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becaufe we dare not deny what Ignatius, 'or rather the Perkin Warbeck of Ignatius, says; then muft we be cons ftrained to take upon ourselves a thousand fuperftitions and falsities, which the papists will prove us down in, from as good authorities, and as ancient as thefe that fet a bishop above a presbyter. And the plain truth is, that when any of our men, of those that are wedded to antiquity, come to difpute with a papist, and leaving the feriptures put themselves without appeal to the sentence of synods and councils, using in the cause of Sion the hired soldiery of revolted Israel; where they give the Romanists one buff, they receive two counterbuffs. Were it therefore but in this regard, every true bifhop should be afraid to conquer in his cause by such authorities as these, which if we admit for the authority's sake, we open a broad paffage for a multitude of doctrines, that have no ground in fcripture, to break in upon us.
i Lastly, I do not know, it being undeniable that there are but two ecclesiastical orders, bishops and deacons, mentioned in the gospel, how it can be less than impiety to make a demur at that, which is there fo perspicuous, confronting and paralleling the sacred verity of St. Paul with the offals and sweepings of antiquity, that met as accidentally and absurdly, as Epicurus's atoms, to patch up a Leucippean Ignatius, inclining rather to make this phantasm an expounder, or indeed a depraver of St. Paul, than St. Paul an examiner, and discoverer of this impostorship; nor caring how slightly they put off the verdict of holy text unsalved, that says plainly there be but two orders, so they maintain the reputation of their imaginary doctor that proclaims three. Certainly if Christ's apostle have set down but two, then according to his own words, though he himself should unsay it, and not only the angel of Smyrna, but an angel from Heaven, should bear us down that there be three, Saint Paul has doomed him twice, “ Let him be accursed;" for Christ hath pronounced that no tittle of his word shall fall to the ground ; and if one jot be alterable, it is as possible that all should perish : and this shall be our righteousness, our ample warrant, and strong assurance, both now and at the last day, never to be alhamed of, against all the
heaped names of angels and martyrs, councils and fathers, urged upon us, if we have given ourselves up to be taught by the pure and living precept of God's word only; which, without more additions, nay with a forbidding of them, hath within itself the promise of eternal life, the end of all our wearisome labours, and all our sustaining hopes. But if any shall strive to set up his ephod and teraphim of antiquity against the brightness and perfection of the gospel ; let him fear left he and his Baal be turned into Bölheth. And thus much may fuffice to Thow, that the pretended episcopacy cannot be deduced from the apostolical times.
In the publishing of human laws, which for the most part aim not beyond the good of civil society, to set them barely forth to the people without reason or preface, like a physical prescript, or only with threatenings, as it were a lordly command, in the judgment of Plato was thought to be done neither generously nor wisely. His advice was, seeing that persuasion certainly is a more winning, and more manlike way to keep men in obedience than fear, that to such laws as were of principal moment, there should be used as an induction fome welltempered discourse, show- , ing how good, how gainful, how happy it must needs be to live according to honesty and justice; which being uttered with those native colours and graces of speech, as true eloquence, the daughter of virtue, can best bestow upon her mother's praises, would so incite, and in a manner charm, the multitude into the love of that which is really good, as to embrace it ever after, not of custom and awe, which most men do, but of choice and purpose, with true and constant delight. But this practice we may learn from a better and more ancient authority than any
heathen writer hath to give us; and indeed being a point: of so high wisdom and worth, how could it be but we should find it in that book, within whose sacred context all wisdom is unfolded ? Moses, therefore, th: only lawgiver that we can believe to have been visibly t ught of God, knowing how vain it was to write laws' to men whose hearts were not first seasoned with the knowledge of God and of his works, began from the book of Genesis, as a prologue to his laws'; which Josephus right well hath noted: that the nation of the Jews, reading therein the univerfal: goodness of God to all creatures in the creation, and his peculiar favour to them in his election of Abraham their ancestor from whom they could derive so many blessings upon themselves, might be moved to obey sincerely, by knowing so good a reason of their obedience. If then, in the administration of civil justice, and under the obscurity of ceremonial rites, such care was had by the wisest of the heathen, and by Moses among the Jews, to instruct them at least in a general reason of that government to which their subjection was required; how much more ought the members of the church, under the Gospel, seek to inform their understanding in the reason of that government, which the church claims to have over them? Especially for that church hath in her immediate cure those inner parts and affections of the mind, where the seat of reason is having power to examine our spiritual knowledge, and to demand from us, in God's behalf, a service entirely reasonable. But because about the manner and order of this government, whether it ought to be presbyterial or prelatical, such endless question, or rather uproar, is arisen in this land, as may be juftly termed what the fever is to the physicians, the eternal reproach of our divines, whilst other profound clerks of late greatly, as they conceive, to the advancement of prelaty, are so earnestly meting out the Lydian proconsular Asia, to make good the prime metropolis of Ephesus, as if some of our prelates in all haste meant to change their soil, and become neighbours to the English bishop of Chalcedon ; and whilst good Breerwood as busily beftirs himself in our vulgar longue, to divide precisely the three patriarchates of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch ; and whether to any of
leeafe to hope, thrid of his church, in nor lee prel
these England' doth belong: I shall in the mean while not ceafe to hope, through the mercy and grace of Christ, the head and husband of his church, that England shortly is to belong, neither to see patriarchal, nor fee prelatical, but to the faithful feeding and disciplining of that minifte. rial order, which the blessed apoftles constituted throughout the churches; and this I shall affay to prove, can be no other than that of presbyters and deacons. And if any man incline to think I undertake a talk too difficult for my years, I trust, through the supreme enlightening assistance far otherwise; formy years, be they few or many, what imports it? So they bring reason, let that be looked on: and for the task, from hence that the question in hand is so needful to be known at this time, chiefly by every meaner capacity, and contains in it the explication of many admirable and heavenly privileges reached out to us by the gospel, I conclude the task must be easy: God having to this end or. dained his gospel to be the revelation of his power and wisdom in Christ Jesus. And this is one depth of his wifdom, that he could so plainly reveal so 'great a measure of it to the gross distorted apprehenfion of decayed mankind. Let others, therefore, dread and shun the scriptures for their darkness; I shall wish I may deserve to be reckoned among those who admire and dwell upon them for their clearness. And this seems to be the cause why in those places of holy writ, wherein is treated of church-government, the reasons thereof are not formally and professedly fet down, because to him that heeds attentively the drift and scope of chriftian profession, they easily imply themselves; which thing further to explain, having now prefaced enough, I shall no longer defer.
CHAP. I. That church-government is prescribed in the golpel, and that to fay other
quise is unfound. Tre first and greatest reason of church-government we may securely, with the aslent of many on the adverse part, affirm to be, because we find it so ordained and set out to us by the appointment of God in the scriptures; but whe