to be not yet recovered from monastic superstition, if I a native am found to have done for mine own country, altogether suitably and conformably to their so large and clear understanding, yet without the least help of theirs; I suppose that henceforward among conscionable and judicious persons it will no more be thought to my discredit, or at all to this nation’s dishonour. And if these their books the one shall be printed often with best allowance in most religious cities, the other with express authority of Leo the Tenth, a pope, shall, for the propagating of truth, be published and republished, though against the received opinion of that church, and mine containing but the same thing, shall in a time of reformation, a time of free speaking, free writing, not find a permission to the press; I refer me to wisest men, whether truth be suffered to be truth, or liberty to be liberty, now among us, and be not again in danger of new fetters and captivity after all our hopes and labours lost: and whether learning be not (which our enemies too prophetically feared) in the way to be trodden down again by ignorance. Whereof while time is, out of the faith owing to God and my country, I bid this kingdom beware; and doubt not but God who hath dignified this parliament already to so many glorious degrees, will also give them (which is a singular blessing) to inform themselves rightly in the midst of an unprincipled age, and to prevent this working mystery of ignorance and ecclesiastical thraldom, which under new shapes and disguises begins afresh to grow upon us.

 


 

T.38 (2.5) [William Walwyn], Good Counsell (29 July 1644).

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T.38 [1644.07.29] (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)

Full title

[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.

 

Estimated date of publication

29 July 1644

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 335; Thomason E. 1199. (2.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.) Also contains Liberty of Conscience Asserted, And the Separatist vindicated

Text of Pamphlet

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.

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 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 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 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

 


 

T.39 (2.6) John Goodwin, Theomachia (2 September 1644).

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T.39 [1644.09.02] (2.6) John Goodwin, Theomachia; Or the Grand Imprudence of men running the hazard of Fighting Against God (2 September 1644).

Full title

John Goodwin, 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. By John Goodwin, Pastor of the Church of God there. The second time Imprinted.

Heb. 10.31. It is a fearfull 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 in 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.

 

Estimated date of publication

2 September 1644.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 339; Thomason E. 12. (1.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

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 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.

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 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, 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, 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, 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, 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. 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 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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: 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.

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 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 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 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, 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.

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 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 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, 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 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