Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

PA It r II. Reverend Mr. Richard Baxter. a May. [4th, 1655. An rinfiver to the foregoing Queffion.r, fine tb Sir R. Clare. 1d QaefE. i". rIther that Confcienceowneth the right Religion and Difèipiinä only, or the right with fome tolerable accidental Errours, or A wrong Religion and Difcipline in the Subftance. The firft the Magiftrate muff not only tolerate, but promote. The fecond he muff tolerate rather than do worfelsy fuppreffmg it. The third he mutt fupprefs by all lawful means, and tolerate when he cannot help it, withouta greater Evil. I fuppofe noJudicious Man will expel} an exa& Solution of fo Cöiltprehenfive a Queffion in few words : And I find not thata large DifcufBon is now expe&edfromme : There are four or five Sheets of my Manufcripts in tome hands abroadon this Poidy which may de. more to- wardsa fatisfa&ory Solution, than there few words. Ad a". Either the tender Confcience is in the right, or in the wrong : -If in the wrong, the Magißrates Liberty will not make a Sin to be no Sin ; but the Party is bound by God to re&ifie hisJudgment, and thereby his Pra&ice. If in the right; it is a ßrange Quehion, Whether a Man may obey God, that bath theMagihrates leave, till he be enforced byMens violence ? Doti any doubt of it ? Ad r. Matter of Government depending only on Fact, is a Contradi&ion t Seeing Government confißeth in a Right, and the Exercife of it. I aria not able therefore to underhand this Quehion. Yet, if this may afford any help toward the Soluti. on,I affiirm,That the general andperpetual pradiceof theChurch from Age to Age; ofa thing not forbiddenby theWordof God,willwarrant our imitation.l fay [of' a thingnot forbidden] becapfe it bathbeen the general and perpetual pra&ice of the Church, to Sin, by vain Thoughts, Words, imperfe& Duties, &e. wherein our imitation is not warrantable. The generaland perpetual praEtice includeth the Apo` - files and that Age. But what is meant by [Evidencing theRight of a thing that de- pendeth only of Fa&] or by [Evidencing the Truth and Certainty of a Fa& by general and perpetual pra&ice] ( which is to prove idem per idem), I will not pre- fume that I .underhand. Ad 4". I know not what Bithops you mean. A. Congregational Bifhopoverfee+ ing the People is undoubtedly lawful: fo is a Congregational Bifhop, being Prefi- dent ofa Presbytery which is over that Congregation. Where many Congregati- onal Officers are affociated, Ido not think that a Prefident for a time, or during his fitnefs, Banding and fixed, is unlawful. The like I mayfly of a Prefident ofma- ny of thofe Affociationsagain affociated, as in a Provine orDiocefs : And 1 be- lieve it werea very eafie work for wife, godly, moderate men to agree about his Power: And I would notfeem fo cenfòrious as to proclaim that England wanteth fuch, further than the aecual want of fuch Agreement, or jell endeavours there- to, doth proclaim it. I am fatisfied alto, that the Apoftles themfelves have de jure Succeffors in all that part oftheir work which is to be perpetuated, or continued till now; though not in their extraordinary Endowments and Priviledges. But if the fence of your Queftion be, Whether one Man may be the handing chief Governour of many particular Churches with their Officers, having either foie power of Ordination and Jurifdi&ion (as tome would have) or a Negative Voice inboth (as 'others) it would feem great arrogancy in me to be the confident Determiner of fuch a Quellion, which fo wife, learned, godly fober Men,have laid fo muchofonboth fides already. Ad 5 ". r. He that knows how fhort Church Hiftory is inthere Matters for the fjrft Age after the Apofles, at lean, and bathread impartially what Gerfom, Bucerar; Parker, Bl,ndellae, Salmafaur, Altare Damafcen, have raid on one fide ; and Saravia, Downbam, Dr. Hammond, &c. on the other ; would fore never expe& that I thould prefume to pats any confident Sentence in the Point : And it's like he would- be fomewhatmoderate himfelf. z. I fay as before, I knownot what you glean by Bithops : I am confident that the Church was not of many Hundred years after Chrilgoverned as ourswas late- ly in England, by a Diocefan Bifhop and a Chancellor,excluding almoh all the Pret byters. ;. Why do you fay [Since the ApoDles days,] when you before fpoke of the [General and perpetual praefice of _the Church] ? X Ad