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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"















VOL. V. 



\ ". v 











t-i J i^;3i-i iJixiri 







Of the Worship of God in general. The Nature and Reasons 
of it, and Directions for it. How to know right Ends in 
Worship, &c I 


Directions about the manner of Worship, to avoid all corrup- 
tions, and false, unacceptable Worshipping of God. The 
disadvantages of ungodly men in judging of Holy Worship. 
How far the Scriptures are the Rule or Law of Worship 
and Discipline, and how far not ? Instances of things un- 
determined in Scripture. What Commands of Scripture 
are not universal and perpetual ? May danger excuse from 

Duty, and when ? Rules for the right manner 18 

VOL. V. b 





Directions about the Christian Covenant with God, and Bap- 
tism. The Covenant, what ? The Parties, Matter, Terms, 
Forms, necessary Modes, Fruits, &c. External Baptism, 
what ? Complete Baptism, what? Of renewing the Co- 
venant .' . 39 


Directions about the Profession of our Religion to others. 
The greatness of the Duty of c<pen Profession. When and 
how it must be made ? 49 


Directions about Vows and particular Covenants with God. . 54 

Til. 1. Directions for the right making such Vows and Co- 
venants. What a Vow is? The sorts of Vows. The use and 
obligation. Whether any things be indiflPerent j and such 
may be Vowed ? As Marrying, &c. May we Vow things in- 
difiFerent in themselves, though not in their circumstances ? 
In what cases we may not Vow. What if Rulers command 
it? What if I doubt whether the matter imposed be law- 
ful ? Of Vowing with a doubting conscience ibid. 

Tit.'Z. Directions against Perjury and Perfidiousness ; and 
for keeping Vows and Oaths. The heinousness of Perjury. 
Thirty-six Rules about the obligation of a Vow, to shew 
when and how far it is obligatory j usefulin an age stig- 
matized with open Perjury. (Mostly out of Dr. Sanderson.) 
What is the Nullity of an Oath? Cases in which Vows 
must not be kept g9 

How far Rulers may Nullify a Vow ? Num. xxx. opened. 
Of the accidental evil of a Vow. Of Scandal. Q. Doth 
an error ' de persona ' caused by that person disoblige me ? 76 

qONTENTS. vir 


Directions to the People concerning their internal and private 
Duty to their Pastors, and their profiting by the Ministerial 

office and gifts 107 

The Ministerial Office opened in fifteen particulars 108 

The Reasons of it. Ill 

The true old Episcopacy ibid. 

Special Duties to your own Pastors above others 1 12 

Of the Calling, Power, and Succession of Pastors 115 

The best to be preferred H^ 

The order of Ministerial teaching, and the resolution of faith 120 

How far Human faith conduceth to Divine 127 

OfTradition 130 

What use to make of your Pastors 131 


Directions for the discovery of Truth among contenders, and 
how to escape Heresy and Deceit. Cautions for avoiding 
Deceit in Disputations 134 


Directions for the Union and Communion of Saints, and for 
avoiding Unpeaceableness and Schism 151 

Wherein our Unity consisteth . 152 

What Diversity will be in the Churches. What Schism is ? 
What Heresy ? What Apostacy ? Who are Schismatics ? 
The degrees and progress of it. What Separation is a 
Duty? 158 

Q . Is any one form of Church-government of Divine appoint- 
ment? May man make new Church-officers ? 163 

The benefits of Christian concord j to themselves, and to in- 
fidels 170 

The mischiefs of Schism 175 



Whether Papists or Protestants are Schismatics 175 

The aggravations of Division 179 

Two hindrances of our true apprehension of the evil of Schism 185 

Directions against it 186 

Of imposing defective Liturgies 188 

The testimonies of antiquity against the bloody and cruel way 

of curing Schism. Their character of Ithacian Prelates. . 208 


Twenty Directions how to worship God in the Church-as- 
semblies *215 


Directions about our Communion with holy souls departed, 
now with Christ 2^3 


Directions about our Communion with the holy angels .... 235 


Q. 1. How to know which is the true Church among all pre- 
tendersj, that a Christian's conscience may be quiet in his 
Relation and Communion 24^ 

Q. 2. Whether we must esteem the Church of Rome a true 
Church ? and in what sense some Protestant divines affirm 
it, and some deny it ? 254 




Q. 3. Wiiether we must take the Romish clergy for a true 
ministry? 256 

Q. 4. Whether it be necessary to believe that the Pope is the 
Antichrist? 262 

Q. 5. Whether we must hold that a Papist may be saved ? . 263 

Q. 6. Whether those that are in the Church of Rome are 
bound to separate from it ? And whether it be lawful to go 
to their mass or other worship ? . . 265 

Q. 7. Whether the true calling of the Minister by Ordination 
or Election be necessary to the essence of the church ? . . ^66 

Q. 8. Whether sincere faith and godliness be necessary to the 
being of the ministry ? And whether it be lawful to hear 
a wicked man, or take the sacrament from him, or take 
him for a minister ? 268 

Q. 9. Whether the people are bound to receive or consent 
to an ungodly, intolerable, heretical pastor, (yea or one far 
less fit and worthy than a competitor) if the magistrate 
command it, or the bishop impose him ? 270 

Q. 10. What if the magistrate command the people to receive 
one pastor, and the bishop or ordainers another, which of 
them must be obeyed? 275 

Q. li. Whether an uninterrupted succession either of right 
ordination or of conveyance by jurisdiction, be necessary to 
the being of the ministry, or of a true church ? 276 

Q. 12. Whether there be or ever was such a thing in the world 
as one Catholic church, constituted by any head besides or 
under Christ ? 280 

Q. 13. Whether there be such a thing as a visible Catholic 
church, and what it is ? 281 

Q. 14. What is it that maketh a visible member of the univer- 
sal church, and who are to be accounted such ? 282 

Q. 15. Whether besides the profession of Christianity, either 
testimony or evidence of conversion or practical godliness 
be necessary to prove a man a member of the universal 
visible church ? ibid, 

Q. 16. What is necessary to a man's reception into member- 
ship in a particular church, over and above this aforesaid 
title ? Whether any other trials, or covenant, or what ? . . 285 

Q. 17. Wherein doth the ministerial office essentially consist ? 287 

Q. 18. Whether the people's choice or consent is necessary 
to the office of a minister in his first work, as he is to con- 
vert infidels and baptize them? And whether this be a 
work of office, and what call is necessary to it ? 289 




Q. 19. Wherein consisteth the power and nature of ordina- 
tion? And to whom doth it belong? And is it an act of 
jurisdiction ? And is imposition of hands necessary in it ? 292 

Q. 20. Is ordination necessary to make a man a pastor of a 
particular church as such ? And is he to be made a gene- 
ral minister, and a particular church elder or pastor at once, 
and at one ordination ? 295 

Q. 21. May a man be oft, or twice ordained ? 296 

Q. 22. How many ordainers are necessary to the validity of 
ordination by Christ's institution, whether one or more ? 300 

Q. 23. What if one bishop ordain a minister, and three, or 
many, or all the rest protest against it, and declare him no 
minister or degrade him, is he to be received as a true mi- 
nister or not ? 302 

Q. 24. Hath a bishop power by Divine right to ordain, de- 
grade or govern, excommunicate or absolve in another's 
diocese or church, either by his consent or against it ? And 
doth a minister that officiateth in another's clmrch, act as 
a pastor, and their pastor, or as a private man ? And doth 
his ministerial office cease when a man removeth from his 
flock ? 304 

Q. 25. Whether canons be laws, and pastors have a legisla- 
tive power? 306 

jQ. 26. Whether church-canons or pastors' directive deter- 
minations of matters pertinent to their office, do bind the 
conscience, and what accidents will disoblige the people -, 
you may gather before in the same case about magistrates' 
laws in the Political Directions j as also by an impartial 
transferring the case to the precepts of parents and school- 
masters to children, without respect to their power of the 
rod, (or supposing that they had none such) ? 309 

Q. 27. What are Christ's appointed means of the unity and 
concord of the universal church, and consequently of its 
preservation, if there be no human universal head and go- 
vernor of it upon earth ? And if Christ hath instituted 
none such, whether prudence and the law of nature oblige 
not the church to set up and maintain an universal ecclesias- 
tical monarchy or aristocracy j seeing that which is every 
man's work, is no man's, and omitted by all ? ibid. 

Q. 28. ^Vhois the judge of controversies in the church ? 1. 
About the exposition of the Scriptures and doctrinal points 
in themselves. ,2. About either heresies or wicked prac- 



tices, £is they are charged on the persons accused of them : 
that is, 1 . Antecedently to our practice, by way of regula- 
tion. 2. Or consequently by judicial sentence (and execu- 
tion) on oflfenders ? 311 

Q. 29. Whether a parent's power over his children, or a pas- 
tor's, or many pastors or bishops over the same children as 
parts of their flocks, be greater, or more obliging in mat- 
ters of religion and public worship ? 314 

Q. 30. May an office-teacher or pastor be at once in the stated 
relation of a pastor, and a disciple to some other pastor ? • • 315 

Q. 31. Who hath the power of making church-canons ? , . . 316 

Q. 32. Doth baptism as such enter the baptized into the uni- 
versal church J or into a particular church, or both ? And 
is baptism the particular church-covenant as such? .... 317 

Q. 33. Whether infants should be baptized, I have answered 
long ago in a Treatise on that subject? 318 

Q. What infants should be baptized ? And who have right to 
sacraments ? And whether hypocrites are unequivocally or 
equivocally Christians and church-members, I have resolved 
in my *' Disputation of Right to Sacraments." ibid. 

Q. 34. Whether an unbaptized person who yet maketh a pub- 
lic profession of Christianity be a member of the visible 
church ? And so of the infants of believers unbaptized ? ibid. 

Q. 35. Is it certain by the Word of God, that all infants bap- 
tized, and dying before actual sin are undoubtedly saved ? 
Or what infants may we say so of ? 319 

Q. 36'. What is meant by this speech, that believers and their 
seed are in the covenant of God ; which giveth them right 
to baptism? 333 

Q. 37. Are believers* children certainly in covenant before 
their baptism j and thereby in a state of salvation j or not 
till they are baptized ? 334 

Q. 38. Is infants' title to baptism and the covenant benefits 
given them by God in his promises upon any proper moral 
condition, or only upon the condition of their natural rela- 
tion J that they be the seed of the faithful ? 336 

Q, 39. What is the true meaning of sponsors, (* patrimi'), or 
godfathers, as we call them ; and is it lawful to make use 
of them ? 338 

Q. 40. On whose account or right is it that the infant hath 
title to baptism and its benefits ? Is it on the parent's, an- 
cestor's, sponsor's, the church's, the minister's, the magis- 
trate's, or his own ? 341 



Q. 41. Are they really baptized who are baptized according to 
the English liturgy and canons^ where the parent seemeth 
excluded, and those to consent for the infant who have no 

power to do it ? 344 

Q. 42. But the great question is. How the Holy Ghost is 
given to infants in baptism, and whether all the children of 
true Christians have inward sanctifying grace ? Or whether 
they can be said to be justified and to be in a state of sal- 
vation, that are not inherently sanctified ? And whether 

any fall from this infant state of salvation ? 345 

Q. 43. Is the right of the baptized (infants or adult) to the 
sanctifying operations of the Holy Ghost now absolute j or 
suspended on further conditions ? And are the parents* 
further duty for their children such conditions of their 
children's reception of the actual assistances of the Spirit? 
Or are children's own actions such conditions ? And may 
apostate parents forfeit the covenant benefits to their bap- 
tized infants or not ? 354 

Q. 44. Doth baptism always oblige us at the present, and 
give grace at the present, and is the grace which is not 
given till long after, given by baptism, or an effect of bap- 
tism ? 358 

Q. 45. What is a proper violation of our baptismal covenant ? 361 
Q. 46. May not baptism in some cases be repeated ; and when ? 36'2 
Q. 47. Is baptism by laymen or women lawful in cases of ne- 
cessity ; or are they nullities, and the person to be re-bap- 
tized ? 364 

Q. 48. May Anabaptists that have no other error, be permit- 
ted in church-communion ? 365 

Q. 49. May one offer his child to be baptized, with the sign 
of the cross, or the use of chrisms, the white garment, 
milk and honey, or exorcisms as among the Lutherans, 

who taketh these to be unlawful things r • • • 366 

Q. 50. Whence came the ancient universal custom of anoint- 
ing at baptism, and putting on a white garment, and 
tasting milk and honey j and whether they are lawful to us ? 367 
Q. 51. Whether it be necessary that they that are baptized in 
infancy, do solemnly at age review and own their baptis- 
mal covenant before they have right to the state and pri- 
vileges of adult members ; and if they do not, whether 
they are to be numbered with Christians or apostates ? . . . . 369 



Q. 52. Whether the universal church consist only of particu- 
lar churches and their members } 370 

Q. 53. Must the pastor first call the church and aggregate 
them to himself, or the church first congregate themselves 

and then choose the pastor ? 371 

Q. 54. Wherein doth a particular church of Christ diflfer 

from a consociation of many churches ? ibid. 

Q. 55. Whether a particular church may consist of more as- 
semblies than one j or must needs meet all in one place ? 372 
Q. 56. Is any form of church-government of Divine institution? 373 
Q. 57. Whether any forms of churches and church-govern- 
ment or any new church-officers may lawfully be invented 

and made by man ? 380 

Q. 58. Whether any part of the proper pastoral or episcopal 
power may be given or deputed to a layman, or to one of 
any other office j or their proper work may be performed 

by such ? 397 

Q. 59. May a layman preach or expound the Scriptures 3 or 

what of this is proper to the pastor's office } 399 

Q. 60. What is the true sense of the distinction of pastoral 

power ' in foro interiore et exteriore,' rightly used ? 400 

Q. 61. In what sense is it true, that some say that the ma- 
gistrate only hath the external government of the church, 

and the pastor the internal ? • • 401 

Q. 62. Is the trial, judgment, or consent of the laity neces- 
sary to the admittance of a member into the universal or 

particular church ? 402 

Q. 63. What power have the people in church-censures 

and excommunication ? 404 

Q. 64. What is the people's remedy in case of the pastor's 

mal-administration ? 405 

Q. 65. May one be a pastor or a member of a particular 
church who liveth so far from it, as to be incapable of 

personal communion with them ? ibid. 

Q. 66. If a man be injuriously suspended or excommunicated 

by the pastor or people, which way shall he have remedy ? 406 
Q. 67- Doth presence always make us guilty of the evils or 
faults of the pastor in God's worship, or of the church ? 

or in what cases are we guilty ? 407 

Q. 68. Is it lawful to communicate in the sacrament with 
wicked men ? ibid. 



Q. 69. Have all the members of the church right to the 

Lord's table, and is suspension lawful ? 408 

Q. 70. Is there any such thing in the church, as a rank, or 
classis, or species of church-members at age, who are not 
to be admitted to the Lord's table, but only to the hear- 
ing of the Word, and prayer, between infant members, and 
adult, confirmed ones ? ^ 410 

Q. 7 1 . Whether a form of prayer be lawful? 414 

Q. 72. Are forms of prayer or preaching in the church lawful ? 415 
Q. 73. Are public forms of man's devising or composing 

lawful? 416 

Q. 74. Is it lawful to impose forms on the congregation or 
the people in public worship r • • • ,.,... ibid. 

Q. 75. Is it lawful to use forms composed by man, and im- 
posed not only on the people, but on the pastors of the 
churches ? 417 

Q. 76. Doth not the calling of a minister so consist in the ex- 
ercise of his own ministerial gifts, that he may not officiate 
without them, nor make use of other men's gifts instead of 
them ? 418 

Q. Is it lawful to read a prayer in the church ? 421 

Q. 77. Is it lawful to pray in the church without a prescribed 
or premeditated form of words ? 422 

Q. 78. Whether are set forms of words, or free praying with- 
out them the better way j and what are the commodities, 
and incommodities of each way ? ibid. 

Q. 79. Is it lawful to forbear the preaching of some truths, 
upon man's prohibition, that I may have liberty to preach 
the rest ? yea, and to promise to forbear them, or to do it 
for the church's peace ? 428 

Q. 80. May or must a minister silenced, or forbid to preach 
the Gospel, go on still to preach it against the law ? . . . . 429 

Q. 81 . May we lawfully keep the Lord's day as a fast ? . . . . 432 

Q, 82. How should the Lord's day be spent in the main ? ibid, 

Q. 83. May the people bear a vocal part in worship, or do 
any more than say. Amen ? 433 

Q. 84. Is it not a sin for our clerks to make themselves the 
mouth of the people, whoarenotordained ministers of Christ? 438 

^.85. Are repetitions of the same words in church-prayers 
lawful? , ibid. 

-Q. 86. Is it lawful to bow at the name of Jesus ? 439 



Q. 87. Is it lawful to stand up at the Gospel as we are ap- 
pointed ? 440 

Q. 88. Is it lawful to kneel when the Decalogue is read ? . . ibid. 

Q. 89. What gestures are fittest in all the public worship ?. . 44 1 

Q. 90. What if the pastor and church cannot agree, about 
singing psalms^ or what version or translation to use, or 
time or place of meeting, &c. ? , . . . 442 

Q. 91. What if the pastor excommunicate a man, and the 
people will not forbear his communion, as thinking him 
unjustly excommunicated ? ibid. 

Q. 92. May a whole church, or the greater part be excom- 
municated ? 443 

Q. 93. What if a church have two pastors, and one ex- 
communicate a man and the other absolve him^ what 
shall the church and the dissenter do ? 444 

Q. 94. For what sins may a man be denied communion or 
excommunicated ; whether for impenitence in every little 
sin J or for great sin without impenitence ? ibid. 

Q.95. Mustthe pastorexamine the people beforethesacrament? 446 

Q. 96. Is the sacrament of the Lord's supper a converting 
ordinance ? ibid. 

Q. 97. Must no man come to the sacrament that is uncertain 
or doubtful of the sincerity of his faith and repentance ? • • 447 

Q. 98. Is it lawful or a duty to join oblations to the sacra^ 

ment, and how ? • » • 448 

Q. 99. How many sacraments are there appointed by Christ ? 449 

Q. 100. How far is it lawful, needful, or unlawful for a man 
to afflict himself by external penances for sin ? 452 

Q, 101. Is it lawful to observe stated times of fasting imposed 
by others, without extraordinary occasions ; and particu- 
larly Lent ? » • * . • 454 

Q. 102. May we continue in a church where some one ordi- 
nance of Christ is wanting ; as discipline, prayer, preach- 
ing, or sacraments, though we have all the rest ? 457 

Q. 103. Must the pastors remove from one church to another, 
whenever the magistrate coramandeth us, though the 
bishops contradict it, and the church consent not to dis- 
miss us } And so of other cases of disagreement •• y«M ^i 458 

Q. 104. Is a pastor obliged to his flock for life j or is it lawful 
Bo to oblige himself -, and may he remove without their 
consent ? And so also of a church-member, the same 
cjuestions are put ^gQ 



Q. 105. When many men pretend at once to be the true 
pastors of a particular church, against each other's title, 
through differences between the magistrates, the ordainers, 
and the flocks, what should the people do, and whom 

should they adhere to ? 462 

Q. 106. To whom doth it belong to reform a corrupted 

church 3 to the magistrates, pastors, or people ? ibid. 

Q. 107. Who is to call synods ; princes, pastors, or people ? 463 
Q. 108. To whom doth it belong to appoint days and assem- 
blies for public humiliation and thanksgiving ? 464 

Q. 109. May we omit church- assemblies on the Lord's day, 

if the magistrates forbid them ? 465 

Q. 1 10. Must we obey the magistrate if he only forbid us 
worshipping God, in such a place, or country, or in such 

numbers, or the like circumstances ? 466 

Q. 111. Must subjects or servants forbear weekly lectures, 
reading, or such helps, above the Lord's day's worship, if 

princes or masters do forbid them } 467 

Q. 112. Whether religious worship may be given to a crea- 
ture, and what ? 468 

Q. 113. What images, and what use of images, is lawful or 

unlawful ? 472 

Q. 114. Whether stage-plays, where the virtuous and vicious 

are personated, be lawful ? 482 

Q. 115. Is it ever unlawful to use the known symbols and 

badges of idolatry ? 486 

Q. 116. Is it unlawful to use the badge or symbol of any 

error or sect in the worship of God ? 487 

Q. 117. Are all indifferent things made unlawful to us, which 

shall be abused to idolatrous worship ? 488 

Q.118. May we use the names of week days -which idolaters 
honoured their idols with, as Sunday, Monday, Saturday, 

and the rest ? And so the months ? 489 

Q. 119. Is it lawful to pray secretly when we come first into 

church, especially when the church is otherwise employed ? 490 
Q. 120. May a preacher kneel down in the pulpit and use his 

private prayers when he is in the assembly ? 491 

Q. 121. May a minister pray publicly in his own name singly, 
for himself or others -, or only in the church's name as 

their mouth to God ? ibid. 

Q. 122. May the name * priests,' ' sacrifice,' and ' altar' be law- 
fully now used instead of ^ Christ's ministers,' * worship,' 
and the ' holy table ? ' 493 



Q. 123. May the communion-table be turned altarwise and 
railed in j and is it lawful to come up to the rails to com- 
municate ? 495 

Q. 124. Is it lawful to use David's psalms in our assemblies ? 496 

Q. 125. May psalms be used as prayers, and praises and 
thanksgivings j or only as instructive ? even the reading 
as well as the singing of them } 497 

Q. 126. Are our church-tunes lawful being of man's invention ? ibid. 

Q. 127. Is church-music by organs or such instruments 
lawful ? 499 

Q. 128. Is the Lord's day a sabbath, and so to be called and 
kept, and that of Divine institution j and is the seventh 
day sabbath abrogated. ? &c 501 

Q. 129. Is it lawful to appoint human holy-days, and ob- 
serve them ? ibid. 

Q. 130. How far are the Holy Scriptures a law and perfect rule 
to us ? 502 

Q. 131. What additions or human inventions in or about re- 
ligion not commanded in Scripture, are lawful or unlawful ? 505 

Q. 132. Is it unlawful to obey in all those cases, where it is 
unlawful to impose and command, or in what cases ? And 
how far pastors must be believed and obeyed ? 507 

Q. 133. What are the additions or inventions of men, which 
are not forbidden by the Word of God, (whether by rulers 
or by private men invented) ? 510 

Q. 134. What are the mischiefs of unlawful additions in re- 
ligion ? 515 

Q. 135. What are the mischiefs of men's error on the other ex- 
treme, who pretend that Scripture is a rule where it is not, 
and deny the aforesaid lawful things, on pretence that Scrip- 
ture is a perfect rule, (say some, for all things) ? 517 

Q. 136. How shall we know what parts of Scripture precept 
or example were intended for universal, constant obliga- 
tion, and what were but for the time and persons that they 
were then directed to ? ^ 519 

Q, 137. How much of the Scripture is necessary to salvation 
to be believed and understood ? 522 

Q. 138. How may we know the fundamentals, essentials, or 
what parts are necessary to salvation ? And is the Papists' 
way allowable that (some of them) deny that distinction, 
and make the difference to be only in the degrees of man's 
opportunities of knowledge ? , * , 524 

xviii CONTENTS. 


Q. 139. What is the use and authority of the creed ? And is 
it of the apostles' framing or not ? And is it the Word of 
God or not ? . . . 528 

Q. 140. What is the use of catechisms ? 530 

Q. 141. Could any of us have known by the Scriptures alone 
the essentials of religion from the rest^ if tradition had not 
given them to us in the creed as from apostolical collection ? ibid. 

Q. 142. What is the best method of a true catechism or sum 
of theology ?•• • • •• 531 

Q. 143. What is the use of various church-confessions or ar- 
ticles of faith ? ibid. 

Q. 144. May not the subscribing of the whole Scriptures 
serve turn for all the aforesaid ends without creeds, 
catechisms, or confessions ? - 532 

Q. 145. May a man be saved that believeth all the essentials 
of religion as coming to him by verbal tradition, and not as 
contained in the Holy Scriptures, which perhaps he never 
knew? • 533 

Q. 146. Is the Scripture fit for all Christians to read, being 

so obscure ? • 534 

Q, 147. How far is tradition and men's words and ministry 
to be used or trusted in, in the exercise of faith ? 536 

Q. 148. How know we the true canon of Scripture from 
Apocrypha ? 537 

Q. 149. Is the public reading of the Scripture the proper work 
of the minister J or may a layman ordinarily do it, or 
another officer ? ibid. 

Q. 150. Is it lawful to read the Apocrypha, or any good books 

besides the Scriptures to the church ; as homilies ? &c. . 538 

Q. 151. May church-assemblies be held, where there is no 
minister ; or what public worshij) may be so performed by 
laymen, (as among infidels or papists where persecution hath 
killed, imprisoned, or expelled the ministry) ? > • 539 

Q. 152. Is it lawful to subscribe or profess full assent and 
consent to any religious books besides the Scriptures, 
seeing all men are fallible ? 540 

Q. 153- May we lawfully swear obedience in all things lawful 
and honest, either to usurpers, or to our lawful pastors ? . 541 

Q. 154. Must aJl ourpreaching be upon some text of Scripture? 544 

Q. 155. Is not the law of Moses abrogated j and the whole 
Old Testament out of date, and therefore not to be read 
publicly and preached ? ibid. 



Q, 15^. Must we believe that Moses's law did ever bind 
otiier nations, or that any other parts of the Scripture bound 
them or belonged to them 5 or that the Jews were all God's 
visible church on earth?.....-. 546 

Q. 157. Must we think accordingly of the Christian churches 
now, that they are only advanced above the rest of the world 
as the Jews were, but not the only people that are saved ? 548 

Q. 158. Should not Christians take up with Scripture wisdom 
only, without studying philosophy, or other heathens' hu- 
man learning ? 552 

Q. 159. If we think that Scripture and the law of nature are 
in any point contradictory to each other, which must be 
the standard by which the other must be tried ? 554 

Q. 160. May we not look that God should yet give us more 
revelations of his will, than there are already made in 
Scripture ? - ^ . . . 555 

Q. 161. Is not a third rule of the Holy Ghost, or more per- 
fect kingdom of love to be expected, as different from the 
reign of the Creator and Redeemer ? 556 

Q. 162. May we not look for miracles hereafter ? 558 

Q. 163. Is the Scripture to be tried by the Spirit, or the 
Spirit by the Scripture ? and which of them is to be pre- 
ferred ? ibid. 

Q. 164. How is a pretended prophet or revelation to be tried ? 560 

Q. 165. May one be saved who believeth that the Scripture 
hath any mistake or errors, and believeth it not all ?..».. . 56 1 

Q. 166. Who be they that give too little to the Scriptures, and 
who too much ; and what is the danger of each extreme ? ibid. 

Q. 167. How far do good men now preach and pray by the 
Spirit? 565 

Q. 168. Are not our own reasons, studies, memory, strivings, 
books, forms, methods, and ministry needless -, yea, a 
hurtful quenching or preventing of the Spirit, and setting 
up our own instead of the Spirit's operations ? 567 

Q. 169. How doth the Holy Ghost set bishops over the 
churches ? 568 

Q. 170. Are temples, fonts, utensils, church-lands, much 
more the ministry, holy ; and what reverence is due to 
them as holy? 569 

Q. 171. What is sacrilege, and what not ? 571 

Q. 172. Are all religious private meetings, forbidden by 
rulers, unlawful conventicles, or are any such necessary ? 572 



Q. 173. What particular directions for order of studies and 
books should be observed by young students who intend 
the sacred ministry ? 575 

Q. 174. What books should a poor man choose that for want 
of money or time can have or read but few. There are 
three catalogues set down, (but somewhat disorderly as 
they came into my memory). 584 

1. The smallest or poorest library 587 

2. A poor library, that hath considerable additions to the 
former 588 

3. Some more additions to them, for them that can go 
higher, with some additional notes 596 




















That this Part and the next are imperfect, and so much 
only is written as I might, and not as I would, I need not 
excuse to thee, if thou know me, and where, and when I 
live. But some of that which is wanting, if thou desire, 
thou mayst find, 1. In my " Universal Concord." 2. In 
my ** Christian Concord." 3. In our " Agreement for Cate- 
chising," and my '* Reformed Pastor." 4. In the "Re- 
formed Liturgy," offered to the commissioned bishops at 
the Savoy. Farewell. 


Of the Worship of God in general. 

That God is to be worshipped solemnly by man, is con- 
fessed by all that acknowledge that there is a God *. But 
about the matter and manner of his worship, there are no 

^ Qui totos dies precabaDtur, et immolabant, ut sui liberi »ibi superstites essent, 
VOL. V. B 


small dissensions and contentions in the world. I am not 
now attempting a reconciliation of these contenders; the 
sickness of men's minds and wills doth make that impossi- 
ble to any but God, which else were not only possible, but 
easy, the terms of reconciliation being in themselve*i so 
plain and obvious as they are. But it is Directions to those 
that are willing to worship God aright, which I am now to 

Direct. I. ' Understand what it is to worship God aright, 
lest you offer him vanity and sin for worship. The wor- 
shipping of God IS the direct acknowledging of his Being 
and perfections to his honour,' Indirectly or consequen- 
tially he is acknowledged in every obediential act by those 
that truly obey and serve him : and this is indirectly and 
participatively to worship him : and therefore all things are 
holy to the holy, because they are holy in the use of all, and 
Holiness to the Lord is, as it were, written upon all that 
they possess or do (as they are holy) : but this is not the 
worship which we are here to speak of; but that which is 
primarily and directly done to glorify him by the acknow- 
ledgment of his excellencies. Thus God is worshipped 
either inwardly by the soul alone, or also outwardly by the 
body expressing the worship of the soul. For that which 
is done by the body alone, without the concurrence of the 
heart, is not true worship, but an hypocritical image or 
shew of it, equivocally called worship ^. The inward wor- 
ship of the heart alone, I have spoken of in the former Part. 
The outward or expressive worship, is simple or mixed : sim- 
ple when we only intend God's worship immediately in the 
action ; and this is found chiefly in praises and thanksgiv- 
ing which therefore are the most pure and simple sort of 
expressive worship. Mixed worship is that in which we 

superstitiosi sunt appellati : quod noraen postea larius patuit. Qui autera omnia 
quae ad cultum Deorum pertiaerent, diligenter retractarent, et tanquam relegerent, 
suntdicti religiosi, ex relegendo, ut elegantes ex eligendo, a diligendo diJigentes, ex 
intelligendo intelligentes. Ita factum est in superstitioso el religiose ; alterum vitii 
nomen, alterum laudis. Cic. Nat. D. ii. 72. 

^ If they lliat serve their God with mere words, and ceremony, and mimical 
actions, were so served themselves, they might be silenced with Aristippus's defence 
of his gallantry and sumptuous fare. Si vituperandum, ait, hocesset, in celebritatibus 
deorum profecto non fieret. Laert. in Aristip. So Plato allowed drunkenness only 
in the feasts of Bacchus, ; 



join some other intention, for our own benefit in the action ; 
as in prayer where we worship God by seeking to him for 
mercy ; and in reverent hearing or reading his Word, where 
we worship him by a holy attendance upon his instructions 
and commands ; and in his sacraments where we worship 
him by receiving and acknowledging his benefits to our 
vsouls ; and in oblations where we have respect also to the 
use of the thing offered ; and in holy vows and oaths, in 
which we acknowledge him our Lord and Judge. All these 
are acts of divine worship, though mixed with other uses. 

It is not only worshipping God, when our acknowledg- 
ments (by word or deed) are directed immediately to him- 
self; but also when we direct our speech to others, if his 
praises be the subject of them, and they are intended di- 
rectly to his honour : such are many of David's psalms of 
praise. But where God's honour is not the thing directly 
intended, it is no direct worshipping of God, though all the 
same words be spoken as by others. 

Direct, ii. 'Understand the true ends and reasons of our 
worshipping God ; lest you be deceived by the impious who 
take it to be all in vain.' When they have imagined some 
false reasons to themselves, they judge it vain to worship 
God, because those reasons of it are vain. And he that un- 
derstandeth not the true reasons why he should worship 
God, will not truly worship him, but be profane in neglect- 
ing it, or hypocritical in dissembling, and heartless in per- 
formino; it. The reasons then are such as these. 

1. The first ariseth from the use of all the world, and 
the nature of the rational creature in special. The whole 
world is made and upheld to be expressive and partici- 
pative of the image and benefits of God. God is most 
perfect and blessed in himself, and needeth not the world 
to add to his felicity. But he made it to please his blessed 
will, as a communicative good, by communication and ap- 
pearance : that he might have creatures to know him, and to 
be happy in his light; and those creatures might have a fit 
representation or revelation of him that they might know 
him. And man is specially endowed with reason and ut- 
terance, that he might know his Creator appearing in his 
works, and might communicate this knowledge, and exj)ress 
that glory of his Maker with his tongue, which the inferior 


creatures express to him in their being *=. So that if God 
were not to be worshipped, the end of man's faculties, and 
of all the creation must be much frustrated. Man's rea- 
son is given him that he may know his Maker ; his will, and 
affections, and executive powers are given him, that he may 
freely love him and obey him ; and his tongue is given him 
principally to acknowledge him and praise him : whom 
should God's work be serviceable to, but to him that made 

2. As it is the natural use, so it is the highest honour of 
the creature to worship and honour his Creator : is there a 
nobler or more excellent object for our thoughts, affections, 
or expressions ? And nature, which desireth its own per- 
fection, forbiddeth us to choose a sordid, vile, dishonour- 
able work, and to neglect the highest and most honourable. 

3. The right worshipping of God doth powerfully tend 
to make us in our measure like him, and so to sanctify and 
raise the soul, and to heal it of its sinfuFdistempers and im- 
perfections. What can make us good so effectually as our 
knowledge, and love, and communion with him that is the 
chiefest good ? Nay, what is goodness itself in the crea- 
ture if this be not. As nearness to the sun giveth light and 
heat, so nearness to God, is the way to make us wise and 
good ; for the contemplation of his perfections is the means 
to make us like him. The worshippers of God do not exer- 
cise their bare understandings upon him in barren specula- 
tions ; but they exercise all their affections towards him, 
and all the faculties of their souls, in the most practical and 
serious manner, and therefore are most likely to have the 
liveliest impressions of God upon their hearts ; and hence 
it is that the true worshippers of God are really the wisest 
and the best of men, when many that at a distance are em- 
ployed in mere speculations about his works and him, re- 
main almost as vain and wicked as before, and professing 
themselves wise, are (practically) fools'*. 

4. The right worshipping of God, by bringing the heart 
into a cleansed, holy, and obedient frame, doth prepare it to 
command the body, and make us upright and regular in all 
the actions of our lives; for the fruit will be like the tree; 

c Read Mr, Herbert's Poem caJled "Providence." 
«! Rom. i. 21, 22. 



and as men are, so will they do. He that honoureth not his 
God, is not like well to honour his parents or his king : he 
that is not moved to it by his regard to God, is never like 
to be universally and constantly just and faithful unto men. 
Experience telleth us that it is the truest worshippers of 
God that are truest and most conscionable in their dealings 
with their neighbours : this windeth up the spring, and order- 
eth and strengtheneth all the causes of a good conversation. 

5. The right worshipping of God is the highest and 
most rational delight of man. Though to a sick, corrupted 
soul it be unpleasant, as food to a sick stomach, yet to a 
wise and holy soul there is nothing so solidly and durably 
contentful. As it is God's damning sentence on the wicked, 
to say, ** Depart from me ® ;" so holy souls would lose their 
jbys, and take themselves to be undone, if God should bid 
them, " Depart from me ; worship me, and love me, and 
praise me no more." They would be weary of the world, 
were it not for God in the world ; and weary of their lives, 
if God were not their life. 

6. The right worshipping of God prepareth us for hea- 
ven, where we are to behold him, and love, and worship him 
for ever. God bringeth not unprepared souls to heaven : 
this life is the time that is purposely given us for our prepa- 
ration ; as the apprenticeship is the time to learn your 
trades. Heaven is a place of action and fruition, of perfect 
knowledge, love, and praise : and the souls that will enjoy 
and praise God there, must be disposed to it here ; and 
therefore they must be much employed in his worship. 

7. And as it is in all these respects necessary as a means^ 
so God hath made it necessary by his command. He hath 
made it our duty to worship him constantly ; and he know- 
eth the reason of his own commands. ** It is written. Thou 
shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou 
served If God should command us notliing, how is he our 
Governor and our God? and if he command us any thing, 
what should he command us more fitly than to worship him? 
and he that will not obey him in this, is not like to obey 
him well in any thing ; for there is nothing that he can with 
less shew of reason except against; seeing all the reason in 

« Mutt. XXV. 41. vii. 23. ' Matt. iv. 10. 


the world must confess, that worship is most due to God 
from his own creatures. 

These reasons for the worship of God being undeniable, 
the objections of the infidels and ungodly are unreasonable : 
as. Object* 1. ' That our worship doth no good to God ; for 
he hath no need of it.' Answ. It pleaseth and honoureth 
him, as the making of the world, and the happiness of man 
doth : doth it follow that there must be no world, nor any 
man happy, because God hath no need of it, or no addition 
of felicity by it ? It is sufficient that it is necessary and 
good for us, and pleasing unto God. 

Object. II. ' Proud men are most unlike to God; and it 
is the proud that love to be honoured and praised.' Answ. 
Pride is the affecting of an undue honour, or the undue af- 
fecting of that honour which is due. Therefore it is that 
this affectation of honour in the creature is a sin, because 
all honour is due to God, and none to the creature but de- 
rivatively and subserviently. For a subject to affect any of 
the honour of his king, is disloyalty ; and to affect any of 
the honour of his fellow-subjects is injustice : but God re- 
quireth nothing but what is absolutely his due ; and he 
hath commanded us even towards men, to give ** fear and 
honour to whom they are due"^." 

Direct, ii i. ' Labour for the truest knowledge of the God 
whom you worship/ Let it not be said of you, as Christ 
said to the Samaritan woman, *' Ye worship ye know not 
what ^ I " nor as it is said of the Athenians, whose altar was 
inscribed, "To the unknown God'." You must know whom 
you worship ; or else you cannot worship him with the 
heart, nor worship him sincerely and acceptably, though 
you were at never so great labour and cost : God hath no 
pleasure in the sacrifice of fools ''." Though no man know 
him perfectly, you must know him truly. And though God 
taketh not every man for a blasphemer, and denier of his at- 
tributes, whom contentious, peevish wranglers call so, be- 
cause they consequentially cross some espoused opinions 
of theirs; yet real misunderstanding of God's nature and 
attributes is dangerous, and tendeth to corrupt his worship 
by the corrupting of the worshippers. For such as you 
take God to be, such worship you will offer him ; for your 

" Kom. xiii. 7. '' John iv. 22. * Acts xvH. 28. ^ Eccics. v. 1. 4. 


worship is but the honourable acknowledgment of his per- 
fections ; and mistakingly to praise him for supposed im- 
perfections, is to dishonour him and dispraise him. If to 
know God be your eternal life, it must needs be the life of 
all your worship. Take heed therefore of ignorance and 
error about God. 

Direct, iv. * Understand the office of Jesus Christ as our 
great high priest, by whose mediation alone we must have 
access to God/ Whether there should have been any 
priesthood for sacrifice or intercession if there had been no 
sin, the Scripture telleth us not expressly ; but we have 
great reason to conjecture there would have been none, be- 
cause there would not have been any reasons for the exer- 
cise of such an office. But since the fall, not only the Scrip- 
tures, but the practice of the whole world doth tell us that 
the sinful people are unmeet immediately thus to come to 
God, but that they must come by the mediation of the 
priest, as a sacrificer and intercessor. So that either na- 
ture teacheth sinners the necessity of some mediator, or the 
tradition of the church hath dispersed the knowledge of it 
through the world : and certainly no other priest but Christ 
can procure the acceptance of a sinful people upon his own 
account ; nor be an effectual mediator for them to God, ui^- 
less in subserviency to an effectual mediator who can pro^ 
cure us access and acceptance for his own sake. For all 
other priests are sinners as well as the people, and have as 
much need of a mediator for themselves. 1. See therefore 
that you never appear before God, but as sinners, that have 
offended him, and have deserved to be cast out of his fa- 
vour for ever, and such as are in absolute necessity of a me- 
diator to procure their access and acceptance with God ; 
come not to God without the sense of sin and misery. 2. 
See also that you come as those that have a mediator in the 
presence of God ; even Jesus our high priest who appeareth 
before God continually to make intercession for us : come 
therefore with holy boldness, and confidence, and joy, 
having so sure and powerful a friend with God, the beloved 
of the Father, whom he heareth always. 

Direct, v. * Look carefully to the state of thy soul, that 
thou bring not an unholy heart to worship the Most Holy 
God.' Come not in the love of sin, nor in the hatred of ho- 


liness ; for otherwise thou hatest God, and art hated of him, 
as bringing that before him which he cannot but hate. And 
it is easy to judge how unfit they are to worship God, that 
hate him ; and how unlike they are to be accepted by him 
whom he hateth. " My voice shalt thou hear in the morn- 
ing, O Lord ; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto 
thee, and will look up. For thou art not a God that hath 
pleasure in wickedness, neither shall evil dwell with thee. 
The foolish shall not stand in thy sight ; thou hatest all the 
workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak 
leasing: the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man. 
But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude 
of thy mercies ; and in thy fear will I worship toward thy 
holy temple ^" " If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord 
will not hear me ""." ** Who shall abide in God's taberna- 
cle, but he that walketh uprightly and worketh righteous- 
ness " V God will be sanctified in them that come nigh him ; 
and are unsanctified persons fit for this ? and can the un- 
holy offer him holy worship ? ** The carnal mind is enmity 
against God ;" is it fit then to serve and honour him ^ ? 
*' Let him that nameth the name of Christ depart from ini- 
quity p." It is a purified, peculiar, holy people that Christ 
hath redeemed to be the worshippers of God, and as priests 
to ^* offer him acceptable sacrifice^." If you will " receive 
the kingdom that cannot be moved, you must have grace 
in your hearts to serve God acceptably with reverence and 
godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire^" I know an 
ungodly person, as soon as he hath any repenting thoughts, 
must express them in confession and prayer to God. But 
as no prayers of an ungodly man are profitable to him, but 
those which are acts of his penitent return towards God ; 
so no worship of God hath a promise of Divine acceptance, 
but that which is performed by such as sincerely return to 
God : (and such are not ungodly). " The sacrifice of the 
wicked is abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the 
•upright is his delight \" I know the wicked must " seek 
the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he 

» Psal. V. 3—7. " Psal. Ixvi. 18. r " Psal. xv. 1, 2. 

o Rom. viii. 7, 8. Sec 2 Cor. vi. 15—18. p 2 Tim. ii. 19. 

q Til. ii. 14. 1 Pet. ii. 5, 9. ^ Heb. xii. 28,i39. 

• Prov. XV. 8, 



is near :" but it must be in " forsaking his way and thoughts 
and turning to the Lord*." Simon Magus must first "re- 
pent of his wickedness," and then pray that the thoughts 
of his heart may be forgiven him". O come not in thy un- 
holy, carnal state to worship God, unless it be as a penitent 
returner to him, to lament first thy sin and misery, that 
thou mayst be sanctified, and reconciled, and fit to wor- 
ship him. 

Direct, vi. * Yet take it not as sufficient that thou art in 
a state of sanctification, but also particularly sanctify thy- 
self to every particular address to God in holy worship.* 
Even the child of a king will not go rudely in dirt and fil- 
thiness into his father's presence. Who would not search 
his heart and life, and cleanse his soul from his particular 
pollution, by renewed repentance and purposes of reforma- 
tion, before he venture to speak to God ? Particular sins 
have made sad breaches between God and his children, and 
made foul work in souls that the blood of Christ had cleansed. 
Search therefore with fear, lest there should be any reviving 
sin, or any hidden root of bitterness, or any transgression 
which thou winkest at, or wilfully cherishest in thyself; 
that, if there be such, thou mayst bewail and hate it, and 
not come to God as if he had laid by his hatred of sin. 

Direct. \ 11. * Whenever thou comest to worship God, 
labour to awaken thy soul to a reverent apprehension of the 
presence, and greatness, and holiness of his majesty, and 
to a serious apprehension of the greatness and excellency 
of the holy work which thou takest in hand.' Remember 
with whom thou hast to do ''. To speak to God, is another 
kind of work than to speak to the greatest prince on earth, 
yea, or the greatest angel in heaven. Be holy, for the Lord 
your God is holy. To sanctify the name of God, and come 
in holiness before him, is to apprehend him as infinitely ad- 
vanced above the whole creation, and to come with hearts 
that are separated from common things to him, and elevated 
above a common frame. A common frame of heart in wor- 
ship (such as we have about our common business) is mere 
profaneness. If it be common it is unclean. Look to your 
feet when you go to the house of God y. Put off the shoes 
of earthly, common, unhallowed affections, whenever you 

*■ Isa. Iv. 6, 7. " Acts viii. '2'2. ^ Heb. iv. 13. > lied. v. 1. 


tread on holy ground, that is, when you are about holy work, 
and when you draw near the Holy God. In reverent ado- 
ration say as Jacob, " How dreadful is this place ! this ia 
none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of 

Direct, viii. ' In the worship of God, remember your 
communion with the holy angels, and with all the hosts of 
heaven.' You are the servants of the same God, and though 
you are yet far below them, you are doing that which tend- 
eth towards their dignity ; for you must be equal with them. 
Your work is partly of the same kind with theirs : it is the 
same holy Majesty that you admire and praise, though you 
see him yet but as in a glass. And the angels are some of 
them present with you, and see you though you see not 
them : you are commanded to respect them in your behaviour 
in God's worship. If the eye of faith were so far opened, 
as that in all your worshipping of God, you saw the blessed 
companies of angels, though not in the same place and 
manner with you, yet in the same worship and in commu- 
nion with you, admiring, magnifying, extolling, and prais- 
ing the Most Glorious God, and the glorified Redeemer, 
with flaming, fervent, holy minds, it would sure do much 
to elevate your souls, and raise you up to some imitation 
and resemblance of them*. You find that in God's public 
worship, it is a great help to the soul, in holy cheerfulness 
and fervour, to join with a full assembly of holy, fervent, 
cheerful worshippers : and that it is very difficult to the 
best, to keep up life and fervent cheerfulness in so small, or 
ignorant, or profane a company, as where there is none to 
concur with us. O then, what a raising help would it be, 
to praise God as within the sight and hearing of the hea- 
venly praises of the angelical choir ! You see how apt men 
are to be conformed to the company that they are in. They 
that are among dancers, or gamesters, or tipplers, or filthy 
talkers, or scorners, or railers, are apt to do as the company 
doth, or at least to be the more disposed to it. And they 
that are among saints, in holy worship or discourse, are apt 
to imitate them much more than they would do in other 

-^ Gen xxviii. 17. Seelsa. vi, 1,3, 5. 

» See Mr. Ambrose's book of Coramunioa wiiii Angels ; and Zanchy on the 
same subject: and Mr. Lawrence's and Dr. Hammond's Annotat.on 1 Cor. xi. 


company. And what likelier way is there, to make you 
like angels in the worshipping of God, than to do it as in 
the communion of the angels ? and by faith to see and hear 
them in the concert? The angels disdain not to study our 
studies, and to learn " by the church the manifold wisdom 
of God ^." They are not so far from us, nor so strange to 
us and our affairs, as that we should imagine ourselves to be 
out of their communion. Though we may not worship 
them*", we must worship as with them. 

Direct, ix. * Take special care to the matter of your 
worship, that it be such as is agreeable to the will of God, 
to the holiness of his nature, and the directions of his Word ; 
and such as hath a promise of his acceptance.' Offer him 
not the sacrifice of fools, who know not that they do evil, 
and are adding to their sins, while they think they are pleas- 
ing him. Bring no false fire unto his altars : let your zeal 
of God be according to knowledge. For no zeal will make 
a corrupt, unlawful kind of worship, to be acceptable unto 

Direct, x. * See that you perform every part of worship 
to the proper end to which it is appointed : both as to the 
ultimate, remote, and nearest end.' The end is essential to 
these relative duties. If you intend not the right end, you 
make another thing of it : as the preaching of a sermon to 
edify the church, or putting up a prayer to procure God*s 
blessings, is not the same thing as a stageplayer's profane 
repeating the same words in scorn of godliness, or an hypo- 
crite's using them for commodity or applause. The ultimate 
end of all worship and all moral actions is the same, even 
the pleasing and glorifying God*^. Besides which every 
part of worship hath its proper, nearest end. These must 
not only be distinctly known, but actually intended. It is 
God in Christ that a holy worshipper thirsteth after and 
seeketh for in every part of worship, either to know more 
of God, and of his will, and blessings ; or to have some 
more communion with him, or some further grace commu- 

»» Eph.iii. 10. 1 Pet. i. 12. c Col. ii. 18. 

_ «i Adulterium est, impiiun est, sacrilcgiuni est, quodcunque Imniauo lumrc iu- 

stituitur, ut dispositio Divina violetur. Cyprian. Eccli-s. v. 1, 2. Lev. x. 1 3. 

Ilom. X. 2, 3. 

'^ 1 Cor. X. .U. 2 Tim. ii. 4. 


nicated from him, to receive his pardoning, or cleansing, 
or quickening, or confirming, or comforting, or exalting 
grace ; to be honoured or delighted in his holy service, or 
to make known his grace and glory for the good of others, 
and the honour of his name. Here it is that God proclaim- 
eth his name as Exod. xxxiv. 6. The ordinances of God's 
worship are like the tree in which Zaccheus climbed up 
(being of himself too low) to have a sight of Christ. Here 
we come to learn the will of God for our salvation ; and 
must enter the assembly with such resolutions as Cornelius 
and his company met. Acts x. 33. " We are all here met 
to hear all things commanded thee of God :" and as Acts 
ii. 37. and Acts xvi. 30. to learn what we must do to be 
saved. Hither we come for that holy light, which may 
shew us our sin, and shew us the grace which we have re- 
ceived, and shew us the unspeakable love of God, till we are 
humbled for sin, and lifted up by faith in Christ, and 
can with Thomas, as it were, put our fingers into his wounds, 
and say in assurance, " My Lord and my God :" and as Psal. 
xlviii. 14. " This God is our God forever and ever: he will 
be our guide even unto death." Here we do as it were with 
Mary sit at the feet of Jesus, to hear his Word^, that fire 
from heaven may come down upon our hearts, and we may 
say, " Did not our hearts burn within us while he spake to us, 
and while he opened to us the Scriptures s?" Here we cry 
to him as the blind man, " Lord that I may receive my 
sight." We cry here to the watchmen, " Saw ye him whom 
my soul loveth''." Here we are in his " banqueting house," 
under the " banner of his love *." We have here the sealing 
and quickenings of his Spirit, the mortification of our sin, 
the increase of grace, and a prospect into life eternal, and a 
foresight of the endless happiness there. See then that you 
come to the worship of God with these intentions and ex- 
pectations ; that if God or conscience call to you (as God 
did sometime to Elias) " what dost thou here ?" you may 
truly answer, I came to seek the Lord my God, and to learn 
his will that I might do it. And that your sweet delights 
may make you say, " Blessed are they that dwell in thy 
house, they 'will be still praising thee''." If thou come to 

^ Luke X. 39. ^ Luke xxiv. 32. •* Cant, iiu 3. 

' Cant. ii. 4. ^ Psal. Ixxxiv, 4. 


the worship of God in mere custom, or to make thy carnal 
heart believe that God will forgive thee because thou so far 
servest him, or to quiet thy conscience with the doing of 
a formal task of duty, or to be seen of men, or that thou mayst 
not be thought ungodly, if these be thy ends, thou wilt 
speed accordingly. A holy soul cannot live upon the air of 
man's applause, nor upon the shell of ordinances, without 
God who is the kernel and the life of all : it is the love of 
God that brings them thither, and it is love that they are 
exercising there, and the end of love, even the nearer ap- 
proach of the soul to God, which they desire and intend. 
Be sure then that these be the true and real intentions of 
thy heart. 

Quest. ' But how shall 1 know whether indeed it be God 
himself that I am seeking, and that I perform his worship 
to the appointed ends V 

Amw. In so great a business it is a shame to be unac- 
quainted with your own intentions. If you take heed what 
you do, and look after your hearts, you may know what you 
come for, and what is your business there. But more par- 
ticularly you may discern it by these marks: 1. He that 
hath right ends, 3.nd seeketh God, will labour to suit all his 
duties to those ends, and will like that best which is best 
suited to them : he will strive so to preach, and hear, and 
pray, not as tends most to preferment or applause, but as 
tendeth most to please and honour God, and to attain his 
grace : and he will love that sermon or that prayer best, that 
is best fitted to bring up his soul to God, and not that which 
tickleth a carnal ear. Mark what you fit the means to, and 
you may perceive what is your end. 2. If it be God him- 
self that you seek after in his worship, you will not be sa- 
tisfied without God : it is not the doing of the task that will 
satisfy you, nor yet the greatest praise of men, no not of 
the most godly men; but so far as you have attained your 
end, in the cleansing, or quickening, or strengthening of 
the soul, or getting somewhat nearer God, or pleasing or 
honouring him, so far only you will be contented. 3. If 
God be your end, you will be faithful in the use of that 
more private and spiritual worship, where God is to be found, 
though no human applause be there to be attained. 4. And 
you will love still the same substantial, necessary truth and 


duty, which is to your souls as bread and drink is to your 
bodies ; when those that have carnal ends will be looking 
after variety and change, and will be weary of the necessary 
bread of life. By observing these things you may discern 
what are your ends in worship. 

And here I must not let go this necessary Direction, till 
I have driven on the reader with some more importunity to 
the serious practice of it. It is lamentable to see, how many 
turn the worship of God into vile hypocrisy, and dead for- 
mality ; and offer God a carrion for a sacrifice, and yet their 
consciences are so far from checking them for this heinous 
sin, that they are much pleased and quieted by it, as if they 
had deserved well of God, and proved themselves very godly 
people, and by this sin had made him amends for the com- 
mon sins of their lives. Is it God himself, and his sancti- 
fying grace that those men seek after in his worship, who 
hate his grace and scorn sanctification, and can leave God 
to be enjoyed by others, if they may but enjoy their fleshly 
pleasures, and riches, and honours in the world ? Even the 
haters of God and holiness are so blinded, as to persuade 
themselves that in his worship they are truly seeking that 
God and holiness which they hate. And O what a deal of 
pains is many a formal hypocrite at to little purpose ; in spend- 
ing many hours in outside, heartless, lifeless worship, while 
they never thirsted after God, nor after a holy conformity 
to him, communion with him, or fruition of him, in all their 
lives ! O what a deal of labour do these Pharisees lose in 
bodily exercise which profiteth nothing, for want of a right 
end in all that they do I because it is not God that they 
seek : when " godliness is profitable to all things ^" And 
what is godliness but the soul's devotedness to God, and 
seeking after him? We have much ado to bring some men 
from their diversions to God's outward worship : but O how 
much harder is it to bring the soul to seek God unfeignedly 
in that worship where the body is present ! When David 
in the wilderness was driven from the sanctuary, he crieth 
out in the bitterness of his soul, " As the hart panteth after 
the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee O God : my 
soul thirsteth for God, for the living God : when shall I 
come and appear before God : my tears have been my meat 

' 1 Tim. iv- 8. 


day and night, while they continually say unto me, where is 
thy God ?" You see here that it was God himself that Da- 
vid thirsted after in his worship. Alas ! what is all the out- 
ward pomp of worship, if God be not the end and life of all? 
Without him how vain a, thing would the words of prayer, 
and preaching, and the administration of the sacraments 
be ? It is not the dead letter, but the quickening spirit that 
maketh the dead in sin to live ; that convinceth or comfort- 
eth the soul ; or maketh the worshipper holy or happy. 
Nay it is some aggravation of your misery, to be destitute 
of true communion with God, while you seem to worship 
him ; and to be far from him in the heart, while you draw 
so near him with the lips : to boast of the temple of the 
Lord, and be forsaken by the Lord of the temple ! That 
Capernaum shall be cast down to hell, that is but thus lift 
up to heaven ; and it will be easier for Sodom in the day of 
judgment, than for such as had the public ordinances with- 
out God. David left the ark with Absalom at Jerusalem ; 
but God was not with Absalom but with David. No mar- 
vel if such hypocrites grudge at all that is costly in God's 
service ; even the necessary maintenance of the ministers : 
for if they have only the shell of ordinances without God, it 
will scarce requite them for their cost. No marvel if they 
think all their pains too much, when they take up with the 
chaff which is scarcely worth their pains. No wonder if 
they find small pleasure in God's service : for what plea- 
sure is there in the husks or chaff, or in a deaf nut? No 
wonder if they grow no better, no holier or stronger by it: 
for what strength will chaff and shadows breed? No mar- 
vel if they are quickly weary, and if a little of such religion 
seem enough, when the life, and spirits, and strength, and 
sweetness is neglected. O sinners, remember, that God de- 
sireth not yours but you, and all your wealth and service is 
as nothing to him, if he have not yourselves, (when yet you 
are so little worth the having). Nay, how earnestly doth he 
sue to have you ! How dearly hath he bought you ! he may 
challenge you as his own. Answer this kindness of God 
aright : let no ordinance nor any common mercy satisfy you, 
if you have not God himself. And to encourage you let 
me further tell you, , 

If it be God himself that thou seekest in his worship 


(sincerely) thou shalt find him : because thou hast chosen 
the better part, it shall not be taken from thee. Because 
thou hungerest and thirstest after him thou shalt be satisfied. 
What joyful news is this to the thirsty soul! 2. Thou art 
most welcome to God with these high desires : this holy 
ambition and aspiring of love is only acceptable to him. If 
all ordinances be nothing to thee without God, he will see 
that thou understandest the true use of ordinances, and put 
down thy name among his lovers, whom he cannot despise. 
He loveth not to see men debase their souls, to feed on 
husks and chaff with hypocrites, any more than to feed on 
filth and dirt, with sensualists and worldlings. As he ac- 
cepted Solomon's prayer because he asked not for little 
things, but for great, so he is very much pleased with the 
soul, that is unsatisfied with all the world, and can be con- 
tent with nothing lower or worse than God himself. 3. Nay 
because thou seekest God himself, thou shalt have all things 
with him that are worth the having™. When hypocrites 
have but the carcase and shadow, it is thou that shalt have 
the substantial food and joy. As they that were with Paul 
when he was converted, did hear the voice but saw no man"; 
so others shall hear the sound of the Word, and the name 
of God ; but it is thou that shalt see him by faith that is in- 
visible, and feel the power and efficacy of all. Thou shalt 
hear God speak to thee, when he that sitteth in the same 
seat with thee, shall hear no more than the voice of man. 
It is he that seeketh after God in his ordinances, that is re- 
ligious in good sadness, and is employed in a work, that is 
worthy of an immortal, rational soul. The delights of ordi- 
nances as they are performed by man, will savour of his im- 
perfections, and taste of the instrument, and have a bitter- 
ness often mixed with the sweet; when the delight that 
cometh from God himself will be more pUre. Ordinances 
are uncertain : you may have them to-day, and lose them 
to-morrow ! when God is everlasting, and everlastingly to 
be enjoyed. O therefore take not up short of God, in any 
of his worship, but before you set upon it, call up your souls 
to mind the end, and tell them what you are going to do, 
that you miss not of the end for want of seeking it. The 
devil will give hypocritical worldlings leave to play them 

n» Mattvi. 33. Rom. viii. 28. » Actsix.?. 



with the most excellent ordinances, if he can but keep God 
out of sight, even as you will let your children play them 
with a box of gold, as long as it is shut, and they see not 
what is within. 

Direct, xi. 'Be laborious with your hearts in all God's 
worship to keep them employed on their duty; and be 
watchful over them, lest they slug or wander/ Remember 
that it is heart-work that you are principally about. And 
therefore see that your hearts be all the while at work. Take 
yourselves as idle when your hearts are idle. And if you 
take not pains with them, how little pains will they take in 
duty ! If you watch them not, how quickly will they lie 
down, and forget what they are doing, and fall asleep when 
you are in treaty with God ! How easily will they turn 
aside, and be thinking of impertinent vanities? Watch 
therefore unto prayer and every duty **. 

Direct, xii. ' Look up to heaven as that which all your 
duties tend to, that from thence you may fetch your encou- 
raging motives.' Do all as a means to life eternal : separate 
no duty from its reward and end. As the traveller remem- 
bereth whither he is going all the way, and a desired end 
doth make the foulest steps seem tolerable ; so think ir 
every prayer you put up, and in every duty, that it is all for 

Direct, xiii. ' Depend upon the Spirit of God for help.' 
You cannot seek God spiritually and acceptably without 
him. Think not that you are sufficient to worship God 
aright without his help. Where this is despised or neglect- 
ed, you see what lamentable work is made by blind, cor- 
rupted nature in God's service. Sensual wretches that have 
not the Spirit, are fitter for any thing than to worship GodP. 
** If he that hath not the Spirit of Christ be none of his^" 
then he that pretends to worship God without the Spirit of 
Christ, can ill think to be heard for the sake of Christ. 

Direct, xiv. ' Look also to your tongues and the de- 
portment of your bodies, that the whole man may worship 
God in holiness as he requireth.' Pretend not your good 
meanings, nor the spirituality of your worship, to excuse 
you from worshipping also with your bodies. Your hearts 

« 1 Pet. iv. 7. 2 Tim. iv. 5. v Jude 19. i Rom. viii. 9. 

VOL. V. C 


must be first looked to ; but your words and bodies must 
next be looked to : and if you regard not these, it is hardly 
credible that you regard your hearts. 1. Your words and 
gestures are the due expression of your hearts : and the heart 
will desire to express itself as it is. Many would express 
their hearts to be better than they are ; and therefore good 
expressions are oft to be suspected. But few would ex- 
press their hearts as worse than they are ; and therefore bad 
appearances do seldom lie. 2. Your words and actions are 
needful to the due honouring of God. As evil words and 
actions do dishonour him, and the unseemly, disorderly per- 
formance of his service, is very injurious to such holy things ; 
so your meet and comely words and gestures are the exter- 
nal beauty of the worship which you perform : and God 
should be served with the best. 3. Your words and ges- 
tures reflect much on your own hearts. As acts tend to the 
increase of the habits ; so the external expressions tend to 
increase the internal affections, whether they be good or 
evil. 4. Your words and gestures must be regarded for the 
good of others, who see not your hearts, but by these ex- 
pressions. And where many have communion in worship- 
ping God, such acts of communion are of great regard. 


Directions about the Manner of Worship, to avoid all Corrup- 
tions, and Jake, unacceptable Worshipping of God. 

The lamentable contentions that have arisen about the 
manner of God's worship, and the cruelty, and blood, and 
divisions, and uncharitable revilings which have thence fol- 
lowed, and also the necessary regard that every Christian 
must have to worship God according to his will, do make it 
needful that I give you some Directions in this case. 

Direct, i. * Be sure that you seriously and faithfully prac- 
tise that inward worship of God, in which the life of religion 
doth consist : as to love him above all, to fear him, believe 
him, trust him, delight in him, be zealous for him ; and that 


your hearts be sanctified unto God, and set upon heaven 
and holiness :* for this, will be an unspeakable help to set 
you right in most controversies about the worshipping of 
God '\ Nothing hath so much filled the church with con- 
tentions, and divisions, and cruelties about God's worship, 
as the agitating of these controversies by unholy, unexpe- 
rienced persons : when men that hate a holy life, and holy 
persons, and the holiness of God himself, must be they that- 
dispute what manner of worship must be offered to God by 
themselves and others; and when the controversies about 
God's service are fallen into the hands of those that hate all 
serious serving of him, you may easily know what work 
they will make of it. As if sick men were to determine or 
dispute what meat and drink themselves and all other men 
must live upon, and none must eat but by their prescripts, 
most healthful men would think it hard to live in such a 
country. As men are within, so will they incline to worship 
God without. Outward worship is but the expression of in- 
ward worship : he that hath a heart replenished with the love 
and fear of God, will be apt to express it by such manner of 
worship, as doth most lively and seriously express the lovs 
and fear of God. If the heart be a stranger or an enemy to 
God, no marvel if such worship him accordingly. O could 
we but help all contenders about worship to the inward light, 
and life, and love, and experience of holy, serious Chris- 
liiftns, they would find enough in themselves, and their ex- 
periences, to decide abundance of controversies of this kind : 
(though still there will be some, that require also other helps 
to decide them). It is very observable in all times of the 
church, how in controversies about God's worship, the ge- 
nerality of the godly, serious people, and the generality of 
the ungodly and ludicrous worshippers, are ordinarily of 
differing judgments ! and what a stroke the temper of the 
soul hath in the determination of such cases ! 

Direct. II. * Be serious and diligent also in all those 
parts of the outward worship of God that all sober Chris- 
tians are agreed in.' For if you be negligent and false in so 
tnuch as you confess, your judgment about the controverted 
part is not much to be regarded. God is not so likely to 

^ Read on this subject a small book which I have written, catled '* Catholiq 


direct profane ones and false-hearted hypocrites, and bless 
them with a sound judgment in holy things, (where their 
lives shew that their practical judgments are corrupt,) as the 
sincere that obey him in that which he revealeth to them. 
We are all agreed that God's Word must be your daily me- 
ditation and delight** ; and that you should " speak of it lying 
down and rising up, at home and abroad*';" and that we 
must be constant, fervent, and importunate in prayer, both 
in public and private*^. Do you perforin this much faith- 
fully or not ? If you do, you may the more confidently ex- 
pect that God should further reveal his will to you, and re- 
solve your doubts, and guide you in the way that is pleasing 
to him. But if you omit the duty that all are agreed on, 
and be unfaithful and negligent in what you know, how un- 
meet are you to dispute about the controverted circum- 
stances of duty ! To what purpose is it, that you meddle in 
such controversies? Do you do it wilfully to condemn your- 
selves before God, and shame yourselves before men, by 
declaring the hypocrisy which aggravateth your ungodli- 
ness? What a loathsome and pitiful thing is it, to hear a 
man bitterly reproach those who differ from him in some 
circumstances of worship, when he himself never seriously 
worshippeth God at all ! When he meditateth not on the 
Word of God, and instead of delighting in it, maketh light 
of it, as if it little concerned him ; and is acquainted with 
no other prayer than a little customary lip service ! Is such 
an ungodly neglecter of all the serious worship of God, a 
fit person to fill the world with quarrels about the manner of 
his worship ? 

Direct, iii. ' Differ not in God's worship from the com- 
mon sense of the most faithful, godly Christians, without 
great suspicion of your own understandings, and a most di- 
ligent trial of the case.' For if in such practical cases the 
common sense of the faithful be against you, it is to be sus- 
pected that the teaching of God's Spirit is against you : for 
the Spirit of God doth principally teach his servants in the 
matters of worship and obedience. 

There are several errors that I am here warning you to 
avoid : 1 . The error of them that rather incline to the j udg- 

»» Psal. i. 2. "^ Deut. vi. 6—8. 

^ 1 Thess. V. 17. Luke xvjii. 1. James v. 16. 



ment of the ungodly multitude, who never knew what it was 
to worship God in spirit and truth. Consider the great dis- 
advantages of these men to j udge aright in such a case. (1 .) 
They must judge then without that teaching of the Spirit, 
by which things spiritual are to be discerned ^. He that is 
blind in sin must judge of the mysteries of godliness. (2.) 
They must judge quite contrary to their natures and inclina- 
tions, or against the diseased habits of their wills. And if 
you call a drunkard to judge of the evil of drunkenness, or 
a whoremonger to judge of the evil of fornication, or a covet- 
ous, or a proud, or a passionate man to judge of their 
several sins, how partial will they be? And so will an 
ungodly man be in judging of the duties of godliness. 
You set him to judge of that which he hateth. (3.) You 
set him to judge of that which he is unacquainted with. It 
is like he never throughly studied it : but it is certain he 
never seriously tried it, nor hath the experience of those, 
that have long made it a great part of the business of their 
lives. And would you not sooner take a man's judgment 
in physic, that hath made it the study and practice of his 
life, than a sick man's that speaketh against that which he 
never studied or practised, merely because his own stomach 
is against it? Or will you not sooner take the judgment 
of an ancient pilot about navigation, than of one that never 
was at sea? The difference is as great in this present case. 
2. And I speak this also to warn you of another error, 
that you prefer not the judgment of a sect or party, or some 
few godly people, against the common sense of the general- 
ity of the faithful : for the Spirit of God is more likely to 
have forsaken a small part of godly people, than the gene- 
rality, in such particular opinions, which even good men 
may be forsaken in : or if it be in greater things, it is more 
unreasonable and more uncharitable for me to suspect that 
most that seem godly are hypocrites and forsaken of God, 
than that a party, or some few are so. 

Direct, iv. * Yet do not absolutely give up yourselves to 
the judgment of any in the worshipping of God, but only 
use the advice of men in a due subordination to the will of 
God, and the teaching of Jesus Christ/ Otherwise you will 
set man in the place of God, and will reject Christ in his 

c 1 Cor. ii. 15, 15 


prophetical office, as much as using co-ordinate mediators, 
is a rejecting him in his priestly office. None must be cal- 
led master, but in subordination to Christ, because he is our 
master ^. 

Direct, v. * Condemn not all that in others, which you 
dare not do yourselves ; and practise not all that yourselves, 
which you dare not condemn in others ^.' For you are more 
capable of judging in your own cases, and bound to do it 
with more exactness and diligent inquiry, than in the case 
of others. Oft-times a rational doubt may necessitate you 
to suspend your practice, as your belief or judgment is sus- 
pended ; when yet it will not allow you to condemn another 
whose judgment and practice hath no such suspension. On- 
ly you may doubt whether he be in the right, as you doubt 
as to yourself. And yet you may not therefore venture to 
do all that you dare not condemn in him ; for then you must 
wilfully commit all the sins in the world, which your weak- 
ness shall make a doubt or controversy of. 

Direct, vi. * Offer God no worship that is clearly contrary 
to his nature and perfections, but such as is suited to him as 
he is revealed to you in his Word.' Thus Christ teacheth 
us, to worship God as he is : and thus God often calleth for 
holy worship, because he is holy. 1. "God is a Spirit: 
therefore they that worship him, must worship him in spirit 
and in truth : (which Christ opposeth to mere external cere- 
mony or shadows ;) for the Father seeketh such to worship 
him ^.'* 2. God is incomprehensible, and infinitely distant 
from lis : therefore worship him with admiration, and make 
not either visible or mental images of him, nor debase him 
by undue resemblance of him to any of his creatures'. 3. 
God is omnipresent, and therefore you may every where lift 
up holy hands to him . And you must always worship him 
as in his sight. 4. God is omniscient, and knoweth your 
hearts, and therefore let your hearts be employed and watch- 
ed in his worship. 5. God is most wise, and therefore not 
to be worshipped ludicrously with toys, as children are 

^ Matt, xx'iii. 8—10. s See Rom. xiv. xv. 1 Cor. viii. 13. 

h John iv. 23, 24. 

' The second comtnaudmeut. Cicero de Nat. Deor. lib. i. sailii, that Possidoui- 
U3 believed that Epicurus thought there was tio God, but put a scorn upon him by 
describing him like a man, idle, careless, &c. which lie would not have done if he 
had thought their was a God. 


pleased with to quiet them, but with wise and rational wor- 
ship. 6. God is most great, and therefore to be worship- 
ped with the greatest reverence and seriousness ; and not 
presumptuously, with a careless mind, or wandering 
thoughts, or rude expressions. 7. God is most good and 
gracious, and therefore not to be worshipped with back- 
wardness, unwilliilgness, and weariness, but with great de- 
light. 3. God is most merciful in Christ, and therefore not 
to be worshipped despairingly, but in joyful hope. 9. God 
is true and faithful, and therefore to be worshipped belie v- 
ingly and confidently, and not in distrust and unbelief. 10. 
God is most holy, and therefore to be worshipped by holy 
persons, in a holy manner, and not by unholy hearts or lips, 
nor in a common manner, as if we had to do but with a man. 
11. He is the Maker of your souls and bodies, and there- 
fore to be worshipped both with soul and body. 12. He is 
your Redeemer and Saviour, and therefore to be worshipped 
by you as sinners in the humble sense of your sin and misery, 
and as redeemed ones in the thankful sense of his mercy, 
and all in order to your further cleansing, healing, and re- 
covery. 13. He is your Regenerator and Sanctifier, and 
therefore to be worshipped not in the confidence of your na- 
tural sufficiency, but by the light, and love, and life of the 
Holy Ghost. 14. He is your absolute Lord, and the owner 
of you and all you !have, and therefore to be worshipped 
with the absolute resignation of yourself and all, and ho- 
noured with your substance, and not hypocritically, with 
exceptions and reserves. 15. He is your sovereign King, 
and therefore to be worshipped according to his laws, with 
an obedient kind of worship, and not after the traditions of 
men, nor the will or wisdom of the flesh. 16. He is your 
heavenly Father, and therefore all these holy dispositions, 
should be summed up into the strongest love, and you 
should run to him with the greatest readiness, and rest in 
him with the greatest joy, and thirst after the full fruition 
of him with the greatest of your desires, and press towards 
him for himself with the most fervent and importunate suits. 
All these the very being and perfections of God will teach 
you in his worship : and therefore if any controverted wor- 
ship be certainly contrary to any of these, it is certainly 
unwarranted and unacceptable unto God. 

Direct, vii. * Pretend not to worship God by that which 


is destructive, or contrary to the ends of worship.' For the 
aptitude of it as a means to its proper end, is essential to it. 
Now the ends of worship are, 1. The honouring of God. 2. 
The edifying of ourselves in holiness, and delighting our 
souls in the contemplation and praises of his perfections. 
3. The communicating this knowledge, holiness, and de- 
light to others, and the increase of his actual kingdom in 
the world. (1.) Avoid then all that pretended worship 
which dishonoureth God, (not in the opinion of carnal men, 
that judge of him by their own misguided imaginations, but 
according to the discovery of himself to us in his works and 
Word.) Many travellers that have conversed with the more 
sober heathen and Mahometan nations, tell us, that it is not 
the least hindrance of their conversion, and cause of their 
contempt of Christianity, to see the Christians that live 
about them, to worship God so ignorantly, irrationally, and 
childishly as many of them do''. (2.) Affect most that man- 
ner of worship (caeteris paribus) which tendeth most to your 
own right information, and holy resolutions and affections, 
and to bring up your souls into nearer communion and de- 
light in God : and not that which tendeth to deceive, or 
flatter, or divert you from him, nor to be in your ears as 
sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal, or as one that is play- 
ing you a lesson of music ; and tendeth not to make you 
better. (3.) Affect not that manner of worship which is an 
enemy to knowledge, and tendeth to keep up ignorance in 
the world : such as is a great part of the Popish worship, 
especially their reading the Scriptures to the people in an 
unknown tongue, and celebrating their public prayers, and 
praises, and- sacraments in an unknown tongue, and their 
seldom preaching, and then teaching the people to take up 
with a multitude of toyish ceremonies, instead of knowledge, 
and rational worship. Certainly that which is an enemy to 
knowledge, io an enemy to all holiness and true obedience 
and to the ends of worship, and therefore is no acceptable 
worshipping of God. (4.) Affect not that pretended wor- 

^ But with the barbarous it is otherwise, saith Acosta the Jesuit, p. 249. lib. i. 
Proderit quam plurimuin ritus et signa et oninera externum cuhum diligenter curare. 
His quippe et delectantur et detinentur homines aiiimales (N. B.) donee paulatira 
aboleatur memoria et gustus praeteritoruni. So Gr. Nvssen, saith in vita Gr. Neocoes. 
that they turned the Pagan's festivals into festivals for the martyrs, to jilease them 
the better. Which Beda and many others relate of the practice of those times. 



ship which is of itself destructive of true holiness : such as 
is the preaching of false doctrine, not according to godli- 
ness, and the opposition and reproaching of a holy life and 
worship, in the misapplication of true doctrine ; and then 
teaching poor souls to satisfy themselves with their mass, 
and mass ceremonies, and an image of worship, instead of 
serious holiness, which is opposed ; ** He that saith to the 
wicked. Thou art righteous, him shall the people curse, na- 
tions shall abhor him^" And if this be done as a worship 
of God, you may hence judge how acceptable it will be : 
** Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil ; that 
put darkness for light, and light for darkness ; that put bit- 
ter for sweet, and sweet for bitter""." To make people be- 
lieve that holiness is but hypocrisy, or a needless thing, or 
that the image of holiness is holiness itself, or that there is 
no great difference between the godly and ungodly, doth all 
tend to men's perdition, and to damn men by deceiving 
them, and to root out holiness from the earth ". " If thou 
take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my 
mouth ''." (5.) Affect not a dead and heartless way of wor- 
ship, which tendeth not to convince and waken the ungod- 
ly, nor to make men serious as those that have to do with 

Direct, viii. * Let the manner of your worshipping God, 
be suited to the matter that you have in hand." Remember 
that you are speaking to or of the eternal God ; that you 
are employed about the everlasting salvation of your own 
or others' souls ; that all is high and holy that you have to 
do: see then that the manner be answerable hereunto. 

Direct, ix. * Offer God nothing as a part of worship which 
is a lie ; much less so gross a lie as to be disproved by the 
common senses and reason of all the world.' God needeth 
not our lie unto his glory : what worship then do Papists 
offer him in their mass, who take it for an article of their 
faith, that there is no bread or wine left after the consecra- 
tion, it being all transubstantiate into the very body and 
blood of Christ? And when the certainty of all men's 
senses is renounced, then all the certainty of faith, and all 

• Prov. xxiv. a4. "' Isu. v. 20. 

» See Ezek. xxii. 26. xllv. 23. Jcr. xv. 19. « Mai. iii. 18. Psal. i. .w. 


religion is renounced ; for all presuppose the certainty of 

Direct, x. * Worship not God in a manner that is con- 
trary to the true nature, and order, and operations of a ra- 
tional soul.' I mean not to the corrupted nature of man, 
but to nature as rational in itself considered. As 1. Let not 
your mere will and inclination overrule your understand- 
ings ; and say not as blind lovers do, I love this, but I know 
not why : or as children that eat unwholesome meat, be- 
cause they love it p. 2. Let not passion overtop your rea- 
son : worship God with such a zeal as is according to know- 
ledge. 3. Let not your tongues lead your hearts, much 
less overgo them : words may indeed reflect upon the 
heart, and warm it more ; but that is but the secondary use : 
the first is to be the expressions of the heart : you must not 
speak without or against your hearts (that is, falsely) that 
by so speaking you may better your hearts (and make the 
words true, that at first were not true) : unless it be when 
your words are but reading recitations or narratives, and not 
spoken of yourselves. The heart was made to lead the 
tongue, and the tongue to express it, and not to lead it. 
Therefore speak not to God either the words of a parrot, 
which you do not understand, or the words of a liar or hy- 
pocrite, which express not the meaning, or desires, or feel- 
ing of your hearts: but first understand and feel what you 
should speak, and then speak that which you understand 
and feel. 

Quest. * How then can a prayer be lawful that is read or 
heard from a book ? ' 

Answ, There is in reading the eye, and in hearing the ear 
that is first to affect the heart, and then the tongue is to 
perform its office. And though it be sudden, yet the pas- 
sage to the heart is first, and the passage from the heart is 
last : and the soul is quick, and can quickly thus both re- 
ceive, and be affected and express itself. And the case is 
the same in this, whether it be from a book, or from the 
words of another without book : for the soul must do the 
same, as quickly, in joining with another that speaketh be- 
fore us, without a book as with it. 

Direct, xi. 'Understand well how far Christ hath given 

P Read Plutarch ol'Supeislilion. 


a law and a rule for worship to his church in the holy Scrip- 
tures, and so far see that you take it as a perfect rule, and 
swerve not from it by adding or diminishing.' This is a 
matter of great importance by reason of the danger of er-j 
ring on either side. 1. If you think that the Scripture con- 
taineth not any law or rule of worship at all, or not so much 
as indeed it doth, you will deny a principal part of the of- 
fice of Christ, as the king and teacher of the church, and 
will accuse his laws of insufficiency, and be tempted to wor- 
ship him with a human kind of worship, and to think your- 
selves at liberty to worship him according to your own 
imaginations, or change his worship according to the 
fashion of the age or the country where you are. And on 
the other side, if you think that the Scripture is a law and 
rule of worship, more particular than Christ intended it, 
you will involve yourselves and others in endless scruples 
and controversies, and find fault with that which is lawful 
and a duty, because you find it not particularly in the 
Scriptures : and therefore it is exceeding needful to under- 
stand how far it is intended to be herein our law and rule, 
and how far not : to handle this fully would be a digression, 
but I shall briefly answer it. 

1 . No doubt but Christ is the only universal head and 
law-giver to his church ; and that legislation is the first and 
principal part of government ; and therefore if he had made 
no laws for his church, he were not the full governor of it. 
And therefore he that arrogateth this power to himself to be 
law-giver to the church universal (as such) doth usurp the 
kingly office of Christ, and committeth treason against his 
government ; (unless he can prove that Christ hath delega- 
ted to him this chief part of his government, which none 
can do ;) there being no universal law-giver to the church 
but Christ (whether pope or council), no law that is made 
by any mere man can be universally obligatory. There- 
fore seeing the making of all universal laws doth belong on- 
ly to Christ, we may be sure that he hath perfectly done it ; 
and hath left nothing out of his laws that was fit to be there, 
nor nothing at liberty that was fit to be determined and 
commanded. Therefore whatsoever is of equal use or con- 
sideration to the universal church, as it is to any one part 
of it, and to all times as it is to any time of the church. 


should not be made a law by man to any part of the church, 
if Christ have not made it a law to the whole : because else 
they accuse him of being defective in his laws, and because 
all his subjects are equally dependant on him as their King 
and Judge. And no man must step into his throne pretend- 
ing to amend his work which he hath done amiss, or to 
make up any wants, which the chief law-giver should have 
made up, 

2. These laws of Christ for the government of his church, 
are fully contained in the Holy Scriptures : for so much as 
is in nature, is there also more plainly expressed than na- 
ture hath expressed it. All is not Christ's law that is any 
way expressed in Scripture ; but all Christ's laws are ex- 
pressed in the Scriptures : not written by himself, but by 
his Spirit in his apostles, whom he appointed and sent to 
teach all nations to observe whatever he commanded them : 
who being thus commissioned and enabled fully by the Spi- 
rit to perform it, are to be supposed to have perfectly execu- 
ted their commission ; and to have taught whatsoever Christ 
commanded them, and no more as from Christ : and there- 
fore as they taught that present age by voice, who could 
hear them, so they taught all ages after to the end of the 
world by writing, because their voice was not by them to be 

3. So far then as the Scripture is a law and rule, it is a 
perfect rule : but how far it is a law or rule, its own contents 
and expressions must determine. As (1.) It is certain that 
all the internal worship of God (by love, fear, trust, desire, 
&c.) is perfectly commanded in the Scriptures. (2.) The 
doctrine of Christ which his ministers must read and preach 
is perfectly contained in the Scriptures. (3.) The grand 
and constantly necessary points of order in preaching, are 
there also expressed : as that the opening of men's eyes, 
and the converting of them from the power of satan to God 
be first endeavoured, and then their confirmation and fur- 
ther edification, &c. (4.) Also that we humble ourselves 
before God in the confession of our sins. (5.) And that we 
pray to God in the name of Christ for mercy for ourselves 
and others. (6.) That we give God thanks for his mercies 
to the church, ourselves and others. (7.) That we praise 
God in his excellencies manifested in his Word and works 


of creation and providence. (8.) That we do this by sing- 
ing psalms with holy joyfulness of heart. (9.) The matter 
and order of the ordinary prayers and praises of Christians 
is expressed in the Scripture, (as which parts are to have 
precedency in our estimation and desire, and ordinarily in 
our expressions.) (10.) Christ himself hath determined 
that by baptizing them into the name of the Father, the Son, 
and the Holy Ghost, men be solemnly entered into his co- 
venant, and church, and state of Christianity. (11.) And 
he hath himself appointed that his churches hold commu- 
nion with him and among themselves, in the eucharistical 
administration of the sacrament of his body and blood, re- 
presented in the breaking, delivering, receiving and eating 
the consecrated bread, and in the pouring out, delivering, 
receiving and drinking the consecrated wine. (12.) And as 
for the mutable, subservient circumstances and external ex- 
pressions, and actions, and orders, which were not fit to be, 
in particular, the matter of an universal law, but are fit in 
one place, or at one time, and not another, for these he hath 
left both in nature and Scripture such general laws, by which 
upon emergent occasions they may be determined ; and by 
particular providences he fitteth things, and persons, and 
times, and places, so as that we may discern their agreeable- 
ness to the descriptions in his general laws: as that all 
things be done decently, in order and to edification, and in 
charity, unity, and peace. And he hath forbidden general- 
ly doing any thing indecently, disorderly, to the hurt or de- 
struction of our brethren, even the, weak, or to the division 
of the church. (13.) And many things he hath particularly 
forbidden in worship : as making to ourselves any graven 
image, &c. and worshipping angels, &c. 

And as to the order and government of the church (for I 
am willing to dispatch all here together) this much is plain- 
ly determined in Scripture : 1. That there be officers or mi- 
nisters under Christ to be the stated teachers of his people, 
and to baptize, and administer the sacrament of his body 
and blood, and be the mouth and guide of the people in pub- 
lic prayers, thanksgiving and praises, and to bind the im- 
penitent and loose the penitent, and to be the directors of 
the flocks according to the law of God, to life eternal ; and 
their office is described and determined by Christ. 2, It is 


required that Christians do ordinarily assemble together for 
God's public worship ; and be guided therein by these their 
pastors. 3. It is required that besides the unhxed minis- 
ters, who employ themselves in converting infidels, and in 
an itinerant service of the churches, there be also stated, fix- 
ed ministers, having a special charge of each particular 
church ; and that they may know their own flocks, and 
teach them publicly and from house to house, and the peo- 
ple may know their own pastors that are over them in the 
Lord, and honour them and obey them in all that they teach 
them from the Word of God for their salvation. 4. The 
ministers that baptize are to judge of the capacity and fit- 
ness of those whom they baptize ; whether the adults that 
are admitted upon their personal profession and covenant- 
ing, or infants that are admitted upon their parents' profes- 
sion and entering them into covenant. 5. The pastors that 
administer the Lord's supper to their particular flocks, are 
to discern or judge of the fitness of those persons whom 
they receive newly into their charge, or whom they admit 
to communion in that sacrament as members of their flock. 
6. Every such pastor is also personally to watch over all 
the members of his flock as far as he is able ; lest false 
teachers seduce them, or satan get advantage of them, or 
any corruption or root of bitterness spring up among them 
and defile them. 7. It is the duty of the several members 
of the flock, if a brother trespass against them, to tell him 
his faults between them and him : and if he hear not, to 
take two or three, and if he hear not them, to tell the church. 
8. It is the pastor's duty to admonish the unruly, and call 
them to repentance, and pray for their conversion. 9. And 
it is the pastor's duty to declare the obstinately impenitent 
incapable of communion with the church, and to charge 
him to forbear it, and the church to avoid him. 10. It is 
the people's duty to avoid such accordingly, and have no 
familiarity with them that they may be ashamed ; and 
with such, no, not to eat. 11. It is the pastor's duty to ab- 
solve the penitent, declaring the remission of their sin, and 
re-admitting to the communion of the saints. 12. It is the 
people's duty to re-admit the absolved to their communion 
with joy, and to take them as brethren in the Lord. 13. 
Though every pastor hath a general power to exercise his 


office in any part of the church, where he shall be truly cal- 
led to it ; yet every pastor hath a special obligation (and 
consequently a special power) to do it over the flock, of 
which he hath received the special charge and oversight. 
14. The Lord's day is separated by God's appointment for 
the churches' ordinary holy communion in God's worship 
under the conduct of these their guides. 15. And it is re- 
quisite that the several particular churches do^ maintain as 
much agreement among themselves, as their capacity will 
allow them ; and keep due synods and correspondences to 
that end. Thus much of God's worship, and church order 
and government at least is of divine institution, and deter- 
mined by Scripture, and not left to the will or liberty of 
man. Thus far the form of government (at least) is of di- 
vine right. 

But on the contrary, 1. About doctrine and worship; 
the Scripture is no law in any of these following cases, but 
hath left them undetermined. (1.) There are many natural 
truths, which the Scripture meddleth not with : as physics, 
metaphysics, logic, &c. (2.) Scripture telleth not a minis- 
ter what particular text or subject he shall preach on this 
day or that. (3.) Nor what method his text or subject shall 
be opened and handled in. (4.) Nor what day of the week 
besides the Lord's day he shall preach, nor what hour on the 
Lord's day he shall begin. (5.) Nor in what particular 
place the church shall meet. (6.) Nor what particular sins 
we shall most confess : nor what personal mercies we shall 
at this present time, first ask : nor for what we shall now 
most copiously give thanks : for special occasions must de- 
termine all these. (7.) Nor what particular chapter we 
shall now read : nor what particular psalm we shall now 
sing. (8.) Nor what particular translation of the Scripture 
or version of the psalms we shall now use. Nor into what 
sections to distribute the Scripture, as we do by chapters 
and verses. Nor whether the Bible shall be printed or 
written, or in what characters, or how bound. (9.) Nor 
just by what sign 1 shall express my consent to the truths 
or duties which I am called to express consent to (besides 
the sacraments and ordinary words). (10.) Nor whether I 
shall use written notes to help my memory in preaching, or 
preach without. (11.) Nor whether I shall use a writing or 


book in prayer or pray without. (12.) Nor whether I shall 
use the same words in preaching and prayer, or various new 
expressions. (13.) Nor what utensils in holy administra- 
tions I shall use ; as a temple or an ordinary house, a pul- 
pit, a font, a table, cups, cushions, and many such, which 
belong to the several parts of worship. (14.) Nor in what 
particular gesture we shall preach, or read, or hear. (15.) 
Nor what particular garments ministers or people shall 
wear in time of worship. (16.) Nor what natural or artifi- 
cial helps to our natural faculties we shall use : as medica- 
ments for the voice, tunes, musical instruments, spectacles, 
hour-glasses : these and such like are undetermined in 
Scripture and are left to be determined by human prudence, 
not as men please ; but as means in order to the proper end, 
according to the general laws of Christ *^. For Scripture is 
a general law for all such circumstances, but not a particu- 
lar law. 

So also for order and government. Scripture hath not 
particularly determined, 1. What individual persons shall 
be the pastors of the church. 2. Or of just how many per- 
sons the congregation shall consist. 3. Or how the pastors 
shall divide their work where there are many. 4. Nor how 
many every church shall have. 5. Nor what particular peo- 
ple shall be a pastor's special charge. 6. Nor what indi- 
vidual persons he shall baptize, receive to communion, ad- 
monish, or absolve, 7. Nor in what words most of these 
shall be expressed. 8. Nor what number of pastors shall 
meet in synods, for the communion and agreement of seve- 
ral churches, nor how oft, nor at what time or place, nor 
what particular order shall be among them in their consul- 
tations ; with many such like. 

When you thus understand how far Scripture is a law to 
you in the worship of God^ it will be the greatest Direction 
to you, to keep you both from disobeying God and your su- 
periors : that you may neither pretend obedience to man 
for your disobedience to God, nor pretend obedience to God 
against your due obedience to your governors, as those will 
do that think Scripture is a more particular rule than ever 

q Of which I have spoke more fuUj in my Disput, v. of Cliurch GovernraeHt. 
p. 400. &c. 



Christ intended it : and it will prevent abundance of unne- 
cessary scruples, contentions, and divisions. 

Direct, xii. * Observe well in Scripture the difference 
between Christ's universal laws, (which bind all his subjects 
in all times and places,) and those that are but local, perso- 
nal or alterable laws : lest you think that you are bound to 
all that ever God bound any others to.' The universal laws 
and unalterable are those which result from the foundation 
of the universal and unalterable nature of persons and things, 
and those which God hath supernatuially revealed as suit- 
able constantly to all. The particular, local or temporary 
laws are those, which either resulted from a particular or al- 
terable nature of persons and things as mutually related (as 
the law of nature bound Adam's sons to marry their sisters, 
which bindeth others against it) or those which God super- 
naturally enacted only for some particular people or person, 
or for the time. If you should mistake all the Jewish laws 
for universal laws (as to persons or duration) into how many 
errors would it lead you? So also if you mistake every per- 
sonal mandate sent by a prophet or apostle to a particular 
man, as obliging all, you would make a snare of it. Every 
man is not to abstain from vineyards and wine as the Recha- 
bites were ; nor every man to go forth to preach in the garb 
as Christ sent the twelve, and seventy disciples ; nor every 
man to administer or receive the Lord's supper in an upper 
room of a house, in the evening, with eleven or twelve only, 
&c. nor every one to carry Paul's cloak and parchments, 
nor go up and down on the messages which some were sent 
on. And here (in precepts about worship) you must know 
what is the thing primarily intended in the command, and 
what it is that is but a subservient means : for many laws 
are universal and immutable as to the matter primarily in- 
tended, which are but local and temporary as to the matter 
subservient and secondarily intended. As the command of 
saluting one another with a holy kiss, and using love-feasts 
in their sacred communion primarily intended the exercising 
and expressing holy love by such convenient signs as were 
then in use, and suitable to those times ; but that it be 
done by those particular signs, was subservient, and a local 
alterable law; as appeareth, 1. In that it is actually laid 
down by God's allowance. 2. In that in other places and 

VOL. V. D 


times the same signs have not the same signification, and 
aptitude to that use at all, and therefore would be no such 
expression of love ; or else have also some ill signification. 
So it was the first way of baptizing to dip them over-head ; 
which was fit in that hot country, which in colder countries 
it would not be, as being destructive to health, and more 
against modesty ; therefore it is plain that it was but a local, 
alterable law. The same is to be said of not eating things 
strangled, and blood, which was occasioned by the offence 
of the Jews ; and other the like. This is the casein almost 
all precepts about the external worshipping gestures : the 
thing that God commanded universally is a humble, reve- 
rent adoration of him by the mind and body. Now the ado- 
ration of the mind is still the same ; but the bodily expres- 
gion altereth according to the custom of countries : in most 
countries kneeling or prostration are the expressions of 
greatest veneration and submission : in some few countries 
it is more signified by sitting with the face covered with 
their hands: in some it is signified best by standing: kneel- 
ing is ordinarily most fit, because it is the most common 
sign of humble reverence ; but where it is not so, it is not 
fit. The same we must say of other gestures, and of habits : 
the women among the Corinthians were not to go uncover- 
ed because of the angels ^ ; and yet in some places where 
long hair or covering may have a contrary signification, the 
case may be contrary. The very fourth commandment how- 
ever it was a perpetual law as to the proportion of time, yet 
was alterable as to the seventh day. Those which I call 
universal laws, some call moral ; but that is no term of dis- 
tinction, but signifieth the common nature of all laws, which 
are for the governing of our manners. Some call them na- 
tural laws, and the other positive : but the truth is, there 
are some laws of nature which are universal, and some that 
are particular, as they are the result of universal or particu- 
lar nature : and there are some laws of nature that are per- 
petual, which are the result of an unaltered foundation : and 
there are some that are temporary, when it is some tempora- 
ry, alterable thing in nature from whence the duty doth re- 
§}}\t : so there are some positive laws that are universal or 

' 1 Cor, XT. 10. 


unalterable, (during this world) and some that are local, 
particular or temporary only. 

Direct, xiii. * Remember that whatever duty you seem 
obliged to perform, the obligation still supposeth that it is 
not naturally impossible to you, and therefore you are 
bound to do it as well as you can : and when other men's 
force, or your natural disability hindereth you from doing it 
as you would, you are not therefore disobliged from doing- 
it at all : but the total omission is worse than the defective 
performance of it, as the defective performance is worse than 
doing it more perfectly '. And in such a case the defects 
which are utterly involuntary are none of yours imputative- 
ly at all, but his that hindereth you (unless as some other 
sin might cause thatj. As if I were in a country where I 
could have liberty to read and pray, but not to preach, or to 
preach only once a month and no more ; it is my duty to do 
so much as I can do, as being much better than nothing, 
and not to forbear all, because I cannot do all. 

Object. * But you must forbear no part of your duty? ' 
Afisw. True : but nothing is my duty which is naturally im- 
possible for me to do. Either I can do it, or I cannot : if I 
can, I must (supposing it a duty in all other respects), but 
if I cannot, I am not bound to it. 

Object. ' But it is not suffering that must deter you, for 
that is a carnal reason : and your suffering may do more 
good than your preaching.' A71SW. Suffering is considera- 
ble either as a pain to the flesh, or as an irresistible hin- 
drance of the work of the Gospel : as it is merely a pain to 
the flesh, I ought not to be deterred by it from the work 
of God ; but as it forcibly hindereth me from that work,(^as 
by imprisonment, death, cutting out the tongue, &c.) I may 
lawfully foresee it, and by lawful means avoid it, when it is 
sincerely for the work of Christ, and not for the saving of 
the flesh. If Paul foresaw that the preaching of one more 
sermon at Damascus was like to hinder his preaching any 
more, because the Jews watched the gates day and night to 
kill him, it was Paul's duty to be let down by the wall in a 
basket, and to escape, and preach elsewhere*. And when 
the Christians could not safely meet publicly, they met in 

• See Mr. Truman's book of Natural and Moral Inipotency. 

« Acts ix. 25. 


secret ". Whether Paul's suffering at Damascus for preach- 
ing one more sermon, or his preaching more elsewhere, was 
to be chosen, the interest of Christ and the Gospel must 
direct him to resolve : that which is best for the church, is 
to be chosen. 

Direct, xiv. ' Remember that no material duty is for- 
mally a duty at all times : that which is a duty in its sea- 
son, is no duty out of season.' Affirmative precepts bind 
not to all times, (except only to habits, or the secret inten- 
tion of our ultimate end, so far as is sufficient to animate 
and actuate the means, while we are waking and have the 
use of reason). Praying and preaching, that are very great 
duties, may be so unseasonably performed, as to be sins : 
if forbearing a prayer, or sermon, or sacrament one day or 
month, be rationally like to procure your help or liberty to 
do it afterward, when that once or few times doing it were 
like to hinder you from doing it any more, it would be your 
duty then to forbear it for that time (unless in some extra- 
ordinary case) : for even for the life of an ox or an ass, and 
for mercy to men's bodies, the rest and holy work of a sab- 
bath might be interrupted ; much more for the souls of 
many. Again I warn you, as you must not pretend the in- 
terest of the end against a peremptory, absolute command 
of God, so must you not easily conclude a command to be 
absolute and peremptory to that which certainly contradicts 
the end ; nor easily take that for a duty, which certainly is 
no means to that good which is the end of duty, or which 
is against it. Though yet no seeming aptitude as a means, 
must make that seem a duty, which the prohibition of God 
hath made a sin. 

Direct, xv. 'It is ever unseasonable to perform a lesser 
duty of worship, when a greater should be done ; therefore 
it much concerneth you to be able to discern, when two du- 
ties are inconsistent, which is then the greater and to be 
preferred :' in which the interest of the end must much di- 
rect you ; that being usually the greatest which hath the 
greatest tendency to the greatest good. 

Direct, xvi. ' Pretend not one part of God's worship 
against another, when all, in their place and order, may be 
done.' Set not preaching and praying against each other ; 

" John xix. 38. Acts xii. 12. &c. 


nor public and private worship against each other ; nor in- 
teinal worship against external ; but do all. 

Direct, xvii. * Let not an inordinate respect to man, or 
common custom be too strong a bias to pervert your judg- 
ments from the rule of worship ; nor yet any groundless 
prejudice make you distaste that which is not to be dis- 
liked.' The error on these two extremes doth fill the world 
with corruption and contentions about the worship of God. 
Among the Papists, and Russians, and other ignorant sorts 
of Christians, abundance of corruptions are continued in 
God's worship by the mere power of custom, tradition, and 
education : and all seemeth right to which they have been 
long used : and hence the churches in South, East,^ and 
West continue so long overspread with ignorance, and re- 
fuse reformation''. And on the other side mere prejudice 
makes some so much distaste a prescribed form of prayer, 
or the way of worship which they have not been used to, 
and which they have heard some good men speak against, 
whose judgments they most highly esteemed, that they have 
not room for sober, impartial reason to deliberate, try, and 
judge. Factions have engaged most Christians in the world 
into several parties, whereby satan hath got this great ad- 
vantage, that instead of worshipping God in love and con- 
cord, they lay out their zeal in an envious, bitter, censorious, 
uncharitable reproaching the manner of each other's worship. 
And because the interest of their parties requireth this, they 
think the interest of the church and cause of God requireth 
it ; and that they do God service when they make the re- 
ligion of other men seem odious : when as among most 
Christians in the world, the errors of their modes of worship 
are not so great as the adverse parties represent them (ex- 
cept only the two great crimes of the popish worship : 1. 
That it is not understood, and so is soulless. 2. They wor- 
ship bread as God himself, which I am not so able as will- 
ing to excuse from being idolatry). Judge not in such cases 
by passion, partiality, and prejudice y. 

" Majus fidei impedimentum ex inveterate consuetudine proficiscitur : ubique 
consuetudo magnas vires habet; sed in barbaris longe niaxinias: quippe ubi rationis 
est minimum, ibi consuetudo radices prot'undissimas agit. In onini natura raotio eo 
diuturnior ac vehementior, quo niagis est ad ununi determinata. Jos. Acosta dc 
Ind. lib. ii. p. 2-19. 

y See Bishop Jer. Taylor's late book against Popery. 

3B r'HiM»i'»^^^ niRECTORY. [PART III. 

Direct, xviii. * Yet judge in all such controversi'es with 
that reverence and charity which is due to the universal and 
the primitive church.' If you find any thing in God's wor- 
ship which the primitive or universal church agreed in, you 
may be sure that it is nothing but what is consistent with 
acceptable worship ; for God never rejected the worship of 
the primitive or universal church. And it is not so much 
as to be judged erroneous without great deliberation and 
very good proof. We must be much more suspicious of our 
own understandings. 

Direct, xix. * In circumstances and modes of worship 
not forbidden in the word of God, affect not singularity, 
and do not easily differ from the practice of the church in 
which you hold communion, nor from the commands or di- 
rections of your lawful governots.' It is true, if we are for- 
bidden with Daniel to pray, or with the apostles to speak 
any more in the name of Christ, or are commanded as the 
three witnesses, Dan. iii., to worship images, we must rather 
obey God than man ; and so in case of any sin that is com- 
manded us : but in case of mere different modes, and circum- 
stances, and order of worship, see that you give authority 
and the consent of the church where you are their due. 

Direct, xx. * Look more to your own hearts than to the 
abilities of the ministers, or the ceremonies or manner of the 
churches' worship in such lesser things.' It is heart-work 
and heaven-work that the sincere believer comes about ; and 
it is the corruption of his heart that is his heaviest burden, 
which he groaneth under with the most passionate com- 
plaints : a hungry soul, inflamed with love to God and man, 
and tenderly sensible of the excellency of common truths 
and duties, would make up many defects in the manner of 
public administration, and would get nearer God in a de- 
fective, imperfect mode of worship, than others can do with 
the greatest helps : when hypocrites find so little work with 
their hearts and heaven, that they are taken up about words, 
and forms, and ceremonies, and external things, applauding 
their own way, and condemning other men's, and serving 
satan under pretence of worshipping God. 



Directions about the Christian Covenant with God, atid 


Though the first Part of this book is little more than an 
explication of the Christian covenant with God, yet being 
here to speak of baptism as a part of God's worship, it is 
needful that I briefly speak also of the covenant itself. 

Direct, i. '' It is a matter of great importance that you 
well understand the nature of the Christian covenant, what 
it is/ I shall therefore here briefly open the nature of it, 
and then speak of the reasons of it : and then of the so- 
lemnizing it by baptism, and next of our renewing it, and 
lastly of our keeping it. 

The Christian covenant is a contract between God and 
man, through the mediation of Jesus Christ, for the return 
and reconciliation of sinners unto God, and their justifica- 
tion, adoption, sanctification, and glorification by him, to 
his glory. 

Here we must first consider, who are the parties in the 
covenant. 2. What is the matter of the covenant on God's 
part. 3. What is the matter on man's part. 4. What are 
the terms of it propounded on God's part. 5. Where and 
how he doth express it. 6. What are the necessary quali- 
fications on man's part. 7. And what are the ends and be- 
nefits of it. 

I. The parties are God and man : God the Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost on the one part, and repenting, believing 
sinners on the other part. Man is the party that needeth 
it; but God is the party that first offereth it: here note, 1. 
That God's part of the covenant is made universally and 
conditionally with all mankind, (as to the tenor enacted,) 
and so is in being before we were born. 2. That it is not 
the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost considered simply as per- 
sons in the Godhead ; but as related to man for the ends of 
the covenant. 3. That it is only sinners that this covenant 
is made with, because the use of it is for the restoration of 
those that broke a former covenant in Adam. It is a cove- 
nant of reconciliation, and therefore supposeth an enmity 


antecedent. 4. When I say that it is repenting and believ- 
ing sinners that are the party, I mean, (1.) That taking the 
covenant in its first act, it is repentance and faith themselves 
that are that act, and are our very covenanting. (2.) But 
taking the covenant in its external expression, so it is a repent- 
ing, believing sinner that must take it, it being but the expres- 
sion of his repentance and faith, by an explicit contract 
with God. 5. Note, that though God's covenant be by 
one universal act, (of which more anon,) yet man's is to be 
made by the several acts of the individual persons each one 
for himself, and not by the acts of societies only. 

II. The matter of the covenant on God^s part is in ge- 
neral, that He will be our God : more particularly, that 
God the Father will be our Reconciled God and Father in 
Jesus Christ ; that God the Son will be our Saviour ; and 
God the Holy Ghost will be our Sanctifier. And the rela- 
tion of a God to us essentially containeth these three parts : 

1. That as on the title of Creation and Redemption he is 
our Owner, so he doth take us as his own peculiar people. 

2. That as he hath title to be our absolute King or Gover- 
nor, so he doth take us as his subjects. 3. That he will be 
our grand Benefactor and felicity, or our most loving Fa- 
ther (which compriseth all the rest). And as he will be 
thus related to us, so he will do for us all that these rela- 
tions do import. As, 1. He will do all that belongeth to a 
Creator for his creature, in our preservation and supplies. 
2. He will save us from our sins, and from his wrath and 
hell. 3. And he will sanctify us to a perfect conformity to 
our Head. Also, 1. He will use us and defend us as his 
own peculiar ones. 2. He will govern us by a law of grace 
and righteousness. 3. He will make us fully happy in hii& 
love for ever. 

III. The matter on man's part of the covenant is, 1. In 
respect of the * Terminus a quo,' that we will forsake the 
flesh, the world, and the devil as they are adverse to our re- 
lations and duties to God. 2. In regard of the ' Terminus 
ad quem,' that we will take the Lord for our God : and 
more particularly, 1. That we do take God the Father for 
our Reconciled Father in Jesus Christ, and do give up our- 
selves to him, as creatures to their Maker. 2. That we do 
take Jesus Christ for our Redeemer, Saviour, and Mediatar, 


as our High Priest, and Prophet, and King, and do give up 
ourselves to him as his redeemed ones to be reconciled to 
God, and saved by him. 3. That we do take the Holy- 
Ghost for our Regenerator and Sanctifier, and do give up 
ourselves to be perfectly renewed and sanctified by him, and 
by his operations carried on to God in his holy service. 
Also, 1. That we do take God for our absolute Lord or 
Owner, and do give up ourselves to him as his own. 2. 
That we take him for our universal, sovereign Governor, 
and do give up ourselves unto him as his subjects. 3. That 
we do take him for our most bountiful Benefactor, and lov- 
ing Father, and felicity, and do give up ourselves to him as 
his children, to seek him, and please him, and perfectly to 
love him, delight in him, and enjoy him for ever in heaven 
as our ultimate end. And in consenting to these relations, 
we covenant to do the duties of them in sincerity. 

IV. The terms or conditions which God requireth of 
man in his covenant are, consent, and fidelity or perfor- 
mance : he first consenteth conditionally, if we will con- 
sent : and he consenteth to be actually our God, when we 
consent to be his people : so that as bare consent, without 
any performance doth found the relation between husband 
and wife, master and servant, prince and people ; but the 
sincere performance of the duties of the relation which we 
consent to, are needful afterward to continue the relation, 
and attain the benefits and ends ; so is it also between God 
and man. We are his children in covenant as soon as we 
consent; but we shall not be glorified but on condition of 
sincere performance and obedience. 

V. God's covenant with man is nothing else but the 
universal promise in the Gospel ; and (to the solemniza- 
tion,) the declaration, and application, and solemn investi- 
ture or delivery by his authorized ministers. 1 . The Gospel 
as it relateth the matters of fact in and about the work of 
our redemption, is a sacred history. 2. As it containeth 
the terms on which God will be served, and commandeth us 
to obey them for our salvation, it is called the law of Christ 
or grace. 3. As it containeth the promise of life and salva 
tion conditionally offered, it is called God's promise, and 
covenant, (viz. on his part, as it is proposed only). 4. 
When by our consent the condition is so far perform 


ed, or the covenant accepted, then God's conditional, uni- 
versal promise or covenant, becometh actual and particu- 
lar as to the etFect ; and so the covenant becometh mutual 
between God and man : as if a king made an act or law of 
pardon and oblivion to a nation of rebels, saying, ' Whoever 
Cometh in by such a day, and confesseth his fault, and sueth 
out his pardon, and promiseth fidelity for the future shall 
be pardoned.' This act is a law in one respect, and it is an 
universal, conditional pardon of all those rebels ; or a pro- 
mise of pardon ; and an offer of pardon to all that it is re- 
vealed to : but it is an actual pardon to those that come in, 
and conferreth on them the benefits of the act as if they 
were named in it, and is their very title to their pardon, of 
which their consent is the condition ; and the condition 
being performed, the pardon or collation of the benefit be- 
cometh particular and actual, without any new act ; it being 
the sense of the law itself, or conditional grant, that so it 
should do. So as to the reality of the internal covenant-in- 
terest and benefits, j ustification and adoption, it is ours by 
virtue of this universal conditional covenant, when we per- 
form the condition. But as to our title ' in foro Ecclesiee,' 
and the due solemnization and investiture, it is made ours 
when God's minister applieth it to us in baptism by his 
commission. As the rebel that was fundamentally pardoned 
by the act of oblivion, must yet have his personal pardon 
delivered him by the Lord Chancellor under the Great Seal. 
In this sense ministers are the instruments of God, not only 
in declaring us to be pardoned, but in delivering to us the 
pardon of our sins, and solemnly investing us therein : as 
an attorney delivereth possession to one that before had his 
fundamental title. Thus God entereth into covenant with 

VI. The qualifications of absolute necessity to the va- 
lidity of our covenant with God ' in foro interiori' are these, 
1. That we understand what we do as to all the essentials 
of the covenant: for 'ignorantis non est consensus.' 2. 
That it be our own act, performed by our natural, or legal 
selves, that is, some one that hath power so far to dispose 
of us (as parents have of their children). 3. That it be 
deliberate, sober, and rational, done by one that is * compos 
mentis,' in his wits, and not in drunkenness, madness, or 


incogitancy*. 4. That it be seriously done with a real in- 
tention of doing the thing, and not histrionically, ludi- 
crously, or in jest. 5. That it be done entirely as to all es- 
sential parts ; for if we leave out any essential part of the 
covenant, it is no sufficient consent : (as to consent that 
Christ shall be our Justifier, but not the Holy Ghost our 
Sanctifier). 6. That it be a present consent to be presently 
in covenant with God : for to consent that you will be his 
servants to morrow or hereafter, but not yet, is but to pur- 
pose to be in co\enant with him hereafter, and is no present 
covenanting with him. 7. Lastly, it must be a resolved and 
absolute consent without any open or secret exceptions or 

VII. The fruits of the covenant which God reapeth 
(though he need nothing) is the pleasing of his good and 
gracious will, in the exercise of his love and mercy, and the 
praise and glory of his grace, in his people's love and hap- 
piness for ever. The fruits or benefits which accrue to man 
are unspeakable, and would require a volume competently 
to open them : especially that God is our God, and Christ 
our Saviour, Head, Intercessor, and Teacher, and the Holy 
Ghost is our Sanctifier ; and that God will regard us as his 
own, and will protect us, preserve us, and provide for us, and 
will govern us, and be our God and joy for ever : that he 
will pardon us, justify, and adopt us, and glorify us with his 
Son in heaven. 

Direct, ii. * When you thus understand well the nature 
of the covenant, labour to understand the special reasons of 
it.' The reasons of the matter of the covenant you may see 
in the fruits and benefits now mentioned. But I now speak 
of the reason of it as a covenant * in genere,' and such 
a covenant ' in specie.' 1. In general, God will have 
man to receive life or death as an accepter and keeper, 

» Quis vero non doleat baptisrao plerosque adultos initio passim et nostro tem- 
pore non raro ante perfundi quara Chrislianam catechesin vel meniociiter teueant, 
neqiie an flagitiosae et superstitiosae vita; poenitentla tangantur, neque vero id ipsum 
quod accipiunt, an veliiit accipere, satis constet. Acosta lib. vi. c. 2. p. 520. Nisi 
petant et instent. Christians vitae profcssione donandi non sunt. Idem p. 521. And 
again, While ignorant or wicked men do hasten any how, by right or wrong, by guile 
or force, to make the barbarous pco()le Christians, ihey do nothing else but make the 
Gospel a scorn, and certainly destroy the deserters of a rashly undertaken faith. 
Id. ibid. p. 522. 


or a refuser or breaker of his covenant, because he will do 
it not only as a Benefactor, or absolute Lord, but also as a 
Governor, and will make his covenant to be also his law, 
and his promise and benefits to promote obedience. And 
because he will deal with man as with a free agent, and not 
as with a brute that hath no choosing and refusing power 
conducted by reason : man's, life and death shall be in his 
own hands, and still depend upon his own will ; though God 
will secure his own dominion, interest, and ends, and put 
nothing out of his own power by putting it into man's ; nor 
have ever the less his own will, by leaving man to his own 
will. God will at last as a righteous Judge, determine all 
the world to their final joy or punishment, according to 
their own choice while they were in the flesh, and accord- 
ing to what they have done in the body whether it be good 
or evil ^ Therefore he will deal with us on covenant terms. 

2. And he hath chosen to rule and judge men accordir>g 
to a covenant of grace, by a Redeemer, and not according 
to a rigorous law of works, that his goodness and mercy 
may be the more fully manifested to the sons of men ; and 
that it may be easier for men to love him, when they have 
so wonderful demonstrations of his love : and so that their 
service here, and their work and happiness hereafter, may 
consist of love, to the glory of his goodness, and the plea- 
sure of his love for ever. 

Direct, iii. * Next understand rightly the nature, use, 
and end of baptism.' Baptism is to the mutual covenant 
between God and man, what the solemnization of marriage 
is to them that do before consent ; or what the listing a 
soldier by giving him colours, and writing his name, is to 
one that consented before to be a soldier "=. In my " Uni- 
versal Concord," pp. 29, 30., I have thus described it : ' Bap- 
tism is a holy sacrament instituted by Christ, in which a 
person professing the Christian faith (or the infant of such) 
is baptized in water into the name of the Father, the Son, 
and Holy Ghost, in signification and solemnization of the 
holy covenant, in which as a penitent believer (or the seed 
of such) he giveth up himself (or is by the parent given up) 
to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, forsaking the 
devil, the world, and the flesh, and is solemnly entered 

b Matt. XXV. o See the <' Reformed Liturgy," p. 68. 


a visible member of Christ and his church, a pardoned, re- 
generate child of God, and an heir of heaven.' 

As the word * baptism' is taken for mere administration 
or external ordinance, so the internal covenanting or faith 
and repentance of the (adult) person to be baptized, is no 
essential part of it, nor requisite to the being of it ; but 
only the profession of such a faith and repentance, and the 
external entering of the covenant. But as * baptism' is ta- 
ken for the ordinance as performed in all its essential parts, 
according to the true intent of Christ in his institution ; 
(that is, in the first and proper meaning of the word ;) so 
the internal covenanting of a penitent, sincere believer is 
necessary to the being of it. And indeed the w^ord ' bap- 
tism,' is taken but equivocally or analogically at most, when 
it is taken for the mere external administration and action : 
for God doth not institute worship-ordinances for bodily 
motion only ; when he speaketh to man and requireth wor- 
ship of man, he speaketh to him as to a man, and requireth 
human actions from him, even the work of the soul, and not 
the words of a parrot, or the motion of a puppet. There- 
fore the word ' baptism,' in the first and proper signification, 
doth take in the inward actions of the heart, as well as the 
outward profession and actions. And in this proper sense 
* Baptism is the mutual covenant between God the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost, and a penitent, believing sinner, so- 
lemnized by the washing of water, in which as a sacrament 
of his own appointment, God doth engage himself to be the 
God and reconciled Father, the Saviour and Sanctifier of 
the believer, and taketh him for his reconciled child in 
Christ, and delivereth to him, by solemn investiture, the 
pardon of all his sins, and title to the mercies of this life 
and of that which is to come.' What I say in this descrip- 
tion of a penitent believer, is also to be understood of the 
children of such, that are dedicated by them in baptism to 
God, who thereupon have their portion in the same cove- 
nant of grace. 

The word ' baptism' is taken in the first sense, when Si- 
mon Magus is said to be baptized *^ ; and when we speak of 
it only in the ecclesiastic sense, as it is true baptism ' in foro 
ecclesiae.' But it is taken in the latter sense, when it is 

<* Acts viii. 


spoken of as the complete ordinance of God, in the sense of 
the institution, and as respecting the proper ends of baptism, 
as pardon of sin and life eternal, and * in foro coeli.' 

In this full and proper sense it is taken by Christ when 
he saith, " He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved*; 
that is, he that believeth, and is by baptism entered into the 
covenant of God. And in this sense the ancients took it, 
when they affirmed that all that were baptized were regene- 
rated, pardoned, and made the children of God. And in 
this sense it is most true, that he that is baptized (that is, 
is a sincere covenanter,) shall be saved if he die in that con- 
dition that he is then in ^ AH that the minister warrantably 
baptizeth are sacramentally regenerate, and are * in foro ec- 
clesiae' members of Christ, and children of God, and heirs 
of heaven : but it is only those that are sincerely delivered 
up in covenant to God in Christ, that are spiritually and 
really regenerate, and are such as shall be owned for mem- 
bers of Christ and children of God ' in foro cceli.' There- 
fore it is not unfit that the minister call the baptized, rege- 
nerate and pardoned members of Christ, and children of 
God, and heirs of heaven, supposing that ' in foro ecclesise* 
they were the due subjects of baptism. But if the persons 
be such as ought not to be baptized, the sin then is not in 
calling baptized persons regenerate, but in baptizing those 
that ought not to have been baptized, and to whom the seal 
of the covenant was not due. 

None ought to be baptized but those that either per- 
sonally deliver up themselves in covenant to God the Fa- 
ther, Son, and Holy Ghost, professing a true repentance, 
and faith, and consent to the covenant ; or else are thus de- 
livered up, and dedicated, and entered into covenant in their 
infancy, by those that being Christians themselves have so 
much interest in them and power of them, that their act 
may be esteemed as the infant's act, and legally imputed to 
them as if themselves had done it. If any others are unduly 
baptized, they have thereby no title to the pardon of sin or 
life eternal, nor are they taken by God to be in covenant, as 
having no way consented to it. 

e Mark xvi. 16. 

f Read the Propositions of the Synod in New England, and the Defence of 
them against Mr. Davenport, about the subject of Baptism. 


Direct, iv. * When you enter a child into the Christian 
covenant with God, address yourselves to it as to one of 
the greatest works in the world : as those that know the 
greatness of the benefit, of the duty, and of the danger/ 
The benefit to them that are sincere in the covenant, is no 
less than to have the pardon of all our sins, and to have 
God himself to be our God and Father, and Christ our Sa- 
viour, and the Holy Ghost our Sanctifier, and to have title 
to the blessings of this life and of that to come. And for 
the duty, how great a work is it for a sinner to enter into" so 
solemn a covenant with the God of heaven, for reconcilia- 
tion and newness of life, and for salvation ? And therefore 
if any should abuse God by hypocrisy, and take on them to 
consent to the terms of the covenant, (for themselves, or 
their children,) when indeed they do not, the danger of such 
profaneness and abuse of God must needs be great. Do it 
therefore with that due preparation, reverence, and serious- 
ness, as beseemeth those that are transacting a business of 
such unspeakable importance with God Almighty. 

Direct. V. ' Having been entered in your infancy into 
the covenant of God by your parents, you must, at years of 
discretion, review the covenant which by them you made, 
and renew it personally yourselves ; and this with as great 
seriousness, and resolution, as if you were now first to enter 
and subscribe it, and as if your everlasting life or death, 
were to depend on the sincerity of your consent, and per- 
formance.' For your infant baptismal covenanting will 
save none of you that live to years of discretion, and do not 
as heartily own it in their own persons, as if they had been 
now to be baptized. But this I pass by, having said so 
much of it in my " Book of Confirmation." 

Direct, vi. 'Your covenant thus, l.Made; 2. Solem- 
nized by baptism ; 3. And owned at age ; must, 4. Be fre- 
quently renewed through the whole course of your lives.' 
As, (1.) Your first consent must be habitually continued all 
your days ; for if that ceaseth, your grace and title to the 
benefits of God's covenant ceaseth. (2.) This covenant is 
virtually renewed in every act of worship to God : for you 
speak to him as your God in covenant, and offer yourselves 
to him as his covenanted people. (3.) This covenant should 
be actually renewed frequently in prayer and meditation. 


and other such acts of communion with God. (4.) Espe- 
cially when after a fall we beg the pardon of our sins, and 
the mercies of the covenant, and on days of humiliation and 
thanksgiving, and in great distresses, or exhilarating mer- 
cies. (5.) And the Lord's supper is an ordinance instituted 
to this very end. It is no small part of our Christian dili- 
gence and watchfulness, to keep up and renew our cove- 

Direct, vii. * And as careful must you be to keep or per- 
form your covenant, as to enter it, and renew it : which is 
done, 1. By continuing our consent; 2. By sincere obe- 
dience; 3. And by perseverance.' We do not (nor dare 
not) promise to obey perfectly, nor promise to be as obe- 
dient as the higher and better sort of Christians, though we 
desire both : but to obey sincerely we must needs promise, 
because we must needs perform it. 

Obedience is sincere, 1. When the radical consent or 
subjection of the heart to God in Christ is habitually and 
heartily continued. 2. When God's interest in us is most 
predominant, and his authority and law can do more with 
us, than any fleshly lust or wordly interest, or than the au- 
thority, word, or persuasions of any man whosoever. 3. 
When we unfeignedly desire to be perfect, and habitually 
and ordinarily have a predominant love to all that is good, 
and a hatred to that which is evil ; and had rather do our 
duty than be excused from it, and rather be saved from our 
sin than keep it. 

Direct. \ 111. ' While you sincerely consent unto the co- 
venant, live by faith upon the promised benefits of it, be- 
lieving that God will make good on his part all that he hath 
promised. Take it for your title to pardon, sonship, and 
eternal life. O think what a mercy it is to have God 
in covenant with you to be your God, your Father, Sa- 
viour, and Sanctifier and felicity ! And in this continually 




Directions about the Profession of our Religion to others. 

Direct, i. * Understand first how great a duty the pro- 
fession of true religion is, that you may not think as some 
foolish people, that every man should conceal his religion, 
or keep it to himself*/ Observe therefore these reasons 
follow^ing which require it. 

1. Our tongues and bodies are made to exercise and 
shew forth that acknowledgment and adoration of God which 
is in our hearts. And as he denieth God with the heart 
who doth not believe in him and worship him in his heart , 
so he denieth God imputatively with his tongue and life, 
who doth not profess and honour him with his tongue and 
life ; and so he is a practical atheist. " I have sworn by 
myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, 
and shall not return. That unto me every knee shall bow, 
every tongue shall swear. Surely shall one say. In the Lord 

have I righteousness and strength In the Lord shall all 

the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory *»." " Where- 
fore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a 
name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every 

knee should bow and that every tongue should confess 

that Jesus Christ is the Lord, to the glory of God the Fa- 
ther """ " One shall say, I am the Lord's : and another 
shall call him by the name of Jacob : and another shall sub- 
scribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by 
the name of Israel ^" 

2. The public assemblies, and worship of God, are pur- 
posely appointed by him, that in them we might make open 
profession of our religion. He that denieth profession, de- 
nieth the public faith and worship of the church, and de- 

* Nemo jam infamiam incutiat ; nemo aliud existiroet : quin nee fas est ulli de 
wk religione mentiri. £x qo enim quod aliud a se coli dicit quam colit, et culturam 
et hoiiorem in alterum transferendo, jam non colit quod negavit : dicimus, et palam 
dicimus et vobis torquentibus lacerati et cruenti vociferamur, Deum colimus per Chris- 
tum : Tertul. Apolog. c. 11. 

«» Isa. xk. 23—25. « Phil. ii. 9—11. •* Isa. xliv. 5. 

VOL. V. K 


nieth baptism and the Lord's supper, which are sacraments 
appointed for the solemn profession of our faith. 

3. Our profession is needful to our glorifying God. 
Men see not our hearts, nor know whether we believe in 
God or not, nor what we believe of him, till they hear or see 
it in our profession and actions. Paul's life and death was 
a profession of Christ, that in his " boldness Christ might 
be magnified in his body S" " Ye are the light of the world ! 
a city that is set upon a hill cannot be hid. Neither do 
men light a candle to put it under a bushel, but on a can- 
dlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house. 
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your 
good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven ^" 

4. Our profession is the means of saving others : that 
which is secret, is no means to profit them. They must see 
our good works that they may glorify God s. 

5. God hath required our open and bold profession of 
him, with the strictest commands, and upon the greatest 
penalties. " Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be 
ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh 
you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and 
fear^." "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord 
Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised 
him from the dead, thou shalt be saved : for with the heart 
man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth con- 
fession is made unto salvation'." "Whosoever shall be 
ashamed of me and my words, in this adulterous and sinful 
generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, 
when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy 
angels ''." 

Direct, ii. Next, * Understand what it is in religion that 
you must principally profess.' It is not every lesser truth, 
much less every opinion of your own, in which you are con- 
fident that you are wiser than your brethren. This is the 
meaning of Rom. xiv. 22. " Hast thou faith ? have it to thy- 
self fiefore God." By " faith" here is not meant the sub- 
stance of the Christian belief, or any one necessary article 
of it. But a belief of the indifFerency, of such things as 
Paul spake of, in meats and drinks. If thou know these 

« Phil. i. 20. f Matt. v. 14—16. S Phil. i. 12—14. 

»• i Pet. V. 3. * Rom. ix. 9, 10. ^ Mark riii. 38. 


things to be lawful when thy weak brother doth not, and so 
thou be wiser than he, thank God for thy knowledge, and 
use it to thy own salvation ; but do not proudly and uncha- 
ritably contend for it, and use it uncharitably to the danger 
of another's soul, much less to the wrong of the church and 
Gospel, and the hindrance of greater truths. " Of these . 
things put them in remembrance," (that is, of the saints' 
hope in God's faithfulness,) " charging them before the 
Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but the 
subverting of the hearers^" Yet "for the faith we must 
earnestly contend." " But foolish and unlearned -questions 
avoid, knowing that they do gender strife. And the ser- 
vant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle to all men""." 

But that which is the chiefest matter of our profession 
is. The being and perfections of God himself; his love to 
man, and power over him, and man's subjection and obliga- 
tions unto God ; the person, and office, and works, and bene- 
fits of our Redeemer, with all the duty that we owe to him 
in perfect holiness, and all the hopes that we have in him : 
the happiness of the saints, the odiousness of sin, and the 
misery of the wicked. These, and such as these are things 
that we are called to profess : yet so as not to deny or re- 
nounce the smallest truth. 

Direct, iii. ' Understand also the manner how we must 
make profession of religion.' 1. There is a professing by 
words, and a professing by actions. 2. There is a solemn 
profession by God's public ordinances, and an occasional or 
more private profession by conference, or by our conversa- 
tions. And all these ways must religion be professed. 

Direct, iv. ' Understand also the season of each sort of 
profession, that you omit not the season, nor do it unsea- 
sonably.' 1. Profession by baptism. Lord's supper, and 
church assemblies, must be done in their season, which the 
church guides are the conductors of. 2. Profession by an 
innocent, blameless, obedient life is never out of season. 
3. Profession by private conference, and by occasional acts 
of piety, must be when opportunity inviteth us, and they are 
likely to attain their ends. 4. The whole frame of a belie- 
ver's life should be so holy, and heavenly, and mortified, and 
above the world, as may amount to a serious profession that 

> 2 Tim. ii. 14. "> Jiide t, 3. 2 Tim. ii. 23, 24. 


he liveth in confident hope of the life to come, and may 
shew the world the difference between a worldling and an 
heir of heaven; between corrupted nature and true grace. 
The professors of godliness must be a peculiar people, zea- 
lous of good works, and adorned with them. 

Direct, v. * Take special care that your profession be sin- 
cere, and that you be yourselves as good as you profess to 
be. Otherwise, 1. Your profession will condemn your- 
selves. 2. And it will dishonour the truth which you de- 
ceitfully profess. There can scarce a greater injury befal a 
good cause, than to have a bad and shameful patron to de- 
fend it. " And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest 
them which do such things, and dost the same, that thou 
shalt escape the judgment of God. Thou that makes t thy 
boast of the law, through breaking of the law dishonourest 
thou God ? For the name of God is blasphemed among 
the Gentiles through you"." 

Direct, vi. * Let not your profession be so much of your 
own sincerity, as of God and his excellencies : boast not of 
yourselves, but of God and Christ, and the promise, and the 
hope of true believers ; and do it to God's praise, and not 
for your own.' Be sure that in all your profession of reli- 
gion, you be seeking honour to God, and not unto your- 
selves. And then in this manner he that doubteth of his 
own sincerity, yet may and must make profession of Christ 
and true religion : when you cannot proclaim the upright- 
ness of your own hearts, you may boldly proclaim the ex- 
cellencies of religion, and the happiness of saints. 

Direct, vii. * Live upon God alone, and trust his all-suf- 
ficiency, and abhor that pusillanimity and baseness of spi- 
rit which maketh men afraid or ashamed openly to own the 
truth.' Remember the example of your Lord, who before 
Pontius Pilate, " witnessed a good confession °/' who came 
" for this end into the world, to bear witness to the truth p." 
Fear not the face of man, whose breath is in his nostrils, 
and is perishing even while he is threatening "i. Ifyoube- 

n Rom. ii. 3. 13—25. " 1 Tim. vi. 13. p John xviii. 37. 

<i The Arians under Valens, and the Vandals still silenced the orthodox preachers 
and forbad their meetings, and 3 et the people adhered to their pastors and kept the 
meetings, while they could. Sa?pius prohibitum est ut sacerdotes cstri conventus mi- 
nime celebrarent, nee sua seditione animas subverterenl Christianas. Prsecept. Hun- 
ner. in Victore Uticens. p. 414. 


lieve not that heaven will satisfy for all that by scoriiS Of 
cruelties thou sufFerest from sinners, thou hast not indeed 
the hope of a believer. And no wonder if thou profess not 
that which thou believest not : but if thou believe that God 
is God, and Christ is Christ, and heaven is heaven, and the 
Gospel is true, thou hast enough in thy belief to secure thee 
against all the scorns and cruelties of man, and to tell thee 
that Christ will bear thy charges, in all that thou sufFerest 
for his sake. O what abundance are secretly convinced of 
the truth, and their consciences bear witness to the wisdom 
of the saints, and a holy life ; and yet they dare not openly 
own and stand to the truth which they are convinced of for 
fear of being mocked by the tongues of the profane, or for 
fear of losing their places and preferments ! O wretch, dost 
thou not tremble when thou art ashamed of Christ, to think of 
the day wh en he will be ashamed of thee ? Then when he comes 
in glory none will be ashamed of him ! Then where is the tongue 
that mocked him and his servants ? Who then will deride 
his holy ways ? Then that will be the greatest glory, which 
thou art now ashamed of. Canst thou believe that day, 
and yet hide thy profession, through cowardly fear or shame 
of man ? Is man so great, and is Christ no greater in thine 
eyes than so ? If he be not more regardable than man, be- 
lieve not in him : if he be, regard him more ; and let not a 
worm be preferred before thy Saviour. 

Direct, viii. ' If any doubt arise, whether thou shouldst 
now make profession of the truth, (as in the presence of 
scomers, or when required by magistrates or others, &c.) 
let not the advice or interest of the flesh have any hand at 
all in the resolving of the case ; but let it be whoHy deter- 
mined as the interest of Christ requireth.' Spare thyself 
when the interest of Christ requireth it; not for thyself, 
but for him. But when his interest is most promoted by 
thy suffering, rejoice that thou art any way capable of serv- 
ing him. 

Direct, tx. * Though sometimes a particular profession 
of the faith may be unseasonable, yet you must never make 
any profession of the contrary, either by words or actions.' 
Truth may be sometimes silenced, but a lie may never be 
professed or approved. 


Direct, X. ' If any that profess Christianity reproach you 
for the profession of holiness and diligence, convince them 
that'they hypocritically profess the same, and that holiness 
is essential to Christianity :' open their baptismal covenant 
to them, and the Lord's prayer in which they daily pray that 
God*s will may be done on earth even as it is in heaven, 
which is more strictly than the best of us can reach. The 
difference between them and you is but this, whether we 
should be Christians hypocritically in jest, or in good ear- 


Directions about Vows and Particular Covenants with God. 

Tit, 1. Directions for the Right Making such Vows and Cove- 

Direct, i. 'Understand the nature of a vow, and the use 
to which it is appointed.' 

A vow is a promise made to God. 1. It is not a bare 
assertion or negation. 2. It is not a mere pollicitation, or 
expression of the purpose or resolution of the mind : for he 
that saith or meaneth no more than, ' I am purposed ox re- 
solved to do this,' may upon sufficient reason do the contra- 
ry : for he may change his mind and resolution, without any 
untruth or injury to any. 3. It is not a mere devoting of a 
thing to God for the present by actual resignation. For 
the present actual delivery of a thing to sacred uses is no 
promise for the future : though we usually join them both 
together, yet * devovere' may be. separated from 'vovere.* 
4. It must be therefore a promise, which is, a voluntary 
obliging one's self to another * de futuro' for some good. 5. 
It is therefore implied that it be the act of a rational crea- 
ture, and of one that in that act hath some competent use of 
reason, and not of a fool, or idiot, or madman, or a child 
that hath not reason for such an act, no nor of a brain-sick, 
or melancholy person, who (though he be ' ceetera sanus* ) is 
either delirant in that business, or is irresistibly borne down 
and necessitated by his disease to vow against the sober. 


deliberate conclusion of his reason at other times, having at 
the time of vowing, reason enough to strive against the act, 
but not self-government enough to restrain a passionate, 
melancholy vow. 6. Whereas some casuists make delibera- 
tion necessary, it must be understood that to the being of a 
vow so much deliberation is requisite as may make it a ra- 
tional human act, it must be an act of reason : but for any 
further deliberation, it is necessary only to the well-being, 
and not to the being of a vow, and without it it is a rash vow, 
but not no vow*. 7. When we say, it must be a voluntary 
act, the meaning is not that it must be totally and absolutely 
voluntary, without any fear or threatening to induce us to 
it ; but only that it be really voluntary, that is, an act of 
choice, by a free agent, that considering all things doth 
choose so to do. He that hath a sword set to his breast, 
and doth swear or vow to save his life, doth do it voluntarily, 
as choosing rather to do it than to die. Man having free- 
will, may choose rather to die, than vow if he think best : 
his will may be moved by fear, but cannot be forced by any 
one, or any means whatsoever. 8. When I say that a vow 
is a promise, I imply that the matter of it is necessarily 
some real or supposed good ; to be good, or to do good, or 
not to do evil. Evil may be the matter of an oath, but it 
is not properly a vow, if the matter be not supposed good; 
9. It is a promise made to God, that we are now speaking 
of; whether the name of a vow belong to a promise made 
only to man, is a question * de nomine' which we need not 
stop at. 

A vow is either a simple promise to God, or a promise 
bound with an oath or imprecation. Some would appro- 
priate the name of a vow to this last sort only, (when men 
swear they will do this or that,) which indeed is the most 
formidable sort of vowing; but the true nature of a vow is 
found also in a simple self-obliging promise. 

The true reason and use of vows is but for the more cer- 
tain and effectual performance of our duties : not to make 
new laws, and duties, and religions for us, but to drive on 

* Viris gravibus vehementer displicere animadvert!, quod ab indis testimonium 
jurejurando exigitur, cum constet eos facillime pejerare, utpote qui neque juraraenti 
vim sentiant neque veritatis studio tangantur, sed testimonium eo modo dicaat, quo 
credunt judici gratissimum fore, aut a prinio sus factionis horaine cdocti sunt. Hos 
igitur jurare compellere et ipsis exitiosum propter perjuria, &c. Acosta p. 345. 


the backward, lingering soul to do its duty, and to break 
over difficulties and delays : that by strengthening our 
bonds, and setting the danger before our eyes, we may be 
excited to escape it. 

It is a great question, whether our own vows can add any 
new obligation to that which before lay upon us from the 
command of God. Amesius saith (Cas. Consc. lib. iv. c. 16.) 
* Non additur proprie in istis nova obligatio, neque augetur 
inse prior : sed magis agnoscitur et recipitur a nobis : pas- 
sive in istis seque fuimus antea obligati : sed activa recog- 
nitione arctiiis nobis applicatur a nobismetipsis.' Others 
commonly speak of an additional obligation : and indeed 
there is a double obligation added by a vow, to that which 
God before had laid on us, to the matter of that vow. Pre- 
mising this distinction between * Obligatio imponentis,' a 
governing obligation, (which is the effect of governing 
right or authority,) and 'Obligatio consentientis,' a self- 
obliging by voluntary consent, (which is the effect of that 
dominion which a rational free agent hath over his own ac- 
tions,) I say, 1. He that voweth doth oblige himself, who 
before was obliged by God only ; and that a man hath a 
power to oblige himself, is discerned by the light of nature, 
and is the ground of the law of nations, and of human con- 
verse : and though this is no divine obligation, yet is not 
therefore none at all. 2. But moreover he that voweth 
doth induce upon himself a new divine obligation, by 
making himself the subject of it. For example; God hath 
said, " Honour the Lord with thy substance : " this com- 
mand obligeth me to obey it whether I vow it or not. The 
same God hath said, " Pay thy vows to the Most High ^ : ^* 
and, " When thou vowest a vow to God, defer not to pay 
it *"." This layeth no obligation on me till I vow : but 
when I have vowed it doth : so that now I am under a 
double divine obligation (one to the matter of the duty, and 
another to keep my vow), and under a self-obligation of my 
own vow : whence also a greater penalty will be due if I now 
offend, than else would have been. 

Hence you may see what to think of the common deter- 
mination of casuists concerning vows materially sinful, 
when they say, a man is not obliged to keep them. It is 

»» Psal. 1. 14. «^ Ecclcs. V. 4. 


only thus far true, that God obligeth him not to do that par- 
ticular thing which he voweth, for God had before forbidden 
it, and he changeth not his laws, upon man's rash vowings : 
but yet there is a self-obligation which he laid upon himself 
to do it : and this self-obligation to a sinful act, was itself a 
sin, and to be repented of, and not performed : but it bring- 
eth the person under a double obligation to penalty, as a 
perjured person, even God's obligation who bindeth the per- 
jured to penalty, and the obligation of his own consent to 
the punishment, if there was any oath or imprecation in the 
vow. If it were true that such a person had brought him- 
self under no obligation at all, then he could not be proper- 
ly called perjured, nor punished as perjured: but he that^ 
sweareth and voweth to do evil, (as the Jews to kill Paul) 
though he ought not to do the thing, (because God forbid- 
deth it) yet he is a perjured person for breaking his vow, 
and deserveth the penalty, not only of a rash vower, but of 
one perjured. Thus error may make a man sinful and miser- 
able, though it cannot warrant him to sin. 

Direct, II. 'Try well the matter of your vows, and ven- 
ture not on them till you are sure that they are not things 
forbidden : ' things sinful or doubtful are not fit matter for 
a vow : in asserting, subscribing and witnessing, you should 
take care, that you know assuredly that the matter be true, 
and venture not upon that which may prove false : much 
more should you take care that you venture not doubtingly 
in vows and oaths. They are matters to be handled with 
dread and tenderness, and not to be played with, and rashly 
entered on, as if it were but the speaking of a common word : 
" Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thy heart be hasty 
to utter any thing before God ^,' It is a grievous snare that 
men are oft brought into by ignorant and rash vows * : as 
the case of Jephtha, and Herod, and many another tell us 
for our warning : an error in such cases is much more safely 
and cheaply discerned before, than afterwards. To have a 
rash vow, or perjury to repent of, is to set a bone in joint, 
or pull a thorn out of your very eye, and who would choose 

«* Eccles.v. 2. ^ 

* Vid. Sanderson de Juram. Pnelect. vii. Sect. 14. Juramcntum obtatum re- 
luctante vel dubitante eonscientia nou est suscipiendum; 1. Quia quod non est ex 
fide peccatum est. 2. Quiajurandum est in judicio: quod certeis nonfacit qui con- 
tra conscientiae suae judicium facit, &c. ad finein. 


such pain and smart ? " SuiFer not thy mouth to cause thy 
flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel that it was 
an error : wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and 
destroy the work of thy hands ^" " It is a snare to the man 
who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make 
inquiry s." Be careful and deliberate to prevent such 

Direct, iii. * Vow not in a passion :' stay till the storm 
be over : whether it be anger or desire, or whatever the pas- 
sion be, delay and deliberate before you vow : for when pas- 
sion is up, the judgment is upon great disadvantage. In 
your passion you are apt to be most peremptory and confi- 
dent when you are most deceived : if it be your duty to vow, 
it will be your duty to-morrow when you are calm. If you 
say, that duty must not be delayed, and that you must do 
it while the Spirit moveth you : I answer. Was it not as 
much a duty before your passion was kindled as now ? It 
is no sinful delaying of so great a duty, to stay till you 
have well proved whether it be of God. If it be the Spirit 
of Christ that moveth you to it, he will be willing that you 
deliberate and try it by that Word which the same Spirit 
hath indited to be your rule. God's Spirit worketh princi- 
pally upon the judgment and the will, by settled convic- 
tions, which will endure a rational trial : it is more likely to 
be your own spirit which worketh principally on the pas- 
sion, and will not endure the trial, nor come into the light '•. 

Direct, iv. ' Make not a vow of things indifferent and 
unnecessary :' if they be not good, in a true, comparing, 
practical judgment, which considereth all accidents and cir- 
cumstances, they are no fit matter for a vow. Some say, 
things indifferent are the fittest matter both for vows and 
human laws ; but either they speak improperly or untruly, 
and therefore dangerously at the best. If an idle word be a 
sin, then an idle action is not a thing to be vowed, because 
it is not a thing to be done, being as truly a sin as an idle 
word : and that which is wholly indifferent is idle ; for if it 
be good for any thing, it is not wholly indifferent : and be- 
cause it is antecedently useless, it is consequently sinful to 
be done. 

Object. I. ' But those that say things indifferent may be 

f Eccles. V. 6. s Prov. xx. 25. ^ John iii. 18, 19. Isa. riii. 20. 


vowed, mean not, things useless or unprofitable to any good 
end ; but only those things that are good and useful, but 
not commanded : such as are the matter of God's counsels, 
and tend to man's perfection, as to vow chastity, poverty,, 
and absolute obedience/ 

Anws. There are no such things as are morally good, and 
not commanded : this is the fiction of men that have a mind 
to accuse God's laws and government of imperfection, and 
think sinful man can do better than he is commanded, when 
none but Christ ever did so well \ 

Quest. I. What is moral goodness in any creature and 
subject, but a conformity to his ruler's will expressed in his 
law ? And if this conformity be its very form and being, it 
cannot be that any thing should be morally good that is not 

Quest. II. Doth not the law of God command us to love 
him with all our heart, and soul, and strength, and accord- 
ingly to serve him ? And is it possible to give him more 
than all ; or can God come after and counsel us to give him 
more than is possible ? 

Quest, III. Doth not the law of nature oblige us to serve 
God to the utmost of our power ? He that denieth it, is be- 
come unnatural, and must deny God to be God, or deny 
himself to be his rational creature : for nothing is more 
clear in nature, than that the creature who is nothing, and 
hath nothing but from God, and is absolutely his own, doth 
owe him all that he is able to do. 

Quest. IV. Doth not Christ determine the case to his dis- 
ciples, Luke xvii. 10. ? 

A middle between good and evil in morality is a contra- 
diction : there is no such thing ; for good and evil are the 
whole of morality : without these species there is no mo- 

Object. II. 'It seems then you hold that there is rtothing 
indifferent, which is a paradox.' 

Answ. No such matter : there are thousands and millions 
of things that are indifferent ; but they are things natural 
only, and not things moral. They are indifferent as to mo- 

'^Seethe fuurteentli Article of the church of England, against voluntary works, 
over and above God's command mcnts, as impious. 


ral good and evil, because they are neither : but they are not 
' indifFerentia moralia : ' the indifferency is a negation of any 
morality in them ' in genere/ as well as of both the species 
of morality ''. Whatsoever participateth not of virtue or 
vice, and is not eligible or refusable by a moral agent as 
such, hath no morality in it. There may be two words so 
equal as it may be indifferent which you speak ; and two 
eggs so equal, as that it may be indifferent which you eat : 
but that is no more than to say, the choosing of one before 
the other, is not * actus moralis : ' there is no matter of mo- 
rality in the choice. 

Object, Tii. * But if there may be things natural that are 
indifferent, why not things moral ? ' 

Answ. As goodness is convertible with entity, there is 
no natural being but is good : as goodness signifieth com- 
modity, there is nothing but is profitable or hurtful-, and that 
is good to one that is hurtful to another : but if it were not 
so, yet such goodness or badness is but accidental to natu- 
ral being ; but moral goodness and badness is the whole 
essence of morality. 

Object. IV. * But doth not the apostle say, "He that 
marrieth doth well, and he that marrieth not doth better ?" 
Therefore all is not sin, which is not best.' 

Answ, The question put to the apostle to decide, was 
about marrying or not marrying, as it belonged to all Chris- 
tians in general, and not as it belonged to this or that indi- 
vidual person by some special reason differently from others. 
And so in respect to the church in general, the apostle de- 
termineth that there is no law binding them to marry, or 
not to marry : for a law that is made for many must be suited 
to what is common to those many. Now marriage being 
good for one and not for another, is not made the matter 
of a common law, nor is it fit to be so, and so far is left in- 
different; but because that to most it was rather a hin- 
drance to good in those times of the church, than a help, 
therefore for the present necessity, the apostle calleth mar- 

^ Stoici indifFerentia distinguunt : 1. Ea quae neque ad foelicitatem neque ad in- 
foelicitatem conferunt, utsunt divitiae, sanitas, vires, gloria, &c. Nam etsine his con- 
tingit foelicem esse ; cum earum usus vel rectus foelicitatis, vel pravus infoelicitatis 
author sit. 2. Quae neque appetitum neque occasionem movent, ut pares vel inipa- 
res habere capillos, &c. See Diog. Laert. lib. vii, sect. 104. p. 429. 


rying " doing well," because it was not against any univer- 
sal law, and it was a state that was suitable to some ; but 
he calls not marrying " doing better," because it was then 
more ordinarily suited to the ends of Christianity. Now 
God maketh not a distinct law for every individual person 
in the church ; but one universal law for all : and this being 
a thing variable according to the various cases of individual 
persons, was unfit to be particularly determined by an uni- 
versal law. But if the question had been only of any one 
individual person, then the decision would have been thus : 
though marrying is a thing not directly commanded or for- 
bidden, yet to some it is helpful as to moral ends, to some 
it is hurtful, and to some it is so equal or indifferent, that it 
is neither discernibly helpful nor hurtful ; now by the ge- 
neral laws or rules of Scripture to them that ' consideratis 
considerandis' it is discernibly helpful, it is not indifferent, 
but a duty ; to them that it is discernibly hurtful, it is not 
indifferent, but a sin ; to them that it is neither discernibly 
helpful or hurtful as to moral ends, it is indifferent, as being 
neither duty nor sin ; for it is not a thing of moral choice 
or nature at all. But the light of nature telleth us that 
God hath not left it indifferent to men to hinder themselves 
or to help themselves as to moral ends ; else why pray we, 
" Lead us not into temptation ?" And marriage is so great 
a help to some, and so great a hurt to others, that no man 
can say that it is morally indifferent to all men in the world : 
and therefore that being none of the apostle's meaning, it 
followeth that his meaning is as aforesaid. 

• Object. V. * But there are many things indifferent in 
themselves, though not as clothed with all their accidents 
and circumstances : and these actions being good in their 
accidents, maybe the matter of avow.* 

Answ. True, but those actions are commanded duties, 
and not things indifferent as so circumstantiated. It is very 
few actions in the world that are made simply duties or sins, 
in their simple nature without their circumstances and ac- 
cidents : the commonest matter of all God's laws, is actions 
or dispositions which are good or evil in their circumstan- 
ces and accidents. Therefore I conclude, things wholly in- 
different are not to be vowed. 

Direct, v. * It is not every duty that is the matter of a 


lawful vow.' Else you might have as many vows as duties : 
every good thought, and word, and deed might have a vow. 
And then every sin which you commit would be accompa- 
nied and aggravated with the guilt of perjury. And no 
wise man will run his soul into such a snare. Object, ' But 
do we not in baptism vow obedience to God ? And doth 
not obedience contain every particular duty V Answ. We 
vow sincere obedience, but not perfect obedience. We do 
not vow that we will never sin, nor neglect a duty (nor 
ought we to do so). So that as sincere obedience respect- 
eth every known duty as that which we shall practise in 
the bent of our lives, but not in perfect constancy or degree, 
so far our vow in baptism hath respect to all known duties, 
but no further. 

Direct, vi. * To make a vow lawful, besides the good- 
ness of the thing which we vow, there must be a rational, 
discernible probability that the act of vowing it will do 
more good than hurt : and this to a wise, foreseeing judg- 
ment.' For this vowing is not an ordinary worship to be 
offered to God (except the baptismal vow renewed in the 
Lord's supper and at other seasons) ; but it is left as an ex- 
traordinary means, for certain ends which cannot by ordi- 
nary means be attained : and therefore we must discern the 
season, by discerning the necessity or usefulness of it. 
Swearing is a part of the service of God, butnot of his daily 
worship, nor frequently and rashly to be used, by any that 
would not be held guilty of taking the name of God in vain : 
and so it is in the case of vowing. Therefore he that will 
make a lawful vow, must see beforehand what is the proba- 
ble benefit of it, and what is the probable hurt or danger : 
and without this foresight it must be rash, and cannot be 
lawful. And therefore no one can make a lawful vow, but 
wise, foreseeing persons, and those that advise with such, 
and are guided by them, if they be not such themselves : 
unless in a case where God hath prescribed by his own de- 
termining commands (as in the covenant of Christianity). 
Therefore to one man the same vow may be a sin, that to 
another may be a duty ; because one may have more reason 
for it, or necessity of it, and less danger by it than another. 
One man may foresee that vowing (in case where there is 
no necessity) may ensnare him either in perplexing doubts. 


or terrors, which will make all his life after more irregular 
or uncomfortable. Another man may discern that he is 
liable to no such danger*. 

Direct, vii. ' No man should pretend danger or scruple 
against his renewing the vow of Christianity, or any one es- 
sential part of it ; viz. To take God the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost for my God, and Saviour, and Sanctifier, my 
Owner, Governor, and Father ; renouncing the devil, the 
world, and the flesh.' Because there is an absolute neces- 
sity * praecepti et medii,' of performing this, and he that doth 
it not shall certainly be damned ; and therefore no worse 
matter can stand up against it : he that denieth it, giveth 
up himself despairingly to damnation. Yet I have heard 
many say, I dare not promise to turn to God, and live a 
holy life, lest I break this promise, and be worse than before. 
But dost thou not know, that it must be both made and 
kept, if thou wilt be saved? Wilt thou choose to be 
damned, for fear of worse ? There is but one remedy for 
thy soul, and all the hope of thy salvation lieth upon that 
alone. And wilt thou refuse that one, for fear lest thou 
cast it up and die ? when thou shalt certainly die unless 
thou both take it, and keep it, and digest it. 

Direct. VIII. * About particular sins and duties, delibe- 
rate resolutions are the ordinary means of governing our 
lives ; and vows must not be used where these will do the 
work without them.' For extraordinary means must not be 
used, when ordinary will serve the turn. Nor must you 
needlessly draw a double guilt upon yourselves in case of 
sinning. And in mutable or doubtful cases, a resolution 
may be changed, when a vow cannot. Try therefore what 
deliberate resolutions will do, with the help of other ordinary 
means, before you go any further. 

Direct, ix. * When ordinary resolutions and other helps 
will not serve the turn, to engage the will to the forbearance 

• Plutarch. Quest. Roman. 44. Why may wot priests swear? Resp, Is it be- 
cause an oath put to free-born men, is as it were the rack and torture offered them ? 
For certain it is that the soul as well as the body of the priest, ought to continue free, 
and not be forced by any torture. Or that we must not distrust them in small mat- 
ters, who are to be believed in great and divine things? Or because the peril of 
perjury would reach in common to the whole Commonwealth, if a wicked, and un- 
godly, and forsworn person should have the charge and superintendency of the 
prayers, vows, and sacrifices made in behalf of the city ? Page 866. 


of a known sin, or the performance of a known duty, but 
temptations are so strong as to bear down all, then it is 
seasonable to bind ourselves by a solemn vow, so it be cau- 
telously and deliberately done, and no greater danger like to 
follow/ In such a case of necessity, 1. You must delibe- 
rate on the benefits and need. 2. You must foresee all the 
assaults that you are like to have to tempt you to perjury, 
that they come not unexpected. 3. You must join the use 
of all other means for the keeping of your vows. 

Direct, x. * Make not a law and religion to yourselves 
by your voluntary vows, which God never made you by his 
authority : nor bind yourselves for futurity to all that is a 
duty at present, where it is possible that the change of 
things may change your duty.' God is our King and Go- 
vernor, and not we ourselves : it is not we, but he that must 
give laws to us. We have work enough to do of his ap- 
pointing : we need not make more to ourselves, as if he had 
not given us enough. Vows are not to make us new duties 
or religions, but to further us in the obedience of that which 
our Lord hath imposed on us. It is a self-condemning sin 
of foolish will-worshippers, to be busy in laying more bur- 
dens on themselves, when they know, they cannot do so 
much as God requireth of them. Yea, some of them mur 
mur at God's laws as too strict, and at the observers of them 
as too precise, (though they come far short of what is their 
duty) ; and yet will be cutting out more work for them- 

And it is not enough that what you vow be your duty 
at the present, but you must bind yourselves to it by vows 
no longer than it shall remain your duty. It may be your 
duty at the present to live a single life ; but if you will vow 
therefore that you will never marry, you may bind your- 
selves to that which may prove your sin : you know not 
what alterations may befall you in your body or estate, that 
may invite you to it. Are you sure that no change shall 
make it necessary to you ? Or will you presume to bind 
God himself by your vows, that he shall make no such al- 
teration ? Or if you were never so confident of your own 
unchangeableness, you know not what fond and violent af- 
fections another may be possessed with, which may make an 
alteration in your duty. At the present it may be your duty 


to live retiredly, and avoid magistracy and public employ- 
ments ; but you may not therefore vow it for continuance : 
for you know not but God may make such alterations, as 
may make it so great and plain a duty, as without flat im- 
piety or cruelty you cannot refuse : perhaps at the present 
it may be your duty to give half your yearly revenues to 
charitable and pious uses ; but you must not therefore vow 
it for continuance (without some special cause to warrant it) : 
for perhaps the next year it may be your duty to give but a 
fourth or a tenth part, or none at all, according as the pro- 
vidence of God shall dispose of your estate and you. Per- 
haps God may impose a clear necessity on you, of using 
your estate some other way. 

Direct, xi. ' If you be under government, you may not 
lawfully vow without your governor's consent, to do any 
thing which you may not lawfully do without their consent, 
in case you had not vowed it.' For that were, 1. Actually 
to disobey them at the present, by making a vow without 
the direction and consent of your governors. 2. And 
thereby to bind yourselves to disobey them for the future, 
by doing that without them, which you should not do with- 
out them. But if it be a thing that you may do, or must do, 
though your governors forbid you, then you may vow it 
though they forbid you, (if you have a call from the neces- 
sity of the vow). 

Direct, xii. ' If oaths be commanded us by usurpers 
that have no authority to impose them, we must not take 
them in formal obedience to their commands.' For that 
were to own their usurpation and encourage them in their 
sin : if we owe them no obedience in any thing, we must 
not obey them in so great a thing : or if they have some 
authority over us in other matters, but none in this (as a 
constable hath no power to give an oath), we must not obey 
them in the point where they have no authority. But yet 
it is possible that there may be other reasons that may 
make it our duty to do it, though not as an act of formal 
obedience : as I may take an oath when a thief or murderer 
requireth it, not to obey him, but to save my life. And if 
any man command me to do that which God commandeth 
me, I must do it, because God commandeth it. 

Direct, xiii. * If a lawful magistrate impose an oath or 

VOL. v. F 


VOW upon you, before you take it you must consult with 
God, and know that it is not against his will/ God must 
be first obeyed in all things : but especially in matters of so 
great moment, as vows and promises. 

Quest. I. * What if I be in doubt whether the oath or 
promise imposed be lawful ? must I take it, or not ? If I 
take an oath which I judge unlawful or false, I am a per- 
jured or profane despiser of God : and if a man must refuse 
all oaths or promises, which the magistrate commandeth, if 
he do but doubt whether they be lawful, then government 
and justice will be injured, while every man that hath igno- 
rance enough to make him dubious, shall refuse all oaths 
and promises of allegiance, or for witness to the truth.' 

Answ. 1. I shall tell you what others say first in the 
case of doubting : Dr. Sanderson saith, Prselect. iii. Sect. 
10. pp. 74, 75. * Tertius casus est cum quis j uramento pol- 
licetur se facturum aliquid in se fortassis licitum, quod ta- 
men ipse putat esse illicitum. Ut siquis ante haec tempora 
admittendus ad beneficium (ut vocant) Ecclesiasticum, pro- 
misisset in publicis sacris observare omnes ritus legibus Ec- 
clesiasticis imperatos ; vestem scilicet lineam, crucis signum 
ad sacrum fontem, ingeniculationem in percipiendis symbo- 
lis in sacra coena, et id genus alios ; quos ipse tamen ex 
aliquo levi prsejudicio putaret esse superstitiosos et Pa- 
pisticos : quaeritur in hoc casu quae sit obligatio ? Pro 
Resp. dico tria : Dico 1. Non posse tale juramentum du- 
rante tali errore sine gravi peccato suscipi. Peccat enim 
gravitur qui contra conscientiam peccat, etsi erroneam. 
Judicium enim intellectus cum sit unicuique proxima agen- 
di regula ; voluntas, si judicium illud non sequatur, defi- 
ciens a regula sua, necesse est ut in obliquum feratur. Tri- 
tum est illud. Qui facit contra conscientiam aedificat ad ge- 
hennam. Sane qui jurat in id quod putat esse illicitum, ni- 
hilominus juraturus esset, si esset revera illicitum ; atque 
ita res ilia, ut ut alii licita, est tamen ipsi illicita ; senten- 
tiam ferente Apostolo, Rom. xiv. 14. &c. Dico 2. Tale 

juramentum non obligare, &c. ' That is, * The third 

case is, when a man promiseth by oath that he will do a 

thing which in itself perhaps is lawful, but he thinketh to be 

unlawful: as if one before these times being to be admitted 

' to an Ecclesiastical benefice (a« they call it), had promised. 


that in public worship he would observe all the rites com- 
manded in the Ecclesiastic laws, to wit, the surplice, the 
sign of the cross at the sacred font, kneeling in the receiving 
of the symbols in the holy supper, and others the like; 
which yet out of some light prejudice, he thought to be su- 
perstitious and Papistical. The question is, what obliga- 
tion there is in this case ? For answer I say three things, 
1. I say that an oath, while such an error lasteth, cannot be 
taken without grievous sin : for he grievously sinneth, who 
sinneth against his conscience, although it be erroneous. 
For when the j udgment of the intellect is to every man the 
nearest rule of action, it must be that the will is carried into 
obliquity, if it follow not that judgment, as swerving from 
its rule. It is a common saying, he that doth against his 
conscience, buildeth unto hell : verily he that sweareth to 
that which he thinketh to be unlawful, would nevertheless 
swear if it were indeed unlawful. And so the thing, though 
lawful to another, is to him unlawful, the apostle passing 
the sentence, Rom. xiv. 14. &c. 2. I say, that such an 

oath bindeth not, &c. ' Of the obligation I shall speak 

anon ; but of the oath or promise, I think the truth lieth 
here as followeth. 

1. The question *de esse' must first be resolved, before 
the question of knowing or opinion. Either the thing is 
really lawful which is doubted of, or denied, or it is not. 
If it be not, then it is a sin to swear or promise to it ; and 
here there is no case of error. But if it be really lawful, 
and the vowing of it lawful, then the obligations that lie 
upon this man are these, and in this order, (1.) To have a 
humble suspicion of his own understanding. (2.) To search, 
and learn, and use all means to discern it to be what it is. 
(3.) In the use of these means to acknowledge the truth. 
(4.) And then to promise and obey accordingly. Now this 
being his duty, and the order of his duty, you cannot say 
that he is not obliged to any one part of it, though he be 
obliged to do it all in this order, and therefore not to do the 
last first, without the former : for though you question an 
hundred times, * What shall he do as long as he cannot see 
the truth V the law of God is still the same ; and his error 
doth not disoblige him : ' Nemini debetur commodum ex 
sua culpa.' So many of these acts as he omitteth, so much 


he sinrieth. It is his sin if he obey not the magistrate ; and 
it is his sin that he misjudgeth of the thing, and his sin 
that he doth not follow the use of the means till he be in- 
formed. So that his erring conscience entangleth him in a 
necessity of sinning ; but disobligeth him not at all from 
his obedience. 2. But yet this is certain, that in such a 
case, he that will swear because man biddeth him, when he 
taketh it to be false, is a perjured, profane despiser of God ; 
but he that forbeareth to swear for fear of sinning against 
God, is guilty only of a pardonable, involuntary weakness. 
Direct, xiv. ' Take heed lest the secret prevalency of 
carnal ends or interest, and of fleshly wisdom do bias your 
judgment, and make you stretch your consciences to take 
those vows or promises, which otherwise you would judge 
unlawful, and refuse.' Never good cometh by following 
the reasonings and interest of the flesh, even in smaller 
matters ; much less in cases of such great importance. 
Men think it fitteth them at the present, and doth the busi- 
ness which they feel most urgent ; but it payeth them home 
with troubles and perplexities at the last : it is but like a 
draught of cold water in a fever. You have some present 
charr to do, or some strait to pass through, in which you 
think that such an oath, or promise, or profession would 
much accommodate you ; and therefore you venture on it, 
perhaps to your perdition. It is a foolish course to cure 
the parts (yea, the more ignoble parts) with the neglect and 
detriment of the whole : it is but like those that cure the 
itch by anointing themselves with quicksilver ; which doth 
the charr for them, and sendeth them after to their graves, 
or casteth them into some far worse disease. Remember 
how deceitful a thing the heart is, and how subtly such 
poison of carnal ends will insinuate itself. O how many 
thousands hath this undone ! that before they are aware, 
have their wills first cliarmed and inclined to the forbidden 
thing, and fain would have it to be lawful ; and then have 
brought themselves to believe it lawful, and so to commit 
the sin ; and next to defend it, and next to become the 
champions of satan, to fight his battles, and vilify and abuse 
them, that by holy wisdom and tenderness have kept them- 
selves from the deceit. 


Tit. 2. Directions against Perjury and Perjidiousness : and 
for keeping Vows and Oaths. 

Direct. I. ' Be sure that you have just apprehensions of 
the greatness of the sin of perjury.' Were it seen of men in 
its proper shape, it would more affright them from it than a 
sight of the devil himself would do. I shall shew it you in 
part in these particulars. 

1. Itcontaineth a lie, and hath all the malignity in it 
which I before shewed to be in lying, with much more. 2. 
Perjury is a denial or contempt of God. He that appealeth 
to his judgment by an oath, and doth this in falsehood™, 
doth shew that either he believeth not that there is a God", 
or that he believeth not that he is the righteous governor of 
the world, who will justly determine all the causes that be- 
long to his tribunal. The perjured person doth as it were 
bid defiance to God, and setteth him at nought, as one that 
is not able to be avenged on him. 3. Perjury is a calling 
for the vengeance of God against yourselves. You invite 
God to plague you, as if you bid him do his worst : you ap- 
peal to him for judgment in your guilt, and you shall find 
that he will not hold you guiltless. Imprecations against 
yourselves are implied in your oaths : he that sweareth doth 
say in effect, * Let God judge and punish me as a perjured 
wretch, if I speak not the truth.' And it is a dreadful thing 
to fall into the hands of the living God, ** For vengeance is 
his and he will recompence :'* and when he judgeth the 
wicked, " he is a consuming fire "." 4. Perjury and perfi- 
diousness are sins that leave the conscience no ease of an 
extenuation or excuse ; but it is so heinous a villany, that 
it is the seed of self-tormenting desperation. Some sins 
conscience can make shift awhile to hide, by saying, ' It is 
a controversy :' and ' Many wise men are of another mind :' 
but perjury is a sin which heathens and infidels bear as free 
a testimony against (in their way) as Christians do. Some 

"» See Casaubon's Exercit. 202. 

" Cottain Cic. de Nat. D. to prove that some hold there is no God, saith, Quid 
de sacrilegis, de impiis, de peijuris dicemus, si carbo, &c. putasset esse Deos, tam 
^ perjuriis aut irapius non fuisset. See lib. i. 63. (T. C.) 
° Heb. X. 31. 30. xii. 29. 


sins are shifted off by saying, * They are little ones :' but 
Christians? and heathens are agreed that perjury is a sin 
almost as great as the devil can teach his servants to com- 
mit. Saith Plutarch 'i, ' He that deceiveth his enemy by an 
oath, doth confess thereby that he feareth his enemy, and 
despiseth God.' Saith Cicero, * The penalty of perjury is 
destruction from God, and shame from man.' Saith Q. 
Curtius, * Perfidiousness is a crime which no merits can mi- 
tigate.' Read Cicero de Offic. lib. iii. Saith Aristotle, 
' He that will extenuate an oath, must say, that those vil- 
lanous wretches that think God seeth not, do think also to 
go away with their perjury unpunished.' In a word, the 
heathens commonly take the revenge of perjury to belong 
in so especial a manner to the gods, that they conclude that 
man, and usually his posterity to be destined to ruin, that 
is perjured and perfidious : insomuch that it is written "^ of 
Agesilaus and many others, that when their enemies were 
perjured and broke their covenants, they took it for a sign of 
victory, and the best prognostic of their success against 
them. Plutarch recordeth this story of Cleomenes, that 
having made a truce for seven days with the Argives, he set 
upon them, and killed and took many of them in the night ; 
and when he was charged with perfidiousness, answered, * I 
made not a truce with them for seven nights, but for seven 
days.' But the women fetched arms out of the temples of 
the gods, and repulsed him with shame, and he ran mad, 
and with his sword did mangle his own body, and died in a 
most hideous manner. When conscience is awakened to 
see such a sin as perjury, no wonder if such run mad, or 
hang themselves, as perfidious Achitophel and Judas did. 
No doubt but everlasting horror and desperation will be the 
end of such, if true conversion do not prevent it. 5. It is 
a sin that ruineth families and societies % like fire that being 

P One of Canutus' laws (26.) was, that perjured persons, with sorcerers, idola- 
ters, strumpets, breakers of wedlock be banished the realm : cited by Bilson of 
Subject, p. 202. Hew few would be left in some lands, if this were done. 

q Plut. in Lysand. Cicer. de Leg. lib. iii. Curt. lib. vii. Arist. Rhet. c. 17. 

' ^lian. Vari. Hist. lib. xiv. 

s Though as Moder. Folic, saith, Princ. 7. It is a huge advantage that man 
hath in a credulous world, that can easily say and swear to any thing : and yet so 
palliate his perjuries as to hide them from the cognizance of the most. Gabionitafum 
irritum foedus, calliditate licet extortum, nonnuUis intulisse exitiura, &c. Gildas 
in Prolog, p. 2. Josseline's Ed. 


kindled in the thatch, never stoppeth till it have consumed 
all the house. Though " the curse of the Lord is in the 
house of the wicked, but he blesseth the habitation of the 
just*;" yet among all the wicked, there are few so com- 
monly marked out with their families to shame and ruin, as 
the perjured. Whatever nation is stigmatized with a ' fides 
Punica vel Graeca,' 'with the brand of perjury,' it is not 
only their greatest infamy, but like ' Lord have mercy on us* 
written on your doors, a sign of a destroying plague within*.' 
Saith Silius, 

Non illi domus aut conjux aut vita manebit 
Unquarn expers luctus, lachi^maeque : aget aequore semper 
Ac tellure preraens ; aget aegrura nocte dieque j 
Despecta ac violata fides—— 

Saith Claudian, 

la prolem dilatarunt perjuria patris, 
£t pceuam raerito fiiius ore luit. 

So TibuUus, 

Ah miser: etsiquis primo perjuria celat, 
Sera tamen tacitus peena venit pedibus. 

Saith Pausanias, ' The fraud that is committed by perjury, 
falleth upon posterity.' 6. Perjury and perfidiousness are 
virtually treason, rebellion, and murder against kings and 
magistrates, and no more to be favoured in a kingdom, by a 
king that loveth his life and safety, than the plague in a 
city, or poison to the body. * Tristissimum et domesticum 
regibus omnibus pharmacum liberorum, amicorum et exer- 
citus perfidia,' saith Appian. What security have princes 
of their crowns or lives, where oaths and covenants seem 
not obligatory ? There is then nothing left but fear of pu- 
nishment to restrain the violence of any one that would do 
them mischief: and craft or strength will easily break the 
bonds of fear. He that would dissolve the bond of oaths, 
and teach men to make light of perjury, is no more to be 

» Prov. iii. 33. 

*■ Haud amentum justitiae est fides, i. e. dictorum conventorumque constautia et 
Veritas. Cicero. 


endured in a kingdom, than he that openly inviteth the 
subjects to kill their king, or rise up in rebellion against 
him. If he that breaketh the least of God's commands, and 
teacheth men so to do, shall be called least in the kingdom 
of God, then surely he that breaketh the great commands 
by the most odious sin of perjury, and teacheth men so to 
do, should neither be great, nor any thing, in the kingdoms 
of men. 7. Perjury is the poison of all societies, and of 
friendship, and of human converse, and turneth all into a 
state of enmity or hostility, and teacheth all men to live to- 
gether like foes. He that is not to be believed when he 
sweareth, is never to be believed : and when oaths and co- 
venants signify nothing, and no man can believe another, 
what are they but as so many foes to one another ? How 
can there be any relations of governors and subjects? of 
husband and wife ? of masters and servants ? Or how can 
there be any trading or commerce, when there is no trust ? 
Perjury dissolveth all societies by loosening all the bonds of 
association. Well might Dionys. Halic. lib. iii. say, * The 
perfidious are far worse than open enemies, and worthy of 
far greater punishment. For a man may more easily avoid 
the ambushments of foes, and repel their assaults, than es- 
cape the perfidiousness of seeming friends.' Saith Val. 
Max. lib. ix. c. 6. ' Perfidiousness is a hidden and ensnaring 
mischief; whose effectual force is in lying and deceiving : 
its fruit consisteth in some horrid villany ; which is ripe and 
sure when it hath compassed cruelty with wicked hands ; 
bringing as great mischief to mankind, as fidelity bringeth 
good and safety.' He that teacheth the doctrine of perjury 
and perfidiousness, doth bid every man shift for himself, and 
trust no more his friend or neighbour, but all take heed of 
one another as so many serpents or wild beasts. Lions and 
bears may better be suffered to live loose among men, than 
those that teach men to make light of oaths. 8. Thus also 
it destroyeth personal love, and teacheth all men to be 
haters of each other : for it can be no better, when men be- 
come such hateful creatures to each other, as not at all to be 
credited or sociably conversed with. 9. Perjury and per- 
fidiousness do proclaim men deplorate ; and stigmatize them 
with this character, that they are persons that will stick at 
the committing of no kind of villany in the world, further 


than their fleshly interest hindereth them : no charity 
bindeth a man to think that he will make conscience of mur- 
der, rebellion, deceit, adultery, or any imaginable wicked- 
ness, who maketh no conscience of perjury and perfidious- 
ness. Such a person alloweth you to judge that if the temp- 
tation serve, he will do any thing that the devil bids him : 
and that he is virtually a compound of all iniquity, and pre- 
pared for every evil work. 10. Lastly, As perjury doth 
thus dissolve societies, and turn mankind into enmity with 
each other, so it would make the misery incurable, by mak- 
ing even penitents incredible. Who will believe him, even 
while he professeth to repent, that hath shewed that when he 
sweareth he is not to be believed ? He that dare forswear 
himself, dare lie when he pretendeth repentance for his per- 
jury. It must be some deeds that are more credible than 
words and oaths, that must recover the credit of such a 
man's professions. If perjury have violated any relations, 
it leaveth the breach almost incurable, because no profes- 
sions of repentance or future fidelity can be trusted. Thus 
I have partly shewed you the malignity of perjury and cove- 

Direct, ii. * Be sure that you make no vow or covenant 
which God hath forbidden you to keep.' It is rash vowing 
and swearing which is the common cause of perjury. You 
should, at the making of your vow, have seen into the bot- 
tom of it, and foreseen all the evils that might follow it, and 
the temptations which were like to have drawn you into 
perjury. He is virtually perjured as soon as he hath sworn, 
who sweareth to do that which he must not do : the pre- 
ventive means are here the best. 

Direct, iii. * Be sure you take no oath or vow which you 
-are not sincerely resolved to perform *.' They that swear or 
vow with a secret reserve, that rather than they will be ruin- 

* Lege distinctionem Grotii inter tr ofM~y et >(/«wJo{im»», Annot. in Matt. v. 33. 
Modem Policy, (supposed Dr. Sandcroft's) Princ. 7. 1. We are ready to interpret 
the words too kindly, especially if they be ambiguous: and it is hard to find terras 
so positive, but that they may be eluded indeed, or seem to us to be so, if we be dis- 
posed. 2. Some are invited to illicit promises, * qua illicite,' because they know 
them to be invalid. 3. Some are frighted into these bonds by threats and losses, 
and temporal concernments, and then they please themselves that they swear by 
duress, and so are disengaged. 4. Some are oath-proof, &c. 


ed by keeping it, are habitually and reputatively perjured 
persons, even before they break it : besides that, they shew 
a base, hypocritical, profligate conscience, that can delibe- 
rately commit so great a sin. 

Direct, iv. * See that all fleshly, worldly interest be 
fully subdued to the interest of your souls, and to the will 
of God/ He that at the heart sets more by his body than 
his soul, and loveth his worldly prosperity above God, will 
lie, or swear, or forswear, or do any thing to save that carnal 
interest which he most valueth. He that is carnal and 
worldly at the heart, is false at the heart: the religion of 
such aii hypocrite will give place to his temporal safety or 
commodity, and will carry him no further than the way is 
fair. It is no wonder that a proud man, or a worldling will 
renounce both God and his true felicity for the world, seeing 
indeed he taketh it for his god and his felicity : even as a 
believer will renounce the world for God". 

Direct, v. ' Beware of inordinate fear of man, and of a 
distrustful withdrawing of your heart from God.* Else you 
will be carried to comply with the will of man, before the 
will of God, and to avoid the wrath of man before the wrath 
of God. Read and fear that heavy curse, Jer. xvii. 5, 6. 
God is unchangeable, and hath commanded you so far to 
imitate him, as * If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or 
swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond, he shall not 
break his word ; he shall do according to all that proceedeth 
out of his mouth ''." But man is mutable, and so is his in- 
terest and his afiairs ; and therefore if you are the servants 
of men, you must swear one year, and forswear it, or swear 
the contrary the next : when their interest requireth it, you 
must not be thought worthy to live among men, if you will 
not promise or swear as they command you : and when their 
interest altereth and requireth the contrary, you must hold 
all those bonds to be but straws, and break them for their 

Direct, vi. * Be sure that you lose not the fear of God, 
and the tenderness of your consciences.' When these are 
lost, your understanding, and sense, and life are lost ; and 

" It is one Solon's sajings in Laertius, Probitatemjure-jurando certiorein habe. 
W^hat will not an atheistical, impious person say or swear, for advantage ? 
* Numb. XXX. 2. 


you will not stick at the greatest wickedness ; nor know 
when you have done it, what you did. If faith see not God 
continually present, and foresee not the great approaching 
day, perjury or any villany will seem tolerable, for worldly 
ends ; for when you look but to men's present case, you 
will see that " the righteous and the wise, and their works 
are in the hand of God : no man knoweth love or hatred by 
all that is before them. All things come alike to all : there 
is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked ; to the 
good, and to the clean, and to the unclean ; to him that sa- 
crificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not : as is the good, so 
is the sinner ; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an 
oath y." But in the end, men " shall discern between the 
righteous and the wicked ^." Therefore it is the believing 
foresight of the end, that by preserving the fear of God 
and tenderness of conscience, must save you from this, and 
all other heinous sin. 

Direct, vii. * Be not bold and rash about such dreadful 
things as vows.' Run not as fearlessly upon them as if you 
were but going to your dinner : the wrath of God is not to be 
jested with. * Usque ad aras,' was the bounds even of a 
heathen's kindness to his friend. Meddle with oaths with 
the greatest fear, and caution, and circumspection. It is 
terrible here to find that you were mistaken, through any 
temerity, or negligence, or secret seduction of a carnal in- 

Direct, viii. * Especially be very fearful of owning any 
public doctrine, or doing any public act, which tendeth to 
harden others in their perjury, or to encourage multitudes 
to commit the sin **.' To be forsworn yourselves is a dread- 
ful case ; but to teach whole nations or churches to for- 
swear themselves, or to plead for it, or justify it as a lawful 
thing, is much more dreadful. And though you teach not 
or own not perjury under the name of perjury, yet if first 
you will make plain perjury to seem no perjury, that so you 
may justify it, it is still a most inhuman, horrid act. God 
knoweth I insult not over the Papists, with a delight to 
make any Christians odious : but with grief I remember 
how lamentably they have abused our holy profession, while 

y Eccle8.ix. 1, 2. * Mai. iii. 18. 

» Nunc nunc qui foedera rumpit, Ditatur : Qui servat eget. Claudian. 


not only their great doctors, but tiieir approved General 
Council at the Lateran under Pope Innocent the Third, in 
the third canon hath decreed that the pope may depose 
temporal lords from their dominions, and give them unto 
others, and discharge their vassals from their allegiance 
and fidelity, if they be heretics, or will not exterminate he- 
retics, (even such as the holy men there condemned were, in 
the pope's account). To declare to many Christian nations, 
that it is lawful to break their oaths and promises to their 
lawful lords and rulers, or their vows to God, and to under- 
take, by defending or owning this, to justify all those na- 
tions that shall be guilty of this perjury and perfidiousness, 

what a horrid crime is this I what a shame even unto 
human nature ! and how great a wrong to the Christian 
name ! 

Direct, ix. * Understand and remember these following 
rules, to acquaint you how far a vow is obligatory :' which 

1 shall give for the most part out of Dr. Sanderson, because 
his decisions of these cases are now of best esteem. 

Rule I. ' The general rule laid down Numb. xxx. 2, 3. 
doth make a vow, as such, to be obligatory, though the par- 
ty should have a secret equivocation or intent, that though 
he speak the words to deceive another, yet he will not oblige 
himself.' Such a reserve not to oblige himself hindereth not 
the obligation, but proveth him a perfidious hypocrite. Dr. 
Sanderson, p. 23. * Juramentum omne ex suS. natur^ est 
obligatorium : ita ut si quis juret nonintendens se obligare, 
nihilominus tamen suscipiendo juramentum ipso facto obli- 
getur :' that is. If he so far understand what he doth, as that 
his words may bear the definition of an oath or vow : other- 
wise if he speak the words of an oath in a strange language, 
thinking they signify something else, or if he spake in his 
sleep, or deliration, or distraction, it is no oath, and so not 

Rule II. * Those conditions are to be taken as intended 
in all oaths, (whether expressed or no,) which the very na- 
ture of the thing doth necessarily imply ^ ;' unless any be so 
brutish as to express the contrary). And these are all redu- 
cible to two heads, 1. A natural, and 2. A moral impossibi- 
lity. 1. Whoever sweareth to do any thing, or give any 

b See Dr. Sanderson, p. 47 and 197. 


thing, is supposed to mean, * If I live ; and if I be not dis- 
abled in my Ijody, faculties, estate ; if God make it not im- 
possible to be,' &c. For no man can be supposed to mean, 
I will do it whether God will or not, and whether i live or 
not, and whether I be able or not.' 2. Whoever voweth or 
sweareth to do any thing, must be understood to mean it * If 
no change of providence make it a sin ; or if I find not con- 
trary to my present supposition, that God forbiddeth it.' 
For no man that is a Christian is to be supposed to mean 
when he voweth, ' I will do this, though God forbid it, or 
though it prove to be a sin ;' especially when men therefore 
vow it, because they take it to be a duty. Now as that 
which is sinful is morally impossible, so there are divers 
ways by which a thing may appear or become sinful to us. 
(1.) When we find it forbidden directly in the Word of God, 
which at first we understood not. (2.) When the change of 
things doth make that a sin, which before was a duty : of 
which may be given an hundred instances : as when the 
change of a man's estate, of his opportunities, of his liberty, 
of his parts and abilities, of objects, of customs, of the laws 
of civil governors, doth change the very matter of his duty. 
Quest. * But will every change disoblige us? If not, 
what change must it be? seeing casuists use to put it as a 
condition in general, * rebus sic stantibus.' Answ. No : it 
is not every change of things that disobligeth us from the 
bonds of a vow. For then vows were of no considerable 
signification. But, 1. If the very matter that was vowed, 
or about which the vow was, do cease, ' cessante materia 
cessat obligatio*^: as if I promise to teach a pupil, I am dis- 
obliged when he is dead. If I promise to pay so much mo- 
ney in gold, and the king should forbid gold and change his 
coin, I am not obliged to it. 2. * Cessante termino vel corre- 
lato cessat obligatio.' If the party die to whom I am bound, 
my personal obligation ceaseth. And so the conjugal bond 
ceaseth at death, and civil bonds by civil death. 3. * Ces- 
sante fine, cessat obligatio.' If the use and end wholly 
~ cease, my obligation, which was only to that use and end, 
ceaseth. As if a physician promise to give physic for no- 

< Ciceh) de Leg. lib. i. proveth that right is founded in the law of nature, more 
than in man's laws : else, *aith he, men may make evil good, and good evil, and 
make adultery, perjury, &c. just by making a law for them. 


thing for the cure of the plague, to all the poor of the city ; 
when the plague ceaseth, his end, and so his obligation, 
ceaseth. 4. ' Cessante persona, naturali relata cessat obli- 
gatio personalis.' When the natural person dieth, the obli- 
gation ceaseth. I cannot be obliged to do that when I am 
dead, which is proper to the living. The subject of the ob- 
ligation ceasing, the accidents must cease. 5. * Cessante 
relatione vel persona civili, cessat obligatio talis, qua talis.' 
The obligation which lay on a person in any relation merely 
as such, doth cease when that relation ceaseth. A king is 
not bound to govern or protect his subjects if they traiter- 
ously depose him, or if he cast them off, and take another 
kingdom, (as when Henry III. of France, left the kingdom 
of Poland:) nor are subjects bound to allegiance and obe- 
dience to him that is not indeed their king. A judge, or 
justice, or constable, or tutor, is no longer bound by his 
oath to do the offices of these relations, than he continueth 
in the relation. A divorced wife is not bound by her con- 
jugal vow to her husband as before, nor masters and ser- 
vants, when their relations cease : nor a soldier to his gene- 
ral by his military sacrament, when the army is disbanded, 
or he is cashiered or dismissed. 

Rule III. ' No vows or promises of our own can dissolve 
the obligation, laid upon us by the law of God.' For we 
have no co-ordinate, much less superior authority over our- 
selves ; our self-obligations are but for the furthering of our 

Rule IV. * Therefore no vows can disoblige a man from 
any present duty, nor justify him in the committing of any 
sin.' Vows are to engage us to God, and not against him : 
if the matter which we vow be evil, it is a sin to vow it, and 
a sin to do it upon pretence of a vow. Sin is no accepta- 
ble sacrifice to God. 

Rule V. ' If I vow that I will do some duty better, I am 
not thereby disobliged from doing it at all, when I am dis- 
abled from doing it better '^.^ Suppose a magistrate, seeing 

d How often perjury hath ruined Christian princes and states all history doth 
testify. The ruin of the Roman empire by the Goths, was by this means. Alaricus 
having leave to live quietly in France, Slilico comes in perniciem Reipub. Gothos per- 
tentans, dum eos insidiis aggredi cuperet, belli sunimam Saulo pagano duci comraisit : 
qui ipso sacratissimo die Paschju, Gothis nil tale susj)lcantibus, super eos irruit, raag- 
namque eorum partem prostravit. Nam primum perturbati Gothi, ac propter reli- 


much amiss in church and commonwealth, doth vow a re- 
formation, and vow against the abuses which he findeth ; if 
now the people's obstinacy and rebellion disable him to 
perform that vow, it doth not follow that he must lay down 
his sceptre, and cease to govern them at all, because he 
cannot do it as he ought, if he were free. So if the pastors 
of any church do vow the reformation of church abuses, in 
their places, if they be hindered by their rulers, or by the 
people, it doth not follow that they must lay down their 
callings, and not worship God publicly at all, because they 
cannot do it as they would, and ought if they were free ; as 
long as they may worship him without committing any sin. 
God's first obligation on me is to worship him, and the se- 
cond for the manner, to do it as near his order as I can : 
now if I cannot avoid the imperfections of worship, though 
I vowed it, I must not therefore avoid the worship itself, (as 
long as corruptions destroy not the very nature of it, and I 
am put myself upon no actual sin). For I was bound to 
worship God before my vows, and in order of natui*e before 
my obligation ' de modo :' and my vow was made with an 
implied condition, that the thing were possible and lawful : 
and when that ceaseth to be possible or lawful which I vow- 
ed, I must nevertheless do that which still remaineth possi- 
ble and lawful. To give over God's solemn worship with 
the church, is no reformation. To prefer no worship before 
imperfect worship, is a greater deformation and corruption, 
than to prefer imperfect worship before that which is more 
perfect. And to prefer a worship imperfect in the manner, 
before no church worship at all, is a greater reformation than 
to prefer a more perfect manner of worship before a more 
imperfect and defective. To worship God decently and in 
order, supposeth that he must be worshipped ; and he that 
doth not worship at all, doth not worship him decently. 
If a physician vow that he will administer a certain effectual 
antidote to all his patients that have the plague, and that he 
will not administer a certain less effectual preparation, which 
some apothecaries, through covetousness or carelessness, 

gionem cedentes, demum arraa corripiunt, victoreraque virtute potion prosteniunt 
exercitum: hinc in rabiem furoris excitantur. CcEptum iter deserentes, Romara 
cuuteiidunt petere, cuncta igne lerroque vastantes : nee mora j venientes urbem cb- 
piuDt, devastanty incendunt, Sec. Paul Diaconus, lib. 3. 


had brought into common use, to the injury of the sick ; 
his vow is to be interpreted with these exceptions, * I will 
do it if I can, without dishonesty or a greater mischief: I 
will not administer the sophisticated antidote when I can 
have better : I vow this for my patients' benefit, and not for 
their destruction/ Therefore if the sophisticated antidote 
is much better than none, and may save men's lives, and 
the patients grow wilful and will take no other, or autho- 
rity forbid the use of any other, the physician is neither 
bound to forsake his calling rather than use it, nor to neg- 
lect the life of his patients : (if their lives indeed lie upon 
his care, and they may not be in some good hopes without 
him, and the good of many require him not to neglect a 
few). But he must do what he can, when he cannot do 
what he would, and only shew that he consenteih not to 
the sophistication. 

Rule VI. ' Though he that voweth a lawful thing, must 
be understood to mean, if it continue possible and lawful ; 
yet if he himself be the culpable cause that afterwards it be- 
cometh impossible or unlawful, he violateth his vow.' He 
that voweth to give so much to the poor, and after prodi- 
gally wasteth it, and hath it not to give, doth break his 
vow; which he doth not if fire and thieves deprive him of it 
against his will. He that voweth to preach the Gospel, if 
he cut out his own tongue, or culpably procure another to 
imprison, silence or hinder him, doth break his vow ; which 
he did not if the hindrance were involuntary and insupera- 
ble ; consent doth make the impedition his own act. 

Rule VII. 'In the taking and keeping of oaths and vows 
we must deal simply and openly without equivocation and 
deceit *.' " Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord ? or 
who shall stand in his holy place ? He that hath clean 
hands, and a pure heart ; who hath not lifted up his soul 
unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the 
blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of 
his salvation ^" 

Rule VIII. * He that juggleth or stretcheth his conscience 
by fraudulent shifts and interpretations afterwards, is as bad 
as he that dissembleth in the taking of the oath.' To break 
it by deceit, is as bad as to take it in deceit. " Lord who 

« Sanders, pp. 30, 31. ' Psal. xxiv. 3—5. 


shall abide in thy tabernacle he that sweareth to his 

own hurt and changeth not ^." Saith Dr. Sanderson s, *' Ista 
mihi aut non cogitare," &c. ** It seemeth to me that the 
greater part of the men of these times either think not of 
these things, or at least not seriously : who fear not, at 
large and in express words, without going about, to swear 
to all that, whatever it be, which is proposed to them by 
those that have power to hurt them : yea, and they take 
themselves for the only wise men, and not without some 
disdain deride the simplicity and needless fear of those, that 
lest they hurt their consciences forsooth, do seek a knot in 
a rush, and oppose the forms prescribed by those that have 
power to prescribe them. And in the meantime they se- 
curely free themselves from all crime and fear of perjury, 
and think they have looked well to themselves and their 
consciences, if either when they swear, like Jesuits, they 
can defend themselves by the help of some tacit equivoca- 
tion, or mental reservation, or subtle interpretation which 
is strained and utterly alien from the words ; or else after 
they have sworn can find some chink to slip through, some 
cunning evasion, as a wise remedy, by which they may so 
elude their oath, as that keeping the words, the sense may 
by some sophism be eluded, and all the force of it utterly 
enervated. The ancient Christians knew not this divinity, 
nor the sounder heathens this moral philosophy. Far other- 
wise saith Augustine, * They are perjured, who keeping the 
words, deceive the expectation of those they swear to : ' 
and otherwise saith Cicero," &c. He goeth on to confirm 
it at large by argument. 

Rule IX. * An oath is to be taken and interpreted strict- 
ly.' Sanderson saith ^, " Juramenti obligatio est stricti ju- 
ris ; " that is, " non ut excludat juris interpretationem asqui- 
tate temperatam; sed ut excludat juris interpretationem 
gratia corruptam : " " not as excluding an equitable inter- 
pretation, but as excluding an interpretation corrupted by 
partiality:'* that it be a just interpretation, between the ex- 
tremes of rigid, and favourable or partial ; and in doubtful 

f Psal. XV. 1. 4. « Sanders, pp. 32—41. 

*> Sanders, pp. 41 — 44. Ubide justo sensu ainbigitur, longe satius est et natu-. 
rae rei accoramodatius, strictiore quam benigniore uti interpretatione. ibid, p. 44< 
VOL. V. G 


cases it is safer to follow the strict, than the benign or fa- 
vourable sense. It is dangerous stretching and venturing 
too far in matters of so sacred a nature, and of such great 
importance as vows and oaths. 

Rule X. ' In the exposition of such doubtful oaths and 
vows, 1. We must specially watch against self-interest or 
commodity that it corrupt not our understandings. 2. And 
we must not take our oaths or any part of them in such a 
sense, as a pious, prudent stander-by that is impartial, and 
no whit interested in the business, caimot easily find in the 
words themselves'.' 

Rule XI. * In doubtful cases the greatest danger must be 
most carefully avoided, and the safer side preferred : but 
the danger of the soul by perjury is the greatest, and there- 
fore no bodily danger should so carefully be avoided : and 
therefore an oath that in the common and obvious sense 
seemeth unlawful should not be taken, unless there be very 
full evidence that it hath another sense.' Sand. p. 46. * Niti- 
tur autem,' &c. This reason leaneth on that general and 
most useful rule, that in doubtful cases we must follow the 
safer side : but it is safer not to swear, where the words of 
the oath proposed, do seem according to the common and 
obvious sense of the words to contain in them something 
unlawful ; than by a loose interpretation so to lenify them 
for our own ends, that we may the more securely swear 
them. For it is plain that such an oath may be refused 
without the peril of perjury ; but not that it can be taken 
without some danger or fear. The same rule must guide us 
also in keeping vows. 

Rule XII. *It is ordinarily resolved that imposed oaths 
must be kept according to the sense of the imposer.' See 
Sanderson, pp. 191, 192. But I conceive that assertion must 
be more exactly opened and bounded. 1. Where justice 
requireth that we have respect to the will or right of the im- 
poser, there the oath imposed must be taken in his sense ; 
but whether it must be kept in his sense is further to be 
considered. 2. When I have done my best to understand 
the sense of the imposer in taking the oath, and yet mis- 
take it, and so take it (without fraud) in another sense, the 
question then is somewhat hard, whether I must keep it in 
the sense I took it in, or in his sense, which then I under- 

' Sanders, p, 45. 


stood not. If I must not keep it in my own sense, which I 
^ook it in, then it would follow that I must keep another 
oath, and not that which 1 took : for it is the sense that is 
the oath. And I never obliged myself to any thing, but ac- 
cording to my own sense : and yet on the other side, if 
every man may take oaths in their private sense, then oaths 
will not attain their ends, nor be any security to the impo- 

In this case you must carefully distinguish between the 
formal obligation of the oath or vow as such, and the obli- 
gation of justice to my neighbour which is a consequent of 
my vow. And for the former I conceive (with submission) 
that an oath or vow cannot bind me, formally as such, in 
any sense but my own in which ' bona fide' I took it. Be- 
cause formally an oath cannot bind me which I never took : 
but I never took that which I never meant, or thought of; 
if you so define an oath as to take in the sense, which is the 
soul of it. 

But then in regard of the consequential obligation in 
point of justice unto man, the question I think must be thus 
resolved. 1. We must distinguish between a lawful impo- 
ser or contractor, and a violent usurper or robber that inju- 
riously compelleth us to swear. 2. Between the obvious, 
usual sense of the words, and an unusual, forced sense. 3. 
Between a sincere, involuntary misunderstanding the impo- 
ser, and a voluntary, fraudulent reservation or private sense. 
4. Between one, that I owe something to antecedently, and 
one that I owe nothing to but by the mere self-obligation of 
my vow. 5. Between animposer that is himself the culpa- 
ble cause of my misunderstanding him, and one that is not 
the cause, but my own weakness or negligence is the cause. 
6. Between a case where both senses may be kept, and a 
case where they cannot, being inconsistent. Upon these 
distinctions, I thus resolve the question. 

Prop. I. If I fraudulently and wilfully take an oath in a 
sense of my own, contrary to the sense of the imposer, and 
the common and just sense of the words themselves, I am 
guilty of perfidiousness and profaneness in the very taking 
of it\ 

'^ They were ill tiroes that Abbas UspergensiR describeth Chron. p. 320. Ut 
omnis homo jam sit perjurus,et praedictis facinoribus implicatus, ut vix excusari pos- 


Prop. II. If it be long of my own culpable ignorance or 
negligence that I misunderstood the imposer, I am not 
thereby disobliged from the public sense. 

Prop. III. When the imposer openly putteth a sense on 
the words imposed contrary to the usual, obvious sense, I 
am to understand him according to his own expression, and 
not to take the oath, as imposed in any other sense. 

Prop. IV. If the imposer refuse or neglect to tell me his 
sense any otherwise than in the imposed words, I am to 
take and keep them according to the obvious sense of the 
words, as they are commonly used in the time and place 
which I live in. 

Prop. v. If it be long of the imposer's obscurity, or re- 
fusing to explain himself, or other culpable cause that I 
mistook him, I am not bound to keep my oath in his sense, 
as different from my own (unless there be some other rea- 
son for it). 

Prop. VI. If the imposer be a robber or usurper, or one 
that I owe nothing to in justice, but what I oblige myself 
to by my oath, I am not then bound at all to keep my oath 
in his sense, if my own sense was according to the common 
use of the words. 

Prop. VII. Though I may not lie to a robber or tyrant 
that unjustly imposeth promises or oaths upon me, yet if he 
put an oath or promise on me which is good and lawful in 
the proper, usual sense of the words, though bad in his 
sense, (which is contrary to the plain words,) whether I may 
take this to save my liberty or life, I leave to the considera- 
tion of the judicious: that which maybe said against it is, 
that oaths must not be used indirectly and dissemblingly : 
that which may be said for it is, 1 . That I have no obliga- 
tion to fit my words to his personal, private sense. 2. That 
I deceive him not, but only permit him to deceive himself, 
as long as it is he and not I that misuseth the words. 3. 
That I am to have chief respect to the public sense ; and it 
is not his sense, but mine that is the public sense. 4. That 
the saving of a man's life or liberty is cause enough for the 
taking a lawful oath. 

sit, quin sit in his, sicut populus, sic et sacerdos : O that this calamity had ended 
with that age! Et p. 321. Principes terrarum et barones, arte diabolic^ edocti, nee 
ciirabant juraraenta infringere, necfidera violare, etjus orane confundere. 


Prop. Will. In case I misunderstood the imposed oath 
through my own default, I am bound to keep it in both 
senses (my own and the imposer's) if both be consistent 
and lawful to be done. For I am bound to it in my own 
sense, because it was formally my oath or vow which I in- 
tended. And I am bound to it in his sense, because I have 
injustice made the thing his due. As if the king command 
me to vow that I will serve him in wars against the Turk ; 
and I misunderstand him as if he meant only to serve him 
with my purse ; and so I make a vow with this intent, to ex- 
pend part of my estate to maintain that war ; whereas the 
true sense was that I should serve him with my person : in 
this case, I see not but I am bound to both. 

Indeed if it were a promise that obliged me only to the 
king, then I am obliged no further, and no longer than he 
will : for he can remit his own right : but if by a vow I be- 
come obliged directly to God himself as a party, then no 
man can remit his right, and I must perform my vow as 
made to him. 

Rule XIII. * If any impose an ambiguous oath, and re- 
fuse to explain it, and require you only to swear in these 
words, and leave you to your own sense. Dr. Sanderson 
thinketh that an honest man should suspect some fraud in 
such an oath, and not take it at all till all parties are agreed 
of the sense, pp. 193, 194.' And I think he should not 
take it at all, unless there be some other cause that maketh 
it his duty. But if a lawful magistrate command it, or the 
interest of the church or state require it, I see not but he 
may take it, on condition that in the plain and proper sense 
of the words the oath be lawful, and that he openly profess 
to take it only in that sense. 

Rule XIV. * If any power should impose an oath, or vow, 
or promise, which in the proper, usual sense were downright 
impious, or blasphemous, or sinful, and yet bid me take it 
in what sense I pleased, though I could take it in such a 
sense as might make it no real consent to the impiety, yet 
it would be impious in the sense of the worlds and of such 
heinous consequence as will make it to be unlawful.' As if 
I must subscribe, or say, or swear the&e words, * There is no 
God -y or, * Scripture is untrue ;' though it is easy to use 
these or any words, ia a good sense, if I may put what sense 


I will upoii them, yet the public sense of them is blasphe- 
my; and I may not publicly blaspheme, on pretence of a 
private right sense and intention. 

Rule XV. ' If the oath imposed be true in the strict and 
proper sense, yet if that sense be not vulgarly known, nor 
sufficiently manifest to be the imposer's sense, and if the 
words are false or blasphemous in the vulgar sense of those 
that I have to do with, and that must observe and make use 
of my example, I must not take such an oath, without leave 
to make my sense as public as my oath.' As if I were com- 
manded to swear, * That God hath no foreknowledge, no 
knowledge, no will,' &c. ; it were easy to prove that these 
terms are spoken primarily of man, and that they are attribu- 
ted to God but analogically or metaphorically, and that 
God hath no such human acts * formaliter,' but * eminenter,' 
and that * forma dat nomen,' and so that strictly it is not 
knowledge and will in the primary, proper notion, that God 
hath at all, but something infinitely higher, for which man 
hath no other name. But though thus the words are true 
and justifiable in the strictest, proper sense, yet are they 
unlawful, because they are blasphemy in the vulgar sense : 
and he that speaks to the vulgar, is Supposed to speak with 
the vulgar : unless he as publicly explain them. 

Huh XVI. * If the supreme power should impose an oath 
or promise which in the ordinary, obvious sense were sin- 
ful, and an inferior officer would bid me take it in what 
sense I pleased, I might not therefore take it : because that 
such an officer hath no power to interpret it himself; much 
less to allow me to take it in a private sense.' But if the 
lawgiver that imposeth it bid me take it in what sense I 
will, and give me leave to make my sense as public as my 
oath, I may take it, if the words be but dubious, aiid not ap- 
parently false or sinful : (so there be no reason against it, 
* aliunde,' as from ill consequents, &c.) 

Rule XVII. * If any man will say in such a case, (when 
he thinketh that the imposer's sense is bad) 'I take not the 
same oath or engagement which is imposed, but another in 
the same words, and I suppose not inferior officers author- 
ized to admit any interpretation, but I look at them only as 
men that can actually execute or not execute the laws upon 
me ; and so I take a vow of my own according to my owti 



sense, though in their words, as a means of my avoiding 
their severities :' as this is a collusion in a very high and 
tender business, so that person (if the public sense of the 
oath be sinful) must make his professed sense as public as 
his oath or promise ; it being no small thing to do that 
which in the public sense is impious, and so to be an exam- 
ple of perfidiousness to many.' 

R^lle xviTi. 'Though an oath imposed by an usurper or 
by violence is not to be taken in formal obedience, nor at 
all, unless the greatness of the benefit require it, yet being 
taken it is nevertheless obligatory ^ (supposing nothing else 
do make it void).' Man is a free agent and cannot be forced 
though he may be frightened : if he swear to a thief for the 
saving of his life, he voluntarily doth choose the inconveni- 
ences of the oath, as a means to save his life. Therefore 
being a voluntary act it is obligatory ; else there should be 
no obligation on us to suffer for Christ, but any thing might 
be sworn or done to escape suffering : see of this Dr. San- 
derson largely Praelect. iv. Sect. 14 — 16. The imposition 
and the oath are different things : in the imposition, a tnief 
or tyrant is the party commanding, and I am the party com- 
manded ; and his having no authority to command me, doth 
nullify only his command, and maketh me not obliged to 
obey him, nor to take it in any obedience to him ; but yet 
if I do take it without any authority obliging me (as private 
oaths are taken), it is still an oath or vow, in which the par- 
ties are God and man ; man vowing and making himself a 
debtor to God ; and God hath authority to require me to 
keep my vows, when men have no authority to require me 
to make them. All men confess that private vows bind : 
and the nullity of the imposer's authority, maketh them but 
private vows; this case is easy, and commonly agreed on. 

Rule XIX. * If in a complex vow or promise there be 
many things which prove materially unlawful, and one or 
more that are lawful, the conjunction of the things unlaw- 
ful doth not disoblige me from the vow of doing the lawful 
part.' Otherwise a man might make void all his vows to 
God, and oaths, and covenants with men, by putting in 
something that is evil with the good: and so God, and the 

Sanders, p. 122 — 133. 


king, and our neighbours would all have their debts paid by 
our sin and injury done them on the bye. 

Rule XX. * If some part of that which you vowed be- 
come impossible, that doth not disoblige you from so much 
as remaineth possible.' As if you vow allegiance to the 
king, and tyrants or disability hinder you from serving him 
as subjects in some one particular way, you remain still 
obliged to serve him by those other ways in which you are 
yet capable to serve him. So if you had taken an oath 
against Popery, to preach against it, and reject the practice 
of it, and for ever renounce it ; this would not bind you 
from the common truths and duties of Christianity which 
Papists hold in common with all other Christians : nor 
could you preach against Popery, if you were hindered by 
imprisonment, banishment or restraint ; but you have still 
power to forbear approving, consenting, subscribing, or 
practising their errors ; and this you are still bound to do. 

Rule XXI. 'Though you are not bound to do that of 
your^vow which changes have made impossible or unlawful, 
yet 11 another change make them possible and lawful again, 
your obligation doth return afresh (unless you made it with 
such limitation).' It is not a temporary cessation of the 
matter, or end, or correlate that will perpetually discharge 
you from your vow. If your wife be taken captive many 
years, when she returneth, you are bound to the duties of a 
husband. If the king be expelled by usurpers, you are 
bound at present to so much duty as is possible, and to 
obey him as your actual governor when he returneth. But 
in the case of servants and soldiers, and other temporary re- 
lations, it is otherwise ; for a removal may end the relation 
itself. If you promise to preach the Gospel, to medicate 
the sick, to relieve the poor, to reform your families, &c. 
you are not hereby obliged to do it, while any irresistible 
impediment maketh it impossible ; but when the hindrance 
ceaseth, you are obligjed to do it again ; the matter and 
your capacity being restored. 

Rule XXII. 'Therefore many a vow and promise may be 
lawfully unperformed, which may not be renounced or dis- 
claimed.' When you are taken captives you must forbear 
your duty to your king, your father, your husband or wife, 
but you may not therefore renounce them, and say, * I have 


no obligation to them :' no, not to the death, because they 
are relations for life : and how improbable soever it may 
seem that you should be returned to them, yet God can do 
it, and you must wait on him. 

Rule XXIII. * A former vow or promise is not nullified 
by a latter that contradicteth it .' Otherwise a man might 
disoblige himself at his pleasure. Yet he that maketh con- 
trary vows, obligeth himself to contraries and impossibles ; 
and bringeth a necessity of perjury on himself, for not doing 
the things impossible which he vowed. And in some cases 
a later promise to men may null a former, when we made 
the former with the reserve of such a power or liberty, or are 
justly supposed to have power to recal a former promise ; 
or when it is the duty of a mutable relation which we vow, 
(as of a physician, a schoolmaster, &c.) and by a later vow 
we change the relation itself: (which we may still lawfully 

Kule XXIV. * The ' actus juraudi' must still be distinguish- 
ed from the * materia juramenti :' and it very often cometh 
to pass that the act of swearing (or the oath as our act) is 
unlawfully done, and was a sin from the beginning, and yet 
it is nevertheless obligatory as long as the * res jurata,' the 
matter sworn is lawful or necessary ".' Dr. Sanderson in- 
stance th in Joshua's oath to the Gibeonites. The nature of 
the thing is proof enough ; for many a thing is sinfully done, 
for want of a due call, or manner, or end, that yet is done, 
and is no nullity. A man may sinfully enter upon the mi- 
nistry, that yet is bound to do the duty of a minister : and 
many marriages are sinful that are no nullities. 

Rule XXV. * The nullity of an oath * ad initio' is ' quando 
realiter vel reputative non juravimus :' ' when really or re- 
putatively we did not swear.' The sinfulness of an oath is 
when we did swear really but unlawfully as to the ground, or 
end, or matter,, or manner, or circumstances. Really that 
man did not swear, 1. Who spake not (mentally nor orally) 
the ^ords of an oath. 2. Who thought those words had 
signified no such thing, and so had no intent to swear 

" Sanders, pp. 55, 56. In quo casu locum habet quod vulgo dicitur. Fieri non 
debet, factum valet : possumus ergo distinguere, Juramentum dici illicitum duobus 
modis. Vel respectu rei juratae, vel respectu actus jurandi : Juramentum illicitum 
respectu rei jurata: nullatenus obligat: Juramentum illicitum respectu actus jurandi 
obligat, nisi aliunde impediatur. 


either mentally or verbally.' As if an Englishman be taught 
to use the words of an oath in French, and made believe 
that they have a contrary sense. 3. Who only narratively 
recited the words of an oath, as a reporter or historian, 
without a real or professed intent of swearing. 2. Repu- 
tatively he did not swear. (1.) Who spake the words of an 
oath in his sleep, or in a deliration, distraction, madness, 
or such prevalent melancholy as mastereth reason ; when a 
man is not * compos mentis,' his act is not * actus huma- 
nus.' (2.) When a man's hand is forcibly moved by another 
against his will to subscribe the words of an oath or cove- 
nant ; for if it be totally involuntary it is not a moral act. 
But words cannot be forced; for he that sweareth to save 
his life, doth do it voluntarily to save his life. The will 
may be moved by fear, but not forced. Yet the person that 
wrongfully frighteneth another into consent, or to swear, 
hath no right to any benefit which he thought to get by 
force or fraud, and so * in foro civili' such promises, or co- 
venants, or oaths may ' quoad effectum' be reputatively 
null ; and he that by putting his sword to another man's 
breast doth compel him to swear or subscribe and seal a 
deed of gift, may be judged to have no right to it, but to be 
punishable for the force ; but though this covenant or pro- 
mise be null ' in foro humano' because the person cannot 
acquire a right by violence, yet the oath is not a nullity 
before God ; for when God is made a party, he hath a right 
which is inviolable ; and when he is appealed to or made a 
witness, his name must not be taken in vain. (3.) It is a 
nullity reputatively when the person is naturally incapa- 
ble of self-obligation, as in infancy, when reason is not 
come to so much maturity as to be naturally capable of 
such a work : I say naturally incapable for the reasons fol- 

Rule XXVI. * We must distinguish between a natural in- 
pacity of vowing or swearing at all, and an incapacity of 
doing it lawfully : and between a true nullity, and wh^ the 
oath is only * quasi nullum,' or as null ' quoad effectum ; or 
such as I must not keep.' There are many real oaths and 
vows which must not be kept, and so far are ' quasi nulla' 
as to the effecting of the thing vowed ; but they are not 
simply null ; for they have the effect of making the man a 


sinner and perjured. They are sinful vows, and therefore 
vows. A natural incapacity proveth it no vow at all ; but 
if I am naturally capable, and only forbidden (by God or 
man), this maketh it not no vow, but a sinful vow, of which 
some must be kept and some must not. 

In these following cases a real vow is * quasi nullum ', 
or must not be kept. 

1. In case the thing vowed (all things considered) be a 
thing which God hath forbidden to be done : that is, in case 
it be a thing in itself evil ; but if the thing in itself be a 
duty, though there be some inseparable sins which we shall 
be guilty of in the performance, we must not therefore leave 
the duty itself undone which we have vowed : as if I vow 
to praise God, and yet am sure that I cannot praise him 
without a sinful defect of that love and delight in him which 
is due, I must not therefore forbear to praise him ; else we 
must cast off all other duty, because we cannot do it without 
some sin. But yet, though in case of unwilling infirmity, 
we must thus do the duty though we are sure to sin in it, 
yet in case of any chosen, voluntary sin, which we have an 
immediate power to avoid, we must rather forbear the duty 
itself (vowed or not vowed) than commit such a sin : as if I 
vow to preach the Gospel, and am forcibly hindered unless 
I would voluntarily tell one lie, or commit one sin wilfully 
for this liberty ; I ought rather never to preach the Gospel ; 
nor is it then a duty, but become morally impossible to me : 
as if in France or Spain 1 may not preach unless I would 
take Pope Pius's Trent confession or oath. Nay, if those 
very defects of love, and wandering thoughts, which now in- 
separably cleave to my best performances, were morally and 
immediately in my power, and I could avoid them, I ought 
not electively and by consent to commit them, for any li- 
berty of duty, but rather to forbear the duty itself as no 
duty to me when it cometh upon such conditions : for then 
it is supposed that I could serve God better without that 
duty, because I could love him more, &c. 

Yet here is observable a great deal of difference between 
omissions and commissions. A man may never commit a 
sin that good may come by it, though he vowed the good -, 
but a man may ofttimes omit that which else would have 
been his duty, to do some good which he hath vow6d ; for 


negative commands bind ' semper et ad semper ;' but the 
affirmative do not (at least as to outward duty) ; therefore 
in case of necessity a man may himself consent to the pre- 
sent omission of some good, for the escaping of greater, un- 
avoidable omissions another time, or for the performing of 
a vow or greater duty which is to be preferred. 

2. A vow is not to be kept, when the matter of it is un- 
just and injurious to another (unless you have his consent) : 
as if you vow to give away another man's lands or goods, 
or to do hi pa wrong by word or deed ; or if you vow to for- 
bear to pay him his due, or to do that which you owe him : 
as if a servant vow to forbear his master's work (unless it 
be so small an injury as he can otherwise repair); or a 
husband, or wife, or parents, or children, or prince, or sub- 
jects should vow to deny their necessary duties to each 
other. Here man's right together with God's law doth make 
it unjust to perform such vows. 

3. A vow is as null or not to be kept, when the matter 
is something that is morally or civilly out of our power to 
do : as if a servant, or child, or subject vow to do a thing, 
which he cannot do lawfully without the consent of his su- 
perior : this vow is not simply null, for it is a sinful vow, 
(unless it was conditional). Every rational creature is so 
far ' sui juris,' as that his soul being immediately subject to 
God, he is capable of obliging himself to God ; and so his 
vow is a real sinful vow, when he is not so far ' sui juris* as 
to be capable of a lawful vowing, or doing the thing which 
he voweth. Such an one is bound to endeavour to get his 
superior's consent, but not without it to perform his vow ; 
no though the thing in itself be lawful. For God having 
antecedently bound me to obey my superiors in all lawful 
things, I cannot disoblige myself by my own vows. 

Yet here are very great difficulties in this case, which 
causeth difference among the most learned, pious casuists,. 
1. If a governor have beforehand made a law for that which 
I vow against, it is supposed by many that my vow is not ta 
be kept (the thing being not against the law of God) ; be- 
cause the first obligation holdeth. 2. Yet some think that 
magistrates' penal laws binding but ' aut ad obedientiam aut 
ad poenam,' * to obedience or punishment,' I am therefore 
obliged in indifferent things to bear his penalty, and to 


keep my vow**. 3. But if I first make an absolute vow in a 
thing indifferent, (as to drink no wine, or to wear no silks, 
&c.) and the magistrate afterwards command it me, some 
think I am bound to keep my vow ; because though I must 
obey the magistrate in all things lawful, yet my vow hath 
made this particular thing to be to me unlawful, before the 
magistrate made it a duty. 4. Though others think that 
even in this case the general obligation to obey my supe- 
riors preventeth my obliging myself to any particular which 
they may forbid in case I had not vowed it, or against any 
particular which they may command. 5. Others distin- 
guish of things lawful or indifferent, and say that some of 
them are such as become accidentally so useful or needful 
to the common good, the end of government, that it is fit 
the magistrate make a law for it, and the breaking of that 
law will be so hurtful, that my vow cannot bind me to it, as 
being now no indifferent thing ; but other indifferent things 
they say, belong not to the magistrate to determine of (as 
what I shall eat or drink, whether I shall marry or not, what 
trade I shall be of, how each artificer, tradesman, or profes- 
sor of arts and sciences shall do the business of his pro- 
fession, &c.) And here the magistrate they think cannot 
bind them against their vows, because their power of them- 
selves in such private cases is greater than his power over 
them in those cases. All these I leave as so many questions 
unfit for me to resolve in the midst of the contentions of the 
learned. The great reasons that move on both sides you 
may easily discern. 1. Those that think an oath in lawful 
things, obligeth not contrary to the magistrate's antecedent 
or subsequent command, are moved by this reason, that else 
subjects and children might by their vows exempt them- 
selves from obedience, and null God*s command of obeying 
our superiors. 2. Those that think a vow is obligatory 
against a magistrate's command, are moved by this reason, 
because else, say they, a magistrate may at his pleasure 

o Sanderson p. 72, 73. Dico ordinarie : quia fortassis possunt dari casus in 
quibus juramentuin quod videtur alicui legi communitatis aut vocationis adversari, 
etsi nun debuerit suscipi, susceptuin tamen potest obiigare : ut e. g. in lege poenali 
disjunctiva. See the instances which he addelh. Joseph took an oath of the 
Israelites to carry his bones out of Egypt, Gen. 1. 25. What if Pharaoh forbid 
them? Are they acquit? The spies swore to Rahub, Josh. ii. 12. 18. Had they 
been quit if the rulers bad acquit them ? 


dispense with all vows, except in things commanded before 
by God : for he may come after and cross our vows by his 
commands, which, against the pope's pretensions, Protes- 
tants have denied to be in the power of any mortal man. 
And God, say they, hath the first right, which none can 
take away. I must not be forward in determining where 
rulers are concerned ; only to those that may and must de- 
termine it, I add these further materials to be considered of. 

1. It is most necessary to the decision of this case, to 
understand how far the inferior that voweth was 'sui juris,' 
and had the power of himself when he made the vow, as to 
the making of it, and how far he is ' sui juris' as to the act 
which he hath vowed ; and to that end to know, in a case 
where there is some power over his act, both in his superior 
and in himself, whether his own power, or his superiors, as 
to that act, be the greater. 

2. It is therefore needful to distinguish much between 
those acts that are of private use and signification only, and 
those that (antecedently to the ruler's command) are of 
public use and nature, or such as the ruler is as much con- 
cerned in as the inferior. 

3. It is needful to understand the true intent and sense 
of the command of our superior ; whether it be really his in- 

itent to bind inferiors to break their vows, or whether they 
intend only to bind those that are not so entangled and pre- 
engaged by a vow, with a tacit exception of those that are p. 
And what is most just must be presumed, unless the con- 
trary be plain. 

4. It must be discerned whether the commands of supe- 
riors intend any further penalty than that which is affixed 
in their laws : as in our penal laws about using bows and 
arrows, and about fishing, hunting, &c. ; whether it be in- 
tended that the oflfender be guilty of damnation, or only 
that the threatened temporal penalty do satisfy the law ; 
and whether God bind us to any further penalty than the su- 
perior intendeth. 

5. The end of the laws of men must be distinguished 
from the words ; and a great difference must be put between 
those forbidden acts that do no further harm than barely to 
cross the letter of the law, or will of a superior, and those 

P Read of this at large, Amesii Cas. Cons. lib. v. c. 25, qu. 4. 


that cross the just end of the command or law, and that 
either more or less, as it is more or less hurtful to others, 
or against the common good : for then the matter will be- 
come sinful in itself. 

6. Whether perjury, or the unwilling violation of human 
laws be the greater sin, and which in a doubtful case should 
be most feared and avoided, it is easy to discern. 

Rule XXVII. 'A vow may be consequently made null 
or void, 1, By cessation of the matter, or any thing essen- 
tial to it, (of which before,) or by a dispensation or dissolu- 
tion of it by God to whom we are obliged.' No doubt it is 
in God's power to disoblige a man from his vow ; but how 
he ever doth such a thing is all the doubt : extraordinary 
revelations being ceased, there is this way yet ordinary, viz. 
by bringing the matter which I vowed to do, under some 
prohibition of a general law, by the changes of his provi- 

Rule XXVIII. * As to the power of man to dispense with 
oaths and vows, there is a great and most remarkable diffe- 
rence between those oaths and vows where man is the only 
party that we are primarily bound to, and God is only ap- 
pealed to as witness or judge, as to the keeping of my word 
to man ; and those oaths or vows where God is also made 
(either only or conjunct with man) the party to whom I 
primarily oblige myself.' For in the first case man can dis- 
pense with my oath or vow, by remitting his own right, and 
releasing me from my promise ; but in the second case no 
created power can do it. As e. g. if I promise to pay a man 
a sum of money, or to do him service, and swear that I will 
perform it faithfully ; if upon some after bargain or conside- 
ration he release me of that promise, God releaseth me also, 
as the witnesses and judge have nothing against a man, 
whom the creditor hath discharged. But if I swear or vow 
that I will amend my life, or reform my family of some great 
abuse, or that I will give so much to the poor, or that I will 
give up myself to the work of the Gospel, or that I will never 
marry, or never drink wine, or never consent to Popery or 
error, &c. ; no man can dispense with my vow, nor directly 
disoblige me in any such case ; because no man can give 
away God's right ; all that man can do in any such case is, 
to become an occasion of God's disobliging me ; if he can 


SO change the case, or my condition, as to bring me under 
some law of God, which commandeth me the contrary to my 
vow, then God disobligeth me, or maketh it unlawful to 
keep that vow. And here because a vow is commonly taken 
for such a promise to God, in which we directly bind our- 
selves to him, therefore we say, that a vow (thus strictly 
taken) cannot be dispensed with by man ; though in the 
sense aforesaid, an oath sometimes may. 

The Papists deal most perversely in this point of dis- 
pensing with oaths and vows : for they give that power to 
the pope over all the Christian world, who is an usurper, 
and none of oar governor, which they deny to princes and 
parents that are our undoubted governors : the pope may 
disoblige vassals from their oaths of allegiance to their 
princes (as the council of Lateran before cited,) but no king 
or parent may disoblige a man from his oath to the pope : 
nay, if a child vow a monastical life, and depart from his 
parents, they allow not the parents to disoblige him. 

Rule XXIX ' In the determining of controversies about 
the obligation of oaths and vows, it is safest to mark what 
Scripture saith, and not to presume, upon uncertain pre- 
tences of reason, to release ourselves, where we are not sure 
that God releaseth us.' 

Rule XXX. 'That observable chapter. Numb. xxx. about 
dispensations, hath many things in it that are plain for the 
decision of divers great and useful doubts ; but many things 
which some do collect and conclude as consequential or im- 
plied, are doubtful and controverted among the most judi- 
cious expositors and casuists/ 

1. It is certain that this chapter speaketh not of a total 
nullity of vows * ab initio,' but of a relaxation, or disanulling 
of them by superiors. For, 1. Bare silence (which is no 
efficient cause) doth prove them to be in force. 2. It is not 
said, * She is bound, or not bound ;' but * Her vow and bond 
shall stand,' ver. 4. 7. 9. 11. : or ' shall not stand,' ver. 5. 
12. : and * He shall make it of none effect,' ver. 8. The 
Hebrew, ver. 5. signifieth, * Quia annihilavit pater ejus 
illud.' And ver. 8. * Et si in die audire virum ejus, an- 

nihilaverit illud, et infregerit votum ejus*^.' 3. It is 

expressly said, that she had 'bound her soul' before the dis- 

1 And si infringendo infregerit ea vir ejus. v. 12. Vir ejus infregit ea. v. 13. 


solution. 4. It is said, * The Lord shall forgive her/ ver. 
5. 8. 12. which signifieth a relaxation of a former bond. 
Or at the most, the parent's silence is a confirmation, and 
his disowning it hindereth only the confirmation. So the 
Chaldee paraphrase, the Samaritan and Arabic * Non erunt 
confirmata," the Syriac * Rata vel irrita erunt.' 

2. It is certain that a father hath the power of relaxation 
here mentioned as to an unmarried daughter, in her youth 
living in his house, and a husband over his wife ; for it is 
the express words of the text. 

3. It is certain that this power extendeth to vows about 
all things in which the inferior is not ' sui juris,' but is un- 
der the superior's care and oversight, and cannot perform it 
(in case there had been no vow) without the superior's con- 

4. It is certain that it extendeth not only to matters con- 
cerning the governors themselves, but concerning vows to 
God, as they are good or hurtful to the inferiors. 

5. It is certain that there are some vows so necessary 
and clearly for the inferior's good, that in them he is *sui 
juris,' and no superior can suspend his vows : as to have the 
Lord for his God ; and not to commit idolatry, murder, 
theft, &c. No superior can disoblige us here ; for the power 
of superiors is only for the inferior's indemnity and good. 

6. It is certain that the superior's recal must be speedy 
or in time, before silence can signify consent, and make a 
confirmation of the vow. 

7. It is certain that if the superior have once ratified it by 
silence or consent, he cannot afterwards disannul it. 

8. It is agreed, that if he awhile dissent and disannul it, 
and afterwards both inferior and superior consent again, that 
it remaineth ratified. 

9. It is agreed that the superior that can discharge the 
vow of the inferior, cannot release himself from his own 
vows. If the pope could release all men, who shall re- 
lease him ? 

2. But in these points following there is no such cer- 
tainty or agreement of judgments, because the text seemeth 
silent about them, and men conjecture variously as they are 
prepared. 1. It is uncertain whether any but women may 
be released by virtue of this text : (1.) Because the text ex- 

VOL. v. H 


pressly distinguishing between a man and a woman doth 

first say, ' Si vir If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or 

swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond ; he shall not 
break his word ; he shall do according to all that proceed- 
eth out of his mouth/ And 2. Because women are only 
instanced in, when Scripture usually speaketh of them in 
the masculine gender, when it includeth both sexes, or ex- 
tendeth it to both. 3. And in the recapitulation in the end, 
it is said by way of recital of the contents, ver. 16. " These 
are the statutes which the Lord commanded Moses between 
a man and his wife ; between the father and his daughter 

in her youth in her father's house :" as if he would 

caution us against extending it any further. And though 
many good expositors think that it extendeth equally to 
sons as to daughters, in their minority, because there is a 
parity of reason, yet this is an uncertain conjecture. 1. 
Because God seemeth by the expression to bound the sense. 
2. Because God acquainteth not man with all the reasons 
of his laws. 3. Because there may be special reasons for 
an indulgence to the weaker sex in such a weighty case. 
And though still there is a probability it may extend to sons, 
it is good keeping to certainties in matters of such dreadful 
importance as oaths and vows to God. 

2. It is uncertain whether this power of disannulling 
vows do belong also to other superiors % to princes, to in- 
ferior magistrates, to pastors, masters, to commanders, as to 
their soldiers, as well as to parents and husbands : some 
think it doth, because there is, say they, a parity of reason. 
Others think it is dangerous disannulling oaths and vows 
upon pretences of parity of reason, when it is uncertain 
whether we know all God's reasons : and they think there is 
not a parity, and that it extendeth not to others. 1. Be- 

>■ Dr. Sanderson Praelect. 4. sect. 5. pp. 104, 105. limiteth it to ' De his rebus in 
quibus subest :' in those same things in which one is under another's government : 
adding sect. 6. a double exception : ' Of which one respecteth the person of the 
swearer, the other the consent of the superior :' the first is that ' As to the person of 
the swearer, there is scarce any one that hath the use of reasoti, that is so fully under 
another's power, but that in some things he is ' sui juris,' at his own power; and there 
every one may do as pleases himself, without consulting his superior, so as that by his 
own act, without his superior's licence, he may bind himself. 2. As to the consent of 
a superior.' A tacit consent, antecedentor consequent, sufficeth. Quasi diceret, si 
dissensum suurtx vel uno die dissimulet, votum in perpetuum stabilivit. 



cause parents and husbands are so emphatically named in 
the contents in the end, ver. 16. 2. Because it had been 
as easy to God to name the rest. 3. Because there is no 
instance in Scripture of the exercise of such a power, when 
there was much occasion for it. 4. Because else vows sig- 
nify no more in a kingdom than the king please, and in an 
army than the general and officers please ; and among ser- 
vants than the master please, which is thought a dangerous 
doctrine. 5. Because there will be an utter uncertainty 
when a vow bindeth and when it doth not to almost all the 
people in the world ; for one superior may contradict it, and 
another or a hundred may be silent : the king and most of 
the magistrates through distance will be silent, when a 
master, or a justice, or a captain that is at hand may disan- 
nul it : one officer may be for it, and another against it : a 
master or a pastor may be for it, and the magistrate against 
it : and so perjury will become the most controverted sin, 
and a matter of jest. 6. Because public magistrates and 
commanders, and pastors have not the near and natural in- 
terest in their inferiors as parents and husbands have in their 
children and wives; and therefore parents have not only a 
restraining power (q.s husbands here also have) ; but also 
a disposing power of the relation of their infant children, 
and may enter them in baptism into the vow and covenant of 
Christianity, the will and acts of the parents standing for 
the child's till he come to age ; but if you say that upon a 
parity of reason, all princes, and rulers, and pastors may do 
so with all that are their inferiors, it will seem incredible to 
most Christians. 7. Because public magistrates are justly 
supposed to be so distant from almost all their individual 
subjects, as not to be capable of so speedy a disowning 
their personal vows. Whatever this text doth, it is certain 
that other texts enough forbid covenants and combinations 
against the persons, or power, or rights of our governors, 
and not only against them but without them, in cases 
where .our place and calling alloweth us not to act 
without them. But it is certain that God who cummandect 
all Israel to be entered successively into the covenant of 
circumcision with him, would not have held them guiltless 
for refusing that covenant, if the prince had been against it. 
And few divines think that a subject, or soldier, or servant 


that hath vowed to forbear wine, or feasting, or marriage is 
discharged, if his prince, or captain, or masters be against 
it. Jonathan and David were under an oath of friendship ; 
(called the Lord's oath, 2 Sam. xxi. 7.) Saul as a parent 
could not discharge Jonathan as being a man at full age. 
Quaere whether Saul as a king being against it, did null the 
oath to David and Jonathan ? No, the Scripture sheweth 
the contrary. 8. Because else that benefit which God ex- 
tendeth only to a weaker sort, would extend to any, the 
wisest and most learned persons through the world, whose 
vows to God even for the afflicting of their own souls, may 
be nulled by the king or other superiors. Many such rea- 
sons are urged in this case. 

3. It is uncertain whether this chapter extend to asser- 
tory or testimonial oaths, (if not certain that it doth not) : 
it speaketh but of binding their souls in vows to God, which 
is to offer or do something which by error may prove pre- 
judicial to them. But if a parent or husband (much more a 
king or general) might nullify all the testimonial oaths of 
their inferiors that are given in judgment, or discharge all 
their subjects from the guilt of all the lies or false oaths 
which they shall take, it would make a great change in the 
morality of the world. 

4. It is not past all controversy how far this law is yet 
in force : seeing the Mosaical law as such is abrogated ; this 
can be now no further in force than as it is the law of na- 
ture, or some way confirmed or revived by Christ. The 
equity seemeth to be natural. 

Rule XXXI. * It is certain that whoever this power of 
disannulling vows belongeth to, and to whomsoever it may 
be given, that it extendeth not to discharge us from the pro- 
mise or vow of that which is antecedently our necessary duty 
by the law of God.' Else they should dispense with the 
law of God, when none but the lawgiver can relax or dis- 
pense with his laws, (unless it be one superior to the law- 
giver): therefore none can dispense with the laws of God. 
But I speak this but of a duty necessary also as a means to 
our salvation, or the good of others, or the honouring of 
God : for otherwise as to some smaller things, the duty may 
be such as man cannot dispense with, and yet a vow to do 
that duty may be unnecessary and sinful : as if I swear to 


keep all the law of God, and never to sin, or never to think 
a sinful thought : to do this is good, but to vow it is bad, 
because I may foreknow that I shall break it. 

Rule XXXII. * In some cases a vow may oblige you 
against that which would have been your duty if you had 
not vowed, and to do that which would else have been your 
sin : viz. if it be such a thing as is sin or duty but by some 
lesser accident, which the accident of a vow may preponde- 
rate or prevail against.' As if you swear to give a penny to 
a wandering beggar, or to one that needeth it not, which by 
all circumstances would have been an unlawful misemploy- 
ing of that which should have been better used ; yet it seem- 
eth to me your duty to do it when you have moved it. To 
cast away a cup of drink is a sin, if it be causelessly ; but if 
you vow to do it, it is hard to say that a man should rather 
be perjured than cast away a cup of drink, or a penny, or a 
pin. The Jesuits think it lawful to exercise the obedience 
of their novices by bidding them sometimes cast a cup of 
wine into the sink, or do some such action which causelessly 
done were sin : and shall not a vow require it more strongly ? 
Suppose it would be your duty to pray or read at such or 
such an hour of the day (as being fittest to your body and 
occasions) : yet if you have (foolishly) vowed against it, it 
seemeth to me to be your duty to put it off till another time. 
For perjury is too great a thing to be yielded to on every 
such small occasion. Dr. Sanderson '* ubi supra' giveth 
this instance : * If there be a law that no citizen elected to it 
shall refuse the office of a praetor ; and he that doth refuse 
it shall be fined : Caius sweareth that he will not bear the 
office : his oath is unlawful (and disobedience would have 
been his sin if he were free) yet it seems he is bound to pay 
his fine, and disobey the precept of the law, rather than 
break his vow/ 

Rule XXXI II. ' There are so great a number of sins and 
duties that are such by accidents and circumstantial altera- 
tions, and some of these greater and some less, that it is a 
matter of exceeding great difficulty in morality to discern 
when they are indeed sins and duties and when not, which 
must be by discerning the preponderancy of accidents ; and 
therefore it must be exceeding difficult to discern when a 

• Sanderson, p. 73. 


VOW shall weigh down any of these accidents, and when 

Rule XXXIV. *The exceeding difficulty and frequency of 
such cases maketh it necessary to those that have such en- 
tanglements of vows, to have a very wise and faithful coun- 
sellor to help them better to resolve their particular cases, 
upon the knowledge of every circumstance, than any book 
or general rules can do, or any that are not so perfectly ac- 
quainted with the case.' And O what great ability is ne- 
cessary in divines that are employed in such works ! 

Rule XXXV. ' Thus also the case must he resolved whe- 
ther an oath bind that hindereth a greater good which I 
might do if I had not taken it.' In some cases it may bind : 
as if I swear to acquaint none with some excellent medicine 
which I could not have known myself unless I had so sworn ; 
or in case that the breaking of the oath, will do more hurt to 
me or others than the good comes to which I omit : or in case 
all things considered, the doing of that good * hie et nunc' is 
not my duty : see Dr. Sanderson of the difficulties here also. 

Rule xxxvi, ' No personal hurt or temporal loss is any 
sufficient cause for the violation of an oath.' He that tak- 
eth a false oath, or breaketh a promissory oath for the sa- 
ving of his life or a thousand men's lives, or for lands or 
riches, or crowns and kingdoms, hath no considerable ex- 
cuse for his perfidiousness and perjury, all temporal things 
being such inconsiderable trifles in comparison of the will 
^nd pleasure of God, and life everlasting: that which will 
not justify a lie, will much less justify perjury*. 

Rulex^xYU. 'If the matter of an oath prove only a 
temptation to sin, and not sin itself, it must be kept : ' but 
with the greater vigilance and resolution ! As if a man 
have married a fro ward wife that will be a temptation to 
him all his life, he is not disobliged from her. 

Rule xxxviii. * If the matter of an oath be such as 
maketh me directly the tempter of myself or others, it is a 
sin, and not to be kept, unless some greater good preponde- 
rate that evil.' For though it be no sin to be tempted, yet it 
is a sin to tempt : though it be no sin to tempt by a neces- 
sary trial, (as a master may lay money before a suspected 
servant to try whether he be a thief,) nor any sin to tempt 

' Sanders p. 80, 81. 


accidentally by the performance of a duty (as a holy life 
doth accidentally tempt a malignant person to hatred and 
persecution) ; yet it is a sin to be directly and needlessly a 
tempter of ourselves or others unto sin ; and therefore he 
that voweth it must not perform it. As if you had vowed 
to persuade any to uncliastity, intemperance, error, rebel- 
lion, &c. 

Rule XXXIX. ' If the matter of an oath be such as acci- 
dentally layeth so strong a temptation before men (especial- 
ly before a multitude), as that we may foresee it is exceeding- 
likely to draw them into sin, when there is no greater good 
to preponderate the evil of such a temptation, it is a sin to 
do that thing, though in performance of a vow.' When ac- 
tions are good or evil only by accident, then accidents must 
be put in the balance against each other, and the weightiest 
must preponderate. As in matter of temporal commodity 
or discommodity, it is lawful to do that action which acci- 
dentally bringeth a smaller hurt to one man, if it bring a 
greater good to many ; or which hurteth a private person to 
the great good of the commonwealth; but it is not lawful to 
do that which clearly tendeth (though but by accident) to 
do more hurt than good. As to sell powder and arms, when we 
foresee it will be used against the king and kingdom ; or to 
sell ratsbane when you foresee it is like to be used to poison 
men. Much more should the salvation of many or one be 
preferred before our temporal commodity ; and therefore 
for a lesser good, we may not tempt men to evil, though but 
accidentally : as he that liveth where there is but little need 
of taverns or alehouses, and the common use of them is for 
drunkenness, it is unlawful for him there to sell ale or wine, 
unless he can keep men from being drunk with it : (as if 
they take it home with them, or be unruly he cannot.) For 
thus to be a foreknowing tempter and occasion, unnecessa- 
rily, is to be a moral cause. Two things will warrant a man 
to do that which by accident tempteth or occasioneth other 
men to sin : one is a command of God, when it is a duty 
which we do : the other is a greater good to be attained by 
the action, which cannot be attained in a less dangerous 
way. As in a country where there is so great a necessity 
for alehouses and taverns that the good that is done by 
them is greater than the hurt is like to be, though some will 


be drunk ; it is lawful to use these trades though some be 
hurt by it. It is lawful to sell flesh though some will be 
gluttonous ; it is lawful to use moderate, decent ornaments, 
though some vain minds will be tempted by the sight to 
lust. As it is lawful to go to sea though some be drowned : 
to act a comedy, or play at a lawful game, with all those 
cautions, which may secure you that the good of it is like 
to be greater than the hurt, is not unlawful : but to set up a 
play-house, or gaming-house, where we may foresee that 
the mischief will be far greater than the good (though the 
acts were lawful in themselves), this is but to play the devil's 
part, in laying snares for souls : men are not thus to be ti- 
ced to hell and damned in sport, though but accidentally, 
and though you vowed the act. 

Rule XL. *Thus also must the case of scandal be re- 
solved " : as scandal signifieth an action that occasioneth 
another to sin, or a stumbling-block at which we foresee he 
is like to fall to the hurt of his soul, (which is the sense 
that Christ and the apostles usually take it in) so it is the 
same case with this last handled, and needs no other reso- 
lution : but as scandal signifieth (in the late abusive sense) 
the mere displeasing of another, or occasioning him to cen- 
sure you for a sinner, so you must not break a vow to escape 
the censure or displeasure of all the world.' Otherwise pride 
would be still producing perjury, and so two of the greatest 
sins would be maintained. 

Rule XLi. ' Though in the question about the obligation 
of an oath that is taken ignorantly, or by deceit, there be 
great difficulties, yet this much seemeth clear, 1 . That he that 
is culpably ignorant is more obliged by his vow or contract 
while he useth all the outward form, than he that is inculpa- 
bly ignorant, 2. That though the deceit (as the force) of 
him that I swear to, do forfeit his right to what I promise 
him, yet my oath or vow obligeth me to do or give the 
thing, having interested God himself in the cause. 3. That 
all such errors of the esseatials of an oath or vow as nullify 
it (of which I spake before) or make the matter sinful, do in- 
fer a nuUity in the obligation (or that it must not be kept).' 
But no smaller error (though caused by deceit) doth dis- 

" Saiiders. p. a2. 


The commonest doubt is, ' Whether an error about the 
very person that I swear to, and this caused by his own de- 
ceit, do disoblige me ? ' All grant that I am obliged not- 
withstanding any circumstantial error, (as if I think a wo- 
man rich whom I marry, and she prove poor, or wise and 
godly, and she prove foolish or ungodly : yea, if the error 
be about any integral part ; as if I think she had two eyes or 
legs, and she have but one :) and all grant that an error 
about an essential part, that is, which is essential to the re- 
lation or thing vowed, (if inculpable at least) disobligeth : 
as if I took a man in marriage thinking he had been a wo- 
man ; or if I took a person for a pastor, a physician, a coun- 
sellor, a pilot, that hath no tolerable ability or skill in the 
essentials of any of those professions. But whether I am 
bound if I swear to Thomas thinking it was John, or if I 
marry Leah thinking she is Rachel, is the great doubt. 
And most casuists say I am not : and therefore I dare not 
be bold to contradict them". But I much suspect that they 
fetched their decision from the lawyers ; who truly say, 
that in *foro civili' it inferreth no obligation: but whether 
it do not oblige me ethically and * in foro conscientiae et 
cceli' I much doubt ''j 1. Because it seemeth the very case 
of Joshua and the Israelites, who by the guile of the Gib- 
eonites were deceived into an * error personarum,' taking 
them to be other persons than they were : and yet that this 
oath was obligatory, saith Dr. Sanderson is apparent (1.) 
In the text itself. Josh. ix. 19. (2.) In the miracle wrought 
for that victory which Joshua obtained in defending the 
Gibeonites when the sun stood still y. (3.) In the severe 
revenge that was taken on the lives of Saul's posterity for 
offering to violate it ^. 2. And this seemeth to be the very 
case of Jacob who took not himself disobliged from Leah 
notwithstanding the mistake of the person through deceit. 
And though the * concubitus' was added to the contract, 
that obliged most as it was the perfecting of the contract, 
which an oath doth as strongly. 3. And the nature of the 
thing doth confirm my doubt ; because when I see the per- 

•» Sanders, p. 122. 

* Sanders, p. 120, 121- This seemeth the case of Isaac in blessing Jacob: the 
error personaj* caused by Jacob's own deceit did not nullify the blessing, because it 
was fixed on the determinate person that it was spoken to. 

y Josh. X. 8. 13. * 2Sam.xxi, 2. 


son before me there is the * individuum determinatum/ in 
the * hasc homo/ and so all that is essential to my vow is 
included in it : if 1 mistake the name or the quiality, or birth 
or relations of the person, yet my covenant is with this de- 
terminate person that is present, though I be induced to it 
by a false supposition that she is another. But this I leave 
to the discussion of the judicious. 

Rule xLii. *The question also is weighty and of fre- 
quent use, if a man vow a thing as a duty in obedience to 
God and conscience, which he would not have done if he 
had taken it to be no duty, and if he afterwards find that it 
was no duty, is he obliged to keep this vow ? And the true 
answer is, that the discovery of his error doth only discover 
the nullity of his obligation to make that vow, and to do the 
thing antecedently to the vow ; but if the thing be lawful, 
he is bound to it by his vow notwithstanding the mistake 
which induced him to make it. 

Rule XLiii. * Vows about trifles (not unlawful) must be 
kept though they are sinfully made *.' As if you vow to 
take up a straw, or to forbear such a bit or sort of meat, or 
garment, &c. But to make such is a great profanation of 
God's name, and a taking it in vain as common swearers do. 

Rule XLi v. * A general oath though taken upon a partic- 
ular occasion must be generally or strictly interpreted (un- 
less there be special reasons for a restraint, from the matter, 
end, or other evidence).' As if you are afraid that your son 
should marry such a woman, and therefore swear him not 
to marry without your consent ; he is bound thereby neither 
to marry that woman nor any other. Or if your servant 
haunt any particular alehouse, and you make him forswear 
all houses in general, he must avoid all other. So Dr. San- 
derson instanceth in the oath of supremacy, p. 195. 

Rule XLv. ' He that vowetli absolutely or implicitly to 
obey another in all things, is bound to obey him in all lawful 
things, where neither God, nor other superior or other per- 
son is injured ; unless tjie nature of the relation, or the ends 
or reasons of the oath, or something else infer a limitation 
as implied.' 

Rule XL VI. ' Still distinguish between the falsehood in 
the words as disagreeing to the thing sworn, and the fajse- 

^ Sanders, j). 84. 


hood of them as disagreeing from the swearer's mind.* The 
former is sometimes excusable, but the latter never. 

There are many other questions about oaths that belong 
more to the chapter of Contracts and justice between man 
and man ; and thither I refer them. 


Directions to the People concerning their Internal and Private 
Duty to their Pastors, and the Improvement of their Minis- 
terial Office and Gifts. 

The people's internal and private duty to their pastors 
(which I may treat of without an appearance of encroach- 
ment upon the work of the canons, rubrics, and diocesans) 
I shall open to you in these Directions following. 

Direct, i. * Understand first the true ground, and nature, 
and reasons of the ministerial office, or else you will not un- 
derstand the grounds, and nature, and reasons of your duty 
to them.' The nature and works of the ministerial office I 
have so plainly opened already that I shall refer you to it to 
avoid repetition *. Here are two sorts of reasons to be 
given you : 1. The reasons of the necessity of the ministe- 
rial work. 2. Why certain persons must be separated to 
this work, and it must not be left to all in common. 

The necessity of the work itself appeareth in the very na- 
ture of it, and enumeration of the parts of it ^ Two sorts 
of ministers Christ hath made use of for his church : the 
first sort was for the revelation of some new law or doctrine, 
to be the rule of faith or life for the church : and these 
were to prove their authority and credibility by some divine 
attestation, which was especially by miracles ; and so Moses 
revealed the law to the Jews, and (Christ and) the apostles 
revealed the Gospel. The second sort of ministers are ap- 
pointed to guide the church to salvation by opening and ap- 
plying the rule thus already sealed and delivered: and 
these as they are to bring no new revelations or doctrines of 
faith, or rule of life, so they need not bring any miracle to 

* D'uput. ii. of Church Govemnicnt, chap. i. and Universal Concord. 
•» Of the difference between fixed and unfixed ministers, see my Disput. ii. iii. 
of Church Government, and Jos. Acontalib. v. c. 21, 22. de Missionibus. 


prove their call or authority to the church ; for they have 
no power to deliver any new doctrine or gospel to the 
church, but only that which is confirmed by miracles alrea- 
dy. And it is impudence to demand that the same gospel 
be proved by new miracles by every minister that shall ex- 
pound or preach it : that would make miracles to be no mir- 

The work of the ordinary ministry (such as the priests 
and teachers were under the law, and ordinary pastors and 
teachers are under the Gospel,) being only to gather and 
govern the churches, their work lay in explaining and ap- 
plying the Word of God, and delivering his sacraments, and 
now containeth these particulars following : 1 . To preach 
the Gospel for the conversion of the unbelieving and ungod- 
ly world. And that is done, partly by expounding the 
words by a translation into a tongue which the hearers or 
readers understand ; and partly by opening the sense and 
matter ^ 2. In this they are not only teachers, but mes- 
sengers sent from God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to 
charge, and command, and entreat men in his name to re- 
pent, and believe, and be reconciled to God ; and in his 
name to offer them a sealed pardon of all their sins, and title 
to eternal life^. 3. Those that become the disciples of 
Christ, they are (as his stewards) to receive into his house, 
as fellow citizens of the saints, and of the household of God ; 
and as his commissioned officers, to solemnize by baptism 
their entrance into the holy covenant, and to receive their 
engagement to God, and to be the messengers of God's en- 
gagement unto them, and by investiture to deliver to them by 
that sacrament the pardon of all their sin, and their title 
by adoption to eternal life : as a house is delivered by the 
delivery of a key; or land, by a twig and turf; or knight- 
hood by a sword or garter, &c. 4. These ministers are to 
gather these converts into solemn assemblies and ordered 
churches, for their solemn worshipping of God, and mutual 
edification, communion, and safe proceeding in their Chris- 
tian course*. 5. They are to be the stated teachers of the 

c Rom. X. 7. 14. Mark xvi. 15. Matt, xxviii. 19, 20. 
d 2 Cor. V. 19— 21. Acts xxvi. 17, 18. Eph. U. 19. Acts ii. 37—40. 
e Tit. i. 7. 1 Cor. iv. i, 2. Matt, xxviii. 19, 20. Acts xx 32. 1 Cor. iii. 


assemblies, by expounding and applying that word which is 
fit to build them up. 6. They are to be the guides of the 
congregation in public worship, and to stand between them 
and Christ in things pertaining to God, as subservient to 
Christ in his priestly office : and so both for the people, and 
also in their names, to put up the public prayers and praises 
of the church to God. 7. It is their duty to administer to 
them, as in the name and stead of Christ, his body and 
blood as broken and shed for them, and so in the frequent 
renewals of the holy covenants, to subserve Christ especial- 
ly in his priestly office, to offer and deliver Christ and his 
benefits to them, and to be their agent in offering themselves 
to God. 8. They are appointed to oversee and govern the 
church, in the public ordering of the solemn worship of 
God, and in rebuking any that are there disorderly, and see- 
ing that all things be done to edification^. They are ap- 
pointed as teachers for every particular member of the 
church to have personal and private recourse to, (as far as 
may be,) for the resolving of their weighty doubts, and in- 
struction in cases of difficulty and necessity, and for the 
settling of their peace and comfort. 10. They are appoint- 
ed, as physicians under Christ, to watch over all the indivi- 
dual members of their charge, and take care that they be 
not infected with heresy, or corrupted by vice ; and to ad- 
monish the offenders, and reduce them into the way of truth 
and holiness, and if they continue impenitent after public 
admonition, to reject them from the communion of the 
church, and command the church to avoid them. 11. They 
are as to bind over the impenitent to answer their contumacy 
at the bar of Christ, so to absolve the penitent, and com- 
fort them, and require the church to re-admit them to their 
communion. 12. They are appointed as stewards in the 
household of Christ, to have a tender care of the very bodily 
welfare of their flocks, so as to endeavour the supplying of 
their wants, and stirring up the rich to relieve the poor, and 
faithfully (by themselves or the deacons) to distribute what 
is intrusted with them for that use. 13. They are especially 
to visit the sick, and when they are sent for, to pray for 

' Acts XIV. 23. 2 Tim. ii. 2. Acts xiii. 2. ii. 41, 42. vi. 2. xx. 7. 28. 
1 Tim. V. 17. Titus i. 5. Acts xr 7J0 ,31. Col. i. 28. Eph. iv. il, 12. Mai. 
ii, 7. iTim. V. 17. 


them and with them, and to instruct them in their special 
preparations for death, and confirm them against those last 
assaults. 14. They are appointed to be the public cham- 
pions of the truth, to defend it against all heretical and pro- 
fane opposers, and thereby to preserve th^ flock from being 
seduced. 15. They are appointed to be (under Christ the 
head) the nerves and ligaments of the several churches, by 
vv^hich they are kept not only in vigour by communication 
of nutriment, but also in concord, and such communion as 
they are capable of, by the correspondencies, and consulta- 
tions, and councils of their pastors ^. All these are the dis- 
tinct and special uses to v^^hich Christ hath appointed the 
office of the sacred ministry : which having but named to 
you, I need to say no more to shew you the excellency, and 
necessity, and benefits of it. 

Herein also the reasons are apparent, why Christ did 
institute this sacred office. 1. Because it was meet his 
kingdom should have officers, suited to his work in the ad- 
ministration of it. 2. It was meet that they be men, like 
ourselves, that we can familiarly converse with. 3. The 
great necessity of his church required it, where the most are 
weak, and insufficient to perform all these offices for them- 
selves ; and cannot well subsist without the support of 
others. It was meet therefore that the pastors were selected 
persons, wiser, and holier, and stronger than the people, 
and fit for so great and necessary a work. 4. It was requi- 
site also to the order of the church ; for if it were like an 
army without officers, there would be nothing but confusion, 
and neither order nor edification. 

By this you may also see the nature and reasons of your 
obedience to your pastors : as they are not appointed to 
govern you by force*", but willingly, " not for filthy lucre, 
but of a ready mind, not as being lords over God's heritage, 
but as ensamples to the flock V' so you must willingly and 

sr 1 Cor. xiv. 16. 26 Acts xx. 7. 36. James v. 14. Acts vi. 4. ii. 42. 
Phil. i. 4. Neh.xii. 24. xi. 17. iCor.xi. 24. x. 16. Heb. vii. 7. Tit. ii. 15. 
i. 9. 11- 1 Tim. v. 19. iii. 5. Tit. iii. 10. Matt, xviii. 17, 18. 1 Cor. v. 4. 11. 
13. Eph. iv. 13, 14. Acts xv. 

•* Princes may force their subjects by the temporal sword which they bear : 
bishops may not force their flock with any corporal or external violence. Bilson, 
Christ. Subjection, p, 525. 

' 1 Peter v. 1—3. 


cheerfully obey them in their work. As their government ^ 
is not by any bodily penalties or mulcts (for that is the ma- 
gistrate's work and not theirs), but a government by the 
force of Truth and Love ; so your obedience of them con- 
sisteth in the loving and thankful reception of the truth 
which they teach you, and the piercies which they offer 
you from Christ. 

You see then that the reasons of your obedience are mani- 
fold. 1. Some of them from God: he hath sent his mes- 
sengers to you, and set his officers over you ; and Christ 
hath told you that he that heareth them heareth him, and 
he that despiseth them despiseth him, and him that sent 
him^: he commandeth you to hear and obey them as his 
officers. 2. From themselves : they have authority by their 
commission, and they have ability in their qualifications, 
which require your obedience and improvement. 3. From 
yourselves : have you reason to obey your natural parents, 
on whom your livelihood in the world dependeth ? Have 
you reason to obey him that tendereth you a pardon from 
the king when you are condemned ? or that offereth you 
gold or riches in your want? or that inviteth you to a feast 
in time of famine ? or that otfereth to defend and save you 
from your enemies? Much more have you reason to obey 
Christ's ministers when they call you to repentance, and 
offer you pardon of sin, and peace, and salvation, and eter- 
nal life. Did you ever hear a man so mad and churlish, as 
to say to one that offered him riches, or liberty, or life, ' I 
am not bound to obey you : offer them to those that you 
have authority over !' When the office of the ministry is as 
well subservient to Christ as a Saviour and Benefactor, as 
to Christ as your Teacher and your King, the very nature 
of their work engageth you to obey them as you love your- 
selves. If you were in hell, and Christ should send for you 
out, you would not refuse to go, till the messenger had 

•' Dr. Hammond Annot. q. d. The bishops of your several churches, I exhort— 
Take care of your several churches, and govern them, not as secular rulers, by force, 
but as pastors do their sheep, by calling and going before them, that so they may 
follow of their own accord.' If you would know the true nature and extent of a 
bishop's work and office, read carefully the said Dr. Hammond's Paraphrase on Acts 
XX. 20. 28. Heb. xiii. 7. 17. 1 Tim", v. 17. 1 Thess. v. 12. Heb. xiii. Annot. 

a. Tit. iii. 10. 1 Cor. xii. 28. Annot. e. Jam. v. 14. Annot. Acts xi. 30. Annot. 

b. Acts xiv. 23. 

> Luke X. 16. 

112 CHRIkSTIAN directory. [part III. 

proved his authority. And when you are the heirs of hell, 
condemned by the law, and going thither, will you refuse to 
turn back, and yield to the offers and commands of grace, 
till you have skill enough to read the minister's commission ^ 

By this also you see, that the power of your pastors is - 
not absolute, nor coercive and lordly, but ministerial "". And 
though the Papists make a scorn of the word " minister," 
it is but in that pride, and passion, and malice which mak- 
eth them speak against their knowledge : for their pope 
himself calleth himself the servant of God's servants ; and 
Paul saith, " Let a man so account of us as of the ministers 
of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God "." " Who 
then is Paul, and who is ApoUos, but ministers by whom 
ye believed °" " Who made us able ministers of the New 
Testament P." " In all things approving ourselves as the 
ministers of God*i." Even magistrates, yea, and angels are 
not too good to be called (and used as) the ministers of God 
for the good of his servants ^ and to " minister for them who 
shall be heirs of salvation ^" Yea, Christ himself is so call- 
ed *. And therefore you have no more excuse for your dis- 
obedience, than for refusing his help that would pull you 
out of the fire or water when you are perishing. You see 
here that your pastors cannot command you what they list, 
nor how they list : they have nothing to do with the magis- 
trate's work ; nor can they usurp the power of a master 
over his servants, nor command you how to do your work 
and worldly business, (except in the morality of it). In the 
fifteen particulars beforementioned their work and office 
do consist, and in those it is that you owe them a rational 

Direct, ii. ' Know your own pastors in particular: and 
know both what you owe to a minister as a minister of 

°> Chrjsost. cited by Bilson, p. 525. But if any man wander from the right 
path of the Christian faith, the pastor must use great pains, care, and patience. For 
he may not be forced, nor constrained with terror, but only persuaded to return en- 
tirely to the truth. A bishop cannot cure men with such authority as a shep- 
herd doth his sheep. — For of all men Christian bishops may least correct the faults 
ofmen by force, p, 526. Matt. xx. 26. Mark x. 43. See Psal. ciii. 21. civ. 4. 
Isa. xvi. 6. Jer. xxxiii. 21. Joel i. 9. 13. ii. 17. 2 Cor. xi. 23. Acts xxvi. 26. 
Rom. XV. 16. Ephes. iii.7. Col. i. 23, 25. 1 Tim.iv. 6. 1 Thes.iii. 2. Col. i.r. 

n 1 Cor. iv. 1. « 1 Cor. iii. 5. p 2 Cor. iii. 6. 

q 2 Cor. vi. 4. *■ Rom. xiii. 36. • Heb. i, 7. 14. 



Christ in common, and what you owe him moreover as your 
pastor by special relation and charge ".' When any minis- 
ter of Christ deli vereth his Word to you, he must be heard as a 
minister of Christ, and not as a private man ; but to your own 
pastor you are bound in a peculiar relation, to an ordinary 
and regular attendance upon his ministry in all the particu- 
lars beforementioned that concern you. Your own bishop 
must in a special manner be obeyed : 

1. As one that laboureth among you, and is over you in 
the Lord, and admonisheth you, and preacheth to you the 
Word of God '', watching for your souls as one that must 
give account y, and as one that ruleth well, and especially 
that laboureth in the Word and doctrine ^ " teaching you 
publicly and from house to house, taking heed to himself, 
and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made 
him an overseer, not ceasing to warn every one night and 
day with tears ^." '* Preaching Christ, and warning every 
man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that he may 
present every man perfect in Christ *"." 

2. He is to be obeyed as the guide of the congregation 
in the management of God's public worship : you must se- 
riously and reverently join with him, every Lord's day at 
least, in the public prayers and praises of the church, and 
not ordinarily go from him to another. 

3. You must receive from him or with him, the sacra- 
ment of the body and blood of Christ : which of old was ad- 
ministered every Lord's day, and that only in the church 
where the bishop was, that is, in every church of the faith- 
ful : for as Ignatius most observably saith ^, ' tv Bvmaarripiov 
TTCurp ry eKKkr^ma, Kai elg ettiWottoc afia t(o TrpeapvTEpiu), Kai 



" Funcliunes in ecclesia perpetua? sunt duae, Presbyterorum et Diaconorum : 
Presbyteros voco cum omni ecclesia veteri eos, qui ccclesiaiu pascunt verbi prjedica- 
tione,8acraraentis et ciavibusj quae jure Divino sunt individua. Grotiusde Imperio 
pag. 267. cap. 10. 

" Bishop Jer. Taylor of Repentance, Pref. ' I ara sure we cannot give an ac- 
count of souls of which we have no notice.' 

y 1 Thess.v. 1S5. Heb. xiii. 7. 17. « I Tim. v. 17. 

» Acts XX. 19, 20. 24. 28. 31. 33. »» Col. i. 28. 

«= Ignat. Epis. ad Philad. Vid. Mead's Disc, of Churches, p. 48—50. 

VOL. V. 1 


and DEACONS.'— So in his Epist. ad Magnes. * Come 
all as one, to the temple of God, as to one altar, as to one 
Jesus Christ/ And saith TertuUian ^, * Eucharistise Sacra- 

mentum nee de aliorum manu quam prsesidentium su- 

mimus :' ' we take not the sacrament of the eucharist from 
the hand of any but the president.' 

4. You must have recourse to him especially for the re- 
solution of your weighty doubts, in private ^. 

5. You must hear your bishops and repent, when in 
meekness and love they convince and admonish you against 
your sins, and not resist the Word of God which they power- 
fully and patiently lay home to your consciences, nor put 
them with grief to cut you off, as impenitent in scandalous 
sins, from the communion of the church. 

6. You must, after any scandalous sin which hath 
brought you under the censure of the church, go humble 
yourselves by penitent confession, and crave absolution and 
restoration to the communion of the church. 

7. Your public church alms should ordinarily be depo- 
sited into the bishop's hands, who relieveththe orphans and 
widows, and is the curator or guardian to all absolutely that 
are in want, saith Ignatius to Polycarp, cited by Dr. Ham- 
mond on 1 Cor. xii. 28 ^ 

8. You must send for him in your sickness to pray with 
you and advise you. See Dr. Hammond on James v. 14. 
And on 1 Cor. xii. 28. he saith, * Polycarp himself speaking 
of the elders or bishops saith. They visit and take care of 
all that are sick, not neglecting the widows, the orphans, or 
the poor.' And Dr. Hammond on James v. 14. sheweth out 
of antiquity «, that ' One part of the bishop's office is set 
down, that they are those that visit all the sick.' Not but 
that a stranger may be made use of also ; but ordinarily and 
especially your own bishop must be sent for ; because as 
you are his special charge, and he " watcheth for your souls 

d TertuU. de Coron. Milit. c. 3. 

e It is very observable that Acosta saith, lib. vi. c. 12. that they found il an old 
custom among the Indians to confess their sins to the priests before the Gospel came 

' See more in Dr. Hammond, ibid. 

« Vid. Canon. Apost. 5. 32. Et Concil. Antioch. c. 5. Et Concil. Carthag. 
4. Can. 35. 


as one that must give account^' ;" so it is supposed that he 
is better acquainted with your spiritual state and life than 
others are, and therefore in less danger of wronging you by 
mistake and misapplications : for it is supposed that you 
have acquainted him with your personal condition in your 
health, having taken him as your ordinary counsellor for 
your souls, and that he hath acquainted himself with your 
condition, and confirmed you, and watched over you by 
name, as Ignatius to Polycarp bishop of Smyrna saith ', 
' Saepe congregationes fiant : ex nomine omnes quaere : ser- 
vos et ancillas ne despicias.' As bishop Usher's old Latin 
translation hath it. * Let congregations be often held : in- 
quire after all by name : despise not servants and maids.' 
The bishop took notice of every servant and maid by name ; 
and he had an opportunity to see whether they were in the 

9. You must use him as your leader or champiorf against 
all heretics, infidels, and subtle adversaries of the truth, with 
whom you are unable to contend yourselves, that your 
bishop may clear up and defend the cause of Christ and 
righteousness, and by irresistible evidence, stop the mouths 
of all gainsayers ^ It is for your own benefit and not for 
theirs that you are required in all theseworks of their office 
to use them and readily obey them. And what hurt can it 
do you to obey them in any of these ? 

Direct, iii. ' Understand how it is that Christ doth au- 
thorize and send forth his ministers, lest wolves and de- 
ceivers should either obtrude themselves upon you as your 
lawful pastors, or should alienate you from those that God 
hath set over you, by puzzling you in subtle questioning or 
disputing against their call.' Not only Paul's warnings. 
Acts XX. 30. and 2 Tim. iii. 6. ; but lamentable experience 
•.telleth us what an eager desire there is in proud and self- 
conceited men, to obtrude themselves as teachers and pas- 
tors on the churches, to creep into houses and lead people 
captive, and draw away disciples after them, and say (and 
perhaps think) that others are deceivers, and none are the 
true teachers indeed but they. And the first part of the art 

•• Heb. xiii. 17. 

» Vid. Just. Mart. Apol. 2. Vid. Tertul. Apol. c. 39. 

^ I tiope all this will tell ^ou what a bishop indeed is. 


and work of wolves, is to separate you from your pastors, 
and catch up the stragglers that are thus separated. The 
malice, and slanders, and lies, and railing of hirelings and 
deceivers, and all the powers of hell, are principally poured 
out on the faithful pastors and leaders of the flocks. The 
principal work of the Jesuits against you, is to make you 
believe that your pastors are no true pastors, but uncalled 
private persons, and mere usurpers : and the reason must 
be, because they have not an ordination of bishops succes- 
sively from the apostles without interruption ^ I confess if 
our interruptions had been half as lamentable as theirs, (by 
their schisms, and variety of popes at once ; and popes ac- 
cused, or condemned by general councils, for heretics ; and 
their variety of ways of electing popes, and their incapaci- 
ties by simony, usurpation, &c.) I should think at least 
that our ancestors had cause to have questioned the calling 
of some that were then over them. But I will help you in 
a few words to discern the juggling of these deceivers, by 
shewing you the truth concerning the way of Christ's giving 
his commission to the ministers that are truly called, and 
the needlessness of the proof of an uninterrupt^ succession 
of regular ordination, to your reception of your pastors and 
their ministrations. 

The ministerial commission is contained in, and con- 
veyed by the law of Christ, which is the charter of the 
church, and every true bishop or pastor hath his power from 
Christy and not at all from the efficient conveyance of anyJH 
mortal man : even as kings have their power not from maniH 
but from God himself ; but with this difference, that in the 
church Christ hath immediately determined of the species of 
church offices, but in the civil government, only of the 
genus (absolutely and immediately ""). You cannot have a 

' Grot, de Imp. p. 273. Pastorum est ordinare pastores. Neque id officium 
eis competit, qua hujus aut illius ecclesiae pastores sunt, sed qua ministris ecclesiae 

™ See ill Grotius de Imper. sum. potest, p. 269. The necessary distinction of 
1. Ipsa facultas praedicandi sacramenta et claves administrandi, quod Mandatum vo- 
cat. 2. Applicatio hujus facultalis ad certara personam, viz. Ordinatio. 3. Appli- 
catio hujus personae ad certum ccEtum et locum, viz. Electio. 4. Illud quo certa per- 
sona in certo loco rainisteriura suum exercet publico praesidio ac publica authoritate, 
viz. Confirmatio. p. 273. Constat muneris institutionem a Deo esse : ordinationem 
a pastoribus, confirmationem publicara a sumiua potestate. So that the doubt is 
only about election. Which yet must be differenced from consent. 


plainer illustration, than by considering how mayors and 
bailiffs, and constables are annually made in corporations : 
the king by his charter saith that * every year at a certain 
time the freemen or burgesses shall meet, and choose one to 
be their mayor, and the steward or town-clerk shall give him 
his oath, and thus or thus he shall be invested in his place; 
and this shall be his power and work and no other.' So the 
king by his law appointeth that constables and church- 
wardens shall be chosen in every parish. Now let our two 
questions be here decided: 1. Who is it that give th these 
officers their power? 2. Whether an uninterrupted succes- 
sion of such officers through all generations since the enact- 
ing of that law, be necessary to the validity of the present 
officer's authority ? To the first. It is certain that it is the ^ 
king by his law or charter that giveth the officers their 
power ; and that the corporations and parishes do not give 
it them by electing, or investing them: yea though the king 
hath made such election and investiture to be in a sort his 
instrument in the conveying it, it is but, as the opening of 
the door to let them in, * sine quo non ;' but it doth not 
make the instruments to be at all the givers of the power, 
nor were tlfey the receiving, or containing mediate causes 
of it. The king never gave them the power which the of- 
ficers receive, either to use, or to give : but only makes the 
electors his instruments to determine of the person that 
shall receive the power immediately from the law or charter ; 
and the investers he maketh his instruments of solemnizing 
the tradition and admission : which if the law or charter 
make absolutely necessary * ad esse officii,' it will be so ; 
but if it make it necessary only ' ad melius esse,' or but for 
order and regular admittance when no necessity hindereth 
it, the necessity will be no more. And to the second ques- 
tion. It is plain that the law which is the ' fundamentum 
juris' remaining still the same, if a parish omit for divers 
years to choose any constable or church-warden, yet the 
next time they do choose one according to law, the law doth 
authorise him, nevertheless, though there was an interrup- 
tion or vacancy so long : and so in corporations, (unless the 
law or charter say the contrary) : so is it in the present case. 
I. It is the established law of Christ, which describeth the 
office, determineth of the degree and kind of power, and 


granteth or conveyeth it, when the person is determined of 
by the electors and ordainers, though by ordination the de- 
livery and admission is regularly to be solemnized ; which 
actions are of just so much necessity as that law hath made 
them, and no more. 2. And if there were never so long an 
interruption or vacancy, he that afterward entereth lawfully, 
so as to want nothing which the law of Christ hath made 
necessary to the being of the office, doth receive his power 
nevertheless immediately from the law of Christ. And Bel- 
larmine himself saith, that it is not necessary to the people, 
and to the validity of sacraments and offices to them, to 
know that their pastors be truly called or ordained : and if 
it be not necessary to the validity of sacraments, it is not 
necessary to the validity of ordination. And W. Johnson" 
confesseth to me that consecration is not absolutely neces- 
sary * ad esse officii' to the pope himself: no nor any one 
sort of electors in his election. Page 333. And in his Repl. 
Term. Expl. p. 45. he saith, * Neither papal nor episcopal 
jurisdiction (as all the learned know) depends of episco- 
pal or papal ordination : nor was there ever interruptions of 
successions in episcopal jurisdiction in any see, for want of 
that alone, that is necessary for consecrating others validly, 
and not for jurisdiction over them.' You see then how little 
sincerity is in these mens' disputations, when they would 
persuade you to reject your lawful pastors as no true minis- 
ters of Christ, for want of their ordination or succession. 

Direct, iv. * Though the sacraments and other ministe- 
rial offices are valid when a minister is qualified (in his abil- 
ities and call) but with so much as is essential to the office, 
though he be defective in degree of parts and faithfulness, 
and have personal faults which prove his own destruction ; 
yet so great is the difference between a holy, heavenly, 
learned, judicious, experienced, skilful, zealous, laborious, 
faithful minister, and an ignorant, ungodly, idle, unskilful 
one ; and so highly should every wise man value the best 
means and advantages to his eternal happiness, that he 
should use all lawful means in his power to enjoy and live 
under such an able, godly, powerful ministry, though he 
part with his worldly wealth and pleasure to attain it ''.' I 

" See my Disput. with him of the Successive Visibility of the Church, p. 336. 
" Cyprian, Epis. Ixviii. PJebs obsequens prjpqeptis dorainicis k peccatore pree- 



know no evil must be done for the attainment of the great- 
est helps : (for we cannot expect that God should bless a 
sinful course, or that our sin should tend to the saving of 
our souls.) And I know God can bless the weakest means, 
when they are such as he appointeth us to use ; and can 
teach us by angels when he denieth us the help of men ; but 
Scripture, reason and experience tell us, that ordinarily he 
worketh morally by means, and iStteth the means to the 
work which he will do by them : and as he doth not use to 
light men by a clod or stone, but by a candle, nor by a rot- 
» ten post or glowworm so much as by a torch or luminary ; 
so he doth not use to work as much, by an ignorant, drunken, 
idle person, who despiseth the God, the heaven, the Christ, 
the Spirit, the grace, the sacred Word which he preacheth, 
and vilitieth both his own, and other men's souls ; as he 
doth by an able, compassionate minister. And the soul is 
of so much more worth than tlie body, and eternal things 
than temporal, that a little commodity to the soul, in order 
to the securing of our salvation, must be preferred before a 
great deal of worldly riches. He that knoweth what his 
soul, his Saviour, and heaven are worth, will not easily sit 
down contented, under such a dark, and dull, and starving 
minister, as he feeleth he can but little profit by, if better 
may be had on lawful terms. He that feeleth no difference 
between the ministry of these two sorts of men, it is because 
hcr^s a stranger to the work of the Gospel on the soul : and 
" if the Gospel (in its truth, or worth, or use) be hid, it is hid 
to them that are lost, the God of this world having blinded 
their minds p." It must be no small matter that must satisfy 

posito separare se debet. Which Grotius de Imper. p. 230. citing saith, Jubentur 
enirn singuli, niulto niagis uuiversi, cavere prophetas falsos, alieimtu pastorera fugere, 
ab lis declinare qui dissidia faciuntet oOensas contra doctrinam. 2. Iinperatur fide- 
libus familiarem eoruin consuetudinem declinare qui fratres, &c. 2 Cor. v. Rora. xvi. 
17. John V. 2 Tim. iii. 6. 2 Thess. iii. 6. 14. 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. 

P Satan or their own worldly advantages, saith Dr. Hammond. Dan. i. 12, 13. 
Ezek. iv. 12.15. Read c. iii. Acosta excellently rebuking the negligence of their 
priests that taught the Indians the catechism idly, and without e^^plication, or calling 
them to account aboMt the sense, and then laid all the fault on the blockishness of the 
people, when ' Tota catechizendi ratio erat umbratilis, et ludicrae similis: egovero 
(inquit) si homines ingenio acerrirao, et discendi percupidi* tales prseceptores nacti 
essent, nihil aliud quam ut duplo ignoratiores evaderent, doceri isto raodo arbitrarer. 
Olimin symbolo addiscendo etintelligendo, mysteriisque fidei agnoscendis viri inge- 
nio prsestantes et literatura celebres, diu in catechumenorum ordine tenebantur, cum 
ecclesiastica disci plina vigeret ; neque ante ad fidei sacram^ntuni adraittebantur. 


a serious Christian to cast his soul upon any hurtful or dan- 
gerous disadvantage. Though Daniel and his companions 
may live vs^ell on pulse, yea, and Ezekiel upon bread baked 
vi^ith dung, when God will have it so, yet no wise man will 
choose such a diet; especially if his diseases require the 
most exact diet, or his weakness the most restorative, and 
all too little ; which, alas, is the common case. Yet this 
caution you must here take with you, 1. That you pretend 
not your own benefit, to the common loss or hurt of others. 
2. And that you consider as well where you may do most 
good, as where you may get most; for the way of greatest 
service, is the way of greatest gain. 

Direct, v. ' Understand what sort and measure of belief 
it is that you owe to your teachers, that so your incredulity 
hinder not your faith in Christ, nor your over-much credu- 
lity betray you to heresy, nor make you the servants of men, 
contrary to Matt, xxiii. 8—10. Eph. iv. 13. 2 Cor. L 24. 
Acts XX. 30.' We see on one side how many poor souls are 
cheated into schism and dangerous errors, by forsaking their 
teachers and refusing their necessary help, and all upon this 
pretence, that they must not make men the lords of their 
faith, nor pin their faith on the minister's sleeve, nor take 
their religion upon trust. And on the other side we see 
among the Papists, and in every sect, what lamentable 

quatn multas ab episcopo de s^nibolo conciones audissent, dlu etmultumcum cate- 
chista conlulissent ; post quas oiimes curas et meditationes, magnum erat si recta sen- 
tirent, consentane^ responderent, &c. and he addeth, p. 360. Equidem sic opinor, 
neque ab ea opiifone avelli unquara potero, quin pessirao praeceptori omnes esse audi- 
tores hebetes credam. A bad teacher hath always bad scholars. Even in the Ro- 
man church how little their authority can do against profaueness and negligence, th^. 
same Acosta sheweth, lib. vi. c. ii. p. 519. Cum in provinciali conciiio Limensi ab om- 
lubus Peruensibus episcopis cajtcrisque gravibusviris ad ea vitia emendanda nmltum 
operae et studii collatum sit, atque edita extent egregia decreta de reformatione per- 
multa, nihil tamen ampliusperfectura est, qnam si abotiosis nautis derepublicamod- 
eranda consultatera esset. Bonific. Mogunt. Ep. iii. mentioneth it as the error of a 
new sprung sect, that heinous sinners even so continuing may be priests. And Ep. 
Ixxiii. it is said, No man may be made a priest tliat liath sinned mortally after bap- 
tism, and, Si is qui tarn in episcopatu vel -presbyterio positus mortale peccatura ali-. 
quod admiserit, non debet offerre panes Domino, quanto magis — patienter retrahatse 
a,b hoc non tam honore quam onere, et aliorum locum qui digni sunt nou ambiat oc- 
cupare. Qui enim in erudiendis et insiituendis ad virtutem populis praeest, necesse 
est, ut in omnibus sanctus sit,et innuUoreprehensibilis habeatur. Qui enim aliquem 
de peccato arguit, ipse k peccato debet esse immunis. Auct. Bib. Pat. Tom.ii. p. 81. 
If there were somewhat too much strictness in the ancient exclusion of them that hei- 
nously sinned ^fter baptism from the priesthood, let not us be as much too loose. 


work is made by an over-much credulity and implicit be- 
lief of ambitious, worldly, factious, proud and erroneous 
guides. That you may escape both these extremes, you 
must observe the truth of these conclusions following, 
which shew you what it is that your teachers have to reveal 
unto you, and in what order, and how far the several partic- 
ulars are, or are not to be taken upon their words. 

And first, as a preparative, it is presupposed, (1.) That 
you find yourself ignorant, and one that needeth a teacher : 
for if you think you know all that you need to know already, 
you are like a full bottle that will hold no more. (2.) It is 
presupposed that you take the man that you learn of to be 
wiser than yourself and fit to teach you: either because 
fame or other men's reports have told you so (as the woman 
John iv. drew the Samaritans to Christ), or because his own 
profession of skill doth make you think so (as you will 
hearken to him that professeth to be able to teach you any 
art or science) ; or else because your present hearing his 
discourse doth convince you of his wisdom ; by one of 
these means you are brought to think that he is one that you 
may learn of, and is fit for you to hear ; (so that here is no 
need that first you take him to be infallible, or that you 
know which is the true church, as the Papists say). These 
are supposed. 

The doctrines which he is to teach you are these, and in 
this method to be taught. 1. He will teach you the natu- 
ral knowledge of yourself; that being a man, you are a rati- 
onal, free agent, made by another for his will and use, and 
by him to be ruled in order to your ultimate end, being 
wholly his, and at his disposal. 

2. He will next teach you that there is a God that made 
you, and what he is, and what relation he standeth in to you, 
and you to him, as your Creator, your Owner, your Ruler, 
and your Benefactor, and your End : and what duty you owe 
him in these relations, to submit to him, and resign your- 
selves to him as his own, to be obedient to all his laws, and 
to love him and delight in him : and this with all your heart, 
and soul, and might ; even to serve him with all the powers 
of your soul and body, and with your estates and all his bles- 

3. He will next teach you that this God hath made your 


souls immortal, and that there is a life after this where ever- 
lasting happiness or misery will be your part, and where the 
great rewards and punishments are executed by the Judge 
of all the world as men have behaved themselves in thia 
present life. That your end and happiness is not here, but 
in the life to come, and that this life is the way and time of 
preparation, in which everlasting happiness is won or lost. 

Thus far he needeth no supernatural proof of what he 
saith ; but can prove it all to you from the light of nature : 
and these things you are not primarily to receive of him as 
a testifier by mere believing him ; but as a teacher, by learn- 
ing of him the evidences by which you may by degrees come 
to know these things yourselves. 

Yet it is supposed that all along you give him so much 
credit as the difference between his knowledge and yours 
doth require, so far as it appeareth to you : as you will hear 
a physician, a lawyer, a philosopher, or any man with rev- 
erence, while he discourseth of the matters of his own pro- 
fession ; as confessing his judgment to be better than your*s, 
and therefore more suspecting your own apprehensions 
than his. Not but thtit the truth may compel you to dis- 
cern it, though you should come with no such reverence or 
respect to him ; but then you cast yourself upon much dis- 
advantage irrationally ; and this human belief of him is but 
a medium to your learning, and so to the knowledge of the 
matter ; so that you do not stop and rest in his authority or 
credibility, but only use it in order to your discovery of that 
evidence which you rest in, which as a teacher he acquaints 
you with. 

These things being thus far revealed by natural light, 
are (usually) at first apprehended by natural reason, not so 
as presently to put or prove the soul in a state of saving 
grace ; but so as to awaken it to make further inquiry ; and 
so when the soul is come so far as to see the same truths by 
supernatural grace in the supernatural revelation of the Ho- 
ly Scriptures, then they become more effectual and saving, 
which before were known but preparatorily : and so the 
same truths are then both the objects of knowledge and of 

4. Having acquainted you with man's ultimate end and 
happiness in the life to come, the next thing to be taught 


you by the ministers of Christ, is, that Christ as our Saviour, 
and faith, and repentance, and sincere obedience to be per- 
formed by us through his grace, is the way to heaven, or 
the means by which we must attain this end. Though the 
knowledge of the preacher's wisdom, piety and credibility 
remove some impediments which would make the receiving 
of this the more difficult to you, yet you are not to take it 
barely on his word, as a point of human faith ; but you are 
to call for his proof of it, that you may see better reasons 
than his affirmations for the entertainment of it. 

5. The proof that he will give you is in'these two propo- 
sitions, 1. God's revelations are all true. 2. This is one of 
God's revelations : this is an argument, * Whatsoever God 
saith is true: but this God saith, therefore this is true. 
The first proposition you are not to take upon the trust of 
his word, but to learn of him as a teacher to know it in its 
proper evidence : for it is the formal object of your faith : 
the veracity of God is first known to you, by the same evi- 
dence and means as you know that there is a God : and 
then it is by the force of this that you believe the particu- 
lar truths which are the material object of faith. And the 
second proposition that God hath revealed this, is orderly to 
be first proved, and so received upon its proper evidence ; 
and not taken merely upon your teacher's word : yet if you 
do believe him by a human faith as a man that is likely to 
know what he saith, and this in order to a divine faith, it 
will not hinder, but help y^ur divine faith and salvation ; 
and is indeed no more than is your duty. 

Here note, 1 . That primarily these two great principles 
of faith, ' God is true,' and ' this is God's revelation,' are 
not themselves * credenda', the material objects of divine 
faith, but of knowledge. 2. That yet the result of both is 
' de fide,' matter of faith. 3. And the same principles are 
secondarily ' de fide,' as it is that there is a God. For 
though they are first to be known by natural evidence, yet 
when the Scripture is opened to us, we shall find them there 
revealed ; and so the same thing may be the object both of 
knowledge and of faith. 4. And faith itself is a sort of 
knowledge : for though human faith have that uncertainty 
in its premises (for the most part), as forbiddeth us to say 
(properly) * I know this to be true, because such a man said 


it ;' yet divine faith hath that certainty which may make it 
an excellent sort of knowledge ; as I have proved copiously 
elsewhere. In believing man we argue thus, * Whatsoever 
so wise and honest a man saith, is credible, that is, most 
likely to be true ; but this he saith : Therefore, &c.' But 
in believing God we argue thus, ' Whatever God saith is 
credible, that is, as infallible truth ; but this God saith : 
Therefore, &c.' So that the word * credible,' signifieth not 
the same thing in the two arguments ; nor are divine faith, 
and human faith the same. 

6. The next thing that the preacher hath to teach you, is 
the proof of the aforesaid minor proposition (for the major 
was proved in the proof of a deity) : and that is thus ; The 
Gospel which Christ and his apostles first preached, and is 
now delivered in the sacred Scriptures is the Word, or in- 
fallible revelation of God : but this doctrine, that Christ, with 
faith, and repentance, and obedience on our parts, are the 
way to life eternal, is the Gospel which Christ and his apos- 
tles first preached, &c. Therefore it is the Word of God. 
For the minor you need not take your teacher's word, if you 
can read ; for you may see it in the Bible, (of which more 
anon) : but the major is that which all men will desire to be 
assured of * That the Gospel is God's Word/ And for that, 
though a belief of your teacher is a help and good prepara- 
tory, yet you are not there to stop, but to use him as a 
teacher to shew you the truth of it in the proofs : else you 
must take any thing for God's Word, which your teacher 
affirmeth to be such. And the proof which he will give you, 
must be some divine attestation which may be shewed to 
those whom we would convince. 

7. This divine attestation, which he is next to shew you, 
hath many parts, that it may be complete and satisfactory. 

1. God's antecedent testimony. 2. His inherent or im- 
pressed testimony. 3. His adherent, concomitant testi- 
mony. 4. His subsequent testimony . 1. God's antecedent 
testimony by which he attested the Gospel, is the train of 
promises, prophecies, types, and the preparing ministry of 
John, which all foretold Christ, and were fulfilled in him. 

2. God's impressed testimony is that image and superscrip- 
tion of God (in his governing wisdom, holiness, and love,) 
which is inimitably engraven on the Gospel ; as an image 


upon a seal, which is thereby made the instrument to im- 
print the same on other things. Thus as the sun, the Gos- 
pel shineth, and proveth itself by its proper light. 3. The 
concomitant attestation of God, is that of multitudes of 
certain, uncontrolled miracles, done by Christ and his apos- 
tles, which proved the approving hand of God, and oblige 
all rational creatures to believe a testimony so confirmed to 
them. Among these, Christ's own resurrection and ascen- 
sion, and the gifts of his apostles are the chief. 4. The 
subsequent attestation of God is, the power and efficacy of 
the Gospel, in calling and sanctifying unto Christ a pecu- 
liar people, zealous of good works, and directing and confirm- 
ing them against all temptations and torments to the end ; 
producing that same image of God on the souls of his elect, 
which is (more perfectly) engraven on the Word itself: 
making such changes, and gathering such a people unto 
God, as no other doctrine ever did. And all these four at- 
testations are but one, even the Holy Spirit, who is become 
the great witness of Christ and his Gospel in the world : viz. 
1. The spirit of prophecy is the antecedent attestation. 2. 
The holy image which the Spirit hath printed on the Gospel 
itself, is the inherent evidence. 3. The miracles of the 
Spirit, is the concomitant attestation or evidence. 4. And 
the sanctifying work of the Spirit is the subsequent attes- 
tation, renewed and accompanying it to the end of the world. 
So that the argument runs thus, * That doctrine which hath 
this witness of the Holy Ghost, antecedently in such pro- 
phecies, inherently bearing his image so inimitably, accom- 
panied by so many certain, uncontrolled miracles, and fol- 
lowed and attended with such matchless success in the 
sanctification of the body of Christ, is fully attested by God 
to be his own : but such is the doctrine of the Gospel ; 
Therefore, &c.' The major you are not to take upon trust 
from your teachers, though your esteem of their judgment 
may the better dispose you to learn ; but you are to discern 
the evidenceo of truth which is apparent in it. For he that 
denieth this, must by force of argument be driven to deny, 
1. Either that God is the Governor of the world; or that 
he is the supreme ; but say he is controlled by another. 2. 
Or that he is good and true ; and must affirm that he either 
governeth the world by mere deceits, and undiscernible lies. 


or that he hath given up the power to some one that so go- 
verneth it : all which is but to affirm that there is no God, 
(which is supposed to be proved before). 

8. There now remaineth nothing to be taught you, as to 
prove the truth of the Gospel, but only those matters of fact 
which are contained and supposed in the minor of the two 
last arguments: and they are these particulars. 1. That 
there were such persons as Christ and his apostles, and 
such a Gospel preached by them. 2. That such miracles 
were done by them, as are supposed. 3. That both doctrine 
and miracles were committed to writing by them, in the 
Scriptures, for the more certain preserving them to the 
church's use "i. 4. That churches were planted, and souls 
converted and confirmed by them in the first ages, many of 
whom did seal them with their blood. 5. That there have 
been a succession of such churches as have adhered to this 
Christ and Gospel. 6. That this which we call the Bible 
is that very book containing those sacred writings afore- 
mentioned. 7, That it hath been still copied out, and pre- 
served without any such depravation or corruption as might 
frustrate its ends. 8. That the copies are such out of which 
we have them translated, and which we shew. 9. That they 
are so truly translated as to have no such corruptions or 
mistakes, as to frustrate their ends, or make them unapt for 
the work they were appointed to. 10. That these particu- 
lar words are indeed here written which we read ; and these 
particular doctrines containing the essentials of Chris- 
tianity, together with the rest of the material objects of 

All these ten particulars are matters of fact that are 
merely subservient to the constituting principles of our faith, 
but yet very needful to be known. Now the question is. 
How these must be known iand deceived by us so as not to 
invalidate our faith ? And how far our teachers must be 
here believed ? And first it is very useful for us to inquire. 
How so many of these matters of fact as were then existent 
were known to the first Christians ? As how knew they in 
those days that there were such persons as Christ and his 
apostles ? That they preached such doctrines, and spake 

1 Est euim admirabilis qugedatn continuatio seriesque rerutn, ut alia ex alia uexa, 
et omnes inter se aptae, colligataeque vide;emtur. Cic. Nat. D. I. 9. 


such languages, and did such works, and that they wrote 
such books, and sent such epistles to the churches, and that 
churches were hereby converted and confirmed, and mar- 
tyrs sealed this with their blood, &c. ? It is easy to tell 
how they were certain of all these ; even by their own eyes, 
and ears, and sensible observation, as we know that there 
are Englishmen live in England ; and those that were more 
remote from some of the matters of fact, knew them by such 
report of those that did see them, as those among us that 
never saw the king, or court, or his restoration, do know 
that such a thing there was, and such a person there is. 
Thus they knew it then. 

From whence I note, 1. That in those days it was not neces- 
sary to the being of true faith, that any supernatural testimo- 
ny of the Spirit, or any other sort of proof, than their very 
senses and reason, should acquaint them with those matters 
of fact which they were eye-witnesses of. 2. That credible 
report or history was then the means for any one that saw 
not a matter of fact, to know as much as they that saw it. 
3, That therefore this is now the way also of producing faith. 
Some things we have yet sight and sense for : as that such 
bibles, and such churches are existent; that such holy 
effects this doctrine hath upon the soul (which we see in 
others by the fruits, and after feel in ourselves) : the rest 
we must know by history, tradition, or report. 

And in the reception of these historical passages note 
further, 1. That human belief is here a naturally necessary 
means to acquaint us with the matter of our divine belief. 
2. That there are various degrees of this belief, and some 
need more of it by far than others, according to the various 
degrees of their ignorance ^ : as he that cannot read him- 
self, must know by human belief (in great part) that the 

•■ By all this it is easy to gather whether a pastor may do his work per aliutn. 
Saith Grotius de Imp. pp, 290, <i9U Nam ilhid quod quis per alium facit per ie 
facere videtur ad eas duntaxat pertinet actiones quarum causa efficiens proxima a 
jure indefinita est. Yet people should labour after such maturity and sted fastness, 
that they may be able to stand if their pastors be dead or taken from them by perse- 
cution, yea, or forsake the truth themselves. Victor utic. saith of the people in 
Africa when their pastors were banished, and others might not be ordained in their 
steads : Inter haec tamen Dei populus in fide consistens, ut examina apum cereas 
aedificantia mansiones, crescendo melleis fidei claviculis firraabatur. Quanto magis 
affligebantur, tauto magb raultiplicabantur. Victor, p. 382. 


preacher readeth truly, or that such words indeed are in the 
Gospel as he saithare there ; but a literate person may know 
this by his eye-sight, and not take it upon trust. So he that 
understandeth not Hebrew and Greek, must take it upon 
trust that the Scripture is truly translated ; but another that 
understandeth those tongues, may see it with his eyes. 3. 
History being the proper means to know matters of fact that 
are done in times past, and out of our sight, the same in- 
dustry that is necessary to a thorough acquaintance with 
other history, is necessary to the same acquaintance with 
this. 4. That the common beginning of receiving all such 
historical truths is first by believing our teachers so far as 
becometh learners, and in the mean time going on to learn 
till we come to know as much as they, and upon the same 
historical evidence as they. 5. That if any man be here ne- 
cessitated to take more than others upon the trust or belief 
of their teachers, it is long of their ignorance : and there- 
fore if such cry out against their taking things on trust, it 
is like a madman's raving against them that would order 
him ; or as if one should reproach a nurse for feeding in- 
fants, and not letting them feed themselves. * Oportetdis- 
centem credere.' He that will not believe his teacher will 
never learn. If a child will not believe his master, that 
tells him which are the letters, the vowels, and consonants, 
and what is their power, and what they spell, and what every 
word signifieth in the language which he is teaching him, 
will he be ever the better for his teaching ? 6. That he that 
knoweth these historical matters no otherwise than by the 
belief of his particular teacher, may nevertheless have a di- 
vine and saving faith : for though he believe by a human 
faith that these things were done, that this is the same 
book, &c., yet he believeth the Gospel itself Cthus brought 
to his knowledge) because God is true that hath attested it. 
Even as it was a saving faith in Mary and Martha that 
knew by their eyes and ears, and not only by belief, that 
Lazarus was raised, and that Christ preached thus and thus 
to them : but believed his doctrine to be true, because of 
God's veracity who attested it. 7. That it is the great wis- 
dom and mercy of God to his weak and ignorant people, to 
provide them teachers to acquaint them with these things, 
and to vouchsafe them such a help to their salvation, as to 


make it a standing office in his church to the end of the 
world, that the infants and ignorant might not be cast off, 
but have fathers, and nurses, and teachers to take care of 
them. 8. But especially mark, that yet these infants have 
much disadvantage in comparison of others, that know all 
these matters of fact by the same convincing evidence as 
their teachers ; and that he that foUoweth on to learn it as 
he ought, may come to prove these subservient matters of 
fact, by such a concurrence of evidences, as amounteth to 
an infallibility or moral certainty, beyond mere human faith 
as such : as e. g. an illiterate person that hath it but from 
others, may be certain that it is indeed a Bible which is or- 
dinarily read and preached to him ; and that it is so truly 
translated as to be a sufficient rule of faith and life, having 
no mistake which must hazard a man's salvation ; because 
the Bible in the original tongues is so commonly to be had, 
and so many among us understand it, and there is among 
them so great a contrariety of judgments and interests, that 
it is not possible but many would detect such a public lie, 
if any should deal falsely in so weighty and evident a case. 
There is a moral certainty (equal to a natural) that some 
actions will not be done by whole countries, which every 
individual person hath power and natural liberty to do : as 
e. g. there is no man in the kingdom but may possibly kill 
himself, or may fast to-morrow, or may lie in bed many days 
together. And yet it is certain, that all the people in 
England will do none of these : so it is possible that any 
single person may lie even in a palpable public case, as to 
pretend that this is a Bible when it is some other book, or 
that this is the same book that was received from the apos- 
tles by the churches of that age, when it is not it, &c. But 
for all the country, and all the world that are competent 
witnesses, to agree to do this, is a mere impossibility, I 
mean such a thing as cannot be done without a miracle, yea, 
an universal miracle. And more than so, it is impossible 
that God should do a miracle to accomplish such an univer- 
sal wickedness and deceit ; whereas it is possible that na- 
tural causes by a miracle may be turned out of course, where 
there is nothing in the nature of God against it (as that the 
sun should stand still, &c.). We have a certainty that there 
was a Julius Caesar, a William the Conqueror, an Aristotle, 

VOL. V. K 


a Cicero, an Augustine, a Chrysostom, and that the laws and 
statutes of the land were really enacted by the kings and 
parliaments whose names they bear ; because the natural 
and civil interests of so many thousands that are able to de- 
tect it, could never be reconciled here to a deceit. When 
judges and counsellors, kings and nobles, and plaintiifs and 
defendants, utter enemies, are all agreed in it, it is more cer- 
tain to a single person than if he had seen the passing of 
them with his eyes. So in our case, when an office was es- 
tablished in the church, to read and preach this Gospel in 
the assemblies ; and when all the congregations took it as 
the charter of their salvation, and the rule of their faith and 
life ; and when these pastors and churches were dispersed 
over all the Christian world, who thus worshipped God from 
day to day ; and all sects and enemies were ready to have 
detected a falsification or deceit, it is here as impossible for 
such a kind of history, or tradition, or testimony to be false, 
in such material points of fact, as for one man's senses to 
deceive him, and much more. 

Thus I have at once shewed you the true order of the 
preaching, and proofs, and receiving of the several matters 
of religion, and how and into what our faith must be re- 
solved ; and how far your teachers are to be believed. And 
here you must especially observe two things, 1. That there 
can be no danger in this resolution of faith, of derogating 
either from the work of the Holy Ghost, or the Scriptures' 
self-evidence, or any other cause whatever : because we as- 
cribe nothing to history or tradition which was ascribed to 
any of these causes by the first Christians ; but only put our 
reception by tradition instead of their reception immediately 
by sense : our receiving by infallible history, is but in the 
place of their receiving by sight ; and not in the place of 
the self-evidence of Scripture, or any testimony or teaching 
of the Spirit. The method is exactly laid down, Heb. ii. 3, 
4. " How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, 
which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was 
confirmed to us by them that heard him ; God also bearing 
them witness both with signs, and wonders, and divers mi- 
racles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost according to his own 
will." Here is the sum of what I have been saying. 

2. Observe also the great difference between us and the 



Papists in this controversy of using tradition in the resolu- 
tion of our faith. 1. They decide the main question in gross 
by tradition, viz. Whether the Scripture be the Word of 
God ? But we only decide the questions about history or 
matters of fact by it, which are subservient to the other. 
2. The tradition which most of them plead, is nothing but 
the authoritative judgment of the successive pastors of the 
church in a general council confirmed by the pope ; and as 
another faction among them saith. The reception of the 
whole church both laity and clergy ; and this church must 
be only the Roman faction. But the tradition which we 
plead is the concurrent testimony of friends and foes, ortho- 
dox and heretics ; and of all the churches throughout the 
world, both Greek and Latin, Ethiopian, Armenian, Protes- 
tants, &c. And this testimony we plead, not merely as a 
human testimony, much less as such as is credible chiefly 
for the mere power (real or pretended) of the testifiers ; but 
as such as by a concurrence of testimonies and circumstan- 
ces hath (besides the teachers' authority) the evidences of 
infallible moral certainty, in the very history ; as we have of 
the statutes of the realm. 

Direct, vi. * Understand what kind and measure of obe- 
dience it is that you owe your lawful pastors, that you 
neither prove schismatical and unruly, nor yet have a hand 
in setting up idols and usurpations in the church.' This 
you may learn from the foregoing description of the pastor's 
work. The kind of your obedience is commensurate to the 
kind of his office and work. You are not to obey your pas- 
tors, as civil magistrates that bear the sword ; nor as phy- 
sicians, to tell you what you must do for your health ; nor 
as artificers, to command you how to plough, and sow, and 
trade, 8lc. (except in the morality of these) : but it is as your 
teachers and guides in matters of salvation that you must 
obey them ^ And that not as prophets or lawgivers to the 

» We may not offer any violence, but only persuade : we have not so great au- 
thority given us by the laws, as to repnsss offenders : and if it were lawful for us so 
to do, we have no use of any such violent power : for that Christ crowneth them that 
abstain from sin, not of a forced, but of a willing mind and purpose. Chrys. citante 
Bilson of Subjection, p. 526. Et ibid, ex Hilar. If this violence were used for the 
true faith, the doctrine of bishops would be against it : God needcth no forced ser- 
vice. He requireth no constrained confession. T cannot receive any man but him 
that is willing : 1 cannot give ear, but to him that entreateth, &c. Ita et Origeo. 
ibid, citat. 2 Cor. i. 24. Gal. i. 7, 8. 2 Cor. x. a. xiii. 10. 


church ; but as the stated officers of Christ to open and ap- 
ply the laws that he hath given, and determine of such cir- 
cumstances as are subservient thereunto. Not as those that 
have dominion of your faith, or may preach another Gospel, 
or contradict any truth of God, v^^hich by Scripture or na- 
ture he hath revealed, or can dispense with any duty which 
he hath commanded ; but as those that have all their power 
from God, and for God and your salvation, and the good of 
other men's souls ; to edification only, and not to destruc- 
tion : particular cases I here purposely forbear. 

Direct, vii. 'Be sure that you look on them as the offi- 
cers of Christ in all that they do as such ; and see not only 
their natural, but their ecclesiastical persons, that through 
them you may have to do with God.' Especially in preach- 
ing and administering the sacraments, and binding the im- 
penitent, and absolving the penitent, and comforting the 
sad and humbled souls. All the holiness, and life, and 
power of your spiritual cpnverse with them consisteth in 
your seeing and conversing with God in them, and using 
them as his messengers or officers, that deliver his message 
and do his work, and not their own. If you disobey them 
in his work, it is God that you disobey : and if they teach 
you his Word, or deliver you Christ and his benefits in the 
sacraments, it is Christ himself that doth it by them as by 
his instruments, so far. as they do it according to his com- 
mission and his will. This observing Christ in their teach- 
ing will possess you with due reverence and care, and cause 
you to do it as a holy work ; and to see Christ in them, de- 
livering and sealing his covenant to you, will very much in- 
crease your joy; when man as man is but a shadow. 

Direct, viii. ' Make use of their help in private, and not 
in public only :' as the use of a physician is not only to read 
a lecture of physic to his patients, but to be ready to direct 
every person according to their particular case (there being 
such variety of temperatures, diseases, and accidents, that 
in dangerous cases the direction of the judicious is needful 
in the application) : so here, it is not the least of the pas- 
toral work, to oversee the individuals, and to give them per- 
sonally such particular advice as their case requireth. Never 
expect that all thy books, or sermons, or prayers, or medi- 
tations should serve thy turn without the counsel of thy 


pastors, in greater cases ; for that were but to devise how 
to prove God's officers needless to his church. If thou be 
an ignorant or unconverted sinner, go to the minister, and 
ask him, what thou must do to be saved? And resolve to 
follow his sound advice. If thou be in doubt of any weighty 
point of faith or godliness, or assaulted perilously by any 
adversary, or need his advice for thy settled peace, thy as- 
surance of pardon and salvation, and thy preparation for 
death ; go ask counsel of thy pastors, and receive their help 
with readiness and thankfulness : or if thou live where there 
is none that is able and willing thus to help thee, remove to 
them that are such, if lawfully thou canst. 

Direct, ix. ' Assist your pastors in the work of God, by 
the duties of your places which tend thereto.' Labour by 
your holy, serious conference, to instruct the ignorant, and 
convince the unbelieving, and convert the ungodly, and 
strengthen the weak, with whom you have fit opportunity 
for such work. Labour by your holy examples, by love, and 
concord, and meekness, and sobriety, and contempt of the 
world, and a heavenly life, to shine as lights in the midst of 
a dark and crooked generation. Preach all of you by the 
examples of your blameless, humble, holy lives. O how 
abundantly would this course promote the success or the 
public preaching of the Gospel ! If you would cause those 
men to see the glory and power of the Gospel in your holy 
and heavenly lives, who cannot see it in itself; then many 
that would not be won by the Word, might be won without 
it (to seek after it at least) by your conversations. Thus 
all must preach and be helpers of the ministers of Christ. 

Direct, x. * Forsake not your faithful pastors to follow 
deceivers ; but adhere to them who spend and are spent for 
you : defend their innocency against false accusers ; and 
refuse them not such maintenance as is needful to their en- 
tire giving up themselves to that holy work to which they 
are devoted.' Read and study well Ephes. iv. 13^ — 15. Acts 
XX. 30. It is for your sakes that your faithful pastors are 
singled out in the world to bear the slanders and contradic- 
tions of the wicked ; and to lead the way in the fiery trial. 
If they would forsake you, and that sacred truth and duty 
that is needful to your salvation, and sell you up into the 
hands of cruel and deceitful men, it were as easy for them to 
have the applause of men, and the prosperity of the world as 


others : it is perfidious ingratitude to forsake them in every 
trial, that must lose their lives and all the w^orld, rather than 
forsake you or betray your souls : or to grudge them food 
and raiment that lay by the gainful employments of the 
vi^orld, that they may attend continually on the service of 
your souls. 


Directions for the Discovery of the Truth among Contenders, and 
the Escape of Heresy and Deceit. 

Though truth be naturally the object of man's understand- 
ing, to vi^hich it hath a certain inclination, and though it be 
a delightful thing to know the truth ^ ; yet that which is 
saving meeteth with so much opposition in the flesh, and in 
the world, that while it is applauded in the general, it is re- 
sisted and rejected in particulars : and yet while the use of 
holy truth is hated and obstinately cast away, the name and 
the barren profession of it is made the matter of the glory- 
ing of hypocrites, and the occasion of reproaching dissen- 
ters as heretics, and the world is filled with bloody perse- 
cutions, and inhuman, implacable enmities and divisions, by 
a wonderful zeal for the name of truth, even by those men 
that will rather venture on damnation, than they will obey 
the truth which they so contend for. Multitudes of men 
have tormented or murdered others as heretics, who them- 
selves must be tormented in hell for not being Christians. 
It concerneth us therefore to deal very wisely and cautiously 
in this business. 

Direct, i. ' Take heed lest there be any carnal interest or 
lust which maketh you unwilling to receive the truth, or 
inclineth you to error, that it may serve that interest or 
lust.' It is no small number of men that are strangers or 
enemies to the truth, not because they cannot attain the 
knowledge of it, but because they would not have it to be 
truth. And men of great learning and natural parts are fre- 
quently thus deceived and led into error by a naughty, car- 
nal, biassed heart : either because that error is the vulgar 

* Nitebatur Socrates suinino ingenii acuniiue, iion tarn illoriira sententiani re- 
fellere, quam ipse quid verum esset, invenire. Diog>. Laert. in Socrat. lib. ii. sect. 
22. p. 93. 


opinion, and necessary to maintain their popular reputation, 
and avoid reproach ; or because it is the way of men in 
power, and necessary to their prefennent and greatness in 
the world ; or because the truth is contrary to their fleshly 
lusts and pleasures, or contrary to their honour and worldly 
interest, and would hazard their reputations or their lives. 
How loath is a sensual, ungodly man to believe, that " with- 
out holiness none shall see God," and that he ** that is in 
Christ is a new creature, and that if any man have not the 
spirit of Christ, the same is none of his, and that if they 
live after the flesh they shall die.*' How loath is the am- 
bitious minister to believe that the way of Christ's service 
lieth not in worldly pomp, or ease, or pleasures, but in taking 
up the cross and following Christ in self-denial, and in being 
as the servant of all, in the unwearied performance of careful 
oversight, and compassionate exhortations unto all the flock. 
Let a controversy be raised about any of these points, and the 
mind of lazy, ambitious men doth presently fall in with that *- 
part which gratifieth their fleshly lusts, and excuseth them 
from that toilsome way of duty which they already hate. The 
secret lusts and vices of a false, hypocritical heart, are the 
commonest and the most powerful arguments for error ; and 
such men are glad, that great men or learned men will give 
so much ease to their consciences, and shelter to their re- 
putations, as to countenance, or make a controversy at least 
of that which their lusts desire to be true. Above all there- 
fore see that you come not to inquire after truth with an 
unsanctified heart, and unmortified lusts, which are a bias 
to your minds, and make you warp from the truth which 
you inquire after : for if the carnal mind neither is, nor can 
he subject to the law of God, you may easily perceive that it 
will be loath to believe it ; when in so doing they believe 
their own condemnation. An honest, sanctified heart is 
fittest to entertain the truth. 

Direct, ii. ' Seek after the truth, for the love of truth, 
and love it especially for its special use, as it formeth the 
heart and life to the image and will of God ; and not for 
the fanciful delight of knowing; much less for carnal, 
worldly ends **." No means are used at all as means, where 

*• Socrates de ethice, et in officinis, et in publico quotidie philosophaus, ea po- 
tius inquirenda hortabatur, quae raores instruerent, et quorum usus nobis donii esset 
nec«tisarius. Diog, Laert. in Socrat. 


the end is not first determined of. And to do the same thing 
materially to another end, is not indeed to do the same ; for 
thereby it is made another thing. Your physician will come 
to you if you seek to him as a physician ; but not if you 
send to him to mend your shoes. So if you seek knowledge 
for the true ends of knowledge, to fill your hearts with the 
love of God, and guide your lives in holiness and righteous- 
ness, God is engaged to help you in the search. But if you 
seek it only for to please your pride or fancy, no wonder if 
you miss of it ; and it is no great matter whether you find it 
or not, for any good it is like to do you. Every truth of 
God is appointed to be his instrument, to do some holy 
work upon your heart : let the love of holiness be it that 
maketh you search after truth, and then you may expect 
that God should be your teacher. 

Direct, iii. * Seek after truth without too great or too 
small regard to the judgment of others : neither contemn 
them, nor be captivated to them.' Use the help of the wise ; 
but give not up your reason absolutely to any. Engage not 
yourselves in a party, so as to espouse their errors, or impli- 
citly to believe whatever they say ; for this breedeth in you 
a secret desire to please your party, and interesteth you in 
their dividing interest, and maketh you betray the truth to 
be accounted orthodox by those you value *=. 

Direct, iv. 'Take heed of pride, which will make you 
dote upon your own conceits, and cause you to slight the 
weightiest reasons that are brought by others, for your con- 
viction.' And if once you have espoused an error it will 
engage all your wit, and zeal, and diligence to maintain it : 
it will make you uncharitable and furious against all that cross 
you in your way ; and so make you either persecutors (if 
you stand on the higher ground), or sect-leaders, or church- 
dividers, and turbulent and censorious, if you are on the 
lower ground. There is very great reason in Paul's advice 
for the choice of a bishop, " Not a novice ; lest being lifted 
up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil ^.'* 

<= Nou tam auctoritatis in dispatando, qnam rationis momenta quaerenda snirt. 
Cic. Nat. D. 1.9. Obest pleruraque iis, qui discere volunt, auctoritas eoruna, qui se 
docere profitentur. Desinunt enim suura judicium adhibere: id habentratum, quod 
ab eo, quem probant, judicatum vident. Ibid. 

d X Tim. iii. 6. 


It is no more wonder to see a proud man erroneous, and in 
the confidence of his own understanding, to rage against all 
that tell him he is mistaken, than to hear a drunken man 
boasting of his wit, to the increase of his shame. 

Direct, v. * Take heed of slothfulness and impatience in 
searching after truth, and think not to find it in difficult 
cases, without both hard and patient studies, and ripeness 
of understanding to enable you therein : and suspect all 
opinions which are the offspring of idleness and ease, what- 
ever Divine illumination they may pretend;' (except as you 
take them from others upon trust (in a slothful way) who 
attained them by diligent studies). For God that hath cal- 
led men to labour, doth use to give his blessing to the la- 
borious. And he that hath said by his Spirit, ** Meditate 
upon these things : give thyself wholly to them, that thy 
profiting may appear to all %" doth accordingly cause those 
men to profit, who seek it in this laborious way of his ap- 
pointment : and he that hath said, '* The desire of the sloth- 
ful killeth him," doth not use to bless the slothful with his 
teachings. He that will say to him in judgment, " Thou 
wicked and slothful servant," will not encourage the sloth- 
fulness which he condemneth. "My son, if thou wilt re- 
ceive my words, and hide my commandments with thee ; so 
that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine 
heart to understanding ; yea, if thou criest after knowledge, 
and liftest up thy voice for understanding ; if thou seekest 
her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures ; then 
shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the 
knowledge of God : for the Lord giveth wisdom ^" Mark 
here to whom God giveth wisdom : all the godly are taught 
of God : but mark here how it is that he teacheth them. 
Not while they scorn at studies and universities, and look 
that their knowledge should cost them nothing, or that the 
Spirit should be instead of serious studies, or that their un- 
derstandings should discern what is true or false at the first 
appearance ; but while they think no pains or patience too 
great to learn the truth in the school of Christ. 

Direct, vi. * Keep out passion from your disputes, and 
in the management of all your controversies in religion.' 
For though passion be useful both antecedently to the re- 

• 1 Tim. iv. 15. f Prov. ii. 1—6. 


solution of the will, and consequently to the effectual exe- 
cution of its resolutions, yet it is commonly a very great se- 
ducer of the understanding, and strangely blindeth and 
perverteth the judgment s; so that a passionate man is sel- 
dom so far from the truth, as when he is most confident he 
is defending it. When passion hath done boiling, and the 
heart is cooled, and leaveth the judgment to do its work 
without any clamour or disturbance, it is strange to see how 
things will appear to you, to be quite of another tendency 
and reason, than in your passion you esteemed them. 

Direct, vii. * Keep up a sense of the evil and danger of 
both extremes ; and be not so wholly intent upon the avoid- 
ing of one extreme, as to be fearless of the other.' The 
narrow minds of unexperienced men are hardly brought to 
look on both sides them, and to be duly sensible of the dan- 
ger of both extremes ; but while they are taken up only with 
the hating and opposing one sort of errors, they forget 
those on the other side. And usually the sin or error which 
we observe not, is more dangerous to us than that which we 
do observe, (if the wind of temptation set that way.) 

Direct, viii. * When you detect any ancient error or 
corruption, inquire into its original ; and see whether refor- 
mation consist not rather in a restitution of the primitive 
state, than in an extirpation of the whole.' Even in Popery 
itself there are many errors and ill customs, which are but 
the corruption of some weighty truth, and the degenerating 
of some duty of God's appointment ; and to reduce all, in 
such cases, to the primitive verity, is the way of wise and 
true reformation ; and not to throw away that which is 
God's, because it is fallen into the dirt of human deprava- 
tion. But in cases where all is bad, there all must be re- 

Direct, ix. * Pretend not to truth and orthodoxness 
against Christian love and peace : and so follow truth, as 
that you lose not love and peace by it ; (as much as in you 
lieth live peaceably with all men).' Charity is the end of 
truth : and it is a mad use of means, to use them against 
the end. Make sure of the sincerity of your charity, and 

s Quae duae virtutes in disputatore primse sunt, eas arabas in Hubero depre- 
hendi, patientiam adversariura prolixe sua expHcantem audiendi, et lenitatem etiara 
aspere dicta per ferendi,inq. Scultetus post. disp. Curric. p. 33. 


hold it fast ; and then no error that you hold will be des- 
tructive to you : but if you know more than others, and use 
your knowledge to the weakening of your love, you are but 
(as our first parents,) deceived and destroyed by a desire of 
fleshly, ineffectual knowledge. Such ** knowledge pufieth 
up, but charity edifieth ^J' To contend for truth, to the loss 
of love, in yourselves, and the destruction of it among others, 
is but to choke yourselves with excellent food, and to imi- 
tate that orthodox, catholic physician, that gloried that he 
killed his patients * secundem artem,' by the most accurate 
method, and excellent rules of art that men could die by. 

Direct, x. ' Pretend no truth against the power and 
practice of godliness.' For this also is its proper end; 
if it be not truth that is according to godliness, it is no truth 
worthy our seeking or contending for. And if it be con- 
trary to godliness in itself, it is no truth at all ; therefore if 
it be used against godliness, it is used contrary to the ends 
of truth. Those men that suppress or hinder the means of 
knowledge, and holiness, and concord, and edification, un- 
der pretence of securing, defending, or propagating the or- 
thodox belief, will find one day, that God will give them as 
little thanks for their blind, preposterous zeal for truth, as 
a tender father would do to a physician, that killed his chil- 
dren, because they distasted or spit out his medicines. It 
is usually a pitiful defence of truth that is made by the ene- 
mies of godliness. 

More near and particular Directions against Error. 

Direct, i. * Begin at the greatest, most evident, certain 
and necessary truths, and so proceed orderly to the know- 
ledge of the less, by the help of these.' As you climb by the 
body of the tree unto the branches. If you begin at those 
truths, which spring out of greater common truths, and 
know not the premises, while you plead for the conclusion, 
you abuse your reason, and lose the truth and your labour 
both : for there is no way to the branches but by ascending 
from the stock. The principles well laid, must be your 
help to all your following knowledge. 

Direct, ii. * The two first things which you are to learn 

»' I Cor.viii. 1. 


are, what man is, and what God is : the nature and relation 
of the two parties, is the first thing to be known in order to 
the knowledge of the covenant itself, and all following tran- 
sactions between God and man ^J One error here will in- 
troduce abundance. A thousand other points of natural 
philosophy you may safely be ignorant of; but if you know 
not what man is, what reason is, what natural freewill is, 
and what inferior sensitive faculties are, as to their uses, it 
will lay you open to innumerable errors. In the nature of 
man, you must see the foundation of his relations unto God : 
and if you know not those great relations, the duties of which 
must take up all our lives, you may easily foresee the con- 
sequents of such ignorance or error. So if you know not 
what God is, and what his relations to us are, so far as is 
necessary to our living in the duties of those relations, the 
consequents of your ignorance will be sad. If learned men 
be but perverted in their apprehensions of some one attri- 
bute of God, (as those that think his goodness is nothing but 
his benignity, or proneness to do good, or that he is a ne- 
cessary agent, doing good, ' ad ultimum posse,' &c.) what 
abundance of horrid and impious consequents will follow ? 

Direct, iii. * Having soundly understood both these and 
other principles of religion, try all the subsequent truths 
hereby, and receive nothing as truth that is certainly incon- 
sistent with any of these principles \* Even principles that 
are not of sense, may be disputed till they are well received ; 
and with those that have not received them : but afterwards 
they are not to be called in question ; for then you would 
never proceed nor build higher, if you still stand question- 
ing all your grounds. Indeed no truth is inconsistent with 
any other truth : but yet when two dark or doubtful points 
are compared together, it is hard to know which of them to 
reject. But here it is easy ; nothing that contradicteth the 
true nature of God or man, or any principle must be held. 

Direct, iv. ' Believe nothing which certainly contradict- 
eth the end of all religion.' If it be of a natural or neces- 
sary tendency to ungodliness, against the love of God, or 

h Ut Deum noris, etsi ignores et locum et faciem, sic auimum tibi tuum notum 
esse oportet, etiam si ignores et locum et formam. Cic. Tuscul. 1. 70. 

» Nee est uUa erga Decs pietas, nisi honesta de numine deorum ac mente opinio 
sit. Cic. pro Dom. 107. Op. vol. iii. p. 88^. 


against a holy and heavenly mind and conversation, it can- 
not be truth whatever it pretend. 

Direct. V. ' Be sure to distinguish well betwixt revealed 
and unrevealed things :' and before you dispute any ques- 
tion, search first whether the resolution be revealed or not : 
and if it be not, lay it by ; and take it as a part of your ne- 
cessary submission, to be ignorant of what God would have 
you ignorant, as it is part of your obedience to labour to know 
what God would have you know. And when some things 
unrevealed are mixed in the controversy, take out those and 
lay them by, before you go any further, and see that the re- 
solution of the rest be not laid upon them, nor twisted with 
them, to entangle the whole in uncertainty or confusion''. 
Thus God instructed Job, by convincing him how many 
things were past his knowledge ^ Thus Christ instructed 
Nicodemus about the work of regeneration, so as to let him 
know that though the necessity of it must be known, yet the 
manner of the Spirit's accesses to the soul cannot be known™. 
And Paul in his discourse of election takes notice of the 
unsearchable depths, and the creature's unfitness to dispute 
with God". When you find any disputes about predeter- 
mination or predestination resolved into such points as 
these : Whether God do by physical, premoving influx, or 
by concourse, or by moral operation * ut finis,' determine or 
specify moral acts of man? Whether a positive decree 
' quoad actum' be necessary to the negation of effects, (as 
that such a one shall not have grace given him, or be con- 
verted or saved ; that all the millions of possible persons, 
names, and things shall not be future) ? What understand- 
ing, will, or power are formally in God ? How he knoweth 
future contingents ? with a hundred such like ; then remem- 
ber that you make use of this rule, and say with Moses, 
" The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those 
things that are revealed unto us and to our children for ever, 
that we may do all the words of his law *^." There are many 
rare, profound discoveries much gloried of by the masters 
of several sects, of which you may know the sentence of the 

^ Non ii, sumus quibus bus nihil verum esse videatur ; sed ii, qui omnibus veris 
falsa quxdam adjuncta esse dicarnus, tanta siroilitudine, ut, &c. Cic. Nat. D. 1. 12. 
' Job xxxviii — xli. "» Johniii.7, 8. " Rom.ix. 

" Deut. xxix. 29. 


Holy Ghost, by that instance, " Let no man beguile you of 
your reward, in a voluntary humility and worshipping of 
angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, 
vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind p." Reverently with- 
draw from things that are unrevealed, and dispute them not. 
Direct, vi. * Be a careful and accurate (though not a 
vain) distinguisher : and suffer not ambiguity and confusion 
to deceive you.' Suspect every word in your question, and 
anatomise it, and agree upon the sense of all your common 
terms, before you dispute with any adversary. It is not 
only in many words, but in one word or syllable, that so 
much ambiguity and confusion may be contained, as may 
make a long dispute to be but a vain and ridiculous wrang- 
ling 'i. Is it not a ridiculous business to hear men dispute 
many hours about the * cur credis,' and into what faith is 
to be resolved ? and in the end come to understand, that by 

* cur,' one of them speaks of the * principium or causa veri- 
tatis' and the other of the ' principium patefactionis,' or the 

* evidentia veritatis,' or some other cause ? And when one 
speaks of the resolution of his faith as into the formal ob- 
ject, and another into the subservient testimony or means, 
or into the proofs of Divine attestation, or many other cau- 
ses ? Or to hear men dispute whether Christ died for all : 
when by * for,' one man meaneth * for the benefit of all,' 
and another means ' in the place or stead of all, or for the 
sins of all as the procuring cause, &c.' Yet here is but a 
syllable to contain this confusion ! What a tedious thing 
is it to read long disputes between many Papists and Pro- 
testants, about justification, while by justification one mean- 
eth one thing, and another meaneth quite another thing ? 
He that cannot force every word to make a plain confession 
of its proper signification, that the thing intended may be 
truly discerned in the word, he will but deceive himself and 
others, with a wordy, insignificant dispute. 

Direct, vii. 'Therefore be specially suspicious of meta- 
phors ; as being all but ambiguities till an explication hath 
fixed or determined the sense.' It is a noisome thing to 

P Col. ii. 18. 

1 See my Preface before the second Part of the Saints' Rest, Edit. 3. &c. A 
raan of judgment shall hear ignorant men diifer, and know that they mean one thing : 
and yet they themselves will never agree. Lord Bacon, Essay 3. 


hear some dispute upon an unexplained metaphorical word, 
when neither of them have enucleated the sense, and when 
there are proper words enow. 

Direct, vii. ' Take special notice of what kind of being 
your inquiry ot disputation is, and let all your terms be 
adapted and interpreted according to the kind of beings you 
dispute of.' As if you be inquiring into the nature of any 
grace, as faith, repentance, obedience, &c. remember that it 
is * in genere moris,' a moral act : and therefore the terms 
are not to be understood as if you disputed about mere phy- 
sical acts, which are considered but ' in genere entis.' For 
that object which must essentiate one moral act, containeth 
many physical particles, which will make up many physical 
acts *". If you take such a man for your king, your com- 
mander, your master, your physician, &c., if you should at 
the bar, when you are questioned for unfaithfulness, dispute 
upon the word * take,* whether it be an act of the fantasy, or 
sense, or intellect, or will, 8cc. would you not be justly 
laughed at ? So when you ask. What act faith or repen- 
tance is? which contain many particular physical acts. 
When you dispute of divinity, policy, law, war, &c. you 
must not use the same terms in the same sense, as when you 
dispute of physics, or metaphysics. 

Direct, ix. 'Be sure in all your disputes that you still 
keep distinguished before your eyes, the order of being, and 
the order of knowing : that the questions ' de esse' lying un- 
determined in your way, do not frustrate all your dispute 
about the question * de cognoscere.' As in the question. 
Whether a man should do such or such a thing, when he 
thinketh that it is God*s command ? How far conscience 
must be obeyed? It must first be determined * de esse,' 
whether indeed the thing be commanded or lawful, or not? 
before the case can be determined about the obligation that 
foUoweth my apprehension. For, whatever my conscience 
or opinion say of it, the thing either is lawful or it is not : ir 
it be lawful, or a duty, the case is soon decided ; but if it 
be not lawful, the error of my conscience altereth not God's 
law, nor will it make it lawful unto me. I am bound first 
to know and then to do what God revealeth and command- 

' As 1 have shewed in ray Dispute of Saving Faith with Dr. Barlow, and of Jns- 



eth : and this I shall be bound to, whatever J imagine to the 
contrary ; and to lay by the error which is against it. 

Direct, x. * Be sure when you first enter upon an en- 
quiry or dispute, that you well discover how much of the 
controversy is verbal ' de nomine,' and how much is material 
* de re ^* And that you suffer not your adversary to go on 
upon a false supposition, that the controversy is * de re,' 
when it is but * de nomine.' The difference between names 
and things is so wide, that you would think no reasonable 
man should confound them: and yet so heedless in this 
point are ordinary disputers, that it is a usual thing to make 
a great deal of stir about a controversy before they discern 
whether it be ' de nomine' or ' de re.' Many a hot and 
long dispute I have heard, which was managed as about the 
very heart of some material cause (as about man's power to 
do good, or about the sufficiency of grace, or about justifi- 
cation, &c.) when the whole contest between the disputers 
was only or principally ' de nomine,' and neither of them 
seemed to take notice of it. Be sure as soon as you peruse 
the terms of your question, to sift this throughly, and dis- 
pute verbal controversies, but as verbal, and not as real and 
material. We have real differences enow : we need not 
make them seem more by such a blind or heedless manner 
of disputing *. 

Direct, xi. * Suffer not a rambling mind in study, nor a 
rambling talker in disputes, to interrupt your orderly pro- 
cedure, and divert you from your argument before you bring 
it to the natural issue.' But deceiving sophisters, and 
giddy headed praters, will be violent to start another game, 
and spoil the chase of the point before you : but hold them 
to it, or take them to be unworthy to be disputed with, and 
let them go (except it be where the weakness of the auditors 
requireth you to follow them in their wild-goose chace). 
You do but lose time in such rambling studies and disputes. 

Direct, xii. * Be cautelous of admitting false supposi- 
tions : or at least of admitting any inference that dependeth 

« Non ex verbis res, sed ex rebus verba esse inquirenda. Myson, in Laert. 
p. 70. Basil. Edit. 

' It is a noble work that Mr. I^eblanck of Sedan is about to this purpose, stating 
more exactly than hath yet been done all the controversies between us and the Pa- 
pists : which how excellently he is like to perform I easily conjecture by the Disputes 
of his upon Justification, &c. which I have seen. 


upon them.' In some cases a supposition of that which is 
false may be made, while it no way tends to infer the truth 
of it: but nothing must be built upon that falsehood, as in- 
timating it to be a truth. False suppositions cunningly and 
secretly worked into arguments, are very ordinary instru- 
ments of deceit. 

Direct, xiii. 'Plead not uncertainties against certain- 
ties :' but make certain points the measure to try the uncer- 
tain by. Reduce not things proved and sure to those that 
are doubtful and justly controverted : but reduce points 
disputable to those that are past doubt. 

Direct, xiv. * Plead not the darker texts of Scripture 
against those that are more plain and clear, nor a few texts 
against many that are as plain :* for that which is interpreted 
against the most plain and frequent expressions of the same 
Scripture is certainly misinterpreted. 

Direct, xv. ' Take not obscure prophecies for precepts.' 
The obscurity is enough to make you cautious how you 
venture yourself in the practice of that which you under- 
stand not ; but if there were no obscurity, yet prophecies 
are no warrant to you to fulfil them ; no, though they be 
for the church's good. Predictions tell you but ' de eventu' 
what will come to pass, but warrant not you to bring it to 
pass : God's prophecies are ofttimes fulfilled by the wicked- 
est men and the wickedest means. As by the Jews in kill- 
ing Christ, and Pharaoh in refusing to let Israel go, and 
Jehu in punishing the house of Ahab. Yet many self-con- 
ceited persons think that they can fetch that out of the Re- 
velations or the prophecies of Daniel, that will justify very 
horrid crimes, while they use wicked means to fulfil God's 

Direct, xvi. * Be very cautious in what cases you take 
men's practice or example to be instead of precept, in the 
sacred Scriptures.' In one case a practice or example is 
obligjatory to us as a precept ; and that is, when God doth 
give men a commission to establish the form or orders of 
his church and worship, (as he did to Moses and to the 
apostles,) and promiseth them his Spirit to lead them into 
all truth, in the matters which he employeth them in ; here 
God is engaged to keep them from miscarrying ; for if they 
should, his work would be ill done, his church would be ill 

VOL. V. L 


constituted and framed, and his servants unavoidably de- 
ceived. The apostles were authorized to constitute church 
officers, and orders for continuance; and the Scripture 
which is written for a great part historically, acquaints us 
what they did (as well as what they said and wrote) in the 
building of the church, in obedience to their commission ; 
(at least in declaring to the world what Christ had first ap- 
pointed). And thus if theit practice were not obligatory to 
us, their wotds also might be avoided by the same pretences. 
And on this ground (at least) the Lord's day is easily proved 
to be of Divine appointment and obligation. Only we must 
see that we carefully distinguish between both the words 
and practice of the apostles which were upon a particular 
^nd tetioporary occasion (and obligation) from those that 
were upon an universal or permanent ground. 

Direct, xvii. * Be very cautelous what Conclusions you 
raise from any mere works of Providence.' For the bold 
and blind exposition of these, hath led abundance into most 
heinous sins : no providence is instead of a law to us : but 
sometimes and ofttimes Providence changeth the matter of 
our duty, and so occasioneth the change of our obligations : 
(as when the husband dieth, the wife is disobliged, &c.) But 
men of worldly dispositions do so over-value worldly things, 
that from them they venture to take the measure of God's 
love and hatred, and of the causes which he approveth or 
disapproveth in the world. And the wisdom of God doth 
seem on purpose, to cause suCh wonderful, unexpected mu- 
tations in the affairs of men, as shall shame the principles or 
spirits of these men, arid manifest their giddiness and muta- 
bility to their confusion. One year they say, ' This is sure 
the cause of God, or else he would never own it as he doth :' 
another year they say, * If this had been God's cause he 
would never have so disowned it :' just as the barbarians 
judged of Paul when the viper seized on his hand. And 
thus God is judged by them to own or disown by his pros- 
pering or afflicting, more than by his word. 

Direct, xviii. 'In controversies which much depend on 
the sincerity and experience of godly men, take heed that 
you affect not singularity, and depart not from the common 
sense of the godly.' For the workings of God's Spirit are 



better judged of, by the ordinary tenor of tliem, than by 
some (real or supposed) case that is extraordinary. 

Direct, xix. *In controversies which most depend on 
the testimony of antiquity, depart not from the judgment of 
the ancients.' They that stood within view of the days of 
the apostles could better tell what they did, and what a con- 
dition they left the churches in than we can do* To appeal 
to the ancients in every cause, even in those where the latex 
Christians do excel them is but to be fools in reverence of 
our forefathers' wisdom. But in points of history, or any 
thing in which they had the advantage of their posterity, 
their testimony is to be preferred. ii rfj**;: i . 

Direct, xx. * In controversies which depend on the ex- 
perience of particular Christians or of the church, regard 
most the judgment of the most experienced, and prefer the 
judgment of the later ages of the church before the judg- 
ment of less experienced ages :' (exqept the apostolical age 
that had the greater help of tJ^e Spirit). An ancient, expe- 
rienced Christian or divine is more to be regarded in many 
points, which require experience, than many of the younger 
sort, that are yet more zealous and of quicker understand- 
ing and expression than the elder. So those that we call 
the fathers or ancients were indeed in the younger ages of 
the church, and we that are fallen into the later and more 
experienced age, have all the helps of the wisdom and ex- 
perience of the ages that were before us : and therefove God 
will require at oui- hands an account of these greater talents 
which we have received ! As it were inexcusable no.w in a 
physician, that hath the help of such voluminous institu- 
tions, observations and experiments of former ages, to know 
no more ,than those former times that had no such helps ; 
so would it be as inexcusable for this present age of the 
church to be no wiser than those former ages. When Aqui- 
nas, Scotus, Ariminensis, and other schoolmen, delivered 
the doctrine of Christianity to the church in a dress so far 
different from Ignatius, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Cyprian, or any 
of those former ages, they certainly thought that they had 
attained to a far greater excellency and accurateness in the 
knowledge of divinity than those their ancestors had attain- 
ed : and whatever they swear in the Trent oath, of not ex- 
pounding any Scripture otherwise than the fathers do, I 


doubt not but Suarez, and Vasquez, and others of their 
modern schoolmen thought so too, and would have been 
loath to be accounted wise in the measure only of those an- 
cients. The later and elder ages of the church have had 
abundant experience, e. g. of the tendency of ambition and 
papal aspirings and usurpations ; of the mischiefs of com- 
posing and imposing the popish missals and numerous cere- 
monies, and of their implicit faith, and their concealment of 
the Scriptures from the vulgar, and many such points ; and 
if we are never the wiser for all this experience, we are the 
more inexcusable; and may be judged as the neglecters of 
our greater helps. 

Direct, Kxi. 'In controversies which depend most upon 
skill in the languages, philosophy, or other parts of com- 
mon learning, prefer the judgment of a few that are the most 
learned in those matters, before the judgment of the most 
ancient, or the most godly, or of the greatest numbers, even 
whole churches, that are unlearned. ' In this case neither 
numbers, nor antiquity, nor godliness will serve turn : but 
as one clear eye will see further than ten thousand that are 
purblind, so one Jerome or Origen may judge better of a 
translation, or the grammatical sense of a text than a hun- 
dred of the other fathers could. One man that understand- 
etb a language is fitter to judge of it, than a whole nation 
that understand it not. One philosopher is fitter to judge 
of a philosophical question, than a thousand illiterate per- 
sons. Every man is most to be regarded in the matters 
which he is best acquainted with. 

Direct, xxii. ' In controversies of great difficulty where 
divines themselves are disagreed, and a clear and piercing 
wit is necessary, regard more the judgment of a few acute, 
judicious, well-studied divines that are well versed in those 
controversies, than of a multitude of dull and common wits 
that think to carry it by the reputation of their number ".' 
It is too certainly attested by experience, that judicious men 
are very few, and that the multitude of the injudicious that 
have not wit enough to understand them, nor humility 
enough to confess it, and to learn of them, have yet pride 
and arrogancy enough to contradict them, and often malice 

" Satis Iriumphat Veritas si apud paucos bonosque accepta : nee indoles ejus est 
piacere multis. Lipsius. 


anough to vilify them. In such differences it is not only a 
sign of a wise man to be content with the approbation of a 
few, but also to have but few approvers ; (except where the 
injudicious do implicitly believe those few that are judi- 
cious). Commonly a very few that are wiser than the mul- 
titude, are fain to stand by, and compassionate not only the 
world but the church, and see the disease, and the easy re- 
medy, and all in vain ; while they are but neglected or des- 
pised by the rest, that will not be made wiser by them. 

Direct, xxiii. * In all contentions hold close to that 
which all sides are agreed in : ' there is so much agreed on, 
even between the Papists and Protestants, as would save 
them all, if all of them did sincerely believe, love and prac- 
tise it ; for they all confess that the whole canonical Scrip- 
ture is true. Therefore be more studious sincerely to hold 
and improve those common truths which they all profess, 
than to oppose the particular opinions of any, further than 
that common truth requireth it. See that the articles of 
the common creed which all profess, be unfeignedly believ- 
ed by you ; and that the petitions in the Lord's prayer be 
sincerely and earnestly put up to God ; and that the ten 
commandments be heartily and entirely obeyed ; and then 
no error or difference will be damning to you. 

Direct. Kxiw. * Take nothing as necessary to salvation 
in point of faith, nor as universally necessary in point of 
practice, which the universal church in every age since 
Christ did not receive.' For if any thing be necessary to sal- 
vation which the church received not in every age, then the 
church itself of that age could not be saved ; and then the 
church was indeed no church ; for Christ is the Saviour of 
his body. But certainly Christ had in every age a church 
of saved ones, who openly professed all that was of common 
necessity to salvation. An opinion may be true which ac- 
cuseth the generality in the church of some error or imper- 
fection; for it is most certain that the church on earth is 
composed of none (that have the use of reason) but erring 
and imperfect members ; but no opinion can be true that 
condemneth all the church to hell, in any one age ; for the 
head and husband of the church must be her judge. 

Direct, xxv. * Be not borne down by the censoriousness 
of any, to overrun your own understanding and the truth. 


and to comply with them in their errors and extremes ": but 
hold to the truth and keep your station: "let them re- 
turn unto thee, but return not thou unto them^/" It is 
too usual for the younger and more injudicious sort of Chris- 
tians to be most zealous about some little opinions, ceremo- 
nies and words, and to censure all those that differ from 
them, with such bitter censures, (as ungodly, false-hearted, 
&c.) that hereupon some of the more judicious forsake the 
truth and simplicity of the Gospel, to comply with these 
censurers merely to escape them, (or as some say, that they 
may keep an interest in them to do them good :) but such 
carnal compliances, though with the most zealous men, will 
bring nothing home at last but repentance and shame : 
truth which is the means of the good of souls, must not be 
betrayed as for the good of souls. 

Direct. XXVI. 'Doubt not of well-proved truths, for 
every difficulty that appeareth against them.' There is scarce 
any truth in the world so plain, but in your own thoughts, 
or in the cavils of a wrangling wit, there may such difficul- 
ties be raised as you can hardly answer : and there is scarce 
any thing so evident, that some will not dispute against. 
You see that even the most learned Jesuits, and all the cler- 
gy of the Roman kingdom, will not stick to dispute all the 
world (if they could) out of the belief of all their senses, while 
they maintain that bread is not bread, and wine is not wine. 
And yet how many princes, lords and rulers follow them, 
and how many millions of the people ; because they be not 
able to confute them. If they had said that a man is no man 
but a worm ^, they might in reason have expected as much 

Direct, xxvii. ' Abuse not your own knowledge by sub- 
jecting it to your carnal interest or sensuality.' He that will 
sin against his conscience, and will not obey the knowledge 
which he hath, doth deserve to be given over to blindness 
and deceit, and to lose even that which he hath, and to be 
forsaken till he believe and defend a lie : " that all they 
might be damned who obeyed not the truth, but had plea- 
sure in unrighteousness ''.'^ God will not hold him guiltless 
who debaseth his sacred truth so far, as to make it stoop to 

^ Thus Peter and Barnabas erred, Gal. ii. . - '- 

y Jei'. XV. 19. ^' Psal. xxii.6. ^ 2 Ttess. ii. 10— i'i. 


his commodity and lust ; where he is a teacher he will be a 
king, and sendeth his truth as the instrument of his govern- 
ment, and not as a slave or pander to the flesh : he that 
will " do God's will shall know it''." But the carnal mind 
that cannot be subject to God's law, is unfit to receive it, 
because it is spiritually discerned ^. 


Directions for the Union and Communion of Saints, and the 
avoiding Unpeaceableness and Schism, 

The peace and concord of believers is a thing that almost 
all those plead for, who call themselves believers ; and yet 
a thing that almost all men hinder and resist while they com- 
mend it^. The discord and divisions of believers, are as 
commonly spoken against, and by the same men, as com- 
monly fomented. The few that are sincere (both rulers and 
private men) desire concord and hate divisions in love to 
holiness which is promoted by it, and in love to the church, 
and good of souls, and the honour of religion, and the glory 
of God ; and the few of those few that are experienced, 
wise, judicious persons, do choose the means that are fittest 
to attain these ends, and do prudently and constantly pro- 
secute them accordingly ; but these being in the world as a 
spoonful of fresh water cast into the sea, or a spoonful of water 
cast into the flames of a house on fire, no wonder if the briny 
sea be not sweetened by them, nor the consuming, raging 
fire quenched by them. The other rulers of the world and 
of the churches, are for concord and against division, be- 
cause this tendeth to the quieting of the people under them, 
and the making of men submissive and obedient to their 
wills, and so to confirm their dignities, dominions and inte- 
rests ^. And all men that are not holy, being predominantly 
selfish, they would all be themselves the centre of that union, 
and bond of that concord which they desire: and they 

b John vii. 17. ' Rom. viii. 7. 1 Cor. ii. 14. 

» Of this subject I have written already, 1. My " Universal Concord." ST. My 
'* Catholic Unity." 3. Of the "True Catholic Church." 4. My " Christian Concord." 
•» Read over Sir Francis Bacon's third Essay ; and Hales of Schism. 


would have it accomplished upon such terms and by such 
means as are most agreeable to their principles and ends ; 
in which there are almost as many minds as men : so that 
among all the commenders of unity and concord, there are 
none that take the way to attain it, but those that would 
centre it all in God, and seek it upon his terms, and in his 
way. The rest are all tearing unity and peace in pieces, 
while they commend it, and they fight against it while they 
seek it; every man seeking it for himself, and upon his own 
terms, and in his own way ; which are so various and incon- 
sistent, that east and west may sooner meet than they. 

Yet must the sons of God be still the sons of peace, and 
continue their prayers and endeavours for unity, how small 
soever be the hopes of their success : " If it be possible, as 
much as in us lieth, we must live peaceably with all men.'' 
So far must they be from being guilty of any schisms or un- 
lawful divisions of the church, that they must make it a great 
part of their care and work to preserve the unity and peace 
of Christians. In this therefore i shall next direct them. 

Direct, I. ' Understand first wherein the unity of Chris- 
tians and churches doth consist :' or else you will neither 
know how to preserve it, nor when you violate it*^. Chris- 
tians are said to be united to Christ, when they are entered 
into covenant with him, and are become his disciples, his 
subjects, and the members of his (political) body. They 
are united to one another when they are united to Christ 
their common head, and when they have that spirit, that 
faith, that love which is communicated to every living mem- 
ber of the body. This union is not the making of many to 
be one Christian ; but of many Christians to be one church : 
which is considerable either as to its internal life, or its ex- 
ternal order and profession. In the former respect the 
bonds of our union are, 1. The heart-covenant (or faith). 
2. And the Spirit ; the consent of Christ and of ourselves 
concurring, doth make the match or marriage between us ; 
and the Spirit communicated from him to us is as the nerves 
or ligaments of the body, or rather as the spirits which pass 
through all. The union of the church considered visibly 
in its outward policy, is either that of the whole church, or 

c In veste Chrisri varietas sit ; scissuia non sit. Tliey be two things, unity 
and uniformity. Lord Bacon, Essay iii. 


of the particular churches within themselves, or of divers 
particular churches accidentally united. 1. The union of 
the whole is essential, inte^al, or accidental. The essen- 
tial union is that relation of a head and members, which is 
between Christ and all the visible members of his church : 
the foundation of it is the mutual covenant between Christ 
and them, considered on their part as made externally, whe- 
ther sincerely or not : this is usually done in baptism, and 
is the chiefest act of their profession of the faith. Thus the 
baptismal covenant doth constitute us members of the visi- 
ble church. The integral and accidental union I pass by 
now. 2. Besides this union of the universal church with 
Christ the universal head, there is in all particular organized 
churches, a subordinate union, (1.) Between the pastor and 
the flock. (2.) Between the people one towards another ; 
which consisteth in these their special relations to each 
other. 3. And there is an accidental union of many parti- 
cular churches : as when they are united under one civil go- 
vernment ; or consociated by their pastors in one synod or 
council. These are the several sorts of church union. 

Direct, ii. ' Understand also wherein the communion of 
Christians and churches doth consist : that you may know 
what it is that you must hold to/ In the universal church 
your internal communion with Christ consisteth in his com- 
munication of his Spirit and grace, his Word and mercies 
unto you ; and in your returns of love, and thanks and 
obedience unto him ; and in your seeking to him, depend- 
ing on him, and receivings from him : your internal com- 
munion with the church or saints, consisteth in mutual love, 
and other consequent affections, and in praying for, and 
doing good to one another as yourselves, according to your 
abilities and opportunities. Your external communion with 
Christ and with most of the church in heaven and earth, is 
not mutually visible and local ; for it is but a small number 
comparatively that we ever see ; but it consisteth in Christ's 
visible communication of his Word, his officers, and his or- 
dinances and mercies unto you, and in your visible learning 
and reception of them, and obedience to him, and expres- 
sions of your love and gratitude towards him. Your exter- 
nal communion with the universal church, consisteth in the 
prayers of the church for you, and your prayers for the 


church ; in your holding the same faith, and professing to 
love and worship the same God, and Saviour, and Sanctifier, 
in the same holy ordinances, in order to the same eternal 

Your external communion in the same particular congre^ 
gations, consisteth in your assembling together to hear the 
preaching of God's Word, and to receive the sacrament of 
the body and blood of Christ, and pray and praise God, and 
to help each other in knowledge and holiness, and walk to- 
gether in the fear of the Lord. 

Your communion with other neighbour churches, lieth 
in praying for and counselling each other, and keeping such 
correspondencies as shall be found necessary to maintain 
that love, and peace, and holiness which all are bound to 
seek, according to your abilities and opportunities. 

Note here, that communion is one thing, and subjection 
is another. It is not your subjection to other churches that 
is required to your communion with them. The churches 
that Paul wrote to at Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, 
Philippi, &c., had communion together according to their 
capacities in that distance ; but they were not subject one 
to another, any otherwise than as all are commanded to be 
subject to each other in humility"*. The church of Rome 
now accuseth all the Christians in the world of separating 
from their communion, unless they will take them for their 
rulers, and obey them as the mistress church : but Paul 
speaketh not one syllable to any of the churches of any such 
thing, as their obedience to the church of Rome. To your 
own pastors you owe subjection statedly as well as com- 
munion ; and to other pastors of the churches of Christ 
(fixed or unfixed), you owe a temporary subjection so far as 
you are called to make use of them (as sick persons do to 
another physician, when the physician of the hospital is out 
of the way) : but one church is not the ruler of another, or 
any one of all the rest, by any appointment of the king of 
the church. 

Direct. III. * By the help of what is already said, you 
are next distinctly to understand how far you are bound to 
union or communion with any other, church or person, and 
what distance, separation, or division is a sin, and what is 

^ 1 Pet. Vi 5. 


not :' that so you may neither causelessly trouble your- 
selves with scruples, nor trouble the church by sinful 

I. There must be an union among all churches and 
Christians in these following particulars. 1. They have all 
but one God. 2. And one Head and Saviour, Jesus Christ. 
3. And one Sanctifier, the Holy Ghost. 4. And one ulti- 
mate end and hope, even the fruition of God in heaven. 5. 
And one Gospel to teach them the knowledge of Christ, and 
contain the promise of their salvation. 6. And one kind of 
faith that is wrought hereby. 7. And one and the same co- 
venant (of which baptism is the seal) in which they are en- 
gaged to God. 8. And the same instrumental founders of 
our faith, under Jesus Christ, even the prophets and apos- 
tles. 9. And all members of the same universal body. 10. 
And all have the same new nature and holy disposition, and 
the same holy affections, in loving God and holiness, and 
hating sin. 11 . They all own, as to the essential parts, the 
same law of God, as the rule of their faith and life, even the 
sacred canonical Scriptures. 12. Every member hath a love 
to the whole, and to each other, especially to the more ex- 
cellent and useful members ; and an inclination to holy 
communion with each other. 13. They have all a propen- 
sity to the same holy means and employment, as prayer, 
learning the Word of God, and doing good to others. All 
these things the true living members of the church have in 
sincerity, and the rest have in profession. 

II. There will be still a diversity among the churches 
and particular Christians in these following points, without 
any dissolution of the fore-described unity. 1. They will 
not be of the same age or standing in Christ ; but some 
babes, some young men, and some fathers. 2. They will 
not have the same degrees of strength, of knowledge, and 
of holiness : some will have need to be fed with milk, and 
be unskilful in the word of righteousness. 3. They will 
differ in the kind and measure of their gifts : some will ex- 
cel in one kind, and some in another, and some in none at 
all. 4. They will differ in their natural temper, which will 
make some to be more hot and some more mild, some more 
quick and some more dull, some of more regulated wits and 
some more scattered and confused. 5. They will differ in 


. spiritual health and soundness ; one will be more orthodox 
and another more erroneous ; one will have a better appe- 
tite to the wholesome word than others that are inclining to 
novelties and vain j anglings ; one will walk more blame- 
lessly than another ; some are full of joy and peace, and 
others full of grief and trouble. 6. They differ much in 
usefulness and service to the body ; some are pillars to sup- 
port the rest, and some are burdensome and troublers of the 
church. 7. It is the will of Christ that they differ in office 
and employment ; some being pastors and teachers to the 
rest. 8. There may be much difference in the manner of 
their worshipping God ; some observing days and difference 
of meats and drinks, and forms and other ceremonies, which 
others observe not : and several churches may have several 
modes. 9. These differences may possibly by the tempta- 
tion of satan, arise to vehement contentions, and not only 
to the censuring and despising of each other, but to the re- 
jecting of each other from the communion of the several 
churches, and forbidding one another to preach the Gospel, 
and the banishing or imprisoning one another, as Constan- 
tine himself did banish Athanasius, and as Chrysostom and 
many another have felt. 10. Hence it foUoweth, that as in 
the visible church some are the members of Christ, and some 
are indeed the children of the devil, some shall be saved and 
some be damned, even with the sorest damnation, (the 
greatest difference in the world to come being betwixt the 
visible members of the church,) so among the godly and 
sincere themselves, they are not all alike amiable or happy, 
but they shall differ in glory as they do in grace. All these 
differences there have been, are, and will be in the church, 
notwithstanding its unity in other things. 

III. The word ' schism' cometh from ' <jy^it(o/ ' disseco, 
lacero,' and signifieth any sinful division among Christians. 
Some Papists (as Johnson) will have nothing called schism, 
but a dividing one's self from the Catholic church : others 
maintain that there is nothing in Scripture called schism, 
but making divisions in particular churches *. The truth 

e The true placing the bonds of unity iraporteth exceedingly. Which will be 
done if the points fundamental, and of substance in religion were truly discerned and 
distinguished from points not merely of faith, but of opinion, order, or good intention. 
This is a thing that may seem to many a matter trivial, and done already ; but if it 


is, (obvious in the thing itself) that there are several sorts 
of schism or division. 1. There is a causing divisions in a 
particular church, when yet no party divideth from that 
church, much less from the universal. Thus Paul blameth 
the divisions that were among the Corinthians, while one 
said * I am of Paul,' and another, * I am of Apollos,' &c. 
1 Cor. iii. 3. And 1 Cor. xi. 18. ** I hear that there be di- 
visions among you :" not that they separated from each 
other's communion, but held a disorderly communion. Such 
divisions he vehemently dissuadeth them from, 1 Cor. i. 10. 
And thus he persuadeth the Romans, (xvi. 17.) to " mark 
them which cause divisions and offences among them, con- 
trary to the doctrine which they had learned, and avoid 
them ;*' which it seems therefore were not such as had 
avoided the church first. He that causeth differences of 
judgment and practice, and contendings in the church, doth 
cause divisions, though none separate from the church. 

2. And if this be a fault, it must be a greater fault to 
cause divisions from, as well as in^ a particular church, 
which a man may do that separateth not from it himself: 
as if he persuade others to separate, or if he sow those tares 
of error which cause it, or if he causelessly excommunicate 
or cast them out. 

3. And then it must be as great a sin to make a cause- 
less separation from the church that you are in yourself, 
which is another sort of schism. If you may not divide in 
the church, nor divide others from the church, then you may 
not causelessly divide the common from it yourselves. 

4. And it is yet a greater schism, when you divide not 
only from that one church, but from many ; because they 
concur in opinion with that one, (which is the common way 
of dividers). 

5. And it is yet a greater schism, when whole churches 
separate from each other, and renounce due communion 
with each other without just cause : as the Greeks, Latins, 
and Protestants in their present distance, must some of them 
(whoever it is) be found guilty. 

G. And yet it is a greater schism than this, when 
churches do not only separate from each other causelessly, 

were done less partially, it would be embraced more generally. Lord Bacon, 
£s8ay iii. 


but also unchurch each other, and endeavour to cut off each 
other from the church universal, by denying each other to 
be true churches of Christ. It is a more grievous schism 
to withdraw from a true church as no church, than as a cor- 
rupt church ; that is, to cut off a church from Christ, and 
the church Catholic, than to abstain from communion with 
it as a scandalous or offending church. 

7. It is yet * cseteris paribus' a higher degree of schism 
to divide yourselves (a person or a church) from the univer- 
sal church without just cause, though you separate from it 
but * secundum quid,* in some accidental respect wheriB 
unity is needful (for where unity is not required, there dis- 
union is no sin) : yet such a person that is separate but 
* secundum quid,' from something accidental, or integral, 
but not essential to the Catholic church, is still a Catholic 
Christian^ though he sin. 

8. But as for the highest degree of all, viz. to separate 
from the universal church * simpliciter,* or in some essen- 
tial respect, this is done by nothing but by heresy or apos- 
tasy. However the Papists make men believe that schis- 
matics that are neither heretics nor apostates, do separate 
themselves wholly or simply from the Catholic church, this 
is a mere figment of their brains. For he that separateth 
not from the church in any thing essential to it, doth not 
truly and simply separate from the church, but ' secundum 
quid,' from something separable from the church. But 
whatever is essential to the church, is necessary to salvation ; 
and he that separateth from it upon the account of his de- 
nying any thing necessary to salvation, is an heretic or an 
apostate : that is, if he do it, as denying some one (or more) 
essential point of faith or religion, while he pretendeth to 
hold all the rest, he is an heretic : if he deny the whole 
Christian faith, he is a fiat apostate ; and these are more 
than to be schismatics. 

The word * heresy' also is variously taken by ecclesias- 
tic writers. Austin will have heresy to be an inveterate 
schism : Jerome maketh it to be some perverse opinion ; 
some call every schism which gathereth a separated party 
from the rest, by the name of heresy ; some call it a heresy 
if there be a perilous error though without any schism ; some 
call it a heresy only when schism is made, and a party se- 


parated upon the account of some perilous error. Some 
say this error must be damnable, that is, in the essentials of 
religion; and some say, it is enough if it be but dangerous. 
Among all these, the commonest sense of a * heretic' is, one 
that obstinately eireth in some essential point, and divideth 
from the communion of other Christians upon that account. 
And so Paraeus and many Protestants take heresy for the 
species, and schism for the genus. All schism is not heresy ; 
but all heresy, say they, is schism. Remember that all this 
is but a controversy * de nomine,* and therefore of small 

By this that I have said you may perceive who they be 
that are guilty of church divisions : As, 1. The sparks of it 
are kindled, when proud and self-conceited persons are 
brain-sick in the fond estimation of their own opinions, and 
heart-sick by a feverish zeal for propagating them. Igno- 
rant souls think that every change of their opinions is made 
by such an accession of heavenly light, that if they should 
hot bestir them to make all of the same mind, they should 
be betrayers of the truth, and do the world unspeakable 
wrong. When they measure and censure men as they re- 
fceive or reject their peculiar discoveries or conceits, schism 
is in the egg. 

2. The fire is blown up, when men are desirous to have 
a party follow them and cry them up, and thereupon are 
busy in persuading others to be of their mind, and do speak 
perverse things to draw away disciples after them. And 
when they would be counted the masters of a party. 

3. The flames break forth, when by this means the same 
church, or divers churches do fall into several parties burn- 
ing in zeal against esch other, abating charity, censuring and 
condemning one another, backbiting and reviling each other, 
through envy and strife ; when they look strangely at one 
another, as being on several sides, as if they were not chil- 
dren of the same Father, nor members of the same body ; or 
as if Christ were divided, one being of Paul, and another of 
ApoUos, and another of Cephas, and every one of a faction, 
letting out their thoughts in jealousies and evil surmises of 
each other ; perverting the words and actions of each to an 
ugly sense, and snatching occasions to represent one another 
as fools or odious to the hearers, as if you should plainly 


say, * I pray you hate or despise these people whom I hate 
and despise/ This is the core of the plague-sore» It is 
schism in the bud. 

4. When people in the same church do gather into pri- 
vate meetings, not under the guidance of their pastors, to 
edify one another in holy exercises in love and peace, but 
in opposition to their lawful pastors, or to one another, to 
propagate their singular opinions, and increase their parties, 
and speak against those that are not on their side ; schism is 
then ready to bring forth and multiply, and the swarm is 
ready to come forth and be gone. 

5. When these people actually depart, and renounce or 
forsake the communion of the church, and cast off their 
faithful pastors, and draw into a separated body by them- 
selves, and choose them pastors and call themselves a 
church, and all without any just, sufficient cause : when 
thus churches are gathered out of churches, before the old 
ones are dissolved, or they have any warrant to depart ; 
when thus pastor is set up against pastor, church against 
church, and altar against altar; this is schism ripe and 
fruitful. The swarm is gone, and hived in another place. 

6. If now the neighbour churches by their pastors in 
their synods, shall in compassion seek to reclaim these 
stragglers, and they justify their unjust separation, and con- 
temn the counsel of the churches and ministers of Christ ; 
this is a confirmed, obstinate schism. 

7. If they shall also judge that church to be no church 
from which they separated, and so cut off a part of the body 
of Christ by an unrighteous censure, and condemn the inno- 
cent, and usurp authority over their guides ; this is dis- 
obedience and uncharitableness with schism. 

8. If they shall also condemn and unchurch all the 
other churches that are not of their mind and way, and re- 
nounce communion with them all, and so condemn unjustly 
a great part of the body of Christ on earth, this is to add 
fury and rebellion to an uncharitable schism. And if to 
cover their sin, they shall unjustly charge these churches 
which they reject, with heresy or wickedness, they do but 
multiply their crimes by such extenuations. 

9. If the opinion that all this ado is made for, be a damn- 


ing error, against some essential point of the true religion, 
then it is heresy as well as schism. 

10. If this separation from the church be made in de- 
fence of an ungodly life, against the discipline of the church : 
if a wicked sort of men shall withdraw from the church to 
avoid the disgrace of confession or excommunication ; and 
shall first cast off the church, lest the church should proceed 
to cast out them ; and so they separate that they may have 
none to govern and trouble them but themselves ; this is a 
profane, rebellious schism. This is the common course of 
schism when it groweth towards the height. 

11. Besides all these, there is yet a more pernicious way 
of schism, which the church or court of Rome is guilty of: 
they make new articles of faith, and new points of religion, 
and a new worship — of God, shall I say, or of bread as if it 
were a God ? And all these they put into a law, and im- 
pose them on all the other churches ; yea, they put them 
into an oath, and require men to swear that without any 
doubting they believe them to be true : they pretend to 
have authority for all this, as Rome is the mistress of all 
other churches. They set up a new universal head, as an 
essential part of the Catholic church, and so found or feign 
a new kind of Catholic church : and he that will not obey 
them in all this, they renounce communion with him, and to 
hide this horrid, notorious schism, they call all schismatics 
that are not thus subjected to them. 

12. And to advance their schism to the height, as far as 
arrogance can aspire, they not only refuse communion with 
those from whom they separate, but condemn them as no 
pastors, no churches, no Christians, that are not subject to 
them in this their usurpation : and they, that are but about the 
third or fourth part (at most) of the Christian world, do con- 
demn the body of Christ to hell (even all the rest) because 
they are not subjects of the pope. 

Besides all this criminal, odious schism, of imposers or 
separaters, there is a degree of schism or unjust division, 
which may be the infirmity of a good and peaceable person. 
As if a humble, tender Christian should mistakingly think 
it unlawful to do some action that is imposed upon all that 
will hold communion with that particular church (such as 

.VOL. V. M 


Paul speaketh of Rom. xiv. if they had been imposed) ; and 
if he, suspecting his own understanding, do use all means to 
know the truth, and yet still continueth in his mistake ; if 
this Christian do forbear all reviling of his superiors, and 
censuring those that differ from him, and drawing others to 
his opinion, but yet dare not join with the church in that 
which he taketh to be a sin, this is a sinful sort of withdraw- 
ing, because it is upon mistake ; but yet it is but a pardon- 
able infirmity, consistent with integrity, and the favour of 
God. viti. do: 

IV. In these cases following separation is our duty and 
not a sin. 1 . The church's separation from the unbelieving 
world is a necessary duty ; for what is a church, but a so- 
ciety dedicated or sanctified to God, by separation from the 
rest of the world ? " Wherefore come out from among them 
and be ye separate saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean 
thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, 
and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord 
Almighty ^." The church is a holy people, and therefore a 
separated people s. 

2. If a church apostatize and forsake the faith, or if they 
turn notoriously heretical, denying openly any one essen- 
tial article of the faith, and this not only by an undiscerned 
consequence, but directly in express terms or sense, it is 
our duty to deny to hold communion with such apostates or 
heretics : for it is their separating from Christ that is the 
sinful separation, and maketh it necessai-y to us to separate 
from them. But this is no excuse to any church or person 
that shall falsely accuse any other church or person of he- 
resy (because of some forced or disowned consequences of 
his doctrine), and then separate from them when they have 
thus injured them by their calumnies or censures. 

3. We are not bound to own that as a church which 
maketh not a visible profession of faith and holiness : that 
is, if the pastors and a sufficient number of the flock make 
not this profession. For as the pastor and flock are the con- 
stituent parts of the church, politically considered, so pro- 
fession of faith and holiness is the essential qualification of 
the members. If either pastors or people want this profes- 
sion, it is no political church ; but if the people profpss true 

f S> Cor. vi. 17, 18. e Leg. Grotium de Imp. pp. 230, 231. 


religion, and have no pastors, it is a community of believers, 
or a church unorganized, and as such to be acknowledged. 

4. If any shall unlawfully constitute a new political 
church-form, by making new constitutive officers to be its 
visible head, which Christ never appointed, we are not to 
hold communion with the church in its devised form or po- 
lity : though we may bold communion with the members of 
it considered as Christians and members of the universal 
church. Mark well, that I do not say that every new de- 
vised officer disobligeth us from such communion, but such 
as I describe; which I shall more fully open. 

Quest. May not m^^n place new officers in the church ; 
and new forms of government which God never instituted? 
Or is there any form and officers of Divine institution? 

Arisw. Though I answered this before, I shall here 
briefly answer it again. 1. There are some sorts of officers 
that are essential to the polity, or church-form, and some 
that are only, needful to the wellbeing of it, and some that 
are only accidental. 2. There is a church-form of God's 
own institution, and there is a superadded human polity. Or 
form. There are two sorts of churches, or church-forms of 
God's own institution. The first is the universal church 
considered politically as headed by Jesus Christ : this is so 
of Divine appointment, as that it is an article of our creed. 
Here if any man devise and superinduce another head of 
the universal church, which God never appointed, though 
he pretend to hold his sovereignty from Christ and under 
him, it is treason against the sovereignty of Christ, as setting 
up an universal government or sovereign in his church 
without his authority and consent. Thus the pope is the 
usurping head of a rebellion against Christ, and in that 
sense by Protestants called antichrist. And he is guilty of 
the rebellion that subscribeth to, or owneth his usurpation, 
or sweareth to him as his governor, though he promise to 
obey himbut *4n licitis et honestis ;' because it is not law- 
ful or honest to consent to an usurper's government. If an 
usurper should traiterously, without the king's consent, 
proclaim himself vice-king of Ireland or Scotland, and 
falsely say that he hath the king's authority, when the king 
disclaimeth him, he that should voluntarily swear obedience 
to him in things lawful and honest, doth voluntarily own 


his usurpation and treason. And it is not the lawfulness 
and honesty of the matter which will warrant us to own the 
usurpation of the commander «. And secondly there is an- 
other subordinate church-form of Christ's institution ; that 
is, particular churches consisting of pastors and people con- 
joined for personal communion in God's worship. These 
are to the universal church, as particular corporations are to 
a kingdom, even such parts of it as have a distinct subordi- 
nate polity of their own : it is no city or corporation, if they 
have not their mayors, bailiffs, or other chief officers, sub- 
ject to the king, as governors of the people under him. And 
it is no particular church, in a political sense, but only a 
community, if they have not their pastors to be under 
Christ, their spiritual conductors in the matters of salvation ; 
as there is no school vs^hich is not constituted of teacher and 
scholars. That particular organized political churches are 
of Christ's institution (by his Spirit in the apostles) is un- 
deniable. " They ordained them elders in every church ''." 
" Ordain elders in every city as I commanded thee '." *' He 
sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church ''." 
" Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, over which 
the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church 
of God ^" Thus far it is no question but church-forms and 
government is of Divine appointment : and man can no more 
alter this, or set up such other without God's consent, than 
a subject can alter or make corporations without the king's 
consent. 2. But besides these two sorts of Divine institu- 
tion, there are other allowable associations which some call 
churches. God hath required these particular churches to 
hold such communion as they are capable of, for promoting 
tne common ends of Christianity : and prudence is left to 
determine of the times, and places,- and manner of their pas- 
tors assemblies, councils, and correspondencies according 
to God's general rules. If any will call these councils, or 
the associations engaged for special correspondencies, by 
the name of churches, I will not trouble any with a strife 
about the name. In this case so far as men have power to 
make that association or combination which they call a 

? Leg. Grotium de Imp. pp. 223» 226. 

h Acts xiv. 23. * Tit.i. 5. ^ Acts xx. 17. 

^ i Acts XX. 28. So 1 Thess. v. 12, 13. Heb. xiii. 7. 17, 24. &c. 1 Cor. vil. 23. 


church, so also if they make officers suited to its ends, not 
encroaching, upon the churches or officers of Christ's own 
institution, I am none of those that will contend against 
them ; nor will this allow us to deny communion with them. 
3. And in those churches which Christ himself hath insti- 
tuted, there are officers that make but for the integrity, and 
not for the political essence of the church : as deacons, and 
all pastors or presbyters more than one. For it is not es- 
sential to it to have any deacons, or many pastors. As to 
this sort of officers, Christ hath appointed them, and it is 
not in man's power to alter his institution, nor to set up any 
such like in co-ordination with these : but yet if they should 
do so, as long as the true essentials of the church remain, I 
am not to deny communion with that church, so I own not 
this corruption. 4. But there are also as circumstantial 
employments about God's worship, so officers to do those 
employments, which men may lawfully institute : as clerks, 
church-wardens, doorkeepers, ringers, &c. It is not the 
adding of these that is any sin. By this time you may see 
plainly both how far churches, officers, and church-govern- 
ment is ' jure divino,' and how far man may or may not add 
or alter, and what I meant in my proposition, viz. That if 
men introduce a new universal head to the church Catholic, 
or a new head to particular churches, instead of that of 
Christ's institution, this is ' in sensu politico,' to make new 
species of churches, and destroy those that Christ hath in- 
stituted ; (for the ' pars gubernans,' and * pars gubernata' 
are the essential constituents of a church). And with such 
a church, as such, in specie, I must have no communion 
(which is our case with the Papal church) ; though with 
the material parts of that church, as members of Christ, I 
may hold communion still. 

5. If particular members are guilty of obstinate impeni- 
tency in true heresy, or ungodliness, or any scandalous 
crime, the church may and must remove such from her com- 
munion ; for it is the communion of saints. And the offen- 
der is the cause of this separation. 

6. If a whole church be guilty of some notorious, scan- 
dalous sin, and refuse with obstinacy to repent and reform, 
when admonished by neighbour churches, or if that church 
do thus defend such a sin in any of.. her members, so as 


openly to own it ; other churches may refuse communion 
with her, till she repent and be reformed. Or if they see 
cause to hold communion with her in other respects, yet in 
this they must have none "". 

7. If any church will admit none to her personal com- 
munion, but those that will take some false oath, or sub- 
scribe any untruth, or tell a lie, though that church do think 
it to be true, (as the Trent oath which their priests all swear,) 
it is not lawful to do any such unlawful thing to obtain 
communion with that church : and he that refuseth in this 
case to commit this sin, is no way guilty of the separation, 
but is commendable for being true to God ". And though 
the case may be sad to be deprived of tlie liberty of public 
worship, and the benefits of public communion with that 
church, yet sin is worse, and obedience is better than sacri- 
fice^. God will not be served with sin, nor accept the sa- 
crifice of a disobedient fool p. Nor must we lie to glorify 
him, nor do evil that good may come by it : just is the dam- 
nation of such servers of God ''. All public worship is ra- 
ther to be omitted, than any one sin committed to enjoy it : 
(though neither should be done where it is possible to do 
better.) It is not so unwise to think to feed a man with 
poisons, as to think to serve God acceptably by sin. 

8. If any one church would ambitiously usurp a govern- 
ing power over others (as Rome doth over the world), it is 
no unwarrantable separation to refuse the government of 
that usurping church. We may hold communion with them 
as Christians, and yet refuse to be their subjects. And 
therefore it is a proud and ignorant complaint of the church 
of Rome, that the Protestants separate from them as to com- 
munion, because they will not take them for their governor. 

9. If any by violence will banish or cast out the true 
bishops or pastors of the church, and set up usurpers in 
their stead (as in the Arian's persecution it was commonly 
done), it is no culpable separation, but laudable, and a duty, 

" But not denying her to be a church, unless slie cast off some essential part ; 
but so disowning her as in 2 Thess. iii. 

n Where any church, retaining the purity of doctrine, doth require the owning 
of and conforming to any unlawful or suspected practice, men may lawfully deny 
conformity to, and communion with that church in such things, without incurring the 
guilt of schism. Mr. Stillingfleet. Iren. p. 1 17. 

« 1 Sam. XT. 2«. Prov. xv. 8. p Eccles. v. 1, 2. t Rom. i. 7, 8. 


for the people to own their relation to their true pastors, and 
deny communion with the usurpers ; as the people of the 
Eastern churches did commonly refuse communion with the 
intruding bishops, even to the death, telling the civil rulers, 
that they had bishops of their own, to whom they would 
adhere. < 

10. If a true church will obstinately deny her members 
the use of any one ordinance of God, as preaching, or read- 
ing Scripture, or prayer, or praise, or discipline, while it re- 
taineth all the rest, though we may not separate from this 
church as no church (which yet in the case of total rejection 
of prayer or praise, is very questionable at least), yet if we 
have opportunity, we must remove our local communion to 
a more edifying church, that useth all the public ordinances 
of God : unless the public good forbid, or some great impe- 
diment, or contrary duty be our excuse-. 

11. If a true church will not cast out any impenitent, 
notorious, scandalous sinner, though I am not to separate 
from the church, yet I am bound to avoid private familiarity 
with such a person, that he may be ashamed, and that I par- 
take not of his sin '^. 

12. As the church hath diversity of members, some more 
holy, and some less, and some of whose sincerity we have 
small hope, some that are more honourable, and some less, 
some that walk Hamelessly, and some that work iniquity ; 
so ministers and private members, are bound to difference 
between them accordingly, and to honour and love some 
far above others, whom yet we may not excommunicate ; 
and this is no sinful separation ^ 

13. If the church that I live and communicate with, do 
hold any tolerable error, I may differ therein from the 
church, without a culpable separation. Union with the 
church may be continued with all the diversities before men- 
tioned. Direct, iii. 

14. In case of persecution in one church or city, when 
the servants of Christ do fly to another (having no special 
reason to forbid it), this is no sinful separation *. 

15. If the public service of the church require a 

' 2 John X. 11. 3 Tim. iii. 5. Rom. xtI. 17. 1 Cor. v. 11. 
• Matt. xiii. 41 . 30. Jer. xv. 19. 1 Cor. xii. 2S, 24. 
» Matt. X. t3. 


minister or private Christian to remove to another church, 
if it be done deliberately and upon good advice, it is no 
sinful separation. 

16. If a lawful prince or magistrate command us to re- 
move our habitation, or command a minister from one 
church to another, when it is not notoriously to the detri- 
ment of the common interest of religion, it is no sinful se- 
paration to obey the magistrate. 

17. If a poor £)hristian that hath a due and tender care 
of his salvation, do find that under one minister his soul de- 
clineth and groweth dead, and under another that is more 
sound, and clear, and lively, he is much edified to a holy 
and heavenly frame and life, and if hereupon, preferring his 
salvation before all things, he remove to that church and 
minister where he is most edified, without unchurching the 
other by his censures, this is no sinful separation, but a 
preferring the one thing needful before all. 

1 8. If one part of the church have leisure, opportunity, 
cause, and earnest desires to meet oftener for the edifying of 
their souls, and redeeming their time, than the poorer, la- 
bouring, or careless and less zealous part will meet, in any 
fit place, under the oversight and conduct of their pastors, 
and not in opposition to the more public, full assemblies, 
as they did, Acts xii. 12. to pray for Peter at the house of 
Mary, " where many were gathered together praying ;" and 
Acts X. 1., &c. this is no sinful separation. 

19. If a man's own outward affairs require him to re- 
move his habitation from one city or country to ano- 
ther, and there be no great matter to prohibit it, he may 
lawfully remove his local communion from the church that 
he before lived with, to that which resideth in the place he 
goeth to. For with distant churches and Christians I can 
have none but mental communion, or by distant means, (as 
writing, messengers, 8ic.) ; it is only with present Chris- 
tians that I can have local, personal communion. 

20. It is possible in some cases that a man may live long 
without local, personal communion with any Christians or 
church at all, and yet not be guilty of sinful separation. As 
the king's ambassador or agent in a land of infidels, or some 
traveller, merchants, factors, or such as go to convert the 


infidels, or those that are banished or imprisoned. In all 
these twenty cases, some kind of separation may be layvful. 

21. One more I may add, which is, when the temples are 
so small, and the congregations so great, that there is no 
room to hear and join in the public worship ; or when the 
church is so excessively great, as to be incapable of the 
proper ends of the society ; in this case to divide or with- 
draw, is no sinful separation. When one hive will not hold 
the bees, the swarm must seek themselves another, without 
the injury of the rest. 

By all this you may perceive, that sinful separation is 
first in a censorious, uncharitable mind, condemning 
churches, ministers, and worship causelessly, as .unfit for 
them to have communion with. And secondly, it is in the 
personal separation which is made in pursuance of this cen- 
sure : but not in any local removal that is made on other 
lawful grounds. 

Direct, iv. * Understand and consider well the reasons 
why Christ so frequently and earnestly presseth concord on 
his church, and why he so vehemently forbiddeth divisions. 
Observe how much the Scripture speaketh to this purpose, 
and upon what weighty reasons.' Here are four things dis- 
tinctly to be represented to your serious consideration. 1. 
How many, plain, and urgent are the texts that speak for 
unity, and condemn division. 2. The great benefits of con- 
cord. 3. And the mischiefs of discord and divisions in the 
church. 4. And the aggravations of the sin. 

I. A true Christian thathateth fornication, drunkenness, 
lying, perjury, because they are forbidden in the Word of 
God, will hate divisions also when he well observeth how 
frequently and vehemently they are forbidden, and concord 
highly commended and commanded. ** That they all may 
be one ; as thou. Father, art in me, and I in thee ; that they 
also may be one in us ; that the world may believe that thou 
hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have 
given them ; that they may be one, even as we are one : I in 
thena, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one ; 
and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and 
hast loved them, as thou hast loved me "." Here you see, 
that the unity of the saints must be a special means to con- 

" John xvii. 21—23. 


vince the infidel world of the truth of Christianity, and to 
prove God's special love to his church, and also to accom- 
plish their own perfection. " Now I beseech you, brethren, 
by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the 
same thing, and that there be no divisions (or schisms) 
among you ; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the 
same mind, and in the same judgment. For it hath been 

declared to me of you, my brethren, — that there aie 

contentions among you ''." " For ye are yet carnal : 

for whereas there is among you envying, (zeal,) and strife, 
and divisions, (or parties, or factions,) are ye not carnal, 
and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul, and 
another, I am of Apollos, are ye not carnaU ?'* " If there be 
any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fel- 
lowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my 
joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, of one 
accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or 
vainglory, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others 
better than themselves ^." "Now I beseech you, brethren, 
mark them which cause divisions (or parties), and offences 
(or scandals), contrary to the doctrine which ye have learn- 
ed, and avoid them ^." Abundance more such texts may be 

IL The great benefits of the concord of Christians are 
these following. 1. It is necessary to the very life of the 
church and its several members, that they be all one body; 
As their union with Christ the head and principle of their 
life is principally necessary, so unity among themselves is 
secondarily necessary, for the conveyance and reception of 
that life which flov^^eth to all from Christ. For though the 
head be the fountain of life, yet the nerves and other parts 
inust convey that life unto the members ; and if any member 
be cut off or separated from the body, it is separated also 
from the head, and perisheth. Mark well those words of 
the apostle, Ephes. iv. 3—16. " Endeavouring to keep the 
unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, 
and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your 
calling : one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Fa- 
ther of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 

* 1 Cor. i. 10, 11. y 1 Cor. iii. 3, 4. 

' Phil. ii. 1 — 4. a Rom. xvi. 17, 18. 


But unto every one of us is given grace according to the 

measure of the gift of Christ. And he gave some, 

apostles ; and some, prophets ; and some, evangelists ; and 
some, pastors and teachers ; for the perfecting of the saints, 
for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of 
Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the 
knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, unto the 

measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ : that 

speaking the truth in love, we may grow up into him in all 
things, which is the head, even Christ ; from whom the whole 
body fitly joined together, and compacted by every joint of 
supply, according to the effectual working in the measure 
of every part, maketh increase of the body to the edifying 
of itself in love." See here how the church's unity is ne- 
cessary to its life and increase, and to the due nutrition of 
all the parts. 

2. The unity of the church and the concord of believers, 
are necessary to its strength and safety ; for Christ also 
strengtheneth as well as quickeneth them by suitable means* 
Woe to him that is alone : but in the army of the Lord of 
hosts we may safely march on, when stragglers are catched 
up or killed by the weakest enemy. A threefold cord is 
not easily broken. Enemies both spiritual and corporal are 
deterred from assaulting the church or any of its members, 
while they see us walk in our military unity and order. In 
this posture every man is a blessing and defence unto his 
neighbour. As every soldier hath the benefit of all the con- 
duct, wisdom, and valour of the whole army, while he keep- 
eth in his place ; so every weak Christian hath the use and 
benefit of all the learning, the wisdom, and gifts of the 
church, while he keepeth his station, and walketh orderly 
in the church. The hand, the eye, the ear, the foot, and 
every member of the body, is as ready to help or serve the 
whole, and every other particular member as itself; but if 
it be cut off, it is neither helpful, nor to be helped. O what 
a mercy is it for every Christian, that is unable to help him- 
self, to have the help of all the church of God ! Their direc- 
tions, their exhortations, their love, their prayers, their libe 
rality and compassion, according to their several abilities 
and opportunities ! As infants and sick persons have the 
help of all the rest of the family that are in health. 


3. Unity and concord, as they proceed from love, so they 
greatly cherish and increase love : even as the laying of the 
wood or coals together is necessary to the making of the 
fire, which separating of them will put out ^. Holy concord 
cherisheth holy converse and communion ; and holy com- 
munion powerfully kindled holy love. When the servants 
of Christ do see in each other the lustre of his graces, and 
hear from each other the heavenly language which floweth 
from a divine and heavenly mind, this potently kindleth 
their affections to each other, and maketh them close with 
those as the sons of God, in whom they find so much of 
God ; yea, it causeth them to love God himself in others, 
with a reverent, admiring, and transcendant love, when 
others at the best, can love them but as men. Concord is 
the womb and soil of love, although it be first its progeny. 
In quietness and peace the voice of peace is most regarded. 

4. Unity and concord is the church's beauty : it maketh 
us amiable even to the eye of nature, and venerable and ter- 
rible even to the eye of malice. A concord in sin is no 
more honour, than it is for conquered men to go together in 
multitudes to prison or captivity ; or for beasts to go by 
droves unto the slaughter. But to see the churches of 
Christ with one heart and soul acknowledging their Maker 
and Redeemer, and singing his praise as with one voice, 
and living together in love and concord, as those that have 
one principle, one rule, one nature, one work, one interest, 
and hope, and end, this is the truly beauteous symmetry, 
and delectable harmony. Psal. cxxxiii. " Behold how good 
and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in uni- 
ty ! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that 
ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went 

•' Peace containeth infinite blessings; it slrengthenethfaith: it kindleth charity. 
The outward peace of the church distilleth into peace of conscience : and it turneth 
the writing and reading of controversies, into treatises of mortification and devotion. 
Against procuring unity by sanguinary persecutions, see Lord Bacon, Essay 3. 
Surely there is no better way to stop the rising of new sects and schisms, than to re- 
form abuses, to compound the smaller differences, to proceed mildly, and not with 
sanguinary persecutions, and rather to take off the principal authors by winning and 
advancing thera, than to enrage them by violence and bitterness. Lord Bacon in his 
Essay 58. * Ira hominis non implet justitiam Dei.' And it was a notable observation 
of a wise father, that those which held and persuaded pressure of consciences, were 
commonly interested therein themselves for their own ends. Id. Essay 3. p. 19. 


down to the skirts of his garment. As the dew of Hermon, 
and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion : 
for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for 
evermore." The translators well put this as the contents 
of this Psalm, " The benefit of the communion of saints." 

5. The concord of believers doth greatly conduce to the 
successes of the ministry, and propagation of the Gospel, 
and the conviction of unbelievers, and the conversion and 
salvation of ungodly souls.' When Christ prayeth for the 
unity of his disciples, he redoubleth this argument from the 
effect or end, " that the world may believe that thou hast 
sent me :" and " that the world may know that thou hast 
sent me, and hast loved them*'." Would this make the 
world believe that Christ was sent of God ? Yes, undoubt- 
edly if all Christians were reduced to a holy concord, it would 
do more to win the heathen world, than all other means can 
do without it. It is the divisions and the wickedness of 
professed Christians, that maketh Christianity so contemn- 
ed by the Mahometans, and other infidels of the world : and 
it is the holy concord of Christians that would convince 
and draw them home to Christ. Love, and peace, and con- 
cord are such virtues, as all the world is forced to applaud, 
notwithstanding nature's enmity to good. When the first 
Christian church *' were all with one accord in one place, 
and continued daily with one accord in the temple, and 
breaking bread from house to house partook of food with 
gladness and singleness of heart, and when the multitude of 
believers were of one heart and of one soul ^ ; then did God 
send upon them the Holy Ghost, and then were three thou- 
sand converted at a sermon ; and with " great power gave 
the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, 
and great grace was upon them all*." 

Our concord in religion hath all these advantages for the 
converting of unbelievers and ungodly men. 1. It is a sign 
that there is a constraining evidence of truth in that Gospel 
which doth convince so many ; a concurrent satisfaction and 
yielding to the truth, is a powerful testimony for it. 2. 
They see then that religion is not a matter of worldly policy 
and design, when so many men of contrary interests do em- 
brace it. 3. And they see it is not the fruit of melancholy 

* John xTii. «l. 23. •* Acta ii. 1. 46. iv. 32- • Acts ii. 41. iv. 53. 


constitutions, when so many men of various temperatures 
entertain it. 4. They may see that the Gospel hath power 
to conquer that self-love and self-interest which is the most 
potent thing in vitiated nature : otherwise it could never 
make so many unite in God as their common interest and 
end. 5. They may see that the Gospel and Spirit of Christ, 
are stronger than the devil and all the allurements of the flesh 
and worlds when they can make so many agree in the renounc- 
ing of all earthly vanities, for the hopes of everlasting life. 
6. They will see that the design and doctrine of Christiani- 
ty are good and excellent, beseeming God, and desirable- tx> 
man ;* when ,they see that they produce so good effects, 
as the love, and unity, and concord of mankind. 7. And it 
is an exceeding great and powerful help to the conversion 
of the world in this respect, because it is a thing so conspic- 
uous in their sight, and so intelligible to them, and so ap- 
proved by them. They are little wrought on by the doc- 
trine of Christ alone, because it is visible or audible but to 
few, and understood by fewer, and containeth many thinga 
which nature doth distaste : but the holy concord of be- 
lievers is a thing that they are more able to discern and 
judge of, and do more generally approve. The holy con- 
cord of Christians, must be the conversion of the unbeliev- 
ing world, if God have so great a mercy for the world : 
which is a consideration that should not only deter us from 
divisions, but make us zealously study and labour with all 
our interest and might, for the healing of the lamentable 
divisions among Christians, if we have the hearts of Chris- 
tians, and any sense of the interest of Christ. 

6. The concord of Christians doth greatly conduce to 
the ease and peace of particular believers. The very exer- 
cise of love to one another doth sweeten all our lives and 
duties : we sail towards heaven in a pleasant calm^ with wind 
and tide, when we live in love and peace together ; how 
easy doth it make the work of godliness! How light a 
r. burden doth religion seem, when we are all as of one heart 
and soul ! - 

7. Lastly, consider whether this be not the likest state 
to heaven, and therefore have not in it the most of Chris- 
tian excellency and perfection ? In heaven there is no dis- 
cord, but a perfect consort of glorified spirits, harmoniously 


loving and praising their Creator. And if heaven be desi- 
rable, holy concord on earth is next desirable, , 

III. On the contrary, consider well of the mischiefs of 
divisions. 1. It is the killing of the church (as much as 
lieth in the dividers) or the wounding it at least. Christ's 
body is one, and it is sensible ; and therefore dividing it 
tend«th directly to the destroying it^ and at least will cause 
its smart and pain. , To reform the church by dividing it, 
is no wiser than to cut out the liver, or spleen, or gall, to 
cleanse them from the filth that doth obstruct them, and hin- 
der them in their office : you may indeed thus cleanse them, 
but it will be a mortal cure. As he that should divide the 
kingdom into two kingdoms dissolveth the old kingdom, or 
part of it at least, to erect two new ones ; so he that would 
divide the Catholic church into two, must thereby destroy 
it, if he could succeed ; or destroy that part which divideth 
itself from the rest. Can a member live that is cut off from 
the body, or a branch that is separated from the tree ? 

Quest. ' O but,* say the Romanists, ' why then do you 
cut off yourselves from us : the division is made by you, and 
we are the church, and you are dead till you return to us ? 
How will you know which part is the church, when a divi- 
sion is once made ? ' Answ. Are you the church ? Are 
you the only Christians in the world ? The church is, ' all 
Christians united in Christ their head.' You traitorously 
set up a new usurping head ; and proclaim yourselves to be 
the whole church, and condemn all that are not subjects to 
your new head ; we keep our station, and disclaim his usur- 
pation, and deny subjection to you, and tell you that as you 
are the subjects of the pope, you are none of the church of 
Christ at all : from this treasonable conspiracy we withdraw 
ourselves; but as you are the subjects of Chvist we never 
divided from you, nor denied you our contimunjon^ Let 
reason judge now who are the dividers. Ai;id is it not easy 
to know wliich is the church in the divisign? It is all those 
that are still united unto Christ ; if you or we l?e divided 
from Christ, and fron^ Christians that a^e his body, w,e ar^ 

iT ' ConciL Tolet. iv. c« 16. 88. q. 1. Ca. Jodaei- qui— allow separatloa from a Jew- 
ish husband, if after admonition he will not be a Christian: and so do Acostaand 
his Concil. Limens. lib. vi c. 21. and other Jesuits, and allow the marrying of an- 
other : and sure the conjugal bond is faster than that of a pastor and his flock : may 
not a man then change his pastor when his soul is in apparent hazard ' 

176 CHRlS'llAN bIRECl'ORV, [pART lit. 

then none of the church : but if we are not divided from 
Christ, we are of the church still ; if part of a tree, (though 
the far greater part) be cut off or separated from the rest, it 
is that part (how small soever) that still groweth with the 
root that is the living tree. The Indian fig-tree, and some 
other trees, have branches that take root when they touch 
the ground : if now you ask me whether the branches 
springing from the second root, are members of the first 
tree, I answer, 1. The rest that have no new root are more 
undoubtedly members of it. 2. If any branches are separa- 
ted from the first tree, and grow upon the new root alone, 
the case is out of doubt. 3. But if yet they are by con- 
tinuation joined to both, that root which they receive their 
nutriment most from, is it which they most belong to. Sup- 
pose a tyrant counterfeit a commission from the king to be 
vice-king in Ireland, and proclaim all them to be traitors 
that receive him not; the king disclaimeth him, the wisest 
subjects renounce him, and the rest obey him but so as to 
profess they do it, because they believe him to be commis- 
sioned by the king. Let the question be now, who are the 
dividers in Ireland ? and who are the king's truest subjects? 
and what head it is that denominateth the kingdom? and 
who are the traitors? This is your case. 

2. Divisions are the deformities of the church. Cutoff 
a nose, or pluck out an eye, or dismember either a man or a 
picture, and see whether you have not deformed it. Ask 
any compassionate Christian, ask any insulting enemy, 
whether our divisions be not our deformity and shame ; the 
lamentation of friends and the scorn of enemies ? 

3. The divisions of the church are not our own dishon- 
our alone, but the injurious dishonour of Christ, and religion, 
and the Gospel. The world thinketh that Christ is an im- 
potent king, that cannot keep his kingdom at unity in itself, 
when he hath himself told us, that *' every kingdom divided 
against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or 
house divided against itself shall not stand ^. They think the 
Gospel tendeth to division, and is a doctrine of dissension, 
when they see divisions and dissensions procured by it ; 
they impute all the faults of the subjects to the king, and 
think that Christ was confused in his legislation, and knew 

e Matt. xii. 25. 


not what to teach or command, because men are confound- 
ed in their opinions or practices, and know not what to 
think or do. If men misunderstand the law of Christ, and 
one saith. This is the sense, and another saith. That is the 
sense, they are ready to think that Christ spake nonsense, 
or understood not himself, because the ignorant understand 
him not : who is there that converseth with the ungodly of 
the world, that heareth not by their reproach and scorns 
how much God and religion are dishonoured by the divisions 
of religious people. 

4. And thus also our divisions do lamentably hinder the 
progress of the Gospel, and the conversion and salvation of 
the ungodly world : they think they have small encourage- 
ment to be of your religion, while your divisions seem to tell 
them, that you know not what religion to be of yourselves. 
Whatever satan or wicked men would say against religion to 
discourage the ungodly from it, the same will exasperated 
persons in these divisions say against each other's way : and 
when every one of you condemneth another, how should the 
consciences of the ungodly persuadf^ them to accept salva- 
tion in any of those ways, which you thus condemn ? Doubt- 
less the divisions of the Christian world, have done more 
to hinder the conversion of infidels, and keep the heathen 
and Mahometan world in their damnable ignorance and de- 
lusions, than all our power is able to undo : and have pro- 
duced such desolations of the church of Christ, and such a 
plentiful harvest and kingdom for the devil, as every tender. 
Christian heart is bound to lament with tears of bitterness. 
If it must be that such offences shall come, yet woe to those 
by whom they come. 

5. Divisions lay open the churches of Christ, not only 
to the scorn, but to the malice, will and fury of their ene- 
mies. A kingdom or house divided cannot stand : where 
hath the church been destroyed, or religion rooted out, in 
any nation of the earth, but divisions had a principal hand 
in the effect? O what desolations have they made among 
the flocks of Christ ! As Seneca and others opened their 
own veins and bled to death, when Nero or such other ty- 
rants, did send them their commands to die ; even so have 
many churches done by their divisions, to the gratifying of 
satan, the enemy of souls. 

VOL. V. n 


6. Divisions among Christians do greatly hinder the ed- 
ification of the members of the church ; while they are pos- 
sessed with envyings and distaste of one another, they lose 
all the benefit of each other's gifts, and of that holy commu- 
nion which they should have with one another. And they 
are possessed with that zeal and wisdom, which James cal- 
leth earthly, sensual and devilish, which corrupteth all their 
affections, and turneth their food to the nourishment of 
their disease, and maketh their very worshipping of God to 
become the increase of their sin. Where divisions and con- 
tentions are, the members that should grow up in humility, 
meekness, self-denial, holiness and love, do grow in pride, 
and perverse disputings, and passionate strivings, and en- 
vious wranglings : the Spirit of God departeth from them, 
and an evil spirit of malice and vexation taketh place; 
though in their passion, they know not what spirit they are 
of: whereas if they be of one mind, and live in peace, the 
God of love and peace will be with them. What lamentable 
instances of this calamity have we in many of the sectaries 
of this present time ; especially in the people called Qua- 
kers, that while they pretend to the greatest austerities, do 
grow up to such a measure of sour pride, and uncharitable 
contempt of others, and especially of all superiors, and hel- 
lish railing against the holiest ministers and people, as we 
have scarce known, or ever read of. 

7. These divisions fill the church with sin : even with 
sins of a most odious nature. They introduce a swarm of 
errors, while it becomes the mode for every one to have a 
doctrine of his own, and to have something to say in reli- 
gion which may make him notable. "Of your own selves 
sh?ill men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away dis- 
ciples after them^." They cherish pride, and malice, and 
belying others (the three great sins of the devil) as natural- 
ly as dead flesh breedeth worms ; they destroy impartial. 
Christian love, as naturally as bleeding doth consume our 
vital heat and moisture. What wickedness is it that they 
will not cherish? In a word, the Scripture telleth us that 
*' where envying and strife is, there is confusion, and every 
evil work." (And is not this a lamentable way of reforma- 
tion of some imaginary or lesser evils ?) 

9 Acfs XX. 30. 


8. These divisions are the grief of honest spectators, and 
cause the sorrows of those that are guilty of them. They 
make all their duties uneasy to them, and turn their reli- 
gion into a bitter, unpleasant, wrangling toil : like oxen in 
the yoke that strive against each other, when they should 
draw in order and equality. What a grievous life is it to 
husband and wife, or any in the family, if they live in dis- 
cord ? So is it to the members of the church. When once 
men take the kingdom of God to consist of meats, or drinks, 
or ceremonies, which consisteth in righteousness, and peace, 
and joy in the Holy Ghost, and turn to strive about unedi- 
fying questions, they turn from all the sweetness of religion. 

9. Sects and divisions lead directly to apostacy from the 
faith. Nothing is more in the design of satan, than to con- 
found men so with variety of religions, that they may think 
there is no certainty in any ; that so both the ignorant spec- 
tators may think all religion is but fancy and deceit, and the 
contenders themselves wheel about from sect to sect, till 
they come to the point where they first set out, and to be at 
last deliberately of no religion, who at first were of none for 
want of deliberation. And it is no small success that satan 
hath had by this temptation. 

10. The divisions of Christians do oft proceed to shake 
states and kingdoms, having a lamentable influence upon 
the civil peace ; and this stirreth up princes* jealousies 
against them, and to the use of those severities, which the 
suffering party takes for persecution ; yea, and Turks, and 
all princes that are enemies to reformation and holiness, do 
justify themselves in their most cruel persecutions, when 
they see the divisions of Christians, and the troubles of 
states that have followed thereupon. If Christians, and 
Protestants in special, did live in that unity, peace and or- 
der as their Lord and ruler requireth them to do, the con- 
sciences of persecutors would even worry and torment them, 
and make their lives a hell on earth, for their cruelty against 
so excellent a sort of men; but now when they see them all 
in confusions, and see the troubles that follow hereupon, 
and hear them reviling one another, they think they may 
destroy them as the troublers of the earth, and their con- 
sciences scarce accuse them for it. 

IV. It is necessary also for your true understanding the 


malignity of this sin, that you take notice of the aggrava- 
tions of it, especially as to us. 1. It is a sin against so 
many, and clear, and vehement words of the Holy Ghost, 
(which I have partly before recited) that it is therefore ut- 
terly without excuse : whoredoms, and treasons, and per- 
jury are not oftener forbidden in the Gospel than this. 

2. It is contrary to the very design of Christ in our re- 
demption ; which was to reconcile us all to God, and unite 
and centre us all in him : " To gather together in one the 
children of God that are scattered abroad «." * To gather 
together in one all things in Christ ''." " To make in him- 
self of twain one new man, so making peace '." And shall 
we join with satan the divider and destroyer, against Christ 
the reconciler, in the very design of his redemption ? 

3. It is contrary to the design of the Spirit of grace, and 
contrary to the very nature of Christianity itself. " By one 

Spirit we are all baptized into one body and have all 

been made to drink into one Spirit ''.'* " As there is one 
body and one spirit, so it is our charge to keep the unity of 
the Spirit in the bond of peace ^" The new nature of Chris- 
tians doth consist in love, and desireth the communion of 
saints as such ; and therefore the command of this special 
love is called the New Commandment, John xvii. 21. xiii. 
34. XV. 12. 17. And they are sE^id to be taught of God to 
love one another, 1 Thees. iv. 9. As self-preservation is 
the chief principle in the natural body, which causeth it to 
abhor the wounding, or amputation of its members, and to 
avoid division as destruction, except when a gangrened 
member must be cut off, for the saving of the body ; so it is 
also with the mystical body of Christ. He is senseless 
and graceless that abhorreth not church-wounds. 

4. These divisions are sins against the nearest bonds of 
our high relations to each other ; " We are brethren, and 
should there be any strife among us™ ? " " We are all the 
children of God by faith in Christ Jesus ".'' We are the 
fellow-members of the body of Christ; and should we tear 
his body, and separate his members, and cut his flesh, and 
break his bones ° ? " For as the body is one, and hath many 

? John xi. 52. h Eph. i. 10. * Eph. ii. 15. 

^ 1 Cor. xii. 13. ' Eph. iv. 3, 4. »" Gen. xiii. 8. 

n Gal. iii. 26. « Eph. v. 23. 3p. 



members, and all the members of that one body, being many, 
are one body; so also is Christ p." "As we have many 

members in one body so we being many, are one body 

in Christ; and every one members one of another 'J.' He 
that woundeth or dismembereth your own bodies, shall 
scarce be taken for your friend ; and are you Christ's 
friends, when you dismember or wound his body "^ ? Is it 
lovely to see the children or servants in your family together 
by the ears ? Are civil wars for the safety of a kingdom ? 
Or doth that tend to the honour of the children of God, 
which is the shame of common men ? Or is that the safety 
of his kingdom, which is the ruin of all others? *' We are 
all fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of 
God ^" We are God's building *. " Know ye not that ye 
are the temple of God : and that the Spirit of God dwelleth 
in you ? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God 
destroy : for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye 
are "." Will he destroy the defilers, and will he love the di- 
viders and destroyers ? If it be so great a sin to go to law 
unnecessarily with brethren, or to wrong them ^ what is it 
to disown them, and cast them off? And if they that sa- 
lute and love only their brethren, and not also their ene- 
mies, are not the children of God ^ ; what are they that se- 
parate from, and condemn even their brethren ? 

5. Church-dividers either would divide Christ himself 
between them, or else would rob him of a great part of his 
inheritance : and neither of these is a little sin. If you make 
several bodies, you would have several heads : and is Christ 
divided ? saith the apostle, 1 Cor. i. 13, Will you make 
him a sect-master? He will be your common head as 
Christians ; but he will be no head of your sects and par- 
ties ; (I will not name them). Or would you tear out of the 
hands of Christ, any part of his possessions ? Will he cut 
them off, because you cut them off? Will he separate them 
from himself, because you separate from them, or separate 

P 1 Cor. xii. 12. « Rom. xii. 4, 5. 

' Qaicquid ad multitudinero Tergit,antipathianicontiQet ; et quanto magis mul- 
titudu augetur, tanto et antipathia ; quicquid veru ad unilatem tendit, syrapatbiam 
habet ; et quauto magb ad anitate m accedit, tanto puriori sympathia augetur. Paul 
Scaliger, Epbt. Cath. Kb. iii. p. i76. 

• Eph. ii. 19. » 1 Cor. uL 9. « 1 Cor. iii. 16, !?• 

» 1 Cor, 6. 8. 1 Matt. v. 47. 


them from you ? Will he give them a bill of divorce, when- 
ever you are pleased to lay any odious accusation against 
them? Who shall condemn them, when it is he that justi- 
fieth them ? Who shall separate them from the love of God ? 
Gan your censure or separation do it, when neither life, nor 
death, nor any creature can do it "^ ? Hath he not told you, 
that ** he will give them eternal life, and they shall never 
perish, neither shall any pluck them out of his hand*." 
Will he lose his jewels, because you cast them away as 
dirt? He suffered more for souls than you, and better 
knoweth the worth of souls ! And do you think he will for- 
get so dear a purchase ? or take it well that you rob him of 
that which he hath bought so dearly ? Will you give the 
members and inheritance of Christ to the devil, and say, 
' They are satan's, and none of Christ's/ " Who art thou 
that judgest another man's servant." 

6. Church-dividers are guilty of self-ignorance, and 
pride, and great unthankfulness against that God that bear- 
eth with so much in them, who so censoriously cast off their 
brethren. Wert thou ever humbled for thy sin ? Dost 
thou know who thou art, and what thou carriest about thee, 
and how much thou offendest God thyself? If thou do, 
surely thou wilt judge tenderly of thy brethren, as knowing 
what a tender hand thou needest, and what mercy thou hast 
found from God. Can he cruelly judge his brethren to hell 
upon his petty differences, who is sensible how the gracious 
hand of his Redeemer, did so lately snatch him from the 
brink of hell ? Can he be forward to condemn his 
brethren, that hath been so lately and mercifully saved 
himself ? 

7. Church dividers are the most successful servants of 
the devil, being enemies to Christ in his family and livery. 
They gratify satan, and all the enemies of the church, and 
do the very work that he would have them do, more effec- 
tually than open enemies could do it. As mutineers in an 
army may do more to destroy it, than the power of the 

8. It is a sin that contradicteth all God's ordinances and 
means of grace ; which are purposely to procure and main- 
tain the unity of his church. The Word and baptism are 

^ Rom. viii. 33. &c. * John x. 28. 


to gather them into one body, and the Lord's-supper to sig- 
nify and maintain their concord, as being one bread, and one 
body *'. And all the communion of the church is to express 
and to maintain this concord. The use of the ministry is 
much to this end, to b^ the bonds and joints of the unity of 
believers ''. All these are contemned and frustrated by 

9. Church-division is a sin (especially to us) against as 
great and lamentable experiences as almost any sin can be. 
About sixteen hundred years the church hath smarted by 
it. In many countries where the Gospel prospered, and 
churches flourished, division hath turned all into desolation, 
and delivered them up to the curse of Mahometanism and 
infidelity. The contentions between Constantinople and 
Rome, the Eastern and the Western churches, have shaken 
the Christian interest upon earth, and delivered up much of 
the Christian world to tyranny and blindness, and given ad- 
vantage to the Papacy to captivate and corrupt much of the 
rest, by pretending itself to be the centre of unity. O what 
glorious churches, where the learned writers of those ages 
once lived, are now extinct, and the places turned to the 
worship of the devil and a deceiver ; through the ambition 
and contentions of the bishops, that should have been the 
bonds of their unity and peace ! But doth England need to 
look back into history, or look abroad in foreign lands, for 
instances of the sad effects of discord ? Is there any one, 
good or bad ih this age, that hath spent his days in such a 
sleep, as not to know what divisions have done, when they 
have made such ruins in church and state, and kindled such 
consuming fires, and raised so many sects and parties, and 
filled so many hearts with uncharitable rancour, and so many 
mouths with slanders and revilings, and turned so many 
prayers into sin, by poisoning them with pride and factious 
oppositions, and hath let out streams of blood and fury over 
all the land? He that maketh light of the divisions of 
Christians in these kingdoms, or loveth not those that 
Bpeak against them, doth shew himself to be so impenitent 
in them, as to be one of those terrible effects of them, that 
should be a pillar of salt to warn after ages totake heed. 
10. Yea, this is a heinous aggravation of this sin, that 

•» 1 Cor. X. IT. ^ Ephes. iv. l3, 14. 16. 


commonly it is justified, and not* repented of by those that 
do commit it. When a drunkard or a whoremonger will 
confess his sin, a church-divider will stand to it and defend 
it : and woe to them that call evil good, and good evil. Im- 
penitency is a terrible aggravation of sin. 

11. And it is yet the more heinous, in that it is com- 
monly fathered upon God. If a drunkard or whoremonger 
should say, ' God commandeth me to do it, and I serve God 
by it,' would you not think this a horrid aggravation? 
When did you ever know a sect or party, how contrary 
soever among themselves, but they all pretended God's au- 
thority, and entitled him to their sin, and called it his ser- 
vice, and censured others as ungodly, or less godly, that 
would not do as bad as they ? St. James is put to confute 
them that thought this wisdom was from above, and so did 
glory in their sin, and lie against the truth, when their wis- 
dom was from beneath, and no better than earthly, sensual, 
and devilish. For the " wisdom from above, is first 
pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of 
mercy, &c **." 

13. Church-divisions are unlike to our heavenly state, 
and in some regard worse than the kingdom of the devil, for 
he would not destroy it by dividing it against itself^. O 
what a blessed harmony of united holy souls, will there be 
in the heavenly Jerusalem, where we hope to dwell for ever ! 
There will be no discords, envyings, sidings or contendings, 
one being of this party, and another of that ; but in the 
unity of perfect love, that world of spirits, with joyful praise 
will magnify their Creator. And is a snarling envy or j arring 
discord the likely way to such an end ? Is the church of 
Christ a Babel of confusion? Should they be divided, 
party against party here, that must be one in perfect love 
for ever ? Shall they here be condemning each other, as 
none of the children of the Most High, who there must live 
in sweetest concord ? If there be shame in heaven, you will 
be ashamed to meet those in the delights of glory, and see 
them entertained by the Lord of love, whom you reviled and 
cast out of the church or your communion, causelessly, 
on eartji. 

Remember now that schism, and making parties and di- 

•* James iii. 17- ^ Malt. xii. 26. 


visions in the church, is not so small a sin as many take it 
it for : it is the accounting it a duty, and a part of holiness, 
which is the greatest cause that it prospereth in the world ; 
and it will never be reformed till men have right apprehen- 
sions of the evil of it. Why is it that sober people are so 
far and free from the sins of swearing, drunkenness, forni- 
cation, and lasciviousness, but because these sins are under 
so odious a character, as helpeth them easily to perceive the 
evil of them. And till church-divisions be rightly appre- 
hended, as whoredom, and swearing, and drunkenness are, 
they will never be well cured. Imprint therefore on your 
minds the true character of them, which I have here laid 
down, and look abroad upon the effects, and then you will 
fear this confounding sin, as much as a consuming plague. 

The ,two great causes that keep divisions from being 
hated as they ought, are, 1. A charitable respect to the 
good that is in church-dividers, carrying us to overlook the 
evil of the sin ; judging of it by the persons that commit it, 
and thinking that nothing should seem odious that is theirs, 
because many of them are in other respects of blameless, 
pious conversations. And indeed every Christian must so 
prudently reprehend the mistakes and faults of pious men, 
as not to asperse the piety which is conjunct ; and there- 
fore not to make their persons odious, but to give the per- 
son all his just commendations for his piety, while we op- 
pose and aggravate his sin : because Christ himself so dis- 
tinguisheth between the good and the evil, and the person 
and the sin, and loveth his own for their good, while he 
hateth their evil ; and so must we : and because it is the 
grand design of satan, by the faults of the godly to make 
their persons hated first, and their piety next, and so to ba- 
nish religion from the world ; and every friend of Christ 
must shew himself an enemy to this design of satan. But 
yet the sin must be disowned and opposed, while the person 
is loved according to his worth. Christ will give no thanks 
for such love to his children, as cherisheth their church- 
destroying sins. There is no greater enemy to sin than 
Christ, though there be no greater friend to souls. God- 
liness was never intended to be a fortress for iniquity ; or 
a battery for the devil to mount his cannons on against the 
church ; nor for a blind to cover the powder-mines of hell. 


Satan never opposeth truth, and godliness, and unity. so 
dangerously, as when he can make religious men his instru- 
ments. Remember therefore that all men are vanity, and 
God*s interest and honour must not be sacrificed to theirs, 
nor the Most Holy be abused, in reverence to the holiest of 
sinful men. 

The other great hindrance of our due apprehensions of 
the sinfulness of divisions, is our too deep sense of our suf- 
ferings by superiors, and our looking so much at the evil of 
persecutions, as not to look at the danger of the contrary 
extreme. Thus under the Papacy, the people of Germany 
at Luther's reformation were so deeply sensible of the Papal 
cruelties, that they thought by how many ways soever men 
fled from such bloody persecutors, they were very excusa- 
ble. And while men were all taken up in decrying the Ro- 
man idolatry, corruptions, and cruelties, they never feared 
the danger of their own divisions till they smarted by them. 
And this was once the case with many good people here in 
England, who so much hated the wickedness of the profane 
and the haters of godliness, that they had no apprehensions 
of the evil of divisions among; themselves. And because 
many profane ones were wont to call sober, godly people, 
schismatics and factious, therefore the very names began 
with many to grow into credit, as if they had been of good 
signification, and there had been really no such sin as schism 
and faction to be feared ; till God permitted this sin to 
break in upon us with such fury, as had almost turned us into 
a Babel, and a desolation. And I am persuaded God did 
purposely permit it, to teach his people more sensibly to 
know the evil of that sin by the effects, which they would 
not know by other means ; and to let them see when they 
had reviled and ruined each other, that there is that in 
themselves which they should be more afraid of, than of 
any enemy without. 

Direct, v. * Own not any cause which is an enemy to 
love : and pretend neither truth, nor holiness, nor unity, 
nor any thing against it.' The spirit of love is that one vital 
spirit which doth animate all the saints. The increase of 
love is the powerful balsam that healeth all the church's 
wounds. Though loveless, lifeless physicians think that all 
these wounds must be healed by the sword. And indeed 


the weapon-salve is now become the proper cure. It is the 
sword that must be medicated, that the wounds made by it 
may be healed. The decays of love are the church's disso- 
lution ; which first causeth fissures and separations, and in 
process crumbleth us all to dust ; and therefore the pastors 
of the church are the fittest instruments for the cure, who 
are the messengers of love, and whose government is pater- 
nal, and hurteth not the body, but is only a government of 
love, and exercised by all the means of love. All Christians 
in the world confess that Love is the very life and perfection 
of all grace, and the end of all our other duties, and that 
which maketh us like to God, and that if love dwelleth in 
us, God dwelleth in us ; and that it will be the everlasting 
grace, and the work of heaven, and the happiness of souls ; 
and that it is the excellent way, and the character of saints, 
and the new commandment. And all this being so, it is 
most certain that noway is the way of God, which is not the 
way of love ; and therefore what specious pretences soever 
they may have, and one may cry up truth, and another ho- 
liness, and another order, and another unity itself, to jus- 
tify their envyings, hatred, cruelties, it is most certain that 
all such pretences are satanical deceits ; and if they bite 
and devour one another, they are not like the sheep of 
Christ, but shall be devoured one of another ^ " Love 
worketh no ill to his neighbour : therefore love is the ful- 
filling of the law ^." When Papists that shew their love to 
men's souls by racking their bodies, and frying them in the 
fire, can make men apprehensive of the excellency of that 
kind of love, they may use it to the healing of the church. 
In the meantime as their religion is, such is their concord, 
while all those are called members of their union, and pro- 
fessors of their religion, who must be burnt to ashes if they 
say the contrary. They that give God an image and car- 
case of religion, are thus content with the image and carcase 
of a church for the exercise of it. And if there were nothing 
else but this to detect the sinfulness of the sect of Quakers, 
and many more, it is enough to satisfy any sober man, that 
it cannot be the way of Gfod. God is not the author of that 
spirit and way which tends to wrath, emulation, hatred, 
railing, and the extinction of Christian love, to all save their 

' Qd.v. t5. t Rom. xiii. 10. 


own sect and party. Remember as you love your souls, 
that you shun all ways that are destructive to universal 
Christian love. 

Direct, vi. * Make nothing necessary to the unity of the 
church, or the communion of Christians, which God hath 
not made necessary, or directed you to make so ^.* By this 
one folly, the Papists are become the most notorious schis- 
matics on earth ; even by making new articles of faith, and 
new parts of worship, and imposing them on all Christians, 
to be sworn, subscribed, professed, or practised, so as that 
no man shall be accounted a Catholic, or have communion 
with them, (or with the universal church, if they could hin- 
der it,) that will not follow them in all their novelties. They 
that would subscribe to all the Scriptures, and to all the an- 
cient creeds of the church, and would do any thing that 
Christ and his apostles have enjoined, and go every step 
of that way to heaven that Peter and Paul went, as far as 
they are able, yet if they will go no further, and believe no 
more (yea, if they will not go against some of this,) must be 
condemned, cast out, and called schismatics by these noto- 
rious schismatics. If he hold to Christ, the universal Head 
of the church, and will not be subject or sworn to the pope, 
the usurping head, he shall be taken as cut off from Christ. 
And there is no certainty among these men what measure of 
faith, and worship, and obedience to them, shall be judged 
necessary to constitute a church-member : for as that which 
served in the apostles' days, and the following ages, will not 
serve now, nor the subscribing to all the other pretended 
councils until then, will not serve without subscribing to the 
creed or council of Trent ; so nobody can tell, what new 
faith, or worship, qr test of Christianity, the next council 
(if the world see any more) may require : and how many 
thousand that are Trent Catholics now, may be judged here- 
tics and schismatics then, if they will not shut their eyes, 
and follow them any whither, and change their religion as 
oft as the papal interest requireth a change. Of this Chil- 
lingworth. Hales, and Dr. H. More have spoken plainly '. 

•> See Mr. Stillingfleet, Iren. p.p. 119, 120. Bilson for Christian Subjection, 
p, 525. 

* Dr. H. More saith, Myst. Redempt. p. 495. 1. 10. c. 2. There is scarce any 
church in Christendom at this day, that doth not obtrude, not only falsehood, but such 


If the pope had imposed but one lie to be subscribed, or one 
sin to be done, and said, " All nations and persons that do 
not this, are no Christians, or shall have no communion 
with the church," the man that refuseth that imposed lie or 
sin, doth but obey God, and save his soul ; and the usurper 
that imposeth them, will be found the heinous schismatic 
before God, and the cause of all those divisions of the 
church. And so if any private sectary shall feign an opi- 
nion or practice of his own to be necessary to salvation or 
church communion, and shall refuse communion with those 
that are not of his mind and way, it is he, and not they, that 
is the cause of the uncharitable separation. 

Direct, vii. * Pray against the usurpations or intrusions 
of impious, carnal, ambitious, covetous pastors into the 
churches of Christ ''.' For one wicked man in the place of 
a pastor, may do more to the increase of a schism or faction, 
than many private men can do. And carnal men have car- 
nal minds and carnal interests, which are both irreconcile- 
able to the spiritual, holy mind and interest ; for the " car- 
nal mind is enmity against God, and is not subject to his 
law, nor can be. And they that are in the flesh cannot 
please God." And you may easily conceive what work 
will be made in the ship, when an enemy of the owner hath 
subtilly possessed himself of the pilot's place ! He - will 
charge all that are faithful as mutineers, because they resist 
him when he would carry all away. And if an enemy of 
Christ shall get to be governor of one of his regiments or 
garrisons, all that are not traitors shall be called traitors, 
and cashiered that they hinder not the treason which he in- 
tendeth. And '* as then he that was born after the flesh, 
persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is 

falsehoods (hat will appear to any free spirit pure contradictions and impossibilities; 
and that with the same gravity, authority, and importunity, that they do the holy ora- 
cics of God. Now the consequent uf this must needs be sad : for what knowing and 
conscientious man, but will be driven off, if he cannot assert the truth, without open 
asserting a gross lie? Id. p. 526. And as for opinions, though some may be better 
than other some, yet none should exclude from the fullest enjoyment of either private 
or public rights; sup|ioung there be no venom of the persecutive spirit mingled with 
them : but every one that professeth the faith of Christ, and believeth the Scriptures 
in the historical sense, &c. See Hales of Schism, p. 8. 

^ In ecclesiis plus certamimum gignunt verba hominuni quam Dei ; magisque 
pugnatur fere de Apolline, Petro, et Paulo, quam de Christo : rctine divina : relinqua 
booMiM. Boeboicer. 


now : but what saith the Scripture ? cast out the bondwo- 
man and her son^/' &c. It is not the sacred office of the 
ministry, nor the profession of the same religion, that will 
cure the enmity of a carnal heart, against both holiness and 
the holy seed. The whole business of the world from age 
to age is but the management of that war, proclaimed at 
sin's first entrance into the world, between the seed of the 
woman and the serpent ; and none of the serpent's seed are 
more cruel or more successful, than those of them that creep 
into the armies of Christ ; and especially that get the con- 
duct of his regiments "". Neither brotherhood nor unity of 
professed religion, would hold the hands of malignant Cain 
from murdering his brother Abel. The same religion, and 
father, and family reconciled not scoffing Ishmael to Isaac, 
or profane Esau to his brother Jacob. The family of Christ, 
and an apostle's office, did not keep Judas from being a trai- 
tor to his Lord. If carnal men invade the ministry, they 
take the way of ease, and honour, and worldly wealth, and 
strive for dominion, and who shall be the greatest, and care 
not how great their power and jurisdiction are, nor how little 
their profitable work is ; and their endeavour is to fit all 
matters of worship and discipline to their ambitious, cove- 
tous ends ; and the spiritual worshipper shall be the object 
of their hate : and is it any wonder if the churches of Christ 
be torn by schism, and betrayed to profaneness, where 
there are such unhappy guides " ? 

J Gal. iv. 29, 30. 

™ Poetae nunquam perturbarunt respublicas : oratores non raro. Biicholtzer. 

" Acosta, lib. vi. c. 23. p. 579. Nothing so much hurteth this church as a 
rabble of hirelings and self-seekers : for what can natural men, that scarce have the 
Spirit, do in the cause of God? A few in number that are excellent in virtue, will 

more promote the work of God. But they that come hither being humble, and 

lovers of souls, taking Christ for their pattern, and bearing in their bodies his cross 
and death, shall most certainly find heavenly treasures and inestimable delights. 
But when will this be? When men cease to be men, and to savour the things of 
men ; and to seek and gape after the things of men. With men this is utterly im- 
possible, but with God all things are possible : because this is hard in the eyes of this 
people, shall it therefore be hard in my eyes, saith the Lord ? Zech. viii. 6. p. 580. 
I may say to some ministers that cry out of the schismatical disobedience of the peo- 
ple, as Acosta doth to those that cried out of the Indians' dulness and wickedness : 
It is long of the teachers. Deal with them in all possible love and tenderness ; away 
with covetousness, lordliness, and cruelty ; give them the example of an upright life ; 
open to them the way of truth, and teach them according to their capacity ; and dili- 
gently hold on in this way, whoever thou art that art a minister of the Gospel, and 


Direct, viii. ' In a special manner, take heed of pride :' 
suspect it and subdue it in yourselves, and do what you can 
to bring it into disgrace with others °. " Only by pride 
cometh contention p." I never yet saw one schism made, 
in which pride conjunct with ignorance was not the cause : 
nor ever did I know one person forward in a schism (to my 
remembrance), but pride was discernibly his disease. I do 
not here intend (as the Papists) to charge all with schism or 
pride, that renounce not their understandings, and choose not 
to give up themselves to a bestial subjection to usurpers or 
their pastors : he that thinks it enough that his teacher hath 
reason and be a man, instead of himself, and so thinketh it 
enough that his teacher be a Christian and religious, must 
be also content that his teacher alone be saved : (but then 
he must not be the teacher of such a damning way). But 
by pride I mean a plain overvaluing of his own understand- 
ing, and conceits, and reasonings, quite above all the eviden- 
ces of their worth, and an undervaluing and contempt of the 
judgments and reasonings of far wiser men, that had evi- 
dence enough to have evinced his folly and error to a sober 
and impartial man. Undoubtedly it is the pride of priests 
and people, that hath so lamentably in all ages torn the 
church. He that readeth the histories of schisms and 
church-confusions, and marketh the effects which this age 
hath shewed, will no more doubt whether pride were the 
cause, than whether it was the wind that blew down trees 

(•aith he) as ever I hope to enjoy thee, O Lord Jesu Christ, I am persuaded the har- 
vest will be plentiful and joyful. Lib. iv. p. 433. et passim. But (saith he) we 
quickly cease our labours, and must presently have hasty and plenteous fruit. But 
the kingdom of God is not such : verily, it is not such, but as Christ hath told us, 
like seed cast into the earth, which groweth up by degrees we know not how. pp. 433, 
434. Jerome's case U many anotlier's: Concivit odia perditorum: oderunt eum 
hsretici, quia cos impugnare nundefinit : oderunt clerici, quia vitameorum insectatur 
et crimiua. Bed plane euro boui omnes admirantur et diligunt. Posthumianus in 
Sulp. Severi Dialog. 1. And Dial. 2. Martinus in medio coetu et conversatbne po- 
pulurum, inter dericoa dissidentes, inter episcopos saevientes, cum fere quotidianis 
scandalis hinc atque inde premeretur, inexpugnabili tamen ad versus omnia virtute 

fundatus stetit. Nee I ■mm hoic crimini miscebo populares, soli ilium clerici, soli 

nesciunt sacerdotes, necimiDerito : nosse ilium invidi uoluerunt : quia si virtutes illius 
nossent, suorum vitia cognoviiient. 

" How the Jeiuita have hereby distracted the church, read Mariana, et 
Archiepisc. Pragensis Censur. de Bull. Jesuit, et Dan. Hospital, ad Reges, &c. 
Aug. Ardinghelli Paradoxa Jesuitica. Galindus, Giraldus, &cc. Arcana Jesuit. 

»» Pruv. t»l 10. 


and houses, when he seeth them one way overturned by mul- 
titudes, where the tempest came with greatest force. There- 
fore a bishop must be " no novice lest being lifted up with 
pride (Iva jurj TvcjxijOBig) he fall into the condemnation of the 
devil '^." And if such stars fall from heaven, no wonder if 
they bring many down headlong with them. Humble souls 
dwell most at home, and think themselves unworthy of the 
communion of their brethren, and are most quarrelsome 
against their own corruptions. *' They do nothing in strife 
and vainglory, but in lowliness of mind, each one esteem- 
eth other better than themselves "^ ;" and "judge not lest 
they be judged ^'* And is it likely such should be dividers 
of the church ? But proud men must either be great and 
domineer, and as Diotrephes ^ love to have the preeminence, 
and cast the brethren out of the church, and prate against 
their most faithful pastors with malicious words ; or else 
must be noted for their supposed excellencies, and set up 
themselves, and speak perverse things, to draw away disci- 
ples after them, and think the brethren unworthy of their 
communion, and esteem all others below themselves ; and 
as the church of Rome, confound communion and subjec- 
tion, and think none fit for their communion that obey them 
not, or comply not with their opinion and will. There is no 
hope of concord where pride hath power to prevail. 

Direct, ix. ' Take heed of singularity, and narrowness 
of mind, and unacquaintedness with the former and present 
state of the church and world.' Men that are bred up in a 
corner, and never read nor heard of the common condition 
of the church or world, are easily misled into schism, through 
ignorance of those matters of fact that would preserve them. 
Abundance of this sort of honest people that I have known, 
have known so little beyond the town or country where they 
lived, that they have thought they were very Catholic in 
their communion, because they had one or two congrega- 
tions, and divided not among themselves. But for the 
avoiding of schism, 1. Look Cwith pity) on the unbelieving 
world, and consider that Christians of all sorts, are but a 
sixth part of the whole earth. And then 2. Consider of 
this sixth part how small a part the reformed churches are. 

1 1 Tim. iii. 6. ' Phil. ii. 2,3. 

» Matt. vi. I. » 3 John ix. 10. 


And if you be willing to leave Christ any church at all, per- 
haps you will be loath to separate yet into a narrower party, 
which is no more to all the world, than one of your cottages 
is to the whole kingdom. And is this all the kingdom on 
earth that you will ascribe to Christ? Is the king of the 
church, the king only of your little party? Though his 
flock be but a little flock, make it not next to none : as if 
he came into the world on so low a design as the gathering 
of your sect only. The less his flock is, the more sinful it is 
to rob him of it, and make it less than it is. It is a little 
flock, if it contained all the Christians, Protestants, Greeks, 
Armenians, Abassines, and Papists on the earth. Be sin- 
gular and separate from the unbelieving world, and spare 
not : and be singular in holiness from profane and nominal 
hypocritical Christians. But aflect not to be singular in 
opinion or practice, or separated in communion, from the 
universal church, or generality of sound believers : or if 
you forsake some common error, yet hold still the common 
love and communion with all the faithful, according to your 
opportunities. 3. And it will be very useful when you are 
tempted to separate from any church for the defectiveness 
of its manner of worship, to inquire how God is worshipped 
in all the churches on earth, and then consider, whether if 
you lived among them you would forsake communion with 
them all, for such defects, (while you are not forced to j us- 
tify or approve them "). 4. And it is very useful to read 
church history, and to understand what heresies have been 
in times past, and what havoc schisms have caused among 
Christians : for if this much had been known by well mean- 
ing persons in our days, we should not have seen those 
same opinions applauded as new light, which were long ago 
exploded as old heresies : nor should we have seen many 
honest people, taking that same course to reform the church 
now, and advance the Gospel, which in so many ages and 
nations hath heretofore destroyed the church, and cast out 
the Gospel. A narrow soul, that taketh all Christ's interest 
in the world, to lie in a few of their separated meetings, and 
shutteth up all the church in a nutshell, must needs be 

" riiul God above that knowelli the hcurl, doth dUcern that frail men in some 
of their contradictions intend the same thing, and accepteth hoth. Lord Bncon 
EMay iii. p. 15. 

VOL. V. O 


guilty of the foulest schisms. It is a Catholic spirit and 
Catholic principles, loving a Christian as a Christian, ab- 
horring the very names of sects and parties as the church's 
wounds, that must make a Catholic indeed. 

Direct, x. ' Understand well the true difference between 
the visible church, and the world, lest you should think that 
you are bound to separate as much from a corrupted church, 
as frdm the world.' It is not true faith, but the profession 
of true faith, that maketh a man fit to be acknowledged a 
member of the visible church. If this profession be un- 
sound, and accompanied with a vicious life, it is the sin and 
misery of such an hypocrite ; but it doth not presently put 
him as far unrelated to you, as if he were an infidel without 
the church. If you ask, what advantage have such unsound 
church members ? I answer with the apostle, *' Much every 
way, chiefly because unto them are committed the oracles of 
God "." " To them pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, 
and covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of 
God, and the promises y." Till the church find cause to 
cast them out, they have the external privileges of its com- 
munion. It hath made abundance to incur the guilt of sin- 
ful separation, to misunderstand those texts of Scripture 
that call Christians to separate from heathens, infidels, and 
idolaters : as 2 Cor. vi. 17. " Wherefore come out from 
among them and be ye separate saith the Lord, &c." The 
text speaketh only of separating from the world who are in- 
fidels and idolaters, and no members of the church, and ig- 
norant people ordinarily expound it, as if it were meant of 
separating from the church because of the ungodly that are 
members of it : but that God that knew why he called his 
people to separate from the world, doth never call them to 
separate from the church universal, nor from any particular 
church by a mental separation so as to unchurch them. We 
read of many loathsome corruptions in the churches of 
' Corinth, Galatia, Laodicea, Sec, but yet no command to se- 
parate from them. So many abuse Rev. xviii. 4. " Come 
out of her my people :" as if God commanded them to come 
out of a true church because of its corruptions or imperfec- 
tions, because he calleth them out of Babylon. It is true, 
you must partake with no church in their sins, but you may 

^ Rom. iii. 1, 2. ^ Rom. ix. 4. 


partake with any church in their holy profession and wor- 
ship, so far as you can do it without partaking with them 
in their sins. 

Direct, xi. ' Understand what it is that maketh you par- 
takers of the sins of a church, or any member of it, lest you 
think you are bound to separate from them in good as well 
as in evil.' Many fly from the public assemblies, lest they 
partake of the sins of those that are there present. Cer- 
tainly nothing but consent (direct or indirect) can make 
their faults to become yours ; and therefore nothing which 
signifieth not some such consent, should be on that account 
avoided. 1 . If you by word, or subscription, or furtherance, 
own any man's sin, you directly consent to it. 2. If you 
neglect any duty which lieth upon you for the cure of his 
sin, you indirectly consent ; for you consent that he shall 
rather continue in his sin, than you will do your part to help 
him out of it. Consider therefore how far you are bound 
to reprove any sin, or to use any other means for the refor- 
mation of it, whether it be in the pastor or the people ; and 
if you neglect any such means, your way is to reform your 
own neglect, and do your duty, and not to separate from the 
church, before you have done your duty to reform it. But 
if you have done all that is your part, then the sin is none of 
yours, though you remain there present. 

It is a turbulent fancy and disquieting error of some 
people, to think that their presence in the assembly, and 
continuance with the church doth make them guilty of the 
personal faults of those they join with : if so, who would 
ever join with any assembly in the world ? Quest. * But 
what if they be gross and scandalous sinners that are mem- 
bers of the church V Amw. If you be wanting in your duty 
to reform it, it is your sin ; but if bare presence made their 
sins to be ours, it would also make all the sins of the assem^ 
bly ours ; but no word of God doth intimate any such thing. 
Paul never told the churches of Galatia artd Corinth so, 
that had so many defiled members. Quest. * But what if 
they are sins committed in the open assembly, even by the 
minister himself in his praying, preaching, and other admi- 
nistrations? and what if all this be imposed on him by a law, 
and so I am certain beforehand that I must join with that 
which is unwarrantable in God's worship ?' Answ. The next 


Direction containeth those distinctions that are necessary 
to the answer of this. 

Direct, xii. * Distinguish carefully, 1. Between a mi- 
nister's personal, faults, and his ministerial faults. 2. Be- 
tween his tolerable weaknesses, and his intolerable insuffi- 
ciencies. 3. And between the work of the minister and of 
the congregation.' And then you will see your doubt re- 
solved in these following propositions. 

1. A minister's personal faults (as swearing, lying, 
drunkenness, &c.) may damn himself, and must be matter of 
lamentation to the church, and they must do their best to 
reform them, or to get a better pastor by any lawful means ^. 
But in case they cannot, his sin is none of theirs, nor doth 
it make his administration null or ineffectual ; nor will it 
allow you to separate from the worship which he adminis- 
tereth. Though many of the priests were wicked men, the 
godly Jews were not thereby disobliged from God's public 
worship, or sacrifices which were to be offered by their hands. 
Otherwise how sad a case were the church in, that must 
answer for the sins which they never committed, nor could 
reform. But no Scripture chargeth this upon them. 

2. It is not all ministerial faults that will allow you to 
separate from or disown a minister; but only those that 
prove him or his ministration utterly intolerable^. Such 
are, 1. An utter insufficiency in knowledge or utterance for 
the necessary parts of the ministerial work : as if he be not 
able to teach the necessary points of the Christian religion, 
nor to administer the sacraments and other parts of public 

* Saith Cleanthes (in Diog. Laert.) The Peripatetics are like letters that sound 
well, but hear not themselves. 

* Yet I excuse not impiety or insufficiency in ministers. It was one oi Solon's 
laws, Qui nequitia ac flagitiis insignis est, tribunali, publicisque suggestis arcendus 
est. And Gildas saith to the ungodly pastors of Britain, Apparet ergo eum qui vos 

sacerdotes sciens ex corde dicit, non esse eximium Christianum. Quoraodo vos 

aliquid solvetis, ut sit solutum et in coelis, a coelo ob scelera adempti, et inimanium 
peccatorem funibus compediti ? Quaque ratione aliquid interra ligabitis, quod supra 
munduni eliam ligetur, propter vosmet ipsos, qui ita ligati iniquitatibus in hoc mundo 
tenemini, ut in coelis nequaquam ascendatis, sed in infausta tartari ergastula, non 
conversi in hac vita ad dominum, decidatis? Fol. ult. p. 99. Josseline's Edit. O in- 
imici Dei, et non sacerdotes ! O licitatores malorura, et non pontifices ! traditores, 
et non sanctorum apostolorum successores ; impugnatores, et non Christi ministri. 
p. 571. Basil. In Josseline's Edit. p. 95. * veterani ' is inserted after 'licitatores,' 
and * impugnatores' is wanting. (T. C.) 


worship. 2. If he set himself to oppose the very ends of 
his ministry, and preach down godliness, or any part of it 
that is of necessity to salvation : for then he doth the devil's 
work, in seeking the damnation of souls, and so maketh him- 
self the devil's minister, and is not the minister of Christ : 
for the end is essential to the relation. Herein I include a 
preacher of heresy that doth preach up any damning error, 
and preach down any necessary saving truth : that is, that 
preacheth such error as subverteth either faith or godliness, 
and doth more harm in the church than good. 3. If he so 
deprave God's public worship as to destroy the substance of 
it, and make it unacceptable, and offer up a public false 
worship to God, which he disowneth in the very matter of 
it. As if he put up blasphemy for praise and prayer, or com- 
mit idolatry, or set up new sacraments, and guide the peo- 
ple thus in public worship. As the Papist priests do that 
adore bread with Divine worship, and pray to the dead, and 
offer real sacrifices for them, &c. : such worship is not to be 
joined in. 4. Or if they impose any actual sin upon the 
people : as in their responds to speak any falsehood, or to 
adore the bread, or the like : these faults discharge us from 
being present with such pastors at such worship. But be- 
sides these there are many ministerial faults which warrant 
not our separation. As, 1. The internal vices of the pas- 
tor's mind though manifested in their ministration : as some 
tolerable errors of judgment, or envy and pettish opposition 
to others. " Some indeed preach Christ of envy and strife, 
and some of good will : the one preach Christ of contention, 
not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds ; but 
the other of love, &c ^." Here is an odious vice in the pub- 
lic ministry, even an endeavour to increase the sufferings of 
the apostle : yet it was lawful to hear such preachers ; 
though not to prefer them before better. Most sects among 
Christians are possessed with a tang of envy and uncharita- 
bleness against dissenters, which useth to break forth in 
their preaching and praying : and yet it is lawful to join 
with such. 2, It is not unlawful to join with a minister that 
hath many defects and infirmities in his ministration or 
manner of worship : as if he preach with some ignorance, 
disorder, unfit expressions or gestures, unmeet repetitions ; 

h Phil. i. 15. 


or if he do the like in prayer, or in the sacraments, putting 
something last that should be first, and leaving out some- 
thing that should be said, or praying coldly or formally. 
These and such like are faults which we should do our best 
to reform ; and we should not prefer such a ministry before 
a better ; but it is lawful and a duty to join with such, when 
we have no better. For all men are imperfect, and there- 
fore the manner of worship as performed by them will be 
imperfect. Imperfect men cannot be perfect in their mi- 
nistrations : we must join with a defective and imperfect 
mode of worship, or join with none on earth : and we must 
perform such or none ourselves. Which of you dare say 
that in your private prayers, you have no disorder, vain re- 
petitions, flatness, or defects? 3. It is not unlawful to join 
with a minister that hath some material error or untruth in 
his preaching or praying, so be it we be not called to ap- 
prove it, or make it ours, and so it be not pernicious and 
destructive to the ends of his ministry. For all men have 
some error, and they that have them may be expected some- 
times to vent them. And it is not our presence that is any 
signification of our consent to their mistakes. If we run 
away from all that vent any untruth or mistake in public or 
private worship, we shall scarce know what church or per- 
son we may hold communion with : the reason of this fol- 
io we th. 

3. The sense of the church, and all its members, is to 
be judged of by their public professions, and not by such 
words of a minister which are his own, and never had their 
.consent. I am by profession a Christian, and the Scripture 
is the professed rule of my religion ; and when I go to the 
assemblies, I profess to worship God according to that 
rule : I profess myself a hearer of a minister of the Gospel, 
that is to preach the Word of God, and that hath promised 
in his ordination, * out of the holy Scriptures to instruct the 
people committed to his charge, and to teach nothing (as 
required of necessity to eternal salvation) but that which he 
shall be persuaded may be concluded and proved by the 
Scripture.' This he professed when he was ordained, and I 
profess by my presence, only to hear such a preacher of the 
Gospel, and worship God with him in those ordinances of 
worship, which God hath appointed. If now this man shall 


drop in any mistake in preaching, or modify his prayers or 
administrations amiss, and do his part weakly and disor- 
derly, the hearers are no way guilty of it by their presence. 
For if I must run away from God's public worship because 
of men's misperformance, 1. I should join with none on 
earth ; for a small sin may no more be wilfully done or 
owned than a greater. 2. And then another man's weak- 
ness may disoblige me a^nd discharge me from my duty. 
To order and word his prayers and preaching aright, is part 
of the minister's own work, and not the people's ; and if he 
do it well, it is no commendation to me that am present, but 
to himself; and therefore if he do it amiss, it is no fault of 
mine (5r dispraise to me, but to himself. If the Common- 
council of London, or the "court of Aldermen agree to peti- 
tion the king for the renewing of their charter, and commit 
the expressing of their request to their recorder, in their 
presence ; if he petition for something else instead of that 
which he was entrusted with, and so betray them in the sub- 
stance of his business, they are openly to contradict him and 
disown his treachery or mistake ; but if he deliver the same 
petition which he undertook with stammering, disorder, 
defectiveness, and perhaps some mixture of untruths in his 
additional reasons and discourse, this is his failing in the 
personal performance of his duty, and no way imputable to 
them that sent him, though (in modesty) they are silent and 
speak not to disown it : for how can it be their fault that a 
man is wanting in his personal sufficiency and duty : (unless 
it be that they choose not a better.) And whether he 
speak * ex tempore' or more deliberately, in a written form 
or without, in words that other men taught him, or wrote 
for him, or in words of his own devising, it altereth not their 

Object. * But if a man fail through weakness in his own 
performance, I know not of that beforehand ; but if his 
faulty manner of praying be prescribed and imposed on him 
by a law, then I know it beforehand, and therefore am 
guilty of it.' 

Answ. To avoid confusion, fix upon that which you 
think is the thing sinful. 1 . Either it is because the prayers 
are defective and faulty. 2. Or because they are imposed. 
3. Or because you know the fault beforehand. But none 


of all these can prove your joining with them sinful. 1. 
Not because they are faulty : for you may join with as 
faulty prayers you confess, if not imposed ^ 2. Not be- 
cause imposed, (1.) Because that is an extenuation, and not 
an aggravation : for it proveth the minister less voluntary 
of the two than those are that do it without any command, 
through the error of their own judgments, (as most erroneous 
persons will). (2.) Because (though lawful things oft be- 
come unlawful when superiors forbid them, yet) no reason 
can be given why a lawful thing should become unlawful, 
because a lawful superior doth command it. Else superiors 
might take away all our Christian liberty, and make all things 
unlawful to us by commanding them. You would take it 
for a wild conceit in your children or servants, if they say, 
when you bid them learn a catechism, or use a form of 
prayer, ' It was lawful to us till you commanded us to do it ; 
but because you bid us do it, it is unlawful.' If it be a duty 
to obey governors in all lawful things, then it is not a sin to 
obey them. 3. And it is not your knowing beforehand that 
maketh it unlawful : for, 1. I know in general beforehand, 
that all imperfect men will do imperfectly ; and though I 
know not the particular, that maketh it never the more law- 
ful, if foreknowledge itself did make it unlawful. 2. If you 
know that e. g. an Antinomian or some mistaken preacher 
would constantly drop some words for his error in prayer 
or preaching, that will not make it unlawful in your own 
judgment for you to join, if it be not a flat heresy. 3. It is 
another man's error or fault that you foreknow and not your 
own ; and therefore foreknowledge maketh it not your own. 
4. God himself doth as an universal cause of nature concur 
with men in those acts which he foreknoweth they will sin- 
fully do ; and yet God is not to be judged either an author 
or approver of the sin because of such concurrence and fore- 
knowledge : therefore our foreknowledge maketh us no ap- 
provers, or guilty of the failings of any in their sacred mi- 
nistrations, unless there be some other guilt. If you say 
that it is no one of these that maketh it unlawful, but all 
together, you must give us a distinct argument to prove that 
the concurrence of these three will prove that unlawful, 

« Pii hominis est lacere quod potest, etiamsi non facial hoc quod est eligi. 
bilius. Bucholtzcr. 


which cannot be proved so by any of them alone, for your 
affirmation must not serve the turn : and when we know your 
argument, I doubt not but it may be answered. One thing 
I still confess may make any defective worship to be unlaw- 
ful to you ; and that is, when you prefer it before better, and 
may (without a greater inconvenience) enjoy an abler mi- 
nistry, and purer administration, but will not. 

Object. * But he that sitteth by in silence, in the pos- 
ture as the rest of the congregation, seemeth to consent to 
all that is said and done : and we must avoid all appearance 
of evil.' 

Answ. The appearance of evil which is evil indeed, must 
be always avoided ; but that appearance of evil which is in- 
deed good, must not be avoided. We must not forsake our 
duty lest we seem to sin : that were but to prefer hypocrisy 
before sincerity, and to avoid appearances more than reali- 
ties. The omission of a duty is a real sin ; and that must 
not be done to avoid a seeming sin. And whom doth it ap- 
pear so to? If it appear evil to the blind or prejudiced, it 
is their eyes that must be cured ; but if it appear so to the 
wise, then it is like it is evil indeed : for a wise man should 
not judge that to be evil that is not. But I confess that in 
a case that is altogether indifferent, even the mistakes of the 
ignorant may oblige us to forbear : but the worship of God 
must not be so forborne. It is an irrational fancy to think 
that you must be uncivil, by contradicting, or covering your 
heads, or doing something offensive to the congregation, 
when any thing is said or done which you disallow. Your 
presence signifieth your consent to all that you profess, 
even to worship God according to his Word, and not to all 
the human imperfections that are there expressed. 

Direct, xiii. * Distinguish carefully between your per- 
sonal private duties, and the duty of the pastor or church 
with which you must concur. And do not think, that if 
the church or pastor do not their duty, that you are bound 
to do it for them.' To cast out an obstinate impenitent 
sinner by sentence from the communion of the church, is 
the pastor's or church's duty, and not yours, unless in con- 
currence or subserviency to the church. Therefore if it be 
not done, inquire whether you did your duty towards it ; if 
you did, the »in is nbne of yours : for it is not in your power 


to cast out all that are unworthy from the church. But 
private familiarity is in your power to refuse ; and with 
such no not to eat. 

Direct. XIV. * Take the measure of your accidental du- 
ties more from the good or hurt of the church, or of many, 
than from the immediate good or hurt that cometh to your- 
self.' You are not to take that for the station of your duty, 
which you feel to be most to the commodity of your souls ; 
but that in which you may do God most service. If the 
service of God for the good of many, require you to stay 
with a weaker minister, and defective administrations, you 
will find in the end that this was not only the place of your 
duty, but also of your benefit : for your life is in God's 
hands, and all your comforts ; and that is the best way to 
your peace and happiness, in which you are most pleasing 
unto God, and have his promise of most acceptance and 
grace. I know the least advantage to the soul, must be 
preferred before all earthly riches ; but not before the public 
good. Yea, that way will prove most advantageous to us, 
in which we exercise most obedience. 

Direct, xv. * Take heed of suffering prejudice and fancy 
to go for reason, and raise in your minds unjustifiable dis- 
tastes of any way or mode of worship.' It is wonderful to 
see what fancy and prejudice can do ! Get once a hard 
opinion of a thing, and your judgments will make light of all 
that is said for it, and will see nothing that should recon- 
cile you to it. Partiality will carry you away from equity 
and truth. Abundance of things appear now false and evil, 
to men that once imagine them to be so, which would seem 
harmless, if not laudable, if they were tried by a mind that 
is clear from prejudice. 

Direct, xvi. ' Judge not of doctrines and worship by 
persons, but rather of persons by their doctrine and worship 
(together with their lives).' The world is all prone to be 
carried by respect to persons. I confess where any thing is 
to be taken upon trust, we must rather trust the intelligent, 
experienced, honest, and credible, than the ignorant and in- 
credible ; but where the Word of God must be our rule, it 
is perverse to judge of things by the persons that hold them 
or oppose them : sometimes a bad man may be in the right, 
and a good man in the wrong. Try the way of the worst 


men before you reject it (in disputable things). And try 
the opinions and way of the wisest before you venture to re- 
ceive them. 

Direct, xvii. ' Enslave not yourselves to any party of 
men, so as to be over-desirous to please them, nor over- 
fearful of their censure.* Have a respect to all the rest of 
the world as well as them. Most men that once engage 
themselves in a party, do think their honour and interest is 
involved with them, and that they stand or fall with the fa- 
vour of their party, and therefore make them (before they 
are aware) the masters of their consciences. 

Direct, xviii. * Regard more the judgment of aged, ripe, 
experienced men, that have seen the fruits of the various 
courses of professors of religion, than of the young, unripe, 
unexperienced, hot-headed sort.' Zeal is of great use to 
execute the resolutions of a well informed man : and the 
zeal of others is very useful to warm the hearts of such as 
do converse with them. But when it comes to matter of 
judgment once, to decide a case of difficulty, aged expe- 
rience hath far the advantage ; and in no cases more, than 
in those where peace and concord are concerned, where rash, 
hot-headed youth is very prone to precipitant courses, which 
must be afterwards repented of. 

Direct, xix ' When fervent, self-conceited people would 
carry down all by censoriousness and passion, it is time for 
the pastors and the aged and riper sort of Christians openly 
to rebuke them, and appear against them, and stand their 
ground, and not to comply with the misguided sort to es- 
cape their censures^.' Nothing hath more caused schisms 
in the church (except the pride and ambition of the clergy) 
than that the riper and more judicious sort of people toge- 
ther with the ministers themselves, have been so loath to 
lie under the bitter censures of the unexperienced, younger, 
hotter sort; and to avoid such censures and keep in with 
them, they have followed those whom they should have led, 
and have been drawn quite beyond their own understand- 
ings. God hath made Wisdom to be the guide of the church, 
and Zeal to follow and diligently execute the commands of 
wisdom. Let ignorant, well meaning people censure you as 
bitterly as they please, yet keep your ground, and be not so 
proud or weak as to prefer their good esteem before their be- 


nefit, and before the pleasing of God. Sin not against your 
knowledge to escape the censure of the ignorant. If you do, 
God will make those men your scourges whom you so much 
overvalued : and they shall prove to their spiritual fathers 
as cockered children (like Absalom) do to their natural 
fathers, and perhaps be the breaking of your hearts. But 
if the pastors and the riper, experienced Christians will 
stand their ground, and stick together, and rebuke the ex- 
orbitancies of the censorious younger ones, they will main- 
tain the credit of the Gospel, and keep the truth, and the 
church's peace, and the hotspurs will in time either repent 
and be sober, or be ashamed and disabled to do much hurt. 

Direct, xx. * Take heed how you let loose your zeal 
against the pastors of the church, lest you bring their per- 
sons and next their office into contempt, and so break the 
bonds of the church's unity and peace.' There is no more 
hope of maintaining the church's unity and concord without 
the ministry, than of keeping the strength or unity of the 
members without the nerves. If these nerves be weak or 
labour of a convulsion or other disease, it is curing and 
strengthening them, and not the cutting them asunder that 
must prove to the welfare and safety of the body. Meddle 
with the faults of the ministry only so far as tendeth to a 
cure, of them or of the church, but not to bring them into 
disgrace, and weaken their interest in the people, and dis- 
able them from doing good. Abhor that proud, rebellious 
spirit, that is prone to set up itself against the officers of 
Christ, and under pretence of greater wisdom and holiness, 
to bring their guides into contempt ; and is picking quarrels 
with them behind their back, to make them a scorn or 
odious to the hearers. Indeed a minister of satan tli^t doth 
more harm in the church than good, must be so detected as 
may best disable him from doing harm. But he that doth 
more good than hurt, must so be dissuaded from the hurt as 
not to be disabled from the good. ** My brethren be not 
many masters (or teachers), knowing that ye shall receive 
the greater condemnation** ." 

Direct, xxi. ' Look more with an eye of charity on what 
is good in others and their worship of God, than with an 
eye of malice to carp at what appeareth evil.' Some men 

'' Jam. iii. 1. 


have such distempered eyes, that they can see almost no- 
thing but fa'ultiness in any thing of another party which 
they look at ; envy and faction make them carp at every 
word and every gesture : and they make no conscience of 
aggravating every failing, and making idolatry of every mis- 
take in worship, and making heresy or blasphemy of every 
mistake in judgment, and making apostacy of every fall ; nay 
perhaps the truth itself shall have no better a representation. 
As Dr. H. More well noteth. It would do much more good 
in the world, if all parties were forwarder to find out and 
commend what is good in the doctrine and worship of all 
that differ from them. This would win them to hearken to 
reforming advice, and would keep up the credit of the com- 
mon truths and duties of religion in the world, when this 
envious snarling at all that others do, doth tend to bring the 
world to atheism, and banish all reverence of religion, to- 
gether with Christian charity from the earth. 

Direct, xxii. ' Keep not strange to those from whom 
you differ, but be acquainted with them, and placidly hear 
what they have to say for themselves : or else converse 
with them in Christian love in all those duties in which you 
are agreed, and this (if you never talk of your differences) 
will do much to reconcile you in all the rest®.' It is the 
common way of division, uncharitableness, yea, and cruelty 
at last, to receive hard reports of those that differ from us, 
behind their backs, and to believe and aggravate all, and 
proceed to detraction and contention at a distance, and in 
the dark, and never be familiarly acquainted with them at 
all. There is something in the apprehension of places, and 
persons, and things by the eyesight, which no reports are 
able to match : and so there is that satisfaction about men 
by familiar acquaintance, which we cannot attain by hear- 
say from any, how judicious soever. All factions com- 
monly converse together, and seek no familiar converse with 
others, but believe them to be any thing that is naught, and 
then report them to be so, before they ever knew the per- 
sons of whom they speak. I am persuaded this is one of the 

* Prince Frederic of Monpelgard being instructed into a distaste of the reform- 
ed Protestants, wiien he had been at Geneva and Helvetia, was wont to say, * Gene- 
va et in Helvetia vidi niulta de quibus nihil, pauca eoruni de quibus ssepe audivi : ut 
Tossaniw ad Pczeliuni referente Sculteto in Curric. p. 26. 


greatest feeders of enmity, uncharitableness, contentions 
and slanders in the world. I speak it upon great observa- 
tion and experience, I have seldom heard any man bitterly 
oppose the servants of Christ, but either the grossly wicked, 
or those that never had much acquaintance with them : and 
I see commonly, how bitter soever men were before, when 
once they converse together, and grow acquainted, they are 
more reconciled. The reason is, partly because they find 
less evil and more good in one another than before they did 
believe to be in them ; and partly because uncharitableness 
and malice, being an ugly monster, is bolder at a distance, 
but ashamed of itself before your face : and therefore the 
pens of the champions of malice, are usually more bitter 
than their tongues when they speak to you face to face. 
Of all the furious adversaries that have raged against me in 
the latter part of my life, I remember not one enemy that I 
have or ever had, that was ever familiar or acquainted with 
me : and I have myself heard ill reports of many, which by 
personal acquaintance I have found to be all false. Keep 
together, and either silence your differences, or gently de- 
bate them ; yea, rather chide it out, than withdraw asunder. 
Familiarity feedeth love and unity. 

Direct, xxiii. * Whenever you look at any corruption 
in the church, look also at the contrary extreme, and see 
and avoid the danger of one as well as of the other." Be 
sure every error and church corruption hath its extreme : 
and if you do not see it, and the danger of it, you are the 
more like to run into it. Look well on both sides if you 
would be safe. 

Direct, xxiv. * Worship God yourselves in the purest 
manner, and under the most edifying ministry that lawfully 
you can attain ; but be not too forward to condemn others 
that reach not to your measure, or attain not so much hap- 
piness : and deny not personal communion sometimes with 
churches that are more blemished, and less fit for communion.' 
And when you cannot join locally with them, let them have 
the communion of your hearts, in faith and charity, and 
prayer for each other. I fear not here openly to tell the 
world, that if I were turned loose to my own liberty, I would 
ordinarily worship God in that manner that I thought most 
pure, and agreeable to his will and Word ; but I would some- 


times go to the churches of other Christians, that were fit 
for Christian communion, if there were such about me : 
sometimes to the Independents, sometimes to the moderate 
Anabaptists, sometimes to such as had a liturgy as faulty as 
that of the Greek or the Ethiopian churches ; to shew 
by my practice, what communion my heart hath with 
them all. 

Direct, xxv. ' Take heed that you interest not religion 
or the church in civil differences ^' This error hath divided 
and ruined many famous churches, and most injuriously 
made the holy truth and worship of God to be a reproach 
and infamy among selfish, partial, carnal men. When prin- 
ces and states fall out among themselves, they will needs 
draw the ministers to their sides, and then one side will cer- 
tainly condemn them, and call them all that self-interest and 
malice can invent : and commonly when the controversy is 
only in point of law or politics, it is religion that bears the 
blame of all : and the differences of lawyers and statesmen 
must be charged upon divines, that the devil may be able to 
make them useless, as to the good of all that party that is 
against them, and may make religion itself be called rebel- 
lion. And O that God would maintain the peace of king- 
doms ! and kings and subjects were all lovers of peace, the 
rather because the differences in states do cause so com- 
monly divisions in the church. It would make a man won- 
der, (and a lover of history to lament,) to observe in the 
differences between the pope and Henry the fourth, and 
other emperors, how the historians are divided, one half 
commending him that the other half condemneth : and how 
the bishops and churches were one half for the pope, and 
the other for the emperor ; and one half still accounted re- 
bels or schismatics by the other, though they were all of 
one religion. It is more to ruin the church, than kingdoms, 
that satan laboureth so much to kindle wars, and breed civil 
differences in the world : and therefore let him that loveth 
the church's peace, be an obedient subject, and an enemy of 
sedition, and a lover and defender of the civil peace and 
government in the place that God hath set him in : for this 
is pleasing unto God. 

* Since the writing of this, I have published a book called " The Cure of 
Church Divisions," and a " Defence of it :" which handle these things more fully. 


I know there are some, that with too bloody and cala- 
mitous success, have in most ages given other kind of di- 
rections for the extirpation of error, heresy, and schism, 
than I have here given ^ : but God hath still caused the most 
wise, and holy, and charitable, and experienced Christians 
to bear their testimony against them. And he hath ever 
caused their way of cruelty to turn to their own shame : 
and though (like treasons and robberies) it seem for the time 
present to serve their turn, it is bitterness in the end, and 
leaveth a stinking memorial of their names and actions to 
posterity. And the .treatises of reconcilers, (such as our 
Halls, Ushers, Bergius, Burroughs, and many other,) by the 
delectable savour of unity and charity, are sweet and accep- 
table to prudent and peaceable persons, though usually un- 
successful with the violent that needed them. 

Besides the forecited witness of Sir Francis Bacon, &c., 
I will here add one of the most ancient, and one or two of 
this age, whom the contrary minded do mention with the 
greatest honour. Justin Martyr Dial, cum Tryph. doth at 
large give his judgment, that a Judaizing Christian, who 
thinketh it best to be circumcised and keep the law of 
Moses, be suffered in his opinion and practice, and admitted 
to the communion and privileges of the church, and loved as 
one that may be saved in that way, so be it he do not make 
it his business to persuade others to his way, and teach it 
as necessary to salvation or communion ; for such he doth 

King James by the pen of Is. Casaubon telleth Cardinal 
du Perron, that * His Majesty thinketh, that for concord 
there is no nearer way, than diligently to separate things ne- 
cessary from the unnecessary, and to bestow all our labour 
that we may agree in the things necessary, and that in things 
unnecessary there may be place given for Christian liberty. 
The King calleth these things simply necessary, which 
either the Word of God expressly commandeth to be be- 
lieved or done, or which the ancient church did gather from 

the Word of God by necessary consequence. ' 

Grotius Annot. in Matt. xiii. 41. is so full and large 

., f Beda Hist. Eccles. lib. i. c. 26. Didicerat enira (Rex Ediiberth) et a doc- 
toribus, auctoribusque suae salutis, servilium Christi voluntarium, non coactitiurn de- 
bere esse. 


upon it, that I^ must entreat the reader to peruse hisi own 
words ; where by arguments and authority he vehemently 
rebuketh the spirit of fury, cruelty, and uncharitableness, 
which under pretence of goyemment, discipline, and zeal 
denieth that liberty and forbearance, even to heretics and 
offenders, (much more when to the faithful ministers of 
Christ) which human frailty hath made necessary, and 
Christ hath commanded his servants to grant. Concluding, 
' Ubi solitudinem fecerant, pacem appellabant. (as Tertul.) 
Et his omnibus obtendi solet studium Divini nominis ; sed 
plerumque obtendi tantum. Nam Deus dedignatur coacta 
servitia ; nee placere illi potest quod vi humana exprimitur. 
Reipsa solent qui id faciunt non nomini divino, sed suis ho- 
noribus, suis commodis et tranquillitati consulere ; quod 
scit ille qui mentes introspicit. Atque ita fit, ut lolium 
evellatur cum tritico, innocentes cum nocentibus : immo ut 
triticum sape sumatur pro lolio : non enim tarn bene agitur 
cum rebus humanis, ut semper meliora pluribus aut validiori- 
bus placeant ; sed ut in grege taurus, ita inter homines, qui 
viribus est editior, imbecilliorum caedit : et iidem ssepe quae 
pati se quaerebantur, mox in alios audent.' Lege caetera. 

Again, I entreat those that would escape the sin of 
schism, to read seriously the foresaid Treatises of peace- 
makers ; especially " Bishop HalFs Peacemaker ;" " Bishop 
Usher's Sermon on Ephes. iv. 3. ;" and " Mr. Jeremy Bur- 
roughs' Irenicum :" to which I may add " Mr. Stillingfleet's 
Irenicum," for the hot contenders about church-govern- 
ment ; though I believe all the substance of church order 
to be of Divine institution ; aad " Jac. Aqontji Stratag. 

And it must be carefully noted, that one way by which 
satan tempteth men into church divisions, is by an over ve- 
hement zeal against dividers ; and so he would draw the 
rulers of the world, under pretence of a zeal for unity and 
peace, to raise persecutions against all that are guilty of any 
excess of scrupulosity about church-communion, or of any 
principles or practices which a little swerve from true Ca- 
tholicism : and so by the cruelty of their penalties, silencing 
ministers, and vexing the people, they much increase the di- 
visions which they would heal : for when satan cannot do 
his work barefaced and directly, he useth to be the most 

VOL. v. p 


forward in seeming to do good, and to take part with Christ, 
and truth, and godliness ; and then his way is to over-do : 
he will be over-orthodox, and over-godly, and over-peacea- 
ble, that he hug the church and truth to death, by his too 
hard embracements. As in families and neighbourhoods, 
some cross words must be passed over if we would have 
peace : and he that for every provoking, unpeaceable word 
of another, will raise a storm, shall be himself the most un- 
peaceable. So is it in the church ; he that cannot bear with 
the weaknesses of the younger sort of Christians, who are 
too much inclined by their zeal against sin, to dividing 
ways, but will presently let fly at them as schismatics, and 
make them odious, and excommunicate or punish them ac- 
cording to his wrath, shall increase the zeal and the number 
of dividers, and prove himself the greatest divider. 

And by this violence and destroying zeal of orthodox 
rulers, against the real faults and infirmities of some sepa- 
rating, well-meaning men, a far greater number of heterodox 
rulers, are encouraged to persecute the most learned, sober, 
and peaceable ministers, and the most godly and faithful of 
their subjects, who dare not conform to all their unrighteous 
edicts, and ecclesiastical laws, in things forbidden by the 
law of Christ : and all this is done upon pretence of pro- 
moting unity and peace, and suppressing heresy and schism. 
And so persecution becometh the devil's engine to keep out 
the Gospel and godliness from the infidel world, and to keep 
them under in the Christian world. 

' Sed tamen sive illud (Origenis de Redemptione futura 
diabolorum) Error est, ut ego sentio ; sive Haeresis ut puta- 
tur, non solum reprimi non potuit multis animadversionibus 
sacerdotum, sed nequaquam tam late se potuisset efFundere, 
nisi contentione crevisset:' inquit Posthumianus in Sulp. 
Severi Dialog, i. 

' Sed non fuit animus ibi consistere, ubi recens fraternae 
cladis fervebat invidia. Nam etsi fortasse videantur parere 
episcopis debuisse, non ob banc tamen causam multitudinem 
tantam sub Christi confessione viventem, prsesertim ab 
episcopis oportuisset affligi.' Id. ibid. Speaking of the 
bishops provoking the secular power to afflict the monks of 
Alexandria for defending Origen. 

When the Emperor Constantius would by violence force 


the orthodox to hold communion with the Arians, he did 
but make the breach the wider. Read Lucifer Calaritanus 
de non conveniendo cum haereticis, (in Biblioth. Patr. Tom. 
ix. p. 1045. &c.) The Emperor saith, that the * orthodox 
were enemies to peace, and unity, and brotherly love, and 
that he was resolved to have unity and peace in his domi- 
nions : therefore he imprisoned the orthodox and banished 
them.' ' Propterea odis nos, quia concilium vestrum ijia- 
lignantium execremur ; propterea in exilio sumus ; propterea 
in carcere necamur; propterea nobis solis prohibetur con- 
spectus ; idcirco reclusi in tenebras custodimur ingenti 
custodia : hujus rei causa nullus ad nos visendos admittitur 
hominum ; quia videlicet noluerimus vobiscum impiis sacri- 
legis uUam scelerum vestrorum habere societatem.' Ibid. 
1050. Which stirred up this bishop in particular to go too 
far from free communion even with the penitent Arians, and 
heap up more Scriptures against that communion which the 
Emperor commanded, than any had done before. * Nobis 
dicebas, Pacem volo fieri ; et in corde tuo manens adver- 
sarius religionis nostras, cogitabat per te facere nos idolo- 
latras, &c.' p. 1051. ' Consilia vestra contra suam prolata 
ecclesiam reprobat Deus : nee enim potest odire populum 
suum, hsereditatem suam, et amare vos filios pestilentiae, vos 
persecutores servorum suorum : dixisti, Facite pacem cum 
episcopis sectae meae Arrianis, et estote in unum ; et dicit 
Dei Spiritus, vias impiorum noli exequi, neque aemuleris 

viam iniquorum, &c. Dulce quibusdam videtur, quo 

tibi regi in amicitias jungantur suscipiendo haeresin tuam : 
sed amarius felle sensuri cum tecum in perpetuum cceperint 
in perpetua gehenna sentire, qui tecum esse deligerunt, tunc 
dicturi, Vae nobis, qui Constantium Imperatorem Deo prae- 
posuerimus.' Abundance more he writeth to prove that the 
Emperor being a heretic, they must have no communion 
with him or his bishops. And when the. Emperor com- 
plained hereupon, that they wronged and dishonoured him 
whom they should honour, the said Lucifer wrote his next 
book, * de non parcendo in Deum delinquentibus ;' which 
beginneth, * Superatum te, Imperator, a Dei servis ex omni 
cum conspexisses parte, dixisti passum te ac pati a nobis 
contra monita sacrarum Scripturarum contumeliam : dicia 
nos insolentes extitisse, circa te quern honorari decuerit. 


Si quisquam Dei cultorum pepercit apostatis, sint vera quae 
dicis de nobis ; ' and so he heapeth up as many texts for 
rough dealing with offending kings ; I give this one in- 
stance to shew the fruits of violence, as pretended for peace 
and unity. 

Of the persecutions of the faithful in most ages, even by 
professed Christians themselves, and God's disowning that 
spirit of cruelty by his special providences, all church his- 
tory maketh mention : and how the names of such persecu- 
ting hypocrites have stunk in the nostrils of all sober men 
when their tragedy was fully acted and understood. Espe- 
cially the poor churches called Waldenses, Picards, and 
Albigenses, have felt the most grievous effects of this ty- 
ranny, and yet have the testimony of the best and wisest men, 
to have been the purest and nearest to the apostolic simpli- 
city in the world ; and the memory of their enemies and per- 
secutors is an abhorrence to the sons of charity and peace. 
Read Lasitius and Commenius of their discipline, and 
Bishop Usher de Eccles. succes. et statu. I will recite one 
notable passage mentioned by Thuanus and Commenius, 
the one Hist. lib. xxxvi. the other de bono Unit, et Ord. 
Discipl. p. 59. Maximilian thatgood and moderate emperor, 
being one day in the coach with Joh . Crato only (his chief phy- 
sician and a learned Protestant) lamenting the divisions of 
Christians, asked Crato, which sort he thought came nearest 
to the apostolic simplicity : he answered, * He thought that 
honour belonged to the brethren called Picards.' iThe em- 
peror said, * He thought so too : ' which Crato acquainting 
them with, encouraged them to dedicate to him a book of 
part of their devotions ; for the year before, God had thus 
marvellously saved him from having a hand in their blood. 
Joachimus a Nova Domo, Chancellor of Bohemia, went to 
Vienna, and gave the emperor no rest, till he had procured 
him to subscribe a mandate for the reviving of a former per- 
secuting mandate against them ; having got his commission, 
and passing just out at the gates of Vienna, as he was up- 
on the bridge over the Danube, the bridge brake under him, 
and he and all his retinue fell into that great and terrible wa- 
ter ; and all were drowned except six horsemen, and one 
young nobleman, who seeing his lord in the waves, caught 
hold of his gold chain, and held him till some fishermen 


came in boats, but found him dead, and his box with the 
commission sunk past recovery : this nobleman who sur- 
vived, was sensible of God's judgment, and turned to the 
brethren in religion, and the mandate was no further prose- 
cuted. (Such another story Bishop Usher was wont to tell, 
how Ireland was saved from persecution in Queen Mary's 

But it is the most heinous cruelty, when, as in Daniel's 
case, there are laws of impiety or iniquity, made of purpose 
to entrap the innocent, by them that confess, * We shall find 
no fault against this Daniel, except it be concerning the law 
of his God : ' and then men must be taken in these spider's 
webs, and accused as schismatical, or what the contrivers 
please. And especially when it is real holiness which is ha- 
ted, and order, unity, concord, peace or obedience to our 
pastors, is made the pretence, for the malicious oppression 
of it. Gildas and Salvian have told church governors of 
this at large : and many of the persecuted Protestants have 
more largely told the Roman clergy of it. 

It is a smart complaint of him that wrote the Epist. de 
malis Doctoribus, ascribed to Pope Sixtus. III. ' Hujus 
doctrinse causa (pro sanctitate scilicet) paucos amicos con- 
quirunt, et plures inimicos ; necesse est enim eos qui pec- 
catorum vitia condemnant, tantos habere contrarios, quan- 
tos exercere vitia delectat : Inde est etiam quod iniquis et 
impiis factionibus opprimuntur : quod criminibus falsis ap- 
petuntur, quod haeresis etiam perfunduntur infamia : quod 
hie omnis inimicorum suorum sermo ab ipsorum sumit ob- 
trectatione materiam. Sed quid mirum ut fiagitiosis haere- 
sis videatur doctrina justitiae? Quibus tamen haeresis? 
Ipsorum secretum patet tantum inimicis ; cum si fides dic- 
tis inesset, amici illud potius scire potuissent, &c.' 

The cause is, saith Prosper de vit. contempl. lib. i. cap. 
20. etex eo HilitgariusCamarac. lib. v. cap. 19. * Sed nos 
praesentibus delectati, dum in hac vita commoda nostra et 
honores inquirimus, non ut meliores sed ut ditiores, non ut 
sanctiores, sed ut honoratiores simus, caeteris festinamus. 
Nee gregem domini qui nobis pascendus, tuendusque corn- 
missus est, sed nostras voluntates, dominationem, divitias, 
et caetera blandimenta carnaliter cogitamus. Pastores dici 
volumus, nee tamen esse contendimus. Officii non vitamus 


laborem, appetimus dignitatem; immundorum spirituum 
feras a grege dilacerando non pellimus ; et quod eis reman- 
serat, ipsi consumimus : quando peccantes divites vel po- 
teiites non solum non arguimus, sed etiam veneramur ; ne 
nobis aut munera solita ofFensi non dirigant, aut obsequia 
desiderata subducant: ac sic muneribus eorum et obsequiis 
capti, immo per hsec illis addicti, loqui eis de peccato suo 
aut de future judicio formidamus : ad hoc tantum potentes 
effecti, ut nobis in subjectos dominationem tyrannicam vin- 
dicemus ; non ut afflictos contra violentiam potentum qui 
in eos ferarum more seeviunt, defendamus. Inde est quod 
tam k Potentibus hujus mundi, quam a nobis, quod pejus 
est, nonnulli graviter fatigati depereunt, quos se de manu 
nostra Dominus requisiturum terribiliter comminatur 

Sulp. Severus also toucheth the sore when he saith. 
Hist. lib. ii. 'Certatim o-loriosa in certamina ruebatur, mul- 
toque avidius turn martyria gloriosis mortibus quaerebantur, 
quam nunc episcopatus pravis ambitionibus appetuntur.' 

But when he saith ibid, after Constantine's delivery of 
the church, * Neque ulterius persecutionem fore credimus, 
nisi earn quam sub fine jam saeculi antichristus exercebit,* 
either he was very grossly mistaken, or else those are the 
instruments of antichrist that are not thought so. 

It is a most notable instance to our purpose which Sev- 
erus ends his history with, of the mischievous zeal of ortho- 
dox Ithacius and Idacius against Priscillian and his Gnos- 
tics ; and worthy of the study of the prelates of the church : 
' Idacius sine modo et ultra quani oportuit Istantium socios- 
que ejus lacessens, facem nascenti incendio subdidit : ut 
exasperavit malos potius quam compresserit.' In sum, 
they got the magistrate to interpose and banish the Gnos- 
tics, who quickly learned by bribing court officers to turn 
the emperor against the orthodox for themselves ; till the 
zeal of Idacius and Ithacius grew so hot as to accuse even 
the best men, yea, St. Martin himself of favoring the Gnos- 
tics : and at last got another tyrannical emperor to put 
Priscillian and many other Gnostics to death, though they 
withdrew from the accusation, as tending to their own con- 
fusion. And Severus saith, 'Certe Ithacium nihil pensi, 
nihil sancti habuisse definix) : fuit enim audax, loquax, im- 
pudens, sumptuosus, veneri et gulai plurimum impertinens. 


Hie stultitiae eo usque processerat, ut omnes etiam sanctos 
viros, quibus aut studium inerat lectionis, aut propositum 
erat certare jejuniis, tanquam Priscilliani socios et discip- 
ulos, in crimen arcesseret. Ausus etiam miser est, Marti- 
no episcopo, viro plane apostolis conferendo, palam objec- 

tare hseresis infamiam : quia non desinebat increpare 

Ithacium, ut ab accusatione desisteret.' And when the 
leaders were put to death, the heresy increased more, and 
honoured Priscillian as a martyr, and reproached the or- 
thodox as wicked persecutors : and the end was, that the 
church was filled by it with divisions and manifold mis- 
chiefs, and all the most godly made the common scorn. 
* Inter hsec plebs Dei et optimus quisque, probro atque lu- 
dibrio habebatur.' - They are the last words of Severus's 
History ; and changing the names are calculated for another 
meridian, and for later years. 


How to behave ourselves in the Public Assemblies, and the 
Worship there performed, and after them. 

I HAVE purposely given such particular Directions in Part 
ii, on this subject, and written so many books about it % and 
said so much also in the Cases of Conscience, that I shall 
here only cast in a few common Directions, lest the reader 
think I make a balk. 

Direct, i. ' Let your preparations in secret and in your 
family on the beginning of the Load's days, be such as con- 
duce to fit you for the public worship.' Run not to church 
as ungodly people do, with a carnal heart, that never sought 
God before you went, nor considered what you go about ; 
as if all your religion were to make up the number of the 
auditors ; and you thought God must not be worshipped 
and obeyed at home, but only in the church. God may in 
mercy meet with an unprepared heart, ai)d open his eyes 
and heart, and save him ; but he hath made no promise of 
it to any such. He that goeth to worship that God at church, 
whom he forgetteth and despiseth in his heart and house, 

* See my " Treatise of the Lord's Dajf," and my '* Cure of Church Dirisions.'* 


may expect to he despised by him. O consider what it is 
for a sinner that must shortly die, to go with the servants of 
God to worship him ; to pray for his salvation, and to hear 
what God hath to say to him by his minister, for the life of 
his immortal soul ! 

Direct, ii. ' Enter not into the holy assembly either su- 
perstitiously or irreverently/ Not as if the bending of the 
knee, and mumbling over a few words with a careless, ig- 
norant mind, and spending an hour there as carelessly, 
would save your souls : nor yet as if the relation which the 
worship, the worshippers and the dedicated place have unto 
God, deserved not a special honour and regard. Though 
God be ever with us, every wbere ; yet every time, and 
place, and person, and business is not equally related to 
God. And holiness is no unfit attribution, for that compa- 
ny or that place, which is related to God, though but by 
the lawful separation and dedication of man. To be un- 
covered in those countries where uncovering signifieth re- 
verence, is very well becoming a reverent soul ; except 
when the danger of cold forbids it. It is an unhappy effect 
of our contentions, that many that seem most reverent and 
holy, in their high regard of holy things, do yet carry them- 
selves with more irreverent deportment, than those that 
themselves account profane. God is the God of soul and 
^>ody, and must be worshipped by both : and while they are 
united, the actions of one are helpful to the other, as well 
as due and decent. 

Direct, iii. * If you can, come at the beginning, that you 
may shew your attendance upon God, and your esteem of 
all his worship.' Especially iu our assemblies, where so 
great a part of the duty, (as confession, praises, reading the 
Scriptures,) are all at the beginning. And it is meet that 
you thereby shew that you prefer public worship before pri- 
vate, and that needless businesses keep you not away. 

Direct, IV. If you are free, and can do it lawfully, choose 
the most able, holy teacher that you can have, and be not 
indifferent whom you hear.' For O how great is the differ- 
ence ; and how bad are our hearts ; and how great our ne- 
cessity of the clearest doctrine, and the liveliest helps! 
Nor be you indifferent what manner of people you join with> 
nor what manner of worship is there performed ; but in all 


choose the best when you are free. But when you are not 
free, or can have no better, refuse not to make use of weaker 
teachers, or to communicate with faulty congregations in a 
defective, faulty manner of worship, so be it, you are not 
compelled to sin. And think not that all the faults of the 
prayers, or communicants are imputed to all that join with 
them in that worship ; for then we should join with none in 
all the world. 

Direct, v. * When the minister is weak, be the more 
watchful against prejudice and sluggishness of heart, lest 
you lose all.' Mark that word of God which he readeth to 
you, and reverence, and love, and lay up that. It was the 
Law, read and meditated on, which David saith the godly 
do delight in. The sacred Scriptures are not so obscure 
and useless as the Papists do pretend, but convert the soul, 
and are able to make us wise unto salvation. Christ went 
ordinarily to the synagogues where even bad men did read 
Moses and the prophets every sabbath day. There are 
thousands that cannot read themselves, who must come to. 
the assembly to hear that Word read, which they cannot 
read or hear at home. Every sentence of Scripture hath a 
Divine excellency, and therefore had we nothing but the 
reading of it, and that by a bad man, a holy soul may profit 
by it. 

Direct, vi. ' Mind not so much the case of others pre- 
sent as yourselves: and think not so much how bad such 
and such a one is, and unworthy to be there, as how bad 
you are yourselves, and unworthy of communion with the 
people of the Lord, and what a mercy it is that you have 
admittance, and are not cast out from those holy opportuni- 

Direct, vii. ' Take heed of a peevish, quarrelsome hu- 
mour, that disposeth you to carp at all that is said and 
done, and to find fault with every mode and circumstance, 
and to affect a causeless singularity, as thinking that your 
own ways, and words, and orders are far more excellent than 
other mens'. Think ill of nothing out of a quarrelsome dis- 
position, but only as evidence constraineth you to dissent. 
And then remember that we are all imperfect, and faulty men 
must needs perform a faulty worship, if any, for it cannot 
be better than the agent. 


Direct, viii. ' When you meet with a word in a sermon 
or prayer, which you do not like, let it not stop you, and 
hinder your fervent and peaceable proceeding in the rest ; 
as if you must not join in that which is good, if there be 
any faulty mixture in it. But go on in that which you ap- 
prove, and thank God that pardoneth the infirmities of 
others as well as your own.' 

Direct, ix. * Conform yourselves to all the lawful ges- 
tures and customs of the church with which you join.' 
You come not thither proudly to shew the congregation, 
that you are wiser in the circumstances of worship than they, 
nor needlessly to differ from them, much less to harden men 
into a scorn of strictness, by seeing you place religion in 
singularities in lawful and indifferent things. But you 
come to exercise love, peace, and concord, and with one 
mind and mouth to glorify God. Stand when the church 
standeth ; sit when the church sitteth ; kneel when the 
church kneeleth, in cases where God doth not forbid it. 

Direct, x. * Take heed of a customary, formal, senseless 
heart, that tolerateth itself from day to day, to do holy 
things in a common manner, and with a common, dull, and 
careless mind ; for that is to profane them.' Call in your 
thoughts when they attempt to wander ; stir up your hearts 
when you feel them dull. Remember what you are about, 
and with whom it is that you have to do, and that you 
tread on the dust of them who had such opportunities before 
you which are now all gone, and so will yours. You hear 
and pray for more than your lives j therefore do it not as in 
jest or as asleep. 

Direct, xi. ' Do all in faith and hope. Believe what 
you may get of God in prayer, and by an obedient hearing 
of his Word.' Would you not go cheerfully to the king, if 
he had promised you to grant whatever you ask ? Hath 
not God promised you more than kings can give you ? Oh 
it is an unbelieving and a despairing heart, that turneth all 
into dead formality ! Did you but hope that God would do 
all that for you which he hath told you he will do, and that 
you might get more by prayer than by your trades, or pro- 
jects, or all your friends, you would go to God with more 
earnestness and more delight. 

Direct, xii. * Apply all the Word of God to yourselves 



according to its usefulness.' Ask as you go, * How doth 
this concern me ? this reproof, this mark, this counsel, this 
comfort, this exhortation, this direction?' Remember as 
much as you can ; but especially the most practical, useful 
parts. Get it home so deep upon your hearts, that it may 
not easily slide away. Root it by close application as you 
go, that affection may constrain you to remember it. 

Direct, xiii. Above all, * Resolve to obey what God 
shall make known to be his will : take heed lest any wilful 
sin should escape the power of the word ; and should ordi- 
narily go away with you as it came.' Careless hearing and 
careless living tend most dangerously to a hardened heart, 
and a forsaken state. If you regard iniquity in your heart, 
God will not hear your prayers. The sacrifice of the wicked 
is abominable to him. The foolish shall not stand in his 
sight, he hateth all the workers of iniquity. He that turn- 
eth away his ear from hearing (that is, obeying) the law, 
even his prayer is abominable. To the wicked saith God, 
What hast thou to do to take my covenant into thy mouth, 
seeing thou hatest instruction, and hast cast my words be- 
hind thee? Obedience is better than sacrifice. He that 
nameth the name of Christ must depart from iniquity, or 
else God will not find his mark upon him, nor take him to 
be one of his. Christ's sheep know his voice and follow 
him, and to them he will give eternal life. But if you had 
preached or done miracles in his name, he will say to you, 
" Depart from me, I know you not," if ye be workers of 
iniquity. Look therefore to your foot (to your heart and 
life) when you go to the house of God, and be more ready 
to hear (his law that must govern you, that you may know 
his will and do it) than to offer the sacrifice of fools, (that 
is disobedient sinners,) that think by sacrifices and outside 
worship to get pardon for an unholy life, and to reconcile 
God to them in their sins, not knowing that thus they add 
sin to sin. If you seek God daily, and delight to know his 
ways, as a nation that did righteousness and forsook not 
the ordinance of their God ; if you ask of him the ordinan- 
ces of justice (sound doctrine, regular worship, strict dis- 
cipline), and take delight in approaching to God ; if you 
humble your souls with frequent fasts ; and yet live in a 
course of wilful disobedience, you labour in vain, and ag- 


gravate your sins, and preachers had need to lift up their 
voices and be louder trumpets to tejl you of your sins, than 
to other men. But if ye will wash you, and make you clean, 
and put away the evil of your doings, cease to do evil, learn 
to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, &c. ; you 
may then come with boldness and confidence unto God. 
Otherwise to what purpose is the multitude of your sacri- 
fices ? your oblations will be vain, and your incense abomi- 
nable. If ye be willing and obedient, you shall be blessed ; 
but if ye refuse and rebel ye shall be destroyed, for the 
mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. If you do well shall 
you not be accepted ? but if ye do evil, sin lieth at the 
door. Let your profession be never so great, and your 
parts and expressions never so seraphical, sin is a reproach 
to any people : and if you would hide yourselves from 
justice in the purest church, among the holiest people, and 
the most numerous and longest prayers, be sure that your 
sin will find you out. Your secret lust, your covetous over- 
reaching, your secret gluttony or tippling, much more your 
crimson sins will surely find you out. 

Alas ! what then will those miscreants do, whose sins 
are scarlet, bloody persecutions, under pretence of promot- 
ing unity, and obedience, and the Catholic church, while 
the cloak or cover of it is but the thin, transparent spider- 
web of human traditions, and numerous ceremonies, and 
childish complimenting with God ; and when they have no- 
thing but the prayers of a long liturgy, to cover the effects 
of their earthly, sensual, and diabolical zeal and wisdom 
(as St. James calls it*'), and to concoct the widows houses 
which they devour, and to put a reverence upon the office 
and work, which they labour all the week to render re- 
proachful, by a sensual, luxurious, idle life, arid by perfi- 
dious making merchandize of souls. 

As ever you care what becometh of your souls, take heed 
lest sin grow bold under prayers, and grow familiar and 
contemptuous of sermons and holy speeches, and lest you 
keep a custom of religious exercises and wilful sins. For 
oh, how doth this harden now, and wound hereafter ! He 
is the best hearer, that is the holiest liver, and most faith- 
ful obeyer. 

*• James Hi. 15, 16. ' 


Direct, xiv. 'Be not a bare hearer of the prayers of the 
pastor, whether it be by a liturgy or without.' For that is 
but hypocrisy, and a sin of omission : you come not thither 
only to hear prayers, but to pray : and kneeling is not pray- 
ing ; but it is a profession that you pray. And will you be 
prayerless even in the house of prayer, and when you pro- 
fess and seem to pray, and so add hypocrisy to impiety ? 
I fear many that seem religious and would have those kept 
from the sacrament that pray not in their families, do very 
ordinarily tolerate themselves in this gross omission, and 
mocking of God, and are prayerless themselves even when 
they seem to pray. 

Direct, xv. * Stir up your hearts in an especial manner 
to the greatest alacrity and joy, in speaking and singing the 
praises of God.' The Lord's day is a day of joy and 
thanksgiving, and the praises of God are the highest and 
holiest employment upon earth. And if ever you should 
do any thing with all your might, and with a joyful and 
triumphing frame of soul, it is this. Be glad that you may 
join with the sacred assemblies, in heart and voice, in so 
heavenly a work. And do not as some humoursome, peevish 
persons (that know not the danger of that proud disease) 
fall to quarrelling with David's psalms, as unsuitable to 
some of the hearers, or to nauseate every failing in the 
metre, so as to turn so holy a duty into neglect or scorn 
(for alas ! such there are near me where I dwell) ; nor let 
prejudice against melody, or church-music (if you dwell 
where it is used) possess you with a splenetic disgust of 
that which should be your most joyful work. And if you 
know how much the incorporate soul must make use of th€ 
body in harmony, and in the joyful praises of Jehovah, do 
not then quarrel with lawful helps, because they are sensi- 
ble and corporeal. 

Direct, xvi. * Be very considerate and serious in sacra- 
mental renewings of yo^r covenant with God ^' O think 
what great things you come thither to receive ! And think 
what a holy work you have to do ! And think what a life 
it is that you must promise ! So solemn a covenanting with 
God, and of so great importance, requireth a most holy, re- 
verent, and serious frame of soul. But yet let not the un- 
« See Mr. Rawlet's book of Sacramental Covenanting. 


warrantable differencing this ordinance from God*s praises 
and the rest, seduce you into the common errors of the 
times : I mean, 1. Of those that hence are brought to think 
that the sacrament should never be received without a pre- 
paratory day of humiliation, above the preparation for an 
ordinary Lord's day's work. 2. And therefore receive it sel- 
dom ; whereas the primitive churches never spent a Lord's 
day together without it. 3. Those that turn it into a per- 
plexing terrifying thing, for fear of being unprepared, when 
it should be their greatest comfort, and when they are not 
so perplexed about their unpreparedness to any other duty. 
4. Those that make so great a difference betwixt this and 
church-prayers, praises, and other church-worship, as that 
they take this sacrament only for the proper work and pri- 
vilege of church-members ; and thereupon turn it into an 
occasion of our great contentions and divisions, while they 
fly from sacramental communion with others, more than 
from communion in the other church-worship. O what hath 
our subtle enemy done against the love, peace, and unity of 
Christians, especially in England, under pretence of sacra- 
mental purity ! 

Direct, xvii. * Perform all your worship to God, as in 
heart-communion with all Christ's churches upon earth ; 
even those that are faulty, though not with their faults.' 
Though you can be present but with one, yet consent as 
present in spirit with all, and separate not in heart, from 
any one, any further than they separate from Christ. 

Direct, xviii. ' Accordingly let the interest of the 
church of Christ be very much upon your heart, and pray as 
hard for it as for yourself.' 

Direct, xix. * Yea, remember in all, what relation you 
have to the heavenly society and choir, and think how they 
worship God in heaven, that you may strive to imitate them 
in your degree.' Of which more anon. 

Direct, xx. * Let your whole course of life after, savour 
of a church-frame; live as the servants of that God whom 
you worship, and as ever before him.' Live in the love of 
those Christians with whom you have communion, and do 
not quarrel with them at home ; nor despise, nor persecute 
them with whom you join in the worshipping of God. And 
do not needlessly open the weaknesses of the minister to 


prejudice others against him and the worship. And be not 
religious at the church alone, for then you are not truly re- 
ligious at all- 


Directions about our Communion with Holy Souk Departed, 
and now with Christ. 

The oversight and neglect of our duty concerning the souls 
of the blessed, now with Christ, doth much harden the 
Papists in their erroneous excesses here about*. And if we 
will ever reduce them, or rightly confute them, it must be by 
a judicious asserting of the truth, and observing so much 
with them as is our duty, and commending that in them 
which is to be commended, and not by running away from 
truth and duty that we may get far enough from them and 
error ; for error is an ill way of confuting error. The prac- 
tical truth lieth in these following precepts. 

Direct, i. * Remember that the departed souls in heaven 
are part, and the noblest part of the body of Christ and fa- 
mily of God, of which you are inferior members ; and there- 
fore that you owe them greater love and honour, than you 
owe to any saints on earth.' ** The whole family in heaven 
and earth is named of Christ'^." Those are the happiest 
and noblest parts, that are most pure and perfect, and dwell 
in the highest and most glorious habitations, nearest unto 
Christ, yea, with him. If holiness be lovely, the most holy 
are the most lovely : we have many obligations therefore, to 
love them more than the saints on earth : they are more ex- 
cellent and amiable, and Christ loveth them more. And if 
any be honourable, it must especially be those spirits that 
are of greatest excellencies and perfections, and advanced 
to the greatest glory and nearness to their Lord. Make 
conscience therefore of this as your duty, not only to love 
and honour blessed souls, but to love and honour them 
more than those that are yet on earth. And as every, duty 
i^ attended with benefit, so we shall find this exceeding 

* I have said more of this since in my " Life of Faith." 
•» Ephes. iii. i5. 


great benefit in the performance of this duty, that it will in- 
cline our hearts to be the more heavenly, and draw up our 
desires to the society which we so much love and honour. 

Direct, ii. * Remember that it is a part of the life of 
faith, to see by it the heavenly society of the blessed, and a 
part of your heavenly conversation, to have frequent, 
serious, and delightful thoughts of those crowned souls that 
are with Christ/ 

Otherwise God would never have given us such descrip- 
tions of the heavenly Jerusalem, and told us so much of the 
hosts of God that must inhabit it for ever ; that must come 
from the " east and from the west, and sit down with Abra- 
ham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God." When it 
is said that our conversation (7roXirfu/>ia) is in heaven, the 
meaning extendeth both to our relation, privileges, and con- 
verse : we are denizens or citizens of the heavenly society ; 
and our title to their happiness is our highest privilege and 
honour ; and therefore our daily business is there, and our 
sweetest and most serious converse is with Christ and all 
those blessed spirits. Whatever we are doing here, our eye 
and heart should still be there : for we " look not at the 
temporal things which are seen, but at the eternal things 
which are not seen*^." A wise Christian that hath forsaken 
the kingdom of darkness, will be desirous to know what the 
kingdom of Christ is into which he is translated, and who 
are his fellow subjects, and what are their several ranks and 
dignities, so far as tendeth to his congruous converse with 
them all. And how should it affect us to find that " we are 
come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, 
the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of 
angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, 
which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, 
and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus 
the Mediator of the new covenant*^?" Live then as the 
members of this society, and exclude not the chief mem- 
bers from your thoughts and converse ; though our local, 
visible communion be only with these rural, inferior inha- 
bitants, and not with the courtiers of the king of heaven, 
yet our mental communion may be much with them. If 

eg Cor.lv. 18. d Heb. xii.22— 24. 


our home and treasure be there with them, our hearts will 
be there also. 

Direct, in. * It is the will of God that the memory of the 
saints be honoured on earth when they are dead.' It is 
some part of his favour which he hath promised to them. 
** The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the 
wicked shall rot^." " Verily I say unto you, wheresoever 
this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there 
shall also this that this woman hath done, be told for a me- 
morial of her ^" The history of the Scripture recordeth 
the lives of the saints to their perpetual honour. And God 
will have it so also for the sake of his abused servants upon 
earth, that they may see that the slanders of malicious 
tongues, shall not be able to obscure the glory of his grace, 
and that the lies of the ungodly prevail but for a moment. 
And God will have it so for the sake of the ungodly, that 
they may be ashamed of their malicious enmity and lies 
against the godly, while they perceive that the departed 
saints do leave behind them a surviving testimony of their 
sanctity and innocency, sufficient to confound the veno- 
mous calumnies of the serpent's seed. Yea, God will have 
the names of his eminent servants to be honoured upon 
earth, for the honour of their Head, and of his grace and 
Gospel : so that while malice would cast dishonour upon 
Christ, from the meanness and failings of his servants that 
are alive, the memory of the dead, (who were once as much 
despised and slandered,) shall rise up against them to his 
honour and their shame. And it is very observable how 
God constraineth the bitter enemies of holiness to bear this 
testimony for the honour of holiness against themselves ! 
that many who are the cruellest persecutors and murderers 
of the living saints, do honour the dead even to excess «. 
How zealous are the Papists for the multitude of their holi- 
days, and the honouring of their names and relics, and pre- 
tending many miracles to be wrought by a very touch of 
their shrines or bones, whilst they revile and murder those 
that imitate them, and deprive temporal lords of their domi- 
nions that will not exterminate them. Yea, while they burn 
the living saints, they make it part of their crime or heresy, 

• Prov. X. 7. ' Maitt. xxvi. 13. 

» Concil. Later, sub Innoc. 111. Can. 3. 
VOX. v. Q 


that they honour not the days and relics of the dead, so 
much as they : to shew us that the things that have been 
shall be, and that wickedness is the same in all generations. 
*' Woe unto you scribes and pharisees, hypocrites ! because 
ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepul- 
chres of the righteous, and say. If we had been in the days of 
our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in 
the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto 
yourselves that ye are the children of them which killed the 
prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the 
damnation of hell*'?" I know that neither did the phari- 
sees, nor do the Papists, believe that those whom they mur- 
dered were saints, but deceivers and heretics, and the trou- 
blers of the world : but if charity be the grace most neces- 
sary to salvation, then sure it will not keep any man from 
damnation, that he had malice and uncharitableness suffi- 
cient to persuade him, that the members of Christ were 
children of the devil. But thus God will force even the 
persecutors and haters of his saints to honour them. And 
if he constrain his enemies to it, his servants should not be 
backward to do it according to his will. 

Direct. IV. ' Only such honour must be given to departed 
saints, as subserveth the honour of God ; and nothing must 
be ascribed to them that is his prerogative.' All that of God 
which was communicated to them and appeared in them, 
must be acknowledged : but so that God must still be ac- 
knowledged the spring of all ; and no honour given ulti- 
mately to them ; but it is God in them that we must behold 
and love, admire and honour. 

Direct.^. ' The honour of the saints departed must be 
only such as tendeth to the promoting of holiness among 
the living.' It is a most horrid aggravation of those men's 
sins, who make their honouring of the saints departed a 
cover for their hating and persecuting their followers ; or 
that make it an engine for the carrying on of some base de- 
sign. Some make it a device for the advancing of their 
parties and peculiar opinions. The Papists make it a very 
great means for the maintaining the usurped power of the 
pope, giving him the power of canonizing saints, and assur- 

»' Matt, xxiii. 29— 33. 


ing the world what souls are in heaven. A pope that by 
the testimony of a General Council (as Joh. 23. Eugenius, 
&c.) is a heretic, and a wicked wretch, and never like to 
come to heaven himself, can assure the world of a very large 
catalogue of persons that are there. And he that by the 
Papists is confessed fallible in matters of fact, pretendeth 
to know so certainly who were saints, as to appoint them 
holidays, and command the church to pray to them. And 
he that teacheth men that they cannot be certain themselves 
of their salvation, pretendeth when they are dead that he is 
certain that they are saved. To pretend the veneration of 
saints for such carnal, ambitious designs, and cheats, and 
cruelties, is a sin unfit for any that mentioneth a saint. So 
is it when men pretend that saints are some rare, extraordi- 
nary persons among the living members of the church: to 
make men believe that honouring them will serve instead of 
imitating them ; and that all are not saints that go to hea- 
ven. * God forbid,' say they, ' that none but holy persons 
should be saved : we confess it is good to be saints, and 
they are the chief in heaven ; but we hope those that are no 
saints may be saved for all that.' But God saith, that with- 
out holiness none shall see him\" Heaven is the inheri- 
tance of none but saints ^. He that extolleth saints to make 
men believe that those that are no saints may be saved, doth 
serve the devil by honouring the saints. The same I may 
say of those that give them Divine honour, ascribing to 
each a power to hear and help all throughout the world 
that put up prayers to them. 

Direct, vi. * Look up to the blessedness of departed 
souls, as members of the same body, rejoicing with them, 
and praising God that hath so exalted them.' This is the 
benefit of holy love and Christian unity, that it maketh our 
brethren's happiness to be unto us, in a manner as if it were 
our own. *' That there should be no schism in the body, 
but that the members should have the same care one for 
another — that if one member be honoured all the members 
rejoice with it'." So far as selfishness is overcome, arid 
turned into the uniting love of saints, so far are all the joys 
of the blessed souls in heaven become the joys of all that 
truly love them upon earth. How happy then is the state 

'Heb. xii.14. '' Acts xxvi. 18. Col. i. 12. ' 1 Cor. xii. 25, 26. 


of all true believers, that have so many to rejoice with ! 
Deny not God that thanks for the saving of so many souls, 
which you would not deny him, if he saved but your friends, 
estates, or lives. Especially when afflictions or temptations 
would deprive you of the joy which you should have in God's 
mercies to yourselves, then comfort yourselves with the re- 
membrance of your brethren's joy. What an incongruous, 
indecent thing is it for that man to pine away in sorrows 
upon earth, who hath so many thousand friends in heaven, 
in joy and blessedness, whose joys should all be to him as 
his own ! 

Direct, vii. * When you feel a cooling of your love to 
God, or of your zeal, or reverence, or other graces, think 
then of the temper of those holy souls, that see his glory !' 

think, with what fervour do they love their God ! with 
what transporting sweetness do they delight in him ! with 
what reverence do they all behold him ! And am not I his 
servant, and a member of his family as well as they ? shall 

1 be like the strangers of this frozen world, when I should 
be like my fellow citizens above ? As it will dispose a man 
to weep to see the tears and grief of others ; and as it will 
dispose a man to mirth and joy to see the mirth and joy of 
others ; so is it a potent help to raise the soul to the love of 
God, and delight in his service, to think believingly of the 
love and delight of such a world of blessed spirits. 

Direct, viii. ' When you draw near to God in his holy 
worship, remember that you are part of the same society 
with those blessed spirits that are praising him in perfec- 
tion.' Remember that you are members of the same choir, 
and your part must go to make up the melody ; and there- 
fore you should be as little discordant from them as possi- 
bly you can. The quality of those that we j oin with in God's 
service, is apt either to dull or quicken us, to depress or 
elevate us ; and we move heavenward most easily and swift- 
ly in that company which is going thither on the swiftest 
pace. A believing thought that we are worshipping God 
in concert with the heavenly choir, and of the high and holy 
raptures of those spirits, in the continual praise of their 
great Creator, is an excellent means to warm and quicken 
us, and raise us as near their holy frame, as here on earth 
may be expected. 


Direct, ix. ' When you would possess your hearts with 
a lively sense of the odiousness of sin, and would resist all 
temptations which would draw you to it, think then how 
the blessed souls with God do judge of sin, and how they 
would entertain such a temptation, if the motion were made 
to them !' What think they of covetousness, pride, or lust? 
What think they of malice, cruelty, or lying ? How would 
they entertain it, if lands and lordships, pleasure or prefer- 
ment were offered them to entice their hearts from God ? 
Would they venture upon damnation for a whore, or for 
their games, or to please their appetites ? Do they set as 
light by God and their salvation as the ungodly world doth ? 
O with what scorn and holy indignation would they refuse 
a world, if it were offered them instead of God ! with what 
detestation would they reject the motion to any sin ! 

Direct. X. * When you would revive in your minds a 
right apprehension and estimation of all earthly things, as 
riches, and honours, and greatness, and command, and full 
provisions for the flesh, bethink you then how the blessed 
souls with Christ esteem them.' How little do they set by 
all those things, that worldlings make so great a stir for, and 
for which they sell their God and their salvation ! How 
contemptible are crowns and kingdoms in their eyes ! Their 
judgment is more like to God's than ours is. " That which 
is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight 
of God." All the world would not hire a saint in heaven 
to tell one lie, or take the name of God in vain, or to forget 
God, or be estranged from him for one hour. 

Direct, xi. * When you see the godly under the contempt 
of sinners here, accounted as the filth of the world, and the 
offscouring of all things, defamed, reviled, hated and perse- 
cuted, look up then to the saints with Christ, and think how 
they are esteemed and used.' And when you would truly 
know what a believer is, think not how they are esteemed 
and used by men, but how they are esteemed and used by 
Christ. Judge not of them by their short afflictions, nor by 
their meanness in the flesh, but by their endless happiness 
and their glory above. Look up to the home and world of 
saints, if you would know what saints are, and not to the 
few, scattered, imperfect passengers in this world, that are 
not worthy of them. 


Direct, xii. * When you are tempted to think meanly of 
jthe kingdom of Christ, as if his flock were so small, and 
poor, and sinful as to be inconsiderable, look up to the 
world of blessed souls which dwell above.' And there you 
shall see no such paucity, or imperfections, or blemishes, as 
are here below. The subjects there are such as dishonour 
not their king. Christ's kingdom is not of this world". 
If you would know it in its glory, look up to the world where 
it is glorious. If when you hear men contemn the king- 
dom of the saints of Christ, and at the same time did but 
see, (as Stephen did,) a glimpse into that kingdom, and all 
the glory of the blessed there, what thoughts would you 
have of the words which did dishonour it? 

Direct, xiii. ' When you hear sinners boast of the wis- 
dom or numbers of their party, and appealing to the learned 
or great ones of the world, look up to the blessed souls with 
Christ, and ask whether they are not more wise and nume- 
rous than all the sinners upon earth.' The greatest doctors 
are ignorant and unlearned in comparison of the meanest 
soul with Christ : the greatest monarchs are but worms in 
comparison of the glorified spirits with God. If they say to 
you. Are you wiser than so many and so wise and learned 
men ? ask them. Are you, or all the ungodly, wiser than all 
the blessed souls with Christ? Let the wiser party carry it. 

Direct, xiv. 'When you are tempted to be weary of a 
holy life, or to think all your labour is vain, look up to the 
blessed souls with Christ, and there you will see the end of 
holiness.' There you will see that of all the labour of your 
lives, there is none that you are sure to gain by ; and that in 
" due time you shall reap, if you faint not ; and if you sow 
to the Spirit, of the Spirit you shall reap everlasting life ° ;'^' 
and that when you have " done the will of God," if you 
** have but patience, you shall inherit the promise p." Ask 
yourselves, whether any of those blessed souls repent now 
of the holiness of their lives on earth ? or their mortifying 
the flesh, and denying themselves the delights of sin ? 

Direct, xv. * When you are tempted to turn back in the 
day of trial, and to forsake Christ or his cause when perse- 
cution ariseth, then look to the blessed souls above, and see 
what is the end of suflering for the sake of Christ and 

» John xviii. 36. "Gal.vi.8, 9. p Heb, x. 36, 


righteousness/ To foresee the great reward in heaven, will 
convince ^^ou that instead of being terrified by sufferings, 
you should "rejoice and be exceeding glad." Are you to 
lie in prison, or to burn in the flames ? so did many thou- 
sands that are now in heaven. And do you think that they 
repent it now? Ignatius, Polycarp, Cyprian, and many 
such holy men, were once used as hardly as you are now, 
and put to death by cruel men. Rogers, Bradford, Hooper, 
Glover, and multitudes with them, were once in prison and 
burnt in the flames ; but where are they now, and what is the 
end of all their pains ? Now whether do you think the case 
of Bonner or Bradford to be best ? Now had you rather be 
Gardiner or Philpot ? Now which think you doth most re- 
pent ; the poor Waldenses that were murdered by thou- 
sands ; or the popes and persecutors that murdered them ? 

Direct. XVI. * When you are dismayed under the burden 
of your sins, the greatness of your corruptions, the weak- 
ness of your graces, the imperfection of your duties, look 
up to the blessed souls with Christ, and remember that all 
those glorified spirits, were once in flesh as you now are, 
and once they lay at the feet of God, in tears, and groans, 
and cries as you do : they were once fain to cry out of the 
burden of their sins, and mourn under the weakness of 
their graces, as you now do.' They were once as much 
clogged with flesh as you are ; and once as low in doubts 
and fears, and bruised under the sense of God's displeasure. 
They once were as violently assaulted witli temptations, and 
had the same corruptions to lament and strive against as 
you have. They were once as much afflicted by God and 
man ; but is there any of the smart of this remaining ? 

Direct, xvii. * When you are deterred from the presence 
of the dreadful God, and think he will not accept such 
worms as you, look up to the blessed souls with Christ ; 
and remember how many millions of your brethren are 
there accepted to greater familiarity than that which you 
here desire.* Remember that thoce souls were once as 
dark and distant from God, and unworthy of his acceptance 
as you now are. A fearful child receiveth boldness, to see 
his brethren in his father's arms. 

Direct, xviii. * When you are afraid of satan lest he 
should prevail against you and devour you, look up to the 


blessed souls with Christ ; and see how many millions are 
there safely landed, that once were in as dangerous a station 
as you are/ Through many tribulations and temptations 
they are arrived at the heavenly rest : satan once did his 
worst against them : they were tossed on the seas of this 
tempestuous world ; but they were kept by the power of 
God, through faith unto salvation, and so may you. 

Direct, xix. * When you would duly value all your pre- 
sent means and mercies, and see whither they tend, look up 
then to the souls with Christ, and see whither the like 
mercy hath conducted them/ The poorest cottage and the 
hardest fare are great mercies, as they tend to endless 
blessedness. This now and heaven after, is great; though 
the thing in itself be never so small. Heaven puts the va- 
lue and signification upon all your mercies. The wicked 
make cyphers of their greatest blessings, by separating 
them in their esteem and use, from God and heaven, which 
is the measure of their estimate. 

Direct, xx. * When you see divisions among believers, 
and hear one for this party, and another for that, and hear 
them bitterly censuring each other, look up then to the 
saints with Christ, and think what perfect love, and peace, 
and concord is among them.' Consider how unlike our 
factions and schisms are to their fervent love and unity. 
And how unlike our jarring strifes and quarrels are to their 
harmonious praise of God. Remember in what work it is 
that they are so happily united, even love and praise incessant 
to Jehovah : and then think, whether it would not unite the 
saints on earth, to lay by their contendings for the preemi- 
nence in knowledge, (covered with the gilded name of zeal for 
the truth of God,) and to employ themselves in love and praise, 
and to shew their emulation here, in striving who shall love 
God and each other with the more pure heart and fervent 
love, and who shall praise him with the most heavenly 
alacrity and delight. Consider whether this work of blessed 
souls be not like to be more desirable and excellent, than 
the work of self-conceited, wrangling sophisters. And whe- 
ther there be any danger of falling into sects and factions, 
or falling out by emulations or contentions, while we make 
this work of love and praise the matter of our religious con- 
verse. And consider whether almost all the scliisms that 


ever vexed the church of God, did not arise, either by the 
pastors striving " who should be the greatest *<," or by the 
rising up of some sciolist or gnostic, proudly pretending to 
know more than others, and to vindicate or bring to light 
some excellent truth which others know not, or oppose. 
And when you see the hot contendings of each party, about 
their pretended orthodoxness or wisdom (which James iii. 
is purposely written against), remember how the concord of 
those blessed souls doth shame this work, and should make 
it odious to the heirs of heaven. 

Direct, xxi. * When you are afraid of death or would 
find more willingness to die, look up to the blessed souls 
with Christ, and think that you are but to pass that way, 
which all those souls have gone before you ; and to go from 
a world of enmity and vanity, to the company of all those 
blessed spirits/ And is not their blessed state more de- 
sirable than such a vain, vexatious life as this ? There is 
no malice, nor slandering, nor cruel persecuting ; no uncha- 
ritable censures, contentions, or divisions ; no ignorance, 
nor unbelief, nor strangeness unto God ; nothing but holy, 
amiable, and delightful. Join yourselves daily to that ce- 
lestial society : suppose yourselves spectators of their 
order, purity, and glory, and auditors of their harmonious 
praises of Jehovah. Live by faith in a daily familiarity with 
them : say not that you want company or are alone, when 
you may walk in the streets of the heavenly Jerusalem, and 
there converse with the prophets and apostles, and all the 
glorious hosts of heaven. Converse thus with them in 
your life, and it will overcome the fear of death, and make 
you long to be there with them : like one that stands by 
the river side, and seeth his friends on the further side, in a 
place of pleasure, while his enemies are pursuing him at his 
back, how gladly would he be over with them ? And it will 
embolden him to venture on the passage, which all they 
have safely passed before him. Thus death will be to us 
as the Red sea, to pass us safe to the land of promise, while 
our pursuers are there overthrown and perish. We should 
not be so strange to the world above, if we thus by faith con- 
versed with the blessed ones. 

Direct, xxii. * When you are overmuch troubled for 

1 Luke xxii. ^24. 26. 


the death of your godly friends, look up to that world of 
blessed souls, to which they are translated, and think 
whether it be not better for them to be there than here ; and 
whether you are not bound by the law of love, to rejoice 
with them that are thus exalted.' Had we but a sight of the 
world that they are in, and the company that they are gone 
to, we should be less displeased with the will of God, in 
disposing of his own into so glorious a state. 

All these improvements may be made by a believer, of 
his daily converse with the souls above. This is the com- 
munion with them which we must hold on earth ; not by 
praying to them, which God hath never encouraged us to 
do ; nor by praying for them : (for though it be lawful to 
pray for the resurrection of their bodies, and the perfecting 
of their blessedness thereby, yet it being a thing of abso- 
lute certainty as the day of judgment is, we must be very 
cautious in the manner of our doing this lawful act ; it being 
a thing that their happiness doth not at all depend on, and 
a thing which will-worshippers hath shewed themselves so 
forward to abuse, by stepping further into that which is un- 
lawful ; as the horrid abuses of the names, and days, and 
shrines, and relics, of real or supposed saints, in the papal 
kingdom sadly testifieth). But the necessary part of our 
communion with the saints in heaven, being of so great im- 
portance to the church on earth, I commend it to the due 
consideration of the faithful, whether our forgetfulness of it 
is not to be much repented of, and whether it be not a work 
to be more seriously minded for the time to come. 

And I must confess I know not why it should be thought 
unlawful to celebrate the memorial of the life or martyrdom 
of any extraordinary servant of God, by an anniversary so- 
lemnity, or a set, appropriate day : it is but to keep the 
thankful remembrance of God's mercy to the church : and 
sure the life and death of such, is not the smallest of the 
church's mercies here on earth. If it be lawful on Novem- 
ber the fifth to celebrate the memorial of our deliverance 
from the Powder-plot, I know not why it should be thought 
unlawful to do the like in this case also : provided, 1. That 
it be not terminated in the honour of a saint, but of the God 
of saints for giving so great a mercy to his church. 2. That 
it be not to honour a saint merely as a saint, but to some 


extraordinary, eminent saints : otherwise all that go to 
heaven must have festivals kept in remembrance of them ; 
and so we might have a million for a day. 3. That it be 
not made equal with the Lord's day, but kept in such a sub- 
ordination to that day, as the life or death of saints is of in- 
ferior and subordinate respect, to the work of Christ in 
man's redemption. 4. And if it be kept in a spiritual 
manner, to invite men to imitate the holiness of the saints, 
and the constancy of the martyrs, and not to encourage sen- 
suality and sloth. 


Directions about our Communion with the Holy Angels. 

Direct, i. * Be satisfied in knowing so much of angels as 
God in nature and Scripture hath revealed ; but presume 
not to inquire further, much less to determine of unrevealed 
things.' That there are angels, and that they are holy 
spirits, is past dispute ; but what number they are, and of 
how many worlds, and of what orders and different dignities 
and degrees, and when they were created, and what locality 
belongeth to them, and how far they excel or differ from the 
souls of men, these and many other such unnecessary ques- 
tions, neither nature or Scripture will teach us how infal- 
libly to resolve. Almost all the heretics in the first ages of 
the church, did make their doctrines of angels the first and 
chief part of their heresies ; arrogantly intruding into un- 
revealed things, and boasting of their acquaintance with the 
orders and inhabitants of the higher worlds. These being 
risen in the apostles* days, occasioned Paul to say, *' Let no 
man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility, 
and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things , 
which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly 
mind * . " 

Direct, ii. ' Understand so much of the ministry of an- 
gels as God hath revealed, and so far take notice of your 

■• Col. ii. 18. 


communion with them ; but affect not any other sort of 
communion ''.' 

I shall here shew how much of the ministry of angels is 
revealed to us in Scripture. 

1. It is part of the appointed work of angels, to be mi- 
nistering spirits for the heirs of salvation *=. Not ministers 
or servants of the godly, but ministers of God for the godly : 
as the shepherd is not a servant of the sheep, but for the 
sheep. It is not an accidental or occasional work which 
they do extraordinarily ; but it is their undertaken office to 
which they are sent forth. And this their ministry is about 
the ordinary concernments of our lives, and not only about 
some great or unusual cases or exigents ^. 

2. It is not some, but all the angels that are appointed 
by God to this ministration, " Are they not all ministering 
spirits sent forth *." Mark here, that if you inquire whether 
God have any higher spirits, that are not employed in so 
low an office, but govern these angels, or if you inquire 
whether only this world be the angels' charge, or whether 
they have many other worlds also (of viators) to take care 
of; neither nature nor Scripture doth give you the determi- 
nation of any of these questions ; and therefore you must 
leave them as unrevealed things : (with abundance more 
with which the old heretics and the Popish schoolmen, 
have diverted men's minds from plain and necessary things). 
But that all the angels minister for us, are the express 
words of Scripture. 

3. The work of this office is not left promiscuously 
among them, but several angels have their several works 
and charge ; therefore Scripture telleth us of some sent of 
one message, and some on another; and tells us that the 
meanest of Christ's members on earth have their angels be- 
fore God in heaven, " I say unto you, that in heaven their 
angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in 
heaven ^" Whether each true believer hath one or more 
angels? and whether one angel look to more than one be- 
liever ? are questions which God hath not resolved us of, 
either in nature or Scripture ; but that each true Chris- 
tian hath his angel, is here asserted by our Lord. 

'' Angelorura vocabulum nomeii est officii, uon naturae : nan) sancti illi coelestis 
patriae spiritus, semper sunt spiritus, sed semper vocari angeli nou possunt. Gregor. 
c Heb.i. 14. . «i Psal. xxxiv. 6, 7. xci.lt, 152. 

c Heb. i. 1. 4. ' Matt, xviii. 10. 


4. In this office of ministration they are servants of 
Christ as the Head of the church, and the Mediator between 
God and man, to promote the ends of his superior office in 
man's redemption ; " All power is given to me in heaven 
and earth ^." " And set him at his right hand in the celes- 
tials, far above all principality, and power, and might, and 
dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this 
world, but also in that which is to come, and hath put all 
things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all 
things to the church ^" " I Jesus have sent mine angel to 
testify unto you these things in the churches ^/' Whether 
the angels were appointed about the service of Adam in in- 
nocency ; or only began their office with Christ the Me- 
diator as his ministers, is a thing that God hath not revealed ; 
but that they serve under Christ for his church is plain. 

5. This care of the angels for us is exercised throughout 
our lives, for the saving of us from all our dangers, and de- 
livering us out of all our troubles. ** This poor man cried, 
and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his trou- 
bles : the angel of the Lord encampeth about them that 
fear him, and delivereth them ^. " For he shall give his an- 
gels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways : they 
shall bear thee up in their hand, lest thou dash thy foot 
against a stone \" In all our ways (that are good) and in 
every step we tread, we have the care and ministry of tutelar 
angels. They are our ordinary defence and guard. 

6. In all this ministry they perfectly obey the will of God, 
and do nothing but by his command ^, being his messengers 
to man. 

7. Much of their work is to oppose the malice of evil 
spirits that seek our hurt, and to defend us from them : 
against whom they are engaged under Christ in daily war 
or conflict ^ 

8. In this their ministration they are ordered into differ- 
ent degrees of superiority and inferiority, and are not equal 
among themselves *". 

« Matt, xxviii. 18. John xiii. 3. ' Ephes. i. 20—22. » Rev. xxiii. 16. 
•' Psal. xxxiv. 6, 7. ' Psal. xci. 11, 12. 

^ Psal. ciii. 10. Zech. i. 8. 10. Mutt, xviii. 10. 
' Rev. xii. 7. 9. Psal. Ixviii. 17. Ixxviii. 49. Matt. iv. 11. 
« 1 Thess. iv. 16. Jude 9. Dan. x. 13. 20, 21. Eph. i. 21. Col. ii. 10. 
Eph. iii. 10. vi. 12. Col. i. 16. Zech. iv. 10. Rev. iv. 5. v. 6. 


9. Angels are employed not only about our bodies, but 
our souls, by furthering the means of our salvation : they 
preached the Gospel themselves, (as they delivered the law"). 
Especially they deliver particular messages, which suppose 
the sufficiency of the laws of Christ, and only help to the 
obedience of it. 

10. They are sometimes God's instruments to confirm, 
and warn, and comfort, and excite the soul, and to work 
upon the mind, and will, and affections ; that they do this 
persuasively, and have as much access and power to do us 
good, as satan hath to do us evil, is very clear : good angels 
have as much power and access to the soul, to move to duty, 
as devils have to tempt to sin. As God hath sent them oft 
upon monitory and consolatory messages to his servants in 
visible shapes, so doth he send them on the like messages 
invisibly''. An angel from heaven is sent to strengthen 
Christ himself in his agony. 

11. They persecute and chase the enemies of the 
church, and sometimes destroy them?: and hinder them 
from doing hurt *^. 

12. They are a convoy for the departing souls of the 
godly, to bring them to the place of their felicity ^ though 
how they do it we cannot understand. 

13. They are the attendants of Christ at his coming to 
judgment, and his ministers to gather his elect, and sever 
the wicked from the just, in order to their endless punish- 
ment or joy. "The Lord himself shall descend from hea- 
ven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with 
the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first : 
then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up ^/' &c. 
'* The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall 
gather out of his kingdom all offences or scandals, and them 
which do iniquity ; and shall cast them into a furnace of 
fire. At the end of the world, the angels shall come forth, 
and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast 
them into the furnace of fire *," &c. 

n Luke ii. 9, 10. i. li, &c. Heb. ii. ^. Gal. iii. 19. Acts x. 4. Dan. vit. 
16. viii. 15— 17. ix. 21, 22. Luke i. 29. ii. 19. 

o Judges V. 23. Matt. i. 20. Psal. civ.4. Lukexxii. 43. 
P Psal. XXXV. 5, 6. 2 Kings xix. 35. Isa. xxxvii. 36. 
q Nurab. xxii. 24. ' Luke xvl. 22. 

« I Thess. iv. 16. * Matt. xiii. 41. 49. 


Direct, iii. 'Understand our near aflBinity or relation to 
the angels, and how they and we are concerned in each 
others condition and affairs.' As to our nature our immor- 
tal souls are kin or like unto the angels, though our bodies 
are but like the brutes. Those souls that are created after 
the image of God, in their very natural essence (as rational 
and free agents) besides his moral image of sanctity ", may 
well be said to be like the angels : " He made us little lower 
than the angels "." And God hath made us their charge 
and care ; and therefore no doubt hath given them a special 
love unto us, to fit them to the due performance of their 
trust. As ministers have a special paternal love to their 
flocks, and as Christians are to have a special love to one 
another to enable and engage them to the duties appointed 
them by God towards each other ; so these excellent spirits 
have no doubt a far purer and greater love, to the image of 
God upon the saints, and to the saints for the image and 
sake of God, than the dearest friends and holiest persons on 
earth can have. For they are more holy, and they are more 
perfectly conformed to the mind of God, and they love God 
himself more perfectly than we, and therefore for his sake - 
do love his people much more perfectly than we. And 
therefore they are more to be loved by us than any mortals 
are ; both because they are more excellent, pure and amia- 
ble, and because they have more love to us. Moreover the 
angels are servants of the same God, and members of the 
same society which we belong to. They are the inhabi- 
tants of the heavenly Jerusalem, of which we are heirs : 
they have possession, and we have title, and shall in time 
possess it. We are called to much of the same employ- 
ment with them ; we must love the same God, and glorify 
him by obedience, thanks and praise, and so do they : there- 
fore they are ministers for our good, and rejoice in the suc- 
cess of their labours, as the ministers of Christ on earth 
do y. There is not a sinner converted, but it is the angels* 
joy'', which sheweth how much they attend that work. 
" We are come to Mount Zion, and unto the city of the 
living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of an- 
gels *," &c. They are especially present and attendant on 

« Gen. ix. 6. « Psal. viii. 5. r Heb. i. 14. 

'■ Luke XV, 10. » Heb. xii. 22—24. 


US in our holy assemblies and services of God ; and there- 
fore we are admonished to reverence their presence, and do 
nothing before them that is sinful or unseemly^. The pre- 
sence of God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect an- 
gels, must continually awe us into exact obedience "=. With 
the church they pry into the mystery of the dispensations 
of the Spirit to the church '^. And so "by the church," 
that is, by God's dealings with the church, is " made known 
the manifold wisdom of God," even to these "heavenly 
principalities and powers *." In conclusion, Christ telleth 
us that in our state of blessedness we shall be " equal to the 
angels V' and so shall live with them for ever. 

Direct, iv. * When your thoughts of heaven are stagger- 
ing or strange, and when you are tempted to doubt whether 
indeed there is such a life of glory for the saints, it may be a 
great help to your faith, to think of the world of angels that 
already do possess it.' That there are such excellent and 
happy inhabitants of the superior orbs, besides what Scrip- 
ture saith, even reason will strongly persuade any rational 
man : 1. When we consider that sea, and land, and air, and 
all places of this lower, baser part of the world, are replen- 
ished with inhabitants suitable to their natures ; and there- 
fore that the incomparably more great and excellent orbs 
and regions should all be uninhabited, is irrational to 
imagine. 2. And as we see the rational creatures are made 
to govern the brutes in this inferior world, so reason telleth 
us it is improbable that the higher reason of the inhabitants 
of the higher regions should have no hand in the govern- 
ment of man. And yet God hath further condescended to 
satisfy us herein, by some unquestionable apparitions of 
good angels, and many more of evil spirits, which puts the 
matter past all doubt, that there are inhabitants of the un- 
seen world. And when we know that such there are, it 
maketh it the more easy to us to believe that such we may 
be, either numbered with the happy or unhappy spirits : 
considering the affinity which there is between the nature of 
our souls and them ; to conquer senseless Sadducism is a 
good step to the conquest of irreligiousness ; he that is 
well persuaded that there are angels and spirits, is much bet- 

^ 1 Cor. xi. 10. Eccles. v. 6. <= 1 Tim. v. 21. 

d 1 Pet.i. isf. e Eph. iii. 10. f Luke xx. 36. 


ter prepared than a Sadducee to believe the immortality of 
the soul ; and because the infinite distance between God 
and man, is apt to make the thoughts of our approaching 
his glory either dubious or very terrible, the remembrance 
of those myriads of blessed spirits that dwell now in the 
presence of that glory, doth much embolden and confirm 
our thoughts. As he that would be afraid whether he 
should have access to and acceptance with the king, would 
be much encouraged if he saw a multitude as mean as him- 
self, or not much unlike him, to be familiar attendants on 
him. I must confess such is my own weakness, that I find 
a frequent need of remembering the holy hosts of saints and 
angels, that are with God, to embolden my soul, and make 
the thoughts of heaven more familiar and sweet, by abating 
my strangeness, amazedness and fears ; and thus far to make 
them the media (that I say not the mediators) of my 
thoughts, in their approaches to the Most High and Holy 
God : (though the remembrance of Christ the true Mediator 
is my chief encouragement). Especially when we consider 
how fervently those holy spirits do love every holy person 
upon earth, and so that all those that dwell with God, are 
dearer friends to us, than our fathers or mothers here on 
earth are, (as is briefly proved before,) this will embolden 
us yet much more. 

Direct, v. ' Make use of the thoughts of the angelical 
hosts, when you would see the glory and majesty of Christ.' 
If you think it a small matter that he is the Head of the 
church on earth, a handful of people contemned by the sa- 
tanical part of the world, yet think what it is to be " Head 
over all things, far above all principality, and power, and 
might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not 
only in this world, but also in that which is to come," (that 
is, gave him a power, dignity and name, greater than any 
power, dignity or name of men or angels,) "and hath put, 
all things under his feet «." " Being made so much better 
than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more 
excellent name than they :" of him it is said, " Let all the 
angels of God worship him," Heb. i 4. 6. Read the whole 
chapter. Our Head is the Lord of all these hosts. 

Direct. \i. 'Make use of the remembrance of the glo- 

« Eph. i. 21, 2«. 
VOL. v. R 


rious angels, to acquaint you with the dignity of human na- 
ture, and the special dignity of the servants of God, and so 
to raise up your hearts in thankfulness to your Creator and 
Redeemer who hath thus advanced you^.' 1. What a dig- 
nity is it that these holy angels should be all ministering 
spirits sent for our good ! that they should love us, and con- 
cern themselves so much for us, as to rejoice in heaven at 
our conversion ! " Lord, what is man, that thou art mind- 
ful of him, and the son of man that thou visitest him ? For 
thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast 
crowned him with glory and honour*." 2. But yet it is a 
higher declaration of our dignity, that we should in heaven 
be equal with them, and so be numbered into their society, 
and join with them everlastingly in the praise of our Cre- 
ator. 3. And it is yet a greater honour to us, that our na- 
tures are assumed into union of person with the Son of God, 
and so advanced above the angels. " For he took not on 
him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham :" nor 
hath he put the world to come in subjection to the angels''. 
This is the Lord's doing, arid it is wondrous in our eyes. 

Direct, vii. * When you would admire the works of God 
and his government, look specially to the angels' part.' If 
God would be glorified in his works, then especially in the 
most glorious parts : if he take delight to work by instru- 
ments, and to communicate such excellency and honour to 
them as may conduce to the honour of the principal cause, 
we must not overlook their excellehcy and horiotir, linless 
we will deny God the honour which is due to him. As he 
that will see the excellent workmanship of a watch or any 
other engine, must not overlook the chiefest parts, nor their 
operation on the rest : so he that will see the excellent or- 
der of the works and government of God, must not over- 
look the angels, nor their offices in the government, and 
preservation of the inferior creatures, so far as God hath re- 
vealed it unto us. We spoil the music if we leave out these 
strings. It is a great part of the glory of the works of God, 
that all the parts in heaven and earth are so admirably con- 

•» Magna dignitas fideliutn animarum lit unaquseque habeat ab ortu nativitatis in 
custo(iiam sui angelum depiitatuin : iinoplures. Hieron. Luke xx. S6. 
» Psal. viii. 4,5. k Heb. ii. 5.16. 


joined and jointed as they are ; and each in their places 
contribute to the beauty and harmony of the whole. 

Direct, vm. 'When you would be apprehensive of the 
excellency of love and humility, and exact obedience to the 
will of God, look up to the angels, and see the lustre of all 
these virtues as they shine in them.' How perfectly do 
they love God and all his saints ! Even the weakest and 
meanest of the members of Christ ! With what humility 
do they condescend to minister for the heirs of salvation ; 
how readily and perfectly do they obey their Maker! 
Though our chiefest pattern is Christ himself, who came 
nearer to us, and appeared in flesh, to give us the example 
of all such duties, yet under him the example of angels is 
also to be observed, and with pleasure to be imitated. And 
ask the enemies of holiness, who urge you with the exam- 
ples of the great and learned, whether they are wiser than 
all the angels of God? 

Direct, ix. * When you are tempted to desire any inor- 
dinate communion with angels, as visibly appearing or af- 
fecting your senses, or to give them any part of the office or 
honour of Jesus Christ, then think how suitable that office 
is to your safety and benefit which God hath assigned 
them, and how much they themselves abhor aspiring to, or 
usurpation of, the office or honour of their Lord : and con- 
sider how much more suitable to your benefit this spiritual 
ministration of the angels is, than if they appeared to us in 
bodily shapes ^' In this spiritual communion they act ac- 
cording to their spiritual nature, without deceit ; and they 
serve us without any terrible appearances ; and without any 
danger of drawing us to sensitive, gross apprehensions of 
them, or enticing us to an unmeet adhesion to them, or ho- 
nouring of them : whereas if they appeared to us in visible 
shapes, we might easily be affrighted, confounded and left 
in doubt, whether they were good angels indeed or not. It 
IS our communion with God himself that is our happiness ; 
and communion with angels or saints is desirable but in 
order unto this : that kind of communion with angels there- 
fore is the best, which most advanceth us to communion 
with God ; and that reception of his mercy by instruments 

> Timet angelas adorari ab humaiia natura, quani videt in Deo sublimatam. 


is best, which least endangereth our inordinate adhesion to 
the instruments, and our neglect of God. We know not so 
well as God, what way is best and safest for us ; as it is dan- 
gerous desiring to mend his Word by any fancies of our 
own, which we suppose more fit ; so it is dangerous to de- 
sire to amend his government, and providence, and order, 
and to think that another way than that which in nature he 
hath stated and appointed, is more to our benefit. It is 
dangerous wishing God to go out of his way, and to deal 
with us, and conduct us in by-ways of our own ; in which 
we are ourselves unskilled, and of which we little know the 

Direct, x. 'When you are apt to be terrified with the 
fear of devils, think then of the guard of angels, and how 
much greater strength is for you than against you.' Though 
God be our only fundamental security, and our chiefest 
confidence must be in him, yet experience telleth us how 
apt we are to look to instruments, and to be affected as se- 
cond causes do appear to make for us or against us ; there- 
fore when appearing dangers terrify us, appearing or secon- 
dary helps should be observed to comfort and encourage us. 

Direct, xi. 'Labour to answer the great and holy love of 
angels with such great and holy love to them, as may help 
you against your unwillingness to die, and make you long 
for the company of them whom you so much love. And 
when death seemeth terrible to you because the world to 
come seems strange, remember that you are going to the so- 
ciety of those angels, that rejoiced in your conversion, and 
ministered for you here on earth, and are ready to convoy 
your souls to Christ"™.' Though the thoughts of God and 
our blessed Mediator should be the only final object to at- 
tract our love, and make us long to be in heaven, yet under 
Christ, the love and company of saints and angels must be 
thought on to further our desires and delight: for even in 
heaven God will not so be all to us, as to use no creature 

•» Siraus devoti, siinus grati tantis custodibus : redamemus eos quantum possti- 
mus, quantum deberaus efFectuose, &c. Bernard. Vae nobis si quando provocati 
sanctl angeli peccatis et negligentiis, indignos uos judicave»'int praesentia et visitatione 
sua, &c. Cavenda est nobis eorura offensa, et in his maxima exercendum, quibus eos 
novimus obleclari: haec autem placent eis qujE in nobis invenire -delectal, ut est so- 
brietas, castitas, &c. In quovis angulo reverentiam exhibe angelo, ne audeas illo 
praesente, quod me vidente non auderes. Bernard. 


for our comfort ; otherwise the glorified humanity of Christ 
would be no means of our comfort there : and the heavenly 
Jerusalem would not then have been set out to us by its cre- 
ated excellencies as it is Rev. xxi. xxii. Nor would it be 
any comfort to us in the kingdom of God, that we shall be 
with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob °. 

Direct, xii. ' Pray for the protection and help of angels, 
as part of the benefits procured for the saints by Christ ; 
and be thankful for it as a privilege of believers, excelling 
all the dignities of the ungodly. And walk with a reverence 
of their presence, especially in the worshipping of God.' It 
is not fit such a mercy should be undervalued or unthank- 
fully received : nor that so ordinary a means of our preser- 
vation should be overlooked, and not be sought of God by 
prayer. But the way to keep the love of angels, is to keep 
up the love of God : and the way to please them, is to please 
him ; for his will is theirs. 

Direct, xiii. * In all the worship you perform to God, 
remember that you join with the angels of heaven, and bear 
your part to make up the concert.' Do it therefore with 
that holiness, and reverence, and affection, as remembering 
not only to whom you speak, but also what companions 
you have ; and let there not be too great a discord either in 
your hearts or praises. O think with what lively, joyful 
minds they praise their glorious Creator ; and how unwea- 
ried they are in their most blessed work ! And labour to be 
like them in love and praise, that you may come to be equal 
with them in their glory **. 

" Luke xiii. 28. Matt. viii. 11. ^ Luke xx. 36. 





I HAVE something to say to thee of the number of these 
cases, somewhat of the order, and somewhat of the manner 
of handling and resolving them. I. That there are so many 
is because there are really so many difficulties which all 
men are not able to resolve. That they are no more, is 
partly because I could not remember then any more that 
were necessarily to be handled, and I was not willing to in- 
crease so great a book with things unnecessary, 

II. As to the order, I have some reasons for the order 
of most of them, which would be too tedious to open to 
you. But some of them are placed out of order, because, 
1. 1 could not remember them in due place. 2. And great 
haste allowed me not time to transpose them. If you say 
that in such a work I should take time, I answer. You are 
no competent judges, unless you knew me and the rest of 
my work, and the likelihood that my time will be but short. 
They that had rather take my writings with such defects 
which are the effects of haste, than have none of them, may 
use them, and the rest are free to despise them and neglect 
them. Two or three questions about the Scripture, I would 
have put nearer the beginning if I could have time ; but 
seeing I cannot, it is easy for you to transpose them in the 


III. The resolution of these Cases so much avoideth all 
the extremes, that I look they should be displeasing to all 
that vast number of Christians, who involve themselves in 
the opinions and interests of their several sects as such ; 
and that hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with res- 
pect of persons. But there will be still a certain number of 
truly Catholic, impartial readers, whose favourable accep- 
tance I confidently prognosticate ; and who, being out of 
the dust, and noise, and passions of contending sides and 
parties, and their interests, will see a self-evidencing light 
in those solutions, which are put off here briefly, without 
the pomp of formal argumentation, or persuading oratory. 
The eternal Light reveal himself to us, by Christ who is the 
Light of the world, and by the illumination of the Spirit and 
Word of Light j that we may walk in the Light, as the 
children of Light, till we come to the world of glorious, 
everlasting Light. And what other defect soever our know- 
ledge have, if any man hath knowledge enough to kindle in 
him the love of God, the same is known of Him, and there- 
fore is beloved by Him, and shall be blessed with and in 
Him for ever. 

Quest. I. How to know xohich is the true church, among all 
pretenders, that a Christian's conscience may he quiet in his 
relation and communion. 

I HAVE written so much of this already in four books, (viz. 
one called, " The Safe Religion," another called, ** A Key 
for Catholics," another called, "The Visibility of the 
Church,'* another called, ** A True Catholic, and the Cath- 
olic Church described,") that I shall say now but a little, 
and yet enough to an impartial, considerate reader. 

The terms must first be opened; L By a church is 
meant, a society of Christians as such. And it is some- 
times taken narrowly, for the body or members as distinct 
from the head, as the word kingdom is taken for the sub- 
jects only as distinct from the king; and sometimes more 
fully and properly for the whole political society, as con- 


stituted of its head and body, or the ' Pars imperans etpars 

2. The word church thus taken, signifieth sometimes 
the universal church called Catholic ; which consisteth of 
Christ and his body politic, or mystical ; and sometimes 
some part only of the universal church. And so it is taken 
either for a subordinate, political part, or for a community, 
or a part considered as consociate, but not political ; or as 
many particular, political churches agreeing and holding 
concord and communion without any common head, save 
the universal Head. 

3. Such political churches, are either of divine constitu- 
tion and policy, or only of human. 

2. By Christians, I mean such as profess the essentials 
of the Christian religion. For we speak of the church as 

3. By * true,' may be meant, either reality of essence, 
opposite to that which is not really a church in this une- 
quivocal acceptation ; or else sound and orthodox, in the 
integrals, as opposite to erroneous and defiled with much 
enormity. And now I thus decide that question. 

Prop. 1. The true Catholic church consisteth of Christ 
the Head, and all Christians as his body, or the members. 
As the kingdom consisteth of the king and his subjects *. 

Prop. II. As all the sincere heart-covenanters make up 
the church as regenerate, and mystical or invisible ; so all 
that are christened, that is, baptized, and profess consent 
to all the essentials of the baptismal covenant, not having 
apostatized, nor being by lawful power excommunicated, 
are Christians, and make up the church as visible*'. 

Prop. HI. Therefore there is but one universal church, 
because it containeth all Christians; and so leaveth out 
none to be the matter of another. ^ 

Prop. IV. It is not ignorance or error about the mere 
integrals of Christianity, which maketh them no Christians 
who hold the essentials, that is, the baptismal covenant *^. 

Prop. V. That the baptismal covenant might be rightly 

a 1 Cor. xi. 3. 1 Cor. xii. 12. Eph. i. 22, 23 1 Cor. vi. 15. 1 Cor. xii. 27 , 

b Eph. iv. 4,5. Matt, xxviii, 19, 20. 

•^ Eph. iv. 4, 5. 1 Cor. xii. 12. Mark xvi 16. 

'I 'Ronu xiv. 1. 6, 7. xv. 1. 3, 4. 


understood and professed, the churches have still used the 
creed as the explication of the covenant, in point of faith ; 
and taken it for the symbol of the Christian belief. And no 
further profession of faith was or is to be required, as ne- 
cessary to the being of Christianity®. 

Prop. VI. If proud usurpers or censurers take on them to 
excommunicate, or unchristian, or unchurch others, without 
authority and cause, this maketh them not to be no Chris- 
tians, or no churches, that are so used ^ 

Prop. VII. Therefore to know which is the true catholic 
or universal church is but to know who are baptized, pro- 
fessed Christians ^. 

Prop. VIII. The reformed churches, the Lutherans, the 
Abassines, the Coptics, the Syrians,- the Armenians, the Ja- 
cobites, the Georgians, the Maronites, the Greeks, the Mos- 
covites, and the Romanists, do all receive baptism in all its 
visible essentials, and profess all the essentials of the Chris- 
tian religion, though not with the same integrity''. 

Prop. IX. He that denieth any one essential part, in it- 
self, is so a heretic as to be no Christian, nor true member 
of the church, if it be justly proved or notorious ; that is, 
none ought to take him for a visible Christian, who know 
the proof of his denying that essential part of Christianity, 
or to whom it is notorious \ 

Prop. X. He that holdeth the essentials primarily, and 
with them holdeth some error which by unseen consequence 
subverteth some essential point, but holdeth the essentials 
so much faster, that he would forsake his error if he saw the 
inconsistence, is a Christian notwithstanding : and if the 
name heretic be applicable to him, it is but in such a sense, 
as is consistent with Christianity ^, 

Prop. XI. He that is judged a heretic and no Christian 
justly by others, must be lawfully cited, and heard plead 
his cause, and be judged upon sufficient, and not unheard, 
or upon rash presumption K 

Prop. XII. Christianity and heresy being personal qua- 
lities^ and no where found but in individuals, nor one man 

« I Cor. XV. 1, 2, &c. Matt, xxviii. 19, 20. ^ Roiu. xlv. 3, 4. 

K Roin. vi. 1, 2, &c. •» Ephes. iv. 4, 5. ' Tit. iii. 10. 3 Jolm. 

^ Jumes iii. 2. Phil. iii. 15, 16. Hcb. v. 1, y. ' Til. iii. 10. 


guilty of another's errors, it followeth that it is single per- 
sons upon personal guilt that must be judged '". 

Prop. XIII. Any man may judge another to be a Chris- 
tian or heretic, by a private judgment of discerning, or the 
reason which guideth all human actions : but only church- 
rulers may judge him by that public judgment, which 
giveth or denieth him his public privileges and com- 
munion ", 

Prop. XIV. If by notorious injustice church-rulers con- 
demn Christians as no Christians, though they may thereby 
deny them communion with those public assemblies which 
they govern, yet do they not oblige the people to take such 
injured persons for no Christians. Else they might oblige 
all to believe a lie, to consent to malicious injuries, and 
might disoblige the people from truth, righteousness, and 
charity °. 

Prop. XV. There is no one natural or collective head and 
governor of all the churches in the world (the universal 
church) but Jesus Christ ; and therefore there is none that 
by such governing power, can excommunicate any man out 
of the universal church : and such usurpation would be 
treason against Christ, whose prerogative it is p. 

Prop. XVI. Yet he that deserveth to be excommunicated 
from one church, deserveth to be excommunicated by and 
from all, if it be upon a cause common to all ; or that nul- 
lified his Christianity % 

Prop. XVII. And where neighbour churches are con^o- 
ciate and live in order and concord, he that is orderly ex- 
communicate from one church, and it be notified to the rest, 
should not be taken into the communion of any of the rest, 
till he be cleared, or become fit for their communion ^. But 
this obligation ariseth but from the concord of consociate 
churches, and not from the power of one over the rest : and 
it cannot reach all the world, where the person cometh not, 
nor was ever known ; but only to those who through neigh- 

m Ezek. xviii. 17. Gen. xviii. 28—^5. 
» 1 Cor. X. 15. Acts i. 19. 1 Cor. v. 3 — 5. xi. 3, 
o Matt. V. 11, 12. John xvi. 2. 

p 1 Cor. xii. 27—29. Ephes. iv. 5—7. 1 Cor. i. 12, 13. iii. 22. 23. 
Epbes. V. 23. iv. 15. Col. i. 18. ii. 19. 

q 3 John. »■ Ephes, r. 1 1. 1 Cor. v. 11. 


bourhood are capable of just notice, and of giving or deny- 
ing communion to that person. 

Pr(rp. XVIII. From all this it is clear, that it is not either 
Papists alone, or Greeks alone, or Protestants alone, or any 
party of Christians, who are the universal church, seeing 
that church containeth all Christians ^ And that reviling 
others (yea, whole nations) as heretics, schismatics, and no 
Christians or churches, will no more prove the revilers to 
be the only church or Christians, than want of love will 
prove a man to be one of Christ's disciples, who by love are 
known to all men to be his. 

Prop. XIX. It is therefore the shameful language of dis- 
tracted men, to cry out against other Christian nations, ' It 
is not you, but we that are the Catholic or universal church.' 
And our shameful controversy, which of them is the Ca- 
tholic, is no wiser than to question. Whether it be this 
house or that which is the street ? Or this street or that 
which is the city ? Or whether it be the kitchen, or the 
hall, or the parlour which is the house ? Or the hand, or 
foot, or eye which is the man ? O when will God bring 
distracting teachers to repentance, and distracted people to 
their wits * ! 

Prop. XX. There is a great difference in the purity or 
soundness of the several parts of the universal church ; 
some being more orthodox and holy, and some defiled with 
so many errors and sins, as to make it difficult to discern 
whether they do not deny the very essentials ". 

Prop, XXI. The reformed churches are the soundest and 
purest that we know in the world, and therefore their privi- 
lege exceeding great, though they are not all the universal 

Prop. XXII. Particulai- churches consisting of lawful 
pastors and Christian people, associated for personal com- 
munion in worship and holy living, are societies or true 
churches of Christ's institution, and the chief parts of the 
universal church : as cities and corporations are of the 
kingdom *. - 

• I Cor. xii. 12. John xiii. 35. l Cor. xiii, 1, 2, &c. 
' I Cor. xii. 12. vi. 17. ». 17. Ephes. iv. 3, &c. " Gal. iv. 11, ly. 

" R«v. ill. 8—12. ii. 10, 11. Acbxiv. 22. Tit. i. 5. Rom. xri. 4. 16. 
I Cor. vii. 17. xi. 16. xiv. 33, 34. 2 Thcss. i. 4. Kcv. ii. 23. 


Prop, xxiii. There are thousands of these in the world, 
and a man may be saved in one, as well as in another ; only 
the purest give him the best advantages for his salvation ; 
and therefore should be preferred by all that are wise and 
love their souls, so far as they are free to choose their 

Prop. XXIV. The case then being easily resolved, (which 
is the true church ?) viz. All Christians as Christians are 
the Catholic or universal church ^ ; and all congregations 
afore described, of true pastors and Christians being parti- 
cular true churches, differing only in degrees of purity, he 
is to be suspected as a designing deceiver and troubler of 
the world, that pretending to be a learned man and a 
teacher, doth still perplex the consciences of the ignorant 
with this frivolous question, and would muddy and obscure 
this clear state of the case, lest the people should rest in the 
discerned truth. 

Prop. XXV. The Papal church as such, being no true 
church of Christ's institution (of which by itself anon) it 
foUoweth that a Papist as a Papist is no member of the 
church of Christ, that is, no Christian^. But yet, whether 
the same person may not be a Papist and a Christian, 
and so a member of the Catholic church, we shall anon 

Prop. XXVI. There are many things which go to make 
up the fitness and desirableness of that particular church, 
which we should prefer or choose for our ordinary perso- 
nal communion ^ : as, 1. That it be the church of that place 
where we dwell ; if that place be so happy as to have no 
divided churches, that it be the sole church there ; how- 
ever that it be so near as to be fit for our communion. 2. 
That it be a church which holdeth communion with other 
neighbour churches, and is not singular or divided from 
them ; or at least not from the generality of the churches of 
Christ ; nor differeth in any great matters from those that 
are most pure. 3. That it be under the reputation of 
soundness with the other churches aforesaid, and not under 
the scandal of heresy, schism, or gross corruption among 

> 1 Cor. i. 13. Rom. xvi. 17. Acts xx. 30. 
z Acts ii. 44. 1 Cor. i. 10. 1 Thcss. v. 12, 13. 
« Heb. X. !2.5. 1 Tim. iii. 7. 3 .Tohn 12. 


those that live about ^. 4. That it be under the counte- 
nance and encouraging' favour of the Christian magistrate., 
5. That it be the same church of which the rest of the fa- 
mily which we are of, be members ; that husband and wife, 
parents and children, masters and servants be not of seve- 
ral churches. 6. That the pastors be able teachers, pru- 
dent guides, and of holy lives, and diligent in their office. 
7. That the pastors be regularly called to their office. 8. 
That the members be intelligent, peaceable, and of holy, 
temperate, and righteous lives. But when all these cannot 
be had together, we must choose that church which hath 
those qualifications which are most needful, and bear with 
tolerable imperfections. The most needful are the first, se- 
cond, and sixth of these qualifications. 

Prop. XXVII. He that is free, should choose that church 
which is the fittest for his own edification ; that is, the best 
pastors, people and administrations. 

Prop. XXVIII. A man's freedom is many ways restrained 
herein. As, 1. When it will tend to a greater public hurt, 
by disorder, ill example, division, discouragement, &c. 2. 
When superiors forbid it ; as husbands, parents, masters, 
magistrates. 3. By some scandal. 4. By the distance or 
inconvenience of our dwelling. 5. By differences of judg- 
ment, and other causes of contention in the said churches : 
and many other ways *". 

Prop. XXIX. A free man who removeth from one church 
to another for his edification, is not therefore a separatist 
or schismatic ; but it must not be done by one that is not 
free, but upon such necessity as freeth him. 

Prop. XXX. It is schism or sinful separation to separate 
from, 1. A true church as no true church. 2. From lawful 
worship and communion, as lawful ; but of this more in 
its proper place. 

»» Acts x»i. 32. 34. x. «. 22. xviii. 8. Col. iv. 15. 

« Of these things I have said so much in my "Cure of Church-divisions," and 
m the " Defence" of it, and in the end of ray '* Reasons of Christian Religion," 
Consect. i. ii. that I pass them over here with the more brevity. 


Quest. II. Whether we must esteem the church of Rome a true 
church? And in what sense some divines affirm it, and some 
deny it.' 

Want of some easy distinguishing hath made that seem 
a controversy here, which is so plain, that it can hardly be 
any at all to Protestants, if the question had been but truly 
stated ^. 

Remember therefore that by a church is meant, not a 
mere company of Christians, any how related to each other ; 
but a society consisting of an ecclesiastical head and body, 
such as we call a political society. 2. And that we speak 
not of an accidental head (such as the king is, because he 
governeth them * suo modo' by the sword) ; for that is not 
an essential constitutive part ; but of a constitutive eccle- 
siastical head and body. 3. That the question is not. 
Whether the church of Rome be a part of the church, but 
whether it be a true church ? And now I answer, 

1. To affirm the church of Rome to be the Catholic or 
universal church, is more than to affirm it to be a true Ca- 
tholic church, that is, a true part of the Catholic church ; 
and is as much as to say that it is the whole and only 
church, and that there is no other; which is odious false- 
hood and usurpation, and slander against all other churches. 

2. The church of Rome, is so called in the question, as 
it is a policy or church in a general sense ; and the meaning 
of the question is. Whether it be a divine, or a human or 
diabolical policy ; a lawful church. 

3. The church of Rome is considered, 1. Formally, as a 
church or policy. 2. Materially, as the singular persons 
are qualified. It is the form that denominateth. Therefore 
the question must be taken of the Roman policy, or of the 
church of Rome as such ; that is, as it is one ruler pretend- 
ing to be the vicarious, constitutive, governing head of all 
Christ's visible church on earth, and the body which owneth 
him in this relation. 

4. Therefore I conclude (and so do all Protestants) that 
this policy or church of Rome is no true church of Christ's 
instituting or approbation, but a human, sinful policy formed 

•1 See Mr. Barton's and Bp. Hall's contest hereabouts. 


by the temptation of satan the prince of pride, deceit, and 
darkness. The proof of which is the matter of whole loads 
of Protestant writings. And indeed the proof of their po- 
licy being incumbent on themselves, they fail in it, and are 
still fain to fly to pretended, false tradition for proof, in 
which the sophisters know that either they must be judges 
themselves, and it must go for truth because they say it ; or 
else that if they can carry the controversy into a thicket or 
wood of fathers and church history, at least they can con- 
found the ignorant, and evade themselves. Of this see 
my " Disput. vfith. Johnson," and my '* Key for Catho- 
lics," &c. 

6. The bishop of the English Papists, Smith called 
bishop of Chalcedon, in his Survey, cap. v. saith, ' To us it 
sufficeth that the bishop of Rome is St. Peter's successor ; 
and this all the fathers testify, and all the Catholic church 
believeth ; but whether it be 'jure divino' or 'humano' is no 
point of faith.' The like hath Davenport *, called Fransc. a 
Sancta Clar^ more largely. By this let the reader j udge whe- 
ther we need more words to prove their church to be such as 
Christ never instituted, when the belief of their divine right, 
is no part of their own faith. 

6. If the church of Rome in its formal policy be but of 
human institution, it is, 1. Unnecessary to salvation. 2. 
Unlawful ; because they that first instituted it had no au- 
thority so to do, and were usurpers. For either the makers 
of it were themselves a church or no church. If no church, 
they could not lawfully make a church : infidels or heathens 
are not to be our church makers. If a church, then there 
was a church before the church of Rome, and that of another 
form. And if that former form were of Christ's institution, 
man might not change it ; if not, who made that form ? and 
so on. 

7. Our divines therefore that say that the church of 
Rome is a true church, though corrupt, do not speak of it 
formally as to the Papal policy or headship, but materially. 
1. That all Papists that are visible Christians are visible 
parts of the universal church. 2. That their particular con- 
gregations considered abstractedly from the Roman head- 
ship may be true particular churches, though corrupt; 

« system. Fidei. 


which yet being the only difficulty shall be the matter of 
our next inquiry. 

Quest. HI. Whether we must take the Romish clergy for true 
ministers of Christ ? And whether their baptism and ordi- 
nation be nullities. 

I join these two distinct Questions together for brevity. 

I. As true signifieth regularly called, so they are com- 
monly irregular and not true ministers. But as true sig- 
nifieth real opposed to a nullity, so it is now to be further 

The doubt lieth either of the sufficiency of his call, or 
of somewhat that is supposed to destroy it by contradiction 
or redundancy. 1 . Whether he want any thing of absolute 
necessity to the office, who is called in the church of 
Rome, or 2. Whether there be any thing in his office or en- 
trance, which nullifieth or invalidateth that which else would 
be sufficient. 

For the first doubt, it is not agreed on among Papists or 
Protestants what is of necessity to the being of the office. 
Some think real godliness in the person is necessary ; but 
most think not. Some think that visible, that is, seeming, 
professed godliness, not disproved by mortal sin is necessary ; 
and some think not. Some think the people's election is 
necessary, and that ordination is but ' ad bene esse ;' and 
some think ordination necessary ' ad esse,' and election * ad 
bene esse,' or not at all ; and some think both necessary 
' ad esse,' and some neither. Some think the election of 
the people is necessary, and some think only their consent 
is necessary, though after their election by others : some 
think it must be the consent of all the flock or near all ; and 
some only of the major part ; and some of the better part, 
though the minor. Some think the ordination of a dioce- 
san bishop necessary ' ad esse,' and some not. Some think 
the truth of the ordainers calling, or power, to be necessary 
to the validity of his ordination, and some not. Some think 
the number of two, or three, or more ordainers to be neces- 
sary, and some not. Some think it necessary to the validity 
of the ministry that it come down from the apostles by an 
uninterrupted succession of truly ordained bishops, and 


some think not. Some few think that the magistrate's com- 
mand or licence is necessary, and only it, and most deny 
both. Johnson, alias Terret, the Papist, in his Disputa- 
tion against me, maintaineth that consecration is not neces- 
sary ' ad esse,' nor any one way of election, by these or 
those, but only the church's reception upon such an elec- 
tion as may give them notice, and which may be different, 
according to different times, places, and other circum- 

In the midst of these confusions, what is to be held ? 
I have opened the case as fully and plainly as I can, in my 
second " Disput. of Church Government," about ordination, 
to which I must refer the reader : only here briefly touching 
upon the sum. 

1. There are some personal qualifications necessary to 
the being of the office (of which anon), and some only to 
the well-being ^ 

2. The efficient conveying cause of power or office, 
is God's will signified in his own established law ; in which 
he determineth that such persons so called shall receive 
from him such power, and be obliged to such office-admi- 
nistrations s. 

3. Any providence of God which infallibly or satisfac- 
torily notifieth to the church, who these persons are, that 
receive such power from God, doth oblige them to submit 
to them as so empowered. 

4. God's ordinary established way of regular designa- 
tion of the person, is by the church's consent, and the se- 
nior pastor's ordination. 

5. By these actions they are not the proper donors or 
efficients of the power, or office given, but the consent of 
the people and the ordination do determine of the recipient, 
and so are regularly 'causa sine qua non' of his reception. 
And the ordination is moreover a solemn investiture in the 
office : as when a servant is sent by delivering a key to de- 
liver possession of a house, by his master's consent, to him 
that had before the owner's grant ; and so it ceremoniously 
entereth him into visible possession ; like the solemnizing 
of marriage, or the listing of a soldier, &c. 

' Ephes. iv. 6 — 11. 

* Matt, xxviii. 11. 20. Tit. i. 5. Acts xx. 28. xiv, 23. 1 Pet. v. 2. 

VO L. V. S 


6. The people's consent (before or after) is not only by 
institution, but naturally necessary, that a man become a 
pastor to those persons (for no man can learn, obey, &c. 
without consent) : but it is not of necessity to the being of 
the ministry in general, or in the first instant : a man with- 
out it may be authorized as a minister to go preach the Gos- 
pel for conversion, and baptize and gather churches, though 
not to be their stated pastor. 

7. When death, distance, corruption, heresy or mahgnity 
of pastors within reach, maketh it impossible to have ordina- 
tion, God's choice of the person may be notified without it ; 
as by 1. Eminent qualifications. 2. The people's real ne- 
cessities. 3. And the removal of impediments, and a con- 
currence of inviting opportunities and advantages. 4. And 

^sometimes the people's desire » 5. And sometimes the ma- 
gistrate's commission or consent ; which though not abso- 
lutely necessary in themselves ; yet may serve to design the 
person and invest him, when the ordinary way faileth ; 
which is all that is left to man to do, to the conveyance of 
the power. 

The case being thus stated, as to what is necessary to 
give the power or office, we may next inquire whether any 
Papist priest have such power, by such means. 

And, 1. We have sufficient reason to judge that many 
of them have all the personal qualifications which are essen- 
tially necessary. 2. Many among them have the consent of 
a sober Christian people (of which more anon). And Mr. 
Jacob who was against bishops and their ordination, proveth 
at large, that by election or consent of the people alone, a 
man may be a true pastor, either without such ordination, 
or notwithstanding both the vanity and error of it. 3. Many 
of them have ordination by able and sober bishops ; if that 
also be necessary. 4. In that ordination, they are invested 
in all that is essential to the pastoral office. 

So that I see not that their calling is a nullity through de- 
fect of any thing of absolute necessity to its being and vali- 
dity ; though it be many ways irregular and sinful, 

IL We aTe next therefore to inquire whether any con- 
tradicting additions make null that which else would be ao 
nullity. And this is the great difficulty. For as we ac- 
cuse not their religion for being too little, but too much, so 
this is our chief doubt about their ministry. 



And 1. It is doubted, as to the office itself, whether a 
mass-priest be a true minister, as having another work to 
do, even to make his maker, and to give Christ's real flesh 
with his hands to the people ; and to preach the unsound 
doctrines of their church ; and these seem to be essential 
parts of his function. 

The case is very bad and sad ; but that which I said 
about the heresies or errors which may consist with Chris* 
tianity, when they overthrow it but by an undiscerned con- 
sequence, must be here also considered. The prime part of 
their office is that (as to the essentials) which Christ ordain- 
ed : this they receive, and to this they sew a filthy rag of 
man's devising ; but if they knew this to be inconsistent 
with Christianity or the essentials of the ministry, we may 
well presume (of many of them) they would not receive it. 
Therefore as an error which consequentially contradicteth 
some essential article of faith, nullifieth not his Christianity 
who first and fastest holdeth the faith, and would cast away 
the error if he saw the contradiction, (as Davenant, Morton, 
and Hall have shewed, Epist. Conciliat ). So it is to be 
said as to practical error in the present case. They are 
their grievous errors and sins, but for ought I see, do not 
nullify their office to the church. As a mass-priest, he is 
no minister of Christ, (as an anabaptist is not as a re-bap- 
tizer, nor a separatist gts a separater, nor an antinomian, or 
any erroneous person as a preacher of that error) ; but as a 
Christian pastor ordained to preach the Gospel, baptize, ad- 
minister the Lord's supper, pray, praise God, guide the 
church, he may be. 

The same answer serveth to the objection as it extei>dr 
eth to the erroneous doctrines which they preach, which 
are but by consequence against the essentials of religion. 

2. But it is a greater doubt. Whether any power of the 
Ministry can be conveyed by antichrist, or from him ? And 
whether God will own any of antichrist's administrations ? 
Therefore seeing they profess themselves to have no office 
but what they receive from the pope, and Christ disowning 
Jbis usmpsLtion, the same man cannot be the minister of Christ 
and antichrist ; as the same man cannot be an officer in the 
king's army and his enemies. 

But this will have the same solution as the formipr. If 


this antichrist were the open, professed enemy to Christ, 
then all this were true : because their corrupt additions 
would not by dark consequences, but so directly contain 
the denial of Christianity or the true ministry, that it were 
not possible to hold both. But (as our divines commonly 
note) antichrist is to sit in the temple of God, and the pope's 
treason is under pretence of the greatest service and friend- 
ship to Christ, making himself his vicar general without his 
commission. So that they that receive power from him, do 
think him to be Christ's vicar indeed, and so renounce not 
Christ, but profess their first and chief relation to be to him, 
and dependance on him, and that they would have nothing 
to do with the pope, if they knew him to be against Christ. 
And some of them write, that the power or office is imme- 
diately from Christ, and that the pope, ordainers, and elec- 
tors do but design the person that shall receive it ; (because 
else they know not what to say of the election and conse- 
cration of the pope himself, who hath no superior). And 
the Spanish bishops in the council of Trent held so close to 
this, that the rest were fain to leave it undetermined ; so that 
it is no part of their religion, but a doubtful opinion. Whe- 
ther the power of bishops be derived from the pope, though 
they be governed by him. 

But as to the other, the case seemeth like this : if a sub- 
ject in Ireland usurp the lieutenancy, and tell all the people 
that he hath the king's commission to be his lieutenant, and 
command all to submit to him, and receive their places from 
him, and obey him ; and the king declareth him a traitor, 
(antecedently only by the description of his laws,) and mak- 
eth it the duty of the subjects to renounce him : those that 
now know the king's will, and yet adhere to the usurper, 
though they know that the king is against it, are traitors 
with him : but those from whom he keepeth the knowledge 
of the laws, and who for want of full information, believe 
him to be really the king's lieutenant, (and specially living 
where all believe it,) but yet would renounce him if they 
knew that he had not the kinsi's commission ; these are the 
king's subjects, though in ignorance they obey an usurper. 
And on this account it is that Archbishop Usher concluded, 
that * an ignorant Papist might be saved, but the learned 
hardly.' But when the learned, through the disadvantages 


of their education, are under the same ignorance, being 

learned but on one side to their greater seduction, the case 

may be the same. 

The same man therefore may receive an office from 

Christ, who yet ignorantly submitteth to the pope, and re- 

ceiveth corrupt additions from him. 

But suppose I be mistaken in all this, yet to come to the 

second question, 

III. Whether baptism and ordination given by them be 
nullities ? I answer, no ; on a further account, 1 . Because 
that the ministry which is a nullity to the receiver, (that is, 
God will punish him as an usurper,) may yet perform those 
ministerial acts which are no nullities to the church •'. Else 
how confused a case would all churches be in ? For it is 
hard ever to know whether ministers have all things essen- 
tial to their office. Suppose a man be ignorant, or an here- 
tic against some essential article of faith ; or suppose that 
he feigned orders of ordination when he had none ; or that 
he was ordained by such as really had no power to do it; 
or suppose he pretended the consent of the majority of the 
people, when really the greater part were for another : if all 
this be unknown, his baptizing and other administrations 
are not thereby made nullities to the church, though they be 
sins in him. The reason is, because that the church shall 
not suffer, nor lose her right for another man's sin ! When 
the fault is not theirs, the loss and punishment shall not be 
theirs. He that is found in possession of the place, per- 
formeth valid administration to them that know not his 
usurpation, and are not guilty of it. Otherwise we should 
never have done re-baptizing, nor know easily when we re- 
ceive any valid administrations, while we are so disagreed 
about the necessaries of the office and call; and when 
it is 80 hard in all things to judge of the call of all other 

2. And as the Papists say, that a private man or woman 
may baptize in extremity, so many learned Protestants think, 
that though a private man's baptism be a sin, yet it is no 
nullity, though he were known to be no minister. 

And what is said of baptism, to avoid tediousness, you 
may suppose said of ordination, which will carry the first case 
" Matt. Tii. 23— J5. PhU.i. 1.5—17, Mark ix. 40. 


far, as to the validity of the ministry received by Papist's 
ordination> as well as of baptism and visible Christianity re- 
ceived by them. For my part, God used Parson's ** Book of 
Resolution Corrected/' so much to my good, and I have 
known so many eminent Christians, and some ministers 
converted by it, that I am glad that I hear none make a con- 
troversy of it, whether the conversion, faith, or love to God 
be valid, which we receive by the books or means of any 
Papist ! 

Quest. IV. Whether it he necessary to believe that the pope is 
the antichrist ? 

It is one question, whether he be antichrist, and ano- 
ther, whether it be necessary to believe it ? To the first I 
say, I. There are many antichrists : and we must remove 
the ambiguity of the name, before we can resolve the ques- 
tion. If by antichrist be meant, * One that usurps the of- 
fice of a universal vicar of Christ, and constitutive and go- 
verning head of the whole visible church, and hereby layeth 
the ground of schisms, and contentions, and bloodshed in 
the world, and would rob Christ of all his members, who are 
not of the pope's kingdom, and that form a multifarious mi- 
nistry for this service, and corrupteth much of the doctrine, 
worship, and discipline of the church j' in this sense no 
doubt but the pope is antichrist. 

But if by antichrist be meant him particularly described 
in the Apocalypse and Thessalonians, then the controversy 
' de re,' is about the exposition of those dark prophecies. 
Of which I can say no more but this, 1. That if the pope be 
not he ; he had ill luck to be so like him. 2. That Dr. 
More's moral arguments, and Bishop Downham's and many 
others' expository arguments, are such as I cannot answer. 
3. But yet my skill is not so great in interpreting those ob- 
scure prophecies, as that I can say I am sure that it is the 
pope they speak of, and that Lyra, learned Zanchy, and 
others that think it is Mahomet, or others that otherwise in- 
terpret them, were mistaken. 

II. But to the second question, I more boldly say, 1. 
That every one that indeed knoweth this to be the sense of 
those texts, is bound to believe it. 


2. But that God who hath not made it of necessity to 
salvation to understand many hundred plainer texts, nor abso- 
lutely to understand more than the articles and fundamentals 
of our religion, hath much less made it necessary to salvation 
to understand the darkest prophecies. 

3. And that as the suspicion should make all Christians 
cautious, what they receive from Rome, so the obscurity 
should make all Christians take heed, that they draw from 
it no consequences destructive to love, or order, or any 
truth, or Christian duty. And this is the advice I give to 

Quest. V. Whether we must hold that a Papist mai/ be saved? 

This question may be resolved easily from what is said 

1. A Papist as a Papist, that is, by popery, will never 
be saved, no more than a man's life by a leprosy. 

2. If a Papist be saved, he must be saved against, and 
from popery, either by turning from the opinion, and then 
he is no Papist, or by preserving his heart from the power of 
his own opinions '. And the same we may say of every error 
and sin. He that is saved, must be saved from it, at least 
from the power of it on the heart, and from the guilt of it 
by forgiveness. 

^. Every one that is a true, sincere Christian in faith, 
love, and true obedience shall be saved, what error soever 
he hold that doth consist with these. 

4. As many Antinomians and other erroneous persons, 
do hold things which by consequence subvert Christianity ; 
and yet not seeing the inconsistence, do hold Christianity 
first and faster, in heart and sincere practice, and would re- 
nounce their error if they saw the inconsistence, so is it 
with many Papists. And that which they hold first, and 
fastest, and practically, doth save them from the power, 
operations, and poison of their own opinions : as an anti- 
dote or the strength of nature may save a man from a small 
quantity of poison. 

5. Moreover we have cause to judge that there are mil- 

' Vid. Hun. Eccl. Rom. non est Christiana: and Perkins. A Papist cannot go 
beyond a reprobate. 


lions among the Papists, corrupted with many of their lesser 
errors, who yet hold not their greater ; that believe not that 
none are Christians but the pope's subjects, and that Christ's 
kingdom and the pope's are of the same extent, or that he 
can remit men's pains in another world, or that the bread 
and wine are no bread and wine, or that men merit of God 
in point of commutative justice, or that we must adore or 
worship the bread, or yet the cross or image itself, &c., or 
that consent to abundance of the clergy's tyrannical usur- 
pations and abuses : and so being not properly Papists, 
may be saved, if a Papist might not. And we the less know 
how many or few among them are really of the clergy's reli- 
gion and mind, because by terror they restrain men from 
manifesting their judgment, and compel them to comply in 
outward things. 

6. But as fewer that have leprosies, or plagues, or that 
take poison escape, than of other men, so we have great 
cause to believe, that much fewer Papists are saved, than 
such as escape their errors. And therefore all that love 
their souls should avoid them. 

7. And the trick of the priests who persuade people that 
theirs is the safest religion, because we say that a Papist 
may be saved, and they say that a Protestant cannot, is so 
palpable a cheat, that it should rather deter men from their 
way. For God is love ; and he that dwelleth in love dwell- 
eth in God : and all men must know us to be Christ's dis- 
ciples, by loving one another : and he that saith he loveth 
God, and loveth not his brother, is a liar : and charity be- 
lieveth all things credible. That religion is likest to be of 
God which is most charitable, and not that which is most 
uncharitable, and malicious, and like to satan. 

To conclude, no man shall be saved for being no Papist, 
much less for being a Papist. And all that are truly holy, 
heavenly, humble lovers of God, and of those that are his 
servants, shall be saved. But how many such are among 
the Papists, God only knoweth who is their Judge. 

The questions whether the Greeks, Abassines, Nesto- 
rians, Eutychians, Antinomians, Anabaptists, &c. may be 
saved, must be all resolved as this of the Papists, allowing 
for the different degrees of their corruption. And therefore 


I must desire the reader to take up with this answer for all, 
and excuse me from unnecessary repetition. 

As for such disputers as my antagonist Mr. Johnson, 
who insisteth on that of Tit. iii. 10. " A man that is an here- 
tic is condemned of himself;" when he hath proved 

that the word heretic hath but one signification, I will say 
as he doth. Till then, if he will try who shall be damned by 
bare equivocal words, without the definition, let him take 
his course, for I will be none of his imitators. 

Quest. VI. Whether those that are in the church of Rome, are 
bound to separate from it ? And whether it he lawful to go 
to their mass or other worship. 

These two also for brevity I join together. 

1. To the first, we must distinguish of separation : 1. It 
is one thing to judge that evil which is evil, and separate 
from it in judgment. 2. It is another thing to express this 
by forbearing to subscribe, swear, or otherwise approve that 
evil. 3. And another thing to forbear communion with 
them in the mass and image-worship, and gross or known 
sins. 4. And another thing to forbear all communion with 
them, even as to baptism and other lawful things. 5. And 
another thing to use some open detestations or protestations 
against them. 

2. And we must distinguish much of persons, whether 
they be ministers or people, free or bound, as wives, chil- 
dren, &c. And now I answer. 

1. There is no question but it is a duty to judge all that 
evil which is evil among the Papists or any other. 

2. It is the duty of all to forbear subscribing, swearing 
to, or otherwise approving evil. 

3. It is the duty of all mass-priests to renounce that part 
of their calling, and not to administer their mass, or any 
other unlawful thing. 

4. It is the duty of all private Christians to forbear com- 
munion in the mass, because it is a kind of idolatry, while 
they worship a piece of bread as God : as also image-wor- 
ship, and all other parts of their religion, in which they are 
put upon sin themselves, or that which is notorious scandal 


and symbolizing with them in their bread-worship, or other 
corruptions of the substance of God's ordinances. 

5. It is their duty who have fit opportunity, (when it is 
like to do more good than harm,) to protest against the pa- 
pal corruptions where they are, and to declare their detesta- 
tion of them. 

6. It is the duty of those that have children to be 
baptized or catechized, to make use of more lawful and 
sound ministers, when they may be had, rather than of a Pa- 
pist priest. 

7. But in case they cannot remove, or enjoy better, I 
think it is lawful, 1. To let such baptize their children, ra- 
ther than leave them unbaptized. 2. To let their children 
be taught by them to read, or in arts and sciences, or the 
catechism, and common principles of religion, so they will 
mix no dangerous errors. 3. And to hear those of them 
preach, who preach soundly and piously, (such as were 
Gerrhard, Zutphaniensis, Thaulerus, Ferus, and many 
more). 4. And to read such good books as these now men- 
tioned have written. 5. And to join with them in such 
prayers as are sound and pious, so they go no further. 

8. And wives, children, and such other as are bound, 
and cannot lawfully remove, may stay among them, and take 
up with these helps, dealing faithfully in abstaining from 
the rest. 

II. The second question is answered in this. Only I 
add, that it is one thing to be present as Elias was, in a way 
of opposition to them ; or as disputants are, that open their 
errors ; or as a wise man may go to hear or see what they 
do, without compliance, as we read their books ; and it is 
another thing to join with them in their sinful worship, or 
scandalously to encourage them in it by seeming so to do. 
See Calv. contr. Nicod. &c. 

Quest. VII. Whether the true calling of the minister hy ordina- 
tion or election, ^c, he necessary to the essence of the church! 

By a church here we mean a political society of Chris- 
tians, and not any assembly or community. And no doubt 
pastor and flock are the constitutive parts of such a church ; 
and where either of them are notoriously wanting, it is noto- 


rious that there is no triie church. Therefore all the doubt 
is, whether such parts of his call be necessary to the being 
of the ministry, or not ? And here we must conclude, that 
the word ' ministry' and * church' are ambiguous. By a 
minister or pastor is meant either one that God so far owneth 
as to accept and justify his administrations as for himself, 
even his own good and salvation ; or one whose administra- 
tions God will own, accept, and bless to the people. 

I. In the former sense, 1. He is no true minister that 
wanteth the essential qualifications of a minister, viz. that 
hath not (1.) The understanding and belief of all the arti- 
cles of faith, without heresy. (2.) Tolerable ability to teach 
these to the people, and perform the other essentials of his 
office. (3 ) Sincere godliness, to do all this in love and 
obedience to God as his servant, in order to life eternal. 
2. And he is thus no true pastor as to God's acceptance of 
himself, who hath not a lawful calling ; that is, (1.) Ordina- 
tion, when it may be had. (2.) The consent or reception of 
that church of which he pretendeth to be pastor, which ig 
still necessary, and must be had, if ordination cannot. 

II. But in the second sense, he is a pastor so far as that 
God will own his administrations as to the people's good, 
who, 1. Hath possession. 2. And seemeth to them to have 
necessary qualifications, and a lawful call, though it prove 
otherwise, so be it, it be not through their wilful fault, that 
he is culpable, or they mistaken in him. If he be not a true 
believer, but an infidel, or heretic, he is no minister as to 
himself, that is, God will use him as an usurper that hath no 
title'' : but if he profess to be a believer when he is not, he 
is a true pastor visibly to the people ; otherwise they could 
never know when they have a pastor : even as real faith 
makes a real Christian, and professed faith makes a visible 
Christian, so is it as to the ministry. If he seem to under- 
stand the articles of faith, and do not, or if he seem to have 
due ordination when he hath not, if he be upon this mistake 
accepted by the people, he is a true visible pastor as to 
them, that is, as to their duty and benefit, though not as to 
himself. Yea, the people's consent to his entrance is not 
necessary * ad esse,' nor to his relation neither, so far as to 
justify himself, but to his administrations and to his rela- 

^ Acts i. 17. Matt. vii. ««. 


tion, so far as their own right and benefit are inter.ested in it. 
So that two things are necessary to such a visible pastor as 
shall perform valid administrations to the church, 1. Seem- 
ing necessary qualifications and calling to it. 2. Possession, 
by the people's reception or consent to his administrations 
and relation so far as to their benefit. 

And III. Thus also we must distinguish of the word 
' church.' It is, 1. Such an entire Christian society as hath 
a minister or pastor whose office is valid as to himself and 
them ; or it is such a society only as hath a pastor whose 
office is valid to them but not to himself. Let us not con- 
found the question * de re' and * de nomine.' These socie- 
ties differ as is said. Both may fitly be called true churches. 

As it is with a kingdom which hath a rightful prince, 
and one that hath an usurper, so it is here. 1. If it have 
a rightful king accepted, it is a kingdom in the fullest sense. 

2. If it have an usurper accepted, it is a kingdom, but faulty. 

3. If the usurper be only so far accepted as that the people 
consent not to his entrance, no, nor his relation so as to jus- 
tify his title, but wish him cast out if they could procure it; 
but yet consent to receive that protection and justice which 
is their own due from the possessor, and consent to his re- 
lation only thus far, this is a kingdom truly, but more de- 
fective or maimed than the first. 4. But if the people do 
not so much as receive him, nor submit to his administra- 
tions, he is but a conqueror, and not a king, and it is (in 
respect to him) no kingdom, (though in respect to some 
other that hath title and consent, without actual possession 
of the administration, it may be a kingdom). And this is 
the true and plain solution of this question, which want of 
distinction doth obscure. 

Quest. VIII. Whether sincere faith and godliness he necessary 
to the being of the ministry/ ? And whether it be lauful to 
hear a wicked man, or take the sacrament from him, or take 
him for a minister 7 

This question receiveth the very same solution with the 
last foregoing, and therefore I need not say much more 
to it. 

I. The first part is too oft resolved mistakingly on both 


extremes. Some absolutely saying that godliness or faith 
is not necessary to the being of the ministry ; and some 
that it is necessary. Whereas the true solution is as afore- 
said ; sincere faith and godliness are necessary to make a man 
a minister so far as that God will own and justify him as sent 
by himself, as to his own duty and benefit : for he cannot be 
internally and heartily a Christian pastor that is no Chris- 
tian, nor a minister of God, who is not godly, that is. Is not 
truly resigned to God, obeyeth him not and loveth him not 
as God. But yet the reality of these are not necessary to 
make him a visible pastor, as to the people's duty and be- 

2. But the profession of true faith and godliness is ne- 
cessary so far, as that without it the people ought not to 
take him for a visible minister, (as the profession of Chris- 
tianity is to a visible Christian.) 

3. And in their choice they ought to prefer him * cseteris 
paribus,' whose profession is most credible. 

Obj, * That which maketh a minister is gifts and a call- 
ing, which are distinct from grace and real Christianity.' 
Answ. Every minister is a Christian, though every Chris- 
tian be not a minister or pastor : therefore he that is a visi- 
ble pastor must visibly or in profession have both. 

Obj. * But a man may be a Christian, without saving 
grace or godliness.' Answ. As much as he may be godly 
without godliness. That is, he may be visibly a Christian 
and godly, without sincere faith and godliness, but not 
without the profession of both. It is not possible that the 
profession of Christianity in the essentials, can be without 
the profession of godliness ; for it includeth it. 

II. To the other question I answer, 1. A man that pro- 
fesseth infidelity or impiety, yea, that professeth not faith 
and godliness, is not to be taken for a minister, or heard as 

2. Every one that professeth to stand to his baptismal 
covenant professeth faith and godliness. 

3. He that by a vicious life or bad application of doc- 
trine contradicteth his profession, is to be lawfully accused 
of it, and heard speak for himself, and to be cast out by true 
church-justice, and not by the private censure of a private 


4. Till this be done, though a particular private member 
of the church be not bound to think that the minister is 
worthy, nor that the church which sufFereth and receiveth 
him doth well, yet they are bound to judge him one who by 
the church's reception is in possession ; and therefore a vi- 
sible pastor, and to submit to his public administrations ; 
because it is not in a private man's power, but the church's, 
to determine who shall be the pastor. 

5. But if the case be past controversy and notorious, 
that the man is not only scandalous, but weak, and dull, and 
negligent, but also either, 1. Intolerably unable ; 2. Or an 
infidel, or gross heretic ; 3. Or certainly ungodly, a private 
man should admonish the church and him, and in case that 
they proceed in impenitency, should remove himself to a 
better church and ministry. And the church itself should 
disown such a man, and commit their souls to one that is 
fitter for the trust. 

6. And that church or person who needlessly owneth 
such a pastor, or preferreth him before a fitter, doth thereby 
harden him in his usurpation, and is guilty of the hurt of 
the people's souls, and of bis own, and of the dishonour 
done to God. 

Quest. IX. Whether the people tare bound to receive or consent 
to an ungodly, intolerable, heretical pastor, yea, or one far 
less Jit and worthy than a competitor, if the magistrate com- 
mand it, or the bishop impose him? 

For the deciding of this, take these propositions. 

1. The magistrate is authorized by God to govern mi- 
nisters and churches, according to the orders and laws of 
Christ, (and not against them :) but not to ordain or de- 
grade, nor to make ministers or unmake them, nor to de- 
prive the church of the liberty settled on it by the laws of 

2. The bishops or ordainers are authorized by Christ, to 
judge of the fitness of the person to the office in general, 
and solemnly to invest him in it, but not to deprive the peo- 
ple of their freedom, and exercise of the natural care of their 
own salvation, or of any liberty given them by Christ. 

3. The people's liberty in choosing or consenting to 



their own pastors, to whom they must commit the care of 
their souls, is partly founded in nature, (it being they that 
must have the benefit or loss, and no man being authorized 
to damn or hazard men's souls, at least against their wills ;) 
and partly settled by Scripture, and continued in the church 
above a thousand years after Christ, at least in very many 
parts of it^ See Blondel's ** Full Proof de jure plebis in 
regim. Eccles. Hildebertus Ceenoman. (alias Turonensis)" 
even in his time sheweth, that though the clergy were to 
lead, and the people to follow, yet no man was to be made a 
bishop, or put upon the people without their own consent : 
Epist. 12. Bibl. Pet. To. iii. p. 179. Filesacus will direct 
you to more such testimonies. But the thing is past con- 
troversy. I need not cite to the learned the commonly 
cited testimony of Cyprian, * Plebs maximam habet potesta- 
tcm indignos recusandi, &c.' And indeed in the nature of 
the thing it cannot be : for though you may drench a mad 
man's body by force, when you give him physic, you cannot 
so drench men's souls, nor cure them against their wills. 

4. Not that the people's consent is necessary to the ge- 
neral office of a Gospel minister, to preach and baptize ; 
but only to the appropriation or relation of a minister to 
themselves ; that is, to the being of a pastor of a particular 
church as such, but not of a minister of Christ as such. 

5. A man's soul is of so great value above all the favour 
of man, or treasures of this world, that no man should be 
indifferent, to what man's care he doth commit it; nor 
should he hazard it upon the danger of everlasting misery, 
for fear of displeasing man, or being accused of schism or 

6. There is as great difference between an able, learned, 
judicious, orthodox, godly, diligent, lively teacher, and an 
ignorant, heretical, ungodly, dull, and slothful man, as there 
is between a skilful and an ignorant pilot at sea ; or be- 
tween an able, experienced, faithful physician, and an ig- 
norant, rash, and treacherous one, as to the saving men's 
lives. And he that would not take a sot or empiric for his 
physician, who were like to kill him, and refuse the counsel 

^^ytntbe time of the Arian emperors the churches refased the bisljops whom the 
'^ttipenn ftnposed on them, and stuck to their own orthodox bishops ; especially at 
Alexandria and Caesarea, after the greatest urgency for their obedience. 


of an able physician, in obedience to a magistrate or bishop, 
hath as little reason to do the like by his soul ; nor should 
he set less by that than by his life "". And if Paul said, we 
have this power for edification and not for destruction, we 
may say so of all magistrates and bishops. Sober divines 
have lately shewed their error who teach men that they 
must be ready to submit to damnation if God require it, or 
to suppose that his glory and our salvation are separable 
ends ; because damnation is a thing which nature necessi- 
tateth man not to desire or intend ! And shall we ascribe 
more to a magistrate than to God? and say that we must 
cast our souls on a likelihood of damnation to keep order 
and in obedience to man ? No man can be saved without 
knowledge and holiness : an ignorant, dead, ungodly minis- 
ter is far less likely to help us to knowledge and holiness, 
than an able, holy man. To say God can work by the un- 
fittest instrument is nothing to the purpose ; till you prove 
that God would have us take him for his instrument, and 
that he useth equally to work by such, as well as by the fit 
and worthy, or that we expect wonders from God, and that 
ordinarily without tempting him ! Yea, when such an usur- 
per of the ministry is like to damn himself, as well as the 

And here to lenify the minds of Ithacian prelates to- 
wards those that seek their own edification, in such a case 
as this, or that refuse unworthy pastors of their imposing, I 
will intreat them to censure those near them no more sharp- 
ly than they do the persons in these following instances. 
Yea, if a separatist go too far, use him no more uncharitably, 
than you would do these men. 

(1.) Gildas Brit, is called Sapiens, and our eldest writer; 
and yet he calleth the multitude of the lewd British clergy 
whom he reprehendeth in his " Acris Correptio," traitors 
and no priests ; and concludeth seriously, that he that call- 
eth them priests, is not ' eximius Christianus,' any excellent 
Christian. Yet those few that were pious he excepteth 
and commendeth. Shall he account them no priests, for 
their sinfulness, and will you force others, not only to call 
them priests, but to commit their souls to such men's con- 
duct ? When Christ hath said, " If the blind lead the blind, 

" Matt. xvi. 26. Prov. i. 22. xix. 8. Luke xii- 4. 


both will fall into the ditch V And Paul, " Take heed unto 
thyself and unto the doctrine ; for in so doing, thou shalt 
both save thyself and them that hear thee"'?" 

The second is our second (and first English) historian 
Beda, and in him the famous Johannes Episc. Hagulstaden- 
sis Eccles., who, as he reporteth, wrought many very great 
miracles, as Eccles. Hist. lib. v. cap. 2 — 5. is to be read. 
This man had one Herebaldus in his clergy, afterwards an 
abbot ; who himself told Beda as followeth : — * That this Jo- 
hannes Ep. cured him miraculously of a perilous hurt, taken 
by disobedient horsemanship ; and when he recovered, he 
asked him, whether he were sure that he was baptized? who 
answered. That he knew it past doubt, and named the pres- 
byter that baptized him. The bishop answered. If thou 
wast baptized by that priest, thou art not rightly baptized : 
for I know him, and that when he was ordained presbyter, 
he was so dull of wit, that he could not karn the ministry 
of catechizing and baptizing. Wherefore I commanded him 
altogether to give over the presumption of this ministry, 
which he could not regularly fulfil. And having thus said, 
he himself took care to catechize me the same hour : and — 
being cured — ' vitali etiam unda perfusus sum,' I was bap- 

I commend not this example of re-baptizing, the rather 
because it seems the priest was not deposed till after he had 
baptized Herebaldus ; but if he went so far as to rebaptize, 
and account the baptism a nullity, which was done by an 
unable, insufficient presbyter, tliough rightly ordained, 
judge but as favourably of men that avoid such presbyters 
in our age. 

The third instance shall be that of Cyprian and all the 
worthy bishops in the councils of Carthage in his time, who 
re-baptized those baptized by heretics. And consider with- 
al that in those times many were called heretics whom we 
call but schismatics, that drew disciples after them into se 
parated bodies and parties, speaking perverse things, though 
not contrary to the very essentials of religion". I justify 
not their opinion : but if so many holy bishops counted the 

"> Matt. XT. 14. 1 Tim. iv. 6. 16. Matt. xvi. 16. xxiv. 4. Mark W. «4. 
Luke viii. 18. Matr. xxiii. 16- 
» Acts XX. 30. 
VOL. V. T 


very baptism of such a nullity, be not too severe and censo- 
rious against those that sjo not also far from an insufficient 
or ungodly, or grossly scandalous man, for the mere preser- 
vation of their own souls. 

To these I will add the saying of one of the honester 
sort of Jesuits, Acosta ; and in him of a more ancient than 
he : lib. iv. c. 1. p. 354. de reb. Indie. He extoUeth the 
words of Dionysius Epist. viii. ad Demoph. which are * Si 
igitur quae illuminat sacerdotum est sancta distinctio, pro- 
culdubio ille a sacerdotali ordine et virtute omnino prolap- 
sus est, qui illuminans non est, multoque sane magis qui 
neque illuminatus est. Atque mihi quidem videtur audax 
nimium hujusmodi est, si sacerdotalia munia sibi assumit; 
neque metuit, neque veretur ea quae sunt Divina prseterme- 
ritum persequi ; putatque ea latere Deum, quorum sibi ipse 
conscius sit ; et se Deum fallere existimat, quem falso no- 
mine appellat patrem ; audetque scelestas blasphemias suas 
(neque enim preces dixerim) sacris aris inferre ; easque su- 
per signa ilia Divina, ad Christi similitudinem dicere. Non 
est iste sacerdos ; non est ; sed infestus, atrox, dolosus, il- 
lusor sui, et lupus in dominicam gregem ovina pelle arma- 
tus. His plura aut majora de evangelici ministerii et cul- 
mine et praecipitio qui expectat, cuique ad resipiscendum 
non ista sufficiunt, infatuatum se juxta Domini sententiam, 
et nuUo unquam sale saliri posse demonstrat." I will not 
English it, lest those take encouragement by it who are bent 
to the other extreme. 

7. Yet it will be a great offence, if any censorious, self- 
conceited person, shall on this pretence set up his judgment 
of men's parts, to the contempt of authority, or to the vi- 
lifying of worthy men ; and especially if he thereby make 
a stir and schism in the church, instead of seeking his own 

8. Yea, if a minister be weaker, yea, and colder and 
worse than another, yet if his ministry be competently fitted 
to edification, he that cannot leave him and go to a better, 
without apparent hurt to the church, and the souls of others, 
by division, or exasperating rulers, or breaking family order, 
or violating relative duties, must take himself to be at pre- 
sent denied the greater helps that others have, and may trust 
God in the use of those weaker means, to accept and bless 


him ; because he is in the station where he hath set 
him. This case therefore must be resolved by a prudent 
comparing of the good or hurt which is like to follow, 
and of the accidents or circumstances whence that must 
be discerned. 

Quest. X. What if the magistrate command the people to re- 
ceive one pastor, and the bishops or ordainers another, which 
of them must be obeyed ? 

1. The magistrate, and not the bishop or people, (un- 
less under him) hath the power and disposal of the circum- 
stantials or accidents of the church ; I mean of the temple, 
the pulpit, the tithes, &c. And he is to determine what mi- 
nisters are fit either for his own countenance or toleration, 
and what not. In these therefore he is to be obeyed before 
the bishops or others. 

2. If a pope or prelate of a foreign church, or any that 
hath no lawful jurisdiction or government over the church 
that wanteth a pastor, shall command them to receive one, 
their command is null, and to be contemned. 

3. Neither magistrate or bishop, as is said, may deny 
the church or people any liberty which God in nature, or 
Christ in the Gospel hath settled on them, as to the recep- 
tion of their proper pastors. 

4. No bishop, but only the magistrates can compel by 
the sword, the obedience of his commands. 

6. If one of them command the reception of a worthy 
person, and the other of an intolerable one, the former 
must prevail, because of obedience to Christ, and care of 
our souls. 

6. But if the persons be equal, or both fit, the magistrate 
is to be obeyed, if he be peremptory in his commands, and 
decide the case in order to the peace or protection of the 
church ; both because it is a lawful thing, and because else 
he will permit no other. 

7. And the rather because the magistrate's power is more 
past controversy, than, whether any bishop, pastor, or synod, 
can any further than by counsel and persuasion, oblige thft 
people to receive a pastor. 


Quest. XI. Whether an uninterrupted succession either of right 
ordination or of conveyance by jurisdiction^ he necessary to 
the being of the ministry, or of a true church ? 

The Papists have hitherto insisted on the necessity of 
successive right ordination ; but Voetius * de desperata 
Causa Papatus' hath in this so handled them, and confuted 
Jansenius, as hath indeed shewed the desperateness of that 
cause : and they perceive that the papacy itself cannot be 
upheld by that way ; and therefore Johnson, alias Terret, in 
his rejoinder against me, now concludeth, that it is not for 
want of a successive consecration that they condemn the 
church of England, but for want of true jurisdiction, be- 
cause other bishops had title to the places whilst they were 
put in : and that successive consecration (which we take to 
include ordination) is not necessary to the being of ministry 
or church. And it is most certain to any man acquainted 
in church history, that their popes have had a succession of 
neither. Their way of election hath been frequently chang- 
ed, sometimes being by the people, sometimes by the clergy, 
sometimes by the emperors, and lastly by the cardinals 
alone. Ordination they have sometimes wanted, and a 
layman been chosen; and oft the ordination hath been by 
such as had no power according to their own laws. And 
frequent intercisions have been made, sometimes by many 
years' vacancy, when they had no church, (and so there was 
Hone on earth, if the pope be the constitutive head) for want 
of a pope ; sometimes by long schisms, when of two or 
three popes, no one could be known to have more right than 
another, nor did they otherwise carry it, than by power at 
last ; sometimes by the utter incapacity of the possessors, 
some being laymen, some heretics and infidels, so judged by 
councils at Rome, Constance, Basil ; and Eugenius the 
fourth continued after he was so censured, and condemned, 
and deposed by the general council. I have proved all this 
at large elsewhere. 

And he that will not be cheated with a bare sound of 
words, but will ask them, whether by a succession of juris- 
diction, they mean efficient, conveying jurisdiction in the 
causers of his call, or received jurisdiction in the office re- 


ceived, will find that they do but hide their desperate cause 
in confusion and an insignificant noise. For they maintain 
that none on earth have an efficient jurisdiction in making 
popes. For the former pope doth not make his successor ; 
and both electors, ordainers, and consecrators, yea, and the 
people receiving, they hold to be subjects of the pope when 
made, and therefore make him not by jurisdiction giving 
him the power. Therefore Johnson tells me, that Christ 
only, and not man, doth give the power, and they must 
needs hold that men have nothing to do but design the per- 
son recipient by election and reception, and to invest him 
ceremoniously in the possession. So. that no efficient ju- 
risdiction is here used at all by man. And for received ju- 
risdiction, 1. No one questioneth but when that office is re- 
ceived which is essentially governing, he that receiveth it 
receiveth a governing power, or else he did not receive the 
office. If the question be only, whether the office of a 
bishop be an office of jurisdiction, or contain essentially a 
governing power, they make no question of this themselves. 
So that the noise of successive jurisdiction is vanished into 
nothing. 2. And with them that deny any jurisdiction to 
belong to presbyters, this will be nothing as to their case, 
who have nothing but orders to receive. 

They have nothing of sense left them to say but this, 
* That though the efficient jurisdiction which maketh popes 
be only in Christ, because no men are their superiors, yet 
bishops and presbyters who have superiors, cannot receive 
their power but by an efficient power of man, which must 
come down by uninterrupted succession,* 

Atisw. 1. And so if ever the Papal office have an inter- 
cision, (as I have proved it hath had as to lawful popes) the 
whole Catholic church is nullified ; and it is impossible to 
give it a new being, but by a new pope. 

But the best is, that by their doctrine indeed they need 
not to plead for an uninterrupted succession either of popes, 
bishops, or presbyters, but that they think it a useful cheat 
to perplex all that are not their subjects. For if the Papacy 
were extinct a hundred years, Christ is still alive ; and 
seeing it is no matter * ad esse' who be the electors or con- 
secraters, so it be but made known conveniently to the peo- 
ple, and men only elect and receive the person, and Christ 


only giveth the power (by his stated law) what hindereth 
after the longest extinction or intercision, but that some- 
body, or some sort of person may choose a pope again, and 
so Christ make him pope ? And thus the Catholic church 
may die and live again by a new creation, many times over. 
And when the pope hath a resurrection after the longest 
intercision, so may all the bishops and priests in the world, 
because a new pope can make new bishops, and new bishops 
can make new priests. And where then is there any shew 
of necessity of an interrupted succession of any of them ? 
All that will follow is, that the particular churches die till a 
resurrection ; and so doth the whole church on earth every 
time the pope dieth, till another be made, if he be the con- 
stitutive head. 

2. But as they say that Christ only efficiently giveth the 
power to the pope, so say we to the bishops or pastors of 
the church. For there is no act of Christ's collation to be 
proved, but the Scripture law or grant : and if that standing 
law give power to the pope, when men have but designed 
the person, the same law will do the same to bishops and 
pastors ; for it establisheth their office in the same sort. 
Or rather in truth there is no word, that giveth power to 
any such officer as an universal head or pope, but the law 
for the pastoral office is uncontrovertible. 

And what the Spanish bishops at Trent thought of the 
Divine right of the bishop's office, I need not mention. 

I shall therefore thus truly resolve the question. 

1. In all ordinations and elections, man doth but first 
choose the recipient person. 2. And ceremoniously and 
ministerially invest him in the possession when God hath 
given him the power ; but the efficient collation or grant of 
the power is done only by Christ, by the instrumentality of 
his law or institution. As when the king by a charter saith, 
* Whoever the city shall choose, shall be their mayor, and 
have such and such power, and be invested in it by the re- 
corder or steward :' here the person elected receiveth all 
his power from the king by his charter, (which is a standing 
efficient, conveying it to the capable chosen person,) and 
not from the choosers or recorder ; only the last is as a ser- 
vant to deliver possession. So is it in this case. 

2. The regular way of entrance appointed by Christ to 


make a person capable, is the said election and ordination. 
And for order sake where that may be had, the unordained 
are not to be received as pastors. 

3. If any get possession, by false, pretended ordinatioa 
or mission, and be received by the church, I have before 
told you that he is a pastor as to the church's use and be- 
nefit, though not to his own. And so the church is not ex- 
tinct by every fraudulent usurpation or mistake, and so not 
by want of a true ordination or mission. 

4. If the way of regular ordination fail, God may other- 
wise (by the church's necessity, and the notorious aptitude 
of the person) notify his will to the church, what person they 
shall receive : (as if a layman were cast on the Indian shore 
and converted thousands, who could have no ordination :) 
and upon the people's reception or consent, that man will 
be a true pastor. 

And seeing the Papists in the conclusion (as Johnson 

* ubi supra') are fain to cast all their cause on the church's 
reception of the pope, they cannot deny reasonably but ' ad 
esse' the church's reception may serve also for another offi- 
cer ; and indeed much better than for a pope. For 1, The 
universal church is so great, that no man can know when 
the greater part receiveth him, and when not, except in some 
notorious declarations. 2. And it is now known, that the 
far greater part of the universal church (the Greeks, Arme- 
nians, Abassines, Coptics, Protestants, &c.) do not receive 
the Roman head. 3. And when one part of Europe received 
one pope, and another part another pope for above forty 
years together, who could tell which of the parties was to 
be accounted the church ? It was not then known, and is 
not known yet to this day ; and no Papist can prove it, who 
affirmeth it. 

As a church e. g. Constantinople may be gathered, or 

• oriri de novo' where there is none before, so may it be res- 
tored where it is extinct. And possibly a layman (as Fru- 
mentius and Edesius in the Indies) may be the instrument 
of mens' conversion. And if so, they may by consent be- 
come their pastors, when regular ordination cannot be had. 

I have said more of this in my " Disputations of Church- 
government," Disput. ii. The truth is, this pretence of a 
necessity of uninterrupted, successive ordination, mission. 


or jurisdictional collation *ad esse/ to the being of ministry 
or church, is but a cheat of men that have an interest of 
their own which requireth such a plea, when they may easily 
know, that it would overthrow themselves. 

Quest. XII. Whether there he, or ever was such a thing in the 
world, as one Catholic church, constituted by any head be- 
sides or under Christ ? 

The greatest and first controversy between us and the 
Papists, is not what man or politic person, is the head of 
the whole visible church ; but, whether there be any such 
head at all, either personal, or collective, monarchical, aris- 
tocratical, or democratical under Christ, of his appointment 
or allowance ? Or any such thing as a Catholic church so 
headed or constituted ? Which they affirm and we deny. 
That neither pope nor general council is such a head, I have 
proved so fully in my " Key for Catholics" and other books, 
that I will not here stay to make repetition of it. That the 
pope is no such head, we may take for granted, 1. Because 
they bring no proof of it, whatever they vainly pretend. 2. 
Because our divines have copiously disproved it, to whom I 
refer you. 3. Because the universal church never received 
such a head, as I have proved against Johnson. 4. And 
whether it be the pope, their bishop of Calcedon, ' ubi 
supra,' et Sancta Clara ** System, fid." say is not ' de fide.' 

That a council is no such head I have largely proved as 
aforesaid, Part ii. " Key for Catholics." And 1. The use 
of it being but for concord proveth it. 2. Most Papists 
confess it. 3. Else there should be seldom any church in 
the world for want of a head, yea, never any. 

For I have proved there and to Johnson, that there never 
was a true general council of the universal church ; but only 
imperial councils of the churches under one emperor's 
power, and those that having been under it, had been used 
to such councils : and that it is not a thing ever to be at- 
tempted or expected, as being unlawful and morally im- 
possible °. 


" See also in my " Reasons of Christian Religion," Cons. ii. of the interest of 
the church. 


Quest. XIII. Whether there he such a thing as a visible Catho- 
lic church ? And what it is ? 

The ancients differently used the terms ' A Catholic 
church' and ' The Catholic church.' By the first they mean 
any particular church which was part of the universal ; by 
the second they meant the universal church itself p. And 
this is it that we now mean. And I answer affirmatively, 
* There is a visible universal church, not only as a commu- 
nity, or as a kingdom distinct from the king, but as a po- 
litical society. 

2. This church is the universality of baptized visible 
Christians headed by Jesus Christ himself^. 

There is this, and there is no other upon earth. The 
Papists say, that this is no visible church because the head 
is not visible. 

I answer, 1. It is not necessary that he be seen, but vi- 
sible : and is not Christ a visible person? 

2. This church consisteth of two parts, the triumphant 
part in glory, and the militant part ; and Christ is not only 
visible but seen by the triumphant part. As the king is not 
seen by the ten thousandth part of his kingdoms, but by 
his courtiers and those about him, and yet he is king of all. 

3. Christ was seen on earth for above thirty years ; and 
the kingdom may be called visible, in that the king was 
once visible on earth, and is now visible in heaven. As if 
the king would shew himself to his people but one year to- 
gether in all his life. 

4. It ill becometh the Papists of any men, to say that 
Christ is not visible, who make him, see him, taste him, 
handle him, eat him, drink him, digest him in every church, 
in every mass throughout the year, and throughout the 
world : and this is not as divided, but as whole Christ. 

Object. But this is not * quatenus ' regent. 

Answ. If you see him that is regent, and see his laws and 
Gospel which are his governing instruments, together with 
his ministers who are his officers, it is enough jto denominate 
his kingdom visible. 

5. The church might be fitly denominated visible * se- 

P 1 Cor. xii. 12. and throughout. n Ephes. iv. 1. 5—7, 16. 


cundum quid/ if Christ himself were invisible ; because the 
politic body is visible, the dispersed officers, assemblies, and 
laws are visible. But sure all these together may well serve 
for the denomination. 

Quest. XIV. What is it that maketh a visible member of the 
nnivei'sal church ? And who are to be accounted such ? 

1. Baptism maketh a visible member of the universal 
church ; and the baptized, (as to entrance, unless they go 
out again) are to be accounted such ■". 

2. By baptism we mean, open devotion or dedication to 
God by the baptismal covenant, in which the adult for them- 
selves, and parents for their infants, do profess consent to 
the covenant of grace ; which includeth a belief of all the 
essential articles of the faith, and a resolution for sincere 
obedience ; and a consent to the relations between God and 
us, viz. that he be our reconciled Father, our Saviour, and 
our Sanctifier. 

3. The continuance of this consent is necessary to the 
continuance of our visible membership. 

4. He that through ignorance, or incapacity for want of 
water, or a minister, is not baptized, and yet is solemnly or 
notoriously dedicated and devoted to God the Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost, in the same covenant, though without the 
outward sign, and professeth openly the same religion, is a 
visible Christian, though not by a complete and regular vi- 
sibility ; as a soldier not listed nor taking his colours, or a 
marriage not regularly solemnized, &c. 

5. He that forsaketh his covenant by apostacy, or is to - 
tally and duly excommunicated, ceaseth to be a visible mem- 
ber of the church. 

Quest. XV. Whether besides the profession of Christianity, 
either testimony or evidence of conversion or practical godli- 
ness be necessary to prove a man a member of the universal 
visible church ? 

1. As the Mediator is the way to the Father, sent to re- 
cover us to God, so Christianity includeth godliness ; 

•■ Matt, xxviii. 19. Mark xvi, 16. 



and he professeth not Christianity, who professeth not god- 
liness '. 

2. He that professeth the baptismal covenant, professeth 
Christianity, and godliness, and true conversion. And 
therefore cannot be rejected for want of a profession of con- 
version or godliness. 

3. But he that is justly suspected not to understand his 
own profession, but to speak general words, without the 
sense, may and ought to be examined by him that is to bap- 
tize him ; and therefore though the apostles among the 
Jews who had been bred up among the oracles of God, did 
justly presume of so much understanding, as that they bap- 
tized men the same day that they professed to believe in 
Christ ; but when they baptized converted Gentiles, we 
have reason to think, that they first received a particular 
account of their converts, that they understood the three 
essential articles of the covenant*. 1. Because the creed is 
fitted to that use, and hath been ever used thereunto by the 
churches, as by tradition from the apostles' practice. 2. 
Because the church in all ages, as far as church history 
leadeth us upward, hath used catechising before baptizing ; 
yea, and to keep men as catechumens some time for prepay- 
ration. 3. Because common experience telleth us, that 
multitudes can say the creed that understand it not. 

If any yet urge the apostles' example, I will grant that 
it obligeth us when the case is the like : (and I will not fly 
to any conceit of their heart-searching, or discerning men's 
sincerity). When you bring us to a people that before were 
the visible church of God, and were all their lifetime 
trained up in the knowledge of God, of sin, of duty, of the 
promised Messiah, according to all the law and prophets, 
and want nothing, but to know the Son and the Holy Ghost, 
that this Jesus is the Christ, who will reconcile us to God, 
and give us the sanctifying Spirit, then we will also baptize 
men the same day that they profess to believe in Jesus 
Christ, and in the Father as reconciled by him, and the 
Holy Ghost as given by him. But if we have those to deal 
with who know not God, or sin, or misery, or Scripture pro- 
phecies, no nor natural verities, we know no proof that the 
apostles so hastily baptized such. 

• John xiv. 6. I Tim. iii. 16. vi. 3. 1 1. 2 Pel. i. 3. ' Acts ii. 38, 39. 


Of this I have largely spoken in my " Treatise of Con- 

- 4. It is not necessary to a man's baptism and first 
church-membership, that he give any testimony of an ante- 
cedent godly life ; because it is repentance and future 
obedience professed that is his title ; and we must not keep 
men from covenanting, till we first see whether they will 
keep the covenant which they are to make. For covenant- 
ing goeth before covenant-keeping ; and it is any, the most 
impious sinner, who repenteth, that is to be washed and jus- 
tified as soon as he becometh a believer. 

5. Yet if any that professeth faith and repentance, 
should commit whoredom, drunkenness, murder, blasphemy, 
or any mortal sin, before he is baptized, we have reason to 
make a stop of that man's baptism, because he contradicteth 
his own profession, and giveth us cause to take it for hypo- 
critical, till he give us better evidence that he is penitent 
indeed ". 

6. Heart-covenanting maketh an invisible church-mem- 
ber, and verbal-covenanting and baptism make a visible 
church-member. And he that maketh a profession of 
Christianity, so far as to declare that he believe th all the ar- 
ticles of the creed particularly and understandingly (with 
some tolerable understanding, though not distinct enough 
and full) and that he openly devote th himself to God the 
Father, Son, and Spirit, in the vow and covenant of baptism, 
doth produce a sufficient title to the relation of a Christian 
and church-member ; and no minister may reject him, for 
want of telling when, and by what arguments, means, order, 
or degrees he was converted. 

7. They that forsake these terms of church- entrance, 
left us by Christ and his apostles, and used by all the 
churches in the world, and reject those that shew the title 
of such a profession, for want of something more, and set 
up other, stricter terms of their own, as necessary to disco- 
ver men's conversion and sincerity, are guilty of church- 
tyranny against men, and usurpation against Christ ; and of 
making engines to divide the churches, seeing there will 
never be agreement on any human devised terms, but some 

« 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. Tit. iii. 3—5. Ephes. ii. 1—3. Acts ii. 37, 38. 



will be of one side, and some of another, when they forsake 
the terms of Christ. 

8. Yet if the pastor shall see cause upon suspicion of 
hypocrisy, * ad melius esse,* to put divers questions to one 
man more than to another, and to desire further satisfaction, 
the catechumens ought in conscience to answer him, and en- 
deavour his satisfaction. For a minister is not tied up to 
speak only such or such words to the penitent ; and he that 
should say, ' I will answer you no further than to repeat 
the Creed,' doth give a man reason to suppose him either 
ignorant or proud, and to suspend the reception of him, 
though not to deny it. But still * ad esse ' no terms must 
be imposed as necessary on the church, but what the Holy 
Ghost by the apostles hath established. 

Quest. XVI. What is necessary to a mavUs reception into mem- 
bership in a particular church, over and above his aforesaid 
title ? Whether any other trials, or covenant, or what 1 

1. A particular church is a regular part of the universal, 
as a city of a kingdom, or a troop of an army. 

2. Every man that is a member of the particular churchj 
is a member of the universal ; but every one that is a mem- 
ber of the universal church, is not a member of a particular. 

3. Every particular church hath its own particular pas- 
tor (one or more), and its own particular place or bounds of 
habitation or residence ; therefore he that will be a member 
of a particular church, 1 . Must co-habit, or live in a proxi- 
mity capable of communion. 2. And must consent to be a 
member of that particular church, and to be under the gui- 
dance of its particular pastor, in their office work. For he 
cannot be made a member without his own consent and 
will ; nor can he be a member, that subjecteth not himself 
to the governor or guide. 

4. He therefore that will intrude into their communion 
and privileges without expressing his consent beforehand 
to be a member, and to submit to the pastoral oversight, is 
to be taken for an invader. 

5. But no other personal qualification is to be exacted 
from him as necessary, but that he be a member of the 
church universal. As he is not to be baptized again, so 


neither to give again all that account of his faith and repen- 
tance particularly which he gave at baptism ; much less any 
higher proofs of his sincerity ; but if he continue in the co- 
venant and church-state which he was baptized into, he is 
capable thereby of reception into any particular church 
upon particular consent. Nor is there any Scripture proof 
of any new examinations about their conversion or sincerity, 
at their removals or entrance into a particular church. 

6. But yet because he is not now looked on only as a 
covenant-maker, as he was at baptism, but also as a cove- 
nant-keeper or performer, therefore if any can prove that he 
is false to his baptismal covenant, by apostacy, heresy, or a 
wicked life, he is to be refused till he be absolved upon his 
renewed repentance. 

7. He that oft professeth to repent, and by oft revolting 
into mortal siji, (that is, sin which sheweth a state of death,) 
doth shew that he was not sincere, must afterward shew his 
repentance by actual amendment, before he can say, it is his 
due to be believed. 

8. Whether you will call this consent to particular 
church relation and duty, by the name of a covenant or not, 
is but * lis de nomine :' it is more than mutual consent that 
is necessary to be expressed : and mutual consent expressed 
may be called a covenant. 

9. ' Ad melius esse,' the more express the consent or co- 
venant is, the better : for in so great matters men should 
know what they do, and deal above board : especially when 
experience telleth us, that ignorance and imagery is ready 
to eat out the heart of religion in almost all the churches in 
the world. But yet ' ad esse' churches must see that they 
feign or make no more covenants necessary than God hath 
made ; because human, unnecessary inventions have so long 
distracted and laid waste the churches of Christ. 

10. The pastor's consent must concur with the persons 
to be received : for it must be mutual consent : and as none 
can be a member, so none maybe a pastor against his will". 
And though he be under Christ's laws what persons to re- 
ceive, and is not arbitrary to do what he list, yet he is the 
guide of the church, and the discerner of his own duty. 
And a pastor may have reasons to refuse to take a man into 

" Malt, xxviii. 19, 20. Pleb. xiii 7. 17. 1 Thess. v. 12, 13. 1 Tim. v. 17. 



his particular charge, without rejecting him as unworthy. 
Perhaps he may already have more in number than he can 
well take care of. And other such reasons may fall out. 

11. In those countries where the magistrate's laws and 
common consent, do take every unqualified person for a 
member of that church where his habitation is, (called a pa- 
rish,) and to which he ordinarily resorteth, the pastor that 
undertaketh that charge, doth thereby seem to consent to 
be pastor to all such persons in that parish. And there co- 
habitation and ordinary conjunction with the church, may 
go for a signification of consent, and instead of more parti- 
cular contract or covenant, by virtue of the exposition of the 
said laws and customs. Yet so, that a man is not therefore 
to be taken for a member of the church, merely because he 
liveth in the parish ; for so atheists, infidels, heretics and 
papists may do: but because he is, 1. A parishioner, 2. Qua- 
lified, 3. Joining with the church, and actually submitting 
to the ministry. 

12. Where there is this much only, it is a sinful slander 
to say that such a parish is no true church of Christ; how- 
ever there may be many desirable orders wanting to its better 
being. Who hath the power of trying and receiving we shall 
«hew anon. 

Quest. XVII. Whereiti doth the ministerial office essentially 

consist ? 

The office of the sacred ministry is a mixed relation, (not 
a simple y). I. As the minister is related to Christ he is his 
servant or minister by office : that is, one commissioned by 
him for that sacred work : where there is, 1. The commission 
itself, (which is not particular, but general, in a general law, 
applicable to each singular person when qualified). 2. The 
determination of the individual person who is to receive it: 
which consisteth in the call, which I have opened before 
and therefore repeat not. Only note again, 1. That by 
virtue of the general commission or institution of the office 
in specie, the power is conveyed from Christ to the indivi- 
dual person, and that the church (electors or ordainers) are 
not the donors, authorizers, or obligers, but only instru- 

y John »x. 21. x\u. fO. l.ukex. 3. Rom. x. 15. Acts xx. «8. 


ments of designing an apt recipient, and delivering him pos- 
session. 2. That by virtue of this institution, charter, or 
law commission, it is that the acts of a man seemingly or 
visibly called, are valid to the church, though really he were 
not ordained or truly called, but deceived them by hypo- 
critical intrusion ^. 

2. The causation or efficiency of Christ in the making 
any one a minister, is, 1. Dispositive, making him a quali- 
fied, fit recipient; 2. Then applying the general commissioil 
to him, or giving him the function itself*. 

1. The dispositive acts of Christ are, 1. Giving him 
competent knowledge for a minister. 2. Giving him com- 
petent goodness ; that is, love to God, truth, and souls, and 
willingness for the work. 3. Giving him competent power 
and abilities for execution, which is principally in utte- 
rance ; and so qualifying his intellect, will, and executive 
power ^ 

2. The immediate conveyance or act of collation, is, 
1. An obligation laid on the person to do the work. 2. Au- 
thority given him to warrant him, and to oblige others : that 
is, a * jus docendi, gubernandi,' &c. 

3. The form of the relation is denominated, 1. From the 
reception of these efficiencies in general. 2. From the sub- 
ordination which hereby they are placed in to Christ, as their 
relation is denominated ' a termino.' 

1. Formally the office consisteth in, 1. An obligation to 
do the work of the office. 2. Authority to do it, and to ob- 
lige others to submit to it. 

2. These make up an office which being denominated 
also from the ' terminus,' is considered, 1 . As to the near- 
est term, which is the work to be done. 2. The remote, 
which is the object of that work. 

The work is 1. Teaching: 2. Ruling: 3. Worshipping ^ 
And so it is essentially ' An obligation and power of minis- 
terial teaching, ruling, and worshipping God.' 

2. As to the object it is, 1. The world to be converted. 

2 Phil. i. 15—17. Malt. vii. 22. Rom. xv. 14. 

a Eph. iv. 7, 8. 2 Tim. ii. 2. i. 5. ^. Eph. vi. 19. Col. iv. 3. 2 Cor* 

»» Tit. i. 2. 2 Cor. iii. 6. 1 Cor. iv. 1, 2. Tit. i.7. 

c 2 Tim. ii. 2. iii. 2. iv. 11. vi. 2, 3. 1 Thess. v. 12, 13. 



2. The converted to be baptized, and congregated or ordered 
into particular societies, (so far as may be). 3. The bap- 
"tized and congregate to be, (1.) Taught; (2.) Ruled; (3.) 
Guided in worship*^. 

From all which resulteth an office which is ministerially 
subordinate to Christ, 1. The prophet or teacher ; 2. The 
Ruler ; 3. The Highpriest and Lover of his church : and it 
may be aptly called both a teaching ministry, a ruling minis- 
try, (not by the sword, but by the Word,) and a priesthood 
or priestly ministry *. 

II. As the pastor is related to the church, he is, 1. A con- 
stitutive part of particular political churches. 2. He is 
Christ's minister for the church and for Christ ; that is, to 
teach, rule, and worship with the church. He is above the 
church, and greater than it, as to order and power, and not 
the minister of the church as the efficient of the ministry : 
but he is less and worse than the church finally and mate- 
rially ; and is finally the church's minister, as the physician 
is the patient's physician ; not made a physician by him, 
but chosen and used as his physician for his cure : so that 
to speak properly, he is not from them, but for them. He 
is Christ's minister for their good; as the shepherd is his 
master's servant, for his flock, and so finally only the ser- 
vant of the sheep ^ 

The whole uncontrovertible work of the office is laid 
down in my small book called *' Universal Concord," to 
which I must refer you. 

Quest. XV II I. Whether the people's choice or consent is neces- 
sari/ to the office of a minister in his first work, as he is to 
convert infidels, and baptize them ? And whether this be a 
work of qfficef And what call is necessary to it ? 

I conjoin these three distinct questions for expedition. 

I. That it is part of the minister's office-work to teach, 
convert, and baptize men, to bring them out of the world 
into the church, is undeniable ; 1. In Christ's express com- 
mission, Matt, xxviii. 19, 20. ** Go disciple me all nations, 
baptizing them — " 2. In the execution of this commission. 

«• Heb. xiU. 7. 17. Acts vi. 4. ix. 40. xx. 36. Mal.ii. 7. Hcb. x. 11. 
eRev.r. 6. Y. 10. XX. 6. I Pet. ii. 5, 6. 

' R«ni. i. 1. Col. if. 12. 2 Pet. xi. 1. 1 Cor. iv. 1, 2. iii.5. 2 Cor.iii. 
6. vi. 4. xi. 23. M«tt. xxiv. 45, 46. 48. 1 Cor. ix. 19. 
VOL. V. U 


2. That this was not peculiar to the apostles or their age 
is proved, 1 . Because not an extraordinary work, like mi- 
racles, &c. but the first great business of the Gospel and 
ministry in the world. 2. Because others as well as the 
apostles did it in that age, and ever since. 3. Because the 
promise is annexed to the office thus described ** I am with 
you alway to the end of the world." Or if you translate it 
** age," it is the age of the church of the Messiah incarnate, 
which is all one. 4. Because it was a small part of the world 
comparatively that heard the Gospel in the apostles' days. 
And the far greatest part of the world is without it at this day, 
when yet God our Saviour would have all men to be saved, 
and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5. Even where 
the Gospel hath long continued, for the most part there are 
many still that are in infidelity. And so great a work is 
not left without an appointed, suitable means for its per- 
formance. And if an office was necessary for it in the first 
age, it is not credible that it is left to private men's charity 
ever since. 6. Especially considering that private men are 
to be supposed insufficient ; (1.) Because they are not edu- 
cated purposely for it, but usually for something else. (2.) 
Because that they have other callings to take them up. (3.) 
Because they have no special obligation. And that which 
is no man's peculiar work, is usually left undone by all. 

11. The people's call or consent is not necessary to a 
minister's reception of his office in general, nor for this part 
of his work in special : but only to his pastoral relation to 

1. It is so in other functions that are exercised by skill. 
The patients or people make not a man a physician or law- 
yer, but only choose what physician shall be their physician, 
and what lawyer shall be their counsellor. 

2. If the people's call or consent be necessary, it is ei- 
ther the infidels or the churches. Not the infidels to whom 
he is to preach : for 1 . He is authorized to preach to them 
(as the apostles were) before he goeth to them. 2. Their 
consent is but a natural consequent requisite for the recep- 
tion and success of their teaching, but not to the authority 
which is prerequisite. 3. Infidels cannot do so much to- 
wards the making of a minister of Christ. 4. Else Christ 
would have few such ministers. 5. If it be infidels, either 
all or some ? If some, why those rather than others ? Or 



is a man made a minister by every infidel auditory that hear- 
eth him? 

2. Nor is it Christian people that must do this much to 
the making of a general minister; for, 1. They have no such 
power given for it, in nature or the Word of God. 2. They 
are generally unqualified and unable for such a work. 3. 
They are no where obliged to it, nor can fitly leave their 
callings for it ; much less to get the, abilities necessary to 
judge, 4. Which of the people have this power? Is it any 
of them, or any church of private men? Or some one more 
than the rest? Neither one nor all can lay any claim to it. 
There is some reason why this congregation rather than 
another should choose their own pastors : but there is no 
reason (nor Scripture) that this congregation choose a mi- 
nister to convert the world. 

III. I conclude therefore that the call of a minister in 
general doth consist, 1. Dispositively in the due qualifica- 
tions and enablement of the person. 2. And the necessity 
of the people, with opportunity, is a providential part of the 
call. 3. And the ordainers are the orderly electors and 
determiners of the person that shall receive the power from 

1. For this is part of the power of the keys or church- 
government. 2. And Paul giveth this direction for exer- 
cising of this power to Timothy, which sheweth the ordinary 
way of calling, 2 Tim. ii. 2. " And the things which thou 
hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit 
thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." 

" There were in the church at Antioch certain prophets 

As they ministered to the Lord, the Holy Ghost said. Sepa- 
rate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have 
called them ; and when they had fasted and prayed, and 
laid their hands on them, they sent them away. And they 
being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed." In this 
(whether it be to be called an ordination, or rather a mis- 
sion) there is somewhat ordinary, (that it be by naen in of- 
fice,) and somewhat extraordinary, (that it be by a special 
inspiration of the Holy Ghost). 

And Timothy received his gifts and office by the impo- 
sition of the hands of Paul and of the presbytery. 1 Tim. 
iv. 14. 2 Tim. i. 6. 1 Tim. v. 22. " Lay hands suddenly 
on no man." 


These instances make the case the clearer, 1 . Because 
it is certain, that all that governing power which is given by 
Christ to the church, under the name of the keys, is given 
to the pastors. 2. Because there are no other competitors 
to lay a reasonable claim to it. 

Quest. XIX. W?ierein consisteth the power and nature of ordi- 
nation ? And to whom doth it belong? And is it an act of 
jurisdiction ? And is imposition of hands necessary in it ? 

1. This is resolved on the by before. 1. Ordination per- 
formeth two things: (1.) The designation, election, or de- 
termination of the person who shall receive the office. (2.) 
The ministerial investiture of him in that office : which is a 
ceremonial delivery of possession ; as a servant doth deliver 
possession of a house, by delivering him the key who hath 
before received the power or right from the owner. 

2. The office delivered by this election and investiture, 
is the sacred ministerial office in general, to be after exercis- 
ed according to particular calls and opportunities : as Christ 
called the apostles, and the Spirit called the ordinary general 
teachers of those times, such as Barnabas, Silas, Silvanus, 
Timothy, Epaphroditus, Apollos, &c. And as is before 
cited, 2 Tim. ii. 2. As a man is made in general a licensed 
physician, lawyer, &c. 

3. This ordination is * ordinis grati^,' necessary to or- 
der ; and therefore so far necessary as order is necessary : 
which is ordinarily, when the greater interest of the sub- 
stantial duty, or of the thing ordered, is not against it. As 
Christ determined the case of sabbath keeping, and not eat- 
ing the shew-bread. As ** the sabbath was made for man, 
and not man for the sabbath ;" and the end is to be prefer- 
red before the separable means : so ordination was insti- 
tuted for order, and order for the thing ordered and for the 
work of the Gospel, and the good of souls, and not the Gos- 
pel and men's souls for that order. Therefore when 1. The 
death ; 2. Distance ; 3. Or the malignity of the ordainers 
depriveth a man of ordination, these three substitutes may 
notify to him the will of God that he is by him a person 
called to that office: 1. Fitness for the works, in under- 
standing, willingness, and ability ; 2. The necessity of souls ; 
3. Opportunity. 



II. The power of ordaining belongeth not, I. To magis- 
trates ; 2. Or to private men, either single, or as the body 
of a church ; but, 3. To the senior pastors of the church 
(whether bishops or presbyters of a distinct order, the rea- 
der must not expect that I here determine). 

For, 1. The power is by Christ given to them, as is be- 
fore proved ; and in Tit. i. 5. 

2. None else are ordinarily able to discern aright the 
abilities of a man for the sacred ministry. The people may 
discern a profitable, moving preacher, but whether he un- 
derstand the Scripture, or the substance of religion, or be 
sound in the faith and not heretical, and delude them not 
with a form of well-uttered words, they are not ordinarily 
able to judge. 

3. None else are fit to attend this work, but pastors who 
are separated to the sacred office s. Tt requireth more time 
to get fitness for it, and then to perform it faithfully, than 
either magistrates or people can ordinarily bestow. 

4. The power is no where given by Christ to magistrates 
or people. 

5. It hath been exercised by pastors or church-officers 
only, both in and ever since the apostles' days, in all the 
churches of the world. And we have no reason to think 
that the church hath been gathered from the beginning till 
now, by so great an error, as a wrong conveyance of the mi- 
nisterial power. 

III. The word jurisdiction as applied to the church of- 
ficers, is no Scripture word, and in the common sense sound- 
eth too big, as signifying more power than the servants of 
all must claim ; for there is ** one lawgiver who is able to 
save and to destroy." But in a moderate sense it may be 
tolerated; as jurisdiction signifieth in particular, 1. Legis- 
lation; 2. Or judicial process or sentence ; 3. Or the exe- 
cution of such a sentence, strictly taken, so ordination is no 
part of jurisdiction. But as jurisdiction signifieth the same 
with the power of government, * jus regendi* in general, so 
ordination is an act of jurisdiction : as the placing or choos- 
ing of inferior officers may belong to the steward of a family, 
or as the calling or authorizing of physicians belongeth to 
the college of physicians, and the authorizing of lawyers to 

« Act! xiu.t; Rom. i. 1. X Tim. iv. 15. 


the judges' society, or the authorizing of doctors in philo- 
sophy, to the society of philosophers or to particular rulers. 
Where note that in the three last instances, the learning or 
fitness of the said persons or societies, is but their ' dispo- 
sitio vel aptitudo ad potestatem exercendam ;' but the ac- 
tual power of conveying authority to others, or designing 
the recipient person, is received from the supreme power 
of the land, and so is properly an act of authority, here call- 
ed jurisdiction. 

So that the common distinguishing of ordination from 
jurisdiction or government, as if they were ' totsi specie' dif- 
ferent, is unsound. 

IV. Imposition of hands was a sign (like the kiss of 
peace, and the anointing of persons, and like our kneeling 
in prayer, &c.) which having first somewhat in their nature, 
to invite men to the use, was become a common, significant 
sign of a superior's benediction of an inferior, in those times 
and countries. And so was here applied ordinarily for its 
antecedent significancy and aptitude to this use ; and was 
not purposely instituted, nor had its significancy newly gi- 
ven it by institution ; and so was not like a sacrament ne- 
cessarily and perpetually affixed to ordination. 

Therefore we must conclude, 1. That imposition of hands 
in ordination is a decent, apt, significant sign, not to be 
scrupled by any, nor to be omitted without necessity, as be- 
ing of Scripture, ancient, and common use. 

2. But yet that it is not essential to ordination ; which 
may be valid by any fit designation and separation of the 
person. And therefore if it be omitted, it nullifieth not the 
action. And if the ordainers did it by letters to a man a 
.thousand miles off, it would be valid : and some persons of 
old were ordained when they were absent. 

V. I add as to the need of ordination, 1. That without 
this key, the oflB.ce and church doors would be cast open, 
and every heretic or self-conceited person intrude* 

2. It is a sign of a proud, unworthy person, that will 
judge himself fit for so great a work, and intrude upon such 
a conceit, when he may have the j udgment of the pastors, 
and avoideth it*". 

3. Those that so do, should no mof e be taken for minLs- 

'' Acts xiii. 2. iHeb, v. 4. 10. 



ters by the people, than any should go for Christians that 
are not baptized, or for married persons whose marriage is 
not solemnized. 

Quest. XX, Is orditiation necessary to make a man a pastor of a 
particular church as such 1 And is he to be made a general 
minister and a particular church-elder or pastor at once, and 
by one ordination ? 

I have proved that a man may be made a minister in 
general, yea, and sent to exercise it in converting infidels, 
and baptizing them, before ever he is the pastor of any par- 
ticular church. To which I add, that in this general minis- 
try, he is a pastor in the universal church, as a licensed 
physician that hath no hospital or charge, is a physician in 
the kingdom. 

And, 1. As baptism is as such our entrance into the 
universal church, and not into a particular ; so is ordina- 
tion to a minister an entrance only on the ministry as such. 

2. Yet a man may at once be made a minister in general, 
and the pastor of this or that church in particular : and in 
kingdoms wholly inchurched and Christian, it is usually fit- 
test so to do : lest many being ordained * sine titulo,' idle- 
ness and poverty of supernumeraries, should corrupt and 
dishonour the ministry : which was the cause of the old 
canons in this case. 

3. But when a man is thus called to both at once, it is 
not all done by ordination as such ; but his complicate re- 
lation, proceedeth from a complication of causes. As he is 
a minister, it is by ordination. And as he is the pastor of 
this people, it is by the conjunct causes of appropriation : 
which are, 1. Necessarily the people's consent. 2. Reg- 
ularly, the pastor's approbation and recommendation, and 
reception of the person into their communion. 3. And 
sometimes the magistrate may do milch to oblige the peo- 
ple to consent. 

4. But when a man is made a minister in general before, 
he needeth no proper ordinatign to fix him in a particular 
charge ; but only an approbation, recommendation, particu- 
lar investiture, and reception. For else a man must be oft 
ordained, even as oft as he removeth. But yet imposition 


of hands may fitly be used in this particular investiture, 
though it be no proper ordination, that is, no collation 
of the office of a minister in general, but the fixing of one 
that was a minister before. 

Quest. XXI. May a man be oft or twice ordained! 

It is supposed, that we play not with an ambiguous 
word, that we remember what ordination is. And then you 
will see cause to distinguish, 1. Between entire, true ordi- 
nation, and the external act, or words, or ceremony only. 
2. Between one that was truly ordained before, and one 
that was not. And so I answer, 

1. He that seemed ordained, and indeed was not, is not 
re-ordained when he is after ordained. 

2. It is needful therefore to know the essentials of ordi- 
nation, from the integrals and accidentals. 

3. He that was truly ordained before, may in some 
cases receive again the repetition of the bare words and 
outward ceremonies of ordination (as imposition of hands). 
Where I will, I. Tell you in what cases. It. Why. 

1. 1 . In case there wanted]sufficient witnesses of his ordi- 
nation; and so the church hath not sufficient means of no- 
tice or satisfaction, that ever he was ordained indeed : or if 
the witnesses die before the notification. Whether the 
church should take his word or not, in such a case, is none 
of my question, but, Whether he should submit to the repe- 
tition if they will not. 

2. Especially in a time and place (which I have known) 
when written and sealed orders are often counterfeited, and 
so the church called to extraordinary care. 

3. Or if the church or magistrate be guilty of some 
causeless, culpable incredulity, and will not believe it was 
done till they see it done again. 

4. Or in case that some real or supposed integral 
(though not essential) part was omitted, or is by the church 
or magistrate supposed to be omitted ; and they will not 
permit or receive the minister to exercise his office, unless 
he repeat the whole action again, and make up that defect. 

5. Or if the person himself do think that his ordination 
was insufficient, and cannot exercise his ministry to the 



satisfaction of his own conscience, till the defect be re- 

In these cases (and perhaps such others) the out- 
ward action may be repeated. 

II. The reasons are, 1. Because this is not a being 
twice ordained. For the word * ordination,' signifieth a 
moral action, and not a physical only : as the word * mar- 
riage' doth, &c. And it essentially includeth the new de- 
dication and designation to the sacred office, by a kind of 
covenant between the dedicated person and Christ to whom 
he is consecrated and devoted. And the external words 
are but a part, and a part only as significant of the action 
of the mind. Now the oft expressing of the same mental 
dedication doth not make it to be as many distinct dedica- 
tions. For 1. If the liturgy or the person's words were 
tautological, or at the ordination should say the same thing 
often over and over, or for confirmation should say often, 
that which else might be said but once, this doth not make 
it an often or multiplied ordination : it was but one love 
which Peter expressed, when Christ made him say thrice, 
that he loved him; nor was it a threefold ordination which 
Christ used, when he said thrice to him, " Feed my lambs 
and sheep." 

2. And if thrice saying it that hour make it not three ordi- 
nations, neither will thrice saying it, at more hours, days, 
or months, or years distance, in some cases ; for the time 
maketh not the ordinations to be many ; it is but one moral 
action. But the common error ariseth from the custom of 
calling the outward action alone by the name of the whole 
moral action (which is ordinarily done to the like deceit 
in the case of the baptismal covenant, and the Lord's sup- 

3. The common j udgment and custom of the world con- 
firmeth what I say. If persons that are married should for 
want of witness or due solemnity be forced to say and do 
the outward action all over again ; it is by no wise man 
taken in the proper, moral, full sense, for a second marriage, 
but for one marriage twice uttered. 

And if you should in witness bearing be put to your 
oath, and the magistrate that was absent should say, * Reach 
him the bi>ok again, 1 did not hear him swear,'* the doing it 


twice is not morally two witnessings or oaths, but one only 
twice physically uttered. 

If you bind your son apprentice, or if you make any in- 
dentures or contract, and the writings being lost or faulty, 
you write and sign, and seal them all again, this is not mo- 
rally another contract, but the same done better, or again 
recorded. And so it is plainly in this case. 

4. But re-ordination morally and properly so called, is 
unlawful: for, (1.) It is (or implieth) a lie, viz. that we 
were not truly dedicated and separated to this office before. 

(2.) It is a sacrilegious renunciation of our former dedi- 
cation to God : whereas the ministerial dedication and cov- 
enant is for life, and not for a trial ; which is the meaning 
of the indelible character, which is a perpetual relation and 

(3.) It is a taking the name of God in vain, thus to do 
and undo, and do again : and to promise and renounce, and 
promise again, and to pretend to receive a power which we 
had before. 

(4.) It tendeth to great confusions in the clmrch ; as to 
make the people doubt of their baptism, or all the ministe- 
rial administrations of such as are re-ordained, while they 
acted by the first ordination. 

(5.) It hath ever been condemned in the churches of 
Christ, as the canons called the apostles,' and the church's 
constant practice, testify. 

5. Though the bare repetition of the outward action and 
words be not re-ordination, yet he that on any of the fore- 
mentioned occasions is put to repeat the said words and ac- 
tions, is obliged so to do it, as that it may not seem to be a 
re-ordination, and so be a scandal to the church. Or if it 
outwardly seem so by the action, he is bound to declare 
that it is no such thing, for the counterpoising that appear- 
ance of evil. 

6. When the ordainers or the common estimation of the 
chi*Fch, do take the repetition of the words and action of a 
re-ordination, though the receiver so intend it not, yet it 
may become unlawful to him by this accident, because he 
scandalizeth and hardeneth the erroneous, by doing or re- 
ceiving that which is interpretative re-ordination. 

7. Especially when the ordainers shall require this re- 



petition on notoriously wicked grounds, and so put that 
sense on the action by their own doctrines and demands : 
as for instance, 

(1.) If heretics should («is the Arians,) say that we are 
no ministers, because we are not of their heresy, or ordained 
by such as they. 

(2.) If the pope or any proud papal usurpers shall say, 
* You are no ministers of Christ, except we ordain you ; ' 
and so do it to establish a traitorous, usurped regiment in 
the church ; it is not lawful to serve such an usurpation. 
As if cardinals or archbishops should say, ' None are true 
ministers but those that we ordain : ' or councils or synods 
of bishops or presbyters should say, * None are true minis- 
ters but those that we ordain ; ' or if one presbyter or one 
bishop without authority would thus make himself master 
of the rest, or of other churches, and say, ' You are no min- 
isters unless I ordain you ; ' we may not promote such ty- 
ranny and usurpation. 

(3.) If magistrates would usurp the power of the keys, 
in ecclesiastical ordination, and say that none but they have 
power to ordain, we may not encourage such pretences by 
repetition of the words and action. 

(4.) If they would make something necessary to ordina- 
tion which is not, as if it were a false oath, or false subscrip- 
tion or profession, or some unlawful ceremony (as if it were 
anointing, wearing horns, or any the like) and say, * You 
are no ministers without these, and therefore you must be 
re-ordained to receive them. 

(5.) Yea, if they declare our former ministry causelessly 
to be null, and say, * You are no ministers till you are or- 
dained again,* and so publicly put this sense upon our ac- 
tion, that we may take it as re-ordination ; all these acci- 
dehts make the repetition of the words and actions to be un- 
lawful, unless when greater accidents notoriously prepon- 

Quest. But if such church tyrants should have so great 
power, as that without their repetition of ordination on those 
terms, the ministry might not be exercised, is it lawful so 
to take it in a case of such necessity ? 

Amw. 1. Every seeming necessity to you is not a neces- 
sity to the church. 2. Either you may publicly declare 
a contrary sense in your receiving their new orders or not. 


1. If you may not as publicly declare that you renounce 
not your former ministry and dedication to God in that of- 
fice, as the ordainers declare their sense of the nullity of it, 
so that your open declaration may free you from the guilt of 
seeming consent, I conceive it is a sinful compliance with 
their sin. 2. Yea, if you may so declare it, yet if there be 
no necessity of your ministerial liberty in that place, I think 
you may not take it on such terms. As, (1.) If there be 
worthy men enough to supply the church's wants there 
without you. (2.) And if you may serve God successfully 
in a persecuted state, though to the suffering of your flesh. 
(3.) Or if your imprisonment for preaching be like to be as 
serviceable to the church and Gospel as your continued 
preaching on those scandalous terms. (4.) Or if you may 
remove and preach in another country. 

9. When any such case doth fall out, in which the repe- 
tition of the -outward action and words is lawful, it is not 
lawful to mix any false or scandalous expressions : as if we 
were required to say falsely, ' I accept this ordination as 
confessing myself no minister of Christ till now : ' or any 
such like. 

10. In a word, a peaceable Christian may do much as to 
the mere outward action and submission, for obedience, 
peace, order, or satisfaction to his own or other men's con- 
sciences. But, (1.) He may do nothing for good ends which 
is false and injurious to the church \ (2.) And he may not 
do that which otherwise were lawful, when it is for evil ends, 
or tendeth to more hurt than good ; as to promote heresy, 
or church tyranny and usurpation, whether in pope, pre- 
lates, presbyters or people. 

Quest. XXII. How many ordainers are necessary to the validity 
of ordination hy God's institution ? whether one or more ? 

My question is not of the ancient canons, or any human 
laws or customs, for those are easily known ; but of Divine 
right. Now either God hath determined the case as to the 
number of ordainers necessary, or not. If not, either he 
hath given the church some general rule to determine it by, 
or not. If not, then the number is not any part of the Divine 

' 1 Thess. V. 22. Gal. ii. 4, 5. 14. 


order or law, and then, if we suppose that he hath deteimin- 
ed the case as to the ordaining office and not to the number, 
then it will follow that one may serve. The truth I think 
may be thus explained. 

1. There is ' Ordo officialis primarius,' and * Ordo ordi- 
nis, vel exercitii, vel secundarius ;' an order of office primary, 
and an order of exercise secondary, in the church. As to the 
first, the order of office, God hath determined that the ordain- 
ing officers and no others, shall ordain officers, or give orders. 
And having not determined whether one or more, it foUow- 
eth that the ordination of one sole lawful ordainer is no nul- 
lity on that account because it is but one, unless somewhat 
else nullify it. 

2. God hath given general rules to the ordainers for the 
due exercise of their office, though he have not determined 
of any set number. Such as are these : that all things be 
done in judgment, truth, love, concord, to the church's edi- 
fication, unity and peace, &c. 

3. According to these general laws, sometimes the ordi- 
nation of one sole ordainer, may not only be valid but regu- 
lar : as when there are no other to concur, or none whose 
concurrence is needful to any of the aforesaid ends. And 
sometimes the concurrence of many is needful, (1.) To the 
receiver's satisfaction. (2.) Tq the church's or people's sa- 
tisfaction. (3.) To the concord of pastors, and of neigh- 
bour churches, &c. And in such cases such consent or 
concourse is the regular way. 

4. Where there are many neighbour pastors and churches 
so near, as that he that is ordained in one of them, is like 
oft to pass and preach, and officiate * obiter' in others, and 
so other churches must have some communion with him, it 
is meetest that there be a concurrence in the ordination. 

5. The ordainer is certainly a superior to the person 
that cometh to be ordained while he is a private man ; and 
therefore so far his ordination is (as is said) an act of juris- 
diction in the large sense, that is, of government : but whe- 
ther he be necessarily his superior after he is ordained, hath 
too long been a controversy. It is certain that the Papists 
confess, that the pope is ordained such by no superior : and 
it is not necessary that a bishop be ordained by one or more 
of any superior order (or jurisdiction either). And though 


the Italian Papists hold that a superior papal jurisdiction 
must needs be the secondary fountain of the ordaining 
power, though the ordainer himself be but of the same or- 
der; yet Protestants hold no such thing. And all acknow- 
ledge that as imposition of hands on a layman to make him 
a minister of Christ or an officer, is a kind of official gene- 
ration ^ so the ordained as a junior in office, is as it were a 
son to the ordainer, as the convert is said to be peculiarly 
to his converter ; and that a proportionable honour is still 
to be given him. But whether he that ordaineth a presby- 
ter, and not he that ordaineth or consecrateth a bishop, 
must needs be of a superior order or office, is a question 
which the reader must not expect me here to meddle with. 

Quest. XXIII. What if one bishop ordaiii a minister, and three, 
or many, or all the rest protest against it, and declare him 
no minister, or degrade him ; is he to be received as a true 
minister or not ? 

Supposing that the person want no necessary personal 
qualification for the office, there are two things more in 
question; 1. His office, whether he be a minister. 2. His 
regularity, whether he came regularly to it ; and also his 
comparative relation, whether this man or another is to be 
preferred. 1 answer therefore, 

1. If the person be utterly incapable, the one bishop, or 
the many whosoever taketh him for incapable, is for the 
truth sake to be believed and obeyed. 

2. If the man be excellently qualified, and his ministry 
greatly necessary to the church, whoever would deprive the 
church of him be it the one or the many, is to be disobeyed, 
and the ordainers preferred. 

Object. 'But who shall judge?' Answ. The 'esse' is 
before the * scire :' the thing is first true or false before I 
judge it to be so ; and therefore whoever judgeth falsely in 
a case so notorious and weighty, as that the welfare of the 
church and souls is (' consideratis considerandis') injured 
and hazarded by his error, is not to be believed nor obeyed 
on pretence of order : because all Christians have 'judicium 
discretionis,' * a discerning judgment.' 

^ Ejusdem speciei vel inferioris : How then is the pope ordained or made P 


3. But if the case be not thus to be determined by the 
person's notorious qualifications, then either it is, 1. The 
man ordained. 2. Or the people that the case is debated 
by, whether they should take him for a minister. 3. Or the 
neighbour ministers. 

1. The person himself is ' cseteris paribus' more to regard 
the judgment of many concordant bishops, than of one sin- 
gular bishop ; and therefore is not to take orders from a sin- 
gular bishop, when the generality of the wise and faithful 
are against it ; unless he be sure that it is some notorious 
faction or error that perverteth them, and that there be no- 
torious necessity of his labour. 

2. The auditors are either infidels to be converted, (and 
these will take no man upon any of their authorities,) or 
else Christians converted. These are either of the particu- 
lar charge of the singular bishop who ordaineth, or not ; if 
they be, then * pro tempore' for orders sake, they owe him a 
peculiar obedience, till some further process or discovery 
disoblige them, (though the most be on the other side). 
But yet they may be still bound in reason most to suspect 
the judgment of their singular bishop, while for order's sake 
they submit to it. But if they are not of his flock, then, I 
suppose the judgment and act of many is to prevail so much 
against the act of a single and singular person, as that both 
neighbour ministers and people are to disown such an or- 
dained person as unfit for their communion under the notion 
of a minister, (because communion of churches is maintain- 
ed by the concord of pastors). But whether the ordained 
man's ministry, be by their contradictory declaration or de- 
gradation, made an absolute nullity, to himself and those 
that submit to him, neither I will determine, nor should any 
other strangers to the particular case ; for if he be rejected 
or degraded without such cause and proof as may satisfy 
other sober persons, he hath wrong ; but if he be so degrad- 
ed, on proved sufficient cause, to them that it is known to, 
it giveth the degraders the advantage ^ 

And as 1. All particular members are to be obedient to 
their proper pastor. 

2. And all particular churches are to hold correspon- 

' Ephe». iv. 3. 1 Cor. xii. Rom. lir. 17.19. 1 Cor. xiv. 33. 1 Thess. v. 12, 13. 
Phil.ii. 1—3. Ephes. iv. 15, 16. 1 Cor. i. 10. 


dency and communion according to their capacity. So 
must men act in this and such like cases respectively ac- 
cording to the laws of obedience to their pastor, and of con-^ 
cord of the churches. 

Quest. XXIV. Hath one bishop power hy Divine right to or- 
dain, degrade, or govern, or excommunicate, or absolve, in 
another's diocese or church, either by his consent, or against 
it ? And doth a minister that officiateth in another's church, 
act as a pastor, and their pastor, or as a private man ? And 
doth the ministerial office cease when a man removeth from 
hisjlock ? 

I thrust these questions all together for their affinity, 
and for brevity. 

1. Every true minister of Christ, bishop or pastor, is re- 
lated to the universal church by stronger obligations than 
to his particular charge ; as the whole is better than the 
parts, and its welfare to be preferred. 

2. He that is no pastor of a particular church, may be a 
pastor in the universal, obliged as a consecrated person to 
endeavour its good, by the works of his office, as he hath 
particular opportunity and call. 

3. Yet he that hath a particular charge is especially and 
more nearly related and obliged to that charge or church, 
than to any other part of the universal (though not than to 
the whole) ; and consequently hath a peculiar authority, 
where he hath a peculiar obligation and work. 

4. He that is (without degrading) removed from a par- 
ticular church doth not cease to be a general minister and 
pastor related to the universal church ; as a physician put 
out of a hospital charge, is a physician still. And therefore 
he needeth no new ordination, but only a special designa- 
tion to his next particular charge. 

5. No man is the bishop of a diocese as to the measure 
of ground, or the place, by Divine right, that is, by any par- 
ticular law or determination of God ; but only a bishop of 
the church or people : for your office essentially containeth 
a relation to the people, but accidentally only to the place. 

6. Yet natural convenience, and God's general laws of 
order and edification do make it usually (but not always) 


best, and therefore a duty, to distinguish churches by the 
people's habitation : not taking a man for a member ' eo 
nomine/ because he liveth on that ground ; but for order's 
sake taking none for members that live not on that gromid, 
and not intruding causelessly into each other's bounds. 

7. He that by the call or consent of a neighbour pastor 
and people doth officiate (by preaching, sacraments, excom- 
munication, or absolution) in another's special charge for a 
day, or week, or month, or more, without a fixed relation to 
that flock, doth neither officiate as a layman, nor yet un- 
lawfully or irregularly ; but, 1. As a minister of Christ in 
the church universal. 2. And as the pastor of that church 
for the present time only, though not statedly ; even as a 
physician called to help another in his hospital, or to supply 
his place for the time, doth perform his work, 1. As a li- 
censed physician. 2. And as the physician of that patient 
or hospital for that time, though not statedly. 

8. No man is to intrude into another's charge without a 
call ; much less to claim a particular stated oversight and 
authority. For though he be not an usurper as to the office " 
in general, he is an usurper as to that particular flock. It 
is no error in ordination to say, ' Take thou authority to 
preach the Word of God, and administer the holy sacra- 
ments when thou shalt be thereto lawfully called ;' that is, 
when thou hast a particular call to the exercise, and to a 
fixed charge, as thou hast now a call to the office in general. 

9. Yet every bishop or pastor by his relation to the 
church universal, and to mankind, and the interest of Christ, 
is bound not only as a Christian, but as a pastor, to do his 
best for the common good ; and not to cast wholly out of 
his care, a particular church, because another hath the over- 
sight of it. Therefore if an heretic get in, or the church 
fall to heresy, or any pernicious error or sin, the neighbour 
pastors are bound both by the law of nature and their office, 
to interpose their counsel as ministers of Christ, and to 
prefer the substance before pretended order, and to seek to 
recover the people's souls, though it be against their proper 
pastor's will. And in such a case of necessity, they may 
ordain, degrade, excommunicate, and absolve in another's 
charge, as if it were a vacuity. 

10. Moreover it is one thing to excommunicate a man 

VOL. v. X 


out of a particular church, and another thing for many as- 
sociated churches or neighbours to renounce communion 
with him. The special pastors of particular churches, 
having the government of those churches, are the special 
governing judges, who shall or shall not have communion 
as a member in their churches ; but the neighbour pastors 
of other churches have the power of judging with whom 
they and their own flocks will or will not hold communion. 
As e. g. Athanasius may as governor of his flock declare 
any Arian member excommunicate, and require his flock to 
have no communion with him. And all the neighbour pas- 
tors (though they excommunicate not the same man as his 
special governors, yet) may declare to all their flocks, that 
if that man come among them, they will have no communion 
with him, and that at distance they renounce that distant 
communion which is proper to Christians one with another, 
and take him for none of the church of Christ "*. 

Quest. XXV. Whether canons be laimf And pastors have a 
legislative power ? 

All men are not agreed what a law is, that is, what is to 
be taken for the proper sense of that word. Some will have 
the name confined to such common laws as are stated, du- 
rable rules for the subject's actions : and some will extend it 
also to personal, temporary, verbal precepts and mandates, 
such as parents and masters use daily to the children and 
servants of their families. And of the first sort, some will 
confine the name ' laws ' to those acts of sovereignty which 
are about the common matters of the kingdom, or which no 
inferior officer may make : and others will extend it to those 
orders which by the sovereign's charter, a corporation, or 
college, or school may make for the subregulation of their 
particular societies and affairs. 

I have declared my own opinion ' de nomine' fully else- 
where, 1 . That the definition of a law in the proper general 
sense, is to be a sign or signification of the reason and will of 
the rector as such, to his subjects as such, instituting or ante- 
cedently determining what shall be due from them, and to 
them ; ' Jus efficiendo,' * regularly making right.' 

**» I Cor. V. Tit. iii. 10. 2 Thess. iii. 6. 14. 2 John 10. Rev. ii. 14, 15. 20. 


2. That thefee laws are mafty more ways diversified arid 
distinguished (from the efficient, sign, subjects, matte^r, 
end, &c.) than is meet for us here to enumerate. It is suffi- 
cient now to say, 1 . That stated regulating laws, as distinct 
from temporary mandates and proclamations. 2. And laws 
for kingdoms and other commonwealths, iti regard of \3vf^ 
for persons, schools, families, &c. 3. And laws made by 
the supreme power, as distinct from those made by the de- 
rived authority of colleges, corporations, &c. called bye- 
Idws or orders, (for I will here say nothing of parents and 
pastors, whose authority is directly or immediately from the 
efficiency of nature in one, and Divine institution iti the 
other, and not derived efficiently from the magistrate or any 
man). 4. That laws about great, substantial matters, dis- 
tfh€t from those about little and mutable circumstances, &ii. 
I say the first sort as distinct from the second, are laws so 
called by excellency above other laws. But that the rest 
are unequivocally to be called laws, according to the befet 
definition of the law * in genere.' But if any man will speak 
otherwise, let him remember that it is yet but * lis de notoi- 
ne,' and that he may use his liberty, and I Will use mine. 
Now to the question, 

1. Canons made by virtue of the pastoral office arid 
God's general laws (in nature or Scripture for regulat- 
ing it, are a sort of laws to the subjects or flocks of those! 

2. Canons made by the votes of the laity of the churcH, 
or private palrt of that society as private, are no laws at all, 
btit agreements ; because they aire not adts of ariy goverti- 
ing power. 

3. C&nbna titade by civil rulers about the circunistaintials 
of the church, belonging to their office, as orderers of such 
things, are laws, and may be urged by moderate arid itoeet 
^il of corporal penalties, and rio OthenVise. 

4. Cittiori^ made by princes or inferior niagistrat^^, are? 
no laws ptirely and formally ecclesiastical, which are esseii- 
tiatliy acts of pastoral power ; but only materially e6clesi^^- 
tititl, and formally magistfatical. 

5. No church officers as such, (much less the people^ 
can make laws with a co-active or coercive sanction ; th'^t' 
is, to be enforced by their authority with the sWord 6r any 


corporal penalty, mulct, or force ; this being the sole pri- 
vilege of secular powers, civil, or economical, or scho- 

6. There is no obligation ariseth to the subject for par- 
ticular obedience of any law, which is evidently against the 
laws of God (in nature or holy Scripture^. 

7. They are no laws which pastors make to people out of 
their power : as the popes, &c. 

8. There is no power on earth under Christ, that hath 
authority to make universal laws ; to bind the whole 
church on all the earth ; or all mankind. Because there is 
no universal sovereign, civil or spiritual, personal or col- 

9. Therefore it is no schism, but loyalty to Christ, to re- 
nounce or separate from such a society of usurpation ; nor 
any disobedience or rebellion, to deny them obedience. 

10. Pastors may and must be obeyed in things lawful as 
magistrates, if the king make them magistrates : though I 
think it unmeet for them to accept a magistracy with the 
sword, except in case of some rare necessity. 

11. If pope, patriarchs, or pastors shall usurp any of the 
king's authority, loyalty to Christ and him, and the love of 
the church and state, oblige us to take part with Christ and 
the king against such usurpation, but only by lawful means, 
in the compass of our proper place and calling. 

12. The canons made by the councils of many churches, 
have a double nature ; as they are made for the people and 
the subjects of the pastors, they are a sort of laws : that is, 
they oblige by the derived authority of the pastors ; be- 
cause the pastors of several churches do not lose any of 
their power by their assembling, but exercise it with the 
greater advantage of concord. But as they are made only 
to oblige the present or absent pastors who separatedly are 
of equal office-power, so they are no laws, except in an 
equivocal sense, but only agreements or contracts". So 
Bishop Usher professed his judgment to be : and before 
him the council of Carthage in Cyprian's time ; but it needs 
no proof, any more than that a convention of kings may 
make no laws to bind the kings of England, but contracts 

n Grotiusde Imperio sum. pot. circ. sacr. most solidly resolveth this question. 


13. But yet we are ' aliunde * obliged even by God, to 
keep these agreements in things lawful, for the church's 
peace and concord, when greater contrary reasons, * a fine/ 
do not disoblige us. For when God saith, 'You shall keep 
peace and concord, and keep lawful covenants,' the canons 
afford us the minor, ' But these are lawful contracts or 
agreements, and means of the church's peace and concord ;* 
* Therefore, (saith God's law) you shall observe them.' So 
though the contracts (as of husband and wife, buyer and 
seller, &c.) be not laws, yet that is a law of God which bind- 
eth us to keep them °. 

14. Seeing that even the obliging commands of pastors 
may not by them be enforced by the sword, but work by the 
power of Divine authority or commission manifested, and by 
holy reason and love, therefore it is most modest and fit 
for pastors (who must not lord it over God's heritage, but be 
examples to all) to take the lower name of authoritative di- 
rections and persuasions, rather than of laws : especially in 
a time when Papal usurpation maketh such ruinating use of 
that name, and civil magistrates use to take it in the nobler 
and narrower sense. 

The Questions, 1. ' If one pastor make orders for his 
church, and the multitudes or synods be against them ; 
which must be obeyed,' you may gather from what is said 
before of ordination. And 2. ' What are the particulars 
proper, materially, to the magistrate's decision, and what to 
the pastor's ?' I here pass by. 

Quest. XXVI. Whether church canons, or pastor's directive de- 
terminations of matters pertinent to their office, do bind the 
conscience % And what accidents will disoblige the people ; 
you may gather before in the same case about magistrate's 
laws, in the political directions : as also by an impartial 
transferring the case to the precepts of parents and school- 
masters to children ; without respect to their power of the 
rod, (or supposing that they had none such). 

Quest. XXVII. What are Chris fs appointed means of the 
unity and concord of the universal church, and consequently 
• 1 Pet. y. 2, 3. 2 Cor. i. 24. 


of its preservation, if there be no human universal head and 
governor of it upon earth ? And if Christ have instituted 
nom such, whether prudence and the laic of nature oblige not 
the church to set up and maintain an universal ecclesiastical 
mjQnarchy or aristocracy ? Seeing that which is every man*s 
work, is as no mqn's, and omitted by all ? 

I. To the first question I must refer you in part to two 
small, popular, yet satisfactory Tractates p, written long ago, 
that I do not one thing too oft. Briefly now. 

1. The unity of the universal church, is founded in, and 
maintained by their common relation to Christ the head, (as 
the kingdom in relation to the king). 

2. A concord in degrees of goodness, and in integrals 
and accidentals of Christianity, will never be obtained on 
earth, ^here the church is still imperfect : and perfect holi- 
ness and wisdom, are necessary to perfect harmony and 

3. Experience hath long taught the church, if it will 
learn, that the claim of a Papal headship and government 
over the church universal, hath been the famous incendiary 
and hinderer of concord in the Christian world, 

4. The means to attain such a measure of concord and 
harmony which is to be hoped for, or endeavoured upori 
earth, I have so distinctly, fully, and yet briefly described 
(with the contrary impediments) in my Treatise of the 
" Reasons of Christian Religion," Part vii. Chap. 14. pp. 
470, 471. in about two leaves, that I will not recite them. 
If you say, you are not bound to read the books which I re- 
fer you to ; I answer, * Nor this.' 

II. To the latter Question I answer, 1. To set up such 
an universal head on the supposition of natural reasons and 
human policy is, (1.) To cross Christ's institution, and the 
laws of the Holy Ghost, as hath been long proved by Pro- 
testants from the Scripture. 

(2.) It is treason against Christ's sovereign office to 
usurp such a vicegerency without his commission. 

(3.) It is against the notorious light of nature, which 

P " Catholic Unity," and •' ITie True Catholic and Church described." 


telleth us of the natural incapacity of mortal man, to be such 
an universal governor through the world. 

(4.) It is to sin against long, and dreadful common ex- 
perience, and to keep in that fire that hath destroyed em- 
perors, kings, and kingdoms, and set the church's pastors 
and Christian world in those divisions, which are the great 
and serviceable work of satan, and the impediment of the 
church's increase, purity, and peace, and the notorious 
shame of the Christian profession in the eyes of the infidel 

And if so many hundred years sad experience, will not 
answer them that say, * If the pope were a good man, he 
might unite us all ;' I conclude that such deserve to be de- 
ceived ^, 

Quest. XXVIII. Who is the judge of controversies in the church ? 
1 . About the exposition of the Scripture, and doctrinal 
points in themselves. 2. About either heresies, or wicked 
practices, as they are charged on the persons who are accused 
of them; that is, 1. Antecedently to our practice, by way of 
regulation. 2. Or consequentially, by judicial sentence (and 
execution) on offenders, 

I have answered this question so oft, that I can persuade 
myself to no more than this short, yet clear solution. 

The Papists used to cheat poor, unlearned persons that 
cannot justly discern things that differ, by puzzling them 
with this confused, ambiguous question. Some things they 
cunningly and falsely take for granted. As that there is such 
a thing on earth, as a political, universal church, headed by 
any mortal governor. Some things they shuffle together in 
equivocal words. They confound, 1. Public judgment of 
decision, and private judgment of discerning. 2. The ma- 
gistrate's judgment of church-controversies, and the pas- 
tor's, and the several cases, and ends, and effects of their 
several judgments. 3. Church-judgment as directive to a 
particular church, and as a means of the concord of several 
churches. Which being but distinguished, a few words will 
serve to clear the difficulty. 

1. As there is no universal human church (constituted 

1 2 Thew. ii. 10— M. 


or governed by a mortal head) so there is no power set up 
by Christ to be an universal judge of either sort of contro- 
versies, by decisive judicial sentence ; nor any universal 
civil monarch of the world. 

2. The public, governing, decisive judgment, obliging 
others, belongeth to public persons, or officers of God, and 
not to any private man. 

3. The public decision of doubts or controversies about 
faith itself, or the true sense of God's Word and laws, as 
obliging the whole church on earth to believe that decision, 
or not gainsay it, because of the infallibility or governing 
authority of the deciders, belongeth to no one but Jesua 
Christ ; because as is said, he hath made no universal go- 
vernor, nor infallible expositor ^ It belongeth to the law- 
giver only to make such an universally obliging exposition 
of his own laws. 

4. True bishops or pastors in their own particular 
churches are authorised teachers and guides, in expounding 
the laws and Word of Christ ; and the people are bound as 
learners to reverence their teaching, and not contradict it 
without true cause j yea, and to believe them ' fide humana,' 
in things pertinent to their office : for ' oportet discentem 

5. No such pastors are to be absolutely believed, nor in 
any case of notorious error or heresy, where the Word of 
God is discerned to be against them. 

6. For all the people as reasonable creatures, have a 
judgment of private discerning to judge what they must re- 
ceive as truth, and to discern their own duty, by the help of 
the Word of God, and of their teachers. 

7. The same power of governing-judgment lawful synods 
have over their several flocks, as a pastor over his own, but 
with greater advantage. 

8. The power of judging in many consociate churches, 
who is to be taken into communion as orthodox, and who 
to be refused by those churches as heretics, *in specie,' that 
is, what doctrine they will judge sound or unsound, as it is 
'judicium discernendi ;' belongeth to every one of the coun- 
cil singly : as it is a judgment obliging themselves by con- 
tract, (and not of governing each other) it is in the con- 

•■ Sec my " Key lor Catholics." 


tracters and consenters : and for peace and order usually 
in the major vote ; but with the limitations before ex- 

9. Every true Christian believeth all the essentials of 
Christianity, with a divine faith, and not by a mere human 
belief of his teachers, though by their help and teaching his 
faith is generated, and confirmed, and preserved. There- 
fore no essential article of Christianity is left to any oblig- 
ing decision of any church, but only to a subservient oblig- 
ing teaching : as whether there be a God, a Christ, a heaven, 
a hell, an immortality of souls ; whether God be to be be- 
lieved, loved, feared, obeyed before man? Whether the 
Scripture be God's Word, and true ? Whether those that 
contradict it are to be believed therein ? Whether pastors, 
assemblies, public worship, baptism, sacrament of the Lord's 
supper, be Divine institutions ? And the same I may say of 
any known Word of God : no mortals may judge * in partem 
utramlibet,' but the pastors are only authorized teachers and 
helpers of the people's faith. (And so they be partly to 
one another.) 

10. If the pope or his council, were the infallible, or the 
governing expositors of all God's laws and Scriptures, 1. 
God would have enabled them to do it by an universal com- 
mentary which all men should be obliged to believe, or at 
least not to contradict. For there is no authority and obli- 
gation given to men (yea, to so many successively) to do 
that (for the needful decision of controversies) which they 
never have ability given them to do. For that were to 
oblige them to things impossible. 2. And the pope and 
his council would be the most treacherous miscreants on 
earth, that in so many hundred years, would never write 
such an infallible, nor governing commentary, to end the 
differences of the Christian world. Indeed they have 
judged (with others) against Arius, that Christ is true God, 
and one with the Father in substance, &c. But if they had 
said the contrary, must we have taken it for God's truth, or 
have believed them ? 

11. To judge, who for heresy or scandal, shall be punish- 
ed by the sword, belongeth to none but the magistrate in 
his own dominions: as to judge who shall have communion 
or be excommunicated from the church, belongeth, as afore- 


said, to the pastors. And the said magistrate hath first as 
a man his own judgment of discerning what is heresy, and 
who of his subjects are guilty of it, in order to his public 
governing judgment. 

12. The civil, supreme ruler may antecedently exercise 
this judgment of discerning (by the teaching of their proper 
teachers) in order to his consequent sentences on offenders : 
and so in his laws may tell the subjects, what doctrines and 
practices he will either tolerate or punish. And thus may 
the church pastors do in their canons to their several flocks, 
in relation to communion or non-communion. 

13. He that will condemn particular persons as heretics 
or offenders, must allow them to speak for themselves, and 
hear the proofs, and give them that which justice requireth, 
&c. And if the pope can do so at the antipodes, and in all 
the world either ' per se,' or * per alium ' without giving that 
other his essential claimed power, let him prove it by better 
experience than we have had. 

14. As the prime and sole universal legislation belongeth 
to Jesus Christ, so the final judgment, universal and parti- 
cular, belongeth to him, which only will end all controver- 
sies and from which there is no appeal. 

Quest. XXIX. Whether a parentis power over his children, or a 
pastor, or mani/ pastors or bishops over the same children, as 
parts of their jiock, be greater, or more obliging in waiters 
of religion and public worship ? 

This being touched on somewhere else, I only now say, 
L That if the case were my own, I would (1.) Labour to 
know their different powers, as to the matter commanded, 
and obey each in that which is proper to its place. 

(2.) If I were young and ignorant, natural necessity, and 
natural obligation together, would give my parents with 
whom I lived such an advantage above the minister (whom I 
seldom see or understand) as would determine the case * de 
eventu,' and much * de jure.' 

(3.) If my parents command me to hear a teacher who 
is against ceremonies or certain forms, and to hear none 
that are for them, natural necessity here also ("ordinarily) 
would make it my duty first to hear and obey my parents ; 


and in many other cases, till I came to understand the 
greater power of the pastors, in their own place and work. 

(4.) But when I come to church, to know that the judg- 
ment of all concordant godly pastors, condemneth such a 
thing as damnable heresy or sin, which my father command- 
eth me to receive and profess, I would more believe and fol- 
low the judgment of the pastors and churches. 

Quest. XXX. May an office teadier or pastor be at once, in a 
stated relation of a pastor and a disciple to some other 
pastor ? 

1. That Timothy was still PauFs son in point of learn^ 
ing, and his disciple, and so that under apostles the same 
persons might be stated in both relations at once, seemeth 
evident in Scripture. 

2. But the same that is a pastor is not at once a mere 

3. That men in the same office may so differ in age, ex- 
perience, and degrees of knowledge, as that young pastors 
may, and often ought, many years to continue, not only in 
occasional reception of their help, but also in an ordinary 
stated way of receiving it, and so be related to them as their ^ 
ordinary teachers, by such gradual advantages is past all 
doubt. And that all juniors and novices owe a certain 
reverence and audience, and some obedience to the elder 
and wiser. 

4. But this is not to be a disciple to him as in lower or- 
der or office, but as of lower gifts and grace. 

5. It is lawful and very good for the church, that some 
ordained persons continue long as pupils to their tutors in 
schools or academies, (e. g. to learn the holy languages, if 
they have them not, &c.) But this is a relation left to vo* 
luntary contractors, 

6. In the ancient churches the particular churches had 
one bishop and some presbyters and deacons, usually of 
much lower parts, who lived all together (single or chaste) 
in the bishop's or church house, which was as a college, 
where he daily edified them by doctrine and example. 

7. The controversy about different orders by Divine in^ 
stitution, belongeth not to me here to meddle with : but as 


to the natural and acquired imparity of age and gifts, and 
the unspeakable benefit to the juniors and the churches, 
that it is desirable that there were such a way of their edu- 
cation and edification, I take to be discernible to any that 
are impartial and judicious. 

Ambrose was at once a teacher and a learner : Beda 
Eccl. Hist, mentioneth one in England, that was at once a 
pastor and a disciple. And in Scotland some that became 
bishops were still to be under the government of the abbot 
of their monasteries according to their first devotion, though 
the abbot was but a presbyter. 

8. Whether a settled, private church-member, may not 
at once continue his very formal relation, to the pastor of 
that church, and yet be of the same order with him in 
another church, as their pastor, at the same time, (as he 
may in case of necessity continue his apprenticeship or 
civil service,) is a case that I will not determine. But he 
that denieth it, must prove his opinion, (or affirmation of its 
unlawfulness) by sufficient evidence from Scripture or na- 
ture ; which is hard. 

Quest. XXXI. Who hath the power of making church canons ? 

This is sufficiently resolved before. 1. The magistrate 
only hath the power of making such canons or laws for 
church matters as shall be enforced by the sword. 

2. Every pastor hath power to make canons for his own 
congregation; that is, to determine what hour or at what 
place they shall meet; what translation of Scripture, or 
version of Psalms shall be used in his church : what chap- 
ter shall be read : what psalm shall be sung, &c. Except 
the magistrate contradict him, and determine it otherwise, 
in such points as are not proper to the ministerial office. 

3. Councils or assemblies of pastors have the power of 
making such canons for many churches, as shall be laws to 
the people, and agreements to themselves. 

4. None have power to make church laws or canons, 
about any thing, save, (1.) To put God's own laws in exe- 
cution. (2.) To determine to that end, of such circum- 
stances as God hath left undetermined in his Word. 

5. Canon-making under pretence of order and concord. 



hath done a great deal of mischief to the churches ; whilst 
clergymen have grown up from agreements, to tyrannical 
usurpations and impositions, and from concord about need- 
ful accidents of worship, to frame new worship ordinances, 
and to force them on all others ; but especially, (1.) By en- 
croaching on the power of kings, and telling them that they 
are bound in conscience to put all their canons into execu- 
tion by force. (2.) And by laying the union of the churches 
and the communion of Christians upon things needless and 
doubtful, yea, and at last on many sinful things ; whereby 
the churches have been most effectually divided, and the 
Christian world set together by the ears ; and schisms, yea, 
and wars have been raised : and these maladies cannot pos- 
sibly be healed, till the tormenting, tearing engines be bro- 
ken and cast away, and the voluminous canons of nume- 
rous councils, (which themselves also are matter of unde- 
terminable controversy) be turned into the primitive sim- 
plicity ; and a few necessary things made the terms of con- 
cord. Doubtless if every pastor were left wholly to him- 
self for the ordering of worship circumstances and accidents 
in his own church, without any common canons, save the 
Scriptures, and the laws of the land, there would have been 
much less division, than that is, which these numerous 
canons of all the councils, obtruded on the church, have 

Quest. XXX II. Doth baptism as such enter the baptized into the 
universal church, or into a particular church, or both ? And 
is baptism the particular church covenant as such ? 

Answ. 1. Baptism as such doth enter us into the univer- 
sal church, and into it alone ; and is no particular church 
covenant, but the solemnizing of the great Christian cove- 
nant of grace, between God, and a believer and his seed. 

For, (1.) There is not essentially any mention of a par- 
ticular church in it. 

(2.) A man may be baptized by a general unfixed minis- 
ter, who is not the pastor of any particular church : and he 
may be baptized in solitude, where there is no particular 
church. The eunuch. Acts viii. was not baptized into any 
particular church. 


(3.) Baptism doth but make us Christians, but a man 
may be a Christian who is no member of any particular 

(4.) Otherwise baptism should oblige us necessarily to 
a man, and be a covenant between the baptized and the 
pastor and church into which he is baptized : but it is only 
our covenant with Christ. 

(5.) We may frequently change our particular chutch 
relation; without being baptized again. But we never 
change our relation to the church which we are baptized 
into, unless by apostacy. 

2. Yet the same person at the same time that he is bap- 
tized may be entered into the universal church, and into a 
particular ; and ordinarily it ought to be so where it can be 

3. And the covenant which we make in baptism with 
Christ, doth oblige us to obey him, and consequently to 
use his instituted means, and so to hear his ministers, and 
hold due communion with his churches. 

4. But this doth no more enter us into a particular 
church, than into a particular family. For we as well 
oblige ourselves to obey him in family relations as in church 

5. When the baptized therefore is at once entered into 
the universal and particular church, it is done by a double 
consent, to the double relation. By baptism he professeth 
his consent to be a member of Christ and his universal 
church ; and additionally he consenteth to be guided by 
that particular pastor in that particular church ; which is 
another covenant or consent. 

Quest. XXXI II. Whether infants should be baptized, I have 
answered long ago in a Treatise on that subject. 

Also what infants should be baptized ? And who have right 
to sacraments ? And whether hypocrites are unequivocally 
or equivocally Christians and church-members, I have re- 
solved in my " Disput. of Right to Sacrdrtients" 

Quest, xxxiv. Whether an unbaptized person who yet maketh 
a public profession of Christianity, be a member of the visi- 
ble church ? And so of the infants of believers unbaptized. 


Answ. 1. Such persons have a certain imperfect, irregu- 
lar kind of profession, and so of membership ; their visibility 
or visible Christianity is not such as Christ hath appointed. 
As those that are married, but not by legal celebration, and 
as those that in cases of necessity are ministers without or- 
dination ; so are such Christians as Constantine and many 
of old without baptism. 

2. Such persons ordinarily are not to be admitted to the 
rights and communion of the visible church, because we 
must know Christ's sheep by his own mark ; but yet they 
are so far visible Christians, as that we may be persuaded 
nevertheless of their salvation. As to visible communion, 
they have but a remote and incomplete * jus ad rem,' and no 
*jus in re,' or legal investiture and possession. 

3. The same is the case of unbaptized infants of believ- 
ers, because they are not of the church merely as they are 
their natural seed ; but because it is supposed that a per- 
son himself devoted to God, doth also devote his children 
to God : therefore not nature only, but this supposition ari- 
sing from the true nature of his own dedication to God, is 
the reason why believers' children have their right to bap- 
tism : therefore till he hath actually devoted them to God in 
baptism, they are not legally members of the visible church, 
but only in ' fieri' and imperfectly as is said. Of which 
more anon. 

Quest. XXXV. hit certain by the Word of God that all in- 
fants baptized, and dying before actual sin, are undoubtedly 
saved; or what infants may we say so of? 

Answ. I. 1. We must distinguish between certainty ob- 
jective and subjective, or more plainly, the reality or truth 
of the thing, and the certain apprehension of it *. 

2. And this certainty of apprehension, sometimes signi- 
fieth only the truth of that apprehension, when a man indeed 
18 not deceived, or more usually that clearness of apprehen- 
sion joined with truth, which fully quieteth the mind and 
excludeth doubting. 

• Since the writing of tliis, there i^ come forth an excellent book for Infant Bap - 
tism by Mr. Joseph Whiston, in which the grounds of ray present solutions are no- 
tably cleared. 


3. We must distinguish of infants as baptized lawfully 
upon just title, or unlawfully without title. 

4. And also of title before God, which maketh a lawful 
claim and reception at his bar; and title before the church, 
which maketh only the administration lawful before God, 
and the reception lawful only * in foro ecclesia,' or * externo/ 

5. The word * baptism' signifieth either the external 
part only, consisting in the words and outward action, or 
the internal covenantins: of the heart also. 

6. And that internal covenant is either sincere which 
giveth right to the benefits of God's covenant, or only par- 
tial, reserved, and unsound, such as is common to hypo- 

Condus. 1. God hath been pleased to speak so little in 
Scripture of the case of infants, that modest men will use 
the words, ' certainly' and * undoubtedly,' about their case 
with very great caution. And many great divines have 
maintained that their very baptism itself, cannot be cer- 
tainly and undoubtedly proved by the Word of God but by 
tradition : though I have endeavoured to prove the contrary 
in a special Treatise on that point. 

2. No man can tell what is objectively certain or reveal- 
ed in God's Word, who hath not subjective certainty or 
knowledge of it. 

3. A man's apprehension may be true, when it is but a 
wavering opinion, with the greatest doubtfulness. There- 
fore we do not usually by a certain apprehension, mean on- 
ly a true apprehension, but a clear and quieting one. 

4. It is possible to baptize infants unlawfully, or with- 
out any right, so that their rfeception and baptizing shall be 
a great sin, as is the misapplying of other ordinances. For 
instance : one in America where there is neither church to 
receive them, nor Christian parents, nor sponsors, may take 
up the Indians' children and baptize them against the pa- 
rents' wills ; or if the parents consent to have their children 
outwardly baptized, and not themselves, as not knowing 
what baptizing meaneth, or desire it only for outward ad- 
vantages to their children : or if they offer them to be bap- 
tized only in open derision and scorn of Christ ; such chil- 
dren have no right to be received. And many other in- 
stances nearer may be given. 


5. It is possible the person may have no authority at all 
from Christ who doth baptize them. And Christ's part in 
reception of the person, and collation and investiture in his 
benefits, must be done by his commission, or else how can 
we say that Christ doth it ? But open infidels, women, 
children, madmen, scorners, may do it that have none of his 

6. That all infants baptized without title or right by 
misapplication, and so dying, are not undoubtedly saved, 
nor any Word of God doth certainly say so, we have reason 
to believe on these following grounds. 

1. Because we can find no such text, nor could ever 
prevail with them that say so, to shew us such an ascertain- 
ing Word of God. 

2. Because else gross sin would certainly be the way to 
salvation. For such misapplication of baptism, by the de- 
manders at least, would certainly be gross sin, as well as 
misapplying the Lord's supper. 

3. Because it is clean contrary to the tenor of the new 
covenant which promiseth salvation to none but penitent 
believers and their seed : what God may do for others un- 
known to us, we have nothing to do with : but his covenant 
hath made no other promise that I can find ; and we are 
certain of no man's salvation by baptism, to whom God 
never made a promise of it. If by the children of the faith- 
ful, be meant not only their natural seed, but the adopted 
or bought also of which they are true proprietors, yet that 
is nothing to all others. 

4. To add to God's words, especially to his very pro- 
mise or covenant, is so terrible a presumption, as we dare 
not be guilty of. 

5. Because this tieth grace or salvation so to the out- 
ward washing of the body, or * opus operatum,' as is con- 
trary to the nature of God's ordinances, and to the tenor 
of Scripture, and the judgment of the Protestant divines. 

6. Because this would make a strange disparity between 
the two sacraments of the same covenant of grace : when a 
man receiveth the Lord's supper unworthily (in scorn, in 
drunkenness, or impenitency) much more without any right 
(as infidels,) he doth eat and drink damnation or judgment to 
himself, and maketh his sin greater ; therefore he that gets a 

vov. V. Y 


child baptized unworthily and without right, doth not there- 
fore infallibly procure his salvation. 

7. Because the apostle saith, 1 Cor. vii. 14. " Else were 
your children unclean, but now are they holy;" and the 
Scripture giveth this privilege to the children of the faith- 
ful above others: whereas the contrary opinion levelleth 
them with the seed of infidels and heathens, as if these had 
right to salvation by mere baptism, as well as the others. 

8. Because else it would be the greatest act of charity 
in the world, to send soldiers to catch up all heathen's and 
infidels' children, and baptize them; which no Christians 
ever yet thought their duty. Yea, it would be too strong a 
temptation to them to kill them when they had done, that 
they might be all undoubtedly saved. 

Obj. * But that were to do evil that good might come by 
it.' Answ. But God is not to be dishonoured as to be sup- 
posed to make such laws, as shall forbid men the greatest 
good in the world, and then to tempt them by the greatness 
of the benefit to take it to be no evil : as if he said, * If sol- 
diers would go take up a million of heathen's children and 
baptize them, it will put them into an undoubted state of 
salvation : bat yet I forbid them doing it : and if they pre- 
sently kill them, lest they sin after, they shall undoubtedly 
be saved ; but yet I forbid them doing it.' I need not ag- 
gravate this temptation to them that know the power of the 
law of nature, which is the law of love and good works, and 
how God that is most good is pleased in our doing good. 
Though he tried Abraham's obedience once, as if he should 
have killed his son, yet he stopt him before the execution. 
And doth he ordinarily exercise men's obedience, by for- 
bidding them to save the souls of others, when it is easily in 
their power? Especially when with the adult the greatest 
labour and most powerful preaching, is frequently so frustrate, 
that not one of many is converted by it. 

9. Because else God should deal with unaccountable 
disparity with infants and the adult in the same ordinance 
of baptism. It is certain that all adult persons baptized, if 
they died immediately, should not be saved. Even none, 
that had no right to the covenant and to baptism ; such as 
infidels, heathens, impenitent persons, hypocrites, that have 
not true repentance and faith. And why should baptism 



save an infant without title, any more than the adult without 
title ? I still suppose that some infants have no title, and 
that now I speak of them alone. 

Obj. ' But the church giveth them all right by receiving 

Answ. This is to be farther examined anon. If you mean 
a particular church, perhaps they are baptized into none 
such. Baptism as such is a reception only into the univer- 
sal church, as in the eunuch's case. Acts viii. appeareth. If 
you mean the universal church, it may be but one single ig- 
norant man in an infidel country that baptizeth, and he is 
not the universal church ! Yea, perhaps is not a lawfully 
called minister of that church ! However this is but to say, 
that baptism giveth right to baptism. For this receiving is 
nothing but baptizing. But there must be a right to this 
reception, if baptism be a distinguishing ordinance, and all 
the world have not right to it. Christ saith. Matt, xxviii. 
19. ** Disciple me all nations, baptizing them — :" they 
must be initially made disciples first, by consent, and then 
be invested in the visible state of Christianity by baptism. 

10. If the children of heathens have right to baptism, 
and salvation thereby, it is either, 1. As they are men, and 
all have right ; or 2. Because the parents give them right ; 
3. Or because remote ancestors give them right ; 4. Or be- 
cause the universal church gives them right; 5. Or because 
a particular church giveth them right ; 6. Or because the 
sponsors give them right ; 7. Or the magistrate ; 8. Or the 
baptizer. But it is none of all these, as shall anon be proved. 

11. But as to the second question, I answer, 1. It will 
help us to understand the case the better, if we prepare the 
way by opening the case of the adult, because in Scripture 
times, they were the most famous subjects of baptism. And 
it is certain of such, 1. That every one outwardly baptized 
is not in a state of salvation. That no hypocrite that is not 
a true penitent believer is in such a state. 2. That every 
true penitent believer is before God in a state of salvation, 
as soon as he is such ; and before the church as soon as he is 
baptized. 3. That we are not to use the word baptism as a 
physical term only, but as a moral, theological term. Be- 
cause words (as in law, physic, &c.) are to be understood 
according to the art or science in which they are treated of. 


And baptism taken theologically doth as essentially include 
the wilFs consent or heart-covenanting with God, as matri- 
mony include th marriage consent, and as a man containeth 
the soul as well as the body. And thus it is certain that 
all truly baptized persons are in a state of salvation ; 
that is, all that sincerely consent to the baptismal covenant 
when they profess consent by baptism (but not hypocrites). 
4. And in this sense all the ancient pastors of the churches, 
did concur that baptism did wash away all sin, and put the 
baptized into a present right to life eternal ; as he that ex- 
amineth their writings will perceive : not the outward wash- 
ing and words alone, but when the inward and outward parts 
concur, or when by true faith and repentance, the receiver 
hath right to the covenant of God. 5. In this sense it is 
no unfit language to imitate the fathers, and to say that the 
truly baptized are in a state of j ustification, adoption, and 
salvation, unless when men's misunderstanding maketh it 
unsafe. 6. The sober Papists themselves say the same 
thing, and when they have said that even * ex opere operato' 
baptism saveth, they add, that it is only the meet receiver; 
that is, the penitent believer, and no other of the adult. So 
that hitherto there is no difference. 

2. Now let us by this try the case of infants ; concern- 
ing which there are all these several opinions among di- 

(1.) Some think that all infants (baptized or not) are 
saved from hell, and positive punishment, but are not brought 
to heaven, as being not capable of such joys. 

(2.) Some think that all infants (dying such) are saved 
as others are, by actual felicity in heaven, though in a 
lower degree. Both these sorts suppose that Christ*s death 
saveth all that reject it not, and that infants reject it not. 

(3.) Some think that all unbaptized infants do suffer the 
* poenam damni' and are shut out of heaven and happiness, 
but not sensibly punished or cast into hell. For this Jan- 
senius hath wrote a treatise ; and many other Papists think so. 

(4.) Some think that all the children of sincere believers 
dying in infancy are saved, (that is, glorified,) whether bap- 
tized or not ; and no others. 

(5.) Some think that God hath not at all revealed what 
he will do with any infants. 



(6.) Some think that he hath promised salvation as 
aforesaid to believers and their seed, but hath not at all re- 
vealed to us what he will do with all the rest. 

(7.) Some think that only the baptized children of true 
believers are certainly (by promise) saved. 

(8.) Some think that all the adopted and bought chil- 
dren of true Christians, as well as the natural, are saved (if 
baptized, say some; or if not, say others). 

(9.) Some think that elect infants are saved, and no 
other, but no man can know who those are. And of these, 
I. Some deny infant baptism. 2. Most say that they are 
to be baptized, and that thereby the non-elect are only re- 
ceived into the visible church and its privileges, but not to 
any promise or certainty of justification, or a state of salva- 

(10.) Some think that all that are baptized by the dedi- 
cation of Christian sponsors are saved. 

(11.) Some think that all that the pastor dedicateth to 
God are saved, (because so dedicated by him say some ; or 
because baptized * ex opere operato' say others). And so 
all baptized infants are in a state of salvation. 

(12.) Some think that this is to be limited to all that 
have right to baptism * coram Deo ;' which some think the 
church's reception giveth them, of which anon. 

(13.) And some think it is to be limited to those that 
have right * coram ecclesia,' or are rightfully baptized ' ex 
parte ministrantis,' where some make the magistrate's com- 
mand sufficient, and some the bishops and some the bapti- 
zer's will. 

Of the title to baptism I shall speak anon.' Of the sal- 
vation of infants, it is too tedious to confute all that I dis- 
sent from : not presuming in such darkness and diversity of 
opinions to be peremptory, nor to say, I am certain by the 
Word of God who are undoubtedly saved, nor yet to deny 
the undoubted certainty of wiser men, who may know that 
which such as I do doubt of, but submitting what I say to 
the judgment of the church of God and my superiors, I hum- 
bly lay down my own thoughts as foUoweth. 

1 . I think that there can no promise or proof be produced 
that all unbaptized infants are saved, either from the * poena 
damni' or * sensus* or both. 


2. I think that no man can prove that all unbaptized in- 
fants are damned, or denied heaven. Nay, I think I can 
prove a promise of the contrary. 

3. All that are rightfully baptized ' in foro externo' are 
visible church-members, and have ecclesiastical right to the 
privileges of the visible church. 

4. 1 think Christ never instituted baptism for the colla- 
tion jof these outward privileges alone, unless as on suppo- 
sition that persons culpably fail of the better ends. 

5. I think baptism is a solemn mutual contract or cove- 
nant between Christ and the baptized person. And that it 
is but one covenant, even the covenant of grace which is the 
sum of the Gospel, which is sealed and received in baptism ; 
and that this covenant essentially containeth our saving re- 
lation to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and our par- 
don, justification, and adoption or right to life everlasting : 
and that God never made any distinct covenant of outward 
privileges alone, to be sealed by baptism. But that out- 
ward mercies are the second and lesser gift of the same cove- 
nant which giveth first the great and saving blessings. 

6. And therefore that whoever hath right before God, 
to claim and receive baptism, hath right also to the benefits 
of the covenant of God, and that is, to salvation : though I 
say not so of every one that hath such right before the 
church, as that God doth require the minister to baptize 
him. For by right before God, or ' in foro cceli' I mean 
such a right as will justify the claim before God immediate- 
ly, the person being one whom he commandeth in that pre- 
sent state to claim and receive baptism. For many a one 
hath no such right before God to claim or receive it, when 
yet the minister hath right to give it them if they do claim it. 

The case stands thus. God saith in his covenant, ' He 
that belieyeth shall be saved, and ought to be baptized, to 
profess thayt belief, and be invested in the benefits of the co- 
venant ; and he that professeth to believe, (whether he do 
or not,) is by the church to be taken for a visible believer, 
and by baptism to be received into the visible church.* 
Here God calleth none but true believers (and their seed) to 
be baptized, nor maketh an actual promise or covenant with 
^ny other ; and so I say that none other have right ' in foro 
cceli.' But yet the church knoweth not m^n'^ hearts, and 



must take a serious profession for a credible sign of the 
faith professed, and for that outward title upon which it is 
a duty of the pastor to baptize the claimer *. So that the 
most malignant, scornful hypocrite, that maketh a seeming- 
ly serious profession, hath right * coram ecclesia,' but not 
' coram Deo,' save in this sense, that God would have the 
minister baptize him. But this I have more largely opened 
in my '* Disputations of Right to Sacraments." 

7. I think therefore that all the children of true Chris- 
tians, do by baptism receive a public investiture by God's 
appointment into a state of remission, adoption, and right 
to salvation at the present : though I dare not say I am un- 
doubtedly certain of it, as knr)ijiring how much is said against 
it. But I say as the synod of Dort, art. 1. ' That believing 
parents have no cause to doubt of the salvation of their 
children that die in infancy, before they commit actual sin ;' 
that is, not to trouble themselves with fears about it. 

The reasons that move me to be of this judgment (though 
not without doubting and hesitancy) are these ; 1. Because 
whoever hath right to the present investiture, delivery and 
possession of the first and great benefits of God's covenant 
made with man in baptism, hath right to pardon, and adop- 
tion, and everlasting life : but the infants of true Christians 
have right to the present investiture, delivery and posses- 
sion of the first and great benefits of God's covenant made 
with man in baptism. Therefore they have right to pardon 
and everlasting life. 

Either infants are in the same covenant (that is, are sub- 
jects of the same promise of God) with their believing pa- 
rents, or in some other covenant, or in no covenant. If they 
be under no covenant (or promise), or under some other 
promise or covenant only, and not the same, they are not to 
be baptized. For baptism is a mutual covenanting ; where 
the minister by Christ's commission in his name acteth his 
part, and the believer his own and his infant's part : and God 
hath but one covenant, which is to be made, sealed, and de- 
livered in baptism. Baptism is not an equivocal word, so 
as to signify divers covenants of God. 

t Mark xvi. 16. Acts ii. 37, 38. xxii. 16. 1 Cor. vi. 11. Tit. Hi. 3. 5,6. 
Hcb. X. «2. Eph. V. 26. Rom. vi. 1.4. Col. ii. 12. 1 Pet. iii. 21, 22. Epb. 
iv. 5. Acts Tiii. 12, 13. 16. 36. 38. ix. 18. xvi. 15.33. xix. 5. Gal. iii. 27. 


Obj, * But the same covenant of God hath divers sorts 
of benefits ; the special God giveth to the sincere, and the 
common to the common and hypocritical receiver. 

Answ. 1. God indeed require th the minister to take pro- 
fession for the visible church-title ; and so it being the mi- 
nister's duty so far to believe a liar, and to receive dissem- 
blers who had no right to lay that claim, you may say that 
God indirectly and improperly giveth them church-privi- 
leges : but properly, that is, by his promise or covenant-deed 
of gift, he giveth them nothing at all ; for his covenant is one 
and undivided in its action, though it give several benefits, 
and though providence may give one and not another, yet 
the covenant giveth all or no^e. God saitli that godliness 
hath the promise of this life and of that to come : but he 
never said, (that I know of,) * To the hypocrite or unsound 
believer I promise or give right to common mercies.' 

2. But suppose it were otherwise, yet either the chil- 
dren of true believers have the true condition of right to the 
special blessings of the covenant, or they have not the con- 
dition of any at all. For there can no more be required of 
an infant, as to any special blessings of the covenant, than 
that he be the child of believing parents and by them dedi- 
cated to God. Either this condition entitleth them to all 
the covenant promises which the adult believer is entitled 
to, (as far as their natures are capable,) or it entitleth them 
to none at all. Nor are they to be baptized : for God hath 
in Scripture instituted but one baptism, (to profess one 
faith,) and that one is ever for the remission of sins : " he 
that believeth and is baptized shall be saved"." 

3. Or if all the rest were granted you, yet it would follow 
that all infants in the world, even of true believers, are left 
out of God's covenant of grace, that is, the covenant or pro- 
mise of pardon and life ; and are only taken into the cove- 
nant of church-privileges. And so 1. You will make two 
covenants, (which you denied.) and not only two sorts of 
benefits of one covenant. 2. And two species of baptism ; 
while all infants in the world are only under a covenant of 
outward privileges, and have no baptism, but the seal of 
that covenant, while believers have the covenant, promise, 
and seal of pardon and life. 

« Mark xvi. 16. 


2. And this is my second reason : because then we have 
no promise or certainty, or ground of faith, for the pardon 
and salvation of any individual infants in the world. And 
so parents are left to little comfort for their children. And 
if there be no promise there is no faith of it, nor any baptism 
to seal it ; and so we still make antipaedobaptism unavoida- 
ble. For who dare set God*s seal to such as have no pro- 
mise? or pretend to invest any in a near and saving relation 
to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, (which is the very 
nature of baptism,) when God hath given no such commis- 

Obj. ' Yes : baptism and the covenant of special pro- 
mises are for all the elect, though we know not who they 

Answ. 1. I deny not God*s eternal, antecedent election; 
but I deny that the Scripture ever mentioneth his pardon- 
ing or glorifying any, upon the account of election only, 
without certain spiritual conditions, which may be given as 
the reason of the difference in judgment. God may freely 
give the Gospel to whom he will, and also faith or the first 
grace by the Gospel, without any previous condition in man, 
but according to his free election only : but he giveth par- 
don and heaven as a rector by his equal laws and judgment ; 
and always rendereth a reason of the difference, from the 
qualifications of man. 

2. And if this were as you say, it would still overthrow 
infant baptism. For either we must baptize all indifferent- 
ly, or none, or else know how to make a difference. All 
must not be baptized indifferently : and election is a secret 
thing to us, and by it no minister in the world can tell whom 
to baptize : therefore he must baptize none, if there be no 
other differencing note to know them by. 

Obj. ' God hath more elect ones among the infants of 
true believers than among others : and therefore they are 
all to be baptized.* 

Amw. 1. It will be hard to prove that much (that he 
hath more) if there be no promise to them all as such. 2. 
If he have more, yet no man knoweth how many, and whe- 
ther the elect be one of ten, twenty, forty, or an hundred in 
comparison of the non-elect : for Scripture tells it not. So 
that no minister of a church is sure that any one infant that 


he ever baptized is elect. 3. And God hath given no such 
rule for sealing and delivering his covenant with the benefits 
as to cast it hap hazard among all, because it is possible or 
probable it may belong to some. 

Obj. ' You have no certainty what adult professor is sin- 
cere, nor to which of them the special benefits belong ; no, 
not of any one in a church. And yet because there is a 
probability that among many there are some sincere, you 
baptize them all. Take then the birth privilege but as equal 
to the profession of the adult. 

Answ. This partly satisfied me sometimes : but I cannot 
forget that a visible, false, or hypocritical profession is not 
the condition of God's own covenant of grace, nor that which 
he requireth in us, to make us partakers of his covenant- 
benefits ; nay, he never at all commandeth it ; but only 
commandeth that profession of consent, which foUoweth 
the real consent of the heart ; he that condemneth lying, 
maketh it neither the condition of our church-membership, 
as his gift by promise, nor yet our duty. 

And mark well, that it is a professed consent to the whole 
covenant that God requireth, as the condition of our true 
right to any part or benefit of it. He that shall only say, 
' I consent to be a visible church-member,* doth thereby ac- 
quire no right to that membership ; no, not in * foro eccle- 
siae :' but he must also profess that he consenteth to have 
God for his God, and Christ for his Lord and Saviour, and 
the Holy Spirit for his Sanctifier. So that he must be a 
liar, or a sound believer that maketh this profession. 

But for an infant to be born of true believers, and sin- 
cerely by them dedicated in covenant to God, is all the con- 
dition that ever God required to an infant-title to his cove- 
nant ; and it is not the failure of the true condition as a 
false profession is. 

Indeed if the proposition were thus laid, it would hold 
good : ' As we know not who sincerely covenanteth for him- 
self, and yet we must baptize all that soberly profess it ; so 
we know not who doth sincerely covenant for his infant, 
and yet we must baptize all whom the parents bring with 
such a profession, for themselves and them.' 

But if the sincere dedication of a sound believer, shall 
be accounted but equal to the lying profession of the adult, 


which is neither commanded, nor hath any promise, then 
infants are not in the covenant of grace, nor is the sincerest 
dedication to God either commanded or hath any promise. 

If I were but sure that the profession of the adult for 
himself were sincere, I were sure that he were in a state of 
grace. And if I am not sure of the same concerning the pa- 
rent's dedication of his infant, I must conclude that this is 
not a condition of the same covenant, and therefore that he 
is not in the same covenant (or conditional promise of God) 
unless there be some other condition required in him or for 
him ; but there is no other that can be devised. 

Object. Election is the condition. 

Answ. Election is God's act and not man's ; and there- 
fore may be an antecedent, but no condition required of us. 
And man is not called to make profession that he is elected, 
as he is to make profession of his faith and consent to the 
covenant. And God only knoweth who are his by election, 
and therefore God only can baptize on this account. 

And what is the probability which the objecters mean, 
that many of the infants of the faithful are elected ? Either 
it is a promise, or but a prediction ; if no promise it is not 
to be sealed by baptism : if a promise, it is absolute or con- 
ditional. If any absolute promise, as, I will save many chil- 
dren of believers, 1 . This terminateth not on any singular 
person, as baptism doth, and 2. It is not the absolute pro- 
mise that baptism is appointed by Christ to seal. This is 
apparent in Mark xvi. 16. and in the case of the adult. And 
it is not one covenant which is sealed to the adult by bap- 
tism, and another to infants. Else baptism also should not 
be the same. But if it be any conditional covenant, what 
is it, and what is the condition ? 

And what is it that baptism giveth to the seed of belie- 
vers, if they be not justified by it from original sin ? You 
will not say, that it conveyeth inherent sanctifying grace, no 
not into all the elect themselves, which many are many 
years after without. And you cannot say, that it sealeth to 
them any promise, so much as of visible church privileges. 
For God may suffer them presently to be made janizaries, 
and violently taken from their parents, and become stran- 
gers and despisers of church privileges, as is ordinary with 
the Greek's children among the Turks. Now God either 


promised such church privileges absolutely, or conditionally, 
or not at all. Not absolutely, for then they would possess 
them. If conditionally, what is the condition ? If not at 
all, what promise then doth baptism seal to such, and what 
benefit doth it secure ? God hath instituted no baptism, 
which is a mere present delivery of possession of a church- 
state, without sealing any promise at all. True baptism 
first sealeth the promise, and then delivereth possession of 
some benefits. 

Yea, indeed outward church-privileges are such uncer- 
tain blessings of the promise, that as they are but secon- 
dary, so they are but secondarily given and sealed, so that 
no man should ever be baptized, if these were all that were 
in the promise. The holiest person may be cast into a wil- 
derness, and deprived of all visible church-communion ; and 
doth God then break his promise with him ? Certainly no. 
It is therefore our saving relations to God the Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost, which the promise giveth, and baptism 
sealeth ; and other things but subordinately and uncertainly 
as they are means to these. So then it is plain, that be- 
lievers' infants have a promise of salvation, or no promise 
at all which baptism was instituted to seal. 

I have said so much more of this in my Appendix to 
the " Treatise of Infant Baptism," to Mr. Bedford, in de- 
fence of Dr. Davenant's judgment, as that I must refer the 
reader thither. 

8. I think it very probable that this ascertaining promise 
belongeth not only to the natural seed of believers, but to 
all whom they have a true power and right to dedicate in co- 
venant to God ; which seemeth to be all that are properly 
their own, whether adopted or bought ; but there is more 
darkness and doubt about this than the former, because the 
Scripture hath said less of it. 

9. I am not able to prove, nor see any probable reason 
for it, that any but sound believers have such a promise for 
their children, nor that any hypocrite shall certainly save his 
child, if he do but dedicate him to God in baptism. For, 
1. I find no promise in Scripture made to such. 2. He that 
doth not sincerely believe himself, nor consent to God's co- 
venant, cannot sincerely believe for his child, nor consent 
for him. 3. And that faith which will not save the owner,as 


being not the condition of the promise, cannot save another. 
Much more might be said of this. I confess that the church 
is to receive' the children of hypocrites as well as them- 
selves ; and their baptism is valid * in foro externo ecclesiae/ 
and is not to be reiterated. But it goeth no further for his 
child, than for himself. 

10. Therefore I think that all that are rightfully baptized 
by the minister, that is, baptized so as that it is well done of 
him, are not certainly saved by baptism, unless they be also 
rightfully baptized, in regard of their right to claim and re- 
ceive it. Let them that are able to prove more do it, for I 
am not able. 

1 1 . Whereas some misinterpret the words of the old ru- 
bric of confirmation in the English liturgy, as if it spake of 
all that are baptized, whether they had right or not, the 
words themselves may serve to rectify that mistake, * And 
that no man shall think any detriment shall come to chil- 
dren by deferring of their confirmation, he shall know for 
truth, that it is certain by God's Word, that children being 
baptized have all things necessary for their salvation, and 
be undoubtedly saved.' Where it is plain that they mean, 
they have all things necessary * ex parte ecclesiae,' or all 
God's applying ordinances necessary, though they should 
die unconfirmed, supposing that they have all things neces- 
sary to just baptism on their own part. Which is but what 
the ancients were wont to say of the baptized adult ; but they 
never meant that the infidel, and hypocrite, and impenitent 
person was in a state of life, because he was baptized ; but 
that all that truly consent to the covenant, and signify this 
by being baptized, are saved. So the Church of England 
saith, that they receive no detriment by delaying confirma- 
tion ; but it never said, that they receive no detriment by 
their parents' or sponsers' infidelity and hypocrisy, or by 
their want of true right * coram Deo ' to be baptized. 

12. But yet before these Questions (either of them) be 
taken as resolved by me, I must first take in some other 
Questions which are concerned in the same cause ; as 

Quest. X X X v I . What is meant by this speech, that believers and 
their seed are in the covenaat of God ; which giveth them 
right to baptism ? 


Answ. Though this was opened on the bye before, 1 add, 1 . 
The meaning is not that they are in that absolute promise of 
'the first and all following grace, supposed ordinarily to be 
made of the elect (as such unknown) viz. * I will give them 
faith, repentance, conversion, justification, and salvation and 
all the conditions of the conditional promise, without any 
condition on their part,* which many take to be the meaning 
of *I will take the hard heart out of them, &c.' For 1. This 
promise is not now to be first performed to the adult who 
repent and believe already ; and no other are to be baptized 
at age. If that absolute promise be sealed by baptism, 
either it must be so sealed as a promise before itbeperform- 
edy or after: if before, either to all, because some are elect, 
or only to some that are elect. Not to all ; for it is not 
common to infidels. Not to some as elect; for 1. They 
are unknown. 2. If they were known they are yet supposed 
to be infidels. Not after performance for then it is too 

2. The meaning is not only that the conditional co- 
venant of grace is made and offered to them ; for so it may 
be said of heathens and infidels, and all the world that hear 
the Gospel. 

But 1. The covenant meant, is indeed this conditional 
covenant only. *' He that believeth and is baptized, shall 
be saved". 

2. To be in this covenant is, to be a consenting believer, 
and so .to be one that hath by inward heart-consent, the 
true conditions of right to the benefits of the covenant, and 
is thereby prepared solemnly by baptism to profess this con- 
sent, and to receive an investiture and seal of God's part, by 
his minister given in his name. 

3. Infants are thus in covenant with their parents, be- 
cause reputatively their parents' wills are theirs, to dispose 
of them for their good. And therefore they consent by 
their parents, who consent for them. 

Quest. XXXVII. Are believers^ children certainly in covenant 
before their baptism, and thereby in a state of salvation? 
Or not till they are baptized ? 

• Mark xvi. 16. 


Answ. Distinguish between 1. Heart-coyenanting, and 
mouth-covenanting. 2. Between being in covenant before 
God, and visibly before the church. 

1. No person is to be baptized at age, whose inward 
heart-consent before professed, giveth him not right to bap- 
tism. Therefore all the adult must be in covenant, that is, 
consent on their part to the covenant, before they are bap- 

2. Therefore it is so with the seed of the faithful, who 
must consent by their parents, before they have right : 
otherwise all should have right, and their baptism be es- 
sentially another baptism, as sealing some other covenant, 
or none. 

3. If there be no promise made to the seed of the faith- 
ful more than to others, they have no right more than others 
to baptism or salvation. But if there be a promise made to 
them as the seed of believers, then are they as such within 
that promise, that is, performers of its conditions by their pa- 
rents, and have right to the benefit. 

4. If the heart-consent or faith of the adult, do put them- 
selves into a state of salvation, before their baptism, then it 
doth so by their children; but, &c. 

5. But this right to salvation in parents and children 
upon heart-consent before baptism, is only before God : for 
the church taketh no cognizance of secret heart-transactions ; 
but a man then only consenteth in the judgment of the 
church, when he openly professeth it, and desireth to signify 
it by being baptized. 

6. And even before God, there is a * necessitas praecepti* 
obliging us to open baptism after heart-consent : and he 
that heartily consenteth, cannot refuse God's way of utter- 
ing it, unless either through ignorance he knoweth it not to 
be his duty, (for himself and his child,) or through want of 
ability or opportunity cannot have it. So that while a man 
is unbaptized, somewhat is wanting to the completeness of 
his right to the benefits of the covenant, viz. A reception of 
investiture and possession in God's appointed way ; though 
it be not such a want, as shall frustrate the salvation of 
those that did truly consent in heart. 

7. I take it therefore for certain, that the children of true 
believers consent to the covenant by their parents, and are 


as certainly saved if they die before baptism, as after ; 
though those that despise baptism, when they know it to be 
a duty, cannot be thought indeed to beheve or consent for 
their children or themselves. 

Quest. XXXVIII. Is infantas title to baptism and the covenant- 
benefits given them by God in his promise, upon any proper 
moral condition, or only upon the condition of their natural 
relation, that they be the seed of the faithful. 

Answ. That which is called a mere natural condition is 
properly in law sense no condition at all ; nor doth make a 
contract or promise to be called conditional in a moral 
sense. But it is matters of morality and not of physics only 
that we are treating of; and therefore we must take the 
terms in a moral sense. For a physical condition is either 
past, or present, or future, or not future : if it be past or 
present, the proposition may indeed be hypothetical, but it 
is no such conditional promise as we are speaking of; for 
instance, if you say, * If thou wast born in such a city, or 
if thy name be John, 1 will give thee so much.' These are 
the words of an uncertain promiser ; but the promise is al- 
ready either equivalent to an absolute gift, or null. So if 
the physical condition be *de futuro,' e. g. * If thou be alive 
to-morrow, I will give thee this or that; or if the sun shine 
to-morrow, &c.' This indeed suspendeth the gift or event ; 
but not upon any moral being which is in the power of the 
receiver, but upon a natural contingency or uncertainty. 
And God hath no such conditional covenants or promises 
to be sealed by baptism. He saith not, ' If thou be the 
child of such or such a man, thou shalt be saved, as his na- 
tural offspring only.' If the Papists that accuse us for hold- 
ing that the mere natural progeny of believers are saved as 
such, did well understand our doctrine, they would perceive 
that in this we differ not from the understanding sort among 
them, or at least, that their accusations run upon a mistake. 

I told you before that there are three things distinctly to 
be considered in the title of infants to baptism and salva- 
tion. 1. By what right the parent covenanteth for his 
child. 2. What right the child hath to baptism. 3. What 
right he hath to the benefits of the covenant sealed and de- 
livered in baptism. 


To the first, two things concur to the title of the parent 
to covenant in the name of his child : one is his natural in- 
terest in him ; the child being his own is at his dispose. 
The other is God's gracious will and consent that it shall be 
so ; that the parent's will shall be as the child's for his 
good, till he come at age to have a will of his own. 

To the second, the child's right to baptism is not merely 
his natural or his birth relation from such parents, but it is 
in two degrees as foUoweth, 1. He hath a virtual right, on 
condition of his parent's faith : the reason is, because that a 
believer's consent and self-dedication to God doth virtually 
contain in it a dedication with himself of all that is his : and 
it is a contradiction to say that a man truly dedicate th him- 
self to God, and not all that he hath, and that he truly con- 
senteth to the covenant for himself and not for his child, if 
he understand that God will accept it. 2. His actual title- 
condition is his parents (or owners) actual consent to enter 
him into God's covenant, and his actual mental dedication 
of his child to God, which is his title before God, and the 
profession of it is his title before the church. So that it is 
not a mere physical but a moral title-condition, which an in- 
fant hath to baptism, that is, his parent's consent to dedicate 
him to God. 

3. And to the third, his title-condition to the benefits of 
baptism hath two degrees, 1. That he be really dedicated to 
God by the heart-consent of his parent as aforesaid. And 
2. That his parent express this by the solemn engaging him 
to God in baptism ; the first being necessary as a means 
' sine qua non,' and the second being necessary as a duty 
without which he sinneth, (when it is possible,) and as a 
means * coram ecclesia ' to the privileges of the visible 

The sum of all is, that our mere natural interest in our 
children is not their title-condition to baptism or to salva- 
tion, but only that presupposed state which enableth us by 
God's consent to covenant for them ; but their title-condi- 
tion to baptism and salvation, is our covenanting for them, 
or voluntary dedicating them to God ; which we do 1. Vir- 
tually, when we dedicate ourselves, and all that we have or 
shall have. 2. Actually, when our hearts consent particu- 
larly for them, and actually devote them to God, before bap- 

VOL. v. z 


tism. 3. Sacramentally, when we express thLs in our so- 
lemn baptismal covenanting and dedication. 

Consider exactly of this again ; and if you loathe dis- 
tinguishing, confess ingenuously that you loathe the truth, 
OS the necessary means of knowing it. 

Quest. XXXIX. What h the true meaning of sponsors, ' patri- 
miy or godfathers as we call them ? And is it lawful to 
make icse of them ? 

Amw. I. To the first question ; all men have not the 
same thoughts either of their original, or of their present 

1. Some think that they are sponsors or sureties for 
the parents rather than the child at first ; and that when 
many in times of persecution, heresy, and apostacy, did bap- 
tize their children this month or year, and the next month 
or year apostatize and deny Christ themselves, that the 
sponsors were only credible Christians witnessing that they 
believed that the parents were credible, firm believers, and 
not like to apostatize. 2. Others think that they were un- 
dertakers, that if the parents did apostatize or die, they 
would see to the Christian education of the child themselves. 
3. Others think that they did both these together : (which 
is my opinion ;) viz. That they witnessed the probability of 
the parents' fidelity ; but promised that if they should 
either apostatize or die, they would see that the children 
were piously educated. 4. Others think that they were ab- 
solute undertakers that the children should be piously edu- 
cated, whether the parents died or apostatized or not ; so 
that they went joint undertakers with the parents in their 
lifetime. 5. And I have lately met with some that maintain 
that the godfathers and godmothers become proprietors, and 
adopt the child, and take him for their own, and that this is 
the sense of the Church of England. But I believe them 
not for these reasons. 

1. There is no such word in the liturgy, doctrine or ca- 
nons of the church of England : and that is not to be feign- 
ed and fathered on them, which they never said. 

2. It would be against the law of nature to force all pa- 
rents to give the sole propriety, or joint propriety in their 


children to others. Nature hath given the propriety to 
themselves, and we cannot rob them of it, 

3. It would be heinously injurious to the children of no- 
ble and learned persons, if they must be forced to give them 
up to the propriety and education of others, even of such as 
perhaps are lower and more unfit for it than themselves. 

4. It would be more heinously injurious to all godfa- 
thers and godmothers, who must all make other men*s 
children their own, and therefore must use them as their 

5. It would keep most children unbaptized ; because if 
it were once understood that they must take them as their 
own, few would be sponsors to the children of the poor, far 
fear of keeping them ; and few but the ignorant that know 
not what they do, would be sponsors for any, because of the 
greatness of the charge, and their averseness to adopt the 
children of others. 

6. It would make great confusion in the state, while ^11 
m«n were bound to exchange children with another. 

7. I never knew one manor woman that was a godfather 
or godmother on such terms, nor that took the child to be 
their own ; and if such a one should be found among ten 
thousand, that is no rule to discern the judgment of the 
church by. 

8. And in confirmation the godfather and godmother 
are expressly said to be for this use, to be witnesses that the 
party is confirmed. 

9. And in the priest's speech to the adult that come for 
baptism, in the office of baptism of those of riper years, it is 
the persons themselves that are to promise and covenant for 
themselves, and the godfathers and godmothers are only 
called, * these yonf witnesses.' And if they be but witnesses 
to the adult, it is like they are not adopters of infants. 

IL. Those that doubt of the lawfulness of using sponsors 
for their children, do it on these two accounts : 1. As sup- 
posing it unlawful to make so promiscuou's an adoption of 
children, or of choosing another to be a covenanter for the 
child instead of the parent, to whom it belongeth ; or to 
commit their children to another's either propriety or edu- 
cation, or formal promise of that which belongeth to educa- 
tion, when they never mean to perform it, nor can do. 2. 


Because they take it for an adding to the ordinance of God, 
a thing which Scripture never mentioneth. To which I an- 

1. I grant it unlawful to suppose another to be the pa- 
rent or proprietor that is not ; or to suppose him to have 
that power and interest in your child which he hath not; or 
to desire him to undertake what he cannot perform, and 
which neither he nor you intend he shall perform ; I grant 
that you are not bound to alienate the propriety of your 
children, nor to take in another to be joint proprietors ; nor 
to put out your children to the godfather's education. So 
that if you will misunderstand the use of sponsors, then in- 
deed you will make them unlawful to be so used. 

But if you take them but as the ancient churches did, 
for such as do attest the parents' fidelity (in their persua- 
sion,) and do promise first to mind you of your duty, and 
next to take care of the children's pious education if you 
die, I know no reason you have to scruple this much. 

Yea more, it is in your own power to agree with the god- 
fathers, that they shall represent your own persons, and 
speak and promise what they do, as your deputies only, in 
your names. And what have you against this ? Suppose 
you were sick, lame, imprisoned or banished, would you not 
have your child baptized ? And how should that be done, 
but by your deputing another to represent you in entering 
into covenant with God ? 

Object, ' But when the churchmen mean another thing, 
this is but to juggle with the world.' 

Answ. How can you prove that the authority that made 
or imposed the liturgy, meant any other thing? And other 
individuals are not the masters of your sense. Yea, and if 
the imposers had meant ill, in a thing that may be done well, 
you may discharge your conscience by doing it well, and 
making a sufficient profession of your better sense. 

2. But then it will be no sinful addition to God's ordi- 
nance, to determine of a lawful circumstance, which he hath 
left to human prudence : as to choose a meet deputy, wit- 
ness or sponsor, who promiseth nothing but what is meet. 


Quest. XL. On whose account or right is it that the infant 
hath title to baptism and its benefits ? Is it on the parents* 
ancestors,' sponsors* the church's, the minister's, the magis- 
trate's, or his own? 

Answ. The titles are very various that are pretended ; 
let us examine them all. 

I. I cannot think that a magistrate's command to bap- 
tize an infant, giveth him right, 1. Because there is no proof 
of the validity of such a title. 2. Because the magistrate 
can command no such thing if it be against God's Word, as 
this is, which would level the case of the seed of heathens 
and believers. And I know but few of that opinion. 

II. I do not think that the minister as such giveth title 
to the infant: for, 1. He is no proprietor. 2. He can shew 
no such power or grant from God. 3. He must baptize none 
but those that antecedently have right. 4. Else he also 
might level all, and take in heathen's children with believ- 
ers.' 5. Nor is this pretended to by many, that I know of. 

III. I cannot think that it is a particular church that 
must give this right, or perform the condition of it. For, 
1. Baptism (as is aforesaid) as such, doth only make a 
Christian, and a member of the universal church, and not of 
any particular church. And 2. The church is not the pro- 
prietor of the child. 3. No Scripture commission can be 
shewed for such a power. Where hath God said. All that 
any particular church will receive, shall have right to bap- 
tism? 4. By what act must the church give this right? If 
by baptizing him ; the question is of his antecedent right. 
If by willing, that he be baptized. (1.) If they will that 
one be baptized that hath no right to it, their will is sinful, 
and therefore unfit to give him right. (2.) And the bapti- 
zing minister hath more power than a thousand or ten thou- 
sand private men, to judge who is to be baptized. 5. Else a 
church might save all heathen children that they can but 
baptize, and so level infidel's and Christian's seed. 6. It is 
not the church in general, but some one person, that must 
educate the child : therefore the church cannot so much as 
promise for its education : the church hath nothing to do 
with those that are without, but only with her own ; and 


heathen's children are not her own, nor exposed to her oc- 

IV. I believe not that it is the universal church that 
giveth the infant title to baptism : for, 1. He that giveth 
title to the covenant and baptism, doth it as a performer of the 
moral condition of that title. But God hath nowhere made 
the church's faith, to be the condition of baptism or salva- 
tion, either to infidels or their seed. 2. Because the uni- 
versal church is a body that cannot be consulted with to 
give their vote and consent : nor have they any deputies to 
do it by. For there is no universal, visible governor : and 
if you will pretend every priest to be commissioned to act 
and judge in the name of the universal church, you will 
want proof, and that is before confuted. 3. If all have 
right that the universal church ofFereth up to God, or any 
minister or bishop be counted its deputy or agent to that 
end, it is in the power of that minister (as is said) to level 
all, and to baptize and save all ; which is contrary to the 
Word of God. 

V. I believe that godfathers as such, being no adopters 
or proprietors, are not the performers of the condition of 
salvation for the infant, nor give him right to be baptized. 
1. Because he is not their own, and therefore their will or 
act cannot go for his : because there is no Word of God for 
it that all shall be baptized or saved that any Christians 
will be sponsors for. God's church blessings are not tied 
to such inventions, that were not in being when God's laws 
were made. Where there is no promise or word, there is 
no faith. 3. No sponsors are so much as lawful (as is 
shewed before) who are not owners, or their deputies, or 
mere secondary subservient parties, who suppose the prin- 
cipal covenanting party. 4. And as to the infant's salva- 
tion, the sponsors may (too oft) be ignorant infidels and 
hypocrites themselves, that have no true faith for them- 
selves ; and therefore not enough to save another. 5. And 
it were strange if God should make no promise to a wicked 
parent for his own child, and yet should promise to save by 
baptism all that some wicked and hypocrite godfathers will 
offer him. 6. And that thus the seed of heathens and Chris- 
tians should be levelled, and yet an ignorant, bold underta- 
ker to carry away the privilege of saving persons from them 


both. All this is but men's unproved imaginations. He 
that never commandeth sjodfathers, but forbiddeth the 
usurping sort, and only alloweth human prudence to use 
the lawful sort, did never put the souls of all children. Chris- 
tians and heathens into their hands, (any more than into the 
hands of the priest that baptizeth them). 

VI. I do not find that remote ancestors that are dead, 
or that are not the proprietors of the children, are the per- 
formers of the condition by which they have right to bap- 
tism or salvation. 1. Because God hath put that power 
and work in the hands of others, even the parents which 
they cannot nullify. 2. Because the promise of mercy to 
thousands is on supposition that the successors make no in- 
tercision. 3. Else the threatenings to the seed of the 
wicked would signify nothing, nor would any in the world 
be excluded from right, but all be levelled ; because Noah 
was the common father of mankind : and if you lay it on 
dead ancestors, you have no rule where to stop till you 
come to Noah. 

VII. I conclude therefore that it is clearly, the imme- 
diate parents, (both or one) and probably any true domestic 
owner of the child, who hath the power to choose or refuse 
for him, and so to enter him into covenant with God, and 
so by consent to perform the conditions of his right. For, 
1. Abundance of promises are made to the faithful and their 
seed, of which I have spoke at large in my book " Of Infant 
Baptism." And besides the punishment of Adam's sin, 
there is scarce a parent infamous for sin in Scripture, but 
his posterity falleth under the punishment, as for a secon- 
dary, original sin or guilt. As the case of Cain, Ham, the 
Sodomites, the Amalekites, the Jews, Achan, Gehazi, &c. 
shew. And it is expressly said, ** Else were your children 
unclean, but now are they holy ''," (of the sense of which I 
have spoke as aforecited). 

Object. * But if owners may serve, one may buy multi- 
tudes, and a king or lord of slaves, whose own the people 
are, may cause them all to be baptized and saved. 

Aiisw. 1. Remember that I say, that the Christian pa- 
rent's right is clear, but I take the other as more dark ; for 
it is principally grounded on Abraham and the Israelites cir- 

^ 1 Cor. vii. 14. 


Gumcising their children born to them in the house or 
bought with money : and how far the parity of reason here 
will reach is hard to know. All that I say is, that I will 
not deny it, because ' favores sunt ampliandi.' 2. If such 
a prince be an hypocrite, and not a sincere Christian him- 
self, his faith or consent cannot save others, that cannot 
save himself. 3. It is such a propriety as is conjunct with a 
divine concession only that giveth this power of consenting 
for an infant : now we find clear proof of God's concession 
to natural parents, and probable proof of his concession of 
it to domestic owners, but no further that I know of. For, 
(1.) It is an act of God's love to the child for the parent's 
sake; and therefore to such children as we are supposed to 
have a special nearness to, and love for. (2.) And it is a 
consent and covenanting which he calls for, which obligeth 
the promiser to consequent pious education, which is a do- 
mestic act. (3.) They are comprised in the name of pa- 
rents, which those that adopt them and educate them may 
be called. (4.) And the infants are their children, not their 
slaves. But now if the emperor of Muscovy, Indostan, &c. 
had the propriety in all his people as slaves, this would not 
imitate paternal interest and love, but tyranny, nor could 
he be their domestic educater. Therefore I must limit it to 
a pro-parent, or domestic, educating proprietor. 

Quest. XLi. Are they really baptized who are baptized accor- 
ding to the English liturgy and canons, where the parent 
seemeth excluded, and those to consent for the infant who 
have no power to do it ? 

Answ. I find some puzzled with this doubt. Whether all 
our infants' baptism be not a mere nullity : for, say they, 
the outward washing without covenanting with God, is no 
more baptism, than the body or corpse is a man. The co- 
venant is the chief essential part of baptism. And he that 
was never entered into covenant with God was never bapti- 
zed. But infants according to the liturgy, are not entered 
into covenant with God, which they would prove thus : they 
that neither ever covenanted by themselves, or by any 
authorized person for them, were never entered into cove- 
nant with God (for that is no act of their's which is done by 


a stranger that hath no power to do it) but, &c. That 

they did it not themselves is undeniable : that they did it 
not by any person empowered by God to do it for them 
they prove, 1. Because godfathers are the persons by whom 
the infant is said to promise; but godfathers have no power 
from God, (1.) Not by nature. (2.) Not by Scripture. 2. 
Because the parents are not only not included as covenan- 
ters, but positively excluded, (1.) In that the whole office of 
covenanting for the child from first to last is laid on others. 
(2.) In that the twenty-ninth canon saith, * No parent shall 
be urged to be present ; nor admitted to answer as godfa- 
ther for his own child :' by which the parent that hath the 
power is excluded : therefore our children are all unbap- 

To all this I answer, 1. That the parent's consent is sup- 
posed, though he be absent. 2. That the parent is not re- 
quired to be absent, but only not to be urged to be present ; 
but he may if he will. 3. That the reason of that canon seems 
to be their jealousy, lest any would exclude godfathers. 4. 
While the church hath nowhere declared what person the 
sponsors bear, nor any further what they are to do, than to 
speak the covenanting words, and promise to see to the pi- 
ous education of the child, the parents may agree that the 
godfathers shall do all this as their deputies, primarily, and 
in their steads, and secondarily as friends that promise their 
assistance. 5. While parents really consent, it is not their 
silence that nullifieth the covenant. 6. All parents are sup- 
posed and required to be themselves the choosers of the 
sponsors or sureties, and also to give notice to the minister 
beforehand : by which it appeareth that their consent is pre- 
supposed. And though my own judgment be, that they 
should be the principal covenanters for the child expressly, 
yet the want of that expressness, will not make us unbap- 
tized persons. 

Quest. XLII. But the great question is, How the Holy Ghost is 
given to infants in baptism ? And whether all the children 
of true Christians have inward sanctifying grace ? Or lohe- 
ther they can be said to be justified, and to be in a state of sal- 
vation, that are not inherently sanctified? Afid whether 
any fall from this infant state of salvation 1^ 


Answ, Of all these great difficulties I have said what I 
know, in my Appendix to Infant Baptism, to Mr. Bradford 
and Dr. Ward, and of bishop Davenant's judgment. And 
I confess that my judgment agreeth more in this with Da- 
venant's than any others, saving that he doth not so much 
appropriate the benefits of baptism to the children of sin- 
cere believers as I do. And though by a letter in pleading 
Davenant's cause, I was the occasion of good Mr. Gataker's 
printing of his answer to him, yet I am still most inclined to 
his judgment; not that all the baptized, but that all the 
baptized seed of true Christians are pardoned, justified, 
adopted, and have a title to the Spirit and salvation. 

But the difficulties in this case are so great, as drive 
away most who do not equally perceive the greater incon- 
veniences which we must choose, if this opinion be forsa- 
ken : that is, that all infants must be taken to be out of the 
covenant of God, and to have no promise of salvation. 
Whereas surely the law of grace as well as the covenant of 
works included all the seed in their capacity. 

I. To the first of these questions, I answer, 1. As all 
true believers, so all their infants do receive initially by the 
promise, and by way of obsignation and sacramental inves- 
titure in baptism, a * jus relationis,' a right of peculiar rela- 
tion to all the three persons in the blessed Trinity : as to 
God, as their reconciled, adopted Father, and to Jesus 
Christ as their Redeemer and actual Head and Justifier, sd 
also to the Holy Ghost as their Regenerator and Sanctifier. 
This right and relation adhereth to them, and is given them 
in order to future actual operation and communion. As a 
marriage covenant giveth the relation and right to one 
another, in order to the subsequent communion and duties 
of a married life : and as he that sweareth allegiance to a 
king, or is listed into an army, or is entered into a school, 
receiveth the right and relation, and is so correlated, as 
obligeth to the mutual subsequent offices of each, and giv- 
eth right to many particular benefits. By this right and re- 
lation, God is his own God and Father; Christ is his own 
Head and Saviour ; and the Holy Spirit is his own Sancti- 
fier, without asserting what operations are already wrought 
on his soul, but only to what future ends and uses these re- 
lations are. Now as these rights and relations are given 


immediately, so those benefits which are relative, and the 
infant immediately capable of them, are presently given by 
way of communion : he hath presently the pardon of original 
sin, by virtue of the sacrifice, merit and intercession of 
Christ. He hath a state of adoption, and right to Divine 
protection, provision and church-communion according to 
his natural capacity, and right to everlasting lifp. 

2. It must be carefully noted, that the relative union 
between Christ the Mediator and the baptized persons, is 
that which in baptism is first given in order of nature, and 
that the rest do flow from this. The covenant and baptism 
deliver the covenanter, 1. From Divine displicency by re- 
conciliation with the Father : 2. From legal penalties by 
justification by the Son : 3. From sin itself by the opera- 
tions of the Holy Ghost. But it is Christ as our Mediator- 
Head, that is first given us in relative union ; and then, 1 
The Father loveth us with complacency as in the Son, and 
for the sake of his first beloved. 2. And the Spirit which 
is given us in relation is first the Spirit of Christ our Head ; 
and not first inherent in us : so that by union with our Head, 
that Spirit is next united to us, both relatively, and as radi- 
cally inherent in the human nature of our Lord, to whom we 
are united y. As the nerves and animal spirits which are to 
operate in all the body, are radically only in the head, from 
whence they flow into, and operate on the members as there 
is need (though there may be obstructions) ; so the Spirit 
dwelleth in the human nature of our Head, and there it can 
never be lost; and it is not necessary that it dwell in us by 
way of radication, but by way of influence and operation. 

These things are distinctly and clearly understood but 
by very few ; and we are all much in the dark about them. 
But I think (however doctrinally we may speak better,) that 
most Christians are habituated to this perilous misappre- 
hension (which is partly against Christianity itself,) that the 
Spirit floweth immediately from the Divine nature of the 
Father and the Son (as to the authoritative or potestative 
conveyance) unto our souls. And we forget that it is first 
given to Christ in his glorified humanity as our Head, and 
radicated in Him, and that it is the office of this glorified 

y The Spirit is not given radically or immediately to any Christian, but to 
Christ our Head alone, and from him to lu. 


Head, to send or communicate to all his members from him- 
self, that Spirit which must operate in them as they have 

This is plain in many texts of Scripture. " He that spa- 
red not his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how shall 
he not also with him freely give us all things ^ ? " (when he 
giveth him particularly to us.) 

" And this is the record that God hath given us eternal life, 
and this life is in his Son: he that hath the Son hath the life, 
and he that hath not the Son hath not the life *." 

" If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is 
none of his ^." 

" And gave him to be the Head over all things to the 
church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all 
in all^" 

'* The Advocate or Comforter whom I will send unto you 
from the Father d," &c. 

** If I depart, I will send him unto you *." 
"The Comforter, whom the Father will send in my 
name \" 

" And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the 
Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father «." 

** I live : yet not I, but Christ liveth in me '' ;" (I know 
that is true of his living in us objectively and finally, but 
that seemeth not to be all.) 

" For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in 
God ; when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall 
ye also appear with him in glory." Col. iii. 3, 4. I know 
that in verse 3. by 'life' is meant felicity or glory ; but not 
only ; as appeareth by verse 4. where Christ is called ' our 

" All power is given unto me in heaven and earth" 

" I am with you always • " " The Father hath given all 

things into his hands ^" 

"Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he 
should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him, 
and this is life eternal to know thee ^" &c. 

' Rom. viii. 32. » 1 John v. 11, 12. •• Rom. viii. 9. 

c Eph. i. 22, 23. <! John xv. 26. * John xvi. 7. 

f John xiv. 26. s Gal. ir. 6. »• Gal. ii. 20. 

* Matt, xxviii. 19.20. ^ John xiii. 3. • John xvii. 2, 3. 


** The Son quickeneth whom he will : " " For as the 
Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son 
to have life in himself ™." 

** Labour for that meat which endureth to everlasting 
life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you, for him 

hath God the Father sealed. He giveth life unto the 

world. Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood 

hath eternal life dwelleth in me and I in him my 

flesh is meat indeed . As the living Father hath sent 

me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me, even he 
shall live by me. It is the Spirit that quickeneth : the 
flesh profiteth nothing"." 

" This spake he of the Spirit which they that believe in 
him should receive "*." " God giveth not the Spirit to him 
by measure P." 

" He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit ^i." 

" The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord 
is, there is liberty ^" 

" Through the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ'." 

" Abide in me and I in you : as the branch cannot bear 
fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye 
except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches : 
he that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth 
much fruit : for without me (or, out of me, or, severed from 
me) ye can do nothing*." 

I will add no more : all this is proof enough that the Spi- 
rit is not given radically or immediately from God to any 
believer, but to Christ, and so derivatively from him to us. 
Not that the Divine nature in the third person is subject to 
the human nature in Christ ; but that God hath made it the 
office of our Mediator's glorified humanity, to be the cistern 
that shall first receive the waters of life, and convey them by 
pipes of his appointed means to all the offices of his house : 
or to be the head of the animal spirits, and by nerves to con- 
Tey them to all the members. 

3. We are much in the dark concerning the degree of 
infants' glory ; and therefore we can as little know, what 
degree of grace is necessary to prepare them for their gloiy. 

^ John V. 21.26. " John vi. 27. S2, 33. 53—56. 6S. 

" John vii. 39. p John iii. 34. <i 1 Cor. vi. 17. 

' 'Z Cmv. iii. 17. • Phil. i. 19. » John xv. 4, 5. 


4. It is certain that infants before they are glorified, 
shall have all that grace that is prerequisite to their prepa- 
ration and fruition. 

&, No sanctified person on earth is in an immediate ca- 
pacity for glory ; because their sin and imperfection must 
be done away, which is done at the dissolution of soul and 
body. The very accession of the soul to God doth perfect it. 

6. Infants have no actual faith, or hope, or love to God 
to exercise ; and therefore need not the influence of the Spi- 
rit of Christ to exercise them. 

7.- We are all so very much in the dark,, as to the clear 
and distinct apprehension of the true nature of original in- 
herent pravity or sin, that we must needs be as much igno- 
rant of the true nature of that inherent sanctity or righteous- 
ness, which is its contrary or cure. Learned lUiricus 
thought it was a substance, which he hath in his " Clavis" 
pleaded for at large. Others call it a habit, others a nature 
or natural inclination, and a privation of a natural inclina- 
tion to God. Others call it an indisposition of the mind 
and will to holy truth and goodness, and an ill disposition 
of them to error and evil. Others call it only the inordi- 
nate lust of the sensitive faculties, with a debility of reason 
and will to resist it. And whilst the nature of the soul it- 
self and its faculties, are so much unknown to itself, the na- 
ture of original pravity and righteousness must needs be 
very much unknown. 

8. Though an infant be a distinct natural person from 
his parents, yet he is not actually a distinct person morally 
as being not a moral agent, and so not capable of moral ac- 
tions good or evil. Therefore his parents* will goeth for 

9. His first acceptance into the complacential love of God, 
as distinct from his love of benevolence,) is not for any in- 
herent holiness in himself ; but (1 .) As the child of a believ- 
ing parent who hath dedicated him to Christ ; and (2.) As a 
member of Christ, in whom he is well pleased. 

10. Therefore God can complacentially as well as bene- 
volently love an infant in Christ, who only believeth and re- 
penteth by the parents, and not by himself, and is not yet 
supposed to have the spirit of sanctification. 

1 1 . For the spirit of sanctification is not the presupposed 


condition of his acceptance into covenant with God, but a 
gift of the covenant of God itself, following both the condi- 
tion on our part, and our right to be covenanters, or to 
God's promise upon that condition. 

12. So the adult themselves have the operation of the 
Spirit by which they believe and repent, by which they 
come to have their right to God's part in the covenant of 
baptism, (for this is antecedent to their baptism) : but they 
have not that gift of the Spirit, which is called in Scripture 
the " Spirit of sanctification, and of power, love, and a sound 
mind," and is the benefit given by the covenant of baptism, 
till afterward ; because they must be in that covenant be- 
fore it can be made good to them. And their faith or con- 
sent is their infant's right also, antecedent to the covenant 

13. There is therefore some notable difference between 
that work of the Spirit by which we first repent and believe 
and so have our title to the promise of the Spirit, and that 
gift of the Spirit which is promised to believers ; which is 
not only the Spirit of miracles given in the first times, but 
some notable degree of love to our reconciled Father, suita- 
ble to the grace and gospel of redemption and reconciliation, 
and is called the ** Spirit of Christ," and the " Spirit of 
adoption ", which the apostles themselves seem not to have 
received till Christ's ascension. And this seemeth to be not 
only different from the gifts of the Spirit common to hypo- 
crites and the unbelievers, but also from the special gift of 
the Spirit which maketh men believers. So that Mr. Tho 
Hooker saith more truly than once I understood, that voca- 
tion is a special grace of the Spirit, distinct from common 
grace on one side, and from sanctification on the other side. 
Whether it be the same degree of the Spirit which the faith- 
ful had before Christ's incarnation, which causeth men first 
to believe distinct from the higher following degree, I leave 
to inquiry : but the most certain distinction is from the dif- 
ferent effects. 

14. Though an infant cannot be either disposed to a holy 
life, or fit for glory immediately, without an inward holiness 
of his own, yet by what is said it seemeth plain, that merely 
on the account of the condition performed by the parent, 

u R(>m. viii. 9. 16.26. 


and of his union relatively with Christ thereupon, and his 
title to God's promise on these grounds, he may be said to 
be in a state of salvation ; that is, to have the pardon of his 
original sin, deliverance from hell, (in right,) adoption, and 
a right to the needful operations of the Holy Ghost, as given 
to him in Christ, who is the first receiver of the Spirit. 

15. But when and in what sort and degree Christ giveth 
the actual operations of the Spirit to all covenanted infants, 
it is wonderfully hard for us to know. But this much seem- 
eth clear, 1. That Christ may when he please work on the 
soul of an infant to change its disposition, before it come 
to the use of reason. 2. That Christ and his Spirit as in 
covenant with infants, are ready to give all necessary assis- 
tance to infants for their inherent sanctification, in the use 
of those means, and on those further conditions, on which 
we must wait for it and expect if. For the Holy Ghost is not 
so engaged to us in our covenant or baptism, as to be obli- 
ged presently to give us all the grace that we want ; but 
only to give it us on certain further conditions, and in the 
use of certain means. But because this leads me up to an- 
other question, I will suspend the rest of the answer to this 
till that be handled. Only I must answer this objection. 

Obj. * It is contrary to the holy nature of God, compla- 
centially to love an unsanctified infant, that is yet in his 
original corruption unchanged, and he justifieth none rela- 
tively from the guilt of sin, whom he doth not at once inhe- 
rently sanctify. 

Answ. 1. God's complacential love respecteth every one 
as he is ; for it is goodness only that he so loveth. There- 
fore he so loveth not those that either actually or habitual- 
ly love not him, under any false supposition that they do 
love him when they do not. His love therefore to the adult 
and infants differeth as the objects differ. But there is this 
lovely in such infants ; 1 . That they are the children of be- 
lieving, sanctified parents ; 2. That they are by his cove- 
nant relatively united to Christ, and are so far lovely as his 

» Mr. Winston, p. 60. sheweth, ' That even the promises of a new heart, &c. 
Ezek. xxxvi. xx^vii. &c. though they may run in the external tenor of them absolute- 
ly, yet are not absolutely absolute, but have a subordinate condition, and that is, that 
the parties concerned in them do faithfully use the means appointed of God in a 
subserviency to his working in or bestowing on them the good promised.' 


members ; (3.) That they are pardoned all their original sin ; 
(4.) That they are set in the way to actual love and holiness ; 
being thus dedicated to God. 

2. All imperfect saints are sinners ; and all sinners are, 
as such, abhorred of God, whose pure eyes cannot behold 
iniquity. As then it will stand with his purity to accept 
and love the adult upon their first believing, before their 
further sanctification, and notwithstanding the remnant of 
their sins, so may it do also to accept their infants through 
Christ upon their dedication. 

3. As the actual sin imputed to infants was Adam's, and 
their parents' only by act, and not their own, it is no won- 
der if upon their parents' faith and repentance, Christ wash 
and justify them from that guilt which arose only from ano- 
ther's act. 

4. And then the inherent pravity was the effect of that 
act of their ancestors, which is forgiven them. And this 
pravity or inherent original sin may two ways be said to be 
mortified radically, or virtually, or inceptively before any 
inherent change in them, 1. In that it is mortified in their 
parents from whom they derived it, who have the power of 
choosing for them ; and 2. In that they are by covenant en- 
grafted into Christ, and so relai;ed to the cause of their fu- 
ture sanctification ; yea, 3. In that also they are by cove- 
nant and their parents' promise, engaged to use those means 
which Christ hath appointed for sanctification y. 

5. And it must be remembered that as this is but an in- 
ceptive, preparatory change, so the very pardon of the in- 
herent vitiosity is not perfect, (as I have elsewhere largely 
proved;) however some Papists and Protestants deny it. 
While sin remaineth, sin and corruption is still indwelling, 
besides all the unremoved penalties of it, the very being of 
it proveth it to be so far unpardoned, in that it is not yet 
abolished, and the continuance of it being not its smallest 
punishment, as permitted, and the Spirit not given so far as 
to cure it. Imperfect pardon may consist with a present 
right, both to further sanctification by the Spirit, and so to 

y God's being a God to any individual person, doth require and presuppose that 
they do for the present, supposing them capable, or for the future as soon as capnblei 
take God in Christ as their God. Ibid. p. 61. 

VOL. V. A A ' 


Obj. ' Christ's body hath no unholy members.* 
Answ. 1. " Now are your children holy V They are 
not wholly unholy who have all the fore-described holiness. 
2. As infants in nature want memory and actual reason, 
and yet initially are men ; so, as Christ's members, they may 
want actual and habitual faith and love, and yet initially be 
sanctified, by their union with him and his Spirit, and their 
parents* dedication, and be in the way for more, as they 
grow fit ; and be Christians and saints ' in fieri,* or initially 
only, as they are men. 

Quest. xLiii. Is the right of the baptized (infants or adult) to 
the sanctifying operations of the Holy Ghost, now absolute, 
or suspended on further conditions ? And are the parents' 
further duties for their children such conditions of their chil- 
dren's reception of the actual assistances of the Spirit ? Or 
are children's own actions such conditions? And may apos- 
tate parents forfeit the covenant benefits to their baptized 
infants or not ? 

Answ, The question is great and difficult, and few dare 
meddle with it. And almost all infant cases are to us ob- 

LI. It is certain that it is the parents* great duty to bring 
up their children in the nurture and admonition of the 

2. It is certain that God hath appointed this to be the 
means of their actual knowledge, faith, and holiness **. 

3. And God doth not appoint such means unnecessarily 
or in vain : nor may we ordinarily expect his grace but in 
the use of the means of grace, which he hath appointed us 
to use. 

4. It is certain that God*s receiving the children of the 
faithful is an act of God*s love to the parents as well as the 
children, and promised as a part of his blessing on them- 

5. It is certain that these parents hold their own mer- 
cies upon the condition of their own continued fidelity : and 
(let their apostacy be on other reasons never so impossible, 
or not future, yet) the promise of continuance and consum- 

» 1 Cor. vii. 14. 

^Eph. vi. 4, 5 Col. iii. 21. Gen. xvlii. 19. Deut vi. 6— 8. xi. 18 — 20. 


mation of the personal felicity of the greatest saint on earth, 
is still conditional, upon the condition of his persevering 

6. Even before children are capable of instruction, there 
are certain duties imposed by God on the parents for their 
sanctification ; viz. 1. That the parents pray earnestly and 
believingly for them. 2. That they themselves so live to- 
wards God, as may invite him still to bless their children 
for their sakes, as he did Abraham's, and usually did to the 
faithful's seed. 

7. It is certain that the church ever required parents, 
not only to enter their children into the covenant, and so to 
leave them, but to do their after duty for their good, and to 
pray for them, and educate them according to their c6ve- 

8. It is plain that if there were none to promise so to 
educate them, the church would not baptize them. And 
God himself who allowed the Israelites, and still alloweth 
us to bring our children into his covenant, doth it on this 
supposition, that we promise also to go on to do our duty 
for them, and that we actually do it. 

9. All this set together maketh it plain, 1. That God 
never promiseth the adult in baptism, though true believers, 
that he will work in them all graces further by his sanctify- 
ing Spirit, let them never so much neglect or resist him ; or 
that he will absolutely see that they never shall resist him; 
nor that the Spirit shall still help them, though they neglect 
all bis means ; or that h-e will keep them from neglecting 
the means (election may secure this to the elect as such ; 
but the baptismal covenant as such, secureth it not to the 
baptizedy nor to believers as such). 2. And consequently 
that infants are in covenant with the Holy Ghost still con- 
ditionally as their parents are ; and that the meaning of it 
is that the Holy Ghost as your Sanctifier will afford you all 
necessary help, in the use of those means which he hath ap- 
pointed you to receive his help in ^. 

Object. * Infants have no means to use.' 

Amw, While infants stand on their parents' account, or 

*> The Holy Gliust is promised in baptism to give the cliild grace iii His parents 
and his own faithful use of the a|)pointed means. 


wills, the parents have means to use for the continuance of 
their grace, as well as for the beginning of it. 

10. Therefore I cannot see but that if a believer should 
apostatize (whether any do so is not the question) and his 
infant not to be made another's child, he forfeiteth the be- 
nefits of the covenant to his infant. But if the propriety in 
the infant be transferred to another, it may alter the case. 

1 1 . And how dangerously parents may make partial for- 
feitures of the Spirit's assistance to their children, and 
operations on them, by their own sinful lives, and neglect of 
prayer, and of prudent and holy education, even in particu- 
lar acts, I fear many believing parents never well con- 

12. Yet is not this forfeiture such as obligeth God to 
deny his Spirit; for he may do with his own, as a free be- 
nefactor, as he list ; and may have mercy freely, beyond his 
promise, (though not against his Word) on whom he will 
have mercy. But 1 say that he that considereth the woful 
unfaithfulness and neglect of most parents, even the reli- 
gious, in the great work of holy educating their children,^ 
may take the blame of their ungodliness on themselves, and 
not lay it on Christ or the Spirit who was in covenant with 
them as their sanctifier, seeing he promised but condition- 
ally to give them the sanctifying heavenly influences of his 
life, light, and love, in their just use of his appointed means, 
according to their abilities ^. 

13. Also as soon as children come to a little use of rea- 
son, they stand conjunctly on their parents' wills and on 
their own. As their parents are bound to teach and rule 
them, so they are bound to learn of thera and be ruled by 
them for their good. And though every sin of a parent or 
a child be not a total forfeiture of grace, yet both their no- 

^ Mr, Whiston p. 53. ' As Abraham as a single person in the covenant was to 
accept of and perform the conditions of the covenant — so as a parent he had some- 
thing of duty incumbent on him with reference to his (immediate) seed : and as his 
faithful performance of that duty incumbent on him in his single capacity, so his per- 
forming that dety incumbent on him as a parent in reference to his seed, was abso- 
lutely necessary in order to his enjoying the good promised, with reference to him- 
self and his seed : proved Gen. xvii. 1. xviii. 19. He proveth that the promise is 
conditional, and that as to the continuance of the covenant state the conditions are 1. 
The parent's upright life. 2. His duty to his children well done, 3. The children's 
ijwn duty as they are capable. 


table actual sins may justly be punished, with a denial of 
some further help of the Spirit which they grieve and 

II. And now I may seasonably answer the former ques- 
tion, whether infants* baptismal saving grace maybe lost, of 
which I must for the most that is to be said refer the reader 
to Davenant (in Mr. Bedford's book) on this subject, and 
to Dr. Samuel Ward joined with it, (though Mr. Gataker's 
answers are very learned and considerable :) and to my 
small book called " My Judgment of Perseverance." 

Augustine who first rose up for the doctrine of perseve- 
rance, against its adversaries, carried it no higher than to 
all the elect as such, and not at all to all the sanctified ; but 
oft affirmeth that some that were justified, sanctified, and 
love God, and are in a state of salvation, are not elect, and 
fall away ; but since the reformation, great reasons have 
been brought to carry it further to all the truly sanctified ; 
of which cause Zanchius was one of the first learned and 
zealous patrons, that with great diligence in long disputa- 
tions maintained it. All that I have now to say is, that I 
had rather with Davenant believe that the fore-described 
infant state of salvation, which came by the parents, may be 
lost by the parents and the children, (though such a sanc- 
tified, renewed nature in holy habits of love as the adult 
have be never lost) than believe that no infants are in the 
covenant of grace and to be baptized. 

Object, But the child once in possession shall not be pu- 
nished for the parents' sin. 

Answ. 1. This point is not commonly well understood. 
I have by me a large disputation proving from the current 
of Scripture, a secondary original sin, besides that from 
Adam, and a secondary punishment ordinarily inflicted on 
children for their parents' sins, besides the common pu- 
nishment of the world for the first sin. 2. But the thing 
in question is but a loss of that benefit which they received 
and hold only by another. It is not so properly called a 
punishment for another's sin, as a non-deliverance, or a non- 
continuance of their deliverance, which they were to receive 
on the condition of another's duty. 

Object. But the church retaineth them as her members, 
and so their right is not lost by the fault or apostacy of the 


Amw. 1. Lost it is one way or other, with multitudes of 
jtrue Christians' children, who never shew any signs of grace, 
and prove sometimes the worst of men. And God breaketh 
not bis covenant. 

2. How doth the church keep the Greeks' children that 
are made Janizaries ? 

3. No man stayeth in the church without title. If the 
church or any Christians take them as their own, that is 
another matter. I will not now stay to discuss the question, 
whether apostates' baptized infants be still church-mem- 
bers? But what I have said of their right before God, 
seemeth plain. 

4. And m^rk, that oi^ whomspever you build an infant's 
right, you may as well say, that he may suffer for other 
men's default ; for if you build it on the magistrate, the 
minister, the church, the godfathers, any of them may fail ; 
they may deny him baptism itself j they may fail in his 
education : shall he suffer then for wantof baptism, or good 
edi^cation when it is their faults ? Whoever a child or a 
man is to receive a benefit by, the failing of that person 
may deprive him of that benefit. More objections I must 
pretermit, to avoid prolixity. 

Quest. xLiv. Doth baptism always oblige us at the present , 
and give grace at the preseut ? And is the grace which is 
not given till long after, given bj/ baptism ; or an effect of 
baptism ? 

Answ. I add this case for two reasons, 1. To open theii 
pernicious error who think that a covenant or promise made 
by us to God, only for a future, distant duty (as to repent 
and believe before we die,) is all that is essential to our bap- 
tismal covenanting. 2. To open the ordinary saying of 
ma,ny divines, who say, that baptism worketh not always at 
the present, but sometimes only long afterward. The truth 
I think may be thus expressed. 

1. It is not baptism, if there be not the profession of a 
present belief, a present consent, and a present dedition, oi 
resignation, or dedication of the person to God, by tl»e 
adult for themselves, and by parents for their infants. He 
that only saith, ' I promi^ie to belieye, repent, and obey 


only at twenty or thirty years of age/ is not morally bap- 
tized ; for it is another covenant of his own which he would 
make, which God accepteth not. 

2. It is not only a future, but a present relation to God, 
as his own, his subjects, his children by redemption, to 
which the baptized person doth consent. 

3. It is a present correlation and not a future only, 
to which God consenteth on his part, to be their Father, 
Saviour, and Sanctifier, their Owner peculiarly, their Ruler 
graciously, and their chief Benefactor, and Felicity, and 

4. It is not only a future but a present remission of sin, 
and adoption and right to temporal and eternal mercies, 
which God giveth to true consenters by his covenant and 

5. But those mercies which we are not at that present 
capable of, are not to be given at the present, but afterward 
when we are capable ; as the particular assistances of the 
Spirit, necessary upon all future particular occasions, &c. ; 
the pardon of future sins ; actual glorification, &c '^. 

6. And the duties which are to be performed only for 
the future, we must promise at present to perform only for 
the future, in their season, to our lives' end. Therefore we 
cannot promise that infants shall believe, obey or love God, 
till they are naturally capable of doing it. 

7. If any hypocrite do not indeed repent, believe, or 
consent when he is baptized, or baptizeth his child, he so 
far faileth in the covenant professed ; and so much of bap- 
tism is undone ; and God doth not enter into the present 
covenant-relations to him, as being incapable thereof®. 

8. If this person afterwards repent and believe, it is a 
doing of the same thing which was omitted in baptism, and 
a making of the same covenant ; but not as a part of his 
baptism itself, which is long past. 

9. Nor is he hereupon to be re-baptized ; because the 
external part was done before, and is not to be done twice ; 
but the internal part which was omitted, is now to be done, 
not as a part of baptism (old or ne\V) ; but as a part of pe- 
nitence, for his omission. 

Object. If covenanting be a part of baptism, then this 

'» Rom. vi. 1. 4. 6, 7. ♦» Act» viii. 37, 38., 13. tO— 23. 


person, whose covenant is never a part of his baptism, doth 
live and die unbaptized. 

Ansiv. As baptism signifieth only the external ordinance, 
heart-covenanting is no part of it, but the profession of it is ; 
and if there was no profession of faith made, by word or sign, 
the person is unbaptized. But as baptism signifieth the in- 
ternal part with the external, so he will be no baptized per- 
son while he liveth ; that is, one that in baptism did truly 
consent, and receive the spiritual relations to God ; but he 
will have the same thing in another way of God's ap- 

10. When this person is after sanctified, it is by God's 
performance of the same covenant in specie, which baptism 
is made to seal, that God doth pardon, justify and adopt 
him ; but this is not by his past baptism as a cause, but by 
after grace and absolution. The same covenant doth it but 
not baptism ; because indeed the covenant or promise saith, 
* Whenever thou believest and repentest, I will forgive 
thee ;' but baptism saith, ' Because thou now believest, I 
do forgive thee, and wash away thy sin ;' and maketh pre- 
sent application. 

11. So if an infant or adult person live without grace, 
and at age be ungodly, his baptismal covenant is violated ; 
and his after conversion (or faith and repentance) is neither 
the fulfilling of God's covenant, nor of his baptism neither. 
The reason is, because though pardon and adoption be 
given by that conditional covenant of grace which baptism 
sealeth, yet so is not that first grace of faith and repentance 
which is the condition of pardon and adoption, and the title 
to baptism itself. Else infidels should have right to bap- 
tism, and thereby to faith and repentance. But these are 
only the free gifts of God to the elect, and the fulfilling of 
some absolute predictions concerning the calling of the 
elect, and the fulfilling of God's will or covenant to Christ 
the Mediator, that " He shall see the travail of his soul and 
be satisfied," and possess those that are given him by the 

12. But when the condition of the covenant is at first 
performed by the parent for the infant, and this covenant 
never broken on this child's behalf, (notwithstanding sins 
of infirmity,) in this case the first actual faith and repen- 



tance of children as they grow up, is from God's fulfilling of 
his baptismal covenant with them. The reason is, because 
that God in that covenant did give them a right of relation 
to the Holy Spirit in Christ their head, as their Sanctifier, 
to operate on them as they are capable. But if they first 
prove apostates and be after converted, God is disobliged 
(yea, to hypocrites never was obliged) as to the engagement 
made by him in baptism; and doth now, 1. Freely give 
them faith and repentance as a benefactor to his elect, and 
then, 2. As a covenanter give them pardon and adop- 
tion, &c. 

13. So to the adult, that truly made the baptismal co- 
venant and never apostatized from it, all the grace that God 
giveth them through their lives, is his fulfilling of his pro- 
mises made to them, and sealed by baptism, and a fruit of 
their baptism. But to hypocrites and apostates it is other- 
wise, as is before explained. 

Quest. XLV. What is a proper violation of our baptismal 


Answ, Note well, that there is a wide difference between 
these questions, 1. When doth a man miss of, or lose his 
present part in the covenant or promise of God in the Gos- 
pel ^? (This is as long as he is impenitent, an unbeliever and 
refuser.) 2. When doth a man totally lose his part and 
hope in that promise or covenant of God, so as to be liable 
to all the penalty of it? That is only by final impenitence, 
unbelief and refusal, when life is ended. 3. And when doth 
a man violate his own covenant or promise made to God in 
baptism? Which is our present question. To which I 
answer, ': 

1. This promise hath parts essential and parts integral : 
we promise not both these parts alike, nor on the same 
terms ; though both be promised. The essential parts, are 
our essential duties of Christianity, (faith, love, repentance 
in the essential parts,) &c. The integrals are the integral 
duties of Christianity s, 

^ John iii. 16—18. 36. i. 11— 1 3. 

» 2 Pet. ii. 20— «3. Heb. vi. 2. 4—8. x. 26—28. 1 John i. 9, 10. 
James iii. 2, 3. 


2. He (hat performeth not the essential duties is an apos- 
tate, or hypocrite. 

3. He that performeth not the integral duties is a sinner, 
not only against the law of nature, and Christ's precepts, 
but his own promise ; (and in this sense we all confess our 
breach of covenant with Christ,) but he is no apostate, hy- 
pocrite, or out of covenant. 

Quest. XLVi. May not baptism in some cases be repeated? 
And when ? 

Answ. 1. You must distinguish between baptism, taken 
morally, or only physically. 2. Between baptism morally, 
as it is a church or visible covenant, and as a heart-cove- 
nant. 3. Between real baptism and seeming baptism, which 
is a nullity. 4. Between certain reception of baptism, 
and that which is uncertain or justly doubted of. And so 
I answer, 

1. Real and certain baptism as a visible church-ordi- 
nance may not be repeated. Though the heart-covenant 
was wanting. And though it wanted not only decent modes, 
but integral parts. 

2. But in these cases baptism may be used where it 
seemed to have been received before. 

1. When the person made no profession of the Chris- 
tian faith (nor his parents for him, if an infant). 2. If that 
profession notoriously wanted an essential part; as if he 
only professed to believe in God the Father, and not in the 
Son, or the Holy Ghost. 3. If the minister only baptized 
him into the name of the Father, or Son, or left out any es- 
sential part. 4. If the person or ministry only contracted 
for a distant futurity, (as I will be a Christian when I am 
old, &c.) and not for the present ; which is not to be chris- 
tened, but only to promise to be christened hereafter. 5. 
If all application of water (or any watery element) was 
omitted, which is the external sign. 6. Of the baptizer's 
power I shall speak anon. 7. If the church or the person 
himself have just cause of doubting, whether he was truly 
baptized or not, to do it again, with hypothetical expres- 
sions, ' If thou art not baptized, I baptize thee ;' yea, or 
simply while that is understood, is lawful, and fit. And it 


is not to be twice baptized morally, but only physically, as 
I have fully opened in the question of re-ordination, to which 
I must refer the reader. 

3. And I confess I make little doubt but that those in 
Acts xix. were re-baptized, notwithstanding the witty eva- 
sion invented by Phil. Marnixius Aldegondus, and Beza's 
improvement of it, and the now common reception of that 

For 1. A new and forced exposition which no reader 
dreameth of till it be put into his head, is usually to be sus- 
pected, lest art deceive us. 

2. The omission of the Holy Ghost is an essential defect, 
and maketh baptism specially another thing ; and he were 
now to be re-baptized who should be so baptized. 

3. Whatever some say in heat against the Papists, John's 
baptism and our Christian baptism are so especially dis- 
tinct also, that he that had now but John's were to be yet 
baptized : the person of the Messiah himself being not de- 
terminately put into John's baptism as such. Nor c;in it be 
supposed that all the Jews that John baptized, were baptized 
into the profession of faith in this numerical person Jesus, 
but only to an unknown Saviour undetermined : however he 
pointed to Christ in the hearing of some of his disciples. 
We must not run from plain truth in peevishness of opposi- 
tion to Papists or any other men. 

4. The fifth verse would not be true of John's baptism 
as the history sheweth, that " When John's hearers heard 
this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus," 
This is contrary to the text that recordeth it. 

5. In the fourth verse, the words " that is, on Christ 
Jesus" are plainly Paul's expository words of John's, and 
not John's words. John baptized them " into the name of 
the Messiah that should come after him," which indeed, 
saith Paul was Christ Jesus, though not then personally de- 
termined by John. 

6% The connexion of the fourth, fifth and sixth verses 
puts all out of doubt. 1. In the fourth verse the last words 
are Paul's, ** that is, on Christ Jesus." 2. In the next 
words, verse 4. ** When they heard this, they were baptized, 
&c." must refer to the last words, or to his that was speak- 
ing to them. 3. Verse 6. the pronoun "them" "when 


Paul had laid his hands on them," plainly referreth to them 
last spoken of, verse 5., which therefore were not John's 
hearers as such. 4. And the words " they were baptized in- 
to the name of the Lord Jesus," are plainly distinctive from 
John's baptism. Saith Grotius, ' Sic accepere Latinas, Sy- 
rus, Arabs, et Veteres omnes ante Marnixium (ut verba 
Lucae). Yet I say not so hardly of John's baptism, as Ter- 
tullian on this text, (de Baptis.) * Adeo postea in Actis 
Apostolorum invenimus, quoniam qui Johannis baptismum 
habebant, non accepissent Spiritum Sanctum, quem ne au- 
ditu quidam noverant : ergo non erat cceleste, quod ccelestia 
non exhibebat.' See Dr. Hammond in loc. 

Quest. XLvii. Is baptism by laymen or women lawful in cases 
of necessity ? Or are they nullities, and the person to be re- 
baptized ? 

Answ. I. I know some of the ancients allowed it in ne- 
cessity. But I know no such necessity that can be : For 1. 
God hath expressly made it a part of the ministerial office 
by commission. Matt, xxviii. 19, 20. 2. He hath no where 
given to any other either command to oblige them to do it, 
or commission to authorize them, or promise to bless and 
accept them in it, or threatening if they omit it. 3. He oft 
severely punisheth such as invade the sacred function, or 
usurp any part of it. 4. Therefore it is a sin in the doer, 
and then there can be no necessity of it in such a case in 
the receiver. 5. He that is in covenant by open, professed 
consent, wants nothing necessary to his salvation, either 
* necessitate medii vel preecepti,' when it cannot be had in a 
lawful way. 

II. As to the nullity I will not determine so controverted 
a point any further than to say, 1. That if the layman had 
the counterfeit orders of a minister, and had possession of 
the place, and were taken for one, his deceit deprived not 
the receiver of his right, nor made it his sin, and I should 
not re-baptize him, if after discovered. 

2. But if he were in no possession, or pretence of the 
office, I would be baptized again, if it were my case ; be- 
cause I should fear that what is done in Christ's name by 
one that notoriously had no authority from him to do it, is 



not owned by Christ as his deed, and so is a nullity. As if 
a deceiver go in my name to make bargains for me. 

3. And if any that had after discovered a minister to be 
indeed no minister that baptized him, should doubt of the 
validity, and for certainty have it done again by an autho- 
rized minister, I would not discommend him; nor would I 
account it morally twice baptizing, but a physical repeating 
of that act which morally is but one : (as I explained before 
of re-ordination). 

Therefore if one that was a gross heretic in the very es- 
sentials, or an infidel, or one that had not knowledge and 
parts essentially necessary to the ministry baptize one (in 
right words) I would not blame him that for certainty would 
have an authorized person to do it ; especially if he was no- 
toriously such an one when he did it. Let those that are 
angry with this resolution be as fair to me as they will be 
to Venerable Bede, and that great miracle-working bishop, 
John, whom in his ecclesiastical history he reporteth to bap- 
tize a man again in England, merely because the priest that 
did it was so dull, ignorant, and insufficient, as in John's 
judgment to be incapable of the office, and therefore had 
been by him forbidden to use it, though the person bap- 
tized (at age) knew not this : viz. Herebaldus, ut Bed. 
lib. V. c. 6. 

Quest. XLVIII. May Anabaptists, that have no other error, be 
permitted in church-communion ? 

Answ. Yes, and tolerated in their own practice also : for 
1 . They agree with us in all points absolutely necessary to 

2. The ancient Christians had liberty either to baptize, 
or to let them stay till age, as they thought best; and 
therefore TertuUian and Nazianzen speak against haste ; 
and Augustine, and many children of Christian parents 
were baptized at age. 

3. The controversy is of go great difficulty, that if in all 
such cases none that differ be tolerated, we may not live to- 
gether in the world or church, but endlessly excommunicate 
or persecute one another. 

4. Such sober Antipaedobaptists will consent, to profess 


openly, that they do devote their children to God according 
to all the power or duty which they can find communicated 
or laid upon them in the Word of God ; and that if they be- 
lieved that God would accept them into his covenant upon 
their dedication, they would willingly do it. And that ac- 
tually they do offer them to God according to their power, 
and promise to bring them up in his way. And who 
can force men's wills to choose aright for themselves 
or others ? 

Quest. XLix. May one offer his child to be baptized, with the 
sign of the cross, or the use of chrism, the white garment, 
milk and honey, or exorcism, as among the Lutherans, who 
taketh these to he unlawful things ? 

Answ. I am not now to meddle with the question. Whe- 
ther they be lawful ; but to this question I answer, 

1. He that judgeth them unlawful, must first do his best 
to be certain whether they be so or not. 

2. If so, he must never approve of them, or consent to 

3. He must not offer his child to be so baptized, when 
' cseteris paribus,' he may have it done in a better manner 
on lawful terms. 

4. But when he cannot lawfully have better, he may and 
must offer his child, to them that will so baptize hhn, rather 
than to worse, or not at all ; because baptism is God's or- 
dinance and his privilege, and the sin is the minister's and 
not his. Another man's sinful mode will not justify the 
neglect of our duty ; else we might not join in any prayer 
or sacrament in which the minister modally sinneth ; that 
is, with none. 

5. The milk and honey, white garment and chrism, are 
so ancient (called by Epiphanius and others, the traditions 
and customs of the universal church) that the original of 
them is not known. And he that then would not be so 
baptized, must not have been baptized at all. 

6. But in this case he that bringeth his child to bap- 
tism, should make known, that it is baptism only that he 
desireth, and that he disowneth and disalloweth the manner 
which he accounteth sinful : and then he is no consenter 
to it. 


7. But where law, scandal, or greater inconveniences 
forbid him, he is not to make this profession openly in the 
congregation, but in that prudent manner which beseemeth 
a sober, peaceable person ; whether to the minister in pri- 
vate, or to his neighbours in converse : it being easy among 
neighbours to make known a man's dissent, without a dis- 
orderly troubling of the church, or violating the laws of 
obedience, civility and peace. 

8. But he must not, (1.) Either offer his child to baptism, 
where the ordinance is essentially corrupted, or worse than 
none. (2.) Or where he cannot be admitted without an ac- 
tual sin of his own ; as by false professions, subscriptions, 
&c. For we must not do evil for good ends. 

Quest. L. Whence came the ancient, universal custom of anoint^ 
ing at baptism, and putting on a white garment, and tasting 
milk and honey ? And whether they are lawful to us ? 

Answ. 1. We must remember that the signification of 
these was not by a new institution of their's, but by former 
custom of the countries where they lived ^, As (1 .) Anoint- 
ing in Judea was like bathing at Rome : it was taken in 
those scorching countries for a wholesome, and easing, and 
comforting thing ; and therefore used to refresh the weary 
limbs of travellers, and to comfort the sick. 

(2.) And it was the long accustomed ceremony also used 
on officers accounted sacred, kings and priests, who were 
anointed at their entrance and investiture. 

(3.) White cloathing and purple were then and there 
taken for the noblest attire ' : not appropriated to sacred 
things and persons ; but as scarlet lately in England, the 
garb only of great men. On which account, not as a sacred 
vestment, but as an honourable cloathing, when the bishops 
began to be advanced, they were allowed to wear white 
cloathing, not only when they officiated, but at other times. 

(4.) The milk and honey were there highly esteemed for 
food, and accounted the character of the land of promise ^. 

^ Psal. xxiii. 6. xcii. 10. Luke vii. 46. Matt. vi. 17. Amos vi. 6. Psal. 
Ixxxix. 20. Lev. xvi. 3«. Luke xvi. 

' Rev. iii. 4, 5. " Thcj shall walk wUh roe in white." 
•» James v. 14. Mark vi. 13. 


2. Hereupon by application the churches used these 
signs in the sacred ordinance of baptism : not by new insti- 
tution of the signification, I say, but by application of the 
old well known signification. 

3. As natural signs are commonly allowed to be applied 
to holy things, so signs whose signification is of old and 
commonly stated and well known by agreement or custom, 
do seem in this not to be different from natural signs. Such 
are all words, as signs of our minds ; no word signifying 
any thing naturally, but by agreement or custom only. And 
such is kneeling in prayer, and being uncovered, and many 
the like : about some of which Paul appealeth to the custom 
of the churches of God. 

4. It is most probable that these two things together 
brought in anointing; (1.) The common use of anointing 
then, in both the foresaid cases, (common refreshment and 
sacred investiture). (2.) And the mistake of all those Scrip- 
ture texts, which command or mention anointing metaphori- 
cal; as 1 John ii. 27. ** The anointing which you have re- 
ceived teacheth you all things." Ezek. xvi. 9. "I 

washed thee, I anointed thee with oil," &c. Psal. cv. 15. 
1 Chron. xvi. 22. " Touch not mine anointed." Rev. iii. 18. 

And withal reading that we are made kings and priests 
to God, and a royal priesthood, they thought this might be 
signified by the usual honorary signs of such, as well as by 
words to be called such. So that they took it as if in our 
age, the baptized should be set in a chair of state, and 
sumptuously apparelled, and a feast made to solemnize it, 
as they do at weddings, and the baptized person set at the 
upper end, &c., which are significant actions and ceremo- 
nies ; but they intended them not as new sacraments, or 
any part of the sacraments, but as a pompous celebration of 
the sacrament by such additional ceremonial accidents. 

5. And you must remember that they lived among infi- 
dels, where their profession was made the common scorn, 
which tempted them by such ostentation and pomp to seek 
to make it honourable, and to show that they so accounted 
it, and to encourage those who were discouraged by the 
scorn. On which account also they used the cross, and 
the memorials of the martyrs. 

6. Yet some, yea, many afterwards did seem to take the 


anointing for a sacramental action. When they read that 
the laying on of hands was the sign of giving the Holy 
Ghost, as distinct from baptism, and that the Spirit is called 
in Scripture the anointing, they joined both together, and 
made that which they now call the sacrament of confirma- 

7. Whether the anointing, milk and honey, and the 
white garment, were then sinful in themselves to the users, 
I determine not. But certainly they proved very ill by ac- 
cident, whilst at this door those numerous and unlawful ce- 
remonies have entered, which have so troubled the churches, 
and corrupted religion ; and among the Papists, Greeks, 
Armenians, Abassines, and many others, have made the 
sauce to become the meat, and the lace to go for clothing, 
and turned too much of God's worship into imagery, sha- 
dows, and pompous shews. 

Quest. LI. Whether it be necessary that they that are baptized 
in infancy, do solemnly at age renew and own their baptis- 
mal covenant, before they have right to the state and privi- 
leges of adult members ? And if they do 7iot, whether they 
are to be numbered with Christians or apostates ? 

Answ. 1. Church-membership is the same thing in in- 
fants and in the adult. 

2. Infants are naturally incapable of doing all that in 
baptism which the adult must do : as to understand, profess, 
&c. themselves. 

3. The baptism of the adult, being the most complete* 
because of the maturity of the receivers, is made the stand 
ing pattern in Scripture : for God formeth his ordinances 
to the most perfect ordinary receivers. 

4. Though an infant be devoted acceptably to God by 
his parent's will, yet when he is at age, it must be done by 
his own will. 

5. Therefore a bare infant title ceaseth when we come to 
age, and the person's title ceaseth, unless it be renewed by 
himself, or his own consent. The reason is, because the 
conditions of his infant title then cease : for his parent's 
will, shall go for his no longer. 

6. Regularly and * ad bene esse ' the transition out of 

VOL. v. B » 


the state of infant-membership into the state of adult-mem- 
bership should be very solemn ; and by an understanding, 
personal owning of the baptismal covenant ^ 

7. There needeth no other proof of this, than, 1. That 
God in Scripture never gave adult persons title to his cove- 
nant, but by their own personal consent ; and at the first in- 
stitution of baptism, both went together, (personal profes- 
sion and baptism) because the receivers were adult. 2. And 
that infants are capable of baptism, but not of personal pro- 
fession. 3. Therefore though they are not to repeat bap- 
tism, which was done before, yet they are bound to make 
that profession at age which they never made before. 

8. Where this solemn owning of their covenant cannot 
be had (by reason of church corruptions, and magistrate's 
prohibition) there the person's ordinary joining with the 
church, in the public profession and worship, is to be taken 
for an owning it. 

9. He that being baptized in infancy, doth no way at 
full age own his baptismal covenant, is to be taken for an 
apostate. 1. Because his infant title ceaseth. 2. And he 
notoriously violateth his covenant. 3. Because he can be 
no adult Christian that no way owneth Christ. 

10. But this is to be understood of those that have op- 
portunity ; for one in a wilderness among heathens only, 
cannot join in public worship, nor give testimony of his 
Christianity to the church. 

11. Though the sacrament of the Lord's supper be ap- 
pointed for the renewing of our covenant at age, yet is it 
not the first owning of the covenant, by the aged ; for that 
sacrament belongeth neither to infants nor infidels ; and he 
that claimeth it, must be an adult church-member or Chris- 
tian ; which those are not, who at full age no way ever 
owned their baptismal covenant, nor made any personal pro- 
fession of Christianity. 

But of this I have written purposely in a " Treatise of 
Confirmation" long ago. 

Quest. Lii. Whether the universal church consist only of parti- 
cular churches and their members ? 

' See the proofs of all in my " Treatise of Confirmation." 


Answ, No : particular churches are the most regular and 
noble parts of the universal church; but not the whole ; no 
more than cities and corporations be all the kingdom. 1. 
Some may be as the eunuch, baptized before they can come 
,to any particular church ; or as Paul, before they can be re- 
ceived "\ 

2. Some may live where church tyranny hindereth them, 
by sinful impositions ; as all that live among the Papists. 

3. Some may live in times of doubting, distraction and 
confusion, and not know what church ordinarily to join with, 
and may providently go promiscuously to many, and keep 
in an unfixed state for a time. 

4. Some may be wives, children, or servants, who may 
be violently hindered. 

5. Some may live where no particular churches are ; 
as merchants and embassadors among Mahometans and 

Quest. LIII. Must the pastor first call the church, and aggre- 
gate them to himself, or the church first congregate themselves, 
and then choose the pastor ? 

Answ. 1. The pastors are in order of nature, if not in time, 
first ministers of Christ in general, before they are related 
to a particular charge. 

2. As such ministers, they first make men fit to be con- 
gregate, and tell them their duty therein. 

3. But it is a matter variable and indifferent, whether 
the minister first say, * All that will join with me, and sub- 
mit to me as their pastor, shall be my particular charge ;' 
or the people before congregated do call a man to be their 

Quest. Liv. Wherein doth a particular church of Christ's in^ 
stitution differ from a consociation of many churches ? 

Answ. 1. In that such a particular church is a company 
of Christians associated for personal, immediate communion 
in God's worship and in holy living ; whereas consociations 

 Acta viii. 37, &c. Acts ix. J7— 20. 26— !^8. 


of churches, are combined for mediate distinct communion, 
or by delegates or representatives (as in synods"). 

2. Such a particular church is constituted of one or 
more pastors with the people, officiating in the sacred mi- 
nistry among them, in doctrine, worship, and discipline, in, 
order to the said personal communion. But a consociation 
of churches hath no particular head as such, of Divine in- 
stitution, to constitute and govern them as one. In Igna- 
tius's time every particular church was characterized or 
known by two marks of unity, 1. One altar, (that is, one 
place for assembling for holy communion). 2. One bishop 
with the presbyters and deacons : and two altars and two 
bishops proved two churches. 

3. A particular church under one bishop or the same 
pastors, is a political, holy society ; but a combination of 
many churches consociate, is not so, but only, 1. Either a 
community agreeing to live in concord, as neighbour king- 
doms may. 2. Or else a human policy or society, and not 
of Divine immediate institution. So that if this consocia- 
tion of churches be called a church, it must be either equi- 
vocally or in a human sense. 

Quest. Lv. Whether a particular church may consist of more 
assemblies than one ? Or must needs meet all in one place ? 

Answ . 1 . The true distinguishing note of a particular church 
is, that they be associated for holy communion in worship 
and holy living, not by delegates, nor distantly only, by 
owning the same faith, and loving one another, as we may 
do with those at the antipodes ; but personally in presence. 

2. Therefore they must necessarily be so near, as to be 
capable of personal, present communion. 

3. And it is most convenient that they be no more than 
can ordinarily meet in the same assembly, at least for sa- 
cramental communion. 

4. But yet they may meet in many places or assemblies, 
as chapels, or oratories, or other subordinate meetings which 
are appointed to supply the necessity of the weak and aged, 
and them that cannot travel far. And in times of persecu- 

n Acts ii. 1. 24. 44. 46. iv. 32. v. 12. 1 Thess. v. 12, 13. 1 Cor. xlv. 19. 
23, 24. 28. 35. Acts xiv. 23, Titus i. 5. Acts xi. 26. Jaraes ii. 2. 


tion, when the church dare not at all meet in one place, they 
may make up several smaller meetings, under several pastors 
of the same church. But they should come all together as 
oft as they can. 

5. And it is to be considered that all the persons of a 
family can seldom go to the assembly at one time, especially 
when they live far off. Therefore if a church-place would 
receive but ten thousand, yet twenty thousand might be 
members, while half meet one day, and half another (or an- 
other paPt of the day). 

6. Two congregations distinctly associated for personal 
worship, under distinct pastors, or having statedly (as Igna- 
tius speaketh) two bishops and two altars, are two particu- 
lar churches, and can no otherwise be one church, than as 
that may be called one which is a consociation of divers. 

Quest. Lvi. Is any form of church-government of Divine 
institution ? 

Answ, Yea: there are two essentially different policies 
or forms of church-government of Christ's own institution, 
never to be altered by man. 1. The form of the universal 
church, as headed by Christ himself; which all Christians 
own, as they are Christians in their baptism. 

2. Particular churches which are headed by their parti- 
cular bishops or pastors, and are parts of the universal, as a 
troop is of an army, or a city of a kingdom. 

Here it is of Divine institution, 1. That there be holy 
assemblies for the public worship of God. 

2. That these assemblies be societies, constituted of the 
people with their pastors, who are to them as captains to 
their troops, under the general, or as mayors to cities under 
the king **. 

3^ That these pastors have the power of the keys, or the 
special guidance and governance (by the word, not by the 
sword) of their own particular charge, in the matters of 
faith, worship, and holy living ; and that the flocks obey 

«» Eph. i. 22, 23. v. 25, 26. &c. iv. 4—6. 16. Heb. x. 25. 1 Cor. xiv. 
Acts xiv. 23. Titus i. 5. I Tim. v. 17. 1 Thess. v. 12, 13. 1 Tim. iii. 3— 6. 
1 Pet. V. 1—3. Acts XX. 28. Phil. i. 1, 2. 


them. And when all this is * jure divino/ why should any 
say, that no form of government is * jure divino?' 

3. Moreover it is of Divine appointment, that these 
churches hold the nearest concord, and help each other as 
much as they can ; whether by synods, or other meet ways 
of correspondency. And though this be not a distinct go- 
vernment, it is a distinct mode of governing. 

Object. * But that there be pastors with fixed churches 
or assemblies is not of the law of nature.' 

Amw. 1. Hath Christ no law but the law ot nature ? 
Wherein then differ the Christian religion and the heathen- 
ish? 2. Suppose but Christ to be Christ, and man to be 
what he is, and nature itself will tell us that this is the fit- 
test way for ordering the worship of God. For nature saith, 
God must be solemnly and ordinarily worshipped, and that 
qualified persons should be the official guides in the perfor- 
mjtncfe, and that people who need such conduct and private 
oversight besides, should where they live have their own 
stated overseers. 

Object. * But particular congregations are not ' de pri- 
maria intentione divina :' for if the whole world could join 
together in the public worship of God, no doubt that would 
be properly a church. But particular congregations are 
only accidental, in reference to God's intention of having a 
church, because of the impossibility of all men's joining to- 
gether for ordinances, &c. 

Answ. 1. The question with me is not whether they be 
of primary intention, but whether stated churches headed 
with their proper bishops or pastors be not of God's institu- 
tion in the Scripture ? 

2. This objection confirmeth it, and not denieth it. For 
1. It confesseth that there is a necessity of joining for God's 
worship : 2. And an impossibility that all the world should 
so join: 3. But if the whole world could so join, it would 
be properly '^ church. So that it confesseth that ' to be a 
society joined for God's public worship, is to be properly a 
ch«tch.' And we confess all this : if all the world could be 
one family, they might have one master, or one kingdom, 
they might have one king. But when it is confessed, that,. 
1. A natural impossibility of an universal assembly neces- 
sitateth more particular assemblies; 2. And that Christ 


hath institute4 such actually in his Word, what more can a 
considerate man require ? 

3. I do not understand this distinction, * de primaria in- 
tentione divina,' and accidental, &c. The primary intention 
is properly of the ultimate end only : and no man thinketh 
that a law * de mediis,' of the means, is no law, or that God 
hath made no laws * de mediis :' for Christ as a mediator is 
a means. But suppose it be limited to the matter of church 
laws ; if this be the meaning of it, that it is not the principal 
means, but a subordinate means, or that it is not instituted 
only ' propter finem ultimum,' no more than * propter se,' 
but also in order to a higher thing as its immediate end, we 
make no question of that. Assemblies are not only that 
there may be assemblies ; but for the worship and offices 
there performed : and those for man ; and all for God. But 
what of all this ? Hath God made no laws for subordinate 
means ? No Christian denieth it. 

Therefore the learned and judicious disputer of this point 
declareth himself for what 1 say, when he saith, * I engage 
not in the controversy. Whether a particular congregation 
be the first political church or no : it sufficeth for my pur- 
pose, that there are other churches besides. The thing 

in question is. Whether there be no other church but such 
particular congregations.' Where it seemeth granted that 
such particular churches are of Divine institution : and for 
other churches I shall say more anon. In the mean time 
note, that the question is but * de nomine' here, whether 
the name * church,' be fit for other societies, and not ' de re p.* 

But lest any should grow to the boldness to deny that 
* Christ hath instituted Christian stated societies, consisting 
of pastors and flocks, associate for personal communion in 
public worship and holy living ;' (which is my definition of 
a particular church, as not so confined to one assembly, but 
that it may be in divers, and yet not consisting of divers 
such distinct stated assemblies with their distinct pastors, 
nor of such as can have no personal communion, but only 
by delegates ;) I prove it thus from the Word of God. 

P Dr. Stillingfleet's Iren. p 154. »o p. 170. B,y church here 1 mean not a par- 
ticular congregation, Ice. So hegranteth that, l.The universal church, 2. Particular 
congregations are of Divine institution, one ' ex intentione primaria/ and the other, at 
he calls it, accidentally, but yet of natural necessity. 


(1.) The apostles were commissioned by Christ to deli- 
ver his commands to all the churches, and settle them ac- 
cording to his will, John xx. 21. — Matt, xxviii. 19, 20, &c. 

(2,) These commissioned persons had the promise of an 
infallible Spirit for the due performance of their work, John 
xvi. 13—15. XV. 26. xiv. 26. Matt, xxviii. 20. 

(3.) These apostles wherever the success of the Gospel 
prepared them materials, did settle Christian stated socie- 
ties, consisting of pastors or elders with their flocks, asso- 
ciated for personal communion in public worship and holy 
living. These settled churches they gave orders to for their 
direction, and preservation, and reformation : these they 
took the chief care of themselves, and exhorted their elders 
to fidelity in their work. They gave command that none 
should forsake such assemblies ; and they so fully describe 
them, as that they cannot easily be misunderstood. All this 
is proved. Acts xiv. 23. Titus i. 5. Rom. xvi. 1. 1 Cor. 
xi. 18. 20. 22. 26. xiv. 4, 5. 12. 19. 23. 28. 33, 34. 
Col. iv. 16. Acts xi. 26. xiii. 1. 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2. Acts 
xiv. 27. XV. 3. to omit many more. Here are proofs enow^ 
that such particular churches were ' de facto' settled by tlxe 
apostles, Heb. x. 25. " Forsake not the assembling of your- 
selves together." So James ii. 2. they are called syna- 

2. It is confessed that there is a natural necessity of 
such stated churches or assemblies, supposing but the in- 
stitution of the worship itself which is there performed : and 
if so, then we may say that the law of nature itself doth 
partly require them. 

(1.) It is of the law of nature, that God be publicly wor- 
shipped, as most expositors of the fourth commandment do 

(2.) It is of the law of nature that the people be taught 
to know God and their duty, by such as are able and fit to 
teach them. 

(3.) The law of nature requireth, that man being a so- 
ciable creature, and conjunction working strongest affec- 
tions, we should use our sociableness in the greatest mat- 
ters, and by conjunction help the zeal of our prayers and 
praises of God. 


(4.) God's instkution of public preaching, prayer and 
pi'aise, are scarce denied by any Christians. 

(5.) None of these can be publicly done but by assem- 

(6.) No assembly can suffice for these without a minister 
of Christ ; because it is only his office to be the ordinary 
teacher, and to go before the people in prayer and praise, 
and to administer the Lord's supper, which without a mi- 
nister may not be celebrated, because Christ's part cannot 
be otherwise performed, than by some one in his name, and 
by his warrant, to deliver his sealed covenant to the recei- 
vers, and to invest them visibly in the benefits of it, and re- 
ceive them that offer themselves in covenant to him. 

(7.) It is also a ministerial duty to instruct the people 
personally, and to watch over them at other times. Acts xx. 
20. 28. And to be examples of the flock, 1 Pet. v. 1—3. 
To have the rule over the people, and labour among them, 
and admonish them, 1 Thess. v. 12. Heb. xiii. 7. 17. 1 
Tim. V. 17. To exercise holy discipline among them, Titus 
iii. 10. Matt, xviii. 17, 18. 1 Cor. v. To visit the sick 
and pray over them, James v. 14. Yea, to take care of the 
poor. See Dr. Hammond on 1 Cor. xii. 28. And all this 
cannot possibly be well done by uncertain, transient minis- 
ters, but only by a resident, stated pastor, no more than 
transient strangers can rule all our families, or all the Chris- 
tian kingdoms of the world. 

(8.) And as this cannot be done but by stated pastors, 
so neither on transient persons ordinarily : for who can 
teach them that are here to-day and gone to-morrow ? When 
the pastor should proceed from day to day in adding one 
instruction to another, the hearers will be gone, and new 
ones in their place. And how can vigilancy and discipline 
be exercised on such transient persons, whose faults and 
cases will be unknown ? Or how can they mutually help 
each other? And seeing most in the world have fixed habi- 
tations, if they have not also fixed church-relations, they 
must leave their habitations and wander, or else have no 
church-communion at all. 

(9.) And as this necessity of fixed pastors and flocks is 
confessed, so that such * de facto* were ordinarily settled by 


the apostles, is before proved, if any Scriptures may pass 
for proof. 

The institution and settlement then of particular wor- 
shipping churches is out of doubt. And so that two forms 
of church-government are ' jure divino,' the universal church 
form, and the particulai'. 

4. Besides this, in the apostles' days there were under 
Christ in the church universal, many general officers that 
had the care of gathering and overseeing churches up and 
down, and were fixed by stated relation unto none. Such 
were the apostles, evangelists, and many of their helpers in 
their days. And most Christian churches think that though 
the apostolical extraordinary gifts, privileges, and offices 
cease, yet government being an ordinary part of their work, 
the same form of government which Christ and the Holy 
Ghost did settle, in the first age, were settled for all follow- 
ing ages, though not with the same extraordinary gifts and 
adjuncts. Because, 1. We read of the settling of that form, 
(viz. general officers as well as particular) but we never read 
of any abolition, discharge, or cessation of the institution. 
2. Because if we affirm a cessation without proof, we seem 
to accuse God of mutability, as settling one form of govern- 
ment for one age only, and no longer. 3. And we leave 
room for audacious wits accordingly to question other Gos- 
pel institutions, as pastors, sacraments, &c. and to say that 
they were but for one age. 4. It was general officers that 
Christ promised to be with to the end of the world "J. 

Now either this will hold true or not. If not, then this 
general ministry is to be numbered with the human addi- 
tions to be next treated of. If it do, then here is another 
part of the form of government proved to be of Divine in- 
stitution. I say not, another church, (for I find nothing 
called a church in the New Testament, but the universal 
church and the particular) ; but another part of the govern- 
ment of both churches, universal and particular ; because 
such general officers are so in the universal, as to have a 
general oversight of the particular ; as an army is headed 
only by the general himself, and a regiment by the colonel, 
and a troop by the captain ; but the general officers of the 
army (the lieutenants general, the majors general, &c.) are 

1 Matt, xxviii. 20. 


under the lord general in and over the army, and have a ge- 
neral oversight of the particular bodies (regiments and 
troops). Now if this be the instituted form of Christ's 
church-government, ihathe himself rule absolutely as gene- 
ral, and that he hath some general officers under him (not 
any one having a charge of the whole, but in the whole un- 
fixedly, or as they voluntarily part their provinces,) and that 
each particular church have its own proper pastor (one or 
more^, then who can say, that ' No form of church-govern- 
ment is of Divine appointment or command V 

Object. But the question is only whether any sole form 
be of God's commanding? And whether another may not 
have as much said for it as this ? 

Answ. Either you mean ' Another instead of this, as a 
competitor,' or ' Another part conjunct with these parts/ 

1. If the first be your sense then you have two works to 
do. 1. To prove that these before mentioned were mutable 
institutions, or that they were settled but disjunctively with 
some other, and the choice was left indifferent to men. 2. 
To prove the institution of your other form (which you sup- 
pose left with this to men's free choice). 

But I have already proved, that both the general and 
particular church-form are settled for continuance as un- 
changeable ordinances of God. I suppose you doubt not 
of the continuance of Christ's supremacy, and so of the 
universal form : and if you will prove that church-assem- 
blies with their pastors may cease, and some other way sup- 
ply the room, you must be strange and singular under- 
takers. The other two parts of the government (by general 
officers, and by consociation of churches) are more dis- 
puted ; but it is the circumstances of the last only that is 
controverted and not the thing ; and for the other I shall 
now add nothing to what I have said elsewhere '^. 

2. But if you only mean that another part of the form 
may be 'jure divino ' as well as this, that will but prove still 
that some form is 'jure divino.' 

But 3. If you mean, that God having instituted the forms 
now proved, hath left man at liberty to add more of his own, 
I shall now come to examine that case also. 

1 *' Disput. oJ Cluircli-guveriMtient." 


Quest. I, VI I. Whether any forms of churches, and church-go- 
vernment y or any new church officers, m,ay lawfully be in- 
vented and made by man ? 

Answ. To remove ambiguities, 1. By the word 'forms* 
may be meant either that relative form of such aggregate 
bodies which is their essence, and denominateth them es- 
sentially ; or only some accidental mode which denominat- 
eth them but accidentally. 

2. By churches is meant either holy societies related by 
the foundation of a Divine institution ; or else societies re- 
lated by accident, or by human contract only. 

3. By * Church-government ' is meant, either that go- 
vernment formally ecclesiastical, which constituteth a 
church, of Christ's making ; or else some government about 
the matters of the church, which is formally either magis- 
tratical or human, (by contract) &c. 

4. So by church-officers are meant, either such as are 
accounted essential to a church in the pure Christian sense ; 
or integral at least (as deacons^ ; or else such as are ac- 
counted but accidental to it, and essential only to the hu- 
man form. And so I answer, • 

1. As there are some things 'circa sacra,' or accidents 
of God's special church-worship, which are left to human 
prudence to determine of, so the same human prudence may 
determine who shall do them. As e. g. Who shall repair 
the buildings of the church ; the windows, the bells, the 
pulpits, the tables, &c. ; who shall keep the clock ; who 
shall keep the cups, cloths, and other utinsils ; who shall 
be the porter, the keeper of the books, &c. ; who shall call 
the people to church, or ring the bells, or give them notice 
of church-assemblies ; who shall make bread for the sacra- 
ment, or provide wine, or bring 'water for baptism ; who 
shall make the graves, and bury the dead, or attend mar- 
riages, or baptizings, &c. ; who shall set the tune of the 
psalm, or use the church-music (if there be any); who 
shall summon any of the people on any just occasion to 
come to their pastors ; who shall summon the pastors to any 
synod, or lawful assembly, and give them notice of the time 
and place ; when they are to meet, who shall be called first, 
and who second ; who shall sit highest, and who lowest ; 


who shall take the votes, or moderate or guide the dispu- 
tations of the assembly ; who shall be the scribe, and re- 
cord what is done ; who shall send abroad their agreements, 
and who shall be the church-messenger to carry them. The 
agents of such circumstantials may be chosen by the ma- 
gistrate, or by the churches, or pastors, as is most conve- 
nient. Though I doubt not but in the beginning the dea- 
cons were mere servants to the pastors, to do as much of 
such circumstantial work as they were able ; of which ser- 
ving at tables, and looking to the poor, and carrying bread 
and wine to the absent, &c. were but parts ; and all went 
under the name of ministering to the pastors or churches. 
And therefore they seem to be such an accidental oflfice, ap- 
pointed by the apostles, on such common reasons, as 
magistrates or churches might have appointed them, if they 
had not. 

2. If one will call all or many of these, * church-officers/ 
and another will not, it is but a strife about names, which 
one will use more largely and the other more narrowly or 

3. If magistrates by authority, or the churches by agree- 
ment, shall distribute the country for conveniency into pa- 
rishes (not making all to be church-members that dwell in 
those precincts, but determining that all persons that are fit 
in those proximities, and they only, shall be members of that 
particular church) and then shall denominate the church 
from this accident of place, it is but what is left to their 

4. And if the said magistrates or churches shall divide a 
kingdom into provinces, and say, that whereas God com- 
mandeth us the use of correspondencies, mutual advice, and 
synods, for the due help, concord, and communion of 
churches, and all things must be done in order and to edifi- 
cation ; therefore we determine that so many churches shall 
make up such a synod, and the churches of such a district 
shall make up another synod, and so shall be specially re- 
lated to each other for concord as advisers, all this is but 
the prudent determining of church circumstances or acci- 
dents left to man. 

5. And if they shall appoint that either a magistrate or 
one pastor shall be for order's sake the appointer of the times 


and places of meeting, or the president of the synod, to re- 
gulate and order proceedings, and keep peace, as is afore- 
said, it is but an accident of the sacred work which man 
may determine of. Therefore a layman may be such a pre- 
sident or regulator. 

6. And if they will call this man by the name of a 
church-governor, who doth but a common part therein, and 
from thence will call this association or province by the 
name of a church, which is but a company of churches as- 
sociated for concord and counsel, the name maketh it not 
another thing than it is without that name ; and the name 
may be lawful or unlawful as times and probable conse- 
quents make it fit or unfit as to use, 

7. So much of church matters as is left to the magis- 
trate's government, may be under monarchy, aristocracy, or 
democracy, and under such subordinate officers as the su- 
preme ruler shall appoint. 

8. And if the magistrate will make assemblies or coun- 
cils of pastors, to be his councils, and require them fre- 
quently to meet to advise him in the performance of his own 
trust and work about religipn and the church, he may ac- 
cordingly distribute them into provinces for that use, or 
order such circumstances as he please. 

9. And if a province of churches be called one church, 
because it is under one magistrate, or a nation of churches 
called a national church, because it is under one king, or 
many kingdoms or an empire called one Catholic church, 
because they are all under one emperor ; it must be con- 
fessed that this question is but * de nomine, * and not 
* de re. ' 

And further, 1. That in sacred things that which is of 
Divine and primary institution is the * famosius analogatum,' 
and not that which is but formed by man. 2. That when 
such an ambiguous word is used without explication or ex- 
plicating circumstances, it is to be taken for the * famosius 
analogatum.' 3. That in this case the word church or 
church-form is certainly ambiguous and not unequivocal. 
4. That a national, imperial, or provincial church as headed 
by a king, emperor, magistrate, or any head of man's ap- 
pointment, is another thing, from a church of Christ's insti- 
tution ; and is but an accident or adjunct of it : and the 


head of the human form, if called the head of the church of 
Christ, is but an accidental head, and not constitutive. 
And if Christ's churches be denominated from such a head, 
they are denominated but from an accident, as a man may 
be denominated clothed or unclothed, clothed gorgeously 
or sordidly, a neighbour to this man or that, &c. It is no 
formal denomination of a church in the first acceptation, as 
it signifieth the * famosius analogatum ;' though otherwise 
many kind of societies may be called * ecclesiae* or ' coetus ;' 
but divines should not love confusion. 

10. It seemeth to me that the first distribution of 
churches in the Roman empire, into patriarchal, primates, 
metropolitical, provincial, diocesan, were only the determi- 
nation of such adjuncts or extrinsic things, partly by the 
emperors, and partly by the church's consent upon the em- 
peror's permission ; and so that these new church govern- 
ments were partly magistratical, or by power derived from 
the emperors, and partly mere agreements or contracts by 
degrees degenerating into governments ; and so the new 
forms and names are all but accidental, of adjuncts of the true 
Christian churches. And though I cannot prove it unlaw- 
ful to make such adjunctive or extrinsic constitutions, forms, 
and names, considering the matter simply itself, yet by acci- 
dent these accidents have proved such to the true churches, 
as the accident of sickness is to the body, and have been 
the causes of the divisions, wars, rebellions, ruins, and confu- 
sions of the Christian world. 1. As they have served the 
covetousness and ambition of carnal men. 2. And have en- 
abled them to oppress simplicity and sincerity. 3. And be- 
cause princes have not exercised their own power them- 
selves, nor committed it to lay-officers, but to churchmen. 
4. Whereby the extrinsic government hath so degenerated, 
and obscured the intrinsic and been confounded with it, that 
both going under the equivocal name of ecclesiastical go- 
vernment, few churches have had the happiness to see them 
practically distinct ^ Nay, few divines do clearly in their 
controversy distinguish them : (though Marsilius Patavinus 

 Which teraptelh the Erastians to deny and pull down both together, because 
they find one in the pastor's hands which belongeth to the magistrate, and we do not 
teach them to untwist and separate them. 


and some few more have formerly given them very fair light, 
yet hath it been but slenderly improved). 

11. There seemeth to me no readier and directer way, 
to reduce the churches to holy concord, and true reforma- 
tion, than for the princes and magistrates who are the ex- 
trinsic rulers, to re-assume their own, and to distinguish 
openly and practically between the properly priestly or pas- 
toral intrinsic office, and their extrinsic part, and to strip 
the pastors of all that is not intrinsically their own (it being 
enough for them, and things so heterogeneous not well con* 
sistirig in one person) : and then when the people know 
what is claimed as from the magistrate only, it will take off 
most of their scruples as to subjection and consent. 

12. No mortal man may abrogate or take down the pas- 
toral office, and the intrinsic, real power thereof, and the 
church-form which is constituted thereby ; seeing God hath 
instituted them for perpetuity on earth. 

13. But whether one church shall have one pastor or 
many is not at all of the form of a particular church ; but it 
is of the integrity or gradual perfection of such churches as 
need many, to have many, and to others not so : but it is to 
be varied as natural necessity and cause requireth. 

14. The nature of the intrinsic office or power (anon to 
be described) is most necessary to be understood as distinct 
from the power of magistrates, by them that would truly un- 
derstand this. The number of governors in a civil state 
make that which is called a variety of forms of common- 
wealths, monarchy, aristocracy or democracy : because com- 
manding power is the thing which is there most notably ex- 
ercised, and primarily magnified. And a wiser and better 
man, yea, a thousand must stand by as subjects, for want of 
authority or true power ; which can be but in one supreme, 
either natural or political person ; because it cannot consist 
in the exercise with self-contradiction. If one be for war, 
and another for peace. Sec, there is no rule. Therefore the 
many, must be one collective or political person, and must 
consent or go by the major vote or they cannot govern. 
But that which is called government in priests or ministers, 
is of another nature; it is but a secondary subservient 
branch of their office : the first parts are teaching and guid* 
ing the people, as their priests, to God in public worship : 


and they govern them by teaching, and in order to further 
teaching and worshipping God ; and that not by might, but 
by reason and love. Of which more anon. Therefore if a 
sacred congregation be taught and conducted in public wor- 
ship, and so governed as conduceth hereunto, whether by 
one, two, or many, it no more altereth the form of the church, 
than it doth the form of a school, when a small one hath one 
schoolmaster, and a great one four : or of a hospital, when 
a small one hath one physician, and a great one many ; see- 
ing that teaching in the one, and healing in the other is the 
main denominating work, to which government is but sub- 
servient in the most notable acts of it. 

15. No mortal man may take on him to make another 
church, or another office for the church, as a divine thing, 
on the same grounds, and of the same nature pretendedly as 
Christ hath made those already made. The case of adding 
new church officers or forms of churches, is the same with that 
of making new worship ordinances for God, and accordingly 
to be determined (which I have largely opened in its place). 
Accidents may be added. Substantials of like pretended 
nature may not be added; because it is an usurping of 
Christ's power, without derivation by any proved commis- 
sion ; and an accusing of him, as having done his own work 

16. Indeed no man can here make a new church officer 
of this intrinsic sort, without making him new work, which 
is to make new doctrine, or new worship (which are forbid- 
den) : for to do God*s work already made belongs to the of- 
fice already instituted. If every king will make his own of- 
ficers, or authorize the greater to make the less, none must 
presume to make Christ officers and churches without his 

17. No man must make any office, church or ordinance, 
which is corruptive or destructive, or contrary or injurious 
to the offices, churches and ordinances which Christ himself 
hath made. This Bellarmin confesseth, and therefore I sup- 
pose Protestants will not deny it. Those human officers 
which usurp the work of Christ's own officers, and take it 
out of their hands, do malignantly fight against Christ's in- 
stitutions : and while they pretend that it is but preserving 
and not corrupting or opposing additions which they make, 

VOL. V. C C 


and yet with these words in their mouths, do either give 
Christ's officers' work to others, or hinder and oppress his 
officers themselves, and by their new church-forms under- 
mine or openly destroy the old, by this expression of their 
enmity they confute themselves. 

18. This hath been the unhappy case of the Roman 
frame of church innovations, as you may observe in the par- 
ticulars of its degeneracy. 

(1.) Councils were called general or ecumenical in respect 
to one empire only : and they thence grew to extend the 
name to the whole world : when they may as well say, that 
Constantine, Martian, &c., were emperors of the whole 
world, seeing by their authority they were called. 

(2.) These councils at first were the emperor's councils 
called to direct him what to settle in church orders by his 
own power; but they were turned to claim an imposing 
authority of their own to command the churches as by com- 
mission from God. 

(3.) These councils at first, were only for counsel, or for 
agreement by way of contract or mutual consent to the 
particular bishops : but they degenerated into a form of 
government, and claimed a ruling or commanding power. 

(4.) The patriarchs, primates and metropolitans, at first 
claimed but a power about circumstantials extrinsical to 
the pastoral office, such as is the timing and placing of 
councils, the sitting above others, &c. And the exercise 
of some part of the magistrate's power committed to them, 
that is, the deposing of other bishops or pastors from their 
station of such liberty and countenance as the magistrate 
may grant or deny as there is cause. But in time they de- 
generated to claim the spiritual power of the keys, over the 
other bishops, in point of ordination, excommunication, ab- 

(5.) These patriarchs, primates and metropolitans at first 
claimed their extrinsic power but from man, that is, either 
the consent and agreement of the chiirches, or the grant of 
the emperors : but in time they grew to claim it as of Divine 
or apostolical appointment, and as unalterable. 

(6.) At first they were taken only for adjuncts, ornaments, 
supports or conveniences to the churches : but afterwards 
they pretended to be integral parts of the church universal. 



and at last the pope would needs be an essential part ; and 
his cardinals must claim the power of the church universal 
in being the choosers of an universal head, or a king-priest 
and teacher for all the Christians of the world. 

(7.) At first laymen (now called chancellors, &c.) were 
only the bishops' counsellers, or officers to the magistrate or 
them, in performing the extrinsical work about church ad- 
juncts, which a layman might do: but at last they came to 
exercise the intrinsic power of the keys in excommunica- 
tions and absolutions, &c. 

(8. ) At first a number of particular churches consociated 
with their several bishops, were taken to be a community or 
company of true churches prudentially cantonized or distri- 
buted and consociated for concord : but after they grew to 
be esteemed proper political societies, or churches of Divine 
appointment, if not the * Ecclesia minimee,* having turned 
the particular churches into oratories or chapels, des- 
troying Ignatius's character of one church, ' To every 
church there is one altar, and one bishop with his presby- 
ters and deacons.' Abundance more such instances may 
be given. 

Object. Wherever we find the notion of a church particu- 
lar, there must be government in that church : and why a 
national society incorporated into one civil government, 
joining into the profession of Christianity, and having a 
right thereby to participate of Gospel ordinances, in the 
convenient distributions of them in the particular congre- 
gations, should not be called a church, I confess I can see 
no reason. 

Am'«).\. Here observe, that the question is only of the 
hailie, (whether it may be called a church,) and not of the 
thing (whether all the churches in a kingdom may be under 
one king, which no sober tnan denieth). 

2. Names are at men's disposal much : but I confess I 
had rather the name had been used no otherwise, or for no 
other societies than Scripture useth it. My reasons are, (1.)^ 
Because when Christ hath appropriated or specially applied 
one name to the sacred societies of his institution, it seem- 
eth somewhat bold to make that name common to other so-* 
cieties. (2.) Because it tendeth to confusion, misunder-* 
standing, and to cherish errors and controversies in the 


churches, when all names shall be made common or ambig- 
uous, and holy things shall not be allowed any name proper 
to themselves, nor any thing can be known by a bare name 
without a description. If the name of Christ himself should 
be used of every anointed king, it would seem not a little 
thus injurious to him. If the name, ' Bible,' * Scripture,' 
' Preachers,' &c., be made common to all that the notation of 
the names may extend to, it will introduce the aforesaid in- 
conveniences ; so how shall we in common talk distinguish, 
between sacred societies of Divine institution and of human, 
if you will allow us no peculiar name, but make that com- 
mon which Christ hath chosen ? 

3. And that the name is here used equivocally is mani- 
fest. For the body political is informed and denominated 
from the ' pars imperans/ the governing part or head : there- 
fore as a head of Divine institution, authorized for the spi- 
ritual or pastoral work, denominateth the society according- 
ly ; so a civil head can make but a civil society, and a head 
of man's making, but a human society. It is certain that 
Christ hath appointed the episcopal or pastoral office, and 
their work, and consequently episcopal or pastoral churches ; 
and it is certain that a king is no constitutive part of one of 
these churches, but accidental ; and therefore that he is an 
accidental head to a pastoral church as such, to which the 
pastor is essential. 

Therefore if you will needs call both these societies 
* churches', you must distinguish them into pastoral 
churches, and regal churches, or magistratical churches ; 
for the word * national,' notifieth not the government which 
is the constitutive part ; and may be used of consociated 
churches, though under many civil governors (as in the 
Saxon Heptarchy). 

So that our question is much like this, * Whether all the 
grammar schools in England as under one king may be cal- 
led one national school?' Answ. Not without unfitness, 
and inconveniencies : but rather than breed any quarrel, 
they may call them so that please : but 1. They must con- 
fess that a particular sichool is the ' famosius significatum.' 
2. That the king is king of schools, but not a schoolmaster, 
nor a constitutive part of a school. 3. That if you will 
i^eeds denominate them from the regent part, as one, you 


must call them all one royal school, if you will leave the 
well-known sense of words for such uncouth phrases. But 
give us leave to call the body which is essentiated by a 
king, by the name of a kingdom only, though it have in it 
many schools, academies, colleges, cities, churches, which 
they that please may call one royal school, academy, college, 
city and church, if they love confusion. 

4. Christianity giveth men right to communion in par- 
ticular churches, when they also make known their Chris- 
tianity to the bishops of those churches, and are received 
(as stated or transient) members by mutual consent ; but 
not otherwise : nor doth mere regal government, give any 
subject right to church communion, except by a church you 
mean a kinscdom. 

Object. * A particular church then I would describe thus, 
It is a society of men joined together in the visible profes- 
sion of the true faith, having a right to, and enjoying 
among them, the ordinances of the Gospel.' 

Answ, 1. When you tell us by your description what 
you will mean by * a particular church,' we may understand 
your denomination : but yet while it is unusual, you must 
not expect that other men so use the word. Had you cal- 
led your description a definition, I would have asked you, 

1. Whether by * a society' you mean not strictly a political 
society constituted by a * Pars gubernans, et gubernata? ' 
If not, it is no church save equivocally. If so, should not 
the * Pars regens' which is constitutive have been put in? If 
private men join together, &c., it makes but a community. 

2. A right to Gospel ordinances is supposed, but need not 
be in the definition. 3. The enjoying of them, is not essen- 
tial to a church. The relation may continue, when the en- 
joyment is a long time hindered. 4. * Among them' is a 
very ambiguous word : is it among them in the same place ; 
or in the same country or kingdom ; or in the same world ? 
If you difference and define them not, by relation to the same 
bishops or pastors, and by intended personal holy commu- 
nion, your description confoundeth the universal church, 
as well as the national, with a particular church ; for the 
whole Christian world, is * a society of men joining together 
in the visible profession of the true faith, having a right to, 
and enjoying among them the ordinances of the Gospel.' 


Object f * A nation joining in the profession of Christian- 
ity is a tens church of God ; whence it evidently follow eth, 
that there must be a form of ecclesiastical government over 
a nation as a church, as well as of civil government over it, 
as a society governed by the same laws. For every so- 
ciety must have its government belonging to it as such a 
society ; and the same reason that makes government neces- 
sary in any particular congregation, will make it necessary 
for all the particular congregations, joining together in one 
visible society, as a particular national church, for the unity 
and peace of that church, ought much more to be looked af- 
ter than of any one particular congregation, &c. 

Answ, 1 . From one absurdity many follow : our contro- 
versy before was but of the name : if an accidental royal or 
civil head may equivocally denominate an ecclesiastical so- 
ciety, and we grant you the use of an equivocal name (or ra- 
ther the abuse) you will grow too hard upon us, if thence 
you will gather a necessity of a real ecclesiastical policy, 
besides the civil. Names abused infer not the things signi- 
fied by an unequivocal term. 

2. You must first prove the form of government, and 
thence infer the denomination, and not contrarily; first beg 
the name, and then infer the government. 

3. If yet by a form of ecclesiastical government, you 
meant nothing but the king's extrinsic government, which 
you may as well call also a form of school-government, of 
college-government, &c,, we would grant you all. But if I 
can understand you, you now speak of ecclesiastical govern- 
njent as distinct from that. And then, 

4. You are now grown up from a may be, to a must be, 
and necessity; and a greater necessity of one national 
ecclesiastical government, than of a particular church gov^ 
ernment; which being undeniably of Christ's institutioi^ 
(by the Holy Ghost in the apostles) you do not make all 
forms to be indifferent, or deny this to be 'jure divino.* 
What! necessary and more necessary than that which is 
'jure divino,* and yet indifferent and not 'jure divino ?^' If 
you say. It is necessary only on supposition that there be a 
national church : I answer. But your reasons evidently infer 
that it is also necessary that there be such a national church 
where it may be had ; though you deny the necessity of 


monarchical government by one high priest in it. But I 
know you call not this a form of government, unless as de- 
terminately managed by one, many or most. But why a 
national spiritual policy as distinct from congregational, 
may not be called a form of government, as well as one man 
is distinct from two, over the same people, I see not : but 
this is at your liberty. But your necessity of such a na- 
tional regimen is a matter of greater moment. 

In these three senses I confess a national church. 1. 
As all the Christians in a nation are under one civil church 
governor. 2. As they are consociated for concord, and 
meet in synods or hold correspondences. 3. As they are 
all a part of the universal church, cohabiting in one nation. 
But all these are equivocal uses of the word * church ; ' the 
denomination being taken in the first from an accident ; in 
the second the name of a policy being given to a communi- 
ty agreeing for concord ; in the third the name of the whole 
is given to a small integral part. 

But the necessity of any other church, headed by your 
ecclesiastical, national governor, personal or collective, mo- 
narchical, aristocratical or democratical, I utterly deny, and 
find not a word of proof which I think I have any need to 
furnish the reader with an answer to. 

6. And your* judgment in this is downright against the 
constitution, canons and judgment of the national church of 
England ; for that they use the word in the sense allowed 
by me, and not in yours is proved, (1.) From the visible 
constitution in which there is (besides the king) no distinct 
ecclesiastical head. For the archbishop of Canterbury is 
not the proper governor of the archbishop of York and his 

(2.) From the canons. Can. cxxxix. " A national sy- 
nod is the church representative ; whosoever shall affirm that 
the sacred synod of this nation, in the name of Christ and 
by the king's authority assembled, is not the true church of 
England by representation, let him be excommunicated," 
&c. So that the synod is but the representative church; 
and therefore not the political head of the church : whether 
it be the laity, or the whole clergy or both, which they re- 
present, representation of those that are no national head, 
maketh them not a national head. 


(3.) From the ordinary judgment of episcopal divines, 
(maintained by Bishop Bilson and many others at large, 
against the Papists) that all bishops * jure divino' are equal 
and independent, further than human laws, or agreements, 
or difference of gifts may difference them, or as they are 
bound to consociation for concord. 

6. How shall I deny not only the lawfulness, but the 
necessity of such a Papacy as really was in the Roman Em- 
pire, on your grounds ? I have proved against W. Johnson 
that the pope was then actually but the head of the Impe- 
rial churches, and not of all the world. And if there must 
be one national ecclesiastical head under one king, why not 
one also in one empire ? And whether it be one monarch, 
or a collective person, it is still one political person which 
is now in question. (Either a ruling pope, or a ruling aris- 
tocracy or democracy, which is not the great matter in con- 

7. And why will not the same argument carry it also, for 
one universal visible head of all the churches in the world? 
at least as lawful ? At least as far as human capacity and 
converse will allow ? And who shall choose this universal 
head? And who can lay so fair a claim to it as the pope? 
And if the form be indifferent, why may not the churches by 
consent at least, set up one man as well as many ? Whether 
you carry it to an imperial church, or a Papal, to a patriar- 
chal, or provincial, or national, till you have proved it to 
be of Divine institution, (and particular churches to be un- 
necessary, alterable and of human institution) I shall never 
grant you that it is to be preferred before that which is un- 
questionably of God. For though I easily grant that all the 
churches of a nation, empire or the world, are to be more 
esteemed and carefully preserved, than one bishop's or pas- 
tor's particular church ; yet I will not grant you that your 
human policy is more necessary to the safety of all these 
churches than the Divine. For the safety of these churches 
may be better preserved by God's three great means (1. The 
polity of particular churches with the conduct of their pre- 
sent faithful bishops or pastors. 2. The loving consocia- 
tion of neighbour churches for concord. 3. The protection 
and countenance of magistrates) without any new church- 


form, (or national, or imperial, or universal pastor) than 
with it. 

Nay when that sort of usurpation hath been the very en- 
gine of dividing, corrupting and undoing the Christian 
churches above a thousand years, we are not easily persua- 
ded now, that yet it is either necessary or desirable. 

8. But the best and easiest way to discern how far the 
making new churches or church offices is lawful or unlaw- 
ful, is by trying it by the quality of their office-work. For 
it is the work which giveth us the description of the office; 
and the office of the ruling part, which giveth us the defini- 
tion of the church, which that office constituteth. 

The work which the new human officer is to do, is either, 
1. The same which God hath already appointed bishops or 
pastors to do, or at least the unfixed ministers in the univer- 
sal church. 2. Or it is such as he hath appointed magis- 
trates to do. 3. Or it is such as belongeth to private and 
laymen. 4. Or it is somewhat different from all these. 

1 . If it be of the first sort, it is a contradiction. For 
men that are by office appointed to do the same work which 
ministers are already appointed to do, are not a new office, 
but ministers indeed, such as Christ hath instituted : for 
the office is nothing but an obligation and authority to do 
the work. 

2. If it be the same work which belongeth to the magis- 
trate, then it is no new office, for they are magistrates. 

3. If it be that which belongeth to private men, by God's 
appointment, they cannot disoblige themselves by transfer- 
ring it to a new officer. 

4. If it be none of all these, what is it? I doubt it may 
prove some needless or rather sinful work, which God com- 
mitted to none of these three sorts, and therefore unfit to 
make a church-office of. Unless it be such as I before des- 
cribed and granted. (1.) I confess that the magistrate may 
make new inferior officers, to do his own part (as church-jus- 
tices, churchwardens, &c.). (2.) I grant that the people 
may make an office for the better doing of some parts of 
their own work : they may make collectors, doorkeepers, 
artists by office, to keep the clock, and bells, and church- 
buildings, &c., if the magistrates leave it to them. 

(3.) 1 grant that the bishops or pastors may do some cir- 


cumstances of their work by human officers ; as to facili- 
tate their concord in synods, by choosing one to preside, to 
choose time and place, to send messengers to take votes, to 
moderate disputes, to record agreements, &c., as aforesaid : 
and these circumstantials are the things that officers may be 
made for. 

But the very modes and circumstances which are part of 
the work to which every bishop or pastor is obliged, he can- 
not commit to another; as to choose his text, subject, 
method, words, &c. These are parts of his own work; 
though concord in these is the work of many. 

Now what is the work besides all these that we must 
have new churches or offices made for? Is it to govern all 
these bishops and churches ? How ? By the Word or by 
the sword ? If by the sword, the magistrate is to do it ; if 
by the Word (or spiritual authority) either God hath made 
such an office as archbishops or general bishops over many, 
or he hath not ; if he have, we need no new human office for 
it, God having provided for it already ; if not, but God hath 
left all bishops independent, and to learn of one another, as 
equals in office, and unequal only in gifts, then either such 
an office is fit and necessary, or not. If it be, you accuse 
God of omission in not appointing a bishop over bishops as 
well as a bishop of the lowest order. If not, then by what 
reason or power will you make new, needless officers in the 
church ? When Cyprian and his Carthage council so ve- 
hemently disclaimed against being 'Episcopi Episcoporum?' 
19. I would fain know whether those new made churches 
of human and not of Divine fabrication, (whether universal 
(or Papal), patriarchal, provincial, &c.) were made by former 
churches, or by no churches. If by no churches, then either 
by other societies or by single persons : if by other so- 
cieties, by what power do they make new churches to 
Christ, who are themselves no churches ? If by single per- 
sons, either they are before church-members, or not : if not, 
how can those make new churches that be not so much as 
members of churches, without a commission from Christ ? 
But if either former churches or their members made these 
new churches, then, (1.) It followeth that there were another 
sort of churches before these new or human churches. And 
if so, either those other that made these were themselves 


made of God or not. And so the question will run up till 
you bring it either to some church of God's making which 
made these other, or some person commissioned to do it. 
If you say the first, then he that will confess that there is a 
species of churches of Christ's institution, and a species not 
of his institution, must prefer the former, and must well 
prove the power of making the latter. And so they must 
do, if they say that it was done by particular persons that 
were no particular church-members. For if Christ com- 
missioned them to settle any one species of churches, those 
are to be esteemed settled by Christ. (2.) But if you say that 
Christ left them to vary the species of churches as they saw 
cause, and so on to the end of the world, 1. You must well 
prove it. 2. It is before disproved ; (unless you take the 
word church equivocally). 

' 20. Lastly, all Christians are satisfied of Christ's autho- 
rity ; and therefore in that they can agree ; but so they are 
not of any human church-maker's authority ; and therefore 
in that there will never be an agreement ; therefore such 
new churches, and ecclesiastical o;overnments will be but 
(as they ever have been) the engines of division and ruin in 
the churches ; and the species of God's making, with the 
mutability of mutable adjuncts and circumstances, will best 

preserve the church's peace. 

But if the true nature of pastoral or ecclesiastical 
government were well understood, it would put an end 
to all these controversies. Which may be mostly gathered 

from what is said before. To which I will add this little 


Quest. Wherein comisteth the true nature of pastoral church 
government ? 

Answ, 1. Not in any use of the sword, or corporal 

2. Not in a power to contradict God's Word. 

3. Not in a power co-ordinate with Christ's, to do 
his proper work, or that which hath the same grounds, 
reasons, and nature. 

4. Not in an unquestionable empire, to command 
things which none must presume to examine, or judge of 


by a discerning judgment, whether they be forbidden by 
God or not. 

5. Not now in making a new Word of God, or new ar- 
ticles of faith, or new universal laws, for the whole church. 

6. Not in any thing which derogates from the true power 
of magistrates, or parents, or masters. 

But L It is a ministerial power, of a messenger Or ser- 
vant, who hath a commission to deliver his master's com- 
mands and exhortations ^ 

2. As it is over the laity or flocks, it is a power in the 
sacred assemblies to teach the people by office, and to be 
their priests or guides in holy worship * ; and to rule the 
worship-actions for the time, length, method, and orderly 
performance of them ". 

3. As to particular persons, it is the power of the church- 
keys, which is, 1. To judge who is meet to be by baptism 
taken into the church. 2. To reprove, exhort, and instruct 
those that by vice or ignorance, in order to repentance, or 
knowledge, or confirmation do need the pastoral help \ 3. 
To judge who is to be forbidden church-communion as im- 
penitent j or at least, with whom that church must be for- 
bidden to communicate. 4. To judge who is meet for ab- 
solution as a penitent. 5. To deliver men personally a 
sealed pardon from Christ in his two sacraments. 6. To 
visit the sick, and comfort the sad, and resolve the doubt- 
ing, and help the poor. This is the true church-govern- 
ment, which is like a philosopher's or schoolmaster's in his 
school among volunteers, supposing them to have no power 
of the rod or violence but only to take in or put out of 
their schools ; and what need is there of an universal, pa- 
triarchal or national head, to do any of this work, which is 
but the government of a personal teacher and conductor ; 
and which worketh only on the conscience ? 

4. But besides this there is a necessity of agreeing in 
the right management of this work ; which needeth no new 
head, but only the consultations of the several bishops or 
pastors, and the magistrate's civil rule, or extrinsic episco- 
pacy (as Constantine called it). 

5. And besides this there is need to ordain pastors and 

* 1 Cor. iv. 1,2. '1 Pet. V. 1—3. Matt, xxviii. 19, iiO. 

« 1 Thess. V. 12, 13. '^ 2 Tim. iv. t— 3. 5. 


bishops in the church. And this is not done by any force 
neither; but 1. By judging what men are fit. 2. By per- 
suading the people to consent and receive them, and 3. By 
investing them by a delivery of possession by imposition of 
hands. Now for all this, there needs no human species of 
bishops or churches to be made. 

6. Besides this there is need of some oversight of these 
pastors and ministers and fixed bishops when they are made ; 
and of some general care of pastors and people, if they de- 
cline to heresies, errors, vices, or lukewarmness ; but for 
this, 1. When magistrates have done their part. 2. And 
neighbour ministers to one another. 3. And the conso- 
ciated bishops to the particular ones. 4. And unfixed mi- 
nisters have done their parts in the places where occasion- 
ally they come ; if moreover any general pastors or arch- 
bishops are necessary, to rebuke, direct, and persuade the 
bishops or their flocks, by messengers, epistles, or in pre- 
sence, no doubt but God hath appointed such as the suc- 
cessors of the apostles, evangelists, and other general minis- 
ters of those first times. But if no such thing be appointed 
by Christ, we may be sure it is not necessary nor best. 

If it were but considered that the ruling power in the 
church is so inseparable from the teaching power, that it is 
exercised by teaching and only by God's Word, (either ge- 
nerally or personally applied) and that upon none but those 
that willingly and by consent receive it, it would quiet the 
world about these matters. And O that once magistrates 
would take the sword wholly to themselves, and leave 
church power to work only by its proper strength and virtue, 
and then all things would fall into joint again; though the 
Ithacians would be displeased. 

Quest. Lviii. W^iethe?' any part of the proper pastoral 0)r 
episcopal power may be given or deputed to a layman, or to 
one of any other office , or the proper work may be performed 
by such ? 

Answ. 1. Such extrinsical, or circumstantial, or acci- 
dental actions as are aforementioned may be done by de- 
puties or others (as calling the church together, summoning 
offenders, recording actions, &c.). 


2. The proper episcopal or pastoral work or office can- 
not be deputed, in whole or part, any other Way than by 
communication, which is, by ordination, or making another 
to be of the same office. For if it may be done by a layman, 
or one that is not of the same order and office, then it is not 
to be called any proper part of the pastoral or episcopal 
office ; if a layman may baptize, or administer the sacra- 
ment of Christ's body and blood, or may ordain, or excom- 
municate (ecclesiastically), or absolve, merely because a 
bishop authorizeth or biddeth him, then, 1. What need 
Christ have made an office-work of it, and persons be de- 
voted and consecrated to it? 

2. And why may not the people's election and the 
king's commission serve to enable a layman to do it ? For 
if commanding only be proper to the bishop or pastor, and 
executing be common to laymen, it is certain that the king 
may command all bishops and pastors to do their office- 
work ; and therefore he may command a layman to do that 
which a bishop may command him to do. 

3. And is it not a contradiction to say that a man is a 
layman or of another order, who is authorized by a bishop 
to do a bishop's work or office ? When as the office itself 
is nothing (as is oft said) but an obligation and authority to 
do the work. If therefore a bishop authorize and oblige 
any other man to do the proper work of a bishop or pastor 
(to ordain, to baptize, to give the sacrament of the eucha- 
rist, to excommunicate, to absolve, &c.) he thereby maketh 
that man a bishop or a pastor, whatever he call him. 

Object. But doth not a bishop preach ' per alios ' to 
all his diocese ? And give them the sacraments * per 
alios,' &c.? 

Answ. Let not the phrase be made the controversy in- 
stead of the matter. Those other persons are either minis- 
ters of Christ, or laymen. If laymen, their actions are un- 
lawful. If ministers, they are commissioned officers of 
Christ themselves, and it is the work of their own office 
which they do, and it is they that shall have the reward or 
punishment. But if preaching to all these churches or giv- 
ing to all these persons in a thousand parishes the sacra- 
ments, &c. were the bishops' or archbishops' work, that is, 
which they are obliged to do, then they would sin in not 



doing it. But if they were the governor*s only of those that 
are obliged to do it, and are not obliged to do it themselves, 
then governing the doers of it is only their work ; and 
therefore it is but equivocally said that the work is theirs, 
which others and not they are obliged to do ; and that they 
do their work ' per alios/ when they do but govern those 
others in doing their own work. 

Of this read the Lord Bacon's " Considerations," and 
Grotius " de Imper. summ. Potest, circa Sacra," who 
soundly resolve the case, against doing the pastoral work 
' per alium.' 

Quest. LIX. May a layman preach or expound the Scriptures ? 
Or what of this is proper to the pastor's office ? 

Answ. 1. No doubt but there is some preaching or 
teaching and expounding which a laymen may use. So 
did Origen ; so did Constantine ; so may a king or judge 
on the bench ; so may a parent to his children, and 
a master to his family, and a schoolmaster or tutor to his 

2. It is not any one method or sermon fashion which is 
proper to a minister and forbidden to a layman : that method 
which is most meet to the matter and hearers, may be used 
by one as well as by the other. 

3. It is not the mere publicity of the teaching, which 
must tell us what is unlawful for a layman. For writing 
and printing are the most public ways of teaching ; and 
these no man taketh to be forbidden the laity. Scaliger, 
Casaubon, Grotius, Erasmus, Constantine, King James, the 
Lord Bacon, and abundance more laymen have done the 
church great service by their writings. And judges on the 
bench speak oft theologically to many. 

But that which is proper to the ministers or pastors of 
the church is, 1. To make a stated office of it, and to be se- 
parated, set apart, devoted, or consecrated and appropriated 
to this sacred work ; and not to do it occasionally only, or 
sometimes, or on the bye; but as their calling and the em- 
ployment of their lives. 

2. To do it as called and commissioned ministers of 
Christ, who have a special nunciative and teaching autho- 


rity committed to them ; and therefore are in a special man- 
ner to be heard, according to their special authority. 

3. To be the stated teachers of particular churches, as 
their pastors and guides ; (though they may sometimes per- 
mit a layman when there is cause to teach them * pro tem- 
pore'). These three are proper to the ministerial and pas- 
tor's office. 

But for the regulating of laymen's teaching, 1. They 
must statedly keep in their families, or within their proper 

2. They must not presume to go beyond their abilities ; 
especially in matters dark and difficult. 

3. They must not thrust themselves without a just call 
and need into public or numerous meetings as teachers, nor 
do that which savoureth of pride or ostentation, or which 
tendeth to cherish those vices- in others. 

4. They must not live or preach, as from under the go- 
vernment of the church pastors ; but being members of their 
flocks, must do all as under their lawful oversight and gui- 
dance ; much less must they proudly and schismatically 
set up themselves against their lawful pastors, and bring 
them into contempt to get themselves reputation, and to 
draw away disciples after them^. 

5. Times and places must be greatly distinguished. In 
infidel or grossly ignorant countries, where through the 
want of preachers there is a true necessity, men may go 
much further than in countries where teachers and know- 
ledge do abound. 

Quest. Lx. What is the true sense of the distinction of pastoral 
power, * inforo interiore et exteriore/ rightly used ? 

Answ. 1. Not as if the pastors had any power of the 
sword or outward force, or of men's bodies or estates im- 
mediately : for all the pastoral power is immediately on the 
soul, and but secondarily on the body, so far as the per- 
suaded soul will move it. Reason and love and the autho- 
rity of a messenger of Christ, are all the power by which 
bishops or pastors as such can work, * in foro interiore vel 
exteriore ;' they rule the body but by ruling the soul. 

y Acts XX. 30. Heb. xiii. 7. 17. 24. 1 Tliess. v. 12, 13. 1 Tim. v. 17. 


2. But the true use of the distinction is only to serve in- 
stead of the usual distinction of public and personal obliga- 
tion. It is one thing to satisfy a man's private conscience 
about his ovv^n personal case or matters ; and another thing 
to oblige tlie v^hole church, or a particular person, of his 
duty as a member of the society to the rest. When the 
pastor absolveth a penitent person, * in foro interiore/ that 
is, in his own conscience, he delivereth him a discharge in 
the name of Christ on condition he be truly penitent ; else 
not. But ' in foro exteriore ' he actually and absolutely res- 
toreth him to his visible state of church-communion. The 
rest of the members perhaps may justly think this man un- 
like to prove a true penitent ; and then ' in foro interiore ' 
they are not bound to believe him certainly penitent or par- 
doned by God ; but * in foro exteriore ' that he is restored 
to church-communion, and that for order's sake they are 
bound to hold communion with him, they are bound (inter- 
nally) to believe. So that it comes near the sense of the 
distinction of the secret judgment (of God and conscience) 
and church judgment. 

Quest. LXI. hi what sense is it true that some say, that the ma- 
gistrate only hath the external government of the church, and 
the pastors the internal ? 

Answ, 1. Not as external and internal are opposed in the 
nature of the action. For the voice of the pastor in preach- 
ing is external, as well as the king's. 

2. Not as they are opposed in the manner of reception. 
For the ears of the auditors are external recipients from the 
preacher as well as from the king. 

3. Not as distinguishing the parts that are to obey, the 
duties commanded, and the sins forbidden, as if the king 
ruled the body only and the pastor the soul. For the soul 
is bound to obey the king, or else the body could not be 
bound to ob^y him ; unless by cords. And the body must 
obey the preacher as well as the soul. Murder, drunken- 
ness, swearing, lying, and such other external vices, are un- 
der the pastor's power to forbid in Christ's name, as well as 
the king's. 

4. Not as if all the external part« or actions of religion 

VOL. v. D D 


were exempted from the pastor's power. For preaching, 
praying, reading, sacraments, church-assemblies, are exter- 
nal parts of religion, and under the pastor's care. 

But in two respects the external power is only the 
king's or civil magistrate's. 1. As it is denominated from 
the sword, or mulcts, or corporal penalties, which is the ex- 
ternal means of execution; though in this respect the dis- 
tinction were far more intelligibly expressed by * The go- 
vernment by the sword, and by the Sacred Word ^.' 

2. But the principal sense of their distinction is the same 
with Constantine's, who distinguished of a bishop without 
and within ; or of our common distinction of intrinsic and 
extrinsic government. And though internal and external 
have the same signification, use maketh intrinsic and extrin- 
sic more intelligible. And by internal is meant that power 
which intrinsically belongeth to the pastor's office as insti- 
tuted by Christ ; and so is intrinsical to the pastorship and 
the church (as preaching, praying, sacraments, the keys of 
admission, and exclusion, ordination, &c.). And by exter- 
nal is meant, that which is extrinsical to the pastorship and 
the church ; which princes have sometimes granted them, 
but Christ hath made no part of their office. In this sense 
the assertion is good, and clear, and necessary ; that the 
disposal of all things * circa sacra ' all accidents and circum- 
stances whatsoever, which by Christ's institution are not in- 
trinsical to the pastorship and church, but extrinsical, do 
belong to the power of kings and magistrates. 

Quest. Lxii. Is the trial, judgment, or consent of the laity ne- 
cessary to the admittance of a member into the universal or 
particular church ? 

Answ. 1. It is the pastor's office to bear aad exercise 
the keys of Christ's church ; therefore by office he is to re- 
ceive those that come in ; and consequently to be the trier 
and judge of their fitness. 

2. It belongeth to the same office which is to baptize, 
to jud2;e who is to be baptized ; otherwise ministers should 
not be rational judges of their own actions, but the ex- 

2 As Bishop Bilson of Obedience useth still to distinguish them ; with many 
otliers : see B. Carlton of Jurisdiction. 

ectitionei'S of othfer men's judgmeilt. It i^ tlibre the 
judging \tho is tt) bfe ba{)tized, ^i^hich the tiilnist^Ps Office 
fcOfisisteth in, th^n in the bare doing Of the oUtWard act of 

3. He that lAust be thfe ordlfiaty judge in church-admis- 
sions, is supposed to hare both ability arid leistife to make 
him fit ; and authority and otligatioii to do the work. 

4. The ordinary body of the laity have riOtie of all these 
foiir qualifications, much lesfe all. 1. They are not Ordina- 
rily able ; so to examine a inan*s faith and resolutioti with 
judgment and skill, as liiay fleither terid to the wrong of 
himself nor of the church : for it is great skill tha!t is t(^- 
quired thereunto. 2. They have not ordinarily leisure frdtn 
their proper callings and labours, to Wait on ^a6h a work as 
it must be waited on, especially iri populous placi6S. S, 
They are not therefore obliged to do that Which they cannot 
he supposed to have ability or leisure for. 4. And where 
they have not the othei' threes, they caIn haVe rior authority 
to do it. 

5. It is therefore as great a crirU^ for the laity to ufeUi*^ 
the pastor's office in this taattei", ^^ iti pi'eachirig, baptizing, 
or other parts of it. 

6. And though piride often blind men (both people and 
pastors) so as to make them overlook the burden and look 
only at the authority and honour ; yet is it indeed an intole- 
rable injury to the laity, if any would lay such a burden on 
theitt which they cannot bear, arid cbnSequeritly woUldmake 
them responsible for the oriiissioris or misdoirig of it, to 
Christ their judge. 

7. There is not so much as any faif pretenc6' for the laity 
having power to judge ^<^ho shall be received into the uni- 
t^rsal chufch : fof who Of the faity shbuld have this poWei*? 
Not all, nor the major vote of the dhurch : fot Wh6 ef^t 
Sought the t6te& of all the Christians iri the \i'orld, before 
HebaptiTied aittari? Notf any brie ^iarticulat dhurch or pet- 
sons above the rest : f*bi* they haV6 tlo ri^ht to shew fot if, 
more than the rest. 

8. It is not in the power of the laity to keep a man out 
of their own particular church-communion, whom the pas- 
tor receivcth : because, as is said, it is his office to j^idge 
and bear the keys. 


9. Therefore, if it be ill done, and an unworthy person 
be admitted, the consciences of the people need not accuse 
themselves of it, or be disturbed, because it is none of their 

10. Yet the liberty of the church or people, must be 
distinguished from their governing power, and their execut- 
ing duty from the power of judging. And so, 1. The people 
are to be guided by the pastors as volunteers, and not by 
violence : and therefore it is the pastor's duty, in all doubt- 
ful cases, to give the people all necessary satisfaction, by 
giving them the reasons of his doings, that they may under- 
standingly and quietly obey and submit. 2. And in case 
the people discern any notable appearance of danger, by in- 
troducing heretics and grossly impious men to corrupt the 
church, and by subverting the order of Christ, they may go 
to their pastors to desire satisfaction in the case. 3. And 
if by open proof or notoriety it be certain, that by igno- 
rance, fraud, or negligence the pastors thus corrupt the 
church, the people may seek their due remedy from other 
pastors and magistrates. 4. And they may protest their 
own dissent from such proceedings. 5. And in case of ex- 
tremity may cast off heretical, and impious, and intolerable 
pastors, and commit their souls to the conduct of fitter men ; 
as the churches did against the Arian bishops, and as Cy- 
prian declareth it his people's duty to do ; as is aforesaid *. 

Quest. LXiii. What power have the people in church censures 
and excommunication ? 

Answ. This is here adjoined, because it requireth but 
little more than the foregoing answer. 1. As it is the pas- 
tor's oflB.ce to judge who is to be received, so also to judge 
who is to be excluded. 

2. But the execution of his sentence belongeth to the 
people as well as to himself. It is they that either hold 
communion with the person, or avoid him ^. 

a John XX. 21—23. xxi. 15—17. Matt, xxviii. 19, 20. 1 Cor. iv. 1, 2. 1 
Tim. V. 17. Heb. xiii. 7. 17. 1 Cor. v. S— 6. 11. 2 Thess. iii. 6. 10. 14. Tit. iii. 
10. 2 John. Mark xiii. 9. 23. 33. iv. 24. Matt. vii. 15, 16. irvi. 6. 11, 12. 
Mark xii. 38. viii. 15. Phil. ii. 2, 3. Col. ii. 8, 1 P«t. iii. 17. Matt. xxiv. 4. 

b 1 Cor. V. 3. 6. 1 1. 2 John. Tit. iii. 10. 

quest; lxv.] christian ecclesiastics. 405 

3. Therefore though ordinarily they must acquiesce in 
the pastor's judgment, yet if he grossly offend against the 
law of God, and would bring them, e. g. to communion with 
heretics and openly impious, and excommunicate the ortho- 
dox and godly, they may seek their remedy as before. 

Quest . L X I V . What is the people's remedy in case of the pastor's 

Answ. This also is here annexed for dispatch, as being 
almost sufficiently answered already. 

1. It must be supposed that all church disorders and 
mal-administrations cannot be expected to be remedied ; 
but many while we are sinners and imperfect must be borne. 

2. The first remedy is to speak submissively to the pas- 
tor of his faults, and to say to Archippus, " Take heed to 
the ministry which thou hast received *^." And if he hear 
not more privately, for the people more openly to warn and 
entreat him ; not as his governors, but as Christians that 
have reason to regard Christ's interest and their own, and 
have charity to desire his reformation. 

(2.) The next remedy is, to consult with the neighbour 
pastors of other churches, that they may admonish him; 
not as his governors, but as neighbour pastors **. 

3. The next remedy is, to seek redress from those go- 
vernors that have power to correct or cast out the intolera- 

4. The last remedy is that of Cyprian, to desert such in- 
tolerable pastors. 

But in all this, the people must be sure that they pro- 
ceed not proudly, ignorantly, erroneously, passionately, fac- 
tiously, disorderly or rashly. 

Quest. LXV. May one he a pastor or a member of a particular 
church who liveth so far from it, as to be incapable of per- 
sonal communion with them ? 

Answ. The name is taken from the relation ; and the re- 
lation is founded in capacity, right, and obligation to actual 
communion, duties, and privileges ; 1. He that is so statedly 

« Col. iv. 17. •• Acts XT. 


distant is incapably statedly pf con^muftipn* ?^q4 therefore 
ii;ic^pable qf the relatipn and name. 

2. He that is but for a time accidentally so distant, ig 
b^t for that time incapable of communion with them : an4 
therefore ^-e^ainetli capacity, right, ^nd pl^ligation statedly 
for the future, but not for the present exercise. Therefore 
he retai^eth the relatiqii and naipe, \n respept to his future 
intended exercise ; but not iii so plew^ry a sense, as he that 
is capable of present communion. 

3. It is not the lengtli or shortness of the time of ab- 
sence that wholly cutteth off or continueth the relation and 
^ame, but the probability or ipiprob^^bijity of a seasonable 
^fJ9^^§J9li. po^' if a man be remove4 but a day, with a pur- 
pose to return no more, his relation c^aseth. And if a man 
be long purposing and probably Uke to return, and by sick- 
n^^s oy otl^erwise be hindeired, it doth not wholly ?ncl h\H 

4. If the delay be so long as eitl^^r jiiaHeth the yet^TO 
improbablej, or as necessitateth the church to have another 
statedly in the pastor's place, where th^y can have but one, 
and so the people, by taking another, cqnsent (though with 
grief) to quit their relation £^^d t^itje tq the former, there the 
rel^^iqn is at an end. 

5. It is a delusory formality of some, that cal^ them- 
selves members of ^ separated (oy other) church, frpm which 
they most ordinarily ^nd s^tedly live at an utter distamcie, 
and yet take themselves to be no members of the churpji 
where th^y live, and usually join wi^h : ai?»,d all because they 
covenanted with one and not with the other. 

Quest. Lxvi. If a man be injuriomly suspended or excomnm- 
nicated by the pastor or peo^kf ipjiich iijqy s/i^ll k^ h^V€ 
remedy ? 

Answ. A^ is a^fpr^said in t^^e. ca^.^ of mal-ad]paini«tij^tion ; 
1. By admonishing the pastor or tho^e tti^at Wi^P^g him.. 2, 
By consulting neighbour pastors, that they may admonish 
hi^., ^^, By the help pf rulers, where s,^ph a^re, ^n^ the 
9liurch's good forbids it not. 4. In case ojf ^tremity,^ l^y 
rem.pving tp a church that will not so injure ypvi,. A^^ 
what needs there any more save patien(?e ? 


Quest. Lxvii. Doth presence always make us guilty of the er- 
rors or faults of the pastor in Godh worship, or of the 
church ? Or in what cases are we guilty ? 

Answ. 1. If it always made us guilty, no man could join 
with any pastor or church in the world, without being a wil- 
ful sinner. Because no man worshippeth God without sin, 
in matter or manner, omission or commission. 

2. If it never made us guilty, it would be lawful to join 
with Mahometans and bread-worshippers, &c. 

3. Therefore the following decision of the question, ' In 
what cases it is a duty or a sin to separate,' doth decide this 
case also. For when separation is no duty, but a sin, there 
our presence in the worship is no sin : but when separation 
is a duty, there our presence is a sin. 

4. Especially in these two cases our presence is a sin ; 

1. When the very assembly and worship is so bad as God 
will not accept, but judgeth the substance of it for a sin. 

2. In case we ourselves be put upon any sin in communion, 
or as a previous condition of our communion ; (as to make 
some false profession, or to declare our consent to other 
men's sin, or to commit corporal, visible, reputative idola- 
try, or the like). But the pastor and church shall answer 
for their own faults, and not we, when we have cause to be 
present, and make them not ours by any sinful action of our 

Quest. LXVIII. Is it lawful to communicate in the sacrament 
with wicked men ? 

Answ, The answer may be gathered from what is said 

1, If they be so wicked for number, and flagitiousness, 
and notoriety, as that it is our duty to forsake the church, 
then to communicate with them is a sin. Therefore the af- 
ter resolution of the just causes of separation must be pe- 
rused. As if a church were so far defiled with heresy, or 
open impiety, that it were justified by the major vote, and 
bore down faith and godliness, and the society were become 
incapable of the ends of church-association and communion : 
in this and other cases it must be deserted. 


2. If we do not perform our own duty to remove unlaw- 
ful communions, (whether it be by admonition of the offen- 
der or pastor, or whatever is proved really our duty,) the 
omission of that duty is our sin. 

3. But if we sin not by omitting our own duty, it will be 
no sin of ours to communicate with the church, where scan- 
dalous sinners or heretics are permitted. The pastor's and 
delinquent's sins are not ours. 

4. Yea, if we do not omit our own duty in order to the 
remedy, that will not justify us in denying communion with 
the church while wicked men are there. But it will rather 
aggravate our sin, to omit one duty first, and thence fetch 
occasion to omit another. 

Quest. LXix. Have all the members of the church right to the 
Lord^s table ? And is suspension lavrful ? 

Of this see the defence of the synod's propositions in 
New England. I answer, 

1. You must distinguish between a fundamental right of 
state, and an immediate right of present possession ; or if 
you will, between a right duly to receive the sacrament, and 
a right to immediate reception simply considered. 

2. You must distinguish between a questioned, contro- 
verted right, and an unquestioned right ; and so you must 
conclude as foUoweth. 

(1 .) Every church-member, (at least adult,) as such, hath 
the fundamental right of stated relation, or a right duly to 
receive the sacrament ; that is, to receive it understandingly 
and seriously at those seasons when by the pastors it is ad- 

(2.) But if upon faults or accusations, this right be duly 
questioned in the church, it is become a controverted right ; 
and the possession or admission may by the bishops or pas- 
tors of the church, be suspended, if they see cause, while it 
is under trial, till a just decision. 

3. Though infants are true members, yet the want of na- 
tural capacity duly to receive maketh it unlawful to give 
them the sacrament, because it is to be given only to. recei- 
vers, and receiving is more than eating and drinking; it is 
consenting to the covenant, which is the real receiving in a 


moral sense, or at least consent professed. So that they 
want not a state of right, as to their relation, but a natural 
capacity to receive. 

4. Persons at age who want not the right of a stated re- 
lation, may have such actual natural and moral indisposi- 
tions, as may also make them for that time unmeet to re- 
ceive. As sickness, infection, a journey, persecution, scat- 
tering the church, a prison. And (morally) 1. Want of ne- 
cessary knowledge of the nature of the sacrament, (which by 
the negligence of pastors or parents may be the case of some 
that are but newly past their childhood). 2. Some heinous 
sin, of which the sinner hath not so far repented, as to be 
yet ready to receive a sealed pardon, or which is so scanda- 
lous in the church, as that in public respects the person is 
yet unfit for its privileges. 3. Such sins or accusations of 
sin, as make the person's church-title justly controverted, 
and his communion suspended, till the case be decided. 
4. Such fears of unworthy receiving, as were like to hurt 
and distract the person, if he should receive till he were 
better satisfied. These make a man incapable of present 
reception, and so are a bar to his plenary right : they h^ve 
still right to receive in a due manner : but being yet incapa- 
ble of that due receiving, they have not a plenary right to 
the thing. 

5. The same may be said of other parts of our duty and 
privileges. A man may have a relative, habitual, or stated 
right to praise God, and give him thanks for his justifica- 
tion, sanctification, and adoption, and to godly conference, 
to exercises of humiliation, &c. who yet for want of present 
actual preparation, may be incapable, and so want a plenary 

6. The understanding of the double preparation neces- 
sary, doth most clearly help us to understand this case. A 
man that is in an unregenerate state, must be visibly cured 
of that state, (of utter ignorance, unbelief, ungodliness,) be- 
fore he can be a member of the church, and lay a claim to 
its privileges. But when that is done, besides this general 
preparation, a particular preparation also to each duty is nie- 
cessary to the right doing it. A man must understand what 
he goeth about, and must consider of it, and come with 
some suitable affections. A man may have right to go a 


journey, that wants a horse ; or may have a horse that is not 
saddled : he that hath clothes must put them on, before he 
is fit to come into company : he that hath right to write, 
may want a pen, or have a bad one : having of gracious ha- 
bits, may need the addition of bringing them into such acts 
as are suitable to the work in hand. 

Quest. Lxx. Is there atiif such thing in the church, as a rank or 
classis, or species of church-members at age, who are not to 
he admitted to the Lord's table, but only to hearing the 
Word and prayer, between infant members, and adult con- 
firmed ones ? 

Answ. Some have excogitated such a classis, or species, 
or order, for convenience, as a prudent, necessary thing ; 
because to admit all to the Lord's table they think dan- 
gerous on one side ; and to cast all that are unfit for it out 
of the church, they think dangerous on the other side, and 
that which the people would not bear. Therefore to pre- 
serve the reverence of the sacrament, and to preserve their 
own and the church's peace, they have contrived this middle 
way or rank. And indeed the controversy seemeth to be 
more about the title (whether it may be called a middle or- 
der of mere learners and worshippers) than about the matter. 
I have occasionally written more of it than 1 can here stay 
to recite ; and the accurate handling of it requireth more 
words than I will here use. This breviate therefore shall 
be all. 

1. It is certain that such catechumens as are in mere pre- 
paration to faith, repentance, and baptism, are no church- 
members or Christians at all ; and so in none of these ranks. 

2. Baptism is the only ordinary regular door of entrance 
into the visible church ; and no man (unless in extraordinary 
cases) is to be taken for a church-member or visible Chris- 
tian till baptized. 

Two objections are brought against this. 1 . The infants 
of Christians are church-members as such, before baptism, 
and so are believers. They are baptized because members, 
and not members by baptism. 

Answ. This case hath no difficulty. 1. A believer as 
such, is a member of Christ and the church invisible, but 


npt of the visible church, till he be an orderly professor of 
that belief. And this profession is not left to every man's 
>vill how it shall be made, but Chrift hath prescribed and 
instituted a certain way and manner of profession, which 
shall be the only ordinary symbol or badge, by which the 
church shall know visible members ; and that is baptism. 
Indeed when baptism cannot be had, an open profession 
without it may serve ; for sacraments are made for man, and 
WQt naan for sacraments. But when it may be had, it is 
Christ's appointed symbol, * Tessera,' and church door. 
And till a person be baptized, he is but irregularly and in- 
itially a professor ; as an embryo in the womb is a man ; or 
as a covenant before the writing, sealing, and delivering is 
initially a covenant; or as persons privately contracted 
without solemn matrimony are married ; or as a man is a 
minister upon election and trial before ordination : he hath 
only in all these cases, the beginning of a title, which is not 
complete ; nor at all sufficient * in foro ecclesise,' to make a 
man visibly and legally, a married man, a minister, and so 
here a Christian. For Christ hath chosen his own visible 
badge, by which his church-members must be known. 

2. And the same is to be said of the infant-title of the 
children of believers : they have but an initial right before 
baptism, and not the badge of visible Christians. For there 
are three distinct gradations to make up their visible Chris- 
tianity. 1. Because they are their own, (and as it were 
parts of themselves) therefore believers have power and ob- 
ligation to dedicate their children in covenant with God. 
2. Because every believer is himself dedicated to God, with 
all that is his own, (according to his capacity,) therefore a 
believer's child is supposed to be virtually (not actually) de- 
dicated to God in his own dedication or covenant, as soon 
fk.^ his child hath a being. 3. Being thus virtually and im- 
plicitly first dedicated, he is after actually and regularly de- 
dicated in baptism, and sacramentally receiveth the badge 
of the church ; and this maketh him a visible member or 
Christian, to which the two first were but introductory, as 
conception is to human nativity. 

Ql^t. * But the seed of believers as such are in the co- 
venant ; and therefore church-memberg.* 

Ahsvk The word * Covenant' here is ambiguous : either 


it signifieth God's law of grace, or prescribed terms for sal- 
vation, with his immediate offer of the benefits to accepters, 
called the single covenant of God ; or it signifieth this with 
man's consent, called the mutual covenant, where both par- 
ties covenant. In the former sense, the covenant only offer- 
eth church-membership, but maketh no man a church-mem- 
ber, till consent. It is but God's conditional promise, 
" If thou believe thou shalt be saved," &c. * If thou give 
up thyself and children to me, I will be your God, and you 
shall be my people.' But it is only the mutual covenant 
that maketh a Christian or church-member. 

Object. ' The promise is to us and our children as ours.' 

Answ. That is, that you and your children dedicated to 
God, shall be received into covenant ; but not otherwise. 
Believing is not only bare assenting, but consenting to the 
covenant, and delivering up yourselves to Christ ; and if 
you do not consent that your child shall be in the covenant, 
and deliver him to God also, you cannot expect acceptance 
of him, against your wills ; nor indeed are you to be taken 
for true believers yourselves, if you dedicate not yourselves 
to him, and all that are in your power. 

Object. * This offer or conditional covenant belongeth 
also to infidels.' 

Answ. The offer is to them, but they accept it not. But 
every believer accepteth it for himself, and his, or devoteth 
to God himself and his children when he shall have them ; 
and by that virtual dedication or consent, his children are 
virtually in the mutual covenant; and actually upon actual 
consent and dedication. 

Object. 'But it is profession and not baptism, that 
makes a visible member.' 

Answ. That is answered before ; it is profession by bap- 
tism : for baptism is that peculiar act of profession, which 
God hath chosen to this use, when a person is absolutely 
devoted, resigned, and engaged to God in a solemn sacra- 
ment, this is our regular initiating profession ; and it is but 
an irregular embryo of a profession, which goeth before 
baptism ordinarily. 

Prop, 3, The time of infant-membership, in which we 
stand in covenant by our parents' consent, cannot be deter- 
mined by duration, but by the insufficiency of reason. 


through immaturity of age, (or continuing idiots) to choose 
for one's self. 

Prop. 4. It is not necessary that the doctrine of the 
Lord's supper be taught catechumens before baptism ; nor 
was it usual with the ancients so to do (though it may very 
well be done). 

Prop. 5. It is needful that the nature of the Lord's 
supper be taught all the baptized before they receive it, 
(as was opened before,) else they must do they know not 

Prop. 6. Though the sacrament of the Lord's supper 
seal not another, but the same covenant that baptism seal- 
eth ; yet are there some further truths therein expressed, 
and some more particular exercises of faith in Christ's sa- 
crifice, and coming, &c. ; and of hope, and love, and grati- 
tude, &c. requisite. Therefore the same qualifications which 
will serve for baptism, justification, and adoption, and sal- 
vation, are not enough for the right use of church- commu- 
nion in the Lord's supper, the one being the sacrament of 
initiation and our new birth ; the other of our confirmation, 
exercise, and growth in grace. 

7. Whether persons be baptized in infancy or at age, if 
they do not before understand these higher mysteries, they 
must stay from the exercise of them till they understand 
them ; and so with most there must be a space of time be- 
tween their baptism and fuller communion. 

8. But the same that we say of the Lord's supper must 
be said of other parts of worship ; singing psalms, praise, 
thanksgivings, &c., men must learn them, before they can 
practise them ; and usually these as eucharistical acts con- 
cur with the Lord's supper. 

9. Whether you will call men in this state, church-mem- 
bers of a middle rank and order, between the baptized, and 
the communicants, is but a * lis de nomine,* a verbal contro- 
versy. It is granted that such a middle sort of men there 
are in the church. 

10. It is to be maintained that these are in a state of sal- 
vation, even before they thus communicate. And that they 
are not kept away for want of a stated relation-title, but of 
an immediate capacity, as is aforesaid. 

1 1. There is no necessity, but upon such unfitness, (hat 


there should be one day's time between baptism and the sa- 
crament of the Lord's supper : nor is it desirable ; for if the 
baptized understand those mysteries the first daly they may 
communicate in them. 

12. Therefore as men are prepared, some may suddenly 
communicate, and some stay longer. 

13. When persons are at age, if pastors, parents and 
themselves be not grossly negligent, they may and ought to 
learn these things in a very little time ; so that they need 
not be settled in a lower learning state, for any considerable 
time, unless their own negligence be the cause. 

14. And in order to their learning, they have right to be 
spectators and auditors at the eucharist, and not to be dri- 
ven away with the catechumens, as if they had no right to 
be there. For it is a thing best taught by the practice to 

15. But if any shall by scandal or gross neglect of piety, 
and not only by ignorance give cause of questioning their 
title, aad suspending their possession of those sacred pri- 
vileges, these are to be reckoned in another rank, even 
among those whose title to church-membership itself be- 
come th controverted, and must undergo a trial in the 

And this much I think may serve to resolve this consid- 
erable question^ 

Quest. Lxxi. Whether a form of prayer be lawful* 

Answ. I have said so much of this and some followihg 
questions in many books already, that to avoid repetition^ I 
shall say very little here. 

The question must be out of question with all Chris- 
tians : 

1 . Because the Scripture itself hath many forms of pray- 
er ; which therefore cannot be unlawful. 

Obj. * They were lawful then, but not now.' 

Answ. He that saith so, must prove where God hath 
since forbidden them. Which can never be. 

Obj, * They may lawfully be read in Scripture for in- 
struction, but not used as prayers.' 

Answ. They were used as prayers then, arid ate never 


since forbidden : yea, John and Christ did teach their dis- 
ciples to pray, and Christ thus prefaceth his form, "When 

ye pray, say" 

2. All things must be done to edification : but to use a 
form of prayer is for the edification of many persons, at 
least those that cannot otherwise do so well ; therefore 
those persons must use a form. Full experience doth prove 
the minor, and nothing but strangeness to men can contra- 
dict it. 

Quest. Lxxii. Are forms of prayer or preaching in the church 

lawful ? 

Answ, Yes : most ministers study the methodical form 
of their sermons before they preach them : and many write . 
the very words, or study them : and so most sermons are a 
form. And sure it is as lawful to think beforehand what to 
say in praying as in preaching* 

1. That which God hath not forbidden is lawful; but 
God hath not forbidden ministers to study their sermons or 
prayers, either for matter, method or words, and so to make 
them many ways a form. 

2. That which God prescribed is lawful (if he reverse it 
not) : but God prescribed public forms of prayer : as the 
titles and matter of many of the Psalms prove, which, were 
daily used in the Jewish synagogues. 

Object. * Psalms being to be sung, are more than play- 

Answ. They were prayers, though more. They are cal- 
led prayers, and for th« matter many of them were no more 
than prayers, but only for the measures of words : nor was 
their singing like ours now, but more like to our saying. 
And there are many other prayers recorded in the Scripture. 

3. And all the churches of Christ at least these thirteen 
or fourteen hundred years have taken public forms for law- 
ful ; which is not to be gainsayed without proof. 

^ God gave tonus of preaching tu Mosc» aiid the prophets : see a large form of 
prayer for all the people, Deut. xxvi. 13 — 15. And so elsewhere there are many. 


Quest. Lxxiii. Are public forms of man^s devising or compo- 
sing lawful? 

Answ. Yes: 1. The ministers afore-mentioned through- 
out the Christian world, do devise and compose the form of 
their own sermons and prayers: and that maketh them not 
unlawful. 2. And whoever speaketh * ex tempore/ his words 
are a form when he speaketh them, though not a premedita- 
ted form. 3. And when Scripture so vehemently com- 
mandeth us to search, meditate, study the Scriptures, and 
take heed to ourselves and unto doctrine, &c. What a per- 
son is that who will condemn prayer or preaching, only be- 
cause we beforehand studied or considered what to say ? As 
if God abhorred diligence and the use of reason. Men are 
not tied (now) from thinking beforehand what to say to the 
judge at the bar for estate or life, or what to say on an em- 
bassage, or to a king, or any man that we converse with. 
And where are we forbidden to forethink what to say to God ? 
Must the people take heed how they hear, and look to their 
foot when they go into the house of God ? and must not we 
take heed what we speak, and look to our words that they 
be fit and decent? 

Object. * Forms are images of prayer and preaching, for- 
bidden in the second commandment ? 

Answ. Prove it, and add not to the Word of God. 1. 
The Scripture and God's servants, even Christ himself, had 
broken the second commandment, when they used or pre- 
scribed forms. 2. Forms are no more images than extem- 
porate words are, as they signify our minds. Are all the 
catechisms, printed and written sermons and prayers, im- 
ages or idols ? All forms that parents teach their children ? 
O charge not such untruths on God ; and invent not false- 
hoods of his Word, while you cry down man's inventions. 

Quest. Lxxiv. Is it lawful to impose forms on the congrega- 
tion or the people in public ivorship 1 

Yes, and more than lawful : it is the pastor's duty so to 
do. For whether he forethink what to pray or not, his pray- 
er is to them a form of words : and they are bound in all the 
lawful parts, to concur with him in Spirit or desire, and to 


say Amen. So that every minister by office is daily to im- 
pose a form of prayer on all the people in the congregation. 
Only some men impose the same form many times over, or 
every day, and others impose every day a new one. 

Quest. Lxxv. Is it lawful to use forms composed hy man, and 
imposed not only on the people, but on the pastors of the 
churches ? 

Answ. The question concemeth not the lawfulness of 
imposing, but of using forms imposed. And 1. It is not 
lawful to use them merely on that account because they are 
imposed or commanded, without some greater reason of the 
unlawfulness. For else it would be unlawful for any other 
to use imposed forms ; as for a scholar or child, if the mas- 
ter or parent impose them, or for the congregation when the 
pastor imposeth them, which is not true. 

2. The using of imposed forms may by other accidents 
be sometimes good and sometimes evil, as the accidents are 
that make it so. 

1. These accidents may make it evil. (1.) When the 
form is bad for matter or manner, and we voluntarily prefer 
it before that which is better, being willing of the imposition. 
(2.) When we do it to gratify our slothfulness, or to cover 
our wilful ignorance and disability. (3.) When we volun- 
tarily obey and strengthen any unlawful, usurping pastors 
or powers that impose it without authority, and so encou- 
rage church-tyranny. (4.) When we choose a singular 
form imposed by some singular pastor, and avoid that which 
the rest of the churches agree in, at a time when it may 
tend to division and offence. (5.) When the weakness and 
offence of the congregation is such, that they will not join 
with us in the imposed form, and so by using it, we drive 
them from all public worship or divide them. 

2. And in the following circumstances the using of an 
imposed form is lawful and< a duty : (1.) When the min- 
ister is so weak that he cannot pray well without one, nor 
compose so good a one himself. (2.) Or when the errors 
or great weakness of the generality of ministers is such, as 
that they usually corrupt or spoil God's worship by their 
own manner of praying, and no better are to be had ; and 

VOL. v. E E 


thereupon the wise and faithful pastors and magistrates 
shall impose one sound and apt liturgy to avoid error and 
division in such a distempered time ; and the ablest cannot 
be left at liberty without the relaxing of the rest. (3.) 
When it is a means of the concord of the churches, and no 
hindrance to our other prayers. (4.) When our hearers 
will not join with us if we use them not: (for error and 
weakness must be borne with on one side, as well as on the 
other.) (5.) When obedience to just authority requireth 
it, and no command of Christ is crossed by it. (6.) When 
the impQsition is so severe that we must so worship God 
publicly, or not at all ; and so all God's public worship will 
be shut out of that congregation, country or nation, unless 
we will use imposed prayers. (7.) In a word, when the 
good consequences of obedience, union, avoiding offence, 
liberty for God's public worship and preaching the Gospel, 
&c. are greater than the bad consequences which are like to 
follow the using of such forms : the preponderating acci- 
dents must prevail. (8.) And if a man's own judgment and 
conscience cannot be satisfied, to do God's work comforta- 
bly and quietly any other way, it may go far in the determi- 
nation. And the common good of many churches must still 
be preferred before a less. 

Quest. Lxxvi. Doth not the calling of a minister so consist in 
the exercise of his own ministerial gifts, tltat he may not offi- 
ciate without them, nor make use of other men^s gifts instead 
of them ? 

Answ. 1. The office of the ministry is an obligation aa^ 
authority to do the ministerial work, by those personal, 
competent abilities which God hath given us. 

2. This obligation to use our own abilities, forbiddeth 
us not to make use of the helps, gifts and abilities of others ; 
either to promote our own abilities and habits, or to further 
us in the act or the exercise of them. For, 1. There is no 
such prohibition in Scripture. 2. All men are insufficient 
for themselves ; and nature and Scripture require them to 
use the best help they can get from others. 3. God's ser- 
vice must be done in the best manner we can. But many 


ministers cannot do it so well (consideratis considerandis) 
without other men's help as with it. 

3. We may use other men's gifts to help us, 1. For mat- 
ter ; 2. Method ; 3. Words; and so for a threefold form, of 
preaching or prayer. 

4. He that useth a Scripture form of matter, method or 
words, useth his own abilities no more, than if he used a 
form out of another book. But it is lawful to use a Scrip- 
ture form ; therefore it is lawful so far to take in assistance 
in the use of our own abilities. 

5. He that useth a form useth his own abilities also (not 
only perhaps at other times, but) in the use of it. He useth 
his understanding to discern the true sense and aptitude of 
the words which he useth : he useth his holy desires in put- 
ting up those prayers to God ; and his other graces, as he 
doth in other prayers. He useth his utterance in the apt 
and decent speaking of them. 

6. A minister is not always bound to use his own gifts 
to the utmost that he can, and other men's as little as he 
can. For, 1. There is no such command from God. 2. All 
things must be done to the church's edification : but some- 
times the greater use of another man's gifts, and the less 
use of his own, may be to the church's greater edification. 

Instances of the lawful use of other men's gifts are such 
as these. 

1. For matter, an abler minister may tell a young man 
what subjects are fittest for him in preaching and prayer ; 
and what is the sense of the Scriptures which he is to open ; 
and what is the true solution of several doubts and cases. 
A minister that is young, raw or ignorant, (yea, the best) 
may be a learner while he is a teacher : but he that is a 
learner maketh use so far of the gifts of others. And indeed 
all teachers in the world make use of the gifts of others ; for 
all teach what they learn from others. 

2. For method ; it is lawful to learn that as well as 
matter from another. Christ taught his disciples a method 
of prayer ; and other men may open that method to us. 
All tutors teach their pupils method as well as matter ; for 
method is needful to the due understanding and uiung of 
the matter. A method of divinity, a method of preaching. 


and a method of praying may be taught a presicher by word, 
and may be written or printed for his use. ^ 

3. For words, (1.) There is no more prohibition in God's 
Word, against learning or using another man's words, than 
his method or matter. Therefore it is not unlawful. (2.) A 
tutor or senior minister may teach the Scripture words to a 
pupil or junior minister ; yea, and may set them together 
and compose him a sermon or prayer out of Scripture in its 
words. (For he that may use an ill-composed Scripture 
form of his own gathering, may use a well-composed form 
of another's.) (3.) All the books in our libraries are forms 
of words ; and it is lawful sure to use some of all those 
words which we read ; or else our books would be a snare 
and limitation to our language. (4.) All preachers ordina- 
rily use citations, testimonies, &c. in other men's words. 
(5.) All ministers use psalms in the metre of other men's 
composing (and usually imposing too). And there is no 
more prohibition against using other men's words in a pray- 
er, than in a psalm. (6.) Almost all ministers use other 
men's gifts and form of words, in reading^the Scriptures, in 
their vulgar tongues : for God did not write them by his 
apostles and prophets in English, French, Dutch, &c. but 
in Hebrew, Chaldee and Greek: therefore the wording 
them in English, &c. is a human form of words : and few 
ministers think they are bound to translate all the Bible 
themselves, lest they use other men's words or abilities. 
(7.) If a young minister that can pray but weakly, hear 
more apt expressions and sentences in another minister's 
prayers, than his own are, he may afterward make use of 
those sentences and expressions. And if of one sentence, 
why not of two or ten, when God hath not forbidden it ? So 
also in preaching. (8.) It is lawful to read another man's 
epistles or sermons in the church, as the primitive churches 
did by Clement's and some others. (9.) An imposition may 
be so severe, that we shall not use our own words, unless 
we will use some of other men's. (10.) All churches almost 
in the world, have consented in the use of creeds, confes- 
sions and prayers, and psalms in the words of others. 

But yet 1. No minister must on these pretences stifle 
his own gifts, and grow negligent; 2. Nor consent to 
church-tyranny or Papal usurpations ; 3. Nor do that 


which tendeth to eat out seriousness in the worship of God, 
and turn all into dead imagery or formality. 

Quest. Is it lawful to read a prayer in the church ? 

Arisw. 1. That which is not forbidden is lawful : but to 
read a prayer is not forbidden (as such, though by accident 
it may). 

2. The prayers in the Scripture psalms, were usually 
read in the Jewish synagogues lawfully; for they were 
written to that end, and were indeed the Jewish liturgy. 
Therefore to read a prayer is not unlawful. 

3. He that hath a weak memory may read his own ser- 
mon notes ; therefore he may read his prayers. 

4. I add as to this case and the former together ; that 1 . 
Christ did usually frequent the Jewish synagogues. 

2. That in those synagogues there were forms of prayer, 
and that ordinarily read, at least Scripture forms : and if 
either the Jewish rabbins Tcited by Scaliger, Selden in 
Eutych., Alexandr., &c.,) or the strongest probability may 
be credited, there were also human forms. For who can 
imagine that those Pharisees should have no human forms, 
(1.) Who are so much accused of formality, and following 
traditions : (2.) And used long and frequent prayers : but 
if indeed they had no such forms, then long and frequent 
extemporate prayers are not so great a sign of the Spirit's 
gifts as is imagined, when such Pharisees abounded in 
them. But there is little probability, but that they used 
both ways. 

3. That Christ did not separate from the synagogues for 
such prayers* sake. 

4. Yea, that we never read that Christ meddled in the 
controversy, it being then no controversy ; nor that he once 
reproved such forms, or reading them, or ever called the 
Jews to repent of them. 

If you say, his general reproof of traditions was enough : 
I answer, 1. Even traditions he reproved not as such, but 
as set before, or against the commands of God. 2. He 
named many of their particular traditions and corruptions. 
Matt. XV. xxiii. &c., and yet never named this. 3. His be- 
ing usually present at their assemblies, and so joining with 


them in their worship, would be such an appearance of his 
approbation, as would make it needful to express his disal- 
lowance of it, if indeed he thought it sinful. So that who- 
ever impartially considereth all this, that he joined with 
them, that he particularly reproved other corruptions, and 
that he never said any thing at all against forms or reading 
prayers, that is recorded, will sure be moderate in his judg- 
ment of such indifferent, things, if he know what modera- 
tion is. 

Quest. Lxxvii. Is it lawful to pray in the church without a 
prescribed or premeditated form of words ? 

Answ. There are so few sober and serious Christians that 
ever made a doubt of this, that I will not bestow many 
words to prove it. 

1. That which is not forbidden is lawful. But church 
prayer without a premeditated or prescribed form of words 
is not forbidden (by God) ; therefore (as to God's laws) it 
is not unlawful. 

2. To express holy desires understandingly, orderly, 
seriously, and in apt expressions, is lawful praying. But 
all this may be done without a set form of words ; there- 
fore to pray without a set form of words may be lawful. 

3. The consent of the universal church, and the expe- 
rience of godly men, are arguments so strong, as are not to 
be made light of. 

4. To which Scripture instances may be added. 

Quest. L X X V 1 1 1 . Whether are set forms of words, or free pray- 
ing without them the better way ? And what are the com- 
modities and incommodities of each way 1 

Answ. I will first answer the latter question, because 
the former dependeth on it. 

I. The commodities of a set form of words, and the dis- 
commodities of free praying are these following. 

1. In a time of dangerous heresy which hath infected 
the pastors, a set form of prescribed words tendeth to keep 
the church, and the consciences of the joiners from such in- 
fection, offence, and guilt. 


2. When ministers are so weak as to dishonour God's 
worship by their unapt, and slovenly and unsound expres- 
sions, prescribed or set forms which are well composed, are 
some preservative and cure. When free praying leaveth the 
church under this inconvenience. 

3. When ministers by faction, passion, or corrupt in- 
terests, are apt to put these vices into their prayers, to the 
injury of others, and of the cause and church of God, free 
praying cherisheth this, or giveth it opportunity, which set 
forms do restrain. 

4. Concordant set forms do serve for the most exact 
concord in the churches, that all at once may speak the 
same things. 

5. They are needful to some weak ministers that cannot 
do so well without them. 

6. They somewhat prevent the laying of the reputation 
of religious worship upon the minister's abilities : when in 
free praying, the honour and comfort varieth with the various 
degrees of pastoral abilities ; in one place it is excellently 
well done, in another but drily, and coldly, and meanly ; in 
another erroneously, unedifyingly, if not dishonourably, 
tending to the contempt of holy things : whereas in the way 
of set liturgies, though the ablest (at that time) doth no 
better, yet the weakest doth, (for words) as well, and all 

7. And, if proud weak men have not the composing and 
imposing of it, all know that words drawn up by study, upon 
sober premeditation and consultation, have a greater ad- 
vantage, to be exact and apt, than those that were never 
thought on till we are speaking them. 

8. The very fear of doing amiss, disturbeth some unready 
men, and maketh them do all the rest the worse. 

9. The auditors know beforehand, whether that which 
they are to join in be sound or unsound, having time to 
try it. 

10. And they can more readily put in their consent to 
what is spoken, and make the prayers their own, when they 
know beforehand what it is, than they can do when they 
know not before they hear it ; it being hard to the duller 
sort of hearers, to concur with an understanding and consent 
as quick as the speaker's words are. Not but that this 


may be done, but not without great difficulty in the duller 

11. And it tendeth to avoid the pride and self-deceit of 
many, who think they are good Christians, and have the 
spirit of grace and supplication, because by learning and 
use they can speak many hours in variety of expressions in 
prayer ; which is a dangerous mistake. 

II. The commodities of free extemporate prayers, and 
the discommodity of prescribed or set forms are these 

1 . It becometh an advantage to some proud men who 
think themselves wiser than all the rest, to obtrude their 
compositions, that none may be thought wise enough, or fit 
to speak to God but in their words ; and so introduce 

2. It may become a hindrance to able, worthy ministers 
that can do better. 

3. It may become a dividing snare to the churches, that 
cannot all agree and consent in such human impositions. 

4. It may become an advantage to heretics when they 
can but get into power (as the Arians of old) to corrupt all 
the churches and public worship ; and thus the Papists have 
corrupted the churches by the mass. 

5. It may become an engine or occasion of persecution, 
and silencing all those ministers that cannot consent to such 

6. It may become a means of depraving the ministry, 
and bringing them to a common idleness and ignorance, (if 
other things alike concur). For when men perceive that no 
greater abilities are used and required, they will commonly 
labour for and get no greater, and so will be unable to pray 
without their forms of words. 

7. And by this means Christian religion may decay and 
grow into contempt ; for though it be desirable that its own 
worth should keep up its reputation and success, yet it 
never hitherto was so kept up without the assistance of 
God's eminent gifts and graces in his ministers ; but 
wherever there hath been a learned, able, holy, zealous, di- 
ligent ministry, religion usually hath flourished ; and 
wherever there hath been an ignorant, vicious, cold, idle, 
negligent and reproached ministry, religion usually hath 


died and been reproached. And we have now no reason to 
look for that which never was, and that God should take a 
new course in the world. 

And the opinion of imposing forms of prayer, may dra