Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

L B. T. 142 The LIFE of the I depofed all theBifhops in the Empire, and have taken all their Charges upon themfelves. x. That hereby they altered the Species of Churches, and either would deface all particular Churches, and have none but affociated Diocefane Churches, ( who hold the Communion by Delegates and not perfonally ); or elfe they would turn all the particular Parochial Churches into Chrifian Oratories and Schools, while they gave their Paftórs but a Teaching and Worfhiping Power ; but not a Go- verning. 3. That hereby theyaltered the ancient Speciesof Presbyters, to whole Office the Spiritual Government of their proper Folks as truly belonged, as the Power of preaching and worlhippingGod did. 4. That they extinguifhed the ancient Species of Bilhops, which was in the times of Ignatius, when every Church had one Altar and one Bifhop ; :and there were none but Itinerant, or Arcbbifhops that had many Churches. i. That they fet up Courtsthat were more Secular thanSpiritual, in thewanner of other Secular Courts and that the Government ofthe Church by Excommu- nicadon, Sufpenfions, A sfolutions, &c. was exercifed by a Chancellor , who was a civil Lawyer and a Laymaneven againft Minifters themfelves, itnlefs for a blind, fome Prieft did formally pronounce the Sentence. 6. That the great Church Bufinefs of thefe Bilhops and Courts, was to vex ho- neft Chrifian that darft not wortóipGodby loch Ceremonies as their Confcien- ces thought unlawful, and to filenne able godly Preachers that du&R not fubfcribe and (wear Obedience to them, and ufe every one of their Formes and Ceremo- nies, and profefs the Lawfulnefs of all this ; and that by gratifying the multitude of the ungodly, and efpoufing a Caufe fo perniceous to the Church, which multitudes of fober Chriftians would diflike, they had engagedthemfelves into a way of Enmity and Violence againft a very confiderable Number of as able Mini- fters, and holy Chrifian as any were in the Land or in the known World. 7. And hereby it came to pats that the Multitude of the Ignorant and ungodly People were become the zealous Pleaders for thePrelacie, and made it the Bre(t- work to exercife their Enmityagainft the ferions Pradtice of Religion. 8.. And that ignorant drunkenReaders ( unfit to live in Chrifian Communion) were the only Pafors ( under the Prelates) of abundance of theChurches in the Land. g. And that their zeal for Formality and Ceremonies, and their Enmity tothe molt ferious way of Preaching, Praying', yea, and Living, did greatly tend to the fuppreling of .Godlinef, and the increafe of Ignorance and Prophanenefs in the People. r o. And .laftly/, That they were fet upon. a way of uncharitableCenfuring, Re proaching, Cruelty and Force, for the carrying on of fo ill a Caufe ; wherein. their carnal Intereft did evidently manage a War againft the Intereft of Chrift andGodlinefs and the Souls of Men. 13. 3. In the Presbyterian way I difiked I. TheirOrder of Lay-Elders who had no Ordination, norPower to Preach, nor to adrninifter Sacraments: For thoughI grant that Lay -Elders, or the Chief of the Peo- ple, were oft imployed to exprefi the Peoples Content; and preferve their Liber- ties, yet there were no Cburcb- Officers at all, nor had any Charge of private Over- fight of theFlocks : And though I grant that one Church had oft more Elders, than did ufe to preach, and that many were moli employed in private Overfight, yet that was but a prudent dividing of their Work, according to theGifts and parts of each, and not that any Elders wanted Power of Office to preach or Adminifter Sacraments when there was Caufe. ` x. And I difiked the Courfe of tome of the more rigid of them, that drew too near the way of Prelacie, bygrarping at a kind of fecular Power ; not ufing it themfelves, but bindingthe Magiltrates to confifcate or imprifon Men, meerly be- caufe they were excommunicate ; and fo corrupting the true Difcipline of the Church , and turning the Communion of Saints, into the Communion of the Mu;titudethat mutt keep in the Church againft their Wills, forfear of beingun- done in the World. When as a Man whole Conferencecannot feel ,a jolt Excommuni- cation, e lefs it be back'd with Confifcation or Imprifonment, is no fitter tobe a Member of i a CheoffianChurch in the Communion of Saints, than a Corps is to be a Member of a Corporation. It's true they claim not this Power as pare Divino ( though fomefay that the Magiftrate is bound to ertecute thefe Penalties on Men meerly as excom- municate.;) nor no more do the Prelates, when yet the Writ de Excommunicate Capiendo,