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adulterers and murtherers, who corrupt men's judgments, and feast it with the souls of their simple disciples, whom they grind with the* teeth of error, and poison with that cup which they themselves have drunk of, a gilded cup of heresies, full off abomination and filthiness. The Lord prevent us with his grace, and preserve us from these corruptions.
S. Augustine, in his fourth book ile doctrina Christiana, notes, that the word in Latin, which signifies a conventicle or place of private meeting (it is conventiculum ct tantilm singvlariter dicitur) is only used in the singular number, improperly in the plural; as if by God's spirit (the prime author of words in the hearts and by the tongues of men) this was thereby intended to be implied, that there must not be more places than one, for God's people to meet in, in their several parishes, that is, each particular church, the only place allowed and appointed by God for his publick worship and service. 'Oh that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness, and declare his wonderful works before the sons of men! That they would exalt him in the congregation of the people'J, leaving their conventicles, wherein God cannot be so highly praised, nor so much honoured, as in a place of publick concourse, a church.
I must, for a close of this third query, freely vent my thoughts, which have been ever in my breast.
The classical presbyters made-Way for these abuses and corruptions in our church, by making an unhappy breach in it, when they brought in their motly Directory into the church, by which means, they drove many out of it into conventicles, and, like the sons of Eli (|, by their unjust usurpation made men to abhor the offering of the Lord, and caused the people to trespass, ver. 14.
They too by their usurping the power of ordination, contrary to the rule of Christ, and the established order of the church, were the cause that others (in opposition to them) did and do now preach without orders.
By this we see, what good friends and servants, how dutiful sons the presbyters have been to their mother, the church. All the hurt that I wish them is this, that they were confined and doomed Hcoturum pultibvs saginari, § to be fellow-commoners, live, repent, and die amongst their wretched brethren the Scots, the first fomentors of our divisions, and authors of our miseries.
Heavenly Father forgive them. They know not what mischief they have done.
The Fourth Query.
JVhether it be lawful for a Lay-man to preach*
I remember a saying of Isocrates, in iffu(u *r«pi T£v >f>uvigiv nroxxi yiyw, It is not proper for an orator, or any one, to spend many words about a business or theme, that is clear and common. Therefore seeing that
piy-3 of Peligiui, that he was Socotorum pultibus saginatui.
the query is not attended with any great difficulty, and hath been so much discussed by the pens of the learned, I shall not spend many words about it. Only this I shall say, for the benefit and conviction of the unlearned, to whose capacity I desire to fit my discourse, and suit my phrase.
If by preaching we understand (as we are to do) the • dividing of the word aright, i.e. The applying of it (according to the diversity of persons, times, and places) to the consciences of the hearers in publick; which application of it implies a reproving of sin in a judicial authoritative way, and a denouncing of judgment against sinners; and lastly, a laying forth or unfolding of sweet promises of the gospel, of pardon and forgiveness to the faithful and penitent, who renounce their own, and rely upon Christ's merits: To affirm, that to do this, in a constituted or settled church, is lawful for a lay-man, is as incongruous, and carries with it as great an absurdity, as to say (which is impious) that St. Paul was mistaken, and did not speak from Christ, when he enjoined every one to abide in that calling, to which he is called t. For one to invade the proper duty of a minister, without a special calling from the church, is altogether unlawful; so says Amesius himself, Lib. iv. de Cas. Consc. cap. 25.
Secondly, He that can maintain it lawful for a common soldier (because he hath good skill at his weapon and in the feats of war) to challenge the place of a colonel or chief commander, without the consent of the superior officers; he that can prove it that Korah and his two confederates sinned not in rising up against Moses and Aaron J, and usurping the priests office. (Moses 1 am sure checked their boldness thus||, Ye take too much upon you, &c. it was so much, and so weighty a burthen, their usurpation so great a sin, that the earth could not bear them, but opened and swallowed up them, and all their proud associates.) m >
Thirdly, He that can convince my judgment, that % Uzzah sinned not in touching the ark; that the men of ** Beth-shemesh did not offend by looking boldly into it; that ft Saul and Jj Uzziah did not commit a great trespass in taking upon them the priests office. Thou hast done foolishly, so said Samuel to Saul, 1 Sam. xiii. 13. He lost his kingdom by it, as appears vcr. 14. Now the kingdom shall not continue, &c. they are the words of the prophet. ||||' Azariah the priest, and with him fourscore priests of the Lord, valiant men; they withstood Uzziah the King, and said unto him, It belongeth not to thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the Lord, but to the priests, the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated for to offer incense; go out of the sanctuary, for thou hast transgressed, and thou shalt have no honour of the Lord thy God.' You may read, ver. IQ. How that he was punished with leprosy, a foul disease, for his foul fact, and that in the forehead, the seat of impudence, he was too bold. His open sin was punished with open shame. 'Though his zeal seemed to be good, and also his §§ inten•2Tim. 1i. 15. 1 Cor. vii. 20. t Art thou then called to be a weaver, a taylor, or acoblei? tion, yet, because they were not regulated or guided by God's word, he did wickedly, and was therefore both justly resisted [by the priests] and punished [by God.'] This note you shall Snd in the margin of your English bibles, which I wish were well observed by our too forward zealots, who flatter and deceive themselves with their good intentions, when the means they use are not lawful but unrighteous.
Desert not thy calling, and thrust not thyself into that which belongs to another. t Num.
xvi.3. II Ver. 17. J 2 Sam. vi. 6. •• 1 S»m. vi. 19. ++l Sam. xiii. u.
tX 2 Chr. xxvi. 18. 111! 2 Chron. xxvi. 17,18. 35 To a lawful act there is required not
vnly a good end, but also good meaus. A good intention* if the means be bad, will not bring a mau to heaveji. Many with this mistake have gone to hell. Bouum bene is the rule in divinity. • Pcrsuadebit nobis quicquid volet, ita de Perronio Paulus Sanctus,in vita Perronii opusculis ejus prsefixa. + Levit. i. 4. He shall kill the bullock. j 2 Oor. ii. 16. II 1 Tim,
Fourthly, He that can prove it by any plausible argument (as I am sure none can, though he were as powerful in invention, and witty in arguing, as * Perronius, once a cardinal of Rome) that it was lawful under the old law for any butcher, because he had skill in killing of a beast, to slay the sacrifice, which was only proper to the t Levites. And he that shall demonstrate to my understanding, that he is not guilty of great presumption, and much pride, who shall first think himself fit for that office, which St. Paul so admired, and trembled at, that he brake forth into a rU i*«voc +, Who is sufficient for it? He that thinks himself so, is most insufficient; especially when he shall want all thosegifts, which are usually seen and required in ministers, as, skill in the languages, fathers, councils, school-men, church-histories, with other modern writers; together with the arts and sciences.
Fifthly, He thai shall clear this point unto me, that the practice of Christ and his apostles, together with the whole church, for sixteenhundred years, and upwards, is not to be allowed of; especially, when that practice is confirmed and ratified by precept in the Holy Scriptures, where we find || directions to the then bishops for the laying on of hands upon those who were then, and now are to be admitted into holy orders.
And, Lastly, He that can evince it, that besides the inward testimony of a man's own conscience §, there is not, upon the former grounds required the outward call or testimony of the church, to whom he is to give trial of his gifts, and then receive the church's blessing, with solemn prayers to God to prosper the work which he is going about, i. e. that he may convert souls, and thereby enlarge the kingdom of Christ.
He, that is able (as I am sure none ever was, or will be,) to prove all these particulars, shall subdue my reason, and bring me to a confession, that it is lawful for a lay-man to preach.
Till this be proved (as it never can be expected) I shall with the authority of God's word, the consent of all antiquity, and the practice of all reformed churches, conclude and stand firmly to this position:
That no man ought to take upon him this sacred function, or office, but he that is called as Aaron was **, i. e. by God. The voice of the church is the voice of God; ergo, lay-men that call themselves by a bold intrusion, we may lawfully call usurpers of the priests office, of the stock of Korah, of the race of Jeroboam's priests. He made of the lowest of the people, priests of the high places, which thing became a sin to the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off and destroy it from the face of the earth ft.
iv. 14. v. 22. Tit. i. 3. Acts xiv. 23, &e. $ That lie is both willing and able to discharge
the office of a minister. •• Heb. v. 4. +t 1 Kings xiii. 33.
And unless the divine justice shall speedily stop the mouths of the itpron-rabbies, and russet-levites, by some strange judgment, and so cut them off who have kindled a flame in state and church (that hath blasted all good order, consumed all God's ordinances, and caused a general ebb of devotion and piety amongst us) who also have crept in like thieves into the church by back-ways, have secretly insinuated themselves into the society of God's people; professing themselves to be teachers of the true faith, butare, indeed, the destroyers of it, and disturbers of our peace, ungodly men, who were of old urjoyeypa^Evw, ordained *, appointed (as if it had been set down in a book) to this condemnation, or to this judgment, to be Jlagellum ecclesice, to try, to texercise and molest the church by their false doctrine; and, when they have done their worst, to receive for a recompence, or reward of their impiety and wickedness, damnation.
Till these incendiaries be suppressed and silenced, we cannot expect but this our now distracted nation, which was once the scourge of others, and the praise of all the world, shall become the scorn of all nations; whilst, as the Jews I once did, we destroy ourselves at home by our multiplied divisions, and so prevent the mischievous malice of our foreign enemies: which thing will make us a derision to those that are round about us, to the men of Gath and Askalon, the uncircumcised Philistines, bloody Jesuits and papists: Which God avert, for his mercies sake, and the merits of his son Christ Jesus.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, Psalm exxii. l6.
The author's prayer to God, for the suppressing of heresy, and happy com' posing of our unhappy divisions.
O THOU who art one and infinite in power, the center of perfection, and the God of love, collect our scattered thoughts from perverse disputes, and worldly distractions; draw inrour hearts from hunting after vanities; confine them to thine heaven, and to thyself, who art the heaven of that heaven. Make us to love thy truth, which is the brightness of thy everlasting light, the undefiled mirror of thy Majesty, and the image of thy glory. And, because there is but one heaven, and one way to it, that living way of faith and obedience, oh let the bright beams of thy grace shine in the hearts of thy people, who are now turned to the by-ways of error, and wander in the desarts of sin and heresy; reduce them, good father, into the way of truth, that with one heart, and one mind, they may serve thee, the only true God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Tri-uni Deo sit honos, laus, et gloria.
• Jude iv. + Idcirfco doctrinam Catholicam contradicentium obsidet impugnatio, ut 6de*
nostra non otio torpescat, scd multis exercitaiionibus elimetur. Aug. t See Joseph.
VOU YI. X
THE LAWS DISCOVERY:
Or a brief detection of sundry notorious errors and abuses contained in our English Laws, whereby thousands are annually stripped of their estates, and some of their lives. By a well-wisher to his country.
London, printed in 1653. Quarto, containing five pages.
The author was a gentleman born to a fair estate, by degree a barrester, who, partly through sickness, and partly for conscience, deserted the profession of our laws, as epidemically evil j he spent divers of his last years in supervising the defects thereof. Amongst many grievances, wherein he desired redress, personal imprisonment for debt was one, and the insufficiency of our laws, for charging the debtor's estate, another. Therefore, several of these subsequent proposals tend chiefly for securing of creditors, out of the debtor's estate, whereby the debtor's person may go free.
WHEREAS the lands of a copyholder, who is a tenant at will, according to custom, are not subject to extent in his life-time, nor liable to his debts in the hands of his heirs; it were convenient that some plenary act were made for redress hereof, securing the lord's fine, and preserving the custom of the manor.
II. That leases taken for other men's lives, whether in possession of the general or special occupant, may be subjected to payment of debts; the creditor, whose money bought the lease, or preserved it from sale, hath better right thereto, than either of these occupants. Such defects as these protect heirs in Burrough English; also when lands fall to the youngest son of a copyholder; neither of these can be charged upon ancestors bonds, because not heir-general at common-law.
III. That an heir of a tenant in tail may be liable to pay his father's debts. (
IV. That some remedy be used for payment of debts, where parents purchase lands in their children's names, with other men's monies.
V. That where heirs alien lands before action brought by the creditor, they may pay such debts, and not leave the creditor to a suit in chancery in such plain cases.
VI. That the creditor, for securing his debt, have liberty to charge the heir and executor, both together; because it is uncertain which is best able to pay; if he recover of one, the other may stay his suit.
VII. That younger brothers, and grand children enjoying lands upon descent, be liable to pay debts.
VIII. That coheirs in gavelkind, where brethren inherit equally,