Baxter - BV669 B3 1681

!horrenceof the fin, and therefore that theybe convinced thatthe perfon isfilch a one indeed. For feeing God commandeth them toLove all the faithful and to live with them in the exercifes of that Love in peace, if Godly men beunjufily excommunicated, by a Diotrephes,who receivetlt them not and exec mmunicateth fuch as do receive them, the Church mutt not difobey God inobeying fuch a wicked excommunicater. And though its true, that for order fake, they mutt oft refs fattsfied in the Pallors judgment, when they have no reafon to queftion it; Yet it is as true, that it is a thing tobe donebefore the Congregation, that they may not only exercife a bare obedience to the Paftor in it, but allo an abhorrence of the fin, which they. cannot do that have no fatisfaétory noticeof the cafe ; And alto that all fufpitions of injuflice and Church tyranny in their Paflors may be avoided : And that the offender may be convinced before all, that he may be afhamed : And feeing no man is tobe excom- municated for any ordinary great fin, without impenitency in it; fo that the'queftion is not then fo much whether the man have finned, as whether he be Penitent, what man of any experience in thefe matters can believe that a Bifhops, or a Chancellors Court among firtingers, and alto when he is in fear of being imprifoned and utterly undone if he be excommunicated, is fo fit rotry a mans repentance, as the face of theCongregation where he is known, and hath no filch motives to constrain him to lie, and ufe hypocrifie. Nay in very truth fuch judicatures may as cafily know beforehand, that all theimpenitent perfons that almoll ever come before them, (who arenot confcientious perlons that takethe fin for a duty)will fay they repent, and play the dif- femblers. as that a Child will cry for forgivenefs to efcape a whipping. Obj. But is it notfo much the better? .7he Churchmall have hypocrites : we cannot change the heart , that belongs to God: Ifwe bring men toprofefi repent-' ance it is all thats our part to do. Anf Hypocrites that cannot be lawfully deteâed muff be in the Chi r:h : But we muff not therefore mokmen hypocrites, that they may be in it; and constrain them to apparent lying,and'thenmake lying tobe the Church Title, and the very-conftitutingqualification of a vifible Chriftian; elfe you may fee men on the rack till they fay theyrepent, and then abfolve them and p. onounce them the pardonedSons of God; which will be a Curer way than an imprifonment. And in this practice this do- lrine which I leave all Chrillians to judge of,is included, [Every,lilafphe. mer,Heretick Adulterer, Drunkard, &c. who had rather fay that hí repenteth, than lie in a Gaol and be undone, ought to be a communicatingmember of the Church, and to be declaredpardoned by abjolution. Yea if there were no Penalty, the face of flrangers is no fit trial of repentance. If the finner beobfiinate, he will eahlier Rand it out before firangers that know him not, thanbefore the Congregation which is ac., quainted with his guilt. But ufually he will think, that it is nogreat fbame to fay, 1 repent before a few ¡bangers, who are never like to fee him more.