Baxter - BR161 B28 1680

22 Church-Hiftory of Bithops and fu1Reformation, that the Gofpel fail not, and Souls be not quietly left to Satan, nor the Church grow like the Infidel World ; and yet that we nei- ther invade nor difhonour the facredOffice, nor needlefly open the naked- nefsof the Perfons, nor do any thing that mayhinder their just endeavours and fuccefs we muff fpeakevil of no man either falllyor unneceffarily. §. 5z. I thought all this premonition neceflàry thatyou make not an ill ufeof the following Hiftory, and become not guiltyofdiabolifm or falfe accufing ofthe Brethren,or difhonouring theChurch: And that as God bath in Scripture recorded the Sinsof the ungodly,and the effe&s of Pride and of malignity, and Chrift hath foretold us that Wolves fhall enter andde- vour the Flock, and by their Fruits (of devouring, and pricking as Thorns and Thistles) we fhall know them, and the Apoftles prophecied of them ; I take it to be my duty to give you an Abftraft of the Hiftory of Papal and afpiring Prelacy, ufurping, and fchifmatical, and tyrannical Councils, as knowing of howgreat ufe it is to all toknow the true Hi, Rory of the Church, both as togood and evil. S. 5 3. Yea Bithops and Councils mutt not be worfe thought of than they deferve, no more than Presbyters, becaufe of fuch abufes as I recite The belt things are abufed,even Preaching,Writing, Scripture, and Rea- fon it felt, and yet are not to be rejected or dithonoared. There is an Epifcopacy whore veryConftitution is a Crime, and there is another fort which feemeth to me a thing convenient, lawful, and indifferent, and there is a fort which 1 cannot deny to be ofDivine Right. 54. That which I take tobe it felfa Crime, is fuch as is aforemention- ed, which in its very conftitution over throweth the Office, Church, and Difcipline, which Chrift by himfelf and his Spirit, in his Apoftles, infti- tnted : filch I take to be that Diocefane kind which bath only one Bithop over many fcore or hundred fixed Parochial Affemblies ; by which, r.Parifhesaremade bythem no Churches, as having no Ruling Paftors that have the Power of Judging whom toBaptize, or admit to Communion or refufe, but only are Chapels, having preaching Curates. z. All the firft Order ofBifhops in fingle Churches are depofèd, as if the Bithop of An- tioch fhould have put down a rood Bithopsabout him, and made himfelf the foie Bifhopof their Churches. ;. The Office ofPresbyters is chang- ed into femi- Presbyters. 4. Difcipline is made impoffible, as it is for one General without inferiour Captains to Rule an Army : But of this before. §.55. Much more doth this become unlawful, r. whendepofing all the Presbyters from Government by the Keyes ofDifcipline, they put thefame Keyes, even the Power ofdecretive Excommunication and Abfofution in- to the hands ofLaymen, called Chancellours, and let up Courts liker to the Civil than Ecclefiaftical. z. And when they oblige the Magiffrate to execute their Decrees by the Sword, be they juft or unjuft, and to lay Men in Goals and ruin.- them, meerly becaufe they are Excommunicated by Bithops, or Chancellours, or Officials, or filch others, andare not re- conciled