OF POWER ECCLESIASTICALL
For the understanding of POWER ECCLESIASTICALL, what, and in whom it is, we are to distinguish the time from the Ascension of our Saviour, into two parts; one before the Conversion of Kings, and men endued with Soveraign Civill Power; the other after their Conversion. For it was long after the Ascension, before any King, or Civill Soveraign embraced, and publiquely allowed the teaching of Christian Religion.
Of The Holy Spirit That Fel On The Apostles And for the time between, it is manifest, that the Power Ecclesiasticall, was in the Apostles; and after them in such as were by them ordained to Preach the Gospell, and to convert men to Christianity, and to direct them that were converted in the way of Salvation; and after these the Power was delivered again to others by these ordained, and this was done by Imposition of hands upon such as were ordained; by which was signified the giving of the Holy Spirit, or Spirit of God, to those whom they ordained Ministers of God, to advance his Kingdome. So that Imposition of hands, was nothing else but the Seal of their Commission to Preach Christ, and teach his Doctrine; and the giving of the Holy Ghost by that ceremony of Imposition of hands, was an imitation of that which Moses did. For Moses used the same ceremony to his Minister Joshua, as wee read Deuteronomy 34. ver. 9. "And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the Spirit of Wisdome; for Moses had laid his hands upon him." Our Saviour therefore between his Resurrection, and Ascension, gave his Spirit to the Apostles; first, by "Breathing on them, and saying, (John 20.22.) "Receive yee the Holy Spirit;" and after his Ascension (Acts 2.2, 3.) by sending down upon them, a "mighty wind, and Cloven tongues of fire;" and not by Imposition of hands; as neither did God lay his hands on Moses; and his Apostles afterward, transmitted the same Spirit by Imposition of hands, as Moses did to Joshua. So that it is manifest hereby, in whom the Power Ecclesiasticall continually remained, in those first times, where there was not any Christian Common-wealth; namely, in them that received the same from the Apostles, by successive laying on of hands.
Of The Trinity Here wee have the Person of God born now the third time. For as Moses, and the High Priests, were Gods Representative in the Old Testament; and our Saviour himselfe as Man, during his abode on earth: So the Holy Ghost, that is to say, the Apostles, and their successors, in the Office of Preaching, and Teaching, that had received the Holy Spirit, have Represented him ever since. But a Person, (as I have shewn before, [chapt. 16.].) is he that is Represented, as often as hee is Represented; and therefore God, who has been Represented (that is, Personated) thrice, may properly enough be said to be three Persons; though neither the word Person, nor Trinity be ascribed to him in the Bible. St. John indeed (1 Epist. 5.7.) saith, "There be three that bear witnesse in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these Three are One:" But this disagreeth not, but accordeth fitly with three Persons in the proper signification of Persons; which is, that which is Represented by another.
For so God the Father, as Represented by Moses, is one Person; and as Represented by his Sonne, another Person, and as Represented by the Apostles, and by the Doctors that taught by authority from them derived, is a third Person; and yet every Person here, is the Person of one and the same God. But a man may here ask, what it was whereof these three bare witnesse. St. John therefore tells us (verse 11.) that they bear witnesse, that "God hath given us eternall life in his Son." Again, if it should be asked, wherein that testimony appeareth, the Answer is easie; for he hath testified the same by the miracles he wrought, first by Moses; secondly, by his Son himself; and lastly by his Apostles, that had received the Holy Spirit; all which in their times Represented the Person of God; and either prophecyed, or preached Jesus Christ. And as for the Apostles, it was the character of the Apostleship, in the twelve first and great Apostles, to bear Witnesse of his Resurrection; as appeareth expressely (Acts 1. ver. 21,22.) where St Peter, when a new Apostle was to be chosen in the place of Judas Iscariot, useth these words, "Of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out amongst us, beginning at the Baptisme of John, unto that same day that hee was taken up from us, must one bee ordained to be a Witnesse with us of his Resurrection:" which words interpret the Bearing of Witnesse, mentioned by St. John. There is in the same place mentioned another Trinity of Witnesses in Earth. For (ver. 8.) he saith, "there are three that bear Witnesse in Earth, the Spirit, and the Water, and the Bloud; and these three agree in one:" that is to say, the graces of Gods Spirit, and the two Sacraments, Baptisme, and the Lords Supper, which all agree in one Testimony, to assure the consciences of beleevers, of eternall life; of which Testimony he saith (verse 10.) "He that beleeveth on the Son of man hath the Witnesse in himselfe." In this Trinity on Earth the Unity is not of the thing; for the Spirit, the Water, and the Bloud, are not the same substance, though they give the same testimony: But in the Trinity of Heaven, the Persons are the persons of one and the same God, though Represented in three different times and occasions. To conclude, the doctrine of the Trinity, as far as can be gathered directly from the Scripture, is in substance this; that God who is alwaies One and the same, was the Person Represented by Moses; the Person Represented by his Son Incarnate; and the Person Represented by the Apostles. As Represented by the Apostles, the Holy Spirit by which they spake, is God; As Represented by his Son (that was God and Man), the Son is that God; As represented by Moses, and the High Priests, the Father, that is to say, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is that God: From whence we may gather the reason why those names Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the signification of the Godhead, are never used in the Old Testament: For they are Persons, that is, they have their names from Representing; which could not be, till divers men had Represented Gods Person in ruling, or in directing under him.
Thus wee see how the Power Ecclesiasticall was left by our Saviour to the Apostles; and how they were (to the end they might the better exercise that Power,) endued with the Holy Spirit, which is therefore called sometime in the New Testament Paracletus which signifieth an Assister, or one called to for helpe, though it bee commonly translated a Comforter. Let us now consider the Power it selfe, what it was, and over whom.
The Power Ecclesiasticall Is But The Power To Teach Cardinall Bellarmine in his third generall Controversie, hath handled a great many questions concerning the Ecclesiasticall Power of the Pope of Rome; and begins with this, Whether it ought to be Monarchicall, Aristocraticall, or Democraticall. All which sorts of Power, are Soveraign, and Coercive. If now it should appear, that there is no Coercive Power left them by our Saviour; but onely a Power to proclaim the Kingdom of Christ, and to perswade men to submit themselves thereunto; and by precepts and good counsell, to teach them that have submitted, what they are to do, that they may be received into the Kingdom of God when it comes; and that the Apostles, and other Ministers of the Gospel, are our Schoolemasters, and not our Commanders, and their Precepts not Laws, but wholesome Counsells then were all that dispute in vain.
An Argument Thereof, The Power Of Christ Himself: I have shewn already (in the last Chapter,) that the Kingdome of Christ is not of this world: therefore neither can his Ministers (unlesse they be Kings,) require obedience in his name. For if the Supreme King, have not his Regall Power in this world; by what authority can obedience be required to his Officers? As my Father sent me, (so saith our Saviour) I send you. But our Saviour was sent to perswade the Jews to return to, and to invite the Gentiles, to receive the Kingdome of his Father, and not to reign in Majesty, no not, as his Fathers Lieutenant, till the day of Judgment.
From The Name Of Regeneration: The time between the Ascension, and the generall Resurrection, is called, not a Reigning, but a Regeneration; that is, a Preparation of men for the second and glorious coming of Christ, at the day of Judgment; as appeareth by the words of our Saviour, Mat. 19.28. "You that have followed me in the Regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, you shall also sit upon twelve Thrones;" And of St. Paul (Ephes. 6.15.) "Having your feet shod with the Preparation of the Gospell of Peace."
From The Comparison Of It, With Fishing, Leaven, Seed And is compared by our Saviour, to Fishing; that is, to winning men to obedience, not by Coercion, and Punishing; but by Perswasion: and therefore he said not to his Apostles, hee would make them so many Nimrods, Hunters Of Men; But Fishers Of Men. It is compared also to Leaven; to Sowing of Seed, and to the Multiplication of a grain of Mustard-seed; by all which Compulsion is excluded; and consequently there can in that time be no actual Reigning. The work of Christs Ministers, is Evangelization; that is, a Proclamation of Christ, and a preparation for his second comming; as the Evangelization of John Baptist, was a preparation to his first coming.
From The Nature Of Faith: Again, the Office of Christs Ministers in this world, is to make men Beleeve, and have Faith in Christ: But Faith hath no relation to, nor dependence at all upon Compulsion, or Commandement; but onely upon certainty, or probability of Arguments drawn from Reason, or from something men beleeve already. Therefore the Ministers of Christ in this world, have no Power by that title, to Punish any man for not Beleeving, or for Contradicting what they say; they have I say no Power by that title of Christs Ministers, to Punish such: but if they have Soveraign Civill Power, by politick institution, then they may indeed lawfully Punish any Contradiction to their laws whatsoever: And St. Paul, of himselfe and other then Preachers of the Gospell saith in expresse words, (2 Cor. 1.24.) "Wee have no Dominion over your Faith, but are Helpers of your Joy."
From The Authority Christ Hath Left To Civill Princes Another Argument, that the Ministers of Christ in this present world have no right of Commanding, may be drawn from the lawfull Authority which Christ hath left to all Princes, as well Christians, as Infidels. St. Paul saith (Col. 3.20.) "Children obey your Parents in all things; for this is well pleasing to the Lord." And ver. 22. "Servants obey in all things your Masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singlenesse of heart, as fearing the Lord;" This is spoken to them whose Masters were Infidells; and yet they are bidden to obey them In All Things. And again, concerning obedience to Princes. (Rom. 13. the first 6. verses) exhorting to "be subject to the Higher Powers," he saith, "that all Power is ordained of God;" and "that we ought to be subject to them, not onely for" fear of incurring their "wrath, but also for conscience sake." And St. Peter, (1 Epist. chap. 2e ver. 13, 14, 15.) "Submit your selves to every Ordinance of Man, for the Lords sake, whether it bee to the King, as Supreme, or unto Governours, as to them that be sent by him for the punishment of evill doers, and for the praise of them that doe well; for so is the will of God." And again St. Paul (Tit. 3.1.) "Put men in mind to be subject to Principalities, and Powers, and to obey Magistrates." These Princes, and Powers, whereof St. Peter, and St. Paul here speak, were all Infidels; much more therefore we are to obey those Christians, whom God hath ordained to have Soveraign Power over us. How then can wee be obliged to doe any thing contrary to the Command of the King, or other Soveraign Representant of the Common-wealth, whereof we are members, and by whom we look to be protected? It is therefore manifest, that Christ hath not left to his Ministers in this world, unlesse they be also endued with Civill Authority, any authority to Command other men.
What Christians May Do To Avoid Persecution But what (may some object) if a King, or a Senate, or other Soveraign Person forbid us to beleeve in Christ? To this I answer, that such forbidding is of no effect, because Beleef, and Unbeleef never follow mens Commands. Faith is a gift of God, which Man can neither give, nor take away by promise of rewards, or menaces of torture. And if it be further asked, What if wee bee commanded by our lawfull Prince, to say with our tongue, wee beleeve not; must we obey such command? Profession with the tongue is but an externall thing, and no more then any other gesture whereby we signifie our obedience; and wherein a Christian, holding firmely in his heart the Faith of Christ, hath the same liberty which the Prophet Elisha allowed to Naaman the Syrian. Naaman was converted in his heart to the God of Israel; For hee saith (2 Kings 5.17.) "Thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering, nor sacrifice unto other Gods but unto the Lord. In this thing the Lord pardon thy servant, that when my Master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow my selfe in the house of Rimmon; when I bow my selfe in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy servant in this thing." This the Prophet approved, and bid him "Goe in peace." Here Naaman beleeved in his heart; but by bowing before the Idol Rimmon, he denyed the true God in effect, as much as if he had done it with his lips. But then what shall we answer to our Saviours saying, "Whosoever denyeth me before men, I will deny him before my Father which is in Heaven?" This we may say, that whatsoever a Subject, as Naaman was, is compelled to in obedience to his Soveraign, and doth it not in order to his own mind, but in order to the laws of his country, that action is not his, but his Soveraigns; nor is it he that in this case denyeth Christ before men, but his Governour, and the law of his countrey. If any man shall accuse this doctrine, as repugnant to true, and unfeigned Christianity; I ask him, in case there should be a subject in any Christian Common-wealth, that should be inwardly in his heart of the Mahometan Religion, whether if his Soveraign Command him to bee present at the divine service of the Christian Church, and that on pain of death, he think that Mamometan obliged in conscience to suffer death for that cause, rather than to obey that command of his lawful Prince. If he say, he ought rather to suffer death, then he authorizeth all private men, to disobey their Princes, in maintenance of their Religion, true, or false; if he say, he ought to bee obedient, then he alloweth to himself, that which hee denyeth to another, contrary to the words of our Saviour, "Whatsoever you would that men should doe unto you, that doe yee unto them;" and contrary to the Law of Nature, (which is the indubitable everlasting Law of God) "Do not to another, that which thou wouldest not he should doe unto thee."
Of Martyrs But what then shall we say of all those Martyrs we read of in the History of the Church, that they have needlessely cast away their lives? For answer hereunto, we are to distinguish the persons that have been for that cause put to death; whereof some have received a Calling to preach, and professe the Kingdome of Christ openly; others have had no such Calling, nor more has been required of them than their owne faith. The former sort, if they have been put to death, for bearing witnesse to this point, that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, were true Martyrs; For a Martyr is, (to give the true definition of the word) a Witnesse of the Resurrection of Jesus the Messiah; which none can be but those that conversed with him on earth, and saw him after he was risen: For a Witnesse must have seen what he testifieth, or else his testimony is not good. And that none but such, can properly be called Martyrs of Christ, is manifest out of the words of St. Peter, Act. 1.21, 22. "Wherefore of these men which have companyed with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out amongst us, beginning from the Baptisme of John unto that same day hee was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a Martyr (that is a Witnesse) with us of his Resurrection:" Where we may observe, that he which is to bee a Witnesse of the truth of the Resurrection of Christ, that is to say, of the truth of this fundamentall article of Christian Religion, that Jesus was the Christ, must be some Disciple that conversed with him, and saw him before, and after his Resurrection; and consequently must be one of his originall Disciples: whereas they which were not so, can Witnesse no more, but that their antecessors said it, and are therefore but Witnesses of other mens testimony; and are but second Martyrs, or Martyrs of Christs Witnesses.
He, that to maintain every doctrine which he himself draweth out of the History of our Saviours life, and of the Acts, or Epistles of the Apostles; or which he beleeveth upon the authority of a private man, wil oppose the Laws and Authority of the Civill State, is very far from being a Martyr of Christ, or a Martyr of his Martyrs. 'Tis one Article onely, which to die for, meriteth so honorable a name; and that Article is this, that Jesus Is The Christ; that is to say, He that hath redeemed us, and shall come again to give us salvation, and eternall life in his glorious Kingdome. To die for every tenet that serveth the ambition, or profit of the Clergy, is not required; nor is it the Death of the Witnesse, but the Testimony it self that makes the Martyr: for the word signifieth nothing else, but the man that beareth Witnesse, whether he be put to death for his testimony, or not.
Also he that is not sent to preach this fundamentall article, but taketh it upon him of his private authority, though he be a Witnesse, and consequently a Martyr, either primary of Christ, or secondary of his Apostles, Disciples, or their Successors; yet is he not obliged to suffer death for that cause; because being not called thereto, tis not required at his hands; nor ought hee to complain, if he loseth the reward he expecteth from those that never set him on work. None therefore can be a Martyr, neither of the first, nor second degree, that have not a warrant to preach Christ come in the flesh; that is to say, none, but such as are sent to the conversion of Infidels. For no man is a Witnesse to him that already beleeveth, and therefore needs no Witnesse; but to them that deny, or doubt, or have not heard it. Christ sent his Apostles, and his Seventy Disciples, with authority to preach; he sent not all that beleeved: And he sent them to unbeleevers; "I send you (saith he) as sheep amongst wolves;" not as sheep to other sheep.
Argument From The Points Of Their Commission Lastly the points of their Commission, as they are expressely set down in the Gospel, contain none of them any authority over the Congregation.
To Preach We have first (Mat. 10.) that the twelve Apostles were sent "to the lost sheep of the house of Israel," and commanded to Preach, "that the Kingdome of God was at hand." Now Preaching in the originall, is that act, which a Crier, Herald, or other Officer useth to doe publiquely in Proclaiming of a King. But a Crier hath not right to Command any man. And (Luke 10.2.) the seventy Disciples are sent out, "as Labourers, not as Lords of the Harvest;" and are bidden (verse 9.) to say, "The Kingdome of God is come nigh unto you;" and by Kingdome here is meant, not the Kingdome of Grace, but the Kingdome of Glory; for they are bidden to denounce it (ver. 11.) to those Cities which shall not receive them, as a threatning, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodome, than for such a City. And (Mat. 20.28.) our Saviour telleth his Disciples, that sought Priority of place, their Office was to minister, even as the Son of man came, not to be ministred unto, but to minister. Preachers therefore have not Magisteriall, but Ministeriall power: "Bee not called Masters, (saith our Saviour, Mat. 23.10) for one is your Master, even Christ."
And Teach Another point of their Commission, is, to Teach All Nations; as it is in Mat. 28.19. or as in St. Mark 16.15 "Goe into all the world, and Preach the Gospel to every creature." Teaching therefore, and Preaching is the same thing. For they that Proclaim the comming of a King, must withall make known by what right he commeth, if they mean men shall submit themselves unto him: As St. Paul did to the Jews of Thessalonica, when "three Sabbath days he reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening, and alledging that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead, and that this Jesus is Christ." But to teach out of the Old Testament that Jesus was Christ, (that is to say, King,) and risen from the dead, is not to say, that men are bound after they beleeve it, to obey those that tell them so, against the laws, and commands of their Soveraigns; but that they shall doe wisely, to expect the coming of Christ hereafter, in Patience, and Faith, with Obedience to their present Magistrates.
To Baptize; Another point of their Commission, is to Baptize, "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." What is Baptisme? Dipping into water. But what is it to Dip a man into the water in the name of any thing? The meaning of these words of Baptisme is this. He that is Baptized, is Dipped or Washed, as a sign of becomming a new man, and a loyall subject to that God, whose Person was represented in old time by Moses, and the High Priests, when he reigned over the Jews; and to Jesus Christ, his Sonne, God, and Man, that hath redeemed us, and shall in his humane nature Represent his Fathers Person in his eternall Kingdome after the Resurrection; and to acknowledge the Doctrine of the Apostles, who assisted by the Spirit of the Father, and of the Son, were left for guides to bring us into that Kingdome, to be the onely, and assured way thereunto. This, being our promise in Baptisme; and the Authority of Earthly Soveraigns being not to be put down till the day of Judgment; (for that is expressely affirmed by S. Paul 1 Cor. 15. 22, 23, 24. where he saith, "As in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive. But every man in his owne order, Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christs, at his comming; Then Commeth the end, when he shall have delivered up the Kingdome of God, even the Father, when he shall have put down all Rule, and all Authority and Power") it is manifest, that we do not in Baptisme constitute over us another authority, by which our externall actions are to be governed in this life; but promise to take the doctrine of the Apostles for our direction in the way to life eternall.
And To Forgive, And Retain Sinnes The Power of Remission, And Retention Of Sinnes, called also the Power of Loosing, and Binding, and sometimes the Keyes Of The Kingdome Of Heaven, is a consequence of the Authority to Baptize, or refuse to Baptize. For Baptisme is the Sacrament of Allegeance, of them that are to be received into the Kingdome of God; that is to say, into Eternall life; that is to say, to Remission of Sin: For as Eternall life was lost by the Committing , so it is recovered by the Remitting of mens Sins. The end of Baptisme is Remission of Sins: and therefore St. Peter, when they that were converted by his Sermon on the day of Pentecost, asked what they were to doe, advised them to "repent, and be Baptized in the name of Jesus, for the Remission of Sins." And therefore seeing to Baptize is to declare the Reception of men into Gods Kingdome; and to refuse to Baptize is to declare their Exclusion; it followeth, that the Power to declare them Cast out, or Retained in it, was given to the same Apostles, and their Substitutes, and Successors. And therefore after our Saviour had breathed upon them, saying, (John 20.22.) "Receive the Holy Ghost," hee addeth in the next verse, "Whose soever Sins ye Remit, they are Remitted unto them; and whose soever Sins ye Retain, they are Retained." By which words, is not granted an Authority to Forgive, or Retain Sins, simply and absolutely, as God Forgiveth or Retaineth them, who knoweth the Heart of man, and truth of his Penitence and Conversion; but conditionally, to the Penitent: And this Forgivenesse, or Absolution, in case the absolved have but a feigned Repentance, is thereby without other act, or sentence of the Absolvent, made void, and hath no effect at all to Salvation, but on the contrary, to the Aggravation of his Sin. Therefore the Apostles, and their Successors, are to follow but the outward marks of Repentance; which appearing, they have no Authority to deny Absolution; and if they appeare not, they have no authority to Absolve. The same also is to be observed in Baptisme: for to a converted Jew, or Gentile, the Apostles had not the Power to deny Baptisme; nor to grant it to the Un-penitent. But seeing no man is able to discern the truth of another mans Repentance, further than by externall marks, taken from his words, and actions, which are subject to hypocrisie; another question will arise, Who it is that is constituted Judge of those marks. And this question is decided by our Saviour himself; (Mat. 18. 15, 16, 17.) "If thy Brother (saith he) shall trespasse against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee, and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy Brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one, or two more. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the Church, let him be unto thee as an Heathen man, and a Publican." By which it is manifest, that the Judgment concerning the truth of Repentance, belonged not to any one Man, but to the Church, that is, to the Assembly of the Faithfull, or to them that have authority to bee their Representant. But besides the Judgment, there is necessary also the pronouncing of Sentence: And this belonged alwaies to the Apostle, or some Pastor of the Church, as Prolocutor; and of this our Saviour speaketh in the 18 verse, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven." And comformable hereunto was the practise of St. Paul (1 Cor. 5.3, 4, & 5.) where he saith, "For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have determined already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed; In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such a one to Satan;" that is to say, to cast him out of the Church, as a man whose Sins are not Forgiven. Paul here pronounceth the Sentence; but the Assembly was first to hear the Cause, (for St. Paul was absent;) and by consequence to condemn him. But in the same chapter (ver. 11, 12.) the Judgment in such a case is more expressely attributed to the Assembly: "But now I have written unto you, not to keep company, if any man that is called a Brother be a Fornicator, &c. with such a one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judg them that are without? Do not ye judg them that are within?" The Sentence therefore by which a man was put out of the Church, was pronounced by the Apostle, or Pastor; but the Judgment concerning the merit of the cause, was in the Church; that is to say, (as the times were before the conversion of Kings, and men that had Soveraign Authority in the Common-wealth,) the Assembly of the Christians dwelling in the same City; as in Corinth, in the Assembly of the Christians of Corinth.
Of Excommunication This part of the Power of the Keyes, by which men were thrust out from the Kingdome of God, is that which is called Excommunication; and to excommunicate, is in the Originall, Aposunagogon Poiein, To Cast Out Of The Synagogue; that is, out of the place of Divine service; a word drawn from the custom of the Jews, to cast out of their Synagogues, such as they thought in manners, or doctrine, contagious, as Lepers were by the Law of Moses separated from the congregation of Israel, till such time as they should be by the Priest pronounced clean.
The Use Of Excommunication Without Civill Power. The Use and Effect of Excommunication, whilest it was not yet strengthened with the Civill Power, was no more, than that they, who were not Excommunicate, were to avoid the company of them that were. It was not enough to repute them as Heathen, that never had been Christians; for with such they might eate, and drink; which with Excommunicate persons they might not do; as appeareth by the words of St. Paul, (1 Cor. 5. ver. 9, 10, &c.) where he telleth them, he had formerly forbidden them to "company with Fornicators;" but (because that could not bee without going out of the world,) he restraineth it to such Fornicators, and otherwise vicious persons, as were of the brethren; "with such a one" (he saith) they ought not to keep company, "no, not to eat." And this is no more than our Saviour saith (Mat. 18.17.) "Let him be to thee as a Heathen, and as a Publican." For Publicans (which signifieth Farmers, and Receivers of the revenue of the Common-wealth) were so hated, and detested by the Jews that were to pay for it, as that Publican and Sinner were taken amongst them for the same thing: Insomuch, as when our Saviour accepted the invitation of Zacchaeus a Publican; though it were to Convert him, yet it was objected to him as a Crime. And therefore, when our Saviour, to Heathen, added Publican, he did forbid them to eat with a man Excommunicate.
As for keeping them out of their Synagogues, or places of Assembly, they had no Power to do it, but that of the owner of the place, whether he were Christian, or Heathen. And because all places are by right, in the Dominion of the Common-wealth; as well hee that was Excommunicated, as hee that never was Baptized, might enter into them by Commission from the Civill Magistrate; as Paul before his conversion entred into their Synagogues at Damascus, (Acts 9.2.) to apprehend Christians, men and women, and to carry them bound to Jerusalem, by Commission from the High Priest.
Of No Effect Upon An Apostate By which it appears, that upon a Christian, that should become an Apostate, in a place where the Civill Power did persecute, or not assist the Church, the effect of Excommunication had nothing in it, neither of dammage in this world, nor of terrour: Not of terrour, because of their unbeleef; nor of dammage, because they returned thereby into the favour of the world; and in the world to come, were to be in no worse estate, then they which never had beleeved. The dammage redounded rather to the Church, by provocation of them they cast out, to a freer execution of their malice.
But Upon The Faithfull Only Excommunication therefore had its effect onely upon those, that beleeved that Jesus Christ was to come again in Glory, to reign over, and to judge both the quick, and the dead, and should therefore refuse entrance into his Kingdom, to those whose Sins were Retained; that is, to those that were Excommunicated by the Church. And thence it is that St. Paul calleth Excommunication, a delivery of the Excommunicate person to Satan. For without the Kingdom of Christ, all other Kingdomes after Judgment, are comprehended in the Kingdome of Satan. This is it that the faithfull stood in fear of, as long as they stood Excommunicate, that is to say, in an estate wherein their sins were not Forgiven. Whereby wee may understand, that Excommunication in the time that Christian Religion was not authorized by the Civill Power, was used onely for a correction of manners, not of errours in opinion: for it is a punishment, whereof none could be sensible but such as beleeved, and expected the coming again of our Saviour to judge the world; and they who so beleeved, needed no other opinion, but onely uprightnesse of life, to be saved.
For What Fault Lyeth Excommunication There Lyeth Excommunication for Injustice; as (Mat. 18.) If thy Brother offend thee, tell it him privately; then with Witnesses; lastly, tell the Church; and then if he obey not, "Let him be to thee as an Heathen man, and a Publican." And there lyeth Excommunication for a Scandalous Life, as (1 Cor. 5. 11.) "If any man that is called a Brother, be a Fornicator, or Covetous, or an Idolater, or a Drunkard, or an Extortioner, with such a one yee are not to eat." But to Excommunicate a man that held this foundation, that Jesus Was The Christ, for difference of opinion in other points, by which that Foundation was not destroyed, there appeareth no authority in the Scripture, nor example in the Apostles. There is indeed in St. Paul (Titus 3.10.) a text that seemeth to be to the contrary. "A man that is an Haeretique, after the first and second admonition, reject." For an Haeretique, is he, that being a member of the Church, teacheth neverthelesse some private opinion, which the Church has forbidden: and such a one, S. Paul adviseth Titus, after the first, and second admonition, to Reject. But to Reject (in this place) is not to Excommunicate the Man; But to Give Over Admonishing Him, To Let Him Alone, To Set By Disputing With Him, as one that is to be convinced onely by himselfe. The same Apostle saith (2 Tim. 2.23.) "Foolish and unlearned questions avoid;" The word Avoid in this place, and Reject in the former, is the same in the Originall, paraitou: but Foolish questions may bee set by without Excommunication. And again, (Tit. 3.93) "Avoid Foolish questions," where the Originall, periistaso, (set them by) is equivalent to the former word Reject. There is no other place that can so much as colourably be drawn, to countenance the Casting out of the Church faithfull men, such as beleeved the foundation, onely for a singular superstructure of their own, proceeding perhaps from a good & pious conscience. But on the contrary, all such places as command avoiding such disputes, are written for a Lesson to Pastors, (such as Timothy and Titus were) not to make new Articles of Faith, by determining every small controversie, which oblige men to a needlesse burthen of Conscience, or provoke them to break the union of the Church. Which Lesson the Apostles themselves observed well. S. Peter and S. Paul, though their controversie were great, (as we may read in Gal. 2.11.) yet they did not cast one another out of the Church. Neverthelesse, during the Apostles time, there were other Pastors that observed it not; As Diotrephes (3 John 9. &c.) who cast out of the Church, such as S. John himself thought fit to be received into it, out of a pride he took in Praeeminence; so early it was, that Vainglory, and Ambition had found entrance into the Church of Christ.
Of Persons Liable To Excommunication That a man be liable to Excommunication, there be many conditions requisite; as First, that he be a member of some Commonalty, that is to say, of some lawfull Assembly, that is to say, of some Christian Church, that hath power to judge of the cause for which hee is to bee Excommunicated. For where there is no community, there can bee no Excommunication; nor where there is no power to Judge, can there bee any power to give Sentence. From hence it followeth, that one Church cannot be Excommunicated by another: For either they have equall power to Excommunicate each other, in which case Excommunication is not Discipline, nor an act of Authority, but Schisme, and Dissolution of charity; or one is so subordinate to the other, as that they both have but one voice, and then they be but one Church; and the part Excommunicated, is no more a Church, but a dissolute number of individuall persons.
And because the sentence of Excommunication, importeth an advice, not to keep company, nor so much as to eat with him that is Excommunicate, if a Soveraign Prince, or Assembly bee Excommunicate, the sentence is of no effect. For all Subjects are bound to be in the company and presence of their own Soveraign (when he requireth it) by the law of Nature; nor can they lawfully either expell him from any place of his own Dominion, whether profane or holy; nor go out of his Dominion, without his leave; much lesse (if he call them to that honour,) refuse to eat with him. And as to other Princes and States, because they are not parts of one and the same congregation, they need not any other sentence to keep them from keeping company with the State Excommunicate: for the very Institution, as it uniteth many men into one Community; so it dissociateth one Community from another: so that Excommunication is not needfull for keeping Kings and States asunder; nor has any further effect then is in the nature of Policy it selfe; unlesse it be to instigate Princes to warre upon one another.
Nor is the Excommunication of a Christian Subject, that obeyeth the laws of his own Soveraign, whether Christian, or Heathen, of any effect. For if he beleeve that "Jesus is the Christ, he hath the Spirit of God" (1 Joh. 4.1.) "and God dwelleth in him, and he in God," (1 Joh. 4.15.) But hee that hath the Spirit of God; hee that dwelleth in God; hee in whom God dwelleth, can receive no harm by the Excommunication of men. Therefore, he that beleeveth Jesus to be the Christ, is free from all the dangers threatned to persons Excommunicate. He that beleeveth it not, is no Christian. Therefore a true and unfeigned Christian is not liable to Excommunication; Nor he also that is a professed Christian, till his Hypocrisy appear in his Manners, that is, till his behaviour bee contrary to the law of his Soveraign, which is the rule of Manners, and which Christ and his Apostles have commanded us to be subject to. For the Church cannot judge of Manners but by externall Actions, which Actions can never bee unlawfull, but when they are against the Law of the Common-wealth.
If a mans Father, or Mother, or Master bee Excommunicate, yet are not the Children forbidden to keep them Company, nor to Eat with them; for that were (for the most part) to oblige them not to eat at all, for want of means to get food; and to authorise them to disobey their Parents, and Masters, contrary to the Precept of the Apostles.
In summe, the Power of Excommunication cannot be extended further than to the end for which the Apostles and Pastors of the Church have their Commission from our Saviour; which is not to rule by Command and Coaction, but by Teaching and Direction of men in the way of Salvation in the world to come. And as a Master in any Science, may abandon his Scholar, when hee obstinately neglecteth the practise of his rules; but not accuse him of Injustice, because he was never bound to obey him: so a Teacher of Christian doctrine may abandon his Disciples that obstinately continue in an unchristian life; but he cannot say, they doe him wrong, because they are not obliged to obey him: For to a Teacher that shall so complain, may be applyed the Answer of God to Samuel in the like place, (1 Sam. 8.) "They have not rejected thee, but mee." Excommunication therefore when it wanteth the assistance of the Civill Power, as it doth, when a Christian State, or Prince is Excommunicate by a forain Authority, is without effect; and consequently ought to be without terrour. The name of Fulmen Excommunicationis (that is, the Thunderbolt Of Excommunication) proceeded from an imagination of the Bishop of Rome, which first used it, that he was King of Kings, as the Heathen made Jupiter King of the Gods; and assigned him in their Poems, and Pictures, a Thunderbolt, wherewith to subdue, and punish the Giants, that should dare to deny his power: Which imagination was grounded on two errours; one, that the Kingdome of Christ is of this world, contrary to our Saviours owne words, "My Kingdome is not of this world;" the other, that hee is Christs Vicar, not onely over his owne Subjects, but over all the Christians of the World; whereof there is no ground in Scripture, and the contrary shall bee proved in its due place.
Of The Interpreter Of The Scriptures Before Civill Soveraigns Became Christians St. Paul coming to Thessalonica, where was a Synagogue of the Jews, (Acts 17.2, 3.) "As his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath dayes reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, Opening and alledging, that Christ must needs have suffered and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus whom he preached was the Christ." The Scriptures here mentioned were the Scriptures of the Jews, that is, the Old Testament. The men, to whom he was to prove that Jesus was the Christ, and risen again from the dead, were also Jews, and did beleeve already, that they were the Word of God. Hereupon (as it is verse 4.) some of them beleeved, and (as it is in the 5. ver.) some beleeved not. What was the reason, when they all beleeved the Scripture, that they did not all beleeve alike; but that some approved, others disapproved the Interpretation of St. Paul that cited them; and every one Interpreted them to himself? It was this; S. Paul came to them without any Legall Commission, and in the manner of one that would not Command, but Perswade; which he must needs do, either by Miracles, as Moses did to the Israelites in Egypt, that they might see his Authority in Gods works; or by Reasoning from the already received Scripture, that they might see the truth of his doctrine in Gods Word. But whosoever perswadeth by reasoning from principles written, maketh him to whom hee speaketh Judge, both of the meaning of those principles, and also of the force of his inferences upon them. If these Jews of Thessalonica were not, who else was the Judge of what S. Paul alledged out of Scripture? If S. Paul, what needed he to quote any places to prove his doctrine? It had been enough to have said, I find it so in Scripture, that is to say, in your Laws, of which I am Interpreter, as sent by Christ. The Interpreter therefore of the Scripture, to whose Interpretation the Jews of Thessalonica were bound to stand, could be none: every one might beleeve, or not beleeve, according as the Allegations seemed to himselfe to be agreeable, or not agreeable to the meaning of the places alledged. And generally in all cases of the world, hee that pretendeth any proofe, maketh Judge of his proofe him to whom he addresseth his speech. And as to the case of the Jews in particular, they were bound by expresse words (Deut. 17.) to receive the determination of all hard questions, from the Priests and Judges of Israel for the time being. But this is to bee understood of the Jews that were yet unconverted.
For the Conversion of the Gentiles, there was no use of alledging the Scriptures, which they beleeved not. The Apostles therefore laboured by Reason to confute their Idolatry; and that done, to perswade them to the faith of Christ, by their testimony of his Life, and Resurrection. So that there could not yet bee any controversie concerning the authority to Interpret Scripture; seeing no man was obliged during his infidelity, to follow any mans Interpretation of any Scripture, except his Soveraigns Interpretation of the Laws of his countrey.
Let us now consider the Conversion it self, and see what there was therein, that could be cause of such an obligation. Men were converted to no other thing then to the Beleef of that which the Apostles preached: And the Apostles preached nothing, but that Jesus was the Christ, that is to say, the King that was to save them, and reign over them eternally in the world to come; and consequently that hee was not dead, but risen again from the dead, and gone up into Heaven, and should come again one day to judg the world, (which also should rise again to be judged,) and reward every man according to his works. None of them preached that himselfe, or any other Apostle was such an Interpreter of the Scripture, as all that became Christians, ought to take their Interpretation for Law. For to Interpret the Laws, is part of the Administration of a present Kingdome; which the Apostles had not. They prayed then, and all other Pastors ever since, "Let thy Kingdome come;" and exhorted their Converts to obey their then Ethnique Princes. The New Testament was not yet published in one Body. Every of the Evangelists was Interpreter of his own Gospel; and every Apostle of his own Epistle; And of the Old Testament, our Saviour himselfe saith to the Jews (John 5. 39.) "Search the Scriptures; for in them yee thinke to have eternall life, and they are they that testifie of me." If hee had not meant they should Interpret them, hee would not have bidden them take thence the proof of his being the Christ; he would either have Interpreted them himselfe, or referred them to the Interpretation of the Priests.
When a difficulty arose, the Apostles and Elders of the Church assembled themselves together, and determined what should bee preached, and taught, and how they should Interpret the Scriptures to the People; but took not from the People the liberty to read, and Interpret them to themselves. The Apostles sent divers Letters to the Churches, and other Writings for their instruction; which had been in vain, if they had not allowed them to Interpret, that is, to consider the meaning of them. And as it was in the Apostles time, it must be till such time as there should be Pastors, that could authorise an Interpreter, whose Interpretation should generally be stood to: But that could not be till Kings were Pastors, or Pastors Kings.
Of The Power To Make Scripture Law There be two senses, wherein a Writing may be said to be Canonicall; for Canon, signifieth a Rule; and a Rule is a Precept, by which a man is guided, and directed in any action whatsoever. Such Precepts, though given by a Teacher to his Disciple, or a Counsellor to his friend, without power to Compell him to observe them, are neverthelesse Canons; because they are Rules: But when they are given by one, whom he that receiveth them is bound to obey, then are those Canons, not onely Rules, but Laws: The question therefore here, is of the Power to make the Scriptures (which are the Rules of Christian Faith) Laws.
Of The Ten Commandements That part of the Scripture, which was first Law, was the Ten Commandements, written in two Tables of Stone, and delivered by God himselfe to Moses; and by Moses made known to the people. Before that time there was no written Law of God, who as yet having not chosen any people to bee his peculiar Kingdome, had given no Law to men, but the Law of Nature, that is to say, the Precepts of Naturall Reason, written in every mans own heart. Of these two Tables, the first containeth the law of Soveraignty; 1. That they should not obey, nor honour the Gods of other Nations, in these words, "Non habebis Deos alienos coram me," that is, "Thou shalt not have for Gods, the Gods that other Nations worship; but onely me:" whereby they were forbidden to obey, or honor, as their King and Governour, any other God, than him that spake unto them then by Moses, and afterwards by the High Priest. 2. That they "should not make any Image to represent him;" that is to say, they were not to choose to themselves, neither in
heaven, nor in earth, any Representative of their own fancying, but obey Moses and Aaron, whom he had appointed to that office. 3. That "they should not take the Name of God in vain;" that is, they should not speak rashly of their King, nor dispute his Right, nor the commissions of Moses and Aaron, his Lieutenants. 4. That "they should every Seventh day abstain from their ordinary labour," and employ that time in doing him Publique Honor. The second Table containeth the Duty of one man towards another, as "To honor Parents; Not to kill; Not to Commit Adultery; Not to steale; Not to corrupt Judgment by false witnesse;" and finally, "Not so much as to designe in their heart the doing of any injury one to another." The question now is, Who it was that gave to these written Tables the obligatory force of Lawes. There is no doubt but that they were made Laws by God himselfe: But because a Law obliges not, nor is Law to any, but to them that acknowledge it to be the act of the Soveraign, how could the people of Israel that were forbidden to approach the Mountain to hear what God said to Moses, be obliged to obedience to all those laws which Moses propounded to them? Some of them were indeed the Laws of Nature, as all the Second Table; and therefore to be acknowledged for Gods Laws; not to the Israelites alone, but to all people: But of those that were peculiar to the Israelites, as those of the first Table, the question remains; saving that they had obliged themselves, presently after the propounding of them, to obey Moses, in these words (Exod. 20.19.) "Speak them thou to us, and we will hear thee; but let not God speak to us, lest we die." It was therefore onely Moses then, and after him the High Priest, whom (by Moses) God declared should administer this his peculiar Kingdome, that had on Earth, the power to make this short Scripture of the Decalogue to bee Law in the Common-wealth of Israel. But Moses, and Aaron, and the succeeding High Priests were the Civill Soveraigns. Therefore hitherto, the Canonizing, or making of the Scripture Law, belonged to the Civill Soveraigne.
Of The Judicial, And Leviticall Law The Judiciall Law, that is to say, the Laws that God prescribed to the Magistrates of Israel, for the rule of their administration of Justice, and of the Sentences, or Judgments they should pronounce, in Pleas between man and man; and the Leviticall Law, that is to say, the rule that God prescribed touching the Rites and Ceremonies of the Priests and Levites, were all delivered to them by Moses onely; and therefore also became Lawes, by vertue of the same promise of obedience to Moses. Whether these laws were then written, or not written, but dictated to the People by Moses (after his forty dayes being with God in the Mount) by word of mouth, is not expressed in the Text; but they were all positive Laws, and equivalent to holy Scripture, and made Canonicall by Moses the Civill Soveraign.
The Second Law After the Israelites were come into the Plains of Moab over against Jericho, and ready to enter into the land of Promise, Moses to the former Laws added divers others; which therefore are called Deuteronomy: that is, Second Laws. And are (as it is written, Deut. 29.1.) "The words of a Covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Children of Israel, besides the Covenant which he made with them in Horeb." For having explained those former Laws, in the beginning of the Book of Deuteronomy, he addeth others, that begin at the 12. Cha. and continue to the end of the 26. of the same Book. This Law (Deut. 27.1.) they were commanded to write upon great stones playstered over, at their passing over Jordan: This Law also was written by Moses himself in a Book; and delivered into the hands of the "Priests, and to the Elders of Israel," (Deut. 31.9.) and commanded (ve. 26.) "to be put in the side of the Arke;" for in the Ark it selfe was nothing but the Ten Commandements. This was the Law, which Moses (Deuteronomy 17.18.) commanded the Kings of Israel should keep a copie of: And this is the Law, which having been long time lost, was found again in the Temple in the time of Josiah, and by his authority received for the Law of God. But both Moses at the writing, and Josiah at the recovery thereof, had both of them the Civill Soveraignty. Hitherto therefore the Power of making Scripture Canonicall, was in the Civill Soveraign.
Besides this Book of the Law, there was no other Book, from the time of Moses, till after the Captivity, received amongst the Jews for the Law of God. For the Prophets (except a few) lived in the time of the Captivity it selfe; and the rest lived but a little before it; and were so far from having their Prophecies generally received for Laws, as that their persons were persecuted, partly by false Prophets, and partly by the Kings which were seduced by them. And this Book it self, which was confirmed by Josiah for the Law of God, and with it all the History of the Works of God, was lost in the Captivity, and sack of the City of Jerusalem, as appears by that of 2 Esdras 14.21. "Thy Law is burnt; therefor no man knoweth the things that are done of thee, of the works that shall begin." And before the Captivity, between the time when the Law was lost, (which is not mentioned in the Scripture, but may probably be thought to be the time of Rehoboam, when Shishak King of Egypt took the spoils of the Temple,(1 Kings 14.26.)) and the time of Josiah, when it was found againe, they had no written Word of God, but ruled according to their own discretion, or by the direction of such, as each of them esteemed Prophets.
The Old Testament, When Made Canonicall From whence we may inferre, that the Scriptures of the Old Testament, which we have at this day, were not Canonicall, nor a Law unto the Jews, till the renovation of their Covenant with God at their return from the Captivity, and restauration of their Common-wealth under Esdras. But from that time forward they were accounted the Law of the Jews, and for such translated into Greek by Seventy Elders of Judaea, and put into the Library of Ptolemy at Alexandria, and approved for the Word of God. Now seeing Esdras was the High Priest, and the High Priest was their Civill Soveraigne, it is manifest, that the Scriptures were never made Laws, but by the Soveraign Civill Power.
The New Testament Began To Be Canonicall Under Christian Soveraigns By the Writings of the Fathers that lived in the time before that Christian Religion was received, and authorised by Constantine the Emperour, we may find, that the Books wee now have of the New Testament, were held by the Christians of that time (except a few, in respect of whose paucity the rest were called the Catholique Church, and others Haeretiques) for the dictates of the Holy Ghost; and consequently for the Canon, or Rule of Faith: such was the reverence and opinion they had of their Teachers; as generally the reverence that the Disciples bear to their first Masters, in all manner of doctrine they receive from them, is not small. Therefore there is no doubt, but when S. Paul wrote to the Churches he had converted; or any other Apostle, or Disciple of Christ, to those which had then embraced Christ, they received those their Writings for the true Christian Doctrine. But in that time, when not the Power and Authority of the Teacher, but the Faith of the Hearer caused them to receive it, it was not the Apostles that made their own Writings Canonicall, but every Convert made them so to himself.
But the question here, is not what any Christian made a Law, or Canon to himself, (which he might again reject, by the same right he received it;) but what was so made a Canon to them, as without injustice they could not doe any thing contrary thereunto. That the New Testament should in this sense be Canonicall, that is to say, a Law in any place where the Law of the Common-wealth had not made it so, is contrary to the nature of a Law. For a Law, (as hath been already shewn) is the Commandement of that Man, or Assembly, to whom we have given Soveraign Authority, to make such Rules for the direction of our actions, as hee shall think fit; and to punish us, when we doe any thing contrary to the same. When therefore any other man shall offer unto us any other Rules, which the Soveraign Ruler hath not prescribed, they are but Counsell, and Advice; which, whether good, or bad, hee that is counselled, may without injustice refuse to observe, and when contrary to the Laws already established, without injustice cannot observe, how good soever he conceiveth it to be. I say, he cannot in this case observe the same in his actions, nor in his discourse with other men; though he may without blame beleeve the his private Teachers, and wish he had the liberty to practise their advice; and that it were publiquely received for Law. For internall faith is in its own nature invisible, and consequently exempted from all humane jurisdiction; whereas the words, and actions that proceed from it, as breaches of our Civil obedience, are injustice both before God and Man. Seeing then our Saviour hath denyed his Kingdome to be in this world, seeing he hath said, he came not to judge, but to save the world, he hath not subjected us to other Laws than those of the Common-wealth; that is, the Jews to the Law of Moses, (which he saith (Mat. 5.) he came not to destroy, but to fulfill,) and other Nations to the Laws of their severall Soveraigns, and all men to the Laws of Nature; the observing whereof, both he himselfe, and his Apostles have in their teaching recommended to us, as a necessary condition of being admitted by him in the last day into his eternall Kingdome, wherein shall be Protection, and Life everlasting. Seeing then our Saviour, and his Apostles, left not new Laws to oblige us in this world, but new Doctrine to prepare us for the next; the Books of the New Testament, which containe that Doctrine, untill obedience to them was commanded, by them that God hath given power to on earth to be Legislators, were not obligatory Canons, that is, Laws, but onely good, and safe advice, for the direction of sinners in the way to salvation, which every man might take, and refuse at his owne perill, without injustice.
Again, our Saviour Christs Commission to his Apostles, and Disciples, was to Proclaim his Kingdome (not present, but) to come; and to Teach all Nations; and to Baptize them that should beleeve; and to enter into the houses of them that should receive them; and where they were not received, to shake off the dust of their feet against them; but not to call for fire from heaven to destroy them, nor to compell them to obedience by the Sword. In all which there is nothing of Power, but of Perswasion. He sent them out as Sheep unto Wolves, not as Kings to their Subjects. They had not in Commission to make Laws; but to obey, and teach obedience to Laws made; and consequently they could not make their Writings obligatory Canons, without the help of the Soveraign Civill Power. And therefore the Scripture of the New Testament is there only Law, where the lawfull Civill Power hath made it so. And there also the King, or Soveraign, maketh it a Law to himself; by which he subjecteth himselfe, not to the Doctor, or Apostle, that converted him, but to God himself, and his Son Jesus Christ, as immediately as did the Apostles themselves.
Of The Power Of Councells To Make The Scripture Law That which may seem to give the New Testament, in respect of those that have embraced Christian Doctrine, the force of Laws, in the times, and places of persecution, is the decrees they made amongst themselves in their Synods. For we read (Acts 15.28.) the stile of the Councell of the Apostles, the Elders, and the whole Church, in this manner, "It seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burthen than these necessary things, &C." which is a stile that signifieth a Power to lay a burthen on them that had received their Doctrine. Now "to lay a burthen on another," seemeth the same that "to oblige;" and therefore the Acts of that Councell were Laws to the then Christians. Neverthelesse, they were no more Laws than are these other Precepts, "Repent, Be Baptized; Keep the Commandements; Beleeve the Gospel; Come unto me; Sell all that thou hast; Give it to the poor;" and "Follow me;" which are not Commands, but Invitations, and Callings of men to Christianity, like that of Esay 55.1. "Ho, every man that thirsteth, come yee to the waters, come, and buy wine and milke without money." For first, the Apostles power was no other than that of our Saviour, to invite men to embrace the Kingdome of God; which they themselves acknowledged for a Kingdome (not present, but) to come; and they that have no Kingdome, can make no Laws. And secondly, if their Acts of Councell, were Laws, they could not without sin be disobeyed. But we read not any where, that they who received not the Doctrine of Christ, did therein sin; but that they died in their sins; that is, that their sins against the Laws to which they owed obedience, were not pardoned. And those Laws were the Laws of Nature, and the Civill Laws of the State, whereto every Christian man had by pact submitted himself. And therefore by the Burthen, which the Apostles might lay on such as they had converted, are not to be understood Laws, but Conditions, proposed to those that sought Salvation; which they might accept, or refuse at their own perill, without a new sin, though not without the hazard of being condemned, and excluded out of the Kingdome of God for their sins past. And therefore of Infidels, S. John saith not, the wrath of God shall "come" upon them, but "the wrath of God remaineth upon them;" and not that they shall be condemned; but that "they are condemned already."(John 3.36, 3.18) Nor can it be conceived, that the benefit of Faith, "is Remission of sins" unlesse we conceive withall, that the dammage of Infidelity, is "the Retention of the same sins."
But to what end is it (may some man aske), that the Apostles, and other Pastors of the Church, after their time, should meet together, to agree upon what Doctrine should be taught, both for Faith and Manners, if no man were obliged to observe their Decrees? To this may be answered, that the Apostles, and Elders of that Councell, were obliged even by their entrance into it, to teach the Doctrine therein concluded, and decreed to be taught, so far forth, as no precedent Law, to which they were obliged to yeeld obedience, was to the contrary; but not that all other Christians should be obliged to observe, what they taught. For though they might deliberate what each of them should teach; yet they could not deliberate what others should do, unless their Assembly had had a Legislative Power; which none could have but Civill Soveraigns. For though God be the Soveraign of all the world, we are not bound to take for his Law, whatsoever is propounded by every man in his name; nor any thing contrary to the Civill Law, which God hath expressely commanded us to obey.
Seeing then the Acts of Councell of the Apostles, were then no Laws, but Councells; much lesse are Laws the Acts of any other Doctors, or Councells since, if assembled without the Authority of the Civill Soveraign. And consequently, the Books of the New Testament, though most perfect Rules of Christian Doctrine, could not be made Laws by any other authority then that of Kings, or Soveraign Assemblies.
The first Councell, that made the Scriptures we now have, Canon, is not extant: For that Collection the first Bishop of Rome after S. Peter, is subject to question: For though the Canonicall books bee there reckoned up; yet these words, "Sint vobis omnibus Clericis & Laicis Libris venerandi, &c." containe a distinction of Clergy, and Laity, that was not in use so neer St. Peters time. The first Councell for setling the Canonicall Scripture, that is extant, is that of Laodicea, Can. 59. which forbids the reading of other Books then those in the Churches; which is a Mandate that is not addressed to every Christian, but to those onely that had authority to read any publiquely in the Church; that is, to Ecclesiastiques onely.
Of The Right Of Constituting Ecclesiasticall Officers In The Time Of The Apostles Of Ecclesiastical Officers in the time of the Apostles, some were Magisteriall, some Ministeriall. Magisteriall were the Offices of preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to Infidels; of administring the Sacraments, and Divine Service; and of teaching the Rules of Faith and Manners to those that were converted. Ministeriall was the Office of Deacons, that is, of them that were appointed to the administration of the secular necessities of the Church, at such time as they lived upon a common stock of mony, raised out of the voluntary contributions of the faithfull.
Amongst the Officers Magisteriall, the first, and principall were the Apostles; whereof there were at first but twelve; and these were chosen and constituted by our Saviour himselfe; and their Office was not onely to Preach, Teach, and Baptize, but also to be Martyrs, (Witnesses of our Saviours Resurrection.) This Testimony, was the specificall, and essentiall mark; whereby the Apostleship was distinguished from other Magistracy Ecclesiasticall; as being necessary for an Apostle, either to have seen our Saviour after his Resurrection, or to have conversed with him before, and seen his works, and other arguments of his Divinity, whereby they might be taken for sufficient Witnesses. And therefore at the election of a new Apostle in the place of Judas Iscariot, S. Peter saith (Acts 1.21,22.) "Of these men that have companyed with us, all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the Baptisme of John unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a Witnesse with us of his Resurrection:" where, by this word Must, is implyed a necessary property of an Apostle, to have companyed with the first and prime Apostles in the time that our Saviour manifested himself in the flesh.
Matthias Made Apostle By The Congregation. The first Apostle, of those which were not constituted by Christ in the time he was upon the Earth, was Matthias, chosen in this manner: There were assembled together in Jerusalem about 120 Christians (Acts 1.15.) These appointed two, Joseph the Just, and Matthias (ver. 23.) and caused lots to be drawn; "and (ver. 26.) the Lot fell on Matthias and he was numbred with the Apostles." So that here we see the ordination of this Apostle, was the act of the Congregation, and not of St. Peter, nor of the eleven, otherwise then as Members of the Assembly.
Paul And Barnabas Made Apostles By The Church Of Antioch After him there was never any other Apostle ordained, but Paul and Barnabas, which was done (as we read Acts 13.1,2,3.) in this manner. "There were in the Church that was at Antioch, certaine Prophets, and Teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen; which had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministred unto the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, 'Separate mee Barnabas, and Saul for the worke whereunto I have called them.' And when they had fasted, and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away."
By which it is manifest, that though they were called by the Holy Ghost, their Calling was declared unto them, and their Mission authorized by the particular Church of Antioch. And that this their calling was to the Apostleship, is apparent by that, that they are both called (Acts 14.14.) Apostles: And that it was by vertue of this act of the Church of Antioch, that they were Apostles, S. Paul declareth plainly (Rom. 1.1.) in that hee useth the word, which the Holy Ghost used at his calling: For he stileth himself, "An Apostle separated unto the Gospel of God;" alluding to the words of the Holy Ghost, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul, &c." But seeing the work of an Apostle, was to be a Witnesse of the Resurrection of Christ, and man may here aske, how S. Paul that conversed not with our Saviour before his passion, could know he was risen. To which it is easily answered, that our Saviour himself appeared to him in the way to Damascus, from Heaven, after his Ascension; "and chose him for a vessell to bear his name before the Gentiles, and Kings, and Children of Israel;" and consequently (having seen the Lord after his passion) was a competent Witnesse of his Resurrection: And as for Barnabas, he was a Disciple before the Passion. It is therefore evident that Paul, and Barnabas were Apostles; and yet chosen, and authorized (not by the first Apostles alone, but) by the Church of Antioch; as Matthias was chosen, and authorized by the Church of Jerusalem.
What Offices In The Church Are Magisteriall Bishop, a word formed in our language, out of the Greek Episcopus, signifieth an overseer, or Superintendent of any businesse, and particularly a Pastor or Shepherd; and thence by metaphor was taken, not only amongst the Jews that were originally Shepherds, but also amongst the Heathen, to signifie the Office of a King, or any other Ruler, or Guide of People, whether he ruled by Laws, or Doctrine. And so the Apostles were the first Christian Bishops, instituted by Christ himselfe: in which sense the Apostleship of Judas is called (Acts 1.20.) his Bishoprick. And afterwards, when there were constituted Elders in the Christian Churches, with charge to guide Christs flock by their doctrine, and advice; these Elders were also called Bishops. Timothy was an Elder (which word Elder, in the New Testament is a name of Office, as well as of Age;) yet he was also a Bishop. And Bishops were then content with the Title of Elders. Nay S. John himselfe, the Apostle beloved of our Lord, beginneth his Second Epistle with these words, "The Elder to the Elect Lady." By which it is evident, that Bishop, Pastor, Elder, Doctor, that is to say, Teacher, were but so many divers names of the same Office in the time of the Apostles. For there was then no government by Coercion, but only by Doctrine, and Perswading. The Kingdome of God was yet to come, in a new world; so that there could be no authority to compell in any Church, till the Common-wealth had embraced the Christian Faith; and consequently no diversity of Authority, though there were diversity of Employments.
Besides these Magisteriall employments in the Church, namely Apostles, Bishops, Elders, Pastors, and Doctors, whose calling was to proclaim Christ to the Jews, and Infidels, and to direct, and teach those that beleeved we read in the New Testament of no other. For by the names of Evangelists and Prophets, is not signified any Office, but severall Gifts, by which severall men were profitable to the Church: as Evangelists, by writing the life and acts of our Saviour; such as were S. Matthew and S. John Apostles, and S. Marke and S. Luke Disciples, and whosoever else wrote of that subject, (as S. Thomas, and S. Barnabas are said to have done, though the Church have not received the Books that have gone under their names:) and as Prophets, by the gift of interpreting the Old Testament; and sometimes by declaring their speciall Revelations to the Church. For neither these gifts, nor the gifts of Languages, nor the gift of Casting out Devils, or of Curing other diseases, nor any thing else did make an Officer in the Church, save onely the due calling and election to the charge of Teaching.
Ordination Of Teachers As the Apostles, Matthias, Paul, and Barnabas, were not made by our Saviour himself, but were elected by the Church, that is, by the Assembly of Christians; namely, Matthias by the Church of Jerusalem, and Paul, and Barnabas by the Church of Antioch; so were also the Presbyters, and Pastors in other Cities, elected by the Churches of those Cities. For proof whereof, let us consider, first, how S. Paul proceeded in the Ordination of Presbyters, in the Cities where he had converted men to the Christian Faith, immediately after he and Barnabas had received their Apostleship. We read (Acts 14.23.) that "they ordained Elders in every Church;" which at first sight may be taken for an Argument, that they themselves chose, and gave them their authority: But if we consider the Originall text, it will be manifest, that they were authorized, and chosen by the Assembly of the Christians of each City. For the words there are, "cheirotonesantes autoispresbuterous kat ekklesian," that is, "When they had Ordained them Elders by the Holding up of Hands in every Congregation." Now it is well enough known, that in all those Cities, the manner of choosing Magistrates, and Officers, was by plurality of suffrages; and (because the ordinary way of distinguishing the Affirmative Votes from the Negatives, was by Holding up of Hands) to ordain an Officer in any of the Cities, was no more but to bring the people together, to elect them by plurality of Votes, whether it were by plurality of elevated hands, or by plurality of voices, or plurality of balls, or beans, or small stones, of which every man cast in one, into a vessell marked for the Affirmative, or Negative; for divers Cities had divers customes in that point. It was therefore the Assembly that elected their own Elders: the Apostles were onely Presidents of the Assembly to call them together for such Election, and to pronounce them Elected, and to give them the benediction, which now is called Consecration. And for this cause they that were Presidents of the Assemblies, as (in the absence of the Apostles) the Elders were, were called proestotes, and in Latin Antistities; which words signifie the Principall Person of the Assembly, whose office was to number the Votes, and to declare thereby who was chosen; and where the Votes were equall, to decide the matter in question, by adding his own; which is the Office of a President in Councell. And (because all the Churches had their Presbyters ordained in the same manner,) where the word is Constitute, (as Titus 1.5.) "ina katasteses kata polin presbuterous," "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest constitute Elders in every City," we are to understand the same thing; namely, that hee should call the faithfull together, and ordain them Presbyters by plurality of suffrages. It had been a strange thing, if in a Town, where men perhaps had never seen any Magistrate otherwise chosen then by an Assembly, those of the Town becomming Christians, should so much as have thought on any other way of Election of their Teachers, and Guides, that is to say, of their Presbyters, (otherwise called Bishops,) then this of plurality of suffrages, intimated by S. Paul (Acts 14.23.) in the word Cheirotonesantes: Nor was there ever any choosing of Bishops, (before the Emperors found it necessary to regulate them in order to the keeping of the peace amongst them,) but by the Assemblies of the Christians in every severall Town.
The same is also confirmed by the continuall practise even to this day, in the Election of the Bishops of Rome. For if the Bishop of any place, had the right of choosing another, to the succession of the Pastorall Office, in any City, at such time as he went from thence, to plant the same in another place; much more had he had the Right, to appoint his successour in that place, in which he last resided and dyed: And we find not, that ever any Bishop of Rome appointed his successor. For they were a long time chosen by the People, as we may see by the sedition raised about the Election, between Damascus, and Ursinicus; which Ammianus Marcellinus saith was so great, that Juventius the Praefect, unable to keep the peace between them, was forced to goe out of the City; and that there were above an hundred men found dead upon that occasion in the Church it self. And though they afterwards were chosen, first, by the whole Clergy of Rome, and afterwards by the Cardinalls; yet never any was appointed to the succession by his predecessor. If therefore they pretended no right to appoint their successors, I think I may reasonably conclude, they had no right to appoint the new power; which none could take from the Church to bestow on them, but such as had a lawfull authority, not onely to Teach, but to Command the Church; which none could doe, but the Civill Soveraign.
Ministers Of The Church What The word Minister in the Originall Diakonos signifieth one that voluntarily doth the businesse of another man; and differeth from a Servant onely in this, that Servants are obliged by their condition, to what is commanded them; whereas Ministers are obliged onely by their undertaking, and bound therefore to no more than that they have undertaken: So that both they that teach the Word of God, and they that administer the secular affairs of the Church, are both Ministers, but they are Ministers of different Persons. For the Pastors of the Church, called (Acts 6.4.) "The Ministers of the Word," are Ministers of Christ, whose Word it is: But the Ministery of a Deacon, which is called (verse 2. of the same Chapter) "Serving of Tables," is a service done to the Church, or Congregation: So that neither any one man, nor the whole Church, could ever of their Pastor say, he was their Minister; but of a Deacon, whether the charge he undertook were to serve tables, or distribute maintenance to the Christians, when they lived in each City on a common stock, or upon collections, as in the first times, or to take a care of the House of Prayer, or of the Revenue, or other worldly businesse of the Church, the whole Congregation might properly call him their Minister.
For their employment, as Deacons, was to serve the Congregation; though upon occasion they omitted not to preach the Gospel, and maintain the Doctrine of Christ, every one according to his gifts, as S. Steven did; and both to Preach, and Baptize, as Philip did: For that Philip, which (Act. 8. 5.) Preached the Gospel at Samaria, and (verse 38.) Baptized the Eunuch, was Philip the Deacon, not Philip the Apostle. For it is manifest (verse 1.) that when Philip preached in Samaria, the Apostles were at Jerusalem, and (verse 14.) "When they heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, sent Peter and John to them;" by imposition of whose hands, they that were Baptized (verse 15.) received (which before by the Baptisme of Philip they had not received) the Holy Ghost. For it was necessary for the conferring of the Holy Ghost, that their Baptisme should be administred, or confirmed by a Minister of the Word, not by a Minister of the Church. And therefore to confirm the Baptisme of those that Philip the Deacon had Baptized, the Apostles sent out of their own number from Jerusalem to Samaria, Peter, and John; who conferred on them that before were but Baptized, those graces that were signs of the Holy Spirit, which at that time did accompany all true Beleevers; which what they were may be understood by that which S. Marke saith (chap. 16.17.) "These signs follow them that beleeve in my Name; they shall cast out Devills; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up Serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." This to doe, was it that Philip could not give; but the Apostles could, and (as appears by this place) effectually did to every man that truly beleeved, and was by a Minister of Christ himself Baptized: which power either Christs Ministers in this age cannot conferre, or else there are very few true Beleevers, or Christ hath very few Ministers.
And How Chosen What: That the first Deacons were chosen, not by the Apostles, but by a Congregation of the Disciples; that is, of Christian men of all sorts, is manifest out of Acts 6. where we read that the Twelve, after the number of Disciples was multiplyed, called them together, and having told them, that it was not fit that the Apostles should leave the Word of God, and serve tables, said unto them (verse 3.) "Brethren looke you out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost, and of Wisdome, whom we may appoint over this businesse." Here it is manifest, that though the Apostles declared them elected; yet the Congregation chose them; which also, (verse the fift) is more expressely said, where it is written, that "the saying pleased the multitude, and they chose seven, &c."
Of Ecclesiasticall Revenue, Under The Law Of Moses Under the Old Testament, the Tribe of Levi were onely capable of the Priesthood, and other inferiour Offices of the Church. The land was divided amongst the other Tribes (Levi excepted,) which by the subdivision of the Tribe of Joseph, into Ephraim and Manasses, were still twelve. To the Tribe of Levi were assigned certain Cities for their habitation, with the suburbs for their cattell: but for their portion, they were to have the tenth of the fruits of the land of their Brethren. Again, the Priests for their maintenance had the tenth of that tenth, together with part of the oblations, and sacrifices. For God had said to Aaron (Numb. 18. 20.) "Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part amongst them, I am thy part, and thine inheritance amongst the Children of Israel." For God being then King, and having constituted the Tribe of Levi to be his Publique Ministers, he allowed them for their maintenance, the Publique revenue, that is to say, the part that God had reserved to himself; which were Tythes, and Offerings: and that it is which is meant, where God saith, I am thine inheritance. And therefore to the Levites might not unfitly be attributed the name of Clergy from Kleros, which signifieth Lot, or Inheritance; not that they were heirs of the Kingdome of God, more than other; but that Gods inheritance, was their maintenance. Now seeing in this time God himself was their King, and Moses, Aaron, and the succeeding High Priests were his Lieutenants; it is manifest, that the Right of Tythes, and Offerings was constituted by the Civill Power.
After their rejection of God in the demand of a King, they enjoyed still the same revenue; but the Right thereof was derived from that, that the Kings did never take it from them: for the Publique Revenue was at the disposing of him that was the Publique Person; and that (till the Captivity) was the King. And again, after the return from the Captivity, they paid their Tythes as before to the Priest. Hitherto therefore Church Livings were determined by the Civill Soveraign.
In Our Saviours Time, And After Of the maintenance of our Saviour, and his Apostles, we read onely they had a Purse, (which was carried by Judas Iscariot;) and, that of the Apostles, such as were Fisher-men, did sometimes use their trade; and that when our Saviour sent the Twelve Apostles to Preach, he forbad them "to carry Gold, and Silver, and Brasse in their purses, for that the workman is worthy of his hire:" (Mat. 10. 9,10.) By which it is probable, their ordinary maintenance was not unsuitable to their employment; for their employment was (ver. 8.) "freely to give, because they had freely received;" and their maintenance was the Free Gift of those that beleeved the good tyding they carryed about of the coming of the Messiah their Saviour. To which we may adde, that which was contributed out of gratitude, by such as our Saviour had healed of diseases; of which are mentioned "Certain women (Luke 8. 2,3.) which had been healed of evill spirits and infirmities; Mary Magdalen, out of whom went seven Devills; and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herods Steward; and Susanna, and many others, which ministred unto him of their substance.
After our Saviours Ascension, the Christians of every City lived in Common, (Acts 4. 34.) upon the mony which was made of the sale of their lands and possessions, and laid down at the feet of the Apostles, of good will, not of duty; for "whilest the Land remained (saith S. Peter to Ananias Acts 5.4.) was it not thine? and after it was sold, was it not in thy power?" which sheweth he needed not to have saved his land, nor his money by lying, as not being bound to contribute any thing at all, unlesse he had pleased. And as in the time of the Apostles, so also all the time downward, till after Constantine the Great, we shall find, that the maintenance of the Bishops, and Pastors of the Christian Church, was nothing but the voluntary contribution of them that had embraced their Doctrine. There was yet no mention of Tythes: but such was in the time of Constantine, and his Sons, the affection of Christians to their Pastors, as Ammianus Marcellinus saith (describing the sedition of Damasus and Ursinicus about the Bishopricke,) that it was worth their contention, in that the Bishops of those times by the liberality of their flock, and especially of Matrons, lived splendidly, were carryed in Coaches, and sumptuous in their fare and apparell.
The Ministers Of The Gospel Lived On The Benevolence Of Their Flocks But here may some ask, whether the Pastor were then bound to live upon voluntary contribution, as upon almes, "For who (saith S. Paul 1 Cor. 9. 7.) goeth to war at his own charges? or who feedeth a flock, and eatheth not of the milke of the flock?" And again, (1 Cor. 9. 13.) "Doe ye not know that they which minister about holy things, live of the things of the Temple; and they which wait at the Altar, partake with the Altar;" that is to say, have part of that which is offered at the Altar for their maintenance? And then he concludeth, "Even so hath the Lord appointed, that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel. From which place may be inferred indeed, that the Pastors of the Church ought to be maintained by their flocks; but not that the Pastors were to determine, either the quantity, or the kind of their own allowance, and be (as it were) their own Carvers. Their allowance must needs therefore be determined, either by the gratitude, and liberality of every particular man of their flock, or by the whole Congregation. By the whole Congregation it could not be, because their Acts were then no Laws: Therefore the maintenance of Pastors, before Emperours and Civill Soveraigns had made Laws to settle it, was nothing but Benevolence. They that served at the Altar lived on what was offered. In what court should they sue for it, who had no Tribunalls? Or if they had Arbitrators amongst themselves, who should execute their Judgments, when they had no power to arme their Officers? It remaineth therefore, that there could be no certaine maintenance assigned to any Pastors of the Church, but by the whole Congregation; and then onely, when their Decrees should have the force (not onely of Canons, but also) of Laws; which Laws could not be made, but by Emperours, Kings, or other Civill Soveraignes. The Right of Tythes in Moses Law, could not be applyed to the then Ministers of the Gospell; because Moses and the High Priests were the Civill Soveraigns of the people under God, whose Kingdom amongst the Jews was present; whereas the Kingdome of God by Christ is yet to come.
Hitherto hath been shewn what the Pastors of the Church are; what are the points of their Commission (as that they were to Preach, to Teach, to Baptize, to be Presidents in their severall Congregations;) what is Ecclesiasticall Censure, viz. Excommunication, that is to say, in those places where Christianity was forbidden by the Civill Laws, a putting of themselves out of the company of the Excommunicate, and where Christianity was by the Civill Law commanded, a putting the Excommunicate out of the Congregations of Christians; who elected the Pastors and Ministers of the Church, (that it was, the Congregation); who consecrated and blessed them, (that it was the Pastor); what was their due revenue, (that it was none but their own possessions, and their own labour, and the voluntary contributions of devout and gratefull Christians). We are to consider now, what Office those persons have, who being Civill Soveraignes, have embraced also the Christian Faith.
That The Civill Soveraign Being A Christian Hath The Right Of Appointing Pastors And first, we are to remember, that the Right of Judging what Doctrines are fit for Peace, and to be taught the Subjects, is in all Common-wealths inseparably annexed (as hath been already proved cha. 18.) to the Soveraign Power Civill, whether it be in one Man, or in one Assembly of men. For it is evident to the meanest capacity, that mens actions are derived from the opinions they have of the Good, or Evill, which from those actions redound unto themselves; and consequently, men that are once possessed of an opinion, that their obedience to the Soveraign Power, will bee more hurtfull to them, than their disobedience, will disobey the Laws, and thereby overthrow the Common-wealth, and introduce confusion, and Civill war; for the avoiding whereof, all Civill Government was ordained. And therefore in all Common-wealths of the Heathen, the Soveraigns have had the name of Pastors of the People, because there was no Subject that could lawfully Teach the people, but by their permission and authority.
This Right of the Heathen Kings, cannot bee thought taken from them by their conversion to the Faith of Christ; who never ordained, that Kings for beleeving in him, should be deposed, that is, subjected to any but himself, or (which is all one) be deprived of the power necessary for the conservation of Peace amongst their Subjects, and for their defence against foraign Enemies. And therefore Christian Kings are still the Supreme Pastors of their people, and have power to ordain what Pastors they please, to teach the Church, that is, to teach the People committed to their charge.
Again, let the right of choosing them be (as before the conversion of Kings) in the Church, for so it was in the time of the Apostles themselves (as hath been shewn already in this chapter); even so also the Right will be in the Civill Soveraign, Christian. For in that he is a Christian, he allowes the Teaching; and in that he is the Soveraign (which is as much as to say, the Church by Representation,) the Teachers hee elects, are elected by the Church. And when an Assembly of Christians choose their Pastor in a Christian Common-wealth, it is the Soveraign that electeth him, because tis done by his Authority; In the same manner, as when a Town choose their Maior, it is the act of him that hath the Soveraign Power: For every act done, is the act of him, without whose consent it is invalid. And therefore whatsoever examples may be drawn out of History, concerning the Election of Pastors, by the People, or by the Clergy, they are no arguments against the Right of any Civill Soveraign, because they that elected them did it by his Authority.
Seeing then in every Christian Common-wealth, the Civill Soveraign is the Supreme Pastor, to whose charge the whole flock of his Subjects is committed, and consequently that it is by his authority, that all other Pastors are made, and have power to teach, and performe all other Pastorall offices; it followeth also, that it is from the Civill Soveraign, that all other Pastors derive their right of Teaching, Preaching, and other functions pertaining to that Office; and that they are but his Ministers; in the same manner as the Magistrates of Towns, Judges in Courts of Justice, and Commanders of Armies, are all but Ministers of him that is the Magistrate of the whole Common-wealth, Judge of all Causes, and Commander of the whole Militia, which is alwayes the Civill Soveraign. And the reason hereof, is not because they that Teach, but because they that are to Learn, are his Subjects. For let it be supposed, that a Christian King commit the Authority of Ordaining Pastors in his Dominions to another King, (as divers Christian Kings allow that power to the Pope;) he doth not thereby constitute a Pastor over himself, nor a Soveraign Pastor over his People; for that were to deprive himself of the Civill Power; which depending on the opinion men have of their Duty to him, and the fear they have of Punishment in another world, would depend also on the skill, and loyalty of Doctors, who are no lesse subject, not only to Ambition, but also to Ignorance, than any other sort of men. So that where a stranger hath authority to appoint Teachers, it is given him by the Soveraign in whose Dominions he teacheth. Christian Doctors are our Schoolmasters to Christianity; But Kings are Fathers of Families, and may receive Schoolmasters for their Subjects from the recommendation of a stranger, but not from the command; especially when the ill teaching them shall redound to the great and manifest profit of him that recommends them: nor can they be obliged to retain them, longer than it is for the Publique good; the care of which they stand so long charged withall, as they retain any other essentiall Right of the Soveraignty.
The Pastorall Authority Of Soveraigns Only Is De Jure Divino, That Of Other Pastors Is Jure Civili If a man therefore should ask a Pastor, in the execution of his Office, as the chief Priests and Elders of the people (Mat. 21.23.) asked our Saviour, "By what authority dost thou these things, and who gave thee this authority:" he can make no other just Answer, but that he doth it by the Authority of the Common-wealth, given him by the King, or Assembly that representeth it. All Pastors, except the Supreme, execute their charges in the Right, that is by the Authority of the Civill Soveraign, that is, Jure Civili. But the King, and every other Soveraign executeth his Office of Supreme Pastor, by immediate Authority from God, that is to say, In Gods Right, or Jure Divino. And therefore none but Kings can put into their Titles (a mark of their submission to God onely ) Dei Gratia Rex, &c. Bishops ought to say in the beginning of their Mandates, "By the favour of the Kings Majesty, Bishop of such a Diocesse;" or as Civill Ministers, "In his Majesties Name." For in saying, Divina Providentia, which is the same with Dei Gratia, though disguised, they deny to have received their authority from the Civill State; and sliely slip off the Collar of their Civill Subjection, contrary to the unity and defence of the Common-wealth.
Christian Kings Have Power To Execute All Manner Of Pastoral Function But if every Christian Soveraign be the Supreme Pastor of his own Subjects, it seemeth that he hath also the Authority, not only to Preach (which perhaps no man will deny;) but also to Baptize, and to Administer the Sacrament of the Lords Supper; and to Consecrate both Temples, and Pastors to Gods service; which most men deny; partly because they use not to do it; and partly because the Administration of Sacraments, and Consecration of Persons, and Places to holy uses, requireth the Imposition of such mens hands, as by the like Imposition successively from the time of the Apostles have been ordained to the like Ministery. For proof therefore that Christian Kings have power to Baptize, and to Consecrate, I am to render a reason, both why they use not to doe it, and how, without the ordinary ceremony of Imposition of hands, they are made capable of doing it, when they will.
There is no doubt but any King, in case he were skilfull in the Sciences, might by the same Right of his Office, read Lectures of them himself, by which he authorizeth others to read them in the Universities. Neverthelesse, because the care of the summe of the businesse of the Common-wealth taketh up his whole time, it were not convenient for him to apply himself in Person to that particular. A King may also if he please, sit in Judgment, to hear and determine all manner of Causes, as well as give others authority to doe it in his name; but that the charge that lyeth upon him of Command and Government, constrain him to bee continually at the Helm, and to commit the Ministeriall Offices to others under him. In the like manner our Saviour (who surely had power to Baptize) Baptized none himselfe, but sent his Apostles and Disciples to Baptize. (John 4.2.) So also S. Paul, by the necessity of Preaching in divers and far distant places, Baptized few: Amongst all the Corinthians he Baptized only Crispus, Cajus, and Stephanus; (1 Cor.1.14,16.) and the reason was, because his principall Charge was to Preach. (1 Cor. 1.17.) Whereby it is manifest, that the greater Charge, (such as is the Government of the Church,) is a dispensation for the lesse. The reason therefore why Christian Kings use not to Baptize, is evident, and the same, for which at this day there are few Baptized by Bishops, and by the Pope fewer.
And as concerning Imposition of Hands, whether it be needfull, for the authorizing of a King to Baptize, and Consecrate, we may consider thus.
Imposition of Hands, was a most ancient publique ceremony amongst the Jews, by which was designed, and made certain, the person, or other thing intended in a mans prayer, blessing, sacrifice, consecration, condemnation, or other speech. So Jacob in blessing the children of Joseph (Gen. 48.14.) "Laid his right Hand on Ephraim the younger, and his left Hand on Manasseh the first born;" and this he did Wittingly (though they were so presented to him by Joseph, as he was forced in doing it to stretch out his arms acrosse) to design to whom he intended the greater blessing. So also in the sacrificing of the Burnt offering, Aaron is commanded (Exod. 29.10.) "to Lay his Hands on the head of the bullock;" and (ver. 15.) "to Lay his Hand on the head of the ramme." The same is also said again, Levit. 1.4. & 8.14. Likewise Moses when he ordained Joshua to be Captain of the Israelites, that is, consecrated him to Gods service, (Numb. 27.23.) "Laid his hands upon him, and gave him his Charge," designing and rendring certain, who it was they were to obey in war. And in the consecration of the Levites (Numb. 8.10.) God commanded that "the Children of Israel should Put their Hands upon the Levites." And in the condemnation of him that had blasphemed the Lord (Levit. 24.14.) God commanded that "all that heard him should Lay their Hands on his head, and that all the Congregation should stone him." And why should they only that heard him, Lay their Hands upon him, and not rather a Priest, Levite, or other Minister of Justice, but that none else were able to design, and demonstrate to the eyes of the Congregation, who it was that had blasphemed, and ought to die? And to design a man, or any other thing, by the Hand to the Eye is lesse subject to mistake, than when it is done to the Eare by a Name.
And so much was this ceremony observed, that in blessing the whole Congregation at once, which cannot be done by Laying on of Hands, yet "Aaron (Levit. 9.22.) did lift up his Hand towards the people when he blessed them." And we read also of the like ceremony of Consecration of Temples amongst the Heathen, as that the Priest laid his Hands on some post of the Temple, all the while he was uttering the words of Consecration. So naturall it is to design any individuall thing, rather by the Hand, to assure the Eyes, than by Words to inform the Eare in matters of Gods Publique service.
This ceremony was not therefore new in our Saviours time. For Jairus (Mark 5.23.) whose daughter was sick, besought our Saviour (not to heal her, but) "to Lay his Hands upon her, that shee might bee healed." And (Matth. 19.13.) "they brought unto him little children, that hee should Put his Hands on them, and Pray."
According to this ancient Rite, the Apostles, and Presbyters, and the Presbytery it self, Laid Hands on them whom they ordained Pastors, and withall prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost; and that not only once, but sometimes oftner, when a new occasion was presented: but the end was still the same, namely a punctuall, and religious designation of the person, ordained either to the Pastorall Charge in general, or to a particular Mission: so (Act. 6.6.) "The Apostles Prayed, and Laid their Hands" on the seven Deacons; which was done, not to give them the Holy Ghost, (for they were full of the Holy Ghost before thy were chosen, as appeareth immediately before, verse 3.) but to design them to that Office. And after Philip the Deacon had converted certain persons in Samaria, Peter and John went down (Act. 8.17.)" and laid their Hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost." And not only an Apostle, but a Presbyter had this power: For S. Paul adviseth Timothy (1 Tim. 5.22.) "Lay Hands suddenly on no man;" that is, designe no man rashly to the Office of a Pastor. The whole Presbytery Laid their Hands on Timothy, as we read 1 Tim. 4.14. but this is to be understood, as that some did it by the appointment of the Presbytery, and most likely their Proestos, or Prolocutor, which it may be was St. Paul himself. For in his 2 Epist. to Tim. ver. 6. he saith to him, "Stirre up the gift of God which is in thee, by the Laying on of my Hands:" where note by the way, that by the Holy ghost, is not meant the third Person in the Trinity, but the Gifts necessary to the Pastorall Office. We read also, that St. Paul had Imposition of Hands twice; once from Ananias at Damascus (Acts 9.17,18.) at the time of his Baptisme; and again (Acts 13.3.) at Antioch, when he was first sent out to Preach. The use then of this ceremony considered in the Ordination of Pastors, was to design the Person to whom they gave such Power. But if there had been then any Christian, that had had the Power of Teaching before; the Baptizing of him, that is the making of him a Christian, had given him no new Power, but had onely caused him to preach true Doctrine, that is, to use his Power aright; and therefore the Imposition of Hands had been unnecessary; Baptisme it selfe had been sufficient. But every Soveraign, before Christianity, had the power of Teaching, and Ordaining Teachers; and therefore Christianity gave them no new Right, but only directed them in the way of teaching truth; and consequently they needed no Imposition of Hands (besides that which is done in Baptisme) to authorize them to exercise any part of the Pastorall Function, as namely, to Baptize, and Consecrate. And in the Old Testament, though the Priest only had right to Consecrate, during the time that the Soveraignty was in the High Priest; yet it was not so when the Soveraignty was in the King: For we read (1 Kings 8.) That Solomon Blessed the People, Consecrated the Temple, and pronounced that Publique Prayer, which is the pattern now for Consecration of all Christian Churches, and Chappels: whereby it appears, he had not only the right of Ecclesiasticall Government; but also of exercising Ecclesiasticall Functions.
The Civill Soveraigne If A Christian, Is Head Of The Church In His Own Dominions From this consolidation of the Right Politique, and Ecclesiastique in Christian Soveraigns, it is evident, they have all manner of Power over their Subjects, that can be given to man, for the government of mens externall actions, both in Policy, and Religion; and may make such Laws, as themselves shall judge fittest, for the government of their own Subjects, both as they are the Common-wealth, and as they are the Church: for both State, and Church are the same men.
If they please therefore, they may (as many Christian Kings now doe) commit the government of their Subjects in matters of Religion to the Pope; but then the Pope is in that point Subordinate to them, and exerciseth that Charge in anothers Dominion Jure Civili, in the Right of the Civill Soveraign; not Jure Divino, in Gods Right; and may therefore be discharged of that Office, when the Soveraign for the good of his Subjects shall think it necessary. They may also if they please, commit the care of Religion to one Supreme Pastor, or to an Assembly of Pastors; and give them what power over the Church, or one over another, they think most convenient; and what titles of honor, as of Bishops, Archbishops, Priests, or Presbyters, they will; and make such Laws for their maintenance, either by Tithes, or otherwise, as they please, so they doe it out of a sincere conscience, of which God onely is the Judge. It is the Civill Soveraign, that is to appoint Judges, and Interpreters of the Canonicall Scriptures; for it is he that maketh them Laws. It is he also that giveth strength to Excommunications; which but for such Laws and Punishments, as may humble obstinate Libertines, and reduce them to union with the rest of the Church, would bee contemned. In summe, he hath the Supreme Power in all causes, as well Ecclesiasticall, as Civill, as far as concerneth actions, and words, for these onely are known, and may be accused; and of that which cannot be accused, there is no Judg at all, but God, that knoweth the heart. And these Rights are incident to all Soveraigns, whether Monarchs, or Assemblies: for they that are the Representants of a Christian People, are Representants of the Church: for a Church, and a Common-wealth of Christian People, are the same thing.
Cardinal Bellarmines Books De Summo Pontifice Considered Though this that I have here said, and in other places of this Book, seem cleer enough for the asserting of the Supreme Ecclesiasticall Power to Christian Soveraigns; yet because the Pope of Romes challenge to that Power universally, hath been maintained chiefly, and I think as strongly as is possible, by Cardinall Bellarmine, in his Controversie De Summo Pontifice; I have thought it necessary, as briefly as I can, to examine the grounds, and strength of his Discourse.
The First Book Of five Books he hath written of this subject, the first containeth three Questions: One, Which is simply the best government, Monarchy, Aristocracy, or Democracy; and concludeth for neither, but for a government mixt of all there: Another, which of these is the best Government of the Church; and concludeth for the mixt, but which should most participate of Monarchy: the third, whether in this mixt Monarchy, St. Peter had the place of Monarch. Concerning his first Conclusion, I have already sufficiently proved (chapt. 18.) that all Governments which men are bound to obey, are Simple, and Absolute. In Monarchy there is but One Man Supreme; and all other men that have any kind of Power in the State, have it by his Commission, during his pleasure; and execute it in his name: And in Aristocracy, and Democracy, but One Supreme Assembly, with the same Power that in Monarchy belongeth to the Monarch, which is not a Mixt, but an Absolute Soveraignty. And of the three sorts, which is the best, is not to be disputed, where any one of them is already established; but the present ought alwaies to be preferred, maintained, and accounted best; because it is against both the Law of Nature, and the Divine positive Law, to doe any thing tending to the subversion thereof. Besides, it maketh nothing to the Power of any Pastor, (unlesse he have the Civill Soveraignty,) what kind of Government is the best; because their Calling is not to govern men by Commandement, but to teach them, and perswade them by Arguments, and leave it to them to consider, whether they shall embrace, or reject the Doctrine taught. For Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy, do mark out unto us three sorts of Soveraigns, not of Pastors; or, as we may say, three sorts of Masters of Families, not three sorts of Schoolmasters for their children.
And therefore the second Conclusion, concerning the best form of Government of the Church, is nothing to the question of the Popes Power without his own Dominions: For in all other Common-wealths his Power (if hee have any at all) is that of the Schoolmaster onely, and not of the Master of the Family.
For the third Conclusion, which is, that St. Peter was Monarch of the Church, he bringeth for his chiefe argument the place of S. Matth. (chap. 16.18, 19.) "Thou art Peter, And upon this rock I will build my Church, &c. And I will give thee the keyes of Heaven; whatsoever thou shalt bind on Earth, shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on Earth, shall be loosed in Heaven." Which place well considered, proveth no more, but that the Church of Christ hath for foundation one onely Article; namely, that which Peter in the name of all the Apostles professing, gave occasion to our Saviour to speak the words here cited; which that wee may cleerly understand, we are to consider, that our Saviour preached by himself, by John Baptist, and by his Apostles, nothing but this Article of Faith, "that he was the Christ;" all other Articles requiring faith no otherwise, than as founded on that. John began first, (Mat. 3.2.) preaching only this, "The Kingdome of God is at hand." Then our Saviour himself (Mat. 4.17.) preached the same: And to his Twelve Apostles, when he gave them their Commission (Mat. 10.7.) there is no mention of preaching any other Article but that. This was the fundamentall Article, that is the Foundation of the Churches Faith. Afterwards the Apostles being returned to him, he asketh them all, (Mat. 16.13) not Peter onely, "Who men said he was;" and they answered, that "some said he was John the Baptist, some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the Prophets:" Then (ver. 15.) he asked them all again, (not Peter onely) "Whom say yee that I am?" Therefore Peter answered (for them all) "Thou art Christ, the Son of the Living God;" which I said is the Foundation of the Faith of the whole Church; from which our Saviour takes the occasion of saying, "Upon this stone I will build my Church;" By which it is manifest, that by the Foundation-Stone of the Church, was meant the Fundamentall Article of the Churches Faith. But why then (will some object) doth our Saviour interpose these words, "Thou art Peter"? If the originall of this text had been rigidly translated, the reason would easily have appeared: We are therefore to consider, that the Apostle Simon, was surnamed Stone, (which is the signification of the Syriacke word Cephas, and of the Greek word Petrus). Our Saviour therefore after the confession of that Fundamentall Article, alluding to his name, said (as if it were in English) thus, Thou art "Stone," and upon this Stone I will build my Church: which is as much as to say, this Article, that "I am the Christ," is the Foundation of all the Faith I require in those that are to bee members of my Church: Neither is this allusion to a name, an unusuall thing in common speech: But it had been a strange, and obscure speech, if our Saviour intending to build his Church on the Person of St. Peter, had said, "thou art a Stone, and upon this Stone I will build my Church," when it was so obvious without ambiguity to have said, "I will build my Church on thee; and yet there had been still the same allusion to his name.
And for the following words, "I will give thee the Keyes of Heaven, &c." it is no more than what our Saviour gave also to all the rest of his Disciples (Matth. 18.18.) "Whatsoever yee shall bind on Earth, shall be bound in Heaven. And whatsoever ye shall loose on Earth, shall be loosed in Heaven." But howsoever this be interpreted, there is no doubt but the Power here granted belongs to all Supreme Pastors; such as are all Christian Civill Soveraignes in their own Dominions. In so much, as if St. Peter, or our Saviour himself had converted any of them to beleeve him, and to acknowledge his Kingdome; yet because his Kingdome is not of this world, he had left the supreme care of converting his subjects to none but him; or else hee must have deprived him of the Soveraignty, to which the Right of Teaching is inseparably annexed. And thus much in refutation of his first Book, wherein hee would prove St. Peter to have been the Monarch Universall of the Church, that is to say, of all the Christians in the world.
The Second Book The second Book hath two Conclusions: One, that S. Peter was Bishop of Rome, and there dyed: The other, that the Popes of Rome are his Successors. Both which have been disputed by others. But supposing them to be true; yet if by Bishop of Rome bee understood either the Monarch of the Church, or the Supreme Pastor of it; not Silvester, but Constantine (who was the first Christian Emperour) was that Bishop; and as Constantine, so all other Christian Emperors were of Right supreme Bishops of the Roman Empire; I say of the Roman Empire, not of all Christendome: For other Christian Soveraigns had the same Right in their severall Territories, as to an Office essentially adhaerent to their Soveraignty. Which shall serve for answer to his second Book.
The Third Book In the third Book, he handleth the question whether the Pope be Antichrist. For my part, I see no argument that proves he is so, in that sense that Scripture useth the name: nor will I take any argument from the quality of Antichrist, to contradict the Authority he exerciseth, or hath heretofore exercised in the Dominions of any other Prince, or State.
It is evident that the Prophets of the Old Testament foretold, and the Jews expected a Messiah, that is, a Christ, that should re-establish amongst them the kingdom of God, which had been rejected by them in the time of Samuel, when they required a King after the manner of other Nations. This expectation of theirs, made them obnoxious to the Imposture of all such, as had both the ambition to attempt the attaining of the Kingdome, and the art to deceive the People by counterfeit miracles, by hypocriticall life, or by orations and doctrine plausible. Our Saviour therefore, and his Apostles forewarned men of False Prophets, and of False Christs. False Christs, are such as pretend to be the Christ, but are not, and are called properly Antichrists, in such sense, as when there happeneth a Schisme in the Church by the election of two Popes, the one calleth the other Antipapa, or the false Pope. And therefore Antichrist in the proper signification hath two essentiall marks; One, that he denyeth Jesus to be Christ; and another that he professeth himselfe to bee Christ. The first Mark is set down by S. John in his 1 Epist. 4. ch. 3. ver. "Every Spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God; And this is the Spirit of Antichrist." The other Mark is expressed in the words of our Saviour, (Mat. 24.5.) "Many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ;" and again, "If any man shall say unto you, Loe, here is Christ, there is Christ beleeve it not." And therefore Antichrist must be a False Christ, that is, some one of them that shall pretend themselves to be Christ. And out of these two Marks, "to deny Jesus to be the Christ," and to "affirm himselfe to be the Christ," it followeth, that he must also be an "Adversary of the true Christ," which is another usuall signification of the word Antichrist. But of these many Antichrists, there is one speciall one, O Antichristos, The Antichrist, or Antichrist definitely, as one certaine person; not indefinitely An Antichrist. Now seeing the Pope of Rome, neither pretendeth himself, nor denyeth Jesus to be the Christ, I perceive not how he can be called Antichrist; by which word is not meant, one that falsely pretendeth to be His Lieutenant, or Vicar Generall, but to be Hee. There is also some Mark of the time of this speciall Antichrist, as (Mat. 24.15.) when that abominable Destroyer, spoken of by Daniel, (Dan. 9. 27.) shall stand in the Holy place, and such tribulation as was not since the beginning of the world, nor ever shall be again, insomuch as if it were to last long, (ver. 22.) "no flesh could be saved; but for the elects sake those days shall be shortened" (made fewer). But that tribulation is not yet come; for it is to be followed immediately (ver. 29.) by a darkening of the Sun and Moon, a falling of the Stars, a concussion of the Heavens, and the glorious coming again of our Saviour, in the cloudes. And therefore The Antichrist is not yet come; whereas, many Popes are both come and gone. It is true, the Pope in taking upon him to give Laws to all Christian Kings, and Nations, usurpeth a Kingdome in this world, which Christ took not on him: but he doth it not As Christ, but as For Christ, wherein there is nothing of the Antichrist.
The Fourth Book In the fourth Book, to prove the Pope to be the supreme Judg in all questions of Faith and Manners, (which is as much as to be the absolute Monarch of all Christians in the world,) be bringeth three Propositions: The first, that his Judgments are Infallible: The second, that he can make very Laws, and punish those that observe them not: The third, that our Saviour conferred all Jurisdiction Ecclesiasticall on the Pope of Rome.
Texts For The Infallibility Of The Popes Judgement In Points Of Faith For the Infallibility of his Judgments, he alledgeth the Scriptures: and first, that of Luke 22.31. "Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired you that hee may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith faile not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy Brethren." This, according to Bellarmines exposition, is, that Christ gave here to Simon Peter two priviledges: one, that neither his Faith should fail, neither he, nor any of his successors should ever define any point concerning Faith, or Manners erroneously, or contrary to the definition of a former Pope: Which is a strange, and very much strained interpretation. But he that with attention readeth that chapter, shall find there is no place in the whole Scripture, that maketh more against the Popes Authority, than this very place. The Priests and Scribes seeking to kill our Saviour at the Passeover, and Judas possessed with a resolution to betray him, and the day of killing the Passeover being come, our Saviour celebrated the same with his Apostles, which he said, till the Kingdome of God was come hee would doe no more; and withall told them, that one of them was to betray him: Hereupon they questioned, which of them it should be; and withall (seeing the next Passeover their Master would celebrate should be when he was King) entred into a contention, who should then be the greater man. Our Saviour therefore told them, that the Kings of the Nations had Dominion over their Subjects, and are called by a name (in Hebrew) that signifies Bountifull; but I cannot be so to you, you must endeavour to serve one another; I ordain you a Kingdome, but it is such as my Father hath ordained mee; a Kingdome that I am now to purchase with my blood, and not to possesse till my second coming; then yee shall eat and drink at my Table, and sit on Thrones, judging the twelve Tribes of Israel: And then addressing himself to St. Peter, he saith, Simon, Simon, Satan seeks by suggesting a present domination, to weaken your faith of the future; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith shall not fail; Thou therefore (Note this,) being converted, and understanding my Kingdome as of another world, confirm the same faith in thy Brethren: To which S. Peter answered (as one that no more expected any authority in this world) "Lord I am ready to goe with thee, not onely to Prison, but to Death." Whereby it is manifest, S. Peter had not onely no jurisdiction given him in this world, but a charge to teach all the other Apostles, that they also should have none. And for the Infallibility of St. Peters sentence definitive in matter of Faith, there is no more to be attributed to it out of this Text, than that Peter should continue in the beleef of this point, namely, that Christ should come again, and possesse the Kingdome at the day of Judgement; which was not given by the Text to all his Successors; for wee see they claim it in the World that now is.
The second place is that of Matth. 16. "Thou art Peter, and upon this rocke I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." By which (as I have already shewn in this chapter) is proved no more, than that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the confession of Peter, which gave occasion to that speech; namely this, That Jesus Is Christ The Sonne Of God.
The third text is John 21. ver. 16,17. "Feed my sheep;" which contains no more but a Commission of Teaching: And if we grant the rest of the Apostles to be contained in that name of Sheep; then it is the supreme Power of Teaching: but it was onely for the time that there were no Christian Soveraigns already possessed of that Supremacy. But I have already proved, that Christian Soveraignes are in their owne Dominions the supreme Pastors, and instituted thereto, by vertue of their being Baptized, though without other Imposition of Hands. For such imposition being a Ceremony of designing the person, is needlesse, when hee is already designed to the Power of Teaching what Doctrine he will, by his institution to an Absolute Power over his Subjects. For as I have proved before, Soveraigns are supreme Teachers (in generall) by their Office and therefore oblige themselves (by their Baptisme) to teach the Doctrine of Christ: And when they suffer others to teach their people, they doe it at the perill of their own souls; for it is at the hands of the Heads of Families that God will require the account of the instruction of his Children and Servants. It is of Abraham himself, not of a hireling, that God saith (Gen. 18.19) "I know him that he will command his Children, and his houshold after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, and do justice and judgement.
The fourth place is that of Exod. 28.30. "Thou shalt put in the Breastplate of Judgment, the Urim and the Thummin:" which hee saith is interpreted by the Septuagint, delosin kai aletheian, that is, Evidence and Truth: And thence concludeth, God had given Evidence, and Truth, (which is almost infallibility,) to the High Priest. But be it Evidence and Truth it selfe that was given; or be it but Admonition to the Priest to endeavour to inform himself cleerly, and give judgment uprightly; yet in that it was given to the High Priest, it was given to the Civill Soveraign: For next under God was the High Priest in the Common-wealth of Israel; and is an argument for Evidence and Truth, that is, for the Ecclesiasticall Supremacy of Civill Soveraigns over their own Subjects, against the pretended Power of the Pope. These are all the Texts hee bringeth for the Infallibility of the Judgement of the Pope, in point of Faith.
Texts For The Same In Point Of Manners For the Infallibility of his Judgment concerning Manners, hee bringeth one Text, which is that of John 16.13. "When the Spirit of truth is come, hee will lead you into all truth" where (saith he) by All Truth, is meant, at least, All Truth Necessary To Salvation. But with this mitigation, he attributeth no more Infallibility to the Pope, than to any man that professeth Christianity, and is not to be damned: For if any man erre in any point, wherein not to erre is necessary to Salvation, it is impossible he should be saved; for that onely is necessary to Salvation, without which to be saved is impossible. What points these are, I shall declare out of the Scripture in the Chapter following. In this place I say no more, but that though it were granted, the Pope could not possibly teach any error at all, yet doth not this entitle him to any Jurisdiction in the Dominions of another Prince, unlesse we shall also say, a man is obliged in conscience to set on work upon all occasions the best workman, even then also when he hath formerly promised his work to another.
Besides the Text, he argueth from Reason, thus, If the Pope could erre in necessaries, then Christ hath not sufficiently provided for the Churches Salvation; because he hath commanded her to follow the Popes directions. But this Reason is invalid, unlesse he shew when, and where Christ commanded that, or took at all any notice of a Pope: Nay granting whatsoever was given to S. Peter was given to the Pope; yet seeing there is in the Scripture no command to any man to obey St. Peter, no man can bee just, that obeyeth him, when his commands are contrary to those of his lawfull Soveraign.
Lastly, it hath not been declared by the Church, nor by the Pope himselfe, that he is the Civill Soveraign of all the Christians in the world; and therefore all Christians are not bound to acknowledge his Jurisdiction in point of Manners. For the Civill Soveraignty, and supreme Judicature in controversies of Manners, are the same thing: And the Makers of Civill Laws, are not onely Declarers, but also Makers of the justice, and injustice of actions; there being nothing in mens Manners that makes them righteous, or unrighteous, but their conformity with the Law of the Soveraign. And therefore when the Pope challengeth Supremacy in controversies of Manners, hee teacheth men to disobey the Civill Soveraign; which is an erroneous Doctrine, contrary to the many precepts of our Saviour and his Apostles, delivered to us in the Scripture.
To prove the Pope has Power to make Laws, he alledgeth many places; as first, Deut. 17.12. "The man that will doe presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the Priest, (that standeth to Minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the Judge,) even that man shall die, and thou shalt put away the evill from Israel." For answer whereunto, we are to remember that the High Priest (next and immediately under God) was the Civill Soveraign; and all Judges were to be constituted by him. The words alledged sound therefore thus. "The man that will presume to disobey the Civill Soveraign for the time being, or any of his Officers in the execution of their places, that man shall die, &c." which is cleerly for the Civill Soveraignty, against the Universall power of the Pope.
Secondly, he alledgeth that of Matth. 16. "Whatsoever yee shall bind, &c." and interpreteth it for such Binding as is attributed (Matth. 23.4.) to the Scribes and Pharisees, "They bind heavy burthens, and grievous to be born, and lay them on mens shoulders;" by which is meant (he sayes) Making of Laws; and concludes thence, the Pope can make Laws. But this also maketh onely for the Legislative power of Civill Soveraigns: For the Scribes, and Pharisees sat in Moses Chaire, but Moses next under God was Soveraign of the People of Israel: and therefore our Saviour commanded them to doe all that they should say, but not all that they should do. That is, to obey their Laws, but not follow their Example.
The third place, is John 21.16. "Feed my sheep;" which is not a Power to make Laws, but a command to Teach. Making Laws belongs to the Lord of the Family; who by his owne discretion chooseth his Chaplain, as also a Schoolmaster to Teach his children.
The fourth place John 20.21. is against him. The words are, "As my Father sent me, so send I you." But our Saviour was sent to Redeem (by his Death) such as should Beleeve; and by his own, and his Apostles preaching to prepare them for their entrance into his Kingdome; which he himself saith, is not of this world, and hath taught us to pray for the coming of it hereafter, though hee refused (Acts 1.6,7.) to tell his Apostles when it should come; and in which, when it comes, the twelve Apostles shall sit on twelve Thrones (every one perhaps as high as that of St. Peter) to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. Seeing then God the Father sent not our Saviour to make Laws in this present world, wee may conclude from the Text, that neither did our Saviour send S. Peter to make Laws here, but to perswade men to expect his second comming with a stedfast faith; and in the mean time, if Subjects, to obey their Princes; and if Princes, both to beleeve it themselves, and to do their best to make their Subjects doe the same; which is the Office of a Bishop. Therefore this place maketh most strongly for the joining of the Ecclesiasticall Supremacy to the Civill Soveraignty, contrary to that which Cardinall Bellarmine alledgeth it for.
The fift place is Acts 15.28. "It hath seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden, than these necessary things, that yee abstaine from meats offered to Idols, and from bloud, and from things strangled, and from fornication." Here hee notes the word Laying Of Burdens for the Legislative Power. But who is there, that reading this Text, can say, this stile of the Apostles may not as properly be used in giving Counsell, as in making Laws? The stile of a Law is, We Command: But, We Think Good, is the ordinary stile of them, that but give Advice; and they lay a Burthen that give Advice, though it bee conditionall, that is, if they to whom they give it, will attain their ends: And such is the Burthen, of abstaining from things strangled, and from bloud; not absolute, but in case they will not erre. I have shewn before (chap. 25.) that Law, is distinguished from Counsell, in this, that the reason of a Law, is taken from the designe, and benefit of him that prescribeth it; but the reason of a Counsell, from the designe, and benefit of him, to whom the Counsell is given. But here, the Apostles aime onely at the benefit of the converted Gentiles, namely their Salvation; not at their own benefit; for having done their endeavour, they shall have their reward, whether they be obeyed, or not. And therefore the Acts of this Councell, were not Laws, but Counsells.
The sixt place is that of Rom. 13. "Let every Soul be subject to the Higher Powers, for there is no Power but of God;" which is meant, he saith not onely of Secular, but also of Ecclesiasticall Princes. To which I answer, first, that there are no Ecclesiasticall Princes but those that are also Civill Soveraignes; and their Principalities exceed not the compasse of their Civill Soveraignty; without those bounds though they may be received for Doctors, they cannot be acknowledged for Princes. For if the Apostle had meant, we should be subject both to our own Princes, and also to the Pope, he had taught us a doctrine, which Christ himself hath told us is impossible, namely, "to serve two Masters." And though the Apostle say in another place, "I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpnesse, according to the Power which the Lord hath given me;" it is not, that he challenged a Power either to put to death, imprison, banish, whip, or fine any of them, which are Punishments; but onely to Excommunicate, which (without the Civill Power)is no more but a leaving of their company, and having no more to doe with them, than with a Heathen man, or a Publican; which in many occasions might be a greater pain to the Excommunicant, than to the Excommunicate.
The seventh place is 1 Cor. 4.21. "Shall I come unto you with a Rod, or in love, and the spirit of lenity?" But here again, it is not the Power of a Magistrate to punish offenders, that is meant by a Rod; but onely the Power of Excommunication, which is not in its owne nature a Punishment, but onely a Denouncing of punishment, that Christ shall inflict, when he shall be in possession of his Kingdome, at the day of Judgment. Nor then also shall it bee properly a Punishment, as upon a Subject that hath broken the Law; but a Revenge, as upon an Enemy, or Revolter, that denyeth the Right of our Saviour to the Kingdome: And therefore this proveth not the Legislative Power of any Bishop, that has not also the Civill Power.
The eighth place is, Timothy 3.2. "A Bishop must be the husband but of one wife, vigilant, sober, &c." which he saith was a Law. I thought that none could make a Law in the Church, but the Monarch of the Church, St. Peter. But suppose this Precept made by the authority of St. Peter; yet I see no reason why to call it a Law, rather than an Advice, seeing Timothy was not a Subject, but a Disciple of St. Paul; nor the flock under the charge of Timothy, his Subjects in the Kingdome, but his Scholars in the Schoole of Christ: If all the Precepts he giveth Timothy, be Laws, why is not this also a Law, "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy healths sake"? And why are not also the Precepts of good Physitians, so many Laws? but that it is not the Imperative manner of speaking, but an absolute Subjection to a Person, that maketh his Precept Laws.
In like manner, the ninth place, 1 Tim. 5. 19. "Against an Elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three Witnesses," is a wise Precept, but not a Law.
The tenth place is, Luke 10.16. "He that heareth you, heareth mee; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me." And there is no doubt, but he that despiseth the Counsell of those that are sent by Christ, despiseth the Counsell of Christ himself. But who are those now that are sent by Christ, but such as are ordained Pastors by lawfull Authority? and who are lawfully ordained, that are not ordained by the Soveraign Pastor? and who is ordained by the Soveraign Pastor in a Christian Common-wealth, that is not ordained by the authority of the Soveraign thereof? Out of this place therefore it followeth, that he which heareth his Soveraign being a Christian, heareth Christ; and hee that despiseth the Doctrine which his King being a Christian, authorizeth, despiseth the Doctrine of Christ (which is not that which Bellarmine intendeth here to prove, but the contrary). But all this is nothing to a Law. Nay more, a Christian King, as a Pastor, and Teacher of his Subjects, makes not thereby his Doctrines Laws. He cannot oblige men to beleeve; though as a Civill Soveraign he may make Laws suitable to his Doctrine, which may oblige men to certain actions, and sometimes to such as they would not otherwise do, and which he ought not to command; and yet when they are commanded, they are Laws; and the externall actions done in obedience to them, without the inward approbation, are the actions of the Soveraign, and not of the Subject, which is in that case but as an instrument, without any motion of his owne at all; because God hath commanded to obey them.
The eleventh, is every place, where the Apostle for Counsell, putteth some word, by which men use to signifie Command; or calleth the following of his Counsell, by the name of Obedience. And therefore they are alledged out of 1 Cor. 11.2. "I commend you for keeping my Precepts as I delivered them to you." The Greek is, "I commend you for keeping those things I delivered to you, as I delivered them." Which is far from signifying that they were Laws, or any thing else, but good Counsell. And that of 1 Thess. 4.2. "You know what commandements we gave you: where the Greek word is paraggelias edokamen, equivalent to paredokamen, what wee delivered to you, as in the place next before alledged, which does not prove the Traditions of the Apostles, to be any more than Counsells; though as is said in the 8 verse, "he that despiseth them, despiseth not man, but God": For our Saviour himself came not to Judge, that is, to be King in this world; but to Sacrifice himself for Sinners, and leave Doctors in his Church, to lead, not to drive men to Christ, who never accepteth forced actions, (which is all the Law produceth,) but the inward conversion of the heart; which is not the work of Laws, but of Counsell, and Doctrine.
And that of 2 Thess. 3.14. "If any man Obey not our word by this Epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may bee ashamed": where from the word Obey, he would inferre, that this Epistle was a Law to the Thessalonians. The Epistles of the Emperours were indeed Laws. If therefore the Epistle of S. Paul were also a Law, they were to obey two Masters. But the word Obey, as it is in the Greek upakouei, signifieth Hearkening To, or Putting In Practice, not onely that which is Commanded by him that has right to punish, but also that which is delivered in a way of Counsell for our good; and therefore St. Paul does not bid kill him that disobeys, nor beat, nor imprison, nor amerce him, which Legislators may all do; but avoid his company, that he may bee ashamed: whereby it is evident, it was not the Empire of an Apostle, but his Reputation amongst the Faithfull, which the Christians stood in awe of.
The last place is that of Heb. 13.17. "Obey your Leaders, and submit your selves to them, for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account:" And here also is intended by Obedience, a following of their Counsell: For the reason of our Obedience, is not drawn from the will and command of our Pastors, but from our own benefit, as being the Salvation of our Souls they watch for, and not for the Exaltation of their own Power, and Authority. If it were meant here, that all they teach were Laws, then not onely the Pope, but every Pastor in his Parish should have Legislative Power. Again, they that are bound to obey, their Pastors, have no power to examine their commands. What then shall wee say to St. John who bids us (1 Epist. chap. 4. ver. 1.) "Not to beleeve every Spirit, but to try the Spirits whether they are of God, because many false Prophets are gone out into the world"? It is therefore manifest, that wee may dispute the Doctrine of our Pastors; but no man can dispute a Law. The Commands of Civill Soveraigns are on all sides granted to be Laws: if any else can make a Law besides himselfe, all Common-wealth, and consequently all Peace, and Justice must cease; which is contrary to all Laws, both Divine and Humane. Nothing therefore can be drawn from these, or any other places of Scripture, to prove the Decrees of the Pope, where he has not also the Civill Soveraignty, to be Laws.
The Question Of Superiority Between The Pope And Other Bishops The last point hee would prove, is this, "That our Saviour Christ has committed Ecclesiasticall Jurisdiction immediately to none but the Pope." Wherein he handleth not the Question of Supremacy between the Pope and Christian Kings, but between the Pope and other Bishops. And first, he sayes it is agreed, that the Jurisdiction of Bishops, is at least in the generall De Jure Divino, that is, in the Right of God; for which he alledges S. Paul, Ephes. 4.11. where hee sayes, that Christ after his Ascension into heaven, "gave gifts to men, some Apostles, some Prophets, and some Evangelists, and some Pastors, and some Teachers:" And thence inferres, they have indeed their Jurisdiction in Gods Right; but will not grant they have it immediately from God, but derived through the Pope. But if a man may be said to have his Jurisdiction De Jure Divino, and yet not immediately; what lawfull Jurisdiction, though but Civill, is there in a Christian Common-wealth, that is not also De Jure Divino? For Christian Kings have their Civill Power from God immediately; and the Magistrates under him exercise their severall charges in vertue of his Commission; wherein that which they doe, is no lesse De Jure Divino Mediato, than that which the Bishops doe, in vertue of the Popes Ordination. All lawfull Power is of God, immediately in the Supreme Governour, and mediately in those that have Authority under him: So that either hee must grant every Constable in the State, to hold his Office in the Right of God; or he must not hold that any Bishop holds his so, besides the Pope himselfe.
But this whole Dispute, whether Christ left the Jurisdiction to the Pope onely, or to other Bishops also, if considered out of these places where the Pope has the Civill Soveraignty, is a contention De Lana Caprina: For none of them (where they are not Soveraigns) has any Jurisdiction at all. For Jurisdiction is the Power of hearing and determining Causes between man and man; and can belong to none, but him that hath the Power to prescribe the Rules of Right and Wrong; that is, to make Laws; and with the Sword of Justice to compell men to obey his Decisions, pronounced either by himself, or by the Judges he ordaineth thereunto; which none can lawfully do, but the Civill Soveraign.
Therefore when he alledgeth out of the 6 of Luke, that our Saviour called his Disciples together, and chose twelve of them which he named Apostles, he proveth that he Elected them (all, except Matthias, Paul and Barnabas,) and gave them Power and Command to Preach, but not to Judge of Causes between man and man: for that is a Power which he refused to take upon himselfe, saying, "Who made me a Judge, or a Divider, amongst you?" and in another place, "My Kingdome is not of this world." But hee that hath not the Power to hear, and determine Causes between man and man, cannot be said to have any Jurisdiction at all. And yet this hinders not, but that our Saviour gave them Power to Preach and Baptize in all parts of the world, supposing they were not by their own lawfull Soveraign forbidden: For to our own Soveraigns Christ himself, and his Apostles have in sundry places expressely commanded us in all things to be obedient.
The arguments by which he would prove, that Bishops receive their Jurisdiction from the Pope (seeing the Pope in the Dominions of other Princes hath no Jurisdiction himself,) are all in vain. Yet because they prove, on the contrary, that all Bishops receive Jurisdiction when they have it from their Civill Soveraigns, I will not omit the recitall of them.
The first, is from Numbers 11. where Moses not being able alone to undergoe the whole burthen of administring the affairs of the People of Israel, God commanded him to choose Seventy Elders, and took part of the spirit of Moses, to put it upon those Seventy Elders: by which it is understood, not that God weakened the spirit of Moses, for that had not eased him at all; but that they had all of them their authority from him; wherein he doth truly, and ingenuously interpret that place. But seeing Moses had the entire Soveraignty in the Common-wealth of the Jews, it is manifest, that it is thereby signified, that they had their Authority from the Civill Soveraign: and therefore that place proveth, that Bishops in every Christian Common-wealth have their Authority from the Civill Soveraign; and from the Pope in his own Territories only, and not in the Territories of any other State.
The second argument, is from the nature of Monarchy; wherein all Authority is in one Man, and in others by derivation from him: But the Government of the Church, he says, is Monarchicall. This also makes for Christian Monarchs. For they are really Monarchs of their own people; that is, of their own Church (for the Church is the same thing with a Christian people;) whereas the Power of the Pope, though hee were S. Peter, is neither Monarchy, nor hath any thing of Archicall, nor Craticall, but onely of Didacticall; For God accepteth not a forced, but a willing obedience.
The third, is, from that the Sea of S. Peter is called by S. Cyprian, the Head, the Source, the Roote, the Sun, from whence the Authority of Bishops is derived. But by the Law of Nature (which is a better Principle of Right and Wrong, than the word of any Doctor that is but a man) the Civill Soveraign in every Common-wealth, is the Head, the Source, the Root, and the Sun, from which all Jurisdiction is derived. And therefore, the Jurisdiction of Bishops, is derived from the Civill Soveraign.
The fourth, is taken from the Inequality of their Jurisdictions: For if God (saith he) had given it them immediately, he had given aswell Equality of Jurisdiction, as of Order: But wee see, some are Bishops but of own Town, some of a hundred Towns, and some of many whole Provinces; which differences were not determined by the command of God; their Jurisdiction therefore is not of God, but of Man; and one has a greater, another a lesse, as it pleaseth the Prince of the Church. Which argument, if he had proved before, that the Pope had had an Universall Jurisdiction over all Christians, had been for his purpose. But seeing that hath not been proved, and that it is notoriously known, the large Jurisdiction of the Pope was given him by those that had it, that is, by the Emperours of Rome, (for the Patriarch of Constantinople, upon the same title, namely, of being Bishop of the Capitall City of the Empire, and Seat of the Emperour, claimed to be equal to him,) it followeth, that all other Bishops have their Jurisdiction from the Soveraigns of the place wherein they exercise the same: And as for that cause they have not their Authority De Jure Divino; so neither hath the Pope his De Jure Divino, except onely where hee is also the Civill Soveraign.
His fift argument is this, "If Bishops have their Jurisdiction immediately from God, the Pope could not take it from them, for he can doe nothing contrary to Gods ordination;" And this consequence is good, and well proved. "But, (saith he) the Pope can do this, and has done it." This also is granted, so he doe it in his own Dominions, or in the Dominions of any other Prince that hath given him that Power; but not universally, in Right of the Popedome: For that power belongeth to every Christian Soveraign, within the bounds of his owne Empire, and is inseparable from the Soveraignty. Before the People of Israel had (by the commandment of God to Samuel) set over themselves a King, after the manner of other Nations, the High Priest had the Civill Government; and none but he could make, nor depose an inferiour Priest: But that Power was afterwards in the King, as may be proved by this same argument of Bellarmine; For if the Priest (be he the High Priest or any other) had his Jurisdiction immediately from God, then the King could not take it from him; "for he could do nothing contrary to Gods ordinance:) But it is certain, that King Solomon (1 Kings 2.26.) deprived Abiathar the High Priest of his office, and placed Zadok (verse 35.) in his room. Kings therefore may in the like manner Ordaine, and Deprive Bishops, as they shall thinke fit, for the well governing of their Subjects.
His sixth argument is this, If Bishops have their Jurisdiction De Jure Divino (that is, immediately from God,) they that maintaine it, should bring some Word of God to prove it: But they can bring none. The argument is good; I have therefore nothing to say against it. But it is an argument no lesse good, to prove the Pope himself to have no Jurisdiction in the Dominion of any other Prince.
Lastly, hee bringeth for argument, the testimony of two Popes, Innocent, and Leo; and I doubt not but hee might have alledged, with as good reason, the testimonies of all the Popes almost since S. Peter: For considering the love of Power naturally implanted in mankind, whosoever were made Pope, he would be tempted to uphold the same opinion. Neverthelesse, they should therein but doe, as Innocent, and Leo did, bear witnesse of themselves, and therefore their witness should not be good.
Of The Popes Temporall Power In the fift Book he hath four Conclusions. The first is, "That the Pope in not Lord of all the world:" the second, "that the Pope is not Lord of all the Christian world:" The third, "That the Pope (without his owne Territory) has not any Temporall Jurisdiction DIRECTLY:" These three Conclusions are easily granted. The fourth is, "That the Pope has (in the Dominions of other Princes) the Supreme Temporall Power INDIRECTLY:" which is denyed; unlesse he mean by Indirectly, that he has gotten it by Indirect means; then is that also granted. But I understand, that when he saith he hath it Indirectly, he means, that such Temporall Jurisdiction belongeth to him of Right, but that this Right is but a Consequence of his Pastorall Authority, the which he could not exercise, unlesse he have the other with it: And therefore to the Pastorall Power (which he calls Spirituall) the Supreme Power Civill is necessarily annexed; and that thereby hee hath a Right to change Kingdomes, giving them to one, and taking them from another, when he shall think it conduces to the Salvation of Souls.
Before I come to consider the Arguments by which hee would prove this doctrine, it will not bee amisse to lay open the Consequences of it; that Princes, and States, that have the Civill Soveraignty in their severall Common-wealths, may bethink themselves, whether it bee convenient for them, and conducing to the good of their Subjects, of whom they are to give an account at the day of Judgment, to admit the same.
When it is said, the Pope hath not (in the Territories of other States) the Supreme Civill Power Directly; we are to understand, he doth not challenge it, as other Civill Soveraigns doe, from the originall submission thereto of those that are to be governed. For it is evident, and has already been sufficiently in this Treatise demonstrated, that the Right of all Soveraigns, is derived originally from the consent of every one of those that are to bee governed; whether they that choose him, doe it for their common defence against an Enemy, as when they agree amongst themselves to appoint a Man, or an Assembly of men to protect them; or whether they doe it, to save their lives, by submission to a conquering Enemy. The Pope therefore, when he disclaimeth the Supreme Civill Power over other States Directly, denyeth no more, but that his Right cometh to him by that way; He ceaseth not for all that, to claime it another way; and that is, (without the consent of them that are to be governed) by a Right given him by God, (which hee calleth Indirectly,) in his Assumption to the Papacy. But by what way soever he pretend, the Power is the same; and he may (if it bee granted to be his Right) depose Princes and States, as often as it is for the Salvation of Soules, that is, as often as he will; for he claimeth also the Sole Power to Judge, whether it be to the salvation of mens Souls, or not. And this is the Doctrine, not onely that Bellarmine here, and many other Doctors teach in their Sermons and Books, but also that some Councells have decreed, and the Popes have decreed, and the Popes have accordingly, when the occasion hath served them, put in practise. For the fourth Councell of Lateran held under Pope Innocent the third, (in the third Chap. De Haereticis,) hath this Canon. "If a King at the Popes admonition, doe not purge his Kingdome of Haeretiques, and being Excommunicate for the same, make not satisfaction within a year, his subjects are absolved of their Obedience." And the practise hereof hath been seen on divers occasions; as in the Deposing of Chilperique, King of France; in the Translation of the Roman Empire to Charlemaine; in the Oppression of John King of England; in Transferring the Kingdome of Navarre; and of late years, in the League against Henry the third of France, and in many more occurrences. I think there be few Princes that consider not this as Injust, and Inconvenient; but I wish they would all resolve to be Kings, or Subjects. Men cannot serve two Masters: They ought therefore to ease them, either by holding the Reins of Government wholly in their own hands; or by wholly delivering them into the hands of the Pope; that such men as are willing to be obedient, may be protected in their obedience. For this distinction of Temporall, and Spirituall Power is but words. Power is as really divided, and as dangerously to all purposes, by sharing with another Indirect Power, as with a Direct one. But to come now to his Arguments.
The first is this, "The Civill Power is subject to the Spirituall: Therefore he that hath the Supreme Power Spirituall, hath right to command Temporall Princes, and dispose of their Temporalls in order to the Spirituall. As for the distinction of Temporall, and Spirituall, let us consider in what sense it may be said intelligibly, that the Temporall, or Civill Power is subject to the Spirituall. There be but two ways that those words can be made sense. For when wee say, one Power is subject to another Power, the meaning either is, that he which hath the one, is subject to him that hath the other; or that the one Power is to the other, as the means to the end. For wee cannot understand, that one Power hath Power over another Power; and that one Power can have Right or Command over another: For Subjection, Command, Right, and Power are accidents, not of Powers, but of Persons: One Power may be subordinate to another, as the art of a Sadler, to the art of a Rider. If then it be granted, that the Civill Government be ordained as a means to bring us to a Spirituall felicity; yet it does not follow, that if a King have the Civill Power, and the Pope the Spirituall, that therefore the King is bound to obey the Pope, more then every Sadler is bound to obey every Rider. Therefore as from Subordination of an Art, cannot be inferred the Subjection of the Professor; so from the Subordination of a Government, cannot be inferred the Subjection of the Governor. When therefore he saith, the Civill Power is Subject to the Spirituall, his meaning is, that the Civill Soveraign, is Subject to the Spirituall Soveraign. And the Argument stands thus, "The Civil Soveraign, is subject to the Spirituall; Therefore the Spirituall Prince may command Temporall Princes." Where the conclusion is the same, with the Antecedent he should have proved. But to prove it, he alledgeth first, this reason, "Kings and Popes, Clergy and Laity make but one Common-wealth; that is to say, but one Church: And in all Bodies the Members depend one upon another: But things Spirituall depend not of things Temporall: Therefore, Temporall depend on Spirituall. And therefore are Subject to them." In which Argumentation there be two grosse errours: one is, that all Christian Kings, Popes, Clergy, and all other Christian men, make but one Common-wealth: For it is evident that France is one Common-wealth, Spain another, and Venice a third, &c. And these consist of Christians; and therefore also are severall Bodies of Christians; that is to say, severall Churches: And their severall Soveraigns Represent them, whereby they are capable of commanding and obeying, of doing and suffering, as a natural man; which no Generall or Universall Church is, till it have a Representant; which it hath not on Earth: for if it had, there is no doubt but that all Christendome were one Common-wealth, whose Soveraign were that Representant, both in things Spirituall and Temporall: And the Pope, to make himself this Representant, wanteth three things that our Saviour hath not given him, to Command, and to Judge, and to Punish, otherwise than (by Excommunication) to run from those that will not Learn of him: For though the Pope were Christs onely Vicar, yet he cannot exercise his government, till our Saviours second coming: And then also it is not the Pope, but St. Peter himselfe, with the other Apostles, that are to be Judges of the world.
The other errour in this his first Argument is, that he sayes, the Members of every Common-wealth, as of a naturall Body, depend one of another: It is true, they cohaere together; but they depend onely on the Soveraign, which is the Soul of the Common-wealth; which failing, the Common-wealth is dissolved into a Civill war, no one man so much as cohaering to another, for want of a common Dependance on a known Soveraign; Just as the Members of the naturall Body dissolve into Earth, for want of a Soul to hold them together. Therefore there is nothing in this similitude, from whence to inferre a dependance of the Laity on the Clergy, or of the Temporall Officers on the Spirituall; but of both on the Civill Soveraign; which ought indeed to direct his Civill commands to the Salvation of Souls; but is not therefore subject to any but God himselfe. And thus you see the laboured fallacy of the first Argument, to deceive such men as distinguish not between the Subordination of Actions in the way to the End; and the Subjection of Persons one to another in the administration of the Means. For to every End, the Means are determined by Nature, or by God himselfe supernaturally: but the Power to make men use the Means, is in every nation resigned (by the Law of Nature, which forbiddeth men to violate their Faith given) to the Civill Soveraign.
His second Argument is this, "Every Common-wealth, (because it is supposed to be perfect and sufficient in it self,) may command any other Common-wealth, not subject to it, and force it to change the administration of the Government, nay depose the Prince, and set another in his room, if it cannot otherwise defend it selfe against the injuries he goes about to doe them: much more may a Spirituall Common-wealth command a Temporall one to change the administration of their Government, and may depose Princes, and institute others, when they cannot otherwise defend the Spirituall Good."
That a Common-wealth, to defend it selfe against injuries, may lawfully doe all that he hath here said, is very true; and hath already in that which hath gone before been sufficiently demonstrated. And if it were also true, that there is now in this world a Spirituall Common-wealth, distinct from a Civill Common-wealth, then might the Prince thereof, upon injury done him, or upon want of caution that injury be not done him in time to come, repaire, and secure himself by Warre; which is in summe, deposing, killing, or subduing, or doing any act of Hostility. But by the same reason, it would be no lesse lawfull for a Civill Soveraign, upon the like injuries done, or feared, to make warre upon the Spirituall Soveraign; which I beleeve is more than Cardinall Bellarmine would have inferred from his own proposition.
But Spirituall Common-wealth there is none in this world: for it is the same thing with the Kingdome of Christ; which he himselfe saith, is not of this world; but shall be in the next world, at the Resurrection, when they that have lived justly, and beleeved that he was the Christ, shall (though they died Naturall bodies) rise Spirituall bodies; and then it is, that our Saviour shall judge the world, and conquer his Adversaries, and make a Spirituall Common-wealth. In the mean time, seeing there are no men on earth, whose bodies are Spirituall; there can be no Spirituall Common-wealth amongst men that are yet in the flesh; unlesse wee call Preachers, that have Commission to Teach, and prepare men for their reception into the Kingdome of Christ at the Resurrection, a Common-wealth; which I have proved to bee none.
The third Argument is this; "It is not lawfull for Christians to tolerate an Infidel, or Haereticall King, in case he endeavour to draw them to his Haeresie, or Infidelity. But to judge whether a King draw his subjects to Haeresie, or not, belongeth to the Pope. Therefore hath the Pope Right, to determine whether the Prince be to be deposed, or not deposed."
To this I answer, that both these assertions are false. For Christians, (or men of what Religion soever,) if they tolerate not their King, whatsoever law hee maketh, though it bee concerning Religion, doe violate their faith, contrary to the Divine Law, both Naturall and Positive: Nor is there any Judge of Haeresie amongst Subjects, but their own Civill Soveraign; for "Haeresie is nothing else, but a private opinion, obstinately maintained, contrary to the opinion which the Publique Person (that is to say, the Representant of the Common-wealth) hath commanded to bee taught." By which it is manifest, that an opinion publiquely appointed to bee taught, cannot be Haeresie; nor the Soveraign Princes that authorize them, Haeretiques. For Haeretiques are none but private men, that stubbornly defend some Doctrine, prohibited by their lawful Soveraigns.
But to prove that Christians are not to tolerate Infidell, or Haereticall Kings, he alledgeth a place in Deut. 17. where God forbiddeth the Jews, when they shall set a King over themselves, to choose a stranger; And from thence inferreth, that it is unlawfull for a Christian, to choose a King, that is not a Christian. And 'tis true, that he that is a Christian, that is, hee that hath already obliged himself to receive our Saviour when he shall come, for his King, shal tempt God too much in choosing for King in this world, one that hee knoweth will endeavour, both by terrour, and perswasion to make him violate his faith. But, it is (saith hee) the same danger, to choose one that is not a Christian, for King, and not to depose him, when hee is chosen. To this I say, the question is not of the danger of not deposing; but of the Justice of deposing him. To choose him, may in some cases bee unjust; but to depose him, when he is chosen, is in no case Just. For it is alwaies violation of faith, and consequently against the Law of Nature, which is the eternal Law of God. Nor doe wee read, that any such Doctrine was accounted Christian in the time of the Apostles; nor in the time of the Romane Emperours, till the Popes had the Civill Soveraignty of Rome. But to this he hath replyed, that the Christians of old, deposed not Nero, nor Diocletian, nor Julian, nor Valens an Arrian, for this cause onely, that they wanted Temporall forces. Perhaps so. But did our Saviour, who for calling for, might have had twelve Legions of immortall, invulnerable Angels to assist him, want forces to depose Caesar, or at least Pilate, that unjustly, without finding fault in him, delivered him to the Jews to bee crucified? Or if the Apostles wanted Temporall forces to depose Nero, was it therefore necessary for them in their Epistles to the new made Christians, to teach them, (as they did) to obey the Powers constituted over them, (whereof Nero in that time was one,) and that they ought to obey them, not for fear of their wrath, but for conscience sake? Shall we say they did not onely obey, but also teach what they meant not, for want of strength? It is not therefore for want of strength, but for conscience sake, that Christians are to tolerate their Heathen Princes, or Princes (for I cannot call any one whose Doctrine is the Publique Doctrine, an Haeretique) that authorize the teaching of an Errour. And whereas for the Temporall Power of the Pope, he alledgeth further, that St. Paul (1 Cor. 6.) appointed Judges under the Heathen Princes of those times, such as were not ordained by those Princes; it is not true. For St. Paul does but advise them, to take some of their Brethren to compound their differences, as Arbitrators, rather than to goe to law one with another before the Heathen Judges; which is a wholsome Precept, and full of Charity, fit to bee practised also in the Best Christian Common-wealths. And for the danger that may arise to Religion, by the Subjects tolerating of an Heathen, or an Erring Prince, it is a point, of which a Subject is no competent Judge; or if hee bee, the Popes Temporall Subjects may judge also of the Popes Doctrine. For every Christian Prince, as I have formerly proved, is no lesse Supreme Pastor of his own Subjects, than the Pope of his.
The fourth Argument, is taken from the Baptisme of Kings; wherein, that they may be made Christians they submit their Scepters to Christ; and promise to keep, and defend the Christian Faith. This is true; for Christian Kings are no more but Christs Subjects: but they may, for all that, bee the Popes Fellowes; for they are Supreme Pastors of their own Subjects; and the Pope is no more but King, and Pastor, even in Rome it selfe.
The fifth Argument, is drawn from the words spoken by our Saviour, Feed My Sheep; by which was give all Power necessary for a Pastor; as the Power to chase away Wolves, such as are Haeretiques; the Power to shut up Rammes, if they be mad, or push at the other Sheep with their Hornes, such as are Evill (though Christian) Kings; and Power to give the Flock convenient food: From whence hee inferreth, that St. Peter had these three Powers given him by Christ. To which I answer, that the last of these Powers, is no more than the Power, or rather Command to Teach. For the first, which is to chase away Wolves, that is, Haeretiques, the place hee quoteth is (Matth. 7.15.) "Beware of false Prophets which come to you in Sheeps clothing, but inwardly are ravening Wolves." But neither are Haeretiques false Prophets, or at all Prophets: nor (admitting Haeretiques for the Wolves there meant,) were the Apostles commanded to kill them, or if they were Kings, to depose them; but to beware of, fly, and avoid them: nor was it to St. Peter, nor to any of the Apostles, but to the multitude of the Jews that followed him into the mountain, men for the most part not yet converted, that hee gave this Counsell, to Beware of false Prophets: which therefore if it conferre a Power of chasing away Kings, was given, not onely to private men; but to men that were not at all Christians. And as to the Power of Separating, and Shutting up of furious Rammes, (by which hee meaneth Christian Kings that refuse to submit themselves to the Roman Pastor,) our Saviour refused to take upon him that Power in this world himself, but advised to let the Corn and Tares grow up together till the day of Judgment: much lesse did hee give it to St. Peter, or can S. Peter give it to the Popes. St. Peter, and all other Pastors, are bidden to esteem those Christians that disobey the Church, that is, (that disobey the Christian Soveraigne) as Heathen men, and as Publicans. Seeing then men challenge to the Pope no authority over Heathen Princes, they ought to challenge none over those that are to bee esteemed as Heathen.
But from the Power to Teach onely, hee inferreth also a Coercive Power in the Pope, over Kings. The Pastor (saith he) must give his flock convenient food: Therefore the Pope may, and ought to compell Kings to doe their duty. Out of which it followeth, that the Pope, as Pastor of Christian men, is King of Kings: which all Christian Kings ought indeed either to Confesse, or else they ought to take upon themselves the Supreme Pastorall Charge, every one in his own Dominion.
His sixth, and last Argument, is from Examples. To which I answer, first, that Examples prove nothing; Secondly, that the Examples he alledgeth make not so much as a probability of Right. The fact of Jehoiada, in Killing Athaliah (2 Kings 11.) was either by the Authority of King Joash, or it was a horrible Crime in the High Priest, which (ever after the election of King Saul) was a mere Subject. The fact of St. Ambrose, in Excommunicating Theodosius the Emperour, (if it were true hee did so,) was a Capitall Crime. And for the Popes, Gregory 1. Greg. 2. Zachary, and Leo 3. their Judgments are void, as given in their own Cause; and the Acts done by them conformably to this Doctrine, are the greatest Crimes (especially that of Zachary) that are incident to Humane Nature. And thus much of Power Ecclesiasticall; wherein I had been more briefe, forbearing to examine these Arguments of Bellarmine, if they had been his, as a Private man, and not as the Champion of the Papacy, against all other Christian Princes, and States.
OF WHAT IS NECESSARY FOR A MANS RECEPTION INTO THE KINGDOME OF HEAVEN.
The Difficulty Of Obeying God And Man Both At Once, The most frequent praetext of Sedition, and Civill Warre, in Christian Common-wealths hath a long time proceeded from a difficulty, not yet sufficiently resolved, of obeying at once, both God, and Man, then when their Commandements are one contrary to the other. It is manifest enough, that when a man receiveth two contrary Commands, and knows that one of them is Gods, he ought to obey that, and not the other, though it be the command even of his lawfull Soveraign (whether a Monarch, or a Soveraign Assembly,) or the command of his Father. The difficulty therefore consisteth in this, that men when they are commanded in the name of God, know not in divers Cases, whether the command be from God, or whether he that commandeth, doe but abuse Gods name for some private ends of his own. For as there ware in the Church of the Jews, many false Prophets, that sought reputation with the people, by feigned Dreams, and Visions; so there have been in all times in the Church of Christ, false Teachers, that seek reputation with the people, by phantasticall and false Doctrines; and by such reputation (as is the nature of Ambition,) to govern them for their private benefit.
Is None To Them That Distinguish Between What Is, And What Is Not Necessary To Salvation But this difficulty of obeying both God, and the Civill Soveraign on earth, to those that can distinguish between what is Necessary, and what is not Necessary for their Reception into the Kingdome of God, is of no moment. For if the command of the Civill Soveraign bee such, as that it may be obeyed, without the forfeiture of life Eternall; not to obey it is unjust; and the precept of the Apostle takes place; "Servants obey your Masters in all things;" and, "Children obey your Parents in all things;" and the precept of our Saviour, "The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses Chaire, All therefore they shall say, that observe, and doe." But if the command be such, as cannot be obeyed, without being damned to Eternall Death, then it were madnesse to obey it, and the Counsell of our Saviour takes place, (Mat. 10. 28.) "Fear not those that kill the body, but cannot kill the soule.) All men therefore that would avoid, both the punishments that are to be in this world inflicted, for disobedience to their earthly Soveraign, and those that shall be inflicted in the world to come for disobedience to God, have need be taught to distinguish well between what is, and what is not Necessary to Eternall Salvation.
All That Is Necessary To Salvation Is Contained In Faith And Obedience All that is NECESSARY to Salvation, is contained in two Vertues, Faith in Christ, and Obedience to Laws. The latter of these, if it were perfect, were enough to us. But because wee are all guilty of disobedience to Gods Law, not onely originally in Adam, but also actually by our own transgressions, there is required at our hands now, not onely Obedience for the rest of our time, but also a Remission of sins for the time past; which Remission is the reward of our Faith in Christ. That nothing else is Necessarily required to Salvation, is manifest from this, that the Kingdome of Heaven, is shut to none but to Sinners; that is to say, to the disobedient, or transgressors of the Law; nor to them, in case they Repent, and Beleeve all the Articles of Christian Faith, Necessary to Salvation.
What Obedience Is Necessary; The Obedience required at our hands by God, that accepteth in all our actions the Will for the Deed, is a serious Endeavour to Obey him; and is called also by all such names as signifie that Endeavour. And therefore Obedience, is sometimes called by the names of Charity, and Love, because they imply a Will to Obey; and our Saviour himself maketh our Love to God, and to one another, a Fulfilling of the whole Law: and sometimes by the name of Righteousnesse; for Righteousnesse is but the will to give to every one his owne, that is to say, the will to obey the Laws: and sometimes by the name of Repentance; because to Repent, implyeth a turning away from sinne, which is the same, with the return of the will to Obedience. Whosoever therefore unfeignedly desireth to fulfill the Commandements of God, or repenteth him truely of his transgressions, or that loveth God with all his heart, and his neighbor as himself, hath all the Obedience Necessary to his Reception into the Kingdome of God: For if God should require perfect Innocence, there could no flesh be saved.
And To What Laws But what Commandements are those that God hath given us? Are all those Laws which were given to the Jews by the hand of Moses, the Commandements of God? If they bee, why are not Christians taught to obey them? If they be not, what others are so, besides the Law of Nature? For our Saviour Christ hath not given us new Laws, but Counsell to observe those wee are subject to; that is to say, the Laws of Nature, and the Laws of our severall Soveraigns: Nor did he make any new Law to the Jews in his Sermon on the Mount, but onely expounded the Laws of Moses, to which they were subject before. The Laws of God therefore are none but the Laws of Nature, whereof the principall is, that we should not violate our Faith, that is, a commandement to obey our Civill Soveraigns, which wee constituted over us, by mutuall pact one with another. And this Law of God, that commandeth Obedience to the Law Civill, commandeth by consequence Obedience to all the Precepts of the Bible, which (as I have proved in the precedent Chapter) is there onely Law, where the Civill Soveraign hath made it so; and in other places but Counsell; which a man at his own perill, may without injustice refuse to obey.
In The Faith Of A Christian, Who Is The Person Beleeved Knowing now what is the Obedience Necessary to Salvation, and to whom it is due; we are to consider next concerning Faith, whom, and why we beleeve; and what are the Articles, or Points necessarily to be beleeved by them that shall be saved. And first, for the Person whom we beleeve, because it is impossible to beleeve any Person, before we know what he saith, it is necessary he be one that wee have heard speak. The Person therefore, whom Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and the Prophets beleeved, was God himself, that spake unto them supernaturally: And the Person, whom the Apostles and Disciples that conversed with Christ beleeved, was our Saviour himself. But of them, to whom neither God the Father, nor our Saviour ever spake, it cannot be said, that the Person whom they beleeved, was God. They beleeved the Apostles, and after them the Pastors and Doctors of the Church, that recommended to their faith the History of the Old and New Testament: so that the Faith of Christians ever since our Saviours time, hath had for foundation, first, the reputation of their Pastors, and afterward, the authority of those that made the Old and New Testament to be received for the Rule of Faith; which none could do but Christian Soveraignes; who are therefore the Supreme Pastors, and the onely Persons, whom Christians now hear speak from God; except such as God speaketh to, in these days supernaturally. But because there be many false Prophets "gone out into the world," other men are to examine such Spirits (as St. John advised us, 1 Epistle, Chap. 4. ver.1.) "whether they be of God, or not." And therefore, seeing the Examination of Doctrines belongeth to the Supreme Pastor, the Person which all they that have no speciall revelation are to beleeve, is (in every Common-wealth) the Supreme Pastor, that is to say, the Civill Soveraigne.
The Causes Of Christian Faith The causes why men beleeve any Christian Doctrine, are various; For Faith is the gift of God; and he worketh it in each severall man, by such wayes, as it seemeth good unto himself. The most ordinary immediate cause of our beleef, concerning any point of Christian Faith, is, that wee beleeve the Bible to be the Word of God. But why wee beleeve the Bible to be the Word of God, is much disputed, as all questions must needs bee, that are not well stated. For they make not the question to be, "Why we Beleeve it," but "How wee Know it;" as if Beleeving and Knowing were all one. And thence while one side ground their Knowledge upon the Infallibility of the Church, and the other side, on the Testimony of the Private Spirit, neither side concludeth what it pretends. For how shall a man know the Infallibility of the Church, but by knowing first the Infallibility of the Scripture? Or how shall a man know his own Private spirit to be other than a beleef, grounded upon the Authority, and Arguments of his Teachers; or upon a Presumption of his own Gifts? Besides, there is nothing in the Scripture, from which can be inferred the Infallibility of the Church; much lesse, of any particular Church; and least of all, the Infallibility of any particular man.
Faith Comes By Hearing It is manifest, therefore, that Christian men doe not know, but onely beleeve the Scripture to be the Word of God; and that the means of making them beleeve which God is pleased to afford men ordinarily, is according to the way of Nature, that is to say, from their Teachers. It is the Doctrine of St. Paul concerning Christian Faith in generall, (Rom. 10.17.) "Faith cometh by Hearing," that is, by Hearing our lawfull Pastors. He saith also (ver. 14,15. of the same Chapter) "How shall they beleeve in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a Preacher? and how shall they Preach, except they be sent?" Whereby it is evident, that the ordinary cause of beleeving that the Scriptures are the Word of God, is the same with the cause of the beleeving of all other Articles of our Faith, namely, the Hearing of those that are by the Law allowed and appointed to Teach us, as our Parents in their Houses, and our Pastors in the Churches: Which also is made more manifest by experience. For what other cause can there bee assigned, why in Christian Common-wealths all men either beleeve, or at least professe the Scripture to bee the Word of God, and in other Common-wealths scarce any; but that in Christian Common-wealths they are taught it from their infancy; and in other places they are taught otherwise?
But if Teaching be the cause of Faith, why doe not all beleeve? It is certain therefore that Faith is the gift of God, and hee giveth it to whom he will. Neverthelesse, because of them to whom he giveth it, he giveth it by the means of Teachers, the immediate cause of Faith is Hearing. In a School where many are taught, and some profit, others profit not, the cause of learning in them that profit, is the Master; yet it cannot be thence inferred, that learning is not the gift of God. All good things proceed from God; yet cannot all that have them, say they are Inspired; for that implies a gift supernaturall, and the immediate hand of God; which he that pretends to, pretends to be a Prophet, and is subject to the examination of the Church.
But whether men Know, or Beleeve, or Grant the Scriptures to be the Word of God; if out of such places of them, as are without obscurity, I shall shew what Articles of Faith are necessary, and onely necessary for Salvation, those men must needs Know, Beleeve, or Grant the same.
The Onely Necessary Article Of Christian Faith, The (Unum Necessarium) Onely Article of Faith, which the Scripture maketh simply Necessary to Salvation, is this, that JESUS IS THE CHRIST. By the name of Christ, is understood the King, which God had before promised by the Prophets of the Old Testament, to send into the world, to reign (over the Jews, and over such of other nations as should beleeve in him) under himself eternally; and to give them that eternall life, which was lost by the sin of Adam. Which when I have proved out of Scripture, I will further shew when, and in what sense some other Articles may bee also called Necessary.
Proved From The Scope Of The Evangelists: For Proof that the Beleef of this Article, Jesus Is The Christ, is all the Faith required to Salvation, my first Argument shall bee from the Scope of the Evangelists; which was by the description of the life of our Saviour, to establish that one Article, Jesus Is The Christ. The summe of St. Matthews Gospell is this, That Jesus was of the stock of David; Born of a Virgin; which are the Marks of the true Christ: That the Magi came to worship him as King of the Jews: That Herod for the same cause sought to kill him: That John Baptist proclaimed him: That he preached by himselfe, and his Apostles that he was that King; That he taught the Law, not as a Scribe, but as a man of Authority: That he cured diseases by his Word onely, and did many other Miracles, which were foretold the Christ should doe: That he was saluted King when he entered into Jerusalem: That he fore-warned them to beware of all others that should pretend to be Christ: That he was taken, accused, and put to death, for saying, hee was King: That the cause of his condemnation written on the Crosse, was JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWES. All which tend to no other end than this, that men should beleeve, that Jesus Is The Christ. Such therefore was the Scope of St. Matthews Gospel. But the Scope of all the Evangelists (as may appear by reading them) was the same. Therefore the Scope of the whole Gospell, was the establishing of that onely Article. And St. John expressely makes it his conclusion, John 20. 31. "These things are written, that you may know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
From The Sermons Of The Apostles: My second Argument is taken from the Subject of the Sermons of the Apostles, both whilest our Saviour lived on earth, and after his Ascension. The Apostles in our Saviours time were sent, Luke 9.2. to Preach the Kingdome of God: For neither there, nor Mat. 10.7. giveth he any Commission to them, other than this, "As ye go, Preach, saying, the Kingdome of Heaven is at hand;" that is, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the King which was to come. That their Preaching also after his ascension was the same, is manifest out of Acts 17.6. "They drew (saith St. Luke) Jason and certain Brethren unto the Rulers of the City, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also, whom Jason hath received. And these all do contrary to the Decrees of Caesar, saying, that there is another King, one Jesus:" And out of the 2.&3. verses of the same Chapter, where it is said, that St. Paul "as his manner was, went in unto them; and three Sabbath dayes reasoned with them out of the Scriptures; opening and alledging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen againe from the dead, and that this Jesus (whom he preached) is Christ."
From The Easinesse Of The Doctrine: The third Argument is, from those places of Scripture, by which all the Faith required to Salvation is declared to be Easie. For if an inward assent of the mind to all the Doctrines concerning Christian Faith now taught, (whereof the greatest part are disputed,) were necessary to Salvation, there would be nothing in the world so hard, as to be a Christian. The Thief upon the Crosse though repenting, could not have been saved for saying, "Lord remember me when thou commest into thy Kingdome;" by which he testified no beleefe of any other Article, but this, That Jesus Was The King. Nor could it bee said (as it is Mat. 11. 30.) that "Christs yoke is Easy, and his burthen Light:" Nor that "Little Children beleeve in him," as it is Matth. 18.6. Nor could St. Paul have said (1 Cor. 1. 21.) "It pleased God by the Foolishnesse of preaching, to save them that beleeve:" Nor could St. Paul himself have been saved, much lesse have been so great a Doctor of the Church so suddenly, that never perhaps thought of Transsubstantiation, nor Purgatory, nor many other Articles now obtruded.
From Formall And Cleer Texts The fourth Argument is taken from places expresse, and such as receive no controversie of Interpretation; as first, John 5. 39. "Search the Scriptures, for in them yee thinke yee have eternall life; and they are they that testifie of mee." Our Saviour here speaketh of the Scriptures onely of the Old Testament; for the Jews at that time could not search the Scriptures of the New Testament, which were not written. But the Old Testament hath nothing of Christ, but the Markes by which men might know him when hee came; as that he should descend from David, be born at Bethlehem, and of a Virgin; doe great Miracles, and the like. Therefore to beleeve that this Jesus was He, was sufficient to eternall life: but more than sufficient is not Necessary; and consequently no other Article is required. Again, (John 11. 26.) "Whosoever liveth and beleeveth in mee, shall not die eternally," Therefore to beleeve in Christ, is faith sufficient to eternall life; and consequently no more faith than that is Necessary, But to beleeve in Jesus, and to beleeve that Jesus is the Christ, is all one, as appeareth in the verses immediately following. For when our Saviour (verse 26.) had said to Martha, "Beleevest thou this?" she answereth (verse 27.) "Yea Lord, I beleeve that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world;" Therefore this Article alone is faith sufficient to life eternall; and more than sufficient is not Necessary. Thirdly, John 20. 31. "These things are written that yee might beleeve, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that beleeving yee might have life through his name." There, to beleeve that Jesus Is The Christ, is faith sufficient to the obtaining of life; and therefore no other Article is Necessary. Fourthly, 1 John 4. 2. "Every Spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God." And 1 Joh. 5. 1. "whosoever beleeveth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God." And verse 5. "Who is hee that overcommeth the world, but he that beleeveth that Jesus is the Son of God?" Fiftly, Act. 8. ver. 36, 37. "See (saith the Eunuch) here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou beleevest with all thy heart thou mayst. And hee answered and said, I beleeve that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.' Therefore this Article beleeved, Jesus Is The Christ, is sufficient to Baptisme, that is to say, to our Reception into the Kingdome of God, and by consequence, onely Necessary. And generally in all places where our Saviour saith to any man, "Thy faith hath saved thee," the cause he saith it, is some Confession, which directly, or by consequence, implyeth a beleef, that Jesus Is The Christ.
From That It Is The Foundation Of All Other Articles The last Argument is from the places, where this Article is made the Foundation of Faith: For he that holdeth the Foundation shall bee saved. Which places are first, Mat. 24.23. "If any man shall say unto you, Loe, here is Christ, or there, beleeve it not, for there shall arise false Christs, and false Prophets, and shall shew great signes and wonders, &c." Here wee see, this Article Jesus Is The Christ, must bee held, though hee that shall teach the contrary should doe great miracles. The second place is Gal. 1. 8. "Though we, or an Angell from Heaven preach any other Gospell unto you, than that wee have preached unto you, let him bee accursed." But the Gospell which Paul, and the other Apostles, preached, was onely this Article, that Jesus Is The Christ; Therefore for the Beleef of this Article, we are to reject the Authority of an Angell from heaven; much more of any mortall man, if he teach the contrary. This is therefore the Fundamentall Article of Christian Faith. A third place is, 1 Joh. 4.1. "Beloved, beleeve not every spirit. Hereby yee shall know the Spirit of God; every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God." By which it is evident, that this Article, is the measure, and rule, by which to estimate, and examine all other Articles; and is therefore onely Fundamentall. A fourth is, Matt. 16.18. where after St. Peter had professed this Article, saying to our Saviour, "Thou art Christ the Son of the living God," Our Saviour answered, "Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church:" from whence I inferre, that this Article is that, on which all other Doctrines of the Church are built, as on their Foundation. A fift is (1 Cor. 3. ver. 11, 12, &c.) "Other Foundation can no man lay, than that which is laid, Jesus is the Christ. Now if any man build upon this Foundation, Gold, Silver, pretious Stones, Wood, Hay, Stubble; Every mans work shall be made manifest; For the Day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire, and the fire shall try every mans work, of what sort it is. If any mans work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward: If any mans work shall bee burnt, he shall suffer losse; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire." Which words, being partly plain and easie to understand, and partly allegoricall and difficult; out of that which is plain, may be inferred, that Pastors that teach this Foundation, that Jesus Is The Christ, though they draw from it false consequences, (which all men are sometimes subject to,) they may neverthelesse bee saved; much more that they may bee saved, who being no Pastors, but Hearers, beleeve that which is by their lawfull Pastors taught them. Therefore the beleef of this Article is sufficient; and by consequence there is no other Article of Faith Necessarily required to Salvation.
Now for the part which is Allegoricall, as "That the fire shall try every mans work," and that "They shall be saved, but so as by fire," or "through fire," (for the originall is dia puros,) it maketh nothing against this conclusion which I have drawn from the other words, that are plain. Neverthelesse, because upon this place there hath been an argument taken, to prove the fire of Purgatory, I will also here offer you my conjecture concerning the meaning of this triall of Doctrines, and saving of men as by Fire. The Apostle here seemeth to allude to the words of the Prophet Zachary, Ch. 13. 8,9. who speaking of the Restauration of the Kingdome of God, saith thus, "Two parts therein shall be cut off, and die, but the third shall be left therein; and I will bring the third part through the Fire, and will refine them as Silver is refined, and will try them as Gold is tryed; they shall call on the name of the Lord, and I will hear them." The day of Judgment, is the day of the Restauration of the Kingdome of God; and at that day it is, that St. Peter tells us (2 Pet. 3. v.7, 10, 12.) shall be the Conflagration of the world, wherein the wicked shall perish; but the remnant which God will save, shall passe through that Fire, unhurt, and be therein (as Silver and Gold are refined by the fire from their drosse) tryed, and refined from their Idolatry, and be made to call upon the name of the true God. Alluding whereto St. Paul here saith, that The Day (that is, the Day of Judgment, the Great Day of our Saviours comming to restore the Kingdome of God in Israel) shall try every mans doctrine, by Judging, which are Gold, Silver, Pretious Stones, Wood, Hay, Stubble; And then they that have built false Consequences on the true Foundation, shall see their Doctrines condemned; neverthelesse they themselves shall be saved, and passe unhurt through this universall Fire, and live eternally, to call upon the name of the true and onely God. In which sense there is nothing that accordeth not with the rest of Holy Scripture, or any glimpse of the fire of Purgatory.
In What Sense Other Articles May Be Called Necessary But a man may here aske, whether it bee not as necessary to Salvation, to beleeve, that God is Omnipotent; Creator of the world; that Jesus Christ is risen; and that all men else shall rise again from the dead at the last day; as to beleeve, that Jesus Is The Christ. To which I answer, they are; and so are many more Articles: but they are such, as are contained in this one, and may be deduced from it, with more, or lesse difficulty. For who is there that does not see, that they who beleeve Jesus to be the Son of the God of Israel, and that the Israelites had for God the Omnipotent Creator of all things, doe therein also beleeve, that God is the Omnipotent Creator of all things? Or how can a man beleeve, that Jesus is the King that shall reign eternally, unlesse hee beleeve him also risen again from the dead? For a dead man cannot exercise the Office of a King. In summe, he that holdeth this Foundation, Jesus Is The Christ, holdeth Expressely all that hee seeth rightly deduced from it, and Implicitely all that is consequent thereunto, though he have not skill enough to discern the consequence. And therefore it holdeth still good, that the beleef of this one Article is sufficient faith to obtaine remission of sinnes to the Penitent, and consequently to bring them into the Kingdome of Heaven.
That Faith, And Obedience Are Both Of Them Necessary To Salvation Now that I have shewn, that all the Obedience required to Salvation, consisteth in the will to obey the Law of God, that is to say, in Repentance; and all the Faith required to the same, is comprehended in the beleef of this Article, Jesus Is The Christ; I will further alledge those places of the Gospell, that prove, that all that is Necessary to Salvation is contained in both these joined together. The men to whom St. Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, next after the Ascension of our Saviour, asked him, and the rest of the Apostles, saying, (Act. 2.37.) "Men and Brethren what shall we doe?" to whom St. Peter answered (in the next verse) "Repent, and be Baptized every one of you, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Therefore Repentance, and Baptisme, that is, beleeving that Jesus Is The Christ, is all that is Necessary to Salvation. Again, our Saviour being asked by a certain Ruler, (Luke 18.18.) "What shall I doe to inherit eternall life?" Answered (verse 20) "Thou knowest the Commandements, Doe not commit Adultery, Doe not Kill, Doe not Steal, Doe not bear false witnesse, Honor thy Father, and thy Mother;" which when he said he had observed, our Saviour added, "Sell all thou hast, give it to the Poor, and come and follow me:" which was as much as to say, Relye on me that am the King: Therefore to fulfill the Law, and to beleeve that Jesus is the King, is all that is required to bring a man to eternall life. Thirdly, St. Paul saith (Rom. 1.17.) "The Just shall live by Faith;" not every one, but the Just; therefore Faith and Justice (that is, the Will To Be Just, or Repentance) are all that is Necessary to life eternall. And (Mark 1.15.) our Saviour preached, saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand, Repent and Beleeve the Evangile," that is, the Good news that the Christ was come. Therefore to Repent, and to Beleeve that Jesus is the Christ, is all that is required to Salvation.
What Each Of Them Contributes Thereunto Seeing then it is Necessary that Faith, and Obedience (implyed in the word Repentance) do both concurre to our Salvation; the question by which of the two we are Justified, is impertinently disputed. Neverthelesse, it will not be impertinent, to make manifest in what manner each of them contributes thereunto; and in what sense it is said, that we are to be Justified by the one, and by the other. And first, if by Righteousnesse be understood the Justice of the Works themselves, there is no man that can be saved; for there is none that hath not transgressed the Law of God. And therefore when wee are said to be Justified by Works, it is to be understood of the Will, which God doth alwaies accept for the Work it selfe, as well in good, as in evill men. And in this sense onely it is, that a man is called Just, or Unjust; and that his Justice Justifies him, that is, gives him the title, in Gods acceptation, of Just; and renders him capable of Living By His Faith, which before he was not. So that Justice Justifies in that that sense, in which to Justifie, is the same that to Denominate A Man Just; and not in the signification of discharging the Law; whereby the punishment of his sins should be unjust.
But a man is then also said to be Justified, when his Plea, though in it selfe unsufficient, is accepted; as when we Plead our Will, our Endeavour to fulfill the Law, and Repent us of our failings, and God accepteth it for the Performance it selfe: And because God accepteth not the Will for the Deed, but onely in the Faithfull; it is therefore Faith that makes good our Plea; and in this sense it is, that Faith onely Justifies: So that Faith and Obedience are both Necessary to Salvation; yet in severall senses each of them is said to Justifie.
Obedience To God And To The Civill Soveraign Not Inconsistent, Whether Christian, Having thus shewn what is Necessary to Salvation; it is not hard to reconcile our Obedience to the Civill Soveraign; who is either Christian, or Infidel. If he bee a Christian, he alloweth the beleefe of this Article, that Jesus Is The Christ; and of all the Articles that are contained in, or are evident consequence deduced from it: which is all the Faith Necessary to Salvation. And because he is a Soveraign, he requireth Obedience to all his owne, that is, to all the Civill Laws; in which also are contained all the Laws of Nature, that is, all the Laws of God: for besides the Laws of Nature, and the Laws of the Church, which are part of the Civill Law, (for the Church that can make Laws is the Common-wealth,) there bee no other Laws Divine. Whosoever therefore obeyeth his Christian Soveraign, is not thereby hindred, neither from beleeving, nor from obeying God. But suppose that a Christian King should from this Foundation, Jesus Is The Christ, draw some false consequences, that is to say, make some superstructions of Hay, or Stubble, and command the teaching of the same; yet seeing St. Paul says, he shal be saved; much more shall he be saved, that teacheth them by his command; and much more yet, he that teaches not, but onely beleeves his lawfull Teacher. And in case a Subject be forbidden by the Civill Soveraign to professe some of those his opinions, upon what grounds can he disobey? Christian Kings may erre in deducing a Consequence, but who shall Judge? Shall a private man Judge, when the question is of his own obedience? or shall any man Judg but he that is appointed thereto by the Church, that is, by the Civill Soveraign that representeth it? or if the Pope, or an Apostle Judge, may he not erre in deducing of a consequence? did not one of the two, St. Peter, or St. Paul erre in a superstructure, when St. Paul withstood St. Peter to his face? There can therefore be no contradiction between the Laws of God, and the Laws of a Christian Common-wealth.
Or Infidel And when the Civill Soveraign is an Infidel, every one of his own Subjects that resisteth him, sinneth against the Laws of God (for such as are the Laws of Nature,) and rejecteth the counsell of the Apostles, that admonisheth all Christians to obey their Princes, and all Children and Servants to obey they Parents, and Masters, in all things. And for their Faith, it is internall, and invisible; They have the licence that Naaman had, and need not put themselves into danger for it. But if they do, they ought to expect their reward in Heaven, and not complain of their Lawfull Soveraign; much lesse make warre upon him. For he that is not glad of any just occasion of Martyrdome, has not the faith be professeth, but pretends it onely, to set some colour upon his own contumacy. But what Infidel King is so unreasonable, as knowing he has a Subject, that waiteth for the second comming of Christ, after the present world shall be burnt, and intendeth then to obey him (which is the intent of beleeving that Jesus is the Christ,) and in the mean time thinketh himself bound to obey the Laws of that Infidel King, (which all Christians are obliged in conscience to doe,) to put to death, or to persecute such a Subject?
And thus much shall suffice, concerning the Kingdome of God, and Policy Ecclesiasticall. Wherein I pretend not to advance any Position of my own, but onely to shew what are the Consequences that seem to me deducible from the Principles of Christian Politiques, (which are the holy Scriptures,) in confirmation of the Power of Civill Soveraigns, and the Duty of their Subjects. And in the allegation of Scripture, I have endeavoured to avoid such Texts as are of obscure, or controverted Interpretation; and to alledge none, but is such sense as is most plain, and agreeable to the harmony and scope of the whole Bible; which was written for the re-establishment of the Kingdome of God in Christ. For it is not the bare Words, but the Scope of the writer that giveth the true light, by which any writing is to bee interpreted; and they that insist upon single Texts, without considering the main Designe, can derive no thing from them cleerly; but rather by casting atomes of Scripture, as dust before mens eyes, make every thing more obscure than it is; an ordinary artifice of those that seek not the truth, but their own advantage.
OF SPIRITUALL DARKNESSE FROM MISINTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE
The Kingdome Of Darknesse What Besides these Soveraign Powers, Divine, and Humane, of which I have hitherto discoursed, there is mention in Scripture of another Power, namely, (Eph. 6. 12.), that of "the Rulers of the Darknesse of this world, (Mat. 12. 26.), "the Kingdome of Satan," and, (Mat. 9. 34.), "the Principality of Beelzebub over Daemons," that is to say, over Phantasmes that appear in the Air: For which cause Satan is also called (Eph. 2. 2.) "the Prince of the Power of the Air;" and (because he ruleth in the darknesse of this world) (Joh. 16. 11.) "The Prince of this world;" And in consequence hereunto, they who are under his Dominion, in opposition to the faithfull (who are the Children Of The Light) are called the Children Of Darknesse. For seeing Beelzebub is Prince of Phantasmes, Inhabitants of his Dominion of Air and Darknesse, the Children of Darknesse, and these Daemons, Phantasmes, or Spirits of Illusion, signifie allegorically the same thing. This considered, the Kingdome of Darknesse, as it is set forth in these, and other places of the Scripture, is nothing else but a "Confederacy of Deceivers, that to obtain dominion over men in this present world, endeavour by dark, and erroneous Doctrines, to extinguish in them the Light, both of Nature, and of the Gospell; and so to dis-prepare them for the Kingdome of God to come."
The Church Not Yet Fully Freed Of Darknesse As men that are utterly deprived from their Nativity, of the light of the bodily Eye, have no Idea at all, of any such light; and no man conceives in his imagination any greater light, than he hath at some time, or other perceived by his outward Senses: so also is it of the light of the Gospel, and of the light of the Understanding, that no man can conceive there is any greater degree of it, than that which he hath already attained unto. And from hence it comes to passe, that men have no other means to acknowledge their owne Darknesse, but onely by reasoning from the un-forseen mischances, that befall them in their ways; The Darkest part of the Kingdome of Satan, is that which is without the Church of God; that is to say, amongst them that beleeve not in Jesus Christ. But we cannot say, that therefore the Church enjoyeth (as the land of Goshen) all the light, which to the performance of the work enjoined us by God, is necessary. Whence comes it, that in Christendome there has been, almost from the time of the Apostles, such justling of one another out of their places, both by forraign, and Civill war? such stumbling at every little asperity of their own fortune, and every little eminence of that of other men? and such diversity of ways in running to the same mark, Felicity, if it be not Night amongst us, or at least a Mist? wee are therefore yet in the Dark.
Four Causes Of Spirituall Darknesse The Enemy has been here in the Night of our naturall Ignorance, and sown the tares of Spirituall Errors; and that, First, by abusing, and putting out the light of the Scriptures: For we erre, not knowing the Scriptures. Secondly, by introducing the Daemonology of the Heathen Poets, that is to say, their fabulous Doctrine concerning Daemons, which are but Idols, or Phantasms of the braine, without any reall nature of their own, distinct from humane fancy; such as are dead mens Ghosts, and Fairies, and other matter of old Wives tales. Thirdly, by mixing with the Scripture divers reliques of the Religion, and much of the vain and erroneous Philosophy of the Greeks, especially of Aristotle. Fourthly, by mingling with both these, false, or uncertain Traditions, and fained, or uncertain History. And so we come to erre, by "giving heed to seducing Spirits," and the Daemonology of such "as speak lies in Hypocrisie," (or as it is in the Originall, 1 Tim. 4.1,2. "of those that play the part of lyars") "with a seared conscience," that is, contrary to their own knowledge. Concerning the first of these, which is the Seducing of men by abuse of Scripture, I intend to speak briefly in this Chapter.
Errors From Misinterpreting The Scriptures, Concerning The Kingdome Of God The greatest, and main abuse of Scripture, and to which almost all the rest are either consequent, or subservient, is the wresting of it, to prove that the Kingdome of God, mentioned so often in the Scripture, is the present Church, or multitude of Christian men now living, or that being dead, are to rise again at the last day: whereas the Kingdome of God was first instituted by the Ministery of Moses, over the Jews onely; who were therefore called his Peculiar People; and ceased afterward, in the election of Saul, when they refused to be governed by God any more, and demanded a King after the manner of the nations; which God himself consented unto, as I have more at large proved before, in the 35. Chapter. After that time, there was no other Kingdome of God in the world, by any Pact, or otherwise, than he ever was, is, and shall be King, of all men, and of all creatures, as governing according to his Will, by his infinite Power. Neverthelesse, he promised by his Prophets to restore this his Government to them again, when the time he hath in his secret counsell appointed for it shall bee fully come, and when they shall turn unto him by repentance, and amendment of life; and not onely so, but he invited also the Gentiles to come in, and enjoy the happinesse of his Reign, on the same conditions of conversion and repentance; and hee promised also to send his Son into the world, to expiate the sins of them all by his death, and to prepare them by his Doctrine, to receive him at his second coming: Which second coming not yet being, the Kingdome of God is not yet come, and wee are not now under any other Kings by Pact, but our Civill Soveraigns; saving onely, that Christian men are already in the Kingdome of Grace, in as much as they have already the Promise of being received at his comming againe.
As That The Kingdome Of God Is The Present Church: Consequent to this Errour, that the present Church is Christs Kingdome, there ought to be some one Man, or Assembly, by whose mouth our Saviour (now in heaven) speaketh, giveth law, and which representeth his person to all Christians, or divers Men, or divers Assemblies that doe the same to divers parts of Christendome. This power Regal under Christ, being challenged, universally by that Pope, and in particular Common-wealths by Assemblies of the Pastors of the place, (when the Scripture gives it to none but to Civill Soveraigns,) comes to be so passionately disputed, that it putteth out the Light of Nature, and causeth so great a Darknesse in mens understanding, that they see not who it is to whom they have engaged their obedience.
And That The Pope Is His Vicar Generall Consequent to this claim of the Pope to Vicar Generall of Christ in the present Church, (supposed to be that Kingdom of his, to which we are addressed in the Gospel,) is the Doctrine, that it is necessary for a Christian King, to receive his Crown by a Bishop; as if it were from that Ceremony, that he derives the clause of Dei Gratia in his title; and that then onely he is made King by the favour of God, when he is crowned by the authority of Gods universall Viceregent on earth; and that every Bishop whosoever be his Soveraign, taketh at his Consecration an oath of absolute Obedience to the Pope, Consequent to the same, is the Doctrine of the fourth Councell of Lateran, held under Pope Innocent the third, (Chap. 3. De Haereticis.) "That if a King at the Popes admonition, doe not purge his Kingdome of Haeresies, and being excommunicate for the same, doe not give satisfaction within a year, his Subjects are absolved of the bond of their obedience." Where, by Haeresies are understood all opinions which the Church of Rome hath forbidden to be maintained. And by this means, as often as there is any repugnancy between the Politicall designes of the Pope, and other Christian Princes, as there is very often, there ariseth such a Mist amongst their Subjects, that they know not a stranger that thrusteth himself into the throne of their lawfull Prince, from him whom they had themselves placed there; and in this Darknesse of mind, are made to fight one against another, without discerning their enemies from their friends, under the conduct of another mans ambition.
And That The Pastors Are The Clergy From the same opinion, that the present Church is the Kingdome of God, it proceeds that Pastours, Deacons, and all other Ministers of the Church, take the name to themselves of the Clergy, giving to other Christians the name of Laity, that is, simply People. For Clergy signifies those, whose maintenance is that Revenue, which God having reserved to himselfe during his Reigne over the Israelites, assigned to the tribe of Levi (who were to be his publique Ministers, and had no portion of land set them out to live on, as their brethren) to be their inheritance. The Pope therefore, (pretending the present Church to be, as the Realme of Israel, the Kingdome of God) challenging to himselfe and his subordinate Ministers, the like revenue, as the Inheritance of God, the name of Clergy was sutable to that claime. And thence it is, that Tithes, or other tributes paid to the Levites, as Gods Right, amongst the Israelites, have a long time been demanded, and taken of Christians, by Ecclesiastiques, Jure Divino, that is, in Gods Right. By which meanes, the people every where were obliged to a double tribute; one to the State, another to the Clergy; whereof, that to the Clergy, being the tenth of their revenue, is double to that which a King of Athens (and esteemed a Tyrant) exacted of his subjects for the defraying of all publique charges: For he demanded no more but the twentieth part; and yet abundantly maintained therewith the Commonwealth. And in the Kingdome of the Jewes, during the Sacerdotall Reigne of God, the Tithes and Offerings were the whole Publique Revenue.
From the same mistaking of the present Church for the Kingdom of God, came in the distinction betweene the Civill and the Canon Laws: The civil Law being the acts of Soveraigns in their own Dominions, and the Canon Law being the Acts of the Pope in the same Dominions. Which Canons, though they were but Canons, that is, Rules Propounded, and but voluntarily received by Christian Princes, till the translation of the Empire to Charlemain; yet afterwards, as the power of the Pope encreased, became Rules Commanded, and the Emperours themselves (to avoyd greater mischiefes, which the people blinded might be led into) were forced to let them passe for Laws.
From hence it is, that in all Dominions, where the Popes Ecclesiasticall power is entirely received, Jewes, Turkes, and Gentiles, are in the Roman Church tolerated in their Religion, as farre forth, as in the exercise and profession thereof they offend not against the civill power: whereas in a Christian, though a stranger, not to be of the Roman Religion, is Capitall; because the Pope pretendeth that all Christians are his Subjects. For otherwise it were as much against the law of Nations, to persecute a Christian stranger, for professing the Religion of his owne country, as an Infidell; or rather more, in as much as they that are not against Christ, are with him.
From the same it is, that in every Christian State there are certaine men, that are exempt, by Ecclesiasticall liberty, from the tributes, and from the tribunals of the Civil State; for so are the secular Clergy, besides Monks and Friars, which in many places, bear so great a proportion to the common people, as if need were, there might be raised out of them alone, an Army, sufficient for any warre the Church militant should imploy them in, against their owne, or other Princes.
Error From Mistaking Consecration For Conjuration A second generall abuse of Scripture, is the turning of Consecration into Conjuration, or Enchantment. To Consecrate, is in Scripture, to Offer, Give, or Dedicate, in pious and decent language and gesture, a man, or any other thing to God, by separating of it from common use; that is to say, to Sanctifie, or make it Gods, and to be used only by those, whom God hath appointed to be his Publike Ministers, (as I have already proved at large in the 35. Chapter;) and thereby to change, not the thing Consecrated, but onely the use of it, from being Profane and common, to be Holy, and peculiar to Gods service. But when by such words, the nature of qualitie of the thing it selfe, is pretended to be changed, it is not Consecration, but either an extraordinary worke of God, or a vaine and impious Conjuration. But seeing (for the frequency of pretending the change of Nature in their Consecrations,) it cannot be esteemed a work extraordinary, it is no other than a Conjuration or Incantation, whereby they would have men to beleeve an alteration of Nature that is not, contrary to the testimony of mans Sight, and of all the rest of his Senses. As for example, when the Priest, in stead of Consecrating Bread and Wine to Gods peculiar service in the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, (which is but a separation of it from the common use, to signifie, that is, to put men in mind of their Redemption, by the Passion of Christ, whose body was broken, and blood shed upon the Crosse for our transgressions,) pretends, that by saying of the words of our Saviour, "This is my Body," and "This is my Blood," the nature of Bread is no more there, but his very Body; notwithstanding there appeared not to the Sight, or other Sense of the Receiver, any thing that appeareth not before the Consecration. The Egyptian Conjurers, that are said to have turned their Rods to Serpents, and the Water into Bloud, are thought but to have deluded the senses of the Spectators by a false shew of things, yet are esteemed Enchanters: But what should wee have thought of them, if there had appeared in their Rods nothing like a Serpent, and in the Water enchanted, nothing like Bloud, nor like any thing else but Water, but that they had faced down the King, that they were Serpents that looked like Rods, and that it was Bloud that seemed Water? That had been both Enchantment, and Lying. And yet in this daily act of the Priest, they doe the very same, by turning the holy words into the manner of a Charme, which produceth nothing now to the Sense; but they face us down, that it hath turned the Bread into a Man; nay more, into a God; and require men to worship it, as if it were our Saviour himself present God and Man, and thereby to commit most grosse Idolatry. For if it bee enough to excuse it of Idolatry, to say it is no more Bread, but God; why should not the same excuse serve the Egyptians, in case they had the faces to say, the Leeks, and Onyons they worshipped, were not very Leeks, and Onyons, but a Divinity under their Species, or likenesse. The words, "This is my Body," are aequivalent to these, "This signifies, or represents my Body;" and it is an ordinary figure of Speech: but to take it literally, is an abuse; nor though so taken, can it extend any further, than to the Bread which Christ himself with his own hands Consecrated. For hee never said, that of what Bread soever, any Priest whatsoever, should say, "This is my Body," or, "This is Christs Body," the same should presently be transubstantiated. Nor did the Church of Rome ever establish this Transubstantiation, till the time of Innocent the third; which was not above 500. years agoe, when the Power of Popes was at the Highest, and the Darknesse of the time grown so great, as men discerned not the Bread that was given them to eat, especially when it was stamped with the figure of Christ upon the Crosse, as if they would have men beleeve it were Transubstantiated, not onely into the Body of Christ, but also into the Wood of his Crosse, and that they did eat both together in the Sacrament.
Incantation In The Ceremonies Of Baptisme The like incantation, in stead of Consecration, is used also in the Sacrament of Baptisme: Where the abuse of Gods name in each severall Person, and in the whole Trinity, with the sign of the Crosse at each name, maketh up the Charm: As first, when they make the Holy water, the Priest saith, "I Conjure thee, thou Creature of Water, in the name of God the Father Almighty, and in the name of Jesus Christ his onely Son our Lord, and in vertue of the Holy Ghost, that thou become Conjured water, to drive away all the Powers of the Enemy, and to eradicate, and supplant the Enemy, &c." And the same in the Benediction of the Salt to be mingled with it; "That thou become Conjured Salt, that all Phantasmes, and Knavery of the Devills fraud may fly and depart from the place wherein thou art sprinkled; and every unclean Spirit bee Conjured by Him that shall come to judge the quicke and the dead." The same in the Benediction of the Oyle. "That all the Power of the Enemy, all the Host of the Devill, all Assaults and Phantasmes of Satan, may be driven away by this Creature of Oyle." And for the Infant that is to be Baptized, he is subject to many Charms; First, at the Church dore the Priest blows thrice in the Childs face, and sayes, "Goe out of him unclean Spirit, and give place to the Holy Ghost the Comforter." As if all Children, till blown on by the Priest were Daemoniaques: Again, before his entrance into the Church, he saith as before, "I Conjure thee, &c. to goe out, and depart from this Servant of God:" And again the same Exorcisme is repeated once more before he be Baptized. These, and some other Incantations, and Consecrations, in administration of the Sacraments of Baptisme, and the Lords Supper; wherein every thing that serveth to those holy men (except the unhallowed Spittle of the Priest) hath some set form of Exorcisme.
And In Marriage, In Visitation Of The Sick, And In Consecration Of Places Nor are the other rites, as of Marriage, of Extreme Unction, of Visitation of the Sick, of Consecrating Churches, and Church-yards, and the like, exempt from Charms; in as much as there is in them the use of Enchanted Oyle, and Water, with the abuse of the Crosse, and of the holy word of David, "Asperges me Domine Hyssopo," as things of efficacy to drive away Phantasmes, and Imaginery Spirits.
Errors From Mistaking Eternall Life, And Everlasting Death: Another generall Error, is from the Misinterpretation of the words Eternall Life, Everlasting Death, and the Second Death. For though we read plainly in Holy Scripture, that God created Adam in an estate of Living for Ever, which was conditionall, that is to say, if he disobeyed not his Commandement; which was not essentiall to Humane Nature, but consequent to the vertue of the Tree of Life; whereof hee had liberty to eat, as long as hee had not sinned; and that hee was thrust out of Paradise after he had sinned, lest hee should eate thereof, and live for ever; and that Christs Passion is a Discharge of sin to all that beleeve on him; and by consequence, a restitution of Eternall Life, to all the Faithfull, and to them onely: yet the Doctrine is now, and hath been a long time far otherwise; namely, that every man hath Eternity of Life by Nature, in as much as his Soul is Immortall: So that the flaming Sword at the entrance of Paradise, though it hinder a man from coming to the Tree of Life, hinders him not from the Immortality which God took from him for his Sin; nor makes him to need the sacrificing of Christ, for the recovering of the same; and consequently, not onely the faithfull and righteous, but also the wicked, and the Heathen, shall enjoy Eternall Life, without any Death at all; much lesse a Second, and Everlasting Death. To salve this, it is said, that by Second, and Everlasting Death, is meant a Second, and Everlasting Life, but in Torments; a Figure never used, but in this very Case.
All which Doctrine is founded onely on some of the obscurer places of the New Testament; which neverthelesse, the whole scope of the Scripture considered, are cleer enough in a different sense, and unnecessary to the Christian Faith. For supposing that when a man dies, there remaineth nothing of him but his carkasse; cannot God that raised inanimated dust and clay into a living creature by his Word, as easily raise a dead carkasse to life again, and continue him alive for Ever, or make him die again, by another Word? The Soule in Scripture, signifieth alwaies, either the Life, or the Living Creature; and the Body and Soule jointly, the Body Alive. In the fift day of the Creation, God said, Let the water produce Reptile Animae Viventis, the creeping thing that hath in it a Living Soule; the English translate it, "that hath Life:" And again, God created Whales, "& omnem animam viventem;" which in the English is, "every living Creature:" And likewise of Man, God made him of the dust of the earth, and breathed in his face the breath of Life, "& factus est Homo in animam viventem," that is, "and Man was made a Living Creature;" And after Noah came out of the Arke, God saith, hee will no more smite "omnem animam viventem," that is "every Living Creature;" And Deut. 12.23. "Eate not the Bloud, for the Bloud is the Soule;" that is "the Life." From which places, if by Soule were meant a Substance Incorporeall, with an existence separated from the Body, it might as well be inferred of any other living Creature, as of Man. But that the Souls of the Faithfull, are not of their own Nature, but by Gods speciall Grace, to remaine in their bodies, from the Resurrection to all Eternity, I have already I think sufficiently proved out of the Scriptures, in the 38. Chapter. And for the places of the New Testament, where it is said that any man shall be cast Body and Soul into Hell fire, it is no more than Body and Life; that is to say, they shall be cast alive into the perpetuall fire of Gehenna.
As The Doctrine Of Purgatory, And Exorcismes, And Invocation Of Saints This window it is, that gives entrance to the Dark Doctrine, first, of Eternall Torments; and afterwards of Purgatory, and consequently of the walking abroad, especially in places Consecrated, Solitary, or Dark, of the Ghosts of men deceased; and thereby to the pretences of Exorcisme and Conjuration of Phantasmes; as also of Invocation of men dead; and to the Doctrine of Indulgences; that is to say, of exemption for a time, or for ever, from the fire of Purgatory, wherein these Incorporeall Substances are pretended by burning to be cleansed, and made fit for Heaven. For men being generally possessed before the time of our Saviour, by contagion of the Daemonology of the Greeks, of an opinion, that the Souls of men were substances distinct from their Bodies, and therefore that when the Body was dead, the Soule of every man, whether godly, or wicked, must subsist somewhere by vertue of its own nature, without acknowledging therein any supernaturall gift of Gods; the Doctors of the Church doubted a long time, what was the place, which they were to abide in, till they should be re-united to their Bodies in the Resurrection; supposing for a while, they lay under the Altars: but afterward the Church of Rome found it more profitable, to build for them this place of Purgatory; which by some other Churches in this later age, has been demolished.
The Texts Alledged For The Doctrines Aforementioned Have Been Answered Before Let us now consider, what texts of Scripture seem most to confirm these three generall Errors, I have here touched. As for those which Cardinall Bellarmine hath alledged, for the present Kingdome of God administred by the Pope, (than which there are none that make a better show of proof,) I have already answered them; and made it evident, that the Kingdome of God, instituted by Moses, ended in the election of Saul: After which time the Priest of his own authority never deposed any King. That which the High Priest did to Athaliah, was not done in his own right, but in the right of the young King Joash her Son: But Solomon in his own right deposed the High Priest Abiathar, and set up another in his place. The most difficult place to answer, of all those than can be brought, to prove the Kingdome of God by Christ is already in this world, is alledged, not by Bellarmine, nor any other of the Church of Rome; but by Beza; that will have it to begin from the Resurrection of Christ. But whether hee intend thereby, to entitle the Presbytery to the Supreme Power Ecclesiasticall in the Common-wealth of Geneva, (and consequently to every Presbytery in every other Common-wealth,) or to Princes, and other Civill Soveraignes, I doe not know. For the Presbytery hath challenged the power to Excommunicate their owne Kings, and to bee the Supreme Moderators in Religion, in the places where they have that form of Church government, no lesse then the Pope challengeth it universally.
Answer To The Text On Which Beza Infereth That The Kingdome Of Christ Began At The Resurrection The words are (Marke 9.1.) "Verily, I say unto you, that there be some of them that stand here, which shall not tast of death, till they have seene the Kingdome of God come with power." Which words, if taken grammatically, make it certaine, that either some of those men that stood by Christ at that time, are yet alive; or else, that the Kingdome of God must be now in this present world. And then there is another place more difficult: For when the Apostles after our Saviours Resurrection, and immediately before his Ascension, asked our Saviour, saying, (Acts.1.6.) "Wilt thou at this time restore again the Kingdome to Israel," he answered them, "It is not for you to know the times and the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power; But ye shall receive power by the comming of the Holy Ghost upon you, and yee shall be my (Martyrs) witnesses both in Jerusalem, & in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the Earth:" Which is as much as to say, My Kingdome is not yet come, nor shall you foreknow when it shall come, for it shall come as a theefe in the night; But I will send you the Holy Ghost, and by him you shall have power to beare witnesse to all the world (by your preaching) of my Resurrection, and the workes I have done, and the doctrine I have taught, that they may beleeve in me, and expect eternall life, at my comming againe: How does this agree with the comming of Christs Kingdome at the Resurrection? And that which St. Paul saies (1 Thessal. 1.9, 10.) "That they turned from Idols, to serve the living and true God, and to waite for his Sonne from Heaven:" Where to waite for his Sonne from Heaven, is to wait for his comming to be King in power; which were not necessary, if this Kingdome had beene then present. Againe, if the Kingdome of God began (as Beza on that place (Mark 9.1.) would have it) at the Resurrection; what reason is there for Christians ever since the Resurrection to say in their prayers, "Let thy Kingdome Come"? It is therefore manifest, that the words of St. Mark are not so to be interpreted. There be some of them that stand here (saith our Saviour) that shall not tast of death till they have seen the Kingdome of God come in power. If then this Kingdome were to come at the Resurrection of Christ, why is it said, "some of them" rather than all? For they all lived till after Christ was risen.
Explication Of The Place In Mark 9.1 But they that require an exact interpretation of this text, let them interpret first the like words of our Saviour to St. Peter concerning St. John, (chap. 21.22.) "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" upon which was grounded a report that hee should not dye: Neverthelesse the truth of that report was neither confirmed, as well grounded; nor refuted, as ill grounded on those words; but left as a saying not understood. The same difficulty is also in the place of St. Marke. And if it be lawfull to conjecture at their meaning, by that which immediately followes, both here, and in St. Luke, where the same is againe repeated, it is not unprobable, to say they have relation to the Transfiguration, which is described in the verses immediately following; where it is said, that "After six dayes Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John (not all, but some of his Disciples) and leadeth them up into an high mountaine apart by themselves, and was transfigured before them. And his rayment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no Fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus, &c." So that they saw Christ in Glory and Majestie, as he is to come; insomuch as "They were sore afraid." And thus the promise of our Saviour was accomplished by way of Vision: For it was a Vision, as may probably bee inferred out of St. Luke, that reciteth the same story (ch. 9. ve. 28.) and saith, that Peter and they that were with him, were heavy with sleep; But most certainly out of Matth. 17.9. (where the same is again related;) for our Saviour charged them, saying, "Tell no man the Vision untill the Son of man be Risen from the dead." Howsoever it be, yet there can from thence be taken no argument, to prove that the Kingdome of God taketh beginning till the day of Judgement.
Abuse Of Some Other Texts In Defence Of The Power Of The Pope As for some other texts, to prove the Popes Power over civill Soveraignes (besides those of Bellarmine;) as that the two Swords that Christ and his Apostles had amongst them, were the Spirituall and the Temporall Sword, which they say St. Peter had given him by Christ: And, that of the two Luminaries, the greater signifies the Pope, and the lesser the King; One might as well inferre out of the first verse of the Bible, that by Heaven is meant the Pope, and by Earth the King: Which is not arguing from Scripture, but a wanton insulting over Princes, that came in fashion after the time the Popes were growne so secure of their greatnesse, as to contemne all Christian Kings; and Treading on the necks of Emperours, to mocke both them, and the Scripture, in the words of the 91. Psalm, "Thou shalt Tread upon the Lion and the Adder, the young Lion and the Dragon thou shalt Trample under thy feet."
The Manner Of Consecrations In The Scripture, Was Without Exorcisms As for the rites of Consecration, though they depend for the most part upon the discretion and judgement of the governors of the Church, and not upon the Scriptures; yet those governors are obliged to such direction, as the nature of the action it selfe requireth; as that the ceremonies, words, and gestures, be both decent, and significant, or at least conformable to the action. When Moses consecrated the Tabernacle, the Altar, and the Vessels belonging to them (Exod. 40.) he anointed them with the Oyle which God had commanded to bee made for that purpose; and they were holy; There was nothing Exorcised, to drive away Phantasmes. The same Moses (the civill Soveraigne of Israel) when he consecrated Aaron (the High Priest,) and his Sons, did wash them with Water, (not Exorcised water,) put their Garments upon them, and anointed them with Oyle; and they were sanctified, to minister unto the Lord in the Priests office; which was a simple and decent cleansing, and adorning them, before hee presented them to God, to be his servants. When King Solomon, (the civill Soveraigne of Israel) consecrated the Temple hee had built, (2 Kings 8.) he stood before all the Congregation of Israel; and having blessed them, he gave thanks to God, for putting into the heart of his father, to build it; and for giving to himselfe the grace to accomplish the same; and then prayed unto him, first, to accept that House, though it were not sutable to his infinite Greatnesse; and to hear the prayers of his Servants that should pray therein, or (if they were absent) towards it; and lastly, he offered a sacrifice of Peace-offering, and the House was dedicated. Here was no Procession; the King stood still in his first place; no Exorcised Water; no Asperges Me, nor other impertinent application of words spoken upon another occasion; but a decent, and rationall speech, and such as in making to God a present of his new built House, was most conformable to the occasion. We read not that St. John did Exorcise the Water of Jordan; nor Philip the Water of the river wherein he baptized the Eunuch; nor that any Pastor in the time of the Apostles, did take his spittle, and put it to the nose of the person to be Baptized, and say, "In odorem suavitatis," that is, "for a sweet savour unto the Lord;" wherein neither the Ceremony of Spittle, for the uncleannesse; nor the application of that Scripture for the levity, can by any authority of man be justified.
The Immortality Of Mans Soule, Not Proved By Scripture To Be Of Nature, But Of Grace To prove that the Soule separated from the Body liveth eternally, not onely the Soules of the Elect, by especiall grace, and restauration of the Eternall Life which Adam lost by Sinne, and our Saviour restored by the Sacrifice of himself, to the Faithfull, but also the Soules of Reprobates, as a property naturally consequent to the essence of mankind, without other grace of God, but that which is universally given to all mankind; there are divers places, which at the first sight seem sufficiently to serve the turn: but such, as when I compare them with that which I have before (Chapter 38.) alledged out of the 14 of Job, seem to mee much more subject to a divers interpretation, than the words of Job.
And first there are the words of Solomon (Ecclesiastes 12.7.) "Then shall the Dust return to Dust, as it was, and the Spirit shall return to God that gave it." Which may bear well enough (if there be no other text directly against it) this interpretation, that God onely knows, (but Man not,) what becomes of a mans spirit, when he expireth; and the same Solomon, in the same Book, (Chap. 3. ver. 20,21.) delivereth in the same sentence in the sense I have given it: His words are, "All goe, (man and beast) to the same place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again; who knoweth that the spirit of Man goeth upward, and the spirit of the Beast goeth downward to the earth?" That is, none knows but God; Nor is it an unusuall phrase to say of things we understand not, "God knows what," and "God knows where." That of Gen. 5.24. "Enoch walked with God, and he was not; for God took him;" which is expounded Heb. 13.5. "He was translated, that he should not die; and was not found, because God had translated him. For before his Translation, he had this testimony, that he pleased God," making as much for the Immortality of the Body, as of the Soule, proveth, that this his translation was peculiar to them that please God; not common to them with the wicked; and depending on Grace, not on Nature. But on the contrary, what interpretation shall we give, besides the literall sense of the words of Solomon (Eccles. 3.19.) "That which befalleth the Sons of Men, befalleth Beasts, even one thing befalleth them; as the one dyeth, so doth the other; yea, they have all one breath (one spirit;) so that a Man hath no praeeminence above a Beast, for all is vanity." By the literall sense, here is no Naturall Immortality of the Soule; nor yet any repugnancy with the Life Eternall, which the Elect shall enjoy by Grace. And (chap. 4. ver.3.) "Better is he that hath not yet been, than both they;" that is, than they that live, or have lived; which, if the Soule of all them that have lived, were Immortall, were a hard saying; for then to have an Immortall Soule, were worse than to have no Soule at all. And againe,(Chapt. 9.5.) "The living know they shall die, but the dead know not any thing;" that is, Naturally, and before the resurrection of the body.
Another place which seems to make for a Naturall Immortality of the Soule, is that, where our Saviour saith, that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are living: but this is spoken of the promise of God, and of their certitude to rise again, not of a Life then actuall; and in the same sense that God said to Adam, that on the day hee should eate of the forbidden fruit, he should certainly die; from that time forward he was a dead man by sentence; but not by execution, till almost a thousand years after. So Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were alive by promise, then, when Christ spake; but are not actually till the Resurrection. And the History of Dives and Lazarus, make nothing against this, if wee take it (as it is) for a Parable.
But there be other places of the New Testament, where an Immortality seemeth to be directly attributed to the wicked. For it is evident, that they shall all rise to Judgement. And it is said besides in many places, that they shall goe into "Everlasting fire, Everlasting torments, Everlasting punishments; and that the worm of conscience never dyeth;" and all this is comprehended in the word Everlasting Death, which is ordinarily interpreted Everlasting Life In Torments: And yet I can find no where that any man shall live in torments Everlastingly. Also, it seemeth hard, to say, that God who is the Father of Mercies, that doth in Heaven and Earth all that hee will; that hath the hearts of all men in his disposing; that worketh in men both to doe, and to will; and without whose free gift a man hath neither inclination to good, nor repentance of evill, should punish mens transgressions without any end of time, and with all the extremity of torture, that men can imagine, and more. We are therefore to consider, what the meaning is, of Everlasting Fire, and other the like phrases of Scripture.
I have shewed already, that the Kingdome of God by Christ beginneth at the day of Judgment: That in that day, the Faithfull shall rise again, with glorious, and spirituall Bodies, and bee his Subjects in that his Kingdome, which shall be Eternall; That they shall neither marry, nor be given in marriage, nor eate and drink, as they did in their naturall bodies; but live for ever in their individuall persons, without the specificall eternity of generation: And that the Reprobates also shall rise again, to receive punishments for their sins: As also, that those of the Elect, which shall be alive in their earthly bodies at that day, shall have their bodies suddenly changed, and made spirituall, and Immortall. But that the bodies of the Reprobate, who make the Kingdome of Satan, shall also be glorious, or spirituall bodies, or that they shall bee as the Angels of God, neither eating, nor drinking, nor engendring; or that their life shall be Eternall in their individuall persons, as the life of every faithfull man is, or as the life of Adam had been if hee had not sinned, there is no place of Scripture to prove it; save onely these places concerning Eternall Torments; which may otherwise be interpreted.
From whence may be inferred, that as the Elect after the Resurrection shall be restored to the estate, wherein Adam was before he had sinned; so the Reprobate shall be in the estate, that Adam, and his posterity were in after the sin committed; saving that God promised a Redeemer to Adam, and such of his seed as should trust in him, and repent; but not to them that should die in their sins, as do the Reprobate.
Eternall Torments What These things considered, the texts that mention Eternall Fire, Eternal Torments, or the Word That Never Dieth, contradict not the Doctrine of a Second, and Everlasting Death, in the proper and naturall sense of the word Death. The Fire, or Torments prepared for the wicked in Gehenna, Tophet, or in what place soever, may continue for ever; and there may never want wicked men to be tormented in them; though not every, nor any one Eternally. For the wicked being left in the estate they were in after Adams sin, may at the Resurrection live as they did, marry, and give in marriage, and have grosse and corruptible bodies, as all mankind now have; and consequently may engender perpetually, after the Resurrection, as they did before: For there is no place of Scripture to the contrary. For St. Paul, speaking of the Resurrection (1 Cor. 15.) understandeth it onely of the Resurrection to Life Eternall; and not the Resurrection to Punishment. And of the first, he saith that the Body is "Sown in Corruption, raised in Incorruption; sown in Dishonour, raised in Honour; sown in Weaknesse, raised in Power; sown a Naturall body, raised a Spirituall body:" There is no such thing can be said of the bodies of them that rise to Punishment. The text is Luke 20. Verses 34,35,36. a fertile text. "The Children of this world marry, and are given in marriage; but they that shall be counted worthy to obtaine that world, and the Resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more; for they are equall to the Angells, and are the Children of God, being the Children of the Resurrection:" The Children of this world, that are in the estate which Adam left them in, shall marry, and be given in marriage; that is corrupt, and generate successively; which is an Immortality of the Kind, but not of the Persons of men: They are not worthy to be counted amongst them that shall obtain the next world, and an absolute Resurrection from the dead; but onely a short time, as inmates of that world; and to the end onely to receive condign punishment for their contumacy. The Elect are the onely children of the Resurrection; that is to say the sole heirs of Eternall Life: they only can die no more; it is they that are equall to the Angels, and that are the children of God; and not the Reprobate. To the Reprobate there remaineth after the Resurrection, a Second, and Eternall Death: between which Resurrection, and their Second, and Eternall death, is but a time of Punishment and Torment; and to last by succession of sinners thereunto, as long as the kind of Man by propagation shall endure, which is Eternally.
Answer Of The Texts Alledged For Purgatory Upon this Doctrine of the Naturall Eternity of separated Soules, is founded (as I said) the Doctrine of Purgatory. For supposing Eternall Life by Grace onely, there is no Life, but the Life of the Body; and no Immortality till the Resurrection. The texts for Purgatory alledged by Bellarmine out of the Canonicall Scripture of the old Testament, are first, the Fasting of David for Saul and Jonathan, mentioned (2 Kings, 1. 12.); and againe, (2 Sam. 3. 35.) for the death of Abner. This Fasting of David, he saith, was for the obtaining of something for them at Gods hands, after their death; because after he had Fasted to procure the recovery of his owne child, assoone as he know it was dead, he called for meate. Seeing then the Soule hath an existence separate from the Body, and nothing can be obtained by mens Fasting for the Soules that are already either in Heaven, or Hell, it followeth that there be some Soules of dead men, what are neither in Heaven, nor in Hell; and therefore they must bee in some third place, which must be Purgatory. And thus with hard straining, hee has wrested those places to the proofe of a Purgatory; whereas it is manifest, that the ceremonies of Mourning, and Fasting, when they are used for the death of men, whose life was not profitable to the Mourners, they are used for honours sake to their persons; and when tis done for the death of them by whose life the Mourners had benefit, it proceeds from their particular dammage: And so David honoured Saul, and Abner, with his Fasting; and in the death of his owne child, recomforted himselfe, by receiving his ordinary food.
In the other places, which he alledgeth out of the old Testament, there is not so much as any shew, or colour of proofe. He brings in every text wherein there is the word Anger, or Fire, or Burning, or Purging, or Clensing, in case any of the Fathers have but in a Sermon rhetorically applied it to the Doctrine of Purgatory, already beleeved. The first verse of Psalme, 37. "O Lord rebuke me not in thy wrath, nor chasten me in thy hot displeasure:" What were this to Purgatory, if Augustine had not applied the Wrath to the fire of Hell, and the Displeasure, to that of Purgatory? And what is it to Purgatory, that of Psalme, 66. 12. "Wee went through fire and water, and thou broughtest us to a moist place;" and other the like texts, (with which the Doctors of those times entended to adorne, or extend their Sermons, or Commentaries) haled to their purposes by force of wit?
Places Of The New Testament For Purgatory Answered But he alledgeth other places of the New Testament, that are not so easie to be answered: And first that of Matth. 12.32. "Whosoever speaketh a word against the Sonne of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not bee forgiven him neither in this world, nor in the world to come:" Where he will have Purgatory to be the World to come, wherein some sinnes may be forgiven, which in this World were not forgiven: notwithstanding that it is manifest, there are but three Worlds; one from the Creation to the Flood, which was destroyed by Water, and is called in Scripture the Old World; another from the Flood to the day of Judgement, which is the Present World, and shall bee destroyed by Fire; and the third, which shall bee from the day of Judgement forward, everlasting, which is called the World To Come; and in which it is agreed by all, there shall be no Purgatory; And therefore the World to come, and Purgatory, are inconsistent. But what then can bee the meaning of those our Saviours words? I confesse they are very hardly to bee reconciled with all the Doctrines now unanimously received: Nor is it any shame, to confesse the profoundnesse of the Scripture, to bee too great to be sounded by the shortnesse of humane understanding. Neverthelesse, I may propound such things to the consideration of more learned Divines, as the text it selfe suggesteth. And first, seeing to speake against the Holy Ghost, as being the third Person of the Trinity, is to speake against the Church, in which the Holy Ghost resideth; it seemeth the comparison is made, betweene the Easinesse of our Saviour, in bearing with offences done to him while he was on earth, and the Severity of the Pastors after him, against those which should deny their authority, which was from the Holy Ghost: As if he should say, You that deny my Power; nay you that shall crucifie me, shall be pardoned by mee, as often as you turne unto mee by Repentance: But if you deny the Power of them that teach you hereafter, by vertue of the Holy Ghost, they shall be inexorable, and shall not forgive you, but persecute you in this World, and leave you without absolution, (though you turn to me, unlesse you turn also to them,) to the punishments (as much as lies in them) of the World to come: And so the words may be taken as a Prophecy, or Praediction concerning the times, as they have along been in the Christian Church: Or if this be not the meaning, (for I am not peremptory in such difficult places,) perhaps there may be place left after the Resurrection for the Repentance of some sinners: And there is also another place, that seemeth to agree therewith. For considering the words of St. Paul (1 Cor. 15. 29.) "What shall they doe which are Baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why also are they Baptized for the dead?" a man may probably inferre, as some have done, that in St. Pauls time, there was a custome by receiving Baptisme for the dead, (as men that now beleeve, are Sureties and Undertakers for the Faith of Infants, that are not capable of beleeving,) to undertake for the persons of their deceased friends, that they should be ready to obey, and receive our Saviour for their King, at his coming again; and then the forgivenesse of sins in the world to come, has no need of a Purgatory. But in both these interpretations, there is so much of paradox, that I trust not to them; but propound them to those that are throughly versed in the Scripture, to inquire if there be no clearer place that contradicts them. Onely of thus much, I see evident Scripture, to perswade men, that there is neither the word, nor the thing of Purgatory, neither in this, nor any other text; nor any thing that can prove a necessity of a place for the Soule without the Body; neither for the Soule of Lazarus during the four days he was dead; nor for the Soules of them which the Romane Church pretend to be tormented now in Purgatory. For God, that could give a life to a peece of clay, hath the same power to give life again to a dead man, and renew his inanimate, and rotten Carkasse, into a glorious, spirituall, and immortall Body.
Another place is that of 1 Cor. 3. where it is said that they which built Stubble, Hay, &c. on the true Foundation, their work shall perish; but "they themselves shall be saved; but as through Fire:" This Fire, he will have to be the Fire of Purgatory. The words, as I have said before, are an allusion to those of Zach. 13. 9. where he saith, "I will bring the third part through the Fire, and refine them as Silver is refined, and will try them as Gold is tryed;" Which is spoken of the comming of the Messiah in Power and Glory; that is, at the day of Judgment, and Conflagration of the present world; wherein the Elect shall not be consumed, but be refined; that is, depose their erroneous Doctrines, and Traditions, and have them as it were sindged off; and shall afterwards call upon the name of the true God. In like manner, the Apostle saith of them, that holding this Foundation Jesus Is The Christ, shall build thereon some other Doctrines that be erroneous, that they shall not be consumed in that fire which reneweth the world, but shall passe through it to Salvation; but so, as to see, and relinquish their former Errours. The Builders, are the Pastors; the Foundation, that Jesus Is The Christ; the Stubble and Hay, False Consequences Drawn From It Through Ignorance, Or Frailty; the Gold, Silver, and pretious Stones, are their True Doctrines; and their Refining or Purging, the Relinquishing Of Their Errors. In all which there is no colour at all for the burning of Incorporeall, that is to say, Impatible Souls.
Baptisme For The Dead, How Understood A third place is that of 1 Cor. 15. before mentioned, concerning Baptisme for the Dead: out of which he concludeth, first, that Prayers for the Dead are not unprofitable; and out of that, that there is a Fire of Purgatory: But neither of them rightly. For of many interpretations of the word Baptisme, he approveth this in the first place, that by Baptisme is meant (metaphorically) a Baptisme of Penance; and that men are in this sense Baptized, when they Fast, and Pray, and give Almes: And so Baptisme for the Dead, and Prayer of the Dead, is the same thing. But this is a Metaphor, of which there is no example, neither in the Scripture, nor in any other use of language; and which is also discordant to the harmony, and scope of the Scripture. The word Baptisme is used (Mar. 10. 38. & Luk. 12. 59.) for being Dipped in ones own bloud, as Christ was upon the Cross, and as most of the Apostles were, for giving testimony of him. But it is hard to say, that Prayer, Fasting, and Almes, have any similitude with Dipping. The same is used also Mat. 3. 11. (which seemeth to make somewhat for Purgatory) for a Purging with Fire. But it is evident the Fire and Purging here mentioned, is the same whereof the Prophet Zachary speaketh (chap. 13. v. 9.) "I will bring the third part through the Fire, and will Refine them, &c." And St. Peter after him (1 Epist. 1. 7.) "That the triall of your Faith, which is much more precious than of Gold that perisheth, though it be tryed with fire, might be found unto praise, and honour, and glory at the Appearing of Jesus Christ;" And St. Paul (1 Cor. 3. 13.) The Fire shall trie every mans work of what sort it is." But St. Peter, and St. Paul speak of the Fire that shall be at the Second Appearing of Christ; and the Prophet Zachary of the Day of Judgment: And therefore this place of S. Mat. may be interpreted of the same; and then there will be no necessity of the Fire of Purgatory.
Another interpretation of Baptisme for the Dead, is that which I have before mentioned, which he preferreth to the second place of probability; And thence also he inferreth the utility of Prayer for the Dead. For if after the Resurrection, such as have not heard of Christ, or not beleeved in him, may be received into Christs Kingdome; it is not in vain, after their death, that their friends should pray for them, till they should be risen. But granting that God, at the prayers of the faithfull, may convert unto him some of those that have not heard Christ preached, and consequently cannot have rejected Christ, and that the charity of men in that point, cannot be blamed; yet this concludeth nothing for Purgatory, because to rise from Death to Life, is one thing; to rise from Purgatory to Life is another; and being a rising from Life to Life, from a Life in torments to a Life in joy.
A fourth place is that of Mat. 5. 25. "Agree with thine Adversary quickly, whilest thou art in the way with him, lest at any time the Adversary deliver thee to the Officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou has paid the uttermost farthing." In which Allegory, the Offender is the Sinner; both the Adversary and the Judge is God; the Way is this Life; the Prison is the Grave; the Officer, Death; from which, the sinner shall not rise again to life eternall, but to a second Death, till he have paid the utmost farthing, or Christ pay it for him by his Passion, which is a full Ransome for all manner of sin, as well lesser sins, as greater crimes; both being made by the passion of Christ equally veniall.
The fift place, is that of Matth. 5. 22. "Whosoever is angry with his Brother without a cause, shall be guilty in Judgment. And whosoever shall say to his Brother, RACHA, shall be guilty in the Councel. But whosoever shall say, Thou Foole, shall be guilty to hell fire." From which words he inferreth three sorts of Sins, and three sorts of Punishments; and that none of those sins, but the last, shall be punished with hell fire; and consequently, that after this life, there is punishment of lesser sins in Purgatory. Of which inference, there is no colour in any interpretation that hath yet been given to them: Shall there be a distinction after this life of Courts of Justice, as there was amongst the Jews in our Saviours time, to hear, and determine divers sorts of Crimes; as the Judges, and the Councell? Shall not all Judicature appertain to Christ, and his Apostles? To understand therefore this text, we are not to consider it solitarily, but jointly with the words precedent, and subsequent. Our Saviour in this Chapter interpreteth the Law of Moses; which the Jews thought was then fulfilled, when they had not transgressed the Grammaticall sense thereof, howsoever they had transgressed against the sentence, or meaning of the Legislator. Therefore whereas they thought the Sixth Commandement was not broken, but by Killing a man; nor the Seventh, but when a man lay with a woman, not his wife; our Saviour tells them, the inward Anger of a man against his brother, if it be without just cause, is Homicide: You have heard (saith hee) the Law of Moses, "Thou shalt not Kill," and that "Whosoever shall Kill, shall be condemned before the Judges," or before the Session of the Seventy: But I say unto you, to be Angry with ones Brother without cause; or to say unto him Racha, or Foole, is Homicide, and shall be punished at the day of Judgment, and Session of Christ, and his Apostles, with Hell fire: so that those words were not used to distinguish between divers Crimes, and divers Courts of Justice, and divers Punishments; but to taxe the distinction between sin, and sin, which the Jews drew not from the difference of the Will in Obeying God, but from the difference of their Temporall Courts of Justice; and to shew them that he that had the Will to hurt his Brother, though the effect appear but in Reviling, or not at all, shall be cast into hell fire, by the Judges, and by the Session, which shall be the same, not different Courts at the day of Judgment. This Considered, what can be drawn from this text, to maintain Purgatory, I cannot imagine.
The sixth place is Luke 16. 9. "Make yee friends of the unrighteous Mammon, that when yee faile, they may receive you into Everlasting Tabernacles." This he alledges to prove Invocation of Saints departed. But the sense is plain, That we should make friends with our Riches, of the Poore, and thereby obtain their Prayers whilest they live. "He that giveth to the Poore, lendeth to the Lord. "The seventh is Luke 23. 42. "Lord remember me when thou commest into thy Kingdome:" Therefore, saith hee, there is Remission of sins after this life. But the consequence is not good. Our Saviour then forgave him; and at his comming againe in Glory, will remember to raise him againe to Life Eternall.
The Eight is Acts 2. 24. where St. Peter saith of Christ, "that God had raised him up, and loosed the Paines of Death, because it was not possible he should be holden of it;" Which hee interprets to bee a descent of Christ into Purgatory, to loose some Soules there from their torments; whereas it is manifest, that it was Christ that was loosed; it was hee that could not bee holden of Death, or the Grave; and not the Souls in Purgatory. But if that which Beza sayes in his notes on this place be well observed, there is none that will not see, that in stead of Paynes, it should be Bands; and then there is no further cause to seek for Purgatory in this Text.
OF DAEMONOLOGY, AND OTHER RELIQUES OF THE RELIGION OF THE GENTILES
The Originall Of Daemonology The impression made on the organs of Sight, by lucide Bodies, either in one direct line, or in many lines, reflected from Opaque, or refracted in the passage through Diaphanous Bodies, produceth in living Creatures, in whom God hath placed such Organs, an Imagination of the Object, from whence the Impression proceedeth; which Imagination is called Sight; and seemeth not to bee a meer Imagination, but the Body it selfe without us; in the same manner, as when a man violently presseth his eye, there appears to him a light without, and before him, which no man perceiveth but himselfe; because there is indeed no such thing without him, but onely a motion in the interiour organs, pressing by resistance outward, that makes him think so. And the motion made by this pressure, continuing after the object which caused it is removed, is that we call Imagination, and Memory, and (in sleep, and sometimes in great distemper of the organs by Sicknesse, or Violence) a Dream: of which things I have already spoken briefly, in the second and third Chapters.
This nature of Sight having never been discovered by the ancient pretenders to Naturall Knowledge; much lesse by those that consider not things so remote (as that Knowledge is) from their present use; it was hard for men to conceive of those Images in the Fancy, and in the Sense, otherwise, than of things really without us: Which some (because they vanish away, they know not whither, nor how,) will have to be absolutely Incorporeall, that is to say Immateriall, of Formes without Matter; Colour and Figure, without any coloured or figured Body; and that they can put on Aiery bodies (as a garment) to make them Visible when they will to our bodily Eyes; and others say, are Bodies, and living Creatures, but made of Air, or other more subtile and aethereall Matter, which is, then, when they will be seen, condensed. But Both of them agree on one generall appellation of them, DAEMONS. As if the Dead of whom they Dreamed, were not Inhabitants of their own Brain, but of the Air, or of Heaven, or Hell; not Phantasmes, but Ghosts; with just as much reason, as if one should say, he saw his own Ghost in a Looking-Glasse, or the Ghosts of the Stars in a River; or call the ordinary apparition of the Sun, of the quantity of about a foot, the Daemon, or Ghost of that great Sun that enlighteneth the whole visible world: And by that means have feared them, as things of an unknown, that is, of an unlimited power to doe them good, or harme; and consequently, given occasion to the Governours of the Heathen Common-wealths to regulate this their fear, by establishing that DAEMONOLOGY (in which the Poets, as Principal Priests of the Heathen Religion, were specially employed, or reverenced) to the Publique Peace, and to the Obedience of Subjects necessary thereunto; and to make some of them Good Daemons, and others Evill; the one as a Spurre to the Observance, the other, as Reines to withhold them from Violation of the Laws.
What Were The Daemons Of The Ancients What kind of things they were, to whom they attributed the name of Daemons, appeareth partly in the Genealogie of their Gods, written by Hesiod, one of the most ancient Poets of the Graecians; and partly in other Histories; of which I have observed some few before, in the 12. Chapter of this discourse.
How That Doctrine Was Spread The Graecians, by their Colonies and Conquests, communicated their Language and Writings into Asia, Egypt, and Italy; and therein, by necessary consequence their Daemonology, or (as St. Paul calles it) "their Doctrines of Devils;" And by that meanes, the contagion was derived also to the Jewes, both of Judaea, and Alexandria, and other parts, whereinto they were dispersed. But the name of Daemon they did not (as the Graecians) attribute to Spirits both Good, and Evill; but to the Evill onely: And to the Good Daemons they gave the name of the Spirit of God; and esteemed those into whose bodies they entred to be Prophets. In summe, all singularity if Good, they attributed to the Spirit of God; and if Evill, to some Daemon, but a kakodaimen, an Evill Daemon, that is, a Devill. And therefore, they called Daemoniaques, that is, possessed by the Devill, such as we call Madmen or Lunatiques; or such as had the Falling Sicknesse; or that spoke any thing, which they for want of understanding, thought absurd: As also of an Unclean person in a notorious degree, they used to say he had an Unclean Spirit; of a Dumbe man, that he had a Dumbe Devill; and of John Baptist (Math. 11. 18.) for the singularity of his fasting, that he had a Devill; and of our Saviour, because he said, hee that keepeth his sayings should not see Death In Aeternum, (John 8. 52.) "Now we know thou hast a Devill; Abraham is dead, and the Prophets are dead:" And again, because he said (John 7. 20.) "They went about to kill him," the people answered, "Thou hast a Devill, who goeth about to kill thee?" Whereby it is manifest, that the Jewes had the same opinions concerning Phantasmes, namely, that they were not Phantasmes that is, Idols of the braine, but things reall, and independent on the Fancy.
Why Our Saviour Controlled It Not Which doctrine if it be not true, why (may some say) did not our Saviour contradict it, and teach the Contrary? nay why does he use on diverse occasions, such forms of speech as seem to confirm it? To this I answer, that first, where Christ saith, "A Spirit hath not flesh and bone," though hee shew that there be Spirits, yet he denies not that they are Bodies: And where St. Paul sais, "We shall rise Spirituall Bodies," he acknowledgeth the nature of Spirits, but that they are Bodily Spirits; which is not difficult to understand. For Air and many other things are Bodies, though not Flesh and Bone, or any other grosse body, to bee discerned by the eye. But when our Saviour speaketh to the Devill, and commandeth him to go out of a man, if by the Devill, be meant a Disease, as Phrenesy, or Lunacy, or a corporeal Spirit, is not the speech improper? can Diseases heare? or can there be a corporeall Spirit in a Body of Flesh and Bone, full already of vitall and animall Spirits? Are there not therefore Spirits, that neither have Bodies, nor are meer Imaginations? To the first I answer, that the addressing of our Saviours command to the Madnesse, or Lunacy he cureth, is no more improper, then was his rebuking of the Fever, or of the Wind, and Sea; for neither do these hear: Or than was the command of God, to the Light, to the Firmament, to the Sunne, and Starres, when he commanded them to bee; for they could not heare before they had a beeing. But those speeches are not improper, because they signifie the power of Gods Word: no more therefore is it improper, to command Madnesse, or Lunacy (under the appellation of Devils, by which they were then commonly understood,) to depart out of a mans body. To the second, concerning their being Incorporeall, I have not yet observed any place of Scripture, from whence it can be gathered, that any man was ever possessed with any other Corporeal Spirit, but that of his owne, by which his body is naturally moved.
The Scriptures Doe Not Teach That Spirits Are Incorporeall Our Saviour, immediately after the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a Dove, is said by St. Matthew (Chapt. 4. 1.) to have been "led up by the Spirit into the Wildernesse;" and the same is recited (Luke 4. 1.) in these words, "Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost, was led in the Spirit into the Wildernesse;" Whereby it is evident, that by Spirit there, is meant the Holy Ghost. This cannot be interpreted for a Possession: For Christ, and the Holy Ghost, are but one and the same substance; which is no possession of one substance, or body, by another. And whereas in the verses following, he is said "to have been taken up by the Devill into the Holy City, and set upon a pinnacle of the Temple," shall we conclude thence that hee was possessed of the Devill, or carryed thither by violence? And again, "carryed thence by the Devill into an exceeding high mountain, who shewed him them thence all the Kingdomes of the world:" herein, wee are not to beleeve he was either possessed, or forced by the Devill; nor that any Mountaine is high enough, (according to the literall sense,) to shew him one whole Hemisphere. What then can be the meaning of this place, other than that he went of himself into the Wildernesse; and that this carrying of him up and down, from the Wildernesse to the City, and from thence into a Mountain, was a Vision? Conformable whereunto, is also the phrase of St. Luke, that hee was led into the Wildernesse, not By, but In the Spirit: whereas concerning His being Taken up into the Mountaine, and unto the Pinnacle of the Temple, hee speaketh as St. Matthew doth. Which suiteth with the nature of a Vision.
Again, where St. Luke sayes of Judas Iscariot, that "Satan entred into him, and thereupon that he went and communed with the Chief Priests, and Captaines, how he might betray Christ unto them:" it may be answered, that by the Entring of Satan (that is the Enemy) into him, is meant, the hostile and traiterous intention of selling his Lord and Master. For as by the Holy Ghost, is frequently in Scripture understood, the Graces and good Inclinations given by the Holy Ghost; so by the Entring of Satan, may bee understood the wicked Cogitations, and Designes of the Adversaries of Christ, and his Disciples. For as it is hard to say, that the Devill was entred into Judas, before he had any such hostile designe; so it is impertinent to say, he was first Christs Enemy in his heart, and that the Devill entred into him afterwards. Therefore the Entring of Satan, and his Wicked Purpose, was one and the same thing.
But if there be no Immateriall Spirit, nor any Possession of mens bodies by any Spirit Corporeall, it may again be asked, why our Saviour and his Apostles did not teach the People so; and in such cleer words, as they might no more doubt thereof. But such questions as these, are more curious, than necessary for a Christian mans Salvation. Men may as well aske, why Christ that could have given to all men Faith, Piety, and all manner of morall Vertues, gave it to some onely, and not to all: and why he left the search of naturall Causes, and Sciences, to the naturall Reason and Industry of men, and did not reveal it to all, or any man supernaturally; and many other such questions: Of which neverthelesse there may be alledged probable and pious reasons. For as God, when he brought the Israelites into the Land of Promise, did not secure them therein, by subduing all the Nations round about them; but left many of them, as thornes in their sides, to awaken from time to time their Piety and Industry: so our Saviour, in conducting us toward his heavenly Kingdome, did not destroy all the difficulties of Naturall Questions; but left them to exercise our Industry, and Reason; the Scope of his preaching, being onely to shew us this plain and direct way to Salvation, namely, the beleef of this Article, "that he was the Christ, the Son of the living God, sent into the world to sacrifice himselfe for our Sins, and at his comming again, gloriously to reign over his Elect, and to save them from their Enemies eternally:" To which, the opinion of Possession by Spirits, or Phantasmes, are no impediment in the way; though it be to some an occasion of going out of the way, and to follow their own Inventions. If wee require of the Scripture an account of all questions, which may be raised to trouble us in the performance of Gods commands; we may as well complaine of Moses for not having set downe the time of the creation of such Spirits, as well as of the Creation of the Earth, and Sea, and of Men, and Beasts. To conclude, I find in Scripture that there be Angels, and Spirits, good and evill; but not that they are Incorporeall, as are the Apparitions men see in the Dark, or in a Dream, or Vision; which the Latines call Spectra, and took for Daemons. And I find that there are Spirits Corporeal, (though subtile and Invisible;) but not that any mans body was possessed, or inhabited by them; And that the Bodies of the Saints shall be such, namely, Spirituall Bodies, as St. Paul calls them.
The Power Of Casting Out Devills, Not The Same It Was In The Primitive Church Neverthelesse, the contrary Doctrine, namely, that there be Incorporeall Spirits, hath hitherto so prevailed in the Church, that the use of Exorcisme, (that is to say, of ejection of Devills by Conjuration) is thereupon built; and (though rarely and faintly practised) is not yet totally given over. That there were many Daemoniaques in the Primitive Church, and few Mad-men, and other such singular diseases; whereas in these times we hear of, and see many Mad-men, and few Daemoniaques, proceeds not from the change of Nature; but of Names. But how it comes to passe, that whereas heretofore the Apostles, and after them for a time, the Pastors of the Church, did cure those singular Diseases, which now they are not seen to doe; as likewise, why it is not in the power of every true Beleever now, to doe all that the Faithfull did then, that is to say, as we read (Mark 16. 17.) "In Christs name to cast out Devills, to speak with new Tongues, to take up Serpents, to drink deadly Poison without harm taking, and to cure the Sick by the laying on of their hands," and all this without other words, but "in the Name of Jesus," is another question. And it is probable, that those extraordinary gifts were given to the Church, for no longer a time, than men trusted wholly to Christ, and looked for their felicity onely in his Kingdome to come; and consequently, that when they sought Authority, and Riches, and trusted to their own Subtilty for a Kingdome of this world, these supernaturall gifts of God were again taken from them.
Another Relique Of Gentilisme, Worshipping Of Images, Left In The Church, Not Brought Into It Another relique of Gentilisme, is the Worship of Images, neither instituted by Moses in the Old, nor by Christ in the New Testament; nor yet brought in from the Gentiles; but left amongst them, after they had given their names to Christ. Before our Saviour preached, it was the generall Religion of the Gentiles, to worship for Gods, those Apparences that remain in the Brain from the impression of externall Bodies upon the organs of their Senses, which are commonly called Ideas, Idols, Phantasmes, Conceits, as being Representations of those externall Bodies, which cause them, and have nothing in them of reality, no more than there is in the things that seem to stand before us in a Dream: And this is the reason why St. Paul says, "Wee know that an Idol is Nothing:" Not that he thought that an Image of Metall, Stone, or Wood, was nothing; but that the thing which they honored, or feared in the Image, and held for a God, was a meer Figment, without place, habitation, motion, or existence, but in the motions of the Brain. And the worship of these with Divine Honour, is that which is in the Scripture called Idolatry, and Rebellion against God. For God being King of the Jews, and his Lieutenant being first Moses, and afterward the High Priest; if the people had been permitted to worship, and pray to Images, (which are Representations of their own Fancies,) they had had no farther dependence on the true God, of whom there can be no similitude; nor on his prime Ministers, Moses, and the High Priests; but every man had governed himself according to his own appetite, to the utter eversion of the Common-wealth, and their own destruction for want of Union. And therefore the first Law of God was, "They should not take for Gods, ALIENOS DEOS, that is, the Gods of other nations, but that onely true God, who vouchsafed to commune with Moses, and by him to give them laws and directions, for their peace, and for their salvation from their enemies." And the second was, that "they should not make to themselves any Image to Worship, of their own Invention." For it is the same deposing of a King, to submit to another King, whether he be set up by a neighbour nation, or by our selves.
Answer To Certain Seeming Texts For Images The places of Scripture pretended to countenance the setting up of Images, to worship them; or to set them up at all in the places where God is worshipped, are First, two Examples; one of the Cherubins over the Ark of God; the other of the Brazen Serpent: Secondly, some texts whereby we are commanded to worship certain Creatures for their relation to God; as to worship his Footstool: And lastly, some other texts, by which is authorized, a religious honoring of Holy things. But before I examine the force of those places, to prove that which is pretended, I must first explain what is to be understood by Worshipping, and what by Images, and Idols.
What Is Worship I have already shewn in the 20 Chapter of this Discourse, that to Honor, is to value highly the Power of any person: and that such value is measured, by our comparing him with others. But because there is nothing to be compared with God in Power; we Honor him not but Dishonour him by any Value lesse than Infinite. And thus Honor is properly of its own nature, secret, and internall in the heart. But the inward thoughts of men, which appeare outwardly in their words and actions, are the signes of our Honoring, and these goe by the name of WORSHIP, in Latine, CULTUS. Therefore, to Pray to, to Swear by, to Obey, to bee Diligent, and Officious in Serving: in summe, all words and actions that betoken Fear to Offend, or Desire to Please, is Worship, whether those words and actions be sincere, or feigned: and because they appear as signes of Honoring, are ordinarily also called Honor.
Distinction Between Divine And Civill Worship The Worship we exhibite to those we esteem to be but men, as to Kings, and men in Authority, is Civill Worship: But the worship we exhibite to that which we think to bee God, whatsoever the words, ceremonies, gestures, or other actions be, is Divine Worship. To fall prostrate before a King, in him that thinks him but a Man, is but Civill Worship: And he that but putteth off his hat in the Church, for this cause, that he thinketh it the House of God, worshippeth with Divine Worship. They that seek the distinction of Divine and Civill Worship, not in the intention of the Worshipper, but in the Words douleia, and latreia, deceive themselves. For whereas there be two sorts of Servants; that sort, which is of those that are absolutely in the power of their Masters, as Slaves taken in war, and their Issue, whose bodies are not in their own power, (their lives depending on the Will of their Masters, in such manner as to forfeit them upon the least disobedience,) and that are bought and sold as Beasts, were called Douloi, that is properly, Slaves, and their Service, Douleia: The other, which is of those that serve (for hire, or in hope of benefit from their Masters) voluntarily; are called Thetes; that is, Domestique Servants; to whose service the Masters have no further right, than is contained in the Covenants made betwixt them. These two kinds of Servants have thus much common to them both, that their labour is appointed them by another, whether, as a Slave, or a voluntary Servant:
And the word Latris, is the general name of both, signifying him that worketh for another, whether, as a Slave, or a voluntary Servant: So that Latreia signifieth generally all Service; but Douleia the service of Bondmen onely, and the condition of Slavery: And both are used in Scripture (to signifie our Service of God) promiscuously. Douleia, because we are Gods Slaves; Latreia, because wee Serve him: and in all kinds of Service is contained, not onely Obedience, but also Worship, that is, such actions, gestures, and words, as signifie Honor.
An Image What Phantasmes An IMAGE (in the most strict signification of the word) is the Resemblance of some thing visible: In which sense the Phantasticall Formes, Apparitions, or Seemings of Visible Bodies to the Sight, are onely Images; such as are the Shew of a man, or other thing in the Water, by Reflexion, or Refraction; or of the Sun, or Stars by Direct Vision in the Air; which are nothing reall in the things seen, nor in the place where thy seem to bee; nor are their magnitudes and figures the same with that of the object; but changeable, by the variation of the organs of Sight, or by glasses; and are present oftentimes in our Imagination, and in our Dreams, when the object is absent; or changed into other colours, and shapes, as things that depend onely upon the Fancy. And these are the Images which are originally and most properly called Ideas, and IDOLS, and derived from the language of the Graecians, with whom the word Eido signifieth to See. They are also called PHANTASMES, which is in the same language, Apparitions. And from these Images it is that one of the faculties of mans Nature, is called the Imagination. And from hence it is manifest, that there neither is, nor can bee any Image made of a thing Invisible.
It is also evident, that there can be no Image of a thing Infinite: for all the Images, and Phantasmes that are made by the Impression of things visible, are figured: but Figure is a quantity every way determined: And therefore there can bee no Image of God: nor of the Soule of Man; nor of Spirits, but onely of Bodies Visible, that is, Bodies that have light in themselves, or are by such enlightened.
Fictions Materiall Images And whereas a man can fancy Shapes he never saw; making up a Figure out of the parts of divers creatures; as the Poets make their Centaures, Chimaeras, and other Monsters never seen: So can he also give Matter to those Shapes, and make them in Wood, Clay or Metall. And these are also called Images, not for the resemblance of any corporeall thing, but for the resemblance of some Phantasticall Inhabitants of the Brain of the Maker. But in these Idols, as they are originally in the Brain, and as they are painted, carved, moulded, or moulten in matter, there is a similitude of the one to the other, for which the Materiall Body made by Art, may be said to be the Image of the Phantasticall Idoll made by Nature.
But in a larger use of the word Image, is contained also, any Representation of one thing by another. So an earthly Soveraign may be called the Image of God: And an inferiour Magistrate the Image of an earthly Soveraign. And many times in the Idolatry of the Gentiles there was little regard to the similitude of their Materiall Idoll to the Idol in their fancy, and yet it was called the Image of it. For a Stone unhewn has been set up for Neptune, and divers other shapes far different from the shapes they conceived of their Gods. And at this day we see many Images of the Virgin Mary, and other Saints, unlike one another, and without correspondence to any one mans Fancy; and yet serve well enough for the purpose they were erected for; which was no more but by the Names onely, to represent the Persons mentioned in the History; to which every man applyeth a Mentall Image of his owne making, or none at all. And thus an Image in the largest sense, is either the Resemblance, or the Representation of some thing Visible; or both together, as it happeneth for the most part.
But the name of Idoll is extended yet further in Scripture, to signifie also the Sunne, or a Starre, or any other Creature, visible or invisible, when they are worshipped for Gods.
Idolatry What Having shewn what is Worship, and what an Image; I will now put them together, and examine what that IDOLATRY is, which is forbidden in the Second Commandement, and other places of the Scripture.
To worship an Image, is voluntarily to doe those externall acts, which are signes of honoring either the matter of the Image, which is Wood, Stone, or Metall, or some other visible creature; or the Phantasme of the brain, for the resemblance, or representation whereof, the matter was formed and figured; or both together, as one animate Body, composed of the Matter and the Phantasme, as of a Body and Soule.
To be uncovered, before a man of Power and Authority, or before the Throne of a Prince, or in such other places as hee ordaineth to that purpose in his absence, is to Worship that man, or Prince with Civill Worship; as being a signe, not of honoring the stoole, or place, but the Person; and is not Idolatry. But if hee that doth it, should suppose the Soule of the Prince to be in the Stool, or should present a Petition to the Stool, it were Divine Worship, and Idolatry.
To pray to a King for such things, as hee is able to doe for us, though we prostrate our selves before him, is but Civill Worship; because we acknowledge no other power in him, but humane: But voluntarily to pray unto him for fair weather, or for any thing which God onely can doe for us, is Divine Worship, and Idolatry. On the other side, if a King compell a man to it by the terrour of Death, or other great corporall punishment, it is not Idolatry: For the Worship which the Soveraign commandeth to bee done unto himself by the terrour of his Laws, is not a sign that he that obeyeth him, does inwardly honour him as a God, but that he is desirous to save himselfe from death, or from a miserable life; and that which is not a sign of internall honor, is no Worship; and therefore no Idolatry. Neither can it bee said, that hee that does it, scandalizeth, or layeth any stumbling block before his Brother; because how wise, or learned soever he be that worshippeth in that manner, another man cannot from thence argue, that he approveth it; but that he doth it for fear; and that it is not his act, but the act of the Soveraign.
To worship God, in some peculiar Place, or turning a mans face towards an Image, or determinate Place, is not to worship, or honor the Place, or Image; but to acknowledge it Holy, that is to say, to acknowledge the Image, or the Place to be set apart from common use: for that is the meaning of the word Holy; which implies no new quality in the Place, or Image; but onely a new Relation by Appropriation to God; and therefore is not Idolatry; no more than it was Idolatry to worship God before the Brazen Serpent; or for the Jews when they were out of their owne countrey, to turn their faces (when they prayed) toward the Temple of Jerusalem; or for Moses to put off his Shoes when he was before the Flaming Bush, the ground appertaining to Mount Sinai; which place God had chosen to appear in, and to give his Laws to the People of Israel, and was therefore Holy ground, not by inhaerent sanctity, but by separation to Gods use; or for Christians to worship in the Churches, which are once solemnly dedicated to God for that purpose, by the Authority of the King, or other true Representant of the Church. But to worship God, is inanimating, or inhibiting, such Image, or place; that is to say, an infinite substance in a finite place, is Idolatry: for such finite Gods, are but Idols of the brain, nothing reall; and are commonly called in the Scripture by the names of Vanity, and Lyes, and Nothing. Also to worship God, not as inanimating, or present in the place, or Image; but to the end to be put in mind of him, or of some works of his, in case the Place, or Image be dedicated, or set up by private authority, and not by the authority of them that are our Soveraign Pastors, is Idolatry. For the Commandement is, "Thou shalt not make to thy selfe any graven image." God commanded Moses to set up the Brazen Serpent; hee did not make it to himselfe; it was not therefore against the Commandement. But the making of the Golden Calfe by Aaron, and the People, as being done without authority from God, was Idolatry; not onely because they held it for God, but also because they made it for a Religious use, without warrant either from God their Soveraign, or from Moses, that was his Lieutenant.
The Gentiles worshipped for Gods, Jupiter, and others; that living, were men perhaps that had done great and glorious Acts; and for the Children of God, divers men and women, supposing them gotten between an Immortall Deity, and a mortall man. This was Idolatry, because they made them so to themselves, having no authority from God, neither in his eternall Law of Reason, nor in his positive and revealed Will. But though our Saviour was a man, whom wee also beleeve to bee God Immortall, and the Son of God; yet this is no Idolatry; because wee build not that beleef upon our own fancy, or judgment, but upon the Word of God revealed in the Scriptures. And for the adoration of the Eucharist, if the words of Christ, "This is my Body," signifie, "that he himselfe, and the seeming bread in his hand; and not onely so, but that all the seeming morsells of bread that have ever since been, and any time hereafter shall bee consecrated by Priests, bee so many Christs bodies, and yet all of them but one body," then is that no Idolatry, because it is authorized by our Saviour: but if that text doe not signifie that, (for there is no other that can be alledged for it,) then, because it is a worship of humane institution, it is Idolatry. For it is not enough to say, God can transubstantiate the Bread into Christs Body: For the Gentiles also held God to be Omnipotent; and might upon that ground no lesse excuse their Idolatry, by pretending, as well as others, as transubstantiation of their Wood, and Stone into God Almighty.
Whereas there be, that pretend Divine Inspiration, to be a supernaturall entring of the Holy Ghost into a man, and not an acquisition of Gods grace, by doctrine, and study; I think they are in a very dangerous Dilemma. For if they worship not the men whom they beleeve to be so inspired, they fall into Impiety; as not adoring Gods supernaturall Presence. And again, if they worship them, they commit Idolatry; for the Apostles would never permit themselves to be so worshipped. Therefore the safest way is to beleeve, that by the Descending of the Dove upon the Apostles; and by Christs Breathing on them, when hee gave them the Holy Ghost; and by the giving of it by Imposition of Hands, are understood the signes which God hath been pleased to use, or ordain to be used, of his promise to assist those persons in their study to Preach his Kingdome, and in their Conversation, that it might not be Scandalous, but Edifying to others.
Scandalous Worship Of Images Besides the Idolatrous Worship of Images, there is also a Scandalous Worship of them; which is also a sin; but not Idolatry. For Idolatry is to worship by signes of an internall, and reall honour: but Scandalous Worship, is but Seeming Worship; and may sometimes bee joined with an inward, and hearty detestation, both of the Image, and of the Phantasticall Daemon, or Idol, to which it is dedicated; and proceed onely from the fear of death, or other grievous punishment; and is neverthelesse a sin in them that so worship, in case they be men whose actions are looked at by others, as lights to guide them by; because following their ways, they cannot but stumble, and fall in the way of Religion: Whereas the example of those we regard not, works not on us at all, but leaves us to our own diligence and caution; and consequently are no causes of our falling.
If therefore a Pastor lawfully called to teach and direct others, or any other, of whose knowledge there is a great opinion, doe externall honor to an Idol for fear; unlesse he make his feare, and unwillingnesse to it, as evident as the worship; he Scandalizeth his Brother, by seeming to approve Idolatry. For his Brother, arguing from the action of his teacher, or of him whose knowledge he esteemeth great, concludes it to bee lawfull in it selfe. And this Scandall, is Sin, and a Scandall given. But if one being no Pastor, nor of eminent reputation for knowledge in Christian Doctrine, doe the same, and another follow him; this is no Scandall given; for he had no cause to follow such example: but is a pretence of Scandall which hee taketh of himselfe for an excuse before men: For an unlearned man, that is in the power of an idolatrous King, or State, if commanded on pain of death to worship before an Idoll, hee detesteth the Idoll in his heart, hee doth well; though if he had the fortitude to suffer death, rather than worship it, he should doe better. But if a Pastor, who as Christs Messenger, has undertaken to teach Christs Doctrine to all nations, should doe the same, it were not onely a sinfull Scandall, in respect of other Christian mens consciences, but a perfidious forsaking of his charge.
The summe of that which I have said hitherto, concerning the Worship of Images, is that, that he that worshippeth in an Image, or any Creature, either the Matter thereof, or any Fancy of his own, which he thinketh to dwell in it; or both together; or beleeveth that such things hear his Prayers, or see his Devotions, without Ears, or Eyes, committeth Idolatry: and he that counterfeiteth such Worship for fear of punishment, if he bee a man whose example hath power amongst his Brethren, committeth a sin: But he that worshippeth the Creator of the world before such an Image, or in such a place as he hath not made, or chosen of himselfe, but taken from the commandement of Gods Word, as the Jewes did in worshipping God before the Cherubins, and before the Brazen Serpent for a time, and in, or towards the Temple of Jerusalem, which was also but for a time, committeth not Idolatry.
Now for the Worship of Saints, and Images, and Reliques, and other things at this day practised in the Church of Rome, I say they are not allowed by the Word of God, not brought into the Church of Rome, from the Doctrine there taught; but partly left in it at the first conversion of the Gentiles; and afterwards countenanced, and confirmed, and augmented by the Bishops of Rome.
Answer To The Argument From The Cherubins, And Brazen Serpent As for the proofs alledged out of Scripture, namely, those examples of Images appointed by God to bee set up; They were not set up for the people, or any man to worship; but that they should worship God himselfe before them: as before the Cherubins over the Ark, and the Brazen Serpent. For we read not, that the Priest, or any other did worship the Cherubins; but contrarily wee read (2 Kings 18.4.) that Hezekiah brake in pieces the Brazen Serpent which Moses had set up, because the People burnt incense to it. Besides, those examples are not put for our Imitation, that we also should set up Images, under pretence of worshipping God before them; because the words of the second Commandement, "Thou shalt not make to thy selfe any graven Image, &c." distinguish between the Images that God commanded to be set up, and those which wee set up to our selves. And therefore from the Cherubins, or Brazen Serpent, to the Images of mans devising; and from the Worship commanded by God, to the Will-Worship of men, the argument is not good. This also is to bee considered, that as Hezekiah brake in pieces the Brazen Serpent, because the Jews did worship it, to the end they should doe so no more; so also Christian Soveraigns ought to break down the Images which their Subjects have been accustomed to worship; that there be no more occasion of such Idolatry. For at this day, the ignorant People, where Images are worshipped, doe really beleeve there is a Divine Power in the Images; and are told by their Pastors, that some of them have spoken; and have bled; and that miracles have been done by them; which they apprehend as done by the Saint, which they think either is the Image it self, or in it. The Israelites, when they worshipped the Calfe, did think they worshipped the God that brought them out of Egypt; and yet it was Idolatry, because they thought the Calfe either was that God, or had him in his belly. And though some man may think it impossible for people to be so stupid, as to think the Image to be God, or a Saint; or to worship it in that notion; yet it is manifest in Scripture to the contrary; where when the Golden Calfe was made, the people said, (Exod. 32. 2.) "These are thy Gods O Israel;" and where the Images of Laban (Gen. 31.30.) are called his Gods. And wee see daily by experience in all sorts of People, that such men as study nothing but their food and ease, are content to beleeve any absurdity, rather than to trouble themselves to examine it; holding their faith as it were by entaile unalienable, except by an expresse and new Law.
Painting Of Fancies No Idolatry: But Abusing Them To Religious Worship Is But they inferre from some other places, that it is lawfull to paint Angels, and also God himselfe: as from Gods walking in the Garden; from Jacobs seeing God at the top of the ladder; and from other Visions, and Dreams. But Visions, and Dreams whether naturall, or supernaturall, are but Phantasmes: and he that painteth an Image of any of them, maketh not an Image of God, but of his own Phantasm, which is, making of an Idol. I say not, that to draw a Picture after a fancy, is a Sin; but when it is drawn, to hold it for a Representation of God, is against the second Commandement; and can be of no use, but to worship. And the same may be said of the Images of Angels, and of men dead; unlesse as Monuments of friends, or of men worthy remembrance: For such use of an Image, is not Worship of the Image; but a civill honoring of the Person, not that is, but that was: But when it is done to the Image which we make of a Saint, for no other reason, but that we think he heareth our prayers, and is pleased with the honour wee doe him, when dead, and without sense, wee attribute to him more than humane power; and therefore it is Idolatry.
Seeing therefore there is no authority, neither in the Law of Moses, nor in the Gospel, for the religious Worship of Images, or other Representations of God, which men set up to themselves; or for the Worship of the Image of any Creature in Heaven, or Earth, or under the Earth: And whereas Christian Kings, who are living Representants of God, are not to be worshipped by their Subjects, by any act, that signifieth a greater esteem of his power, than the nature of mortall man is capable of; It cannot be imagined, that the Religious Worship now in use, was brought into the Church, by misunderstanding of the Scripture. It resteth therefore, that it was left in it, by not destroying the Images themselves, in the conversion of the Gentiles that worshipped them.
How Idolatry Was Left In The Church The cause whereof, was the immoderate esteem, and prices set upon the workmanship of them, which made the owners (though converted, from worshipping them as they had done Religiously for Daemons) to retain them still in their houses, upon pretence of doing it in the honor of Christ, of the Virgin Mary, and of the Apostles, and other the Pastors of the Primitive Church; as being easie, by giving them new names, to make that an Image of the Virgin Mary, and of her Sonne our Saviour, which before perhaps was called the Image of Venus, and Cupid; and so of a Jupiter to make a Barnabas, and of Mercury a Paul, and the like. And as worldly ambition creeping by degrees into the Pastors, drew them to an endeavour of pleasing the new made Christians; and also to a liking of this kind of honour, which they also might hope for after their decease, as well as those that had already gained it: so the worshipping of the Images of Christ and his Apostles, grow more and more Idolatrous; save that somewhat after the time of Constantine, divers Emperors, and Bishops, and generall Councells observed, and opposed the unlawfulnesse thereof; but too late, or too weakly.
Canonizing Of Saints The Canonizing of Saints, is another Relique of Gentilisme: It is neither a misunderstanding of Scripture, nor a new invention of the Roman Church, but a custome as ancient as the Common-wealth of Rome it self. The first that ever was canonized at Rome, was Romulus, and that upon the narration of Julius Proculus, that swore before the Senate, he spake with him after his death, and was assured by him, he dwelt in Heaven, and was there called Quirinius, and would be propitious to the State of their new City: And thereupon the Senate gave Publique Testimony of his Sanctity. Julius Caesar, and other Emperors after him, had the like Testimony; that is, were Canonized for Saints; now defined; and is the same with the Apotheosis of the Heathen.
The Name Of Pontifex It is also from the Roman Heathen, that the Popes have received the name, and power of PONTIFEX MAXIMUS. This was the name of him that in the ancient Common-wealth of Rome, had the Supreme Authority under the Senate and People, of regulating all Ceremonies, and Doctrines concerning their Religion: And when Augustus Caesar changed the State into a Monarchy, he took to himselfe no more but this office, and that of Tribune of the People, (than is to say, the Supreme Power both in State, and Religion;) and the succeeding Emperors enjoyed the same. But when the Emperour Constantine lived, who was the first that professed and authorized Christian Religion, it was consonant to his profession, to cause Religion to be regulated (under his authority) by the Bishop of Rome: Though it doe not appear they had so soon the name of Pontifex; but rather, that the succeeding Bishops took it of themselves, to countenance the power they exercised over the Bishops of the Roman Provinces. For it is not any Priviledge of St. Peter, but the Priviledge of the City of Rome, which the Emperors were alwaies willing to uphold; that gave them such authority over other Bishops; as may be evidently seen by that, that the Bishop of Constantinople, when the Emperour made that City the Seat of the Empire, pretended to bee equall to the Bishop of Rome; though at last, not without contention, the Pope carryed it, and became the Pontifex Maximus; but in right onely of the Emperour; and not without the bounds of the Empire; nor any where, after the Emperour had lost his power in Rome; though it were the Pope himself that took his power from him. From whence wee may by the way observe, that there is no place for the superiority of the Pope over other Bishops, except in the territories whereof he is himself the Civill Soveraign; and where the Emperour having Soveraign Power Civill, hath expressely chosen the Pope for the chief Pastor under himselfe, of his Christian Subjects.
Procession Of Images The carrying about of Images in Procession, is another Relique of the Religion of the Greeks, and Romans: For they also carried their Idols from place to place, in a kind of Chariot, which was peculiarly dedicated to that use, which the Latines called Thensa, and Vehiculum Deorum; and the Image was placed in a frame, or Shrine, which they called Ferculum: And that which they called Pompa, is the same that now is named Procession: According whereunto, amongst the Divine Honors which were given to Julius Caesar by the Senate, this was one, that in the Pompe (or Procession) at the Circaean games, he should have Thensam & Ferculum, a sacred Chariot, and a Shrine; which was as much, as to be carried up and down as a God: Just as at this day the Popes are carried by Switzers under a Canopie.
Wax Candles, And Torches Lighted To these Processions also belonged the bearing of burning Torches, and Candles, before the Images of the Gods, both amongst the Greeks, and Romans. For afterwards the Emperors of Rome received the same honor; as we read of Caligula, that at his reception to the Empire, he was carried from Misenum to Rome, in the midst of a throng of People, the wayes beset with Altars, and Beasts for Sacrifice, and burning Torches: And of Caracalla that was received into Alexandria with Incense, and with casting of Flowers, and Dadouchiais, that is, with Torches; for Dadochoi were they that amongst the Greeks carried Torches lighted in the Processions of their Gods: And in processe of time, the devout, but ignorant People, did many times honor their Bishops with the like pompe of Wax Candles, and the Images of our Saviour, and the Saints, constantly, in the Church it self. And thus came in the use of Wax Candles; and was also established by some of the ancient Councells.
The Heathens had also their Aqua Lustralis, that is to say, Holy Water. The Church of Rome imitates them also in their Holy Dayes. They had their Bacchanalia; and we have our Wakes, answering to them: They their Saturnalia, and we our Carnevalls, and Shrove-tuesdays liberty of Servants: They their Procession of Priapus; wee our fetching in, erection, and dancing about May-poles; and Dancing is one kind of Worship: They had their Procession called Ambarvalia; and we our Procession about the fields in the Rogation Week. Nor do I think that these are all the Ceremonies that have been left in the Church, from the first conversion of the Gentiles: but they are all that I can for the present call to mind; and if a man would wel observe that which is delivered in the Histories, concerning the Religious Rites of the Greeks and Romanes, I doubt not but he might find many more of these old empty Bottles of Gentilisme, which the Doctors of the Romane Church, either by Negligence, or Ambition, have filled up again with the new Wine of Christianity, that will not faile in time to break them.
OF DARKNESSE FROM VAIN PHILOSOPHY, AND FABULOUS TRADITIONS
What Philosophy Is By Philosophy is understood "the Knowledge acquired by Reasoning, from the Manner of the Generation of any thing, to the Properties; or from the Properties, to some possible Way of Generation of the same; to the end to bee able to produce, as far as matter, and humane force permit, such Effects, as humane life requireth." So the Geometrician, from the Construction of Figures, findeth out many Properties thereof; and from the Properties, new Ways of their Construction, by Reasoning; to the end to be able to measure Land and Water; and for infinite other uses. So the Astronomer, from the Rising, Setting, and Moving of the Sun, and Starres, in divers parts of the Heavens, findeth out the Causes of Day, and Night, and of the different Seasons of the Year; whereby he keepeth an account of Time: And the like of other Sciences.
Prudence No Part Of Philosophy By which Definition it is evident, that we are not to account as any part thereof, that originall knowledge called Experience, in which consisteth Prudence: Because it is not attained by Reasoning, but found as well in Brute Beasts, as in Man; and is but a Memory of successions of events in times past, wherein the omission of every little circumstance altering the effect, frustrateth the expectation of the most Prudent: whereas nothing is produced by Reasoning aright, but generall, eternall, and immutable Truth.
No False Doctrine Is Part Of Philosophy Nor are we therefore to give that name to any false Conclusions: For he that Reasoneth aright in words he understandeth, can never conclude an Error:
No More Is Revelation Supernaturall Nor to that which any man knows by supernaturall Revelation; because it is not acquired by Reasoning:
Nor Learning Taken Upon Credit Of Authors Nor that which is gotten by Reasoning from the Authority of Books; because it is not by Reasoning from the Cause to the Effect, nor from the Effect to the Cause; and is not Knowledge, but Faith.
Of The Beginnings And Progresse Of Philosophy The faculty of Reasoning being consequent to the use of Speech, it was not possible, but that there should have been some generall Truthes found out by Reasoning, as ancient almost as Language it selfe. The Savages of America, are not without some good Morall Sentences; also they have a little Arithmetick, to adde, and divide in Numbers not too great: but they are not therefore Philosophers. For as there were Plants of Corn and Wine in small quantity dispersed in the Fields and Woods, before men knew their vertue, or made use of them for their nourishment, or planted them apart in Fields, and Vineyards; in which time they fed on Akorns, and drank Water: so also there have been divers true, generall, and profitable Speculations from the beginning; as being the naturall plants of humane Reason: But they were at first but few in number; men lived upon grosse Experience; there was no Method; that is to say, no Sowing, nor Planting of Knowledge by it self, apart from the Weeds, and common Plants of Errour and Conjecture: And the cause of it being the want of leasure from procuring the necessities of life, and defending themselves against their neighbours, it was impossible, till the erecting of great Common-wealths, it should be otherwise. Leasure is the mother of Philosophy; and Common-wealth, the mother of Peace, and Leasure: Where first were great and flourishing Cities, there was first the study of Philosophy. The Gymnosophists of India, the Magi of Persia, and the Priests of Chaldea and Egypt, are counted the most ancient Philosophers; and those Countreys were the most ancient of Kingdomes. Philosophy was not risen to the Graecians, and other people of the West, whose Common-wealths (no greater perhaps then Lucca, or Geneva) had never Peace, but when their fears of one another were equall; nor the Leasure to observe any thing but one another. At length, when Warre had united many of these Graecian lesser Cities, into fewer, and greater; then began Seven Men, of severall parts of Greece, to get the reputation of being Wise; some of them for Morall and Politique Sentences; and others for the learning of the Chaldeans and Egyptians, which was Astronomy, and Geometry. But we hear not yet of any Schools of Philosophy.
Of The Schools Of Philosophy Amongst The Athenians After the Athenians by the overthrow of the Persian Armies, had gotten the Dominion of the Sea; and thereby, of all the Islands, and Maritime Cities of the Archipelago, as well of Asia as Europe; and were grown wealthy; they that had no employment, neither at home, nor abroad, had little else to employ themselves in, but either (as St. Luke says, Acts 17.21.) "in telling and hearing news," or in discoursing of Philosophy publiquely to the youth of the City. Every Master took some place for that purpose. Plato in certaine publique Walks called Academia, from one Academus: Aristotle in the Walk of the Temple of Pan, called Lycaeum: others in the Stoa, or covered Walk, wherein the Merchants Goods were brought to land: others in other places; where they spent the time of their Leasure, in teaching or in disputing of their Opinions: and some in any place, where they could get the youth of the City together to hear them talk. And this was it which Carneades also did at Rome, when he was Ambassadour: which caused Cato to advise the Senate to dispatch him quickly, for feare of corrupting the manners of the young men that delighted to hear him speak (as they thought) fine things.
From this it was, that the place where any of them taught, and disputed, was called Schola, which in their Tongue signifieth Leasure; and their Disputations, Diatribae, that is to say, Passing of The Time. Also the Philosophers themselves had the name of their Sects, some of them from these their Schools: For they that followed Plato's Doctrine, were called Academiques; The followers of Aristotle, Peripatetiques, from the Walk hee taught in; and those that Zeno taught, Stoiques, from the Stoa: as if we should denominate men from More-fields, from Pauls-Church, and from the Exchange, because they meet there often, to prate and loyter.
Neverthelesse, men were so much taken with this custome, that in time it spread it selfe over all Europe, and the best part of Afrique; so as there were Schools publiquely erected, and maintained for Lectures, and Disputations, almost in every Common-wealth.
Of The Schools Of The Jews There were also Schools, anciently, both before, and after the time of our Saviour, amongst the Jews: but they were Schools of their Law. For though they were called Synagogues, that is to say, Congregations of the People; yet in as much as the Law was every Sabbath day read, expounded, and disputed in them, they differed not in nature, but in name onely from Publique Schools; and were not onely in Jerusalem, but in every City of the Gentiles, where the Jews inhabited. There was such a Schoole at Damascus, whereinto Paul entred, to persecute. There were others at Antioch, Iconium and Thessalonica, whereinto he entred, to dispute: And such was the Synagogue of the Libertines, Cyrenians, Alexandrians, Cilicians, and those of Asia; that is to say, the Schoole of Libertines, and of Jewes, that were strangers in Jerusalem: And of this Schoole they were that disputed with Saint Steven.
The Schoole Of Graecians Unprofitable But what has been the Utility of those Schools? what Science is there at this day acquired by their Readings and Disputings? That wee have of Geometry, which is the Mother of all Naturall Science, wee are not indebted for it to the Schools. Plato that was the best Philosopher of the Greeks, forbad entrance into his Schoole, to all that were not already in some measure Geometricians. There were many that studied that Science to the great advantage of mankind: but there is no mention of their Schools; nor was there any Sect of Geometricians; nor did they then passe under the name of Philosophers. The naturall Philosophy of those Schools, was rather a Dream than Science, and set forth in senselesse and insignificant Language; which cannot be avoided by those that will teach Philosophy, without having first attained great knowledge in Geometry: For Nature worketh by Motion; the Wayes, and Degrees whereof cannot be known, without the knowledge of the Proportions and Properties of Lines, and Figures. Their Morall Philosophy is but a description of their own Passions. For the rule of Manners, without Civill Government, is the Law of Nature; and in it, the Law Civill; that determineth what is Honest, and Dishonest; what is Just, and Unjust; and generally what is Good, and Evill: whereas they make the Rules of Good, and Bad, by their own Liking, and Disliking: By which means, in so great diversity of taste, there is nothing generally agreed on; but every one doth (as far as he dares) whatsoever seemeth good in his own eyes, to the subversion of Common-wealth. Their Logique which should bee the Method of Reasoning, is nothing else but Captions of Words, and Inventions how to puzzle such as should goe about to pose them. To conclude there is nothing so absurd, that the old Philosophers (as Cicero saith, who was one of them) have not some of them maintained. And I beleeve that scarce any thing can be more absurdly said in naturall Philosophy, than that which now is called Aristotles Metaphysiques, nor more repugnant to Government, than much of that hee hath said in his Politiques; nor more ignorantly, than a great part of his Ethiques.
The Schools Of The Jews Unprofitable The Schoole of the Jews, was originally a Schoole of the Law of Moses; who commanded (Deut. 31.10.) that at the end of every seventh year, at the Feast of the Tabernacles, it should be read to all the people, that they might hear, and learn it: Therefore the reading of the Law (which was in use after the Captivity) every Sabbath day, ought to have had no other end, but the acquainting of the people with the Commandements which they were to obey, and to expound unto them the writings of the Prophets. But it is manifest, by the many reprehensions of them by our Saviour, that they corrupted the Text of the Law with their false Commentaries, and vain Traditions; and so little understood the Prophets, that they did neither acknowledge Christ, nor the works he did; for which the Prophets prophecyed. So that by their Lectures and Disputations in their Synagogues, they turned the Doctrine of their Law into a Phantasticall kind of Philosophy, concerning the incomprehensible nature of God, and of Spirits; which they compounded of the Vain Philosophy and Theology of the Graecians, mingled with their own fancies, drawn from the obscurer places of the Scripture, and which might most easily bee wrested to their purpose; and from the Fabulous Traditions of their Ancestors.
University What It Is That which is now called an University, is a Joyning together, and an Incorporation under one Government of many Publique Schools, in one and the same Town or City. In which, the principal Schools were ordained for the three Professions, that is to say, of the Romane Religion, of the Romane Law, and of the Art of Medicine. And for the study of Philosophy it hath no otherwise place, then as a handmaid to the Romane Religion: And since the Authority of Aristotle is onely current there, that study is not properly Philosophy, (the nature whereof dependeth not on Authors,) but Aristotelity. And for Geometry, till of very late times it had no place at all; as being subservient to nothing but rigide Truth. And if any man by the ingenuity of his owne nature, had attained to any degree of perfection therein, hee was commonly thought a Magician, and his Art Diabolicall.
Errors Brought Into Religion From Aristotles Metaphysiques Now to descend to the particular Tenets of Vain Philosophy, derived to the Universities, and thence into the Church, partly from Aristotle, partly from Blindnesse of understanding; I shall first consider their Principles. There is a certain Philosophia Prima, on which all other Philosophy ought to depend; and consisteth principally, in right limiting of the significations of such Appellations, or Names, as are of all others the most Universall: Which Limitations serve to avoid ambiguity, and aequivocation in Reasoning; and are commonly called Definitions; such as are the Definitions of Body, Time, Place, Matter, Forme, Essence, Subject, Substance, Accident, Power, Act, Finite, Infinite, Quantity, Quality, Motion, Action, Passion, and divers others, necessary to the explaining of a mans Conceptions concerning the Nature and Generation of Bodies. The Explication (that is, the setling of the meaning) of which, and the like Terms, is commonly in the Schools called Metaphysiques; as being a part of the Philosophy of Aristotle, which hath that for title: but it is in another sense; for there it signifieth as much, as "Books written, or placed after his naturall Philosophy:" But the Schools take them for Books Of Supernaturall Philosophy: for the word Metaphysiques will bear both these senses. And indeed that which is there written, is for the most part so far from the possibility of being understood, and so repugnant to naturall Reason, that whosoever thinketh there is any thing to bee understood by it, must needs think it supernaturall.
Errors Concerning Abstract Essences From these Metaphysiques, which are mingled with the Scripture to make Schoole Divinity, wee are told, there be in the world certaine Essences separated from Bodies, which they call Abstract Essences, and Substantiall Formes: For the Interpreting of which Jargon, there is need of somewhat more than ordinary attention in this place. Also I ask pardon of those that are not used to this kind of Discourse, for applying my selfe to those that are. The World, (I mean not the Earth onely, that denominates the Lovers of it Worldly Men, but the Universe, that is, the whole masse of all things that are) is Corporeall, that is to say, Body; and hath the dimensions of Magnitude, namely, Length, Bredth, and Depth: also every part of Body, is likewise Body, and hath the like dimensions; and consequently every part of the Universe, is Body, and that which is not Body, is no part of the Universe: And because the Universe is all, that which is no part of it, is Nothing; and consequently No Where. Nor does it follow from hence, that Spirits are Nothing: for they have dimensions, and are therefore really Bodies; though that name in common Speech be given to such Bodies onely, as are visible, or palpable; that is, that have some degree of Opacity: But for Spirits, they call them Incorporeall; which is a name of more honour, and may therefore with more piety bee attributed to God himselfe; in whom wee consider not what Attribute expresseth best his Nature, which is Incomprehensible; but what best expresseth our desire to honour him.
To know now upon what grounds they say there be Essences Abstract, or Substantiall Formes, wee are to consider what those words do properly signifie. The use of Words, is to register to our selves, and make manifest to others the Thoughts and Conceptions of our Minds. Of which Words, some are the names of the Things conceived; as the names of all sorts of Bodies, that work upon the Senses, and leave an Impression in the Imagination: Others are the names of the Imaginations themselves; that is to say, of those Ideas, or mentall Images we have of all things wee see, or remember: And others againe are names of Names; or of different sorts of Speech: As Universall, Plurall, Singular, Negation, True, False, Syllogisme, Interrogation, Promise, Covenant, are the names of certain Forms of Speech. Others serve to shew the Consequence, or Repugnance of one name to another; as when one saith, "A Man is a Body," hee intendeth that the name of Body is necessarily consequent to the name of Man; as being but severall names of the same thing, Man; which Consequence is signified by coupling them together with the word Is. And as wee use the Verbe Is; so the Latines use their Verbe Est, and the Greeks their Esti through all its Declinations. Whether all other Nations of the world have in their severall languages a word that answereth to it, or not, I cannot tell; but I am sure they have not need of it: For the placing of two names in order may serve to signifie their Consequence, if it were the custome, (for Custome is it, that give words their force,) as well as the words Is, or Bee, or Are, and the like.
And if it were so, that there were a Language without any Verb answerable to Est, or Is, or Bee; yet the men that used it would bee not a jot the lesse capable of Inferring, Concluding, and of all kind of Reasoning, than were the Greeks, and Latines. But what then would become of these Terms, of Entity, Essence, Essentiall, Essentially, that are derived from it, and of many more that depend on these, applyed as most commonly they are? They are therefore no Names of Things; but Signes, by which wee make known, that wee conceive the Consequence of one name or Attribute to another: as when we say, "a Man, is, a living Body," wee mean not that the Man is one thing, the Living Body another, and the Is, or Beeing a third: but that the Man, and the Living Body, is the same thing: because the Consequence, "If hee bee a Man, hee is a living Body," is a true Consequence, signified by that word Is. Therefore, "to bee a Body, to Walke, to bee Speaking, to Live, to See, and the like Infinitives; also Corporeity, Walking, Speaking, Life, Sight, and the like, that signifie just the same, are the names of Nothing; as I have elsewhere more amply expressed.
But to what purpose (may some man say) is such subtilty in a work of this nature, where I pretend to nothing but what is necessary to the doctrine of Government and Obedience? It is to this purpose, that men may no longer suffer themselves to be abused, by them, that by this doctrine of Separated Essences, built on the Vain Philosophy of Aristotle, would fright them from Obeying the Laws of their Countrey, with empty names; as men fright Birds from the Corn with an empty doublet, a hat, and a crooked stick. For it is upon this ground, that when a Man is dead and buried, they say his Soule (that is his Life) can walk separated from his Body, and is seen by night amongst the graves. Upon the same ground they say, that the Figure, and Colour, and Tast of a peece of Bread, has a being, there, where they say there is no Bread: And upon the same ground they say, that Faith, and Wisdome, and other Vertues are sometimes powred into a man, sometimes blown into him from Heaven; as if the Vertuous, and their Vertues could be asunder; and a great many other things that serve to lessen the dependance of Subjects on the Soveraign Power of their Countrey. For who will endeavour to obey the Laws, if he expect Obedience to be Powred or Blown into him? Or who will not obey a Priest, that can make God, rather than his Soveraign; nay than God himselfe? Or who, that is in fear of Ghosts, will not bear great respect to those that can make the Holy Water, that drives them from him? And this shall suffice for an example of the Errors, which are brought into the Church, from the Entities, and Essences of Aristotle: which it may be he knew to be false Philosophy; but writ it as a thing consonant to, and corroborative of their Religion; and fearing the fate of Socrates.
Being once fallen into this Error of Separated Essences, they are thereby necessarily involved in many other absurdities that follow it. For seeing they will have these Forms to be reall, they are obliged to assign them some place. But because they hold them Incorporeall, without all dimension of Quantity, and all men know that Place is Dimension, and not to be filled, but by that which is Corporeall; they are driven to uphold their credit with a distinction, that they are not indeed any where Circumscriptive, but Definitive: Which Terms being meer Words, and in this occasion insignificant, passe onely in Latine, that the vanity of them may bee concealed. For the Circumscription of a thing, is nothing else but the Determination, or Defining of its Place; and so both the Terms of the Distinction are the same. And in particular, of the Essence of a Man, which (they say) is his Soule, they affirm it, to be All of it in his little Finger, and All of it in every other Part (how small soever) of his Body; and yet no more Soule in the Whole Body, than in any one of those Parts. Can any man think that God is served with such absurdities? And yet all this is necessary to beleeve, to those that will beleeve the Existence of an Incorporeall Soule, Separated from the Body.
And when they come to give account, how an Incorporeall Substance can be capable of Pain, and be tormented in the fire of Hell, or Purgatory, they have nothing at all to answer, but that it cannot be known how fire can burn Soules.
Again, whereas Motion is change of Place, and Incorporeall Substances are not capable of Place, they are troubled to make it seem possible, how a Soule can goe hence, without the Body to Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory; and how the Ghosts of men (and I may adde of their clothes which they appear in) can walk by night in Churches, Church-yards, and other places of Sepulture. To which I know not what they can answer, unlesse they will say, they walke Definitive, not Circumscriptive, or Spiritually, not Temporally: for such egregious distinctions are equally applicable to any difficulty whatsoever.
Nunc-stans For the meaning of Eternity, they will not have it to be an Endlesse Succession of Time; for then they should not be able to render a reason how Gods Will, and Praeordaining of things to come, should not be before his Praescience of the same, as the Efficient Cause before the Effect, or Agent before the Action; nor of many other their bold opinions concerning the Incomprehensible Nature of God. But they will teach us, that Eternity is the Standing still of the Present Time, a Nunc-stans (as the Schools call it;) which neither they, nor any else understand, no more than they would a Hic-stans for an Infinite greatnesse of Place.
One Body In Many Places, And Many Bodies In One Place At Once And whereas men divide a Body in their thought, by numbring parts of it, and in numbring those parts, number also the parts of the Place it filled; it cannot be, but in making many parts, wee make also many places of those parts; whereby there cannot bee conceived in the mind of any man, more, or fewer parts, than there are places for: yet they will have us beleeve, that by the Almighty power of God, one body may be at one and the same time in many places; and many bodies at one and the same time in one place; as if it were an acknowledgment of the Divine Power, to say, that which is, is not; or that which has been, has not been. And these are but a small part of the Incongruities they are forced to, from their disputing Philosophically, in stead of admiring, and adoring of the Divine and Incomprehensible Nature; whose Attributes cannot signifie what he is, but ought to signifie our desire to honour him, with the best Appellations we can think on. But they that venture to reason of his Nature, from these Attributes of Honour, losing their understanding in the very first attempt, fall from one Inconvenience into another, without end, and without number; in the same manner, as when a man ignorant of the Ceremonies of Court, comming into the presence of a greater Person than he is used to speak to, and stumbling at his entrance, to save himselfe from falling, lets slip his Cloake; to recover his Cloake, lets fall his Hat; and with one disorder after another, discovers his astonishment and rusticity.
Absurdities In Naturall Philosophy, As Gravity The Cause Of Heavinesse Then for Physiques, that is, the knowledge of the subordinate, and secundary causes of naturall events; they render none at all, but empty words. If you desire to know why some kind of bodies sink naturally downwards toward the Earth, and others goe naturally from it; The Schools will tell you out of Aristotle, that the bodies that sink downwards, are Heavy; and that this Heavinesse is it that causes them to descend: But if you ask what they mean by Heavinesse, they will define it to bee an endeavour to goe to the center of the Earth: so that the cause why things sink downward, is an Endeavour to be below: which is as much as to say, that bodies descend, or ascend, because they doe. Or they will tell you the center of the Earth is the place of Rest, and Conservation for Heavy things; and therefore they endeavour to be there: As if Stones, and Metalls had a desire, or could discern the place they would bee at, as Man does; or loved Rest, as Man does not; or that a peece of Glasse were lesse safe in the Window, than falling into the Street.
Quantity Put Into Body Already Made If we would know why the same Body seems greater (without adding to it) one time, than another; they say, when it seems lesse, it is Condensed; when greater, Rarefied. What is that Condensed, and Rarefied? Condensed, is when there is in the very same Matter, lesse Quantity than before; and Rarefied, when more. As if there could be Matter, that had not some determined Quantity; when Quantity is nothing else but the Determination of Matter; that is to say of Body, by which we say one Body is greater, or lesser than another, by thus, or thus much. Or as if a Body were made without any Quantity at all, and that afterwards more, or lesse were put into it, according as it is intended the Body should be more, or lesse Dense.
Powring In Of Soules For the cause of the Soule of Man, they say, Creatur Infundendo, and Creando Infunditur: that is, "It is Created by Powring it in," and "Powred in by Creation."
Ubiquity Of Apparition For the Cause of Sense, an ubiquity of Species; that is, of the Shews or Apparitions of objects; which when they be Apparitions to the Eye, is Sight; when to the Eare, Hearing; to the Palate, Tast; to the Nostrill, Smelling; and to the rest of the Body, Feeling.
Will, The Cause Of Willing For cause of the Will, to doe any particular action, which is called Volitio, they assign the Faculty, that is to say, the Capacity in generall, that men have, to will sometimes one thing, sometimes another, which is called Voluntas; making the Power the cause of the Act: As if one should assign for cause of the good or evill Acts of men, their Ability to doe them.
Ignorance An Occult Cause And in many occasions they put for cause of Naturall events, their own Ignorance, but disguised in other words: As when they say, Fortune is the cause of things contingent; that is, of things whereof they know no cause: And as when they attribute many Effects to Occult Qualities; that is, qualities not known to them; and therefore also (as they thinke) to no Man else. And to Sympathy, Antipathy, Antiperistasis, Specificall Qualities, and other like Termes, which signifie neither the Agent that produceth them, nor the Operation by which they are produced.
If such Metaphysiques, and Physiques as this, be not Vain Philosophy, there was never any; nor needed St. Paul to give us warning to avoid it.
One Makes The Things Incongruent, Another The Incongruity And for their Morall, and Civill Philosophy, it hath the same, or greater absurdities. If a man doe an action of Injustice, that is to say, an action contrary to the Law, God they say is the prime cause of the Law, and also the prime cause of that, and all other Actions; but no cause at all of the Injustice; which is the Inconformity of the Action to the Law. This is Vain Philosophy. A man might as well say, that one man maketh both a streight line, and a crooked, and another maketh their Incongruity. And such is the Philosophy of all men that resolve of their Conclusions, before they know their Premises; pretending to comprehend, that which is Incomprehensible; and of Attributes of Honour to make Attributes of Nature; as this distinction was made to maintain the Doctrine of Free-Will, that is, of a Will of man, not subject to the Will of God.
Private Appetite The Rule Of Publique Good: Aristotle, and other Heathen Philosophers define Good, and Evill, by the Appetite of men; and well enough, as long as we consider them governed every one by his own Law: For in the condition of men that have no other Law but their own Appetites, there can be no generall Rule of Good, and Evill Actions. But in a Common-wealth this measure is false: Not the Appetite of Private men, but the Law, which is the Will and Appetite of the State is the measure. And yet is this Doctrine still practised; and men judge the Goodnesse, or Wickednesse of their own, and of other mens actions, and of the actions of the Common-wealth it selfe, by their own Passions; and no man calleth Good or Evill, but that which is so in his own eyes, without any regard at all to the Publique Laws; except onely Monks, and Friers, that are bound by Vow to that simple obedience to their Superiour, to which every Subject ought to think himself bound by the Law of Nature to the Civill Soveraign. And this private measure of Good, is a Doctrine, not onely Vain, but also Pernicious to the Publique State.
And That Lawfull Marriage Is Unchastity: It is also Vain and false Philosophy, to say the work of Marriage is repugnant to Chastity, or Continence, and by consequence to make them Morall Vices; as they doe, that pretend Chastity, and Continence, for the ground of denying Marriage to the Clergy. For they confesse it is no more, but a Constitution of the Church, that requireth in those holy Orders that continually attend the Altar, and administration of the Eucharist, a continuall Abstinence from women, under the name of continuall Chastity, Continence, and Purity. Therefore they call the lawfull use of Wives, want of Chastity, and Continence; and so make Marriage a Sin, or at least a thing so impure, and unclean, as to render a man unfit for the Altar. If the Law were made because the use of Wives is Incontinence, and contrary to Chastity, then all marriage is vice; If because it is a thing too impure, and unclean for a man consecrated to God; much more should other naturall, necessary, and daily works which all men doe, render men unworthy to bee Priests, because they are more unclean.
But the secret foundation of this prohibition of Marriage of Priests, is not likely to have been laid so slightly, as upon such errours in Morall Philosophy; nor yet upon the preference of single life, to the estate of Matrimony; which proceeded from the wisdome of St. Paul, who perceived how inconvenient a thing it was, for those that in those times of persecution were Preachers of the Gospel, and forced to fly from one countrey to another, to be clogged with the care of wife and children; but upon the design of the Popes, and Priests of after times, to make themselves the Clergy, that is to say, sole Heirs of the Kingdome of God in this world; to which it was necessary to take from them the use of Marriage, because our Saviour saith, that at the coming of his Kingdome the Children of God shall "neither Marry, nor bee given in Marriage, but shall bee as the Angels in heaven;" that is to say, Spirituall. Seeing then they had taken on them the name of Spirituall, to have allowed themselves (when there was no need) the propriety of Wives, had been an Incongruity.
And That All Government But Popular, Is Tyranny: From Aristotles Civill Philosophy, they have learned, to call all manner of Common-wealths but the Popular, (such as was at that time the state of Athens,) Tyranny. All Kings they called Tyrants; and the Aristocracy of the thirty Governours set up there by the Lacedemonians that subdued them, the thirty Tyrants: As also to call the condition of the people under the Democracy, Liberty. A Tyrant originally signified no more simply, but a Monarch: But when afterwards in most parts of Greece that kind of government was abolished, the name began to signifie, not onely the thing it did before, but with it, the hatred which the Popular States bare towards it: As also the name of King became odious after the deposing of the Kings in Rome, as being a thing naturall to all men, to conceive some great Fault to be signified in any Attribute, that is given in despight, and to a great Enemy. And when the same men shall be displeased with those that have the administration of the Democracy, or Aristocracy, they are not to seek for disgraceful names to expresse their anger in; but call readily the one Anarchy, and the other Oligarchy, or the Tyranny Of A Few. And that which offendeth the People, is no other thing, but that they are governed, not as every one of them would himselfe, but as the Publique Representant, be it one Man, or an Assembly of men thinks fit; that is, by an Arbitrary government: for which they give evill names to their Superiors; never knowing (till perhaps a little after a Civill warre) that without such Arbitrary government, such Warre must be perpetuall; and that it is Men, and Arms, not Words, and Promises, that make the Force and Power of the Laws.
That Not Men, But Law Governs And therefore this is another Errour of Aristotles Politiques, that in a wel ordered Common-wealth, not Men should govern, but the Laws. What man, that has his naturall Senses, though he can neither write nor read, does not find himself governed by them he fears, and beleeves can kill or hurt him when he obeyeth not? or that beleeves the Law can hurt him; that is, Words, and Paper, without the Hands, and Swords of men? And this is of the number of pernicious Errors: for they induce men, as oft as they like not their Governours, to adhaere to those that call them Tyrants, and to think it lawfull to raise warre against them: And yet they are many times cherished from the Pulpit, by the Clergy.
Laws Over The Conscience There is another Errour in their Civill Philosophy (which they never learned of Aristotle, nor Cicero, nor any other of the Heathen,) to extend the power of the Law, which is the Rule of Actions onely, to the very Thoughts, and Consciences of men, by Examination, and Inquisition of what they Hold, notwithstanding the Conformity of their Speech and Actions: By which, men are either punished for answering the truth of their thoughts, or constrained to answer an untruth for fear of punishment. It is true, that the Civill Magistrate, intending to employ a Minister in the charge of Teaching, may enquire of him, if hee bee content to Preach such, and such Doctrines; and in case of refusall, may deny him the employment: But to force him to accuse himselfe of Opinions, when his Actions are not by Law forbidden, is against the Law of Nature; and especially in them, who teach, that a man shall bee damned to Eternall and extream torments, if he die in a false opinion concerning an Article of the Christian Faith. For who is there, that knowing there is so great danger in an error, when the naturall care of himself, compelleth not to hazard his Soule upon his own judgement, rather than that of any other man that is unconcerned in his damnation?
Private Interpretation Of Law For a Private man, without the Authority of the Common-wealth, that is to say, without permission from the Representant thereof, to Interpret the Law by his own Spirit, is another Error in the Politiques; but not drawn from Aristotle, nor from any other of the Heathen Philosophers. For none of them deny, but that in the Power of making Laws, is comprehended also the Power of Explaining them when there is need. And are not the Scriptures, in all places where they are Law, made Law by the Authority of the Common-wealth, and consequently, a part of the Civill Law?
Of the same kind it is also, when any but the Soveraign restraineth in any man that power which the Common-wealth hath not restrained: as they do, that impropriate the Preaching of the Gospell to one certain Order of men, where the Laws have left it free. If the State give me leave to preach, or teach; that is, if it forbid me not, no man can forbid me. If I find my selfe amongst the Idolaters of America, shall I that am a Christian, though not in Orders, think it a sin to preach Jesus Christ, till I have received Orders from Rome? or when I have preached, shall not I answer their doubts, and expound the Scriptures to them; that is shall I not Teach? But for this may some say, as also for administring to them the Sacraments, the necessity shall be esteemed for a sufficient Mission; which is true: But this is true also, that for whatsoever, a dispensation is due for the necessity, for the same there needs no dispensation, when there is no Law that forbids it. Therefore to deny these Functions to those, to whom the Civill Soveraigne hath not denyed them, is a taking away of a lawfull Liberty, which is contrary to the Doctrine of Civill Government.
Language Of Schoole-Divines More examples of Vain Philosophy, brought into Religion by the Doctors of Schoole-Divinity, might be produced; but other men may if they please observe them of themselves. I shall onely adde this, that the Writings of Schoole-Divines, are nothing else for the most part, but insignificant Traines of strange and barbarous words, or words otherwise used, then in the common use of the Latine tongue; such as would pose Cicero, and Varro, and all the Grammarians of ancient Rome. Which if any man would see proved, let him (as I have said once before) see whether he can translate any Schoole-Divine into any of the Modern tongues, as French, English, or any other copious language: for that which cannot in most of these be made Intelligible, is no Intelligible in the Latine. Which Insignificancy of language, though I cannot note it for false Philosophy; yet it hath a quality, not onely to hide the Truth, but also to make men think they have it, and desist from further search.
Errors From Tradition Lastly, for the errors brought in from false, or uncertain History, what is all the Legend of fictitious Miracles, in the lives of the Saints; and all the Histories of Apparitions, and Ghosts, alledged by the Doctors of the Romane Church, to make good their Doctrines of Hell, and purgatory, the power of Exorcisme, and other Doctrines which have no warrant, neither in Reason, nor Scripture; as also all those Traditions which they call the unwritten Word of God; but old Wives Fables? Whereof, though they find dispersed somewhat in the Writings of the ancient Fathers; yet those Fathers were men, that might too easily beleeve false reports; and the producing of their opinions for testimony of the truth of what they beleeved, hath no other force with them that (according to the Counsell of St. John 1 Epist. chap. 4. verse 1.) examine Spirits, than in all things that concern the power of the Romane Church, (the abuse whereof either they suspected not, or had benefit by it,) to discredit their testimony, in respect of too rash beleef of reports; which the most sincere men, without great knowledge of naturall causes, (such as the Fathers were) are commonly the most subject to: For naturally, the best men are the least suspicious of fraudulent purposes. Gregory the Pope, and S. Bernard have somewhat of Apparitions of Ghosts, that said they were in Purgatory; and so has our Beda: but no where, I beleeve, but by report from others. But if they, or any other, relate any such stories of their own knowledge, they shall not thereby confirm the more such vain reports; but discover their own Infirmity, or Fraud.
Suppression Of Reason With the Introduction of False, we may joyn also the suppression of True Philosophy, by such men, as neither by lawfull authority, nor sufficient study, are competent Judges of the truth. Our own Navigations make manifest, and all men learned in humane Sciences, now acknowledge there are Antipodes: And every day it appeareth more and more, that Years, and Dayes are determined by Motions of the Earth. Neverthelesse, men that have in their Writings but supposed such Doctrine, as an occasion to lay open the reasons for, and against it, have been punished for it by Authority Ecclesiasticall. But what reason is there for it? Is it because such opinions are contrary to true Religion? that cannot be, if they be true. Let therefore the truth be first examined by competent Judges, or confuted by them that pretend to know the contrary. Is it because they be contrary to the Religion established? Let them be silenced by the Laws of those, to whom the Teachers of them are subject; that is, by the Laws Civill: For disobedience may lawfully be punished in them, that against the Laws teach even true Philosophy. Is it because they tend to disorder in Government, as countenancing Rebellion, or Sedition? then let them be silenced, and the Teachers punished by vertue of his power to whom the care of the Publique quiet is committed; which is the Authority Civill. For whatsoever Power Ecclesiastiques take upon themselves (in any place where they are subject to the State) in their own Right, though they call it Gods Right, is but Usurpation.
OF THE BENEFIT THAT PROCEEDETH FROM SUCH DARKNESSE, AND TO WHOM IT ACCREWETH
He That Receiveth Benefit By A Fact, Is Presumed To Be The Author Cicero maketh honorable mention of one of the Cassii, a severe Judge amongst the Romans, for a custome he had, in Criminal causes, (when the testimony of the witnesses was not sufficient,) to ask the Accusers, Cui Bono; that is to say, what Profit, Honor, or other Contentment, the accused obtained, or expected by the Fact. For amongst Praesumptions, there is none that so evidently declareth the Author, as doth the BENEFIT of the Action. By the same rule I intend in this place to examine, who they may be, that have possessed the People so long in this part of Christendome, with these Doctrines, contrary to the Peaceable Societies of Mankind.
That The Church Militant Is The Kingdome Of God, Was First Taught By The Church Of Rome And first, to this Error, That The Present Church Now Militant On Earth, Is The Kingdome Of God, (that is, the Kingdome of Glory, or the Land of Promise; not the Kingdome of Grace, which is but a Promise of the Land,) are annexed these worldly Benefits, First, that the Pastors, and Teachers of the Church, are entitled thereby, as Gods Publique Ministers, to a Right of Governing the Church; and consequently (because the Church, and Common-wealth are the same Persons) to be Rectors, and Governours of the Common-wealth. By this title it is, that the Pope prevailed with the subjects of all Christian Princes, to beleeve, that to disobey him, was to disobey Christ himselfe; and in all differences between him and other Princes, (charmed with the word Power Spirituall,) to abandon their lawfull Soveraigns; which is in effect an universall Monarchy over all Christendome. For though they were first invested in the right of being Supreme Teachers of Christian Doctrine, by, and under Christian Emperors, within the limits of the Romane Empire (as is acknowledged by themselves) by the title of Pontifex Maximus, who was an Officer subject to the Civill State; yet after the Empire was divided, and dissolved, it was not hard to obtrude upon the people already subject to them, another Title, namely, the Right of St. Peter; not onely to save entire their pretended Power; but also to extend the same over the same Christian Provinces, though no more united in the Empire of Rome. This Benefit of an Universall Monarchy, (considering the desire of men to bear Rule) is a sufficient Presumption, that the popes that pretended to it, and for a long time enjoyed it, were the Authors of the Doctrine, by which it was obtained; namely, that the Church now on Earth, is the Kingdome of Christ. For that granted, it must be understood, that Christ hath some Lieutenant amongst us, by whom we are to be told what are his Commandements.
After that certain Churches had renounced this universall Power of the Pope, one would expect in reason, that the Civill Soveraigns in all those Churches, should have recovered so much of it, as (before they had unadvisedly let it goe) was their own Right, and in their own hands. And in England it was so in effect; saving that they, by whom the Kings administred the Government of Religion, by maintaining their imployment to be in Gods Right, seemed to usurp, if not a Supremacy, yet an Independency on the Civill Power: and they but seemed to usurp it, in as much as they acknowledged a Right in the King, to deprive them of the Exercise of their Functions at his pleasure.
And Maintained Also By The Presbytery But in those places where the Presbytery took that Office, though many other Doctrines of the Church of Rome were forbidden to be taught; yet this Doctrine, that the Kingdome of Christ is already come, and that it began at the Resurrection of our Saviour, was still retained. But Cui Bono? What Profit did they expect from it? The same which the Popes expected: to have a Soveraign Power over the People. For what is it for men to excommunicate their lawful King, but to keep him from all places of Gods publique Service in his own Kingdom? and with force to resist him, when he with force endeavoureth to correct them? Or what is it, without Authority from the Civill Soveraign, to excommunicate any person, but to take from him his Lawfull Liberty, that is, to usurpe an unlawfull Power over their Brethren? The Authors therefore of this Darknesse in Religion, are the Romane, and the Presbyterian Clergy.
Infallibility To this head, I referre also all those Doctrines, that serve them to keep the possession of this spirituall Soveraignty after it is gotten. As first, that the Pope In His Publique Capacity Cannot Erre. For who is there, that beleeving this to be true, will not readily obey him in whatsoever he commands?
Subjection Of Bishops Secondly, that all other Bishops, in what Common-wealth soever, have not their Right, neither immediately from God, nor mediately from their Civill Soveraigns, but from the Pope, is a Doctrine, by which there comes to be in every Christian Common-wealth many potent men, (for so are Bishops,) that have their dependance on the Pope, and owe obedience to him, though he be a forraign Prince; by which means he is able, (as he hath done many times) to raise a Civill War against the State that submits not it self to be governed according to his pleasure and Interest.
Exemptions Of The Clergy Thirdly, the exemption of these, and of all other Priests, and of all Monkes, and Fryers, from the Power of the Civill Laws. For by this means, there is a great part of every Common-wealth, that enjoy the benefit of the Laws, and are protected by the Power of the Civill State, which neverthelesse pay no part of the Publique expence; nor are lyable to the penalties, as other Subjects, due to their crimes; and consequently, stand not in fear of any man, but the Pope; and adhere to him onely, to uphold his universall Monarchy.
The Names Of Sacerdotes, And Sacrifices Fourthly, the giving to their Priests (which is no more in the New Testament but Presbyters, that is, Elders) the name of Sacerdotes, that is, Sacrificers, which was the title of the Civill Soveraign, and his publique Ministers, amongst the Jews, whilest God was their King. Also, the making the Lords Supper a Sacrifice, serveth to make the People beleeve the Pope hath the same power over all Christian, that Moses and Aaron had over the Jews; that is to say, all power, both Civill and Ecclesiasticall, as the High Priest then had.
The Sacramentation Of Marriage Fiftly, the teaching that Matrimony is a Sacrament, giveth to the Clergy the Judging of the lawfulnesse of Marriages; and thereby, of what Children are Legitimate; and consequently, of the Right of Succession to haereditary Kingdomes.
The Single Life Of Priests Sixtly, the Deniall of Marriage to Priests, serveth to assure this Power of the pope over Kings. For if a King be a Priest, he cannot Marry, and transmit his Kingdome to his Posterity; If he be not a Priest then the Pope pretendeth this Authority Ecclesiasticall over him, and over his people.
Auricular Confession Seventhly, from Auricular Confession, they obtain, for the assurance of their Power, better intelligence of the designs of Princes, and great persons in the Civill State, than these can have of the designs of the State Ecclesiasticall.
Canonization Of Saints, And Declaring Of Martyrs Eighthly, by the Canonization of Saints, and declaring who are Martyrs, they assure their Power, in that they induce simple men into an obstinacy against the Laws and Commands of their Civill Soveraigns even to death, if by the Popes excommunication, they be declared Heretiques or Enemies to the Church; that is, (as they interpret it,) to the Pope.
Transubstantiation, Penance, Absolution Ninthly, they assure the same, by the Power they ascribe to every Priest, of making Christ; and by the Power of ordaining Pennance; and of Remitting, and Retaining of sins.
Purgatory, Indulgences, Externall Works Tenthly, by the Doctrine of Purgatory, of Justification by externall works, and of Indulgences, the Clergy is enriched.
Daemonology And Exorcism Eleventhly, by their Daemonology, and the use of Exorcisme, and other things appertaining thereto, they keep (or thinke they keep) the People more in awe of their Power.
School-Divinity Lastly, the Metaphysiques, Ethiques, and Politiques of Aristotle, the frivolous Distinctions, barbarous Terms, and obscure Language of the Schoolmen, taught in the Universities, (which have been all erected and regulated by the Popes Authority,) serve them to keep these Errors from being detected, and to make men mistake the Ignis Fatuus of Vain Philosophy, for the Light of the Gospell.
The Authors Of Spirituall Darknesse, Who They Be To these, if they sufficed not, might be added other of their dark Doctrines, the profit whereof redoundeth manifestly, to the setting up of an unlawfull Power over the lawfull Soveraigns of Christian People; or for the sustaining of the same, when it is set up; or to the worldly Riches, Honour, and Authority of those that sustain it. And therefore by the aforesaid rule, of Cui Bono, we may justly pronounce for the Authors of all this Spirituall Darknesse, the Pope, and Roman Clergy, and all those besides that endeavour to settle in the mindes of men this erroneous Doctrine, that the Church now on Earth, is that Kingdome of God mentioned in the Old and New Testament.
But the Emperours, and other Christian Soveraigns, under whose Government these Errours, and the like encroachments of Ecclesiastiques upon their Office, at first crept in, to the disturbance of their possessions, and of the tranquillity of their Subjects, though they suffered the same for want of foresight of the Sequel, and of insight into the designs of their Teachers, may neverthelesse bee esteemed accessories to their own, and the Publique dammage; For without their Authority there could at first no seditious Doctrine have been publiquely preached. I say they might have hindred the same in the beginning: But when the people were once possessed by those spirituall men, there was no humane remedy to be applyed, that any man could invent: And for the remedies that God should provide, who never faileth in his good time to destroy all the Machinations of men against the Truth, wee are to attend his good pleasure, that suffereth many times the prosperity of his enemies, together with their ambition, to grow to such a height, as the violence thereof openeth the eyes, which the warinesse of their predecessours had before sealed up, and makes men by too much grasping let goe all, as Peters net was broken, by the struggling of too great a multitude of Fishes; whereas the Impatience of those, that strive to resist such encroachment, before their Subjects eyes were opened, did but encrease the power they resisted. I doe not therefore blame the Emperour Frederick for holding the stirrop to our countryman Pope Adrian; for such was the disposition of his subjects then, as if hee had not doe it, hee was not likely to have succeeded in the Empire: But I blame those, that in the beginning, when their power was entire, by suffering such Doctrines to be forged in the Universities of their own Dominions, have holden the Stirrop to all the succeeding Popes, whilest they mounted into the Thrones of all Christian Soveraigns, to ride, and tire, both them, and their people, at their pleasure.
But as the Inventions of men are woven, so also are they ravelled out; the way is the same, but the order is inverted: The web begins at the first Elements of Power, which are Wisdom, Humility, Sincerity, and other vertues of the Apostles, whom the people converted, obeyed, out of Reverence, not by Obligation: Their Consciences were free, and their Words and Actions subject to none but the Civill Power. Afterwards the Presbyters (as the Flocks of Christ encreased) assembling to consider what they should teach, and thereby obliging themselves to teach nothing against the Decrees of their Assemblies, made it to be thought the people were thereby obliged to follow their Doctrine, and when they refused, refused to keep them company, (that was then called Excommunication,) not as being Infidels, but as being disobedient: And this was the first knot upon their Liberty. And the number of Presbyters encreasing, the Presbyters of the chief City or Province, got themselves an authority over the parochiall Presbyters, and appropriated to themselves the names of Bishops: And this was a second knot on Christian Liberty. Lastly, the Bishop of Rome, in regard of the Imperiall City, took upon him an Authority (partly by the wills of the Emperours themselves, and by the title of Pontifex Maximus, and at last when the Emperours were grown weak, by the priviledges of St. Peter) over all other Bishops of the Empire: Which was the third and last knot, and the whole Synthesis and Construction of the Pontificall Power.
And therefore the Analysis, or Resolution is by the same way; but beginning with the knot that was last tyed; as wee may see in the dissolution of the praeterpoliticall Church Government in England.
First, the Power of the Popes was dissolved totally by Queen Elizabeth; and the Bishops, who before exercised their Functions in Right of the Pope, did afterwards exercise the same in Right of the Queen and her Successours; though by retaining the phrase of Jure Divino, they were thought to demand it by immediate Right from God: And so was untyed the first knot. After this, the Presbyterians lately in England obtained the putting down of Episcopacy: And so was the second knot dissolved: And almost at the same time, the Power was taken also from the Presbyterians: And so we are reduced to the Independency of the Primitive Christians to follow Paul, or Cephas, or Apollos, every man as he liketh best: Which, if it be without contention, and without measuring the Doctrine of Christ, by our affection to the Person of his Minister, (the fault which the Apostle reprehended in the Corinthians,) is perhaps the best: First, because there ought to be no Power over the Consciences of men, but of the Word it selfe, working Faith in every one, not alwayes according to the purpose of them that Plant and Water, but of God himself, that giveth the Increase: and secondly, because it is unreasonable in them, who teach there is such danger in every little Errour, to require of a man endued with Reason of his own, to follow the Reason of any other man, or of the most voices of many other men; Which is little better, then to venture his Salvation at crosse and pile. Nor ought those Teachers to be displeased with this losse of their antient Authority: For there is none should know better then they, that power is preserved by the same Vertues by which it is acquired; that is to say, by Wisdome, Humility, Clearnesse of Doctrine, and sincerity of Conversation; and not by suppression of the Naturall Sciences, and of the Morality of Naturall Reason; nor by obscure Language; nor by Arrogating to themselves more Knowledge than they make appear; nor by Pious Frauds; nor by such other faults, as in the Pastors of Gods Church are not only Faults, but also scandalls, apt to make men stumble one time or other upon the suppression of their Authority.
Comparison Of The Papacy With The Kingdome Of Fayries But after this Doctrine, "that the Church now Militant, is the Kingdome of God spoken of in the Old and New Testament," was received in the World; the ambition, and canvasing for the Offices that belong thereunto, and especially for that great Office of being Christs Lieutenant, and the Pompe of them that obtained therein the principal Publique Charges, became by degrees so evident, that they lost the inward Reverence due to the Pastorall Function: in so much as the Wisest men, of them that had any power in the Civill State, needed nothing but the authority of their Princes, to deny them any further Obedience. For, from the time that the Bishop of Rome had gotten to be acknowledged for Bishop Universall, by pretence of Succession to St. Peter, their whole Hierarchy, or Kingdome of Darknesse, may be compared not unfitly to the Kingdome of Fairies; that is, to the old wives Fables in England, concerning Ghosts and Spirits, and the feats they play in the night. And if a man consider the originall of this great Ecclesiasticall Dominion, he will easily perceive, that the Papacy, is no other, than the Ghost of the deceased Romane Empire, sitting crowned upon the grave thereof: For so did the Papacy start up on a Sudden out of the Ruines of that Heathen Power.
The Language also, which they use, both in the Churches, and in their Publique Acts, being Latine, which is not commonly used by any Nation now in the world, what is it but the Ghost of the Old Romane Language.
The Fairies in what Nation soever they converse, have but one Universall King, which some Poets of ours call King Oberon; but the Scripture calls Beelzebub, Prince of Daemons. The Ecclesiastiques likewise, in whose Dominions soever they be found, acknowledge but one Universall King, the Pope.
The Ecclesiastiques are Spirituall men, and Ghostly Fathers. The Fairies are Spirits, and Ghosts. Fairies and Ghosts inhabite Darknesse, Solitudes, and Graves. The Ecclesiastiques walke in Obscurity of Doctrine, in Monasteries, Churches, and Churchyards.
The Ecclesiastiques have their Cathedral Churches; which, in what Towne soever they be erected, by vertue of Holy Water, and certain Charmes called Exorcismes, have the power to make those Townes, cities, that is to say, Seats of Empire. The Fairies also have their enchanted Castles, and certain Gigantique Ghosts, that domineer over the Regions round about them.
The fairies are not to be seized on; and brought to answer for the hurt they do. So also the Ecclesiastiques vanish away from the Tribunals of Civill Justice.
The Ecclesiastiques take from young men, the use of Reason, by certain Charms compounded of Metaphysiques, and Miracles, and Traditions, and Abused Scripture, whereby they are good for nothing else, but to execute what they command them. The Fairies likewise are said to take young Children out of their Cradles, and to change them into Naturall Fools, which Common people do therefore call Elves, and are apt to mischief.
In what Shop, or Operatory the Fairies make their Enchantment, the old Wives have not determined. But the Operatories of the Clergy, are well enough known to be the Universities, that received their Discipline from Authority Pontificall.
When the Fairies are displeased with any body, they are said to send their Elves, to pinch them. The Ecclesiastiques, when they are displeased with any Civill State, make also their Elves, that is, Superstitious, Enchanted Subjects, to pinch their Princes, by preaching Sedition; or one Prince enchanted with promises, to pinch another.
The Fairies marry not; but there be amongst them Incubi, that have copulation with flesh and bloud. The Priests also marry not.
The Ecclesiastiques take the Cream of the Land, by Donations of ignorant men, that stand in aw of them, and by Tythes: So also it is in the Fable of Fairies, that they enter into the Dairies, and Feast upon the Cream, which they skim from the Milk.
What kind of Money is currant in the Kingdome of Fairies, is not recorded in the Story. But the Ecclesiastiques in their Receipts accept of the same Money that we doe; though when they are to make any Payment, it is in Canonizations, Indulgences, and Masses.
To this, and such like resemblances between the Papacy, and the Kingdome of Fairies, may be added this, that as the Fairies have no existence, but in the Fancies of ignorant people, rising from the Traditions of old Wives, or old Poets: so the Spirituall Power of the Pope (without the bounds of his own Civill Dominion) consisteth onely in the Fear that Seduced people stand in, of their Excommunication; upon hearing of false Miracles, false Traditions, and false Interpretations of the Scripture.
It was not therefore a very difficult matter, for Henry 8. by his Exorcisme; nor for Qu. Elizabeth by hers, to cast them out. But who knows that this Spirit of Rome, now gone out, and walking by Missions through the dry places of China, Japan, and the Indies, that yeeld him little fruit, may not return, or rather an Assembly of Spirits worse than he, enter, and inhabite this clean swept house, and make the End thereof worse than the beginning? For it is not the Romane Clergy onely, that pretends the Kingdome of God to be of this World, and thereby to have a Power therein, distinct from that of the Civill State. And this is all I had a designe to say, concerning the Doctrine of the POLITIQUES. Which when I have reviewed, I shall willingly expose it to the censure of my Countrey.