« السابقةمتابعة »
ESSENCE and UNITY
And the Priority thereof in regard of
In answer to the Objections made against it, by
The fecond Edition, with an Addition or Postscript to
By SAMUEL HUDSON, Minifter of the Gofpel
Printed by J. B. for Andrew Kembe, and are to be fold
affembled at Westminster.
Everend, and much konoured Fathers and Brethren, it is a received Maxime,That publick rights and inte refts are to be preferred before private and particular; Spirituall, before fecular; divine before humane. Now as the internall fpirituall government of Chrift in the invifible Church,is far more excellent then any other: fo alfo his externall visible government of the visible Church, batb the preheminence above all visible civill governments and Kingdoms of this world. And if it be lawfull even for private perfons to vindicate, by bumane Laws, the extents and rights of their particular civill inheritances and poffeffions: and if it be accounted the duty of good fubjects to vindicate the extents and rights of their civill Seve raigns Dominions, with their Eftates and Lives, even by the Sword: then much more is it the duty of Chrifts Subjects,by disputes and argumentations to vindicate the extents and rights of Christs externall political Kingdom; the one being but of civill concernment, the other divine; the one tending but to a civill end, the other a spiritual. And therefore I hope none will blame me for appearing in publick to contend for the extent and rights of Chrifts politicall Kingdome in his Church here on earth.
My first Thefis on this Subject was compofed for the private ufe of my self, and some few neighbour Minifters, in a monthly private meeting, according to our custome. But being made publick, at the defires of others, it met with oppofition from two re-, verend Brethren first by M. John Ellis junior, who undertook to confute it, with other Tractates of divers of my betters that were written of the same subject and secondly by Reverend M. HooA 317122
ker, who is fince departed out of the vifible militant Church, inte the invifible Triumphant ; the loffe of which burning and shining light, the Church of God cannot fufficiently lament. Now because fome things therein fet down were by them mistaken, and other things not fo fully cleared, as I defired, I thought good to fet it out again more enlarged, and vindicated from the mistakes and oppofitions that it met withall.
The reafons of my fo long delay herein were, First, because I was the least and leaft concerned therein, though the most tartly dealt withall by M. Ellis. And Secondly, because I defired to fee some of my better's go before me, in vindication of their own Tractates of the fame Subject. And thirdly, because I understood by M. Ellis's book, and by common fame, that there was an answer to M. Ru therford coming out, wherein I should find my question discussed, by that eminent and worthy Divine M. Hooker, which was indeed fent over, but perished in the fea, and fo was retarded one year longer, untill it could be tranfcribed, and fent over again. And fince that was printed, the feat of the warr, by the fiege of Colchester coming fo near us, we were all in a fear and danger, fo that I thought it no fit time to attend to controverfies and I had indeed almoft laid it quite afide, but that the importunities of fome, and the infultings. of others excited mee again to take it in band.
And now I find a fourfold unhappineffe bath betided me herein.
First, The darknee and fublimity of the Subject, which I could no way make plain, so as to be understood by vulgar apprehenfions, because the handling thereof put me neceffarily upon the use of so many latine words, and logicall terms of art, which are not usually understood by comman people. And therefore defpairing to be underftood but by thofe that had fome skill in the Latine tongue, and in Logick, I have fet down the words of fuch Authours as I have had occa fion to cite, in their own languages, in which I found them, left other wife this Tractate fhould fwell too great.
A fecond unhappineffe is, that this Tenet feemeth to croffe fo ma ny of our own Divines, in their writings against the Papifts. Bu indeed it doth onely feem fo, for it is manifeft that the Church-Ca tholick which they intend, is not the fame with this that I have to deal about. For they speak of the Church Catholick confifting onel of the Elect, and I confent unto them that that Church is invifible
but my question is about the externall state of the Church, containing hypocrites as well as thofe that are truly godly, in which Church the Odinances of worship and difcipline were fet.
A third is, that I am fallen upon a subject wherein I can find. fofew going before me, and therefore could have the leffe help from Autbours.
A fourth is, that I being a mean Countrey-Minifter, want both thofe abilities and opportunities, to enable me to write of controverfies, having constant employment of preaching in mine own Congregation, and frequently abroad, lying upon me, fo that I cannot attend polemicall Divinity, as they must that undertake fuch a work:
My principal (cope in this and the former Thefis, is to prove that there is one Church Catholick visible on earth and that Gods in tention and donation of the Ordinances of worship and difcipline, was first to the whole Church, and fecondarily to the particular Churches, as parts thereof. And yet I acknowledge the ordinary and conftant exercife of thofe Ordinances is primarily in the particular Churches, and a fecondary and onely occafional exercife of them in greater parts thereof; and a very rare exercise of them in the whole conjun&tim upon fome general extraordinary occafion, and that can be no otherwife, then by delegated commissioners from the feveral parts of the whole, when convenible.
If it be conceved by any, that fome of the Arguments in this TraEtate are multiplied more then is needfull, and are laid down more fingly then was meat, I will not deny it: Be pleafed in the reading of them to confider them together, and I hope they will prove conclu five.
I find alfo by the review of this Tractate, that fome things are ofter touched upon then I was aware of: be pleased to impure it partly to my forgetfulnesse, andpartly to mine endeavour to follow the method of my former The fis, and yet to answer what was objected against at by others, n ho followed their own methods, which occafioned fome co-incidency.
And fince the transcribing of it for the Preffe, there came to my hands two other Tractates about the fame fubject, written from N. E. the one in Latine by that reverend and worthy M. Norton Minifter at Ipswich there, in answer to Apollonius; the other by