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4g

The

LIÉE

of

the

L

rs.

I.

§

27. Something

alfo

I

wrote to Reverend

and

Learned Mr.

7d. Gataker, whore

Judgment

I

had teen before

in

his

own Writings

:

And.having the

encouragement

of

finch

Content,

I

motioned the

Bufinets

to

fome

London

Minters

to have it

fet

on

foot among

themfelves, becaufe

if

it came

from

them,

it

would be much more ta-

king than from

us

:

But they thought it unfit to be managed there, for

feveral

Rea

-

fons, and fo

we muff try it, or only

fit

!till and with

well

as

we

had done.

§

28.

Next

this,

the

fiate

of

my own

Congregation,and the neceflty of

my

Duty,

conftrained

me

to

make

Come

Attempt.

For I mutt adminifter the

Sacra-

ments

tothe

Church, and the ordinary

way of

Examining

every

Man

before

they

come, I

was

not

able

to prove neceffary, and the People were

avert

to

it:

So

that

I

was

forced to think

Of

the matter more

ferioufly

;

and having determined

of

that

way

which

was,

I

thought, molt

agreeable

totl,}e

Word

of

God,

I

thought,

if

all

the

Minifers

did accord together in

one

way, the Peoplewould much more

ea-

lily fubmir,

than to the way

of

any Minifter that

was

fingulat.

To

attempt their

Content

t

had

two

very great Encouragements

:

The

one

was

anhonett

,

humble,

tractable People

at

home,

engaged in

no Party, Prelatical, Presbyterian,

or

Inde-

pendant

;

but loving

Godlinefs and

Peace, and hating

Schifm

as

that

which they

perceived to tend

to

the ruine

of

Religion.

The

other

was a

Company

of hone-,

godly,

ferious, humble

Minters

in the Country where

I

lived,

who were not

one

of

them

(

that

Affociated

)

Presbyterian or Independan

,

and

not pall

four

or

five

of' them

Epifcopal; but ditengaged

faithfulMen.

At

a

Lecture at

Warcefer

I

firft

procured

a

Meeting,

and told

them

of

the Defign, which they

all

approved

:

They

impofed it upon me,

to

draw up

a

Form of Agreement.

The Matter of

it

was

to

confift

[So much

of

the Church

Order

and

Difcipline

,

a,

the Epifcopal,

Presbyterian,

and

Independant are agreed

in, as

belonging

to

the Pa/foro

of

each

particular Church].

The

Reafons

of

this

were,

r.

Becaufe we all believed

that the practice

of

fo

much

as all

are

agreed

in,

would do very much to

the Order

and Reformation

of

the Chur-

ches; and that the controverted Parts are

thofe

of

lean neeellìty

or

weight. a.Be-

caufe we would

not

neceffitate

any Party

to refuteour

Affociation

,

by

putting in

a

word which

he dif 'wneth

:

for

we intended not to difpute one another into near-

er Agreement in

Opinions,

but

firft

to;agree in the practice of

all

that which was

owned by

us

all.

According to their

delire

I drew up

fome Articles

for our

Content which might

engage

us

to the molt

effe&ual

pradlice

of

fo

much Difcipline

as

might reduce

the

Churches to order,

and

fatisfie

Ministers in

adminiftring the

Sacraments,

and flop

the more

religious People

from Separation,

to

which the

unreformednefs

of the

Churches through want

of

Difcipline inclined them, and yet might

not at

all con-

tradict the Judgments ofany

of

the three Parties

:

And I brought

in the

Reafons

of

the

feveral

Points: which

after

futficient

Deliberation and Examination (with

the alteration

of

fome few

words)

were contented to by

all

the

Minters

that

were prelènt

; and after feveral Meetings we fubfcribed

them,

and foaffociated

for

our

mutual

help and concord in our Work.

The

Minigers that

thus

affociated

were for

Number, Partsand Piety, the molt

confiderable

part

of

all

that County,

and fome out

of

Iòme neighbouring Counties

that were

near

us.

There

was

not,

that

I

know of, one through Presbyterian amongthem,

becaufe

there

was

but one

fuck

that

I

knew

of

in

all

the County, and he

lived fomewhat

remote

:

Nor

did

any Independant

fubfcribe,

fave

one;

for there were,

(that

I

knew

of)

but

five

or

fix

in the County,

and

two

of

the weightielt

cf

them approved

it

in

words,

and

the left withdrew

from

our

Debates,

and

gave

us

no

reafon againff any

thing pro

-

pofed.

Thofe that did not

comenear

us,

nor concur with.us,

were

all

the

weaker

(bet

of

.

Minigers,

whofe Sufficiency

or Converfation

was queffioned

by others,

and

knew they were

of

little

ehteem

among them, and were neither able

or

willing

to

exercife any Difcipline

on their

Flocks

:

As

allo fome few

of better

parts

of the

Epifèopal way, who never came near

us,

and knew not

of

our

Propofals,

or

refol-

ved

to do nothing, tillthey had Epifcopacy rellored

;

or

finch

whofe

Judgments

elteemed fuch Difcipline

of

no

great neceffity

:

And one or

two

very

worthy Mi-

nifters, who approved

of

our Agreement, fubfcribed

it not,

becaufe

they

had

a

People

fo

very

Refraetory, that they knew they

were

not

able

to

bring them

to

tub

-

mittoit.

Having

all

agreed

in

this

Affóciation, we propofed publickly to our People

fo

much

as

required

their Content and Pra

&ice,

and gave

every Family

a

Copy

in

'Print,

and

a fufficient

time to

Confider

and underhand

ir,

and then put

it in Execu-

tion

.;

and

I

publifhed

it

with the

Reafons

of

it,

and an Explication

of

what

Teem-

ed

doubtfúlin it, in

a Book

which

I

called [Cbriflian

Concord]

which

pleated me,

and

difpleafed others.

4

29.