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adly, We have in this matter said nothing, but what is in Thess; over and over asserted, by most or a|| Protestant VVriters, upon the fecond Commandment: 'who affert fully,that the t worshipping God in + Calvin, Perkins, Ames, Maca way not prescribed by him, is Ido- covius, Altingins, Wendeline. latry ; such as do so, are Idolaters : Param, Explicat. Care. P: 3. with our application hereof unto the 9.90. p.528. saith, Quid popretent Ministers of England, if they ftulat fecundum præceptum? Refare guilty (as that they are, hath me Deum ullâ imagine, aut figurâ been abundantly demonstrated) why exprimamus nevë ullâ alia rashould any be offended ? To speak tione cuns colamus, quam quâ So Truch, when our silence would be in suo verbo coli pracepit, i Sam. prejudicial to the souls of our Bre 15.23. Deut. 12. 30. Mat. Iso ihren, methinks should not be ac 9. And afterwards he addeth, counted unchrittian or censorious. Huic secundo Precepto contraria
Buc zdly, What would there Ob- funt ea, quæ vero cultui divino jectors have said to Tertulian, (that adversantur. 1. Idololatria,qua renowned Servant and V Virness of est cultus numinis fistilius, aut the Lord Jesus in his day) who is superftitiofus. Sunt autem Idoby far more nice in this point of l. lolatrie due species, præcipue : dolaty, than we have declared our una crassior, cum fictitium nuselves to be; He in his Book De
mex colitur Idololatria, chargeth such as make bibetur in imo præcepto, o aliStatues or Images, build or adorn quâ ex parte, in'tertio : altera eft
Idols Temples, (though it were their subtilior,. cum verus Deus coli · trade) Aftrologers, Schoolmasters, fingirur , fed errator in genere
(that name the names of Idols, cultus, boc eft, cum vero Deo making honorable mention of them culius fingitur prastari, aliqua irrtheir Orations) such as keep holy- opere, quod ipse non præcepit hæc dayes; dedicated to Idolatrous ser- species Idololatrie, hoc præcepro vice, as their Saturnalia (in the stead propriè damnatur, & nominatur
Beachensucía, five superstitio. And pag. 529. Qui peccant contra secundum præceptum, peccante contra primum, quia qui Deum aliter colunt, atque vult coli, illi fingunt Deum aliter effeétum, al que est, bas eft alium Deum : Ita non Deum, fed cerebri fui commentum, quod fic affectum esse sibi persuadent, colunt fingere alinm Dei culium, eft aliam Dei voluntatem, proinde “ alium Deo uma fingere, &c.
bác species pro
of which, is the time with us called Christmaß) &c, such as adorned their Gates, Pofts, Houses after the Pagan manner at Festivals, with Lawrel, Ivy, &c. as fympolizing with Idolaters: yet sure we are, he could not justly be charged with an unchristian-or censorious spirit. If it be further said,
Obj.2. But what hall we judge of Latimer, Ridley, Hooper, and many other famous Witnesses and Martyrs of Christ, who worshipped Ged after the same way of Worship that these do now? were they also Idolaters ? have canld they be saved then, when the Scripture sayes, that no Idolater shall inherit the Kingdom of God, and we do not ford that they repented hereof? To this we answer.
1. That the persons instanc'd in, were eminent Witnesses of Jesus Christ in their day ( whose very Names are in our nostrils as sweet Perfume) we readily grant, and would be loth to speak one word to abate of that just elteem is due to their Names and Teftimoру
for Chrilt. 2dly, That they are now with Christ, and shall come with him, and fit upon Thrones to judge their unjult Judges in the day appointed thereunto, we have not the least scruple.
But 3dly, they were but men encompassed about with many infirmities; that they were guilty of the fin of Idolatry, cannot (from what hath been said herein it's evident) be denied.
Yet, 1. They were in that day but just peeping out of the Gates of Babylon, beginning to arise and shake themselves out of the duft of the Abominations of the great Whore ; and 'tis no wonder if some of the filth of her Fornications did cleave to them. 2. They worshipped God in fincerity according to the light he was pleased in that day to communicate, and God accepted of them in Christ, granting to them a general Repentance for those Iniquities they saw not to be fo, knew not themselves guilty of. Which is alt we shall at present fay hereunio. The intelligent Reader knows that these things are not of any moment for the invalidating of what hath been offered upon this subject. · Thus far of this eighth Argument, The prefent Ministers of England are guilty of Idolatry; therefore 'tis the duty of Sain(s not to hear, but separate from them.
CHA P. VIII. A 7th Argument againft hearing the present Ministers of England. "Tis! an offence, grief, and cause of stumbling to the Saints, proved. Two Obječtions answered. The nature of Scandal giver. An eighth Argument proposed to consideration. The various wages of partaking will others in their fin, considered. That bearing the present Ministers, is as partaking with them in their son, proved.
Argument 7: *Is not lawful for Saints to do any thing, for the doing whereof,
there is no positive Precept in the Scripture that is an Offence, Grief, Scandal' and cause of fumbling to their Brethren : But the hearing the prefent Ministers of England (as there is no positive Precept in the Scripture for it, so it ) is an Offence, Grief, Scandal and cause of stumbling to the Brethren. Therefore * The Major (or first Propofition) is bottom'd upon express Precepts in the Scripture, Rom. 14.. 13, 15, 20, 1 Cor. 8.9, 13. and
24: · The Minor (or fecond Proposition ) consists of two parts. * 1. That for hearing the prefent Ministers of England, there is no positive warrant in the Scripture ; if there be, let it be produced, and this Controversie is at an end : The contrary thereunto, hath all along been manifest in this prefeot Discourse. It cannot enter into our hearts, to imagin, that the Lord Jesus having inftituted Officers of his own, for the management of Affairs in his House, should ordain, that any of his Houlhold should attend upon the Ministry of such as are not of his institution (as hath been abundantly demonstrated touching the present Ministers of England, that they are not) for is it by many, pleaded as their duty fo to do; but onely as their Liberty;which they judge they may, or they may not do, without fib:
2. That for the Saints (such as are visibly fo, profess themselves to be such ) to hear the present Ministers of England, is an Offence, Grief, Scandal and occafion of fumbling to their Brethren. This is too evideot to be denied, to how many thousands in England før whom (those that as yet attend upon the present Ministry thereof, dare noi but think) Christ dyedx, is the practise of some herein, a
Grief, Scandal and occasion of Stumbling? Their groans and tears, alone, and together upon this foot of account, will better demons ftrare che truch hereof, than our words can. Yes, how many poor souts have been diawn, by reason of the practise of some Leading Brethren in this matter, against the checks of their own consciences, to a Conformicy hereina to their after-grief and wounding? Upon whose doors. 'cis to be feared ( and we wilh they would in the fear of God lay it to heart) may be written, THE BLOOD OF SOULS. If it be faid,
Object. That there is a twofold Scandal, 1. Scandalum acceptum, a Scandal, or Offence taken. 2. Scandalum datum, a Scandal or of fence given. In respect of the former, possibly many may be offended at their practise in the matter treated of, and fo would some or other whatever is done by them: 'I is impossible but Offences should come, that there is any just offence given by them, herein, is denied. To this we an
Answ. 1, That as we admit of the diftin&ion, fo no doubt there is a truth in what is suggested thereupon, That whatever I do, some one or other will be offended atit: There are a generation of men, whom the doing of my duty will offend,and cause to blaspheme; these are not to be minded, but to be pitied : Chrift himself was to fome a Rock of Offence, and Stone of Stumbling.
a. But 'cis not yet proved (nor like to be that the Scandal treated of, is a Scandal taken and not given the very nature of Scandal given, as is confeft by all, and evident beyond exception from the Apostles, discourse, 1 Cor. 8. 10. lying in the doing of what is judged, by me, to be my liberty, which other Saints are not fully perswaded of in their own minds to be so, but are ready to conclude it to be my fin, and evil, and from thence have occasion of Grief, or Stumbling ad miniftred to them. This was the very case of the Church of Corinth. ( upon the occasion whereof Paul writes to them, 1 Cor. 8.) fome of them judged it their liberty to fit at meat in the Idols Temple ; others Bot being fully perswaded hereof, were scandalized many wayes, at this their practile, which the Apostle therefore condemos as unlaw. ful. Should it for Arguments lake be granted (though in truth it be ktfo) that 'uis the liberty of Saints, to hear the present Ministers, yet many of the sincere Lambs of Christ, being Itumbled, grieved and Scandalized hereat, for the very reason (if no more could be
said herein) it becomes our 'lin (to be guilty whereof, who can chufe but be filled with trembling, that hath ever with seriousness read bet terrible Commination of Christ, Mat. 18. 6. whoso Mall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a milstone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in the depths of the Seas) especially when those that are thus scandalized, are able to demonstrate, that their Offence is not any pevish Humour, or foolish Nicety, but what is too really administred by the actions of their Brethren: When they shall hear Chrift, commanding them to separate from every, thing of Antichrist, Rev. 18. 4. and therefore from his Ministry, and they are in conscience perswaded the Ministers of England are such, which they judge they are able to demonstrate : When they conlider, how the Laws of their dear Lord and Law-giver are made void, by the traditions of these pretended Ministers, whose Kingship they lec them visibly opposing, when they find upon them the characters of False Prophets, and Apostles, and are able to manifeft, that they are deeply guilty of the son of Idolatry (from whom they are enjoyned by Christ to turn away) yea when they take a veiw of the frame of the spirits of their pow Conforming-Brethren in dayes past, and the Principles were then owned by them: That they did then (some of them at least ) separate from the Assemblies of England, as not true Churches of Christ, and accounted the Common-Prayer-Book-Priests, persons not meet to preach, unworthy to be attended upon in their so doing, and see them now saying, A confederacy with, and attending upon the ministry of those very persons and things, from whom, not onely Chrift hath commanded them to separate, but these very Brethren did formerly decry, and at least seemingly abominate, they judge, they bave just ground of Offence given to them: Nor can it be denied, but it is indeed so. If it be yet further said,
Object. 2. But if I do not go to hear the Preachers of this day, many truly godly and Sober Chriftians will be offended at my forbearance ; so that whether I hear, or whether I forbear, I shall offend.
To this I answer, 1. Thar granting the case to be as is suggested (though perhaps somewhat elle, upon a serious and strict search, may be found to lye at the bottom of our Conformity beyond what is here pleaded: I am very apt to believe were but a toleration granted, 'cis not the fear of offending any, would cause our Conforming-Brethren to attend upon the Ministry of the preseac Prietts of England.