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Full text of "The keyes of the Kingdom of Heaven, and power thereof, according to the word of God. Tending to reconcile some present differences about discipline"

^^ uF p iHcer, 

BX 7230 .C75 1843 
Cotton, John, 1584-1652. 
The keyes of the Kingdom of 

Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2009 with funding from 

Princeton Theological Seminary Library 




K E Y E 

Of the Kingdom of 



Power thereof, according to the 
Word of God. 


That Lprned and Judicious Divine, 

Mr. louN Cotton, Teacher of the Church 

at Boston, in New -England, 

Tending to reconcile some present differences about 

Gen. 13 : 7, 8. .^7id Mrafiam said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, /^ 
pray hetween thee, and mee ; for we be Brethren. ^ 

Gen. 45 : 24. And Joseph said to his Brethren (when they were ^ 
going the third time out of Egypt) See that yee f^ 
fall not out by the way. ^ 

Acts 7 : 26. Sirs, yee be Brethren, why do yee wrong one to ^ 
another ? ^ 

Eph. 4 : 15. A7.rfitiomq Iv Jyarcrj, avh'iOo^iiv hg avrdv, &C. ^K 


Tho. Goodwin. 
Philip Nye. 


Printed by M. Simmons for Henry Overton, and are to be sold at his 

shop entering into Popes-head Alley, out o( Lombard- Street 1644. 







In submitting to the public a new edition of this excel- 
lent treatise on Congregationalism, it seems necessary to 
say something of its learned author, of the circumstances 
in which it originally appeared, and of the occasion for its 

Our limits will not allow the insertion of an extensive 
Biography, but only of a i^ew of the prominent events in 
his history. We refer our readers, who desire a more full 
account of him, to his life by Norton and Mather. 

John Cotton was born Dec. 4, 1585, in Derby in Eng- 
land. At thirteen years of age, he entered college at 
Cambridge, where his distinguished scholarship secured for 
him, soon after his graduatipn, the office of lecturer in the 
University. While he officiated in this capacity, the Spirit 
of God subdued his pride, and brought his talents and ac- 
quisitions into the service of Christ and the Church. 

His first sermon, after his conversion, on the duty of re- 
pentance, is said to have been a most powerful production, 
and was honored as the instrument of salvation to some of 
his fellow students. In the twenty-eighth year of his age 
he was settled over the established church of Boston in 
Lincolnshire, where for more than twenty years he was 
eminently useful and popular, both as a preacher and an 
instructer of candidates for the gospel ministry. 

At length, he was disturbed by the intolerance of the 


court, and his scruples about conforming to its unrighteous 
requirements met with insolence and revenge ; and for the 
enormous crime of not kneeling at the sacrament, he was 
summoned before the Court of High Commission, from 
which he sought refuge by flight. He came to this coun- 
try, in company with his personal friends Thomas Hooker 
and Samuel Stone, in 1633, and soon after his arrival was 
ordained teacher of the first church in Boston, and col- 
league with the Rev. John Wilson, who had been the pas- 
tor of the church from its organization in 1()30. Such 
was his influence in establishing the order of the churches^ 
and so extensive was his usefulness, that he has been styled 
the -patriarch of New England. 

His desire to quell the disorders which his parishioner, 
Ann Hutchinson, had introduced, and which other heretics 
had perpetuated, extended and multiplied, and also to sys- 
tematize and defend Congregationalism, induced him to 
prepare the present volume. He consigned it to Mr. 
Thomas Goodwin, his former friend and associate at Cam- 
bridge, an eminent scholar and divine, M^ho is said to have 
been in scriptis in re theologica qiiainplurimis orbi notus, 
and who was then pastor of a church in London. He, 
and Mr. Philip Nye, formerly of Oxford University, but 
at that time minister of Kimbolton, in Huntingdonshire, 
both members of the Westminster Assembly, Dissenters 
and Congregationalists, prepared the introduction which is 
here published in connection with the Keys, to show the 
general harmony of opinion among Congregationalists of 
that day, both in England and America. 

Throughout the volume, we have studiously preserved 
the ancient spelling, punctuation and style, as a curiosity, 
and from a conviction that our readers would desire to see 
those ancient worthies in their Puritanic dress and armor. 
If public patronage afford suitable encouragement, and this 
volume produces and increases a tendency in the pastors 
and members of our churches to " ask for the old paths, 
where is the good way, and" to " walk therein," we shall 
be abundantly rewarded for our labor, and may be encour- 
aged to issue other reprints and original works of a simi- 
lar character. 

The Editor. 

Boston, May 24, 1843. 



THE greatest commotions in Kingdomes have for 
ibe most part beene raised and maintained for 
and about Poiver, and Liberties, of the Rulers, 
and tlie Ruled, together with the due bounds and limits 
of either: And the like hath fallen out in Churches, and 
is continued to this day in the sharpest contentions (though 
now the seate of the warre is changed) who should bee 
the first adequate, and compleate subject of that Church- 
poiver, which Christ hath left on earth ; how hounded, 
^ to whom committed. This controversie is in a speciall 
manner the lot of these present times : And now that 
most parties (that can pretend anything towards it) have 
in severall ages had their turns and vicissitudes of so long 
a possession of it, and their pleas for their severall pre- 
tences, have beene so much and so long heard, it may 
wel be hoped it is neere determining ; and that Christ 
wil shortly settle this power upon the right heires to whom 
he primitively did bequeathe it. 

In those former darker times, this golden Ball was 
tbrowne up by the Clergy (so called) alone to runne for 
among themselves : And as they quietly possessed the 

To the Reader. 

name Klnqbg^ the Clergy and of the Church, appropri- 
ated to themselves ; so answerably all manner of interest 
in power or cognisance of matters of the Church, was 
wholly left and quitted to them : whilst the Peoyle that 
then hneiv not the Jaw, having given up their soules to an 
implicit faith in what was to be beleeved, did much more 
suffer themselves lobe deprived of all l/ibertiesin Churcli 
affdiies. Tiiis royall donation bestowed by Christ upon 
his Church, was taken up and placed in so high thrones 
of Bishops, Popes, Generall Councells, &;c. not only 
farre above these things on earth, the people ; but things 
in heaven also, we meane the Angels &f Ministers of the 
Churches themselves ; in so great a remotenesse from the 
people, that the least right or interest therein, was not so 
much as suspected to belong to them. But towards these 
latter limes, after many removalls of it downe againe. and 
this as the issue of many suits againe and againe renued 
&£ removed, & upon the sentence (even of whole Slates) 
as oft reversed. It hath now in these our dayes been 
brought so neere unlo the people, that ihey also have 
begunne to pleade & sue for a portion, &i legacy be- 
queathed them in it. The Saints (in these knowing 
times) finding that the Key of knowledge hath so farre 
opened their hearts, that they see with their ovvne eyes 
into the substantialls of Godlinesse, and that through the 
instruction and guidance of their teachers, thev are ena- 
bled to understand for themselves such other ihino;s as 
they are to joyn in the practice of. They doe therefore 
further (many of them) begin more then to suspect, that 
some share in the Key of power should likewise apper- 
tain unto them. 

It was the unhappinesse of those, who first in these 

To the Reader. 

latter times revived this plea of tbe peoples right, to erre 
on the other extrcame (as it hath ever beene the fate of 
truth, when it first ariseth in the Church from under that 
lono: niiiht of darknes which Antichristianisme had 
brouglit upon the world to have a long shadow of errour 
to accom panic it) by laying the plea and claim on their 
behalf unto the whole power ; h that the Elders set over 
them did but exercise that power for ihem, which was 
properly theirs, and which Clirist had (as they contended) 
radically and originally estated in the people only. 

But after that all titles have been pleaded, of those 
that are content with nothing but the wiiole, the finall 
judgment and sentence may (possibly) fall to be a sutable 
Si due proportioned distribution ^ dispersion of this 
prjtver into severall interests, and the whole to neither 
part. In Commomvealths, it is a Dispersion of severall 
portions of power and rights into severall hands, joynily 
to concurre and agree in acts and processe of weight and 
moment, which causeth that healihfull xg(jcGig and consti- 
tution of them, which makes them lasting and preserves 
their peace, when none of al sorts find tliey are excluded, 
but as they have a share of concernment, so that a fit 
measure of power or priviledge, is left and betrusied to 
them. And accordingly the wisdome of the first Con- 
stitutors of Commonwealths is most seen in such a just 
balancing of power and priviledges, and besides also in 
setting the exact limits of that which is committed unto 
each ; yea and is more admired by us in this than in their 
other Lawes ; and in experience, a cleare and distinct 
definement and confinement of all such parcells of power, 
both of the kind and extent of them, is judged to be as 
essentially necessary (if not more) than whatever other 

To the Reader, 

statutes, that set out the kinds & degrees of crimes or 

So in that Politie or Government by which Christ 
would have his churches ordered, the right o( disposal! of 
the power therein (we humbly suppose) may lie in a due 
and proportioned allotment and dispersion (though not in 
the same measure and degree) into divers hands, accord- 
ing unto the severall concernments and interests that each 
rank in his Church may have ; rather than in an entire 
and sole trust committed to any one man (though never 
so able) or any one sort or kinde of men or officers, al- 
though diversified into never so many subordinations under 
one another. And in like manner, wee cannot but imag- 
ine, that Christ hath been as exact in setting forth the 
true bounds and limits of whatever portion of power he 
hath imparted unto any (if wee of this age could attain 
rightly to discern it) as hee hath been in ordering what 
kinde of censures, and for what sinnes and what degrees 
of proceedings unto those censures ; which wee find hee 
hath been punctuall in. 

Now the scope which this grave &t judicious Author 
in this his Treatise doth pursue, is, to lay forth the just 
lines and terriers of this division of Church-power, unto 
all the severall subjects of it ; to the end to allay the 
contentions now on foot, about it. And in generall hee 
layes this fundamental! Maxime, that holds in common 
true of all the particulars, to whom any portion of power 
can be supposed to be committed : That look whatever 
power or right any of the Possessours and subjects thereof 
may have, they have it each, alike immediately (that is, 
in respect of a mediation of delegation or dependence on 
each other)/rom Christ, h so are each, the first subjects 

To the Reader. 

of that power that is allotted to them. And for the par- 
ticular subjects themselves, hee follows that division (in 
the handling of them) which the controversie itself hath 
made unto his hands; to wit, 1. What jJOiver each single 
Congregation (which is indowed with a Charter to be a 
body-politique to Christ) hath granted to it to exercise 
within itself: And 2. What measure, or rather, kinde of 
Power Christ hath placed in Neighbour- Churches with- 
out it, &z; in association with it. 

For the first. As hee supposeth, each Congregation, 
such, as to have the priviledge of injoying a Fresbijterie, 
or company of more or lesse Elders proper unto itself; 
so being thus Presbyterated hee assertelh this incorporate 
body or society to be the fii^st and primary subject of a 
com pleat and entire power within itself over its own 
menibers ; yea, and the sole native subject of the power 
of Ordination ^ Excommunication, which is the hii^hest 
Censure. And whereas this corporation consisteth both 
of Elders ^ Brethren, (for as for women &i children, there 
is a specifill exception by a Stat ute- Law o{ C\\v\si ^gd.\r\s\ 
their injoyment of any part of this publique power ;) 
His scope is to demonstrate a distinct &i severall share &i 
interest of power, in matters of common concernment, 
vouchsafed to each of these, and dispersed away both, by 
Charter from the Lord : as in some of our towns corpo- 
rate, to a Company o{ Aldermen, the Rulers, &t a Com- 
mon Councell, a body of the people, there useth to be 
the like : He giving unto the Elders or Presbytery a 
binding power-of Rule and Authority proper and pecu- 
liar unto them ; and unto the Brethren, distinct and 
apart, an interest of pr>wer ^ priviledge to concurre with 
them, and that such affairs should not be transacted, but 

To the Reader, 

with the joynt agreement of both, though out of a differ- 
ent right : so that as a Church of Brethren only, could 
not proceed to any publique censure, without they have 
Elders over them, so nor in the Church have the Elders 
power to censure without the concurrence of the people ; 
and likewise so, as each alone hath not power of Excom- 
municating the whole of either, though together they 
have power over any particular person or persons in each. 
And because these particular Congregations, both 
Elders and People, may disagree &: miscarry and abuse 
this power committed to them ; He, therefore. Secondly, 
asserteth an association or conmiunion of Churches, send- 
ino" their Elders and Messengers into a Synod (so hee 
purposely chooseth to stile those Assemblies of Elders 
which the Reformed Churches do call Classes or Presby- 
teries, that so hee miglit distinguish them from those 
Presbyteries of Congregations before mentioned). And 
acknowledgeth that it is an Ordinance of Christ, unto 
whom Christ hath (in relation to rectifying Mal-adminis- 
irations, and healing dissensions in particular Congrega- 
tions, and the like cases) con)mitlpd a due & just meas- 
ure of power, suited &: proportioned to those ends ; and 
furnished them not only with ability to give connsell and 
advice, but further upon such occasions with a Ministe- 
riaUpoiver and authority to determine, declare and injoyne 
such things as may tend to the reducing of such Congre- 
gations to right order and peace. Onely in his bounding 
and defining this power, he affirms it to be. First for 
the kinde and quality of it, but a dogmaticall or doc- 
trinall power (though slamped with authority Ministeriall 
as an Ordinance of Christ) whether in judging of con- 
troversies of faith (when tliey disturb the peace of par- 

To the Rtader. 

ticular Congregations, and which tliemselves finde too 
difficult for them) or in decerning matters of fact and 
what censures they doe deserve ; but not armed with 
authority and power of Excommunicating or delivering 
unto Satan, either the Congregations or the Members of 
them : But they in such cases, having declared and judged 
the nature of the offence, and admonished the peccant 
Churches, and decerned what they ought to do with tlie 
offending members ; tliey are to leave the formall act of 
this censure to that authority which can only execute it, 
placed by Christ in those Churches themselves; which if 
they deny to do, or persist in their miscarriage, then to 
determine to withdraw communion from them. And also 
for the extent of this power in such Assemblies 2iU^ Asso- 
ciation of Churches, he limits and confines that also unto 
cases, & with cautions (whicli will appear in the Dis- 
course) to wit, that they should not intrench or impair 
the priviledge of entire Jurisdiction committed unto each 
Congregation (as a liberty purchased them by Christs 
blood) but to leave them free to the exercise and use 
thereof, unlill they abuse that power or are unable to 
manage it ; and in that case only to assist, guide and 
direct them, and not take on them to administer it for 
them, but with them & by them. 

As for ourselves, we are vet neither afraid nor ashamed 
to make profession (in the midst of all the high waves on 
both sides dashing on us) that the substance of this brief 
extract from the Authors larger Discourse, is That very 
Middle-way (which in our apologie we did in the generall 
intimate and intend) between that which is called Brown- 
isme, and the Presbytcriall-governmcnt,diS it is practised; 
whereof the one doth in effect put the chief (if not the 

8 To the Reader. 

whole) of the rule, and government hito the hands of 
the people, and drowns the Elders votes (who are but 
a few) in the major part of theirs : And the other, taking 
the chief and principall parts of that rule (which we con- 
ceive is the due of each Congregation, the Klders and 
Brethren) into this Jurisdiction of a common Presbyterie 
of several! Congregations, doth thereby in like manner 
swallow up, not only the interests of the people, but even 
the votes of the Elders of tliat Congregation concerned, 
in the major part thereof. 

Neither let it seem arrogance in us, but a testimony 
rather to the truth, further to Remonstrate, that this very 
Boundrj/ platforme and disposement of Church power, 
as here it is (we speake for the substance of it) set out 
& stated ; as also that the tenure and exercise thereof in 
all these subjects, should be immediately from Christ unto 
them all, is not new unto our thoughts; yea it is no 
other than what our ovvne apprehensions have been 
moulded unto long since : And this many of our friends 
and some that are of a differing opinion having knowne 
our private judgments long, as likewise our owne Notes 
and transcripts written long agoe, can testifie ; besides 
many publike professions since as occasion hath beene 
offered : Insomuch as when we first read this of this 
learned Author (knowing what hath been the more gene- 
rall current both of the practice and judgement of our 
Brethren for the Congregationall way) we confess we 
were filled with wonderment at that Divine hand, that 
hath thus led the judgments (without the least mutuall 
interchange, or intimation of thoughts or notions in these 
particulars) of our Brethren there, and ourselves (un- 
worthy to be mentioned with them) here: Onely we 

To (he Reader. 

crave leave of the reverend Auihor and those Brethren 
that had the view of it, to declare : that we assent not to 
all expressions scattered up and down, or all and every 
Assertion interwoven in it ; yea nor to all the grounds 
and allegations of scriptures ; nor should wee in all things 
perhaps have used the same terms to expresse the same 
materialls by. 

For instance, wee humbly conceive Prophesying (as 
the Scripture tearmes it) or speaking to the edification of 
the whole Church, may (sometimes) be performed by 
Brethren gifted, though not in Office as Elders of the 
Church ; onely 1 Occasionally, not in an Orderly course ; 
2. By men of such abilities as are fit for Office ; and 3. 
not assuming this of themselves, but judged such by those 
that have the power, and so allowed and designed to it : 
And 4. so as their Doctrine be subjected (for the judg- 
ing of it) in an especiall manner to the Teaching-Elders 
of that Church : And when it is thus cautioned, wee see 
no more incongruity for such to speake to a point of Di- 
vinity in a Congregation, tiien for men of like abilities to 
speake to and debate of matters of religion in an As- 
sembly of Divines, which this reverend Author allows; 
and here, with us, is practised. 

Againe, in all humility, we yet see not that assembly of 
Apostles, Elders, and Brethren, Acts 15, to have beene 
a formall Synod, of Messengers, sent, out of a set and 
combined association from neighbor Churches; but an 
Assembly of the Church of Jerusalem, and of the Mis- 
sengers from the Church of Antioch alone ; that were 
farre remote each from other, and electively now met : 
Nor are we at present convinced that the Apostles to the 
end to make this a Precedent of such a formal Synod, 

10 To the Reader. 

did act therein as Ordinary Elders, and not out of Ap(^s- 
tolicall guidance & assistance ; But we ratiier conceive 
(if we would simply consider the mutual aspects which 
these two Churches and their Elders stood in this con- 
junction, abstracting from them that influence and im- 
pression (that superior Sphere) the Apostles who were 
then present had in this transaction) this to have been a 
Consultation (as the learned Autlior doth also acknowl- 
edge it to have beene in its first origlnall, onely rising up 
to be a Generall Councell by the Apostles presence, they 
being Elders of all the Churches ;) or if you will, a ref- 
erence by way of Arbitration for deciding of that great 
controversie risen amongst them at Antioch, which they 
found to bee too difficult for themselves ; and so to be a 
warrant indeede for all such waies of communion between 
all, or any, especially neighbor churches; and upon like 
occasions to bee Ordinances furnished with ministeriall 
power for such ends and purposes. Our reasons for this, 
wee are now many waies bound up from giving t!)e ac- 
compt of, in this v.ay, and at this season : But however 
if it should have beene so intended as the learned Author 
judgeth, and the Apostles to have acted therein as ordi- 
nary Elders, yet the lines of that ))roportion of power 
that could bee drawne from that patterne would extend 
no farther then a Ministerial! Doctrinall power, &z;c. in 
such Assemblies, which we willingly grant. And it may 
bee observed with what a wary eye &: exact ayme hee 
takes the latitude and elevation of that power there held 
forth, not daring to attribute the least, either for kind or 
degree, then what that exatnple warrants, which was at 
utmost but a Doctrinall decernment both of the truth of 
that Controversie. they were consulted in ; as also the 

To the Reader, II 

matter of fact in those that had tauglit the contrary, as 
belyers of thenfi and subverters of the faith ; without so 
much as brandishing the sword and power of Excommu- 
nication, against those high &£ grosse delinquents, or 
others, that should not obey them by that Epistle. 

Onely in the last place for the further clearing the dif- 
ference of the peoples interest (which the reverend Au- 
thor usually calleih Liberty, sornetimes Power) and the 
Elders rule and authority (which makes that^rs^ distri- 
bution of church-power in particular congregations) as 
likewise for the illustration of that other allotment of 
Ministerial doctrinal power in an association or commun- 
ion of Churches as severed from the power of Excom- 
munication (which is the second.) We take the bold- 
nes to cast a vveake bean)e of our dimne light upon 
either of these ; & to present how these have layne 
stated in our thoughts, to this end that wee may haply 
prevent some readers mistake, especially about the for- 
mer. For the first, we conceive the Elders and Breth- 
ren in each Congregation, as they are usually in the New 
Testament thus mentioned distinctly apart, and this when 
their meeting together is spoken of, so they make in each 
congregation two distinct intrests (though meeting in one 
Assembly) as the interest of the Common- Councell or 
body of the people, in some Corporations, is distinct 
from that of Aldermen ; so as without the consent and 
concurrence of both nothing is esteemed asa,Church act. 
But so as in this company of E'ders, this power is \iXQ- 
pei\y Authority ; but in the people is a piviledge or 
power. An apparent diffeience betweene these t\^'o is 
evident to us from this. That two or three or more select 
persons should be put into an Office and belrusted with 

12 To the Reader. 

an intire interest of power for a multitude, to which that 
multitude ought (by a command from Christ) to bee sub- 
ject &i obedient as to an ordinance to guide them in 
their consent, and in whose sentence the ultimate formal! 
Ministeriall act of binding or loosing should consist : this 
power must needs be esteemed and acknowledged in 
these few to have the proper notion and character of 
Authority, in comparison of that power (which must yet 
concurre with theirs) that is in a whole body or multitude 
of meU; who have a greater and neerer interest and con- 
cernment in those affairs, over which these few are set 
as Rulers. 

This difference of power doth easily appeare in com- 
paring tlie severall interest of Father and Child, in his 
disposement of her in marriage, and her concurrence with 
him therein, (although we intend not the parallell be- 
tween the things themselves.) A virgin daughter hath 
a power truly &t properly so called, yea and a power ul- 
timately to dissent upon an unsatisfied dislike, yea, and it 
must be an act of her consent, that maketh the marriage 
valid: But yet for lier Parents to have a power to guide 
her in her choyce (which she ought in duty to obey) and 
a power which must also concurre to bestowe her, or the 
marriage is invalid, this (comparing her interest (wherein 
she is more neerly and intimately concerned) with theii^s) 
doth arise to the notion of an exirinsicall authority; 
whereas that power in her is but simply the power of her 
own act, in which her own concernment which doth in- 
terest her free by an intrinsicall right. The like differ- 
ence would appeare, if we had seene a Government tem- 
pered of an Aristocracy and democracy ; in which, sup- 
pose the people have a share, and their actual! consent is 

To the Reader. 13 

necessary to all lawes and sentences, he. whereas a few 
nobles that are set over them (whose concernment is 
lesse generall) in whom the formall sanction of all sliould 
lye, in these it were Rule and Aufhoriti/, in that multi- 
tude but Power and interest, and such an Authority is to 
be given to a Presbytry of Elders in a particular congre- 
gation, or else (as wee have long since beene resolved), all 
that is said in the New Testiment about their Rule, and 
of the peoples Obedience to them, is to be looked- upon 
but as Metaphors, and to hold no proportion wiiii any 
substantiall reality of Rule and Government. 

And in this Distribution of power, Christ hath had a 
suitable and due regard unto the estate and condition of 
his Church ; as now under the New Testament, He hath 
qualified and dignified it. Vnder the Old Testament, it 
was in its infancy, but it is comparatively come forth of 
its nonage, &i growen up to a riper age (both as the te- 
nure of the Covenant of grace in difference from the old, 
runs in the Prophets, and as Paul to the Golatians ex- 
presselh it.) Tliey are therefore more generally able, if 
visible Saints (which is to be the subject matter of 
churches under the New Testament) to joyn with their 
Guides &i Leaders in judging and discerning what con- 
cernes their own and their Breihrens conscences; 
And therefore Christ hath not now lodged the sole power 
of all church matters solely &i entirely in the Churches 
Tutors h Governors as of old when it was under a<:e He 
did : But yet because of their weaknes and unskillfulnes 
(for the generality of them) in comparison to those whom 
He hath ascended to give gifts unto, on purpose for their 
guidance &t the government of them ; He hath, therefore, 


14 To the Reader. 

placed a Rule and Authority in those Officers over them, 
not directing onely but binding : so as not onely nothing 
(in an ordinary way of church government) should be 
done without them, but not esteemed validly done unlesse 
done by them. And thus by meanes of this due and 
golden ballancing &i poysing of power and interest, Au- 
thority and Privilege, in Elders and the Brethren, this 
Government might neither degenerate into Lordlynesse 
and oppression in Rulers over the Flocke, as not having 
all power in their hands alone ; nor yet into Anarchy and 
confusion in the Flocke among themselves ; and so as all 
thinfTs belono-ins to mens consciences mio;ht be, transacted 
to common edification, &i satisfaction. 

For the second. Let it not seeme a paradoxe that a 
Ministeriall Doctrinall Authority should be found sev- 
ered from that power of Excnmmunication, to second it, 
if not obeyed. Every Minister and Pastour hath in 
himselfe, alone, a Ministeriall Doctrinall authority over 
the whole Church that is his charge, and every person in 
it, to instruct, rebuke ^ exhort ivith all authority : By 
reason of which those under him are bound to obey him 
in the Lord, not only vi Materice by virtue of the matter 
of the commands, in that they are the commands of 
Christ (for so he should speake with no more authority 
than any other man, yea a child, who speaking a truth 
out of the word, should Jeade us, as the prophet 
speakes ;) But further, by reason of that Ministeriall 
Authority which Christ hath endowed him withall, he is 
to be looked at by them as an Ordinance of His, over 
them and towards them : And yet he alone hath not the 
authority of Excommunication in him, to inforce his 
Doctrine if any doe gainsay it : Neither therefore is this 

To the Reader. 15 

authority (as in him considered) to be judged vaine and 
fruiilesse and inefFectuall, to draw men to obedience. 

Neither let it seeme strange, that the power of this 
Censure, of cutting men off, and delivering them to Sa- 
tan (in which the positive part {and indeed the contro- 
versie betwixt us and others,^ of Excommunication lyes) 
should be inseperably linked by Christ unto a particular 
Congregaiion, as the proper native priviledge hereof, so 
as that no Assembly or company of Elders justly pre- 
sumed and granted to be more \^ ise &t judicious, should 
assume it to themselves, or sever the formall power 
thereof from the particular Congregations. For though 
it be hard to give the reason of Christs institutions. Yet 
there is usually in the waves of humane wisdom and rea- 
son something "analogous thereunto, which may serve to 
illustrate, if not to justifie this dispersion of interests : 
And so (if we mistake not) there may be found even of 
this in the wisdome of our Ancestours, in the constitu- 
tions of this Kingdome ; The sentencing to death of any 
subject in the Kingdome, as it is the highest civill pun- 
ishment, so of all other the neerest and exactest paralell 
to this in spiritualls, of cutting a soule off and delivering 
it to Satan ; yet the power of this high judgement is not 
put into the hands of an Assembly of Lawyers onely, 
no not of all the Judges themselves, men selected for 
wisdome, faithfulnesse, and gravity, who yet are by office 
designed to have an interest herein ; But when they up- 
on any speciall Cause of difficulty, for councell and di- 
rection in such judgements doe all rneete (as sometimes 
they doe) : Yet they have not power to pronounce this 
sentence of death upon any man without the concur- 
rence of a Jury of his Peeres, which are of his owne 

16 To the Reader, 

rank ; and in Corporations of such as are Inhabitants of 
the same place : And with a Jury of these (men, of 
themselves not supposed to be so skilfull in the Lavves 
&;c.) two Judges, yea one, with other Justices on the 
Bench hath power to adjudge and pronounce that which 
all of them, and all the Lawyers in this Kingdome to- 
gether, have not without a Jury. And we of this Na- 
tion use to admire the care and wisdom of our Ances- 
tors herein, &; do esteeme this priviledge of the Subject 
in this particular (peculiar to our Nation) as one of the 
glories of our Lawes, and doe make boast of it as such 
a liberty and security to each persons life, as (we thinke) 
no Nation about us can shew the like. And what should 
be the reason of such a constitution but this (which in 
the beginning we insisted on) the dispe'rsion of power 
into severall hands which in capitall matters, every mans 
tryall should runne through ; whereof the one should 
have the tye of like common intrest to oblige them unto 
faithfulnesse ; as the other should have skill and wisdome 
to guide them and direct therein. 

And besides that interest that is in any kind of Associa- 
tion, fraternity, yea or neighbourhood, or like wise, that 
which is from the common case of men alike subjected to 
an Authority set over them to sentence them, there is also 
the speciall advantage of an exact knowledge of the fact 
in the hainous circumstances thereof, yea, and (in these 
cases) of the ordinary conversation of the person offending. 

We need not inlarge in the application of this : Al- 
though a greater Assembly of Elders are to be rever- 
enced as more wise and able than a few Elders with their 
single Congregations J and accordingly may have an 
higher doctrinall power, (a power properly and peculiarly, 

To the Reader. 17 

suited to their abilities) in cases of difficulty, to deter- 
mine and direct Congregations in their way ; yet Christ 
hath not betrusted them with that power Hee hath done 
the Congregation ; because they are abstracted from the 
people : And so one Tribe of men concerned in all the 
forementioned respects is ivaniing which Christ would 
have personally concurring, not by delegation or lepre- 
sentation alone, not to the execution only, but even to 
the legaU sentence also of cutting men off, as in the for- 
mer paralell and instance may bee observed. Yea, and 
the higher and the greater the associations of the Fresby- 
teries are, the further are they retnoved from the people, . 
and although you might have thereby a greater helpe, in 
that Juridicall knowledge of the Rule, to be proceeded 
by : yet they are in a further distance (and disinabled 
thereby) from that Precise practique knowledge of the 
Fact and frame of spirit in the person transgressing. 
And Cases may be as truely difficult and hard to bee deci- 
ded from obscuritie and want of light into the Circum- 
stantiation of the Fact, and person : in which it was com- 
mitted, and by him obstinately persisted in; as of the 
Law itself. 

Other considerations of like weight might here be 
added, if not for the proofe (which w^e do not here in- 
tend) yet the clearing of this particular ; As also to de- 
monstrate that that other way of proceeding by with- 
drawing communion is most suitable to the relation, that 
by Christs endowment all Churches stand in one towards 
another, yea and wherein the least (being a body to 
Christ) doth stand unto all : But we should too much 
exceed the bounds of an Epistle, and too long detayne 


18 To the Reader, 

the Reader from the fruitfull and pregnant labors of the 
worthy Authour. 

The God of peace and truth, santifie all the truths in it, 
to all those holy ends (and through his grace much more) 
which the holy and peaceable spirit of the Author did 

Tho : Goodwin. 

Philip Nye. 

♦ \ 



'JjS UT) (Tij TfS J J3 O c 






Of the Kejs of the Kingdome of Heaven, and 
the Power thereof; according to the Word of 
God, &c. 

Chap. I. 

What the Keyes of the Kingdome of Heaven he, and 
ivhat their Power, 

THe Keyes of the Kingdom of Heaven are 
pronnised by the Lord Jesus (the head and 
King of his Church) unto Peter, Mat. 16. 19. 
To thee (saith Christ) will I give the heyesiof the King- 
dom of Heaven ; and ivhatsoever thou shah hinde on 
earth, shall be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever thou 
shah loose on earth, shall be loosed in Heaven. The 
words bein^ Allesoricall, are therefore somewhat obscure : 
and holding forth honor and power in the Church, are 
therefore controversall ; For where there is no honour 
(nor pride to pursue it) there is no contention. (Prov. 
15. 1.) It will not therefore be amisse, for opening of the 
Doctrine of the Power of the keyes; somewhat to open 
the words of this Text, whereon that power is built. 
Five words require a little clearing. 

1. What is here meant by the Kingdome of Heaven ? 

2. What are the keys of this kingdom, and the giving 
of ihem ? 

20 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

3. What are the acts of these Keyes, which are said 
to be bindinsf and loosinti? 

4. What is the object of these acts to be bound or 
loosed, here put under generall name, Whatsoever ? 

5. Who is the subject recipient of this power, or to 
whom is this power given ? To thee will I give the 
Keyes, &z;c. 

1. For the first : By the Kingdome of Heaven is here 
meant both the Kingdome of Grace, which is the Church ; 
and the Kingdome of Glory, which is in the highest 
heavens; For Christ giving to Peter the keys of the 
kingdome of Heaven, conveyeth therewith not only this 
power to binde on earth (that is, in the Church on earth ; 
for he gave him no power at all to binde in the world ; 
The kingdome of Christ is not of this world ;) but he 
gives him also this priviledge ; That what he bound on 
earth, should be bound in heaven. And heaven being 
distinguished from the Church on earth, must needs be 
meant the kingdome of Glory. 

2. For the second : What the keys of the kingdom of 
heaven be ? 

The keys of the kingdom are the Ordinances which 
Christ hath instituted, to be administred in his Church ; 
as the preaching of the Word, (which is the opening and 
applying of it) also the administring of the Seals and 
censures ; For by the opening and applying of these, 
both the gates of the Church here, and of heaven here- 
after, are opened or shut to the sons of men. 

And the giving of these keyes, implyeth, that Christ 
investeth those to whom he giveth them, with a power to 
open, and shut the gates of both. And this power lyeth 
partly in their spirituall calling (whether it be iheir office, 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 21 

or their place &t order in the Ghurcli :) and partly in the 
concurse and co-operation of the Spirit of Christ, accom- 
panying the right dispensation of tliese keyes ; that is, of 
these Ordinances according to his will. 

Moreover, these keys are neither Sword nor Scepter ; 
No Sivord, for they convey not civill power of bodily life 
and death ; nor Sceptre, for they convey not Soveraiime 
or Legislative power over the Church, but stewardly and 
ministerial!. As the key of the House of David was 
given to Hilkiah (Isa. 22. 22.) who succeeded Shehna 
in his office ; and his office was n^an-bs' over the house, 

' • |T - - ^ 

V. 15. and the same word over the house, is translated 
steward in the house, Geri. 43. 19. 

3. Touching the third thing, what are the acts of 
these keys ? 

The acts of these keys, are said here to be binding 
and loosing, which are not the proper acts of materiall 
keys ; for their acts be opening and shutting, which ar- 
gueth the keys here spoken of be not materiall keys, but 
metaphorical! ; and yet being keys they have a power 
also of opening and shutting : for Christ who hath 
the soveraigne power of these keyes, hee is said 
to have the key of David to open, and no man to 
shut ; to shut, and no man to open. Rev. 3. 7. which 
implyeth, that these keys of Christs Kingdome, have 
such a power of opening and shutting, as that they do 
thereby, binde and loose, retain and remit ; in opening, 
they loose, and I'emit : in shutting they binde, and retain ; 
which will more appeare in opening the fourth point. 

4. The fourth point then is, What is the subject to be 
bound and loosed ? 

The Text in Mat. 16. 9. saith, whatsoever j which 

22 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

reachelh not (so far as the Papists would stretch it) to 
whatsoever oathes, or covenants, or contracts, or coun- 
sels, or lavves ; as if whatsoever oathes of allegiance, 
covenants of lease or marriage, &lc. the Pope ratifieth or 
dissolveth on earth, should be ratified or dissolved in 
heaven : No, this is not the key of the kingdome of 
heaven, but the key of the botlomlesse pit, Rev. 9. 1. 
But this word whatsoever is here put in the Neuter Gen- 
der, (not in the Masculine ivhomsoever) to imply both 
things and persons ; Things, as sins ; Persons, as those 
that commit them. For so when our Saviour speaketh 
of the same acts, of the same keys, Joh. 20. 21. he ex- 
plaineth himself thus ; Whose sins soever yec remit, they 
are remitted, and whose sins soever yee retain, they are 
retained. Whatsoever you binde on earth, is, as much 
therefore, as whose sins soever you retain on earth ; and 
whatsoever you loose on earth, is as much as whose sins 
soever you loose on earth. 

Now this binding and loosing of whatsoever sins, in 
whosever commit them, is partly in the conscience of the 
sinner, and partly in his outward estate in the Church, 
which is wont to be expressed in other terms, either in 
foro interiori, or in foro exteriori. As when in the 
dispensation of the Ordinances of God, a sinner is con- 
vinced to lie under the guilt of sin, then his sin is re- 
tained, his conscience is bound under the guilt of it, and 
himself bound under some Cliurch-censure, accordins to 
the quality and desert of his offence ; and if his sin be 
the more hainous, himself is shut out from the commu- 
nion of the Church : But when a sinner repenteth of his 
sin, and confesseih it before the Lord, and (if it be 
known) before his people also, and then in the ministery 

of Heaven and the poiver thereof. 23 

jf the Doctrine and Disciple of the Gospel, his sin is re- 
mitted, and bis conscience loosed from llie guilt of it, 
and himself hath open and free entrance, both unto the 
)romise of the Gospel, and into the gates of the holy 
communion of the Church. 

5. The fifth point to be explained, is, To whom is this 
30wer of the keyes given ? The Text saith. To thee 
Simon Peter, the sonne of Jona, whom Christ blesselh, 
and pronounceth blessed upon his holy confession of 
Christ, the Sonne of the living God, and upon the same 
Dccasion promiseth both to use him and his confession, 
as an Instrument to lay the foundation of his Church ; 
and also to give him the keys of his Church, for the well 
ordering and governing of it But it hath proved a busie 
Question, How. PeJ'er is to be considered in receivinor this 
power of the keys, whether as an Apostle or as an Elder, 
(for an Elder also he was, 1 Pet. 5. 1.) or as a Believer 
professing his faith before the Lord Jesus, and his fellow 
Brethren. Now because wee are as well studious of 
peace, as of tiuth, wee will not leane to one of these 
interpretations, more than to anoihei'. Take any of 
them, it will not hinder our purpose in this ensuing Dis- 
course, though (to speake ingenuously and without ofience 
what we conceive) the sense of the words will be most 
full, if all the severall considerations be taken joyntly 
together. Take Peter considered not onely as an Apos- 
tle, but an Elder also, yea, and a Beleever too, professing 
his faith, all may well stand together. For there is a 
different power given to all these, to an Apostle, to an 
Elder, to a Beleever, and Peter was all these, and re- 
ceived all the power, which was given by Christ to any 
of these, or to all of these together. For as the Father 

24 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

sent Christ, so Christ sent Peter (as well as any Apostle) 
cum amplitudinc, et pJenitudine potesiatis (so far as 
either any Church-Officer, or the whole Church itselfe, 
was capable of it) John 20. 21. So that Austin did not 
mistake when he said Peter received the keys in the 
name of the Church. Neverthelesse, wee from this 
place in Mat. 16. 19. will challenge no further power, 
either to the Presbytery, or to the Fraternatie of the 
, Church, then is more expressly granted to them in other 
Scriptures. Now in other Scriptures it appeareth ; 
First, That Christ gave the power of retaining or remit- 
ting of sins (that is, the power of binding and loosing, the 
whole power of the keys) to all the Apostles as well as 
to Peter Joh. 20. 21. 23. Secondly, It appeareth also 
-that the apostles commended the rule and government of 
every particular Church to the Elders (the Presbytery) 
of that Church, Heb. 13. 17. 1 Tim. 5. 17. And 
therefore Christ gave the power of the Keys to them 
also. Thirdly, It appeareth farther that Christ gave the 
power of the keys to the Body likewise of the Church, 
even to the Fraternati(3 with the Presbytery. For the 
Lord Jesus communicateth the power of binding and 
loosing, to the Apostles, or Elders, together with the 
whole Church, when they are met in his name, and 
agree together in the censure of an offender, ]\Jnt. 18. 
17. 18. If an offender (saith he) neglect to heare the 
Church, let him be to thee as an Heathen or a Publican, 
thnt is, let him be excommunicated. Which censure ad- 
ministered by them, with the whole Church, he ratifietb 
with this promise of the power of the keys. Verily,! say 
unto you, whatsoever ye shall hinde on earth, shall he 
hound in heaven^ and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 25 

shall be loosed in heaven. In which place, howsoever 
there be some difference between Classical! and Congre- 
gationall Divines, what should be meant by the Church 
{Tell the Church') whether the Presbytery or the Con- 
gregation : yet all agree in this (and it is agreement in 
the truth, which wee seek for) That no offender is to be 
excommunicated, but with some concurse of the Consre- 
gation, at least by way. 1. Of consent to the sentence. 
2. or actual execution of it by withdrawing themselves 
from the offender so convicted and censured. Now this 
consent and concurse of the Congregation, \^hich is 
requisite to the power and validitie of the censure, we 
conceive is some part of the exercise of the power of the 

So that when Christ said to Peter, To thee wilt 
I give the Iceys of the Mngdom of heaven : If Peter 
then received the whole power of the keys, then he 
stood in the roome and name of all such, as have re- 
ceived any part of the power of the keys, whether 
Apostles, or Elders, or Churches. Or if he stood in the 
roome of an Apostle onely, yet that hindreth not, but 
that as he there received the power of an Apostle, so the 
rest of the Apostles received the same power, either 
there or elsewhere : and the Presbytery of each Church 
received, if not there, yet elsewhere, the power belong- 
ing to their office : and in like sort each Church or Con- 
gregation of professed Believers, received that portion 
also of Church-power which belonged to them. 

26 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

Chap. II. 

Of the Distribution of the Keys, and their poiver, or of 
the severall sorts thereof. 


He ordinary Distribution of the keys is wont to be 
thus dehvered. There is davis 

{1. Scieniice, A key of knowledge, and 
2. Potestatis, a key of power : and the key of power 


( 1. Ordinis, Either a key of order, or 

) 2. Juris dictionis, a key of Jurisdiction. 

This distribution though it goe for current both amongst 
Protestants and Papists, yet wee crave leave to expresse, 
what in it doth not fully satisfie us. Foure things in it 
seeme defective to us: 1. That any key of the king- 
dome of heaven should be left without power. For here 
in this distribution, the key of knowledge is contradis- 
tinguished from a key of power. 

2. There is a reall defect in omitting an integrall part of 
the keys, which is that key of poiver or liberty, which 
belongeth to the Church itself. But no marvell, though 
the Popish Clergie omitted it, who have oppressed all 
Church-libertie : and Protestant Churches, having re- 
covered the liberlie of preaching the Gospel, and minis- 
tery of the Sacraments, have been well satisfied there- 

of Heaven and the 'power thereof, 27 

with, so as some of them have looked no farther, nor so 
much as discerned their defect of Church-power, or 
liberty due unto them in point of disciphne : and others 
finding themselves wronged in withholding a key or 
pow-er, which belongs to them, have wrested to them- 
selves an undue power, which belongs not to them, the 
key of authority. 

3. There is another defect in the Distribution, in di- 
viding the key of order from the key of Jurisdiction ; of 
purpose to make way for the power of Chancellours and 
Commissaries in foro exteriori : who though they want 
the key of order, (having never entred into holy orders, 
as tliey are called, or at most into the order of Deacons 
onely ; whereof our Lord spake nothing touching Jurisdic- 
tion) yet they have been invested with Jurisdiction, yea, 
and more then ministeriall authoritie, even above those 
Elders who labour in word and doctrine : By this sacra- 
legious breach of order (whicli hath been as it were the 
breaking of the Files and Ranks in an Armie) Satan 
hath routed and ruined a great part of the liberiie and 
puritie of Churches, and of all the Ordinances of Christ 
in them. 

4. A fourth defect, (but yet the least, which we ob- 
serve in this distribution) is, that order is appropriated to 
the Officers of the Church onely. For though wee be 
far from allowing that sacralegious usurpation of the min- 
isters office, which we heare of (to our griefe) to be 
practised in some places, that private Christians ordina- 
rily take upon tliem to preach the Gospel publickly, and 
to minister Sacraments: Yet we put a difference be- 
tween Office and Order. Office we looke at as peculiar 
to those, who are set apart for some peculiar function in 

28 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

the Church, who are either Elders or Deacons. But 
order (speaking of Church-order properly taken) is com- 
mon to all the members of the Church, whether Officers 
or private brethren. There is an order as well in them 
that are subject, as in them that rule. There is a rd^tg 
as well Twr TLinoiaiCTiHibVj as Tw*' t7tiTuy.n}((f)i'. The maid in 
A-thenceUS is said OeQanaiPrjg ja^iv endu^ovdcc^ as well as 
her Mistresse. Yet if any man be willing to make office 
and order aequipollent, we will not contend about words, 
so there be no erroneous apprehension wrapt into the 
matter. To come therefore to such a distribution of 
the keyes as is more suitable to Scripture phrase. For 
it becomes true Israelites rather to speak the language 
of Canaan, then the lan^^uao^e of Ashdod. When Paul 
beheld, and rejoiced to behold, how the Church of 
Colosse had received the Lord Jesus, and walked in 
him ; he summeth up all their Church estate, to wit, 
their beautie and power, in these two. Faith and order. 
Col. 2. 5, 6. There is therefore a Jcey of Faith, and a 
Jcey of Order. 

Tiie key of Faith, is the same which the Lord Jesus 
calleth the key of knowledge, Luke l\. ^2. and which 
he complaineth, the Lawyers had taken away. Now that 
key of knowledge Christ speaketh of, was such, that if it 
had not been taken away, they that had it, had power by 
it to enter into the kingdom of heaven themselves, and it 
may be to open the doore to others, to enter also. Now 
such a knowledge whereby a man hath power to enter 
into heaven, is onely faith, which is often therefore called 
knowledge, as La. 53. H. By the knowledge of him 
shall my righteous servant justifie many : that is, by the 
faith of Christ, And Joh. 17. 3. This is eternall life to 


of Heaven and the power thereof. 29 

know thee : that is, to beleeve on thee. This key there- 
;fore, the key of knowledge (saving knowledge) or 
which is all one, the key of faith, is common to all be- 
leevers. A faithful! soul knowing the Scriptures, and 
Christ in them, receiveth Christ, and entreth througli him 
into the kingdom of heaven, both here, and hereafter. 
iHere he entreth into a state of grace through faith 
Heb. 4: 3. and by the profession of his faith, he entreth 
]also into the fellowship of the Church (which is the 
kingdom of heaven upon earth :) and by the same faith, 
|as he beleeveth to justification, so he maketh confession 
to salvation, which is perfected in the kingdom of glory. 
Ro7n. 10. 10. 

Tlie key of Order is the power whereby every mem- 
ber of the Church walketh orderly himself, according to 
his place in the Church, and helpeth his brethren, to 
walk orderly also. 

It was that which the Apostles and Elders called upon 
Paul, so to carrie himself before the Jews in the Temple, 
that he might make it appear to all men that he walked 
orderly. (^Act. 21. 18. 24.) Orderly, to wit, according 
to the order of the Jewish Chuch, with whom he then 
conversed. And it was the commandment which Paul 
gave to the whole Church of Thessalonica, and to all the 
members of it, to withdraw themselves from every brother 
that ivalktth disorderly, 2 Thes. 3. 6. This their with- 
drawing from him that walketh disorderly, was the exer- 
cise of their key of order. And it was a like exercise of 
the same key of order, when he requireth the Brethren 
to warne the unruly, which is, (in the originall) tlje same 
word, to admonish the disorderly : 1 Thcs. 5. 14. And 
this key of order (to wit, order understood in this sense) 

30 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

is common to all the members of the Church, whether 
Elders or brethren. 

Furthermore, of Order there be iivo Jceyes ; a key 
of power, or interest : And the key of Authority 
or Rule. The first of these is termed in the Scrip- 
of Rule and Authority in the officers of the Church, 
tures. Liberty : So distinguishing it from that part 
We speak not here of that spirituall liberty, whether of 
impunitie, whereby the children of God are set free by 
the blood of Christ from Satan, hell, bondage of sin, curse 
of the Morall Law, and service of the Ceremoniall Law : 
nor of immunitie whereby we have poiver to be called 
the sons of God, to come boldly unto the throne of grace 
in prayer, and as heirs of glory, to look for our inheritance 
in light : but of that externall libertie, or interest which 
Christ also hath purchased for his people, as libertie to 
enter into the fellowship of his Church, libertie to chuse 
and call well gifted men to office in that his Church : 
libertie to partake in Sacraments, or seals of the Cove- 
nant of the Church : libertie and interest to joyn with 
officers in the due censure of offenders, and the like. 
This libertie and the acts thereof, are often exemplified 
in the Acts of the Apostles : and the Apostle Paul call- 
eth it expressly by the name of libertie. Brethren (sd^xih. 
he) you have been called, unto Liberty, onely use not 
your liberty as an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve 
one another. Gal. 5. 13. that the Apostle by that liber- 
tie meaneth Church libertie or power in ordering Church 
affaires, will evidently appeare, if we consult with the 
context, rather then with Commenters. For the Apostle 
having spent the former part of the Epistle, partly in the 
confirmation of his calling, partly in disputation against 

of Heaven and the 'power thereof. 31 

justification by the works of the Law, to the end of v. 8. 
of Chap. 5. in the ninth Verse he descendeth not to ex- 
hort unto bonos mores in general!, (as usually Commenters 
take it) but to instruct in Church Discipline, in which he 
giveth three or foure directions to the tenth v. of Chap. 6. 
1. Touching the censure of those corrupt Teachers, who 
had perverted and troubled them with that corrupt Doc- 
jtrine of justification by works. Chap. 5 ver. 9. to the 
end of the Cliap. 2. Touching the gentle admonition 
and restoring of a brother fallen by infirmitie, Chap. 6. 
ver. 1. to 5. 3. Touching the maintenance of their 
Ministers, ver. 6, 7, 8. and beneficence to others, ver. 
9. 10. 

Touching the first, the censure of their corrupt teach- 
ers. 1 He layeth for the ground of it (that which him- 
self gave for the ground of the excommunication of the 
incestuous Corinth, 1 Cor. 5. 6). A little leaven ItaveU' 
eth the whole lump. vers. 9. 

2. He presumeth the Church will be of the same mind 
with him, and concur in the censure of him that troubled 
them with corrupt doctrine, v. 10. (from fellowship with 
which corrupt doctrine he cleareth himself v. 11.) 

3. He proceedeth to declare, what censure he w isheth 
might be dispended against him, and the rest of those 
corrupt teachers. I would (saith he) they ivere even cut 
off that trouble you : cut off, to wit, by excommunication, 
ver. 12. Now lest it should be objected by the brethren 
of the Church : But what power have we to cut them 
off? The Apostle answereth, they have a power and 
libertie (to wit to joyn with the sounder part of the 
Presbyterie, in casting them out, or cutting them off:) 
For brethren (saith he) you are called unto liberty. 

32 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

If it should be further objected, Yea, but give the people 
this power and libertie in some cases, either to cast off their 
teachers, or to cut them off, the people will soon take ad- 
vantage to abuse this libertie unto much carnall licentious- 
nesse. The Apostle preventeth that with a word of 
wholsome counsell : Brethren (saith he) you have been 
called unto libertie : onely use not your liberty as an occa- 
sion to the flesh, but by love serve one another, v. 13. and 
thereupon seasonably pursueth this counsell with a caveat j 
to beware of abusing this liberty to carnall contention, 
(an usuall disease of popular liberty) and withall dehorteth 
them from all other fruits of the flesh, to the end of the 
Chapter. Evident therefore it is, that there is a key of 
power or libertie given to the Church (to the Brethren 
with the Elders) as to open a doore of entrance to the 
Ministers calling; so to shut the doore of entrance against 
them in some cases, as when through corrupt and perni- 
cious doctrine, they turn from Shepherds to become raven- 
ous wolves. 

Having spoken then of that first key of order, namely, 
the key of 'power, (in a more large sense) or liberty in 
the Church, there remaineth the other hey of order, 
which is the key of Authority or of Rule, in a more 
strict sense which is in the Elders of the Church. 
Authority is a morall power, in a superiour order (or 
state) binding or releasing an inferiour in point of sub- 
jection. This key when it was promised to Peter, Math. 
16. 19. and given to him with the rest of the Apostles, 
Joh. 20. 23. they thereby had power to bind and loose ; 
and it is the same Authority which is given to their suc- 
cessours the Elders whereby they are called to feed and 
rule the Church of God, as the Apostles had done before 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 33 

them. Acts, 20. 28. And indeed by opening, and ap- 
plying the Law (the spirit of bondage accompanying the 
jSame) they bind sinners under the curse, and their con- 
sciences under guilt of sin, and fear of wrath, and shut 
the kingdom of heaven against them. And by opening 
and applying the Gospel (the Spirit of Adoption accom- 
ipanying the same) they remit sin, and loose the con- 
sciences of bcleeving repenting souls from guilt of sin, 
and open to them the doores of heaven. By vertue of 
'this key, as they preach with all authoritie, not onely 
the doctrine of the Law, but also the Covenant of the 
Gospel ; so they administer the seals thereof, Baptisme, 
and the Lords Supper. By virtue also of this key, they 
with the Church do bind an obstinate offender under ex-' 
communication. Math. 18. 17. 18. and release, and for- 
give him upon his repentance. 2 Cor. 2. 7. 

This Distribution of the keys, and so of spiritual power y 
in the things of Christs kingdom we have received from 
the Scripture. But if any men out of love to Antiquitie, 
do rather affect to keep to the terms of the former more 
ancient Distribution (as there be who are as loath to 
change Antiquos terminos verborum, as agrarum) we 
would not stick upon the words rightly explained, out of 
desire both to judge and speak the same things with 
fellow-brethren. Onely then let them allow some spirit- 
uall power to the key of knowledge, though not Church- 
power. And in Church power let them put in as well a 
key of liberty, that is, a power and priviledge o^ interest , 
33 a key of Authoritie. And by their key of order, as 
they do understand the key of office, so let them not 
divide from it the key of jurisdiction (for Christ hath 
given no jurisdiction, but to whom he hath given office) 
and so we willingly consent with them. 

34 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

Chap. III. 

Of the subject of the power of the Iceyes, to whom they 
are committed : and first of the key of knowledge j 
and Order, 

>A S the keys of the kingdom of heaven be divers, so 1 
-*-^^ are the subjects to whom they are committed, 
divers : as in the natiirall body, diversitie of functions 
belongeth to diversity of members. 1. The key of 
knowledge (or which is all one, the key of Faith) belong- 
eth to all the failhfull, whether joyned to any particular 
Church or no. As in the primitive times, men of grown 
yeers were first called and converted to the faith, before 
they were received into the Church : And even now an 
Indian or Pagan may not be received into the Church, 
till he have first received the faith, and have made pro- 
fession of it before the Lord, and the Church : which 
argueth, that the key of knowledge is given not onely to 
the Church, but to some before they enter into the Church. 
And yet to Christians for the Churches sake : that they 
who receive this grace of faith, by it may receive Christ 
and his benefits, and therewith may receive also this 
priviledge, to find an open doore set before them, to enter 
into the fellowship of the Church. 2. The key of order 
(speaking as we do of Church order, as Paul doth, Col. 
2. 5) belongeth to all such, who are in Church order, 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 35 

whether Elders or Brethren, For though Elders be In a 
superiour order, by reason of their office, yet the brethren 
(over whom the Elders are made Overseers and Rulers) 
they stand also in an order, even in orderly subjection, 
according to the order of the Gospel. It is true, every 
faithful soul that hath received a key of knowledge, is 
bound to watch over his neighbours soul, as his own, and 
to admonish him of his sin, unlesse he be a scorner : but 
this he doth, iVon ratione ordinis, sed intuitu charitatis : 
not by vertue of a state of order which he is in (till in 
Church fellowship) but as of common Christian love and 
Icharitie. But every faithfull Christian who standeth in 
Church order is bound to do the same, as well respectu 
ordinis, as intuitu charitatis, by virtue of that royall Law, 
not onely of love, but of Church order, Matth. 18. 15, 
16, 17. whereby if his brotner who offended him, do not 
hearken to his conviction and admonition, he is then ac- 
cording to order, to proceed further, taking one or two 
with him : and if the offender refuse to hear them also, 
then he is by order to tell the Church, and afterwards 
iwalk towards him, as God shall direct the Church to 
order it. 

36 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

Chap. IIII. 

Of the subject to whom to the Tcey of Church prlviledge, 
power, or Liberty is given. 

|His key Is given to the Brethren of the Church : 
for so saiih the Apostle, in Gal. 5. 13. (in the 
place quoted and opened before) Brethren, you have 
been called to liberty. And indeed, as it is the bv iivav^ 
ev6$i(x^ & ivTTga^la of a Commonwealth, the right and due 
establishment and ballancing of the liberties or privi- 
ledges of the people (which is in a true sense, may be 
called a power) and the authority of the Magistrate : so 
it is the safety of Church estate, the right and due set- 
tling and ordering of the holy power of the priviledges 
and liberties of the Brethren, and the ministeriall author- 
ity of the Elders. The Gospel alloweth no Church au- 
thority (or rule properly so called) to the Brethren, but 
reserveth that wholly to the Elders ; and yet preventeth 
the tyrannie and oligarchy, and exhorbitancy of the El- 
ders, by the large and firm establishment of the liberties 
of the Brethren, which ariseth to a power in them. JBu- 
cers axiome is here notable ; Potestas penes omnem Ec- 
clesiam est ; Authoritas ministerii penes Presbyteros Sf 
Episcopos. In Mat. 16. 19. where Potestas , or power 
being contradistinguished from Authoritas, Authority is 
nothing else but a liberty or prlviledge. 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 37 

The liberties of the Brethren, or of the Church con- 
sisting of them, are many and great. 
' 1. The Church of Brethren hath the power, privi- 
leclges and liberty to choose their officers. In the choyce 
of an Apostle into the place of Judas, the people went 
as far as humane vote and suffrage could go. Out of 120 
persons {Acts 1. 15.) they chose out, and presented 
two ; out of which two (because an Apostle was to be 
designed immediately by God) God by lot chose one ; 
And yet this one so chosen of God avyxaTsipTjqiadtj com- 
munibus omnium suffragiis inter duodecim Apostolos al- 
lectus est v. 26. was counted amongst the Apostles by 
the common suffrages of them all. And this place Cyp- 
rian presseth amongst others, to confirm ihe poiver, (that 
is t^ovoiup or priviledgc, or liberty) of the people in 
choosinor or refusins their Ministers. Plebs Christiana 
(saith he) vel maxime potestatem habei, vel dignos sa- 
cerdotes eligendi, vel indignos recusandi, Epistol. 4. 
lib. 1. 

The like, or greater liberty is generally approved by 
the best of our Divines (studious of Reformation) from 
Acts 14. 23. Tiiey ordained them Elders, chosen by 
lifting up of hands. 

The same power is cleerly expressed in the choyce of 
Deacons, Acts 6. 3. 5. 6. The Apostles did not choose 
the Deacons, but called the multitude together and said 
unto them. Brethren, looJce you out seven men amongst 
you whom we may appoint over this businesse : And the 
saying pleased the whole multitude, and they chose Ste- 
phen, &iC. 

2. It is a priviledge or a liberty the Church hath re- 
ceived, to send forth one or more of their Elders, as the 

33 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

publike service of Christ, and of the Church may re- 
quire. Thus Epcephroditus was a Messenger or Apostle 
of the Church of FhiUppi unto Paul. Phil. 2. 25. 

3. The Brethren of the Church have power and lib- 
erty of propounding any just exception against such as 
offer themselves to be admitted unto their communion^ 
or unto the scales of it : Hence Saul, when hee offered 
himself to the communion of the Church at Jerusalem, 
was not at first admitted thereto, upon an exception taken 
against him by the Disciples till that exception was re- 
moved, Acts 9. "26. 27. And Peter did not admit 
the family of Corxielius to Baptisme, till he had inquired 
of the Brethren, if any of them had any exception 
against it. Acts 10. 47. 

4. As the Brethren have a power of order, and the 
privilcdge to expostulate with their Brethren, in case of 
private scandalls, according to the rule, Mat. 18. 15. 16. 
so in case of publike scanda'.l, the whole Church o^ Breth- 
ren have power and priviledge to joyn with the Elders, 
in inquiring, hearing, judging of publike scandals ; so as 
to binde notorious offenders and im penitents under cen- 
sure, and to forgive the repentant : For when Christ 
commandeth a brother, in case that offence cannot be 

, healed privately, then to tell the Church, Mat. 18. 17. 
it necessarily implyeih that the Church must heare him, 
and inquire intolhe offence complained of, and judge of 
the offence as they find it upon inquiry. When the 
Brethren that were of the circumcision expostulated with 
Peter about his communion with Cornelius, and his un- 
circumcised family, Peter did not reject them ; and their 
complaint against him, as transgressing the bounds of 
their just power and priviledge^ but readily addressed 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 39 

himself to give satisfaction to tliern all, Acts 11. 2. to 
18. The Brethren of the Church of Corinth being 
galhered together with their Eiders, in the name of the 
Lord Jisus, and with his power, did deliver the incestu- 
ous person to Satan, 1 Cor. 5. 4. 5. And Faul re- 
proveih them all, Brethren as well as Elders, that they 
had no sooner put him away from amongst, them, v. 2. 
and expressly he alloweth to them all power to judge 
them that are within, v. 22. Yea, and from thence ar- 
gneth, in all the Saints, even in the meanest of the Saints, 
an ability to judge between brethren, in ihe things of this 
life, as those that have received such a spirit of discern- 
ing from Christ, by which they shall one day judge the 
world, even Angels, so m the next Chapter, the 6. of 
that 1 Cor. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. And the same Brethren of 
the same Chorcli, as well as the Elders, he intreated to 
forgive the same incestuous Corinthian, upon his repent- 
ance. 2 Cor. 2. 7. 8. 

If it be said, io judge is an act of rule ; and to be Ru- 
lers of the Church, is not given to all the Brethren, but 
to the Elders only; Answ. All judgement is not an act 
of authority or rule ; for there is a judgement of discre- 
tion, by way of privilcdge, as well as of authority by 
way of sentence. Tliat of discretion is common to all 
the Brethren, as well as that of authority belongeth to 
the Presbytery of that Church. In England the Jury 
by their verdict, as well as the Judge by his sentence, 
do both of them judge the same malefactor ; yet in the 
Jury their verdict is but an act of their popular liberty. 
In the Judge it is an act of his Judiciall authority. 

If it be demanded, What difference is there between 
these two ? 

40 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

Tlje answer is ready, Great is the difference : for 
though the Jury have given up their judgement and ver- 
dict, yet the malefactor is not thereupon legally con- 
demned, much lesse executed, but upon the sentence of 
the Judge. In like sort here, though the Brethren of 
the Church do with one accord give up their vote and 
judgement for the censure of an offender, yet he is not 
thereby censured, till upon the sentence of the Presby- 

If it be said again ; Yea, but it is an act of authority 
to binde and loose, and the power to bind and loose, 
Christ gave to the whole Church, Mat. 18. 18. 

Ansiv. The whole Church may be said to bind and 
loose, in that the Brethren consent, and concurre with 
the Elders, both before the Censure in discernino; it to be 
just and equall, and in declaring their discernment, by 
lifting up of their hands, or by silence, and after the cen- 
sure, in rejecting the offender censu-red from their wonted 
Communion. And yet their discerning or approving of 
the justice of the censure before-hand, is not a prevent- 
inic of the Elders in their work. For the Elders before 
that have not onely privately examined the offender and 
his offence, and the proofes thereof, to prepare the mat- 
ter and ripen it for the Churches cognizance : but 
doe also publickly revise the heads of all the materiall 
passages thereof before the Church ; and doe withall de- 
clare to the Church tlie counsell and will of God therein, 
that they may rightly discerne and approve what censure 
the Lord requireth to be administered in such a case. 
So that the peoples discerning and approving the justice 
of the censure before it be administered, ariseth from the 
Elders former instruction and direction of them therein : 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 41 

Whereunto the people give consent, in obedience to the 
will and rule of Clirist. Hence is that speech of the 
Apostle : Wee have in readinesse to revenge all disobe- 
dience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 2 Cor. 
10, 6. The Apostles revenge of disobedience by way' 
of reproofe in preaching, doth not follow the peoples 
obedience, but proceedeth whether the people obey it or 
no. It was therefore their revenge of disobedience by 
way of censure in discipline, which they had in readi- 
nesse, when the obedience of the Church is fulfilled in 
discerning and approving the Equitie of the Censure, 
which the Apostles or Elders have declared to then) from 
the Word. 

This power or priviledge of the Church in dealing in 
this sort with a scandalous offender, may not be limited 
only to a private brother offending, but may reach also 
to an offensive Elder. For (as hath been touched al- 
ready) it is plaine that the Brethren of the Circumcision, 
supposing Peter to have given an offence in eating with 
men uncircumcised, they openly expostulated with him 
about his offence, and he stood not with them upon termes 
of his Apostleship, much lesse of his Eldership, but wil- 
ingly submitted himselfe to give satisfaction to ihem all. 
Acts, 11, 2 to 18. And Paul writeth to the Church of 
Colosse, to tleale with Archippvs, warning him to see to 
the fulfilling of his Ministry. Col. 4, 17. And very preg- 
nant is his direction to the Galatians, for their proceed- 
ing to the utmost with their corrupt and scandalous false 
Teachers. 1 would (saith he) tLei/ were even cut off 
that trouble you; And that upon this very ground of 
their liberiie, Gal. 5. 12, 13, as hath been opened above 

in Chap. 2. 


42 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

But whether the Church hath power or lihertie for 
proceeding to the utmost censure of their whole Presby- 
tery, is a Question of more difficultie. 

For, 1. It cannot well be conceived that the whole 
Presbytery should be proceeded against, but that by rea- 
son of their strong influence into the hearts of many of 
the Brethren, a strong partie of the Brethren will be 
ready to side with them: and in case of finding dissen- 
sion and opposition, the Church ouglit not to proceed 
without consulting with the Synod. As when there 
arose dissension in the Church at Antioch and Siding, 
(or as the word is crmff^c) they sent up to the Apostles 
and Elders at Jerusalem, who in way of Synod determin- 
ed the businesse, Acts 15. 2 to 23. A precedent and 
patterne of due Church proceedings in case of dissen- 
sion, when some take with one side, some with another. 
But of that more hereafter. 

1. Ejccommunicntion is one of the highest acts of Rule 
in the Church, and therefore cannot be performed but by 
some Rulers. Now where all the Elders are culpable, 
there be no Rulers left in that Church to censure them. 
As therefore the Presbytery cannot excommunicate the 
whole Cliurch (though Apostate) for they must tell the 
Church, and joyne with the Church in that Censure : So 
neither can the Church excommunicate the whole Pres- 
bytery, because they have not received from Christ an 
office of rule, without their Officers. 

If it be said the iwcniiefoure Elders (who represent 
the private members of the Church, as the foure living 
creatures doe the foure Officers) had all of them Crowns 
upon their heads, and sate upon thrones (Rev. 4. 4,) 
which are signes of regall authoritie : The answer is, 
The crowns and thrones argue them to be Kings, no 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 43 

' more then their ivhite rayments argue them to be Priests 
ver. 4, but neither Priests nor Kings by office, but by 
libertie to performe like spirituall duties by grace, which 
the other doe by grace and office : As Priests they offer 
up spirituall sacrifices ; and as Kings they rule their lusts, 
passions, themselves, and their ftimilies, yea, the world 
and Church also after a sort ; the world, by improving it 
to spirituall advantage : and the Ciiurch, by appointing 
their own Officers, and likewise in censuring their offend- 
cers, not onely by their officers (which is as much as 
Kings are wont to doe) but also by their own royall as- 
sent, which Kings are not wont to doe, but onely in the 
execution of Nobles. 

But neverthelesse, though the Church want autljoritie 
to excommunicate their Presbytery, yet they want not 
libertie to withdraw from them : For so Paul instructeth 
and beseecheih the Church of Rome (whom the holy 
Ghost foresaw would most stand in need of this counsell) 
to make use of this libertie : 1 beseech you (saiih he) 
mark such as r.ause divisions and offences, contrary to the 
DOCTRINE you havc received y.uL txxXinxTe un' uviibi^ with- 
draw from them. 

So then by the agitation of this objection, there ap- 
peare two liberties of the Church more to be added to 
the former. 

One is this (which is the fifih libertie in members) the 
Church hath liberlie in case of dissension amongst them- 
selves to resort to a Synod. Acts 15. 1, 2. Where 
also it appeareth the Brethren enjoyed this liberlie, to 
dispute their doubts till they were satisfied, ver. 7, 12, to 
joyne with the Apostles and Elders in the definitive sen- 
tence and in the promulgation of the same, ver. 22, 23. 

44 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

The sixth Libertle of the Church is, To withdraw 
from the communion of those, whom they want authori- 
tie to excommunicate. For as they set up the Presby- 
tery, by professing their subjection to them in the Lord : 
so they avoyd them by professed withdrawing their sub- 
jection from them according to God. 

A seventh and last libertie of the Churcli, is, Libertie 
of communion with other Churches. Communion we 
say : for it is a great Libertie, that no particular Church, 
standeth in subjection to another particular Church, no, 
not to a Cuihedrall Church ; but that all the Churches 
enjoy mutuall brotherly communion amongst themselves : 
which communion is mutually exercised amongst them 
seven waies, which for brevitie and memory sake, we 
summe up in seven words. \. By way of Participation. 
2. Of Recommendation. 3. Of Consultation. 4. Of 
Congregation into a Synod. 5. Of Contribution. 6. 
Of Admonition. 7. Of Propagation or Multiplication of 

1. By way of Participation, the members of one 
Churcii, occasionally comming to another Church, where 
the Lords Supper commeth to be administered, are wil- 
lingly admitted to partake with them at the Lord's Sup- 
per, in case that neither themselves, nor the Churches 
from whence they came, doe lie under any publique 
offence. For wee receive the Lord's Supper, not onely 
as a Seale of our communion with the Lord Jesus, and 
with his members in our owne Church, but also in all 
the Churches of the Saints. 

2. By way of Recommendation ; Letters are sent from 
one Church to another, recominendinir to their watch- 
fulnesse and communion, any of their members, who by 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 45 

occasion of businesse, are for a time to reside amongst 
them. As Paul sent Letters of Recommendation to 
the Church of iiome in the behalfe of Phoebe, a Deacon- 
esse of the Church at Cenchrea. Rom. 16. 1, 2. And 
of these kind of Letters he speaketh to the Church of 
Corinth also, though not as needfull to himselfe (who 
was well known to them) yet for others, 2 Cor. 3. I. 

But if a member of one Church have just occasion to 
remove himselfe, and his family, to take up his settled 
habitation in another Church, then the Letters written 
by the Church in his behalfe doe recommend him to 
their perpetual watchfulnesse and communion. And if 
the other church have no just cause to refuse him, they 
of his own Church do by those letters wholly dismisse 
him from themselves; whereupon the letters (for dis- 
tinction sake) are called letters of dismission ; which in- 
deed do not differ from the other, but in the durance of 
the recommendation, the one recommending him for a 
time, the other for ever. 

3. By way of consultation, one Church hath liberty 
of communicating with another to require their judgement 
and counsell, touching any persons or cause, wherewith 
they may be better acquainted then themselves. Thus 
the Church of Antioch by their messengers consulted 
with the Church at Jerusalem, touching the necessity of 
circumcision. Acts 15. 3. Although the consultaiion 
brought forth a further effect of communion with 
Churches ; to wit, their Congregation into a Synod. 
Which is the fourth way of communion of Churches. 
All the Churches have the like liberty of sending their 
Messengers, to debate and determine in a Synod, such 
matters as do concern them all. As the Church of An- 

46 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

tioch sent messengers to Jerusalem for resolution and 
saiidfaclion in a doubt that troubled them ; the like liberty 
by proportion might any other Church have taken ; yea, 
many Churches together; yea, all the Churches in the 
world, in any case, that might concern them all. What 
authority these Synods have received, and may put forth, 
will come to be considered in the sequele. 

A fifth way of communication of Churches is, the lib- 
erty of giving and receiving mutuall supplies and succours 
one from another. The Church o( Jerusalem communi- 
cated to the Churches of the Gentiles, their spirituall 
treasures of gifts of Grace ; and the Churches of the Gen- 
tiles ministred back again to them, liberall oblations of 
outward beneficence. Rom. 15. 26. 27, Act 11. 29. 30. 
When the Church o( Antioch aboundeth wiih more va- 
riety of spirituall gifted men, then the state of their own 
Church stood in need of; they fasted and prayed ; as 
for other ends, so for the inlargement of Christs King- 
dome in the improvement of them. And the Holy Ghost 
opened them a dore for the succour of many countries 
about them, by the sending forth of some of them. Act 
13. 1. 2.3. 

A sixth way of communion of Churches is, by way 
of mutuall admonition, when a publike offence is found 
amongst any of them : For as Paul had liberty to ad- 
monish Peter before the whole Church at Antioch, ys'hen 
hee saw him walke not with a right foot (and yet Paul 
had no authority over Peter, but onely both of them 
had equall mutuall interest one in another) Gal. 2. 11. 
to 14. So by the same proportion, one Church hath 
liberty to admonish another, though they be both of th^m 
of equall authority ; seeing one Church hath as much in* 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 4T 

teresl in another, as one Apostle in another. And if by 
the royall law of love, one Brother hath liberty to ad- 
monish his brother in the same Church, {Mat. 18. 15. 
16) then by the same rule of brotherly love and mutuall 
watchfulness, one Church hath power to admonish an- 
other, in faiihfulnesse to the Lord, and unto ihem. The 
Church in the Canticles took care not only for her own 
members, but for her little sister, which she thought had 
no breast ; yea, and consulteth with other churches what 
to do for her. Cant. 8. 3. And would she not then 
have taken like care, in case their little sister having 
Dreasts, her breasts had been distempered and given 
[corrupt matter instead of milke ? 

A seventh way of communion of churches may be by 
way of propagation, and multiplication of churches : As 
when a. particular Churcli of Christ shall grow so full of 
members, as all of them cannot heare the voyce of their 
Ministers ; then as an Hive full of Bees swarmeth forth, so 
is the church occasioned to send forth a sufficient number 
Df her members, fit to enter into a church-state, and to 
:arry along Church-work amongst themselves. And for 
that end they either send forth some one or other of their 
Elders with them, or direct tliem where to procure such 
to come unto them. The like course is wont to be taken, 
when sundry Christians coming over from one countrey 
to another; sucli as are come over first, and are them- 
selves full of company, direct those that come after them, 
ind assist them in like sort, in the combination of them- 
selves into Church order, according to the rule of the 
Gospel. Though the Apostles be dead, whose office it 
was to plant and gather and multiply Churches ; yet the 
work is not dead, but the same power of the keyes is 

48 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

left with the Churches in common, and with each par- 
ticular church for her part, according to their measure, to 
propagate and inlarge the kingdome of Christ (as God 
shall give opportunity) throughout all generations. 

of Heaven and the power (hereof . 49 

Chap. V. 

Of the subject to tvhom the key o/ Autliorlty 25 com- 

THe key of Authoritie or Rule,\s committed to the 
Elders of the Church, and so the act of Rule is 
made the proper act of their office, The Elders that rule 
well, he. 1 Tim. 5. 17. Heb. 13. 7. 17. 

The special! acts of this rule are many. 

The first and principal! is that which the Elders who 
labour in the Word and Doctrine, are chiefly to attend 
unto, that is, the 'preaching of the Word ivith all Au- 
thorilie, and that which is annexed thereto, the adminis- 
tration of the Sacraments or seals. Speak, rebuke, and 
exhort (saith Paul to Titus') with all authoritie. Tit. 
2. 15. And that the administration of the seals is an- 
nexed thereto, is plain from Mat. 28. 19. 20. Go 
(saiih Christ to the Apostles) make Disciples and bap- 
tize them, &ic. 

If if be objected, private members may all of them 
prophecie publilquely. 1 Cor. 14. 31. And therefore also 
baptize: and so this act of Authority is not peculiar to 
preaching Elders. Ans. 1. The place in the Corinths 
doth not speak of ordinarie private members, but of men 

60 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

furnished with extraordinary gifts. Kings at the time of 
their first Coronation gave many extraordinary large gifts, 
which they do not daily poure out in like sort in their 
ordinary government. Christ soon after his ascension 
poured out a larger measure of his Spirit then in times 
succeeding. The members of the Church of Corinth 
(as of many other in those primitive times) were inriched 
with all knowledge, and in all utterance. 1 Cor. 1. 5. 
And the same persons that had the gift of prophesie in 
the Church of Corinth, had also the gift of tongues, 
which put upon the Apostle a necessitie to take them off 
from their frequent speaking with tongues, by preferring 
prophesie before it, I Cor. 14. 2. to 24. So that though 
all they might prophesie (as having extraordinary gifts for 
it) yet the like libertie is not allowed to them that want 
the like gifts. In the Church o{ Lrael, none besides the 
Priests and Levites, did ordinarily prophesie, either 
in the Temple, or in the Synagogues, unlesse tiiey were 
either furnished with extraordinarie gifts of prophesie, 
(as the Prophets of Israel) or were set apart, and 
trained up, to prepare for such a calling, as the sons of 
the Projjhets. When Amos was forbidden by the high 
Priest of Bethel, to prophesie at Bethel, Amos doth not 
allege nor plead the libertie of any Israelite to prophesie 
in the holy Assemblies, but alledgeth onely his extraor- 
dinarie calling. Amos 7. 14. 15. It appearetli also 
that the sons of the Prophets, that is, men set apart, and 
trained up to prepare for that calling, were allowed the 
like libertie, 1 Sam. 19. 20. 

Answ. 2. But neither the sons of the Prophets, nor 
the Prophets themselves, were wont to offer sacrifices in 
Israel, (except Samuel and Elijah by speciall direction) 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 51 

I nor did the extraordinarie Prophets in Corinth take upon 
them to administer Sacraments. 

If any reply, That if the Prophets in the Church at 
Corinth had been endued with extraordinarie gifts of 

I prophesie, they had not been subject to the judgment of 

I the Prophets, which these are directed to be. 1 Cor. 

1 14. 22. 

Ans. It followeth not. For the people of God were 
to examine all prophesies, by the Law and testimonie, 
and not to receive them but according to that rule. Psal. 
8. 20. Yea, and Paul himself referreth all his Doctrine 
to the Laiv and Prophets. Act. 26. 22. And the Bere- 
ans are commended for examinins: Pauls doctrine accord- 
ing to the Scriptures. Act. 17. 11. 12. 

2. A second act of Authoritie common to the Elders 
is, they have power, as any weighty occasion shall re- 
quire, to call the Church together, as the Apostles called 
the Church together for the election of Deacons, Act. 6. 
2. And in like sort are the Priests of the old Testament 
stirred up to call a solemne Assembly, to gather the 
Elders, and all the inhabitants of the land, to sanctifie a 
Fast, Joel 1. 13. 14. 

3. It is an act of their power, to examine, if Apostles, 
^more then any others (whether officers or members) 

before they be received of the Church. Rev. 2. 2. 

A fourth act of their rule is, the Ordination of Officers 
(whom the people have chosen) whether Elders or Dea- 
cons. 1 Tim. 4. 14. Act. 6. 6. 

5. It is an act of the key of Authoritie, that the Elders 
open the doors of speech and silence in the Assembly. 
They were the Rulers of the Synagogue, who sent to 
Paul and Barnabas to open their mouthes in a word of 

52 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

exhortation, Act. 13. 15. and it is the same power which - 
calleth men to speak, to put men to silence when they 
speak amisse. And yet when the Elders themselves do 
lie under offence, or under suspicion of it, the Brethren 
have hherty to require satisfaction, in a modest manner, 
concerning any public breach of rule, as hath been men- 
tioned above out of Act. 11. 2. 3. he. 

6. It belongeth to the Elders to prepare matters before 
hand, which are to be transacted by themselves, cr others 
in the face of the Congregation, as the Apostles and 
Elders being met at the house of James, gave direction 
to Paul, how to carry himself, that he might prevent the 
offence of the Church, when he should appear before 
them. Act. 21. 18. Hence when the offence of a , 
brother is (according to the rule in Math. 18. 17.) to be 
brought to the Church, they are beforehand to consider 
and enquire whether the offence be really given or no, 
whether duely proved, and orderly proceeded in by the 
Brethren according to rule, and not duly satisfied by the 
offender: lest themselves and the Church, be openly 
enmbred with unnecessary and tedious agitations : but 
that all things transacted before the Church, be carried 
along with most expedition and best edification. In 
which respects they have power to reject causlesse and 
disorderly complaints, as well as to propound and handle 
just complaints before the Congregation. 

7. In the handling of an offence before the Church, 
the Elders have authoritie both Jus dicere, and Sententiam 
ferre ; When the offence appeareth truly scandalous ; the 
Elders have power from God to informe the Church, what 
the Laiv (or Rule and will) of Christ is for the censure 
of such an offence : And when the Church discerns the 

of Heaven and the 'power thereof. 53 

same, and halb no just exception against it, but conde- 
scendeth thereto, it is a further act of the Elders power, 
to give sentence against the offender. Both these acts of 
power in the Ministers of the Gospel, are foretold by 
Ezekiel Chap. 44. 23. 24. They shall teach my people 
the difference between holy and prophane, and cause them 
to discerne between the uncleane and the cleane. And in 
controversie they shall stand in judgement, and they shall 
judge it according to my judgement, &£C. 

8. The Elders have power to dismisse the Church, with 
a blessing in the name of the Lord, Num. 6. 23. to 26 
Heb. 7. 7. 

9. The Elders have received power, to charge any of 
the people in private, that none of them live either in- 
ordinately without a calling, or idlely in their calling, or 
scandalously in any sort. 2 Thes. 3. 6. & ver. 8. 10. 
11. 12. 

Tiie Apostles command argueth a power in the Elders, 
to charge these duties upon the people effectually. 

10. What power belongeth to the Elders in a Synod, 
is more fitly to be spoken to in the Chapter of Sy7wds. 

1 1. In case the Church should fall away to blasphemy 
against Christ, and obstinate rejection and persecution of 
the way of grace, and either no Synod to be hoped for, 
or no helpe by a Synod, the Elders have power to with- 
draw (or separate) the Disciples from them, and to carry 
away the Ordinances with them, and therewithall sadly 
to denounce the just judgment of God against them, 
Act 19. 9. Exod. 33. 7. Mark 6. 11. LuJc 10. 11. 
Act. 13. 46. 

Obj. But if Elders have all this power to exercise all 
these acts of Rule, partly over the private members, 

54 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

partly over the whole Church, how are they then called 
the servants of the Church 1 2 Cor. 4. 5. 

Answ. The Elders to be both servants and Rulers of 
the Church, may both of them stand well together. For 
their rule is not lordly, as if they ruled of themselves, or 
for themselves, but stevvardly and ministeriall, as ruling, 
the Church from Christ, and also from their call : and 
withall, ruling the Church for Christ ; and for the Church, 
even for their spirituall everlasting good. A Queene 
may call her servants, her mariners, to pilot and conduct 
her over the sea to such an Haven : yet they being called 
by her to such an office, shee must not rule them in steer- 
ing their course, but must submit herselfe to be ruled by 
them, till they have brought her to her desired Haven. 
So is the case between the Church and her Elders. 

of Heaven and the j)ower thereof. 55 

Chap. VI. 
Of the Power and Aathoritie given to Synods. 

SYnods wee acknowledge being rightly ordered, as an 
Ordinance of Christ. Of their Assembly wee find 
three just causes in Scripture. 1. When a Church want- 
ing light or peace at home, desireth tl^e counsell and 
helpe of other Churches, few or moe. Thus the Church 
of Antioch being annoyed with corrupt teachers, who 
darkned the light of the truth, and bred no small dissen- 
sion amongst them in the Church ; they sent Paul and 
Barnabas and other messengers unto the Apostles and 
Elders at Hierusalem, for the establishment of Truth and 
Peace. In joyning the Elders to the Apostles (and that 
doubilesse by the advise o^ Paul and Barnabas) it argu- 
eth that they sent not to the Apostles as extraordinary 
and infallible, and auihenticall Oracles of God (for then 
what need the advise and helpe of Elders? ) but as wise 
and holy guides of the Church, who might not onely re- 
lieve them by some wise counsell, and holy order, but 
also set a Precedent to succeedinoj at^es, how errours and 
dissensions in Churches might be removed and healed. 
And the course which the Apostles and Elders tooke for 
clearing the matter, was not by publishing the counsell of 
God with Apostolick authoriiie, from immediate revela- 

56 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

tion, but by searching out the truth in an ordinary way') 

of free disputation, Act. 15, v. 7, which is as fit a course 
for imitation in after ages, as it was seasonable for prac- 
tice then. 

2. Just consequence from Scripture giveth us another 
ground for the assembly of many Churches, or of their 
messengers, into a Synod, when any Church lyeth under 
scandall, through corruption in doctrine and practice, and 
will not be healed by more private advertisements of 
their own members, or of their neighbour Ministers, or 
Brethren. For there is a brotherly communion, as be- 
tween the members of the same Church, so between the 
Churches. We have a little sister, (saith one Church to 
another. Cant. 8. 8.) therefore Churches have a broth- 
erly communion amongst themselves. Look then as one 
brother being ofFened with another, and not able to heal 
him by the mouth of two or three brethren privately, it 
behooveth him to carry it to the w^hole church ; so by 
proportion, if one Church see matter of offence in another, 
and be not able to heal it in a more private way, it will 
behove them to procure the Assembly of many churches, 
that the offence may be orderly heard, and judged, and 

3. It may so fall out that the state of all the churches in 
the countrey may be corrupted ; and beginning to discern 
their corruption, may desire the concurse and counsell 
one of another, for a speedy, and safe, and generall refor- 
mation. And then so meetinor and conferrins: together, 
may renew their covenant with God, and conclude and 
determine upon a course, that may tend to the publike 
healing, and salvation of them all. This was a frequent 
practice in the Old Testament in the time of Asa, 2 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 57 

Jiron. 15. 10 to 15, in the time o{ HezeMah, 2 Chron. 
29. 4 to 19. In the time o( Josiah, 2 Chron. 34. 29 to 
33, and in the time of Ezra, Ezra 10. 1 to 5. These 
and the like examples were not peculiar to the Israelites 
as one intire nationall Church : For in that respect they 
appealed from every Synagogue and Court in Israel to the 
nationall high Priest, and Court at Jerusalem, as being all 
of them subordinate thereunto (and therefore that prece- 
dent is usually waved by our best Divines, as not appliable 
to Christian churches ; ) but these examples hold forth no 
superiority in one church or court over another, but all of 
them in an equall manner, give advice in common, and 
take one common course for redresse of all. And there- 
fore such examples are fit precedents for churches of 
equall power within themselves, to assemble together, 
and take order with one accord, for the reformation of 
them all. 

Now a Synod being assembled ; three questions arise 
about their power: 1. What is that poiver they have re- 
ceived ? 2. How far the fraternity concurreth with the 
Presbyterie in it ; the brotherhood with the Eldership ? 
3. Whether the power they have received reacheth to 
the injoyning of things, both in their nature, and in their 
use indifferent ? 

For the first : we dare not say that their power reach- 
eth no farther then giving counsell ; for such as their ends 
be, for which according to God, they do assemble, such 
is the power given them of God, as may attain those 
ends. As they meet to minister light and peace to such 
churches, as through want of light and peace lye in error 
(or doubt at least) and variance ; so they have power by 
the grace of Christ, not only to give light and counsell in 

58 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

matter of Truth and Practice ; but also to command and] 
enjoyn the things to be believed and done. The ex- 
presse words of the Synodall letter imply no lesse ; It 
seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and unto us, to lay upon 
you no other burthen, Act. 15, 27. This burthen there- 
fore, to observe those necessary things which they speak 
of, they had power to impose. It is an act of the bind- 
ing power of the keys, to bind burthens. And this bind- 
ing power ariseth not only materially from the weight of 
the matters imposed, (which are necessary necessitate 
pracepti from the word) but also formally, from the au- 
thority of the Synod, which being an Ordinance of Christ, 
bindeth the more for the Synods sake. As a truth of the 
Gospel taught by a Minister of the Gospel, it bindeth to 
faith and obedience, not only because it is tlie Gospel, 
but also because it is taught by a Minister for his callings 
sake, seeing Christ hath said. Whoso receiveth you re- 
ceiveth me. And seeing also a Synod sometime meeteth 
to convince, and admonish an offending Church or Pres- 
byterie ; they have power therefore, (if they cannot heal 
the offenders) to determine to withdraw communion from 
them. And further, seeing they meet likewise sometimes 
for generall information ; they have power to decree and 
publish such Ordinances, as may conduce according to 
God, unto such reformation : Examples whereof wee 
read, Neh. 10. 32. to 39. 2 Chron. 15. 12. 13. 

For the second question ; How far the Fraternity, or 
the Brethren of the Church, may concurre with the El- 
ders in exercising the power of the Synod ? 

The Answer is ; The power which they have re- 
ceived is a power of liberty : As 1. They have liberty 
to dispute their doubts modestly and Chrislianly amongst 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 59 

the Elders : For In that Synod at Jerusaleniy as there 
was much disputation, Act 15. 7. so the multitude had a 
part in the Disputation v. 12. For after Peters speech, 
it is said, the whole multitude Icept silence, and silence 
from what ? to wit, from the speech last in hand amongst 
them, and that was from Disputation. 2. Tlie Brethren 
of the church had liberty to joyn with the Apostles and 
Elders, in approving the sentence of James &t determining 
the same as the common sentence of them all. 3. They 
had liberty to joyn with the Apostles and Elders in choos- 
ing and sending messengers, and in loriting Synodall 
letters in the names of all, for the publishing of the sen- 
tence of the Synod. Both these points are expressed in 
the text V. 22. 23. to 29. Then pleased it the Apostles 
and Elders, with the whole Church, to send chosen men, 
and to write Letters by them. See the whole church 
distinguished from the Apostles and Elders; and those 
whom he called the whole Church v. 22. he calleth the 
Brethren v. 23. The Apostles, and Elders, and Breth- 
ren, &iC. 

But though it may not be denyed, that the Brethren 
of the Church present in the Synod, had all this power 
of liberty, to joyn with the Apostles and Elders in all 
these acts of the Synod ; yet the authority of the De- 
crees lay chiefly (if not only) in the Apostles and Elders. 
And therefore it is said. Acts 16. 4, That Paul and Silas 
delivered, to the Churches for to h:eep the Decrees that 
were ordained of the Apostles and Elders ; So then it 
will be most safe to preserve to the Church of Brethren 
their due liberties, and to reserve to the Elders their due 

If it be said, The Elders assembled in a Synod, have 

60 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

no authority to determine or conclude any act that shall 
binde the Churches, but according to the instructions 
which before they have received fronn the Churches. 

Arisw. Wee do not so apprehend it ; For what need 
Churches sent to a Synod for light and direction in ways 
of truth and peace, if they be resolved afore-hand how 
far they will go ? It is true if the Elders of Churches 
shall conclude in a Synod any thing prejudiciall to the 
truth and peace of the Gospel, they may justly expos- 
tulate with them at their return, and refuse such. sanc- 
tions as the Lord hath not sanctioned. But if the 
Elders be gathered in the name of Christ in a Synod, 
and proceed according to the rule, (the wt)rd) of Christ, 
they may consider and conclude sundry points expedient 
for thee state of their Churches, which the Churches were 
either ignorant or doubtful of before. 

As for the third Question, whether the Synod have 
power to injoyn such things as are both in their nature 
and their use indifferent ? We should answer it nega- 
tively, and our reasons be : 

1. From the pattern of that precedent of Synods, Act. 
15. 18. They laid upon the Churches no other burthen , 
but those necessary things : necessary, though not all of 
them in their own nature, yet for present use, to avoid the 
offence both of Jeiv and Gentile : of the Jew by eating 
things strangled and blood ; of the Gentile and Jew both, 
by eating things sacrificed to idols, as Paul expoundeth 
that Article of the Synod, 1 Cor. 8. 10. 11, 12. and 
Chap. 10. 28. This eating with offence was a murlher 
of a weak brothers soule, and a sin against Christ. 1 
Cor. 8. 11. 12. and therefore necessary to be forborn, 
necessitate 'prcecepti, by the necessity of Gods Command- 

of Heaven and the -power thereof. 61 

2. A second reason may be from the latitude of the 
f Apostolicall commission, which was given to them, Mat, 
28. 19. 20. where the Apostles are commanded to teach 
\ the people to observe all things which Christ hath com- 
manded. If then the Apostles teach the people to ob- 
serve more then Christ hath commanded, they go beyond 
the bounds of their commission, and a larger commission 
then that given to the Apostles, nor Elders, nor Synods, 
nor Churches can challenge. 

If it be said, Christ speakeih only of teaching such 
things which he had commanded as necessary to salva- 

Answ. If the Apostles or their successors should 
hereupon usurpe an authority to teach the people things 
indifferent, they must plead this their authority from some 
other commission given them elsewhere : for in this place 
there is no foot-step for any such power. That much 
urged, and much abused place in 1 Cor. 14. 40 will not 
reach it. For though Paul requiring in that place, all 
the duties of Gods worship, whether Prayer or Prophesy- 
ing, or Psalmes, or Tongues, Sic. that they should be 
performed decently and orderly, he thereby forbiddeth 
any performance thereof undecently ; as for men with 
long hayre, and women to speak in open assemblies, espe- 
cially to pray with their hair loose about them. And 
though he forbiddeth also men speaking two or three at 
once, which to do, were not order, but confusion; yet he 
doth not at all, neither himself injoyn, nor allow the 
Church of Corinth to injoyn such things as decent, whose 
want, or whose contrary is not undecent ; nor such orders, 
whose want or contrary would be no disorder. Suppose 
the Church of Corinth (or any other Church or Synod) 


62 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

should enjoy n their Ministers to preach in a gown. A 
gown is a decent garment to preach in : Yet such an In- 
junction is not grounded upon that Text of the Apostle. 
For then a Minister in neglecting to preach in a gown, 
should neglect the commandment of the Apostle, which 
yet indeed he doth not. For if he preach in a cloak, he 
preacheth .decently enough, and that is all which the 
Apostles Canon reacheth to. In these things Christ 
never provided for uniformitie, but onely for unity. 

For a third reason of this point, (and to adde no more) 
it is taken from the nature of the Ministerial! office, 
whether in a Church or Synod. Tlieir office is stewardlyj 
not lordly : they are Embassadours from Christ, and for 
Christ. Of a steward it is required he be found faithfull 
1 Cor. 4. 1. 2. and therefore he may dispense no more 
injunctions to Gods house, then Christ hath appointed 
him : Neitiier may an Embassadour proceed to do any 
act of his office, further then what he hath received in 
his Commission from his Prince. If he go further, he 
maketh himself a Praevaricator, not an Embassadour. 

But if it be enquired. Whether a Synod hath power of 
Ordination, and Excommunication ; we would not take 
upon us hastily to censure the many notable precedents 
of ancient and later Synods, who have put forth acts of 
power in both these kinds. Onely we doubt that from 
the beginning it was not so : and for our own parts, if 
any occasion of using this power should aiise amongst 
ourselves (which hitherto through preventing mercie it hath 
not) we (in a Synod) should rather chuse to determine, and 
to publish and declare our determination. That the ordi- 
nation of such as we find fit for it, and the excommuni- 
cation of such as we find do deserve it, would be an 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 63 

acceptable service both to the Lord, and to his Churches ; 
but the administration of both these acts we should 
refer to the Presbyterie of the severall Churches, whereto 
the person to be ordained is called, and whereof the per- 
son to be excommunicate is a member : and both acts to 
be performed in the presence, and with the consent of 
the severall Churches, to whom the matter apperiaineth. 
For in the beginning of the Gospel in that precedent of 
Synods, Act, 15. we find the false teachers declared to 
be disturbers and troublers of the Churches, and subvert- 
ers of their souls, Act. 15. 24. but no condigne censure 
dispensed against them by the Synod. An evident ar- 
gument to us, that they left the censure of such offend- 
ers (in case they repented not) to the particular Church- 
es, to whom they did appertain. And for Synodicall or- 
dination, although Act. 1. be alledged, where Matthias 
was called to be an Apostle, yet it doth not appear that 
they acted then in a Synodicall way : no more then the 
Church of Antioch did, when with fasting and prayer 
they by their Presbyters imposed hands on Paul and 
Barnabas, and thereby separated them to the ivork of 
the Apostleship, whereto the Holy Ghost had called 
them. Act. 13. 1. 2. 3, Whence as the Holy Ghost 

then said, .-^qooiaaTe de juOL lov re Bo^Qvu^av kui tov ^uv^ov 
SO therefore Paul styleth himself Jn6;ToXog dcpojgiauii'og, 
Rom. 1.1. And this was done in a particular Church, 
not in a Synod. 

64 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

Chap. VII. 

Touching the first Subject of all the foremeniioned 
power of the Keyes. And an explanation of Inde- 

WHat that Church is, which is the first subject of 
the power of the keyes, and whether this 
Church have an independent power in the exercise 
thereof, though they be made two distinct questions, yet 
(if candidly interpreted) they are but one. For whatso- 
ever is the first subject of any accident or adjunct, the 
same is independent in the enjoyment of it, that is, in 
respect of deriving it from any other subject like itself. 
As if fire be the first subject of heat, then it dependeth 
upon no other subject for heat. Now in the first subject 
of any power, three things concur. 1. It first receiveth 
that power whereof it is the first subject, and that recip- 
rocally. 2. It first addeth and putteth forth the exer- 
cise of that power. 3. It first communicateth that pow- 
er to others. As we see in Fire, which is the first sub- 
ject of heat : it first receiveth heat, and that reciprocal- 
ly. All fire is hot, and whatever is hot is fire, or hath 
fire in it. Again, Fire first putteth forth heat itself, and 
also first communicateth heat, to whatsoever things else 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 65 

are hot. To come then to the first subject of Church- 
power, or of the power of the keyes. The substance 
of the doctrine thereof, may be conceived and declared 
in a (e\v Propositions. Church-power is either supream 
and soveraign, or subordinate and ministeriall. Touch- 
ing tlie former, take this proposition. 

The Lord Jesus Christ, the head of his Church, is 
the Ugmov Aexriy.bi'^ the first proper subject of the sove- 
raign power of the keyes. He hath the key of David : 
He openeth, and no man shuiteth ; He shutteih, and no 
man openeth, Rev. 3. 7. The government is upon his 
shoulder, Isa. 9. 6. And himself declarelh the same to 
his Apostles, as the ground of his granting to them Apos- 
tolicall power. All power (saith he) is given to me in 
heaven and earth, Maith. 28. 18. Go ye therefore, &ic. 

Hence 1. All legislative poiver (power of making of 
Laws) in tiie Church is in him, and not from him derived 
to any other. Jam. 4. 12. La. 33. 22. The power de-- 
rived to others, is onely to publish and execute his Laws 
and Ordinances, and to see them observed, Mat. 28. 20. 
His Laws are perfect, Psal. 19. 9. and do make the man 
of God perfect to every good work, 2 Tim. 3. 17. and 
need no addition. 

2. From his soveraign power it proceedeth, that he 
onely can erect and ordain a true constitution of a Church- 
estate, Htb. 3. 3 to 6. He buildeth his own house, and 
setieth the pattern of it, as God gave to David the pat- 
tern of Solomons Temple, I Chron. 28. 19. None hath 
power to erect any other Church-frame, then as this 
Master-builder hath left us a pattern thereof in the Gos- 
pel. In the Old Testament the Church set up by him 
was JYationall, in the New, Congregaiionall ; yet so as 

66 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

that in sundrie cases it is ordered by him, many congre- 
gations or their messengers, may be assembled into a 
Synod. Act. 15. 

3. It is from the same soveraigne power, that all the 
offices, or ministeries in the Church are ordained by him, 
1 Cor. 12. 5. yea and all the members are set in the body 
by him, together with all the power belonging to their of- 
fices and places; as in the naturall body, so in the Church. 
1 Cor. 12. 18. 

4. From this soveraigne power in like sort it is, that 
all gifts to discharge any office, by the officers, or any 
duty by the members are from him, 1 Cor. 12. 11. All 
treasures of wisdome, and knowledge, and grace, and 
the fulnesse thereof, are in him for that end, Col. 2. 3. 
and V. 9. 10. Joh. 1. 16. 5. 

5. From this soveraigne power it is, that all the spirit- 
uall power, and efficacie, and blessing, in the administra- 
tion of these gifts in these offices and places, for the 
gathering and edifying, and perfecting of all the Church- 
es, and of all the Saints in them is from him, Mai. 28. 20. 
Lo I am with you alwayes, &.c. Col. 1. 29. 1 Cor. 

The good pleasure of the Father, the personall union 
of the humane nature with tlie eternall Son of God, His 
purchase of his Church with his own blood, and His 
deep hutniliation of himself unto the death of the Crosse, 
have all of them obtained to him this his hiirhest exalta- 
tion, to be head over all things unto the Church, and to 
injoy as king thereof this soveraigne power, Col. 1. 19. 
Col. 2. 2. 9. 10. Act. 20. 28. Phil. 2. 8. to 11. 

But of this soveraigne power of Christ, there is no 
question amongst Protestants, especially studious of Re- 

of Heaven and the power thereof, 67 

formalion. Now as concerning the ministeriall power, 
we give these following Propositions. 

I. Propos. A particular Church or Congregation of 
Saints, professing the faith, taken indefinitely for 
ANY CHURCH (onc US Well as another) is the first subject 
of all the Church offices, ivith all their spirituall gifts 
and power, which Christ hath given to be executed 
amongst them ; whether it be Paul, or Apollos, or Ce- 
phas, all are yours, (speaking to the Church of Corinth, 
I Cor. 3. 22.) not as a peculiar priviledge unto them, 
but common to them with any other particular Church. 
And theirs was such a Church, of whom it is said ; That 
they came all together into one place, for the communi- 
cation of their spirituall gifts, 1 Cor. 14. 23. And Paul 
telleth the same Church, that God hath set the officers 
and their gifts, and all variety of members, and their 
functions in his Church, 1 Cor. 12. 28, where it is not 
so well translated [so/we] God hath set some in his 
Church, for hee hath set all ; but speaking of the mem- 
bers of the Church, v. 27. he proceedeth to exempli6e 
those members in v. 28. y-uiovg/uev Wexo 6 -d^ebg hv irf 
ixxXijalu, and which God hath set in his Church ; that is, 
which members. Apostles, Prophets, &ic. For though 
the Relative be not of the same gender with the Ante- 
cedent before, yet it is an usuall thing with the pen-men 
of the New Testament, to respect the sense of the 
words, and so the person intended, rather then the gen- 
der of their name, and to render the Relative of the 
same gender and case with the Substantive followino^: 

so here ovg /nep 'jlTiouioXovg nQO(fT\Tag^ &tC. 

In the new Testament, it is not a new observation 
that wee never read of any nationall church, nor of any 

68 Of the Keys of the Kwgdom 

nationall officers given to them by Christ. In the old 
Testament indeed, we reade of a nationall church. All 
the tribes of Israel were three times in a yeer to appeare 
before the Lord in Jerusalem, Deut. 16. 16. And he 
appointed them there an high Priest of the whole nation, 
and certain solemne sacrifices by him to be administered. 
Lev. 16. 1 to 29. And together with him other Priests 
and Elders, and Judges, to whom all appeals should be 
brought, and who should judge all difficult and tiansend- 
ent cases, Deut. 16. 8 to 11. but wee reade of no such 
nationall church, or high Priest, or Court in the new- 
Testament ; And yet we willingly grant that particular 
churches of equall power, may in some cases apjiointed 
by Christ, meet together by themselves, or by their mes- 
sengers in a Synod, and may perform sundry acts of 
power there, as hath been showed above. But the offi- 
cers themselves, and all the Brethren, members of the 
Synod ; yea, and the Synods themselves, and all the 
power they put forth, they are all of them primarily 
given to the seveiall churches of particular Congrega- 
tions, either as the first subject in w hom they are resi- 
dent, or as the first object about whom they are conver- 
sant, and for whose sake they are gathered and imployed. 

II. Propos. The Apostles of Christ were the first 
subject of Apostolicall power ; Aposiolicall power stood 
chiefly in two things; First, in that each Apostle iiad in 
him all ministeriall power of all the officers of the Church. 
They by vertue of their office mii^ht exhort as PastorSy 
1 Tim. 2. 1. teach as Teachers, 1 Tim. 2. 7. rule as 
Rulers, 2 Tim. 4. 1. receive and distribute the oblations 
of the Church as Deacons, Act. 4. 35. Yea, any one 
Apostle or Evangelist carried about with him the liberty 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 69 

and power of the whole Church ; and therefore might 
Baptize; yea, and censure an offender too, as if he had 
the presence, and concurrence of the whole Church with 
him. For we reade that Philip baptized the Eunuch 
without the presence of any Church, Act 8. 38. And 
that Paul himself excommunicated Alexander, 1 Tim. 
1. 20. And it is not mentioned that hee took the con- 
sent of any Church or Presbyterie in it. It is true in- 
deed, where hee could have the consent and concurse of 
the Church and Presbyterie in exercise of any act of 
Church power, he willingly took it, and joyned with it, 
as in the ordination o( Timothy (2 Tim. 1. 6. with 1 Tim. 
4. 14.) And in the excommunication of the incestuous 
Corinthian, 1 Cor. 5. 4, 5. But when both himself 
and the person to be baptized, or ordained or excommu- 
nicated, were absent and distant from all churches, the 
Apostles might proceed to put forth their power in the 
administration of any church act without them. The 
amplitude and plenitude of power, which they received 
immediately from Christ would beare them out in it. As 
my Father sent me, (saith Christ) to wit, with amplitude 
and plenitude of soveraigne power, so send I you (with 
like amplitude and plenitude of ministeriall power) Joh, 
20. 21. 

2. Apostolicall power extendeth itself to all churches, 
as much as to any one. Their line ivent out into all the 
tvorld, (Psal. 19. 4. compared with Rom. 10.) And as 
they received commission to preach and baptize in all 
the world. Mat. 28. 19. So they received charge to 
feed the flock of Christs Sheep and Lambs (which im- 
plyeih all acts of Pastorall government over all the 
Sheep and Lambs of Christ) Joh. 21. 15, 16, 17. Now 

70 Of the Keys of ihe Kingdom 

this Apostolicall power, centring all church-power into 
one man, and extending itself forth to the circumference 
of all churches, as tlie Apostles were tlie first subject of 
it, so were they also the last; neverthelesse that ample 
and universall latitude of power, which was conjoyned 
in them, is now divided even by themselves amongst all 
the Churches, and all the officers of the Churches re- 
spectively, the officers of each church attending the 
charge of the particular church cornmitted to them, by 
vertue of their office, and yet none of them neglecting 
the good of other churches, so far as they may be mu- 
tually helpfull to one another in the Lord. 

III. Propos. When the church of a particular con- 
gregation walketh together in the truth and peace, the 
Brethren of the church are the first subject of church' 
liberty, and the Elders thereof of church-authority ; 
and both of them together are the first subject of all 
church-power needful to be exercised within themselves, 
whether in the election and ordination of officers, or in 
the censure of offenders in their own body. 

Of this Proposition there be three Branches; 1. That 
the Brethren of a particular church of a Congregation, 
are the first subjects of church liberty : 2. That the 
Elders of a particular churcli, are the first subjects of 
church-authority: 3. That both the Elders and Brethren, 
walking and joyning together in truth and peace, are the 
first subjects of all church-power, needful to be exercised 
in their own body. 

Now that the key of church-priviledge or liberty is 
given to the Brethren of the church, and the key of rule 
and authority to the Elders of the church, hath been 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 71 

declared above in Chapt. 3. But that these are the 
first subjects of these keys ; and first the church, the first 
subject of liberty, may appeare thus. 

From the removall of any former subject of this 

power or liberty, from whence they might derive it. 

If the Brethren of the congregation were not the first 

subject of their church-liberty, then they derived it 

either from their own Elders, or from other churches. 

But they derived it not from their own Elders ; for they 

I had power and liberty to choose their own elders, as 

Ihath been showed above, and therefore they had this 

I liberty before they had Elders, and so could not derive 

it from them. 

Nor did they derive it from other particular churches. 
For all particular churches are of equall liberty and power 
within tliemselves, not one of them subordinate to another. 
Wee reade not in Scripture, that the Church of Corinth, 
was subject to that of Ephesus, nor that of Ephesus to 
Corinth, no, nor that of Ctnchrea to Corinth, though it 
was a church situate in their vicinity. 

Nor did they derive their libertie from a Synod of 
Churches. For we found no foot-step in tlie pattern of 
Synods, Act. 15. that the Church of Antioch borrowed 
any of their liberties from the Synod at Jerusalem. 
They borrowed indeed light from them, and decrees, 
tending to the establislmient of truth and peace. For 
upon the publishing of the decrees of tliat Synod, the 
Churches were established in the faith (or truth), Act, 
16. 4. 5. and also in consolation and peace. Act. 15. 31. 
32. but they did not borrow from them any church-liber- 
ty at all. 

2. Now, the second branch of the Proposition was, 

72 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

That the Elders of the Church of a particular Congre- 
gation, are the first subject of rule or authority, in that 
church (or congregaiion) over which the Holy Ghost 
hath nnade them over-seers* 

1. From the charge of rule over the Church commit- 
ted to them immediately from Christ : For though the 
Elders be chosen to their office by ihe church of Breth- 
ren, yet the office itself is ordained immediately by 
Christ, and the rule annexed to the office, is limited by 
Christ only. If the Brethren of the Church should 
elect a Presbyterie to be called by them in the Lord, 
this will not excuse the Presbyters in their neglect of 
rule, either before the Lord, or to their own consciences. 
For thus runneth the Apostles charge to the Elders of 
E^hesus, {Act. 20. 28.) Take heed to yourselves, and to 
the whole flockj over which the Holy Ghost hath made 
you overseers. 

2. The same appeareth from the gift of rule, required 
especially in an Elder, without which they are not capa- 
ble of election to that office in the Cliurch, 1 Tim. 3. 4. 
5. He must be one that is able to rule ivell is own house, 
or else how shall he order the Church of God ? The 
like gift of rule is not necessary to the admission of a 
member into the church, as to the election of an Elder: 
If a private brother be not so well able (through weak- 
nesse in prudence or courage) to rule his own house, it 
will not justly debarre him from entrance into the 
church ; but the like defect will justly debar a man 
from election to the office of an Elder. Neither hath 
God given a spirit of rule and government ordinarily to 
the greater part of the body of the brethren : and there- 
fore neither hath he given them the first Receipt of the 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 73 

key of Authoritie, to whom he hath not given the gift to 
employ it. 

If it be objected : How can the brethren of the Church 
invest an Elder with rule over them, if they had not 
power of rule in themselves to communicate to him? 

Answ. They invest him with rule, partly by chusing 
him to the office which God hath invested with rule, 
partly by professing their own subjection to him in the 
Lord : we by the rule of Relatives do necessarily inferre, 
and preferre the authoritie of the Elders over them. For 
in yeelding subjection, they either set up, or acknowledge 
Authoritie in him, to whom they yeeld subjection. 

Obj. 2. The body of the Church is the Spouse of 
Christ, the Lambs wife, and ought not the wife to rule 
the servants and stewards in the house, rather than they 
her ? Is it not meet that the keyes of Authoritie should 
hano- at her f{irdle rather than at theirs ? 

'Answ. There is a difference to be put between 
Queens, Princesses, Ladies of great Honor, (such as 
the Church is to Christ, Psal. 45. 9.) and countrey hus- 
wives, poore mens wives. Queens and great persons have 
severall offices and officers for every businesse and service 
about the house, as Chamberlains, Stewards, Treasurers, 
Comptrollers, V^shers, Bayliffs, Groomes, and Porters, 
who have all the authoritie of ordering the affairs of their 
Lords house in their hands. There is not a key left in 
the Queen's hand of any office, but onely of power and 
hbertie to call for what she wanteth according to the 
Kings royall allowance : which if she exceed, the offi- 
cers have power to restrain her by order from the King. 
But countrey huswives, and poore mens wives, whose 
husbands have no Officers, Bayliffs, or Stewards, to 


74 Of (he Keys of the Kingdom 

oversee and order their estates, they may carry the keyes 
of any office at their own girdles, which the husband 
keepeth not in his own hand, not because poore hus- 
wives have greater authorilie in the house llien Queens ', 
but because of their poverty and mean estate, ihey are 
fain to be instead of many servants to their husbands. 

Obj. 3. The whole body natural!, is the first subject 
of all the natural! power of any member in the body ; as 
the facultle of sight is first in the body, before in the 

Answ. It is not in the mysticall body (the Church) 
in all respects alike, as in the natural! body. In the 
natural! body there be all the faculties of each part ac- 
tually inexislent, though not exerting or putting forth 
themselves, till each member be articulated and formed. 
But in the body of tlie Church of Brethren it is not so. 
All the several functions of Church power, are not ac- 
tually inexistent in the body of Brethren, unlesse some 
of them have the gifts of all the officers, which often 
they have not, having neither Presbyters, nor men fit to 
be Presbyters. Now if the power of the Presbytery 
were given to a particular Church of Brethren, as such, 
prirno and per se, then it would be found in every partic- 
ular Church of Brethren. For a Q^iiatenus ad omnia va- 
let consequentia. 

Obj. 4. But it is an usual! tenent in many of our best 
Divines, that the government of the Church is mixt of a 
Monarchy, an Aristocracie, and a Democracie. In re- 
gard of Christ the head, the government of the church 
is soveraigne and monarchical!. In regard of the Rule 
by the Presbytery, it is stewardly and Aristocraticall : 
m regard of the peoples power in elections and censures, 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 75 

it Is Democraticall : which argueth, the people have some 
stock of y.Q<'nog power and authoritie in the government 
of the Church. 

Answ. In a large sense, Authoritie after a sort may 
be acknowledged in the people. As 1. When a man 
acteth by counsell according to his own discerning freely, 
he is then said to be dvie^ovcnog^ Domimis svi actus. So 
the people in all the acts of liberty which they put forth, 
are Domini sui actus, Lords of their own action. 

2. The people by their acts of liberty, as in election 
of officers, and concurrency in censure of offenders, and 
in the Determination and Promulgation of Synodall acts, 
they have a great stroke or power in the ordering of 
Church affairs, which may be called ^quto; or potesias, a 
Power, which many limes goeth under the name of rule 
or authoritie, but in proper speech it is rather a privi- 
ledge, or liberty then authoritie, as hath been opened 
above in Chap. 3. For no act of the peoples power or 
liberty doth properly bind, unlesse the authoritie of the 
Presbytery concur with it. 

3. A third argument whereby it may appear that the 
Elders of a particular Church are the first subject of au- 
thoritie in that Church, is taken from the like removall of 
other subjects, from whence they might be thought to 
derive their authoritie, as was used before to prove the 
Church of Brethren was the first subject of their own 
libertie in their own Congregation. The Elders of 
Churches are never found in Scripture to derive their 
authority which they exercise in their own Congrega- 
tion, either from the Elders of other Churches, or from 
any Synod of. Churches. All particular Churches, and 
all the Elders of them are of equall power, each of them 

76 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

respectively in their own Congregation. None of them 
call others their Rabbies, or Masters, or Fathers, (in re- 
spect of any authoritie over then:i) but all of them own 
and acknowledge one another as fellow Brethren, Maith. 
23. 8. 9. 10. 

And though in a Synod they have received power 
from Christ, and from his presence in the Synod, to ex- 
ercise Authoritie in imposing burthens (such as the holy 
Ghost layeth) upon all Churches whose Elders are pre- 
sent with them. Acts 15. 28. (for the Apostles were El- 
ders in all Churches) yet the Elders of every particular 
Church, when they walk with the brethren of their own 
Church in light and peace, they need not to derive from 
the Synod any power to impose the same, or the like 
burthens upon their owne Churches. For they have re- 
ceived a power and charge from Christ, to leach and 
command with all authoritie the whole counsell of God 
unto their people. And the people discerning the light 
of the truth delivered, and walking in peace with their 
Elders, they readily yeeld obedience to their Over-seers 
in whatsoever they see and hear by them commended to 
them from the Lord. 

3. Now we come to the third branch of the third 
Proposition, which was this. That the Church of a par- 
ticular Congregation, Elders and Brethren, walking and 
and joyning together in truth and peace, are the first 
subject of all Church-power, needfull to be exercised 
within themselves, whether in the election or ordination 
of officers, or in the censure of offenders in their own 

The truth hereof may appear by these Arguments. 
1. In point o^ ordination. From the compleat integritie 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 77 

of a rninislers calling (even to the satisfaction of bis own 
and {he peoples conscience) when both the Brethren and 
the Elders of the particular Church whereto be is called, 
have put forth the power which belongeth to them about 
him. As, when the Brethren of the Church have cho- 
sen him to office, and the Presbyterie of the Church 
have laied their hands upon him ; and both of them in 
their severall acts have due lespect to the inward minis- 
terial! gifts whereunto God bath furnished him : he may 
then look at himself as called by the holy Ghost, to ex- 
ercise his talents in that office amongst them, and the 
people may and ought to receive liim, as sent of God to 

What defect may be found in such a call, when the 
Brethren exercise their lawful! libertie, and the Elders 
their lawful! authority, in his ordination, and nothing more 
is required to tlie compleat inlegritie of a Ministers call- 
ing ? If it be said there wanted imposition of liands by 
the Blsliop, who succeedeth in the place of Timothy and 
Titus, whom the Apostle Paul left tlie one in Epiiesus, 
the otiier in Crete, to ordain Elders in many Churches. 
lit. 1.5. 

Anaw. Touching ordination by Timothy, and Titus, 
and (upon pretence of them) by Bishops, enough hath 
been said by many godly learned heretofore, especially 
of later times. 

The summe cometh to these conclusions. 1. Tliat 

Timothy and Titus did not ordain Elders in many 

Churclies, as Bishops, but as Evangelists. Timothy is 

expressly termed an Evangelist. 2 Tim. 4. 5. And 

Titus Is as clearly decyphered to be an Evangelist as 

Timothy, by the characters of an Evangelist, which either 

78 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

Scripture holdeth forth, or Eusebius noteth in bis Eccle- 
siast. histor. lib. 3. cap. 37. Gr. Cap. 31. Lat. Not 
to be bmited to a certain Church, but to follow the Apos- 
tles, finishing their work in planting and watering 
Churches, where they came. They did indeed ordain 
officers where they wanted, and exercised jurisdiction 
(as the Apostles did) in severall Churches; yet with the 
rest of the Presbyterie, and in the presence of the whole 
Church. 1 Tim. 5. But for the continuance of this 
office of an Evangelist in the Church, there is no direc- 
tion in the Epistles either to Timothy or Titus, or any 
where else in Scripture. 

2. Conclusion. Those Bishops whose callings or 
offices in the Church, are set forth in those Epistles to be 
continued : they are altogether Synonyma with Presby- 
ters. Tit. I. 5.1. 1 Tim. 3. 1. to 7. 

3. Conclusion. We read of many Bishops to one 
Church, Phil. 1.1. Acts 14. 23. and Chap. 20. 17. 
28. Tit. 1. 5. 7. but not of many Churches (much 
lesse all the Churches in a large Diocesse) to one Bishop. 

4. Conclus. There is no transcendent proper work, 
cut out, or reserved for such a transcendent officer as a 
Diocesan Bishop throughout the New Testament. The 
transcendent acts reserved to him by the Advocates of 
Episcopacie, are Ordination and Jurisdiction. Now both 
these are acts of Rule. And Paul to Timothy acknowl- 
edi£eth no Rulers in the Church above Pastors and 
Teachers, who labour in word and doctrine ; but rather, 
Pastors and Teachers above them. The Elders (saith 
he) that rule well, are worthy of double honour, but 
especially they that labour in word and doctrine. 1 Tim. 
5. 17. 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 79 

5. Conclus. When after the Apostles times, one of 
the Pastors by way of eminencie, was called Bishop for 
order sake, yet for many yeers he did no act of power, 
but 1. With consent of the Presbyterie. 2. With con- 
sent and in the presence of the people. As is noted out 
of Eusebius Ecclesiast. Histor. lib. 6. ca. 43. Gr. ca. 35. 
hat. Cyprian Epist. Jib. 3. Epist. 10 &, lib. 1. Epist. 
3. Casaub. adversus Baronium, exercitat. 15. num. 28. 

When it is alledged out of Hierome to confirm the 
same, that in the primitive times, Communi Presbyterorum 
consilio, Ecclesice gubernabantur. It is a weak and poore 
evasion, to put it off with observing, that he saith, Com- 
muni Presbyieroi'um consilio, r\ot authoritatc. For 1. No 
authoritie is due to Presbyters over the Bishop or Pas- 
tor, no more then to the Pastor over them. They are 
avjiinQE(T^vTSQoi, fellow Elders, and coequall in authoritie. 
And 2. when Hierome saith. The Churches were governed 
by the common counsell of them all ; It argueth nothing 
was done against tfieir counsell, but all with it, else it 
might be said, the Bishop governed the Churches with 
the common counsell of Presbyters, to wit, asked, but 
not followed. And that would imply a contradiction to 
Hieroms testimonie, to say the Churches were governed 
by the sole authoritie of Bishops, and yet not without ask- 
ing the common counsell of the Presbyters. For in ask- 
ing their counsell and not following it, the Bishop should 
order and govern the Churches against their counsell. 
Now that the Churches were governed by the common 
counsell of Presbyters, and against the common counsell 
of Presbyters, are flat contradictories. 

2. For a second Argument, to prove that the Brethren 
of the Church of a particular congregation, walking with 

80 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

their Elders in truth and peace, are the first subject of all 
that Church power which is needfull to be exercised in 
their own body : It is taken. 

Frotn their indispensible and independent power in 
Church censures. The censure that is ratified in heaven 
cannot be dispensed withall, nor reversed by any power 
an earth. Now the censure that is administered by the 
Church of a particular congregation, is ratified in 
Heaven. For so saith the Lord Jesus touching the 
power of Church censures, Maith. 18. 17. 18. If the 
offender refuse to hear the Church, let him be to thee as 
a heathen and a Publican. Verily I say unto you, What- 
soever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in Heaven ; 
and ivhatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in 
heaven. Against this Argument from this Text many 
objections are wont to be made, but none that will hold. 

Object. 1. By Church in Mat. 18. 17. is not meant 
the Christian Church (for it was not yet extant, nor 
could the Apostles then have understood Christ if he had 
so meant) but the Jewish church, and so he delivereth 
their censure, in a Jewish phrase ; to account a man as 
an Heathen and a Publican. 

Answ. 1. The Cl)ristian Church, though it was not 
then extant, yet the Apostles knew as well what he 
meant by Church in Mat. 18. 17. as they understood 
what he meant by building his Church upon the Rock in 
Mat. 16. 18. It was enough the Apostles looked for a 
Church which Christ would gather, and build upon the 
confession of Peters faith ; and being built, should be in- 
dued with heavenly power in their censures, which tJiey 
more fully understood afterwards, when having received 
the Holy Ghost, they came to put these tilings in prac- 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 81 

Ansiv. 2. The allusion, in the Church-censure to the 
JeW^/i custome, in accounting a man as an Heathen and 
Publican, doth not argue that Christ directelh his Dis- 
ciples to complain of scandals to the Jeivish Synagogues; 
but only directelh them how to walk towards obstinate 
offenders, excommunicated by the Christian Church, to 
wit, to walk towards them, as the Jeivs walk towards 
Heathens, (to wit, denying to them religious communion) 
and as towards Publicans, with-holding from them fami- 
liar civill communion ; for so the Jeivs said to Christs 
Disciples, Why eateth your Master with Publicans and 
Sinners 7 

Answ. 3. It is not credible, that Christ would send 
his Disciples to make complaint of their oJSences to the 
Jewish Synagogues : 

For, first. Is it likely he would send his Lambs and 
Sheep, for right and healing, unto Wolves and Tigers? 
Both their Sanhedrim, and most of their Synagogues were 
no better. And if here and there some Elders of their 
Synagogues were belter affected, yet how may it appear 
that so it was, where any of themselves dwelt ? And if 
that might appear too, yet had not the Jews already 
agreed ; That if any man did confesse Christ, he should 
be cast out of the Synagogues. Joh. 9. 22. 

Obj. 2. Against the argument from this Text, it is 
objected ; That by the Church is meant the Bishop, or 
his Commissary ? 

Answ. 1. One man is not the Church. 

If it be said, one man may represent a Church ; the 
reply is ready : one man cannot represent the Church, 
unlesse he be sent forth by the Church, but so is neither 
the Bishop nor his Commissary. They send not for 

28 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

them, but they come unsent for, (like water into a ship,) 
chiefly for the terror of the servants of Christ, and for 
the incoLiragement of the prophane. And though some 
of Christ's servants have found some favour from some 
few of Bishops, (men of more learning and ingenuity) 
yet those Bishops have found the lesse favour themselves 
from their fellow-Bishops. 

Answ. 2. The Bishop ordinarily is no member of the 
Church of that Congregation, where the offence is com- 
mitted, and what is his satisfaction to the removall of the 
offence given to the Church ? 

Answ. 3. The new Testament acknowledgeth no such 
ruler in the Church, as claimeth honour above the Elders 
that labour in word and Doctrine, 1 Tim. 8. 17. 

Object. 3. To tell the Church, is to tell the Presby- 
terie of the Church. 

Answ. 1. We deny not The offence is to be told to the 
Presbylerie ; yet not to them as the Church, but as the 
guides of the Church, who, if upon hearing the cause, 
and examining the witnesses, they finde it ripe for pub- 
like censure, they are then to propound it to the Church, 
and to try and cleer the state of the cause before the 
Church, that so the church discerning fully the nature 
and quality of the offence may consent to the judgement 
and sentence of the Elders against it, to the confusion of 
the offender ; and the publike edification of them all, 
who hearing and fearing, will learn to beware of the 
like wickednesse. 

Ansiv. 2. The Church is never put for the Presby- 
terie alone (throughout the new Testament) though some* 
time it be put expressly for the Fraternitie alone, as they 
are distinguished from ^the Elders and Officers, Act 15. 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 83 

22. and therefore Tell the Church, cannot be meant 
Tell the Presbyterie alone. 

Object. In the old Testament, the Congregation is 
often put for the Elders and Rulers of the Congre- 

Answ. Let all the places alledged be examined, and 
it will appeare, that in matters of judgement, where the 
Congregation is put for the Elders and Rulers, it is never 
meant (for ought we can finde) of the Elders and Rulers 
alone, sitting apart, and retired froni the Congregation; 
but silting in the presence of the Congregation, and hear- 
ing, and judging causes before them : In which case, if a 
sentence have passed from a Ruler, with the dislike of 
the Congregation, they have not stuck to shew their dis- 
like, sometime by protesting openly against it (as 1 Sam, 
14. 44. 45.) sometime by refusing to execute it. (1 Sam. 
22. 16. 17.) And what the people of the Congregation 
lawfully did in some cases, at some times, in waiving and 
counterpoizing the sentence of their Rulers, the same 
they might and ought to have done in the like cases at 
any time. The w liole Host or Congregation of Israel 
might protest against an unrighteous illegall sentence; 
and a part of the Congregation, who discerned the iniqui- 
ty of a sentence, might justly withdraw themselves from 
the execution of it. 

Object. 4. When Christ said Tell the Church, hee 
meant a Synodicall or Classicall assembly of the Presby- 
ters of many Churches. For it was his meaning and 
purpose in tliis place, to prescribe a rule for the removing 
of all scandals out of ths Church, which cannot be done 
by telling the Church of one Congregation ; for what if 
an Elder offend ; yea, what if the whole Presbytery 

84 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

offend ? The people or Brethren have not power to 
judge their Judges, to rule their Rulers. Yea, what if 
the whole Congregation fall under an offence (as they 
may do, Lev. 4. 13.) a Synod of many Presbyters may 
reform them, but so cannot any one Congregation alone ; 
if the Congregation that gave the offence stand out in it. 

Answ. 1. Reserving due honour to Synods rightly 
ordered, or (which is all one) a Classis or Convention of 
Presbyters of particular churches, we do not finde that a 
Church is any where put for a Synod of Presbyteries. 
And it were very incongruous in this place : Fcr though 
it be said a particular Congregation cannot reach the 
removall of all offences ; so it may be as truly said, that 
it were unmeet to trouble Synods with every offence that 
falleth out in a Congregation ; Offences fall out often, 
Synods meet but seldome ; and when they do meet, they 
finde many more weighty imployments, then to attend to 
every offence of every private brother. Besides, as an 
whole particular Congregation may offend, so may a gen- 
erall Assembly of all the Presbyters in a Nation offend 
also: For generall councels have erred; and what rem- 
edy shall be found to remove such errors and offences 
out of this Text ? IMoreover, if an offence be found in 
a Brother of a Congregation, and the Congregation be 
found faithfull and willing to remove it by due censure ; 
why should the offence be called up to more publike 
judicature, and the plaister made broader than the sore ? 

Again, if an Elder offend, the rest of the Presbytery 
with the Congregation joyning together, may proceed 
against him, (if they cannot otherwise heal him) and so 
remove the offence from anion fjst them. If the whole 
Presbyterie offend, or such, a part as will draw a party 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 85 

and a faction in the Church with them, their readiest 
course is, to bring the matter then to a Synod. For 
though this place in Matthew direct not to that ; yet the 
Holy Ghost leaveth us not without direction in such a 
case, but giveth us a pattern in the Church of Antioch, 
to repaire to a Synod. And the like course is to be 
taken in the offence of a whole Congregation, if it be 
persisted, in with obstinacy. Neither is it true w hich 
was said, that it was the purpose of Christ in Mat. 18. 
17. to prescribe a rule for the removall of all offences 
out of the Church ; but only of such private and lesse 
hainous offences, as grow publike and notorious only by 
obstinacy of the offenders : For if offences be hainous and 
publike at first, the holy Ghost doth not direct us to pro- 
ceed in such a generall course from a private admonition 
by one brother alone, and then to a second, by one or 
two more, and at last, to tell it to the Church. But in 
such a case the Apostle giveth another rule, (1 Cor. 5. 
11.) to cast an hainous notorious offender, both out of 
church-communion, and private familiar communion also. 

Object. 5. The Church here spoken of, Mat. 18. 
17. is such an one, as whereto a complaint may orderly 
be made : But a complaint cannot be orderly made to a 
multitude, such as an whole Congregation is. 

Answ. And why may not a complaint be orderly 
made to a whole multitude ? The Levite made an 
orderly complaint to a greater multitude, then 400 par- 
ticular Congregations are wont to amount to, Jud. 20. 1, 
2, 3, 4, he. 

Object. 6. The Church here to be complained of 
meeteth with authority, (for censures are administered 
with authority) but the Church of a particular Congre- 

86 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

gallon meeteth with humility, to seek the face and favour 
of God. 

Answ. Humility to God may well stand with author- 
ity to men. The 24 Elders (who represent the growne 
heyres of the church of the new Testament) they are 
said in Church-assemblies to sit upon thrones with 
crownes on their heads, Rev. 4. 4. yet when they fall 
down to worship God and the Lamb, they cast down 
their crownes at his feet, v. 10. 

Object. 7. In the church of a particular Congrega- 
tion, a woman may not speak: but in this Church here 
spoken of, they may speak ; for they may be offenders, 
and offenders must give an account of their offences. 

Answ. When the Apostle forbiddeth women to speak 
in the church, he meanelh, speaking partly by way of 
authority, as in publike praying or prophesying in the 
Church, (1 Tim. 2. 12) partly by way of bold inquiry, in 
asking questions publikely of the Prophets in the face of 
the Church, 1 Cor. 14.34. But to answer it: If the 
whole Congregation have taken just offence at the open 
sin of a woman, she is bound as much to give satisfaction 
to the whole Congregation, as well as to the Presbyterie. 

Object. 8. When Schismes grew to be scandalous in 
the Church of Corinth, the household of Chloe told not 
the whole Congregation of it, but Paul, 1 Cor. 1.11. 

Answ. The contentions in the Church of Corinth 
were not the offence of a private brother, but of the 
whole Church. And who can tell whether they had not 
spoken of it to the Cliurch before ? But whether they 
had or no, the example only argueth, that Brethren 
offended with the sins of their brethren, may tell an Elder 
of the Church of it, that he may tell it to the Church, 

of Heaven and the power thereof, 87 

which no man denyeth. Paul was an Elder of every 
Church of Christ, as the other Apostles were, as having 
the government of all the Churches committed to 
them all. 

Having thus (by the help of Christ) cleered this text 
in Mat. 18. 17. from variety of misconstructions (which 
not the obscurity of the words, but the eminency of the 
gifts, and worth of Expositors hath made difficult) Let 
us adde an argument or two more to the same purpose, 
to prove, that the Church of a particular Congregation, 
fully furnished with officers, and rightly walking in 
judgment and peace, is the first subject of all Church- 
authority, needfuU to be exercised within their own body. 

3. A third argument to prove this, is usually and justly 
taken from the practice and example of the Church of 
Corinth, in the excommunication of the incestuous Corin- 
thian, 1 Cor. 5. 1. to 5. 

Object. 1. The excommunication of the incestuous 
Corinthian, was not an act of judiciall authority in the 
Church of Corinth, whether Elders or Brethren, but 
rather an act of subjection to the Apostle, publishing the 
sentence, which the Apostle had before decreed and 
judged: for (saith the Apostle) T though absent in body, 
yet present in spirit, have judged already, concerning 
him that hath done this deed, he. 

Answ. 1 . Though Paul (as a chiefe Officer of every 
church) judged before-hand the excommunication of the 
incestuous Corinthian : yet his judgment was not a 
judiciall sentence, delivering him to Satan, but a judicious 
doctrine and instruction, teaching the Church what they 
ought to do in that case. 

2. The act of the church in Corinth in censuring the 

88 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

incestuous person, was indeed an act of subjection to the 
Apostles divine doctrine and direction (assail church- 
censures,) by whomsoever administered, ought to be acts 
of subjection to the word of Christ) but yet their act was 
a compleat act of just power, (even an act of all that 
liberty and authority which is to be put forth in any 
censure.) For, first they delivered him to Satan, in the 
name of the Lord Jesus, and with the power of the Lord 
Jesus, V. 4. and that is the highest power in the Church. 
Secondly, the spirit o( Paul, that is, his Apostolike spirit 
was gathered toojether with them, in delivering and pub- 
lishing the sentence ; which argueth, both his power and 
theirs was co-incident and concurrent in this sentence. 
Thirdly, the holy end and use of this sentence argueth 
the heavenly power from whence it proceeded. They 
delivered him to Satan for the destruction of the flesh 
(that is, for the mortifying of his corruption) that his soul 
might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Fourthly, 
when his soul came to be humble and penitent by the 
means of this sentence, Paul intreateth the church to 
release and forgive him, 2 Cor. 2. 6. to 10. Now 
ejusdem poiestatis est ligare ^ solvere, claudere Sf 

Object. 2. All this argueth no more, but that some in 
the church of Corinth had this power (to wit, the Pres- 
bytery of the church, but not the whole body of the 
people) to excommunicate the offender. 

Answ. 1. If the Presbyterie alone had put forth this 
power, yet that sufficeth to make good the Proposition, 
that every church furnished with a presbyterie, and pro- 
ceeding righteously and peaceably, they have within 
tbemselves so much power as is requisite to be exercised 
within their own body. 

of Heaven and the poiver thereof. 89 

Answ. 2. It is apparent by the Text, that the Breth- 
ren concurred also in this sentence, and that with some 
act of 'power, to wit, such power as the want of putting 
it forth, retarded the sentence, and the putting of it forth 
was requisite to the administration of the sentence. 

For, first, the reproofe for not proceeding to sentence 
sooner, is directed to the whole church, as well as to the 
Presbyterie ; Thty are all blamed for not mourning, for 
not putting him away, for being puffed up rather, 1 Cor. 

2. The commandment is directed to them all, when 
they are gathered together, (and what is that but to a 
Church meeting?) to proceed against him. 1 Cor. 5. 4. 
In like sort, in the end of the Chapter he commandeth 
them all, Fut away therefore from among you that 
wicked person, v. 13. 

3. He declareth this act of theirs in putting him out, 
to be a judicial! act, v, 12. Do you not judge them that 
arc within? Say that the judgement of auihoriiie be 
proper onely to the Presbytery, yet the judgement of 
discretion (which as concurring in this act with the Pres- 
bytery hath a power in it, as was said) may not be 
denied to the Brethren : for here is an act of judgement 
ascribed to them all : which judgement in the Brethren 
he esteemeth of it so highly, that from thence he taketh 
occasion to advise the members of the Church, to refer 
their differences even in civill matters, to the judgement 
of the Saints or Brethren. Know ye not (saiih he) that 
the Saints shall judge the ivorld 1 yea the Angels 1 1 Cor. 
6. 1.2. 3. how much more the things of this life ? Yea 
rather then they should go to Law, and that before Infi- 
dels, in any case depending betweene Brethren, he advi- 


90 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

seth them rather to set up the meanest in the Church to 
hear and judge between them, 1 Cor. 6. 4. 

4. When the Apostle directeth them upon the repent- 
ance of an ofFeisder, to forgive him, 2 Cor. 2. 4. to 10. 
he speaketh to the Brethren as well as to their Elders to 
forgive him. As they were all (the Brethren as well as 
the Elders) offended with his sin : so it was meet they 
should all alike be satisfied, and being satisfied should for- 
give him: the Brethren in a way of brotherly love, and 
. Church-consent, as well as the Elders, by sentencing his 
absolution and restitution to the Church. 

Obj. 3. But was not this Church of Corinth (who 
had all this power) a metropolis, a mother Church of 
Achaia,in which many Presbyteries, from many Churches 
in the villages were assembled to administer this cen- 

Ans. No such thing appeareth from the story of the 
Church of Corinth, neither in the Acts (^Act. 18) nor 
from either of the Epistles to the Corinthians. True it 
is, Corinth was a mother-city, but not a mother- Church 
to all Achaia: and yet it is not unlikely that other 
Churches in that region, mi^rht borrow much lio;ht from 
their gifts; for they abounded, and were enriched with 
variety of all gifts, 1 Cor. 1. 5. 7. But yet that which 
the Apostle calleth the Church of Corinth, even the 
whole Church was no larger, then was wont to meet 
together in one place, one congregation, 1 Corinth. 14. 23. 

A fourth and last Argument to prove the Proyosition, 
that every Church so furnished with officers (as hath been 
said) and so carried on in truth and peace, hath all Church 
power needfull to be exercised within themselves, is taken 
from the guilt of offence, which lieth upon every church, 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 91 

when any offence committed by their members lyeth un- 
censured and unremoved. Christ hath something aoainst 
the Church of Pergamus, for suffering Balaam and the 
Nicolaitans, Revel. 2. 14. 15. and somethins against the 

^ DO 

Church of Thyaiira, for suffering Jezebel. Now if these 
Churches had not either of them sufficient power to purge 
out their own offenders, why are they blamed for tolera- 
tion of them ? yea, why are not the neighbour Churches 
blamed for the sins of these churches? But we see, nei- 
ther ]s Pergamus blamed for tolerating Jezebel, nor Thy- 
atira for tolerating Balaam, nor Smyrna for tolerating 
either. Indeed what Christ writeth to any one Church, 
his Spirit calleth all the Churches to hearken unto, and 
so he doth our Churches also at this day : not because he 
blamed them for the toleration of sins in other Churches, 
but because he would have them beware of the like re- 
misnesse in toleratino^ the like offences amono^st them- 
selves : and also would provoke them to observe notori- 
ous offences amongst their Sister-Churches, and with 
brotherly love and faithfullnesse to admonish them thereof. 
It is an unsound body that wanteth strength to purge 
out his own vicious and malignant humours. And every 
Church of a particular congregation, being a bodie, even 
a body of Christ in itself, it were not for the honour of 
Christ, nor of his body, if when it were in a sound and 
athletick constitution, it should not have power to purge 
itself of its own superfluous and noysome humours. 

Proposition IV. In case a particular Church be dis- 
turbed with error or scandall, and the same maintained 
by a faction amongst them. Now a Synod of Churches, 
or of their messengers, is the first subject of that power 

92 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

and anthoritie, whereby error is judicially convinced and^ 
condemned f the truth searched out, and determined, and I 
the way of truth and peace declared and imposed upon 
the Churches. 

The truth of this Proposition may appear by two Ar- 

1. Argum. From the want of power in such a par- 
ticular church to passe a binding sentence, where error 
or scandall is maintained by a faction ; For the promise 
of binding and loosing which is made to a particular 
church, Mat. 18. 18, is not given to the church, when it 
is leavened with error and variance. It is a received 
maxim, Clavis errans non ligat ; and it is as true, Eccle- 
sia litigans non ligat : And tlie ground of both ariseth 
from the estate of the Church, to which the promise of 
binding and loosing is made, Mat. 18. 17. 18. which, 
though it be a particular church, (as hath been shewed) 
yet it is a Church agreeing together in the nanie of 
Christ, Mat. 18. 19. 20. If there want agreement 
amonorst them, the promise of binding and loosing is not 
given to them : or if they should agree, and yet agree in 
an error, or in a scandall, they do not then agree in the 
name of Christ ; For to meet in the name of Christ, im- 
plyeth, they meet not only by his command and authori- 
ty, but also that they proceed according to his Lawes and 
Will, and that to his service and glory. If then the 
church, or a considerable part of it fall into error through 
ignorance, or into faction by variance, they cannot expect 
the presence of Christ with them, according to his 
promise to passe a binding sentence. And then as they 
fall under the conviction and admonition of any other sis- 
ter church, in a way of brotherly love, by vertue of com- 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 93 

munion of churches ; so their errors and variance, and 
whatsoever scandalls else do accompany the same, ihey 
are justly subject to the condemnation of a Synod of 

2. A second Argument to prove that a Synod is the 
first subject of power, to determine and judge errours and 
variances in particular churches, is taken from the pattern 
set before us in that case. Act. 15. 1 to 28. when certain 
false Teachers, having taught in the church of j^ntioch, a 
necessity of circumcision to salvation, and having gotten 
a faction to take part with them, (as appeareth by the 
ardcrtg and aucrjij^atg of Paul and Barnabas against them) 
the church did not determine the case themselves, but 
referred the whole matter to the Apostles and Elders at 
Jerusalem, Act. 15. 1.2. Not to the Apostles alone, 
but to the Apostles and Elders. The Apostles were as 
the Elders and Rulers of all churches ; and the Elders 
there were not a few, the Believers in Jerusalem being 
many thousands. Neither did the Apostles determine 
the matter (as hath been said) by Apostolicall authority 
from immediate revelation ; but they assembled together 
with the Elders, to consider of the matter, v. 6. and a 
multitude of Brethren together with them {v. 12. 22. 
23.) and after, searching out the cause by an ordinary 
means of disputation, v. 7, Peter cleered it by the witnesse 
of the Spirit to his Ministry in Cornelius his family ; 
Paul and Barnabas by the like effect of their Ministerie 
among the Gentiles : James confirmed the same by the 
testimony of the Prophets, wherewith the whole Synod 
being satisfied, they determine of a judiciall sentence, and 
of a way to publish it' by letters and messengers ; in which 
they censure the false Teachers, as troublers of their 

94 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

Church, and subverters of their souJes ; they reject the 
imposition of circumcision, as a yoaJc which neither they 
7ior their fathers were able to beare ; they impose upon 
the Churches none but some necessary observations, and 
them by way of that auihority which the Lord had given 
them, V. 28. Which pattern cleerly sheweth us to whom 
the key of authority is committed, when their grov,ethi 
offence and difference in a church. Look as in the case 
of the offence of a faithfull brother persisted in, the mat- 
ter is at last judged and determined in a church, which is 
a Confjreo^atian of the faithfull : so in the case of the of- 
fence of the church or congregation, the matter is at 
last judged in a congregation of churches, a Church of 
churches : for what is a Synod else but a Church of 
churches ? 

Now, from all these former Propositions which tend to 
cleare ihe^rs^ subject of the power of the keys, it may 
he easie to deduce certain corollaries from thence, tend- 
ing to clear a parallel Question to this ; to wit, In what 
sense it may, and ought to be admitted, that a church of 
a particular congregation is independent in the use of 
the poiver of the keys, and in what sense not ? For in 
what sense the Church of a particular Congregation is 
the first subject of the power of the keys, in the same 
sense it is independent, and in none other. We taking 
the first subject and the independent subject to be all 

I. Corollary. The Church is not independent on 
Christ, but dependent on him for all church-power. 

The Reason is plain, because he is the first subject of 
all church-power by way of soveraigne eminency, as hath 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 95 

been said. And therefore the church, and all the Offi- 
cers thereof; yea, and a Synod of Churches is dependent 
upon him, for all nriinisteriall church-power. Ministery 
is dependent npon soveraigntie ; yea, the more dependent 
they be upon Christ, in all the exercise of their church- 
power, the more powerfull is all their power in all their 
administrations. 2. Corollary. The first subject of the 
ministeriall power of the keys, though it be independent 
in respect of derivation of power from the power of the 
sword to the performance of any spirituall administration, 
yet it is subject to the power of the sword in matters 
which concern the civill peace. 

The matters which concern the civill peace, wherein 
Church subjection is chiefly attended, are of foure sorts. 

1. The first sort be civill matters^ xd ^lunyM, the 
things of this life, as is the disposing of mens goods or 
lands, lives, or liberties, tributes, customes, woildly hon- 
ours, and inheritances. In these the Church submitteth, 
and referreth itself to the civill Slate. Christ as minister 
of the circumcission, refused to take upon him the dividing 
of Inheritances amongst Brethren, as impertinent to his 
calling, Luke 12. 13. 14. His Icingdome (he acknowl- 
edgeth) is not of this ivorld, Job. 18 36. Himself 
payed tribute to Cesar, (Matth. 17. 27.) for himself and 
his disciples. 

2. The second sort of things which concern civill 
peace, is, the establishment of pure Religion, in doctrine, 
worship, and government, accoiding to the word of God, 
as also the reformation of all corruptions in any of these. 
On this ground the good Kings of Judah, commanded 
Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to 
worship him, according to his own statutes and command- 


96 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

ments, and the contrary corruptions of strange gods, 
high places, Images, and Groves, ihey removed, and are 
commended of God, and obeyed by the Priests and peo- 
ple in so doing. 2 Chron. 14. 3, 4, 5. 2 Chron. 15. 
8 to 16. 2 Chron. 17. 6 to 9. 2 Chron. 19. 3, 4. 
2 Chron. 24. 4, 5, 6. 8, 9, 10. 2 C^row. 29. 3 to 
35. 2 CArow. 30. 1 to 12. 2 CArorj. 34. 3 to 33. 
The establishment of pure Religion, and the reformation 
of corruptions in Religion, do much concerne the civill 
peace. If Religion be corrupted, there will be warre in 
the gates, Judg. 5. 8. And no peace to him, that cometh 
in, or goeth out. 2 Chron. 15. 3. 5. 6. But where 
Religion rejoyceth, the civill State flourisheth. Hagg, 
2. 15 to 19. It is true, the establishment of pure Reli- 
gion, and reformation of corruptions pertain also to the 
Churches and Synodicall Assemblies. But they go about 
it onely with spiriiuall weapons, ministery of the Word, 
and Church-censures, upon such as are under Church- 
power. But Magistrates addresse themselves thereto, 
partly by commanding, and stirring up the Churches, and 
Ministers thereof to go about it in their spiriiuall way ; 
partly also by civill punishments upon the wilfuU op- 
posers, and disturbers of the same. As Jehosaphat sent 
Priests and Levites (and them accompanied and counte- 
nanced with Princes and nobles^ to preach and teach in 
the cities of Judah. 2 Chron. 17. 7, 8, 9. So Josiah 
put to death the idolatrous Priests of the high places. 
2 Kings, 22. 20. Nor was that a peculiar duty or privi- 
lege of the Kings of Judah, but attended to also by 
heathen Princes, and that to prevent the wrath of God, 
against the Realme of the Ki:fg and his sons. Ezra, 7. 
23. Yea, and of the times of the new Testament it is 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 97 

prophesied, that in some cases, capital! punishment shall 
proceed against/^/se Prophets, and that by the procure- 
ment of their nearest kindred. Zach. 13. 3. And the 
execution thereof is described. Rev. 16. 4. to 7, where 
the rivers and fountains of water (that is, the Priests 
and lesuites, that conveigh the Religion of the Sea of 
Rome throughout the countreys) are turned to blood, 
that is, have hlood given them to drink, by the civill 

Neverthelesse, though we willingly acknowledge a 
power in the Civill Magistrate, to establish and reform . 
Religion, according to the Word of God : yet we would 1^ 
not be so understood, as if we judged it to belong to the ' 
civill power, to compel all men to come and sit down at the 
Lords table, or to enter into the communion of the Church, 
before they be in some measure prepared of God for such 
fellowship. For this is not a Reformation, but a D form- 
ation of tlie Church, and is not according to the Word 
of God, but against it, as we shall shew (God wilhng) in 
the sequell, when we come to speak of the disposition or 
qualification of Church-members. 

3. There is a third sort of things which concern the 
civill peace, wherein the Church is not to refuse subjec- 
tion to the Civill Magistrate, in the exercise of some i 
publike spiritual! administrations, which may advance p 
and help forward the publick Good of Civill Slate ac- » 
cording to God. In time of warre, or pestilence, or any 
publike calamitie or danger lying upon a Common- 
wealth, the Magistrate may lawfully procJaime a fast as 
lehosaphat did. 2 Chron. 20. 3. And the Churches 
ought not to neglect such an administration, upon such a 
jus°t occasion. Neither doth it impeach the power of 

98 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

the Church to call a Fast, when themselves see God 
calling them to publick humiliation. For as hhosaphat 
called a Fast; so the Prophet Joel stirreth up the 
Priests to call a Fast in time of a famine threatening the 
want of holy Sacrifices, loel 1. 13, 14. 

It may fall out also, that in undertaking a vvarre, or in 
making a league with a forraine State, there may arise 
such cases of conscience, as may require the consultation 
*" of a Synod. In which case, or the like, if the Magistrate 
call for a Synod, the Churches are to yeeld him ready 
subjection herein in the Lord. Jeho.iaphot, though he 
was out of his place, when he was in Samaria visiting an 
idolatrous King; yet he was not out of his way, when in 
case of undertaking the war against Syria, he called for 
counsell from the mouth of the Lord, by a Councell or 
Synod of Priests and Prophets. 1 Kings 22. 5, 6, 7. 

4. A fourth sort of things, wherein the church is not 
-_J to refuse subjection to the Civil Magistrate, is in patient 
I suffering their unjust persecutions without hostile or re- 
bellious resistance. For though persecution of the 
churches and servants of Christ will not advance the 
civill peace, but overthrow it ; yet for the church to take 
up the sword in her own defence, is not a law full means 
of preserving the church peace, but a disturbance of it 
rather. In this case, when Peter drew his Sword in 
defence of his Master {the Lord Icsus) against an attach- 
ment served upon him, by the Officers of the high 
Priests and Elders of the people, our Saviour bade him 
put vp his sword into his sheath again ; for, (saith he) 
all they that toJce the sword, shall perish by the sword^ 
Mat. 21. 50, 51, 52. Where he speakcth of Peter 
either as a private Disciple, or a church-officer, to whom, 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 99 

though tlie power of the keys was committed, yet the 
power of the sword was not committed. And for such 
to take up the sword, though in the cause of Christ, it is 
forhidden by Christ ; and such is the case of any particu- 
lar church or of a Synod of churches. As they have 
received the power of the keys, not of the sword, to the 
power of the keys they may, and ought to administer, 
but not of the sword. Wherein neverthelesse we speak 
of churches and Synods, as such, that is, as church-mem- 
bers, or church-assemblies, acting in a church-way, by 
the power of the keys received from Christ. But if 
some of the same persons be also betrusted by the civili 
State, with the preservation and protection of the Lawes 
and Liberties, peace and safety of the same state, and 
shall meet together in a publike civili assembly (whether 
in Councell or Camp) they may there provide by civili 
power (according to the wholsome lawes and liberties 
of the countrey,) iV'e quid Ecclesia, ne quid Respublica 
detrimenti capiat. If King Saul swear to put Jonathan 
to death, the Leaders of the people may by strong hands 
rescue him from his fathers unjust and illegall fury. 1 
Sam. 14. 44, 45. But if Saul persecute David (though 
as unjustly as Jonathan) yet if the Princes and Leaders 
of the people will not rescue him from the wrath of the 
King, David (a private man) will not draw out his 
sword in his own defence, so much as to touch the Lords 
anoynted. 1 Sam. 24. 4 to 7. 

To conclude this Corollary, touching the subjection of 
churches to the civili State, in matters which concern the 
civili peace, this may not be omitted, that as the Church 
is subject to the sword of the Magistrate in things which 
concern the civili peace ; so the Magistrate (if Christian) 

100 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

is subject to the keys of the Church, in matters which 
concern the peace of his conscience and the kingdome of 
heaven. Hence it is prophesied by Isaiah, that Kings 
and Queens, who are nursing fathers and mothers to the 
church, shall how down to the Church, with their faces 
to the earth, Isai. 49. 23. That is, they shall walk in 
professed subjection to the Ordinances of Christ in his 
Church. Hence also it is, that David prophesieth of a 
two-edged sword, (that is, the sword of the Spirit, the 
word of Christ) put into the hands of the Saints, (who 
are by calling the Members of the Church) as to subdue 
the nations by the ministery of the Word, to the obe- 
dience of the Gospel, (Psalms, 149. 6, 7,) so to binde 
their Kings ivith chains, and their Nobles with fetters 
of iron, to execute uyon them the judgment written, (that 
is, written in the Word.) Psal. 149. 8, 9. 

3. A third Corollary touching the independency of 
churches is this. That a church of a particular Congrega- 
tion, consisting of Elders and Brethren, and walking in 
khe truth and peace of the Gospel, as it is the first subject 
of all Church-power, needfuU to be exercised within 
itself, so it is independent upon any other (Church or 
Synod) for the exercise of the same. 

That such a Church is the first subject of all church- 
power, hath been cleered above in the opening of the third 
Proposition of the first subject of the power of the keys. 
And such a church being the first subject of church-pow- 
er, is unavoidably independent upon any other church or 
body for the exercise thereof, for as halh been said afore, 
the first subject of any Accident or Adjunct, is indepen- 
dent upon any other, either for the injoying, or for the 
imploying (the having or the using) of the same. 

of Heaven and the poiver thereof. 101 

4. A fourth corollary touching the independencyof 
churches is, That a Church fallen into any offence 
(whether it be the whole Church, or a strong party in 
it) is not independent in the exercise of Church-pow- 
er, but is subject both to the admonition of any other 
Church, and to the determination and judiciall sentence 
of a Synod for direction into a ivay of truth and peace. 

And this also ariseth from the former discourse. For, 
if clavis errans non ligat, Sf Ecclesia litigans non ligat ; 
that is, if Christ hath not given to a particular church a 
promise to binde and loose in heaven, what they binde 
and loose on earth, unlesse they agree together, and agree 
in his name, then such a church is not independent in 
their proceedings, as do fail in either. For all the inde- 
pendency that can be claimed is founded upon that pro- 
mise, What yee binde on earth, shall be bound in heaven ; 
what yee loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven, Math. 
18. 18. On that promise is founded both the indepen- 
dency and security ^ parity also of all churches. But 
if that promise be cut off from them, they are like 
Sampson when his haire was cut off, weak, and subject 
to fall under other men; and yet they fall softer than hee 
did : hee fell into the hands of his enemies, but they fall 
under the censure of their friends. As the false Prophet 
recanting his error did acknowledge, so may they : 
Thus tvas I wounded in the house of my friends, Zach. 
13. 6. In the house of a neighbour-church or two, I was 
friendly smitten with a brotherly admonition, which (like 
a precious oyle) did not break mine head : and in the 
house of a Synod of churches, I was friendly, yea^ bro- 
therly censured and healed. 

5. A ffth and last Corollary arising from the former 

102 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

discourse, touching the independency of churches, may 
be this ; Though the Church of a particular Congrega- 
tion, consisting of Elders and Brethren, and walking with 
a right foot in the truth and peace of the Gospel, be the 
first subject of all church-power needfuU to be exercised 
within itself; and consequently be independent from any 
other Church or Synod in the use of it ; yet it is a safe 
and wholesome, and holy Ordinance of Christ, for such 
particular churches to joyn together in holy Covenant or 
Communion, and consolation amongst themselves, to ad- 
minister all their church affairs (which are of weighty, 
and difficult and common concernment) not without com- 
mon consultation and consent of other churches about 
them. Now church-affairs of weighty and difficult and 
common concernment, wee account to be the election 
and ordination of Elders, excommunication of an Elder, 
or any person ofpublicJc note and employment : the trans- 
lation of an Elder from one Church to another, or the 
like. In which case we conceive it safe and wholesome, 
and an holy ordinance to proceed with common consul- 
tation and consent. Safe, for in multitude of counsellors 
there is safttie (as in civill, so in Church affairs) Prov. 
11. 14. And though this or that Church may be of a 
good and strong constitution, and walk with a right foot 
in the truth, and peace of the Gospel : yet all Churches 
are not in a like athletick plight, and they will be loath 
to call in, or look out for help as much or more then 
others, though they have more need then others : yea, 
and the best Churches may soon degenerate, and stand in 
as much need of help as others, and for want of it may 
sink and fall into deep Apostasie, which other Churches 
might have prevented, had they discerned it at first. 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 103 

It is also wholsome, as tending to maintain brotherly 
love, and soundnesse of doctrine in Churches, and to pre- 
vent many offences, which may grow up in this or that 
particular Church, when it Iransacteth all such things 
within itself without consent. 

It is likewise an holy ordinance of Christ, as having 
just warrant from a like precedent. The Apostles were 
as much independent from one another, and stood in as 
little need of one anothers help, as Churches do one of 
another. And yet Paul went up to lerusalem, to confer 
with Peter, lames, and lohn, lest he should run in vain 
in the course of his ministry, Galat. 2. 2. And though 
in conference the chief Apostles added nothing to Paul, 
ver. 6. yet when they perceived the Gospel of the uncir- 
cumcision was committed to Paul and Barnabas, as that 
of the circumcision to Peter, lames and lohn, they gave 
unto one another the right hand of felloivship, ver. 9. 
Now then it will follow by just proportion, that if the 
Apostles who are each of them independent one of an- 
other, had need to consult and confer together about the 
work of their ministry, to procure the freer passage to 
their calling, and to their doctrine : then surely Churches, 
and Elders of Churches, though independent one of an- 
other, had need to communicate their courses and pro- 
ceedings in such cases one with another, to procure the 
freer passage to the same. And if the Apostles, giving 
right-hand of fellowship one to another, did mutually 
strengthen their hands in the work of the ministry : then 
the Elders of Churches, giving right hand of fellowship 
to one another in their ordination, or upon any fit occa- 
sion, cannot but much encourage and strengthen the 
hearts and hands of one another in the Lords work. 

104 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

Again, something might be added, if not for confirma- 
tion, yet for illustration of this point, by comparing the 
dimensions of the New Jerusalem, which is a perfect 
platform of a pure Church, as it shall be constituted in 
the levvish Church state, at their last conversion. The 
di ntnsions of this Church as they are described by Eze- 
Jciel, (Chap. 48. 30.) are (according to Junius) iivelve 
furlongs, which after the measure of the Sanctuarie 
(which is double to the common) is about three miles in 
length, and as much in breadth. But the dimensions of 
the same Church of the lews in Rev. 21. 16. is said to 
be tivelve thousand furlongs. Now how can these two 
dimensions of the same Cliurch stand together, which are 
so fare discrepant one from another ? For there be a 
thousand times twelve furlongs, in twelve thousand fur- 
longs. The fittest and fairest reconciliation seemeth 
plainly to be this, that EzeJciel speaketh of the dimen- 
sions of any ordinarie Jewish Church of one particular 
congregation. But lohn speaketh of the dimensions 
of many particular Jewish Churches, combining together 
in some cases, even to the communion of a thousand 
Churches. Not that the Church of the Jews will be 
constituted in a JVationall and Diocesan frame, with 
Nationall officers and Diocesan Bishops or the like: but 
that sometimes a thousand of them will be gathered into 
a Synod, and all of them will have such mutuall care, 
and yeeld such mutuall brotherly help and communion 
one to another, as if they were all but one body. 

If any man say, Theologia symbolica, or parabolica 
non est argumentativa, that arguments from such parables 
and mysticall resemblances in Scripture are not valid, let 
him enjoy his owne apprehension : (and if he can yeeld 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 105 

a better interpretation of the place) let him wave this 
collection. Neverthelesse, if there were no argumenta- 
tive power in parables, why did the Lord lesus so much 
delight in that kind of teaching? and why did lohn, and 
Daniel, and EzeMel deliver a great part of their prophe- 
sies in parables, if we must take them for riddles, and not 
for documents nor arguments ? Surely if they serve not 
for argument, they serve not for document. 

But furthermore, touching this great work of commu- 
nion and consociation of Churches, give us leave to adde 
this caution ; To see that this consociation of Churches 
be not perverted, either to the oppression or diminution of 
the just libertie and authoritie of each particular Church 
within itself: who being well supplied with a failhfull and 
expert Presbyterie of their own, do walk in their integ- 
ritie according to the truth and peace of the Gospel. Let 
Synods have their just authoritie in all Churches, how 
pure soever in determining such jiaTu^sig as are requisite 
for the edification of all Christs Churches accordinsf to 
God. But in the election and ordination of Officers , 
and censure of offenders, let it suffice the Churches con- 
sociate to assist one another, with their counsell, and right 
hand of fellowship, ivhen they see a particular Church 
to use their libertie and power aright. But let them not 
put forth the power of their communitie, either to take 
such Church acts out of their hands, or to hinder them 
in their lawfull course, unlesse they see them (through 
ignorance or iveaknesse) to abuse their libertie and autho- 
ritie in the Gospel. All the liberties of Churches were 
purchased to them by the precious blood of the Lord 
lesus : and therefore neither may the Churches give 
them away, nor many Churches take them out of the 

106 Of the Keys of the Kingdom 

hands of one. They may indeed prevent the abuse of 
their liberties, and direct in the lawfull use of them, but 
not take them away, though themselves should be will- 
ing. The Lord lesus having given equall power to all 
the Apostles, it was not lawfull for eleven of them to for- 
bid the twelfth to do any act of his office without their 
intervention. Neither was it lawfull for the nine who 
were of inferiour gifts, to commit the guidance and com- 
mand of all their Apostolick administrations unto Peter, 
lames and lohn, who seemed to be pillars. And that, 
not onely because they were all (one as well as another) 
immediately guided by the holy Ghost : but because they 
were all equall in office, and everie one to give account 
for himself unto God. 

It is the like case (in some measure) of particular 
Churches ; yea, there is moreover a three-fold further 
inconvenience, which seemeth to us, to attend the trans- 
lation of the power of particular churches in these ordi- 
nary administrations, into the hands of a Synod of Pres- 
byters, commonly called a Classis. 

1. The promise of Binding and Loosing, in way of 
Discipline, which Christ gave to every particular church 
(as hath been shewed) is by this means not received, nor 
injoyned, nor practised by themselves immediately, but 
by their Deputies or Over-seers. 

2. The same promise which was not given to Synods 
in acts of that nature (as hath been shewed in the chap- 
ter of Synods) but in acts of another kinde, is hereby 
received, and injoyned, and practised by them, and by 
them onely, which ought not to be. 

And which is a third inconvenience, The practice of 

of Heaven and the power thereof. 107 

this power of the keyes only by a Synod of Presbyters, 
still keepeth the Church as under nonage, as if they 
were not grown up to the full fruition of the just liberty 
of their riper yeers in the dayes of the Gospel. For a 
mother to bear her young daughter in her arms, and not 
to suffer it to go on its own feet, whilesl it is in ihe in- 
fancie, is kindly and conaely : but when the Damosell is 
grown up to riper yeers, for the mother still to bear her 
in her arms, for fear of stumbling, it were an unnecessary 
burthen to the mother, and a reproach to the Virgin ; 
Such is the case here : The community of chnrclies (ac- 
cording to the Hebrew phrase) is as the Mother ; each 
particular church is as the Daughter. In the old Testa- 
ment, while the Church was in her nonage, it was not 
unseasonable to leave the whole guidance and bearing 
thereof in the hands of their Tutors and Governors^ the 
Priests and, Levites, and in the cotnmunily of tlie na- 
tional! courts. But now in the dayes of the new Testa- 
ment, when the churches are grown up (or should be 
grown at least) to more maturity, it were meet more to 
give the Church liberty to stand alone, and to walk upon 
her own legs ; and yet in any such part of her way, as 
may be more hard to hit right upon, as in her Elections, 
and Ordinances, and Censures of eminent persons, in of- 
fice ; it is a safe and holy and faithfull office of the vigi- 
lancy of the community of churches, to be present with 
them, and helpfuU to them in the Lord. 

And at all times when a particular church shall wan- 
der out of the way, (whether out of the way of tmth, or 
of peace) the community of churches may by no means 
be excused from reformins: them attain into their right 

108 Of the Keys of the Kingdom, ^c. 

way, according to the authority which the Lord hath 
given them for the publike edification of all the severall 
churches within their Covenant. 

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