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on us to perform towards them) may come to see their fin, repent, and do their first works, that God and we may again receive then.
4. Yet the goodness of any, as to the main, is no warrant for any to hold communion with them, or attend upon their teachings ; There are Brethren that walk disorderly, whom 'tis the duty of Saints to separate from: that the very best of the Ministers of England do fo, will not be denied.. The Incestuous person, 1 Cor.5. was, as to the main, for ought I know, a good man; yet were not the Saints at Corinth to hold communion with him, till upon his repentance he was again received, 2 Cor. 2.6.
5. Tis utterly unlawful to communicate wich a devised Minifry, upon what pretext fotver.
6. So is it for any to partake in other mens fins (as hath been proved): but every ufurped Ministry is the fin of him (though dever lo holy a person) that exerciseth it.
Object. 7. But many Learned and Good men and such as in conscience could not conform to be Ceremonies of the Church of England) have in dayes palk ( and do now ) bear the present Ministers thereof.
To which we answer, 1. That the greateft Scholars, and most accomplished for humane Wisdom, Parts, yea visible Holiness, have not been alwayes on the Lords fide, following him in paths of his own appointment but many times have been found the greatest Persecutors and Opposers of Chrift; the most stupendously ignorant of the Will of God in respect of the Truth and Work of their Generation, of any persons in the world : Witness the Scribes and Pharisees, the Learned Raba bies, and Profound Doctors of that day, with what virulency did they oppose Chrift and the Doctrine of the Gospel preached - by him ?
2. That persons of as great Holiness, and renown for Learning, and all manner of Accomplishments, as learned Ainf worth, Cotton; c. have been and are of the same apprehension with us in this matter : Not to mention the Reformed Churches, who generally renounce. the Ministry of the Church of England, not admitting any by vera fue of it to the charge of fouls ( as they speak.)
But 3. To the Law and to the Testimony, Isa. 8. 20. if they speak not according to this Rule, though Angels for knowledge and holi
ners, they are not to be received, or heeded : One word from the Lord is of mwe weight to hearts made truly tender, than the Example of an hundred Professors can be: "ris possible these may erre be yea and way; bur fo cannot the Truth of God, which is alwayes the fame, and will abide fofor ever,
4. The Apoftle bath long since determined this case, 1 Cor. 11.1. Be je follamers of me as I am of Chrift: So far as Saints follow Chrift,
may and ought to follow them, but no further : So that the Learning, Parts, of Holiness of any that attend upon the present Minilters of England, is no warrant for me to ro do; nor will ever be a satilfactory answer to that enquiry, who-bath required thefe i lingis at your bands 3
Objeet. 8. Brat the Magiftraia commands ms, and ought we not to obey Magifrates ?
Answer. 1. That Magiftrates have no power to command in matters of inftituted Worthip, where Chrilt is fitent, or to govern in his Church, is affirmed by many.
2. The Commands of Magiftrates, when contrary to the Will and Way of Christ, are not to be subjected to. This case is long fince Atated and resolved by the Apoftle ( Afts 4. 19, 20, and g: 29.) and Spirit of the Lord, breathing long before in his senourned Witnesses, Dan. 3. 16, 17. and 6. 10. nor is it denied by any that are foberg of judicious. Whether the hearing of the prefent Ministers of England be contrary to the Word of God, the Willand Way of Christ, me.leave, from what hath been offered, to the confiderare Reader to judge; And shall onely adde what was long since affereed by Augustine in this matter, who Anguft. de Verb. was herein fully of the same mind with us; Sed Domini, Serm. 6. timco inquies no offendas Majorem time prorfnes, ne offendas Majoreno, e non offendes Deum. Quid enim times ne offend as: Majorem *Vide ne forfar majori fit ifto qucm times offendere. Majorema certe roli offendere quis eft inquies Major eo qui me gennit a. am ille qui Teipfum creavit ? qui onim refiftit Poteftasi, Dei Ordinas tioni refiftit : Sed quid fi illud jubeat quod non debes facere?' - timendopotestatem ipsos humanarum rerum gradvis advertite : fi aliquid jullerit: Curator, namna faciendum est a tan er fi contra Proconfusk jubeat, at non
utique contemnis poteftatem, sed eligis Majori servire, nec hinc debet Minor irasci, si Major prelata est. Rurfum la aliquid ipse Proconful jubeat, & aliud jubeat imperator, numquid dubitatur in illo contemptu, illi effe serviendum ?. Ergo fi aliud Imperator, & aliud Deus, quid judicatis ? solve tributum, est mihi in obfequio, reétè! Sed non in Idolio; in Idolio prohibet, quis prohibet ? Major Poteftas. Da veniam ! in casa cerum, ille gehennam minatur. He tells us plainly that such as fear to offend their Superiours, should much more fear to offend God, who is greater than all. · The Emperours and Monarchs of the VVorld threaten us with a Prison if we disobey them; the LORD threatens us with Hell, upon our disobedience of Him.
Object. 9. But the Ministers of England are true Gospel-Minifters, for they convert fouls; which the Apostle makes the Seal of his Ministry or ApoAtleship: Therefore it is lawful to hear them.
To this we say, · That the Ministers of England are true Gospel-Minifters, is abso. lutely denied by us ; what is offered in this Obje&ion, proves nothing.
1. Paul makes not the Conversion of the Church of Corinth, fing. ly, a sufficient Demonstration, or convincing Argument of his Apostleship; he only useth it, as what was most likely to win, and work upon their affections, who upon
other accounts could got but know that he was an Apostle of the Lord Jesus.
2. Conversion of souls is no Argument, either of a lawful Call to an Apostleship, or Ministry of Chrift: For, 1. Many have converted fouls, that were not Apostles, as ordinary Ministers. 2. The Lord hath used private Brethren, Women, yea, fome remarkable Providences, as instruments in his hand for the conversion of maa ny souls ; yet who will say that private Brethren, Women, or Divine Providences are Apostles or Ministers of the Lord Jesus. But 3dly, should it be granted, that Conversion of Souls is an Argument of a lawful Ministry, where are the Churches, nay where are the particular persons converted by them? We have not heard of any, nor will it be an eafie task for the Obje&ors to produce inAtances in cbis matter.
would you have nis fit at home idle? we cannot fo spend the Lord's day.
Answer, 2. To which we would bumbly offer a few things :)
1. That though we are not againit any Ordinance of Jesus Chrift, yet we are afraid that those poor fouls, that know not how to spend the Lord's day without hearing, do too much idolize that Ordinance of God, and never knew what ic was to spend that day with him.
2. You need not fit at home ; if you are enquiring after God,and communion with his People, you may soon hear of some one or on ther of the Affemblies of the Saints, whither you may repair to wait upon the Lord with them.
3. But thirdly, VVere it, or should it be otherwise; Yet better be idle, than do worse ; better do pothing, than fin againft God, encourage others in their evil deeds, pollute and wound thy @wo foul, grieve the Saints, stumble and hardea che wicked, and cause them to blafpheme God, his Name, Sanctuary, and such as dwell therein. But,
4. There is no neceflity of being idle; If thou knoweft not where to hear on that day, halt thou no work to do save that? 1. Arc fure that God, and Chrift, and Eternal Glory are thy portion and inheritance? Thou walkeft in the Light of Anurance, or thou dost not? iE thou doft, is one day in seven too much to spead in the folemo ado miration of Grace, that ever fo vile a creature as thou, should be accounted worthy of such unexpreffible kindness and glory? what, O what will Eternity bc then ? If thou doft not, are not these worthy of thy utmost diligence to get Assurance of? What, stand idle, and an Interest in God, Chrift, and Eternal Glory to make sure of! 2. Art thou fufficiently acquainted with chine own heart ? doft know so much of thy felf as thou needest to know ? or judgest thou this to be a work that requires not thy utmost diligence and attendance? 3. Haft thou no fin to be mortified, no want to be supplied, do grace to be quickped and frengthned in thee? 4. Hit thou as much communion with God as thou defireft? halt heard as often from him by the teachings of the Spirit (the incomparabły and infinitely bet Teacher) as thou doft wish? or doft think that God will not manifest himself to, and teach in a corner, a poor foul that's there. waiting for him alone, because there be no assemblies of Saints he knows of, to whom he mighe joya himself, and he dares not have
communion with Adulterers? If thou haft not fellowship with God thou desirest, and teachings from him, (as who hath) ftir up thy self to lay hold on God, groan, and cry afcerchim, till he hath brought thee into his Chambers, and afforded thee richer displayes of his Glory. F. Art thou altogether ready trimmed (without more ado) for the Coming and Kingdom of Chrift Jefus ? what should I mention those important ducies of reading the Scriptures, medication on, them, c. halt thou all this to do, and much more that might be added, and yet nothing to do on the Lord's day? Ser about there, things in good earnest, & when thou livest in the Light of Affarance, without the least doubt or clouding, when thou art sufficiently aca quainted with thine owo heart, the VVill and Scriptures of the Lord, when thou haft as much communion with God in retirement as thou defirest, and teachings from his Spirit; when thou haft oo fin to be mortified, nor grace to be quickned and strengthned; when thou are quite ready for the day of Christ, and needed no further fittings, we Thall consider what may further be said to this Obje&ion; but till then it cannot be pleaded, when souls have all this work to do, that they must fit at home idle, if they go not to hear the Preachers of this day. But thus far of the Objections that are by some made against the Affertion of the Unlawfulness of attending upon the present Miq nisters of England; which are all of any moment we have yet met with : what of weight is in them, must be left to the judgment of the Christian Reader to determine. -We thall add no more but this, that we have spoken our judge, mene and conicience herein, aş, in fincerity, in the light of God; with what meekness, Christian cenderness, and fear of giving any just offence to the truly Conscientious, he knows. The sole of our aim in the whole, is, That Chtift may be glorified in the recovery of any poor Lamb, that is turned aside to the flocks of the Companions in this cloudy and dark day; that others that have hitherto kept them felves from Idols might be further established in the Will of God and Strengthped to follow Christ in his temptations, that they may inherite that Kingdom and Glory, prepared for them before the foundation of the world : May we; but in the least contribute, by Divine Blessing, hereunto, what-ever becomes of these Papers, or how ever they be by. erhers accounted of, we have our end, and shall rest satisfied,