Page images
PDF
EPUB

Cause, which Mahomet may not enTo the Rigideft Disenters Do you: fay this was not the fault of your Discipline, but of faciousungodly, and unruly meng and although poor you, have fate belide the Gaddle in England, yet your brethren ride in ftare in other places.

Ref«. This triple, cord hath no ftrength, a small twitch will break it ahinder the blamelesness of the rule is equally plear ded by Episcopacys.confirmed by a. Doing right, and uninterrupted Eccleßastical practise for above 1600 years, whereas you have no Divine right for your new coined government, and the right you have hardly exceeds the age of one man. All which time it hath incessantly been oppoled by the contrary -practise of all other. Churches: All which I doubt not to

prove by the present Treatise, and that which shall shortly follow it (it God will) concerning the Apostles. But your opposites were fa&tious, good words brethren; clear your selves ere you charge others, Episcopal men will hear you, and tell you other mens turbulency agaiqst you, is a juft punishment of your factiousness against them. Your plea hangs totreringly now by one flender thread, viz, your prevalency in other places ; Be it fo, consider when, how, and in what you prevailed: A good cause may be unfortunate, when the worst is crowned with success, Pompey is vanquilht when Cefar is vi&torious, & Josiah is Nain when Pharaph Necho triumph't

. Where

the cause is naught, the means to effect iç perjurious and indire&t, its fuccess is at best but prosperous villany. I have read, and who hath not, how G, and S. obtained what they have, were you treading in their Keps, in the five years after 1640. what argument could you haveghad, fuppose you had prevailed to force in verification Cf his Alchoran; certainly wresting of Scripture, and a conquering arm of fleih, are the main ftaies of that abomination. Moreover let it be noted, his disciplinari

ans contend with those, whom they account Infidels, you, 12. Confi- with those whom you dare not deny to be Chriftians ; you may derable cau- remember how Iohn Goodwin concludes his cautions about a cions very ne reformation according to the Word of God; Is it not even

be observed in

thus ? When either the Alchoran of the Turks, or the Miffal of and about a the Rapists shall appear to be acconding to the Word of God, then reformation, may your reformation hope to partake of the same honour also: according to Thus he. the Word of God CART. 124

'Twas not the leaf fumble, which I received ere I fell faal******ly from a good opinion of your discipline, to be told to my X

head

enim

?

head by one of youir moft eminent partizans, that the Charcbofii England Moselek never comenrider any other Disciplinzo but yours, un's tefi the first wadert wp to the knees in bloud; Sirs,: is this Chriftia, an meekness? Is this Chrifts way to call finners to repentance ? know you what you say,or of what fpirit you are when you rage after thismannier? Will Chrift allow a bloody revengeful Spi- i rit in Presbyters, when he check't it in his Apostles? We read in Scripture that our Saviour came to fave mens fouls, whene read ye that he came to defroy them? We vead chat he founded his Church in his own blood, where read you that he intends to propagate it with the bloud of other men ? Weread thiac. he gave his back to the friters, and was meek and gentle, where read you that he commends page and violence to hisDife ciples? If yout, or any eller think his patience towards, andi prayers for his enemies, is no pattern for your imitation, yet consider his tremendous application to his Apostles, of the masters feverity against the unmerciful fervant; Mat. 18. 35. So likewise Mall your beavenly father do unto you, if ye from your bearts forgive not every brie bis brotber their treffaffes, Are there any. Om hoftes betrather Scriptures which allow, and commend bitterness among neos, non tanChriftians, certainly the Primitive Church never took them to tum vindices be part of the Canon, otherwise. Tertullian most vainly, trechés occultos agere rously, and unwort bily did betray the truth, by glorying of the rea- vellemus, de diness of the profeffors of his time to suffer martyrdome under perfe- numerorum do cuting beatbons; when yet they were of fufficient force to fight with copiaran?p? them, and put it to the hazard of a vi&ory, wereof the Christians res rimirum might have been affred, if it had been Gods pleasure to ingage them mauris

od in a war. What will

the fame Scripture juftifie bf your slaugh- ipfiq; Parthi, tering of your brethren for doing the will of God, which vel quantacus would not admit Primitive Christians to slay heatheis for op, que anius iapofing it? Cufarms was then in the right, when he said, the men loci, &

Suorum finium Seriptures are alpaies to be interpreted according to the Cburches

gentes, quam current practise Wherein though he meant the Roman Court, totius ortis? she may as juftly claim that priviledge as any other party what- Externi fumu soever, the being both the cldest, and greatest fáction in the go veftra omChriftian world. Besides (brethren) where is the liberty, and nia implevi

, destroy your brethrens bodies, and not persecute their , municipia, consciences : Are your imprisonments and banilhnenti,

conciliabala,

caftra ipla, tribus, decurias, palatiuin, Serarum forrim? fola volis reliquimus templa. Cui bello non idonei, non prompti fuissemus ? etiam impares copiis, qui tain libenter. quucidamur ? firon apud iftam difciplinam magis occidi liceret, quuin occidere. Potuimus ac inermes, nec rea Belles, fed tantum modo discordes, folius divortii invidia, adverfus vos dimicale; Tcrtull. Apol. adverf. gent, cap. 37.

if

marco-re ariri

if not as evil doers, yet as bufie bodies, more precious in the eyes of the Lord then the death of your brethren, who do their duties, and are ready to give an account of the faith, and hope which is in them, with meekness and wisdom? Lay to heart what ni chiefs your firy, and great hatred hath already done in those kingdoms, before you think of doing more? how many habitations hath it made defolate, and without an Inhabitant? how many antient and famous Cities and Towns hath it defaced ?: what orders in the Church and Commonwealth hath it confounded? and how many burning and shining lights in both, hath it barbarously and brutishly excinguilhea? What is all the bloud already thed in England, and Scotland nothing? will nothing fatistic your horse-leech appetite, byt a iccond opening of all the veins of the kingdom that you may drink the bloud of Kings, Captains, and nighty men? believe it fober Christians think, that a rea of penitential cears will not walhaway the scandal, which you, and the men of your confederacy, or Covenant have brought upon the reformacion, by.xunparallelled villainy:int 1648. they fear least that very action caused the Proteftants in Piedmont and : Poland to fink in the nostrils of their Princes, and that those poor souls are now crying under the Altar unto the Lord, to require their blood at your hands. The perclose of your Covenant, alaruming all Papal Princes to

keep strict watch over their subjects of the reformed professioni, Read the fince therein by way of prayer you say, Ihat the Lord would bless Covenant. your desires, aud proceedings with such füccefs, as may be deliverance

and Safety to his people, and encouragement to other Christian Churchés groaning under, or in danger of the y ke of Antichristian tyranny, to joyn in the same, or like affociation or Covenant. And fince the murder of our late gracious, now glorious Sovereigne, is alledged by the principal Parricides to be pufiiant to the Cove

nant, Because the preservation of the Kings Majesties perfin and axRead ihe thority (were alledged by theni to be inconfiftent) together with Covenanta

the liberties of the kingdom, and the preservation, and defence of the true religion. But is time to close this Paragraph, let me only tell you, if I had no other . mctive but the opposition of your Spirits uitto Scripture rule, it would have spurred me on to study and publish this discourse; but I had another incitation previous, and more prevalerit, take it, as I Ihall not fear to give it, at Gods gribunal another day.

Aboue four year fince, having nat long before received Presbyterial Imposition of hands; Providence caft me into the company of one of the chief of that Presbytery, wc being private, he and I only. in company, he delivered me an open book into my hand, with a leaf turned down, against the argument , for the imparity of Ministers; drawn from the divers inftituitions of the twelve Apoftles, and fevents Disciples, which he willed ne to read, confider, and give him my thoughts upon it, I did all but the latter, which ftrook me into horror and amazement; I could as cafíly have given him an Empire, as my present thoughts upon it, for neither of them were in my power; but God made a way for me to escape the tentation, other brethren coming in to visit him in the mean time, diverted us iato other discourses ; neither did he again require it at any cine afterwards. Who was the author of this book I know not, it was a small imperfe&t piece in 16. without either beginning or ending; which I only saw at that time, for one quarter of an hour, and never afterwards. But though I was fice of him, I could not so rid my thoughts of it; many were the reasonings, and searchings of my Spirit why it was proposed unto me, and what use I was to make of it, now it was proposed. Sometimes I feared it was offered to try my resolution, or irresolution in my late engagement, but I loon overftrid this block, not finding any caufe for its laying before me, either in my intentions or actions, because what I had done hitherto was in the fimplicity of my heat, and I alwaies went with the forwardeft in obedience to the commands of that Society. Sometimes I doubted, least it were: a Sathanical illafion to unfix my

thoughts, since it perpetually haunted me for many nionechs, sand I did a thousand times adjure ir, co surcease its solicitations ere I set Pen to paper. But it would not leave me, and at last I could not leave it. This wondrously perplexed me, how to dismiss it I eculd not tell, and how to follow it, I saw not, but over innumerable precipices ; Epifcopacy being their thrown out, and the extruding force, being as to humane appearance more united than ever ; for this cause I fafted, prayed, and wept before the Lord, beleeching him to clear up his mind unto me, and resolve me whether he would have me to delik, or go forward, my will being prest to yield obedience either way, according to the intimation of his pleasure. I pretend no revelation, only took the ordinary avro quiet and fettle my Spirits but the more I fasted, and the marel was re

solved,

1st haper

folved, that a necessity was laid upon mc to tudy this contro-
verly, and wo was me if I did not do it. Whether this refolaz
tion were a return of prayer, or an answer to the prepoffeffion
of my Spirit, the righteous God will one day make manifest, for
though I know nothing by my self, yet am not I bereby juftified, but
berbot judgeth me is the Lord. However resolved I was, and am
I hope (in his ftrength) to set upon it. But where to make my
approach, coft me some time and ftudy, I diligently read 0-
ver what ever I could buy, or borrow, concerning the argu-
ment, and after much observation, faw the main hinge of the
controverfy, hung upon the explication of the Evangelifts pro-
per office and work, the Wight Divines in answers to the argu-
ments of the late King Charles of blessed memory, particularlyun-
to that which concerned Timothy, and Titusg say. And first to
that of Timothy, and Titus , We grant that Timothy and Titus
bad authority and power of ordaining Presbyters, and Deacons, and
of exercising cenfures over Presbyters and others, though we cannot
Say they had this power as the Apostles fubftitutes op.fucceffors in the
Episcopal government, but was extraordinary Officers, br Evangelifts,
which Evangelists were an office in the Church diftind from Pastor's,
and Teachers, Thus they; whereby it appears that the Evan-
gelizate of Timothy and Titus, is the only reserve, encouraging
Pies byters not to quit the field, Sc yield an entire victory

toEpifcopacy. This their main forength issaulted by this discounte, with what success, time & impartiat Judgments nnis decermine. I arrogate nothing to my felf, being but a commanded mari, who fights under the banner, and condu& of the captain of the Lords host, even our Lord Jesus Chrift cur Legislator, high Priest, Apostle, and Bishop of our profeffion; his is, and his alone be the -glory of wbat is effe&ted, the shame: mines of every failer and miscarriage, whereadhow numerous soever they bd, ted not che adverfary triumph; for I atij certain the work thall be acconiplished, though not by me, yet by others more able and wof

tly, that. Gospel ordinances may regain their attient credit, and - be effectuel to their foimers and most glorious ends of i perfe&iing of the Shirts, working in the Miniftry, and edifying of the body of Chrift, not any longer be subjected to the defigng, or påffions of corrupt men; and be continued or reje&ed, fo far as they carry on, or hinder Schismatical, Papal, or Machivilian · projects. That Epifcopacy is of a thriving genius, appears by Lan acknowledgment. of Mr. Baxters, when Presbytery had its

greatest hopes of being settled, Episcopacy had visibly the 19.

least

« PreviousContinue »