Page images

neri perspicio, quorum alterum ad errorum pravitatem, alterum ad supplicii acerbitatem attinet. Ae erroribus quidem ipsis nihil possit absurdius esse, sanus nemo est qui dubitat, mirorque tam fæda opinionum portenta in quosquam potuisse Christianos cadere. Sed ita habet humanæ infirmitatis conditio, si divinia paululum luce destituti nobis relinquimur, quo non ruimus præcipites ? Atque hoc nomine Christo gratias quam maximas habeo, quod Anglorum hodie neminem huic insaniæ affinem video. Quod igitur ad phanaticas istas sectas attinet, eas certe in republica pullo modo fovendas esse, sed idonea comprimendas correctione censeo. Verum enim vero ignibus ac flammis pice ac sulphure æstuantibus viva miserorum corpora torrefacere, judicii magis cæcitate quam impetu voluntatis errantium, durum istud ac Romani magis exempli esse quam evangelicæ consuetudinis videtur, ae plane ejusmodi, ut nisi a Romanis pontificibus, authore Innocentio tertio, primum profluxisset, nunquam istum Perrilli taurum quisquam in mitem Christi ecclesiam Importavisset. Non quod maleficiis delecter, aut erroribus cujusquam faveam, dicta hæc esse velim ; vitæ hominum, ipse homo cum sim, faveo : ideoque faveo, non ut erret, sed ut resipiscat: ac neque hominum solum, utinam et pecudibus ipsis opitulari possem. Ita enim sum, (stulte fortassis hæc de meipso, at vere dico) macellum ipsum, ubi mactantur etiam pecudes, vix prætereo, quin taeito quodem doloris Sensu mens refugiat, Atque equidem in eo Der ipsius valde admiror, venerorque toto pectore clementiam, qui in juinentis illis brutis et abjectis, quæ sacrificiis olim parabantur, id prospexerat, ne prius igoibus mandarentur quam sanguis eorum ad basim altaris effunderetur. Unde disceremus, in exigendis suppliciis, quamvis justis, non quid omnino rigori liceat, sed ut clementia simul adhibita rigoris temperet asperitatem.

Quamobrem si tantum mihi apud principis tanti majestatem audere liceret supplex pro Christo rogarem clementissimam hanc regiæ sublimitatis excellentiam, præ authoritate hac mea (lege tua) qua ad vitam multorum consecrandum pellere (l. conservandam pollere) te divina voluit clementia, ut vita si fieri possit, (quid enim non posset iis in rebus authoritas tua ?) miserorum parcatur, saltem ut horrori obsistatur, atque in aliud quodcunque commutetur supplicii genus. Sunt ejectiones, inclusiones retrusæ, sunt vincula, sunt perpetua exilia, sunt stigmata et plegmata aut etiam patibula ; id unum valde deprecor, ne piras ac flammas Smithfieldianas jam diu faustiflimis tuis auspiciis huc usque sopitas, sinas nunc recandescere. Quod si ne id quidem obtineri possit, id saltem omnibus supplicandi modis efflagito, touto to pelargikon pectoris tui implorans, ut mensem tamen unum aut alterum nobis concedas, quo interim experiamur, an a periculosis erroribus dederit dominus ut resanescant, ne cum corporum jactura, apimäe pariter cum corporibus de æterno periclitentur exitio.*

• Fuller's Church History of Britain, p. 104, 105.

No. IV.

A DIRECTORY of Church government, anciently contended

for, and as far as the times would suffer, practised by the first Non-conformists in the days of queen Elizabeth, found in the study of the most accomplished divine Mr. Thomas Cartwright, after his decease. The Sacred Discipline of the Church described in the

Word of God. THE discipline of Christ's church, that is necessary for all times, is delivered by Christ, and set down in the holy scriptures; therefore the true and lawful discipline is to be fetched from thence, and from thence alone. And that which resteth upon any other foundation ought to be esteemed unlawful and counterfeit.

Of all particular churches, there is one and the same right, order, and fora : therefore also no one may challenge to itself any power over ethers; nor any right which doth not alike agree to others.

'The ministers of public charges, in every particular church, ought to be called and appointed to their charges by a lawful eeclesiastical calling, such as hereafter is set down.

All these for the divers regard of their several kinds are of equal power amongst themselves.

No man can be lawfully called to public charge in any church, but he that is fit to discharge the same. And none is to be accounted fit, but he that is endued with the common gifts of all the godly; that is, with faith, and a blameless life : and further also, with those that are proper to that ministry wherein he is to be used, and necessary for the executing of the same; whereupon, for trial of those gifts, some convenient way and examination is to be used.

The party to be called must first be elected; then he is to be ordained to that charge whereunto he is chosen, by the prayers of that church whereunto he is to be admitted; the mutual duties of him, and of the churcb being before laid open.

The Ministers of the Church are, first, they that are ministers of the word. In their examination it is especially to be taken heed unto, that they be apt to teach, and tried men, not utterly unlearned, nor newly planted and converted to the faith.

Now these ministers of the word are, first, Pastors, which do administer the word and sacraments, then Teachers, which are occupied in wholesome doctrine.

Besides, there are also Elders, which watch over the life and behavior of every man, and Deacons, which have care over the poor.

Further, in every particular church there ought to be a Presbytery, which is a Consistory, and, as it were, a Senate of Elders. Under the name of Elders here are contained, they who in the church minister doctrine, and they who are properly called Elders.

By the common counsel of the eldership, all things are directed that belong to the state of their church. First, such as belong to the guidance of the whole body of it in the holy and common assembly, gathered together in the name of the Lord, that all things may be done in them duly, orderly, and to edification. 2. Then also such as pertain to particular persons. First, to all the members of that church, that the good may enjoy all the privileges that belong unto them. that the wicked may be corrected with ecclesiastical censures, according to the quality of the fault, private and public, by admonishing and hy removing either from the Lord's supper by suspension, (as it is commonly called) or out of the church by excommunication. The which belong specially to the ministers of public charge in the church to their calling, either to be begun or ended, and ended either by relieving, or pun. ishing them, and that for a time by suspension, or altogether by deposition.

For directing of the eldership, let the pastors be set over it; or if there be more pastors than one in the same church, let the pastors do it in their turns.

But yet in all the greater affairs of the church, as in excommunicat. ing of any, and in chusing and deposing of church ministers, nothing may be concluded without the knowledge and consent of the church

Particular churches onght to yield mutual belp one to another; for which cause they are to communicate amongst themselves.

The end of this communicating together is, that all things in them may be so directed, both in regard of doctrine, and also of discipline, as by the word of God they ought to be.

Therefore the things that belong hereunto are determined by the cominon opinion of those who meet so to communicate together: and whatsoever is to be amended, furthered. or procured, in any of those several churches that belong to that assembly. Wherein albeit no particular church hath power over another, yet every particular church of the same resort, meeting and counsel, ought to obey the opinion of more churches with whom they communicate.

For holding of these meetings and assemblies, there are to be chosen, by every church belonging to that assembly, principal men from among Vol. V.


the elders, who are to have their instructions from them, and so to be sent to the assembly. There must also be a care had, that the things they shall return to have been godly agreed on by the meetings, be diligently observed by the churches,

Further, in such assemblies there is also to be chosen one that may be set over the assemblies, wbo may moderate and direet them. His duty is to see that the assemblies be held godly, quiet, and comely: therefore it belongeth unto him to begin and end the conference with prayer; to know every man's instructions; to propound in order the ihings that are to be handled; to gather their opinions, and to propound what is the opinion of the greater part. It is also the part of the rest of the assembly to speak their opinions of the things propounded godly and quietly.

The synodical Discipline gathered out of the synods and

use of the churches which have restored it according to the word of God, and out of sundry books that are written of the same, and referred unto certain heads.

Of the Necessity of a Calling. LET no man thrust himself into the executing of any part of public charge in the administration of the word, sacraments, discipline, or care over the poor. Neither let any such sue or seek for any publie charge of the church : but let every one tarry until he be lawfully called.

The manner of entering and determining of a Calling, and against a

ministry of no certain place ; and the desertion of a church. LET none be alled but unto some certain charge ordained of God, and to the exercising of the same in some particular congregation: and he that is so called, let him be so bound to that churck, that he may not after be of any other, or depart from it without the consent thereof. Let none be called, but they that have first subscribed the confession of doctrine and of diseipline : whereof let them be admonished to have copies with themselves.

In the examination of ministers, the testimony of the place from whence they come is to be demanded, whereby it may be understood what life and conversation he hath been of, and whether he hath been addicted to any heresy, or to the reading of any heretical books, or to curious and strange questions, and idle speculations; or rather, whether he be accounted sound and consenting in all things to the doctrine received in the church. Whereunto if he agree, he is also to expound some part of the holy scriptures twice or oftener, as it shall seem meet


to the examiners, and that before the conference, and that church which is interested. Let him also be demanded of the principal heads of divinity: and whether he will diligently execute and discharge bis ministry, and in the execution thereof propound unto himself, not his own desires and commodities, but the glory of God and edification of the chureh. Lastly, whether he will be studious and careful to maintain and preserve wholesome doctrine, and ecclesiastical discipline. Thus iet the minister be examined, not only by one eldership, but also by some greater meeting and assembly.

of Election. BEFORE the election of a minister, and the deliberation of the conference concerning the same, let there be a day of fast kept in the church interested.

Of the Place of exercising this Calling. ALBEIT it be lawful for a minister, upon just occasion, to preach in another church than that whereof he is minister ; yet none may exercise any ordinary ministry elsewhere, but for a certain time, upon great occasion, and by the consent of his church and conference.

of the office of the Ministers of the Word ; and first of the order of Lit

urgy or Common Prayer. LET the minister that is to preach, name a psalm, or a part of a psalm (beginning with the first, and so proceeding) that may be sung by the church, noting to them the end of their singing, (10 wit) the glory of God and their own edification. After the psalm, let a short admonition to the people follow, of preparing themselves to pray duly unto God: then let there be made a prayer containing a general confession; first of the guilt of sin, both original and actual,

and of the punishment which is due by the law for them both : then also of the promise of the gospel, and in respect of it, supplication of pardon for the said guilt and punishment, and petition of grace promised, as for the duties of the whole life, so especially for the godly expounding and receiving of the word. Let this petition be concluded with the Lord's prayer. After the sermon, let prayer be made again; first, for grace to profit by the doctrine delivered, the principal heads thereof being remembered ; then for all men, but chiefly for the universal church, and for all estates and degrees of the people, which is likewise to be ended with the Lord's prayer and the singing of a psalm, as before. Last of all, let the congregation be dismissed with some convenient form of blessing taken out of the scripture ; such as is, Numb. vi. 24. 2. Cor. xiii. 14.

of Preaching, Let him that shall preach choose some part of the eanonical scripture to expound, and not of the apocrypha. Further, in his ordinary ministry, let him not take postils, (as they are called) but some whole

« PreviousContinue »