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Members, as also the whole Church, are bound, not only every one for himself, actively to perforin them, but passively also to suffer his brethren to do those offices upon and towards himself. If he neglect the former, he shall falsify his covenant so solemnly, before God, and angels and men, made ; and so not only break his promise to his brother, contrary to Psalın xv. 4, but also, in some sort, commit the sin of Ananias and Sapphira, in lying against the Holy Ghost,' condemned and punished severely by God's own hand. If he fail in the latter, he shall not only be guilty of the same sin of breach of covenant with God, and man, as in the former, but shall also be guilty of this folly of despising 'counsel,' so much condemned ; and shall also proclaim this his folly and pride, by showing to all the Church that he is 'wise' in his own eyes,' and leans to his own wisdom ;' both reproved, Prov. iii. 7; xxiii. 4. .. Fourthly; From all these things premised, it appears that we can do no less,--and yet we do no more, —than, first, require a Member, before he depart, according to our covenant thus lawfully, deliberately, and mutually made, to express to his Brethren his desire of departing, and the place and society to which he tends ; whether to a godly Church, where he may be edified; or to some corrupt Assembly, where he may be destroyed! And, secondly, [require] his grounds and reasons which move him so to do: which, if they hold good, being scanned by the Word, he may be not only confirmed in his way by the consent and advice of many ; but counselled also, how to manage his departure for his best comfort. And so, after all, solemnly with the whole Church's prayers and blessings, in the name of Christ, dismissed. But if his grounds either be none at all, or weak and sinful; and that his desire of departing savours of self-will, inordinate love of gain, rash precipitancy, or a spirit of schism, more strongly than of sound reason; then, what can we do less, without breach of covenant, than in love and tenderness, show him his weakness, dissuade him from his purpose, and refuse to consent ? Yet if, after all this, we see his spirit stedfastly and stilly bent for a departure; then, though we dare not act against our light, by consenting or counselling, yet if his sin be not apparent, and danger imminent, we use rather,—through indulgence in cases of like nature,—to suspend our vote against him; as not willing, against his will, to detain him: abhorring to make our Churches places of restraint and imprisonment! But if any should object that this argument holds firm where this Church-covenant is allowed to be lawful—but with some it is questioned, and with them it avails not-we answer, first, Some indeed have questioned the necessity of our Church-covenant, but none, we hope, of these our Reverend Brethren, that we write unto, do question the lawfulness of such a covenant; being nothing else, for the matter of it, but a proinise of doing such Christian duties as the Gospel of Christ requires of all Saints in Church-estate: for we do not herein promise to perform any new duty to our brethren, which was not before coinmanded us of the Lord, but only revive and renew our purposes afresh of performing such duties unto that particular body, into which we are Acts v. 3, 5, 10.
• Prov. xii. 15; and i. 7.
then incorporated, as were before enjoined in the Word; as to love each other, and to watch over each other out of love for their good; to be ready to give counsel and to take counsel from each other ; to prevent sin in them, or to gain them from sin ;o all which, are plentifully and frequently held forth in the Scriptures. For the defect of which care and watchfulness all the Body shall be wrapt in the same guilt and punishment with the Member that commits the sin; as the whole Church of Israel was, in Achan's sin and punishment. Secondly; It is a thing very reasonable, and a known fundamental rule in all societies, that he that is incorporate thereto, and so participates of the privileges thereof, should engage himself to conform to all such lawful rites and orders as are expedient for the well-being of that society; the contrary whereto will be a thing injurious in him to offer, and confusion to themselves to accept.
“ The second ground, is drawn from the necessity that may fall upon the Body if every particular Member should depart at his own pleasure. For as every society, so much more a Church of Saints, both from principles of nature and Christianity also, not only lawfully may, but, in duty, are bound to endeavour the preservation of itself, and, ergo, timely to foresee, and wisely to prevent, all such things as would bring destruction to itself. Now, if any Member might, when, whither, and wherefore he please, without consent of the Church, depart away from it ; this may, by unavoidable consequence, dissipate the whole. For if one inan may so depart, why may not another also, though never so useful in that Body; and whuse absence might much shake the well-being of it? And if one, why not two, six, ten, twenty, as well ? For where will ye stop, seeing any may plead the saine liberty; and if Members may so do, why not the Pastor and Teacher also; seeing they are tied to him by the same relation that he is to them? And so the principals falling, the whole building must down! And if this may be so in one Church, why not in all ? And so, Christ should bave no settled Church on earth.
“Seventh Position : 'That a Minister is so a Minister of a Particular Congregation, that if they dislike him unjustly, or leave him, he ceaseth to be their Minister.'
“Ans.-Our answer to this, consists in two branches : first, In case a Minister be set aside by the Church, merely through his default: secondly, By the Church's default, without any desert of his. In the former case, it is evident he ceaseth to be a Minister to them any longer; as appears in four conclusions. First, It is clear from the Word, that a Pastor or Teacher in these days, hath no Apostolical power over all Churches ; but only limited to that one Church where God hath set him. Paul gives not the Elders at Ephesus a general commission to teach all Churches, but to go feed that one · Flock' over which the Holy Ghost hath made them overseers.'c So Peter gives direction to Elders 10 feed that · Flock of God' only which was among them, and
• Heb. xiii. 1. • Prov. xii. 19; i. 7, 23. Gen. iv. 4. 9. Lev. xix. 17. Matt. xviii. 15. Gal. vi. 1. c Acts xx. 28.
take the oversight thereof. Secondly, It is as clear, that all this Power of Feeding which the Minister hath in that Church, is, nextly, derived to him from Christ by the Church, who hath solemnly called him to the work, and promised to obey him therein : for, if he have it elsewhere, it must be either from Christ iminediately, or from some other men deputed, by Christ, to conser it on him; or, he must take it up himself.
Not the first, for that was proper to the Apostles, or Apostolical men; therefore Paul, proving his Apostleship, saith he was called not of men, nor by man, but by Jesus Christ' himself: not the second, for we never read in God's Word that any ordinary officers, or other besides the Church, had any commission given them from Christ, to call Ministers unto Churches : not the third, for ‘no man taketh this honour,' namely, of a Priest under the Law, or of a Minister under the Gospel, but he that is called of God:' therefore, it must needs be from Christ, by the Church! Thirdly, As the Church, in the Name of Christ, gave this power to a Minister to be what he is, and do what he doth amongst them; when such a Minister shall make and manifest himself apparently unworthy and unfit to discharge the place which they thus called him unto, so that they may discern that Christ, the Head of the Church, hath refused him from being a Minister unto Him, they may then, upon as good grounds, depose him from it, as they had called him to it. Fourthly, When a Church hath thus, in Christ's Name, put forth this power of shutting, as before it did of opening, to a Minister, then, he must cease to be a Minister unto them any more: for we know no such · indelible character' imprinted d upon a Minister, (but) that the Ministry ceasing, the Minister ceaseth also.
Secondly; In case the Church shall, without cause, or sufficient weighty cause, rashly or wilfully set aside whoin Christ hath set over them, and whom they so solemnly called, and promised, before the Lord, to subinit unto; and so abuse their power given them by Christ; it is, doubtless, a very great wrong unto the Minister, and sin against Christ himself, before whom it was done : and not only Christ himself will take it ill at their hands for such contempt done to Him in his Ministers, according to Christ's speech, 'He that rejecteth you rejecteth me ;'e and God's speech, ‘They have not cast off thee but me;'but even other Churches, also may admonish them, and if they prove obstinate therein, withdraw the right hand of fellowship from them. And concerning the Minister himself thus deposed, seeing it is done not by Christ, but by the Church without Christ, yea against the mind of Christ, we conceive though he be by them deprived of the execution of his Ministry among them, yet, until he accepts of a call to another people, he doth yet still remain a Minister of Christ; in whose account, notwithstanding such deposition, he hath true right of administration among that people.
“ Eighth Position : That one Minister cannot perform any Ministerial act in another Congregation.' “ Ans.- If you take ministerial act' improperly, as sometimes it
e Heb. v. 4. d « There is a character imprinted by the Bishop's Ordination." Concil. Tri. dent. Sess. xxiii. can. 4.
Gal. i. 1.
e Luke x. 16.
1 1 Sam. viii. 7.
1 Pet. v. 2.
is taken by some, only when the Minister of one Church doth exercise his gifts of praying and preaching in another Church, being, by themselves, so desired; then, we answer, In this sense a Minister of one Church may do a ministerial act' in another ; which he doth not * perform' by virtue of any calling, but only by his gifts: and thus, upon any occasion, we mutually perform' those acts one in another's Churches. But, if you mean by ‘ministerial act' such an 'act' of authority and power in dispensing of God's Ordinance as a Minister doth “perform' to the Church whereunto he is called to be a Minister; then, we deny that he can so 'perform any ministerial act' to any other Church but his own; because his office extends no further than his call! For that solemn charge, Acts xx. 28, is not to feed all flocks, but that one · Flock' only over which the Holy Ghost' hath made them overseers.' If the question were propounded, to any Minister so exercising in another's Church, which was once, to our Saviour by the chief Priests and Elders, ‘By what power doest thou these things, and who gave thee this authority ?'let that Minister, whosoever he be, study how to make an answer!”
“Ninth Position : "That Members of one Congregation may not Communicate in another.""
To this, there is no “ Answer" and so no Reply;" the subject being merged in the former Positions. We pass entirely over the “Letter" accompanying the “Reply," because it is, in substance, a repetition of what is in the Reply itself."
LAUD'S EXILES. — LILBURNE.- ABBOT.-BALL.—LAUD's
RETURN OF HIS VICTIMS, BURTON, ETC.
UNDER the year 1638, Heylyn writes of the “little trouble” which could then “be feared from Lecturers, as they now were regulated." Many had “ deserted their stations because they would not read the Common Prayer in their hoods and surplices;” others, called “ Combination-Lecturers” read the service now here, now there, under strict subjection to their superiors; which being to be done also in the canonical habits, “ kept off the greatest part of the rigid Calvinists from exercising their gifts as formerly, in the great market-towns." What other effects ensued upon the enforcement of this regulation, cannot be shown on less questionable testimony, in such a case, than Heylyn's own, where, referring to an instance of “Rules of Polity” being resorted
* Matt. xxi. 23. " The Controversy is revived hereafter ; by J. Allin and T. Shepard. e Life of Laud, p. 364, 365.,
to by “condescension,” to keep many men at home with their wives and families,” who “otherwise were upon a resolution of departing the kingdom :"
• For so it was,” he continues, “that the people, in many great trading towns which were near the sea, having been long discharged of the bond of ceremonies, no sooner came to hear the least noise of a Conformity,' but they began to spurn against it. And when they found that all their striving was in vain, that they had lost the comfort of the Lectures, and that their Ministers began to shrink at the very name of a Visitation; it was no hard matter for those Ministers and Lecturers to persuade them to remove their dwellings and transport their trades. The Sun of Heaven,' say they, doth shine as comfortably in other places; the Sun of Righteousness a much brighter!'• Better to go and dwell in Goshen, find it where we can, than tarry in the midst of such an Egyptian darkness as is now falling on this land!'
- The sinful corruptions of the Church,' said they, are now grown so general, that there is no place free from that contagion, and infections of it; and, therefore, Go out of her my people, and be not partakers of her sins !' And hereunto they were the more easily persuaded, by seeing so many Dutchmen with their wives and children to forsake the kingdom; who, having got wealth enough in England, chose rather to go back to their native countries than to be obliged to resort to their Parish Churches, as, by the Archbishop's Injunctions, they were bound to do. Amongst the first which separated, upon this account, were (T.] Goodwin, Nye, Burroughes, Bridge, and Simpson; who, taking some of their followers with them, betook themselves to Holland as their city of Refuge!' There they filled
congregations to so great a number, that it was thought fit to be divided ; Goodwin and Nye retiring unto Arnheim, a town of Guelderland ; Simpson and Bridge fixing at Rotterdam, in Holland; but what became of Burroughes, I am yet to seek.d These men, affecting neither the severe discipline of Presbytery, nor the licentiousness incident to * Brownism,' embraced Robinson's model of Church-government in their congregations, consisting of a co-ordination of several Churches for their mutual comfort; not a subordination of the one to the other, in the way of direction or command. Hence came the name of · Independents, continued unto those amongst us who neither associate themselves with the Presbyterians, nor embrace the frenzies of the Anabaptists. . . The courteous entertainment which these people found in the Belgic Provinces, might easily have served for a strong temptation to bring over the rest, to enjoy the like; but the country was too narrow for them, and the Brethren of the Separation desired elbowroom, for fear of interfering with one another. New England was chiefly in their eye, a Puritan plantation from the beginning, and therefore filter for the growth of the Zuinglian or Calvinian gospel than any country whatsoever.
The principal bell-wethers of these flocks were Cotton, Chauncey, Wells, ['T'homas) Hooker, and perhaps Hugh
* Mal. iv. 2.
b Gen. xlv. 10. d He was at Rotterdam also.
c Rev. xviii. 4.