William Cunningham: Infant Baptism

“Sec. IV.—Infant Baptism

The Reformers, and the great body of Protestant divines, in putting forth the definition of the sacraments in general, or of a sacrament as such, intended to embody the substance of what they believe Scripture to teach, or to indicate, as equally applicable to both sacraments; and in laying down what they believe concerning the general objects and the ordinary effects of the sacraments, they commonly assume, that the persons partaking in them are rightly qualified for receiving and improving them,—and further, and more specially, that the persons baptized are adults. It is necessary to keep these considerations in view in interpreting the general description given of sacraments and of baptism, in our Confession of Faith and the other Reformed confessions; and with these assmnptions, and to this extent, there is no difficulty in the way of our maintaining the general principle, which can be established by most satisfactory evidence,—namely, that the fundamental spiritual blessings, on the possession of which the salvation of men universally depends,—justification and regeneration by faith,—are not conveyed through the instrumentality of the sacraments, but that, on the contrary, they must already exist before even baptism can be lawfully or safely received. The general tenor of Scripture language upon the subject of baptism applies primarily and directly to the baptism of adults, and proceeds upon the assumption, that the profession implied in the reception of baptism by adults,—the profession, that is, that they had already been led to believe in Christ, and to receive Him as their Saviour and their Master,—was sincere, or corresponded with the real state of their minds and hearts. It is necessary, therefore, to form our primary and fundamental conceptions of the objects and effects of baptism in itself, as a distinct subject, and in its bearing upon the general doctrine of the sacraments, from the baptism of adults and not of infants. The baptisms which are ordinarily described or referred to in the New Testament, were the baptisms of men who had lived as Jews and heathens, and who, having been led to believe in Christ,—or, at least, to profess faith in Him,—expressed and sealed this faith, or the profession of it, by complying with Christ’s requirement, that they should be baptized. This is the proper, primary, full idea of baptism; and to this the general tenor of Scripture language upon the subject, and the general description of the objects and ends of baptism, as given in our Confession of Faith, and in the other confessions of the Reformed churches, are manifestly adapted.

As, in the condition in which we are placed in providence, we but seldom witness the baptism of adults, and commonly see only the baptism of infants,—and as there are undoubtedly some difficulties in the way of applying fully to the baptism of infants the definition usually given of a sacrament, and the general account commonly set forth of the objects and ends of baptism,—we are very apt to be led to form insensibly very erroneous and defective views of the nature and effects of baptism, as an ordinance instituted by Christ in His church, or rather, to rest contented with scarcely any distinct or definite conception upon the subject. Men usually have much more clear and distinct apprehensions of the import, design, and effects of the Lord’s Supper than of Baptism; and yet the general definition commonly given of a sacrament applies equally to both, being just intended to embody the substance of what Scripture indicates as equally applicable to the one ordinance as to the other. If we were in the habit of witnessing adult baptism, and if we formed our primary and full conceptions of the import and effects of the ordinance from the baptism of adults, the one sacrament would be as easily understood, and as definitely apprehended, as the other; and we would have no difficulty in seeing how the general definition given of the sacraments in our Confession of Faith and Catechisms applied equally to both. But as this general definition of sacraments, and the corresponding general description given of the objects and effects of baptism, do not apply fully and without some modification to the form in which we usually see baptism administered, men commonly, instead of considering distinctly what are the necessary modifications of it, and what are the grounds on which these modifications rest, leave the whole subject in a very obscure and confused condition in their minds.

These statements may, at first view, appear to be large concessions to the anti-pædo-baptists, or those who oppose the lawfulness of the baptism of infants, and to affect the solidity of the ground on which the practice of pædo-baptism, which has ever prevailed almost universally in the church of Christ, is based. But I am persuaded that a more careful consideration of the subject will show that these views, besides being clearly sanctioned by Scripture, and absolutely necessary for the consistent and intelligible interpretation of our own standards, are, in their legitimate application, fitted to deprive the arguments of the anti-pædo-baptists of whatever plausibility they possess. It cannot be reasonably denied that they have much that is plausible to allege in opposition to infant baptism; but I am persuaded that the plausibility of their arguments will always appear greatest to men who have not been accustomed to distinguish between the primary and complete idea of this ordinance, as exhibited in the baptism of adults, and the distinct and peculiar place which is held by the special subject of infant baptism, and the precise grounds on which it rests. Pædo-baptists, from the causes to which I have referred, are apt to rest contented with very obscure and defective notions of the import and objects of baptism, and to confound adult and infant baptism as if the same principle must fully and universally apply to both. And in this state things, when those views of the sacraments in general, and of baptism in particular, which I have briefly explained, are pressed upon their attention, and seen and acknowledged to be well founded, they are not unlikely to imagine that these principles equally rule the case of infant baptism; and they are thus prepared to see, in the arguments of the anti-pædo-baptists, a much larger amount of force and solidity than they really possess. Hence the importance of being familiar with what should be admitted or conceded, as clearly sanctioned by Scripture, with respect to baptism in general, in its primary, complete idea,—estimating exactly what this implies, and how far it goes; and then, moreover, being well acquainted with the special subject of infant baptism as a distinct topic,—with the peculiar considerations applicable to it, and the precise grounds on which its lawfulness and obligation can be established.

It is not my purpose to enter upon a full discussion of infant baptism, or an exposition of the grounds on which the views of pædo-baptists can, as I believe, be successfully established and vindicated. I shall merely make a few observations on what it is that pædo-baptists really maintain,—on the distinct and peculiar place which the doctrine of infant baptism truly occupies,—and on the relation in which it stands to the general subject of baptism and the sacraments; believing that correct apprehensions upon these points are well fitted to illustrate the grounds on which infant baptism rests in all their strength, and the insufficiency of the reasons by which the opposite view has been supported.

Let me then, in the first place, remark that intelligent pædo-baptists hold all those views of the sacraments and of baptism which I have endeavoured to explain, and are persuaded that they can hold them in perfect consistency with maintaining that the infants of believing parents ought to be baptized. There is nothing in these views peculiar to the anti-pædo-baptists; and there is, we are persuaded, no real advantage which they can derive from them in support of their opinions. These views are clearly sanctioned by our Confession of Faith; while, at the same time, it contains also the following proposition as a part of what the word of God teaches upon the subject of baptism:* “Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one or both believing parents are to be baptized.” Now, let it be observed that this position is all that is essential to the doctrine of the pædo-baptists, as such. We are called upon to maintain nothing more upon the subject than this plain and simple proposition, which merely asserts the lawfulness and propriety of baptizing the infants of believing parents. Let it be noticed also, that the statement is introduced merely as an adjunct or appendage to the general doctrine of baptism; not as directly and immediately comprehended under it, any more than under the general definition given of a sacrament, but as a special addition to it, resting upon its own distinct and peculiar grounds. This is the true place which infant baptism occupies; this is the view that ought to be taken of it; and I am persuaded that it is when contemplated and investigated in this aspect, that there comes out most distinctly and palpably the sufficiency of the arguments in favour of it, and the sufficiency of the objections against it. On this, as on many other subjects, the friends of truth have often injured their cause, by entering to fully and minutely into explanations of their doctrines, for the purpose of commending them to men’s acceptance, and solving the difficulties by which they seemed to be beset. They have thus involved themselves in great difficulties, by trying to defend their own minute and unwarranted explanations, as if they were an essential part of the Scripture doctrine. It is easy enough to prove form Scripture that the Father is God, that the Son is God, and that the Holy Ghost is God, and that they are not three Gods, but one God; but many of the more detailed explanations of the doctrine of the Trinity which have been given by its friends, have been untenable and indefensible, and have only laid it open unnecessarily to the attacks of its enemies. In like manner, we think it no difficult matter to produce from Scripture sufficient and satisfactory evidence of the position, that the infants of believing parents are to be baptized; by minute and detailed expositions of the reasons and the effects of infant baptism are unwarranted by Scripture; they impose an unnecessary burden upon the friends of truth, and tend only to give an advantage to its opponents. The condition and fate of infants, and the principles by which they are determined, have always been subjects on which men, not unnaturally, have been prone to speculate, but on which Scripture has given us little explicit information beyond this, that salvation through Christ is just as accessible to them as to adults. One form in which this tendency to speculate unwarrantably about infants has been exhibited, is that of inventing theories about the objects and effects of infant baptism. These theories are often made to rest as a burden upon the scriptural proof of the lawfulness and propriety of the mere practice itself: and thus have the appearance of communicating to that proof, which is amply sufficient for its own proper object, their own essential weakness and invalidity.

It is manifest that, from the nature of the case, the principles that determine and indicate the objects and effects of baptism in adults and infants, cannot be altogether the same; and the great difficulty of the whole subject lies in settling, as far as we can, what modifications our conceptions of baptism should undergo in the case of infants, as distinguished from that of adults; and, at the same time, to show that, even with these modifications, the essential and fundamental ideas involved in the general doctrine ordinarily professed concerning baptism are still preserved. The investigation even of this point is, perhaps, going beyond the line of what is strictly necessary for the establishment of the position, that the infants of believing parents are to be baptized. But some notice of it can scarcely by avoided in the discussion of the question.

The scriptural evidence, in support of the position that the infants of believing parents are to be baptized, consists chiefly in the proof which the word of God affords, to the following effect:—that, in the whole history of our race, God’s covenanted dealings with His people, with respect to spiritual blessings, have had regard to their children as well as to themselves; so that the children as well as the parents have been admitted to the spiritual blessings of God’s covenants, and to the outward signs and seals of these covenants;—that there is no evidence that this general principle, so full of mercy and grace, and so well fitted to nourish faith and hope, was to be departed from, or laid aside, under the Christian dispensation; but, on the contrary, a great deal to confirm the conviction that it was to continue to be acted on;—that the children of believers are capable of receiving, and often do in fact receive, the blessings of the covenant, justification and regeneration; and are therefore—unless there be some very express prohibition, either by general principle or specific statement—admissible and entitled to the outward sign and seal of these blessings;—that there is a federal holiness, as distinguished from a personal holiness, attaching, under the Christian as well as the Jewish economy, to the children of believing parents, which affords a sufficient ground for their admission, by an outward ordinance, into the fellowship of the church;—and that the commission which our Saviour gave to His apostles, and the history we have of the way in which they exercised this commission, decidedly favour the conclusion, that they admitted the children of believers along with their parents, and because of their relation to their parents, into the communion of the church by baptism.

This line of argument, though in some measure inferential, is, we are persuaded, amply sufficient in cumulo to establish the conclusion, that the children of believing parents are to be baptized, unless either the leading positions of which it consists can be satisfactorily proved to have no sanction from Scripture, or some general position can be established which proves the incompatibility of infant baptism, either with the character of the Christian dispensation in general, or with the qualities and properties of the ordinance of baptism in particular. I do not mean to enter upon the consideration of the specific scriptural evidence in support of the different positions that constitute the proof of the lawfulness and propriety of baptizing the children of believing parents, or of the attempts which have been made to disprove them singly, and in detail. I can only advert to the general allegation, that infant baptism is inconsistent with some of the qualities or properties of the ordinance of baptism, as it is set before us in Scripture.

It is manifestly nothing to the purpose to say, in support of this general allegation, that baptism in the case of infants cannot be, in all respects, the same as baptism in the case of adults; or, that we cannot give so full and specific an account of the objects and effects of infant as of adult baptism. These positions are certainly both true; but they manifestly concern merely incidental points, not affecting the root of the matter, and afford no ground for any such conclusion as the unlawfulness of infant baptism. In the case of the baptism of adults, we can speak clearly and decidedly as to the general objects, and the ordinary effects, of the administration of the ordinance. The adult receiving baptism is either duly qualified, and suitably prepared for it, or he is not. If he is not duly qualified, his baptism is a hypocritical profession of a state of mind and heart that does not exist; and, of course, it can do him no good, but must be sin, and, as such, must expose him to the divine displeasure. If he is duly qualified and suitably prepared, then his baptism, though it does not convey to him justification and regeneration, which he must have before received through faith, impresses upon his mind, through God’s blessing, their true nature and grounds, and strengthens his faith to realize more fully his own actual condition, as an unworthy recipient of unspeakable mercies, and his obligations to live to God’s praise and glory. We are unable to put any such clear and explicit alternative in the case of the baptism of infants, or give any very definite account of the way and manner in which it bears upon or affects them individually. Men have often striven hard in their speculations to lay down something precise and definite, in the way of general principle or standard, as to the bearing and effect of baptism in relation to the great blessings of justification and regeneration in the case of infants individually. But the Scripture really affords no adequate materials for doing this; for we have no sufficient warrant for asserting, even in regard to infants, to whom it is God’s purpose to give at some time justification and regeneration, that He uniformly or ordinarily gives it to them before or at their baptism. The discomfort of this state of uncertainty, the difficulty of laying down any definite doctrine upon this subject, has often led men to adopt one or other of two opposite extremes, which have the appearance of greater simplicity and definiteness,—that is, either to deny the lawfulness of infant baptism altogether, or to embrace the doctrine of baptismal justification and regeneration, and to represent all baptized infants, or at least all the baptized infants of believing parents, as receiving these great blessings in and with the external ordinances, or as certainly and infallibly to receive them at some future time. But this is manifestly unreasonable. “True fortitude of understanding,” according to the admirable and well-known saying of Paley, “consists in not suffering what we do know, to be disturbed by what we do not know.” And assuredly, if there be sufficient scriptural grounds for thinking that the infants of believing parents are to be baptized, it can be no adequate ground for rejecting, or even doubting, the truth of this doctrine, that we have no sufficient materials for laying down any precise or definite proposition of a general kind as to the effect of baptism in the case of infants individually.

But the leading allegation of the anti-pædo-baptists on this department of the subject is, that it is inconsistent with the nature of baptism, as set before us in Scripture, that it should be administered to any, except upon the ground of a previous possession of faith by the person receiving it. If this proposition could be established, it would, of course, preclude the baptism of infants who have not faith, and who could not profess it if they had it. We are persuaded that this proposition cannot be established, though we admit that a good deal which is plausible can be adduced from Scripture in support of it. It is admitted that all persons who are in a condition to possess and to profess faith, must possess and profess it before they can lawfully or safely receive the ordinance of baptism. This can be easily established from Scripture. It is admitted, also, that the ordinary tenor of Scripture language concerning baptism has respect, primarily and principally, to persons in this condition,—that is, to adults,—and that thus a profession of faith is ordinarily associated with the Scripture notices of the administration of baptism; so that, as has been explained, we are to regard baptism upon a profession of faith, as exhibiting the proper type and full development of the ordinance. Had we no other information bearing upon the subject in Scripture than what has now been referred to, this might be fairly enough regarded as precluding the baptism of infants; but in the absence of anything which, directly or by implication, teaches that this previous profession of faith is of the essence of the ordinance, and universally necessary to its legitimate administration and reception, an inference of this sort is not sufficient to neutralize the direct and positive evidence we have in Scripture in favour of the baptism of infants. The only thing which seems to be really of the essence of the ordinance in this respect is, that the parties receiving it are capable of possessing, and have a federal interest in, the promise of the spiritual blessings which it was intended to signify and to seal. Now, the blessing which baptism was intended to signify and seal are justification and regeneration,—that is, the washing away of guilt, and the washing away of depravity. These, and these alone, are the spiritual blessings which the washing with water in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, directly signifies and represents. Faith does not stand in the same relation to baptism as these blessing do, and for this obvious and conclusive reason, that it is not directly and expressly signified or represented in the external ordinance itself, as they are.

Faith is, indeed, ordinarily, and in the case of all who are capable of it, the medium or instrument through which these indispensable blessing are conveyed; and there is certainly much better scriptural evidence in support of the necessity of faith in order to being saved, than in support of the necessity of faith in order to being saved, than in support of the necessity of a profession, of faith in order to being baptized. But yet it is quite certain, that faith is not universally necessary in order to a right to these blessings, or to the actual possession of them. It is universally admitted that infants, though incapable of faith, are capable of salvation, and are actually saved; and they cannot be saved unless they be justified and regenerated. And since it is thus certain that infants actually receive the very blessing which baptism signifies and represents, without the presence of the faith which is necessary to the possession of these blessings in adults,—while yet the Scripture has much more explicitly connected faith and salvation than it has ever connected faith and baptism,—there can be no serious difficulty in the idea of their admissibility to the outward sign and seal of these blessings, without a previous profession of faith.

If it be said that something more than a mere capacity of receiving the blessings which baptism signifies and represents, is necessary to warrant the administration of it, since the ordinance is, in its general nature and character, distinguishing, and it is not all infants that are admitted to it—it is not difficult to show, that not only does the admission of this general idea, as pertaining to the essence of the doctrine of baptism, net preclude the baptism of infants, but that we have in their case what is fairly analogous to the antecedently existing ground, which is the warrant or foundation of the administration of it to adults. In the case of adults, this antecedent ground or warrant is their own faith professed; and in the case of the infants of believing parents, it is their interest in the covenant which, upon scriptural principle, they possess simply as the children of believing parents,—the federal holiness which can he proved to attach to them, in virtue of God’s arrangements and promises, simply upon the ground of their having been born of parents who are themselves comprehended in the covenant. If this general principle can be shown to be sanctioned by Scripture,—and we have no doubt that it can be conclusively established,—then it affords an antecedent ground or warrant for the admission of the children of believing parents to the ordinance of baptism analogous to that which exists in believing adults,—a ground or warrant the relevancy and validity of which cannot be affected by anything except a direct and conclusive proof of the absolute and universal necessity of a profession of faith, as the only sufficient ground or warrant, in every instance, of the administration of baptism; and no such proof has been, or can be, produced.

Calvin, in discussing this point, folly admits the necessity of some antecedent ground or warrant attaching to infants, as the foundation of admitting them to baptism; but he contends that this is to be found in the scriptural principle of the interest which the infants of believing parents have, as such, in virtue of God’s arrangements and promises, in the covenant and its blessings. He says, “Quo jure ad baptismum eos admittimus, nisi quod promissionis sunt hæredes? Nisi enim jam ante ad eos pertineret vitæ promissio, baptismum profanaret, quisquis illis daret.”*

My chief object in these observations has been to illustrate the importance of considering and investigating the subject of infant baptism as a distinct topic, resting upon its own proper and peculiar grounds,—of estimating aright its true relation to the sacraments in general, and to baptism as a whole,—and of appreciating justly the real nature and amount of the modifications which it is necessary to introduce into the mode of stating and defending the general doctrine as to the objects and effects of baptism, in the case of infants as distinguished from adults; and I have made them, because I am persuaded that it is when the subject is viewed in this aspect, that the strength of the arguments for, and the weakness of the arguments against, infant baptism, come out most palpably, and that by following this process of investigation we shall be best preserved from an temptation to corrupt and lower the general doctrines of the sacraments,—while at the same time we shall be most fully enabled to show that infant baptism, with the difficulties which undoubtedly attach to it, and with the obscurity in which some points connected with it are involved, is really analogous in its essential features to the baptism of adults, and implies nothing that is really inconsistent with the view taught us in Scripture with respect to sacraments and ordinances in general, or with respect to baptism in particular.”

(William Cunningham, Historical Theology, 2:144-154)


John Ward: He Judgeth Among The gods 

Die Mercurii 26, Martii, 1645.
Ordered by the Commons assembled in Parliament, That Sir Roger North, and Mr Cage doe give thankes to Mr Goode and Mr Ward for the great paines they took in the Sermons they preached this day, at the in­treaty of the House of Commons, at St Mar­garetts Westminster, (it being the day of Pub­lique Humiliation) and to desire them to print their Sermons. It is also Ordered, that none shall presume to print their Sermons without Licence under their hands writing.
H. Els. Cler. Parl. D. Com.

I Appoint Christopher Meredith to Print my Sermon, and no man else.
John Ward.

TO THE HONOVRABLE House of COMMONS Assembled in Parliament.
AT your Command this Ser­mon was Preached, by your order it hath been printed, and now its humbly offered to your hands, and under your Honourable Patronage made Publque to the view of the world. I know well that the same Sermon, as to the life of it, is scarcely the same in the hearing, and in the reading: But that acceptation which it found when it came frō the Pulpit, gives me hope that it will not be cast aside, as disrelishing or unprofitable; now its come from the Presse. The Lord com­mand a blessing along with it unto you, and make you and your unwearied la­bours, a blessing to the Church and King­dome.
So prays Your most unworthy servant in the work of the Ministerie.


A SERMON PREACHED before the Honorable House of Commons, at their late solemn monthly Fast, March 26. 1645.

PSAL. 82. 1.‘He judgeth among the Gods.’

There needs no Apology for the choyce of this Text at this time, when those who are called Gods are met in the solemn assembly to judge themselves before him, who stands daily in the assembly of the mighty and iudgeth a­mong them.
It requires as little labour to make out the context and coherence of the words; they lye in the very threshold or enterance of the Psalme: and the Psalmes are as so many Ilands that have no continuitie or neighbourhood with their fellow Psalmes.
And if you read but a little forward on in the Psalme, you may as quickly discerne whither they tend, and what is their scope: and therein also spye something that will ren­der them both sutable to the Congregation, and seasonable for the day; for that which is contained in the following verses is the use and application of the Doctrine that is held forth in this verse.

A twofold doctrine; the one of Gods presence, the o­ther of Gods presidence among the Gods: the latter of the two is the subject of my Text. He iudgeth among the Gods.
There are three Mysteries folded together in it; there is one God, and there be Gods many: and there is one Act, both his and theirs; or rather his amongst them. We must en­quire who He is, who they are; and what it is which He doth among them.
First, who He is; we may see him in the first word of the Psalme, for he that standeth in the assembly of the mighty, is He that judgeth among the Gods, God is He.

The Pronoune He doth not stand by it selfe in the Ori­ginall as in the Translation, but is involved in the Verbe; yet so he is not hidden but proclaimed, it speakes him that he may be seene, for Gods workes are his Name: and pos­sibly it might be so ordered on purpose, that an hint might be given to them over whom the Name of God is called, to count it more honour to be knowne by the worke which they doe, and the use they are of, then by the office they are in, or the titles that they beare.
Our English idiome or manner of speaking, doth neces­sarily require a more expresse specification of Him, and a fitter terme to decipher him could not be found: for being the prime Active Being, He cannot be defined by any thing but himselfe: and therefore when Moses asked him his Name,Exod. 3. 14. he gave it him thus: I am, that I am, and bad him tell the children of Israel, I am had sent him, and speakes him­selfe by the Prophet,Esa. 48. 12. in these termes, I am He: yet if any man hath a thought that this is too low and unbecoming an expression of the Divine Maiestis; and it had beene better to have mentioned Him by some more excellent Name, or glorious Attributes; let him thinke this rather, that if the Holy Ghost moved holy men to speake thus homely of the Lord of glory, Jam. 2. 1. the God of glory; Act. 2. 2. it may well beseeme those who are but called Gods to account it no disparagement, if they be either spoken to, or spoken of, though every sen­tence be not larded with the repetition of Titles.

Secondly, who They are. The Gods are All that deale in the managing of publique Affairs; as they stand, (some of them at least) ranked in their order, and distinguished by their imployment,Pro. 8. 15, 16. Prov. 8. 15, 16. Kings, Princes, Nobles, and all the Judges of the earth, even All, whether supra or subordinate, from the Head of Gold to the feet of yron and clay; for so the Psalmist expounds himselfe in the follow­ing part of the Psalme;Joh. 10. 35. and our Saviour confirmes and war­rants the interpretation.

Thirdly, […] what it is which He doth among them: He iudg­eth: that is, Ruleth, or Reigneth; for the word must not be restrained as sometimes in Scripture (for it is variously used) to the giving of sentence, or doing of justice accor­ding to a prescript law; but must be extended to all that belongs to dominion, or government; and comprehends all that pertaines to the ordaining, upholding, directing, and disposing of Magistracie; and ordering, or moderating of humane affaires thereby.
The Hebrew Text hath it in the Future Tense, […] to sig­nifie the continuation of this act among them through all successions and in all joynts of time; and is accordingly rendered by severall Interpreters, He hath, He doth, He will judge.
There is yet another word in the Text, and we cannot well passe on till we know the meaning of that also: Among, […] for so it is paraphrased by the Translators: it pri­marily signifies in the middest; and intimates as much as in and by them, all and every of them joyntly and severally, superiour, inferiour, good or bad; whether doing good or ill. Some observing that it is many times applied to the heart and entrailes, because in the middest of the body, and metaphorically transferred to the thoughts of the minde, Psal. 64. 6. […] (because nothing is more inward then the agi­tation of a matter in the thoughts of the heart) doe there­fore conceive that the Psalmist intended hereby,Psal. 64. 6. an influ­ence of God upon their very thoughts, and the preparati­ons of the heart. Others expound it openly, and read it thus; He will iudge the Gods openly; Job 34. 24, 26. as parallel with that of E­lihu, Job 34. 26. He striketh the mighty as wicked men, in the open sight of others, or place of beholders. Now though I know not whether we may reject the other two; the ra­ther because we may often observe the Holy Ghost choosing words not of ambiguous, but of manifold signification to make the sense not more doubtfull, but more comprehen­sive: Yet I choose to embrace the first, because it seemes to be the most naturall and Grammaticall, as the most ob­vious and familiar sense.

Having thus made out the exposition of the words, and thereby the interpretation of the Text, we may the better take our aime and make our observations.
The three parts of the Text (for so it naturally divideth it selfe) Who, What, and Among whom, afford us three points of doctrine.

1. The first is this, That God is the first, the chiefe, the onely universall Iudge, and absolute Monarch: He is Psal. 50. The God of Gods,Rev. 19. 16. the King of Kings,Eccles. 5. 8. the Lord of Lords,Jude 4. 1 Tim. 6. 15. Higher then the Highest,Psal. 83. 18. the onely Lord, the onely Potentate; onely the most Highest.

2. The second is this,Deut. 1. 17. That the judgement is the Lords, and he is with men in the judgement;2 Chron. 19. 6. or as it is in Psal. 22. 28.Psal. 22. 28. The kingdome is the Lords: and he governeth a­mong the nations.

3. The third is this, That those persons who have the honour to have the power to exercise Authoritie amongst men, are greater in dignitie and neerer to God in emi­nencie then other men.

The second of the three, that is drawn from that golden tache which couples the two extreames of the proposition, hath in it the marrow of all the Text, and is the life of the Law in the whole Psalme, for so our Saviour cals it, when he cites a part of it,Joh. 10. 34. Joh. 10. 34. and therefore I shall pitch onely upon that at this time.

I propounded it in the words of the Scripture, and may therefore spare the labour of citing those places for proofe. In other termes take it thus. In the delegating of power, and substituting of men to beare rule amongst men, He nei­ther devests himselfe of any piece of his Soveraigne Autho­ritie; nor after the manner of Kings in their Kingdomes, appoints the office, assignes the honour, limits the jurisdi­ction, prescribes the rule, gives the countenance, concurs sometimes to helpe, and sometimes cals to account, and otherwise withdraw himselfe from the worke, and take his pleasure; but is an immediate Agent in the judgement all along, from the first ordaining the power through the ordering of every matter, to the over ruling and disposing of the last issues and events thereof.

There is the same influence of God into Government, and all that beare rule, or serve in it; and that which is done by them, though they goe by their owne principles to their owne ends, that there is in the generall administration of providence through the world, the various occurrences therein,Joh. 5. 17. and the motions of those inanimate and irrationall creatures who are acted and over-ruled to their ends by a Power without themselves:Quamdiu cre­atura est, tam­diu creatur a Deo. so as it may be truly said of the ordering of the concernments of men, by the Lord; and in the same sense as our Saviour spake, by the upholding of o­ther things by the word of his Power;Idem esse quod ab in itio a Deo acceperunt ab eodem continen­ter accipiunt. My Father worketh hitherto, and I worke. He worketh in the conservation of the matter and being of things: for by the continuall flow­ing in of the same. Power upon them which gave them their first existence, they continually receive their subsistance, as by a continuation of creation:Esa. 44. 24. He maketh all things, He stretcheth forth the heavens, He spreadeth abroad the earth by himselfe.
He worketh in the holding up of the frame of heaven and earth, and all things in them; for they abide not together as a building compact by joynts and bands; but as a chaine of rings by the vertue of the Loadstone, as many pieces in the hollow of a mans hand, which if drawne away they fall in sunder.Colos. 1. 17. All things consist in him.

He worketh in the movings of all the creatures,Vid. Psal. 104. & Hos. 2. 21, 22. accor­ding to their natures, and the order for them in the begin­ning: He bringeth out their host by number, Intelligamus vocem Dei effe­ctricem esse na­tura, &c. he calleth them all by names, by the greatnesse of his might, for that He is strong in power, not one faileth. Every wheele in the great Engine of Creation, turne that the voyce and by the Spirit of him that sits above upon the Throne.Jussit Deus cur­rere naturam aquarion, ac nunquam defi­cit, illo perpetuo compellente ip­sam praecepto. Basil. Haxa. Ho. 4. Esa 40. 26. Ezek. 1.

In like manner God is operative in the bringing in of Government; the upholding of Authoritie; the placing or displacing of Persons; the inclining of their spirits; the or­dering, or confounding of their counsels; the exerting of their power, and the bringing about of the severall effects of all these things.Rom. 13. 1. He ordaines the powers that be. He looseth and bindeth the collars of Princes. Psa. 75. 4, 5, 6. He putteth down one, and setteth up another. Pro. 21. 1. He turneth even the heart of the King whither soever he will. Pro. 8. 15. He is understanding, and by him Princes decree iustice. Jer. 1. 2 King. 22. If there be a perversenesse of spirit mingled amongst them, He causeth them to erre in the worke. Pro. 29. 26. And though men seeke the favour of the Ruler, yet every mans iudgement cometh from the Lord. And the good or the evill that is in the Land, He doth it.Esa. 45. 7. He makes peace, He creates evill: the Lord doth all these things. So that we may boldly say, there is no power in the world, no person is in place, or hath abilitie to exercise authoritie, or hath it not; there is not a devise in any mans heart, not a designe in any Councel, not a Law made or executed, not an Action un­dertaken, not an alteration in any State, but the Hand of the Lord worketh all these things: for the judgement is his, and men accomplish his pleasure though they doe not know him, as Cyrus, Esa. 44. 45. & Chap. 45. they fulfill his charge when they drive on their owne designes, as the As­syrian, Esa. 10. 6, 7, 8. they bring about his purposes when they please their owne humours; as Rehoboam and his Counsellors, 1 King. 12. They execute his judgements, when they serve their owne lusts; as Baasha, and Jehu, 1 King. 16. 7. Hos. 1. 4. They doe his worke when they goe against his word; as Herod and Pilate, and the Gentiles and the Jewes, Acts 4. 27, 28. with their wicked wills they effect his good will, as those that crucified the Lord Iesus Christ, Acts 2. 28. Him being delivered by the determinate counsell and foreknowledge of God ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slaine.

To clear this truth and prevent objections we must know, First, that the God of the spirits of all flesh can flow in upon 1 the spirits of men both imperceivably, without observation, as the soul acts in the body: or as the light entreth the aire, or the shadow passeth on the dyall without any noise, and irresistibly in a way congruous to their nature, without any violence to the liberty of the will in any particular action or election; as a wise man can make the winde which bloweth where it listeth, to convey his ship, or grinde his corne; or use the sagacity of the dog to seek what he hath lost, or fetch what he hath cast aside. And this is the excellency of his wisdom.

Secondly, we must consider that God and man may con­curre 2 in the same actions, and neither his holinesse have fel­lowship with their wickednesse, nor their injustice be excu­sed by his righteousnesse: God and man work upon differ­ent principles, in divers wayes to severall ends each his own, and in such a case every mans reason will tell him the same action receives not the same censure or judgement.Idem quum duo faciunt, non est idem. The holy God doth not at any time infuse any lust into any mans heart, but brings to light and brings to judgement what is in man, ordering well what they do ill, as in the hardning of Pharaohs heart he offereth occasions which may as well be tak […]n by the right ear as the left, withholdeth the grace which he is not bound to give, excites and confirms that ani­mosity which is naturall,Rom. 1. 21. 28. gives them up to a minde void of judgement, to do things which are not convenient, who have pleasure in unrighteousnes,2 Thes. 2. 10. 11. 12. that they may be filled with the fruit of their own doings, which is just, & all this while, as Christ saith by the devils when they speak a lie,Nec enim lex aequior ulla &c. so it must be said of the children of wickednes when they do wicked­ly, They do it of their own.

His working is not confounded with theirs, and therefore his purity not blended with their ungodlinesse, nor their un­righteousnesse blanched by his justice, more then the beams of the sunne and the steame and stinch of the dunghill in the exhalation.Deut. 32. 4. 5. His work is perfect, for all his wayes are Iudge­ment, A God of truth and without iniquity, iust and right is he. They have currupted themselves. And this is the glory of his holinesse.

And in this case the manner and course of government in the kingdomes of the Earth may not unfitly be compared to the musick of an Organ, where the men like the pipes yeeld the sound, the inspiration of the almighty, like the winde in the sound-board, gives the life, or the activity, and the harmo­ny or the beauty of the order is by his disposing, and if there be a false or an harsh note, the fault is in the pipe, and not in him who sets and playes.

And even these disorders in goverment like some discords in musick, are by him ordered well, and for good.

For though we sometimes imagine that things would be better if God were in the judgement, yet the contrary would be confessed if either we did not of ignorance or un­skilfulnesse mistake evil for good, and good for evil, we dai­ly weight at the common beam of opinion, and see with eyes of flesh as man seeth, whereas if we went into the sanctua­ry and measured all things by their conformity to the will of God,Etiam hoc bo­num Domine, quicquid divina majestas effe­cerit id rectius et melius. and judged of them by their referrence to his ends, in stead of quarrelling and complaining we would acknow­ledge that every thing in providence were good, and no­thing could be better, but whatsoever God doth is best.

Or secondly, if we had the patience to waite the end of the 2 Lord, or tarry till the fift Act and a Scene or two passe in that, when things begin to concenter towards their issues; would not ye condemn him of folly that upon the first motion of a businesse, or catching at some passage in a debate, should go away, and censure your proceedings before the matter were ripe for the question, why? so is he that judgeth before the time.

Surely if we understood the purpose of the onely wise God, or could behold things in their tendency thitherward, whereas now in our hast we are apt to charge God with fol­ly, Psal. 73. 17. and say to him, What doest thou? we would condemn our selves or brutish foolishnesse and adore the depths of that wisdom,Rom. 11. 33. and those wayes that we are not able to com­prehend.

Or thirdly, if we had the largenesse of heart to behold in 3 one view the whole systeme of government, or if like Lucian his Icaromenippus we could get on high and have a pro­spect of the whole series of order all together; possibly now while we look upon some one particular man or some one cause, and some few providences about those, abstracted or divided from the rest, we may think it were better for them if it were otherwise with them, but if we knew all or could consider that which is done in the reference to the whole,Propter ordinem univers […]. we would discern and agree that the present state were the best;Read 1 Cor. 12. verse 4 and on­wards. it might be better for every common souldier as to his individuall, if he were a Commander, but it cannot be so for the Army, for as in the naturall body, so in the body politique, if the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing, &c. there must be disproportion & inequality, & difference of di­spensations, diversity of gifts & administratiōs, that there may be order.Aliter iudican­dum est de eo qui habet curam alicuius particu­laris et de provi­sore universali. We must therefore otherwise judge of him that commandeth in chief, and him that hath but a particular charge. He that composeth a song of many parts, must not carry on the musick so full in every part as he that sets but for one voyce; if a gardener had but the care of some one plant to husband it to perfection, he were bound to tend it for the fullest advantage of its growth, but when he hath the keep­ing of a garden or an orchard, he must slip and prune and cut some plants, and foster and manure, and suffer others to luxu­riate and run out as much as they can, that there may be or­der in the whole.

4 Or lastly, if we would distinguish of times. Before the sin and fall of man, while there was no breach between God and our first parents, there was a quiet uniformity in all the world like the glory of Heaven shadowed in the serenity of the upper region of the Air; and if men had continued in their innocency, there would have been in all the World as there was in Paradise, a very heaven upon earth; but now since the curse, the whole Creation being subjected to vanity, and travailing in pain together, till it be delivered from the bond­age of corruption, no wonder if it be ill with men, and they be made to groane under much misery, when all the disorder that is in the World is for their sinne and for their judge­ment.

Againe,Numb. 23. 21. when God beholds no iniquitie in a Land, no per­versenesse in a people; that is, no publique Idolatry, no uni­versally over-spreading pollution, no specially provoking transgressions; there may then be peace and safetie, and li­bertie, and every man may sit quietly under his Vine and Fig-tree;Esay. 6. 3. and they may call one another: but, If they re­bell against him, and vexe his holy Spirit, and he become their enemy, who shall be offended; If He breake the Tables, re­move the Glory, call them forth to Iudgement, and put the Staffe, or the Sword of his indignation into the hands of men, and give them a charge to doe execution upon one another; especially if the Gods will judge unjustly, and will not understand, but walke on in darknesse, lesse cannot be expected, but that God should arise to judge the earth, and all things with good justice on his part be turned out of course. Even amongst men, when a Kingdome is divided within it selfe by the wickednesse of evill Counsellors, and the madnesse of a distempered people; a Parliament may doe many things in maintaining a warre, imposing of taxes, imprisoning of persons, and sequesting of estates, in that juncture of time excusable, nay justifiable, by the supreame Law, which at another time all the world, even them­selves would condemne as most unjust. Doe but take this into the Mount of transfiguration, and we shall instantly lay our hands upon our mouthes, and glorifie God and be thankfull: whereas now we murmur and complaine there is so much disorder; we may stand amazed, and blesse God there is so little.Gen. 18. 25. But I need not plead for God, nor give in evidence for the Iudge of all the earth; the rather be­cause there is a conscience in man, both him that offendeth, and him that is offended at it, which condemnes the guilty, and justifieth God when he is judged.

There is but another difficulty that lies in our way to hinder our passage, and that is a conceit of the impossibility of this thing, because of the multiplicitie of operations, and diversities of administrations in a world of places, in every moment of time. The Answer is, that if the occasions be various and manifold, suppose them infinite; God is infi­nite also; and there is the same proportion of infinite to in­finite that there is of one to one: if one man can doe one worke, and ye being many, may be held sufficient for the many concernments of the numerous people of the whole Land; perhaps of the three Kingdomes, where the num­ber of persons are thousands, many ten thousands more then your selves, why should it be marvell in our eyes that one God of immense being, whose perfections are his na­ture, should be able every where, among all men, to worke all in all: Doth not Nature teach us that the Sunne hath in­fluence upon all creatures within the Firmament of hea­ven, and is a concurrent cause to their being and activitie; now if this may be affirmed of the creature, how much more may the other be beleeved of the Almightie Creator? and this is the praise of his All sufficiencie.

As for the imagination of some men, who measuring the glory of God, by the vanitie of man, doe therefore judge it unworthy of such a Maiestie to stoope beneath the decreeing in the counsell of his owne will, and the com­manding of such things by his word, to the working and ef­fecting of every or some particulars by his owne hand; it is scarce worth the mentioning, for men but make a vertue of necessitie; and therefore Princes doe not descend to parti­culars, because they cannot, the meane while hiding the infirmitie of nature, under the fantasie and pompe of State. Story hath made Xerxes famous for but distinguishing the persons, and calling by their names the severall soldiers in his vast Army: and Caesar for his being able to dictate to five or sixe Scribes in divers matters at the same time: in what admiration would they have had the person of that Mo­narch (if any such had been found) that could comprehend in his understanding,Prima causa est omnino inde­flexibilis, i. e. us (que) adeo bona ut semper impor­tet in fluxum ad esse operis. carry levell in his memory, give dire­ctions by his command but to every officer cōcerning every affaire of State? Now go we up by way of eminencie, and this very thing will be found not onely the perfection of Gods knowledge, but the abundance of his goodnesse.

Having thus spread and opened the Doctrine, and made the light of it cleare and evident, we may now goe on to the confirmation and demonstration of the truth thereof; for which purpose if any further proofe be required then what hath already been alledged occasionally,

1. We may see it very plainely in that emblematicall Vision represented in the first of Ezekiel, Ezek. 1. where the living creatures that stood by wheeles, and were commanded by the voyce, and moved by the Spirit of him that sate upon the Throne,vers. 5. had the likenesse of a man, and they had the hands of a man under their wings on their foure sides, and they foure had the face of a man; as of other creatures, to signifie this; that the ordering of humane affaires is a great part, the greatest part of God in the administrations of providence; and if this thing had not beene comprehended in it, the Vi­sion had not served for that end for which it was exhibited, viz. the confirming of the faith, and corroborating of the spirit of the Prophet, that he might preach the things to be revealed to him, with the greater confidence, and more full assurance; because the accomplishment and effecting of them depended much upon the managing, and the issues of government among men.

2. We may read it at large in many particular instances, Iob 12. vers. 9.Job 12. 16. and from the sixteenth vers. to the end of the Chapter: Who knoweth not in all these, that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? with him is strength and wisdome, the deceiver and the deceived are his; he leadeth a­way Counsellors spoiled, and maketh the Iudges fooles; he looseth the bond of Kings, and girdeth their loines with a girdle; he leadeth away Princes spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty: he removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged; he poureth contempt upon Princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty; he dis­covereth deep things out of darknesse, &c. i. e. The rule, and the power, and the skill of government is of the Lord; and there happeneth nothing, whether among the wise and prudent, but even the wicked and crafty, and such are seduced by their evill counsels, or over-reached by their wiles; so that nothing is done but he restraines it within certaine bounds, and reduceth it to his ends according to his most just and holy will. But there needs no Paraphrase, the words speake their owne meaning plainly.

3. It is all gathered together and abridged into a short summe,Prov. 8. 15, 16. Prov. 8. 15, 16. By me Kings reigne, Princes decree iustice; by me Princes rule, and Nobles, even all the Iudges of the earth. They are the words of a greater then Solomon,[…] the Lord Jesus Christ, the power of God, and the wisdome of God: […] and they clearely hold forth this truth, that All the great men of the earth doe shine in the beames of his Ma­jestie; the highest of all exercise authoritie: Counsellors of State give advice; such as have ashare in the Legislative power, make Statutes and Ordinances convenient for the occasions; Militarie men manage the Militia; the Nobi­litie and Gentrie are eminent and usefull in a Kingdome; and all that have any hand in the distributing of justice, or execution of the law, both are and serve in their places, in him and by him; whether for the land, or for correction, or mercy, Job 37. 13. as Elihu speakes of the raine, Iob 37. 13.
But I shall produce no more testimonies of Scripture, the rather because this mysterie is not among those deepe things which are hid in God, and cannot be discovered o­therwise then by revelation;Rom. 1. 19. for that which may be knowne of God herein is manifest in men, for God hath shewed it to them.

First, There is a light of it shining in mens minds by nature. Whence els was it,Ephes. 2. 12. that the very heathens without God in the world did sacrifice to God,A Jove Prin­ […]ipium. make triall by Auguries, and consult with the Oracles, in all great undertakings, and in all difficult and hazardous cases applied themselves to their deities according to their blinde devotions?Quam volum […] licet nos amemus, tamen nec nu­mero Hispanos, &c. sed pietate ae religione at (que) hac una sapientia quod Deorum immortalium numine omnia regi gubernari (que) perspeximus omnes gentes nationesque su­peravimus. Cic. Whence els was it, that their Lawgivers pretended to have received all their rules of Government out of some divine hand? doubt­lesse there was some religion in their superstition, and some truth in their very fables. Heare one of them speake for all the rest, what their faith of this was: Flatter we our selves as much as we please, yet we have not overcome the Spaniards by number; nor the French by strength; nor the Carthagi­nians by craft; nor the Greeks by wiles; but by Piety and Religion: and by this onely wisdome, that we have discerned, and doe acknowledge that all things are governed by the power of Gods.

Secondly, there is a law of nature concerning it, and men shew their workes of that law written in their hearts by an universall abhorrencie of Anarchie, and submitting themselves to Authoritie, rather Tyranny we say then Anarchy; Better live where nothing is lawfull, then where every thing; neither have there any where, or at any time, beene found such sonnes of […], as have desire to be ab­solutely without a Ruler among them. In the greatest In­surrections and Rebellions, nothing more hath beene af­fected then a change of Government; the very Anabaptists themselves erected a government among themselves, and made themselves a King. Thus the currencie of it through the world sheweth something more then Gods Image and superscription upon it; for though possibly the basenesse of some people may have given occasion to some persons to put a yoake upon them; or ambition of some Nimrod may have incited him to usurpe Authoritie over others; the arts and insinuations of crafty men may have introduced it in some places; the pompe and lustre of Magistracie may have set it up in other; and the benefit thereof by a benigne and prudent administration of it, may have made many willing to beare the burthens of it; yet considering what an humour of libertie and Independencie; what an itch of being Gods to themselves runs in the corrupt bloud of all man-kinde by nature, it is impossible to imagine that all Nations from the beginning; nay all men in all their ge­nerations should of themselves stoope to government, and yeeld it honour and subjection, unlesse God were in the judgement. It is an Argument like that of the Apostle, for the greatnesse of the mysterie of Christ,1 Tim. 3. 16. […], without controversie, or by universall consent, &c.

Thirdly, that diverse kinde or degree of honour which waits upon men in authority, according as they use it well or ill, speakes something to this purpose; Honour goeth al­wayes along with Power, as the shadow followeth the bo­dy, but evil men that transgresse in the judgement, receive it blended with contempt or hatred, or base fear, or flattery, and with much diminution, but such as are good and do good have it cast upon them with love and reverence, and abun­dance of affection. Wicked Magistrates and corrupt Officers are worshipped, as the devil by the poor Indians, that they may not doe them mischief; but the just and godly men af­ter Gods own heart, are clothed upon with some of the raies of Gods own Majesty. Certainly the hearts of men would never after this manner be drawne to or from them that judge in the earth, unlesse he that sitteth in the Heavens did judge amongst them, more then the needle in the compasse would turn to or from a piece of Iron, if it did not act by the vertue of the Loadstone that had toucht it.

Fourthly, this is yet made more manifest (as the heat of the Sunn in the reflection) by the difference of the spirits of publique persons and private men, in the same men, in the place of Power and out of that relation. Private persons are self centered like clods of the earth, and their providence is like that of the Pismire, a wise and industrious creature for it self, but many times mischievous to the garden or orchard where it is harbored: but publique persons are turned into other men, 1 Sam. 10. 6. and have a publique spirit, as Saul when he was anointed to be King; and the seventy Elders called to assist Moses to the government. I appeal to your selves, had you such thoughts, such cares, such designes, your mindes so in­clined, so resolved, so prepared, so fixed before you were cho­sen to be Trusters for your Countries, as since you came to sit in Parliament? I do not say every man is thus affected, the more is the pity, but this I say, commonly and for the more part there is an affection sutable to the relation. And this also sheweth God amongst them.

Fifthly, the raising or sinking, the enlarging or strait­ning of their hearts according to the work of God in hand, or about to be done, doth as manifestly argue the working of God in them, as the unevēnesse of activity in the limbs doth prove the animating and the moving of the body by the soul, or the inequality of valour and strength in Shamgar, Gideon, Samson and other the Iudges and Worthies of old did de­clare that the Spirit of God came upon them, and did move them at times.

Sixthly, there is some further evidence and demonstrati­on of this in the libertie, the confidence, the peace, the tri­umph, the heaven on the one hand, and again on the other the pendulousnesse, the fears, the jealousies, the very hell that is in mens consciences as they lesse or more conscienciously or as I may so speak, with the minde that is in God, serve their generations, or do for, or against him, or the dictates of his de­puty with them, The righteous is bold as the Lion, but the wicked flies when no man pursues. But I shall not need to al­leadge Scripture or give an instance for this,Rom. 2. 15. when every mans conscience beares witnesse to it, their thoughts accusing or excu­sing one another.

Seventhly, It may be perceived by the slumbering or a­wakening of an expectation in men generally, and chiefly by the inclination or disposition of the hearts of the Lords re­membrancers towards God in prayer, according as any great change is to be made in the kingdomes of the World.

When things are to continue in one stay, there is not per­ceivable any unusuall stirring in mens spirits; but when the Lord is about to take up a controversie, and enter into judge­ment with a Nation, then mens hearts begin to fail them for feare, and their spirits shrink up and start back with misgi­vings and presagings of evil to come, and if the time of deli­verance be not yet, there is an indisposition to, and heartles­nesse in prayer and even such as wait for the vision withhold prayer,Job 15. 4. not of hypocrisie or self-guiltinesse, as Eliphaz char­ged Job, but as by a restraint upon their spirits by something from without, as if the Lord were forbidding them to pray. But if the salvation be drawing nigh, though there be no ap­pearance of it, nor can one disern any probability of such a thing in the signes of the times, yet there is a spirit of grace and supplication poured out upon them, and their soules are drawne forth as to meet the Lord, and salute, and em­brace their mercies; and they reach forth their hearts in an earnest expectation of some good; and speake one to another. And if God be carrying on a worke in favour of his Church, though many crosse providences intervene, yet they send up fervent effectuall prayers; they multiply prayers as the Cocks crow thick towards the morning, and they follow on to seek the Lord, and give him no rest till he heare them; as we read in the stories of Daniel, and Ezra, and Ne­hemiah. I doubt not but many of us can remember some yeares since, when men bare rule over us at their pleasures, and the measure of their iniquity was not yet full, and the judgement was still in brewing; with what an Asinine pa­tience we bore all oppressions, and couched downe like Issachar betweene the burdens, and thought that rest was good, and had no heart to lift up a prayer: but a little before the wheele began to turn, and since the Lord remembred mercy in wrath, and revived his worke, and made us see our tokens again, who hath not found himself as going bound in the spirit to take hold upon the Name of the Lord, to wrestle with him by prayer and supplication? and who may not have observed the alterations in affairs to have an­swered very apparently this disposition of heart towards God? Now what ever other men think of these things, it plainly seems to me, that as the flying of the fowle, and the going of the cattell into their shelters before a storme; and their coming forth again about the breaking of it away,Job 36. doth shew concerning the vapour; so this different frame and tem­per of spirit in men about such seasons, and in such junctures of times, doth declare concerning that Divine influence whereof we are now speaking.

Eightly, though we cannot make observation of the time and way of Gods illapse upon men and their actions, yet there is something observable in the manner of the bringing in and carrying on of things that shew an higher hand then mans in the work. I mean the many various accidentall dis­pensations of providences, very chances as men term them, that create seasons and advantages for severall purposes and start occasions, and minister opportunities for Counsells, to­gether with the admirable ballancing of affaires, casting of the scales, now on this side, then on that, sometimes interrup­ting, confounding, preventing, disappointing, and tumbling of Counsells headlong; at other times reviving, advan­cing, incouraging and prospering of parties and causes that any man may see it is done on purpose, that there may be time and place for such judgements as none but God can do, that he may get him a Name. Now though we doe not much mark these things in the instant of time whē they hap­pen, yet if we cast our thoughts backe, and bring times past into observation, we must needs make this judgement, that the things which God first causeth to come to passe, do offer the thoughts, and usher in the devices, and lead on the con­trivances of men all along in all their windings from the be­ginning to the ending: and consequently be convinced con­cerning this, as Saul was for himselfe when the signes hap­pened to him,1 Sam. 10. 6, 7. whereof the Seer had foretold him, That God was with him, and the Spirit of God was come upon him, and directed him to doe as the occasion served.

Ninthly, This invisible working power and Godhead of God is made very visible, and may be clearly seen in the issues and events of mens counsells and actions; compare them with their next causes, the instruments and meanes appea­ring in the worke, and they will be found many times so dis­proportionable to them, so utterly unlike, so farre short or beyond, so much beside or contrary to the intentions of the actors, and the expectation of all men, many of them such marvellous works, so fearefully and wonderfully done, as it is very hard to discerne whence they arose, or how they came to passe. We cannot think seriously of some of them with­out admiration,Psa. 126. 1, 2, 3. as the people when the captivity of […] was turned; and the very enemies are sometimes forced to confesse, as the Magicians when the dust of the land became lice,Exod. 8. 19. This was the finger of God; and the Egyptians when their hoste was troubled at the Red sea;Exod. 14. The Lord fighteth for them. Might I but have the libertie to preach as the Pro­phets did of old, or to make a rehearsall of the great workes of God done of late amongst our selves,Deut. 29. 2. as sometimes Mo­ses and Joshua did before the people.Ioshua 24. Nothing were more easie then to line this as all the rest of the observations be­fore mentioned with examples out of our owne Storie. When the Service booke was first imposed upon our neigh­bour Church of Scotland, and the first reading thereof was so violently opposed by the rude multitude; did either partie so much as foresee or forethinke, what hath followed upon it ever since? Who put it into the minds of those Souldiers who were first raised for the North, at the same time in every corner of the Land to make an attempt, and give the first overture of a Reformation? How came the wheele to be turned in this Kingdome, as in the beginning of this Parliament, when no one man was removed out of place or favour? when the Kings Councell advised him to call a Parliament, had they contrived the remedy of so many grievances, the making of such Acts and Ordinances, the discovery of such deeds of darkenesse, the promoving of a Reformation thus far, with many other happy births of the present Parliament. When they counseld him to come into the House, and demand the Honourable Members of it, to set up his Standard and levie warre against his own people, and to publish such Declarations as have been sent abroad in the world, did they purpose the security of the Parliament, the alienating of the hearts of the people from their faction, the losse of the lives of so many great persons of their owne partie, the ingaging of the two Kingdomes, in a solemne League and Covenant, the provoking and incouraging of the City of London, and other associated Counties to unite a­mongst themselves for their owne safety and the reliefe of others, had they plotted these or almost any other conse­quence of those desperate counsels. When Prince Rupert went to York and marched out again to Marston-Moor, did he intend the Routing and Ruining of his own Army, and those that he had drawne forth to joyne with him, that the City of Yorke might be the sooner surrendred, and New­castle reduced, and the strength of the King be broken in those Northerne parts for so much advantage to the Parlia­ment?

Doubtlesse your thoughts cannot but outrun me, and prevent me the naming of a world of other things that have happened both in counsell and in warre, both within your owne walles, and in every corner of the Kingdome, which if they be layd by their occasions, or by the men and means whereby they have beene done, will either be such as they that had to doe about them, will bee unwilling to heare of them, ashamed to own them, or else too great, too high to be ascribed to the policy or the power of men. Now such occurrences as these,Hab. 3. 4. are bright beames out of his hand, hi­dings of his power, the sparklings and shinings forth of the Majesty of God, accommodated to our capacity, that by occasion of such unlikely and unlooked for events, our eyes may be drawne upwards to take notice of his glory in the governing of the world. They are like to wonders and mi­racles in other Providences, and have the same use. We may read it,Isai. 41. 18. 19. Isai. 41. 18, 19, 20. I will open rivers in high places, and fountaines in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wil­dernesse a poole of water, &c. Rivers use to runne in valleys, and springs flow from the hilles. It is a rare thing to finde pooles of water, or see trees that need much moysture, to grow in a dry and sandy desert; but I will step out of the common round, saith God, and doe some things unusuall, That they may see and know and consider and understand toge­ther, verse 20. that the hand of the Lord hath done this, Iob 9. 11. and the holy One of Israel hath created it, Brallward. lib. 1 cap. 3. p. m. for the more part he goeth by us, and we see him not, he passeth on, but we perceive him not; There­fore sometimes he worketh some things extraordinary, that we may be convinced of his hand in all that is ordinary.

Again, consider them, and the working of them out in re­ference to the first and highest cause, there is such a consent of all things with the will of God revealed in his word, both in favour of his Church, and wrath against the adversaries such an agreement of them with the rule, the prophecies, the promises, and the threatnings in the Scriptures; such a correspondency with the wayes of God of old, the paths of mercy and truth wherein he was wont to be seen to walk, such an analogy with the Nature and Attributes of the Lord, such praeludes and praesages of his judgement to come, as though a brutish man will not know, Psal. 92. 6. nor a fool understand this, yet, whoso is wise and will observe these things, he will fall down and give the glory to God, and acknowledge that God is among the gods. Verily there is a God that judg­eth among them that have any thing to doe in the judge­ment of the earth.Psal. 103. 19. Doubtlesse the Lord hath prepared his Throne in the Heavens, and his Kingdom ruleth over all.

I will adde but two or three more, which are very obvi­ous, though we seldome take any notice of them; they are these.

First, the concurrence of many causes to one effect. There is not any thing done amongst men but if we were so eagle-eyed as to see farre, and espye quickly, and look steadily a­bout us, but we might discern a fore-preparation and prae­disposition of things to it, a complication, and combination of multitudes of men and meanes without any communi­cating of Counsells working about it; but in some things it is more remarkable then others, as the bringing of Israel down into Egypt; the avenging of the quarrell of Gods co­venant upon his own people by carrying them away into Babylon; the destruction of that Monarchy; the turning of the captivity: and in lesse generall matters, the chastising of David for the matter of Ʋriah, the rescuing of Mordecai and the people from the bloody plot of Haman, & what not? Now doe but ponder these things advisedly, and all the fi­ctions of the Poets and the fables of the Legend may be sooner beleeved then that these things come to passe by ac­cident without the texture of a Divine hand working ef­fectually in the weaving of every web. When many per­sons go out severall wayes, no one of them haply privy to anothers thoughts, and doe after a while meet together in one place and time about one and the same errand, it cannot be otherwise thought but that some one hand had the com­mand over them all, and directed the whole businesse.

Secondly, the order and peace that sometimes hath been in the earth, and may yet possibly be again. Peace is the tranquillity of Order; that there should be Order amongst such multitudes of persons, is more then a Miracle: There are (it may be) so many millions of men in a Nation, all of vari­ous opinions & affections, acting by different principles to self ends, most of them ignorant and unskilfull, nay wholly re­gardlesse of all that belongs to policy and order,Titus 3. 3. generally dis­obedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hatefull and hating one another: take them together in their community and society, and they are like the waters gathered together in the Seas, an unquiet and restlesse Element of it self, easily swelling and raging in the waves of it,James 1. 6. driven with the winde and tossed. It is impossi­ble there should be at any time an orderly compliance of these among themselves, and consequently quiet and peace, unlesse the Father of spirits who looketh down from Heaven, the place of his habitation, Psal. 33. 13. 14. 15. […] upon all the inhabitants of the earth, did fashion their hearts alike, or alone by himself without others, and considered all their works.

Lastly, the reducing of Kingdomes and the affairs of men into Order; when they are once out of course. When the spirits of Princes and people are prejudiced, estranged, divided, imbittered, enraged, and engaged against one ano­ther, and there is envy, and strife, and confusion, and every evil work, and they bite, and devoure, and consume one on­other; whence shall a reconciliation and redemption arise, if He that stilleth the raging of the waters, that commands the windes and the Seas, and they they him, doe not also rebuke the Beast of the […]ds, Psal. 68. 30. the multitude of the B […]lls, with the Calves of the people till every one submit himself? One may as wel suppose an instrumēt out of frame to come into tune of it self without the hand of an Artist, as that a Kingdome divided within it self should return into order, and be setled again in peace and quietnes, without the hand of the Lord.

We may loose our selves in the multiplying of arguments of this nature; I have named a few amongst an infinitie, pos­sibly many others far more pregnant and pertinent may of­fer themselves to your thoughts; the multitude of them makes the choyce difficult to me, nothing is harder then when one walkes on the beache by the sea side to finde the fairest shore. Take all or any of them, and there is enough to convince an Atheist, not onely that there is a God, but that He iudgeth among the Gods.

If ye now require the ground of this dispensation, viz: Why the Lord should rule in and by men, rather then pre­pare his own throne and judge in his own Majestie alone by himself, like that Miracle of Nature which doth more by the Iron wherewith it is armed, then by its own body without it; The reason is, not any necessity of Nature, or defect of power in God, as in Princes; but meerly the good pleasure of his will, the superabundance of his goodnesse in favour and condescension to man.

If God should judge immediately, the judgement would be more dreadfull and terrible, we could not bear the glory, we should be swallowed up of the Majesty: we may guesse as much by some passages in story of old, when God kept the matter of government more in his own hand then now, particularly by that which we read in the 19 of Exodus, Exod. 19. 16. and 5 of Deut. when He gave the Law on mount Sinai, there were thundrings and lightnings, Deut. 5. 24. 25. and a thick cloud and dark­nesse, and the whole mount did quake and burn with fire, inso­much as the people trembled, and the Elders drew neer to Mo­ses, and said, Behold, the Lord our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatnesse, this great fire will consume us: If we hear the voyce of the Lord our God any more, then shall we die. And so terrible was the sight, Heb. 12. 21. as Moses said, I quake and fear. Now if the pomp of the promulgation of the Law was so dread­full, (and lesse it could not be considering the Majesty of the King, the Law-giver and the Judge) what may we think would be the terrours of the Assises and Sessions, while God should frequently arise to judgement and execution?
If God should not judge by men, there could not be ex­pected that connivence and moderation in the judgement, that now is by the indulgence of men of like passions and compassions towards one another; and I think the Scrip­ture speaks something to this purpose in that passage in Exodus 33. 3. I will send an Angel before thee, but I will not go up in the midst of thee, for thou art a stiff-neeked people, lest I destroy thee.

Certainly the Government thus carried is much more convenient and accommoded to our present condition and relations: we could not meet, and close, and passe, and part on all occasions with so little disadvantage to our nature and society; if they that bear rule, and they that are in subjecti­on were not all of a kinde, as the greater and lesser wheels in an Engine all of a metall,Deinde ipsa cha­ritas quae sibi in­vicem hominos nodo charitatis astringit, non ha­beret aditum re­fuadendorum, et quasi miscendo­rum sibimet animorum si ho­mines per homi­nes nihil disce­rent. Aug. de Doc. Christ. Praef. whereas now the communion is is smoothed and sweetned, and love and charity the easier brought in, and made the more to abound among all men, by the mutuall submission, dependance, and care of each ano­ther, unto which they are obliged and ingaged by this ad­ministration.

I have been the longer in the clearing and confirming of the doctrine, both because it is scarcely beleeved, or but light­ly regarded, though commonly confessed, and almost hour­ly spoken of, and because there is hardly another truth in all the Bible of more common concernment, or more generall use, while we live in this world, then this of my Text.

Like a picture drawn to the life, it casts an eye every way upon every person in any relation, and almost upon every oc­casion and businesse; And it is very big and full of matter, profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for in­struction in righteousnesse.

Among other things it layes a sure foundation for the ho­nour and power of Magistracy, even in the matters of God, and plainely holds forth as sacred and divine, and not to be touched with common or profane hands, that Ordinance of God, which is the cement and pillar of humane things, the life and soule of all order in society and communion, the vi­tall spirits by which so many Millions of men consist com­fortably, Jude 8. And directs me to put men in minde to be subiect, to be subiect to Principalities and Powers, and obey Magi­strates, that with well-doing they may put to silence the igno­rance of foolish men, and gives faire occasion to grapple with the Anabaptists and Familists, and other Sectaries, whose Principles betray them to the despising of Dominion, and speaking evill of Dignities: 2 Tim. 3. presumptuous are they and selfe­willed, 2 Pet. 2. such as the Apostles of our Lord fore-described and foretold us should arise in these latter perillous times.Jude 4. &c. verse 19. These be they who separate themselves, Gal. 5. 20. 21. sensuall, not having the Spirit. They boast indeed (much) of the Spirit, but they manifestly doe the workes of the flesh: They plead for libertie, but it is licentiousnesse; libertie of conscience they terme it, but it is libertie of practise, that every man may do what is good and right in his owne eyes: They pretend to nothing but pietie and godlines, and seeme as if they would be content if they might but have a bare subsistence in the profession of it. So did the Iesuites to learning when they they first appeared upon the stage, but when they had once insinuated themselves into the good opinion of Princes and States, how well they answered the expectations, and re­quited the kindnesse of those who nursed them up, all the Christian world sees and feels to their cost at this day. They aske but connivence and toleration, but if they once meet in a confluence, and finde themselves strong enough to run in a streame; let but a damme be pitcht downe to restraine or oppose their madnesse, or men follow not on to indulge and gratifie their humour, it would soon appear whether or no they would rage and swell and get over, or beare downe afore them all that should stand in their way. They did seem a while to cry up the Order of Parliaments, and of the civill Magistrate, and have their persons in admiration, but meer­ly for advantage, that so they may get above all Ecclesiasti­call Authority; and when they are once up to their height, what they will doe with the ladder, the hope to climbe and ascend by, is not hard to conjecture; they reckon themselves the wheat in the field, and when once they are ripe, they will easily be content to have all that threshed off, by which they received their growth. Yee have heard of the fable of the snake and the countryman that brought it unto the fire. I shall not need to apply it, already they begin to remove the old land-markes and straiten their bounds, they deny your claime up to a high water marke, and make their bankes, and inclose for themselves to the very channell side: But whe­ther it be holden fit or seasonable that these Libertines be decried; for my part I cannot yet discover by any activenesse to suppresse them: Onely seeing the evill and fore-seeing the mischiefe, I have given the warning, that at least I may deliver mine owne soule. I pray God the remedy be not de­ferred till it be too late, and yee be driven to play an after-game to an extreame hazard or disadvantage.

But the time admonisheth mee to set aside many things that might be inferred out of this text by way of application, & betake my self only to the work of the day, to the preach­ing of repentance and amendment of life. That such use may be made of this doctrine, is more then manifest. Hee that runnes may read it, in the following part of the Psalm. And though I may not take the boldnes to divide this porti­on of the word, & deal it amongst you as homely as the Psal­mist doth by expostulating, commanding, upbraiding, threat­ning, appealing and provoking to God; yet I beseech you all, and more especially, you that have called me to this place at this time, Honourable and beloved, Hearken to the voyce be­hinde you, within you, if upon occasion of any thing that hath been spoken, it either hath, or doth, or may offer and whisper to any of you any thing of that nature, or tending that way, and iudge your selves, that yee be not iudged of the Lord.

I professe in the presence of God, whose messenger you have made me to your selves this day, that to spare you I do not forbeare that libertie. Yee have given mee no cause to dread any hard measure from you, in case I should assume the boldnesse to stretch my self a little beyond my measure. I think I may say as the Apostle to the Corinthians, Ye suf­fer if a man exalt himselfe, 2 Cor. 11. 20. 21. if a man smite you on the face, I speak as concerning reproach: There are that dispute, detract from, and deny the just extent of your authoritie; they preach, they print, they practise and professe to doe so still, without your leave so much as asked, and against your power; they falsely slander, and revile, and libell, and bring railing accusations, if not against your selves and your owne Honourable assembly; yet against those who by your call and command are subservient and assistant to you in advise, and the parties, and their fautors, making their libertie a cloake of maliciousnesse, out-dare complaints, and think to out-face justice, by fore arraigning it under the term of Persecution: But I abhorre their impudence, and cannot praise your con­nivence. My conscience would flie in my face, if I should wittingly let fall a word against the rule, Rebuke not an El­der, (much lesse an Honourable Senate of Elders) but intreat him as a Father.

Give mee leave therefore to perswade what God com­mands, (I meane) the afflicting of your souls before the Lord this day because of his judgements abroad in the earth. It is a day of Humiliation, and we are met in the solemne Assem­bly, Exod. 33. as sometimes the children of Israel (when they had sin­ned against the Lord, and hee had broken in upon them, by many signes of his heavy displeasure) our ornaments put off, to know what God will doe unto us, To turne to the Lord with fasting, Joel 2. 12. 14. weeping and mourning, if peradventure Hee will returne and repent and leave a blessing behinde him. Surely ye need not after so many Sermons, so many moneths and yeares of fasting and prayer, that one teach you again which be the first rudiments and elements of this holy Ordinance of God. I know ye all have knowledge. I beseech you onely suffer a word of Exhortation, not so much to the consider­ing of the worke of God in governing the Kingdomes of the world, (though that also be a dutie the Text leads to, and indeed the matter is fitter for contemplation then discourse) as to the acknowledgement of the hand of God in the pre­sent state of affairs in this Kingdome, and the humbling and applying of our selves unto him, as his word directs in like cases:Mala ultoria Tertul. For if hee iudgeth among the Gods, then both the good and the evill, that is in the Nation by occasion of the well or ill managing of the government,Amos. 5. 6. must be ascribed unto him. And as if there were order and peace, wee were to reckon them his blessings, and offer the sacrifices of praise, which is the work of a day of Thanksgiving; so when there is warre in the gates, and confusion and every evill worke, it must be confessed the iudgement of God, and we must come, and sit trembling before him, and search out the provocation, lay our hands upon & confesse the trespas over the head of the sacrifice, pray in his pardon and break off our sins by righteousnesse, that there may be atonement, which is the businesse and end of a day of Humiliation; and this is that which I principally aime at in the Application of this doctrine at this time.

Wee need not one to come and tell us, There is wrath gone out from the Lord, Isai. 21. 25. the plague is begun, hee hath powred out upon us the fury of his anger and the strength of the battell, and it hath set us on fire round about. Onely, wee have not regarded it nor laid it to heart. A sword, a sword is sharp­ned and also furbished, Ezek. 2. 10. The point of it is set against the gates, and the ruines are multiplyed. But I shall not spread the vo­lume of our Story before you, doubtlesse the roule like that of the Prophet written within and without, Ezek. 21. lumentations, mourning and woe, hath beene often read in your eares, and ye ought to know the state of the land, and the Church of God therein, and without question ye doe know it, the re­port and the cry from all quarters comming first to your Cognizance, allow mee but to say this (that I may stirre up your minds by way of remembrance) that the sorrows of a travelling woman are yet upon us, Hos. 13. 13. and we stay still in the place of the breaking forth of children: what ever Balme or Phy­sician there may be amongst us, the health of the Nation is not recovered; and whether the wound and the bruise be incurable as refusing to be healed, God knoweth.

Though the Lord hath revived his worke of late very miraculously beyond all expectation, and from the beginning hitherto hath mingled mercy with judgement; yet one cannot fore-see any thing in the signes of the times whereby we may be able to fore-tell the end of the Lord; at least as to the season and manner of it. The cloud still hangs and ga­thers, rather then wasteth; and there is a sound of abun­dance of wrath: it is not an easie thing to discerne whe­ther the Lord will debate with us in the sending forth of the rod or sword, Esa. 27. and stay the rough wind in the day of the East­wind: that is, chastise in measure, moderate the punish­ment, not coming to a rigorous account, but use the seve­rity of a Father, not of a Iudge, and give us repentance and remission of sinnes: or whether he hath decreed a Con­sumption, and will bring an overflowing scourge, and his eye not pity nor spare, but destroy us til there be no remnant nor escaping: Whether he be striving with us, as with the old world before the generall Deluge; or carrying on his worke as with Israel in the wildernesse, preparing a mercy for posteritie after us, the meane while resolved to fill all the earth with his glory in the destruction of the present generation that see his wonders, yet tempt him daily, mur­mure against him, grieve his Spirit, and harden their hearts through unbelief; or whether he wil yet have mercy upon England, and redeeme us through his greatnesse, for his owne Names sake: If we looke upwards, we may see a filthy steame of noysome sinnes going up unto heaven, as the smoake over some great Citie, and we may behold the hand of the Lord stretched out still: if downward, the pro­vocation is not abated, but multiplied and aggravated: we are like the pot whose scumme is in it, Ezek. 24. 6. 13 whose scumme is not gone out of it; there is lewdnesse in the filthinesse of the Land. Because God hath purged it, Jer. 5. 3. and it is not purged; he hath smitten it, and they have not grieved; he hath consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction, and to returne. We are growne deafe at the terrours of Gods judgements, and sleep under the sparklings of his fury. The providences of God are wrested, though they be not very hard to be understood, and many abuse them, as they doe the Scri­ptures, to the destruction of themselves and others; the grace of God is received in vaine, or rather turned into wantonnesse; the yoake of Ceremonies, and the tyrannie of Prelacy hath beene removed, and it is free to preach and professe according to the Gospel; and this libertie is abu­sed to loosenesse, profanenesse, and insolencie; that which is, or should be the better part of the Land, that pretends to religion, and hath the face or name of the Church, it is like a piece of ground that hath beene stirred by the Plough, and the tils-man doth not follow on to give it more earths in due season; it runs out in weeds and baggage: or as a field which is driven, and the heart of it worne out, what ever seed is cast in, it returnes nothing but Carlock, and such like raffe; all manner Sectaries creepe forth, and multiplie, as frogs, and flies, and vermine in the Spring; and there is variance, hatred, emulation, wrath, strife, sedi­tion, heresies, envyings, revilings, and the like. Every where there is mingled a perversenesse of spirit, like the Prophets bottles,Jer. 13. 13. we are filled with drunkennesse, and dash one against another: 1 King. 22. lying spirits goe forth to deceive and prevaile, and make us mad upon our owne destruction. As to the civill warre; it is just now as of old, in the contention be­tweene Vitellius and Vespasian, where families were divi­ded, and brother fought against brother, and father against sonne; every man cryed out of the unnaturalnesse of the thing, but every man went on still to doe it.

As to the differences and divisions about matters of Re­ligion; they are raised, and fomented, and maintained with great animositie, and of boasting of new light, and know­ledge, but with little or no charitie, or meeknesse of wis­dome: they that pretend for conscience sake to separate from our ordinarie assemblies, and keepe their distance from their members, yet will not be perswaded to divide themselves, and stand aside, from those routs of Libertines, whom they cannot but condemne in their judgements, or declare distinctly & openly, wherin they dissent from them as from others: but all meete in one third, and militate un­der one colours, most apparently striving for victorie, not for truth; and driving a designe by party and faction, while they would be thought to set up the Kingdome of Christ: the meane while they give overt scandall and offence to them that are without, and divide the Church and King­dome within it selfe: and as the Congregations of naughty men of old:Psal. 83. the Tabernacles of Edom and the Ishmaelites of Moab and the Haggarens, Gebal and Ammon, and Ama­lek, they have holpen the common Adversarie, and trou­bled and retarded the Reformation. Alas for the day, for the distemper and the distraction is great; and there want­eth either power, or wisdome, or will to remedie or sup­presse these mischefes, and their fautors. Now though we can tell where the fault lieth, and whence all this evill a­riseth; as we may sometimes see from what dunghill, or low moorish ground the vapour ascends, which afterwards becomes a mist, a fogge, or a cloud, and is dissolved in a storme; though we see not the influence of heaven, in the exhalation; yet because by faith we understand that this cometh of the Lord, that he may be known by the iudgements which he executeth. We must therefore make our peace with God, and returne unto the Lord, and heare what he speakes by his former Prophets, and follow the light and direction of his word, if ever we will have helpe and de­liverance, or be hid in the times of trouble.
Let us then leave quarelling, and judging, and censuring one another; this is our folly, our disease, our mischiefe: let us look up to God, and judge our selves, and make hast, and delay not to turne our feete into the waies of his Testimo­nies. We have many base feares, and cares, and projects wherewith we disquiet our selves; it were our wisdome, and would be our safetie, to cease from men, and feare the Lord, and betake our selves to him. While the State is di­ligent in finding out the troublers of our Israel, and bring­ing delinquents to punishment, let us search our owne hearts and lives, and make enquiry after our owne iniqui­ties; accuse, arraigne, condemne our selves, and cast out the abominable thing; Impenitencie is the greatest malignan­cie, and the most dangerous. We are often very busie and inquisitive about some persons that doe not appeare over­active: let every man first pluck the beame out of his owne eye, and with the disciples, suspect himselfe, Master, Is it I? and aske as the Publicanes, and the Souldiers that came out to heare John the Baptist: What shall we doe? they that are much abroad, are little at home; those that are curious about others, are commonly carelesse and negligent about themselves: we wast our spirits in froward passions; it were better we spent them in afflicting our soules, that so much water may not runne by wast and grinde nothing. We know well enough there can never be a generall or particular safety for all, or any, when there hath been such disorders as of late, unlesse there be a pardon, and an Act of oblivion; therefore in all Pacifications that is one Article; let us transferre the wisdome hither, and seeke forgive­nesse of God first,Jona. 3. 8, […]. and cry mightily to the Lord; Who can tell, if God will turne, and repent, and turne away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? There is much talke, and much a­doe about the new Modell. Oh that there were an heart in every of us to get new hearts and right spirits; to put off the old man, concerning the former conversation, which is corrupt according to the deceitfull lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of our minds; and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousnesse and true holinesse. It is held the wis­dome of a State when they are about an accommodation, to take care for the securing of such persons as they have in jealousie and may be dangerous, lest they kindle the fire anew, and it breake out againe to more mischiefe: Let us also be carefull to secure our owne deceitfull hearts, despe­rately deceitfull, and wicked above measure; set a watch over them, that we may be safe from their treacherie: a­bove all keepings, keepe the heart; out of it come murders, &c. For that purpose let us bring them againe under new engagements; let us renew our Covenants this day: we had need doe it oft, and be oft put in mind to doe it; and to keepe it when we have done. It is not yet time out of mind of man, since a solemne Oath and Covenant was fra­med and urged with much zeale upon all over whom there was power; I doubt not but ye remember the grounds and reasons, with the manner of the carriage of that busi­nesse. I have heard some speake as if they repented it, and changed their judgements about the businesse of Reforma­tion, and there hath beene talke and hope of a forbearing to presse it any more upon any new occasions, or a conni­vence at the refusers, amounting to an inlargement from it: reade the preface to it and wonder how such dreames should come in any mans head. By what ill dint hath it been so blasted, as to have lost its vertue or necessitie? or upon what pretence can any amongst us imagine them­selves or be thought by others so formidable, or so confiding as they must therefore for the sake of libertie of conscience be left at large, or be loosed from it? if there be a realitie in such a fancie, Lord have mercy upon us: how shall the per­sons guilty of such levitie ever answer it to God or the world, or their owne consciences; or the parties who have beene already yoaked by it? one thing I am sure of, that whatsoever in it may be repented of, yet there is no shadow or colour of cause to depart from this clause and the obliga­tion to it: And because these Kingdomes are guilty of many sinnes and provocations against God and his Sonne Iesus Christ, as is too manifest by our present distresses and dangers, the fruits thereof: we professe and declare before God and the world, our unfained desire to be humbled for our owne sinnes, and for the sins of these Kingdomes—. And our true and un­fained purpose, desire, and endeavour for our selves, and all o­thers under our charge and power, both in publique and in pri­vate, in all duties we owe to God and man, to amend our lives, and each one to goe before another in the example of a reall Reformation: It were wickednesse to decline such a pro­fession, and a snare after such a vow to make enquirie. Let every man therefore fortifie his purposes, his duty in this, by entring bond anew this day: But remember what the Preacher saith,Eccles. 5. 4. 6. When thou vowest a vow unto God, deferre not to pay it, for he hath no pleasure in fooles: pay that which thou hast vowed, suffer not thy mouth to sinne, neither say thou before the Angel, It was an errour, wherefore should God be angry at thy voyce, and destroy the worke of thine hands?

And that we may the better prevent a generall back­sliding, and promove an universall amendment, let us unite and associate (we that dwell in associated Counties can speake of the benefit of Associations by experience, and therefore hope and pray the continuance thereof) that we may so be mutually helpfull, and exhort one another daily, may watch over each other, consider one another, to pro­voke to love and good works, and by good example may light and lead on others; and so make the Reformation more generall and more lasting.

Thinke on these things; and if there be any other thing which God cals us to in such a season as this; let us heare it and know it for our selves: as Souldiers receive the word of Command every man for himselfe, not to jangle with his fellow. Let us heare and doe it while it is called to day. Let us arise and be doing.
Especially ye Honourable and beloved, for this matter belongeth unto you; we also will be with you; consider it and doe it.

For first, were ye all in your owne persons as free from the offence as Moses; could ye apologise for your selves with Samuel; or wash your hands in innocencie with Da­vid; yet when wrath is upon the Congregation, or the storme may be foreseene in the vapour, the punishment in the sinne; you ought to rent your garments, and sit downe astonished with Ezra, and deprecate the judgement with Hezekiah. Ye know the Law in the case of uncertaine murder, Deut. 21. 1, 2. If a man be found slain in the land, and it be not known who hath slaine him, then thine Elders and thy Judges shall come forth, &c. He saith not the Elders of the next Citie, as afterwards, ver. 3. but thine Elders, the generall States of the Land, some of the high Court at Ierusalem; the equitie and morall of it reacheth you: by vertue of your middle station and relation betweene God and the peo­ple, the care of making the expiation and atonement lyeth upon you; and ye are the men whom God seeketh to step into the gap to make intercession. The reproaches where­with they reproach him, should fall on you, and ye should be ashamed and confounded in the stead of the people: and who knows if ye had throughly afflicted you soules in the dayes of humiliation;Jer. 7. 5. if ye had throughly amended your wayes and your doings; if ye had throughly executed judge­ment and justice, but the plague had ceased before this time?

Secondly, in generall judgements where the Phiall in the pouring out bespatters all, it may well be supposed that all have sinned, and must all together bring the sacrifice. Sanctifie ye a Fast: Joel 1. 14. call a solemne Assembly: gather the El­ders, and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord. Without question ye are involved in the common calamitie as well as others; the rod lasheth you and you feele it, the most of you, who have any thing in the enemies quarters: I beseech you heare the voyce of it, and him that brings it. Though ye have the priviledge of blowing of the Trumpet, for the gathering of the people, and give law for time and place, yet ye are not thereby priviledged from the fasting, the weeping, the mourning, the crying, or praying, and the turning with all your hearts together with others: lay your hands therefore upon your hearts, and let them smite you for your own sins, and your fellowship with other mens:Levit. 4. 15. If the Congregation sinne, the Elders must lay their hands upon the head of the sacrifice.

Thirdly, there is something very remarkeable in this pre­sent judgement that pulleth by the Eare,Aurem vellit, & admonuit. those among whom he judgeth, rather then other men. And though all men every where be admonished to repent, yet more especially you Honourable and Beloved. The Lord seemeth to have purposed it,Esai. 23. 9. to staine the pride of all Glorie, Majesty, Authority and Greatnesse, and to bring into contempt all the Honourable of the earth: for the very foundations are shaken, law and order is slighted and violated, and all estates distur­bed, to the dishonour and reproach of them that should bear up the pillars of it,Arcana imperii. the secrets and mysteries of State which all policie hath ever kept vailed to preserve them venerable and reverend, are now made common and exposed to eve­ry eye, the originals and fundamentals of Empire and power are searched into, and debated and judged, every man takes libertie to talke, and write, and print of them with all bold­nesse and confidence, the skirts of Majestie are uncovered, and men see the nakednesse of it, even Government it selfe hath lost its reverence, as well as its pomp and lustre; every where men rather doubt, and dispute, and interpret, then obey; contempt is poured, and dung is cast upon the faces of Princes and Nobles and the Iudges of the earth; The childe behaveth himselfe proudly against the ancient, and the base against the Honourable, Esai. 3. 5. Esai 3. 5. And if ye mark the course and rage of the warre, it is the sword of the great men which are slains, Ezek. 22. 14. Ezek. 21. 14. the furie of the battell hath fallen much upon the Nobilitie and Gentrie. Consider this also, the viall hath beene poured out for many yeeres upon Parli­ments, they have been shattered and broken, their just pri­viledges violated, their members baffled and imprisoned, the loynes of Parliaments have been girded with a girdle, and it wanted little but they had been made slaves and bawdes to the lusts and designes of private Iunctoes and Cabinets, yea, they have been buried under scorne and reproach, and it was a crime to wish or make mention of them.
And even this present Parliament (though blessed be God for it) in some respects it hath had the advantage of other Parliaments, and the Lord hath honoured it above them all, by putting into its hand a greater work to doe for himselfe and his Church, and opened to it a wider dore and more ef­fectuall, though there be many adversaries, and crowned it with more admirable successes and providences, and brought it on and followed it with more desires and prayers, then ever any Parliament had before it: yet in some other re­gards, it lieth under a cloud, and is more shaken. The autho­ritie of it is questioned, quarrelled, denied and opposed, the power of it straitned and bounded that it cannot reach all the Kingdome through, proclaimed Rebels at home, deser­ted by many of your owne, and what you suffer abroad God knoweth: the wheeles have moved slowly and driven hea­vily, not without disturbance and distraction, your Ordinan­ces and Orders are not so chearfully and universally received and obeyed as haply ye thinke.

I but offer these things under the notion and respect of a judgement of God upon authoritie, and those that deale in it, that yee may take notice of the hand of the Lord, and be awakened to judge your selves and sinne no more, lest a worse thing yet befall us: for yee cannot but judge this, that (the cloud being ballanced by the hand of the Lord) where the dint of the storme falls most, thence arose much of the vapour, and there the tempest will be most violent & destru­ctive, if it be not prevented by timely & serious repentance.

Fourthly, and I will adde no more. Something may be read to this purpose, in the manner & way of the bringing on, and executing of this judgement; if ye have observed it, it hath been brewed, and wrought, and tunned, and broached, and drawn by the wickednes or the weaknesse of those among whom God iudgeth; by the folly or miscarriage of governors and government, whether in the Church or State; the disor­der we complain of was first begotten between the ambiti­on of great men, & the unfaithfulnes of counsellors of State, brought forth by the unrighteousnesse and basenesse of the Iudges, nursed up and gotten strength by the pride and flat­terie of the Praelacie and Praelaticall Clergie, and by the un­worthinesse of many of the Nobilitie and Gentry comply­ing and subserving. And now it walks abroad through the Land by the same meanes by which it hath come thus far; and He that iudgeth among you either hides away wisdome, or weakneth your hands, or troubleth your Counsells, or ob­structeth your way, so as there is no remedy but the divisi­ons and the mischiefes of them continue, and consume, and devour us daily.

Now let God be righteous, and every man a sinner; it hath been commonly said, and there is a truth in it, The King can doe no wrong: it is not for me to tell you the meaning of it, you give us the proverb and the interpretation thereof, I be­seech you make the application of it also: Consider with your selves, would the God of order thus tumble all things headlong, turn every thing upside down, or suffer this confu­sion, if he were not mightily provoked to it? It is his strange work: he delighteth not in it, we have given the cause, our destruction is of our selves; our own wayes and our doings have procured these things to our selves.

For certainly what ever may be said of the corrections wherewith the Lord chastiseth a particular man, yet it can­not be denied but that a generall visitation of a Nation is the punishment of their sinne. Now if we were to make a discovery by Lots, wherein, and whose the sinne hath been, and all the chiefe of the Kingdom were to stand on the one side, and the body of the people on the other side, as when the triall was made between Saul and Jonathan and all Is­rael, 1 Sam. 14 40. who should be taken may we think? and which of them should escape? or if we might enquire of the Lord as David did when there was three yeers famine in the Land,2 Sam. 21. 1. might we not finde the answer in the words of their report to Ezra Ez 9. 2. Ezra. 9. 2. The hands of the Princes and Rulers hath beene chiefe in the trespasse?

Now what is to be done in this case? the story that fol­lows will tell us, even by the light of the next verse, we may read that the hand of the Princes and the Rulers, (though they had no hand in the trespasse) must be chiefe in the re­pentance, in the humiliation, confession, deprecation, in the making of the atonement and the reformation: And be­cause others will not, ye must; and the fewer come in to the Worke, the more it lieth upon your hands.

I beseech you therefore, (Honourable and beloved) Hear yee give ear and be not proud, but humble your selves; sit down astonted, Jer. 13. 15. 18. and mourn, because of the transgression; search out the sinnes of the State of our Princes, Ezra. 9. 3. &c. and Nobles, and Judges of our Parliaments, former and later, and weigh out (if possible) the trespasse with the aggravations; ye have be­gun well (blessed be God, who put it into your hearts) ye have taken speciall notice of many nationall sinnes, and com­manded publike acknowledgement, and deepe humiliation for them: Follow on, I beseech you, to seek the Lord, and turne unto him; make yet a further and more diligent en­quierie into the sinnes of the State, of our Kings, our Prin­ces, Jer. 5. 5. our Parliaments, as of the Kingdome, and see if the great men have knowne the way of the Lord, and the iudge­ments of their God, if rather they have not altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds. Some sinnes, and some mens sinnes are open going before to judgement; They declared them as Sodome, they hid them not: others (though done in the darke, and there was digging deep to hide them, yet have of late by the wonderfull providence of God, beene brought to light, and proclaimed upon the house tops; it is like ye may have seene more then we that stand at further distance,Ezek. 8. and if we might have the Prophets priviledge, might we not discover greater abominations then have as yet been revealed?

Give me leave to offer some few Interrogatories, upon which ye may examin: May not God possibly be now visit­ing the iniquity of our fathers upon us? may not we be the children within those generations, who are threatned in that Law? Hath there at any time by Law and practise been such a departure and separation from Rome, as may undoubtedly declare a due dissent from, detestation of, and humiliation for the idolatry of our Ancestors? may not the constant con­nivence at Papists, the common compliancie with their su­perstition in matters of ceremonies, and the formalities of publike worship, the late toleration of Popery, the generall revolting, and back-sliding thitherward by erecting of altars and other innovations, and joyning in affinitie with the peo­ple of those abominations, revive the memorie of our fa­thers sinnes?Esay 40. 2. and wrap us up together in the crime? and with good justice make us receive double from the hand of the Lord; […] duplicia pro om­nibus peccatis, sc. pro suis peccatis & parentum. while both their sinnes and ours meet together in one condemnation? The Lord our God is a jealous God, and we are not an holy people.
Did wee ever yet requite the Lord for the riches of his grace and wonders of his providence,Deut. 32. 6. in choosing us to be a people to himself, in the day when he lifted up his hand to our fathers, and brought them out of the rage and flames of per­secution, and made himselfe known to them? remember the kindnesse of the youth of this Church, and the love of its espousalls;Jer. 2. did the priests say, Where is the Lord? and they that handle the Law, 2 Chro. 15. did they know him? did or Prince or people seek the Lord with all their hearts, as in the dayes of Asa, or as Josiah and Hezekiah did for their owne parts? was the Reformation carried on to the height and purity, which it might and ought to have reached unto, considering the op­portunity and advantages of that season?

May not God take up a controversie against the Parlia­ments of this Kingdome for the lack of knowledge that is in the Land? what provisions have been made for the esta­blishing of a preaching ministery in every Parish in the Iland? what countenance and incouragement to the painfull labour­er in the Harvest? what laws have been made for the preach­ing of the Word every Lords day? put the case there were never a Sermon in any Church on a Sabbath day in all the Kingdome, what Statute were broken?
Consider, I pray you, if the Land be yet purged of the blood of the Martyrs in times of persecution; of the blood of War shed in peace by Duels and more treachereus wayes. There was a time when many great men fell almost together, and it was feared that blood touched blood; ye can remember the murmures and whisperings then were, and what artifices to prevent the judgement; why may not the land be made to mourn for these things now? can this Kingdome wash its hands of the blood of Germanie, Rochel, Ireland? blood is a crying sinne, who knowes but that the Lord to whom ven­geance belongeth, remembreth now, and maketh inquisition for blood?

Hath there been a like zeal for the matters of God (who iudgeth among you) in all the course of the government of this Kingdom the long time of peace we had, as for the mat­ters of the King; for the Church and gospel of Christ, as for the safety of the Common-weal? We remember how carefully prerogative was maintained, and the puntillo’s of mans ho­nour stood upon; yet the same time the power of God and Christ usurped upon, the morality of his Law disproved and decried, and his Sabbaths even prostituted to profanation; and in a sort commanded to be violated. Iudge ye your own selves, whether the Magistrate hath for his part kept both or either of the Tables, been for the praise of those who have done well, and for the terror of evil-doers, and how far parta­ker with the sins of the whole Land.

Come we to the present time since this great distemper and division. It may be your thoughts are at Oxford, and the Court, and those armies. And I confesse if the division were to be made, as 1 Sam. 14. it were not hard to guesse where the lot would fall; but if as Iosh. 7. 14. who might not fear?

Goe yee neerer home, consider your selves the Assem­bly of the Mightie, generally as a body, particularly every man in his relation to that representative body; Have yee been carefull to be as quick and fervent in the building up, as in the pulling downe of the Order and Government of the Church, the suppressing of Sects and Heresies (which are the bane of the Church) as in the rooting out of Episcopacie? as zealous in the keeping, as ye were in the making of the Covenant? How faithfully and in the feare of God with a perfect heart, have yee every man walked between Law and Commandment, Statute and Iudgement, and the Con­troversies and Difficulties which have come before you? Could I tell how to speak so as to point every man into his owne conscience, and one mans eye might not be on ano­ther, or particularize in this great and mixt Assembly, with­out uncovering the nakednesse of any before the Congrega­tion; I might cut out much of your worke for you this day; whereas now I can onely humbly offer a few enquiries, to lead on your thoughts to some other particulars: but though I am bounded, yee are at large; though the Minister must deale in generalls this day, and tenderly in publique; yet I beseech you, doe not you with your selves in private; for yee ought to sanctifie the day, and keepe the Fast in private, as in publique; in your families apart, as in the Church; alone by your selves, as with company.

When therefore yee are in your Closets thinke on these things, and if there be any other thing which ye can finde out, or God shall bring to remembrance fit to be repented of and amended, doe not lightly regard it, but spread it be­fore the Lord; together with the miserie and the perplexitie the Land is in by reason thereof; in your owne behalfe, and in the name of all the people of the Land. Be afflicted, mourne and weep: Jam. 4. 9, 10. Humble your selves in the sight of the Lord, and hee shall lift you up. Let him not alone till he suffer himselfe to be intreated. Hold not your peace, give him no rest. Let not your fervencie and perseverance in prayer,Esai. 6. 2. abate or waxe cold, till he establish his Church, and make it a praise in the earth: And he give us yet,L […]imer. Once againe, Once againe the Go­spel with peace. So much as in you is, both in your own fa­milies, & in all the quarters of the kingdom procure a more solemne sanctification of the Fast dayes. It is a great griefe of heart to all godly men, to see how negligently the worke of the Lord is done on that day every where, how formally and slightly, if it be not wholly omitted, while your Ordi­nances goe forth to compell the unwilling to come in under no other penaltie, but a threat of the returne of their names. I beseech you therefore revive, and double your care for the generall and more orderly keeping of that day, and promove and expedite the so long expected, and so much longed for Reformation. And because ye see many seek out interpreta­tions of evasions & inlargements from their covenants, and begin to play fast and loose with that most solemne Oath and Obligation; I beseech you in the name and feare of God, ra­ther renew the Covenant with asmuch severitie as Asa did that in his time, then let it fall or die away, remembring to go before others in the example of all due reverence and ob­servation of that great ingagement, the Oath of God, and let there be care taken that the Name of the Lord our God be not taken in vaine: for the Lord will not hold him guiltlesse that taketh his Name in vaine.

But not to instance any further in particulars, the summe of all is this. Its fully manifest by the light of that principle which this Text holds forth, the influence of God into govern­ment, that as well the disorderly as the orderly managing of affaires amongst men, is ordered by the foreknowledge and determinate hand of God; so as there is no evill in a King­dome, but by his expresse judgement: And if we understand the sense or scope of the Prophets Sermons in like cases, or their doctrine be our instruction:Zach. 7. 7. The Lords voice cryeth to the Citie, […] and the man of wisedome shall see the name; Heare ye the rod, […] and who hath appointed it. Or as Iunius reades it, thy name shall see that which is: Micah 3. 9. (and where the reading or interpretation is various, to comprehend them is the sa­fest.) The Lord cryeth as well by his judgements as by his Ministers. His glorious Majestie seeth all things, and brings them into judgement, and who so is wise will see and con­sider it, and walke humbly with his God, and he shall under­stand that these occurrences are not casuall chances, but pro­ceed from divine providence and justice, to warne men when they feele the rod, to looke up to the hand of God, who put it into the hands of men, and enquire for what cause, and for what end they are thus judged of the Lord, and be zealous and repent. What ever be the follies of men, God must be acknowledged and justified. True and righte­ous are thy Iudgements, O Lord: It is Gods controversie; he is pleading with his people, and it is our dutie, especially of those who are betweene him and the people, as well in the Magistracie as in the Ministerie, to step in to heale up the breach, and make the atonement. There need no other words to be sought out by the Preacher as goads and nailes for the fastning of all this, but those of the Prophet Amos: Can a bird fall upon the earth where no gin is for him? Amos 3. 5. Shal one take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all? Shall a trumpet be blowne in the Citie, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evill in a Citie, and the Lord hath not done it? The lion hath roared, who will not feare? The Lord God hath spoken, who can but Prophesie? Consider what I say, and the Lord give you understanding in all things.
Having thus dispatcht that use of this doctrine, which more properly and directly concernes the work of the day; Beare with me yet a little longer, (and indeed ye do beare) while I pursue the farther application of it, in such other things as it fairely pointeth us unto, and cannot well be baul­ked, without a wrong both to you and the Text. I will but briefly offer them in a word or two of exhortation, and leave them upon your hands, or your hearts rather for meditation and practise.

First generally, to consider the work of God which wee may behold, in the governing of the Nations, the goings of God among the Kings and Princes, Princes and Nobles and all the Iudges of the earth. The judgements of God in judging among the Gods.
Shall I say, Let us examine our selves whether we have duely heretofore understood and regarded this thing, heard his voice commanding, taken notice of his Spirit moving, as well the living creatures as the wheeles. Have we known, have we acknowledged in the administration, and the ma­nifold events and issues of government, that the hand of the Lord doth all these things? possibly we may finde mat­ter of humiliation upon a diligent enquirie. Certainely there is a very generall ignorance and unmindfulnesse of this mat­ter, Esai. 42. 20. seeing many things, but observing not; opening the eares, but not hearing; willing ignorance, grosse negligence. They will not see,Psal. 82. 5. they know not, neither will they understand, but walke on in darkenesse, slightnesse of spirit, in overly and su­perficiall inquirie,Acts 17. Athenian curiositie, hearing and telling of news, Psal. 10. 45. great contempt of God and his providence: The wic­ked in the pride of his countenance, will not seeke after God; God is not in all his thoughts, thy iudgements are farre above out of his sight. Nay, unbeliefe, even to Atheisme and blasphe­mie, Ier. 5. 12. they belie the Lord and say it is not hee. It is a manifold sinne and hath its gradations and aggravations, a mightie provocation.Esai. 5. 12. They regard not the worke of the Lord, nor con­sider the operation of his hands: Psal. 92. 6. therefore they are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge, &c. Its very bru­tish foolishnesse not to know nor understand this, and who knows but for this very cause God may be so grieved with this geneneration,Psal. 95. 10, 11. who erre in their hearts, and have not known his wayes, as to sweare in his wrath that they shall not enter into his rest? It is a sore and heavy judgement to have seen the great signes and wonders of God, and to want an heart to perceive, eyes to see, and eares to heare to this day. Deut. 29. 4.

Let us awake at length, and be ashamed, and turn aside, and see what God doth.Psal. 111. 2. Come and see, come and behold the works of the Lord. Or for all their delights. The works of the Lord are great sought out of all them that have pleasure therein: and truly there is a myne of pleasure, […] and profit too, in the contemplation of the works of creation, and common providence; there is much Divinity to be read in those books of nature, the Holy Ghost reades us many Lectures out of them, and holy men have not thought even those unworthy their most serious medi­tation; but there is more in the speciall providence of God about men, the moderating or ordering of humane affairs by and amongst men:Psal. 19. 1. Every handy-work of God is glorious, but farre more of his glory is shed abroad in these, especially if we consider them in their reference to the Church, they shew all his glory, and the invisible things of God are by them made very visible and very legible in the fairest Chara­cter, they are his Name in great letters; They are an excel­lent explication of the Law of God, copying out the righ­teousnesse and justice of it in particular instances and exam­ples, Hose. 8. 12. a cleare Commentarie upon all the Word of God.

Oh let them not be counted a strange thing, Esay. 29. a sealed booke, especially our own story, the wayes of God amongst us some few yeeres last past, and unto this day, where almost every work of God in judging amongst us is not like a great lettser in a booke with a gaye about it that takes up a great deale of roome, but hath nothing more then another in pro­nounciation; but as Hieroglyphicks, and emblems, and some kindes of Characters, full of morall and sense, a Booke, a vo­lume of marvellous workes, wonders repeated and multi­plyed. The Bible new translated and printed in a letter that best fits the Worlds dull and decayed sight, the old stories wrought over againe, the Promises fulfilled, the Prophecies receiving their accomplishment, a revelation of the Reve­lation which God gave unto Jesus Christ, Reve. 1. 1. to shew unto his ser­vants things which should come to passe: an interpretation of of the visions which were seen of old, a Key to open the dark and heard things in former praedictions, the unclasping of the sealed Booke, that even they that cannot read, may yet see and consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done all this. A praelude or praesage rather of the great day of the Lord, and the judgement to come.

He that stands with the wise man in the windowe of his observation, may see God preparing his throne for the judg­ing of the great Whore, bringing Babylon into remem­brance, calling his people out from thence, delivering the cup of trembling into the hands of the Nations. &c. Or as Moses when he was put in the cleff of the Rock, may behold the glory of all Gods goodnesse made to passe before him, in moderation of judgements, patient forbearance, unlooked for deliverance, suddaine and unexpected rescuing from off the praecipice and Brink of ruine.

May perceive the rowling and yearnings of his bowels and compassions toward his poor afflicted people that pray. May see him triumphing gloriously, in the greatnesse of his excellency, lifting up himself above his adversaries in the things wherein they deale proudly, raising the Trophies of his Glory out of oppositions, contradictions and impossibili­ties. May observe the bright shining forth of his manifold wisdome in out-witting cunning men, turning crafty coun­sells into foolishnesse, frustrating the tokens of lyars, and ma­king diviners mad. May take notice of many evident demon­strations of his faithfulnesse, in remembring his promises, hearing prayers, and shewing himself nigh unto his people, in all that they call upon him for.2 Chro. 16. 9. One may see his eyes run­ning to and fro through the earth, to shew himself to the hearts of them whose hearts are towards him, with very remarkable testimonies of his justice in judgements and executions done upon his enemies, and may receive abundance of in­struction, and learne much righteousnesse. But I forget my self, and tyre out your patience.

Therefore Secondly, and more particularly to you, Honourable and beloved, yet another word of exhortation, to iudge for God, and as God iudgeth.

1. For God. 2 Chro. 19. There are matters of God, as well as matters of the King, or Kingdome; the care whereof must be upon you as well as upon us. His Church, his Kingdome, his Citty, his House, his People, his Spouse, his Children, his Body; ye, as nursing fathers, must tender the good, and welfare of them, that they may find harbour and protection, injoy their just Priviledges, and Liberties, wherewith Christ hath made them free: not such licentiousnesse as is abused for a cloake of naughtinesse. Ye must see to Order and unity amongst them, that there be no rents and Schismes; surely our Saviour that ascended into Heaven, and gave gifts to men, some Apostles, &c. that we might all meet in the unity of Faith; and hath di­vers times, and after sundry manners given that very thing in charge to his ministers, would not have the magistrate left at large from providing,Ephe. 4. and endeavouring, that speaking or following the truth in love, we may grow up, making in­crease by edifying our selves and one another in Love. Ye must do that, which we are to pray that ye may do viz. Take a course that Christians may live a peaceable and quiet life in godlinesse and honesty, not in strife and contention.

There is—His Name. It may not be blasphemed, dis­honoured. His day, it must be sanctified; Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath, thou and thy servants, &c. and the stranger that is within thy gates. Remember Nehimiahs Zeal, and doe likewise.
4. His Gospell. Yee have authority, and it is your dutie to provide that it be duely preached, so as the excellencie of the knowledge thereof may abound in the Land […] the sea; that it be truly taught: not blended, adulterated, made another Gospel. His worship; it must not be corrupted by Idolatry,Matth. 15. 9. Superstitions, Innovations, lest God be worshipped is vaine, while they teach for doctrines the commandments of men. His ministerie; and it ought to be purged, planted, lights set up in every bowle of the Candlestick, incouraged, main­tained, Nehem. 10. 35. and abetted in the work of the Lord. His Sacraments; it is your Honour as your dutie to see that they be kept pure in the celebration and ministration of them.1 Cor. 9. 9. There is a book­case for it,1 Tim. 5. 17. Num. 9. 7. There were certain men, &c. This is clear from that Text,Numb. 9. 7. and will be granted, that notwithstand­ing the generall Law, and common right, yet in some cases, cases of overt pollution & offence, such persons must abstain, and be suspended from the present use of their libertie; and though it be not expressed; yet it may be inferred upon like moral equity, that as well the bold intruder as the wilful for­bearer was to be cut off: & it cannot be denied but the keep­ing of all that particular Law fell under the cōmon sanction of the whole Law of Ordinances. He that transgresseth shall be cut off. And the Iewish interpreters tell us, that if there be witnesses of the fact, the civill Magistrate was to draw the sword: but if this be not full, the presidents 2 Chro. chap. 15 chap. 30. and chap. 35. will rule the case for the civill Ma­gistrate, and make out this, that where the doctrine and dis­cipline of the Church doth not, or cannot prevail, the Magi­strate must interpose his Coercive Power for restraint and remedie.—In a Word, God hath many things amongst us that must be protected and maintained; and the matters of God have many adversaries, which must be watched, and suppressed; for ye be are not the sword in vain, ye are Gods ministers attending continually upon this very thing. Rom. 13. 4. 6. Magi­strates & ministers have (as ye see) one cōmon stile of office, that ye in your place, as we in our function and order, should minde and promove the things of God, ye by the sword, and we by the Word; you are keepers of both Tables, the first […] great Commandment, as well as the second that is like unto it, both come sometimes, as occasion is under your Cog­nizance. And ye know what a brand sticks to this day up­on Gallio (though an Heathen Magistrate) that he cared not for the matters of the Law and Worship,Act. 18. 12. &c. according to the Law, when question was brought, no, though there were in­surrections and tumults upon that occasion: and for Gama­liels counsell,Acts 5. 38. 39. Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsell or this work, be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot everthrow it, lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. Though it be found within the Bi­ble, yet it is not of like authoritie with one of Solomons pro­verbs or maximes of Policy: it hath no otherwise the ap­probation of God for good,Exod. 1. 10. then the designe of Pharaoh, or the crafty counsell of Ahitophell, 2 Sam. 17. 1. which are also recorded in the Scripture, it will not consist with other rules of the word, and it hath been condemned as unsound, and unsafe by many godly wise men; we have more sure words of Scripture, out of which we draw the doctrine of the Magistrates power & duty in the matters of God & religion, then the loose speech of such a Neutralist and time-serving Politician as Gamaliel was. Go on therefore, I beseech you, as ye began; take us the little Foxes as well as the ravening Wolves; provide against the insolencie of Libertinisme as the tyranny of Episcopacie: ye have done something against Idolatry, swearing, and Sab­bath breaking; (happy were it if there were life put into them by another Ordinance for the execution of them) what lets that ye should not doe the like against Errours, Hare­sies, and Schismes? Why should the first Commandement be left out of protection more then the other three of the first Table?

Secondly, to iudge as God iudgeth, to exercise authoritie as God doth, with the minde that is in God, in his way, or according to the rule of his word, and unto his ends.

First, with the minde that is in God, without the mix­ture of a private spirit, with incorruptnesse, gravitie, sinceri­tie, justly, uprightly, faithfully, with such a free publique unbyased, unprejudiced spirit, such libertie and courage from a principle within, not popular arguments from without. Authoritie is a ray or beame of divine Maiestie, and shines best when it is least blended with any lust or passion of man: ye know what God said to Moses when hee first called him, to set him over the people;Exod. 3. Pull off thy shoes, &c. id est, ac­cording to Theodorets Allegorie or Interpretation, carnall, earthy, sensuall, beastly passions, or all inordinateness of affe­ction; imagine it spoken to your selves: It is his iudgement. Rulers are but the channels, the pipes thorow which it flowes and is conveyed; its their dutie to let it runne as little royled as may be. Set him therefore before you as your co­pie, Primum in uno­quo (que) genere, &c. the patterne of government, Your excellency consisteth onely in conformity to him.

Secondly, according to his word. His law is a glasse into which is shed the image or species of his righteousnesse, imitable and practicable, as well by Rulers in their Spheres, as other people in theirs. If ye looke into that glasse, ye may see how to dresse your selves, and how ye ought to be, and do in place and exercise of power, only goe not away, and for­get straightwayes, what manner persons ye are or should be, but continue in the meditation and practise of it, that ye may be blessed in your deed.James 1 […] The law of God is your rule; for the Theorie of all policie, and for the practise too, even for making of laws, the beam and standard by which all lawes must be weighed and tryed. There is a Law above lawes, said the most learned among Kings,King Iames in a Speech in the Star-Chamber. Free and supreame, by which all Municipall laws must be governed, and except they have dependance on this law, they are uniust and unlawfull. It is your guide also for the administration of the govern­ment; and all the Bible, especially the Historicall part, is the exemplification of that law, lining the rule with examples: if yee exercise your selves to the reading of it, as David the man after Gods owne heart did, yee cannot be to seeke either for principles, or for presidents; and give mee leave to tell you, that though you have power to give law to others over whom yee judge, yet yee must take law from God, who iudgeth amongst you. I confesse indeed, because yee share in the Legislative power, ye are not so bound up, by, or to the lawes of the land already prescribed, as inferiour officers in courts of judicature, &c. But as to Gods law ye are no more at libertie to goe from, or step beside the Morall equitie and justice of it, then he that comes forth to sing a Song set to his hand, may varie from the Notes or Dittie in the booke, onely he may order his voice for the better grace of the mu­sick, and that must be his care, and therein lies his skill.

Thirdly and lastly, all must be directed to Gods ends. First, his glorie, the dignitie and peace of his Crowne; that they which live under your power, may fall downe and glorifie God, and say, God is amongst you of a truth. Secondly, the publique safety and welfare of the people; not your own per­sonall honour or profit, but the common-wealth: for though all advantage may seeme to flow unto you, yet yee doe re­ceive the same, but as the sea doth the waters, to convey and transmit all back for the benefit of the land.

Now that we may draw to a conclusion both of this use and of the Sermon: For helps to the better practise of these things, and that Magistracie may reach these great and ex­cellent ends; Be pleased to receive these directions from God by the mouth of his unworthy messenger.

First,James 1. 17. derive all your sufficiencie from God the Father of lights, Coloss. 1. 19. and from the Lord Iesus Christ, in whom it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell. Rest not in natural parts, or what is gained by reading and observation, learning and experience, but receive something more of his Grace, from whom commeth downe every good and perfect gifts, and out of his hand, who is the image of the invisible God: even com­mon skill for the most ordinarie businesse is taught by him. God instructeth the Plow man to discretion. Esa. 2 […]. 27. 28. 29. The Fitches are beaten out with a staffe, and the Cummin with a rod, bread-corne is bruised, &c. This also commeth forth from the Lord of hasts, who is wonderfull is counsell, and excellent in work­ing How much more wisedome and knowledge, 1 Kings 3. 9. with an un­derstanding heart to iudge the people, 2 Chro. 1. 10. and discerne betweene good and bad; for who is able to iudge a great people? It will therefore be your wisedome, what-ever your breeding or other advantages be, to take in daily from God and Christ, (as the pipe from the conduit head) by due acknowledge­ment and dependencie. No man ever had so much prudence and largenesse of heart, as Solomon, who took it in from God; There cannot be so much found in a cisterne or pond as may be drawne from a spring, neither will the supply be so cer­taine and constant by nature and morality, as when it com­eth downe from him with whom is no variablenesse or sha­dow of change; the winde from the bellows is not as con­tinued and uniforme, as the breath from the lungs, where Gods visitation preserves Spirit: Job 10. 12. nor can it be trusted to and relyed upon, as that which hee more immediatly gives and sanctifies.Vbi non est san­ctitas, fides pie­tas, instabile re­gum est. Job 6. 15.

Brooks and Torrents though they sometimes swell high, and shew much, are but waters that will faile: My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brooke, as the streams of brookes they passe away; But a fountaine that is fed from the Ocean, a rill or riveret from the spring, faileth seldome or never, they that come thither are not ashamed, they are not confounded because they hoped: Meere naturall or morall parts and abilities, like ditch water may corrupt; the wisedome of Egypt, Exod. 7. 21. like the waters of Egypt, both by the judgement of God, and the wickednesse of man, may taint and stink, and become unwholsome, nay possibly turne into blood. The wisedome that is from beneath is earthly, sensuall, devillish, but the wisedome that is from above,Jam. 1. 15. 17. is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easie to be intreated, full of mercie and good fruits, without partiality, without hypocrisie. Neither can a man meerely by Art or Nature be made active for God and Religion, though peradventure he may be a good Patriot for his Countrey. Water will not rise higher (unlesse it be for­ced) then the spring from whence it came, and ye will also finde it, that at one time or other even the lustre and reputa­tion of such men and such faculties, will fade like faint co­lours that are not woaded or grained: Whereas the credit and esteeme of the other is laid deeper, and is more solid and lasting:1 Kings 3. 28. They feared King Solomon, because they saw the wisedome of God was in him, to doe iudgement.

Secondly, Pray much & oft for grace, guidance, and blessing. The great men, the Worthies in matter of government were praying men, as Ezra, Nehemiah, and before them Moses, David, Solomon, &c. and the great things for which they are so famous, were obtained by prayer. Its very like that Phine­has was a praying when he was moved to doe that extraor­dinarie piece of justice on Zimri and Cosbi, Numb. 25. by which the wrath of God was appeased, and himself became renowned, else why should the Holy Ghost direct the Psalmist, record­ing that Heroick Act, […]. to choose a word that signifies as well to pray, Psal. 106. 30. as to doe iustice? Then stood up Phinehas, and prayed (saith one translation) and executed iudgement (saith ano­ther,) […]. and the plague was stayed; and that was counted to him for righteousnesse unto all generations for evermore.

Thirdly, undertake and do all both in Counsell and War in his name, as David when he went out against Goliah, in reliance upon him, as Asa when he fought against the huge hoste of the Ethiopians and Lubims, an hoste of a thousand thousand,2 Chro. 14. 11. and three hundred Chariots: Help us, O Lord our God, 2 Chro. 16. 8. for we rest upon thee, and in thy Name we go against this multitude: and the Lord delivered them into his hand, because hee relied on the Lord. For it is God that girdeth with strength, and maketh your way perfect; he giveth you the shield of salvation, his right hand hath holden you up, and his gentlenes hath made you great: Therefore as the Wiseman counselleth,Pro. 3. 5. 6. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and leane not on thine owne understanding, in all thy wayes acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy pathes.

For motives and incitements wee shall not need to goe out of the compasse of the Psalme to finde them: First, there stands one in the threshold of my Text: God standeth in the Assembly of the mightie. Verily, God is among you, there needs not an empty seat be placed in the midst of your House, wherein ye may imagine God to sit. Hee iudgeth in the midst of you. Hee doth not stand hearkening at the dangerous doore, or behinde the hangings, or a farre off, hearing and seeing imperfectly at a distance, nor recei­veth information by his Spie, and Intelligencer with­in you, though such an one there is, but himselfe (without any breach of your Priviledges) is in your house,Vid. sup pag. 4. in your thoughts, in your hearts. As sure as God is in heaven, He is among you, yea, within you. There is no an Act that ye doe, not a word that ye speak, not a thought that ye think, not an aime that ye have, not a designe that ye drive, but he knows it better then you your selves: when he makes inquisition, he shall not need search the Parliament rolls, look your journall bookes, breake open your studies, send to search your pockets: He himselfe is more in the midst of you, and within you, every of you, then you your own selves. If any man among you should have taken the covenant with his lips, his heart not consenting; should pretend for God, and intend for himselfe; looke to Westminster, and rowe to Ox­ford; give counsell here, and intelligence there, should cast in any thing to trouble your proceedings, retard the reforma­tion, or spinne out the Warre, &c. doth not God know it?

I beseech you, in the feare of God, consider this, and re­gard it as the most fixed and resolved truth, that ye may not trespasse against God in the judgement, either within doors or without; God standeth in the assembly of the mighty.
Secondly, There are two or three more folded together in the Text, two offer themselves in the translation, He iudg­eth among the gods.

First, All your Counsells, and all your workes move by his influence. The whole disposing thereof is of him, the guidance and successe of all your actions depend upon the Lord, and they are cursed or blessed according to his pleasure: looke as they crosse or comply with him, so they prosper, and so will the issue be.Pro. 19. 21. There are many d […]s in a mans heart, ne­verthelesse the counsell of the Lord, that shall stand. If any man, or men, consult or goe against God, his Church, his Cause, his Way,Psal. 2. his Word, his Ends, they imagin a vain thing, disquiet themselves in vain,Pro. 21. 30.—There is no wisdom, nor understanding nor counsell against the Lord, Esa. 54. 17. no weapon that is formed against him or his, shall prosper. They consult shame to themselves, and sinne against their owne souls:Psal. 9. 16. The Lord is knowne by the iudgements which he executeth, the wicked is snared in the work of his owne hands. Let them multiply their party, and joyne heads and hands,Esay 19. 11. they are never the nearer; As­sociate your selves. Jer. 8. 8. O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird your selves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; take counsell together and it shall come to nought, speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us. The Machiavillian is the most errant fool in the world,Esay 31. 1, 2, 3. and so are they that take counsell, but not of God; and cover with a covering, but not of his Spirit; or trust on meanes, because they are many; on helps, because they are strong, and looke not to the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord: yet he also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words. Let them try the conclusion when they please,Jer. 44. 28. they shall know whose word shall stand, (saith God) mine or theirs.

Againe, if ye concurre with God in his Way, and in his Ends, who shall harm you? If God be with you, who shall be a­gainst you? Piety is the best policy: they are on the s […] side, and have more then winde and tide; the winde and the Sunne, that have God on their side.

Receive it, I beseech you, as an incouragement to follow on to seeke and serve the Lord in the work of Reformation, and what tends to it, the Work is not so much yours as Gods, and is carried on, not by your might nor power, but by his spi­rit: Zach: 4. 7. Mountains shall become plaines before Zerubbabel (the agent whom God sets on worke) and he shall bring forth the Head stone thereof with shouting, Grace, Grace unto […]. Possibly your hands that have laid the […] also finish it. Deal couragiously, and the Lord shall be with the good.

Thirdly, God is concerned in the Government, and the manner of the carriage thereof by men: What is done by them among whom be iudgeth, is to the glory or dishonour of his name who iudgeth among them. If good motions should be smothered or diverted, the weighty and necessary concern­ments of the Church or the Common-wealth be neglected, or retarded, matters in debate carried by party and affection, not by judgement and reason, if the just complaint and cry of the poore should not be heard, if justice should not be done, or there be unrighteousnesse in the non-discharging of debts, or unfaithfulnesse in the deceiving of trust, or any such like, which God forbid, the damage indeed will be to the Publike, or to this or that man; but the sinne is against God, and his Name is polluted thereby: the reproaches that fall on them that doe such things, fall also upon him, in whose stead and place they are which doe them: through them he is evil spoken of:2 Chro. 19. 6. Take heed therefore what ye doe; for ye iudge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with you in the iudgement.

Fourthly,Vid. sup. pag. 4. There is another argument may be found in the various reading of the Text, He will iudge the Gods open­ly. There is One in Authority over them, that are in authori­ty over others; and they which judge others, must bee judged themselves,1 Sam. 2. 30. and yee know what hee saith, Them that honour me, I will honour; and they that despise me, shall be lightly esteemed. Many times God performs it in this World, our eyes have seen it;Pro. 11. 31. Behold, the righteous shall be recom­pensed in the earth; how much more the wicked and the sinner? But there is no escaping the judgement to come: for the time cometh, the day is appointed wherein he will judge the World in righteousnes,Reve. 19. 12. the small and the great must stand before God, and be iudged according to their works. Foresee, therefore,Job 31. 14. and fore-consider the terrour of that day; thinke the thoughts of Job, When God riseth up, what shall I do? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? Be wise now there­fore, O ye Kings; be instructed ye Judges of the earth: serve the Lord with fear, reioyce with trembling. Kisse the Sonne, lest he be angry, Psal. 2. 10. and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kind­led but a little: Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

We may yet espy one Motive more in the last verse of the Psalm. Arise O God & iudge the earth. There are prayers for, or complaints of you daily sent up to heaven, and these like the vapour that ascends, will be dissolved, either in a shower, or a storm, will blesse or blast their persons and their wayes, for, or against whom they are directed. How lightly so ever men regard prayers, or appeales, when God maketh inqui­sition he remembreth them,Psal. 10. 17. and forgetteth not the cry of the poore. He that prepareth the heart of men to pray, will cause his own eare to hear, and that with the saving strength of his right hand.

Lastly, that every one may have something to carry home with him, let us close upall in a further and more generall use of the doctrine. Since God iudgeth among the Gods; let us improve the knowledge of it, both for the publique and our owne private a double way.

First, for the time past, and for all the evill which hath be­falne us by any errour or disorder in government, or by any miscarriage, in any undertaking by the one side or the other; (for the sad thoughts of those judgements are more proper for the day;) let us be silent because the Lord hath done its Refraine from froward quarrelsome complaining and mur­muring, and give glory to God: snarle not at the stone, but acknowledge him that cast it; It is of God, hee hath done what seemed him good.1 Sam. 3. 18. Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more; That which I see not teach thou me, Job 34. 32. if I have done iniquitie I will doe no more.

And for the time to come, let us ingage God by prayer. In nothing be carefull, Phil. 4. but in all things, let your requests be made knowne to God by prayer and supplication with thanks­giving. Had we never so sure a word of Prophecie or Pro­mise, by which we might determine the time, and the man­ner, and the nature of the issue of all these judgements a­broad in the earth; yet we ought to pray and make our con­fession as Daniel, Eze. 36. 37. Dan. 9. 1. There is a rule for it: I the Lord have spoken, and I will doe it, I will yet for this be enquired of by the House of Israel to do it for them. Be the matter never so perplexed, and seemingly impossible, Prayer is an En­gine can help at a dead lift; Prayer will draw downe from heaven the influence of God upon Parliament, Assembly, Commitees, Armies, Navies, and all that serve in them, and is done by them, that they may doe the work of God, and prosper.

If a man should busie himself in turning the lesser wheeles of his Watch with his finger, how long and how evenly should he make it goe? but let him winde up the spring and it will keep its course, and measure the time ex­actly. Neglect this and we labour in vaine, our confidences will distress us and not help us: but if once we can prevaile with God, to plead our cause with them that strive against us, to stand up for our help, and lay his hand upon the hand of those who are the instruments of the preservation of the Land, and the Reformation of the Church, that which they advise and doe, will be the Arrow of the Lords deliverance; But this use is best made in kinde.

Let us pray, &c.

George Gillespie: Nihil Respondes

Nihil Respondes: OR, A DISCOVERY OF The extream unsatisfactorinesse of Master Colemans Peece, published last weeke under the Title of A Brotherly Examination re-examined.
Wherein, his self-contradictions: his yeel­ding of some things, and not answering to other things Objected against him: His abusing of Scripture: His errors in Divinity: His abusing of the Parliament, and indan­gering their Authority: His abusing of the Assembly: His Calumnies, and namely against the Church of Scotland, and against my selfe: The repug­nancy of his Doctrin to the solemne League and Covenant, are plainly demonstrated.
By George Gillespie Minister at Edenburgh.
1 Tim. 1. 7.

Ʋnderstanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirme.
Published by Authority.
Printed at London for Robert Bostock dwelling in Pauls Church-yard, at the signe of the Kings head. 1645.

A Discovery of the extreame unsa­tisfactorinesse of Master Colemans Peece, published last week under the Title of, A Brotherly Examination re-examined.
AFter that Master Coleman had Preached and Printed such Doctrine as I was in my con­science fully perswaded was contrary to the Covenant of the three Kingdomes, and de­structive (if it were put in pra­ctice) to the Reformation of Religion: he having also flatly and publikely imputed to the Commissioners from the Church of Scotland, a great part of the fault of hindering union in the Assembly here. I thought my selfe obliged in duty and in the trust which I bear, to give a publike testimony against his Doctrin, (which others did also) upon occasion not sought, but by Divine Providence, and a publike Calling then offered, first for Preaching, and after for Printing; in either of which I thinke there did not appeare the least dis-respect or bitter­nesse towards the Reverend Brother. The Lord knowes my intention was to speake to the matter, to vindicate the truth, and to remove that impediment of Reformation by him cast in: And if he, or any man else had in meeknesse of spirit, gravely and rationally, for clearing of truth, endeavoured to confute me, I ought not, I should not have taken it ill; but now when this peece of his against me, called A Brotherly Examination re-examined (I thinke he would or should have said examined, for this is the first examination of it) I finde it more full of railing than of reasoning, of gibing than of gra­vity; and when polemicks doe so degenerate, the world is abused, not edified. He tells me if I have not worke enough I shall have more; I confesse the answering of this Peece is no great worke, and the truth is, I am ashamed I have so little to make answer unto, yet I shall doe my best to improve even this worke to edification. When other worke comes I wish it be worke indeed, and not words. Res cum re, ratio cum ratione concertet, as the father said; Arguments Sir, Argu­ments, Arguments, if there be any: you have affirmed great things, and new things which you have not proved. The Assertions of such as are for a Church Government in genere, and for the Presbyteriall Government in specie, are knowne; their Arguments are knowne, but your Solutions are not yet knowne. If Mr. Prynnes Booke against the suspension of scandalous persons from the Sacrament be the worke for the present, which he meanes, I hope it shall be in due time most satisfactorily spoken unto both by others and by my selfe; I desire rather solid then subitane lucubrations: in the meane while, Let not him that putteth on his armour, boast as he that put­teth it off. And let the Brother that puts me in minde of other worke, remember that himselfe hath other worke to doe which he hath not yet done.

I have for better method and clearnesse divided this fol­lowing Discourse into certaine Heads, taking in under every Head such particulars in his Reply as I conceive to be most proper to that point.
That Master Coleman doth not onely prevaricate but contradict himselfe, concerning the state of the Question.
HE tels us often that he doth not deny to Church-officers all power of Church-Government, but onely the cor­rective part of Government: that the doctrinall and decla­rative power is in the Ministery, see Pag. 11. & 14 He denyeth that he did advise the Parliament to take Church Government wholly into their owne hands, I never had it in my thoughts saith he, that the Parliament had power of dispensing the Word and Sacra­ments. I must confesse it is to me new language which I never heard before, that the dispensing of the Word and Sacra­ments is a part of Church Government; sure the word Go­vernment is not, nor was never so understood in the Contro­versies concerning Church Government: But if it be, why did the Brother in his Sermon oppose Doctrine and Go­vernment, Give us Doctrine, said he, take you the Government.
But behold now how he doth most palpaply contradict himselfe, in one and the same Page; it is the 11th. I know no such distinction of Government, saith he, Ecclesiasticall and Civill, in the sence I take Government for the corrective part thereof; all Ecclesiasticall (improperly called) Government, being meerely Do­ctrinall; the corrective or primitive part being civill or temporall. Againe within a few lines; I doe acknowledge a Presbyterian Go­vernment, I said so expresly in my Epistle, and doe heartily subscribe to the Votes of the House. If he heartily subscribe to the Votes and Ordinances of Parliament, then be heartily subscribeth that Elderships suspend men from the Sacrament for any of the scandalls enumerate, it being proved by Witnesses upon oath; This power is corrective, not meerly doctrinall. He must also subscribe to the subordination of Congrigationall, Classicall, and Synodicall assemblies in the Government of the Church, and to appeales from the lesser to the greater, as likewise to Ordination by Presbyteries; and I pray, is all this meerly Doctrinall? And will he now subscribe heartily to all this; how will that stand with the other passages before cited? or with Page 17. where it being objected to him, that he takes away from Elderships all power of spirituall Censures; his Reply neither yeeldeth Excommunication nor Suspention, but Admonition alone, and that by the Ministers who are a part of the Elderships, not by the whole Eldership Con­sistorially. Againe, page 14. he confesseth; I advised the Par­liament to lay no burthen of Government upon them, whom he, this Commissioner thinkes Church Officers, Pastors and Ruling-Elders. Now I argue thus; he that adviseth the Parliament to lay no burthen of Government upon Ministers and ruling Elders, he adviseth the Parliament to doe contrary to their owne Votes and Ordinances, and so is farre from subscribing heartily thereunto. But Mr. Coleman by his owne confession adviseth the Parliament to lay no burthen of Government upon Mini­sters and ruling Elders; Ergo, &c. how he will reconcile him­selfe with himselfe, let him looke to it.
Page 11. He takes it ill that one while I make him an ene­my to all Church Government, then onely to the Presbyteri­all; Onely is his owne addition. But I had reason to make him an enemy to both, for so he hath made himselfe; yea, in opposing all Church Government he cannot chuse but oppose Presbyteriall Government: for the consequence is necessary, A genere ad speciem, negatively though not affirmatively. If no Church Government, then no Presbyteriall Government.

The particulars in my brief Examination, which Mr. Coleman ei­ther granteth expresly, or else doth not reply unto.
MY Argument Page 32. proving, that as many things ought to be established Jure divino as can well be, be­cause he cannot answer it, therefore he granteth it. Pag. 5.
He had in his Sermon call’d for plaine and cleare instituti­ons, and let Scripture speake expresly. Now pag. 7. he yeeldeth, that it is not onely a Divine Truth (as I call’d it) but cleare Scripture, which is drawne by necessary consequence from Scripture.
He hath not yet (though put in minde) produced the least exception against the known Arguments for Excommu­nication and Church Government, drawn from Mat. 18. and 1 Cor. 5. he tells the affirmer is to prove; But the affirmers have proved: and their Arguments are known, (yea he him­selfe pag. 1. saith; I have had the opportunity to heare almost what man can say in either side, speaking of the controversie of Church Government) therefore he should have made a bet­ter answer, then to say that those places did not take hold of his Conscience, yet if he have not heard enough of those places he shall I trust ere long heare more.
He had said, I could never yet see how two Coordinate Governments exempt from superiority and inferiority, can be in one State, Page 35. I gave him three Instances, a Generall and an Admirall, a Father and a Master, a Captaine and a Master of a Ship; This pag. 8. he doth not deny, nor saith one word against it; onely he endeavoureth to make those Similes to run upon foure feete, and to resemble the generall Assembly, and the Parliament in every circumstance; but I did not at all apply them to the generall Assembly, and the Parli­ament. Onely I brought them to overthrow that generall Thesis of his concerning the inconsistency of two Co-ordinate Go­vernments, which if he could defend; why hath not he done it?
His keeping up of the names of Clergy and Laiety being challenged by me, pag. 36. he hath not said one word in his Re-examination to justifie it.
I having pag. 37, 38. confuted his Argument drawn from the measuring of others by himselfe, whereby he did endea­vour to prove that he had cause to feare an ambitious en­snarement in others as well as in himself, God having fashio­ned all mens hearts alike; now he quitteth his ground and saith nothing for vindicating that Argument, from my ex­ceptions.
I shewed pag. 40. his misapplying of the King of Sodonus speech, but neither in this doth he vindicate himselfe.
That which I had at length excepted against his fourth Rule concerning the Magistrate, and his confirmation there­of, he hath not answered, nor so much as touched any thing which I had said against him from the end of page 42. to the end of page 48. except onely a part of page 43. and of page 44. concerning 1 Cor. 12. 28. some contrarious argumentations he hath page 21. (of which after) but no answer to mine.
Page 10. He digresseth to other Objections of his own fra­ming, instead of taking off what I had said.

His abusing of the Scriptures.
Master Coleman did ground an Argument upon Psal. 33. 15, Prov. 27. 29. which cannot stand with the intent of the Holy Ghost, because contrary to other Scriptures, and to the Truth, as I proved pag. 38. He answereth in his Re­examination that my sence may stand, and his may stand too; but if my sence may stand, which is contrary to his, then his Argument had no sure ground for it; yea, that which I said was to prove that his consequence drawne from those Scrip­tures did contradict both the Apostle Pauls Doctrine and his owne profession, which still lyeth upon him since it is not answered.
Page 14. He citeth 1 Cor. 10. 33. Give none offence neither to the Jewes nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Churches of Christ; to prove that all Government is either a Jewish Government, or a Church Government, or a Heathenish Government, and that there is no third; yes Sir, your selfe hath given a third, (for you have told three) but Transeat cum caeteris errori­hus. To the matter. This is a perverting of Scripture to prove an untruth; for the Government of Generalls, Admiralls, Majors, Sheriffes, is neither a Jewish Government, nor a Church Government, nor a Heathenish Government. Nei­ther doth the Apostle speake any thing of Government in that place; he maketh a distribution of all men who are in dan­ger to be scandalized, not of Governments. And if he had applyed the place rightly to the Parliament of England, he had said, They are either of the Jewes, or of the Gentiles, or of the Church of God, and this needeth not an answer. But when he saith; The English Parliament is either a Jewish Go­vernment, or a Church Government, or a Heathenish Government, I answer it is none of these, but it is a Civill Government.
Pag. 15. Declaring his Opinion of Church Government, he citeth Rom. 13. 4. For the punishment of him that doth evill; to prove that the punitive part belongs to the Christian Magi­strate. But what is this to the punitive part which is in Con­troversie, spirituall Censures, suspention from the Sacrament, deposition from the Ministery, Excommunication. The pu­nitive part spoken of Rom. 13. belongeth to all civill Magi­strates whether Christian or Infidell.
Pag. 18. He maketh this reply to 1 Thess. 5. 12. 1 Tim. 17. Heb. 13. 7. 17. Why man! I have found these an hundred and an hundred times twice told, and yet am I as I was. Why Sir, was the Argument so ridiculous, I had brought those places to prove another Government (and if you will the institution of ano­ther Government) beside Magistracy, which he said he did not finde in Scripture. Here are some who are no civill Ma­gistrates set over the Thessalonians in the Lord, 1 Thess. 5. 12. Paul writeth to Timothy of Elders that rule well, 1 Tim. 5. 17. the Churches of the Hebrewes had some Rulers who had spoken to them the Word of God, Heb. 13. 7. Rulers that watched for their soules as they that must give an account, verse 17. Now let the reverend Brother speake out, what can he answer? Were these Rulers civill Magistrates? Did the civill Magistrate speake to them the Word of God? If these Rulers were not Magistrates but Ministers, I aske next, Is it a matter of indifferency and no institution to have a Ministery in a Church or not? I hope though he doe not acknowledge ruling Elders Jure divino, yet he will acknowledge that the Ministers of the Word are Jure divino; yet these were some of the Rulers mentioned in the Scriptures quoted. Let him loose the knot, and laugh when he hath done.
Page 19. 20. He labourerh to prove from 1 Cor. 12. 28. that Christ hath placed civill Government in his Church, and whereas it is said, that though it were granted that civill Governments are meant in that place, yet it proves not that Christ hath placed them in the Church: He replyeth; I am sure the Commissioner will not stand to this: he that placed Gover­nours was the same that placed Teachers. But his assurance de­ceiveth him, for upon supposition that civill Governments are there meant, (which is his sence) I deny it, and he doth but petere principium. God placed civill Governments, Christ placed Teachers; God placed all whom Christ placed, but Christ did not place all whom God placed. Next, whereas it was said, that Governments in that place cannot be meant of Christian Magistrates, because at that time the Church had no Christian Magistrates; He replyeth, that Paul speaks of Governments that the Church had not, because in the enumeration, ver. 29, 30. he omits none but helpes and Go­vernments. I answer, the reason of that omission is not be­cause these two were not then in being (for God had set them as well as the rest in the Church, ver. 28.) but to make ruling Elders and Deacons contented with their station, though they be not Prophets, Teachers, &c. Thirdly, I asked how comes civill Government into the Catalogue of Eccle­siasticall and Spiritaall administrations. His reply is nothing but an affirmation, that Christian Megistracy is an Ecclesiasti­call admiration, and a Quere whether working of Miracles and gifts of Healing be Ecclesiasticall. Answ. Hence follow­eth, 1. That if the Magistrate cease to be Christian, he lo­seth his administration. 2. That though a worker of Mira­cles cease to be Christian, yet it is a question whether he may not still worke Miracles. Lastly, where I objected that he puts Magistracy behind Ministery, he makes no answer, but onely that he may doe this as well as my rule puts the Nobility of Scotland behind the Ministery. No Sir, we put but ruling El­ders behind Ministers in the order of their administrations, because the Apostle doth so. It is accidentall to the ruling El­der to be of the Nobility, or to Nobles to be ruling Elders: there are but some so, and many otherwise. That of placing Deacons before Elders, 1 Cor. 12. 28 is no great matter, sure the Apostle, Rom. 12. placeth Elders before Deacons.
His Errors in Divinity.
1. Pag. 21. He admitteth no Church-government distinct from Civill, except that which is meerly doctrinall. And pa. 14. He adviseth the Parliament to take the corrective power wholly into their own hands, and exempteth nothing of Ec­clesiasticall power from their hands but the dispencing of the Word and Sacraments. Hence it followeth that there ought to be neither suspension from the Sacrament, nor ex­communication, nor ordination, nor deposition of Ministers, nor receiving of Appeals, except all these things be done by the Civill Magistrate. If he say the Magistrate gives leave to do these things. I answer. 1. So doth he give leave to preach the Word, and minister the Sacraments in his Dominions. 2. Why doth he then in his Sermon, and doth still in his Re-examination, pag. 14. advise the Parlament to lay no burthen of corrective Government upon Ministers, but keep it wholly in their own hands: It must needs be far contrary to his mind, that the Magistrate gives leave to do the things above mentioned, they being most of them corrective, and all of them more than doctrinall. 3. He gives no more power to Ministers in Church-government then in Civill govern­ment: for pag. 11. he ascribeth to them a ministeriall, doctri­nall, and declarative power, both in Civill and Ecclesiasticall Government.
2. Pag. 11. and 14. he holds, that the corrective or puni­tive part of Church-government is Civill or Temporall, and is wholly to be kept in the Magistrates own hands. And in his Sermon, pag. 25. he told us he sees not in the whole Bible any one act of that Church-government in controversie, per­formed. All which how erroneous it is, appeareth easily from 1 Cor. 5. 12. Put away that wicked Person from among you: which Mr. Prynne himself in his Ʋindication, pag. 2. acknow­ledgeth to be a warrant for Excommunication, 2 Cor. 2. 6. there is a punishment or censure inflicted by many, 1 Tim. 5. 19. Against an Elder receive not an accusation but before two or three witnesses. Where acts of Church-government or censures were neglected, it is extremly blamed. Rev: 2. 14, 15. 20. was not all this corrective, yet not civill or temporall?
3. Pag. 9. Whereas I had said that without Church-go­vernment, Ministers shall not keep themselves nor the ordi­nances from pollution. He replyeth pag. 9. That he under­stands neither this keeping of themselves from pollution, no […] what this pollution of the ordinances is. I am sorry for it, that any Minister of the Gospel is found unclear in such a point. I will not give my own, but Scripturall answers to both. The former is answered, 1 Tim. 5. 22. Be not partaker of other mens sins, keep thy self pure. It is sin to dispense ordinan­ces to the unworthy whether Ordination, or Communion in the Sacrament. For the other the pollution of Ordinances is the Scripture language. I hope he means not to quarrell at the holy Ghosts language, Ezek. 22. 26. Her Priests have vio­lated my Law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane. Mal. 1. 7. Ye offer polluted bread, upon mine altar: vers. 12. Ye have prophaned it. Mat. 21. 13. Ye have made it a den of theeves. Matth: 7. 6. Cast not pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet.
4. Pag. 11. Whereas I had objected to him, that he exclu­deth ruling Elders, as well as Ministers from government: He answers, that Ruling Elders are either the same for office and Ordination with the Minister (which as he thinks the Independents own, but not I) or they are the Christian Ma­gistrate, and so he saith he doth not exclude them. Mark here he excludeth all ruling Elders from a share in Church-go­vernment, who are not either the same for office and Ordi­nation with the Minister, or else the Christian Magistrate; and so upon the matter he holdeth that ruling Elders are to have no hand in Church-government. Those ruling Elders which are in the votes of the Assembly, and in the Reformed Churches, have neither the power of Civill Magistracy (qua Elders and many of them not at all being no Magistrates) nor yet are they the same for office and ordination with the Minister, for their office, and consequently their ordination to that office, is distinct from that of the Minister, among all that I know. And so excluding all ruling Elders from Go­vernment who are neither Magistrates nor the same with Mi­nisters, he must needs take upon him that which I charged him with.
5. Pag. 21. Where he makes reply to what he had said against his Argument from Ephes. 1. three last verses. He saith he will blow away all my discourse with this clear demon­stration. That which is given to Christ, he hath it not as God, and Christ as God cannot be given. But this place (Ephes. 1. three last ver­ses) speaketh both of dignity given to Christ, and of Christ as a gift gi­ven. Therefore Christ cannot be here understood as God. This is in opposition to what I said pag. 45. concerning the headship and dignity of Christ, as the naturall Son of God, the Image of the invisible God. Colos. 1. 15. And pag. 43. of the dominion of Christ as he is the eternall Son of God. This being premised, the Brothers demonstration is so strong as to blow himself into a blasphemous heresie. I will take the Proposition from him­self, and the assumption from Scripture, thus. That which is given to Christ, he hath it not as God. But all power in heaven and in earth is given to Christ, Matth. 28. 18. Life is given to Christ, Joh. 5. 26. Authority to execute judgement is given to Christ, Ibid. ver. 27. All things are given into Christs hands, Joh. 3. 35. The Father hath given him power over all flesh, Joh: 17. 2. he hath given him glory, Joh: 17. 22. Ergo, by Mr. Colemans principles, Christ hath neither life, nor glory, nor authority to execute judgement, nor power over all flesh, as he is the eternall Son of God consubstantiall with the Father, but onely as he is Mediator God and Man. As for the giving of Christ as God, what if I argue thus. If Christ as he is the eternall Son of God, or second Person of the ever blessed Trinity, could not be given, then the incarnation it self, or the sending of the Son of God to take on our flesh, cannot be called a giving of a gift to us. But this were impi­ous to say. Ergo. Again, if Christ as he is the second Person of the blessed Trinity could not be given, then the holy Ghost as he is the third Person cannot be given (for they are coes­sentiall, and that which were a dishonour to God the Son, were a dishonour to God the holy Ghost) But to say that the holy Ghost cannot be given as the third Person, were to say that he cannot be given as the holy Ghost. And what will he then say to all these Scriptures that speak of the giving of the holy Ghost? Act. 15. 8. Rom. 5. 5. 1 Joh: 4. 13. &c.
Finally, as Mr. Colemans demonstration hath blown away it self, so it could not hurt me, were it solid and good (as it is not) for he should have taken notice that in my examina­tion I did not restrict the dignity given to Christ, Ephes. 1. 21. Nor the giving of Christ, vers. 22. to the Divine nature onely. Nay I told pag. 44, 45. that those words of the Apostle hold true even of the humane nature of Christ.
6. Pag. 21. he concludeth with a Syllogisme which he calleth the scope of my Discourse (I know not by what Lo­gick the Proposition being forged by himself, and contrary to my Discourse) thus it is.
Whosoever do not manage their office and authority un­der Christ and for Christ, they manage it under the de­vill, and for the devill, for there is no middle, either Christ or Belial. He that is not with me is against me.
But according to the opinion of the Commissioner, Chri­stian Magistracy doth not manage the Office and Au­thority thereof under Christ, and for Christ.
He beleeves I shall be hard put to it, to give the Kingdom a clear and satisfactory answer. Its wel that this is the hardest task he could set me.
The truth is, his Syllogisme hath quatuor terminos, and is therefore worthy to be exploded by all that know the Laws of disputation. Those words in the Proposition under Christ, and for Christ, can have no other sence, but to be serviceable to Christ, to take part with him, and to be for the glory of Christ, as is clear by the confirmation added, He that is not with me is against me. But the same words in the assumption must needs have another sence, under Christ and for Christ, that is, Vice Christi, in Christs stead. For that which I denyed was, that Magistracy is derived from Christ as Mediator, or that Christ as Mediator hath given a commission of Vicegerent­ship and Deputy-ship to the Christian Magistrate to manage his office and authority under & for him, and in his Name. As is clear in my Examination, pag. 42. Nay Mr. Coleman him­self a little before his Syllogisme, pa. 19. takes notice of so much. His words are these. The Commissioner saith, Magistracy i […] not derived from Christ: I say Magistracy is given to Christ to be serviceable in his kingdom: So that though the Commissioners asser­tion be sound (which in due place will be discussed) yet it infringeth nothing that I said. Now then quâ fide could he in his Argu­ment against me confound these two things which he him­self had but just now carefully distinguished. If he will make any thing of his Syllogisme, he must hold at one of these two sences. In the first sence, it is true that all are either for Christ or against Christ. And it is as true that his assumption must be distinguished. For de facto the Christian Magistrate is for Christ when he doth his duty faithfully, and is against Christ if he be unfaithfull. But de jure, it holds true universally that the Christian Magistrate manageth his office under and for Christ, that is, so as to be serviceable for the kingdom and glory of Christ.
In the second sence (which onely concerneth me) taking under and for Christ, to be in Christs stead as his Deputies or Vicegerents: so his Assumption, is lame and imperfect, be­cause it doth not hold forth my opinion clearly. That which I did and still do hold is this. That the Civill Magistrate, whether Christian or Pagan, is Gods Vicegerent, who by ver­tue of that vicegerent-ship is to manage his office and Au­thority under God, and for God, that is in Gods stead, and as God upon earth. But he is not the Vicegerent of Christ as Mediator, neither is he by vertue of any such Vicegerentship to manage his office and Authority under Christ, and for Christ, that is, in Christs stead, and as Christ Mediator upon earth. This was and is my plain opinion (nor mine alone, but of others more learned) and Mr. Coleman hath not said so much as […] to confute it. So much for the Assumption. But in the same sence I utterly deny his Proposition as being a great untruth in Divinity, for the sence of it can be no other then this, Whosoever do not manage their office and authority in Christs stead, or as Deputies and Vicegerents of Christ as he is Mediator, they manage it in the Devils stead, as the devils deputies and Vicegerents. Now I assume. Pa­gan Magistrates do not manage their office as the Deputies and Vicegerents of Jesus Christ, as he is Mediator: Ergo as the devils deputies. Which way was the Authority derived to them from Christ as Mediator. Mr. Coleman pag. 19. saith in answer to this particular (formerly objected) that Christ is rightfull King of the whole earth, and all Nations ought to receive Christ, though as yet they do not. But this helpeth him not. That which he had to shew, was that the Pagan Magistrate, even while continuing Pagan, and not Christian, doth manage his office as Christs Deputy and Vicegerent. If not, then I conclude by his principles, a Pagan Magistrate is the devils deputy and vicegerent, which is contrary to Pauls doctrine, who will have us to be subject for conscience sake, even to Heathen Magistrates as the Ministers of God for good. Rom. 13. first 7 verses. By the same Argument Mr. Cole­man must grant that Generals, Admirals, Majors, Sheriffes, Constables, Captains, Masters, yea every man that hath an office, is either Christs Vicegerent, or the devils vicegerent: then which what can be more absurd? I might beside all these shew some other flawes in his Divinity, as namely, pa. 9. and 13. He doth not agree to this Proposition, that the admitting of the scandalous and prophane to the Lords Table, makes Ministers to partake of their sins. And he supposeth that Ministers may do their duty, though they admit the scandalous. But of this elsewhere.
His abusing of the Honorable Houses of Parlament.
MOst Honorable Senators, I humbly beseech you to look about you, and take notice how far you are abused by Mr. Coleman.
1. While he pretendeth to give you more then his Bre­thren, he taketh a great deal more from you, and (so far as in him lieth) even shaketh the foundation of your Authority. The known tenure of Magistracy is from God, he is the Mi­nister of God for good, and the powers that are, are ordained of God, saith the Apostle; The Magistrate is Gods Vicege­rent. But now this Brother seeketh a new Tenure and deri­vation of Magistracy, which takes away the old. He told in his Sermon, pa. 27. Christ hath placed Governments in his Church, 1 Cor. 12. 28. Of other Governments beside Magistracy I find no in­stitution, of them I do. Rom. 13. 1, 2. I find all government given to Christ, and to Christ as Mediator, (I desire all to consider it) Ephes. 1. three last vers. and Christ as head of these given to the Church. Here you have these three in subordination. God, Christ, and the Christian Magistrate. God gives once all government even civill to Christ, and to him as Mediator. Well but how comes it then to the Magistrate? Not straight by a deputation from God. Mr. Colemans doctrine makes an interception of the power. He holds that God hath put it in Christs hands as Me­diator. How then? The Brother holdeth that Christ as Medi­ator hath instituted and placed the Christian Magistrate, yea and no other Government in his Church. This was the ground of my Answer, pag. 42. that he must either prove from Scripture that Christ as Mediator hath given such a Commission of Vicegerent-ship and Deputy-ship to the Christian Magistrate: or otherwise acknowledge that he hath given a most dangerous wound to Magistracie, and made it an emptie title claiming that power which it hath no warrant to assume. I added: As the Mediator hath not any where given such a Commission and power to the Magistrate, so as Mediator he had it not to give: for he was not made a Judge in civill affairs, Luk. 12. 14. and his kingdom is not of this world. Joh. 18. 36. Now but what reply hath he made to all this? pa. 19. he saith granting it all to be true and sound, yet it infringeth not what he said. The Commissioner (saith he) saith Magistracy is not derived from Christ: I say Magistracie is given to Christ to be serviceable in his kingdom. But by his good leave and favour he said a great deal more then this, for he spake of Christ his being head of all civill Governments, and his placing these in his Church, as he is Mediator. Yea that fourth rule delivered by him in his Sermon, did hold forth these asser­tions. 1. That God gave all government even civill to Christ, and to him as Mediator. 2. That Christ as Mediator hath power and authority to place and substitute under and for him the Christian Magistrate. 3. That Christ hath placed and instituted civill Governments in his Church, to be under and for him as he is Mediator. 4. That the Christian Magistrate doth, and all Magistrates should manage their office under and for Christ, (that is, as his Vicegerents) he being as Me­diator head of all civil Government. Now in stead of defend­ing his Doctrine from my just exceptions made against it, he revileth, and having brought the Magistrate in a snare, leaves him there. He endeavours to vindicate no more but this, that Magistracy is given to Christ to be serviceable in his king­dom. But if he had said so at first, I had said with him, and not against him in that point. And if he will yet hold at that, why doth he pag. 19. refer my Assertion to further discus­sion?
Secondly, he hath abused the Parliament in holding forth that rule to them in his Sermon, Establish as few things Jure di­vino as can well be. And yet now he is made by strength of ar­gument to acknowledge pag. 5. that this is a good rule. Esta­blish as many things. Jure divino as can well be.
Thirdly, I having stated the question to be not whether this or that form of Church-Government be Jure divino, but whe­ther a Church Government be Jure divino? whether Christ hath thus far revealed his will in his Word, that there are to be Church censures, and those to be dispenced by Church­officers. I said the Brother is for the negative of this questi­on, pa. 32. This he flatly denieth, pag. 5, 6. Whereby he ac­knowledgeth the affirmative, that there is a Church Govern­ment Jure divino, and that Jesus Christ hath so far revealed his will in his Word, that there are to be Church Censures, and those to be dispensed by Church-officers. But how doth this agree with his Sermon? Christ hath placed Governments in his Church. Of other Governments (said he) beside Magistracie I find no institution, of them I do. Is Magistracie Church-Govern­ment? Are Magistrates Church-officers? are the civill punish­ments Church Censures? Is this the mystery? Yes, that it is: He will tell us anon that the Houses of Parliament are Church-Officers; but if that bolt doe any hurt I am much mistaken.
Fourthly, He professeth to subscribe to the Votes of Parlia­ment concerning Church-Government, page 11. and yet he still pleadeth that all Ecclesiasticall Government is meerely Doctrinall, ibid. the Parliament having Voted that power to Church-Officers which is not Doctrinall (as I shewed before) And he adviseth the Parliament to keep wholy in their own hands the corrective part of Church-Government, page 14. though the Parliament hath put into the hands of Elderships a power of suspention from the Sacrament, which is cor­rective.
Fifthly, he did deliver in that Sermon before the Honou­rable House of Commons, divers particulars, which being justly excepted against, and he undertaking a Vindication, yet he hath receded from them, or not being able to defend them, as that concerning two co-ordinate Governments in one Kingdome, and his Argument concerning the feare of an am­bitious ensnarement in Ministers; these being by me enfringed he hath not so much as offered to make them good.
Sixtly, having acknowledged under his owne hand that he was sorry he had given offence to the Reverend Assembly, and to the Commissioners from Scotland, he now appealeth to the Parliament, and tells us they are able to judge of a scandalous Sermon, and they thought not so of it, page 3. I know they are able to judge of a scandalous Sermon, that they thought not so of it, its more then I know or beleeve; however I know they have a tender respect to the offence of others even when themselves are not offended, and so they and all men ought to doe according to the rule of Christ: for his part after he had acknowledged he had given offence, it is a dis-service to the Parliament to lay over the thing upon them; for my part, I thinke I doe better service to the Parlia­ment in interpreting otherwise that second Order of the House, not onely desiring but injoyning Mr. Coleman to Print that Sermon; as near as he could as he Preached it. This was not (as he takes it) one portion of approbation above all its Brethren (for I shall not beleeve that so wise an Auditory was not at all scandalized at the hearing of that which was contrary both to the Covenant, and to their own Votes con­cerning Church-Government; nor at that which he told them out of the Jewish Records, that Hezekiah was the first man that ever was sick in the world, and did recover) but as I hum­bly conceive it was a reall censure put upon him: his Sermon being so much excepted against and stumbled at, the Honou­rable House of Commons did wisely injoyne him to Print his Sermon, that it might abide triall in the light of the world, and lye open to any just exceptions which could be made a­gainst it abroad, and that he might stand or fall to himself.
Seventhly, he abuseth the Parliament by arrogating so much to himselfe as that his Sermon will in the end take away all dif­ference, and settle union, page 3. and that his Modell will be when he is dead the Modell of Englands Church-Government, as he saith in his Postscript, whether this be Prophecying or pre­suming, I hope we are free to judge And what if the Wise­dome and Authority of the Honourable Houses upon advice from the Reverend and learned Assembly chuse another way than this? Must all the Synodicall debates, and all the grave Parliamentary Consultations resolve themselves into Master Colemans way, like Jordan into Mare Mortuum.
Eightly, He doth extreamly wound the Authority of Par­liament in making their Office to be a Church Office, and of the same kind with the Ministers Office, page 14. Doe not I hold Ministers Church-Officers? And a little after. I desire the Parliament to consider another Presbyterian principle, that excludes your Honourable Assembly from being Church-Officers. If so, then the Offices of the Magistrate and of the Minister must stand and fall together; that is, if the Nation were not christian, the Office of Magistracy should cease as well as that of the Ministery; and if he make the Magistrate a Church-Officer, he must also give him Ordination, except with the Socinians he deny the necessity of Ordination.
His abusing the Reverend Assembly of Divines.
WHereas I had objected that his Sermon had given no small scandall and offence, he replyeth page 3. But hath it given offence? to whom? I appeale to the Honourable Audi­ence. Is this candide or faire dealing when he himselfe knew both that he had given offence, and to whom. I shall give him no other answer but his owne Declaration which he gave un­der his hand, after he had Preached that Sermon.
For much of what is reported of my Sermon I utterly deny, and re­ferre my selfe to the Sermon it selfe; for what I have acknowledged to be delivered by me, although it is my judgement, yet because I see it hath given a great deale of offence to this Assembly, and the Reverend Commissioners of Scotland; I am sorry I have given offence in the delivery thereof. And for the Printing, although I have an Order, I will forbeare, except I be further commanded. Tho. Coleman.
Page 33. I had this passage: And where he asketh where the Independents and we should meet? I answer; In holding a Church Government Jure divino, that is, that the Pastours and Elders ought to suspend, or Excommunicate (according to the degree of the offence) scandalous sinners. Who can tell but the purging of the Church from scandalls, and the keeping of the Ordinances pure (when it shall be actually seene to be the great Worke endeavoured on both sides) may make union between us and the Independents more easie then many imagine. What reply hath he made to this? pag. 6. Sure I dreame (Awake then) But I will tell you newes: The Presbiterians and Independents are (he should have said may be) united; nay more, the Lutherans and Calvinists: nay more yet, the Papist and Protestant: nay more then so, the Turk and Christian. But wherein? In holding that there is a Religion wherein men ought to walke. No Sir; they must be united upon the like termes: that is, you must first have Turkes to be Christians, and Papists to be Protestants, and then you must have them as willing to purge the Church of scandalls, and to keepe the Ordinances pure. We will never dispaire of an union with such as are sound in the Faith, holy in life, and willing to a Church-refining and sin-censuring Government in the hands of Church Officers. In the meane while it is no light impu­tation upon the Assembly to hint this much, that the harmo­ny and concord among the Members thereof for such a Go­vernment as I have now named (though in some other parti­culars dissenting) can no more unite them, than Turkes and Christians, Papists and Protestants can be united; and now I will tell you my newes; the Presbiterians and Independents are both equally interested against the Erastian Principles.
He reflecteth also upon the Assembly in the point of Jus di­vinum, page 6. But what his part hath been in reference to the proceedings in the Assembly is more fully, and in divers particulars expressed in the Briefe view of Mr. Coleman his new Modell, unto which he hath offered no answer.
His Calumnies.
PAge 3. He desireth me with wisdome and humility to minde what Church-refining, and sin-censuring worke this Church-Government with all his activity hath made in Scotland, in the point of promiscuous communicating; I shall desire him with wisdome and humility to mind what charity or conscience there is in such an aspersion; I dare say divers thousands have keen kept off from the Sacrament in Scotland, as unworthy to be admitted, where I my selfe have exercised my Ministery, there have been some hundreds kept off; part­ly for ignorance, and partly for scandall. The order of the Church of Scotland, and the Acts of generall Assemblies are for keeping off all scandalous Persons, which every godly and faithfull Minister doth conscientiously and effectually en­deavour; and if here or there it be too much neglected by some Archippus who takes not heed to fulfill the Ministery which he hath received of the Lord, let him and his Elder­ship beare the blame, and answer for it.
Page 4. I having professed my unwillingnesse to fall upon such a Controversie in a Fast Sermon. He replyeth; How can you say, you were unwilling? But how can you in brotherly cha­rity doubt of it, after I had seriously professed it? My doing it at two severall Fasts (the onely opportunities I then had to give a testimony to that presently controverted truth is no Argument of the contrary. May not a man doe a thing twen­ty times over and yet doe it unwillingly?
Page 5. He slandereth those that did in their Sermons give a publike testimony against his Doctrine, the occasion (as he gives out) not being offered, but taken. But had they not a publike calling and employment to Preach as well as him­selfe? And if a Fast was not occasion offered to them, how was a Fast an occasion offered to him to fall upon the same controversie first, and when none had done the like before him?
A fourth Calumny is this. He had first blamed two Parties that they came byassed to the Assembly; I answered, How then shall he make himselfe blamelesse who came byassed a third way, which was the Erastian way; and that for our part we came no more byassed to this Assembly then the forraine Divines came to the Synod of Dort, Alexander to the Councell of Nice, and Cyrell to that of Ephesus, and Paul to the Synod at Jerusa­lem; but now page 6. 7, instead of doing us right he doth us greater injury, for now he makes us byassed not onely by our owne judgements, but by something adventitious from without, which he denyeth himself to be, (but how truely I take not on me to judge: beholders doe often perceive the byassing better then the Bowlers) yea he saith, that I have acknowledged the byas, and justifie it. Where Sir, where? I deny it; Its no byas for a man to be setled, resolved, and in­gaged in his judgement for the truth, especially when wil­ling to receive more light, and to learne what needeth to be further reformed. Hath he forgotten his owne definition of the byas which he had but just now given? But he will needs make it more then probable by the instances which I brought, that the Commissioners from Scotland came not to this Assembly, as Divines by dispute and disquisition to finde out truth, but as Judges to censure all different opinions as errours; for so came forraigne Divines to Dort, Alexander to the Councell of Nice, Cy­rill to Ephesus. Is it not enough to slander us, though he doe not for our sakes slander those worthy Divines that came to the Synod of Dort, Alexander also and Cyrill, prime Witnesses for the truth in their daies? could no lesse content him then to approve the Objections of the Arminians against the Synod of Dort, which I had mentioned page 33? but he gets not away so; the strongest instance which I had given he hath not once touched: it was concerning Paul and Barnabas who were ingaged (not in the behalfe of one Nation, but of all the Churches of the Gentiles) against the imposition of the Mo­saicall Rites, and had so declared themselves at Antioch be­fore they came to Jerusalem. Finally, whereas he doubts, though not of our willingnesse to learne more, yet of our permission to receive more: That very paper first given in by us (which I had cited, and unto which he makes this reply) did speake not onely of our learning, but of the Church of Scotlands receiving; and which is more, there is an actuall experiment of it, the last generall Assembly having ordered the laying aside of some particular customes in that Church, and that for the nearer uniformity with this Church of Eng­land, as was expressed in their owne Letter to the reverend Assembly of Divines.
A fifth calumny there is, page 9. 6. The Commissioner is con­tent that Jus divinum should be a Noli me tangere to the Parlia­ment, yet blames what himselfe grants. I was never content it should be a Noli me tangere to the Parliament, but at most a Non necesse est tangere, for so I explained my selfe, page 32, 33. If the Parliament establish that thing which is agreeable to the Word of God, though they doe not establish it as Jure divino, I acquiesce; in the meane time both they and all Christians, but especially Ministers ought to search the Scrip­tures, that what they doe in matters of Church-Government they may doe it in faith and assurance that it is acceptable to God. It was not of Parliamentary Sanction, but of Divines doctrinall asserting of the will of God that I said, Why should Ius Divinum be such a Nolime tangere?
6 It seemes strange to him that I did at all give instance of the usefulnesse of Church-Government in the preservation of purity in the Ordinances and in Church-members. He saith for an Independent to have given this instance, had been some­thing; but it seemes strange to him that I should have given an instance of the power and efficacy of Government, as it is Pres­byteriall, and contradistinct to Congregationall. This is a calumny against Presbyteriall Government, which is neither privative nor contradistinct, but cumulative to Congregationall Go­vernment; and the Congregationall is a part of that Govern­ment which is comprehended under the name of Presbyteriall. But in cases of common concernment, difficulty, appeals, and the like, the preserving of the Ordinances and Church-members from pollution, doth belong to Presbyteries and Synods.
7 He sayth of me, page 9. He ascribeth this power of purif […]ing men, and means of advancing the power of godlinesse afterward, to Government. A calumny. It was only a sine quo non which I ascribed to Government, thus farre, that without it Ministers shall not keep themselves nor the Ordinances from pollution, pag. 23. But that Church-Government hath power to purify men, I never thought it, nor said it. That which I sayd of the power (which he pointeth at) was, that his way can neither preserve the purity, nor advance the power of Religion; page 40. and the reason is, because his way provideth no ecclesiasticall effe­ctuall remedy for removing and purging away the most grosse scandalous sinnes, which are destructive to the power of godli­nesse. God must by his Word and Spirit purify men, and work in them the power of godlinesse. The Church-Govern­ment which I plead for against him, is a meanes subservient and helpfull, so farre as removere prohibens, to remove that which apparently is impeditive and destructive to that purity and power.
8 Having told us of the proud swelling waves of Presbyte­riall Goverment, I asked upon what coast had those waves done any hurt, France, or Scotland, or Holland, or Terra incognita? He replieth page 12. I confesse, I have had no great experience of the Presbyteriall Government. Why make you bold then to slander it, when you can give no sure ground for that you say? He tels us, his feares arise from Scotland, and from London. The Reverend and worthy Ministers of London can speak for them­selves aetatem habent. For my part (though I know not the parti­culars) I am bound in charity not to beleeve those aspersions put upon them by a discontented Brother. But what from Scotland? I my selfe (sayth he) did heare the Presbytery of Edingburgh cen­sure a woman to be banished out of the gates of the City; was not this an encroachment? It had bin an encroachment indeed, if it had bin so. But he will excuse me if I answer him in his own lan­guage (which I use not) page 3 and 5. It is at the best a most uncharitable slander. And, there was either ignorance or mind­lesnesse in him that sets it down.
There is no Banishment in Scotland but by the Civill Ma­gistrate, who so farre aideth and assisteth Church Discipline, that prophane and scandalous persons when they are found un­ruly and incorrigible, are punished with Banshment or other­wise. A stranger comming at a time into one of our Presbyte­ries, and hearing of somewhat which was represented to or re­ported from the Magistrate, ought to have had so much both circumspection and charity, as not to make such a rash and un­true report. He might have at least enquired when he was in Scotland and informed himselfe better, whether Presbyteries or the Civill Magistrate doe banish. If he made no such enqui­ry, he was rash injudging. If he did, his offence is greater, when after information he will not understand.
9 He makes this to be a position of mine, pag. 13. That a learned Ministery puts no black marke upon prophanenesse more then upon others. A calumny. For first he makes me to speake Non­sence. Secondly I did not speake it of a learned Ministery, but of his way page 40. How long agoe since a learned Ministery was knowne by the name of Master Colemans way? His way is a Ministery without power of Government, or Church Cen­sures. Of this his way I said, that it putteth no black marke upon prophanenesse and scandall in Church Members more than in any others. And the reason is, because the corrective or punitive part of Government he will have to be only Civill or Tempo­rall which striketh against those that are without, as well as those within. Put the Apostle tells us of such a corrective Go­vernement, as is a judging of those that are within, and of those only 1 Cor. 5. 12. And this way (which is not only ours, but the Apostolicall way) puts a black marke upon prophanenesse & scandalous sins, in Church members more then in any others.
10. He saith of me page 17. The Commissioner is the only man that we shall meet with, that forsaking the words, judgeth of the Intentions. A Calumny. I judged nothing but ex ore tuo. But in this thing he himselfe hath trespassed. I will instance but in two particulars. In that very place he saith Admonition is a spirituall censure in the Commissioners opinion. Whence knowes he that to be my opinion? Consistoriall or Presbyteriall Ad­monition given to the unruly, may be called a censure. And if this were his meaning, then ascribing to Elderships power of Admonition, he gives them some power of spirituall Censures, and so something of the corrective part of Government; which were contrary to his owne Principles. But he speaketh it of the Ministers admonishing, who are but a part of the Elderships, as himselfe there granteth. Now where did I ever say or write, that Admonition by a Minister is a spirituall censure? Againe page 4. He so judgeth me, that he not only forsaketh but con­tradicteth my words, How can you say you were unwilling?
11. He saith page 16. Now the Commissioner speaks out, &c. What! not the Parliament of England meddle with Religion? A horrid calumny. Where have I said it. Dic sodes. I never preached before […] but I exhorted them to meddle with Re­ligion, and that in the first place and above all other things. I shall sooner prove, that Master Coleman will not have the Par­liament of England to meddle with Civill affaires, because he makes them Church Officers. Its a non-sequitur. Their power is Civill, Ergo they are not to meddle with Religion? It will be a better consequence. They are Church Officers. So he makes them, page 14. and Christian Magistracy is an Ecclesiasticall Administration. So he saith, page 20. Ergo, they are not to meddle with Civill Government.
The Repugnancy of his Doctrine to the solemn League and Covenant.
Mr Coleman, pag. 13. acknowledgeth that to assert any thing contrary to the solemn League and Covenant, is a great fault in any, in himselfe more then in divers others, if made out: He having for his own part taken it with the first, and not only so, but having adminstred it to divers others: Yes, and take this one circumstance more. In his Sermon upon, Jer. 30. 21. at the taking of the Covenant, Septemb. 29. 1643. He an­swereth this objection against the extirpation of Prelacy. But what if the exorbitancies be purged away, may not I notwithstan­ding my Oath, admit of a regulated Prelacy? for satisfaction to this objection; He answereth thus, First, we swear not against a Government, that is not. Secondly, we swear against the evils of every Government, and doubtlesse many materials of Prelacy must of necessity be retained, as absolutely necessary. Thirdly, taking away the exorbitancies, the remaining will be a new Government, and no Prelacy. Let the Brother now deale ingenuously; What did he understand by those materials of Prelacy abso­lutely necessary to be retained? did he understand the dispen­sing of the Word and Sacraments, which is common to all Pastors? Or, did he understand the Priviledges of Parliament? Were either of those two materials of Prelacy? And if he had meant either of these, Was this the way to satisfie that scruple concerning the extirpation of Prelacy? Again, what was that new Government which he promised them, after the taking a­way of the exorbitancies of the old? Was it the Ministers do­ctrinall part? that is no new thing in England. Was it the Parliaments assuming of the corrective part of Church-Govern­ment (as hee improperly distinguisheth) wholy and soly into their own hands, excluding the Ministery from having any hand therein? This were a new Government I confesse. But sure he could not in any reason intend this as a satisfaction to the scruples of such as desired a regulated Prelacy, whose scruples he then spoke to; for this had been the way to dis­swade them from, not to perswade them to the Covenant.
But I goe along with his Re-examination, pag. 14. He explai­neth himselfe and me thus, He should have said that I advised the Parliament to lay no burthen of Government upon them whom he this Commissioner thinks Church-Officers, then had hee spoken true; I thank him for his explanation. And I pray who were the Church officers, whom I said hee excluded from Church Government? Were they not Pastors and ruling El­ders? And doth not himselfe think these to be Church-offi­cers? Yes, of the Ministers he thinks so, but of ruling El­ders he seemes to doubt, except they be Magistrates. Well but excluding these Church-officers from Church-Government he takes with the Charge. Why seeks he a knot in the rush? But now, how doth he explaine himselfe? He will have the Par­liament to bee Church-officers (of which before) and such Church-officers as shall take the corrective part of Curch-Government wholy into their own hands; yet not to dispence the Word and Sacraments, but to leave the Doctrinall part to the Ministry, and their power to be meerely Doctrinall as he saith, pag. 11. Thus you have his explanation. But doth this salve the violating of the Covenant? Nay, it makes it more apparent; for the Government of the Church, which the first Article of the Covenant speaks of, is distinguished from the Doctrinall part, That we shall endeavour the Reformation of Religion in the Kingdomes of England and Ireland in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government. So that excluding Pa­stors and ruling Elders from the corrective part of Govern­ment, and from all power which is not meerely Doctrinall, he thereby excludeth them from that Discipline and Government which the Covenant speaks of, as one speciall part of the Refor­mation of Religion. Come on to the Reasons.
I had given foure Reasons: He takes notice but of three. This is the second time he hath told three for foure, yet even these three will doe the businesse.
1. The extirpation of Church-Government is not the reforma­tion of it; Here the Brother addeth these words following as mine, which are not mine, therefore he that finds no Church-go­vernment, breaks his Covenant. His reply is, we must reforme it according to the word of God: if that hold out none, here is no fai­ling. He addeth a simile of a Iury sworn to enquire into the fe­lony of an accused person, but findes nor guilty: and of three men taking an oath to deliver in their opinions of Church-go­vernment (where by the way he lets fall, that I hold the Na­tionall Synod to be above all Courts in the Kingdom; which if he meane of Ecclesiasticall Courts, why did he speak so gene­rally? if he meane above all or any Civill Courts, it is a grosse calumny.) But now if this be the sense (which he gives) of that first article in the Covenant, then 1. all that is in the second article might have been put into the first article; for instance, wee might in Mr Colemans sense, have sworn to endeavour the reformation of Prelacy, and even of Popery it selfe, according to the word of God and the example of the best Reformed Chur­ches: that is, taking an oath to deliver in our opinions of these things, according to the word of God, and to enquire into the evills of Church-government by Archbishops, Bishops, Deans &c. whether guilty or not guilty. I strengthned my argument by the different nature of the first and second article; I said, the second article is of things to be extirpated, but this of things to be preserved and reformed. Why did hee not take the strength of my argument and make a reply? 2. By the same principle of his we are not tied by the first article of our Covenant to have any either doctrine or worship, but only to search the Scrip­tures, whether the Word hold out any; for Doctrine, Wor­ship, Discipline and Government goe hand in hand in the Co­venant. 3. His owne simile hath this much in it against him. If a Iury sworn to enquire into the felony of an accused person, should after such an oath, not only finde the person not guilty, but further take upon them to maintain that there is no such thing as felony; surely this were inconsistent with their oath. So he that sweares to endeavour the Reformation of Religion in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government, and yet will not only dislike this or that forme of Government, but also hold that there is no such thing as Church-Government, he holds that which cannot agree with his oath. 4. This an­swer of Mr Colemans, leaving it free to debate whether there be such a thing as Church-Government, being his only answer to my first argument from the Covenant, must needs suppose, that the Government mentioned in the Covenant (the refor­mation whereof we have sworne to endeavour) is understood even by himselfe, of Church-officers, their power of corrective Government; it being the corrective part only, and not the doctrinall part, which he casts upon an uncertainty whether the Word hold out any such thing.
2. Church-Government is mentioned in the Covenant as a spirituall, not a civill thing. The matters of Religion are put toge­ther, Doctrine, Worship, Discipline and Government. The Pri­viledges of Parliament come after in the third article. The Reve­rend Brother replies, What if it be? therefore the Parliament is not to meddle with it, and why? And here he runs out against me, as if I held that the Parliament is not to meddle with Re­ligion; an assertion which I abominate. Princes and Magi­strates their putting off themselves all care of the matters of Re­ligion, was one of the great causes of the Churches mischiefe, and of Popish and Prelaticall tyranny. But is this just and faire, Sir, to give out for my opinion, that for which you are not able to shew the least colour or shadow of consequence from any thing that ever I said? That which was to be replied unto, was, whether doe not the materials of the first article of the Covenant differ from the materials of the third article of the Covenant? or whether are they the same? Whether doth the Priviledge of Parliament belong to the first article of the Covenant? Whether is that Government mentioned in the first article, a civill thing or a spirituall? If civill, why is Discipline and Government ranked with Doctrine and Worship, and all these mentioned as parts of the reformation of Religion? If spi­rituall, then why doth the Brother make it civill or temporall pag. 11. To all this nothing is answered: but, what if it bee? Then is my argument granted.
And to put it yet further out of question, I adde other two arguments from that same first article of the Covenant. One is this; In the first part of that first article we sweare all of us to endeavour the preservation of the reformed Religion in the Church of Scotland in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government: where all know that the words Discipline and Government (e­specially being mentioned as two of the principall things in which the Reformed Religion in that Church doth consist) sig­nifie Church-Government, and Church-Discipline, distinct both from Doctrine and Worship, and from civill Govern­ment (which, by the way, how Mr Coleman endeavoureth to preserve, I will not now say, but leave it to others to judge:) Therefore in that which immediately followeth, our endeavou­ring the Reformation of Religion in the Kingdoms of England and Ireland in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline and Government; the words Discipline and Government must needs be understood in the same sense thus farre, that it is a Church-Discipline, and a Church-Government distinct from the civill power of the Ma­gistrate, and distinct also from Doctrine and Worship in the Church; for we cannot make these words Discipline and Go­vernment in one and the same article of a solemn oath and Co­venant, to suffer two senses differing toto genere, (especially con­sidering that the civill Government is put by it selfe in another article which is the third) unlesse we make it to speak so as none may understand it.
The other argument which I now adde, is this; In the third part of that first article we sweare that we shall endeavour to bring the Churches of God in the three Kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and uniformity in Religion, confession of faith, forme of Church Government, Directory for worship and catechising; where 1. Church Government doth agree generically with a con­fession of faith, Directory of worship, and catechising: I mean all these are matters of Religion, none of them civill matters. 2. It is supposed there is such a thing as Church Government di­stinct from civill Government; and therefore it is put out of all question, that so farre there shall be an uniformity between the Churches of God in the three Kingdoms (and otherwise it were an unswearing of what was sworn in the first part of that ar­ticle) but it tieth us to endeavour the nearest conjunction and u­niformity in a form of Church government; which were a vaine and rash oath, if we were not tied to a Church government in generall, and that as a matter of Religion. 3 The uniformity in a form of Church-Government which we sweare to endeavour, must needs be meant of corrective Government, it being clearly distinguished from the Confession of Faith, and Directory of Worship. So that Mr Colemans distinction of the Doctrinall part, and of the dispensing of the Word and Sacraments can­not here help him.
From these two Arguments (beside all was said before) I conclude, that the Covenant doth undeniably suppose and plainely hold forth this thing as most necessary and uncon­trover […]able, that there ought to bee a Church-Government which is both distinct from the Civill-Government, and yet not meerely doctrinall. And if so, what Apollo can reconcile Mr Colemans Doctrine with the Covenant? And now I go on.
My last reason formerly brought was this: Will the brother say that the example of the best reformed Churches leadeth his way. For the Covenant tieth us to a reformation of the govern­ment of the Church both according to the Word of God, and the example of the best reformed Churches: that, as regula regulans: this, as regula regulata,
The Reverend brother replieth: 1. The best reformed Church, that ever was, went this way, I meane the Church of Israel.
Answ. 1. Is the Church of Israel one of the Reformed Churches which the Covenant speakes of? 2. Was the Church of Israel better reformed than the Apostolicall Churches? why then cals he it the best reformed Church that ever was? 3. That in the Jewish Church, there was a Church-government distinct from civill government, and Church censures distinct from civill punishments, is the opinion of many who have taken great paines in the searching of the Jewish antiquities; and it may be he shall heare it ere long further proved both from Scripture, and from the very Talmudicall writers.
2. I desire (saith he) the Commissioner to give an instance in the new Testament of such a distinction (Civill and Church go­vernment) where the state was Christian.
Answ. I desire him to give an instance in the new Testa­ment of these three things, and then he will answer himselfe. 1. Where was the State Christian? 2. Where had the Mini­stery a doctrinall power in a Christian State? 3. Where doth the new Testament hold out, that a Church government di­stinct from civill government may be where the State is not Christian, and yet may not be where the State is Christian? Shall the Churches liberties be diminished, or rather increased where the State is Christian?
In the third and fourth place, the brother tels us of the opi­nions of Gualther, Bullinger, Erastus, Aretius. The question is of the examples of Churches, not of the opinions of men. But what of the men? As for that pestilence that walketh in darknesse through London and Westminster, Erastus his booke against Beza, let him make of it what he can, it shall have an Antidote by and by. In the meane while he may take notice that in the close of the sixth Book Erastus casts down that which he hath built, […]ust as Bellarmine did in the close of his five books of justification. But as for the other three named by the bro­ther, they are ours, not his in this present controversie. Gual­ther expounds the fifth chapter of 1 Cor. all along of excom­munication, and of the necessity of Church discipline, in so much that he expounds the very delivering to satan (the phrase most controverted by Erastus and his followers) of excommunication; and the not eating with the scandalous, v. 9, 10, 11. hee takes also to import excommunication. Hee thinks also that Ministers shall labour to little pupose, except they have a power of government. Bullinger is most plaine for excommunication, as a spirituall censure ordained by Christ: and so he understands, Matth. 18. 17.
Aretius holds, that God was the authour of excommunica­tion in the old Testament, and Christ in the New. And now, are these three Master Colemans way? or doth not his doctrine flatly contradict theirs? Peradventure he will say, yet there is no excommunication in the Church of Zurik (where those Divines lived) nor any suspension of scandalous sinners from the Sacrament. I answer, this cannot infringe what I hold, that the example of the best reformed Churches maketh for us, and against him. For first, the booke written by Lavater, (another of the Zurike Divines) De ritibus & institutis Ecclesiae Tigurinae, tels us of divers things in that Church, which will make the brother easily to acknowledge that it is not the best reformed Church: such as Feastivall daies, cap. 8. that upon the Lords daies before the third Bell, it is published and made knowen to the people, if there be any houses, fields or lands to be sold, cap. 9. They have no Fasts indicted, ibid. nor Psalmes sung in the Church, cap. 10. Responsories in their Letany at the Sacrament, the Deacon upon the right hand saith one thing, the Deacon upon the left hand saith another thing, the Pastor a third thing, cap. 13.
2. Yet the Church of Zurike hath some corrective Church Government, besides that which is civill or temporall, for that same Booke, cap. 23. tells us that in their Synods, any Mi­nister who is found scandalous or prophane in his life, is cen­sured with deposition from his office, ib Officio deponitur. Then followes, Finita censura, singuli Decani, &c. Here is a Synodicall censure, which I finde also in Wolphius a Professor of Zurike. And the Book before cited, cap. 24. tells us of some corrective power committed to Pastors and Elders. Which Elders are distinguished from the Magisteates.
3. The zurike Divines themselves looked upon Excommu­nication as that which was wanting through the injury of the times, the thing having beene so horribly abused in Po­pery, and the present licentiousnesse abounding among people, did hinder the erecting of that part of the Church Discipline at that time. But they still pleaded the thing to be held forth in Scripture, and were but expecting better times for restoring and setting of Excommunication, which they did approve in Genevah and in other reformed Churches, who had received it. I give you their owne words for the war­rant of what I say.
I have beene the longer upon this point, as being the chiefe objection which can bee made by Master Coleman con­cerning that clause in the Covenant, the example of the best re­formed Churches.
Hee hath onely one thing more, which may well passe for a Paradox. Hee will take an instance foresooth, from Gene­vah it selfe, though Presbiterian in practice. And why? be­cause in the Genevah Annotations upon, Mat. 9. 16. It is said that, the externall Discipline is to be fitted to the capacity of the Church. This is no Scotland Presbytery, saith the Brother. Nay Sir, nor yet Genevah Presbytery, for it doth not at all concerne Presbytery. It is spoken in referrence to the choose­ing of fit and convenient times for Fasting and Humiliation; that as Christ did not at that time tie his Disciples to Fasting, it being unsutable to that present time, so other like circum­stances of Gods Worship which are not at all determined in the Word, are to bee accommodated to emergent occasi­ons, and to the Churches condition for the time: which both Scotland and Genevah, and other reformed Churches doe.
If I have now more fully and convincingly spoken to that point of the Covenant, let the Brother blame himselfe that put me to it.
The Lord guide his people in a right way, and rebuke the Spirit of error and division, and give us all more of his Spirit to lead us into all truth, and into all selfe-deniall: and grant that none of his servants be found unwilling to have the Lord Jesus Christ to reigne over them in all his Ordinances.

Minutes and Acts: The Westminster Assembly and Parliament on Worship


This is a collection of (some) the Acts of Parliament, Minutes of the Assembly, and Sermons/quotes of the Divines on worship. Particularly, the focus is upon the Psalms for sung praise, instruments in worship, and holy day observances. I want to make clear that this is not a complete work of the acts or minutes. This is just to give an idea of what the Westminster Assembly and Parliament thought (and acted upon) in regards to worship.



Before we get to the Acts and Minutes, there are a few things that should be observed. The issue with sung praise was agreed upon by all parties (The English and Scottish Parliaments, and the Westminster Assembly). They all agreed upon the point that the Psalms (only) were to be sung in the churches. This will be seen by the minutes and acts set forth. However, we should note that the House of Lords was particularly taken to Mr. Barton’s psalm book. The disagreement (between the Assembly and Lords) was the issue of which book (or both) could and should be used in the churches. The House of Lords wanted to have liberty in this and allow both books to be used in the churches of the entire kingdom. The Assembly responded (both times) by stating it would be confusing and would not lead to uniformity in  the Kingdom. Eventually, the House of Lords ordered for Mr. Rous’ book to be used. It would be sent to the Scottish Presbytery for revision, and the final product would be completed in 1650. For more information on this process, see Beveridge’s work here (Pg. 99-103): https://archive.org/stream/shorthistoryofwe00beve#page/98/mode/2up.

Here is a list of the Minutes and Acts regarding the Psalms:

“On November 20th, 1643, the House of Commons passed the resolution, ‘That the Aseembly of Divines be desired to give their advice, whether it may not be useful and profitable to the Church that the Psalms set forth by Mr. Rous be permitted to be publicly sung, the same being read before singing until the Books be more generally dispersed.’ From Lightfoot’s journal we find that this order was handed in on Novemeber 22nd, and the work committed to the three committees, each of them taking fifty Psalms”.1


“This Assembly doth humbly advise and desire that those Psalms set forth by Mr. Rouse, with such alterations as are made by the Committee of the Assembly appointed to review it, may be publicly sung in churches, as being useful and profitable to the Church.”(Sept. 12th, 1645)2


“Mr. Reynolds made a report of an answer to the Lords about Mr. Barton’s Psalms. It was read and debated…This answer to the House of Commons.

Ordered—That whereas the Honorable House of Commons hath, by an order bearing the date of the 20th of November 1643, recommended the Psalms set out by Mr. Rouse to the consideration of the Assembly of Divines, the Assembly hath caused them to be carefully perused, and as they are now altered and amended, do approve of them, and humbly conceive that it may be useful and profitable to the Church that they be permitted to be publicly sung.

Ordered—The Committee that perused the Psalms shall carry this up to the Honorable House of Commons.

Dr. Temple, Dr. Smith, Dr. Wincop, to carry up the answer to the House of Lords”(Nov. 14th, 1645)3


“The Committee made report of an answer to the House of Lords about Mr. Barton’s Psalms. It was read; and upon debate it was. Resolved upon the Q., To be transcribed and sent to the Lords as the answer of this Assembly to their order. Mr. Carter, jun., enters his dissent to this vote of sending up this answer to the Lords.

This answer is not inserted in the Minutes, but it has been preserved in the Journals of the House of Lords, and is as follows:—TO THE RIGHT THE HOUSE OF LORDS ASSEMBLED IN PARLIAMENT The Assembly of Divines received April 9th from this Honourable House an Order, bearing date March 20th, 1646, to certify this Honourable House why the translation of Psalms by Mr. Barton may not be used and sung in the churches, by such as shall desire it, as well as any other translation; do humbly return this answer: That whereas on the 14th of November 1645, in obedience to an order of this Honourable House concerning the said Mr. Barton’s Psalms, we have already commended to this Honourable House one translation of the Psalms in verse, made by Mr. Rouse, and perused and amended by the same learned gentlemen, and the Committee of the Assembly, as conceiving it would be very useful for the edification of the Church in regard it is so exactly framed according to the original text: and whereas there are several other translations of the Psalms already extant: We humbly conceive that if liberty should be given to people to sing in churches, every one that translation they desire, by that means several translations might come to be used, yea, in one and the same congregation at the same time, which would be a great disruption and hindrance to edification.”4


“The House being informed, That some of the Assembly of Divines were at the Door;

They were called in: And Mr. Wilson acquainted the House, That, according to a former Order of this House, they had perused the Psalms set out by Mr. Rouse; and, as they are now altered and amended, do conceive, they may be useful to the Church.

Resolved, &c. That this Book of Psalms, set forth by Mr. Rouse, and perused by the Assembly of Divines, be forthwith printed: And that it be referred to Mr. Rouse, to take care for the Printing thereof: And that none do presume to print it, but such as shall be authorized by him.”5


“Ordered, That the Book of Psalms, set forth by Mr. Rous, and perused by the Assembly of Divines, be forthwith printed in sundry volumes: And that the said Psalms, and none other, shall, after the first day of January next, be sung in all Churches and Chapels within the Kingdom of England, Dominion of Wales, and Town of Berwick upon-Tweede; and that it be referred to Mr. Rous, to take care for the true printing thereof.—The Lords concurrence [willing] to be desired herein.”6


“But Lightfoot, who was a member of the Assembly, in his ‘Journal of its Proceedings’ tells us: ‘This morning we fell upon the Directory for singing of psalms; and in a short time, we finished it.’ He says that the only point upon which the Scottish commissioners had some discussion was the reading of the Psalms line by line.”7



These particular Minutes and Acts are shorter than the other two sections. Like I pointed out before, this is not a complete list. This is to show you some of the reasons why they were not allowed in the churches of the Kingdom.

Here is a list of the Minutes and Acts regarding the use of instruments:

“The Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, the better to accomplish the blessed Reformation so happily begun, and to remove all offences and things illegal in the worship of God, do Ordain, That all Representations of any of the Persons of the Trinity, or of any Angel or Saint, in or about any Cathedral, Collegiate or Parish Church, or Chappel, or in any open place within this Kingdome, shall be taken away, defaced, and utterly demolished; And that no such shall hereafter be set up, And that the Chancel – ground of every such Church or Chappel, raised for any Altar, or Communion Table to stand upon, shall be laid down and levelled; And that no Copes, Surplisses, superstitious Vestments, Roods, or Roodlons, or Holy-water Fonts, shall be, or be any more used in any Church or Chappel within this Realm; And that no Cross, Crucifix, Picture, or Representation of any of the Persons of the Trinity, or of any Angel or Saint shall be, or continue upon any Plate, or other thing used, or to be used in or about the worship of God; And that all Organs, and the Frames or Cases wherein they stand in all Churches or Chappels aforesaid, shall be taken away, and utterly defaced, and none other hereafter set up in their places; And that all Copes, Surplisses, superstitious Vestments, Roods, and Fonts aforesaid, be likewise utterly defaced; whereunto all persons within this Kingdome, whom it may concern, are hereby required at their peril to yield due obedience.”8


“We were greatly refreshed to hear by Letters from our Commissioners there with you of the great good things the Lord hath wrought among you and for you many corruptions, as Altars, Images, and other Monuments of Idolatry and Superstition removed the great Organs at Pauls and Peters taken down.”9


Holy Days

There were many more sources involved during my research. It should be noted that the debates and discussions were done in connection with the Sabbath/Lord’s Day as well. For further and more detailed work, see Chris Coldwell’s and Andy Webb’s work here: https://www.cpjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/CPJ11-extract-ColdwellWebbc.pdf

Here is a list of the Minutes and Acts regarding Holy Days:

“Among the ordinances that passed this year for reformation of the church, none occasioned so much noise and disturbance as that of June 8, for abolishing the observation of saints’ days, and the three grand festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide; the ordinance says, ‘Forasmuch as the feast of the nativity of Christ, Easter, Whitsuntide, and other festivals, commonly called holy-days, have been heretofore superstitiously used and observed; be it ordained, that the said feasts, and all other festivals, commonly called holy-days, be no longer observed as festivals; any law, statute, custom, constitution, or canon, to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding’.”10


The particular ordinance is as follows: “Forasmuch as the Feasts of The Nativity of Christ, Easter, and Whitsuntide, and other Festivals commonly called Holy-days, have been heretofore superstitiously used and observed: Be it Ordained, by the Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled, That the said Feasts of The Nativity of Christ, Easter, and Whitsuntide, and all other Festival-days commonly called Holy-days, be no longer observed as Festivals or Holidays, within this Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales; any Law, Statute, Custom, Constitution, or Canon, to the contrary, in any Wise notwithstanding: And to the End that there may be a convenient Time allotted, to Scholars, Apprentices, and other Servants, for their Recreation, be it Ordained, by the Authority aforesaid, That all Scholars, Apprentices, and other Servants, shall, with the Leave and Approbation of their Masters respectively first had (fn. 3) and obtained, have such convenient reasonable Recreation and Relaxation from their constant and ordinary Labours, on every Second Tuesday in the Month throughout the Year, as formerly they have used to have on such aforesaid Festivals commonly called Holy-days; and that Masters of all Scholars, Apprentices, and Servants, shall grant unto them respectively such Time for their Recreations, on the aforesaid Second Tuesdays in every Month, as they may conveniently spare from their extraordinary and necessary Services and Occasions: And it is further Ordained, by the said Lords and Commons, That if any Difference shall arise between any Master and Servant concerning, the Liberty hereby granted, the next Justice of the Peace shall have Power to order and reconcile the same.”11


“This day is commonly called The Feast of Christ’s nativity, or, Christmas-day; a day that has formerly been much abused to superstition, and profaneness. It is not easy to say, whether the superstition has been greater, or the profaneness…. And truly I think that the superstition and profanation of this day is so rooted into it, as that there is no way to reform it, but by dealing with it as Hezekiah did with the brazen serpent. This year God, by his Providence, has buried this Feast in a Fast, and I hope it will never rise again.”12






Works Cited


  1. Beveridge, William. A short history of the Westminster assembly. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1904. Web. Pg. 100
  2. Alex F. Mitchell and John Struthers, eds., Minutes of the Sessions of the Westminster Assembly of Divines While Engaged in Preparing Their Directory for Church Government, Confession of Faith, and Catechisms (November 1644 to March 1649) from Transcripts of the Originals Procured by a Committee of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (Edmonton, AB, Canada: Still Waters Revival Books, 1991 [1874]), p. 131.
  3. Ibid., 163
  4. Ibid., 221-222.
  5. “House of Commons Journal Volume 4: 14 November 1645.” Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 4, 1644-1646. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1802. 341-342. British History Online. Web. 17 November 2016. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/commons-jrnl/vol4/pp341-342.
  6. Ibid., 509
  7. Girardeau, John L. Instrumental music in the public worship of the church. Richmond, VA: Whittet & Shepperson, printers, 1888. Web. Pg. 133
  8. May 1644: An Ordinance for the further demolishing of Monuments of Idolatry and Superstition.” Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Eds. C H Firth, and R S Rait. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1911. 425-426. British History Online. Web. 26 December 2016. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/acts-ordinances-interregnum/pp425-426.
  9. General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (in an official letter to the Church of England), The General Assemblies Answer to the right Reverend the Assembly of Divines in the Kirk of England (1644)
  10. Neal, Daniel, John O. Choules, and Joshua Toulmin. The history of the Puritans … New-York: n.p., 1844. Web. Pg. 458-459.
  11. “House of Lords Journal Volume 9: 8 June 1647.” Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 9, 1646. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1767-1830. 246-249. British History Online. Web. 26 December 2016. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/lords-jrnl/vol9/pp246-249#h3-0019.
  12. Fast sermon preached by Mr. Calamy, Dec. 1644. James Reid, Memoirs of the Westminster Divines (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1982; Reprint of 1811) 186

1661-1662: History Around Savoy

As Lee Gatiss put it, “1662 was not a good year for those to whom the gospel and a good conscience were more precious than the institutional church”. However, 1661 was a key point in history that led to tragedy in 1662. This will be a short historical survey of the issues revolving around the infamous “Book of Common Prayer as Amended by the Westminster Divines” (1867) and the Savoy Conference (1661). The title itself is quite misleading. The Westminster assembly has been adjourned for about eight years by this time.  There are many on the list that was not a part of the assembly: Richard Baxter, Arthur Jackson, Samuel Clarke, and Thomas Horton (to name a few). Also, Richard Baxter says, “Any Man that was for a Spiritual serious way of Worship (though he were for moderate Episcopacy and Liturgy), and that lived according to his Profession, was called commonly a Presbyterian, as formerly he was called a Puritan, unless he joined himself to Independents, Anabaptists, or some other Sect which might afford him a more odious Name” (Reliquiae Baxterianae, Part II, page 278). There was no distinction being made. The “Presbyterians” were in contrast to those of the established Church of England. It should be noted that this is not going to be a theological treatment, but instead a focus on the historical issues.

Charles II, Promises, Break

When Charles was in Breda, he made a few statements which gave some (if not most) of these “Presbyterians” (slight) ease. He claimed there would be tolerance for those who did not agree with the established church on such things as ceremonies, holy days, worship, etc. He also claimed there would be a review and reform of the Book of Common Prayer. Lee notes, “at Breda, puritan representatives had stressed that although they were not enemies of a moderate form of episcopacy, they were concerned that the Book of Common Prayer would be re-introduced in the royal chapel, along with the surplice and ceremonies they objected to” (Gatiss, Tragedy).

Lee continues by noting, not all seemed as it appeared. “All was not as it appeared behind the scenes.  ‘It seems that the king himself was sincere enough in his statements,’ writes Gerald Bray, ‘but he was surrounded by men who were thirsting for revenge.  Once he was safely back on the throne, Charles found that he had to make concessions to these extremists, and the good intentions of Breda were seriously compromised as a result.’[10] In 1660 the country was unprepared for the immediate restoration of anglicanism as well as monarchy; most anticipated that there would be liberty, toleration, and a new settlement to be negotiated and debated by Parliament in due course.  ‘For some months,’ avers Bosher, ‘the King and his Chancellor, as well as the High Church leaders, paid lip service to this general expectation.  At the same time they proceeded quietly and cautiously to put into effect the measures necessary for the recapture of the Establishment by the church party.’[11] So while ‘[t]he King might speak graciously to his Presbyterian subjects… his favour was showered on the Laudians.’”(Gatiss, Tragedy)

With all of these things set in place, we should fast forward to 1661 and the Conference of Savoy. Quickly we note the prelates were coming back into power because Charles II was coming back to the throne. There was some back and forth dialogue about what might (hopefully) be allowed exceptions to the Book of Common Prayer and others (including ceremonies, Holy Days, etc).  As the prelates were coming into power, Baxter gives an account of events that followed:

176. At this time was the Convocation chosen: for till now it was deferred. Had it been called when the King came in, the inferiour Clergy would have been against the Diocesan and Imposing way: But afterwards many hundreds were turned out that all the old sequestred Ministers might come in. And the Opinion of Reordination being set afoot, all those Ministers, that for Twenty years together, while Bishops were laid aside, had been Ordained without Diocesans, were in many Countreys denied any Voices in the Election of Clerks for the Convocation: By all which means, and by the Scruples of abundance of Ministers, who thought it unlawful to have any thing to do in the choosing of such a kind of Assembly, the Diocesan Party wholly carried it in the Choice.

177. In London the Election was appointed to be in Christ’s Church, on the Second day of May (1661). The London Ministers that were not yet ejected, proved the major Vote against the Diocesan Party, and when I went to have joyned with them, they sent to me not to come, as they did also to Mr. Calamy, and (without my knowledge) they chose Mr. Calamy and me for London. But they carried it against the other Party but by Three Voices: And the Bishop of London having the power of choosing Two out of Four (or Four out of Six) that are chosen by the Ministers in a certain Circuit, did give us the great use of being both left out, and so we were excused, and the City of London had no Clerk in the Convocation. How should I have been there baited, and what a vexatious place should I have had in such a Convocation!

178. The fourth day of May, we had a meeting with the Bishops, where we gave in our Paper of Exceptions to them; which they received.

179. The seventh day of May was a Meeting at Sion-Colledge of all the London Ministers, for the choice of a President and Assistants for the next Year: where (some of the Presbyterians upon a pettish Scruple absenting themselves) the Diocesane Party carried it, and so got the Possession and Rule of the Colledge.

180. The eighth day of May the new Parliament and Convocation sat down, being constituted of Men fitted and devoted to the Diocesan Interest.

181. On the two and twentieth day of May, by order of Parliament, the National Vow and Covenant was burnt in the Street, by the Hands of the common Hangman.” (Reliquiæ Baxterianæ, Pg. 302-303)

Lee tells us, “the 1660 Act led to the ejection of a total of 695 mostly puritan ministers from their churches and the reinstallation of staunchly loyal old Church Anglicans” (Gatiss, Tragedy).  The prelates or bishops were also, “men who were thirsting for revenge” (Gatiss, Tragedy).

Scotland, Restoration, Horror

Meanwhile, in Scotland during the Restoration Period (1660-1690) there was a scene of horror. According to Robert Wodrow’s account, restoration Scotland presented “a very horrid scene of oppression, hardships and cruelty” against the Presbyterians. Lord Macaulay’s states that the Covenanters were persecuted “like wild beasts, tortured till their bones were beaten flat, imprisoned by hundreds, and hanged by scores”.

We are also told of events that forced many ministers out of their pulpits and churches. While we know that there were many of the same issues that would follow in England, Scotland got the first taste: “In Scotland the court carried their measures with a high hand; for having got a parliament to their mind, the earl of Middleton, a most notorious debauchee, opened it, with presenting a letter of his majesty to the house; after which they passed an act, declaring all Leagues not made with the king’s authority illegal. This struck at the root of the covenant made with England in 1643. They passed another act rescinding all acts made since the late troubles, and another empowering the king to settle the government of the church as he should please. It was a mad, roaring time (says the bishop) and no wonder it was so, when the men of affairs were almost perpetually drunk. The king hereupon directed that the church should he governed by synods, presbyters, and kirk sessions, till he should appoint another government which he did by a letter to his council of Scotland, bearing date Aug. 14. 1661, in which he recites the inconveniences which had attended the presbyterian government for the last twenty three years, and its inconsistency with monarchy. — ‘Therefore (says he) from our respect to the glory of God, the good and interest of the protestant religion, and the better harmony with the government of the church of England. We declare our firm resolution to interpose our royal authority for restoring the church of Scotland to its right government by bishops, as it was before the late troubles. And our will and pleasure is, that you take effectual care to restore the rents belonging to the several bishoprics; that you prohibit the assembling of ministers in their synodical meetings till our further pleasure; and that you keep a watchful eye over those, who by discourse or preaching endeavor to alienate the affections of our people from us or our government.’” (Neal and Toulmin, Pg. 379-380)

There were quite a few men, in Scotland, who were killed for not bowing the knee to the king and fighting against such tyranny. One of the more famous stories is about Rev. James Guthrie. He, along with a Captain, was executed on June 14th 1661. James Guthrie, Minister of Stirlin, concluded his dying speech with these words: “I take God to record upon my soul, that I would not exchange this scaffold with the palace or mitre of the greatest prelate in Britain. Blessed be God, who hath shewed mercy to such a wretch, and has revealed his son in me, and made me a minister of the everlasting gospel; and that he has designed, in the midst of much contradiction from satan and the world, to seal my ministry upon the hearts of not a few of this people, and especially in the congregation and presbytery of Stirlin” (Neal and Toulmin, Pg. 381). Govan, the young captain who stood next to James Guthrie at their execution, said, “I bear witness with my blood to the persecuted government of this church, by synods and presbyteries. I bear witness to the solemn league and covenant, and seal it with my blood. I likewise testify against all popery, prelacy, idolatry, superstition, and the service book (BOCP), which is no better than a relic of the Romish Idolatry” (Neal and Toulmin, Pg. 382). These were just some of the events that took place in Scotland, but back in England men like Edmund Calamy were fighting against the tyranny of the King and the prelates.

Savoy, Fight, Failure

Edmund Calamy (Westminster Divine), fighting hard against the prelates,  is spoken about in Baxter’s account: “I have reason to think that the Generality of the Bishops and Doctors present never knew what we offered them in the reformed Liturgy, nor in this Reply, nor in any of our Papers, save those few which we read openly to them. For they were put up and carried away, and I conjecture scarce any but the Writers of their Confutations would be at the Labour of reading them over. And I remember in the midst of our last Disputation, when I drew out the short Preface to this last Reply (which Mr. Calamy wrote, to enumerate in the beginning before their Eyes, many of the grossest Corruptions which they stifly defended and refused to reform) the Company was more ashamed and silent, than at any thing else that I had said; by which I perceived that they had never read or heard that very Preface, which was as an Epistle to themselves: Yea, the chief of them confessed when they bid me read it, that they knew no such thing: So that it seems before they knew what was in them, they resolved to reject our Papers, right or Wrong, and to deliver them up to their Contradictors” (Reliquiæ Baxterianæ). As we see, “Mr. Calamy wrote, to enumerate in the beginning before their Eyes, many of the grossest Corruptions which they stifly defended and refused to reform” (Reliquiæ Baxterianæ). Baxter also gives many other accounts of this back and forth dialogue. He mentions many times that the Bishops were not at all willing to give in to the Presbyterians and their exceptions. The “Presbyterians” continued to ask for exceptions, but with no success.

At the end of the conference, they all agreed there should be a short letter written to the king stating they desired peace and unity in the kingdom. However, the Savoy conference was no success. The Bishops would not allow exceptions and the Presbyterians would not allow for the Book to be their rule. We see this on two different accounts:

“To these several objections and demands the Church commissioners returned distinct answers, and also made concessions, which the Presbyterians would not accept of at the expiration of the commission it was mutually agreed that the report of the conference should be delivered to the king in writing, and that each party should give in this general account: ‘That the Church’s welfare, that unity and peace, and his majesty’s satisfaction, were ends upon which they were all agreed; but as to the means, they could not come to any harmony.’ And thus the conference ended without any accommodation.” (Gee and Hardy, Pg. 593-594)

“If the nonconformists should be ejected, they urged, that there not be clergymen enough to fill the vacant pulpits; they put them in mind of their peaceable behavior in the latter times; what they had suffered for the royal cause, and great share they had in restoring the king; they pleaded his majesty’s late declaration, and the design of the present conference. To all which the bishops replied, they were only commissioned to make such alterations in the liturgy as should be necessary, and such as should agreed upon. The ministers replied, that the word necessary, must refer to the satisfying tender consciences; but the bishops insisted, that they saw no alterations necessary, and therefore were not obliged to make any till they prove them so. The ministers prayed them to consider the ill consequence that might follow upon a separation. But all was to no purpose, their lordships were in the saddle, and, if we may believe Mr. Baxter,  would not abate the smallest ceremony, nor correct the grossest error the peace of the church. Thus the king’s commission expired July 25, and the conferences ended without any prospect of accommodation.” (Neal and Toulmin, Pg. 369)

Holy Days and Exceptions, BOCP, Divines

When we look at the Book of Common Prayer as Amended by the Westminster Divines, we see (for example) that they did not want holy day observances. One common idea that has recently emerged is that the Divines might not have been as readily strong on their convictions as they once were. Yet, the book itself shows otherwise:  “VI. That the religious observation of Saints’ days, appointed to be kept as holy-days, and the vigils thereof, without any foundation (as we conceive) in Scripture, may be omitted. That if any be retained, they may be called festivals, and not holy-days, nor made equal with the Lord’s day, nor have any peculiar service appointed for them, not the people be upon such days forced wholly to abstain from work, and that the names of all others now inserted in the Calendar, which are not in the first and second books of Edwards the Sixth, may be left out.” (Book of Common Prayer as Amended by the Westminster Divines: Appendix II, The Presbyterian Exceptions Against the Book of Common Prayer, Pg. 145)

We are also told in another source (along with the ones already provided) that Holy Day observances, like Christmas, were not the only exceptions the Divines wanted from the service book: “Hereupon a paper containing exceptions against several parts of the rubric, and the offices of Common Prayer, the use of the surplice, the sign of the cross, kneeling at the Lord’ Supper, the religious observation of Lent and saints’ days and several other things of the like nature” (Gee and Hardy, Pg. 593)


Regardless of the title, the Book of Common Prayer as Amended by the Westminster Divines is misleading. This was not the Westminster Assembly, but the Savoy Conference. There was also zero success as to the means of unity and peace for England. The Puritans (“Presbyterians”) would not give in to the Book of Common Prayer (with all its Holy Days, Ceremonies, etc) and the Bishops would not amend the Book for the sake of the Presbyterians. The Bishops were out for revenge, not compromise.  Eventually many (if not all) were ejected. It is quite a tragic time in the history of England. Lee Gatiss is correct when he claims that 1662 is truly a year of tragedy, but 1661 was just as bad.

Finally, I will leave with this quote by R. Andrew Meyers, speaking on the Book of Common Prayer as Amended by the Westminster Divines, with a side note of it being “restored” in American Presbyterianism: “The book… [was] part of a 19th century effort to return American Presbyterian worship to the Episcopalian liturgy. It is misnamed because the event in 1661 that the author is writing about was the Savoy Conference’s attempt to reach a compromised liturgy. The Conference included 12 Anglican delegates and 12 Presbyterian/Puritan (“Presbyterian” is used very broadly) delegates. If you read further in the book, it has an appendix which notes all the Presbyterian ‘exceptions’ to the Book of Common Prayer that was produced by the Conference. There were a few Westminster divines who attended the Conference, but it was the Savoy Conference, not the Westminster Assembly that produced this liturgy. It is only titled the way it is to achieve a certain sympathy from 19th century Presbyterians towards high church worship.”



Works Cited

Baxter, Richard. Reliquiæ Baxterianæ, Or, Mr. Richard Baxter’s Narrative of the Most Memorable Passages of His Life and times. London: Printed for T. Parkhurst, J. Robinson, J. Lawrence and J. Dunton, 1696. Print.

Lee Gratiss. The Tragedy of 1662: The Ejection and Persecution of the Puritans. Received on 12/11/16. Received from http://theologian.org.uk/gatissnet/TheTragedyof1662.html. Web.

Robert Wodrow. The History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland, from the Restoration to the Revolution. Robert Burns Ed., 4 Vols. (Glasgow, 1828-30), I, 57.

Thomas Babington Macaulay. The History of England from the Ascension of James II. 2 Vols. (London, 1849). I, 86.

Shields, Charles W. The book of common prayer: as amended by the Westminster divines A.D. 1661. Philadelphia: James S. Claxton, 1867. Web. https://archive.org/stream/bookofcommonpray00shie#page/n7/mode/2up

Gee, Henry, and William J. Hardy. Documents illustrative of English church history: compiled from original sources. London: Macmillan, 1914. Web.

Neal, Daniel, and Joshua Toulmin. The history of the Puritans, or Protestant non-conformists, with an account of their principles; their attempts for a further reformation in the church; their sufferings; and the lives and characters of their most considerable divines. Portsmouth, NH: Charles Ewer, 1816. Web.

Gratiss Footnotes

[10] G. Bray, Documents of the English Reformation (Cambridge: James Clarke & Co., 1994), page 544.

[11] R. S. Bosher, The Making of the Restoration Settlement: The Influence of the Laudians 1649-1662 (London: Dacre Press, 1951), page 149.

[12] ibid., page 155.  The ‘Laudians’ here are so named for Archbishop Laud, a fervent opponent of the puritans but who was at this point long dead (since 1645).  The use of “Anglican” and “Anglicanism” to describe the same interest group (despite being based on the Medieval Latin ecclesia anglicana, “The English Church”) is anachronistic, being a nineteenth century usage, but one so convenient and readily understandable today that it is difficult not to use it.  On “Anglicanism” as a term originating in the 1830s see M. Burkill, The Parish System: The Same Yesterday, Today and Forever? (London: Latimer Trust, 2005), pages 42-43 who notes, however, that the idea of “Anglicanism” probably does date from the “imposition of Episcopacy in 1662”.  I have not capitalised the term, as a way of acknowledging its non-technical use here.

Anthony Burgess: On Natural Law (Part 1)

“ROM.  2: 14, 15.

‘For when the Gentiles which know not the law, do the things of the law by nature, these having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts.’

Before I handle the other places of Scripture that are brought by the Antinomians against the Law, it is my intent, for better methods sake, and your more sound instruction, to handle the whole Theology of the Law of God in the several distributions of it, and that positively, controversially, and practically; and I shall begin first with the Law of Nature, that God hath imprinted in us, and consider of this two ways:  [First], as it is a mere law; and secondly, as it was a covenant of works made with Adam: And then in time I shall speak of the Moral Law given Moses, which is the proper subject of these controversies.

The Text I have read is a golden mine, and deserveth diligent digging and searching into: Therefore, for the better understanding of these words, let us answer these questions:

Who are meant by the Gentiles here? It is ordinarily known, that the Jews did call all those Gentiles that were not Jews, by way of contempt; as the Greeks and Romans called all other nations Barbarians. Hence sometimes in the Scripture the word is applied to wicked men, though Jews: as, Psal. 2, “Why doe the heathen rage?” It may be interpreted of the Pharisees resisting Christ. Indeed, the Jews will not confess, that the word…Gentes, is anywhere applied to them: but this is very false, for Genes. 17 Abraham is there said to be the father of many nations, … therefore they must either deny themselves to be Abraham’s seed, or else acknowledge this word belonging to them. But generally it signifieth those that had not the Lawes of Moses, nor did live by them. Therefore Gal. 2: 14…to live like a Gentile, is, not to observe the Lawes of Moses: and in this sense it is to be taken here; for the apostle’s scope is to make good that great charge upon all mankind, both Jew and Gentile, that naturally they are wholly in sin; and God, being no accepter of persons, will destroy the one as well as the other. And whereas it might be thought very hard to deal thus with the Gentile, because no law was delivered unto him, as unto the Jew, the apostle answereth that objection in this place. But grant it be understood of such Gentiles, then there is a greater question whether it be meant of the Gentiles abiding so, or the Gentiles converted and turned believers; for, that the apostle speaks of such, most of the Latin Interpreters, both ancient and modern, do affirm: and so the Greek Father, Chrysostom, and Estius, a learned Papist, do think there are so many arguments for it, that it’s certain. I confess, they bring many probablereasons; but I will not trouble you with them: this seemeth a strong argument against them, because the apostle speaks of such who are without a law, and a law to themselves, which could not be true of Gentiles converted: we take the apostle therefore to speak of Gentiles abiding so; but in this sense there is also a dangerous exposition and a sound one. The poisonous interpretation is of the Pelagians, who understand the law written in their hearts, in the same sense as it is used, Jerem. 33, even such a fulfilling of the law which will attain to salvation; and this they hold the heathens by the law and help of nature did sufficiently: But this is to overthrow the doctrine of grace and Christ. Therefore the sound interpretation is of the Gentiles indeed, but yet to understand the law written in their hearts, only of those relicts of natural reason and conscience, which was in the Heathens, as is to be proved anon.

The 2nd Question is easily answered, How they are said to be without a law; to wit, without a written law, as the Jews had; so that we may say, they had a law without a law; a law written, but not declared.

The 3rd question, In what sense they are said to do the things of the law, and that by nature. To do the things of the law is not meant universally of all the heathens, for the apostle shewed how most of them lived in the chapter before: nor secondly universally in regard of the matter contained in the law, but some external acts, as Aristides and Socrates, with others. And here it’s disputed, whether a mere heathen can do any work morally good? But we answer, No: for every action ought to have a supernatural end, viz. the glory of God, which they did not aim at; therefore we do refuse that distinction of a moral good, and theological, because every moral good ought to be theological: they may do that good matter of the law, though not well. And as for the manner how, by nature; those Interpreters that understand this text of Gentiles believers, say, nature is not here opposed to grace, but to the law written by Moses; and therefore make it nature enabled by grace: but this is shewed to be improbable. By nature therefore we may understand that natural light of conscience, whereby they judged and performed some external acts, though these were done by the help of God.

The next question is, how this Law is said to be written in their hearts? You must not, with [Augustine], compare this place with that gracious promise in Jeremiah, of God writing his law in the hearts of his people. There is therefore a two-fold writing in the hearts of men; the first, of knowledge and judgement, whereby they apprehend what is good and bad: the second is in the will and affections, by giving a propensity and delight, with some measure of strength, to do this upon good grounds. This later is spoken of by the prophet in the Covenant of Grace, and the former is to be understood here, as will appear, if you compare this with chapter 1: 19.

The last question is, How they declare this Law written in their hearts? And that is first externally, two ways: 1. by making good and wholesome laws to govern men by; and 2. by their practice, at least of some of them, according to those laws: And secondly internally, by their consciences, in the comfort or fear they had there.

[Observation]. There is a law of nature written in men’s hearts. And if this be not abolished, but that a believer is bound to follow the direction and obligation of it, how can the Antinomian think that the Moral Law, in respect of the mandatory power of it, ceaseth? Now, because I intend a methodical tractate of the several kinds of Gods Law, you might expect I should say much about laws in general; but because many have written large volumes, especially the School-men, and it cannot be denied but that good rational matter is delivered by them; yet, because it would not be so pertinent to my scope, I forbear. I will not therefore examine the etymology of the words that signify a Law; whether Lex in the Latin come of legendo because it was written to be read (though that be not always necessary;) or of ligando, because a law binds to obedience; or of deligendo, because it selects some precepts: nor concerning… in the Greek, whether it come of…which is improbable; or of…because it distributes to everyone that which is right: neither the Hebrew word…which some make to come of…to instruct and teach; others of the word…that signifieth a disposition, or compiling of things together as laws use to be.

In the next place, I will not trouble you with the definition of a law, whether it be an act, or habit, or the soul itself: only this is good to take notice of, against a fundamental error of the Antinomian, about a law in general; for they conceive it impossible but that the damning act of a law must be where the commanding act of a law is, and this is frequently urged (as I shewed the last time:) Therefore observe, that there are only two things go to the essence of a law, (I speak not of external causes) and that is, first, Direction, secondly, Obligation: 1. Direction, therefore a law is a rule; hence the law of God is compared to a light. And, Prov. 20. 27. there is a notable expression of the law of Nature, It’s a candle of the Lord, searching the inwards of the belly. So it is observed, that the Chaldees word for a law, is as much as light. The second essential constitute of a law is, Obligation, for therein lyeth the essence of a sin, that it breaketh this law, which supposeth the obligatory force of it. In the next place there are two Consequents of the Law which are ad bene esse, that the Law may be the better obeyed; and this indeed turneth the law into a covenant, which is another notion upon it, as afterwards is to be shewn. Now as for the sanction of the law by way of a promise, that is a mere free thing; God, by reason of that dominion which he had over man, might have commanded his obedience, and yet never have made a promise of eternal life unto him. And as for the other consequent act of the law, to curse, and punish, this is but an accidental act, and not necessary to a law; for it cometh in upon supposition of transgression: and therefore, as we may say of a Magistrate, He was a just and complete Magistrate for his time, though he put forth no punitive justice, if there be no malefactors offending; so it is about a law, a law is a complete law obliging, though it do not actually curse: as in the confirmed Angels, it never had any more then obligatory, and mandatory acts upon them; for that they were under a law is plain, because otherwise they could not have sinned, for where there is no law, there is no transgression. If therefore the Antinomian were rectified in this principle, which is very true and plain, he would quickly be satisfied: but of this more in another place. But we come to the particulars of the doctrine, the pressing of which will serve much against the Antinomian. Therefore, for the better understanding of this Law of Nature, consider these particulars:

The nature of it in which it doth consist, and that is in those common notions and maxims, which are engrafted in all men’s hearts: and these are some of them speculative, that there is a God; and some practical, that good is to be embraced, and evil to be avoided: and therefore Aquinas saith well, that what principles of Sciences are in things of demonstration, the same are these rules of nature in practicals: therefore we cannot give any reasons of them; but, as the Sun manifests itself by its own light, so doe these. Hence Chrysostom observeth well, that God, forbidding murder, and other sins, giveth no reason of it, because it’s natural: but, speaking of the seventh day, why that in particular was to be observed, he giveth a reason, because on the seventh day the Lord rested, not but that the seventh day is moral, (as some have denied.) but because it’s not moral natural, only moral positive, as the Learned shew.

The difference of its being in Adam and in us. This is necessary to observe; for it was perfectly implanted in Adams heart, but we have only some fragments, and a mere shadow of it left in us. The whole Law of Nature, as it was perfectly instructing us the will of God, was then communicated to him: and howsoever God, for good reasons hereafter to be mentioned, did give, besides that law of Nature, a positive law to try his obedience; yet the other cannot be denied to be in him, seeing he was made after Gods image, in righteousness, and holiness, and otherwise Adam had been destitute of the light of reason, and without a conscience. Therefore it’s a most impudent thing in Socinus, to deny that Adam had any such law or precept, and that he could not lye, or commit any other sin though he would; for, it may not be doubted, but that if Adam had told a lie, or the like, it had been a sin, as well as to eat of the forbidden fruit.

The natural impression of it in us. We have it by nature; it’s not a superadded work of God to put this into us. This assertion is much opposed by Flaccus Illyricus, who, out of his vehement desire to aggravate original sin in us, and to shew how destitute we are of the image of God, doth labor to shew, that those common notions and dictates of conscience are infused de novo into us, and that we have none of these by nature in us. And a godly man, in his Book of Temptations, holdeth the same opinion. Illyricus indeed hath many probable arguments for his opinion, but he goeth upon a false supposition, that the Apostle his scope is, to compare a Gentile supposed only to doe the Law, and not asserted to do it, before a Jew who was an hearer of the Law, but not a doer of it: therefore, to debase the Jew, he saith, the Apostle speaketh conditionally, to this purpose, If an Heathen should keep the Law, though he be not circumcised, yet he would be preferred before you; not (saith he) that the Apostle meaneth assertively and positively that any such doe: and therefore presseth the word…which is a particle of the Subjunctive Mood, and is equivalent to…If the Gentiles, &c. But his supposition is false; for the Apostle’s scope is, to shew that the Gentile hath no excuse if God condemn him, because he hath a law in himself: as appeareth, verse 12. As for the other consideration of…though Erasmus render it [cum fecerint;] yet that particle is applied to the Indicative Mood, as well as the Subjunctive. It cannot therefore be true, which he saith, that the Apostle speaketh such great things of men by nature, that if they were true, it would necessarily justify all Pelagianism. I shall not speak of his many arguments against natural principles and knowledge of a God; for he doth in effect at last yield to it.

The extent of it. And here it’s very hard to measure out the bounds of the law of Nature; for, some have judged that to be condemned by the law of Nature, which others have thought the law of Nature approveth: so true is that of Tertullian, Legem Naturae opiniones suas vocant, They call their opinions the law of Nature. There are four ways of bounding this law. 1. Some make it those general things, wherein man and beast agree; as, defense of itself, and desire of life: but by this means, that of natural honesty and righteousness would be excluded; for, a beast is not capable of any sin, or obligation by a law. And howsoever that be much disputed upon, Why God would have the beast killed that killed a man; yet, to omit the thoughts of many about it, that was not because a beast could be tied by a law: but God, to shew the horridness of the fact, would have the very instrument punished. 2. Some bound it by the custom of Nations, that is, jus Gentium; but that is so diversified, that a sin with some was a virtue with others. 3. Some doe bind it by reason in every man: but this is very uncertain, and one man’s reason is contrary to another’s, and one man’s conscience is larger than another’s; even as it is with measures in divers countries, though they have the same name, as a bushel, &c. yet they are different in quantity, one is larger than another. Lastly, Others bound it by the will of God, declared and manifested first to Noah in seven precepts, and afterwards to Moses in the ten Commandments: but these extend the law of Nature not only to first principles, but conclusions also deduced from thence.

The obligation of it, when the law of Nature doth bind: And that is from God the author of it, God only is under no law. Every believer, though justified by Christ, is under the Moral Law of Moses, as also the law of Nature: but now this law of Nature doth not so properly bind, as it’s man’s reason or conscience, as that it is the Vicegerent of God, or a command from him: and thus Cain by the law of Nature found a tie upon him not to sin, and guilt because he did sin in murdering his brother, although there was no Moral Law as yet given. It is true, indeed, our Divines do well reprove the Papists, for calling all that time from Adam to Moses, a state, or law of Nature: and this the Papists doe, that therefore to offer sacrifice unto God may be proved from the law of Nature; whereas those sacrifices, being done in faith, had the word of God, otherwise we were bound still to offer Lambs or Kids to God, which they deny.

The perpetuity of this obligation. This Law can never be abrogated. And herein we may demand of the Antinomian, whether the law of Nature does bind a believer, or no? Whether he be bound to obey the dictates of his natural conscience? Suppose a believer hath his natural conscience dictating to him, this sin he may not doe; is he not obliged hereunto not only from the matter (for that he grants,) but as it is a law and command of God implanted in his soul? I know there is a difference between the law of Nature, and the ten commandments, as may be shewed hereafter; but yet they agree in this, that they are a rule immutable, and of perpetual obligation. Therefore think not, that because he dyed to free you from the curse of the Law, that therefore you are freed from the obedience unto the law natural, or delivered by Moses. To deny this, is to deny that a believer is bound to obey the sure dictates of a natural conscience. I know we are not always bound to follow what conscience suggests, for that is obscured and darkened; but I speak of those dictates which are naturally known.

Other particulars, as, the insufficiency of it to direct in worship, as also, to save men, I do put off, and make application of what hath been delivered.

Use 1. Of Instruction, against the Antinomian, who must needs overthrow the directive and obligative force of the law of Nature, as well as that of Moses; Doth not even Nature teach you (saith the Apostle?) Now if a man may not care for Moses teaching, need he care for Nature teaching? It is true (I told you) sometimes they grant the Law to be a rule, but then afterwards they speak such things as are absolutely inconsistent with it.

There were some (as Wendelinus reports) Swencfeldians, that held a man was never truly mortified, till he had put out all sense of conscience for sin; if his conscience troubled him, that was his imperfection, he was not mortified enough. I should do the Antinomians wrong, if I should say, they deliver such things in their books; but let them consider, whether some of their positions will not carry them nearer such a dangerous rock: For, if the Law have nothing to do with me in respect of the mandatory part of it, then if I be troubled for the breach of it, it is my weakness, because I am not enough in Christ.

Use 2. Of Reproof, to those who live against this Law. Sins that are against the Law of Nature do most terrify. How many live in such sins that the law of Nature condemneth? Doth not Nature condemn lying, couzening in your trades, lusts, and uncleanness? How many Trades-men are there that need not a Paul? Even Tully in his Book of Offices will condemn their lying, sophisticate wares, and unlawful gain. It’s much how far they saw this way. Sins against natural conscience are called Crying sins; and, though men have repented of them, yet how long is it ere faith can still their cry? Have not many Heathens been faithful and just in their dealings? It’s true, that man hath not godliness, who hath only natural honesty; therefore there are many spiritual sins that he never humbleth himself for: as Paul saith, he knew not the motions of his heart to be sin. Hence men are to be exhorted to get further light, and more tenderness than a natural conscience can ever attain unto. Nevertheless, if men so live, as if they had not this Law in their hearts, they are the more inexcusable: Are there not men who call themselves Christians, that yet the very Heathens will condemn at that great day?

Use 3. Why it is so hard to believe in the Lord Christ; because here is nothing of nature in it, it’s all supernatural. The Papists say, we make an easy way to heaven; for, let a man be never so great a sinner, yet if he do but believe, all is well. Now the people of God, sensible of their sin, find nothing harder for, it’s in the law of Nature they should not lye, or steal, but that they should believe in Christ for pardon, when laboring under their offences, here nature doth not help at all. I acknowledge it’s a dispute among Divines, whether in that law implanted in Adams heart, there was not also a power to believe in Christ, when revealed? But of that hereafter; but the orthodox deny, that he had explicit justifying faith, for that was repugnant to the condition he was in. But the thing I intend is, to shew how supernatural and hidden the way of believing is. No marvel therefore if it be made such a peculiar work of the Spirit, to convince of this sin.”

(Anthony Burgess, Vindication of the Moral Law, Lecture 6)

Cawdrey & Palmer: The Christian Sabbath Vindicated (Part 1)

Daniel Cawdry (Cawdrey) (1588–1664) was an English clergyman, member of the Westminster Assembly, and ejected minister of 1662.


Herbert Palmer (1601–1647) was an English Puritan clergyman, member of the Westminster Assembly, and President of Queens’ College, Cambridge. He is now remembered for his work on the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and as a leading opponent of John Milton’s divorce tracts.


“The Decalogue (as all men confess, that understand Divinity) is the Epitome or Abstract of all those services, which men owe to God; and there is not any Duty, or any sin, which falls not, first or last, under some commandment of the Decalogue. It is therefore, not amiss, by some compared to the ten Predicaments in Logick, which are the chief Heads of all things in the world; and nothing can be named or imagined, but it may be reduced thither. And even as it falleth out there, that one and the same thing, may be referred to several Predicaments , in several respects; yet primarily belongs to one; so one and the same duty or sin may be reduced to several commandments, yet chiefly falls under one commandment (and so the sum and sense thereof) we must first of all begin with the worship of God; the Rule whereof we say, the Decalogue contains.

The worship of God is commonly by Divines, distinguished into Mediate and Immediate; the Mediate worship, is that which tends to the honor of God, but by and through men, whom first it doth concern; the Immediate, is that which nextly  and directly is tendered unto God himself, who wrote the ten commandments upon two tables of stone; four in one, and six in another; and our blessed Savior hath summed up the Decalogue under these two heads: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, &c. This is the first and great commandment; the sum of the first table. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hands all the Law and the Prophets.

The mediate worship, (improperly called worship; for it is rather service than worship, Servitium, than Cultus) is contained in the six commandments of the second table; which contain the several heads of all that duty, which we owe towards our neighbor; In the performance whereof, we are said to serve God, while we do our service to men. For as we do, or must, by love serve one another. So the apostle says of servants, that by serving their masters, they serve the Lord Christ. But this we lightly tough, as little to our purpose.

The Immediate worship, is that which we must look at; and that we say, is briefly summed up in the four commandments of the first table; which are, by the confession of all, the general rules of all religion. Thus one says, the duties of holiness, as contra-distinct unto righteousness, are perfectly contained in the four commandments of the first table, which are so many distinct predicaments of all true piety. Thus far therefore, we are all agreed. But to distinguish these four commandments aright according to their proper object, we find it not so easy, seeing several men have gone their several ways; yet this is also further confessed, that although the duties of piety, may be comprehended within divers several precepts , yet there is still to be observed some peculiar and distinct consideration, which puts them formally under such or such a precept. And this consideration is of great consequence, in this our present business, viz. to distinguish the formal object, or subject of every of the four commandments of the first table; which being clears, will bring no small light, to judge of, and to conclude the controversies now depending. For the effecting whereof, divers men have gone their several ways. We purpose not to follow them now, but to propound only that which seems to us most fair and natural, that we may with all due expedition, come to the business we have in mind.

We therefore thus conceive, looking upon the very letter of the four commandments of the first table, the sum of all religious worship, that in our immediate worship, we must have chief respect to four things:

  1. The right and sole object of our worship; that we worship the true God, and him alone; according to the first commandment, thou shalt have no other Gods but me.
  2. The right and sole matter of our worship; that in our worship of this one God alone, we worship him, not with any image, any imagines or devised worship of our own, but with such worship only as he himself prescribes, according to the second commandment, thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, &c.
  3. The right and sole manner of our worship; that when we worship God alone with his own prescribed worship, we tender it with all possible reverence, according to the 3rd commandment, thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, &c.
  4. The right and solemn time; that as we worship God alone at all times, with that worship which he prescribes, in that reverent manner, so especially in observation of his own designed time, according to the fourth commandment; Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day, &c. And thus every commandment [raises] a step higher than the former; first we must worship God alone. [Secondly], with his own prescribed worship. [Thirdly], With all reverence. [Fourthly], With observation of his Sabbaths. And whether this be not the most natural and visible distinction of the four commandments, accordinf to the letter of them, we leave it to the judicious reader to consider.

And now we are fallen upon the fourth commandment of the Decalogue; wherein we are to consider, (as in other commandments) 1. The general scope or intention of the commandment; 2. The letter, or particular words, and meaning of it. And first, for the general scope of this commandment; we may collect it by comparing it with the second commandment, the scope whereof is confessed this, that God must be worshipped with his own prescribed worship. So the general scope of the fourth commandment seems fairly to be this, that those time, and those only should be observed as necessary to religion, which are appointed by God himself. And that it is so, seems consonant to natural reason; in as much as, first it is confessed to be morally natural, in the 4th commandment, to appoint some sufficient time for God, and for religion; and secondly it is also proved above, by many irrefragable reasons, that the determination of the necessary, sufficient time for religion, belongs to God alone; and this is acknowledged by natural men, even very heathens, as we showed above. Now to what commandment this morality can properly and formally belong, or be referred, unless unto the fourth, we do not understand. Add to this, 3rd, that all divines, even our adversaries themselves, do reduce the festival Sabbaths, to the 4th commandment, as appendants of the same, which could not be, in any reasonable sense, according to the letter, unless because they fall under this general scope of the commandment, that those times, and only those of Gods appointment, must be observed by force and virtue of this commandment. The want of which consideration, as we suppose, hath caused much confusion in the present controversies, and produced many evil consequences, to the great prejudice of Gods fourth commandment. For some there are, who (we think, contrary to their own assertions elsewhere delivered) do make the general scope and moral substance of the 4th commandment, to be the publick worship. For the discussion and confutation whereof, we have designed a particular chapter in this our second part. Thither we refer it, and proceed.

The general scope, being this resolved on; we come now to consider the letter, and word, expressed in the 4th commandment, that so at last we may find the sense and meaning of the same. Only we desire leave to premise but this consideration, that we in this chapter, do only assert, (what after we intend to prove) but do not undertake to prove anything, unless such things as do not fall into dispute hereafter, and that but briefly. And first of all, we shall lay down the commandment in the words thereof, according to the true reading of them, and the full intention of the lawgiver, as we conceive.”



Cawdrey, Daniel, and Herbert Palmer. Sabbatum Redivivum or The Christian Sabbath Vindicated. 1651. Web.

Edmund Calamy: Magistrate, Keeper of the First Table

Edmund Calamy (February 1600 – October 29, 1666) was an English Presbyterian church leader and divine. Known as “the elder”, he was the first of four generations of nonconformist ministers bearing the same name.


This excerpt is taken from the 5th Edition of the Confessional Presbyterian.

“Lastly, it is your duty (Right Honourable) whom God hath betrusted with great power, to suppress these divisions and differences in Religion by your Civil Authority, as far as you are able, lest you be accessory to them. For God hath made you Custodes utriusque tabulae, Keepers not of the second Table only, (as some fondly imagine) but of the first Table also, and not only keepers, but Vindices utriusq; Tabulae, Punishers also of those that transgress against either of them. For you are the Ministers of God for good, and revengers to execute wrath upon him that doth evil. Rom. 13: 4. And God hath deputed you for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well. 1 Pet. 2:19… There are some that would blot out half your commission, and restrain this Good and Evil to civil good and to evils only against men. But this is against that General Rule, Non est distguendum ubi lex non distinguit. Where the Law doth not distinguish, there must not we distinguish. Tell me I beseech you, Shall it be lawful for Magistrates to punish those that destroy men’s bodies, but not those that destroy men’s souls? Shall they be blamed for suffering men to draw people away from obedience to the Laws of the land and to themselves, and not also for suffering men to draw away people from the truth of the Gospel, and from the way of God, such as Hymenaeus and Philetus, who overthrow the faith of some, and their words eat as a Canker? Shall Christian Magistrates take up the Maxime of Tiberius, Decorum iniurias Diis curae esse? Let God himself take care to vindicate himself from injuries committed against God? As for me, I will (just like Gallio) take care of none of these things. Can Christian ears endure such language? Doth not God prophecy, Isaiah 49:23. That in the New Testament Kings shall be our nursing Fathers, and Queens our nursing Mothers? And how can a Christian Magistrate discharge that duty aright if he hath not power from God to punish those that would poison the souls of his weak children with heresies, and soul-destroying opinions? I do not deny, but that there is great wisdom to be observed by Magistrates in distinguishing between persons and person, between errors and errors. Some persons are pious and peaceable, others turbulent and furious. Some errors are such, as subvert the faith, and destroy the power of Godliness: others are of lesser nature, which may consist with the power of Godliness, and with an unity in the faith. But that which I now speak against, is that unbounded liberty that is pleaded for in divers books lately written, which hold forth this prodigious Tenet. That every man is to be suffered to have the liberty of his conscience, be it never so Heretical or Idolatrical. This overthroweth all the power of the Magistrate in punishing heresy, blasphemy, Idolatry, and is contrary to many plain texts of the Old Testament, and to those of the New Testament above mentioned (2 Chron. 15:13; 2 Chron. 34:32; Ezra 10:8; Deut. 13:5-6; 2 Kings 23:1)

Object. Will you allow the Magistrate to Tyrannize over men’s consciences.

Answ. By no means. But I believe it is the duty of Magistrates to keep men from infecting their Subjects with soul-destroying errors. If thou has an Heretical opinion, have it to thy self, and the Magistrate will not; nay, cannot meddle with thy private conscience. But if thou labourest to infect others with thy grace-destroying opinion. I doubt not but the Magistrate is bound to keep thee form spreading thy infection to the undoing of the souls of his Subjects…”

Edmund Calamy, An Indictment Against England because of her self-murdering divisions: together with an exhortation to an England-preserving unity and concord. Presented in a sermon preach before the Right Honourable House of Lords in the Abby church at Westminster; at the late solemne fast, December 25. 1644 (London: Printed by I.L for Christopher Meredith, 1645) 37-38. Wing C256

William Reyner: The Magistrate to Prevent Idolatry

William Reyner (Rayner) was an English Divine that served from 1643-1652 on the Westminster Assembly.

This excerpt is taken from the 5th Edition of the Confessional Presbyterian.

“Execute judgement for God, every one as far as his power will stretch. First, do judgement upon thine own self for thy sin in all ways of godly revenge, as by Fasting &c. Sing mercy and judgment to thy family, as David Psa. 101. Do thy best that judgement that hath been turned to wormwood and hemlock, may run down like a mighty stream, in publique; and where thy hand cannot reach a blow, or cast a stone at an idolater, blasphemer, persecutor, &c. let thy heart at least do it. For If a man’s consenting to, or approving of an act of injustice may inguilt him, as I may say, in it as it was with the Jews, whose state was ruined for killing Christ and the Prophets, though most part of them had never seen any of them Matt. 23.37. why may not a man’s executing judgement, with his heart, when he can proceed no further, be accepted, in respect of him, for an act of justice, by him that is pleased both in good and evil actions, to accept the will for the deed?

This duty principally incumbent upon the Magistrate, who is to execute judgement of the Lord, not arbitrarily as himself pleaseth; but according to the rule of the Word, both for matter and manner.

1.For the matter man hath no warrant either to leave gross and horrid sins unpunished in the committers of them; such as are the ring leaders in idolatry and persecution; nor yet to commute or change the nature of the punishment. As (by the way) I question, whether a pecuniary mulct [i.e. fine], especially if it be alone, be a proper punishment for a swearer, or blasphemer; but it rather ought to be personal. And here I cannot choose but with grief take notice of a miserable failing in our first reformation that the Mass priests were suffered still to continue in the places; for he that had said or sung Mass the last Lord’s day (and if he were a Preacher had Preacher for Popery) if he would but take the new Oath of Supremacy and read the Service-Book this Lord’s day, was accounted a sufficient reformist, and admitted to the Ministry. So that of twenty thousand Prelates and Priest at least in England and Ireland, very few were cast out of their places and scarce any of them (unless it were [Bishop Edmund] Boner) for any thing they had done. Oh woeful! (I confess I think the State did then want due information of that point). But this hath been one thing that hath undone the Church, viz. those that have all along and do still infest the Church. I mean the wicked and superstitious Clergy being their natural, genuine and proper posterity. Let not such a sin therefore lie any longer upon the State; out (therefore worthy Senators) with all the generation of erroneous Teachers, Altar-worshippers &c. and prophane ones, that have made so many abhor the Offerings of the Lord. If any Object, that the Church will then be destitute of Pastors. I answer: I know no warrant at all that there is to put or keep such Wolves among God’s flock. Secondly, that a thousand or two of godly and able men well distributed, if the other were out, might by God’s blessing doe more good by far, then now do all the Ministers of England.

Nay, I take it to be an absolute duty of them that have power to eject them, (besides, what may be said otherwise) even by the equity and analogy of that Text, Ezek. 44.10,12,13. The Levites that are gone away far from me, which went astray from me after their idols, they shall even bear their iniquity; because they ministred unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity, therefore have I lifted up my hand against them, saith the Lord God (i.e. I have sworn against them as most high transgressors, and so will not reverse it) and they shall bear their iniquity. And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a Priest unto me, not to come near to any of my holy things in the most holy place: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed.

Besides punishments should be aggravated according to the aggravation of the sin or sins. The most capital offender can but be put to death; but when the guilt is transcendently heinous, it ought to be with such circumstances and expressions, as may make it appear that the Judge or Magistrate hath a due sense of that heinousness , and would reach it in the punishment, if it were possible. All Israel were to stone Achan, and to raise over him a great heap of stones, Jos. 7.25.26. Now if this be so, I wonder what punishment will be found out suitable to the crimes of some malefactors now in question, who have wickedly endeavoured to seduce many whole Kingdoms quite to suppress and extinguish true Religion in them (if not throughout the world) who have proudly trampled upon all laws and estates, being undoubtedly, if all things were laid together, of the greatest if not absolutely the greatest transgressors that ever were since men were upon the earth.

For the Manner, the Word requires that judgement be executed with the spirit of justice or judgement; of which the Text speaks Isa. 28.6. In hatred of sin, love of God, Zeal for his glory, as Phenehas did; otherwise, if you punish a Malefactor with death, who hath deserved it instead of taking away an old murder, you add a new and shall be punished accordingly, judgement ought to return to justice, Psa. 94.15.

We have two remarkable examples in the Scriptures worthy to be taken notice of by all that are in authority, of two Kings that were both rewarded and punished for the very same thing.

Baasha destroyed Nadab and the house of Jeroboam, Jehu destroyed Jehoram, Jezabel and the whole house of Ahab; both of them had the Kingdom of Israel for the pains; and yet for these very acts, both their Families and Posterities were destroyed. Baasha because he killed him, viz. Nadab, 1 Kin. 16.7. and so I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, saith the Lord, Hos. 1.4. And so it came to pass, as may be seen in both their Histories; What was the cause, was there equity in this? Yes: the thing done was just, to punish these idolatrous Families; but the manner of doing it utterly displeased God, because it was not done in the love of justice, &c. and so in respect of God; but out of spleen and ambition to get the Kingdome: That it was not done by either of them as an act of justice appeared, in that they both continued in the sins of Jeroboam, which they seemed to punish, 1 Kin. 15.34. 2 Kin. 10.29. For that Magistrate or man that lives openly in the sin he punisheth in another, cannot do it as an act of justice, and so doth not please God; not to speak of this, that he that punisheth one sin, as suppose theft, because God would have it punished, and so doth it as an act of justice, will also for the very same reason punish another sin as much or more odious to God, as blasphemy, swearing, idolatry, if his arm be strong enough and long enough to reach the Offenders, which very thing may put (I fear) some suspicion sometimes upon our publique justice, in matter of theft, &c. and makes it questionable, whether it be done out of right principles, as because it is sin against God, and punishable by his Word, or only because man is trespassed or no; which if it be so, the very laws herein ought to be reformed.”

William Reyner, Babylon’s ruining-earthquake and the restoration of Zion. Delivered in a sermon before the Honourable House of Commons at

Benedict Pictet: Of The Trinity

Benedict Pictet, Swiss Reformed divine (May 30, 1655 — June 10, 1724) and nephew of Francis Turretin.

“In the preceding chapters we set forth the unity of God, and his principal attributes; we must now observe that the scripture expressly mentions three persons to whom the divine nature is ascribed, namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Of these three the scripture speaks unitedly in various places; for not to mention the baptism of Christ, in which the Father revealed himself by the voice that was heard; the Son, who was the subject of the divine oracle, was seen; and the Holy Ghost descended in the shape of a dove; the following passages are well know: “Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matt. xxxviii. 19.) “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of all.” (2 Cor. xiii. 14.) See also John xiv. 16; 1 Cor. Xii. 3; Gal. iv. 6. So also in Rev. i. 4, 5, John seeks grace “from him which is, and which was, and which is to come,” namely, from the Holy Ghost, (so called on account of his manifold gifts, and with an allusion also to the seven churches of Asia,) and “from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, &c.” And not only in the New Testament is there mention made of these three unitedly, but in the Old Testament also. “I will mention the loving-kindness of the Lord, &c., for he said, Surely they are my people,” &c., (this is said of the Father.) The Angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them, &c., (this concerning the Son.) But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit, (this concerning the Spirit.) (Isaiah lxiii. 7-10.) “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me (the Son), because the Lord hath anointed me (by his Spirit) to preach the gospel to the poor.” (Isaiah lxi. 1.) Nor must we omit those passages in which the plurality of persons appears to be pointed out, such as “Let us make man in our image.” “Behold the man is become as one of us.” “Go to, let us go down, and confound their language.” (Gen. xi. 7.)

Concerning these three persons we must remark, that they are distinct from each other, as is evident from the passages already quoted, and many others; thus Psalm cx. 1, “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand.” Here the Lord who speaks is distinguished from the Lord who is spoken to. So also John xv. 26, “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.” Here the Comforter, or Spirit, is plainly distinct from the Father and the Son. Against, they are so distinguished, that some things are said of the Father which cannot be said of the Son, and some things of the Son which are no where said of the Spirit. The Father is said to have begotten the Son but the Son is no where said to send the Father. The Spirit is said to proceed from the Father, and to be sent by the Son; but no where is the Father said to proceed from, nor the Son to be sent by, the Spirit. Yet are these persons distinct in such a manner, that they are not three Gods but one God; for the scripture every where proves, and reason confirms, the unity of the Godhead. There are, therefore, three persons in one divine essence; and this is clearly established by the passage in 1 John v. 7, which is brought forward and quoted by Cyprian, although not read in many copies. A far greater number of reasons can be alleged why this passage should have been inserted by the orthodox. It was more to the advantage of heretics to suppress this passage, than to that of the orthodox to add it, because, if it were genuine, the heresy of the former would be entirely overthrown; if spurious the orthodox creed was in no danger, being clearly established from other passages of scripture. The connection also of the text confirms our opinion; for unless this verse be admitted, there seems no reason why John should say, “There are three that bear witness in earth,” not having before said any thing of “three witnesses in heaven.” Nor can it be objected that these words in earth, were also added afterwards, for the contrary appears from verse 9, where mention is made both of the divine and human testimony, “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater.”

This mystery of three in one, is called the mystery of the Trinity, a word not expressly written in the scriptures, but wisely invented, and advantageously used, for the purpose of exposing the shifts and subterfuges of crafty heretics, just as other words have been invented and used, such as … (of the same essence), … (essence), … (subsistence), &c. Concerning this mystery we must inquire soberly, and speak modestly, since the human mind cannot conceive, nor mortal tongue express, the greatness of it; and, therefore, we can have nothing to do with the unbridled audacity of the vain and speculating schoolmen, who, by their plausible and dangerous subtleties, have given room for the introduction of various heresies. We may examine things revealed, but not rashly pry into secret things, lest as Prosper remarks, we should be convicted of unlawful curiosity in the latter, and of blamable negligence in the former. Distinguished men, both in this and former ages, have attempted to render this mystery plain by many examples. I admire their ingenuity, united as it is with an ardent desire for the promotion of Christian truth; while I read what they have written, my mind is captivated both by their ingenuity and by their eloquence are removed and the mind is brought down to a little closer consideration of the subject, all that they have advanced is, in a great measure, forgotten. But although this mystery is incomprehensible to mortals, it must be rejected by us for it is not strange that finite beings, such as we are, should not perfectly comprehend the nature of an infinite Being. It is enough to have proved from the scriptures these two points, that there is one God, and that the Godhead is ascribed to three persons, distinct from each other. The latter we have begun to prove, and shall prove still further. But to assist our understanding on this subject, we may observe that the divine essence is infinite; also, that we do not comprehend how this essence is common to three persons, for this reason, — because we judge of the divine essence as we do of a finite essence, which cannot subsist in more than one. Further, that the divine essence subsisting in a plurality of persons, arises from the Infinite nature of Deity, but that these persons are no more than three, is only known from revelation. Gregory Nazianzen excellently remarks on this subject, I cannot attempt to think of one, but I am instantly surrounded with the splendor of three; I cannot attempt to distribute the three, but I am instantly carried back to the idea of one. These three, in whom the divine essence subsists, are called persons, which is the term we shall make use of in the ensuing pages; we confess, indeed, that it is not so appropriate, but for want of other terms, we are compelled to adopt this, in common with the whole Christian church.”

Benedict Pictet, Theologia Christiana, Book 2 Ch. 9 (Of the Trinity), 1696

Edward Leigh: What Is God?

Of Gods Essence.

God is an Infinite Essence which is of Himself a, and gives being to all other things: Or thus, He is a Spirit, in and of himself, Infinite in Being, Glory, Blessednesse and Perfection, All-sufficient, Eternal, Unchangeable, Incomprehensible, everywhere Present, Almighty, Knowing all things, most Wise, most Holy, most Just, most Merciful and Gracious, Long-suffering and abundant in Goodness and Truth. So the Assembly in their larger Catechism. Some things have their being wholly in another, as accidents, whitenesse in the Wall, Wisdom in the minde.

Some things have a being by themselves not inhering in another, as substances, which are of two sorts:

Bodily Substances, which have dimensions, length, breadth and thicknesse, possessing a place by commensuration of parts. Spiritual, freed from dimensions and from all circumscription of place; God is not an accident, that is, the most weak and imperfect being, nearest to a not being, and most easily reduced into nothing, as if the grasse and flower fade, then the colour and fashion of it cometh soon to nothing. God is not in any other thing, but all things are in him. God is a Spirit, a being void of all Dimensions, Circumscriptions, and Divisiblenesse of parts. Other Spirits are compounded of Substance and Accidents at least, and exist in a place by limitation of Essence by which they are here and not there; but God is an Essence altogether simple and immaterial, utterly free from all manner of composition any way, in whom are no qualities, nor any limitation of Essence. He is a Spiritual, Simple, and Immaterial Essence. His Essence is substantial, an Essence which hath a being in itself, not in another, simply and wholly Immateriall (He is one most Pure and meer Act) but Incomprehensible, goes quite beyond our knowledge, so that we cannot comprehend his Essence, nor know it as it is. He only perfectly knows himself, but he may be known in some sort.

The word God is attributed:

First, Properly to him who is essentially God, (Isa. 42. 8.; Cor. 8. 6.) and either personally, commonly, without a determination of a certain person, (John 4:24), Or singularly to some one person by a Synecdoche, (John 3:16; Acts 26:28; 1 Tim. 3:16). Secondly, Improperly to those which by nature are not God, (1 Cor. 8:5; Gal. 4:8) and that Name is given to these, either from God’s Ordination, for the Dignity and Excellency of their Office, as to Angels, (Psal. 8:6) to Magistrates, (Psal. 82:6) to Moses, (Exod. 4:16) or from their own unjust usurpation, as to the Devil, who is called the god of the world, (2 Cor. 4: 9) or from the erroneous persuasion of men, as to Idols, (1 Cor. 8:4, 5). (1.)For the ten Hebrew Names of God (having handled them in another place) I shall say but little of them here. The Name Jehovah, Jah, Ehejeh, signifie God’s Perfect, Absolute and simple Being of and by himself. (2.) Such a Being as giveth Being to other things, and upon whom they depend. (3.) Such a God as is true and constant in his Promises, ready to make good whatsoever he hath spoken. His Names El, Elohim, Schaddai, Adonai, signifie a God All-sufficient in himself, strong and powerful, able to blesse, protect and punish. The Jews in pronouncing or writing the Names of God were reverent even to superstition. (D. Fulk against Martin).

In the New Testament Gods most frequent Names are… God and Lord.

The Title of Lord so often given to Christ in the New Testament, doth answer to the Title of Jehovah in the Old Testament. Some Reverend Divines conceive the Apostles did purposely use the Title of Lord, that they might not offend the Jews with the frequent pronouncing of the word Jehovah. Compare Deut. 6:13. with Mat. 4:10; & Deut. 6:5. with Mat. 22:37. (D. Cheynels, Divine Tri-unity). He is also called the Father of lights, (Jam. 1:17). The Essential Names of God, are, (1.) Proper, which agree to no Creature not Analogically. (2.) Common, which are applied to others, but agree to God principally by way of excellency, as God, King, and Good.

The Name of God is used five wayes in Scripture:

First, Essentially for God himself, (Isa. 30:27). Secondly, For the Power and Efficacy which comes from God, (Psal. 118:10, 11, 12). Thirdly, For the Command and Authority of God, (1 Sam. 17:45). Fourthly, Passively for those actions whereby he is acknowledged by us, (Mat. 18:19) that is, nothing but worshipping and calling upon the Father, Son and holy Ghost, for assistance. Lastly, For that Word whereby he is distinguished from creatures, and by which we are to have our thoughts directed about him. [Secondly],  God may be known by his Attributes and essential Properties, of which some shew, (1.)  What he is in himself, (2.) What he is to us. They are called Attributes,  because they are rather said to be attributed to God (that we might by them better conceive what he is) then to be in him in such a way. They are that one most pure Essence diversly apprehended of us, as it is diversly made known unto us, (Isa. 43:25; 1 John 4:16) or they are those divine Perfections whereby he makes himself known unto us. They are called Properties, because they are peculiar to his Majesty, and are so in him, as they are not in any creature. Some do distinguish of Gods Attributes and Properties. Attributes are those which belong to the Essence, and Properties to the Persons themselves. A Property in God is an essential Attribute in him, whereby his Nature is known in itself, and is distinguished from all other things.

Some Rules are to be observed in attributing these to God:

First, They are all Essential to God; for in him is no accident at all; whatsoever is in God, the same is God. God’s wisdom is himself, and his Power is himself. God punishing the wicked, is the justice of God; God compassionating the miserable, is the mercy of God. All these are also one in him; his Mercy is his Justice, and his Justice is his Mercy, and each are his Essence, only they differ in our apprehension, and in regard of their different objects and effects. Secondly, They are all Absolute Properties in God, and so distinguished from those respective Properties whereby every Person in the Trinity hath his own subsistence. Thirdly, They are all equal to all the three Persons, and alike affirmed of all. The Father Eternal, most Holy, Almighty, Merciful; so is the Son and Holy Ghost. Fourthly, These Attributes are altogether in God alone, and that in the highest degree and measure, yea above all degree and measure; they are Eternal and Infinite in him. He alone is good, (Matth. 19:17) and only wise, (Rom. 16:27) and King of Kings, (1 Tim. 6:15). They are affirmed of him, both in the concrete and abstract; He is not only wise and good, but wisdom and goodness itself, Life and Justice itself. Fifthly, They are all actually and operatively in God. He doth know, live and will; his holiness makes us holy. Every Attribute in God, as it is an excellency in him, so it is a principle to conveigh this to us. God’s wisdom is the fountain of wisdom to us: We are to seek Eternal Life from his Eternity, Rom. 6. 23. Sixthly,  All these are in God objectively and finally; our holiness looks upon his holiness, as the face in the Looking glasse on the man, whose representation it is; and our holiness ends in his.

The Attributes of God are Everlasting, Constant and Unchangeable, forever in him, at one time as well as another. The Qualification of every service we perform ought to be taken from the Attribute of God which we would honour. He is a great King, (Mal. 1:14) therefore great service is due to him. The Attributes of God are the objects of our Faith, the grounds of our Prayer, and the matter of our Thankfulness. If one cannot pitch upon a particular promise in prayer, yet he may bottome his Faith upon an Attribute, (2 Chron. 20:6; John 17:17).This may minister comfort to Gods people; Gods Attributes are not mutable accidents, but his very Essence: his Love and Mercy are like himself, Infinite, Immutable and Eternal. In the midst of all Creature comforts, let thy heart rise up to this, But these are not my portion. If God at any time take away the comforts from thee, say, Satis solatii in uno Deo; his aim is when he takes away creature-comforts, that you should enjoy all more immediately in himself, (Matth. 6:21, 22). This shews that the Saints self-sufficiency lies in Gods All-sufficiency, (Gen. 17:1; Prov. 14:14) exercise Faith therefore upon every Attribute, that thereby thou maist have the use and improvement of it, (Ephes. 6:10) and give unto God the praise of every Attribute, (Psal. 21:13). We should imitate God, and strive to be immutably good and holy as he is, (Levit. 11:44; Matth. 5:48).

These Attributes are diversly divided:

They are affirmative and Negative, as Good, Just, Invisible, Immortal, Incorporeal. Proper and Figurative; as God is Good, Wise; Members and humane affections are also attributed to him. Absolute and Relative, without any Relation to the creatures; as when God is said to be Immense, Eternal; he is likewise said to be a Creator, King, Judge.

Some describe God, as he is in himself; he is an Essence Spiritual, Invisible, most Simple, Infinite, Immutable and Immortal. Some as he is to us, he is Omnipotent, most Good, Just, Wise and True. Some declare Gods own Sufficiency; so he is said to be Almighty, Infinite, Perfect, Unchangeable, Eternal; others his Efficiency, as the working of his Power, Justice and Goodness over the Creatures; so he is said to be Patient, Just, Mercifull. Some are Incommunicable and agree to God alone; as when he is said to be Eternal, Infinite. Others are Communicable in a sort with the creatures, as when he is said to be Wise, Good. The communicable Attributes (of which there are some resemblances to be found in the creature) are not so in us as in God, because in him they are Essential. The incommunicable Attributes are communicable to us in their use and benefit, though not in their Nature; they are ours per modum operationis, the others per modum imaginis, his Omnipotency acts for us, (1 Pet. 2:9).

These Properties in God differ from those Properties, which are given to men and Angels. In God they are Infinite, Unchangeable and Perfect, even the Divine Essence itself; and therefore indeed all one and the same; but in men and Angels they are finite, changeable and imperfect, meer qualities, divers, they receiving them by participation only, not being such of themselves by nature. God doth some great work when he would manifest an Attribute, when he would manifest his Power he created the World, when he would manifest his Holinesse he gave the Law, when he would declare his Love he sent his Son, when he would shew his Goodness and Mercy he made Heaven, when he would discover his Justice and hatred of sin he made hell, (Psal. 63:2. and 106:8). Arminians and Socinians indeavour to corrupt the Doctrine of God in his Essence, Subsistence, and Decrees.

Under the first Covenant three Attributes were not discovered, (1.) Gods pardoning Mercy, that was not manifested till the fall: (2.) His Philanthropy or love to man, (Hebr. 2:16). (3.) The Patience and Long-suffering of God, he cast the Angels into hell immediately after their sin. All the Attributes are discovered in the second Covenant in a higher way, his Wisdom was manifested in making the world, and in giving a Law, but a greater Wisdom in the Gospel, (Ephes. 3:10) the Truth and Power of God were more discovered under the second Covenant. It is hard to observe an accurate method in the enumeration of the Attributes.”

Edward Leigh, A systeme or body of divinity consisting of ten books, 2nd Book Chapter 2, 1654

(London: Printed by A.M. for William Lee, 1654.)

Thomas Case: The Civil Magistrate to Imitate God on Justice and Mercy


This excerpt is taken from the 5th Edition of the Confessional Presbyterian.

“But thirdly, Eye your rule. In this I might be large, but that I was happily prevented by my learned and Reverend Brother [A. Burgess] that began the work. What therefore I shall offer unto you by way of direction shall be that only which lies before you in the text. Where first you have one General rule implied; and then three particular rules or directions expressed.

The General is lodged in these words, For with the Lord our God there is no, &c. Implying that Judges ought to have their eyes fix’t upon God, and to make him their pattern in the managing of their judicature; to do, and judge, and behave themselves in the execution of their office, as they see God himself doth. And let this be your directory in your dispensations Right Honourable and beloved, Set up that Supreme Judge of Heaven and earth for your pattern.

Whether you execute judgement, or

Whether you show mercy, do both according to the Pattern in the mount.

Be severe, as your heavenly Father is severe; and

Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.

First imitate God in your severity and execution of judgement. And amongst the rest I find three Cases wherein God shows no mercy: only let me Caution this by the way; that when I say, Wherein God shows no mercy, I do not look upon God as sitting upon his own immediate Throne of divine Judicature as the Supreme Judge of quick and dead, judging to, or saving from, eternal death and damnation as he pleaseth: But I look upon God as sitting upon these inferior thrones of Judicature amongst his Delegates and Deputie-Gods (as he is described, Psal. 82:1. God standeth in the congregation of the mighty, he judgeth among the Gods,) there directing and commanding what sentence they shall give, whither of life or death; when they shall spare, and when they shall strike: for such is the care and wise providence of God for the good security and peace of his Church; Yet even of human societies and Associations; that even where sometimes he useth his Prerogative Royal for pardon of the sin against himself, and remitting the everlasting punishment, he yet commandeth his Deputies and Vicegerents not to forgive the trespass, whether it be against a private person or a publique State; but to execute the proportionable penalties; as substance for substance, life for life, and blood for blood without showing any mercy at all. As in the case of murder…[Num. 35:31,33; Deut. 31:23 cited].

And secondly, in terrorem for the preventing of like wickedness and mischief, that others may hear and fear and from henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.

This Caution premised I say among others I find these three Cases wherein God commands Judges not to spare the guilty person.

The first is the Case of wilful murder…[Deut. 19:11-13; Exo. 21:14 cited; Case goes on to include attempted murder in this category].

The Second Case wherein God would have Judges show no Mercy, is where the ground of the quarrel is laid in irreconcilable principles of enmity against the true Religion, and the Government of Jesus Christ. Those mind enemies that would not have me reign over them, bring them hither and slay them before me [Luke 19:27]; Those men that rise up in cursed practices to change Religion, to bring idolatry and false worship; to depose Christ from his Throne, and set up Antichrist in his place: And rather than fail of their project, stick not to subvert Laws, disturb peace, set whole Kingdoms into a combustion, imbrue their hands in, and make their swords drunk with, innocent blood, &c. Such a generation Christ hath doomed to execution: Those mine enemies that would not have me reign over them: Bring them hither and slay them before me.

And this is nothing but Law turned into Gospel-Language: for it was provided under the Law by God himself, Deut. verses

And third Case wherein God would have his Deputies show no Mercy is, That the Principal be not spared when the Accessory suffers. This though the very light of Nature doth dictate, (& Vox natura vox Dei; Natures voice is the voice of God, God being the God of Nature) yet God hath taken distinct and special order for it, See Numbers 25.4.5 where God commanding Execution of all the people that were joined to Baal-Peor, gives special charge first for the cutting of the prime Delinquents… And let not Seducers escape, where the Seduced shall happily feel the keen edge of the sword of Justice: for let me say this much to you; if God have enjoined this severity to his Deputies when they have but judged between person and person; what severity will God expect from you in these cases, who are called this day to Judge for God, between sons of Belial, bloody Rebels, and an Whole Church and State now resisting unto blood for Reformation and so dangerously languishing under those wounds which these unnatural Parricides have made upon her…

And secondly imitate God in your mercy.

Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.

And herein I do not find the Cases so many, as the provision famous, when God would have mercy used. The great known Case wherein God would have mercy shows to the guilty, was in point of ignorance and immaliciousness. He that said, Hee that sheds man blood, by man shall his blood be shed, Commanded notwithstanding the children of Israel to build themselves Cities of Refuge; that the Man-slayer who killed his neighbour ignorantly, whom he hated not in times past might flee thither, and be rescued from the fury and vengeance of the Avenger of blood [Gen. 9.6; Deut. 19.1-4].”

Thomas Case, Jehoshaphat’s caveat to his judges.Delivered in a sermon before the Honourable the commissioners for the court martiall, by vertue of an ordinance of Parliament dated the 17th of August 1644 (London: Felix Kingston for Luke Fawn, 1644) 14-21. Wing C832.