Owen - BX5085 O84x 1681

A N _tCPa:! E UIRYc Into the Original, Nature, InPritution, Power, Order andCommunion ofEvangelical CHURCHES. The First Part. With A N ANSWER To the Dircourfe of the Unreafonablenefs of SEPARATION Written by Dr. Edward- Stilling fleet, Dean of mauls ; And in Defence ofthe Vindication ofNon-conforrnifls from the Guilt of scI i , By JOHN OWEN, D. D. Standye in the ways and fie,. and ask for the old paths, where is the Good way, and walk therein, and ye(hall find rt fl fin, your Souls. fE R. 6. 16. LOCDO (, Painted byY. Richardfon, for Nath. Ponder, at the Peacockjn the Poultrey; AndSam. Lee at theFeathers in Ltarnbard(lreet, i 68 i .

, -t5'°?_ùc3Zi`3''U° O R4AHtl ,A4/N JRg NfOe N° aÓ A /eRH ' a+ Fpv' 1 re Y Y Tr ,re g t ?e+TSr TO THE EA FR. Ilbought to have wholly omitted the Confideration of that part of the DJcourfe of Dr. Stilling- fleet in his Preface, which concerned) the Furtherance and Promotion of the Defigns of the Papií s, and Inter& of Popery by Non- Conformifis ; and accordingly I pafed it by in the enfuing Dfcourfes. For Ifuppofed that all unpreju- diced Perfons nbould affgn it unto the provocation îvhich he feems to have received from thofe who an- livered his Sermon, or otherwfe, and fo have paffed it by, among fuck other excurfons, as Divines are incident unto, in their Controverfal Writings. For that no Countenance was given unto it, either from Truth or any ufeful End as unto the prefent fate of the

To the Reader.. the Protefiant qVigion among ta, is evident unto all.. But things are fallen out more according unto the humour of the Times, or rather thefüppofed Inte reft offorre, then any juft rational projections. For what other fuccefs this Book bath had, Iknow not, nor amfolicitous, Certain it is that many, of the fame mind and perfivalion with himfel f, have been encourag_ ed and emboldened by it, Confidently to report that the Non-Conformilts are great promoters of the Papal Intereft, yea and do the work of the Papfls. to facilitate its IntroduFtion. For it is now made fo: evident in the preface of that book(Iwill notfay on what Topicks whichfeem not wakeful Thoughts infuchan important Cau e,and fuch afeafon a this is)that noman need doubt oche Truth of it. Some indeed think that it were betterat this time,to Confider how toget out Popery fromamong us,than to Contendabout the ways whereby. it came in, as unto our prefent Danger ofit. But if nothing will prevail againft the .efolutions of others, influenced by Intereft, and thefweetnefs ofprefent ad. vantages, to defaft from this Enquiry, it will be ne- ce f fary that fuch an account be given of. the. true Rea- fins and Means of the advance of Popery in. this Nati. on,. as !ball give them occafion to confider themfelves- and their own ways ; For we are to lookfor the Cauls. ofuch Fleas, in things and means, that arefuited and fitted. to be produEive of them, fo as that they cannot

To the Reader. cannot but folloTP on their being and operation and not in Cold Stories, Surmizes, and far fetch'd, or feigned Influences. And if we Jo reckon that the real advancement of religion depends onely on the fey cular advancement o f fonze that do profefs it, we may be miftaken in our meafures a others have been be- fore us. But at prefont, the Infinuations of that Preface,' do f lent to prervail much with' tho f e of thefame Party. with its Author ; who want nothing at any time but the Countenance off.ich a Pen and Story, to (went their ill will againfl Non- Conforms. Report aÿ they and we will Report it. _But alp. v as he fain, Mendacium mendacio tegendum ne perpluat. Fill evil Inventions, atway tend unto, and fand in need ofnew Additions, to render them ufeful unto their End, without Zvhich they quickly evaporate ; Where' - fore lee the Infinuations. of this worthy Perfon,fhould not befuf ficiently fubfervient.unto the Uniting ofall Proteffants in one common Intereft againf Popery,. Zvhich -vas the original 17.efign of the Drs. Sermon, fome have added unto it, that which is Ho mogeneal as unto Truth, ad j.° eafly mixing with the other Vile.our. fe ; that the Non- ponforinjíls forre of them. at leaf, do receive or have re- ceived Morley from, the Papas,' to at their Affairs and promote their Intereft. And al- though

To the Reader.. though this be fuck a putid calumny, filch a malicious, fal fhood:, f tick afrontlefs Lye;; as Impudence it fel f would Huth at being made an inflrument to vent and -withal extreamly ridiculous; Yet becaufe it feems, u,feful unto. the Good, End ofUniting. Proteftants, and Oppofing Popery, it bath not onely been re-- ported by fundry of the Clergy, but embraced and: divulged afo byLome of their -weak and credulous Fol- lowers, who fiem to believe that other mens Advan tage is their Religion. But when the utmot bounds oflvfodefly arepallid, nothing hut an outrage in Ly ing and Calumny, out of hopes. that fomething will, flick at f can give countenance to men in fuel), falfe Accufations. And thofe by whom they are ftrfl. wh fpered, probably underfland better than. the Non- formUts -what Influence Money, or the things which, they know how to turn into it bath into their Pro fefHion, and, act ngs in l elgioxz. It [ems- tome that fome fuch. men a are afraid, lefr the' pre, feat oppo f tion- Pnto: Popery, fhould iffrze.infuch, an eflablifhment of the Proteflánt Religion, a. that hereafter it f.Jould not be in the difpofal of any', nor in their power -to,- make a largain ofit, eitherfor their Advantage or in their Neceßity. For unle; wefhould juppo_fe fut./2 ap, defeft in common Prudence, a.. is. not, chargeable on men of Underftanding in other affairs; it: r hard to, judge that theft things can proceed from any other ground,

To the Reader. ground, but a defign to encreafe diflrufls and fealou- fes among fl Proteflasts, to heighten their Differences, to exafperate and provoke them to Animofties, to the hands of each Party by a difbelief of the Sin= cerity of each other in thefame common Cau fe ; whence, whether it be deigned or no, it willfollow that we Jhall be all made a prey unto our refllefAdverfaries. For what elfe but a f lrong inclination thereto, can give the leaft Credit or deputation tofuch file infatuations, fafe Surmizes and Fables (I do not fay in the Preface but in the Ikeports that have been occafioned thereby) wherein Folly and Malice Rival one another, againft that plain, open, uncontroulable evidence, which the Non-conformiírs alwayes gave, and yet continue to give, oftheir faithful cordial adherence unto the Pro- teflant Religion, and intereft in the Nation. And what now if in way of retaliation, a charge fhould be laid and mannaged againft thole of the Ep¡copal way, that theyfhould contribute their of?iflance, whether knowingly, or being deluded, (it is all one) to the IntroduE ion ofPopery ; would not all things be call into an admirable poflure amongft ua, for an oppofìti= on thereunto ? But let none miflake nor deceive them- [elves, neither the pall Sufferings of the Non-confor- mills, nor their prefect hopes of Liberty, nor the re.. ?roaches call upon them, ¡hall (hake them in their Tve- a Jdutions

To the Reader. folutions for a Conjunction with all fincere Proteftants, in the pre fervation of their Religion, and oppo fition unto all Popilb Defigns whatever. And (to(peak with Modefty enough) as they have hitherto in all In- fiances of Zeal and Duty for the prefervation ofthe 1h roteftant Religion, been as ready andforward a any otherfort of men, fo whatever may befall them,- how. ever they may be traduced, or¡falfly accufed, they do and will continue in giving the higheft fecurity, that Confcience, Profe,&on, Principles, Intereft, and. Ac7ions cangive, of their ftability in thefame Caufe. Onely they defire ì to be excufed, if they make not ufè Of this notable Enginefor oppo f ng ofPopery, namely, the flirring up (at this prefent time) of jealoufies, Fears and Animofities amongft Proteftants, which o. thers judge ferviceable unto that End. But that which animates all thefein!nuations, charges. and Re- ports, is our Thankful acceptance of the Indulgence granted by his Majefty by apublique Declaration force years ago whereby itjhouldfern the Pap f s thought to makeforrie advantage, 'though they were deceiv'd in their Expectation. Imuft needsfay that whatever be the true Cafe in reference thereto in point ofLatin, that inmy judgment itfcarcely anflvereth that Loyalty ande regardunto bis Majetties honour, whichfume men Prod Jef:, when all' his 4Etions arefuited to their. Interefts :

To the. Reader. to continuefuck outcries about-that Which was his own foie Ail by the advice ofhis Counfel. We did indeed Thankfully accept and make ufe of this Royal Favour ; and after that for fo many years De had been expojed to all manner of f fferings and Penalties, whereby multitudes were ruined in their gates, andfome loft their Lives, and that without hopes of any gemißion o. f feverity from the Parliament that thenfate, by their miflake ofthe true Interefi of the kingdom, wherein alone they did not mifi it, we )vere glad to take a little breathing fpace from our troubles, under his Majeflies Royal ProteEtion, defign'd onely as an Ex- pedient (as was ufual informer times) for the Peace and Profperity ofthe Kingdom, until the whole mat- ter might be fettled in Parliament. And if this. 'mere a crime habetis confitentem ream, as to my part. But becaufe Iknowmy fef herein peculiarly refleEted on, I do avow, that never any one Perfon in Authority, Dignity or Power in the Nation, nor any one that bad anyrelation untopublick Afairs, nor any from them, Papi3t or Proteflant, did once [peak one word to me,or advfe )with me, about any Indulgence or Toleration to be granted unto Papifis ; I Challenge all the World who are other)v f Minded, to intermit theirfervice for a feafon:unto the great /age Accu` er, and prove the Contrary if they can ; Thè Perfons are fiefaciently a z kno)vn

To the Reader: known, ofwhom they may make their Enquiry. But Ican caft this afo, into the fame heap or bundle of other Pie f Surmizes and 12eports, concern- ing me almo 'mithout number which it would be a Zbonder thatTome' nien lhould pretend to believe and divulge as theyhave done, i f we were bound to judge that their Charity and Prudence were proportionable unto their Dignities and Promotions. Thefe things mull be, whilfl Intereft, with Hopes and Fears, rvain Love, and Hatred thence ailing, do fleer the Minds of Men. But what if we have not de lip'cl the prevalence or IntroduE ion of Popery yet being a company . of filly Fellows, we havefuffered ourfelves to be whea- died by the fefüites, to be affivefor the cutting of our, own throats ;. for we arefull well fatisfled, that wefhould bee, the 'very frf who fhould drink of the Cup oftheir fury, could they ruine the Protefiant In- terefi in England.. find into fuch- an unhappy poa f lure of Af fairs are we fallen, that whereat it is E- vident we do nothingfor the promotion ofPopery, but only, pray againfl it, preach againfi it, write againfl it, infiruEt the people inprinciples ofTruth whereon to avoid it and Cordially joyn with all true Protefiants in the oppofìtion: of it, wherein' we are charged with an exee that is lik to fpoil all ; yet thefe Crafty Blades.

To the Reader: Blades know hoiv to turn it all unto their advan- tage- As it _Mould feem therefore there remaines nothingfor Non-conformtlts to do in this matter ; but to bind,themfelves hand andfoot, and give themfelves up unto the power of the Papi.fts ; for all they do a- gainf them , doth but promote their Intereît. r13ut this I am perfivaded they will be greatly unwilling unto, unlefs they are well a/jured, that their Epfco= pal Friends will be more ready to expofe themfelves to. hazard for their prefervation and deliverance,- then yet they have reafon to expeE that they ïill. But for my part Iwas a long time fince taught an Expedient by an eminent pertnape for thefreeing myfeif from any inclination to a Compliance îvith Popery, and that in the Irfance of himfelf. For being in Ireland when there vat informer dayes, a great nofe about Reconciliation a Perfon of his own. Order and Degree in the Court of England, wrote unto him. to inform him, of a Deport, that he was enclin'd to a Reconciliation with Popery, or a Compliance. on Good Terms with the Church ofRome and lvith-- al defired him, that if it werefo, he would Commu- nicateunto him the Reafon of his Judgment. But that great and wfe Perfónage, underftanding full. well whereunto thefe things tended, returned no anfwer but this. onely ;. That be knew no reafon. for any fuck=

To the. Reader: fuch Report ; For he was lure, that he believ- ed the Pope to be Antichril , which put an abfo- lute Period unto the Entercourf . And I can infift on thefame defenfative, again fortyfuch Arguments a are ufed toprove us compliant )vith the Papal Inte- reft ; and fo I believe can all the Non%confirms. And if this be not enough I can for my part fubfcribe unto the Conclufìon which that moft eminent Champion of the Ptoteftant eligion in England , namely Whitaker, gives unto his learned Dfputeltion about Antichrif$; Igitnr (faith he) fequamur prxeun- reem Spi ritum San&um, & libere dicamus, de- fendamus, clamemus, & per eum qui vivit in xternum juretnus, pontificem Romanum elfe Antichrifl um. If this will not fu f fece, eve knob? better holy to 'Pend our remaining haloes of Life and Peace, then in Contending about impertinent ftories andJurmies, ex- hal'd by Wit and Invention out of the bogge offecular Intereft. And (hall therefore only affure thofe by whom we are Charged, in the Pulpit, or Coffee-houfes, or from the Pref, to Countenance the promotion of the Papal Intereft in the Nation, that a they deal unju.Ytiy 'Did, us herein, and weaken the Prote.Ftant Intereft -what lies in them ; fo let them and others do and

To the Reader, andfay what they pleafe, nothingfall ever Jhake us in our Refolution by the help of sod, to abide in a firm Conjunction with all fincere Proteftants for the profrvation ofour Religion., and in oppofition to the Papifts ; yea that we would do fo îvith our lives at the Stake, i f there were none left to abide in the faine 76-timony but our,felves ; But ifthey think that there is no -mayfor 146 to be ferviceable againft Popery, but by debauching our Confcicnces with that Conformity which they prefcribe unto us, we beg their pardon, 1ve are ofanother Mind. .../.. The

i et, .7) it, ë u i0» (7" The Preface. An Examination of the General Principles of Dr. Stil- lingfleet's Book of the Unreafonablenefs of S E- PAg4TIo7c. TH E Differences and Contefts among profeffed Chriftians about the Nature, Power, Order, Rule andRefdence of the Gofpel Chiirch State, with the Intereû ofeach Diffenting Party there- in, have not only been great, and of long continuance, but havealto fo defpifed all ways and means of allaying or abatement, that they Teem to be more and more enflamed every day;and to threatenmore pernicious confequents, then any theyhave already produced; which yet have been of the worft ofEvilsthat the World for Tome Ages hath groan- ed under. For the Conmunion, fo much talked of, amongft Churches, is almott come only, unto an Agreement and Onenefs in defìgn for the mutual and forcible Extermination ofone another;at leapt this is the profeffed Principle ofthem who lay the loudeft claim to the Name and Title,with all the Rights and Priviledges of the Church ; Nor are others far remote from the fame L efign, who adjudge all who diffent B from

2 The Preface. from themfelves, into fuch a condition, as wherein they are much inclined to think it meet they fhould be deftroyed. That which animates this conteft, which gives it Life and Fiercenefs, is a fuppoled enclofure of certain Priviledges and Advantages Spiritual and Temporal, real or pretend- ed, unto the ChurchElate contended about. Hence moft men feem to think that the principal, ifnot their only con- eerntuent in Religion, is, of what Church they are ; fo as that a diffent from them, is fò evil, as that there is almoft nothing elfe that hath any very confiderable evil in it. When this is once well riveted in their Minds by them whole fecular Advantages lye in the Enclofure, they are in a Readinefs to bear a {hare in all the evils that unavoidably enfue on fuch Divifions. By this means among others, is the frate or condition of Chriflian Religion as unto its pub- lick Profeffion, become at this day fo deplorable as cannot well be expreffed. What with the bloody anddefolating Wars of Princes and Potentates, and what with the Dege- neracy of the Community of the People from the Rule of theGofpel in Love, Meeknefs, Self-denial, Holinefs, Zeal, theUniverfal MortificationofSin, and Fruitfulnefs inGood Works, the Profeffion of Chriftianity is become but a fad Reprefentation of the Vertues of him who calls out ofDark- nefr into his Marvellous Light. Neither doth there feem at prefent tobe any defign or expefration in the Molt for the ending ofControverfies about the Church, but Force and the Sword ; which God forbid. It is therefore high time that a lober Enquiry be made whether there be any fuch Churchfate ofDivine Inflitution as thofe contended about. For if it should appear upon Trial, that indeed there is not, but that all the fierce digla- diations of the Parties at Variance, with the doleful effe is that attend them, have proceeded on a falle fuppofition, in an adherence whereunto they are confirmed by their Inte- refts,

The Preface. 3 refts, force advances may be made towards their Abate- ment. However ifthis may not be attained, yet Directions may be taken from the Difcoveryofthe Truth, for the ufe of themwho are willing to be delivered from all concern- ment in thefe fruitlefs endlefs contefts, and to reduce their wholePractice in Religion unto the Inllitutions, Rules, and Commands of our Lord Jefus Chrift. Andwhere all hopes ofa general Reformation feem to fail, it favours fomewhat ofan unwarrantable Severity, to forbid them to reform themfelves who are willing fo todo ; provided they admit ofno other Rule in what they fo do, but the Declaration ofthe Mind of Chrift in the Gofpel, carrying it peaceably towards all Men, and firmlyadhering unto the Faith once delivered unto the Saints. To make an Entrance into this Enquiry, the enfuing Difcourfe is deigned. And there can be no way of the Mannagement of it,but by a diligent impartial fearch into the Xature, Order, Power and Rule of the Gofpel Church ílate, as inftituted, determined and limited by our Lord Jefus Chrift andhis Apoflles. When we depart from this Rule, fo as not to be regulated by it, in all Inftances of Fact, or pleas ofRight that afterwards fell out, we fall in- to the confufion of various Prefumptions, fuited unto the Apprehenfions and Interefls ofmen, impofed on them from the Circumftances of the Ages wherein they lived. Yet is it not tobe denied, but that much Light into the nature of ,,Qpoflolical Inflitutions, may be received from the declared Principles andPraftices ofthe fzrfl Churches for the fpace of 20o years, or thereabouts. But that after this the Chur- ches did infenfibly depart invarious degrees from the fiat; Rule, and Order, oftheApoflolical Churches, mutt I fup- pofe be acknowledged by all thofe who groan under the final Iffue ofthat gradual Degeneracy in thePapal Autichri- flian Tyranny. For ?omewas not built in a day, nor was B 2 this

4 The Preface. this change introduced at once, or in one Age, nor were the leffer Alterations which began this Declenfion, fo pre- judicial unto the Being, Order, and Purity of the Chur- ches, as they proved afterwards, through a continual addi- tional encreafe in fucceeding Ages. Having affirmed fomething of this nature in my brief Vindication ofthe .Nonconformifts from the Guilt of Schifme, the Reverend Dr: Stillingfleet in his late Treatife entitled, The 2.lnreafonablenefs ofSeparation, doth not only deny it, but reflects with fome feverity upon the Mention of it Part 2. Set. 3.pag. 225, 2 26, &c. I fhall therefore on this Occafion reaffume the confiderationof it, although it will be fpokenunto alto, afterwards. The Words he oppofeth are thefe; It is poble that an impartial Account mayere long be given of theRate andways of thefrrft Churches, after the deceafe of the ,Jfpo.s`tles, wherein it will be made to appear how they did infenrbly deviate in many thingsfrom the Ruleoftheir firfl in,ftitution , fo as that though their Mi.ftaIes were of fmall moment, and not prejudicial unto their Faith and Order, yet occailon was adminis`tred unto fue- eceding,,.Qges to encreaf thofe Deviations, until theydied. in a fatal ,/fpoftacy; I yet fuppofe there words inoffegfive, and agreeable unto the Sentiments ofthe Generality ofProte- ftants. For, t. Unto thefirTh Churches after the Apoftles, I afcribe no- thing but fuckfnall MiFtaf¿es as did no way prejudice their Faith or Order. And that they did preferve the latter as well as the former, as unto all the fubflantial Parts of it, (hall be afterwards declared. Nor do I refleît any more upon them, then did Hegelippus in Eufbius, who confines theVirgin `Purity of the Church unto the days of the Apo- files ; lib. 3. cap. 29. The greater Deviations which I in- tend,began not until after the end ofthefecond Century. But, w. To Evince the improbability of any Alteration in Church..

The Preface. 5 Church Rule and Order, uponmy own Principles, he in- timates both here and afterwards, that my yudgment is that the Government ofthe Church was Democratical, and tae Po- wer ofit in the People in diflineiionfrom its Officers 5 which is a great Miftake 5 I never thought, I never wrote any filch thing. I do believe that the Authoritative *le, or Govern- ment of' the Church, was, is, and ought to be in the El- ders and Rulers of it, being an A6t of the Office-Power committed unto them by Chrift himfeif Howbeit my Judgment is, that they ought not to Rule the Church, with Force, Tyranny, and Corporal 'Penalties, or without their ownconfénr, whereofwe (hall treat afterwards. Thereare alfo other Miftakes in the fame Dikourfe which I {hall not infift upon. 3. This therefore is that which he oppofeth, namely, that there was a Deviation in various degrees, andfalling of from the Original Irfiitution, Order, andRule ofthe Church, until it ¶ued in afatal Apofla/ïe. This is that which on the prefent Occafion muff be further fpoken unto; For if this be not true, I confefs there is an end ofthis contef}, and we mutt all acquiefce in the State, Rule, and Order, that was in the Church ofRome before the Reformation. But we may ob- ferve fomething yet farther in theVindication andConfirma- tion of thisTruth,which E acknowledge to be the Foundati- onofall that we plead for inpoint ofChurch Reformation.As. r. That the Reafons andArguings of the Do6tor in this Matter, the Neceffity of his Caufe compelling him there- unto, are the fame with thofe of the Papi.fis about the A poftacy of their Church, in Faith, Order, and Worship,. wherewith they are charged ; namely, when, where, how was this Alteration made, who made oppo. tion unto it ; and . the like. When theft. Enquiries are multipiyed by thePa= pills, as unto the whole Caufes between them and us; he knows well enough how to give fatisfaFtory Anfwers unto them

6 The Preface. them, and fomight do in this particular unto himfelf alto 's but I (hail endeavour tocafe him ofthat trouble at prefent. Only T muft fay that it is fallen out fomewhat nnexpe6ted- ly, that the Ruins of the principle Bulwarkof the Papacy, which bath been effe&ually demoliíhed by the Writings of Proteftants of all forts, -fhould be endeavoured to be re- paired by a Perfon, juftly made eminent by his Defence of the Proteftant Religion againft thofe ofthe ChurchofRome. 2. But it may be pleaded, that although the Churches following the firtt Ages, did infenfibly degenerate from the Purity and fimplicity ofGofpel Faith and i''or/hip, yet they neither did nor could do fo, from an Adherence unto, and abiding in their Original conilitution ; or from the due Ob- fervationof Church Order,_ Rule, and Difcipline, leatt of all could this happen in the Cafe of Diocefan Epifcopacy. I Anfwer z. That as unto the Original of' any thing that looks like DiocefanEpifcopacy, or the Paftoral Relation of one Perfon of a diftin t order from Presbiters, unto many particular compleat Churches withOfficers of their own, with Power and Jurisdietionin them and over them, unto the Abridge- ment of the exercife of that Right and Power unto their own Edification, which every true Church is entrufted with- al by Jefus Chrift, it isvery uncertain, and was introduced by infenfible Degrees, according unto the effe&ual work- ing of the Mi.flery of Iniquity. Some fay, that there were two diftinec Orders, namely, thofe of Bifiops andPresby- ters, inftituted at first, in all Churches planted by the A poftles ; But as the contrary may be evidently proved, fo a fuppofition of it, would no way promote the caufe of Diocefan Epifcopacy, until thofe who plead for it have de- rnonftrated the State of the Churches wherein they were placed, to be of the fame nature with thofe now called Diocefan ; Wherefore this Hypothe, fs begins generally tobe deferted,

The Preface. deferted, as it teems to be by this Author: Others fuppofe that immediately upon, or at, or after the Deceafe of the Apoftles, this new Order of Bifhops was appointed to fuc- ceed the Apoffles in the Government ofthe Churches, that were then gathered or planted. But how, when, or by whom, by what tuthority, Apollolical and Divine, or Ec- clefiaflical only and humane, nonecan declare ; feeing there is not the leaft footftep ofany lath thing either in the Scrip- ture or in the Records that remain of the primitive Church- es. Others think thisnewOrder of Officers, took its occa- fional Rife, from the Praecice ofthe Presbyters of the Church at .Alexandria, who chofe out one among themfèlves con- ftantly toprefide in the Ruleofthe Church, and in all mat- ters ofOrder, unto whom they afcribedforce kind of Pre- heminence and Dignity, peculiarlyappropriating unto him the name ofBifhop. And if this be true as unto matter of Fast, I reckon it unto the Beginnings ofthofe lefi harmful Deviations from their OriginalConftitution; which Iaffign- ed unto Primitive Churches ; But many Additions mull be made hereunto, before it will help the Caufe of Diocefan Epifeopacy. What other occafions hereof were given or taken, what Advantages were made ufe of toyromote this Alteration, {ball be touched upon afterwards. 2. Whymay not the Churches be fuppofed to have de- parted from their original Con.flitution, Order, andRule, as well as from their firft Faith and Worship, which they did gradually in many fucceffive Ages, until bothwere utterly corrupted. The Caufes, Occafions, and Temptations lead- ing unto the former, are to the full as pregnant as thofe leadingunto the latter. For z. There was no vicious corrupt difpofition of Mind, . that began more early towork in Church Officers, nor did more grow and thrive in the Minds ofmany, then Amcition, withdelire ofPreheminence, Dignity, and Rule. It is not to.

8 The Preface. to be fuppófed that Diotrephes was alone in his Delire of Preheminence, nor in the irregular a&ings of his unduly affumed Authority. However we have one (lgnal In.5lance in him, ofthe Deviation that was in the Church with him, from the Rule of its Original Conftitution. For he pre- vailed fo far therein, as by his own fingle Epifcopal Power to reje& the Authority ofthe. Apoftles, and to cail themout ofthe Church, who complyed not with his humour. How effe&ually the fame Ambition wrought afterwards, in many others poffefling the fame Placein their Churches with Dio- trephes, is fizfficiently evident in all Eccleflallical I i ones. It is far from being the only Inftance of the Corruption of Church Order and Rule, by the Influenceof this Ambition, yet it is one that is pregnant, which isgiven usby imbrofe, for faith he, Eccleria ut Synagoga, Seniores babuit, quorum fine con,cilio nihil agebatur in Eccle[ia; quod qua negligentia ob- f leverit nefcio, nihforte doïlorurn de(cidia, aut magicfuperbia, darnfoli volunt aliquid videri. In a, ad Timoth. cap. 5. It Teems therewasfome alteration in Church Rule and Order in his Time, whole Beginning and Progrefs hecould not well difcover and trace, but knew well enough, that fo it was then come to pais. And ifhe who lived fo near the Times whereinfilch fiterationswere made, could not yet difcover their firft Infinuation, nor their fubtieProgrefs, it is unrea- fonable to exa& a {tri& account ofus in things ofthe fame nature, who live fo many Ages after their firft Introdu&ion. But this he judgeth, that it was the `Pride or ,Afrnbition of the DoElors ofthe Church, which introduced that Alteration in its Order. Whereas therefore we fee in the Event, that all Deviations from the Original Conftitution of Churches, all Alterations in their Rule and Order, did iffue in a com- pliance with the .Ambition ofChurch Rulers, as it did in the Papal Church; and this Ambition was fignally noted as one ofthe firft depraved Inclinations of Mind that wrought m

The `Preface. 9 in Eccleliaflical Riders, and which in the fourth and fifth Centuries openly proclaimed itfelf unto the feandal of Chriftian Religion, there was a greater difpofition in them unto a Deviation from the Original Inftitution; Rule, and Order of the Church, no way fuited unto the frtisfadionof that ,/lmbirion, thenunto a Defe &ion from the PurityofFaith and Worship; which yet alfo followed. 2. As the Inclination ofmany,lay towards fuch a De- viation, fo their Interefts lead them unto it, and their Temptations cats them upon it. For to acknowledge the Truthunto our Author and Others, the Rule and Con- dud of the Church, the Prefèrvationof its Order and Difcipline according unto its firft Inftitution,' and the Dire&ions givenin the Scripture about it, are according unto our Apprehenfion of thefe things, "a Matter fo weighty in itfelf, fò dangerous as unto its 'fine, attend- ed with fo many Difficulties, Trials and. Temptations, laid under fuch fevere Interdictions of Lordly Power, or Peeking either of Wealth or. Dignity, that no wife men will ever undertake it, but meetly out of a fenfe ofa Call from Chrift unto it, and in compliance with that Duty which he owes unto him. It is no pleaCnt thing unto Fleth and Blood, tobe ingaged in the con- dud and overfight of Chrifls Volunteers, to bear with their manners, to exercife all Patience towards them iri their Infirmitiesand Temptations, towatch continually over their walkings and converfation, and thereon per-, fonally to exhort and admonifh them all, to fearch dili- gently and fcrupuloufly into the irle ofthe Scripture for their Warranty in every At of their Power and Duty; under all their Weakneffes and Mifcarriages, continuing an high valuation of them, as ofthe Flockof God ,xvl ich , C. he

lo The `Preface. he hathpurchajd with hisown `Blood, with fundry other things of the like kind, all under an abiding fenfe, of the near approach of that great Account which they mutt; give of the whole Truft and Charge committed unto them, before the Judgment feat ofChritt ; for the mot} part peculiarly expofed unto all manner of Dan- gers, Troubles, and Perfecutions, without the leaf{ en- couragement from Wealth, Power, or Honour. It is no wonder therefore ifmany in the Primitivetimes,were willing gradually to extricate themfelves out of this un- eaTe condition, and to embrace all occafions and oppor- tunities of introducing infenfibly another Rule and Or- der into the Churches, that might tend more unto the exaltation of their ownPower, Authority, and Digni- ty, and free them in Tome meafure, from the weight of that important charge, and continual care with labour, which a diligent and ftri&. Adherence unto the ,irfi in- srfitution ofChurches, and Rules given for their Orderand Government, in the Scripture, would have obliged them unto. And this was done accordingly ; until in the fourth and fifth Centuries and fo onward, the Bifhops under various Titles, began by their Arbitrary `-?isles and Canons, to difpofe of the Flock of Chrift, to part and divide them among themfelves, without their own knowledgeor confent,as ifthey had conquered them by the fcvord. This Bifbop [hall have fuch a {hare and num- ber ofthem under his Power, and that other fo many ; fb far {hall the jurisdiClion of one extend, and fo far that of another, was the fubje& of many of their De- crees and Laws, for the Rule of the Church. But yet neither did they long keep within thole Bounds and Li- mits which their more model{ Ambition had at Mt pre- kribed unto them ; but took occafion from thefe Be- ginnings

The Trefice. ginnings to contend among themfelves, about -Preherni- nence, Dignity and Power, in which conterr, the ` Bi- fbop of `kome at length remained Mafter of the Field, thereby obtaining a fecond Conqueft ofthe World. 3. That there was fuch a graduel Deviation from the Original Inftitution of Churches, their Order and Rule, is manifeft in theEvent. For thechange became at length as great as the diflance is between the Golpel and the Rule of Chrift over his Church, on the one hand, and the Canon Law with the Tope or Antichrifi fet over the Church on the other. This change was not wrought at once, not in one Age, but by an infenfi- ble Progreß even from the Days of the Apoffles unto thofe dark and evil times wherein the Topes of Rome were exalted into an abfoluteTyranny over all Church- es unto the fatietyoftheir Ambition. For 4. This Xifiery of Iniquity began to work in the days of the Apoffles themfelves, in the fuggeftions of Satan and the Lufts of Men, though in a manner latent and imperceptible unto the wifeft and belt of Men. For that this Milieu, ofthe Iniquity confifted in the effeau- al Workings of the Pride, Ambition, and other Vices of the Minds of Men, excited, enticed, and guided, by the craft ofSatan, until it iffued in the Idolatrous pet-recut- ing State of the Church ofRomc,wherein all Church Rule, Order, and WorfhipofDivine Inftitution was utterly defteoyed or corrupted, we [hail believe, until we Ge an Anfwer given unto the learned Writings ofall forts of Proteftants whereby it hath been proved. Thefe things are fufficient to Vindicate the Truth of the Affertion which the Dolor oppofe.th, and to free it from his Exceptions. But becaufe, as was obkrved C 2 before,

12 The `Preface, before, the f ppoi%tion hereof, is the foundation of all our present contefts about Church Order and Rule, I (hall yet proceed a little farther in the Declarationof the Way and manner whereby the Apoftacy alerted was begun, and carried on. And I shall not herein inlìft on particular Inftances, nor make a Tranfcriptián of Stories out ofantient Writers, giving Evidence unto the Truth, becaufe it bath been abundantly done byothers, especially thofe of Magdeburg in the (sixth and feventh Chapters oftheir Centuries, unto whofc 'Observations ma- ny other Learned men have made considerable Additi- ons ; but I (hall only treat in general of the Caufes, Ways and Manner, of the Beginning and Progress of the Apoftacy or Declenlion of Churches from their first Institution, which fell out in the fuccef live Ages after the Apostles efpecially after the End of the ficond Centu- ry, until when, Divine Inftitutions as unto the fubs`iánce of them, were preferved entire. Decays in any kind even in things K:atural and `Po- liticzl, are hardly difcernable butin and by their effects. When an Heëlick Difiemper befalls the Body ofany marl, it is oftimes not to be discerned until it is impossible to be cured.The Roman Hifforian gives this advice untohis Readers ; . after he hath considered the ways and means whereby the Empire came to its Greatness ; labente de- lude difiplina vetut diffidentesprimo moresfequatur animo ; delude-ut magis mag f ; lapI lint, turn ire cxperint prxci- pites, donee ad shee tempera, quibua nec vitia nofira, nec remedia pati pof fumais, periculum eft. Liv. Prxfat His words do not give us a more graphical Defeription of the Rife and Decay, as unto Vertue and Vice, of the Roman empire, then of the Roman Church, as unto Es Rife by Holiness and Devotion, and its Ruine by Sen- fuality

The Preface. 13. futility, Ambition, the utter neglea of the Difcipline of Chrift, and'Superftition. But yet let any man perufe that fliflorian who wrote with this exprefs DeGgn, he frail hardly fix upon many ofthofe in.ftañces whereby the Empire came into that deplorable condition, wherein it wasnot able to bear its Diempers nor its Cure, fuch as.. was the State of the Church before the Reformation. But betides thecommon difficultyof difcovering theBe- ginnings and gradual Progreffion of Decays, DeclenG- ons and Apoftacy, thofe which we treat ofwere begun and carried 'on in a myflerious manner; that is, by the effe&ual working of the Myflery of Iniquity. As this almoft hid totally the work of it, from the Ages wherein it was wrought, fo it renders the Difcovery of it now accomplifhed, the moredifficult. 'aJengers in a Ship letting out to Sea, oftimes difcern not the progref G,ve:Notion of the Ship; yea, for a while the Land ra- -ther feems to tomove from them, then the Veffel where- in they are from it., But after a Seaton the confidera- tion ofwhat Dance they are at from their Port, gives them fufficient Affurance of the Progrefs that hath been made. So is this Declention of the Churches from their Primitive Order and Inftitution, is difcoverable, rather by meafiiring the Diftance between what it left, and what it arrivedunto, then byexprefs Inflances ofit. But yet is it not altogether likeuntothat ofa Ship at Sea, but rather unto tie way ofa Serpent on a Roc!¿," which leaves Come [lime in all its turnings and windings, whereby he may be traced. Such Marks are left on Record, ofthe Serpentine Works ofthis My.11ery of Iniquity, as whereby it may be traced, with more or le(s Evidence from its Original Interefbs unto its Accomplifhment, The rrincípal promoting caufes of this Defe uion on the

14 The Preface. the part ofmen, were thole afíigned by St. Ambrofe it1 one Inftance of it, namely, the : egligence ofthePeo ple, and the ./innbitionofthe Clergy. I ¡peak asunto the State, Rule, Dilcipline and Order ofthe Church ; for as unto the Doctrine and Worfhip of it, therewere many other caufes andmeans of their Corruption,which belong not unto our prefent purpofe. But as unto the Alterations that were begun and carried on in the State, Order, and Rule ofthe Church, they arofe from thofe fprings of Negligence on the one hand, and ./4mbition on the other, with want ofskill andmifdom to mannage outwardoccurrencesand incidencies, or what Alteration fell out in the outward {fate and conditionof the Church in thisWorld.Forhence it came to pafs,that inthe Accef- fionof theNations in general unto the Profeffion ofthe Gofpel, Church Order was fuited and framedunto their feecular State, when they ought to have been brought into the fpiritual State and Order of the Church, leaving their Political State entireunto themfelves. Herein I fay did the Guides ofthe Church certainly miß their Rule and depart from it, in the dayes ofConfiantine the Em- perour and afterwardsunder other Chriftian Emperours, whenwhole Towns, Cities, yea and Nations offeredat once to joyn themfelves unto it. Evident it is, that they were not wrought hereunto by the fame Power, nor in- duced unto it, on the fame Motives, or lead bythe fame means with thofe who formerly under Pei ecution were converted unto the Faith ofour Lord Jefus Chrift. And this quickly manifefted itfelf in theLives and Converfa- tions of many, yea ofthe molt of them. Hence thofe which were wife, quickly underftood, that what the Church had got in multitude and number, it had loft in theBeauty and Glory of its holy Profeffion. Chryfo,fiorne in

The 'Preface. 15 in particular complains of it frequently, and in many places cries out, What have I to do with this Multitude, a few ferions Believers are more worth than them all. However the Guides ofthe Church thought meet to re-. ceive them, with all their Multitudes, into their commu- nion, at leaít fo far as to place them under the yurisdicfi- on of fuch and fuch Epifcopal Sees. For hereby, their own Power, Authority, Dignity, Revenues, were en- larged and mightily encreafed. On this Occafion, the antïent Primitive way of admitting Members into the Church being relinquifbed, the confideration of their Perfonal Qualifications, and real Converfion unto God, omitted, fuch Multitudes being received as could not partake in all A&s and Duties ofCommunion with thofe particular Churches, whereunto they were difpofed, and being the molt of them unfit to be ruled by the Power and Influenceofthe Commands of Christ on their Minds and Confciences, it was impoffible but that a great Alte- ration muff enfue in theState, Order, and Rule ofthe Churches, and a great Deviation from their original In- ftitution. Men may fay that this Alteration was necef- fary, that it was Good, and Ufeful, that it was but the Accommodation ofgeneral Rules unto efpecial Occafi- ons and circumltances; but that therewas an Alteration hereon in all thefe things, none can with Modefty deny. And this is enough unto my prefent Defign, being only to prove, that fuch Alterations and Deviations did of old fall out. Neither ought we tocover theprovoking Degeneracy ofthe Generality ofChri(tians, in the4th. and çh. Centuries, with thofe that followed. The con- fideration ofit, is necefl ry unto the Vindication ofthe Holy Providence of God , in the Government ofthe World, and of the flithfulnefsof Christ in his dealing with

16 The Prefice. with his Church. For there hath been no Nation in the Worldwhich publickly received Chriftian Relígiòn,but it. bath been wafted and deftroyed by the (word of`Pa- gan Idolaters, or filch as are no better then they. At firft all the Provinces of the Weilern Empire, were one after another made defolate by the Pagan Nations of the Northern Countreys ; who themfelves did afterwards fo turnÇhriftians; as,to lay among; them the Foundati- on of .anti-Chrif7ianifine, Rev. 17. 12, 13. The &flern Empire comprehending the Refidue of the Provinces that had embrace& the Chriftian Religion, was firfi de- folated in the chiefBranches' of it, by the Saracens, and at length utterly deftroyed by theTurks. And I pray God that the like Fate doth not at this day hang over the Reformed Nations,as from their Profeßion they are called. Dowe think that all this was without caufe ? Did God give up his Inheritance to the (poil of Barba- rous Infidels, withoutfuch provocations, as the paffing by whereof, was inconfiftent with the Holinefs and Righteoufuefs ofhis Rule? It was not the Wifdom, nor the Courage, nor the Multitude oftheir Enemies, but their own Sins, Wickednefs, Sulerftition, 'and Apofta- cy from the Rule ofGofpel-Order, Worffiip and Obe- dience, which ruined all Chriftian.Nations. But to give fartherEvidence hereunto, I .hall confi- der the caafis aforementioned diftinétly and apart. And the firft of them is the Negligence of the people them- felvés. But in this Negligence I comprize both the Ig- norance, Sloth, Worldlinefs, Decay inGifts and Graces, with Superftirion in fundry Inftances, that in many of them were the caufes of it. Dr. Stil. pleads that it is very unlikely that the 'People would forego their Interei in the

The Preface. 17 the Government ofthe Churches, -if ever they had any f ch thing, without great and Trouble. For, faith he, Government isfo rice and tender a thing, that every one is fo much concernedfor his(hare in it, that men are not ea lily induced to part with it. Let so firppof the fudgement of the Church to *ave been_Democratical at farfi, as Dr. O. feems to do, rs it- probable that the 'People would have been wheadled cùt of the fireetnef ofGovernment f foon, and made no noife about it ? pag. 226. His Mittake about my Judgment herein bath been marked before. No o- ther Intereff or {hare in_ the Government is afèrìbed by us unto the People, but that they may be ruled 'by their own confnt, and that they may be allowed to yeild O- bedience in the Church, unto the commands ofChriff and his Apoftles, given unto them for that End. This Intere1t they neither did nor could f rego, without their: own Sin and Guilt, 'in.riegle6ting the Exercife of the Gifts and Graces which they ought to have had, and the Performance of the Duties whereunto they were obliged. But for any ingagement on their Minds from thefweetnef of Government wherein their concern .prin- cipally -confits in ..án underftanding voluntary Obedi- ence unto the com bands ofChrift, they had nothing of it. Take alto in general, Government to be, as the Government of the Church is, meerly a Duty, Labour, andService, w-ithout thófe Advantages ofPower, Eafè, Dignity; and Wealth, which have been annexed unto it ; and it will be hard to difcover fuch a Nicety or Sweetnef in it, as to oblige unto Pertinacy, in an adhe- rence unto it. If the Government of the Church were apprehended to confitt, in mens giving themfelves wholly to the Word and `Prayer, in watching - continually over the Flock; in acurate carefulnefs to do -and ad nothing D in

8 The Prefacc% in the Church but in theName and Authority ofChrift, by the Warranty of his Commands, with a confiant Exercifè ofall Gifts and Graces ofthe Holy Spirit which they have received., in thefe and all other Duties of their Office, and that without the leaft Appearance of Domination, or the procuring of Dignity, Secular Hon- ours, and Revenues thereby, it may be, a [hare and sIntereft in it, would not be fo earnefily coveted and fought after, as at prefent it is. Nor is there any more pertinency inhis enfuing Cappofal, of a change in the Go- vernment of the Congregational Churches in London, ingt- ting up one Man to rule over them all and to appoint their jevcralTeachers,&c. p. 227. which could not be done with- out noifis. It is in vain to fear it, Non o szkimus quo to vere, eNlodo. and impertinent in this cafe to fitppofe it. For it fpeaks ofa fircidain total Alteration in the State, Order andRule ofChurches to be made at once, whereas our Difcourfe is ofthat which wasgradual in manyAges by Degreesal- moff imperceptible. But yet I can give no fecurity that the Churches ofour way, fhall not in procefs oftime, de- cline from their Primitive Conflitutionand Order,either in their Power and Spirit, in Faith and Love, or in the outward Prafice ofthem, unlefs they continually watch againfi all Beginnings and Occafions offuch Declenfions, and frequently renew their Reformation ; or if it be o- therwife, they will have better fuccefs then any Church- es in the World ever yet had, even thofe that were of the planting ofthe Apoffles themfelves, as is manifefted in the Judgment that our Lords Jefus Chrift paffed on them,

The `preface. r 9 them, Rev. 2. and 3. The Negligence of the People which iffued in their unrtnefs to be difpofed of and ru- led according to the Principles ofthe firft Conflitution of Church Order, maybe confidered either as it gave oc- cafion unto thofe leffir Deviations from the Rule, which did not much prejudice the Faith and Order of the Churches, or as it occafioned greater .flterations in the enfùing Ages. And ( I. ) The great, and perhaps in fome things, ex- ceffive Veneration which they had of their Tifhops or Pallor!, did probably occafion in them force negle6t of their own Duty. For they were eafily induced hereon, not only implicitely to leave the Mannagement of all Church Affairs unto them, but an Zealoufly to comply with their Miflakes. The. Church, of Smyrna giving an Account of the Martyrdom of holy Polycarpus, tells us, that when he afcended the Pile wherein he was to be burned,that he pulled offhis own cloths, and endeavoured to pull offhisAooes, which he had not done before, becaufe the Faitl. fl JIrove among themfelves who fhould fooneji touch his `Body ; Eufeb. lib. 4. cap. 15. I think there can be no Veneration due to a Man, which was not fo unto that great and holy Perlon. But thofe who did fo ex- prefs it, might eafily be induced to place too much of their Religion, in an implicite compliance with them un- to whom they are fo devoted. Hence a Negligence in themfelves as unto their particular Ditties did enfue. They were quickly far from efleeming it their Duty to fay unto their Pallor or Bifbop, that he fbould take heed unto the lair,Irywhich he had received in the Lord to fa- fill it, as the Apoftle enjoyns the Coloffians to fày to Ar- chippus their áaflor ; chap. 4. 17 . but begun to think that the Glory of obfequious Obedience, was all that D 2 was

NMI 20 The `Preface. was left unto them. And hencedid Lome of the Clergy begin to affume to themfelves, and to,afcribe untoone another, great fwelling Titles ofHonour, and names of, Dignity, (amongft which the Blafphemous Title of His Holineff was at length appropriated unto the `I3ijl.>op of Conte) whereinthey openly departed from Apoflolical Simplicity and Gravity. But there things fell out after the writing' of the Epiftle of Clemens, of thole ofthe ChurchofVienna, and Smyrna, wherein no filchTitlesdo appear. (a.) Many of the Particular Churches of the firft `Plantations, encreafing greatly in the number of their Members, it was neither convenient nor fafe' that the whole Multitude lhould on all oecations come together its they did at firft, to confult about their common con- cerns, and difcharge the Duties of their Communion. For by Reafon of Danger from their, numerous Conventi- ons, they met in feveral Parcels,' as they had opportu- nity. Herewith they were contented, únlefs it wereup= on the greater occafions ofchon!ing their Officers and the like,whereonthe whole Churchmet together. This made them leave the ordinary Adminiftrationof all things in the Church, unto the Elders ofit, not concerning them- felves further therein, but Bill confirming Members of the fame particular Church. It is altogether improbable what Platina fromDaníafís affirmes in the Life ofEva ri/1irs about the End ofthe firft Century, that he difiri buted the Faithful at Rome into diftin& Titles or Pa- rifhes, with d ine# `Presbyters of their own. For it is.. apparent that in thole days wherein Perfecution was at its height, that the Meetings of Believers' were cccalional, with refpeCt unto their , Security, oft-times by Night, fometimes in' Caves tinder the Earth,. or in deferted Burial

The `Preface, 2! Burial places, at belt in private Houfes. And they had for what they did the Example of the Apoftolical Churches; Adis t. 13, I4../iis 2.46. chap. 4. 24,'3I. chap. 12'. 12. chap. 18. 7. chap. 20. 8. chap. 21. 18. In- [tames of lush Meetings may he rnultiplyed, efpecially in the Church ofRome. And to manifeft that they took this courfe upon Neceffity, when Peace begun to be re- flored at any time unto them, they defigned Temples that might receive the whole Multitude ofthe Church to- gether. The Diftribution mentioned into Titles and `Parishes, began a long time after,and in very few places within 3eo years. In this State, it is eafie to conceive what .Alterations might fall out in fome Churches from their Primitive Order, efpecially how the `People might defert their diligence and Duty in attendingunto all the concernsof the Church. And ifdiode things which the Apoftles wrote unto them in their Epifiles, the Inftru&i ons, Directions and Commands, how in all things they fhould ad and deport themfelves in the Church, be e fteemed to be Obligatory in all Ages, i cannot fee how after the fecond Century they were .much complyed withal, unleísit were in the Tingle Inftance of chooling their own Officers or Rulers. But Secondly; After there there enfued greater Occa fions ofgreater Variations from the Primitive Inftituti- on and Order of the Churches; on the Part ofthe Peo- ple. For i. Such JCtimbers ofthem were received into a Rela- tion unto particular Churches, as was inconfiftent with the Endsof their Inftitution, and the Obfervance ofthe Communion required in them, as will afterwards appear. And the Reliefes that were invented for this Inconveni- ency