Baxter - BR161 B28 1680

ia. rp Church-Hitory of Bifhops and Mould Communicate, and in what rank, and who thould be denied thefe,, admonifhed or excluded, and. who Ihould, as far as belongeth to others, he judged meet or unmeet for Heaven : And fo the Chriftian Societies were to bekept clean, and notto be like the polluted World of Infidels. And the Paftors had noother power to ufe ; but were to judge only thofe within, and Leave themwithout to Gods own judgment, and to the Magi- ftrate, who was not to punifh any one fornot being in or of the Church, or for departing from it, which is a grievouspunifhment itfelf. But Magi 'crates being then Heathens, the Chriftians were hard put to it for thedecifionof their quarrels : For the love of the world and felfith- nefs were but imperfeftly cured in them. They went to Law before Heathen Judges with eachother; and this became a fnare anda fcandal to them. S. Paul thereforechideththem for not ending differences by Chri- ftian Arbitrators among themfelves, as ifthere werenone among themwife enoughto Arbitrate. Hereupon the Churches takingnone tobe wifer or truftier than their Paftors, made them their Arbitrators, and it became a cenfurablefcandal for any toaccule a Church-member to aMagiftrate, and to have Suitsat Law. By this means, the Bithop becoming a Stated Arbi- trator, thereby became the Governour of the Chriftians, but with his Pref- byters and not alone. But becaufe Bithops had no power of the fword, to touch mens bodies or eftates, but ouly to fufpend them fromChurch Communion, andExcommunicate them, or impofe penitential Confeffions on them, therefore they fittedtheir Canons (which were the Bithops A- greements) to this Governing life, to keepChriftians under their Gó- vernment from the Magiftrates. Andfo they made Canons, that aForni- cator or Adulterer fhould be fo long or fo long fufpended, and a Mur.. : derer fo long, and fo of the reft. 3 6. And whenConflantine turned Chriftian, he had many reafons to. 'confirm thisArbitratingCanonical power to the Chriftian Bifhopsby the Civil Sanftion. s. Becaufe he found them in pofleflion of it as contra&_ ers bymutual content ; andwhat could aChriftian Prince do lets than grant thatto the Chriftians whichthey chofe and had. z. Becaufe the advance- ment andhonour of the Teachers and Paftors he thought tended to the honourtbf their Religion, and the fuccefs of their Dottrine upon theHea- thens withwhom theydwelled. Grandure andPower much prevail with carnal minds. 3. Beraufehehad but few Magiftrates at firft that were Chriftians, and none that fo well knew the affairs of Chriftians as their own chofen Bithops. And he feared left the power of Heathen Magi- ftrates; over the Chriftiansmight injure and opprefs them. 4. He defign_ edto d aw the Heathens to Chriftianity by the honouring of Chriftians above them. 5. And withal his intereft lay molt in their ftrength; For they were the fafteft part of his Souldiers and Subjects, that for Confci- ence and theirown Intereft, rejoyced to advance and defend him to the utmoft, (when he loft many of thePagans) and they werenot of the fpirit of the old Pretorian Souldiers, that fet up and pulled down Empereurs at