Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

Pd1,16j,Mt¡!jl The. LIFE o f the LIB. I. more, which yet they could not themfelves tell what to make of : But the gene- rality of each Party indeedowned this Do &rine ; and I could fpeak with no fiber JudiciousPrelatift, Presbyterian or Independant, but confeffed that no Secular, or ForcingPower, belonged to any Paftoksof the Church as fuch ; and unlefs the Magiftrates authorized them as his Officers, they could not touch mens Bodies or Archbi- Eftates, but the Confciencealone ` (which can be ofnone butofAffenters). lhopsi! ¡oe 4 ;- z.The Epifcopal Party feemed to have reafon on their fide in this,that in the adlty'Y Primitive Church there were f meApoftles, Evangelifts, and others., who were profetieth. general unfixed Officers of the Church, not tyed to any particular Charge ; and had Male Superiority ( tome of them ) over-fixed Bithops or Paftors ! And though the extraordinary Parts of theApoftles Office ceafed, with them, d taw no proof of the Ceffation of any ordinary part of their Office, fuch as Church Government is confeffed to be. All the doubt that I faw in this was, Whether the Apoftles themfelves were conftituted Governoursof other Parlors, or onlyover -ruled-them by the Eminency of their Gifts and Priviledge of Infallibility. For it feemed to me unmeetto affirm without proof, that Chrift fetled a Form of Government in his Church, to endureonly for one Age, and changed it for a New onewhen that Agewas ended. And as tofixed Bifhops ofparticular Churches that were Superiours in degree to Presbyters, though I faw nothing at all in Scripture for them ,,.which was any- whit cogent, yet I faw that theReception of them in all the Churches was to timely ( even in thedays of oneof theApofles in force Churches), and fo general, that I thought it a most improbable thing, thatif it had been contrary to the A- potìles mind, we fhould never read that they themfelves, or any one of their Dif- ciples that converfed with them, no nor any Chriltian or Heretick in the World, fhould once fpeak or write a word againft it, till long after it was generally fetled its the Catches. This thereforeI refolved never to oppofe. - § 4. 3. Andas for the Presbyterians, I foundthat the Office of Preaching Presbyters was allowed by all that deferve the Nameof Chriftians; and that this Office did participate (lùbferviently to Chrift) of the Prophetical (or Teaching),the Priejtly ( or worshipping) and the Governing Power ; and that both Scripture, Antiquity, and the perfwafive Nature of ChurchGovernment, clearly Phew that all Presbyters were Church Governours, as well as Church Teachers! and that to deny this was to deftroy theOffice, and to endeavour todeftroy the Churches. And I faw in Scrip- ture, Antiquity and Reafon, that theAffociatton ofPaftors and Churches for A- greement, and their Synods in Cafes of Necefftty, are a plain duty : and that their ordinary flitted,Synods are afuaily very convenient. And I faw that in England the Perfons which were called Presbyterians were emi- ment forLearning, Sobriety and Piety : and thePeon fo called were they that went through the Work of the Miniftry, in diligent ferrous preaching to the Peo- ple, and edifyingMensSouls, and keeping up Religionin the Land. § ç. 4. And for the Imde endants, I faw that molt of them were Zealous, and very many Learned, difcreet and godly Men; and fit to be very ferviceable in the Church. And I found in the fearch of Scripture and Antiquity, that in the beginning a Governed Church, and aJiated worf/ipping Church, were all one;and not two feveral things: And that though there might be other by-Meetings in places like our Chappels or privateHodes, for fuchas Age or Perfecution hindered : to come tò the more folemn Meetings, yet Churches then were no. bigger (in num- ber of Perfons) than our Parilhes now, (togrant themolt) : And that they were Societies of Chriltiansunited for Perfonal Communion ; and not only for Communi- on by Meetingsof Officers andDelegates in Synods, as many Churches in Affocia- tion be. And I faw if once we go beyond thebounds of [ Perfona! Communion j as the end of particular Churches, in the Definition, we may make a Church of a Nation, or of tenNations, or what we pleafe, which !hall have-none of the Nature and Ends of the Primitive particular Churches. Alto I faw a commendable care of ferions Idolised and Difcipline in molt of the Independant Churches : And I found that force Epifcopal Men (as-Bifhop tither himfelf did voluntarily profefs his Judg- ment to me) chid hold that everyBifho was independant, as to Synods, and that Synods were not properGovernours off the particular Bithops, but only for their Concord. § 6. ç, And for the Anabaptifts themfelves ( though I have written and faid fo much againft them,) as I found that molt of them were Perfons of Zeal in Reli- gion, fo many of them were fiber godly People, and differed from others but in the Point of Infant Baptifin, oratnioft in thePoints of Predettination and Free- will