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Full text of "The practical works of the Rev. Richard Baxter, with a life of the author, and a critical examination of his writings"








































Preface * iii 


Brief explication of the Text •. 46 

What sort of Elders they were that Paul spoke to 47 

The doctrine and method • • 52 

I. The terms opened ibid. 

II. Wherein we must take heed to ourselves 53 

III. The moving reasons to take heed to ourselves ...... 60 


IV. What is it to take heed to all the flock ? It is implied 
that every flock have their own pastor ; and that regularly 
the flock be no greater than the pastors may oversee, tak- 
ing heed to all 74 

I. The ends of this oversight 

II. Of the subject of this work » 80 

III. Of the object of it 82 

1 . The unconverted • 87 

2. The converted 89 

(1.) The young and weaker 90 

(2.) Those that labour under special distempers. . 91 

(3.) Decliners 92 

(4.) That are fallen under some great temptation ibid. 

(5.) The disconsolate 93 

(6.) The strong 94 



IV. Of the action itself 94 

1. Public preaching ibid. 

2. Sacraments 95 

3. Public prayer, praise, and benediction ibid. 

4. Oversight of the members distinctly 96 

(1.) Knowing them ibid. 

(2.) Instructing the ignorant ibid. 

(3.) Advising them that seek advice ibid. 

(4.) Looking to particular families 97 

(5.) Resisting seduction 99 

(6.) Encouraging the obedient 100 

(7.) Visiting the sick 101 

(8.) Comforting 104 

(9.) Private admonishing offenders ibid. 

( 10.) More public discipline 105 

Public admonition, 105. — Public exhortation to 
open discovery of repentance, 108. — Public 
praying for the offender, ibid. — To assist the 
penitent, confirming, absolving, &c. 113.— 
Rejecting the obstinately impenitent from our 

communion, ibid. — Reception of the penitent. . 114 

The manner and necessity of these acts 118 

Making laws for the church is not our work ibid. 


The manner and concomitants of our work. It must be done 

1. Purely for God, and not for self 119 

2. Laboriously and diligently 120 

3. Prudently and orderly 121 

4. Insisting most on the greatest and most necessary 

things ibid. 

5. With plainness and evidence 12-3 

6. In a sense of our insufficiency and dependance on 

Christ 1<24 

7. In humility and condescension 125 

8. A mixture of severity and mildness 126' 

9. With affectionate seriousness ibid. 

10. Reverently and spiritually 127 

11. In tender love to our people 128 

12. Patiently. And we must be studious of union and 
communion among ourselves, and of the unity and 
peace of the church 130 



The first use for our humiliation : confessing the sins of the 

ministry, especially of this nation j heretofore 133 

A confession of our present sins. Especially, 1. Pride .... 154 
2 An undervaluing- the unity and peace of the catholic 

church 164 

3. Want of serious, industrious, unreserved laying out 
ourselves in the work of God. Discovered 

(1.) By negligent studies J.S1 

(2.) By dull, drowsy preaching 182 

(3.) By not helping them that want abroad 183 

(4.) By neglect of acknowledged duties : e.g. Church 
discipline. The pretences confuted that would 

justify it ibid. 

(5.) By the power of worldly, carnal interests 198 

Manifested [1 .] By temporising ibid. 

[2.] Worldly business 199 

[3.] Barrenness in works of charity . . 20(> 

Applied for humiliation 204 


The Use of Exhortation. Motives in the text, 
I. From our office and relation to all the flock, with some 

subservient considerations 206 

II. From the efficient cause : the Holy Ghost 212 

III. From the dignity of the object 213 

IV. From the price paid for the church 214 

A more particular Exhortation, 

I. To see that the saving work of grace be wrought on our 

own hearts. A word to tutors and schoolmasters 215 

II. Keep grace in vigour and activity, and preach to your 

own hearts first ; for your work sake 223 

III. Stir up yourselves to the work, and do it with all your 
might 225 

IV. Keep up earnest desires and expectations of success. . 226 

V. Be zealous of good works. Spare no cost 228 

VI. Maintain union and communion. The way thereto. . . . 230 

VII. Practise so much of discipline, as is certainly your duty 242 

VIII. Faithfully discharge this duty of personal catechising 

and instruction of all the flock 245 




Reasons for this duty, 
I. From the benefits. The great hopes we have of a blessed 
success of this work if faithfully managed ; shewed in 
twenty particulars 246 

II. From the difficulty of this work 272 

III. From the necessity of it: which is manifold 275 

Use : what great cause of humiliation we have for neglect- 
ing this so long 281 

An Exhortation to the faithful performance of this work. 
Twenty aggravations of our sin, and witnesses which 
will condemn the wilful refusers of so great duties, as 
this private instruction, and discipline are 283 

The objections of lazy, unfaithful ministers, against personal 

instruction and catechising, answered 296 


Directions for the right managing of this work, 
I. For bringing our people to submit to it 313 

II. To do it so as is most likely to succeed for the conver- 
sion of the ungodly, and awaking of the secure. In 
twelve directions 318 


Directions how to deal with self-conceited opinionists, and to 
prevent or cure error and schism in our people. And how 
to deal with those of whose condition we are between 
hope and fear t 336' 

Appendix : in answer to some objections which I have heard 

of since the former edition 355 

Address to ministers and others 395 






Quest. Whether those that were baptized in infancy, should 
be admitted to the privileges proper to adult church- 
members, without Confirmation or Restauration, by an 
approved profession of personal faith and repentance ? 
Neg 405 


Prop. i. It is Supposed, that the infants of believers should 
be admitted by baptism into the church, and so be par- 
takers of infant-privileges. A Breviate of Reasons for this 407 

Prop. ii. There are many privileges belonging to the adult 
members of the church, which infant members are not ca- 
pable of 409 

Prop. hi. The continuation of privileges received in in- 
fancy, is part of the privileges of the adult : or the res- 
toration of them, if they be lost 4 10 

Prop. iv. The title- condition of infant church-membership 
and privileges is not the same with the title-condition of 
the church-membership and privileges of the adult ; so 
that if this new condition be not performed when men 
come to age, their former title ceaseth, and there is no 
other that ariseth in its stead : Proved ibid. 

Prof. v. As a personal faith is the condition before God of 
title to the privileges of the adult ; so the profession of 
this faith, is the condition of his title before the church, 
and without this profession, he is not to be taken as an 
adult member, nor admitted to the privileges of such. 
Proved, and vindicated from their Objections, that plead 
against the necessity of an express profession ; with some 
application urging to the practice 414 



Prop. vi. It is not every kind of profession that is the con- 
dition, or necessary qualification of those that are to be 
admitted to the privileges of adult members, but such a 
profession as God hath made necessary by his express 
Word, and by the nature of the object, and the uses and 
ends to which he doth require it. It must be a profession 
of true Christianity in all the essentials. What are the 
essentials, as to objects and acts ? It must be a credible 
profession. 1. It must seem to be understanding. 2. 
And serious. 3. And voluntary, upon deliberation. 4. 
Not nullified by a contradiction in word or deed. 5. It 
must be practice first, that must make words credible, 
when the person by perfidiousness hath forfeited his 
credit . 425 

Prop. vii. The profession of those that expect the church- 
state and privileges of the adidt is to be tried, judged and 
approved by the pastors of the church, to whose office it is 
that it belongeth. 1. An untried profession must not 
serve : Proved. 2. Pastors by office are the triers and 
judges of the profession of such, as to these ends : proved 
by fourteen undeniable arguments ; and objections an- 
swered. Consent of the ancients 429 

Prop. viii. Though it belong to the Pastor's office to judge 
of the profession of such expectants, yet are they bound 
up by the laws of Christ what profession to accept, and 
what to refuse : and if by breaking these laws, they shall 
dangerously or grossly wrong the church, it belongeth to 
the magistrate to correct them, and to the people to ad- 
monish them, and disown their sin ; yea, and in desperate 
cases to disown them. The positive title-condition to be 
produced, is the profession of true Christianity. The mi- 
nister that refuseth this profession, must prove it not cre- 
dible. Of tolerable ignorance 443 

Prop. ix. It is evident that magistrates, ministers and peo- 
ple, have each a power of judging : but different, as they 
have different works. How far ministers are judges. 
Proved by ten Reasons against the popular claim, &c. How 
far the people must judge : How far the magistrate must 
judge ministersfor these matters, and ministers obey them 445 

Prop. x. To this ministerial approbation of the profession 
and qualifications of the expectant, there is to be adjoined 



a ministerial investiture or delivery of the benefit expected. 
How many sacraments there are. 1 . More than seven in 
the largest sense. 2. Five in a large sense (not intolera- 
ble). 3. Two only in the strictest sense as we define them 449 

Prop. xi. The solemn ministerial investiture of professors 
into the right of the church-privileges of the adult is either 

1. Of the unbaptized, who are now first entered. 2. Or 
of the baptized in infancy, that never proved ungodly, nor 
violated that first covenant. 3. Or of those baptized 
(whether in infancy or at age) that have since proved 
wicked and broke the covenant. The first of these in- 
vestitures is to be by baptism, the second by confirmation, 
and the third by absolution. So that the solemn inves- 
titure that now I am pleading for, is by confirmation to 
one sort, (that never proved ungodly since their baptism) 
and by absolution to the other sort (that broke their cove- 
nant) which^ yet hath a certain confirmation in, or with it 450 

Prop. xii. This solemn investiture on personal profession, 
being thus proved the ordinance of God, for the solemn 
renewing the covenant of grace between God and the 
adult covenanter, it must needs follow that it is a corro- 
borating ordinance and that corroborating grace is to be 
expected in it from God, by all that come to it in sincerity 
of heart : and so it hath the name of confirmation upon 
that account also 451 

Prop. xiii. Ministerial imposition of hands, in confirmation 
and the fore-described sort of absolution, is a lawful and 
convenient action or ceremony, and ordinarily to be used, 
as it hath been of old by the universal church. But yet it 
is not of such necessity, but that we must dispense in this 
ceremony with scrupulous consciences, that cannot be sa- 
tisfied to submit to it. Imposition of hands is allowed in 
Scripture to be used generally by spiritual superiors, to 
signify their desire, that the blessing, gift or power may 
be conferred on the inferior, for which they have a call to 
mediate: Proved. Particularly, 1. We find in Scripture 
a blessing of church members, with laying on of hands. 

2. And that the Holy Ghost is in an especial manner pro- 
mised to believers, over and above that measure of the 
Spirit, which caused them to believe. 3. And that prayer, 
with laying on of hands, was the outward means to be 



used by Christ's ministers, for procuring this, or invest- 
ing them of it. 4. And that this was not a temporary but 
fixed ordinance : all proved. How the Holy Ghost is 
given before faith, and after faith ; and how sealed in 
baptism, and how not. What hope of the success of im- 
position, with prayer for the Spirit. Scripture and anti- 
quity for it. Reasons for the non-necessity of it to the 
scrupulous 452 

Prop. xiv. Though in receiving adult persons out of infidelity 
by baptism into the church, a sudden profession, without 
any stay to see their reformation, may serve turn, yet in 
receiving these that were baptized heretofore into the 
number of adult members, or to the privileges of such, 
their lives must be inquired after, which must be such as 
do not confute their profession 46'D 

Prop. xv. It is not of flat necessity that the profession of the 
expectant be made in the open congregation, or before 
many, in order to his confirmation or admittance 4/1 

Prop. xvi. When a person is admitted an adult member of 
a particular church, as well as of the universal, his pro- 
fession and admission must be either before the church, or 
satisfactorily made known to the church, at least, who 
must approve of it by a judgment of discretion, in order 
to their communion with him : and this among us is the 
ordinary case ; because it is the duty of all that have op- 
portunity, to join themselves to some particular church, 
and it is in such churches that communion in public wor- 
ship and order must be had ; either statedly, or transiently 
and temporarily. Reasons to prove this interest of the 
people. Cases of difference between pastors and people 
resolved 472 

Prop. xvn. It is convenient (though not of necessity) that 
every church do keep a register of all that are thus invest- 
ed, or admitted into the number of adult members .... 478 

Prop, xviii. Those that were never thus ministerially and 
explicitly approved, confirmed or absolved (after an un- 
godly life), but have been permitted without it, to join 
usually with the church in prayer and praises, and the 
Lord's-supper, are approved and confirmed, eminently, 
though not formally, though in so doing, both the Pastors 



and themselves might sin against God, by the violation of 
his holy order. Such therefore may be a true church, and 
are not to be called back to solemn confirmation, though 
in many cases they may be called to trial by their overseers ibid. 

Prop. xix. So exceeding great and many are the mischiefs 
that have befallen us by the neglect of a solemn, meet 
transition from an infant into the adult church-state, and 
which undoubtedly will continue till this be remedied, that 
all the magistrates, ministers and people, that dissemble 
not in professing themselves to be Christians, should with 
speed and diligence attempt the cure. The state of our 
parishes anatomised. Twenty intolerable mischiefs that 
follow the taking all into our church-communion, and neg- 
lecting this confirmation : such as all Christians should lay 
to heart 4SO 

Pkop. xx. So many and great are the benefits that would 
follow the general practice of this duty of trying, approv- 
ing and confirming (or absolving) all those that enter into 
the number of adult Christians, that it should mightily 
provoke all Christian magistrates, ministers and people to 
join in a speedy and vigorous execution of it. Twelve 
excellent benefits that will come by confirmation. It is 
like to be an admirable increaser of knowledge, and holi- 
ness, and church-reformation. It is a singular means of 
agreeing the Episcopal, Presbyterians, Congregational, 
Erastians, and moderating the Anabaptists : Proved and 
urged 501 

Twenty Objections against this approved profession and con- 
firmation, answered. How little reason have princes, and 
parliaments to restrain most ministers here from over- 
doing 521 

The Duties that lie upon us all, for the execution of this 

work 542 

First, on Ministers. 1. We should agree upon an unani- 
mous performance. 2. In those agreements, we must 
leave men to their liberty in all unnecessary modes 
and circumstances. 3. In taking men's profession, we 
must avoid both extremes, viz. Loose formality, and 
overmuch rigor. 4. What course must be taken with 
all our parishes, where some have without a personal., 



approved profession already been admitted to the Lord's* 
supper, and some not particularly opened. 5. We must 
require of all the notoriously ungodly, a penitent confes- 
sion in order to absolution, as well as a profession of faith 
and future obedience. 6. Delegates to be chosen by parti- 
cular churches, to meet with the Pastors for these and 
other church-affairs. 7. The Pastors and churches should 
be all associated, and the churches that we hold commu- 
nion with, differenced from the rest : that those that are 
confirmed and received by them, may be capable of com- 
munion with all. 8. We must be diligent in public and 
private teaching the catechumens, and walk inoffensively, 
condescendingly and vigilantly among them 543 

Secondly, The Duty of the People, especially the godly, in 

order to this work 547 

Thirdly, The Magistrates' Duty hereto. 1. To cause those 
people that are unfit for church-communion, to live quietly 
in the state of expectants, and to submit to public and 
personal instruction, and catechising, to prepare them. 2. 
To compel Ministers thus to teach and catechise them, and 
see that great parishes have so many teachers as may be 
able to do it. Reasons for compelling us. 3. To lay 
some penalty on all Pastors that will not guide the church 
by discipline, as well as preach : not forbidding them to 
be preachers, but to be Pastors and administer sacraments, 
that will not do it as Christ hath appointed. To these ends 
it may do well for the magistrate to have his agent or 
Church-justice, to join in the church-meetings, and to in- 
form the Commissioners for Ejection, who may be im- 
powered hereunto. 4. To promote and command the As- 
sociations and correspondencies of Pastors and churches. 
With what limitations, and to what ends. 5. It would 
much further this work, if Visitors were appointed in all 
parts to see it done, or put on ministers : not that any 
ministers should have a power of silencing, suspending, 
&c. 3 but to let a Civil Visitor, and a Visitor of the Minis- 
try be still joined together, and let the minister have only 
a power to persuade, and the other as a magistrate to 
compel, or to bring the causes, which are exempt from 
his power, to the superior commissioners. 6. It is the 
unquestionable duty of magistrates (not to drive men to 
church-communion that are unmeet, but) to restrain se- 



ducers from taking advantage of their discontents and 
drawing them away, while they remain expectants. Ten 
Reasons, that deserve the serious consideration of the ma- 
gistrate, that shew the great necessity of this his moderate 
assistance for keeping of deceivers, especially Papists, and 
containing the profane and ignorant people in quietness 
and submission to instruction in an expectant state, till 
they are fit for church-communion. 7. To satisfy the 
magistrate that is afraid of persecution, certain regulations 
of toleration are propounded. 1. Let all that pretend 
scruple of submitting to the personal or public instruction 
of the teacher of the parish where he lives, be compelled to 
submit to some one else, who may give it under his hand 
that he takes that care of him. 2. Let Commissioners be 
appointed (according to the laws given them) to guard 
the door of toleration, as now they are to guard the door 
of public allowance and maintenance : and let none be 
tolerated to preach or openly persuade (though for no- 
thing) that have not an instrument of license sealed by 
these commissioners. Or else blasphemers and heathens 
may preach, for all your laws against them. 3. Let those 
that have a sealed toleration be as responsible to the com- 
missioners, for their violating the laws of their toleration, 
as we are for breaking the laws that bind us : and let 
their toleration be forfeitable, as well as our maintenance. 
Reasons for this. To conclude, if, as before the days of 
William the Conqueror, magistrates and ministers might 
sit together, the ministers having no power but to per- 
suade, and the magistrate the sole power of compulsion, 
and so 1. Approvers keep the door of toleration. 2. A 
Church-justice, or agent of the magistrates keep the peace 
of every church or parish. 3. And the Civil and Ministe- 
rial Visitors aforesaid shall be appointed to take cognizance 
of the state of parishes. 4. And the Commissioners for 
Ejection of Scandalous Ministers, be equally enabled to 
eject the scandalous and blasphemous from their tolera- 
tion ; the magistrate might assist us without danger of 
persecution 550 













'EyctTios Se o ^ovXos o yvovs to SsKd/aix, tou xvglov tocvrov, xoci ^rt iroifjaKaxs, /^tjSe 
irotrivizs itgosjro ZtX-n^ai. ocvrov, ^x^-nasTxt iso'k'ka.i. 

Luke xii. 47. 








The subject of this treatise so nearly concerneth your- 
selves and the churches committed to your care, that it per- 
suadeth and emboldeneth me to this Address, notwithstand- 
ing the imperfections in the manner of handling it, and the 
consciousness of my great unworthiness to be your monitor. 

Before I come to my principal errand, I shall give you 
that account which 1 suppose I owe you, of the reasons of 
the following work, and of the freedom of speech which to 
some may be displeasing. 

When the Lord had awakened his ministers in this 
county, and some neighbouring parts, to a sense of their 
duty in the work of catechising, and private instruction of 
all in their parishes that would not obstinately refuse their 
help, and when they had subscribed an Agreement, contain- 
ing their resolutions for the future performance of it, thev 
judged it unmeet to enter upon the work without a solemn 
humbling of their souls before the Lord, for their lono- 
neglect of so great and necessary a duty : and therefore 
they agreed to meet together at Worcester, December 4, 
1655, and there to join in such humiliation, and in earnest 
prayer to God for the pardon of their neglects, and for his 
special assistance in the work that they had undertaken, and 
for the success of it with the people whom they were engaged 
to instruct : at which time, among others, I was desired by 
them to preach. In answer to their desires, I prepared the 


following discourse ; which though it proved longer than 
could be delivered in one or two sermons, yet I intended to 
have entered upon it at that time, and to have delivered 
that which was most pertinent to the occasion, and re- 
served the rest to another season. But before the meet- 
ing, by the increase of my ordinary pain and weakness, I 
was disabled from going thither. To recompense which 
unwilling omission, I easily yielded to the requests of divers 
of the brethren, forthwith to publish the things which I had 
prepared, that they might see that which they could not 
hear. If now it be objected, that ' I should not have spoken 
so plainly or sharply against the sins of the ministry, or that 
I should not have published it to the view of the world ; or 
at least that I should have done it in another tongue, and 
not in the ears of the vulgar, especially at such a time when 
Quakers and Papists are endeavouring to bring the ministry 
into contempt, and the people are too prone to hearken to 
their suggestions:' I confess I thought the objection very 
considerable ; but that it prevailed not to alter my resolu- 
tions is to be ascribed to the following reasons : — 1. It was 
a purposed solemn humiliation that we were agreed on, and 
that this was prepared and intended for. And how should 
we be humbled without a plain confession of our sins ? — 2. 
It was principally our own sins that the confession did con- 
cern ; and who can be offended with us for confessing our 
own, and taking the blame and shame to ourselves, which 
our consciences told us we ought to do ? — 3. I have ex- 
cepted in our confessions those that are not guilty : and 
therefore hope that I have injured none. — 4. Having neces- 
sarily prepared it in the English tongue, I had no spare 
time to translate it. — 5. Where the sin is open in the sight 
of the world, it is in vain to attempt to hide it. — 6. And 
such attempts will but aggravate it, and increase our shame. 
— 7. A free confession is a condition of a full remission ; 
and when the sin is public, the confession must be public. 
If the ministers of England had sinned only in Latin, I 
would have made shift to admonish them in Latin, or else 
have said nothing to them. But if they will sin in English, 
they must hear of it in English. L T npardoned sin will never 
let us rest or prosper, though we be at never so much care 
and cost to cover it : our sin will surely find us out, though 
we find not it. The work of confession is purposely to 


make known our sin, and freely to take the shame to our- 
selves : and if he that confesseth and forsaketh be the man 
that shall have mercy, no wonder then if he that covereth it, 
prosper not. (Prov. xxviii. 13.) If we be so tender of our- 
selves, and so loath to confess, God will be less tender of us, 
and will indite our confessions for us. He will either force 
our consciences to confession, or his judgments shall pro- 
claim our iniquities to the world. Know we not how many 
malicious adversaries are day and night at work against us? 
Some openly revile us, and some in secret are laying the 
designs, and contriving that which others execute, and are 
in expectation of a fuller stroke at us, which may subvert 
us at once. What is it but our sins that is the strength of 
all these enemies ? Is not this evil from the ordering of the 
Lord ? Till we are reconciled to him we are never safe : he 
will never want a rod to scourge us by. The tongues of 
Quakers and Papists, and many other sorts, are all at work 
to proclaim our sins, because we will not confess them our- 
selves : because we will not speak the truth, they will speak 
much more than the truth. Yet if we had man only to 
plead our cause with, perhaps we might do much to make 
it good; but while God accuseth us, how shall we be justi- 
fied ; and who shall hide our sins, when he will have them 
brought to light? And God is our accuser till we accuse 
ourselves : but if we would judge ourselves, he would not 
judge us. — 8. The fire is already kindled which revealeth 
our sin: judgment is begun at the house of God. Hath the 
ministry suffered nothing in England, Scotland, and Ire- 
land ? and have there been no attempts for its overthrow ? 
Hath it not been put to the vote of an assembly that some 
called a Parliament of England, Whether the whole frame of 
the established ministry, and its legal maintenance should 
be taken down ? And were we not put to plead our title to 
that maintenance, as if we had been falling into the hands 
of Turks, that had thirsted for our subversion, as resolved 
enemies to the Christian cause? And who knows not how 
many of these men are yet alive ; and how high the same 
spirit yet is, and busily contriving the accomplishment of the 
same design? Shall we think that they have ceased their 
enterprise, because they are working more subtlely in the 
dark ? What are the swarms of railers at the ministry sent 
abroad the land for, but to delude, exasperate, and disaffect 


the people ; and turn the hearts of the children from their 
fathers, that they may be ready to promote the main de- 
sign ? And is it not then our wisest course to see that God 
be our friend, and to do that which tendeth most to engage 
him in our defence ? I think it is no time now to stand up- 
on our credit, so far as to neglect our duty and befriend 
our sins, and so provoke the Lord against us. It rather be- 
seems us to fall down at the feet of our offended Lord, and 
to justify him in his judgments, and freely and penitently to 
confess our transgressions, and to resolve upon a speedy 
and thorough reformation, before wrath break out upon us, 
which will leave us no remedy. It is time to make up all 
breaches between us and heaven, when we stand in such 
necessity of the Divine protection ! For how can an im- 
penitent, unreformed people, expect to be sheltered by holi- 
ness itself? It is a stubborn child, that under the rod will 
refuse to confess his faults ; when it is not the least use of 
the rod to extort confession. We feel much, we fear more, 
and all is for sin ; and yet are we so hardly drawn to a con- 
fession ? — 9. The world already knows that we are sinners ; 
as none suppose us perfect, so our particular sins are too 
apparent to the world : and is it not meet then that they 
should see that we are penitent sinners ? It is surely a greater 
credit to us to be penitent sinners, than impenitent sinners ; 
and one of the two we shall be while we are on earth. Cer- 
tainly as repentance is necessary to the recovery of our 
peace with God, so it is also to the reparation of our credit 
with wise and godly men : it is befriending and excusing 
our sin that is our shame indeed, and leadeth towards ever- 
lasting shame ; which the shame of penitent confession 
would prevent. — 10. Our penitent confession and speedy 
reformation are the means that must silence the approach- 
ing adversaries. He is imprudently inhuman, that will re- 
proach men with their sins that bewail and penitently 
charge them upon themselves. Such men have a promise 
of pardon from God ; and shall men take us by the throat 
when God forgiveth us ? Who dare condemn us, when God 
justifies us? Who shall lay that to our charge, which God 
hath declared that he will not charge us with ? When sin is 
truly repented of by Gospel-indulgence, it ceaseth to be 
ours. What readier way then can we imagine to free us 
from the shame of it, than to shame ourselves for it in 


penitent confessions, and to break off from it by speedy re- 
formation? — 11. The leaders of the flock must be exemplary 
to the rest; and therefore in this duty as well as in any 
other. It is not our part only to teach them repentance, 
but to go before them in the exercise of it ourselves. As 
far as we excel them in knowledge and other gifts, so far 
should we also excel them in this and other graces. — 12. 
Too many that have set their hand to this sacred work do so 
obstinately proceed in self-seeking, negligence, pride, divi- 
sion, and other sins, that it is become our necessary duty to 
admonish them. If we could see that such would reform 
without reproof, we could gladly forbear the publishing of 
their faults. But when reproofs themselves do prove so in- 
effectual, that they are more offended at the reproof than at 
the sin ; and had rather that we should cease reproving, 
than themselves should cease sinning, I think it is time to 
sharpen the remedy. For what else should we do? To 
give up our brethren as incurable, were cruelty, as long as 
there are further means to be used. We must not hate 
them, but plainly rebuke them, and not suffer sin upon 
them. (Lev. xix. 17.) And to bear with the vices of the 
ministers, is to promote the ruin of the church. For what 
speedier way is there for the depraving and undoing of the 
people, than the depravity of their guides? And how can 
we more effectually further a reformation (which we are so 
much obliged to do) than by endeavouring the reforming of 
the leaders of the church? Surely, brethren, if it be our 
duty to endeavour to cast out those ministers that are neg- 
ligent, scandalous, and unfit for the work, and if we think 
this so necessary to the reformation of the church (as no 
doubt it is), it must needs be our duty to endeavour to heal 
the sins of others, and to use a much more gentle remedy to 
them that are guilty of a less degree of sin. If other men's 
sin deserve an ejection, surely ours deserve and require plain 
reproof. For my part, I have done as I would be done by ; 
and it is for God and the safety of the church, and in tender 
love to the brethren, whom I do adventure to reprehend : 
not (as others) to make them contemptible and odious, but to 
heal the evils that would make them so ; that so no enemy 
may find this matter of reproach among us. But espe- 
cially because our faithful endeavours are of so great neces- 
sity to the welfare of the church, and the saving of men's 


souls, that it will not consist with a love to either (in a pre- 
dominant sort) to be negligent ourselves, or silently to con- 
nive at, and comply with the negligent. If thousands of 
you were in a leaky ship, and those that should pump out 
the water and stop the leaks, should be sporting or asleep, 
yea, or but favour themselves in their labours, to the hazard- 
ing of you all, would you not awake them to their work, 
and call out on them to labour as for your lives? and if you 
used some sharpness and importunity with the slothful, 
would you think that man were well in his wits that would 
take it ill of you, and accuse you of pride, self-conceited- 
ness, or unmannerliness, to presume to talk so saucily to 
your fellow-workmen ? or should tell you, that you wrong 
them by diminishing their reputation ? Would you not say, 
' The work must be done, or we are all dead men : is the 
ship ready to sink, and do you talk of reputation? or had 
you rather hazard yourself and us, than hear of your sloth- 
fulness ?' This is our case, brethren ! The work of God 
must needs be done : souls must not perish while you mind 
your worldly business, or observe the tide and times, and 
take your ease, or quarrel with your brethren : nor must we 
be silent while men are hastened by you to perdition, and 
the church to greater danger and confusion, for fear of 
seeming too uncivil and unmannerly with you, or displeas- 
ing your impatient souls. Would you be but as impatient 
with your sins as with reproofs, you should hear no more 
from us, but we should be all agreed ! But neither God nor 
good men will let you alone in such sins. Yet if you had 
betaken yourselves to another calling, and would sin to 
yourselves only, and would perish alone, we should not 
have so much necessity of molesting you, as now we have: 
but if you will enter into the office which is for the neces- 
sary preservation of us all, so that by letting you alone in 
your sins, we must give up the church to apparent loss 
and hazard ; blame us not if we talk to you more freely 
than you would have us do. If your own body be sick, and 
you will despise the remedy ; or if your own house be on 
fire, and you will be singing or quarrelling in the streets ; 1 
can possibly bear it, and let you alone (which yet in charity 
I should not easily do). But if you will undertake to be 
the physician of an hospital, or to all the town that is in- 
fected with the plague ; or will undertake to quench all the 


fires that shall be kindled in the town, there is no bearing 
with your remissness, how much soever it may displease 
you. Take it how you will, you must be told of it; and if 
that will not serve, you must get more closely told of it; 
and if that will not serve, if you be rejected as well as repre- 
hended, you must thank yourselves. I speak all this to none 
but the guilty. — And thus I have given you those reasons, 
which forced me, even in plain English, to publish so much 
of the sins of the ministry, as in the following treatise I have 
done. And I suppose the more penitent and humble any 
are, and the more desirous of the truest reformation of the 
church, the more easily and fully will they approve such 
free confessions and reprehensions. 

The second sort of objections against this free confes- 
sion of sin, I expect to hear from the several parties whose 
sins are here confessed. Most of them can be willing that 
others be blamed, so they might be justified themselves. I 
can truly say, that what I have here spoken, hath been as 
impartially as I could, and not as a party, nor as siding with 
any, but as owning the common Christian cause, and as 
somewhat sensible of the apparent wrongs that have been 
offered to common truth and godliness, and the hindrances 
of men's salvation, and of the happiness of the church. But 
I find it impossible to avoid the offending of guilty men ; for 
there is no way of avoiding it, but by our silence, or their pa- 
tience : and silent we cannot be, because of God's com- 
mands ; and patient they cannot be, because of their guilt 
and partiality, and the interest that their sin hath got in 
their affections. I still except those humble men that are 
willing to know the worst of themselves, and love the light 
that their deeds may be made manifest, and long to know 
their sins that they may forsake them, and their duty that 
they may perform it. 

vSome, it is likely, will be offended with me, that I blame 
them so much for the neglect of that Discipline, which they 
have disputed for so long. But what remedy? If disci- 
pline were not of God, or if it were unnecessary to the 
church, or if it were enough to dispute for duty, while we 
deliberately refuse to perform it ; then would I have given 
these brethren no offence. 

Some, it is likely, will be offended that 1 mention, with 


disallowance, the Separatists or Anabaptists ; as I understand 
some are much offended that I so mentioned them in an 
epistle before the Quakers' Catechism, as if they opened the 
door to the apostacy of these times ; and they say that by 
this it appeareth that while I pretend so much zeal for the 
unity of the Church, I intend and endeavour the contrary. 
To which I answer: 1. Is it indeed a sign that a man loveth 
not the unity of the saints, because he loveth not their dis- 
union and division ? Who can escape the censure of such 
men, but he that can unite the saints by dividing them? 2. 
I never intended, in urging the peace and unity of the saints, 
to approve of any thing which I judged to be a sin ; nor to 
tie my own tongue or other men's from seasonable contra- 
dicting it. Is there no way to peace but by participating 
of men's sin? The thing I desire is this : (1.) That we might 
all consider how far we may hold communion together, even 
in the same congregations, notwithstanding our different 
opinions ; and to agree not to withdraw where it may possi- 
bly be avoided. (2.) But where it cannot, that yet we may 
consult how far we may hold communion in distinct congre- 
gations : and to avoid that, no further than is of mere neces- 
sity. And (3.) and principally, to consult and agree upon 
certain rules for the management of our differences, in such 
manner as may be least to the disadvantage of the common 
Christian truths which are acknowledged by us all. Thus 
far would I seek peace, with Arminians, Antinomians, Ana- 
baptists, or any that hold the foundation. Yea, and in the 
two last, I would not refuse to consult an accommodation 
with moderate Papists themselves, if their principles were 
not against such consultations and accommodations : and I 
should judge it a course which God will better approve of, 
than to proceed by carnal contrivances to undermine their 
adversaries, or by cruel murders to root them out, which are 
their ordinary courses. I remember that godly, orthodox, 
peaceable man, bishop Usher, (lately deceased,) tells us in 
his sermon at Wansted, for the Unity of the Church, that he 
made a motion to the Papist priests in Ireland ; that, because 
it was ignorance of the common principles that was likely to 
be the undoing of the common people, more than the hold- 
ing of the points which we differ in ; therefore both parties 
should agree to teach them some Catechism containing those 


common principles of religion which are acknowledged by 
us all : But jealousies and carnal counsels would not permit 
them to hearken to this motion. 

3. And as concerning that epistle before my paper to the 
Quakers, I further answer, that by Separatists there I plainly 
mean church-dividers ; even all that make unnecessary divi- 
sions in or from the churches of Christ, whom the apostle so 
earnestly beseecheth us to mark and avoid, (Rom. xvi. 17,) 
and which he calleth them carnal for, and so earnestly con- 
tended! against, 1 Cor. i ; ii ; iii ; and in many other places 
in his epistles. And if this be a tolerable sin, then the unity 
of the church is not a necessary thing ; and then the apos- 
tles would never have condemned this sin as they have done. 
Do we all so sensibly smart by the effects of these sins, and 
is the church of Christ among us brought into such a torn 
and endangered condition by them, so that we are in no small 
danger of falling all into the hands of the common adver- 
saries ? Is so hopeful and chargeable a reformation so far 
frustrated by these men, and yet must we not open our 
mouths to tell them of it ? May we not tell them of it, 
when we are bleeding by their hands ? Is it tolerable in them 
to cut and wound, and let out our blood, and is it unpeace- 
ableness in us to tell them that we suffer by them, and to 
beseech them to repent and to have compassion on the 
church of Christ? Must we be patient to be ruined by 
them, and have they not the patience to hear of it? What 
remedy ? Let them be silent that dare ; for I profess I dare 
not. I must tell them that this height of pride hath been 
in their ancestors a concomitant of schism. A poor drunk- 
ard or swearer will more patiently hear of his sin, than many 
that we hope are godly will of theirs, when once they are 
tainted with this sin. But godliness was never made to be 
the credit of men's sins : nor is sin to be let alone, or well 
thought of, when it can but get into a godly man. Shall we 
hate them most, whom we are bound to love best? and 
shall we shew it by forbearing our plain rebuke, and suffer- 
ing their sin upon them ? It must not be : however they 
take it in their sick distemper, it must not be. No man that 
erreth doth think that he erreth : these men are confident 
themselves that they are in the right. But the sober, prudent 
servants of Christ, that have escaped their disease, do see 
their error; and England feeleth it, and that at the very 


heart: What! must we die by their hand, and our very 
heart-blood be let out, and the Gospel delivered up to the 
adversaries, before they will believe that they have done us 
wrong? or before they will endure to hear us tell them of it? 
If the ages to come do not say more against the ways of 
these mistaken men, than I have done in that epistle, and 
if either mercy or judgment do not bring them one day to 
think or speak more sharply of themselves, then I must con- 
fess myself quite out in my prognostics. 

Another sort that will be offended with me, are some of 
the divines of the prelatical way, whom I had no mind to 
offend, nor to dishonour : but if necessary duty will do it, 
what remedy? If they cannot bear with just admonition, 
I must bear with their impatience. But I must tell them, 
that I spoke not by hearsay, but from sight and feeling. It 
is more tolerable in an Englishman to speak such things, 
that hath seen the sad work that was made in England, the 
silencing of most godly, able men, the persecution even of 
the peaceable, the discountenance of godliness, and the in- 
sulting scorn of the profanest in the land, than for a foreigner 
that hath known of this but by hearsay. When we remem- 
ber what sort of ministers the land abounded with, while the 
ablest and most diligent men were cast out, (of which mat- 
ters we cannot be ignorant, if there were no records re- 
maining of their attested accusations,) we must needs take 
leave to tell the world that the souls of men and the welfare 
of the church were not so contemptible in our eyes, as that 
we should have no sense of these things, or should mani- 
fest no dislike of them, nor once invite the guilty to re- 
pent. And if you think my language harsh, I will tran- 
scribe some words of a far wiser man, and leave it to your 
consideration how far they concern the present case, or 
justify my free and plain expressions. 

Gildas de Excid. Britan. edit. Polid. Virgil, sub fine. 
• Quid plura ? Fertur vobis in medium Matthise in confu- 
sionem vestram, exemplum, sanctorum quoq ; apostolorum 
electione, vel judicio Christi, non propria voluntate sortiti, 
ad quod cseci effecti non videtis, quia longe a meritis ejus 
distatis, dum in morem et affectum Judse traditoris sponte 
corruitis. Apparet ergo eum qui vos sacerdotes sciens ex 
corde, dicit non esse eximium Christianum. Sane quod sen- 
tio proferam. Posset quidem lenior fieri increpatio, sed 


quid prodest vulnus raanu tantum palpare, unguentove un- 
gere quod tumore jam vel fcetore sibi horrescens cauterio, et 
publico ignis medicamine eget ? Si tamen ullo modo sanari 
possit, segro nequaquam medelam quaerente etob hoc medico 
longius recedente. O inimici Dei, et non sacerdoles ; 6 lici- 
tatores malorum, et non pontifices ; traditores, et non sanc- 
torum apostolorum successores ; impugnatores, et non Christi 
ministri. Auscultastis quidem secundse lectionis apostoli 
Pauli verborum sonum, sed nullo modo monita virtutemque 
servastis, et simulachrorum more, quse non vident, neque 
audiunt, eodem die alteri astitistis, licet ille tunc et quotidie 
vobis intonafet. Fratres, fidelis sermo est, et omni accep- 
tione dignus. Ille dixit, fidelem, et dignum, vos ut infidelem et 
indignum sprevistis. Si quis episcopatum cupit, bonum opus 
cupit. Episcopatum magnopere avaritiee gratia, non spiritua- 
lis profectus obtentu, cupitis, et bonum opus illi condignum 
nequaquam habetis. Oportetergo hujusmodi irreprehensibi- 
lemesse: Inhocnamque sermonelachrymis magis,quam ver- 
bis opus est, ac si dixisset apostolus eum esse omnibus irrepre- 
hensibiliorem debere. Uniusuxoris virum. Quiditaapud nos, 
quoque contemnitur, quasi non audiretur vel idem dicere. Et 
virumuxoris sobrium, prudentem? Quis etiam ex vobis hoc ali- 
quando inesse sibi saltern optavit. Hospitalem? Id forte casu 
evenerit,popularis aurse potius, quam prsecepti gratia factum. 
Non prodest, Domino salvatore ita dicente. Amen dico vo- 
bis, receperunt meredem suam. Ornatum, non vinolentum, 
non percussorem, sed modestum, non litigiosum, non cupi- 
dum? O feralis immutatio, 6 horrenda preeceptorum cceles- 
tium conculcatio ; nonne infatigabiliter ad hsec expugnanda, 
vel potius obruenda actuum verborumque arma corripitis, 
pro quibus conservandis, atque firmandis, si necesse fuisset, 
et poena ultro subeunda, et vita ponenda erat? sed videamus 
et sequentia. Domum suam (inquit) bene regentem, filios 
habentem, subditos in omni castitate. Ergo imperfecta est 
patrum castitas, si non item et filiorum accumuletur ? Sed 
quid erit, ubi nee pater, nee filius, mali genitoris exemplo 
privatus, conspicitur castus ? Si quis autem domui suae 
prseesse nescit, quomodo ecclesiae Dei diligentiam adhibe- 
bit? Hsec sunt verba quse indubitatis afTectibus approban- 
tur. Diaconos similiter pudicos, non bilingues, non vino 
multo deditos, non turpe lucrum sectantes, habentes ministe- 


rium ridei, in conscientia pura. Hi autem probentur primum, 
et sic ministrent nullum crimen habentes, His nimirum 
horrescens diu immorari, unura veridice possum dicere, 
Quin hasc omnia in contrarios actus mutantur, ita ut clerici 
quod non absque dolore cordis, fateor, impudici, bilingues, 
ebrii, turpis lucri cupidi, habentes lidem, et ut verius dicam, 
infidelitatem, in conscientia irnpura non probati in bono, sed 
in malo praasciti ministrantes, et innumera crimina habentes, 
sacro ministerio adsciscantur. Audistis etiam illo die, quo 
multo dignius, multoque rectius erat, ut ad carcerem vel 
catastam pcenalem quamad sacerdotium traheremini domino 
scitante, quern se esse putarunt discipuli, Petrum respon- 
disse. Tu es Christus filius Dei, eique dominum pro tali 
confessione, dixisse. Beatus es Simon Barjona, quia caro 
et sanguis non revelavit tibi, sed pater meus, qui in ccelis 
est. Ergo Petrus a Deo Patre doctus recte Christum con- 
fitetur. Vos autem moniti a patre vestro diabolo inique, 
salvatorem malis actibus denegatis. Vero sacerdoti dicitur: 
Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram, aedificabo ecclesiam 
meam. Vos quidem assimilamini viro stulto, qui aedificavit 
domum suam, super arenam. Notandum vero est, quod in- 
sipientibus in aedificanda domo, arenarum pendulae mobili- 
tati Dominus non co-operatur, secundum illud. Fecerunt 
sibi reges ; et non per me. Itidemque quod sequitur eadem 
sonat dicendo. Et portae inferi non praevalebunt, ej usque 
peccata intelliguntur. De vestra quidem exitiabili factura 
pronunciantur. Venerunt flumina, flaverunt venti, et impe- 
gerunt in domum illam, et cecidit, et fuit ruina ejus magna. 
Petro ej usque successoribus dicit Dominus, et tibi dabo 
clavis regni caelorum. Vobis verd ; non novi vos, discedite 
a. me, operarii iniquitatis, ut seperati sinistrae partis hoedi 
eatis in ignem aeternum. Itemque omni sancto sacerdoti 
piomittitur : Et quaecunque solveris super terram, erunt 
soluta et in ccelis ; et quaecunque ligaveris super terram, 
erunt ligata et in ccelis. Sed quomodo vos aliquid solvetis, 
ut sit solutum, et in coelis, a. ccelo ob scelera adempti, 
et immanium peccatorum funibus compediti ? Ut Solomon 
quoque ait, funiculis peccatorum suorum unusquisque con- 
stringitur. Qua ratione aliquid in terra ligabitis, quod su- 
pra mundum etiam ligetur, propter vosmetipsos, qui ita 
ligati iniquitatibus, in hoc mundo tenemini, ut in coelis ne- 


quaquam ascendatis, sed in infausta tartari ergastula non con- 
versi in hac vita ad dominum, decidatis. Nee sibi quisquam 
sacerdotum de corporis mundi solum conscientia supplaudat, 
cum eorum quibus prseest, si propter ejus imperitiam, seu 
desidiam, seu adultationem, perierint in die judicii de ejus- 
dem manibus veluti interfectoris animse exquirantur. Quia 
nee dulcior mors, quam quae infertur ab unoquoque homi- 
neque malo, alioquin non dixisset Apostolus velut paternum 
legatum suis successoribus derelinquens. Mundus ego sum 
ab omnium sanguine, non enim subterfugi, quo minus an- 
nuntiarem vobis omne ministerium Dei. Multum namque 
usu ac frequentia peccatorum inebriati, et incessanter irru- 
entibus vobis scelerum cumulatorum, ac si undis quassati 
unum veluti post naufragium, in qua ad vivorum terram eva- 
datis, pcenitentise tabulam toto animi nisu exquirite, ut 
avertatur furor Domini a vobis, misericorditer dicentis, 
Nolo mortem peccatoris, sed ut convertatur et vivat. Ipse 
omnipotens Deus totius consolationis et misericordise pau- 
cissimos bonos pastores conservet ab omni malo, et muni- 
cipes faciat civitatis Hierusalem coelestis, hoc est, sanctorum 
omnium congregationis, Pater, et Filius, etSpiritusSanctus, 
cui sit honor, et gloria in secula seculorum. Amen.' 

If the English translation of this book (for translated it 
is long ago) do fall into the hands of the vulgar, they will 
see what language the British clergy received from one that 
was neither a censorious railer, nor schismatically self- 

Perhaps some will say, ' That the matter is not much 
amended, when in former times we were almost all of a 
mind ; and now we have so many religions that we know not 
well whether we have any at all.' 

Answ. 1. Every different opinion is not another religion. 
2. This is the common Popish argument against reforma- 
tion, as if it were better that men believed nothing ' fide di- 
vina,' than inquire after truth, for fear of misbelief: and as 
if they would have all ungodly, that they might be all of a 
mind. I am sure that the most of the people in England 
wherever I came, did make religion, and the reading of the 
Scripture, or speaking of the way to heaven, the matter of their 
bitter scorn and reproach. And would you have us all of that 
mind again, for fear of differences ? a charitable wish ! — 3. If 


others run into the other extreme, will that be any excuse to 
you? Christ's church hath always suffered between profane 
unbelievers, and heretical dividers, as he suffered himself on 
the cross between two thieves. And will the sin of one excuse 
the other? — 4. And yet I must say (lest I be impiously 
blind and ungrateful), that through the great mercy of God, 
the matter is so far amended, that many hundred drunken, 
swearing, ignorant, negligent, scandalous ministers are cast 
out ; and we have many humble, godly, painful teachers in 
a county for a few that we had before. This is so visibly 
true, that when the godly are feasted, who formerly were 
almost famished, and beaten for going abroad to beg their 
bread, you can hardly by all your arguments or rhetoric per- 
suade them that the times are no better with them than they 
were ; though men of another nation may possibly believe 
you in such reports. I bless God for the change that I see 
in this county ; and among the people, even in my own 
charge, which is such as will not permit me to believe that 
the case is as bad with them as formerly it hath been. I 
say, with Minutius Fcelix, p. 401. (mini) ' Quid ingrati su- 
mus? quid nobis invidemus ? Si Veritas divinitatis nostri 
temporis setate maturuit. Fruamur nostro bono : Et recti 
sententiam temperemus : cohibeatur superstitio : impietas 
expietur : religio servetur.' It is the sinful unhappiness of 
some men's minds, that they can hardly think well of the 
best words or ways of those whom they disaffect ; and they 
usually disaffect those that cross them in their corrupt pro- 
ceedings, and plainly tell them of their faults. They are 
ready to judge of the reprover's spirit by their own, and to 
think that all such sharp reproofs proceed from some disaf- 
fection to their persons, or partial opposition to the opi- 
nions which they hold ; and therefore they will seldom re- 
gard the reproofs of any but those of their own party, who 
will seldom deal plainly with them, because they are of 
their party. But plain-dealers are always approved in the 
end ; and the time is at hand when you shall confess, that 
those were your truest friends. He that will deal plainly 
against your sins in uprightness and honesty, will deal as 
plainly for you against the sins of any that would injure 
you : for he speaks not against sin, because it is yours, but 
because it is sin. It is an observable passage that is re- 


ported by many, and printed by one, how the late king 
Charles, who by the bishop's instigation had kept Mr. 
Prynne so long in prison, and twice cropt his ears, for writing 
against their masks and plays, and the high and hard pro- 
ceedings of the prelates, when he read his notable, volumi- 
nous speech for an acceptance of the King's concessions, 
and an agreement with him thereupon, did, not long before 
his death, deliver the book to a friend that stood by him, 
saying, ' Take this book ; I give it thee as a legacy ; and 
believe it, this gentleman is the Cato of the age.' The time 
will come when plain dealing will have a better construction 
than it hath, wjiile prejudice doth turn the heart against it. 

I shall stand no longer on the apologetical part : I think 
the foregoing objections being answered, there is no great 
need of more of this. The title of the book itself is apolo- 
getical, which if I tell you not, I may well expect that 
some of my old ingenuous interpreters should put another 
sense upon it. I pretend not to the sapience of Gildas, 
nor to the sanctity of Salvian, as to the degree ; but by 
their names I offer you an excuse for plain dealing. If it 
was used in a much greater measure by men s-o wise and 
holy as these, why should it in a lower measure be disal- 
lowed in another? At least from hence I have this encou- 
ragement, that the plain dealing of Gildas and Salvian be- 
ing so much approved by us now they are dead, how much 
soever they might be despised or hated while they were 
living, by them whom they did reprove, at the worst I may 
expect some such success in times to come. 

But my principal business is yet behind. I must now 
take the boldness, brethren, to become your monitor, con- 
cerning some of the necessary duties of which I have 
spoken in the ensuing discourse. If any of you should 
charge me with arrogancy or immodesty, as if hereby I ac- 
cused you of negligence, or judged myself sufficient to ad- 
monish you ; I crave your candid interpretation of my 
boldness, assuring you that I obey not the counsel of my 
flesh herein, but displease myself as much as some of you ; 
and had rather have the ease and peace of silence, if it would 
stand with duty and the church's good. But it is the mere 
necessity of the souls of men, and my desire of their salva- 
tion, and the prosperity of the church, which force th me to 
vol. xiv. c 



this arrogancy and immodesty, if so it must be called. For 
who that hath a tongue can be silent, when it is for the ho- 
nour of God, the welfare of his church, and the everlasting 
happiness of so many persons ? 

And the Jirst and main matter which I have to pro- 
pound to you is, Whether it be not the unquestionable 
duty of the generality of ministers, in these three nations, 
to set themselves presently to the work of catechising, and 
personal instructing all that are to be taught by them, who 
will be persuaded to submit thereunto ? I need not here 
stand to prove it, having sufficiently done it in the follow- 
ing discourse. Can you think that holy wisdom will gain- 
say it? Will zeal for God, will delight in his service, or love 
to the souls of men gainsay it? (1.) That the people must 
be taught the principles of religion, and matters of greatest 
necessity to salvation, is past doubt among us. (2.) And 
that they must be taught it in the most edifying advanta- 
geous way, I hope we are agreed. (3.) And that personal 
conference, and examination, and instruction, hath many 
excellent advantages for their good, is beyond dispute, and 
afterward manifested. (4.) As also that personal instruc- 
tion is commended to us by Scripture, and the practices of 
the servants of Christ, and approved by the godly of all 
ages, so far as I can find, without contradiction. (5.) It is 
past all doubt that we should perform this great duty to all 
the people, or to as many as we can : for our love and care of 
their souls must extend to all. If there be a thousand or 
five hundred ignorant people in your parish, it is a poor 
discharge of your duty now and then occasionally to speak 
to some few of them, and let the rest alone in their igno- 
rance, if you are able to afford them help. (6.) And it is as 
certain that so great a work as this is, should take up a con- 
siderable part of our time. (7.) And as certain is it, that all 
duties should be done in order, as far as may be, and therefore 
should have their appointed times. And if we are agreed 
to practise according to these commonly acknowledged 
truths, we need not differ upon any doubtful circumstances. 
Object. ' We teach them in public ; and how then are we 
bound to teach them man by man besides V 

Answ. You pray for them in public : must you not also 
pray for them in private ? Paul taught every man, and ex- 
horted every man, and that both publicly, and from house to 


house, night and day with tears. The necessity and bene- 
fits afterward mentioned prove it to be your duty. But 
what need we add more, when experience speaks so loud ? 
I am daily forced to admire how lamentably ignorant many 
of our people are, that have seemed diligent hearers of me 
these ten or twelve years, while I spoke as plainly as I was 
able to speak! Some know not that each person in the 
Trinity is God; nor that Christ is God and man ; nor that 
he took his human nature into heaven ; nor many the like 
necessary principles of our faith. Yea, some that come con- 
stantly to private meetings are found grossly ignorant ; 
whereas in one hour's familiar instruction of them in private, 
they seem to understand more, and better entertain it, than 
they did in all their lives before. 

Object. ' But what obligation lieth on us to tie ourselves 
to certain days for the performance of this work V 

Answ. This is like the libertine's plea against family 
prayer. They ask, where are we bound to pray morning 
and evening? Doth not the nature and end of the duty 
plainly tell you that an appointed time conduceth to the or- 
derly successful performance of it? How can people tell 
when to come if the time be not made known ? You will 
have a fixed day for a Lecture, because people cannot else 
tell when to come without a particular notice for each day : 
and it is as necessary here, because this must be a constant 
duty, as well as that. 

Object. ' But we have many other businesses that some- 
times may interrupt the course.' 

Answ. Weightier business may put by our preaching, 
even on the Lord's-day, but we must not therefore neglect 
our constant observance ordinarily of that day : and so it is 
here. If you have so much greater business, that you can- 
not ordinarily have time to do the ministerial work, you 
should not undertake the office : for ministers are men 
' separated to the Gospel of Christ, and must give them- 
selves wholly to these things.' 

Object. ' All the parish are not the church, nor do I take 
the pastoral charge of them, and therefore I am not satisfied 
that I am bound to take this pains with them.' 

Answ. I will pass by the question, whether all the parish 
be to be taken for your church ; because in some places it is 
so, and in others not. But let the negative be supposed : 


Yet, (1.) The common maintenance which most receive, is 
for teaching the whole parish ; though you be not obliged 
to take them all for a church. (2.) What need we look for 
a stronger obligation, than the common bond that lieth on 
all Christians, to further the work of men's salvation, and 
the good of the church, and the honour of God, to the ut- 
most of their power ; together with the common bond that is 
on all ministers, to further these ends by ministeral teach- 
ing, to the utmost of their power? Is it a work so good, 
and apparently conducing to so great benefits to the souls 
of men, and yet can you perceive no obligation to the doing 
of it? 

Object. ' But why may not occasional conference and 
instructions serve the turn V 

Answ. I partly know what occasional conferences are, 
compared to this duty, having tried both. Will it satisfy 
you to deal with one person of twenty or forty, or an hun- 
dred, and to pass by all the rest? Occasional conferences 
fall out seldom, and but with few ; and (which is worst of 
all) are seldom managed so thoroughly as these must be. 
When I speak to a man that cometh to me purposely on 
that business, he will better give me leave to examine him, 
and deal closely with him, than when it falls in on the by : 
and most occasional conferences fall out before others, 
where plain dealing will not be taken so well. But so much 
is said afterward to these and several other objections, that 
I shall add no more here. 

I do now, in the behalf of Christ, and for the sake of 
his church and the immortal souls of men, beseech all the 
faithful ministers of Christ, that they will presently and 
effectually fall upon this work. Combine for an unanimous 
performance of it, that it may more easily procure the submis- 
sion of your people. But if there should be found any so 
blind or vile as to oppose it, or dissent, God forbid that 
other ministers should because of that, forbear their duties. 
I am far from presuming to prescribe you rules or forms, or 
so much as to move you to tread in our steps, in any 
circumstances where a difference is tolerable, or to use the 
same catechism or exhortation as we do : only fall presently 
and closely to the work. If there should be any of so proud 
or malicious a mind, as to withdraw from so great a duty, 
because they would not seem to be our followers, or drawn 


to it by us, as they would have approved it, if it had risen 
from themselves ; I advise such, as they love their everlast- 
ing peace, to make out to Christ for a cure of such cankered 
minds; and let them know that this duty hath its rise nei- 
ther from them nor us, but from the Lord ; and is generally 
approved by his church : and for my part, let them, and 
spare not, tread me in the dirt, and let me be as vile in their 
eyes as they please, so they will but hearken to God and 
reason, and fall upon the work, that our hopes of a more 
common salvation of men, and of a true reformation of the 
church may be revived. I must confess that I find by some 
experience that this is the work that must reform indeed ; 
that must expel our common prevailing ignorance; that 
must bow the stubborn hearts of men ; that must answer 
their vain objections, and take off their prejudice; that 
must reconcile their hearts to faithful ministers, and help on 
the success of our public preaching ; and must make true 
godliness a commoner thing, through the grace of God, 
which worketh by means. I find that we never took the 
right course to demolish the kingdom of darkness till now. 
I wonder at myself, how I was kept off from so clear and 
excellent a duty so long. But I doubt not but other men's 
case is as mine was. I was long convinced of it, but my 
apprehensions of the difficulties were too great, and my ap- 
prehensions of the duty too small ; and so I was hindered 
long from the performance. I thought that the people 
would but have scorned it, and none but a few that had least 
need, would have submitted to it. The thing seemed strange, 
and I stayed till the people were better prepared ; and I 
thought my strength would never go through with it, having 
so great burdens on me before ; and thus I was long detained 
in delays, which I beseech the Lord of mercy to forgive. 
Whereas, upon trial, I find the difficulties almost nothing, 
save only through my extraordinary bodily weakness, to that 
which I imagined; and I find the benefits and comforts of 
the work to be such, as that I profess, I would not wish that 
I had forborne it for all the riches in the world (as for my- 
self). We spend Monday and Tuesday from morning to al- 
most night in the work ; besides a chapelry, catechised 
by another assistant, taking about fifteen or sixteen Fami- 
lies in a week, that we may go through the parish, which 
hath above eight hundred Families, in a year; and I cannot 


say yet, that one family hath refused to come to me, nor but 
few persons excused themselves and shifted it off. And I find 
more outward signs of success with most that come, than 
of all my public preaching to them. If you say, it is not so 
in most places: I answer, 1. I wish that be not much long 
of ourselves. 2. If some refuse your help, that will not ex- 
cuse you for not affording it to them that would accept it. 
If you ask me what course I take for order and expedition ; 
I have after told you: In a word, at the delivery of the ca- 
techisms, I take a catalogue of the persons of understanding 
in the parish ; and the clerk goeth a week before to every 
family to tell them when to come, and at what hour; (one 
family at eight o'clock, the next at nine, and the next 
at ten, &c.) And I am forced by the number to deal with 
a whole family at once ; but admit not any of another to be 
present (ordinarily). 

Brethren, do I now invite you to this work without 
God, without the consent of all antiquity, without the con- 
sent of the reformed divines ; or without the conviction of 
your own consciences? See what our late Assembly speak 
occasionally, in the Directory, about the Visitation of the 
Sick. ' It is the duty of the minister, not only to teach the 
people committed to his charge in public, but privately and 
particularly to admonish, exhort, reprove and comfort them 
upon all seasonable occasions, so far as his time, strength, 
and personal safety will permit. He is to admonish them 
in time of health to prepare for death ; and for that pur- 
pose, they are often to confer with their minister about the 
state of their souls, &c.' — Read this over again, and con- 
sider it. Hearken to God if you would have peace with God : 
hearken to conscience if you would have peace of con- 
science. I am resolved to deal plainly with you, if I dis- 
please you. It is an unlikely thing, that there should be a 
heart that is sincerely devoted to God in the breast of that 
man, that after advertisements and exhortations, will not 
resolve on so clear and great a duty as this is. As it is with 
our people in hearing the Word, so it is with us in teaching. 
An upright heart is an effectual persuader of them to at- 
tend on God in the use of his ordinances ; and an upright 
heart will as effectually persuade a minister to his duty : as 
a good stomach needs no arguments to draw it to a feast, 
nor will easily by any arguments be taken off: and as a 


child will love and obey his parents, though he could not 
answer a sophister that would persuade him to hate them ; 
so I cannot conceive that he that hath one spark of saving 
grace, and so hath that love to God, and delight to do his 
will, which is in all the sanctified, should possibly be drawn 
to contradict or refuse such a work as this ; except under 
the power of such a temptation as Peter was when he denied 
Christ, or when he dissuaded him from suffering, and heard 
an half excommunication, " Get thee behind me, Satan, thou 
art an offence unto me : for thou savourest not the things 
that be of God, but those that be of men." (Matt. xvi. 22, 23.) 
You have ^ut your hand to the plough of God ; you 
are doubly sanctified and devoted to him, as Christians, 
and pastors ; and dare you after this draw back and refuse 
his work ? You see the work of reformation at a stand ; 
and you are engaged by many obligations to promote it ; 
and dare you now neglect those means by which it must be 
done ? Will you 6hew your faces in a Christian congrega- 
tion, as ministers of the Gospel, and there pray for a re- 
formation; and pray for the conversion and salvation of 
your hearers, and the prosperity of the church ; and when 
you have done, refuse to use means by which it must be 
done ? I know that carnal wit will never want words and 
show of reason to gainsay that truth and duty which it ab- 
hors ; it is easier now to cavil against duty than perform it; 
but stay the end before you pass your final judgment. Can 
you possibly make yourselves believe that you should have 
a comfortable review of these neglects, or make a comfortable 
account of them unto God ? I dare prognosticate, from the 
knowledge of the nature of grace, that all the godly minis- 
ters in England will make conscience of this duty, and ad- 
dress themselves to it ; except those that by some extra- 
ordinary accident are disabled, or those that are under such 
temptations as aforesaid. I do not hopelessly persuade you 
to it ; but take it for granted it will be done : and if any 
lazy, or jealous, or malicious hypocrites, do cavil against it, 
or hold off, the rest will not do so ; but they will take the 
opportunity, and not resist the warnings of the Lord. And 
God will uncase the hypocrites ere lon'g, and make them 
know to their sorrow, what it was to play fast and loose with 
God. Woe to them, when they must be accountable for 
the blood of souls ! The reasons which satisfy them here 


against duty, will then be manifested to be the effects of 
their folly, and to have proceeded radically from their cor- 
rupted wills and carnal interest. And (unless they be des- 
perately blinded and seared to the death) their consciences 
will not own those reasons at a dying-hour, which now they 
seem to own. They shall feel to their sorrow, that there 
is not that comfort to be had for a departing soul, in the 
review of such neglected duty, as there is to them that 
have wholly devoted themselves to the service of the Lord. 
I am sure my arguments for this duty will appear strongest 
at the last, whatever they do now. And again I say, I hope 
the time is even at hand, when it shall be as great a shame to a 
minister to neglect the private instructing and oversight of 
the flock, as it hath been, to be a seldom preacher ; for which 
men are now justly sequestered and ejected. And if God 
have not so great a quarrel with us, as tendeth to a removal 
of the Gospel, or at least to the blasting of its prosperity 
and success in the desired reformation, I am confident that 
this will shortly be. And if these lazy, worldly hypocrites 
were but quickened to their duty by a sequestering com- 
mittee ; you should see them stir more zealously than all 
arguments fetched from God and Scripture, from the reward 
or punishment, or from the necessity and benefits of the 
work can persuade them to do. For even now, these 
wretched men, while they pretend themselves the servants 
of Christ, and are asking, What authority we have for this 
work ? And if we could but shew them a command from 
the Lord Protector or Council, it would answer all their 
scruples, and put the business beyond dispute; as if they had 
a design to confirm the accusation of the Papists, that their 
ministry only is divine, and ours dependeth on the will of 
men. Well ! for those godly, zealous ministers of Christ, 
that labour in sincerity, and denying their worldly interest 
and ease, do wholly devote themselves to God, I am confi- 
dent there needs not much persuasion. There is somewhat 
within that will presently carry them to the work : and for 
the rest, let them censure this warning as subtlely as they 
can, they shall not hinder it from rising up against them in 
judgment, unless it be by true repentance and reformation. 
And let me speak one word of this to you that are my dear 
fellow-labourers in this county, who have engaged your- 
selves to be faithful in this work. It is your honour to lead 


in sacred resolutions and agreements : but if any of you 
should be unfaithful in the performance, it will be your double 
dishonour. Review your subscribed Agreement, and see that 
you perform it with diligence and constancy. You have be- 
gun a happy work ; such as will do more to the welfare of 
the church than many that the world doth make a greater 
stir about. God forbid now, that imprudence or negligence 
should frustrate all. For the generality of you, I do not 
much fear it ; having so much experience of your fidelity in 
the other parts of your office. And if there should be any found 
among you, that will shuffle over the work, and deal unfaith- 
fully in this and other parts of your office, I take it for no 
just cause of reproach to us, that we accept of your sub- 
scription, when you offer to join with us. For Catechising 
is a work not proper only to a minister ; and we cannot for- 
bid any to engage themselves to their unquestionable duty : 
but in our association for Discipline we must be somewhat 
more scrupulous, with whom we join. I earnestly beseech 
you all in the name of God, and for the sake of your peo- 
ple's souls, that you will not slightly slubber over this work ; 
but do it vigorously and with all your might; and make it 
your great and serious business : much judgment is required 
for the managing of it. Study therefore how to do it before- 
hand, as you study for your sermons. I remember how earnest 
I was with some of the last parliament, to have had them 
settle catechists in our assemblies ; but truly I am not sorry 
that it took no effect, unless for a few of the larger congre- 
gations. For I perceive that all the life of the work under 
God, doth lie in the prudent, effectual management of 
searching men's hearts, and setting home the saving truths : 
and the ablest minister is weak enough for this, and few of 
inferior place or parts would be found competent. For I 
fear nothing more, than that many ministers that preach 
well, will be found too unmeet for this work ; especially to 
manage it with old, ignorant, dead-hearted sinners: and 
indeed if the ministers be not reverenced by the people, they 
will rather slight them and contest with them, than humbly 
learn and submit ; how much more would they do so by in- 
ferior men ? Seeing then the work is cast upon us, and it is 
we that must do it, or else it must be undone ; let us be up 
and doing with all our might, and the Lord will be with us. 
I can tell you one thing for your encouragement : It is a 


work that the enemies of the church and ministry do exceed- 
ingly vex at, and hate, and fear more than any thing that 
yet we have undertaken. I perceive the signs of the Papists 
indignation against it. And methinks it hath the most nota- 
ble character of a work extraordinarily and unquestionably 
good : for they storm at it, and yet they have nothing to say 
against it. They cannot blame it, and yet they hate and 
fear it, and would fain undermine it, if they knew how. You 
know how many false rumours have been spread abroad this 
country, to deter the people from it; as that the Lord Protec- 
tor and Council were against it : that the Subscribers were 
to be ejected : that the Agreement was to be publicly burnt, 
&c. And when we have searched after the authors, we can 
drive it no higher than the Quakers, the Papists' emissaries; 
from whom we may easily know their minds. And yet when 
a Papist speaks openly as a Papist, some of them have said 
that it is a good work; but that it wants authority, and is 
done by those that are not called to it : forsooth, because 
we have not the authority of their pope or prelates : and some 
that should be more sober have used the same language ; as 
if they would rather have thousands and millions of souls 
neglected, than have them so much as catechised and in- 
structed without commission from a prelate. Yea, and some 
that differ from us about infant baptism, I understand repine 
at it; and say that we will hereby insinuate ourselves into 
the people, and hinder them from receiving the truth. A sad 
case, that any that seem to have the fear of God should have 
so true a character of a partial, dividing, and siding mind ; 
as to grudge at the propagation of Christianity itself, and 
the common truths which we are all agreed in, for fear lest 
it should hinder the propagation of their opinions. The 
common cause of Christianity, must give place to the cause 
of these lower controverted points ; and they grudge us our 
very labour and suffering for the common work, though 
there be nothing in it which meddleth with them, or which 
they are able with any show of reason to gainsay. 

I beseech you, brethren, let all this, and the many motives 
that I have after given you, persuade you to greater dili- 
gence herein ! When you are speaking to your people, do 
it with the greatest prudence and seriousness, and be as 
earnest with them as for life or death; and follow it as close 
as you do your public exhortations in the pulpit. I profess 


again, it is to me the most comfortable work, except public 
preaching (for there I speak to more, though yet with less 
advantage to each one), that ever I yet did set my hand to ; 
and I doubt not but you will find it so to you, if you 
faithfully perform it. 

My second request to the reverend ministers in these 
nations is, that at last they would, without any more delay, 
unanimously set themselves to the practice of those parts of 
Christian discipline, which are unquestionably necessary, 
and part of their work. It is a sad case that good men 
under so much liberty, should settle themselves so long in 
the constant neglect of so great a duty. The common cry 
is, Our people are not ready for it; they will not bear it. But 
is not the meaning, that you will not bear the trouble and 
hatred which it will occasion? If indeed you proclaim our 
churches incapable of the order and government of Christ ; 
what do you but give up the cause to them that withdraw 
from them, and encourage men to look out for better socie- 
ties where that discipline may be had ? For though preach- 
ing and sacraments may be omitted in some cases, till a 
fitter season, and accordingly so may discipline be; yet is 
it a hard case to settle in a constant neglect, for so many 
years together as we have done, unless there were a flat im- 
possibility of the work : and if it were so, because of our in- 
capable materials, it would plainly call us to alter our con- 
stitution, that the matter may be capable. I have spoke 
plainly afterward to you of this, which I hope you will bear, 
and conscientiously consider of. I now only beseech you that 
would make a comfortable account to the chief Shepherd, 
and would not be found unfaithful in the house of God, that 
you do not wilfully or negligently delay it, as if it were a 
needless thing ; nor shrink from the duty because of trouble 
to the flesh that doth attend it : for as that is too sad a sign 
of hypocrisy, so the costliest duties are usually the most 
comfortable ; and be sure that Christ will bear the cost. I 
could here produce a heap of testimonies, of fathers and 
reformed divines, that inculcate this duty with great importu- 
nity. I shall only now give you the words of two of the 
most godly, laborious, judicious divines, that ever the church 
of Christ had since the days of the Apostles. 

Calvin. Institut. lib. 4. cap.xii. sec. 1, 2. " Sed quia non- 
nulli in odium discipline ab ipso quoque, nomine abhorrent, 


hi sic habeant : Si nulla societas, im6 nulla domus quse vel 
modicam familiam habeat, contineri in recto statu sine dis- 
ciplina potest: Earn esse multo magis necessariam in Eccle- 
sia, cujus statum quam ordinatissimum esse decet. Proinde 
quemadmodum salvifica Christi doctrina anima est Ecclesise, 
ita illic disciplina pro nervis est : qua fit ut membra corporis, 
suo quodque loco inter se cohsereant. Quamobrem quicun- 
que vel sublatam disciplinam cupiunt, vel ejus impediunt 
restitutionem, sive hoc faciant data opera, sive per incogi- 
tantiam, Ecclesire certe extremam dissipationem quaerunt. 
Quid enim futurum est, si unicuique liceat quod libuerit ? 
Atqui id fieret nisi ad doctrinae praedicationem accederent 
privatae monitiones, correctiones, et alia ejusrnodi admini- 
cula quse doctrinam sustinent et otiosam esse non sinunt. 
Disciplina igitur veluti fraenum est, quo retineantur et do- 
mentur qui adversus Christi doctrinam ferociunt : vel tan- 
quam stimulus quo excitentur parum voluntarii : interdum 
etiam velut paterna ferula, qua clementer et pro Spiritus 
Christi mansuetudine castigentur, qui gravius lapsi sunt. 
Quum ergo jam imminere cernamus initia quaedam horrendae 
inEcclesiavastitatis,ex eoquod nulla est cura.nec ratio con- 
tinedi populi, ipsa necessitas clamat remedio opus esse. 
Porro hoc unicum remedium est quod et Christus praecipit, 
et semper usitatum inter pios fuit. 2. Primum disciplinae 
fundamentum est, ut privatse monitiones locum habeant : 
hoc est, siquis officium sponte non faciai aut insolenter se ge- 
rat, aut minus honeste vivat, aut aliquidadmiseritreprehen- 
sione dignum, ut patiatur se moneri : atque ut quisque fratrem 
suum, dum res postulabit, monere studeat. Praesertim vero in 
hoc advigilent Pastores ac Presbyteri, quorum partes sunt 
non mode- concionari ad populum, sed per singulas domos mo- 
nere et exhortari, sicubi universali doctrina non satis profe- 
cerint : quemadmodum docet Paulus, quum refert se docu- 
isse privatim et per domos : et se mundum a. sanguine omnium 
attestatur, quia non cessaverit cum lachrymis nocte et die 
monere unumquemque." See the rest. And sec. 4, he adds 
of the necessity ; " Sine hoc disciplinae vinculo qui diu stare 
posse Ecclesias confidunt, opinione fallantur : nisi forte ca- 
rere impune possimus eo adrainiculo, quod Dominus fore 
nobis necessarium providit." Et sec. 5, " Atque Mc quoque, 
habenda est Coenae Dominican ratio, ne promiscua exhibitione 
profanetur. Verissimum est enim eum, cui commissa estdis- 


pensatio, si sciens ac volens indignum admiserit quern repel- 
lere jure poterat, proinde reum esse sacrilegii acsi corpus 
Domini canibusprostituerit." 

Hier. Zanchius de Ecclesia, vol. 3. fo. 123, 124. '(Dis- 
ciplina) est actio qua Ecclesia, secundum facultatem sibi a 
Christo traditam fideles suos non solum publice, sed etiam 
privatim, tarn in vero Dei cultu quam in bonis moribus, idque 
turn doctrina, turn correctionibus, turn Ecclesiasticis pcenis 
et censuris, turn etiam si opus sit excommunicationibus in- 
stituit et institutos retinet.' Fol. 124. ' Primo habet priva- 
tam doctrinam. Habet enim Ecclesia potestatem, si publica 
doctrina in p'ublico Templo non sufficiat, privatas fidelium 
domos ingrediendi ; atque ibi eos privatim docendi, ac in 
vera doctrina ac religione Christiana instituendi : et fideles 
pati debent ut pastor suas sedes ingrediatur, et eos privatim 
instituat. Hujus exemplum est, in Acts xx. &c. Idem fece- 
runt reliqui Apostoli. 2. Habet privatas admonitiones, cor- 
rectiones, objurgationes, &c.' This is for private teaching : 
Now for the Sacrament, hear what he saith, ibid. fol. 79. 
Obj. - Manebimus in Ecclesia, audiemus verbum, &c.sed qui 
possumus inCcena communionem vobiscum habere, cum ad 
earn admittantur multi impuri, ebrii, avari, &c. Resp. 1. 
Quantum ad hos peccatores, eos intelligi posse bifariam ; 
vel qui ante fuerunt ebrii, &c. Sed postea resipuerunt. Hos 
dicimus secundum verbum Domini non esse excludendos a 
mensa Domini, quandoquidem vera penitentia et fide prsediti 
sunt: vel eos qui etiamnum ebrietati student, aliisque vitiis, 
et talis sine pcenitentia et fide accedunt : hos dicimus sim- 
pliciter non esse admittendos. Quod autem admittantur 
plerumque hoc contingere potest bifariam : vel ex ignoran- 
tia Ministrorum, eo quod non agnoverint tales esse, quales 
sunt : Et hanc certe ignorantiam, non probamus, quoniam 
debet minister agnoscere, qualesnam sintilli quibus ccenam 
Domini administrat : quod si ignorat, non potest non accu- 
sari supinse et reprehendse negligentise, &c. Aut cum sint 
omnibus noti qualesnam sint, non student tamen eos arcere 
prae timore, vel aliquo alio humano respectu. Hoc damna- 
mus in Ministro vitium timiditatis. Debet enim minister 
Christi esse cordatissimus et heroicus. Sed hie non est 
spectandum quid unus aut alter vilis minister agat (mark the 
title) sed quae sit Ecclesiee institutio, quseque communis in 


omnibus Ecclesiis consuetude* : in omnibus autem Ecclesiis 
nostris antequam Ccena ministretur, omnibus hujusmodi, in- 
terdicitur, &c. Et certo magnum est probrum, quod inter 
filios Dei locum habeant et porci et canes: Multo ver6 ma- 
gis, si illis prostituuntur Sacro-sancta ccenae Dominicee sym- 
bola, &c. Quare ecclesiae Christi non debent hujusmodi 
sceleratos in sinu suo ferre, nee ad Sacrum coenam dignos 
simul et indignos prbmiscu£ admittere : id quod plerumque 
sit in Ecclesiis nostris :" (How many were then the ' viles 

But the principal is behind, of the Necessity of Disci- 
pline : and I desire both Magistrates and Ministers, into 
whose hands these lines shall fall, to read and consider it. 

Ibid. fol. 134, 135. " Videant igitur Principes et Magis- 
tratus qui hanc disciplinam in Ecclesiam restitutam, nolunt, 
quid agant. Haec instituta est a Christo, ut perpetuo in Ec- 
clesia tanquam singularis thesaurus conservetur : ergo qui 
earn exulare volunt, sciant se velle Christum exulare. Haec 
pars est evangelii Jesu Christi. Ergo qui hanc restitutam 
nolunt, sciant se nolle evangelium Christi, sicut debet, 
restitutum. Quomodo igitur gloriamur restitutum esse 
Evangelium in Ecclesiis nostris, si hanc eamque non postre- 
mam partem Evangelii restitutam nolumus ? Hac vitia cor- 
riguntur ; virtutespromoventur : Ergo qui hanc disciplinam 
restitutam nolunt, quomodo audent dicere se vitia odisse, 
virtutum vero amantes esse, pietatis promotores, impietatis 
osores. Hac conversatur et regitur Ecclesia, singulaeque 
Ecclesiae membra sua quaeque loco cohserent : ergd quomodo 
qui hanc expulsam, volunt, dicunt se velle Christi Ecclesiam, 
bene rectam siquando sine hac bene regi non potest. Si 
nulla domus, nullum opidum; nulla urbs, nulla respublica, 
nullum regnum,imo ne exiguus quidem ludus literarius, sine 
disciplina regi potest, quomodo poterit Ecclesia?" I would 
magistrates would read the rest, which is purposely to them. 

Et fol. 135. " At timetur seditio et tumultus. Resp. ergo 
neque Evangelium est praedicandum, &c. Quid : Annon vi- 
dent principes et magistratus nostri quantum malum in Ec- 
clesia oriatur, et intus et foris ex neglectu contemptuve hu- 
jus discipline? Foris nulla res est, quae magis Papistas et 
alios, arceat,velsaltemretrudetamplectendoEvangelio,atque 
haec disciplinse Ecclesiasticae destitutio, quae est in Ecclesii-s 


nostris. Intus, nihil quod magis alat vitia, haeresis, &c. 
Annon vident Ecclesias suas principes plenas sectis haereti- 
corum, et impurorum hominum? Ad has confluit omne ge- 
nus hominum fanaticorum, impurorum, &,c. tanquam ad 
asylum. Quare ? Quia ibi nulla disciplina, 

" Sciant ergo Principes, et quicunque i Hi sint qui discipli- 
nam Ecclesiasticam in Ecclesiis restitutam nolunt, sed ei ad- 
versantur, eamque proscribunt, se Christo adversari : Qui 
Ministros impediunt ne earn excerceant, se Christum et Deum 
impedire, ne sua fungantur potestate. Quid enim agunt 
Ministri cum excommunicant? Pronunciant sententiam Do- 
mini. Ait enim Christus : Quicquid ligaveritis in terris, &,c. 
Quid igitur agunt qui impediunt Ecclesiam ne sententiam 
Domini pronunciet? Peccant contra Christum, et rei sunt 
laesae Divinse Majestatis. Annon reus esset laesae majestatis 
Coesareae, siquis ejus judicem ne sententiam Caesaris pronun- 
ciet impediat? Videant igitur quid agant. Hactenus Chris- 
tus rexit Ecclesiam suam hac disciplina ; et ipsi Principes, 
imo et ministri aliquot, nolunt earn sic regi? Viderint ipsi. 
Pronuncio, proclamo, protestor, eos peccare, qui cum pos- 
sint et debeant earn restituere, non restituunt." 

I hope both magistrates and ministers that are guilty, 
will give me leave to say the like with Zanchy, if not to call 
them traitors against the majesty of God, that hinder disci- 
pline, and adversaries to Christ, yet at least to pronounce, 
proclaim, protest, that they sin against God, who set it not 
up when they may and ought. But what if the magistrate will 
not help us ? Nay, what if he were against it? So he was for 
about three hundred years, when discipline was exercised in 
the primitive church : To thisZanchy adds, ib. u Ministri Eccle- 
siae quantum per consensum et pacem Ecclesiae licet hanc dis- 
ciplinam excercere debetis. Hanc enim potestatem vobis dedit 
Dominus, neque quispiam auferre earn potest : nee contenti 
esse debetis ut doceatis quid agendum, quid fugiendum sit, 
utut quisque pro sua libidine vivat nihil curantes, sed urgenda 
disciplina. vid. August, de fide et operib. c. 4. Obj. At impe- 
dimurper Magistratum.Resp.Tunc illi significate quam male 
agat, &c." Read the rest of the solid advice that Calvin and 
Zanchy in the forecited places, do give both to ministers 
and people, where discipline is wanting. 

The great objection that seemeth to hinder some from 
this work is, because we are not agreed yet, who it is that 


must do it ? Whether only a prelate, or whether a presbytery, 
or a single pastor, or the people ? 

Answ. Let so much be exercised as is out of doubt. 
1. It is granted that^a single pastor may expound and apply 
the word of God : he may rebuke a notorious sinner by 
name. He may make known to the church that God hath 
commanded them, with such a one, no not to eat ! And re- 
quire them to obey this command, &c. I shall say no more 
of this now, than to cite the words of two learned, godly, 
moderate divines, impartial in this cause. The one is Mr. 
Lyford a maintainer of Episcopacy, in his Legacy of Admis- 
sion to the Lord's-supper; who, page 55, saith, 

" Quest. I. In which of the ministers is this power placed?" 
" Anstv. Every minister hath the power of all Christ's ordi- 
nances to dispense the same in that congregation or flock, 
over which the Holy Ghost hath made him overseer; yet with 
this difference : he may preach the word, baptize, and ad- 
minister the holy supper alone of himself without the assist- 
ance or consent of the people: But not excommunicate 
alone (he means not without the people, though of that more 
must be said); because excommunication doth presuppose 
an offence to the congregation, a conviction and proof of 
that offence, and witnesses of the party's obstinacy : and 
therefore hereunto is required the action of more than one, 
&c. Excommunication compriseth several acts : admoni- 
tion, private, public: The last act is, the casting out of a 
wicked, obstinate person from the society of the faithful. (1.) 
By the authority of Christ. (2.) Dispensed and executed by 
the ministers of the Gospel. (3.) With the assistance and 
consent of the congregation, &c. 2. If you ask by whose 
office and ministry this sentence is denounced ? I answer, by 
the ministers of the Gospel ; we bind and loose doctrinally, 
in our preaching peace to the godly, and curses to the wicked : 
but in excommunication, we denounce the wrath of God 
against this or that particular person (thou art the man ! 
thou hast no part with us) : and that not only declaratively, 
but judicially. It is like the sentence of a judge on the 
bench, &c. 3. If you ask whether this be done by the 
minister alone? I answer no ; it must be done by the as- 
sistance and consent of the congregation. (1 Cor. v. 4.) 
Excommunication must not be done in a corner, by the 
Chancellor and his Register, &c. But whosoever doth, by 


his offences, lose his right to the holy things of God, he must 
lose it in the face of the congregation ; and that after proofs 
and allegations, as is aforesaid : the people hear and see the 
offence, complain of it, and are grieved at his society with 
them, and judge him worthy to be cast out. This concur- 
rence and consent being supposed, every minister is ' Epis- 
copus gregis,' a bishop in his own parish, (N. B.) " To all 
the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you 'Etthjko- 
wsg, overseers." (x4cts xx. 28.) And " Remember them which 
have the rule over you, who have spoken to you the word of 
God."(Heb.xiii. 17. )Wherenote,(l.)Thatthey who preach the 
word of God, must rule and govern the church ; and every 
preacher is a ruler, unto whom the people must submit, 
(ver. 17.) Besides, every minister is vested with this autho- 
rity at his ordination : ' Whose sins thou dost forgive, they 
are forgiven : Whose sins thou dost retain, &c.' (2.) Every 
minister is vested with this authority by the laws of this 
land. The words of the rubric for the Administration of the 
Lord's supper, which do enable us thereto, are these: ' If 
any of those which intend to be partakers of the holy Com- 
munion, be an open, notrious, evil liver, so that the congre- 
gation by him is offended, or have done wrong to his neigh- 
bours by word or deed, the curate having knowledge thereof, 
shall call him, and advertise him in anywise not to come to 
the Lord's table, until he have openly declared himself to be 
truly repented and amended of his former naughty life ; that 
the congregation may thereby be satisfied, which afore was 
offended ; and that he have recompensed the parties whom 
he hath done wrong to ; or at least, declare himself to be in 
full purpose so to do as soon as he conveniently may.' 
Besides this, our authority in this particular, is confirmed 
by an ordinance of the Lords and Commons in Parliament, 
&c." So far Mr. Lyford's words. 

The other is Mr. Thomas Ball, of Northampton, in his 
late book for the Ministry ; where, (part iii. cap. 4,) he bring- 
eth many arguments to prove it the minister's duty to exer- 
cise discipline as well as to preach ; and the seventh argu- 
ment is this ; " What was given by the bishops unto such 
ministers as they ordained, and laid their hands upon, should 
not be grudged or denied them by any body : for they were 
never accounted lavish or over liberal to them, especially in 

VOL, XIV. d 


point of jurisdiction, that was always a very tender point, 
and had a guard and sentry always on it. For conceiving 
themselves the sole possessors of it, they were not willing 
to admit partners. Whatever they indulged in other points, 
as Pharaoh to Joseph, ' Only in the throne I will be greater 
than thou ;' yet bishops granted to all that they ordained 
presbyters, the use and exercise of discipline as w r ell as doc- 
trine; as appears in the book of Ordering Bishops, Priests, 
and Deacons, whereof the interrogatories propounded to the 
party to be ordained is, ' Will you then give your faithful 
diligence always so to minister the doctrine and sacraments, 
and the discipline of Christ, as the Lord hath commanded, 
and as this realm hath received the same according to the 
commandments of God, so that you may teach the people 
committed to your care and charge, with all diligence to keep 
and observe the same :' Which a reverend and learned bro- 
ther not observing, would confine all jurisdiction to diocesan 
bishops, &c. Arg. 8. What is granted and allowed to minis- 
ters, by the laws and customs of this nation, cannot reason- 
ably be denied : for the laws of England have never favoured 
usurpation in the Clergy, &c. But the laws and customs of 
this nation allow to the ministers of England the use and 
exercise of discipline as well as doctrine ; for such of them 
as have parsonages or rectories, are in all processes and pro- 
ceedings called Rectors, 8cc." 

2. And as to the points of the people's interest, the mo- 
derate seem to differ but in words. Some say the people are 
to govern by vote : I confess if this were understood as it is 
spoken, according to the proper sense of the words, and 
practised accordingly, it were contrary to the express com- 
mand of Scripture, which command the elders to rule well, 
and the people to obey them as their rulers, in the Lord : 
and it seems to me to be destructive to the being of a poli- 
tical church, whose constitutive parts are the ruling and the 
ruled parts ; as every school consisteth of master and scho- 
lars, and every commonwealth of the ' pars imperans, et 
pars subdita :' and therefore those that rigidly stick to this, 
do cast out themselves from all particular political churches' 
communion of Christ's institution. (Which because I have 
formerly said, or somewhat to that purpose, a late nameless 
writer makes me cruel to his party, while I seem for them,. 


and so self-contradicting : as if it were cruelty to tell a brother 
of his sin, and not to leave it on him ; or, as if I understood 
not myself, because he understands me not!) But I perceive 
the moderate mean not any such things as these words, in 
their proper sense, import. They only would have the church 
ruled as a free people, (as from unjust impositions.) and in 
a due subordination to Christ. And we are all agreed that 
the pastors have the 'judicium directionis,' the teaching, di- 
recting power, by office; and that the people have 'judicium 
discretions ;' and must try his directions, and not obey them 
when they lead jto sin ; and therefore we cannot expect that 
the people should execute any of our directions, except their 
judgment lead them to execute them. (Though if their judg- 
ment be wrong, God requireth them to rectify it.) And as for 
the judicial decisive power, about which there is so great con- 
tending, in the strictest sense, it is the prerogative of Christ, 
and belongeth to neither of them: for only Christ is the proper 
lawgiver and judge of the church, whose law and judgment is 
absolute, of itself determinative, and not subjected too ur trial 
of its equity or obligation. So that we must as much conclude, 
that there is no final judge of controversies in a particular 
church, as we do against the Papists ; that there is none in 
the Church in general. And therefore the church's judicial 
decisive power is but improperly such, reducible to the for- 
mer ; which seeing we are agreed in, we are as far in sense 
agreed in this. A pastor is judge, as a physician in an hos- 
pital, or as Plato, or Zeno was in his school, or any tutor 
in a college of voluntary students. For any more, it belong- 
eth to Christ, and to the magistrate. Why then do we stand 
quarrelling about the name? One saith, the people have a 
power of liberty, and the ministers only the power of authority. 
And what is this more than we yield them ? viz. That the 
guiding authority being only in the guides, and the people 
commanded to obey them in a due subordination to Christ, 
there is a liberty belonging to all the saints ; from any other 
kind of ministerial rule, that is, from a 'sic volo, sic jubeo,' 
a rule without divine authority : and therefore the people 
must first try and judge, whether the direction be according 
to God, and so obey : and this in church-censures as well 
as in other cases. So that, (1.) As the people oughtnot to dis- 
sent or disobey their guides, unless they lead them to sin : 
(and therefore must see a danger of sin before they suspend 


obedience :) So, (2.) The guides cannot bring the people to 
execute their censures or directions, but by procuring their 
consent. And therefore though he must do his duty, and 
may pass his directive censure though they dissent, and 
ministerially require them in the name of the Lord, e.g. to 
avoid a notorious, obstinate offender, and so to obey the 
command of God ; that is, though we may charge them in 
the name of the Lord to consent and obey, and do their duty ; 
yet, if their judgments remain unconvinced in a case which 
is to them obscure, we have no more to do, but satisfy our- 
selves that we have done our duty. So that when we have 
quarrelled never so long, what is it but the people's consent 
that the moderate men on one side require? and consent the 
other side requireth also. Call it what else you will, whether 
a Government, or an Authority, or a Liberty; Consent is the 
thing which both require ! And are we not then in the mat- 
ter agreed ? Peruse for this Mr. Lvford's words before-cited. 
See also what the leading men for Presbyterian government 
do not only acknowledge, but maintain as effectually as 
others: As Dav. Blondellus de Jure plebis inRegim Eccles. 
Calvin. Institut. lib. 4. cap. xii. sec. 4. " Ne quis tale judi- 
cium spernat, aut parvi eestimet se fidelium suffragiis dam- 
natum, testatus est Dominus, &c." Ita Zanchius ubi sup. 
and many more. Indeed this consent of the people is not 
' sine qua non' to the pastor's performance of his own part; 
viz. ' Charging the church in Christ's name to avoid the 
communion of such a notorious, obstinate offender, and 
suspending his own acts towards him ; and so charging them 
to receive the innocent or penitent.' (For, if the people 
consent not to avoid such, and so would exclude all disci- 
pline, yet the pastor must charge it unto them, and do his 
part.) But it is * sine qua non' to their actual rejecting and 
avoiding that offender. In a word, we must teach them their 
duty, and require it; and they and we must obey and do it: 
and neither they nor we may oblige any to sin. 

Object. ' But we are not agreed about the matter of the 
church that must be governed.' 

Ansiv. Peruse the qualifications required in church- 
members in the writings of the moderate on both sides, and 
see what difference you can find ! Are not both agreed, that 
professors of true faith and holiness, cohabiting and con- 
senting, are a true church ? And when they contradict that 


profession by wicked actions, (doctrine or life,) they are to 
be dealt with by discipline. Though I confess in our prac- 
tice we very much differ ; most that I know running into one 
of the extremes of looseness or rigour. 

My third and last request is, that all the faithful mi- 
nisters of Christ would, without any more delay, unite and 
associate for the furtherance of each other in the work of 
the Lord, and the maintaining of unity and concord in his 
churches. And that they would not neglect their brotherly 
meetings to those ends ; nor yet spend them unprofitably ; 
but improve them to their edification, and the effectual car- 
rying on the work. Read that excellent letter of Edmond 
Grindal, Archbishop of Canterbury, to queen Elizabeth. 
For ministerial meetings and exercises such bishops would 
have prevented our contentions and wars : You may see it 
in Fuller's New History of the Church of England. 

And let none draw back, that accord in the substantials 
of faith and godliness ; yea, if some should think them- 
selves necessitated I will not say to schism, lest I offend 
them; but to separate in public worship from the rest: 
methinks if they be indeed Christians, they should be will- 
ing to hold so much communion with them as they can, and 
to consult how to manage their differences to the least dis- 
advantage to the common truths and Christian cause ; which 
they all profess to own and prefer. 

And here I may not silently pass by an uncharitable 
slander, which some brethren, of the prelatical judgment, 
have divulged of me far and near; viz. That while I per- 
suade men to accommodation, it was long of me that the 
late proclamation or ordinance was procured for silencing 
all sequestered ministers, viz. By the late Worcestershire 
Petition, which they say was the occasion of it ; and they 
falsely report that I altered it after the subscription. To 
which I say, (1.) It was the petition of many Justices, and 
the Grand Jury, and thousands of the county, as well as 
me. (2.) There is not a word in it, nor ever was, against any 
godly man ; but only that the notoriously insufficient and 
scandalous should not be permitted to meddle with the mys- 
teries of Christ, (especially the Sacraments ;) which we de- 
sire should have impartially extended to all parties^ alike. 
And so much of this as was granted, we cannot but be 
thankful for, whosoever grudge at it ; and wish it had been 


fully granted. (3.) I desire nothing more, than that all able, 
godly, faithful ministers, of what side soever, in our late State 
differences, may not only have liberty, but encouragement ; 
for the church hath not any such to spare, were they ten 
times more. In a word, I would have those, of what party 
soever, to have liberty to preach the Gospel, whose errors 
or miscarriages are not so great, as that probably they will 
do as much hurt as good. 

Brethren, I crave your pardon for the infirmities of this 
Address ; and earnestly longing for the success of your la- 
bours, I shall daily beg of God, that he would persuade you 
to those duties which I have here requested you to perform, 
and would preserve and prosper you therein, against all the 
serpentine subtlety and rage that is now engaged to oppose 
and hinder you. 

Your unworthy fellow-servant, 


April 15, 1656. 


The reason why I have called this volume the first part of 
the book is, because I intend, if God enable me, and give 
me time, a second part; containing the duty of the people in 
relation to their pastors ; and therein to shew, 1 . The right and 
necessity of a ministry. 2. The way to know which is the 
true church and ministry, and how we justify our own call- 
ing to this office ; and how false prophets and teachers must be 
discerned. 3. How far the people must assist the pastors in 
the Gospel, and the pastors put them on, and make use of 
them to that end. And, 4. How far the people must submit 
to their pastors, and what other duty they must perform in 
that relation. But because my time and strength are so un- 
certain, that I know not whether I may yet live to publish 
my yet imperfect preparations on this subject; I dare not 
let this first part come into your hands, without a word of 
caution and advice, lest you should misunderstand or mis- 
apply it. # 

The Caution that I must give you, is in two parts. 

* It does not appear that the author ever published the above. — Ed. 


1. Entertain not any unworthy thoughts of your pastors, 
because we here confess our own sins, and aggravate them 
in order to our humiliation and reformation. You know they 
are men, and not angels that are put by God in the office of 
church-guides: and you know that we are imperfect men. 
Let Papists and Quakers pretend to a sinless perfection ; 
we dare not do it ; but confess that we are sinners. And 
we should heartily rejoice to find the signs of imperfect sin- 
cerity in them that so confidently pretend to sinless per- 
fection ; yea, if in some of them we could find but common 
honesty, and a freedom from some of the crying abomina- 
tions of the ungodly ; such as cruel bloodiness, lying, 
slandering, railing, Stc. If it would make a man perfect, to 
say he is perfect; and if it would deliver a man from sin, to 
say, I have no sin ; I confess this were an easy way to per- 

But for our parts we believe, that he that saith he hath 
" no sin, deceiveth himself, and the truth is not in him." 
(1 John i. 8.) " And that in many things we offend all." 
(James iii. 2.) And we profess to know but in part, and to 
have our treasure in earthen vessels, and to be insufficient 
for these things. And therefore see that you love and imi- 
tate the holiness of your pastors, but take not occasion of 
disesteeming or reproaching them for their infirmities. 

2. I take it to be my duty, as a watchman for your 
souls, to give you notice of a train that is laid for your per- 
dition. The Papists who have found that they could not 
well play their game here with open face, have masked them- 
selves, and taken the vizards of several sects ; and by the 
advantage of the licence of the times, are busily at work 
abroad in this land, to bring you back to Rome. What 
names or garb soever they bear, you may strongly conjec- 
ture which be they by these marks following: (1.) Their 
main design is to unsettle you, and to make you believe that 
you have been all this while misled, and to bring you to a 
loss in a matter of Religion; that when they have made you 
dislike or suspect that which you had, or seemed to have, 
you may be more respective of theirs. (2.) To which end 
their next means is to bring you to suspect first, and then 
to contend and reject your teachers. For, saith Rushvvorth, 
one of their writers, " Not one of ten among the people, in- 
deed, do ground their faith on the Scripture, but on the 


credit of their teachers," &c. ; therefore they think, if they 
can bring you to suspect your teachers, and so to reject 
them, they may deal with the sheep without the shepherds, 
and dispute with the scholars without their teachers, and 
quickly make you say what they list. To this end their de- 
sign is partly to cry them down as false teachers ; (but how 
are they baffled when it comes to the proof!) and partly to 
persuade you that they have no calling to the work ; and urge 
them to prove their calling ; (which how easily can we do !) and 
partly to work upon your covetous humour, by crying down 
tithes, and all established mainienance for the ministry. 
And withal they are busy yet in contriving how to procure 
the governors of the nation to withdraw their public counte- 
nance and maintenance, and sacrilegiously to deprive the 
Church of the remnant that is devoted to it for God, and to 
leave the ministry on equal terms with themselves, or all 
other sects (which in Spain, Italy, France, &c. they will be 
loath to do). And time will shew you, whether God will 
suffer them to prevail with the governors of this sinful land, 
to betray the Gospel into their hands or not. But we have 
reason to hope for better things. (3.) Their next design is to 
diminish the authority and sufficiency of Scripture ; and be- 
cause they dare not yet speak out, to tell us what they set 
up in its stead ; some of them will tell you of new prophets, 
and revelations ; and some of them will tell you, that in that 
they are yet at a loss themselves, that is, they are of no re- 
ligion ; and then are no Christians. I shall now proceed no 
further in the discovery ; but only warn you, as you love 
your souls, keep close to Scripture and a faithful ministry ; 
and despise not your shepherds if you would escape the 
wolves. If any question our calling, send them to our writ- 
ings, where we have fully proved them ; or send them to us, 
who are ready to justify them against any Papist or heretic 
upon earth. And let me tell you, that for all the sins of 
the ministry which we have here confessed, the known 
world hath not a more able, faithful, godly ministry than 
Britain hath at this day. If at the Synod of Dort the ' Cle- 
rus Anglicanus' was called ' stupor mundi/ before all those 
ignorant and scandalous ones were cast out ; what may we 
now call it? Brethren, let me deal freely with you ! The 
ungrateful contempt of a faithful ministry is the shame of 
the faces of thousands in this land ! And if thorough re- 


pentance prevent it not, they shall better know in hell whe- 
ther such ministers were their friends or foes, and what they 
would have done for them, if their counsel had been heard. 
When "the messengers of God were mocked, and his words 
despised, and his prophets abused, the wrath of the Lord 
arose on the Israelites themselves ; and there was no reme- 
dy." (2 Chron. xxxvi. 16.) Shall ministers study, preach 
and pray for you, and shall they be despised ? When they 
have the God of heaven and their conscience to witness, 
that they desire not yours but you, and are willing to spend 
and be spent for your sakes ; that all the wealth in the world 
would not be regarded by them in comparison of your sal- 
vation, and that all their labours and sufferings are for your 
sake ; if yet they be requited with your contempt, or 
scorn, or discouraging unteachableness, see who will be 
the losers in the end. When God himself shall justify 
them with a Well done good and faithful servant; let 
those that reproached, despised, and condemned them, 
defend their faces from shame, and their consciences from 
the accusations of their horrid ingratitude, as well as they 
can ! Read the Scriptures and see, whether they that obeyed 
God's messengers, or they that despised and disobeyed them 
sped best. And if any of the seducers will tell you, that 
we are not the ministers of Christ ; leave them not, till 
they tell you, which is his true church and ministry, and 
where they are ? and by that time they have well answered 
you, you may know more of their minds. 

3. My last advice to you is this : See that you obey your 
faithful teachers, and improve their help for your salvation 
while you have it ; and take heed that you refuse not to 
learn when they would teach you. And in particular, see 
that you refuse not to submit to them in this duty of pri- 
vate instruction, which is mentioned in this treatise. Go to 
them when they desire you, and be thankful for their help. 
Yea, and at other times when you need their advice, go to 
them of your own accord, and ask it. Their office is to be 
your guides in the way of life : if you seek not their direction, 
it seems you despise salvation itself, or else you are so proud 
as to think yourselves sufficient to be your own directors. 
Shall God in mercy send you leaders to teach you and con- 
duct you in the way to glory, and will you shortly send 
them back, or refuse their assistance, and say, We have no 


need of their direction ? Is it for their own ease or gain 
that they trouble you, or is it for your own everlasting gain? 
Remember that Christ hath said to his messengers, " He 
that despiseth you, despiseth me." If your obstinate refusal 
of the instruction do put them to bear witness against you 
in judgment, and to say, ' Lord, I would have taught these 
ignorant sinners, and admonished these worldly, impenitent 
wretches, but they would not so much as come to me, nor 
speak with me !' Look you to it, and answer it as you can : for 
my part, I would not be then in your case for all the world! But 
I shall say no more to you on this point, but only desire you 
to read and consider the exhortation, which is published in 
our Agreement itself, which speaks to you more fully ; and 
if you read this book, remember the duty which you find to 
belong to the ministers doth shew also what belongs to 
yourselves : for it cannot be our duty to teach, catechise, 
advise, &c. if it be not yours to hear, learn, and seek advice. 
If you have any temptation to question our office, read the 
London Ministers' ' Jus Divinum Minister. Evang.' And 
Mr. Thomas Ball's book for the Ministry. If you doubt of 
the duty of learning the principles, and being catechised, 
read the London Ministers' late Exhortation to Catechising ; 
and Mr. Zach. Crofton's book for Catechising (now newly 

" There will (saith Dr. Hammond) be little matter of 
doubt or controversy, but that private, frequent, spiritual 
conference betwixt fellow Christians, but especially (and in 
matters of high concernment and difficulty) between the 
presbyter and those of his charge, even in the time of health ; 
and peculiarly that part of it which is spent in the discus- 
sion of every man's special sins and infirmities, and inclina- 
tions, may prove very useful and advantageous (in order to 
spiritual directions, reproof and comfort) to the making the 
man of God perfect. And to tell truth, if the pride and self- 
conceit of some, and wretchlessness of others, the bashful- 
ness of the third sort, the nauseating, and instant satiety of 
any good in a fourth ; the follies of men, and the artifices 
of Satan, has not put this practice quite out of fashion among 
us, there is no doubt but more good might be done by minis- 
ters this way, than is now done by any other means separa- 
ted from the use of this particularly, than by that of public 
preaching, (which yet need not be neglected the more when - 


this is used) which hath now the fate to be cried up, and 
almost solely depended on, it being the more likely way, as 
Quinctilian saith, (comparing public and private teaching of 
youth,) to fill narrow-mouthed bottles, (and such are the 
most of us,) by taking them single in the hand, and pouring 
in water into each, than by setting them altogether, and 
throwing never so many bottles of water on them."* 

" The ignorant soul (saith Gurnal) feels no such smart : 
if the minister stay till he sends for him to instruct him, he 
may sooner hear the bell go for him, than any messenger 
come for him : You must seek them out, and not expect that 
they will come to you. These are a sort of people that are 
more afraid of their remedy than their disease, and study 
more to hide their ignorance, than how to have it cured ; 
which should make us pity them the more, because they 
can pity themselves so little. I confess it is no small unhap- 
piness to some of us, who have to do with a multitude, that 
we have neither time nor strength to make our addresses to 
every particular person in our congregations, and attend on 
them as their needs require ; and yet cannot well satisfy our 
consciences otherwise. But let us look to it, that though 
we cannot do to the height of what we would, we be not 
found wanting in what we may. Let not the difficulty of our 
province make us like some, who when they see they have 
more work upon their hands than they can well dispatch, 
grow sick of it, and sit down out of a lazy despondency, and 

do just nothing. O ! if once our hearts were filled with 

zeal for God, and compassion to our people's souls, we 
would up and be doing, though we could lay but a brick a 
day ; and God will be with us. It may be, you who find a peo- 
ple rude and sottishly ignorant, like stones in the quarry and 
trees unfelled, shall not bring the work to such perfection in 
your days as you desire! Yet, as David did for Solomon, thou 
mayst by thy pains in teaching and instructing them, pre- 
pare materials for another, who shall rear the temple. "f 


April 16, 1656. 

* Power of the Keys, c.iv. s. 104. p. 113. 
t The Christian in complete Armour, page 235. 




ACTS xx. 28. 

Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the Jlock, over the 
which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the 
church of God, which he hath purchased ivith his oivn blood. 


Reverend and dearly beloved Brethren, 

Though some think that Paul's exhortation to these elders, 
doth prove him their ruler, we hope, who are this day to 
speak to you from the Lord, that we may freely do the like 
without any jealousies of such a conclusion. Though we 
teach our people as officers set over them in the Lord, yet 
may we teach one another as brethren, in office as well as 
in faith. If the people of our charge must teach and admo- 
nish, and exhort each other daily, (Col.iii. 16 ; Heb.iii. 13,) 
no doubt teachers may do it to one another without any su- 
premacy of power or degree. We have the same sins to kill, 
and the same graces to be quickened and corroborated, as 
our people have : we have greater works than they to do, and 
greater difficulties to overcome, and no less necessity is laid 
upon us ; and therefore we have need to be warned and 
awakened, if not to be instructed, as well as they. So that 
I confess, I think such meetings should be more frequent, 
if we had nothing else to do together but this. And as plainly 
and closely should we deal with one another, as the most se- 
rious among us do with our flocks ; lest if only they have 


the sharp admonitions and reproofs, they only should be 
sound and lively in the faith. That this was Paul's judg- 
ment, I need no other proof, than this rousing, heart-melting 
exhortation to the Ephesian elders : — a short sermon, but 
not soon learned. Had the bishops and teachers of the church 
but thoroughly learned this short exhortation, though with 
neglect of many a volume which hath taken up their time, 
and helped them to greater applause in the world ; how 
happy had it been for the church and them ! 

Our present straits of time will allow me to touch upon 
no part of it but my text ; which, supposing Paul the speaker, 
and the Ephesian elders his hearers, containeth, 1. A two- 
fold duty. 2. A fourfold motive to enforce it. 

The first duty is, to take heed to themselves ; the second is, 
to take heed to all thejlock. And the main work for the flock 
which is thus needfully to be done, is expressed, even to feed 
them, or play the shepherds for them. 

The motives closely laid together are these; — 1. From 
their engagement and relation ; they are the overseers of the 
flock : it is their office.— 2. From the efficient cause, even 
the authority and excellency of him that called them to it ; 
which was the Holy Ghost. — 3. From the dignity of the ob- 
ject, which is the matter of their charge : it is the church of 
God, the most excellent and honourable society in the world. 
— 4. From the tender regard Christ has of his church, and 
the price it cost him: he purchased it with his own blood. 
This motive is partly subordinate to the former. 

The terms of the text have no such difficulty as to allow 
me the spending of much of our little time for their expli- 
cation. n<5fxre^av, here is, 'maxima curaetdiligentia animum 
adhibere :' irolfjiviov, as Jansenius and others note, a little 
Jiock. It signifieth not here the whole church of Christ, which 
elsewhere is called tto'i/hviov, in reference to Christ the great 
shepherd; but it signifieth that particular church which these 
elders had a special charge of. Whether that was one or 
many, we shall inquire anon. What is meant by ' Ettkjkottsq, 
bishops or overseers here, is thus far agreed on, that they 
were officers appointed to teach and guide those churches in 
the way to salvation ; and that they are the same persons that 
are called elders of the church of Ephesus before, and bishops 
here : of whom more anon. The verb iQtTo, seemeth here 
to import both the qualification, ordination, and particular 


designation of these elders or bishops to their charge ; for 
we must not limit and exclude without necessity. The Holy- 
Ghost did by all these three ways make them overseers of 
their flocks. (1.) By qualifying them with such gifts as 
made them fit for it. (2.) By directing the minds of those 
that ordained them to the ministry. (3.) By disposing both 
their own minds, and the ordainers, and the people's for the 
affixing them to that particular church, rather than another. 
" Dicit eos constitutos a. Spiritu Sancto," saith Grotius, " quia 
constituti erant ab Apostolis plenis Spiritu Sancto, quanquam 
approbante plebe*:" But no doubt, in those times the Holy 
Ghost did give especial directions, as by internal oracle, for 
the disposal of particular teachers ; as we read in the case of 
Saul and Barnabas, and for the provision of particular con- 

UoifxaivEiv tt)v 6/c/cArjm'av, is by some translated barely to 
feed, as ours here ; by others only to rule ; but indeed as 
Gerhard, Jansenius, and others note, it is not to be restrained 
to either, but containeth in it all the pastoral work. In one 
word it is ' Pastorem agere,' to do the work of a pastor to the 
flock. Whether it be the Ephesian congregation before 
called tto'i/hviov, that is here called e/c/cArjaiav rs Oes, or whether 
it be the universal church which they may be said to feed 
and rule, by doing their part towards it, in their station (as 
a justice of peace may be said to rule the land), is not a mat- 
ter of much moment to be stood upon ; but the former seems 
most likely to be the sense : TTzpizirovooaTo, is both ' acquisi- 
vit et asseruit et in suam vindicavit.' It is said to be done 
by the blood of God, by a communication of the names of 
the distinct natures : and it affords us an argument against 
the Arians, seeing Christ is here expressly called God. 

But it is necessary before we proceed to instruction and 
application, that we be resolved more clearly who those 
elders or bishops are that Paul doth here exhort. I am de- 
sirous to do all that lawfully I may to avoid controversy, es- 
pecially in this place, and on such occasions ; but it is here 
unavoidable, because all our following application will much 
depend upon the explication : and if you shall once suppose 
that none of this exhortation was spoken to men in your 
office and capacity ; no wonder if you pass it over and let it 
alone, and take all that I shall hence gather for your prac- 
tice, as impertinent. This text was wont to be thought most 


apt to awaken ministers of the Gospel to their duty ; but of 
late the negligent are gratified with the news (for news it is,) 
that only bishops in a super-eminent sense, whom we usually 
call Prelates, are spoken to in this text; and not only so, but 
that no other text of Scripture doth speak to any other church- 
presbyters (certainly) but them ; yea, that no other were in 
being in Scripture-times. Here are two questions before us 
to be resolved. 1. Whether the elders here mentioned, were 
the elders of one church of Ephesus, or of all that part of Asia, 
that is, of every church one ? This is but in order to the se- 
cond, which is, Whether these elders were only prelates, or 
such bishops as among us have carried that name ? 

The reasons that may be brought to prove these to be pre- 
lates of the several cities of Asia, and that the nav to ttoi/uiviov, 
is those many cities, are these following. 1. The affirmation 
of Irenreus. To which we say, (1.) There might be many 
elders of Ephesus present, though some from the nearest 
cities were there also ; which is all that Irenseus affirms. (2.) 
We oppose to the saying of Irenaeus the ordinary exposition 
of the ancients : the most singular is of least authority, 
' cseteris paribus.' 

2. It may be said that ' Paul calls them to remember how 
he had been among them three years, not ceasing to warn 
every one, &c. But he was not three years at Ephesus only, 
but in Asia, &c.' Answ. He may be said to be where his 
chief place of abode is. He that resideth ordinarily at 
Ephesus, though he thence make frequent excursions to the 
neighbouring parts, may well be said to abide so long at Ephe- 
sus. And the Ephesian elders might well be acquainted 
with his industry round about them, though there is no cer- 
tainty that he mentioneth any more than what he did with 
them. For what he did in Ephesus he did in Asia, as that 
which is done in London, is done in England. 

Object. 3. ' But it is meant of all Asia ; for he saith, 
" among whom I have gone," &c.' Answ. (1.) As though 
Paul might not go preaching the Gospel in Ephesus. (2.) If 
he went further, the Ephesian elders might accompany him. 
Object. A. 'Ephesus was the metropolis, and therefore all Asia 
might be thence denominated,' Answ. (1.) It must be proved 
that it was so denominated. All France is not called Paris, 
nor all England London. (2.) It is not whole countries, but a 
church that Paul speaks of: and it is yet unproved that the 


church of one city had then any such dependance on the 
church of another city, as lesser cities had upon the Me- 

Our reasons that make us think that either all, or many 
of these elders, or bishops were over the particular church 
of Ephesus, are these, 1. It is expressly said in the text, 
thatthey wereElders of the Church, referring to Ephesus next 
before-mentioned. "He sent to Ephesus, and called the 
elders of the church." And it cannot be proved in all the 
New Testament that the bishops of other churches and 
cities, are called bishops of a greater city, because it is the 
metropolis. 2. Here is mention but of one church and one 
flock, in the singular number, and not of many ; when yet, 
it is acknowledged that he speaketh not of the universal 
church (for then that language were not strange), but of a 
particular church. And it is the use of the apostles to speak 
still in the plural number, when they mention the particular 
churches of many cities, and not to call them all one church 
or flock. 3. And it may seem else that the Elder of each 
one of these cities hath a charge of all the rest. For they 
are required to take heed of all the flock : which though it 
may possibly be by taking every one his part, yet if one 
should fail, the rest seem to have his charge upon them, 
which is more than they can do. 4. Paul was now in so great 
haste in his journey to Jerusalem, that Luke measureth it out 
by the days. And it is not likely that Paul could in such 
haste call the elders from the several cities of Asia. If he 
had passed through the British seas in such haste, and 
lodged at Plymouth, and had thence called to him the elders 
of Paris, he must have staid there many days or weeks, be-, 
fore he could have gathered also the bishops of Rhemes, 
Aries, Orleans, and the rest of France. 5. The numbers of 
prophets and gifted men in those times, and the state of other 
particular churches, doth give us sufficient reason to conjec- 
ture that Ephesus was not so scant of help, as to have but 
one presbyter. Grotius thought that Timothy with his co- 
presbyters, made this appearance ; but others have given 
very probable reasons that Timothy was none of them. 6. 
The judgment of Expositors, ancient and modern, running 
so commonly the other] way, commandeth some respect 
from us. 

VOL. XIV. e 


But, I confess the matter seemeth but conjectural on 
both sides, and neither part to have a certainty; but if pro- 
bability may carry it, there seems to be many of the elders 
of Ephesus, though possibly some of the neighbouring cities 
might be with them. But let this go how it will, it mak- 
eth not much to the main matter in hand. What if Ephesus 
and each other city, or church, had then but one presbyter, 
will it follow that he was a prelate ? No ; but the contrary : 
it will prove that there were none such at all, if there were no 
subject presbyters. For there is no king without subjects ; 
nor master without servants. 1. The stream of ancient and 
modern Expositors do take this text to speak of presbyters in 
the common sense. And we must be cautious, before we 
be singular in the expounding of so many texts as speak the 
same way. 2. If men be put now, in the end of the world, 
to find out anew foundation for Prelacy, supposeing it hath 
been amiss defended till now, and all these texts (except by 
one or two) amiss expounded, it will occasion the shaking 
of the frame itself. 3. But the best is, we begin to be pretty 
well agreed, at least about the whole government that ' de 
facto' was in being in Scripture-times, For, (1.) It is at 
last confessed, that the word Presbyter is not certainly taken 
any where in the New Testament, for one that is subject to 
a bishop, having not power of ordination or jurisdiction; and 
that no such presbyters were in being in Scripture-times. 
And by what authority they were since elected, let them 
prove that are concerned in it. (2.) We are agreed now that 
they were the same persons who in Scripture are called 
bishops and presbyters. (3.) And that these persons had the 
power of ordination and jurisdiction. (4.) And that these 
persons were not the bishops of many particular churches, 
but one only : they ruled not many assemblies ordinarily 
meeting for church communion : for there could no such 
meetings be kept up without a bishop or presbyter to ad- 
minister the ordinances of Christ in each. And if there 
were in a diocese but one bishop, and no other presbyters in 
Scripture-times, then it must needs be that a diocese con- 
tained but one ordinary church-assembly, and that ' de facto ' 
no bishop in Scripture-times had under him any presbyters, 
nor more such assemblies than one : that is, they ruled the 
particular churches just as our parish pastors do. So that 
we are satisfied that we go that way that the apostles estab- 


lished, and was used ' de facto' in Scripture-times. And if 
any will prove the lawfulness of latter mutations, or will 
prove that the apostles gave power to these particular pastors 
to degenerate into another sort of officers hereafter, accord- 
ing to the cogency of their evidence, we shall believe it. In 
the meantime, desiring to be guided by the Word of God, 
and to go upon sure ground, and take only so much as is 
certain, we hold where we are, and are glad that we are so 
far agreed. Yet not presuming to censure all superior epis- 
copacy, nor refusing to obey any man that commandeth us 
to do our duty, but resolving to do our own work in faith- 
fulness and peace. 

For my own part, I have ever thought it easier to be go- 
verned than to govern; and I am ready, as the British told 
Austin, to be obedient to any man in, and for the Lord. Nor 
can I think that any government can be burdensome, which 
Christ appointeth, but all beneficial to us ; as making our 
burden lighter and not heavier, and helping and not hinder- 
ing us in the way to heaven. Were Christ's work but 
thoroughly done, I should be the most backward in contend- 
ing, who should have the doing of it. Let us agree but on 
this one thing which is plain here in my text, That the 
churches or flocks should be no greater than the pastors can 
personally oversee, so that they may " take heed to all the 
flock," and then let but able, faithful men be the overseers, 
that will make the word of God the rule, and lay out them- 
selves for the saving of men's souls, and I am resolved never 
to contend with such about the business of superiority ; but 
cheerfully to obey them in all things lawful, if they require 
my obedience. If the difference were not more about the 
matters commanded, and the work itself to be done, than 
who should command it: methinks humble men should be 
easily agreed. Would they but lay by all needless human 
impositions and obtrusions, and be contented with the suffi- 
cient Word of God, and not make new work to necessitate, 
new canons and authorities to impose it, but be content with 
the Gospel simplicity, and let us take that for a sufficient 
way to heaven that Peter and Paul went thither in ; I think, 
I should not disobey such a bishop, though I were satisfied of 
his differing order or degree. Yea, if he were addicted to some 
encroaching usurpation of more power than is meet, would 
he but forbear the 'Ecce duo gladii,' and come to us only 


with the sword of the Spirit, which will admit of fair debates, 
and works only upon the conscience, I know no reason much 
to fear such power, though it were undue. But enough 
of this. 

The observations which the text affordeth us are so ma- 
ny, that I ma.v not now stay so much as to name them ; but 
shall only lay down that one which containeth the main 
scope of the text, and take in the rest as subordinate motives 
in the handling of that, in the method in which the apostle 
doth here deliver them to us. 

Doct. ' The pastors or overseers of the churches of Christ, 
must take great heed both to themselves, and to all their 
flocks in all the parts of their pastoral work.' 

The method which we shall follow in handling this point, 
shall be this : I: I shall briefly open to ^ou the terms of the 
subject: what is meant by Pastors and Churches. II. I shall 
shew you what it is to take heed to ourselves, and wherein 
it must be done. III. I shall give you some brief reasons 
of that part of the point. IV. I shall shew you, what it is 
to take heed to all the flock in our pastoral work, and 
wherein it must be done. V. I shall make some application 
of all. 

HL What the words, Pastor, Bishop, and Church do signify, 
I will not waste time to tell you, they being so well known. 
As for the things signified : By a pastor or bishop here is 
meant, an officer appointed by Christ for the ordinary teach- 
ing and guiding a particular church and all its members, in 
order to their salvation, and the pleasing of God. 

Christ appointeth the office itself by his laws. The per- 
son he calleth to it by his qualifying gifts, providential dis- 
posal, secret impulses, and ordinarily by the ordination of 
his present officers, and the acceptance of the church. 

Teaching and guidance contain the main parts at least 
of the work to which they are designed. The particulars we 
shall further stand upon anon. 

A particular church is the object of their work ; by which 
they are distinguished from apostolical, unfixed, itinerant 

They are the stated, ordinary teachers of such a church ; 
by which they are differenced, both from private men, who 
do occasionally teach, and from the aforesaid itinerant mi- 
nisters, and do but ' in transitu/ or seldom teach a particular 


church. The subject is the matters of salvation and obedience 
to God, and the end is salvation itself, and the pleasing of 
God therein ; by which work and ends the office is distin- 
guished from all other offices, as magistrates, schoolmasters, 
&c. ; though they also have the same remote or ultimate 

By the flock and church is meant that particular society 
of Christians of which these bishops or elders have the 
charge, associated for personal communion in God's public 
worship, and fo*r other mutual assistance in the way to salva-, 
tion. Exact definitions we may not now stand on ; we have 
more fully made some attempts that way heretofore. 

II. Let us next consider, What it is to take heed to our- 
selves, and wherein it must be done. And here I may well, 
for brevity sake, adjoin the application to the explication, it 
being about the matter of our practice, that I may be put to 
go over, as little as may be, of the same things again. Take 
therefore I beseech you all this explication, as so much ad- 
vice and exhortation to the duty, and let your hearts attend 
it as well as your understandings. 

1. Take heed to yourselves, lest you should be void of 
that saving grace of God which you offer to others, and be 
strangers to the effectual workings of that Gospel which 
you preach ; and lest while you proclaim the necessity of a 
Saviour to the world, your own hearts should neglect him, 
and you should miss of an interest in him and his saving 
benefits ! Take heed to yourselves, lest you perish, while 
you call upon others to take heed of perishing ! and lest 
you famish yourselves while you prepare their food. Though 
there be a promise of shining as the stars to those that turn 
many to righteousness, (Dan. xii. 3,) that is but on supposi- 
tion that they be first turned to it themselves : such pro- 
mises are meant, ' cseteris paribus, et suppositis supponendis.' 
Their own sincerity in the faith is the condition of their glory 
simply considered, though their great ministerial labours 
may be a condition of the promise of their greater glory : many 
a man hath warned others that they come not to that place 
of torment, which yet they hasted to themselves : many a 
preacher is now in hell, that hath an hundred times called 
upon his hearers to use the utmost care and diligence to 
escape it. Can any reasonable man imagine that God 
should save men for offering salvation to others, while they 


refused it themselves; and for telling others those truths 
which they themselves neglected and abused ? Many a tailor 
goes in rags, that maketh costly clothes for others ; and 
many a cook scarcely licks his fingers, when he hath dressed 
for others the most costly dishes. Believe it, brethren, 
God never saved any man for being a preacher, nor because 
he was an able preacher; but because he was a justified, 
sanctified man, and consequently faithful in his Master's 
work. Take heed therefore to yourselves first, that you be 
that which you persuade your hearers to be, and believe 
that which you persuade them daily to believe ; and have 
heartily entertained that Christ, and Spirit which you offer 
unto others. He that bid you love your neighbours as your- 
selves, did imply that you should love yourselves, and not 
hate and destroy yourselves and them. 

2. Take heed to yourselves, lest you live in those actual 
sins which you preach against in others ; and lest you be 
guilty of that which daily you condemn. Will you make it 
your work to magnify God, and when you have done, dis- 
honour him as much as others ? Will you proclaim Christ's 
governing power, and yet contemn it, and rebel yourselves ? 
Will you preach his laws, and wilfully break them ? If sin 
be evil, why do you live in it ? if it be not, why do you dis- 
suade men from it? if it be dangerous, how dare you ven- 
ture on it? if it be not, why do you tell men so? If God's 
threatenings be true, why do you not fear them ? if they be 
false, why do you trouble men needlessly with them, and 
put them into such frights without a cause? Do you know 
the judgment of God, that they that commit such things 
are worthy of death, and yet will you do them ? (Rom. i. 32.) 
Thou that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? 
Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, or 
be drunk, or covetous, art thou such thyself? Thou that 
makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dis- 
honourest thou God? (Rom. ii. 21 — 23.) What, shall the 
same tongue speak evil, that speaketh against evil ? Shall 
it censure and slander, and secretly backbite, that cries 
down these and the like in others ? Take heed to your- 
selves, lest you cry down sin and not overcome it; lest while 
you seek to bring it down in others, you bow to it, and be- 
come its slaves yourselves. For of whom a man is over- 
come, of the same is he brought into bondage. (2 Pet, ii. 19.) 


To whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his ser- 
vants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, 
or of obedience unto righteousness. (Rom. vi. 16.) It is 
easier to chide at sin, than to overcome it. 

3. Take heed also to yourselves, that you be not unfit for 
the great employments that you have undertaken. He must 
not be himself a babe in knowledge, that will teach men all 
those mysterious things that are to be known in order to 
salvation. O what qualifications are necessary for that man 
that hath such, a charge upon him as we have ! How many 
difficulties in divinity, to be opened ! yea, about the funda- 
mentals that must needs be known ! How many obscure texts 
of Scripture to be expounded ! How many duties to be done, 
wherein ourselves and others may miscarry, if in the matter, 
and end, and manner, and circumstances they be not well in 
formed ! How many sins to be avoided, which without under- 
standing and foresight cannot be done ! What a number of 
sly and subtle temptations must we open to our people's eyes, 
that they may escape them ! How many weighty and yet in- 
tricate cases of conscience have we almost daily to resolve ! 
Can so much work, and such work as this, be done by raw, 
unqualified men? O, what strong holds have we to batter, 
and how many of them ! What subtle and diligent, and ob- 
stiriate resistance must we expect at every heart we deal 
with ! Prejudice hath blocked up our way ; we can scarcely 
procure a patient hearing. They think ill of what we say while 
we are speaking it. We cannot make a breach in their ground- 
less hopes and carnal peace, but they have twenty shifts and 
seeming reasons to make it up again ; and twenty enemies that 
are seeming friends are ready to help them. We dispute not 
with them upon equal terms : but we have children to reason 
with, that cannot understand us ; we have distracted men (in 
spirituals) to reason with, that will baul us down with raging- 
nonsense : we have wilful, unreasonable people to deal with, 
that when they are silenced, they are never the more con- 
vinced ; and when they can give you no reason, they will 
give you their resolution ; like the man that Salvian had 
to deal with, (lib. iv. de Gubernat. p. 133.) that being re- 
solved to devour a poor man's means, and being entreated 
by Salvian to forbear, told him, He could not grant his re- 
quest, for he had made a vow to take it ; so that the preacher 
* audita religiosilsimi sceleris ratione' was fain to depart. We 


dispute the case against men's wills and sensual passions, 
as much as against their understandings ; and these have 
neither reason nor ears : their best arguments are, ' I will 
not believe you, nor all the preachers in the world in such 
things. I will not change my mind or life: I will not leave 
my sins ; I will never be so precise, come on it what will.' 
We have not one, but multitudes of raging passions and 
contradicting enemies to dispute against at once, whenever 
we go about the conversion of a sinner ; as if a man were to 
dispute in a fair or tumult, or in the midst of a crowd of 
violent scolds; what equal dealing, and what success were 
here to be expected ? Why, such is our work, and yet a 
work that must be done. 

O, dear brethren, what men should we be in skill, resolu- 
tion, and unwearied diligence, that have all this to do ? Did 
Paul cry out, " Who is sufficient for these things ?" (2 Cor. 
ii. 16,) and shall we be proud, or careless and lazy, as if we 
were sufficient? As Peter saith to every Christian in consider- 
ation of our great approaching change, (2Pet.iii. 11,) "What 
manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and 
godliness ?" So may I say to every minister, seeing all these 
things lie upon our hands, what manner of persons ought we 
to be in all holy endeavours and resolutions for our work ! 
This is not a burden for the shoulder of a child. What skill 
doth every part of our work require, and of how much mo- 
ment is every part! To preach a sermon L think is not the 
hardest part; and yet what skill is necessary to make plain the 
truth, to convince the hearers ; to let in the irresistible light 
into their consciences, and to keep it there, and drive all 
home ; to screw the truth into their minds, and work Christ 
into their affections : to meet every objection that gainsays, 
and clearly to resolve it ; to drive sinners to a stand, and 
make them see there is no hope, but they must unavoidably 
be converted or condemned : and to do all this so for lan- 
guage and manner as beseems our work, and yet as is most 
suitable to the capacities of our hearers ; this, and a great 
deal more that should be done in every sermon, should surely 
be done with a great deal of holy skill. So great a God, 
whose message we deliver, should be honoured by our de- 
livery of it ! It is a lamentable case, that in a message 
from the God of heaven, of everlasting consequence to the 
souls of men, we should behave ourselves so weakly, so un- 


handsomely, so imprudently, or so slightly, that the whole 
business should miscarry in our hands, and God be disho- 
noured, and his work disgraced, and sinners rather hardened 
than converted, and all this much through our weakness or 
neglect ! How many a time have carnal hearers gone jeer- 
ing home, at the palpable and dishonourable failings of the 
preacher ! How many sleep under us, because our hearts 
and tongues are sleepy ; and we bring not with us so much 
skill and zeal as to awake them ! 

Moreover, what skill is necessary to defend the truth 
against gainsayers, and to deal with disputing cavillers ac- 
cording to their several modes and cases ! and if we fail 
through weakness, how will they insult ! but this is the 
smallest matter : but who knows how many weak ones may 
be perverted by the success, to their own undoing and the 
trouble of the church ? What skill is there necessary to 
deal in private with one poor ignorant soul for their conver- 
sion ! (Of which more in the end.) 

O brethren, do you not shrink and tremble under the 
sense of all this work? Will a common measure of holy 
skill and ability of prudence, and other qualifications serve 
for such a task as this ? I know necessity may cause the 
church to tolerate the weak ; but woe to us if we tolerate 
and indulge our own weakness. Doth not reason and con- 
science tell you, that if you dare venture on so high a work 
as this, you should spare no pains to befitted to perform it? 
It is not now and then an idle snatch, or taste of studies 
that will serve to make a sound divine. I know that lazi- 
ness hath lately learned to pretend the lowness of all our 
studies, and how wholly, and only the Spirit must qualify 
and assist us to the work : and so, as Salvian saith in an- 
other case, (lib. iv. p. 134,) ' authorem qnodammodo sui 
sceleris Deum faciunt :' As if God commanded us the use 
of the means, and then would warrant us to neglect them ! 
As if it were his way to cause us to thrive in a course of 
idleness ; and to bring us to knowledge by dreams when we 
are asleep, or to take us up into heaven, and shew us his 
counsels, while we think of no such matter, but are rootino- 
in the earth. O that men should dare so sinfully by their 
laziness to quench the Spirit ; and then pretend the Spirit 
for the doing of it. * Quis unquam,' (saith he beforemen- 
tioned,) ' crederet usque in hanc contumeliam Dei, progres- 


suram esse humanse cupiditatis (ignaviae) audaciam? ut id 
ipsum in quo Christo injuriam faciunt, dicant se ob Christi 
nomen esse facturos? O inestimabile facinus et prodigio- 
sura !' God hath required of us that we be " not slothful 
in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." (Rom. 
xii. 11.) Such we must provoke our hearers to be, and. 
such we must be ourselves. O therefore, brethren, lose no 
time : study, and pray, and confer, and practise ; for by 
these four ways your abilities must be increased. Take 
heed to yourselves, lest you are weak through your own 
negligence, and lest you mar the work of God by your weak- 
ness. " As man is, so is his strength." (Judges viii. 21.) 

4. Moreover, take heed to yourselves, lest your example 
contradict your doctrine, and lest you lay such stumbling- 
blocks before the blind, as may be the occasion of their ruin ; 
lest you may unsay that with your lives, which you say with 
your tongues ; and be the greatest hinderers of the success 
of your own labours. It much hindereth our work, when 
other men are all the week long contradicting to poor peo- 
ple in private, that which we have been speaking to them 
from the word of God in public ; because we cannot be at 
hand to manifest their folly : but it will much more hin- 
der, if we contradict ourselves, and if your actions give your 
tongue the lie, and if you build up an hour or two with your 
mouths, and all the week after pull down with your hands ! 
This is the way to make men think that the word of God is 
but an idle tale, and to make preaching seem no better than 
prating. He that means as he speaks, will surely do as he 
speaks. One proud, surly, lordly word ; one needless con- 
tention, one covetous action may cut the throat of many a 
sermon, and blast the fruit of all that you have been doing. 
Tell me, brethren, in the fear of God, do you regard the suc- 
cess of your labours, or do you not? Do you long to see it 
upon the souls of your hearers ? [f you do not, what do you 
preach for, what do you study, and what do you call your- 
selves the ministers of Christ for? But if you do, then surely 
you cannot find in your heart to mar your work for a thing 
of nought! What, do you regard the success of your la- 
bours, and yet will not part with a little to the poor ; nor put 
up with an injury, or a foul word, nor stoop to the meanest, 
nor forbear your passionate or lordly carriage, no not for the 
winning of souls, and attaining the end of all your labours i 


You much regard the success indeed, that will sell it at so 
cheap a rate, or will not do so small a matter to attain it! 

It is a palpable error in those ministers that make such a 
disproportion between their preaching and their living, that 
they will study hard to preach exactly, and study little or 
not at all to live exactly : All the week long is little enough 
to study how to speak two hours ; and yet one hour seems 
too much to study how to live all the week. They are loath 
to misplace a word in their sermons, or to be guilty of any 
notable infirmity (and I blame them not, for the matter is 
holy and of weight); but they make nothing of misplacing 
affections, words and actions in the course of their lives. O 
how curiously have I heard some men preach, and how care- 
lessly have I seen them live ! They have been so accurate as 
to the wordy part in their own preparations, that seldom 
preaching seemed a virtue to them, that their language might 
be the more polite, and all the rhetorical jingling writers, 
they could meet with, were pressed to serve them for the 
adorning of their style, and gawds were oft their chiefest 
ornaments. They were so nice in hearing others, that no 
man pleased them that spoke as he thought, or that drowned 
not affections, or dulled not, or distempered not the heart by 
the predominant strains of a fantastic wit. And yet when 
it came to matter of practice, and they were once out of 
church, how incurious were the men, and how little did they 
regard what they said or did, so it were not so palpably gross 
as to dishonour them ! They that preached precisely, would 
not live precisely ! What difference between their pulpit 
speeches and their familiar discourse ! They that are most 
impatient of barbarisms, solecisms, and paralogisms in a 
sermon, can easily tolerate them in their conversations. 

Certainly, brethren, we have very great cause to take heed 
what we do, as well as what we say : If we be the servants 
of Christ indeed, we must not be tongue servants only, but 
must serve him with our deeds, " and be doers of the work, 
that in our deed we may be blessed." (James i. 25.) As our 
people must be " doers of the word, and not hearers only ;" 
so we must be doers and not speakers only, lest we be " de- 
ceivers of ourselves." (James i. 22.) A practical doctrine 
must be practically preached. We must study as hard how 
to live well, as how to preach well. We must think and 


think again, how to compose our lives as may most tend to 
men's salvation, as well as our sermons. When you are 
studying what to say to them, I know these are your thoughts, 
or else they are naught and to no purpose, 'How should I get 
within them ? And what shall I say that is likely most effec- 
tually to convince them, and convert them, and tend to their 
salvation?' And should you not diligently bethink yourselves, 
' How shall I live, and what shall T say and do ; and how shall 
J dispose of all that I have, as may most probably tend to the 
saving of men's souls?' Brethren, if saving souls be your 
end, you will certainly intend it as well out of the pulpit as 
in it ! If it be your end, you will live for it, and contribute 
all your endeavours to attain it : and if you do so, you will 
as well ask concerning the money in your purse, as the words 
of your mouth, ' Which way should I lay it out for the great- 
est good, especially to men's souls ?' O that this were your 
daily study, how to use your wealth, your friends, and all 
you have for God, as well as your tongues ! And then we 
should see that fruit of your labours which is never else likely 
to be seen. If you intend the end of the ministry in the 
pulpit only, then it seems you take yourselves for ministers 
no longer than you are there ; and then I think you are un- 
worthy to be esteemed such at all. 

III. Having shewed you in four particulars, how it is that 
we must take heed to ourselves, and what is comprised in this 
command; I am next to give you the reasons of it, which I 
entreat you to take as so many motives to awaken you to 
your duty, and thus apply them as we go. 

1. You have heaven to win or lose yourselves, and souls 
that must be happy or miserable for ever ; and therefore it 
concerneth you to begin at home, and take heed to yourselves 
as well as unt<5 others. Preaching well may succeed to the 
salvation of others without the holiness of your own hearts 
or lives ; it is possible at least, though less usual ; but it is 
impossible it should serve to save yourselves : Many shall 
say at that day, " Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name ?" 
(Matt. vii. 22,) who shall be answered with, " I never knew 
you, depart from me ye that work iniquity." (ver. 23.) O 
sirs, how many men have preached Christ, and perished for 
want of a saving interest in him ! How many that are now 
in hell, have told their people of the torments of hell, and 


have warned them against it! How many have preached of 
the wrath of God against sinners, that are now feeling it. 

what sadder case can there be in the world, than for a man 
that made it his very trade and calling to proclaim salvation, 
and to help others to attain it, yet after all to be himself shut 
out! Alas! that ever we should have many books in our 
libraries that tell us the way to heaven ; that we should spend 
so many years in reading those books, and studying the 
doctrine of eternal life, and yet for all this to miss it! That 
ever we should study and preach so many sermons of salva- 
tion, and yet fall short of it ! — so many sermons of damna- 
tion, and yet fall into it ! And all because we preached so 
many sermons of Christ while we neglected him; of the 
Spirit, while we resisted it ; of faith, while we did not heartily 
believe ; of repentance and conversion, while we continued 
in the state of flesh and sin ; and of a heavenly life, while 
we remained carnal and earthly ourselves. If we will be 
divines only in tongues and title, and have not the Divine 
image upon our souls, nor give up ourselves to the Divine 
honour and will, no wonder if we be separated from the 
Divine presence, and denied the fruition of God fur ever. 
Believe it, sirs, God is no respecter of persons : he saveth 
not men for their coats or callings ; a holy calling will not 
save an unholy man. If you stand at the door of the king- 
dom of grace, to light others in, and will not go in your 
selves, when you are burnt to the snuff, you will go out with 
a stink, and shall knock in vain at the gates of glory, that 
would not enter at the door ox grace. You shall then find 
that your lamps should have had the oil of grace as well as 
of ministerial gifs ; of holiness as well as of doctrine, if you 
would have had a part in the glory which you preached. Do 

1 need to tell you that preachers of the Gospel must be 
judged by the Gospel; aiW.' stand at. the same bar, and be 
sentenced on the same terms, and dealt with as severely as 
any other men ? Can you think to be saved then by your 
clergy ; and to come off by a ' legit ut clericus,' when there 
is wanting the ' credidit et vixit ut Christianus?' Alas, it 
will not be ; you know it will not ! Take heed therefore to 
yourselves for your own sakes ; seeing you have souls to save 
or lose as well as others. 

2. Take heed to yourselves, for you have a depraved 
nature, and sinful inclinations as well as others. If innocent 


Adam had need of heed, and lost himself and us for want 
of it, how much more need have we ! Sin dwelleth in us, 
when we have preached never so much against it : one de- 
gree prepareth the heart for another, and one sin inclineth 
the mind to more. If one thief be in the house, he will let 
in the rest, because they have the same disposition and de- 
sign. A spark is the beginning of a flame; and a small 
disease may bring a greater. A man that knows himself to 
be purblind, should take heed to his feet. Alas ! even in 
our hearts, as well as in our hearers, there is an averseness 
to God, a strangeness to him, unreasonable and almost un- 
ruly passions. In us there is at the best the remnants of pride, 
unbelief, self-seeking, hypocrisy, and all the most hate- 
ful, deadly sins. And doth it not then concern us to take 
heed? Is so much of the fire of hell yet unextinguished, 
that at first was kindled in us ? Are there so many traitors 
in our hearts, and is it not time for us to take heed ? You 
will scarce let your little children go themselves while they 
are weak, without calling upon them to take heed of falling. 
And alas ! how weak are those of us that seem strongest ! 
How apt to stumble at a very straw ! How small a matter 
will cast us down, by enticing us to folly ; or kindling our 
passions and inordinate desires, by perverting our judgments, 
or abating our resolutions, and cooling our zeal, and dulling 
our diligence ! Ministers are not only sons of Adam, but 
sinners against the grace of Christ, as well as others, and so 
have increased their radical sin. Those treacherous hearts 
will one time or other deceive you, if you take not heed. 
Those sins that seem to lie dead will revive : your pride and 
worldliness, and many a noisome vice will spring up, that 
you thought had been weeded out by the roots. It is most 
necessary therefore, that men of such infirmities should take 
heed to themselves, and be careful in the dieting and usage 
of their souls. 

3. And the rather also, take heed to yourselves, because 
such works as ours do put men on greater use and trial of 
their graces, and have greater temptations, than most other 
men. Weaker gifts and graces may carry a man out in a 
more even and laudable course of life, that is not put to so 
great trials. Smaller strength may serve for lighter works 
and burdens. But if you venture on the great undertakings 
of the ministry, if you will lead on the troops of Christ 


against the face of Satan and his followers ; if you will en- 
gage yourselves against principalities and powers, and spiri- 
tual wickednesses in high places ; if you undertake to rescue 
captivated sinners, and to fetch men out of the devil's paws ; 
do not think that a heedless, careless minister is fit for so 
great a work as this. You must look to come off with greater 
shame, and deeper wounds of conscience, than if you had 
lived a common life ; if you will think to go through such 
things as these with a careless soul. It is not only the work 
that calls for heed, but the workman also, that he may be fit 
for business of such weight ; we have seen by experience, 
that many men that lived as private Christians, in good re- 
putation for parts and piety, when they have taken upon 
them either military employment, or magistracy, where the 
work was above their parts, and temptations did overmatch 
their strength, they have proved scandalous disgraced men. 
And we have seen some private Christians of good note, that 
having thought too highly of their own parts, and thrust 
themselves into the ministerial office, they have been empty 
men, and alway burdens to the church, and worse than some 
that we have endeavoured to cast out. They might have 
done God more service in the station of the higher rank of 
private men, than they do among the lowest of the ministry. 
If you will venture into the midst of the enemies, and bear 
the burden and heat of the day, take heed to yourselves. 

4. And the rather also, take heed to yourselves ; because 
the tempter will make his first or sharpest onset upon you. 
If you will be the leaders against him, he will spare you no 
further than God restraineth him. Hebeareth you the great- 
est malice, that are engaged to do him the greatest mischief. 
As he hateth Christ more than any of us, because he is the 
General of the field, and the " Captain of our salvation," 
and doth more than all the world besides against the king- 
dom of darkness ; so doth he hate the leaders under him, 
more than the common soldiers on the like account (in their 
proportion) ; he knows what a rout he may make among the 
rest, if the leaders fall before their eyes. He hath long tried 
that way of fighting, neither against great or small compara- 
tively, but these ; and of smiting the shepherds, that he 
may scatter the flock ; and so great hath been his success 
this way, that he will follow it on as far as he is able. Take 
heed therefore, brethren, for the enemy hath a special eye 


upon you. You shall have his most subtle insinuations, and 
incessant solicitations, and violent assaults. As wise and 
learned as you are, take heed to yourselves lest he overwit 
you. The devil is a greater scholar than you, and a nimbler 
disputant : he can transform himself into an angel of light 
to deceive: he will get within you and trip up your heels 
before you are aware : he will play the juggler with you un- 
discerned, and cheat you of your faith or innocence, and 
you shall not know that you have lost it ; hay, he will make 
you believe it is multiplied or increased when it is lost. You 
shall see neither hook nor line, much less the subtle angler 
himself, while he is offering you his bait : and his bait 
shall be so fitted to your temper and disposition, that he will 
be sure to find advantages within you, and make your own 
principles and inclinations to betray you; and whenever he 
ruineth you, he will make you the instruments of your own 
ruin. O what a conquest will he think he hath got, if he 
can make a minister lazy and unfaithful ! if he can tempt a 
minister into covetousness or scandal, he will glory against 
the church, and say, ' These are your holy preachers : you 
see what their preciseness is, and whither it will bring them.' 
He will glory against Jesus Christ himself, and say, ' These 
are thy champions ! I can make thy chiefest servants to 
abuse thee ; I can make the stewards of thy household .un- 
faithful.' If he did so insult against God upon a false sur- 
mise, and tell him he could make Job to curse him to his 
face, what would he do if he should indeed prevail against 
us? And at last he will insult as much over you, that ever 
he L'ould draw you to be false to your great trust, and to 
blemish your holy profession, and to do him so much service 
that was your enemy. O do not so far gratify Satan ! do 
not make him so much sport: do not suffer him to use you 
as the Philistines did Samson, first to deprive you of your 
strength, and then to put out your eyes, and so to make you 
the matter of his triumph and derision. 

5. Take heed to yourselves also, because there are many 
eyes upon you, and therefore there will be many observers of 
your falls. You cannot miscarry but the world will ring of 
it. The eclipses of the sun by day-time are seldom without 
witnesses. If you take yourselves for the lights of the 
churches, you may well expect that men's eyes should be 
upon you. If other men may sin without observation, so 


cannot you. And you should thankfully consider how great 
a mercy this is, that you have so many eyes to watch over 
you, and so many ready to tell you of your faults, and so 
have greater helps than others, at least for the restraining of 
your sin. Though they may do it with a malicious mind, yet 
you have the advantage by it. God forbid that we should 
prove so impudent, as to do evil in the public view of all, and 
to sin wilfully while the world is gazing on us ! He that is 
drunk, is drunk in the night; and he that sleepeth, doth sleep 
in the night. (1 Thess. v. 7.) What fornicator so impudent as 
to sin in the open streets while all look on? Why consider 
that you are still in the open light ; even the light of your own 
doctrine will disclose your evil doings. While you are as 
lights set upon a hill, look not to lie hid. (Matt. v. 14.) Take 
heed therefore to yourselves, and do your works as those that 
remember that the world looks on them, and that with the 
quicksighted eye of malice, ready to make the worst of all, 
and to find the smallest fault where it is, and aggravate it 
where they find it, and divulge it, and make it advantageous 
to their designs ; and to make faults where they cannot find 
them. How cautiously then should we walk before so many 
illminded observers ! 

6. Take heed also to yourselves; for your sins have more 
heinous aggravations than other men's : It is noted among 
king Alphonsus's sayings, That a great man cannot commit 
a small sin : we may much more say, that a learned man or 
a teacher of others cannot commit a small sin ; or at least, 
that the sin is great, as committed by him, which is smaller 
in another. 

(I.) You are more likely than others to sin against know- 
ledge, because you have more than they. At least you sin 
against more light or means of knowledge. What ! do you 
not know that covetousness and pride are sins ? Do you not 
know what it is to be unfaithful to your trust, and by negli- 
gence, or self-seeking to betray men's souls? You know 
your Master's will, and if you do it not, shall be beaten with 
many stripes. There must needs, therefore, be the more wil- 
fulness, by how much there is the more knowledge. If you 
sin, it is because you will sin. 

(2.) Your sins have more hypocrisy in them than other 
men's, by how much the more you have spoken against them. 



O what a heinous thing it is in us, to study how to disgrace 
sin to the utmost, and make it as odious to our people as we 
can ; and when we have done, to live in it, and secretly 
cherish that which we openly disgrace ! What vile hypo- 
crisy it is, to make it our daily business to cry it down, and 
yet to keep it ; to call it publicly all to naught, and privately 
to make it our bed-fellow and companion; to bind heavy 
burdens for others, and not to touch them ourselves with a 
finger! What can you say to this in judgment? Did you 
think as ill of sin as you spoke, or did you not ? If you did 
not, why would you dissemblingly speak it? If you did, 
why would you keep it and commit it? O bear not that 
badge of the miserable Pharisees ! " They say, but do not." 
Many a minister of the Gospel will be confounded, and not 
able to look up, by reason of this heavy charge of hypocrisy. 

(3.) Moreover, your sins have more perfidiousness in 
them than other men's. You have more engaged yourselves 
against them. Besides all your common engagements as 
Christians, you have many more as ministers. How often have 
you proclaimed the evil and danger of sin,and called sinners 
from it ? How often have you declared the terrors of the 
Lord ? All these did imply that you renounced it your- 
selves. Every sermon that you preached against it, every 
private exhortation, every confession of it in the congrega- 
tion, did lay an engagement upon you to forsake it. Every 
child that you have baptized and entered into the covenant 
with Christ, and every administration of the Supper of the 
Lord, wherein you called men to renew their covenant, did 
import your own renouncing of the flesh and the world, and 
your engagement unto Christ. How often and how openly 
have you borne witness of the odiousness and damnable na- 
ture of sin? and yet will you entertain it against all these 
professions and testimonies of your own ? O what treachery 
is it to make such a stir in the pulpit against it, and after 
all to entertain it in the heart, and give it the room that is 
due to God, and even prefer it before the glory of the saints ! 
Many more such aggravations of your sins might be men- 
tioned ; but as we haste over these, so we must pass them 
by through our present haste. 

7. Take heed to yourselves ; for the honour of your Lord 
and Master, and of his holy truth and ways, doth lie more 


on you than on other men. As you may do him more ser- 
vice, so always more disservice than others. The nearer 
men stand to God, the greater dishonour hath he by their 
miscarriages ; and the more will they be imputed by foolish 
men, to God himself. The heavy judgment was threatened 
and executed on Eli and on his house, because they " kick- 
ed at his sacrifice and offering." (1 Sam. ii. 29.) " For 
therefore was the sin of the young men great before the 
Lord, for men abhorred the offering of the Lord." (verse 17.) 
It was that great aggravation of " causing the enemies of 
the Lord to blaspheme," which provoked God to deal more 
sharply with David, than else he would have done. (2 Sam. 
xii. 11 — 14.) If you are indeed Christians, the glory of God 
is dearer to you than your lives. Take heed therefore 
what you do against it, as you would take heed what you 
do against your lives. Would it not wound you to the 
heart to hear the name and truth of God reproached for 
your sakes ? To see men point to you, and say, ' There goes 
a covetous priest, a secret tippler, a scandalous man ; these 
are they that preach for strictness, when themselves can 
live as loose as others ; they condemn us by their sermons, 
and condemn themselves by their lives : for all their talk, 
they are as bad as we.' O, brethren, could your hearts en- 
dure to hear men cast the dung of your iniquities in the 
face of the holy God, and in the face of the Gospel, and of 
all that desire to fear the Lord ? Would it not break your 
hearts to think that all the godly Christians about you 
should suffer reproach for your misdoings? If one of you 
that is a leader of the flock should but once be ensnared in 
a scandalous crime, there is scarcely a man or woman that 
seeketh diligently after their salvation, within the hearing: 
of it, but besides the grief of their hearts for your sin, they 
are likely to have it cast in their teeth by the ungodly about 
them, though they never so much detest and lament it. The 
ungodly husband will tell his wife, and the ungodly parents 
will tell their children, and neighbours and fellow-servants 
will be telling one another of it, and saying, 'These are 
your godly preachers : you may see what comes of all your 
stir ; are you any better than others ? you are even all alike/ 
Such words as these must all the godly in the country perhaps 
hear for your sakes. " It must needs be that offences come ; 
but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh." (Matt. 


xviii. 7.) O take heed, brethren, in the name of God, of 
every word that you speak, every step that you tread, for 
you bear the ark of the Lord ; you are entrusted with his 
honour, and dare you let it fall, and cast it into the dirt? If 
you " that know his will, and approve the things that are 
more excellent, being instructed out of the law, and being 
confident that you yourselves are guides of the blind, and 
lights to them that are in darkness, instructors of the fool- 
ish, teachers of babes :" if you, I say, should live contrary 
to your doctrine, and " by breaking the law, dishonour God, 
the name of God will be blasphemed among the ignorant 
and ungodly through you." (Rom. ii. 19 — 24.) And you 
are not unacquainted with that standing decree of Heaven, 
"Them that honour me, I will honour: and they that de- 
spise me, shall be lightly esteemed." (1 Sam. ii. 30.) Never 
did man dishonour God, but it proved the greatest disho- 
nour to himself. God will find out ways enough to wipe 
off all that can be cast upon him ; but you will not so easily 
remove the shame and sorrow from yourselves. 

8. Take heed to yourselves ; for the souls of your hear- 
ers, and the success of your labours do very much depend 
upon it. God useth to fit men for great works before he 
will make them his instruments in accomplishing them. He 
useth to exercise men in those works that they are most 
suited to. If the work of the Lord be not soundly done 
upon your own hearts, how can you expect that he should 
bless your labours for the effecting it in others ? He may do 
it if he please, but you have much cause to doubt whether he 
will. I shall here shew you some particular reasons under this 
last, which may satisfy you, that he who would be a means 
of saving others, must take heed to himself, and that God 
doth more seldom prosper the labours of unsanctified men. 

(1.) Can it be expected that God will bless that man's 
labour (I still mean comparatively, as to other ministers) 
who worketh not for God, but for himself? Now this is the 
case of every unsanctified man. None but the upright do 
make God their chief end, and do all or any thing heartily 
for his honour : they make the Ministry but a trade to live 
by: they choose it rather than another calling, because 
their parents did destine them to it, and because it is a 
pleasant thing to know ; and it is a life wherein they 
have more opportunity to furnish their intellects with all 


kinds of science ; and because it is not so toilsome to the 
body, to those that have a will to favour their flesh ; and 
because it is accompanied with some reverence and respect 
from men; and because they think it a fine thing to be 
leaders and teachers, and have others depend on them, and 
receive the law at their mouth; and because it affordeth 
them a competent maintenance. For such ends as these are 
they ministers, and for these do they preach ; and were it 
not for these, and such as these, they would soon give over. 
And can it be expected that God should much bless the la- 
bours of such men as these? It is not Him they preach for, 
but for themselves, and their own reputation or gain : not 
Him, but themselves, that they seek and serve ; and there- 
fore no wonder if he leave them to themselves for the suc- 
cess, and if their labours have no greater a blessing than 
themselves can give them, and the word reach no further 
than their own strength is able to make it reach. 

(2.) Can you think that he is likely to be as successful as 
others, that dealeth not heartily and faithfully in his work, 
and never soundly believeth what he saith, and never is 
truly serious when he seemeth to be most diligent ? And 
can you think that any unsanctified man can be hearty and 
serious in the Ministerial work? It cannot be. A kind of 
seriousness indeed he may have, such as proceedeth from a 
common faith, or opinion that the word is true, and is actu- 
ated by a natural fervour, or by selfish ends ; but the seri- 
ousness and fidelity of a sound believer, that ultimately in- 
tendeth the glory of God and men's salvation, this he hath 
not. O, sirs, all your preaching and persuading of others 
will be but dreaming and trifling hypocrisy, till the work be 
thoroughly done upon yourselves. How can you set your- 
selves day and night to a work that your carnal hearts are 
averse from ? How can you call out with serious fervour 
upon poor sinners to repent and come to God, that never 
repented or came in yourselves? How can you heartily fol- 
low poor sinners with importunate solicitations, to take 
heed of sin, and to set themselves to a holy life, that never 
felt yourselves the evil of sin, or the worth of holiness ? I 
tell you, these things are never well known till they are felt, 
nor well felt till they are possessed ; and he that feeleth 
them not himself, is not so likely to speak feelingly to others, 
nor to help others to the feeling of them. How can you 


follow sinners with compassion in your hearts, and tears in 
your eyes, and beseech them in the name of the Lord to 
stop their course and turn and live, that never had so 
much compassion on your own soul, as to do thus much for 
yourselves? What! can you love other men better than 
yourselves ? and have pity on them, while you have none 
upon yourselves ? Sirs, do you think they will be hearty 
and diligent to save men from hell, that be not heartily per- 
suaded that there is a hell ? Or to bring men to heaven, that 
do not sincerely believe that there is such a thing ? As Cal- 
vin saith on my text ; ' Neque enim aliorum salutem sedulo 
unquam curabit, qui suam negligit.' He that hath not so 
strong a belief of the word of God, and the life to come, as 
will take off his own heart from the vanities of this world, 
and set him upon a resolved diligence for salvation, I can- 
not expect that he should be faithful in seeking the salva- 
tion of other men. Surely he that dare damn himself, dare 
let others alone in the way to damnation ; and he that will 
sell his Master, with Judas, for silver, will not stick to make 
merchandise of the flock; and he that will let go his hopes 
of heaven rather than he will leave his worldly and fleshly 
delights, I think will hardly leave these for the saving of 
others. In reason we may conceive, that he will have no 
pity on others, that is wilfully cruel to himself; and that he 
is not to be trusted with other men's souls, that is unfaithful 
to his own, and will sell it to the devil for the short plea- 
sures of sin. I confess that man shall never have my con- 
sent to have the care and charge of others, and to oversee 
them in order to their salvation, that takes no heed to him- 
self, but is careless of his own (except it were in case of ab- 
solute necessity, that no better could be had). 

(3.) Do you think it is a likely thing that he will fight 
against Satan with all his might, that is a servant of Satan 
himself? And will he do any great harm to the kingdom of 
the devil, that is himself a member and subject of that king- 
dom? And will he be true to Christ that is in covenant 
with his enemy, and Christ hath not his heart ? Why this is 
the case of every unsanctified man, of what cloth soever his 
coat be made. They are the servants of Satan, and the sub- 
jects of his kingdom ; it is he that ruleth in their hearts ; 
and are they like to be true to Christ that are ruled by the 
devil? What prince chose the friends and voluntary ser- 


vants of his enemy to lead his armies in war against him? 
This is it that hath made so many preachers of the Gospel 
to be enemies to the work of the Gospel which they preach. 
No wonder if such be secretly girding at the holy obedience 
of the faithful ; and while they take on them to preach for a 
holy life, if they cast reproaches on them that use it ! O 
how many such traitors have been in the church of Christ 
in all ages, that have done more against him under his 
colours, than they could do in the open field ; that have 
spoken well of Christ, and Scripture, and godliness in the 
general, and yet slily and closely do what they can to bring 
it into disgrace, and make men believe that those that set 
themselves to seek God with all their hearts, are but a com- 
pany of hypocrites, or self-conceited fantastical fellows : 
and what they cannot for shame speak that way in the 
pulpit, they will do in secret amongst their companions. 
How many such wolves have been set over the sheep, be- 
cause they had sheep's clothing ; pretending to be Chris- 
tians, and as good as others ! If there were a traitor among 
the twelve in Christ's family, no marvel if there be many 
now. It cannot be expected that a slave of Satan, " whose 
God is his belly, and who mindeth earthly things," should 
be any better than " an enemy to the cross of Christ." 
What though they live civilly, and preach plausibly, and 
have the outside of an easy, cheap religiousness? They 
may be as fast in the devil's snares by worldliness, pride, a 
secret distaste of diligent godliness, or by an unsound heart 
that is not rooted in the faith, nor unreservedly devoted to 
God in Christ, as any others are by drunkenness, unclean- 
ness, a.nd such disgraceful sins. Publicans and harlots do 
sooner come to heaven than Pharisees, because they are 
sooner convinced of their sin and misery. 

And though many of these men may seem excellent 
preachers, and cry down sin as loud as others, yet is it all 
but an affected fervency, and too commonly but a mere un- 
effectual bawling. For he that cherisheth it in his own 
heart, doth never fall upon it in good sadness in others. I 
know that a wicked man may be more willing of another's 
reformation than his own, and may thence have a kind of 
real earnestness in dissuading them from it ; because he can 
preach against sin at easier rates than he can forsake it, 
and another man's reformation may stand with his own en 


joyments of his lusts. And therefore a wicked minister, or 
parent, may be earnest with his people or family to mend, 
because they lose not their own sinful profits or pleasures 
by another's reformation, nor doth it call them to that self- 
denial as their own doth. But yet for all this, there is none 
of that zeal, resolution and diligence, as is in all that are 
true to Christ. They set not against sin as the enemy of 
Christ, and as that which endangereth their people's souls. 
A traitorous commander, that shooteth nothing against the 
enemy but powder, may cause his guns to make as great a 
sound or report, as some that are laden with bullets ; but 
he doth no hurt to the enemy by it. So one of these men 
may speak loud, and mouth it with an affected fervency ; 
but he seldom doth any great execution against sin and 
Satan. No man can fight well, but where he hateth, or is 
very angry ; much less against them whom he loveth, and 
loveth above all. Every unrenewed man is so far from 
hating sin to the purpose, that it is his dearest treasure ; 
though not as sin, yet the matter of it is, as it affordeth de- 
light to his sensual desires. So that you may see, that an 
unsanctified man is very unfit to be a leader in Christ's 
army, who loveth the enemy ; and to draw others to re- 
nounce the world and the flesh, who cleaveth to them him- 
self as his chief good. 

(4.) And it is not a very likely thing that the people will 
regard much the doctrine of such men, when they see that 
they do not live as they preach. They will think that he 
doth not mean as he speaks, if he do not as he speaks. They 
will hardly believe a man that seemeth not to believe him- 
self. If a man bid you run for your lives, because a bear, or 
an enemy is at your backs, and yet do not mend his pace him- 
self in the same way, you will be tempted to think that he is 
but in jest, and there is really no such danger as he pretends. 
When preachers tell people of a necessity of holiness, and 
that without it no man shall see the Lord, and yet remain 
unholy themselves, the people will think they do but talk to 
pass away the hour, and because they must say somewhat 
for their money, and that all these are but words of course. 
Long enough may you lift up your voices against sin, before 
men will believe that there is any such harm or danger in it 
as you talk of, as long as they see the same man that re- 
proacheth it, to put it in his bosom and make it his delight. 


You rather tempt them to think that there is some special 
good in it, and that you dispraise it as gluttons do a dish 
which they love, that they may have it all to themselves. 
As long as men have eyes as well as ears, they will think they 
see your meaning as well as hear it ; and they are more apt 
to believe their sight than their hearing, as being the more 
perfect sense. All that a preacher doth is a kind of preach- 
ing : and when you live a covetous or a careless life, you 
preach these sins to your people by your practice. When 
you drink, or game, or prate away your time in vain dis- 
course, they take it as if you told them. ' Neighbours, this is 
that life that you should all live j you may venture on this 
course without any danger.' If you are ungodly, and teach 
not your families the fear of God, nor contradict the sins of 
the company you come into, nor turn the stream of their vain 
talking, nor deal with them plainly about the matters of their 
salvation, they will take it as if you preached to them that 
such things are needless, and they may boldly do so as well 
as you. Yea, and you do worse than all this ; for you teach 
them to think ill of others that are better. How many a 
faithful minister aud private man is hated and reproached 
for the sake of such as you ! What say the people to them? 
' You are so precise, and tell us so much of sin, and dangers, 
and duty, and make so much stir about these matters ; 
when such or such a minister that is as great a scholar as you, 
and as good a preacher as you, will be merry and jest with 
us, and let us alone, and never trouble themselves or us with 
such discourse. These busy fellows can never be quiet, but 
make more ado than needs ; and love to fright men with talk 
of damnation, when sober, learned, peaceable divines can be 
quiet, and live with us like other men.' This is the very 
thoughts and talk of people, which your negligence doth oc- 
casion. They will give you leave to preach against their sins 
as much as you will, and talk as much for godliness in the pul- 
pit, so you will but let them alone afterwards, and be friendly 
and merry with them when you have done, and talk as they 
do, and live as they, and be indifferent with them in your 
conscience and your conversation. For they take the pulpit 
to be but as a stage ; a place where preachers must shew 
themselves and play their parts ; where you have liberty to 
say what you list for an hour : and what you say, they much 
regard not, if you shew them not by saying it personally to 


their faces, that you were in good earnest, and indeed did 
mean them. Is that man therefore likely to do much good, 
or fit to be a minister of Christ, that will speak for him an 
hour, and by his life will preach against him all the week 
besides ; yea, and give his public words the lie ? 

And if any of the people be wiser than to follow the ex- 
amples of such men, yet the loathsomeness of their lives will 
make their doctrine the less effectual. Though you know 
the meat to be good and wholesome, yet it may make a weak 
stomach rise against it, if the cook or the servant that carrieth 
it have leprous or dingy hands. Take heed therefore to 
yourselves, if ever you mean to do good to others. 

(5.) Lastly consider, whether the success of your labours 
depend not on the grace and blessing of the Lord : and 
where hath he made any promise of his assistance and bless- 
ing to ungodly men ? If he do promise Ma church a 
blessing even by such, yet doth he not promise them any 
blessing. To his faithful servants he hath promised that he 
will be with them, that he will put his Spirit upon them, and 
his word into their mouths, and that Satan shall fall before 
them as lightning from heaven. But where is there any such 
promise to the ungodly, that are not the children of the pro- 
mise ? Nay, do you not rather by your abuse of God, pro- 
voke him to forsake and blast your endeavours ? at least, as 
to yourselves, though he may bless them to his chosen. For 
I do not all this while deny, but that God may often do good 
to his church by wicked men, but not so ordinarily nor emi- 
nently as by his own. 

And what I have said of the wicked themselves, doth 
hold in part of the godly while they are scandalous and back- 
sliding, proportionably according to the measure of their 
sin. So much for the reasons. 


IV. Having shewed you, what it is to take heed to our- 
selves, and why it must be done ; I am next to shew you, 
what it is to " Take heed to all the flock," and wherein it 
doth consist, and must be exercised. It was first necessary 
to take into consideration, What we must be, and what we 
must do for our own souls, before we come to that which must 


be done for others: ' Ne quis aliovum vulneia medendo ad 
salutem, ipse per negligentiam suee salutis intumescat, ne 
proximos juvando, se deserat ; ne alios erigens, cadat,' saith 
Gregor. M. de cur. past. 1. 4. Yea, lest all his labours come 
to nought, because" his heart and life is nought that do per- 
form them. ' Nonnulli enim sunt qui solerti cura spiritualia 
preecepta perscrutantur, sed quse intelligendo penetrant, vi- 
vendo conculcant : repente docent quse non opere, sed medi- 
tatione didicerunt : et quod verbis praedicant, moribus im- 
pugnant; unde fit ut cum pastor per abrupta graditur, ad prse- 
cipitium grex sequatur.' Idem ib. li. 1, cap. 2. When we 
have led them to the living waters, if we muddy it by our 
filthy lives, we may lose our labour, and yet they be never 
the better. ' Aquam pedibus perturbare, est sanctamedita- 
tionis studia male vivendo corrumpere, inquit.' Idem. Ibid. 
Before we speak of the work itself, we must begin with 
somewhat that is implied and presupposed. 

And 1 . It is here implied, that every flock should have their 
ovm pastor (one or more) and every pastor his own flock. As 
every troop or company in a regiment of soldiers must have 
their own captain and other officers, and every soldier know 
his own commanders and colours : so is it the will of God, 
that every church have their own pastors, and that all 
Christ's disciples " do know their teachers that are over them 
in the Lord." (1 Thess. v. 12, 13.) The Universal Church of 
Christ must consist of particular churches guided by their 
own overseers ; and every Christian must be a member of 
one of these churches ; except those that upon embassages, 
travels, or other like cases of necessity, are deprived of this 
advantage. " They ordained them elders in every church." 
(Acts xiv. 23 ; so Tit. i. 5.) And in many places this is 
clear. Though a minister be an officer in the Universal 
Church, yet is he in a special manner the overseer of that 
particular church which is committed to his charge. As he 
that is a physician in the Commonwealth, may yet be the 
• Medicus vel Archiater cujusdam civitatis,' and be obliged to 
take care of that city, and not so of any other : so that though 
he may and ought occasionally to do any good he can else- 
where, that may consist with his fidelity to his special charge 
(when an unlicensed person may not) ; yet is he first obliged 
to that city, and must allow no help to others that must oc- 
casion a neglect of them, except in extraordinary cases, 


where the public good requireth it : so is it betwixt a pas- 
tor and his special flock. When we are ordained ministers 
without a special charge, we are licensed and command- 
ed to do our best for all, as we shall have a call for the 
particular exercise : but when we have undertaken a parti- 
cular charge, we have restrained the exercise of our gifts and 
guidance so especially to that, that we may allow others no 
more than they can spare, of our time and help, except where 
the public good requireth it, which must be first regarded. 
From this relation of pastor and flock, arise all the duties 
which mutually we owe. As we must be true to our trust, 
so must our people be faithful to us, and obey the just di- 
rections that we give them from the word of God. 

2. When we are commanded " to take heed to all the 
flock;" it is plainly implied, that flocks must be no greater 
regularly and ordinarily than we are capable of overseeing or 
taking heed of. That particular churches should be no greater, 
or ministers no fewer, than may consist with a taking heed 
to all ; for God will not lay upon us natural impossibilities. 
He will not bind men on so strict account as we are bound, 
to leap up to the moon, to touch the stars, to number the 
sands of the sea. If it be the pastoral work to oversee and 
take heed to all the flock, then surely there must be such a 
proportion of pastors assigned to each flock, or such a num- 
ber of souls in the care of each pastor, as he is able to take 
such heed to as is here required. Will God require of one 
Bishop to take the charge of a whole county, or of so many 
parishes or thousands of souls, as he is not able to know or 
to oversee ? Yea, and to take the sole government of them, 
while the particular teachers of them are free from that un- 
dertaking ? Will God require the blood of many parishes 
at one man's hands, if he do not that which ten or twenty, or 
a hundred, or three hundred men can no more do than I can 
move a mountain? Then woe to poor prelates ! This were 
to impose on them a natural or unavoidable necessity of be- 
ing damned. Is it not therefore a most doleful case that 
learned, sober men should plead for this as a desirable pri- 
vilege ; or draw such a burden wilfully on themselves ; and 
that they tremble not rather at the thoughts of so great an 
undertaking ? O happy had it been for the church, and 
happy for the bishops themselves, if this measure that is in- 
timated by the apostle here had been still observed. And the 


diocese had been no greater than the elders or bishops could 
oversee and rule, so that they might have taken heed to all the 
flock ! Or that pastors had been multiplied as churches mul- 
tiplied, and the number of overseers proportioned so far to the 
number of souls, that they might not have let the work be un- 
done, while they assumed the empty titles, and undertook im- 
possibilities ! And that they had rather prayed the Lord of the 
harvest to send forth more labourers, even so many as had 
been proportioned to the work ; and not to have undertaken all 
themselves. I should scarcely commend the prudence or hu- 
mility of that labourer (let his parts in all other respects be 
never so great) that would not only undertake to gather in all 
the harvest in this county himself, and that upon pain of 
death, yea of damnation, but would also earnestly contend 
for this prerogative. 

Object. ' But there are others to teach, though one only 
have had the rule.' 

Answ. Blessed be God it was so ; and no thanks to some 
of them. But is not government of great concernment to 
the good of souls, as well as preaching ? If not, then what 
matter is it for church-governors ? If it be, then they that 
nullify it by undertaking impossibilities, do go about to ruin 
the churches, and themselves. If only preaching be neces- 
sary, let us have none but mere preachers : what needs there 
then such a stir about government ? But if discipline (in 
its place) be necessary too, what is it but enmity to men's 
salvation to exclude it, and it is unavoidably excluded when 
it is made to be his work that is naturally incapable of per- 
forming it ! He that will command an army alone, may as 
well say, It shall be destroyed for want of command: and the 
schoolmaster that will oversee or govern all the schools in 
the county alone, may as well say plainly, they shall be all 
ungoverned : and the physician who will undertake the 
guidance of all the sick people in a whole nation or county, 
when he is not able to visit or direct the hundredth man of 
them, may as well say, Let them perish ! 

Object. ' But though they cannot rule them by themselves, 
they may do it by others.' 

Answ. The nature of the pastoral work is such as must 
be done by the pastor himself. He may not delegate a man 
that is no pastor to baptize, or administer the Lord's-supper, 


or to be the teacher of the church : no more may he commit 
the government of it to another. Otherwise by so doing he 
makes that man the bishop, if he make him the immediate 
ruler and guide of the church : and if a bishop may make 
each presbyter a bishop, so he do but derive the power from 
him, then let it no more be held unlawful for them to govern, 
or to be bishops. And if a prelate may do it, it is likely Christ 
or his apostles might, and have done it ; for as we are to 
preach in Christ's name, and not in any man's ; so it is likely 
that we must rule in his name. But of this somewhat more 

Yet still, it must be acknowledged, that in case of neces- 
sity, where there are not more to be had, one man may un- 
dertake the charge of more souls than he is able well to 
oversee particularly. But then he must only undertake to 
do what he can for them, and not to do all that a pastor or- 
dinarily ought to do. And this is the case of some of us 
that have greater parishes than we are able to take that 
special heed to as their state requireth. I must profess for 
my own part, I am so far from their boldness that dare ven- 
ture on the sole government of a county, that I would not 
for all England, have undertaken to have been one of the two 
that should do all the pastoral work that God enjoineth to 
that one parish where I live, had I not this to satisfy my 
conscience, that through the church's necessities more cannot be 
had, and therefore I must rather do what I can, than leave all 
undone, because I cannot do all. But cases of unavoidable 
necessity, are not to be the standing condition of the church ; 
or at least, it is not desirable that it should so be. O happy 
Church of Christ, were the labourers but able and faithful, 
and proportioned in number to the number of souls ; so that 
the pastors were so many, or the particular flocks or churches 
so small, that we might be able to take heed to all the flocks. 

Having told you these two things that are here im- 
plied; I come next to the duty itself that is expressed. And 
this taking heed to all the flock in general is, a very great 
care of the whole and every part, with great watchfulness and 
diligence in the use of all those holy actions and ordinances which 
God hath required us to use for their salvation. 

More particularly : this work may be considered, — (1.) In 
respect to the subject matter of it. — (2.) Its object. — (3.) 


The work itself, or the actions which we must perform. — 
(4.) The end which we must intend. 

I shall begin with the last, as being first in our intention, 
though last attained. 

I. The ultimate end of our pastoral oversight, is that 
which is the ultimate end of our whole lives ; even the pleasing 
and glorifying of God, to which is connexed the glory of the 
human nature also of Christ, and the glorification of his 
church, and of ourselves in particular : and the nearer ends 
of our office, are the sanctification and holy obedience of the 
people of our charge ; their unity, order, beauty, strength, 
preservation and increase ; and the right worshipping of 
God, especially in the solemn assemblies. By which it is 
manifest, that before a man is capable of being a true pastor 
of a church, according to the mind of Christ, he must have 
so high an estimation of these things, as to make them the 
great and only end of his life. 

1. That man therefore, that is not himself taken up with 
the predominant love of God, and is not himself devoted to 
him, and doth not devote to him all that he hath, and can do ; 
that man that is not in the habit of pleasing God, and making 
him^the centre of all his actions, and living to him as his 
God and happiness : that is, that man that is not a sincere 
Christian himself, is utterly unfit to be a pastor of a church. 
And if we be not in a case of desperate necessity, the 
church should not admit such, so far as they can discover 
them. Though to inferior common works (as to teach the 
languages, and some philosophy, to translate Scriptures, &c.) 
they may be admitted. A man that is not heartily devoted 
to God, and attached to his service and honour, will never 
set heartily about the pastoral work: nor indeed can he pos- 
sibly (while he remaineth such) do one part of that work, 
no, nor of any other, nor speak one word in Christian since- 
rity ; for no man can be sincere in the means, that is not so 
in his intentions of the end. A man must heartily love God 
above all, before he can heartily serve him before all. 

2. No man is fit to be a Minister of Christ that is not of 
a public spirit as to the Church, and delighteth not in its 
beauty, and longeth not for its felicity : as the good of the 
Commonwealth must be the end of the magistrate, (his nearer 
end,) so must the felicity of the Church be the end of the 


pastors of it. So that we must rejoice in her welfare, and 
be willing to spend and be spent for her sake. 

3. No man is fit to be a pastor of a church that doth not 
set his heart on the life to come, and regard the matters of 
everlasting life, above all the matters of this present life ; 
and that is not sensible in some measure how much the ines- 
timable riches of glory are to be preferred to the trifles of the 
world. For he will never set his heart on the work of men's 
salvation, that doth not heartily believe and value that sal- 

4. He thatdelighteth not in holiness, hateth not iniquity, 
loveth not the unity and purity of the church, and abhorreth 
not discord and divisions; and taketh not pleasure in the 
communion of saints, and the public worship of God with 
his people, is not lit to be a pastor of a church : for none of 
all these can have the true ends of a pastor, and therefore 
cannot do the work. For of what necessity the end is to the 
means, and in relations, is easily known. 

II. The subject matter of the Ministerial work, is in ge- 
neral, spiritual things, or matters that concern the pleasing of 
God, and the salvation of our people. It is not about tem- 
poral and transitory things. It is a vile usurpation of the 
pope, and his prelates to assume the management of the tem- 
poral sword, and immerse themselves in the businesses of the 
world ; to exercise the violent coercion of the magistrate, 
when they should use only the spiritual weapons of Christ. 
Our business is not to dispose of commonwealths, nor to 
touch men's purses or persons by our penalties ; but it con- 
sisteth only in, these two things : 

(1.) In revealing to men that happiness, or chief good, 
which must be their ultimate end. (2.) In acquainting them 
with the right means for the attainment of this end, and help- 
ing them to use them, and hindering them from thecontrary. 

1. It is the first and great work of the Ministers of Christ 
to acquaint men with that God that made them, and is their 
happiness : to open to them the treasures of his goodness, 
and tell them of the glory that is in his presence, which all 
his chosen people shall enjoy: that so by shewing men the 
certainty and the excellency of the promised felicity, and 
the perfect blessedness in the life to come, compared with 
the vanities of this present life, we may turn the stream of 


their cogitations and affections, and bring them to a due con- 
tempt of this world, and set them on seeking the durable 
treasuer : and this is the work that we should lie at with 
them night and day. Could we once get them right in re- 
gard of the end, and set their hearts unfeignedly on God and 
heaven, the chief part of the work were done ; for all the 
rest would undoubtedly follow. — Here we must diligently 
shew them the vanity of their sensual felicity, and convince 
them of the baseness of those pleasures which they prefer to 
the delights of God. 

2. Having shewed them the right end, our next work is 
to acquaint them with the right means of attaining it. Where 
the wrong way must be disgraced, the evil of all sin must be 
manifested, and the danger that it hath brought us into, and 
the hurt it hath already done us must be discovered. Then 
we have the great Mystery of Redemption to disclose ; the 
person, natures, incarnation, perfection, life, miracles, suf- 
ferings, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, glorification, 
dominion, intercession of the blessed Son of God. As also 
the tenor of his promises, the conditions imposed on us, the 
duties which he hath commanded us, and the everlasting 
torments, which he hath threatened to the final impenitent 
neglecters of his grace. O what a treasury of his blessings 
and graces, and the privileges of his saints have we to unfold ! 
What a blessed life of holiness and communion therein have 
we to recommend to the sons of men! And yet how many 
temptations, difficulties, and dangers to disclose, and assist 
them against ! How many precious spiritual duties have we 
to set them upon, and excite them to, and direct them in! 
How many objections of flesh and blood, and cavils of vain 
men have we to refute ! How much of our own corruptions 
and sinful inclinations to discover and root out ! We have the 
depth of God's bottomless love and mercy, the depth of the 
mysteries of his designs, and works of creation, redemption, 
providence, justification, adoption, sanctification, glorifica- 
tion ; the depth of Satan's temptations, and the depth of their 
own hearts to disclose. In a word, we must teach them, as 
much as we can, of the word and ivorks of God. O what two vo- 
lumes are these for a minister to preach upon ! How great, how 
excellent, how wonderful, ho w my sterious ! All Christians are 
disciples or scholars of Christ; the church is his school, we are 

VOL, XIV. , G 

82 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 2. 

his ushers ; the Bible is his grammar : this is that we must be 
daily teaching them. The Papists would teach them without 
book, lest they should learn heresies from the Word of truth ; 
lest they learn falsehood from the Book of God, they must 
only learn the books or words of their priests. But our business 
is not to teach them without book, but to help them to un- 
derstand this book of God. So much for the subject matter 
of our work. 

III. The Object of our pastoral care is, all thejlock: that 
is, the church and every member of it. It is considered by 
us, (1.) In the whole body or society. (2.) In the parts or 
individual members. 

1. Our first care must be about the whole : and there- 
fore the first duties to be done are public duties, which are 
done to the whole. As our people are bound to prefer pub- 
lic duties before private, so are we much more. But this is 
so commonly confessed, that I shall say no more of it. 

2. But that which is less understood or considered of, is, 
that all the flock, even each individual member of our charge 
must be taken heed of, and watched over by us in our minis- 
try. To which end it is to be presupposed necessary, that 
(unless where absolute necessity forbiddeth it, through the 
scarcity of pastors, and greatness of the flock,) we should 
know every person that belongeth to our charge ; for how 
can we take heed to them if we do not know them ? Or how 
can we take that heed that belongeth to the special charge 
that we have undertaken, if we know not who be of our 
charge, and who not, though we know the persons? Our 
obligation is not to all neighbour-churches, or to all strag- 
glers, so great as it is to those whom we are set over. How 
can we tell whom to exclude, till we know who are included? 
Or how can we repel the accusations of the offended, that 
tell us of the ungodly or defiled members of our churches, 
when we know not who be members, and who not? Doubt- 
less the bounds of our parish will not tell us, as long as 
Papists, and some worse, do there inhabit. Nor will bare 
hearing us certainly discover it, as long as those are used to 
hear that are members of other churches, or of none at all. 
Nor is mere participation of the Lord's-supper a sure note, 
while strangers may be admitted, and many a member acci- 


dentally be kept off. Though much probability may be ga- 
thered by these, or some of these, yet a fuller knowledge of 
our charge is necessary where it may be had, and that must 
be the fittest expression of consent, because it is consent 
that is necessary to the relation. 

All the flock being thus known, must afterward be taken 
heed to. One would think all reasonable men should be 
satisfied of that, and it should need no further proof. Doth 
not a careful shepherd look after every individual sheep? 
and a good schoolmaster look to every individual scholar, 
both for instruction and correction? And a good physician 
look after every particular patient ? And good commanders 
look after every individual soldier? Why then should not 
the teachers, the pastors, the physicians, the guides of the 
churches of Christ take heed to every individual member of 
their charge? Christ himself, the great and good Shepherd, 
and Master of the church, that hath the whole to look after, 
doth yet take care of every individual. In Luke xv. he tells 
us, that he is as the Shepherd that " leaveth the ninety and 
nine sheep in the wilderness, to seek after one that was 
lost ;" or, as the " woman that lighteth a candle, and sweep- 
eth the house, and searcheth diligently to find the one groat 
that was lost; and having found it, doth rejoice, and call 
her friends and neighbours to rejoice." And Christ telleth 
us, that "even in heaven there is joy over one sinner that re- 
penteth." The prophets are often sent to single men. Eze- 
kiel is made a watchman over individuals ; and must say to 
the wicked, " Thou shalt surely die." (Ezek. iii. 18 — 20.) 
And Paul taught them " publicly, and from house to house ;" 
which was meant of his teaching particular families ; for 
even the public teaching was then in houses ; and publicly, 
and from house to house, signify not the same thing. The 
same Paul " warned every man, and taught every man, in 
all wisdom, that he might present every man perfect in 
Christ Jesus." (Col. i. 28.) Christ expoundeth his parables 
to the twelve apart. Every man must " seek the law at the 
mouth of the priest." (Mai. ii. 7.) We must give an ac- 
count of our watching for the souls of all that are bound to 
obey us. (Heb. xiii. 7.) Many more passages in Scripture 
assure us that it is our duty to take heed of every individual 
person in our flock. And many passages in the Ancient 
Councils do plainly tell us, it was the practice of those times, 

84 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 2. 

till churches began to be crowded, and to swell so big that 
they could not be guided as churches should be, when they 
should rather have been multiplied, as the converts did in- 
crease. But I will pass over all these, and mention only 
one passage in Ignatius, (or whoever it was, I matter not 
much, seeing it is but to prove what was then the custom of 
the church,) ad Polycarp. llu/cvoTEpov avvaywyal ytviOojaav' 
e£ ovofuiTog ttiivtuq frjra SsXsg Kai SsActc jurj vTreptjtyavH. i. e. 
' Let the assemblies be gathered, seek after (or inquire of) 
all by name : despise not servant-men or maids.' You see 
it was then taken for a duty to look after every member of 
the flock by name ; though it were the meanest servant-man 
or maid. The reasons of the necessity of this I shall pass 
over now, because some of them will fall in when we come to 
the duty of Catechising and personal Instruction in the end. 
Object. ' But the congregation that I am set over is so 
great that it is not possible for me to know them all, much 
less to take heed of all individuals.' 

Amw. 1. Is it necessity or not, that hath cast you upon 
such a charge? If it be not, you excuse one sin with ano- 
ther. How durst you undertake that which you knew your- 
self unable to perform, when you were not forced to it? It 
seems then you had some other ends in your undertaking, 
and never intended to make it good, and be faithful to your 
trust. But if you think that you were necessitated to it, I 
must ask you, 1. Might not you possibly have procured 
some assistance for so great a charge ? Have you done all 
that you could with your friends and neighbours to get 
maintenance for another to help you? 2. Have you not so 
much maintenance yourself as might serve yourself and 
another ? What though it will not serve to maintain you 
in fulness? Is it not more reason that you should pinch 
your flesh and family, than undertake a work that you can- 
not do, and neglect the souls of so many men? I know it 
will seem hard to some what I say ; but to me it seems an 
unquestionable thing : that if you have but an hundred 
pounds a year, it is your duty to live upon part of it, and 
allow the rest to a competent assistant, rather than the 
flock that you are over should be neglected. If you say, 
this is hard measure, your wife and children cannot so live. 
I answer, (1.) Do not many families in your parish live on 
less ? (2.) Have not many able ministers in the prelates' 


days been[glacTof ^kess, with liberty to preach the Gospel? 
There are somejyet living (as I have heard) that have offered 
the bishops to enter into bond to preach for nothing, so 
they might but have the liberty to preach. (3.) If still you 
say, that^you^cannotlive so nearly as poor people do, 1 fur- 
ther ask, can your parishioners better endure damnation 
than you can endure want and poverty? What ! do you 
call yourselves ministers of the Gospel, and yet are the 
souls of men so base in your eyes that you had rather they 
did eternally perish, than yourselves and family should live 
in a low and poor condition ? Nay, should you not rather 
beg your bread, than put such a thing as men's salvation 
upon a hazard or disadvantage 1 yea, or hazard the damna- 
tion but of one soul ? O, sirs, it is a miserable thing when 
men study and talk of heaven and hell, and the fewness of 
the saved, and the difficulty of salvation, and are not all this 
while in good sadness. If you were, you could never surely 
stick at such matters as these, and let your people go to 
damnation, that you might live at higher rates in the world? 
Remember this, the next time you are preaching to them, 
that they cannot be saved without knowledge, and hearken whe- 
ther conscience do not conclude, It is likely they might be 
brought to knowledge, if they had but diligent instruction and 
exhortation privately, man by man ; and then were there ano- 
ther minister to assist me, this might be done: and then if' I 
would live nearly and deny my flesh, I might have an assistant : 
and then it must conclude, Dare I let my people live in igno- 
rance, which I myself have told them is damning, rather than 
put myself and family to a little want ? 

And I must further say, that indeed this poverty is not 
so sad and dangerous a business as it is pretended to be. 
So you have but food and raiment, must you not therewith 
be content? and what would you have more than that which 
may enable you for the work of God? And it is not purple 
and fine linen, and faring deliciously every day, that you 
must expect, as that which must content you. " A man's 
life consisteth not in the abundance of the things that he 
possesseth." So your clothing be warm, and your food be 
wholesome, you may as well be supported by it to do God 
service, as if you had the fullest satisfaction to your flesh : 
A patched coat may be warm, and bread and drink is whole- 
some food. He that wanteth not these, hath but a cold ex- 

86 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 2. 

cuse to make for hazarding men's souls, that he may live on 
a fuller diet in the world. 

Object. ' If this doctrine be received, then it will dis- 
courage men from meddling with great places ; and so all 
cities, market-towns, and other great parishes will be left 

Answ. It will discourage none but the carnal and self- 
seeking, not those that thirst after the winning of souls, and 
are wholly devoted to the service of God, and have taken 
up the Cross, and follow Christ in self-denial. And for 
others, they are so far from being good ministers, that they 
are not his disciples or true Christians. Christ would not 
forbear to tell the world of the absolute necessity of self- 
denial and resigning up all, and bearing the Cross, and mor- 
tifying the flesh, for fear of discouraging men from his ser- 
vice ; but contrarily telleth them, that he will have no other 
servants but such, and those that will not come on those 
terms, may go their ways, and take their course, and see 
who will lose by it, and whether he do want more their ser- 
vice, or they want his protection and favour. 

Object. ' But I am not bound to go to a charge which I 
cannot perform, and take a greater place, when I am fit but 
for a less/ 

Answ. 1. If you would undertake it but for want of 
maintenance, then it is not unfitness, but poverty that is 
your discouragement ; and that is no sufficient discourage- 
ment. 2. We are all bound to dispose of ourselves to the 
greatest advantage of the church, and to take that course 
in which we may do God the greatest service ; and we know 
that he hath more work for us in greater congregations than 
in lesser, and that the neglect of them would be the greatest 
injury and danger to his church and interest; and therefore 
we must not refuse, but choose the greatest work, though it 
be accompanied with the greatest difficulties and suffering. 
It must be done, why not by you as well as others ? 

Object. ' But no man must undertake more than he can 

Answ. I will add the rest of my inquiries, which will an- 
swer this objection. 3. Would the maintenance of the 
place serve two others, that have less necessity, or smaller 
families than you ? If it will, try to get two such as may 
accept it in your stead. 4. If this cannot be done, nor ad- 


dition be procured, and there be really so little that you 
cannot have assistance, then these two things must be 
done. (1.) You must take the charge with limitation, with 
a profession of your insufficiency for the whole work, and 
your undertaking only so much as you can do ; and this 
you do for the necessity of the place that cannot otherwise 
be better supplied. (2.) You must not leave off the work 
of personal oversight, nor refuse to deal particularly with 
any, because you cannot do it with all ; but take this course 
with as many as you are able ; and withal put on godly 
neighbours, and especially parents, and masters of families to 
do the more. And thus doing what we can, will be accepted. 
In the meantime, let us importune the Rulers of the com- 
monwealth, for such a portion of maintenance to great 
congregations, that they may have so many ministers to 
watch over them, as may personally, as well as publicly in- 
struct, and exhort them. It may please God at last to put 
this into the hearts of governors, and to give them a love to 
the prosperity of his church, and a conscience of their duty 
for the promoting of men's salvation. 

Some more of these objections we shall answer anon, 
under the Uses. So much for the distribution of the work 
of the Ministry, drawn from the object materially considered. 

We are next to consider of it in reference to the several 
Qualities of the object. And because we shall here speak 
somewhat of the acts with the object, there will be the less 
afterward to be said of them by themselves. 

1. The first part of our Ministerial work lieth in bring- 
ing unsound professors of the faith to sincerity, that they 
who before were Christians in name and show, may be so 
indeed. Though it belong not to us, as their pastors, to 
convert professed infidels to the faith, because they cannot 
be members of the church while they are professed infidels ; 
yet doth it belong to us, as their pastors, to convert these 
seeming Christians to sincerity, because such seeming 
Christians may be visible members of our churches. And 
though we be not absolutely certain that this or that man 
in particular is unsound, and unsanctified, yet as long as we 
have a certainty that many such are usually in the church, 
and have too great probability that it is so with several in- 
dividuals whom we can name, we have therefore ground 

88 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 2, 

enough to deal with them for their conversion. And if we 
be certain by their notorious impiety that they are no Chris- 
tians, and so to be rejected from the communion of Christians ; 
yea, if they were professed infidels, yet may we deal with 
them for their conversion, though not as their pastors, yet 
as ministers of the Gospel. So that upon these terms we 
may well conclude that, the work of Conversion is the great 
thing that we must first drive at, and labour with all our 
might to effect. 

Alas ! the misery of the unconverted is so great, that it 
calleth loudest to us for our compassion ! If a truly con- 
verted sinner do fall, it will be but into sin, which will surely 
be pardoned, and he is not in that hazard of damnation by 
it as others be. Not, as some unjustly accuse us to say, 
that God hateth not their sins as well as others, or that he 
will bring them to heaven let them live never so wickedly ; 
but the Spirit, that is within them, will not let them Jive 
wickedly, nor to sin as the ungodly do ; but they hate sin 
habitually, when through temptation they commit it actu- 
ally ; and as they have a general repentance for all, so have 
they a particular repentance for all that is known ; and they 
usually know all that is gross and much more, and they 
have no iniquity that hath dominion over them. But with 
the unconverted it is far otherwise: they are in the gall of 
bitterness and bond of iniquity, and have yet no part nor 
fellowship in the pardon of their sins, or the hopes of glory. 
We have therefore a work of greater necessity to do for 
them, even " to open their eyes, and turn them from dark- 
ness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God ; that 
they may receive forgiveness of sin, and inheritance among 
the sanctified by faith in Christ." (Acts xxvi. 18.) To 
soften and open their hearts to the entertainment of " the 
truth, if God, peradventure, will give them repentance to the 
acknowledging of it, that they may escape out of the snare 
of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will." (2 
Tim. ii. 25.) That so " they may be converted, and their 
sins may be forgiven them.'"' (Mark iv. 12.) He that seeth 
one man sick of a mortal disease, and another only pained 
with the toothach, will be moved more to compassionate 
the former, than the latter, and will surely make more haste 
to help him, though he were a stranger, and the other a son. 
It is so sad a case to see men in a state of damnation. 


wherein if they should die they are remedilessly lost, that 
methinks we should not be able to let them alone, either in 
public or private, whatever other work we have to do. I 
confess, I am forced frequently to neglect that which should 
tend to the further increase of knowledge in the godly, and 
maybe called stronger meat, because of the lamentable neces- 
sity of the unconverted. Who is able to talk of controversies, 
or nice unnecessary points, yea, or truths of a lower degree of 
necessity, how excellent soever, while he seeth a company of 
ignorant, carnal, miserable sinners before his face, that must 
be changed or damned ? Methinks I even see them entering 
upon their final woe! Methinks I even hear them crying out 
for help, and speediest help. Their misery speaks the louder, 
because they have not hearts to seek, or ask for help them- 
selves. Many a time have I known, that I had some hearers of 
higher fancies, that looked for rarities, and were addicted to 
despise the ministry, if he told them not somewhat more than 
ordinary ; and yet I could not find in my heart to turn from 
the observation of the necessities of the impenitent, for the 
humouring of these, nor to leave speaking to the apparently 
miserable for their salvation, to speak to such novelists ; no 
nor so much as otherwise should be done, to the weak for 
their confirmation, and increase in grace. Methinks as 
Paul's spirit was stirred within him, when he saw the Athe- 
nians so addicted to idolatry, so it should cast us into one 
of his paroxysms, to see so many men in great probability 
of being everlastingly undone; and if by faith we did in- 
deed look upon them as within a step of hell, it should 
more effectually untie our tongues, than they tell us that 
Croesus' danger did his son's. He thatwill let a sinner go to 
hell for want of speaking to him, doth set less by souls than 
the Redeemer of souls did, and less by his neighbour than 
rational charity will allow him to do by his greatest enemy. 
O, therefore, brethren, whomsoever you neglect, neglect 
not the most miserable ! Whoever you pass over, forget 
not poor souls that are under the condemnation and curse 
of the law, and may look every hour for the infernal execu- 
tion, if a speedy change do not prevent it. O call after the 
impenitent, and ply this great work of converting souls, 
whatever else you leave undone ! 

2. The next part of the Ministerial work, is for the build- 
ing up of those that are already truly converted. And ac- 

90 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 2. 

cording to the various states of these, the work is various. 
In general, as the persons are either such as are young and 
weak, or such as are in danger of growing worse, or such as 
are already declining, so our work is all reducible to these 
particulars, Confirmation, Progress, Preservation and Resto- 

(1.) We have many of our flock that are young and 
weak ; though of long standing, yet of small proficiency or 
strength. And indeed it is the most common condition of 
the godly : most of them stick in weak and low degrees of 
grace ; and it is no easy matter to get them higher. To 
bring them to higher and stricter opinions, is very easy ; 
that is, to bring them from the truth into error, on the right 
hand as well as on the left : but to increase their knowledge 
and gifts is not easy ; but to increase their graces is the 
hardest of all. It is a very troublesome thing to be weak : 
it exposeth us to many dangers, it abateth consolation, and 
delight in God, and taketh off the sweetness of his ways, and 
maketh us go to work with too much backwardness, and 
come off with little peace or profit. It maketh us less ser- 
viceable to God and man, to bring less honour to our Master 
and profession, and do less good to all about us. We find 
but small benefit by the means we use ; we too easily play 
with the serpent's baits, and are ensnared by his wiles. A 
seducer will easily make us shake, and evil may be made ap- 
pear to us as good, truth as falsehood, sin as a duty, and so 
on the contrary. We are less able to resist and stand in an en- 
counter ; we sooner fall ; we rise with greater difficulty ; 
and are apt to prove a scandal and reproach to our profes- 
sion. We know less of ourselves, and are more apt to be 
mistaken in our own estate, not observing corruptions when 
they have got advantage, we are dishonourable to the Gos- 
pel by our very weakness, and little useful to any about us ; 
and, in a word, though we live to less profit to ourselves or 
others, yet are we unwilling and unready to die. 

Seeing the case of weakness is comparatively so sad, how 
diligent should we be to cherish and increase their grace ! 
The strength of Christians is the honour of the church. 
When men are inflamed with the love of God, and live by a 
lively, working faith, and set light by the profits and honours 
of the world, and love one another with a pure heart fer- 
vently, and can bear and heartily forgive a wrong and suffer 


joyfully for the cause of Christ, and study to do good, and 
walk inoffensively and harmlessly in the world, as ready to 
be servants of all men for their good, becoming all things to 
all men to win them, and yet abstaining from the ap- 
pearances of evil, and seasoning all their actions with a 
sweet mixture of prudence, humility, zeal, and heavenly spi- 
rituality ; O what an honour are such to their profession ! 
What ornaments to the church ; and how excellently ser- 
viceable to God and man ! Men would sooner believe that 
the Gospel is indeed a word of truth and power, if they could 
see more such effects of it upon the hearts and lives of men. 
The world is better able to read the nature of Religion in a 
man's life than in the Bible. They that obey not the word, 
may be won by the conversation of such. It is therefore a 
necessary part of our work, to labour more in polishing and 
perfecting of the saints, that they may be strong in the Lord, 
and fitted for their Master's use. 

(2.) Another sort of Converts that need our special help, 
are those that labour under some particular distemper, which 
keeps under their graces, and makes them temptations and 
troubles to others, and a burden to themselves. For, alas ! 
too many such there are ! Some that are especially addicted 
to pride, and some to worldliness, and some to this or that 
sensual desire ; and many to frowardness and disturbing 
passions. It is our duty to set in for the assistance of all 
these, and partly by dissuasions and clear discoveries of the 
odiousness of the sin, and partly by suitable directions about 
the way of remedy, to help them to a conquest of their cor- 
ruptions. We are leaders of Christ's army against the powers 
of darkness, and must resist all the works of darkness where- 
ever we find them, though it be in the children of light. We 
must be no more tender of the sins of the godly than the 
ungodly, nor any more befriend them or favour them. By 
how much more we love the persons above others, by so 
much the more we must express it in the opposition of their 
sin. And yet must look to meet with some tender persons 
here, especially when iniquity hath got any head, and made 
a party ; and many have fallen in love with it : they will be 
as pettish and impatient of a reproof as some who are worse, 
and interest piety itself into their faults, and say that a mi- 
nister that preacheth against them, doth preach against the 
godly :— A most heinous crime this, to make God and god- 

.92 GILDAS SALVIANUS I [C/iap. 2. 

liness accessory to their sins. But the ministers of Christ 
must do their duty, for all men's peevishness ; and must not 
so far hate their brother, as to forbear the plain rebuke of 
him, or suffer sin to lie upon his soul. Though it must be 
done with much prudence, yet done it must be. 

(3.) Another sort that our work is about, are declining- 
Christians, that are either fallen into some scandalous sin, 
or else abate their zeal and diligence, and shew us that they 
have lost their former love ! As the case of backsliders is 
very sad, so our diligence must be great for their recovery. 
It is sad to them to lose so much of their life, and peace, and 
serviceableness to God ; and to become so serviceable to 
Satan and his cause ! It is sad to us to see that all our la- 
bour is come to this, and that when we have taken so much 
pains with men, and had so much hopes of them, all should 
be so far frustrated. It is saddest of all to think that God 
should be so abused by those that he hath loved, and done 
so much for ; and that the enemy should get such advantage 
upon his graces, and that Christ should be so wounded in 
the house of his friends, the name of God evil spoken of 
among the wicked through such, and all that fear God should 
be reproached for their sakes. Besides, partial backsliding 
hath a natural tendency to total apostacy, and would effect 
it, if special grace prevent it not. The sadder the case of 
such Christians is, the more lieth upon us for their effectual 
recovery, " to restore those that are but overtaken with a 
fault by the spirit of meekness," (Gal. vi. 1, 2,) and yet to 
see that the sore be throughly searched and healed, and the 
joint be well set again, what pain soever it cost; and espe- 
cially to look to the honour of the Gospel, and to see that 
they rise by such free and full confessions and significations 
of true repentance, that some reparation be thereby made 
to the church, and their holy profession, for the wound of 
dishonour that they had given it by their sin. Much skill 
is required to the restoring of such a soul. 

(4.) Another part of our Ministerial work is about those 
that are fallen under some great temptation. Much of our 
assistance is needful to our people in such a case ; and there- 
fore every minister should be a man that hath much insight 
into the tempter's wiles. We should know the variety of 
them, and the cunning craft of all Satan's instruments that 
lie in wait to deceive, and the methods, and devices of the 


grand deceiver. Some of our people lie under temptations 
to error and heresy, especially the young, unsettled and most 
self-conceited ; and those that are most conversant and fa- 
miliar with seducers. Young, unsettled Christians are com- 
monly of their mind that have most interest in their esteem, 
and most opportunity of familiar talk to draw them into their 
way. And as they are tender, so deceivers want not the 
sparks of zeal, to set them in a flame. A zeal for error and 
opinions of our own, is natural and easily kindled and kept 
alive : but it is far otherwise with the spiritual zeal for God. 
O what a deal of holy prudence and industry is necessary in 
a Pastor to preserve the flock from being tainted with he- 
resies, and falling into noxious conceits and practice ; and 
especially to keep them in unity and concord, and hinder 
the rising or increase of divisions. If there be not a notable 
conjunction of all accomplishments, and a skilful improve- 
ment of parts and interests, it will hardly be done ; espe- 
cially in such times as ours, when the sign is in the head, 
and the disease is epidemical. If we do not publicly main- 
tain the credit of our ministry, and second it by unblamable 
and exemplary lives, and privately meet with seducers, and 
shame them ; if we be not able to manifest their folly, and 
follow not close our staggering people before they fall, how 
quickly may we give great advantage to the enemy, and let 
in such an inundation of sin and calamity, that will not ea- 
sily be again cast out. 

Others lie under a temptation to worldlymindedness ; and 
others to gluttony or drunkenness ; and others to unclean- 
ness : some to one sin, and some to another. A faithful 
pastor therefore should have his eye upon them all, and la- 
bour to be acquainted with their natural temperament, and 
also with their occasions and affairs in the world, and the 
company that they live or converse with, that so he may 
know where their temptations lie ; and then speedily, pru- 
dently, and diligently help them. 

(5.) Another part of our Work is to comfort the discon- 
solate, and to settle the peace of our people's souls, and that 
on sure and lasting ground. To which end, the quality of 
the complainants, and the course of their lives had need to 
be known ; for all people must have the like consolations that 
have the like complaints. But of this I have spoken already 
elsewhere; and there is so much said by many, especially 

94 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 2. 

Mr. Bolton in his " Instructions for Right Comforting," that 
I shall say no more. 

(6.) The rest of our Ministerial work is upon those that 
are yet strong ; for they also have need of our assistance ; 
partly to prevent their temptations and declinings, and pre- 
serve the grace they have ; partly to help them for a further 
progress and increase ; and partly to direct them in the im- 
proving of their strength for the service of Christ, and the 
assistance of their brethren. As also to encourage them, 
especially the aged, the tempted and afflicted, to hold on, 
and to persevere that they may obtain the crown. All these 
are the objects of the Ministerial work, and in respect to all 
these, we must take heed to all the flock, 

IV. Having done with our Work in respect to its objects, 
1 am next to speak of the acts themselves. But of this I shall 
be very brief. 

1. One part of our work, and that the most excellent, 
because ittendeth to work on many, is the Public preaching 
of the Word. A work that requireth greater skill, and espe- 
cially greater life and zeal than any of us bring to it. It is 
no small matter to stand up in the face of a congregation, 
and deliver a message of salvation or damnation, as from the 
living God, in the name of our Redeemer. It is no easy 
matter to speak so plain, that the ignorant may understand 
us ; and so seriously, that the deadest hearts may feel us ; 
and so convincingly, that contradicting cavillers may be 
silenced. I know it is a great dispute whether preaching be 
proper to the ministers or not ? The decision seems not very 
difficult. Preaching to a congregation as their ordinary 
teacher, is proper to a minister in office ; and preaching to 
the unbelieving world, Jews, Mahometans or Pagans, as one 
that hath given up himself to that work, and is separated and 
set apart to it, is proper to a minister in office ; but preach- 
ing to a church, and infidels occasionally, as an act of charity, 
extraordinarily, or upon special call to that act, may be com- 
mon to others. The governor of a church, when he cannot 
preach himself, may in a case of necessity appoint a private 
man, ' pro tempore,' to do it, who is able, as Mr. Thorndike 
hath shewed. But no private man may obtrude, without his 
consent who by his office is the guide and pastor of that 
church. And a master of a family may preach to his own 


family, and a schoolmaster to his scholars, and any man to 
those whom he is obliged to teach ; so that he goes not be- 
yond his ability, and do it in a due subordination to church- 
teaching, and not in the way of opposition and division. A 
man that is not of the trade, may do some one act of a trades- 
man in a corporation for his own use, or family, or friend ; 
but he may not separate himself to it, or set it up, and make it 
his profession, nor live upon it, unless he had been an ap- 
prentice, and were free. For though one man of ten thousand 
may do it of himself, as well as he that hath served an appren- 
ticeship, yet it is not to be presumed that it is ordinarily so : 
and the standing rule must not bend to rarities and extraor- 
dinaries, lest it undo all ; for that which is extraordinary and 
rare in such cases, the law doth look upon as a ' non ens.' But 
the best way to silence such usurping teachers, is for those 
to whom it belongeth, to do it themselves so diligently, that 
the people may not have need to go a begging ; and to do it 
judiciously, and affectingly, that a plain difference may ap- 
pear between them and usurpers, and that other men's works 
may be shamed by theirs ; and also by the adding of holy 
lives and unwearied diligence to high abilities, to keep up 
the reputation of their sacred office, that neither seducers, 
nor tempted ones may fetch matter of temptation from our 
blemishes or neglects. 

2. Another part of our Pastoral work is to administer the 
holy Mysteries, or seals of God's covenant, Baptism, and the 
Lord's-supper. This also is claimed by private usurpers : 
but I will not stand to discuss their claim. A great fault it 
is among ourselves, that some are so careless in the manner, 
and others do reform that with a total neglect ; and others do 
lay such a stress on circumstances, and make them a matter 
of so much contention, even in that ordinance where union 
and communion is so professed. 

3. Another part of our Work is to guide our people, and be 
as their mouth in the Public prayers of the church, and the Pub- 
licpraisesofGod: as also to bless them in the name of the Lord. 
This sacredotal part of the work is not the least, nor to be so 
much thrust into a corner as by too many of us it is. A great 
part of God's service in the church-assemblies, was wont in all 
ages of the church till of late, to consist in public praises and 
eucharistical acts in holy communion : and the Lord's-day was 
still kept as a day of thanksgiving, in the hymns, and common 

90 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 2. 

rejoicings of the faithful, in special commemoration of the 
work of Redemption, and the happy condition of the Gospel- 
church. I am as apprehensive of the necessity of Preaching 
as some others : but yet methinks, the solemn praises of God 
should take up much more of the Lord's-day than in most 
places they do. And methinks, they that are for the mag- 
nifying of Gospel-privileges, and for a life of love and hea- 
venly joys, should be of my mind in this ; and their worship 
should be Evangelical as well as their doctrine pretendeth 
to be. 

4. Another part of the Ministerial work, is to have a spe- 
cial care and oversight of each member of the flock. The 
parts whereof are these that follow : — 

(1.) We must labour to be acquainted with the state of 
all our people as fully as we can ; both to know the persons, 
and their inclinations and conversation ; to know what are 
the sins that they are most in danger of, and what duties they 
neglect for the matter or manner, and what temptations they 
are most liable to. For if we know not the temperament or 
disease, we are likely to prove but unsuccessful physicians. 
(2.) We must use all the means we can to instruct the 
ignorant in the matters of their salvation ; by our own most 
plain familiar words ; by giving, or lending, or otherwise 
helping them to books that are fit for them : by persuading 
them to learn catechisms ; and those that cannot read, to get 
help of their neighbours ; and to persuade their neighbours 
to afford them help, who have best opportunities thereto. 

(3.) We must be ready to give advice to those that come 
to us with cases of Conscience, especially the great case 
which the Jews put to Peter, and the jailor to Paul and Silas, 
" What must we do to be saved?" A minister is not only 
for public preaching, but to be a known counsellor for their 
sOuls, as the lawyer is for their estates, and the physician for 
their bodies : so that each man that is in doubts and straits, 
should bring his case to him and desire resolution. Not that 
a minister should be troubled with every small matter, which 
judicious neighbours can give them advice in as well as he, 
no more than a lawyer or physician should be troubled for 
every trifle or familiar case, where others can tell them as 
much as they : but as when their estate, or life is in danger 
they will go to these; so when-their souls are in danger, they 
should go to ministers : as Nicodemus came to Christ, and 


as was usual with fhe people to go to the priest, whose lips 
must preserve knowledge, and at whose mouth they must ask 
the law, because he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts. 
And because the people are grown unacquainted with the 
office of the Ministry, and their own necessity and duty 
herein, it belonged) to us to acquaint them herewith, and to 
press them publicly to come to us for advice in such cases 
of great concernment to their souls. We must not only be 
willing of the trouble, but draw it upon ourselves by inviting 
them hereto. What abundance of good might we do, could 
we but bring our people to this ! And doubtless much might 
be done in it, if we did our duty. How few have I ever 
heard that heartily pressed their people to their duty in this ! 
A sad case, that people's souls should be so injured and ha- 
zarded, by the total neglect of so great a duty, and ministers 
scarcely ever tell them of it, and awaken them to it; were they 
but duly sensible of the need and weight of this, you would 
have them more frequently knocking at your doors, opening 
their cases to you, making their sad complaints, and begging 
your advice. I beseech you put them more on this for the 
future, and perform it carefully when they seek your help. 
To this end it is very necessary that we be acquainted with 
practical cases, and especially that we be acquainted with the 
nature of true grace, and able to assist them in trying their 
states, and resolve the main question that concerns their 
everlasting life or death. One word of seasonable and pru- 
dent advice given by a minister to persons in necessity, hath 
done that good that many sermons would not have done. 

(4.) We must also have a special eye upon Families, to 
see that they be well ordered, and the duties of each relation 
performed. The life of religion, and the welfare and glory 
of church and state, depending much on Family-government 
and duty. If we suffer the neglect of this, we undo all. 
What are we like to do ourselves to the reforming of a con 
gregation, if all the work be cast on us alone, and masters of 
families will let fall that necessary duty of their own, by 
which they are bound to help us ! If any good be begun by 
the ministry in any soul in a family, a careless, prayerless, 
worldly family is almost sure to stifle it, or at least very much 
hinder it. Whereas, if you could but get the rulers of fami- 
lies to do their part, and take up the work where you left it, 

VOL. XIV. h 

08 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 2. 

and help it on, what abundance of good might be done ! I 
beseech you, therefore, do all that you can to promote this 
business, as ever you desire the true reformation and welfare 
of your parishes! To which end let these things following 
be performed : — [1.] Get certain information how each fa- 
mily is ordered, and how God is worshipped in them ; that 
you may know how to proceed in your carefulness for their 
further good. [2.] Go now and then among them when they 
are like to be most at leisure, and ask the master of the fa- 
mily whether he pray with them, or read the Scriptures, or 
what he doth? And labour to convince the neglecters of 
their sin. And if you have opportunity, pray with them be- 
fore you go, and give them an example, what you would 
have them do, and how ; and get a promise of them that they 
will be more conscientious therein for the future. [3.] If 
you find any unable to pray in tolerable expressions, through 
ignorance and disuse, persuade them to study their own 
wants, and get their hearts affected with them, and so go often 
to those neighbours who use to pray, that they may learn, 
and in the meantime persuade them to use a form of prayer 
rather than none. Only tell them, that it is their sin and 
shame that they have lived so negligently, as to be now so 
unacquainted with their own necessities, and not know how 
to speak to God in prayer, when every beggar can find words 
to ask an alms; and therefore tell them that this form is but 
for necessity, as a crutch to a cripple, while they cannot do 
as well without it: but they must not resolve to take up 
there, but to learn to do better as soon as they can, seeing 
prayer should come from the feeling of the heart, and be 
varied both according to our necessities and observations. 
Yet it is necessary for most of those that have not been 
brought up where prayer hath been used, that they begin at 
first with a form, because they will else be able to do nothing 
at all, and in sense of their disability will wholly neglect the 
duty, though they desire to perform it. For many persons 
can mutter out some honest requests in secret, that be not 
able before others to speak tolerable sense. And I will not 
be one of them that had rather the duty were wholly ne- 
glected, or profaned and made contemptible, than encourage 
them to the use of a form, either recited by memory or read. 
[4.] See that they have some profitable, moving book (beside 


the Bible) in each family : if they have not, persuade them 
to buy some of small price, and great use ; such as Mr. 
Whately's " New-Birth," and Dod on the Commandments, 
or some smaller, moving Sermons. If they be not able to 
buy them, give them some if you can : if you cannot, get 
some gentlemen, or other rich persons that are willing to 
good works to do it ; and engage them to read them at night 
when they have leisure, and especially on the Lord's-day. 
[5.] By all means persuade them to procure all their children 
to learn to read English. [6.] .Direct them how to spend 
the Lord's-day ; how to dispatch their worldly businesses, so 
as to prevent incumbrances and distractions ; and when they 
have been at the assembly, how to spend the time in their 
families. The life of religion lieth much on this, because 
poor people have no other free considerable time ; and there- 
fore if they lose this, they lose all, and will remain ignorant 
and brutish. Especially, persuade them to these two things: 
If they cannot repeat the sermon, or otherwise spend the 
time profitably at home, that they take their family with 
them, and go to some godly neighbour that spends it better, 
that by joining with them they may have the better help : 
That the master of the family will every Lord's-day at night, 
cause all his family to repeat the Catechism to him, and give 
him some account of what they have learned in public that 
day. [7.] If there be any in the family that are known to 
be unruly, give the ruler a special charge concerning them, 
and make them understand what a sin it is to connive at, and 
tolerate them. Neglect not therefore this necessary part of 
your work. Get masters of families to their duties, and they 
will spare you a great deal of labour with the rest, or further 
much the success of your labours. If a captain can get his 
lieutenant, cornet, and other inferior officers to their duties, 
he may rule the soldiers with less trouble, than if all should 
lie upon his hands alone. You are likely to see no general 
reformation till you procure family-reformation. Some little 
obscure religion there may be in here and there one ; but 
while it sticks in single persons, and is not promoted by 
these societies, it doth not prosper, nor promise much for 
future increase. 

(5.) Another part of the work of our private oversight 
consisteth in a vigilant opposing of seducers, and seeking to 
prevent the infection of our flock, and speedy reclaiming 

100 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 2. 

those that begin to itch after strange teachers, and turn into 
crooked paths. When we hear of any one that lies under 
the influence of their temptations, or that is already deceived 
by them, we must speedily with all our skill and diligence 
make out for their relief. The means I shall shew in the Di- 
rections in the end. 

(6.) Another part of this oversight lieth in the due encou- 
ragement of those that are humble, upright, obedient Chris- 
tians, and profit by our teaching, and are an honour to their 
profession. We must in the eyes of all the flock put some 
difference between them and the rest by our praises, and 
more special familiarity, and other testimonies of our appro- 
bation, and rejoicing over them ; that so we may both encou- 
rage them, and incite others to imitate them. God's graces 
are amiable and honourable in all, even in the poorest of the 
flock, as well as in pastors ; and the smallest degrees must 
be cherished and encouraged ; but the highest more openly 
honoured and propounded to imitation. They that have 
slighted or vilified the most gracious, because they were of 
the laity, while they claimed to themselves the honour of 
the clergy, though adorned with little or none of that grace, 
as they shewed themselves to be proud and carnal, so did 
they take the next way to debase themselves by self-exalta- 
tion, and to bring the office itself into contempt. For if 
there be no honour due to the real sanctity of a Christian, 
much less to the relative sanctity of a pastor: and he that 
vilifieth the person, cannot well plead for the honouring of 
robes and empty titles : nor can he expect that his people 
should give him the honour of a pastor, if he will not give 
them the love and honour that is due to Christians, and the 
members of Christ. As the orator said to Domitius, ' Cur 
ego te habeam ut principem, cum tu me non habeas ut sena- 
torem.' It was an unchristian course therefore, which our late 
Prelates and their agents took, who discountenanced none 
so much as the most godly, whom they should have rejoiced 
in, and encouraged ; and made them not only the common 
scorn, but also the objects of their persecuting rage, as if 
they had fed their flock for the butcher, and called them out 
for suffering as they came to maturity. This vilifying and 
persecuting the most diligent of the flock, was neither the 
note of Christian shepherds, nor the way to be so esteemed. 
As Jerom saith, " Quid de Episcopis, qui verberibus timeri 



volunt, canones dicant, bene fraternitas vestra novit. Pas" 
tores enim facti sumus, non percussores. Egregius prsedi- 
cator dixit; Argue, obsecra, increpa in omni patientia etdoc- 
trina : novavero atque inaudita est ilia praedieatio, qute ver- 
beribus exigitfidem." Much more might he have said, ' quse 
verberibus castigat pietatem.' 

(7.) Another part of our oversight lieth in Visiting the 
Sick, and helping them to prepare either for a fruitful life, or 
a happy death. Though this be the business of all our life 
and theirs, yet doth it at such a season require extraordinary 
care both of them and us. When time is almost gone, and 
they must be now or never reconciled to God, and possessed 
of his grace, O how doth it concern them to redeem those 
hours, and lay hold upon eternal life ! And when we see that 
we are likely to have but a few days or hours more to speak 
to them, in order to their endless state, what man that is not 
an infidel or a block, would not be with them, and do all 
that he can for their salvation in that short space ! 

Will it not awaken us to compassion to look upon a lan- 
guishing man, and to think that within a few days his soul 
will be in heaven or hell? Surely it will much try the faith 
and seriousness of ministers and others, to be about dying 
men ! They will have much opportunity to discern whether 
they are themselves in good sadness, about the matters of 
the life to come. So great is the change that is made by 
death, that it should awaken us to the greatest sensibility, to 
see a man so near it, and should provoke us in the deepest 
pangs of compassion, to do the office of inferior angels for 
the soul before it is departed from the flesh, that it may be 
ready for the convoy of superior angels, to transmit it to the 
prepared glory when it is removed from sin and misery. 
When a man is almost at his journey's end, and the next 
step puts him into heaven or hell, it is time for us to help him 
if we can, while there is hope. As Bernard saith, The death 
of the righteous is " bona propter requiem, melior propter 
novitatem, optima propter securitatem : sed mors peccato- 
rum est mala in mundi amissione, pejor in carnis separatione, 
pessima in vermis ignisque duplici contritione." Could they 
have any hope that it would be their ' ultima linea rerum,' 
and that they have no more to suffer when that dismal day 
is past, they might have such abatements of their terror to 

102 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 2. 

die as brutes, who fear no sorrow after death. But it is so far 
otherwise, that death itself is the smallest matter that they 
need to care for : ' Sed moriendo quo ire cogantur, ut Au- 
gust.' It is not the ' prima mors quae animam pellit violen- 
ter e corpore,' that is the most terrible, ' sed secunda quaB 
animam nolentem tenent in corpore, inquit, Idem.' 

And as their present necessity should move us to take 
that opportunity for their good, so should the advantage 
that sickness and the foresight of death affordeth. There 
are few of the stoutest hearts but will hear us on their death- 
bed, that scorned us before. They will then let fall their 
fury, and be as tame as lambs, that were before as untractable 
as wasps or madmen : a man may speak to them then, that 
could not before. T find not one of ten of the most obsti- 
nate, scornful wretches in the parish, but when they come to 
die, will humble themselves ; confess their fault, and seem 
penitent, and promise, if they should recover, to do so no 
more. If the very Meditations of Death be so effectual in 
the time of health, that it is, saith Augustinus, " quasi Cla- 
vis carnis omnes motus superbias ligno crucis afngens," (1. 2. 
de Doct. Christ.), much more when it comes in, as it were, 
at the window, and looks men in the face. Cyprian saith to 
those in health, " Qui se quotidie recordatur moriturum esse, 
contemnit prcesentia, etad futurafestinat:" much more "qui 
sentit se statim moriturum. Nil ita revocata. peccato," saith 
Austin, " quamfrequens mortis meditatio." O how resolvedly 
will the worst of them seem to cast away their sins, and 
promise a reformation, and cry out of their folly, and of the 
vanity of this world, when they see that death is in good ear- 
nest with them, and away they must without delay ! Perhaps 
you will say, that these forced changes are not cordial, and 
therefore we have no great hope of doing them any saving 
good. I confess it is very common to be frightened into inef- 
fectual purposes, but not so common to be at such a season 
converted to fixed resolutions : and as Austin saith, " Non 
potest male mori, qui bene vixerit ; et vix bene moritur, qui 
male vixit." Yet ' vix' and ' nunquam' are not all one : It 
should make both them and us the more diligent in the time 
of health, because it is ' vix :' but yet we should bestir us at 
the last, in the use of the last remedies, because it is not 
* nunquam.' 

Chap. 2.] THE REFORMED PASTOlt. 103 

And it will not-be unuseful to ourselves, to read such lec- 
tures of our own mortality : it is better to go to the house 
of mourning, than to the house of feasting ; for it tendeth to 
make the heart better, when we see the end of all the living, 
and what it is that the world will do for those that sell their 
salvation for it. When we see that it will be our own case, 
and there is no escape ; 

' (Scilicit omne sacrum mors importuna prophanat, 
Omnibus obscuras injicit ilia manus.)' 
it will make us talk to ourselves in Bernard's language, 
" Quare, O miser, non omni hora ad mortem te disponis ? 
Cogita te jam mortuum, quem scis necessitate moriturum : 
distingue qualiter oculi vertentur in capite, venae rumpentur 
in corpore, et cor scindetur dolore.'' When we see that (as 
he saith) death spareth none : " inopiae non miseretur, non 
reveretur divitias; non sapiential, non moribus, non setati 
denique parcit; nisi quod senibus mors est in januis, juve- 
nibus vero in insidiis ;'' it will excite us the better to consider 
the use of faith and holiness ; that it is not to put by death, 
but to put by hell : not that we may not die as certainly as 
others, but that we may die better, and be certainly happy 
after death. 

Because I do not intend a Directory for the whole Minis- 
terial work, I will not stand to tell you particularly what 
must be done for men in that last extremity ; but only choose 
out these three or four things to remember you of: passing 
by all the rest. 

[1.] Stay not till strength and understanding be gone, 
and the time so short that you scarcely know what you do ; but 
go to them as soon as you hear that they are sick, whether 
they send for you or not. 

[2.] When the time is so short, that there is no oppor- 
tunity to endeavour the change of their hearts in that distinct 
way, as is usual with others, nor to press truths upon them 
in such order, and stay the working of it by degrees, we 
must therefore be sure to ply the main, and dwell upon those 
truths which must do the great work : shewing them the 
certainty and glory of the life to come, and the way by which 
it was purchased for us, and the great sin and folly of their 
neglecting it in time of health ; but yet the possibility that 
remaineth of obtaining it, if they do but close with it hear- 
tily as their happiness, and with the Lord Jesus, as the way 

104 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 2. 

thereto ; abhorring themselves for their former evil, and now 
unfeignedly resigning themselves up to Him to be justified, 
sanctified, ruled and saved. Three things must be chiefly 
insisted on. — 1. The end: the certainty and greatness of the 
glory of the saints in the presence of God, that so their hearts 
may be set upon it. 2. The sufficiency and necessity of the 
redemption by Jesus Christ ; and the fulness of the Spirit, 
which we may, and must be made partakers of. This is the 
principal way to the end, and the nearer end itself. 3. The 
necessity and nature of faith, repentance and resolutions for 
new obedience according as there shall be opportunity. This 
is the subservient way, or the means that on our part, must 
be performed. 

[3.] Labour, upon conviction and deliberation to engage 
them by solemn promise to Christ, and new obedience ac- 
cording to their opportunity; especially if you see any like- 
lihood of their recovery. 

[4.] If they do recover, be sure to mind them of their 
promises. Go to them purposely to set it home, and reduce 
them into performance. And whenever after you see them 
remiss, go to them then, and remind them of what they for- 
merly said. And because it is of such use to them that re- 
cover (and hath been a means of the conversion of many a 
soul), it is very necessary, that you go to tliem whose sick- 
ness is not mortal, as well as to them that are nearer death ; 
and so we may have some advantage to move them to re- 
pentance, and engage them to newness of life ; and may af- 
terward have this to plead against their sins. As a bishop 
of Colen is said by iEneas Silvius to have answered the 
emperor Sigismund, when he asked him, what was the way 
to be saved ; that ' lie must be what he purposed or pro- 
mised to be, when he was last troubled with the stone or 
gout:' so may we hereafter answer these. 

(8.) Another part of our Ministerial oversight consisteth 
in the right comforting the consciences of the troubled, 
and settling our people in a well-grounded peace. But this 
I have spoken of elsewhere, and others have done it more at 

(9.) Another part of this oversight consists in reproving 
and admonishing those that live offensively, or irnpenitently, 
and receiving the information of those that have admonished 
them more privately in vain. Before we bring such matters 


to the congregation, or to a representative church, it is or- 
dinarily most fit for the minister to try himself what he can 
do more privately to bow the sinner to repentance, especi- 
ally if it be not a public crime. A great deal of skill is here 
required, and difference must be made, according to the va- 
rious tempers of offenders; but with the most it will be 
necessary to begin with the greatest plainness and power, in 
order to shake their careless hearts, and make them see 
what it is to dally with sin ; to let them know the evil of it, 
and its sad effects, and the unkindness, unreasonableness, 
unprofitableness, and other aggravations ; and what it is 
they do against God and themselves. For the matter, the 
following directions may be applied. 

(10.) The next part of our oversight lies in the use of 
Church-discipline ; and this consisteth after the aforesaid 
private reproofs. — In more public reproof. — Persuading the 
person to meet expressions of repentance. — Praying for 
them. — Restoring the penitent. — Excluding and avoiding 
the impenitent. — [1.] And for reproof, these things must be 
observed : That the accusations of none, no, not the best in 
the church be taken without proof, nor rashly entertained ; 
nor that a minister should make himself a party before he 
have a sufficient evidence of the case. It is better let many 
vicious persons go unpunished, or uncensured, when we 
want sufficient evidence, than to censure one unjustly ; 
which we may easily do, if we will go upon too bold pre- 
sumptions ; and then it will bring upon the pastors the scan- 
dal of partiality, and unrighteous and injurious dealing, and 
make all their reproofs and censures contemptible. — [2.] 
Let there be therefore, a less public meeting of chosen per- 
sons (as the officers and some delegates of the church on 
their behalf) to have the hearing of all such cases before 
they be made more public : Once a month, at a set place, 
they may come together to receive what charge shall be 
brought against any member of the church, that it may be 
considered whether it be just, and the offender may be dealt 
with then first : and if the fault be either less public or less 
heinous, so that a less public profession of repentance may 
satisfy, then if the party shall there profess repentance, it 
may suffice. — [3.] But if it be not so, or if the party remain 
impenitent, he must be reproved before all, and there again 
invited to repentance. This duty is not the less, because our 

106 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 2. 

brethren have made so little conscience of the practice of it. 
It is not only Christ's command to tell the church, but Paul's 
to rebuke such before all; and the church hath constantly 
practised it till selfishness and formality caused them to be 
remiss in this and other duties together; and the Reformers 
have as much stood up for it as the rest ; and as deeply are 
we engaged by vows, covenants, prayers, and other means, 
for the executing of it : of which more in the application. 
Austin saith, " Quae peccantur coram omnibus, coram omni- 
bus corripienda sunt, ut omnes timeant : Qui secreto peccant 
in te, secreto corripe ; nam si solus nosti, et eum vis coram 
aliis arguere, non es corrector sed proditor." Greg. Mag. 
in Registro, saith, " Manifesta peccata non sunt occulta cor- 
rectione purganda: sed palam sunt arguendi qui palam no- 
cent; utdumapertaobjurgatione sanantur, hi qui eos imitan- 
do delinquerant, corrigantur. Dum enim unus corripitur,plu- 
rimi emendantur, et melius est ut pro multorum salute unus 
condemnetur, quam utperunius licentiam multi pericliten- 
tur." Isidore saith, " Qui admonitus secrete de peccato cor- 
rigi negligit, publice arguendus est, et vulnus quod occulte 
sanari nescit, manifesto debeat emendari." If any should 
say, that we shall thus be guilty of defaming men by pub- 
lishing their crimes ; I answer, in the words of Bernard sup. 
Cantic. " Cum carpuntur vitise, et inde scandalum oritur, 
ipse sibi scandali causa est, qui fecit quod argui debet ; non 
ille qui arguit. Non ergo timeas contra charitatem esse, si 
unius scandalum multorum recompensaveris pace. Melius 
est enim ut pereat unus quam unitas." There is no rooiu 
for a doubt, whether this be our duty, or whether we are un- 
faithful as to the performance of it. I doubt many of us 
that would be ashamed to omit Preaching or Praying half 
so much, have little considered what we do in the wilful 
neglect of this duty, and the rest of discipline so long as 
we have done. We little think how we have drawn the guilt 
of swearing, and drunkenness, and fornication, and other 
crimes upon our own heads, for want of using God's means 
for the cure of them. As Greo\ Mag. saith in Registro, 
" Qui. non corrigit resecanda, committit: et facientis culpam 
habet, qui quod potest corrigere, negligit emendare," saith 
the Comedian. " Si quid me scis fecisse inscite aut improbe, 
si id non accusas, tuipse objurgandus es." Plaut. 

If any say, there is little likelihood that public, personal 


reprehension should do good on them, because they will be 
but enraged by the shame, I answer: — [1.] Philo, a Jew, 
could say (de Sacrif. Abel and Cain), " We must endeavour, 
as far as we are able, to save those from their sins that shall 
certainly perish ; imitating good physicians, who when they 
cannot save a sick man, do yet willingly try all means for 
cure, lest they seem to want success through their own neg- 
lects. — [2.] I further answer, It ill beseems the silly crea- 
ture to implead the ordinances of God as useless, or to re- 
proach his service instead of doing it, and set their wits 
against their Maker. God can make use of his own ordi- 
nances, or else he would never have appointed them. — [3.] 
The usefulness of this discipline is apparent to the shaming 
of sin, and humbling of the sinner; and manifesting the ho- 
liness of Christ and his doctrine, and church before all the 
world. — [4.] What would you have done with such sinners? 
give them up as hopeless ? That were too cruel. Would 
you use other means ? Why it is supposed that all other 
have been used without success ; for this is the last remedy. 
— [5.] The Church of Christ hath found reason enough to 
use this course, even in times of persecution, when our car- 
nal reason would have told them that they should then 
above all have forborne it, for fear of driving away all their 
converts. — [6.] The principal use of this public discipline is 
not for the offender himself, but for the church. It tendeth 
exceedingly to deter others from the like crimes, and so to 
keep pure the congregations, and their worship. Seneca 
could say, " Vitia transmittit ad posteros, qui prsesentibus 
culpis ignoscit." And elsewhere, " Bonis nocet, qui malis 
parcit." If you say, that it will but restrain them as hypo- 
crites, and not convert them : I answer, It may preserve 
others. And who knows how God may bless his ordinance, 
even to them? The restraint of sin is a benefit not to be 
contemned. " Audebo peccanti mala sua ostendere: vitia 
ejus si non excidero, inhibebo. Non desinent; sed inter- 
mittent : fortasse autem desinent, si intermittendi consuetu- 
dinem fecerint," said the Moralist. Sen. Epist. 40. The 
scorns that I have heard from many against the Scottish 
ministers, from bringing offenders to the stool of repentance, 
as if it were mere formality and hypocrisy, to take such a 
thing as satisfactory, when true repentance is absent, hath 
discovered more of the accuser's error than of theirs, For no 

108 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 2. 

doubt, it is true repentance that they exhort men to ; and it 
is true repentance which offenders do profess ; and whether 
they truly profess it, who can tell but God ? It is not for 
nothing that sin is brought to so much disgrace, and the 
church doth so far acquit themselves of it. But of this 

Next to the duty of public reproof must be joined an 
exhortation of the person to repentance, and to the public 
profession of it for the satisfaction of the church. For as 
the church is bound to avoid communion with impenitent, 
scandalous sinners, so when they have had the evidence of 
their sin, they must see some evidence of their repentance ; 
for we cannot know them to be penitent without evidence. 
And what evidence is the church capable of, but their pro- 
fession of repentance first, and their actual reformation af- 
terwards ? both which must be expected. 

To these may be most fitly joined the public prayers of 
the church, and that both for the reproved before they are 
rejected, and for the rejected (some of them at least) that 
they may repent and be restored. But we are now upon the 
former. Though this is not expressly affixed to discipline, 
yet we have a sufficient discovery of God's will concerning 
it in the general precepts. We are commanded to pray 
always ; and in all things, and for all men, and in all places : 
and all things are said to be sanctified by it. It is plain there- 
fore, that so great a business as this should not be done 
without it! And who can have any just reason to be of- 
fended with us, if we pray to God for the changing of their 
hearts, and the pardon of their sins ? It is therefore in my 
judgment a very laudable course of those churches that use 
for the three next days together to desire the congregation 
to join in earnest prayer to God for the opening of the sin- 
ner's eyes, softening his heart, and saving him from impeni- 
tency and eternal death ! And though we have no express 
direction in Scripture just how long we shall stay to try 
whether the sinner be so impenitent, as to be necessarily 
excluded, yet we must follow the general directions, with 
such diversity as the case and quality of the person and 
former proceeding shall require ; it being left to the dis- 
cretion of the church, who are in general, to stay so long till 
the person manifest himself obstinate in his sin : not but 
that a temporary exclusion, called Suspension, may often 


be inflicted in the meantime ; but before we proceed to an 
exclusion ' a statu,' it is very meet (ordinarily) that three 
days' prayer for him and patience towards him should ante- 

And indeed, I see no reason why this course should not 
be much more frequent than it is ; and that not only upon 
those that are members of our special charge, and do con- 
sent to discipline, but even to those that deny our pastoral 
oversight and discipline, and yet are our ordinary hearers. 
For so far as men have Christian communion or familiarity 
with us, so far are they capable of being excluded from 
communion. Though the members of our special charge 
have more full and special communion, and so are more 
capable of a more full and special exclusion; yet all those 
that dwell among us, and are our ordinary hearers, have 
some communion. For as they converse with us, so they 
hear the word, not as heathens, but as Christians, and mem- 
bers of the Universal Church into which they have been bap- 
tized ; and they join with us in public prayers and praises 
in the celebration of the Lord's-day. From this therefore 
they are capable of being excluded, or from part of this, at 
least morally, if not locally. For the precept of avoiding, 
and withdrawing from, and not eating with such, is not re- 
strained to the members of a governed church, but extended 
to all Christians that are capable of communion. 

When these ungodly persons are sick, we have daily 
bills from them to request the prayers of the congregation : 
and if we must pray for them against sickness, and tempo- 
ral death, I know no reason but we should much more ear- 
nestly pray for them against sin and eternal death. That 
we have not their consent, is no dissuasive : for that is their 
disease, and the very venom and malignity of it ; and we do 
not take it to be sober arguing, to say, ' I may not pray for 
such a man against his sickness, because he is sick :' or, ' if 
he were not sick, I would pray against his sickness.' No 
more is it to say, ' If he were not impenitent, so as to refuse 
our prayers, I would pray that he might be saved from his 
impenitency.' I confess I do not take myself to have so 
strict a charge over this sort of men, who renounce my over- 
sight, as I do over the rest that own it ; and that is the rea- 
son why I have called no more of them to public repentance, 
because it requireth most commonly more time to examine 

110 gildas salvianus : [Chap, 2. 

the matter of fact, or deal with the person first more privately, 
that his impenitency may be discerned, than I can possibly 
spare from the duties which I owe to my special charge, to 
whom I am more indebted ; and therefore may ordinarily ex- 
pend no more on the rest (who are to me but as strangers, 
or men of another parish, and of no governed, particular 
church) than I can spare when I have done my main duty 
to my flock. But yet though 1 cannot use any such disci- 
pline on all that sort, nor am so much obliged to do it, yet 
some of them that are most notoriously and openly wicked, 
where less proof and short debates are requisite, I intend to 
deal thus with hereafter, having found some success in that 
kind already. But especially to all those whom we take for 
members of that particular church which we are pastors of, 
there is no question but this is our duty, and therefore 
where the whole parish are members, discipline must be ex- 
ercised on the whole. 

I confess much prudence is to be exercised in such pro- 
ceedings, lest we do more hurt than good ; but it must be 
such Christian prudence as ordereth duties, and suiteth them 
to their ends, and not such carnal prudence as shall enervate 
or exclude them. It may be tit therefore for younger minis- 
ters to consult with others, for the more cautious proceed- 
ing in such works. And in the performance of it, we should 
deal humbly, even when we deal most sharply, and make it 
appear that it is not from any contending or lordly disposi- 
tion, nor an act of revenge for any injury ; but a necessary 
duty which we cannot conscientiously avoid : and therefore 
it will be meet we disclaim all such animosities, and shew 
the people the commands of God obliging us to what we do. 

' Neighbours and brethren, sin is so hateful an evil 
in the eyes of the most holy God, how light soever impe- 
nitent sinners make of it, that he hath provided the ever- 
lasting torments of hell for the punishment of it ; and no 
less means can prevent that punishment than the sacrifice 
of the blood of the Son of God, applied to those that truly 
repent of it and forsake it, and therefore God that calleth 
all men to repentance, hath commanded us to exhort one an- 
other daily, while it is called to-day, lest any be hardened 
through the deceitfulness of sin ; (Heb. iii. 13 ;) and that 
we do not hate our brother in our heart, but in any wise re- 
buke our neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him ; (Lev. xix. 


17 ;) and that if "our brother offend us, we should tell him 
his faults between him and us ; and if he hear not, take two 
or three, and if he hear not them, tell the church ; and if he 
hear not the church, he must be to us as a heathen or a pub- 
lican ; (Matt, xviii. 17 ;) and those that sin, we must rebuke 
before all, that others may fear ; (1 Tim. v. 20 ;) and rebuke 
with all authority. (Tit. i. 15.) Yea, were it an apostle of 
Christ that should openly sin, he must be openly reproved, 
as Paul did Peter, (Gal. ii. 11. 14,) and if they repent not, 
we must avoid them, and with such not so much as eat. 
(2 Thess. iii. 6. 12. 14; 1 Cor. v. 11. 13.) According to 
these commands of the Lord, having heard of the scan- 
dalous practice of N. N. of this church (or parish) and 
having received sufficient proof that he hath committed 

the odious sin of ; we have seriously dealt with 

him to bring him to repentance ; but, to the grief of 
our hearts, do perceive no satisfactory success of our en- 
deavours ; but he seemeth still to remain impenitent, or still 
liveth in the same sin, though he verbally profess repent- 
ance. We do therefore judge it our necessary duty, to 
proceed to the use of that further remedy which Christ hath 
commanded us to try ; and hence we desire him in the name 
of the Lord, without any further delay, to lay by his obsti- 
nacy against the Lord and to submit to his rebuke and will, 
and to lay to heart the greatness of his sin, the wrong he 
hath done to Christ and to himself, and the scandal and grief 
that he hath caused to others ; and how unable he is to con- 
tend with the Almighty, and prevail against the Holy God, 
who to the impenitent is a consuming fire ! Or to save him- 
self from his burning indignation ! And I do earnestly be- 
seech him for the sake of his own soul, that he will but so- 
berly consider, what it is that he can gain by his sin or im- 
penitency, and whether it will pay for the loss of everlast- 
ing life ? And how he thinks to stand against God in judg- 
ment, or to appear before the Lord Jesus, when death shall 
snatch his soul from his body, if he be found in this impeni- 
tent state ? When the Lord Jesus himself, in whose blood 
they pretend to trust, hath told such with his own mouth, 
that except they repent they shall all perish. (Lukexiii.3.5.) 
And I do beseech him for the sake of his own soul, and re- 
quire him as a messenger of Jesus Christ, as he will answer 
the contrary at the bar of God, that he lay by the stoutness 

112 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 2. 

and impenitency of his heart, and unfeignedly confess and 
lament his sin before God and this congregation ! And this 
desire I here publish, not out of any ill will to his person, 
as the Lord knoweth, but in love to his soul, and in obedience 
to Christ that hath made it my duty ; desiring, that if it be 
possible, he may be saved from his sin, and from the power 
of Satan, and from the everlasting burning wrath of God, and 
may be reconciled to God, and to his church, and therefore 
that he may be humbled by true contrition, before he be 
humbled by remediless condemnation.' 

Thus, or to this purpose, I conceive our public admoni- 
tion should proceed; and in some cases where the sinner 
taketh his sin to be small, the aggravation of it will be ne- 
cessary, especially the citing of some texts of Scripture that 
do aggravate and threaten it. 

And in case he either will not be present, that such ad- 
monition may be given him, or will not be brought to a dis- 
covery of repentance, and to desire the prayers of the con- 
gregation for him, it will be meet that with such a preface 
as this afore expressed, we desire the prayers of the congre- 
gation for him ourselves ; that the people would consider 
what a fearful condition the impenitent are in, and have pity 
on a poor soul that is so blinded and hardened by sin and 
Satan, that he cannot pity himself; and think what it is for 
a man to appear before the living God in such a case, and 
therefore that they would join in earnest prayer to God, that 
he would open his eyes, and soften and humble his stubborn 
heart, before he be in hell beyond remedy : and accordingly 
let us be very earnest in prayer for such that the congrega- 
tion may be provoked affectionately to join with us ; and 
who knows but God may hear such prayers, and cause the 
sinner's heart to relent. However, the people will perceive 
that we make not light of sin, and preach not to them in 
mere custom or formality. If ministers would be conscien- 
tious in thus carrying on the work of God entirely and self- 
denyingly. they might make something of it, and expect a 
fuller blessing. But when we shrink from all that is dan- 
gerous or ungrateful, and shift off all that is costly or trou- 
blesome, they cannot expect that any great matter should 
be done by such carnal, partial use of means ; and though 
some may be here and there called home to God, yet we can- 


not look that th£ Gospel should prevail, and run, and be 
glorified, where it is so lamely and defectively carried on. 

When a sinner is thus admonished, and prayed for, if it 
please the Lord to open his eyes and give him remorse, be- 
fore we proceed to any further censure, it is our next duty 
to proceed to his full recovery ; where these things must be 
observed: — (1.) That we do not either discourage him by 
too much severity, nor yet by too much lenity and levity 
make nothing of discipline, nor help him to any saving cure, 
but merely slubber it over. If therefore he have sinned 
scandalously but once, if his repentance seem deep and se- 
rious, we may in some cases restore him at that time ; that 
is, if the wound that he hath given to the credit of the church, 
be not so deep as to require more ado for satisfaction, or the 
sin so heinous as may cause us to delay. But if it be so, or 
if he have lived long in the sin, it is most meet that he do 
wait in penitence a convenient time before he be restored. — 
(2.) And when the time comes, whether at the first confes- 
sion, or after, it is meet that we urge him to be serious in 
his humiliation, and set it home upon his conscience till he 
seem to be truly sensible of his sin ; for it is not a vain for- 
mality, but the recovery and saving of a soul that we expect. 
— (3.) We must see that he beg the communion of the 
church, and their prayers to God for his pardon and salva- 
tion. — (4.) And that he promise to fly from such sin for the 
time to come, and watch more narrowly, and walk more wa- 
rily. — (5.) Then we have these things more to do : — To assure 
him of the riches of God's love, and the sufficiency of Christ's 
blood to pardon his sins, and that if his repentance be sin- 
cere, the Lord doth pardon him, of which we are authorised 
as his messengers to assure him : — to charge him to perse- 
vere and perform his promises, avoid temptations, and con- 
tinue to beg mercy and strengthening grace : — to charge the 
church that they imitate Christ in forgiving, and retaining ; 
or if he were cast out, receive the penitent person into their 
communion, and that they never reproach him with his sins, 
or cast them in his teeth, but forgive and forget them as 
Christ doth. — And then to give God thanks for his recovery 
so far, and to pray for his confirmation, and future preser- 

The next part of Discipline, is the rejecting and removing 
vol. xiv. i 

114 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 2. 

from the church's communion, those that after sufficient 
trial do remain impenitent; where note — (1.) That if a man 
have sinned but once in a scandalous manner, it is but a 
profession of repentance that we can expect for our satis- 
faction ; but if he be accustomed to sin, or have often broke 
such promises, then it is an actual reformation we must ex- 
pect. And therefore, he that will refuse either of these, to 
reform, or to profess and manifest repentance, is to be taken 
by us as living in his sin : for a heinous sin, but once com- 
mitted, is morally continued in till it be repented of; and a 
bare forbearing of the act is not sufficient. — (2.) Yet have 
we no warrant to rip up matters that are worn out of the 
public memory, and so to make that public again that is 
ceased to be public : at least in ordinary cases. — (3.) Ex- 
clusion from church-communion, commonly called Excom- 
munication, is of divers sorts or degrees, more than two or 
three, which are not to be confounded ; of which, I will not 
so far digress as here to treat. — (4.) That which is most com- 
monly to be practised among us is, only to remove an im- 
penitent sinner from our communion, till it shall please the 
Lord to give him repentance. — (5.) In this exclusion or re- 
moval, the minister or governors of that church are autho- 
ritatively to charge the people in the name of the Lord to 
avoid communion with him; and to pronounce him one, 
whose communion the church is bound to avoid ; and the 
people's duty is obedientially to avoid him, in case the pas- 
tor's charge contradict not the word of God. So that he 
hath the guiding or governing power ; and they have a dis- 
cerning power, whether his charge be just, and an executive 
power ; for it is they that must execute the sentence in part 
by avoiding the rejected, as he himself must execute it by 
denying him those ordinances and privileges not due to him, 
whereof he is the administrator. — (6.) It is very convenient 
to pray for the repentance and restoration, even of the ex- 
communicated. — (7.) And if God shall give them repentance 
they are gladly to be received into the communion of the 
church again. 

Of the manner of all these I shall say no more, so much 
having been said of them already. And for the manner of 
other particular duties/of which I have said little or nothing, 
you have much already, as in other writings, so in the Di- 
rectory of the late Assembly. 



Would we were but so far faithful in the practice of this 
discipline, as we are satisfied both of the matter and manner; 
and did not dispraise and reproach it by our negligence 
while we write and plead for it with the highest commenda- 
tions. It is worthy our consideration, who are like to have 
the heavier charge about this matter at the bar of God? 
Whether those deluded ones, that have reproached and hin- 
dered discipline by their tongues, because they knew not its 
nature and necessity ; or we, that have so vilified it by our 
constant omission, while with our tongues we have magnified 
it? If hypocrisy be no sin, or if the knowledge of our Mas- 
ter's will be no aggravation of the evil of disobedience, then 
we are in a better case than they. I will not advise the zea- 
lous maintainers, and obstinate neglecters and rejecters of 
Discipline, to unsay all that they have said, till they are 
ready to do as they say, nor to recant their defences of Dis- 
cipline, till they mean to practise it, nor to burn all the books 
that they have written for it, and all the records of their costs 
and hazards for it, lest they rise up in judgment against them 
to their confusion ; nor that they recant their condemnation 
of the prelates in this, till they mean a little further to out- 
go them : But I would persuade them without any more de- 
lay, to conform their practices to these testimonies which 
they have given, lest the more they are proved to have com- 
mended discipline, the more they are proved to have con- 
demned themselves for neglecting: it. 

I have often marvelled, that the same men who have 
been much offended at the books that have been written for 
free admission to the Lord's-supper, or for mixed communion 
in that one part, have been no more offended at as free per- 
mission in a church state, and as free admission to other parts 
of communion ; and that they have made so small a matter 
at as much mixture in all the rest : I should think that it is 
a greater profanation to permit an obstinate, scandalous sin- 
ner, to be a stated member of that particular church, without 
any first private, and then public admonition, prayer for 
him, or censure of him ; than for a single pastor to admit 
him to the Lord's-supper, if he had no power to censure him; 
as these suppose. I should think that the faithful practice 
of discipline in the other parts, would soon put an end to the 
controversy about free admission to the Lord's-supper, and 
heal the hurt that such discourses have done to our people. 

116 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 2. 

For those discourses have more modesty than to plead for a 
free admission of the censured or rejected ones ; but it is 
only of those that have yet their standing in that church, 
and are not censured. And if, when they forfeit their title 
to church-communion, we would deal with them in Christ's 
appointed way, till we had either reclaimed them to repen- 
tance, or censure them to be avoided ; it would be past con- 
troversy then, that they were not to be admitted to that one 
act of communion in the Supper, who are justly excluded 
from the whole. But as long as we leave them uncensured 
members, and tell a single pastor that he hath no power to 
censure them, we tempt him to think that he hath no power 
then to deny them that communion with the body which is 
the common privilege of all uncensured members. 

And as we thus ourselves oppose discipline in part, or 
cherish church-corruption in part, one party being for the 
free admission of them, while members, to the Sacraments, 
and the other as freely permitting them in church-state, and 
other parts of communion while they exclude them from the 
Sacrament ; so some have learned to tie these ends together, 
and by holding both, set open the doors of church and chan- 
cel, pluck up the hedge, and lay the vineyard common to 
the wilderness. It hath somewhat amazed me to hear some 
that I took for reverend, godly divines, to reproach as a sect, 
the Sacramentarians and Disciplinarians ! And when I de- 
sired to know whom they meant, they told me, they meant 
them that will not give the sacrament to all the parish, and 
them that will make distinction by their discipline. I 
thought the tempter had gained a great victory if he had but 
got one godly pastor of a church to neglect discipline, as 
well as if he had got him to neglect preaching : much more 
if he had got him to approve of that neglect ; but it seems 
he hath got some to scorn at the performers of the duty 
which they neglect. As the impure were wont to reproach 
the diligent by the name of Puritans, so do they reproach 
the faithful pastors by the name of Disciplinarians. And I 
could wish they would remember what the ancient reproaches 
were both symptomatically, and effectively, and accordingly 
judge impartially of themselves, and fear a participation of 
the judgment that befel them. Sure I am if it were well un- 
derstood, how much of the pastoral authority and work, con- 
sisteth in church-guidance, it would be almost discerned, 


that to be against Discipline, is ' tantum non ' to be against 
the Ministry ; and to be against the Ministry, is ' tantum 
non ' to be absolutely against the Church ; and to be against 
the Church, is near to being absolutely against Christ. Blame 
not the harshness of the inference, till you can avoid it, and 
free yourselves from the charge of it before the Lord. Pre- 
lates would have some discipline ; and other parties would 
have some. Yea, Papists themselves would have some, and 
plead only against others about the form and manner of it. But 
these are so much worse than all, that they would have none. 
Was not Christ himself the leader of these Disciplinarians, 
who instituted Discipline, and made his ministers the rulers 
or guides of his church, and put the keys of the kingdom 
into their hand, and commanded the very particular acts of 
discipline, and required the people to submit to them, and 
obey them in the Lord? What would these men have said, 
if they had seen the practice of the ancient church for many 
hundred years after Christ, who exercised a discipline so 
much more rigorous than any among us do, and that even 
in the heat of heathen persecutions ; as if they read only the 
ancient canons, and Cyprian's Epistles, they may soon see, 
though they look no further. And it was not then (no nor 
after, under Christian magistrates,) taken to be a useless 
thing ; nor would it appear such now, if it were shewed in 
its strength and beauty by a vigorous practice : for it is a 
thing that is not effectually manifested to the ear, but to the 
eye ; and you will never make men know well what it is by 
mere talking of it — till they see it they will be strangers to 
it. As it is in the Military art, or in Navigation, or in the 
government of Commonwealths, which are so little known 
till learned by experience. And that will tell us that, as 
Cyprian saith, " Disciplina est custos spei, retinaculum 
fidei, dux itineris salutaris, fomes ac nutrimentum bonse in- 
dolis, magistra virtutis ; facit in Christo manere semper, ac 
jugitur Deo vivere, ad promissa ccelestia, et divina praemia 
pervenire : Hanc et sectari salubre est, et aversari ac negli- 
gere lathale :" as he begins his book " de Discip. et hab. 
Virg." p. (mihi) 265. When the Martyrs and Confessors 
would, upon other's persuasions, have had some offenders 
restored before they had made confession, and manifested 
openly repentance for their sin, and been absolved by their 
pastor ; Cyprian resisteth it, and tells them that they that 

118 GILDAS salvianus : [Chap. 2. 

stand so firmly to the faith, should stand as firmly to Christ's 
law and discipline : " Sollicitudo locinostri, ettimor Domini 
compellit, fortissimi ac beatissimi Martyres, admonere vos 
Uteris nostris,ut a quibus tarn devote etfortiter servatur fides 
Domino, ab iisdem lex quoque et disci plinaDomini reservetur, 
&c." Epist. 1 i. p. 32. Upon which Goulartius puts this note, 
locus "de necessitate disciplinse in Domo Dei, quam qui tol- 
lunt, e t manifeste impios ac sceleratos ad mensam Christi, sine 
censura Ecclesiastica, et acta poenitentia pro delictorum ra- 
tione recipiunt, ii videant quam de gregibus sibi commissis 
Pastori summo rationem reddituri sint ; vel quid commune 
habeant in Ecclesiarum suarum regimine cum beato illo 
Cypriani et aliorum vere Episcoporum Christianorum se- 
culo." And Cyp. Ep. 67. p. 199, mentioning God's threaten- 
ing^ to negligent pastors, addeth, " Cum ergo pastoribus 
talibus per quos Dominican oves negligantur et pereant, sic 
Dominus comminetur, quid nos aliud facere opportet, quam 
colligendis et revocandis Christi ovibus exhibere diligentiam 
plenam, et curandis lapsorum vulneribus paternse pietatis 
adhibere medicinam ?" In Epist. 61. 28. 38. 41. 49. 53. 55, 
and many other places of Cyprian ; you may see that they 
were then no contemners of Discipline : Vide etiam, eun- 
dem de Orat. Dominic, p. 313. in Pet. 4. 

Saith Augustine, " Ibi superbia, ubi negligitur Discipli- 
na : Nam Disciplina est Magistra Religionis et verse pieta- 
tis, quae nee ideo increpat ut Isedat, nee ideo castigat ut no- 
ceat, &c." saith Bernard, Ep. 113. "O quam compositum 
reddit omnem corporis statum, nee non et mentis habitum 
disciplina ! Cervicem submittit, pone supercilia, componit 
vultum, ligat oculos, moderatur linguam, fraenat gulam, se- 
dat iram, format incessum." 

I know that when the church began to be tainted with 
vain inventions, the word Discipline began to have another 
signification, for their own various rules of life and austere 
impositions, touch not, taste not, handle not ; but it is the an- 
cient and truly Christian Discipline that I am contending 
for. So much for the acts of pastoral oversight. 

From what hath been said, we may see that the Pastoral 
office is another kind of thing than those men have taken it 
to be, who think it consisteth in preaching and administering 
Sacraments only ; much more than they have taken it for, 
who think it consisteth in making new laws or canons to 


bind the church : *as if God had not made us laws sufficient; 
and as if he had committed the proper legislative power over 
his church to ministers or bishops, whose office is but to ex- 
pound, and apply and execute in their places the laws of 

Object. ' But will you deny to Bishops the power of 
making canons ? What are all those Articles that you have 
agreed on among yourselves about catechising and disci- 
pline, but such things V 

Answ. (1.) I know pastors may teach, and expound Scrip- 
ture, and deliver that in writing to the people, and apply 
the Scripture generals to their own and the people's parti- 
cular case, if you will call this making Canons. (2.) And 
they may, and ought to agree among themselves for an una- 
nimous performance of their duties, when they have disco- 
vered them ; that so they may excite one another, and be more 
strong and successful in their work. (3.) And they must 
determine the circumstances of Worship in special, which 
God hath only determined in general ; as what time and 
place they shall meet in, what chapter read, what text 
preach on, what shape the table, cups, &c. shall be ; where 
the pulpit, when each person shall come to be catechised or 
instructed, and whither, &c. But these are actions that 
are fitter to be ordered by them that are in the place, than by 
distant canon-makers : and to agree for unity in a necessary 
duty, as we have done, is not to make laws, or arrogate au- 
thority over our brethren. Of this I refer you to Luther de 
Conciliis, at large ; and to Grotius de Imper. sum. pot. that 
canons are not properly laws. 


Having spoken of the matter of our work, we are next to 
speak of the manner; not of each part distinctly, lest we be 
too tedious, but of the whole in general, especially with re- 
ference to the principal part. 

1. The Ministerial work must be managed purely for God, 
and the salvation of the people, and not for any private ends 
of our own. A wrong end makes all the work bad, as from 
us, how good soever in itself". It is not serving God, but 
ourselves, if we do it not for God, but for ourselves. They 

120 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 3. 

that set about this as a common work, to make a trade of it 
for their worldly livelihood, will find that they have chosen 
a bad trade, though a good employment. Self-denial is of 
absolute necessity in every Christian, but of a double neces- 
sity in a Minister, as he hath a double sanctification or de- 
dication to God. Without self-denial he cannot do God an 
hour's faithful service. Hard studies, much knowledge, and 
excellent preaching, are but more glorious and hypocritical 
sinning, if the end be not right. The saying of Bernard 
(Serm. in Cant. 26.) is commonly known ; " Sunt qui scire 
volunt eo fine tantum ut sciant, et turpis curiositas est; et 
sunt qui scire volunt, ut scientiam suam vendant : et turpis 
quaestus est: sunt qui scire volunt ut sciantur ipsi : et tur- 
pis vanitas est : Sed sunt quoque, qui scire volunt ut aedifi- 
cent ; et Charitas est ; et sunt qui scire volunt ut aedificen- 
tur ; et prudentia est." 

2. This work must be managed laboriously and dili- 
gently: being of such unspeakable consequence to others 
and ourselves. We are seeking to uphold the world, to 
save it from the curse of God, to perfect the creation, to at- 
tain the ends of Christ's Redemption, to save ourselves and 
others from damnation, to overcome the devil, and demolish 
his kingdom, and set up the kingdom of Christ, and attain 
and help others to the kingdom of glory. And are these 
works to be done with a careless mind, or a slack hand ? O 
see then that this work be done with all your might. Study 
hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow; and 
(as Cassiod.) " Decorum hie est terminum non habere : hie 
honesta probatur ambitio : omne si quidem scientificum 
quanto profundius quaeritur, tanto gloriosius invenitur." 
But especially be laborious in practice and in the exercise 
of your knowledge. Let Paul's words ring in your ears con- 
tinually, " Necessity is laid upon me, and woe unto me if I 
preach not the Gospel." Still think with yourselves, what 
lieth upon your hands. If I do not bestir me, Satan may 
prevail, and the people everlastingly perish, and their blood 
be required at my hand. By avoiding labour and suffering, 
I shall draw on me a thousand times more than I avoid : for 
as Bernard saith, " Qui in labore hominum non sunt, in la- 
bore profecto Daemonum erunt," whereas by present diligence 
you prepare for future blessedness. For, as Gregor. in Mor. 
saith, " Quot labores veritati nunc exhibes, tot etiam remu- 


nerationis pignora intra spei tuse cubiculum clausum tenes." 
No man was ever a loser by God. 

3. This work must be carried on prudently, orderly, and 
by degrees. Milk must go before strong meat : the founda- 
tion must be first laid before we build upon it. Children 
must not be dealt with as men at age. Men must be brought 
into a state of grace, before we can expect from them the 
works of grace. The work of conversion, and repentance 
from dead works, and faith in Christ must be first, frequently 
and thoroughly taught. The stewards of God's household 
must give to each their portion in due season. We must 
not go beyond the capacities of our people, nor teach them 
perfection, who have not learned the first principles. As 
August, saith, li. 12. de Civit. " Si pro viribus suis alatur 
infans, fiet ut crescendo plus capiat: si modum suae capaci- 
tatis excedit, deficit antequam crescat :" and as Gregor. Ny- 
sen. saith, Oratde Pauper, amand. " As we teach not infants 
the deep precepts of science, but first letters, and then syl- 
lables, &c. So also the guides of the church do first pro- 
pound to their hearers certain documents, w r hich are as the 
elements, and so by degrees, do open to them the more per- 
fect and mysterious matters." Therefore did the Church take 
so much pains with their ' Catechumeni,' before they bap- 
tized them, and would not lay unpolished stones into the 
building; as Chrysostom saith, Horn. 40. Imperfect ; operis 
(or whoever else it be, p. (mihi) 318.) " iEdificatores sunt 

sacerdotes, qui domum Dei componunt, sicut enim 

sedificatores, nodosos lapides et habentes torturas, ferro do- 
lant, postea vero ponunt eos in aedificio, alioqui non dolati 
lapides lapidibus non cohcerent : Sic et Ecclesias doctores 
vitia hominum quasi nodos acutis increpationibus primum 
circumcidere debent, et sic in Ecclesise sedificatione collo- 
care : alioquin vitiis manentibus Christiani Christianis con- 
cordare non possunt." 

4. Through the whole course of our Ministry, we must 
insist most upon the greatest, most certain and necessary 
things, and be more seldom and sparing upon the rest. If 
we can but teach Christ to our people, we teach them all. 
Get them well to heaven, and they will have knowledge 
enough. The great and commonly acknowledged Truths are 
they that men must live upon, and which are the great in- 
struments of raising the heart to God, and destroying men's 

122 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 3. 

sins ; and therefore we must still have our people's necessi- 
ties in our eyes. It will take us off gawds, and needless or- 
naments, and unprofitable controversies, to rememember 
that one thing is necessary. Other things are desirable to 
be known, but these must be known, or else our people are 
undone for ever. I confess, I think necessity should be a 
great disposer of a minister's course of study and labour. If 
we were sufficient for every thing, we might fall upon every 
thing, and take in order the whole Encyclopaedia : but life is 
short, and we are dull ; eternal things are necessary, and the 
souls that depend on our teaching are precious. I confess 
necessity hath been the conductor of my studies and life ; 
it chooseth what book I shall read, and tells when and how 
long : it chooseth my text, and makes my sermon for matter 
and manner, so far as I can keep out my own corruption. 
Though I know the constant expectation of death hath been 
a great cause of this, yet I know no reason why the most 
healthful man should not make sure of the necessaries first, 
considering the uncertainty and shortness of all men's lives. 
Xenophon thought, " there was no better teacher than neces- 
sity, which teacheth all things most diligently." Curtius 
saith, " Efficatior est omni arte necessitas." Who can in 
study, preaching, or life, ' aliud agere,' be doing other mat- 
ters, if he do but know, that this must be done? Who can 
trifle or delay, that feeleth the spurs of hasty necessity : As 
the soldier saith, ' Non diu disputandum, sed celeriter etfor- 
titer dimicandum ubi urget necessitas.' So much more must 
we, as our business is more important. And doubtless this 
is the best way to redeem time, and see that we lose not an 
hour, when we spend it only on necessary things : It is also 
the way to be most profitable to others, though not always 
to be most pleasing and applauded ; because through men's 
frailty, it is true that Seneca complains of, that " Nova 
potius miramur quam magna." 

Hence it is, that a Preacher must be often upon the same 
things, because the matters of necessity are few. We must 
not either feign necessaries, nor dwell much upon unneces- 
saries, to satisfy them that look after novelties : though we 
must clothe the same necessaries with a grateful variety in 
the manner of our delivery. The great volumes and tedious 
controversies, that so much trouble us and waste our time, 
are usually made up more of opinion than necessary verities. 


For, as Marsil. Ficinus saith, " Necessitas brevibus claudi- 
tuv terminis ; opinio nullis." And as Greg. Nazianz. and 
Seneca often say, " Necessaries are common and obvious : 
it is superfluities that we waste our time for, and labour for, 
and complain that we attain them not." Ministers therefore 
must be observant of the case of their flocks, that they may 
know what is most necessary for them, both for matter and 
for manner : and usually matter is first to be regarded, as 
being of more concernment than the manner. If you are to 
choose what authors to read yourselves, will you not rather 
take those that tell you what you know not, and speak the 
needful truth most evidently, though it were with barbarous 
or unhandsome language, than those that will most learnedly, 
and elegantly, and in grateful language tell you that which 
is false or vain, and 'magna conatu nihil dicere?' I purpose 
to follow Austin's counsel, (li. de. catech.) " Preeponendo 
verbis sententiam, ut animas praeponitur corpori : ex quo fit, 
ut ita mallem veriores quam discretiores invenire sermones, 
sicut mallem prudentiores quam formosiores habere amicos." 
And surely as I do in my studies for my own edification, I 
would do in my teaching for other men's. It is commonly 
empty, ignorant men that want the matter and substance of 
true learning, that are over curious and solicitous about 
words and ornaments, when the ancient, experienced, most 
learned men, abound in substantial verities, usually delivered 
in the plainest dress. As Aristotle makes it the reason why 
women are more addicted to pride in apparel than men, be- 
cause being conscious of little inward worth and ornament, 
they seek to make it up with borrowed ornaments without : 
so it is with empty, worthless preachers, who affect to be 
esteemed that which they are not, and have no other way to 
procure esteem. 

5. All our teaching must be as plain and evident as we can 
make it ; for this doth most suit to a teacher's ends. He that 
would be understood, must speak to the capacity of his hearers, 
and make it his business to make himself understood. Truth 
loves the light, and is most beautiful when most naked. It is a 
sign of an envious enemy to hide the truth ; and a sign of 
an hypocrite to do this under pretence of revealing it : and 
therefore painted, obscure sermons (like the painted glass in 
the windows that keep out the light,) are too often the mark 

124 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 3. 

of painted hypocrites. If you would not teach men, what 
do you in the pulpit? If you would, why do you not speak 
so as to be understood ? I know the height of the matter may 
make a man not understood when he hath studied to make 
it as plain as he can ; but that a man should purposely cloud 
the matter in strange words, and hide his mind from the peo- 
ple whom he pretendeth to instruct, is the way to make fools 
admire his profound learning, and wise men his folly, pride 
and hypocrisy. And usually, it is a suspicious sign of some 
deceitful project and false doctrine that needeth such a cloak, 
and must walk thus masked in the open daylight. Thus did 
the followers of Basilides and Valentinus, and others among 
the old heretics ; and thus do the Behmenists and other Pa- 
racelsians now; who, when they have spoken that few may 
understand them, lest they expose their errors to the open 
view, they pretend a necessity of it, because of men's preju- 
dice, and the unpreparedness of common understandings for 
the truth. But truth overcomes prejudice by mere light of 
evidence, and there is no better way to make a good cause 
prevail, than to make it as plain, and commonly, and tho- 
roughly known as we can ; and it is this light that will dis- 
pose an unprepared mind. And at best it is a sign that he 
hath not well digested the matter himself, that is not able to 
deliver it plainly to another. I mean, as plain as the nature 
of the matter will bear, in regard of capacities prepared for 
it by prerequisite truths. For I know that some men cannot 
at present understand some truths, if you speak them as 
plainly as words can express them ; as the easiest rules in 
grammar most plainly taught, will be no whit understood by 
a child that is but learning his alphabet. 

6. Our whole work must be carried on in a sense of our 
insufficiency, and in a pious, believing dependance upon 
Christ. We must go to him for light, and life, and strength, 
who sends us on the work : and when we feel our own faith 
weak, and our hearts grown dull, and unsuitable to so great 
a work as we have to do, we must have recourse to the Lord 
that sendeth us, and say, ' Lord, wilt thou send me with such 
an unbelieving heart to persuade others to believe? Must I 
daily and earnestly plead with sinners about everlasting life 
and death, and have no more belief and feeling of these 
weighty things myself? O send me not naked and unpro- 



vided to the work ; but as thou commandest me to do it, 
furnish me with a spirit suitable thereto.' As Austin saith, 
(de Doct. Christ. 1. 4.) " A preacher must labour tobeheard 
understandingly, willingly and obediently, ' et hoc se posse 
magis pietate orationum, quam oratoris facilitate non dubi- 
tet : ut orando pro se ac pro aliis, quos est allocuturus, sit 
prius orator quam doctor ; et in ipsa hora accedens, prius- 
quam, exeat, proferat linguam ad Deum,levet animamsitien- 
tem, &c.'" Prayer must carry on our work as well as preach- 
ing ; he preacheth not heartily to his people, that will not 
pray for them. If we prevail not with God to give them 
faith and repentance, we are unlikely to prevail with them to 
believe and repent. Paul giveth us frequently his example, 
of praying night and day for his hearers. When our own 
hearts are out of order, and theirs so too. if we prevail not 
with God to mend and help them, we are like to make but 

unsuccessful work. 

7. Our work must be managed with great humility ; we 

must carry ourselves meekly and condescendingly to all ; 

and so teach others, as to be as ready to learn of any that 

can teach us, and so both teach and learn at once : not 

proudly venting our own conceits, and disdaining all that 

any way contradict them, as if we had attained to the top of 

knowledge, and we were destined for the chair, and other 

men to sit at our feet. Not like them that Gregory M. men- 

tioneth in Moral. 1. 24. par. 5. c. xii. " In quorum verbis 

proditur, quod cum docent, quasi in quodam sibi videntur 

summitatis culmine residere, eosque quos docent, ut longe 

infra se positos, velut in imo respiciunt, quibus non consu- 

lendo loqui, sed vix dominando dignantur." Pride is a vice 

that ill beseems them that must lead men in such an humble 

way to heaven. And let them take heed, lest when they 

have brought others thither, the gate should prove too strait 

for themselves. For, as Hugo saith, " Superbia in ccelo 

nata est, sed velut immemor qua via inde cecidit, istuc pos- 

tea redire non potuit." God that thrust out a proud angel, 

will not entertain there a proud preacher, while such. Me- 

thinks we should remember at least the title of a minister, 

which though the Popish priests disdain, yet so do not we. 

It is indeed this pride at the root that feedeth all the rest of 

sins : hence is the envy, the contention, and unpeaceable- 

ness of ministers, and hence the hindrances in all reforma- 

126 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 3. 

tion. All would lead, and few will follow or concur ; yea,hence 
are the schisms and apostacies, as hence have been former 
persecutions, and arrogant usurpations and impositions : as 
Gregory M. saith, in Mor. " Latet plerumque superbia, et 
castitas innotescit, atque ideo tentata diu castitas, circa 
finem vitse perditur ; quia cooperta superbia usque ad finem, 
in correcta retinetur." And the same may be said of other 
vices, which often revive when they seemed dead, because 
pride was unmortified, which virtually contains them all. 
Hence also is the non-proficiency of too many ministers, 
because they are too proud to learn; unless it be as Jerom's 
adversaries, ' publice detrahentes, legentes in angulis ;' and 
scarcely will they stoop to that. But I may say of ministers 
as Augustine to Jerom, evan of the aged of them, " Etsi 
senes magis decet docere quam discere : magis tamen decet 
discere quam ingnorare ;" humility would teach them another 
lesson ; ut Hugo, " Ab omnibus libenterdisce quod tu nes- 
cis: quid humilitas commune tibi facere potest, quod natura 
cuique proprium fecit, sapientior omnibus eris, si ab omnibus 
discere volueris : qui ab omnibus accipiunt, omnibus ditiores 

8. There must be a prudent mixture of severity and mild- 
ness both in our preaching and discipline ; each must be 
predominant according to the quality or the person, or mat- 
ter that we have in hand. If there be no severity, there will 
be contempt of our reproofs. If all severity, we shall be 
taken as usurpers of dominion, rather than persuaders of 
the minds of men to the truth, as Gregory M. saith, Moral, 
li. 20. " Miscenda est lenitas cum severitate, et faciendum 
ex utraque quoddam temperamentum, ut nee multa asperi- 
tate exulcerentur subditi, nee nimia benignitate solvantur." 

9. We must be sincerely affectionate, serious and zealous 
in all our public and private exhortations. The weight of 
our matter condemneth coldness, and sleepy dulness. We 
should see that we be well awakened ourselves, and our spi- 
rits in such a state as may make us fit to awaken others. As 
Gregory saith, Mor. 1. 30. c. v. " We should be like the 
cock, that, ' Cum edere cantus parat, prius alas solerter ex- 
cutit, et seipsum feriens vigilantiorem reddit : ita prredica- 
tores cum verbum praedicationis movent, prius se in Sanctis 
actionibus exercent, ne in se ipsis torpentes opere, alios ex- 
citent voce, sed ante se per sublimia facta excutiunt, et tunc 


ad bene agendum alios sollicitos reddunt. Prius sua punire 
fletibus curant, et tunc quce aliorum sunt punienda, denun- 
tiant.' " If our words be not sharpened, and pierce as nails, 
they will hardly be felt by stony hearts. To speak coldly 
and slightly of heavenly things, is nearly as bad as to say 
nothing of them. 

10. All our work must be managed reverently ; as be- 
seemeth them that believe the presence of God, and use not 
holy things, as if they were common. The more of God 
appeareth in our duties, the more authority will they have 
with men : and reverence is that affection of the soul, which 
proceedeth from deep apprehensions of God, and signifieth 
a mind that is much conversant with him. To manifest irre- 
verence in the things of God, is so far to manifest hypocrisy ; 
and that the heart agreeth not with the tongue. I know not 
what it doth by others, but the most reverend preacher, that 
speaks as if he saw the face of God doth more affect my 
heart, though with common words, than an unreverend man 
with the most exquisite preparations. Yea if he bawl it out 
with never so much seeming earnestness, if reverence be not 
answerable to fervency, it worketh but little. Of all preach- 
ing in the world (that speaks not stark lies), I hate that 
preaching which tendeth to make the hearers laugh, or to 
move their mind with tickling levity, and affect them as stage- 
players use to do, instead of affecting them with a holy re- 
verence of the name of God. Saith Jerom in (Ep. ad Ne- 
potian, p. mihi. 14.) " Docente in Ecclesia te, non clamor 
populi, sed gemitus suscitetur ; Lacrymse auditorum laudes 
tuse sunt." We should as it were suppose we saw the throne 
of God, and the millions of glorious angels attending him, 
that we might be awed with his Majesty, when we draw near 
him in his Holy things, lest we profane them, and take his 
Name in vain. 

To this I annex, that all our work must be done Spiritu- 
ally, as by men possessed of the Holy Ghost and acted by 
him, and men that savour the things of the Spirit. There is 
in some men's preaching, a spiritual strain, which spiritual 
hearers can discern and relish : and in some men this sacred 
tincture is so wanting, that even when they speak of spiri- 
tual things the manner is such as if they were common mat- 
ters. Our evidence also and ornaments must be spiritual, 

128 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 3. 

rather from the holy Scripture, with a cautious, subservient 
use of fathers, and other writers, than from Aristotle or the 
authorities of men. The wisdom of the world must not be 
magnified against the wisdom of God ; philosophy must be 
taught to stoop and serve ; while faith doth bear the chief 
sway : and great scholars in Aristotle's school must take 
heed of too much glorying in their master, and despising 
those that are there below them ; lest themselves prove lower 
in the school of Christ, and least in the kingdom of God, 
while they would he great in the eyes of men. As wise a man 
as any of them, would glory in nothing but Him crucified. 
They that are so confident that Aristotle is in hell, should 
not too much take him for their guide in the way to heaven. 
It is an excellent memorandum that Gregory M. hath left in 
his Moral. 1. 33. " Deus primo collegit indoctos ; post mo- 
dum philosophos ; etnon peroratores docuit piscatores, sed 
per piscatores subegit oratores." The most learned men 
should think of this. 

Let all writers have their due esteem, but compare none 
of them with the word of God. We will not refuse their 
service, but we must abhor them as competitors. It is a sign 
of a distempered heart that loseth the relish of Scripture 
excellency. For there is a connaturality in a spiritual heart 
to the word of God, because this is the seed that did rege- 
nerate him: the word is that seal that made all holy impres- 
sions that be in the hearts of true believers, and stamped the 
image of God upon them. And therefore they must needs 
be like that word, and highly esteem it as long as they live. 
Austin tells us, (in his lib. 10. de Civit. Dei, c. xxix.) " Quod 
initium Sancti Evangelii, cui nomen est secundum Joannem, 
quidam Platonicus (sicut a. sancto sene Simpliciano, qui 
postea Mediolanesi Ecclesiae prsesedit Episcopus, solebamus 
audire) aureis Uteris conscribendum, et per omnes Ecclesias 
in locis eminentissimis proponendum esse dicebat." If he 
could so value that which suited with his Platonism, how 
should we value the whole which is suitable to the Christian 
nature and interest ! God is the best teacher of his own 
nature and will. 

11. The whole course of our Ministry must be carried 
on in a tender love to our people : we must let them see 
that nothing pleaseth us but what profiteth them ; and that 


which doeth them good doth us good ; and nothing trou- 
bleth us more than their hurt. We must remember, as 
Jerom saith, ad Nepotian. " That bishops are not lords 
but fathers," and therefore must be affected to their people 
as their children ; yea, the tenderest love of a mother should 
not surpass theirs : we must even " travail in birth of them 
till Christ be formed in them." They should see that we 
care for no outward thing, not money, not liberty, not cre- 
dit, not life, in comparison of their salvation ; but could 
even be content, with Moses, to have our names wiped out 
of the book of life, i. e. to be removed ' e numero viventium :' 
rather than they should perish, and not be found in the 
Lamb's Book of Life, ' in numero salvandorum.' Thus 
should we, as John saith, be ready to lay down our lives for 
the brethren, and with Paul, not to count our lives dear to 
us, so we may but finish our course with joy, in doing the 
work of God for their salvation. When the people see that 
you unfeignedly love them, they will hear any thing, and 
bear any thing, and follow you the more easily. As Austin 
saith, " Dilige, et die quicquid voles." We will take all 
things well ourselves from one that we know doth entirely 
love us. We will put up a blow that is given us in love, 
sooner than a foul word that is given us in anger or malice. 
Most men use to judge of the counsel, as they judge of the 
affection of him that gives it : at least so far as to give it a 
fair hearing. O therefore, see that you feel a tender love to 
your people in your breasts, and then let them feel it in 
your speeches, and see it in your dealings. Let them see 
that you spend, and are spent for their sakes ; and that all 
you do is for them, and not for any ends of your own. To 
this end the works of charity are necessary, as far as your 
estate shall reach; for bare words will hardly convince 
men that you have any great love to them. " Amicitia a 
dando et accipiendo, nascitur." Chrysost. But when you 
are not able to give, shew that you are willing to give if you 
had it, and do that sort of good that you can ; " Si potes, 
dare da, si non potes, affabilem te fac. Coronat Deus intus 
bonitatem, ubi non invenit facultatem. Nemo dicat, non 
habeo, Charitas non de sacculo erogatur." August, in Psal. 
ciii. But be sure to see that your love prove not carnal, 
flowing from pride, as one that is a suitor for himself, rather 


130 GILDAS SALVIANUS : [Ciuip. 3. 

than for Christ, and therefore doth love because he is loved, 
or that he may be, pretendeth it. And therefore take heed 
that you do not connive at their sins under pretence of 
love ; for that were to cross the nature and ends of love : 
'* Araici vitia si feras, facis tua." Senec. Friendship must 
be cemented by piety : "Tu primum exhibe te bonum, et quas 
alterum similem tibi." Sen. A wicked man can be no 
true friend ; and if you befriend their wickedness, you shew 
that you are such yourselves. Pretend not to love them, if 
you favour their sins, and seek not their salvation. " Soli 
sancti, et Dei sunt, et inter se amici." Basil. " Improbo- 
ruru et stultorum nemo amicus." Id. By favouring their 
sin you will shew your enmity to God, and then how can 
you love your brother? " Amicus esse homini non potest, 
qui Deo fuerit inimicus." Ambros. If you be their best 
friends, help them against their worst enemies. ' Amicus 
animee custos.' And think not all sharpness inconsistent 
with love; parents will correct their children; and God 
himself will chasten every son that he loveth. " Melius est 
cum severitate diligere, quam cum lenitate decipere." Aug. 
Besides this, the nature of love is to excite men to do 
good, and to do it speedily, diligently, and as much as we 
can. " Alios curat sedificare, alios contremiscit offendere, 
ad alios se inclinat, cum aliis blanda, aliis severa, nulli ini- 
mica, omnibus mater. August, de Catech. Ecce quem amas 
Domine infirmatur : Non dixerunt veni; Amanti enim tan 
turn nunciandum fuit : sufficiet ut noverit : Non enim amat, 
et deserit." August, in Joan. So will it be with us. 

12. Another necessary concomitant of our work is Pa- 
tience. We must bear with many abuses and injuries from 
those that we are doing good for. When we have studied 
for them, and prayed for them, and besought and exhorted 
them with all condescension, and spent ourselves for them, 
and given them what we are able, and dealt with them as if 
they had been our children, we must look that many should 
requite us with scorn, and hatred, and contempt, and cast 
our kindness in our faces with disdain, and take us for their 
enemies, because we tell them the truth ; and that the more 
we love, the less we shall be beloved. All this must be pa- 
tiently undergone, and still we must unweariedly hold on in 
doing good ; in meekness, instructing those that oppose 

Chap. 3.] T^E REFORMED PASTOR. 131 

themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance. 
If they unthankfully scorn and reject our teaching, and bid 
us look to ourselves, and care not for them, yet must we hold 
on. We have to deal with distracted men, that will fly in 
the face of their physician, but we must not therefore for- 
sake the cure. He is unworthy to be a physician that will 
be driven away from a frantic patient by foul words, KaQawzn 
01 fiawontvoi Km tov larpov i. e. " Sicut insani etiam medicum 
irnpetere conantur, ita et illi," saithChrysostom of the Sodo- 
mites. Horn. 43. in Gen. " Et alibi, Medici ferant segro- 
tum calcibus ferientem, incessentem contumelis, et convitiis, 
nee offenduntur ; quia nihil aliud quam salutem regroti quse- 
rentes, licet facientis indecora, non ideo a. cura desistant, 
sic concionator licet mala patiatur ab auditoribus, &.c.'' If 
we tell them that natural men savour not the things of the 
Spirit, and are besides themselves in matters of salvation, 
we must measure our expectations accordingly, and not look 
that fools should make us as grateful a return as the wise. 
These are things that all of us can say, but when we come 
to the practice with sinners that reproach and slander us for 
our love, and are more ready to spit in our faces, than to give 
us thanks for our advice, what heartrisings will there be, 
and how will the remnants of old Adam, pride and passion, 
struggle against the meekness and patience of the new man ! 
And how sadly do many Ministers come off in this part of 
their trial ! 

Having given you these Twelve concomitants of our 
Ministerial labour, as singly to be performed by every Minis- 
ter, let me conclude with one other that is necessary to us 
as we are conjoined, and fellow-labourers in the work ; and 
it is this : We must be very studious in Union and Commu- 
nion among ourselves, and of the unity and peace of the 
churches that we oversee. We must be sensible how need- 
ful this is to the prosperity of the whole, the strengthening 
of our common cause, the good of the particular members 
of our flock, and the further enlargement of the kingdom of 
Christ. And therefore Ministers must smart when the 
church is wounded, and being so far from being the leaders 
in divisions, that they should take it as a principal part of 
their work to prevent and heal them. Day and night should 
they bend their studies to find out means to close such 
breaches. They must not only hearken to motions for 

132 GILDAS SALVIANUS : [C'/lCip. 3. 

unity, but propound them and prosecute them. Not only 
entertain an offered peace, but even follow it when it fiieth 
from them. They must therefore keep close to the ancient 
simplicity of the Christian faith, and the foundation and 
centre of catholic unity. They must abhor the arrogancy 
of them that frame engines to harass and tear the church 
of God, under pretence of obviating errors, and maintaining 
the Truth. The Scripture-sufficiency must be maintained, 
and nothing beyond it imposed on others ; and if Papists, or 
others, call to us for the standard and rule of our religion, it 
is the Bible that we must shew them, rather than any Con- 
fessions of Churches, or writings of men. We must learn 
to difference well between certainties and uncertainties, 
necessaries and unnecessaries, catholic verities " quae ab 
omnibus, ubique et semper sunt retentee," as Vincent, Licen. 
speaks, and private opinions ; and to lay the stress of the 
church's peace upon the former, and not upon the latter. 
We must therefore understand the doctrine of antiquity, 
that we may know what way men have gone to heaven by 
in former ages, and know the writings of later Divines, that 
we may partake of the benefit of their clearer methods and 
explications ; but neither of them must be made the rule of 
our faith or charity. We must avoid the common confusion 
of those that make no [difference between verbal and real 
errors, and hate that ' rabies quorundan theologorum/ that 
tear their brethren as heretics, before they understand 
them. And we must learn to see the true state of Contro- 
versies, and reduce them to the very point where the dif- 
ference lieth, and not to make them seem greater than they 
are. Instead of quarrelling with our brethren, we must 
combine against the common adversaries ; Ministers must 
associate, and hold communion, and correspondence, and 
constant meetings to those ends ; and smaller differences of 
judgment are not to interrupt them. They must do as much 
of the work of God in unity and concord as they can ; which is 
the use of Synods : not to rule over one another, and make 
laws ; but to avoid misunderstandings, and consult for mu- 
tual edification, and maintain love and communion, and go 
on unanimously in the work that God hath already com- 
manded us. Had the Ministers of the Gospel been men of 
peace, and of catholic rather than factious spirits, the Church 
of Christ had not been in the case it is now; the notions 


of Lutherans and Calvinists abroad, and the differing par- 
ties here at home, would not have been plotting the subver- 
sion of one another, nor remain at that distance, and in that 
uncharitable bitterness, nor strengthen the common enemy, 
and hinder the building and prosperity of the Church as they 
have done. 


Reverend and Dear Brethren, 

Our business here this day is to humble our souls before 
the Lord for our former negligence, especially of Catechising 
and Personally instructing those committed to our charge ; 
and. to desire God's assistance of us in the employment we 
have undertaken for the time to come. Indeed, we can 
scarcely expect the latter without the former. If God will 
help us in our future Duty and amendment, he will surely 
humble us first for our former sins. He that hath not so 
much sense of his faults, as unfeignedly to lament them, 
will hardly have so much more as may move him to reform 
them. The sorrow of Repentance may be without the 
change of heart and life ; because a passion may be easier 
wrought than a true Conversion ; but the change cannot go 
without some good measure of the sorrow. Indeed, we may 
justly here begin our confessions : it is too common with us 
to expect that from our people, which we do little or no- 
thing in ourselves. What pains take we to humble them, 
while ourselves are unhumbled ! How hard do we press 
them by all our expostulations, convictions, and aggrava- 
tions, to wring out of them a few penitent tears, (and all too 
little,) when our own eyes are dry, and our hearts are little 
affected with remorse, and we give them an example of 
hardheartedness, while we are endeavouring by our words 
to mollify and melt them. O, if we did but study half as 
much to affect and amend our own hearts, as we do our 
hearers, it would not be with many of us as it is ! We do 
too little for their humiliation ; but I fear it is much less 
that some of us do for our own. Too many do somewhat 
for other men's souls, while they seem to forget that they 

134 giluas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

have any of their own to regard. They so carry the matter, 
as if their part of the work lay in calling for Repentance, 
and the hearers in repenting ; theirs in speaking, tears, 
and sorrow, and other men's only in weeping, and sorrow- 
ing; theirs in preaching duty, and the hearers in performing 
it; theirs in crying down sin, and the people's in forsak- 
ing it. 

But we find the Guides of the Church in Scripture did 
confess their own sins as well as the sins of the people ; and 
began in tears for their own and the people's sins. Ezra 
confesseth the sins of the Priests as well as of the people, 
weeping and casting himself down before the house of God. 
(Ezraix. 6, 7 ; x. 1.) So did the Levites. (Neh. ix. 32 — 34.) 
Daniel confesseth his own sin, as weH as the people's, (Dan, 
ix. 20,) and God calleth such to it, as well as others. (Joel 
ii. 15 — 17.) When the Fast is summoned, the people ga- 
thered, the congregation sanctified, the Elders assembled, 
the Priests, the Ministers of the Lord, are called to begin to 
them in weeping, and calling upon God for mercy. I think 
if we consider well of the duties already opened, and withal 
how we have done them ; of the Rule, and of our unanswera- 
bleness thereto, we need not demur upon the question, nor 
put it to a question, whether we have cause of humiliation. 
1 must needs say, though I judge myself in saying it, that 
he that readeth but this one exhortation of Paul in Acts 
xx, and compareth his life with it, is too stupid and hard- 
hearted, if he do not melt under a sense of his neglects, 
and be not laid in the dust before God, and forced to be- 
wail his great omissions, and to fly for refuge to the blood 
of Christ, and to his pardoning grace. 1 am confident, 
brethren, that none of you do in judgment approve of the 
Libertine doctrine, that crieth down the necessity of confes- 
sion, contrition and true humiliation ; yea, and in order to 
the pardon of sin ! Is it not a pity then, that our hearts are not 
more orthodox as well as our heads ? But I see our lesson 
is but half learned when we know it, and can say it. When 
the understanding hath learned it, there is more ado to 
teach it our wills and affections, our eyes, our tongues, and 
hands. It is a sad thing that so many of us do use to 
preach our hearers asleep ; but it is sadder still if we have 
studied and preached ourselves asleep, and have talked so 
long against hardness of heart, till our own grow hardened; 


under the noise of our own reproofs. Though the head only 
have eyes, and ears, and smell, and taste, the heart should 
have life, sand feeling, and motion, as well as the head. 

And that you may see that it is not a causeless sorrow 
that God calleth us to, I shall take it to be my duty to call 
to remembrance our manifold sins, or those that are most 
obvious, and set them this day in order before God and our 
own faces, that God may cast them behind his back ; and 
to deal plainly and faithfully in a free Confession, that He 
who is faithful and just, may forgive them; and to judge 
ourselves, that we be not judged of the Lord : wherein I sup- 
pose I have your free and hearty consent, and that you will 
be so far from being offended with the disgrace of your 
persons, and of others in this office, that you will readily 
subscribe the charge, and be humble self-accusers ; and so 
far am I from justifying myself by the accusation of others, 
that I do unfeignedly put my name with the first in the bill ; 
for how can a wretched sinner, of so great transgressions, 
presume to justify himself with God? or how can he plead 
guiltless, whose conscience hath so much to say against 
him ? If I cast shame upon the Ministry, it is not on the 
office, but on our persons, by opening that sin which is our 
shame. The glory of our high employment doth not com- 
municate any glory to our sin, nor will afford it the smallest 
covering for its nakedness ; for " sin is a reproach to any 
people," or persons. (Prov. xiv. 34.) And it is myself as 
well as others on whom I must lay the shame : and if this 
may not be done, what do we here to-day? Our business is 
to take shame to ourselves, and to give God the glory ; and 
faithfully to open our sins, that he may cover them ; and to ' 
make ourselves bare by Confession, as we have done by 
transgression, that we may have the white raiment that 
clotheth none but the penitent; for be they pastors or people, 
it is only he " that confesseth and forsaketh his sins, that 
shall have mercy, when he that hardeneth his heart shall fall 
into mischief." (Prov. xxviii. 13.) 

And I think it will not be amiss, if in the beginning of 
our Confession we look behind us, and imitate Daniel, and 
other servants of God who confess the sins of their fore- 
fathers and predecessors. For, indeed, my own judgment 
is so far from denying Original sin, even the imputed part, 
with the ancient opposers of it, or those of the new Edition, 

130 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

that it doth not so much excuse me from the guilt of my 
later progenitors' offences, as most other men's do seem to 
excuse them. Let us fetch up then the core of our shame, 
and go to the bottom, and trace the behaviour of the Minis- 
ters of the Gospel, from the days of Christ till now, and see 
how far they have been from innocency. 

When Christ had chosen him but twelve Apostles, who 
kept near his person, that they might be acquainted with 
his doctrine, life and miracles ; yet how ignorant did they 
long remain, not knowing so much as that he must die, and 
be a Sacrifice for the sins of the world, and be buried and 
rise again, and ascend into glory ; nor what was the nature 
of his spiritual kingdom ! So that it puts us hard to it to 
imagine how men so ignorant could be in a state of Grace ; 
but that we know that those points were after of absolute 
necessity to Salvation, that were not so then. * How often 
doth Christ teach them publicly and apart! (Mark iv. 34,) 
and rebuke them for their unbelief and hardness of heart ; 
and yet after all this, so strange were these great Mysteries of 
Redemption to them, and these (now) Articles of our Creed, 
that Peter himself dissuadeth Christ from suffering, and go- 
eth so far in contradicting his gracious thoughts for our Re- 
demption, that he is called Satan, and ' tantum non' excom- 
municated : and no wonder ; for if his counsel had been 
taken, the world had been lost for ever. And, as there was 
a Judas among them, so the Twelve are before Christ's face 
contending for superiority ; so early did that pride begin to 
work in the best, which afterwards prevailed so far in others, 
as to bring the church so low as we have seen. What 
should we say of their jointly forsaking Christ, of their fail- 
ings even after the pourings out of the Spirit ! of the dis- 
sention and separation between Paul and Barnabas ; how 
strange Peter made of the calling of the Gentiles; of his 
compliance with the Jews to the endangering of the liber- 
ties of the Gentiles. (Gal. ii.) Of the dissimulation of Bar- 
nabas ; and the common desertion of Paul in his suffering. 
When he had found out Timothy, he saith, he " had no man 
like-minded, that would naturally care for their estate ; for 

* If any one about the time of Moses, offering sacrifice according to the law, 
were not instructed in the doctrine of the death of our Redeemer, but only believed 
that God through the means which he knoweth to be most agreeable and convenient, 
will forgive us our trespasses, it were rashness to go about to exclude such a mar. 
irora 3alvation. — Pet. Molinans dc Tradition, c. 19. p. 251, 252* 


all seek their own, and not the things of Jesus Christ." 
(Phil. ii. 20, 21.) A sad charge of self-seeking in that glory 
of the church for faith and purity ! And what charges are 
against most of the angels of the seven Asiatic churches is 
expressed, Rev. ii ; iii. And it is likely that Archippus was 
not the only man that had need to be warned to look to his 
ministry ; (Col. iv. 17 ;) nor Demas the only man that for- 
sook a persecuted partner, and turned after the things of 
the world ; nor Diotrephes the only man that loved to have 
the pre-eminence, and made quarrels, and dealt unjustly 
and unmercifully in the church upon that account ! 

And even while the churches were frying in the flames, 
yet did the pride and dissentions even of godly Pastors do 
more than the fire of persecution could do, to turn all to 
ashes. How sad a story is it that Policrates with all the 
Eastern churches should be arrogantly excommunicated by 
Victor with his Romans, upon no higher crime than mis- 
choosing of Easter-day, which our Britains also long after 
were guilty of ; who would think that so great weakness, 
and presumptuous usurpation, and uncharitable cruelty, and 
schismatical zeal, could have befallen the Pastors of the 
Church in the strongest temptations of prosperity ? much 
less in the midst of heathenish persecutions ! What toys 
and trifles did the ancient reverend Fathers of the Church 
trouble their heads about, and pester the church with ; and 
what useless stuff are many of their canons composed of! 
Yet these were the great matter and work of many of their 
famous consultations. How quickly did they seem to forget 
the perfection of holy Scripture, the non-necessity and bur- 
densomeness of ceremonious impositions : and by taking 
upon them an unnecessary and unjust kind of jurisdiction, 
they made the church so much more work than ever Christ 
made it, and so clogged Religion with human devices, that 
the Christian world hath groaned under it ever since, and 
been almost brought to ruin by it j and the reverence of their 
persons hath put so much reputation on the crime, and cus- 
tom hath so taught it to plead prescription, that when the 
lacerated, languid churches will be delivered from the sad 
effects of their presumption, God only knoweth. It would 
make an impartial reader wonder, that peruseth their canons 
and the History of the Church, that ever men of piety, 
charity, and sobriety, could be drawn to perplex and tear in 

138 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

pieces the churches by such multitude of vanities, and need- 
less determinations (to say no worse). And that the preachers 
of the Gospel of peace, which so enjoineth humility, unity 
and love, should ever be drawn to such a height of pride, as 
to think themselves meet to make so many laws for the whole 
Church of Christ, and to bind all their brethren through the 
world to the obedience of their dictates, and practice of their 
historionical, insnaring Ceremonies ; and that upon the 
penalties of being accounted no less than damned heretics or 
schismatics. Though Paul had told them betime, that he was 
afraid of them, lest as the serpent deceived Eve, so they 
should be deceived, and drawn from the simplicity that was 
in Christ, (2 Cor. xi. 3,) yet quickly was this caution forgot- 
ten, and the thing that Paul feared soon befel them ; and in- 
stead of the simplicity of doctrine, they vexed the churches 
with curious Controversies ; and instead of the simplicity of 
discipline and government, they corrupted the church with 
pomp and tyranny, and varieties of new orders and rules of re- 
ligions : and instead of the simplicity of worship, they set up 
such a train of their own inventions, of which the church had 
no necessity, that the bishops were become the masters of 
ceremonies, who should have been the humble and faithful 
observers of the pure laws and ordinances of Christ. Though 
their Councils were useful for the churches' communion, had 
they been rightly ordered, yet so unhappily did they manage 
them for the most part, that Gregory Nazianzen purposed to 
come at them no more, as having never seen any that did not 
more harm than good. And so bold and busy were they in 
additions and innovations, even in making new Creeds, that 
Hilary sadly complains of it, not sparing the Council of Nice 
itself, though their Creed were allowable, because they taught 
others the way, and set the rest a work. And Luther sheweth 
us at large in his book " De Conciliis," what thoughts he 
had of those assemblies. Three lamentable vices did the 
Prelates of the Church then commonly abound in, pride the 
root, contention, and vain impositions and inventions, the fruits. 
No charity that is not blind can hide this guilt. We had 
never else had the Christian world so plagued with their 
quarrels about superiority and vain traditions, after such 
warnings, and lessons, and examples as Christ had given his 
own apostles. Wher once the favour of a Christian prince 
did shine upon the churches, what self-exhortation and con- 


tention of the Prelates did ensue ? So that if they had not 
been restrained and kept in quiet by the Emperor, how soon 
would they have made a sadder havock than they did? Per- 
haps in their first General Council itself. And though that 
Council had a good occasion, even to suppress the Ariau 
heresy, yet had not Constantine committed their mutual ac- 
cusations to the flames, and shamed them from their contend- 
ing^, it had not had so good an end. And yet as good as it 
was, Luther saith, p. 226. de Concil. " Arianae haeresis jocus 
fuit ante Nicenum Concilium, pree ilia confusione quam ipsi 
post Concilium excitaverunt." Augustine's sad complaint 
of the loading of the church with ceremonies, and compar- 
ing them to Judaism, is commonly known : of which see 
Luther's Comment, ib. p. 55, 56. And so strange did it seem 
to Luther, that the learned Prelates of those better times 
should so scold ' circa nsenia et nugas,' about pre-eminence 
and ceremonies, and things of nought, that he is again and 
again taken up in admiring it. Read that treatise throughout. 
Is it not sad to think of the heat of an Epiphanius, and 
Theophilus Alexand. against Chrysostom, and of Chrysos- 
tom against them ! Of Jerom against Ruffinus, Chrysostom, 
and many others ; and if Austin had not been more peace- 
able than he, one of them must have been an heretic, or schis- 
matic at least. How many more such sad examples have we ! 
And for their damnatory sentences, they were more pre- 
sumptuous than their laws : few men could stand in another's 
way, or fall out, but one of them must be an heretic before 
they had made an end. Small differences were named dam- 
nable heresies : though they had enough among them that 
were such indeed, whereof some of the Clergy were almost 
always the causes and fomenters ; yet did they so multiply 
them by their imputation, that their catalogues swelled be- 
yond the credit of charity. And he that had the highest 
reputation, was usually safest from the blot, and had power 
to make others heretics almost at his pleasure ; and if a man 
had once got the vote and fame, it was dangerous gainsaying 
him : had Vioilantius or Jovinian had Jerom's name, some of 
their heresies might possibly have been Articles of Faith. 

And, as they were dangerously forward on one side, to 
make every small mistake a heresy, and cause divisions in 
the church by their unjust condemnations ; so many on the 
other hand were as forward to provoke them, by novelties or 

140 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 4. 

false conceits, especially about the Trinity, and the person 
and natures of Christ ; so that unquiet spirits knew not 
when, or where to rest : and multitudes of them did turn 
cheaters and deluders of the vulgar, by pretending to Mira- 
cles, and Revelations, and Visions, and drawing the people 
deeper into superstition ; by such means as Bonifacius Mo- 
guntinus wrote to the Pope Zachary about the hypocritical 
Saint Aldebert : and in that age especially, when few learned 
men, as Erasmus complaineth, did escape the suspicion of 
heresy, and he that was a mathematician was counted a ma- 
gician, it had been more wit to have silenced some unneces- 
sary verities, than to have angered impatient ignorance. 
Virgilius might have talked more of the world above us, and 
let the world below us alone, rather than to force the learned 
Pope Zachary to say to his brother Boniface of Mentz : " De 
perversa et iniqua doctrina, quam contra Deum et animam 
suam locutus est ; (a high crime) si clariaficatum fuerit ita 
eum confiteri, quod alius mundus et alii homines sub terras 
sint, hunc accito Concilio, ab Ecclesia pelle, sacerdotii ho- 
nore privatum." Vid. Usher, syllog. Hibernic. Epistol. p. 49, 
50. But to mention the twentieth part of the proud usurpa- 
tion, innovations, impositions, and sentences of those follow- 
ing times, especially among the Romanists, is fitter for large 
volumes, than a cursory lamentation of the Church's sins. I 
will not meddle with the errors, and cruel bloodshed of the 
Popish clergy of late, against the Waldenses, and Protes- 
tants ; nor'yet with the sad condition of the rest of the Clergy 
through the Christian world, in ^Ethiopia, Muscovia, Greece, 
&c. For you will think that this is less to us that do dis- 
claim them : but let us come nearer ourselves, and we shall 
find yet matter of further lamentation. And I will purposely 
say nothing of any of the sins of our foreign Reformers, nor 
meddle with any of those sad contentions, which have 
brought the Reformed Churches into two such exasperated 
parties, Lutherans and Calvinists, as they are commonly 
called, and hindered their reconciliation, and frustrated all 
means that have been used to that end till this day ; to the 
exceeding shame of the Pastors of these Churches, and the 
publishing of our darkness, pride and selfishness to all the 
world. But my present business lieth only at home, and 
that only with the Reformed Pastors of our Churches. For 
though, through the great mercy of God, they are far from 


the Papal cruelty, which made bonfires of their brethren 
better than themselves throughout the land, and as far from 
the worst of their errors and false worship ; yet have we 
been so far from innocency, that all posterity is bound to la- 
ment the miscarriages of their predecessors. 

Is it not a sad history of the troubles at Frankfort, to 
read that so many godly, learned men that had forsaken all 
for the reformed profession, and were exiles in a foreign 
land, even in a city where they had but borrowed the liberty 
of one church, should even then fall in pieces among them- 
selves, and that about a liturgy and ceremonies, so far as to 
make a division ; and after many plotting and counter-plot- 
ting, and undermining one another, one part of them must 
leave the city and go seek another for their liberty ! What 
had not those few exiles that left their native country, lands 
and friends, and all for the Gospel, that fled so far for the 
liberty of God's worship, and had as great advantage as most 
men in the world to be sensible of the excellency of refor- 
mation and liberty ; had these I say, no more Christian love 
and tenderness, no more esteem of what they suffered for, 
than to fall out with one another, and almost fall upon one 
another, for such things as these ! Would not suffering 
abate their pride and passions, and close their hearts, nor 
yet make them so far patient as to tolerate each other in so 
small a difference : even when their dearest friends and fel- 
low-servants were frying in the flames at home, and the pri- 
sons filled with them, and they bad daily news of one after 
another that was made a sacrifice to the fury of the Papists, 
could they yet proceed in their own dissensions, and that to 
such a height ? O what is man, and the best of men ! Yea 
before this, in King Edward's days, what rigour was used 
against Bishop Hooper about such ceremonies ! But the 
prison abated Bishop Ridley's uncharitableness, and they 
then learned more charity when they were going to the 

From Frankfort the sad Division at the death of Queen 
Mary was transported into England; and the seeds that 
were sown, or began to spring up in the Exiled congregation, 
did too plentifully fructify in the land of their prosperity. 
No sooner doth the sun shine upon them, but contentious 
spirits began to swarm ; and the prison doors are no sooner 
open, and their bolts knocked off, but they contrive the 

142 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 4. 

suppressing of the brethren, as if they had been turned 
loose as fighting cocks to fall upon one another, and to 
work for Satan when they had suffered for Christ. The 
party that was for Prelacy and Ceremonies, prevailed for the 
countenance of the State, and quickly got the staff into their 
hands, and many of their brethren under their feet; and so 
contrived the business, that there was no quiet station to be 
had in the Ministry, for those that would not be of their 
mind and way. And many of them endeavoured to have a 
brand of ignominy set upon their names, who desired the 
discipline, and order of other Reformed Churches : that all 
might be accounted schismatics that would not be ruled by 
them even in Ceremonies. The contrary minded also, were 
some of them too intemperate, and impatient, and unpeace- 
able ; and some few of them turned to flat separation, and 
flew into the faces of the Prelates with reviling. For their 
sakes many wise and peaceable men were the worse used; 
and they that were got into the chair, began to play the 
scorners, and the persecutors, and thought meet to impose 
upon them all the nickname of Puritans, as knowing how 
much names of reproach and scorn could do with the Vulgar 
for the furthering of their cause ; some of these Puritans 
(as now they had named them) were imprisoned, and some 
put to death, and some died in, and by imprisonment : they 
are all made incapable of being Preachers of the Gospel in 
England, till they would change their minds, and subscribe 
to the lawfulness of Prelacy, and the Liturgy, and Ceremo- 
nies, and use these accordingly when they use their ministry. 
O how much did many good men rejoice that the Lord had 
visited their native country with deliverance, and the light 
of the glorious Gospel of his Son ! How much did they 
long to lay out themselves for the saving of their dear coun- 
trymen, and to improve the present freedom for the most 
effectual propagation of the Truth ! When, alas ! their own 
friends, some of their fellow-sufferers, animated and assisted 
by many temporisers, did suddenly disappoint their hopes, 
and shut them out of the vineyard of the Lord, and would 
suffer none to labour in it, but themselves and theirs. Alas! 
that Persecution should be so soon forgotten ! And that 
they should have no more sense of the cruelty of the 
Papists, to have moved them to some more tenderness of 
consciences and liberties of their brethren. That they had 

Cliaj). 4.] THE REFORMED PASTOR. 143 

no more compassion on the Church of Christ, than to de- 
prive it of the labours of so many choice and worthy men ; 
and that at such a time of necessity. When popish priests 
were newly cast out, and multitudes of congregations had 
no preachers at all, but some silly readers, yet might not 
these men be allowed to preach. If the judgments of these 
Prelates were never so absolute for the Divine right of their 
own government, yet could it not be so for the absolute 
necessity of the cross, surplice, and every part of the forms 
in their Liturgy ! Had they but countenanced mostly their 
own party, and silenced all that did speak against their Go- 
vernment and Ceremonies, and only allowed them to preach 
the Gospel with subscription to the lawfulness of these 
things, and with a silent forbearance of the use of the cere- 
monies, they might have better secured their own power 
and way, and have exercised some sense of brotherly love 
and compassion on the necessitous state of the Church, and 
in all likelihood, might have stood safe themselves to this 
day. A wonderful thing it seems to me, that wise and good 
men, for such I doubt not but many of them were, should 
think it better that many hundred congregations in England 
(to say nothing of Ireland and Scotland) should be without 
any preaching at all, to the apparent hazard of the damna- 
tion of men's souls, who were so deep in popish ignorance 
before, than that a man should preach to them that durst 
not use the cross or surplice ? Were these of more worth 
than so many souls ? It was lawful in the apostles' days to 
baptize without the cross, and to pray, and praise God 
without the surplice. And why might not the Prelates of 
England have tolerated that in the church's necessities, at 
least as a weakness in well-meaning brethren, which the 
Apostolical Churches used not at all? What if they were 
lawful ? They that thought so might have them. Were 
they now become more necessary than the preaching of the 
Gospel, when in the apostles' times they were of no neces- 
sity or use at all? If it were obedience to the prelates that 
was necessary, they might have required obedience to un- 
doubted and necessary things, and they should soon have 
found it. Had they contented themselves to be officers un- 
der Christ, and to see the execution of his laws, and to 
meddle at least with no needless new Legislation, I think 
few would have questioned obedience to them but the un- 

144 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 4. 

godly. But it was sadly contrived to have such impositions 
on men's consciences in needless, or indifferent things, as 
the most tender-conscienced men were likeliest to disobey, 
and as might be snares to those that desired to please God, 
when the business of Church Governors should be to pro- 
mote the obedience of Christ's laws, and to encourage 
those that are most fearful to disobey them, and to do as 
the lawmakers, Dan. vi. 5. "We shall not find any occasion 
against this Daniel, except we find it against him concern- 
ing the law of his God." 

But thus it came to pass that the enemy of the Church 
did too much attain his ends ; such excellent men as Hil- 
dersham, Brightman, P. Bayn, Parker, Ames, Bradshaw, 
Dod, Nicolls, with multitudes more, were laid aside and 
silenced ; and multitudes of them that petitioned for liberty 
in Lincolnshire, Devonshire, and other parts, suppressed ; 
and the nation in the meantime abounding with gross igno- 
rance, was brought by observing the countenance of the 
times, to like their own Readers better than painful Preachers, 
and to hate and scorn the zealous obedience to the laws of 
Christ, and all diligence for salvation, because they ob- 
served, that these men that were such, were so many of them 
hated and persecuted by the Rulers, though on the occasions 
before mentioned. And here was the foundation of our 
greatest misery laid ; while some of the Rulers themselves 
began to turn their hatred against practical godliness (which 
corrupted nature hates in all), and the common people took 
the hint, and no longer confined the word Puritan to the 
Nonconformists, but applied it commonly through all parts 
of the land, to those that would but speak seriously of hea- 
ven, and tell men of Death and Judgment, and spend the 
Lord's-day in preparation thereto, and desire others to do 
the like ; that did but pray in their families, and keep their 
children and servants on the Lord's-day to learn the way of 
salvation, instead of letting them spend it in gaming or 
revelling; they did but reprove a swearer or a drunkard, 
these were become the Puritans and the Precisians, and the 
hated ones of the time ; so that they became a byword in 
all the towns and villages in England that ever I knew, or 
heard of, as to these things. And thus when the prelates 
had engaged the vulgar in their cause, and partly by them- 
selves, and partly by them, had so far changed their cause, 

Chap. 4.] THE REFORxMED PASTOR. 145 


us that all serious Christians that feared sin, and were most 
diligent for salvation, were presently engaged among their 
adversaries, and they were involved with the rest, though 
they did nothing against the Government, or Ceremonies, 
and the most ignorant and impious became the friends and 
agents of the times, and every where made the most pious 
and sedulous Christians a common scorn, to the dishonour 
of God, and the hardening of the wicked, and discouraging 
of the weak ; and filling men with prejudice against a godly 
life, and hindering many thousands from the way of salva- 
tion ; then did God himself appear more evidently as inter- 
ested in the quarrels, and rose against them, and shamed 
them that had let in scorn and shame upon his ways. And 
this, even this, was the very thing that brought them down. 
Resides this, there was scarcely such a thing as Church- 
government or Discipline known in the land, but only this 
harassing of those that dissented from them. In all my 
life I never lived in the parish where one person was pub- 
licly admonished, or brought to public penitence, or excom- 
municated, though there were never so many obstinate 
drunkards, whoremongers, or vilest offenders. Only I have 
known now and then one for getting a bastard, that went to 
the bishop's court and paid their fees ; and I heard of two 
or three in all the country, in all my life, that stood in a 
white sheet an hour in the church ; but the ancient Disci- 
pline of the Church was unknown. And indeed it was made 
by them impossible, when one man that lived at a dis- 
tance from them, and knew not one of many hundreds of 
the flock, did take upon him the sole jurisdiction, and ex- 
ecuted it not by himself, but by a lay-chancellor, excluding 
the pastors of the several congregations, who were but to 
join with the Churchwardens and the Apparitors in present- 
ing men, and bringing them into their courts : and an im- 
possible task must needs be unperformed. And so the con- 
troversy, as to the letter and outside, was, Who shall be the 
governors of all the particular churches? But to the sense and 
inside of it, it was, Whether there should be any effectual 
Church- government or not? Whereupon those that pleaded 
for discipline were called by the new name of the Disciplina- 
rians ; as if it had been a kind of heresy to desire discipline 
in the church. 


146 gildas salviaxus: [Chap. 4. 

At last, the heat began to grow greater, and new imposi- 
tions raised new adversaries. When conformable Puritans 
began to bear the great reproach, there being few of the 
Nonconformists left, then must they also be gotten into the 
net; altars must be bowed to, or towards ; all must publish 
a book for dancing and sports on the Lord's-day, disabling 
the masters of families, and parents, though they had small 
time on the week-days, by reason of their poverty or la- 
bour, to keep in their own children or families from dancing 
on that day, that they might instruct them in the matters of 
God. If a man, as he read a chapter to his family, had per- 
suaded them to observe and practise it, and with any rea- 
sons urged them thereto, this was called expounding, and 
was inquired of in their articles, to be presented together with 
adultery, and such like sins ; so also was he used that had 
no preaching at home, and would go to hear a comformable 
preacher abroad. So that multitudes have I known ex- 
ceedingly troubled or undone for such matters as these, 
when not one was much troubled for scandalous crimes. 
Then Lectures were put down, and afternoon Sermons, and 
expounding the Catechism, or Scripture in the afternoons. 
And the violence grew so great, that many thousand fami- 
lies left the land, and many godly, able ministers, Con- 
formists, as well as others, were fain to fly and become exiles, 
some in one country, and some in another, and most in the 
remote American parts of the world. Thither went Cotton, 
Hooker, Davenport, Shepherd, Allen, Cobbet, Noyes, Par- 
ker, with many others that deserved a dwelling-place in 

Yet I must profess, I should scarcely have mentioned any 
of this, nor taken it for so heinous a crime, had it been only 
cruelty to the persons of these men, though they had dealt 
much harder with them than they did, and if it had not 
been greater cruelty to the Church, and if they had but had 
competent men for their places when they were cast out. 
But, alas ! the churches were pestered with such wretches 
as are our shame and trouble to this day. Abundance of 
mere readers, and drunken, profane, deboist men, were the 
ministers of the churches ; so that we have been these many 
years endeavouring to cleanse the Church of them, and 
have not fully effected it to this day. Many that had 


more plausible tongues did make it their chief business, to 
bring those that they called Puritans into disgrace, and to 
keep the people from being such : so that I must needs 
say, that I knew no place in these times, where a man might 
not more safely have been drunken every week, as to their 
punishment, than to have gone to hear a sermon if be had 
none at home. For the common people readily took the 
hint, and increased their reproach, as the Rulers did their 
persecution ; so that a man could not, in any place of Eng- 
land that I came in, have said to a swearer or a drunkard, 
' O do not sin against God, and wound or hazard your own 
soul,' but he should have been presently hooted at as a Pu- 
ritan: he could not have said to an ignorant or careless 
neighbour, 'Remember your everlasting state ; prepare for 
death and judgment : or have talked of any Scripture mat- 
ters to them, but he was presently jeered as a Puritan or 
Precisian ; and Scripture itself was become a reproach to 
him that talked of it, and they would cry out, ' What! we 
must h:ive talk of Scripture now ! You will preach to us ! 
We shall have these Preachers ordered ere long.' So that 
it was become commonly in England a greater reproach to 
be a man truly living in the fear of God, than to live in 
open profaneness, and to rail at godliness, and daily scorn 
it, which was so far from being a matter of danger, that 
many took it up in expectation of preferment; and the 
Preachers of the times were well aware that the rising way 
was to preach against the precise Puritans, and not to live 
precisely themselves : and thus both ministry and people 
grew to that sad pass, that it was no wonder if God would 
bear no longer with the land. 

Even as it was in the Western churches before the inun- 
dation of the Goths and Vandals, as Salvian, among others, 
tells us ; indeed I know not a writer that more fitly painteth 
out the state of our times; I shall therefore borrow some of 
his words to express our case, which it seems had been then 
the Church's case. 

" Ipsa Dei Ecclesia, quae in omnibus esse debet placa- 
trix Dei, quid est aliud quarn exacerbatrix Dei? aut prater 
paucissimos quosdam qui mala fugiunt, quid est aliud pene 
omnis coetus Christianorum quam sentina vitiorum ? Quo- 
tum enim quempque invenies in Ecclesia non aut ebriosum 
aut helluonem, aut adulterum. 8tc. — immo facilius invenias 

148 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 4. 

qui totum sit quam qui nihil : et quod diximus nihil nimis 
forsitan gravis videatur esse censura; plus multo dicam, 
facilius invenias reum maloruui omnium quam non omnium ; 
facilius majorum criminum quam minorum, ed est, facilius 
qui et majora crimina cum minoribus, quam qui minora 
tantum sine majoribus perpetrarint. In hanc enim morum 
probrositatem prope omnis Ecclesiastica plebs redacta est, 
ut in cuncto populo Christiano genus quodammodo sancti- 
tatis sit, minus esse vitiosum. Itaque, Ecclesias vel potius 
templa atque altaria Dei minoris reverentise quidem habent 
quam cujuslibet minimi ac municipalis judicis domum. Si- 
quidem intra januas non modo illustrium potestatum, sed 
etiam prsesidum et praepositorum, non omnes passim intrare 
prsesumunt, nisi quos aut judex vocaverit, aut negotium 
traxerit, aut ipsa honoris proprii dignitas introire permi- 
serit: ita ut, si quispiam fuerit insolenter ingressus, aut 
ceedatur, aut propellatur, autaliqua verecundise atque existi- 
mationis suee labe mulctetur. In templa autem vel potius 
in altaria atque sacraria Dei passim omnes sordidi ac flagi- 
tiosi sine ulla penitus reverentia sacri honoris irrumpunt, 
non quia non omnes ad exorandum Deum currere debent: 
sed quia qui ingreditur ad placandum, non debet egredi ad 
exacerbandum. Neque enim ejusdem officii est indulgentiam 
poscere et iracundiam provocare: Novum siquidem monstri 
genus est; eadem psene omnes jugitur faciunt, quse fecisse 
se plangunt : Et qui intrant in Ecclesiasticam domum, ut 
mala antiqua defleant, exeunt; et quid dico exeunt? in ipsis 
pene hoc orationibus suis moliuntur." Salv. de Gubern, 1.3, 
p. 86, 87. 

Et p. 180. " O miseriam lacrymabilem, O miseriam 
luctuosum ! Quam dissimilis nunc a. seipso est populus 
Christianus, id est, ab eo qui fuit quondum ! — Ecce in quid 
reducti sumus, ut beatam fore Ecclesiam judicemus, si vel 
tantum in se boni habeat quantum mali. Nam quomodo 
non beatam arbitremur, si mediam plebis partem haberet 
innoxiam, quam pene totamnunc esse plangimns criminosam 
— superflue unius scelera deflevimus ; aut omnes enim, aut 
pene omnes flendi atque lugendi sunt." 

Et p. 195, 196. "Omnia amamus, omnia colimus; so- 
lus nobis in comparatione omnium Deus vilis est? Siquando 
enim veniret, (quod ssepe evenit) ut eodem die et festivitas 
Ecclesiastica et ludi publici agantur, quseso ab omnium 


Conscientia, quis locus majores Christianorum virorum co- 
pias haberet ? Cavea ne ludi publici, an atrium Dei! Et 
Ternplum omnes magis sectentur, anTheatrum'.' Dicta Evan- 
geliorum magis diligant an Thymelicorum ? Verba vitse, an 
mortis ? Verba Christi, an mimi ? Non est dubium quin 
illud magis amemus quod anteponimus." 

Too like to these, here described, were our times grown, 
through the fault of those that professed themselves to have 
the oversight of their souls. A most sad thing it was to see 
those men that undertook to guide men in the ways of life, 
to be the chief means of discouraging them ; and to hear 
them make a mock at holiness, that should have devoted 
their doctrine and life thereto. The accusation may seem 
harsh to those of after-times that knew not this ! Or that by 
the patrons of iniquity are persuaded of the contrary. But 
I say as Salvian, 1. 6, p. 197. " Sed gravis est forsitan hsec 
atque iniqua congestio. Gravis profecto, si falsa." 

Yet through the mercy of God, it was not all the Pre- 
lates of the church that thus miscarried; we have yet sur- 
viving our Usher, our Hall, our Morton, learned, godly and 
peaceable men ; whose names are as dear to us as any men's 
alive. And O that it had been the will of God that all had 
been such ! Then had we not been like to have seen those 
days of blood that we have seen ; nor those great mutations 
in Church and State! But so far were these good men from 
being able to do the good that they would, that they were 
maligned for their piety, and soundness in the faith, and 
many a time have I heard them despised as well as others, 
and scorned as Puritans for all they were Prelates. 

And yet, it were well if all the guilt had lain upon that 
party! But, alas! it was not so! Those pious and pain- 
ful Divines that were oppressed, and much more that part 
of the people that joined with them, were too impatient un- 
der their suffering ; and bent themselves, some of them, 
more than was meet against the persons of those that they 
suffered by ; and too much endeavoured to make the Pre- 
lates odious with the people ; as persecutors of the Church 
of God ; and were ready to go too far from them on the 
other hand; and to think the worse of some things because 
they commanded them. Doubtless, had we all suffered 
with more patience, and carried ourselves with meekness 
and gentleness to those that we differed from, and given 

150 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

them so much commendation as was their due, and put 
the best construction on their actions that we could, and 
covered their infirmities with the most charitable interpreta- 
tions, we might have done more to mollify their minds ; or 
at least, to have maintained our own innocency. But as 
there was no room on their part to a motion for peace, or a 
petition for liberty, in the time of their prosperity; so when 
advantages did seem to appear to us of vindicating our 
liberties, we looked upon them as irreconcilable, and too 
inconsiderately rushed on, and were wanting in those peace- 
able endeavours that were our duty. We did not in our As- 
sembly invite them to a free consultation, that their cause 
might have the fullest and fairest hearing, before it had 
been condemned. Proposals that had any tendency to 
healing and accommodation, had never that entertainment 
from us that they did deserve. What moderate proposals 
were made to one party by bishop Usher, which both parties 
did dislike ! How many pacificatory motions and excellent 
treatises came from that heavenly, peaceable bishop Hall, 
especially his " Peace-maker," his " Pax terris," and his 
" Modest Offer !" But how little did they effect ! Certainly 
some of the men were so venerable for their admirable learn- 
ing and piety, that they deserved to be heard, and consulted 
with too, as wise and most judicious men. And Prelacy 
was not so young a plant in the Church, nor had it in former 
and latter ages had so few or mean persons to adorn and 
credit it, but that it well deserved the fairest hearing and 

But thus have we all shewed our frailty, and this is the 
heed that we have taken to ourselves, a?id to all thejlock. The 
Lord open our eyes at last, that we may all more fully see 
our own miscarriages ; for surely they lie as mountains be- 
fore us, and all the world about us may see them, and yet we 
will hardly see them ourselves. 

A man would think that now if the heart of man be cura- 
ble, we should by this time be all brought to the sense of 
our miscarriages, and be prepared to a closure on any rea- 
sonable terms. Who would think but after all the smart of 
our divisions, we should long ere this have got together, and 
prayed, and consulted ourselves into peace! But, alas! 
there is no such matter done ; and few do I find that mind 
the doing of it. We continue our quarrels as hot as ever : 


As Salvian saith in another case, " Miseri jam sumus : et 
nee dum hiugaces (discordes) esse cessamus:! 1. 6. p. 202. 
Et p. 200. " Mala incessabiliter malis addimus, et peccata 
peccatis cumulamns : et cum maxima nostri pars jam perie- 

rit, id agimus ut pereamus omnes. Nos non vieinos nos- 

tros tantum ardere vidimus, sed ipsi jam ex maxima nostrorum 
corporum parte arsimus. Et quid hoc, proh nefas, mali est? 
Arsimus, arsimus, et tamen flammas quibus jam arsimus non 
timemus. Nam quod non ubique agantur quae prius acta 
sunt, miserie est beneficium, non discipline. Facile hoc 
probo. Da enim prioris temporis statum, et statim ubique 
sunt quae fuerunt." 

The minds of many are as much exasperated or estranged 
as ever. Three sorts I meet with, that all are too backward 
to any accommodation. 

1. The violent men of the prelates' side, especially those 
of the new way, who are so far from reconciliation and heal- 
ino- of our breaches, that they labour to persuade the world 
that the contrary-minded are schismatics, and that all the 
ministers that have not Episcopal ordination are no minis- 
ters, nor any of the churches that have not Prelates arf 
true churches (at least, except it can be proved to be through 
unavoidable necessity). And they say, to agree with such, 
were to strike a covenant with Schism itself. 

2. Some on the other side, say, ' Do you not see, that ex- 
cept an inconsiderable number, the Prelatical party are all 
empty, careless, if not scandalous, ungodly men ? Where 
are almost any of them whose communion is desirable 1 That 
set themselves to the winning and saving of souls, and are 
serious men in the matters of Salvation, in whom you can 
perceive a heavenly conversation ? Hath God brought down 
these enemies of godliness, and persecutors and depopu- 
lators of his church, and would you make a league with them 
again? Do you not see that they are as bitter and implaca- 
ble as ever ? And have not some of them the face to jus- 
tify all the former impositions and persecutions, and draw, 
or continue the guilt of it upon their heads ? And would 
make the world believe that they are wrongfully ejected, 
when so many accusations in Parliament before the division, 
so many centuries of horrid, scandalous ones published by 
Mr. White, and so many more centuries, that lie on record 
under depositions in the several counties of the Nation 

152 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 4, 

where the Committees ejected them, will be perpetual wit- 
nesses of the quality of these men.' 

3. Others there be that are peaceable men on both sides, 
that will not justify the former miscarriages, nor own the 
present evils of any ; but think, though there be too much 
truth in these latter accusations, yet the nature of the differ- 
ence, and the quality of some of the persons is such, as de- 
serveth our desires and endeavours of Reconciliation. But 
they think the work to be hopeless and impossible, and 
therefore not to be attempted. 

And thus our breach is made : but how, or when it will 
be well healed, the Lord knoweth. But this is not all, it be- 
hoveth us yet to come nearer home, and inquire into the 
ways of the present approved godly Ministers, of what party 
soever ; and doubtless, if we are willing to know ourselves, 
we may soon find that which will lay us very low before the 
Lord, 1 shall in all, have an eye at my own corrupt heart, 
which I am so far from justifying in this common lamenta- 
tion, that I take it as my necessary duty to cast the first 
stone at myself. 

The great sins that we are guilty of, I shall not under- 
take to enumerate : and therefore my passing over any par- 
ticular is not to be taken as a denial of it for our justification. 
But I shall take it to be my duty to give instances of some 
few, that cry loudly for humiliation and speedy reformation. 
Only I must needs first premise this profession ; that for all 
the faults that are now among us, I do not believe that ever 
England had so able and faithful a Ministry since it was a 
Nation as it hath at this day : and I fear that few nations on 
earth, if any, have the like. Sure I am the change is so great 
within these twelve years, that it is one of the greatest joys 
that ever I had in the world to behold it. O how many con- 
gregations are now plainly and frequently taught, that lived 
then in great obscurity ! How many able, faithful men are 
there now in a county in comparison of what were then! 
How graciously hath God prospered the studies of many 
young men, that were little children in the beginning of the 
late troubles ; so that now they cloud the most of their se- 
niors '• How many miles would I have gone twenty years 
ago, and less, to have heard one of those ancient, reverend 
Divines, whose congregations are now grown thin, and their 
parts esteemed mean by reason of the notable improvement 


of their juniors ! And in particular, how mercifully hath the 
Lord dealt with this poor county (Worcestershire), in raising 
up so many of these, that do credit to their sacred office, 
and self-denyingly and freely, zealously and unweariedly 
do lay out themselves for the good of souls ! I bless the 
Lord that hath placed me in such a neighbourhood, where I 
may have the brotherly fellowship of so many able, humble, 
unanimous, peaceable and faithful men. O that the Lord 
would long continue this admirable mercy to this unworthy 
country. I hope I shall rejoice in God while I have a being 
for the common change in other parts, that I have lived to 
see ; that so many hundred faithful men are so hard at work 
for the saving of souls, ' frementibus licet et frendentibus in- 
imicis ;' and that more are springing up apace. I know 
there are some men, whose parts I reverence, who being in 
point of Government of another mind from them, will be of- 
fended at my very mention of this happy alteration ; but I 
must profess, if I were absolutely prelatical, if I knew my 
heart, I could not choose for all that but rejoice. What, 
not rejoice at the prosperity of the church, because men 
differ in opinion about its order ! Should I shut my eyes 
against the mercies of the Lord? The souls of men are not 
so contemptible to me, that I should envy them the bread 
of life, because it is broken to them by a hand that had not 
the prelatical approbation. O that every congregation were 
thus supplied ! But all cannot be done at once. They had 
a long time to settle a corrupted ministry ; and when the ig- 
norant and scandalous are cast out, we cannot create abili- 
ties in others for the supply ; we must stay the time of their 
preparation and growth ; and then, if England drive not away 
the Gospel by their abuse, even by their wilful unreformed- 
ness, and hatred of the light, they are likely to be the happiest 
nation under heaven. For as for all the sects and heresies 
that are creeping in daily and troubling us, I doubt not but 
the free Gospel managed by an able, self-denying Ministry, 
will effectually disperse and shame them all. 

But you may say, this is not confessing sin, but applaud- 
ing those whose sins you pretend to confess ? Ansvu It is 
the due acknowledgment of God's graces, and thanksgiving 
for his admirable mercies, that I may not seem unthankful 
in confession, much less to cloud or vilify God's graces, 
while I open the frailties that in many do accompany them. 

154 GILDAS SALVIANUS : [C/tap. 4. 

Among the many things that are yet sadly out of order in 
the best, I shall touch upon these few particulars following: 

1. One of our most heinous and palpable sins is pride ; 
a sin that hath too much interest in the best ; but is more 
hateful and inexcusable in us than in any men. Yet is it so 
prevalent in some of us, that it inditeth our discourses for 
us ; it chooseth us our company, it formeth our countenances, 
it putteth the accents and emphasis upon our words : when 
we reason, it is the determiner and exciter of our cogita- 
tions; it fills some men's minds with aspiring desires and 
designs ; it possesseth them with envious and bitter thoughts 
against those that stand in their light, or by any means do 
eclipse their glory, or hinder the progress of their idolized 
reputation. O what a companion, what a tyrannical com- 
mander, what a sly, and subtle, and insinuating enemy is 
this sin of pride ! It goes with men to the draper, the mer- 
cer, the tailor ; it chooseth them their cloth, their trimming 
and their fashion. It dresseth them in the morning, at least 
the outside. Fewer ministers would ruffle it out in the 
fashion in hair and habit, if it were not for the command of 
this tyrannical vice : and I would that were all, or the worst, 
but alas, how frequently doth it go with us to our studies, 
and there sit with us and do our work ! How often doth it 
choose our subject, and more often choose our words and 
ornaments. God biddeth us be as plain as we can, for the 
informing of the ignorant, and as convincing and serious as 
we are able, for the melting and changing of unchanged 
hearts ; but pride stands by and contradicteth all ; and 
sometimes it puts in toys and trifles, and polluteth rather 
than polisheth, and under pretence of laudable ornaments, 
it dishonoureth our sermons with childish gauds : as if a 
prince were to be decked in the habit of a stage-player or a 
painted fool. It persuadeth us to paint the window that it 
may dim the light ; and to speak to our people that which 
they cannot understand, to acquaint them that we are able 
to speak unprofitably. It taketh off the edge, and dulls the 
life of all our teachings, under the pretence of filing off the 
roughness, unevenness and superfluity. If we have a plain 
and cutting passage, it throws it away as too rustical and 
ungrateful. When God chargeth us to deal with men as for 
their lives, and beseech them with all the earnestness that 
we are able, this cursed sin controlleth all, and condemneth 


the most holy commands of God, and calleth our most ne- 
cessary duty a madness ; and saith to us, ' What, will you 
make people think, you are mad ? Will you make them say 
you rage or rave? Cannot you speak soberly and moderately'!' 
And thus doth pride make many a man's sermons, and what 
pride makes the devil makes ; and what sermons the devil 
will make, and to what end, we may easily conjecture. 
Though the matter be of God, yet if the dress, and manner, 
and end be from Satan, we have no great reason to expect 

And when pride hath made the sermon, it goes with them 
into the pulpit ; it formeth their tone, it animateth them in 
the delivery, it takes them off from that which may be dis- 
pleasing, how necessary soever, and setteth them in a pur- 
suit of vain applause: and the sum of all this is, that it 
maketh men, both in studying and preaching, to seek them- 
selves, and deny God, when they should seek God's glory 
and deny themselves. When they should ask, 'What should 
I say, and how should I say it, to please God best, and do 
most good V It makes them ask, ' What shall I say, and 
how shall I deliver it to be thought a learned, able preacher, 
and to be applauded by all that hear me?' When the ser- 
mon is done, pride goeth home with them, and maketh them 
more eager to know whether they were applauded, than 
whether they did prevail for the saving change of souls ! 
They could find in tbeir hearts, but for shame, to ask folks, 
how they liked then., and to draw out their commendation. 
If they perceive that they are highly thought of, they re- 
joice, as having attained their end ; but if they perceive that 
they are esteemed lut weak or common men, they are dis- 
pleased, as having nissed the prize of the day. 

But yet this is rot all, nor the worst, if worse may be. 
O that ever it should be spoken of godly ministers, that they 
are so set upon pojular air, and of sitting highest in men's 
estimation ; that eivy the parts and names of their brethren 
that are preferred lefore them, as if all were taken from their 
praises that is givei to another; and as if God had given 
them his gifts to be the mere ornaments and trappings of 
their persons, tha they may walk i,s men of reputation in 
the world, and alibis gifts in others were to be trodden down 
and vilified, if the' seem to stand in the way of their honour ! 
What, a saint, a p'eacherfor Christ, and yet envy that which 

15t5 GILDAS SALVIANUS : [C/lCtp. 4. 

bath the image of Christ, and malign his gifts for which he 
should have the glory, and all because they seem to hinder 
our glory ! Is not every true Christian a member of the 
body, and therefore partaketh of the blessings of the whole, 
and of each particular member thereof? And doth not every 
man owe thanks to God for his brethren's gifts, not only as 
having himself a part in them, as the foot hath the benefit of 
the guidance of the eye ; but also because his own ends may 
be attained by his brethren's gifts as well as by his own? 
For if the glory of God and the church's felicity be not his 
end, he is not a Christian. Will any workman malign an- 
other because he helpeth him to do his master's work? Yet 
alas, how common is this heinous crime among men of parts 
and eminence in the church ! They can secretly blot the 
reputation of those that stand cross to their own : and what 
they cannot for shame do in plain and open terms, lest they 
be proved palpable liars and slanderers, they will do in ge- 
nerals and malicious intimations, raising suspicions where 
they cannot fasten accusations. And so far are some gone 
in this satanical vice, that it is their ordinary practice, and 
a considerable part of their business to keep down the esti- 
mation of any they dislike, and defame others in the slyest 
and most plausible way. And some ga so far, that they are 
unwilling that any one that is abler than themselves should 
come into their pulpits, lest he should be applauded above 
themselves. A | fearful thing, that any man that hath the 
least of the fear of God, should so envy God's gifts, and had 
rather that his carnal hearers were unconverted, and the 
drowsy not awakened, than that it should be done by an- 
other who may be preferred before then. Yea, so far doth 
this cursed vice prevail, that in great congregations that have 
need of the help of many teachers, we cm scarcely in many 
places get two in equality to live together in love and quiet- 
ness, and unanimously to carry on the WDrk of God! But 
unless one of them be quite below the other in parts, and 
content to be so esteemed, or unless one be a curate to the 
other, or ruled by him, they are contendhg for precedency, 
and envying each other's interest, and waking with strange- 
ness anol jealousy towards one another, t> the shame of the 
profession and the great wrong of the congregation. I am 
ashamed to think of it, that when I have >een endeavouring 
with persons of public interest and capicity to further a 


good work, to convince them of the great necessity of more 
ministers than one in great congregations, they tell me, they 
will never agree together! 1 hope the objection is un- 
grounded as to the most : but it is a sad case that it should 
be so with any. Nay, some men are so far gone in pride, 
that when they might have an equal assistant to further the 
work of God, they had rather take all the burden upon 
themselves, though more than they can bear, than that any 
should share with them in the honour ; and for fear lest they 
should diminish their interest in the people. 

Hence also it comes to pass, that men so magnify their 
own opinions, and are as censorious of any that differ from 
them in lesser things, as if it were all one to differ from them 
and from God ; and expect that all should be conformed to 
their judgments, as if they were the rulers of the church's 
faith ! And while we cry down Papal infallibility, and de- 
termination of controversies, we would, too many of us, be 
popes ourselves, and have all stand to our determination, 
as if it were infallible. It is true, we have more modesty 
than expressly to say so : we pretend that it is only the evi- 
dence of truth that appeareth in our reasons that we expect 
men should yield to, and our zeal is for the truth and not 
for ourselves : but as that must needs be taken for truth 
which is ours, so our reasons must needs be taken for valid ; 
and if they be freely examined, and found to be infirm and 
fallacious, and so discovered, as we are exceeding backward 
to see it ourselves, because they are ours, so how angry are 
we that it should be disclosed to others? We so espouse 
the cause of our errors, as if all that were spoken against 
them were spoken against our persons, and we were heinously 
injured to have our arguments fully confuted, by which we 
injured the truth and the minds of men ! So that the matter 
is come to that pass through our pride, that if an error or 
fallacious argument do fall under the patronage of a reve- 
rend name (which is no whit rare), we must either give it the 
victory, and give away the truth, or else become injurious to 
that name that doth patronise it. For though you meddle 
not with their persons, yet do they put themselves under all 
the strokes which you give their arguments, and feel it as 
sensibly as if you had spoken it of themselves, because they 
think it will follow in the eyes of men, that weak arguing is 
a sign of a weak man. If therefore you take it for your duty 

158 gildas salviaxus : [Chap. 4. 

to shame their errors and false reasonings, by discovering 
their nakedness, they take it as if you shamed their persons ; 
and so their names must be a garrison or fortress to their 
mistakes, and their reverence must defend all their sayings 
from the light. 

And so high are our spirits, that when it becomes a duty 
to any man to reprove or contradict us, we are commonly 
impatient both of the matter and of the manner. We love 
the man that will say as we say, and be of our opinion, and 
promote our reputation, though he be less worthy of our 
love in other respects ; but he is ungrateful to us that con- 
tradicteth us, and differeth from us, and that dealeth plainly 
with us in our miscarriages, and telleth us of our faults ! 
Especially in the management of our public arguings, where 
the eye of the world is upon us, we can scarcely endure any 
contradiction or plain dealing. I know that railing language 
is to be abhorred, and that we should be as tender of each 
other's reputation, as our fidelity to the truth will permit : 
but our pride makes too many of us to think all men con- 
temn us that do not admire us, yea, and admire all that we 
say, and submit their judgments to our most palpable mis- 
takes ! We are so tender, that no man can touch us scarcely 
but we are hurt; and so stout and high-minded, that a man 
can scarcely speak to us: like froward children, or sick folk 
that cannot endure to be talked to ; the fault is not that you 
speak amiss to them, but that you speak to them. So our 
indignation is not at men for writing or speaking injuriously 
or unjustly against our words, but for confuting them. And 
a man that is not versed in complimenting, and skilled in 
flattery above the vulgar rate, can scarcely tell how to han- 
dle them so observantly, and fit their expectations at every 
turn, but there will be some word, or some neglect which 
their high spirits will fasten, and take as injurious to their 
honour : so that a plain countryman that speaks as he thinks, 
must have nothing to do with them, unless he will be es- 
teemed guilty of dishonouring them. 

I confess I have often wondered at it, that this most 
heinous sin should be made so light of, and thought so con- 
sistent with a holy frame of heart and life, when far lesser 
sins are by ourselves proclaimed to be so damnable in our 
people ! And more have I wondered to see the difference 
between ungodly sinners, and godly preachers in this res- 



pect. When we speak to drunkards, worldlings, or any ig- 
norant, unconverted men, we disgrace them as in that con- 
dition to the utmost, and lay it on as plainly as we can 
speak, and tell them of their sin, and shame, and misery : 
and we expect, not only that they should bear all patiently, 
but take all thankfully, and we have good reasons for all 
this ; and most that I deal with do take it patiently ; and 
many gross sinners will commend the closest preachers 
most, and will say that they care not for hearing a man that 
will not tell them plainly of their sins. But if we speak to 
a godly minister, against his errors or any sin, if we honour 
them and reverence them, and speak as smoothly as we are 
able to speak, yea, if we mix commendations with our con- 
tradictions or reproofs, if the applause be not apparently 
predominant, so as to drown all the force of the reproof or 
confutation ; and if it be not more an applause than a re- 
prehension, they take it as an injury almost insufferable. 
That is considered railing against them, that would be no 
better than flattery in them to the common people ; though 
the cause may be as great. 

Brethren, I know this is a sad and harsh confession ; 
but that all this should be so among us, should be more 
grievous to us than to be told of it. Could this nakedness 
be hid, I should not have disclosed it, at least so openly in 
the view of all. But, alas, it is long ago open in the eyes of 
the world : we have dishonoured ourselves by idolizing our 
honour ; we print our shame, and preach our shame, and tell 
it unto all. Some will think that I speak over charitably to 
call such persons godly men, in whom so great a sin doth so 
much prevail. I know where it is indeed predominant, and 
not hated, bewailed, and mortified in the man, there can be 
no true godliness ; and I leave every man to a cautious jea- 
lousy and search of his own heart. But if all are graceless 
that are guilty of any, or many, or most of the forementioned 
discoveries of pride, the Lord be merciful to the Ministers of 
this land, and give us quickly another spirit; for grace is a 
rarer thing than most of us have supposed it to be. 

Yet I must needs say, that it is not all that I intend. To 
the praise of grace be it spoken, we have some among us 
here, and I doubt not but it is so in other parts, that are 
eminent in humility, and lowliness, and condescension, and 
exemplary herein to their flocks and to their brethren ; and 

160 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

it is their glory, and shall be their glory ; and maketh them 
truly honourable and amiable in the eyes of God and them- 
selves : and O that the rest of us were but such ! But, alas, 
this is not the case of all. 

O that the Lord would lay us at his feet, in the tears of 
unfeigned sorrow for this sin ! Brethren, may I take leave 
a little to expostulate this case with my own heart and you, 
that we may see the shame of our sin and be reformed? Is 
not pride the sin of devils ? The firstborn of hell ? Is it 
not that wherein Satan's image doth much consist; and 
is it tolerable evil in a man that is so engaged against him 
and his kingdom as we are ? The very design of the Gospel 
doth tend to self-abasing ; and the work of grace is begun 
and carried on in humiliation. Humility is not a mere or- 
nament of a Christian, but an essential part of the new crea- 
ture : it is a contradiction to be a sanctified man, or a true 
Christian, and not humble. All that will be Christians must 
be Christ's disciples, and come to him to learn ; and their 
lesson is, to be meek and lowly. O how many precepts and 
admirable examples hath our Lord and Master given us to 
this end ! Can we once conceive of him as purposely wash- 
ing and wiping his servants' feet, and yet be stout and. 
lordly still ! Shall he converse with the meanest, and we 
avoid them as contemptible people, and think none but per- 
sons of riches and honour to be fit for our society ! How 
many of us are oftener found in the houses of gentlemen, 
than in the poor cottages of those that have most need of 
our help ! There are many of us that would think it base to 
be daily with the most needy and beggarly people to instruct 
them in*the matters of life, and supply their wants, as if we 
had taken charge only of the souls of the rich ! Alas, what 
is it that we have to be proud of? Of our bodies ? Why, 
are they not made of the like materials as the brutes, and 
must they not shortly be as loathsome and abominable as 
the dung ? Is it of our graces ? Why the more we are 
proud of them, the less we have to be proud of. And when 
so much of the nature of grace is in humility, it is a great 
absurdity to be proud of it. Is it of our learning, know- 
ledge, abilities and gifts ? Why surely if we have any 
knowledge at all, we must needs know much reason to be 
humble ; and if we know more than others, we must know" 
more reason than others do to be humble. How little is it 


that the most learned know, in comparison of that which yet 
they are ignorant of? And to know that things are past 
your reach, and to know how ignorant you are, one would 
think should be no great cause of pride ! However, do not 
the devils know more than you ? And will you be proud of 
that which the devils do excel you in ? Yea, to some I may 
say, as Salvian, lib. 4. de Gubern. p. 98. " Quid tibi blandi- 
ris, O homo quisquis es, Credulitate, quae sine timore atque 
obsequio Dei nulla est? aliquid plus Dsemones habent. Tu 
enim unam rem habes tantummodo : illi duas. Tu creduli- 
tatem habes ; non habes timorem : illi et credulitatem ha- 
bent pariter et timorem." Our very business is to teach the 
great lesson of self-denial and humility to our people, and 
how unfit is it then that we should be proud ourselves ! We 
must study humility, and preach humility, and must we not 
possess and practise it ? A proud preacher of humility, is 
at least a self-condemning man. 

What a sad case is it, that so vile a sin is no more easily 
discerned by us ! But many that are most proud, can blame 
it in others, and take no notice of it in themselves. The 
world takes notice of some among us that they have aspiring 
minds, and seek for the highest rooms, and must be Rulers, 
and bear the sway wherever they come, or else there is no 
standing before them. No man must contradict them that 
will not partake of the fruits of their indignation. In any 
consultations, they come not to search after truth, but to 
dictate to others that perhaps are fit to teach them. In a 
word, they have such arrogant, domineering spirits, that 
the world rings of it ; and yet they will not see it in them- 

Brethren, I desire to deal closely with my own heart and 
yours. I beseech you consider, whether it will save us to 
speak well of the grace that we are without ; or to speak 
against the sin that we live in ? Have not many of us cause 
to inquire once and again, whether sincerity can consist with 
such a measure of pride ? When we are telling the drunkard 
that he cannot be saved unless he become temperate ; and 
the fornicator, that he cannot be saved unless he become 
chaste (an undoubted truth) : have we not as great reason if 
we are proud, to say of ourselves, that we cannot be saved 
unless we become humble ? Certainly, pride is a greater sin 

VOL. XIV. m 

162 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 4. 

than whoredom, or drunkenness ; and humility is as neces- 
sary as chastity and sobriety. Truly, brethren, a man may 
as certainly, and more slily and dangerously make haste to 
hell in a way of profession, and earnest preaching of the Gos- 
pel, and seeming zeal for a holy life, as in a way of drun- 
kenness and filthiness ; for what is true holiness but a de- 
votedness to God, and a living to him? And what is a 
wicked and damnable state, but a devotedness to our carnal 
selves, and a living to ourselves? And doth any man live 
more to himself, or less to God, than the proud ? And may 
not pride make a preacher study for himself, and pray, and 
preach, and live for himself, even when he seemeth to outgo 
others in the work, if he therefore outgo them, that he may 
have the glory of it from men ? It is not the work without 
the principle and end that will prove us upright : the work 
may be God's, and yet we do it, not for God, but for our- 
selves. I confess I feel such continual danger in this point, 
that if I do not watch against it, lest I should study for my- 
self, and preach for myself, and write for myself, rather than 
for Christ, I should soon miscarry ; and after all, I justify 
not myself, when I must condemn the sin. Consider, I be- 
seech you, brethren, what baits there are in the work of the 
Ministry, to entice a man to be selfish ; that is, to be carnal 
and impious, even in the highest work of piety ! The fame 
of a godly man is as great a snare as the fame of a learned 
man : and woe to him that takes up with the fame of godli- 
ness instead of godliness. Verily I say unto you, they have 
their reward. When the times were all for learning and 
empty formalities, then the temptation of the proud did lie 
that way ; but now through the unspeakable mercy of God, 
the most lively, practical preaching is in credit, and godli- 
ness itself is in credit : and now the temptation to proud 
men is here, even to pretend to be zealous preachers and 
godly men. O what a fine thing doth it seem to have the 
people crowd to hear us, and to be affected with what we 
say, and that we command their judgments and affections ! 
What a taking thing is it to be cried up as the ablest and 
godliest man in the country ! And to be famed through the 
land for the highest spiritual excellencies. Alas, brethren, 
a little grace will serve turn to make you to join yourselves 
with the forwardest of those men, that have these induce- 

Chap. 4."l T.HE REFORMED PASTOR. 163 

ments or encouragements. To have the people plead for 
you as their felicity, and call you the pillars of the church 
of God ; and their fathers, the chariots and horsemen of 
Israel, and no lower language than excellent men, and able 
divines, and to have them depend upon you, and be ruled by 
you ; though this may be no more than their duty ; yet I 
must again tell you, that a little grace may serve to make 
you seem zealous men for this. Nay, pride may do it with- 
out any special grace. O therefore be jealous of yourselves, 
and in all your studies, be sure to study humility. " He 
that exalteth himself shall be brought low, and he that 
humbleth himself shall be exalted." 1 observe commonly, 
that almost all men good and bad do loathe the proud, and 
love the humble : so far doth pride contradict itself, unless 
it be where it purposely hideth itself, and, as conscious of 
its own deformity, doth borrow the homely dress of humility. 
And we have cause to be the more jealous, because it is the 
most radicated vice, and as hardly as any extirpated from 
the soul. " Nam saspe sibi de se mens ipsa mentitur, et fin- 
git se de bono opere amare quod non amat : de mundi au- 
tem gloria, non amare quod amat ;" inquit Gregor. M. de cu- 
ra Pastor, p. 1. c. 9. When it was a disgrace to a man to 
be a godly, zealous preacher, then had not pride such a bait 
as now. As the same Gregory saith, ibid. p. 21. c. 8. " Eo 
tempore quo quisquis plebibus praeerat primus ad Martyris 
tormenta ducebatur ; Tunc laudabile fuit Episcopatum quse- 
rere, quando per hunc quemque dubium non erat ad sup- 
plicia majora pervenire." 

But it is not so now, as he saith in another place, Cap. 
1. initio, " Sed quia authore Deo ad Religionis reverentiam 
omne jam prsesentis seculi culmen inclinatur, sunt nonnulli 
qui intra sanctam Ecclesiam per speciem regiminis gloriam 
affectant honoris; Videri Doctores appetunt, transcendere 
ceateros concupiscunt, atque attestante veritate, primas sa- 
lutationes in foro, primos recubitus in ccenis, primas cathe- 
dras in conventibus quaerunt,fqui susceptum curse Pastoralis 
officium ministrare digne tanto magis nequeunt, quanto ad 
hujushumilitatis magisterium ex sola elatione pervenerunt ; 
ipsa quippe in Magisterio lingua confunditur, quando aliud 
discitur, et aliud docetur." Hactenus Gregorius, et ipse 
nimis magnus. 

But I have stood longer upon this sin than is proportion- 

164 pildas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

able to the rest of my work ; I shall be the shorter in the 
confession of some of the rest. 

2. Another sin of the Ministers of England, and much 
more of many other Churches, are sadly guilty of, is under- 
valuing the unity and peace of the whole Church. Though I 
scarcely ever met with any that will not speak for unity and 
peace, or at least, that will expressly speak against it; yet 
is it not. common to meet with those that are addicted to 
promote it ; but too commonly do we find men averse to it, 
and jealous of it, if not themselves the instruments of divi- 
sion. The Papists have so long abused the name of the 
Catholic Church, that in opposition to them, many do either 
put it out of their creeds, or only fill up room with the 
name, while they understand not, or consider not the nature 
of the thing ; or think it enough to believe that there is 
such a body, though they behave not themselves as sensible 
members of it. If the Papists will idolize the Church, 
shall we therefore deny it, disregard it, or divide ? It is a 
great and common sin through the Christian world, to take 
up Religion in a way of faction ; and instead of a love and 
tender care of the Universal Church, to confine that love 
and respect to a party. Not but that we must prefer in our 
estimation and communion the purer parts before the im- 
pure, and refuse to participate with any in their sins ; but 
the most infirm and diseased part should be compassionated 
and assisted to the utmost of our power ; and communion 
must be held as far as is lawful, and no where avoided but 
upon the urgency of necessity. As we must love those of 
our neighbourhood that have the plague or leprosy, and af- 
ford them all the relief we can, and acknowledge all our 
just relations to them, and communicate to them, though 
we may not have local communion with them : and in other 
diseases which are not so infectious, we may be the more 
with them for their help, by how much the more they need 
it. Of the multitude that say, they are of the Catholic 
Church, it is too rare to meet with men of a Catholic spirit ; 
men have not a universal consideration of, and respect to 
the whole church ; but look upon their own party as if it 
were the whole. If there be some called Lutherans, some Cal- 
vinists, some, among these, of subordinate divisions, and so 
of other parties among us, most of them will pray hard for 
the prosperity of their party, and rejoice and give thanks 


accordingly, when it goes well with them ; but if any party 
suffer, they little regard it, as if it were no loss at all to the 
church. If it be the smallest parcel that possesseth not 
many nations, no, nor cities on earth, they are ready to 
carry it, as if they were the whole church, and as if it went 
well with the church in the Romish pale, and no doubt but 
this is an abominable schism : but, alas, how many do imi- 
tate them too far while we reprove them ! And as they foist 
the word Roman into their creed, and turn the Catholic 
Church into the Roman Catholic Church : as if there were 
no other Catholics, and the Church were of no larger ex- 
tent i so it is with many others, as to their several parties. 
Some will have it to be the Lutheran Catholic Church, as if 
it were all reformed, some the Anabaptist Catholic Church, 
and so of some others. And if they differ not among them- 
selves, they are little troubled at differing from others, 
though it be from almost all the Christian world. The 
peace of their party, they take for the peace of the Church : 
no wonder therefore if they carry it no further. 

How rare is it to meet with a man that smarteth or 
bleedeth with the Church's wounds, or sensibly taketh them 
to heart as his own ; or that ever had solicitous thoughts of 
a cure? No, but almost every party thinks that the happi- 
ness of the rest consisteth only in turning to them ; and be- 
cause they be not of their mind, they cry, ' Down with 
them ;' and are glad to hear of their fall, as thinking that is 
the way to the Church's rising ; that is, their own. How few 
are there that understand the true state of Controversies be- 
tween the several parties; or that ever well discerned how 
many of them are but verbal, and how many are real ! And 
if those that understand it do, in order to right information 
and accommodation, disclose it to others, it is taken as an 
extenuation of their error, and a carnal compliance with 
them in their sin. Few men grow zealous of peace, till they 
grow old, or have much experience of men's spirits and prin- 
ciples, and see better the true state of the Church, and 
several differences, than they did before. And then they 
begin to write their Irenicons, and many such are extant at 
this day. Pareus, Junius, and many more, have done their 
parts ; as our Davenant, Morton, Hall, whose excellent 
treatise called The Peace-maker, and his Pax Terris, deserve 
to be transcribed upon all our hearts, Hattonus, Amyraldus 

ItJCi gildas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

also have done. But * recipiuntur ad modum recipientis ;' 
as a young man in his heat of lust and passion was judged 
to be no fit auditor of moral philosophy ; so we find that 
those same young men who may be zealous for peace and 
unity, when they are grown more experienced, are zealous 
for their factions against these in their youthful heat. And 
therefore such as these before-mentioned, and Duraeus, who 
hath made it the business of his life, do seldom do much 
greater good than to quiet their own consciences in the dis- 
charge of so great a duty, and to moderate some few, and 
save them from further guilt, and to leave behind them 
when they are dead, a witness against a wilful, self-con- 
ceited and unpeaceable world. 

Nay, commonly it bringeth a man under suspicion either 
of favouring some heresy, or abating his zeal, if he do but 
attempt a pacificatory work : as if there were no zeal ne- 
cessary for the great fundamental verities for the Church's 
unity and peace, but only for parties and some particular 

And a great advantage the devil hath got this way, by 
employing his own agents, the unhappy Socinians in writ- 
ing so many treatises for Catholic and Arch-Catholic unity 
and peace, which they did for their own ends, and would 
have done it on insufficient terms ; by which means the 
enemy of peace hath brought it to pass, that whoever maketh 
motion for peace, is presently under suspicion of being one 
that hath need of it for an indulgence of his own errors. A 
fearful case, that heresy should be credited, as if none were 
such friends to unity and peace as they ; and that so great 
and necessary a duty, upon which the Church's welfare doth 
so depend, should be brought into such suspicion or dis- 
grace ! 

Brethren, I speak not all this without apparent reason. We 
have as sad divisions among us in England, considering the 
piety of the persons, and the smallness of the matter of our 
discord, as most nations under heaven have known. The 
most that keeps us at odds is but about the right form and 
order of Church-government. Is the distance so great that 
Presbyterian Episcopal, and Independent, might not be 
well agreed? Were they but heartily willing and forward 
for peace, they might — I know they might. I have spoken 
with some moderate men of all the parties, and I perceive 


by their confessions it were an easy work. Were men's 
hearts but sensible of the Church's case, and unfeignedly 
touched with love to one another, and did they but heartily 
set themselves to seek it, the settling of a safe and happy 
peace were an easy work. If we could not in every point 
agree, we might easily find out, and narrow our differences, 
and hold communion upon our agreement in the main ; de- 
termining of the safest way for the managing of our few and 
small agreements, without the danger or trouble of the 
Church. But is this much done ? It is not done. Let each 
party flatter themselves now as they please, it will be re- 
corded to the shame of the Ministry of England, while the 
Gospel shall abide in the Christian world. What will be re- 
corded ? What ! why this : That learned and godly Mi- 
nisters in England, did first disagree among themselves, and 
head and lead on their people in those disagreements ! That 
they proceeded in them for the space of fourteen years 
already ; how much more will be, God knows, and in all 
that time had as great advantages and opportunities for 
agreement as any people in the world. They had the sad 
experience of the conflagration of the Commonwealth, and 
were scourged to it by a calamitous war. They saw the 
fearful confusions of the Church ; and the perverting of 
multitudes of seduced souls, some to be Seekers, some So- 
cinians, some Ranters, Quakers, or Infidels. They saw the 
continual exasperation of minds, and the jealousies and 
bitterness that their distance bred, and how it was the fuel 
of a daily course of sin : and yet for all these, they were 
moved little to them. They had Magistrates that did not 
hinder them from the work ; but gave them full liberty to 
have consulted and endeavoured a full agreement. They 
lived near together, and might have easily met together for 
the work : and if one or two, or an hundred meetings could 
not have accomplished it, they might have held on till it 
was done. And yet for all this there is no such thing done, 
nor any considerable attempt yet made. And O, what hei- 
nous aggravations do accompany this sin ! Never men since 
the apostles' days, I think, did make greater profession of 
godliness : the most of them are bound by solemn oaths and 
covenants, for unity and reformation. They all confess the 
worth of peace ; and most of them will preach of it, and 
talk for it, while they sit still and neglect it, as if it were 

168 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

not worth the looking after. They will read and preach on 
those texts that command men to follow peace with all men. 
and as much as in us lieth, if it be possible, to live peaceably 
with them : and yet we are so far from following it, and do- 
ing all that we possibly can for it, that too many will snarl 
at it, and malign and censure any that endeavour it, as if all 
zeal for peace did proceed from an abatement of our zeal 
for holiness ; and as if holiness and peace were so fallen 
out, that there were no reconciling them ; when yet they 
have found, by long experience, that concord is a sure 
friend to piety, and piety always moves to concord. We 
have seen how errors and heresies breed by discord, as dis- 
cord is bred and fed by them. We have seen to our sorrow 
that where the servants of God should live together as one, 
of one heart, and one soul, and one lip, and should promote 
each other's faith and holiness, and admonish and assist 
each other against sin, and rejoice together in the hope of 
their future glory, we have contrarily lived in mutual jea- 
lousies, and drowned holy love in bitter contendings ; and 
have studied to disgrace and undermine one another, and to 
increase our own parties by right or wrong ; and we that 
were wont to glory of our love to the brethren, as the certain 
mark of our sincerity in the faith, have now turned it into a 
love of the party only, and those that are against that party 
have more of our spleen, and envy, and malice than love. I 
know this is not so with all, nor prevalently with any true 
believer, but yet it is so common, that it may cause us to 
question the sincerity of many that are thought by them- 
selves, and others, to be most sincere. And it is not our- 
selves only that are scorched in this flame, but we have 
drawn our people into it, and cherished them in it, so that 
most of the godly in the nation are fallen into several 
parties, and have turned much of their ancient piety into 
vain opinions, and vain disputes, and envyings, and animo- 
sities ; yea, whereas it was wont to be made the certain 
mark of a graceless wretch to deride the godly, how few are 
there now that stick at secret deriding and slandering those 
that are not of their opinion ! A pious, Prelatical man can 
reverently scorn and slander a Presbyterian ; and -some of 
them an Independent, and an Independent both. And, which 
is the worst of all, the common ignorant people take notice 
of all this, and do not only deride us, but are hardened by 


us against Religion ; and when we go about to persuade 
them to be religious, they see so many parties, that they 
know not which to join with, and think that it is as good be 
of none at all, as of any, when they are uncertain which is 
right; and thus thousands are grown into contempt of all 
Religion by our divisions ; and poor, carnal wretches begin 
to think themselves in the better case of the two, because 
they hold to their old formalities, when we hold to nothing. 
Yea, and these pious contenders do more effectually plead 
the devil's cause against one another, than any of the igno- 
rant people can do. They can prove one another deceivers, 
and blasphemers, and what not ; and this by secret slanders 
among all that they can handsomely vent them to ; and per- 
haps also, by public disputation, and printed slanderous 
books. So that when the obstinate drunkards are at a loss, 
and have nothing to say of their own, against a man that 
would drive them from their sin, they are prompted by the 
railing books or reports of factious, zealous malice ; then 
they can say, ' I regard him not, nor his doctrine ; such a 
man hath proved him a deceiver and a blasphemer ; let him an- 
swer him if he can.' And thus the lies and slanders of some 
(for that is no news), and the bitter opprobrious speeches of 
others, have more effectually done the devil's service, under 
the name of Orthodoxy and Zeal for Truth, than the ma- 
lignant scorners of godliness could have done it. So that 
the matter is come to that pass, that there are few men of 
note of any party, but the reproaches of the other parties 
are so publicly upon them, that the ignorant and wicked 
rabble that should be converted by them, have learned to 
be orthodox, and to vilify and scorn them. Mistake me 
not: I do not slight Orthodoxy, nor jeer at the name; 
but disclose the pretences of devilish zeal in pious or seem- 
ingly pious men. If you are offended with me for my harsh 
language, because I can tell you that I learned it of God, I 
dare be bold therefore to tell you further, that you have far 
more cause to be offended at your Satanical practices. The 
thing itself is surely odious, if the name be so odious as 
to turn your stomachs. How should the presence and guilt 
of it terrify you, if the name make you start ! I know that 
many of the reverend calumniators do think that they shew 
that soundness in the faith, and love to the Truth, which others 
want. But I will resolve the case in the words of the Holy 

170 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

Ghost, " Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge 
among you ? Let him shew out of a good conversation his 
works with meekness of wisdom; but, if you have bitter 
envyings (or zealousness) and strife in your hearts, glory not, 
and lie not against the Truth : This wisdom descendeth not 
from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envy- 
ing (or bitter zeal) and strife is, there is confusion, and every 
evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, 
then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy 
and good fruits, without partiality, without hypocrisy ; and 
the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that 
make peace," (James iii.) I pray you read these words 
again and again, and study them. 

O doleful case to think of ; that a while ago we were 
afraid of nothing, but lest Papists and deboist persons 
should have swallowed up the Gospel and our liberty, and 
destroyed us together ; and now when the work hath been 
put into the hands of those men, that were joined in these 
fears, and are joined in the strictest profession of piety, and 
are of one judgment in all the Articles of the Faith, they 
cannot, or will not unanimously join in carrying on the 
work; but they either fall upon one another, or live at a dis- 
tance, and cast their work upon an hundred disadvantages 
by the bitter disagreements that are among themselves. O 
what a nation might England have been ere now, if it had 
not been for the proud and obstinate contentions of godly 
Ministers ! What abundance of good might we have done ! 
Nay, what might we not have done, if our perverseness had 
not marred our work ! Did we but agree among ourselves, 
our words would have some authority with the people ; but 
when they see us some of one mind, and some of another, 
and snarling and reviling at each other, they think they may 
well enough do so too. Why may not we call them Secta- 
ries or Deceivers, say they, when they call one another so 7 
Nay, if we were not all of a mind in some smaller matters, 
yet if we did but hold communion and correspondence, and 
join together in the main, and do as much of God's work as 
we can in concurrent unanimity, the people would far more 
regard us, and we might be in a greater capacity to do them 
good. But when we are single, they slight us ; and when 
we disagree and divide, they despise us : and who can mar- 
vel at it, when we despise one another ! What, say they, 

Chap. 4.] TJ1E REFORMED PASTOR. 171 

when a minister doth his duty alone, ' Must we be ruled by 
every singular man? Are you wiser than all the ministers 
in the country ? Are not such and such as learned as you?' 
But when we go hand in hand, it stops their mouths. They 
think either themselves may be wiser than one or two mi- 
nisters, or at least, other ministers may be wiser than they; 
but common modesty will not suffer them to think that they 
are wiser than all the ministers in the country, or in the 
world. I know that matters of Faith are not to be received 
upon our credit alone ; but yet our credit may do much to 
remove prejudice, and to unblock the entrance into men's 
minds, and procure the Truth a more equal hearing, and 
therefore is necessary to our people's good. 

Nay, more than all this — I know it — I see and hear it ; 
that there are some ministers that are glad when they per- 
ceive the people despise their brethren that differ from 
them in some lesser things ; they would have it so, and they 
foment it as far as they can for shame ; and they secretly 
rejoice when they hear the news of it. This is next to Pre- 
latical silencing them, and casting them out of the Church. 
And I confess, I cannot but suspect that such men would go 
near to silence them, if they had their will and way ; 
for he that would have a minister under disgrace, would 
have him useless ; which is next to silencing him, and tend- 
eth to the same end. You will say, we do not desire that 
he should be disabled to do good, but to do hurt. I an- 
swer, but the question'is, whether his error be so great, that 
the holding, or propagating it doth more hurt, than all his 
pi'eaching, and the labours of that whole party which you 
would disgrace, is likely to do good? If so, then I think it 
is a desirable work to disgrace him, and silence him in a 
just measure, and by just means, and I would concur there- 
in ; but if it be otherwise, we are bound to keep up that re- 
putation with others, which is necessary ordinarily to the 
success of their labours. 

I may not here, without wrong to my conscience, pass 
over the late practices of some of our brethren of the New 
Prelatical way ; for those of the ancient prelacy are more 
moderate. I know it will be displeasing to them, and I 
have no mind to displease them ; but yet I will more avoid 
the treacherous or unfaithful silence which may wrong them, 
than the words of faithful friendship, which may displease 

172 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

them ; and I will say no more to them, than, if I know my- 
self, I should say, if I were resolved for Prelacy. It is the 
judgment of these men that I now speak of, that a Prelate 
is essential to a Church, and there is no Church without 
them ; and that their ordination is of necessity to the essence 
of a Presbyter : and that those that are ordained without them 
(though some will except a case of necessity) are not Mi- 
nisters of Christ. Hereupon they conclude, that our con- 
gregations, here in England, are no true Churches, except 
where the presbyter dependeth on some Prelate, and the 
Ministers ordained by presbyters, only are no true Minis- 
ters ; and they will not allow men to hear them, or commu- 
nicate with them, but withdraw from our congregations like 
Separatists or Recusants. And the same note many of them 
brand upon all the Reformed Churches abroad, that have 
no Prelates, as they do on us : so that the Church of Rome 
is admirably gratified by it ; and instead of demanding 
where our Church was before Luther, they begin to demand 
of us, where it is now ? And indeed, had it been no more 
visible in the ages before Luther, than a Reformed Prelati- 
cal church is now, they would have a fairer pretence than 
now they have, to call upon us for the proof of its visibility. 
Suppose that the Presbyters who rejected Prelacy were 
guilty of all that schism and other sin, as they are ordinarily 
accused of; (for I will now go on such suppositions:) 
Must the people therefore turn their backs on the assemblies 
and ordinances of God ? Is it better for them to have no 
Preaching, and no Sacraments, and no public Communion in 
Cod's worship, than to have it in an assembly that hath not 
a Prelate over it ; or from a Minister ordained without his 
consent? I confess I would not for all the world stand 
guilty before God of the injury that this doctrine hath al- 
ready done to men's souls, much less of what it evidently 
tendeth to. They lay out themselves faithfully for the heal- 
ing of that ignorance, and common profaneness which got so 
much head under their careless or drunken predecessors. 
They desire nothing more than the saving of souls ; they 
preach sound doctrine ; they live in peace ; and it is the 
greatest of their grief that many of their hearers remain so 
ignorant and obstinate still. And see what a help these 
poor impenitent sinners have for their cure ! They are taught 
to turn their backs upon their teachers ; and whereas before 


they heard them but with disregard, they are now taught 
not to hear them at all ; and if we privately speak to them, 
they can tell us, that it is the judgment of such and such 
learned men, that we are not to be heard, nor our Churches 
to be communicated with, nor we to be at all regarded as 
Christ's Ministers. And thus drunkards, and swearers, and 
worldlings, and all sorts of sensualists are got out of gun- 
shot, and beyond the reach of our teaching or reproof: and 
those that do not (for shame of the world) obey their doc- 
trine to stay from the assembly, yet do they there hear us 
with prejudice and contempt, and from the communion of 
the Church in the Lord's-supper they commonly abstain. 
Were it only the case of these few civil persons, that con- 
scientiously go this way, and address themselves to these 
kind of men for Government and Sacraments, I would never 
have mentioned the thing ; for it is not them that I intend. 
For what care I what minister they hear or obey, so it be 
one that leadeth them in the ways of truth and holiness ? 
Let them follow Christ, and forsake their sins, and go to 
heaven, and I will never contend with them for the forsak- 
ing of my conduct. But it is the common sort of profane 
and sensual men, that are every where hardened against the 
Ministry, and they have nothing but the reputation of the 
Prelatical Divines to countenance it with. If their teachers 
do but differ in a gesture from these men, they vilify them 
and reject their guidance, having nothing but the authority 
of such men to support them. Fain would we reach our 
consciences to awaken them from their security ; for it 
pitieth us to see them so near unto perdition. But we can 
do no good upon them ; for our ministry is in contempt be- 
cause of the contrary judgment of these men. Not that the 
poor people care any more for a Prelate, as such, than for 
an ordinary Minister : for if Prelates would have troubled 
them as much with their preaching, and reproofs, and dis- 
cipline, they would have hated them as much as they do 
the Ministers. But because they found by experience, that 
under their government they might sin quietly, and make a 
scorn of godliness without any danger or trouble, and that 
to this day, the men of that way are so much against those 
precise ministers, that will not let them go quietly to hell, 
therefore are they all for Prelacy, and make this the great 
shelter for their disobedience and unreformed lives. So that 

174 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 4. 

I confess I think that the hurt that Separatists and Ana- 
baptists do in England at this day, is little to the hurt 
that is done by these men : for I count that the greatest 
hurt, which hardeneth the greatest number in the state and 
way of greatest danger. An Anabaptist may yet be a penitent 
and godly person, and be saved ; but the sensual and impe- 
nitent worldlings can never be saved in that condition. I see 
by experience, that if separation infect two or three, or half 
a score in a parish ; or if Anabaptistry infect as many, and 
perhaps neither of them mortally, this obstinate contempt of 
Ministerial exhortation, encouraged by the countenance of 
the contrary-minded, doth infect them by the scores or hun- 
dreds. If we come to them in a case where they have no 
countenance from the Ministry, how mute, or tractable com- 
paratively do we find them! But if it be a case where they 
can but say, that the Prelatical Divines are of another judg- 
ment, how unmoveable are they, though they have nothing 
else to say ! Try, when we come to set on foot this work that 
we are now upon of Catechising, and private Instruction, 
whether this will not be one of our greatest impediments ; 
though in a work of unquestioned lawfulness and necessity : 
even because they are taught that we are none of their Pas- 
tors, and have no authority over them. I know that some 
of these men are learned and reverend, and intend not such 
mischievous ends as these : the hardening of men in igno- 
rance is not their design, but this is the thing effected. To 
intend well in doing ill, is no rarity. "Who can, in reverence 
to any men on earth, sit still and hold his tongue, while he 
seeth the people thus run to their own destruction, and the 
souls of men be undone by the contendings of Divines for 
their several parties and interests ? The Lord that knows 
my heart, knows that, if I know it myself, as I am not of any 
one of these parties, so I speak not a word of this in a fac- 
tious partiality, for one party, or against another, as such ; 
much less in spleen against any person ; but if I durst in 
conscience, I would have silenced all this, for fear of giving 
them offence whom I much honour. But what am I but a 
servant of Christ? and what is my life worth, but to do him 
service? and whose favour can recompense for the ruin of 
the Church ? and who can be silent while souls are undone ? 
Not I, for my part, while God is my Master, his Word 
my rule, his Work my business, and the success of it, for the 




saving of men, my end. Who can be reconciled to that 
which so lamentably crosseth his Master's interest, and his 
main end ? Nor yet would 1 have spoken any of this, if it 
had been only in respect to my own charge ; yet I bless 
God, the sore is but small, in comparison of what it is in 
many other places. But the observation of some neighbour 
congregations, and others more remote, methinks should 
make the very contrary-minded Divines relent, if they were 
present with them. 

Would it be a pleasant hearing to them, to hear a crowd 
of scandalous men to reproach their Ministers that would 
draw them to repentance, and to tell them they have no 
authority over them, and all this under the pretence and 
shelter of their judgments ? Had they rather men went to 
hell, than be taught the way to heaven by Presbyters that 
had not their imposition of hands ? Is that point of order 
more necessary than the substance of the work, or the end 
itself? Nay, I must needs in faithfulness say yet more : 
that it is no credit to the cause of those reverend men, nor 
ever was, that the generality of the most wicked men, and 
haters and contemners of all devotion, are the great friends 
and maintainers of it ; and the befriending of such a party 
did more to gain their love, than to save their souls ; and 
the engaging such a party for them, hath not been the least 
cause of their fall. This is true, however it be taken. 

And what a case would the. Churches of England be in, 
if we should yield to the motions of these reverend men ! 
Supposing that men's judgments are not at their own wills, 
and therefore many cannot see the reasons for Prelacy ; must 
we all give up our charges as no true Ministers, and desert 
the Congregations as no true Churches? Why, whom will 
they then set over them in our stead ? First, it is known 
that they cannot, if they had fit men, procure them what li- 
berty their way requires, because of the discountenance of 
authority : and it is known that they have not fit men for 
one Congregation of very many. And had they rather that 
the doors were shut up, and God had no public worship, 
nor the people any public teaching or sacraments, than any 
but they should have a hand in the performance of it? Or 
if the ministers keep their places, can they wish all the con- 
gregation to stay at home, and live like heathens ? Nay, are 
they not angry with us for casting out a grossly ignorant, 

17(5 GILDAS SALVIANUS : [CIlClp. 4. 

insufficient, scandalous sort of ministers, who were the great 
means of the perdition of the people, whose souls they had 
taken charge of? As for the casting out any able, godly 
men upon mere differences, about the late troubles, and state 
affairs; I speak not of it, I approve not of it; if any such 
thing were done, let them maintain it if they can that did 
it ; for I neither can nor will. But it is a very sad case, 
that any men of judgment and piety would not only be in- 
different in matters of such moment, but should think it a 
persecution, and an injury to their party and cause, to have 
hundreds of unworthy wretches to be ejected, when it was a 
work of so great necessity to the Church. 

And indeed, by all this they plainly shew what a condi- 
tion they would reduce this nation into again, if it were in 
their power. Surely they that would have the people dis- 
own, and withdraw from them as being no ministers, and turn 
their backs on the word and sacraments, would silence them 
if they could : I think there is no doubt of that. And surely 
they that are so offended, that the insufficient and scanda- 
lous ones are cast out, would have them in again if they 
could. And if this be the change that they desire, let them 
not blame men that believe the Scripture, and value men's 
salvation, if they have no mind of their change. If it were 
a matter of mere opinion, we §hould be more indifferent 
with them : or, if the question were only whether men would 
be conducted in ways of holiness by a Prelate, or by mere 
Presbyters only, we should think it of less moment, than the 
matter that is before us : but when it comes to this pass, 
that the prince of darkness must be so gratified, and so much 
of the Church of Christ delivered overmuch into his power, 
and the people led by multitudes to perdition, and all for 
the upholding of our own parties, or interests, or conceits : 
we cannot make light of such matters as these : these are 
not mere speculations, but matters that are so obvious to 
sense and Christian experience, that they must not think 
much that serious, experienced Christians are against them. 

But that I be not mistaken, it is far from my thoughts 
to speak what I have done of any peaceable man of the Pre- 
latical way, or to meddle in the controversy of the best way 
of Government ; nor do I speak to any of the new Prelatical 
way, but only those who are guilty of the miscarriages 
which I have spoken of; and for them, I had rather bear 


their indignation, than the Church should bear the fruits of 
their destructive, intemperate conceits. 

The most common cause of our divisions and unpeacea- 
bleness, is men's high estimation of their own opinions. 
And it ordinarily worketh these two ways : sometimes by 
setting men upon novelties, and sometimes by a censorious 
condemning of all that differ from the party that they are of. 
Some are as busy in their inquiries after new Doctrines, 
as if the Scripture were not perfect, or Christ had not told 
us all that is necessary ; or the way to heaven were not in 
all ages one and the same, from Christ to the end of the 
world : or the church were not still the same thing. And 
they look not only after new discoveries in lesser things, 
but they are making us new Articles of Faith, and framing 
out new ways to heaven. The body of Popery came in at 
this door : their new Fundamentals were received on these 
terms ; their new Catholic Church, which their forefathers 
knew not, was thus set up. Before, it consisted of all 
Christians throughout the world ; and now it must consist 
of none but the Pope's subjects. So is it with the Anabap- 
tists ; they must now in the end of the world have a new 
Church for Christ, even in the natural capacity of the mat- 
ter ! Never since the creation can it be proved that God 
had any where a church on earth where Infants were excluded 
from being members, if there were any among them. They 
were members before the Law, under the Promise, under the 
Law, and under the Gospel, through the Christian world to 
this day ; and yet they would needs make Christ a Church 
now without them; as if Christ had missed it in the forming of 
his church till now ! or as, if he begun to be weary of infants in 
his church now at last ! or, as if the providence of G od did now 
begin to be awakened to have a rightly formed church in the 
conclusion of the world; and to eject those infants as incapa- 
ble, who till now have been in the bosom of his family. 

Yea, this disturbing vice doth also work by setting a 
higher rate of necessity upon some truths, than the Church 
of Christ had ever done : when we will needs make that to 
be of absolute certainty, which hath been either not before 
received, or but as a dark and doubtful thing, and we will 
make that to be of necessity to salvation, which the former 
ages did hold but as a point of a far lower nature, which 


178 gildas salvianxjs : [Chap. 4. 

some were for, and some against, without any great disagree- 
ment or mutual censure. I confess, I do hold some points 
of doctrine myself to be true, which I cannot find that the 
Church, or any in it did hold of many ages after the apos- 
tles; but then I cannot lay such a stress oft them, as to 
think them of necessity to the welfare of the church, and 
the saving of souls ; as the doctrine of the certain perseve- 
rance of all the justified, and some few more : [f I may think, 
that Austin, Prosper, and all the church in those ages did 
err therein (as I think they did): yet to think that they erred 
fundamentally, were to think that Christ had no Church. 1 
will not take the judgment or practice of the Church in any 
age since the apostles', as my rule of faith and life ; but I 
will suppose, that they had all things in the most defiled age, 
that were of absolute necessity to salvation. I know that 
we must be justified in the same way as they were, and upon 
the same terms. Faith is the same thing now as it was then, 
and hath the same object to apprehend for our justification, 
and the same office in order to our justification. Many new 
notions are brought in by disputers, which must not be 
made matters of necessity to the soundness or integrity of 
the church's faith. We may talk of peace as long as we 
live, but we shall never obtain it but by returning to the 
apostolical simplicity. The Papists' faith is too big for all 
men to agree upon: or all their own, if they enforced it not 
with arguments drawn from the fire, the halter, and the 
strappado. And many Anti-papists do too much imitate 
them in the tedious length of their subscribed confessions, 
and novelty of impositions, when they go farthest from them 
in the quality of the things imposed. I shall speak my mind 
to these in the words of Vincentius Lirinensis, cap. 26. 
" Mirari satis nequeo tantam quorundum hominum veesa- 
niam, tantam exccecatae mentis impietatem ; tantam pos- 
tremo errandi libidinem, ut contenti non sint tradita semel 
et accepta antiquitus credendi regula; sed nova ac nova in 
diem quserunt, semperque aliquid gestiant religioni addere, 
mutare, detrahere : Quasi non cceleste dogma sit quod se- 
mel revelatum esse sufficiat, sed terrena institutio, quae 
aliter perfici nisi assidua emendatione, immo potius repre- 
hensione non possit." When we once return to the ancient 
simplicity of faith, then, and not till then, we shall return 
to the ancient love and peace. 


Chap. 4. J TK£ REFORMED PASTOR. 179 

But the pride of men's hearts doth make them so over- 
value their own conceptions, that they expect all men else 
should be of their mind, and bow down to those reasons 
which others can see through, while they are as confident 
as if there were no room for doubting. Every sect is usually 
confident in their own way, and as they value themselves, so 
they do their reasons. And hereupon arise such breaches 
in affections and communion as there are, while most men 
cry down the divisions of others, but maintain the like. 
Some will have no communion with our Churches, because 
we have some members that they take to be ungodly, and 
do not pull up the tares in doubtful, unproved cases, where 
we cannot do it without pulling up the wheat. Others are 
so confident that infants should be unbaptised, and out of 
the church, that they will be of no church that hath infant 
members, till these scandalous infants be (I say not excom- 
municated, for that supposeth a prior right, but) taken as 
such that have no part or fellowship in the business, they 
will not join with such a society ; Christ tells us, that ex- 
cept we become as little children, we shall not enter into his 
kingdom ; and they say, except little children be kept out 
of the church, they will not enter or abide in it. Is not this 
extreme height of spirit to be so confident, as to avoid com- 
munion upon it, in a case where the Church hath been in all 
ages, or almost all by their own confession, so much against 
them? Would they not have separated from the whole 
church on the same ground, if they had lived in these times? 
Others, as is beforesaid, are so confident that we are no mi- 
nisters or churches for want of Prelatical ordination and go- 
vernment, that they separate also, or deny communion with 
us. And thus every party in the height of their self-con- 
ceitedness is ready to divide, and condemn all others that 
are not of their mind. 

And it usually falls out, that this confidence doth but be- 
tray men's ignorance, and that too many make up that in 
passion and wilfulness, which they want in reason. How 
many have I heard zealously condemning what they little 
understand? It is a far easier matter to say that another 
man is erroneous, or heretical, or rail at him as a deceiver or 
blasphemer, than to give a sound account of our belief. 
And as I remember twenty years ago, I have observed it the 
common trick of a company of ignorant, formal preachers, 

180 gildas salvianus : [Chap, 4. 

to get the repute of that learning which they wanted, by 
railing at the Puritans, as being all unlearned : so it is now 
the trick of some that can scarcely give a sound reason for 
any controverted part of their belief. 

The truth is, most Ministers in the world do take up their 
opinions in compliance with their several parties ; and they 
look more who believeth it, than what is believed ; and on 
what ground ; or they have nothing but what is spoken by 
the men that they must concur with : and thus too many 
take up their religion in a faction ; even the truth itself. 
And therefore they must speak against those that they hear 
that party speak against. As Prosper said of the detractors 
of Austin, Praef. ad capit. Gall. " Injustis opprobriis Catho- 
lici praedicatoris memoria carpitur ; in quod peccatum ca- 
dunt, qui alienaiustigatione commoti ; scriptorem celeberimi 
nominis promptius habent culpare, quam nosse." And as 
Salvian saithinhis Preface ad Salonium: adCathol. Eccles. 
"Tam imbecilia sunt judicia hujus temporis, ac pene tam 
nulla, ut qui legunt, nOn tam considerant quid legant, quam 
cujus legant : nectamdictionis vimatque virtutem quam dic- 
tators cogitant dignitatem." How many a hot dispute have I 
heard of several subjects, which the disputants have been 
forced to manifest that they understood not ! And yet they 
will drive all to damnatory conclusions, when the parties 
understand not one another's meaning, and take not the 
subject of the dispute in the same sense, or at least not the 
several predications. One disputeth for freewill, another 
against it: and call them to give you their definition of free- 
will, and you shall see to what purpose it was. And so in 
many other cases. 

And thus do we proceed in a contentious zeal to divide 
the church, and censure our brethren, and make our diffe- 
rences seem greater than they are, while we know not well 
what they are ourselves, who so eagerly manage them. 

3. The next sin that I shall mention, that we are lament- 
ably guilty of, is this ; we do not so seriously, unreservedly 
and industriously lay out ourselves in the work of the Lord, 
as beseemeth men of our profession and engagements. I 
bless the Lord that there are so many that do this work with 
all their might ! But, alas ! for the most part, even of those 
that we take for godly ministers, how reservedly, and how 
negligently do we go through our work ! How few of us do 

Chap. 4.] T.HE REFORMED PASTOR. 181 

so behave ourselves in our office, as men that are wholly 
devoted thereto, and have devoted all that they have to the 
same ends ! And because you shall see my grounds for this 
confession, I shall mention to you some of the sinful disco- 
veries of it, which do too much abound. 

(1.) It is common with us to be negligent in our Studies, 
Few men will be at that pains that is necessary for the right 
informing of their understandings, and fitting them for their 
further work. Some men have no delight in their studies, 
but take only now and then an hour, as an unwelcome task 
which they are forced to undergo, and are glad when they 
are from under the yoke. Will neither the natural desire of 
knowing, nor the spiritual desire of knowing God and things 
divine, nor the consciousness of our great ignorance and 
weakness, nor the sense of the weight of our Ministerial work, 
will none of all these keep us closer to our studies, and 
make us more painful in seeking after the truth ? This di- 
ligence is now the more necessary for ministers, because the 
necessity of the church doth draw so many from the Uni- 
versities so young, that they are fain to teach and learn 
together : and for my part, I would not discourage such 
young ones, so be it they be but competently qualified, and 
quickened with earnest desires of men's salvation, and are 
drawn out by the present necessities, sooner than they 
would go, if the church could longer wait for their pre- 
paration : and will but study hard in the country. For I 
know, that as Theology is a practical science, so the know- 
ledge of it thriveth best in a practical course. Laying out 
here a means of gathering in ; and a hearty endeavour to 
communicate and do good, is not the smallest help to our 
own proficiency. Many men have not been ashamed to con- 
fess how young and raw they were at their entrance, who yet 
have grown to eminent parts. Vigilius the Martyr was made 
Bishop of Trent at twenty years old. Ambrose de Offic. li. 
c. 1. saiththus ; "Homines discunt priusquam docent, etab 
illo accipiunt quod aliis tradant: Quod ne ipsum quidem 
mihi accidit : Ego enim de tribunalibus atque administra- 
tionis infulis ad sacerdotium captus, docere vos coepi quod 
ipse non didici. Itaque factum est, ut prius docere incipe- 
rem quam discere. Discendum igitur mihi simul et docen- 
dum est, quoniain non vacavit ante discere. Et quantum 

182 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

libet quisque profecerit, nemo est qui doceri non egeat dum 

O what abundance of things are there that a minister 
should understand ; and what a great defect is it to be igno- 
rant of them ; and how much shall we miss such knowledge 
in our work ! Many ministers study only to compose their 
sermons, and very little more, when there are so many books 
to be read, and so many matters that we should not be un- 
acquainted with. Nay, in the study of our sermons we are 
too negligent, gathering only a few naked heads, and not 
considering of the most forcible expressions by which we 
should set them home to men's hearts. We must study how 
to convince and get within men, and how to bring each truth 
to the quick, and not leave all this to our extemporary 
promptitude, unless it be in cases of necessity. Certainly, 
brethren, experience will teach you, that men are not made 
learned or wise without hard study, and unwearied labours 
and experience. 

(2.) If Ministers were set upon the work of the Lord, it 
would be done more vigorously than by the most of us it is. 
How few ministers do preach with all their might ; or speak 
about everlasting joy or torment in such a manner as may 
make men believe that they are in good sadness. It would 
make a man's heart ach to see a company of dead and 
drowsy sinners sit under a minister, and not have a word that 
is likely to quicken or awaken them. To think with ourselves, 
' O if these sinners were but convinced and awakened, they 
might yet be converted and live!' And alas, we speak so 
drowsily or gently, that sleepy sinners cannot hear : the 
blow falls so light, that hard-hearted persons cannot feel it. 
Most ministers will not so much as put out their voice, and 
stir up themselves to an earnest utterance. But if they do 
speak loud and earnestly, how few do answer it with earnest- 
ness of matter ; and then the voice doth little good ; the 
people will take it but as mere bawling, when the matter 
doth not correspond. It would grieve one to hear what ex- 
cellent doctrines some ministers have in hand, and let it 
die in their hands for want of close and lively application. 
What fit matter they have for convincing sinners, and how 
little they make of it ; and what a deal of good it might do 
if it were set home ; and yet they cannot or will not do it. 



O sirs ! how plainly, how closely, and how earnestly should 
we deliver a message of such a nature as ours is ; when the 
everlasting life or death of men is concerned in it ! Methinks 
we are no where so wanting as in this seriousness. There is 
nothing more unsuitable to such a business than to be slight 
and dull. What ! speak coldly for God, and for men's sal- 
vation ! Can we believe that our people must be converted, 
or condemned, and yet can we speak in a drowsy tone ! In 
the name of God, brethren, labour to awaken your hearts, 
before you come, and when you are in the work, that you 
may be fit to awaken the hearts of sinners. Remember that 
they must be awakened or damned ; and a sleepy preacher 
will hardly awaken them. If you give the holy things of 
God the highest praises in words, and yet do it coldly, you 
will seem in the manner to unsay what you said in the mat- 
ter. It is a kind of contempt of great things, especially so 
great, to speak of them without great affection and fervency : 
the manner as well as the words must set them forth. If we 
are commanded whatever our hand findeth to do, to do it 
with all our might, then certainly such a work as Preaching 
for men's salvation should be done with all our might. But, 
alas, how few, how thin are such men ! Here one and there 
one, even among good ministers, that have an earnest, per- 
suading, working way, or that the people can feel him preach 
when they hear him. 

(3.) If we are all heartily devoted to the work of God, 
why do we not compassionate the poor, unprovided congre- 
gations about us, and take care to help them to able minis- 
ters ; and in the meantime, step out now and then to their 
assistance, when the business of our own particular charge 
will give us leave. A Lecture in the more ignorant places 
purposely for the work of Conversion, performed by the 
most lively-working preachers, might be a great help where 
constant means are wanting. 

(4.) The negligent execution of acknowledged duties, 
doth shew that we be not so wholly devoted to the work as 
we should be. If there be any work of Reformation to be 
set on foot, how many are there that will go no further than 
they are drawn ; and it were well if all would do but that 

If any business for the church be on foot, how many 
neglect it for their own private business ; when we should 

184 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 4. 

meet and consult together for the unanimous and successful 
performance of our work, one hath this business of his own, 
and another that, which must be preferred before God's bu- 

And when a work is likely to prove difficult and costly, 
how backward are we to it, and make excuses, and will not 
come on ! For instance : What hath been more talked of, 
and prayed for, and contended about in England for many 
years past, than the business of Discipline? And there are 
but few men (the Erastians) but they seem zealous in disput- 
ing for one side or other : some for the Prelatical way, and 
some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Congregational. 
And yet when we come to the practice of it, for ought I see, 
we are most of us for no way. It hath made me admire 
sometimes to look on the face of England, and see how few 
congregations in the land have any considerable execution 
of discipline, and to think withal what volumes they have 
written for it ; and how almost all the Ministry of the na- 
tion are engaged for it — how zealously they have contended 
for it, and made many a just exclamation against the op- 
posers of it; and yet for all this will do little or nothing in 
the exercise of it. I have marvelled what should make 
them so zealous in siding for that which their practice 
shews that their hearts are against: but I see a disputing" 
zeal is more natural than a holy, obedient, practising zeal. 
How many Ministers in England are there that know not 
their own charge, who plead for the Truth of their particu- 
lar Churches, and know not which they are, or who are the 
members of them ; and who never cast out one obstinate 
sinner ; no, nor brought one to public confession, and ex- 
pression of repentance and promise of reformation ; nor yet 
admonished one publicly to call him to such repentance. 
But they think they do their duty if they give them not the 
Sacrament of the Lord's-supper, when it is perhaps avoided 
voluntarily by themselves, and thousands will keep them- 
selves away without our prohibiting them ; and in the mean- 
time we have them stated members of our Churches, and 
grant them all other communion with the Church, and call 
them not to personal repentance for their sin. Read Albas- 
pineus, a sober Papist in his Observations, 1, 2, 3, after his 
Annot. on Optatus, and see whether Church-communion in 
former times was taken to consist only in co-partaking ol 


the Lord's-supper. Either these hundreds that we commu- 
nicate not with in the Supper, are members of our Churches, 
or not : if not, then we are Separatists while we so much 
disclaim it : for we have not cast them out, nor have we 
called them to any profession, whether they own or disown 
their membership, but only whether they will be examined 
in order to a Sacrament; nor do we use to let them know 
that we take their refusal of examination for a refusal of 
Church-membership, and exclusion of themselves. It fol- 
lows therefore, that we have gathered Churches out of 
Churches before they were unchurched, or before we took 
God's way to cast any of them, much less all of them, out. 
But if they are taken for members, how can we satisfy our 
consciences to forbear all execution of Discipline upon 
them? Is it not God's ordinance that they should be per- 
sonally rebuked and admonished, and then publicly called 
to repentance, and be cast out if they remain impenitent ? 
If these be no duties, why have we made such a noise and 
stir about them in the world as we have done? If they be 
duties, why do we not practise tbem ? If none of all these 
persons be scandalous, why do we not admit them to the 
Lord's-supper ? If they keep away themselves, is not that 
a sin which a brother should not be permitted to remain in? 
Is it not a scandal for them to avoid the Ordinances of God 
and the Communion of the Church for so many years toge- 
ther as they do ? Yea, and many a one of them avoideth 
also the very hearing of the Word. The ancient Discipline 
was stricter, when the sixth General Council at Trull, in 
Constantinople, ordained Can. 80, that ' whosoever was 
three days together from the Church, without urgent neces- 
sity, was to be excommunicated.' 

Brethren, for my part, I desire not to offend any party, 
nor to bring the least dishonour to them; but I must needs 
say, that these sins are not to be cloaked over with excuses, 
extenuations, or denials. We have long cried up Disci- 
pline, and every party their several ways. Would you have 
people value' your way of government or not ? No doubt 
but you would ; why, if you would have them value it, it 
must be for some excellency ; shew them then that excel- 
lency. What is it, and wherein doth it consist? And if 
you would have them believe you, shew it them not only in 
paper, but in practice; not only in words, but in deeds. 

1W6 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

How can the people know the worth of bare notions and 
names of Discipline, without the thing? Is it a name and 
a shadow that you have made all this noise about? How 
can they think that that is good which doth no good? 
Truly, I fear we take not the right way to maintain our 
cause, but even betray it while we are hot disputers for it. 
Speak truly; is it not these two things that keep up the re- 
putation of the long-contended-for Discipline among men ; 
viz. with the godly, the mere reputation of the Ministers that 
stand for it; and with many of the ungodly, the non-execution 
of it, because they find it to be toothless, and not much 
troublesome to them ? Verily, brethren, if we get the late 
Prelates' carnal wisdom, and go their way to work, by in- 
gratiating our way of government with the ungodly multi- 
tude, by the mere neglect of practice, and the befriending of 
their sins, we may well look for the same blessing and issue 
as the Prelates had. If once our government come to be up- 
holden by the votes of those who should be corrected or 
ejected by it, and the worst men be friends to it, because it 
is a friend to them in their ungodliness, we then engage it 
against the Lord, and he will appear as engaged against us. 
Set all the execution of Discipline together that hath been 
practised in a whole country ever since it was so contended 
for, and I doubt it will not appear so observable as to draw 
godly people into a liking of it for the effects. How can 
you wonder if many that desired deeds and not words, re- 
formation and not the mere name of reformation, do turn 
over to the separate congregations, when you shew them 
nothing but the bare name of Discipline in yours ? All 
Christians value God's ordinances, and think them not vain 
things ; and therefore are unwilling to live without them. 
Discipline is not a needless thing to the Church : If you 
will not difference between the precious and the vile by 
Discipline, people will do it by separation. If you will 
keep many scores or hundreds in your Churches that are 
notoriously scandalous, and contemners of Church-commu- 
nion, and never openly, nor perhaps privately, reprove them, 
nor call them to repentance, nor cast them out, you cannot 
marvel if some timorous souls do run out of your Churches 
as from a ruinous edifice, that they fear is ready to fall up- 
on their heads. I pray you consider, if you should do in 
the same manner with them in the Sacrament, as you do in 


the Discipline, and should only shew the Bread and Wine, 
and never let them taste of it, could you expect that the 
name of a Sacrament should satisfy them, or that they 
would like your Communion ? Why should you think then 
that they will be satisfied with the empty sound of the word, 
Church-government? And consider but what a disadvantage 
you cast your cause upon in all your disputations with men 
of another way. If your principles be more right than theirs, 
and their practice be more right than yours, the people will 
suppose that the question is, whether the name or the thing, 
the shadow or the substance, be more desirable? And they 
will take your way to be a mere delusory formality, because 
they see you but formal in the use of it, yea, that you use it 
not at all. I speak not against your government, but for it, 
all this while, and tell you, that it is you that are against it, 
that seem so earnest for it ; while you more disgrace it for 
want of exercise, than you credit it by your bare arguments: 
and you will find before you have done, that faithful execu- 
tion will be your strongest argument. Till then, the people 
will understand lyou, as if you openly proclaimed, ' We 
would have no public Admonitions, Confessions, or Excom- 
munications ; our way is to do no good, but to set up the 
naked name of a Government.' Doubtless it was a fault 
more past all disputation, for the Prelates to destroy Disci- 
pline and to do little or nothing in it, than for them to be 
Prelates ; and if they had but done the good that Disci- 
pline is ordained for, Prelacy might have stood to this day, 
for ought I know ; I am sure it would have had no opposi- 
tion from many hundred godly people that have opposed it ; 
and again, I say, if you will run into the error, you may ex- 
pect their fate. 

And what are the hindrances now that keep the Minis- 
ters of England from the execution of that Discipline which 
they have so much contended for? I hear not all speak; 
but I hear some, and see more. The great reason, as far as 
I can learn, fs, 'the difficulty of the work, and the trouble 
or suffering thatwe are likely to incur by it : we cannot pub- 
licly reprehend one sinner, but he will storm at it, and bear 
us a deadly malice. We can prevail with very few to make 
a public profession of true repentance. If we proceed to 
excommunicate them, they will be raging mad against us ; 
they will be ready to vow revenge against us, and to do us 

188 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

a mischief: if we should deal as God requireth with all the 
obstinate sinners in the parish, there were no living among 
them ; they would conspire in hatred against us to the ha- 
zard of our lives. We should be so hated of all, that as 
our lives would be uncomfortable, so our labours would be- 
come unprofitable ; for men would not hear us when they 
are possessed with a hatred of us ; therefore duty ceaseth to 
be duty to us, because the hurt that would follow would be 
greater than the good ; and the affirmative bind not ' ad 

These are the great reasons for the non-execution of 
Discipline, together with the great labour that private ad- 
monition of each offender would cost us. And to these I 

[1.] Are not these reasons as valid against Christianity 
itself, in some times and places, as now against Discipline? 
Christ came not to send us peace ; we shall have his peace, 
but not the world's ; for he hath foretold us that they will 
hate us. Might not Bradford, or Hooper, or any that were 
burnt in Queen Mary's days, have alleged more than this 
against duty? They might have said, it will make us hated, 
if we own the Reformation, and it will expose our lives to 
the flames. How is he concluded by Christ to be no Chris- 
tian, who hateth not all that he hath, and his own life for 
him ; and yet we can take the hazard of our life as a reason 
against his work ! What is it but hypocrisy to shrink from 
sufferings, and take up none but safe and easy works, and 
make ourselves believe that the rest are no duties? Indeed 
this is the common way of escaping sufferings, to neglect 
the duty that would expose us thejreunto. If we did our 
duty faithfully, Ministers should find the same lot among 
professed Christians, as their predecessors have done among 
the infidels. But if you could not suffer for Christ, why did 
you put your hand to his plough, and did not first sit down 
and count your costs ? This makes the Ministerial work so 
unfaithfully done, because it is so carnally undertaken ; and 
men enter upon it as a life of ease, and honour, and respect 
from men, and therefore resolve to attain their ends, and 
have what they expected by right or wrong, They looked 
not for hatred and suffering, and they will avoid it, though 
by the avoiding of their work. 

[2.] And as for the making yourselves incapable to do 


them good : I answer, That reason is as valid against plain 
preaching, reproof, or any other duty which wicked men 
will hate us for. God will bless his own ordinances to do 
good, or else he would not have appointed them. If you 
admonish, and publicly rebuke the scandalous, and call 
men to repentance, and cast out the obstinate, you may do 
good to many that you reprove, and possibly to the excom- 
municated : I am sure it is God's means ; and it is his last 
means, when reproofs will do no good : it is therefore per- 
verse to neglect the last means, lest we frustrate the forego- 
ing means, when as the last is not to be used but upon 
supposition that the former were all frustrated before. How- 
ever, those within and those without may receive good by 
it, if the offender do receive none ; and God will have the 
honour, when his Church is manifestly differenced from the 
world, and the heirs of heaven and hell are not totally con- 
founded, nor the world made to think that Christ and Satan 
do but contend for superiority, and that they have the like 
inclination to holiness, or to sin. 

[3.] And I would know, whether on the grounds of this 
objection before mentioned, all Discipline should not be 
cast out of the Church, at least ordinarily ; and so is not 
this against the thing itself, rather than against the present 
season of it? For this reason is not drawn from any thing 
proper to our times, but common to all times and places. 
Wicked men will always storm against the means of their 
public shame ; and the use of Church censures is pur- 
posely to shame them, that sin may be shamed, and dis- 
owned by the Church. What age can you name since the 
days of the apostles wherein you would have executed the 
Discipline that you now refuse, if you go these grounds, 
supposing that it had not been by Magisterial compulsion ? 
If therefore it be Discipline itself that hath such intolerable 
inconveniences, why have you so prayed for it, and perhaps 
sought for it, and disputed for it as you have done ? What, 
must all Dissenters bear your frowns and censures, and all 
for a work which you yourselves judge intolerable, and dare 
not touch with one of your fingers ? When do you look to 
see all these difficulties over, that you may set upon that 
which you now avoid ? Will it be in your days ? or will 
you wait till you are dead, and leave it as a part of your 
epitaph to posterity, that you so deeply engaged and con- 

1.90 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

tended for that which you so abhorred to the death, that 
you would never be brought to the practice of it! And 
doth not this objection of yours plainly give up your cause 
to the Separatists ; and even tell them that your contend- 
ing is not for your way of Discipline ; but that there may 
be none, because it will do more harm than good ? Cer 
tainly if this be true, it would have been better to speak it 
out at first, before all our wars, and tears, and prayers, and 
contentions, than now in the conclusion to tell the world, 
that we did all this but for a name or word, that the thing 
is so far from being worth our cost, that it is not tolerable, 
much less desirable. 

[4.] But yet let me tell you, that there is not such a lion 
in the way as you do imagine ; nor is Discipline such a 
useless thing. I bless God upon the small and too late 
trial that I have made myself of it, I can speak by expe- 
rience, it is not vain ; nor are the hazards of it such as may 
excuse our neglect. 

But I know the pinching reason is behind. They say, 
that, 'When we pleaded for Discipline, we meant a Disci- 
pline that should be established and imposed by the secular 
power; and without them what good can we do? When 
every man hath leave to despise our censures, and set us at 
naught : and therefore we will not meddle with it, say they, 
without authority.' To which I answer, 1. I thought it 
once a scornful indignity that some fellows attempted to 
put upon the Ministry, that denied them to be the Ministers 
of Christ, and would have had them called the Ministers of 
the State, and dealt with accordingly. But it seems they 
did not much cross the judgments of some of the Ministry 
themselves, who are ready to put the same scorn upon their 
own calling. We are sent as Christ's ambassadors, to speak 
in his Name, and not in the prince's ; and by his authority 
we do our work, as from him we have our commission : and 
shall any of his Messengers question the authority of his 
commands ? The same power that you have to preach with- 
out, or against the Magistrate's command, the same have 
you to exercise Pastoral guidance and Discipline without. 
And shall all Ministers refuse preaching if the Magistrate 
bid them not? Yea, or if they forbid them? 2. What 
mean you, when you say, you will not do it without autho- 
rity ? Do you mean the love, or the countenance and appro- 



bation, or the command upon yourselves ; or do you mean a 
force or penalty on the people to obey you ? The Magis- 
trate's leave we have; who hindereth or forbiddeth you to 
set up Discipline, and exercise it faithfully? Doth the 
secular power forbid you to do it, or threaten or trouble you 
for not doing it? No, they do not. To the shame of the 
far greatest part of the Ministers of England it must be 
spoken, for we have so opened our own shame that it can- 
not be hid, we have had free liberty to do the work of 
Christ which we have desired and pleaded for, and yet we 
would not do it. What might not the Ministers of England 
have done for the Lord, if they had been but willing ! They 
had no prohibition, nor any man to rise up against them, of 
all the enemies whose hearts are against their work ; and 
yet they would not do it. Nay more, for ought you know, 
you have no approbation of authority. You have the com- 
mands of former powers yet not repealed. You have the 
protection of the laws and present governors : if any one- 
seek revenge against you for the sake of Discipline, you 
have not only laws, but as many willing Magistrates to re- 
strain and punish them, as ever you knew, I think, in Eng- 
land. And what would you have more ? Would you have 
a law made to punish you if you will not do your duty? 
What! dare you tell God that you will not do this work 
unless the Magistrate drive you to it with scourges ? I con- 
fess if I had my will it should be so ; and that man should 
be ejected as a negligent Pastor, that will not rule his people 
by Discipline, though yet, I might allow him to be a 
Preacher to the unchurched, as well as he is ejected as a 
negligent Preacher that will not preach. For Ruling is as 
essential a part of a Pastor's office as Preaching, I am sure. 
And therefore seeing these men would fain have the Magis- 
trate interpose, if he did eject them for unfaithful, negligent 
Pastors (were it not for the necessity of the Church that 
hath not enough better), I know not well how they could 
blame him for it. It is a sad discovery of our carnal hearts, 
when men can do so much more with us than God, that we 
would obey the commands of men, and will not obey the 
commands of Christ. Is he fit to be Christ's officer, that 
will not take his command as obligatory? 

But 1 know the thing expected is, that all the people 
should be forced under a penalty to submit to our discipline. 

192 GILDAS SALVIANUS : [C/l(ip. 4. 

I confess, I think that the Magistrate should be the hedge 
of the Church, and defend the Ministry, and improve his 
power to the utmost to procure an universal obedience to 
Christ's laws, and restrain men from the apparent breach of 
them, especially from being false teachers and seducers of 
others. How far I am against the two extremes of univer- 
sal licence, and persecuting tyranny, I have frequently ma- 
nifested on other occasions. But I shall now say but this : 
1. Doth not this further discover the carnal frame of our 
hearts, when we will not do our duty unless the Magistrate 
will do his to the full, and all we conceive may be his duty ? 
What! will his neglect excuse yours ? Hath Christ bid you 
use the keys of the kingdom, and avoid a scandalous sinner 
upon condition that the Magistrate will punish him with the 
sword? Is not this your meaning, if you would speak it out, 
that you find a great deal of difficulty in your work, and you 
would have the magistrate by terrifying offenders, make it 
easy to you ? For if it be not safe, and cheap, and easy, 
you are resolved you will not doit; and of such servants Christ 
may have enough. Nay, is not your meaning, that you would 
have the magistrate to do your work for you? Just as your 
pious people have long cried and prayed for discipline, and 
called upon ministers to do it, but we cannot get them to 
reprove offenders, and deal with them seriously and lovingly 
for their good, and inform the church-officers of them that 
are obstinate. So do we toward the magistrates : the Word 
of God is so much beholden to us, that we would all have 
it done, but few will do it. We can easier censure and talk 
against others for not doing it, than do it ourselves. O the 
guilt and hypocrisy of our hearts ! 

2. But further, What is it that you would have the Ma- 
gistrate to do? I pray you consider, how you will answer 
it before God, that you should wilfully neglect your own 
duty, and then make it your religion to quarrel with others. 
Is it not a fearful deceit of heart for a man to think himself 
a godly minister for finding fault with them that are less 
faulty than himself ? I say less faulty; for tell me truly, 
whether the magistrate do more of his part in/government, 
or you in yours ? I am no more a flatterer of the*magistrafe 
than of you ; nor was ever taken for such, that I could un- 
derstand : but we must deal justly by all men. Would you 
have the magistrate to punish men ' eo nomine,' because ex- 

Chap. 4.] r fHE REFORMED PASTOR. 103 

communicated, without any particular cognizance of the 
fact and case? 1. That were unjust; then he must do 
wrong whenever we mistake and do wrong. If an honest 
man were an hangman, he would be willing to know that he 
hanged not a man that was unjustly condemned. However, 
the Magistrate is not the mere executioner of the Ministers, 
but a judge; and therefore must be allowed the use of his 
reason, to know the cause, and follow his own judgment, and 
not punish men against it. 2. And excommunication is so 
great a punishment of itself, that I hope you do not think it 
nothing unless the magistrate add more. If so, then the 
temporal punishment might serve turn, and what need of 
yours ? But I suppose that this is not your sense, but you 
are so just, that you would have the magistrate to punish a 
man as an offender, and not as excommunicated. And if so, 
I think it is not nothing that he doth. Are all the penalties 
against swearers, cursers, drunkards, peace- breakers, sab- 
bath-breakers, &c. nothing? Certainly the laws of the land 
do punish much sin against God. Well, what do you as 
Church-governors against these same sins ? The Magistrate 
fineth and imprisoneth them ; that is his part. It is your 
part to bring them to open repentance, or to cast them out. 
Have you done this as often as he hath done his part ? Doth 
not the Magistracy of England punish ten, twenty, what if 
I say, an hundred swearers, drunkards, or sabbath-breakers 
by the sword, for one that the elders of the church do punish 
by censures, or bring to public repentance for the satisfac- 
tion of the Church ? Brethren, these things seem strange to 
me ; that the case should stand thus as it cloth, and yet that 
the deceit of our hearts should be so great, and that we 
should go on to account ourselves such blameless, godly 
men, whom magistrates and people are bound to reverence, 
and to speak against the magistrate so much as we do. I 
believe they are all slack and faulty ; but are not we much 
more faulty ? What if they should pay us in our own coin ? 
What language might they give the ministers, that after so 
many years' talk of discipline will do nothing in it ! I say 
nothing in most places : to meet together for consultation, 
isno exercise of discipline, nor reformation of the church, 
which our meetings should conduce to. 

3. And I give you this further answer: What had the 


li)4 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

Church of Christ done till the days of Constantine the Great, 
if it had no better pastors than you, that will not govern it 
without the joined compulsion of the magistrate ? Discipline, 
and severe discipline was exercised for three hundred years 
together, where the Prince did not give them so much as a 
protection, nor toleration, but persecuted them to death. 
Then was the Church at the best, and discipline most pure 
and powerful ; say not then any more for shame, that it is to 
no purpose without a Magistrate, when it hath done so much 
against their wills ! O, what an aggravation is it of our sin, 
that you cannot be content to be negligent and unfaithful 
servants, but you must also fly in the face of your Lord and 
Master, and obliquely lay the blame on him ! What do you 
else, when you blame church-censure as ineffectual, when 
you should blame your lazy, self-seeking hearts, that shift 
off the use of them? Hath Christ put a leaden sword into 
your hands, when he bids you smite the obstinate sinner? 
Or are you cowardly and careless, and then blame your sword 
instead of using it, as thinking that the easier task? Are 
the keys of Christ's kingdom so unmeet and useless, that 
they will not open and shut without the help of the sword ; 
or are you unskilful and lazy in the use of them ? If they 
have contracted any rust, by which they are made less fit for 
service, next to the Prelates, we may thank ourselves, that 
let them lie so long unused. 

4. And I must tell you, that too much interposition of 
the sword with our discipline, would do more harm than 
good. It would but corrupt it by the mixture, and make it 
become a human thing. Your government is all to work 
upon the conscience, and the sword cannot reach that. It 
is not a desirable thing to have repentance so obscured by 
mere forced confessions, that you cannot know when men 
mean as they speak ; and so it will be the sword that doth 
all, by forcing men to dissemble, and you will not discern 
the power of the Word and ordinance of Christ. I confess 
since I fell upon the exercise of some discipline, I find by 
experience, that if the sword interpose and force all those 
public confessions of sin, and professions of repentance, 
which I have persuaded men to by the light of the Word of 
God, it would have left me much unsatisfied concerning the 
validity of such confessions and promises, whether they 


might indeed be satisfactory to the church : and I rind that 
the godly people do no further regard it than they perceive 
it hearty and free ; and if it were forced by magistrates, they 
would take him for no penitent person, nor be any whit satis- 
fied, but say, ' He doth it because he dare do no otherwise.' 
And I must add this word of plainer dealing yet. You 
blame the Magistrate for giving so much liberty; and is it 
not long of yourselves that he do so? You will scarcely be- 
lieve that such enemies to liberty of conscience are the causes 
of it: I think that you are ; and that the keenest enemies 
have been the greatest causes. For you would run too far 
to the other extreme, and are so confident in every contro- 
versy that you are in the right, and lay such a stress upon 
many opinions of your own, as if life or death did lie upon 
them, (when perhaps the difference may prove more verbal 
than real, if it were searched to the quick,) that this occa- 
sioned magistrates to run too far the other way ; and if they 

look on such as , and dare not trust the sword in such 

hands, you may thank yourselves. Truly, brethren, I see by 
experience, that there is among many of the most injudicious 
of us, such a blind, confused zeal against all that is called 
Error by their party, that without being able to try and make 
a difference, they let fly pell-mell at all alike, and make a 
great outcry against Errors, when either we know not what 
they are, nor how to confute them, nor which be tolerable 
in the church, and which intolerable ; nor how far we may 
hold or break communion with the owners of them, and per- 
haps are the erroneous persons ourselves. The observation 
of this hath made the magistrates so over-jealous of us, that 
they think if they set in with a party in each contention, we 
shall never be without blood and misery. And I confess I see 
in some Ministers so little of the fire of Divine Love, and 
Christian charity, and compassion, not heavenlymindedness, 
nor an humble sense of their own infirmities : and so much 
of the zeal that James describeth, (James iii. 14, 15,) which 
is kindled from another fire, that makes them full of suspi- 
cions and jealousies, and keen and eager against their bre- 
thren, censuring, defaming, and unconscionably backbiting 
them, and straining an ill sense out of their well-meant words 
and actions, and living towards them in plain envy and ma- 
lice, instead of Christian love and peace ; I say, I see so 

196 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

much of this in many that affect the reputation of orthodox, 
while they are indeed factious, that I am the less sorry that 
the Magistrate doth so little interpose. For were the sword 
in such envious, angry hands, there would be little quiet to 
the Church : for there are no two men on earth but differ in 
something, if they know or believe any thing. And these 
men must square the world to their own judgments, which 
are not always the wisest in the world : they that dare so 
rail at others as blasphemers, when they know not what they 
say themselves, durst surely smite them as blasphemers, if 
they had power. This may possibly make the magistrate 
think meet, (seeing we are so quarrelsome and impatient) to 
let us fight it out by the bare fists, and not to put swords 
into our hands till we are more sober, and know better how 
to use them : for if every passionate man, when he hath not 
wit enough to make good his cause, should presently bor- 
row the Magistrate's sword to make it good, truth would be 
upon great disadvantage in the world ! Magistrates are 
commonly the most tempted and abused men, and therefore 
I know not why we should call so loud to have them become 
the arbitrators in all our quarrels, lest error have two victo- 
ries where truth gets one. I could wish the Magistrate 
did more; but if he do but give us protection and liberty, es- 
pecially, if he will but restrain deceivers from preaching 
against the great unquestionable truths of the Gospel, and 
give public countenance and encouragement to those Mas- 
ter-truths, I shall not fear, by the grace of God, but a pru- 
dent, sober, unanimous Ministry will ere long shame the 
swarm of vanities that we think so threatening:. 

But I have been too long on this. I shall only conclude 
it with this earnest request to my brethren of the Ministry, 
— that they would speedily and faithfully put in execution, 
at least all the unquestionable part of the Discipline, that 
they have so much contended for. When we are so offended 
with the Parliament for their enumeration of scandals, as 
too defective, and a Protestation was published that we acted 
only on supposition that it was defective, surely we little 
thought then that we, that were so earnest to have had more 
power, would use none ; and we that must needs have au- 
thority, to reject more than the Parliament did enumerate, 
would censure so few even of them as we have done, since 
we have had more liberty to do it. 


But one objection is common, which I forgot : they say, 
we are but single pastors, and therefore cannot excommu- 
nicate men alone, unless we should make every pastor a 
pope in his parish, ov a bishop at least. 

Answ. For my part I have no mind to obtrude my own 
opinion on such (for the power of a single person to excom- 
municate), I have sufficiently already proved myself a no- 
velist, and singular with some, by asserting ancient and most 
common truths. But yet 1. I could wish these men so 
much moderation, as to be sure that they are in this as much 
wiser than the contrary-minded, as their confidence doth 
import, before they proceed in calling them popes : lest, as 
the cunning of the times is by making many antichrists, to 
make none; so these men should, contrary to their inten- 
tion, credit the pope, by making so many popes; and the 
prelates too, by making such kind of prelates. 

2. A Pope is the pretended head of the Catholic Church, 
and an Universal Bishop to govern it. Are single ruling- 
pastors such ? A diocesan bishop is the ruler of all the 
pastors and churches in a diocese : is such a pastor one of 
these ? 

3. Why do you in your disputes against the prelates, 
maintain that every minister is a bishop of his own church, 
and do you now abhor it ? 

4. What if you might not excommunicate ; may you not 
therefore do the rest ? May you not personally, and pub- 
licly reprove them, pray for them, &c. ? 

5. Must not the people avoid a notorious drunkard, &c 
whether you bid them or not ? If not, why hath God com- 
manded it? If yea, why may you not bid them do that which 
is their duty? 

6. Have you none in your parish, not one or two to make 
ruling elders of, that by their conjunction you may be au- 
thorised to do more than now you do? I mean, according 
to your own principles ; for I confess it is not according to 

7. And what hindereth but you may join together if you 
will ? If it must needs be many pastors conjunct, that must 
exercise any act of discipline, why is it not so done ? Doth 
any forbid them, or threaten them if they do it ? If you say, 
' I am alone because no neighbouring minister will join with 
me.' You speak hardly of all the ministers about you. 

198 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

What, are they all so negligent ? Blame us not then to re- 
prove them. But it is an incredible thing that they should 
be all so bad that are of your judgment, that no one or two 
will be persuaded to assist you. And I think you will con- 
fess that two or three may do it authoritatively, though no 
one else in the county do it. I could wish that the Prelates 
had not such an argument given them as this ; No one pres- 
byter hath the power of the keys, by their own confession : 
therefore two or three have not ; lest they go further in 
proving the consequence than you expect. But if it must 
be so, I could yet wish that no single pastor for the ex- 
cusing of himself, would lay such a reproachful charge 
upon all the ministers in the country that be of his 
own judgment, as to say, that Discipline is cast aside, be- 
cause they can get none to join with them in the execution! 
At least, till they have thoroughly tried whether it be so in 
deed, or not. 

(5.) Another sad discovery, that we have not so devoted" 
ourselves and all we have to the service of God, as we ought, 
is, The prevalence of worldly, JieshJu interests too much against 
the interest and work of Christ. And this I shall further ma- 
nifest in these three instances following : — Our temporising 
— Our too much minding worldly things, and shrinking from 
duties that will hinder our commodity — Our barrenness in 
works of charity, and in the improving of all that we have to 
our Master's use. 

[1.] I would not have any to be contentious with those 
that govern them, nor to be disobedient to any of their law- 
ful commands. But it is not the least reproach upon the 
Ministry, that the most of them for worldly advantage still 
suit themselves with the party that is most likely to suit 
their ends. If they look for secular advantages, they suit 
themselves to the Secular power; if for the air of Ecclesias- 
tical applause, then do they suit themselves to the party of 
Ecclesiastics that is most in credit. This is not a private, 
but an epedemical malady. In Constantine's days, how 
prevalent were the orthodox ! In Constantius's days, they 
almost all turned Arians, so that there were very few 
bishops at all that did not apostatize or betray the truth ; 
even of the same men that had been in the Council of Nice. 
And when not only Liberius, but great Osius himself fell, 
who had been the president, or chief in so many orthodox 

Chap. 4.] 'J' HE REFORMED PASTOR. 199 

Councils, what better could be expected from weaker men ! 
Were it not for secular advantage, or ecclesiastic faction 
and applause, how could it come to pass, that Ministers in 
all the countries in the world, are either all, or almost all, of 
that religion and way that is in most credit, and most con- 
sistent with their worldly interest? Among the Greeks, they 
are all of the Greek profession : and among the Abassines, 
the Nestorians, the Maronites, the Jacobites, the Ministers 
generally go one way. And among the Papists, they are al- 
most all Papists. In Saxony, Sweden, Denmark, &c. almost 
all Lutherans: in Holland, France, Scotland, almost all Cal- 
vinists. It is strange that they should be all in the right in 
one country, and all in the wrong in another, if carnal ad- 
vantages and reputation did not sway much : when men fall 
upon a conscientious search, the variety of intellectual ca- 
pacities causeth unavoidably a great variety of conceits 
about some hard and lower things : but let the prince, and 
the stream of men in credit go one way, and you shall have 
the generality of ministers too often change their religion 
with the Prince in this land. Not all, as our Martyrology 
can witness, but the most. I purposely forbear to mention 
any latter change. If the Rulers of an University should be 
corrupt, who have the disposal of preferments, how much 
might they do with the most of the students, where mere ar- 
guments would not take ! And the same tractable distem- 
per doth so often follow thern into the Ministry, that it oc- 
casioneth the enemies to say, that reputation and preferment 
is our religion, and our reward. 

[2.] How common is it with ministers to drown them- 
selves in worldly business ! Too many are such as the Sec- 
taries would have them be, who tell us that we should go to 
plough and cart, and labour for our living, and preach with- 
out so much study : and this is a lesson easily learned. 
Men take no care to cast off* and prevent care, that their 
souls and the church may have their care. How commonly 
are those duties neglected, that are likely, if performed, to 
diminish our estates ! For example : Are there not many 
that dare not, that will not set up the exercise of any Disci- 
pline in their churches ; not only on the forementioned ac- 
counts, but especially because it may hinder the people 
from paying them their dues? They will not offend sinners 
with Discipline, lest they offend them in their estates ; yea, 

200 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

though the law secure their maintenance. I find money is 
too strong an argument for some men to answer, that can 
proclaim the love of it to be the root of all evil, and can make 
large Orations of the danger of covetousness. — I will say no 
more now to these, but this : If it were so deadly a sin in 
Simon Magus to offer to buy the gift of God with money, 
what is it to sell his gifts, his cause, and the souls of men 
for money ; and what reason have such to fear lest their 
money perish with them ! 

[3.] But the most that I have to say is to the third dis- 
covery. — If worldly and fleshly interest did not much prevail 
against the interest of Christ and the Church, surely most 
Ministers would be more fruitful in good works, and would 
more lay out what they have to their Master's use. Experience 
hath fully proved that the works of charity do most potently 
remove prejudice, and open the ears to words of piety. If 
men see that you are accustomed to do good, they will the 
more easily believe that you are good, and the more easily 
believe that it is good that you persuade them to. When 
they see that you love them, and seek their good, they will 
the more easily trust you; and when they see that you seek 
not the things of this world, they will the less suspect your 
intentions, and the more easily be drawn by you to seek that 
which you seek. O how much good might Ministers do, if 
they did set themselves wholly to do good, and would dedi- 
cate all their faculties and substance to that end ! Say not 
that it is a small matter to do good to men's bodies, and that 
this will but win them to us, and not to God, nor convertfthe 
soul ; for it is prejudice that is a great hindrance of men's 
conversion, and this will remove it. We might do men more 
good, if they were but willing to learn of us ; and this will 
make them willing, and then our further diligence may pro- 
fit them. 

Brethren, I pray you do not think that it is ordinary 
charity that is expected from you, any more than ordinary 
piety. You must, in proportion to your talents, go much 
beyond others. It is not to give now and then two-pence 
to a poor man: others do that as well as you. But what 
singular thing do you with your estates for your Master's 
use ? I know you cannot give away that which you have not: 
but methinks, all that you have should be for God. I know 
the great objection is, ' We have wife and children to provide 


for : a little will not serve them at present, and we are not 
bound to leave them beggars.' To which I answer, 1. There 
are few texts of Scripture more abused than that of the apos- 
tle, " He that provideth not for his own, and especially those 
of his family, hath denied the faith, and is worse than an in- 
fidel." This is made a pretence for gathering up portions, 
and providing a full estate for posterity, when the apostle 
speaketh only against them that cast their poor kindred and 
family on the church to be maintained out of the common 
stock, when they were able to do it themselves. As if one 
that hath a widow in his house, that is his mother or daugh- 
ter, and would have her to be kept on the parish, when he 
hath enough himself. His following words shew that it is 
present provision, and not future portions that the apostle 
speaketh of, when he bids " them that have widows admi- 
nister to them, or give them what is sufficient." 2. You may 
educate your children as other persons do, that they may be 
able to get their own livings, in some honest trade or em- 
ployment, without other great provisions. I know that your 
charity and care must begin at home, but it must not end 
there. You are bound to do the best you can to educate 
your children, so as they may be capable of being most ser- 
viceable to God, but not to leave them rich, or a full estate ; 
nor to forbear other necessary works of charity, merely for 
a larger provision for them. There must be some proportion 
kept between our provision for our families, and for the 
church and poor. A truly charitable, self-denying heart, 
that hat^h devoted itself, and all that he hath to God, would 
be the best judge of the due proportions, and would see 
which way of expence is likely to do God the greatest ser- 
vice, and that way he would take. 3. I confess I would not 
have men to lie too long under endangering strong tempta- 
tions to incontinence, lest they wound themselves, and their 
profession by their falls : but yet, methinks, it is hard that 
men can do no more to mortify the concupiscence of the flesh, 
that they may live in a single, freer condition, and have none 
of these temptations from wife and children, to hinder them 
from furthering their Ministerial ends by charitable works. 
If he that marrieth not doth better than he thatdoth, surely 
ministers should labour to do that which is best ; and if he 
that can receive this saying, must receive it, we should en- 

202 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 4. 

deavour after it. This is one of the highest points of the 
Romish policy, which they pretend to be a duty of common 
necessity, that all the Bishops, Priests, and other Religious 
orders, must not marry, by which means they have no pos- 
terity to drain the Church's revenues, nor to take up their 
care : But they make their public cause to be their interest, 
and they lay out themselves for it while they live, and leave 
all that they have to it when they die : so that their Church's 
wealth doth daily increase, as every Bishop, Abbot, Jesuit, 
or other person doth gather more in their lifetime, and usually 
add it to their common stock. It is a pity that for a better 
cause we can no more imitate them in wisdom and self- 
denial, where it might be done. 4. But they that must 
marry, should take such as can maintain themselves and 
their children, or maintain them at the rate as their temporal 
means will afford, and devote as much of the church means 
to the church's service as they can. 

I would put no man upon extremes ; but in this case 
flesh and blood doth make even good men so partial, that 
they take their duties, and duties of very great worth and 
weight, to be extremes. If worldly vanities did not blind 
us, we might see when public, or other greater good did call 
us to deny ourselves and our families. Why should we not 
live more sparingly and poor in the world, rather than leave 
those works undone, which may be of greater use than our 
plentiful provisions ? But, in matters of duty, we consult 
with flesh and blood ; and what counsel it will give us, we 
may easily know. It will tell us we must have a competency ; 
and many pious men's competency, is but little below the 
rich man's rates. If they be not clothed with the best, and 
fare not deliciously every day, they have not a competency. 
A man that preacheth an immortal crown of glory, must not 
seek much after transitory vanity ; and he that preacheth 
the contempt of riches, must himself contemn them, and 
shew it by his life ; and he that preacheth self-denial and 
mortification ; must practise these in the eyes of them that 
he preacheth to, if ever he would have his doctrine prosper. 
All Christians are sanctified, and, therefore, themselves and 
all that they have are consecrated, and dedicated to their 
Master's use ; but ministers are doubly sanctified ; they are 
devoted to God, both as Christians and Ministers, and there- 

Chap. 4.] TJ1E REFORMED PASTOIi, 203 

fore they are doubly obliged to honour him with what they 

O, brethren, what abundance of good works are before 
us, and how few of them do we put our hands to ! T know 
the world expecteth more from us than we have: but if we 
cannot answer the expectations of the unreasonable, let us 
do what we can to answer the expectations of God, and con- 
science, and all just men. It is the will of God that with 
well-doing we should put to silence the ignorance of foolish 
men. Especially those ministers that have larger mainte- 
nance, must be larger in doing good. 

I will give but one instance at this time, which T men- 
tioned before. There are some Ministers that have 150/. or 
200/. or 300/. per annum of Church means ; and have so 
great Parishes that they are not able to do a quarter of the 
Ministerial work, nor once in a year to deal personally with 
half their people for their instruction, and yet they will con- 
tent themselves with public preaching, as if that were all that 
were necessary, and leave almost all the rest undone, to the 
everlasting danger or damnation of multitudes, rather than 
they will maintain one or two diligent men to assist them. 
Or, if they have an assistant, it is but some young man to 
ease them about Baptizings, or Burials, or such work, and 
not one that will faithfully and diligently watch over the 
flock, and afford them that Personal instruction which is so 
necessary. If this be not a serving ourselves of God, and not 
a serving God, and a selling men's souls for our fuller main- 
tenance in the world, what is ? Methinks such men should 
fear, lest while they are accounted excellent preachers and 
godly ministers by men, they should be accounted cruel 
soul-murderers by Christ ; and lest the cries of those souls 
whom they have betrayed to damnation should ring in their 
ears for ever. Will preaching a good sermon serve the turn, 
while you never look more after them, but deny them that 
closer help that you find to be necessary, and alienate that 
maintenance to your own flesh, which should provide relief 
for so many souls ? How can you open your mouths against 
oppressors, when yourselves are so great oppressors, not 
only of men's bodies, but their souls ? How can you preach 
against unmercifulness, while you are so unmerciful ? And 
how can you talk against unfaithful ministers, while you are 
so unfaithful yourselves? The sin is not therefore small, 

204 GILDAS salvianus : [Chap. 4. 

because it is unobserved, and not become odious in the eyes 
of men ; nor because the charity which you withhold is such 
as the people blame you not for withholding. Satan him- 
self, their greatest enemy, hath their consent all along in the 
work of their perdition. It is no extenuation therefore of 
your sin that you have their consent ; for that you may 
sooner have for their hurt than for their good. 

I shall proceed no further in these confessions and dis- 
coveries, but beseech you to take what is said into conside- 
ration ; and see whether this be not the great and lamen- 
table sin of the Ministers of the Gospel, that they are not fully 
devoted to God, and give not up themselves, and all they have 
to the carrying on of the blessed work which they have un- 
dertaken? And whether flesh-pleasing and self-seeking- 
interests distinct from that of Christ, do not make us ne- 
glect much of our duty, and walk too unfaithfully in so great 
a trust, and reservedly serve God in the cheapest and most 
applauded part of his work, and withdraw from that which 
would put us upon cost and sufferings; and whether this do 
not shew that too many are earthly that seem to be heavenly, 
and mind the things below while they preach for the things 
above, and idolize the world, while they call men to contemn 
it. And as Salvian saith, li. 4. ad Eccles. Cath. p. 454. " Nul- 
lus salutem plus negligit quam qui Deo aliquid anteponit." 
Despisers of God will prove despisers of their own salvation. 

And now, brethren, what remaineth, but that we all cry 
guilty, of too much of these forementioned sins, and hum- 
ble our souls in the lamentation of our miscarriages before 
the Lord ! Is this taking heed to ourselves, and to all thejlock ? 
Is this like the pattern that is given us in the text ? If we 
should now prove stout-hearted and unhumbled men, and 
disregard these confessions, as tending to our disgrace, how 
sad a symptom would it be to ourselves and to the Church ! 
The Ministry hath been often threatened here, and is still 
maligned by many sorts of adversaries ; though all this may 
shew their impious malice, yet may it also intimate to us 
God's just indignation. Believe it, brethren, the Ministry 
of England is not the least, or last in the sin of the land. 
They have encouraged the common profaneness ; they 
have led the people into divisions, and are now backward 
to bring them out ; and as sin hath been found in them, so 

Ckap. 4.] T#E REFORMED PASTOR. 205 

judgments have been found and laid upon them. It is time 
therefore for us to take our part of that humiliation which 
we have been calling our people to so long. If we have our 
wits about us, we may perceive that God hath been offended 
with us, and that the voice that called this Nation to repen- 
tance, did speak to us as well as others. He therefore that 
hath ears let him hear the voice of railing enemies of all 
sorts, the voice of them that cry, * Down with us, even to 
the ground ;' all calling to us to try our ways, and to re- 
form. He that hath eyes to see, let him see the precepts of 
repentance written in so many admirable deliverances and 
preservations, and written in so many lines of blood. By 
fire and sword hath God been calling even us to humilia- 
tion ; and as judgment hath begun at the House of God, so, 
if humiliation begin not there too, it will be a sad prognostic 
to us, and to the land. What! shall we deny, or excuse, or 
extenuate our sins, while we call our people to such free 
confessions ? Is it nor better to give glory to God by a full 
and humble confession, than in tenderness of our own glory 
to seek for fig-leaves to cover our nakedness ; and to put 
God to it, to build his glory which we denied him, upon the 
ruins of our own, which we preferred before him ; and to 
distrain for that by a yet sorer judgment, which we denied 
voluntarily to surrender to him? Alas ! if you put God to 
get his honour as he can, he can get it to your greater sor- 
row and dishonour. If any of our hearers in a day of hu- 
miliation, when sin is fully confessed and lamented, should 
be offended at the confession, and stand up against it, and 
say, ' You wrong me ; I am not so bad ! You should have 
told me of this in private, and not have disgraced me be- 
fore the congregation.' What could we think of such a 
man but that he was a hardened, impenitent wretch, and as 
he would have no part in the confession, so he should have 
none in the remission. And shall we do that which we 
scarcely ever see the most hardened sinner do ! Shall we 
say, This should not have been spoken of us in the ears of 
the people, but we should have been honoured before them ! 
Certainly sins openly committed are more dishonourable to 
us when we hide them, than when we confess them. It is 
the sin, and not the confession that is our dishonour. And 
we have committed them before the sun, so that they can- 
not be hid. Attempts to cloak them, do increase the guilt 

206 gildas salvianus: {Chap. 5. 

and shame ; there is no way to repair the breaches in our 
honour, which our sin hath made, but by free confession 
and humiliation. I durst not but make confession of my 
own ; and if any be offended that I have confessed theirs, 
let them know, that I do but what I have done by myself. 
And if they dare disown the confession of their sin, let 
them do it at their peril. But as for all the truly humble 
Ministers of the Gospel, I doubt not but they will rather be 
provoked more solemnly in the face of their several Congre- 
gations, to lament their sins, and promise Reformation. 

The Use of Exhortation. 

Having disclosed and lamented our miscarriages and neg- 
lects, our duty for the future lies before us. God forbid 
that we should now go on in the sin that we have confessed, 
as carelessly as we did before. Then would the exclamation 
of Salvian fall upon us, de Gubern. 1. 3. p. 87, " Novum 
siquidem monstri genus est; eadem pene omnes jugiter 
faciunt, quae fecisse plangunt. Et qui intrant Ecclesiasti- 
cam domum, utmala antiqua defieant, exeunt; et quid dico 
exeunt? In ipsis pene hoc Orationibus suis ac supplica- 
tionibus moliuntur : Aliud quippe orahominum, aliud corda 
agunt : Et dum verbis prseterita mala plangunt, sensu fu- 
tura meditantur : ac si oratio eorum rixa est magis criminum 
quam exoratrix; ut vere ilia in eis Scripturse maledicto 
compleatur, ut de oratione ipsa exeunt condernnati, et oratio 
eorum fiat in peccatum." 

Be awakened, therefore, I beseech you brethren, by the 
loud and manifold voice of God, to set more seriously to the 
work of God, and to do it for the future with all your might, 
and to take heed to yourselves, and to all the Jiock. The rea- 
sons why you should take heed to yourselyes, I gave you in 
the beginning. The reasons why you should take heed to 
all the flock, I shall give you now, as motives to enforce 
this Exhortation ; and the Lord grant that they may work 
with us according to their truth and weight. 

I. The first quickening consideration which the text 


here affordeth us, is taken from our relation to all the flock. 
We are overseers of it. In this I shall further shew you 
these subordinate particulars, which will manifest the force 
of this consideration. 

1. The nature of the office requireth us to take heed. 
What else are we overseers for? " Episcopus est nomen 
quod plus oneris quam honoris significat," saith Polid. 
Virgil, p. 240; and a father before him. To be a Bishop 
or Pastor is not to be set up as idols for the people to bow 
to, or as idle, slow bellies, to live to our fleshly delight and 
ease. The particulars of our duty we have somewhat touch- 
ed before, and more shall do anon. It is a sad case that 
men should be of a calling that they know not the nature of, 
and undertake they know not what. Do these men know 
and consider what they have undertaken, that live at ease 
and pleasure, and have time to take their superfluous recre- 
ations, and to spend an hour and more at once in loitering 
and vain discourses, when so much work doth lie upon their 
hands ! Why, brethren, do you consider where you stand, 
and what you have taken upon you ? You have undertaken 
the conduct, under Christ, of a band of his soldiers, against 
principalities, and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high 
places. You must lead them on to the sharpest conflicts ; 
you must acquaint them with the enemies' stratagems and 
assaults ; you must watch yourselves, and keep them watch- 
ing. If you miscarry, they and you may perish. You have 
a subtle enemy, and therefore must be wise ; you have a 
vigilant enemy, and therefore must be vigilant ; a malicious, 
and violent, and unwearied enemy, and therefore you must 
be resolute, courageous, and unwearied. You are in a 
crowd of enemies, compassed with them on every side, and 
if you heed one and not all, you will quickly fall. And, O 
what a world of work have you to do ! Had you but one 
ignorant old man or woman to teach, though willing to 
learn, what a tedious task were it ; but if they be as unwill- 
ing as ignorant, how much more difficult ! But to have 
such a multitude of these, as most of us have, what work 
will it find us ! Who that ever tried it, knoweth it not by 
experience ! What a pitiful life is it to reason with men 
that have almost lost the use of reason, and to talk with ob- 
stinate, wilful people, that know what they will and resolve, 
but not why they do it ; and to argue the case with them 

208 GILDAS SALVIANUS I [Cltdp. 5, 

that neither understand themselves nor you, and yet think 
that no man hath understanding that contradicteth them, 
and that are confident they are in the right, when they can 
shew nothing but that confidence to make them so. Their 
will is the reason of their judgments and lives : it satisfies 
them, and it must satisfy you. O, brethren, what a world 
of wickedness have we to contend against, even in one soul, 
and what a number of those worlds ! What rooting have 
their sins ! With what disadvantage must truth come upon 
their ears ! How strange are they to the heavenly message 
that we bring them ; and know not what you say when you 
speak in that only language that they understand ! And 
when you think you have done something, you leave your 
seed among the fowls of the air ; wicked men are at their 
elbows to rise up and contradict all that you have said. 
They will cavil, and carp, and slander you, that they may 
disgrace your message, draw them away from Christ, and 
quickly extinguish the good beginnings that you hoped 
you had seen. They use indeed weaker reasons than yours, 
but such as come with more advantage, being near them, 
and familiarly and importunately urged, and such as are 
fetched from things that they see and feel, and which are 
befriended by their own flesh. You speak but once to a 
sinner, for ten or twenty times that the messengers of Satan 
speak to them ; moreover, how easily do the cares and busi- 
nesses of the world devour and choke the seed which you 
have sown ! And if it had no enemy but what is in them- 
selves, how easily will a frozen, carnal heart extinguish 
those sparks which you have been long in kindling ; and 
for want of fuel and further help, they will go out of them- 
selves. What abundance of distempers, and lusts, and pas- 
sions do you cast your gracious words amongst ; and what 
entertainment such companions will afford them, you may 
easily conjecture. And when you think your work doth 
happily succeed, and have seen men under troubles and 
complaints, confessing their sins, and promising reforma- 
tion, and living as new creatures and zealous converts ; alas, 
after all this, they may prove unsound and false at the 
heart, and such as were but superficially changed, and took 
up new opinions, and new company, without a new heart. 
How many are after a notable change, deceived by the pro- 
fits and honours of the world, and fallen away while they 


they think they stand ! How many are entangled again in 
their former sensuality ; and how many do but change a 
disgraceful way of flesh-pleasing, for a way that is less dis- 
honourable, and maketh not so great a noise in their con- 
sciences ! How many grow proud before they reach to a 
settled knowledge, and greedily snatch at every error that 
is presented to them, under the name of Truth; and in con- 
fidence of the strength of their unfurnished intellects, des- 
pise them that they were wont to learn of, and become the 
greatest grief to their teachers, that before rejoiced in their 
hopeful beginning ! and like chickens that straggle from the 
hen, they are carried away by that infernal kite, while they 
proudly despise the guidance and advice of those that 
Christ hath set over them for their safety. O, brethren, 
what a field of work is there before us ! not a person that 
you can see but may find you work. In the saints them- 
selves, how soon do their graces languish if you neglect 
them ; and how easily are they drawn into scandalous ways, 
to the dishonour of the Gospel, and their own loss and sor- 
row !-— If this be the work of a Minister, you may see what 
a life he hath to lead. Up then, and let us be doing with 
all our might. Difficulties must quicken, and not discou- 
rage in a possible and necessary work. If we cannot do 
all, let us do what we can ; for if we neglect it, woe to us 
and them ! Should we pass over all these needful things, 
and by a plausible sermon only think to prove ourselves 
faithful Ministers, and to put off God and man with such a 
shell and formal visor, our reward would prove as superfi- 
cial as our work. 

2. Consider also, that it is your own voluntary undertak- 
ing and engagement, that all this work is laid upon you. No 
man forced you to be Overseers of the Church ; and doth not 
common honesty bind you to be true to your trust? 

3. Consider also, that you have the honour, to encourage 
you to the labour ; and a great honour indeed it is, to be the 
ambassadors of God, and the instruments of men's conver- 
sion and salvation, " to save men's souls from death, and 
cover a multitude of sins ;" indeed the honour is the atten- 
dant of the work. To do therefore, as the Prelates of the 
Church in all ages have done, to strive for precedency, and 
fill the world with vile contentions about the dignity and su- 

VOL. xiv. p 

210 gildas salvtanus : [Chap. 5. 

periorify of their seats, doth shew that they much forget the 
nature and work of that office which they strive about. I 
seldom see men strive so furiously, who shall go first to a 
poor man's cottage to teach him and his family the way to 
heaven ; or, who shall first endeavour the conversion of a 
sinner ; or first become the servant of all. Strange, that for 
all the plain expressions of Christ, men will not understand 
the nature of their office ! If they did, would they strive who 
would be the Pastor of a whole county and more, when there 
are ten thousand poor sinners in it that cry for help, and 
they are not so eager to engage for their relief; nay, when 
they can patiently live in the houses with riotous, profane 
persons, and not follow them seriously and incessantly for 
their change ? They would have the name and honour of 
the work of a county, who are unable to do all the work of 
a parish, when the' honour is but the appendix of the work. 
Is it names and honour, or the work and end that these de- 
sire? O, if they would faithfully, humbly, and self-deny- 
ingly lay out themselves for Christ and his Church, and ne- 
ver think of titles and reputation, they should then have ho- 
nour whether they would or not : but by gaping after it, they 
lose it. For this is the case of virtue's shadow, 'Quod se- 
quitur fugio, quod fugit ipse sequor.' 

4. Consider also, you have many other excellent privi- 
leges of the Ministerial office to encourage you to the work. 
If you will not therefore do the work, you have nothing to 
do with the privileges. It is something that you are main- 
tained by other men's labours, and live on the common- 
wealth's allowance. This is for your work, that you may 
not be taken off it, but as Paul requireth, may wholly give 
yourselves to these things, and not be forced to neglect 
men's souls whilst you are providing for your own bodies. 
Either do the work then, or take not the maintenance. 

But you have far greater privileges yet than this, Is it 
nothing to be bred up to learning, when others are bred at 
the plough and cart ; and to be furnished with so much de- 
lightful knowledge, when the world lieth in ignorance ? Is 
it nothing to converse with learned men, and talk of high 
and glorious things, when others must converse with almost 
none but silly ignorants 1 

But especially, what an excellent life is it to live in stu- 


dying and preaching Christ ! To be still searching into his 
mysteries, or feeding on them ; to be daily in the consider- 
ation of the blessed nature, or works, or ways of God ! Others 
are glad of the leisure of the Lord's-day, and now and then 
an hour besides, when they can lay hold of it : but we may 
keep a continual sabbath. We may do nothing else almost 
but study and talk of God and glory, and call upon him, and 
drink in his sacred, saving truths. Our employment is all 
high and spiritual ! Whether we be alone, or with others, 
our business is for another world. O, were but our hearts 
more suitable to this work, whata blessed, joyful life should 
we live ! How sweet would the pulpit be, and what a delight 
would our conference of these things afford ! To live among 
so many silent, wise companions, whenever we please, and of 

such variety, all these, and much more such privileges 

of the Ministry, bespeak our unwearied diligence in the 

5. You are related to Christ as well as to the flock ; and 
he being also related to you, you are not only advanced but 
secured by the relation, if you be but faithful in the work 
that he requireth. You are the stewards of his Mysteries, 
and rulers of his household ; and he that hath entrusted you 
will maintain you in his work. But then, "it is required of a 
steward that a man be found faithful." (1 Cor. iv.2.) Be true to 
him, and never doubt but he will be true to you. Do you feed 
his flock, and he will sooner feed you as he did Elias, than 
forsake you. If you be in prison, he will open the doors : 
but then you must relieve imprisoned souls. He will give 
you a tongue, and wisdom that no enemy shall resist; but 
then you must use it faithfully for him. If you will put forth 
your hand to relieve the distressed, and willingly put it to 
his plough, he will wither the hand that is stretched out 
against you. The Ministers of England, I am sure, know 
this by large experience. Many a time hath God rescued 
them from the jaws of the devourer. O, the admirable pre- 
servations and deliverances that they have had from cruel 
Papists, from tyrannical Persecutors, from malicious Secta- 
ries, and misguided, passionate men ! Brethren, in the fear 
of God, consider, why it is that God hath done all this ! Is 
it for your persons, or for his Church ? What are you to him 
more than other men, but for his work and people's sake ? 
Are you angels or men ? Is your flesh of any better mettle 

212 gtldas 5ALVIANUS : [Chap. 5. 

than your neighbours ? Are you not of the same generation 
of sinners, and need his grace as much as they ? Up then, 
and work as the redeemed of the Lord ; as those that are 
purposely rescued from ruin for his service. O, do not pre- 
pare a remediless overthrow for the English Ministry, by 
your ingratitude, after all these deliverances. If you believe 
that God hath rescued you for himself, live to him then, as 
being unreservedly his that hath delivered you. 

II. The first Motive mentioned in the text, we have 
spoken of, which is from the consideration of our Office it- 
self. The second is from the efficient cause. It is God by 
his Spirit that makes us overseers of his Church, therefore it 
concerneth us to take heed to ourselves, and it. I did before 
shew you how the Holy Ghost is said to make Bishops or 
Pastors of the church in three several respects : By qualify- 
ing them for the office ; by directing the ordainers to dis- 
cern their qualifications, and know the fittest men : and by 
directing them, the people, and themselves, for the affixing 
them to a particular charge. All these were done then in 
an extraordinary sort, by inspiration, at least very often. 
The same are all done now by the ordinary way of the Spi- 
rit's assistance. But it is the same Spirit still ; and men are 
made overseers of the Church (when they are rightly called) 
by the Holy Ghost now as well as then. It is a strange con- 
ceit therefore of the Papists, to think that ordination by the 
hands of the man, is of more absolute necessity in the Mi- 
nisterial office, than the calling of the Holy Ghost. God 
hath determined in his word, that there shall be such an 
office, and what the work and power shall be, and what sort 
of men, as to their qualifications, shall receive it. None of 
these can be undone by man, or made unnecessary. God 
also giveth men the qualifications which he requireth. So 
that all that the Church hath to do, whether pastors or peo- 
ple, ordainers or electors, is but to discern and determine, 
which are the men that God hath qualified, and to accept of 
them that are so provided, and upon consent to instal them 
solemnly in this office. But I purposely cut short the con- 
trovertible part. 

What an obligation then is laid upon us by our Call ! If 
our commission be sent from heaven, it is not to be dis- 
obeyed. When Paul was called by the voice of Christ, he 


was not disobedient to the heavenly vision : when the apos- 
tles were called by Christ from their secular employments, 
they presently leave friends, and house, and trade, and all, 
and follow him. Though our Call be not so immediate or 
extraordinary, yet it is from the same Spirit. It is no safe 
course to imitate Jonah, in turning our back upon the com- 
mands of God. If we neglect our work, he hath a spur to 
quicken us ; and if we overrun it, he hath messengers 
enough to overtake us, and fetch us back, and make us do 
it ; and it is better to do it at first than at last. This is the 
second Motive. 

III. The third Motive in the text, is, from the Dignity of 
the object. It is the Church of God which we must oversee 
and feed. It is that Church for which the world is much 
upheld, which is sanctified by the Holy Ghost, which is 
united to Christ, and is his mystical body ; that Church 
which angels are present with, and attend upon as minister- 
ing spirits, whose very little ones have their angels behold- 
ing the face of God in heaven. O what a charge have we 
undertaken! And shall we be unfaithful? Have we the 
stewardship of God's own family, and shall we neglect it ? 
Have we the conduct of those saints that must live for ever 
with God in glory, and shall we neglectthem ? God forbid ! I 
beseech you, brethren, let this thought awaken the negligent ! 
You that draw back from painful, displeasing, suffering 
duties, and will put off men's souls with ineffectual formali- 
ties ; do you think this is an honourable usage of Christ's 
Spouse ? Are the souls of men thought meet by God to see 
his face, and live for ever in his glory, and are they not wor- 
thy of your utmost cost and labour? Do you think so 
basely of the Church of God, as if it deserved not the best 
of your care and help? Were you the keepers of sheep or 
swine, you might better let them go, and say, they be not 
worthy the looking after; and yet you would scarcely do so 
if they were your own. But dare you say so by the souls of 
men, even by the Church of Christ ? Christ walketh among 
them. Remember his presence, and keep all as clean as you 
can. The Praises of the most high God are in the midst of 
them. They are a sanctified, peculiar people, a kinglv 
priesthood, a holy nation, a choice generation, to shew forth 
the praises of him that hath called them ; and yet dare you 

214 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 5. 

neglect them? What a high honour is it to be but one of 
them, yea, but a door-keeper in the house of God ; but to be 
the priest of these priests, and the ruler of these kings,— 
this is such an honour, as multiplieth your obligations to 
diligence and fidelity in so noble an employment. 

IV. The last Motive mentioned in my text is, the Price 
paid for the Church which we oversee. God the Son did pur- 
chase it with his own blood. O what an argument is here 
to quicken the negligent ; and what an argument to con- 
demn those that will not be quickened to their duty by it ! 
' O, saith one of the ancient doctors, if Christ had but 
committed to my keeping one spoonful of his blood in a fra- 
gile glass, how curious should I preserve it, and how tender 
should I be of that glass !' If then he have committed to 
me the purchase of his blood, should I not as carefully look 
to my charge? What, sirs, shall we despise the blood of 
Christ : shall we think it was shed for them that, are not 
worthy of our utmost care ! You may see here, it is not a 
little fault that negligent Pastors are guilty of. As much as 
in them lieth, the blood of Christ should be shed in vain : 
they would lose him those souls whom he hath so dearly 
bought ! 

O then let us hear those arguments of Christ, whenever 
we feel ourselves grow dull and careless : ' Did 1 die for 
them, and wilt not thou look after them? Were they worth 
my blood, and are they not worth thy labour ? Did I come 
down from heaven to earth, to seek and to save that which 
was lost ; and wilt not thou go to the next door, or street, 
or village to seek them ? How small is thy labour and con- 
descension as to mine ? I debased myself to this, but it is 
thy honour to be so employed. Have I done and suffered 
so much for their salvation ; and was I willing to make thee 
a co-worker with me, and wilt thou refuse that little that 
lieth upon thy hands ?' Every time we look upon our Congre- 
gations, let us believingly remember, that they are the pur- 
chase of Christ's blood, and therefore should be regarded 
accordingly by us. 

And think what a confusion it will be at the last day to 
a negligent Minister, to have this blood of the Son of -God 
to be pleaded against him, and for Christ to say, ' It was the 
purchase of my blood that thou didst so make light of, and 

Chap. 5.] X'lE REFORMED PASTOR. 215 

dost thou think to be saved by it thyself V O, brethren, 
seeing Christ will bring his blood to plead with us, let it 
plead us to our duty, lest it plead us to damnation. 

I have done with the Motives which I find in the text it- 
self : there are many more that might be gathered from the 
rest of this Exhortation of the Apostle ; but we must not stay 
to mention all. If the Lord will set home but these few 
upon your hearts, I dare say we shall see reason to mend 
our pace : and the change will be such on our hearts, and 
in our Ministry, that ourselves and our Congregations will 
have cause to bless God for it. I know myself unworthy to 
be your monitor ; but a monitor you must have ; and it is 
better for us to hear of our sin and duty from any body than 
from none at all. Receive the admonition, and you will see 
no cause in the monitor's unworthiness, to repent of it ; but 
if you reject it, the unworthiest messenger may bear that 
witness against you that will confound you. But before I 
leave this Exhortation, as I have applied it to our general 
work, so I shall carry it a little further to some of the spe- 
cial parts, and modes of our duty which were before ex- 

I. And first, and above all, See that the work of saving 
grace he thoroughly ivrought on your own souls. It is a fearful 
case to be an unsanctified Professor, but much more to be 
an unsanctified Preacher. Doth it not make you tremble 
when you open the Bible, lest you should read there the 
sentence of your own condemnation ? When you pen your 
sermons, little do you think that you are drawing up in- 
dictments against your own souls ! When you are arguing 
against sin, you are aggravating your own ; when you proclaim 
to your hearers the riches of Christ, and grace, you publish 
your own iniquity in rejecting them, and your unhappiness 
in being without them. What can you do in persuading 
men to Christ, in drawing them from the world, in urging 
them to a life of faith and holiness; but conscience if it 
were but awake might tell you, that you speak all this to 
your own confusion ! If you mention hell, you mention 
your own inheritance ; if you describe the joys of heaven, 
you describe your misery that have no right to it. What 
can you devise to say, for the most part, but it will be 
against your own souls ? O miserable life, that a man should 

216 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 5„ 

study and preach against himself, and spend all his days in 
a course of self-condemnation ! A graceless, unexperienced 
preacher, is one of the most unhappy creatures upon earth j 
and yet is he ordinarily most insensible of his unhappiness! 
for he hath so many counterfeits that seem like the gold of 
saving grace, and so many splendid stones that seem like 
the Christian's jewel, that he is seldom troubled with the 
thoughts of his poverty ; but thinks he is rich, and wanteth 
nothing, when he is poor, and miserable, and blind, and 
naked. He is acquainted with the holy Scripture ; he is ex- 
ercised in holy duties ; he liveth not in open, disgraceful sin : 
he serveth at God's altar, he reproveth other men's faults, 
and preacheth up holiness both of heart and life ; and how 
can this man choose but be holy ? O what an aggravated 
misery is this, to perish in the midst of plenty, and to fa- 
mish with the bread of life in our hands, while we offer it to 
others, and urge it on them ! That those Ordinances of God 
should be the occasions of our delusion, which are insti- 
tuted to be the means of our conviction and salvation ; and 
that while we hold the looking-glass of the Gospel to others, 
to shew them the true face of the state of their souls, we 
should either look on the back of it ourselves, where we can 
see nothing, or turn it aside, that it may misrepresent us to 
ourselves. If such a wretched man would take my counsel, 
he should make a stand, and call his heart and life to an ac- 
count, and fall a preaching awhile to himself, before he 
preach any more to others ; he should consider whether food 
in the mouth will nourish that goeth not into the stomach ; 
whether it be a Christ in the mouth, or in the heart that will 
save men ; whether he that nameth him should not depart 
from iniquity ; whether God will hear their prayers, if they 
regard iniquity in their hearts ; whether it will serve the turn 
at that day of reckoning to say, " Lord, we have prophesied 
in thy name," when they shall hear, " Depart from me, I 
know you not ;" and what comfort it will be to Judas when 
he is gone to his own place, to remember that he preached 
with the rest of the apostles, or that he sat with Christ, and 
was called by him, Friend ; and whether a wicked preacher 
shall stand in the judgment, or sinners in the assembly of 
the just? When such thoughts as these have entered into 
his soul, and kindly worked awhile upon his conscience, I 
would advise him next to go to the Congregation, and there 


preach over Origen's sermon, on Psal. 1. 16, 17. " But to 
the wicked, saith God, what hast thou to do to declare my 
statutes, or that thou shouldst take my covenant into thy 
mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction, and hast castmy words 
behind thee ?" And when he has read this text, to sit down, 
and expound, and apply it by his tears ; and then to make a 
free confession of his sin, and lament his case before the as- 
sembly, and desire their earnest prayers to God, for pardon- 
ing and renewing grace ; and so to close with Christ in 
heart, who before admitted him no further than into the 
brain, that hereafter he may preach a Christ whom he 
knows, and may feel what he speaks, and may commend the 
riches of the Gospel by experience. 

Verily, it is the common danger and calamity of the 
Church, to have unregenerate and inexperienced Pastors ; 
and to have so many men become preachers, before they are 
Christians ; to be sanctified by dedication to the altar as 
God's priests, before they are sanctified by hearty dedica- 
tion to Christ as his disciples ; and so to worship an un- 
known God, and to preach an unknown Christ, an unknown 
Spirit, an unknown state of holiness and communion with 
God, and a glory that is unknown, and likely to be unknown 
to them for ever. He is likely to be but a heartless Preacher, 
that hath not the Christ and grace that he preacheth in his 
heart. O that all our students in the University would well 
consider this ! What a poor business is it to themselves, to 
spend their time in knowing some little of the works of God, 
and some of those names that the divided tongues of the 
nations have imposed on them, and not to know the Lord 
himself, nor exalt him in their hearts, nor to be acquainted 
with that one renewing work that should make them happy. 
They do but walk in a vain show, and spend their lives like 
dreaming men, while they busy their wits and tongues about 
abundance of names and notions, and are strangers to God and 
the life of saints. If ever God awaken them by saving grace, 
they will have cogitations and employments so much more se- 
rious than their unsanctified studies and disputations were, 
that they will confess they did but dream before. A world of 
business they make themselves about nothing, while they are 
wilful strangers to the primitive, independent, necessary Be- 
ing, who is all in all. Nothing can be rightly known, if God be 
not known ; nor is any study wellmanaged, nor to any great 

218 GILD AS SALVIANUS : [C/lCip. 5. 

purpose, where God is not studied. We know little of the 
creature, till we know it as it standeth in its order and res- 
pects to God ; single letters and syllables uncomposed are 
nonsense. He that overlooketh the Alpha and Omega, and 
seeth not the beginning and end, and Him in all, who is the 
all of all, doth see nothing at all. All creatures are as such 
broken syllables ; they signify nothing as separated from 
God. Were they separated actually, they would cease to be, 
and the separation would be an annihilation ; and when we 
separate them in our fancies, we make nothing of them to our- 
selves. It is one thing to know the creatures as Aristotle, 
and another thing to know them as a Christian. None but 
a Christian can read one line of his Physics so as to under- 
stand it rightly. It is a high and excellent study, and of 
greater use than many do well understand ; but it is the 
smallest part of it that Aristotle can teach us* When man 
was made perfect, and placed in a perfect world, where all 
things were in perfect order, and very good, the whole crea- 
tion was then man's book in which he was to read the na- 
ture and will of his great Creator ; every creature had the 
name of God so legibly engraven on it, that man might run 
and read it. He could not open his eyes, but he might see some 
image of God, but no where so fully and lively as in himself: 
and therefore it was his work to study the whole volume of 
nature ; but first and chiefly to study himself. And if man 
had held on in this prescribed work, he would have con- 
tinued and increased in the knowledge of God and himself; 
but when he would needs know and love the creature and 
himself, in a way of separation from God, he lost the know- 
ledge of all, both of the creature, himself, and God, so far 
as it could beautify, and was worth the name of knowledge ; 
and instead of it he hath got the unhappy knowledge which 
he affected, even the empty notions, and fantastical know- 
ledge of the creature and himself as thus separated. Thus 
he that livedjto the Creator, and upon him, doth now live to, 
and as upon the other creatures and himself; and thus, 
" every man at his best estate (the learned as well as the il- 
literate) is altogether vanity. — Surely every man walketh in 
a vain show : surely they are disquieted in vain." (Psal. 
xxxix. 5, 6.) It must be well observed, that as God laid not 
by the relation of a Creator by becoming our Redeemer, 
nor the right of his propriety and government of us in that 


relation, but the work of redemption standeth in some sub- 
ordination to that of creation, and the law of the Redeemer 
to the law of the Creator ; so also the duties that we owed 
God as Creator are not ceased, but the duties that we owe 
to the Redeemer, as such, are subordinate thereto. It is the 
work of Christ to bring us back to God, whom we fell from, 
and to restore us to our perfection of holiness and obedi- 
ence ; and as he is the way to the Father, so faith in him is 
the way to our former employment and enjoyment of God. 
I hope you perceive what all this driveth at, viz. that to see 
God in his creatures, and to love him, and converse with 
him, was the employment of man in his upright state ; that 
this is so far from ceasing to be our duty, that it is the work 
of Christ by faith to bring us back to it : and therefore the 
most holy men are the most excellent students of God's 
works : and none but the holy can rightly study, or know 
them. His works are great, sought out of all them that have 
pleasure therein ; but not for themselves, but for him that 
made them. Your study of physics and other sciences, is 
not worth a rush, if it be not God by them that you seek 
after. To see and admire, to reverence and adore, to love 
and delight in God appearing to us in his works, and pur- 
posely to peruse them for the knowledge of God, this is the 
true and only philosophy, and the contrary is mere foolery, 
and is called so again and again by God himself. This is 
the sanctification of your studies, when they are devoted to 
God, and when he is the life of them all, and they all intend 
him as their end, and principal object. 

Therefore I shall presume to tell you by the way, that it 
is a grand error, and of dangerous consequence in the Chris- 
tian Academies. (Pardon the censure from one so unfit for 
it, seeing the necessity of the case commandeth it,) that they 
study the creature before the Redeemer, and set themselves 
to physics, and metaphysics, and mathematics, before they 
set themselves to Theology : when as, no man that hath not 
the vitals of Theology is capable of going beyond a fool in 
philosophy ; and all that such do is but doting about ques- 
tions, and opposition of science, falsely so called. And as 
by affecting a separated creature-knowledge Adam fell from 
God, so those that mind these j3«;j3»jA8c Ktvo^wviag, kcu dvn- 
Otaag rrjc ipevScovvfjis yvwaeojg, they miss the end of all right 
studies, irtpl tvjv 7ri(TTtv j]'<roy;>j<Tav while they will needs prefer 

220 GILDAS SALVIANUS : [CllClp. 5. 

these, they miss that faith which they pretend to aim at. 
Their pretence is, that Theology being the end, and the most 
perfect, mast be the last, and all the subservient sciences 
must go before it. But, (1.) There is somewhat of natural 
knowledge indeed pre-requisite,and somewhat of art, before 
a man can receive Theology ; but that is no more than their 
mothers can teach them before they go to school. (2 ) And 
it is true, that all right natural knowledge doth tend to the 
increase of Theological knowledge ; but that which is a means 
to its perfection, may be the effect or consequent of its be- 
ginning. (3.) The end must be first known, because it must 
be intended before the choice, or use of means. (4.) The 
Scripture revealeth to us the things of God himself in the 
most easy way, and therefore he must be first learned there. 
(5.) The book of the creatures is not to shew us more of God 
than the Scripture doth ; but by representing him to us in 
more sensible appearances, to make our knowledge of him 
the more intense and operative, and being continually before 
our eyes, God also would be continually before them, if we 
could aright discern him in them. It is evident therefore, 
that Theology must lay the ground, and lead the way in all 
our studies, when we are once acquainted with so much of 
words and things as is needful to our understanding the sense 
of its principles. If God must be searched after in our search 
of the creature, and we must affect no separated knowledge 
of them, then Tutors must read God to their pupils in all; 
and Divinity must be the beginning, the middle, the end, the 
life, the all of their studies: and our physics and metaphy- 
sics must be reduced to Theology ; and nature must be read 
as one of God's books, which is purposely written for the 
revelation of himself. The holy Scripture is the easiest 
book. When you have first learned God, and his will there, 
in the necessary things, address yourselves cheerfully to the 
study of his works, that you may there see the creature it- 
self as your alphabet, and their order as the connexion of 
syllables, words and sentences, and God as the subject mat- 
ter of all, and the respect to him as the sense or significa- 
tion ; and then carry on both together, and never more play 
the mere scriveners ; stick no more in your letters and words, 
but read every creature as a Christian, or a divine. If you 
see not yourselves and all things as living, and moving, and 
having being in God, you see nothing, whatever you think 


you see. If you perceive not in your perusals of the creatures, 
that God is all, and in all, and see not s£dvr8, koi Si mm? Kal 
elg avrov rd navTa, (Rom. xi. 36,) you may think perhaps that 
you know something, but you know nothing as you ought to 
know. (1 Cor. viii. 2.) But he that seeth and loveth God in 
the creature, the same is known and loved of him. (verse 3.) 
Think not so basely of the works of God, and your physics, 
as that they are only preparatory studies for boys. It is a 
most high and noble part of holiness to search after, behold, 
admire, and love the great Creator in all his works. How 
much have the saints of God been employed in it ! The 
beginning of Genesis, the books of Job, and the Psalms may 
acquaint us that our physics are not so little akin to Theo- 
logy as some suppose. I do therefore in zeal to the good of 
the Church, and their own success in their most necessary 
labours, propound it to the consideration of all pious Tutors, 
whether they should not as timely, and as diligently read to 
their pupils, or cause them to read, the chief parts of prac- 
tical divinity (and there is no other) as any of the sciences ; 
and whether they should not go together from the very first? 
It is well that they hear sermons ; but that is not enough. 
If they have need of private help in philosophy besides 
public lectures, much more in Theology. If Tutors would 
make it their principal business to acquaint their pupils with 
the doctrine of life, and labour to set it home upon their 
hearts, that all might be received according to its weight, and 
read to their hearts as well as to their heads, and so carry on 
the rest of their instructions, that it may appear they make 
them but subservient unto- this, and that their pupils may 
feel what they drive at in all, and so that they would teach 
all their philosophy ' in habitu Theologico,' this might be a 
happy means to make happy souls, and a happy Church 
and Commonwealth. The same I mean also respecting 
schoolmasters to their scholars. But when languages and 
philosophy have almost all their time and diligence, and in- 
stead of reading philosophy like divines, they read divinity 
like philosophers, as if it were a thing of no more moment 
than a lesson of music, or arithmetic, and not the doctrine 
of everlasting life ; this is it that blasteth so many in the 
bud, and pestereth the Church with unsanctified teachers ! 
Hence it is, that we have so many worldlings to preach of 
the invisible felicity, and so many carnal men to declare 

222 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 5. 

the mysteries of the Spirit; und I would I might not say, 
so many Infidels to preach Christ, or so many atheists to 
preach the living God ; and when they are taught philoso- 
phy before, or without Religion, what wonder if their philo- 
sophy be all or most of their religion ; if they grow up in ad- 
mirations of their unprofitable fancies, and deify their own 
deluded brains, when they know no other God ; and if they 
reduce all their Theology to their philosophy, like Campa- 
nella, White, and other self-admirers ; or if they take Chris- 
tianity for a mere delusion, and fall with Hobbes to write 
Leviathans, or with Lord Herbert, to write such Treatises, 
' de veritate,' as shall shew the world how little they esteem 
of verity : or at best, if they turn Paracelsian Behmenists, 
and spin them a religion from their own inventions ! There- 
fore I address myself to all them that have the Education of 
Youth, especially in order to preparation for the Ministry. 
You that are Schoolmasters, and Tutors, begin and end with 
the things of God. Speak daily to the hearts of your scho- 
lars those things that must be wrought into their hearts, or 
else they will be undone. Let some piercing words fall fre- 
quently from your mouths, of God, and the state of their 
souls, and the life to come. Do not say, they are too young 
to understand and entertain them. You little know what 
impressions they may make which you discern not. Not 
only that soul of the boy, but a congregation, or many souls 
therein may have cause to bless God for your zeal and dili- 
gence, yea, for one such seasonable word. You have a great 
advantage above others to do them good. You have them 
before they are grown to the worst, and they will hear you 
when they will not hear another. If they are destined to the 
Ministry, you are preparing them for the special service of 
God ; and must they not first have the knowledge of Him 
whom they must serve ! O think with yourselves, what a 
sad thing it will be to their own souls, and what a wrong to 
the Church of God, if they come out from you with common 
and carnal hearts, to so holy, and spiritual, and great a 
work ! Of a hundred students that be in one of your col- 
leges, how many may there be that are serious, experienced, 
godly men : some talk of too small a number. If you should 
send one half of them on a work that they are unfit for, 
what cruel work will they make in the Churches, or coun- 
tries ! Whereas if you be the means of their thorough sane- 


tification, how many souls may bless you, and what greater 
good can you do the Church ? When once their hearts are 
savingly affected with the doctrine which they study and 
preach, they will study it heartily, and preach it heartily. 
Their own experience will direct them to the fittest subjects, 
and will furnish them with matter, and quicken them to set 
it home. I observe, that the best of our hearers can feel and 
savour such experimental preachers, and usually do less re- 
gard others, whatever may be their accomplishments. See 
therefore, that you make not work for sequestrators, nor for 
the groans and lamentation of the Church, nor for the great 
tormentor of the murderers of souls. 

II. My second particular Exhortation is this : Content 
not yourselves to have the main work of grace, but be also 
very careful that your graces be kept in life and action, and that 
you preach to yourselves the sermons that you study, before you 
preach than to others. If you did this for your own sakes, it 
would not be lost labour ; but I am speaking to you upon 
the Public account, and that you would do it for the sake of 
the Church. When your minds are in a heavenly, holy frame, 
your people are likely to partake of the fruits of it. Your 
prayers, and praises, and doctrine, will be heavenly and sweet 
to them! They will feel when you have been much with 
God. That which is on your hearts most, is likely to be 
most in their ears. I confess, I must speak it by lamen- 
table experience, that I publish to my flock the distem- 
pers of my soul, when I let my heart grow cold, my 
preaching is cold ; and when it is confused, my preach- 
ing will be so : and so I can observe too often in the best of 
my hearers, that when I have a while grown cold in preach- 
ing, they have cooled accordingly ; and the next prayers that 
I have heard from them hath been too much like my preach- 
ing. We are the nurses of Christ's little ones. If we for- 
bear our food, we shall famish them ; they will quickly find 
it in the want of milk ; and we may quickly see it again in 
them, in the lean and dull discharge of their several duties. 
If we let our love go down, we are not likely to raise up 
theirs. If we abate our holy care and fear, it will appear in 
our doctrine. If the matter shew it not, the manner will. 
If we feed on unwholesome food, either errors, or fruitless 
controversies, our hearers are likely to fare the worse for it. 

224 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 5. 

Whereas if we could abound in faith, and love, and zeal, how 
would it overflow, to the refreshing of our congregations, and 
how would it appear in the increase of the same graces in 
others ! 

O brethren, watch, therefore, over your own hearts ! 
Keep out sinful passions and worldly inclinations ; keep up 
the life of faith and love ; be much at home ; and be much 
with God. If it be not your daily, serious business to study 
your own hearts, and subdue corruptions, and live as upon 
God ; if you make it not your very work which you con- 
stantly attend, all will go amiss, and you will starve your 
auditors ; or if you have but an affected fervency, you can- 
not expect such a blessing to attend it : above all, be much 
in secret prayer and meditation. There you must fetch the 
heavenly fire that must kindle your sacrifices. Remember, 
you cannot decline and neglect your duty to your own hurt 
alone ; many will be losers by it as well as you. For your 
people's sake, therefore, look to your hearts. If a pang of 
spiritual pride should overtake you, and you should grow 
into any dangerous or schismatical conceits, and vent your 
own overvalued inventions to draw away disciples after you, 
what a wound might this prove to the Church that you are 
set over ; and you might become a plague to them instead of 
a blessing, and they might wish they had never seen your 
faces. O therefore, take heed of your own judgments and 
affections! Error and vanity will slily insinuate, and seldom 
come without fair pretences. Great distempers and aposta- 
cies have usually small beginnings. The prince of darkness 
doth frequently personate the angels of light, to draw chil- 
dren of light again into his darkness. How easily also will 
distempers creep into our affections, and our first love, and 
fear, and care abate ! Watch therefore, for the sake of your- 
selves and others. 

More particularly : a Minister should take some special 
pains with his heart, before he goes to the congregation : if 
it be then cold, how is it likely to warm the hearts of the 
hearers ! Go, therefore, then especially to God for life ; and 
read some rousing, awakening book, or meditate on the 
weight of the subject that you are to speak of, and on the 
great necessity of your people's souls that you may go in the 
zeal of the Lord into his house. 


III. My next particular Exhortation is this,*SY*> up your- 
selves to the great work of God, when you are upon it, and see 
that you do it with alt your might. Though 1 move you not 
to a constant loudness (for that will make your fervency con- 
temptible), yet see that you have a constant seriousness ; 
and when the matter requireth it, as it should do, in the ap- 
plication at least of every doctrine, then lift up your voice, 
spare not your spirits, and speak to them as to men that 
must be awakened either here or in hell. Look upon your 
congregations believingly, and with compassion, and think 
in what a state of joy or torment they must all be for ever; 
and then, methinks, it will make you earnest, and melt your 
heart in the sense of their condition. O speak not one cold 
or careless word about so great a business as heaven or hell ! 
Whatever you do, let the people see that you are in good 
earnest. Truly, brethren, they are great works that are to 
be done, and you must not think that trifling will dispatch 
them. You cannot break men's hearts by jesting with them, 
or telling them a smooth tale, or patching up a gaudy ora- 
tion. Men will not cast away their dearest pleasures upon 
a drowsy request of one that seemeth not to mean as he 
speaks, or to care much whether his request be granted. If 
you say, ' The work is God's, and he may do it by the weak- 
est means ;' I answer, It is true, he may do so; but yet his 
ordinary way is to work by means ; and to make not only 
the matter that is preached, but also the manner of preaching 
to be instrumental to the work : or else it were a small mat- 
ter whom he should employ that would but speak the truth. 
If grace made as little use of the Ministerial persuasions as 
some conceive, we need not so much mind a reformation, 
nor cast out the insufficient. 

A great matter also, with the most of our hearers, lies in 
the very pronunciation and tone of speech. The best mat- 
ter will scarcely move them, if it be not movingly delivered. 
Especially, see that there be no affectation, but that we 
speak as familiarly to our people as we would do if we were 
talking to any of them personally. The want of a familiar 
tone and expression, is as great a defect in most of our deli- 
veries, as any thing whatsoever, and that which we should 
be very careful to amend. When a man hath a reading or 
declaiming tone, like a schoolboy saying his lesson, or an 


2*26 gild as salvia n us: [Chap. 5. 

oration, few are moved with anything that he saith. Let us 
therefore, rouse up ourselves to the work of the Lord, and 
speak to our people as for their lives, and save them as by- 
violence, pulling them out of the fire. Satan will not be 
charmed out of his profession. We must lay siege to the 
souls of sinners which are his garrisons, find out where his 
chief strength 1 ieth, and lay the battery of God's ordnance 
against it, and ply it closely till a breach be made; and then 
suffer them not by their shifts to make it up again, but find 
out their common objections, and give them a full and satis- 
factory answer. We have reasonable creatures to deal with ; 
and as they abuse their reason against truth, so they will 
accept better reason for it before they will obey. We must 
therefore see that our sermons be convincing, and that we 
make the light of Scripture and reason shine so bright in the 
faces of the ungodly, that it may even force them to see, 
unless they wilfully shut their eyes. A sermon full of mere 
words, how neatly soever it be composed, while there is 
wanting the light of evidence, and the life of zeal, is but an 
image, or a well-dressed carcase. In preaching there is in- 
tended a communion of souls, and a communication of some- 
what from ours unto theirs. As we, and they have under- 
standings, and wills, and affections, so must the bent of our 
endeavours be to communicate the fullest light of evidence 
from our understandings unto theirs : and to warm their hearts 
by kindling in them holy affections, as by a communication 
from ours. The great things which we have to commend to 
our hearers, have reason enough on their side, and lie plain 
before them in the Word of God ; we should therefore be so 
furnished with all store of evidence, as to come as with a 
torrent upon their understandings, and bear down all before 
us, and with our dilemmas and expostulations to bring them 
to a nonplus, and pour out shame upon all their vain objec- 
tions, that they may be forced to yield to the power of Truth, 
and see that it is great, and will prevail. 

IV. Moreover, if you would prosper in your work, be sure 
to keep up earnest desires and expectations of success. If your 
hearts be not set on the end of your labours, and you long 
not to see the conversion and edification of your hearers, 
and do not study and preach in hope, you are not likely 

Chap. 5.] the reformed pastor. 227 

to see much fruit of it. It is an ill sign of a false, self-seek- 
ing heart, that can be content to be still doing, and see no 
fruit of their labour. So I have observed, that God seldom 
blesseth any man's work so much as his whose heart is set 
upon success. Let it be the property of such as Judas to 
have more regard to the bag than to their business, and not 
to care much for what, they pretend to care ; and to think if 
they have their tithes, and the love and commendations of 
the people, that they have enough to satisfy them. But let 
all that preach for Christ, and men's salvation, be unsatisfied 
till they have the thing they preach for. He had never the 
right motives of a Preacher that is indifferent whether he do 
obtain them, and is not grieved when he misseth them, and 
rejoiced when he sees the desired issue. When a man 
doth only study what to say, and how with commendation 
to spend the hour, and looks no more after it, unless it be to 
know what people think of his own abilities, and thus holds 
on from year to year ; I must needs think, that this man 
preaches for himself, and drives on a private trade of his 
own, and does not preach for Christ even when he preaches 
Christ, how excellent soever he may seem to do it. No 
wise or charitable physician is content to be still giving 
physic, and see no amendment among his patients, but have 
them all to die upon his hands ; nor will any wise and ho- 
nest schoolmaster be content to be still teaching, though 
his scholars profit not; but either of them would grow 
weary of the employment. I know that a faithful Minister 
may have comfort when he wants success ; and though 
Israel be not gathered, our reward is with the Lord ; and 
our acceptance is not according to the fruit, but according 
to our labour; and as Greg. M. saith, " Et iEthiops etsi 
balneum niger intrat, et niger egreditur, tamen balneator 
nummos accipit." If God set us to wash blackamoors, and 
cure those that will not be cured, we shall not lose our la- 
bour, though we perform not the cure. Rut then, he that 
longeth not for the success of his labours, can have none of 
his comfort, because he was not a faithful labourer : this 
is only for them that I speak of, that are set upon the end, 
and grieved if they miss it. This is not the full comfort that 
we must desire, but only such a part as may quiet us, 
though we miss the rest. What if God will accept a physi- 
cian though the patient die ! He must work in compassion, 

228 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 5. 

long for a better issue, and be sorry if he miss it, for all 
that ; for it is not only our own reward that we labour for, but 
other men's salvation. I confess, for my part, I marvel at 
some ancient, reverend men, that have lived twenty, forty, 
or fifty years with an unprofitable people, where they have 
seen so little fruit of their labours, that it was scarcely dis- 
cernible, how they can with so much patience still go on ! 
Were it my case, though I durst not leave the vineyard nor 
quit my calling, yet I should suspect that it was God's will 
1 should go somewhere else, and another take my place, 
that might be fitter for them ; and I should not be easily 
satisfied to spend my days in such a manner. 

V. Do well, as well as say well. Be zealous of good 
works. Spare not for any cost, if it may promote your 
Master's work. 

1. Maintain your innocence, and walk without offence. 
Let your lives condemn sin, and persuade men to duty. 
Would you have your people be more careful of their souls 
than you will be of yours? If you would have them redeem 
their time, do not you mispend yours. If you would not 
have them vain in their conversations ; see that you speak 
yourselves the things which may edify, and tend to minister 
grace to the hearers. Order your own families well if you 
would have them do so by theirs. Be not proud and lordly, 
if you would have them to be lowly. There is no virtue 
wherein your example will do more, at least to abate men's 
prejudice, than humility, and meekness, and self-denial. 
Forgive injuries, and be not overcome of evil, but overcome 
evil with good. Do as your Lord, who when he was reviled, 
reviled not again. If sinners be stubborn, and stout, and 
contemptuous, flesh and blood will persuade you to take up 
their weapons, and to master them by their carnal means ; 
but that is not the way, further than necessary self-preser- 
vation, or public good requireth it ; but overcome them with 
kindness, and patience, and gentleness. The former may 
shew that you have more worldly power than they, wherein 
yet they are ordinarily too hard for the faithful ; but it is 
the latter only, that will tell them that you overtop them in 
spiritual excellence, and in the true qualifications of a saint. 
If you believe that Christ was more imitable than Csesar, or 
Alexander; and that it is more glory to be a Christian than 

Chap. 5.] 'the reformed pastor. 229 

to be a Conqueror, yea, to be a man than a beast, which 
often exceed us in strength ; then contend with charity, and 
not with violence ; and set meekness, and love, and pa- 
tience against force ; and not force against force. Remem- 
ber you are obliged to be the servants of all. Condescend 
to men of low estate. Be not strange to the poor of your 
flock. They are apt to take your strangeness for contempt. 
Familiarity, improved to holy ends, is exceedingly necessary, 
and may do abundance of good. Speak not stoutly, or dis- 
respectfully to any one ; but be courteous to the meanest 
as your equal in Christ. A kind and winning carriage is a 
cheap way of advantage to do men good. 

2. Remember what I said before on works of Charity. 
Go to the poor, and see what they want, and shew at once 
your compassion to soul and body. Buy them a Catechism 
and some small books that are most likely to do them good, 
and bestow them on your neighbours, and make them pro- 
mise you to read them, and especially, to spend that part of 
the Lord's-day therein, which they can spare from greater 
duties. Stretch your purse to the utmost, and do all the 
good you can. Think not of being rich ; seek not great 
things for yourselves or posterity. What if you do impo- 
verish yourselves to do a greater good ; will it be loss or 
gain? If you believe that God is your safest purse-bearer, 
and that to expend in his service is the greatest usury, and 
the most thriving trade ; shew them that you believe it. I 
know that flesh and blood will cavil before it will lose its 
prey, and will never want somewhat to say against that 
duty that is against its interest. But mark what I say, and 
may the Lord set it home upon your hearts : That man who 
has any thing in the world so dear to him, that he cannot spare 
it for Christ, if he call for it, is no true Christian. And be- 
cause a carnal heart will not believe that Christ calls for it, 
when he cannot spare it, and therefore makes that his self- 
deceiving shift ; I say further, that That man that will not 
be persuaded that duty is duty, because he cannot spare that for 
Christ, which is therein to be expended, is no true Christian ; for 
a false heart corrupteth the understanding, and that again 
increaseth the delusions of the heart. Do not take it there- 
fore as an undoing, to make you friends of the Mammon of 
Unrighteousness, and to lay up a treasure in heaven, though 
you leave yourselves but little on earth. " Nemo tain pan- 

2«'30 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 5. 

per potest esse quarn natus est ; Aves sine patrimonio vi- 
vuut, et in diem pecua pascuntur; et hoc nobis tamen nata 
sunt ; quae omnia si non concupiscimus possidemus, inquit 
Minutius Felix, p. (mihi) 397." You lose no great advan- 
tage for heaven by becoming poor; "Quia viam terit, eo 
feelicior quo levior incedit." Id. 

I know where the heart is carnal and covetous, words 
will not wring their money out of their hands. They can 
say ail this, and more to others ; but saying is one thing, 
and believing is another. But with those that are true be- 
lievers, methinks such considerations would prevail. O 
what abundance of good might Ministers do, if they would 
but live in a contempt of the world, and the riches and 
glory of it, and expend all they have for their Master's use, 
and pinch their flesh that they might have wherewith to do 
good. This would unlock more hearts to the reception of 
their Doctrine than all their oratory will do; and without 
this, singularity in Religion will seem but hypocrisy, and it 
is likely that it is so. " Qui innocentiam colit, Domino 
supplicat — qui hominem periculo surripit, opinam victimam 
CEedit ; hsec nostra sacrificia ; heec Dei sacra sunt ; sic apud 
no.s relegiosior est ille qui justior, inquit idem Minutius 
Felix." ib. Though we need not do as the Papists, that 
will betake them to Monasteries, and cast away property, 
yet we must have nothing but what we have for God. 

VI. The next branch of my Exhortation is, That you 
would maintain your Christian and brotherly unity and com- 
munion, and to do as much of God's work as you can in unani- 
mity, and holy concord. Blessed be the Lord that it is so 
well with us, in this county in this regard, as it is! We 
lose our authority with the people when we divide. They 
will yield to us when we go together, who would resist and 
contemn the best of us alone. Two things, in order to this, 
I beseech you to observe : 

1. Still maintain your Meetings for communion ; incor- 
porate, and hold all Christian correspondence ; grow not 
strange to one another, do not say that you have business 
of your own to do, when you should be at any such Meeting 
or other work for God. It is not only the mutual edifica- 
tion that we may receive by lectures, disputations, or con- 
ferences, though that is not to be disregarded, but it is 


especially for consultations for the common good, and the 
maintaining of our communion, that we must thus assemble. 
Though your own person might be without the benefit of 
such meetings, yet the Church and our common work require 
them. Do not then shew yourselves contemners, or neg- 
lecters of such necessary work. Distance breedeth strange- 
ness, and fomenteth dividing flames and jealousies, which 
communion will prevent or cure. It will be our enemies' 
chief plot to divide us, that they may weaken us. Conspire 
not, therefore, with the enemies, and take not their course. 
Indeed, Ministers have need of one another, and must im- 
prove the gifts of God in one another ; and the self-suffi- 
cient are the most deficient, and commonly proud and 
empty men. Some there be that come not among their 
brethren to do or receive good, nor afford them any of their 
assistance in consultations for the common good, and their 
excuse is, 'We love to live privately.' To whom I say, 
Why do you not on the same grounds forbear going to 
Church, and say you love to live privately ? Is not Minis- 
terial communion a duty, as well as common Christian 
communion ; and hath not the Church always thought so, 
and practised accordingly ? If you mean that you love your 
own ease or convenience better than God's service, say so, 
and speak your minds. But I suppose there are few of 
them so silly as to think that it is any just excuse, though 
they will give us no better. Somewhat else lieth at the 
bottom. Indeed some of them are empty men, and afraid 
their weakness should be known, when as they cannot con- 
ceal it by their solitariness, they might do much to heal it 
by communion. Some of them are careless and scandalous 
men ; and for them we have no desire of their communion, 
nor shall admit it, but upon public repentance and reforma- 
tion. Some of them are so in love with their parties and 
opinions, that they will not hold communion with us, be- 
cause we are not of their party and opinion ; whereas by 
communication they might give or receive better informa- 
tion, or at least carry on so much of God's work in unity 
as we are agreed in. But the mischief of schism is to 
make men censorious and proud, and take others to be un- 
meet for their communion, and themselves to be the only 
Church, or pure Church of Christ. 

The Papists will have no Catholic Church but the 

232 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 5. 

Romish, and unchurch all besides themselves. The Sepa- 
ratists, and many Anabaptists, say the like of their parties. 
The new Prelatical party will have no Catholic Church but 
Prelatical, and unchurch all except their party, and so 
avoid communion with others ; and thus turning Separatists 
and Schismatics, they imitate the Papists, and make an 
opposition to Schism their pretence. First, All must be ac- 
counted Schismatics that be not of their opinion and party, 
(when yet we find notthatopinioninthe Creed, )and they must 
be avoided because they are Schismatics. But we resolve, 
by the grace of God, to adhere to more Catholic principles 
and practices, and to have communion with all godly Chris- 
tians that will have communion with us, so far as they force 
us not to actual sin. And for the Separating brethren, as 
by distance, they are like to cherish misinformations of us, 
so if by their wilful estrangedness, and distance, any among 
us do entertain injurious reports of them, and think worse 
of them, and deal worse by some of them, than there is 
cause, they may partly thank themselves. 

Sure I am, by such means as these, we are many of us 
grown so hardened in sin, that men make no great matter 
what they say one against another, but stand out of hearing 
and sight, and vent their spleen against each other behind 
their backs. How many jeers and scorns have they among 
their companions for those that are against their party ! And 
they easily venture, be the matter never so safe. A bad re- 
port of such is easily taken to be true ; and that which is 
true, is easily made worse ; when as Seneca saith, " Multus 
absolvemus, si coeperimus ante judicare quam irasci : nunc 
autem primum irapetum sequimur." It is passion that tells 
the tale, and that receiveth it. 

2. The second thing therefore, that I entreat of you is, 
that you would be very tender of the Unity and Peace of the 
Catholic Church ; not only of your own party's, but of the 
whole. And to this end these things will prove necessary : 
Do not too easily introduce any novelties into the Church, 
either of faith or practice : I mean not, that which seems a 
novelty to men that look no further than yesterday ; for so 
the restoring of ancient things will seem novelty to those 
that know not what was anciently ; and the expulsion of 
prevailing novelties will seem a novelty to them that know 
not what is such indeed. So the Papists censure us as No- 

Chap. 5.] TJtfE REFORMED PASTOR. 233 

velists for casting out many of their innovations ; and our 
common people tell us, we bring up new customs if we do not 
kneel at the receiving of the Lord's Supper; a notorious 
novelty : Even in the sixth General Council at Trull, in Con- 
stantinople, this was the ninth canon: ' Ne Dominicis die- 
bus genua flectamus, a, divinis Patribus nostris Canonice ac- 
cepimus : Quare postvespertinum ingressum Sacerdotumin 
Sabbato ad altare, ut more observatum est, nemo genu flec- 
tit usque ad sequentem vesperem post dominicam.' It is 
that which is indeed novelty that I dissuade you from ; and 
not the demolishing of novelties. Some have already intro- 
duced such new phrases, at least, even about the great points 
of faith, justification, and the like, that there may be reason 
to reduce them to the Primitive patterns. 

A great stir is made in the world about the Test of a Chris- 
tian and true Church, with whom we may have communion, 
and about that true centre and cement of the Unity of the 
Church, in and by which our common calamitous breaches 
must be healed. And indeed the true cause of our continued 
divisions and misery is for want of discerning the centre of 
our unity, and the terms on which it must be done ; which 
is a great pity, when it was once so easy a matter, till the 
ancient test was thought insufficient ! If any of the ancient 
Creeds might serve, we might be soon agreed. If Vincentius 
Lirineus.' Test might serve, we might yet make some good 
shift, viz. To believe explicitly all that ' quod ubique, quod 
semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est.' For as he addeth, 
• hoc est etenim vere proprieque Catholicum.' But then we 
must see, that the first age may not be excluded which gave 
the rule to the rest ; and that this extend not to every cere- 
mony which never was taken for unalterable, but to matters 
of faith ; and that the acts and canons of Councils which 
were not about such matters of faith, but mere variable order, 
and which newly constituted those things, which the Apos- 
tolic age knew not, and therefore were not properly ' credi- 
ta,' much less ' semper, et ab omnibus,' may have no hand in 
this work. I say, if either the ancient Western or Eastern 
Creed, or this Catholic faith of Vincentius might be taken 
as the test for explicit faith, or else rather all those Scripture 
texts, that express the ' Credenda' with a note of necessity, 
and the whole Scripture, moreover, be confessed to be God's 
Word, and so believed in other points at least implicitly; 

234 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 5. 

this course might produce a more general communion and 
agreement : and more lines would meet in this centre, than 
otherwise are likely to meet. And indeed, till men can be 
again content to make the Scripture the sufficient rule, in 
necessaries to be explicitly believed, and in all the rest im- 
plicitly, we are never likely to see a Catholic, Christian, dura- 
ble peace. If we must needs make the Council of Trent, or 
the Papal judgment our Test ; or if we must make a blind 
bargain with the Papists, to come as near them as ever we 
dare, and so to compose another Interim, and make that a 
Test (when God never made it so, and all Christians will 
never be of a mind in it, but some dare go nearer Rome than 
others dare, and that in several degrees), or if we must thrust 
in all the canons of the former Councils about matters of 
order, discipline, and ceremonies into our Test, or gather up 
all the opinions of the Fathers for the three or four first ages, 
and make them our Test ; none of all these will ever serve 
to do the business, and a Catholic union will never be found- 
ed in them. It is an easy matter infallibly to foretel this. 
Much less can the writings of any single man, as Austin, 
Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Beza, &c. ; or the late Confessions 
of any Churches that add to the ancient Test, be ever capa- 
ble of this use and honour. 

I know it is said, that a man may subscribe the Scripture, 
and the ancient Creeds, and yet maintain Socinianism, or 
other heresies. To which I answer, so he may another 
Test which your own brains shall contrive ; and while you 
make a snare to catch heretics, instead of a Test for the 
church's communion, you will miss your end, and the here- 
tic by the slipperiness of his conscience will break through, 
and the tender Christian may possibly be ensnared. And 
by your new creed the Church is likely to have new divisions, 
if you keep not close to the words of Scripture. In such 
cases, when heretics contradict the Scripture which they have 
subscribed, this calls not for a new or more sufficient Test, 
but the Church must take notice of it, and call him to ac- 
count, and if he be impenitent, exclude him their commu- 
nion. What! must we have new laws made every time the 
old ones are broken; as if the law were not sufficient be- 
cause men break it ! Or rather, must not the penalty of the 
violated law be executed ? It is a most sad case that such 
reasons as these should prevail with so many learned men 


to deny the sufficiency of Scripture as a Test for Church- 
communion, and to be still framing new ones that depart at 
least from Scripture-phrase, as if this were necessary to ob- 
viate heresies ! Two things are necessary to obviate here- 
sies, the law, and good execution ; God hath made the for- 
mer, and his rule and law are both for sense and phrase 
translated sufficient ; and all their additional inventions, as 
to the aforesaid use, are as spiders' webs. Let us but do 
our part in the due execution of the laws of Christ, by ques- 
tioning offenders in orderly Synods, for the breaking of these 
laws, and let us avoid communion with the impenitent ; and 
what can the Church do more ? The rest belongs to the 
Magistrate to restrain him from seducing his subjects, and 
not to us. 

Well ! this is the thing that I would recommend there- 
fore to all my brethren, as the most necessary thing to the 
Church's peace, that you unite in necessary truths, and tolerate 
tolerable failings ; and bear with one another in things that may 
be borne with ; and do not make a larger creed, and more neces- 
saries than God hath done. And to that end, let no man's 
writings, nor the judgment of any party, though right, be 
taken as a Test, or made that rule. And (1.) Lay not too 
great a stress upon controverted opinions, which have godly 
men, and especially whole churches on both sides. (2.) 
Lay not too great a stress on those controversies that are ul- 
timately resolved into philosophical uncertainties (as some 
unprofitable controversies are about freewill, and the man- 
ner of the Spirit's operation of grace, and the Divine de- 
crees, and pre-determination). (3.) Lay not too great a stress 
on those controversies that are merely verbal, and if they 
were anatomized, would appear to be no more. Of which 
sort are far more, I speak it confidently upon certain 
knowledge, that now make a great noise in the world, and 
tear the church, than almost any of the eager contenders that 
ever 1 spoke with seem to discern, or are likely to believe. (4.) 
Lay not too much stress on any point of faith which was dis- 
owned of, or unknown to the whole Church of Christ in any 
age since the Scriptures were delivered us. (5.) Much less 
should you lay too much on those which any of the more 
pure or judicious ages were wholly ignorant of. (6.) And 
least of all should you lay too much on any point which no 
one age since the Apostles did ever receive, but all commonly 

236 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 5. 

hold the contrary. For to make such an error which all 
the Church held, to be such as is damning, were to unchurch 
all the Church of Christ ; and to make it such, as must ex- 
clude them from our communion, doth make the whole 
Church excommunicable, which is absurd : and doth shew 
that if we had lived in that age, you would it seems have 
separated from the whole Church. To give an instance of 
the differences among errors : That any elect person shall 
fall away totally and finally, is a palpable, condemned error, 
of dangerous consequence. But that there are some justi- 
fied ones not elect, that shall fall away and perish, is an er- 
ror of a lower nature ; which may not break the communion 
of Christians : for otherwise we must renounce communion 
with the Catholic Church in Augustine's days, and much 
more before, as is said before. What then? Shall I take 
this therefore for a truth which the Church then held? Some 
will think me immodest to say no ; as if I were wiser than 
all the Church, and that in so learned an age, if not for so 
many : but yet I must be so immodest, as long as Scripture 
seemeth to me to warrant it. Why might not Augustine, 
Prosper, and all the rest, mistake in such a thing as that? 
but then I am not so immodest, nor unchristian, as to un- 
church all the Church on that account : nor would I have 
separated from Austin, and all the Church, if I had then 
lived : nor will do now from any man on that account. Both 
sides will be displeased with this resolution ; one, that I 
suppose all the Church to err, and ourselves to be in the 
right ; and the other, that I take it for no greater an error. 
But what remedy ? It will and must be so : read Prosper's 
Resp. ad Capit. Gall, and you may quickly know both 
Austin's mind and his. 

He that shall live to that happy time, when God will heal 
his broken Churches, shall see all this that I am now plead- 
ing for, reduced to practice, and this moderation take place 
of the new dividing zeal, and Scripture-sufficiency take 
place, and all men's confessions and comments to be valued 
only as subservient helps, and not to be the Test of Church- 
communion, any further than they are exactly the same with 
Scripture. And till the healing age come, we cannot ex- 
pect that healing truths be entertained, because there are 
not healing spirits in the leaders of the Church. But when 


the work is to be done, the workmen will be fitted for it ; and 
blessed will be the agents of so glorious a work ! 

But because the love of unity and verity, peace and pu- 
rity must be conjunctly manifested, we must avoid the ex- 
tremes both in doctrine and communion. The extremes in 
Doctrine are on one side by innovating additions ; on the 
other side, by envying or hindering the progress of the light. 
The former is the most dangerous ; of which men are guilty 
these ways. (1.) By making new points of faith or duty. 
(2.) By making those points to be fundamental, or necessary 
to salvation, that are not so. (3.) By pretending of Pro- 
phetical and other obscurer passages of the Scriptures, that 
they have a greater objective evidence, and we a greater 
certainty of their meaning, than indeed is so. 

As I have met with some so confident of their right un- 
derstanding of the Revelation (which Calvin durst not ex- 
pound, and profess he understood it not,) that they have 
framed part of their Confessions or Articles of Faith out of 
it ; and grounded the weightiest actions of their lives upon 
their Exposition ; and could confidently tell in our late 
changes and differences, which side was in the right, and 
which in the wrong, and all from the Revelation ; and thence 
would fetch such arguments as would carry all, if you would 
but grant the soundness of their Expositions ; but if you 
put them to prove that, you marred all. 

And these corruptions of Sacred Doctrine by their addi- 
tions are of two sorts. Some that are the first inventors; 
and others that are the propagators and maintainers : and 
these when additions grow old, do commonly maintain them 
under the notion of ancient verities, and oppose the ancient 
verities under the notion of novelty, as is before said. 

The other extreme about Doctrine is by hindering the 
progress of knowledge : and this is commonly on pretence 
of avoiding the innovating extreme. It must be considered 
therefore, how far we may go, and not be culpable inno- 
vators. (1.) Our knowledge must increase extensively * ad 
plura;' we must know more verities, than we knew before, 
though we may not feign more. There is much of Scripture 
that will remain unknown to us when we have done our 
best. Though we shall find out no more Articles of Faith 
which must be explicitly believed by all that will be saved, 
yet we may find out the sense of more particular texts, and 

238 gildas sALviANUb : [Chap. 5. 

several doctrinal truths, not contrary to the former, but such 
as befriend them, and are connected with them. And we 
may find out more the order of truths, and how they are 
placed in respect to one another, and so see more of the true 
method of Theology than we did, which will give us a very 
great light into the matter itself, and its consectaries. (2.) 
Our knowledge also must grow subjectively, intensely, and 
in the manner, as well as in the matter of it. And this is 
our principal growth to be sought after. To know the same 
great and necessary truths with a sounder and clearer know- 
ledge than we did: which is done. (1.) By getting strong- 
evidence and reasons instead of the weak ones which we 
trusted to before, (for many young ones receive truths on 
some unsound grounds). (2.) By multiplying our evidence 
and reasons for the same truth. (3.) By a clear and deeper 
apprehension of the same evidence, and reasons which be- 
fore, we had but superficially received : for one that is strong 
in knowledge seeth the same truth, as in the clear light 
which the weak do see, but as in the twilight. To all this 
must be added also, the fuller improvement of the Truth re- 
ceived to its ends. 

I shall give you the sum of my meaning in the words of 
that great enemy of innovation, Vincent. Lirinens. c. 28. 
" Sed forsitan dicit aliquis : Nullusne ergo in Ecclesia 
Christi profectus habebitur ? Religionis Habeatur plane, et 
maximus : Nam quis ille est tam invidus hominibus, tam 
exosus Deo, qui istud prohibere conetur? Sed ita tamen 
ut vere profectus sit ille fidei ; non permutatio. Siquidem ad 
perfectum pertinet, ut in semet ipsa unaquaeque res amplifi 
cetur : ad permutationem vero ut aliquid ex alio in aliud 
transvertatur. Crescat igitur oportet et multum, vehemen- 
terque proficiat, tam singulorum quam omnium ; tam unius 
hominis quam totius Ecclesioe aetatum ac seculorum gradi- 
bus inteliigentia, scientia, sapientia ; sed in quo duntaxat 
genere, in eodem scilicet dogmate, eodem sensu, eademque 

And more plainly, and yet more briefly, cap. 30. " Jus 
est etenim, ut prisca ilia ccelestis Philosophise dogmata re- 
cessu temporis excurentur, limentur, poliantur ; sed nefas 
est, ut commutentur. Accipiant licet Evidentiam, Lucem, 
Distinctionem ; sed retineant necesse estplenitudinem, in- 


tegritatem, proprietateni." Let this mean then be observed 
if we would perform both truth and peace. 

About Church-communion the common extremes are : on 
one side, the neglect or relaxation of Discipline to the cor- 
rupting of the Church, the encouragement of wickedness, 
and confounding the kingdom of Christ and Satan : and on 
the other side, the unnecessary separation of proud men, 
either because the Churches own not their own opinions, or 
because they are not so reformed and strict in Discipline 
as they would have them, or as* they should be. I have ever 
observed the humblest men very tender of making separa- 
tions'; and the proudest most prone to it. Many corrup- 
tions may be in a Church, and yet it may be a great sin to 
separate from it, so that we be not put upon an owning of 
their corruptions, nor upon any actual sin. There is a 
strange inclination in proud men to make the Church of 
Christ much narrower than it is, and to reduce it to almost 
nothing, and to be themselves the members of some singular 
society, as if they were loath to have too much company in 
heaven. And by a strange delusion, through the workings 
of a proud fancy, they are more full of joy in their separated 
societies, than they were while they kept in the union of the 
Church. At least such powers of ordinances, and presence 
of the Spirit, purity and peace, is promised to the weak by 
the leaders that would seduce them, as if the Holy Ghost 
were more eminently among them than any where else in the 
world. This hath ever been the boasting of heretics. As 
the aforesaid Vincentius saith, cap. 37. "Jam vero illis quae 
sequuntur promissionibus miro modo incautos homines hae- 
retici decipere consueverunt. Audentet enim polliceri et do- 
cere, quod in Ecclesia sua, id est, in Communionis suae Con- 
venticulo, magna et specialis ac plane personalis quaedam sit 
Dei gratia, adeo ut sine ullo labore, sine ullo studio, sine 
ulla industria, etiamsi nee quaerunt, nee petant, nee pul- 
sant, quicunque illi ad numerum suum pertinent, tamen ita 
divinitus dispensentur," &c. But their consolations and 
high enjoyments being the effect of self-conceitedness and 
fancies, are usually so mutable and of short continuance, 
that either the heat of oppositions, or mutation to other 
sects must maintain their life, or else they will grow stale 
and soon decay. 

240 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 5. 

Having said thus much of the means, I return to the ends 
of this Exhortation, beseeching all the Ministers of Christ to 
compassionate the poor, divided Church, and to entertain 
such Catholic principles and charitable dispositions, as tend 
to their own, and the common peace. Hath any thing in the 
world done more to lose our authority, and disable us for 
God's service, than our differences and divisions? If Minis- 
ters could but be all of a mind, or, at least concur in the 
substance of the work, so that the people that hear one, 
might as it were hear all, and not have any of us to head a 
party for the discontented to fall into, or to object against 
the rest, we might then do wonders for the Church of Christ. 
But if our tongues and hearts be divided, what wonder if 
our work be spoiled, and prove more like a Babel than a 
temple of God ! Get together then speedily, and consult 
for peace, and cherish not heart-burnings, and continue not 
uncharitable distances and strangeness. If dividing hath 
weakened you, closing must recover your authority and 
strength. If you have any dislike of your brethren, or their 
ways, manifest it by a free debate to their faces, but do not 
unnecessarily withdraw from them. If you will but keep 
together, you may come to a better understanding of each 
other, or at least may chide yourselves. Friends, especially 
quarrel not upon points of precedency, or reputation, or any 
interest of your own. No man will have settled peace in 
his mind, nor be peaceable in his place, that proudly envieth 
the precedency of others, and secretly grudgeth at them that 
seem to cloud his parts and name. One or other will ever 
be an eyesore to such men. There is too much of the devil's 
image on this sin for an humble servant of Christ to enter- 
tain. Moreover, be not too sensible of injuries ; and make 
not a great matter of every offensive word or deed. At least 
do not let it interrupt your communion and concord in God's 
work : for that were to wrong Christ and his Church because 
another hath wronged you. And if you be of this impatient 
humour, you will never be quiet; for we are all faulty, and 
cannot live together without wronging one another. * Ubique 
causee supersunt nisi deprecator animus accessit,' saith Se- 
neca. And these proud, over-tender men are often hurt by 
their own conceits : Like a man that hath a sore that he 
thinks doth smart more when he conceits that some one hits 
it. They will think a man jeereth them, or contemneth 


them, or meaneth them ill, when it never came into his 
thought ! Till this self be taken down, we shall every man 
have a private interest, and of his own, which will lead us 
all into several ways, and spoil the peace and welfare of the 
church. While every man is for himself and his own repu- 
tation, and all mind their own things, no wonder if they mind 
not the things of Christ. 

And as for those opinions which hinder our Union, (alas, 
the great dividers of this age!) methinks, if I cannot change 
their minds, I might yet rationally expect of every party 
among us that profess themselves Christians, that they 
should value the whole before a part ; and therefore not so 
perversely seek to promote their party as may hinder the 
common good of the Church, or so to propagate their sup- 
posed truths as to hinder the work of the main body of 
Divine truths. And methinks, a little humility should make 
men ashamed of that common conceit of unquiet spirits ; 
viz. that the welfare of the Church doth so lie upon their 
opinions, that they must needs vent and propagate them 
whatever comes of it. If they are indeed a living part of 
the body, the hurt of the whole will be so much their own, 
that they cannot desire it for the sake of any party or 
opinion. Were men but impartially to consider in every 
such case of difference, how far their promoting their own 
judgment may help or hurt the whole, they might escape 
many dangerous ways that are now trod. If you can see 
no where else, look in the face of the Church's enemies, how 
they rejoice and deride us. And as Seneca saith to demulce 
the angry, * Vide ne inimicis iracundia tua voluptati sit.' 
When we have all done, I know not which party of us will 
prove a gainer : So true are the old proverbs, ' Dissensio 
ducum hostium succum,' and ' Gaudent prsedones, dum dis- 
cordant regiones.' And is it not a wonder, that godly 
Ministers, that know all this, how the common adversary 
derideth us all, and what a scandal our divisions are through- 
out the world, and how much the Church doth lose by it, 
should yet go on, and after all the loudest calls and invita- 
tions to peace, go on still, and few, if any, sound a retreat ; 
and seriously call to their brethren for a retreat ? Can an 
honest heart be insensible of the sad distractions and sadder' 
apostacies that our divisions have occasioned ? ' Ssepe 


242 GILDAS SALVIANUS I [Chflp. 5. 

rixamconclamatum,in vicinoincendiurn sol vit/saith Seneca. 
What scolds so furious that will not give over, when the 
house is on fire over their heads 1 Well! if the Lord hath 
given that evil spirit, whose name is Legion, such power over 
the hearts of any, that yet they will sit still, yea and quarrel 
at the pacificatory endeavours of others who hunger after 
the healing of the Church, and rather carp, and reproach, and 
hinder such works than to help them on, I shall say but this 
to them : How diligently soever such men may preach, and 
how pious soever they may seem to be, if this way tend to 
their everlasting peace, and if they be not preparing sorrow 
for themselves, then I am a stranger to the way of peace. 

VII. The next branch of my Exhortation is, that You 
would uo longer neglect the execution of so much Discipline in 
your congregations, as is of Confessed necessity and right. I 
desire not to spur on any one to an unseasonable perform- 
ance of the greatest duty. But will it never be a fit season? 
Would you forbear Sermons and Sacraments so many years 
on pretence of unseasonableness? Will you have a better 
season for it, when you are dead ? How many are dead 
already before they ever did any thing in this work, that 
were long preparing for it ! It is now near three years, since 
many of us now present did engage ourselves to this duty : 
and have we been faithful in the performance of that engage- 
ment ? 1 know some have more discouragements and hin- 
drances than others ; but what discouragements can excuse 
us from such a duty ? Besides the reasons that we then 
considered, let these few be further laid to heart. 

1. How sad a sign do we make it to be in our Preaching 
to our people, to iive in the wilful, continued omission of anv 
known duty ! And shall we do so year after year, and all 
our days ? If excuses will take off the danger of this sign, 
what man will not find them as well as you? Read Amesius 
Medul. cap. 37. de Disciplin. Eccles. et Gelespi's Aaron's 
Rod, with Rutherford, and many more that are written to 
prove the need and dueness of discipline, saith Ames. ib. 
sec. 5. " Immo peccat in Christum Authoremac institutorem 
quisquis nan facit quod in se est, ad hanc disciplinam, in 
Ecclesiis Dei constituendam et promovendam." And do you 
think it safe to live and die in such a known sin ? 


2. You gratify the present designs of dividers, whose 
business is to unchurch us and unchristian us : to prove our 
parishes no true Churches, and ourselves no baptized Chris- 
tians. For if you take them for people incapable of disci- 
pline, they must be incapable of the sacrament of the Lord's- 
supper, and other church-communion : and then they are no 
church. And so you will plainly seem to preach merely as 
they do, to gather churches where there were none before. 
And indeed, if that be your case, that your people are not 
Christians, and you have no particular churches, and so are 
no pastors, tell us so, and manifest it, and we shall not blame 

3. We manifest plain laziness and sloth, if not unfaith- 
fulness in the work of Christ. I speak from experience; it 
was laziness that kept me off so long, and pleaded hard 
against this duty. It is indeed a troublesome and painful 
work, and such as calls for some self-denial, because it will 
cast us upon the displeasure of the wicked. But dare we 
prefer our carnal ease, and quietness, and the love or peace 
of wicked men, before our service to Christ our Master ? 
Can slothful servants look for a good reward ? Remember, 
brethren, that we of this county have thus promised before 
God in the second article of our Agreement, " We agree and 
resolve by God's help, that so far as God doth make known 
our duty to us, we will faithfully endeavour to discharge it. 
and will not desist through any fears or losses in our estates, 
or the frowns and displeasure of men, or any the like carnal 
inducements whatsoever." I pray you study this promise, 
and compare your performance with it. And do not think 
that you are ensnared by thus engaging ; for God's law hath 
laid an obligation on you to all the same duty, before your 
engagement did it. Here is nothing but what others are 
bound to, as well as you. 

4. The Ministry that are for the Presbyterian Govern- 
ment, have already by their common neglect of the execu- 
tion, made those of the separating way believe, that they do 
it in a mere carnal compliance with the unruly part of the 
people, that while we exasperate them not with our disci- 
pline, we might have them on our side. And we should do 
nothing needless, that hath so great an appearance of evil, 
and is so scandalous to others. It was the sin and ruin of 
many of the Clergy of the last times, to please and comply 

244 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 5. 

with them that they should have reproved and corrected ; by 
unfaithfulness in preaching, and neglect of discipline. 

5. The neglect of Discipline hath a strong tendency to 
the deluding of souls ; by making them think they are Chris- 
tians that are not: while they are permitted to live in the 
reputation of such ; and be not separated from the rest by 
God's ordinance. And it may make the scandalous think 
their sin a tolerable thing, which is so tolerated by the Pas- 
tors of the Church. 

6. We corrupt Christianity itself in the eyes of the world ; 
and do our part to make them believe, that to be a Christian 
is but to be of such an opinion, and to have that faith which 
James saith the devils had, and to be solijidians, and that 
Christ is no more for holiness than Satan, or that the Chris- 
tian religion exacteth holiness no more than the false reli- 
gions of the world : for if the holy and unholy are all per- 
mitted to be the sheep of the same fold, without the use of 
Christ's means to difference them, we do our part to defame 
Christ by it, as if he were guilty of it, and as if this were the 
strain of his prescripts. 

7. We keep up separation by permitting the worst to be 
uncensured in our churches, so that many honest Christians 
think they are necessitated to withdraw. I must profess 
that I have spoke with some members of the separated (or 
gathered) churches, that were moderate men, and have ar- 
gued with them against their way ; and they have assured 
me, ' That they were of the Presbyterian judgment, or had 
nothing to say against it, but they joined themselves with 
other churches upon mere necessity, thinking that discipline, 
being an ordinance of Christ, must be used by all that can, 
and therefore they durst no longer live without it when they 
may have it, and they could find no Presbyterian Churches 
that executed discipline, as they wrote for it ; and they told 
me, that they did thus separate only ' pro tempore/ till the 
Presbyterians will use discipline, and then they would will- 
ingly return to them again.' I confess I was sorry that such 
persons had any such occasion to withdraw, and the least 
ground for such a reason of their doings. It is not keeping 
them from the Sacrament that will excuse us from the further 
exercise of discipline, while they are members of our 

8. We do too much to bring the wrath of God upon our- 


selves and our congregations, and so to blast the fruit of our 
labours. If the angel of the Church of Thyatira was reproved 
for suffering the seducers in the Church, we may be reproved 
on the same ground for suffering open, scandalous, impeni- 
tent ones. (Rev. ii. 20.) 

9. We seem to justify the Prelates, who took the same 
course in neglecting Discipline, though in other things we 

10. We have abundance of aggravations and witnesses 
to rise up against us, which though I will purposely now 
pass over, lest I seem to press too hard in this point, I shall 
desire you to apply them hither, when you meet with them 
anon under the next branch of the Exhortation. 

I know that Discipline is not essential to a Church ; but 
what of that? Is it not therefore a duty: and necessary to 
its wellbeing ; yea, more. The power of Discipline is es- 
sential to a particular political Church, and what is the 
power for, but for the work and use? As there is no com- 
monwealth that hath not ' partem imperantem,' as well as 
' partem subditam,' so no such church that hath not ' partem 
regentem,' in one pastor or more. 

VIII. The last particular branch of my Exhortation is, 
that You will now faithfully discharge the great duty which you 
have undertaken, and which is the occasion of our meeting here 
to-day, in personal Catechising and Instructing every one in your 
parishes that will submit thereto. What our undertaking is 
you know, you have considered it, and it is now published to 
the world. But what the performance will be I know not: 
but I have many reasons to hope well of the most, though 
some will always be readier to say, than to do. And because 
this is the chief business of the day, I must take leave to 
insist somewhat the longer on it. And (1.) I shall give you 
some further motives to persuade you to faithfulness in the 
undertaken work ; presupposing the former general motives 
which should move us to this as well as to any other part of 
our duty. (2.) 1 shall give to the younger of my brethren 
a few words of advice for the manner of performance. 

246 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 6. 


The^Vs^ reasons by which I shall persuade you to this duty 
are taken from the benefits of it. The second from the diffi- 
culty. And the third from the necessity, and the many ob- 
ligations that are upon us for the performance of it. And 
to these three heads I shall reduce them all. 

I. And for the first of these ; when I look before me, 
and consider what, through the blessing of God, this work 
well managed is likely to produce, it makes my heart to leap 
for joy. Truly, brethren, you have begun a most blessed 
work; such as your own consciences may rejoice in, your 
parishes rejoice in, the nation rejoice in, and children yet 
unborn ; yea, thousands and millions for ought we know, 
may have cause to bless God for it, when we have finished 
our course. And though it be our business here to humble 
ourselves for the neglect of it so long, as we have very great 
cause to do ; yet the hopes of a blessed success are so great 
in me, that they are ready to turn it into a day of rejoicing. 
I bless the Lord that I have lived to see such a day as this, 
and to be present at so solemn an engagement of so many 
servants of Christ to such a work. I bless the Lord that 
hath honoured you of this county to be the beginners and 
awakeners of the nation hereunto. It is not a controverted 
business, where the exasperated minds of divided men might 
pick quarrels with us, or malice itself be able to invent a 
rational reproach ; nor is it a new invention, where envy 
might charge you as innovators, or proud boasters of any 
new discoveries of your own ; or scorn to follow in it be- 
cause you have led the way. No ; it is a well-known duty. 
It is but the more diligent and effectual management of the 
Ministerial work, and the teaching of our principles, and the 
feeding of babes with milk. You lead indeed, but not in 
invention of novelty, but the restoration of the ancient 
Ministerial work, and the self-denying attempt of a duty that 
few or none can contradict. Unless men do envy you your 
labours and sufferings, or unless they envy the saving of 
men's souls, I know not what they can envy you for in this. 
The age is so quarrelsome, that where there is any matter to 
fasten on, we can scarcely explain a truth, or perform a duty, 

Chap. (>.] THE REFORMED PASTOR. 247 


but one or other, if not many, will have a stone to cast at 
us, and will speak evil of the things which they do not un- 
derstand, or which their hearts and interests are against. 
But here I think we have silenced malice itself, and I hope 
we may do this part of God's work quietly. If they cannot 
endure to be told what they know not, or contradicted in 
what they think, or confounded by discoveries of what they 
have said amiss, I hope they will give us leave to do that 
which no man can contradict, and to practise that which all 
are agreed in. I hope we may have their good leave, or silent 
patience at least, to deny the ease and pleasure of our flesh, 
and to set ourselves in good earnest to help men to heaven, 
and to propagate the knowledge of Christ with our people. 
I take it for a sign of a great and necessary work, which hath 
such universal approbation ; the commonly acknowledged 
truths and duties being, for the most part, of greatest ne- 
cessity and moment. A more noble work it is to practise 
faithfully the truths and duties that all men will confess, 
than to make new ones, or discover somewhat more than 
others have discovered. I know not why we should be am- 
bitious of finding out new ways to heaven: to make plain, 
and to walk in the old way, is our work and our greatest 


And because the work in hand is so pregnant of great 
advantages to the Church, 1 will come down to the particu- 
lar benefits which we may hope for, that when you see the 
excellency of it, you may be the more set upon it, and the 
more loath by any negligence or failing to destroy or frus- 
trate it. For certainly he that hath the true intentions of a 
Minister, will rejoice in the appearances of any further 
hopes of attaining his ends, and nothing can be more wel- 
come to him than that which will further the very business 
of his life ; and that our present work is such, I shall shew 
you more particularly. 

1. It will be the most hopeful advantage for the conversion 
of many souls that we can expect ; for it hath a concurrence 
of those great things which must further such a work. (1.) 
For the matter of it, it is about most needful things ; the 
principles or essentials of the Christian faith. — (2.) For the 
manner of exercise ; it will be by private conference, where 
we may have opportunity to set all home to the heart. — (3.) 

'248 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 6. 

The common concord of Ministers will do much to bow 
their hearts to consent. Were it but a meeting to resolve 
some controverted questions, it would not have so direct a 
tendency to conversion. Were it but occasional, we could 
not handsomely fall on them so closely ; but when we make 
it the appointed business, it will be expected, and not so 
strangely taken. And if most Ministers had singly set upon 
this work, perhaps but few of the people would have sub- 
mitted ; and then you might have lost your chief opportu- 
nities, and those that had most needed our help, would have 
had least of it. Whereas now we may hope that when it is 
a general thing, few will refuse it ; and when they see that 
other neighbours do it, they will be ashamed to be so singu- 
lar or openly ungodly as to deny. 

The work of Conversion consisteth of two parts. — (1.) 
The well informing of the judgment of the necessary points, 
— (2.) The change of the will, by the efficacy of this truth. 
Now in this work we have the most excellent advantage for 
both. For the informing of their understandings, it must 
needs be an excellent help to have the sum of all Chris- 
tianity still in memory ; and though bare words, not under- 
stood, will make no change, yet when the words are plain, 
he that hath the words is far more likely to know the mean- 
ing and matter, than another ; for what have we to make 
things known by, that are themselves invisible, but words 
and other subservient signs ? Those, therefore, that will 
deride all catechisms and professions, as unprofitable forms, 
had better deride themselves for talking and using the form 
of their own words to make known their minds to others ; 
and they may deride all God's word on the same account, 
which is a standing form for the guiding of Preachers, and 
teaching all others the doctrine of eternal life. Why may 
not written words that are still before their eyes, and in 
their memories, instruct them, as well as the transient words 
of a Preacher ? These forms, therefore, of wholesome words 
are so far from being unprofitable, as some fantastic per- 
sons imao-ine, that they are of admirable use to all. 

We shall have the opportunity by personal conference 
to try them how far they understand it, and how far not : 
and also to explain it to them as we go ; and to choose out 
and insist on those particulars which the persons that we 



speak to have most need to hear. So that these two con- 
junct, a form of words, with a plain explication, may do 
more than either of them could do alone. 

Moreover, we have the best opportunity to imprint the 
same truths upon their hearts, when we can speak to each 
one's particular necessity, and say to the sinner, " Thou art 
the man ;" plainly mention his particular case, and set home 
the Truth with familiar importunity. If any thing in the 
world is likely to do them good, it is this. They will un- 
derstand a familiar speech, who hear a sermon, as if it were 
nonsense, and they have far greater help for the application 
of it to themselves. And withal you will hear their objec- 
tions, and know where it is that Satan hath most advantage 
over them, and what it is that stands up against the Truth ; 
and so may be able to shew them their errors, confute their 
objections, and more effectually convince them. We can 
better drive them to a stand, and urge them to discover 
their resolutions for the future, and to promise the use of 
means and reformation, than otherwise we could do. What 
need we more for this than our experience '? I seldom deal 
with men purposely on this great business, in private, seri- 
ous conference, but they go away with some seeming con- 
victions, and promises of new obedience, if not some deeper 
remorse, and sense of their condition. And I hope your 
own experiences are the same. 

O, brethren, what a blow may we give the kingdom of 
darkness by the faithful and skilful managing of this work ! 
If then the saving of souls, of your neighbours' souls, of 
many souls from everlasting misery, be worth your labour, 
up and be doing ! If the increase of the true Church of 
Christ be desirable, this work is excellent, which is so likely 
to promote it. If you would be the fathers of many that 
shall be new-born to God, and would see the travail of your 
souls with comfort, and would be able to say at last, " Here 
am I, and the children that thou hast given me ;" up then 
and ply this blessed work. If it will do you good, to see 
your holy converts among the saints in glory, praising the 
Lamb before his throne ; if you will be glad to present them 
blameless and spotless to Christ; be glad then of this sin- 
gular opportunity that is offered you. If you be Ministers 
of Christ indeed, you will long for the perfecting of his 
Body, and the gathering in of his Elect ; and your hearts 

250 gildas salvianus: [Chap. (j. 

will be set upon it, and you will travail as in birth of them 
till Christ be formed in them. Then you will take such op- 
portunities as your harvest-time, and as the sunshine days 
in a rainy harvest, in which it is unreasonable and inex- 
cusable to be idle. If you have any spark of Christian 
compassion in you, it will surely seem worth your utmost 
labour to save so many souls from death, and to cover so 
great a multitude of sins. If you are indeed co-workers 
with Christ, set then to this work, and neglect not the souls, 
for whom he died. O remember when you are talking with 
the unconverted, that now there is an opportunity in your 
hands to save a soul, and to rejoice the angels of heaven, 
and to rejoice Christ himself, and that your work is to cast 
Satan out of a sinner, and to increase the family of God. 
What is your own hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is 
it not your saved people in the presence of Christ Jesus at 
his coming? Yea, doubtless, they are your glory and your 
joy. (1 Thess. ii. 19, 20.) 

2. The second happy benefit of our work, if well ma- 
naged, will be the most orderly building up those that are 
converted, and the establishing them in the Faith. It 
hazardeth the whole work, or at least much hindereth it, 
when we do it not in the order that it must be done. How 
can you build if you first lay not a good foundation; or 
how can you set on the top-stone while the middle parts are 
neglected ? ' Gratia non facit saltum,' any more than na- 
ture. The second order of Christian truths have such de- 
pendance upon the first, that they can never be well learned 
till the first are learned. This makes so many deluded no- 
vices, that are puffed up with the vain conceits of know- 
ledge while they are grossly ignorant, and itch to be 
preaching before they well know what it is to be Christians; 
because they took not the work before them, but learned 
some lesser matters they heard most talked of, before they 
learned the vital principles. This makes many labour so 
much in vain, and are still learning, but never come to the 
knowledge of the Truth, because they would learn to read 
before they learn to spell, or to know their letters ; and this 
makes so many fall away, and shaken with every wind of 
temptation, because they were not well settled in the funda- 
mentals. It is these fundamentals that must lead men to 
further truths ; it is these they must bottom and build upon. 


It is these that they must live upon, and that must actuate 
all their graces, and animate all their duties ; it is these 
that must fortify them against particular temptations ; and 
he that knows these well, doth know so much as will make 
him happy ; and he that knows not these, knows nothing ; 
and he that knows these best, is the best and most under- 
standing Christian. The most godly people, therefore, in your 
congregations will find it worth their labour to learn the 
very words of a Catechism : and if you would safely edify 
them, and firmly establish them, be diligent in this work. 

3. A third benefit that may be expected by the well- 
managing of this work, is this, It will make our public 
preaching to be better understood and regarded. When 
you have acquainted them with the principles, they will the 
better understand all you say. They will perceive what 
you drive at, when they are once acquainted with the main 
parts. This prepareth their minds, and openeth you a way 
to their hearts ; when without this you may lose the most 
of your labour; and the more pains you take in accurate 
preparations, the less good you do. As you would not 
therefore lose your public labour, see that you be faithful 
in this private work. 

4. And this is not a contemptible benefit, that by this 
course you will come to be familiar with your people, when 
you have had the opportunity of familiar conference ; and 
the want of this with us, that have very numerous parishes, 
is a great impediment to the success of our labours. By 
distance and our being unacquainted, slanderers and de- 
ceivers have opportunity to possess them with false conceits 
of you, which prejudice their minds against your doctrine ; 
and by this distance and strangeness abundance of mistakes 
between Ministers and people are fomented. Besides that, 
familiarity itself doth tend to beget those affections, which 
may open their ears to further teaching. And when we are 
familiar with them, they will be more encouraged to open 
their doubts, seek resolution, and deal freely with us. 
But when a Minister knoweth not his people, or is as 
strange to them as if he did not know them, it must be a 
great hindrance to his doing them any good. 

5. Besides, by the means of these private instructions, 
we shall come to be the better acquainted with each per- 
son's spiritual state, and so the better know how to watch 

252 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 6. 

over them, and carry ourselves towards them, ever after. 
We may know the better how to preach to them, when we 
know their temper, and their chief objections, and so what 
they have most need to hear. We shall the better know 
wherein to be jealous of them with a pious jealousy, and 
what temptations to help them most against. We shall the 
better know how to lament for them, and to rejoice with 
them, and to pray for them to God. For as he that will 
pray rightly for himself, will know his own sores and wants, 
and the diseases of his own heart ; so he that will pray 
rightly for others, should know theirs as far as he may, and 
as is meet. If a man have the charge but of sheep or cat- 
tle, he cannot so well discharge his trust, if he know them 
not, and their state and qualities. So it is with the Master 
that will well teach his scholars, and Parents that will 
rightly educate their children : and so with Ministers who 
properly feed the Church of God. 

6. And then this trial of, and acquaintance with our 
people's state, will better satisfy us in the administration of 
the Sacraments. We may the better understand how far they 
are fit or unfit. Though this give them not the state or re- 
lation of a member of that Church whereof we are overseers, 
yet because the members of the Church Universal, though 
they are of no particular church, may in some cases have a 
right to the ordinances of Christ in those particular churches 
where they come, and in some cases they have no right, we 
shall by this means be the better informed how to deal 
with them, though they be no members of that particular 
church. And whereas many will question a Minister that 
examineth his people in order to the Lord's-supper, by 
what authority he doth it, the same work will be done 
this way, in a manner beyond exception. Though I doubt 
not but a Minister may require his flock to come to 
him at any convenient season, to receive instruction, and 
therefore he may do it in preparation to the Sacrament ; yet 
because Ministers have laid the stress of that examination 
upon the mere necessity of fitness for that ordinance, and 
not upon their common duty to see the estate and proficiency 
of each member of their flock at all fit seasons, and upon the 
people's duty to submit to the guidance and instruction of 
the pastors at all times, they have therefore occasioned peo- 
ple ignorantly to quarrel against their examinations, and cal 


for the proof. Whereas it is an easy thing to prove that any 
scholar in Christ's school is bound at any time to be account- 
able to his teachers, and to obey them in all lawful things in 
order to their own edification and salvation; though it may 
be more difficult to prove a necessity that a Minister must 
so examine them in order to the Lord's-supper, any more 
than in order to a day of Thanksgiving, or a Lord's-day, or 
the Baptizing of their children. Now by this course we shall 
discern their fitness in an unquestionable way. 

7. Another benefit will be this : we shall by this means be 
the better enabled to help our people against their particular 
temptations, and we shall much better prevent their enter- 
tainment of any particular errors or heresies ; or their falling 
into schism to the hazard of themselves and the Church. 
For men will more freely open their thoughts and scruples 
to us, and if they are infected already, or inclined to any er- 
ror or schism, they will be ready to discover it, and so may 
receive satisfaction before they are past cure ; and familiarity 
with their teachers, will the more encourage them to open 
their doubts to them at any other time. The common cause 
of our people's infections and heresies is the familiarity of 
seducers with them, and the strangeness of their own pastors. 
When they hear us only in public, and hear seducers fre- 
quently in private unsaying all that we say, and we never 
know it, or help them against it, this settleth them in here- 
sies before we are aware of it. Alas, our people are most 
of them so weak, that whoever hath most interest in their 
estimations and affections ; and most opportunity in frequent 
private conferences to instil his opinions into them, of that 
man's religion will they ordinarily be. It is a pity then that 
we should let deceivers take such opportunities to undo 
them, and we not be as industrious, and use our advantages 
to their good. We have much advantage against seducers 
in many respects, if our negligence and their diligence did 
not frustrate them. 

8. Another, and one of the greatest benefits of our work 
will be this, It will better inform men of the true nature of 
the Ministerial office, or awaken them to better consideration 
of it, than is now usual. It is now too common for men to 
think that the work of the Ministry is nothing but to preach 
well, and to baptize and administer the Lord's-supper, and 
visit the sick; and by this means the people will submit to 

254 gildas salvianus: \Gkflp. 6. 

no more, and too many Ministers are negligently, or wilfully 
such strangers to their own calling, that they will do no 
more. It hath often grieved my heart to observe some em- 
inent and able Preachers, how little they do for the saving 
of souls, except in the pulpit ; and to how little purpose 
much of their labour is by this neglect. They have hundreds 
of people to whom they never spoke a word personally for 
their salvation ; and if we may judge by their practice, they 
take it not for their duty : and the principal thing that har- 
deneth men in this oversight, is the common neglect of the 
private part of the work by others. There are so few that 
do much in it, and the omission is grown so common among 
pious and able men, that they have abated the disgrace of it 
by their parts ; and a man may now be guilty of it, without 
any common observance or dishonour. Never doth sin so 
reign in a Church or State, as when it hath gained reputation, 
or at least is no disgrace to the sinner, nor a matter of any 
offence to beholders. But I make no doubt through the 
mercy of God, but the restored practice of personal oversight 
will convince many Ministers that this is as truly their work 
as that which they now do ; and may awaken them to see 
that the Ministry is another kind of business than too many 
excellent preachers take it to be. Brethren, do but set 
yourselves closely to this work, and follow on diligently; 
and though you do it silently, without any words to them 
that are negligent, I am in hope that most of you here may 
live to see the day, that the neglect of private personal over- 
sight of all the flock shall be taken for a scandalous and 
odious omission, and shall be as disgraceful to them that are 
guilty of it, as preaching but once a day was heretofore. A 
schoolmaster must not only read a common lecture, but 
take a personal account of his scholars, or else he is likely 
to do little good. If physicians should only read a public 
lecture of physic, their patients would not be much the bet- 
ter for them ; nor would a lawyer secure your estate by lead- 
ing a lecture of law. The charge of a Pastor requireth per- 
sonal dealing as well as any of these. Let us shew the world 
this by our practice ; for most men are grown regardless of 
bare words. 

The truth is, we have been occasioned exceedingly to 
wrong the Church in this, by the contrary extreme of the 
Papists, who bring all their people to auricular Confession ; 

Chap. 6.] T«HE REFORMED PASTOR. 255 

for in the overthrowing of this error of theirs, we have run 
into the contrary extreme, and led our people much further 
into it than we are gone ourselves. It troubled me to read 
in an orthodox Historian, that licentiousness, and a desire to 
be from under the strict inquiries of the Priests in Confession, 
did much further the entertainment of the Reformed Religion 
in Germany. And yet it is likely enough to be true, that 
they that were against Reformation in other respects, yet 
partly for the change, and partly on that licentious account, 
might join with better men in crying down the Romish cler- 
gy. But by this means, lest we should seem to favour the 
said auricular Confession, we have too commonly neglected 
all personal instruction ; except when we occasionally fall 
into men's company, few make it a stated part of their work. 
I am past doubt that the Popish auricular confession is a 
sinful novelty, which the ancient Church was unacquainted 
with. But perhaps some will think it strange that I should 
say, that our common neglect of personal instruction is much 
worse, if we consider their confessions in themselves, and 
not as they respect their connexed doctrines of Satisfaction 
and Purgatory. Many of the Southern and Eastern Churches 
do use a Confession of sin to the Priest, and how far Mr. 
Thomas Hooker in his " Soul's Preparation," and other Di- 
vines, do ordinarily require it, as necessary or useful, is well 
known. If any among us should be guilty of this gross 
mistake, as to think when he hath preached, he hath done 
all his work, let us shew him to his face by our practice of 
the rest, that there is much more to be done, and that taking 
heed to all the flock is another business, than careless, lazy 
Ministers do consider. If a man have the least apprehen- 
sion that duty, and the chief duty, is no duty, he is likely 
to neglect it, and be impenitent in the neglect. 

9. Another singular benefit which we may hope for from 
the faithful performance of this new work, is that it will 
help our people better to understand the nature of their 
duty towards their overseers, and consequently to discharge 
it better. Which were no matter if it were only for our 
sakes ; but their own salvation is very much concerned in 
it. I am confident by sad experience, that it is none of the 
least impediments to their happiness, and to a true Reforma- 
tion of the Church, that the people understand not what the 
work and power of a Minister is, and what is their own duty 

256 gildas salvianus: [Chap. G. 

towards them. They commonly think that a Minister hath 
no more to do with them but to preach to them, and visit 
them in sickness, and administer Sacraments, and that if 
they hear him, and receive the Sacrament from him, tbey 
owe no further obedience, nor can he require any more at 
their hands. Little do they know that the Minister is in the 
Church as the schoolmaster is in his school, to teach and 
take an account of every one in particular, and that all Chris- 
tians ordinarily must be disciples or scholars in some such 
school. They think not that a Minister is in the Church as 
a physician in a town, for all people to resort to, for per- 
sonal advice for the curing of all those diseases that are 
fit to be brought to a physician : and that the priest's 
lips must preserve knowledge, and the people must ask the 
law at his mouth, because he is the messenger of the Lord 
of Hosts. And that every soul in the congregation is bound 
for their own safety, to have personal recourse to him for 
resolving of their doubts ; and for help against their sins, 
and for direction in duty, and for increase of knowledge and 
all saving grace ! And that Ministers are purposely settled 
in congregations to this end, to be still ready to advise and 
help the flock. If our people did but know their duty, they 
would readily come to us when they are desired, to be in- 
structed and to give an account of their knowledge, faith 
and lives ; and they would come themselves without sending 
for, and knock oftener at our doors, and call for advice and 
help for their souls ; and ask, ' What shall we do to be saved V 
Whereas now the matter is come to that sad pass, that they 
think a Minister hath nothing to do with them, and if he ad- 
monish them, they will bid him look to himself, he shall not 
answer for them. If he call them to be Catechised or in- 
structed, or to be prepared for the Lord's-supper, or other 
holy ordinances, or would take an account of their faith and 
profiting, they will ask him, by what authority he doth these 
things ; and think that he is a busy and pragmatical fellow, 
that loves to be meddling where he hath nothing to do ; or 
a proud fellow, that would bear rule over their consciences. 
When they may as well ask him, by what authority he 
preacheth, or prayeth for them, or giveth them the Sacra- 
ment; or they may as well ask a schoolmaster, by what 
authority he calls his scholars to learn or say their lesson ; 
or a physician, by what authority he enjoineth them to take 

Chap. 6.) 1HE REFORMED PASTOR. 257 

his medicines. People consider not that, all our authority 
is but for our work ; even a power to do our duty, and our 
work is for them ; so it is but an authority to do them good. 
Hence they talk no wiser than if they were to quarrel with a 
man that would help to quench the fire in their thatch, and 
ask him by what authority he did it ; or that would give his 
money to relieve the poor, and they should ask him, by what 
authority do you require us to take this money ; or that had 
offered his hand to one that had fallen, to help him up ; or 
to one in the water to save him from drowning, and he should 
ask by what authority he did so. Truly, we have no wiser 
nor more thankful dealing from these men ; nay, it is worse, 
in that we are doubly obliged, both by Christian charity and 
the Ministerial office to do them good. I know not of any 
simile that doth more aptly express the Ministerial power 
and duty, and the people's duty, than these two conjunct: 
viz. a Physician in an hospital, that hath taken the charge 
of it, and a Schoolmaster in his school, especially such as 
the philosophers, or teachers of any science or art, whose 
schools have the aged and voluntary members, as well as 
children. Such are Ministers in the Church, and such is 
their work, and their authority to do it, and the duty of the 
people to submit thereto ; allowing such differences as the 
subject requireth. 

And what is it that hath brought people to this ignorance 
of their duty, but Custom? It is long of us, brethren, to 
speak truly and plainly, it is long of us, that have not used 
them nor ourselves to any more than common public work. 
We see how much custom doth with the people. Where it 
is the custom, they stick not among the Papists at the 
confessing of all their sins to the Priest ; and because it is 
not the custom among us, they disdain to be questioned, 
catechised, or instructed at all. They wonder at it as a 
strange thing, and say, ' Such things were never done before.' 
And if we can but prevail to make this duty become as 
usual as other duties, they will much more easily submit to 
it than now. What a happy thing would it be if you might 
live to see the day that it should be as ordinary for people 
of all ages to come in course to their Teachers for personal 
advice, and help for their salvation, as it is now usual for 
them to come to the Church, or as it is for them to send their 
vol. xiv. s 

258 gildas salvianus : [Chap. <3. 

children thither to be catechised. Our diligence in this 
work, is the way to do this. 

10. Moreover, our practice will give the Governors of 
the Nation some better information about the nature and 
burden of the Ministry, and so may procure their further 
assistance. It is a lamentable impediment to the Reforma- 
tion of the Church and the saving of souls, that in most 
populous Congregations, there is but one or two men to over- 
see many thousand souls, and so there are not labourers in 
any measure answerable to the work Hence it becomes an 
impossible thing to them to do any considerable measure of 
that personal duty which should be done by faithful Pastors 
to all the flock. 1 have often said it, and still must say it, 
that this is a great part of England's misery, and a great de- 
gree of spiritual famine which reigns in most cities and great 
towns through the land, even where they are insensible of it, 
and think themselves well provided. Alas, we see multi- 
tudes of carnal, ignorant, sensual sinners, round about us ! 
Here is a family, and there a family, and there almost a 
whole street or village of them, and our hearts pity them ; 
we see that their necessities cry aloud for our speedy and 
diligent relief, so that he that hath ears to hear must needs 
hear it : and if we would never so fain, we cannot help 
them ; not only through their obstinacy, but also through 
our want of opportunity. We have experience, that if we 
could but have leisure to speak to them, and to open 
plainly to them their sin and danger, there were great 
hopes of doing good to many of those, that receive little by 
our Public Teaching. But we cannot come at them : more 
necessary work prohibits us : We cannot do both at once : 
and the Public must be preferred, because there we deal with 
many at once : and it is as much as we are able to do, to 
perform the Public work, or some little more. If we take the 
time when we should eat or sleep, besides the ruining of our 
weakened bodies by it, we shall not be able after all, to speak 
to one of very many of them. So that we must stand by 
and see our people perish, and can but be sorry for them, and 
cannot so much as speak to them to endeavour their reco- 
very. Is not this a sad case in a Nation that glorieth of the 
fulness of the Gospel? An intidel will say, no ; but methinks 
no man that believes an everlasting joy or torment, should 

C/iap. 6.] TliE REFORMED P.UTOii. 259' 

say so. I u ill instance of my own case : We are together 
two Ministers, and a third at a Chapel, willing to bestow 
every hour of our lime in Christ's work. Before we under- 
took this work that we are now upon, our hands were full, 
and now we are engaged to set apart two days every week 
from morning to night for private Catechising and instruc- 
tion ; so that any man may see that we must leave undone 
all that other work that we were wont to do at that time : 
and we are necessitated to run upon the Public work of 
preaching with small preparation, and so must deliver the mes- 
sage of God in such a raw and confused manner, and unan- 
swerably to its dignity, and the needs of men's souls, that 
it is a great trouble to our minds to consider it, and a greater 
trouble to us when we are doing it. And yet it must be so : 
there is no remedy. Unless we will omit this personal in- 
struction, we must needs run thus unprepared into the pul- 
pit; and to omit this we dare not. it is so great and neces- 
sary a work. When we have incurred all the forementioned 
inconveniences, and have set two whole days every week 
apart for the work that we have now undertaken, it will be 
as much as we shall be able to do, to go over the Parish but 
once a year, there being in it about eight hundred families ; 
and what is worse than that, we shall be forced to cut it 
short, and do it less effectually than we ought, having above 
fifteen families to visit in a week. And alas, how small a 
matter is it to speak to a man once only in a year, and that 
so cursorily as we must be forced to do, in comparison of 
what their necessities require ! Yet are we in hope of some 
fruit of this much; but how much more might it be, if we 
could but speak to them once a quarter, and do the work 
more fully and deliberately, as you that are in smaller Pa- 
rishes may do. Many Ministers in England have ten times, 
if not more, the number of Parishioners that I have ; so that 
if they should undertake the work that we have done, they 
can go over the Parish but once in ten years ! Thus while 
we are hoping for opportunities to speak to them, we hear of 
one dying after another; and, to the grief of our souls, are 
forced to go with them to their graves, before we could ever 
speak a word to them personally to prepare them for their 
change. And what is the cause of all this misery ? Why, 
our Rulers have not seen a necessity of any more Ministers 
than one or two in such Parishes ; and so they have not al- 

260 GILDAS SALYIAM S : [Cltitp. 0*. 

lowed any maintenance to that end. Some have alienated 
much from the Church (the Lord humble all them that con- 
sented to it effectually, lest it prove the consumption of the 
Nation at last), while they have left this famine in the chief 
parts of the land, It is easy to separate from the multitude ; 
and gather distinct Churches, and let the rest sink or swim, 
and if they will not be saved by Public Preaching, let them be 
damned ; but whether this be the most charitable and Chris- 
tian course, one would think should be no hard question. What 
is the cause that wise and godly Rulers should be thus guilty of 
our misery, and that noneof ourcrieswillawaken them to com- 
passion ? What, are they so ignorant as not to know these 
things? Are they grown cruel to the souls of men ; or are they 
falsehearted to the interest of Christ, and have a design to un- 
dermine his kingdom ? No ; I hope it is none of these , 
but for ought I can find, it is even long of us, even of us 
the Ministers of the Gospel, whom they should thus main- 
tain. For those Ministers that have small Parishes, and 
might do all this private part of the work, yet do it not, but 
very few of them, and will not do it : and those in great 
towns and cities, that might do somewhat, though they can- 
not do all, will do just nothing but what accidentally falls 
in their way, or next to nothing ; so that Magistrates are 
not awakened to an observance or consideration of the 
weight of our work. If it be not in their eyes, as well as in 
their ears, they will not regard it. Or if they do apprehend 
the usefulness of it, yet if they see that Ministers are so 
careless and lazy that they will not do it, they think it in 
vain to provide them a maintenance for it — it would be but 
to cherish idle drones ; and so they think that if they main- 
tain Ministers enough to preach in the pulpit, they have 
done their part ; and thus are they involved in heinous sin, 
of which we are the occasion. Whereas if we do but 
heartily all set ourselves to this work, and shew the Magis- 
trate to his face, that it is a most weighty and necessary 
part of our business, and that we would do it thoroughly if 
we could, and that if there were hands enough at it, the 
work would go on ; and withal, when they shall see the 
happy success of our labours ; then, no doubt, if the fear of 
God be in them, and they have any love to his Truth and 
men's souls, they will put to their helping hand, and not let 
men perish because there is no man to speak to them to 

Chaj). (>.]' THE REFORMED PASTOR. 261 

prevent it. They will one way or other raise a maintenance 
in such populous places for labourers proportioned to the 
number of souls, and greatness of the work. Let them but 
see us fall to the work, and see it prosper in our hands ; as 
if it be well managed, through God's blessing, there is no 
doubt but it will, and then it will draw out our hearts to the 
promoting of it : and instead of laying Parishes together to 
diminish the number of Teachers, they will either divide 
them, or allow more Teachers to a Parish. But when they 
see that many carnal Ministers do make a greater stir to 
have more maintenance to themselves, than to have more 
help in the work of God, they are tempted by such world- 
lings to wrong the Church, that particular Ministers may 
have ease and fulness. 

11. Another benefit that is likely to follow our work, is 
this ; It may exceedingly facilitate the Ministerial service 
to the next generation that shall succeed us, and prevent 
the rebellion of people against their teachers. As 1 said, 
Custom is the thing that sways much with the multitude; 
and they that first break a destructive Custom, must bear 
the brunt of their indignation. Somebody must do this. 
If we do it not, it will lie upon our successors ; and how 
can we look that they should be more hardy and resolute, 
and faithful than we? We have seen the heavy judgments 
of the Lord, and heard him pleading by fire and sword with 
the land. We have been ourselves in the furnace, and 
should be the most refined. We are most deeply obliged 
by oaths and covenants, by wonderful deliverances, expe- 
riences, and mercies of all sorts ; and if we flinch and turn 
our back, and prove false-hearted, why should we expect 
better from those, that have not been driven by such 
scourges, nor drawn by such cords. But if they do prove 
better than we, and will do it, the same odium and opposi- 
tion must befal them which we avoid, and that with some 
increase, because of our neglect ; for the people will tell 
them that we, their predecessors did no such things. But 
if we would now break through, who are set in the front, 
and break the ice for them that follow us, their souls will 
bless us, our names shall be dear to them, and they will 
feel the happy fruits of our labours every week and day of 
their Ministry. When the people shall willingly submit to 
their private instructions and examinations, yea, and to Dis- 

262 gildas salvianus: [C7top. 6. 

cipline too, because we have acquainted them with it, re- 
moved the prejudice, and broke the evil custom that our 
foregoers had been the cause of; and so we may do much 
to the saving of many thousand souls in all ages to come, 
as well as in the present age that we are working in. 

12. Another benefit will be this : We shall keep our 
people's minds and time from much of that vanity that now 
possesseth them. When men are at work in their shops, 
almost all their talk is vanity ; the children also learn fool- 
ish and ribbald songs and tales ; and with such filth and rub- 
bish are their memories furnished. Many an hour is lost, 
and many thousands of idle thoughts and words are they 
guilty of. Whereas when they once know the Catechisms 
must be learned, and that they must all give account, it will 
turn much of their thoughts and time that way. 

13. Moreover, it will do much to the better ordering of 
families, and better spending of the Lord's-day. When we 
have once got the Master of the family to undertake it, that 
he will once every Lord's-day examine his family, and hear 
what they can say of the Catechism, it will find them the 
most profitable employment; whereas otherwise, many of 
them would be idle, or ill employed; and many Masters that 
know little themselves, may yet be brought to do this for 

14. Moreover, it will do some good to many Ministers 
that are apt to be too idle, and mispend their time in un- 
necessary discourses and businesses, as journies, or recrea- 
tions ; and it will let them see that they have no time to 
spare for such things. And so when they are engaged in so 
much pressing employment, of so high a nature, it will be 
the best cure for all that idleness or loss of time; and 
withal, it will cut off that scandal which usually followeth 
thereupon ; for people used to say, such a Minister can sit 
in an alehouse or tavern, or spend his time at bowls, or 
other sports, or vain discourse ; and why may not we do so 
as well as he ? Let us set close to this part of our work, and 
then see what time we can find to spare, and live idly, or 
in a way of voluptuousness or worldliness. 

15. And many Personal benefits to ourselves are conse- 
quential to these. It will do much to exercise and increase 
our own graces, and to subdue our own corruptions. And 
besides our safety, it will breed much peace to our own 

Chap. (>.] T.HE REFORMED PASTOR. 203 

consciences, and comfort us when our time and actions 
must be reviewed. (1.) To be much in provoking others to 
repentance, and heavenly-mindedness, may do much to ex- 
cite them in ourselves. — (2.) To cry down the sin of others, 
and engage them against it, and direct them to overcome it, 
will do much to shame us out of our own; and conscience 
will scarcely suffer us to live in that which we make so 
much ado to draw others from. And this very constant 
employment for God, and busying our minds and tongues 
against sin, and for Christ and holiness, will do much to 
habituate us, and to overcome our fleshly inclinations, both 
by direct mortification, and by diversion, leaving our fan- 
cies no room nor time for their old employment. I dare 
say, that all austerities of Monks and Hermits, who addict 
themselves to unprofitable solitude, and are the true imita- 
tors of the unprofitable servant who hid his talent because 
his master was an austere man, and that think to save them- 
selves by neglecting to shew compassion to others, will not 
do near so much in the true work of mortification, as this 
fruitful diligence for Christ will do. 

16. And it will be some benefit, that by this means we 
shall take off ourselves and our people from vain Contro- 
versies, and from employing our care and zeal in the lesser 
matters of Religion, which often hinder their spiritual edifi- 
cation : for while we are taken up in teaching, and they in 
learning the fundamentals, we shall divert our minds and 
tongues, and have less room for lower things ; and thus it 
will cure much wrangling and contention between Ministers 
and People ; for we do that which we need not, and should 
not, because we will not fall closely to do that which we 
need and should. If we could contrive to get some of the 
most understanding sort of our people to assist us in pri- 
vately helping others (though prejudice of others, and their 
own unripeness, and unfitness much hinder), it would be 
the most effectual way to prevent their running into Preach- 
ing distempers, or schisms; for this employment would 
take them up, and content the Teaching humour that they 
are inclined to ; and it might make their parts more useful 
in a safe and lawful way. 

17. Moreover, the very diligent practice of this work 
that we are upon, would do much to set men right about 

204 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 6< 

many Controversies that now trouble the Church, and so 
put an end to our differences. Especially, most of those 
about the Ministry, Churches, and Discipline, would receive 
more convincing light by practice, than all our idle talking, 
or writing will afford us. We have fallen of late into par- 
ties, and troubled the Church about many Controversies 
concerning Excommunication, in such and such cases, which 
perhaps never will fall out ; or if they do, they cannot be 
so well decided by any man that is not engaged in the 
practice. It is like the profession of a physician, a soldier, 
or a pilot, who can never be worth a straw at their work, 
by all the precepts in the world, without practice and ex- 
perience. This will be the only course to make — (1.) Sound 
Divines in the main, which bare studying will not do. — (2.) 
Recover us again to the Primitive simplicity, to live upon 
the substantial necessary things. — (3.) To direct and re- 
solve us in many of our quarrels which can no other way be 
well resolved. For example : If this work had been set on 
foot, and it had been but visible, what it is to have the over- 
sight of souls, durst any Prelates have contended for the 
sole oversight of two hundred, four hundred, or a thousand 
Churches ; and that the Presbyters might be but their Cu- 
rates and Informers? Durst they have striven with might 
and main, to have drawn upon themselves such impossibili- 
ties, and have carried such mountains on their backs, and 
to answer to God as Overseers, and Pastors of so many 
thousand People, whose faces they were never likely to see, 
much less were they ever likely to speak one word to them 
for their everlasting life ? Would they not have said, ' If I 
must be a Bishop, let me be a Parochial Bishop, or have no 
more to oversee than I am capable of overseeing, and let 
me be such as the Primitive Bishops were, that had but one 
Church, and not hundreds to take care of; and let me not be 
engaged to perform natural impossibilities, and that on 
pain of damnation, and to the certain destruction of the 
business that I undertake.' Surely these would rather have 
been their strivings. I speak not this against any Bishops 
that acknowledge the Presbyters to be true Pastors to rule 
and teach the flock, and take themselves only to be the 
Chief or Presidents among the Presbyters, yea, or the Rulers 
of Presbyters, that are the rulers of the flock ; but of them 


that null the Presbyter's Office, and the Church's Govern- 
ment and Discipline, by undertaking it alone as their sole 

Many other Controversies pertaining to Discipline I 
might instance, that will be better resolved by this course 
of practice, through the abundant experience which it will 
afford, than by all the disputations or writings that have at- 
tempted it. 

18. The design of this work is, the Reforming and saving 
of all the people in our several parishes; for we should not 
leave out any man that will submit to be instructed. And 
though we can scarcely hope that every particular person 
will be reformed and saved by it, yet have we reason to 
hope, that as the attempt is universal, so the success will 
be more general or extensive than hitherto we have seen of 
our other labours. Sure I am it is most like to the spirit, 
precepts, and offers of the Gospel which requireth us to 
preach the Gospel to every creature, and promiseth life to 
every man if he will accept it by believing. If God would 
have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of 
the Truth, that is, as Rector and Benefactor of the world, 
he hath manifested himself willing to save all men if they 
- will themselves, though his elect he will also make willing, 
then surely it beseems us to offer salvation unto all men, 
and to endeavour to bring them to the knowledge of the 
Truth : and if Christ tasted death for every man, it is meet 
we should preach his death to every man. This work hath 
a more excellent design, than our accidental conferences 
with now and then a particular person. And I observe that 
in such occasional Discourses men satisfy themselves to 
have spoken some good words, but seldom set plainly and 
closely to the matter, to convince men of sin, misery, and 
mercy, as in this purposely appointed work we are now 
more likely to do. 

19. And further, it is likely to be a work that shall reach 
over the whole land, and not stop with us that have now 
engaged in it. For though it be at the present neglected, I 
suppose the cause is the same with our brethren as it hath 
all this while been with us ; who by vain expectations of the 
Magistrates' interposition, or by that inconsiderateness and 
laziness which we are bewailing here this day, have omitted 

266 GILDAS SALVIANUS I [C/tlip. 6. 

it till now as we have done ; but especially a despair of a 
common submission of the people hath been the hindrance. 
But when they shall be remembered of so clear and great a 
duty, and excited to the consideration of it, and see with us 
the feisableness of it, in a good measure, when it is done by 
common consent, no doubt they will universally take it up, 
and gladly concur with us in so blessed a work. For they 
are the servants of the same God, as regardful of their flocks, 
as conscientious as we, as sensible of the interest of Christ, 
as compassionate to men's souls, and as self-denying, and 
ready to do or suffer for such excellent ends. Seeing there- 
fore they have the same Spirit, Rule, and Lord, I will not 
be so uncharitable as to doubt, whether all that are godly, 
or the generality of them, will gladly join with us through 
all the land. And O what a happy thing it will be to see 
such a general combination for Christ; to see all England so 
seriously called upon, and importuned for Christ, and set in 
so fair a way to heaven ! Methinks the consideration of it 
should make our hearts rejoice within us, to see so many 
faithful servants of Christ all over the land, to fall in with 
every particular sinner with such industrious solicitations 
for the saving of their souls, as men that will hardly take a 
denial. Methinks I see all the godly Ministers of England, 
setting upon the work already, and resolving to take the op- 
portunity that unanimity may facilitate it ; which if they do, 
no doubt but God will succeed them. Is it not then a most 
happy undertaking that you are are all setting your hands 
to, and desiring the assistance of Christ in this day? 

20. Lastly, of so great weight and excellency is the duty 
that we are upon, that the chief part of Church-reformation 
that is behind, as to means, consisteth in it ; and it must be 
the chief means to answer the judgment, the mercies, the 
prayers, the promises, the cost, the endeavours, and blood 
of the nation ; and without this it will not be done ; the ends 
of all these will never be well attained ; a Reformation to 
purpose will never be wrought ; the Church will be still low, 
the interest of Christ will be much neglected ; and God will 
still have a controversy with the land, and above all, with 
the Ministers that have been deepest in the guilt. 

How long have we talked of Reformation, how much 
have we said and done for it in general, and how deeply and 
devoutly have we vowed it for our own parts (of which more 


anon). And after all this, how shamefully have we neglected 
it, and do neglect it to this day ! We carry ourselves as if 
we had not known or considered what that Reformation was 
that we vowed. As carnal men will take on them to be 
Christians, and profess with confidence to believe in Christ 
and accept of his Salvation, and may contend for Christ, and 
fight for him, and yet for all this would have none of him, 
but perish for refusing him, who little dreamed that ever they 
had been refusers of him ; and all because they understood 
not what his Salvation is, and how it is carried on ; but 
dream of a salvation without flesh-displeasing, and without 
self-denying, and renouncing the world, and parting with 
their sins, and without any holiness or any great pains and 
labour of their own in subserviency to Christ and the Spirit : 
even so did too many Ministers and private men talk and 
write, and pray, and sigh, and long for Reformation, and 
would little have believed that man, that should have pre- 
sumed to tell them, that for all this their very hearts were 
against Reformation, and that they that were praying for 
it, and fasting for it, and wading through blood for it, would 
never accept it, but would themselves be the rejecters and 
destroyers of it. Yet so it is, and so it hath too plainly- 
proved ; and whence js all this strange deceit of heart, that 
good men should no better know themselves ? Why, the 
case is plain : they thought of a Reformation to be given by 
God, but not of a Reformation to be wrought on and by 
themselves. They considered the blessing, but never thought 
of the means of accomplishing it. As if they had expected 
that all things besides themselves should be mended without 
them ; or that the Holy Ghost should again descend mira- 
culously ; or every sermon should convert its thousands ; or 
that some Angel from heaven, or some Elias should be sent 
to restore all things ; or that the law of a Parliament, and 
the sword of a Magistrate would have converted or con- 
strained all, and have done the deed. Little did they think 
of a Reformation that must be wrought by their own dili- 
gence and unwearied labours, by earnest Preaching, Cate- 
chising, Personal instructions, and taking heed to all the 
flock, whatever pains or reproaches it should cost them. 
They thought not that a thorough Reformation must multi- 
ply their own work. We had all of us too carnal thoughts, 
that when we had ungodly men at our mercy, all would be 

268 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 6. 

done, and conquering them was converting them, or such a 
mean as would have frightened them to heaven. But the 
business is far otherwise ; and had we then known how a 
Reformation must be attained, perhaps some would have 
been colder in the prosecution of it. And yet I know that 
even foreseen labours seem small matters at a distance, 
while we do but hear or talk of them ; but when we come 
nearer them, and must lay our hands to the work, and put 
on our armour, and charge through the thickest of opposing 
difficulties, then is the sincerity and the strength of men's 
hearts brought to trial, and it will appear how they purposed 
and promised before. Reformation is to many of us, as the 
Messiah was to the Jews. Before he came they looked and 
longed for him, and boasted of him, and rejoiced in hope of 
him; but when he came, they hated him, and would not be- 
lieve that he was indeed the Person, and therefore perse- 
cuted and put him to death, to the curse and confusion of 
the main body of their nation. "The Lord whom we seek, 
shall suddenly come to his Temple, even the Messenger of 
the Covenant, whom ye delight in : But who can abide the 
day of his coming, and who shall stand when he appeareth ? 
For he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap : and he 
shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and 
silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righ- 
teousness." (Mai. iii. 1 — 3.) And the reason was, because 
it was another manner of Christ that the Jews expected, than 
Jesus was that did appear to them ; it was one to bring them 
riches, and liberty, and to this day they profess that they 
will never believe in any but such. So it is with too many 
about Reformation. They hoped for a Reformation that 
should bring them more wealth and honour with the people, 
and power to force men to do what they would have them ; 
and now they see a Reformation that must put them to more 
condescension and pains than ever they were at before; this 
will not go down with them. They thought of having the 
opposers of godliness under their feet; but now they see 
they must go to them with humble entreaties, and put their 
hands under their feet, if it would do them good, and meekly 
beseech even those that sometimes sought their lives ; make 
it now their daily business to overcome them by kindness, 
and win them with love. O how many carnal expectations 
are here crossed ! 

Chap, 6.] TH,E REFORMED PASTOR. 269 

Hence also it is, that most men do lay so great a part of 
Reformation in their private opinions or singular ways. The 
Prelatical party think that the true Reformation is to res- 
tore them to power; the Presbyterians, that if Prelacy and 
Independency were put down, and classes set up, the work 
were chiefly done ; the Independents, that if they had ga- 
thered a separated body of godly people under covenant, 
much of the Reformation were wrought ; and the Anabap- 
tists think, that if they could but get people to be baptized 
again, they had done a great matter for Reformation. I am 
not now reproving any of these in the matter, though the 
last especially, well deserve it, but that they lay so much 
upon their several orders and formalities as many of them 
do : when indeed if we had our will in all such matters of 
order, and had the rightest form of government in the world, 
it is the painful execution, and the diligent and prudent use 
of means for men's conversion and edification, by able, 
faithful men, that must accomplish the Reformation. 

Brethren, I dare confidently tell you, that if you will 
but faithfully perform what you have agreed upon, both in 
this business of Catechising and Personal instruction, and in 
the matter of Discipline formerly, where we have well waved 
all the controverted part, which hath so much ascribed to 
it, you will do more for the true Reformation, that is so de- 
sirable, and hath been so long prayed and eagerly contended 
for, are ever likely to effect. If Bishops would do this work, 
I would take them for Reformers ; and if Presbyters will do 
it, I will take them for Reformers ; and those that neglected 
and hindered it, I ever took for Deformers. Let us see the 
work well done, that God hath made so necessary for men's 
conversion, preservation, restoration and salvation, and the 
doers of it, whether Prelates or Presbyters, shall never have 
any opposition from me. But it is not bare canons, and 
orders, and names, and shows, that any wise man will take 
for the substance of Reformation ! It is not circumcision 
or uncircumcision, to be a Jew or a Gentile, bond or free, 
that availeth any thing, but a new creature, and faith that 
worketh by love. That is the Reformation which best heal- 
eth the ignorance, and infidelity, and pride, and hypocrisy, 
and worldliness, and other killing sins of the land, and that 
most effectually bringeth men to faith and holiness. Not 
that I would have the least truth or duty undervalued, or 

270 G 1 l d a s s a l v i a n u s : [Chap. 6. 

any part of God's will to be rejected : but the kingdom of 
God consisteth not in every truth or duty ; not in ceremo- 
nies or circumstances — not in meats or drinks; but in righ- 
teousness and peace, and-joy in the Holy Ghost. 

Dear brethren, it is you, and such as you, that under 
Christ must yet give this nation the fruit of all their prayers 
and pains, their cost and blood, and their heavy sufferings. 
All that they have been doing for the good of the Church, 
and for true Reformation for so many years, was but to pre- 
pare the way for you to come in and do the work which they 
desired. Alas, what would they do by fire and sword, by 
drums and trumpets, for the converting of souls ? The ac- 
tions of Armies and famous Commanders which seem so glo- 
rious, and make so great a noise that the world rings with 
them, what have they done, or what can they do that is worth 
talking of without you ? In themselves considered, all their 
Victories and great Achievement sare so far from being truly 
glorious, that they are very lamentable ; and a butcher may 
as well glory that he hath killed so many beasts, or a hang- 
man that he hath executed so many men, as they can glory 
in the thing considered in itself; for War is the most heavy 
temporal judgment: and far less cause would they have to 
glory, if their cause and end were wrong. If their hearts, 
end, and cause be right, and they mean as honestly as any 
men in the world, yet are these great Commanders but your 
pioneers, to cut up the thorns that stand in your way, to cast 
out the rubbish, and prepare you the way to build the house. 
Alas, they cannot with all their Victories exalt the Lord Jesus 
in the soul of any sinner ; and therefore they cannot set up 
his spiritual kingdom, for the hearts of men are his house 
and throne. If the work should stop with the end of theirs, 
and go no further than they can carry it, we should be in 
the end, but where we were in the beginning; and one gene- 
ration of Christ's enemies would succeed another, and they 
that take down the wicked would inherit their vices, as they 
possess their places, and the last would be far the worst, as 
being deeper in the guilt, and more engaged in evil-doing. 
All this trouble then, and stir of the Nation, hath been to 
bring the work to your hands ; and shall it die there ? God 
forbid ! They have opened you the door ; and, at exceeding- 
cost and sufferings have removed many of your impediments, 
and put the building-instruments into your hands • and will 


you now stand still and loiter ? God forbid ! Up then, bre- 
thren, and give the Nation the fruit of their cost and labour. 
Frustrate not all the Preparer's works: fail not the long ex- 
pectations of so many thousands that have prayed in hope 
of atrue Reformation; paid in hope, ventured in hope, suf- 
fered in hope, and waited till now in hope. In the name of 
God, take heed that you do not disappoint all these hopes ! 
Have they spent so long time in fencing the vineyard, and 
weeding and pruning it, and making it ready for your hands, 
and will you fail them that are sent to gather in the vintage, 
and lose their labours ? When they have ploughed the field, 
will you sow it by halves ? If they had known beforehand 
that Ministers would have proved idle or unfaithful, how 
many hundreds would have spared their blood, how many thou- 
sands would have sat still, and have let the old Readers and 
Formalists alone, and have said, ' If we must have dullards 
and unprofitable men, it is as good to have one as another ; 
it is not worth so much cost and pains to change one care- 
less Minister for another.' The end is the mover and life of 
the agent in all the means. How many thousands have 
prayed, and paid, and suffered, and more in expectation of 
a great advantage to the Church, and more common illumi- 
nation and Reformation of the Nation by your means ; and 
will you now deceive them all? Again I say, God forbid! 
It is at your hands that they are expecting the happy issue 
of all. The eyes of the Nation are, or should be, all under 
God upon you, for the bringing in the harvest of their cost 
and labours. I profess, it maketh me wonder at the fearful 
deceitfulness of the heart of man, to see how every man can 
call on others for duty, or censure them for the omitting it, 
and what excellent judges we are in other men's cases, and 
how partial in our own ! The very judicious Teachers of the 
Nation can cry out, and too justly, against one sect and an- 
other sect, and against unfaithful underminers of those that 
they thought would have done the work, and against the 
disturbers of the Reformation that was going on, and say, 
' These have betrayed the Church, and frustrated the Nation's 
cost and hopes, and undone all that hath been so long a do- 
ing.' And yet they see not, or seem not to see, that it is we 
that are guilty of this, as much as they. It was not the Ma- 
gistrates' driving, but the Ministers' drawing, that was the 
principal saving means that we waited for. 

272 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 6. 

Brethren, it were a strange mistake, if any of us should 
think, that the price of the Nation's wealth and blood was to 
settle us in good benefices, and to pull down the Bishops, 
and give us the quiet possession of our livings which they 
would have deprived us of. Was this the Reformation in- 
tended, that we might live in greater ease and fulness, and 
succeed the ejected Ministers in their less disgraced sins? 
Why, sirs, what are we more than other men, that the peo- 
ple should do all this for us ? That they should impoverish 
the whole Nation almost to provide us a livelihood? What 
can they see in our persons, or countenances for which they 
should so dote upon us ? Are we not men, frail and corrup- 
tible flesh, and unworthy sinners like themselves ? Surely 
it was for our work, and the end of our work, and not for 
our persons, but in order to our work, that they have done 
all this. What say you now, brethren ? Will you deal faith- 
fully with your creditors, and pay the Nation the debt which 
you owe them ? Shall all the blood and cost of this people 
be frustrated or not ? You are now called upon to give your 
answer, and it is you that must give it. The work is now 
before you ; and in these personal instructions of all the 
flock, as well as in Public preaching, doth it consist. Others 
have done their part, and borne their burden, and now comes 
in yours. You may easily see how great a matter lies upon 
your hands, and how many will be wronged by your failing, 
and how much by the sparing of your labour will be lost. 
If your labour be more worth than all our treasures, hazards, 
and lives, — more worth than the souls of men and the blood 
of Christ; then sit still, and look not after the ignorant or 
the ungodly ; follow your pleasures and worldly business, 
or take your ease ; displease not sinners, noryour own flesh ; 
but let your neighbours sink or swim ; and if Public preach- 
ing will not save them, let them perish. But if the case be 
far otherwise, you were best look about you. But I shall 
say more of this anon. 

II. Having given you the first sort of moving Reasons, 
which were drawn from the benefits of the present undertaken 
work, I come to the second sort, which are taken from the 
difficulties ; which if they were taken alone, or in a needless 
business, I confess might be rather discouragements than 
motives ; but taking these with those that go before and 


follow, the case is otherwise. For difficulties must excite 
to greater diligence in a necessary work. And many diffi- 
culties we shall find both in ourselves and in our people ; 
which, because they are things so obvious, that your expe- 
rience will leave no room for doubting, I shall take leave to 
pass them over in a few words. 

In ourselves there is much dulness and laziness, so that 
there will be much ado to get us to be faithful in so hard a 
work. Like a sluggard in bed, that knows he should rise, 
and yet delayeth and would stay as long as he can ; so do 
we by duties that our corrupt natures are against, and puts 
us to the use of all our powers. Mere sloth ties the hands of 

2. We have also a base man-pleasing disposition, which 
will make us let men perish lest we lose their love, and let 
them go quietly to hell, lest we should make them angry 
with us for seeking their salvation. We are ready to ven- 
ture on the displeasure of God, and suffer our people to run 
into everlasting misery, rather than get ill-will to ourselves. 
This disposition must be diligently resisted. 

3. Some of us have a foolish bashfulness, which makes 
us very backward to begin with them, and to speak plainly 
to them. We are so modest forsooth, that we blush to speak 
for Christ, to contradict the devil, or to save a soul j when 
of shameful works we are les3 ashamed. 

4. We are so carnal, that we are prone by our fleshly in- 
terests, to be drawn to unfaithfulness in the work of Christ; 
lest we lose our tithes, or bring trouble upon ourselves, or 
set people against us, and such like. All these require di- 
ligence for their resistance. 

5. The greatest impediment of all is, that we are weak in 
the faith ; so that when we should set upon a man for his 
conversion with all our might, if there be not the stirrings 
of unbelief within us, to rise up actual questionings of hea- 
ven and hell, whether the things that we should earnestly 
press be true; yet at least the belief of them is weak, and 
does not excite in us fervent, resolute, and constant zeal : 
thus our whole motion is weak, because the spring of faith 
is weak. O, what need therefore have all Ministers for them- 
selves and their work to look well to their faith, especially 
that their assent to the truth of Scripture, about the joy and 
torments of the life to come, be sound and lively. 


274 gild as salvianus: [Chap. 6. 

6. And lastly, we have commonly a great deal of unskilful- 
ness and unfitness for this work. Alas, how few know how 
to deal with an ignorant, worldly man for his salvation ! 
To get within him, and win upon him, and suit all speeches 
to his condition and temper ; to choose the fittest subjects, 
and follow them with the holy mixture of seriousness, ter- 
ror, love, meekness, and evangelical allurements ! O, who 
is fit for such a thing ! I profess seriously, it seems to me, 
by experience, as hard a matter to confer aright with such 
a carnal person in order to his change, as to preach such 
Sermons as ordinarily we do, if not much more so. All these 
difficulties in ourselves, should awaken us to resolutions, 
preparations and diligence, that we be not overcome by 
them, and hindered from, or in the work. 

In our People, we have also many difficulties to encoun- 
ter. 1. Too many of them will be obstinately unwilling to 
be taught, and refuse to come near us, as being too good 
to be Catechised, or too old to learn, unless we deal wisely 
with them in public and private, and by the force of reason, 
and the power of love conquer their perverseness, which we 
must carefully endeavour. 

2. Many that are willing are so extremely dull, that they 
can scarcely learn a leaf of a Catechism in a long time, and 
therefore will keep away, as ashamed of their ignorance, un- 
less we are wise and diligent to encourage them. 

3. When they do come, so great is their ignorance, that 
you will find it a wonderful hard matter to get them to un- 
derstand you ; so that if you have not the skill of making- 
things plain, you will leave them as strange to it as before. 

4. Yet harder will you find it to work things upon their 
hearts, and set them so close to the quick, as to produce 
that saving change, which is our end, and without which 
our labour is lost. O what a rock is a hardened, carnal 
heart! How stiffly will it resist the most powerful persua- 
sions, and hear of everlasting life or death as a thing of 
naught ! If you have not therefore great seriousness, and 
fervency, and fitness of expression, what good can you ex- 
pect? And when all is done, the Spirit of Grace must do 
the work ; but as God and men do use to choose instruments 
most suitable to the nature of the agent, work or end, so 
here the Spirit of wisdom, life, and holiness, doth not use to 

Chap. 6.] TH^E REFORMED PASTOR. 275 

work by foolish, dead or carnal instruments, but by such 
persuasions of light, life, and purity, as are most like him- 
self and the work that is to be wrought thereby. 

5. And when you have made some desirable impressions 
on their hearts, if you look not after them, and have a spe- 
cial care of them when they are gone, their hearts will soon 
return to their former hardness, and their old companions, 
and temptations will render all abortive. I do but briefly 
hint these things which you so well know. All the difficul- 
ties of the work of Conversion, which you use to acquaint 
the people with, are here before us in our present work ; 
which I will forbear to enumerate, as supposing it unne- 

III. The third sort of moving reasons are drawn from 
the necessity of the undertaken work : for if it were not ne- 
cessary, the lazy might be discouraged rather than excited, 
by the forementioned difficulties. And if we should here 
expatiate, we might find matter for a volume by itself. But 
because I have already been longer than I did intend, I shall 
only give you a brief hint of some of the general grounds of 
this necessity. 

In the first place it is necessary by obligation, ' Ut Offi- 
cium, necessitate prsecepti :' in the second it is necessary 
' ad finem ;' and that for God, for our neighbours, and for 

(1.) We have on us the obligation of Scripture-precepts, 
both general, and special. — (2.) The subservient obligation 
by promises and threatenings. — (3.) These are seconded by 
executions, of actual judgments, and mercies. — (4.) We 
have the obligation of our own undertaking upon us. These 
all deserve your consideration, but may not be insisted on 
by me, lest I be over tedious. 

1. Every Christian is obliged to do all that he can for 
the salvation of others ; but every Minister is doubly obliged, 
because he is separated to the Gospel of Christ, and is to 
give up himself wholly to that work. (Rom. i. 1 ; 1 Tim. iv. 
15.) It is needless to make any further question of our ob- 
ligation, when we know that this work is needful to our 
people's conversion and salvation, and that we are in general 

276 gildas salviaxus: [Chap. 6. 

commanded to do all that is needful to those ends, as far as 
we are able. That they are necessary to those ends hath 
been shewed before ; and shall be more anon. Even old 
professors have need to be taught the Principles of God's 
oracles, if they have neglected or forgotten them, saith the 
Apostle, 7raXiv yrp&av £/£T£ ts SiScigkeiv v/nag nva ra goty^eia t>j 
lipxys twv Xoy'iiDv rs Gts. (Heb. v. 12.) That the unconverted 
have need of Conversion, and the means of it, I hope is not 
doubted among us ; and whether this be a means, and a 
needful means, experience may put us far out of doubt, if 
we had no more. Let them that have taken most pains in 
public, examine their people, and try whether many of them 
be not yet as ignorant and as careless almost as if they had 
never heard the Gospel. For my part, I study to speak as 
plainly and affectingly as I can ; next my study to speak 
truly, this is my chief study, and yet I frequently meet with 
those that have been my hearers eight or ten years, who 
know not whether Christ be God or man, and wonder when 
I tell them the history of his birth, life, and death, and send- 
ing abroad the Gospel, as if they had never heard it before ; 
and that know not that infants have any original sin : and 
of those that know the history of the Gospel, how few are 
there that know the nature of that repentance, faith and ho- 
liness, that it requireth ; or at least, that know their own 
hearts ! But most of them have an ungrounded affiance in 
Christ, trusting that he will pardon, justify and save them, 
while the world hath their hearts, and they live to the flesh ; 
and this affiance they take for justifying faith. I have found 
by experience, that an ignorant sot that hath been an un- 
profitable hearer so long, hath got more knowledge and re- 
morse of conscience in half an hour's close discourse, than 
they did from ten year's public preaching. I know that the 
public preaching of the Gospel is the most excellent means, 
because we speak to many at once ; but otherwise, it is 
usually far more effectual to preach it privately to a parti- 
cular sinner ; for the plainest man that is, can scarcely speak 
plain enough in public for them to understand ; but in pri- 
vate we may much more. In Public, we may not use such 
homely expressions, or repetitions, as their dulness doth re- 
quire, but in private we may. In Public our speeches are 
long, and we quite overrun their understandings and memo- 
ries, and they are confounded and at a loss, and not able to 


follow us, and one thing drives out another, so that they 
know not what we said ; but in private we can take our 
work 4 Gradatim,' and take our hearers with us as we go ; 
and by questions and their answers, can see how far they 
go with us, and what we have next to do. In Public by 
length and speaking alone, we lose their attention ; but when 
they are interlocutors, we can easily cause them to attend. 
Besides that, we can, as we above said, better answer the 
objections, and engage them by promises before we leave 
them, which in public we cannot do. I conclude, therefore, 
that Public preaching will not be sufficient : for though it 
may be an effectual means to convert many, yet not so many 
as experience and God's appointment of further means may 
assure us. You may long study and preach to little pur- 
pose, if you neglect this duty. 

For instances of particular special obligations, we might 
easily shew you many, both from Christ's own examples, 
who used this interlocutory preaching both to his disciples 
and to the Jews, and from the Apostles' examples, who did 
the like : but that indeed it would be needless tediousness 
to recite the passages to those that so well know them, it 
being the most ordinary way of the Apostles' preaching, to 
do it thus interlocutorily and discourse it out in the con- 
clusion. Thus Peter preached to the Jews, (Acts ii,) and to 
Cornelius and his friends, (Acts x,) and thus Philip preached 
to the Eunuch, (Acts ix,) and thus Paul preached to the 
jailor, (Acts xvi,) and to many others. It is plain that it 
was the most common manner of preaching in those times, 
which occasioneth the Quakers to challenge us to shew 
where any ever took a text, and preached as we do ; (though 
they might have found that Christ did so, Luke iv. 18.) 
Paul preached privately to them of reputation, lest he should 
have run, and laboured in vain ; (Gal. ii. 2 ;) and that earnest 
charge, no doubt, includeth it, 2 Tim. iv. 1, 2. " I charge 
thee, therefore, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who 
shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing, and his 
kingdom ; preach the word, be instant in season, and out of 
season ; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and 
doctrine." Both public preaching, and all sorts of reproofs 
and exhortations are here required. 

And how these precepts are seconded with promises and 

278 gildas salvj anus : [Chap. 6. 

threatenings, is so well known, I shall pass it over with the 

2. There is a necessity also of this duty ' ad finem.' 
(1.) For bringing greater glory to God, by the more full 
success of the Gospel : not simply to his glory, as if he could 
not have his glory without it: for so our salvation is not ne- 
cessary to his glory ; but to his greater glory, because he is 
most honoured and pleased when most are saved; for he hath 
sworn that he hath no pleasure in the death of a sinner, but 
rather that he return and live. And, doubtless, as every 
Christian liveth to the glory of God as his end, so will he 
gladly take that course that may most effectually promote it ; 
for what man would not attain his end ? O, brethren, if we 
could set this work on foot in all the parishes of England, 
and get ourpeople to submit to it, and then prosecute it skil- 
fully and zealously ourselves, what a glory would it put upon 
the face of the nation, and what glory would redound to God 
thereby ! If our common ignorance were thus banished, and 
our vanity and idleness turned into the study of the way of 
life, and every shop, and every house, were busied in learning 
Catechisms, and speaking of the word and works of God, 
what pleasure would God take in our cities and countries ! 
He would even dwell in our habitations, and make them his 
delight. It is the glory of Christ that shineth in his Saints, 
and all their glory is his glory; that therefore which honoureth 
them, in number or excellency, honoureth him. Will not the 
glory of Christ be most wonderful and conspicuous in the 
new Jerusalem, when the Church shall have that shining lus- 
tre that is described in Rev. xxi. It is He that is the Sun 
and the Shield of his Church, and his light is it in which they 
shall have light ; and the business of every Saint is to glorify 
him. If therefore we can increase the number or strength of 
the Saints, we thereby increase the honour of the King of 
Saints ; for he will have service and praise where before he 
had disobedience and dishonour. Christ also will be ho- 
noured in the fruits of his bloodshed, and the Spirit of Grace 
in the fruit of his operations ; and do not all these ends re- 
quire that we use the means with diligence ? 

(2.) This duty also is necessary to the welfare of our 
People. How much it doth tend to their salvation, is mani- 
fest. Brethren, can you look believingly on yr>ur miserable 


neighbours, and not perceive them calling for your help? 
There is not a sinner whose case you should not so far com- 
passionate, as to be willing to relieve them at a dearer rate 
than this. Can you see them as the wounded man by the 
way, and unmercifully pass by? Can you hear them cry to 
you, as the man of Macedonia to Paul in his vision, "Come and 
help us ;" and yet will you refuse your help ? Are you en- 
trusted with an hospital, where one languisheth in one corner, 
and another groaneth in another, and crieth out ' O help me, 
pity me for the Lord's sake,' and a third is raging mad, and 
would destroy himself and you ; and yet will you sit idle, or 
refuse your help ? If it may be said of him that relieveth not 
men's bodies, how much more of them that relieve not men's 
souls ! " If you see your brother have need, and shut up 
the bowels of your compassion from him, how dwelleth the 
love of God in you?" You are not such hard-hearted men, 
but you will pity a leper — you will pity the naked, imprisoned 
or desolate — you will pity him that is tormented with grie- 
vous pain or sickness ; and will you not pity an ignorant, 
hard-hearted sinner? Will you not pity one that must be 
shut out from the presence of the Lord, and lie under his 
remediless wrath, if thorough repentance speedily prevent it 
not? O what a heart it is that will not pity such an one ! What 
shall I call the heart of such a man? A heart of stone, or a 
very rock, or adamant, or the heart of a tiger, or rather, the 
heart of an Lvfidel; for surely if he believed the misery of 
the impenitent, is it not possible but he should have pity on 
him ! Can you tell men in the pulpit, that they shall cer- 
tainly be damned except they repent, and yet have no pity on 
them when you have proclaimed their danger; and if you 
pity them, will you not do this much for their salvation ? 
What multitudes round about you are blindly hastening to 
perdition ; and your voice is appointed to be the means of 
reclaiming them ! The physician hath no excuse, who is 
doubly bound to relieve the sick, when every neighbour is 
to help him. 

Brethren, what if you heard sinners cry after you in the 
streets, ' O sirs, have pity on me, and afford me your advice, 
I am afraid of the everlasting wrath of God ! I know I 
must shortly leave this world, and I am afraid lest I shall 
be miserable in the next !' Could you deny your help to 
such a sinner? What if they came to your study-door, and 

280 gildas salvianus : [Chap. t>. 

cried for help, and would not go away till you had told them 
how to escape the wrath of God ; could you find in your 
hearts to drive them away without advice ? I am confident 
you could not. Why, alas, such persons are less miserable 
than they that cannot cry for help. It is the hardened sinner 
that cares not for your help, that most needeth it ; and he 
that hath not so much life as to feel that he is dead, nor so 
much light as to see his danger, nor so much sense left as to 
pity himself — this is the man that is most to be pitied. Look 
upon your neighbours round about you, and think what 
numbers need your help in no less a case than the apparent 
danger of damnation. And every impenitent person that 
you see, and know about you, suppose that you hear them 
cry to you, ' If ever you pitied poor wretches, pity us, lest 
we should be tormented in the flames of hell ; if you have 
the hearts of men pity us !' Do that for them that you would 
if they followed you with such complaints. O how can you 
walk, and talk, and be merry with such people, when you know 
their case ! Methinks when you look them in the face, and 
think how they must lie in perpetual misery, you should 
break forth into tears, as the Prophet did when he looked 
upon Hazael, and then begin with the most importunate ex- 
hortations ! When you must visit them in their sickness, will 
it not wound your hearts to see them ready to depart into 
misery, before you have ever dealt seriously with them for 
their recovery ? O then for the Lord's sake, and for the sake 
of poor souls, have pity on them, and bestir yourselves, and 
spare no pains that may conduce to their salvation. 

(3.) And I must further tell you, that this Ministerial fide- 
lity is necessary to your own welfare, as well as to that of 
your people; for this is your work, according to which you 
shall be judged. You can no more be saved without Minis- 
terial diligence and fidelity, than they or you can be saved 
without Christian diligence and fidelity. If you care not for 
others, at least care for yourselves. O what is it to answer 
for the neglect of such a charge ; and what sins more heinous 
than the betraying of souls ! Doth not this threatening make 
you tremble : " If thou warn not the wicked — their blood will 
I require at thy hands." I am afraid, nay, 1 am past doubt, 
that the day is near when unfaithful Ministers will wish that 
they had never known that charge ; but that they had rather 
been colliers, or tinkers, or sweepers of channels, than Pas- 

Chap. 6.] TtfE REFORMED PASTOR. 281 

tors of Christ's flock ! When, besides all the rest of their 
sins, they shall have the blood of so many souls to answer for, 
O brethren, our death as well as that of our people, is at 
hand ; and it is as terrible to an unfaithful Pastor as to any ! 
When we see that die we must, and there is no remedy, no 
wit or learning, no credit or popular applause, can put by the 
stroke, or delay the time ; but willing or unwilling, our souls 
must go, and that into a world that we never saw, where our 
persons and worldly interest will not be respected. Othen 
for a clear conscience, that can say,  I live not to myself but 
to Christ ; I spared no pains, I hid not my talent; I concealed 
not men's misery, nor the way of their recovery.' O, sirs, let 
us therefore take time while we may have it, and work while 
it is day ; for the night cometh when none can work. This 
is our day too ; and by doing good to others, we must do good 
to ourselves. If you would prepare for a comfortable death, 
and a sure and great reward, the harvest is before you: gird 
up the loins of your minds, and quit yourselves like men, that 
you may end your days with confident triumph : " I have 
fought a good fight, I have kept the faith, I have finished my 
course ; henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteous- 
ness, which God the righteous Judge shall give me." And 
if you would be blessed with those who die in the Lord, labour 
noiv, that you may rest from your labours then; and do such 
works as you would wish should follow you, and not such as 
will prove your terror in the review. 

Having found so great reason to move us to this work, 
I shall, before I come to the directions, (1.) Apply them fur- 
ther for our humiliation and excitation. And (2.) Answer 
some objections that may be raised. 

1. What cause have we to plead before the Lord this day, 
that have neglected so great and good a work so long — that 
we have been Ministers of the Gospel so many years, and 
done so little, by personal instruction and conference, for the 
saving of men's souls ! If we had but set about this business 
sooner, who knows how many more might have been brought 
over unto Christ, and how much happier we might have made 
our Parishes, ere now ; and why might we not have done it 
sooner? I confess many impediments were in our way, and 
so there are still, and will be while there is a devil to tempt, 
and a corrupt heart in man to resist the light ; but if the 

282 GILD AS SAL VI AN us : [Chap. 6. 

greatest impediment had not been in ourselves, even in our 
own darkness, and dulness, and undisposedness to duty, I see 
not but much might have been done before now. We had the 
same God to command us, and the same miserable objects of 
compassion, and the same liberty from Governors of the Com- 
monwealth ; but we stood looking for changes, and we would 
have had the Magistrate not only to have given us leave to 
work, but to have done our work for us, or at least to have 
brought the game to our hands ; and while we looked for 
better days, we made them worse by the lamentable neglect 
of a chief part of our work. And had we as much petitioned 
Parliaments for the interposition of their authority to com- 
pel men to be Catechised and instructed by the Minister, as 
we did for maintenance and other matters, it is likely we 
might have obtained it long ago, when they were forward to 
gratify us in such undisputable things. But we have sin- 
ned, and have no just excuse for our sin; somewhat that 
may perhaps excuse ' a tanto,' but nothing ' a toto ;' and 
the sin is so great, because the duty is so great, that we 
should be afraid of pleading excuse too much. The Lord in 
mercy forgive us, and lay not this or any of our Ministerial 
negligences to our charge. O that he would cover all our 
unfaithfulness ; and by the blood of the everlasting Cove- 
nant, wash away our guilt of the blood of souls, that when 
the chief Shepherd shall appear, we may stand before him 
in peace, and may not be condemned for scattering his flock. 
And O that he would put up his controversy which he hath 
against the Pastors of his Church, and not deal more se- 
verely with them for our sakes, nor suffer underminers or 
persecutors to scatter them, as they have suffered his sheep 
to be scattered ! And that he will not care as little for 
them, as they have done for the souls of men ; nor think 
his salvation too good for them, as they have thought their 
labour and sufferings too much for men's salvation. And 
as we have had many days of humiliation in England, for 
the sins of the land, and the judgments that have lain upon 
us ; I hope we shall hear that God will more thoroughly hum- 
ble the Ministers, and cause them to bewail their own neg- 
lects, and to set apart some days through the land to that 
end, that they may not think it enough to lament the sins 
of others, while they overlook their own ; and that God may 
not abhor our solemn National humiliations, because they 


are managed by unhumbled guides ; and that we may first 
prevail with him for a pardon for ourselves, that we may be 
the fitter to beg for the pardon of others. 

And, O that we might cast out the dung of our pride, 
contention, self-seeking and idleness, lest God should cast 
our sacrifices as dung in our faces, and should cast us out 
as the dung of the earth, as of late he hath done many others 
for our warning ! And that we might presently resolve in 
concord to mend our pace, before we feel a sharper spur 
than hitherto we have felt. 

2. And now brethren, what have we to do for the time 
to come, but to deny our lazy, contradicting flesh, and rouse 
up ourselves to the business that we are engaged in. The 
harvest is great ; the labourers are too few ; the loiterers 
and contentious hinderers are many; the souls of men are 
precious ; the misery of sinners is great, and the everlasting 
misery that they are in danger of is greater ; the beauty and 
glory of the Church is desirable, the joy that we are helping 
them to, is inconceivable ; the comfort that followeth a faith- 
ful stewardship is not small ; the comfort of a full success 
also will be greater. To be co-workers with God and his 
Spirit, is not a little honour; to subserve the bloodshed of 
Christ for men's salvation, is not a light thing ; to lead on 
the armies of Christ through the thickest of the enemies, 
and guide them safely through a dangerous wilderness, and 
steer the vessel through such storms, and rocks, and sands, 
and shelves, and bring it safe to the harbour of rest, requi- 
reth no small skill and diligence. The fields now seem 
even white unto harvest, the preparations that have been 
made for us, are very great, the season of working is more 
warm and calm than most ages before us have ever seen : 
we have carelessly loitered too long already; the present 
time is posting away : while we are trifling, men are dying, 
and passing quickly into another world. And is there no- 
thing in all this to awaken us to our duty, and to resolve us 
to speedy and unwearied diligence ? Can a man be too 
careful and active under all these motives and engagements ? 
Or can that man be a fit instrument for other men's illumi- 
nation, that were himself so blind? Or for the quickening 
of others, that were himself so senseless ? What, sirs, are 
you that are men of wisdom, as dull as the common people ? 
And do we need to heap up a multitude of words to per- 

284 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 6. 

suade you to a known and weighty duty ? One would think 
it should be enough to set you on work, to shew aline in 
the Book of God to prove it to be his will ; or to prove to 
you that the work hath a tendency to men's salvation ; or 
that the very sight of your miserable neighbours should be 
sufficient to draw out your most compassionate endeavours 
for their relief. If a cripple do but open his sores, and shew 
you his disabled limbs, it will move you without words ; 
and will not the case of souls that are near to damnation 
move you ? O happy Church, if the physicians were but 
healed themselves ; and if we had not too much of that infi- 
delity and stupidity which we daily preach against in others! 
Were there but such clear and deep impressions upon our 
souls, of those glorious things that we daily preach, O what 
a change would it make in our Sermons, and in our private 
discourse! O what a miserable thing it is to the Church 
and to themselves, that men must preach of heaven and hell, 
before they heartily believe the reality of either, or have 
felt the weight of the doctrines which they preach ! It 
would amaze a sensible man to think what matters we preach 
and talk of! What it is for the soul to pass out of this flesh, 
and go before a righteous God, and enter upon unchange- 
able joy or torment! O with what amazing thoughts do 
dying men view these things ! How should such matters 
be preached and discoursed of! O the gravity, the serious- 
ness, the incessant diligence that these things require ! 1 
know not what others think of them, but for my part, I am 
ashamed of my stupidity, and wonder at myself that I deal 
not with my own and other's souls, as one that looks for the 
great day of the Lord ; and that I can have room for almost 
any other thoughts or words, and that such astonishing 
matters do not wholly occupy me. I marvel how I can 
preach of them slightly and coldly, how I can let men alone 
in their sins, and that I do not go to them and beseech them 
for the Lord's sake to repent, however they take it, and 
whatever pains or trouble it may cost me ! I seldom come 
out of the pulpit, but my conscience smiteth me that I have 
been no more serious and fervent. It accuseth me not so 
much for want of human ornaments or elegance, nor for let- 
ting fall an uncouth word ; but it asketh me, ' How couldst 
thou speak of life and death with such an heart ? How 
couldst thou preach of heaven and hell, in such a careless, 

Chap. 6.] TyE reformed pastor. 285 

sleepy manner ? Dost thou believe what thou hast said ? 
Art thou in earnest or in jest ? How canst thou tell people 
that sin is such a thing, and that so much misery is upon 
them and before them, and be no more afflicted with it? 
Shouldst thou not weep over such a people, and should not 
thy tears interrupt thy words ; shouldst not thou cry aloud, 
and shew them their transgressions, and entreat and beseech 
them as for life and death V Truly, this is the peal that 
Conscience doth ring in my ears, and yet my drowsy soul is 
not fully awakened. O what a thing is a senseless, har- 
dened heart ! O Lord, save us from the plague of infidelity 
and hard-heartedness ourselves, or else how shall we be fit 
instruments of saving others from it? I am even confounded 
to think what a difference there is between my views in sick- 
ness, and my pulpit discourse, and conversation in health 
concerning the life to come : that that can appear so light 
to me now, which seemeth so great and astonishing a mat- 
ter then ; and which I know will be so again when death 
looks me in the face. O, brethren, surely, if you had all 
conversed with death as often as I have done, and as often 
received the sentence in yourselves, you would have an un- 
quiet conscience, if not a reformed life in your Ministerial 
diligence and fidelity ; and you would have something with- 
in you that would frequently ask you such questions as 
these : ' Is this all thy compassion for lost sinners? Wilt 
thou do no more to seek and to save them ? Is there not 
such and such a one, — O, how many round about thee, that 
are yet the visible sons of death ? What hast thou said to 
them, or done for their recovery ? Shall they die and be 
in hell before thou wilt speak to them one serious word to 
prevent it? Shall they there curse thee for ever that didst 
no more in time to save them?' Such cries of conscience 
are daily in my ears, though, the Lord knows, I have too 
little obeyed them. The God of Mercy pardon me, and 
awake me with the rest of his servants that have been thus 
sinfully negligent ! I confess to my shame, that I seldom 
hear the bell toll for one that is dead, but conscience ask- 
eth me, ' What hast thou done for the saving of that soul 
before it left the body? There is one more gone to judg- 
ment ; what didst thou to prepare that immortal spirit for 
judgment?' And yet I have been slothful and backward to 
help the rest that do survive. How can you refrain, when 
you are laying a corpse in the grave, from thinking, ' Here 

286 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 6. 

lieth the body, but where is the soul, and what have I done 
for it, before it departed? It was part of ray charge — 
what account can I give of it V O, sirs, is it a small matter 
to you to answer such questions as these ! It may seem so 
now, but the hour is coming when it will not. If our hearts 
condemn us, God is greater than our hearts, and will con- 
demn us much more, with another kind of condemnation 
than conscience doth. The voice of conscience now is a 
still voice, and the sentence of conscience is a gentle sen- 
tence, in comparison of the voice, and the sentence of God. 
Alas ! conscience seeth but a very little of our sin and 
misery, in comparison of what God seeth. What mountains 
would those things appear to your souls, which now seem 
mole-hills ; and what beams would these be in your eyes 
that now seem motes, if you did but see them with a clearer 
light ; I dare not say, as God seeth them. We can easily 
make shift to plead the cause with conscience, and either 
bribe it, or bear its sentence ; but God is not so easily 
dealt with, nor his sentence so easily borne. " Wherefore 
we receiving (and preaching) a kingdom that cannot be 
moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God ac- 
ceptably, with reverence, and godly fear ; for our God is a 
consuming fire." (Heb. xii. ult.) But because you shall 
not say, that I affright myself or you with bugbears, and 
tell you of dangers and terrors when there are none, I will 
here add the certainty of that condemnation that is likely 
to befal negligent Pastors, and particularly that will befal 
us, that are here this day, if we shall hereafter be wilful 
neglecters of this great work. Many will be ready to rise 
up against us to our condemnation. 

(1.) Our Parents that destinated us to the Ministry may 
condemn us, and say, ' Lord, we devoted them to thy ser- 
vice, and they made light of it, and served themselves.' 

(2.) Our Masters that taught us, our Tutors that in- 
structed us, the schools and universities that we lived in, 
and all the years that we spent in study may rise up in 
judgment against us, and condemn us. For why was all 
this, but for the work of God? 

(3.) Our learning, knowledge, and Ministerial gifts, will 
condemn us. For to what are we made partakers of these, 
but for the work of God ? 

(4.) Our voluntarily undertaking the charge of souls 

Chap, d.] TH£ REFORMED PASTOR. 287 

will condemn us ; for all men should be true to the Trust 
that they have undertaken. 

(5.) All the care of God for his Church, and all that 
Christ hath done and suffered for them will rise up in judg- 
ment against us, and condemn us ; because by our negli- 
gence we destroyed them for whom Christ died. 

(6.) All the severe precepts, and charges of holy Scrip- 
ture, with the Promises of assistance and reward, and all 
the threatenings of punishment, will rise up against the un- 
faithful and condemn them : for God did not speak all 
this in vain. 

(7.) All the Examples of the Prophets and Apostles 
and other preachers recorded in Scripture, will rise up 
against such and condemn them : even this pattern that is 
set them by Paul, (Acts xx,) and all the examples of the 
diligent servants of Christ in these later times, and in the 
places around them. For these were for their imitation, 
and to provoke them to an holy emulation, in fidelity and 
Ministerial diligence. 

(8.) The Holy Bible that is open before us, and all the 
books in our studies that tell us of our duty, directly or in- 
directly, condemn the lazy and unprofitable servants; for 
we have not all these helps and furniture in vain. 

(9.) All the Sermons that we preach to persuade our 
people to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, 
to lay violent hands upon the crown, and take the kingdom 
as by force, to strive to enter in at the strait gate, and so 
to run as that they may obtain, will rise up against us and 
condemn us ; for if it concern them to labour for their sal- 
vation, doth it not concern us who have the charge of them 
to be also violent, laborious, and unwearied in striving to 
help on their salvation ? Is it worth their labour, and pa- 
tience, and is it not also worth ours ? 

(10.) All the Sermons that we preach to them to set out 
the danger of a natural state, the evil of sin, the need of 
Christ, and grace, thejoys of heaven, and the torments of hell, 
yea, and the truth of the Christian Religion, will rise up in 
judgment against us and condemn us. And a sad review it 
will be, when we shall be forced to think, ' Did I tell them 
of such great dangers and hopes in public, and would I do 
no more to help them in private ? What, tell them daily of 
threatened damnation, and yet let them run into it so easily? 

288 gild as salvianus: [Chap. 6. 

Tell them of such a glory, and scarcely speak a word to 
them personally to help them to it. Were these such great 
matters with me at Church, and so small when I came home?' 
All this is dreadful self-condemnation. 

(11.) All the Sermons that we have preached to persuade 
other men to such duties ; as neighbours to exhort one 
another daily, and plainly to rebuke them that sin; parents 
and masters to do it to their children and servants ; all 
these will condemn us. For shall we persuade others to 
that which we will not do ourselves 1 When we threaten 
them for neglecting it, we threaten our own souls. 

(12.) All our hard censures of the Magistrate for doing 
no more, and all our reproofs of him for permitting seducers, 
and denying his further assistance to the Ministers, doth 
condemn ourselves if we refuse our own duty. What, must 
all the Rulers of the world be servants to our slothfulness, 
or light us the candle to do nothing, or only hold the stir- 
rup to our pride, or make our beds for us, that we may sleep 
by daylight? Should they do their part in a subordinate 
office to protect and further us, and should not we do ours, 
who stand nearest to the end? 

(13.) All the Maintenance that we take for our Service, 
if we be unfaithful, will condemn us : for who is it that will 
pay a servant to take his pleasure, or sit still, or work for 
himself? If we have the fleece, it is surely that we may 
look to the flock. By taking the wages, we oblige our- 
selves to do the work. 

(14.) All the honour that we expect, or receive from the 
people, and all the Ministerial privileges before mentioned 
will condemn the unfaithful ; for the honour is but the en- 
couragement to the work, and obligeth to it. 

(15.) All the witness that we have borne against the 
scandalous, negligent Ministers of this age, and the words 
we have spoken against them, and all the endeavours that 
we have used for their removal, will condemn the unfaith- 
ful ; for God is no respecter of persons. If we succeed 
them in their sins, we spoke all that against ourselves"; and 
as we condemned them, God and others will condemn us, 
if we imitate them ; and though we be not so bad as they, 
it will prove sad to be too like them. 

(16.) All the judgments that God hath executed on them 
in this age before our eyes, will condemn us, if we be un- 


faithful; hath he made the idle shepherds and sensual 
drones to stink in the nostrils of the people, and will he ho- 
nour us, if we be idle and sensual? Hath he sequestered 
them, and cast them out of their habitations, and out of the 
pulpits, and laid them by as dead while they are alive, and 
made them a hissing and a by-word in the land ; and yet dare 
we imitate them? Are not their sufferings our warnings? If 
any thing in the world should awaken Ministers to self-denial 
and diligence, one would think we had seen enough to do it. 
If the judgments of God on one man could do so much, what 
should so many years' judgment on so many hundreds do? 
Would you have imitated the old world, if you had seen the 
flood that drowned them ! Would you have taken up the sins 
of Sodom, "pride, fulness of bread, and idleness," if you had 
stood by and seen the flames of Sodom? This was God's 
argument to deter the Israelites from the Nations' sins, be- 
cause, " for all these things they had seen them cast out 
before them." Who would have been a Judas that had seen 
him hang himself; or a lying sacrilegious hypocrite, that 
had seen Ananias and Sapphira struck dead ? Who would 
not have been afraid to contradict the Gospel, that had 
seen Elymas struck blind ? And'shall we approve self-seek- 
ing, idle Ministers, when we have seen God scourging such 
out of his Temple, and sweeping them away in his displea- 
sure ? God forbid ! for then how great, and how manifold 
will our condemnation be ! 

(17.) All the disputations and eager contests that we 
have had against unfaithful men, and for a faithful Ministry, 
will condemn us, if we be unfaithful ; and so will the books 
that we have written to those ends. How many scores, if 
not hundreds of Catechisms are written in England ; and 
yet shall we forbear to use them ? How many books have 
been written for Discipline, by English and Scottish Di- 
vines; and how fully hath it been defended ! And what re- 
proach hath been cast upon the adversaries of it through the 
land : and yet shall we lay it by as useless, when we have 
free leave to use it ? O fearful hypocrisy ! What can we 
call it less? Did we think when we were writing against 
this sect, and that sect that opposed Discipline, that we 
were writing all that against ourselves ? O what evidence 
do the booksellers' shops, and their own libraries contain 


290 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 6. 

against the greatest part, even of the godly Ministers of the 
land ! The Lord cause them seasonably to lay it to heart. 

(18.) All the days of fasting and prayer that have been 
of late years kept in England for a Reformation, will rise up 
in judgment against the unreformed, that will not be per- 
suaded to this part of the work. And I confess it is so 
heavy an aggravation of our sin, 'that it makes me trem- 
ble to think of it. Was there ever a Nation on the face 
of the earth, that so solemnly and so long followed God 
with fasting and prayer as we have done? Before the Par- 
liament began, how frequent and fervent were we in secret ; 
after that for many years' time together, we had a Monthly 
Fast commanded by the Parliament; besides frequent pri- 
vate and public Fasts. And what was all this for? What- 
ever was the means that we sometimes looked at, yet still 
the end of all our prayers was Church-reformation, and 
therein, especially, these two things: a faithful Ministry; 
and exercise of Discipline in the Church. Did it then once 
enter into the hearts of the people, yea, or into our hearts 
to imagine, that when we had all that we wished for, and 
the matter was put into our own hands, to be as diligent as 
we could, and to exercise what Discipline we pleased, that 
then we would do nothing but preach publicly ; that we 
would not be at the pains of catechising and instructing our 
people personally, nor exercise any considerable part of 
Discipline at all? It astonisheth me to think of it! What 
a depth of deceit is in the heart of man ! What, are good 
men's hearts so deceitful ? Are all men's hearts so deceit- 
ful ? 1 confess I told many soldiers, and other sensual men 
then, that when they had fought for a Reformation, I was 
confident they would abhor it, and be enemies to it, when 
they saw and felt it : thinking that the yoke of Discipline 
would have pinched their necks ; and that when they had 
been catechised and personally dealt with, and reproved for 
their sin, in private and public, and brought to public con- 
fession and repentance, or avoided as impenitent, they would 
have scorned and spurned against all this, and have taken 
the yoke of Christ for tyranny. But little did I think that 
the Ministers would have let all fall, and put almost none 
of this upon them, but have let them alone for fear of dis- 
pleasing them, and have let all run on, as it did before. 

Chap. 6.] ^THE REFORMED PASTOR. 291 

O the earnest prayers that I have heard in secret for a 
faithful Ministry, and for Discipline ! They prayed as if 
they had wrestled for salvation itself! Yea, they commonly 
called Discipline, The Kingdom of Christ; or the Exercise 
of his Kingly Office in his Church ; and so preached and 
prayed for it, as if the setting up of Discipline had been the 
setting up of the kingdom of Christ : and did I then think 
that they would refuse to set it up when they might ! What- 
is the kingdom of Christ now reckoned among the things 

If the God of heaven, that knew our hearts, had in the 
midst of our prayers and cries on one of our Public monthly 
Fasts, returned us this answer with his dreadful voice, in 
the audience of the Assembly: ' You deceitful-hearted sin- 
ners, what hypocrisy is this, to weary me with your cries 
for that which you will have if I would give it you, and thus 
to lift up your voices for that which your souls abhor! 
What is Reformation, but the instructing and importunate 
persuading of sinners to entertain my Christ and grace as 
offered them, and the governing my Church according to 
my Word ? And these, which are your work, you will not 
be persuaded to, when you come to find it troublesome and 
ungrateful. When I have delivered you, it is not me, but 
yourselves that you will serve ; and I must be as earnest to 
persuade you to. reform the Church in doing your own duty, 
as you are earnest with me to grant you liberty for Reforma- 
tion ; and when all this is done, you will leave it undone.' 
I say, if the Lord, or any messenger of his, had given us in 
such an answer, would it not have amazed us, and have 
seemed incredible to us, that our hearts should have been 
such as now they prove ! And would we not have said as 
Hazael, " Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing ;" 
or as Peter, " Though all men forsake or deny thee, yet will 
not I." Well, brethren, sad experience hath shewed us 
our frailty : we have denied the troublesome and costly part 
of the Reformation that we prayed for : but Christ yet turn- 
eth back, and looketh with a merciful eye upon us. O that 
we had but the hearts, immediately to go out and weep bit- 
terly, and do as we have done no more, lest a worse thing 
come unto us ; but henceforth follow Christ through labour 
and suffering, though it were unto death. 

(19.) All the judgments upon the Nation, the cost, the 

292 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 6. 

labour, the blood, and the deliverances, and all the endea- 
vours of the Governors for Reformation, will rise up against 
us, if we now refuse to be faithful for a Reformation, when 
it is before us, and at our will. 

I have said somewhat of this before. Hath God been 
hewing us out away with his sword, and levelling opposers 
by his terrible judgments, and yet will we sit still or play 
the sluggard ? Have England, Scotland, and Ireland, paid 
so dear for a Reformation, and now shall some men treache- 
rously strangle it in the birth, and others expose it to con- 
tempt, and overrun it? And others sit still and look on it 
as a thing not worth the trouble ? How many thousand 
persons may come to the condemnation of such men ! The 
whole countries may say, ' Lord we have been plundered 
and ruined, or much impoverished, we have paid taxes these 
many years, and it was a Reformation that was pretended, 
and that we were promised, in all ; and now the Ministers, 
that should be the instruments of it, do neglect it.' Many 
thousands may say, ' Lord we ventured our lives, in obe- 
dience to a Parliament that promised Reformation, and 
now we cannot have it.' The souls of many, that have died 
in these wars, may cry out against us, ' Lord it was the 
hopes of a Reformation that we fought and suffered for, in 
obedience to those Governors that professed to intend it ; 
and now the Pastors reject it by their idleness.' The Par- 
liament may say, ' How long did we sit and consult about 
Reformation, and now the Ministers will not execute the 
power that is granted them.' The nation may say, ' How 
often did we beg of God, and petition the Parliament for it, 
and now the Ministers deny us the enjoyment of it.' Yea, 
God himself may say, ' How many prayers have I heard ; 
and what dangers have I delivered you from : how many, 
how great, and in what a wonderful manner ; and what do 
you think it was that I delivered you for? Was it not that 
you should do my work? and will you betray it, or neglect 
it after all this ?' Truly, sirs, I know not what others think; 
but when I consider the judgments that we have felt, and 
the wonders of mercy that my eyes have seen, to the fre- 
quent astonishment of my soul, as I know it is great matters 
that these things oblige us to, so I am afraid, lest they should 
be charged on me as the aggravation of my neglect. I hear 
every exasperated party still flying in the faces of the rest ; 


and one saith, ' It was you that killed the King,' and the 
other saith, ' It was you that fought against a Parliament, 
and put them to defend themselves, and drenched the land 
in blood.' But the Lord grant that it be not we; if we 
prove negligent in our Ministry, and betray the Reformation 
that God hath called us to, that shall have all this blood and 
misery charged upon us, yea, though we had never any 
other hand therein ; and that the Lord say not of us, as of 
Jehu, even when he had destroyed the house of Ahab by his 
command, because he accomplished not the Reformation 
which that execution tended to, " Yet a little while, and I 
will avenge the blood of Jezreal on the house of Jehu." 
(Hosea i. 4.) O, sirs, can we find in our hearts to lose all the 
cost and trouble of the three nations, and all to save us a 
little trouble in the issue, and so to bring the guilt of all 
upon ourselves ? Far be it from us, if we have the hearts of 

(20.) Lastly, If we still refuse a Reformation, by instruct- 
ing the ignorant, or exercising Christ's Discipline, many 
vows and promises of our own will rise up in judgment 
against us, and condemn us ! (1.) In the National Cove- 
nant, those that entered into it did vow and promise most 
solemnly before the Lord and his people, that ' Having be- 
fore our eyes the glory of God, and the advancement of the 
kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ — we would 
sincerely, really, and constantly endeavour, in our several 
places and callings, the Reformation of Religion in doc- 
trine, worship, discipline, and government — and we did pro- 
fess our true and unfeigned purpose, desire and endeavour 
for ourselves and all others under our power and charge, and 
both in public and private, in all duties we owe to God and 
man to amend our lives, and each one to go before another 
in the example of the Reformation. And this covenant we 
made as in the presence of God, the Searcher of all hearts, 
with a true intention to perform the same, as we shall an- 
swer at the great day when the secrets of all hearts shall be 
disclosed.' O dreadful case then, that we have put our- 
selves into, if Infinite mercy help us not out! May we not 
say after the law, (2 Kings xxii. 13; 2 Chron. xxxiv. 21,) 
' Great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, 
because we have not done according to this Covenant. 
Could a people have devised a readier way to thrust 

294 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 6. 

themselves under the curse of God, than by taking such a 
solemn, dreadful Covenant, and when they have done, so 
long, so wilfully, so openly to violate it V Doth not this 
plainly bind us to the private as well as the public parts of 
this duty; and to a real reformation of Discipline in our prac- 
tice ? Again, therefore, I must needs say, what a bottom- 
less depth of deceit is the heart of man ! O what heavy 
charges have we brought against many others of these times, 
for breaking this solemn vow and covenant (from which I 
am far from undertaking to acquit them), when yet we that 
led the way, and drew on others, and daily preached up Re- 
formation and Discipline, have so horribly violated this co- 
venant ourselves, that in a whole country it is rare to find a 
Minister that hath set up Discipline or private instruction. 
And he that can see much done towards it in England, hath 
more acquaintance, or better eyes than I have. 

(2.) Also in our frequent, solemn humiliation days in 
the time of our deepest distress and fear, how publicly and 
earnestly did we beg for deliverances, not as for our sakes, 
but for the sake of the Church and Gospel, as if we had not 
cared what had become of us, so that the Reformation of 
the Church might go on ; and we promised if God would 
hear and deliver us, what we would do towards it. But O 
how unfaithful have we been to those promises ! I confess it 
filleth my own soul with shame, to consider the unanswera- 
bleness of my affections and endeavours to the many fervent 
prayers, rare deliverances, and confident promises of those 
years of adversity ! And such experience of the almost in- 
credible unfaithfulness of our hearts, is almost enough to 
make a man never trust his heart again; and consequently 
to shake his certainty of sincerity. Have we now, or are 
we likely to have any higher resolutions than those were 
which we have broken ? And it tends also to make us 
question in the next extremity, even at the hour of death, 
whether God will hear and help us any more, who have for- 
feited our credit with him by proving so unfaithful. If so 
many years' Public Humiliation, spurred on by such calami- 
ties as neither we nor our fathers for many generations had 
ever seen, had no more in them than now appears, and if 
this be the issue of all, how can we tell how to believe our- 
selves hereafter ? It may make us fear lest our case be like 
the Israelites, (Psalm lxxviii. 34 — 37.41, 42. 57,) who "when 


he slew them, then they sought him, and they returned, and 
inquired early after God ; and they remembered that God 
was their Rock, and the high God their Redeemer. Never- 
theless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied 
unto him with their tongues ; for their heart was not right 
with God, neither were they steadfast in his Covenant. 
They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he de- 
livered them from the enemy. -But turned back and dealt 

unfaithfully like their fathers: They were turned aside like 
a deceitful bow." 

(3.) Moreover, if we will not be faithful in duties that 
we are engaged to, our own agreements and engagements 
which remain subscribed by our hands, and are published to 
the view of the world, will rise up in judgment against us 
and condemn us. We have engaged ourselves under our 
hands near three years ago, that we will set up the exercise 
of Discipline, and yet how many have neglected it to this 
day, without giving any just and reasonable excuse ! We 
have now subscribed another Agreement and engagement 
for Catechising and Instructing all that will submit. We 
have done well so far ; but if now we should flag and prove 
remiss and superficial in the performance, our subscriptions 
will condemn us, — this day of humiliation will condemn us. 
Be not deceived, God is not mocked ; it is not your names 
only, but your hearts and hands also that he requireth : 
there is no dallying with God by feigned promises ; he will 
expect that you be as good as your word. He will not hold 
him guiltless, that by false oaths, or vows, or covenants with 
him doth take his holy name in vain. " When thou vowest 
a vow unto God, defer not to pay it ; for he hath no plea- 
sure in fools ; pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is 
it that thou shouldst not vow, than thou shouldst vow and 
not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin ; 
neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error; where- 
fore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work 
of thy hands ?" (Eccles. v. 4—6.) 

Thus I have shewed you what will be the consequence 
of your not setting yourselves faithfully to this work, to 
which you have so many obligations and engagements : and 
what an inexcusable thing our neglect will be, and how 
great and manifold a condemnation it will expose us to. 
Truly, brethren, if 1 did not apprehend the work to be of ex. 

296 G1LDAS SALVIANUS ! \Ckap. t>. 

ceeding great moment to yourselves, to the people, and to 
the honour of God, I would not have troubled you with so 
many words about it, nor have presumed to have spoken so 
sharply as I have done. But when it is for life and death, 
men are apt to forget their reverence, and courtesy, and com- 
pliments. For my part, I apprehend this as one of the best 
and greatest works that ever I put my hand to in my life. 
And I verily think that your thoughts of it are as mine; 
and then you will not think my words too many or too keen. 
I can well remember the time when I was earnest for the 
reformation of matters of Ceremony ; and if I should be 
cold in such a substantial matter as this, how dispropor- 
tionate would my zeal appear ! Alas, can we think that 
the Reformation is wrought, when we have cast out a few 
Ceremonies, changed some vestures, gestures, and forms ! 
O no, sirs ! it is the converting and saving of souls that is 
our business. The chief part of the Reformation is that 
which doth most good, and tendeth most to the salvation of 
the people. Let others take it how they will, I will so far 
speak my conscience for your just encouragement, as to say 
again, that I am verily persuaded that as you are happily 
agreed and combined for this work, so if you will but faith- 
fully execute this Agreement, together with your former 
Agreement for Discipline, you will do much more for a true 
Reformation, and that peaceably without meddling with 
controverted points, than has yet, been done in any part of 
England, though no more than is unquestionably your duty. 
I am next to answer some of those Objections which 
backward minds may cast in our way. 

1. Some may object, that 'this course will take up so 
much time that a man shall have no time to follow his stu- 
dies : most of us are young, and have need of much time to 
improve our own abilities, which this course prohibits us.' 
To which I answer : 

(1.) We suppose them whom we persuade to this work, 
to understand the substance of the Christian Religion, and 
to be able to teach others ; and the addition of lower and 
less necessary things is not to be preferred before this need- 
ful communication of the fundamentals. I highly value 
common knowledge, and would not encourage any to set 
light by it ; but I value the saving of souls before it. That 
work which is immediately connected with the end of all our 

Chap. 6.] THE REFORMED PASTOR. 29 7 

labours must be done, whatever be undone. It is a very de- 
sirable thing for a physician to be thoroughly studied in his 
art ; and to be able to see the reason of his experiments, and 
to resolve such difficult controversies as are before him ; 
but if he had the charge of an hospital, or lived in a city 
that had the raging pestilence, if he would be studying 'de 
fermentatione, de circulatione sanguis, de vesiculo chylo, 
de instruments sanguificationis,' and such excellent, useful 
points, when he should be looking to his patients, and sav- 
ing men's lives, and should turn them away, and let them 
perish, and tell them that he cannot have while to give them 
advice, because he must follow his own studies, I should 
take that man for a preposterous student that preferred the 
remote means of his studies before the end itself: and in- 
deed, I should think him but a civil kind of murderer. 
Men's souls may be saved, without knowing whether God 
did predetermine the creature in all its acts ; whether the 
understanding necessarily determines the will ; whether 
God works grace in a physical or moral way of causation ; 
what freewill ^is ; whether God have ' scientiam mediam/ 
or positive decrees ' de malo culpse ;' with a hundred such 
like, which are the things that you would be studying when 
you should be saving souls. Get well to heaven, and help 
your people thither, and you shall know all these things in 
a moment, and a thousand more, which by all your studies 
you can never know ; and is not this the most expeditious 
and certain way to knowledge ? 

(2.) If you grow not extensively in knowledge, you will 
by this way of diligent practice obtain the intensive and 
more excellent growth. If you know not so many things 
as others, you will know the great things better than they ; 
for this serious dealing with sinners for their salvation will 
help you to far deeper apprehensions of their saving princi- 
ples, than will be got by any other means ; and a little more 
of the knowledge of these is worth all the other knowledge 
in the world. O, when I am looking heavenward, and gaz- 
ing towards the inaccessible light, and aspiring after the 
knowledge of God, and find my soul so dark and distant, 
that I am ready to say, ' I know not God— he is above me — 
quite out of my reach ;' this is the most killing and grievous 
ignorance ! Methinks I could willingly exchange all other 

298 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 6. 

knowledge that I have for one glimpse more of the know- 
ledge of God and the life to come. O that I had never 
known a word in logic, metaphysics, &.c. ; nor known what 
schoolmen said, so I had but one spark more of that light 
that would shew me the things that I must shortly see. 
For my part, I conceive that by serious talking of everlast- 
ing things, and teaching the Creed and Catechism, you may- 
grow more in knowledge, though not in the knowledge of 
more things, and prove much wiser men, than if you spent 
that time in common, or curious and less necessary things. 

(3.) Yet let me add, that though I count this the chief, 
I wish you to have more ; because those subservient sciences 
are very useful: and therefore I say, that you may have 
competent time for both, lose none upon vain recreations 
and employments ; trifle not away a minute ; consume it not 
in needless sleep ; do what you do with all your might, and 
then see whether you have not competent time. If you set 
apart but two days in a week for this great work, you may 
find some for common studies out of all the other five. 

(4.) Duties are to be taken together, and the greatest 
preferred ; but none neglected that can be performed; nor 
one pleaded against another, but each in its proper place. 
But if there were such a case of necessity, that we could 
not read for ourselves in the course of uur further studies, 
and instruct the ignorant too, I would throw by all the libra- 
ries in the world, rather than be guilty of the perdition of 
one soul ; at least I know this is my duty. 

Object. 2. ' But this course will destroy the health of our 
bodies, by continual spending the spirits, and allowing us 
no time for necessary recreations ; and it will wholly lock 
us up from any civil and friendly visitations, so that we 
must never stir from home, nor take our delight at home one 
day with our friends, for the relaxation of our minds ; but 
as we shall seem discourteous and morose to others, so we 
shall tire ourselves, and the bow that is still bent will be in 
danger of breaking at last.' 

Ansiv. (1.) This is the mere plea of the carnal mind for 
its own interest. The sluo-o-ard saith, there is a lion in the 
way. He will not plough because of the cold. There is 
no duty of moment and self-denial, but if you consult with 
flesh and blood, they will give you as wise reasons as these 


against it. Who would ever have been burnt at a stake for 
Christ, if this reasoning had been good ; yea, or who would 
ever have been a Christian ? 

(2.) We may take time for necessary recreation for all 
this. An hour, or half an hour's walk before meat, is 
as much recreation as is of necessity for the health of 
most of the weaker sort of students. I know something 
of this by long experience. Though I have a body that 
hath languished under great weakness many years, and my 
diseases have been such as require as much exercise as al- 
most any in the world, and I have found exercise the prin- 
cipal means of my preservation till now, and therefore have 
as great reason to plead for it as any man that I know alive, 
yet I have found that the aforesaid proportion hath been 
blessed to my preservation, though I know that more would 
have tended to increase my health. I do not know one Mi- 
nister in a hundred, who needeth so much as I do. Yea, I 
know abundance of Ministers that scarcely ever use any ex- 
ercise at all, though I commend them not for it. I doubt 
not but it is our duty to use as much exercise as is of ne- 
cessity for the preservation of our health, so far as our work 
requireth : else we should for one day's work lose the op- 
portunity of many. But this may be done, and yet the works 
that we are engaged in, be done too. On those two clays a 
week that you set apart for this work, what hinders but you 
may take an hour or two to walk for the exercise of your 
bodies, much more on other days. 

But as for those men that limit not their recreations to 
their stated hours, but must have them for the pleasing of 
their voluptuous humour, such have need to study better 
the nature of Christianity, learn the danger of living after 
the flesh, and get more mortification and self-denial before 
they preach these things to others. If you must needs have 
your pleasures, you should not have put yourselves into 
that Calling that requireth you to make God and his service 
your pleasure, and restraineth you so much from fleshly plea- 
sures. Is it your Baptismal engagement to fight against the 
flesh ; and do you know that much of the Christian warfare 
consisteth in the combat between the flesh and the Spirit ; 
and that is the very difference between a true Christian and 
a wicked wretch, that one liveth after the Spirit, and morti- 
fieth the deeds and desires of the body, and the other liveth 

300 gildas salvianus : [Chap. fj. 

after the flesh ? And do you know that the overcoming of 
the flesh is the principal part of our victory, on which the 
crown of life depends ; and do you make it your Calling to 
preach all this to others, and yet must you needs have your 
pleasures ? If you must, then for shame give over preach- 
ing the Gospel, and the profession of Christian self-denial, 
and profess yourselves to be as you are ; and as you sow to 
the flesh, so of the flesh shall you receive the wages of cor- 
ruption. Doth such an one as Paul say, " I therefore so 
run, not as uncertainly : so fight I, not as one that beateth 
the air : but I keep under my body, and bring it into sub- 
jection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to 
others, I myself should be a cast-away." (1 Cor. iv. 26, 27.) 
And have not we need to do so ? Shall we pamper our bo- 
dies, and give them their desires in the unnecessary plea- 
sures, when Paul must keep under his body, and bring it 
into subjection? Must Paul do this, lest after all his preach- 
ing he should be a cast-away ; and have not we cause to 
fear it of ourselves much more ? I know that some pleasure 
itself is lawful ; that is, when it is of use to fit us for our 
work. But for a man to be so far in love with his pleasures, 
as that he must unnecessarily waste his precious time in 
them, and neglect the great work of God for men's salvation, 
yea, and plead for this as if it might be done, and so to jus- 
tify himself in such a course, is wickedness inconsistent with 
the common fidelity of a Christian, much more with the fi- 
delity of a teacher of the Church. Such as are lovers of 
pleasure more than lovers of God, must look to be loved of 
him accordingly, and are more fit to be cast out of Christian 
communion, than to be the chief in the Church ; for we are 
commanded from such to turn away. (2 Tim. iii. 5.) Recrea- 
tions for a student, must be especially for the exercise of his 
body, he having before him such variety of delights for his 
mind ; and they must be as whetting is with the mower, 
only to be used so far as is necessary to his work. And we 
must be careful that it rob us not of our precious time, but 
be kept within the narrowest bounds that may be. I pray 
peruse well Mr. Wheatley's Sermon of Redemption of Time. 
The labour that we are now engaged to perform, is not 
likely much to impair our health. It is true, we must be 
serious ; but that will but excite and revive our spirits, and 
not spend them. Men can talk all the day long of other 

C/iap. 6.] THE REFORMED PASTOR. 301 

matters without any abatement of their health ; and why- 
may not we talk with men about their salvation, without 
such great abatement of ours ? 

(3.) It is to be understood that the Direction that we 
give, and the work which we undertake is not for dying men, 
that are not able to preach or speak ; but for men of some 
competent measure of strength, and whose weaknesses are 
tolerable, and may admit of such labours. 

(4.) What have we our time and strength for, but to lay 
both out for God ? What is a candle made for but to burn ? 
Burnt and wasted we must be, and is it not more fit it 
should be in lighting men to heaven, and in working for 
God, than in living to the flesh ? How little difference is 
there between the pleasure of a long and short life, when 
both are at an end ! What comfort will it be at death, that 
you lengthened your life by shortening your work ! He 
that works much, lives much. Our life is to be esteemed 
according to the end and work of it, and not according to 
the mere duration. As Seneca can say of a drone, * Ibi 
jacet, non ibi vivit; et diu fuit, non diu vixit.' Will it not 
comfort us more at death to review a short time faithfully 
spent, than a long time unfaithfully ? 

(5.) And for the matter of Visitations and civilities, if 
they be for greater ends or use than our Ministerial employ- 
ments are, you may break a Sabbath for them ; you may for- 
bear Preaching, and also this private work. But if it be 
otherwise, how dare you make them a pretence to neglect so 
great a duty? Must God wait on your friends? What if 
they be lords, or knights, or gentlemen! Must they be 
served before God ? Is their displeasure or censure a greater 
hurt to you, than God's displeasure? Or dare you think 
when God will question you for your neglects, to put him 
off with this excuse, ' Lord, I would have spent more of my 
time in seeking men's salvation ; but that such a gentleman, 
and such a friend would have taken it ill if I had not waited 
on them.' If you yet seek to please men, you are no longer 
the servants of Christ. He that dares spend his life in flesh- 
pleasing and man-pleasing, is bolder than I am ; and he that 
dares waste his time in compliments, doth little consider 
what he hath to do with it. O that I could but improve my 
time according to my convictions of the necessity of it ! He 
that hath looked death in the face as often as I have done, 

302 gildas salvianus : [Chap 6. 

will thereby be taught to value his time. I profess I won- 
der at those Ministers that can hunt, shoot, bowl, or use the 
like recreations two or three hours, yea, whole days to- 
gether ; that can sit an hour together in vain discourses ; 
and spend whole days in complimental visits, and journies 
to such ends. Good Lord, what do these men think on ! 
When so many souls about them cry for help, and death 
gives us no respite, and they know not how short a time 
their people and they may be together; and the smallest 
Parish hath so much work that may employ all their dili- 
gence night and day ! 

Brethren, I hope you are content to be plainly dealt with. 
If you have no sense of the worth of souls, and the precious - 
ness of that blood that was shed for them, and of the glory 
that they are going to, and of the misery that they are in 
danger of; then are you no Christians, and therefore very 
unfit to be Ministers : and if you have, how can you find 
time for needless recreations, visits, or discourses ? Dare 
you, like idle gossips, chat and trifle away your time, when 
you have such works as these to do, and so many of them ? 
O precious time ! how swiftly doth it pass away ! — how soon 
will it be gone ! What are the forty years of my life that 
are past ? Were every day as long as a month, methinks 
it were too short for the work of a day ! Have we not lost 
enough already in the days of our vanity ? Never do I come 
to a dying man that is not utterly stupid, but he better sees 
the worth of time ! O then, if the)' could call time back 
again, how loud would they call ! If they could but buy it, 
what would they give for it ! And yet can we trifle it away ! 
Yea, and allow ourselves in this, and wilfully cast off the 
greatest works of God ! O what a foolish thing is sin, that 
can thus distract men that seem so wise ! Is it possible that 
a man of any true compassion and honesty, or any care of 
his ministerial duty, or any sense of the strictness of his ac- 
count, should have time to spare for idleness and vanity ! 

I must tell you further, brethren, that if another might 
take some time for mere delight which were not strictly ne- 
cessary, yet so cannot you ; for your undertaking binds you-* 
to a stricter attendance than other men are bound to. May 
a physician in the time of the plague, take any more relaxa- 
tion or recreation than is necessary for his life, when so 
many are expecting his help in a case of life and death ? As 


his pleasure is not worth men's lives, so neither is yours 
worth men's souls. Suppose your cities were beseiged, and 
the enemy on one side watching all advantages to surprise 
it, and on the other seeking' to fire it, with grenadoes which 
are cast in continually. I pray you tell me now, if certain 
men undertake it as their office to watch the ports, and 
others to quench the fires that might be kindled in the 
houses, what time would you allow these men for recreation 
or relaxation ?. At the utmost, you would allow them none 
but what was absolutely necessary. 

Do not grudge at this now, and say, " This is a hard say- 
ing, who can bear it?" For it is your mercy; and you are 
well, if you know when you are well, as I shall shew you in 
answering the next Objection. 

Object. 3. ' I do not think that it is required of Ministers 
that they make drudges of themselves. If they preach dili- 
gently, and visit the sick, and do other Ministerial duties, 
and occasionally do good to those they converse with, I do 
not think that God requires that we should thus tie ourselves 
to instruct every person distinctly, and to make our lives a 
burden and a slavery.' 

Answ. (1.) Of what use and weight the Duty is, I have 
shewed before ; and how plainly it is commanded. And do 
you think God doth not require you to do all the good you 
can? Will you stand by and see sinners gasping under the 
pangs of death, and say, ' God doth not require me to make 
myself a drudge to save them ?' Is this the voice of Minis- 
terial or Christian compassion, or rather of sensual laziness 
and diabolical cruelty? Doth God set you work to do, and 
will you not believe that he would have you do it ? Is that 
the voice of obedience, or of rebellion ? It is all one whether 
your flesh do prevail with you to deny obedience to acknow- 
ledged duty, and say plainly, ' I will obey no further than it 
pleaseth me,' or whether it may make you wilfully reject the 
evidence that should convince you that it is a duty, and say, 
' I will not believe it to be my duty, unless it please me.' It is 
the true character of an hypocrite, to make a religion to him- 
self of the cheapest part of God's service, which will stand 
with his fleshly ends and felicity ; and to reject the rest, which 
is inconsistent therewith. To the words of hypocrisy, this 
objection superaddeth the words of gross impiety. For what 
a wretched calumny is this against the most high God, to 

304 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 6. 

call his service slavery and drudgery ? What thoughts have 
these men of their Master, their work, and their wages ? The 
thoughts of a Believer or of an Infidel ? Are these men like 
to honour God, and promote his service, that have such base 
thoughts of it themselves ? Do they delight in holiness who 
account it a slavish work ? Do they believe indeed the 
misery of sinners, that account it such a slavery to be dili- 
gent to save them ? Christ saith, he that denieth not himself, 
and forsaketh not all ; and taketh not up his cross and fol- 
loweth him, cannot be his disciple; and yet these men count 
it a slavery to labour hard in his vineyard, and deny their 
ease, in a time when they have all accommodations and en- 
couragements ? How far is this from forsaking all ; and how 
can these men be fit for the Ministry, that are such enemies 
to self-denial, and so to true Christianity ? Still therefore I 
am forced to say, that all these objections are so prevalent, 
and all these carnal reasonings hinder the Reformation ; and 
in a word, hence is the chief misery of the Church, that so 
many are made Ministers before they are Christians. If these 
men had se^n the diligence of Christ in doing good, when he 
neglected his meat to talk with one woman, (John iv,) and 
when they had no time to eat bread, (Mark iii. 22,) would 
not they have been of the mind of his carnal friends, that 
went to lay hold on him, and said, " He is beside himself." 
They would have told Christ he made a drudge or a slave of 
himself, and that God did not require all this ado. If they 
had seen him all night in prayer, and all day in preaching 
and healing;, it seems he would have had this censure from 
them for his labour ! I advise these men to search their own 
hearts, whether they unfeignedly believe the word that they 
preach ? Do you believe indeed that such glory attends those 
that die in the Lord, and such torment those that die uncon- 
verted ? If you do, how can you think any labour too much, 
for such weighty hands ? If you do not, say so, and get you 
out of the vineyard, and go with the prodigal to keep swine, 
but do not undertake to feed the flock of Christ. 

Do you not know that it is your own benefit which you 
grudge at ? The more you do, the more you receive : the 
more you lay out, the more you have coming in. If you are 
strangers to these Christian paradoxes, you should not have 
taken on you to teach them to others. At the present our 
incomes of spiritual life and peace are commonly in way of 


duty; so that he that is most in duty hath most of God: 
exercise of grace increaseth it. And is it a slavery to be 
more with God, and to receive more from him, than other 
men ? It is the chief solace of a gracious soul to be doing 
good, and receiving by doing, and to be much exercised about 
those divine things which have his heart. A good stomach 
will not say at a feast, what a slavery is it to bestow my time 
and pains so much to feed myself? Besides, we prepare for 
fuller receivings hereafter. ' We set our talents to usury, and 
by improving them we shall make five become ten, and so be 
made rulers of ten cities. We shall be j udged according to our 
works. Is it a drudgery to send to the utmost parts of the 
world to exchange our trifles for gold and jewels? Do not 
these men seek to justify the profane, that consider diligent 
godliness a drudgery, and reproach it as a precise and tedi- 
ous life ? They say they will never believe but a man may be 
saved without all this ado. Even so say these in respect to 
the works of the Ministry ; they take this diligence for un- 
grateful tediousness, and they will not believe but a man may 
be a faithful Minister without all this ado ! It is a heinous 
sin to be negligent in so great a business ; but to approve of 
that negligence, and to plead against duty as if it were none ; 
and when they should lay out themselves for the saving of 
souls, to say, ' I do not believe that God requireth it;' this is 
so great an aggravation of the sin, that, where the Church's 
necessity doth not force us to make use of such, for want of 
better, I cannot but think them worthy to be cast out as the 
rubbish, and as salt that hath lost its savour, that is neither 
fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill, but men cast it out. 
" He that hath ears to hear, saith Christ in these words, let 
him hear." (Luke xiv. 34, 35.) And if such Ministers be- 
come a by-word and reproach, let them thank themselves ; 
for it is their own sin that maketh them vile. (1 Sam. iii. 13.) 
And while they thus debase the service of the Lord, they do 
but debase themselves, and prepare for a greater abasement 
at the last. 

Object. 4. ' But if you make such severe laws for Minis- 
ters, the Church will be left without : for what man will put 
himself upon such a toilsome life, or what parents will choose 
such a burden for their children ? Men will avoid it both for 


306 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 6. 

the bodily toil, and the danger to their consciences, if they 
should not well discharge it.' 

Answ. (1.) It is not we, but Christ that hath made and 
imposed these laws which you call severe ; and if I should 
silence, or misinterpret them, or tell you that there is no such 
things, that would not relax them, nor excuse you. He that 
made them, knew why he did it, and will expect the perform- 
ance of them. Is infinite goodness itself to be questioned 
or suspected by us, as making bad or unmerciful laws ? Nay, 
it is mere mercy in him that imposeth this great duty upon 
us. If physicians be required to be diligent in hospitals or 
pest-houses, or with other patients, to save their lives, were 
there not more mercy than rigour in this law? What, must 
God let the souls of your neighbours perish, to save you a 
little labour and suffering, and this in mercy to you ? O what 
a miserable world should we have, if blind, self-conceited man 
had the ruling of it ! 

(2.) And for a supply of Pastors, Christ will take care. 
He that imposeth duty, hath the fulness of the Spirit, and 
can give men hearts to obey his laws. Do you think Christ 
will suffer all men to be as cruel, unmerciful, and self-seeking 
as you are ? He that hath undertaken himself the work of 
Redemption, borne our transgressions, and been faithful as the 
chief Shepherd and Teacher of the Church, will not lose all 
his labour and suffering for want of instruments to carry on 
his work ; nor will he come down again to do all himself, be- 
cause no other will do it : but he will provide men to be his 
Servants and Ushers in his school, that shall willingly take 
the labour on them, and rejoice to be so employed, and ac- 
count that the happiest life in the world which you account 
so great a toil ; nor would they change it for all your ease 
and carnal pleasure ; but for the saving of souls and the pro- 
pagating of the Gospel of Christ, will be content to bear the 
burden and heat of the day, and to fill up the measure of the 
sufferings of Christ in their bodies, and to do what they do 
with all their might, and to work while it is day, and to be 
the servants of all, and not to please themselves but others 
for their edification ; and to become all things to all men, that 
they may save some ; and to endure all things for the elect's 
sake ; and to spend and be spent for men, though the more 
they love, the less they should be beloved, and should be 

Chap. 6.] THE REFORMED PASTOR. ''307 

accounted their enemies for telling them the truth ; with such 
Pastors will Christ provide his people after his own heart, 
that will feed them with knowledge : as men that seek not 
theirs, but them. What, do you think Christ can have no 
Servants, if such as you shall with Demas, turn to the present 
world, and forsake him? If you dislike his service, you may 
seek you a better where you can find it, and boast of your gain 
in the conclusion : but do not threaten him with the loss of 
your service. He hath made such laws as you will call severe, 
for all who will be saved, as well as for his Ministers, though 
he impose not on them the same employment; for all must 
deny themselves, and mortify the flesh, and be crucified to 
the world, and take up their cross, and follow Christ, that 
will be his disciples. And yet Christ will not be without 
disciples, nor will he hide his seeming hard terms from men, 
to entice them to his service, but will tell them of the worst, 
and then let them come or choose. He will call to them 
beforehand to count what it will cost them, and tell them that 
" the foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, 
but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head." He 
comes not to give them worldly peace and prosperity, but to 
call them to suffer with him, that they may reign with him, 
and in patience to possess their souls, and conquer, that they 
may be crowned with him, and sit down on his throne ; and 
all this he will enable his chosen to perform. If you be at 
that pass with Christ as the Israelites were once with David, 
and say " Will the son of Jesse give you fields and vine- 
yards? Every man to your tents, O Israel." And if you 
say, " Now look to thy own house O David," you shall see 
that Christ will look to his own house ; and do you look to 
yours as well as you can, and tell me at the hour of death or 
judgment which is the better bargain, and whether Christ had 
more need of you, or you of him. 

And for scrupling it in conscience for fear of failing ; It 
is not involuntary imperfections that Christ will take so 
heinously, but unfaithfulness and wilful negligence : and it 
shall not serve your turn to run out of the vineyard or har- 
vest, on pretence of scruples that you cannot do the work as 
you ought. He can follow you and overtake you as he did 
Jonas, with such a storm, as shall lay you out in the belly of 
hell : totally to cast off a duty, because you cannot endure 


08 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 6. 

to be faithful in the performance of it, will prove but a poor 
excuse at last. If men had but reckoned well at first, of the 
difference between things temporal and eternal, and of what 
they shall lose or get by Christ, and had that faith which is 
the evidence of things not seen, and lived by faith and not 
by sense, all these objections would be easily resolved ; and 
all the pleas of flesh and blood for its interest, would appear 
to have no more reason, than a sick man's plea for cold water 
in a pestilential fever. 

Object. 5. ' But to what purpose is all this, when most of 
the people will not submit ? They will but make a scorn at 
your motion, and tell us, they will not come to us to be Cate- 
chised, and that they are too old now to go to school; and 
therefore it is as good to let them alone, as trouble ourselves 
to no purpose.' 

Amw. (1.) It is not to be denied, but too many people are 
obstinate in their wickedness, too many simple ones love sim- 
plicity, and too many scorners delight in scorning, and fools 
hate knowledge. But the worse they are, the more deplora- 
ble is their case, the more to be pitied, and the more diligent 
should we be for their recovery. 

(2.) I would it were not too much long of Ministers, that 
a great part of the people are so obstinate and contemptu- 
ous. Did we shine and burn before them as we should, had 
we convincing sermons and convincing lives, did we set our- 
selves to do all the good we could, whatever it cost us \ were 
we more humble and meek, more loving and charitable, and 
let them see that we set light by all worldly things in com- 
parison of their salvation, much more might be done than is, 
and the mouths of many would be stopped, and though still 
the wicked will do wickedly, yet more would be tractable, 
and the wicked would be fewer and calmer than they are. If 
you say, that the ablest and most godly Ministers in the 
world have had as untractable and scornful parishioners as 
any others ; I answer, that even, able godly men, have some of 
them been too lordly and strange, and some of them too un- 
charitable and worldly, and backward to difficult, though 
necessary works ; and some of them have done but little in 
private, when they have done excellently in public, and so 
have hindered the fruit of their labours. But where these 
impediments are absent, experience telleth us that the sue- 


cess is much greater, at least, as to the bowing of people to 
more calmness and teachableness ; but we cannot expect 
that all should. 

(3.) Their wilfulness will not excuse us from our duty. 
If we offer them not our help, how know we who will refuse 
it ? Offering it is our part, and accepting is theirs. If we 
offer it not, we leave them excusable, (for then they refuse it 
not), but it is we that are left without excuse ; but if they 
refuse our help when it is offered, we have done our part, and 
delivered our own souls. 

(4.) If some refuse our help, others will accept it; and 
the success with them may be so much, as may answer all 
our labour. It is not all that are wrought on by your public 
preaching, and yet we must not therefore give it over as un- 

Object. 6. ' But what likelihood is there that men will be 
informed or converted by this means, that will not by the 
preaching of the word, when that is God's chief ordinance 
appointed to that end? Faith comes by hearing, and hear- 
ing by the word preached.' 

Answ. (1.) The advantages I have shewed you before, 
and therefore will not stand to repeat them ; only, lest any 
think that this will wrong them by hindering them from 
preaching, I add to the twenty benefits before-mentioned, 
that it will be an excellent means to help you in preaching. 
For as the physician's work is half done when he fully knows 
the disease, so when you are well acquainted with your peo- 
ple's case, you will know what to preach on ; and it will fur- 
nish you with matter to talk an hour with an ignorant or ob- 
stinate sinner, as much as an hour's study will do ; for you will 
know what you have need to insist on, and what objections of 
theirs to refute. 

(2.) I ho^e there is none so silly as to think this con- 
ference is not preaching. Doth the number we speak to make 
it preaching ; or doth interlocution make it none ? Surely 
a man may as truly preach to one as to a thousand ; and, as 
is aforesaid, if you search, you will find, that most of the 
Gospel preaching in those days, was by conference, or seri- 
ous speeches to people occasionally, and frequently interlo- 
cutory ; and that with one, two, or more, as opportunity 
served. Thus Christ himself did most commonly preach, 

310 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 6. 

Besides, we must take account of our people's learning, if we 
regard the success of our work. 

There is nothing therefore from God, from the Spirit, nor 
from right reason, to cause us to make any question of our 
work, or to be unwilling to it ; but from the world, the flesh, 
and the devil, we shall have much, and more perhaps than 
we yet expect. But against all temptations, if we have re- 
course to God, and look on his great obligations on one side, 
and the hopeful effects and reward on the other, we shall see 
that we have little cause either to draw back, or to faint. 

Let us set before us this pattern in the text, and learn our 
duty thence, and imitate it. To serve the Lord, and not men 
or ourselves, with all humility of mind, and not proudly, and 
with many tears, to keep back nothing that is profitable to 
the people, and to teach them publicly and from house to 
house ; that the matter of our preaching be repentance to- 
wards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ ; that 
though we go bound in the spirit, not knowing particularly 
what shall befal us, but only that every where bonds and 
afflictions await us, yet none of these things shall move us, 
neither will we count our life dear to ourselves, so that we 
may finish our course with joy, and the Ministry which we 
have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the 
grace of God ; to take heed to ourselves and to all the flock, 
particularly against domestic seducers and schisms, without 
ceasing to warn every one day and night with tears ; to covet 
no man's silver, or gold, or apparel, as counting it more ho- 
nourable to give than to receive. O what a lesson is here 
before us! but how ill is it learned by those that still ques- 
tion whether all this be their duty. I confess some of these 
words of Paul have so often been presented before mine eyes, 
and stuck upon my conscience, that I have been deeply con- 
vinced by them both of my duty and negligence : and I think 
this one speech better deserves a twelvemonth's study, than 
most things that young students do lay out their time in. O, 
brethren, write it on your study doors, or set it as your copy 
in capital letters still before your eyes ! Could we but pro- 
perly learn two or three lines of it, what Preachers should 
we be !— (1.) For our general business, SERVING THE 
LORD WITH HUMILITY OF MIND.— (2.) Our special 


THE FLOCK.— (3.) Our doctrine, REPENTANCE TO- 
JESUS CHRIST.— (4.) The place and manner of teaching,. 
HOUSE TO HOUSE.— (5.) The object and internal man- 
AND DAY WITH TEARS. This is it that must win souls 
and preserve them. — (6.) His innocency and self-denial for 
the advantage of the Gospel, I HAVE COVETED NO 
MAN'S SILVER OR GOLD.— (7.) His patience, NONE 
I MY LIFE DEAR.— (8.) And among all our motives, these 
have need to be in capital letters before our eyes. We over- 
TER THEM. Write all this upon your hearts, and it will 
do yourselves and the Church more good than twenty years' 
study of lower things, which though they get you greater 
applause in the world, yet separated from these, will make 
you but sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. 

The great advantage of a sincere heart is, that God and 
glory, and the saving of souls are their very end ; and where 
that end is truly intended, no labour or suffering will stop 
them, or turn them back ; for a man must have his end, 
whatever it cost him. He still retains this lesson, whatever 
he forget, ONE THING IS NECESSARY : and seek first 
the kingdom of God, and therefore says, Necessity is laid upon 
me, and woe unto me if' 1 preach not the Gospel! This is it 
that will most effectually make easy all our labours, make 
light all our burdens, make all our sufferings seem tolera- 
ble, and cause us to venture on any hazard in the way. 
That which I once made the motto of my colours in another 
warfare, I desire may be still before my eyes in this, which 
yet, according to my intention, is not altogether another. 
On one side, He that saveth his life shall lose it ; on the other, 
Nee propter vitam vivendi perdere causas. This, Doctor Reig- 
nolds thought had reason enough in it to hold him to his 
labours, though it cost him his life. He that knoweth that 

31<i gildas salvianus : [Chap. 7. 

he serveth a God that will never suffer any man to be a loser 
by him, need not fear what hazard he runs in his cause ; 
and he that knows that he seeks a prize, which if obtained, 
will infinitely overmatch his cost, may boldly engage his 
whole estate on it, and sell all to purchase so rich a pearl. 

Well, brethren, I will spend no more words in exhorting 
wise merchants to such a bargain, or telling Teachers them- 
selves of such common truths ; and if I have said more than 
needs already, I am glad. [ hope now I may take it for 
granted, that you are resolved on the utmost diligence and 
fidelity in the work. On which supposition I shall now 


Directions j or the right managing this Work. 

It is so happy a work which we have before us, that it is a 
thousand pities it should be destroyed in the birth, and 
perish in our hands. Though I know we have a knotty 
generation to deal with, and that it is past the power of any 
of us to change a carnal heart without the effectual grace of 
the Holy Ghost; yet it is so usual with God to work by 
means, and to bless the right endeavours of his servants, 
that I cannot fear, but great things will be done, and a won- 
derful blow will be given to the kingdom of darkness by 
our work, if it do not miscarry through the fault of the 
Ministers themselves. The chief danger is want of dili- 
gence and skill: of the former I have spoken much already: 
as for the latter, I am so conscious of my own unskilfulness, 
that I am far from imagining that I am fit to give directions 
to any but the younger and inexperienced of the Ministry • 
and therefore must expect so much justice in your interpre- 
tation, as that you will suppose me now to speak to none 
but such. But yet something I shall say, and not pass 
over this part in silence, because the number of such is so 
great, and I am so apprehensive that the welfare of the 
Church and Nation doth much depend on the management 
and success of this work. 

The points wherein you have need to be solicitous are 
these two. — (1.) To bring your people to submit to this 


course of private instruction : for if they will not come near 
you, what good can they receive? — (2.) To do the work so 
as may most tend to the success of it, when they do come. 

I. And for the first, the best directions that I can give 
are these following : 

1. The chief means of all is, for a Minister so to behave 
himself in the main course of his Ministry and life, as may 
tend to convince his people of his ability, sincerity, and 
unfeigned love to them ; for if they take him to be ignorant, 
they will despise his teaching, and think themselves as wise 
as he. If they think him self-seeking, or hypocritical, and 
one that doth not mean as he saith, they will suspect all 
that he saith and doth for them, and will not regard him. 
If they think he intendeth but to domineer over their con- 
sciences, and to trouble and disgrace them, or merely to ex- 
ercise their wit and memory, they will flee away from him 
as an adversary, and from his endeavours as hurtful and dis- 
gusting. Whereas when they are convinced that he under- 
standeth what he doth, and have high thoughts of his abili- 
ties, they will reverence him, and the more readily stoop to 
his advice. When they are persuaded of his uprightness, 
they will the less suspect his motions ; and when they per- 
ceive that he intendeth no private ends of his own, but 
merely their good, they will the sooner be persuaded by 
him. Because those that I write to are supposed to be 
none of the most able Ministers, and therefore may despair 
of being reverenced for their parts; I say to such: — (1.) You 
have the more need to study and labour for their increase. — 
(2.) You must necessarily have that which Amesius makes 
the lowest degree tolerable, viz. to be ' supra vulgus fide- 
lium;' and it will produce some reverence when they know 
you are wiser than themselves. — (3.) And that which you 
want in ability, must be made up in the other qualifications, 
and then your advice may be as successful as others. 

If Ministers are content to purchase an interest in their 
People at the dearest rates to their own flesh, and would 
condescend to them, and be familiar, and loving, and pru- 
dent in their carriage, and abound according to their ability 
in good works, they might do much more than usually they 
do. Not that we should much regard an interest in them 
for our own sakes ; but that we may be more capable of 
promoting the interest of Christ, and of furthering their own 

314 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 7. 

salvation. Were it not for their own sakes, it were no great 
matter whether they love or hate us : but what commander 
can do any great service by an army that hates him? And 
how can we think that they will much regard our counsel, 
while they abhor or disregard the persons that give it ! La- 
bour therefore for some competent interest in your People's 
estimation and affection, and then you may the better pre- 
vail with them. 

Object. ' But what should a Minister do that findeth he 
hath quite lost his interest with them?' 

Answ. If they be so vile a people that they hate him not 
for any weakness, nor through misreports about particular 
things, but merely for endeavouring their good, though in 
prudence as well as zeal, and would hate any other that 
should do his duty ; then must he in patience and meekness 
continue to instruct these that oppose themselves, if God 
peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledg- 
ment of the truth. But if it be upon any weaknesses of his, 
or difference in lesser opinions, or prejudice merely against 
his own person, let him try first to remove the prejudice by 
all lawful means ; and if he cannot, let him tell them, ' It is 
not for myself, but for you that I labour ; and therefore 
seeing that you will not obey the word from me, I desire 
that you will agree to accept of some other that may do you 
that good, which I cannot :' and so leave them, and try 
whether another man may not be fitter for them, and he for 
another people. An ingenious man can hardly stay with a 
people against their wills ; and a sincere man can more 
hardly, for any interest of his own, remain in a place where 
he is likely to be unprofitable, to hinder the good which 
they might receive from another man, who hath the advan- 
tage of a greater interest in their estimation and affection. 

2. Supposing then this general Preparation ; the next 
thing to be done is, to use the most effectual means to 
convince them of the benefit and necessity of this Course, to 
their own souls. The way to win the consent of any man 
to any thing that you offer, is to prove it to be good for him, 
and to do this by evidence that hath some fitness and pro- 
portion with his own understanding; for if you cannot 
make him believe that it is good or necessary for him, he 
will never receive it. You must therefore preach to them 
some plain and convincing Sermons to this purpose before- 


hand, which shall fully shew them the benefit and necessity 
of the knowledge of Divine Truths in general, and of know- 
ing the Principles in special, and that the aged have the 
same duty and need as others, and in some respects much 
more. Heb. v. 12, affordeth us many observations suitable 
to our present business. — As, (1.) That God's Oracles must 
be man's lessons.— (2.) Ministers must teach these, and 
people must learn them. — (3.) The Oracles of God have 
some principles or fundamentals, that all must know that will 
be saved.— (4.) These Principles must be first learned. — (5.) 
It may be well expected that people thrive in knowledge 
according to the means or teaching which they possess ; and 
if they do not, it is their sin. — (6.) If any have lived long in 
the Church under the means of knowledge, and yet be igno- 
rant of these first Principles, they have need to be taught 
them yet, how old soever they may be. All this is plain 
from the text ; whence we have a fair opportunity by twenty 
clear and convincing reasons to shew them the necessity 
of knowing God's Oracles, especially, the first Principles ; 
and especially for the aged, that have sinfully lost so much 
time already, have long promised to repent when they were 
old, should now have been Teachers of others, and whose 
ignorance therefore is a double sin and shame, who have so 
little time to learn it, and are so near their judgment ; and 
who have souls to save or lose as well as others. Convince 
them how impossible it is to walk in the way to heaven 
without knowing it, when there are so many difficulties and 
enemies in our way. Men cannot do their worldly business 
without knowledge, nor learn a trade without an apprentice- 
ship. Who can love, or seek, or desire that which he know- 
eth not? Convince them what a contradiction it is to be a 
Christian, and yet refuse to learn. For what is a Christian 
but a Disciple of Christ, and how can he be his Disciple, 
that refuseth to be taught by him ? They that refuse to be 
taught by his Ministers refuse to be taught by him. For 
Christ will not come down from heaven again to teach them 
by his own mouth, but hath appointed his Ministers to keep 
school and teach them under him. To say therefore that 
they will not be taught by his Ministers, is to say, they will 
not be taught by Christ ; and that is to say, they will be 
none of his Disciples. Abundance of such undeniable evi- 
dences, we have at hand to convince them of their duty. 

316 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 7. 

Make them understand that it is not an arbitrary business 
of our own devising and imposing, but necessity is laid upon 
us, and if we look not to every member of the flock accord- 
ing to our power, they may perish in their own iniquities, 
but their blood will be required at our hands; it is God and 
not we, that is the contriver and imposer of the work ; there- 
fore they blame God, more than us in accusing it. Would 
they be so cruel as to wish a Minister to cast away his own 
soul knowingly and wilfully, for fear of troubling them in 
hindering their damnation ? Especially acquaint them fully 
with the true nature of the Ministerial office, and the 
Church's necessity of it ; how it consisteth in teaching and 
guiding all the flock ; shew them that they must come to 
the congregation as scholars to school, and must be con- 
tent to give an account of their learning, and be instructed 
man by man. Let them know what a tendency this hath to 
their salvation, what a profitable improvement it will be of 
their time, how much vanity and evil it will prevent ; and 
when they once find that it is for their own good, they will 
the more easily yield to it. 

3. When this is done, it will be necessary, according to 
our Agreement, that we give one of the Catechisms to every 
Family in the Parish, poor and rich, that they might be so 
far without excuse ; for if you leave it to themselves, per- 
haps half of them will not get them. Whereas, when they 
have them put into their hands, the receiving is a kind of 
engagement to learn them ; and if they do but read the Ex- 
hortation, it will perhaps convince them, and excite them to 
submit. In delivering them, the best way is, for the Minis- 
ter first to give notice in the congregation that they shall 
be brought to their houses, and then go himself from house 
to house and deliver them, and take the opportunity of per- 
suading them to the work ; and as you go, take a catalogue 
of all the persons at years of discretion in the several Fami- 
lies, that you may know whom you have to take care of and 
instruct, and whom to expect when it cometh to their turn. 
I have formerly, in the distributing of some books among 
them, desired every Family to fetch them ; but I found more 
confusion and uncertainty in that way ; but in small Pa- 
rishes either way may serve. And for the charges of the books, 
if the Minister be able, It will be well for him to bear it ; if 
not, the best affected of his people of the richer sort should 


bear it among them : or on a day of humiliation preparatory 
to the work, let the collection that is wont to be for the 
poor be employed to buy Catechisms, and the people be 
desired to be more liberal, and what is wanting, the well- 
affected to the work may make up. And for the order of 
proceeding in small Parishes, the matter is not great ; but 
in greater it will be needful that we take them in order, 
Family by Family, beginning the execution a month or six 
weeks after the delivery of the books, that they may have 
time to learn ; and thus taking them together in common, 
they will the more willingly come, and the backward will be 
the more ashamed to keep off. 

4. Be sure that you deal gently with them, and take off 
all discouragements as effectually as you can. — (1.) Tell 
them publicly, that if they have learned any other Catechism 
already, you will not urge them to learn this, unless they 
desire it themselves ; for the substance of all Catechisms 
that are orthodox is the same ; only our reasons for offering 
them this, was its brevity and fulness, that we might give 
them as much as we could in a few words, and so make 
their work more easy. If any of them would rather learn 
any other orthodox Catechism, let them have their choice. 
— (2.) As for the old people of weak memories, and not 
likely to live long in the world, who complain that they can- 
not remember the words ; tell them that you do not expect 
that they should perplex their minds about it, but hear it 
often read over, and see that they understand it, and get 
the matter into their minds and hearts, and then they may 
be borne with, though they remember not the words. — (3.) 
And let your dealing with those that you begin with be so 
gentle, convincing and winning, that the report of it may be 
an encouragement to others to come. 

5. If all this will not serve to bring any particular per- 
sons to submit, do not so cast them off; but go to them and 
expostulate the case with them ; know what their reasons 
are, and convince them of the sinfulness and danger of their 
contempt of the help that is offered them. A soul is so 
precious, that we should not lose one for want of labour ; 
but follow them while there is any hope, and not give them 
up as desperate, till there is no remedy. Before we give 
them over as dogs or swine, let us try the utmost, that we 
may have the experience of their obstinate contempt or 

318 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 7 . 

renting us, to warrant our forsaking them. Charity bear- 
eth and waiteth long. 

II. Having used these means to procure them to come 
in and submit to your teaching, the next thing to be consi- 
dered is, how you should deal most effectually with them in 
the work : and again I must say, that I think it an easier 
matter by far, to compose and preach a good sermon, than 
to deal rightly with an ignorant man for his instruction in 
the necessary principles of religion. Much as this work is 
contemned by some, I doubt not but it will try the parts 
and spirits of Ministers, and shew them the difference be- 
tween one man and another, more fully than pulpit preach- 
ing will do. And here I shall, as fitting to my purpose, 
transcribe the words of a most learned, orthodox and godly 
man, Bishop Usher, in his sermon before King James at 
Wansted, on Ephes. iv. 13. " Your Majesty's care can never 
be sufficiently commended, in taking order that the chief 
heads of the catechism should in the ordinary ministry be 
diligently propounded and explained unto the people through- 
out the land; which I wish were as duly executed every 
where, as it was piously by you intended. Great scholars 
possibly may think, that it standeth not so well with their 
credit, to stoop thus low, and to spend so much of their time 
in teaching these rudiments and first Principles of the doc- 
trine of Christ. But they should consider that the laying of 
the foundation skilfully, as it is the matter of greatest im- 
portance in the whole building ; so is it the very master- 
piece of the wisest builder. According to the grace of God 
which is given to me, as a wise master-builder, I have laid 
the foundation, saith the great apostle. And let the most 
learned of us all try it whenever we please, we shall find, 
that to lay this groundwork rightly, (that is, to apply our- 
selves to the capacity of the common auditory, and to make 
an ignorant man to understand these mysteries in some good 
measure) will put us to the trial of our skill, and trouble us 
a great deal more, than if we were to discuss a controversy, 
or handle a point of learning in the schools. Yet Christ did 
give as well his apostles, and prophets, and evangelists, as 
his ordinary pastors and teachers, to bring us all, both 
learned and unlearned, unto the unity of this faith and know- 
edge : and the neglecting of this, is the frustrating of the 


whole work of the Ministry. For let us preach never so 
many sermons to the people, our labour is but lost, as long 
as the foundation is unlaid ; and the first Principles un- 
taught, upon which all other doctrine must be builded." 

The Directions which I think necessary to be observed 
in the managing of the work, for matter and manner, are 
these following: 

Direct. 1. When your neighbours come to you, one fa- 
mily, or more, begin with a brief preface, to demulce their 
minds, and take off this offence, unwillingness or discou- 
ragement, to prepare them to entertain your following in- 
structions. — ' Neighbours and brethren, it may perhaps seem 
to some of you, an unusual and troublesome business, that 
I put you upon ; but I hope you will not think it needless ; 
for if I had thought so, I should have spared you and my- 
self this labour. But my conscience hath told me, yea, 
God hath told me in his Word, what it is to have the charge 
of men's souls, and how the blood of them that perish in 
their sins will be required at the hands of a Minister that 
neglecteth them, that I dare not be guilty of it. Alas, all 
our business in this world is to get well to heaven ; and 
God hath appointed us to be guides to his people, to help 
them safe thither. If this be well done, all is done ; and if 
this be not done, we are for ever undone! The Lord knows 
how short a time you and I may be together ; and therefore 
it concerns us to do what we can for our own and your sal- 
vation, before we leave you, or you leave the world. All 
other employments in the world are but toys and dreams in 
comparison of this ! The labours of your calling are but to 
prop up the cottages of your flesh, while you are making 
ready for death and judgment, which God knows is near at 
hand. And I hope you will be glad of help in so needful a 
work, and not think it much that I put you to this trouble, 
when the trifles of the world cannot be got without greater 

This, or something to this purpose, may tend to make 
them more willing to hear you, and receive instruction, and 
give you an account of their knowledge or practice, which 
must be the work of the day. 

Direct. 2. When you have spoken thus to them all, take 
then the persons one by one, and deal with them as far as 
you can in private, out of the hearing of the rest. For some 

320 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 7. 

cannot speak freely before others, and some cannot endure 
to be questioned before others, because they think it tendeth 
to their shame to have others hear their answers ; and some 
persons that can make better answers themselves, will be 
ready when they are gone to tattle of what they heard, and 
to despise those that speak not so well as they. You must 
therefore be very prudent to prevent all these inconvenien- 
ces. But the main reason is, as I find by experience, peo- 
ple will better take plain, close dealing, about their sin, and 
misery, and duty, when you have them alone, than they will 
before others ; and if you have not opportunity to set it 
home and deal freely with them, you will frustrate all. If 
therefore you have a convenient place, let the rest stay in 
one room, while you confer with each person by themselves 
in another ; only for the necessary avoiding of scandal, we 
must speak to the women, in the presence of some others : 
and if we do lose some advantage by it with regard to the 
success of our instructions, there is no remedy; better do 
so, than by giving occasion to those who are seeking it, 
destroy all the work. Yet we may so contrive it, that though 
some others be in the room, yet what passages are less fit 
for others' observance, may be spoken ' submissa voce' that 
others may be no hearers of it ; and therefore they may be 
placed at the remotest part of the room : or at least let none 
be present but the members of the same family, that are 
more familiar, and not so likely to reproach one another. In 
your rousing examinations and reproofs, address yourselves 
chiefly to the most ignorant, secure, and vicious, that you 
may have the clearer ground for your closest dealing, and that 
the hearing of it may awaken the by-standers, to whom you 
seem not so directly to apply it. These small things deserve 
attention, because they are parts of a work that is not 
small ; and small errors may hinder a great deal of good. 

Direct. 3. Let the beginning of your work be, by taking 
an account of what they have learned of the catechism, re- 
ceiving their answer to each question ; and if they are able 
to recite but a little or none of it, try whether they can re- 
hearse the Creed and the Decalogue. 

Direct. 4. Then choose out some of the weightiest points, 
and try, by further questions, how they understand them. 
And therein be careful of these things following : (1.) That 
you do not begin with less necessary points, but these which 


themselves may perceive do most nearly concern them. As, 
' What do you think becomes of men after death ? Do yon 
believe that you have any sin ; or that you were born in sin ; 
and what doth sin deserve ? What remedy hath God pro- 
vided for the saving of sinful, miserable souls ? Hath any 
one suffered for our sins, in our stead ; or must we suffer for 
them ourselves ? Who are they that God will pardon ? Who 
shall be saved by the blood of Christ? What change must 
be made on all that shall be saved, and how is it made ? Where 
is our chief happiness? What is it that our hearts must be 
most set upon? and such like.' — (2.) Take heed of asking 
them nice, needless, or doubtful and very difficult questions, 
though about matters of the greatest weight in themselves ; 
especially be very cautious how you put them upon the de- 
finitions or descriptions. Some self-conceited men will be 
busy with questions which they cannot answer themselves, 
and as censorious and severe with the poor people that can- 
not answer them, as if life and death depended thereon. 
You will ask them perhaps, What is God ? and how de- 
fective an answer must you make yourselves ! You may 
tell what he is not, sooner than what he is. If you ask, What 
is Repentance, what is Faith, or what is Forgiveness of 
Sin ? how many Ministers may you ask, before you have a 
right answer, or else they would not be so disagreed in the 
point : so if you ask them What Regeneration is, what 
Sanctification is ? But you will, perhaps, say, ' If men know 
not what God is, what repentance, faith, conversion, justi- 
fication and sanctification are, how can they be true Chris- 
tians and be saved V I answer, It is one thing to know 
exactly what they are, and another thing to know them in 
their nature and effects, though with a more general and in- 
distinct knowledge ; and it is one thing to know, and an- 
other thing to tell what this or that is. The very name as 
commonly used doth signify to them, and express from them 
the thing without a definition ; and they partly understand 
what that name signifieth, when they cannot tell it you in 
other words. As they know what it is to repent, to believe, 
to be forgiven ; by custom of speech they know what these 
mean, and yet cannot define them, but perhaps put you off 
with the country answer : To repent, is to repent ; and to 
be forgiven, is to be forgiven ; or if they can say, It is to be 
vol. xiv. y 

322 gild as salvianus: [Chap. 7. 

pardoned, it is fair. Yet do I not absolutely dissuade you 
from the use of such questions ; but do it cautiously, in 
case you suspect some gross ignorance in the point; espe- 
cially about God himself. — (3.) In such a case so contrive 
your question, that they may perceive what you mean, and 
that it be not a nice definition, but a necessary solution that 
you expect. Look not after words but things, and there 
leave them to a bare yea or nay, or the mere election of one 
of the two descriptions which you yourself shall propound. 
As ' What is God : is he made of flesh and blood as we 
are, or is he an invisible Spirit : had he any beginning : can 
he die ? What is faith : is it a believing all the Word of 
God? What is it to believe in Christ : is it all one as to 
become a true Christian ; or to believe that Christ is the Sa- 
viour of the world, and to accept him for your Saviour to 
pardon, teach, govern and glorify you? What is repentance : 
is it only to be sorry for sin, or is it the change of the mind 
from sin to God, or both ? — (4.) And as you must do thus 
when you come to hard points, as definitions, or the like ; 
so in all points where you perceive that they understand not 
the meaning and stress of your question, you must first 
draw out their answer into your question, and demand but 
his yea or nay ; yea, if it be never so easy a point that you 
are upon, you must do thus at last, in case by the first question 
you have had an unsatisfactory answer, e. g. I have often 
asked some very ignorant people, How do you think your 
many and great sins will be pardoned ? And they tell me 
by their repenting and mending their lives ; and never men- 
tion Jesus Christ. I ask them further, But do you think 
that your amendment can make God any amends or satis- 
faction for the sin that is past? They will answer, 'We 
hope so, or else we know not what will.' One would think 
now that these men had no knowledge of Christ at all : and 
some I find have indeed none. Hence, I tell them the his- 
tory of the Gospel,' and what Christ did and suffered, and 
why : they stand wondering at it as a strange thing that they 
had never heard before, and say, they never heard this much 
till now, though they came to church every Lord's-day. But 
others, I perceive, give such answers, because they under- 
stand not the scope of my question, but think that I take 
Christ's death as granted, and only ask them what shall 


make God satisfaction, as their part under Christ. And 
when I asked them whether their deeds can merit any thing 
of God ? they say ' No ; but they hope God will accept 
them.' And if I ask, Can you be saved without the death of 
Christ? they say, 'No.' And if I ask, What hath he done 
or suffered for you ? they will say, ' He shed his blood for 
us;' and will profess that they place their confidence in that 
for salvation. Many men have that in their minds, which 
is not ripe for utterance, and through want of education and 
practice, they are strangers to the expressions of those 
things which they have some conceptions of: and, by the 
way you may here see how needful it is to deal very ten- 
derly with the common people, for matter of knowledge and 
defect of expression, if they are teachable, and willing to use 
means, and to live obediently ; for many even aged, godly 
persons, cannot speak their minds in any tolerable expres- 
sions ; no, nor can they learn when expressions are put into 
their mouths. Some of the most pious, experienced and ap- 
proved Christians that I know, complain exceedingly to me 
with tears, that they cannot learn the words of the Catechism, 
and when I consider their advantages, that they have lived 
under the most excellent helps, in constant duty, and in the 
best company for forty, fifty, or sixty years together, it teach- 
eth me what to expect from poor, ignorant people, that 
never had such advantages, and not to reject them so hastily 
as some hot, and too high professors, would have us do. — (5.) 
This also must be observed, that if you find them at a loss, 
and perceive them troubled that they cannot answer, step 
in yourself and take the burden off them, answering the 
question yourself; and then do it thoroughly and plainly, and 
make a full explication of the whole business to them, that 
by your teaching they may be brought to understand it be- 
fore you leave them. And herein it is commonly necessary 
that you fetch up the matter ' ab origine,' and take it on in 
order till you come to the point in question. — (6.) Usually, 
with the grossly ignorant, it is necessary that you run over 
all the sum of our Religion to them in the most familiar way 
that you can possibly devise. But this must be the next 

Direct. 5. When you have done what you see cause in the 
trial of their knowledge, proceed next to instruct them your- 
selves, according to their several capacities. If it be a pro- 

324 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 7. 

fessor that understandeth the fundamentals, fall on what 
you perceive he most needeth, either explaining further 
some of the doctrines of the Gospel, or laying the grounds 
of some duty which he may doubt of, or shewing the neces- 
sity of what he neglecteth, or meeting with his sins or mis- 
takes, as may be most convincing and edifying to him. If 
it be one that is grossly ignorant, give him a plain recital of 
the sum of the Christian Religion in a few words ; for 
though it be in the Catechism already, yet a more familiar 
way may better help them to understand it. As thus : 
' You must know, that from everlasting there was one only 
God that had no beginning, and can have no end, who is 
not a body as we are, but a most pure, spiritual Being, that 
knoweth all things, and can do all things, and hath all good- 
ness and blessedness in himself. This God is but one, but 
yet three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, 
in an incomprehensible manner, above our reach ; yet we 
have somewhat in ourselves and other creatures that may 
give us some resemblance of it. As in a man, his power, his 
understanding, and will, are but one soul, and yet they are 
not one faculty, but differ one from another: or as in the 
sun, the being or power, and the heat and the light, are not 
all one ; and yet there is but one sun ; so in a more incom- 
prehensible manner it is in God. And you must know that 
this one God did make all the world by his Word ; the hea- 
vens he made to be the place of his glory, and made a world 
of holy angels to serve him, in his glory ; but some of these 
did by pride or other sin fall from God, and are become 
devils that shall be miserable in torments for ever ; when he 
had made the rest of this lower world, he made man, as his 
noblest creature here, even one man and one woman, Adam 
and Eve ; and he made them perfect without any sin or fault, 
and put them into the garden of Eden, and forbid them to 
eat but of one tree in the Garden, and told them that if they 
did, they should die. But the devil that had first fallen 
himself did tempt them to sin, and they yielded to his temp- 
tation, and by wilfully sinning they fell under the curse of 
God's law, and fell short of the glory of God. But God of 
his infinite wisdom and mercy did send his own Son Jesus 
Christ to be their Redeemer, who as he was promised in the 
beginning, so in the fulness of time, sixteen hundred and 
fifty-five years ago, was made man, and was born of a Vir- 

Cllilp. 7«] THE REFORMED PASTOR. 325 

gin by the power of the Holy Ghost, and lived on earth 
among the Jews about thirty-three years ; preached the 
Gospel himself, and wrought many miracles to prove his 
doctrine, and bring men to believe in him ; healing the 
lame, the blind, the sick, and raising the dead by the word 
of his mouth, by his Divine power ; and at the end, by the 
malice of the Jews, and his own consent, he was offered 
upon the Cross, as a sacrifice for our sins, to bear that curse 
that we should have borne ; and when he was buried, he 
rose again the third day, and lived on earth forty days af- 
ter : and before his departure he sent his Apostles and 
other Ministers to preach the Gospel of Salvation to the 
world, and to call home lost sinners by repentance, and to 
assure them in his name, that if they will but believe in him 
and take him for their Saviour, and unfeignedly lament their 
former sins, and turn from them to God, and will take ever- 
lasting glory for their portion, and be content to resign 
their carnal interests and desires, he will pardon freely all 
that is past, and be merciful to them for the time to come, 
and will lead them up into spiritual communion with God, 
and bring them to his glory when this life is ended. But 
for them that make light of their sins and of his mercy, and 
will not forsake the pleasures of this world for the hopes of 
another, they shall be condemned to everlasting punishment. 
This Gospel Christ hath appointed his Ministers to preach 
to all the world ; and when he had given this in charge to 
his Apostles, he ascended up into heaven before their faces, 
where he is now in glory with God the Father, in our na- 
ture, ruling all; and at the end of this world, he will come 
again in that nature, and will call the dead to life again, and 
set thenuall before him to be judged, and all that truly re- 
pented and believed in him and were renewed by his Spirit, 
and renounced this world for the hopes of a better, shall be 
judged to live with God in glory, and shall be like to his 
angels, and praise him for ever ; and the rest that repented 
not, and believed not in him, but lived to the flesh and the 
world, shall be condemned to everlasting misery. So that 
you may see by this, that man's happiness is not in this 
world but in the next, and that all men have lost their hopes 
of that happiness by sin, and that Jesus Christ, the only 
Son of God and the Redeemer of the world, hath recovered 
it for us by the price of his blood, and hath made a New 

326 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 7. 

Covenant with us, assuring us of life and salvation, if we re- 
pent and believe in him for that life, and mortify our fleshly- 
desires. To this end he sendeth forth his Holy Spirit to 
convert all that shall be saved, and to turn their hearts from 
this world to God. If ever you mean to be saved, therefore, 
it must be thus with you: your former sins must be the 
grief of your soul, and you must fly to a crucified Christ as 
your only refuge from the deserved curse, and the Spirit of 
Christ must convert you, and dwell in you, and make you 
wholly a new creature : or there is no salvation.' Some such 
short, plain rehearsal of the principles of Religion, in the 
most familiar manner that you can devise, with a brief touch 
of application in the end, will be necessary when you deal 
with the grossly ignorant ; and if you perceive they under- 
stand you not, go over it again till they do ; and if possible 
fix it in their memories. 

Direct. 6. Whether they be grossly ignorant or not, if 
you suspect them to be ungodly, in the next place make a 
prudent inquiry into their state ; and the best and least of- 
fensive way will be by a few words to prepare their minds, by 
convincing them of the necessity of it ; as thus, or to this 
purpose, ' You see in the seventh Article proved in Scripture, 
that the Holy Ghost doth by the word enlighten men's minds, 
and soften and open their hearts, and turn them from the 
power of Satan to God by faith in Christ, and so makes them 
a sanctified, peculiar people to God ; and that none but these 
are made partakers of Christ and life. Now though I have 
no desire needlessly to pry into any man's state, yet because 
it is the office of Ministers to give advice to people in the 
matters of salvation, and because it is so dangerous to be 
mistaken, where life or death everlasting doth lie upon it, I 
would entreat you to deal truly, and tell me whether you ever 
found this great change upon your own heart, or not ? Did you 
ever find the Spirit of God by the word, come in upon your 
understanding with a new and heavenly life, as hath made 
you a new creature ? The Lord that seeth your heart doth 
know whether it be so or not; therefore I pray you, see that 
you speak the truth !' If he tell you, he hopes he is con- 
verted — all are sinners — but he is sorry for his sins, or the 
like ; then tell him more particularly in a few words what true 
conversion is, and so renew and enforce the inquiry thus : 
* Because your salvation or damnation lieth upon it, I would 


fain help you a little in this, that you may not be mistaken 
in a business of such consequence, but may find out the truth 
before it be too late ; for as God will judge us impartially, so 
we have his word before us, by which we may know now, 
how God will judge us then ; for this word tells us most cer- 
tainly who they be that shall go to heaven, and who to hell. 
Now the Scripture tells us that the state of an unconverted 
man is this : he seeth no great matter of felicity in the love 
and communion of God in the life to come, which may draw 
his heart thither from this present world; but he liveth to 
himself, and the main bent of his life is, that it may go well 
with his body here. The world and flesh are highest in his 
esteem, and nearest to his heart, and God and glory stand 
below them and further off, and all their service of God is 
but a giving him that which the world and flesh can spare. 
This is the true case of every unconverted man; and all that 
are in this case, are in a state of misery. But he that is 
truly converted, hath had a light shining into his soul from 
God, which hath shewed him the greatness of his sin and 
misery, and made it a heavy load upon his soul ; and hath 
shewed him what Christ is, and hath done for sinners, and 
made him admire the riches of God's grace in him ! O what 
glad news is it to him, that yet there is hope for such lost 
sinners as he— that so many and so great sins may be par- 
doned — and that this is offered to all that will accept it! 
How gladly doth he entertain this message and offer : and 
for the time to come he resigneth himself and all that he 
hath to Christ to be wholly his, and disposed of by him, in 
order to the everlasting glory which he hath promised. He 
hath now such a sight of the blessed state of the saints in 
glory, that he despiseth all this world as dross and dung in 
comparison of it, and there he layeth up his happiness and 
his hopes, and takes all the matters of this life but as so 
many helps or hindrances in the way to that ; so that the 
very bent and main care and business of his life is to be 
happy in the life to come. This is the case of all that are 
truly converted, and shall be saved. Is this your case or 
not ? Have you found such a change or work as this upon 
your soul?' If he say, he hopes he hath, descend to some 
particulars distinctly, e. g. ' I pray you then answer these two 
or three questions.— (1.) Can you truly say, that all the 
known sins of your life past are the grief of your heart, that 

328 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 7 . 

you have felt everlasting misery is due to you for them, and 
that in the sense of this heavy burden, you have felt your- 
self a lost man, and have gladly entertained the news of a 
Saviour, and cast your soul upon Christ alone for pardon by 
his blood? — (2.) Can you truly say, that your heart is so far 
turned from your former sins, that you hate the sins that 
formerly you loved, and love that holy life that you had no 
mind to before, and that you do not now live in the wilful 
practice of any known sin ? Is there no sin which you are 
not heartily willing to leave whatever it cost you, and no 
duty which you are not willing to perform?' — (3.) Can you 
truly say, that you have so far taken the everlasting enjoy- 
ments of God for your happiness, that it hath the most of 
your heart, of your love, desire, and care ; and that you are 
resolved by the strength of grace to let go all that you have 
in the world rather than hazard it ; and that it is your daily 
and principal business to seek it ? Can you truly say that, 
though you have your failings, yet your main care and bent 
of your whole life is to please God and enjoy him for ever; 
and that your worldly business is but as a traveller seeking 
provision in his journey, and heaven is your home V If he 
say yea, to the first and third, tell him how great a thing it 
is for a man's heart to abhor his sin, and to lay up his hap- 
piness unfeignedly in another world, and to live in this 
world for one that is out of sight ; and therefore desire him 
to see that it be so indeed. If he say yea, to the second 
question, then turn to the ninth, tenth, eleventh, or twelfth 
Articles of the Catechism, and read over some of those duties 
which you must suspect him to omit ; and ask him, whether 
he performs such or such a duty, especially Family and pri- 
vate prayer, and the holy spending of all the Lord's-day ; 
because these are of so great moment (of which anon). 

Direct. 7. When you have either by former discovery of 
gross ignorance, or by these latter inquiries into his spiri- 
tual state, discerned an apparent probability that the person 
is yet in an unconverted state ; your next business is to en- 
deavour with all your skill and power to bring his heart to 
the sense of his condition. — ' Truly, neighbour, I have no 
desire, the Lord knows, to make your condition worse than 
it is, nor to put any causeless fear or trouble in your mind : 
but I suppose you would take me for a flattering enemy, 


and not a faithful friend, if I should daub you, and not tell 
you the truth. If you sought to a physician in your sick- 
ness, you would have him tell you the truth, though it were 
the worst : much more here ; for, there the knowledge of your 
disease may by fears increase it, but here you must know it, 
or else you can never be recovered from it. I much fear that 
you are yet a stranger to the new life of all them that Christ 
will save; for if you were a Christian indeed, and truly 
converted, your very heart would have been set on God and 
the life to come, you would have admired the riches of grace 
in Christ, you would have made it your business to prepare 
for eternity, and you durst not, you would not live in any 
wilful sin, nor in the neglect of known duties. Alas, what 
have you done, how have you spent your time till now ! Did 
you not know that you had a soul to save or lose, and that 
you must live in heaven or hell for ever, and that you had 
your life and time in this world for that purpose, to prepare 
for another ! Alas, what have you been doing all this while 
that you are so ignorant, and so unprepared for death if it 
should now find you ! If you had but as much minded hea- 
ven as earth, you would have known more of it, and done 
more for it, and inquired more diligently after it than you 
have ! You can learn how to do your business in the world, 
and why could you not have learned more of the will of God ? 
You have neighbours that could learn more, that have had 
as much to do in the world as you, and as little time? Do 
you think that heaven is not worth your labour, or that it 
can be had without care and pains, when you cannot have 
the trifles of the world without seeking after them, and when 
God hath bid you, first seek his kingdom and the righteous- 
ness thereof? Alas, neighbour, what if you had died be- 
fore this hour in an unconverted state ! what had become 
of you, and where had you now been ? Why you did not 
know all this while that you should live a day to an end ! 
O that ever you would be so cruel to yourselves as to ven- 
ture your everlasting state so desperately as you have done ! 
What did you think of? Did you not all this while know 
that you must shortly die, and be judged as you were then 
found ? Had you any greater work to do, or any greater 
business to mind than your salvation ? Do you think that 
all that you can get in this world will comfort you in a dy- 

330 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 7. 

ing hour, or purchase your salvation, or ease the pains of 
hell-fire ?' — Set these things home with a more earnest voice 
than the former part of your discourse ; for if you get not 
to the heart, you do little or nothing, and that which affect- 
eth not is soon forgotten. 

Direct. 8. Next this, conclude the whole with a practical 
exhortation, which must contain two parts : — (1.) The duty 
of the heart in order to a closure with Christ, and that which 
is contained in that closure. — (2.) The use of external means 
for the time to come, and the avoiding of former sins. — 
' Neighbour, I am heartily sorry to find you in so sad a case, 
but I should be more sorry to leave you in it ; and there- 
fore let me entreat you, for the Lord's sake, and for your 
own sake, to regard what I shall say to you, for the time to 
come. It is the Lord's great mercy that he did not cut you 
off in your unconverted state, that you have yet life and 
time, and that there is a sufficient remedy provided for your 
soul in the blood of Christ; and he is yet offered with par- 
don and life to you as well as others ; God hath not left 
sinful man to utter desperation, for want of a ransom by a 
Redeemer as he hath done the devils ; nor hath he made any 
exception in the offer or promise of pardon and life against 
you any more than against any others. If you had yet but 
a bleeding heart for sin, and would come to Christ believ- 
ingly for recovery, and resign yourself to him as your Savi- 
our and Lord, the Lord would have mercy on you, pardon 
your sins, and save your soul ; and I must tell you that as 
it must be the great work of God's grace to give you such 
a heart, so if ever he pardon and save you, he will make this 
change upon you, that I have before mentioned; he will 
make you feel your sin as the heaviest burden in the world, 
as that which is most odious in itself, and hath laid you 
open to the curse of God ; he will make you see that you 
are a lost man, and that there is no way but one for you, 
even everlasting damnation, unless you are pardoned by the 
blood of Christ, and sanctified by his Spirit ; he will make 
you see the need you have of Christ, and how much you are 
beholden to him for the shedding of his blood, and how all 
your hope and life is in him : he will make you see the 
vanity of this world and all that it can afford you, and that 
all your happiness i3 with God, in that everlasting life, 
where, with saints and angels, you may behold his glory, 


and live in his presence, and praise him for ever, when those 
that reject him shall be tormented with the devils : and be- 
cause it is only Christ the Redeemer that can bring you to 
that glory, and deliver you from that torment, he will make 
you look to him as your hope and life, and cast your bur- 
dened soul upon him ; and give up yourself to be saved, and 
taught, and ruled by him ; and he will possess you with the 
Spirit of Holiness, that your heart shall be set upon God and 
heaven as your treasure, and the care of your mind, and the 
business of your life, shall be to obtain it, and you shall 
despise this world, deny your fleshly interests and desires, 
and cast away the sin with abhorrence which you delighted 
in ; and count no pains too great — no suffering too dear 
for the obtaining of that everlasting life with God. Let 
me tell you, that till this work be done, you are a miserable 
man ; and if you die before it is done, you are lost for ever. 
Now you have hope and help before you, but then there will 
be none. Let me therefore entreat these two or three things 
of you, and do not deny them me, as you love your soul. — 
(1.) That you will not rest in this condition : be not quiet 
in your mind, till you find a true conversion wrought. Think 
when you rise in the morning, O what if this day should be 
my last, and death should find me in an unrenewed state ! 
Think when you are about your labour, O how much greater 
a work have I yet to do, to get my soul reconciled to God 
and possessed of his Spirit! Think when you are eating, or 
drinking, or looking on any thing that you possess in the 
world, What good will all this do me, if I live and die an 
enemy to God, a stranger to Christ and his Spirit, and so 
perish for ever. Let these thoughts be day and night upon 
your mind, till your soul be changed. — (2.) Think seriously 
what a vain thing this world is, and how shortly it will leave 
you to a cold grave, and everlasting misery, if you have not 
a better treasure than this. Think what it is to live in the 
presence of God, to reign with Christ, and to be like the 
angels ; and that this is the life that Christ hath procured 
you, and is preparing for you, and freely ofFereth you if you 
will accept it in and with himself upon his easy and reason- 
able terms. Think whether it be not madness to slight such 
endless glory, and to prefer these fleshly dreams, and earthly 
shadows before it. Use yourself to such considerations as 
these, when you are alone, and let them dwell upon your 

.332 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 7. 

mind. — (3.) Presently, without any more delay, accept of 
felicity, and this Saviour : close with the Lord Jesus that 
offereth you this eternal life. Joyfully and thankfully ac- 
cept his offer, as the only way to make you happy ; and 
then you may believe that all your sins shall be done away 
by him. — (4.) Resolve presently against your former sins ; 
find out what hath defiled your heart and life, and cast it 
away by repentance, as you would poison out of your sto- 
mach, and abhor the thought of taking it in again. — (5.) 
Set yourselves close to the use of God's means till this 
change be wrought, and then continue his means till you 
are confirmed, and at last perfected. Because you cannot 
of yourselves make this change upon your heart and life, be- 
take yourself daily to God for it by prayer, and beg earnestly 
as for your life that he will pardon all your former sins, and 
change your heart, shew you the riches of his grace in 
Christ, and the glory of his kingdom, and draw up your 
heart to himself. Follow God day and night with these re- 
quests. Fly from temptations and occasions of sin, and 
forsake your former evil company, and betake yourselves 
into the company of those that fear God, and will help you 
in the way to heaven. Especially spend the Lord's-day in 
holy exercises, both public and private, and lose not one 
quarter of an hour of any of your time, but especially of 
that most precious time, which God hath given you pur- 
posely that you may set your mind upon him, be instructed 
by him, and to prepare yourself for your latter end. What 
say you ? Will you do this presently ? At least so much 
of it as you can. Will you promise me to think of these 
things that I before mentioned, and to pray daily for a 
change of heart till you have obtained it, and to change 
your company and courses, and fall upon the use of God's 
means in reading and hearing the Scriptures, and meditating 
on them, especially on the Lord's-day V And here be sure 
if you can, to get their promise, and engage them to amend- 
ment, especially to use means, and change their company, 
and forsake actual sinning because these are more in their 
reach, and in this way they may wait for the accomplishing 
of that change that is not yet wrought. And to do this 
solemnly, remembering them of the presence of God that 
heareth their promises, and will expect the performance. 
Direct. 9. Before you dismiss them, add a few words to 


this effect ; ' I pray you take it not ill that I have put you 
to this trouble, or dealt thus freely with you ! It is as little 
pleasure to me as to you. If I did not know these things to 
be true and necessary, I would have spared this labour to 
myself and you. But I know that we shall be here but a 
little while — we are almost at the world to come already — 
and therefore it is time for us all to look about us, and see 
that we be ready when God shall call us.' Because it is 
but seldom that we ourselves shall have opportunity to 
speak with the same persons, set them in a way for the per- 
fecting of what is begun. Engage the Governor of each 
Family to call all his Family to account every Lord's-day 
evening, before they go to bed, what they can rehearse of 
the Catechism, and so to continue till they have all learned it 
perfectly ; and when they have done so, yet still to continue to 
hear them recite it, that they may not forget it ; for, even to 
the most judicious it will be an excellent help to have still in 
memory, a sum of the Christian doctrine, for matter, method 
and words. As for the Rulers of Families themselves, or 
those that are under such Rulers as will not help them, if 
they have learned some small part of the Catechism only, 
engage them either to come again when they have learned 
the rest, or else to go to some experienced neighbour, and 
recite it to them, and take their assistance, when they can- 
not have yours. 

Direct. 10. Have all the names of your Parishioners by 
you in a book ; and when they come and recite the Cate- 
chism, note in your book who come, and who do not ; and 
who are so ignorant as to be utterly unfit for the Lord's-sup- 
per and other holy communion, and who not. And as you 
perceive the necessities of each, so deal with them for the 
future. But for those that are utterly obstinate, and will 
not come to you, nor be instructed by you, remember the 
last article of our Agreement, ' to deal with them as the ob- 
stinate despisers of instruction should be dealt with, in re- 
gard of the Communion, and the application of sealing and 
confirming Ordinances ;' which is to avoid them, and not 
hold holy or familiar communion with them, in the Lord's- 
supper or other Ordinances ; and though some reverend 
brethren are for admitting their children to Baptism, and 
offended with me for contradicting it, yet so cannot I be, 
nor shall dare to do it upon any pretences of their ancestor's 

,334 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 7. 

faith, or of a dogmatical faith of the rebellious Parents, 
supposing them both to be such as in that article we have 
mentioned. To these particulars, I add this general: — 

Direct. 11. Through the whole course of your conference 
with them, see that the manner as well as the matter be 
suited to the end. Concerning the manner, observe these 
particulars: — (1.) Speak differently according to the dif- 
ference of the persons that you have to deal with. To the 
dull and obstinate you must be more earnest and sharp ; to 
the tender and timorous that are already humbled, you must 
rather insist on direction and confirmation; to the young 
you must lay greater shame on sensual voluptuousness, and 
shew them the nature and necessity of mortification ; to the 
aged you must do more to disgrace this present world, and 
make them apprehensive of the nearness of their change, 
and the aggravations of their sin, if they should live and die 
in ignorance or impenitence ; to inferiors and the younger 
sort you must be more free ; to superiors and elders more re- 
spectful ; to the rich this world must be more disgraced, and 
the nature and necessity of self-denial opened, and the deceit- 
ful consequence of preferring the present prosperity to future 
happiness, as also the necessity of improving their talents 
in well doing ; to the poor shew the riches of glory which are 
propounded to them in the Gospel, and how well present 
things may be spared, where the everlasting may be got. 
Also those sins must be most insisted on to which their age 
or sex, or calling and employment in the world doth most 
incline them to. As in females, loquacity, evil speeches, 
passion, malice, pride, &c. Of all which, and abundance 
more differences, calling to us for different carriage. See 
" Gregor. Mag. de Officio Pastor." — (2.) Be as condescend- 
ing, familiar, and plain as is possible, with those that are of 
a weaker capacity. — (3.) Give them Scripture proof for all 
you say, that they may see it is not you only, but God by 
you that speaketh to them. — (4.) Be as serious in all, but 
especially in the applicatory part as you can. I scarcely 
fear any thing more than lest some Ministers should slubber 
over the work, and do it superficially and without life, and 
destroy this as they do all other duties, by turning it into 
mere formality ; putting a few cold questions to them, and 
giving them two or three cold words of advice, without any 
life and feeling in themselves, and therefore not likely to 


produce any in the hearers. But surely he that valueth 
souls, and knoweth what an opportunity is before him, will 
do accordingly. — (5.) To this end I should think it very 
necessary that we, both before and in the work, take spe- 
cial pains with our own hearts ; especially to excite and 
strengthen our belief of the Truth of the Gospel, and the in- 
visible glory and misery that is to come. I am confident 
this work will exceedingly try the. strength of our faith ; for 
he that is superficially a Christian, and not sound in the 
faith, will likely feel his zeal quite fail him, especially when 
the duty is grown common, for want of a proper sense of the 
things which he is to treat of to keep it alive. An affected 
fervency and hypocritical stage action, will not hold out in 
such duties long. The pulpit will have more of them, than 
a conference with poor ignorant souls ; for the pulpit is the 
hypocritical Minister's stage. There, and in the press, and 
in public acts, where there is room for ostentation, you are 
sure to have his best, and almost all. It is other kind of 
men that must effectually do the work now in hand. — (6.) It 
is therefore very meet that we prepare ourselves to it by 
private prayer; and if time would permit, if we did begin 
and end with a short prayer with our people, it were best. — 
(7.) Carry on all, even the most earnest passages, in clear 
demonstrations of love to their souls, and make them feel 
through the whole, that you aim at nothing but their salva- 
tion, and avoid all harsh, discouraging passages, through- 
out. — (8.) If you have not time to deal so fully with each 
one particularly as is here directed, then omit not the most 
necessary parts ; take several of them together that are 
friends, and will not seek to divulge each other's weak- 
nesses, and speak to them in common as much as concern- 
eth all ; and only the examinations of their knowledge and 
state, and convictions of misery and special directions, 
must be used to the individuals alone ; but take heed of 
slubbering it over, or being too brief, without real necessity. 
Direct. 12. Lastly, if God enable you, extend your charity 
to the poorest sort, before they part from you : give them 
somewhat towards their relief, and from the time that is thus 
taken from their labours, especially for encouragement of 
them that do best ; promise as much when they have learned 
the Catechism. I know you cannot give what you have not; 
but I speak to them that can. — So much shall serve for di- 

336 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 8. 

rections to the younger Ministers, in their dealing with the 
more ignorant or carnal sort of persons. 

As for them that are under fears and troubles of mind, 
who yet give us hopes of the work of saving grace on their 
souls, though it deserve a full discourse to direct us in deal- 
ing with them, yet I shall not meddle with it now ; because 
I intended this discourse for another end, and because I have 
done so much as I think necessary already in my " Direc- 
tions for Peace of Conscience." 


Another sort there are, that we may have occasion of con- 
ference with, though they will scarcely stoop to be cate- 
chised ; and that is, opinionative questionists, that being 
tainted with pride and self-conceitedness, are readier to teach, 
than to be taught, and to vent their own conceits, and quar- 
rel with you, as being ignorant or erroneous yourselves, than 
to receive instruction : and if they are tainted with any no- 
table error or schismatical dispositions, they will seek to 
waste time in vain j anglings, and to dispute, rather than to 
learn. I am not now directing you what to do with those 
men at other times \(of that I shall give a touch anon) ; but 
only in case they come to you at this time which is appoint- 
ed for catechising and edifying instruction : nor is it my 
thought to presume to direct any but the weaker sort of 
Ministers in this, any more than in the former. 

It is likely you will have some come to you amongst the 
rest, that when they should give an account of their faith, 
will fall into a teaching and contentious discourse : one will 
tell you, that you have no true Church, because you have 
such bad members ; another will ask you, by what authority 
you baptize infants; another will ask you, how you can be 
a true Minister, if you had your ordination from Prelates ; 
and another will tell you, that you are no true Minister, be- 
cause you had not your ordination from Prelates ; another 
will ask you, what Scripture you have for praying or singing 
psalms in a mixed assembly ; and another will quarrel with 
you, because you administer not the Lord's-supper to them, 
in the gesture and manner as they desire, and were wont to 
receive it ; or because you exercise any discipline among 


them. If any such person should come to you, and thus 
seek to divert your better discourse, I should think it best 
to take this course with them : — 

1. Let them know that this Meeting is appointed for in- 
structing the people in the Principles of Religion, and you 
think it very unmeet to pervert it from that use; it being a 
sin to do God's work disorderly, or to be doing a lesser work, 
when you should be doing a greater : and therefore as you 
durst not turn God's Public Worship on the Lord's-day into 
vain or contentious disputing, which discompose men's 
minds, and spoil a greater work ; so neither do you think it 
lawful to abuse these times to lower uses, which are ap- 
pointed for higher. 

2. Yet let him know that you do not this to avoid any 
trial of the Truth ; and therefore that you will at any other 
fit season, endeavour to give him full satisfaction ; or you will 
as willingly receive instruction from him, if he be able, and 
have the truth, as you desire he should receive instruction 
from you : and if it must be so, you will yield to his desire 
before you part, if there be but time when you have dis- 
patched the greater work : but upon condition only, that he 
will submit to the greater first. 

3. Then desire him first to give you some account of the 
Principles in the Catechism : and if he deny it, convince him 
before all of the iniquity of his course. — (1.) In that it is the 
first principles that salvation most dependeth on, and there- 
fore being of greatest excellency and necessity, are first to 
be taken into consideration. — (2.) In that it is the appointed 
business of this day. — (3.) It is orderly to begin with the 
fundamentals, because they bear up the rest, which suppose 
them, flow from them, and cannot be understood without 
them. — (4.) It is the note of a proud, vainglorious hypocrite, 
to make a flourish about lesser things, and yet either to be 
ignorant of the greater, or to scorn to give that account of 
his knowledge, which the people, whom he despiseth, refuse 

not to give. 

If he yield to you, ask him only such questions as are 
of great weight, and yet strain him up a little higher than 
you do the common people ; and especially put him most 
upon defining or distinguishing, or expounding some terms 
or sentences of Scripture. As such questions as these may 
vol. xiv. z 

338 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 8. 

be put to him, which call for definitions, wherein it is ten to 
one but you will find him ignorant. ' What is God ? What 
is Jesus Christ ? What is the Holy Ghost ? What is Person 
in the Trinity? How many Natures hath Christ? Was 
Christ a Creature before his Incarnation or the Creation ? 
Is he called the Firstborn of all Creatures as God, or as 
man ? Is he called the Image of the invisible God, and the 
Express Image of the Father's person or subsistence as a 
creature, or as God ? Was Adam bound to believe in Christ? 
Was one or two Covenants made with Adam before his fall? 
Did the first Covenant of Nature make any promise of ever- 
lasting celestial Glory ? Did it threaten hell-fire or tempo- 
ral death ? Did it threaten eternal torment to the soul 
only, or to the body also? Should there have been any Re- 
surrection of the body, if Christ had not come to procure it ? 
Should Christ have come, or have been our head, or have 
brought us to glory, if man had not fallen ? What is the 
first Covenant ? What its conditions? What the second 
Covenant, and its conditions ? What was the difference be- 
tween the Covenant with Adam, and that by Moses? Was 
it a Covenant of works or of grace, that was made by Moses ? 
What were the Conditions of salvation before Christ's incar- 
nation ? What is forgiveness of sin? What is justification? 
How are we said to be justified by faith? How by works ? 
What is faith? What repentance? What sanctification, 
vocation, regeneration? Is the Covenant of grace made 
with the elect only, or with all; or with whom? What is 
freewill? Is there any conversion without the Word? What 
is the true nature of special grace ; and what is the proper 
difference of a regenerate man from all others ? What is the 
Catholic Church? How will you know the true Church ? 
How know you the Scripture to be the word of God? What 
is Christ's priestly, prophetical, kingly office ? Be they 
three offices, or but one ; and be they all?' — with abundance 
of the like. 

If it be Sacrament controversies which he raiseth, tell 
him it is necessary that you be first agreed, what Baptism 
and the Lord's-supper are ; before you dispute who should 
be baptized ; and it is twenty to one, he is not able truly to 
tell you what the Sacraments themselves are. A true defini- 
tion of Baptism or the Lord's-supper is not so commonly 
given, as is pretended. 


4. If he discover his ignorance in the cases propounded, 
endeavour to humble him in the sense of his pride and pre- 
sumption ; and let him know what it is, and what it signi- 
fieth to go about with a contentious, proud behaviour, while 
he is indeed so ignorant in things of greater moment. 

5. See that you are able to give him better information 
yourselves in the points wherein you find him ignorant. 

6. But especially take care that you discern the spirit of 
the man; and if he be a settled, perverse Schismatic, or 
Heretic, so that you see him peremptory, and quite trans- 
ported with pride, and have no great hopes of his recovery ; 
then do all this that I have before said openly before all that 
are present, that he may be humbled or shamed, and the rest 
confirmed. But if you find him godly and temperate, and that 
there is any hope of his reduction, then see that you do all 
this privately, between him and you only ; let not fall any 
bitter words that tend to his disparagement. And thus I 
advise, both because we must be as tender of the reputation 
of all good men, as fidelity to them, and to the truth, will 
permit; we must bear one another's burdens, and not in- 
crease them, and we must restore those with a spirit of 
meekness that fall through infirmity, remembering that we 
ourselves also may be tempted ; and also because there is 
small hope that you should ever do them good, if once you 
exasperate them, and disaffect them towards you. 

7. See that to such erring persons as you have any hopes 
of, you carry yourselves with as much tenderness and love 
as will consist with your duty to the Church of God : for 
most of them, when they are once tainted this way, are so 
selfish and high-minded, that they are much more impatient 
of reproof than many of the profaner sort of people. 

This way did Musculus take with the Anabaptists, visit- 
ing them in person, and relieving them, even while they railed 
at him as antichristian, and so continued without disputing 
with them, till they were convinced that he loved them, and 
then they sought to him for advice themselves, and many of 
them were reclaimed by him. 

8. Either in the conclusion of your meeting, or at an 
appointed time, when you come to debate their controversy 
with them, tell them, ' That seeing they think you unable to 
teach them, and think themselves able to teach you, it is your 
desire to learn ; you suppose disputing, as tending usually 

340 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 8. 

to exasperate men's minds, rather than to satisfy them, is to 
be used as the last remedy ; therefore you are here ready, if 
they are able to teach you, to learn of them and desire them 
to speak their minds.' If they refuse, tell them, you think it 
the humblest and most Christian edifying way for him that 
hath most knowledge to teach, and the other to learn ; and 
therefore your purpose is to be either a learner or a teacher, 
and not be a disputant, till they make it to be necessary. 
When they have declared their minds to you in a teaching 
way, if it be nothing but the common pleas of the seduced, 
as it is likely it will not, tell them, ' That this is no new 
thing to you ; it is not the first time that you have heard it, 
or considered of it, and if you had found a Divine evidence 
in it, you had received it long ago : you are truly willing to 
receive all truth, but you have received that which is con- 
trary to this doctrine, with far better evidence than they bring 
for it, &c.' If they desire to hear what your evidence is, tell 
them, if they willhearas learners, you shall communicate your 
evidence in the meetest way you can, which if they promise to 
do, let them know that this promise obligeth them to impartia- 
lity and an humble, free entertainment of the truth, and that 
they do not turnback in rash carping and contention, but take 
what shall be delivered into serious consideration : which if 
they promise, if you are so far versed in the point in hand, as to 
manage it well ' ex tempore,' or the person be temperate and fit 
for such debates, then come in with your evidence in a way of 
discourse, first shewing your reasons against the grossest im- 
perfections of his own discourse, and then giving him your 
grounds from Scripture ; not many, but rather a few of the 
clearest and best approved. When you have done, (or with- 
out verbal teaching if you find him unfit to learn that way) 
give him some book that most effectually defendeth the 
questioned truth, and tell him, ' That it is a vain thing to say 
that over so often, which is so fully said already, and a man 
may better consider of what he hath before his eyes, than of 
that which slideth through his ears, and is mistaken or for- 
gotten: and therefore you desire him as an humble learner 
to peruse that book with mature consideration ; because 
there are the same things that you would say to him, and 
desire him to bring you in a sober and solid answer to the 
chief strength of it, if after perusal he judge it to be unsound,' 
and if possible, fasten some one of the most striking evi- 

Chap. 8.] THE REFORMED PASTOR. .341 

dences on him before you leave him. If he refuse to read 
the book, endeavour to convince him of his unfaithfulness to 
the truth and his own soul : doth he think that God's truth 
is not worth his study? or, will he venture his soul, as the 
ungodly do, and the Church's peace with it, and all to save 
himself so small a labour? Is it not just with God to give 
him over to delusion, that will not be at a little pains to be 
informed, nor afford the truth an equal hearing? 

9. But above all, before you part, yea, or before you de- 
bate the controversy, see that you do sum up the precedent 
truths wherein you are both agreed. (1.) Know whether he 
agree to all that is in the Catechism, which you teach the 
people ? (2.) Whether he suppose that you may attain sal- 
vation, if you be true to so much as you are agreed in? (3.) 
Whether they that are so far agreed as you are, should not 
live in love and peace, as children of the same God, and 
members of the same Christ, and heirs of the same king- 
dom? (4.) Whether you are not bound, notwithstanding 
your smaller differences, to be helpers in the main work of 
the Gospel for the conversion and saving of souls? (5.) 
Whether they are not bound to manage the private differ- 
ences so, as they may not hinder the main work, and there- 
fore to let the lesser stoop to the greater? (G.) Whether 
they ought not to hold communion in public worship, and 
Church-relation, with those that are so far agreed, and walk 
in the fear of God? (7.) And whether it be not schism to 
separate from them, for the sake of that small disagreement, 
themselves being not necessitated by communion to any 
actual sin? 

I speak all this only of the tolerable differences that are 
among men fearing God ; and in that case, if the person be 
sober and understanding, he must needs yield to the affirma- 
tive of these questions : which if he do, or to any of them, 
let him subscribe it, or openly aver it ; and then let all the 
by-standers be made apprehensive, that none of the great 
matters that you deal with them about, are questioned, but 
all yielded unquestionable ; and the affixed Scripture leaves 
them so ; therefore there is no cause for them to receive the 
least discouragement. 

I confess it is past doubt, that differing brethren 
may well join in recommending the truth that they are 
agreed in to the ignorant people ! Bishop Usher told king 
James, in his Sermon at Wansted, on the Church's Unity, 

342 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 8. 

that he made this motion even to the Papist Priests them- 
selves, that they might join in teaching the people of that 
barbarous nation the common principles that both were 
agreed in: a motion too Christian for sullen, factious zeal 
to entertain. I will repeat his own words, page 33, " The 
danger then of this ignorance being by the confession of 
the most judicious Divines of both sides, acknowledged to 
be so great ; the woful estate of the poor Country wherein I 
live is much to be lamented, where the people generally are 
suffered to perish for want of knowledge, (he meant the Pa- 
pists,) the vulgar superstitions of Popery not doing them 
half that hurt that the ignorance of those common Principles 
of the Faith doth, which all true Christians are bound to 
learn. The consideration whereof hath sometimes drawn 
me to treat with those of the opposite party to move them, 
that however in other things we differ one from another, yet 
we should join together in teaching those main points, the 
knowledge whereof was so necessary to salvation, and of 
the Truth whereof there was no controversy betwixt us. 
But what, for the jealousies which these distractions in 
matters of Religion have bred among us, and what, for 
other respects, the motion took small effect ; and so betwixt 
us both, the poor people are kept still in miserable igno- 
rance, neither knowing the grounds of the one Religion, 
nor of the other." So far this learned Christian Bishop. 

And what wonder if Popish Priests refuse this motion, 
when now among us it is so rare a matter to find any in 
England, though he differ only in the point of Infant-Bap- 
tism, that will calmly and without fraudulent designs of 
secretly promoting his own opinions by it, entertain and pro- 
secute such a motion from the common good ; as if they 
had rather, that Christianity were thurst out of the world, 
or kept under, than infants should be admitted into the 
Church! Well, let any party or person pretend what they 
will of zeal or holiness, I will ever take the ' Dividatur' for 
an ill sign : the true mother abhors the division of the 
child ; and the true Christian doth prefer the common in- 
terest of Christianity, before the interest of a faction, or an 
opinion, and would not have the whole building endangered, 
rather than one peg should not be driven in, as he would 
have it ; he had rather a particular truth, if we suppose it a 
truth, should suffer, than the whole or the main. 


Having given you this Advice, what to do with this kind 
of men in your conference on the occasion now in question, 
I shall add a word or two of Advice, how to carry yourself 
towards them at other times ; for the preservation of the 
unity and peace of your congregations doth much depend 
on your right dealing with such as these. For, alas, for 
grief and shame, it is most commonly men that profess more 
than ordinary religiousness, that are the dividers of the 

1. I must premise, that the chief part of your work to 
preserve the Church from such, doth consist in the pre- 
vention of their fall ; for when they are once thoroughly in- 
fected, be the error what it will, they are but seldom re- 
covered ; but if they be beaten out of the error, which they 
first fell into, they go to another, and perhaps thence to an- 
other ; but seldom return to the Truth. 

2. To which end, it is most desirable that the Minister 
should be of parts above the people, so far as to be able to 
teach them, and awe them, and manifest their weaknesses to 
themselves, or to all. The truth is, for it cannot be hid, it 
is much long of the Ministers, that our poor people are run 
into so many factions ; and particularly, the weakness of 
too many is not the least cause. When a proud seducer 
shall have a nimble tongue, and a Minister be dull and igno- 
rant, so that such a one can baffle him, or play upon him in 
the ears of others, it brings him into contempt, and over- 
throws the weak ; for they commonly judge him to have the 
best cause, that hath the most confident, plausible, trium- 
phant tongue. But when a Minister is able to open their 
shame to all, it mightily tendeth to preserve the Church 
from their infection. 

3. It is necessary also to this end, that you frequently 
and thoroughly possess your people with the nature, neces- 
sity, and daily use of the great unquestionable Principles of 
Religion, and of the great sin and danger of a perverse zeal 
about the lower points before the greater are well laid, and 
let them be made sensible how it is the Principles, and not 
their smaller controversies that life or death depend upon. 

4. Make them sensible of the mischiefs of Schism, 
and the great and certain obligations that lie upon us all 
to maintain the Church's unity and peace. 

5. When a fire is kindled, resist it in the beginning, and 

344 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 8. 

make not light of the smallest spark ; and therefore go pre- 
sently to the infected person, and follow him by the means 
hereafter mentioned, till he be recovered. 

6. Especially use a fit diversion. When a small contro- 
versy begins to endanger the Church, raise a greater your- 
self, which you have better advantage to manage, and which 
is not likely to make a division ; this is, let them know that 
there are far greater difficulties than theirs to be first re- 
solved, such as some of the questions before mentioned, and 
so give them a catalogue of them, and set them at work up- 
on them, that they may be matter of avocation from that sore, 
where the humours begin their conflux, and also that they 
may be humbled in the sense of their ignorance, and their 
proud self-conceits may be somewhat abated. 

7. See that you preach to such auditors as these, some 
higher points, that stall their understandings, and feed them 
not with all milk, but sometimes with stronger meat; for it 
exceedingly puffs them up with pride, when they hear no- 
thing from Ministers but what they know already, or can 
say themselves. This makes them think themselves as wise 
as you, and as fit to be Teachers ; for they think you know 
no more than you preach : and this hath set so many of 
them on preaching, because they hear nothing from others 
but what they can say themselves ; and Ministers do not 
set them such patterns as may humble them, and deter them 
from that work. Not that I would have you neglect the 
great fundamental verities, or wrong the weak and ignorant 
people, while you are dealing with such as these; but only 
when the main part of your sermons is as plain as you can 
speak, let some one small part, be such as shall puzzle these 
self-conceited men ; or else have one sermon in four or rive 
on purpose for them ; not by heaping up citations of fathers, 
nor repeating words of Latin or Greek, unless when you are 
convincing them of the difficulty of a text of Scripture, for 
they will but deride all this ; but take up some profound 
questions, such as the schools voluminously agitate, and let 
them see that it is not your obscure manner of handling, but 
the matter itself that is too hard for them, and so may see 
that they are yet but children that have need of milk, and 
that you -would be more upon such higher points, if it were 
not that their incapacity doth take you off. 

8. See that you preach as little as may be against them 


in the pulpit, in any direct manner, opposing their Sect by- 
name, or by any reproachful titles ; for they are exceedingly 
tender, proud, passionate, and rash, ordinarily, that are 
entangled in a Schism ; and they will but hate you, and fly 
from you as an enemy, and say you rail. The way there- 
fore is, without naming them, to lay the grounds clearly and 
soundly, which must subvert their errors ; and then the 
error will fall of itself: and when you are necessitated to 
deal with them directly, do it not by short, unsatisfactory 
applications, and toothed snatches, or irritating reproaches; 
but, without naming them, take up the controversy, and 
handle it thoroughly, peaceably, and convincingly, and so 
let them alone in public ; yet be not too long upon it ; but 
give them your fullest evidence in a few sermons, not say- 
ing all that may be said, but choosing out that which they 
can have least pretence to quarrel with, and passing over 
that which they may say more against, or will require more 
ado to clear and defend. 

9. Be sure to keep up some Private meetings, draw them 
in among you, and manage them prudently. By this means 
you may keep them from dividing meetings among them- 
selves, where they may say what they will behind your back 
withour control ; for most professors are addicted to Private 
meetings, which, well ordered, are of great use to their edifi- 
cation ; and if they have not the opportunity of such as they 
should have, they will attend such as they should not. In 
the managing of them, as to the present purpose, observe 
these things: — (1.) Be sure to be always with them your- 
selves. — (2.) Let not the main exercises of the meeting be 
such as tend to contention, or to private men's proud osten- 
tation of their parts, but such as tend to the edification of 
the people ; not for private men to preach or expound Scrip- 
ture, nor, as some do, to let every one of them speak to 
questions of their own propounding ; but to repeat the ser- 
mons that you have preached, to call upon God, and sing 
his praise. — (3.) Yet let there be some opportunity for them 
to speak, and appear in a learning way. To which purpose, 
when you have done repeating, let all that are present know, 
that if they doubt of any thing that was delivered, or would 
have any thing made plainer to them, or would be resolved 
in any thing else that concerneth the subject in hand, or 
any other case of need, you desire them to propound their 

346 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 8. 

doubts; and so let them have the liberty of questioning as 
learners, while you remain the Teacher, and resolve all the 
doubts yourselves, and do not set them on disputing, by 
leaving it to them to make the answer. And if you have 
not competent abilities ' ex tempore' to resolve their doubts, 
you were much better let pass this too ; but if you have, it 
will be of very great use, both for their edification, and the 
maintaining of order and their necessary dependance on 
you. — (4.) But if you perceive them so set upon the exercise 
of their own parts for ostentation, that they are likely to 
divide, if they have not opportunity to do it, be not too stiff 
against them ; but mildly let them know that it is for their 
good that you dislike it, both because it is a sign of a proud 
heart, that had rather teach than learn, especially where a 
teacher by office is in place, and where there is no necessity ; 
and also because you fear it will not tend to the edification 
of the flock, but to vain janglings, or to excite others that 
are unable to an imitation. Desire also to know of them, 
whether they have any truth of God to reveal to them, that 
you do not reveal. If they have not, why should they de- 
sire needlessly to tell them what they are daily told by you ? 
If they have, it is necessary that you know it and consider 
it, before you consent it should be taught to your flock. 
But if this mild resistance satisfy not, let them take their 
course awhile, rather than separate from you, unless they 
be already perverse and subtle heretics, and when they have 
done their exercises, tell them, that as you give liberty to 
all to propound their doubts about what you have delivered, 
so you must take the like liberty that you give : and so pro- 
pound, first, Whether the understandings of people are likely 
to be more edified by such vain obtrusions of vanity, or by 
a fastening well upon their memories the things that they 
have lately heard ; and so whether such exercises or repeti- 
tions be more necessary : and then open the weaknesses of 
their discourse ; the mis-expounding of Scriptures, the er- 
rors in matter, in method, and in words ; and that not in a 
contemptuous or disgraceful way, but as the points wherein 
you remain unsatisfied. By such means as these you will 
quickly shame them out of their way of ostentation, and 
make them give it over. 

10. Make use of your people's parts to the utmost, as 
your helpers, in an orderly way, under your guidance, or 


else they will make use of them in a disorderly and dividing 
way in opposition to you. It hath been a great cause of 
Schism, when Ministers would contemptuously cry down pri- 
vate men's preaching, and withal desire not to make any use 
of the gifts that God hath given them for their assistance ; 
but thrust them too far from holy things, as if they were a 
profane generation. The work is likely to go poorly on, if 
there be no hands employed in it but the Ministers. God 
giveth not any of his gifts to be buried, but for common 
use. By a prudent improvement of the gifts of the more 
able Christians, we may receive much help by them, and 
prevent their abuse, even as lawful marriage preventeth for- 
nication. And the uses you must pspecially put them to, 
are these: — (1.) Urge them to be diligent in Teaching and 
Praying with their own Families, especially Catechising 
them, and teaching them the meaning of what they learn, 
and setting it home on their affections ; and there if they 
have a mind to preach to their children and servants, so 
they undertake not more than they are able to do, I know 
no reason but they may. — (2.) Urge them to step out now 
and then to their poor ignorant neighbours, and catechise 
and instruct them in meekness and patience, from day to 
day; and that will bring them more peace of conscience, 
than contemning them. — (3.) Urge them to go often to the 
impenitent and scandalous sinners about them, and deal 
with them with all possible skill and earnestness, yet also 
with love and patience, for the converting, reforming, and 
saving their souls. — (4.) Acquaint them with their duty of 
watching over each other in brotherly love, and admonish- 
ing and exhorting one another daily; and if any walk scan- 
dalously, to tell them their fault before two or three, after 
the contempt of private reproof; and if that prevail not, to 
tell the officers of the Church, that they may be proceeded 
with, as Christ hath appointed. — (5.) At your private meet- 
ings, and on days of humiliation or thanksgiving in private, 
employ them in prayer, and in such learning questions as is 
aforesaid. — (6.) If there be any very ignorant or scandalous 
sinner that you know of, and you cannot possibly have time 
yourselves to speak to them at that season, send some of 
those that are able and sober, to do it in their stead, to in- 
struct the ignorant, and to admonish the offenders, as far as 
a private man on a message from a Minister, and in dis- 

348 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 8. 

charge of his own duty may go. — (7.) Let some of them be 
chosen to represent the Church; or to see that they have 
no wrong, and to be their agents to prepare all cases of dis- 
cipline for public audience, and to be present with the 
Church-officers at appointed meetings, to hear the evidences 
that are brought in against any scandalous, impenitent sin- 
ners ; and to discern how far they are valid, and how far the 
persons are obliged to make satisfaction, and give public 
testimony of repentance, or to be further proceeded against. 
— (8.) Let such as are fit, be made subservient officers, I 
mean Deacons ; and then they may afford you help in a re- 
gular way, and will by their relation feel themselves obliged 
to maintain the Unity of the Church, and authority of the 
Ministry, as they have some participation of the employ- 
ment and honour; and so by a complication of interests 
you will make them firmer to the Church ; but then see that 
they be men competently fit for the place. 

I am persuaded, if Ministers had thus made use of the 
parts of their ablest members, they might have prevented 
much of the divisions, and distractions, and apostacies that 
have befallen us ; for they would have then found work 
enough upon their hands for higher parts than theirs, with- 
out invading the Ministry, and would rather have seen cause 
to bewail the imperfection of their abilities to that work 
which doth properly belong to them. Experience would 
have convinced and humbled them more, than our words can 
do. A man may think he can stir such a block, or pluck up 
a tree by the roots, that never tried ; but when he sets his 
hand to it he will come off ashamed. See that you drive 
them to diligence in their own works, and let them know 
what a sin it is to neglect their families, and their ignorant, 
miserable neighbours ; and then they will be kept humble, 
and have no such mind to be running upon more work, when 
they feel you spurring them on to their own, and rebuking 
them for the neglect; nor will they have any leisure for 
schismatical enterprises, because of the constancy and great- 
ness of their employment. 

11. Still keep up Christian love and familiarity with 
them, even when they have begun to warp and make defec- 
tion ; and lose not your interest in them, while you have any 
thoughts of attempting their recovery. 

12. If they do withdraw into separate meetings, follow 


them, and be among them, if it may be, continually. Enter 
a mild dissent as to the lawfulness of it; but yet tell them 
that you are willing to hear what it is that they have to say, 
and to be among them for their good, if they will give you 
leave, for fear lest they run to further evil, and be not easily 
removed ; but hold on, unless they absolutely exclude you ; 
for you may thereby have the opportunity of a moderate, 
gentle, opposing their errors, and so in time may manifest 
the vanity of their course; and you will prevent much of that 
impudent reviling, and grosser venting of further error, which 
they will do more freely where there is no one to contra- 
dict. They may say any thing when there is none to gain- 
say them; and make it seem good in the eyes of the weak. 
By this means, if any Seducers from abroad come in to con- 
firm them, you will be ready to oppose them ; and so at the 
least you will do much to prevent the increase of their party. 
It hath been a very great cause of the Schisms in Eng- 
land, that Ministers have only contemned them, and when 
they have withdrawn into private separate meetings, have 
talked against them to others, or reproved them in the pul- 
pit, and in the meantime fled away from the faces of them, or 
been strangers to them, while they have given Seducers oppor- 
tunity to come among them, be familiar with them without 
contradiction, and to have the advantages of deceiving them, 
and even doing what they listed. O that the Ministry had 
been more guiltless of those errors and schisms that they 
talk against ! But it is easier to chide a Sectary in the pul- 
pit, and to subscribe a testimony against him, than to play 
the skilful physician for his cure, and do the tenth part of 
the duty that lieth upon us to prevent and heal such calami- 
tous distempers. I am not finding fault with the prudent 
reprehensions of such in Public, or testimonies against them ; 
but I think too many of us have cause to fear, lest we do but 
publicly proclaim our own shame in the guilt of ouv negli- 
gence, or imprudent weaknesses ; and lest in condemning 
them, and testifying against them, we testify against and 
condemn ourselves. 

13. If you be not well able to deal with them, do as I 
before advised; give them the best book on that subject to 

14. If all this will not do, get the fittest neighbouring 
Minister that you know, to come over and help you ; not in 

350 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 8. 

public, nor as a set disputation, (without necessity; but let 
him come as occasionally, and ' ex improviso,' come upon 
them in one of their private meetings, as desirous to see 
and hear them, and so take the opportunity to deal with 
them. And, if after that there be any disputations ap- 
pointed, be sure to observe the old rule, fight with them on 
their own ground, and keep up the war in their quarters, and 
let it come as little as you can into your own : and therefore 
go to their assemblies, but let them not come into yours. 
For with them, you can lose little, and may gain much ; but 
at home, you can gain little, but it is two to one, will lose 
some, let the error be never so gross. The Sectaries com- 
monly observe this course themselves, and therefore you will 
have much ado to get their consent to bring your disputa- 
tions into their own assemblies. 

15. Let not the authors of the Schism outdo you, or go 
beyond you in any thing that is good : for as truth should 
be more effectual for sanctification than error; so if you give 
them this advantage, you give them the day, and all your dis- 
putations will do but little good : for the weaker people judge 
all by the outward appearance, and by the effects, and are not 
able to judge of the doctrine itself. They think that he 
hath the best cause, whom they take to be the best man. 

I extend this rule both to doctrine and life. If a Liber- 
tine preach up free-grace, do you preach it up more effectu- 
ally than he : be much upon it, and make it more glorious on 
right grounds, than he can do on wrong. If, on the like 
pretences, he magnify the grace of love, and, in order to cry 
down fear and humiliation, be all for living in pure love to 
God ; do not contradict him, in the assertive, but only in 
the negative and destructive part ; but outgo him, and preach 
up the love of God, with its motives and effects, more fully 
and effectually than he can do on the corrupt grounds on 
which he doth proceed : or else you will make all the silly 
people believe that this is the difference between you, that 
he is for free-grace and the love of God, and you are against 
it: for if you dwell not upon it in your preaching as well as 
he, they will not take notice of a short concession or profes- 
sion. So, if an enthusiast do talk all of the Holy Ghost, and 
the light, and witness and law within us ; fall you upon that 
subject too, and do that well which they did ill ; and preach 
up the office of the Holy Ghost, his indwelling and opera- 

Chap. 8.] TH£ REFORMED PASTOR. 351 

tions, and the light, and testimony, and law within us, bet- 
ter than they do. This is the most effectual way of settling 
your people against seduction. So if you be assaulted by 
the Pelagians, if they make a long story to prove that God 
is not the author of sin, do you fall upon the proof of it too. 
If they plead for freewill, do you plead for that freewill which 
we have, (the natural liberty, which none deny, consisting in 
a self-determining power, and supposing actual indetermina- 
tion,) and deny only that liberty which the will hath not ; 
that is, either a freedom from God's government, or from the 
necessary guidance of the intellect, and moral force of the 
object; or that true spiritual, ethical freedom from various 
inclinations, which consisteth in the right disposition of the 
will : though the Sanctified indeed have this in part, and that 
predominantly. So if any Pelagian or Semi-Pelagian will 
go about industriously to prove man's power, or rather im- 
potency, to will or do evil ; do it as effectually as he : for 
this is indeed but to prove a man a sinner, under pretence of 
proving him free, or at least to prove him defectible, if it be 
not the ill inclination, but the possibility of sinning that they 
defend : in which case we can say more than they. So if 
they go about laboriously to prove that Christ died for all, I 
would endeavour to do it as effectually as they, that it might 
appear to the people, that the difference between us is not in 
this, That they would magnify the riches of grace above me, 
or that I would leave sinners hopeless and remediless, and 
without an object for faith, any more than they ; nor that 1 
abase or reject express Scriptures, when they own them in 
their proper sense : but I would let them know, that the con- 
troversy lieth elsewhere ; viz. Whether Christ, in offering 
himself a Sacrifice for sin, had not a special intention or re- 
solution, in compliance with his Father's predestinating will, 
infallibly and effectually to save his Chosen, even such and 
such by name, in making his blood applied, effectually to the 
pardon of all their sins, and to give them his Spirit to seal 
them unto glory ; having no such will, intention, resolution, 
in dying (no more than his Father had in predestinating) 
as to the rest of the world. So if one that is^for private 
men's preaching, come and inveigh against Ministers for in- 
hibiting them to use the gifts of God for the edification of 
the Church, I would not presently set to thwart him; but I 
would rather fall a persuading private men to use their gifts 

352 gildas salvianus: [Chap. 8. 

in all the ways that I even now mentioned : and sharply chide 
them for using them no more ; and then among my cautions 
or reprehensions meet with his desired abuse in the end. And 
what I have said by way of instance in these few points, I 
mean in all others. Preaching Truth is the most successful 
way of confuting Error ; and I would have no seducer to 
have the glory of outgoing us in any good, and so not in be- 
friending or defending any truth. Once more : If a Socinian 
should fall a pleading for the Church's peace, and for Unity 
upon the ancient simplicity of faith, I would labour to outgo 
him in it : and then would shew that the ancient simple faith 
condemned him. If he would plead reason for Scripture, or 
the Christian religion, I would endeavour to outgo him in it, 
and he should not have opportunity to glory that he only 
had reason for what he held, and I had none. But I would 
shew, that as I have reason to believe the Scriptures, so that 
Scripture condemneth his errors. If a Separatist will plead 
for the necessity of Church-order and Discipline, so would 
I as well as he : and shew him that it is only disorder, and 
confusion inconsistent with right Order and Discipline that I 
dislike in him or those of his way. And so would I do by 

others in this case. 

And you should be as loath that they should outgo you 
in the practice of a holy and righteous life, any more than 
in sound, diligent teaching. Do any of them express a ha- 
tred of sin, and desire of Church-reformation ? so must we 
do more. Do any of them use to spend their time when they 
meet together in holy discourse, and not in vain janglings? 
Let us do so much more. Are they unwearied in propagating 
their opinions? Let us be more so in propagating the truth : 
Do they condescend to the meanest, and creep into houses 
to lead captive the silliest of the flock ? Let us stoop as low, 
and be as diligent to do them good. Are they loving to their 
party, and contemners of the world ? Let us be lovers of all, 
and especially of all saints, and do good to all, as we have 
power ; and especially to all the household of faith ; and love 
an enemy, as well as they can do a friend. Let us be more 
just than they, more merciful, more humble, more meek and 
patient ; " for this is the will of God, that by well-doing 
we may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men." Let 
us excel them in a holy, harmless, righteous, merciful, fruit- 
ful, heavenly life, as we do in soundness of doctrine ; that 


just, than they, more merciful, humble, meek and patient; that 
by our fruits we may be known, and the weaker sort of our 
people may see the truth in this reflection, that cannot see 
it in itself; and that our light may so shine before men, that 
they may see our conversation, and glorify our Father which 
is in heaven ; and even they that obey not the word, may 
without the word be won by the conversation of their Tea- 
chers. (1 Pet. iii. 1,2.) O how happy had England been — how 
happy had all the Church been, if the Ministers of the Gospel 
had taken these courses ! It would have done more against 
errors and schism, than all our chiding at them hath done, or 
than all the force can do which we desire from the Magistrate. 

Three sorts of Persons that we may meet with in our con- 
ference, are now over: — (1.) The grossly ignorant and un- 
converted. — (2.) The doubting, troubled believer. — (3.) The 
cavilling questionist, or seduced schismatic. The fourth sort 
that I should speak of in this direction are, those that by a 
professed willingness to learn and obey, and by other signs, 
do give us some probability, that they may have true re- 
pentance and faith, and yet by their ignorance, or lukewarm- 
ness (being not noted for any special profession of godliness), 
or by some uneven walking, do make our fears to be as great 
or greater than our hopes : so that we are between hope and 
fear of them, doubting the worst of their present safety, 
though we have not ground to charge them to be uncon- 
verted, impenitent, unsanctified persons. I think half that 
come to me are of this sort, and ten of this sort, if not forty, 
for one that I dare flatly say are unregenerate. Now it may 
be a great difficulty with some younger Ministers what you 
should do with this sort of people, where they have no suf- 
ficient ground to determine of them as godly or ungodly, 
whatever their fears or hopes may be. Of these I shall only 
briefly say this : — 

1. The first Directions may suffice in the main, for deal- 
ing with these, and are as much fitted to these as to the 
worst : for as we may tell a notorious, ungodly man, ' Your 
case is miserable, you are a child of death ;' so may we tell, 
these, ' I much fear your case is sad — these are ill signs — I 
wonder howyou dare so hazard your salvation ;' and so abating 
of the several degrees of the hopeful good that appeareth in 
them, we may see in the first case, how to deal in this. 


354 gildas salvianus : [Chap. 8. 

2. I would advise you to be very cautious how you pass too 
hasty or absolute censures on any that you have to do with; 
because it is not so easy a matter to discern a man to be cer- 
tainly graceless that professeth himself a Christian, as many 
do imagine it to be: and you may do the work in hand as well 
without such an absolute conclusion as with it, as the former 
examples, which will serve all with a little alteration, do shew. 

3. The general Description of the Ministerial work may 
supply the rest. I shall therefore only add: — (1.) Keep them 
close to the use of private and public means. — (2.) Be often 
with the lukewarm, to awaken them, and with the careless 
to admonish them. — (3.) Take the opportunity of sickness, 
which will bow their hearts and open their ears. — (4.) See 
that they spend the Lord's-day, and order their families 
aright. — (5.) Draw them from temptations, and occasions of 
sin. — (6.) Charge them to come and seek help in all great 
straits, and open their temptations and dangers before they 
are swallowed up. — (7.) Strike at the great radical sins: self- 
seeking, fleshly-mindedness, sensuality, pride, worldliness, 
and infidelity. Keep them to the reading of Scripture 
and good books, and direct them to those that are most 
likely to awaken them.— (8.) Engage their godly neighbours 
to have an eye upon them. — (9.) Keep up discipline to awe 
them. — (10.) Maintain the life of grace in yourselves, that it 
may appear in all your sermons to them ; that every one that 
comes cold to the assembly may have warming helps before 
he departs. 

I have done my Advice, and leave you to the practice. 
Though the proud may receive it with scorn, and the selfish 
and slothful with some distaste and indignation, I doubt not 
but God will use it, in despite of the oppositions of sin and 
Satan, to the awakening of many of his servants to their duty, 
and promoting the work of a right Reformation : and that his 
much greater blessing shall accompany the present under- 
taking for the saving of many a soul, the peace of you that 
undertake and perform it, the exciting of his servants through 
the Nation to second you, and to increase purity and the 
unity of his Churches, — Amen. 

December 25, 1655. 



in Answer to some Objections which I have heard of, since the 

former Edition. 

It is a hard case, that either so good a Master and work 
should have servants so bad, as will plead against their duty 
when they practise it ; or that good men themselves should 
be so backward, and need so many words to draw them to 
so needful an employment ! There is no sanctified man but 
hath virtually in him a love to the main work that is urged 
in this Treatise : and it is hard that men should oppose, or 
stiffly refuse the duties which as Christians they love, and 
by their nature are inclined to ! And it is harder, that those 
should be Ministers of the Gospel that have no such sanc- 
tified natures and inclinations ! (Though I am thankful to 
God that useth even such for the service of his Church.) 
If we are sanctified, we are devoted, separated and resigned 
up to God as being wholly his. And if indeed we are abso- 
lutely resigned up to God, we shall have no time or labour 
that will seem too much and too good for his service. It is 
one of the clearest, surest differences between a damnable 
hypocrite, and a truly sanctified man, that the hypocrite hath 
something, but the sanctified hath nothing so dear to him 
that he cannot spare it for God. If we love not our work 
for the end, and therefore the end more than the work, we 
are deceitful workmen : and if we do but value the success 
of our labour, methinks we should be willing of that sort of 
labour in which we have greatest probability of success ; 
though it may be somewhat troublesome in the performance ! 
If we are faithful servants, the work of God will be pleasant 
to us : and if it were pleasant, methinks we should not be 
drawn to it, as a bear to the stake ; much less should we fly 
from it, and oppose it like enemies ! Whatever a Jonas may 
do in a temptation against one particular act, methinks the 
ordinary discharge of such duties should neither be opposed 


nor wholly neglected by the faithful. Methinks while we 
ive among the miserable, and see such multitudes near to 
hell, compassion should be argument enough to persuade us 
to do all that we can for their relief, and humanity should 
be enough to convince us of the duty, and stop our mouths 
from cavilling against it. 

Though I seemed to myself even unmannerly bold with 
my brethren in this book, yet I must needs say, that con- 
science did not accuse me for it, but provoke me to it, and 
often asked me, is there not a cause ? Nor can I repent of 
this adventure, when I consider the necessity and the suc- 
cess. I bless God that I have lived to hear of so many faith- 
ful servants of Christ falling closely to this work of Personal 
Instruction, not only in this county, but in many other parts 
of the land. Now I begin to hope that the Pastoral office 
will be better understood, by some competent time of expe- 
rience, both by our people and ourselves , and that they 
will come in time to understand what use they have of Mi- 
nisters, and what duty towards them they are obliged to per- 
form : I hope now that misunderstandings between people 
and their Teachers will be removed ; and they will perceive 
what we aim at, and how far we are from intending their 
hurt, or lording it over them, when they see us take our 
greatness and dignity to consist in being the servants of all. 
Now I am in hopes that we shall get a more universal, effec- 
tual advantage against the common ignorance, and profane- 
ness, and security that have discouraged and disappointed 
both us and our predecessors ; and that we shall have a 
more satisfactory acquaintance with the state of our hearers, 
to direct us in the several acts of administration and disci- 
pline. These, and abundance more fruit we may expect, if 
the Lord will but give us hearts to proceed with a vigorous 
seriousness in the work, and not to faint and be weary of 
well-doing. The greatest thing that I fear next unskilful- 
ness, is laziness ; lest we begin to favour ourselves, and say, 
What a toil is this? and so the flesh pervert our reason, and 
make us say, ' I do not think that I am bound to all this 
stir and trouble ;' especially lest when we have gone once 
over the parish, we lazily say, ' I have done enough already, 
what need I do the same again ?' Though I hope experience 
of men's necessity, and the benefit will do much to save us 
from the power of these temptations. 


I have no great fear of any opposition from conscience 
or unbiassed reason ; but only from unwillingness, and from 
reason biassed by the flesh. Most of the objections that I 
have heard of since the publishing of this book, are the same 
that are already answered in it, especially in the Preface ; 
and yet I hear of no reply that they make to those answers. 
I shall not think it my duty to answer the same again, be- 
cause men will not observe what is answered already ; but 
shall answer now to the new Objections only. 

Object. 1. Some carry about this objection at a distance, 
that my whole book doth run upon a false supposition, viz. 
' That Discipline and Personal Instruction, are essential to 
our Ministry.' 

Answ. I know of no such word that ever I spoke or 
wrote. Nor do I build on any such supposition, otherwise 
I should have said, that all that perform not these duties are 
no Ministers. But these words I did write indeed, Ruling 
is as essential a part of the Pastor's office as preaching, I am 
sure. But then I difference the special office of a Pastor 
from the general office of a Minister ; and secondly, I dis- 
tinguish between the power and duty of Ruling, and Per- 
sonal Instructing, and the exercise of that power and per- 
formance of that duty : and I distinguish between the Mi- 
nistry or Office, and the Pastor. And so I conclude, (1.) 
That it is essential to the office or ministry of a Pastor of a 
particular church to have the power of ruling as well as of 
public preaching, and to be obliged on fit occasions to Rule 
as well as to Preach. (2.) But actually to Rule is not es- 
sential to his being a Pastor ; for to be a Pastor, is to be 
impowered and obliged : these only are contained in the office, 
and the exercise followeth as an effect. A man is a Pastor 
before ever he preach ; and continueth to be so when he in- 
terrupted his exercise. (3.) Ruling taken for authoritative 
guidance in the way to heaven, (which is our Ministerial 
kind of rule; even as a physician ruleth his patient, sup- 
posing him to be of Divine institution,) is the general work 
of the Ministry, and comprehendeth public preaching, and 
therefore is more necessary than a part alone. (4.) A man 
may be a faithful Minister, and yet never preach a sermon. 
If a great congregation have six or more Pastors, and two or 
three of them be the ablest^preachers, and the rest more ju- 
dicious, and fit for discourse and private oversight, these 


latter may well employ themselves in such oversight, con- 
ference, and other Ministerial works, and leave public speak- 
ing in the pulpit to them that are more able for it, and so 
they may divide the work among them according to their 
parts : and it will not now follow that they are no Pastors, 
that preach not publicly. I think then that all this laid to- 
gether, will warrant me to say, that Ruling is as much essen- 
tial to a Pastor's office as Preaching. At least, though me- 
thinks it should be enough to persuade us to our duty to 
know that it is commanded, without disputing whether it be 
essential to our office. 

Object. 2. ' The same persons say, that they cannot agree 
with us, because we make a difference between the members 
of our flock, or church, and the rest of. the parish, and so 
take not all the parish to be our Church, as in the tenth ar- 
ticle of our Agreement is expressed.' 

Answ. 1. The palpable vanity of this objection, is a dis- 
honour to the heads or the hearts of the objectors, and doth 
but open their own nakedness. What force is in this rea- 
son, or what shew of force ? If they take all their parish for 
their Church, cannot they agree to catechise and instruct 
them personally, because we take not all of our Parishes for 
Church-members ? They may as well give over preaching, 
and say, they cannot agree to preach to their own parish- 
churches, because we take not all in our parishes to be of 
our Churches. Who can believe that this is a reason to ex- 
cuse them from their duty? 2. But, to give them also an 
account of our actions, I add, that we expressly there ex- 
clude none of our parishes from our Churches, but such 
as have withdrawn themselves from our charges, and particular 
Church, by refusing to own and profess their membership. And 
for our parts, we have not the faculty of making men Church- 
members, whether they will or no, or discerning them to be 
such, whether they will signify it or no ; much less when 
they disown it, and after many public invitations, and a year 
or two's waiting for their fuller information, do still refuse 
to profess themselves members. They that have this faculty 
let them use it : in the meantime, let them know, that their 
doctrine obligeth them to more duty than ours ; and there- 
fore will be no excuse to them for doing less. We shall en- 
deavour to instruct and catechise men, whether they be 
members of our churches or not: but we take not our- 


selves bound to rule and watch over all those in our parishes 
that withdraw themselves from our pastoral oversight, with 
the same exactness and authority as we must guide and 
oversee the members of our charge. But you that take all 
in the parish to be of your churches, must see that you rule 
and oversee them accordingly. 

Object. 3. ' Others object against the following words in 
the same article of our Agreement, ' that we shall in regard 
of communion, and the application of sealing and confirm- 
ing ordinance, deal with them as the obstinate despisers of 
instruction should be dealt with.' And who are these that 
we must so deal with ? Those that after sufficient admoni- 
tion shall contemptuously and obstinately refuse to be either 
catechised or instructed thus personally by us giving us no 
valuable reason of their refusal.' 

Aitsw. It seems then, that these objectors first, either 
take not those for obstinate despisers of instruction, that 
' after sufficient admonition shall contemptuously and obsti- 
nately refuse either to come to the Minister, or to let the 
Minister come to them, and be instructed by them, not 
giving any valuable reason of such refusal.' By which it 
may appear what Reformation they desire, and how they 
judge of the qualifications of Church-members : and why 
cannot they also be as charitable to those that contemptu- 
ously and obstinately refuse to hedr them preach, and will 
join only in Sacraments and Common prayer. I like not 
charity unreasonably large for the exempting of ourselves 
from the labour of duty : I would not choose such a charita- 
ble physician that would make his patients believe that they 
are in no danger, to save himself the labour of attending 

~ to 

them for the cure. 2. Or else they think that we must not 
deal with such men, in regard of Church-communion and 
Sacraments as they should be dealt with, which we agree 
to : but this surely can never be their sense. But I suppose 
they will say, that the thing offensive is the intimation, that 
such persons should be denied the sealing and confirming 
Ordinances. And indeed, would you not have it so ? If 
people will neither come to you for instruction, nor let you 
come to them, nor give you any valuable reason, yea, con- 
temptuously and obstinately refuse this, after sufficient ad- 
monition, would you yet have these admitted to communion 
in the Sacraments? It seems then, either this is no scanda- 



lous sin with you, or you would have the garden of Christ 
lie common as the wilderness ; and you would be their Pastor 
in despite of them, that contemptuously and obstinately re- 
fuse to take you for their Pastor ? Or, you will divide 
Christ and his Ordinances, and give them one part at their 
will, that obstinately refuse the other. But think as you 
please of this Resolution of ours ; and admit all the most 
obstinate refusers of your instruction to the Sacrament 
(which yet a Papist will not do), if you can make it good : 
but what is this to the business of Catechising and instruct- 
ing those that will submit? Cannot you agree with us in 
the rest, because of this clause ? Cannot you agree to in- 
struct them that will submit, because we resolve to deal with 
the obstinate refusers as we ought? 

Object. 4, ' You cut us a shoe too narrow for our foot. 
You judge all our Congregations by your own : we have 
stubborn people that will not be instructed, nor come near 
us, and are not fit for Church-discipline. Had we a tracta- 
ble people, we would yield to all.' 

Ansio. 1. If I understand this, the meaning of it is, we 
are resolved not to suffer the hatred, ill-will and railing of 
our neighbours : if we had a people that would take it, well, 
and put us to no such suffering, but rather drive us on to 
duty, then we would do it. If this be the meaning, it sounds 
not well. 2. The worse your people are, the more need they 
have of instruction and help. 3. If a thousand refuse your 
help, will that excuse you from offering it to them, and af- 
fording it to a thousand others that will not refuse it? 
Surely your people will not so refuse it. 4. Are your whole 
parishes fit to be Church-members, and to be admitted to 
communion in all Ordinances, and yet are they unfit for 
Discipline ? This cannot ordinarily be : it is a contradic- 
tion. If indeed all your parishioners be infidels, or ungodly, 
and unfit matter to constitute a Church, confess then that 
you are no Pastors of a particular Church, and give them 
no Communion Ordinances, but preach to them as infidels, 
to make them Christians. But if indeed, you take your- 
selves for Pastors, and your parishes, or part of them for 
Churches, use them as Churches, and rule as Pastors are 
bound to rule, and take not an office which you constantly 
refuse to exercise ; and choose not out that part of the work 


of your office, which is least costly, or distasteful to flesh 
and blood, but be true to your undertakings. 

Object. 5. ' But you build much on Acts xx. 20. Paul's 
teaching from house to house, whereas, Kara o'iksq and Kara 
omcov, in the New Testament is ever spoken of the houses 
where the Churches did usually assemble for public worship.' 

Answ. If I had misinterpreted Acts xx. 20, it is excusa- 
ble to err with so good company. Mr. Mede confesseth, 
(p. 31,) that the most of the Reformed writers, and some of 
the other side are against him : and (p. 44,) that the phrase, 
Kara oikov is commonly expounded against his way. And 
Beza on 1 Cor. xvi. 19, saith, " Apparet enim Apostolum 
commendare Aquilse et Priscilla? familiam quasi sit Ecclesia 
qusedam." And he expounds, Kara oikov, Acts v. 42, by 
' Privatim ubicunque opus erat, ut vere testatur de se Pau- 
lus infr. xx. 20 ; ' and so gives us his sense of that place also. 
And, to let pass ordinary interpreters, and speak only of 
those critics that may be expected most to befriend Mr. 
Mede's opinion, Grotius, on Rom. xvi. 5, saith, " Eodem 
modo de illorum domo loquitur Paulus, 1 Cor. xvi. 20. Quia 
recens ab exilio redibant Christiani, credibile est cum hsec 
Paulus scriberet nullos Romse fuisse communes Christiano- 
rum conventus, neque Presbyteros quos alioqui salutaret 
Paulus, Tali autem tempore quseque domus Ecclesia est, 
sicut Tertullianus ait, ubi tres, Ecclesia est, licet laici." 
And on Acts xx. 20, he saith, /cat Kara oiKsg, " singulos, oc- 
casione data ;" and on Philem. 2. " In ejus domo complures 
erant Christiani." And 1 Cor. xvi. 20, aw rrj Kara oikov 
dvTtvv £KK:Ai)(7ta. " Id est, cum tota familia sua quae erat 
Christiani. Quocunque illi ibant, secum ferebant Eccle- 
siam." So he expoundeth Col. iv. 15. 

And Dr. Hammond, (1 Cor. xvi,) saith, " It is evident 
what is meant by the Church in their house, i. e. all the be- 
lievers of their Family ; the same are called, rj kclt oiKovavThiv 
k/cXrj(Tia, (Rom. xvi. 4.) the Church or Christians belong- 
ing to their family. The prepositions kv and Kara being 
promiscuously used in the writings. And he expoundeth 
Acts xx. 20, thus : " Willing to use all opportunities of in- 
structing any, both in the public synagogues, and in private 
schools, and in your several houses, whither I also came." 

I confess myself somewhat inclinable to the Exposition 
of the objectors, though I come not quite up to their sense ; 


and I am somewhat stopped by this consideration, that there 
is mention of the Church in the house of Aquila and Pris- 
♦cilla in several cities. And it is not probable that such 
movable persons coming as strangers to such places, should 
have the opportunity of making their house still the public 
meeting-place of the several Churches where they come. 

And moreover, besides the texts observed by some, that 
in Acts viii. 3, will hardly be proved to be spoken only of 
Church-houses. SauAoc &£ eXv/naivtro rr\v EKKtXealav, Kara rsg 
oiKsg elg Troaevo/uEvog. I confess it was likely that he made his 
first assault on the Assemblies ; but improbable that this is 
all that is there meant 

The Apostles then did preach to several sorts of auditors: 
1. Sometimes to any multitude they could fitly, to speak 
for their conversion ; either in the Temple, in the Market- 
place, at the Judgment-seat, or any place of concourse. 2. 
Sometimes in mixed Assemblies of Christians and infidels ; 
admitting unbelievers to be their auditors in order to their 
conversion. So Paul admitted all that would come into his 
own hired house. (Acts xxviii. 30, 31.) And it was ordi- 
nary for the Church to admit unbelievers to be present, as 
appears, 1 Cor. xiv. 23 — 25. 3. Sometimes there were 
solemn assemblies of the Church above, where they all came 
together into one place, that is, it was the place of their 
most public meeting; where the main body assembled, and 
no others with them, as in breaking bread, and feasting to- 
gether, and such acts of special communion. 4. Sometimes 
there were occasional meetings of certam parcels of the 
Church, as that was Acts xii, when they were praying for 
Peter. And such a meeting I suppose there was in almost 
every house where the apostles were known to come, among 
Christians. It is not probable but that many would come 
in to them, if they did bnt go into any private house to visit 
or exhort the persons of that house, 5. Besides these, they 
ordinarily used to teach particular persons, as the Gaoler, 
the Eunuch, &c, as often as they had opportunity. Now 
our question of Acts xx. 20, is, which of these three last 
senses it is taken in. I agree not with the objectors, that it 
is taken in the first of the three only, though I will not ex- 
clude that: but understand it more comprehensively, as ex- 
tending to all the three last sorts, and comprising all that 
House-teaching of Christians that was then usual with the 


Apostles, both first, teaching the Churches in houses: and 
secondly, teaching such companies of Christians as were in 
the houses where the Apostles came, as Cornelius, Acts x, 
had gathered his friends to hear Peter, so Christians would 
call their next friends when an Apostle came to visit them: 
thirdly, and teaching the particular Families where they had 
opportunity ; especially the second. — Object. ' But this was 
not an orderly taking the houses of a Parish or Church be- 
fore them, and go in to every one.' — Ansiv. Very true ; I 
know of no such parishes that then were ; nor do I make it a 
Minister's duty absolutely to go up and down from house 
to house, to each house in his parish, or of his charge, I 
would not so much as advise you to do this, without neces- 
sity ; but first call the people to come to you, and learn of 
you at your own house, or the Church-house, or where you 
please, so that you will but give them that personal instruc- 
tion, upon necessary pre-inquiry into their states, which 
their conditions do require. And then go to those that will 
not come to you, if they will consent, and you are able. 
For my own part, I am not able to go from house to house ; 
there being not one house of many among the poor people, 
where I can stand half an hour in the midst of summer, 
without taking cold, to the apparent hazard of my life ; so 
that those few that will not come to me, I must send to. 
And I think it more to the people's benefit to accustom 
them to attend their Pastor, than for him to go to hunt up 
and down after them, he scarcely knows where and when. 
But men's obstinacy may make that necessary, which is in- 

2. But I have spoken all this but as on the by, as to this 
objection. My answer to it is this: It is not either only or 
chiefly on this text or any like it, that I build my persua- 
sions of you to this duty. In good sadness can you find no- 
thing but Acts xx. 20, in all these papers that is urged to 
convince you of the duty in hand? If you have observed 
no more, read again, and save me the labour of recitals. If 
there were nothing but the general command of taking heed 
to all the flock, and no more but your very Pastoral relation 
to each member, as a Master to every servant, and a Teacher 
to every scholar in his school, and a Physician to every pa- 
tient in his hospital, and a Shepherd to every sheep in his 
flock, and a Commander to every soldier in his regiment; 


what need there be more to convince you that you should 
take care of them, and help every one particularly as effec- 
tually as you can. In a word, the sum of the question is, 
whether you are bound to do the best you can to save the 
souls of all your Parishioners ? Do this and I desire no more. 
Doyou think in your conscience that you do the best you can, 
if you can exhort, instructor catechise them personally, and 
will not? 

As to the objection, ' Where are we bound to spend two 
days a week in this, or one day, or to take the houses in 
course, or the like V I have answered it already in this book, 
whither I refer you. As if the general precept of ' Teaching 
every one, exhorting every man, doing good to all, taking 
heed to all the flock, &c.' were not sufficient! What if God 
only bid you pray continually, or on all fit occasions, will 
you approve of those deluded ones that ask, Where am I 
bid to pray morning and night, or in my Family ; or before 
and after meat, or before and after sermon? &c. Provi- 
dence will direct you, and honest prudence will discern the 
season and other circumstances of your duty. What if God 
hath not told us on what day or hour our lecture shall be, or 
what chapter I shall read, what psalm I shall sing, what text 
I shall preach on, or whether on any or not ; or how the 
seals and utensils shall be ordered, must we not therefore 
determine these ourselves, as Providence shall lead us, and 
as may conduce to the end of our work ? I do not think but 
you do as much, and justly do it, beyond God's particular 
Scripture determination, in your ordinary Preaching, as we 
do in Catechising, and Personal instructing. But methinks 
with Ministers I should not need to say so much to such a 
rustical objection as this, from the defect of particular pre- 

Object. 6. ' If all Ministers should bestow two days a 
week, they would have but a little time to study, and so the 
adversaries would have their will when our Ministry comes 
to the unlearned, or unskilled in Controversies.' 

Answ. 1. I have answered this already in the book: 2. I 
only add, these things are not objected to mere by-standers • 
we try the work, and can tell by some experience what it is. 
Is not four days a week, after so many years in the Univer- 
sity, a fair proportion for men to study Controversies and  
Sermons? Though my weakness deprive me of abundance 


of time, and extraordinary works take up six, if not eight 
parts of my time, yet I bless God I can find time to provide 
for preaching two days a week, notwithstanding the two 
days for Personal instruction. Now for those that are not 
troubled with any extraordinary work, I mean writings, and 
conversations of several sorts, besides the ordinary work of 
the Ministry, I cannot believe, but if they are willing, they 
may find two half days a week at least for this work. 3. 
And perhaps they will find before we have done, that this 
employment tends to make men able Pastors for the Church, 
much more than private studies alone. He shall be the 
ablest Physician, and Divine, and Lawyer too, that addeth 
practice and experience proportionably to his studies ; and 
that man shall prove a useless drone, that refuseth God's 
service all his life, under pretence of preparing for it; and 
lets men's souls pass on to perdition, while he pretendeth to 
be studying how to recover them, or to get more ability to 
help and save them. 

Object. 7. ' The times that Paul lived in required more 
diligence than ours ; the Churches were but in the planting, 
the enemies many, and persecution great, but now it is not so.' 
Answ. This was the Bishops' argument against so much 
Preaching when they put it down. But it savours of a man 
locked up in his study, and unacquainted with the world. Good 
Lord ! are there such multitudes round about us that know 
not whether Christ be God or man, the first person in the 
Trinity or the second ; whether he have taken his body to 
heaven or left it on earth, and what he hath done for them ; 
and what they must trust to for pardon and salvation : are 
there so many thousands round about us that are drowned 
in presumption, security, and sensuality, that break the 
hearts of Preachers, and when we have done all, will neither 
feel us, nor understand us ! Are there so many wilful drun- 
kards, worldlings, self-seekers, railers, haters of a holy life, 
that want nothing but death to make them remediless! Are 
there so many ignorant, dull, and scandalous professors, so 
many dividers, seducers, and troublers of the Church ! and 
yet is the supineness of our times so great, that we may ex- 
cuse ourselves from personal instruction, because of the less 
necessity of the times ? What need is there but faith and 
experience, to answer this objection? Believe better with- 
in, and look more without among the miserable, and I war- 


rant you, you will not see cause to spare your pains for want 
of work, or of necessities to invite you ; what conscientious 
Minister finds not work enough to do, from one end of the 
year to another, if he have not an hundred souls to care for? 
Are ungodly men the less miserable, because they make 
profession of Christianity, or the more? 

Object. 8. ' You have here too confidently determined, that 
it is Ministers' duties that have large congregations, to pro- 
cure assistance, though they leave themselves by it but that 
low allowance to live upon, which you mention. We must 
not be wise above what is written. And you will scarcely 
shew us where this, or the ' quota pars Temporis' for Cate- 
chising, or taking a set time, are written in the Scripture.' 

Ahsw. 1. Must I go to turn to my Bible to shew a 
Preacher, where it is written, that a man's soul is more worth 
than a world, much more than an hundred pounds a year ; 
much more are many souls more worth ? or that both we 
and that we have are God's, and should be employed to the 
utmost for his service ? or that it is inhuman cruelty to let 
many souls go to hell, for fear my wife and children should 
live somewhat the harder, or live at a lower rate, when, ac- 
cording to God's ordinary way of working by means, I might 
do much to prevent their misery, if I would but a little dis- 
please my flesh, which all that are Christ's have crucified 
with its lusts? Every man must give God the things that 
are God's, and that is all. How is all pure and sanctifiedtous 
but in the separation, dedication, and using them for God ? 
Are not all his talents, and must be employed to his service? 
Must not every Christian first ask, which way may I most 
honourGod with my substance? are not these things written? 
Do we not preach them to our people? Are they true to them, 
and not to us? Yea, more; is not the Church-maintenance 
devoted in a special manner to the service of God for that 
Church ; and should we not then use it for the utmost further- 
ance of the end ? If any Minister that hath two hundred pounds, 
can prove that an hundred pounds of it may do God more ser- 
vice if it be laid out on himself or wife and children, than if it 
maintain one or two meet assistants to help the salvation of 
the flock, I shall not presume to reprove his expences ; but 
where this cannot be proved, let not the pi^actice be justified. 
No wonder that we have so many sensual gentlemen that 
do little good with all their riches ; but see their brother 



have need, and shut up the bowels of their compassion from 
him, rather than they will live at lower rates, or not fare de- 
liciously every day ; and that they can find no Scripture that 
commandeth them such things ; when even the Preachers 
of the Scriptures cannot see the wood for trees ; they want 
a letter to express to them the common moral verities. No 
wonder if these gentlemen can find no Scripture that requir- 
eth them to buy in Impropriations, to endow or build Col- 
leges, to give a common stock for the poor, or the like, or 
out of two or three thousand pounds portion to a daughter 
to give one or two hundreds to some pious, charitable use, 
though the daughter have the less. How should gentlemen 
find any Scripture for self-denial, or preferring God before 
themselves, yea their flesh, or children's superfluities and 
snares, when some Ministers of the Gospel can find no 
such Scripture, when the case concerns themselves ; or 
at least can meet with no Expositor that can make them 
understand such difficult texts. 

And for the other matters, of the stated time for Cate- 
chising, and the ' quota pars.' As I never presumed to im- 
pose an unnecessary task on any, nor should do, were it in 
my power, but leave it to their prudence that are on the place 
to determine of circumstances : so I know not why any man 
should be loath to tie himself to this duty, especially in order 
to a common Reformation, and after so long and general a 
neglect, unless because he is loath to practise it. If set 
times be not needful for the constant performance of such a 
work as this, devise for us some way of doing it without a 
stated time ; and do not keep a set time for your Lectures, 
class meetings, family duties, no nor your studies, or se- 
cret prayers. When you have shewed me a written word 
for these, and for your Preaching once or twice every Lord's- 
day, then I will shew you more than one text for the things 
in question. 

Object. 9. The next Objections made, are against my 
urging them to associate : and one is, ' Why cannot I do 
my duty to God, and for my people at home, without travel- 
ling many miles to a meeting of Ministers ? What Scrip- 
ture binds me to this labour?' 

Answ. Were I in a disputation, I would give you several 
formal arguments for all these things : but in this brief way 
of answering objections, I think it more profitable to them that 


are in love with truth, to take up with the general grounds 
of the duty, which may afford thern matter for many argu- 
ments. And to the objection, can you find no Scripture that 
commandeth Christians to be of one mind, and mouth, and 
way, and to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace ? 
Cannot you prove from Scripture, that God would have Mi- 
nisters to be one, in mind and heart, " as Christ and the Fa- 
ther are one?" (John xvii. 21.) Do you doubt whether you 
should do the work of God with as much unity and concord 
as is possible ; and do you know that constant communion 
and correspondence is necessary to that end? You cannot 
be ignorant how the unity and consent of Ministers is their 
honour, and much of their strength with the people; and 
takes off much prejudice and odium that would fall on sin- 
gle men; and that singular actions brings us into contempt 
with them. Doubtless, as many Christians are bound to hold 
communion together in particular Churches, so many parti- 
cular Churches, by their guides, are bound to maintain com- 
munion as far as nature makes them capable. And I hope 
few Ministers are ignorant that these Ministerial Assemblies 
for Concord among ourselves and the Churches, have been 
the constant practice of the Churches of Christ, as high as 
we have any history to acquaint us with their practice (I 
mean when the persecution made it not impossible). And 
shall we now in the end of the world begin to be wiser ; and 
one single Pastor, and perhaps of no seraphical intellects, 
correct this practice of the Universal Church, as a needless 
thing, and say, Why may not I do my duty as well at home 
alone ? 

You owe duty to your neighbouring Ministers and 
Churches, for communion and in order to the common good, 
and the promoting of your common work. Are you humble 
men, and yet can you think that yourselves have no need of 
the advice and assistance of your brethren? I should hardly 
think you humble if you say so. But if you be so far above 
teaching, advice, or any other help to yourselves, your bre- 
thren have the more need of you, by how much the less need 
you have of them. There are many young Ministers that 
very much need the helps that such communion may afford 
them, and the advice of more grave, experienced men for car- 
rying on the work of the Ministry ; and many so humble and 
sensible of their need of such communion, that they would 


be loath to be deprived of it. One would think we should 
no more need such a stir to make Ministers desire the com- 
munion of Ministers, than to make Christians desire the 
communion of Christians, or to make men desire the society 
of men. 

Object. 10. ' But we have observed in most associations 
where we have been, that some one, or two, or few more, do 
all, and the rest do but follow them : it is as good then to go 
to these men alone, if we need advice.' 

Answ. There is no one that pretends to any authority 
over their brethren, in our Association ; neither Civil coercive 
power, nor Ecclesiastical directive power. You cannot say 
therefore, that any one doth either force the rest, or awe tiiem 
by any pretended commission from Christ. So that if any 
have so much power as you speak of, it is likely it is but the 
power of truth in them, and such as light hath against dark- 
ness ;' or, if it be from the strength of their parts and gifts, 
have not you need even of the gifts of your brethren? And 
are they not given for the body ? It seems by this objection, 
that you justify our Associations from all popular or factious 
prevalency of the multitude, or major part ; and that they lay 
not the cause upon number and votes, but upon wisdom, and 
the prevailing power of evidence ; and that one man that can 
bring more reason than others, shall be heard and regarded 
by all. What could you have said more to the honour of our 
Associations, to vindicate them from all imputations of pride 
and faction, and clamorous running on with the most. 

And where you say, It is as good to go to those men in 
private, I answer, those men themselves do not think so. Per- 
haps, they that you call the leaders of the rest, do find them- 
selves more in need of the help of those whom you say they 
lead, than you do of theirs. Among many, that may bespoken 
by a man of inferior parts, that came not into the minds of 
wiser men : which of you are so wise that needs no addition 
or assistance ; and what Minister is so weak that may not 
sometimes add to the wiser? Moreover, among many, they 
that are of greater parts have the better opportunity to do 
the greater good with them, than with one in a corner. 
Would you have your neighbours say, * What shall we do at 
the Congregation — there is but one man that does all, and I 



can go as well to him at home :' it is sooner done to speak to 
twenty or forty at once, than one by one. 

But if indeed, you think that these leading Ministers do 
mislead the rest, there is the more need of the presence of 
such as you that discern it ! Care you not that your brethren 
and the Churches be misled? If you see it, you can give 
your reasons that may disclose it ; and how know you what 
your light may do : seeing your brethren are not forced into 
error, but seduced ; if it be so, why may not you do as much 
to undeceive them? 

Object. 11.' But, as I hear many say, under pretence of as- 
sociating, you will but fall into a multitude of fractions ! Not 
two counties can agree upon the same terms : but one com- 
pany go one way, and another go another way ; and why- 
should we join with any of them till there be a greater like- 
lihood of Union among themselves V 

Answ. 1. A self-condemning, unreasonable objection. 
Are they more divided where they associate, than you that 
are single, and every man goes on his own head? What if 
there were as many ways as counties ? that is not so bad as 
to have as many ways as parishes. Have you no more mo- 
dest a way to excuse your singularity and disunion, than by 
charging Communion itself with singularity, and uniting with 
division ? 2. But wherein is it that this diversity of ways 
consisteth, which you complain of? Tell us the particulars; 
for I see no such great diversity ! Most counties that I hear 
of that have associated, do only agree to hold communion 
in stated meetings, and there to afford the best help they can 
to one another ; and have not proceeded to any more parti- 
cular agreements, unless perhaps to Catechise, or personally 
instruct the people. And you cannot accuse them for diver- 
sity of ways, that descend to no more particular agreements. 
Indeed this county, (Worcestershire) and the counties of 
Cumberland and Westmoreland, have published the articles 
of their Associations and Agreements : and I pray you com- 
pare them, and see whether one egg be more like another 
than they are in sense. 

But it is likely you mean, that our Articles are not in the 
same words, and it is not the same forms ' in terminis' that 
we agree upon. And what of that ! I think there be above 
an hundred Catechisms now in England, that yet contain the 



very same Principles of Religion. Will you fall out with 
Catechising, and use none, because we all agree not in one, 
for the terms : or should you not be more encouraged to it, 
because among so many there is such full agreement in 
sense, that they are all but as one? How many of the ancient 
Councils of the Church, did determine only of the same 
canons; and yet this was not called a disagreeing diversity. 
The truth is, this objection is commonly made by men 
that place the Unity of the Church in matters that God never 
placed it in ! We must not be one, because we subscribe 
not the same form of words, and agree not in every circum- 
stance and expression. Whereas, indeed, we shall never be 
one, while Unity is placed in such indifferent things. There 
are no greater dividers of the Church in the world, than they 
that overdo in their pretendings to unity, and lay the Unity 
of the Church upon that which will not bear it. The Papists 
must needs centre all the Churches in their pope, and by 
this means have made the agreement of the Churches with 
them to be impossible ; whereas, if they would have left out 
these false means of Union, and the concomitants, we might 
have held our Union and communion with them. So if for- 
malists will lay the Union of the Church on this gesture, and 
that vesture, and this order, and these words in prayer, 
preaching, &c, they will presently make Union with them 
impossible ; for there is a possibility of bringing all true 
Christians to unite in the revealed will of God, but no pos- 
sibility of bringing them all to be of every formalist's opi- 
nion, and to use every gesture or form of words that he and 
his like shall impose upon them. I speak not against agree- 
ment in circumstances, but against unnecessary impositions 
therein, much more against laying the Church's Unity and 
peace upon them. For example : at the reception of the 
Lord's-supper all were forced to kneel : at the Eucharistical 
action of singing psalms, when we speak to God in the high- 
est worship that we can perform on earth, no man was forced 
to kneel, or to any one gesture. In the former we were alto- 
gether by the ears, and driven from communion ; and to this 
day thousands do separate from Assemblies because they 
may not kneel, as formerly some did, because they might 
not have it any other way but kneeling: but in the other 
case, of singing, where all were left at liberty, I never heard 
of one contention about the gesture to this day; no nor of 


any offence that one took at another. So in reading that 
parcel, that was then peculiarly called the Gospel, all were 
bound to stand ; and this bred contention : but at the read- 
ing of the same words in the chapter, all had liberty to choose 
their gesture ; and there I never heard of contention or of- 
fence. So I may say in our present case, we do not intend 
by associating to tie one another to new forms and ceremo- 
nies, nor make new terms of Union. In this county we only 
chose out so much of the unquestionable work of Presbyters, 
about that government which had been long neglected, which 
Episcopal Presbyterians, and Congregational, are agreed in, 
and resolved at present to practice that which all are for, ra- 
ther than to neglect an acknowledged duty, because of by- 
circumstances in which we differ: so that all these parties 
may join with us, without deserting the principles of their 
parties : and I think this is no way of division or discord. 

Object. 12. ' But if this be all, what need we subscribe 
to Articles of Agreement ? Is it not enough that we have all 
subscribed to the Scriptures already, if you require no more 
than what is there ?' 

Answ. We require no more, but that all agree to perform 
those duties which God's word doth command ; and freely, 
without force, accord about those circumstances which Scrip- 
ture hath not particularly determined, but given as general 
rules to discern according to providential changes, how to 
determine them ourselves. I mean only such circumstances 
in which an agreement may further us in our work, without 
agreeing in those where agreement is wholly unnecessary, 
and without laying the Church's peace upon any of them. 
We associate, not to make new laws and duties, but to ac- 
cord in obeying the laws of God ; and therefore the articles 
which we agree upon are Scripture-articles. And if any 
scruple subscribing to any that are not the very express 
words of Scripture, we will not differ with them, but will 
give them as much as is necessary in such Scripture-words 
to subscribe. And the reason why we subscribe to these 
Articles, though we have already subscribed to Scripture, is 
because they are matters long and generally neglected ; 
and we do but hereby awaken ourselves to duty, and bind 
ourselves faster by renewing our obligations ; and mani- 
fest our repentance for our former neglects, and our resolu- 
tion for new obedience. As the people did in Ezra, that had 

the reformed pastor. 373 

taken heathen wives, and as it was ordinary in the Old Tes- 
tament, after some notable breach of covenant, to renew this 
covenant with God : and as we use to do at Sacraments, and 
days of Humiliation, though we have formerly taken the same 
covenant, yet we see cause to renew it again and again, espe- 
cially as against those sins, and for those duties, where we 
have lately been most faulty. 

And if it be no more than is your duty already ; whether 
you subscribe or no, what reason have you to refuse an 
agreement or subscription to such duty, unless, as I said, 
because you are unwilling to perform it. He that is resolved 
to do it, is willing to be as much as may be obliged to it. 
When it must be done, the strongest bonds are surest. 

Object. 13. ' But some Associations do not only practise, 
but subscribe to such things that we cannot in conscience 
agree to : as the use of lay-elders, as the Presbyterians do ; 
the calling people to profess that they own us for their Pas- 
tors, as you do.' 

Answ. I hope you are not of such dividing principles, as 
that you cannot in conscience hold Communion with men 
that differ from you in as great a matter as this, if they will 
but leave you free. Else, if you should plead conscience 
for such dividing, I would desire you to see that you can 
plead Scripture as well as conscience for it; for an erring con- 
science, engaging men against the will of God, is a poor ex- 
cuse for sin : it is no more than to say, when I sin, 1 think I 
do not sin. tt is a very good answer that Mr. Lawson, in his 
book against Hobbs's Politics, doth give to the common 
question, Whether an erring conscience bind ? He saith, that 
an erring conscience, is not conscience; for conscience is a 
sort of science, and error is not science, or knowledge. 

But if these brethren would force you to subscribe with 
them in such matters as you mention, which your judgment 
is against, or else they will hold no communion with you, 
then it is they that exclude you, and not you that exclude 
yourselves. But I hope no Associations now with us, will 
be guilty of such a course. I hope they are not resolved to 
refuse communion with all that are not for lay-elders, or 
such like matters. Then they would be the Dividers, that 
lay the Church's Unity and Peace on such a doubtful point. 
But if they do themselves subscribe to that, may not you 
desire to join with them, with a modest excepting of that 


article alone in which you are unsatisfied ? which, no doubt, 
it* they be peaceable men they will admit. And for the in- 
stance you give of our calling people to an express Consent, 
viz. (1.) To Christianity : (2.) To their Membership in the 
Churches where we are Pastors: I answer, It is a strange 
conscience that can find matter of scruple against this ; 
when we are assured, that people cannot be Members or 
Christians against their wills, and their wills cannot be 
known to us but by the expressions of it, may we not call 
them to express it? Especially, since parish-habitation is 
grown a less fit note than heretofore, and hearing is certainly 
no sufficient evidence ; and people will take it to be a hei- 
nous injury to them if we should exercise Discipline on them 
without their Consent, and perhaps would have an action 
against us at law for it ! And where Consent must be ne- 
cessarily signified, is not the most express signification more 
satisfactory to us, and obligatory to them, than an uncertain, 
implicit dark signification, which our own consciences tell 
us, with abundance of them, is really no signification, nor 
intended by them to any such use, as not knowing what a 
Church is, or what Discipline is, but thinking that to be a 
Church-member, is no more than to be a parishioner, and 
come to Church. Though we might well prove against the 
Separatists that this much, with the professions of the rest 
that had more knowledge, was enough to prove the truth of 
our Churches, when we could do no more ; yet if we shall 
now, (after so many years of fullest liberty, when we may 
reform if we will,) proceed no further, but tolerate, yea, 
plead for all such defects as will but consist with the truth 
of the Churches ; yea, pretend conscience against them, it 
is just with God to lay upon us so much of his wrath, and 
withdraw from us so much of his mercy as shall leave us no 
more to comfort us, but that still we are truly men, as our 
Churches are truly Churches. 

But I must farther tell you, that the objection is grounded 
on a mere mistake and wilful or careless oversight. For our 
Agreement to call our people to a profession of their Chris- 
tianity and Church-membership, is but with this exception : 
'Except any of us should judge that they can better exer- 
cise the forementioned Discipline without calling their peo- 
ple to such a profession of Consent, in which case we will 
declare our reasons to our brethren of the Ministry, in our 


Meetings, and hear their advice when the case is opened. 
If indeed you can and will exercise Christ's Discipline on all 
in your parish, without their express consent, we shall not 
refuse communion with you : only let us see in good sad- 
ness that you do it. First privately, and at last openly ad- 
monish all the scandalous, obstinate sinners in your parish ; 
and if they do not repent and reform, reject them ; and then 
we will not differ with you about calling them to this pro- 
fession. But if you will not do this, you must pardon me, 
if I conclude, that whatever you pretend, it is not the call- 
ing your people to this Profession that you scruple in con- 
science, but it is the trouble and opposition that Discipline 
exercised would draw upon you, that makes your flesh scru- 
ple any thing that would engage you to it. And if this be 
so, faithfulness to God, and you, commandeth me to tell 
you, that the searching day of God is at hand, when self- 
seeking hypocrites shall have their reward. If I may speak 
according to my experience of the state of our ordinary con- 
gregations, I must needs conclude, that if you did but per- 
ceive that you must exercise Christ's Discipline impartially, 
we should need no other argument to bring you to call for 
your people's consent, than your own safety and self-love, 
and that very flesh would be for it that is now against it. 
Fori imagine, that if you should exercise this Discipline on 
all your parish, especially in great and bad congregations, 
you would hardly escape long from being knocked in the 
head, without a special preservation of God. 

Object. 14. ' But some Associations are forming canons, 
and putting laws upon us which we know not that we are 
obliged to obey.' 

Answ. 1. Associations sometimes draw up articles of 
agreement, whereto the several members oblige themselves 
by Consent : but I know of none with us that presume to im- 
pose any laws on others. 2. If the things you speak be 
made already your duty by God, either expressly by a par- 
ticular command, or else by a general word determined by 
Providence, as about some necessary, variable circumstan- 
ces, then it is no man, but God that imposeth on you, and it 
is not your refusing your Consent that shall disoblige you or 
excuse you. But if they be things evil, that are imposed on 
you by men ; put in the reasons of your dissent, and take the 


leave of differing in that one point without withdrawing unne- 
cessarily from their communion. If it be but about indifferent 
circumstances, as I would not have any, no, not by an agree- 
ment, much less by imposition, make common determina- 
tions of such without any need ; so if they did, I must tell 
you, that Union and Communion of Churches is not indiffe- 
rent but necessary ; and therefore reject it not upon the ac- 
count of such things as you say yourselves are but indifferent. 

Object. 15. ' But we are not satisfied with their practice 
of suspending men from the Lord's-supper, that are not ex- 
communicated : nor do we know any warrant for it.' 

Answ. Suspension is either penal, or not penal. That 
which is not penal is of two sorts : (1.) Sometimes I deny to 
give men the Sacrament, merely because I have no call or ob- 
ligation on me to do it. In this case, the proof lies on you, 
viz. to prove my obligation. For example : I take not my- 
self obliged to give the Sacrament to all the county, if they 
require it ; nor to any neighbour parish that have a Pastor 
of their own ; nor to any of this parish where I live that are 
separated members of another Church ; or, that through ha- 
tred of Discipline will be members of no particular Church ; 
or, that will be members of no particular Church, and yet will 
not come near me to acquaint me with their reasons. Nor 
am I bound to watch over, or administer Sacraments to any 
that will not take me for their Pastor in an ordinary stated 
course: no, nor at all, when I have so much to do with my 
own flock, that I cannot do such offices for others without 
neglecting as great duties to those whom I am more espe- 
cially related and obliged to. Thus I suspend from the Sa- 
crament many thousands ; that is, I do not give it them that 
I have nothing to do with, or no obligation to give it to. 
(2.) Sometimes we may forbear to give men the Sacrament, 
while we are admonishing them of their sin, and calling them 
to repentance, or doing some necessary previous duty. As 
if the whole congregation would have the Sacrament on 
Thursday, I may desire them to stay till the Lord's-day, and 
in the meantime to humble themselves and prepare : If you 
will call this a suspending of the whole Church, you may 
speak as you please: So if you know a man that hath of- 
fended his brother, you may persuade him, yea, require him 
Ministerially, by authority from Christ, to leave his gift at the 


altar, and go first and be reconciled to his brother, and then 
come and offer his gift. Though if he disobey, I will not 
presently without further trial censure him. 

These acts are but negative (a not giving the Sacrament) 
and not properly privative, and therefore not properly sus- 
pension. Duties must be done in right order : no duty is 
at all times to be performed. I am not bound to give a man 
the Sacrament when I meet him in an alehouse, nor when I 
am admonishing him about a scandal : nor when three or 
four, or a dozen shall send to me to bring it them to a pri- 
vate house without any more ado. All things must be done 
decently, orderly, and to edification : and the forbearing a 
disorderly, indecent, unedifying administration, is no proper 
penal suspension. 

And I am even ashamed that the Church is troubled 
about this question voluminously, by good men, that are for 
Discipline and Excommunication : when as the things that 
we make such a stir about, are cases that are not likely to 
fall out in a congregation once in twenty years. For if a 
man have offended, and no man have admonished him, nor 
the fact by notoriousness, or accusation be brought to the 
Church, or officers, we are not bound to take notice of it, so 
far as to suspend any : nor do any that I know of plead for 
such a thing. But if the case be duly brought to the Pas- 
tors, cannot they go to the person, or send for him before 
the very hour of the Sacrament? Cannot they try whether 
he be penitent or not ? And if he be penitent, we yield that 
he is not to be penally suspended. If he be not after other 
admonition, and the case is brought to the Church, how can 
the officers be bound at the same time to give the Sacrament 
to an impenitent person, and also to avoid him for his im- 
penitency, or to tell the congregation, in order to his reco- 
very ? If these men are for Discipline, they must confess 
that I am bound either to tell the congregation of this of- 
fender (and that I must do when he demandeth communion), 
or else, if telling the officers be enough, I must require them 
to avoid him, if he be impenitent. 

2. And this brings us to the other sort of Suspension, 
which is penal and properly so called : and this is nothing 
but an avoiding of the communion of the offender, 'pro hac 
vice.' Where note : that it is one thing to be unsatisfied of 
the fact, and another to be unsatisfied of the person's repen- 


tance. In case the fact be not manifest, we confess there 
must be no Suspension, save what prudence requires on the 
first mentioned grounds : as not properly penal. But if the 
fact be manifest any of these three ways, By notoriety ; or 
violent presumption ; or valid testimony ; and yet the per- 
son express not his repentance, we are bound by God to 
avoid communion with him till he repent : and therefore 
though I cannot sentence him as habitually obstinate, and 
therefore shall yet stay longer in a course of admonition be- 
fore we reject him, as from his church-relation, or state of 
communion ; yet on the proved act of sin, till he manifest 
his repentance, I must forbear the actual communion with 
him, and deny him actual communion with us : for I cannot 
take him to be penitent till he profess it (probably) : and if 
I take him not to be penitent, I must take him to be yet in 
his sin, e. g. to be an adulterer, a drunkard, &c, and so am 
frequently commanded to avoid him, and forbidden to have 
communion with him. And this suspension is nothing but 
initial, actual excommunication. Even exclusion from the 
act of communion, before (upon the proof of fixed obstinacy) 
we exclude from the state of communion. This is plain, and 
methinks is enough to end, or at least, to quiet this needless 
controversy. But if this be all ; if you would indeed ex- 
communicate only, and not suspend, this need not hinder any 
association. If you will go further than others, you may: as 
I confess you have great cause to go further than the most. 

Object. 16. ' But, say others, is not denying them the 
Lord's-supper a sufficient exercise of Discipline on the most? 
What do you more to those that join not with you V 

Answ. Either your not giving them the Sacrament is penal, 
or not. If not, it is no exercise of Discipline at all. Do 
you exercise Discipline on all the county, when you give 
them not the Sacrament? If it be penal, it is irregular and 
harsh dealing to punish and initially excommunicate, for so 
it is, one half of a parish without an orderly trial, or calling 
them to speak for themselves, or without taking Christ's 
course of first admonishing them. So that it seems to me 
not very much to differ from them that gather Churches ir- 
regularly, by casting off the most without a trial as no Church- 
members. And it is absurd to deprive them of actual commu- 
nion so many years, and yet to let them remain in a state of 
communion, without any question. And if it be not a penal 


suspension, but they keep away themselves, it is gross neglect 
to let them alone so many years in the omission of Church- 
communion, and God's ordinances while they are members. 
As to our case, and the second part of the objection, I 
answer ; we take not ourselves to have a Pastoral charge of 
those that separate from us, and wilfully refuse to be mem- 
bers of our charge. We cannot make them our flock against 
their wills. We cast not out men, that cast not out them- 
selves, but only in an orderly regular way of Discipline, that 
is not our fault, but their own. 

And yet I must tell you, that I let not them all so pass : 
but though I think not that I have such a charge of them as 
the rest, yet I sometimes publicly admonish the most noto- 
rious, and pray for them, and require the Church to avoid 
them, as to private familiarity, as they withdraw themselves 
from Sacramental communion. For I think, if a man call 
himself a brother, that is, a Christian, and yet live scanda- 
lously, I must avoid him, and warn my people so to do, though 
he never joined himself to any Church. Though I know what 
Beza's conjectural observation is on Acts xxi. that they are 
called merely Disciples as they are Christians not yet under 
the Church-order and officers, and they are called Brethren 
when they are under officers and order : the observation hath 
its use ; but it is not so always, but often otherwise. 

Object. 17. ' But are not there seasons when Discipline 
may be forborne V 

Answ. Yes, no doubt, and Preaching too ; but that must 
not be ordinarily. It is hard that there was scarcely ever yet 
a season in England to execute it. I marvel when it will be 
seasonable, if not now ! 

Object. 18. ' But why do you go without the Magistrate, 

and lay his interest aside ?' 

Answ. 1. We go not without his licence, for he grants us 
liberty. 2. INTor without his encouragement. 3. But if we 
had neither, for Discipline, Sacraments, Preaching, or Pray- 
ing, should we not use them ? Is not Christ our Master ? Is 
not his authority sufficient ? How did all Christian Churches 
till Constantine's days ? 

See our Agreement, Artie. 6. et Reg. 20. Whether we 
go without or wrong the Magistrate. Our Monthly meeting 
in this Church for matters of Discipline consisteth of two or 
three Justices of Peace, two or three Presbyters, three or 


four Deacons, and about twenty-four Delegates of the People, 
of the most wise and pious men, chosen yearly by them- 
selves to represent them, not prohibiting any other to be 
there, disclaiming any proper office, but only looking that 
the Church have no wrong, and doing that which private 
members may do.' 

Object. 19. ' But some of the Prelatical men are offended 
at our leaving out the clause of Christ' 's descent into hell in 
our profession. 

Answ. 1. The Creed is part of our profession, and if these 
men cannot find it, and that clause in our papers, it is not 
our fault. 2. The rest is about our Exposition of the Creed, 
for our people's understanding : and either that clause is 
plain and commonly agreed on, as to the sense, or not. If 
it be, then what need we expound it. If not, methinks they 
should rather commend our modesty that thought ourselves 
unmeet judges of so great a controversy, where the Church 
is so divided. 3. It seems a late clause that came not 
into this Creed for some hundred years after Christ. 4 
The word hell was never put into the Creed by the 
Greek or Latin Church, and if it were a full and plain 
translation of the Greek agjje, or the Latin inferi, we 
should the more easily receive it without scruple ; but if we 
should change this English word by a stricter translation, 
you would be offended much more. See Dr. Hammond in 
his Practical Catechism, pp. 286, 287, against the local de- 
scent into hell at large. Or if you would see much more, 
read that learned Treatise of Sandford and Parker, " de De- 
scensu Christi," and Bishop Usher, in his answer to the 
Jesuit " de Limbo, et Descensu Christi ad inferos:" Read 
well but those two discourses, and you will but pity the 
self-conceitedness and confidence of such dry and raw dis- 
courses, as Mr. Ashwell, and many of his train, that seem 
to place more hope of their success in reproaching the con- 
trary-minded, and in bold pretences to antiquity and uni- 
versality, than in any evidence that should compel assent. 

If these men have the moderation of true Protestants, let 
them hear the words of one of them, Bishop Usher de Limbo, 
p. 417. " And to speak truth, it is a matter above the reach 
of the common people to enter into the discussion of the full 
meaning of this point of the Descension into hell ; the deter- 
mination whereof dependeth upon the knowledge of the 


learned tongues, and other sciences that come not within 
the compass of their understanding It having here like- 
wise been further manifested, what different opinions have 

been entertained by the ancient Doctors of the Church. 

I leave it to be considered by the learned, whether any such 
controverted matter may fitly be brought in to expound the 
rule of Faith, which being common both to the great and the 
small ones in the Church, (August. Ep. 57. ad Dard.) must 
continue such verities only as generally are agreed on by the 
common consent of all true Christians." Or if they have 
more respect to the judgment of a Jesuit, let them hear one 
of greatest name there cited. Suarez. torn. 2. in 3. part ; 

Thorn. Disp. 43, sect. 4. Si nomine articuli. " If by an 

Article of Faith we understand, a truth which all the faithful 
are bound explicitly to know and believe : so I do not think 
it necessary to reckon this among the Articles of Faith ; be- 
cause it is not a matter altogether so necessary for all men ; 
and because that, for this reason peradventure, it is omitted 
in the Nicene Creed ; the knowledge of which Creed seemeth 
to be sufficient for fulfilling the precept of Faith. Lastly, for 
this cause peradventure Augustine and other fathers expound- 
ing the Creed, do not unfold this mystery to the people." 

And, saith Bishop Usher, ibid. "That he descended not 
into the hell of the damned by the essence of his soul, or 
locally, but virtually only, by extending the effect of his 
power thither, is the common doctrine of Thomas Aquinas, 
and the rest of the schoolmen. Card. Bellarmine at first held it 
to be probable, that Christ's soul did descend thither, not 
only by his effects, butby his real presence also ; but after hav- 
ing considered better of the matter, he resolved that the opi- 
nion of Thomas and the other schoolmen was to be followed." 

And whereas, some of them do with confidence persuade 
us that this Article was in the Creed from the beginning, 
they might also from a Jesuit have learned more modesty ; 
John Busaeus, de descensu Christi, Thes. 33. cited by 
Bishop Usher, de Limbo, p. 309, who saith, " Saint Cy- 
prian, or Rufflnus rather, in his Exposition of the Creed, 
denieth that this Article is read in the Creed of the Church 
of Rome, or the Churches of the East : and some of the most 
ancient fathers, while either they gather up the sum of the 
Christian Faith ; or expound the Creed of the Apostles, 
have omitted this point of doctrine ! But at what time it 


was inserted into the Creed, it cannot certainly be deter- 
mined." So far the Jesuit. And yet I will not imitate Mr. 
Ashwell's Royal Authority on his title-page, and so believe 
it to be from the Apostles, till another certain author is 
found out, as he saith, of the Creed ; but I will contrarily 
believe it is not by the Apostles, because it cannot be 
proved by the affirmers to be by them, and because I can 
prove a time since them, when it was not in the common 

And, saith Bishop Usher, ib. p. 310. " The first particu- 
lar Church that is known to have inserted this article into 
her Creed, is that of Aquilia ; which added also the attri- 
butes of invisible and impassible unto God the Father Al- 
mighty, in the beginning of the Creed, as appeareth by Ruf- 
finus, who framed his Exposition of the Creed according to 
the order used in that Church. But whether any other 
Church in the world, for five hundred years after Christ, 
(mark this), did follow the Aquilians in putting the one of 
these additions to the Apostles' Creed more than the other, 
can hardly, I suppose, be shewed out of any approved testi- 
mony of antiquity." He goes on further to prove this by in- 
stances of many authors' recitals of the Creed, and out of 
some ancient manuscripts, as is there to be seen, pp.310, 311. 
Mr. Ashwell thankfully confesseth some things that he 
learned of him ; if he had had the patience to have learned 
these and many more, before he had so far exalted himself 
against those that are not of his opinion, he had not done 

Whether the Arians first put it into the Church Creed, I 
leave men to conjecture as they see cause, when they have 
perused the said Bishop's allegations, p. 308 ; but certain- 
ly, when the Nicene fathers had none of it, the symbols 
of the Eastern Church, not knowing it, as Rufnnus tells us, 
these bastard fatherlings, the Arians, saith the Bishop, did 
not only insert this clause, ' He descended to the places un- 
der the earth,' but added for amplification, ' whom hell itself 
trembled at.' The like did they in another and a third 

And as Rufflnus testifieth, that this Article was neither in 
the Eastern nor the Roman Creeds, so he adjoined presently. 
as the Bishop noteth, p. 339. ' yet the force or meaning of 
the word seemeth to have been buried,' which some, saith 


the Bishop, think to be the cause, why in all the ancient 
symbols that are known to have been written, the first six 
hundred years after Christ, that of Aquilia only excepted, 
which Ruffinus followed, where the burial is expressed, 
there the descending into hell is omitted, as in that of Con- 
stantinople, for example, commonly called the Nicene Creed; 
and on the other side, where the descent into hell is men- 
tioned, there the article of the burial is passed over, as in 
that of Athanasius : and to say the truth, the terms of burial 
and descending into hell, in the Scripture-phrase, tend much 
to the expressing of the selfsame thing, &c." So he. 

These good men, therefore, that (some of them over their 
pots in an alehouse) do learnedly reproach us, for not ex- 
pounding the article of the descent to hell, or not twice ex- 
pressing it, should have considered, that with us they more 
reproach the Nicene and twenty other Creeds ; yea, that, of 
Marcellus in Epiphanius, which is nearest to that now called 
the Apostles' of any so ancient a form that I have met with ; 
and they should have thought it enough in us to retain it in 
our Creed, without presuming to expound it, till they can 
answer what Bishop Usher, Parker, and other Protestants 
in this cause have delivered; or if they be, of their mind, 
they should confess that it is expressed in the terms which 
we in our explication do retain. 

But, as they must confess, the Creed was not delivered by 
the Apostles in English, and so the word hell was not in the 
original, so if we must stick to the Creed indeed, we must 
translate it truly, and you must help us to some word that 
is of as comprehensive a signification as aSrjc is '■> which, as 
is most largely proved by Usher and Parker, besides many 
more, signifieth the ' state of the dead' in general ; or as ap- 
plied to souls ' the invisible state of separated souls ;' where- 
as, whatever the etymology of the word hell be, yet we are 
sure that the common use (which is the master of language) 
hath among the vulgar appropriated it to the daumed's place 
or state of torment; saith Bishop Usher, p. 388, "Some 
learned Protestants do observe, that in these words there is 
no determinate mention made either of ascending or descend- 
ing either to heaven or hell, taking hell according to the vul- 
gar acceptation; but of the general only, under which these 
contraries are indifferently comprehended; and that the 
words literally interpreted, import no more than this, he 


went unto the other world. Allow us but this trans- 
lation, and we shall please you ; and surely you will not say, 
that the Apostles agreed on your translation. 

If you say, 'Then the words are superfluous, as intimat- 
ing no more than his death before expressed;' I answer, 
that you may as well say, the Apostles superfluously ex- 
pressed Christ's reviving after his rising. (Rom. xiv. 9.) 
" For this end he both died, rose, and revived." When in- 
deed his reviving expresseth not the first re-union of soul 
and body, for that was before his rising; but his state of 
life among the living after. So here, his death expresseth 
his entrance into that state ; but aSrjg signifieth the world 
of souls, or state itself of the dead, which dying he pre- 
sently passed into. But of this Bishop Usher hath said 
enough in answer, ib. pp. 407, 408, and forward. 

But yet for my part, I shall further tell you, that as I take 
the controversy to be of no greater moment than Suarez, 
Usher, and others, do express, so also I suppose our difference 
about it is not so great as many do imagine : lay but aside 
the metaphysical controversy about the locality of spirits, 
and the Popish conceit of Christ's fetching the Old Testa- 
ment fathers from hell, which Usher shews that Marcion in 
all likelihood first hatched, and then our difference is but 
small ; for what would you have that we do not grant you? 
Would you have us yield that Christ's body lay in the grave? 
Why, who denieth it? Would you have us yield that his 
soul was in the region of the dead, or in a state of separation 
from the body? Who is there that questions it? Would 
you have us yield that this state was penal both to soul and 
body? We easily grant it you. Not that Christ had the 
pain of sense, or the loss of heaven, but the penalty of death : 
the soul's being separated from the body was a penal state, 
as such. If any say, that Christ's soul was in Paradise, and 
there is no pain, I answer, There may be somewhat penal, 
where there is not that which vulgarly is called pain : and 
what glory soever the separated soul of Christ did partake 
of, yet the separation from the body, as separation, was pe- 
nal. There remaineth a desire in separated souls to be re- 
united to their bodies, and therefore it is a better state ; and 
glory is not perfect till the man be perfect. Death is a pe- 
nalty to the whole man, and not to the body alone ; and 
thus far it is a most undoubted truth, that both to the sepa- 


rated soul of Christ, and now of the saints with Christ, there 
is something penal in this separation and imperfection re- 
maining, though joined with exceeding glory. Saith Bishop 
Usher, p. 390, "Heaven itself may be comprised within the 
notion of aSrig : heaven, I say, not considered as it is a place 
of life and perfection, nor as it shall be after the general 
Resurrection , but so far forth only as death, the last enemy 
that shall be destroyed, (1 Cor. xv.26,) hath any footing 
therein ; that is to say, as it is the receptacle of the spirits 
of dead men, held as yet dissevered from their bodies ; which 
state of dissolution, though carried to heaven itself, is still 
a part of death's victory, (1 Cor. xv.54, 55,) and the saints' 
imperfection." (Heb.xi. 40.) Thus he. And Peter plainly 
saith, " Whom God did raise up, loosing the sorrows of 
death, forasmuch as it was not possible that he should be 
holden of it." (Acts ii. 24.) And " Christ being raised from 
the dead, dieth now no more : death hath now no more do- 
minion over him," saith Paul, Rom. vi. 9. So that he was, 
as to his whole man, under some power or dominion of death 
for a time. Of this penalty on Christ's separated soul, and 
ours, see most fully Parker, 1. 2. sect. 46. ad 50. 

What would you have yet more granted ? Is it that 
Christ triumphed over Satan and hell, and convinced the 
unbelieving, impious, damned souls of their sin and remedi- 
less misery ? Why, we do not deny you ; for as the damned 
man (Luke xvi.) is said to see Abraham and Lazarus in his 
bosom, and the wicked in hell have such a knowledge of 
God and heaven, as sufficeth to convince them of the loss 
and misery, and to torment them ; so we deny not but they 
might have such a sight of Christ, and he might make such 
a manifestation of himself to them. 

Would you have us grant that he went to a§r>c, to pro- 
cure the deliverance of the captives of aSi?e? we deny it not: 
his humiliation is the cause of our exaltation ; his death and 
going to aSrjc was to purchase deliverance for all his mem- 
bers, dead and living, that the dead bodies might in time be 
raised, and the separated souls be re-united to the bodies, 
and the whole man perfected. Would you have us believe 
that he went to bring the glad tidings of this to the spirits 
of the just? we do believe it; so that they that believed in 
him before might intuitively behold their Lord in whom they 
vol. xiv. c c 


believed, in their own present state, and might be the assu- 
rance of the resurrection of their bodies, and their final per- 

But if besides all this, you would have us believe, that 
Christ's soul was locally in its essence in the hell of the 
damned ; and that thence he fetched the souls of the old 
fathers out of the Limbus, that is part of hell, here we must 
leave you : 1. Because that else we must be worse than the 
Papists, whose schoolmen are content with a virtual pre- 
sence, and deny a local : 2. Because we know not what lo- 
cality or' spirits is : and 3. Because in the latter branch, we 
are loath to be either Marcionites, or Papists, till we see 
more reason for it ; especially, we have no mind of your 
speculations in our Creed. 

Object. 20. The last objection that 1 have been troubled 
with, is against the title that we put over the old Creed, the 
ancient Western Creed. And what is the matter here ? En- 
gagement to their opinion makes them jealous ; and jealousy 
suspecteth the most innocent syllables. Was not this the 
ancient Western Creed? Yes, no doubt, they mean not to 
deny it; but they think we intimate hereby a distinction 
between the Eastern Creed and the Western ; and conse- 
quently intimate, that this Creed was not the Universal Creed 
of the Church, and composed and delivered for that use by 
the Apostles. 

But our intimated distinction can be supposed necessary 
to intimate no more, than that the East and W'est did ordi- 
narily make use of several Creeds in Baptism and other 
solemnities ; and that this was it that the West made use of. 
So that whether the East also, and all Churches used this 
sometimes, or whether it were thus formed by the Apostles, 
are questions that we never intended to decide. 

But being called to it, I must give a further account of 
my own opinion. You cannot in modesty surely, either deny 
the aforesaid ground of the distinction from the use of the 
several Churches, nor yet the antiquity of the terms of the 
distinction \ much less can you think that learned and wise 
men have not used it, and brought it to our hands. He that 
is your chief author for the Apostolic composure of it, doth 
give you himself the matter and terms of this distinction ; I 
mean RufFinus, and Bishop Usher useth it frequently in the 


aforesaid dispute, and his " Dissertatio de Symbolis," and in 
other writings, to say nothing of Pithseus, Vossius, or any 
others. Why then doth the quarrel begin with us? 

I have read Mr. Ashwell, and others of his opinion, as im- 
partially as I could, being as willing to believe that the 
Apostles were the authors of this symbol as not, if 1 could 
see any evidence for it; but I must confess the reading of 
such writings as his, do more confirm me in my former 
opinion, which is as followeth : 

1. I do believe that Christ himself is the Author of the 
ancient Creed ; expressly in Matt, xxviii. 19, " Baptizing 
them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost." And that the Creed at first contained but 
these three articles : and that all that were baptized, at age, 
were to profess this belief, viz. that they believed in the 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And I desire them that are 
confident of the contrary opinion, to confute what Parker 
hath so copiously brought for the proof of it : and learned 
Ludov. Crocius that followeth him. 

2. And yet I do fully believe, that before the New Tes- 
tament was written, the Apostles taught their Catechumens 
and persons admitted to Baptism, the sum of the Gospel or 
Christian Religion in a few distinct articles. For it is cer- 
tain, that they could not deliver all the history or doctrine 
of Christ to every convert; and as certain, that they must 
deliver all the essentials before they could make a Christian, 
and that every Christian that was converted by them, was 
made such by the power of these essential truths; for the 
essentials of the subjective Christianity are the image and 
effects of the essentials of objective Christianity or Faith ; 
as the image in the wax is of that in the seal. 

3. I am persuaded that the method of the Apostles in de- 
livering their Creed, or essential Verities, was according to 
Christ's platform ; even to deliver the doctrine of the Tri- 
nity, and what was found necessary to the explication of any 
one of the three Articles ; and consequently, that they ordi- 
narily taught the same doctrine that is now in our Creed to 
all their converts ; yet enlarging it, especially on the second 
article, which was it that the world did most resist. 

4. I do believe that it cannot be proved, and therefore 
should not be affirmed, that the Apostles did in anv one 
precise form of words, explain the three Articles laid down 


by Christ; but as they ordinarily preached the same truths, 
and that much in the same or like phrase, not affecting no- 
velty ; so they did not compose this into any precise form 
of words, but delivered the same great truths in such ex- 
pressions as they found meet for the persons with whom 
they had to do. 

5. Thus I believe that every Christian, and Church was 
a living Gospel, or Book, in which the Creed, and all essen- 
tials of Christianity, doctrinal and practical, were written 
by the Spirit of God, through the instrumentality of the 
preaching of these fundamental truths; and this before the 
Scripture of the New Testament was written. 

6. This I believe was the great Tradition of the essentials 
of Religion, distinct from Scripture : Baptism itself was a 
notable means to deliver down these truths. 

7. Yet I am not against a strict agreement upon such a 
form of profession ' in terminis' without liberty to change a 
word ; but think that exactness is as necessary in this, both 
for the sake of truth and unity, as in most matters that are 
left to man. 

8. The reasons why I cannot believe that this present 
form of words, as now in our hands, was either composed 
by the Apostles, or the Universal Creed from the beginning, 
are these following, among many more. 

(1.) Because of the no-proof that is brought by the af- 
firmers that should prove it. 

(2.) Because I find the Fathers in the first ages constantly 
giving up the Creed of that Church in other words ; and in 
forms all differing one from another, and not one of them 
giving us this very form of above three hundred years at 
least after Christ. Ignatius, Irenceus, Origen, Tertullian, 
thrice recite the Church's Faith, and so do many others ; 
and all in several forms of words, and not one of them in this 
form. So that it would make a man shake the head to read 
such kind of proofs as Mr. AshwelPs, that this is the Apos- 
tles' Creed ; he heaps up other forms to prove the Apostolic 
composure of this form. What did he think of his readers 
when he offers them with highest confidence such proofs as 
most effectually disprove the thing he brings them for. 
Who can think that all these men would offer to give us the 
very symbol of Christianity in forms of their own, and va- 
rious forms, and none of them use the Apostles' form, if 


such a thing in precise terms had then been by them com- 
mended to the Churches. Those willing men that can make 
their own faith, may believe many such matters as these; 
but so cannot I. The first that I remember to have read, 
that is like the present form, though maimed, is that of 
Marcellus, in Epiphanius 72. Heresies, which are delivered 
with scuh expressions adjoined, as would make a man ima- 
gine that it was the matter and not the form of words which 
he professeth to have received from his ancestors ; nor is 
there any one cited by Mr. Ash well himself of those elder 
times, that seems the same form with ours, but only this of 
Marcellus, and that of the Latin Chrysostom and one of 
Tertullian's de Veland. Virg. seems to be part of this. And 
among such abundance of forms of words, it were strange 
if they could possibly miss sometimes of delivering these 
few Principles in the terms we now use. And for that of 
Marcellus, it is in many things different from ours; and that 
of Tertullian is so different that no man can prove that ever 
the author had seen our form. And as for that of Chrysos- 
tom, if it were his, he was about four hundred years after 
Christ; but indeed there is no such matter in his works. 
No wonder if Mr. Ashwell could not find it in Sir H. Sevil's 
edition, of "FrontoDucaeus des,"butonly in the Latin edition 
of Erasmus, saith a far greater antiquary, Bishop Usher de 
Limbo, pp. 310,311, " For as for the two Latin Expositions 
thereof that go under the name of S. Chrysostom, the latter 
whereof hath it, the former hath it not, and the others that 
are found in the tenth tome of S. Austin's works among: the 
Sermons de tempore ; because the authors of them, together 
with the time wherein they were written, be altogether un- 
known, they can bring us little light in this Inquiry." All 
the rest of the three first centuries at least, that Mr. Ashwelt 
citeth, are set as if it were on purpose to make his reader 
wonder at his self-confutation. 

(3.) Another of my reasons is, because 1 find so many 
clauses, new in this form that we now have, and find withal 
that the arising of new heresies was an avowed reason of 
adding new clauses to the Creed in those days, that it makes 
me much suspect that all the rest, except the three essential 
Articles were brought in by degrees, as heresies gave occa- 
sion, and never formed all at once. 

That several new clauses were added to this, Bishop 


Usher may satisfy you in his " Dissertatio de Symbolis," and 
other writings, ibid. p. " Quo tauien hodie Romana Ecclesia 
utitur Symbolum, additamentis aliquot auctius legi, res ipsa 

indicat " The additions not found in any of the more 

ancient copies are these ' Creator of heaven and earth,' added 
to the first article : which in likelihood was against that rab- 
ble of Heretics that feigned the world to be created by An- 
gels, yea, bad Angels : also the word ' conceived' is added ; 
the oldest forms having it ' born of the Holy Ghost, and the 
Virgin Mary.' Also the word ' dead' is added ' he descended 
into hell,' and the name of ' God' and the attribute ' Almighty' 
to the article of Christ's sitting at the Father's right hand. 
Also the word ' Catholic' is added to the ' holy Church' and 
so is ' the communion of saints' and ' the life everlasting.' 
All which are a considerable part of so short a form. And 
that clauses were used to be put into the Creed upon occa- 
sion of heresy, is well known of other Creeds ; and Ruffinus 
confesseth of their Aquileian Creed, thus, " His additur in- 
visibilem : etimpossibilem sciendum quod duo isti Sermones 
in Ecclesiae Romanas Symbolo non habentur: constat autem 
apud nos additos hsereseos causa Sabellii, illius perfecto quse 

a. nostris Patri passiana appellatur. Ut ergo excluderetur 

talis impietas de Patre, videntur haec addisse majores, &c." 
Ruffin. in Symb. c. 7. 

Saith Bishop Usher, in his Sermon of the Church's Unity, 
p. 17. " This Creed, though for substance, it was the same 
every where, yet for form was somewhat different, and in 
some places received more enlargements than in others. The 
Western Churches herein applied themselves to the capacity 
of the meaner sort, more than the Eastern did ; using in 
their Baptism that shorter form of Confession, commonly 
called the Apostles' Creed, which in the more ancient times 
was more brief also than now it is: as we may easily perceive 
by comparing the symbol recited by Marcellus Ancyranus, 
with the Expositions of the Apostles' Creed written by the 
Latin Doctors, wherein the mention of the Father's being 
' maker of heaven and earth,' the Son's ' death' and ' des- 
cended into hell,' and the ' communion of saints' is wholly 
omitted. All which, though they were of undoubted verity, 

yet 'and need not necessarily be inserted into that symbol, 

which is the badge and cognizance whereby the believer is 
to be differenced and distinguished from the unbeliever. The 


Creed which the Eastern Churches used in Baptism, was lar- 
ger than this; being either the same, or very little different 
from that which we commonly call the Nicene Creed. 

" And he begins his Dissertation de Symb. thus ' Licet 
apud omnes turn orientis, turn occidentis Ecclesias ut unus 
Dominus, et Baptismus ita et una fides fuerit ; una tamen 
et eadem verborum formula fidei symbolum, quo in cultus 
Domini professione, et Baptismi susceptione, ilia) sunt usee, 
non fuisse conceptum, omniumque Roman um fuisse brevis- 
simum, in symboli explicatione, RufHnus Aquileinsis Pres- 
byter jamdudum nos docuit: de additamentis etiam apud 
Occidentals ad Romanum hocoppositis inproseniio suo sic 

" And he useth the distinction in his preface ' Meam de 
Occidentals et Orientalis Ecclesias Symbolis sententiam,8tc." 
Et passim pp. 18. 13. 19, 20, 21. 26, &c. 

(4.) And it is enough to debilitate the force that some 
imagine to lie in the title Apostolic, that the Nicene Creed 
was as confidently, and for ought ever I yet saw proved, as 
anciently called the Apostles' Creed, as this, and said to be 
delivered from the Apostles. Saith Usher, Dissert, p. 16. 
" Sed et ab Occidentalibus consimiliter Ecclesiis longius 
istud Symbolum et Apostolicum habitum et Nicaenum etiam 
nominatum fuisse, observare liceat. Sic enim habet Ordo 
Romanus in prsefatione Symboli cujus recitationi preemissa, 
ante administrationem baptismi : Audite suscipientes Evan- 
gelici symboli Sacramentum, a Domino, inspiratum, ab Apos- 
tolis institutum, cujus pauca quidem verba sunt, sed magna 
Mysteria. — Et in Ccense Sacrse celebratione Latina Missa, qute 
circa annum DCC. in usu fuit, de eodem adjicit Finito sym- 
bolo Apostolorum dicat Sacerdos, Dominus vobiscum." 

And p. 17, he had before said " Hanc fidei formulam, 
ut ab Apostolis Ecclesise traditum, et a. Nicsenis Patribus 
promulgatum, laudat Epiphanius." And Cyril, or John of 
Jerusalem calls the Jerusalem Creed by the name of 'A-yiac 
Kata7roc7ToXt/c^c7rt(TTfwc, Catech. 18. Bishop Usher de Limbo, 
p. 309, saith that, " The Creed of the Council of Constantino- 
ple, much larger than our common Creed, was itself no less 
than the other (N. B.) heretofore both accounted and named 
the Apostles' Creed : and it is not to be thought it would 
leave out any article that was then commonly believed to 
have been any parcel of the Creed received from the Apos- 


ties." And he citeth for the title Epiphan. in''AyKvp ; p. 518. 
and the Latin ancient Missal before mentioned. And citing 
Epiphan. again to the same purpose in his Sermon on Unity, 
he addeth that " Cassianus avoucheth as much, where he 
urgeth this against Nestorius, as the creed anciently received 
by the Church of Antioch, from whence he came : and that the 
second General Council at Constant, approved it as most an- 
cient and agreeable to Baptism," apud. Theod. lib. 5. cap. 9. 

Many other reasons that stick with me are at large ex- 
pressed in " Parker de Descen. lib. 4 ;" which whoever will 
read impartially with judgment, I dare venture him easily 
upon Mr. Ashwell's answer to them: the sum of which al- 
loweth the Fathers to make additions, as being but an expli- 
cation ; when as our question is only of the Form of words. 
If any of them may be altered, and additions made, who 
knows which of them be Apostolical? and why may not 
others now do the like ? What commission can those Fa- 
thers shew more than other Pastors of the Church ? 

Far am I from believing him, that none but by an Apos- 
tolical spirit could have known by the Scriptures which were 
fundamental Articles of Faith : thus far to have summed them 
up. When Scripture so expressly tells men, which are the 
Principles, and which life and death are laid upon. 

And further am I from believing him that there is so much 
difference between the Creed and the Scripture as he expres- 
seth, as if there were no understanding nor keeping our 
Religion for all the Scripture, were it not for the Creed, but 
the whole frame of our Religion would fall instantly to the 
ground; and the contempt which he spitteth in the face of 
the Scriptures, I must needs say, 1 do dislike, and think it 
most unseemly in a man that is so tender of having the 
nakedness of the Fathers opened, and that hath no more sen- 
sible an answer to give to those testimonies of the Church 
of France and of England, so valued by him, and of Cyril 
and Paschasius, who all take the Creed on the authority of 
the Scripture from whence it is gathered. (See his p. 115. 
168, 169. and 178. to Object. 9.) It is past my understand- 
ing, that the bare words that Christ ' was crucified, dead, 
buried,' 8cc. should teach a man more plainly to what end 
it was that Christ did all this, whether only for example, 
as the Socinians, or fur ransom, sacrifice, propitiation, &c. 
than the Scriptures that at large set forth these ends. As 


plain as the Creed is, he must needs reserve the undoubted 
exposition, and applying of this rule to the Church and an- 
cient Fathers, " in whose writings, he saith, the Apostles have 
left it us, these being their successors, to whose care and 
custody they not only committed the oracles of God in writ- 
ing, and the Creed by word of mouth, but the interpretation 
also of both, as they heard them expounded from their own 
mouths, while they preached and lived amongst them ; for 
in vain had the Apostles given them the words, if they had 
not given them the sense withal, to stop the mouths of Here- 
tics." True ; it were in vain, if the words themselves are 

nonsense. I know the Apostles have successors so far, as to 
have the care of expounding this Scripture delivered to them, 
by the ordinary helps of grace, art, and nature ; discerning 
the sense by the words ; but O that I knew where to find 
that Church that could give me the sense of all God's ora- 
cles, by this undoubted tradition, as from the Apostles them- 
selves. Or, that I knew the names, or characters of those 
Fathers that had this depositum by tradition from the Apos- 
tles, and where I may find it left to us ? Is it each Father 
individually, or is it the greater number together? And 
how shall we take the vote ? or know which of them to ac- 
count a Father and which not ? Surely when I read them 
telling us no more of the sense of the oracles, and so often 
erring, and disagreeing, I cannot believe that their memories 
were all so good, as to deliver down from father to son an 
exposition of the Bible, without writing, and if ever any of 
them had such a voluminous Commentary in his brain, from 
the hand of an Apostle, which was not thought meet to be 
given in writing, the issue by this time may convince us, 
that either it was intended only for themselves, or else that 
indeed such a world of matter would have been more surely 
kept in writing, than this tradition hath hitherto kept it. 
For I think most of us love our fleshly ease so well, that if 
we knew where the book or the Church were that would give 
us such a certain exposition of Scripture, as from the Apos- 
tles, we would be glad of it, not only to the quieting of our 
minds, but also for the sparing our time and labour that we 
now bestow in studying. 

Yet still I say as before, that I doubt not but the princi- 
ples were preached before the Gospel was written, and that 
thousands were made Christians by the reception of those 


principles ; and that all Christians and Churches of them, 
successively contained these principles written in their 
hearts ; and that the great Articles of the Creed, believing in 
God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, were in terras im- 
posed on the Church by himself: and that the meaning of 
them was still taught to the Catechumens and the Church. 
And that the Churches did well to keep the sum of Faith in 
certain forms of words ; and I would they had made fewer, 
and changed them less : and I think it meet that they be still 
used in Baptism, and on other occasions of Public Confession 
of Faith in our Congregations. 

But yet I am not convinced that the Apostles did com- 
pose this form of words, or any other to that use ; nor that 
it was composed for some hundreds of years after Christ, 
though the same Articles were then professed in several forms 
of words. And those Articles were all delivered from Christ 
and his Apostles : nor do I believe that the form now called 
the Apostles' Creed, was any more theirs, or more ancient 
than some other forms ; nor do we owe it any more belief or 
reverence, than we do the Jerusalem or Nicene Creed ; and 
yet I truly much reverence both, and believe them all. Nor 
do I think that ever this Creed was the form which the Uni- 
versal Church did use above others ; but think that in the 
third century, the Nicene was the more common. So much 
(and perhaps too much) to these Objections. 






Reverend and Beloved Brethren, 

The whole design and business of this Discourse, being the 
Propagation of the Gospel, and saving of men's souls, I have 
thought it not unmeet to acquaint you with another work to 
that end, which we have set on foot in this County, and to 
propound it to your consideration, and humbly invite you to 
an universal imitation. You know, I doubt not, the great 
inequality in Ministerial abilities, and that many places have 
Ministers that are not qualified with convincing lenity, and 
awakening gifts. Some must be tolerated, in the necessity 
of the Church, that are not likely to do any great matters 
towards the Conversion of ignorant, sensual, worldly men ; 
and some that are learned, able men, and fitted for Contro- 
versies, may yet be unfit to deal with those of the lower sort. 
I suppose, if you peruse the whole Ministry of a County, you 
will not find so many, such lively, convincing Preachers as 
we could wish. I take it for granted, that you are sen- 
sible of the weight of Eternal things, and the worth of Souls ; 
and that you will judge it a very desirable thing that every 
man should be employed according to his gifts, and the Gos- 
pel in its light and power should be made as common as 
possibly we can: upon these and many the like considera- 


tions, the Ministers in this County resolved to choose out four 
of the most lively, yet sober, peaceable, orthodox men, and 
to desire them once a month to leave their own Congrega- 
tions, to the assistance of some other, and to bestow their 
labour in the places where they thought there was most need ; 
and as we were resolving upon this work, the natives of this 
County, inhabiting the city of London, having a custom of 
feasting together once a year, and having at their Feast col- 
lected some monies by Contribution, for the maintaining of 
a Weekly Lecture in this County, besides other good works, 
did, by their Stewards, desire us to set up the said Lecture, 
and to dispose of the said monies in order thereto; and their 
j udginents upon consultation did correspond with our design. 
So that the said money being sufficient to satisfy another that 
shall in their absence, Preach in their own places, we employ 
it accordingly, and have prevailed with some Brethren to 
undertake this work. 

I propound to your consideration, reverend Brethren, 
and to you, the Natives of each County, in London, whether 
the same work may not tend much to the edification of the 
Church, and the welfare of souls, if you will be pleased 
speedily and effectually to set it on foot through the land ? 
Whether it may not, by God's blessing, be a likely means to 
illuminate the ignorant, and awaken the secure, and counter- 
mine seducers, and hinder the ill-success of Satan's itine- 
rants, and win over many souls to Christ, and establish many 
weak ones in the faith? — and not doubting but your judg- 
ments will approve of the design, I humbly move, that you 
will please to contribute your faculties to the work ; viz. 
That the Londoners of each County will be pleased to mani- 
fest their benevolence to this end, and commit the Monies to 
the hands of the most faithful, orthodox Ministers, and that 
they will readily and self-denyingly undertake the work. 

I hope the Gentlemen, natives of this County, will be 
pleased to pardon my publishing their example, seeing my 


end is only the promoting of men's Salvation, and the com- 
mon good. 

And that you may more fully understand the scope of 
our design ; I shall annex the Letter directed to the several 
Ministers of the County which the Lecturers send to the 
Ministers of the place, and receive his answer, before they 
presume to preach in any Congregations. 






Reverend Brethren, 

The communication of the heavenly evangelical light, for 
the glory of our Redeemer in the conversion, edification, 
and salvation of men's souls, is that which we are bound to 
by many obligations, as Christians, and as Ministers of 
Christ for his Church, and therefore must needs be solicit- 
ous thereof; and it is that which the Spirit of Grace, where 
it abideth, doth proportionably dispose the heart to desire : 
by convictions of the excellency and necessity of this work, 
and of our own duty in order thereto, and by the excitation 
of undeserved grace, our hearts are carried out, to long 
after a more general and effectual illumination and savino- 
conversion of the inhabitants of this County in which we 
live ; which, while we were but entering upon a consultation 
to promote, it pleased God, without our knowledge of it, to 
put the same thoughts into the hearts of others. The na- 
tives of this County of Worcester, who dwell in London, 
meeting at a Feast (as is their yearly use), collected a sum of 
money for the setting of eight poor Boys to Trades, and to- 
wards the maintaining of a Weekly Lecture, and have com- 
mitted the execution of this last to our care ; and upon con- 
sultation with their Stewards, and among ourselves, both 
they and we are satisfied, that a movable Lecture, on the 
Lord's-day, is the likeliest way for the improvement of their 
Charity, to the attainment of their ends. For many people 
through poverty cannot, and many through negligence will 


not come to a week-day's Lecture ; experience telleth us, 
that such are usually attended but little by those that have 
the greatest need ; and thus the benefit may extend to more, 
than if it were fixed in one place. 

We have therefore desired our reverend and dear Bre- 
thren, Mr. Andrew Tristram, Minister at Clent, Mr. Henry 
Oasland, Minister at Bewdley, and Mr. Thomas Baldwin, 
Minister at Wolverley, and Mr. Joseph Treble, Minister at 
Lench, to undertake this work, and that each of them will 
be pleased every fourth Lord's-day to preach twice in those 
places where they shall judge their labours to be necessary; 
and as we doubt not but their own Congregations will so 
far consent for the good of others; so we do hereby request 
of you our Brethren, that when any of them shall offer their 
labours for your Congregations, in preaching the said Lec- 
ture, you will receive them, and to your power further them 
in the work. For as we have no thoughts of obtruding their 
help upon you without your consent, so we cannot but un- 
doubtedly expect, that men fearing God, and desiring their 
People's everlasting good, will cheerfully and gratefully enter- 
tain such assistance. And we hope that none will think it need- 
less, or take it as an accusing the Ministry of insufficiency ; 
for the Lord doth variously bestow his gifts. All that are up- 
right are not equally fitted for the work ; and many that 
are learned, judicious, and more able to teach the riper sort, 
are yet less able to condescend to the ignorant, and so con- 
vincingly and fervently to rouse up the secure, as some that 
are below them in other qualifications ; and many that are 
able in both respects, have a barren people ; and the ablest 
have found by experience that God hath sometimes blessed 
the labours of a stranger to that which their own hath not 
done. We beseech you, therefore, interpret not this as an 
accusation of any, which proceedeth from the Charity of 
our worthy Countrymen in London, and from the earnest 
desires of them and us to further the salvation of as many as 
we can. And that you may have no jealousies of the per- 
sons deputed to this work, we assure you that they are ap- 
proved men, orthodox, sober, peaceable, and of upright 
lives, happily qualified for their Ministerial work, and zea- 
lous and industrious therein ; and so far from being likely 
to sow any errors, or cause divisions, or draw the hearts of 
People from their own faithful Pastors, that they will be 


forward to assist you against any such distempers in your 
flocks. Not doubting, therefore, but as you serve the same 
Master, and are under the same Obligations as we, so as 
many as are heartily addicted to his service will readily 
promote so hopeful a work : we commend you and your 
labours to the blessing of the Lord. 

Your Brethren and Fellow-labourers in the Work of the 

Kidderminster : 

In the name, and at the desire i Richard Baxter, 
of the Ministers of this^JoHN Boraston, 
Association, )Jarvis Bryan. 

Evesham : 

r ., r .1 1V /r- • , l Giles Collier, 

In the name of the Ministers I ^ TT ' 

/.. 1A • ,• ;<(jeorge Hopkins, 

ot this Association, ( T ^ 

J.Iohn Dolphin. 











" For I will pour water on him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground ; I 
will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring, and 
they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water-courses. One 
shall say, I am the Lord's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob ; 
and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself 
by the name of Israel." Isa. xliv. 3, 4, 5. 



Christian Reader, 

Having in divers Writings, moved for the restitution of a 
solemn transition, of all that pass from an infant state of 
Church-membership, into the number of the adult, and are 
admitted to their privileges, and the Associated Ministers of 
this County, having made it an Article of their Agreement, at 
last came forth an excellent Exercitation on Confirmation, 
written by Mr. Jonathan Hanmer, very learnedly and piously 
endeavouring the restoration of this practice. Being very 
glad of so good a work, upon an invitation, I prefixed an 
Epistle before it ; which hath occasioned this following Dis- 
putation. For when the book was read, the design was ge- 
nerally approved, as far as I can learn, and very acceptable 
to good men of all parties. But many of them called to me, 
to try whether some more Scripture proofs might not be 
brought for it, that the Preceptive, as well as the Mediate 
necessity might appear. At the desire of some Reverend 
godly Brethren, I hastily drew up this which is here offered 
you; partly to satisfy them in the point of Scripture Evi- 
dence; but principally to satisfy my own earnest desires, 
after the Reformation, and Healing of the Churches, to which 
I do very confidently apprehend, this excellent work to have 
a singular tendency. Here is a medicine so effectual to heal 
our breaches, and set our disordered societies in joint, (being- 
owned in whole by the Episcopal, Presbyterian, Congrega- 
tional, and Erastian, and in half, by the Anabaptists,) that 
nothing but our own self-conceitedness, perverseness, lazi- 
ness, or wilful enmity to the peace of the Churches, is able 
to deprive us of a blessed success. But, alas, our minds are 
the subjects of the disease ; and are so alienated, exulce- 
rated, and so selfishly partial and uncharitable, that when 


the plaister is offered us, and peace brought to our doors, I 
must needs expect that many should peevishly cast it away, 
and others betray it, by a lazy commendation, and so disa- 
ble the few that would be faithful, practical and industrious, 
from that general success, which is so necessary and desi- 

As for them that lay all our peace on Episcopacy and 
Liturgy, I intend if God will, to send them after this, some 
healing motions on those subjects also. And if they have 
no better success, than presently to satisfy my own con- 
science, in the faithful performance of so great a duty, and 
to awaken the desires, endeavours and prayers of the more 

moderate and impartial, I shall not think my labour lost. 

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem ; they shall prosper that 

love it. Let us seek it of God, as well as men ; which is 

the daily, though too defective practice, of 

The most unworthy Servant 

of the King of Peace, 


April 7, 1658. 

If Magistrates or others, who are obliged to promote the 
work, which is here commended to them, do want leisure, or 
patience to read the whole, I desire them to peruse the Con- 
tents of this book, and those parts of the work, in which 
they are most unsatisfied. 




Quest. Whether those that were baptized in Infancy, should 
be admitted to the privileges proper to adult Church-members, 
without Confirmation or Restauration, by an approved Profes- 
sion of Personal Faith and Repentance ? Neg. 

Though the distempers of the Churches of Christ in 
England, are not so great as the Popish adversaries, or some 
discontented brethren do pretend, nor as some inconsiderate 
lamenters of our condition do imagine, who observe less our 
enjovments than our wants, and that have not the faculty of 
discerning our true agreements, where there is any differ- 
ence, but think that many things are wanting that are not, 
because they cannot find them ; yet is our discomposure 
such as the wisest have cause to mourn for, and all of us 
should contribute our endeavours to redress. For the ac- 
complishment of this blessed work, two things must be 
done : The first is, to discover the principles that must re- 
form and heal us, if ever we be healed ; and to acquaint the 
world with the necessary means. The second is, to concur 
for the execution, in the application and use of the remedy, 
when it is discovered. The first is a work, that is usually done 
best by a few at first ; though the more receive and approve 
of the discovery, the better it will be brought into use. But 
it is here, saith Pemble, as in discerning a thing afar off, 
where one clear eye will see further than many that are dim, 
and the greatest conjunction of unfurnished intellects, 


affords not so much assistance for the discovery, as the 
greater si oh t of a few may do. But in the executive part 
there must be many hands to the work. If the pastors and 
people do not consent, it cannot be accomplished: and if 
thev barelv consent, and be not up and doing, discoveries 
will lie dead, and nothing will go on : and if the Christian 
magistrate afford not his assistance, his guilt will be great, 
and the work will go the more heavily on. Though all the 
body be not an eve. and therefore be not as good at discover- 
ing as the eve is ; vet must each member perform its own 
office, and none be idle, 01 withdraw its help, because it is 
not an eve. but all must execute bv the guidance ot the eye. 
In order to the discoverv of the healing means, among 
others, this rule is worthy our observation : — ' It anv church- 
order, or administration seem offensive to you, before you 
wholly cast it out. consider whether there be not somewhat 
that is necessary and excellent either m the substance, or in 
the occasion and reason of it : and you will rind, that Refor- 
mation is to be accomplished more bv restoration of ordi- 
nances, and administrations to their primitive nature and use, 
than bv the utter abolition of them." — Satan found it easier 
to corrupt the ordinances of Christ, and to cause them to 
degenerate into somewhat like them, than to introduce such 
of his own as were whollv new. and as Christ had given no 
occasion ot. 1 could give you very useful instances in many 
of the Popish administrations, which require a restoration, 
rather than an abolition, lest that which is Christ's part, be 
ca^t out with that which is man's, and we should throw awav 
the apple which should be but pared ; and lest we cast away 
our necessary food, and most precious jewels, because they 
have fallen into Romish dirt. But my present business is 
to instance only in Confirmation and Penitence, so far as is 
requisite to the decision of the question now before us. 

1 know you will easily excuse me from the needless labour 
of explaining anv terms in the question which vou under- 
stand already: 1 think the best method to lay the matter 
naked before your understandings, will be bv approaches 
and degrees in the opening and continuing of these Propo- 
sitions : — 


Peg p. 1. It is here supposed, that the Infants of Believers 
should by Baptism be admitted into the Church, and so be 
partakers of Infant Privileges. 

Their sin and misery is come upon them without any actual 
consent of their own, by the will of others ; and the remedy 
must be applied to them accordingly ; not by any actual 
consent of their own, which is as impossible, but by the will 
of others, as the condition, and by the gift of God as the 
cause. In his dealing with mankind, God is not so much 
more prone to wrath and vengeance than to mercy, as to put 
infants into the comminatory terrible part of the covenant, 
with their parents, and not into the remedying part ; and to 
condemn them for their first father's covenant-breaking, and 
give them no help from their gracious parents' covenant- 
keeping; and to fetch weight from parents' sins to weigh 
down the scale of vindictive justice, and to put nothing from 
the gracious parents into the other end. Yet is it not to 
infants, as the mere natural issue of godly parents, that God 
extendeth this grace. But (1.) As they are naturally their 
own, the parents have a power of them to dispose of them for 
their good. (2.) Every man that is sanctified, hath devoted 
himself, and in general all that he hath to God, according to 
the several capacities of what he hath, that everything may 
be for God in its proper capacity. (3.) Virtually then the 
children of the godly, even in the womb, are thus devoted 
unto God. (4.) It is the revealed will of God, that infants 
should be actually dedicated and devoted to him. (5.) He 
that requireth us to make this dedication, doth imply therein 
a promise of his acceptance of what is dedicated to him by 
his command ; for his precepts are not vain or delusory. 
(6.) He hath also expressly signified this in Scripture pro- 
mises, extending his covenant to the seed of the faithful, and 
telling us that his kingdom is of such. (7.) This dedication 
is to be made by Baptism, the ordinance which God hath ap- 
pointed to that end ; and in which he is ready to signify his 
acceptance, that so there may be a mutual, solemn covenant. 
The servants of God, before Christ's coming, were en- 
abled and required to enter their infants into the covenant 
of God, sometimes and ordinarily in circumcision, and some- 
times, as in the wilderness, (Deut. xxix,) without it And 
they have the same natural interest, and as large a disco- 


very that it is the will of God, for the dedicating of their 
children to God, and choosing for them, and entering them 
into the holy covenant, now as then. If then a child that 
had no exercise of its own will, might by the will of his pa- 
rents choose the Lord, and be entered into covenant with 
him, it is then so still. God hath no where reversed or abro- 
gated that command which obliged parents to enter their 
children into covenant with God, and devote them to him. 
Nay, Christ chided those that would keep them from him, 
because his kingdom, that is, his Church, is of such. A place 
that doth purposely and plainly express the continuance of 
his love to infants, and that the Gospel entertaineth them as 
readily as the Law or Promise before did. Often and again, 
doth Christ signify to the Jews that he would have gathered 
them wholly to his church, and not have broken them off, if 
they had not by unbelief been broken off, and in the same 
olive hath he engraffed the Gentile Church. Infants are 
members of all commonwealths on the face of the earth, 
though they know not what a commonwealth is, nor yet what 
sovereignty or subjection mean ; and he that should say they 
are no members, because they are imperfect members, would 
but be laughed at : and Christ hath not cast them out of 
his family or commonwealth, nor shut the door against them. 
And that in this infant state they are capable of many 
privileges is apparent : they have original sin, which must 
be pardoned, or they are lost Most of the Anabaptists, that 
I hear of, do hold that all the infants in the world are par- 
doned by Christ, and shall be saved if they die in infancy, 
and run in the downright Pelagian road. But this is not 
only utterly unproved, but contrary to Scripture, which tel- 
leth us, that sin is not pardoned by the bloodshed of Christ, 
till men be brought into union with him, and participation 
of him, and for all his bloodshed, no man shall have par- 
don by it till it be given him by the act of pardon in the 
Gospel. Now the Gospel no where gives out pardon to 
every infant in the world ; nay, it frequently and plainly 
makes a difference. The parents' will doth accept the offer, 
and choose for them that cannot choose for themselves ; for 
others, whatever God will do with them, doubtless they have 
no promise of mercy. And it is strange that they should 
deny baptism to infants that deny not salvation to them ; 
vea, that think, though ungroundedly, that they are all in a 


state of salvation. For either infants have original sin, or 
not : if they have none, then they need no Saviour, and 
must be saved without a Saviour ; for the whole need not the 
physician, but the sick. If they have original sin, and that 
it is pardoned to them by Christ, then how can men deny 
them the sign and seal of pardon, or the solemn investing 
means ? If they are sure that they are washed with Christ's 
blood, how can they deny to wash them with that water, that 
is appointed to signify and invest? 

Moreover, infants are capable of many other privileges ; 
and of being the adopted sons of God, the members of Christ, 
the heirs of heaven, as having right thereto ; and being the 
members of the church, and being under the special protection 
and provision of God, and in an especial sort partakers of the 
prayers of the church, with divers more. As in the common- 
wealth, an infant is capable of having honour and inheritance 
in right, though not actually to use them; and of the pro- 
tection of the laws for life, reputation and estate; and of being 
tenant, and obliged to pay a certain rent and homage when he 
comes of age, and in the meantime to have provisions from 
the estate that he hath title to. 

But all this I have more fully expressed elsewhere. 
Having lately read Mr.Tombes's last, and large Reply, to part 
of my book, and many others ; I must needs say that it leaves 
me still persuaded that it is the will of Christ, that the infants 
of his servants should be dedicated to him in baptism, and 
members of his visible church; and though upon the review 
of my arguments I find that 1 have used too many provoking 
words, for which I am heartily sorry, and desire pardon of 
God and him, yet I must say, that I am left more confident 
than before, that the cause is God's which Mr Tombes op- 
poseth. Of which, if God will, I intend yet to give some fur- 
ther account : in the meantime I deal with this but as a sup- 
position that is already sufficiently proved, though all men, 
yea, all good men, see not the sufficiency of the proof. 

Prop. 2. There are many Privileges belonging to the Adult 
Members of the Church, which Infant Members are not 
capable of. 

This is true both of natural and moral capacities. The pri- 
vileges which I mean are, the pardon of many actual sins, 
committed since they are adult ; the exercise of all holy 


graces; knowing God; loving him; trusting him; serving 
him ; the communion that we have with God herein ; as par- 
ticularly in prayer, in holy praises and thanksgivings, in hea- 
venly meditations ; the peace and joy that followeth believing, 
and the hopes of everlasting life ; the communion which we 
have with the Church of Christ in hearing, praying, praises, 
the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ; in distribution 
by giving and receiving, and an endearing holy love within. 
These and many more privileges are proper to the adult. 

That infants are not naturally capable of these, is as need- 
less to prove, as that they are infants : and then that the)' are 
not morally capable, is an inseparable consequent. For though 
natural capacity may be without moral ; yet moral cannot be 
without natural; in point of duty, infants are not bound to the 
work; as to hear, pray, praise, &c. beyond the natural capacity 
of their intellects and bodies. And so in point of benefit we 
must have more sobriety than to suppose God to make over any 
benefitto them which they are not capable of: all this is plain. 

Prop. 3. The continuation of Privileges received in Infancy, is 
part of the Privileges of the Adult ; or the Restoration of 
them if they be lost. 

If the cause discontinue, the effect will cease. Adult privi- 
leges comprehend the infant privileges, partly as that which 
is perfect comprehended! the imperfect, and partly as the 
whole comprehendeth the parts, and partly as the thing con- 
tinued is the same with the thing begun. Infant privileges 
would all cease with infancy, if the causes or conditions 
cease, and there be no other cause for their continuance. 
God never took infants into his church and covenant, with 
a purpose so to continue them, without any other condition 
than that upon which they were admitted. This is past de- 
nial, and will be more cleared in the next. 

Prop. 4. The Title-condition of Infant Church- membership and 
Privileges, is not the same with the Title-condition of the 
Church-membership and Privileges of the Adult ; so that if 
this new Condition be not performed when Men come to Age, 
their former Title ceaseth, and there is no other that ariseth 
in its stead* 

1. We are agreed I think, that our title, (which is ' Funda- 

* Sou the Rubric of the Common Prayer-Book before Confirmation after cited. 


mentum Juris' is God's covenant, grant, or gift. b As it is 
his precept that constituted our duty, so it is his promise or 
deed of gift which is our title to the benefit. 

2. And we are agreed I hope, that this promise, or grant 
from God is conditional; for if church-membership and pri- 
vileges be absolutely given, then it is to all, or but to some : 
not to all : for then the church, and the world are all one ; 
and then it is not ' Ecclesia ccetus evocatus;' and then Hea- 
thens and Infidels have right ; which are things that no 
Christian, I think, will grant. If it be but some that have 
title, then there must be some note to know them by; or else 
the some will be equal to all, or to none. And if they be marked 
out, then it must be by name or by description : not by name ; 
for we find the contrary. Scripture doth not name all that 
have title to church-privileges. If it be by description, 
it is either by mere physical or by moral qualifications that 
they are described : the former, none doth imagination, that 
I hear of. If they are moral qualifications, then either they 
are such as are prerequisite to our right and privileges, or 
not : that they are prerequisite all must confess that read the 
promise, and all do confess that they are prerequisite to all 
the following privileges : and if prerequisite, then either as 
means or no means. The latter none can affirm, without 
going against so much light, as ordinary Christians have still 
ready at hand to confute them with : and if they are required 
as means ; then either as causes or conditions. And I think 
you will sooner yield them to be conditions than causes, 
though either concession sufficeth to the end that is before 
us. But of this we need to say no more, both because it is 
commonly confessed, and because that the words of the pro- 
mises are so plain, and undeniable, being uttered in condi- 
tional terms. Nor is this either inconsistent with, or any 
way unsuitable to an absolute decree ; for as a threatening, 
so the conditionality of a promise, are instruments admirably- 
suited to the accomplishment of an absolute purpose or de- 
cree. He that is fully resolved to save us, or to give us the 
privileges of his church, will deal with us as men, in bring- 
ing us to the possession of the intended benefits ; and there- 

b G. Oassander Consult, de Confirm. Hujusmodi sane lnstitutionem seu Catechismi 
cxplicatiouem in pueris fieri debere, et Veteres prascipiunt, et Recentiores quoque ex 
utraque parte consentiunt. Vide August. Serin. 116. in Ramispaliiiaruni, et Walla- 
fridum de rebus Euclesiast. cap. 26. et quae scripsit Ruardus Tappenus Lovan. torn. 2. 
ad illud Calvini Instit. c. 17. 


fore will by threats and conditional promises excite us to a 
careful performance of the condition in us ; and that grace 
which is resolved to effect the very condition in us, is also 
resolved to make a conditional promise, yea, and a threaten- 
ing the instrument of effecting it. 

3. Note, that the great question, Whether all the infants 
of true believers are certainly justified, or whether some of 
them have but lower privileges, is not here to be detei'mined, 
but in a fitter place : and therefore I determine not what 
privileges they are that will cease, if our infant title cease ; 
but that according to the tenor of the promise, the conti- 
nuance of them, with the addition of the privileges proper 
to the adult, are all laid upon a new condition. 

4. Note also, that when 1 call it another or different con- 
dition, I mean not that it is different in the nature of the act, 
but in the agent or subject. It is the same kind of faith 
which at first is required in the parent, for the child's be- 
hoof, and that afterward is required in ourselves. But the 
condition of the infant's title is but this, — that he be the child 
of a believer, dedicated to God ; but the condition of the 
title of persons at age is, that they be themselves believers, 
that have dedicated themselves to God. The faith of the 
parent is the condition of infant title : and the faith of the 
person himself, is the condition of the title of one at age. 

That their own faith is not the condition of an infant's 
title, I think I need not prove : For (1.) They are incapable 
of believing without a miracle : (2.) If they were not (as 
some Lutherans fondly think), yet it is certain that we are 
incapable of discerning by such a sign. I think no minister 
that I know, will judge what infants do themselves believe, 
that he may baptize them. (3.) And I think no man that 
looks on the command, or promise, and the person of an in- 
fant, will judge that he is either commanded then to believe, 
or that his believing is made the condition of his infant title. 

But that a personal believing is the condition of the title 
of them at age, is as far past doubt; and it is proved thus : — 

Arg. 1. The Promise itself doth expressly require a faith 
of our own, of all the adults that will have part in the privi- 
leges ; therefore it is a faith of our own that is the condition 
of our title. " He that believeth and is baptized shall be 
saved, and he that believeth not, shall be damned." (Mark 
xvi. 16.) " And the Eunuch said, See here is water, what 


doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If* thou 
believest with all thy heart, thou mayest." (Acts viii. 36, 37.) 
" Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of 
Jesus Christ for the remission of sins," &c. (Acts ii. 38. 41.) 
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized. Acts 
x. 44. 47, 48 ; xvi. 14, 15. 30. 32, 33 ; Rom. x. 13—14, with 
many other texts, do put this out of doubt. 

Arg. 2. We were engaged in our infant baptismal cove- 
nant to believe and repent, when we came to age, as a 
means to our reception of the benefits of the covenant, pro- 
per to the adult ; therefore we must perform our covenant, 
and use this means, if we will have the benefits. 

Arg. 3. If another condition were not of necessity to the 
aged, beside the condition that was necessary to them in 
infancy, then Turks, Jews and Heathens, should have right 
to church-membership, and privileges of the adult; but the 
consequent is notoriously false, therefore so is the antece- 

The reason of the consequent is evident ; because a man 
that hath believing parents may turn Turk, (as is known in 
thousands of Janizaries), or J^w, or Pagan; and therefore, 
if it were enough that he was the child of a believer, his 
title to church -privileges would still continue. And so 
among professed Christians, the child of a believer may 
turn Heretic, or notoriously profane and scandalous, and 
yet have title to church-privileges, if his first title still hold, 
and a personal faith be not a necessary condition of his 
right. Add to these, the many arguments tending to con- 
firm the point in hand, which I have laid down on another 
occasion in my " Disputations of Right to Sacraments." 
But I think I need not spend more words to persuade any 
Christians, that our parents' faith will not serve to give us 
title to the church-privileges of the adult, but we lose our 
right even to church-membership itself, if when we come to 
age, we add not a personal faith, or profession at least, of 
our own. 

I only add, that this is a truth so far past doubt, that even 
the Papists and the Greeks have put it into their Canons. 
For the former you may find it in the Decrees, part 3. dist. 
3. p.(mihi) 1241, cited out of Augustin in these words, ' Par- 
vulus qui baptizatur, si ad annos rationales veniens, non 
crediderit, nee ab illicitis abstinuerit, nihil ei prodest, qoud 


parvulus accepit.' That is, an infant that is baptized, if 
coming to years of discretion, he do not believe, nor abstain 
from things unlawful, that which he received in infancy, 
doth profit him nothing. 

And for the Greeks; that this is according to their mind, 
you may see in Zonaras in Comment, in Epist. Canon. Can. 
45, cited ex Basilii Mag. Epist. 2. ad Amphiloch, thus, ' Si- 
quis accepto nomine Christianismi, Christum contumelia 
afficit, nulla est illi appellationis utilitas :' that is, if any 
one having received the name of Christianity, shall reproach 
Christ, he hath no profit in the name. On which Zonaras 
added, 'Qui Christo credidit, et Christianus appellatus est, 
cum ex Divinis prreceptis vitam instituere oportet, ut hoc 
ratione Deus per ipsum glorificetur, quemadmodum illis 
verbis praecipitur, sic luceat Lux vestra coram hominibus, 
&c. Siquis autem nominatur quidem Christianus, Dei vero 
prsecepta transgreditur, contumeliam irrogat Christo, cujus 
de nomine appellatur,nec quicqueamexeaappellatione utili- 
tatis trahit:' that is, Seeing he that believed in Christ, and 
is called a Christian, ought to order his life by the command- 
ments of God, that so God may be glorified by him; ac- 
cording to that " Let your light so shine before men, &c." 
If any one that is called a Christian, shall transgress God's 
commands, he brings a reproach on Christ, by whose name 
he is called ; and he shall not receive the least profit by 
that title, or name. This is somewhat higher than the point 
needs, that I bring it for. 

And indeed it were a strange thing, if all other infidels 
should be shut out of the privileges of the church, except 
only the treacherous covenant-bieaking infidel; (for such 
are all that being baptized in infancy, prove no Christians 
when they come to age ;) as if perfidiousness would give 
him right. 

Prop. 5. As a personal Faith is the Condition before God of' 
Title to the Privileges of the Adult ; so the Profession of this 
Faith, is the Condition of his right before the Church ; and 
without this Profession, he is not to be taken as an Adult 
Member, nor admitted, to the Privileges of such. 

This proposition also, as the sun, revealeth itself by its own 
light, and therefore commandeth me to say but little for the 
confirmation of it. 


Arg. 1. The church cannot judge of things unknown; 
' non entium, et non apparentium eadem est ratio :' not to 
appear, and not to be, is all one as to the judgment of the 
church. We are not searchers of the heart, and therefore 
we must judge by the discoveries of the heart, by outward 

Arg. 2. If profession of faith were not necessary ' coram 
Ecclesia' to men's church-membership and privileges, then 
Infidels and Heathens would have right, as was said in the 
former case, and also the church and the world would be 
confounded, and the church would be no church ; but 
these are consequents that I hope no Christians will have a 
favourable thought of; and therefore they should reject the 

Arg. 3. It is a granted case among all Christians, that 
profession is thus necessary. The Apostles, and ancient 
Churches admitted none without it ; no more must we. 
Though all require not the same manner of profession, yet 
that profession itself is the least that can be required of any 
man, that layeth claim to church-privileges and ordinances 
proper to adult members ; this we are all agreed in, and there- 
fore I need not add more proof, where I find no controversy. 

But yet as commonly as we are agreed on this, yet be- 
cause it is the very point which most of the stress of our 
present disputation lieth on, it may not be amiss to foresee 
what may possibly be objected by any new comers hereafter. 

Object. Perhaps some may say, 1. That we find no men- 
tion of professions required in Scripture : 2. It is not proba- 
ble that Peter received a profession from those thousands 
whom he so suddenly baptized : 3. Our churches have been 
true churches without such a profession, personally and 
distinctly made ; therefore it may be so still. To these I 
answer briefly, yet satisfactorily : 

1. The Scripture gives us abundant proof that a plain 
profession was made in those times by such as were bap- 
tized at age, and so admitted, by reason of their ripeness 
and capacity, into the church ; and to the special commu- 
nion and privileges of the adult at once. To say much of 
the times of the Old Testament, or before Christ, would be 
but to interrupt you with less pertinent things ; yet there 
it is apparent, that all the people were solemnly engaged 
in covenant with God, by Moses, more than once ; and that 


this was renewed by Joshua, and other godly princes ; and 
that Asa made the people not only " enter into covenant to 
seek the Lord God of their fathers, with all their hearts, 
and with all their souls ; but that whosoever would not 
seek him should be put to death, whether small or great, 
man or woman: and they sware to the Lord with a loud 
voice, and with shoutings, and with trumpets, and with cor- 
nets." (2 Chron. xv. 12 — 14.) So following princes called 
the people to this open covenanting. But this is not all : 
to take " the Lord only to be their God," (with the rest of 
the law,) was the very essence of an Israelite's religion, which 
they did not only openly profess, but excessively sometimes 
glory in. As circumcision sealed the covenant, and there- 
fore supposed the covenant to infants and aged whoever 
were circumcised, so had they many sorts of sacrifice, and 
other worship, in which they all were openly to profess the 
same religion and covenant. Many purifications also, and 
sanctifyings of the people they had ; and many figures of 
the covenant. " I am the Lord thv God," &c. " Thou 
shalt have no other Gods before me," &c. was the tenor of 
the covenant which every Israelite expressly, and by fre- 
quent acts, professed to consent to ; The law is called a co- 
venant, which all were to own, and avouch the Lord to be 
their God, and themselves his people. See Deut. xxvi. 
17, 18; xxix. 10, 11. 14, &c. ; 2 Kings xxiii. 3 ; 2 Chron. 
xxiii. 3. 16; xxix. 10 : Ezra x. 3 ; Neh. ix. 38; Psal. 1. 5 ; 
Ezek. xx. 37 ; Jer. 1. 5; Isa. lvi. 4, 5; Exod. xxxiv. 27; 
Psal. ciii. 18; xxv. 10; xviii. 10, &c. 

And yet I hope no Christian would wish that we should 
deal no more openly and clearly with God, the church, and 
ourselves, in days of Gospel light and worship, than the 
Jews were to do in their darker state, under obscure types 
and shadows. 

We find that when John Baptist set up his ministry he 
caused the people to " confess their sins;" (Matt. iii. 6 ;) 
And " if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to for- 
give us our sins." (1 John i. 19.) And whereas some say, 
that John baptized them, that he calleth " a generation of 
vipers;" I answer, (1.) We will believe that when they 
prove it. It seems rather that he put them back. (2.) If 
he did baptize them, it was not till they " confessed their 
sins" (because that all did ;) and it seems by his charge, till 



they promised to " bring forth fruits meet for repentance." 
(Matt. iii. 8.) 

Christ would not have so instructed Nicodemus in the 
nature and necessity of regeneration, before he was a disci- 
ple, if a professed, or apparent preparation had not been 
necessary ; nor would he ordinarily have taught men the 
necessity of denying themselves, and forsaking all for a 
treasure in heaven, with such like, if they would be his dis- 
ciples, if the profession of so doing had not been necessary, 
to their visible discipleship. 

I grant that so full a profession was not made before 
Christ's resurrection as after ; for many articles of our be- 
lief were afterwards made necessary : and the Apostles them- 
selves were unacquainted with what the weakest Christian 
did afterwards believe. But still the essentials of faith, 
then necessary in existence to men's justification, were 
necessary in profession to men's visible Christianity or 

2. As to those, Acts ii. 37, &c. It is plain, that they made 
an open profession, if you consider, (1.) That they were 
openly told the doctrine which they must be baptized into, 
if they did consent: (2.) It is said, "They that gladly re- 
ceived that word, were baptized." (3.) It is certain there- 
fore that they first testified their " glad reception of the 
word." (4.) We may not imagine that Peter was God, or 
knew the hearts of all those thousands, and therefore he 
must know it by their profession, that " they gladly re- 
ceived the word." (5.) Their own mouths cry out for ad- 
vice in order to their salvation. (6.) It had been absurd 
for the Apostles to attempt to baptize men, that had not first 
professed their consent. (7.) The Scripture gives us not the 
full historical narration of all that was said and done in such 
cases, but of so much as was necessary. (8.) The institu- 
tion and nature of the ordinance tells us, that baptism could 
not be administered without a profession, to the adult ; for 
they were to be " baptized into the name of Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost," and therefore were to profess that they " be- 
lieved in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." Yea the very re- 
ceiving of baptism was an actual profession. (9.) The con- 
stant practice of the Universal Church, hath given us by 
infallible tradition, as full assurance of the order of baptism, 



and in particular of an express profession and covenant 
then made, as of any point that by the hands of the church 
can be received by us. (10.) And it was in those days a 
more notorious profession to be so baptized, and to join in 
the holy assemblies than now it is. When the profession of 
Christianity did hazard men's liberties, estates, and lives, 
to be openly then baptized up