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you... That a National Church' hath 'no pattern,' no direction, 'in the Scrip. iure,' is false and scandalous; and because no less repugnant to the position of Consistories than of Bishops, I leave you to their just censures. If you loved peace half so well as you pretend to love truth, this expression had never dropped from your pen... You would gladly purge the Universities and Schools :' non amo nimium diligentes. This vomitive of yours may be the evacuation of their learning and livelihoods... For generosity's sake, it.vade not your enemy (knowledge] under the cloud, but leave us the title page of two Universities that after ages may know we had once, religion and civility amongst us! You come, at the last, to a strange position, 'It is indifferent to you,' whatever Liturgy, or Ceremonies, or Discipline, are left to accompany this National [Church] Government.' Is this you, that told us all these are . Popish!' It is true you did, but it is the *Imposition' you only complain of: let you enjoy your Christian liberty'—at home in your parlours; and let Mahometism reign in our cathedrals for you!.. Give freedom to you, you crave no more: it is therefore not the crimes of the Episcopal office, but because it curbs your passions, your vagaries, that hath stirred your humour against it... 2
“ You add, that'a dangerous error' stisy maintained, is liable to excommunication. I am glad you grant a possibility of error!.. the acknowledgment of a sickness is the first step to health. But how your excommunication from other churches' and your exempted • Independent Congregations' can be soldered together, I profess I understand it not : to me, they seem as contradictorious as Independent and not Independent. . . In your last words, you seem to cast a smile upon the Civil Power,' and give a hail to your Master by granting that, in a reflexive way, it may punish the oversights of the fraternity ; but if hypotheca impossibilis equipollet simpliciter neganti, this is no grant at all. So you speak of such crimes as cannot possibly fall upon any of that sanctification ; such as the
root of apostacy,' and the errors derived from hence: nay, if they did, such faulters were no more of your society, because you are obliged, in conscience, to separate from them! So it is then, that the Magistrate hath not only no power in Ecclesiasticis—this is, to you, directly Antichristianism,—but in Civilibus neither, to censure any member of your exempted and Independent Congregation.' This is the Gideon's fleece that must never be of the common dependence and condition of the rest of the kingdom.
“ See now what necessity his Sacred Majesty hath—unless he would sell all his possessions—to buy your pearls to curb this feaster (sic) of yours. Do not flatter yourselves, his Authority and yours cannot breathe under one climate : your pretended “freedom' is wholly incompatible with his due obedience,-witness, these sad eclipses, these late storms, these clouds that yet threaten a tempest... Nor deal you more favourably with Parliaments. How much you regard the power, the integrity, of that Most Honourable Court, this your discourse can best give evidence; if you once carried the business, you have professed it, that no law, no statute, shall oblige you further than you find convenient to your 'exempted Congregation'... The spirits of all good men do already groan under your spiritual democracy; and do suffer, aforehand, when their tenderness represents to them the rubbish- unless your violence be prever.ted-of a demolished Church and State. It is true you are of flint, and the Politicians of the times, who do use you as their stalking-horse from whence to shoot their prey, abundantly furnish tinder; but our prudent King and most careful Parliament shail quench your ignis fatuus, and not suffer you to consume us all to ashes. You have been spared hitherto; either to try the length of your arm, how far these your designs would reach, or that the kingdom had not yet collected itself out of that amazement which, by your sudden irruption as that of many rivers, you had caused : but it is now high time to throw full buckets of water upon your fiery heads; to take the matches from you, and either to send you hence or prescribe you bounds ; lest that the combustible body about you,—all are now of gunpowder!-take hold of your sparks and burn up all, to the extermination first of order, then of religion, and last of hunanity itself
. These are the prayers, and these the fears, of all them that with more real sighs and groans than you,-to the hazard of your buttons, employ in charming of your hearers,-love the prosperity and long after the peace of Jerusalem!"C P. 35-38 bP. 38, 39.
CP. 39"--ad fin.
The best authentic reply to the scurrility of the attack upon Burton's religious and political principles, for the present occasion, is perhaps gathered from “ A most Godly Sermon : Preached at St. Alban's, in Wood Street, on Sunday last, being the 10th of October, 1641. Showing the Necessity of Self-denial and Humiliation, by Prayer and Fasting before the Lord ; in regard of the present plague we now lie under: which God, in his good time remove from amongst us.By that faithful Minister and Witness of Jesus Christ, Mr. Henry Burton. — 1641." 4to. pp. [7.]
From the text in Luke ix. 23, “Let him deny himself,” Burton deduces three relations, "a natural, a civil, a sensitive." On the second, he founds this doctrine, "a Christian must deny himself' in all civil relation : if princes or states make laws against the law of Christ, against his religion and his pure ordinances, threatening punishment to those that will not observe them ; herein a true Christian must 'deny himself' both in matter of terror and in matter of favour. In matter of terror, whatsoever is threatened against a man-Matt. x. 28—a Christian may say, I am lower than all the terrors of the world can hurt me! We should deny' ourselves with Paul, and be ready' not only to be bound but to die for Christ, Acts xxi. 13. Theodorus, a heathen man, was told that he should not rot above ground; I care not, saith he, it is all one to mc to rot above or under ground. Thus a Christian should resolve against all fears and terror whatsoever, for Christ. So for matter of favour, as Polycarpus (who] had great promotion promised in the time of persecution, answered, • I have served Christ forty (years,) and he hath always been a good master to me, and I will not deny Him now:' this is self-denial. How many have been overcome with these things for want of (such) self-denial! Those that are compelled to popery and popish ways, are not Christ's followers, but the followers of Antichrist.
· Objection : Some may say, What need we to have such a doctrine as this of selfdenial, in respect of civil relation, to be taught us now? Answer: First, God be thanked, it is true the storm is over of this oppressing ; yet this doctrine may be very useful for this very season. We are in the expectation of a true Reformation; and in the very Reformation, self-denial is be used. econdly, If some by Reformation be reformed, and not others; will they be quiet? No! the nearer we come to Christ, the more we must look for 'persecution !' 2 Tim. iii. 12. Let us not look for a true, powerful, Reformation of Religion without persecution."
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.-ANSWER.-T. EDWARDS.
We are now indeed entered upon that most extraordinary period when the contest for supremacy actually commenced between the legitimate and foster children of a paralytic “ Mother." And we are able to show in what way the, as yet, subdued portion of her offspring dealt, to court and to repress any who threatened to curb their ambition by controverting the equity of their pretensions. The annexed Letters will speak for themselves on this point, and prove beyond dispute, who appealed for authoritative succour to remove “ the yoke of Episcopacy.”.
A Letter from some Ministers in England, to the Assembly.b
Right Reverend and dear Brethren, now convened in this General Assembly :-We most heartily salute you in the Lord, rejoicing with you in his unspeakable goodness so miraculously prospering your late endeavours, both for the restoring and settling of your own liberties and privileges in Church and Commonwealth, which we hear and hope He is now about to accomplish; as, also, for the occasioning and advancing the work of Reformation among ourselves; for which, as we daily bless the highest Lord, sole Author of all our good, so do we acknowledge yourselves worthy instruments thereof. And for that, besides all other respects, we do, and ever shall, by the help of God, hold you
* P. 3-5.
b In Scoiland.
dear unto us as our own bowels, and ourselves obliged to render unto you all due correspondence, accurding to our power, upon all good occasions.
“And now, dear Brethren, forasmuch as the Church of Christ is but one body, each part whereof cannot but partake in the weal and woe of the whole, and of each other part; and these Churches, of England and Scotland, may seem both to be embarked in the same bottom, to sink and swim together, and are so near conjoined by many strong ties; not only as fellow members under the same Head, Christ, and fellow subjects under the saine King, but also, by such neighbourhood and vicinity of place that if any evil shall much infest the one, the other cannot be altogether free; or if for the present it should, yet, in process of time, it would sensibly suffer also. And forasmuch as evils are better remedied in their first beginning than after they have once taken deep root; therefore we whose names are here underwritten, in the behalf of ourselves aud of many others, ministers of the Church of E1gland, are bold to commend to your consideration-being met together in this venerable Assembly, a difference of great concernment; which you may please, in brief, thus to understand:
Almighty God having now, of his infinite goodness, raised up our hopes of removing the yoke of Episcopacy, under which we so long groaned, sundry other forms of Church Government are, by sundry sorts of inen, projected to be set up in the room thereof. One of which, amongst others, is of some Brethren that hold, The whole power of Church Government, and all acts thereunto appertaining –
-as election, ordination, and deposition of officers; with admission, excommunication, and absolution of meinbers ;-are, by divine Ordinance in foro externo, to be decreed by the most voices, in and of every particular Congregation, which, say they, is the utmost bound of a Particular Church, endued with power of Government; and only some forınalities, of solemn execution, to be reserved to the officers, -as servants of the said Church,-if they have any, or if none, then to be perforined by some other members not in office whom the said Church shall appoint thereunto. And that every of the said particular Congregations, whether they consist of few or many members, and be furnished with officers or not, lawfully may, and ought, 10 transact, determine, and execute, all matters pertaining to the government of theinselves amongst and within themselves, without any authoritative—though not consultatory-concurrence or interposition of any other persons or churches whatsoever; condemning all imperative and decisive power of Classes, or compound Presbyteries and Synods, as a mere usurpation.
“ Now because we conceive that your judgment in this case, may conduce much, by the blessing of God, to the settling of this question amongst us, therefore we do earnestly entreat the same at your hands ; and that so much the rather, because we sometimes hear from those of
the aforesaid judgment, that some famous and eminent Brethren, even amongst yourselves, do somewhat incline unto an approbation of that way of government. Thus, humbly craving pardon for onr boldness, leaving the matter to your grave considerations, and expecting answer at your convenient leisure, we commit you and the success of this your meeting, to the blessing of the Almighty, in whom we shall ever remain
- Your faithful Brethren, to serve you in all offices of love. London, 12 July, 1641." “ The Assembly's Answer to the English Ministers' Letter.
Right Reverend and dearly beloved Brethren in our Lord and coinmon Saviour, Jesus Christ. --We, the Ministers and Elders inet together in this National Assembly, were not a little refreshed and comforted by the good report which we heard of you and others of our Brethren of the Kirk of England, by some of our Ministers who, by the good providence of our Lord, had seen your faces and conversed with you : But now yet more comforted by your Letters which we received, and which were read in the face of the Assembly, witnessing your Christian love, and rejoicing with us in God for his great and wonderful work in the Reformation of this Kirk; and in the beginning of a blessed Reformation amongst yourselves, and that you are so sensible of your communion and fellowship with us, as to desire to know our mind and judgment of that which some Brethren amongst you hold concerning Kirk-government.
“We do, with our hearts, acknowledge and wonder at the great and unspeakable wisdom, mercy, and power of our God, in restoring unto us the truth and purity of religion, after many backslidings, and defection of some in this Kirk; and desire not only to confess the same before the world, and all other Christian Kirks, but also do pray for grace to walk worthy of so wonderful a love. .. We have learned, by long experience, ever since the time of Reformation, and specially after the two kingdoms have been, in the great goodness of God to both, united under one Head and Monarch, but most of all of late, which is not unknown to you,—what dangers and contagion in matters of Kirk-government, of divine worship, and of doctrine, may come from the one Kirk to the other ; which, beside all other reasons, makes us to pray to God, and to desire you and all that love the honour of Christ and the peace of these Kirks and kingdoms, heartily to endeavour that there might be in both Kirks one Confession, one Directory for Public Worship, one Catechism, and one Form of Kirk-government. And if the Lord, who hath done great things for us, shall be pleased to hearken unto our desires, and to accept of our endeavours, we shall not only have a sure foundation for a durable peace, but shall be strong in God against the rising or spreading of Heresy and Schism amongst ourselves, and of invasion from foreign enemies.
“ Concerning the different Forms of Kirk-government, projected by sundry sorts of men,' to be set up in place of Episcopal Hierarchy, which, we trust, is brought near unto its period ; we must confess that we are not a little grieved that any godly Ministers and Brethren should be found who do not agree with other Reformed Kirks in the point of government as well as in the matter of doctrine and worship; and, that we want not our own fears that where the hedge of discipline and government is different, the doctrine and worship shall not long continue the same without change : yet, do not marvel much that particular Kirks and Congregations, which live in such places as that they can, conveniently, have no dependency upon superior Assemblies, should stand for a kind of independency and supremacy in themselves; they not considering that in a nation or kingdom professing the same religion, the goverument of the Kirk by compound Presbyteries and Synods is a help and strength, and not a hindrance or prejudice to particular Congregations and Elderships, in all the parts of Kirk-government; and, that Presbyteries and Synods are not an extrinsical power set over particular kirks, like unto episcopal dominion; they being no more to be reputed extrinsical unto the particular kirks, nor (than) the power of a Parliament or Convention of Estates, where the shires and cities have their own delegates, is to be held extrinsical to any particular shire or city.
“ Our unanimous judgment and uniform practice is that, according to the order of the Reforned Kirks and the Ordinance of God in his Word, not only the solemn execution of ecclesiastical power and authority, but the whole acts and exercise thereof, do properly belong unto the officers of the Kirk; yet so that, in matters of chiefest importance, the tacit consent of the congregation be had, before their decrees and sentences receive final execution : and that the officers of a particular congregation may not exercise this power independently, but with subordination unto greater Presbyteries and Synods, provincial and national. . . In this form of Kirk-government, our unanimity and harmony, by the mercy of God, is so full and perfect that all the members of this Assembly have declared themselves be of one heart and of one soul, and to be no less persuaded that it is of God, than that Episcopalgovernment is of men ; resolving, by the grace of God, to hold the same constantly, all the days of our lite ; and heartily wishing that God would bless all the Christian Kirks,-especially the famous Kirk of England, unto which, in all other respects, we are so nearly joined, -with this Divine form of government. ..-Subscribed by our Moderator and Clerk. Edinburgh, 9 August, 1641." a
From the “ Ministers,” collectively, we turn to an individual among them, whose hostility against resistance was alike rancorous and persevering, though not successful.
“ Reasons against the Independent Government of Particular Congregations: As also, against the Toleration of such Churches to be erected in this Kingdom. Together with an Answer to such Reasons as are commonly alleged for such a Toleration.—Presented, in all Humility, to the Hononrable House of Commons, now Assembled in Parliament.--By Tho. Edwards, Minister of the Gospel.—1 Cor. xii. 21. Rom. xvi. 17.-1641.” 4to. pp. 56.
Reminding “the Honourable the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses," in his long “ Epistle Dedicatory," of the effects produced by the
"" A True Copy of the whole printed Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland. Beginning at the Assembly holden at Glasgow the 27th Nov. 1638, and ending at the Assembly holden at Edinburgh the 6th day of Auglist 1649. Printed 1682.” 12mo. p. 103, 105.