Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

I¢6 The L I EE of the L I B. I. for Subdivifons, than thefew fober Perfons among them. could do for unity and Peace ; too much miftaking the Terms of Church Communion, and the difference between the Regenerate ( invifible ) and the Congregate ( or vitible) Church. The Anabaptifts Party confutedof fume ( but fewer) fober , peaceable Perfons, and orthodox in other Points; but withal , of abundance of young tranf rted Zealots, and a medley of Opinionifts, who all hafted dire&1 to Entbsrgafm and Subdivifew, and by the Temptation of Profperity and Succefs in Arms, and the Policy of fome Commanders, were led into Rebellions, and hot Endeavours againft the Miniftry, and other fcandalous Crimes ;and brought forth 'the horrid Sects of Ranters, Seekers, andQuakers in the Land. § z ;. But the greaten Advantage which I found for Concord and Pacification, was among a great number of Minifters and People who had addi&ed themfelvés to no Se& or Party at all ; though the Vulgar called them by the Name of Presby- terians: And the truthis, as'far as I could difcover, this was the Cafe of the great- en number of the godly Minifters and People throughout England. For though Presbytery generally took inScotland, yet it was buta ftranger here : And it found fome Minifters that lived in conformity to theBithops , Liturgies and Ceremonies ( however they wilht for Reformation ) ; and the molt ( that quickly after were ordained ) were butyoung Students in the Univerfties, at the time of thechange of ChurchGovernment, and had neverwell nudied-the Point on either fide: And though molt of the Minifters ( then ) in England law nothing in the Presbyterian way of praíïiee, which they could not cheerfully concur in, yet it was but few that had refolved on their Principles : And when I came to try it,I found that mov ( that ever I could meet with) were againft the ItoDivinum of Lay Elders, and for the moderate Primitive Epifcopacy, and for a narrow Congregational or Pa- rochial Extent of ordinary Churches, and for an accommodation of all Parties, in order toConcord, as well as myfelf. I am fure as foon as I propofed it to them, I found molt inclined to thisway, and therefore I fuppofe it was their Judgment before: Yea, multitudes whom I had no converfe with, I underftood to be of-this mind ; fo that this moderate Number, (I am loth to call them a Party , becaufe theywere for Catholicifm againft Parties), being noway pre-engaged , made the Workof Concord much more hopeful than elfe it would have been , or than I thought it to be when I firft attempted it. §24. Things being in this Cafe, I Rood vill fonte years, as a looker on, and contented my felf to with and pray for Peace, andonly drop now and then aword for it in my practical Writings ; which hath fine been none of my fmallev troubles. The Reafons were, r. Becaufe I was taken up in Pradicals, and in fuch Controverfies as tended to Doctrinal Agreement. 2. Becaufe I looked when fume abler and more eminentDivinesattempted it. ;. But the chief Reafon was, Defpair: I was fo conklous of mymeannefs and inconfiderablenefs in the Church, that I verily thought, but very few will regard what I faid. But when I once at- tempted it, God convinced me of, this Errour, and (hewed me how little Inftru- ments lignifie, when he will work : and that his Mininers and People were more humble to hear the meaneRof their Brethren, than I before believed. Atlaft the workings of my earneft Defire, and the apprehenfwn of my Duty, to do my heft, and leave the Succefs toGod, engaged me as followeth. § zy. Ifirft began in Conference and Writing to Reverend Mr. Anthony Burgeß, and fome others, to put the main Que!tion, Whether all Church Government be not, as Carriers holdeth, only PerfwaJive, not by private, but .publick or authorized Do&oral Perfwafion, and-fo can work on none but theConfcientious or Affenters? And whether theufurparion of a flridlÿLegiflative and Judicial Power (fave only to judge what eve are to execute), or a power of binding Diffenters , even Clave errante , efpécially binding Magiftrates to execute by Corporal Penalties and Mulls, and other Punifhments , Eo nomine , becaufe by Excommunication the Church hath punished them, I fly, whether this be not a robbing the Magivrate of his Power, and making the Exercife of ehe Keys, to be too like a Coercive Secular Judgment, and fo the Ground of all the Quarrels in the Church ? For I faw plainly that the Pàpifls, and thofe Prelates and Presbyterians' who are for fuch an unexamined Judicial Power, do but ftrive for that which belongeth to none of them all. Upon the railingof thefe doubts I wasfufpeeted to be an Erailtan, and had no other An-fiver, or Satisfaction : But the Rudy of the Point fomewhat cleared my own Judgment. I 26.